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The Conservative’s Corner


Conservative's Corner

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.

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.

Featured Editorials

(SCOTTSDALE) — The Scottsdale City Council unanimously approved plans for the acclaimed Museum Square development in Old Town on Tuesday night. It was an achievement that led even one Councilwoman, Linda Milhaven, to call the project “historic”.

The Scottsdale Council voted 7-0 to approve development and parking plans for Macdonald Development Corp. to build a $300 million mixed-use project that will rejuvenate a 7.34-acre city parcel at Goldwater Boulevard near Marshall Way adjacent to Old Town’s Arts District.

The property is currently an abandoned transit station at the southern tip of Old Town Scottsdale.

Museum Square will bring new life to the property with a new hotel, restaurants and residential units. The project is adjacent to and will complement the Museum of the West and other nearby businesses.

Macdonald Development is buying the land from the city of Scottsdale for approximately $27 million. The development will also provide $8 million in construction sales tax revenue and generate $1 million annually in tax revenue for the city.

There were 20 speakers in favor of the Museum Square deal at the Scottsdale City Council meeting last night after extensive public outreach and creative solutions with nearby merchants. No speakers opposed the plan, a notable achievement for a project with the profile of Museum Square.

“We would like to thank the Scottsdale City Council and the entire community for the overwhelming support for Museum Square. We worked with the city, residents and business to come up with a win-win deal that will pump new energy and economic activity into an important Old Town Scottsdale property. We are excited to move forward with the next chapters of this project,” said Rob Macdonald, owner, founder and president of Macdonald Development Corp.

Gallery owners, Scottsdale Fire Fighters Association, the Museum of the West and GreasePaint Theatre among many others supported Museum Square and its benefits for Old Town and the city of Scottsdale.

The plans have gone from bad to worse. Much worse. A really bad idea that won’t die goes before the Scottsdale Planning Commission Wednesday. The negative impacts to a north Scottsdale area would be profound.

Not long ago we opined about a really bad idea to place a high density ‘senior living facility’ west of Thompson Peak on McDowell Mountain Ranch Road. The five acre parcel is zoned for five homes. A plan to build forty times that amount was unanimously rejected by the Scottsdale Planning Commission.  Here is a link to the article we wrote in September.


After this 200 unit three story nursing home complex being crushed by the Commission, the developer hired a former Scottsdale City Planner and found a way to game the system allowing him to re-submit this density drive for consideration. This is the definition of chutzpah. In fact, few if any can recall city planning staff doing such favors for a developer and allowing them to return back to Planning Commission as they are apparently being allowed to do.  It all seems very unseemly and unethical.

This project doesn’t belong in the area. If approved it will encourage more speculative developers to come to the area looking for similar density grabs for apartments and other uses that would change the low-scale nature of the area.

Simply put the developer is trying to cram 800 pounds in a hundred pound bag  As a result they are seeking with an exemption from Scottsdale’s landmark Environmentally Sensitive Lands Ordinance (as they did at the previous hearing) or a change that would see them screw the Arizona State Land Department, which has adjoining property and which is the city’s long-time partner to bring the McDowell Sonoran Preserve to life.

Besides area residents and citizens groups opposing the plan Westworld’s three largest events do too. The proposed project is adjacent to the events center. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that when you place a nursing home next to a thriving events center, people will complain about the noise, the lights, the horses, and who knows what else. That’s why you don’t build dense residential projects next to events centers. Even a turnip knows that.

But stupidity is not the issue. A three story, 200 unit nursing home sets a bad precedent for the area when only 5 homes on 5 acres are allowed now.  Putting more people in close proximity to WestWorld jeopardizes the future of Scottsdale’s equestrian jewel and what it can do to generate more tourism to help keep Scottsdale taxes low.

Let’s hope the Scottsdale Planning Commission again  sees this ridiculous request for what it is, as it wisely did before.

By Linda Milhaven —

Scottsdale is a wonderful place to live, visit, work, raise a family and retire. You know that. We all do. We enjoy our beautiful city thanks in large part to investments made in the past.

Now, it is our turn. And we must be the ones to continue to invest in our community’s quality of life.

Voting Yes on Questions 1, 2 and 3 on the November 5th ballot is the best way to secure Scottsdale’s present needs and future through a 58-project, $319 million infrastructure investment program.

For the first time in a long time, all seven Scottsdale City Council members agree that investment is needed to maintain our quality of life and enhance it and our community’s prosperity in the future. We all support all three questions. The seven of us don’t agree on much. But we do on this need and these questions.

You can see all the projects here:  https://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/elections/bond-2019-project-list.

The bonds will boost public safety. New fire stations will be built at 90th Street and Via Linda as well as the Hayden Road and the Loop 101. Police stations will get bulletproof glass. The City Jail, downtown public safety facilities as well as the Via Linda and Foothills police stations will get much needed renovations. Training facilities for our first responders will be modernized.

Questions 1, 2 and 3 will also help Scottsdale’s seniors, families and kids in all parts of our city. Among other items, Granite Reef and Via Linda Senior Centers will be renovated and expanded. The Granite Reef center will get new adult care services to help families needing care and assistance for their loved ones. A new 17-acre park will be built in the Whisper Rock area. Thompson Peak Park will get a new dog park. The Paiute Neighborhood Center in the southern part of the city will get much needed improvements so it can continue to offer critical community and social services including Head Start, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale and support for those escaping domestic violence.Read More

(SCOTTSDALE) — The Scottsdale Gallery Association — one of the preeminent arts organizations in the city and state — has endorsed Questions 1, 2 and 3 on the November 5th ballot.

The Scottsdale Gallery Association is a centerpiece of Scottsdale’s world-class arts community. The SGA represents art galleries and puts on the Every Thursday Night ArtWalk and the Scottsdale Gold Palette ArtWalk during the winter months.

Scottsdale voters have not approved a major bond program since 2000 leaving the city with infrastructure that needs repaired and community facilities and assets that need improved. Questions 1, 2 and 3 invest $319 million in 58 projects in all parts of Scottsdale.

“The bond investments will help Scottsdale’s maintain and enhance its place as a premier destination for the arts and culture. The infrastructure investments will make Old Town Scottsdale more pedestrian friendly and add public parking to the popular area. The bonds will also renovate the Stage 2 Theater at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and finish repairs of the Civic Center Plaza so both community icons can host events that make our community special. We strongly endorse Questions 1, 2 and 3,” said French Thompson, president of the Scottsdale Gallery Association.

The Scottsdale Gallery Association joins a diverse and deep roster of supporters of Voting Yes on all three bond questions in the November 5th election.

AARP Arizona, Coalition of Greater Scottsdale (COGS), Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors, Scottsdale Fire Fighters Association, Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce, Scottsdale Charros, Fraternal Order of Police, Arabian Horse Association of Arizona, Police Officers of Scottsdale Association (POSA), Arizona Quarter Horse Association and a unanimous Scottsdale City Council all back Questions 1, 2 and 3.

“We are thrilled with the breadth of support for investing in Scottsdale’s quality of life and future prosperity. Questions 1, 2 and 3 will help our arts community as well as our first responders, seniors and neighborhoods in all parts of Scottsdale,” said Andrea Alley, co-chair of the For The Best Scottsdale Campaign: Vote Yes on Question 1, 2 and 3.

The city of Scottsdale has mailed out ballots for the bond election to voters. This will be the city’s first all-mail election. Voters need to make sure to mail their ballots back to the city, so they are received and counted on November 5th.

A full list of the 58 projects in the three bond questions can be seen here:  www.scottsdaleaz.gov/elections/bond-2019-project-list.

By Recker McDowell —

Scottsdale ranks as one of the top cities in the entire country for people with disabilities.

That is according to a new study from financial research firm WalletHub which ranked cities based on accessibility, physicians per capita, in-home health care services and income levels of people with disabilities.

Scottsdale ranks number 2 nationally behind only South Burlington, Vermont. Other cities in the top five include St. Louis, Minneapolis and San Francisco. Other Arizona cities on the list include Chandler (14th), Gilbert (16th) and Tucson (23rd).

The high ranking for Scottsdale shows the community’s character. The city also has public spaces including parks and community assets such as Old Town Scottsdale which are accessible. Accessibility shows a community’s commitment as well as its investments.

Scottsdale voters have an opportunity in the November 5th election to invest even more in the city’s quality of life and future. Questions 1, 2 and 3 make overdue infrastructure repairs investments including making Old Town Scottsdale more accessible for pedestrians as well as repairs and improvements at Civic Center Plaza, Vista del Camino Park and McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park.

The Paiute Neighborhood Center which provides critical family and social services will get needed improvements to campus if voters approve Questions 1, 2 and 3.

Scottsdale has a great community fabric. The WalletHub research shows that. Scottsdale voters can invest even more in the community’s quality of life by Voting Yes on the three bond questions.

Some time ago the City of Mesa so mishandled the acquisition of Bailey’s Brake Shop as it sought to redevelop a part of its downtown that it sparked a statewide uproar leading to a landslide victory to protect property rights known as Proposition 206.

We can’t help but be reminded of that fight now as one of the weirdest rationales we have ever heard for opposing an application in Scottsdale has arisen.

But first, some background.

In 2016 the Arizona Department of Health Services awarded a new medical marijuana license for the South Scottsdale CHAA.  CHAA stands for Community Health Analysis Area.  The state, not the city or a developer, did so because the area is one of the most underserved in Arizona.  The state had a competitive bid process to select the licensee.  A Scottsdale-based group known as Sunday Goods was selected.

Cities, by law, cannot regulate medical marijuana licenses out of existence.  Indeed, there are now acute penalties for cities that run afoul of state law.  In this case, Scottsdale’s rigid medical marijuana regulations made it nearly impossible to cite the new license in the broad area the state had granted.

Ultimately, city staff identified a very small area on the east side of the Galleria Corporate Center where the state directed medical marijuana dispensary could go.

It took Sunday Goods considerable time to negotiate deals with property owners, including one housing a tattoo parlor, to allow the license to proceed.  Once achieved it made application to Scottsdale to build the facility.  Since being announced in February the ideas has garnered widespread support in public opinion polls as well as input to city officials with Councilwoman Virginia Korte reporting that 95% of her input on the project has been positive.  Read More

While Citizens United was the notorious U.S. Supreme Court case ushering in one of the worst campaign finance eras in American history, permitting the use of “dark money,” it describes in Scottsdale a terrific accomplishment.  No, we are not talking about the impressively diverse coalition that has come together to promote Scottsdale’s infrastructure needs on the November 5th ballot.

We are talking about the activism that led to important changes to the proposed Museum Square plan scheduled to be heard by the City Council on October 15th.  We do not need to go over the project’s many merits for the area or the city.  We have written of them frequently.

Today we commend an effort led by Scottsdale gallery owners Bob Pejman and French Thompson to effect changes to the project, primarily focused on parking, that appear to have cleared remaining concerns about Museum Square.  You see, Pejman and Thompson didn’t just complain.  They offered ideas and solutions, including ones after some turbulence following the unanimous approval by the Scottsdale Planning Commission.

Now it is up to the City Council on Tuesday night to find its voice to move this important project forward. While some on the dais may have reservations about changes that have been made or how to use proceeds from the sale of the city land, we encourage the Council to consider its approach for the compelling bond and infrastructure plan they unanimously agreed upon.  It was marked by important compromise.  We encourage that same spirit now for it truly was Scottsdale at its very best. Read More

By Joanne Copper Phillips, COGS PC Chairperson —

Participating in the in the bond campaign steering committee has been a unique experience; working alongside folks who have rarely been on the same side as me on any issue…yet here we stand, united, to encourage voters to invest in Scottsdale with infrastructure repairs, parks and recreation updates and expansion, and improved public safety facilities and technology to serve our growing community. This is about you and me-us- and maintaining the quality and beauty of our home, Scottsdale, on November 5!

Support for the three bond measures is substantial, but some residents have reservations. I completely understand the mistrust. Council has approved nearly every developer request for rezoning, increased height and density despite ongoing resident objections. Bonus height and density for paltry public benefits, inadequate parking, rezoning, upzoning, the list goes on. Thoughtful, planned and compatible growth has always been my approach and what I pushed for when I ran for Council seven years ago. If you don’t like what the majority council members are approving, vote in candidates who favor your opinions in 2020.

The bonds are a completely different issue-don’t jeopardize our tourism and tax base, don’t punish our seniors, children and community by refusing the repairs and upgrades we desperately need. We need to step up to repair and enhance our parks, senior centers, public safety and other important infrastructure. 

The pace of development has nothing to do with antiquated technology at our police stations. Nothing to do with adding needed adult-day care at a senior center or improving important social service centers like Paiute or increasing parking at Pinnacle Peak Park because people love it so much. Building new parks and fire stations, fixing leaking lakes in old parks and doing the basics at WestWorld so it can be an even better economic engine for the city is what we do for us, for our city, for our community.

I could go on. But hopefully you get the point.  Whether one is in a high-growth environment or a slower growth one, that community still needs good infrastructure. And you don’t pay for it with band aids from the General Fund.  You finance planned projects that meet current and future needs, especially in the low-interest rate environment we now enjoy. Read More

By Tom Silverman

Scottsdale has been my home since 1953. I have owned and operated businesses here and had the honor of serving on the Scottsdale City Council.

I served on the City Council in 2000 — the last time Scottsdale voters approved a major bond package.

Now, voters have an important choice before them on the November 5th ballot. Questions 1, 2 and 3 addresses a long list of infrastructure improvements and projects. The $319 million, 58-project program also solves many longstanding challenges our city faces and moves Scottsdale forward for current and future generations.

The infrastructure investments will help Scottsdale be a leader in solar energy by bringing new solar panels to city buildings and parking lots. They will also increase solar energy production at Appaloosa Library and install a new solar energy heating system at Eldorado Pool.

Scottsdale is a world-class arts destination. The bonds will help us keep it that way by renovating the Stage 2 Theater at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts as well as making Old Town Scottsdale even more hospitable to tourists and residents through more public parking and pedestrian improvements.

WestWorld — another key tourism driver at the geographic heart of the city that generates $111.7 million in economic impact and close to 1,900 jobs — needs upgrades so it can keep hosting events and stay competitive. Questions 1, 2 and 3 will repair WestWorld’s horse barns and renovate its arena so it can host even more events.Read More

By Recker McDowell —

Opendoor, a leading real estate technology firm, is moving from Scottsdale where it has 250 employees to Tempe where it is looking to expand to 1,000 workers.

The move is a familiar one for Scottsdale.

Opendoor joins McKesson, Harkins Theatres and other companies who have left, are leaving or have not landed in Scottsdale. Often, those employers simply cannot find enough Class A office in Scottsdale to land or expand there.

San Francisco-based Opendoor is leaving The Quad development in southern Scottsdale for a larger block of space at the new Watermark project on the north side of Tempe Town Lake.

Scottsdale is a desirable destination for employees and their workers. That includes the social media and tech firms that have landed at the Scottsdale Galleria.

But other firms such as McKesson and now Harkins Theatres are moving to new developments on the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community. Others such as Opendoor are landing in Tempe which has seen significant new developments since the last recession, and even more is planned.

The lack of new Class A space coupled with employers having other options of where to land in the Valley is a challenge for Scottsdale.

It is a challenge that Scottsdale leaders need to think about and address as they chart economic development efforts.

By Recker McDowell —

Vice President Mike Pence and YouTube star and cosmetics influencer Jeffree Star don’t have a lot in common on the surface.

But they do have a recent similarity. Both the conservative Pence and the not-so conservative Star were both recently in Scottsdale for events. Pence visited Scottsdale during a recent visit to Arizona and meeting with Gov. Doug Doug Ducey and U.S. Sen. Martha McSally. Star (who has 14.3 million Instagram followers) was at an event for fans with another cosmetics influencer Lipsticknick (791,000 Instagram followers).

That shows just how diverse and attractive Scottsdale is as a destination and place to be.

Scottsdale still has its roots in the arts, equestrian and cultural events and golf. WestWorld of Scottsdale is the only U.S. venue on the shortlist to host the International Equestrian World Championships in 2022.

But the city is also a sports destination, ranks as Arizona’s best foodie city and is also attractive to younger tourists and residents for the social scene as well as events like the one Star just headlined.

That says something about Scottsdale that is a place where both Pence and YouTube and Instagram influencers host events.

Scottsdale has an internationally known brand. But it does take efforts and investments. That means an economic development policy that  builds on Scottsdale’s attractiveness to tech companies, creatives and younger workers.

It also means investing in the city’s current and future. Bond Questions 1, 2 and 3 on the November 5th ballot accomplish that. The Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Civic Center Plaza, WestWorld of Scottsdale and Pinnacle Peak Park all get improvements in the 58-project, $319 million bond program.

Old Town Scottsdale will get pedestrian improvements and more public parking to better link residents and visitors to art galleries, cultural events, shopping and dining.

Scottsdale’s brand and amenities are diverse. The city should keep on investing in that brand including via Questions 1, 2 and 3.

(SCOTTSDALE) — The For The Best Scottsdale Political Action Committee is hosting a forum on Tuesday, October 8th on Questions 1, 2 and 3 on the November 5th ballot at the Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS® 8600 E Anderson Drive, Scottsdale.

The free event runs 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. It will offer Scottsdale residents information on the three bond questions and their importance for the city’s quality of life and future economic prosperity.

This is a prime opportunity for Scottsdale voters to learn about the 58 projects in the $319 million bond program and have their questions answered.

The forum features Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane, Scottsdale Fire Fighters Association President Sasha Weller and Paula Sturgeon, co-chair of the For The Best Scottsdale Campaign: Vote Yes on Questions 1, 2 and 3.

Don Henninger, founder and executive director of the Scottsdale Coalition for Today and Tomorrow, will moderate the October 8th event.

The Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS® is hosting a ‘Taco Tuesday’ as part of the bond forum. There will be free tacos and a cash bar presented by Café PRANZO.

“We are excited to host the bond forum and help voters learn about the importance of Questions 1, 2 and 3. These ballot measures are critical to our city’s ability to deliver the quality of life we have all come to expect,” said Rebecca Grossman, CEO of the Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS®.

Scottsdale has not approved a major bond program since 2000 leaving the city with infrastructure, facilities and public amenities that need repaired or improved. The November 5th election is an all-mail ballot. The city of Scottsdale will mail out ballots to registered voters on October 9th. Voters need to mail their ballots to the city and have them received by November 5th to be counted.

A full list of the 58 projects in the three questions can be seen here:  www.scottsdaleaz.gov/elections/bond-2019-project-list

By Vernon B. Parker —

I once had the honor of serving as the Mayor of Paradise Valley. There I opposed unnecessary government spending and new taxes that were not needed.  Today, the Town is better off because of those efforts.

Now, I proudly live in Scottsdale. Scottsdale’s fantastic quality of life is elevated by our wonderful amenities, well-maintained infrastructure and well-equipped first responders.

A world-class city doesn’t just happen. A premier community takes planning and smart investing.  More importantly, it takes good infrastructure.  That is where Voting Yes on Questions 1, 2 and 3 on the November 5th ballot comes in. This infrastructure package invests $319 million into 58 projects in all parts of Scottsdale.

Does that cost homeowners a few bucks? It does, but it’s worth it, especially since the impacted secondary property taxes are projected to keep going down due to a variety of factors. While this package is certainly not free, as some councilmembers have noted, there is little question that each taxpayer still comes out ahead.

Taxes would go down a little more if people voted new infrastructure down, but that doesn’t make a lot of sense if taxes will still decline even if we vote Yes. That is why this fiscally conservative Republican will join others in voting Yes on all three questions. Read More

(SCOTTSDALE) — The Scottsdale Fraternal Order of Police — a leading public safety and law enforcement group representing first responders — has endorsed all three Scottsdale bond questions on the November 2019 ballot.

The Scottsdale Fraternal Order of Police is strongly supporting Questions 1, 2 and 3 joining a diverse coalition of supporters including other public safety groups, community and neighborhood advocates, arts and tourism leaders and a unanimous Mayor and Scottsdale City Council.

“The bonds include significant investments and infrastructure improvements for public safety as well as for projects that will enhance Scottsdale’s quality of life and prosperity. These investments are crucial for our first responders in Scottsdale. There is no doubt they will help us do our jobs better for the people we serve. We enthusiastically and energetically support Questions 1, 2 and 3 on the November 5th ballot,” said Keegan DeShotel, President of the Scottsdale Fraternal Order of Police.

The Fraternal Order of Police (Scottsdale Lodge #35) has 275 members and is a part of the largest law enforcement labor organization in the United States with more than 348,000 members. The Scottsdale Fire Fighters Association and Police Officers of Scottsdale Association (POSA) have also endorsed Questions 1, 2 and 3.

If approved by voters, the bond program will install new bulletproof glass at Scottsdale Police stations, renovate and modernize the City Jail as well as the Via Linda and Foothills police stations and upgrade public safety training facilities and the city’s 911 systems. The bonds will also build two new fire stations at Hayden Road and the Loop 101 freeway and at Via Linda and 90th Street.

The bonds will also build a new 17-acre park in the northern part of the city and improve existing parks and youth sports facilities, expand the Via Linda and Granite Reef senior centers and repair infrastructure on Indian Bend Wash and Civic Center Plaza.

A full list of the 58 projects in the three questions can be seen here:  https://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/elections/bond-2019-project-list

“Scottsdale voters have not approved a major bond program since 2000. We are overdue for infrastructure repairs and important investments in our quality of life. Questions 1, 2 and 3 are important for public safety, seniors and Scottsdale’s economic vitality,” said Dana Close, co-chair of the For The Best Scottsdale Campaign: Vote Yes on Questions 1, 2 and 3.

The Scottsdale Charros, The Thunderbirds, the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce, Coalition of Greater Scottsdale (COGS) and the Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS and a deep roster of community leaders and neighborhood advocates have come together to back all three bond questions on the November 5th ballot.

By Recker McDowell —

Technology company Limelight Networks has moved its headquarters from Tempe to Scottsdale.

Limelight has moved 220 employees from Mill Avenue to Scottsdale’s ASU SkySong development at McDowell and Scottsdale roads.

This is a bit of a reversal of fortunes. Scottsdale has lost jobs, headquarters and companies because it does not have new or available Class A office space.

McKesson moved a major and now growing operations center from the Scottsdale Galleria to the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community. Harkins Theatres is also moving its corporate headquarters from Scottsdale to a new development on the Salt River.

Other tenants including technology and financial services firms have landed in Tempe, Chandler and Gilbert because Scottsdale doesn’t have enough Class A space.

Limelight Networks move to Scottsdale shows the appeal and success of the ASU SkySong development. The project has seen continued growth with new office buildings, restaurants and a hotel.

Limelight’s move from Tempe to SkySong should serve as a reminder of how desirable Scottsdale is for employers, their workers and prospective tenants.

The success of the Scottsdale Galleria in attracting the likes of Indeed.com, Zillow and Yelp shows that.

The success of SkySong where Limelight joins other tech firms led by Oracle and Amazon.com shows that.

Scottsdale can land more top employers and their workers. It just needs the Class A office space to attract them.

The introduction of new medical marijuana dispensaries, in any city, can often be a raucous debate.

Interestingly, that hasn’t been the case for a proposed “Sunday Goods” one set to replace a tattoo parlor on the east side of the Galleria Corporate Center in downtown Scottsdale.

Perhaps that’s because of its upscale design, similar to what the company is doing on State Street, the main boulevard in Santa Barbara, or in Napa Valley.

Or maybe it’s due to the deep citywide support for the plan as polled by Public Opinion Strategies, the most experienced and accurate survey research firm on Scottsdale matters in the past two decades. Their survey earlier this year also found that those closest to the site in southern Scottsdale favor it by the greatest margins.

Or perhaps the lack of rancor is due to Scottsdale’s four existing dispensaries operating responsibly. The city’s Chief of Police reports few if any issues.

Finally, perhaps the substantial support is due to Scottsdale’s sophisticated city government and electorate understanding that when the Arizona Department of Health Services issued a new license three years ago for the southern Scottsdale CHAA (Community Health Analysis Area) it did so because it is one of the most underserved in the state. And it cannot, by law, be legislated out of existence.

Yet, with the City Council set to vote on the matter tomorrow night tranquility has given way to several eye rolling tactics.

First, a former city employee apparently representing the family that owns the Skin strip club is conveying bogus information to electeds because that family wants to get into the medical marijuana space. Gee, doesn’t that sound great? That ownership group versus the local one of accomplished businesspeople that make up Sunday Goods. It’s important to note that if and hopefully when Sunday Goods is approved Scottsdale’s radius restrictions and other requirements make it impossible for another dispensary to locate in the area. Those restrictions, by the way, include restricting the hours of operation from 6a-7p.

Second, a few property owners have banded together to form a “legal protest.” That means the City Council must approve the measure by five votes not four. Surely this small number has banded together to prevent too much sin in their neighborhood, right? Well, one of the supposedly aggrieved property owners is Giligin’s. This colorful bar has promoted such things as a Mini-Bar staffed by little people as well as very raunchy Facebook posts. Such perfect purveyors of moral policing they are. And then there is Social Tap, owned by a California property owner who just added a second story rooftop bar to his struggling business. Little if any of the justification for the “protest” obviously has to do with clean living. Instead, it appears a developer is making the rounds promising payments as he attempts to assemble the block for a tall development.

Third, there are even rumblings that criticism might come because dispensaries are allowed to deliver prescriptions. And this project shouldn’t be approved because southern Scottsdale residents can just have product delivered from Tempe or further away. Wow, good thing they are not in charge of our retail economy, abandoning it all to Amazon. Such observations don’t understand that delivery is a convenience for those who don’t wish to purchase in person, or who cannot do so. State law doesn’t permit a wholesale change of the bricks and mortar pharmacy experience for something like UberEats.

Just a few weeks ago the Scottsdale Planning Commission approved the Sunday Goods application on a 6-1 vote. They understood, even if they may have personal reservations about the use, that it is the law of the land. They also seemed to understand the quality of the application and that places such as Aspen, Beverly Hills and Telluride have continued to equip themselves quite well, even while the law evolved there too.

Scottsdale residents get it. The Planning Commission got it. And hopefully the Scottsdale City Council will too because if past is prologue its previous approvals of medical marijuana facilities have worked out very well, just like this one will too.

By Virginia Korte —

You may know that I grew up in the car business here in Scottsdale. So I know how important it is to keep up with the repairs and maintenance of vehicles.

Car and truck dealerships like the one I used to run recommend a schedule of maintenance to not only minimize costly repairs, but to also maximize driver safety.

Voters haven’t passed a significant bond proposal in almost 20 years. It is critical that we invest in our city’s infrastructure. When we do that, it protects our quality of life, keeps us safe and helps attract and retain businesses that fuel our economy and generate jobs.

Voting YES on the three bond questions will help us approve the bond proposal, which will create the kinds of experiences our visitors enjoy and encourage them to return for vacations and professional outings.

I am proud about how our city is evolving. Many people, both past and present, deserve a lot of credit for their vision and dedication to making Scottsdale the special place it is today. Now it is up to us to continue that commitment.

Your mail-in ballot will be mailed to you October 9th. I ask you to join me and my City Council colleagues, who unanimously support the bond proposal, in voting YES on Questions 1, 2 and 3.

Thank You —  Virginia L. Korte

(SCOTTSDALE) — The For The Best Scottsdale Campaign: Vote Yes on Questions 1, 2 and 3 will hold a special, community event on October 5th at the Ice Den Scottsdale, thanks to a donation from the facility.

It will take place from Noon to 2 p.m. The event will also feature free food and drinks in the 18 Degrees Neighborhood Grill, an appearance by our campaign mascot Scottsdale Scotty and information about the three bond questions before Scottsdale voters.

Space is limited so please RSVP by contacting Campaign Manager Mary Turner at (928) 242-6991 with number of attendees. The free skate is available for the first 100 people who RSVP. Pre-registration is required.

Questions 1, 2 and 3 make needed infrastructure repairs and community investments in public safety, senior centers, parks and youth sports facilities.

“Among many other benefits the infrastructure improvements on the November ballot create incredible new recreational opportunities for so many Scottsdale families and children. There are few better places than the Ice Den to showcase these benefits. The free event will give Scottsdale residents and families a chance to enjoy skating and fun at the Ice Den while learning about how important Questions 1, 2 and 3 are for Scottsdale’s quality of life and future prosperity,” said Dennis Robbins, co-chair of the For The Best Scottsdale Campaign.

The three bond measures will invest $319 million in 58 projects in all parts of Scottsdale. That includes expanding Cactus Pool, improvements to the Eldorado Pool, Indian School Park and the Scottsdale Tennis Center and building 13 new youth sports field near WestWorld, the geographic center of Scottsdale. Those new fields will help alleviate waiting lists and backlogs for space experienced by youth sports teams and leagues. They will also be available to major Scottsdale events for overflow parking, just as occurs now at various parks and facilities in the city.

The Ice Den supports Questions 1, 2 and 3 and is a part of the diverse community coalition supporting the infrastructure investments. The Coalition of Greater Scottsdale, Scottsdale Charros, The Thunderbirds, Phoenix Rising FC, Barrett-Jackson, Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce, Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS, AARP Arizona, youth sports groups and coaches as well as a unanimous Scottsdale City Council have endorsed all three questions.

“Scottsdale is a great community and we are proud to call it home. We need to make infrastructure repairs and invest in parks, youth sports, public safety and senior centers. Questions 1, 2 and 3 will accomplish that,” said Mike O’Hearn, President of the Ice Den Scottsdale.

There’s bad.  And then there is comically bad. The latter arrived before the Scottsdale Planning Commission last night in the form of a “senior living facility” on McDowell Mountain Ranch Road on WestWorld’s eastern border.

The application sought to supersize the currently entitled 5 homes on 5 acres into 161 units.  In presenting their case its lobbyist forgot or failed to present a single neighbor in support, an operator, or basically anyone with any justification for the request.  But the best, or worst, part of all? The obvious entitlement grab sought to be the first private development in Scottsdale’s history to be exempt from the city’s landmark Environmentally Sensitive Lands Ordinance (ESLO).  Also add in opposition from WestWorld’s top three events, the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, Scottsdale Quarterhorse Show and Barrett-Jackson.  They correctly pointed out that adding more residential in and around WestWorld is counterproductive to growing the property as an economic development driver.  Jason Alexander’s post on social media days before the vote also captured a lot of attention, and it wasn’t in favor of the obscene.

It all had the feeling of watching an old MTV Punk’d episode.  How long could an awful proposal last before people started laughing, or get thrown out of the room?

Fortunately, it didn’t take long.  Led by Planning Commissioner Christian Serena, commissioners quickly understood that altering ESLO is a policy and political don’t.  ESLO like the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, billboard banishment, public art and Indian Bend Wash are among the progressive steps that make Scottsdale special and different. Infringe on them and you infringe on the core of Scottsdale itself.  Any developer can come up with an excuse why there should be an exception.  It takes the spine of people like Serena, Paul Alessio, Renee Higgs, Ali Fakih, and Prescott Smith to say no. Read More

By Recker McDowell —

Kate Gallego recently hit the six-month mark as Phoenix mayor.

Gallego noted her for first 6 months in an office in a recent tweet touting a new Harkins Movie Theatre coming to Laveen, the defeat of Propositions 105 and 106 (which aimed at light rail and the city’s pension system) and new city restrictions on so-called ‘dark money’.

Gallego also pointed out the Phoenix City Council now has a major of members who are moms.

The city did hit a legal setback in an Arizona Supreme Court ruling siding with Christian calligraphy artists who challenged a Phoenix ordinance extending discrimination protections to the LGBTQ community.

But Gallego has shown continued growth and maturation as mayor after previously serving on the Phoenix City Council.

Gallego is a Democrat and a progressive on a number of issues. But even conservatives should give a nod to her measured, mature and reasoned approach to issues large and small.

That’s not always easy in today’s social media and scorched earth approach to politics at all levels.

Gallego’s social media footprint certainly had advocacy against Propositions 105 and 106. But it is also about the new mayor visiting and promoting local businesses, new job creators, community groups and neighborhoods.

We saw considerable growth and maturation from Gallego during the Phoenix mayor’s race where she defeated Daniel Valenzuela (both of whom previously served on the Phoenix City Council).

Six months into her term, Gallego has continued to show political talents, instincts and an increasing comfort level.

The city has challenges, including an increasing homeless population and what path to take on police oversight.

Gallego and other Democrats, including U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, will also have to navigate how to operate effectively and efficiently in a national political climate dominated by President Donald Trump on the right and progressives, socialists and impeach Trump diehards on the left.

But it’s been ‘so far, go good’ for Kate Gallego during her first months at the helm in Phoenix.

2020 Scrum

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

By Outlaw Dirty Money 2020

Outlaw Dirty Money today announced that two national democracy reform organizations, End Citizens United and Voters’ Right to Know, have endorsed the campaign’s 2020 ballot initiative.  The endorsements come after ODM’s successful launch and a bi-partisan rollout of initial endorsements from current and former elected officials.

“Arizona voters overwhelmingly support our initiative and we’re not surprised that others are taking notice,” said Terry Goddard, Co-Chair of Outlaw Dirty Money. “Whenever Arizonans have the chance to vote in favor of Outlawing Dirty Money, they do.  With the support of thousands of Arizonans and a growing grassroots army of volunteers, we’re confident our movement will be successful.”

“The flood of dark money in politics is drowning out the voices of Arizona families, and it’s skewing policy outcomes to benefit mega-donors and corporate special interests,” said ECU President Tiffany Muller. “The Outlaw Dirty Money amendment will shine a much-needed light on unlimited and undisclosed political spending in Arizona. End Citizens United is proud to endorse the amendment, and we look forward to connecting our Arizona members to the campaign to fight back against the corrupting influence of Big Money.”

Read More