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The Conservative's Corner
Featured Editorials
2018 Scrum

By Governor Doug Ducey

(Originally published by CNCB)

Things move quickly in Arizona.

In July 2016, when I wrote an op-ed for the 10th anniversary of CNBC's America's Top States for Business series, I talked about how our state is slashing red tape and embracing the new economy.

What a difference a year makes.

Since then, Google began offering Arizonans rides in their own self-driving Waymo vehicles. Airbnb hosts in our state earned more than $50 million throughout the year. And an array of first-class companies — from Vector Space Systems to Orbital ATK and many others — have expanded their presence here.

Three-hundred days of sunshine per year certainly helps, but it's not just the beautiful weather and panoramic mountain views that convince companies to relocate. It's a combination of Arizona's top-shelf quality of life and the pro-growth environment we've fostered over the past few years to make our state a great place to do business.

Just to name three:

A highly trained workforce: We know what it takes to train the future. The newest rankings from U.S. News & World Report found that Arizona is home to the top three public high schools in the country. We're making major investments in our universities, too, including a $1 billion financing package that will allow them to make critical research infrastructure improvements to stay ahead of the competition. 

We also announced an initiative last year to equip at least 60 percent of adults in our state with a certificate or degree by the year 2030 so Arizonans they have the tools they need to succeed in our quickly-changing economy. With Arizona State University being ranked the most innovative university in the U.S. for two years in a row now (beating out MIT and Stanford), you know we're on the right track and moving forward fast.

A 21st-century government: Some states have a regulatory system that reacts to innovation; in Arizona, we anticipate and embrace it so that new technologies have to catch up with legislation instead of the other way around. Whether that's an executive order paving the way for research into self-driving technology or a revamp of our revenue system to make home-sharing easier, we're always looking forward so that entrepreneurs can do what they do best without running into an unnecessary bureaucratic speed bump. It also means eliminating burdensome and outdated regulations already on the books, which is why we unveiled "Regulation Rollback" in January with the goal of soliciting input about which regulations to cut and then eliminating 500 by the end of this year.

Strong international relationships: "Trade is not a problem to solve. It's an issue to focus on and expand." That was my closing remark to an audience in Washington, D.C., at a discussion about the U.S.–Mexico relationship. Since taking office, I have made it a priority to strengthen Arizona's relationship with elected officials and business leaders in Mexico, and other countries, in order to bring more jobs, manufacturing, and exporting power to our region. 

The relationship put our state over the top when Lucid Motors was deciding where to locate its new $700 million electric vehicle manufacturing facility a few months ago, with Lucid Motors specifically citing our "strong regional supply chain" and "proximity to rail, major interstates, ports, training facilities, [and] utility providers."

Sonora Gov. Claudia Pavlovich and I are also working together with the hope of creating a new cruise-ship port at Puerto Peñasco. International economic activity, and the relationships that foster it, can be a huge boost for businesses looking to expand, and Arizona is helping to make that happen.
You don't need to take my word that our state is the place to be. People are seeing our low-tax, commonsense regulatory environment, and they're voting with their feet.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, our own Maricopa County is the single fastest-growing county in the United States, adding more than 222 people per day in 2016. This year, Phoenix officially reclaimed the title of the fifth-largest city in the country, too.

Companies are doing the same. We've seen a number of major job announcements over the past few months alone, including Constant Aviation in May and Benchmark Electronics, which is relocating its corporate headquarters to Arizona from Texas. In fact, hiring for finance and insurance jobs grew faster in Arizona than in any other state in the country over the 12 months leading to March 2017.

That's no accident.

Arizona has been nationally recognized for its economic competitiveness, including recently in two prominent trade publications. We were given the 2017 Gold Shovel Award in Area Development's list of top states for economic development in the five- to eight-million population category, and we were named the No. 1 most competitive state in the mountain region in Site Selection's 2017 Prosperity Cup.

In other words, when entrepreneurs get sick of being overtaxed and overregulated in places like California, they pack up a U-Haul (another great company based here) and move to Arizona

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By the Goldwater Institute

For seven years, leaders in Washington have promised to repeal Obamacare, but as we saw this week, Congress doesn't seem any closer to real health care reform. The good news is that there’s an opportunity for action in our 50 states.

Take the dental care crisis, for example. Did you know that 18 percent of lower-income Americans say that they or someone in their household has turned to an emergency room for dental pain treatment? And in Arizona alone, 2.4 million of the state's 7 million residents are living in areas with a serious shortage of dentists. That leads to higher costs and poorer health.
But we don't have to rely on Washington to solve this problem.
States can increase access to dental care and reduce costs by licensing dental therapists who carry out routine dental procedures. And it's a solution that has bipartisan support, as The Huffington Post reported this week:
While most media attention has been focused on the lack of consensus on health care in Washington, several conservative organizations and think tanks, like the Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute, have joined state-based coalitions now spanning the political spectrum that advocate for a free market approach to addressing the oral health crisis.


The dental establishment has actively resisted this reform and usually cites unfounded concerns over patient safety, even though the safety and quality track record for dental therapists is long and well-documented.
Limiting the supply of providers not only increases the cost of care services; it forces Americans to pay higher prices. To increase dental access and affordability, states can and should allow for dental therapists.
It's a solution that doesn't have to go through Congress. And it's one example of how states can help reform health care while Washington just keeps talking.

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By State Treasurer Jeff DeWit

PHOENIX – The Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund, also referred to the Schools’
Endowment, reached another new milestone under State Treasurer Jeff DeWit growing to $5.57
billion at the end of April 2017.

“The hard work and incredible staff at the State Treasurer’s Office continues to produce great
investment results,” Treasurer Jeff DeWit said. “After beating most university endowments in
2016, the winning streak continues for our schools’ Endowment.”

Last year, the fund’s return beat many of the large public investment funds in the United States
including CalPERS, CalSTERS, Dartmouth, MIT, Stanford and Harvard.

“Managing the investments internally, right here in the Arizona Treasurer’s Office, has been a
huge win for our schools as it allows them to earn more and keep more of their money,” DeWit
said. “These record earnings are on top of the fact the Endowment has paid out nearly $225
million to schools this fiscal year, more than any year in Arizona’s history with two months to

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by Andy Biggs


The false claim that Trump conspired with Russia to engineer the 2016 election has reached the height of absurdity. The media and Democrats are trying to bamboozle the country by conflating several isolated incidents. I just wrote in the Washington-Examiner that  they have no evidence but have created a story that combines the allegations about the Russians and the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

They have made three false claims against Trump and I have refuted them in my op-ed. You can read it here.

Thank you for your continued support,

Andy Biggs

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By Senator Jeff Flake

Enough is enough. The “9th Circus” madness must end. Arizonans deserve justice from the mountain west, not California. That’s why I’ve sponsored a bill to move Arizona into a new circuit.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is too large to be effective and has been for too long. 20% of our nation’s population lives in the 9th and it houses 40% of our nation’s landmass. They take 15 months to make a decision because they are so backed up in their work.

There’s no reason to protect an overworked and overburdened Court. 
I’ve introduced a bill with John McCain that will split the 9th and create a new, 12th Circuit Court of Appeals because Arizonans and other Western states don’t have the bedrock principle of swift justice found in the rest of our nation.

Justice delayed is justice denied. Join me in fighting for a solution for Arizona.

We need courts that are fair and effective for everyone, not political institutions. Let’s make it happen.

Thank you,

Jeff Flake

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By Sal DiCiccio
6th District, Phoenix City Council

Do you know what modern government corruption looks like? In order to see it, you’ll first need to let go of many of the stereotypes you hold true.

For example, many believe the government helps the poor. The truth, however, is a ruse as old as civilization: Government takes on a worthy cause, like building a school or affordable housing. After the project goes out to bid, the governmental entity selects itself as the developer.

Government staff then hires their family and friends to service the contract. And when all is said and done, the project costs twice as much, is half as good, and creates permanent city staff that now must find a new project to work on to protect their jobs.
Under this model, modern day government takes a noble cause, like helping the poor, and turns it into a corrupt type of “good graft” benefiting the insiders who profit off the good will of the public.

Let me give you a real-life example. In Phoenix, local politicians approved an affordable housing apartment project for the poor on land the city already owned. The housing, which should have cost $150,000 per unit, ended up costing around $281,000 per unit for a simple apartment unit. As a comparison, the median cost of a single-family home in the Phoenix is $195,000.

Around the same time, in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Phoenix, a luxury apartment complex built and owned by the private sector was sold at a price considered the highest ever in the City of Phoenix. It had every high-end finish and amenity. This luxurious apartment complex sold for $277,000 a unit ‒ about the same as the "affordable housing" apartment complex the taxpayers were forced to pay for in the example above.

So what went wrong? The “good graft.”

To start, the City of Phoenix gave itself the ability to self-select. This meant that even though there were multiple bids on the project from the private sector at about half the cost, Phoenix was able to select itself as the developer.

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By the Goldwater Institute

How the Bureaucrats Stole Christmas
November 25, 2017

Every year, Lee Sepanek’s Christmas display brings joy to Phoenicians, who visit to enjoy the glistening decorations and sip the hot chocolate he serves them.

But not this year. Thanks to Phoenix bureaucrats, Lee has been forced to cancel the show.

The trouble started this summer, when the city warned him he was in violation of its Mobile Food Vending Ordinance, even though he isn’t operating any kind of “mobile” facility. He doesn’t even charge for the cocoa — he just asks for donations. But the city says its rules are broad enough to prohibit even giving away cocoa — made from hot water and powdered mix — from your driveway.

Officials told Lee he “would need to find a licensed commissary kitchen as a ‘base’ to store, clean and prep any open food,” and that he would have to get a “special event/seasonal permit,” requiring fees and “inspections onsite.” They also complained that Lee was selling Christmas ornaments, arguing that violates Phoenix’s rules against having a “home occupation.”

After local news exposed Lee’s story, the city indicated it might budge, but it’s too late. Even if city officials changed their minds, Lee couldn’t get the lights up in time for Christmas. The Goldwater Institute has stepped in to represent Lee and help get his legendary lights get turned back on.

We’re also working on an even larger problem. Across Arizona, local governments are trying to shut down home-based businesses, violating private property rights and harming economic opportunity. The Goldwater Institute is joining with the Free Enterprise Club to urge state lawmakers to broaden protections for home-based businesses.

In Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” Ebenezer Scrooge questions the Ghost of Christmas Present about laws that forced Londoners to close their stores on holidays — which, Scrooge says, essentially deprived them of income. Why, Scrooge asks, should the Ghost “cramp these people’s opportunities of innocent enjoyment?”

Shocked, the Ghost says he did no such thing — that was done by people who act “in our name” but who don’t really get the Christmas spirit. It’s sad to think Phoenix officials have a poorer understanding of the holidays than Scrooge.

Liberty in the News

  • Watch your inbox on Giving Tuesday, November 28! It’s the day when millions of Americans give back in a variety of ways—with their time, their talents, and their money—in a truly heartening nationwide display of voluntarism. The Goldwater Institute’s president and CEO Victor Riches will have a special message about how you can double the impact of your giving to the Goldwater Institute.
  • Putting four children through college would be a challenge for most families. But there’s a new policy working its way through Washington that just might help. The Goldwater Institute’s Jonathan Butcher explains how Congress is considering expansion of 529 college savings plans to allow parents to save for a child’s K-12 education, as well as college expenses.
  • More than five million Americans are now living with Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is expected to skyrocket. But there's something Congress can do right now to help, and it won’t cost a dime. Read about how Right to Try can give patients a path to seek promising treatment.
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Rumor has it two complaining City of Phoenix employees, possibly in the City Attorney’s Office, are to blame for ending one of Arizona’s most spectacular Christmas displays.

(Here is a link a recent story on AZ Central. )

They purportedly moved into the Arcadia neighborhood that’s hosted the lights put up by  Lee Sepanek for some 30 years, and didn’t like the enthusiasm the public has for those who believe that Christmas time is a celebration of all that is good and right with the world.  They apparently don’t realize that for many families this as close as they ever get to the North Pole.

The result? The sad, front-page article in the November 16th Arizona Republic.

This is government at its worst, and its most hypocritical, led by the muted Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.  Never known as a leader Stanton’s silence on the issue is notable, even more so because he used to represent the homeowners while a mere mortal on the Phoenix City Council.

Just up the street Stanton doesn’t seem to mind the owners of the Wright House which routinely hold major events not with marsh mellows and cocoa but caviar and booze.  And they don’t do so just around the holidays, The Wright House entertains so all year long.

Why the double standard?

To listen to the Sepaneks is like listening to a child let down by Santa Claus.

Let’s hope a reindeer soon shows up to light a better way for a neighborhood and city that should be celebrating Saint Nick, not grinching out to a bunch of not so saintly dicks.


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By Scottsdale City Councilman David Smith

Today I am announcing my candidacy for a second term to represent you on the Scottsdale City Council.  I am proud of Scottsdale and passionate about participating in our city's future.

When voters elected me in 2014, many only knew me from the years I served as Scottsdale's City Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer.  I offered voters proven financial experience, a record of fiscal integrity and a vision that apparently resonated with many of my fellow citizens.  I promised, if elected, I would be their voice to...

  • Ensure the fiscal sustainability of our city, spending your tax dollars wisely and for your benefit,
  • Protect and enhance the financial investment you have in our city by protecting and enhancing our quality of life,
  • Preserve our heritage, building on the special place called Scottsdale, and
  • Pursue visions for the future as bold as the visions of the past to distinguish us from other cities.

Now I have a record of providing keen financial and business analysis to the issues that come before Council.  I've searched for the facts and diligently listened to citizen voices on all sides of the issues.

Consider whether my leadership has represented your interests:

  • Ensuring our city's fiscal sustainability is still my most important initiative.  As a city, we have "kicked the can down the road" on major liabilities for too many years.  Capital reinvestment in our infrastructure continues to be less than depreciation, as it has every year since 2008.  As a member of the Council's newly formed Subcommittee on Capital Investments, I am working to develop long-term, sustainable solutions to recommend to the full Council
  • Protecting and enhancing your financial investment and quality of life has influenced positions I've taken regarding tourism, economic growth and development.  I have championed tourism, arguing for every initiative that promotes this vital industry, as well as arguing against initiatives that threaten to undermine it.  As a 35-year resident in different parts of the city, I look for development projects that protect and benefit our community at large.
  • Preserving our heritage and building on the special place we call home has guided my views on development, but also influenced my positions on tax reform.  I have argued for eliminating our sales tax on groceries.  To be known as a special place, with a heritage of caring for our neighbors, we should not be imposing the most unfair tax any city can levy on its citizens.
  • Pursuing visions for the future as bold as the visions of the past is an important responsibility of any Council.  I picked up where previous Councils left off and voted to authorize the study of an educational, interpretative and research center (referred to at the time as a Desert Discovery Center.)  We needed to define what this vision could add to the unique character of our city and what it would cost to build and operate.

The study was completed this summer and now Council is tasked with deciding whether this is a vision we want or can afford.  Large groups of citizens are speaking excitedly (for and against) this project, based on its purpose, location, cost to build and cost to operate.

Some of my colleagues propose to immediately refer the question to a public vote.  As your elected representative, I accept responsibility to search for solutions that are financially prudent, improve the cachet of our city and support tourism.  That's a tall order, but I believe that's what you expect from your Councilmembers.

My first-term votes on Council were often in the minority, but many of you have encouraged me to continue making my voice (our voices!) heard on the issues affecting our community.  I commit to provide strong financial leadership and oversight, always mindful that I am spending your money.

If my positions on City Council have aligned with your vision for Scottsdale, I hope you will support my candidacy for another term.  To mount a successful campaign, I will need...

  • 1,000 petition signatures to qualify for the ballot.  The sooner we qualify, the sooner we can focus our attention on issues.
  • Supporters willing to declare their position by displaying campaign support signs in their front yards or windows.  (In 2014, I pledged not to clutter public rights-of-way with campaign signage and I make that pledge again!) 
  • Leaders willing to host neighborhood gatherings that give me an opportunity to discuss city issues with a broader audience.
  • And, financial support.  An early report of strong fund-raising from a broad array of supporters will send a powerful message to the community.

Electing members of City Council is an opportunity for every citizen to select the voices that best represent their vision of our great city.  Next fall, you will have the opportunity to vote for three Councilmembers; I would be honored to again receive one of your three votes.

David N. Smith

Scottsdale City Council

2018 Candidate for Re-election

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In years past “ambulance chasers” was a derogatory description that could find its way to certain lawyers or law firms.  Here in the Phoenix area the term was often associated with the Goldberg & Osborns of the legal profession.  But we appear to have a new gold medalist:  The Frutkin Law Firm.

In the great new age of social media there’s no need for the Frutkins of the world to actually go chase the wounded in ambulances and pass out cards at the hospital.  Instead, they can just monitor headlines and prey on the gullible, as it appears they are doing with those interested in violating private property rights and “saving” the former Chinese Cultural Center near Sky Harbor Airport.

Look at this GoFundMe campaign they are promoting.  Basically, it’s a beg for up to $300,000 in legal fees for  quixotic, long-shot claims that were bounced out of court earlier this month.  What’s even sadder than the legal effort is the amount of money raised to date, just over $4,1000.

But perhaps that’s a good thing so it prevents other legal voyeurs from doing likewise.  And with behavior like this it makes all the more clear why such a law firm sought to change its name earlier this year from the last name of the principals to something called Radix.  That’s a technique tobacco companies and pay day lenders have used. How appropriate as we get closer to Halloween.  A law firm and its losing ways that is all trick and no treat for the Chinese community, or for the state’s clear property rights laws.

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Once upon a time people named Pettycrew, Carla, Korte, Decabooter, Rau, Drinkwater, Manross, Campana and others sat around a Scottsdale table.  They had the audacity to not only dream of a McDowell Sonoran Preserve, but to make it happen.

Today, it stands as the community’s greatest accomplishment.

Paradise Valley is blessed to have similar landscapes.  They, like Scottsdale’s, define its very essence.  And as in Scottsdale the threat of too much development up high is causing certain Paradise Valley leaders to look more seriously at preserving more.

That’s why we applaud the action of Paradise Valley Town Councilwoman Julie Pace, cited for her leadership on the issue, among others, in this recent Paradise Valley Independent article.

But as noble as we think these steps we don’t think they go far enough. Reinvigoration of the Mummy Mountain Preserve Trust is a fine thing but it is an entity that relies on private donations to increase the community’s open space.  Past is prologue and this, ultimately, would be more pissing in the wind.


What’s called for is a town survey of all properties that might be included in preserve efforts.  There may be dozens and they may be pricey.  But the total costs for maximum preservation should be understood.  From there it can be determined how much of a sales tax increase is necessary, and for how long, to pay to acquire such lots.


No one should be scared of such a discussion because ultimately the question of if and how to fund such an endeavor would be left to voters, as occurred in Scottsdale.  And Telluride.  And Phoenix.  And countless other communities around the state and country that said open space and views were worth the price.


It’s well past time for Arizona’s toniest town to engage this debate.  After all, it does welcome all visitors to the community with impressive monument signage showcasing mountaintops, not roof tops.


Kudos to one of the new kids on the PV block for getting this important conversation underway.  Now it’s time to quicken the pace.

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by Desert EDGE Advocates

The Honorable Paul Messinger
The Seven Wonders of this Great Community
The accomplishments that separate Scottsdale from other Valley cities:
1. Modifying the Indian Bend Wash into a very successful flood control project and great open space and parks project
2. Scottsdale putting its electric utilities underground and requiring fire sprinkler systems in all buildings built shortly after its beginning
3. Our master planning of our community parks, open space and elimination of all billboards
4. WestWorld, with its major world-class and diverse events
5. Scottsdale’s performing arts center, contemporary art museum and Civic Center Mall
6. Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West – a world destination from the start
7. And our biggest City project, the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and “desert discovery center” (now known as The Desert EDGE). . .coming soon!
Every project took years to do, as well as great amounts of our community treasure and effort. The McDowell Sonoran Preserve was already voted on by Scottsdale’s citizenry in the early 1990s – just lacking the construction of its desert discovery center – The Desert EDGE.

Ninety percent of the citizens who voted for the Preserve nearly 25 years ago – and who have been paying for it ever since – cannot access it. Only our City’s youth and those who are physically strong – those who hike, ride mountain bikes or who are able to ride the trails on horseback, are able to actually use the Preserve.

The Desert EDGE will serve the majority of Scottsdale’s population socially and educationally, as well as to tell our visitors about our type of desert. Many local families, as well, know very little about this country, which we call “home.”

Paul & Cora Messinger

Lois Drinkwater Thompson

Move Forward with The Desert EDGE
I would ask the mayor and city council proceed with the Desert EDGE project and not refer it for a public vote. My brother, Herb Drinkwater, would never have spent $500,000 on a vote when the project had already been approved. A small group of loud naysayers have tried to derail this project.

They have attacked any supporters including me when I tried to correct their facts. And, they don’t give the facts. They still have posted old information from a project from eight years ago. If these angry people want a vote, they can get public signatures for a referendum. That is how our system works.

Not trying to loudly force the Council into putting it on the ballot for them. The council needs to realize that we are a “silent majority” and want this benefit for the city of Scottsdale.

I know the Desert EDGE can be approved by the council and I would urge them to do so. It would be an incredible world class amenity for the city and would bring global attention to Scottsdale’s long-standing reputation for leadership in environmental sensitivity, sustainability and preservation. Desert EDGE is critical to the success of education in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. And, I say that as a former teacher and coach for over 34 years in the public school district.

Our immediate family has over 100 years of public education in Scottsdale and this would be a value to our school kids and teachers. A public vote is not required and a huge waste of my tax dollars.

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We don’t typically commend things Littlefield.  After all it’s been some 330 days sense Classless Bob Littlefield has failed to call and congratulate Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane on the latter’s landslide win last November.  Humility following political humiliation might have even been cathartic.

But the sins of the husband should not flow to Bob’s wife Kathy, a Scottsdale City Councilmember.

This past week she launched an effective broadside against the Desert Discovery Center, properly pushing it even further to the edge.  According to Littlefield’s guest column that ran in the Scottsdale Independent (here is a link) she even spent her own money to commission a public opinion survey on the project.  The results were in line with other private polling that’s been done.  Bottom line:  The Desert Discovery Center is a dead project walking.  Interestingly, Littlefield didn’t query whether citizens feel there should be a public vote on the project, a notion that is shared by some 90% of the electorate.

Proponents of the Desert Discovery Center when not ignoring public sentiment resort to their best James Madison suggesting that the rulers of the Scottsdale’s republic know best, and a public vote such a nuisance as to be unnecessary.

But isn’t a public vote how the spectacular McDowell Sonoran Preserve came to be in the first place?  Wasn’t its substantial margin of victory critical to solidifying the many difficult steps that were needed to make the vision a reality?  Indeed.  And a public vote should and must be utilized now as project proponents want to divert tens of millions of dollars from preserve maintenance and land acquisition to the Duplicative Desert (Botanical) Center.  

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*According to The Phoenix Business Journal U.S. Senator John McCain is working on a plan with Valley leaders to extend the Salt River’s “Rio Salado” experience and environment from Tempe to the West Valley.  If true and if successful it sure would be a lasting legacy to Arizona, and the man.

*Uncertainty reigns in the lead-up to Scottsdale City Council elections.  While incumbent Linda Milhaven looks like a sure thing to run again, undecided and close to the vest mark the current decision making status of incumbents Kathy Littlefield and David Smith as well as potential challengers Jason Alexander and Bill Crawford.

*Lancing a boil.  One of Paradise Valley’s most vexing development parcels, the “Town Triangle” located just off Scottsdale Road got the green light this week from the Planning Commission, a testament to creative planning by renowned local developers Geoffrey Edmunds and Rod Cullum.

*That Daniel Valenzuela, a humble firefighter, has evolved into the frontrunner in the Phoenix Mayor’s race is remarkable.

*It’s one thing to support Scottsdale’s Desert Discovery Center but it’s quite another to oppose a public vote on it, something about 90% of the electorate relays to pollsters they want.

*Marco Rubio is back in town on Monday, supporting a number of candidates including Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich.  A long shot who became a big shot after his upset win(s) in 2014 Brnovich has governed with notable sobriety, competence and judgment.  And it’s nice to see Rubio stepping up to help someone who helped him in 2016 as his presidential campaign chairman in Arizona.


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Phoenix Rising is the name of the Valley’s dynamic new soccer team with major league ambitions.  But there’s another rising of note, taking place in Glendale.

Just a few short years ago the city was lying prone, left for dead, on the verge of declaring bankruptcy.  Fast forward to just the past few months.

IKEA is coming.  So is Top Golf and Drive Shack.  Then there’s the city’s biggest master-planned community since Arrowhead Ranch about to become a reality nearby.  Approved in June by Mayor Jerry Weiers and a majority of the city council Stonehaven by Pulte Homes and the John F. Long Company promises more bodies for the businesses.

Finally, there was a noteworthy Glendale Star story last month describing how AEG, Gila River Arena’s new operator, has nearly tripled revenues since taking over the from Arizona Coyotes and the dreary days of the LeBlanc regime.

These indeed are better times for the city that sets the pace in the West Valley.  The Camelback Ranch spring training complex remains and albatross but these days Glendale is moving once again to that best possible future former Mayor Elaine Scruggs used to wax so eloquent about.

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*After the Troon North HOA’s shellacking of a Motel 6 looking, timeshare-like development at its entrance along comes a nursing home proposal for the old Sassi restaurant site near Pinnacle Peak.  Good luck with that.  Apparently the initial community meeting was a blood bath.

*Keep an eye on Scottsdale Planning Commissioner Christian Serena as a potential city council candidate in 2018, or more likely 2020

*The Scottsdale Firefighter’s Association dinner has become an “it” political event.  Sunday night proved no exception as honored guests included Mountainside Fitness CEO Tom Hatten, Arizona Coyotes’ legend (and Scottsdale resident) Shane Doan and Linda Pauling, the mother that sparked Make-A-Wish.  But the best sightof all? A row of 5 seats at the Scottsdale Charros table.  Scottsdale Area Chamber CEO Mark Hiegel sat in the middle separating Councilwoman Linda Milhaven and former Scottsdale Councilman Dennis Robbins from Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield and former Councilman Bob Littlefield who lost huge to Mayor Jim Lane in 2016.  Must have been awkward, but not quite as much as the congregation of NODDC crusader Jason Alexander, Councilwoman Virginia Korte and Barrett-Jackson CEO Craig Jackson at a recent Scottsdale Tourism Development Commission meeting.

*If you haven’t yet read today’s Arizona Republic editorial supporting a public vote on the Desert Discovery Center On Razor’s Edge check it out.

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In advance of the Iraq War and facing profound domestic opposition, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair shied away from no one, including his fiercest critic in the media.  He stood his ground and defended his position.  Whether one agreed with it at the time it showed confidence, command and leadership.

We feel the same way about Scottsdale City Councilwoman Linda Milhaven.  While we may disagree with her on support for the Desert Discovery Center, she is Tony Blair on a local level.

Milhaven is pro-business, pro-arts, pro-downtown and pro-preservation.  Responsive to all, she seems to relish engagement on the toughest issues.  In many ways she is the constitution of what makes Scottsdale great, and where the majority of citizens are, as reflected in the 2016 mayoral election.  And Milhaven has a resume to match.  Banker.  Former head of the Scottsdale Cultural Council.  Public service.

A recent Scottsdale Republic article revealed her as the only certain incumbent or potential challenger to run.  That’s great news for Scottsdale.  Our jury is still out when it comes to the others (Councilman David Smith, Counwilwoman Kathy Littlefield and NO DDC chieftain Jason Alexander). It’s not if Mayor Jim Lane ally Bill Crawford decides to run in 2018, or 2020.

But for now it’s not too early to celebrate, and endorse a class, impressive act named Linda Milhaven.

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During the 2006 election season many city officials throughout Arizona, including Phoenix, campaigned against Proposition 207.  They warned many things why the “Private Property Rights Protection Act” should be defeated.  Chief among them were that providing too much individual protection for homeowners and commercial property owners would hamstring municipal redevelopment and historic preservation efforts.  Voters rejected such arguments and Proposition 207 passed with a sizable 65% of the vote.

This is an important history lesson as some want to suspend the law and dictate what the new owner of the twenty-year old Chinese Cultural Center near 44th and Van Buren can do with their property.

But not all.

As a mob rained down on Phoenix City Hall and demanded Mayor Greg Stanton and his fellow politicians lay fetal rather than display fidelity to state law, the city’s Planning Director Alan Stephenson took a more courageous tact, no matter how uncomfortable and inconvenient.

Having laid out in his staff report why Phoenix could not and should not circumvent clear private property rights embedded in Proposition 207, Stephenson’s knees did not get weak even when confronted by a full house of angry Chinese Americans.  He didn’t win an award for being the most popular that day but his sobriety on the subject was necessary to avoid groupthink.

Stephenson understood that it would be a nice thing to keep a Chinese Cultural Center even if the Chinese owner and developer of the property abandoned it, and sold it, in 2016.  But he also understood that someone needed to be the big boy in the room as politicians kowtowed.

After all, Phoenix has never designated a site for historic preservation against the property owner’s wishes, not even for the David Wright House in Arcadia.  It’s never designated a site as such that’s only twenty years old either.  And when it comes to Proposition 207’s clear mandate on such things you can work to change it, but you can’t ignore it until then.

This leads us to a few other principles and principals.

When Rawhide left, and left a hole in Scottsdale’s western heritage after a duration similar to the Chinese Cultural Center, residents understood it to be unfortunate but not worthy of upending the rule of law to harm the property owner.

When Monti’s La Casa Vieja in Tempe said that’s a wrap the 100-year old home of Carl Hayden was left untouched, but not even the 50-year old stuff that surrounded it.

When dissidents started this quixotic quest they asked for the garden along 44th Street to be “saved,” which it is now being, along with the preservation of a number of other items both on and off-site, even though the new property owner doesn’t have to.  Now that’s not enough.

When people say that other elements besides the garden are irreplaceable are they sure some, if not all of them can’t be procured today on

When the Phoenix City Council votes to “study” the matter, a precursor to a Proposition 207 violation, and then accepts private funds from a special interest that is driving the outcome of the study how is that showing integrity the new owner purportedly lacks?

When opposition is being led by a person whose last claim to fame was having her office raided by the FBI for purported development fraud we ask ourselves if the real motivation here is not preservation of a Cultural Center but to use politics to bully an acquisition in order to collect more fees as was controversially done for the Phoenix Mart project in Casa Grande?

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I want you to be one of the first to know about the new commitment I am making to Scottsdale – because I believe you should hear it directly from me.

For nearly 30 years, I have dedicated myself to helping maintain our wonderful quality of life. I have always worked to put Scottsdale first.

Now I believe it’s time for me to make the ultimate commitment to helping shape the vision and provide the leadership for our city.

I am planning to pursue the office of mayor.

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By Joe Arpaio

I filed the paperwork to run for United States Senate in Arizona to fill the seat that Jeff Flake is leaving behind.

I have thought long and hard about this decision. And I did not make it without many discussions with my wonderful wife of over sixty years, Ava. And Ava agrees with me. We cannot sit idly by while our nation faces unprecedented challenges. President Trump needs my help in the Senate. He needs a conservative vote he can count on, and a voice in the Senate who knows first hand the threats our nation is dealing with.

And, that's why I'm running for United States Senate.

As the Sheriff of America's fourth-most populous county for two decades, I witnessed every day the danger our streets and neighborhoods are facing. As Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, my deputies and I locked up violent drug dealers, callous human traffickers, and thousands of criminal gang members that were in this country illegally.

Friend, with many of President Obama's failed and dangerous policies still in place, our nation is not safe - at least not yet. President Trump is working around the clock to make America great again, but he can't do this alone - he needs our conservative voice and my vote in Washington.

Compared to when I was growing up in Springfield, Massachusetts as the proud son of Italian immigrants, our country today is barely recognizable. You know exactly what I'm talking about...

  • Sanctuary cities like San Francisco are literally refusing to hold illegal immigrants accountable for their actions, just to further their politically correct, pro-Amnesty agenda.
  • The once bedrock American commitment to paying our bills has been replaced by over $20 Trillion in national debt.
  • The liberal Left attacks the rights of law abiding gun owners -- but doesn't even bat an eye while so-called "doctors" slaughter millions of unborn children in their mother's womb every single year.
  • Millionaire athletes are lionized by the fake news media as "heroes" for disrespecting the American flag and refusing to stand for our national anthem.

Enough is enough. I'm running for Senate because I want America to be great again.

I know this isn't going to be easy. I know I'll be attacked by the far left, the establishment right and of course, the liberal media. The media is going to say every nasty thing they can think of and try to break me. But, Friend, I have never been one to shy away from a fight - and I can't in good conscience sit back in retirement knowing that my grandchildren will inherit a country worse off than the America I've spent my entire life defending.

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By Jim O'Connor

Recently, several friends suggested I clean up the Arizona Corporation Commission. They experienced significant ACC approved increases in power and water rates and they are looking for change.

Although retired, I have robust corporate experience worthy of the office.

I am running as a Clean Elections candidate so that I can fairly execute the responsibilities of the job, free from special interest influence.

But there are two requirements before I can fight for you.

First, I must collect 8,000 nomination petition signatures from Independent and Republican voters statewide. Please sign the online petition.

Second, I must collect 1,800 five dollar ($5) qualifying contributions from registered Arizona voters of any party. These will be paid to the Arizona Clean Elections Fund.

To help me, click the two links below, fill out the form and look for the name, James "Jim" O'Connor.


And thank you for your support.


— Jim O'Connor


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By Sal DiCiccio

Dear Friend,

I’m writing today on behalf of Phil Lovas, who is running for the 8th Congressional District seat.

I’ve known Phil for years and truly believe he’s the best choice to send to Congress. I also believe he has the best chance to win the special primary election on Feb. 27. Phil is a smart, dedicated, family man who believes the best government is a small government. He is committed to draining the swamp in Washington and protecting America. Phil supports term limits, ending pensions for members of Congress and making Congress live by the same laws they pass for us. He is a secure border advocate who also believes in a strong defense.

Phil previously served as a member of the Arizona House of Representatives. While there, he repeatedly voted to cut taxes and reduce the big hand of government. I’ve seen him in action defend small businesses from burdensome regulations while in the legislature and I have no doubt he will fight against big government as a member of Congress. 

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PHOENIX (November 7, 2017) — A statewide Arizona survey of 500 likely Arizona 2018 General Election voters shows that just under a year out from Election Day, Democrat Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-9) has extended her lead over GOP candidate Dr. Kelli Ward to a 7-point margin, 34-27. The survey, which was conducted immediately after U.S. Senator Jeff Flake announced he would not seek re-election, indicates both candidates have lots of work to do in both defining themselves and their opponent over the coming months.

In an August poll of 400 likely voters, HighGround tested a hypothetical match-up between the same two candidates with a much closer margin of 30.5% for Ward vs. 31.8% for Sinema. Despite Ward receiving an endorsement from former White House advisor Steve Bannon in the time since the August poll was conducted and Senator Flake withdrawing, Ward has not seen a bump and in fact, has lost ground.  In both surveys, the plurality of voters had not made their mind up in favor of either candidate.

“Even with Senator Flake announcing his retirement and the whirlwind of media attention around Steve Bannon’s endorsement and visit, Kelli Ward has not seen any improvement in her support,” said Chuck Coughlin, President & CEO of HighGround Public Affairs, which conducted the poll. “The numbers continue to show that Ward is a flawed General Election candidate, and her nomination would likely result in a loss of the seat for Republicans.  With the apparent ceiling of support for Ward, there is clearly room for a different Republican candidate to emerge as a credible challenger with a path to victory, such as Congresswoman Martha McSally or Great Hearts founder Jay Heiler.”

The latest survey data also showed that Congresswoman Sinema is still not known by 37% of the electorate in Arizona, whereas Ward is not known by more than 40% of the electorate despite challenging Senator John McCain in 2016.

Coughlin continued, “While many have proclaimed Congresswoman Sinema to be a strong candidate, Arizonans are still unsure of her after a haphazard announcement of her Senate candidacy, with no subsequent statewide tour or messaging to support her campaign. We have yet to see the popularity she enjoys within the left leaning Congressional District 9 translate to rural areas such as Yuma and Yavapai counties – home to some of the larger cities outside Maricopa County, where she needs to be competitive.”

General Election turnout in off-Presidential Cycle races in Arizona shows that Republicans historically have a twelve-point turnout advantage, which steepens the climb for any Democratic contender. Today, not a single Democrat holds statewide office in Arizona.

“Quite frankly, Senator Flake stepping out completely opens up the race for a primary challenger to Ward and a more credible Republican to face off against Sinema in November.  Ward no longer has a candidate to beat up on, and Sinema can no longer count on a facing a damaged and resource-depleted Republican in November. There is a great deal of uncertainty in the electorate and I think this data shows that we are in for a wild ride,” concluded Coughlin.

The audience tested in the statewide live caller survey was set to reflect the 2018 General Election in Arizona.  The General Election sample of 500 high efficacy general election voters has a margin of error of ±4.36%.

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by Scottsdale City Councilwoman Virginia Korte

Great communities like Scottsdale often share qualities that make them special -- including a strong economy, a vibrant downtown, an excelling community college and public school system, engaged citizens and civic and political leaders committed to keeping the city moving in the right direction.

However, one of the few shortcomings of living in the “West’s Most Western Town” is that some folks like to shoot first and ask questions later.  These characters like jumping to conclusions without taking the time to learn the facts.  Many of those who oppose the Desert Discovery Center, now known as Desert EDGE, are dismissing years of decisions made by multiple City Councils and an overwhelming majority of voters.  They are discounting decades of research that shows the project to be a desirable community amenity because of its contribution to our citizens as well as boosting our tourism industry.  And they are choosing to ignore the fact that since 1995 the optimum location for the project has been envisioned to be at the Gateway Trailhead on the edge of the Preserve.

The DDC/Desert EDGE has been part of the community conversation for more than 30 years.  Many preserve advocates, City Councils and dedicated citizens have supported the concept through its many iterations and designs.  It is the culmination of thousands of hours of public outreach, research, creative thought and exhaustive discussion regarding the purpose and vision of the proposed desert center.

Desert EDGE is focused on education.

The project will be a place that people visit to learn more about our desert and better understand how to sustain themselves in an arid environment.  This expanded knowledge is expected to lead to greater respect and preservation of our unique land. Additionally, ASU has committed to placing their Global Dryland’s Institute headquarters at the Desert EDGE as an important portal for global research, providing an opportunity for visitors to interact with scientists to enrich their educational experience.

I am a long-time supporter of the Desert Discovery Center/Desert EDGE because I believe it will be an incredible amenity to our city and our McDowell Sonoran Preserve. I am also a long-time advocate of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. I served as chair of the McDowell Mountain Task Force, served two terms on the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Commission and was active in all five “Save Our McDowells” political action committees to educate voters about the value of the Mountain Preserve to our community.  I was also the first executive director of the Center for Native and Urban Wildlife at Scottsdale Community College and I am a steward for the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy.

There is funding available to build the Desert EDGE without raising taxes. Citizens have already voted to use the Preserve sales tax to acquire land and make improvements in the Preserve.  There are additional funds available through tourism bed tax dollars.

I will not support an amendment to the charter or a resolution.  I will, however, support the right of citizens to collect enough signatures to place the issue on an election ballot.

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