The Conservative's Corner
Driving through north Scottsdale these days can bring a twinge of sadness. The beloved site that once housed the city’s most enduring watering hole, Greasewood Flat, is now being bladed for new homes. The same fate is set for the acres once hosting Pinnacle Peak Patio.
Sure, businesses come and they go. But the inability of these particular owners to soldier on was a blow to the soul of Scottsdale itself. But the Scottsdale City Council is not to blame. If long-time businesses can’t evolve with changing times and tastes, government should not – and cannot by state law – step into help.
But what the city can do is invest in public facilities that make Scottsdale shine.
Some criticized large new facilities at WestWorld and to be fair there were cost overruns. But since they have come online the number of events at Scottsdale’s Central Park have increased substantially. And its signature events – Barrett-Jackson and the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show – have seen even more growth. That’s not just important because of dollars and cents. These essential events showcase the community around the world for a profoundly positive impact, known and unknown.Read more
Guy Phillips first ran for the Scottsdale City Council in 2010. That was the year of the Tea Party. With little money Phillips, a rock-ribbed Republican, rode the wave to a surprisingly strong finish, albeit unsuccessful.
But he didn’t give up. Two years later he won. Now, Scottsdale City Councilman Guy Phillips is up for re-election.
During his first term has played an undeniable role restricting spending via opposition to city bond proposals, a position that surely resonates with activist Republican Partiers. But two positions he’s adopted of late must leave even ardent supporters scratching their heads.
The long-discussed “Desert Discovery Center” has been a political hot potato with influential tourism leaders arguing its necessity while most voters in Scottsdale disagree with either putting such an enterprise within the preserve, or spending more taxpayer dollars on it when so much has been spent up north already.
That’s what made Phillips’ flip-flop on the project last month terribly curious. While not the final decision Phillips voted with the majority to authorize millions for more design and study. Some in his political constituency likely view that as apostasy. But it likely pales in comparison to an issue that is near sacrosanct to Republican primary voters: charter schools.Read more
When Doug Ducey was elected Governor of Arizona he pledged to bring more business acumen to the job. What voters may not have anticipated was his adeptness for politics. Surely some of that has to do with the skills of his Chief of Staff Kirk Adams and others nearby like Danny Seiden and Daniel Scarpinato, but even with those ear whisperers it still takes someone at the top to get it.
Governor Ducey’s exemplary and respectful relationship with lawmakers isn’t just limited to Republican leadership. Recall his outreach calls to Democrats prior to taking office. That wasn’t just window dressing. Respect from and rapport with Democrats – and nearly all legislators -- helped lead to a crucial vote to move Arizona K-12 public education forward on May 17th. A “yes” vote on Proposition 123 will end lawsuits and begin better funding for students statewide.Read more
There are few more interesting municipal elected officials in Arizona today than Scottsdale City Councilman David Smith. Having served as the City Treasurer he was the ultimate insider. Then as a candidate he ran as a quasi-outsider. Smith is whip smart and no matter one’s view of him he cannot be questioned about his affinity for the community.
Recently, however, the new outsider showed great fidelity to an old insider. A project called The Outpost, essentially a glorified gas station at Pima and Dynamite was vehemently opposed by north Scottsdale residents. But due to a purported close relationship between Smith and well-known project architect Vern Swaback, Smith abandoned his constituency for a party of one rather than a commitment to all. Indeed, Smith cast the deciding vote leaving North Scottsdale fuming.
Fast forward to a new case at 128th Street & Shea involving a new BASIS charter school, the #1 ranked public school in the state. Despite clear state law requiring the entitlement, Smith has presided over Design Review Board hearings that seem more a kangaroo court. Two thousands parents of BASIS students are wondering what is happening to Scottsdale.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
*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 22ndRead more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
MESA, Ariz. (October 22) – Maricopa County Supervisor and Chairman Steve Chucri today announced his first major endorsement, Governor Doug Ducey, in his re-election effort.
"I've known Steve Chucri for many years, and he is exactly the kind of leader we need at Maricopa County – one who has applied private sector principles and a sharp business acumen to solving county problems and increasing the level of service for residents while also protecting taxpayer dollars,” Governor Ducey said. “As chairman of the Board of Supervisors, he has taken a conservative-minded approach to governing and led with integrity and transparency. Given his record of accomplishments during his first term, I'm proud to endorse Supervisor Steve Chucri for a second one and I look forward to continuing to work with him."
Chairman Chucri was elected to his first term in 2012 and has served as chairman since January of 2015.Read more
By Bob and Kathy Littlefield
Councilmember Guy Phillips just announced he is running for re-election to the Scottsdale City Council in the 2016 city election. We are supporting Guy and urge all of you to do so also. While we don’t agree with Guy on every issue, he has been a strong and consistent opponent of the parasitic development, supported by the City Council majority, which threatens Scottsdale’s special character and high quality of life. He has also been a fierce opponent of the wasteful spending that plagues our city government. We need to keep Guy’s voice on the Scottsdale City Council.
Unfortunately the special interests will be pulling out all the stops to defeat Guy. No doubt they will try to drown him in a tidal wave of special interest campaign money. So Guy will need lots of help. You can contribute to Guy’s campaign online via PayPal or by a check made out to “Committee to Elect Guy Phillips.” You can mail checks to Guy at 7131 E. Cholla St., Scottsdale, AZ 85254.Read more
By Sheriff Paul Babeu
We’ve been saying it for years … Washington, DC needs a new sheriff in town. There’s cleaning up to do.
It’s time to arrest all the spending and debt created in Washington.
It’s time to arrest the flow of illegal immigration into this country that makes a mockery of the rule of law.
And it’s time to arrest the ambition of professional politicians who toe the establishment party line and only reach across it to grab a campaign contribution from special interests.Read more
By Scottsdale Councilmember Virginia Korte
PLEASE VOTE YES FOR SCOTTSDALE BONDS!
Since 1989, Scottsdale’s citizens have demonstrated great foresight, fiscal responsibility, and logical long-range planning having passed capital bond projects totaling over $700 million dollars. Such purposeful investments resulted in the funding of what continues to make our city thrive and our citizens’ quality of life stellar: libraries, parks, senior centers, public safety, transportation needs, a Cactus League baseball stadium, cultural and visual amenities, and so much more.
The financial impact of the 2015 bond’s approval ($95.5 million) will vary from resident to resident; the average value of a home in Scottsdale is $371,000; thus, a successful bond election will cost each household $3.50 per month. While theRead more
Arizona Republicans Want To Replace John McCain With A True Conservative! It is Time For John McCain To Retire!
By Restore American Liberty
Conservative Kelli Ward is officially leading John McCain for the first time in the polls! In a recent poll from independent firm Gravis Marketing, Kelli Ward was the choice of 45% of registered Arizona Republican primary voters while John McCain only garnered 36%. Approximately one fifth of voters still remain undecided. This poll is a huge shift from the May numbers that showed Kelli Ward trailing John McCain by 13 points. Momentum is on the side of Kelli Ward!
It is still early in the race and John McCain will soon launch a massive attack campaign. The establishment does not want John McCain to lose! Lobbyists and big money donors are prepared to do anything to attack Kelli Ward. Will you help fight back? Please contribute $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000, or more, to support Kelli Ward with voter contact and advertising! With your help, Kelli Ward can defeat John McCain!Read more
By Bob and Kathy Littlefield
Residents of the Wheel Inn Ranch Trailer Park in South Scottsdale are being evicted from their homes and forced to relocate to other housing. Many have lived in this park for decades and over the years have helped to create the City of Scottsdale we all love. Most of them are now elderly, disabled, low income and, for the first time frightened of what their future holds for them.
The park’s new owner has told the residents they must be gone by the end of January to make way for his future development. Unfortunately, most of the park’s mobile homes are too old and fragile to be moved, so owners will be forced to abandon their homes, even though many residents have sunk their life savings into buying them and adding extensions to them. Even the homes that can be moved will be expensive to move, plus all external improvements (such as porches and carports) must be left behind.
Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield has worked with the City’s Community and Human Services staff to coordinate assistance from city, state and federal agencies. This includes the Veteran’s Administration, since some of these residents are veterans or spouses of veterans all the way back to World War II. However, this assistance only scratches the surface of what is needed to insure our fellow residents are safely relocated into housing they can afford by the January deadline.
That is why we are organizing this fundraiser and asking for your help. To insure all funds are properly accounted for and will be spent where they will do the most good, we have put together a committee of community leaders who will oversee the collection and disbursement of funds. Everyone involved in this effort is a volunteer: no one is getting paid, and all of the money collected will go to help the Wheel Inn Ranch residents. The committee members are: Former City Councilman Bob Littlefield, City Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield, co-chair of the Scottsdale Coalition, Nancy Cantor, South Scottsdale neighborhood activist and non-profit executive, Cindy Hill, and Tonolea neighborhood activist, Jim Heather. Advisors to the committee are City Councilman Guy Phillips and Coronado neighborhood resident Martha Seaman, a Deacon with the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona and President of the Valley Interfaith Project.
You can make a tax deductible contribution to help through "Arizona LEOS," an IRS-approved 501c3 charity which sponsors an Aging Safely program. If you donate online via PayPal please check "Add special instructions to the seller:" and write "Wheel Inn Ranch" in the box provided when you checkout. To contribute by check, make it out to "Arizona LEOS" and mail it to Wheel Inn Ranch Fund, 8414 E. Vista Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85250. Please write "Wheel Inn Ranch" on the memo line and include your email address so we can save postage costs and email you a receipt.
The people at Wheel Inn Ranch are proud and independent folks who had secured a home and quiet lifestyle that met their needs and that they could afford. Now that their park is being destroyed, they do not know what to do or even how to ask for help.
So we are asking for them. Please help in assisting these Scottsdale citizens who, through no fault of their own, now stand in such urgent and desperate need.
Thank you so very much.
Bob & Kathy LittlefieldRead more
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