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2018 Scrum

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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U. S. Representative Trent Franks Says NO to Prop 480,
a 1.6 Billion Dollar Tax Increase

In an Op-Ed piece published in today’s Arizona Republic, Rep. Trent Franks explained why Maricopa County Taxpayers cannot afford prop 480. You can read his entire statement below:

Trent Franks: Health care already costs enough. Why is Maricopa County Integrated Health System piling on more?

Arizonans are painfully aware of the skyrocketing costs of health care.
Both federal and state governments continue to ask for more tax dollars to pay for Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act. Taxpayers are contributing more than ever for health care for the less fortunate.

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Those below 133 percent of the federal poverty level now qualify for Medicaid and those using an ACA exchange receive a heavy subsidy. These programs will be inordinately expensive.

Proposition 480, placed on the ballot by the Maricopa County Integrated Health System, fails to acknowledge these massive changes and the sacrifices taxpayers are already making by asking for a 27-year, $1.6 billion bond and tax increase for the old way of doing health-care business.
As a recent Arizona Republic editorial pointed out, the county hospital is a true safety net only for illegal immigrants because they do not qualify for AHCCCS or ACA, which raises the question of why only Maricopa County property taxpayers should pay for a federal responsibility.
Since Medicaid restoration and expansion began in January, more than 340,000 Arizonans have signed up, bringing the state's total to 1.64 million and counting (25 percent of Arizonans). Arizonans who receive AHCCCS are free to use their insurance at a variety of private providers just like those with private insurance.

Unfortunately, Prop. 480 proponents give taxpayers zero credit for these enormous investments. They talk about health care for the poor as if we were living in a 1950 America, where the indigent were relegated to the county hospital. The paradigm shift to providing insurance for the poor vs. paying for the facilities calls for less government-run facilities, not more. It also provides the best health care at the most competitive price with the greatest dignity for the patient.

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There’s a phrase about anyone noticing a tree if it falls in the forest. Perhaps yes, perhaps no.

But in Scottsdale, Arizona these days it’s hard to miss trees not when they fall in a forest, but as they obstruct the signage of prominent businesses.

For years a city installed tree has obstructed grandfathered signage for the venerable Coach House Tavern. Maybe the owners are too buzzed to notice, or it’s revenge for the efforts of customers to stop the city from condemning the property over a decade ago.
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A more contemporary and comical example impacts famed collector car auction Barrett-Jackson.

Apparently, the company is readying a revitalization of its southern Scottsdale property near Scottsdale and Thomas Roads. A grander showroom with more collector and exotic car sales is in the works.

If you can find it.

Enter another tree.

Many years ago Scottsdale voters approved a Scottsdale Road beautification project. A good idea.

Yet some city botanist in their infinite wisdom decide to plant a large Palo Verde tree right in front of the Barrett-Jackson sign.

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Why don’t elected officials tackle the big issues more? It’s a constant refrain one hears about elected officials whether its foreign policy or Social Security in the nation’s Capitol Hill or Scottsdale visionaries lamenting the lack of a next great thing.

That can’t be said of Glendale City Councilman Gary Sherwood.
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The city is a cauldron of upside finances and distrusting peers.

From Michael Bidwill and rich gaming tribes to transient new owners of the Phoenix Coyotes and a spring training complex with the worst mathematics in baseball there is no escape from tough votes and issues in the capital of the West Valley.

Enter first-term Councilman Gary Sherwood.

Last summer he led the charge for an annual $15 million subsidy allowing the now Arizona Coyotes to stay in town. But for his championing and vote the franchise would have skated away, as it likely will anyways several years from now.

And in the heavyweight title bout surrounding a new Glendale casino and involving the largesse of a Tucson gaming tribe and one right here in the Valley Sherwood flipped his vote to favor the new casino.

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There has been considerable chatter about the Rasmussen Poll that shows Democrat Fred Duval and Doug Ducey in a dead heat for Arizona Governor.

Keep in mind that Rasmussen has been trying very hard to make up for its gaffe in predicting a Romney win over Obama. Perhaps Rasmussen has been trying too hard.

According to this article in the Guardian, Rasmussen is trying to correct past sins by leaning a bit too far to the left. For example the article notes that “Obama's average net approval in Rasmussen's polling since re-election is +10.6pt, which is nearly 4pt higher than the other pollsters' results.”duval

Rasmussen is also using past exit polls to weigh its surveys. The article continues, “The exit polls, though, had Democrats with a 6pt party identification advantage. Sure enough, Rasmussen now weights its polling to 38% Democratic and 32% Republican – the same exact spread as the exit polls gave.”

Some more interesting facts on the Rasmussen poll.

In 2010, voters under 40 made up approximately 20 percent of the Arizona electorate; yet, in today's Rasmussen poll, they have the age bracket at 25 percent.

Arizona voters over 65 made up nearly 30 percent of the midterm electorate in 2010, and in Rasmussen's sample, they make up only 26 percent.

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In 2007 a relative unknown named Michael Nowakowski decided to take on Congressman Pastor’s influence for the race to replace former Phoenix City Councilman Doug Lingner.

Undoubtedly an intriguing candidate, few gave Nowakowski a chance against Laura Pastor, the Congressman’s daughter.

He fared OK in the first round of voting, but finished well behind Pastor. Surely there wasn’t enough in the runoff election to make up that much ground. But he did. And his campaign manager for the upset? Ruben Gallego.
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That should have told us something. Because its engineering was one of the more impressive Arizona political upsets in recent memory.

Gallego has since gone on to capture a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives, and assisted his wife Kate’s successful run against a Phoenix legend, First Institutional Baptist Church Pastor Warren Stewart.

And last Tuesday he sleighed a Democratic legend (at least in her own mind), the ethically short cutting Mary Rose Wilcox.

By any stretch this is one of the more accomplished and meteoric rises, ever, in Arizona politics.

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Just the other day, I filed with the Federal Election Commission the necessary paperwork to formally consider a run for President of the United States in 2016.

Let me tell you why I’ve taken this step, and how you can help.

For many years, I have traveled the country closely studying our politics. I believe we are on the verge of robbing our children of the American Dream.

We are racking up a virtually insurmountable debt, stifling our economic potential and placing our children’s future at risk.

At home and abroad, we are silencing honest debate about our challenges, our differences and our culture, all in the name of political correctness.

We are ceding more and more power to Washington bureaucrats at the expense of our personal liberty, ignoring the wisdom of our founders who risked their lives to form “a more perfect union.”

Too many of our children are trapped in failing schools and find themselves thrust into a deadly cycle of crime, dependence and despair.

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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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