The Conservative's Corner

Today the public made it extremely clear: they no longer trust the failed dysfunctional leadership of the City of Phoenix.

Phoenix leaders demanded a whopping $1.5 BILLION water tax increase, one of the largest in city history.  This was voted down on a 5 to 3 vote, with Councilwomen Guevara, Mendoza, and Stark voting for the tax increase but Mayor Williams indicated she plans to bring it back for reconsideration later.

Just weeks ago this same dysfunctional leadership team trashed your cash:

  • Tried to force a $50 Million per year tax on medicine, crying we will lose police if we don’t pass this new tax. Luckily, it did not pass.
  • Wasted $10 million to study garbage.
  • Gave an insider developer $700,000 worth of public property for a mere $50,000 in an insider-deal.
  • Lied to the south Phoenix community about the effect of light rail on their neighborhoods and businesses.
  • Poured millions into membership dues for government staff.

The fact is, Phoenix is experiencing more revenue than it ever has before in its history as a city and still city officials cry that we can’t pay for critical functions of government.  Every time they run out of money to waste, the politicians claim hardship and demand more money.

When everything is labelled a crisis, nothing is a crisis. In fact, the only crisis I see here is a lack of public trust in dysfunctional city leadership.

By Sal DiCiccio

My heart goes out to Laura Pastor and the Pastor family on the passing of her father, Congressman Ed Pastor.

Congressman Pastor served the people of Arizona with dignity and honor throughout his life. Though we disagreed on many things, partisanship stops well short of this point. Congressman Pastor’s accomplishments will carry forward far beyond his lifetime. I only hope the certain knowledge of that legacy and the impact he had on so many people throughout this state and across the country can provide some small comfort to his family in their time of grief.

 

By Sal DiCiccio
City of Phoenix
Councilman, District 6

6 words to sum up yesterday’s election: Establishment and status quo lose big

Republicans made big gains in the Senate, ensuring a lock on judicial appointments and Democrats made gains in the House, ensuring a slowdown of the Republican economic and social agenda. Republicans maintain control of the states in the legislatures and governorships across the country. Democrats have not even begun to regain the 1100 seats they lost during the last administration.

It is clear that the screaming in restaurants, the constant marches, and a billion dollars in political spending has produced very little for Democrats. With massive turn-out and a polarized public, we should have seen a historic drubbing of the Republican Party, that did not happen.Read More

By Syms for Arizona

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

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

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

Learn more about Maria’s Record on Education

Read More

By Goldwater Institute

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

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

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

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

Read More

Today the public made it extremely clear: they no longer trust the failed dysfunctional leadership of the City of Phoenix.

Phoenix leaders demanded a whopping $1.5 BILLION water tax increase, one of the largest in city history.  This was voted down on a 5 to 3 vote, with Councilwomen Guevara, Mendoza, and Stark voting for the tax increase but Mayor Williams indicated she plans to bring it back for reconsideration later.

Just weeks ago this same dysfunctional leadership team trashed your cash:

  • Tried to force a $50 Million per year tax on medicine, crying we will lose police if we don’t pass this new tax. Luckily, it did not pass.
  • Wasted $10 million to study garbage.
  • Gave an insider developer $700,000 worth of public property for a mere $50,000 in an insider-deal.
  • Lied to the south Phoenix community about the effect of light rail on their neighborhoods and businesses.
  • Poured millions into membership dues for government staff.

The fact is, Phoenix is experiencing more revenue than it ever has before in its history as a city and still city officials cry that we can’t pay for critical functions of government.  Every time they run out of money to waste, the politicians claim hardship and demand more money.

When everything is labelled a crisis, nothing is a crisis. In fact, the only crisis I see here is a lack of public trust in dysfunctional city leadership.

By Sal DiCiccio

My heart goes out to Laura Pastor and the Pastor family on the passing of her father, Congressman Ed Pastor.

Congressman Pastor served the people of Arizona with dignity and honor throughout his life. Though we disagreed on many things, partisanship stops well short of this point. Congressman Pastor’s accomplishments will carry forward far beyond his lifetime. I only hope the certain knowledge of that legacy and the impact he had on so many people throughout this state and across the country can provide some small comfort to his family in their time of grief.

 

By Sal DiCiccio
City of Phoenix
Councilman, District 6

6 words to sum up yesterday’s election: Establishment and status quo lose big

Republicans made big gains in the Senate, ensuring a lock on judicial appointments and Democrats made gains in the House, ensuring a slowdown of the Republican economic and social agenda. Republicans maintain control of the states in the legislatures and governorships across the country. Democrats have not even begun to regain the 1100 seats they lost during the last administration.

It is clear that the screaming in restaurants, the constant marches, and a billion dollars in political spending has produced very little for Democrats. With massive turn-out and a polarized public, we should have seen a historic drubbing of the Republican Party, that did not happen.Read More

By Syms for Arizona

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

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

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

Learn more about Maria’s Record on Education

Read More

By Goldwater Institute

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

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

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

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

Read More

MORE CONSERVATIVE’S CORNER
Featured Editorials

By Scottsdale Watchman

You may have heard of a landmark development for the southern edge of downtown Scottsdale called Museum Square. It would replace the old Loloma Transit Station, currently an abandoned concrete jungle with tumbleweeds rolling through it.

Museum Square would include a new hotel, a well-designed residential component and a large new community square for public events. It’s a win-win-win for the city, its residents and downtown businesses, including The Museum of the West and Stagebrush Theater. We’ve written about it extensively here and here.

Reaction to Museum Square has been resoundingly positive. People from across the political spectrum and from all parts of town are excited and ready for it. Nonetheless, the one criticism that has been lobbed at it is the following: “This development will increase traffic at a time when downtown Scottsdale isn’t prepared to handle thousands more drivers.”

We can’t argue with the fact that driving in downtown Scottsdale is sometimes headache-inducing. But, isn’t it better that way than crickets?

Read More

The Lastest Newsletter from The Scottsdale Coalitions of Today and Tomorrow

A solid lineup for Scottsdale

In the coming days we’ll start hearing the phrase “pitchers and catchers reporting,” the alert that tells us spring training baseball is about to begin.

It’s a phrase reminiscent of “drivers, start your engines,” which opens the Indy 500 race every year and unleashes the energy and excitement that follows that event.

Spring training baseball also starts one of Scottsdale’s major economic engines. But it’s more than that. It’s part of the city’s DNA, much the same way the Indy 500 is part of the culture of Indianapolis.

In Scottsdale, the month of March is magical as visitors and residents alike flock to Old Town, opening their wallets as well as their eyes to what the city’s core has to offer year-round.

This March will be important for another reason as the City Council decides what to do about upgrading Scottsdale Stadium. It’s in need of renovations to accommodate the San Francisco Giants, who call it home during the spring. It also will be a chance to expand the capabilities of the stadium for multi-purpose uses other times of the year.

As part of the renovations, the city will need to extend the contract between the three partners that make March baseball happen: the city, the Giants and the Scottsdale Charros.

All three have a stake in the outcome and all three will need to invest in making it happen. While the formulas and funding details are worked out over the next few weeks, residents and city leaders should not take for granted the role the Charros play and the impact they deliver for the city.

The Charros, a non-profit group of business and civic volunteers, have hosted Spring Training Baseball at Scottsdale Stadium since 1961, working with five major-league teams since then. During their partnership with the Giants alone, the Charros have been able to return $16 million to hundreds of local charities, with an emphasis on public education.

The three-way partnership clearly delivers huge benefits for the city. Some have called it the most effective public-private partnerships in sports. It is one worth preserving.

The reality is the stadium needs the upgrades to the tune of $60 million or so. Much of that will come from the city’s tourism bed tax but the Giants and Charros are expected to contribute, too.

This is one of the rare issues the city faces that has a wide range of support, from residents to leaders alike. It’s a chance for the city to sustain and grow an important asset for the next generation. We’ve seen few issues over the past year or two that can unite the city. This is one that everyone can support.

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By Scottsdale Watchman

The 1980 United States presidential election can be summed up in one word: drubbing. Republican California Governor Ronald Reagan trounced the incumbent, Jimmy Carter as Reagan garnered 489 electoral college votes, while President Carter only received 49 such votes.

Another reason why the 1980 election is memorable is because it spawned one of the greatest political one-liners in history. At that year’s only presidential debate, the topic of Medicare came up. President Carter attacked Reagan’s record on Medicare, claiming that as California’s governor, Reagan had opposed support for it.

“The Gipper” cracked a smile, sighed and began his response to President Carter’s accusation with the iconic phrase, “There you go again…”The phrase was so popular that Reagan reprised it in a 1984 debate with opponent Walter Mondale.

Several months ago, we wrote about how a for-profit Valley swimming organization, Neptune, that caters to wealthy clientele was attempting to take lane time away from Scottsdale Aquatic Club, a local non-profit. You can refresh yourself with the story by clicking here.

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By the Happy Wanderer

Watching the news, you might not believe that we’re still nearly two years away from the 2020 election. Every day though, the pool of Democratic candidates seeking their party’s nomination for President of the United States gets deeper. Senators Corey Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Kirsten Gillibrand are just a few of those who have announced that they will challenge President Donald Trump. The list of accomplishments by each of these candidates is long and distinguished. The Democrats aren’t clowning around.

This list of Democrats is similar in prominence to the list of Republicans who stepped forward seeking their party’s nomination back in 2015. Let’s quickly review some of the distinguishing characteristics of those Republicans. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush added 1.3 million jobs to Florida during his eight-year tenure as the state’s chief executive. Senator Marco Rubio was named to the Time 100, the magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people at the age of 41. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was considered a pioneer amongst national public officials in the battle against the opioid epidemic. Senator Ted Cruz is a brilliant orator and one of the most intellectual politicians in the United States. And Trump, the candidate who rose above them all despite all his faults, experienced massive success as a real estate developer. The 2015 Republicans weren’t a group of jesters.

What did Paradise Valley resident and Scottsdale architectural commentator Scott Jarson think of the Republicans back in 2015? Jarson has come under further scrutiny for his dishonest and surreptitious opposition to Museum Square, a critical project for the southern edge of downtown Scottsdale.

This Facebook post of an early-20th century photo of clowns sums it up:

We’ll forgive Jarson for his foolish grammar slipup. Be that as it may, we won’t forgive him for his absurd post. This guy really thinks a Harvard Law Review editor, a neurosurgeon, a former U.S. Attorney and former CEO of Hewlett-Packard are “clowns”? That’s just down right inane.

Then again, expressing preposterous views isn’t uncharted territory for Jarson. As we’ve written before, he’s the same guy who is trying to halt the landmark Museum Square development in Downtown Scottsdale. He’s the same joker who is taking a clownish stance and standing alone against the tide of support from notable Scottsdale businesses such as The Larsen Art Gallery, The Legacy Gallery as well as numerous Scottsdale elected officials and organizations who all know that Museum Square will have a tremendous, positive impact for the city.

Read More

By Scottsdale Watchman

Imagine going for a jog on a beautiful Arizona spring day. Ten minutes in, you’re forced to stop. You start panting heavily as you double over. A sense of déjà vu grips you and you get a strange taste in your mouth. A feeling of anxiousness rises in your stomach as if you’re riding a roller coaster. Within ten seconds, it’s all over. As you straighten up and recover, you’re left dumbfounded as to what the hell just happened. 

What I just described is temporal lobe epilepsy in a nutshell. It’s something that I’ve been dealing with for the last several years. A seizure can occur at any time. It’s frightening to deal with and I’m left on edge about when the next one will hit.

In recent years, I had been prescribed several different courses of medication to control this condition. Their names still make my head spin. Carbamazepine. Gabapentin. Primidone. I learned so much about what they did and their side effects, I felt like I could have gotten a part-time job as a pharmacist at the Walgreen’s down the street from where I live. One day they’d work, the next day they wouldn’t. I didn’t know what else to do.

I met with a neurologist in Phoenix who reviewed my history and recommended that I obtain my medical marijuana card. I was apprehensive for many reasons, but primarily because I didn’t see how marijuana could ever serve a purpose. You see, I’m part of the D.A.R.E generation. I was taught that marijuana is a gateway drug that never serves a purpose. I followed my doctor’s advice, however, and obtained my card. I needed to try something new. I needed to weaken the grip that my illness had on me.

Using medical marijuana worked immediately. It helped me sleep better. With increased sleep, I reduced my seizures. Medical marijuana benefitted me and my loved ones.

There is now a proposal to build the first ever dispensary in Downtown Scottsdale near the Galleria. It would replace a tattoo parlor. It’s close to where I spend a lot of time. I have no doubt that it’ll be a first-class operation that will positively contribute to the city and to the lives of those who visit it, just as other dispensaries in Scottsdale have responsibly operated.

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By Scottsdale Pinetop

The State of the Union Address is a famous tradition dating back to the first president that is both superfluous and surreal. Last night, President Donald Trump sought to strike a bipartisan tone of unity just weeks after the longest shutdown in US history.

However, there is another special tradition that represents the very best of America. Every year, both the White House and lawmakers invite guests to attend the State of the Union. This year’s guests come from all different walks of life. And Senator Martha McSally did not shy away from the opportunity to showcase one of Arizona’s brightest stars.

Isaiah Acosta is 19-year old who was born without a jaw which has cost him the ability to speak, eat and sing. But his affliction has not stopped his passion to become a rapper. At age 17, his first rap went viral generating millions of views. Since then, his inspirational lyrics have drawn international attention and he has become the world’s first mute rapper. Scottsdale readers may remember his performance at this year’s Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships too.

Read More

We have written before the notion outré of long-time lobbyist John Karolzak potentially running for Mayor of Scottsdale in 2020.  The only thing stranger would be Tyrion Lannister trying to play center for the Phoenix Suns.  You can see our previous writings.  Click here to read. And here

 Since we haven’t written of Karolzak in a while but with the need and profligacy of his deficiencies so extensive we thought it time for a refresher.

 So let’s take you back to October 16, 2010.  On that date the Scottsdale Republic, then under the commanding scope of Mike Ryan and Robert Leger, penned a provocative editorial entitled, “Can Corporations Handpick City Officials?”

 Several years prior, long-time fire and emergency services provider Rural/Metro had lost Scottsdale’s 911 contract to upstart PMT.  Out in the cold and with but one Scottsdale Councilperson at their beck and call, former Councilman Ron McCullagh, Rural/Metro concocted a plan in part crafted by Karolzak to earmark unprecedented sums of Rural/Metro’s corporate money to elect three candidates that if elected would join with McCullagh to give them a majority to get the contract back.  Those candidates?  Linda Milhaven, Dennis Robbins and Wayne Ecton. 

The Scottsdale Republic described it as a “scheme brazen enough to take your breath away.” 

They were right.  While Milhaven and Robbins went on to win, Ecton did not.  With the press so bad and political ethics in mind Milhaven and Robbins didn’t lift a finger to aid the unexpected and untoward benefactor.  Rural/Metro never got the contract back and the episode became infamously known as a don’t for the body politic. 

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By Scottsdale Watchman

You may have noticed that 2018 was one of the most contentious years in Scottsdale’s history. Residents bickered with one another over whether development should take place in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. They argued about bicycles and scooters in Old Town. Residents even quarreled over which restaurant was Scottsdale’s most elegant for a first date (Dominick’s Steakhouse has our vote).

Despite the back and forth, residents from all parts of the city came together to support a proposed development for Downtown Scottsdale called Museum Square. It would take the now defunct Loloma Transit Center and convert it to something useful: a high-end, mixed-use master plan development between the Museum of the West, Stagebrush Theatre and Scottsdale Artist’s School.

Last year, no less than the following expressed support for the plan:

Scottsdale’s Museum of The West; Stagebrush Theatre; VIRTU; The Larsen Art Gallery; The Legacy Gallery; Scottsdale Gallery Association; The Scott Resort & Spa; Scottsdale Firefighter’s Association; Jason Alexander; Mayor Lane; Councilmember Korte; Councilmember Klapp; Councilmember Milhaven; Councilmember Littlefield; Councilmember Phillips and now former Councilmember David Smith.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Museum Square Makes Sense. What we didn’t really delve into before was that Museum Square will also make Scottsdale quite a bit of dollars too.

Let’s recap the sense part first. Museum Square will bring people together. One of its key components is a large new community square built specifically for public events. Such a gathering spot is something that Old Town sorely needs, especially after losing a key area along the Scottsdale Waterfront when Alliance Residential developed an empty site next to the Nordstrom parking garage.

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By State Representative Shawnna Bolick

The following guest editorial appeared in the Arizona Republic:

Kids who have been bullied deserve school choice. I know. My daughter was one of them

This newspaper and columnist Laurie Roberts have criticized me for introducing a school choice bill. Their complaints miss the mark.

In the 1990s, I worked in a New York City public high school and had the chance to get to know the inner workings of the country’s largest urban public school system. This experience helped pave the way for my passion to reform education these past 20 years.

It should not be a surprise to anyone that I would be interested in the safety of our kids in our public schools after bearing witness to metal detectors and school resource officers in New York City.

In this instance, safety in our public schools hits closer to home. I am a mother of two teenage public school students. My youngest was not yet a teenager when she was victimized on campus.

Click here to continue reading

My commitment to protect the civil rights of our citizens has never been stronger.

I am shifting my efforts to protect the rights of the LGBTQ community from the local level to the state level after our City Council failed to pass a non-discrimination ordinance for Scottsdale two years ago.

Last year, however, the mayor and five of my fellow councilmembers joined me in voting to support a resolution and send a letter to the State Legislature to encourage addressing statewide non-discrimination protections for members of the LGBTQ community. Only one member of the council opposed it.

I am grateful that this legislative session State Senator Kate Brophy McGee introduced SB 1249 as the prime sponsor, with Senators Bowie, Carter, Navarette and Hernandez as a co-sponsors for a bill to strengthen state law that safeguards against discrimination of the LGBTQ community in the areas of housing, public accommodations and the workplace.

The proposed update to the law is not just the right moral and ethical thing to do for Arizona it sends a message that will particularly benefit Scottsdale – especially our marketing campaigns that target tourists who are so essential to our economy. It will also help attract top employers whose corporate priorities include strong non-discrimination and inclusivity policies. The same civil rights principles apply to building a strong workforce of the best and brightest employees.

I believe the non-discrimination legislation deserves your support. I urge you to contact your state legislators and ask them to do the right thing for the state and our city and support SB 1249.

Sincerely,

Virginia L. Korte

With another Waste Management Phoenix Open just completed it’s a reminder how impactful and bucket list the tournament’s 16th Hole has become in world sport.  Think of the “Green Monster” in left field at Fenway Park in Boston.  Or Monument Park at Yankee Stadium.  Or sitting in the stands at Churchill Downs on Derby Day.  Or tailgating before a Florida-George college football game, known as the “World’s Largest Cocktail Party.”  You get the idea.

Scottsdale has something big and remarkable.  And with golf already a primary reason for tourists the world over visiting the city, it’s time to build upon and monetize this remarkable experience.  

You see, people don’t just want to be on 16 during a few days during a raucous golf tournament.  They want to play it when the Roman Coliseum like stadium surrounds it.  Playing it otherwise is like visiting Michelangelo’s David in Florence with clothes on.  

Over the years there have been discussions about making the stands for some 22,000 people permanent.  Now is the time to try and make it a reality.

How could this be done and in what way?  

First, there is an obvious, large cost to the temporary installation of such substantial infrastructure for but one week per year.  Rather than see the host organization, The Thunderbirds, sink this cost each year pledge the annual amount to its permanency.  

A potential model already exists in Scottsdale as the non-profit Charros have spent and are prepared to spend more as part of Scottsdale Stadium renovations.  In many ways their Charros Lodge in right field during San Francisco Giants’ spring training games is much like the 16th hole, created an unrivaled atmosphere in the Cactus League.  

Scottsdale also has a robust tourism tax, with more monies available now that one of the worst ideas in recent memory, the so-called Desert Discovery Center, is no more.  

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By The Happy Wanderer

Tempe is widely considered the Valley’s most progressive city. Don’t take our word for it. A simple Google search of the terms “Tempe” and “progressive city” yields an astonishing 4,320 results in 0.62 seconds.

Knowing how open-minded it is, we were puzzled when we heard that certain Tempe officials expressed intransigence and closed-mindedness towards a potential medical marijuana dispensary in south Tempe’s Warner Road Corridor.

Here’s a brief rundown of the facts. In late 2015, the city issued a use acceptance letter for Natural Herb Remedies to operate a medical marijuana dispensary in a office suite located at 8611 South Priest Drive. For whatever reason, the dispensary authorized by that approval was never opened. As a result, the use acceptance decision issued by Tempe’s Community Development Department expired based on the conditions of approval in the letter.

Less than two years later a new property owner, PARC Dispensary stepped up and applied to confirm that the vacant site could still be used for a dispensary. It argued that it was a successor in interest and the 2015 approval could be used by it as a subsequent owner.

In the two years since the Natural Herb Remedies’ use permit was approved, Tempe amended its medical marijuana zoning ordinance and increased separation requirements for a medical marijuana dispensary from a child care facility and residential uses. Purportedly, the site was no longer compliant with these new requirements because it was now located too close to both under the new standards of the revised ordinance.

PARC Dispensary’s owner has politely sought a variance from these separation requirements but has been denied one at both the initial zoning officer hearing and the subsequent appeal to the Tempe Board of Adjustment. We say “politely’ because the new applicant has the clear legal right to proceed. And the city knows it. And so do proponents of Arizona’s landmark Proposition 207, designed to protect private property rights. Backers are chomping at the bit to sue Tempe for damages, something that won’t be difficult to achieve.

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By The Happy Wanderer

The name “Robert Horry” can conjure hate in every Phoenix Suns fan. With the Suns leading the San Antonio Spurs 100-97 late in the fourth quarter of Game 4 of the 2007 Western Conference Semifinals, Horry hip checked Suns point guard Steve Nash and sent Nash sprawling into the scorer’s table. Suns players Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw immediately jumped up and left the bench as if to protect their fallen teammate. There was no fight, but the NBA suspended Stoudemire and Diaw one game each for “leaving the immediate vicinity of their bench.”

Without Stoudemire and Diaw, two of their strongest defenders, the Suns were unable to guard Spurs power forward Tim Duncan effectively. “The Big Fundamental” had his way with the Suns frontcourt and led San Antonio to a 4-2 series over Phoenix.

Many Phoenix Suns fans haven’t gotten over what happened. They feel like that 2006-07 Suns squad was the best the team has fielded in its 51-year history. Had Diaw and Stoudemire not been suspended, they contend, the team would have cruised through the rest of the playoffs and emerged victorious as 2007 NBA Champions. Chants of “We were robbed!” have been chanted on many a night in the 12 years since.

Though they can feel as if they were wronged, Suns fans need to get over what happened in 2007. This is the same advice we’d impart upon opponents of the Phoenix City Council’s decision to approve of a $230 million deal to renovate the 26-year old Talking Stick Resort Arena.

You see, there’s a shadowy political committee, Common Sense Phoenix, which has launched a petition drive in order to force a voter referendum on the Suns deal. It must collect nearly 13,700 valid signatures in 30 days in order to force a public vote later in 2019. On Thursday, Phoenix let the committee know the city clerk’s office will reject and refuse to process the petitions they submit.

We won’t venture into the legalese and distinguish between “a legislative act” and “an administrative act,” but we’re not afraid to say that Common Sense Phoenix is demonstrating anything but common sense.

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By Scottsdale Watchman

The statistics from the 2019 Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction, which wrapped up last week, can boggle the mind. 1,800 vehicles sold. 5,300 bidders. Hundreds of thousands of attendees. $131.6 million in total sales.

The one number that truly stands out above all these, however, is the following: 9,600,000. That’s the amount of money that Barrett-Jackson raised for charity at the 48th annual auction in 2019, the largest amount it has ever raised.

After the auction, CEO and chairman of Barrett-Jackson Craig Jackson said, “As a company that was built on giving back to the community, this is a significant milestone worth celebrating […]. Giving back is the heartbeat of Barrett-Jackson and the collector car community.”

He could say that again. To date, Barrett-Jackson has raised over $114 million for charitable causes including Childhelp, TGen, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Craig’s wife, Carolyn, joins him in his charitable endeavors. In 2018, Carolyn served as chairperson of the 59th Annual Phoenix Heart Ball. She dedicated herself for the entire year to the cause and raised millions of dollars for one of the American Heart Association’s premier national events. Craig and Carolyn are two of Arizona’s most impactful philanthropists.

There are plenty of things to love about Barrett-Jackson. The rare cars. The enthusiasm from the crowd. The fact that it’s probably the only time in the world where former Vice President of the United States Dan Quayle and rock and roll legend Alice Cooper have ever shared a stage. Above all though is the auction’s charitable component, which can be overlooked in the glitz and glamour of it all. We won’t do that and are proud to laud both Craig and Carolyn and their company for making Arizona a better place.

By Scottsdale Pinetop

Living and working within the city of architectural behemoths and contrete walls can be taxing, to say to least. And from time to time, it’s nice to escape from the urban landscape and take refuge in a few patches of green. For the average New Yorker, that’s Brooklyn Bridge Park. In San Diego, it’s the Waterfront Park. But for many Scottsdalians, the Indian-Bend Wash has become the crown jewel of the outdoors.

What began as a flood control project, the Indian-Bend Wash Greenbelt is an 11-mile stretch spanning throughout the heart of Scottsdale. The Greenbelt has become one of Arizona’s top urban “green space,” much to the envy of cities all over the Valley. But it’s not without flaws and like any great amenity it needs to be upgraded and rejuvenated.

Recently, the city of Scottsdale decided to look into creating a master plan for the area to address its aging infrastructure and meet the needs of its users. And the community is answering the call. On Wednesday January 9th, dozens of Scottsdale residents attended an open house meeting to discuss their input for the Greenbelt master plan. These included fixing deteriorating bike paths, replacement of restrooms and ramadas and better care of the lakes. While no plans have been made towards the master plan, it’s a great first step in investing in the Greenbelt for future generations.

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By Scottsdale Pinetop

Sometimes the good guys finish first. It’s always a special moment when we get to recognize local individuals that go above and beyond the call of duty. This is the case for Scottsdale resident and renowned Arizona attorney Michael Liburdi.  

In his latest wave of judicial nominees, President Trump announced his intention to nominate Michael Liburdi to serve as district judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. And we couldn’t be more supportive of his decision.

For those who are unfamiliar with Liburdi’s remarkable resume, we will provide some highlights. Liburdi is best known for his time as General Counsel for Governor Doug Ducey during the Governor’s first term. Before serving in Governor Ducey’s administration, he represented Ducey during his 2014 campaign. In 2016, Librdi earned his reputation in both the political and legal work for his work to help pass Proposition 123, a proposal that would provide more money for Arizona schools and Arizona students.

Today he is an attorney at Greenberg Traurig LLP where is specializes in constitutional litigation, election procedure compliance and campaign finance. In his spare time, what little there is, he serves as an adjunct professor at Sandra Day O’Connor teaching courses in election law.

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By Scottsdale Watchman

In 1979, comedic genius Steve Martin starred in a box office smash, “The Jerk.” We won’t get into the details of the movie here, but rest assured that it earned its spot on a list of Top 25 comedies of all time.

Cranky Scottsdale landlord Dewey Schade is no funny man like Martin. He’s just Scottsdale’s version of “The Jerk.” We’ve written about him before. To refresh yourself, read this, this and this.

On December 29, 2018, when most Scottsdale residents were getting together and basking in the warm glow of the holidays, Discontented Dewey was doing his best Ebenezer Scrooge impression.

That evening, he called the Scottsdale Police Department TWICE to say that artist Aaron Bass was trespassing when attempting to work on a magnificent mural dedicated to the late Senator John McCain.

Here are the written remarks from the officer who responded to these calls in the report filed with the Scottsdale Police Department. They are unedited:

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Scottsdale’s large next door neighbor is having its election March 12th to replace former Phoenix Mayor and now Congressman Greg Stanton.  

But soon enough the race to replace term-limited Mayor, Jim Lane, in the “West’s Most Western Town” may take the form of a shootout at the OK Corral.  

Buzz is swirling around a political heavyweight match-up between current Councilmembers Suzanne Klapp and Virginia Korte in 2020.  Korte has wanted the seat for years.  Klapp is more reluctant, though buoyed of late by the success of Proposition 420, a measure she supported and Korte opposed.    

According to our sources a very reputable poll done last week among 300 likely voters in Scottsdale found “undecided” to be winning at this point, by a lot.  Among those that did have an opinion Korte was leading with 15% followed closely by Klapp at 11%.  Stay tuned . . .

UPDATE:  No one asked us if John Karolzak was included in the 2020 mayoral polling question, but we thought it might be helpful to answer anyhow:  no.  Poll backers, similar to us, probably thought there would be more logic in putting James Spader’s name on there, an actor from the movie Less Than Zero, a perfect description of Karolzak’s chances.  

By The Happy Wanderer

In Old Town Scottsdale, we shatter stereotypes. Instead of building a boring history museum, we created the interactive and entertaining Museum of the West. Instead of erecting an ugly run-of-the-mill apartment complex (the Broadstone Waterfront notwithstanding…), we built the Optima Camelview Village, which has garnered national architectural acclaim.

Even Old Town’s gun stores shot through the mold and were anything but ordinary. Remember Mandall’s Shooting Supplies off Scottsdale Road? Its owners eschewed generic logos and chose to advertise their wares with a sign of cute and cuddly teddy bear caressing a machine gun.

After Mandall’s closed in 2014, native Arizonan and photographer Michelle Biely stepped in to convert the empty store into something different. In a short amount of time, Biely renovated the vacant space into The Creative Center of Scottsdale. Since 2016, the Creative Center has helped redefine office space as we know it. Check it out here.

Typically, the word “office” conjures banalities that bore us. Cramped cubicles with headache-inducing fluorescent lights. The Mr. Coffee coffeemaker that drips everywhere. And let’s not forget, the obligatory red Swingline stapler that all employees fight over.

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By Scottsdale Pinetop

Since their inception, automobiles have placed speed and power in the hands of individuals. But with any new freedom also come dramatic new risks – risks that our government has been forced to overcome. For the 80s, it was the increase of individuals drinking and driving. In the 90s, it was the enforcement of seat belts.

Now in the digital age, it is the constant need to stay connected that is causing many motorists to take their eyes off the road. According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Arizona reported 741 distracted driving related accidents in 2017. Yet, Arizona is one of three states that does not have a law against distracted driving. This is nuts.

In light of this and after years of failed attempts, the Scottsdale City Council has decided to finally take action – thanks largely to the efforts and push of Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp.

Last week in a 6-1 vote, the council directed the City Manager’s office to look further into the matter at which point the councilmembers will take action. This decision comes on the heels of the death of Salt River police officer Clayton Townsend who was killed by a texting driver on the Loop 101.

According the Councilwoman Klapp, “It’s is long overdue.” And she’s right. The City of Tempe, Phoenix and 17 other cities and counties in the state have taken on the issue, many of which have passed their own regulations on distracted driving since the state will not. Why is Scottsdale, considered one of the safest places in the state, so late to address this issue? It’s disappointing to say the least. This is a no-brainer. Protecting our roads is a legitimate role of our government – from red light photo enforcement to enforcing speed limits. Limitations on phone use while driving should be added to that list.

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2020 Scrum

Media Alert

Reverend Jarrett Maupin issues statement following the scandalous and racist statements of Rep. David Stringer, calls for lawmaker to resign immediately or for House Leadership to remove him in next session for being “ethically bankrupt,” “a premeditated xenophobe,” and for practicing racism in violation of rules of conduct for state house members…

Statement Below:

“Earlier this year, I agreed to host a luncheon between Rep. Stringer and members of the Black community after he made a series of highly insensitive and ignorant remarks about people of color…

“The purpose of that meeting was two fold. First, was for Stringer to apologize and come face to face with the community he insulted. Second, was to give the community an opportunity to try and work proactively with Rep. Stringer on minority legislative priorities and to rehabilitate his views on race and the realities of racism…

“Many in the Black community are Christians and forgiveness is a foundational virtue of our faith. That said, we did as Jesus commands and as so many civil rights leaders before us attempted to do with bigots of their day – that is, to turn the other cheek…

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By Milhaven for Scottsdale

Scottsdale is an amazing city that we can be proud to call home. Citizen surveys reveal that Scottsdale residents are extremely satisfied with the quality of city services. Independent rating agencies give us a AAA bond rating for our financial health. We enjoy some of the lowest sales and property tax rates in the region. We have a beautiful city!

We have a long legacy of leaders who had the vision to reimagine and reinvent Scottsdale over the years. Winfield Scott envisioned citrus farms and built an agricultural community. Leaders that followed realized the value of tourism and we became the West’s Most Western town to attract and entertain visitors.

Recognizing the value of retail to generate sales tax, we built Los Arcos Mall, one of the first indoor malls. The rodeo grounds at Camelback and Scottsdale Road became Goldwater’s Department store which is now Scottsdale Fashion Square, one of the most successful malls in the country.

The Airpark became a key employment center for the entire region. We continually expanded our City to the north by annexing land from the County.

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

By Team Ducey

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Thank you,

— Terry Goddard, former Mayor of Phoenix 

SEE MORE 2018 SCRUM
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Latest News

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    Feb 14

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    Feb 13

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  • Guest Editorial: The Real Buffoon Is Right In Downtown Scottsdale

    Feb 12

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  • Guest Editorial: This Is Personal

    Feb 11

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  • Guest Editorial: A Very Special Guest

    Feb 6

    By Scottsdale Pinetop The State of the Union Address is a famous tradition dating back to the first president that is both superfluous and surreal. Last night, President Donald Trump sought to strike a bipartisan tone of unity just weeks after the longest shutdown in US history. However, there is another special tradition that represents the very best of America. Every year, both the White House and lawmakers invite guests to attend the State of +

  • The Karolzak Chronicles: Volume III

    Feb 6

    We have written before the notion outré of long-time lobbyist John Karolzak potentially running for Mayor of Scottsdale in 2020.  The only thing stranger would be Tyrion Lannister trying to play center for the Phoenix Suns.  You can see our previous writings.  Click here to read. And here.   Since we haven’t written of Karolzak in a while but with the need and profligacy of his deficiencies so extensive we thought it time for a refresher. +

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  • Tour De Force

    Feb 5

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  • Guest Editorial: Standing Tall For Civil Rights

    Feb 5

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  • Guest Editorial: Just Drop It

    Feb 2

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  • Guest Editorial: Chariots and Charity

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    Jan 28

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