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According to the owners of Tempe’s famed Yucca Tap Room, things are awry and city officials want their property. The Republic has some background on the situation. Click here.

The one-time platform of Roger Clyne and many other local music aspirants, the distinct bar is something to be celebrated and assisted, not run over as appears the intent of city bureaucrats. Yucca-Whisky-Tshirt-Back-300x300

What a shame. And what a reminder of a similar show we have seen before. In Scottsdale.

There, over a decade ago a conspiring city and developer wanted to condemn the city’s oldest tavern, The Coach House, and give it to a neighboring property owner for a bland mixed-use project. The odds were stacked against the small business as a pro-developer council majority seemed assembled. But then the locals and regulars rallied. The uprising was such that whatever majority existed evaporated as one colorful citizen after another entreated for relief. And The Coach House got it. And there it sill stands, an important reminder of Scottsdale’s history and one of the best watering holes in the Valley. Thank goodness.

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If Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is not investigated by someone for what appears to be a blatant misuse of taxpayer dollars to aid his own election, we are not sure what the point of any campaign finance law is.ATTORNEY GENERAL

While some of these laws can be complex, the prohibited use of taxpayer dollars and government staff to assist one’s private election pursuit is not. And, it is among the most critically important election laws of all.

Horne wants us to believe it is coincidence or merit that has led to well-known Republican political, media and fundraising operatives onto his staff. All of who just happen to be working on his challenging re-election campaign. And this doesn’t include a $300,000 advertising contract just awarded by the Attorney General’s Office to one of Horne’s political consultants.

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There are many important commercial corners in Phoenix but a largely vacant one at 32nd Street and Indian School Road is particularly so.

Once a proud, thriving center it has retreated to near nothingness.

With the recent success of businesses and restaurants like The Vig, Beckett’s Table and Crudo nearby, the corner surround by diverse neighborhoods is both an incredible opportunity to bookend Arcadia, or see this central Phoenix area west of 32nd tip itself into no man’s land.

The former aspiration got some welcome news this week in the form of acquisition by De Rito Partners. Owned by the constantly in motion Marty De Rito the enterprising company is a great match for a property with so much potential.

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The Phoenix Metropolitan area seems to have more major sports and concert venues than just about anywhere in the country. From Ak-Chin to Glendale we are blessed and cursed with buildings big, small, old and new.

But for those who have been here awhile no sporting venue penetrates the Arizona conscience more than Sun Devil Stadium. Rolling Stones Devils And Deserts front

Maybe it is the proximity to Mill Avenue. Or the college energy. Maybe it’s because Sun Devil Stadium was there before U.S. Airways Center, Jobing. Com and University of Phoenix Stadium.

For many years there was just Compton Terrace, Celebrity Theater, Phoenix Municipal Stadium, Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum . . . and Sun Devil Stadium.

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There’s often talk of underutilized community assets.  Mountains that turn into parks.  Canals that turn into Waterfronts.  Buildings that turn into tourist attractions. 

And there’s always been the Papago Golf Course.  Avid golfers know it to be an exceptional layout in an exceptional setting.  And 20-30 years ago it was hard to get a tee time there as affordability fused with challenge at the Valley’s best public golf course. 

But recent years haven’t been so kind to the course.  Mismanagement.  Landscaping don’ts. The list goes on.  Once the prom queen, Papago has started to look like a 40-year reunion.  diciccio

That’s all likely to change as Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio has been working with Arizona State University to take over the course.  It’s a great move by a school with a rich golfing program and a terrific move by the City of Phoenix to revitalize a great resource. 

So that’s now two home runs for Sal DiCiccio.  This, and working with ASU to relocate its baseball program to Phoenix Municipal Stadium just down the street from Papago.  The Oakland A’s will move next year to the Cubs’ old digs in Mesa.  DiCiccio just earned more of the beer belly vote as ASU baseball currently doesn’t allow the sale of alcohol at its games, something that will change with the move off-campus.

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Once upon a time the Republican Party was the party of Lincoln. It went to war to eradicate slavery. One hundred and fifty years later African-Americans support the party with but single digits.

The reasons are many and varied from the Democratic Party’s incessant pandering to most Republicans most recently choosing the rule of law, understandably, when it comes to the nation’s borders rather than donkey denial.

Yet, the Republican Party can rightly be criticized for not enthusiastically taking their message to where Democrats have failed so miserably in the urban cores and elsewhere. That’s why suggestions about holding the 2016 Republican National Convention in Detroit were so intriguing.

The Jack Kemps of hope and optimism have been too few, although a renewed emphasis by Kemp acolyte Paul Ryan in this regard is promising.

Despite the dearth of messengers, messages predominantly involving school choice are thankfully starting to make inroads. Liberals like Bill de Blasio attempting to stop it are on the wrong side of history with political consequence soon to arrive with more dispatch. WARD

But then along comes remarks like those by Arizona Republican Senator Kelli Ward who warned of a “slippery slope” in a Tweet yesterday following NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s proper punishment of Donald Sterling.

The ill-timed Ward tweet read as follows:
“If you offend, I guess you should expect to be stripped of your property & banned for life #PoliticallyCorrect #WhereAreWeHeaded,”

Presumably Ward is concerned about some notion of property rights while being shockingly tone deaf to warrant a political hearing aid.

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As the 2014 election cycle gets underway there may be no easier endorsement, even at this early date, than current Vice Mayor Michael Collins to assume the top position. 

With Mayor Scott LeMarr leaving on top after more than two decades of public service to the town, Collins offers the compelling combination of continuation, experience and talent. 

He chaired the community’s Public Safety Task Force that has resulted in a decrease in crime. RA_Collins_Logos2-1

He chaired the town’s General Plan efforts passed by a whopping 80 percent of voters.

He voted for the Mountain Shadows redevelopment plan that has already resulted in the removal of rat infested buildings at 56th Street and Lincoln. 

He leads not only in the Town but a business with 45 employees that does land use planning for the U.S. military.  He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, father and husband. 

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If there were a Mount Rushmore in Paradise Valley, Arizona – or more appropriately a Mount Camelback, current Mayor Scott Lemarr would be on it. Only six decades old Lemarr has served the town in a variety of capacities for over a third of that time on a variety of citizen commissions and currently as the first directly elected mayor in the town’s history.  MayorLeMarr

He’s not only seen it all he’s done it all. And Paradise Valley is a better place for it.

A tidy recovering from the Great Recession.

An improved police department and reduced crime.

Improved fire service.

Leading what no council before him could – an approval for the redevelopment of the old Mountain Shadows Resort. The rat infested relic has even been scraped away, readying the property for a better future.

As a son of the community Lemarr has understood that a community already the envy of Arizona doesn’t need a lot more, certainly density. It just needs a little TLC from time to time, the Mayor’s job unlike in other cities largely constituting a do no harm approach.

Lemarr has succeeded in that regard and then some. He likes to attend a lot of Diamondbacks’ games. While they aren’t winning a lot this year that’s not the case for Lemarr’s 22 years of impressive public service.

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In 1992 one-time GOP presidential nominee Barry Goldwater shocked many by crossing party lines to endorse Democratic congressional candidate Karan English over Republican standard-bearer Doug Wead. A former Amway salesman and political slickster, Wead had spent about 5 minutes in Arizona before entering the fray for Arizona’s new congressional seat. ATTORNEY GENERAL

Goldwater put the state above party. There’s a lesson there as it relates to Tom Horne’s upcoming race for Attorney General.

He believes this week was a good one for him because an administrative law judge decided there wasn’t enough evidence to continue the case of alleged campaign finance law violations against him. But we all know what happened. Voters get it.

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Although it won’t be for almost a year we regret Paradise Valley Town Manager Jim Bacon is stepping down. He has served with humor and effectiveness.

Arriving in Paradise Valley at just about the hour of the day of the year when the economy cliff-dived we can envision few better captains in stormy seas.

At ease with his extensive experience and with a quick wit always at hand Bacon inspired confidence because he has pretty much seen it all in municipal government. Comfortable in his own skin there is no discomfort coming from anyone wondering if town government is operating with integrity and achievement.Paradise-VAlley-RED-Senior-Living

He proved himself to be a critical deal-maker too. We question whether someone without Bacon’s talent, patience and standing could have negotiated the deal that has become the old Mountain Shadows resort revitalization in progress.

The accomplished town manager deserves the more relaxed times coming to him. And while he will be missed at Paradise Valley Town Hall we know he will enjoy more times watching his beloved sporting events, knowing his was a job well done.

Next door in Scottsdale we hope the activists win. They have it right. As we lament the loss of a consummate public servant like Bacon, Scottsdale’s political vocalists don’t want to lose an interestingly designed church in downtown, on Indian School Road. It has served as a city office and meeting place for some years. City Manager Fritz Behring is rightfully looking at ways to raise additional revenue through the sale of non-essential buildings. But the Community Design Studio, as it is now known, should not be sold. As Councilwoman Milhaven has opined, Scottsdale has relatively few older, appreciated buildings so why not maintain this one, since it can?

And the city should. With a twist.

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