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lane portrait*A second candidate poll in Scottsdale this week finds the City Council races tight (as the poll before it did) with Mayor Lane maintaining his commanding lead over Littlefield.

*The real question now for Littlefield’s ill-conceived mayoral run is how badly it will hurt his wife re-election’s prospects in 2018?  It will likely be significant.  And with Councilman David Smith uncertain to run again, the council candidate field could be much deeper than 2016.

*Speaking of this year’s Scottsdale council races incumbent Suzanne Klapp has raised a stunning amount for her campaign, likely a new record for a seat – by a wide margin.

*Glendale shook up the West Valley and all of the Valley some 15 years ago when it started doling out public dollars for economic development projects.  That was made possible by city voters supporting an amorphous bond question which was ultimately utilized for sports facilities and other projects.  History seems to repeating itself.  Peoria is not only throwing millions in public funds to revitalize the struggling “P83” entertainment area but in November it has placed on the ballot a large city sales tax increase whose primary purposes seems to be a fund like Glendale had.

*The Summit Group is a well-regarded political consulting group in town.  But what will they be doing the night of November 8th if marijuana legalization passes but Sheriff Arpaio is defeated?  They’re both clients.

byran-jeffries*Phoenix City Hall was atwitter with talk this week that former Phoenix City Councilman and current United Phoenix Firefighters’s Association Bryan Jeffries could make a run for Mayor since Greg Stanton is in his final term.  Others who have expressed interest include Tom Simplot, Michael Nowakowski and even Phil Gordon, the last of whom would need to overcome legal obstacles.  Current Councilmembers Danny Valenzuela and Kate Gallego are said to be eyeing the seat themselves and certainly have formidable constituencies from which to wage a strong campaign.  Either will be in the discussion to be appointed as Mayor too if Stanton leaves early for a Clinton Administration or seeks another political office.

*The likely order of finish in the upcoming Arizona Corporation Commission race?  Burns.  Tobin.  Mundell.  But the race remains fluid as resources remain a challenge for all.

*Those backing the minimum wage hike that will be on the Arizona ballot November 8th are doing so in the name of worker’s fairness and rights.  Yet, the campaign behind it stiffed the petition circulators, the very people their measure is designed to help.

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The embattled Bob Littlefield has many problems as he seeks to become Scottsdale’s Mayor at the same time his wife is serving as Vice Mayor.  Bad polling numbers.  Mayor Lane’s adoption of a “Two Littlefields Are Too Much” message which is devastatingly simple for voters to understand.  Etcetera doesn’t do justice to the enumeration that could take place on what plagues Bobastic.

Yet, two examples and two people underscore Littlefield’s ills quite well.  That’s because campaigns are about addition.  But to look at the Screamer of Scottsdale is to see only subtraction.  Indeed, Susie Wheeler is a top Scottsdale equestrian and has long been a Littlefield supporter. But not this time.  She’s endorsed Mayor Lane because of his commitment to the community’s ranch culture while Littlefield wants it to gallop out of town.

zrakeyThen there’s George Zraket.  He was Bob Littlefield on the Scottsdale City Council before Bob.  Indeed, as anti-business as Littlefield is – even wanting to shut down small businesses in Scottsdale’s downtown – Zraket makes one of the two Littlefields look like Richard Branson.  Yet, according to Lane’s social media, he showed up at the Mayor’s house this weekend to support him.  That’s remarkable.  Despite a similar political philosophy Zraket has such disregard for Littlefield he opted for the pro-business Lane.  Maybe Zraket was inspired by seeing the most popular musical in the land that regales Alexander Hamilton’s decision to endorse Thomas Jefferson over Aaron Burr.  He did so because while disagreeing with Jefferson he realized he had principles where Burr purportedly had none.   Like Littlefield.  (By the way, a tip of the cap here to Scottsdale businessman and former Mayoral candidate Bill Crawford for introducing “Hamilton” vernacular into this year’s mayoral race dialogue).

Credit goes to Scottsdale and some unlikely citizens for realizing this.  It’s one thing for Grumpy to be one of the Seven Dwarfs, or one of seven members of the City Council.  It’s quite another to have him as one of one, the Mayor of a great city like Scottsdale.

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lane portraitAccording to a new poll conducted September 14-15 by Public Opinion Strategies, one of the country’s more notable pollsters with extensive experience in Arizona and Scottsdale, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane holds a commanding 27% lead over former Councilman Bob Littlefield.  And that’s before Lane has started spending the bulk of his substantial campaign coffers.

Lane’s large margin is an uptick from another pollster’s findings in May that had the popular Mayor up by 17%.

With his second consecutive election loss looming the question now is how badly he’s damaged his wife’s re-election prospects in 2018.  Bombastic Bob is trailing by wide margins everywhere in Scottsdale and with every sub-group.  The poll also found Scottsdale voters disagreeing – by huge margins – with the notion of Bob serving as Mayor at the same time his wife Kathy serves as Vice Mayor and/or as a councilwoman.

The city council races are much closer with Suzanne Klapp setting the pace at 31% followed by Virginia Korte and Dan Schweiker at 29% with Guy Phillips currently trailing at 26%.  Respondents, made up of 300 voters in Scottsdale’s 2012 or 2014 General Election were given the choice of voting for up to 3 candidates.  Phillips appears to be hurt by his close association with Bob Littlefield whose FAVORABLE/UNFAVORABLE numbers are poor.  Schweiker is enjoying the opposite dynamic.  His name proximity to popular U.S. Congressman David Schweikert is aiding his support among Republicans, especially in the northern part of the city Schweikert represents.

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With massive reserves in place and some terrific new resorts coming online the tony Town of Paradise Valley doesn’t have too many problems. But there are two items on the horizon worth recommendations.Maria Syms

The first is the likely departure of Town Councilwoman Maria Syms. She was the top vote-getter in the August 30th GOP Primary Election for one of two seats in Legislative District 28 for the Arizona House of Representatives. Securing one of those seats in November seems likely.

Since town councilmembers are not paid Syms is not required to relinquish her Paradise Valley duties. However, that would seem the likely progression as the demands of being a rising star in the lower chamber take hold.

daran-wastachakIf so, the appointment to fill her seat will be made by Mayor Michael Collins and the remaining members of council. But there really should be no deliberation and no applications. Daran Wastchak should gain the nod by acclimation.

While Wastchak has come up short in two bids for Town Council he has had the guts to step in the arena. He also serves admirably on the Paradise Valley Planning Commission. He was the next closest finisher in the recent election that saw Mark Stanton re-elected and Julie Pace and Scott Moore elected for the first time.

If and when an appointment to Council becomes necessary Wastchak should be the easy call.

Away from Town Hall and up Camelback Mountain many nearby residents remain up in arms about a plan to build a giant new home on the most elevated private property on the mountain. While Paradise Valley is a community rightfully adhering to property rights this new project is raising legitimate concerns. For example, engineers cannot guarantee that large boulders in the building envelope will not fall to homes below. All of this begs the question: With budget surpluses and a penchant for preservation why not consider buying this lot and other problematic ones in town to further preserve Camelback and Mummy Mountain much like Scottsdale is preserving the McDowell Mountains?

Recently, Scottsdale leaders wisely made the decision to purchase a home that intrudes on the majesty near Tom’s Thumb Trailhead. Why shouldn’t Paradise Valley consider likewise? In a clash between one person’s ego versus the overall environment we know how the community would best be served, and we bet residents would be willing to pay for preservation, this time and in the future.

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*The Arizona Republic’s breathless liberal opinionistas can’t understand why Governor Ducey would speak at a Trump rally, as he did this week. It’s simple.  He doesn’t want to get primaried in 2018, and Trump ally and State Treasurer Jeff Dewitt looms as a potentially formidable challenger.  There may be others.  Anyone would start as an underdog versus Ducey – Kelli Ward’s failure against McCain being a perfect example why.  Yet, stranger things have happened.

*All Hail Christine Jones.  Whatever one thinks of the blind ambitionist, her successful execution of the “outsider” strategy in the Congressional Five GOP Primary was terribly impressive.  Yes, those who spend the most in congressional races usually win.  Still, waltzing into the East Valley and buying a seat well, it hasn’t been done that well since . . . John McCain in 1982.

*Donald Trump effectively labeled opponents during his presidential primary.  “Low Energy.”  “Little Marco.” “Lyin’ Ted.”  Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane ain’t like The Donald in approach but his recent labeling of long-shot opponent Bob Littlefield as a “Crazy Uncle” gets the gold medal so far for Arizona political monikers.

*Speaking of Littlefield the guy is just one big gaffe machine, and an offensive one at that.  According to online commentary he’s called Scottsdale City Councilwoman Linda Milhaven a “Great Satan” and Arizona Cardinals President Michael Bidwill and renowned Scottsdale businessman and philanthropist Bob Parsons “scumbags.” What a gem.  Is anyone still thinking of voting for this guy?

*State Representative Jay Lawrence had one of the best radio voices during his nights at KTAR.  And whoever his sign guy is deserves a “best of” award too for the best placements.

*Speaker Syms?  Special advisor to Attorney General Mark Brnovich.  Paradise Valley Town Councilwoman.  And now top vote getter in the GOP primary for Legislative District 28.   She’s threading a lot of political needles in her run so far, portending a real shot at a House leadership position in future years.

*If Paradise Valley Mayor Michael Collins maintains his two-term pledge look for just re-elected Town Councilman Mark Stanton to emerge as the most likely successor in 2018.

*As the public mostly rails against the idea of new taxpayer funded facilities for the Diamondbacks, Coyotes or Suns, the City of Phoenix is assembling a massive taxpayer subsidy package for Fry’s to land downtown.  It will be interesting to see the public’s reaction:  big taxpayer help for billionaire sports owners bad but big taxpayer help for billionaire grocery store owners good?

*The City of Peoria’s new sales tax hike proposal – billed as a quality of life tax – has political support built on quicksand.

*Kirk Adams is Governor Ducey’s Chief of Staff.  With the exception of a starring role in a suspect Arizona Republic story about pressuring State Treasurer Jeff Dewitt into supporting Proposition 123 he has largely avoided trouble.  That’s not easy to do for any Chief of Staff.  But people are now starting to talk:  Are some of his recommended appointments and positions more about aiding himself once he resumes his lobbying career?

*Paul Ryan was supposed to have a tough GOP primary but blew away his opponent by an extremely wide margin.  Closer to home, Sheriff Arpaio  had a primary too.  He was running against Donald, Mickey and Goofy.  Yet, more than one-third of the electorate abandoned him.  That’s a troubling and underreported sign heading into a difficult November election.

*Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu won his Congressional District One GOP Primary but hardly in spectacular fashion.  He struggled in every county besides his own where he ran up the score.  And nearly all – if not all -- of his favored candidates in Pinal County for County Attorney, Sheriff and Supervisor lost.  So, unlike McCain who won by a surprisingly large margin for momentum heading into the General, Babeu limps.

*So State Representative Rick Gray sold his political soul to Arizona Public Service only to have the company renege on a Full Forese.  Finishing out of the money on Tuesday night it’s almost easy to feel sorry for the guy.  Almost.

*There are a lot of reasons for Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers’ anemic showing Tuesday night, despite an easy campaign narrative of a Glendale comeback. Among them were an incredible disloyalty to the firefighters, business leaders and others that supported him in 2012.  It’s a lesson for all Arizona elected officials, from Governor Ducey on down.

*Seeking to make a name for themselves in political circles a number of younger consultants are trying to get into the polling business.  They are cutting corners to cut costs.  As a result the results are largely garbage.  A case in point was a recent article by the Arizona Republic positing how good Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell was looking for re-election.  It relied on polling results from one of the neophytes.  Our case in point.

*We’re losing track of how many times Wendy Rogers has lost whatever she’s been running for in recent years.  She lost again Tuesday night.  Hopefully this will be the last time Arizona has to endure her on the ballot.

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