The Conservative's Corner

By Syms for Arizona

While others put politic First, Representative Maria Syms did something about it for Education

Representative Maria Syms is the ONLY District 28 House Candidate that:

  • Voted for and passed a 20% raise for public school teachers
  • Voted for and passed a historic $1.5 billion investment in public education
  • Voted for and passed new funding and a $1 billion finance plan for universities
  • Voted for and passed funding for full-day kindergarten, gifted and early childhood programs

Learn more about Maria’s Record on Education

Read More

By Goldwater Institute

Ensuring Justice For All: Texas Judge Rules on Indian Child Welfare Act 

When Martin Luther King wrote that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere…Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds,” he spoke with that characteristic confidence of his that justice would, in the end, be done to all.

Earlier this week, a federal judge in Texas played an important part in realizing that dream when he ruled that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) – a federal law that creates a separate and less-protective set of rules for child welfare cases involving children of Native American ancestry – violates the Constitution.

Read more from Timothy Sandefur, Vice President for Litigation at the Goldwater Institute. 

Read More

by Sal DiCiccio

Friends,

As many of you know, unlike the rest of the world, for governments the year ends on June 30th, and a new year begins July 1st. It’s been a long year, and while our country may be in the midst of the worst internal conflict and strife we’ve seen since the 1960s, here in Phoenix – and especially in District 6 – good things are happening. We are moving forward with quality growth and development, protecting our open spaces, and putting more resources into our parks and preserves. We are also fighting to protect our neighborhoods, ensure we have the basic resources we need to protect public safety, address our growing issues with homelessness and more. And since Sam Stone came onboard last year as my chief-of-staff, we’ve been more effective than ever fighting for our quality of life and protecting neighborhoods. Here are a few of the highlights from this year…

2017-18 Fiscal Year Accomplishments
1. Sober Living Homes Amendment: As you remember, I brought this forward to the Council when we started seeing these facilities flooding our neighborhoods. In response, we created the best model in the nation protecting neighborhoods and patients. Sam Stone in our office led our efforts on this, and every single time the City came back to us and said we couldn’t do something, he figured out a way to get it done.
2. Phoenician Redevelopment: Worked with neighborhood leaders and stakeholders to make sure that the redevelopment of the Phoenician golf courses addressed their concerns about traffic, density, open-spaces and historical preservation. This was one of the most complex land deals in Phoenix’s history, and – in the end – achieved essentially universal support throughout the neighborhood.
3. Relocation of Cholla Trail: Worked with neighbors and community leaders to get a right-of-way included in the Phoenician land deal to relocate Cholla Trail off of Cholla Lane. Now we are working with those same community members on the design and construction for the new trail which will benefit hikers and homeowners alike. Read More

Phoenix is closing on the downtown Sheraton sale, remember that the real loss to taxpayers is $252 Million.

The politicians and government staff who pushed this hotel are now forcing the public to pay for their mistakes. I have submitted a public information request to the city manager demanding the names of each and every person– politicians and government staff alike– who pushed for this hotel originally. It is not fair for the public to continue to pay for the incompetence of people who were hired to serve them.

This is the final, sad chapter in an orgy of corporate welfare and insider dealing that has cost the citizens of Phoenix far more than anyone at City Hall will admit.

Inept staff who insisted on making this deal are claiming the loss is $36 Million, but the true total is much higher.

$350 million– original cost of the hotel
$255 million– sale price of the hotel
$95 million loss

But it gets worse. Taxpayers are also on the hook for:

$47 million– operational losses since hotel was built
$97 million– corporate tax giveaways
$13 million– the hotel fund that was handed over to a large corporation
$157 million in additional losses

Bringing the total loss to taxpayers up to $252 million.Read More

Friends,

This is the letter I just sent to City Manager Ed Zuercher. The continued failure of City Staff to execute their basic responsibility under this City Manager is inexcusable – just look at the complete failure to address the needs of our community in South Phoenix, where City staff is in the process of pushing a bad plan down the throats of residents.

By Syms for Arizona

While others put politic First, Representative Maria Syms did something about it for Education

Representative Maria Syms is the ONLY District 28 House Candidate that:

  • Voted for and passed a 20% raise for public school teachers
  • Voted for and passed a historic $1.5 billion investment in public education
  • Voted for and passed new funding and a $1 billion finance plan for universities
  • Voted for and passed funding for full-day kindergarten, gifted and early childhood programs

Learn more about Maria’s Record on Education

Read More

By Goldwater Institute

Ensuring Justice For All: Texas Judge Rules on Indian Child Welfare Act 

When Martin Luther King wrote that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere…Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds,” he spoke with that characteristic confidence of his that justice would, in the end, be done to all.

Earlier this week, a federal judge in Texas played an important part in realizing that dream when he ruled that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) – a federal law that creates a separate and less-protective set of rules for child welfare cases involving children of Native American ancestry – violates the Constitution.

Read more from Timothy Sandefur, Vice President for Litigation at the Goldwater Institute. 

Read More

by Sal DiCiccio

Friends,

As many of you know, unlike the rest of the world, for governments the year ends on June 30th, and a new year begins July 1st. It’s been a long year, and while our country may be in the midst of the worst internal conflict and strife we’ve seen since the 1960s, here in Phoenix – and especially in District 6 – good things are happening. We are moving forward with quality growth and development, protecting our open spaces, and putting more resources into our parks and preserves. We are also fighting to protect our neighborhoods, ensure we have the basic resources we need to protect public safety, address our growing issues with homelessness and more. And since Sam Stone came onboard last year as my chief-of-staff, we’ve been more effective than ever fighting for our quality of life and protecting neighborhoods. Here are a few of the highlights from this year…

2017-18 Fiscal Year Accomplishments
1. Sober Living Homes Amendment: As you remember, I brought this forward to the Council when we started seeing these facilities flooding our neighborhoods. In response, we created the best model in the nation protecting neighborhoods and patients. Sam Stone in our office led our efforts on this, and every single time the City came back to us and said we couldn’t do something, he figured out a way to get it done.
2. Phoenician Redevelopment: Worked with neighborhood leaders and stakeholders to make sure that the redevelopment of the Phoenician golf courses addressed their concerns about traffic, density, open-spaces and historical preservation. This was one of the most complex land deals in Phoenix’s history, and – in the end – achieved essentially universal support throughout the neighborhood.
3. Relocation of Cholla Trail: Worked with neighbors and community leaders to get a right-of-way included in the Phoenician land deal to relocate Cholla Trail off of Cholla Lane. Now we are working with those same community members on the design and construction for the new trail which will benefit hikers and homeowners alike. Read More

Phoenix is closing on the downtown Sheraton sale, remember that the real loss to taxpayers is $252 Million.

The politicians and government staff who pushed this hotel are now forcing the public to pay for their mistakes. I have submitted a public information request to the city manager demanding the names of each and every person– politicians and government staff alike– who pushed for this hotel originally. It is not fair for the public to continue to pay for the incompetence of people who were hired to serve them.

This is the final, sad chapter in an orgy of corporate welfare and insider dealing that has cost the citizens of Phoenix far more than anyone at City Hall will admit.

Inept staff who insisted on making this deal are claiming the loss is $36 Million, but the true total is much higher.

$350 million– original cost of the hotel
$255 million– sale price of the hotel
$95 million loss

But it gets worse. Taxpayers are also on the hook for:

$47 million– operational losses since hotel was built
$97 million– corporate tax giveaways
$13 million– the hotel fund that was handed over to a large corporation
$157 million in additional losses

Bringing the total loss to taxpayers up to $252 million.Read More

Friends,

This is the letter I just sent to City Manager Ed Zuercher. The continued failure of City Staff to execute their basic responsibility under this City Manager is inexcusable – just look at the complete failure to address the needs of our community in South Phoenix, where City staff is in the process of pushing a bad plan down the throats of residents.

MORE CONSERVATIVE’S CORNER
Featured Editorials

If someone comes before the Scottsdale City Council and while making public remarks flat out misleads (to put it mildly) the community’s governing body, can they be trusted further?  Should they?  In matters big or small?  In matters with the City Council or staff?

That’s a fair question to ask in the case of Mr. Joseph Zemaitis. He heads a FOR-PROFIT Valley swimming organization known as Neptune that is making a disingenuous yet voracious attempt to take lane time away from local, NON-PROFIT organizations that have embodied Scottsdale, nearly from its inception.

Most people would concur that the mission of public swimming pools around Scottsdale is to nurture youth and provide another recreational option for all Scottsdale residents, many of whom might not be able to afford other options. Scottsdale has done a great job of this, for many years, not only with its public pools but with all of its impressive parks and recreation programs and facilities.  After all, not everyone can afford to swim or enjoy private facilities like those at The Village Health Club(s) or numerous country clubs around the city.  And while it is nice to generate some revenue for the use of these facilities their primary purpose is not to serve as a cash cow for they serve a far greater good.

Yet, Zemaitis, not happy enough with his arrangement at The Village Health Clubs is now seeking to poach time away from non-profit organizations for his for-profit operation.  That’s just not right.  What’s next? Union Pacific taking over the McCormick Stillman Railroad Park?

Knowing this tough sell, Zemaitis has invoked threats such as bringing in the Goldwater Institute.  For what? To help a for-profit group with far fewer Scottsdale residents than the other local organizations? To line his pockets at the expense of Scottsdale families? Nice try.

Read More

Sometimes you just can’t make this stuff up.

Scott Jarson is a local realtor. He’s one half of Jarson & Jarson Real Estate. The first line of his bio says that he was named “Scott” after “Scottsdale.”  Well, based on his recent actions, that’s where his supposed affinity for the community ends.

You see, Jarson, who actually lives in Paradise Valley, is trying to gin up opposition to the acclaimed Museum Square project in the southern part of downtown Scottsdale.

First, let’s talk a little more about Museum Square.  Then let’s talk more about Jarson.  It’s enough to make your skin crawl.

City residents may recall a several acre parcel of land along Goldwater near Osborn Road.  It was once the site of the city’s transit station.  Now it’s home to tumbleweeds and little else.  The City of Scottsdale owns the land.

City leaders wisely recognized it was a valuable asset that could generate substantial sums of money for city projects and programs at a time when it has been challenging to get voter approval for bonds.   The sale of the land could also help fund the expansion of the nearby, award-winning Museum of the West, a Smithsonian-affiliate.  The city partnered with an adjoining private property owner as state law permits, got a fair market value appraisal and earlier this year entered into an agreement with Macdonald Development to buy the land.  How much say you? Nearly $30 million.  Museum Square would include a new hotel, condominiums and apartments designed by one of the state’s best. Some of the heights would be comparable but no higher than buildings nearby by Honor Health.  Others would be shorter.   Museum Square would also include a large new community square for public events, something Old Town needs, especially after losing key acreage at the Scottsdale Waterfront not too long ago.  Read The Phoenix Business Journal’s coverage on the project awhile back here.

Supported by the Scottsdale Gallery Association, Museum of the West, Larsen Art Gallery, Legacy Gallery, Scottsdale Firefighter’s Association and many others including theater groups, the Scottsdale City Council UNANIMOUSLY approved the potential sale to Macdonald earlier this year.  As readers know, this City Council doesn’t vote unanimously on much of anything. Yet, they did on this proposal because of its salience and support.  And earlier this month Scottsdale’s Design Review Board, chaired by Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield, also unanimously approved plans.  The next stop is Planning Commission and the Scottsdale City Council so the project can get underway and the city can realize revenue from the sale of its property.  As Arizona knows all too well, real estate cycles don’t last forever.

Read More

The following press release was submitted to the Arizona Progress & Gazette. We would be happy to post a reponse from the Valenzuela campaign if one is available.

Earlier this year, a young woman came forward with allegations of illegal activity and sexual misconduct committed by Daniel Valenzuela, a former Phoenix City Councilperson, current candidate for Mayor of the City of Phoenix, and currently employed as a firefighter for the City of Glendale. On January 29, 2018, this young woman agreed to participate in a videotaped interview, during which she described her relationship with Mr. Valenzuela to the best of her abilities, as follows:

  • In 2011, at 19 years old, she began working as an exotic dancer for Christie’s Cabaret, previously located at 32nd Street and Van Buren in Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Mr. Valenzuela, who was 35 years old at the time, was a known regular at Christie’s Cabaret. She described Mr. Valenzuela as being “popular” at the club, recalling that he knew many of the dancers by name.
  • Soon after she started working at Christie’s Cabaret, Mr. Valenzuela became one of her regular customers. Mr. Valenzuela visited her around lunchtime nearly every Thursday, usually staying around two hours at a time.
  • Mr. Valenzuela’s visits continued over the course of the next year, during which he was elected by his district as a member of the Phoenix City Council.
  • About a year after Mr. Valenzuela began to visit her regularly, he asked her to dinner and she obliged. Mr. Valenzuela took her to City Hall Steakhouse in Scottsdale, Arizona. After dinner, in a hotel room Mr. Valenzuela booked at a nearby Scottsdale hotel, he paid her in cash to have sex with him.
  • This arrangement continued thereafter, with Mr. Valenzuela paying her, in cash, to have sex with him in hotel rooms that he booked and paid for. Presumably, the rooms were paid for with his credit card. During these encounters, Mr. Valenzuela observed her use cocaine before he would have sex with her in exchange for cash. Mr. Valenzuela never attempted to dissuade or prevent her from using cocaine prior to having sex with him, nor did he at any point encourage her to get help for her addiction.
  • On at least one occasion, Mr. Valenzuela introduced her to several male friends so they could enter into similar arrangements with her.

If these allegations are true, Mr. Valenzuela has committed criminal acts in violation of Arizona Revised Statutes §13-3214, Phoenix City Code §23-52, and Scottsdale City Code §19-5. For this reason, her videotaped statement, together with other corroborating information, will be submitted to the Phoenix Police Department, the Scottsdale Police Department, and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for review. It is incumbent upon these law enforcement agencies to fully investigate these allegations of criminal conduct. It is important to note that if Mr. Valenzuela is questioned by law enforcement, then any false or misleading statements made by him are punishable by law.

By Scottsdale Pinetop

Once again the radical fringes of political dishonesty and misinformation are attempting to confuse the voters and sway elections. APS is the champion at doing that. While on my way home, I passed a political yard sign saying “No on Prop 127 – Protect Arizona Schools.” The message attempts to convince Arizona voters to reject the Renewable Energy Standards Initiative saying that it is bad for teachers. This couldn’t be more false.

For those who have not yet become informed on the propositions for the November ballot, Proposition 127 would require electric utility companies like APS to acquire a certain percentage of electricity from renewable resources. These percentages would increase annually from 12 percent in 2020 to 50 percent in 2030.

It initiative has nothing to do with public education or Arizona’s schools.

The anti-Prop 127 supporters have attempted to capitalize on the #RedforEd movement in Arizona by conflating the education crisis with renewable energy sources. At a time when increasing funding to teachers and public education has dominated the political landscape, it’s not surprising that APS is looking to align themselves as an ally to teachers.

APS argues that the initiative would cause electricity rates to rise which would then harm schools. When in reality, it’s just the opposite. In fact, the Arizona Education Association (AEA) endorsed Prop. 127 early on in the campaign saying the initiative, if passed, would help lower utility bills for schools. But the initiative itself doesn’t impact funding to schools or protect teachers.

This is a blatant misrepresentation of Prop. 127 and undermines the progress of the teacher’s movement.  We hope voters understand that.

 

By Scottsdale Pinetop

As the Scottsdale city election draws near, it is now more important than ever to get to know the candidates looking to lead the city. Scottsdale long had a reputation of being a tourist destination and entertainment hub, but it’s also a city beloved by its residents. To ensure that Scottsdale stays that way, it needs a dedicated council committed to its residents, businesses and integrity while also having a vision for the future.

Last Monday, the Scottsdale Independent hosted the 2018 Scottsdale City Council debate where candidates deliberated an array of issues. The five candidates pursuing the three seats are incumbents Linda Milhaven, Kathy Littlefield and David Smith, seasoned candidate Bill Crawford and newcomer Solange Whitehead. Each candidate expressed their opinions and expectations for the city – some opinions stronger than others.

At the heart of the 2018 Scottsdale elections is the debate over the potential development of a Desert Discovery Center on the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. After months of work and community support, the Protect Our Preserve petition garnered a total of 37,608 signatures qualifying it for the ballot as Proposition 420. If approved, Proposition 420 would revise the Scottsdale city charter to state that all construction and usage of earmarked conservation dollars within the McDowell Sonoran Preserve would require a public vote.

Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

The Highs

*Former Councilwoman Kate Gallego has been endorsed by former Mayor of Phoenix Terry Goddard.

*Mark Phillips, former Managing Editor and Executive Producer for Sunday Square off at 12News, has joined Daniel Valenzuela’s team as Communications Director.

*The Coalition of Greater Scottsdale (COGS) PAC will be holding a silent auction fundraiser next Sunday for their endorsed candidates, councilwoman Kathy Littlefield and Solange Whitehead. The event will be held on Sunday, September 30 at Clayton on the Park (7343 E. Scottsdale Mall) from 2:30pm-5:00pm.

Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

After learning that new mothers within her community were placing their sleeping infants in boxes and dressers because they could not afford a proper crib, former mayor of Jackson, Michigan Karen Dunigan decided to take action. With all of her involvement in the community, she began making phone calls and requesting donations. Karen’s simple request brought a group of women together that made it possible to provide new mothers with the simplest need: a crib.

The movement grew to become one of the largest female philanthropic organizations in the country, expanding into a chapter here in Scottsdale, which still gives back locally to this day.

Scottsdalians like to celebrate the diversity and talent of its community including its women organizations that impact the city. In a time when women empowerment and equality is a hot topic in the news, it’s important now more than ever to encourage and promote women-only and women-centric organizations, for which Scottsdale is fortunate to have many.
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While Scottsdale’s Proposition 420 is heavily favored to prevail at the polls in November despite a notably dishonest campaign by opponents, it’s fair to ask what happens if it fails?

A reminder that Proposition 420 is the noble initiative brought forth by some 37,000 citizens to require public votes on projects like the Desert Discovery Center (DDC) that seek to inappropriately intrude on the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. 

We have written on the DDC’s lack of merit on numerous occasions (click here) as well as the more recent debate over Proposition 420. (click here)

Back to the original question:  what would be the fallout if deception defeats Proposition 420?

In our opinion it wouldn’t just open the door to the financial and environmental boondoggle that is the DCC, it would send a much bigger message.  And that would be one of opening the floodgates to more development in the Preserve, beyond just the DDC.  After all, once one major development is permitted what’s to stop another? Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

As the lore goes, touching the foot of a rabbit three or four times will bring good luck. Actors have been known to stroke a bunny’s paw before going on stage or filming a big scene. Athletic coaches often wear out several rabbit’s feet during a single season. While the superstition of the rabbit’s foot has changed over the years, the furry little foot remains one of the most popular of “good-luck charms” throughout the world.

So what does this have to do with Scottsdale?

By now, some may have noticed the newest art addition on the southwest corner of Marshall Way and Indian School, thanks to the efforts of Linda Milhaven and Scottsdale City Council. “One Eyed Jack” is a 26 foot tall jackrabbit keeping watch over the art gallery district in Old Town. But serving as more than a spectacular piece of public art, One-Eyed Jack might just bring some good luck to residents and tourists alike.

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By Scottsdale Pinetop

In last week’s Phoenix mayoral debate, 12News moderator Braham Resnik asked each candidate “Will being Mayor of Phoenix be a full-time job for you?”

Kate Gallego: “Yes”

Nicholas Sarwark: “Yes”

Moses Sanchez: “Yes”

Daniel Valenzuela: “I intend in serving my community as a firefighter in the West Valley and as Mayor.”

Excuse me? That’s not the answer Phoenix voters were looking for. Or deserves.

The complexities of leading the nation’s fifth largest city and solving its many challenges requires anyone’s full attention. That’s why it takes someone who is dedicated to the job 100%. And by the sound of it, that isn’t Daniel Valenzuela.

Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

The first thing many of us think of is the iconic white rabbit from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.  It’s surprising, bold and serves as a channel for imagination. That’s exactly the kind of character Scottsdale’s art district has and needs more of.

And it’s thanks to the efforts of councilwoman Linda Milhaven and the Scottsdale City Council that “One-Eyed Jack”, at the southwest corner of Marshall Way and Indian School, has now joined Scottsdale’s unique collection of public art.
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Yesterday we wrote about Scottsdale City Manager Jim Thompson’s impression of Hall of Fame Catcher Johnny Bench preventing a wild pitch from harming Scottsdale taxpayers.  You can see it below or CLICK HERE.

There’s even more to the story, reinforcing Thompson’s sagaciousness.  It turns out Tempe and Phoenix, the city in which the Desert Botanical Garden is located,  were planning on contributing about $10,000 each to the special event there.

And Scottsdale was contemplating a taxpayer contribution of $500,000?!

Thank goodness the city has an All-Star behind its plate.  And coffers.

Without a good catcher in baseball too many wild pitches can find their way to the backstop, helping the other team win and wreaking havoc on your own.

That’s a lot like the job of a City Manager, including Jim Thompson’s in Scottsdale.

Thank goodness the city had its own version of Johnny Bench for a recent, near fiasco.

Scottsdale has a lot of tourism tax to spend thanks to a landmark vote in 2010 to tax hotels just a bit more for promotional efforts and a robust local economy.  Recently, the Desert Botanical Garden came knocking for funds.  But they weren’t asking for $25,000 or $75,000.  The request was for an eye-popping half a million bones, all for a special event . . . in Phoenix.

Amazingly, some on city staff thought this was a wise use of money.  Amazingly, the Scottsdale Tourism Commission even endorsed it.

At a time when funding for improvements to Scottsdale Stadium is rising in need (and challenge) spending so much money to help a property outside the city makes zero sense.  Furthermore, and while we are no fans of the Desert Discovery Center, using Scottsdale tax dollars to pump up a potential rival before that issue has been resolved is insulting to those in support of that project.

Simply put, this was the wrong idea at the wrong time in the wrong place.

Fortunately, City Manager Thompson cut through the group-think and said no, once again reminding us why it’s important to have an All-Star behind the plate.

By Scottsdale Pinetop

What’s David Garcia’s education plan for the state? Who knows.

With Invest in Ed off the November ballot, the fight over K-12 education funding moves to the governor’s race. Most voters know where Governor Ducey stands on education funding, highlighted mostly during the teacher walk-outs in April, where he found a solution called “20 by 2020” which provides a 20 percent boost in teacher pay over the next three years. With David Garcia, not so much.

After piggybacking on the teacher’s movement, David Garcia has named himself the “Godfather” of the #RedforED movement. An Arizona State University professor with a Ph. D. in Social Sciences for Educational Research and Policy Studies, Garcia should be the education expert. Yet, his education plans fall short of a passing grade.

Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

The Highs

*Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane announced his endorsement for Bill Crawford for Scottsdale City Council. Read the Mayor’s endorsement here.

*Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters announced her endorsement for former councilwoman Kate Gallego for Phoenix Mayor.

*Former Councilman Daniel Valenzuela has been endorsed by The Honorable Ed Pastor, Councilwoman Laura Pastor, Phoenix State Senator Katie Hobbs, State Representative Lela Alston, former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley and former Attorney General Grant Woods in the Phoenix mayoral race.

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So a noble group of people want to put a mural on Marshall Way in Old Town Scottsdale to commemorate the late Senator John McCain.  Here’s a link to an azcentral.com story about the effort.

Seems pretty simple.  And a big win for Scottsdale as local residents honor McCain in a way that aids a struggling arts street.

Keep in mind that more outdoor art was among key recommendation a group of Marshall Way merchants provided the City of Scottsdale several years ago as a way to reinvigorate its once impressive standing among the better contemporary arts areas in America.  Scottsdale City Councilwoman Linda Milhaven responded to the requests and fought for a new artistic entry way at Marshall Way and Indian School Road that at long last is coming to pass.

Notably, Marshall Way landlord Dewey Schade didn’t participate in those efforts.  Schade, who some say acquired his holdings on the street thanks to his successful ex-wife, has not only failed to be a team player, he’s part of the ongoing problem on Marshall Way, not a solution.  He demands outlandish rents that keep storefronts more often vacant than full.

And now he’s been making noise to thwart the McCain Mural.  How sad.  We don’t know the reasons for his opposition but his, and others, have forced consideration of the piece from staff approval to one that must go to a public hearing before the Scottsdale Design Review Board.  We hope and trust that body will do the right thing, unlike Schade.  You see, as noble as it is to now honor McCain a key point is that more art is good for the area.  It should not matter if it is about McCain, JFK, President Obama or Bernie Sanders.  If the DRB turns down this request it would be a national embarrassment.

Over 20 years ago a packed arena at WestWorld said good-bye to beloved Scottsdale Mayor Herb Drinkwater.  And there stood McCain, eulogizing his good friend in a powerful, emotional way.  The nation rightfully did the same for McCain last month.  Unfortunately, Schade and others of his ilk apparently can’t find the decency to do so this month, or help the downtown arts scene.

By Scottsdale Pinetop

In the final match in Rocky, Balboa remains convinced that it’s impossible for him to beat Apollo. But rather than give up, he decides to go the distance and take on the champion for the full 15 rounds – a task no fighter had ever done before. And while Balboa may have lost the fight, the underdog was the true embodiment of the American spirit — all determination and grit.

Take heart Arizona. The Outlaw Dirty Money Initiative will continue on – just in a smaller form.

After a blow earlier this month from the Arizona Supreme Court’s ruling that the Outlaw Dirty Money Initiative did not qualify for the November 6th ballot, it seemed the initiative was down for the count. But inspired by the recent events and efforts, Phoenix has decided to take steps forward towards prohibiting dark money in its own election. Known as Proposition 419, Phoenix voters will be asked this November to amend the city charter to require all groups spending significant amounts of money in local races to disclose their donors and organization names.

Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

The Highs

*Former councilman Daniel Valenzuela has been endorsed by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433, the Communication Workers of America – Arizona State Council, Sheet Metal Works Union, Local 359, UNITE HERE Local 11 and the Arizona Federation of Teachers 8002.

*Barry Goldwater Jr. announced his endorsement of Nicholas Sarwark for Phoenix Mayor.

The Lows

No Lows for the Week Read More

Near the end of The Last Crusade,  Indiana Jones stood on the side of an abyss, not knowing how he was going to get to the other side.  He necessarily relied on the higher power above and Jones’ leap of faith was rewarded.

The other side, the “No” side, in Scottsdale’s Proposition 420 debate, that being the one to rightfully require public votes on major impacts in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, is asking voters to take a leap of faith of a different kind.  All to build an unnecessary, taxpayer sucking project called the Desert Discovery Center, Proposition 420 opponents are engaged in the most hollow and disingenuous campaign in city history.  Today we wish to focus on yet another example.  Those are the claims that if Proposition 420 passes a cabal of unelected citizens will effectively be dictators of what happens in the Preserve forevermore.   

Let us tell you why this is nonsense and then undermine their argument further, even if it was untrue.

Proposition 420 was very clearly written. We encourage all to read the actual language by going to the City of Scottsdale website. Here is a direct link.   In it Section 12 outlines prohibitions on altering the natural state of the Preserve for things such as the Dumb & Dumber Center (DDC) .  Reasonable exceptions are then spelled out including:  “New trails approved by the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Commission.”  That’s certainly reasonable and should not be understood as eliminating the duly elected Scottsdale City Council from also approving such trails.  It just says the citizens appointed to the Commission must also do so, meaning the Council can’t upend a decision not supported by its lower court.  Read More

Earlier this year the Scottsdale City Council had a rambunctious debate on funding the community’s substantial infrastructure needs.  One group advocated for a more comprehensive bond approach, backed by property taxes, while the other suggested a smaller ball sales tax increase concentrating on transportation needs.  Both sides of this aisle made persuasive arguments but the latter gained majority status.  They cited the increased likelihood of success at the ballot box due to recent failed bond efforts and a rather compelling argument that the city would soon lose out on some $170 million in transportation dollars from regional sources if it didn’t step up to the plate with this package.

The majority was led by Councilman Guy Phillips and joined by Mayor Jim Lane and Councilmembers Suzanne Klapp and Kathy Littlefield.

It’s fair to say the minority of Councilmembers Linda Milhaven, Virginia Korte and David Smith were not happy.  There were even rumblings they would lead a campaign against the measure, which will be voted on this coming November.

Instead, however, they became patriots for their city.  How?  Because they know better than anyone how inadequate Scottsdale’s current funding for infrastructure is.  And that the one tenth of one cent increase in the sales tax to fund a portion of the needs is the very definition of the good not being the enemy of the great.  Their support is seemingly engrained in another reason too.  By this minority supporting the majority in 2018, it should and will be time for the majority to support the minority in 2019 when a broader bond package will be put to voters.

Recent history has shown the import of unanimity by and of members of the Scottsdale City Council to pass big votes.  Milhaven, Korte and Smith have demonstrated the necessary integrity and compromising to make democracy work effectively for citizens this year.  It will be up to the four others to follow that example next year.

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2018 Scrum

CITES HIS ABILITY TO BRING ALL ARIZONANS TOGETHER WITH CIVILITY AND BIPARTISANSHIP

By Team Ducey

Cindy McCain today announced her strong endorsement of Doug Ducey for reelection as Arizona Governor. Mrs. McCain, the widow of the late Senator John McCain, serves as co-chair of the Governor’s Council on Human Trafficking and on the McCain Institute’s Human Trafficking Advisory Council. She is committed to reducing human trafficking globally and improving the lives of victims of human trafficking.

“Doug Ducey has been a Governor for all Arizonans, working together in a bipartisan spirit to improve the quality of life for all our citizens,” Mrs. McCain said. “He has been a steadfast supporter of our efforts to stem the tide of human trafficking, and he’s consistently demonstrated a willingness and ability to bring Arizonans together in a civil and productive way. We need more of that kind of attitude in our political discourse. I’m proud to support Governor Ducey, and encourage all Arizonans to join me.”

Governor Ducey said, ”Cindy McCain has devoted her life to making our country and our state a better and safer place to live – as a businesswoman, philanthropist and tireless advocate for victims rights, military families and the health and education of children in our country and across the world. She is an Arizona treasure, and I am grateful to not only call her a friend, but also to have her on our team as we work together to secure Arizona’s future.”


I am proud to announce that I am joining Kate Gallego’s Team as chair of her campaign!

As a citizen activist and former Mayor of Phoenix, I am proud of how our City came together to develop a strong economy and build healthy neighborhoods and vibrant communities. We focused on quality growth, public safety, arts and culture and preserving Phoenix’s rich heritage.

I understand what it takes to be a successful mayor – vision, compassion, and unrelenting hard work.  That’s why I’m joining my wife Monica and son Kevin in wholeheartedly supporting Kate Gallego.

This is a critical race.  Voters will determine what kind of city Phoenix will be for decades to come. Kate has done her homework.  She is prepared to lead with total commitment to our City.  I trust her to create a prosperous Phoenix that works for everyone.

Thank you,

— Terry Goddard, former Mayor of Phoenix 

The Corporation Commission was created in our Arizona Constitution to protect Arizona families and our economy. I’m running for Corporation Commission to restore integrity to the rate setting process.

I’m running a campaign fueled by everyday Arizonans like you, committed to restoring integrity and putting Arizona ratepayers first. I need your help by contributing $125, $250, $375 at www.rodneyglassman.org to share our message.

Integrity means doing the right thing for ratepayers and not special interests. Read More

In case you may have missed it: The Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce has announced its opposition to Proposition 420, the initiative to change the City Charter, and its support of Question 1, raising the sales tax to address transportation issues.
 
I endorse the Chamber’s positions on both issues, which will be on the November 6th ballot.


The Chamber stated that Prop 420, which addresses the sustainability of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and the use of preserve funds, lacks clarity and is open to interpretation.  I agree. 


Furthermore, Prop 420 empowers an unelected and unaccountable group of volunteers, the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Commission, to make and mediate decisions about the future of the Preserve.  As a consequence, this group of volunteers would circumvent the authority of the City Council, who you elect to be accountable to citizens.

Read More

My top priority on the Scottsdale City Council will be to maintain and improve our high quality of life.

I am no stranger to this notion. I have spent over 20 years fighting to protect our quality of life in many ways. My efforts have brought awareness to critical citywide issues, influencing positive action for our quality of life.

In order to keep our city headed in the right direction, we must ensure Scottsdale continues to provide a high quality of life for our residents and visitors.

This includes keeping crime and taxes low and maintaining a strong and vibrant economy.

Read More

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Latest News

  • The Truth, The Whole Truth And Anything But The Truth

    Oct 12

    If someone comes before the Scottsdale City Council and while making public remarks flat out misleads (to put it mildly) the community’s governing body, can they be trusted further?  Should they?  In matters big or small?  In matters with the City Council or staff? That’s a fair question to ask in the case of Mr. Joseph Zemaitis. He heads a FOR-PROFIT Valley swimming organization known as Neptune that is making a disingenuous yet voracious attempt +

  • ScottSpite Not Scottsdale: Why Museum Square Makes Sense Not Scott Jarson

    Oct 12

    Sometimes you just can’t make this stuff up. Scott Jarson is a local realtor. He’s one half of Jarson & Jarson Real Estate. The first line of his bio says that he was named “Scott” after “Scottsdale.”  Well, based on his recent actions, that’s where his supposed affinity for the community ends. You see, Jarson, who actually lives in Paradise Valley, is trying to gin up opposition to the acclaimed Museum Square project in the southern +

  • PRESS RELEASE: Allegations of illegal Activity and Sexual Misconduct Committed by Former Phoenix Councilperson and Current Candidate for Phoenix Mayor Daniel Valenzuela

    Oct 11

    The following press release was submitted to the Arizona Progress & Gazette. We would be happy to post a reponse from the Valenzuela campaign if one is available. Earlier this year, a young woman came forward with allegations of illegal activity and sexual misconduct committed by Daniel Valenzuela, a former Phoenix City Councilperson, current candidate for Mayor of the City of Phoenix, and currently employed as a firefighter for the City of Glendale. On January +

  • Guest Editorial: Don’t Be Fooled

    Oct 5

    By Scottsdale Pinetop Once again the radical fringes of political dishonesty and misinformation are attempting to confuse the voters and sway elections. APS is the champion at doing that. While on my way home, I passed a political yard sign saying “No on Prop 127 – Protect Arizona Schools.” The message attempts to convince Arizona voters to reject the Renewable Energy Standards Initiative saying that it is bad for teachers. This couldn’t be more false. For those +

  • #LocalBuzz: Scottsdale City Council Candidates Debate Prop. 420 and Sales Tax Initiative

    Oct 4

    By Scottsdale Pinetop As the Scottsdale city election draws near, it is now more important than ever to get to know the candidates looking to lead the city. Scottsdale long had a reputation of being a tourist destination and entertainment hub, but it’s also a city beloved by its residents. To ensure that Scottsdale stays that way, it needs a dedicated council committed to its residents, businesses and integrity while also having a vision for the +

  • #LocalBuzz: Highs, Lows and In-Betweens

    Sep 28

    By Scottsdale Pinetop The Highs *Former Councilwoman Kate Gallego has been endorsed by former Mayor of Phoenix Terry Goddard. *Mark Phillips, former Managing Editor and Executive Producer for Sunday Square off at 12News, has joined Daniel Valenzuela’s team as Communications Director. *The Coalition of Greater Scottsdale (COGS) PAC will be holding a silent auction fundraiser next Sunday for their endorsed candidates, councilwoman Kathy Littlefield and Solange Whitehead. The event will be held on Sunday, September 30 +

  • Guest Editorial: #TheyToo

    Sep 27

    By Scottsdale Pinetop After learning that new mothers within her community were placing their sleeping infants in boxes and dressers because they could not afford a proper crib, former mayor of Jackson, Michigan Karen Dunigan decided to take action. With all of her involvement in the community, she began making phone calls and requesting donations. Karen’s simple request brought a group of women together that made it possible to provide new mothers with the simplest +

  • What Happens If Scottsdale’s Proposition 420 Fails?

    Sep 26

    While Scottsdale’s Proposition 420 is heavily favored to prevail at the polls in November despite a notably dishonest campaign by opponents, it’s fair to ask what happens if it fails? A reminder that Proposition 420 is the noble initiative brought forth by some 37,000 citizens to require public votes on projects like the Desert Discovery Center (DDC) that seek to inappropriately intrude on the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.  We have written on the DDC’s lack of +

  • Guest Editorial: Rabbit’s Foot

    Sep 25

    By Scottsdale Pinetop As the lore goes, touching the foot of a rabbit three or four times will bring good luck. Actors have been known to stroke a bunny’s paw before going on stage or filming a big scene. Athletic coaches often wear out several rabbit’s feet during a single season. While the superstition of the rabbit’s foot has changed over the years, the furry little foot remains one of the most popular of “good-luck +

  • Guest Editorial: Don’t Quit Your Day Job

    Sep 24

    By Scottsdale Pinetop In last week’s Phoenix mayoral debate, 12News moderator Braham Resnik asked each candidate “Will being Mayor of Phoenix be a full-time job for you?” Kate Gallego: “Yes” Nicholas Sarwark: “Yes” Moses Sanchez: “Yes” Daniel Valenzuela: “I intend in serving my community as a firefighter in the West Valley and as Mayor.” Excuse me? That’s not the answer Phoenix voters were looking for. Or deserves. The complexities of leading the nation’s fifth largest +

  • Guest Editorial: Scottsdale’s White Rabbit

    Sep 21

    By Scottsdale Pinetop The first thing many of us think of is the iconic white rabbit from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.  It’s surprising, bold and serves as a channel for imagination. That’s exactly the kind of character Scottsdale’s art district has and needs more of. And it’s thanks to the efforts of councilwoman Linda Milhaven and the Scottsdale City Council that “One-Eyed Jack”, at the southwest corner of Marshall Way and Indian School, has +

  • Johnny Bench, Part II

    Sep 19

    Yesterday we wrote about Scottsdale City Manager Jim Thompson’s impression of Hall of Fame Catcher Johnny Bench preventing a wild pitch from harming Scottsdale taxpayers.  You can see it below or CLICK HERE. There’s even more to the story, reinforcing Thompson’s sagaciousness.  It turns out Tempe and Phoenix, the city in which the Desert Botanical Garden is located,  were planning on contributing about $10,000 each to the special event there. And Scottsdale was contemplating a +

  • Johnny Bench

    Sep 18

    Without a good catcher in baseball too many wild pitches can find their way to the backstop, helping the other team win and wreaking havoc on your own. That’s a lot like the job of a City Manager, including Jim Thompson’s in Scottsdale. Thank goodness the city had its own version of Johnny Bench for a recent, near fiasco. Scottsdale has a lot of tourism tax to spend thanks to a landmark vote in 2010 +

  • Guest Editorial: Professor Without A Plan

    Sep 14

    By Scottsdale Pinetop What’s David Garcia’s education plan for the state? Who knows. With Invest in Ed off the November ballot, the fight over K-12 education funding moves to the governor’s race. Most voters know where Governor Ducey stands on education funding, highlighted mostly during the teacher walk-outs in April, where he found a solution called “20 by 2020” which provides a 20 percent boost in teacher pay over the next three years. With David +

  • #LocalBuzz: Highs, Lows and In-Betweens

    Sep 14

    By Scottsdale Pinetop The Highs *Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane announced his endorsement for Bill Crawford for Scottsdale City Council. Read the Mayor’s endorsement here. *Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters announced her endorsement for former councilwoman Kate Gallego for Phoenix Mayor. *Former Councilman Daniel Valenzuela has been endorsed by The Honorable Ed Pastor, Councilwoman Laura Pastor, Phoenix State Senator Katie Hobbs, State Representative Lela Alston, former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley and former +

  • Dewey The Dick

    Sep 13

    So a noble group of people want to put a mural on Marshall Way in Old Town Scottsdale to commemorate the late Senator John McCain.  Here’s a link to an azcentral.com story about the effort. Seems pretty simple.  And a big win for Scottsdale as local residents honor McCain in a way that aids a struggling arts street. Keep in mind that more outdoor art was among key recommendation a group of Marshall Way merchants +