Featured Editorials




Currently Investing Over $40 million In Various Scottsdale Properties And Projects

(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) – While the effects of the pandemic have brought a halt to various developments and investments throughout the Phoenix Metropolitan area, Stockdale Capital Partners LLC, a Los Angeles-based real estate investment firm with deep roots in Scottsdale is continuing to provide enhancements and improvements to notable projects to help boost the economy and accelerate the local economic recovery.

Stockdale’s founding principals – Steven and Shawn Yari – began investing in Scottsdale in the late 1990s after recognizing the growing demand and appeal for high-quality development throughout the city.

In 2013, Stockdale Capital Partners purchased the Scottsdale Galleria, which once stood as a dilapidated and failed shopping mall near the northeast corner of Scottsdale Road and Camelback. It was subsequently redeveloped into a thriving mixed-use office/retail complex with national technology tenants including Indeed and Yelp. As of this year, Stockdale Capital Partners has spent over $10 million in Galleria renovations and has added over 200 parking stalls to the existing garage to address parking needs in the area.

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D.R.I.V.E. which stands for (Donations for Recovery & Investment that are Very Essential) Makes Its Donation

(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) Mercedes-Benz of Scottsdale is proud to announce it has selected Matthew’s Crossing Food Bank as its Arizona charity to receive a $5,000 donation this month as part of its D.R.I.V.E Initiative.

The Scottsdale dealership re-introduced D.R.I.V.E, which stands for Donations for Recovery & Investment that are Very Essential, as a way to help Valley charities recover following the pandemic. Many have been decimated following the economic downturn combined with critical fundraising cancelled in the spring and fall.

The year-long campaign kicked off in June of this year focusing on supporting and highlighting local causes. The initiative is a continuation of Mercedes-Benz of Scottsdale’s historic commitment to supporting organizations that improve our communities. The campaign’s initial $5,000 donation was presented to Fresh Start due to a rise in domestic violence that has been a tragic result of the pandemic. The second donation in was given to Arizona’s Children Association because of the non-profits focus on helping with pandemic- specific issues for highly vulnerable children.Read More

New elements for 2020 include Martin Luther King Jr’s College Joining Impressive Lineup Along with All Women’s Team, Charity Match-Up and New Sponsors Sign On, Post Event Concert with Roger Clyne
Tickets Now on Sale!

(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) — One of the World’s most recognizable polo events announced it has received final approval from the City of Scottsdale to return on Saturday, November 7th, 2020 to WestWorld of Scottsdale’s outdoor polo field. This announcement follows the commencement of polo action around the country and limited events in the greater Phoenix area, including at the Valley’s upcoming NASCAR race and Phoenix Rising matches.

Under a new name for 2020, The Stella Artois Polo Classic: Presented by Ketel One, a production of the Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships will return with some new teams, as well as new focus on social distancing and a key focus to help schools, nonprofits and charities hit hard by COVID-19.

Tickets are on sale now at www.thepoloparty.com. There will be limited capacity in response to Covid-19.

As part of the city-approved changes for 2020, The Stella Artois Polo Classic will feature an extensive social distancing plan, that also incorporates a social distancing enforcement team, mandatory masks, sanitation stations, temperature checks and an all open-air approach with tables, lattice fencing and umbrellas instead of tents to make guests as comfortable as possible in an environment as fun as possible.

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The French Mediterranean Fine Dining Offered Complimentary Dinners with donations supporting American Heart Association, PANDA and Phoenix Heart Ball

(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) FRANCINE, the highly anticipated fine dining French-Mediterranean restaurant located in the Luxury Wing of Scottsdale Fashion Square, donated three evenings of complimentary dinners to support PANDA and the Phoenix Heart Ball benefiting the American Heart Association on August 11th, 12th and 13th.

As part of the Friends and Family Nights prior to opening to the public, FRANCINE provided complimentary meals to guests to benefit three local charities and provide practice for their staff.

In lieu of paying a traditional check, patrons were encouraged to make a donation to one of these three charities on their respective night. Every penny donated over the three-nights went directly to the Phoenix Heart Ball for American Heart Association and PANDA, which is a great opportunity for these charities since both had to postpone their 2020 fundraising events.

Heart disease is still the number one killer in the country.  In addition to research and education for heart disease, the American Heart Association and Phoenix Heart Ball are helping to provide food to underprivileged children, research for COVID, a vaping campaign and education, support for other organizations in need and much more.

PANDA, an organization that supports the discovery process to improve treatments and cures for devastating childhood diseases also received a generous donation.

“We are so grateful to the FRANCINE family and everyone who dined at the restaurant on these special evenings,” said Phoenix Heart Ball 2021 Chairman Jennifer Moser. “The cuisine, service and ambiance are a great addition to Scottsdale’s culinary scene.  The donations will go a long way to provide support to these organizations that have been significantly impacted by the pandemic.”

Anchored by the cuisine and inspired design from the South of France, FRANCINE, which officially opened for dinner on August 14th, is nestled in the luxury wing at Scottsdale Fashion Square near other notable fine dining establishments including Ocean 44 and Nobu.

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(NORTH SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.)  Scottsdale based and National Custom Home Builder of the Year, Cullum Homes is pleased to announce that the building process has begun on several move-in-ready homes and the new model home that will showcase the Cullum’s greatest collection of golf estates located in The Village at Seven Desert Mountain.

To accommodate interested buyers, a new on-site sales office has been added to Cullum’s Village at Seven Desert Mountain. The office is open 11am to 4pm Tuesday – Sunday.

Cullum’s Luxury Real Estate Agent Scott Grigg says prospective buyers have been calling and visiting from various parts of Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, as well as big cities like Chicago, Los Angeles and Seattle.  Grigg says many of the out-of-state buyers have budgets exceeding $2.5million and are looking for single family detached properties, offering the lock and leave lifestyle with amenities that they can enjoy in their own homes.

“We are getting a huge influx of buyers coming from out-of-state who see that Arizona has a lot to offer,” said Grigg.  “These buyers want space. They want a detached home so they are not living right on top of one another and they are looking for in-home state-of-the-art amenities like home theatres, home gyms, even Cullum’s Car Bar and new golf simulator.”

On-site interested parties are viewing numerous floor plans and site maps, walking the various lots and reviewing features and high-end amenities offered for these top-tier custom golf estates. In addition, several for-sale models are already under construction to accommodate interested buyers from Arizona and across the country whose needs are more immediate and whose timeframes for purchase are shorter.

“We have not seen this much out-of-state interest in years,” said Cullum Homes Founder and President Rod Cullum. “Our golf estates here at the Village at Seven Desert Mountain are some of the finest homes we have ever built, and they will be surrounded by some of the most incredible scenery we have here in the Valley.  Between the views of the nearby mountain ranges, to the uniquely designed No. 7 golf course, we couldn’t have asked for a better backdrop for our modern and contemporary golf estates. We know this will be a community Seven Desert Mountain residents can be proud to call home for many years to come.”

Built directly on two golf courses at the brand new Seven Desert Mountain community, and named for the seventh private course in this exclusive community, Cullum’s golf estates are available in one and two story options.  With 33 different lots available, the homes range in size from approximately 3304 – 6500 square feet with prices starting at $1,995,000.Read More

Featured Editorials

By Scottsdale Pinetop

With early voting starting in a couple of weeks for the November 3rd General Election, the political attacks are flying more frequently. And yesterday’s city council candidate debate was no exception. Moderated by Chris Haines from Scottsdale Community College, here are key impressions and highlights:

*Development, density and economic growth continues to be the #1 issue in the race for City Council becoming a debate between pro-growth and slow-growth ideologies. Each candidate wants to keep Scottsdale special and thriving while preserving the city’s unique brand. How that can be achieved is where the divide occurs.

*Betty Janik didn’t hold back any punches against her fellow candidate Tammy Caputi. She addressed Tammy’s purported support for the Desert Discovery Center during her time on the Development Review Board. Janik also challenged Caputi’s overall message that maintaining high property values and low taxes with affordable housing options as unrealistic. While taking aim at her opponents, she continuously reinforced her messaging that more citizen engagement is desperately needed for City Hall.

*However, Tammy Caputi didn’t shy away from rebutting these attacks while throwing a few attacks of her own. Frequently calling this an “us vs. them” election, Captui championed more business growth and economic development while challenging Betty and Tom’s position on high rise building regulations and what height qualifies as reasonable development for Scottsdale.

*John Little’s past experience as a former Scottsdale City Manager continues to serve him well in the campaign. His clear understanding of various regions in Scottsdale for business development, City Hall procedures and specific financial aspects makes him knowledgeable about Scottsdale’s unique dynamics that distinguish himself among the other candidates and positioned favorably.

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By Gilbert Guru

Our community has grown more divided than ever due to COVID. Weary looks in the grocery store every time sometime gets too close. A flock of heads turning if someone makes the mistake of coughing. We have become nervous around members of our community.

Safety is the upmost importance. However, it is a disservice to ourselves to not attempt to safely be a community. Safety in the face of COVID should not result in the destruction of our community. We need to be able to convene in a safe, thoughtful, and conscious manner—or we may lose the heart of our community.

Everyone is scared of big crowds right now. However, it is necessary to find a new facet to convene safely. We should not fear an events if the event is thoughtful and privy to COVID restrictions. If an event is approved by a city, has an operations plan with safety at the helm, and has the ability to allow social distancing then we should not shy away from attending events, but instead go full steam ahead.Read More

Election inventiveness and creativity can come in many forms.  Outlandish.  Straightforward.

From Jeff Dewit successfully closing his upstart campaign for Arizona State Treasurer in 2014 with a memorable video spoof of “Frozen” to eye-popping signs from Scottsdale City Councilman Guy Phillips (though we have yet to see any this cycle) to even the one-time sushi restaurant Stingray shocking drivers with SNL like messages about presidential and Phoenix mayoral races, campaigns usually find a way to make us laugh, cry, get excited, get angry and ultimately get us leaning one way or another.

Scottsdale has been no exception this cycle.  Here are our top 4 creative executions so far, that have also proven to be effective.

By Scottsdale Pinetop

Known for her dedication and passion for the arts and environment, Sam Campana has been a leader in many quality of life issues in Arizona and a trailblazer for Scottsdale women in politics. She served on the Scottsdale City Council for 12 years and Mayor from 1996-2000, becoming the first female Mayor in Scottsdale history.

She previously served on the founding Board of Scottsdale Center for the Arts where she became its first women president. After, she helped create Arizonans for Cultural Development (ACD) and went on to be ACD’s first successful Executive Director where she served in the role for almost fifteen years.

Her commitment and leadership in Scottsdale has spread beyond her service at City Hall. As a volunteer, she helped found the Scottsdale Foundation for the Handicapped, the Scottsdale Western Arts Associates, Scottsdale Leadership and graduate from the Valley Leadership Class V, where she was selected as Woman of the Year 2010.

Throughout her years of service to Arizona, she has been appointed by four mayors, four governors and two presidents to serve in various capacities for arts and environmental commissions, boards and tasks forces.

Quite an impressive resume for one of Scottsdale’s finest.

We had a chance to talk with Former Mayor Sam Campana about her legacy in Scottsdale, women in politics and hope for Scottsdale’s future.

  • You have a long-standing reputation for public service, having served twelve years on the City Council. What was your greatest accomplishment while serving on the Scottsdale City Council?  

Public policy is a laborious process and most often takes a long time to have an effect.  Before I served on Council, I headed the statewide arts advocacy group that in addition to getting more resources to arts organizations, cultural  institutions and artists, also helped pass percent-for-art ordinances in local communities.  When the Pima Freeway was finally approved at its location – I made the motion to assess 1% for the arts on the multi-million dollar cost.  Although the freeway wasn’t built for almost a decade – I was at the ribbon cutting as mayor to celebrate the 7-mile stretch of the most beautiful, artist enhanced freeway in the world!

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Working in government these days can be difficult, whether it’s in Washington, D.C. or closer to home in Arizona.

It seems there is a scandal a day seeking to besmirch decent, public servants – all because of political games or, in this world we now live in, where one mistake is treated as a kiss of death.

Fortunately, there is an exception to that increasing rule.


For 22 years Andrew Miller has served as Paradise Valley’s Town Attorney.  That’s a position held by some notable people over the years including a certain U.S Supreme Court Chief Justice named William Rehnquist.

According to a recent article in the Paradise Valley Independent Miller has indicated he will be stepping down after two plus decades of service.

While a loss for the Town, it is an opportunity to say job well done.

Paradise Valley is not the easiest place to work.  The Mayor and Councilmembers are nearly always strong willed and independently accomplished.  So is the electorate.  Interests before the town often have the best lawyers representing them.  And, by its nature, being a municipal attorney is a tough job.  Like an umpire you have to call balls and strikes.  And that usually upsets the people at bat in one way or another.  So to serve 22 years as Miller has is an achievement unto itself.

But so has been his professionalism.  He’s a tough but thoughtful lawyer for his client, Paradise Valley.  People know that going in and respect it coming out.  Miller has helped navigate some of the most notable and complicated developments and redevelopments in the Valley, including Mountain Shadows and the pending Ritz-Carlton.  He calls on outside counsel when he should but isn’t afraid to make the difficult calls himself when he must.

Miller said he doesn’t know what’s next for his career but when he looks back on his time in Paradise Valley he, and all others, will be able to say well done, this good and faithful public servant.


The mantra of Scottsdale’s slow growth and no growth advocates (and there is a difference) goes something like this.  Scottsdale should curtail the energetic recruitment of new business and corporate headquarters like Axon, Nationwide and others because they can foster height and growth that intrudes on the character of the city.  Likewise, new development or redevelopment should be smallish, no matter its location, for similar reasons.  By doing both Scottsdale can retain wide open spaces and that which has made it special and, very importantly, keep tourists coming back to a unique city rather than become Anywhere, USA.

While there are deficiencies with such a philosophy, just as there are with those who proselytize for relentless growth, at least the “Tourism First” chorus has a coherence.  Until it doesn’t.

For that governing philosophy to work you must actually, well, support tourism.  This could take many forms but likely, among other things, involves the support of new hotels, special events with both proven records and the promise to become the same, existing and new public art, funding for tourism promotion in accordance with voter approvals and listening to tourism leaders especially during these worst of times the industry will ever know. Read More

By ScottsdaleBlogger

With cancel culture as cutthroat as it is, many people need to be even more concerned about the things they may have said in the past. Arizona Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kelly is continually under the spotlight as a political figure and nevertheless made this mistake.

Two years ago, Mark Kelly was speaking at the Boy Scouts of America, Northern New Jersey Council where a comment was made about his twin brother that is now being criticized as racially insensitive.

His brother Scott, an astronaut like Kelly, spent an extended time at the space station. Intending to make light of a difficult time for his brother, he attempted a joke.

“I think the word hasn’t gotten out how bad it is for him,” Kelly said. “You know, it’s gotten so bad, that we recently had to release him back into the wild,” he continued, describing his brother being affected by his long time in space.

“He’s like halfway between an orangutan and a Howler Monkey. We’ve even changed his name to Rodrigo. He lives in the woods. He lives in Eagle Rock Reservation,” which was in reference to a New Jersey forest reserve and recreational park.

Now you may wonder, why is this being brought to the surface now? Republican businessman Moses Sanchez is your answer.

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Staff Report –

A recap of the top three stories on Arizona Progress & Gazette from the past week. 

  1. #LocalBuzz: Q & A With Scottsdale City Council Candidate Betty Janik

Betty Janik gathered 30,753 votes in the August 4th primary election, which made her the top vote-getter among all city council candidates and will move on to the November 3rd General Election. Read full story here.

  1. Howard Myers: There Are Things Worth Preserving

Howard Myers moved to North Scottsdale in 1996 and quickly got involved in local politics. He was a vocal and tireless supporter of the creation of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve but corrected us when asked if he was a pioneer of the effort. He says that honor belongs to a long list of advocates. Read fully story here.

  1. Guest Editorial: Former Phoenix Foes Working Together

In a time of immense political divisiveness and strife there is never a shortage of disparaging comments on social media. That is why it is so refreshing to see politicians put animosity and political agendas aside to work together for the public good. Read full story here.

There’s no doubt Scottsdale is a warm, inviting community.

But this should no longer be a continuing excuse not to adopt a more compelling city non-discrimination ordinance.  Indeed, it’s the very reason it should.  Be a beacon, a leader.  It would be like America failing to proselytize about the benefits of democracy.  

For many years this goal has been pursued, primarily by members of the LGBTQ community.  But for years adoption of such an ordinance has languished.

Fortunately, that could be set to change.

As described in a recent Scottsdale Independent article, the city’s enterprising Human Relations Commission is revisiting the issue, and proposing options.  Kudos.

While it is the City Council that must ultimately adopt such a policy, the energy and integrity of this commission’s members should be applauded.  For they are giving a long overdue lift towards an unequivocal Scottsdale commitment to equality, dignity and decency.

Greater rights in this regard need not be a zero sum game. Indeed, such an ordinance shouldn’t be a game at all, politically or otherwise.

Who we love.  How we love.  Who we are.  How we are.  Scottsdale once moved mountains.  To preserve mountains.  It can and should do the same to preserve truths and ideals for all of its citizens.  Now.

We have not been advocates for Dave Ortega as Scottsdale’s next Mayor.  But it doesn’t mean we can’t recognize the smart, effective campaign he’s run to date.

Ortega, whether it was during a successful run for City Council previously or in a losing bid for Mayor in 2004, has always had a base of support in southern Scottsdale.  But leading up to the August primary he also benefited from another dynamic.  He was the only Democrat in the 5-person field.  The rest were Republicans.

That’s now changed.  He’s in a race, one on one, with Republican Lisa Borowsky.

In any other election year Ortega would not have made the November run-off.  But that’s how disproportionate the Democratic turnout was in August.  This will likely not be the case in November though Ortega will continue to benefit from a slice of Republicans, and certainly Independents, choosing anyone but elephants this particular year.

Ortega has also made a beeline to the anti-growth voices in Scottsdale, which are starting to break his way despite sharing a similar platform with Borowsky.

But ultimately is that where Scottsdale resides politically? For some yes.  But for all?

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By Gilbert Guru

Holland Smith, an up and coming Instagram Influencer based in Chandler, has recently used her growing following to spread a positive message in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The recent college graduate was contacted by Arizona Department of Health Sciences (ADHS) to utilize her following to promote its #MaskUpAZ initiative.

Holland Smith, who typically uses her platform to promote healthy eating and recipes, took a break to promote “one of the most critical pieces in stopping the spread of COVID-19.”

The young influencer said that she supported #MaskUpAZ and was honored when she was contacted by the ADHS because she “wants to return to normal, like everybody else, but in order to do that we need to follow the guidelines set for us. I hate wearing a mask as much as the next person, but I want to live my life to fullest again and if wearing a mask allows that to happen then that is what I will do.”

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By Shea Lincoln

Howard Myers moved to North Scottsdale in 1996 and quickly got involved in local politics. He was a vocal and tireless supporter of the creation of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve but corrected us when asked if he was a pioneer of the effort. He says that honor belongs to a long list of advocates . They include Jane Rau , Chet Andrews, John Nichols, Greg Woodall, Carla, Pete Chasar, and Karen Bertiger.  Myers served on the Preserve Commission for nine years. He also served on the City of Scottsdale Board of Adjustment.

Defeating the proposed Desert Discovery Center was a recent major accomplishment and Myers says his work is not done. He remains an active member of the slow growth organization known as COGS as well as well as being the driving force behind Protect Our Preserve. He thinks growth continues to threaten the character of Scottsdale and he is concerned about some members of the City Council who are pro-growth.

APG: Had the Preserve not been created what do you think would have happed to that land?

Myers: We would have houses a lot further up. Obviously there’s some in DC Ranch….but the rest of the mountains, what isn’t built on now is preserved and that’s a good thing…Some of the land north of Dynamite might have primed for development as well.

APG: Has North Scottsdale changed for the better or for worse over the past 20 years?

Myers: We’ve worked hard, but unfortunately in some regards it has changed for the worse. A lot of property is zoned for 3 to 5 lots…Now the city is allowing people to come in an up-zone for the maximum they can get…That’s a downside…You don’t want homes stacked on one another. You need to preserve the equestrian heritage.

APG: You are also active with COGS (Coalition of Greater Scottsdale) which is considered at the center of the slow growth movement. Do you think that movement will have to modify its views if there is a recession?

Myers: When downturn happened (in the 1990’s) when some of the larger developments were approved and up-zoned. And because of that dip we allowed more density. That really was a big mistake…The city has no obligation to make people richer. The city has an obligation to maintain the characteristics of the city and make it desirable…. There is a misconception that you must grow to be successful. What you have to do is to remain desirable.Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

Betty Janik and her husband have lived in Scottsdale for over 16 years. She was the co-founder of the Protect Our Preserve PAC, the citizen led committee behind Proposition 420. She served as the President for the Coalition of Greater Scottsdale (COGS) and a member of the 2019 of For The Best Scottsdale PAC, the campaign that spearhead the passage of three city bond questions for $319 million.

Betty Janik gathered 30,753 votes in the August 4th primary election, which made her the top vote-getter among all city council candidates and will move on to the November 3rd General Election.

We had a chance to catch up with Betty Janik about her take on the results from the August primary election and issues facing Scottsdale residents.

  • Your campaign had an incredible result as the top vote-getter in the August Primary election. What do you attribute your success to?

I attribute my success to the strong support I have received from the community.  Through my volunteer work with Protect Our Preserve and Coalition of Greater Scottsdale, I interacted with highly respected and influential members of Scottsdale.  They have endorsed me and promoted me to the community at large.  I am most appreciative of this support.  Likewise, I have followed through on my commitments to our community.  I believe my supporters recognize that I have the ability to unify people.  I also show respect for all members of our society.  I do not shy away from hard work and I clearly state what I stand for.

  • Based on the primary results, what do you believe that says about the mindset of Scottsdale voters?

The results of the Primary came as a surprise to me, especially for mayor.  The citizens are looking for new faces and are rejecting the status quo.  To me, the voters are saying that want citizen friendly Council members representing them.  They want a say in the future of our fine City.  They want to be respected and heard.

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Staff Report –

A recap of the top three stories on Arizona Progress & Gazette from the past week. 

  1. Scottsdale’s Dos Equis Woman

Teacher. Preacher. Author. Activist. It’s quite an impressive title for one of Scottsdale’s most interesting residents. And a title that fits Paula Sturgeon perfectly. Read full story here.

  1. #LocalBuzz Q&A With Scottsdale City Council Candidate John Little

Former Scottsdale City Manager John Little is one of six top vote-getters in the August 4th primary which means he will move on to the November 3rd General Election. His face, and his mustache, are familiar to anyone who has followed politics in Scottsdale. Read full story here.

  1. Da Weasel & Da Winners

Following elections, and Scottsdale’s August 4th primary is no different, there is a temptation to declare winners and losers.  We will be no exception today.  But we seek to do so in a more insightful and entertaining way. Read full story here.

By Gilbert Guru

Desperate times call for desperate measures. The finances behind any campaign play a direct role in getting a candidate elected to office, especially in tight political races. This is particularly true for Arizona’s U.S. Senate race. Recent campaign finances show Martha McSally $15 million dollars behind her opponent Mark Kelly in the fundraising battle.

This is especially concerning as Arizona is widely considered by both political parties as a “battleground state” and McSally stands as the incumbent, which means she should be out-campaigning and out-fundraising her political opponent.

McSally, who already lost to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in 2018 and was appointed after the death of John McCain and the resignation of Jon Kyl, recognizes that being this behind in the fundraising race could be an end to her short lived time in the Senate. In a hope to appeal to her support base, McSally recently said in an interview, “We’re doing our part to catch up, you know, to get our message out, but it takes resources. So, anybody can give, I’m not ashamed to ask, to invest. If you can give a dollar, five dollars, if you can fast a meal and give what that be.”

McSally, who may be desperate to get her fundraising numbers up, may be playing on the desperation of her supporters and opponents of having two blue Senators from Arizona. Urging her supporters to “fast a meal” during a financial crisis for many across the United States is irresponsible and sends the wrong message to her supporters.

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Have there been many lower points in Scottsdale’s history than when public safety leadership let rioters sack its citadel – aka Scottsdale Fashion Square – earlier this year?

Botched is a kind word for the decision-making and approach, especially after the consequences to Old Town’s many small businesses, particularly its Arts District.

So we are probably not the only ones a little surprised that the city is being reimbursed a healthy sum of money for being operational nincompoops.

Check out this story and insight by Scottsdale Republic City Hall reporter Lorraine Longhi:


Look, we are all in for help for Scottsdale during these brutal economic times but this is a little like the Boston Red Sox giving Bill Buckner a giant contract after his infamous World Series miscue cost the team the title.

Meanwhile, where’s the help for Scottsdale small businesses that were harmed by the professional malfeasance?

Government gets bigger and gets rewarded while small businesses get screwed, again.

The Scottsdale Independent is an invaluable source of local news.  And so it was again with a recent posting of an opinion piece by the former First Gentleman of Scottsdale, Larry Manross.  His wife, Mary, served as Scottsdale Mayor from 2000-2008. Click here to read the full opinion piece.

It wasn’t much of a surprise that Larry declared his support for council candidates Betty Janik and Tom Durham.  The Manrosses were very active in the 2018 campaign for Proposition 420, the measure that put a stake through the heart of the ill-conceived Desert Discovery Center.  Prior to serving as Mayor, Mary Manross served on the City Council where she sided with slower growth sympathies more often than not, political space Janik and Durham are likely to occupy.

But it was Larry Manross’ endorsement of Dave Ortega that was a bit surprising.  After all, Ortega ran against his wife for Mayor in 2004, making it into the run-off before being soundly defeated by Mary.

A few days ago a contributor on this site complimented Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego tapping her former foe and Councilman Danny Valenzuela to help with an upcoming measure in the city.

It was appropriate kudos then, and they’re deserving for Manross now after showing the integrity he did to encourage others to vote for a person he probably didn’t think too highly of once upon a time.

Politics, and cities like Scottsdale, are enriched when former foes collaborate.  The successful passage of the community’s bond passage in 2019 is Exhibit A.

Ortega is in a tight race to be the city’s next Mayor.  The jury is still out if he will win or lose.  But he won the recent day when a true gentleman spoke out in a most surprising way.

By Scottsdale Pinetop

Local businesses create the unique fabric of our communities. They are owned by local entrepreneurs, employ their neighbors, develop relationships with regulars and find ways to give back. But the effects of the coronavirus and statewide shutdowns have caused many of our favorite businesses to close permanently or adapt to new ways of serving the community, leaving their futures in a constant state of unrest.

That’s why this year, Local First Arizona is asking consumers to double down on Arizona small businesses struggling to survive during this difficult time.

Returning a little later than usual, Local First Arizona’s annual statewide campaign called Independents Week or “Indie Week XXL” launched its new month-long event starting September 1st to discover and support Arizona’s small, independent businesses.

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By Scottsdale Pinetop

In a time of immense political divisiveness and strife there is never a shortage of disparaging comments on social media. That is why it is so refreshing to see politicians put animosity and political agendas aside to work together for the public good.

In a social media post last week, former Phoenix councilmember Daniel Valenzuela announced that he would be serving as Chair of Phoenix’s Home Rule Effort at the request of Mayor Kate Gallego. Phoenix’s Home Rule Effort, known as YES on Proposition on 444, will allow Phoenix residents to control local spending by extending “home rule” which allows charter cities in Arizona to enact their own expenditure limitations.

Just one year ago, Mayor Gallego defeated Daniel Valenzuela in the Phoenix mayoral race. Now they’re joining forces as former opponents should.

Former foes becoming allies is nothing new for Arizona. In 2018, Governor Doug Ducey appointed former 2014 Democrat gubernatorial opponent Fred DuVal to the Arizona Board of Regents, in the spirit of bipartisanship. And as far as we can recall, the partnership has worked well for the residents of Arizona.

In Arizona, politicians have a track record of working together and putting aside differences to get positive things done for the people they serve. Mayor Gallego and Daniel Valenzuela’s cooperation is the perfect example of what Arizonans can accomplish when we work together.

This is great news to hear considering the tone of politics these days. In recent ones, political commentators have been narrowly focused on increasing the political divide rather than finding meaningful solutions that bring us together. Because it really is #OurCity.

Other governments, both local and national, should take note.

By Lincoln Shea

Former Scottsdale City Manager John Little is one of six top vote-getters in the August 4th primary which means he will move on to the November 3rd General Election. His face, and his moustache, are familiar to anyone who has followed politics in Scottsdale. He has served as Chief of Staff to legendary Mayor Herb Drinkwater. He went on to become Scottsdale City Manager. We had the chance to talk with Little about his take on the results from the August primary election and issues facing Scottsdale residents.

APG: Your campaign had an impressive finish in the August election. What do you attribute your success to in the Primary race?

John Little: Our success was simply the result of being able to reconnect with the thousands of citizens and businesses I have helped over the years. I spent thirty years helping preserve the desert for future generations and implementing strategies for the safety and well-being of our great neighborhoods. I was there when people needed sound barriers to protect them from freeway noise, traffic calming to reduce neighborhood cut-through traffic and I provided a helping hand to small shops and galleries in the downtown when they were struggling. People remember me as someone they can trust, someone who has demonstrated principled, tested and committed leadership for a full generation of Scottsdale citizens.

APG: Based on the primary results, what do you believe that says about the mindset of Scottsdale

John Little: I believe it suggests Scottsdale residents feel we are the cusp of great changes in our lives and in our community. I remember two other times in Scottsdale’s history when residents felt the  same way. The first was during the “annexation” era of the 1980’s. Huge swaths of open desert were being gobbled up by cities in a race to secure municipal boundaries for future growth. Within just a few short years master planned communities started springing up which was very threatening to some but very exciting to others who saw these emerging  neighborhoods as great places to raise families. A second time of great anxiety occurred in December of 2007 with the advent of the great recession. This became a life changing event for families as small businesses closed, workers were laid off and nearly empty city coffers threatened the many city services to which citizens had become accustomed. Today we again find ourselves in a time of great anxiety and uncertainty about how shifting economics and social dynamics will impact their jobs, schools and their quality of life.

APG: As a former City Manager for Scottsdale, would serving as a Councilman create any unique difficulties with staff?

John Little: No. Just the opposite. I more than any other candidate have a detailed working understanding of the City Charter and the clarity it gives to the separation of responsibilities between policy makers and administrators. The staff knows me and has confidence that above all I take my oath of office seriously and would not attempt to micro-manage staff. Some newcomers running  for office sound like they are really more interested in running for Planning and Development  Manager or Zoning Administrator. Just as in business, having a clear understanding of your role and respecting the roles of others is a good recipe for success.

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2020 Scrum

PHOENIX (September 16th, 2020)- Former Astronaut Mark Kelly opened up a 10-point lead on Sen. Martha McSally in one of the most expensive and closely watched Senate races in the nation.

According to a recent survey by OH Predictive Insights, Kelly earned the support of 52 percent of likely voters in an effort to finish the final two years of the late-Sen. John McCain’s term. In comparison, incumbent-Republican Martha McSally sits at 42 percent.

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Former Vice President Outspending Trump 10:1 on Arizona Airwaves

PHOENIX (September 14th, 2020)- After a summer of improving numbers for Donald Trump, the President once again faces daunting odds in Arizona. According to the most recent Arizona Public Opinion Pulse (AZPOP), Trump’s support has fallen to 42%, and former Vice President Joe Biden has risen to 52%. Biden’s 10-point lead is his largest in an AZPOP poll, and his 52% support matches his high watermark set back in April of 2020.

The AZPOP is a monthly survey of likely voters in the state of Arizona conducted by OH Predictive Insights. This edition of the AZPOP also saw Trump lower than 43% the first time this cycle.

“It is remarkable how steady Trump’s support has been. On his best day, Trump has been unable to crack 46 percent; on his worst, he hasn’t dipped below 43 percent,” says OHPI Chief of Research Mike Noble, “Until today.”

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by Scottsdale City Council Candidate John Little

In 2003, the City Council appointed a task force to consider whether Scottsdale should elect the members of its City Council by district.

Currently, the Mayor and all six members of the City Council are elected at-large. Although Scottsdale is not unique in having an at-large system, most communities the size of Scottsdale (population of about 260,000) elect council members by district.

A serious reconsideration of this idea is long overdue. Is it time to ask voters to change Scottsdale’s “Seven Mayor” system? I believe it is.

The argument for districting is that it would lead to more accountability and assure better representation of all parts of the city.  When Scottsdale was incorporated in 1951, it consisted of less than one square mile and had a population of 2,000 residents.

When the Scottsdale City Charter was adopted in 1961, it consisted of about 4 square miles and had a population of 10,000. Scottsdale now consists of 185 square miles and has a population of about 260,000.

Because Scottsdale citizens decided to tax themselves to buy and set aside the Sonoran Mountain Preserve (about 25% of the total area of Scottsdale or about 45 square miles), Scottsdale’s originally projected population of 480,000 will actually peak at about 280,000.

The question becomes: What is the best way to elect members of the City Council so that residents are best represented?

In 2003, the District Advisory Task Force considered many different forms of electing council members. Under all of them, the Mayor would have been elected at-large as is the case now. But members of the City Council would have been elected in various ways. For example:

  • One option recommended was to elect all six members on a district basis.
  • A second option was to adopt three districts and elect two members per district—so that, at every election, voters would have the ability to vote for a council member—as they do in the current at-large system.
  • Two blended options were proposed. One called for electing three council members at-large and three by district; and another called for electing four council members at-large and two by district.

The two blended options would mix and match the at-large and district systems. The cost of seeking election within a district would be less than the cost of seeking election at-large.Read More

Editor’s note: For years the Town Council in the Town of Tusayan, located just outside the Grand Canyon National Park,  had been controlled by a developer pursuing a controversial and unpopular project. A lifelong Tusayan resident who had stood up to the developer has now been elected Mayor. The following news release came from the newly elected Mayor, Clarinda Vail.

Clarinda Vail Prepares To Serve As Mayor Of Tusayan

August 7th, 2020

(Tusayan, AZ) An updated vote count shows Red Feather Properties Manager Clarinda Vail has likely been elected as Mayor of Tusayan. After Coconino County tallied 26 early ballots that were dropped off in Tusayan Election Day the vote count was 84 to 54. A final vote count is expected next week but it most likely would not change the outcome.

Vail is a native of Tusayan and has served on numerous local boards and commissions including the Grand Canyon School Board, The Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce Board, and the Kaibab Learning Center Board.

Vail said, “My sincere thanks to everyone who voted for me, as well as for those who did not.  That’s because I will be Mayor for all of Tusayan.”

Vail plans to initiate reforms to make sure local sales tax revenues benefit the residents of Tusayan work in earnest to accomplish projects residents demand such as the sports complex. She also wants to make sure public safety gets the funding needed to keep Tusayan safe and she will undertake new initiatives to bring quality housing to Tusayan.Read More

By John Little –

On more than one occasion, I have remarked that if I had a dollar for every friend I have made during my 35-year journey in Scottsdale, I would be a rich man. Today, I realize it is not simply the quantity of those friendships, but the depth. I have been touched to my core by the length and durability of the relationships I have been gifted to have with each of you.

I have tried my best to be of service to you in your time of need and to try to be present in your moments of joy and celebration. Today is my turn to be grateful for the trust you have placed in me and the support you have provided me on this journey.

But, every path we take in life is made more meaningful when it is taken with friends. Our adventures are amplified and enhanced when we are able to share the trials and tribulations and victories we all have along the way. Even without knowing the outcome of today’s vote in my city council race, I can tell you I am grateful to have traveled this path with you. Win or lose, first or last, the gift of your support and encouragement has been a blessing that I will always have with me.

It is impossible for my family, my team and my supporters to know the depth of my gratitude for the sacrifices they have made for me and, by extension, for our community. I could not bring myself to ask them to go out in public at the dawning of the pandemic to collect signatures to help me get on the ballot. But go out they did, with smiles and without complaint. Without their dedication, I would’ve been lost. It was their bravery that made possible this entire campaign.

But our job is not yet done. We have made commitments to more fully engage with our schools, to promote renewable energy, to bolster our reputation as a healthy, clean, and safe place to live and visit. We have made promises to fight injustice, and address the housing needs of young families and seniors. We are prepared to embrace new opportunities for quality growth and job creation and to continue to support tourism while diversifying our economy.

And while COVID might keep us apart, we will find a way to achieve our goals together.

Gratefully yours,


John Little is a candidate for Scottsdale City Council.