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2018 Scrum

By State Treasurer Jeff DeWit

PHOENIX – The Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund, also referred to the Schools’
Endowment, reached another new milestone under State Treasurer Jeff DeWit growing to $5.57
billion at the end of April 2017.

“The hard work and incredible staff at the State Treasurer’s Office continues to produce great
investment results,” Treasurer Jeff DeWit said. “After beating most university endowments in
2016, the winning streak continues for our schools’ Endowment.”

Last year, the fund’s return beat many of the large public investment funds in the United States
including CalPERS, CalSTERS, Dartmouth, MIT, Stanford and Harvard.

“Managing the investments internally, right here in the Arizona Treasurer’s Office, has been a
huge win for our schools as it allows them to earn more and keep more of their money,” DeWit
said. “These record earnings are on top of the fact the Endowment has paid out nearly $225
million to schools this fiscal year, more than any year in Arizona’s history with two months to
go.”

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by Andy Biggs

Friend,

The false claim that Trump conspired with Russia to engineer the 2016 election has reached the height of absurdity. The media and Democrats are trying to bamboozle the country by conflating several isolated incidents. I just wrote in the Washington-Examiner that  they have no evidence but have created a story that combines the allegations about the Russians and the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

They have made three false claims against Trump and I have refuted them in my op-ed. You can read it here.

Thank you for your continued support,

Andy Biggs

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By Senator Jeff Flake

Enough is enough. The “9th Circus” madness must end. Arizonans deserve justice from the mountain west, not California. That’s why I’ve sponsored a bill to move Arizona into a new circuit.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is too large to be effective and has been for too long. 20% of our nation’s population lives in the 9th and it houses 40% of our nation’s landmass. They take 15 months to make a decision because they are so backed up in their work.

There’s no reason to protect an overworked and overburdened Court. 
I’ve introduced a bill with John McCain that will split the 9th and create a new, 12th Circuit Court of Appeals because Arizonans and other Western states don’t have the bedrock principle of swift justice found in the rest of our nation.

Justice delayed is justice denied. Join me in fighting for a solution for Arizona.

We need courts that are fair and effective for everyone, not political institutions. Let’s make it happen.


Thank you,

Jeff Flake

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By Sal DiCiccio
6th District, Phoenix City Council

Do you know what modern government corruption looks like? In order to see it, you’ll first need to let go of many of the stereotypes you hold true.

For example, many believe the government helps the poor. The truth, however, is a ruse as old as civilization: Government takes on a worthy cause, like building a school or affordable housing. After the project goes out to bid, the governmental entity selects itself as the developer.

Government staff then hires their family and friends to service the contract. And when all is said and done, the project costs twice as much, is half as good, and creates permanent city staff that now must find a new project to work on to protect their jobs.
Under this model, modern day government takes a noble cause, like helping the poor, and turns it into a corrupt type of “good graft” benefiting the insiders who profit off the good will of the public.

Let me give you a real-life example. In Phoenix, local politicians approved an affordable housing apartment project for the poor on land the city already owned. The housing, which should have cost $150,000 per unit, ended up costing around $281,000 per unit for a simple apartment unit. As a comparison, the median cost of a single-family home in the Phoenix is $195,000.

Around the same time, in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Phoenix, a luxury apartment complex built and owned by the private sector was sold at a price considered the highest ever in the City of Phoenix. It had every high-end finish and amenity. This luxurious apartment complex sold for $277,000 a unit ‒ about the same as the "affordable housing" apartment complex the taxpayers were forced to pay for in the example above.

So what went wrong? The “good graft.”

To start, the City of Phoenix gave itself the ability to self-select. This meant that even though there were multiple bids on the project from the private sector at about half the cost, Phoenix was able to select itself as the developer.

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By Team Ducey

Friend -
Arizona's been in the national spotlight for educational excellence this month.

This week, five Arizona high schools made the U.S. News & World Report top ten public high schools in the nation -- more than any other state. We know how to educate a child in Arizona, and Governor Ducey is working hard to ensure every student has access to a high-quality public education.

Earlier this month, The Weekly Standard published an article highlighting Governor Ducey’s commitment to school choice.

Here's what they said about Governor Ducey:

“Governor Doug Ducey, already a hero to free-market conservatives for his deregulatory crusade against occupational licensing laws, will sign whatever universal education savings account (ESA) expansion makes it to his desk… In a statement to The Weekly Standard, Ducey lavished praise on the state’s achievements in school choice, saying, ‘Arizona provides a model for the nation of the value in putting parents in the driver’s seat of their kids’ education.’”

Read the full article here and share it with your friends !

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By Sal DiCiccio
Phoenix City Council Member

Councilman Danny Valenzuela calls this a "good deal." I call it INSANE.

This is the same logic some of the same politicians used when they used your money to build the Sheraton losing $145 million of your hard-working taxpayers dollars.

Money that could've gone for more police on our streets.

Please read this article from Laurie Roberts:

ANOTHER TAX GIVEAWAY IN PHOENIX

Laurie Roberts

Arizona Republic 4-20-17

Last month, Phoenix was sued for allowing a developer to skip paying $8 million in property taxes in return for building a 19-story apartment complex near Roosevelt Row in downtown Phoenix.

The city’s continuing tax giveaways – which leave you and I holding the bag for select developers’ share of funding public schools – have prompted a crackdown at the Arizona Legislature. Our leaders, in one of their rare good moves,recently voted to limit these giveaways beginning later this summer to eight years, down from the current 25.

And the city’s response to the legislation and the lawsuit by the Goldwater Institute?

On Wednesday, the Phoenix City Council voted 7-2 to allow yet another developer to skip paying $9 million in property taxes in return for building three apartment towers near Roosevelt Row. (Councilmen Sal DiCiccio and Jim Waring were the no votes.)

Phoenix wants what the market can't support

A city spokesman says the properties eventually will pay three times the property taxes they’d pay if only a four- or five-story apartment complex was built where these 29-, 25- and 19-story buildings will go in. ($6.9 million over 20 years as opposed to $2.4 million.)

That’s if the schools can wait 20 years, that is.

Five percent of the units will be "affordable" housing.

City leaders say the giveaway – technically called a government property lease excise tax -- allows developers to build the types of projects city leaders envision – the sort the free market doesn't support. (Sort of a like a certain downtown Phoenix hotel.)

“This is going to change the Phoenix skyline now instead of 20 years from now,” Councilman Daniel Valenzuela saidWednesday, in approving the deal.

This is, of course, the same old story we’ve been hearing for decades from Phoenix City Hall as city leaders hand out GPLETs like gumdrops.

Lots of developers got this pass

A fair chunk of downtown Phoenix has been given a pass on paying property taxes -- or anything even close to their fair share of the tab.

The Phelps Dodge building got a GPLET. So did CityScape. Renaissance Square has one (both Tower One and Tower Two). So does the Collier Center. And the Westin and Freeport McMoran and at least five apartment complexes along Roosevelt Row.

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The city is a land of great things.  Hikes. Preserves.  Arts.  Imaginative waterways. People.  Nightclubs.  Restaurants.  Spring training.  Special events.  And golf.

Golf is a driver of tourism, the city’s most important industry.  The sport’s economic impact is staggering.  But most tourists can’t play the plethora of private links at Desert Mountain, Desert Highlands, Whisper Rock and Estancia, among others. 4616339842_37a281d7c6_z

It’s the other courses, the public ones, which play the unquestioned, unrivaled and accessible role for tourists.

And first among Scottsdale’s public course equals is Troon North.  Its two 18-hole courses are holes in ones for Scottsdale coffers.  Indeed, Troon North has been recognized by the Golf Channel, Golf Digest, Travel+Leisure and Conde Nast media not just as the best public course in Arizona, but among the best in the United States.

Simply put, Troon North is a Scottsdale point of pride, a tourism trophy that doubles as a gathering spot for the 1800 homeowners that make up the community.

So while residents are used to twosomes and foursomes imagine the shock when a group of  developers showed up to triple the density of a timeshare plan on a beautiful plot of land at the entrance to Troon North, adjacent to the landmark clubhouse.  That would be like seeing Cindy Crawford with acne.

Yet, City of Scottsdale planning staff doesn’t seem to want to play the role of Clearasil.  They are supporting the Floridians call to triple the timeshares at Troon North, forsaking the common sense count from the property’s original count in the low 20s for a Boca Raton like bounty in the 60s. 

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There are two epic boxing matches upcoming.  The undefeated Floyd Mayweather versus MMA fighter Conor McGregor followed by Canelo Alvarez versus GGG in September.  Both are likely tame in comparison to the best fight in Arizona today between; that between civil rights activist Jarrett Maupin and the Arizona Republic.  This is a blog outpost of opinion.  But sometimes no opinion is necessary.  Just read the exchange yourself.  First, the Republic's harpooning of Maupin and the Reverend's most spirited response.

Arizona Republic: As Jarrett Maupin sought justice for a Phoenix family, he also asked them for cash
By Richard Ruelas and Megan Cassidy

The Rev. Jarrett Maupin placed his arms around a weeping Lorenza Valdez and started speaking to the bank of television cameras set up tightly along a wall of her trailer. It had been 11 days since Phoenix police shot and killed Valdez's son Francisco, his body falling inches from where she now stood.

Maupin thanked reporters for coming to the news conference he had called. He said he was there because the Valdez family had reached out to him. “They want justice in this situation,” the civil-rights activist told reporters.

Days earlier, Maupin had wanted money.

The next day, Maupin pressed her, saying he had already fronted the money by dipping into his own pocket. "Let me know when you might be able to get the funds," he wrote.

To get the money, Valdez borrowed from friends and neighbors. For Valdez, who cleans houses during 10- to 12-hour workdays, the money represented approximately one month’s earnings.

Maupin said the money he received from Valdez was not for himself. He said that Valdez had demanded he hire a private investigator and a photographer and that the money was going to them.

“The things the Valdez woman paid for were things she wanted that were outside of the normal scope of advocacy,” Maupin said in an interview with The Arizona Republic.

Valdez said Maupin had been a regular visitor to her trailer until he got the money. Then, she said, he stopped coming around.

Maupin told her he was planning a protest outside Phoenix City Hall. But, in a series of texts, he canceled that protest three separate times, rescheduling it for varying reasons.

The third and final cancellation came about half an hour before the scheduled rally. Valdez said she received that notice while she stood with neighbors at her trailer park in west Phoenix. They were waiting for the buses Maupin had promised would take them downtown.

Click here to read the entire article.

Maupin Response:
The Reverend Jarrett Maupin's response to being the subject of an incredibly error-filled and indisputably biased article that appeared in or on media platforms controlled by The Arizona Republic today...

For Immediate Release...

July, 11th, 2017

Media Alert

The Reverend Jarrett Maupin's response to being the subject of an incredibly error-filled and indisputably biased article that appeared in or on media platforms controlled by The Arizona Republic today:

"I have never been more disappointed or sickened by a media report in The Arizona Republic, than I was today. To be the subject of vicious lies, fabricated scandal, and then to be publicly defamed by a series of professional, personal, and social insult quotes is a form of abuse that the leaders of our paper of record should be concerned about,

"I would like to address several outright lies in the article:

First of all, I am the leader of a years old quasi-religious non-profit social welfare organization that, in-part, functions as a church. This was publicly available information that the so-called journalists that authored this story failed to research or simply ignored. I have also served with distinction as an interim minister and associate minister at several churches.

Second, I do not and never have charged hundreds or thousands of dollars in fees to anyone that came to me with a civil rights concern. I engage in civil rights activism that is totally free and self-sustaining. Completely separate and apart from this community work, I do operate a consulting firm that is exclusively focused on political, business, and community development issues and clientele. These two areas of work function independently of each other and are absolutely unrelated.

Third, I do not and have not ever attempted to solicit money from, manage money for, or demand any sort of donation or contribution from ANY person I have ever advocated for. In fact, The Arizona Republic article states that of ALL of the people they interviewed only two people made this baseless and low accusation. Both of these people have either a personal or political motivation to make these disparaging claims.

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Watching Hillary Clinton before or Republicans in Congress now it’s no wonder much of America felt the need to send Donald Trump to the swamp.  2016 was a requiem for the revolting.  Fortunately, jolts to the political system are not always necessary.  In some places thoughtful is better than turbulent and mild-mannered to maniacal.

One example is in Paradise Valley, Arizona where a man with three names serves as an antidote for a more famous one with two.  He’s Jerry Bien-Willner.  Councilman Bien-Willner.

He exudes competence and goodness.  He’s courteous.  He’s smart, never a smart ass.  He personifies the notion of not being disagreeable even when there are disagreements.

Bien-Willner is a model for anyone in the arena.  And the public arena is very lucky to have him.

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As many head to the beach this holiday weekend, put the novel or Kindle down.  We’re more interesting.  For example:

*Scottsdale’s aggressive and effective anti-Desert Discovery Center grassroots group may spawn a 2018 Scottsdale City Council candidate:  Jason Alexander.  Downtown businessman Bill Crawford is also likely to challenge the incumbent line-up of Kathy Littlefield, David Smith and Linda Milhaven.

*The group has collected many thousands of signatures on its way towards forcing a public vote on the Desert Discovery Center via the initiative process.

*Keep an eye on Scottsdale Unified School District Board Member Pam Kirby.

*Politically, Arizona State Treasurer and top Trump surrogate Jeff DeWit still isn’t sure where 2017 and 2018 might take him.

*Pulte Homes has received the green light from the Glendale City Council to pump a $450 million, master-planned community investment into southern Glendale close to the Arizona Cardinals’ stadium

*Frank Schmuck is looking to gear up and get a new consultant on board for a renewed run for the Arizona State Legislature.

*Governor Ducey is making an underappreciated effort to focus on and secure Arizona’s water future. 

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Check out this article in the Scottsdale Republic showcasing the status quo sycophants of the Scottsdale Unified School District. Here is a link.

What planet do these chastisers of reform live on?

Superintendent Denise Birdwell is rightfully seeking key changes.  What else is she to do?  Accept mediocrity or in some cases tragic outcomes?

Like all school districts Scottsdale is no exception to the funding challenges imposed by conditions in the State of Arizona, both political and economic, over the past decade.  Scottsdale public schools also face potent competition from some of the best charter schools in the country such as BASIS Scottsdale and Great Hearts, as well as a bevy of private schools.

So the choice for Birdwell and the district’s Governing Board is simple:  innovate and improve.  Or wither and die a slow death.

Those who have been slow to adapt to the changing landscape, the educrats of inertia, don’t like the change agent that is Birdwell.  Nowhere is their recalcitrance more repugnant than when it comes to Coronado.  Once a point of pride in southern Scottsdale it’s now an impediment to a continuing renaissance of those neighborhoods.  Graduation rates and academic performance has been poor, to put it mildly.  So Birdwell decided to clean most of the deteriorating house.  Good for her.  And good for the parents and students who will benefit from this brand of leadership.  

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Scottsdale knows what Arcadia is going through. For years things Phoenix have absconded the tonier brand on the other side of its signature street to obfuscate geography.

As the Arcadia area has exploded in popularity so too have developers attempted to elongate what it means to be in Arcadia, in order to boost sales.

Before going further it’s common knowledge that “Arcadia” is the area between 68th Street and 44th Street and Indian School to Camelback Mountain.

But that doesn’t stop some like Scottsdale-based The Empire Group from misappropriating the moniker for marketing purposes. Take a recent advertisement in the Independent Newspapers touting its new “The Villas at Baker Park.” Pay big money for their product on an old nursery site and you too can live “at the epicenter of Arcadia’s vibrant restaurant, retail shops and cultural venues.”

Huh? It would be more accurate to say you could live south of an old Taco Bell at Osborn and 40th Street. Not exactly Arcadia Main and Main. Or an “epicenter.”

Jeopardy is one of the greatest television shows of all time. Geography is a frequent topic. But if it’s ever the one for Final Jeopardy, and you find yourself next to the Empire Group’s Richard Felker, Geoffrey Jacobs or another one of its employees, don’t worry.

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The Town of Paradise Valley rightfully considers itself best in class in so many categories: views, low-density, resorts, proximity to hiking trails, location, public works and no property tax, to name more than a few.

It even has sons and daughters named Goldwater, O’Connor and Rehnquist.

Not often mentioned, though equally important to its impressiveness, are its schools. They range from notable publics like Kiva and Cherokee, to a Montessori school, numerous ones associated with the town’s many churches and even the highly-lauded, private Phoenix Country Day School.

Failure doesn’t come often to Paradise Valley, scholastically or otherwise. Yet, that’s what became of Tesseract at Tatum and Doubletree. There it operated for over a decade with the right to educate up to 340 students, before flunking the test of time.

And there it now sits, a carcass of a campus.

Fortunately, through a rare combination of generosity and ingenuity a solution is at hand.

The property has been purchased by the owners of Mercedes-Benz of Scottsdale. Local residents, the owners Chuck and Anita Theisen, know a thing or two about reviving a tired property. Does anyone recall what the bland office building across from Scottsdale Fashion Square looked like before the Theisens revitalized it into an award-winning showplace for some of the finest automobiles on the road?

This time their sights are not set on horsepower, but the power of the possible, with the Jones-Gordon School as its tenant. It has become the best school in the state for educating students with attention deficit disorder, dyslexia and other learning challenges. As the Town of Paradise Valley’s staff report puts it: “The school focuses on high-potential students with learning differences and those who are considered twice-exceptional.” The results have been remarkable. Parents have become apostles. They must be to pay the approximately $25,000 per year in tuition.

About a dozen Paradise Valley families, including the Theisens, currently use the school now located in Scottsdale.

The new school is seeking no material changes to the existing building. Indeed, it is asking for an enrollment of 200, not the 340 enjoyed by Tesseract. The school’s only real request is to change the grades from Pre-K to 8th Grade to Kindergarten to high school. Only 60 of the 200 total students could be high schoolers.

But all of this isn’t good enough for a few neighbors. They are upset that high school students might be permitted, notwithstanding the significant drop in overall students.

But doesn’t Paradise Valley already know how this ends? And how the world doesn’t end? We can take a quick trip across town to Phoenix Country Day School. They have a similar number of high school students. We are unaware of any marauding gangs, hooligans or knuckleheads the neighbors are using as their boogeymen. The opposite is true. Perhaps it’s because tuition at Phoenix Country Day is a similar five-figure number.

In situations like these we are always reminded of one of the most infamous Valley neighborhood sirens in the past two decades. Then, the newbie residents of Scottsdale’s McDowell Mountain Ranch worried about the Ice Den. They thought the place was going to become ground zero for goofy teenagers and associated problems. How wrong they were. Instead, the Ice Den has become one of Scottsdale’s points of pride, just as Jones-Gordon would if it is added to the educational infrastructure of Paradise Valley.

No brainer is a common phrase deployed to suggest an easy decision. And approval of the Jones-Gordon School this week by the Daran Wastchak-led Paradise Valley Planning Commission, and subsequently by Mayor Michael Collins and the Paradise Valley Town Council would be just that. But it’s also a lot more. It would represent a smart decision to unleash the potential of everyone’s brain and to send a message that Paradise Valley isn’t just best in class because of its riches, but because it never stops enriching what can happen in its classrooms.

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Earlier this year HBO brought to television screens Big Little Lies. It chronicled the fictitious underbelly of money, mothers and mayhem in Monterrey, California. In some ways, Paradise Valley would be a worthy patchwork for a prequel, or sequel. Unfortunately, someone familiar in the tony town’s midst is already bringing an episode to life. And it ain’t fiction.

Right out of central casting it’s taking place on a street called Sunnyvale. Right out of Big Little Lies it involves characters of a country club. Though there isn’t a beach in Paradise Valley as there was in the show, colorful sands play a major role. And there’s a name from Paradise Valley proposals past, Banovac, the realtor trying to enable it all.

All stories must start somewhere and this one does with Tom Hopkins, the globe-trotting, seminar-loving, self-described sales guru. People must be buying some of what he’s pushing because he’s apparently a member of Paradise Valley Country Club. But that’s where his consideration of things Paradise Valley seems to end.

The owner of the aforementioned abode on Sunnyvale, Hopkins is seeking to rent it out to a California drug rehab outfit named Blue Sands. They in turn want to charge as many as ten people at a time up to $45,000 a pop for 30-day stays.

Whoa. And we thought the recent state legislation to allow Airbnb to disrupt Paradise Valley neighborhoods was unwelcome news.

Good stories always need good characters and this one is no different. A broker named Banovac helped to breathe life into the deal in the first place. If that name sounds familiar, it is. The family was once a breathless sycophant to the High Priest of Horseshit, Danny Hendon.

Neighbors are rallying against, lawyering up and protesting much against this ensemble.

After all, wouldn’t you?

It’s not as if those opposed are hard-hearted. There are purportedly 22 other options for rehab treatment within 15 minutes. It really comes down to the hard-heart of Hopkins who appears to have fled to Scottsdale, rather than live on Sunnyvale next to which he seeks to wrought.

Once upon a time a certain Paradise Valley Town Councilwoman observed about the possibility of a medical-marijuana facility coming to town that she was opposed, and state law be damned. Because some things were worth the fight.

Yes, they are. And this is one of them.

We have a better idea for Hopkins and his harem of hard-up fortune hunters feeding off those with hard times. Paradise Valley Country Club. It has plenty of space, and plenty of stories, for Hopkins’ big but not so little neighborhood belie.

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Yesterday one of Arizona’s great self-congratulators, Zach Rawlings, announced a purported solution to the rancor he has caused in the Arcadia area.  There he remarkably transformed a noble effort to save and preserve the David Wright House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, into an exercise in noblesse oblige.

So worthy was he that he should be entitled to run over the concerns of neighbors and utilize the property for concerts and commercial activity.  Arcadia neighbors and Phoenix Councilman Sal Diciccio had none of it.

So yesterday Rawlings announced his grand solution:  some type of partnership with what was formerly known as the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and a tax-write off for himself to the Arizona Community Foundation.

Curiously, he didn’t invite any neighbors to celebrate his victory vision, probably because his acolytes contend the place will still be a place of intense activity, attracting upwards of “30,000 people annually.”

At the heart of the announcement while balloons adorned the building was and is the notion that supporters of the Taliesin architecture school will be able to raise upwards of $7 million to let Rawlings out of his controversial Arcadia corner.

This will be a tall order since the organization has never proven to be a prolific fundraiser.  Nevertheless, it sparked an idea.  If things Frank Lloyd Wright are looking to lance community boils there’s another place it could turn its attention:  Scottsdale.  And the proposed Desert Discovery Center (DDC).

Opposition to that intrusion in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve has caused an uproar that makes Rawlings’ misreading of Arcadia look docile.  Indeed, the Valley has rarely seen a more foreceful and intense grassroots opposition to anything.  Even in this hot summer month the “NODDC” group has announced several events, some to crash those organized by Desert Discovery Center supporters.  That’s chutzpah.  And smart.  

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The Scottsdale City Council can be a feisty group.  Sometimes they disagree just to be disagreeable.  Other times genuine philosophical divides arise.  That’s why it’s so refreshing when the council unanimously confers and consents to wise policy.  The recent decision to alleviate local art galleries from taxing out of state sales is a case in point.  After all, it is oxymoronic to encourage people to visit Scottsdale’s arts scene only to tax them more onerously than peer markets.

Later this year Scottsdale leaders will again have another opportunity to send a strong message in support of local arts.  The Scottsdale Gallery Association is expected to make a pitch for local tourism tax funds to revitalize Thursday Night Art Walks.  Once upon these were grand city traditions.  An excuse for first dates, or an anniversary stroll.  For serious art eyes, or the more casual.  A boost for local restaurants.  A cause for downtown.  More recently, however, said environs on Thursdays have become a more hollow shell of former selves.

Better promoting art walks is a request with merit, and deserving of support.  Combined with the City Council’s previous patronage of the Museum of the West and more recently an expanded Canal Convergence, Scottsdale decision-makers are smartly doing what they can to get the local arts scene back to a more picture perfect place.

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By their nature master-planned communities tend to be large.  In Arizona it doesn’t matter if they are in Scottsdale, Mesa, Buckeye or Glendale they tend to stir up scrutiny and debate.

That’s a good thing.  Dialogue, debate and discussion tend to yield the best possible result.

A look around the Valley shows just that when it comes to master-planned communities that have been built.  What’s one, anywhere, that is cause for consternation?  Which brings us back to Glendale.  There the top-ranked homebuilder in Arizona, Pulte, is proposing to build a $450 million, 395-acre master-planned community called StoneHaven.  It would be located in and around 91st Avenue and Camelback.

Some neighbors like it and some don’t.  Others like the Glendale Chamber of Commerce and Glendale Firefighter’s Association like it a lot.  So does the hometown newspaper, The Glendale Star, which has enthusiastically endorsed the plan.  Businesses in Westgate purportedly like it a lot too, fearing the departure of certain Coyotes they understandably want and need more nearby customers.

The backdrop to all of this is the story of Glendale’s comeback.  Once derided alongside Detroit it’s now more like a certain President two decades ago:  The Comeback Kid.  Businesses are flocking to the community, city finances are recovering and where ridicule existed revenues now do.  

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The Tempe streetcar project that has been in the works for years is finally underway after receiving a $50 million federal grant, which is supposed to be a good thing. It was slated to get $75 million. The Trump Administration gave it a haircut.

The project will result in a three-mile streetcar loop that weaves through downtown Tempe, ASU, and Mill Avenue to connect riders to nearby neighborhoods, shops, and businesses in the area.  There will be 14 stops, and two of these will connect to light-rail stops so that people can switch from one circuit to the other with ease.  The project is expected to be completed in Fall 2020.

Considering that the project is now estimated to cost a whopping $186 million, the extra $25 million that Trump cut will be missed.  Valley Metro officials are still holding out hope of getting the extra $25 million.

On top of potential budget issues, lingering doubts persist as to whether or not the project will really be all that beneficial in the long run, and yet construction is about to begin anyway.  Assuming that the project finishes on schedule, businesses will still be severely affected by three years of construction in downtown that will lead to decreased accessibility and blockage.  If the project drags on past its expected completion, there could be serious long-term implications for these stores and companies situated in the areas under construction. 

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By Scottsdale Councilmember Virginia Korte

Last week we took the first significant step in solving our city’s infrastructure issues.virginiakorte_bio

Mayor Lane appointed me and Councilmembers Guy Phillips and David Smith to a new Council Capital Improvement Project Subcommittee.  The three us will be officially confirmed at the Council meeting on Tuesday, February 21st.

Recently, the city staff presented more than 40 capital improvement projects for the Council’s consideration.  The total cost of the projects is estimated to be $84 million. That is a lot of money, and, quite candidly, it is going to be a challenge finding the funding for those projects.  And this is the “tip” of the proverbial iceberg with our growing needs for reinvestment in the city’s infrastructure. It will take a combination of several different options to pay for all the projects over time. 

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By: Virginia Korte

The city of Scottsdale and our nonprofit partner, Desert Discovery Center Scottsdale, Inc., invite you to a public workshop regarding the proposed concept for the Desert Discovery Center. Please join us as we introduce you to our experience designer - Thinc Design - and architect - Swaback Partners. They will be leading you through a workshop that will highlight the new Desert Discovery Center concept.

The Desert Discovery Center concept is envisioned as an interpretive education and research center focused on understanding the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and what it can teach current and future generations regarding conserving, living in and adapting to desert environments.

This workshop is an important step in the current process of determining what the DDC concept would cost to build and operate. This planning phase will be complete in August 2017. With this information in hand, the Scottsdale City Council can determine if they want to move forward with the project.

A community workshop will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 30. Registration is required and a number of time slots are available from 3 to 7 p.m. To register, please select the time that works best for you and plan on actively participating for about 1 ½ hours. Please note: One registration per person. Those who register should be prepared to participate in the planning process for the proposed Desert Discovery Center at the Gateway to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve (located at the Preserve perimeter -- Thompson Peak/Bell Road). The Scottsdale City Council has directed further study of the DDC concept at this location.

Project Update

Desert Discovery Center Scottsdale has hired Thinc Design as its experience designer for the Desert Discovery Center concept. Thinc Design has developed world-class projects of national and international significance -- most notably the National September 11 Memorial Museum. The firm's focus is on history, natural history, culture and the environment.

The Thinc Design team will be sharing more information about the developing concept at the Nov. 30 community workshop. To-date, they have provided a Summary of Outcomes (PDF) that gives a glimpse into the aspirations guiding the Desert Discovery Center's experience design:

  • The DDC should inspire future generations to preserve and protect - the story of the Preserve is an invitation to see the potential and value of local preservation, at all scales, and it will inspire local pride and ownership that will grow stewardship in current and future generations
  • The DDC should educate - alignments with STEM and STEAM frameworks will inform the design concepts and exhibits, supporting the educational mandate of the Center
  • The DDC should build anticipation for exploration - an experience that stirs people's imagination, curiosity and sense of discovery ... for many, it will be their first exposure to the real desert
  • The DDC should show people the "world of the desert" - the desert cannot be seen in a day or on a single hike ... there are things happening below the surface and inside plants that most of us cannot see, as well as off-trail locations where species are known to congregate or ancient sites with petroglyphs that must stay undisturbed
  • The DDC should support tourism - many people seek experiences that connect them with the "real place": authentic knowledge, cultural practices and activities ... the Center is ideally placed to align with the strategy of the Scottsdale Tourism Advisory Task Force's long-term plan for interpretation on the climate and ecology of the desert
  • The DDC should be inclusive - design planning will address accessibility for all visitors, including experiences that can replicate some of how the desert "feels" for those who cannot have a direct encounter
  • The DDC should be a model of sustainable design and practice - in its architecture and exhibit design, the Center should be sensitive to the landscape and create the least amount of visual interruptions and impact on the environment ... the eventual size of the Center has been of particular concern and we should aim to define its size in terms of what is needed to achieve the mission and economic and environmental viability ... in its operations, the Center should follow practices for sustainable cohabitation with neighboring residents, including traffic and parking management

For additional information on the proposed Desert Discovery Center Concept please visit the website.

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The people of Arizona face a critical decision this year: continue with the failed policies of corrupt career Washington politicians or support common sense solutions that will make America great again.

Mr. Trump has tapped into the frustration that many voters feel across the state and our nation. We’re excited to hear Donald Trump Jr. speak as we work together to prevent Crooked Hillary from winning the White House.

The rally will take place in Downtown Gilbert on Friday, November 4 from 10:45 am – 11:45 am:

Gilbert Water Tower
45 W Page Ave
Gilbert, AZ 85296

RSVP here to reserve your spot!

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By: Don Cogman

schhweikerDan Schweiker is a small businessman having founded and owned China Mist Tea Company for over thirty years.  He is well known in the local business community for his charitable work, integrity and entrepreneurship. Not only has he been involved in numerous local charities, business and artistic organizations, he has served twice on the Paradise Valley City Council prior to moving into Scottsdale.

In my view, Dan is the type of person we need more of in government service.  He brings a business perspective to government combined with a thoughtful interest in public policy that strives to improve the lives of citizens.  I served with him on a Board of Trustees for several years and observed his many contributions of time, wisdom and insights to make our city better.  I urge you to take a close look at his record and join me in giving Dan your support on Election Day.

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By: Doug Ducey

This election, there will be many important issues and initiatives that you will be asked to consider.

But perhaps the most important vote you will cast this November will be on Proposition 205, the initiative to legalize marijuana.

Even The Arizona Republic agrees: Prop 205 is the wrong way to go.

The marijuana advocates have run their campaign on a tactic we’ve all seen before: they’re trying to sell us bad policy under the guise of benefiting our kids.

As a father of three boys, I have to tell you that easier access to marijuana – and greater exposure to drugs in general – will not improve the lives of our children, or anyone else for that matter.

Look what has happened in Colorado:

  • CO now ranks #1 in the nation for youth marijuana use
  • Crime, homelessness, and cartel activity have all spiked
  • Marijuana related-expulsions from school are at a TEN-YEAR HIGH. In fact, over 60 percent of all expulsions are marijuana-related.
  • In one Colorado hospital, over 50% of newborns tested were positive for marijuana

What’s more: many of Colorado’s largest school districts still haven’t seen a penny of the taxes collected on marijuana sales.

We can’t let what happened in Colorado happen here in Arizona. Get the facts at www.NoProp205.com. This election is too important not to spread the word.

Early voting is already underway, and Election Day is Nov. 8th. Together, we can stop Prop 205.

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By: Ken Bennett for Congress

Maricopa, AZ – Arizona businessman and former Secretary of State Ken Bennett proudly announced today the endorsement of Graham County elected officials supporting his campaign to represent Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. County Supervisors Jim Palmer, Drew John, and Danny Smith, Safford Mayor Chris Gibbs, Thatcher Mayor Bob Rivera, Pima Councilman C.B. Fletcher, and Graham Community College District Chair Lois Ann Moody have all thrown their support behind Bennett.

Supervisor Palmer said “I have known Ken Bennett for a long time and there is no one that will represent our district with conservative principles and integrity better than him. Ken’s deep understanding of the issues and proven record in both business and public service is exactly what we need in bringing jobs and prosperity back to the district.”

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