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The embattled Bob Littlefield has many problems as he seeks to become Scottsdale’s Mayor at the same time his wife is serving as Vice Mayor.  Bad polling numbers.  Mayor Lane’s adoption of a “Two Littlefields Are Too Much” message which is devastatingly simple for voters to understand.  Etcetera doesn’t do justice to the enumeration that could take place on what plagues Bobastic.

Yet, two examples and two people underscore Littlefield’s ills quite well.  That’s because campaigns are about addition.  But to look at the Screamer of Scottsdale is to see only subtraction.  Indeed, Susie Wheeler is a top Scottsdale equestrian and has long been a Littlefield supporter. But not this time.  She’s endorsed Mayor Lane because of his commitment to the community’s ranch culture while Littlefield wants it to gallop out of town.

zrakeyThen there’s George Zraket.  He was Bob Littlefield on the Scottsdale City Council before Bob.  Indeed, as anti-business as Littlefield is – even wanting to shut down small businesses in Scottsdale’s downtown – Zraket makes one of the two Littlefields look like Richard Branson.  Yet, according to Lane’s social media, he showed up at the Mayor’s house this weekend to support him.  That’s remarkable.  Despite a similar political philosophy Zraket has such disregard for Littlefield he opted for the pro-business Lane.  Maybe Zraket was inspired by seeing the most popular musical in the land that regales Alexander Hamilton’s decision to endorse Thomas Jefferson over Aaron Burr.  He did so because while disagreeing with Jefferson he realized he had principles where Burr purportedly had none.   Like Littlefield.  (By the way, a tip of the cap here to Scottsdale businessman and former Mayoral candidate Bill Crawford for introducing “Hamilton” vernacular into this year’s mayoral race dialogue).

Credit goes to Scottsdale and some unlikely citizens for realizing this.  It’s one thing for Grumpy to be one of the Seven Dwarfs, or one of seven members of the City Council.  It’s quite another to have him as one of one, the Mayor of a great city like Scottsdale.

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lane portraitAccording to a new poll conducted September 14-15 by Public Opinion Strategies, one of the country’s more notable pollsters with extensive experience in Arizona and Scottsdale, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane holds a commanding 27% lead over former Councilman Bob Littlefield.  And that’s before Lane has started spending the bulk of his substantial campaign coffers.

Lane’s large margin is an uptick from another pollster’s findings in May that had the popular Mayor up by 17%.

With his second consecutive election loss looming the question now is how badly he’s damaged his wife’s re-election prospects in 2018.  Bombastic Bob is trailing by wide margins everywhere in Scottsdale and with every sub-group.  The poll also found Scottsdale voters disagreeing – by huge margins – with the notion of Bob serving as Mayor at the same time his wife Kathy serves as Vice Mayor and/or as a councilwoman.

The city council races are much closer with Suzanne Klapp setting the pace at 31% followed by Virginia Korte and Dan Schweiker at 29% with Guy Phillips currently trailing at 26%.  Respondents, made up of 300 voters in Scottsdale’s 2012 or 2014 General Election were given the choice of voting for up to 3 candidates.  Phillips appears to be hurt by his close association with Bob Littlefield whose FAVORABLE/UNFAVORABLE numbers are poor.  Schweiker is enjoying the opposite dynamic.  His name proximity to popular U.S. Congressman David Schweikert is aiding his support among Republicans, especially in the northern part of the city Schweikert represents.

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With massive reserves in place and some terrific new resorts coming online the tony Town of Paradise Valley doesn’t have too many problems. But there are two items on the horizon worth recommendations.Maria Syms

The first is the likely departure of Town Councilwoman Maria Syms. She was the top vote-getter in the August 30th GOP Primary Election for one of two seats in Legislative District 28 for the Arizona House of Representatives. Securing one of those seats in November seems likely.

Since town councilmembers are not paid Syms is not required to relinquish her Paradise Valley duties. However, that would seem the likely progression as the demands of being a rising star in the lower chamber take hold.

daran-wastachakIf so, the appointment to fill her seat will be made by Mayor Michael Collins and the remaining members of council. But there really should be no deliberation and no applications. Daran Wastchak should gain the nod by acclimation.

While Wastchak has come up short in two bids for Town Council he has had the guts to step in the arena. He also serves admirably on the Paradise Valley Planning Commission. He was the next closest finisher in the recent election that saw Mark Stanton re-elected and Julie Pace and Scott Moore elected for the first time.

If and when an appointment to Council becomes necessary Wastchak should be the easy call.

Away from Town Hall and up Camelback Mountain many nearby residents remain up in arms about a plan to build a giant new home on the most elevated private property on the mountain. While Paradise Valley is a community rightfully adhering to property rights this new project is raising legitimate concerns. For example, engineers cannot guarantee that large boulders in the building envelope will not fall to homes below. All of this begs the question: With budget surpluses and a penchant for preservation why not consider buying this lot and other problematic ones in town to further preserve Camelback and Mummy Mountain much like Scottsdale is preserving the McDowell Mountains?

Recently, Scottsdale leaders wisely made the decision to purchase a home that intrudes on the majesty near Tom’s Thumb Trailhead. Why shouldn’t Paradise Valley consider likewise? In a clash between one person’s ego versus the overall environment we know how the community would best be served, and we bet residents would be willing to pay for preservation, this time and in the future.

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*The Arizona Republic’s breathless liberal opinionistas can’t understand why Governor Ducey would speak at a Trump rally, as he did this week. It’s simple.  He doesn’t want to get primaried in 2018, and Trump ally and State Treasurer Jeff Dewitt looms as a potentially formidable challenger.  There may be others.  Anyone would start as an underdog versus Ducey – Kelli Ward’s failure against McCain being a perfect example why.  Yet, stranger things have happened.

*All Hail Christine Jones.  Whatever one thinks of the blind ambitionist, her successful execution of the “outsider” strategy in the Congressional Five GOP Primary was terribly impressive.  Yes, those who spend the most in congressional races usually win.  Still, waltzing into the East Valley and buying a seat well, it hasn’t been done that well since . . . John McCain in 1982.

*Donald Trump effectively labeled opponents during his presidential primary.  “Low Energy.”  “Little Marco.” “Lyin’ Ted.”  Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane ain’t like The Donald in approach but his recent labeling of long-shot opponent Bob Littlefield as a “Crazy Uncle” gets the gold medal so far for Arizona political monikers.

*Speaking of Littlefield the guy is just one big gaffe machine, and an offensive one at that.  According to online commentary he’s called Scottsdale City Councilwoman Linda Milhaven a “Great Satan” and Arizona Cardinals President Michael Bidwill and renowned Scottsdale businessman and philanthropist Bob Parsons “scumbags.” What a gem.  Is anyone still thinking of voting for this guy?

*State Representative Jay Lawrence had one of the best radio voices during his nights at KTAR.  And whoever his sign guy is deserves a “best of” award too for the best placements.

*Speaker Syms?  Special advisor to Attorney General Mark Brnovich.  Paradise Valley Town Councilwoman.  And now top vote getter in the GOP primary for Legislative District 28.   She’s threading a lot of political needles in her run so far, portending a real shot at a House leadership position in future years.

*If Paradise Valley Mayor Michael Collins maintains his two-term pledge look for just re-elected Town Councilman Mark Stanton to emerge as the most likely successor in 2018.

*As the public mostly rails against the idea of new taxpayer funded facilities for the Diamondbacks, Coyotes or Suns, the City of Phoenix is assembling a massive taxpayer subsidy package for Fry’s to land downtown.  It will be interesting to see the public’s reaction:  big taxpayer help for billionaire sports owners bad but big taxpayer help for billionaire grocery store owners good?

*The City of Peoria’s new sales tax hike proposal – billed as a quality of life tax – has political support built on quicksand.

*Kirk Adams is Governor Ducey’s Chief of Staff.  With the exception of a starring role in a suspect Arizona Republic story about pressuring State Treasurer Jeff Dewitt into supporting Proposition 123 he has largely avoided trouble.  That’s not easy to do for any Chief of Staff.  But people are now starting to talk:  Are some of his recommended appointments and positions more about aiding himself once he resumes his lobbying career?

*Paul Ryan was supposed to have a tough GOP primary but blew away his opponent by an extremely wide margin.  Closer to home, Sheriff Arpaio  had a primary too.  He was running against Donald, Mickey and Goofy.  Yet, more than one-third of the electorate abandoned him.  That’s a troubling and underreported sign heading into a difficult November election.

*Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu won his Congressional District One GOP Primary but hardly in spectacular fashion.  He struggled in every county besides his own where he ran up the score.  And nearly all – if not all -- of his favored candidates in Pinal County for County Attorney, Sheriff and Supervisor lost.  So, unlike McCain who won by a surprisingly large margin for momentum heading into the General, Babeu limps.

*So State Representative Rick Gray sold his political soul to Arizona Public Service only to have the company renege on a Full Forese.  Finishing out of the money on Tuesday night it’s almost easy to feel sorry for the guy.  Almost.

*There are a lot of reasons for Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers’ anemic showing Tuesday night, despite an easy campaign narrative of a Glendale comeback. Among them were an incredible disloyalty to the firefighters, business leaders and others that supported him in 2012.  It’s a lesson for all Arizona elected officials, from Governor Ducey on down.

*Seeking to make a name for themselves in political circles a number of younger consultants are trying to get into the polling business.  They are cutting corners to cut costs.  As a result the results are largely garbage.  A case in point was a recent article by the Arizona Republic positing how good Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell was looking for re-election.  It relied on polling results from one of the neophytes.  Our case in point.

*We’re losing track of how many times Wendy Rogers has lost whatever she’s been running for in recent years.  She lost again Tuesday night.  Hopefully this will be the last time Arizona has to endure her on the ballot.

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Why is Bob Littlefield’s quixotic campaign for Scottsdale Mayor stuck in the mud?  A lot of reasons.

littlefield at deskHe’s anti-business, even supported by a union that used scorched earth tactics to shut down Arizona’s home grown grocer, Basha’s.    He’s been on both sides of just about every issue in town from development to subsidies to the Desert Discovery Center.  He’s the ultimate politician that’s out of step with so much of what Scottsdale is and stands for.

But another reason he’s slogging through mighty mud mania is the bizarre world he is seeking to enter.  He wants to be Mayor at the same time his wife is Vice Mayor.  It’s strange and problematic. Just as it would be if Joanne Lane ran for city council at the same time her husband was serving as Mayor.  Or if State Senator John Kavanagh didn’t serve in the Arizona State Legislature but on the Fountain Hills Town Council with his wife Linda who is the current mayor.

Littlefield of course says not to worry.  It’s no big deal even though it’s never happened in Arizona history from what we can tell.

But judging from Littlefield’s recent actions it is a big deal.  Because he’s already embarrassing the city.

Consider what just took place in the Scottsdale Airpark.  There GoDaddy Founder and impressive Scottsdale philanthropist Bob Parsons unveiled his latest investment in the city, a large television and video production facility.  In attendance were Scottsdale Mayor Lane, Governor Doug Ducey, Phoenix Mayor Stanton and members of the Scottsdale City Council, invited in their official city capacity to celebrate an important private sector contribution to the economy.  Vice Mayor Kathy Littlefield was there too, as she should have been.

And belittling Bob Littlefield came along for the ride.  He who only days before called Parsons (and Arizona Cardinals President Michael Bidwill) “scumbags” for supporting Lane.

Putting aside the indignity of attending someone’s event he had just show scorn for Bob Littlefield proceeded to video tape the event, especially Mayor Lane’s remarks, presumably for some bizarre political campaign purpose.

He embarrassed himself and Scottsdale in so doing.  In the highly unlikely event Littlefield’s Arizona Lottery like quest for Mayor is successful it won’t be the last time the unprecedented combination of a husband and wife on the Scottsdale City Council make the city like adulterated rather than appreciative.

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By: Sal Diciccio 

The public is being misled by True Life and the underlying property owner. On several occasions, True Life and the owner have lied to the residents surrounding the Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Club, so why should we trust them now?

 

It is my obligation to make sure that I protect the quality of life in our community, provide the facts and consider the impact of any decision on other areas of our community. Those other areas would include Ahwatukee Country Club, Foothills and Club West golf courses. Any decision made on the Lakes property could and would set a precedent for those other areas.

 

That said, I am not surprised by True Life's development plan. This is what developers do. They promise a “farm” or a “school,” but in reality, they are paving the way for high density development. And if they succeed at the Lakes, it will open the floodgates to high density development in all of our golf courses and in particular Ahwatukee Country Club.

 

We are being told that the Lakes is going to be turned into some type of agricultural setting. This could not be farther from the truth.

 

The same developers that purposely shut down the golf course and created an environmental hazard are coming out with a plan to save our community?

 

The truth is they purposely neglected maintaining the golf course in order to create a wasteland so that the surrounding residents will be put in a desperate situation.

 

True Life is one of the parties that created this blight to exact concessions from neighbors. That is not what a good neighbor does. 

 

True Life owes $1.4 million in back taxes- which could go towards our schools and other vital services for our community. That is not what a good neighbor does.

 

True Life had multiple code enforcement violations because of the way they managed the Lakes property. That is not what a good neighbor does.

 

You and your family take care of your property and pay your taxes. Why should they be exempt from that basic requirement?

 

Do not buy into the argument that these developers don't have money. The amount of money True Life spends every month on public relations and lobbyist could have easily kept this golf course watered and clean.

 

Let's lay out the facts about the developer’s proposal and the impact of development on this property:

 

Fact One: The developers want to triple the density that would normally be allowed on this property. 

 

Fact Two: The Lakes golf course was purposely designed to curb flood waters from negatively impacting surrounding properties. We recently saw many homes surrounding the Lakes property flooded. Imagine what would happen if this property, this open space and flood plain were developed.   

 

These developers live in areas that would never allow this type of density to come into their neighborhood. Nor would their neighborhood ever allow a critical flood plain to be compromised by high density development putting existing homes at risk.

 

Fact Three: The Ahwatukee Lakes was purposely designed to provide an open space for our community. The open space was provided to the original developer in exchange for higher density at other locations.

 

Fact Four: Ahwatukee Country Club has over 2,000 high density units zoned on that property. If it is developed, we are looking at the equivalent of five high-rise apartment complexes on one single parcel of land.

 

Regardless of the promises these developers make, nothing will stop them or anyone in the future from coming in and using the Lakes as precedent. If True Life succeeds, they will have created a model for all developers: neglect a property until it becomes a blight and an environmental hazard, then use strong arm tactics on desperate residents, forcing them to accept anything to make the blight go away, even if that means high density housing.

 

That means Ahwatukee Country Club, Foothills and Club West golf courses would all have higher density on their properties as well.

 

For these reasons, I caution residents not to sign anything until it has been reviewed by an attorney. This plan has nothing to do with agriculture. This is all about maximizing density and profits.

 

Please share this with your neighbors!

 

http://www.ahwatukee.com/news/article_638ac386-5f21-11e6-ab07-0bf52ca36fd9.html

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By: Jim Derouin

Scottsdale’s version of P. T. Barnum, Bob Littlefield, is back.  After twelve unproductive years on the City Council, he needs a job and is now running for Mayor.   He wrote a column in The Scottsdale Republic, which portrays himself as a crusader for citizen issues, entitled:  “Scottsdale Needs a Leader Who Will Protect Its Unique Character.”  Well, that’s Bob’s version of the truth.  In fact, Scottsdale has never seen a more self-promoting, negative, destructive and divisive politician in its history.

Bob argued that someone is proposing commercial development in the Sonoran Preserve.  Wrong.  Bob attacks everyone who disagrees with him as being an agent of a developer; literally, he sees a developer behind every tree.  Wrong.  Bob is also wrong when he pits North against South in bond elections; and when he was so reckless in his opposition to city bond measures that he shot down a school bond initiative that got caught in his irresponsible rhetoric.  He calls that “leadership.”  If that is “leadership,” we don’t need it.

He also rants against apartments and density, but, in typical fashion, Bob was for density before he was against it. He not only voted for the two tallest buildings in Scottsdale (known as the Scottsdale Waterfront Towers), but, in doing so, he also voted to impose an emergency clause which cut off the right of citizens to challenge the vote.  An emergency clause is intended to be used when immediate implementation of an action is needed for matters threatening public health or safety; it was never intended for constructing a residential building.  Subsequently, state law was changed to specifically prohibit the use of the emergency clause for such a purpose.  Isn’t this curious conduct for someone who claims to be the Great Crusader against density?  It is also important to realize that Scottsdale would benefit if more of the 100,000 commuters who work in Scottsdale, and who drive to and from Scottsdale daily, actually lived here.  Apartments and condominiums, although not for most of us, represent the new entry point for many “buyers” and are attractive for many who want to both live and work in Scottsdale.  Having residents being able to both live and work in Scottsdale has many benefits that shouldn’t be ignored out of hand.

Bob also continues to take credit for fighting “wasteful subsidies.”  He knows full well, however, that subsidies are outlawed by the state constitution and, also, specifically in the Scottsdale City Charter.  I know because I served on the Task Force that recommended adding the prohibition to the City Charter, a provision that was, subsequently, approved by voters.  In short, if something is a “subsidy,” it is both illegal and unconstitutional.  If something is not a “subsidy,” then a candidate shouldn’t be misleading voters by calling it one.  But this approach is consistent with Bob’s strategy to be loudly against things for the sake of letting us know, loudly, that he is against things.  Never let an opportunity go by to attack someone else’s idea.

In short, Bob is a garden variety professional politician; and what Bob really stands for, besides himself, is stagnation--the reduction of Scottsdale’s tax base, the decline of tax revenues, the decline of services, the decay of infrastructure and the reduction of the quality of life for City residents.  He is a “free lunch” politician, arguing that we can have all the services, infrastructure and quality of life we want provided that we just do nothing.   His shtick is stale; the con job is old. Bob should get a private sector job and stop pretending that he is Robin Hood.  That role has already been cast.

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America knows Beverly Hills 90210 as one of America’s most famous zip codes.  It’s starting to know Scottsdale 85255 as one of its best.

According to the Arizona Republic’s Catherine Reagor the northern Scottsdale neighborhoods of McDowell Mountain Ranch, DC Ranch and Grayhawk have surging property values.

And for good reason.  They are uniquely somewhere.  At the base of the McDowell Mountain Mountains.  With great recreation and parks nearby.  Proximity to the 101.  Great golf courses.  A terrific aquatics center.  Good schools.  The family mecca that is the Ice Den.  And even its own version of Central Park known as WestWorld.

The celebration of this area is a lesson in the Scottsdale politics of 2016.

When proposed these developments were contentious.  They involved “rezonings.” And it’s hard to believe that the Ice Den itself took a tortured trip all the way to the Arizona Supreme Court just to be allowed to open.

Yet today they are part of Scottsdale’s signature.  The success of the 85255 is part of what makes Scottsdale so strong.  When combined with revitalizing southern neighborhoods, the constant quality of life offered in Scottsdale’s central regions and the distinctiveness of the northern reaches its not wanting to claim the city as one of the best in America as Mayor Jim Lane often does.

But to listen to politicians like Robert Littlefield who are anti-business and anti-progress (and who probably sit at home watching television with rabbit ears) is to understand these neighborhoods would have never been if he was in charge.  He never would have approved their “rezonings.”  Good thing he wasn’t in charge judging from how good they have turned out and how much they have enriched Scottsdale’s reputation and quality of life.

As we celebrate Scottsdale successes like the 85255 it’s important to consider the kind of people that made them possible in the first place.   They certainly weren’t like Robert’s Rules of Order.

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By David Brooks
New York Times, The Opinion Pages

As usual, there were a ton of artists and musicians at the political conventions this year. And that raises some questions. How much should artists get involved in politics? How can artists best promote social change?

Click here to read more.

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Welcome to the site’s new feature, holding politician’s accountable for double talk.  And there’s no better place to launch Hypocrite Alert! than with Scottsdale’s Ultimate Politician, Bob Littlefield.

On the campaign trail he talks negatively about the proliferation of apartments in Scottsdale notwithstanding he’s the godfather of not one but the two largest apartment projects in the history of Scottsdale.  But that’s not all . . . he then took away the rights of citizens opposing the project, preventing them from putting the project to a city-wide vote.

When confronted with such facts Littlefield tries to go Obi Wan-Kenobi instructing voters such matters may not be the droids they’re looking for.

He then discusses how he’s opposed numerous apartment projects in Scottsdale, except for those that contributed generously to his campaign coffers.  But more on that another time.

This time Hypocrite Alert! would like to point out Littlefield cashing one of the most generous contributions of his political career:  from none other than the special interest political action committee of who?  The Arizona Multi-Housing Assocation.  That’s right, the state’s leading defender and purveyor of apartments.

It’s hard to make this stuff up.

But at least Littlefield’s hypocrisies are good for something:  laughter.

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