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Upton Sinclair once wrote a captivating American novel called The Jungle.  Far more recently others have written about the municipal jungle known in Paradise Valley as Mountain Shadows.

It seemed to be to this community’s Los Arcos, a property always top of mind but without solution.  But just as Scottsdale eventually lanced its boil, Paradise Valley may have more elegantly done so.

We have already written of the extraordinary challenge, followed by the extraordinary redevelopment approval engineered by the Town, property owner and neighbors, albeit the latter mostly kicking and screaming.

But now we learn this local jungle may have a neighborly new Lyon. As in the co-owner of the award-winning Sanctuary Resort, just across the street from Mountain Shadows, as well as the Valley Ho in the southern part of Scottsdale.

We could dwell on the interesting design and reputed operations of both properties.  But in this case the most important ethic they offer is creating superb resorts within or adjacent to active neighborhoods. This is particularly encouraging for neighbors who have waited a very long time for good news. 

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Political malpractice.  That’s a kind term to describe the decision to place both a City of Scottsdale bond package on the ballot as the same time as more money for the school district.  At a time when the stock market is high but the economy is not.

Dueling taxing propositions was an effort needing to defy the gods.  Rare are those able to do so.  The City of Tempe did it in 2010 when they enacted a city sales tax increase on the same ballot as Governor Brewer’s successful push to increase the state sales tax.

But Scottsdale wasn’t so successful last night.

So which way Scottsdale now?

Do something Washington never seems to do.  Talk to opponents.  They won.  Big.  So go smaller.  Don’t let ego get in the way.  They are local patriots too.

Discuss what their priorities are.  Find common ground.  Then proceed as a team for the city, or its schools.  In November, 2014.  As was pointed out by proponents many parts of Scottsdale do need a tune up. And maybe next time get more Republicans involved with an effort whose inner circle was all Democratic.  Scottsdale is overwhelmingly Republican after all.

A more successful effort can be achieved.  John Boehner, Harry Reid and Barack Obama might even learn a thing or two from you along the way.

 

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As the joint Phoenix-Paradise Valley improvements impressively conclude soon at Camelback Mountain’s Echo Canyon it sparks a new idea:  hiking access to Paradise Valley’s Mummy Mountain.

Scottsdale is opening trailheads in its spectacular McDowell Sonoran Preserve daily, it seems.  Demand for hikes in and around Paradise Valley at Piestewa Peak, Cholla Trail and Echo Canyon aren't subsiding any time soon.

So why not think of ways to create public access to another town landmark?  Clearly, such an endeavor would need to avoid the negative impacts other trailheads have and can cause for neighborhoods.  But the small trailhead along Tatum heading north into Phoenix accessing that mountain preserve has never been a problem.  And with Paradise Valley officials having already thought through creative solutions in dealing with Echo Canyon demand, such as shuttling from Town Hall, perhaps such an initiative could be non-intrusive.  Perhaps.  Or not.  But it’s a notion worth looking at.

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Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio certainly contradicts the notion in this headline.  And he has been an exceptionally important voice railing against many excesses in Phoenix city government.  But ultimately is a city best off with five, seven or nine Sal's?

Pardon the detour.

It would seem a consistent conservative message would go something like this.  The federal government is furthest away from the individual, the neighborhood, the need and therefore should spend the least.  And defer to the state.  The state then likewise should defer to counties, cities and towns as those governments are the ones closest to the people.  And it is there people want money spent.  On roads.  On the arts.  On kids programs.  On parks.  On police and fire. 

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A beautiful evening on the patio at Camelback Back Inn’s restaurant called Rita’s. The views at Sanctuary. The charm of The Hermosa Inn. The social conscience of the Scottsdale Plaza Resort. The increasing charm of Montelucia.

When one thinks of and experiences Paradise Valley’s grand resorts The Cottonwoods’ hotel property along Scottsdale Road doesn’t come to mind. Most don’t even know it’s in Paradise Valley. And based on its blandness, it shouldn’t be.

Yet, its owners are now seeking significant new densities. But for what, besides themselves?

The recent approvals for Mountain Shadows were necessary to ensure the open space of a golf course, a quality new neighbor for adjacent neighbors who have experienced Beirut for far too long, and to remove legal vulnerabilities

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The Arizona Republic recently announced it was abandoning local editorials and opinion pages. What a shame.

In years past the Republic, Phoenix Gazette and Scottsdale Progress joined the likes of the Glendale Star, West Valley View and many others to provide robust commentary on matters of local import.

The Arizona Progress & Gazette has been launched with names from the past to lead in the future. With energetic commentary and great debate.

A healthy Arizona Republic is a community imperative, no matter its opinion. From investigative journalism to a forum for ferocious disagreement it is an undeniable public benefit.

Yet, its leftward editorial tilt in recent years combined with its abandonment of community opinion provides an opportunity. From the center-right.

You will see our commentaries featured

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In 2014 three seats on the Scottsdale City Council will be up for grabs, those of incumbents Dennis Robbins and Linda Milhaven and that of the loquacious voice of yesteryear, Bob Littlefield.

Littlefield is term-limited, and considering a run for the Arizona State Legislature.

We can dispense with the need for interviews and candidate debates when it comes to endorsements for two of these seats. Now. About a year before these elections take place.

Why?

Because Dennis Robbins and Linda Milhaven are Scottsdale.

Robbins is a small businessman, family man and lawyer. He was a good addition to help lead the city out of recession three years ago and he will be the right person to help Scottsdale advantage its recovery.

Robbins’ experience is also invaluable. He

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