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.
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.
It’s fair to say no system like this exists in Arizona. But it’s also fair to say that Scottsdale is a far more dynamic and diverse place than when it was founded. The city has never been shy about finding innovative ways to address pioneering efforts with the arts, preservation and parks. Mayor Lane, a once and current reformer who has forged changes to other parts of city governance to yield more transparency and accountability – not to mention curtailing subsidies for developers – seems to be invoking that spirit again.
It will be interesting to see the reaction of the shrills of cynicism in Scottsdale and whether they end up being hypocrites or enthusiasts for Mayor Lane’s compelling reform plan.