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.
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.Read more
What will history decide in 2014?
Back in 1994 a vulnerable Governor Fife Symington overcame a spirited primary challenge from the impressive Barbara Barrett and then came from behind to defeat the formidable Eddie Basha, God rest his soul.
But in 1992 the Arizona GOP was not so lucky. Then, incumbent Congressman Jay Rhodes eeked by a number of primary challengers,only to lose the general election to Democrat Sam Coppersmith.
The stakes for the Arizona Republican Party as it relates to the similarly challenged and embattled Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne in 2014 are higher.
The set of circumstances surrounding Horne have grown so profoundly negative, and in some cases downright comical, that the torrent of television commercials soon to come threaten other statewide officials.
It’s that bad.Read more
Unlike most elephant snorting blogs we don’t have posters of Art Bell on our walls and advance the latest conspiracy theories. We believe in the best of people’s opinions, even when it is wrong and left-wing induced.
But the cases of former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke and former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, both of which made appearances before the State Bar of Arizona have us rethinking such an approach.
While chasing mercurial malfeasance in Maricopa County government hindsight and the record now shows abuses and bad judgment by Thomas. Was some type of disciplinary action by the State Bar warranted? Yes. But discipline turned to vengeance and Thomas lost his ability to make a living. They gave him the death penalty. No license to practice.
Compare this to the recent “punishment” of Burke, someone who wasn’t just misguided on the notion of specific corruption. He was actually involved in the political cover-up of death. Involving a U.S. Border Patrol agent named Brian Terry. In the sickening scandal that became known as “Fast and Furious.”Read more
As Scottsdale voters were preparing to vote on city council candidates during the 2012 election the Arizona Republic rightfully called businesswoman and preservationist Virginia Korte one of the finest, most qualified people to seek the job. Korte is now the Vice Mayor of Scottsdale.
Such plaudits are appropriate for her friend, just across a town boundary, Paradise Valley Town Councilman Dan Schweiker.
It is major loss for the tony town, because he is a person that has helped achieve so many wins for it.
Years ago he cut through the acrimony that led to both beautification and flood control on Doubletree.
He has always been a strong supporter of photo radar.
He cast the deciding vote making Ed Winkler the Mayor, demonstrating his belief that no one should sit in that chair too long, as it belongs to the citizenry not the entrenched.
In between council stints he chaired the political campaign committee in support of a new Ritz-Carlton, not that his tourism bona fides ever needed to be burnished. On the council there has been no one more emphatic about the need for robust Paradise Valley resorts than Schweiker. He knows they not only provide great amenities for local residents, but revenues from them mean Paradise Valley remains one of the few municipalities in the state without a property tax.Read more
Most Democrats have yet to realize this. They are exemplified by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the blunt instrument of unions always seeking self-interest over student achievement. Data, parents and charter school students be damned, he governs.
Across the country a different big-city mayor is taking a difference approach. That’s Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. When well-known school choice advocates announced plans to proliferate charter schools throughout the core of Phoenix Stanton embraced the idea, unlike de Blasio.Read more
A new type of urban warfare among Valley cities is upon us. And it is taking place in the West Valley. There, the City of Peoria has announced plans to greatly expand its commercial core around the Peoria Sports Complex, with the unquestioned intent of seizing spending from the current entertainment epicenter just down the 101 at Westgate.
If successful, the Peoria gambit would cost the City of Glendale, Mayor Weiers and the Glendale City Council millions of dollars at a time when it can least afford it.
Peoria officials are trying to play their counterparts in Glendale for fools. The Peoria plan, not unlike Westgate’s, relies on a proliferation of new billboards to help pay for parking garages and other infrastructure to get the project going.
The only problem? A local business—Becker Boards—isn’t a part of anyone’s grand plan. They just want to build a couple of billboards in a commerce park, at a depressed site, next to the freeway.Read more
During a heated 2012 campaign between Scott Lemarr and Maria Syms to be Paradise Valley’s Mayor a well-known couple was murdered in the province. It shocked the Valley. Around that time too were a rash of burglaries in the northern part of the community. While Mayor Lemarr won re-election there was undoubtedly nervousness in the town.
But he acted. And the town acted. Led by Town Councilman Michael Collins, the Paradise Valley Public Safety Task Force involved numerous stakeholders committed to improvement and reform.
The results are starting to speak for themselves. While any crime is one too many Chief Bennett’s latest monthly report shows a 50% drop in crime from this February, compared to last year.Read more
Sure, a Super Bowl is coming and Spring Training is underway but that probably just reminds Glendale that they need to get their bill through the legislature seeking public safety reimbursements for the big game, and that Camelback Ranch is an enduring financial migraine.
And today the Arizona Republic reported the City of Glendale’s bond ratings were downgraded, again. Taxpayers will be hurt as the cost of borrowing money now goes up.
Climbing out of its money hole will not be easy. Things little, medium and big need to be undertaken. It is a city that must be relentlessly pro-business, in so many ways.
The city’s recent, unanimous decision to invest a little to attract a big-selling furniture store was a smart move. It sent a message to the market that Glendale is open for business. There’s a smaller project being debated in the community that could do likewise.
Putting two outdoor billboards at the 101 and Bell, in a commerce park, would seem like a matter for the consent agenda, not contention. After all, it will mean some revenue to the city, but more importantly allow more Glendale businesses to advertise effectively and prominently. According to industry reports some 70% of billboard advertisers are local and in this case Becker Boards is incentivizing that further with a 20% discount for local businesses.
And even though there has been a lot of support from the business community, including from the owner of the commerce park who sees the investment as a way to jumpstart his development, there has been opposition. From two curious quarters.
The first is from the City of Peoria across the street. Why? Because they want to put up their own billboards to help pay for Peoria Sports Complex improvements that will compete directly with Westgate. And take sales tax revenue away from it. Why the financially-strapped Glendale City Council would want to hurt its community by enabling Peoria is a good question.Read more
Think back to 2010. U.S. Congressman John Shadegg announced his retirement. A coveted seat, largely populated by Anglos, was open. A mad scramble ensued. But during the course of the candidate positioning can one imagine if there were an orchestrated effort – and one actually signed by political leaders – to keep the seat for whites? Vernon Parker, the then African-American Mayor of Paradise Valley who later became a candidate to replace Shadegg: No votes for you. Or Paulina Morris, a Latina, sorry you shouldn’t be considered because of your skin color. Thankfully that didn’t happen and in that Republican primary there was rich diversity.
Compare that situation four years ago to what’s occurring now in Arizona’s Congressional District 7, after Ed Pastor announced his retirement.
There, Arizona’s chief race-baiter and biggest political loser, Mario Diaz, has organized Latinos to discourage not only white Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema from switching districts, but to declare this a seat for Latinos only.Read more
Arizona Republic columnist Robert Robb often displays an independent streak in his writing. Except when it comes to Arizona Public Service, the state’s largest utility monopoly. They provide talking points. He fetches.
While again criticizing renewable energy initiatives – demonstrating anew how extraordinarily out of step he is with Republican likely voter public opinion – Robb makes no critique of his corporate inspiration – one of the great subsidy sucking machines in state history.
Nor does he make mention as we have here before (Click here) of his previous job as Chief Subsidy Shiller for sports franchises and corporate interests.
The true “faux conservatives” are not those that see the philosophical consistency with supporting school choice, health care choice AND energy choice through options like rooftop solar. They are those who Robb the title with archaic utility speak.Read more