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There are few nicer people in Scottsdale than Kathy Littlefield.  Or as irascible as Bob Littlefield.  Scottsdale should not be their guinea pig and allow Bob to serve as Mayor (he’s a longshot candidate) while Kathy serves as a Councilwoman.  The plethora of open meeting law violation possibilities and other legal problems would likely be long while civic tempers grow short at the weirdness their ways would mean for the city.   But that doesn’t mean their collective efforts in other areas can’t be applauded.

Take what they did for the struggling residents of the Wheel Inn Ranch Trailer park.  As reported by the Scottsdale Independent the couple along with Councilman Guy Phillips and others stepped up for some people who needed it most. 

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Old people like to drink too.  That was manifested in Scottsdale for many years at a place called Chances Are.  There it sat on Miller Road, just south of Camelback and across from a lot of residences.  It became to septuagenarians in the area what Studio 54 once was to the Big Apple.

Back then we didn’t hear many complaints about bars in that part of town.  Maybe that’s why city leaders wisely called for siting more bars and clubs in an “Entertainment District” east of Scottsdale Road, not too far from Chances Are.  Such would leave  downtown neighborhoods to the west of Scottsdale Road more for dining establishments.  The locale of places like Jetz, Stix, Planet Earth, The Works and Anderson’s Fifth Estate would be no more.   It seemed to be wise planning.  And everyone signed on.

Then something impressive happened.  Small business people started creating compelling places for younger people like Axis, Radius, El Hefe, Maya, W Hotel, Martini Ranch, Maloney’s, DJs and many others just where the city wanted them.  Scottsdale’s Entertainment District started resembling the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego.  The planning worked.  Too well for some as it turned out.

Soon the calls to revoke permits and deny more small businesses in the area occurred.  It’s as if they were Soviets, not Smith as in Adam.  We don’t want to be sleepy or sensational so let’s just be injudicious. 

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PHOENIX —  Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio today endorsed Proposition 123 because it's a conservative plan that invests in our teachers and students, and will ensure Arizona's kids have the funding they need to receive a great education. 

“We can make Arizona safer by better educating our kids," Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said. "We need to invest in our teachers and students. That’s why I’m proud to support Prop 123. It’s a conservative plan to put $3.5 billion into public schools, and it doesn’t raise our taxes.”

"Sheriff Arpaio's endorsement furthers the argument that Prop 123 is a common sense solution to funding our schools," Sharon Harper, chairman of the Let’s Vote Yes for Arizona Schools said. "This initiative will put $3.5 billion into our classrooms over the next 10 years without raising taxes. It's a creative solution that even the most conservative Arizonans are supporting. Join Sheriff Arpaio and me on May 17 as we vote YES on Proposition 123."

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We have opined before that one of Scottsdale’s great strengths over the years has been an enduring, mature governing majority. While Scottsdale’s political schizophrenia often yields a Littlefield or Zraket it doesn’t usually flush sanity or common sense when decisions come to the dais.

This can be difficult when neighborhood unrest is significant. But it’s in those times having a council consisting of accomplished individuals makes all the difference. Scottsdale isn’t Glendale. They know having succeeded in business and life what it takes to move an organization forward. And despite political turbulence from time to time keeping the ship steady and prosperous is more important to the community’s quality of life than being a lurch for a loud, micro-minority.

The upcoming decision on Rancho Paraiso is a case in point. West of Scottsdale Road and along Cactus a new ranch is being proposed on six acres. Keep in mind this is an area of horse properties. Keep in mind it would hardly be Scottsdale’s largest ranch. Keep in mind the neighbors closest to the site including Arizona Diamondbacks’ legend Luis Gonzales support Rancho Paraiso. At a time of Scottsdale recently losing Greasewood Flat, Pinnacle Peak Patio and other “western” elements the case on its surface has all the making of an easy, unanimous council vote. Indeed, it SHOULD be a unanimous vote.

Yet, a separate contingent of neighbors despite living amongst horses don’t want more of them. The whole thing is odd.

But in the governing tradition mentioned above Scottsdale City Councilwoman Linda Milhaven has been attempting to mediate a compromise. She’s tough, she’s independent and she has a particular view of what drives Scottsdale forward. Voters must like her approach. She was rewarded as the top vote getter in the 2014 city council elections despite being targeted with negative advertisements.

Backers of the ranch proposal are well known Phoenicians. And when it comes to superb equestrian facilities this isn’t their first rodeo. They can be seen at the couple’s Promontory community in Park City.

At the suggestion of a neighbor who used to be an opponent but who is now a supporter the applicant has significantly reduced the number of horse stalls for the ranch to 48 with an additional requirement that it only be allowed to gain that number if it is fulfilling all promises, and is in compliance after one year. Until then the number of stalls is 38. Sounds pretty reasonable since there are much larger ranches east of the 101 on the Cactus Corridor. New stipulations have also been agreed to at the request of other neighbors.

But in a middle finger flip to Milhaven and the spirit of compromise some neighbors have responded with requests that look something like it was proffered by the Castros in Cuba not common sense near Cactus.  

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By Sal DiCiccio, Phoenix City Council District 6

Dear friends,

I wanted to pass along five reasons why I support Prop 123, the May 17 special election referendum to help fund Arizona’s public K-12 schools.
1) $3.5 billion – that’s BILLION – for schools without raising taxes!
2) We’re using the state land trust, which exists to support public schools!
3) The state land trust will still grow by more than $1 billion!
4) We’re working to help pay teachers what they deserve!
5) Schools will receive $230 million this fiscal year – and billions more to come!
As you can see, Prop 123, which is supported by Governor Doug Ducey and the state’s business and education communities, is a no-brainer. Please join me in voting “Yes” on Prop 123 on May 17!

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What the Thunderbirds are to the Waste Management Phoenix Open the Charros are to Scottsdale spring training.

They put on great events and raise ridiculous sums of money for local charities.  They are civic service at their best. Dennis-Pic

That’s why we were pleased to read this story recently in the Scottsdale Independent about Dennis Robbins becoming the new executive director of the Charros.

If there were ever a person to match the organization’s benevolence it would be the former Scottsdale City Councilman. Look up “good guy” and there you will find Robbins’ picture.  Scottsdale may have lost a councilman when he was surprisingly defeated in the 2014 elections but it just gained a lot more.

In fact, we can’t think of a better fit, unless it’s baseball and beer, something Robbins will help oversee now at Scottsdale Stadium every March.

 

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By Ken Bennett

I’m sure you’ve seen some of the news coverage regarding the presidential preference election on Tuesday. Numerous voters experienced long lines and waited hours to cast their vote, many staying at polling locations close to 11 PM. As Arizona election officials found out, conducting elections is a complicated and challenging task. Being Secretary of State isn’t easy.

Serving as the highest election official in Arizona is one of my proudest accomplishments. As Secretary of State, we efficiently conducted two primary, two general and a successful presidential preference election while ensuring we maintained the integrity of elections. I fought hard to protect voter ID laws in Arizona to prevent fraud and abuse all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. I reduced our budget while maintaining efficiency and protected domestic violence victims with our “Address Confidentiality Program”.

But of all the things we got done during my time as Secretary of State, I’m most proud of our commitment to service. I was speaking with a former employee of mine recently and she told me what impacted her most was my decision to remove all automated menus from our telephone system. I made that decision because I was committed to ensuring every voter spoke to a live person when they called our office - because that’s the level of service voters deserve!

I am committed to providing that same spirit of service to you as your Congressman for Arizona’s First Congressional District. I will fight for you, each and every day, to make sure we get America working again.

God Bless,

Ken

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As we have written about before there is much to be excited about if you’re living in or focused on south Scottsdale.  From exciting new redevelopments at 64th Street and McDowell to the success of Sky Song and even a relatively new microbrewery the marketplace is abuzz about this revitalizing area.  The location is superb, proximate to recreational and transportation amenities.  The housing stock, both old and new, is diverse. Indeed, the new residential options coming into the area from cool apartments to new single family at the old Paddock Pools site on Thomas Road will bring the additional customers that have been needed for years for new stores and restaurants.

Yet, southern Scottsdale residents have felt a bit disenfranchised over the past two decades because rarely does one of their own sit on the council dais.  Oh, there was Kevin Osterman who did win one election before losing another some 12 years ago.  And some will remember Robert Pettycrew defying the odds in 1994.  City_of_Scottsdale_Script_Logo.svg

That’s two people in 22 years.  This year all members of the Scottsdale City Council live Shea or northwards.  That doesn’t mean the southern city doesn’t get due attention.  It clearly does as described above. But why not discuss and debate how city representation can get even better?

Well, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane did just that today with an announcement that he wants to reform city governance with a new, dedicated south Scottsdale council district. And have one for the distinct personalities of the central and northern part of the cities too.

He’s calling it a “hybrid” district system that would leave the Mayor and the three remaining members of council to be elected at large.  Here is a Scottsdale Independent article on Lane’s plan. 

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We believe Arizona voters should pass Governor Ducey’s landmark Proposition 123 on May 17th to settle lawsuits over the state’s K-12 public education system.  It’s a $3.5 billion injection of new money without raising taxes.  The new revenues come from future sales of state land.

The measure is an impressive, bi-partisan compromise.

Yet, some who have jumped on board, primarily from the left, want to hold it hostage as they ratchet up the rhetoric against an effort in the Arizona State Legislature to expand school choice.

Pass expanded student options they say and we may – or will – abandon support for Proposition 123 their threats go. 

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Arizona State University is coming to downtown Mesa, after it already helped revitalize downtown Phoenix.

A big new regional park is coming to Gilbert, following the resurgence of its downtown.

The expansion and enhancement of Margaret Hance Park in Phoenix is impressive.

It begs the question does Scottsdale still need big ideas of its own to move the community forward?  There’s a good argument it does not for it already boasts the likes of a massive preserve, recreational wash, renowned special events, the state’s best shopping mecca and a dynamic downtown.

But there are other smart opinions that no community can rest on its laurels because as Ricky Bobby might observe, if you’re not first you’re last.

A coterie of tourism leaders often point to the Desert Discovery Center as one such idea for Scottsdale.  We view it more as innate inertia.  Just because an idea has been around awhile doesn’t make it good, or novel.  We have a Desert Botanical Garden.  The McDowell Sonoran Preserve and its trailheads are already amazing.  Do we really need people and buildings to preach what nature and wildlife already make obvious?  After all, people don’t go to the Grand Canyon for the Hopi House.

To spark a discussion on what could or should be the next big thing in Scottsdale next we proffer several ideas:

*Taliesin West, the winter home of Frank Lloyd Wright, is already one of the great tourist attractions in Scottsdale and indeed, the state.  It is currently pursuing designation as a World Heritage Site from the United Nations.  Look up the list.  To be included with such giants as the Taj Mahal and Pyramids would mean instant additional prestige for the city, as well as significant economic impact.  The city should be doing everything it can to assist the process.

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