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2018 Scrum

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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As the joint Phoenix-Paradise Valley improvements impressively conclude soon at Camelback Mountain’s Echo Canyon it sparks a new idea:  hiking access to Paradise Valley’s Mummy Mountain.

Scottsdale is opening trailheads in its spectacular McDowell Sonoran Preserve daily, it seems.  Demand for hikes in and around Paradise Valley at Piestewa Peak, Cholla Trail and Echo Canyon aren't subsiding any time soon.

So why not think of ways to create public access to another town landmark?  Clearly, such an endeavor would need to avoid the negative impacts other trailheads have and can cause for neighborhoods.  But the small trailhead along Tatum heading north into Phoenix accessing that mountain preserve has never been a problem.  And with Paradise Valley officials having already thought through creative solutions in dealing with Echo Canyon demand, such as shuttling from Town Hall, perhaps such an initiative could be non-intrusive.  Perhaps.  Or not.  But it’s a notion worth looking at.

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Phoenix, AZ – Senator Michele Reagan is proud to announce the endorsement of State Representative Justin Pierce in her bid for Arizona Secretary of State. Representative Pierce, who also vied for the Republican Secretary of State nomination, released the following statement supporting Senator Reagan and encouraging Republicans to unify their support behind Michele. Screen-Shot-2013-10-30-at-10_34_40-AM2-78220_641x340

“Running for Arizona Secretary of State was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. We ran a positive campaign and many thanks go out to all my supporters for their tireless efforts to help me win the Republican nomination. Even though we fell just short of our goal, the campaign reinforced my belief that if I didn’t win the nomination, Michele Reagan was the perfect candidate for Secretary of State. I am confident in her abilities to effectively and efficiently execute the duties of the Secretary of State and therefore, I proudly endorse her campaign.

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Friends,

On Tuesday, we secured the Republican nomination for Secretary of State and move on to face perennial statewide candidate Terry Goddard. We must defeat him - which is why I am asking you to contribute 100 dollars to my campaign today. Any contribution received will help to buy more television advertising, mailers, and yard signs. I can’t do this without your help.
Screen-Shot-2013-10-30-at-10_34_40-AM2-78220_641x340
Although we are a red state and every major statewide office is occupied by Republicans, this campaign will not be a cakewalk. Which is why our campaign needs your contribution today! The primary election was grueling and depleted our resources and now it is time to restock and defeat my democratic opponent.

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Dear Friends…

In this Tuesday’s primary election, Scottsdale citizens gave me the third highest total for any candidate! While I am personally grateful and humbled by this result, I actually consider each of these a vote for Fiscal Integrity, Citizen Vision and Accountability in local government.

I could not have achieved this extraordinary result in so short a period of time without the tireless efforts and enthusiastic support of each of you. Together, we have overcome some daunting challenges in getting where we are today:

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The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, celebrates a great night for candidates who support educational choice. Ten out of the 11 candidates the American Federation for children supported won their primaries, with the 11th race still too close to call. Three of the most important races include Sen. Carlyle Begay, D-Ganado, and Reps. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills and Steve Smith, R-Maricopa who all prevailed in their primary races. The results mark a continued track record by the American Federation for Children (AFC) to serve as the voice for parents who want more elected officials who support providing educational choice options for Arizona children.

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From Hugh Hallman campaign

NOTE: After receiving the letter referenced in this release, the DeWit campaign pulled the video and posts with the accusations against our campaign from their web site and YouTube site. However, DeWit has yet to retract his false statements.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hallman Campaign Demands DeWit Retract Accusations About Signs, Remove Doctored Video From Internet; Possible Litigation For Defamation/Libel

PHOENIX, Arizona (August 22, 2014) —Republican State Treasurer Candidate Hugh Hallman’s campaign today sent a letter to candidate Jeff DeWit demanding he retract false, defamatory and libelous accusations about Hallman concerning campaign road signs.

The letter demanded that DeWit also remove a doctored video from the internet purporting to show Hallman putting up a road sign in front of one of DeWit’s signs, when Hallman was actually taking down a sign instead in response to an “anonymous” complaint — a clear “gotcha” technique designed to defame Hallman and his campaign for State Treasurer.hallman pic

The text of the letter sent by Hallman’s attorney to DeWit’s attorney is as follows:

Recently Jeff DeWit posted on his website a statement accusing Hugh Hallman personally of committing a crime, which not only is false, it constitutes defamation and libel per se. Further, Mr. DeWit later posted a video that concludes in an attempt to show Mr. Hallman erecting one of his campaign’s signs to block one of Mr. DeWit’s campaign signs. That “conclusion” is false.

As has now been reported, Mr. Hallman’s campaign received an anonymous phone call complaining about one of Mr. Hallman’s signs blocking the sign of “another” Treasurer candidate. Mr. Hallman heard the message in the presence of three campaign volunteers who will testify to these facts. Mr. Hallman concluded that the continuous interference with his campaign signs had become significant enough that he would investigate this instance personally. He was joined by one of the campaign volunteers.

When Mr. Hallman and the volunteer arrived at the noted location, they examined the situation, took pictures of the signs and then proceeded to remove Mr. Hallman’s campaign sign to eliminate any issue and despite that it appeared to Mr. Hallman that his sign clearly had been manipulated by a third party.

It should not have come as a surprise that one or more individuals associated with Mr. DeWit’s campaign were discretely “present” to video tape and photograph Mr. Hallman and the volunteer when they arrived at the location to address the anonymous complaint. It also is no surprise given prior misstatements by Mr. DeWit about Mr. Hallman that Mr. DeWit’s campaign has created and released a video that has been manipulated to make it appear that Mr. Hallman was erecting rather than removing the sign in question.

There appears to be significant effort exerted by Mr. DeWit’s campaign to capture and then doctor the video and photographs created by the DeWit campaign. That the manipulated video created a false impression and conclusion is demonstrated by, among other things, the “tease” aired by Channel 3 news on August 21 at 6:00 p.m. The effort and coordination that clearly took place by Mr. DeWit’s campaign to create this false impression demonstrates that it was done knowingly and with malice. This, too, amounts to libel and, given the number of parties likely involved, it amounts to conspiracy to commit defamation and/or aiding and abetting defamation.

Accordingly, please immediately cause Mr. DeWit to retract his statement, remove the video from the web, and issue an apology for making the false statements claiming Mr. Hallman personally has engaged in criminal activity.

Furthermore, please consider this a demand that any and all documents and communications of any kind among Mr. DeWit, members of his campaign and any third party be preserved in anticipation of litigation on this matter. You have an obligation to see to it that any and all evidence regarding this matter, as well as any and all evidence reasonably calculated to lead to evidence in this matter, be preserved. Such items include, but are not limited to, emails, texts, phone call logs, voice mail messages and any other document or communication, whether in paper or electronic format.

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