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The Conservative's Corner
Featured Editorials
2018 Scrum

The late and legendary former Mayor of Scottsdale Herb Drinkwater decades ago dreamt what has indeed become true:  the WestWorld of Scottsdale area has become an epicenter for Valley activity.

Drinkwater lured the Phoenix Open to former boondocker country from comfy country club confines, Brewersand then convinced Barrett-Jackson to go north too.

Now, the country’s largest golf tournament, car auction and Arabian horse show all call the area home.  So does the wildly popular Ice Den as well as one of the finest residential communities built in America over the past three decades, DC Ranch.

Indeed, both Barrett-Jackson and the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show are set to move into the new $50 million Tony Nelssen Equestrian Center at WestWorld over the next two months, solidifying their place in the Northeast Valley for the foreseeable future.

Years prior to this pending fulfillment of Drinkwater’s vision Scottsdale was administered by a City Manager named Jan Dolan, best described as a municipal Cruella Deville.

Among her achievements was leading the charge at the height of the real estate market for Scottsdale to pay some $55 million to buy 80 acres from the Arizona State Land Department, at a time when she and council incoherence couldn’t quite figure out what to do with WestWorld.

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The business story of Chandler, Arizona over the past couple of decades is a compelling one.  Big jobs at big (and small) technology companies.

There are many explanations for the city’s success.  But there is one not often discussed.

It’s spelled A-P-S, as in Arizona Public Service. APS_logo_2011

The company’s avaricious attitude toward rooftop solar over the past year has been well understood and documented.  But its poor reputation among big energy users, especially those in high-tech, has not been.

To say these large energy consumers dislike the utility monopoly is an understatement, and a key reason they have concentrated in the utility territory of Salt River Project, where energy prices are lower and the corporate attitude isn’t to treat Arizona businesses merely as a carcass to prey upon.

Enter Chandler.  Benefit Chandler.

The disdain for APS and problems the monopoly presents for economic development efforts was a key reason some of Arizona’s largest employers endorsed efforts by the Arizona Corporation Commission to entertain more energy choice and competition in 2013, before those deliberations were curtailed.  While deregulation was short-circuited, ongoing concerns for what APS is doing to hinder economic development for cities within its territory have not been.

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The Chicago Cubs are unquestionably the crown jewel of the Cactus League, and all that spring training means economically to our state.

But will the Cubs be an asset or liability in the 2014 Republican primary contest for Governor?

A little history first.

Following the 1992 elections then Congressman Jon Kyl opted to run for the United States Senate, creating a highly desirable congressional opportunity for aspiring Arizona politicians.

The clear, early favorite in the race was Jim Bruner, a former Scottsdale City Councilman and Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

But the unforeseen happened along the way. Former Phoenix Suns’ owner Jerry Colangelo, fresh off an NBA Finals appearance, made a play for a franchise and a stadium that became the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chase Field. To get the franchise, he needed a new stadium funding plan. And that involved a majority of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors calling for a sales tax hike to fund the stadium.

Despite Colangelo’s popularity, the tax itself became wildly unpopular. Nevertheless, Jim Bruner voted for it, understanding what it could mean for Arizona. His political sacrifice was profound, eventually fading in his congressional race from frontrunner status to the bronze medal behind the eventual Congressman John Shadegg, and runner-up Trent Franks.

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So the City of Peoria wants neighboring Glendale to allow a new Indian gaming casino within its boundaries because it will create a lot of new jobs for the area.  But it doesn’t want to allow an aspiring business park, also in Glendale to put up outdoor billboards along the 101, to help do the same? 

This isn’t an opinion about the proposed casino, a subject we are agnostic about, until we are not. 

It is one about a potentially shameful act by Peoria Mayor Bob Barrett, aspiring mayoral replacements on the Peoria City Council and others there utilizing public resources to stymie private development in another city. 

For years competing cities engaged in competition for desirable businesses with tax breaks, offering huge subsidies to car dealers, shopping malls and big retailers.  Whoever gave away the most usually won. 

But thanks to the Goldwater Institute, former Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane and others like Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio the giveaway game is largely gone. 

Enter Peoria, Arizona. 

They say the city’s opposition to the billboard project in Glendale has nothing to do with anything other than protecting Peoria residents.  Of course there is hardly any impact on said residents and Peoria conspicuously feigns concern for these residents but not the others devastated, just devastated,  by blasted billboards in other parts of the city?  Judging from a recent azcentral.com survey on the matter they seem to be in the decided minority on the subject with only 23% of respondents sharing their opinion. 

Conspicuous indeed is what Peoria seems to be doing.  But thanks to sources within the City of Peoria itself embarrassed by the city’s audacity and the city’s own plans for billboards ACROSS THE STREET from the Glendale ones all becomes clearer. 

 You see, the City of Peoria is planning to use revenues from new billboards it wants to put along the Loop 101 to pay for new parking garages in its entertainment district.  And they believe Glendale’s boards could stymie those efforts.  The plot thickened at a recent Glendale Planning Commission when the West Valley’s Doctor of Dirt, Phil Hubbard, the City of Peoria’s former lobbyist, showed up organizing Peoria residents. 

 So rather than city’s using tax subsidies – which only kick in after a project lands in the city – we have the City of Peoria, Arizona overtly using public resources to stop a private sector development in another city for the sole purpose of squashing competition. 

Peoria is wrongfully opposing the Glendale proposal.  And the things being done by the representatives of the usually up-standing community are the most troubling signs of all, not what’s happening with its neighbor. 

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*Wendy Rogers wins the GOP right to take on Congresswoman Sinema.  General election tighter than expected but the Ironwoman triumphs.  

*Martha McSally defeats Congressman Barber.

*Speaker Tobin narrowly wins a knife fight against upstart Gary Kiehne.  Wins close victory over Kirkpatrick in 2014 but can’t hold it with the presidential turnout in 2016. 

*Hallman’s money and tenacity capture GOP nod for State Treasurer and cruises to General Election win. 

*Corporation Commission:  Field too fluid to call right now. 

*Attorney General:  Stan Barnes, J.D. Hayworth and Barbara Barrett all couldn’t defeat vulnerable GOP incumbents.  Neither will Brnovich defeat Tom Horne despite significant assistance from outside parties.  Rotellini defeats Horne. 

*Secretary of State:  Up by 30 points in the polls right now Cardon’s margin will decrease as Michele Reagan becomes a media darling ala John McCain fighting for campaign finance reform in New Hampshire circa 2000.  Her rise related to rumor (and real?) “dark money” for long-shot candidate Justin Pierce.  But in the end can Cardon chop down Goddard?  Perhaps the most interesting race to watch in 2014. 

*Governor:  Mesa Mayor Smith has an “it” factor that could gain some traction, but without big, promised outside support from DMB not enough oxygen to track down Doug Ducey.  Ken Bennett steady throughout but lacks message and moxy to do much better than Claude Mattox performed as a well qualified candidate in City of Phoenix mayoral race.  Before the primary Vegas oddsmakers put it at 3:1 that Christine Jones’ head will explode with rage, like in the movie Scanners.  Andy Thomas gets the old Bert Tollefson vote.  Democrat Duval runs well but discovers like Cherny before him that Ducey too qualified, decent and likeable.  Governor Ducey. 

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When long-time Scottsdale businesswoman and community advocate Virginia Korte at long last decided to run for the City Council in 2012 her candidacy was rightfully lauded. 

A former Chamber of Commerce President, car dealer on McDowell Road and early champion for the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.  Impressive credentials indeed. 

Korte ran in great part on achieving big things for Scottsdale, perhaps suggesting it was a city no longer capable of so doing.  She won. 

While any person needs time to find their way once governing, we have been surprised by Korte’s policy paucity. 

Where are those “big ideas?”  Her campaign was right.  There is ample opportunity. 

The gallery district struggles but there has been few ideas and no leadership. 

McDowell Road, her old neighborhood?  Nada. 

But surely she would have been a champion for securing Barrett-Jackson and the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show at WestWorld for the long-term, as the new Tony Nelssen Equestrian Center assists?  She opposed it. 

Korte has shown a proclivity to spend more money on other stuff, even bulking up the recent city bond package that was trounced by voters. 

We don’t mean to be discouraging of Korte.  Just the opposite.  It’s like seeing a star player wander a bit in the first quarter of a basketball game.  Like Andrew Wiggins’ first half at Kansas this season, as college basketball fans might observe. 

The good news is that there is still time, a lot of it before she again stands for election. 

In stock terms we’re still bullish on that potential, even as we await those long promised big ideas. 

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We’d like to think he was merely forgetful.

But that would be generous considering how intellectually dishonest Arizona Republic columnist Robert Robb was today (Arizona Republic Dec. 20, 2013: When Glendale Was Boring)  in lampooning Glendale and basically any city striving for something more. It was the kind of audacity that doesn’t invoke anger but more of that chuckle and shake of the head because rarely is anyone quite that audacious.

Look, we can all agree local governments have made some good and bad decisions when it’s come to tax breaks, developments, shopping centers and sports facilities.

But to indict them all, as Robb did, without acknowledging that he once was the pied piper of the public trough is breathtakingly dishonest.

For example, Robb criticized developer Steve Ellman for proposing a hockey arena and retail development on the old Los Arcos Mall site, a vision that eventually landed in Glendale.

Robb failed to mention that on the same day in 1999 Ellman’s project was approved by Scottsdale voters by the largest margin in American history for a sports facility election (63%-37%), Robb was the chief flack for the biggest tax increase in Mesa history. For what you may ask? A boondoggle plan for the Arizona Cardinals new football stadium, a convention center and a few partridges in a pear tree. It was shellacked at the polls.

Yet Robb now peppers all others with criticism?

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He's Back.

Ron Burgundy's cousin, Jim, gives us his take on all things political in Arizona. Check out his video.

 

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There may be no better road house – cowboy centric or otherwise – than the watering hole in north Scottsdale known as Greasewood Flat. 

And after “losing” Rawhide, as well as a public relations battle with the spunky Town of Cave Creek about which community is more chaps than chatter, the thought of a sunset for the most western bar in the “West’s Most Western Town” is downright depressing. 

But just as sunsets always yield to sunrises so too may be the case for the beloved Greasewood. 

No matter who came up with the idea of expanding the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in such a way that enriches Scottsdale’s greatest achievement along with providing breathing room for a family that was forced to sell Greasewood Flat in order to pay estate taxes, it’s worth a “cheers” or three. 

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What is this?

You’re not alone if confused.  It’s a proposed design for a new Chinese restaurant in north Scottsdale.  The photo has not been manipulated.  It is not a joke. 

south elevation

Actual design submitted to City of Scottsdale

On November 21st the Scottsdale Design Review Board will decide whether this type of exotic, foreign design is appropriate for the area, or as it has at previous meetings tell the authors of the absurd to keep trying. 

Some perspective.  Thanks to the dogged efforts of many over the past two decades in the northern part of Scottsdale the area is uniquely somewhere.  A celebration of the desert with notable design standards. 

By what logic does this design advance such an achievement?  It disrespects it.  If the Design Review Board does not do what it should the Scottsdale City Council should intervene. 

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Upton Sinclair once wrote a captivating American novel called The Jungle.  Far more recently others have written about the municipal jungle known in Paradise Valley as Mountain Shadows.

It seemed to be to this community’s Los Arcos, a property always top of mind but without solution.  But just as Scottsdale eventually lanced its boil, Paradise Valley may have more elegantly done so.

We have already written of the extraordinary challenge, followed by the extraordinary redevelopment approval engineered by the Town, property owner and neighbors, albeit the latter mostly kicking and screaming.

But now we learn this local jungle may have a neighborly new Lyon. As in the co-owner of the award-winning Sanctuary Resort, just across the street from Mountain Shadows, as well as the Valley Ho in the southern part of Scottsdale.

We could dwell on the interesting design and reputed operations of both properties.  But in this case the most important ethic they offer is creating superb resorts within or adjacent to active neighborhoods. This is particularly encouraging for neighbors who have waited a very long time for good news. 

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Political malpractice.  That’s a kind term to describe the decision to place both a City of Scottsdale bond package on the ballot as the same time as more money for the school district.  At a time when the stock market is high but the economy is not.

Dueling taxing propositions was an effort needing to defy the gods.  Rare are those able to do so.  The City of Tempe did it in 2010 when they enacted a city sales tax increase on the same ballot as Governor Brewer’s successful push to increase the state sales tax.

But Scottsdale wasn’t so successful last night.

So which way Scottsdale now?

Do something Washington never seems to do.  Talk to opponents.  They won.  Big.  So go smaller.  Don’t let ego get in the way.  They are local patriots too.

Discuss what their priorities are.  Find common ground.  Then proceed as a team for the city, or its schools.  In November, 2014.  As was pointed out by proponents many parts of Scottsdale do need a tune up. And maybe next time get more Republicans involved with an effort whose inner circle was all Democratic.  Scottsdale is overwhelmingly Republican after all.

A more successful effort can be achieved.  John Boehner, Harry Reid and Barack Obama might even learn a thing or two from you along the way.

 

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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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We are pleased to announce the launch of the first NO on Proposition 480 TV ad today.

Proposition 480 would impose a $1.6 billion tax increase on Maricopa County property owners for a new government run, county hospital. Many believe that the price tag for what amounts to a blank check is too high for a special district with a relatively narrow mission.

Supporters of Prop 480 don’t want to talk about the price tag. Neither do they want to explain how they are spending $600,000 of taxpayer money to run a feel good branding campaign in conjunction with the referendum campaign.

If you agree that Prop 480 is a bad idea at a bad time, please forward this ad to your friends via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter or other social media outlets. Please help us get out the word that the price of Prop 480 is just too high.

Click here to view the ad, coming to a TV near you. Also please go to our website, www.VoteNOon480.com for additional information.

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By Felecia Rotellini

From the very beginning of this campaign, I have not wavered in my goal to return the focus of the Attorney General’s Office back to prosecuting criminals and protecting Arizona families. rotellini

With the campaign heating up, I want to make sure you know what this race is really about and, if elected, what I will do as Arizona’s next Attorney General.

Here are a few of the issues I will focus on:

Consumer Protection Initiatives to Protect Arizona’s Senior Citizens
We need an enhanced Senior Fraud Unit within the Consumer Protection Section of the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. This Unit will work closely with the Arizona Department of Economic Security’s Adult Protective Services; local, state and federal law enforcement agencies; the criminal division of the Attorney General’s Office; private sector attorneys and non-profit organizations to focus resources on the scams and fraudsters who pose the greatest threat to Arizona’s senior citizens.

Protecting Arizonans from the Mexican Drug Cartels, Human Smugglers, and Organized Crime
I propose a two pronged attack of simultaneously and vigorously prosecuting and demanding harsh prison sentences for cartels and human smugglers, while at the same time destroying the ability of the criminals to financially profit by utilizing Arizona’s RICO statutes to seize their assets.

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Friends,

Over the past four years, the Scottsdale City Council has worked to keep taxes low, costs down and our quality of life the best in Arizona. None of these decisions happened in a vacuum. It required a team effort from a dedicated and responsible Council. I’m pleased to announce an integral member of that team has endorsed my campaign for Scottsdale City Council – Mayor Jim Lane.

I am excited to continue our great work together on the Council and proud to have his endorsement.

“I equally support Linda Milhaven for Scottsdale City Council. Linda possesses the leadership ability and strong work-ethic Scottsdale must have to continue to be the best city to live, play and work. Her proficiency at understanding complex issues and providing clear solutions makes her a valuable member of the City Council. She is dedicated, passionate and effective at improving Scottsdale’s quality of life.”

- Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane

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VOTER ALERT!

Maricopa Integrated Health System is spending $600,000 of YOUR tax dollars so you will give them a taxpayer funded $1.6 billion blank check.

"Even ignoring the potential legal issues, using $600,000 of taxpayer money to fund an ‘image campaign’ while simultaneously running a campaign asking those same taxpayers for a billion dollar bond is unseemly,” said Victor Riches, VP of External Affairs at Goldwater Institute.

Please see the Arizona Capitol Times story below. ____________________________________________________________________

Hospital district pursues taxpayer-funded ad campaign

Published in the Arizona Capitol Times on October 3, 2014

A hospital district has spent $570,000 on an ad campaign launched two weeks after its board called for a nearly $1 billion bond election.

The taxpayer-funded advertising campaign is running at the same time a separate, political group pushing for passage of the bond proposal launches a nearly $800,000 television ad campaign.

Included in the tax-funded ad campaign are a series of television commercials that promote areas of the Maricopa County Medical Center the bond proposal promises to improve. The advertisements don’t mention Proposition 480, the Nov. 4 election or advocate for a vote, any of which would be illegal.

The advertisements feature testimonials of people with real-life experience in the county’s mental health system and burn unit, and feature doctors who work in the trauma center and in the residency program.

Mike Robertson, senior vice president of marketing and public affairs for Maricopa Integrated Health System, said the ad campaign was not designed to win votes.

“What you’re seeing is me fulfilling my responsibility of getting a communication campaign out there to start educating Maricopa County residents with regards to what we do, and this is but chapter one,” said Robertson, who joined MIHS in March.

The political ad features Bryan Jeffries, president of the Professional Firefighters of Arizona, a firefighters union, stumping for a yes vote to improve the trauma center, burn center and mental-health system. A voice-over says the Maricopa Medical Center is where first responders are taken when they are injured. Other than that, however, there is no mention of the hospital or the proposed $541 million to $548 million reconstruction of it.

The MIHS board unanimously approved putting the public financing on the ballot May 28. The $935 million in financing, which will cost the owner of a $150,000 home about $18 per year, would pay for a new, scaled-down Maricopa County Medical Center, an improved mental-health system, improved neighborhood clinics and upgrades to the hospital’s nationally renowned Arizona Burn Center and the hospital’s trauma center.

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