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The Conservative's Corner
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2018 Scrum

One of the finest baseball stadiums in the country is AT&T Park in San Francisco.

Outside of an entrance sits an impressive statue of Willie Mays, the greatest Giant and player of all time.

Cameras click as the sense of arrival is profound.

Unknown is how this particular piece of art came to be. What is known is that someone had the obvious common sense not to put it in the field of play, interfering with the game and stadium that justified the statue in the first place.

While they mostly come to Scottsdale during spring training perhaps we can import some of that planning sanity now as it relates to goings on at WestWorld.Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

Over the past few years city leaders and WestWorld management have done a remarkable job enriching the community’s central park as an equestrian and special event playground. That foresight and the investments that have accompanied it deserve much credit.

Besides its goal of attracting new events to WestWorld, the most stated reason for expending tens of millions there was to retain two of Scottsdale’s signature events: Barrett-Jackson’s Collector Car Auction and the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show. Indeed, they are helping to pay for the debt service required for the expenditures.

So why in the world, as outlined at a recent City Council WestWorld subcommittee meeting, would Scottsdale Public Art propose and at least one city staffer support putting a new $400,000 statue in the middle of these event operations?

Millions get spent to better host Barrett-Jackson, the Arabians and other events in the Tony Nelssen Equestrian Center and now we want to impede them? With a piece of public art that while nice is hardly as important as ensuring event success at WestWorld so taxpayers can recoup their investment? To hear the discussion was to be reminded of the phrase tail wagging the dog.

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It is somewhat surprising in what is arguably Arizona’s most impressive community that the turnover on the Town Council is so substantial. A retiring Mayor. A relocating popular councilman named Schweiker and a previous top vote getter named Kirby choosing to devote more time to her elected position on the Scottsdale School Board.
Paradise-VAlley-RED-Senior-Living
By acclimation Vice Mayor Michael Collins will be Paradise Valley’s next Mayor as he has no opposition.

But that still leaves a number of seats open at the council level voters will have to sift through. Some names are known. Some less so. But they are collectively an impressive lot.

Over a month before early voting begins in the August 26th primary three names stand out and are worthy of endorsement now.

They are current councilmembers Paul Dembow and David Sherf as well as former Planning Commissioner and mayoral candidate Maria Syms.

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No matter the municipality City Hall activists like to fancy themselves as guardians of veracity.

Elected officials aren’t giving it to you straight. Something untoward is going on. But for us the world will end.

Their intelligence varies but the refrains are largely the same when it comes to development matters, pensions, imaginative projects and other matters of civic life.

Notwithstanding the merits he espouses the upper end of the Activist Mensa Meter is dedicated Scottsdale preservationist Howard Myers. His messaging troika is basically this: Development is bad. Tourism is good. And keep expanding the spectacular McDowell Sonoran Preserve, albeit at all costs. Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

One may disagree with Myers but he has not seemed a dishonest sort over the years. Yet, his blatant falsehood recently about a proposed plan to relocate a beloved bar and restaurant called Greasewood Flat, separate but in tandem with a related residential plan, challenges that notion.

Myers started by doing his best John Kerry flip-flop impersonation. He actually suggested the new, proposed Greasewood Flat location on land owned by the bar’s owners near the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, before he now appears to be against. This, coming from the person who constantly scolds Scottsdale leadership about the import of tourism and Scottsdale’s western heritage place within it.

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John McCain learned an invaluable crisis communication lesson during and after his Keating Five debacle. If you’re not part of the solution you are part of the problem. In other words, never be the status quo, especially when trouble hits.

It is an approach that has served McCain well. In a world of crisis communication “experts” he may be the best of all.mccain

The question now is, does McCain himself have a crisis as it relates to the Veteran’s Administration malfeasance in Phoenix that is now a national scandal?

After all, how does a United States Senator serving Arizona since 1986 not know what is going on in such an important federal operation? Did his office never get a constituent complaint? If not that would seem terribly odd, considering the level of purported malfeasance. Wouldn’t the office of a veteran and longest serving elected official in Arizona be one of the first people to contact for help? Did McCain or someone in his office drop the ball, or did they not?

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According to the owners of Tempe’s famed Yucca Tap Room, things are awry and city officials want their property. The Republic has some background on the situation. Click here.

The one-time platform of Roger Clyne and many other local music aspirants, the distinct bar is something to be celebrated and assisted, not run over as appears the intent of city bureaucrats. Yucca-Whisky-Tshirt-Back-300x300

What a shame. And what a reminder of a similar show we have seen before. In Scottsdale.

There, over a decade ago a conspiring city and developer wanted to condemn the city’s oldest tavern, The Coach House, and give it to a neighboring property owner for a bland mixed-use project. The odds were stacked against the small business as a pro-developer council majority seemed assembled. But then the locals and regulars rallied. The uprising was such that whatever majority existed evaporated as one colorful citizen after another entreated for relief. And The Coach House got it. And there it sill stands, an important reminder of Scottsdale’s history and one of the best watering holes in the Valley. Thank goodness.

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If Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is not investigated by someone for what appears to be a blatant misuse of taxpayer dollars to aid his own election, we are not sure what the point of any campaign finance law is.ATTORNEY GENERAL

While some of these laws can be complex, the prohibited use of taxpayer dollars and government staff to assist one’s private election pursuit is not. And, it is among the most critically important election laws of all.

Horne wants us to believe it is coincidence or merit that has led to well-known Republican political, media and fundraising operatives onto his staff. All of who just happen to be working on his challenging re-election campaign. And this doesn’t include a $300,000 advertising contract just awarded by the Attorney General’s Office to one of Horne’s political consultants.

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There are many important commercial corners in Phoenix but a largely vacant one at 32nd Street and Indian School Road is particularly so.

Once a proud, thriving center it has retreated to near nothingness.

With the recent success of businesses and restaurants like The Vig, Beckett’s Table and Crudo nearby, the corner surround by diverse neighborhoods is both an incredible opportunity to bookend Arcadia, or see this central Phoenix area west of 32nd tip itself into no man’s land.

The former aspiration got some welcome news this week in the form of acquisition by De Rito Partners. Owned by the constantly in motion Marty De Rito the enterprising company is a great match for a property with so much potential.

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The Phoenix Metropolitan area seems to have more major sports and concert venues than just about anywhere in the country. From Ak-Chin to Glendale we are blessed and cursed with buildings big, small, old and new.

But for those who have been here awhile no sporting venue penetrates the Arizona conscience more than Sun Devil Stadium. Rolling Stones Devils And Deserts front

Maybe it is the proximity to Mill Avenue. Or the college energy. Maybe it’s because Sun Devil Stadium was there before U.S. Airways Center, Jobing. Com and University of Phoenix Stadium.

For many years there was just Compton Terrace, Celebrity Theater, Phoenix Municipal Stadium, Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum . . . and Sun Devil Stadium.

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There’s often talk of underutilized community assets.  Mountains that turn into parks.  Canals that turn into Waterfronts.  Buildings that turn into tourist attractions. 

And there’s always been the Papago Golf Course.  Avid golfers know it to be an exceptional layout in an exceptional setting.  And 20-30 years ago it was hard to get a tee time there as affordability fused with challenge at the Valley’s best public golf course. 

But recent years haven’t been so kind to the course.  Mismanagement.  Landscaping don’ts. The list goes on.  Once the prom queen, Papago has started to look like a 40-year reunion.  diciccio

That’s all likely to change as Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio has been working with Arizona State University to take over the course.  It’s a great move by a school with a rich golfing program and a terrific move by the City of Phoenix to revitalize a great resource. 

So that’s now two home runs for Sal DiCiccio.  This, and working with ASU to relocate its baseball program to Phoenix Municipal Stadium just down the street from Papago.  The Oakland A’s will move next year to the Cubs’ old digs in Mesa.  DiCiccio just earned more of the beer belly vote as ASU baseball currently doesn’t allow the sale of alcohol at its games, something that will change with the move off-campus.

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Once upon a time the Republican Party was the party of Lincoln. It went to war to eradicate slavery. One hundred and fifty years later African-Americans support the party with but single digits.

The reasons are many and varied from the Democratic Party’s incessant pandering to most Republicans most recently choosing the rule of law, understandably, when it comes to the nation’s borders rather than donkey denial.

Yet, the Republican Party can rightly be criticized for not enthusiastically taking their message to where Democrats have failed so miserably in the urban cores and elsewhere. That’s why suggestions about holding the 2016 Republican National Convention in Detroit were so intriguing.

The Jack Kemps of hope and optimism have been too few, although a renewed emphasis by Kemp acolyte Paul Ryan in this regard is promising.

Despite the dearth of messengers, messages predominantly involving school choice are thankfully starting to make inroads. Liberals like Bill de Blasio attempting to stop it are on the wrong side of history with political consequence soon to arrive with more dispatch. WARD

But then along comes remarks like those by Arizona Republican Senator Kelli Ward who warned of a “slippery slope” in a Tweet yesterday following NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s proper punishment of Donald Sterling.

The ill-timed Ward tweet read as follows:
“If you offend, I guess you should expect to be stripped of your property & banned for life #PoliticallyCorrect #WhereAreWeHeaded,”

Presumably Ward is concerned about some notion of property rights while being shockingly tone deaf to warrant a political hearing aid.

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As the 2014 election cycle gets underway there may be no easier endorsement, even at this early date, than current Vice Mayor Michael Collins to assume the top position. 

With Mayor Scott LeMarr leaving on top after more than two decades of public service to the town, Collins offers the compelling combination of continuation, experience and talent. 

He chaired the community’s Public Safety Task Force that has resulted in a decrease in crime. RA_Collins_Logos2-1

He chaired the town’s General Plan efforts passed by a whopping 80 percent of voters.

He voted for the Mountain Shadows redevelopment plan that has already resulted in the removal of rat infested buildings at 56th Street and Lincoln. 

He leads not only in the Town but a business with 45 employees that does land use planning for the U.S. military.  He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, father and husband. 

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If there were a Mount Rushmore in Paradise Valley, Arizona – or more appropriately a Mount Camelback, current Mayor Scott Lemarr would be on it. Only six decades old Lemarr has served the town in a variety of capacities for over a third of that time on a variety of citizen commissions and currently as the first directly elected mayor in the town’s history.  MayorLeMarr

He’s not only seen it all he’s done it all. And Paradise Valley is a better place for it.

A tidy recovering from the Great Recession.

An improved police department and reduced crime.

Improved fire service.

Leading what no council before him could – an approval for the redevelopment of the old Mountain Shadows Resort. The rat infested relic has even been scraped away, readying the property for a better future.

As a son of the community Lemarr has understood that a community already the envy of Arizona doesn’t need a lot more, certainly density. It just needs a little TLC from time to time, the Mayor’s job unlike in other cities largely constituting a do no harm approach.

Lemarr has succeeded in that regard and then some. He likes to attend a lot of Diamondbacks’ games. While they aren’t winning a lot this year that’s not the case for Lemarr’s 22 years of impressive public service.

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Phoenix, AZ – Earlier this week, Secretary of State-elect Michele Reagan announced former Arizona Secretary of State Betsey Bayless as the Chairwoman of her transition team. Michele and Betsey have finalized the transition team that will provide counsel and direction as Michele prepares for the next two months before officially assuming the role of Secretary of State in January.

Transition Team:
Chairwoman Betsey Bayless – Former Arizona Secretary of State
Helen Purcell – Maricopa County Recorder
Leah Landrum Taylor – State Senator
Lydia Hernandez – State Representative
Ted Downing – former State Representative
Glenn Hamer – President & CEO, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Todd Sanders – President & CEO, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
Doug Yonko – Vice President of Communications, Hensley Beverage Company
Joe Kanefield – Elections Attorney Ballard Spahr; former Arizona Elections Director
Bill Beard – Pima County Elections Integrity Commission
“We have a serious amount of work to accomplish over the next two months,” said Reagan. “I am incredibly grateful for the collection of leaders and specialists we have put together and look forward to the input and guidance they will provide. I am excited about the challenge and the opportunity that lay ahead.”

As the transition team prepares to convene in the coming weeks, members weighed in on specific issues they felt were important for Reagan to consider as she moves forward.
“Developing a strong working relationship with the County Recorders is key to having an effective tenure as Secretary of State. Fortunately, Michele has proven during her time in the Legislature that she is willing and able to work constructively with all fifteen County Recorders. I was honored to be invited to join the transition team and help further cultivate those vital relationships,” said Helen Purcell.

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Phoenix, AZ – Today, Arizona Secretary of State-elect Michele Reagan announced Betsey Bayless will chair her transition team. Bayless, who has a public service career spanning forty years in Arizona, served as Arizona’s Secretary of State from 1997 to 2003.

“For many years, I have been a staunch supporter of Michele Reagan and I am proud to support her in this new role as Secretary of State. It is a giant leap from the Legislature to the Executive Branch and, if my past experience can help smooth that transition, I want to help. We will be conducting a statewide search for the best people to surround Michele to allow her to hit the ground running,” said Bayless.

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by Glen Bolger.
In the House, Richard Nixon’s the one. In the Senate, Bill Clinton has not stopped thinking about tomorrow. But both of them are about to be replaced in modern political history* by Barack Obama unless Election Day turns out far differently than projected.

The category, Alex? Recent two-term Presidents who have done the most political damage to their party in their two mid-term elections. Mid-term destruction, in other words.

In the House, Nixon lost a total of 60 seats across his two mid-term elections – 12 in 1970 and 48 in 1974 (Watergate, baby!). The funny thing is, Obama already has Nixon beat in the House. Obama lost 63 House seats in 2010, so unless he somehow gains four House seats on Tuesday, he will simply be adding to his lead as the most destructive President to his own party in the House. chart 1

The least destructive midterm President in the House? Surprisingly, George W. Bush. In 2002, Republicans gained eight House seats, while losing 30 in 2006 (and the majority) for a net loss of 22 House seats in mid-term elections. Reagan had the second smallest impact, losing 31 seats – 26 in 1982, and five in 1986. Clinton lost a monster 52 seats in 1994, but cut his total losses to 47 by gaining five in 1998 despite Newt Gingrich’s master plan.

Now, to be fair, some will argue that Nixon should still be considered the champ, since he lost his 60 seats from the minority in both cases, but, for raw numbers, it looks like Obama will be the winner (well, actually loser).

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By Paul Dembow
Dear Fellow Paradise Valley Resident:

As a Paradise Valley Town Councilman, I know how important strong leadership in government is. And as a father of five children — all of whom went to Scottsdale Unified School District schools — I am a strong believer in the power of quality education.

Both reasons are why I'm supporting Pam Kirby for the SUSD Governing Board — and why I urge you to support her as well.

I had the pleasure of serving with Pam during her time on the Paradise Valley Town Council. She is a conscientious, committed public servant who makes fiscal responsibility and responsive government a top priority.

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From Elect Bolick for Arizona

Dear neighbors,

Michigan recently became the fourth state to approve Right to Try. On election day, Arizona voters will have the chance make our state the fifth to do so by voting yes on Prop. 303. I support Right to Try; but my liberal opponent, Eric Meyer, opposes it.

Right to Try was home-grown in Arizona by the Goldwater Institute. It would allow terminally ill patients to access experimental drugs, prescribed by their doctors, that have passed the safety phase of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

So far, Right to Try has passed overwhelmingly across the country with support from Republicans and Democrats alike.

E.J. Montini, one of our state’s most liberal columnists, wrote that “Prop. 303 isn’t about politics. It’s about hope.” Also endorsing the measure, the Arizona Republic says that Prop. 303 “provides doctor-confirmed hope to the terminally ill. This is easy to support.”

Apparently not so easy for Eric Meyer, who tried to prevent Arizonans from even having a chance to vote on Right to Try. Among hundreds of legislators in five states who so far have voted on Right to Try, he is the only doctor to vote no.

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Felicia Rotellini News release:

That is what major newspapers are saying about our campaign. I am honored to have their endorsement and support to return the focus of the Arizona Attorney General's office to its core mission: prosecuting criminals and protecting Arizona families.

Our team has been working hard these last 20 months and people are taking notice. Take a look at what some of the editorial boards had to say:

Arizona Republic
In close call, Rotellini for Arizona attorney general
"Having worked in the office, Rotellini will face no learning curve. She knows which divisions are most vital and need the most attention... She understands — and can mentor staff attorneys — on how to go after consumer fraud and the excesses of large companies. That makes her experience more germane to the work of the attorney general"

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Arizona Progress & Gazette: Arizona News, Editorials & Debate