Featured Editorials



Conservative's Corner

PHOENIX – Attorney General Brnovich announced today that the Attorney General’s Office awarded nearly $400,000 in grants to community organizations that provide mental health treatment and services to first responders. The organizations will assist firefighters, emergency medical services, and law enforcement across the state.

Four different grants were awarded to organizations, including the United Phoenix Firefighters (two separate grants), EMPACT Suicide Prevention, and Marana Health Center. Over 2,000 first responders and first responder families are expected to be served statewide over the next year through direct treatment, mental health services, and training.Read More

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey announced today $300,000 in funding from the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund has been allocated to organizations across the state that support senior citizens, the homebound and those who are medically fragile. The funding will support organizations that have provided much needed aid to vulnerable populations impacted by COVID-19, by assisting with grocery shopping, meal deliveries, transportation to medical appointments, emergency errands and social interaction during a time of physical distancing.

“Arizona continues to focus on protecting public health, especially for those most at-risk like seniors and those medically vulnerable,” said Governor Ducey. “Volunteer and community organizations across the state are working day and night to provide support for those in their care through additional food deliveries, transportation and other services — and we’re proud to support their efforts. Thank you to everyone who has donated to the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund so we can protect at-risk Arizonans, and to everyone who has stepped up to help others.”

Recipients of the funding include:

  • Foundation for Senior Living (statewide)

  • Benevilla

  • Aster Aging

“We are so appreciative of this generous donation,” said Tom Egan, President and CEO of Foundation for Senior Living. “Our team has been working diligently to shift many of our programs to meal and food bag deliveries to seniors and adults with chronic health issues or disabilities. So far, we have seen our expenses increase by 25 percent and we’re anticipating the community will continue to need help throughout the summer. This donation will help offset our expenses and allow us to serve those in need.  We are so grateful to Governor Ducey and the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund!”

“We believe we are strongest when we work together,” says Joanne Thomson, President and CEO of Benevilla. “The support from the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund Now will help provide much needed services to the most vulnerable population in our community. Working together we are able to help seniors with grocery shopping, emergency errands and more, we are able to provide support and friendship to caregivers who might feel overwhelmed and alone and continue to support families in our community during this time.”

“The support that Aster Aging has received from the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund is truly making the difference for vulnerable older adults in the East Valley,” said Deborah Schaus, CEO of Aster Aging. “Requests for Meals on Wheels and our other basic need services have continued to grow as we strive to keep seniors safe during the pandemic.”

The AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund was established by Governor Ducey as part of the Arizona Together Initiative to provide financial support to non-profit organizations serving Arizonans most in need statewide. The AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund has collected more than $8.2 million to date. Arizonans can visit ArizonaTogether.org to learn more, donate and find volunteer opportunities.

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey has announced that following a national search, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has selected Arizona for its new U.S. advanced semiconductor factory. The project will create over 1,600 new high-tech jobs and generate thousands of additional jobs in the state for suppliers and other companies within the semiconductor industry. TSMC’s total spending on this project, including capital expenditure, will be approximately $12 billion from 2021 to 2029.

“We’re incredibly proud that one of the world’s leading technology companies has chosen Arizona for this high-tech project, one with national and global significance,” said Governor Ducey. “TSMC could have picked any place in the world to build this advanced manufacturing factory. They chose Arizona for our unbeatable business climate, already thriving tech sector and ready access to an international supply chain. I’d like to thank TSMC Chairman Dr. Mark Liu for his commitment to Arizona. We are honored to be selected for this project and look forward to building a collaborative long-term relationship with TSMC. I’m very grateful to President Donald Trump for his leadership and tireless efforts to bring more manufacturing back to our shores. I’d also like to thank Secretary Ross, his team at the U.S. Department of Commerce including SelectUSA, and the Trump administration for their partnership.”

Arizona has long been a hub for the advanced manufacturing and semiconductor industries. The state’s skilled workforce, strong supply chain, strategic geographic location, commitment to pro-innovation policies and unmatched quality of life have continued to drive rapid industry growth and economic momentum. This new U.S. facility will enable TSMC to provide enhanced service to customers and partners and increase its ability to attract global talent.

The facility will utilize TSMC’s 5-nanometer technology for semiconductor wafer fabrication and have the capacity to produce 20,000 wafers per month. Construction is planned to begin in 2021 with production targeted to start in 2024. The Arizona facility will be the company’s second manufacturing operation in the United States.

Several sites in the City of Phoenix are still being evaluated for the location of the factory. The Arizona Commerce Authority will continue working with TSMC, the U.S. administration, the City of Phoenix and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council to finalize all aspects of the project.

PHOENIX — With Arizona food banks experiencing a spike in demand, Governor Doug Ducey today announced a $500,000 grant from the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund for Arizona food banks to help fight hunger. Member organizations that are part of the Association of Arizona Food Banks/Arizona Food Bank, which is receiving the grant, supply a network of nearly 1,000 food pantries and organizations in all 15 counties in Arizona, some of which have experienced a demand up to five times greater than usual due to COVID-19.

“We want to make sure nobody goes hungry as we respond to COVID-19 and get people back to work,” said Governor Ducey. “With these dollars, Arizona food pantries across the state will be able to make more food deliveries and help more families, while implementing new protocols that prioritize public health such as drive-thru pick-ups. This grant is made possible because of the generous donations to the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund, and my thanks goes out to everyone coming together and pitching in to help Arizonans in need.”

The Association of Arizona Food Banks/Arizona Food Bank Network is comprised of five regional food banks, including:

  • St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance

  • Desert Mission Food Bank

  • United Food Bank

  • Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona

  • Yuma Community Food Bank

The food banks will use the funding to address the spike in demand, including: meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities; acquiring more packaging materials to deliver food; securing additional storage space; implementing further adaptations to promote physical distancing among clients; coordinating convenient drive-through food pick-ups; and more.

“These unprecedented circumstances have created an increased demand for our services to support Arizonans who are struggling to provide the most basic needs for their families,” said Angie Rodgers, President & CEO of the Arizona Food Bank Network. “This gift from the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund will help to ensure small pantries in local communities stay open and ready for families in need during this time. We’re grateful for the support which will make a difference in our capacity to serve across the state.”

“Our deepest thanks to Governor Ducey and everyone who donated or raised money for the Arizona Coronavirus Relief Fund, making this gift to AzFBN possible. These dollars will help small food pantries statewide as they work to help Arizonans struggling with hunger,” said Michael McDonald, Chair of the Board of Directors, Arizona Food Bank Network, and CEO, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. “These charities are doing all they can to meet the increasing need, and this financial help for them truly couldn’t have come at a better time.”

The AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund was established by Governor Ducey as part of the Arizona Together Initiative to provide financial support to nonprofit organizations serving Arizonans in need.

The AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund has collected more than $8.2 million to date. In April, the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation donated $5 million to support the purchase of PPE including 1.1 million N-95 masks. Additional grant announcements will be made as disbursements are finalized.

Individuals and organizations interested in supporting the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund can learn more about how to contribute at ArizonaTogether.org.

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey today announced that the Stay At Home order in Arizona will be ending on May 15 and replaced by new guidance for the next stage of economic recovery. The new guidance aligns with gating criteria issued by the White House and Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and aims to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 resurgence, protect vulnerable populations, and guide the reopening of businesses with enhanced physical distancing and safety measures in place.

Arizona’s new Executive Order, which takes effect on Saturday, May 16, builds on Arizona’s comprehensive efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect public health, including: ramping up testing availability and frequency; implementing tracking of key health metrics such as reported symptomatic cases and emergency room usage; standing up surge hospital capacity to be used as needed; expanding statewide contact tracing; bolstering supply chains for personal protective equipment for frontline medical workers and emergency responders; implementing enhanced safety protocols to protect those living and working in high-risk facilities such as nursing homes; and providing public health guidance for businesses and individuals to ensure continued physical distancing.

“Since the start of this pandemic, Arizona has taken a calm and steady approach to protecting health and slowing the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Ducey. “Today, our hospitals have capacity to provide care to those who need it; our businesses are implementing and adapting to new physical distancing measures; and data shows Arizona is headed in the right direction. It is time to move forward with the next steps of Arizona’s economic recovery — while continuing to make health and safety our number one priority. I’m grateful to all Arizonans for their partnership and cooperation during these trying times. By continuing to follow the data and recommendations of public health officials, we can continue to move forward safely and responsibly together.”

Governor Ducey also announced today an accelerated plan to test all staff and residents of long-term care facilities as well as individuals within Arizona’s prisons. As part of this plan, the Arizona Department of Health Services will partner with private-sector labs to expand testing to 147 long-term care facilities and provide antibody tests for correctional officers. Additionally, major league sports can resume limited reopening, without fans, this Saturday, May 16.

The Arizona Department of Health Services also released additional guidance for businesses and customers as more industries resume partial operations. This guidance includes:

  • Pools, with physical distancing and enhanced sanitation – can reopen Wednesday, May 13 (GUIDANCE)

  • Gyms & Fitness Providers, with physical distancing and enhanced sanitation – can reopen Wednesday, May 13 (GUIDANCE)

  • Spas, with physical distancing and enhanced sanitation – can reopen Wednesday, May 13 (GUIDANCE)

While never formally closed, many places of worship opted to temporarily change or suspend services in order to follow physical distancing guidelines. As they resume operations, the Arizona Department of Health Services released GUIDANCE for enhanced physical distancing and safety precautions.

View today’s Executive Order HERE.

View daily Arizona updates HERE.

Featured Editorials

Staff Report – 

A recap of the top three stories on Arizona Progress & Gazette from the past week. 

  1. Disqualifying David Ortega For Mayor

Now a candidate for Mayor in 2020, former Councilman and current landlord lobbyist David Ortega proclaims his regard for the Preserve, clearly one of Scottsdale’s greatest achievements. Yet, who led the opposition to the Preserve in that critical, landmark vote in 2004?  David Ortega. Read full story here.

  1. Gloves Are Off In Scottsdale

With early voting starting in about three weeks for Arizona’s August 4th primary it’s about that time when the attacks start flying.  And, Scottsdale is no exception. Read full story here.

3. Well This Would Shake Up Scottsdale’s 2020 City Council Races 

For some time the belief in Scottsdale political circles was that if you ever wanted to be on City Council, 2020 was the time to run. We’re not sure the last time Scottsdale had three open council seats but the prospect in 2020 was the reason the potential field is nearly as large as that seeking the Democratic nomination for President.  Read full story here.

Staff Report – 

Candidates for Scottsdale Mayor and City Council have started filing campaign finance reports for the third quarter. The reports outline candidate fundraising from July 19th through September 30th.

Mayoral candidates David Ortega and Lisa Borowsky are looking to succeed term-limited Mayor Jim Lane. There are three City Council seats up for grabs with Tammy Caputi, John Little and Guy Phillips leading in fundraising efforts. The General Election is November 3rd with early voting underway.

Race for Mayor

Lisa Borowsky

Total Raised – $250,274.47

Cash on Hand – $62,255.47

Individually Contributed – $61,923.47 (via loan)

David Ortega

Total Raised – $147,909.85

Cash on Hand – $62,288.12

Individually Contributed – $68,950 (via loan)


City Council Candidates

Tammy Caputi  

Total Raised – $144,683

Cash on Hand – $59,288.68

Individually Contributed – $100

John Little

Total Raised – $131,455

Cash on Hand – $36,574.70

Individually Contributed – N/A

Guy Phillips

Total Raised – $73,960.33

Cash on Hand – $15,181.14

Individually Contributed – $11,090 (via loan)

Read More

Editor’s note: Few, if any, in recent memory have had a greater impact on the City of Glendale than Elaine Scruggs who served as Mayor from 1993 to 2013.

During her tenure, Glendale attracted University of Phoenix Stadium. The city built the Gila River Arena to host the Arizona Coyotes and the Camelback Ranch spring training home for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox. The Westgate City Center also went up under her watch. And Arrowhead Ranch came to life along with universities and other facets. Glendale has also hosted the Super Bowl and two BCS National Championship games while she was Mayor.

We asked her about her years in office and the motivations behind her decisions. The following is an overview she was kind enough to write for us:

In 1993, my immediate challenge was to position our city competitively within the region.  The recession of the early 1990’s coupled with the Valley’s exploding growth demonstrated that continuing as a semi-rural bedroom community was not an option.

Economic energy had already gravitated to the East Valley.  Those cities worked collaboratively to attract quality residential developments and sustainable commercial cores.   Glendale had a lot of catching up to do.

The 1993 the population of the 12 West Valley cities was less than that of Mesa alone.  East Valley legislative leadership and corporate executives united their efforts to bring transportation to their area.  The West Valley had none of those advantages.

At the same time “the Valley establishment” was fighting against freeways and mass transit, ignoring all growth projections.  However, developers’ eyes were on our metropolitan area and they would not be denied access.

“The Prop 400 defeat in 1994 led Governor Fife Symington to put forward his own freeway program. Among the freeways cut from the map were the Paradise Freeway, which would have run parallel to Camelback Road; and three west side freeways: the Estrella Freeway, which would later become Loop 303; Grand Avenue, which was then envisioned as a freeway; and the Agua Fria Freeway south of Interstate 10. The Governor also recommended fewer lanes, no lighting and no landscaping on remaining freeways. Mayor Scruggs vividly recalls standing in her kitchen when she received the call from Governor Symington’s chief of staff. “I was just stunned. Just absolute shock. As were my colleagues across the Valley. It was such a setback,” says Mayor Scruggs. “And if you think back, we, the Valley, were in a time of such feverish growth, and our whole transportation system was so far behind the times anyway.” Left on the map but unfunded were the Santan, Red Mountain, Sky Harbor and Hohokam freeways. The South Mountain Freeway was proposed as a toll road. The MAG Regional Council reluctantly approved the Governor’s plan.”

By the end of the decade clearer minds and sharper pencils prevailed and $500 million was back on the table. Negotiations resulted in completion of the Agua Fria/Loop 101 connecting the I-10 and the I-17 seven years earlier than planned — in 2000 rather than 2007.

Finally the critical piece was in place to develop economic sustainability in Glendale and also open the ‘front door’ to other West Valley cities.

Midwestern university’s choice of Glendale for its second campus hinged on timely completion of the Loop 101 which borders the north side of their property.   The university is a health, education and economic asset for the entire metro area. It came when Arrowhead Ranch was rebounding from the sell-off of property by the Resolution Trust Corporation.  The RTC did not care about master plans nor quality of life issues for existing residents.  Their job was to liquidate real estate acquired as a consequence of the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s.  Midwestern University’s decision to locate in arrowhead ranch provided protection from incompatible, low quality development for our existing neighborhoods.

The economic development value of a freeway is most evidenced by Glendale’s sports and entertainment district.  The plan to build an arena and ancillary uses on the site of the abandoned Los Arcos Mall was on its last breath. A member of the development team contacted me suggesting the same project for an abandoned mall in central Glendale.  The pros and cons of the two sites were eerily similar and the parcel size nearly identical.  An agreement was reached with the developer for a thirty-day timeframe to decide whether to go forward or not.  Read More

By Scottsdale Cosmopolite

Last month, mayoral candidates Lisa Borowsky and Dave Ortega debated at the Scottsdale Performing Arts Center in the first and only in-person debate of the political cycle. With limited in-person attendance, topics varied from political divides, attainable housing, remote work environments, small businesses, economic upgrades, transportation and the pandemic.

Moderator for the debate was lawyer Kurt Brueckner. The panel members consisted of Chad Arruda, founder and chief development officer of Windom Security, George Jackson with Wells Fargo Advisors and Lynndy Smith, Senior Director of External Affairs for Acronis SCS.

With early voting already underway, here are key impressions and highlights from the debate:

*One of the hot button issues throughout this election has been the concern of economic growth in Scottsdale, especially when handling the challenges brought on by the pandemic. While both candidates supported and agreed with the pre-determined areas for economic growth (Airpark, McDowell Quarter and Downtown), Ortega largely deflected answering the question and instead decided to reinforce his “expert” experience of the downtown area when it comes to development. Lisa called the Old Town/Downtown area of Scottsdale the “gem of the city” and expanding Scottsdale’s tourism reputation by improving transportation and parking with no hi-rise buildings.

*The most bizarre comment of the debate came from candidate Ortega when asked about mending the political divide in Scottsdale saying, “I believe I have a welcoming personality, I can welcome people into the downtown. I can work with all of South America and Spain. I speak Spanish, I can get along.”

Read More

Staff Report  –

A recap of the top three stories on Arizona Progress & Gazette from the past week.

  1. Disqualifying David Ortega For Mayor

Now a candidate for Mayor in 2020, former Councilman and current landlord lobbyist David Ortega proclaims his regard for the Preserve, clearly one of Scottsdale’s greatest achievements. Yet, who led the opposition to the Preserve in that critical, landmark vote in 2004?  David Ortega. Read full story here.

  1. Political Potpourri & Tea Leaves

While increased education funding has received a lot of media headlines in recent years a proposed solution, Proposition 208, will almost certainly have profoundly negative economic consequences for Arizona if it passes.  Those arguments are longer and harder to make than the sound bites for education. Read full story here.

  1. One Bad Game Doesn’t Negate A Career Well Served

Few were more disappointed by the Scottsdale Police Department’s handling of the Scottsdale Fashion Square rioting and looting than we. However it happened, whoever made the call, the buck ultimately stops at the Chief. And in Scottsdale, that’s Alan Rodbell. Read full story here.

By David N. Smith and Diana M. Smith

It’s decision time!  Besides choosing among the national and state candidates for office, it is time for Scottsdale citizens to elect a new Mayor and three Councilmembers.

As thirty-five-year residents of Scottsdale, Diana and I know all the candidates for Mayor and Council.  When friends ask us, “Who should we vote for?”, we share our reasoning.  We want to be represented by individuals who bring Civility, Common sense, Experience and relevant Community involvement to Council.  We believe this combination will inspire them to vote for what is best for Scottsdale.

We want to be represented by individuals who have…

  • Been active in the community for a long time.  Citizens actively involved for a long time know Scottsdale’s history and will be better guardians of our future.  Long-time citizens develop an appreciation for our quality of life and the sacrifices made to achieve it.
  • Been something more than a “single-issue” candidate. Each of us can advocate for or against an issue close to our heart but representing a city as big as Scottsdale means confronting a myriad of concerns requiring experience-based judgment.
  • Leadership and policy making experience.  Scottsdale is an organization of 2,500 employees serving 260,000 citizens requiring diverse community services.  Not everyone who promises to lead is qualified to do so.
  • Financial understanding and experience. Scottsdale’s annual budget is more than $1 billion which amounts to $4,000 for every citizen.  We want confidence in whoever spends our $4,000.

Our choice for Mayor is David Ortega and our choices for Council are Becca Linnig, John Little and Tammy Caputi.  Each of them has lived in and been committed to Scottsdale for decades.  Here’s what else influenced our choices…

Read More

Dave Ortega has run a surprising and effective campaign to be Scottsdale’s next Mayor.  He’s also been very lucky.  But everyone needs some of that to win.

This morning we saw this Ortega ad on . . . The Drudge Report.  Notwithstanding the popular website’s move away from Trump, it’s long been a clearinghouse for conservative eyeballs.

Whether Ortega is buying ads on the Drudge Report or simply having them repopulated there through digital retargeting we do not know.

But we do know it encapsulates his success to date.  He is winning big among city Democrats, slightly with Independents and is competitive with Republicans.  This, despite being a life-long Democrat, only recently re-registering as an Independent.  Indeed, Ortega was once the Democratic nominee for County Supervisor against Republican Steve Chucri and has been a financial backer of some very liberal Arizona Democrats.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing this year, even in Republican heavy Scottsdale.  Ortega has had a street smart about this since the get go.  National media talks of suburban Republicans being weary of Trump. That has a down ballot benefit for candidates like Ortega and is creating major problems for people like Republican Congressman David Schweikert.

Read More

The resilience of the backers behind the emerging Ritz-Carlton and associated Palmeraie projects that astride Paradise Valley and Scottsdale is a story for all-time. Enduring both the Great Recession and now a pandemic to still forge ahead with a beautiful, landmark project is business bravery few of us know, but all can appreciate.

Both in reputation and tax revenue, it appears poised to be a generational opportunity for both communities.

While most of the project will be located in Paradise Valley there are exciting aspects to the plans in Scottsdale, the zoning for which was approved unanimously by the City Council in 2017.

Tweaks to that zoning package (not a rezoning) were approved this past week, again unanimously, by Scottsdale’s Design Review Board.  Among the most important is an additional ten feet, set off of Scottsdale Road, for the nation’s first Fendi residences.  That’s right.  Scottsdale will be first.   Read More

Few were more disappointed by the Scottsdale Police Department’s handling of the Scottsdale Fashion Square rioting and looting than we.

City of Scottsdale Photo

However it happened, whoever made the call, the buck ultimately stops at the Chief. And in Scottsdale, that’s Alan Rodbell.

It was an unfortunate decision and an unfortunate mark on Rodbell’s record.  The consequence of playing patty cake with the criminals is not inconsequential.

Yet, should that be how Rodbell is remembered after a strange late Friday press notice that he would be departing the city in December?


Rodbell has been effective and affable.  Some say he is too slick.  We say so what.  That’s part of the job.  To project confidence. To be able to smartly convey to community that which you are trying to do.   Read More

Should he become Mayor we hope Scottsdale candidate Dave Ortega moderates his anti-business tone. That’s not what the local economy needs.  But there is something we hope he doesn’t change: his apparent, strong commitment to a non-discrimination ordinance for Scottsdale.

We have written our strong support for the policy previously.

The issue has re-entered the public discussion thanks to leadership from Scottsdale’s Human Relations Commission.  It also came up in the last mayoral debate between Ortega and rival, Lisa Borowsky.  We did not watch the debate but we note Ortega’s subsequent criticism of Borowsky in campaign ads saying she does not support the additional protections in Scottsdale

If true, we find that disappointing.  Scottsdale IS a welcoming, beautiful city.  But it should not be an excuse for abstaining on social justice and dignity.

Ortega is right on this one, not just on the policy.  But on the politics too.

Staff Report  –

A recap of the top three stories on Arizona Progress & Gazette from the past week.

  1. Disqualifying David Ortega For Mayor

Now a candidate for Mayor in 2020, former Councilman and current landlord lobbyist David Ortega proclaims his regard for the Preserve, clearly one of Scottsdale’s greatest achievements. Yet, who led the opposition to the Preserve in that critical, landmark vote in 2004?  David Ortega. Read full story here.

2. Impressions on Scottsdale’s Council Candidate Debate – Part II

With early voting starting in a couple of weeks for the November 3rd General Election, the political attacks are flying more frequently. And yesterday’s city council candidate debate was no exception. Moderated by Chris Haines from Scottsdale Community College, here are key impressions and highlights. Read full story here.

3.  #LocalBuzz: Q & A With Scottsdale City Council Candidate Tammy Caputi

Tammy Caputi gathered 29,687 votes in the August 4th primary, which made her one of the top vote-getters among the city council candidates and will move on to the November 3rd General Election. Read full story here.


*It hasn’t received much attention locally, yet, but a poll conducted on the David Schweikert- Hiral Tipirneni congressional race recently shows the incumbent clinging to just a two-point lead, underscoring the specific challenge Schweikert is facing this year but also the head winds suburban Republican office holders are facing in general.  This race reminds us a lot of the J.D. Hayworth-Harry Mitchell face-off, in a similar district, over a decade ago.

*The top three Scottsdale City Council candidates faring best right now are John Little, Betty Janik and Tammy Caputi.  It is a slight reshuffling from the August primary results.  Councilman Guy Phillips has regained some footing after his “I Can’t Breathe” fracas pre-primary but remains challenged by the still significant animus to his candidacy.

*There are legitimate arguments on both sides of the Proposition 207 issue to legalize marijuana. But support appears to remain strong based on internal polling released this week by the campaign.  Opponents, knowing this, have undertaken what most any observer would call a very dishonest campaign raising what can generously be called red herrings about a plan that has made substantial improvements since its narrow defeat in 2016.  Prediction:  solid win for Prop. 207.

*While increased education funding has received a lot of media headlines in recent years a proposed solution, Proposition 208, will almost certainly have profoundly negative economic consequences for Arizona if it passes.  Those arguments are longer and harder to make than the sound bites for education.  But they are real.  And doubling the state income tax for top producers and small businesses will be a decision state leaders will have to deal with, and regret, for many years to come.  Read More

By Don Henninger

What do Scottsdale residents want from their future leaders?

Do they expect them to sustain the city’s high property values and low tax rates?

To continue to provide unparalleled city services?

Create a thriving, active year-round downtown?

To ensure its McDowell Sonoran Preserve will be protected in perpetuity?

Maintain lots of open spaces?

The current roster of candidates for mayor and City Council agree those are worthy pursuits.

That’s why we live and do business here. Because the city does well on most of them, polls show the majority of residents think things are heading in the right direction.

But how do you foot the bill for all those desired attributes moving forward? The simple answer – perhaps the only one – is to encourage business investment in the city.

That’s the economic reality and that’s where the candidates start to separate. Any pro-business stance brings out the slow- or no-growth advocates who will be quick to complain but then come up short on ideas for how they see the city financing its prosperity.

The economic reality is this: Continued private sector investment in the city – paired with a healthy tourism industry – is how to maintain – to pay for – the quality of life that residents now expect and often take for granted.

The McDowell Sonoran Preserve encompasses one-quarter of the city’s land mass. And the open spaces so treasured in the north mean that economic activity must be robust in other select areas of the city.

The city has identified three major hubs for economic activity: the McDowell Road corridor, the area that surrounds the Airpark and downtown.

Much of the attention has been downtown, which is underused as a place to work, live and generate year-round activity. It’s often confused with Historic Old Town, a six-acre span that can easily be preserved while the rest of downtown’s two square miles is modernized.

City leaders should not be shy in recruiting businesses to invest in redevelopment projects downtown, while ensuring that they follow the zoning regulations and character area ordinances. Projects that propose height and density, carefully planned and located where they make sense – in literally 1 percent of the city’s area and far from the open spaces in the north – will not erode the city’s heritage. It will enable the city to build on its past and preserve its quality of life attributes as it continues to evolve into the future.

Scottsdale does not need decision makers who lead with “no.” The city is establishing a reputation that discourages quality investors from proposing projects here, redirecting them to neighboring cities. That’s fine for some projects. But Scottsdale should be getting the cream of the crop and those opportunities will evaporate if city leaders don’t view them with open minds. Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

Tammy Caputi has been a Scottsdale resident and business owner for over twenty years and has three children attending local public schools. Tammy is the President and Owner of Yale Electric West, a wholesale supplier of lighting and electrical products. She’s a Fellow with the Flinn-Brown Center for Civic Leadership. She also served the last three years on the Scottsdale Development Review Board. She’s currently the Chair of SCOTT, an organization dedicated to expanding public awareness of important local issues and empowering citizens to act.

Tammy Caputi gathered 29,687 votes in the August 4th primary, which made her one of the top vote-getters among the city council candidates and will move on to the November 3rd General Election.

We had a chance to catch up with Tammy Captui about her take on the election results, issues facing Scottsdale and hope for the city’s future.

  • Your campaign had an impressive finish in the August election. What do you attribute your success to in the Primary race?

My success in the Primary race was due to hard work and a message that resonates with people. I want Scottsdale to be even better for my kids than it’s been for me. My passion is the future of our city; our livability and quality of place. This means economic vitality, a diverse, resilient economy, quality development with public benefits, and collaboration with our schools, so our children can get a topnotch education and find good jobs from hire to retire. I am working tirelessly on my campaign; leaving it all on the field!

  • Based on the primary results, what do you believe that says about the mindset of Scottsdale residents?

I believe voters are looking for a moderate, well-rounded candidate who has the experience needed to lead our city, but isn’t an “insider”. Voters want someone who has a vested interest in our city, a vision that resonates, and the ability to enact it. We need councilmembers who will govern with facts and open minds and integrity, who will create consensus and promote collaboration, who will have the training, business skills and creativity to help rebuild our local economy. I think voters connected with me because I have children in our local schools, I run a business that generates revenue in our city, I’m a longtime Scottsdale homeowner and taxpayer who treasures and uses our desert trails every day, and can balance the need for open spaces with nurturing our economic drivers to keep our city successfully moving forwards.

Read More

By Gilbert Guru

Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, died Friday, September 23. The tragic death of a woman who shattered glass ceilings for all women in America, relates more to Arizonans than one may have originally thought. Specifically, in relation to our own Senate Race in November.

The death of RBG affects us through response. Martha McSally tweeted 90 minutes after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg “This U.S. Senate should vote on President Trump’s next nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.” Ginsburg had been dead for a mere 90 minutes when McSally called for her replacement. The pioneer who is credited with ensuring employers cannot discriminate against women for being pregnant (the Pregnancy Discrimination Act). The woman who, in 1996, led the ruling decision that prohibited state-funded schools from not admitting women (United States v. Virginia). The revolutionary who’s work paved the groundwork for the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974, which allowed for women to have a bank account, credit card, and a mortgage without a male co-signer.

A woman who revolutionized Women’s Rights in America could not be given more than 90 minutes before McSally turned her death political.

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Scottsdale City Councilman Guy Phillips got pummeled leading up to the August primary for insensitive comments, to put it politely.

But were his anti-mask comments – “I Can’t Breathe” – seemingly mocking a dying George Floyd the sign of a dark heart or just a stupid attempt at humor?

We believe the latter.  One can be against new social agendas and anti-mask, without being a bad soul.  Indeed, we disagree with Phillips on two of these current hot topics in the city.  We support a non-discrimination ordinance and the ongoing use of masks. But that doesn’t mean we also can’t look beyond differences to decency.

Phillips himself has made similar points, justifiably pointing to his long-time marriage to a Filipino immigrant.  He has a point.  And he is driving it home for all to see with new campaign road signs, for the first time in his political career, picturing him with her.

It is a not so subtle and effective reminder that even if you disagree with Phillips politically, or don’t like his commentary at anti-mask rallies, the whole of the person is different than one bad moment.

Our Social Media Post of the Day  comes from Scottsdale resident and activist  Mike Norton who fact checked a video on Mayoral candidate David Ortega. Here is a link to the video.

And here is Mike’s commentary:

Let me Fact Check this ad attacking David Ortega. For those who don’t want to read all of this – yes – I have good reason to believe every word of this ad about Ortega’s ethics – or lack thereof – and no – I had nothing to do with the ad and don’t know who produced it although I have some suspicions.

Oddly enough I became a bit of an historian regarding the City’s Ethics Code. Before I filed a complaint against Guy Phillips I spent a few weeks digging in to the E.C.’s history. Realizing the Complaint would likely lead to the first Three Judge Ethics Panel investigation in the City’s history, I wanted to be positive I was on solid ground before proceeding. I spoke with some of those who helped draft the Ethics Code. I spoke with members of the City Council and business leaders from 2000 to 2006 about their beliefs.

It was very clear that double dealing conflicts of interest by a few City Council members had become the norm.

Ortega’s double dealing was discussed at length by many. They said that he had no qualms about working for someone then voting at City Council on a project that was in their direct interest.

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Staff Report  –

A recap of the top three stories on Arizona Progress & Gazette from the past week.

  1. Stockdale Capital Partners Continuing Major Scottsdale Investments Despite Pandemic Challenges

While the effects of the pandemic have brought a halt to various developments and investments throughout the Phoenix Metropolitan area, Stockdale Capital Partners LLC, a Los Angeles-based real estate investment firm with deep roots in Scottsdale is continuing to provide enhancements and improvements to notable projects to help boost the economy and accelerate the local economic recovery. Read full story here.

  1. For A More Perfect City

There’s no doubt Scottsdale is a warm, inviting community.

But this should no longer be a continuing excuse not to adopt a more compelling city non-discrimination ordinance.  Indeed, it’s the very reason it should.  Be a beacon, a leader.  It would be like America failing to proselytize about the benefits of democracy. Read full story here.

  1. Disqualifying David Ortega For Mayor

Now a candidate for Mayor in 2020, former Councilman and current landlord lobbyist David Ortega proclaims his regard for the Preserve, clearly one of Scottsdale’s greatest achievements. Yet, who led the opposition to the Preserve in that critical, landmark vote in 2004?  David Ortega. Read full story here.

By Scottsdale Pinetop

With early voting starting in a couple of weeks for the November 3rd General Election, the political attacks are flying more frequently. And yesterday’s city council candidate debate was no exception. Moderated by Chris Haines from Scottsdale Community College, here are key impressions and highlights:

*Development, density and economic growth continues to be the #1 issue in the race for City Council becoming a debate between pro-growth and slow-growth ideologies. Each candidate wants to keep Scottsdale special and thriving while preserving the city’s unique brand. How that can be achieved is where the divide occurs.

*Betty Janik didn’t hold back any punches against her fellow candidate Tammy Caputi. She addressed Tammy’s purported support for the Desert Discovery Center during her time on the Development Review Board. Janik also challenged Caputi’s overall message that maintaining high property values and low taxes with affordable housing options as unrealistic. While taking aim at her opponents, she continuously reinforced her messaging that more citizen engagement is desperately needed for City Hall.

*However, Tammy Caputi didn’t shy away from rebutting these attacks while throwing a few attacks of her own. Frequently calling this an “us vs. them” election, Captui championed more business growth and economic development while challenging Betty and Tom’s position on high rise building regulations and what height qualifies as reasonable development for Scottsdale.

*John Little’s past experience as a former Scottsdale City Manager continues to serve him well in the campaign. His clear understanding of various regions in Scottsdale for business development, City Hall procedures and specific financial aspects makes him knowledgeable about Scottsdale’s unique dynamics that distinguish himself among the other candidates and positioned favorably.

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2020 Scrum

Phoenix, AZ (October 7, 2020) Data Orbital is pleased to announce the results of its latest statewide, live caller survey of likely general election voters. The survey was conducted from October 3 – 5, 2020. This is the first Arizona survey released that was fully conducted after the first Presidential debate and the President’s COVID diagnosis.

As we have tracked consistently all cycle, President Trump remains behind Vice President Biden. 43.2% of likely voters selected President Trump, 47.7% of voters selected Vice President Biden, 2.7% of voters selected Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen and only 3.8% were firmly undecided.

The numbers indicate that the race has largely held consistent but does show a slight dip in the President’s numbers since the last survey our firm conducted in the second week of September. In September we had the Presidential margin at Biden +2.7% and now have Biden, just outside the margin of error, at +4.5%.

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(PHOENIX) A statewide poll of 800 likely voters shows continued strong support for Prop 207, the Smart and Safe Arizona Act to legalize recreational marijuana in Arizona. A full 57% of voters support Prop 207 while 38% oppose it, almost identical to the measure’s support in early August (57-37%).

In contrast to some recent public polling, this survey presented voters with the full language that appears on the Arizona general election ballot. The measure earns 57% support overall, with 83% of those supporters saying they are certain to support it. The measure stands at 72% among self-identified Democrats, 70% among self-identified independent voters, and 42% among self-identified Republicans.

Proposition 207, the Smart and Safe Arizona Act, would allow limited marijuana possession, use, and cultivation for adults 21 and up and fix outdated criminal penalties for marijuana possession – Arizona is the only state in the country where first-time, low-level marijuana possession is still a felony.

Smoking marijuana would still be banned in public places. Prop 207 also calls for harsh penalties for those who use marijuana and drive impaired. The measure has packaging and labeling provisions to keep marijuana edibles away from children.

Proposition 207 would impose a 16% tax on marijuana to fund public safety, roads and freeways,  community colleges, mental health programs, and substance abuse programs. It would generate at least $300 million a year in new tax revenues. And 207 would create good paying jobs at a time when the state’s economy needs them.

Indeed, 65% of those surveyed believe Prop 207 would have a positive effect on Arizona’s economy while 26% said it would have a negative effect.Read More

PHOENIX (September 16th, 2020)- Former Astronaut Mark Kelly opened up a 10-point lead on Sen. Martha McSally in one of the most expensive and closely watched Senate races in the nation.

According to a recent survey by OH Predictive Insights, Kelly earned the support of 52 percent of likely voters in an effort to finish the final two years of the late-Sen. John McCain’s term. In comparison, incumbent-Republican Martha McSally sits at 42 percent.

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Former Vice President Outspending Trump 10:1 on Arizona Airwaves

PHOENIX (September 14th, 2020)- After a summer of improving numbers for Donald Trump, the President once again faces daunting odds in Arizona. According to the most recent Arizona Public Opinion Pulse (AZPOP), Trump’s support has fallen to 42%, and former Vice President Joe Biden has risen to 52%. Biden’s 10-point lead is his largest in an AZPOP poll, and his 52% support matches his high watermark set back in April of 2020.

The AZPOP is a monthly survey of likely voters in the state of Arizona conducted by OH Predictive Insights. This edition of the AZPOP also saw Trump lower than 43% the first time this cycle.

“It is remarkable how steady Trump’s support has been. On his best day, Trump has been unable to crack 46 percent; on his worst, he hasn’t dipped below 43 percent,” says OHPI Chief of Research Mike Noble, “Until today.”

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by Scottsdale City Council Candidate John Little

In 2003, the City Council appointed a task force to consider whether Scottsdale should elect the members of its City Council by district.

Currently, the Mayor and all six members of the City Council are elected at-large. Although Scottsdale is not unique in having an at-large system, most communities the size of Scottsdale (population of about 260,000) elect council members by district.

A serious reconsideration of this idea is long overdue. Is it time to ask voters to change Scottsdale’s “Seven Mayor” system? I believe it is.

The argument for districting is that it would lead to more accountability and assure better representation of all parts of the city.  When Scottsdale was incorporated in 1951, it consisted of less than one square mile and had a population of 2,000 residents.

When the Scottsdale City Charter was adopted in 1961, it consisted of about 4 square miles and had a population of 10,000. Scottsdale now consists of 185 square miles and has a population of about 260,000.

Because Scottsdale citizens decided to tax themselves to buy and set aside the Sonoran Mountain Preserve (about 25% of the total area of Scottsdale or about 45 square miles), Scottsdale’s originally projected population of 480,000 will actually peak at about 280,000.

The question becomes: What is the best way to elect members of the City Council so that residents are best represented?

In 2003, the District Advisory Task Force considered many different forms of electing council members. Under all of them, the Mayor would have been elected at-large as is the case now. But members of the City Council would have been elected in various ways. For example:

  • One option recommended was to elect all six members on a district basis.
  • A second option was to adopt three districts and elect two members per district—so that, at every election, voters would have the ability to vote for a council member—as they do in the current at-large system.
  • Two blended options were proposed. One called for electing three council members at-large and three by district; and another called for electing four council members at-large and two by district.

The two blended options would mix and match the at-large and district systems. The cost of seeking election within a district would be less than the cost of seeking election at-large.Read More