The Conservative's Corner
A good man used to say “all politics is local.” Whether true or not there’s no doubt it’s cyclical.
Today, Arizona Public Service (APS) is feeling pretty good about itself. Attempting to foil innovation and more energy choice is its new way of doing business. After all, the company effectively owned, in the political sense that is, immediate past Arizona Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce.
And after its recent, robust election activity it thinks it owns at least two others. Whether that’s right or not remains to be seen.
APS’ largesse wasn’t about regard. It was about their bottom line. And they will squeeze whoever they have to, most especially their acquired allies, to beat stock expectations or qualify for bonuses.
No matter the issue – rates, solar, regulation, power lines – they will inevitably go too far. Power can’t help itself. Neither can arrogance or the demands of Wall Street.Read more
Scottsdale is a wonderful place and has rightfully been recognized by many for effective city government.
But several years back there was a movement to import personnel from Phoenix, led by long-time Phoenix Planning David Richert who later became Scottsdale City Manager.
Richert was and is a fine man, but some of his hires well, not so much.
Some of these experiments, led by Paul Katsenses, were never culture fits. Unlike Scottsdale’s history they always seemed to be more interested in the journey rather than the destination. Talking takes precedence over performance, except when fighting for one’s own bureaucratic existence.
That’s the thing about city employees. They rarely get fired. They get reassigned, keeping their big salaries and pensions.
Most cities farm such personnel out to a water services department, or other such innocuous do little harm part of the jurisdiction.
Unfortunately, Katsenes was spun off to WestWorld where he is essentially the General General Manager, a real head scratcher because the current General Manager Brian Dygert is well regarded, even commanding a letter several years back from the property’s biggest users, stating their regard.
Rather than somehow aid the promise of WestWorld Katsenses has become its laughingstock, routinely wasting users time when he is not wasting the Scottsdale taxpayer’s money.
Fortunately, the relatively new City Manager has a stiff spine and seems without constitution to suffer fools gladly.
Let’s hope so.
Taxpayers win more when there is greater accountability for government workers, and a greater chance they can be fired, not simply farmed out.Read more
Editorials are usually 500 words of trope and tripe about this and that. But to this all we have to say is what very good news it is to have Tom Horne back in the private sector. And out of government. Where he was a walking embarrassment and shameless scoundrel.
MY FIRST DAY AS A PRIVATE CITIZEN
I want to thank everyone for your friendship and support during my time as your Attorney General.
I am now practicing law, which I did for 30 years, with the firm of Slaton and Sannes, which is now Horne, Slaton and Sannes. I expect to be trying cases and arguing appeals, and experiencing the satisfaction of winning for my clients, as I did for the state of Arizona as its Attorney General. I am located at 6720 N Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, suite 285, my phone number is 480-483-2178, and I am at your disposal.
Again, thank you for your support and your friendship.
Tom HorneRead more
Pundits are always lauding vision. Where is it? Who has it? Why isn’t there more of it.
Scottsdale is fortunate. Leadership and vision have led to impressive achievements like the Indian Bend Wash, McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Scottsdale Center for the Arts and Civic Center and the Waterfront Canal, to name just a few points of pride.
In its own way the achievement of Shawn Yari and Tri-Yar Development is a spectacular vision realized. Whether one likes what has been achieved in Scottsdale’s “Entertainment District” south of Camelback and east of Scottsdale Road – and we do – it is a stunning statement.
Some 20 years ago who could imagine let alone bring to life what is there now?
Yari was a well liked nightclub owner of Empire at 24th Street and Camelback. Les Corieri’s Jetz & Stix bar and club was on the west side of Scottsdale Road, near where Culinary Dropout now sits.Read more
There exist three and a half noteworthy downtowns in the Valley. Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe, with the half going to Glendale. Mesa’s doesn’t count as it is a beautiful performing arts venue surrounded by Fallujah. Chandler is making a move thanks to San Tan Brewing Company but still has quite a ways to go.
That brings us to Tempe, which is clearly separating itself from the others. The amount of development velocity underway is remarkable, a perspective that should be appreciated but a bigger picture that can be lost among the almost daily announcement about new stuff.
John Graham’s SunBelth Holdings and Marina Heights.
An attractive redevelopment of the Monti’s restaurant site.
A compelling new development vision for the Hayden Flour Mill.
The whirling dervish that is Arizona State University.
Even the Chinese are purportedly looking to get in on the action on the other side of Rural Road along Town Lake.
Some of these projects importantly offer quality new hotels which the area lacks in near embarrassing fashion.Read more
According to insightful reporting at the Paradise Valley Independent , the denizens of density behind the proposed Ritz-Carlton hotel and townhouse development in Paradise Valley are back.
A couple of reasons.
First, after viciously, and unsuccessfully attacking Mayor Scott Lemarr, his term is coming to an end. As a son of Paradise Valley Lemarr has long been a skeptic of the Ritz plans, that are actually being curated by Five Star Development – a company unrelated to the Ritz. Lemarr’s departure alone aids those seeking to pioneer more liberal development allowances in town.
Second, those who laughed at recent Ritz-Carlton/Five Star Development attempts to turn that which voters approved in 2008 into something reminiscent of Tempe have left or are leaving office come January.Read more
Northeast Valley residents saw change after the recent elections.
The Town of Paradise Valley will see the most after movings, goings and retirements.
And Scottsdale will incur some too as those more cautious about the city’s growth trajectory were narrowly favored.
While others could certainly be noted, one victor in each municipality exemplifies the marketplace filling that which they constantly request in more candidates: talent and regard.
Take Councilman-elect Mark Stanton in the 85253. Frequent smile. Good humor. Looks you in the eyes. And has served in the private and public sector with distinction. First as an accomplished public relations executive, then as the as the Deputy Director for the Arizona Office of Tourism.
With more gray hair across the border is Scottsdale’s David Smith. He can be prickly, but whether one is in agreement with him there is little doubting his brain cells and financial acumen. People like him are needed to check government largesse and inefficiency.Read more
Friends of District 7,
I couldn’t be more thrilled and proud to have the Phoenix selected for the 2017 Men’s Final Four, a culmination of March Madness and the finale to the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament. Much like Super Bowl 49 and the 2016 College Football Championship Game, the Final Four will have significant components of its activities centered in downtown Phoenix. The event will have a large economic benefit for Phoenix and continues to showcase our wonderful City and that it has to offer to our guests and residents. We look forward to partnering with the ASU, the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, and other Valley communities to deliver a world class experience. The City thanks the NCAA for being selected and continues to be the proof why investing in our Downtown and our community pays dividends.
Once upon a time a five or six story office building was built at Scottsdale & Camelback Roads. Those who voted for it were swept out of office.
As sure as the sun rises the ebb and flow of “slow growth” and “pro business” candidates occurs in Scottsdale elections.
But that it happened so soon in Scottsdale on November 4th, a cycle or two early, is noteworthy.
After rapid growth in the early and mid 1990s Scottsdale citizens remarkably voted to tax themselves to preserve the McDowell Mountains, sparing them from development. And later that decade those critical of growth started to be elected with more frequency.
And then they went too far. Scottsdale became “Stopsdale.” An arena was lost. Studies were done. Those opposed to all growth were soon opposed by voters desirous of reasonable growth.
But then the “pro business” majorities on council go farther than the electorate is comfortable with. So many apartments. So much height. So much which can seem so foreign to residents. And the pendulum begins to swing the other way, all over again. So much of this seemed vital and laudable during the Great Recession, but now that the economy has returned so has the luxury of complaint about that now built.
There were certainly signs of what was to come this election. The General Plan was soundly defeated at the polls previously. So was a city bond package. The natives were growing restless. Even a much improved bond campaign for the Scottsdale School District, which had been previously defeated but that faced no organized opposition in 2014, won a couple of Tuesdays ago by a modest 55%-45% margin.
Always schizophrenic to some extent the Scottsdale City Council now stands at four that can be called “pro-business” (Jim Lane, Virginia Korte, Linda Milhaven, Suzanne Klapp) two that want to slow things down (Guy Phillips and the newly-elected Kathy Littlefield) and another newbie that will probably dip his toes in both camps (David Smith).Read more
Whether one likes him or not the gold standard for candidate concession speeches was Al Gore following his gut-wrenching, Flordia vote counting loss in 2000. It was the epitome of class and decency.
Contrast his approach with two on Tuesday night in Arizona, Wendy Rogers and Fred Duval.
This was her statement.
“I want to thank my friends, family, and volunteers for standing by me in this race, and I want to thank the citizens of the 9th District for all of their kind words over the past several months. I ran for Congress because of my concern over the direction America is heading in, and I hope that, for the good of our country, Congress will work to turn our nation around and put a stop to the Obama agenda.”
No mention of her opponent, Kyrsten Sinema. No congratulations to her.
There is a time for the fight. And there is a time for kudos. Great boxers typically gather in the middle of the ring and hug after prolonged battle. Gladiators of the NFL shake hands after a game. The player acknowledgements after the Stanley Cup has been won are laudable.
Candidates should be likewise. But many aren’t. Thankfully, voters tend to get such deficiencies before Election Night. They clearly understood so with the anemic Rogers, who will not be mistaken for Ms. Manners any time soon.
And that brings us to Fred Duval. Long known for being a gentleman, even criticized for being too much of one in his battle with Governor-elect Ducey, his concession speech was a clunker.Read more
An opinion that bears repeating after Arizona's election results Tuesday.The following was originally Published February 13
There’s an old observation in politics that just about anyone who gets elected to anything starts seeing themselves being President of the United States. After Goldwater, Udall, Babbitt and McCain that may not be true for Arizonans but you get the point.
But it is true the bigger dragons you slay the bigger the doors that open.
Once upon a time she was the favorite for the race of second in command. Then along came well-funded Wil Cardon and the most formidable Democrat in the state (sans Kyrsten Sinema) Terry Goddard.Read more
As nearly always New York Times’ Columnist David Brooks made one think Tuesday about the numbing and dumbing of American elections. Here is a link.
Poll driven campaigns are inherently reactive, almost like trench warfare, rarely breaking out from challenges lobbed into the bunker.
Very rare is the campaign anymore that pulls an upset based on ideas. It’s mostly whoever has the most money wins.
John McCain’s 2000 upstart presidential campaign is perhaps the best example of a campaign team being rewarded with a different approach.
They did not bottle up their candidate in a bubble with redundant talking points. They allowed people to see a human being with humor and candor. But more importantly they focused on an issue that didn’t appear as a concern in any polls: campaign finance reform.Read more
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
A nationwide search resulted in over eighty applicants for the Town of Paradise Valley's Police Chief. It is now narrowed down to five candidates after twelve interviews were conducted on March 13 and 16. The Town Manager, Kevin Burke, will decide on the top candidate to replace Interim Public Safety Director Larry Ratcliff who was appointed in September 2014 after former Chief John Bennett retired after serving for seven years.
Three of the top five candidates — Larry Wingert, Nancy Gardner and Blake McClelland — are currently employed by Arizona agencies and two — Rodney Covey and Brian Kozak — have prior Arizona connections, and are currently employed by agencies out of state.
The five candidates are:
Covey is currently Deputy Chief for the Port of Seattle, Washington. He was with the Arizona Department of Public Safety for 32 years and worked his way up through the ranks to Assistant Director over three different bureaus: Patrol, Operations and Agency Support. Prior to moving to the Port of Seattle, Covey created and served as the Executive Director for the Center for Leadership Excellence for the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (AZ POST). He also assisted with the creation of the Arizona Regional Community Policing Institute, serving as Chairman of the Board and later as Director. Covey has facilitated team building for over 50 governmental agencies in Arizona and the U.S.
Covey holds a master's degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona State University and a bachelor's degree in management from University of Phoenix.
Gardner has over 25 years of law enforcement experience and is currently the Police Chief (Town Marshal) of Camp Verde, Arizona. She previously served as a Division Commander and SWAT Commander in the Avondale, AZ Police Department and a Division Commander in the Gilbert, AZ Police Department. Among her many accomplishments, Gardner implemented a regional dispatching center to include Camp Verde, Clarkdale, Yavapai Apache Tribe, and Jerome to increase revenues and stimulate proficiency through strategically partnering with the other agencies. Since her time in Camp Verde, she has secured grant funding in excess of $300,000 for various programs and equipment for interoperability among law enforcement agencies.
Gardner earned a master's degree in education in counseling and human resources from Northern Arizona State University and a bachelor's degree in business management from the University of Phoenix.Read more
Just the other day, I filed with the Federal Election Commission the necessary paperwork to formally consider a run for President of the United States in 2016.
Let me tell you why I’ve taken this step, and how you can help.
For many years, I have traveled the country closely studying our politics. I believe we are on the verge of robbing our children of the American Dream.
We are racking up a virtually insurmountable debt, stifling our economic potential and placing our children’s future at risk.
At home and abroad, we are silencing honest debate about our challenges, our differences and our culture, all in the name of political correctness.
We are ceding more and more power to Washington bureaucrats at the expense of our personal liberty, ignoring the wisdom of our founders who risked their lives to form “a more perfect union.”
Too many of our children are trapped in failing schools and find themselves thrust into a deadly cycle of crime, dependence and despair.Read more
Democrat Russ Feingold was in the United States Senate for eighteen years before I defeated him in 2010.
A "creature of Washington," he compiled a voting record that had him joining the ranks of Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Barbara Boxer, and Hillary Clinton as the #1 liberal in the nation.
Feingold has now quit his job in the Obama State Department, which is widely viewed as the first step toward an all but certain campaign against me.
With majority control of the United States Senate at stake, and with every ultra-liberal Super PAC placing a target on my back, I need to build an army of conservative champions across the country ... especially you, Friend. Your financial leadership of $10, $35, $50, $100, $250, or another amount is of the utmost importance!
With majority control of the entire United States Senate at stake, I'm the Democrats' #1 target.
What difference does your early support make? Having defeated Feingold by less than 5 points in 2010, and all eyes on this race, your support will make all the difference in the world.
And speaking about all the difference in the world, our backgrounds couldn't be more different:
Voters have a sharp clear choice, and our campaign's job is to give voters the truth ... the facts ... a side-by-side comparison of our background and views. And I need your help to get that message out.
But it won't be easy. The Democrat Machine is ginned up and eager to give Feingold all their help in our rematch. He will have the Obamas, Clintons, Big Labor, Hollywood, and Liberal Super PACs bankrolling his attack ads with millions of special interest dollars. I need you to win and I need you now, Friend.
Raising "early money" is the key to our victory, and that is why we have set a goal of raising $30,000 in the next 7 days. Please make your online contribution of $10 or $100 or even $1,000 today. With your good help, I will have the resources to fight back against whatever the Democrats throw our way, win, and ensure that Republicans keep our Senate majority.
And I make you this promise: Not only will I keep voting with our conservative principles in mind, I will continue to lead the charge for sweeping conservative change. We've got a country to save. Are you with me?
By Sal DiCiccio
4551 new teachers for Phoenix… that is how many NEW teachers we could hire for the cost of just one new mile of rail.
Mayor Stanton and others are pushing a new $30 billion tax and spend proposal for transit costing $209 million per mile to build and operate.
Make no mistake about it, every penny taken from our citizens and wasted on these boondoggles and government waste is one less dollar our hardworking taxpayers can use for critical services we really need. Now is not the time and place for us to waste money on ideas meant to benefit city insiders who will benefit from this money.
As a city and as a state we need to do a better job of prioritizing limited dollars. We must do better and we must start to make choices based on things that matter.
Our families must be protected first and be the priority.
From my family to yours,
Phoenix City Council
District 6Read more
For those of you who are concerned about Scottsdale’s future and the direction it has been moving (or not moving) over the last few years, I offer you a way to keep in touch and up-to-date on what is going on in Scottsdale. For you Clint Eastwood fans, discover “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.”
Please take a moment to read the following letter, inviting you to join COGS, a group of other concerned citizens like yourself. You can also read about COGS and what it does on their website www.cogsaz.net. Remember: The future of Scottsdale depends on her citizens. This is a way to help you stay informed and let your voice be heard!
Councilwoman Kathy LittlefieldRead more
By Scottsdale City Councilman David Smith
This Tuesday evening, February 24, the Scottsdale City council will debate the first real tax reform in recent memory. A workshop has been scheduled to discuss the proposal I made last month to eliminate the sales tax imposed on retail sales of food for home consumption.
Scottsdale's food tax collections amount to $11 million a year, borne substantially by Scottsdale's 220,000 citizens. A family of four might pay as much as $200 per year. More troubling, the burden of this tax weighs most heavily on those least able to afford it.
The Scottsdale Independent ran an editorial I submitted arguing for the elimination of food taxes, available at: http://www.scottsdaleindependent.com/opinions/smith-scottsdale-city-council-debate-real-tax-reform-feb-24/
I hope you'll take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the issues and follow this important debate. If you have questions to ask or opinions to share, I encourage you to email me. firstname.lastname@example.org
David N. Smith
Scottsdale City CouncilRead more
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