The Conservative's Corner
The success of recent Scottsdale efforts to fund city improvements with new general obligation bonds isn’t great. Indeed, a merry band of opponents defeated all of the bond requests several years back and only two passed during the latest effort in 2015.
The campaigns in support of the requests were wayward, but something more fundamental was at play too. Opponents prosecuted what amounted to a transparency and trust argument. You can’t trust City Hall and the tricksters there that are trying to hide secret funding items the rhapsody goes.
The trust thrust was and is misguided. After all, to question the integrity of people like Jim Lane, Virginia Korte, David Smith et al is akin to questioning the very definition of conscientious service. And the public knows it as demonstrated by their regard for the job the City of Scottsdale is doing.
But when it comes to the transparency of the bond proposals opponents had a point. In lumping specific projects into broader categories such as Parks, Public Safety or Transportation the city didn’t do anything that other cities don’t. But most other cities don’t have as discerning or attentive electorate as Scottsdale. Bond opponents argued each spending request – a fire station in the north, a road project on Hayden, etc. – should be allowed an up or down vote. That’s not unlike how judges appear on ballots in Arizona. We don’t vote for judges en masse or as a block. We do so individually.Read more
Scottsdale is on a roll. While no community can expect a sunny headlines all the time, let’s just say these past few weeks have been very, very good to Scottsdale.
The Phoenix Business Journal put out an article that says Scottsdale is one of the best places in the United States for a startup business.
Reporter Haley Ringle wrote, “This is no surprise to the Phoenix Business Journal since our reporters often drive out to Scottsdale to talk to thriving businesses and startups.”
The other sunny shoe dropped in the Arizona Republic which reported Scottsdale is taking in record amounts of sales tax revenue thanks to sporting events and a tourist trade that keeps expanding. It was a very good year with local tax revenues hitting $258.9 million.Read more
*Governor Doug Ducey’s State of the State again reminded Arizonans what it’s like to have someone with a firm grip on the wheel. His predecessor always made the public feel like a passenger to a driver’s permit.
*It should be noted that McCain’s time in the U.S. Senate and Ducey’s time as Governor will both end in 2022. Who knows if Ducey would ever want to succeed him but he would undoubtedly be an impediment to those who prefer waiting McCain out to taking him on.
*When people now ask whether Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale or Gilbert has the best downtown it shows how far Phoenix and Gilbert have come.
*The success of a young Phoenix Coyotes team is an underreported local sports story and an underappreciated sports achievement.
*Many in the media are quietly asking and exploring how likely it may be that the Phoenix Suns relocate its arena to the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community.
*With the Scottsdale Tribune expiring years ago and the Scottsdale Republic cutting two more reporters it might be the case that the Scottsdale Independent is the closest thing the city now has to a newspaper of record.
*Craft brew houses are everywhere, thank goodness. Flashbacks: Coyote Springs at 20th & Camelback. Hop’s at Scottsdale Fashion Square.
*Former Scottsdale School District Superintendent David Peterson’s tirade and accusations as he departed might be the most pathetic and inaccurate report since Brian Williams was on the air.
*Wendy Rogers needs to go away.
*In today’s Wall Street Journal there was a short article on the Sussman house in Paradise Valley listed for $35 million, along side Hugh Heffner’s Playboy Mansion which will only cost you $200 million. And it’s required that Hugh stays. Unknown if the Playmates come with.
Not all content here needs to be political. Nor should it. Our job is to stir thought. And that's what this article does. A businessman who runs as local rock legend Roger Clyne sings, "Counterclockwise." It's a good read. And a different way of getting ahead in business.
From the New York Times: North Korea Is Newest Frontier for a Daredevil Investor
By Penn Bullock
He searched for oil in the badlands of Somalia and fueled a stock market boom in Mongolia. He sued the world’s smallest republic, far out in the Pacific, for a chunk of what it is worth. Now, he is betting on North Korea. James Passin, a hedge fund manager at Firebird Management, believes the nuclear armed country sits on as much as a billion barrels of crude — enough to make it as big a producer as Oklahoma. If the oil exists, he wants to help unlock it.Read more
by Loyd Eskildson
The Arizona Legislature took away SUSD’s near monopoly on students living within the district when it passed the 1994 law enabling charters. Since then SUSD has lost an ever increasing number of pupils and associated funding. The total number of pupils currently lost is estimated to be as high as 12,000. Using a conservative number of 10,000 pupils funded at $8,500/each suggests that SUSD personnel and pupils are currently losing $85 million/year. That number has steadily grown.
Why did this happen? Instead of making ‘Job One = Customer Satisfaction,’ the district instead focused on simply obtaining more money from residents and the State, rebuilding/renovating facilities, and maintaining an environment of ‘Happy Talk’ at Board meetings. The primary concern of parents withdrawing their children – lack of alternatives to what many saw as inadequate discipline and achievement goals, was largely ignored/dismissed. As for the disappearing students - that was either denied or ‘rationalized’ via highly implausible excuses. Meanwhile, neighboring public school districts raided SUSD, while competing charter schools, parochial schools, and private schools steadily added capacity and filled those seats with the children of dissatisfied SUSD parents. More of these seats will be available next year, and they’re already working to fill them.
SUSD’s losses could soon create a downward spiral. Given the rationale of most parents for removing their children from SUSD, it wont take long for SUSD pupil achievement to also start trending downward, creating more incentive for even more parents to withdraw their children.Read more
Ever since a 2002 statewide vote Arizona tribes have had a monopoly on gambling. You remember the promises: grant us this right and we’ll do good by it, help our people and keep gambling on our lands.
Then along came the Tohono O’Odham tribe from Tucson. Through clever lawyering, political chicanery and sleights of hand that would make any great blackjack dealer jealous, they claimed a right to put a new casino on acquired land near the Phoenix Coyotes’ hockey arena.
Opposition from state leadership over the years has been intense. After all, the tribes promised in 2002 to keep gambling in certain places. Until a tribe 200 miles south of Glendale decided to go rogue.
This Sunday the Tohono O’Odham tribe will try to claim some victory as they debut their new Desert Diamond “Casino” at 9341 West Northern . But if media reports about the new facility are to be believed, claims of victory are pyrrhic, to put it generously.
Consider that it can and should be called the most unrewarding casino in the world. Why? Because it can’t even serve alcohol until at least February according to AZCentral. Here is a link.
No booze at a casino? That’s like baseball without peanuts. Pizza without cheese. Or a bikini without boobs.
And if you’re expecting to play blackjack or slot machines, think again. Because casino backers have so alienated lawmakers all they can engage in is Class II gaming. What’s that? Glorified bingo.Read more
It’s up for debate that it is impossible to teach an old dog new tricks because of all the established companies who are mixing things up. Businesses across the nation are finding that they can indeed learn new tricks and even put their own spin on it.
Starbucks is constantly working to keep as up to date as possible with the latest trends, from having themed cups and matching drinks, to having wine in different locations. It seems that Starbucks has also found another new future for itself in art. Not the art that you can hang on the wall, but the art of who works for their company. The baristas are the heart and soul of their company and are whom the customers interact with everyday.
Take Angus Maxwell in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A barista at Starbucks who loves to brew artisanal cups of coffee for avid coffee lovers. He continues to brew coffee in different ways to keep up with the boutique roasters nearby.
It is baristas like Maxwell that contribute to Starbucks success, according to Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ chief executive officer. In a flat market year, Starbucks shares saw a 50 percent increase. Why? Innovative baristas like Maxwell keep the company fluid and help it adapt to new things.Read more
Canals have a rich history in Arizona. Used for transporting water along the desert landscape, canals have been bringing new life to the area for hundreds of years. Now, the Grand Canal has the opportunity to restore this feeling of new life throughout Phoenix and make the canal another reason to enjoy the state’s largest city.
A $10.3 million grant was given to the City of Phoenix from the Department of Transportation to refresh the Grand Canal. This refresh will be an upgrade to the surrounding neighborhoods as well as a potentially powerful tourist attraction for Phoenix.Read more
*How poorly was a political campaign run? One can usually tell by how long it takes to get campaign signs down post-election. One MONTH after four of the six Scottsdale bond proposals failed “YES” signs are still up. To those who ran the campaign show some respect to those you tried, and failed, to persuade.
*The number of photo radar cameras in Paradise Valley is getting out of control.
*It appears to be a 2-person race in Glendale for Mayor. Incumbent Jerry Weiers has raised about $90,000. Upstart Mark Burdick a respectable $26,000.
*State Representative Jeff Weninger is the prohibitive favorite to succeed current Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny
*As is the case with their emerging battle nationally, Arizona campaigns for Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are setting the pace in Arizona with an impressive number of endorsements
*Former Scottsdale City Councilman Bob Littlefield, most recently defeated in a Republican primary for the Arizona House of Representatives, has filed to run for Mayor against Jim Lane. Littlfield had considered running for the Arizona Corporation Commission and as an independent for another run at the Arizona House. Lane has already raised over $150,000 for his final and term limited bid for office.Read more
The good news is that after heavy revisions to a flawed Ritz-Carlton resort and residences plan introduced earlier this year it’s now in a positive place, and nearing approval. Anecdotal and polling information all demonstrates overwhelming support for the project. And there appears to be a solid majority of supporters on the Paradise Valley Town Council two weeks before a scheduled December 17th vote.
The bad news is that Vice Mayor Paul Dembow, who purportedly has higher political aspirations, is showing leadership qualities far short of such ambition.
When he first ran for the Paradise Valley Town Council Dembow ran on a platform vehemently opposed to approval of the Montelucia Resort at Tatum & Lincoln. He even ran newspaper ads with the universal “no” sign slashed over the hotel’s name. He lost. Two years later he won, running on a pro-resort platform.
Subsequently he rightfully voted for a plan to revitalize the old Mountain Shadows Resort property. The plan is dense, the densest one ever approved in Paradise Valley, and far more intense than that now being proposed for the Ritz.
Yet, despite the public support – including the support of the largest HOA closest to the site -- and substantial tax revenue the project would mean -- Dembow still appears to be uncommitted. Indeed, the Ritz revenue could offset and mean reductions in tax increases Dembow approved while on council.
Why this convolution?Read more
By Shikah Dalmia
Senior Analyst at the Reason Foundation
With Congress stuck among the contradictory demands of labor, business and talk-radio restrictionists, neither George W. Bush nor Barack Obama has been able to move the needle on immigration reform. Meanwhile, as the economy gathers steam, states face a tight labor market at all skill levels.
There might be a way forward, if Congress enacts legislation to give states standing waivers or permission to craft their own guest-worker programs. It sounds radical, but several states, red and blue, have already been trying to do this.
California, New Mexico and Kansas have passed resolutions or drafted legislation to issue guest-worker visas to undocumented aliens. Three pending bills in Texas would let state employers hire foreign workers from abroad on temporary work visas. Utah’s conservative legislature overwhelmingly approved legislation in 2011 to let undocumented workers obtain a two-year visa. But Utah’s program has been postponed, because immigration is a federal function and states would need federal waivers. President Obama has stonewalled Utah’s waiver request.
One way to release states from the partisan whims of administrations would be for Congress to erect a statutory architecture under which states could implement their own guest-worker programs. Canada has done this through its highly successful Provincial Nominee Program.Read more
An early morning jog on a neighborhood canal is one of the oldest and most common forms of exercise in Arizona. Imagine if that jog could span from Scottsdale to Tempe to Phoenix. Starting in early 2016, using the canals to get around the city will be a reality.
The Canal Multiuse Path Improvement project, predominately in Scottsdale, is reaching its final stage, a 2-mile portion between Chaparral Road and the Indian Bend Wash. Once this portion is finished, it will complete a 17-mile loop connecting communities around this great state. This means that those early morning jogs can turn into all day walks to explore the next city over.
The path improvement project began as a means to help travelers with wheels, such as mothers with strollers, use the canal with the new concrete path. A second function for this concrete path is to reduce the dust that is kicked up from those using the canal.
The new path will span 10-feet wide and will have an unpaved portion next to it that will allow runners and horseback riders to still use the canal. The concrete portion will only be on the west side, leaving the east side of the canal unchanged for recreational purposes. This means the best of both worlds for those who consider the canal system an exercise or recreational must.Read more
From the Rubio Campaign:
Today, at a speech to the Detroit Economic Club in Michigan, Marco Rubio will share his agenda for a New American Economy. Marco will specifically detail how his tax plan would help a small business owner and a single, working mom in Detroit.
Below are Marco's remarks, embargoed until 12:45pm ET, as prepared for delivery:
Thank you. It’s great to be at the Detroit Economic Club today. I can think of no better place to discuss the challenges and opportunities before our nation than Detroit.
No city understands the vision and toil it took to build the American Century better than Detroit. No city understands the heights attainable through the American Dream better than Detroit. And no city understands the pain of losing that Dream – and the importance of restoring it – better than Detroit.
And that is why this city, the heart of the old economy, is the perfect place to discuss how we can embrace A New American Economy – one even grander and richer in opportunity than ever before.
I want to begin by looking back to 1896, when in a small rented workshop on Mack Avenue, less than 10 miles from here, a man constructed what was referred to by some as a “pile of scrap iron.” Just seven years later, that man – Henry Ford – founded the Ford Motor Company, and his pile of scrap iron became the first affordable automobile, which would put the world on wheels and alter the nature of work and life forever.
What ended up making this story remarkable was not one outstanding genius or one transformative company. It was how the entire American economy took an invention and turned it into an engine for prosperity. The affordable automobile did not create a business; it created thousands of businesses. It brought new opportunities within reach of our people.
For most of history, entire generations would pass without seeing a new innovation as transformative as the automobile. But the pace of human progress changed during the industrial revolution and has accelerated ever since. Unbelievably, the Ford Motor Company was not even the clear winner for the most transformative development of the year 1903. Two brothers from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina also had a breakthrough that year that did nothing less than alter the course of history.Read more
FOX News’ Chris Wallace: “In terms of winners, Marco Rubio did very well.” (FOX, 8/6/15)
Charles Krauthammer: “That [clip] you showed of Rubio, I thought, was the best expression of his campaign, and was the best way to take on Hillary.” (FOX, 8/6/15)
MSNBC’s Chuck Todd: “You talk to Democrats and they are concerned about [Rubio] because Rubio presents that generation contrast.” (MSNBC, 8/6/15)
MSNBC’s Chuck Todd: Rubio is “a dangerous opponent for Hillary Clinton.” “Are we really going to go backwards in generations or do we go forward to GenX, which is Rubio. Which as Americans. we usually want to move forward. That's
what makes him a dangerous opponent for Hillary Clinton.” (MSNBC, 8/6/15)
American Conservative Union’s Matt Schlapp: I think Marco Rubio scared [Hillary Clinton].” Chris Matthews: “Put yourself into the body and mind of Hillary Clinton right now. Who scared her?” ACU’s Matt Schlapp: “Who scared her? … I think Marco Rubio scared her. I think that he, in so many ways, resembles the kind of opponent she fears.” (MSNBC, 8/6/15)
Fox News reports that Marco Rubio had the best individual performance. "The best individual performance was that of Marco Rubio, whose high-energy delivery, one-liners and policy riffs will undoubtedly win back some of the supporters who have drifted from his column of late." (Fox News First, 08/07/15)
The National Journal reports that Marco Rubio underscored why he would be a strong opponent to Hillary Clinton and that he was one of the winners that emerged from the debate. “Of the three candidates most likely to win the nomination—Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Scott Walker—the senator from Florida had the best night. He seemed to grow in confidence as the debate wore on, culminating in a rousing speech explaining his opposition to abortion rights. More than anything else, however, he underscored again and again why he would be a strong opponent against Clinton. ‘If I'm our nominee, how is Hillary Clinton going to lecture me about living paycheck to paycheck?" Rubio asked. "I was raised paycheck to paycheck. How is she going to lecture me about student loans? I owed over $100,000 just four years ago.’” (Winners: Trump, Kasich, Rubio, The National Journal, 08/05/15)
The Washington Examiner reports that Marco Rubio had some of the best lines of the night and that he won the debate. “Rubio's responses were well-reasoned and pointed, he also had some of the best lines of the night. His comment about Hillary Clinton not being able to lecture him about living paycheck-to-paycheck when that's how he was raised was poignant and allowed him to remind the audience of his compelling life story. His comments about immigration included simple facts about the nature of who is coming to this country and the reality of the current visa program.” (Marco Rubio won the main debate, but Carly Fiorina won both, The Washington Examiner, 08/06/13)
The Washington Free Beacon reports that Marco Rubio won the first debate. “Marco Rubio won the first GOP presidential debate on Thursday night. … He made the most of each question, demonstrating not only a grasp of detail but also an ability to deliver his views cogently and succinctly.” (Rubio Wins, The Washington Free Beacon, 08/06/15)
The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza: “The Florida Senator … was terrific on Thursday night.” (Winners and losers from the first Republican presidential debate, The Washington Post, 08/06/15)
By Dr. Matt Heinz
I’ve got some exciting news: I’ve just announced my candidacy for Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District.
Why have I decided to run for Congress? Simple. Because I believe I can make a difference.
When I look at what’s going on in Washington these days, I see a government in need of a cure. I see a whole lot of partisan gridlock, political maneuvering and pandering to special interests.
As a physician, I’d never turn my back on a sick patient. And as an American, I won’t turn away from the country I love just because it’s dealing with tough issues. In fact, I want to get to the heart of those problems and work to find solutions.
Throughout my career as a doctor, a state lawmaker and a national health care leader, I’ve worked collaboratively to deliver results for people in need. I’ve helped increase access to health care for low-income women with cancer, improve patient safety by making medical complaints public, and implement a coordinated federal response to the Ebola crisis.Read more
By AZ progressives
Last weekend the Arizona media lost their minds over Donald Trump coming to Phoenix. This weekend, Bernie Sanders is hosting a rally in Phoenix -- and despite the media hyperventilation over Trump...we're hearing the Sanders crowd is going to be MUCH BIGGER.
That's because we have a strong and proud community of progressives here in Arizona fighting for our values (even if the media never notices). So to show how PUMPED we are to flex our progressive muscles this weekend, will you sign your name to welcome Bernie Sanders to Arizona?
Friend, no matter who you support in our Democratic primary, you've gotta love that the strength and size of our progressive community will be on full display this weekend.Read more
By. Dr. Michael Ward
My wife, Dr. Kelli Ward, is the most extraordinary woman I’ve ever known. Even though I see her every day, she still finds new ways to surprise me.
When we met in medical school, I knew she was something special. It wasn’t just the caring and the empathy she showed for her patients and fellow doctors, though that was remarkable. It was the laser-focus she put into whatever she was doing, and the skill and determination she used to solve problems and achieve her goals.Read more
by Scottsdale City Council Member Suzanne Klapp
Yesterday in front of supporters, business owners and ASU officials, I announced my decision to pursue a third term on the Scottsdale City Council. We gathered outside of ATOMdesign, a business located in Skysong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, along McDowell Road to make the announcement.
Six years ago I brought a fresh business perspective to the Scottsdale City Council and prioritized economic growth, the continued development of SkySong, and the revitalization of McDowell Road. I am particularly excited about this City Council run and intend to focus our Council on better connecting Scottsdale citizens with their government.
It’s been my desire to not only run a business but to be involved in the community. It causes me to be motivated every day. There is more to do, more to make happen, and more we as government leaders can do to assist business owners and residents. We can help them through the red tape, through the regulation, and perhaps live their lives a little easier.Read more
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