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The Conservative's Corner
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2018 Scrum

Pundits are always lauding vision. Where is it? Who has it? Why isn’t there more of it.

Scottsdale is fortunate. Leadership and vision have led to impressive achievements like the Indian Bend Wash, McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Scottsdale Center for the Arts and Civic Center and the Waterfront Canal, to name just a few points of pride. Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

In its own way the achievement of Shawn Yari and Tri-Yar Development is a spectacular vision realized. Whether one likes what has been achieved in Scottsdale’s “Entertainment District” south of Camelback and east of Scottsdale Road – and we do – it is a stunning statement.

Some 20 years ago who could imagine let alone bring to life what is there now?

Yari was a well liked nightclub owner of Empire at 24th Street and Camelback. Les Corieri’s Jetz & Stix bar and club was on the west side of Scottsdale Road, near where Culinary Dropout now sits.

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There exist three and a half noteworthy downtowns in the Valley. Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe, with the half going to Glendale. Mesa’s doesn’t count as it is a beautiful performing arts venue surrounded by Fallujah. Chandler is making a move thanks to San Tan Brewing Company but still has quite a ways to go.

That brings us to Tempe, which is clearly separating itself from the others. The amount of development velocity underway is remarkable, a perspective that should be appreciated but a bigger picture that can be lost among the almost daily announcement about new stuff.
tempe
John Graham’s SunBelth Holdings and Marina Heights.

An attractive redevelopment of the Monti’s restaurant site.

A compelling new development vision for the Hayden Flour Mill.

The whirling dervish that is Arizona State University.

Even the Chinese are purportedly looking to get in on the action on the other side of Rural Road along Town Lake.

Some of these projects importantly offer quality new hotels which the area lacks in near embarrassing fashion.

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According to insightful reporting at the Paradise Valley Independent , the denizens of density behind the proposed Ritz-Carlton hotel and townhouse development in Paradise Valley are back.

This time the “We’re Baaack” is likely to be a noisier poltergeist for residents than the last time around.
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So why are they returning to the political theater now?

A couple of reasons.

First, after viciously, and unsuccessfully attacking Mayor Scott Lemarr, his term is coming to an end. As a son of Paradise Valley Lemarr has long been a skeptic of the Ritz plans, that are actually being curated by Five Star Development – a company unrelated to the Ritz. Lemarr’s departure alone aids those seeking to pioneer more liberal development allowances in town.

Second, those who laughed at recent Ritz-Carlton/Five Star Development attempts to turn that which voters approved in 2008 into something reminiscent of Tempe have left or are leaving office come January.

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Northeast Valley residents saw change after the recent elections.

The Town of Paradise Valley will see the most after movings, goings and retirements.

And Scottsdale will incur some too as those more cautious about the city’s growth trajectory were narrowly favored.

While others could certainly be noted, one victor in each municipality exemplifies the marketplace filling that which they constantly request in more candidates: talent and regard.

Take Councilman-elect Mark Stanton in the 85253. Frequent smile. Good humor. Looks you in the eyes. And has served in the private and public sector with distinction. First as an accomplished public relations executive, then as the as the Deputy Director for the Arizona Office of Tourism.

With more gray hair across the border is Scottsdale’s David Smith. He can be prickly, but whether one is in agreement with him there is little doubting his brain cells and financial acumen. People like him are needed to check government largesse and inefficiency.

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Friends of District 7,

I couldn’t be more thrilled and proud to have the Phoenix selected for the 2017 Men’s Final Four, a culmination of March Madness and the finale to the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament. Much like Super Bowl 49 and the 2016 College Football Championship Game, the Final Four will have significant components of its activities centered in downtown Phoenix. The event will have a large economic benefit for Phoenix and continues to showcase our wonderful City and that it has to offer to our guests and residents. We look forward to partnering with the ASU, the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, and other Valley communities to deliver a world class experience. The City thanks the NCAA for being selected and continues to be the proof why investing in our Downtown and our community pays dividends.
Best Regards,

Michael Nowakowski
Councilmember

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Once upon a time a five or six story office building was built at Scottsdale & Camelback Roads. Those who voted for it were swept out of office.

As sure as the sun rises the ebb and flow of “slow growth” and “pro business” candidates occurs in Scottsdale elections.
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But that it happened so soon in Scottsdale on November 4th, a cycle or two early, is noteworthy.

After rapid growth in the early and mid 1990s Scottsdale citizens remarkably voted to tax themselves to preserve the McDowell Mountains, sparing them from development. And later that decade those critical of growth started to be elected with more frequency.

And then they went too far. Scottsdale became “Stopsdale.” An arena was lost. Studies were done. Those opposed to all growth were soon opposed by voters desirous of reasonable growth.

But then the “pro business” majorities on council go farther than the electorate is comfortable with. So many apartments. So much height. So much which can seem so foreign to residents. And the pendulum begins to swing the other way, all over again. So much of this seemed vital and laudable during the Great Recession, but now that the economy has returned so has the luxury of complaint about that now built.

There were certainly signs of what was to come this election. The General Plan was soundly defeated at the polls previously. So was a city bond package. The natives were growing restless. Even a much improved bond campaign for the Scottsdale School District, which had been previously defeated but that faced no organized opposition in 2014, won a couple of Tuesdays ago by a modest 55%-45% margin.

Always schizophrenic to some extent the Scottsdale City Council now stands at four that can be called “pro-business” (Jim Lane, Virginia Korte, Linda Milhaven, Suzanne Klapp) two that want to slow things down (Guy Phillips and the newly-elected Kathy Littlefield) and another newbie that will probably dip his toes in both camps (David Smith).

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Whether one likes him or not the gold standard for candidate concession speeches was Al Gore following his gut-wrenching, Flordia vote counting loss in 2000. It was the epitome of class and decency.

Contrast his approach with two on Tuesday night in Arizona, Wendy Rogers and Fred Duval.

First, Rogers.

This was her statement.

“I want to thank my friends, family, and volunteers for standing by me in this race, and I want to thank the citizens of the 9th District for all of their kind words over the past several months. I ran for Congress because of my concern over the direction America is heading in, and I hope that, for the good of our country, Congress will work to turn our nation around and put a stop to the Obama agenda.”
No mention of her opponent, Kyrsten Sinema. No congratulations to her.

There is a time for the fight. And there is a time for kudos. Great boxers typically gather in the middle of the ring and hug after prolonged battle. Gladiators of the NFL shake hands after a game. The player acknowledgements after the Stanley Cup has been won are laudable.

Candidates should be likewise. But many aren’t. Thankfully, voters tend to get such deficiencies before Election Night. They clearly understood so with the anemic Rogers, who will not be mistaken for Ms. Manners any time soon.

And that brings us to Fred Duval. Long known for being a gentleman, even criticized for being too much of one in his battle with Governor-elect Ducey, his concession speech was a clunker.

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An opinion that bears repeating after Arizona's election results Tuesday.The following was originally Published February 13

There’s an old observation in politics that just about anyone who gets elected to anything starts seeing themselves being President of the United States. After Goldwater, Udall, Babbitt and McCain that may not be true for Arizonans but you get the point.

But it is true the bigger dragons you slay the bigger the doors that open.

And that’s the opportunity current Arizona State Senator and Republican Secretary of State Michele Reagan finds herself in.Screen-Shot-2013-10-30-at-10_34_40-AM2-78220_641x340

Once upon a time she was the favorite for the race of second in command. Then along came well-funded Wil Cardon and the most formidable Democrat in the state (sans Kyrsten Sinema) Terry Goddard.

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As nearly always New York Times’ Columnist David Brooks made one think Tuesday about the numbing and dumbing of American elections. Here is a link.

He assigns blame to political consultant sameness indicting the Mitt Romney presidential campaign among others for a lack of ideas and imagination. It is deserved. Brooks_New-thumbLarge

Poll driven campaigns are inherently reactive, almost like trench warfare, rarely breaking out from challenges lobbed into the bunker.

Very rare is the campaign anymore that pulls an upset based on ideas. It’s mostly whoever has the most money wins.

John McCain’s 2000 upstart presidential campaign is perhaps the best example of a campaign team being rewarded with a different approach.

They did not bottle up their candidate in a bubble with redundant talking points. They allowed people to see a human being with humor and candor. But more importantly they focused on an issue that didn’t appear as a concern in any polls: campaign finance reform.

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Wringing hands likely doesn’t do justice to the exercise of Valley old-timers these days.

Pinnacle Peak Patio and Greasewood Flat in Scottsdale are going away next year.

Today we learned Monti’s La Casa Vieja, the oldest restaurant in Arizona, is closing in just two weeks. And this follows the closure of landmark Mexican restaurant Tia Rosa’s in Mesa. montis

Well, at least we still have Rustler’s Rooste.

The natural reaction is to lament their passings and resent that which is taking their places.

This would be miniature thinking on a couple of different levels.

First, the re-developers of the Pinnacle Peak Patio site are wisely exploring options to recreate Pinnacle Peak Patio at WestWorld as a new special event venue. This follows their generosity of allowing the restaurant to continue rent free, prolonging the operation far beyond what would have otherwise occurred.

Greasewood Flat recently pulled its effort to relocate to property elsewhere in Scottsdale. If the owners could ever get in sync they would realize the brand equity the establishment has, and begin soliciting for new locations like Rawhide once did, solidifying a future elsewhere.

The 11,000 square foot integrity of the historic “Hayden House” that makes up the core of Monti’s will be preserved in the redevelopment. So while it may not welcome steak lovers any more who knows what the future may hold in the fascinating space.

The lamenters will say the Valley is losing its way and that which makes it special.

They will say Scottsdale is losing its western roots, notwithstanding God’s roots in greater abundance in the massive McDowell Sonoran Preserve close by Greasewood Flat and Pinnacle Peak Patio. Also adjoining Pinnacle Peak Patio is the hugely popular Pinnacle Peak trailhead, created long after the restaurant debuted. And then there is the Four Seasons across the street from Greasewood Flat, enriching the neighborhood since its opening years ago.

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As the conventional Arizona wisdom goes, the City of Glendale is a bunch of suckers. That’s what has caused their financial turmoil people say.

Whether one is a sexy Dodger, Cabela’s or Coyote open the kimono and let them have one’s way with scantily clad protections for Glendale taxpayers.

History will determine if these decisions were wise and progressive with temporary setbacks, or a gamble too far.

But with more Glendale residents demanding different leadership, change and amends a recent story begs the question not only if the city has the spine to right the ship, but to even stand up to a neighboring city.

Glendale-Peoria Clash Over Billboards Rises Again. October 28th, Arizona Republic

Whether one is for or opposed to the proposed casino in Glendale there is no dispute about the City of Peoria’s aggressive interference with what is clearly their land use issue.

At least that effort was known.

Contrast that with Peoria’s skullduggery as it relates to opposing innocuous billboards proposed by Becker Boards along the Loop 101 in Glendale.

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John McCain’s deployment of so much left over presidential money in his 2010 Republican primary battle against J.D. Hayworth was designed to send a message: don’t mess with me. mccain

And while he won convincingly times have changed. McCain may well be the next Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, a perch from which to raise lots of money. But he won’t have the $20 million that went unused during his 2008 run. Add to that a few things.

First, the Citizens United decision could provide a McCain challenger major, stealth resources.

Second, McCain’s numbers among Arizona Republican primary voters are awful. It is why McCain endorsements during the primary election were almost non-existent. People knew of his toxicity and didn’t want to be a part of it.

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Friend -

Democrat Russ Feingold was in the United States Senate for eighteen years before I defeated him in 2010.

A "creature of Washington," he compiled a voting record that had him joining the ranks of Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Barbara Boxer, and Hillary Clinton as the #1 liberal in the nation.

Feingold has now quit his job in the Obama State Department, which is widely viewed as the first step toward an all but certain campaign against me.

With majority control of the United States Senate at stake, and with every ultra-liberal Super PAC placing a target on my back, I need to build an army of conservative champions across the country ... especially you, Friend. Your financial leadership of $10, $35, $50, $100, $250, or another amount is of the utmost importance!

With majority control of the entire United States Senate at stake, I'm the Democrats' #1 target.

What difference does your early support make? Having defeated Feingold by less than 5 points in 2010, and all eyes on this race, your support will make all the difference in the world.

And speaking about all the difference in the world, our backgrounds couldn't be more different:

  • Russ Feingold is an attorney and a career politician in a Senate that's full of both. I spent 3 decades helping build a successful manufacturing business and creating good jobs for Wisconsinites.
  • He has done nothing but run for office. I ran for the first time in 2010.
  • He is an advocate for ObamaCare. I want to repeal it.
  • He wants to grow government. I want to shrink it.
  • I'm for a Balanced Budget Amendment. He says it's a terrible idea.

Voters have a sharp clear choice, and our campaign's job is to give voters the truth ... the facts ... a side-by-side comparison of our background and views. And I need your help to get that message out.

But it won't be easy. The Democrat Machine is ginned up and eager to give Feingold all their help in our rematch. He will have the Obamas, Clintons, Big Labor, Hollywood, and Liberal Super PACs bankrolling his attack ads with millions of special interest dollars. I need you to win and I need you now, Friend.

Raising "early money" is the key to our victory, and that is why we have set a goal of raising $30,000 in the next 7 days. Please make your online contribution of $10 or $100 or even $1,000 today. With your good help, I will have the resources to fight back against whatever the Democrats throw our way, win, and ensure that Republicans keep our Senate majority.

And I make you this promise: Not only will I keep voting with our conservative principles in mind, I will continue to lead the charge for sweeping conservative change. We've got a country to save. Are you with me?

Ron Johnson
U.S. Senator, Wisconsin

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By Sal DiCiccio

4551 new teachers for Phoenix… that is how many NEW teachers we could hire for the cost of just one new mile of rail.

Mayor Stanton and others are pushing a new $30 billion tax and spend proposal for transit costing $209 million per mile to build and operate.

Make no mistake about it, every penny taken from our citizens and wasted on these boondoggles and government waste is one less dollar our hardworking taxpayers can use for critical services we really need.  Now is not the time and place for us to waste money on ideas meant to benefit city insiders who will benefit from this money.

As a city and as a state we need to do a better job of prioritizing limited dollars.  We must do better and we must start to make choices based on things that matter.

Our families must be protected first and be the priority.

Read and watch what the Phoenix Business Journal and Channel 10 FOX News had to say about this massive boondoggle coming to voters this August.

Follow me on  FacebookTwitter  and now  Instagram .

 

From my family to yours,

 

Sal DiCiccio

Phoenix City Council

District 6

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Dear Friends:

For those of you who are concerned about Scottsdale’s future and the direction it has been moving (or not moving)  over the last few years, I offer you a way to keep in touch and up-to-date on what is going on in Scottsdale.  For you Clint Eastwood fans, discover “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.”

Please take a moment to read the following letter, inviting you to join COGS, a group of other concerned citizens like yourself.  You can also read about COGS and what it does on their website www.cogsaz.net.  Remember:  The future of Scottsdale depends on her citizens.  This is a way to help you stay informed and let your voice be heard!

Thank you.

Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield

www.kathylittlefield.com

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By Scottsdale City Councilman David Smith

Dear Friends...

This Tuesday evening, February 24, the Scottsdale City council will debate the first real tax reform in recent memory.  A workshop has been scheduled to discuss the proposal I made last month to eliminate the sales tax imposed on retail sales of food for home consumption. david smith 2

Scottsdale's food tax collections amount to $11 million a year, borne substantially by Scottsdale's 220,000 citizens. A family of four might pay as much as $200 per year.  More troubling, the burden of this tax weighs most heavily on those least able to afford it.

The Scottsdale Independent ran an editorial I submitted arguing for the elimination of food taxes, available at: http://www.scottsdaleindependent.com/opinions/smith-scottsdale-city-council-debate-real-tax-reform-feb-24/

I hope you'll take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the issues and follow this important debate.  If you have questions to ask or opinions to share, I encourage you to email me. news@councilmandavidsmith.com

David N. Smith

Scottsdale City Council

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Over $209 million per mile to build and operate. Yes, that's the cost to build and operate one mile of the new train system being proposed to the Mayor and Council.

I'm guessing you didn't know this was being pushed forward by the bureaucrats and politicians.

This is being proposed for the Phoenix ballot this year and will be sold to you as a "new direction" for our city.

Don't believe the politicians when they try to take more of your hard-earned monies. This is money from you and your family to pay insiders this outrageous sum.

You will be asked to pay for their costly idea with a huge tax increase with overall spending of over $30 billion! You tell me if you think it's fiscally-responsible and makes sense to spend $6.5 Billion building just 31 new miles for a new train system.

I urge you to send this notification to everyone on your personal list including Facebook and Twitter.

They will have all the big beneficiaries pour millions of dollars into their campaign to convince you to give them your hard-earned money.

You have my commitment to keep you informed as a counter to their plans - plans designed to protect big-government insiders.

 

Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and now Instagram.

From my family to yours,

 

Sal DiCiccio
Phoenix City Council
District 6

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Two Year Adjustment Announced for Upcoming Elections

PHOENIX – Secretary of State Michele Reagan has unveiled the funding amounts available for qualifying Clean Election candidates in the 2016 election cycle. State law provides for these funding levels to be adjusted by the Secretary of State every two years. michele-reagan-027

The Citizens Clean Elections Act, passed as an initiative by the voters in 1998 provides public funding to qualified statewide and legislative candidates.

The 2016 election cycle will be the ninth time candidates in Arizona will be permitted to take part in the Clean Elections system as participating candidates. The choice is strictly voluntary, although public funding is available only to participating candidates who qualify for funding. To qualify, participating candidates are required to gather $5 qualifying contributions from eligible voters and adhere to spending and contribution limits.

According to Secretary Reagan, the numbers released today establish the new Clean Elections spending limits for the 2016 election cycle and take into account recent inflation figures as well as the percent increase in state resident income tax returns as required by law.

Secretary Reagan revealed the new figures in a letter to the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission and a copy of the 2016 Clean Elections Biennial Adjustments chart is included with this press release. Copies are also available at the Secretary of State’s office on the 7th floor of the State Capitol, by calling the Elections Services Division at 602-542-8683 or 1-877-THE-VOTE or www.azsos.gov.

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