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2018 Scrum

According to insightful reporting at the Paradise Valley Independent , the denizens of density behind the proposed Ritz-Carlton hotel and townhouse development in Paradise Valley are back.

This time the “We’re Baaack” is likely to be a noisier poltergeist for residents than the last time around.
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So why are they returning to the political theater now?

A couple of reasons.

First, after viciously, and unsuccessfully attacking Mayor Scott Lemarr, his term is coming to an end. As a son of Paradise Valley Lemarr has long been a skeptic of the Ritz plans, that are actually being curated by Five Star Development – a company unrelated to the Ritz. Lemarr’s departure alone aids those seeking to pioneer more liberal development allowances in town.

Second, those who laughed at recent Ritz-Carlton/Five Star Development attempts to turn that which voters approved in 2008 into something reminiscent of Tempe have left or are leaving office come January.

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Northeast Valley residents saw change after the recent elections.

The Town of Paradise Valley will see the most after movings, goings and retirements.

And Scottsdale will incur some too as those more cautious about the city’s growth trajectory were narrowly favored.

While others could certainly be noted, one victor in each municipality exemplifies the marketplace filling that which they constantly request in more candidates: talent and regard.

Take Councilman-elect Mark Stanton in the 85253. Frequent smile. Good humor. Looks you in the eyes. And has served in the private and public sector with distinction. First as an accomplished public relations executive, then as the as the Deputy Director for the Arizona Office of Tourism.

With more gray hair across the border is Scottsdale’s David Smith. He can be prickly, but whether one is in agreement with him there is little doubting his brain cells and financial acumen. People like him are needed to check government largesse and inefficiency.

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Friends of District 7,

I couldn’t be more thrilled and proud to have the Phoenix selected for the 2017 Men’s Final Four, a culmination of March Madness and the finale to the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament. Much like Super Bowl 49 and the 2016 College Football Championship Game, the Final Four will have significant components of its activities centered in downtown Phoenix. The event will have a large economic benefit for Phoenix and continues to showcase our wonderful City and that it has to offer to our guests and residents. We look forward to partnering with the ASU, the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, and other Valley communities to deliver a world class experience. The City thanks the NCAA for being selected and continues to be the proof why investing in our Downtown and our community pays dividends.
Best Regards,

Michael Nowakowski
Councilmember

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Once upon a time a five or six story office building was built at Scottsdale & Camelback Roads. Those who voted for it were swept out of office.

As sure as the sun rises the ebb and flow of “slow growth” and “pro business” candidates occurs in Scottsdale elections.
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But that it happened so soon in Scottsdale on November 4th, a cycle or two early, is noteworthy.

After rapid growth in the early and mid 1990s Scottsdale citizens remarkably voted to tax themselves to preserve the McDowell Mountains, sparing them from development. And later that decade those critical of growth started to be elected with more frequency.

And then they went too far. Scottsdale became “Stopsdale.” An arena was lost. Studies were done. Those opposed to all growth were soon opposed by voters desirous of reasonable growth.

But then the “pro business” majorities on council go farther than the electorate is comfortable with. So many apartments. So much height. So much which can seem so foreign to residents. And the pendulum begins to swing the other way, all over again. So much of this seemed vital and laudable during the Great Recession, but now that the economy has returned so has the luxury of complaint about that now built.

There were certainly signs of what was to come this election. The General Plan was soundly defeated at the polls previously. So was a city bond package. The natives were growing restless. Even a much improved bond campaign for the Scottsdale School District, which had been previously defeated but that faced no organized opposition in 2014, won a couple of Tuesdays ago by a modest 55%-45% margin.

Always schizophrenic to some extent the Scottsdale City Council now stands at four that can be called “pro-business” (Jim Lane, Virginia Korte, Linda Milhaven, Suzanne Klapp) two that want to slow things down (Guy Phillips and the newly-elected Kathy Littlefield) and another newbie that will probably dip his toes in both camps (David Smith).

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Whether one likes him or not the gold standard for candidate concession speeches was Al Gore following his gut-wrenching, Flordia vote counting loss in 2000. It was the epitome of class and decency.

Contrast his approach with two on Tuesday night in Arizona, Wendy Rogers and Fred Duval.

First, Rogers.

This was her statement.

“I want to thank my friends, family, and volunteers for standing by me in this race, and I want to thank the citizens of the 9th District for all of their kind words over the past several months. I ran for Congress because of my concern over the direction America is heading in, and I hope that, for the good of our country, Congress will work to turn our nation around and put a stop to the Obama agenda.”
No mention of her opponent, Kyrsten Sinema. No congratulations to her.

There is a time for the fight. And there is a time for kudos. Great boxers typically gather in the middle of the ring and hug after prolonged battle. Gladiators of the NFL shake hands after a game. The player acknowledgements after the Stanley Cup has been won are laudable.

Candidates should be likewise. But many aren’t. Thankfully, voters tend to get such deficiencies before Election Night. They clearly understood so with the anemic Rogers, who will not be mistaken for Ms. Manners any time soon.

And that brings us to Fred Duval. Long known for being a gentleman, even criticized for being too much of one in his battle with Governor-elect Ducey, his concession speech was a clunker.

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An opinion that bears repeating after Arizona's election results Tuesday.The following was originally Published February 13

There’s an old observation in politics that just about anyone who gets elected to anything starts seeing themselves being President of the United States. After Goldwater, Udall, Babbitt and McCain that may not be true for Arizonans but you get the point.

But it is true the bigger dragons you slay the bigger the doors that open.

And that’s the opportunity current Arizona State Senator and Republican Secretary of State Michele Reagan finds herself in.Screen-Shot-2013-10-30-at-10_34_40-AM2-78220_641x340

Once upon a time she was the favorite for the race of second in command. Then along came well-funded Wil Cardon and the most formidable Democrat in the state (sans Kyrsten Sinema) Terry Goddard.

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As nearly always New York Times’ Columnist David Brooks made one think Tuesday about the numbing and dumbing of American elections. Here is a link.

He assigns blame to political consultant sameness indicting the Mitt Romney presidential campaign among others for a lack of ideas and imagination. It is deserved. Brooks_New-thumbLarge

Poll driven campaigns are inherently reactive, almost like trench warfare, rarely breaking out from challenges lobbed into the bunker.

Very rare is the campaign anymore that pulls an upset based on ideas. It’s mostly whoever has the most money wins.

John McCain’s 2000 upstart presidential campaign is perhaps the best example of a campaign team being rewarded with a different approach.

They did not bottle up their candidate in a bubble with redundant talking points. They allowed people to see a human being with humor and candor. But more importantly they focused on an issue that didn’t appear as a concern in any polls: campaign finance reform.

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Wringing hands likely doesn’t do justice to the exercise of Valley old-timers these days.

Pinnacle Peak Patio and Greasewood Flat in Scottsdale are going away next year.

Today we learned Monti’s La Casa Vieja, the oldest restaurant in Arizona, is closing in just two weeks. And this follows the closure of landmark Mexican restaurant Tia Rosa’s in Mesa. montis

Well, at least we still have Rustler’s Rooste.

The natural reaction is to lament their passings and resent that which is taking their places.

This would be miniature thinking on a couple of different levels.

First, the re-developers of the Pinnacle Peak Patio site are wisely exploring options to recreate Pinnacle Peak Patio at WestWorld as a new special event venue. This follows their generosity of allowing the restaurant to continue rent free, prolonging the operation far beyond what would have otherwise occurred.

Greasewood Flat recently pulled its effort to relocate to property elsewhere in Scottsdale. If the owners could ever get in sync they would realize the brand equity the establishment has, and begin soliciting for new locations like Rawhide once did, solidifying a future elsewhere.

The 11,000 square foot integrity of the historic “Hayden House” that makes up the core of Monti’s will be preserved in the redevelopment. So while it may not welcome steak lovers any more who knows what the future may hold in the fascinating space.

The lamenters will say the Valley is losing its way and that which makes it special.

They will say Scottsdale is losing its western roots, notwithstanding God’s roots in greater abundance in the massive McDowell Sonoran Preserve close by Greasewood Flat and Pinnacle Peak Patio. Also adjoining Pinnacle Peak Patio is the hugely popular Pinnacle Peak trailhead, created long after the restaurant debuted. And then there is the Four Seasons across the street from Greasewood Flat, enriching the neighborhood since its opening years ago.

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As the conventional Arizona wisdom goes, the City of Glendale is a bunch of suckers. That’s what has caused their financial turmoil people say.

Whether one is a sexy Dodger, Cabela’s or Coyote open the kimono and let them have one’s way with scantily clad protections for Glendale taxpayers.

History will determine if these decisions were wise and progressive with temporary setbacks, or a gamble too far.

But with more Glendale residents demanding different leadership, change and amends a recent story begs the question not only if the city has the spine to right the ship, but to even stand up to a neighboring city.

Glendale-Peoria Clash Over Billboards Rises Again. October 28th, Arizona Republic

Whether one is for or opposed to the proposed casino in Glendale there is no dispute about the City of Peoria’s aggressive interference with what is clearly their land use issue.

At least that effort was known.

Contrast that with Peoria’s skullduggery as it relates to opposing innocuous billboards proposed by Becker Boards along the Loop 101 in Glendale.

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John McCain’s deployment of so much left over presidential money in his 2010 Republican primary battle against J.D. Hayworth was designed to send a message: don’t mess with me. mccain

And while he won convincingly times have changed. McCain may well be the next Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, a perch from which to raise lots of money. But he won’t have the $20 million that went unused during his 2008 run. Add to that a few things.

First, the Citizens United decision could provide a McCain challenger major, stealth resources.

Second, McCain’s numbers among Arizona Republican primary voters are awful. It is why McCain endorsements during the primary election were almost non-existent. People knew of his toxicity and didn’t want to be a part of it.

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U. S. Representative Trent Franks Says NO to Prop 480,
a 1.6 Billion Dollar Tax Increase

In an Op-Ed piece published in today’s Arizona Republic, Rep. Trent Franks explained why Maricopa County Taxpayers cannot afford prop 480. You can read his entire statement below:

Trent Franks: Health care already costs enough. Why is Maricopa County Integrated Health System piling on more?

Arizonans are painfully aware of the skyrocketing costs of health care.
Both federal and state governments continue to ask for more tax dollars to pay for Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act. Taxpayers are contributing more than ever for health care for the less fortunate.

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Those below 133 percent of the federal poverty level now qualify for Medicaid and those using an ACA exchange receive a heavy subsidy. These programs will be inordinately expensive.

Proposition 480, placed on the ballot by the Maricopa County Integrated Health System, fails to acknowledge these massive changes and the sacrifices taxpayers are already making by asking for a 27-year, $1.6 billion bond and tax increase for the old way of doing health-care business.
As a recent Arizona Republic editorial pointed out, the county hospital is a true safety net only for illegal immigrants because they do not qualify for AHCCCS or ACA, which raises the question of why only Maricopa County property taxpayers should pay for a federal responsibility.
Since Medicaid restoration and expansion began in January, more than 340,000 Arizonans have signed up, bringing the state's total to 1.64 million and counting (25 percent of Arizonans). Arizonans who receive AHCCCS are free to use their insurance at a variety of private providers just like those with private insurance.

Unfortunately, Prop. 480 proponents give taxpayers zero credit for these enormous investments. They talk about health care for the poor as if we were living in a 1950 America, where the indigent were relegated to the county hospital. The paradigm shift to providing insurance for the poor vs. paying for the facilities calls for less government-run facilities, not more. It also provides the best health care at the most competitive price with the greatest dignity for the patient.

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There’s a phrase about anyone noticing a tree if it falls in the forest. Perhaps yes, perhaps no.

But in Scottsdale, Arizona these days it’s hard to miss trees not when they fall in a forest, but as they obstruct the signage of prominent businesses.

For years a city installed tree has obstructed grandfathered signage for the venerable Coach House Tavern. Maybe the owners are too buzzed to notice, or it’s revenge for the efforts of customers to stop the city from condemning the property over a decade ago.
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A more contemporary and comical example impacts famed collector car auction Barrett-Jackson.

Apparently, the company is readying a revitalization of its southern Scottsdale property near Scottsdale and Thomas Roads. A grander showroom with more collector and exotic car sales is in the works.

If you can find it.

Enter another tree.

Many years ago Scottsdale voters approved a Scottsdale Road beautification project. A good idea.

Yet some city botanist in their infinite wisdom decide to plant a large Palo Verde tree right in front of the Barrett-Jackson sign.

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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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Arizona Progress & Gazette: Arizona News, Editorials & Debate