Sometimes you just can’t make this stuff up.
The last time Paradise Valley paid much attention to the large, empty real estate between Mockingbird and Scottsdale Road and Lincoln and Indian Bend Roads was November, 2008. Then, Paradise Valley voters were wise to pass by a nearly 2-1 margin a mixed-use plan that had a new Ritz-Carlton at its core.
While the entitlement granted by the then Paradise Valley Town Council was aggressive it did not jeopardize the town’s character.
Fast forward to 2014. The developer of the project is now saying its generous entitlement wasn’t, and isn’t enough.
Why? Because what are they to do with a big chunk of their plan now that Scottsdale approved a large new apartment project that will stare into the back of its project? That 4-story project has now been built and opened on the northwest corner of Scottsdale and Lincoln.
The attorney and lead lobbyist for that apartment complex was none other than the same one the Ritz developer employs. And did the Ritz ever state any opposition to the apartment plan? Of course not. Why? Because it knew the increased density in Scottsdale could be used to justify absurd new requests of Paradise Valley.Read more
The cathedrals of Europe tend to be of the religious variety, serving both as cornerstones of faith and tourism.
Here in the United States our cathedrals are the shrines of sport. Wrigley Field. Fenway Park. Augusta. Churchill Downs.
They are magnets for economic impact.
In Arizona we do have a rather Grand, natural cathedral three hours to the north. Closer to home some of the country’s largest municipal preserves located in Scottsdale and Phoenix remind us of the Valley’s special nature.
When it comes to the man made variety we do have a mansion called Wrigley and a remarkable Frank Lloyd Wright winter home. But we don’t have anything that truly captures the bucket list imagination of the tourist besides the general concept of spring training.
The pool at Chase Field was a noble attempt but for the Los Angeles Dodgers pissing a little vinegar in it last year it hasn’t served as much of a discussion point.Read more
Like any monopoly the public school system has constantly fought change, during the past decade in the form of greater school choice.
And it is losing in higher income areas like the Scottsdale School District where some 9,000 students choose charter or private schools.
This is putting enormous pressure on the system there, populated by bureaucrats who don’t know how to innovate. Monopoly and old school is their mantra. Head sanders they are.
They must be taking particular umbrage this Arizona legislative session with SB 1100. Backed by an impressive cross-section of Republican legislators ranging from Barto, Worsley and Pratt to Montenegro, Farnsworth and Yee it is the ultimate addition of insult to the public school injury.Read more
Arizona’s NHL franchise avoided a public vote following the Glendale City Council’s split decision to award its new owners a $15 million payment. Such a referendum election would have likely torpedoed the transition to new ownership since it would have delayed ratification of the city agreement until after the season was to begin.
The saga that has been hockey ownership in the desert was thought to be over, at least for the next five years. But a movement taking place in Ohio raises new questions for hockey fans. There, a group is seeking to unravel via a citizen’s initiative an agreement for local government to fund the arena for the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, a structure that may have some parallels to the Glendale situation.Read more
We ask because of the Arizona Republic headline today raising similar questions about current Maricopa County Board Chairman Denny Barney (Maricopa County chairman in ethics flap). While many Republicans don’t like the Republic, the story reminds us of the import of the fourth estate, especially robust investigative journalism. We digress as we necessarily observe who will be there to shed light on that which was done today if larger media goes away? This blog? Other bloggers? A motley crew on Facebook? Back to our premise.
Barney achieved the near impossible in 2012. Running as a rookie for a coveted seat abandoned by Fulton Brock he ran unopposed. That’s because of the regard the marketplace had for Barney personally, his family and his promise.
Surely his constituents thought the youthful Barney mature enough to avoid the kind of problems described today in which he apparently nudged Maricopa County staff to resolve issues that were costing his development project money.Read more
As we are about to enter the 2014 campaign season television advertisements and flyers will flood mailboxes and airwaves. They will emphasize many words and messages. But nary a one will tout “wisdom.” They should.
Readers are surely familiar with former Maricopa County Andy Thomas’ travails. And they may have read Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts (click here) as well as the paper’s editorial (click here). Both questioned the prosecutorial wisdom of current Attorney General Tom Horne and what amounted to rather paltry charges in his office’s pursuit of former Fiesta Bowl lobbyist Gary Husk. Readers are probably familiar with other reasons General Horne’s conduct can be questioned as well. And while many Republicans don’t love yet another former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley, they will still recognize him as a straight shooter. So when he calls Horne’s ethics and conduct into question it is noteworthy.
This all leads us to Andrew Thomas’ successor Bill Montgomery. Although only a practicing lawyer for about a decade he appears to have uncommon wisdom among recent Arizona prosecutors.Read more
Every community has critics. And that’s a good thing, especially in an age of a declining fourth estate. Their eyes, ears and energy can be just what’s needed to shine a light into some darker places.
But in Scottsdale activism has become its own art form, its own sport. While there are certainly problems in one of America’s best cities some of the criticism operates in an existential-like luxury of complaint – kind of like Peter Cook cheating on Christie Brinkley. He was lucky to be married to her before he wasn’t, like Scottsdale residents are fortunate to live where they do, until they don’t.Read more
On Monday night Florida State defeated Auburn for the national college football championship. They did so on the final drive of the game, arriving in the red zone with just seconds left. Football winners and losers are often decided by those who score when they get within 20 yards of the end zone, and those who do not. Florida State did.
The journey may be a bit involved, but it is looking a whole lot better than it was, and that befell Rawhide before it.
That’s because Greasewood Flat owners have been expressing an interest in relocating to a more authentic, rural location within the city as urban sprawl has closed in around them, infringing on the experience. So unique is the experience it could likely continue to withstand the encroachment but if other, better alternatives are available why bother? Why risk it? After all, the family’s Reata Pass Restaurant was forced to close a couple of years ago, likely because guests no longer felt the authenticity that once was. Reata Pass never seared the local or tourist conscience like Greasewood Flat or Rawhide. The family has said it is not coming back and that is no great loss. But a decade ago losing Rawhide to the Gila River Indian Community was. And so it would be with Greasewood. Approving a new location for it should be unanimous and enthusiastic, not unlike what occurred for the new Mercedes-Benz of Scottsdale dealership that’s sprung to life across from Scottsdale Fashion Square.Read more
It’s a fascinating tale and one that would have taken a slice of Valley history through a different sliding door.
Following not one but two landslide elections in favor of locating an arena at Scottsdale and McDowell Roads voters probably expected their City Council to implement their wishes. It was not to be with a disrespectful, divided council.Read more
If the City of Scottsdale was a private company it would have, and should have, sued numerous companies and cities for violating its intellectual property.
Because “Scottsdale” is a notable brand many others have appropriated it.
Consider the concentration of automobile dealers along Scottsdale Road near the Loop 101. Their edifices even tout “North Scottsdale.” Yet, that side of the road is actually in the City of Phoenix with car sales accruing revenues to it.
Then there is the Westin Kierland Resort also near Scottsdale Road. It too brands itself as “Scottsdale.” But it’s not. It’s Phoenix.
But the most egregious example of all may have been reported just today by the Arizona Republic. Here’s a link.
Its article described an acquisition of the Montelucia Resort and Spa in Paradise Valley, Arizona noting it will be renamed the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia. Notwithstanding that mouthful the property sits some 3 miles from the closest Scottsdale border. Three miles.Read more