Following elections, and Scottsdale’s August 4th primary is no different, there is a temptation to declare winners and losers. We will be no exception today. But we seek to do so in a more insightful and entertaining way.
Let’s start with the Biggest Loser. And no we are not talking about the buffoonish and defeated Scottsdale City Council candidate Michael Auerbach we often and wisely opposed. Indeed, we could probably list this more deserving person every election cycle. He’s possibly the worst “political consultant” in Scottsdale history. His name? Rod Pritchett. Can anyone point to anything this guy has ever won besides being epically weird and a colossal failure? For the past decade he was banking on Councilwoman Virginia Korte to become Mayor and make him relevant. But she sidelined him, as did the Scottsdale Firefighter’s Association. This followed the worst campaign in Scottsdale history that he ran – the one for the ill-conceived Desert Discovery Center – that was throttled in 2018. As nasty as he is ineffective Pritchett has been relegated to talking to himself because no one else listens. And that’s a good thing for Scottsdale. What’s often even stranger than his self is that when one is actually nice to him you become the first he sticks a knife in the back of. What a guy.
Back in the 80s Pauly Shore rose to fame with his phrase “Da Weasel.” Now, he’s a punch line, for those that actually remember him. Just like Pritchett. We hope he eventually finds his way because there are few who are most lost in Scottsdale than he.
When it comes to the biggest winners it would be easy to acknowledge David Ortega, Lisa Borowsky and the top 4 vote getters in the City Council election. Such acclimation would be well deserved, for many reasons. But we choose a deeper dive for our readers’s greater consideration.
Winners . . .
*Jason Alexander & Andrea Alley: As “Scottsdale Together” they took aggressive stands for soon to be Councilwoman Tammy Caputi and against incumbent Councilman Guy Phillips. Taking on an incumbent is bold. But they are likely to prevail on both efforts.
*Mike Norton: We remind you that Norton was the intellectual leader and hustle behind efforts to upend a controversial Scottsdale Unified School Board. He then turned that energy into constructive leadership to help Scottsdale get its first bond package passed in 20 years in November, 2019. In this past cycle he took aim at Bob Littlefield and Guy Phillips. Norton, like Alexander and Alley, is likely to go 2-2.
*Bob Littlefield, Virginia Korte & Suzanne Klapp: As we have stated before it takes a lot of guts to step into the arena and run for office. Each this past primary did so. And each, in their own way, came out with their integrity in tact, despite not realizing the goals sought. Although it would be nice if Klapp asked her consultants to take down her political signs. It has been 3 weeks now.
*Lamar Whitmer: Since returning from his decade long pursuit of a development on the Navajo Nation that didn’t pan out, the mercurial but effective Whitmer has made his mark with effective advocacy against Southbridge II and for Lisa Borowsky. While he’s had some minor setbacks Whitmer gets credit for not missing too many miles per hour off his fastball despite largely being out of action for a decade.
*Kathy Littlefield & Solange Whitehead: That so many credible candidates ran for City Council in 2020 and did or will come up short likely means a candidate field in 2022 more akin to the shorter one in 2018 than what we just witnessed. And that’s good news for the two council incumbents mentioned previously seeking re-election two years from now. These pages will be supporters of both if and when they do run. That’s because both have displayed a discerning ear and eye for what makes and keeps Scottsdale special. You know where they stand but they are also not ones to ignore merit. Their constituent service skills are second to few as well.
*Scottsdale City Manager Jim Thompson: The city is lucky to have someone with his experience in the saddle. He makes mistakes – such as being slow to respond to Scottsdale’s Covid assistance for small business. But in baseball terms, he wins a lot for Scottsdale while on the mound. Perhaps his greatest strength is subordinating his ego to those of his bosses. This is something predecessors have ignored at their political peril. Thompson’s agenda is the Council’s agenda. That’s smart. And appropriate. Since the ultimate bosses for all are the people. Thompson gets that.
*Christian Serena: Scottsdale Planning Commissioner and attractive once again candidate for Scottsdale City Council, Serena saw the large field in 2020 and decided to sit it out. Sagacious. With Linda Milhaven term limited in 2022 Serena will have a beat on the non-Littlefield/Whitehead seat that will be up for grabs. Largely in keeping in with the policies that make Scottsdale what it is Serena was the lone Planning Commissioner that voted against the Desert Discovery Center a few years back, also giving him street cred with another important constituency in Scottsdale. Scottsdale never goes all slow-growth or pro-growth in elections. The council results on August 4th are another example. So Serena, if he wants it, has a chance to advantage Scottsdale’s schizophrenia in this regard.