By Recker McDowell
Billionaire media mogul and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg doesn’t like soda.
But Bloomberg likes Scottsdale.
Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable arm of the former mayor, has put Scottsdale on its 2019 list of What Works Cities for its use of data and technology.
Data and technology have their privacy drawbacks for the private sector and employers. But they can also be strong tools for governments to increase transparency and policy making.
Bloomberg’s group cited Scottsdale’s use of predictive analysis including for water conservation for its inclusion on this year’s list.
Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane credited the city’s professional staff and executive leadership for moving the data needle for the city.
Scottsdale joins the likes of Los Angeles, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Boston and San Diego in getting the honor the past two years.
Scottsdale is the smallest city population on this year’s list and the designation shows innovation is not just for big cities, Amazon.com or Silicon Valley.
Bloomberg, a critic of President Donald Trump, opted not to run president in 2020. His tenure as mayor featured a push for new taxes on soda and controversial ‘stop and frisk’ police policies.
Those garnered him criticism from both the left and the right. But Bloomberg effectively managed New York City for three terms and grew Bloomberg LP into a $9.6 billion data-driven media and financial venture.
He might be wrong on taxing Cherry Coke, Dr. Pepper and Big Gulps but Bloomberg and his groups know something about governance, data and technology.
And that says something for what Scottsdale is doing.