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The Conservative's Corner
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2018 Scrum

It would be far more forthright for developer Jerry Ayoub, who wants to build a dense subdivision in Paradise Valley that happens to include a Ritz-Carlton hotel, to level with the good people in town rather than his current silly rhetoric.

It would go like this:  I paid way too much for the large property at Scottsdale and Indian Bend during Arizona’s real estate heights.  I spent too much on lawyers and lawsuits to keep the property.  And now I have to pay whopping interest payments to Bob Parsons for a cash infusion I needed to hold on.  If you want a Ritz in the shortest term I may be able to deliver one.  But you have to bail me out of my quixotic adventure with development rights not tendered in the locale’s history.  Not by a little bit. But by a lot.

We don’t know if this would be successful but it is terribly relevant. Because what Ayoub needs to put on the property to recoup his investment is extraordinary.  Extraordinarly tall, dense and large. town of PV

So do town officials want to violate everything the community stands for just to get a Ritz now?

The citizenry likely won’t after the political con job behind the proposal becomes more well known.  So let’s discuss and revisit.

Ayoub says the 4-story Scottsdale-approved apartment complex at Lincoln and Scottsdale Road is now causing him to go up, in violation of town principles.  Granted, this was approved by Scottsdale not Paradise Valley but Ayoub as an adjoining property owner could have forced a supermajority vote on the matter, likely killing it.  He didn’t by design. For reasons we are hearing now.  Surely it was no coincidence that both projects share the same zoning attorney either.

The Ayoub camp is actually saying another Scottsdale approval, that for a 4-story condominium project on the old Borgata site influences its proposal too.  What?  That’s like half a mile away. 

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Today, Hall of Fame funny man Will Ferrell is creatively making his way around the Cactus League to showcase a great cause.

That he is here at all, able to move so conveniently from one stadium to another, reminds us all of one of the Valley’s most notable achievements.

The economic impact from spring training is staggering.  Just ask most any local business.  It’s like spring break, bachelor parties and Cooperstown all rolled into one. will-ferrell

But that wasn’t always the case.

Some two decades ago Florida’s Grapefruit League was the favored place for the annual birthing of baseball.

But then Scottsdale City Councilman Jim Bruner stepped in, solidifying plans and funding to stop the Cactus League’s bleeding and the migration of more teams east.

Fast forward to November, 2000 when the Bidwill family, now capably led by Michael Bidwill, prevailed in a countywide vote that also included substantial new funds for Valley spring training stadiums.  The inclusion of such funds in a football focused tax was self-serving.  But so what?

We should be grateful to the Bidwills not only for a winning football team of late, or when a Super Bowl is in town, but each spring, for the Cactus League we have today.

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A Philosophy Enshrined In Opposition To Financial, School & Healthcare Choice

Prospective 2016 GOP nominees for President get asked it a lot.  What does your party stand for?  Ronald Reagan Redux.  Freedom.  American exceptionalism.  Liberty.  Those are a few of the familiar refrains.

It’s not quite clear what Hillary Clinton and the Democrats stand for.  But here in Arizona it is this:  continued indentured servitude of their constituencies. state capitol

More school choice to empower parents?  No way.  That would hurt the public school monopoly, teachers union and bloated administrative bureaucracy.  Besides, parents:  You’re too dumb to make such choices.  We know best.

Or how about health care choices?  Nope.  That gets in the way of their goals for universal health care and one size fits all.  Too many people will get snookered if too many choices exist.

And that brings us to something we opined about last week but the justification for responding further reveals itself with each Democratic demagogue since.  Donkey alert.  Payday lending in Arizona is dead.  And that’s a good thing.

And so is financial choice, the heart of HB2611 legislation sponsored by State Representative J.D. Mesnard.  We can’t have it Democrats say because proposed interest rates on unsecured loans are too high, and those who might advantage them will entwine themselves in debt.  In other words you poorer people with few financial opportunities, you’re too dumb to know what you’re getting into.

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Since the closing of Los Arcos Mall some 15 years ago and a number of automobile dealerships more recently, Scottsdale’s primary political sport has been hand wringing about the future of McDowell Road.

An arena for the Phoenix Coyotes, SkySong, large new apartment projects, light rail, a New York City-like “High-Line” trail.  There has been no shortage of ideas big and small to lift the area from perceived decline.

Yet, as took place up the street in downtown Scottsdale something more organic than planned seems to be occurring.  After all, “south Scottsdale” is in the middle of it all.

Five minutes to the south is a thriving ASU.  Just north is the fun and entertainment of downtown Scottsdale.  To the east lies a recreation jewel, the Indian Bend Wash.  The 101 Freeway is just beyond.  Adjoining to the west is Papago Park with the Phoenix Zoo, Desert Botanical Garden and now the new home of ASU Baseball.

Pretty good neighbors indeed.

Sometimes the market is slow to recognize such strengths.  This is changing in south Scottsdale.    And often times the best changes are not prompted by master plans but by the imaginations of entrepreneurs.

Like those at Fate Brewing Company.  It’s interesting.  Most cool bars and restaurants go through an understood progression.  Downtown Scottsdale. Mill Avenue.  Maybe Chandler or Biltmore.  Then North Scottsdale.  But this brewery which started near Scottsdale and Shea is going from north to south.  Unheard of!

And that’s why this is so encouraging.  First movers will benefit from taking a chance on this area.  It would be recognized as the next great neighborhood in the Valley, if it already wasn’t one.  As smart business people are understanding.

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By Scottsdale City Councilman David Smith

Dear Friends...

This Tuesday evening, February 24, the Scottsdale City council will debate the first real tax reform in recent memory.  A workshop has been scheduled to discuss the proposal I made last month to eliminate the sales tax imposed on retail sales of food for home consumption. david smith 2

Scottsdale's food tax collections amount to $11 million a year, borne substantially by Scottsdale's 220,000 citizens. A family of four might pay as much as $200 per year.  More troubling, the burden of this tax weighs most heavily on those least able to afford it.

The Scottsdale Independent ran an editorial I submitted arguing for the elimination of food taxes, available at: http://www.scottsdaleindependent.com/opinions/smith-scottsdale-city-council-debate-real-tax-reform-feb-24/

I hope you'll take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the issues and follow this important debate.  If you have questions to ask or opinions to share, I encourage you to email me. news@councilmandavidsmith.com

David N. Smith

Scottsdale City Council

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Republicans are evil.  Single handedly they are responsible for squeezing the middle class.  This is the constant Democratic Party refrain.

Except in Arizona, apparently.

Here, the donkeys are skewering the middle class via their opposition to HB 2611.  On this issue they are being led by nanny state sycophant Debbie McCune Davis. vaccine

Once upon a time she led a proper fight against pay day loans in Arizona.  And voters agreed with her.

Congratulations Debbie, you won.

But the opposition by her and other Democrats to HB2611 is like the head coach who gets upset at the quarterback for calling a successful audible.  Like the Republicans are now doing as it relates to the financial circumstances for so many that have changed in recent years.  Banks won’t make post Great Recession small loans to lower credit individuals.  Enter the wisdom of state legislation posed by Arizona State Representative J.D. Mesnard. He proposes so called “flex loans,” which are unsecured ones for people with lower credit scores.  The interest rate is capped at 36%.  But that’s not where opponents get riled.  It’s the additional fees.

You mean like Wells Fargo just added?  Going from $5 to $10 per month for low balance accounts?  Or banks charging as much as $35 for a bounced check no matter how much the amount?

Opponents say this is “predatory lending” even though they don’t criticize credit card companies for luring millions of college students into high interest programs with minimum payments.  Nor do they have an answer when people properly ask what their solution is to providing unsecured loans to people with low credit scores.  There is a need after all.  Go find a family member or friend they say.  Right.  Or Larry The Loan Shark. 

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An analysis of Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS) residential sales data for the
past six months show that homes with solar actually sell faster and at much higher prices than
homes without solar.

solar chart
Through the end of 2014, homes with either owned or leased solar systems outpaced sales of
non-solar homes significantly. Contrary to what proponents of APS-backed SB1465 would like
the public to believe, solar leased homes sold the fastest of any home and at a higher price.

"This data proves what we have known all along; solar is a benefit to Arizona consumers and
makes homes more attractive to prospective buyers whether systems are leased or owned by
the original homeowner" said Mark Holohan, President of the Arizona Solar Energy Industries
Association (AriSEIA). "We ask that legislators take notice of this information the next time a
utility lobbyist sits in their office making baseless claims that solar makes it harder to sell a
home or doesn't add value for homeowners."

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Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio once did a campaign television commercial where he threw copies of the Arizona Republic in the trash.  While a congressional candidate over a decade ago current Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio ripped the Valley’s paper of record similarly in direct mail.  Others, most notably conservative blogs, cheer daily its hoped for demise. Don’t count us as one of them. There’s no doubt the Republic’s editorial page can be frustrating to Republicans, conservatives in particular.

Sheriff Arpaio can do no right.  SB 1070 was wrong, notwithstanding the deaths of police officers and other community problems associated with massive illegal immigration.  Fox News it is not.

But the Republic’s editorial page also endorsed popular Republican Governor Doug Ducey – in the primary and the general.  Former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl received similar treatment.  And just today they termed Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton a “political liberal.”  But arguing for their editorial page is not our key point. That has to do with their investigative reporting.

Government, business and society always have had and always will have actors operating in the shadows.  What’s different now is the disturbing confluence of a decline of the fourth estate with the privileges granted corporations to wield more influence in elections. Who is left to point out the concerns?  Who is left to peek in the darker corners and shine a light?  

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A good man used to say “all politics is local.” Whether true or not there’s no doubt it’s cyclical.

Today, Arizona Public Service (APS) is feeling pretty good about itself.  Attempting to foil innovation and more energy choice is its new way of doing business.  After all, the company effectively owned, in the political sense that is, immediate past Arizona Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce. APS_logo_2011

And after its recent, robust election activity it thinks it owns at least two others.  Whether that’s right or not remains to be seen.

APS’ largesse wasn’t about regard.  It was about their bottom line.  And they will squeeze whoever they have to, most especially their acquired allies, to beat stock expectations or qualify for bonuses.

No matter the issue – rates, solar, regulation, power lines – they will inevitably go too far.  Power can’t help itself.  Neither can arrogance or the demands of Wall Street. 

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Scottsdale is a wonderful place and has rightfully been recognized by many for effective city government.

But several years back there was a movement to import personnel from Phoenix, led by long-time Phoenix Planning David Richert who later became Scottsdale City Manager.

Richert was and is a fine man, but some of his hires well, not so much.

Some of these experiments, led by Paul Katsenses, were never culture fits.  Unlike Scottsdale’s history they always seemed to be more interested in the journey rather than the destination.  Talking takes precedence over performance, except when fighting for one’s own bureaucratic existence.

When a new city manager came to be in Scottsdale the highly-compensated Katsenes was properly demoted from his Assistant City Manager position. Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

That’s the thing about city employees.  They rarely get fired.  They get reassigned, keeping their big salaries and pensions.

Most cities farm such personnel out to a water services department, or other such innocuous do little harm part of the jurisdiction.

Unfortunately, Katsenes was spun off to WestWorld where he is essentially the General General Manager, a real head scratcher because the current General Manager Brian Dygert is well regarded, even commanding a letter several years back from the property’s biggest users, stating their regard.

Rather than somehow aid the promise of WestWorld Katsenses has become its laughingstock, routinely wasting users time when he is not wasting the Scottsdale taxpayer’s money.

Fortunately, the relatively new City Manager has a stiff spine and seems without constitution to suffer fools gladly.

Let’s hope so.

Taxpayers win more when there is greater accountability for government workers, and a greater chance they can be fired, not simply farmed out.

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Editorials are usually 500 words of trope and tripe about this and that. But to this all we have to say is what very good news it is to have Tom Horne back in the private sector.  And out of government.  Where he was a walking embarrassment and shameless scoundrel.

 

MY FIRST DAY AS A PRIVATE CITIZEN

I want to thank everyone for your friendship and support during my time as your Attorney General.

I am now practicing law, which I did for 30 years,  with the firm of Slaton and Sannes, which is now Horne, Slaton and Sannes.  I expect to be trying cases and arguing appeals, and experiencing the satisfaction of winning for my clients, as I did for the state of Arizona as its Attorney General. I am located at 6720 N Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, suite 285, my phone number is 480-483-2178, and I am at your disposal.

Again, thank you for your support and your friendship.

Sincerely,

Tom Horne

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Pundits are always lauding vision. Where is it? Who has it? Why isn’t there more of it.

Scottsdale is fortunate. Leadership and vision have led to impressive achievements like the Indian Bend Wash, McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Scottsdale Center for the Arts and Civic Center and the Waterfront Canal, to name just a few points of pride. Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

In its own way the achievement of Shawn Yari and Tri-Yar Development is a spectacular vision realized. Whether one likes what has been achieved in Scottsdale’s “Entertainment District” south of Camelback and east of Scottsdale Road – and we do – it is a stunning statement.

Some 20 years ago who could imagine let alone bring to life what is there now?

Yari was a well liked nightclub owner of Empire at 24th Street and Camelback. Les Corieri’s Jetz & Stix bar and club was on the west side of Scottsdale Road, near where Culinary Dropout now sits.

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Phoenix, AZ – Longtime Phoenix resident, Anna Brennan RN, BSN, has officially declared her intent to run for Mayor of Phoenix, “My interest in serving as Mayor of Phoenix is based on my desire to serve the citizens of Phoenix, to lead the outstanding men and women who serve their fellow citizens in this great city and to partner with Phoenix officials and agencies in delivering the services the citizens of Phoenix have every right to expect and deserve from their City government.”

Brennan has owned several successful businesses and currently works as a registered nurse in her own business here in Phoenix. “Through my business experiences I have consistently demonstrated a natural ability to lead and work collaboratively with others. As a humble servant to the public my tenacity for getting the job done is unsurpassed.”

Brennan wants to thank her volunteers for helping her to get on the ballot. “I think there is a yearning among voters of Phoenix for real and tested leadership and the support that I have received from my volunteer base is one small testament to that.”

 

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Democrat Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick announced she is running against me for the United States Senate Seat in Arizona.

Congresswoman Kirkpatrick has been a reliable supporter of Nancy Pelosi, having voted with her 90% of the time. And, we all remember when she said her vote for Obamacare was the one she "was most proud about."

We cannot afford to have a Democrat rubber-stamp like Congresswoman Kirkpatrick representing Arizona in the Senate.

If you agree with me, I hope you will show your support right now with a contribution of $25, $50, $75 or more to my re-election campaign.

Unlike Congresswoman Kirkpatrick, who said she doesn't think we should "second-guess the President" on his poor decisions like ObamaCare and his failed stimulus, I have never been afraid to stand up and challenge Obama's misguided policies on behalf of the people of Arizona.

If you agree that we need a leader who has a proven record of standing up to Obama and Nancy Pelosi, than I hope you will stand with me today.

It's the great honor of my life to serve the people of Arizona in the United States Senate, and it's a job I'll continue to fight for.

I take every campaign seriously, and never take anything for granted, and this race is no exception. I am looking forward to a spirited campaign with my Republican and Democrat opponents alike.

I'm no stranger to tough challenges or a political fight, so I know I am going to need a determined campaign team to win this race. I hope that I can count on you to be a part of it.

To run a winning campaign, I need to build the strongest campaign operation possible, and that's why I need your immediate help with a contribution of $25, $50, $100 or more today.

I'm not afraid to speak out for what I believe, and I'm certain my critics will have something to say about that.

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I filed my official arguments in opposition to Mayor Stanton’s train tax increase. This special interest boondoggle will cost you $31.5 BILLION - money that should be used to hire more teachers, police and firefighters.

2,900 NEW teachers could be hired for the cost of just one mile of rail.

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Jim Lane Files Paperwork To Seek Third Term As Mayor Of Scottsdale
Announcement Follows Eight Years Of Progress And Recovery

(Scottsdale, Ariz.) Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane is seeking a third and final term to ensure Scottsdale continues to move in the right direction.

"I have led our community, with the help of citizens and city council, from trying times to better times. Now and for my last term as Mayor, and with further assistance from those I serve and work with, I want to lead us to the best of times. Our citizens from south to north and every neighborhood in between deserve the best city in America,” said Mayor Lane.

Not too long ago Scottsdale faced the stiffest recession she may ever know; revenues were plummeting; investment was scarce; and there was a sense the city was losing its way.  Not anymore.  Through key reforms and smart leadership Scottsdale is once again a city on the move.  This was accomplished with pragmatic decisions, innovative use of available citizen resources and without increasing the tax burden on citizens.

Lane said, “I ran for re-election for Mayor in 2012 because of the hard work and key reforms that have helped make Scottsdale the best city in America.  The voters responded, providing us with a large margin of victory. I humbly ask for their support again to help keep Scottsdale a remarkable place of reform and results.  Why?  Because even at this early stage I am organizing my 2016 re-election campaign for what would be my last lane logo compressedterm as Scottsdale’s Mayor.”

Over the past four years Scottsdale has received national accolades for its parks system, business environment, quality of life and for being one of the best run cities in the country. At the same time  Scottsdale built, purchased and revitalized its greatest tourism infrastructure assets… the TPC,  West World’s (multi-use) Equestrian Center, Scottsdale’s Museum of the West and moved Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve to near completion. All with the judicious use of existing dedicated tax receipts, dedicated capital reserves, dedicated state dollar-sharing growing smarter grant funds and tourist tax dollars dedicated to tourism related infrastructure.

Mayor Lane added, “I sent a message when I became Mayor.  Scottsdale is open for business.  We will not sacrifice quality but we will work with you if you want to work in Scottsdale.  We are open for business because without a strong economy we would not have the revenues for our public safety, parks, neighborhood services and quality of life our residents deserve and demand.   Businesses small and large are flocking to our city.  That’s a tribute to the community created by those before us, and advanced now in that tradition by those currently here.

Mayor Lane is committed to ensuring that Scottsdale remain a city of robust tourism, dynamic families, impressive public art, amazing preservation, great city employees, beautiful neighborhoods, and terrific parks; a city that is open to business and to all who want to be part of our great community.

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The population of Phoenix is expected to nearly double in the next 30 years. That’s a lot more people on the roads, and a lot more wear and tear on our streets.

MovePHX is an all-of-the-above transportation initiative that will fund fresh coats of asphalt for more than 680 miles of streets. The plan will also add 135 miles of new sidewalks and 2,000 new streetlights.

For just a penny more on a $3 cup of coffee, we can build the comprehensive transportation infrastructure that we need.

In addition to repairing aging roads, MovePHX will expand bus and light rail, and add 1,080 miles of new bike lanes.

“I drive around Phoenix a lot. I know how to avoid traffic on the main streets because I hate it. If MovePHX would alleviate congestion on the roads that would definitely help."

– Mikala Voughn

In 2000, voters approved to create the Citizen Transit Commission to oversee how tax dollars are spent on all transit and traffic improvements. Already we’ve made significant strides to improve our streets. Upgrades have been made to add 330 additional left turn arrows at intersections and 300 bus pullout bays.

Phoenix needs a widespread transportation system to support the city's growth and a better quality of life for its residents.
To improve our city, vote yes on Proposition 104 in August!

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By Senator John McCain
Did you hear the news? Today we took a positive step forward in the fight to secure America's borders.

The Senate Homeland Security & Government Affairs Committee has approved the Arizona Borderlands Protection & Preservation Act, which I introduced earlier this year.

For decades, drug cartels and human smugglers have exploited U.S. land management laws by crossing our border through federal wildlife reserves - where current law strictly limits Border Patrol Officers' movement.

It's deeply frustrating that the very laws in place to protect federal lands can also prevent Border Patrol agents from doing their jobs by making it more difficult to access large swaths of land and respond to threats quickly.

When some Democrats from the East Coast objected to my bill today, I had to give them some straight talk: "I don't give a damn if somebody that lives in Delaware doesn't like my efforts to [secure] our border so that people who live down on our border can live in an environment of peace and security that the people of Delaware can live in."

When it's passed by Congress, my common-sense bill will change that, cutting bureaucratic red tape to provide border agents the access they need to better secure our border.

This is exactly the kind of work that I'm determined to continue as Arizona's Senator.

Sincerely,

John McCain

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