The Conservative's Corner

By Sal DiCiccio

My heart goes out to Laura Pastor and the Pastor family on the passing of her father, Congressman Ed Pastor.

Congressman Pastor served the people of Arizona with dignity and honor throughout his life. Though we disagreed on many things, partisanship stops well short of this point. Congressman Pastor’s accomplishments will carry forward far beyond his lifetime. I only hope the certain knowledge of that legacy and the impact he had on so many people throughout this state and across the country can provide some small comfort to his family in their time of grief.

 

By Sal DiCiccio
City of Phoenix
Councilman, District 6

6 words to sum up yesterday’s election: Establishment and status quo lose big

Republicans made big gains in the Senate, ensuring a lock on judicial appointments and Democrats made gains in the House, ensuring a slowdown of the Republican economic and social agenda. Republicans maintain control of the states in the legislatures and governorships across the country. Democrats have not even begun to regain the 1100 seats they lost during the last administration.

It is clear that the screaming in restaurants, the constant marches, and a billion dollars in political spending has produced very little for Democrats. With massive turn-out and a polarized public, we should have seen a historic drubbing of the Republican Party, that did not happen.Read More

By Syms for Arizona

While others put politics First, Representative Maria Syms did something about it for Education

Representative Maria Syms is the ONLY District 28 House Candidate that:

  • Voted for and passed a 20% raise for public school teachers
  • Voted for and passed a historic $1.5 billion investment in public education
  • Voted for and passed new funding and a $1 billion finance plan for universities
  • Voted for and passed funding for full-day kindergarten, gifted and early childhood programs

Learn more about Maria’s Record on Education

Read More

By Goldwater Institute

Ensuring Justice For All: Texas Judge Rules on Indian Child Welfare Act 

When Martin Luther King wrote that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere…Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds,” he spoke with that characteristic confidence of his that justice would, in the end, be done to all.

Earlier this week, a federal judge in Texas played an important part in realizing that dream when he ruled that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) – a federal law that creates a separate and less-protective set of rules for child welfare cases involving children of Native American ancestry – violates the Constitution.

Read more from Timothy Sandefur, Vice President for Litigation at the Goldwater Institute. 

Read More

by Sal DiCiccio

Friends,

As many of you know, unlike the rest of the world, for governments the year ends on June 30th, and a new year begins July 1st. It’s been a long year, and while our country may be in the midst of the worst internal conflict and strife we’ve seen since the 1960s, here in Phoenix – and especially in District 6 – good things are happening. We are moving forward with quality growth and development, protecting our open spaces, and putting more resources into our parks and preserves. We are also fighting to protect our neighborhoods, ensure we have the basic resources we need to protect public safety, address our growing issues with homelessness and more. And since Sam Stone came onboard last year as my chief-of-staff, we’ve been more effective than ever fighting for our quality of life and protecting neighborhoods. Here are a few of the highlights from this year…

2017-18 Fiscal Year Accomplishments
1. Sober Living Homes Amendment: As you remember, I brought this forward to the Council when we started seeing these facilities flooding our neighborhoods. In response, we created the best model in the nation protecting neighborhoods and patients. Sam Stone in our office led our efforts on this, and every single time the City came back to us and said we couldn’t do something, he figured out a way to get it done.
2. Phoenician Redevelopment: Worked with neighborhood leaders and stakeholders to make sure that the redevelopment of the Phoenician golf courses addressed their concerns about traffic, density, open-spaces and historical preservation. This was one of the most complex land deals in Phoenix’s history, and – in the end – achieved essentially universal support throughout the neighborhood.
3. Relocation of Cholla Trail: Worked with neighbors and community leaders to get a right-of-way included in the Phoenician land deal to relocate Cholla Trail off of Cholla Lane. Now we are working with those same community members on the design and construction for the new trail which will benefit hikers and homeowners alike. Read More

By Sal DiCiccio

My heart goes out to Laura Pastor and the Pastor family on the passing of her father, Congressman Ed Pastor.

Congressman Pastor served the people of Arizona with dignity and honor throughout his life. Though we disagreed on many things, partisanship stops well short of this point. Congressman Pastor’s accomplishments will carry forward far beyond his lifetime. I only hope the certain knowledge of that legacy and the impact he had on so many people throughout this state and across the country can provide some small comfort to his family in their time of grief.

 

By Sal DiCiccio
City of Phoenix
Councilman, District 6

6 words to sum up yesterday’s election: Establishment and status quo lose big

Republicans made big gains in the Senate, ensuring a lock on judicial appointments and Democrats made gains in the House, ensuring a slowdown of the Republican economic and social agenda. Republicans maintain control of the states in the legislatures and governorships across the country. Democrats have not even begun to regain the 1100 seats they lost during the last administration.

It is clear that the screaming in restaurants, the constant marches, and a billion dollars in political spending has produced very little for Democrats. With massive turn-out and a polarized public, we should have seen a historic drubbing of the Republican Party, that did not happen.Read More

By Syms for Arizona

While others put politics First, Representative Maria Syms did something about it for Education

Representative Maria Syms is the ONLY District 28 House Candidate that:

  • Voted for and passed a 20% raise for public school teachers
  • Voted for and passed a historic $1.5 billion investment in public education
  • Voted for and passed new funding and a $1 billion finance plan for universities
  • Voted for and passed funding for full-day kindergarten, gifted and early childhood programs

Learn more about Maria’s Record on Education

Read More

By Goldwater Institute

Ensuring Justice For All: Texas Judge Rules on Indian Child Welfare Act 

When Martin Luther King wrote that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere…Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds,” he spoke with that characteristic confidence of his that justice would, in the end, be done to all.

Earlier this week, a federal judge in Texas played an important part in realizing that dream when he ruled that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) – a federal law that creates a separate and less-protective set of rules for child welfare cases involving children of Native American ancestry – violates the Constitution.

Read more from Timothy Sandefur, Vice President for Litigation at the Goldwater Institute. 

Read More

by Sal DiCiccio

Friends,

As many of you know, unlike the rest of the world, for governments the year ends on June 30th, and a new year begins July 1st. It’s been a long year, and while our country may be in the midst of the worst internal conflict and strife we’ve seen since the 1960s, here in Phoenix – and especially in District 6 – good things are happening. We are moving forward with quality growth and development, protecting our open spaces, and putting more resources into our parks and preserves. We are also fighting to protect our neighborhoods, ensure we have the basic resources we need to protect public safety, address our growing issues with homelessness and more. And since Sam Stone came onboard last year as my chief-of-staff, we’ve been more effective than ever fighting for our quality of life and protecting neighborhoods. Here are a few of the highlights from this year…

2017-18 Fiscal Year Accomplishments
1. Sober Living Homes Amendment: As you remember, I brought this forward to the Council when we started seeing these facilities flooding our neighborhoods. In response, we created the best model in the nation protecting neighborhoods and patients. Sam Stone in our office led our efforts on this, and every single time the City came back to us and said we couldn’t do something, he figured out a way to get it done.
2. Phoenician Redevelopment: Worked with neighborhood leaders and stakeholders to make sure that the redevelopment of the Phoenician golf courses addressed their concerns about traffic, density, open-spaces and historical preservation. This was one of the most complex land deals in Phoenix’s history, and – in the end – achieved essentially universal support throughout the neighborhood.
3. Relocation of Cholla Trail: Worked with neighbors and community leaders to get a right-of-way included in the Phoenician land deal to relocate Cholla Trail off of Cholla Lane. Now we are working with those same community members on the design and construction for the new trail which will benefit hikers and homeowners alike. Read More

MORE CONSERVATIVE’S CORNER
Featured Editorials

With the college football playoff upcoming and the college basketball season in full swing, many are paying attention to various rankings.  Here are some as they relate to interesting, future elections:

SCOTTSDALE MAYOR 2020 (Jim Lane is term-limited)

  1. Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp
  2. Councilwoman Virginia Korte
  3. Any warm body
  4. John Karolzak

PHOENIX MAYOR (Special Election March 12, 2019)

  1. Former Councilwoman Kate Gallego
  2. Former Councilman Danny Valenzuela

U.S. SENATE 2020 (Democrat)

  1. Ruben Gallego
  2. Mark Kelly
  3. Grant Woods

SCOTTSDALE CITY COUNCIL 2020 (No rankings yet.  Potential candidates listed)

*Barry Graham

*Christian Serena

*Virginia Korte (unlikely to run)

*Guy Phillips (unlikely to run)

*Jason Alexander

*Mike Norton

*Bill Crawford

*Howard Myers

*Maryann McAllen (per Mike Norton)

*John Little (per Mike Norton)

Were you for or against the sales tax increase to fund preservation of the McDowell Mountains?  Were you for or against the Los Arcos hockey arena proposal?  Were you for or against Proposition 420?

These have been the great questions and wedge issues that have shaped Scottsdale City Council elections over the past three decades.

Indeed, Proposition 420, which rallied the community to stop the Desert Discovery Center, was so resonant as to pull Kathy Littlefield and Solange Whitehead to gold and silver council medals by a wide margins.  Littlefield and Whitehead were vocal supporters of Proposition 420 and it of them.

It begs the question: what might or should be the wedge issue of 2020 in Scottsdale when numerous council seats and the mayor’s office will be on the ballot?

Maybe a trip back to the future could be instructive.

In 2016 Mayor Jim Lane proposed, without little support from his peers, an intriguing reform to council representation in Scottsdale.  He recognized that with no councilperson from southern Scottsdale then, or in the recent history, a change could make sense.  It also could result in greater constituent service while at the same time maintaining a slice of Scottsdale’s historical commitment to “at-large” council representation.

You see, many cities now have council districts with the mayor being the only office elected throughout the city.  But in Scottsdale all councilmembers and the mayor are elected at-large.  Some years ago there was a Scottsdale ballot measure to go to an all-district system.  At that time it was soundly defeated by voters.

Read More

We wrote before about the amusing announcement by the very weird John Karolzak that he wants to run for Mayor of Scottsdale.  Click here to read.

We note that he describes himself on social media as a “health care executive.”  What a disservice to the words health, care and executive.  Dude was a lobbyist for an ambulance company.  At the state level.  At local levels throughout the Valley and region.  Records are easily available through a quick search.

We’re not sure Scottsdale has ever had a lobbyist run for Mayor, let alone serve as top dog on the dais.

Is his profession alone disqualifying?  Of course not.  But ask 2014 Democratic nominee for Arizona Governor Fred Duval what it was like to get tattooed with the lobbyist label by Doug Ducey.  Television ad after television ad derided Duval for his lobbying.  And Duval was actually a good lobbyist for many good causes.  Karolzak? He’s never been considered the ethical steward of the profession and often carried water for ambulance companies with shortcomings.

John The Lobbyist.  Probably not the last time you’ll hear that phrase if the guy actually runs.

We return to whether his long-time work is a non-starter.  That’s ultimately for voters to decide.  And there are exceptions to what happened to Duval.  Consider Jon Kyl.  In 1986 he ran for the United States Congress and was ridiculed by his opponents for being a lobbyist for Salt River Project.  Kyl not only overcame the attacks but he went on to serve Arizona with distinction, and still does.

But to compare Karolzak to Kyl is to, paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen, to compare Dan Quayle to Jack Kennedy.

If Karolzak’s deficiencies were but being a lobbyist his quixotic bid shouldn’t be described quite as such.  But we did invoke the plural.  So stay tuned for more of the Karolzak Chronicles.  We hope we don’t run out of Roman numerals.

By Scottsdale Pinetop

In the age of “everyone is special” it’s often hard to stand out from the crowd. As an individual, a business and even as a community, our own special interests can easily be overshadowed. Scottsdale is no exception. In a city of greats, from the nationally acclaimed Barrett-Jackson Car Auction to spring training season, it’s easy to get lost in the fray.

But one key group in Scottsdale has withstood the test of time. That group is the Scottsdale Gallery Association.

Internationally known for art, Old Town Scottsdale has a well-deserved though increasingly challenged reputation in this regard. At one point in time, the Scottsdale’s downtown district hosted over 100 galleries along Marshall Way and Main Street, as well as local artists, performers, writers and avid collectors. And it continues to be thanks to the Scottsdale Gallery Association.

The collection of galleries provide a diverse array of work as they strive to make art accessible to all, from the serious art collector to the casual patron. It hosts numerous events throughout the year. This includes the weekly Thursday Night Art walk which today stands as the longest running event of its kind in the nation. As a Scottsdalian, this is something to be extremely proud of.

However, the Gallery Association often does not receive the attention and assistance it deserves. It must.

Read More

By Robert Rich

In the midst of May, a monsoon of new transportation struck Scottsdale and Tempe. The electric scooter craze has had many fall in love with the pay-per-use form of transportation. While it’s understandably easy to laugh off any claims of them being a truly nefarious force brought upon Phoenix-Metro, a surprisingly large number of users have experienced some serious consequences from their use. These scooters have a bit more horsepower than meets the eye, causing some to simply fall too hard.

“Lots of extremity injures- broken bones, ankles. Sprains, all those types. Then you get into head injuries,” ER nurse Scott Ehlers said.

Ehlers has seen a huge uptick in these sorts of injuries ever since their introduction into the community.

“It seems like it’s two or three (injuries) a day,” Ehlers said.

The injuries he sees aren’t even the more serious ones, as the worst are sent to trauma centers.

“They don’t wear helmets. People aren’t just walking around with helmets and then climbing onto a scooter,” Ehlers said.

The worst place for these types of injures has been around Mill Avenue, as the dense population and college atmosphere has been a breeding ground for drunken incidents involving their use. They have been so much of a nuisance around Tempe that Arizona State University has even banned their use on campus.

While there has obviously been a large demand for this service, some measures will inevitably need to take place to ensure that their benefits outweigh their risks on the community. Not only do their obnoxiously bright colors, frequent beeping through the night and lack of storage spaces make them a littered nuisance to anyone not using them, they have also proven to be a legitimate risk to their users. Many other towns have an efficient system with rental bikes that do not bring about these issues. Until a better system, and business model, is implemented, the rest of Phoenix would be wise to follow suit and ban their use.

By Scottsdale Pinetop

What happens when a lake is not a lake but rather an irrigation reservoir? A small town community loses one of its biggest recreational assets. That’s the latest problem facing the beloved Woodland Lake in the Town of Pinetop-Lakeside.

For years, residents, business owners and tourists alike have enjoyed the lake for its beauty and recreation. The park is home to baseball fields, a playground, tennis courts, walking trails and fishing dock.

But there’s one problem. Pinetop-Lakeside does not own the water in the lake. In fact, the Show Low/Pinetop Woodland Irrigation Company owns the water. The non-profit water company was formed around 1874 and has been delivering water to nearby customers ever since.

And for decades, this has not been a problem for the town. When the water is abundant, the irrigation company may only drain the lake water by a few feet – becoming more of a nuisance to residents than anything else.

But after two seasons of nearly snowless winters and drought like springs, Woodland Lake has become less of a lake and more like a puddle. Even the monsoon rains have not been able to maintain the normal lake levels.

Read More

By Robert Rich

Lee Sepanek’s (aka “Christmas Lee”) light show got on the cities’ radar a few times too many last year. The Phoenix resident’s home, located near 44th Street and Camelback Road, is normally an extravagant, shining beacon for the season’s Christmas Spirit starting Thanksgiving Night.

However, the City of Phoenix took issue with Lee’s ambitions the year prior. After planning a fundraiser, in which Lee was selling hot cocoa, cookies and Christmas trinkets to provide more funding for his public display, the City pulled the plug. They used the technicalities that he did not possess a food handler’s license, or a home baked goods permit, to shut down the show.

While the display is listed as one of the most popular light shows in Phoenix, some people on the street adjacent to him took issue with it.

“I had a couple of new neighbors move in a year prior. They experienced their first Christmas and they didn’t like the traffic.”, Lee said.

This year, Lee’s campaign on GoFundMe is looking to add at least another $10,000 dollars’ worth of lights into the light show. He has also obtained a food handler’s license and baked goods permit. However, Lee still expects that the city will try and spoil his Holiday fun.

“I have heard that they’re pretty hard-nosed about the whole thing and they’re not bending.”, Lee said.

The good news is that Lee at least has one ally. Councilman Sal DiCiccio has tweeted that Phoenix politicians should be “ashamed” of how they’ve treated Lee.

DiCicco couldn’t be more correct on this matter. Lee’s light show is a win-win for the community. The vast majority celebrates the joyous display and it brings nothing but positive attention to the community. The bureaucratic attack brought upon Lee is nothing more than the City of Phoenix trying to appease a few crotchety members over everyone else.

You can support Lee by donating to his GoFundMe HEREPhoenix should give Lee the same community support that he has given us the past 30 years.

By Neighborhood Nelly

Arizona pioneers didn’t just set up our state for the powerful. They did so for the people too. That’s why the referenda and initiative process and rights are enshrined in our State Constitution. Referendum rights allow citizens to challenge the decisions of their elected officials. Initiatives allow the people to bypass legislatures and city councils to propose their own laws. Not liking these rights the Arizona State Legislature, primarily led by Republicans,  has successfully curtailed these and other rights, making it more difficult for the people  to take matters into their own hands. Forcing supermajority votes on zoning cases? Gone. Making it more difficult to circulate referenda and initiative petitions? Done. Protecting dark money and ending transparency of those impacting governments? Achieved.

This brings us to Scottsdale. In spite of all of these challenges, the citizens recently took matters into their own hands and passed Proposition 420 to force public votes on changes in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. 

Passed with 71% of the vote, Prop 420’s passage demonstrates that voters wanted more input. A proposed change to the way Scottsdale off track betting locations are approved or denied, suggests that some at City Hall still need to learn the lessons of Prop 420.

A little background. Off track betting or OTB locations are established all over Arizona, mostly in bars. They provide monitors and machines that allow customers to watch and wager on horseracing locally and around the world. OTB’s have been in Arizona since the 90’s. It’s a good fit for some parts of the city, not so much for others. That’s why the City of Scottsdale had previously put in some safeguards when it comes to their approval. At present the City currently has six locations. The safeguards, designed to aid neighborhoods and keep gambling from city parks, may be in jeopardy.

The proposed changes including REMOVING the requirement that any home or business within 500 feet of a proposed OTB be notified by mail. Instead the City just wants to post a notice on its website. That’s a pretty big change for the vast majority of residents who don’t have the time to be constantly monitoring the city website. In fact, it’s an unfair burden and an abdication of the city’s responsibility to keep neighbors informed when it comes to major changes.

Another proposed change removes the distance requirements from residential areas. Currently, if an OTB wants to locate near a residential neighborhood, 51% of the neighbors have to sign off on the idea.

Another requirement that would go away is a rule that prohibits OTB’s from operating within 500 feet of a public park.

The current rules have served Scottsdale well. There is no need to change them. Unfortunately, a new racetrack based in Prescott wants the rules changed to serve their own interests. Someone should remind Scottsdale City Hall that the interests of its residents should come first.Read More

Scottsdale resident Howard Myers was an important and critical voice that led to the Proposition 420 movement in Scottsdale.  Passed by a 71% margin on November 6th the vote stopped the ill-conceived Desert Discovery Center and enshrined more rights to city citizens when it comes to future changes in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

For that, Mr. Myers and many others deserve appreciation.

Yet, the great question in Scottsdale these days is whether a group that unified in opposition to a project, and a perception the Scottsdale City Council was not listening, can stay together in support of something else, effecting additional change.

The early indications suggest this is unlikely.

Proposition 420 leader Jason Alexander is soon to be likely running for City Council and dealing with those dynamics.  The big man and big voice that is Mike Norton may be interested in focusing on key, innovative educational initiatives, a passion for which he is well suited.  Other Proposition 420 enthusiasts have already cast their lot with mayoral aspirant John Karolzak which they will soon regret and be embarrassed by.  So what about Howard Myers?  It was his intellectual heft that largely led to pursuing a public vote on the Desert Discovery Center.

To analyze Myers’ behavior since the landmark vote allow us to invoke the movie Howard’s End.  It was a 1992 film based on last century class relations in Britain.  On November 26th Myers’ stood before the City Council and opined in such a way as to wonder if he is a contemplating class relations, and warfare, of a different kind in Scottsdale.

Myers’ extrapolated an anti-development, anti-business message from the city’s 2018 election results.  Indeed he said the following: “There’s been a lot of pissed off residents and they don’t like the direction that the city is taking and they don’t trust the City Council to keep it going in the right direction.”

Well, when it comes to whether Scottsdale is heading in the “right direction” the last major poll taken before the Proposition 420 and council candidate results showed voters thinking the city was heading in the right direction, as opposed to wrong track, by a 76%-15% margin.

Read More

So John Karolzak wants to be the next Mayor of Scottsdale?  According to recent Facebook posts he apparently does.  Notwithstanding Elon Musk’s ambitions people are more likely to be on Mars in 2020 than ever seeing this lobbyist and gadfly presiding in the Kiva.

Karolzak is an infamous name synonymous with loose professional morals in the ambulance business, where he has bounced around for many years.  

Before losing his job with AMR, an ambulance company that once served Scottsdale until being deposed for its poor service and poor response times, Karolzak either did or threatened to withhold hundreds of thousands of dollars from the City of Scottsdale AMR owed, simply because he was pissed at city management.

What a gem.  There could be no better way of going from “the best city in America” to the most ridiculed in the highly unlikely scenario Karolzak won. Indeed, we think it more likely modesty becomes Donald Trump, or John Washington ever makes sense, than Karolzak and mayor get used in the same sentence without laughing.

Karolzak supported Proposition 420.  He lives in Windgate Ranch and like many there and nearby probably didn’t like the idea of a Desert Discovery Center being so close.  Besides losing his sanity the only rationale we can see Karolzak using for a quixotic run would be to try and ride the Proposition 420 wave.  Read More

Few people have more conscientiously served Scottsdale over the many years than Virginia Korte.  Southern Scottsdale businesswoman.  Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce President.  Non-profit leader.  Stalwart supporter of Scottsdale public schools.  Early voice to preserve the McDowell Mountains.  She’s a Scottsdale Hall of Famer in every sense of the word.  She wants to be Mayor of Scottsdale, badly.  She’s considered it at various times in the past and was an early mover in the 2020 race when Mayor Jim Lane will be term limited.

Yet, something went horribly awry on the way to a coronation.  Despite the fact that the McDowell Sonoran Preserve itself was founded and funded by numerous public votes, Korte strongly contested the notion that the ill-conceived Desert Discovery Center (DDC) should be likewise decided.  But she didn’t just stop there.  She almost single-handedly organized a well-funded campaign to defeat Proposition 420 which properly called for citizen concurrence for the DDC and projects like it in the Preserve.

To put it mildly, it was not a nice, effective or well-received opposition campaign.  History books will look to it as a political don’t.  Though hard to do Korte even supplanted Lina Milhaven in the animus rankings of backers.

Korte’s position was not one of political courage.  It was political inanity, even philosophically inconsistent with her work on previous Preserve votes.  Scottsdale’s political earthquake following Proposition 420’s stunning success has left many wondering if Korte will go the way of David Smith or Wayne Ecton who, as Councilmembers, lost standing, constituencies and ultimately re-elections.

Read More

By Robert Rich

The University of Arizona has gained national acclaim for its prestigious Division-1 basketball team. Only last summer, blue-chip prospect & Wildcat alumni Deandre Ayton was drafted first overall to the Phoenix Suns in the 2018 draft. However, the foundation in which the program was fostered appears to be crooked to its core. The University has reportedly spent at least $1.4 million in legal fees since the Wildcats’ assistant coach, Emanuel “Book” Richardson, was arrested on charges of bribery and fraud.

Under Public Records, the University spent $796, 817 at the Steptoe & Johnson law firm and $623,822 at the Jackson Lewis firm. The bills covers 3,100 hours of legal work under the supervision of at least 15 different lawyers. The case has persisted since Richardson was arrested last year in lieu of a larger FBI investigation into NCAA basketball. The school has reported that the bills are not being paid with university revenue or state money.

“The University of Arizona is committed to the ethical conduct of all our enterprises, including athletics. We have cooperated fully with the law enforcement agencies, the U.S. Attorney’s office and the NCAA and we will continue to do so”, Chris Sigurdson, UA Spokesman, said.

The University is estimated to have netted $11.7 million from its basketball program last year after expenses, making the entity an obvious money-maker for the University.

Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

It seems these days Dr. Kelli Ward spends her days running to the next open political seat. And every time she’s left without a chair. Twice Ward has run for the U.S. Senate seat and both times she has never made it past the primary. Now she’s focusing her attention on becoming the next chair of the Grand Ol’ Party – as if the Arizona Republic Party didn’t have enough to worry about.

Ward began her political career in 2012 after replacing District 5 Republican State Senator Ron Gould. In November 2014, Ward was re-elected after running unopposed in both the primary and general election. In 2015, ready for bigger and better things, Ward resigned from her State Senate seat and announced she would be entering the race for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate against incumbent and former presidential candidate, Senator John McCain. To little surprise, she was defeated in the primary election.

Then just one year later, Ward would seek to run a second time for the U.S. Senate. After Flake announced on October 2018 that he would not be seeking re-election, the door opened for a number Republicans to jump into the race including U.S. Representative Martha McSally and Sherriff Joe Arpaio. And once again, she lost.

Now, not even three weeks after the 2018 midterm elections, Ward announced she would be running to be Arizona’s next Republican Party Chair.

Read More

by Robert Rich

Anyone traveling through Downtown Tempe may have noticed the developing face-lift spanning from University Drive to Rural Road. While Tempe is no stranger to construction, the Novus Innovation Center promises to completely re-shape the landscape for both residences and businesses close to Arizona State University. The project is dropping its next phase and powering ahead.

Amongst the project’s major additions in the next phase for the community is ASU’s and Catellus’ partnership with Aspen Heights to create a six-story 262-unit luxury apartment complex and Ryan Companies’ plans for a Class-A, six-story, 162,000 square-foot multi-tenant office building on the corner of University Drive and Rural Road.

Novus is going through its initial steps of site improvement and hopes to break soil within the first quarter of 2019, according to Charley Freericks, Senior Vice President of Catellus Development Center and Master Developer of Novus Innovation Center.

The Corridor is part of the overarching Novus Place Project, which also plans to create a new hotel and included/will include significant renovations to the athletic facilities and Sun Devil Stadium at ASU. The Novus Place is envisioned to be a complement to Mill Avenue and an opportunity to provide more internships for ASU-affiliated companies. The 330 acres of developing ASU property is projected to bring in an additional 20,000 jobs and 5,000 new residents.

Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

It’s been a whirlwind of an election season.

After a chaotic Arizona’s U.S. Senate that dominated media headlines, the Phoenix mayoral runoff election is expected to be a quiet finale to the 2018 election season. But that doesn’t make it any less important. In fact, who will lead the nation’s fifth largest city might just be the biggest decision Phoenicians will have to make.

Since none of the four candidates running for Phoenix mayor were able to garner 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters, Kate Gallego and Daniel Valenzuela, will face off in a special runoff election in March.

Though Gallego fell short of an outright win, she did manage to win nearly 45 percent of the vote, putting her at 19 percentage points ahead of Valenzuela. And that’s not insignificant, especially when trying to create momentum to carry the campaign forward.

Read More

Ding dong the Desert Discovery Center (DDC) is dead.  According to this new article at azcentral.com, that is.   What good news.

But is that where the resonance of this chapter of citizen rights and achievement ends?

Well, let’s look at some fascinating voter data.

Proposition 420, the citizen’s initiative brought by Desert Discovery Center opponents to effectively kill it, passed by staggering margins in big turnout, northern Scottsdale precincts.  In the DC Ranch one it won with 84% of the vote.  In the WestWorld precinct?  85%.  In numerous other north Scottsdale precincts the vote was around 75%.  Even in Supai, a southern Scottsdale precinct with what is often the Scottsdale Unified School District’s most challenged elementary school Proposition 420 passed with 69% of the vote.  And what about McCormick Ranch, a barometer of the Scottsdale “establishment” that was the basis for what little support the Desert Discovery Center had? It passed there with 69% of the vote too. 

Heading into Scottsdale’s 2020 election the very big question is:  will voters remember Proposition 420 and what a huge wedge issue it was, and can be?  Or not?

Will Proposition 420 backers maintain or morph into something like the Coalition of Pinnacle Peak used to be?  Or will it fade away?  Will a northern Scottsdale voting block hold making it very difficult for other candidates to make up ground elsewhere if they don’t defend the North?  Scottsdale in at least the short-term may have become a different kind of Game of Thrones.

If Proposition 420 enthusiasts stay resilient like grassroots groups involved in shining sunlight on the Scottsdale School District, watch out.

For there is no doubt that Proposition 420 was the primary reason for the stunning showings of Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield’s re-election and the upset pulled off by Scottsdale City Councilwoman-Elect Solange Whitehead.  Proposition 420 forces were almost enthusiastic about them as they were their measure.  Read More

The margin of Kathy Littlefield’s re-election to the Scottsdale City Council on November 6th was notable.  As her husband opines, it just may be the largest number of votes ever received by a City Council candidate.

There’s no doubt the salience and organization of Proposition 420 had a lot to with Littlefield’s success.  But there’s another reason, and there’s simply no other way to put this.

She is avoiding the problems of her husband and former City Councilman, Bob Littlefield.

Bob didn’t just gladly adopt the political label of being anti-business.  He relished in it, even calling various businesses and applicants names.  The approach came back to bite him during his last two runs for elected office, first by going from favorite to also ran in a run for the Arizona State House of Representatives and then getting throttled in a 2016 run for Scottsdale Mayor against Jim Lane.

Kathy seems to have learned from her front-row seat next to Bob.  Like Councilman Guy Phillips Kathy has evolved into a better Councilwoman as time has gone on.  She is discerning, not a knee-jerk.  Sure she still looks at various development proposals more cautiously than others on the  City Council.  But she has also been a supporter of various new plans for downtown Scottsdale and elsewhere, including the important and impressive Museum Square proposal.

In other words, Kathy seems to have understood what got her husband but 36% of the vote in 2016 only to turn around two years later and dominate the council field.

Read More

By: Robert Rich

On October 8, 2018, Governor Susana Martinez & Mayor Tim Keller announced that Netflix has chosen Albuquerque, New Mexico to be the home of its first production studio complex. The deal is projected to bring in $1 billion dollars of revenue, and 1,000 production jobs, per year to New Mexico. While this is a huge step forward for filmmakers outside of the Los Angeles & New York area, this deal has left Arizona in the dust. The Grand Canyon State would logistically make more sense for major studio conglomerates. The diverse Arizona landscape (and close proximity to Los Angeles) would theoretically be far more alluring grounds for any major production company. Cecil DeMille & his production crew originally wanted to place Hollywood in Flagstaff (if it wasn’t for the cold weather) in the 1900’s. However, the state continuously loses work to states like New Mexico & Maryland due to tax incentives. New Mexico offers a 25% refundable tax credit, with a $50 million-dollar cap, for projects related to feature films, television, animation, commercials etc. Arizona’s tax incentive program expired in 2010 and has pushed away any serious work from the state. Any subsequent bills to restore it have been shot down.

“We’re asking the state to level the playing field, give the industry a chance to regain something that’s been around for 99 years here.”, Michael Kucharo, the former president of the Arizona Film & Media Coalition said

This decision has had Arizona lose a projected $250 million dollars per year. However, the Arizona Film & Media Coalition has been more active than ever after this announcement. The organization has been running social media campaigns (under #GoFilmAz) to bring back production work to the Valley. You can support the AZ Film & Media Coalition by donating to their GoFundMe campaign (https://www.gofundme.com/future-of-film-in-arizona-campaign), or by registering to their active supporter database at http://azfilmandmedia.org/ to stay up to date for when legislation involving the Arizona Film Industry arises.

By: Scottsdale Pinetop

They marched, they ran and they won.

It has been a historic year for women candidates with a record-breaking number of women now holding federal and state offices. But this isn’t something new for Arizona politics. Even with the momentum of the #MeToo and Year of the Woman movement, Arizona has continued its tradition of leading the nation in electing more women.

What makes this election cycle so spectacular is the offices these women now hold. Not since the “Fab Five” have women held so many influential positions at the same time in the state.

In 1998, Arizona elected women to serve in the state’s five highest government positions – the first state to do so. Known as the “Fab Five” these leaders included Governor Jane Dee Hull, Attorney General Janet Napolitano, Secretary of State Betsey Bayless, Superintendent of Public Education Lisa Graham-Keegan and State Treasurer Carol Springer. Since then, four women have served as the state’s governor representing both political parties.

But nearly 20 years later, 2018 is welcoming a new generation of powerful female leaders. And these women are all impressive in their own right.

Read More

*2018 definitely proved to be a “Year of the Woman” when it came to state and national politics. Somewhat lost among the results was Kate Gallego’s dismantling of the field in the Phoenix Mayor’s race. She topped former Councilman Danny Valenzuela, the overwhelming favorite of developers, by a whopping 19 point margin. They both now head to a March run-off election where the proverbial Fat Lady is warming up her chords. Indeed, many Valenzuela donors and backers are now fleeing to Gallego seeing the inevitable. A key fault line in the run-off will be Gallego’s opposition to public funding for a new Phoenix Suns arena whereas Valenzuela supports. Care to guess where the public is at on this one?

*Kudos to Sandra Kennedy’s win for one of the two Arizona Corporation Commission seats. She’s a Democrat but was more Republican than anyone else running. Arizona needs strong utilities. But Republicans in recent years haven’t been little more than lap dogs for them. No, that’s too kind. They have been marionettes. During her campaign Kennedy promised to fight higher rates and for more innovation and transparency. That should be the Republican mantra for these seats rather than mere bootlickers.

*The most powerful person in Scottsdale these days? Tim Klapp, husband of Suzanne Klapp, Scottsdale City Councilwoman and new 2020 favorite for Scottsdale Mayor after the city’s election results last week. Will he give his full throttle support for the endeavor or wish for a little more R&R? In fairness, there are more important things in life than electoral pursuit, even if the path for such got a lot easier than it was several weeks ago.

*Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane’s political action committee, “At Our Best,” fared well in city and state elections. It gave money to Governor Doug Ducey’s campaign and distributed tens of thousands of direct mail pieces to Scottsdale residents on his behalf. The committee also gave a maxed out contribution to newly elected Attorney General Mark Brnovich and contributed to the successful Question 1 in Scottsdale. Though the committee did not give money to Proposition 420 Lane articulated his support for the measure despite continuing doubt from backers. While Lane did not succeed in pulling his friend and ally Bill Crawford across the City Council finish line, it was Crawford’s best showing, by far, for his numerous council runs. Lane also backed Councilwoman Linda Milhaven with substantial direct mail and digital advertising support for her successful re-election.

*New memberships at Desert Mountain Club, Silverleaf and other area country clubs that help define North Scottsdale’s cachet are surging.

*The iconic Cowboy Ciao restaurant and Kazimierz wine bar in Old Town Scottsdale may have closed but look for these spaces to be reanimated soon, a very good thing as the closure of them caught many by surprise.

*No city manager in the Valley may be kicking more ass and getting things done than Scottsdale’s Jim Thompson.

*That Kathy Hoffman, a 31-year old no-name just months ago, is now Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction isn’t just an amazing state story, but a national one.

*Once upon a time a group known as the Coalition of Pinnacle Peak had an enormous political role influencing Scottsdale elections. But the Protect Our Preserve: Yes on 420 group now makes them look like a bunch of minor league rookies. The question with the Desert Discovery Center dead is will the group stay together and salient? Does it want to? If so, a new day may have truly dawned in Scottsdale.

*Predictions: Kyrsten Sinema will one day run for President when centrism becomes en vogue in the Democratic Party, which it will. Mark Brnovich will be Arizona’s next Governor. The FBI is not done in Arizona. And state money for drought relief not teachers will be the big and necessary issue of the upcoming state legislative session. Oh, and the state’s gaming compacts will soon become the issue du jour, following water.

SEE MORE FEATURED EDITORIALS
2020 Scrum

Media Alert

Reverend Jarrett Maupin issues statement following the scandalous and racist statements of Rep. David Stringer, calls for lawmaker to resign immediately or for House Leadership to remove him in next session for being “ethically bankrupt,” “a premeditated xenophobe,” and for practicing racism in violation of rules of conduct for state house members…

Statement Below:

“Earlier this year, I agreed to host a luncheon between Rep. Stringer and members of the Black community after he made a series of highly insensitive and ignorant remarks about people of color…

“The purpose of that meeting was two fold. First, was for Stringer to apologize and come face to face with the community he insulted. Second, was to give the community an opportunity to try and work proactively with Rep. Stringer on minority legislative priorities and to rehabilitate his views on race and the realities of racism…

“Many in the Black community are Christians and forgiveness is a foundational virtue of our faith. That said, we did as Jesus commands and as so many civil rights leaders before us attempted to do with bigots of their day – that is, to turn the other cheek…

Read More

By Milhaven for Scottsdale

Scottsdale is an amazing city that we can be proud to call home. Citizen surveys reveal that Scottsdale residents are extremely satisfied with the quality of city services. Independent rating agencies give us a AAA bond rating for our financial health. We enjoy some of the lowest sales and property tax rates in the region. We have a beautiful city!

We have a long legacy of leaders who had the vision to reimagine and reinvent Scottsdale over the years. Winfield Scott envisioned citrus farms and built an agricultural community. Leaders that followed realized the value of tourism and we became the West’s Most Western town to attract and entertain visitors.

Recognizing the value of retail to generate sales tax, we built Los Arcos Mall, one of the first indoor malls. The rodeo grounds at Camelback and Scottsdale Road became Goldwater’s Department store which is now Scottsdale Fashion Square, one of the most successful malls in the country.

The Airpark became a key employment center for the entire region. We continually expanded our City to the north by annexing land from the County.

Read More

CITES HIS ABILITY TO BRING ALL ARIZONANS TOGETHER WITH CIVILITY AND BIPARTISANSHIP

By Team Ducey

Cindy McCain today announced her strong endorsement of Doug Ducey for reelection as Arizona Governor. Mrs. McCain, the widow of the late Senator John McCain, serves as co-chair of the Governor’s Council on Human Trafficking and on the McCain Institute’s Human Trafficking Advisory Council. She is committed to reducing human trafficking globally and improving the lives of victims of human trafficking.

“Doug Ducey has been a Governor for all Arizonans, working together in a bipartisan spirit to improve the quality of life for all our citizens,” Mrs. McCain said. “He has been a steadfast supporter of our efforts to stem the tide of human trafficking, and he’s consistently demonstrated a willingness and ability to bring Arizonans together in a civil and productive way. We need more of that kind of attitude in our political discourse. I’m proud to support Governor Ducey, and encourage all Arizonans to join me.”

Governor Ducey said, ”Cindy McCain has devoted her life to making our country and our state a better and safer place to live – as a businesswoman, philanthropist and tireless advocate for victims rights, military families and the health and education of children in our country and across the world. She is an Arizona treasure, and I am grateful to not only call her a friend, but also to have her on our team as we work together to secure Arizona’s future.”


I am proud to announce that I am joining Kate Gallego’s Team as chair of her campaign!

As a citizen activist and former Mayor of Phoenix, I am proud of how our City came together to develop a strong economy and build healthy neighborhoods and vibrant communities. We focused on quality growth, public safety, arts and culture and preserving Phoenix’s rich heritage.

I understand what it takes to be a successful mayor – vision, compassion, and unrelenting hard work.  That’s why I’m joining my wife Monica and son Kevin in wholeheartedly supporting Kate Gallego.

This is a critical race.  Voters will determine what kind of city Phoenix will be for decades to come. Kate has done her homework.  She is prepared to lead with total commitment to our City.  I trust her to create a prosperous Phoenix that works for everyone.

Thank you,

— Terry Goddard, former Mayor of Phoenix 

SEE MORE 2018 SCRUM
Image
Latest News

  • Political Rankings

    Dec 11

    With the college football playoff upcoming and the college basketball season in full swing, many are paying attention to various rankings.  Here are some as they relate to interesting, future elections: SCOTTSDALE MAYOR 2020 (Jim Lane is term-limited) Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp Councilwoman Virginia Korte Any warm body John Karolzak PHOENIX MAYOR (Special Election March 12, 2019) Former Councilwoman Kate Gallego Former Councilman Danny Valenzuela U.S. SENATE 2020 (Democrat) Ruben Gallego Mark Kelly Grant Woods SCOTTSDALE +

  • Scottsdale Wedge Issue 2020?

    Dec 10

    Were you for or against the sales tax increase to fund preservation of the McDowell Mountains?  Were you for or against the Los Arcos hockey arena proposal?  Were you for or against Proposition 420? These have been the great questions and wedge issues that have shaped Scottsdale City Council elections over the past three decades. Indeed, Proposition 420, which rallied the community to stop the Desert Discovery Center, was so resonant as to pull Kathy +

  • The Karolzak Chronicles: Volume II

    Dec 7

    We wrote before about the amusing announcement by the very weird John Karolzak that he wants to run for Mayor of Scottsdale.  Click here to read. We note that he describes himself on social media as a “health care executive.”  What a disservice to the words health, care and executive.  Dude was a lobbyist for an ambulance company.  At the state level.  At local levels throughout the Valley and region.  Records are easily available through +

  • Guest Editorial: A Very Special, Special Interest

    Dec 7

    By Scottsdale Pinetop In the age of “everyone is special” it’s often hard to stand out from the crowd. As an individual, a business and even as a community, our own special interests can easily be overshadowed. Scottsdale is no exception. In a city of greats, from the nationally acclaimed Barrett-Jackson Car Auction to spring training season, it’s easy to get lost in the fray. But one key group in Scottsdale has withstood the test +

  • Guest Editorial: The Electric Epidemic: Injuries from Electric Scooters Rise in the Valley

    Dec 6

    By Robert Rich In the midst of May, a monsoon of new transportation struck Scottsdale and Tempe. The electric scooter craze has had many fall in love with the pay-per-use form of transportation. While it’s understandably easy to laugh off any claims of them being a truly nefarious force brought upon Phoenix-Metro, a surprisingly large number of users have experienced some serious consequences from their use. These scooters have a bit more horsepower than meets +

  • Guest Editorial: Save Our Lake

    Dec 5

    By Scottsdale Pinetop What happens when a lake is not a lake but rather an irrigation reservoir? A small town community loses one of its biggest recreational assets. That’s the latest problem facing the beloved Woodland Lake in the Town of Pinetop-Lakeside. For years, residents, business owners and tourists alike have enjoyed the lake for its beauty and recreation. The park is home to baseball fields, a playground, tennis courts, walking trails and fishing dock. +

  • Guest Editorial: Grinched: ‘Christmas Lee’ Re-Instates His Holiday Light Show Despite City Of Phoenix’s Misbehavior Last Year

    Dec 4

    By Robert Rich Lee Sepanek’s (aka “Christmas Lee”) light show got on the cities’ radar a few times too many last year. The Phoenix resident’s home, located near 44th Street and Camelback Road, is normally an extravagant, shining beacon for the season’s Christmas Spirit starting Thanksgiving Night. However, the City of Phoenix took issue with Lee’s ambitions the year prior. After planning a fundraiser, in which Lee was selling hot cocoa, cookies and Christmas trinkets +

  • Yogi Berra Comes To Scottsdale: It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again

    Dec 4

    By Neighborhood Nelly Arizona pioneers didn’t just set up our state for the powerful. They did so for the people too. That’s why the referenda and initiative process and rights are enshrined in our State Constitution. Referendum rights allow citizens to challenge the decisions of their elected officials. Initiatives allow the people to bypass legislatures and city councils to propose their own laws. Not liking these rights the Arizona State Legislature, primarily led by Republicans,  +

  • Howard’s End?

    Dec 3

    Scottsdale resident Howard Myers was an important and critical voice that led to the Proposition 420 movement in Scottsdale.  Passed by a 71% margin on November 6th the vote stopped the ill-conceived Desert Discovery Center and enshrined more rights to city citizens when it comes to future changes in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. For that, Mr. Myers and many others deserve appreciation. Yet, the great question in Scottsdale these days is whether a group that +

  • Ambulance Chasers Need Not Apply

    Nov 29

    So John Karolzak wants to be the next Mayor of Scottsdale?  According to recent Facebook posts he apparently does.  Notwithstanding Elon Musk’s ambitions people are more likely to be on Mars in 2020 than ever seeing this lobbyist and gadfly presiding in the Kiva. Karolzak is an infamous name synonymous with loose professional morals in the ambulance business, where he has bounced around for many years.   Before losing his job with AMR, an ambulance +

  • Lancing The Boil

    Nov 29

    Few people have more conscientiously served Scottsdale over the many years than Virginia Korte.  Southern Scottsdale businesswoman.  Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce President.  Non-profit leader.  Stalwart supporter of Scottsdale public schools.  Early voice to preserve the McDowell Mountains.  She’s a Scottsdale Hall of Famer in every sense of the word.  She wants to be Mayor of Scottsdale, badly.  She’s considered it at various times in the past and was an early mover in the 2020 race when Mayor Jim Lane will be term limited. +

  • Guest Editorial: A Flagrant Foul: The University Of Arizona Reminds Us Of A Fundamental Issue With The NCAA

    Nov 29

    By Robert Rich The University of Arizona has gained national acclaim for its prestigious Division-1 basketball team. Only last summer, blue-chip prospect & Wildcat alumni Deandre Ayton was drafted first overall to the Phoenix Suns in the 2018 draft. However, the foundation in which the program was fostered appears to be crooked to its core. The University has reportedly spent at least $1.4 million in legal fees since the Wildcats’ assistant coach, Emanuel “Book” Richardson, +

  • Guest Editorial: Ward’s Never Ending Game of Political Musical Chairs

    Nov 29

    By Scottsdale Pinetop It seems these days Dr. Kelli Ward spends her days running to the next open political seat. And every time she’s left without a chair. Twice Ward has run for the U.S. Senate seat and both times she has never made it past the primary. Now she’s focusing her attention on becoming the next chair of the Grand Ol’ Party – as if the Arizona Republic Party didn’t have enough to worry +

  • Guest Editorial: The Novus Movement: Tempe’s Novus Innovation Corridor Promises Major Growth

    Nov 28

    by Robert Rich Anyone traveling through Downtown Tempe may have noticed the developing face-lift spanning from University Drive to Rural Road. While Tempe is no stranger to construction, the Novus Innovation Center promises to completely re-shape the landscape for both residences and businesses close to Arizona State University. The project is dropping its next phase and powering ahead. Amongst the project’s major additions in the next phase for the community is ASU’s and Catellus’ partnership +

  • Guest Editorial: Run Up to the Runoff

    Nov 27

    By Scottsdale Pinetop It’s been a whirlwind of an election season. After a chaotic Arizona’s U.S. Senate that dominated media headlines, the Phoenix mayoral runoff election is expected to be a quiet finale to the 2018 election season. But that doesn’t make it any less important. In fact, who will lead the nation’s fifth largest city might just be the biggest decision Phoenicians will have to make. Since none of the four candidates running for +

  • Realignment?

    Nov 26

    Ding dong the Desert Discovery Center (DDC) is dead.  According to this new article at azcentral.com, that is.   What good news. But is that where the resonance of this chapter of citizen rights and achievement ends? Well, let’s look at some fascinating voter data. Proposition 420, the citizen’s initiative brought by Desert Discovery Center opponents to effectively kill it, passed by staggering margins in big turnout, northern Scottsdale precincts.  In the DC Ranch one it +