Featured Editorials

The Conservative’s Corner


Conservative's Corner

By Sal DiCiccio —

Phoenix politicians are about to stick it to the public once again. They need to realize this is going to hurt the City of Phoenix at a national level, it will hurt the public, and it will hurt small business owners that rely on rideshare.

Last month the council voted to tax every rideshare trip to/from Sky Harbor an extra $5 each way. This bad policy will directly hurt working and middle-class families who rely on rideshare in Phoenix. Now, Lyft has announced they will not cooperate with this targeted attack on their drivers and customers and will cease operations at Sky Harbor instead.

There is still time to stop all this from happening. The city failed to follow state law the first time this horrible tax was voted on, so it is scheduled for a new vote on December 18. I strongly urge the other members of the council to think about what they are doing and pull back on this enormous tax on the public.


By Sal DiCiccio —

The politicians at the City of Phoenix today passed another huge tax increase – and this one specifically targets the little guy, the independent small business owner trying to make a living.

“You are the little guy, you are the hard workers. This is your business. You’ve done everything you can to try to grow it. This is just the first step of many that are going to try to take away your business. You will be told constantly that this is being done for the best interest. It’s not being done for the best interest. It’s a money grab – because that’s what the government does.

You’re going to need to fight it. You’re going to need to do everything you can to stop this,” said Councilman DiCiccio addressing the contingent of Uber and Lyft drivers who showed up to protest the tax increase.

DiCiccio then continued to address company representatives, “Unless you work together with your drivers, and protect your drivers…and defend them, the work they are doing, then you guys might as well hang it up. If you don’t, you’re going to be run over multiple times.”

DiCiccio also noted impacts on ride share users who don’t have time to wait for a bus or the money to pay for expensive terminal parking. “Someone rushing to get to the airport doesn’t have time to wait to for three buses and the light rail to get them to the Sky Train, and lots of people can’t afford to park at the airport – especially after we also gave the Airport carte blanche to raise parking rates today as well. Politicians can claim they are doing this for the “little guy”, but it’s the very people they claim to be protecting who will be hurt by these tax increases,” DiCiccio added after the meeting.

By Sal DiCiccio —

Individual police officers are about to get screwed by city management! No politician’s career is more valuable than our police officers. They are not disposable for political reasons. The police should not have to bend to political pressure, they are the police. They are required to do the right thing.

To that end, I have requested, and our police have agreed to document all conversations with management and politicians regarding these recent cases.

By State Representative Shawnna LM Bolick

Dear Friend:

I currently serve as the Vice Chair of Ways and Means, a Member of Elections and a Member of the Federal Relations committees. 

The first order of business was ensuring Arizona met the federal government’s January 31st deadline for the intrastate Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) and tax conformity.  The governor signed DCP and vetoed conformity.

We have been very busy these past few weeks! I can assure you I hit the ground running and I am learning the legislative process.  Here’s a compilation of several bills I have been working on with corresponding newspaper articles:

I filed an Empowerment Scholarship Expansion bill called the Lifeline for Student Crime Victims Act. This legislation would provide students who have been victimized on their school’s campus a “lifeline” to transfer to a private school.  The idea for this particular bill derived as a result of my daughter being a victim of a crime on her school’s campus, and I want to make sure it doesn’t happen to other kids.Here are just a few stories written on this particular bill:

Read More

Today the public made it extremely clear: they no longer trust the failed dysfunctional leadership of the City of Phoenix.
Phoenix leaders demanded a whopping $1.5 BILLION water tax increase, one of the largest in city history.  This was voted down on a 5 to 3 vote, with Councilwomen Guevara, Mendoza, and Stark voting for the tax increase but Mayor Williams indicated she plans to bring it back for reconsideration later.
Just weeks ago this same dysfunctional leadership team trashed your cash:

  • Tried to force a $50 Million per year tax on medicine, crying we will lose police if we don’t pass this new tax. Luckily, it did not pass.
  • Wasted $10 million to study garbage.
  • Gave an insider developer $700,000 worth of public property for a mere $50,000 in an insider-deal.
  • Lied to the south Phoenix community about the effect of light rail on their neighborhoods and businesses.
  • Poured millions into membership dues for government staff.

The fact is, Phoenix is experiencing more revenue than it ever has before in its history as a city and still city officials cry that we can’t pay for critical functions of government.  Every time they run out of money to waste, the politicians claim hardship and demand more money.
When everything is labelled a crisis, nothing is a crisis. In fact, the only crisis I see here is a lack of public trust in dysfunctional city leadership.

Featured Editorials

(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) — The Scottsdale City Council unanimously approved the redevelopment of aging apartment complexes at the southwest corner of Camelback Road and the Indian Bend Wash into Arizona’s first bike-centric, arts-focused sustainable mixed-use development.

The Scottsdale Council voted 7-0 at its Tuesday meeting to approve zoning and development plans for Gentry on the Green.

Gentry on the Green is a creative mixed-use redevelopment of 41.5 acres by ColRich, a family owned company with a national reputation of high-quality developments across the United States.

“Our plans for the property are unlike anything proposed before in Arizona. Gentry on the Green brings new life to an important location near downtown Scottsdale with creative focuses on sustainability, the arts, recreation and bicycle tourism. We are very grateful for the support and shared vision from the community and Scottsdale City Council,” said Jessica Damschen, Project Manager at ColRich.

Gentry on the Green is named after Scottsdale City Councilwoman Billie Gentry. She served on the Scottsdale City Council for 16 years between 1970 and 1986. Councilwoman Gentry played a crucial role in the creation of the internationally recognized Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt, one of the greatest municipal achievements in Scottsdale’s history. What started as a barren concrete-lined flood control project is now a popular oasis of trails, bike paths and parks as well as America’s first green flood control solution.

ColRich’s Gentry On The Green will build on Councilwoman Gentry’s original vision for the Greenbelt by better connecting Indian Bend Wash to Old Town Scottsdale.

The Gentry on the Green redevelopment will bring significant increases in open spaces for the property compared to the existing, older apartment complexes. Those complexes were built in the 1970s. More than 30 percent of the new project will be open, publicly accessible space.Read More

Let us first say if Councilwoman and mayoral aspirant Virgina Korte’s long-time political consultant is not involved with the “Voice of Scottsdale” blog we will stand corrected and will provide all the space he wants right here for him to correct so. But we’re not holding our breath.

Earlier today, and for the second time in a month, this person issued a broadside against highly-respected businessman Shawn Yari. It may be the first time in the history of elections that a candidate’s political consultant hammered one of her long-time, substantial campaign contributors. That’s malpractice not only for its stupidity but because Yari is a Scottsdale Hall of Famer. Remember when the Galleria was downtown’s White Elephant? After Yari’s company took it over it has become a bustling hub of technology workers. Go in there sometime. The transformation is remarkable. And whether readers like or lament the “Entertainment District” its success has been remarkably positive for the city, and the envy of every other one in the Valley.

According to a recent Scottsdale Progress article Yari has indicated an interest in “maturing” his large holdings in and around the Entertainment District. And he is going about it in an interesting way. With a totally transparent process involving many community leaders including two who have been his greatest critics in the past: Bill Crawford and Andrea Alley. This is not cause for criticism, but kudos. It speaks highly of Alley, Crawford and Yari that they can put aside past differences for potential, future good. The experiment and endeavor may fail. But talk among former adversaries is a good thing. Indeed, it was the reason Scottsdale just achieved a landmark and landslide bond election result after two decades of failure.Read More

(LA PAZ COUNTY, ARIZONA) — Alliance Metals USA would like to address inaccuracies and biases in the Arizona Republic’s November 29, 2019 story “Arizona environmental regulators grant permit for aluminum plant in La Paz County”.

The story — which centers on the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality granting an air quality permit to Alliance Metals USA — states the company plans on selling recycled products to ‘military industries’.

Alliance Metals expects recycled aluminum sales to military and defense industries to account for only a small fraction of sales, if anything at all.

The story also lists Jacob Gitman as one of leaders of Alliance Metals USA.

This is false. Jacob Gitman is a shareholder in the company and is not involved in the day-to-day operations company.

The Arizona Republic article also references Jacob Gitman being born in Russia. How is this relevant to the company’s air quality permit being approved by DEQ?  Jacob Gitman is an American citizen. Why doesn’t the story reference that Alliance Metals USA President Larry Gitman was born in Florida or the birthplace of lead critic Gary Saiter? The inclusion of Jacob Gitman’s birthplace gives an obvious negative slant to the story. Does the Arizona Republic routinely list the birthplaces or birth countries of others in its stories?

The Arizona Republic story also gives extraordinary space and ‘airtime’ to Gary Saiter, the lead opponent of Alliance Metals USA’s proposal to bring new local jobs and economic development to La Paz County.

What the Arizona Republic does not report is that Mr. Saiter is President of the Wenden Domestic Water Improvement District.

La Paz County residents in Wenden and Salome will also know Gary Saiter from a recent notice they got from the Wenden Water District about drinking water violations and potentially cancer-causing contaminants in their drinking water.

Here is a link to the DEQ mandated violation notice: http://static.azdeq.gov/community/dwpn_az0415023.pdf

The notice is about potentially dangerous drinking water supplied by the Saiter-led Wenden Water District and safe drinking water violations.

The violation notices from Saiter’s Wenden Water District came after recent tests and warns residents their drinking water may have high levels of TTHM (Trihalomethanes) and HAA5 (Halocetic Acid), according to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. Both contaminants can cause health problems and have been linked to higher rates of cancer.

Drinking water problems and violations have happened before in Wenden. The Environmental Working Group reports the Wenden Water District’s water has 24 times its recommended levels of nitrates (which can be especially harmful to pregnant women and babies) and 18 times its recommended levels of TTHM.

Worries about water (including high arsenic levels) long forced students at Wenden Elementary to use plastic water bottles.  Gary Saiter is also the President of the Wenden Elementary School District.

The result was thousands of water bottles from the school filling a local landfill, according to local media reports.

Yet, the Arizona Republic and other media rely on Mr. Saiter as their only source of opposition to a project approved by the Department of Environmental Quality.

Why does the media listen and rely so heavily on Mr. Saiter when he has a deficient record on water quality at the Wenden Water District?

But why let those facts and the Department of Environmental Quality’s approval of Alliance Metals USA’s air quality permit get in the way of conspiracy theories and stopping new jobs from coming to La Paz County?

By Recker McDowell —

Scottsdale saw 10.8 million tourists last year with visitors enjoying the city’s shopping, restaurants and bars, hiking trails, arts and culture and golf courses.

What all those tourists have in common is that they are coming to Scottsdale for experiences. That is true for visitors everywhere whether it’s Key West, Florida or Juneau, Alaska.

And recreation is a very important for the experiences for tourists (as well as local residents and day trippers) desire.

In Scottsdale, that means enjoying Arizona’s natural beauty and mild winters. Traditionally, recreation tourism in Scottsdale (and elsewhere in Arizona) has entailed hiking and golf.

Now more and more tourists are looking at walkability and ‘bike-ability’ as part of their desired experiences on vacation or a local day out.

They want to be able stroll ‘around town’ or a dining and shopping district. Scottsdale certainly has that in its Old Town and downtown areas more than other Arizona cities though places such as Tempe, Gilbert and Mesa have been working to increase their walkability in their ‘downtowns’.

Bicycle tourism is also on the rise with visitors renting bikes to increase their connectivity to various parts of their destinations.

In Scottsdale, bicycle tourism includes mountain bikers enjoying hiking trails as well as other visitors connecting with the city along Indian Bend Wash or in Old Town.

Scottsdale is a wonderful place to visit. We all know that. Still, the city needs to invest in its future and infrastructure to stay competitive and in tune with consumers’ preferences.

Recreation and experiences are two of the top preferences for tourists. So, when opportunities arise to invest and enhance in walkability, ‘bike-ability’ and recreation assets Scottsdale tourism leaders and advocates, policymakers, developers and businesses should jump at that those chances.


By Jini Simpson and Dan Schweiker


That’s all one can say once you witness the breadth and depth of construction and progress now taking shape at the new Ritz-Carlton project in Paradise Valley.

Over the years we have been two of the project’s staunchest supporters.  Both of us served on the Paradise Valley Town Council in the past. It is very rewarding for many who were involved to now see the plans we considered at various times coming to life.

It is impossible to grasp the magnitude of what has been achieved so far on the property. Driving past and glancing over the fence does not begin to show what is taking place on the 120-acre site located at Lincoln and Scottsdale Roads.  Hundreds of workers are constructing daily.  The longest resort pool in North America is being created. The incredible views are impossible to miss. The hotel lobby is taking shape. Graciously designed residences are coming out of the ground or nearing completion.  Park like drainage areas with walking paths wind through the whole property.

To say this is going to be a special project for Paradise Valley is an understatement.  It will be the talk of the town and talk of the state when it opens next year, the first Ritz-Carlton built from the ground up in this country in a decade.

As with the other wonderful resorts in Paradise Valley there is no doubt this new one with its restaurants and shopping will be a terrific amenity for residents. That said, it’s likely something else too.

The amount of sales tax revenue it will produce from construction to operation is staggering, likely terminating forever the need and talk of a property tax in Paradise Valley. It helps assure many of the Town’s quality of life and public safety funding goals can be met without additional tax burdens, a prospect that has been raised from time to time.

We realize that there was opposition to this project by some people in the Town and particularly from members of the Town Council. We respect those opinions. But now is not the time for grudges or small ball thinking.  The hotel is nearing completion and will exist. We should all be getting together to get behind it to ensure that the whole project gets completed with the least amount of friction and the best chance for ensuring success. It is time for everyone to work together in deed and word.  The past is the past and we now have the opportunity to create something exceptional.

Paradise Valley didn’t need the Ritz to become a remarkable community.  It already is.  But there’s no doubt it will make the Town that much more so.

We can celebrate when this impressive and beautiful project opens next year.  We will thank the incredible determination of the private sector to make it happen.  We will applaud those who stood for the vision and voted to make it happen.

The next months are about the anticipation.  But we can’t wait for the excitement and enjoyment that will last many, many years.

Both Schweiker and Simpson served on the Paradise Valley Town Council.

By Recker McDowell —

The Scottsdale City Council has certified the November bond election where voters overwhelmingly passed Questions 1, 2 and 3.

It is the first major bond program passed by Scottsdale voters in 19 years.

Now, the political focus in Scottsdale, statewide and nationally turns to the 2020 elections. Scottsdale will be electing a new mayor and council members. Arizona is a key U.S. Senate battleground and is expected to join Florida, North Carolina and Rust Belt states in deciding the presidential race and Donald Trump’s bid for a second term.

All those campaigns (from Scottsdale on up the political ladder) can learn from the bond campaign for Questions 1, 2 and 3. Despite the tenor and tone on Twitter and from the media and political activists, many voters are thirsting for more productive results and more positive campaigns. Those same voters prefer collaboration over cultural and political combat.

That’s what the Scottsdale bond campaign offered. The effort brought together a unanimous Scottsdale City Council and advocates from all parts of the city and from differing political corners.

Building that kind of coalition was no easy feat in Scottsdale. But a focus on investing in the community and its future and the need for investments in public safety, parks and senior centers and infrastructure repairs outweighed political rivalries and personalities.

The bond campaign saw some past political wounds get mended and encouraged a diversity of views and new emerging voices that will help make Scottsdale a better community going forward.

This what many voters want from their elected officials, policy makers and political campaigns.

There are plenty of voters who want results that will improve their lives and communities.

Those voters might not be politically vocal on Facebook and Twitter and shout down those with differing views, but they are poised to decide 2020.

That could translate into who gets elected in Scottsdale and other local races, who wins key U.S. Senate races and who carries the Electoral College battlegrounds.

We know the temptation is for state and local campaign to emulate the scorched earth national discourse.

But the bond campaign shows there is an appetite for the positive or the negative, community over conflict and coming together over tearing apart.

By Virginia Korte —

During the more than 30 years of serving our community in a variety of capacities, I have been humbled many times.  But never more so than when I was named a “Preserve Pioneer” for helping establish the McDowell Sonoran Mountain Preserve.

I was privileged to join 11 people as a “Pioneer” when the city recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Mountain Preserve.  Sadly, some of those folks are no longer with us – including Mayor Herb Drinkwater, Scottsdale Community College President Art DeCabooter, lifelong outdoor enthusiast Chet Andrews and my dear friend State Legislator Carolyn Allen.

The celebration was a time to reflect back on those early years.  I invite you to visit the city’s web site for the video memorializing its 12 Preserve Pioneers (Scottsdale’s Preserve Pioneers).

I was honored to be appointed by Mayor Drinkwater to serve as the chairperson of the first McDowell Sonoran Mountain Preserve Task Force.  I remember vividly the hard work and the community’s commitment that went into expanding the Preserve beyond the original 2,860 acres that were dedicated in October of 1994. The subsequent election in May of 1995 was the first of what would be five times that residents were asked to tax themselves to expand the Preserve. It passed by approximately a 2 to 1 margin.

Today, the Preserve is 30,500 acres.

Playing a role in helping create the McDowell Sonoran Mountain Preserve and working on the campaigns to expand it over nine years are some of the proudest moments of my community service.

I congratulate my fellow “Pioneers” who are truly living legends: Bob Cafarella, Sam Campana, Carla, Bill Ensign, Christine Kovach, Mary Manross and Jane Rau.

Virginia L. Korte serves on the Scottsdale City Council.

By Recker McDowell —

Scottsdale hosted 1.7 million international tourists last year, according to a new tourism impact study released by the city earlier this month.

Those international travelers account for 15.7 percent of the 10.8 million of Scottsdale’s visitors in 2018.

This is the first study where Scottsdale tracked international visitors and their $443.9 million spending here.

That spending shows Scottsdale should be paying plenty of attention to international tourism as well as its potential economic development benefits.

Scottsdale has a national and international brand for its resorts, shopping, arts and events. The city certainly has the cultural attractions, shops, restaurants, bars, hiking and premier events to back up that reputation. Not every city has that cache.

Scottsdale leaders need to also realize that all those visitors (whether they are from New York, Miami, Shanghai or Frankfurt) can also have economic development payoffs.

There are countless stories of top executives, site selectors, entrepreneurs and innovators moving to or landing operations in a city they visited.

Among all those visitors at the Canal Convergence and other arts events or Barrett-Jackson or the Waste Management Phoenix Open could be the next job creator, innovator or entrepreneur that could fall in love with Scottsdale.

Scottsdale needs to have economic development policies and focus (including more new Class A Office space) to land those prospects. The city has missed out on several top companies and seen others leave for Tempe and the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community because they cannot find enough Class A office space in Scottsdale.

Scottsdale is blessed with the assets and attractions that attract tourists from all over the world. The city can also parlay that into attracting top talent, jobs and companies.

(LA PAZ COUNTY, Ariz.) — The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has approved Alliance Metals USA’s application for an air quality permit for a proposed $30 million economic development, jobs producing investment in La Paz County.

The permit award is a major milestone and victory for Alliance Metals USA and its commitment to operate an environmentally safe and secure investment that creates new local jobs and generates a substantial increase in tax revenue for schools, first responders and community services in McMullen Valley and La Paz County.

“The type of permit we have been granted is common in La Paz County. Our operation will also go above and beyond the required environmental safeguards. We will have state-of-the-art technology, infrastructure and mitigation controls to contain emissions and protect air and water quality. We are serious about running an environmentally safe and secure facility while creating new local jobs,” said Loren Barton, Vice President for Alliance Metals USA.

The company’s commitment also includes a pledge to go through additional state and independent third-party testing each year to make sure water and air in the area are protected.

There are already 7 air quality permits granted in La Paz County of the exact type granted to Alliance Metals USA for its recycling and manufacturing investments between Wenden and Salome.

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) confirmed there are 7 Class II Air Quality facilities already permitted in the county. The facilities with the Class II permits include farms and a truck body business. Two of the existing operations with Class II permits from ADEQ are also near developed areas including near Ehrenberg.

Alliance Metals USA wants to bring new jobs and economic development to the site of a closed-down cotton gin. Alliance Metals USA’s aluminum recycling and manufacturing operations will produce significantly less air pollution that the cotton gin did when it was operating.

The company is also requesting zoning approvals with La Paz County. Those allow the Board of Supervisors to put stipulations and conditions for Alliance Metals USA to open and operate the facility.

“We want to make sure the community knows that we have a steadfast commitment to protect water and air quality. Our recycling efforts are centered around sustainability. We will practice what we preach,” Barton said.Read More

By Recker McDowell —

The city of Tempe is looking at its long-term growth plans for its downtown area including Mill Avenue and Arizona State University’s main campus. Tempe leaders are examining how to bring more residential development and workforce housing options as well as the height of buildings.

The rest of the region should pay close attention to Tempe’s trajectory. Tempe has been the dominant office submarket in the current real estate and economic cycle.

It has seen new Class A office space developed and landed some large and big-name tenants including JPMorgan Chase, Northern Trust, Microsoft, Amazon, State Farm and Silicon Valley Bank.

Tempe has the lowest office vacancy rate in the Phoenix metro area (3.2 percent). That compares to 12.3 percent in central and southern Scottsdale and 19.2 percent in downtown Phoenix, according to commercial real estate firm CBRE. There is more than 1.1 square feet of office space in Tempe. That is 75 percent of all the new office space being built in the Valley.

Tempe is also looking at housing in downtown and other areas. That includes projects with micro units and those along transit lines with limited or even no parking.

What Tempe does will reverberate in Scottsdale, downtown Phoenix, the East Valley and the rest of the region.

Scottsdale has lost tenants and jobs to Tempe and the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community because it lacks new and larger blocks of Class A office space. That has led the likes of McKesson and Harkins Theatres to move to the Salt River while Opendoor announced last month it was moving from Scottsdale to Tempe as it looks to grow its local footprint from 250 to 1,000.

Scottsdale is also figuring its own path on potential new developments, needed office space and heights. The city must realize it is not in a bubble or vacuum and despite Scottsdale’s appeal jobs and investments will continue to land in Tempe and other locations if there isn’t Class A space available.

Tempe has also in some ways supplanted downtown Phoenix as the region’s core. Downtown Phoenix has not seen significant new office developments since the last real estate crash. Downtown Phoenix is adding more residential and benefiting from the growth of ASU’s Downtown campus, but Tempe has been the preferred landing spot for developers and a number of tenants.

Tempe’s path will also impact its East Valley neighbors (Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert) as office tenants look for space as well as on the housing front. Affordable housing is an issue throughout the region. How Tempe approaches both offices and housing will impact growth strategies and economic development in the rest of the East Valley.

Tempe might not get all the political attention Phoenix gets or have the cache of Scottsdale. But it has increasingly grown in its economic importance and how it charts its future will impact the rest of the region.

By Recker McDowell —

The initial rush and much covered openings of the new White Castle restaurant in Scottsdale and the new Fry’s Food Stores supermarket in downtown Phoenix are a little bit in the rearview mirror.

The new White Castle still says a lot about Scottsdale’s brand and the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community where the restaurant located with a Scottsdale address.

The Fry’s grocery also says a lot about downtown Phoenix and its progress and what is still needed there.

The new White Castle, touted as the world’s largest, displays the strength of the Scottsdale market and brand. White Castle is after younger demographics and its new Arizona locations shows Scottsdale’s strength with younger consumers and brands. That bodes well for Scottsdale’s broader restaurant and culinary scene and its ability to attract other national brands as well as concepts that appeal to younger diners and tourists.

The White Castle location on the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community at Via de Ventura and the Loop 101 shows the economic development and tourism bona fides the community has fostered.

The Salt River tribe adds White Castle that to an economic and tourism roster that already includes Topgolf, popular casinos and the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick spring training ballpark. Harkins Theatres is also moving its corporate headquarters to a new development on Salt River land.

The Salt River community has matured and evolved its economic development and tourism efforts leveraging the cache of a Scottsdale address with available land and prime locations along the Loop 101. That is something the city of Scottsdale and other municipalities will have to be increasingly aware of as economic development and tourism site selectors look at the Valley for new projects.

The Fry’s grocery in downtown Phoenix is a deal that was decades in the making. The grocery is located as part of larger development next to Cityscape and across from Talking Stick Resort Arena. It shows downtown Phoenix increasingly has a critical mass of residents and activity to support a grocery store. That critical mass is aided by Arizona State University’s growing downtown campus as well as new apartments.Read More

A variety of factors are now coming to light about the true motivation for a “legal protest” against a plan to replace a tattoo parlor with a medical marijuana dispensary on the east side of the Galleria Corporate Center in downtown Scottsdale.  Those motivations according to local media reports include a desire to assemble the city block where the Sunday Goods dispensary would be located for a high-rise project instead.  There also appear to be at least two attempts for political extortion by certain protesting property owners to exchange their concerns for buying their properties.

Opponents are using the age old trick of throwing everything up against the wall to see what sticks.  Analysis shows not much does, or should.

As a reminder the State of Arizona issued a license for a new medical marijuana dispensary in 2016 for the Southern Scottsdale Community Health Assessment Area because it determined it was one of the most underserved in the state.

Sunday Goods won a competitive bid for the license awarded by the State Department of Health Services.  It then approached the City of Scottsdale Planning Department to determine where they could go in the city.  At first, the answer was nowhere due to the city’s stringent regulations and space requirements for medical marijuana. That would have been illegal as cities cannot zone dispensaries out of existence.  So after some 18 months of analysis the answer was a mere 11 properties on the east side of the Galleria Corporate Center were qualified to host a dispensary. The properties are an eclectic assortment including a tattoo parlor, infamous bar and another bar owned by a San Diegan.

According to Sunday Goods, the company would have gone anywhere the city told them.  McDowell Road in an old car dealership.  A shopping center.  Wherever. But this area is where the city told them to go.

Ultimately, two properties agreed to sell their properties to Sunday Goods, one of which was the tattoo parlor.  A conditional use permit and rezoning would be required to make Sunday Goods a reality.

The Scottsdale Planning Commission passed Sunday Goods with a strong vote and then just prior to the City Council hearing a legal protest was filed by some adjoining properties necessitating five votes instead of four to pass.

Since then a lot of information has been circulated including by the newly formed “Old Town Alliance,” who more resemble ambulance chasers and the Village People than a coherent confab.  They have taken aim at the dispensary, Southbridge 2 and a proposed apartment project on the southern edge of downtown called Bishop Lane.

We don’t disparage their civic engagement and perhaps even agree with them on one of the projects but it has been interesting to discover that some of their biggest supporters don’t take issue with the dispensary. Nor should they. Read More

Winners:  Kathy Littlefield, Guy Phillips & Solange Whitehead.  Phillips and Littlefield had opposed previous bond efforts.  Not this time.  Nor did newcomer Whitehead who frequently votes with either or both.  The three stood up for Scottsdale with integrity and independence and the community is the better for it.

Winners:  Conscientious Activism.  There were many reasons for the landslide bond win.  People and companies stepping up to donate generously during a time of city need.  A smart package put together by the City Council and city staff.  But there were also citizens normally skeptical of City Hall that stepped forward to support the plan.  Copper Phillips.  Betty Janik.  Mike Norton.  Andrea Alley.  Sonnie Kirtley.  Jason Alexander.  And numerous others.  The big victory would not have happened without them.

Winners:  Lane & Milhaven.  A comprehensive bond victory had been missing from their political resumes.  Not anymore.

Winners:  Klapp & Korte.  It is easy in an emerging rivalry to take one side just because the other adopts the opposite position.  But at heart Korte and Klapp are two people who want good for Scottsdale more than they want the title of Mayor.  And that showed in this election.

Winner:  Melinda Gulick.  Often harpooned and lampooned in 2018 for her defense of the Desert Discovery Center and opposition to Proposition 420 Gulick didn’t let defeat stand in the way of standing up for SUSD.  That’s character.  The same can be said for Paula Sturgeon who was Gulick’s wing woman for the efforts above.  She co-chaired the campaign and did an admirable, effective job doing so.

Winner:  Right Direction. Extensive polling was undertaken during the bond campaign and, at the end, those in Scottsdale who thought the city was headed in the right direction as opposed to the wrong track increased.  That’s the sign of a strong, positive campaign.  Indeed, the final poll in mid-October showed a Right Direction/Wrong Track number of 75%-20%, the highest number we can ever recall seeing in Scottsdale.

Winners:  Mary Manross and JD Hayworth.  Both provided voiceovers for targeted television commercials during the bond campaign.  An unusual political twosome but that was the nature of the campaign in general.  People came together for a common purpose.

Losers:  Potential Donors Who Didn’t Give.  Scottsdale’s All-Stars and many others stepped up big-time to fund what campaigns do: communicate.  You can rarely win a campaign if you don’t have gas in the tank and this one was firing on all cylinders from the outset thanks to that generosity.  Unfortunately, not all responded to the call.  Those asked numerous times to donate but who did not included the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Tom Frankel, Taylor Morrison, Tyler Kent, the redevelopers of Papago Plaza and APS.  They were among those who didn’t show the love for Scottsdale when so many others did.  It’s hard to find disappointment in the Tuesday results.  These folks qualify, however. Read More

(SCOTTSDALE) — It really ultimately is Patients vs. Developers. Health Care vs. High-Rises in Scottsdale — and developers are trying to dupe the public and Scottsdale City Council.

A new email shows real estate developers, including out-of-state ones, and some downtown property owners are working covertly to undermine and oppose a needed medical marijuana dispensary in downtown Scottsdale. Developers want to kill health care access for patients suffering from cancer, chronic pain and other conditions so they can purportedly bulldoze properties in the area and build a high-rise, according to local media reports.

Their desire to develop a high-rise project on the site has been detailed by the Arizona Republic, Scottsdale Progress and the Scottsdale Independent. Opponents of the dispensary want the land for developers not health care. If they seize the land developers could build a 90-foot tower with substantial density.

Now, their clandestine efforts to deny patients medical care are being exposed.

According to the internal email, a group called Scottsdale Old Town Alliance LLC is working behind the scenes to stop the upscale and state licensed Sunday Goods dispensary and redevelop the site and nearby properties with high-rise towers.

The state-sanctioned dispensary would be the first and only one of its kind in downtown and southern Scottsdale. The Sunday Goods dispensary would replace a tattoo parlor in a commercial area and be located next to a bar.

The developer group is circulating secret campaign strategies within its financial and consultant circles to try to misguide Scottsdale residents and the City Council about the issues.

“The covert strategies include lying about the dispensary by equating medical marijuana patients to criminals and vagrants. All of this is part of scheme to take control of the properties in the area for a new high-rise apartment development,” said Paula Sturgeon, co-chair of H.I.G.H.H. (Halting Inappropriate Growth, Heights and Hypocrisy), which announced its formation yesterday.

According to the email, Scottsdale Old Town Alliance appears to be led by Daniel Spiro, Janet Wilson of Floyd Investments, Gary Bohall and David Dodge. Those involved with the group are already behind a sketchy legal protest to stop the Sunday Goods dispensary after it gained strong support from the Planning Commission.

The development group has also hired an attorney with a colorful past as part of its high-rise tower efforts. He has represented a woman charged with using allegedly forged documents to oppose a Phoenix dispensary. That is now part of an Arizona Attorney General investigation.

The development group also says it will roll out a misleading media and advertising campaign to try to turn public opinion against the Sunday Goods dispensary, although its proposed expenditures are paltry. Public opinion polls have shown strong support for a having licensed, thoughtfully located dispensary in downtown Scottsdale. They also imply being in cahoots with certain members of the media.

The developer-backed Scottsdale Old Town Alliance is also seeking secret financial backers to run its dishonest campaign. The group wants donors to give $1,000 or more.

“This downtown PAC has mischaracterized the intent of Sunday Goods and is playing on fears of any changes to Old Town. Their combined tactics to keep business as usual or possibly to want to build a high rise is a conflicting issue among their members. They appear to misunderstand medical marijuana, and some appear to want to build in the area for their profit while they are denying a good use for the old tattoo parlor.” said Sandy Schenkat, co-chair of H.I.G.H.H.

“And it is almost laughable they would bring up parking as an issue when Sunday Goods’ needs are minimal compared to any high-rise plan they may have which will require hundreds of spots, but where is not identified,” Schenkat said.Read More

By Virginia Korte —

The overwhelming victory on all three bond questions is a time to celebrate. The last time we had this kind of overwhelming success for a bond election was 20 years ago.

While there are still more challenges ahead in solving some of our future infrastructure needs, Tuesday’s election results were a significant step toward making our city more sustainable. We should all be proud that we spoke with a unified voice.

So, congratulations to all of you who voted to pass the bonds — and especially those of you who worked so hard to make the election successful.

Two years ago, I was honored to be appointed by Mayor Lane to the first Capital Improvement Plan Subcommittee of the City Council. Working closely with the city staff, our subcommittee identified the city’s most pressing needs. We prioritized the projects that needed to be addressed. Our work product was then provided to the next CIP Subcommittee that polished it up, provided many opportunities for citizen input and presented it as the 2019 bond package.

The next step will be for the City Council to approve the results of the election to make it official. The Citizen Bond Oversight Committee, which is already in place, will then oversee the process to ensure that the funds are used for the specific projects that voters approved.

Once again, thank you for your work, your votes and for putting Scottsdale first.

Virginia L. Korte serves on the Scottsdale City Council.


(SCOTTSDALE) – Scottsdale voters have approved the city’s first major bond program in 19 years by overwhelmingly backing Questions 1, 2 and 3.

The three Scottsdale questions passed with an average of 70 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. The program invests in 58 projects totaling $319 million.

Question 1 (which invests in senior centers, parks and recreation facilities) passed by a 69 percent to 31 percent margin.

Question 2 (which makes infrastructure repairs and improves important tourism and community assets) was approved by a 68 percent to 32 percent margin.

Question 3 (which invests in public safety and upgrades to technology) was approved with 73 percent of the vote. Only 27 percent opposed Question 3.

“We are grateful that Scottsdale residents saw how important Questions 1, 2 and 3 are for our community’s quality of life and future. The bonds invest in public safety, senior centers, parks, youth sports facilities and infrastructure repairs. The results show how our community can come together for the greater good and make our great city even greater,” said Mike Norton, Co-Chair of the For The Best Scottsdale Campaign.

Scottsdale voters turned out in impressive numbers for the bond election.  There were 47,798 ballots cast in this election putting voter turnout at 27.52 percent. In 2015, voter turnout for a less successful bond election was 25 percent with 37,761 ballots cast.

“Scottsdale voters turned out strongly in favor of the three bond questions because they make critical investments and infrastructure repairs our community needs. We built a positive campaign led by a diverse coalition of supporters all committed to investing Scottsdale’s present and future,” said Dana Close, co-chair of the For The Best Scottsdale Campaign.

Question 1 passed with 69 percent of the vote. The measure improves the Granite Reef and Via Linda Senior Centers, Paiute Neighborhood Center, Pinnacle Peak Park, McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park and other recreation facilities.

Question 2 was approved with 68 percent of the vote.

Question 2 makes infrastructure repairs at Civic Center Plaza and the southern end of Indian Bend Wash, repairs horse barns and makes other improvements at WestWorld of Scottsdale, renovates the Stage 2 Theater at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and adds public parking and pedestrian upgrades in Old Town Scottsdale.

Voters backed Question 3 with 73 percent of the vote. The measure will build new fire stations, installs bulletproof glass at police stations and upgrades Scottsdale’s 911 systems and first responder training facilities.

Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane and the entire Scottsdale City Council endorsed all three city bond questions. The Scottsdale Fire Fighters Association, Scottsdale Fraternal Order of Police, Police Officers of Scottsdale Association, AARP Arizona, Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce, Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors, Scottsdale Charros, The Thunderbirds, HonorHealth, Barrett-Jackson Auction Company, Arabian Horse Association of Arizona, Arizona Quarter Horse Association, Scottsdale Fashion Square, the Coalition of Greater Scottsdale (COGS), Scottsdale Gallery Association, Phoenix Rising and the Scottsdale Ice Den also endorsed all three questions.

The Campaign Committee was co-chaired by Andrea Alley, Dana Close, Mike Norton, Dennis Robbins and Paula Sturgeon.  Its Steering Committee consisted of:

  • Alex McLaren
  • Barry Graham
  • Becca Linnig
  • Berke Bakay
  • Betty Janik
  • Bobby Dulle
  • Brian Esterly
  • Chris Brown
  • Copper Phillips
  • Craig Jackson
  • Damien Mendoza
  • Don Henninger
  • Doug Huls
  • Gerd Wuestemann
  • Jim Derouin
  • John Bridger
  • Jon Ryder
  • Joyce Tawes
  • Larry Kush
  • Les Conklin
  • Mario Diaz
  • Mark Stanton
  • Matt Benson
  • Michelle Pabis
  • Mike O’Hearn
  • Nick Cardinale
  • Rebecca Grossman
  • Robert Rogers
  • Sandy Schenkat
  • Sasha Weller
  • Sonnie Kirtley
  • Suzanne Brown
  • Suzanne Lansford
  • Taryl O’Shea
  • Taylor Burke
  • Tim Riester
  • Tom Thompson
  • Van Robinson
  • Vernon Parker
  • French Thompson.

(SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA) — Patients vs. Developers. State vs. City. Those are the fault lines that have developed over a proposed medical marijuana dispensary in downtown Scottsdale.

What once seemed a foregone conclusion after a favorable Planning Commission vote, strong support in public opinion surveys and provisions in state law, has now been jeopardized by several downtown property owners, including out-of-state ones, that have filed a dubious “legal protest” against the proposed Sunday Goods dispensary. A legal protest forces the City Council to pass measures by five votes instead of four.

In various media reports — including in the Arizona Republic, Scottsdale Progress and Scottsdale Independent — opponents have said the use is inappropriate for the area and would impede their desire to build a new high-rise development, presumably anchored by apartments, on the city block where Sunday Goods would be located.

As proposed Sunday Goods would remodel an existing tattoo parlor with its nicely designed dispensary keeping it as one story.

“The last thing we need in Scottsdale is for yet more high-rise apartments and sin lectures from places like the Social Tap and Giligin’s bars. Social Tap is an often empty bar owned by someone from out of state and Giligin’s has long been known as a bar appealing to the lowest common denominator,” said community leader Paula Sturgeon. She is the Chairperson of the new political action committee H.I.G.H.H., which stands for “Halting Inappropriate Growth, Heights & Hypocrisy”. Giligin’s social media posts are often sexually explicit, and one post even makes light of rape and sexual assault.

Sturgeon currently serves as the Co-Chairperson of “For The Best Scottsdale,” the group that has organized a diverse coalition to support new infrastructure for Scottsdale on the November 5th ballot.

Community activist Sandy Schenkat has agreed to serve as co-chair of H.I.G.H.H. with Sturgeon.

Both Sturgeon and Schenkat said it is also disturbing that the opposition group’s lead consultant once lobbied for southern Scottsdale strip clubs. That is offensive to them as women. They also cited his work as a developer that attempted to put a gondola ride and massive project adjacent to the Grand Canyon that was rejected by the Navajo Nation.

“No one needs lessons on character from this group,” Sturgeon and Schenkat said.

The group has hired Petition Partners, Arizona’s leading petition gathering company, to collect signatures against any redevelopment of the city block targeted by the developers which does not include Sunday Goods low-scale design.

Sturgeon said the notion that redevelopment couldn’t occur around a two-story project like Sunday Goods is preposterous. Scottsdale has four dispensaries in the north that haven’t impeded development or redevelopment an iota. According to the Scottsdale Police Department they have also acted responsibly. Sturgeon also noted that the closest dispensary to the proposed Sunday Goods location has been lobbying against it, pointing to the “hypocrisy” part of the group’s name.

Sunday Goods is a Scottsdale-based company with its corporate headquarters only a short distance from the proposed location on the east side of the Galleria Corporate Center.

The city has received substantially more public input in favor of the proposal than not.

The issue has been percolating for several years after the Arizona Department of Health Services awarded a new license for the Southern Scottsdale Community Health Assessment Area (CHAA). It deemed the area to be one of the most underserved in the state. Sunday Goods won a competitive selection process for the license. But due to Scottsdale’s onerous zoning regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries it has taken several years to identify and gain control of qualifying properties. By law, cities cannot legislate medical marijuana out of existence.

“Scottsdale is on the precipice of opening itself up to a lawsuit not only from Sunday Goods but from patients whose rights are being denied by Scottsdale’s approach. Why in the world some want to ignore the public input to date and public opinion on this issue in favor of high-rise development for a predominantly out of state property ownership group is beyond me,” Sturgeon said.


By Recker McDowell —

Scottsdale ranks as one of the best cities in the country for coffee and is the top city in Arizona to get caffeinated, according to a recent study by WalletHub.

The research firm ranked cities based on the number of coffee shops per capita and overall friendliness to coffee lovers.

Scottsdale’s high ranking shows a lot about the city. Having plenty of coffee shops — whether they be Starbucks, Dutch Bros Coffee, other chains or locals — also shows a lot about a city’s economy.

It’s easy to see an economic development and tourism correlation with having a nice and ample selection of coffee shops. The top coffee chains as well as entrepreneurial locals land where there are close to desired customers.

Tourists, techies, creatives, college students and professionals certainly all like to grab a chai tea latte, mocha or macchiato. Cool coffee shops also often follow a vibrant artistic and culinary community.

We know Scottsdale has plenty of culture and great restaurants.

Scottsdale has plenty of tourists, artists and can grow its technology and professional base even more if it has available and new Class A office space. That has been a challenge for Scottsdale and led some major and desired employers and their workers to move to or land in Tempe or on the Salt River Maricopa Indian Community instead.

Of course, Seattle ranks first nationally on the WalletHub list, but Scottsdale’s top shows the appeal of the city and its culinary and tourism base.

But we must remember any city can’t just rest on its laurels. That includes Scottsdale.

Scottsdale voters have the chance to invest in the city’s future and make needed infrastructure repairs by voting yes on Questions 1, 2 and 3 on the November 5th ballot.

They just need to mail in their ballots now, so they are received by Election Day on Tuesday. Then we can go back to our mochas and lattes.

By Recker McDowell —

Scottsdale residents, neighborhood advocates and community leaders from all walks of life are supporting the infrastructure investments and repairs in Questions 1, 2 and 3 on the November 5th ballot.

Voters need to mail their ballots back to the city now, so they are received and counted by Election Day.

The entire Scottsdale City Council, groups representing first responders as well as arts advocates, small business owners and community leaders from all parts of the city have all endorsed all three Scottsdale bond questions.

That kind of unity is no small feat in Scottsdale.

Here is a sampling of that diverse and widespread community support.

“Voting Yes on Questions 1, 2 and 3 will help our first responders do our jobs better and respond faster and more efficiently and effectively to the community that can save lives in situations where seconds count.” — Keegan DeShotel, President, Scottsdale Fraternal Order of Police

“I am endorsing Questions 1, 2 and 3. As Board President of Partners for Paiute and a graduate of Scottsdale High School, I know how important the infrastructure investments before voters will be for the Paiute Neighborhood Center. The bonds will benefit the Paiute center and the Scottsdale families, kids and seniors who rely community programs and neighborhood services housed on our campus. The Paiute Neighborhood Center is located near Osborn Road and 64th in southern Scottsdale.” — Lynn Whitman, President, Partners for Paiute

“The consequences of voters approving the questions along with the scheduled retirement of old bond obligations will have the effect of a net reduction of secondary property taxes that fund the bonds. These city bonds will not impact the primary property tax … The infrastructure investments are in all areas of Scottsdale. Senior centers, fire and police stations, the city jail, parks as well as the Eldorado and Cactus Pools will all get needed upgrades. The southern end of Indian Bend Wash and Civic Center Plaza will get needed infrastructure repairs.” — Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane

“Anyone who lives in Scottsdale knows it is special. And one of the reasons is that those who came before us invested in superb public infrastructure like the Indian Bend Wash, Civic Center Plaza and the best, natural “infrastructure” of all, our beautiful McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Now it is our turn.” — Copper Phillips, Coalition of Greater Scottsdale (COGS)

“It is prudent and fiscally wise for a community to make consistent and measured capital improvements. As infrastructure wears-down over time it is cheaper to continually bring in new investments. This approach is preferable and far less expensive for taxpayers than paying for costlier emergency repairs. The city experienced this first-hand with the emergency shutdown of Civic Center Plaza and Drinkwater Boulevard, as well as the 68th Street bridge. We don’t need more images of crumbling infrastructure.” — Barry Graham, CPA and Scottsdale resident

“We all know Scottsdale is wonderful place to live, work, start a business and raise a family. City voters have not approved a major bond program in 19 years leaving us with some infrastructure that needs fixed and community assets that need improvements. Questions 1, 2 and 3 will do that across our city but especially by investing in our seniors and our kids.” — Becca Linnig, Scottsdale resident

By Paula Sturgeon —

I have lived in Scottsdale for 55 years and I am a graduate of Pima Elementary School and Scottsdale High School. That makes me feel a little old but also able to reflect on our history a bit more as a result.

Rather than dwell on the past I want to talk about Scottsdale’s future and the wisdom in investing a bit more in it.

I have crisscrossed our city the past several months in support of Bond Questions 1, 2 and 3 on the November 5th ballot. I have met with fellow seniors, families, arts advocates and small business owners. We discussed the things that make Scottsdale a great community and what we need to do to make it even better.

We can make the best Scottsdale by Voting Yes on Questions 1, 2 and 3.

The bonds before voters will provide more of the wonderful services our seniors so richly deserve through needed expansions and upgrades at the Via Linda and Granite Reef Senior Centers. Those centers offer programs and services that are crucial to our seniors’ quality of life. I utilize those services often.

The bonds will also build new and upgrade existing parks, youth sports facilities and improve Eldorado and Cactus pools for Scottsdale’s world-class young athletes and everyday users of recreational facilities in all parts of the city.

The good old days were pretty good for Scottsdale. But we have not approved a major bond program in 19 years. Now we can build Scottsdale’s future and make some long overdue infrastructure repairs. It will help aid other seniors in the short term, but it would also be reassuring to know we left this community we love in great hands for future generations too.

I have seen our campaign cultivate a politically and geographically diverse coalition of supporters from all walks of life and all parts of Scottsdale. The entire Scottsdale City Council backs all three questions.

We now have the opportunity to vote for a future for our children, our grandchildren and our seniors. Inspired by those in our wonderful past that helped forge the city’s wonderful sense of community, we can now create an even brighter future. Please join me in voting yes on Questions 1, 2 and 3 and remember to mail your ballot back to the city so it is received and counted on November 5th.

Paula Sturgeon is a Scottsdale resident and co-chair of the For The Best Scottsdale Campaign: Vote Yes on Question 1, 2 and 3.

2020 Scrum

By Recker McDowell —

U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) is very much indicative of Democrats prospects in 2020 and the fork in the road they face in their bid to beat President Donald Trump and win control of the U.S. Senate.

Sinema’s moderate path helped her win the Senate seat in 2018 in red-state Arizona and has given her solid approval ratings with more moderate Democrats and even with some anti-Trump and pro-John McCain Republicans.

But Sinema has not been vocally anti-Trump and has not embraced the ‘Medicare for all’ progressive agenda. That has made her less popular with progressives driving much of the energy and activism for Democrats.

The most recent survey of Senators favorability ratings from Morning Consult gives Sinema a 47 percent approval rating and 29 percent disapproval.

A dig into those numbers shows Sinema with same approval 47 percent approval ratings of Florida Republicans Rick Scott and Marco Rubio and Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal. That trio takes the more partisan path.

McSally, who was appointed to John McCain’s seat by Gov. Doug Ducey, has a 39 percent approval rating versus 37 percent disapproving of her work, according to Morning Consult.

Democrats face the same quandary in 2020 against Trump that Republicans faced against Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

Do they embrace the energy of progressives and go with the likes of U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Sanders or Bernie Sanders?

Or should Dems focus on the same middle path Sinema is taking and go with a moderate such as former Vice President Joe Biden or South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg or even now former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and perceived electability?

This has been a past challenge for Republicans on whether to go with the energy of the base or focus on electability. Of course, the 2008 and 2012 campaigns of the late John McCain and Mitt Romney produced losses to Barack Obama while Donald Trump’s energy and celebrity produced an anti-establishment upset win over the flawed candidacy of Hillary Clinton.

Sinema’s win over Martha McSally for Jeff Flake’s Arizona U.S. Senate seat last year should certainly make Democrats look at the more moderate path in 2020 as they try to win in red state Arizona and other battlegrounds such as Florida and in the Rust Belt.

Will Warren and Sanders’ ‘socialism’ turn off battleground voters in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Arizona? Or will a progressive nominee energize the base and younger voters like Trump did to them in 2016?

Still, the moderate choices in the 2020 presidential field will need to prove themselves as candidates. Biden has run unsuccessfully twice before for president, is gaffe prone and could also have some lasting Ukraine baggage. Buttigieg, likes Sanders in 2016, will have to prove he can appeal to African Americans and Latinos in primary states beyond Iowa.

The Great Recession, fatigue with the George W. Bush years and the Obama wave were too much for McCain and Romney did not energize Evangelicals and working-class ‘Walmart’ Republicans enough in his loss.

Of course, Trump has his own advantages (led by the economy and the energy of his core supporters) and baggage (including the possibility voters just become fatigued by impeachment and Twitter storms).

Democrats are focused on getting Trump out of office and stopping a second term. Sinema’s path in Arizona certainly shows them one potential and proven way to win here and other battlegrounds.


By Recker McDowell

(SCOTTSDALE) — Montana Governor Steve Bullock is looking to emerge in the very crowded Democratic presidential race to take on President Donald Trump in 2020.
His underdog campaign is getting some help from former Arizona Attorney General and Phoenix Mayor Terry Goddard.
Goddard and his wife, Monica, will host a fundraiser in Scottsdale on September 25 for Bullock.
Bullock has won two terms as governor in Montana. Trump carried the state by more than 20 percentage points over Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Goddard said he likes Bullock’s ability to win as a Democrat in red-state Montana as well as his stances against ‘Dark Money’.
Goddard has led the charge in Arizona against secretive political donations.
Bullock didn’t make the debate stage for the third Democratic debate on Sept. 12 in Houston.
But he hopes to lift his campaign and appeal to moderate Democrats uneasy with the progressive direction of the party and how that might play out against Trump next year.

FLORENCE – Pinal County Supervisor Anthony Smith announces that he will not run for re-election representing District #4. Smith said, “In 2008 when I was elected into my first public office, I had no idea I would have the pleasure of serving the people for twelve years. As I examine where I am in my life and what opportunities I might have waiting behind the next door, I know it is time for me to head in a different direction. That said, I announce today that l will not run for re-election as County Supervisor.”

Reflecting on the progress Pinal County has made in the last few years, Anthony Smith said, “The County is very different from when I started my county service in 2013. In 2013, we were still feeling the impact of the Great Recession. The unemployment rate had soared to 13 percent with hundreds of jobs lost in the housing, agriculture and retail businesses. Sadly, families were being disrupted and economic growth was basically non-existent.”

Smith added, “Today, Pinal County’s unemployment rate is around 4 percent. In fact, Pinal County was the first Arizona County to regain all jobs lost to the recession. New job opportunities abound. Our economy is being diversified with thousands of new high-tech jobs in industries such as green energy, automotive, aerospace, tourism and many others. Read More

By W.D. McInturff, Partner
Public Opinion Strategies

Republican friends:

We wanted to share some important trends we are seeing in regards to 2020 turnout, improving numbers for the Republican party’s image, new work we are doing about political ideology, as well as highlight some of the challenges facing Republican candidates this cycle. We also focus on some elements of President Trump’s strengths and signs of vulnerability among his Democratic challengers. To review the slide deck, please click here: What Republicans Need to Know as We Move Toward the 2020 Election

By Solange Whitehead
Solange for Scottsdale

Bond Basics

In November, voters will consider approving three bond questions containing 58 projects:

1.            Parks, Recreation, and Senior Services
2.            Community Spaces and Infrastructure
3.            Public Safety and Technology

Citizen input helped finalize the list of projects and City Council unanimously voted for the bond package.  More details on the projects online and in future newsletters. Some bond basics are below.

What is a GO Bond? 
A Government Obligation (GO) Bond is like a home equity line of credit.  It establishes a maximum loan amount that the City can borrow. The City is not required to borrow any or all of the approved money.  The City can only use the funds for the voter approved projects.  And while a home equity line is secured by the equity in the borrower’s home, a GO bond is secured with property tax revenue. 

GO bonds require voter approval.

What is the Cost?
There is no cost to taxpayers if the bonds are passed.  (Aside from the election cost which is about $2.50 per voter).  Interest and fees only kick in when the City taps the approved funds to start a project.  GO Bonds are preferred because this form of debt has the lowest interest rate.  In today’s market, the interest would be around 4%.  

Read More