The Conservative's Corner

by Sal DiCiccio

Friends,

As many of you know, unlike the rest of the world, for governments the year ends on June 30th, and a new year begins July 1st. It’s been a long year, and while our country may be in the midst of the worst internal conflict and strife we’ve seen since the 1960s, here in Phoenix – and especially in District 6 – good things are happening. We are moving forward with quality growth and development, protecting our open spaces, and putting more resources into our parks and preserves. We are also fighting to protect our neighborhoods, ensure we have the basic resources we need to protect public safety, address our growing issues with homelessness and more. And since Sam Stone came onboard last year as my chief-of-staff, we’ve been more effective than ever fighting for our quality of life and protecting neighborhoods. Here are a few of the highlights from this year…

2017-18 Fiscal Year Accomplishments
1. Sober Living Homes Amendment: As you remember, I brought this forward to the Council when we started seeing these facilities flooding our neighborhoods. In response, we created the best model in the nation protecting neighborhoods and patients. Sam Stone in our office led our efforts on this, and every single time the City came back to us and said we couldn’t do something, he figured out a way to get it done.
2. Phoenician Redevelopment: Worked with neighborhood leaders and stakeholders to make sure that the redevelopment of the Phoenician golf courses addressed their concerns about traffic, density, open-spaces and historical preservation. This was one of the most complex land deals in Phoenix’s history, and – in the end – achieved essentially universal support throughout the neighborhood.
3. Relocation of Cholla Trail: Worked with neighbors and community leaders to get a right-of-way included in the Phoenician land deal to relocate Cholla Trail off of Cholla Lane. Now we are working with those same community members on the design and construction for the new trail which will benefit hikers and homeowners alike. Read More

Phoenix is closing on the downtown Sheraton sale, remember that the real loss to taxpayers is $252 Million.

The politicians and government staff who pushed this hotel are now forcing the public to pay for their mistakes. I have submitted a public information request to the city manager demanding the names of each and every person– politicians and government staff alike– who pushed for this hotel originally. It is not fair for the public to continue to pay for the incompetence of people who were hired to serve them.

This is the final, sad chapter in an orgy of corporate welfare and insider dealing that has cost the citizens of Phoenix far more than anyone at City Hall will admit.

Inept staff who insisted on making this deal are claiming the loss is $36 Million, but the true total is much higher.

$350 million– original cost of the hotel
$255 million– sale price of the hotel
$95 million loss

But it gets worse. Taxpayers are also on the hook for:

$47 million– operational losses since hotel was built
$97 million– corporate tax giveaways
$13 million– the hotel fund that was handed over to a large corporation
$157 million in additional losses

Bringing the total loss to taxpayers up to $252 million.Read More

Friends,

This is the letter I just sent to City Manager Ed Zuercher. The continued failure of City Staff to execute their basic responsibility under this City Manager is inexcusable – just look at the complete failure to address the needs of our community in South Phoenix, where City staff is in the process of pushing a bad plan down the throats of residents.

By The Goldwater Institute

Partisan gridlock in Congress is often the rule, but there are the occasional and notable exceptions. In the recent spending bill, lawmakers successfully repealed the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)—one of the most extreme examples of consolidated, unchecked government power in American history. As the only organization to have challenged IPAB in court, we’re celebrating the elimination of what columnist George Will called “the most anti-constitutional law ever written.”

Enacted eight years ago as part of the Affordable Care Act, IPAB was created as a cost-saving mechanism for the Medicare program for the nation’s elderly, but its authority was far broader. The unelected Board wielded unprecedented power to write healthcare rules that would automatically become law without a vote of Congress, signature of the president, notice to the public, or review by the courts.

Some fiscal conservatives are now lamenting the fact that, by repealing IPAB, Congress has removed important checks on uncontrolled Medicare spending. This is an issue that should not be ignored. True, the Medicare program is in desperate need of modernization and financial overhaul, and IPAB would have been a tool to control those costs. But the costs to our Constitution would have been far greater. Those doubting the dangers that IPAB posed should consider the following:

IPAB’s authority was not limited to Medicare. IPAB had much broader powers to make law governing both government and private healthcare—whatever the Board considered “related to the Medicare program.” IPAB’s toolbox was vast: It could enact price controls and even levy taxes. And those decisions would have been free of any meaningful checks or balances.

IPAB’s power was consolidated in one individual. Some viewed Congress’s repeal of IPAB as premature—after all, neither President Obama nor Trump had appointed any members to the Board, and it had not yet taken any actions. But lack of membership was only more cause for concern. So long as IPAB remained unstaffed, the Secretary of Health and Human Services alone wielded the Board’s vast powers.

IPAB’s decisions were not subject to judicial review. IPAB’s so-called “recommendations” would have automatically become law, without review by Congress or the courts. In other words, the ACA left unaccountable bureaucrats free to make decisions that could affect public and private healthcare for millions of Americans.

IPAB had the power to ration care. Many mistakenly believed that IPAB was prohibited from rationing healthcare. But what constitutes rationing? The ACA never defined “rationing care”—instead, it left the Board to define rationing however it wished, and it prohibited patients and doctors from turning to the courts for protection if the Board stopped them from receiving or delivering care. In other words, IPAB put bureaucrats in charge of deciding what type and how much medical care people should receive. That system would have deprived patients of access to needed care—increasing centralized decision making at the expense of individual healthcare decisions.

The U.S. Constitution gives the lawmaking power to Congress alone because legislators are responsible to their constituents and checked by the other branches of government. No agency can be rendered exempt from democratic processes and the rule of law. That is why Congress should be lauded for repealing the unchecked and unprecedented consolidation of bureaucratic power.
Read More

PHOENIX – State Treasurer Jeff DeWit announced yesterday during the State Board of Investment meeting that the Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund, also referred to as the Schools’ Trust Fund, has hit a record market value of more than $6 Billion.

Even with increased distributions totaling more than $793 million to Endowment beneficiaries, which is more than three times that of any previous treasurer, the endowment has grown in excess of $1 billion during Treasurer DeWit’s tenure.

“Credit for this achievement goes to the dedicated work of Senior Portfolio Manager Tim White who has managed the fund for nearly 20 years, along with the rest of the investment staff, and the members of the State Board of Investment,” Treasurer DeWit said.

Treasurer DeWit, who is chairman of the State Board of Investment, also noted that the Treasurer’s office reached another milestone in January with the month ending value of all investments at $15.85 Billion, an all-time high for assets under management.Read More

by Sal DiCiccio

Friends,

As many of you know, unlike the rest of the world, for governments the year ends on June 30th, and a new year begins July 1st. It’s been a long year, and while our country may be in the midst of the worst internal conflict and strife we’ve seen since the 1960s, here in Phoenix – and especially in District 6 – good things are happening. We are moving forward with quality growth and development, protecting our open spaces, and putting more resources into our parks and preserves. We are also fighting to protect our neighborhoods, ensure we have the basic resources we need to protect public safety, address our growing issues with homelessness and more. And since Sam Stone came onboard last year as my chief-of-staff, we’ve been more effective than ever fighting for our quality of life and protecting neighborhoods. Here are a few of the highlights from this year…

2017-18 Fiscal Year Accomplishments
1. Sober Living Homes Amendment: As you remember, I brought this forward to the Council when we started seeing these facilities flooding our neighborhoods. In response, we created the best model in the nation protecting neighborhoods and patients. Sam Stone in our office led our efforts on this, and every single time the City came back to us and said we couldn’t do something, he figured out a way to get it done.
2. Phoenician Redevelopment: Worked with neighborhood leaders and stakeholders to make sure that the redevelopment of the Phoenician golf courses addressed their concerns about traffic, density, open-spaces and historical preservation. This was one of the most complex land deals in Phoenix’s history, and – in the end – achieved essentially universal support throughout the neighborhood.
3. Relocation of Cholla Trail: Worked with neighbors and community leaders to get a right-of-way included in the Phoenician land deal to relocate Cholla Trail off of Cholla Lane. Now we are working with those same community members on the design and construction for the new trail which will benefit hikers and homeowners alike. Read More

Phoenix is closing on the downtown Sheraton sale, remember that the real loss to taxpayers is $252 Million.

The politicians and government staff who pushed this hotel are now forcing the public to pay for their mistakes. I have submitted a public information request to the city manager demanding the names of each and every person– politicians and government staff alike– who pushed for this hotel originally. It is not fair for the public to continue to pay for the incompetence of people who were hired to serve them.

This is the final, sad chapter in an orgy of corporate welfare and insider dealing that has cost the citizens of Phoenix far more than anyone at City Hall will admit.

Inept staff who insisted on making this deal are claiming the loss is $36 Million, but the true total is much higher.

$350 million– original cost of the hotel
$255 million– sale price of the hotel
$95 million loss

But it gets worse. Taxpayers are also on the hook for:

$47 million– operational losses since hotel was built
$97 million– corporate tax giveaways
$13 million– the hotel fund that was handed over to a large corporation
$157 million in additional losses

Bringing the total loss to taxpayers up to $252 million.Read More

Friends,

This is the letter I just sent to City Manager Ed Zuercher. The continued failure of City Staff to execute their basic responsibility under this City Manager is inexcusable – just look at the complete failure to address the needs of our community in South Phoenix, where City staff is in the process of pushing a bad plan down the throats of residents.

By The Goldwater Institute

Partisan gridlock in Congress is often the rule, but there are the occasional and notable exceptions. In the recent spending bill, lawmakers successfully repealed the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)—one of the most extreme examples of consolidated, unchecked government power in American history. As the only organization to have challenged IPAB in court, we’re celebrating the elimination of what columnist George Will called “the most anti-constitutional law ever written.”

Enacted eight years ago as part of the Affordable Care Act, IPAB was created as a cost-saving mechanism for the Medicare program for the nation’s elderly, but its authority was far broader. The unelected Board wielded unprecedented power to write healthcare rules that would automatically become law without a vote of Congress, signature of the president, notice to the public, or review by the courts.

Some fiscal conservatives are now lamenting the fact that, by repealing IPAB, Congress has removed important checks on uncontrolled Medicare spending. This is an issue that should not be ignored. True, the Medicare program is in desperate need of modernization and financial overhaul, and IPAB would have been a tool to control those costs. But the costs to our Constitution would have been far greater. Those doubting the dangers that IPAB posed should consider the following:

IPAB’s authority was not limited to Medicare. IPAB had much broader powers to make law governing both government and private healthcare—whatever the Board considered “related to the Medicare program.” IPAB’s toolbox was vast: It could enact price controls and even levy taxes. And those decisions would have been free of any meaningful checks or balances.

IPAB’s power was consolidated in one individual. Some viewed Congress’s repeal of IPAB as premature—after all, neither President Obama nor Trump had appointed any members to the Board, and it had not yet taken any actions. But lack of membership was only more cause for concern. So long as IPAB remained unstaffed, the Secretary of Health and Human Services alone wielded the Board’s vast powers.

IPAB’s decisions were not subject to judicial review. IPAB’s so-called “recommendations” would have automatically become law, without review by Congress or the courts. In other words, the ACA left unaccountable bureaucrats free to make decisions that could affect public and private healthcare for millions of Americans.

IPAB had the power to ration care. Many mistakenly believed that IPAB was prohibited from rationing healthcare. But what constitutes rationing? The ACA never defined “rationing care”—instead, it left the Board to define rationing however it wished, and it prohibited patients and doctors from turning to the courts for protection if the Board stopped them from receiving or delivering care. In other words, IPAB put bureaucrats in charge of deciding what type and how much medical care people should receive. That system would have deprived patients of access to needed care—increasing centralized decision making at the expense of individual healthcare decisions.

The U.S. Constitution gives the lawmaking power to Congress alone because legislators are responsible to their constituents and checked by the other branches of government. No agency can be rendered exempt from democratic processes and the rule of law. That is why Congress should be lauded for repealing the unchecked and unprecedented consolidation of bureaucratic power.
Read More

PHOENIX – State Treasurer Jeff DeWit announced yesterday during the State Board of Investment meeting that the Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund, also referred to as the Schools’ Trust Fund, has hit a record market value of more than $6 Billion.

Even with increased distributions totaling more than $793 million to Endowment beneficiaries, which is more than three times that of any previous treasurer, the endowment has grown in excess of $1 billion during Treasurer DeWit’s tenure.

“Credit for this achievement goes to the dedicated work of Senior Portfolio Manager Tim White who has managed the fund for nearly 20 years, along with the rest of the investment staff, and the members of the State Board of Investment,” Treasurer DeWit said.

Treasurer DeWit, who is chairman of the State Board of Investment, also noted that the Treasurer’s office reached another milestone in January with the month ending value of all investments at $15.85 Billion, an all-time high for assets under management.Read More

MORE CONSERVATIVE’S CORNER
Featured Editorials

When a proposal emerged many years ago to turn Scottsdale’s old Los Arcos Mall site into an Arizona State University-led innovation center that later became SkySong, then Councilman Jim Lane voted against it.  He thought the city’s assistance too great for what was effectively a private sector development.  But his voice was in the minority on that council.  Yet, after it was over and certainly since becoming Mayor, Lane has articulated that while he opposed the project initially his job afterwards was to be a positive voice to help make it as successful as possible.

That’s what good leaders and people do.  Don’t be a sore loser.  Be an ambassador for achievement.  Lane’s approach has been wise.  SkySong today has performed better than many anticipated and is anchoring a resurgence in the McDowell Road corridor.

Paradise Valley Mayor in waiting Jerry Bien-Willner seems to be adopting a similar approach as it relates to the Ritz-Carlton project in his town.  Bien-Willner voted against the resort, residential and retail project believing it too dense.  But like Lane was with SkySong, Bien-Willner lacked a majority.

Yet, privately and publicly Bien-Willner is doing what he should and must.  And that is to do what he can to help make the project a success now that a decision has been made.  Such integrity is one of many reasons why Bien-Willner is becoming Mayor by acclimation.

Contrast this with his petulant council peer Paul Dembow.  Like Bien-Willner he voted against the Ritz.  At a recent council candidate forum in which he was participating Dembow sounded more like he was auditioning for the “Biggest (and Sorest) Loser” than properly emulating Bien-Willner or Lane. He should ask himself what the point of any longer deriding the development is?  It’s in the ground.  And sure there have been delays.  Many are talking about them, including us.  But to so openly root for the project to fail, well, how does that serve Paradise Valley’s interest? Does Dembow think it better to have a skeleton in the community’s midst like Elevation Chandler once plagued that community to the south?

Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

For the first time in decades, a record number of women across the state are tossing their names in the ring for both federal and statewide offices. As we hopefully welcome a new generation of female leaders, we must also say goodbye to one of Arizona’s first political female trailblazers.

Carol Springer, a former Arizona Treasurer and state lawmaker, died in Prescott last week at age 81.

Springer helped raise the bar for women seeking public office. In 1998, nearly 90 years after women were given the right to vote in Arizona, five women political figures served in the state’s five most important government positions. And Springer was one of them.

Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

The Highs

*Tempe Vice Mayor Lauren Kuby announced her endorsement of former Councilwoman Kate Gallego for Phoenix Mayor.

*Phoenix School Board Members that have endorsed former Daniel Valenzuela for Phoenix Mayor: Andrew Pulcipher and Monica Pimental from Glendale Union, Bill Adams and Nikkie Whaley from Washington Elementary, Laura Pastor and Lela Alston from Phoenix Union, Ylenia Aguilar from Osborn Elementary and Devin Del Palacio from Tolleson Union.

*Former Councilman Valenzuela unveiled his comprehensive education action plan called #EducatePHX this Wednesday. #EducatePHX seeks to make Phoenix the most teacher-friendly city in the nation, bring Phoenix business and education leaders together in mutually beneficial partnerships, and motivate students to stay in school. (Link to see full plan)Read More

51. That’s the number of ballot statements opponents of allowing people to vote on development in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve submitted to the Scottsdale City Clerk. The vote will take place in November and is now known as Proposition 420.

51. That’s also the miniscule number of people that may actually vote against the measure at the ballot box in order to enable the breathtakingly bad boondoogle known as the Desert Discovery Center to proceed.

51. That’s also one short of a full deck, something Proposition 420 opponents don’t seem to be playing with as they are now resorting to attacking the people involved with the unprecedented Scottsdale grassroots movement. After all, do they not understand the tactic can be turned ‘round on them? We caution such voices that seemingly want to play games with the best political mortician in Scottsdale aside from Paul Messinger.
Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

We talk a lot about sports heroes, but how many of them actually leave a lasting impression on the game? Championship athletes earn their glory, surely. But it is the athletes that go above and beyond their abilities for the betterment of others that should be most worthy of our admiration.

Shane Doan is Arizona’s hockey hero.

Doan has become a local icon through the years by his hard-working mentality, professionalism and connection with the Arizona community. The bruising forward was known as one of the best NHL’s captains, a leader on and off the ice who has earned respect across the league.

Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

The Highs

*Former Councilwoman Kate Gallego has been endorsed by EMILY’s List. EMILY’s list is a political action committee that aims to help elect pro-choice Democratic female candidates to office.

*Former Councilman Daniel Valenzuela has been endorsed by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.

*Former Councilwoman Kate Gallego opened new campaign headquarters in Phoenix at 4700 N. Central Ave on August 8th.

*Bill Crawford has been endorsed by the Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors.*Protect Our Preserve has endorsed Solange Whitehead and Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield for Scottsdale City Council.

Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

The stakes are high for Arizona’s midterm elections. In a state with numerous high profile races, the Republican primary for Arizona’s treasurer is far down the list for many voters. When in fact, this is the race that matters because money always matters.

In case you forgot from your high school civics class, the treasurer handles Arizona’s finances. They are responsible for paying the bills, making sure funds are allocated correctly and keeping Arizona’s finances in line. The state treasurer also manages an investment portfolio of about $15 billion. This is no easy task to manage.

That’s why it is crucial to have someone who understands money management, Arizona politics and transparency in the role. That’s why Arizona needs Kimberly Yee.

Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

The sun always seems to be shining in Paradise Valley. A unique desert oasis nestled between mountains. It’s the “best small town in America” as Mayor Collins often states. To ensure the Paradise Valley stays that way, it needs a council that shares its vision and integrity.

Last Thursday, the town’s Mountain Shadows Resort hosted the 2018 Paradise Valley Town Council debate where governing board candidates deliberated local issues and shared their vision for the future. Four council candidates will be pursuing three seats.

The Paradise Valley Town council candidates are Ellen Andeen, James Anton, Paul Dembow and Anna Thomasson.

A number of issues face this upcoming council. From the lack of progress on the Ritz-Carlton, cell service coverage to Senate Bill 1350, each candidate expressed their opinions and expectations for the town – some opinions stronger than others.

Each candidate gave it their all, appealing to the audience on why they deserved to serve the Paradise Valley community.

Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

The Highs

*Former Councilwoman Kate Gallego has been endorsed by six state leaders: Senator Juan Mendez, Lisa Otondo, Martin Quezada, Representative Athena Salman, Representative Kelli Butler, and Representative Isela Blanc.

*Mountain Shadows Resort in Paradise Valley held the 2018 Town Council Debate on Thursday August 2 for the four candidates who will be pursuing one of three seats. The candidates participating included Ellen Andeen, James Anton, Paul Dembow and Anna Thomasson. Paradise Valley Vice Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner, who is running unopposed for Mayor, attended the event as well.

Read More

*Anna Thomasson’s Town Council campaign in Paradise Valley

*Bill Crawford’s signs for Scottsdale City Council 

*That Jerry Bien-Willner cleared the field in his mayoral run to replace Paradise Valley Mayor Michael Collins

*U.S. Senate Mitch McConnell’s substantial financial help to boost Congresswoman Martha McSally’s GOP primary prospects for the U.S. Senate

*The NODDC effort for grassroots organization, a Hall of Fame effort

Read More

Once upon a time one of us involved with this blog had an opportunity to listen to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a small setting.  A pretty boring guy who reminded us more of a Republican Michael Dukakis he nevertheless piqued our interested when talking about how and why certain voters in his state voted for him, but then opted for President Obama too.  Walker-Obama voters?   A strange political breed indeed.

It was a fascinating discussion he ascribed to “leadership.” Walker of course is and was famous for his stand against public sector unions, a fight that played out years ago on national television.  Walker could have caved like Arizona  Governor Doug Ducey did to teacher unions this past year.  But the Wisconsin Governor didn’t.  And while he came up short in his quest for the White House he has been impressively re-elected to the post.  

Swimming against the tide ain’t easy.  And the tide in Scottsdale these days rolling to shore comes in the form of the incredible grassroots movement to kill the ridiculous Desert Discovery Center.  And make no mistake, that project is dead.  The political priests have read the rights.  It’s over.

Yet, Scottsdale City Councilwoman Linda Milhaven refuses to tip to these windmills.  Check out her comments in the recent Scottsdale Independent about the project, now that there will be a public vote on it in November.  Here is a link.

Standing her ground Milhaven is the only councilmember who says she will be voting no.  Mind you, this is a measure that may pass with upwards of 80% of the vote.  Yet the erstwhile Milhaven, up for re-election, doesn’t waver.  This stands in contrast to previous supporters like Councilman David Smith and Councilwoman Virginia Korte who are flapping in the wind like puffins during an Icelandic summer.  Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop
 
It has been a long time coming, but finally it looks like the end is in sight. This week, the Scottsdale City Clerk announced that the Protect Our Preserve initiative has more than enough valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot. Voters will see it on their ballot as Proposition 420.

This means that the future of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve rests in the hands of the voters – as it should be.

Scottsdale’s leaders have long imagined building a Desert Discovery Center on the Preserve. Unfortunately, in order to achieve this dream, Scottsdale city leaders decided to deny a public vote on the project.

Read More

For weeks we have been sounding the alarm about Tom Simon. He’s the former spokesman for the failed effort to prevent the renovation of the former Chinese Cultural Center in Phoenix. Simon is also a felon with a criminal history that goes back decades. History repeated itself in July when he was busted by Scottsdale Police for unlawful imprisonment and threatening to distribute lewd images. Here is a link.

The story gets a lot worse. The Police report tells a troubling story. The victim claims Simon coerced her to have sex, secretly videoed the sex, and she claims Simon threatened to post the recording on the internet if she did not agree to have sex with him again. 

Simon was arrested on charges related to unlawful imprisonment and electronic distribution of lewd materials. Simon pled guilty to disturbing the peace and fighting. The other charges were dropped.

The police report is disturbing. While sexual assault WAS NOT alleged, the victim told police she was fearful and very upset. Police never did not find a video but they did find some disturbing text messages. The police report states the following:

“I noted a very extensive text conversation between XXX and Thomas. In these texts, Thomas claims to have video of them having sex. He also sends a picture of what he says to be the video of them having sex and further explicitly explains the two having sexual intercourse. He explains that he will release the video on the internet and that it would destroy her reputation. He also threatens to call immigration on XXX, get a restraining order against her and file criminal charges against her unless she meets up with him with the underlying tone of having sexual intercourse.”

We redacted the victim’s name. Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

The Highs

*Councilwoman Kate Gallego has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona and will be hosting a petition drive at Planned Parenthood center Saturday July 28th from 9:30am – 12:30pm.

*Solange Whitehead and Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield announced their support for Scottsdale ballot Proposition 420 that seeks to change the Scottsdale charters in order to protect the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

*Former Councilman Valenzuela spoke at the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Event Thursday July 26th to discuss PhoeNext and his platform on job creation for Phoenix residents.

*Councilman David Smith and Councilwoman Linda Milhaven attended the official ground-breaking ceremony for SkySong 5 along with Scottsdale Mayor Lane, fellow Councilmembers Korte and Klapp and ASU President Michael Crow.

*Bill Crawford volunteered Wednesday July 25th at the City of Scottsdale’s Back-To-School Supply Drive at Scottsdale Stadium.

Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

The conversation about diversity and inclusion is growing. The push for racial, ethnic and gender equality is now one of the top issues facing the country today. And it’s only getting louder. Yet, talk does not always lead to action.

That’s why some in Scottsdale are making a statement: “Scottsdale For All.”

Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

It’s becoming an all too familiar statement for a number of Scottsdale galleries shutting their stores for good.

Marshall Way – once known as Arizona’s premier arts destination – just said goodbye to yet another one of its prominent Scottsdale galleries. After the loss of Modern American Gallery and relocation of Gauthier Jewelry, Calvin Charles Gallery announced earlier this month that it would be closing its doors.  Opening in 1999, the gallery has long been an anchor for the downtown arts scene.

It’s the latest in a series of changes that has many worried of what is to become of the arts district.

Old Town Scottsdale has long prided itself as the core of Scottsdale. It is a place for imagination, innovation and commerce. But with the decline in local galleries and artists, Scottsdale today has lost much of what makes the area unique.

A variety of factors have contributed to the downfall of Scottsdale’s art district. Higher rents have forced some galleries to close up shop and move to Phoenix or Tempe where the rent is cheaper and spaces are bigger. For others, it is the aging demographic and rise in online sales that make it difficult to stay open.

But the city is not without blame.

Read More

It looks like Tom Simon’s criminal tendencies have returned prompting his apparent dismissal as the spokesman for the flailing efforts to stop the revitalization of the former Chinese Cultural Center in Phoenix.


For months we have opined about the criminal background of Thomas Simon. Here is link to one of the articles that outlines a long list of felonies from years ago.

 

According to court records he was accused July 2nd of this year in Scottsdale of unlawful imprisonment, unlawful distribution of images depicting nudity or sex, unlawful intent for lewd electronic communications, and disorderly conduct/disruptive behavior or fighting. 

He took a plea deal and pled guilty to the disorderly conduct/fighting charge.


Simon tried to spin his dismissal. He claimed he resigned from the campaign.  He sent the media this message on July 14:
“Effective immediately I’m removing my request that LirongHuang be excluded from the Chinese Cultural Center.  I am withdrawing the court order keeping her from visiting the Center.  Also, effective immediately I am resigning my post as Spokesman for CUAGP Chinese United.  I bid you all farewell and wish you best of luck.   May God be with you and LirongHuang and may God see fit to Save the Chinese Cultural Center.    —Tom Simon Official Spokesman Chinese United.”


Actually, he was canned. Representatives of the campaign sent the media this message July 14th as well.
Read More

Arizona Republic Editorial Writer Joanna Allhands may be the only one in America that feels this way.  Take a look at what she had to say.  CLICK HER TO READ HER EDITORIAL

by Scottsdale Pinetop

The Highs

*Councilmember Kate Gallego leads Phoenix mayoral race fundraising with more than $1 million raised.

*Councilman Daniel Valenzuela has been endorsed by five former Phoenix City Councilmembers: Peggy Neely, Claude Mattox, Peggy Bilsten, John Nelson and Maria Baier.

*Bill Crawford has given back to the community by donating school supplies to Vista Del Camino Community Center for the City of Scottsdale’s Back-To-School Supply Drive on July 25th at Scottsdale Stadium.
Read More

By Pam Kirby
Ms. Kirby has twice been elected to the Governing Board of the Scottsdale Unified School District and previously served from 2008-2014 on the Paradise Valley Town Council.

Life, and public service, can be a lot like a relay race.  Work as a team, try as hard as you can, then hand off the baton.

That’s what I did when I served on the Paradise Valley Town Council before focusing my energies on the Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board.  And it’s what I have decided to do now. 

I like term limits because I believe government serves the people best when there are new perspectives and energies.  And while I am not prevented from running for re-election this year, my decision not to run will open the door for those fresh ideas.

I don’t want to whitewash matters that have plagued our district over the past year.  They were and are serious and in need of repair.  However, we are fortunate to have Dr. John Kriekard as our new Acting Superintendent and he is hard at work, focused on moving the district forward.

I do believe many of the reform initiatives we undertook as a Board were necessary and important.  But, the messengers implementing it were wrong.  That’s why I was the first boardmember to call for the previous Superintendent’s dismissal.  I wish it could have been otherwise but the situation demanded it.  We have been and will continue to cooperate with the Attorney General’s Office to settle the matters so parents, students and teachers can get on with what they do best.

I learned something very important over the past two years.  No matter how strong the need for change may be, the pace of that change needs to be calibrated.  There can only be so much reform at one time and those who disagree with it deserve respect and communication along the way. Read More

SEE MORE FEATURED EDITORIALS
2018 Scrum

from Team Kate

EMILY’s List is our nation’s largest and most successful organization with the mission of electing pro-choice women to public office. Their endorsement is a MAJOR step forward for our campaign in this race.

If elected, Kate would be the only female mayor in any of America’s ten largest cities.

Will you join EMILY’s List by supporting Kate and helping her break this glass ceiling?

 

Thank you!

 

— Team Kate

PHOENIX (August 8, 2018) – A new poll reveals that support for an increase in the individual income tax collapses when voters are informed of the actual percentage increase being proposed, raising major doubts over whether proponents would have collected sufficient signatures had they leveled with petition signers. [POLLING SUMMARY.]

The tax hike initiative proposes establishing new income tax rates of 8 percent or 9 percent depending on a taxpayer’s income, an increase on the current 4.54 percent top individual rate, resulting in tax rate increases of 76.21 percentand a whopping 98.24 percent.

Initiative proponents, however, lowballed voters on their petition, claiming their plan would result in tax rate increases of only 3.46 percent or 4.46 percent. 

“When Arizona voters get the real story, support for a major increase in the individual income tax completely falls apart,” Arizonans for Great Schools and a Strong Economy Chairman Jaime Molera said. “No wonder the proponents didn’t shoot straight with voters: they wouldn’t have gotten the signatures.”

Nearly sixty percent of respondents to the live-caller poll of 400 registered voters, which was conducted August 2-3, said they would support a 3 percent income tax increase on individuals earning more than $250,000 annually.

But respondents overwhelmingly rejected a 76 percent income tax rate increase on that same income bracket. Less than 30 percent of respondents said they would support such a dramatic tax rate increase. Support was just as weak for the 98 percent tax rate increase.Read More

Hello,

I want you to see our new video – it’s about Governor Doug Ducey’s efforts to secure our border and stop the flow of drug cartels and human traffickers. 

Since 2015, Governor Ducey has led the way with strong border security — launching Arizona’s Border Strike Force and deploying the Arizona National Guard to the border. Watch and share our video below:

Click here to watch the video »

Will you share this important message about securing our border? Please share our video on Facebook, or forward this email to your friends and family.

Thanks,
Team Ducey

Friends,

I’m proud to announce that the Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS have endorsed our campaign for Scottsdale City Council!

“…the Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS (SAAR) recommends and endorses candidates that recognize the issues facing our more than 9,000 members and share our vision for future communities that support real estate and homeownership.” 

REALTORS are the “eyes and ears” on the ground monitoring property values and attracting new residents to our great city. They’re ambassadors and they are marketing and promoting the value of being a resident in Scottsdale, and doing a great job. We know REALTORS support the value of purchasing a home in Scottsdale.

In addition to the REALTORS support, we also recently picked up the endorsement from the Arizona Multihousing Association.

Thanks again for your support and feel free to contact me with any questions about our campaign.

Sincerely,

Bill Crawford
602-576-6797
crawfordforscottsdale@gmail.com

from Team Ducey

We wanted you to be the first to see our first TV ad, titled “Results.” The ad highlights how far Arizona has come in the last three years, like adding 240,000 jobs and investing $2.7 billion into K-12 education, as well as the work ahead.

Watch and share it below:

Four years ago, Arizona was $1 billion in the red. School funding was flat after years of cuts. Today, the budget is balanced. 240,000 new jobs created. $2.7 billion in new spending for schools, plus a 20% teacher pay raise. And with the Border Strike Force, our border is more secure. It took an outsider, a businessman — not afraid to shake things up. There’s more to do, but Doug Ducey is getting results. Doug Ducey: Securing Arizona’s Future.

Help us share our new TV ad! Please share the video on Facebook, or forward this email to your friends and family.

Thanks,
Team Ducey

SEE MORE 2018 SCRUM
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