A lot of cities like to talk a lot about “regional cooperation.” The notion goes that if we all just get a long we’ll all be better for it.
Well, in the case of Scottsdale and the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community let’s take a closer look.
A couple of decades back it’s fair to say relations between the two governments weren’t terribly good. Pima Road would get shut down by the tribe. Scottsdale under Herb Drinkwater refused the proposed Loop 101. Indian gaming was an uncertain challenge to Scottsdale resorts.
So there was this notion that a better relationship would be good for both parties. Well, it certainly has been for Salt River. But has it been for Scottsdale?
This year the Chapman auto dealerships will leave McDowell Road for a new auto complex on the reservation. This will cost Scottsdale millions annually in lost city sales tax revenue. Another tribal development just took the Galleria Corporate Center’s largest tenant, McKesson. And as this editorial is being written tribal lands are being touted as better alternatives to Scottsdale for giant corporate campuses. Then there’s the case of Salt River Fields, which has become a direct competitor to WestWorld. It recently became the new home of Russo & Steele, a pilot fish and pariah to Barrett-Jackson. Salt River Fields even took the azcentral Food & Wine Festival from Scottsdale Fashion Square. And what was the city’s response? To subsidize the relocating event with over $80,000 in tourism tax dollars.
Cooperation, regionally or otherwise, must be a two-way street. Scottsdale needs to learn this before it’s denuded further.