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The Conservative's Corner
Featured Editorials
2018 Scrum

Cave Creek, Arizona – Republican candidate for Governor, Arizona businessman and education consultant, and former U.S. Congressman Frank Riggs today filed more than 10,400 signatures with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office to qualify for the ballot.riggs

In less than four months, the Riggs campaign collected almost double the 5660 signatures needed to qualify for the ballot. "No other candidate collected as many signatures in such a short period of time," Riggs' campaign manager Darcie Johnston said. "We thank all of our grassroots volunteers and supporters around the state who made this possible."

Riggs said. “There may be a big field in the Republican primary for governor, but I’m the proven, tested and trusted candidate for Governor. I offer a clear choice and new direction for Arizona. I will stop the 'Obamanization of Arizona' by repealing Common Core and rolling back the unsustainable expansion of Medicaid."

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Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) released a statement following the passage of H.R. 4031, the Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act of 2014:

“I am proud to have cosponsored and supported H.R. 4031.  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) responsibility is to provide care and support for our nation’s heroes. Sadly, the recent reports and investigations indicate the VA has failed our veterans.” said Schweikert. “VA leadership must be held accountable and I believe this bill is a step in the right direction to restoring faith and trust with our nation’s veterans.”

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From The Desk Of Russell Pearce:

You know that bad feeling when November rolls around and you look at your ballot and you realize that while you could never support the Democrat on your ballot, you are going to have to hold your nose to vote for the Republican nominee? Now is the time to do something about that. It is Primary time, when we get to support the best conservative and send a message to our state and our Party that those who champion our beliefs earn our support. That is why I am sending you this email today... To introduce you to State Senator Al Melvin, the proven conservative candidate for Arizona Governor.al melvin

For six years Al has been fighting for conservative values and casting real conservative votes: For Constitutional Carry, for SB1070 to fight illegal immigration, for SB1062 to protect religious liberties, for the largest tax cuts in Arizona history, against the ObamaCare Medicaid Expansion, and more. Al was also the author of the bill to stop Common Core here in Arizona. These weren’t easy positions to take, but Al took them on because it was the right thing to do.

In short, Al is the best conservative in the race for Governor, and he is someone you will get to feel good about supporting.

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Friends,

Since day one of this campaign, I’ve stated that when I am elected Attorney General, one of my top priorities will be to work to protect those in our society who cannot protect themselves.

Whether they are the unborn, children, seniors, or our veterans we have a moral obligation as a society to protect the vulnerable.

I am running against both a Republican incumbent who has sided with pro-choice forces and against a Democrat who is supported and well-funded by groups like Planned Parenthood.

The liberal Democrats know that if they can gain control of the Attorney General’s Office they can selectively enforce laws including deconstructing laws that strengthen or protect the rights of the unborn.

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By Frank Antenori

I was recently invited for coffee by a close friend and fellow Republican to discuss upcoming state legislative races. Well respected in both local grass roots circles as well as the so called "GOP Establishment," he was chosen to reach out to me in hopes of convincing me to not get involved in several key legislative primaries. However, by the time we finished our second cup of coffee, he would not only fail to convince me to stay silent, but he would instead volunteer to help me in my efforts to inform GOP voters of the threat to our state. It took a simple history lesson to change his mind.frank-antenori-002

I take you back to the 46th Legislature. In 2004, a handful of so called "pragmatic" Republicans conspired with Democrats to give then Governor Janet Napolitano a budget that would increase state spending by more than $700million, a 10% increase in spending in a year that saw little inflation (2%).

Worse yet, that budget created a $500 million budget deficit; in violation of Arizona's Constitution which requires a balanced budget. Rightfully, fiscal conservatives were outraged at what was clearly an irresponsible budget. In response, conservatives recruited fiscally responsible primary opponents to challenge these fiscally irresponsible Republicans.

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By Wil Cardon
Candidate for Arizona Secretary of State

Recently, a federal judge issued a ruling saying that Arizona has the right to require proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. This may seem like common sense to most people. After all, why wouldn’t we require proof that you are an American citizen before you exercise one of the most important civic duties - voting. cardon jpeg

However, there are many on the left who do not want there to be any proof of citizenship before registering to vote. This week, the Obama administration announced that they were going to fight that decision. And here in Arizona, my opponent has made quite clear that he does not support requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote.

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One of the worst city managers in Scottsdale history was Jan Dolan.  She intimidated staff and fought so much with Barrett-Jackson she almost forced them away.  Space, even online, does not permit her laundry list of errors.  But we would like to focus on one, for Scottsdale history may be repeating itself at great consequence to taxpayers.

Following the landmark McDowell Mountain preservation vote a “Gateway” was long contemplated.  There would be the front door to Sonoran majesty.  There today just off Thompson Peak and north of Bell exists a parking lot, terrific trailheads and low-impact structures, as envisioned.

But that wasn’t always the case. The land was once owned by Toll Brothers, a national homebuilder.  It wanted to build what became known as Windgate Ranch but was also agreeable to selling land the city wanted for its gateway at a reasonable price. But Dolan The Dictator didn’t want compromise and rejected the company’s offer to sell the land for $124,000 per acre.  Toll Brothers was left with little choice but to sue and argue for the highest price possible for its land.  The result?  The Municipal Mussolini lost in court, badly.  The city was forced to pay nearly three times what nearly all had considered a reasonable purchase price.  The consequence to city taxpayers was enormous.  And to the preserve.  For the city had tens of millions fewer dollars to purchase preserve lands elsewhere thanks to Dolan’s folly.

Fast forward to today.

We have already written about the merits of a proposed BASIS school at 128th and Shea. BASIS is the highest ranked public school in Arizona and one of the top performing schools in the United States.  Scottsdale likes to be best in class. This is another opportunity.  We have already likened the case to that of the Ice Den in north Scottsdale.  Once opposed due to inane concerns it is now an area point of pride. See our previous post here.

We understand the questions of neighbors. But a school so renowned is also smart enough to know that mitigating them is smart business, and probably a lesson conveyed in their classrooms. 

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Recently we noticed this letter in the Scottsdale Republic.  It reminded us of that irresistible curmudgeonly charm of some southern Scottsdale residents who sometimes seem like male virgins betrothed to Gisele Bundchen.  You just can’t make some people happy.

From the Scottsdale Republic

South Scottsdale Can’t Grow Like This
By Maj. George Stafford, Scottsdale

 

I have lived in South Scottsdale for 48 years. It has been a nice community until now. The City Council seems determined to destroy south Scottsdale by approving any and all requests for construction of apartments and condos.

Between Miller Road and 64th Street on McDowell Road, there are three new areas of housing. The one at 7501 E. McDowell has 572 units! The one at around 6700 E. McDowell and the one at 64th and McDowell will add at least 300-400 more. The one on 6565 E. Thomas Toad has 147 units. The one at 71st Street and Osborn and the one just approved to build at the location of the old Red Lobster will add hundreds more, competing with the one now at Scottsdale Road and Osborn.

These are all within less than two mile from where I live and will add at least 2,500 new residents to a small area. Imagine what it will be if each resident has a vehicle?

Adding all that new traffic to such a small area will ruin the lifestyle for those who have lived here for many years. Why can’t we get some shopping places? We now go to a Tempe mall that is collecting taxes that could be Scottsdale’s. What is this obsession to cover every open piece of land to make living quarters?

If this isn’t enough lunacy, the Council has approved a 400-foot swimming pool for the new Ritz-Carlton Resort that will be the longest pool in North America. Just what we need when we are facing a water shortage.

All this new construction will also require lots of water. I’m glad I’m 92 and won’t have to face the congestion on our southern city streets that will most certainly follow all because of those who can’t see the future any further then end of their noses.
Isn’t it strange none of this construction is gong in north Scottsdale where, incidentally, most of the Council members live? The Council must learn to say no to all developers.

Notwithstanding the mistakes in the letter such as water use at the new Ritz-Carlton which will is to go in Paradise Valley not Scottsdale our favorite part was this:

“Adding all that new traffic to such a small area will ruin the lifestyle for those who have lived here for so many years. Why can’t we get some shopping places?”

Mr. Stafford was speaking about new apartment projects along McDowell Road, near Thomas Road and elsewhere.

Does he not realize that the reason retail started fleeing the area two decades ago beginning at Los Arcos Mall was because the area no longer had the population or wealth to sustain such stores? And retailers in Phoenix, Tempe, at Scottsdale Fashion Square and even the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community began poaching away brands big and small?

To reverse the trend two things are needed: more density as has happened in Phoenix and Tempe, or a migration of new families due to quality schools and good housing stock, as has occurred in north central Phoenix. Minus such dynamics more cool stuff in south Scottsdale will be a hope and a prayer not reality on the ground.

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Arizona  Governor Doug Ducey is rightfully positioning Arizona for a better state of innovation, for the best possible business climate.

As members of all parties consider whether our state is to be one of the past or one of the future more and more legislative issues are being viewed through the innovation prism.  Are you a dinosaur like the decision makers at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport or are you on the side of the consumer with more choices?

One of this year’s biggest legislative brawls, that being doctors and nurses and whether the latter should be able to creep into territory previously the domain of Doctor Welby, is no exception.  But in that debate both sides can make a claim for the cloak.

In the case of another, similar but lesser known bill the freedom and innovation clarity is far more obvious. You see, HB 2523 led by State Representative Heather Carter emancipates some 700,000 Arizona wearers of contact lenses from a state mandated and expensive optometrist visit every year just to get a refill to once every three years.  Mind you, a patient is free to see an optometrist any time for any reason.

Let’s bring this common sense into focus a bit more because the absurdity of the existing state law may blind some with anger. 

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*A scandal is brewing for one elected official in the Northeast Valley

*Downtown Scottsdale businessman and activist Bill Crawford has formed an exploratory committee to run for Scottsdale Mayor

*Good news.  Scottsdale City Manager Fritz Behring has been on medical leave for months but has been visiting City Hall and events about town much more lately.  A date for his full-time return is still uncertain.

*Superman vs. Batman.  Godzilla vs. King Kong.  Nurses vs. Doctors.  The latter battle is as epic in its own way and playing out now at the Arizona State Capitol.

*Love bites.  APS may be sinking its fangs into likely Arizona Corporation Commission candidate and current State Representative Rick Gray

*Early voting starts in less than a month for Arizona’ presidential primary March 22nd

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Once upon a time a group of neighbors in McDowell Mountain Ranch and a terribly odd no-growth activist teamed up to oppose the Ice Den on Bell Road near WestWorld.  Proposed by the then Phoenix Coyotes 20 years ago it was meant to serve as a training facility for the franchise, and an incredible new amenity for kids and families.  After a pitched battle that went all the way to the Arizona Supreme Court the project was allowed to proceed.  Today, it stands as a Scottsdale point of pride and the best ice skating site in Arizona. Time has proved neighbor warnings of “gangs,” “traffic,” and “decreased property values” fallacious.

The episode reminds of a more contemporary debate about siting a flagship BASIS School campus at 128th and Shea.

The BASIS schools are the top ranked schools in Arizona and in some cases, the nation.  The school’s history in the community is long and distinguished.  Having schools of such renown is not unimportant to economic development efforts.  They are the best in class, something Scottsdale has always aspired to whether it’s golf tournaments, car auctions, preservation, the arts, flood control projects or its quality of life. 

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Sean Noble’s recent take on the solar industry as outlined in his blog Noble Thinking in an entry entitled "Failure to Launch" represents a failure to learn on the part of the author.

First a little background.  Nevada recently pulled the plug on “net metering” which requires utilities to pay the retail rate for the excess electricity rooftop solar customers send to the grid.

Hundreds of solar related jobs are being lost in Nevada as a result. That’s something the pro-utility crowd seems to forget as they do a victory lap.

Noble and the pro-utility crowd falsely label this a subsidy.

Net metering is commerce, it’s not a subsidy. Net metering enables rooftop solar customers to generate extra power to offset their electricity bills. These people pay the retail rate for their electricity, why shouldn’t they receive the retail rate for the power they send back to the grid.

And while we are on the topic of subsidies, the fossil fuel industry is one of the most subsidized industries in the United States.  That’s a talking point often ignored by the utilities and their camp followers.

Another misconception is that net metering burdens non solar customers because it can reduce utility profits. The same could be said for double pain windows, attic insulation, or a good shade tree.

In reality, solar benefits utilities (and the paying public) in the long run by reducing the need for additional power plants.

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By Michael Crow

Dear friends of ASU,

As we enter an exciting new year of excellence at Arizona State University, I want to call your attention to just how momentous 2015 was in the evolution of our New American University. We set milestones in research, accessibility and achievement throughout our learning enterprise, and for service to our local and global communities.

Most visibly, ASU was ranked #1 among the Most Innovative Schools in the nation for 2016 by U.S. News & World Report - a ranking conferred by our peers, the leaders of other universities. The world is talking about ASU, and it will greatly benefit our efforts to support the success of our students when you talk about us as well.

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Not to channel Hillary Clinton but it does seem women often endure a double standard in the political arena.  Donald Trump’s campaign theatrics make him a “leader,” “entertaining,” and “commanding.”  Imagine if a woman acted so.  “Bitch” would be the most frequently used term.  Like it was when Christine Jones ran for Governor in 2014.  Others have avoided such labels with disarming traits:  Brenda Burns (principle).  Janet Napolitano (smarts).  Kyrsten Sinema (humor).

And that leads us to the tony town of Paradise Valley and one Maria Syms.  She burst onto the scene in 2012 and a combustible race against the person who defeated her for Mayor, Scott Lemarr.

The electorate did not doubt her spirit but let’s just say the marketplace felt a little Christine Jones about her post-election.

What a difference a few years makes.

She was elected to the Paradise Valley Town Council.  She was tapped by Attorney General Mark Brnovich to be a top advisor.  She matriculated through the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and is a graduate of a U.S. Attorney’s Office.   She’s a mom, wife, and articulate defender of community character and the resonance of resorts.

The right and recalibrated combination of sass, class and charisma has positioned Syms towards a broad political horizon.  Who knows where she goes from here, but it’s pretty impressive where she’s already been, and is.

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The success of recent Scottsdale efforts to fund city improvements with new general obligation bonds isn’t great.  Indeed, a merry band of opponents defeated all of the bond requests several years back and only two passed during the latest effort in 2015.

The campaigns in suppIMG_0638ort of the requests were wayward, but something more fundamental was at play too.  Opponents prosecuted what amounted to a transparency and trust argument.  You can’t trust City Hall and the tricksters there that are trying to hide secret funding items the rhapsody goes.

The trust thrust was and is misguided.  After all, to question the integrity of people like Jim Lane, Virginia Korte, David Smith et al is akin to questioning the very definition of conscientious service.  And the public knows it as demonstrated by their regard for the job the City of Scottsdale is doing.

But when it comes to the transparency of the bond proposals opponents had a point.  In lumping specific projects into broader categories such as Parks, Public Safety or Transportation the city didn’t do anything that other cities don’t. But most other cities don’t have as discerning or attentive electorate as Scottsdale.  Bond opponents argued each spending request – a fire station in the north, a road project on Hayden, etc.  – should be allowed an up or down vote.  That’s not unlike how judges appear on ballots in Arizona.  We don’t vote for judges en masse or as a block.  We do so individually.

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Scottsdale is on a roll. While no community can expect a sunny headlines all the time, let’s just say these past few weeks have been very, very good to Scottsdale.

The Phoenix Business Journal put out an article that says Scottsdale is one of the best places in the United States for a startup business.Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

Reporter Haley Ringle wrote, “This is no surprise to the Phoenix Business Journal since our reporters often drive out to Scottsdale to talk to thriving businesses and startups.”

You can read the complete story here.

The other sunny shoe dropped in the Arizona Republic which reported Scottsdale is taking in record amounts of sales tax revenue thanks to sporting events and a tourist trade that keeps expanding. It was a very good year with local tax revenues hitting $258.9 million.

Here is a link to the rest of the story.

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*Governor Doug Ducey’s State of the State again reminded Arizonans what it’s like to have someone with a firm grip on the wheel.  His predecessor always made the public feel like a passenger to a driver’s permit.

*It should be noted that McCain’s time in the U.S. Senate and Ducey’s time as Governor will both end in 2022.  Who knows if Ducey would ever want to succeed him but he would undoubtedly be an impediment to those who prefer waiting McCain out to taking him on.

*When people now ask whether Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale or Gilbert has the best downtown it shows how far Phoenix and Gilbert have come.

*The success of a young Phoenix Coyotes team is an underreported local sports story and an underappreciated sports achievement.

*Many in the media are quietly asking and exploring how likely it may be that the Phoenix Suns relocate its arena to the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community.

*With the Scottsdale Tribune expiring years ago and the Scottsdale Republic cutting two more reporters it might be the case that the Scottsdale Independent is the closest thing the city now has to a newspaper of record.

*Craft brew houses are everywhere, thank goodness.  Flashbacks:  Coyote Springs at 20th & Camelback.  Hop’s at Scottsdale Fashion  Square.

*Former Scottsdale School District Superintendent David Peterson’s tirade and accusations as he departed might be the most pathetic and inaccurate report since Brian Williams was on the air.

*Wendy Rogers needs to go away.

*In today’s Wall Street Journal there was a short article on the Sussman house in Paradise Valley listed for $35 million, along side Hugh Heffner’s Playboy Mansion which will only cost you $200 million.  And it’s required that Hugh stays.  Unknown if the Playmates come with.

 

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Not all content here needs to be political.  Nor should it.  Our job is to stir thought.  And that's what this article does.  A businessman who runs as local rock legend Roger Clyne sings, "Counterclockwise."  It's a good read.  And a different way of getting ahead in business.

From the New York Times: North Korea Is Newest Frontier for a Daredevil Investor
By Penn Bullock

He searched for oil in the badlands of Somalia and fueled a stock market boom in Mongolia. He sued the world’s smallest republic, far out in the Pacific, for a chunk of what it is worth. Now, he is betting on North Korea. James Passin, a hedge fund manager at Firebird Management, believes the nuclear ­armed country sits on as much as a billion barrels of crude — enough to make it as big a producer as Oklahoma. If the oil exists, he wants to help unlock it.

Click here to read the entire article

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Phoenix, AZ – After hearing of Senator Driggs’ decision to not pursue a fourth term in the Arizona Senate, Kate Brophy McGee announced her intention to run for the newly vacated seat with the following statement:
BROPHY_MCGEE
“Senator Driggs and his family have had a long and distinguished career in public service for our great state. Senator Driggs has served his constituents in LD28 loyally and tirelessly. He has always served in the Legislature with integrity, nobility, and dignity. I’m proud of Senator Driggs’ accomplishments. In that legacy of strong, principled leadership, I am announcing my candidacy for the LD28 Senate. I am deeply grateful for Senator Driggs’ endorsement to kick off my campaign.

This is an important race for Arizona. I am ready, enthusiastic and prepared, and fully committed to winning this campaign and continuing my dedicated service to this state and my district. The campaign will focus on the issues that matter to Arizonans, and seek to build on the recent progress we have made in the economy, education, and providing for our most vulnerable citizens. We need a Senator who is able to work with the Republican majority and the Governor to advance sound public policy.”

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Polling shows that Trump and Clinton hold national-primary leads in a volatile and upset electorate.

By John McLaughlin & Jim McLaughlin - January 21, 2016

The latest results from our national survey of 1,007 likely voters conducted between Thursday, January 14, and Monday, January 18, shows that the voters are very upset and quite unhappy, and they want change. At the top of their respective primaries remain Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

The poll included 457 voters - 383 Democrats and 74 Independents - who would vote in the Democratic primary. It also included 421 voters - 322 Republicans and 98 Independents - who would vote in the Republican primary.

Among Republican primary voters, Trump led with 36 percent followed by Cruz 17 percent, Rubio 11 percent, Carson 9 percent, Bush 6 percent, Paul 5 percent, Christie 4 percent, Kasich 3 percent, Fiorina 2 percent, Huckabee 2 percent, Santorum 1 percent, and 6 percent undecided.

However, virtually all these primary voters had a second choice. Among the total, their second choice was Cruz 22 percent, Rubio 14 percent, Bush 11 percent, Trump 10 percent, Carson 10 percent, Fiorina 6 percent, Christie 6 percent, Huckabee 6 percent, Paul 5 percent, Kasich 2 percent, and Santorum 1 percent. It was clear that Ted Cruz has the most upside potential, followed by Marco Rubio, while only one in ten who currently aren't voting for Trump see him as a second choice.

The great caveat will be that there is no national primary day. Instead as each state votes, the results could influence the next state primary and the national vote, as candidates gain or lose momentum.

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By Democrats For Education Reform

It’s no secret that Arizona’s public schools are hurting for state support. Over the past eight years, our schools have suffered some of the deepest cuts of any school systems in the nation. It is with this in mind that Democrats for Education Reform supports Proposition 123, which will be on the May special election ballot.

While we are fully supporting Proposition 123, Democrats for Education Reform wants to be very clear about one thing: Proposition 123 is not the solution to Arizona’s school funding woes, it is only the beginning. We agree with the Senate and House Democrats, as well as educational advocates across the state, in that Arizona needs to have a much larger conversation about both adequately funding and improving our public schools.

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by State Senator Katie Hobbs

Last Monday, as the legislative session began, the Arizona Legislative Democrats unveiled our priorities for the state. We have a clear vision for improving our state by making strategic investments to strengthen our economy, create jobs, and improve our schools.

First and foremost, we know that restoring the voter-mandated inflation funding with the lawsuit settlement in Prop 123 (to be voted on in a special election in May) is just the start when it comes to re-investing in K12 education. We have to keep good teachers from leaving Arizona, and we propose mentoring and retention incentives for our best teachers. We also need to restore building renewal funds and bring our classrooms up to date with materials and technology.

We must also re-invest in our higher education system for Arizona to remain competitive in the 21st century. We have the ability to restore at least half of the $99 million in cuts to the state universities that were made in year’s budget.

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Virginia Korte, life-long Valley resident and career-long advocate for a better Scottsdale, announced today that she will seek another term on the Scottsdale City Council.

“I am proud of what we accomplished during my first term on City Council, but there is so much more that must get done for our community” the veteran leader said.

“Over the past four years, Scottsdale has made significant strides in ensuring that our roads are safe and the necessities that allow our city to be great are nurtured and protected,” Korte says. “At the council’s insistence, city staff reduced staffing levels by 13 percent, or 377 employees, eliminated unnecessary services, consolidated work spaces, and sold unneeded buildings.”

Korte said her goals during a second term are to sustain the qualities that make Scottsdale a great place to do business and create jobs, while ensuring that all residents have an opportunity to benefit from those amenities and participate in creating a great city. Korte also knows education is a critical tool for economic development and to enhance Scottsdale’s future. Korte chaired the 2014 successful “Yes to Children” campaign to renew Scottsdale Unified School District’s budget override and remains an advocate for Scottsdale’s schools.

Korte hails from a family that is tightly woven into the fabric of a city that ranks among the best places to live in the world.

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In Arizona having noteworthy names has often led to electoral success.  Democrat Paul Newman was elected to the Arizona Corporation Commission, even though he came from a small town in southern Arizona.

Then there was Sandra Kennedy, an African-American and former state legislator who put shamrocks on her campaign signs to suggest she was part of the famous family back east.  She won too.

And don’t forget Bob Stump who purportedly altered his name to that of a revered Arizona congressman.  It worked.  Stump was elected to the legislature and then the Arizona Corporation Commission.

So that brings us to Dan Schweiker, an executive with China Mist Tea Company.  He’s running for the Scottsdale City Council.  And who is the popular U.S. Congressman for the Scottsdale area?  David Schweikert.

 

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