Guest Editorial: The Lessons of 2019 for 2020 and the Elections

By Recker McDowell —

With 2019 in the rear-view mirror, 2020 and the upcoming elections are front of mind nationally, statewide and in local races where cities such as Scottsdale will pick a new mayor and City Council members.

Local races will determine the path on growth, development and jobs.

Those running for office in Scottsdale, in other cities or up the political ladder shouldn’t forget some of the lessons of 2019.

In Scottsdale, voters’ overwhelming approvals of Bond Questions 1, 2 and 3 and the Scottsdale City Council’s unanimous support for the $300 million Museum Square redevelopment in Old Town are positive lessons.

Political adversaries and those with differing philosophical views came together both for the bonds and Museum Square project. New community voices and advocates were also part of the both efforts.

They all put community and the need for Scottsdale to invest its future first. The bonds will invest $319 million in public safety, senior centers, the arts and parks and recreation. It was the first time in 19 years Scottsdale voters approved a major bond program. Museum Square will bring new life and vibrancy to a former transit station off Goldwater Boulevard.

The temptation for 2020 from Donald Trump all the way down ticket will be to divide and conquer, to scorch the opponent’s earth and energize the base. That is the path of Trump and Democrats who want to deny him a second term.

But it is not the path local voters want for their communities. They want to see vision and aspirations for how their community is going to grow and prosper. They want smart investments in quality of life, economic development, health care and public safety. They prefer that over Twitter storms, Facebook fights and the demonization that dominates the media and politics. They just aren’t the ones yelling on Facebook and Twitter.

That temptation will be there for state and local candidates. Their choice will be to emulate what they see on Twitter, Facebook and the 24/7 news cycle.

They can also look at what happened in Scottsdale with the bonds as well as Museum Square where the community and elected officials worked together and chose unity and community over division.

The year 2020 is poised to be rough and tumble from the presidential election and Trump’s impeachment to Arizona’s U.S. Senate race and battles in cities such as Scottsdale when it comes to growth and development.

Fortunately, 2019 also offers some lessons of what voters really want to see in their communities and neighborhoods.