So a political action committee has formed to oppose the right of Scottsdale citizens to vote on new development in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve known as Proposition 420. It will appear on Scottsdale’s November ballot. Quite unbelievably, or fortuitously, it is being led by the worst city manager in the city’s history and a former zoning attorney. We’re not making this up.
So let’s discuss the hilariously named “Protect Your Preserve: No on Proposition 420” committee led by Queen of Spades Jan Dolan before turning to the illogic of their effort.
Dumped by the City Council many years ago Dolan was best known as the City Manager who tried to import her northern California ways into Scottsdale, and even tried to run Barrett-Jackson out of town. But it’s Dolan’s history with the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Gateway, the proposed site of the ill-conceived Desert Discovery Center, that makes her choice now particularly bizarre and appalling.
You see, Dolan was primarily responsible for the controversy surrounding the acquisition of the Gateway, one of the biggest taxpayer boondoggles in city history.
What is now known as the “Gateway” with its beautiful trail-head was once private land held by Toll Brothers. The company was in the process of building Windgate Ranch and knew its land north of Thompson Peak would be condemned by the city for the Preserve. As part of an overall development plan it offered to sell Dolan and the city the Gateway parcel for approximately $110,000 per acre. Dolan balked, her typical arrogance on full display. She thought she could get the land for less and undertook unfriendly condemnation proceedings that went to court. Bad choice. The court sided with Toll Brothers and compelled the city to pay some three times as much for the land than the deal Toll had offered. Taxpayers got fleeced and that was the beginning of the end as Dolan as City Manager.
So, of all the people on Planet Earth to defend the Desert Discovery Center and the financial rascal it is advocates select her as chief advocate? That’s political malpractice. But such has been their effort to date.
And look for it to continue with Dolan in charge. So let’s take a gander at what she is likely to argue in an attempt to distract and obfuscate the clear choice that is Proposition 420. And that is, should voters have a say when it comes to future development in the Preserve? That answer should and will be a resounding yes but look for lovers of the taxpayer abusing, Desert Botanical Garden duplicating Desert Dud Center to outline the following:
*A bunch of North Scottsdale residents behind Proposition 420 want to keep the Preserve all to themselves therefor you should vote No: Nonsense. The essence of Proposition 420 is to allow the people to decide if the elitists not behind Proposition 420 but the Desert Discovery Center want to slice out a portion of the Preserve for ASU, cocktail parties and redundancy to that which already exists at the trail-head. The grassroots movement behind Proposition 420 is the most egalitarian in city history.
*Proposition 420 opponents will try to argue that it harms the disabled community and prevents more access for it: This is perhaps the most lazy and dishonest of all arguments made in support of the Desert Dog Congestion. Go to the trail-head and Gateway now. It’s handicap accessible and provides a stunning introductory experience as do all of the Preserve’s trail-heads. By tugging at heartstrings project supporters hope such movement disconnects your brain cells from any rendezvous with existing reality and that a man-made monstrosity can and should replace the soul-enriching experience that already exists.
*The group behind Proposition 420 is using a bunch of “dark money:” We don’t profess to know the inner workings of the group or how they have and are funding their various legal, grassroots and campaign activities. To the extent any “dark money” is being used for campaign purposes, we encourage the group to disclose donors and be as transparent as possible. But for those opposing Proposition 420 to invoke this claim would be rich indeed. For they have both benefited from dark money in the past and their own funding remains mysterious to this day.
*Voting no on Proposition 420 will be good for tourism because it brings us one step closer to the Dead Duck Center. Project advocates point to support from the Fairmont Princess and other hoteliers who say this could attract more visitors to Scottsdale. Please. The Preserve is the attraction not some man made attraction that only detracts from it. And if hoteliers are so convinced in its tourism attracting ability let them put up the money for it not some $60 million in taxpayer dollars not to mention the ongoing operating losses the Dollar Draining Center will have.
Well, that’s our start. But it won’t be the end of the obfuscation from the other side. After all it’s now being chaired by a person with the initials “J.D,” which reminds us that law degrees carry the same initials and Proposition 420 opponents certainly have an advanced degree in BS, already.