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One of those is honored at Tatum & Lincoln.  There proudly and rightfully stands a statue of former U.S. Senator and 1964 Republican Presidential nominee Barry Goldwater.  The Town of Paradise Valley’s wise decision to transform a challenging one-acre parcel at its busiest intersection into Goldwater Park will stand for all time as among its wisest decisions.

But why stop at Goldwater, especially when the town boasts alumni worthy of similar recognition?

We suggest two more, Sandra Day O’Connor and William Rehnquist. IMG_4158

O’Connor as most know was the first female U.S. Supreme Court Justice.  Her and her husband were proud Paradise Valley residents, active around town and there when Goldwater Park was dedicated.

The former Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Rehnquist’s ties to Paradise Valley run deep too.  He served as Paradise Valley’s town attorney when the community first incorporated.

With town finances in such good shape we can think of few greater ways to enhance Paradise Valley’s public art.  Locations could include the Mountain Shadows “park” on the southeast corner of 56th Street and Lincoln.  Or Town Hall.  Or the Town’s relatively new court complex.  Perhaps there are other appropriate locations too.

But the primary notion in a community that honors its views and recognizes the significance of its resorts is to honor two more people who enhanced all that is Paradise Valley.

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When first elected to the Scottsdale City Council in 2012, Guy Phillips did so as a Tea Party, pissing vinegar, rage against City Hall voice.

And throughout much of his first term he did little to dissuade the notion, twice leading opposition to the city’s bond requests for community infrastructure improvements and routinely voting against business and developers.

There were notable exceptions.  Phillips is a surprisingly strong voice for the tourism industry, often standing tall when others come up short. GuyPhillips_bio

Yet, he still supported Bob Littlefield in the 2016 mayoral race, grossly misjudging the electorate in a way that also jeopardized his own path to city council re-election, which was narrow.

Perhaps those election results have had an effect on Phillips.  Or, is he eyeing a future run for Mayor or another office?

That’s because Phillips seems to be evolving.  And that’s a good thing.  He’s no longer a sure fire rejectionist for any development proposal and has even crafted innovative proposals to advance WestWorld.

In many ways, Phillips might be following the path of Jim Lane.  When first elected to City Council Lane was an ally of Littlefield before maturing and understanding that to govern Scottsdale is to be pro-preservation, pro-arts, pro-tourism and pro-business.  

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The old saying that politics makes strange bedfellows is becoming less relevant these days as conflict replaces consensus. There is a notable exception in Scottsdale.

Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane’s call for a hybrid district system has found an unlikely ally in John Greco, a frequent Lane critic.

For months Lane has been advocating for reform in the way Scottsdale elects council members. His proposed hybrid district system would see three council members elected from newly created districts in the northern, central and southern city while the mayor and three council members would continue to be elected at large. The reasoning is simple, there has not been a resident of South Scottsdale elected to the council in more than a decade.

Greco outlined his rationale for the reform in a recent letter to the editor in the April 1st section of the Scottsdale Republic. The letter states in part:

“I applaud the mayor's suggestion as a step in the right direction. It offers an opportunity for more representation and is at least worth a try.”

Anyone who reads letters to the editor in the Republic or Scottsdale Independent would be familiar with Greco. He is a frequent contributor who has delivered forceful yet thoughtful letters on LGBT ordinances, the Desert Discovery Center, the Scottsdale Entertainment District, and a long list of other issues. Often, he has been critical of Mayor Jim Lane’s handling of these issues.

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In 2011 Auburn played Oregon for the college football national championship.  The game might have been occurred in Glendale but Scottsdale was the city overrun with events, tourists and shoppers.  At Scottsdale Fashion Square.  Along the Arizona Canal where ESPN staged.  And on an empty lot next to Olive & Ivy that was the site of concerts, special events, college bands, rallies and people that fed into our shops, galleries and restaurants.

Fast forward to 2017.  It was hard to notice much of a Final Four impact in Scottsdale, unless you were in one of the nightclubs at 1am.  Not that such partying is a bad thing.  And there’s no doubt the city’s hotels got a lift too.

But for anyone that took in some or all of college basketball’s biggest showcase the energy for the mega event was indisputably in downtown Phoenix and Glendale.

That’s because the property that allowed Scottsdale to so successfully host activities in 2011 was developed into one of the city’s biggest eyesores – a mustard apartment complex -- years subsequent.  History could have been different.  There were voices that encouraged the city to acquire the property.  It would have been expensive.  It would have been tough.  But that’s what vision often requires. Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

We can all lament but that disserves Scottsdale.  For when tourists have a great time in your downtown they become ambassadors for life, sycophants for the Southwest’s best city.  So, are there solutions?  Perhaps.

One is the Scottsdale Civic Center, which beautifully hosts an arts festival and the Scottsdale Culinary Festival but appears to be ill-suited for more.  Some have argued for reworking the beautiful outdoor mall.  It’s time.  And that could or perhaps should involve relocating the Scottsdale Center for the Arts and/or the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art to elsewhere in downtown to make more room for events that fill up rooms.

Second, Scottsdale Fashion Square is set to ask for aggressive development heights.  We are sensitive to their requests because of the economic significance the mall plays for the Scottsdale treasury.  But it can be fairly asked of anyone asking for height, how does it benefit the community?  Well, protection of the economic asset just mentioned is one, but useful open space would be another.  

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