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2018 Scrum

There are always great stories in any school district.  A wonderful teacher.  An enterprising student.  A feel good sports team.

The Scottsdale Unified School District is no different.

But the problems infecting the one time model of public schooling are a shocking indifference to malaise.  And that’s to put it kindly.

Last year the district again lost some 1,000 students.  Once proud campuses look skeletal.

At the helm presides David Peterson, as he has for years.  He knows how to ask taxpayers for more money.  It’s unclear whether he knows how to do anything else, including reversing losses. 

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Fiesta Mall in Mesa is about dead.  Los Arcos Mall in Scottsdale died years ago.  Metrocenter is trying to reinvent itself as so many other malls are doing across the country.  The changing retail landscape driven by increased online sales demands it.  Look at Biltmore Fashion Park which now seems more a tony food court than mall. scottsdalefashionsquaremall1

That brings us to Scottsdale Fashion Square.  Despite its pre-eminence it is not immune to the altering landscape.

That’s why its pending requests of the City of Scottsdale to allow greater heights and uses at the marquee mall are forward looking and smart.  They will allow potential hotels, residences and other uses to keep the people coming and dollars flowing.

Fashion Square is a golden goose for the city.  Sales tax revenue.  Cache.  Amenity.  Scottsdale leaders previous made bold decisions to help position the property for prosperity.  They need to do so again, even those with frequent aversions to allowing taller buildings for developers.

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It would seem that the Tempe police are more concerned about people’s opinion of them than actually protecting the residents.

The ‘Safe and Sober’ campaign that launched in 2013 after incidents where Arizona State University students were found dead after attending parties where heavy drinking was involved was replaced with a babied version that focuses on education and prevention.

After the program ran for three weekends it vanished due to complaints that it put Tempe into a ‘police state.’ The semester hasn’t even officially started and we are no-where close to the heavy drinking events such as home football games and holidays and already they are backing off.

Tempe police say that they will be bringing back a new version based on education and prevention instead of a call to action. Just like the years before the whole campaign started, which didn’t work out so well for the underage drinking problem.

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Some time ago Bob and Karen Hobbs bought the former home of favorite Arizona son Barry Goldwater.  Located on a hilltop in the heart of Paradise Valley their preservation and updating of the home was and is spectacular.

From time to time they do events there, mainly political ones favoring the Grand Old Party.  But not a once have they sought to commercialize the property with such things as weddings, concerts and wine bars.  They’d get laughed and run out of town by neighbors and town officials if they thought about, let alone submitted plans to actually do it.

The Hobbs’ also never hired publicists to tout how great they were for keeping and restoring the Goldwater home, where they now live.

Contrast this approach with the extraordinary arrogance of Zach Rawlings in Arcadia, who is seeking to do everything the Hobbs’ did not.

Instead of quietly and nobly resurrecting a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Rawlings has sought to tell the world how great he is for doing it. And while we agree that kudos are in order, his subsequent endeavor to use it as a mean to gain unprecedented commercial rights in Arcadia is anything but a Hobbesian choice.  It’s just wrong.

Indeed the plans submitted to Phoenix allow Rawlings new development rights no other homeowner in Arcadia enjoys.   Consequently, any longer calling it the “Wright House” are woefully insufficient. The more proper name is the Arcadia Event & Wedding Center.  

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We all remember Christine O’Donnell, as we try to forget her?  She was the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Delaware who rode that year’s Tea Party wave to upset the presumed nominee, he of the “establishment.”  In one of the worst political television advertisements ever produced she infamously declared she was “not a witch” as she attempted to retintroduce herself to a general electorate following her surprising nomination. It didn’t work.  She got crushed.

Largely quelled in 2012 and 2014 are we seeing the rise of another Tea Party wave in 2016, with Donald Trump as its titular head?

It appears so, at least for now.  But consider that it ominously (at least for some) appears to go well beyond Trump.

In yesterday’s Meet The Press/Survey Money survey the top 3 candidates – Trump, Cruz & Carson – combined for a whopping 47% of the vote.  They are all from outside the establishment and running as such.  Add in another person running as an outsider now tied for fourth – Carly Fiorina and her 8% -- and a majority vote in the 2016 GOP primary is now occupied by Tea Party-like outsiders. 

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Normally one doesn’t start with boring phrases, words and projects to entice a reader to continue on. But the language below while not sexy is compelling for reasons that will be explained. So, please read on.
“Forty-year old infrastructure” in southern Scottsdale.

“Replace existing chemical treatment systems” with new ones to “provide a safe and consistent disinfectant solution for public pools.”

“Replace again restrooms at four city parks” that “do not meet ADA requirements.”

“Replacing outdated irrigation systems” that will “help reduce costs by lowering water usage and increasing energy efficiency.”
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“Replace outdated and inefficient ballfield lighting” at parks across the city.

Improving accident prone intersections and the safety of certain crosswalks.

Improving certain, heavily trafficked roads now in order to leverage regional funds to lessen the burden on Scottsdale taxpayers.

Fixing “missing” and “crumbling” sidewalks.

Replace “antiquated electrical systems” in city buildings that cost taxpayers more to operate.

“Purchase Disaster Recovery Technology Infrastructure.”

“Replace 140 miles of deteriorated pavement on city streets.”

Design and build fire stations in areas that don’t have them or are operating in “single-wide trailers.”

“Expand and renovate the Civic Center Jail and Police Station” to aid a jail built for a Scottsdale in 1971, not 44 years later that sees frequent “jail overcrowding.”

These are the phrases and language found in city information about the upcoming $96 million bond vote in Scottsdale. If these are not the necessary, limited and basic functions of government we don’t know what are.

Two years ago a larger package of some $212 million was proposed. Scottsdale voters soundly rejected it in November, 2013. A leader of that opposition, Kathy Littlefield, was subsequently elected to the Scottsdale City Council. It shows. Littlefield helped craft a proposal supported by a strong majority of council that focus on the basics and the needs, not the nice to haves. A well known former opponent, Bill Crawford, also supports the new package.

If passed the bonds, which would increase the average Scottsdale homeowner’s property taxes by a whopping ten cents per day, would be the first package passed since 2000!

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By David Brooks

When Dustin Yellin was 17 he dropped out of high school. The school was filled with jocks and cheerleaders and he clearly didn’t fit in. Plus he wasn’t intellectually engaged. He hitchhiked around New Zealand and returned to Colorado. He became an apprentice to an eccentric physicist who believed he could get free energy from space and who performed experiments on Yellin involving crystals, baths of saline solution and hallucinogenic drugs. When he was 18 Yellin hatched a plan. He would go to New York, become a successful artist and create a place where painters, scientists, writers, billionaires and other cool people could gather to try to change the world. Yellin turns 40 this week, and that’s more or less what he’s done.

Click here to read  article

 

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The following is a guest opinion piece by reader and commenter Gordon, who is graciously offering us a glimpse into the mind of a Donald Trump supporter. It was originally written on July 13. As with any opinion piece here on Race, the following does not necessarily represent the views of the editor or the other authors on the site; we present it in the interest of dialog and furthering the conversation.

Many of the reasons that try to explain why people are supporting Trump, throughout both the Race42016 community and elsewhere in the political world, cover my personal thoughts and emotions that have been growing steadily over the last decade. These thoughts and emotions reached the boiling point with the flare up over the confederate flag. I can’t stand how dysfunctional not only our government has become, but our society as a whole. I saw a post on Facebook that pretty much summed up how I feel: there’s a guy waking up in his bed and the blurb above him says, “Good Morning America…What am I supposed to be offended about today?”

I am the opposite of a low information voter. I have always tried to view presidential elections with serious thought and attention and have never been more than mildly attracted to vanity candidates. While Ted Cruz may exemplify my internal conservatism, I don’t think he has a prayer of selling that conservatism to the country in a general election. As I’ve stated here many times, I personally don’t think issues win elections, so I don’t have a problem supporting candidates that may not be as pure if I think they can become a truly great president. I’m pragmatic in both my expectations of candidates and my demands on their purity. I’ve never needed candidates to be perfect on the issues, and I don’t feel betrayed if someone needs to alter a view or de-emphasize any particular issue throughout the course of the campaign or their governance afterward. I understand reality will never reflect my ideology… it will never fully reflect any true ideology. Reality is a unique blend of all thoughts and beliefs and tilts both left and right… although the balance may be completely undone at this point until we hit rock bottom.

Click here to read the entire article.

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by David Brooks

Christianity is in decline in the United States. The share of Americans who describe themselves as Christians and attend church is dropping. Evangelical voters make up a smaller share of the electorate. Members of the millennial generation are detaching themselves from religious institutions in droves.

Christianity’s gravest setbacks are in the realm of values. American culture is shifting away from orthodox Christian positions on homosexuality, premarital sex, contraception, out­of­wedlock childbearing, divorce and a range of other social issues.

Read the full article

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Hockey fans rhetorically cross-checked the Glendale City Council during and after a hearing that ultimately resulted in the municipality’s termination of its $15 million per year subsidy for the Arizona Coyotes.

But were they directing their ire at the right people?

Let’s reset.

Having an NHL franchise in the Valley is a very good thing.  While the team has never made the Stanley Cup Finals or hosted an All-Star Game (it had the misfortune of so hosting that extravaganza during a strike year) professional hockey contributes to the area’s quality of life.  It helps economic development efforts.

But should it be in Arizona at any and all cost to the City of Glendale?  After spending $180 million on an arena it decided to fork over $15 million per year to keep the team there on a 4-3 vote in 2013.  Those who question Glendale’s commitment to hockey now should recall what it has generously done previously.

But has it been too generous?  There are good arguments on both sides.   8lqmtthh0w2wgumr6goswqmki

What’s not is that any city that forks over so much money each year – effectively becoming one’s largest sponsor – shouldn't be treated by the team as a best friend, not an irritant. After all Glendale is diverting money from police, fire and other needs to float wealthy owners and their players.

But that’s not the way team executives treated Glendale’s generosity.  They apparently hid financial information.  The new owner couldn’t find time to meet with city officials for months after acquisition.

Shouldn’t this have been the first order of business?  Does anyone think the Gila River Indian Community which pays the team a fraction of what Glendale does for arena naming rights is treated with such disdain?

Of course not.  Political arrogance or malpractice or both are what caused the team to lose Glendale.  And this observation doesn’t involve itself with the purported unethical behavior by Glendale’s former City Attorney now in the employ of the Coyotes.

It never should have come to this.  This was political communication 101.  If it was a class it was failed miserably by the team’s CEO whose job, presumably, involved interaction with the city.

If he is serious about remedying relations with Glendale, majority owner Anthony Barroway should start by firing Anthony LeBlanc. 

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Governor Doug Ducey is announcing today a reform to have more money from the sale of state land go into K-12 education.  Here is a link to the Republic's coverage.  At a time of a rising Arizona real estate market this appears, on the surface, to be government innovation at its best.

It is both good policy and good politics as it is a way for the conservative Republican to get more money to schools – his soft spot early in his tenure – and do so without raising taxes and the ire of his base.

But as with most reforms there are consequences, and in this case potentially negative ones to the state’s largest industry:  tourism.  That’s because some of the most attractive state land lies along the 101 Freeway, between Scottsdale Road and WestWorld.  And a big chunk of it is used for Waste Management Phoenix Open parking, as well as Barrett-Jackson which saw record crowds last year. 

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We have not been fans to date of an overly aggressive development plan for a Ritz-Carlton resort and community in Paradise Valley. But even we can admit that the story of last week should have been the signs (finally) that the developer is at least starting to get it by dropping the second “H” in its HGH plan for the Scottsdale Road and Indian Bend Road site.

However, thanks to conduct unbecoming by the Paradise Valley Town Council the story of last week is now its derelict decorum not a plan that is improving but still needs fine tuning.

Let’s refresh. town of PV

Most would agree that having a Ritz-Carlton in Paradise Valley would be a good thing.  Voters thought as much in 2008 when they approved of what was then an aggressive entitlement by a wide-margin.

Most would also agree that some of what has been proposed by Five Star Development in 2015 to advance a Ritz on the site is inappropriate.

But that doesn’t mean that the councilors of Arizona’s most enviable town should employ a  smugness, even rudeness,  to those wanting to invest some $250 million into the community.

The Town Council’s first formal review of plans of the latest Ritz plan’s last Thursday was an exercise not in polite rebuke but over the top commentary, save for the tethered toastmastering of Councilmembers Syms and Stanton.

The night was best exemplified by the atypical performance of Councilmember David Sherf, he of usual sobriety on key policy matters.  Instead, he seemed inebriated on a newfound affinity for soundbites, even referring to the Ritz plan as “ludicrous.” 

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By Arizona State Senator Katie Hobbs

Today is a day for us to celebrate equality and love. It has prevailed. The Supreme Court ruling handed down today strengthens families and communities all over the country. It provides certainty for couples in Arizona that their marriages will remain legally recognized.
I want to congratulate everyone that has worked for this day, it wouldn’t have happened without your determination. I have been encouraged by your perseverance and strength that when we organize, work together, and stand up for what is right we can make positive change.
We must remember though that the fight for full equality for all Arizonans does not end today. LGBT people can still be fired, evicted, or denied services simply for who they are or who they love. I am committed to changing that. Join me by signing our petition here to end these discriminatory practices.

Now celebrate!

Katie Hobbs
Senate Democratic Leader

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by Carly Fiorina

Fellow Conservative,
Fox News recently announced how they will select participants for the first presidential campaign debate.

I’ll skip straight to the point: I look forward to participating in the Fox News debate. I’ll make it clear that I’m ready to take on Hillary Clinton.
But I need your help to get on that debate stage. In order to secure an invitation, I need to grow my team of supporters. Will you make a donation of $13 today to help me get on that debate stage?

I’m running for President because we need a leader we can actually trust in the White House.
In the business world, we don’t have the luxury of hiding from our problems until they go away, like Hillary does on the campaign trail. We have to actually accomplish something.
When I was hired to be CEO of Hewlett-Packard—the first woman in history to run a business so large—I found myself face-to-face with the biggest tech recession in history, and a market that was dramatically changing.
At HP, I wasn’t afraid to shake up the status quo. My decisions didn’t always make me popular—but they would ultimately prove to be the right ones.

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By Robert Leger

A tale of two mayors and two cities:

SCOTTSDALE:

After Steve Ellman abandoned his efforts to build a professional ice hockey arena in Scottsdale and turned to Glendale, Scottsdale was left was a deteriorating mall at Scottsdale and McDowell Roads. Eventually, the city partnered with ASU to build SkySong, a research and innovation center.

Click here to see the entire editorial

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By Marco Rubio

Last week, our team told you about the New York Times attacking me for receiving four traffic tickets over the last 20 years. Now, today, the Times is out with a story suggesting that I'm not rich enough to be president!

According to the Times, "Rubio entered public life in a deep financial hole of his own making." Sounds pretty bad, doesn't it? But what exactly was this deep financial hole of my own making? My student loans! I didn't have the money for college, so I had to take out loans. And now the Times is attacking me for it.

As I have said many times, I am not poor, but I'm not rich either. It's true, I didn't make over $11 million last year giving speeches to special interests. And we don't have a family foundation that has raised $2 billion from Wall Street and foreign interests.

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By Lindsey Graham

Dear Friend,

Just moments ago I officially announced that I am running for the Republican nomination for President of the United States.

Will you stand with me today as a DAY ONE Founding Member of my campaign? Please follow this link to make an instant online contribution.

I did not make this decision lightly. After months of consideration and years of working to protect and secure our country, I knew I could still do more.

Our country very much needs a proven leader...

  • Who is ready to be Commander in Chief on Day One and has the conviction to defeat our enemies...
  • Who can inspire Americans to build on the best our country has to offer...
  • And who can cast a vision for a strong, secure and prosperous nation that Americans can rally around and give their full support.
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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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