In salon terms Scottsdale City Councilman Guy Phillips has spent most of his tenure serving as a make-up artist. What do we mean? That Scottsdale’s looks are being degraded by too many apartments, too much height and too much stuff, he has argued. He is typically joined in such observations by Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield and more recently by Councilman David Smith.
Such opinons can often lead to electoral support for one, two or three councilmembers serving at a time but they have not resulted in a majority for decades. The city’s well regardedness for its pro-business majority was on full display in 2016 when Mayor Jim Lane throttled former Councilman Bob Littlefield, husband to Kathy.
Scottsdale voters are smart with a majority realizing that though they may not be thrilled with an apartment project here or there, a pro-business, pro-tourism, pro-arts approach in Scottsdale is what leads to the revenues that pay for parks, police and preservation. It’s hard to do that if too many so no to everything.
This leads us back to Councilman Phillips.
Scottsdale Fashion Square recently asked for new approvals, including height, to solidify its future. At a time when malls everywhere are struggling the request was understandable, even necessary. And with the staggering amount of sales tax revenue Scottsdale Fashion Square provides city coffers, the mall’s success is a quite necessary proposition indeed.
Yet, Councilmembers Littlefield and Smith voted against the proposal. But Councilman Phillips did not. Instead, he played the role of a doctor recognizing that if the heartbeat of downtown is not well, or well-positioned for the future, what’s really the point of worrying about one’s make-up? Fashion’s Square beauty, and import, shouldn’t be in the eye of the beholder. It should have been understood, and supported, by every one on that council dais. Phillips stood tall, likely for buildings taller than he liked. His decision to be discerning, not visceral, was good for Scottsdale. And being a good guy, or girl, is a lesson others might heed too.