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2018 Scrum

PHOENIX – As 2016 comes to a close, the Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund has beat industry benchmarks by a wider margin than in previous years.

“This is recognition of the hard work and incredible staff at the State Treasurer’s office,” Treasurer DeWit said.
The fund beat many of the large public investment funds in the United States including CalPERS, CalSTERS, Dartmouth, MIT, Stanford and Harvard.

“Our conservative, America first portfolio of 1,500 stocks and 405 bonds show that keeping our own staff and not outsourcing the management of Arizona’s money to Wall Street not only saves the state tens of millions in fees but also has produced better results,” DeWit said.

The $5.3 billion Endowment returned 3.32% in the last fiscal year ending June 30, 2016. This compares to the median one-year return of negative -0.74% for all endowments, according to results published by Wilshire Associates and reported by Bloomberg, LLC. By these metrics, in the first full fiscal year under Treasurer DeWit Arizona’s endowment outperformed Wall Street’s average by over 4%. This outperformance has continued through the end of November, to soon be reported at the upcoming December Arizona Board of Investment meeting.

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By:  Former State Senator Andy Biggs

I applaud the FBI for doing the right thing and re-opening their investigation into Hillary Clinton's e-mail. Secretary Clinton could be less than two weeks from becoming the next Commander-in-Chief of the greatest country on the planet, and the American people deserve to know everything about her handling of confidential and classified information. We cannot afford to elect leaders who put American secrets and top-level information in jeopardy. The lies and deceit from Hillary Clinton and her allies have damaged the integrity of our Republic. The American people deserve justice in this case.

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By: John Shadegg, Former U.S. Representative

Election Day is less than two weeks away and I would be honored if today you can join me in making a donation to Bob's campaign to help him cross the finish line.

bob-burnsIt has certainly been a long campaign.

Bob reached out to me early on for help. Even as an incumbent running for re-election, the Republican establishment was keeping its distance. Many in the party were hesitant to join Bob in rocking the boat and bringing attention to the state of transparency at the Corporation Commission.

But I didn’t hesitate.

I’ve known Bob for a very long time and I’ve seen firsthand how committed he’s always been to doing the right thing. No matter what Bob was up against, he would always do what’s right for Arizona.

So when Bob needed my help, I knew that I would have his back.

Bob has an important fundraising deadline tonight, and I would be honored if you’ll join me in making a donation to his campaign.

A contribution of $25, $50, $100, or whatever you can give, would go a long way toward helping Bob win a second term on the Commission and to continue his work improving the functionality - and the image - of the Corporation Commission.

It has been a long campaign, and with a final push I know we’ll be celebrating a victory with Bob and his family on November 8th. Please consider making a contribution to help Bob finish strong over this final stretch.

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By: Friends of John McCain

Phoenix, AZ-- Arizona Right to Life endorsed John McCain's reelection to the U.S. Senate, mccainciting his lifelong support for pro-life policies and Arizona families. National Right to Life also endorsed John McCain's reelection earlier this year.

“All Arizonans who are concerned with protecting the sanctity of life and advocating for our most vulnerable should vote to reelect John McCain to the U.S. Senate,” said Greg Hansen, Chairman Arizona Right to Life.  “John McCain has been a tremendous partner in advancing vital pro-life policies and we are grateful for his work on behalf of Arizona families.” 

"John McCain has been reliably pro-life since his first term in the House," said John Jakubczyk, National Right to Life Committee Board Member. "He has worked side by side with Arizona Right to Life, the National Right to Life Committee and the pro-life movement every step of the way.  He was endorsed by both National Right to Life and Arizona Right to Life when he ran for president and has had the support of pro-life leaders and activists throughout Arizona.  We need John McCain in the Senate so he can continue to work for the pro-life cause."   

“I am honored to receive the endorsement of Arizona Right to Life, an organization that upholds respect and dignity of every individual human being, living and unborn,” said John McCain. “As a lifelong pro-life American, I have fought to defend the rights of all human life and I will continue this fight in the U.S. Senate.”

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By: Biggs for Congress

Gilbert -The Arizona Right to Life, one of Arizona's leading pro-life organizations, endorsed Andy Biggs for Arizona's Fifth Congressional District. Andy Biggs released the following statement:

"There is nothing more important than defending life. I have made it a foundation of my time in public service to ensure that all life - from the moment of conception, to the final stages - is protected and considered sacred. To that end, I have an extensive history of praying outside of abortion clinics, donating to countless pro-life organizations and advising pro-life organizations at the United Nations. I also have a strong record of sponsoring and supporting pro-life bills that have been signed into law. I've been honored to work with the Arizona Right to Life for decades, and I could not be more honored to have their endorsement for my campaign."

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By: Biggs for Congress

Gilbert - Former Presidential candidate and Former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Rick Santorum endorsed Andy Biggs for Arizona's Fifth Congressional District. Senator Santorum, a prominent national leader in the movement to defend pro-life and pro-family issues, had this to say about Senator Andy Biggs: 

"In the race to replace Congressman Salmon, there is one candidate that stands above the rest when it comes to defending faith and family values – that candidate is Andy Biggs," Rick Santorum said. "People of faith in the Fifth Congressional District can trust Andy to defend these values because he has a proven and consistent record of protecting life, promoting the sanctity of family, and defending religious freedom. As the liberals in Washington continue to wage an intense war on these important values in an attempt to completely turn the tide of society, we cannot allow ourselves to elect people to Congress whose positions on these issues are questionable at best. We must elect leaders who have proven they will stand for us and with us no matter the cost. In Arizona, Andy Biggs has demonstrated his unwavering courage in defense of life, family, and religious freedom, and I have complete faith that he will do the same in Congress. Join me and many other faith-based leaders in supporting Andy Biggs for Congress."

"For a number of decades, Senator Rick Santorum has been a national leader when it comes to pro-life and pro-family issues," Andy Biggs said. "Throughout his time as a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, Senator Santorum stood against the Washington Establishment and held firm for our shared conservative principles. Senator Santorum's efforts to protect and defend the unborn and our religious freedoms has been inspiring to millions of conservatives across the country. I am honored to have the support and endorsement of Senator Rick Santorum."

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spears photoWhen a beautiful young woman does this to her hair it’s a shame.  And disturbing.

The same goes for misfitting projects like this at Troon North in Scottsdale. We have previously opined how wrong it just troonwould be for a speculative timeshare developer to be allowed to triple density adjoining the clubhouse of one of the finest public golf courses in the United States, Troon North.  Here is a link.

But we never thought it would or could look this bad.  Impolitically correct, The Tripling of Timeshares at the entrance of Troon North looks more like the barracks in another part of Arizona.  In Parker.  Thate’s where the United States infamously interned Japanese-Americans in World War II.  While we certainly don’t mean to imply moral equivalency we certainly don’t mind making the architectural comparison, though the ones still standing in Parker might actually be more attractive, as hard as that is to believe.One of Britney Spears’ biggest hits was called “Toxic.”  And that’s what the notion of this absurd plan would be for Troon North’s 1800 homeowners, Scottsdale and one of its grandest tourism trophies.

Developer lobbyist and former Scottsdale Planning Department official Don Hadder should be ashamed to be shilling for such specious speculators. Hopefully, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane and the Scottsdale City Council will see through the nonsense in favor of one of the city's signature neighborhoods.

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People like John McCain are supposed to ride off into the sunset.  They deserve it.

That’s why news of the Senator’s diagnosis came as such a gut punch.  Love him or not any clear thinking person respects McCain.

The announcement called to mind a similar circumstance of another legend, former Scottsdale Mayor Herb Drinkwater.  McCain, John-012309-18421- 0004

With no equal for constituent service and the broadest smile in the American West Drinkwater was beloved.  But in the 1990s he decided over a decade was time enough as Mayor of the “West’s Most Western Town.” Ride off into the sunset he planned.  But then cancer called.  Drinkwater died far too soon.

And who was there to eulogize him?  John McCain.  He waxed appropriate and eloquent not just about a man who had endorsed him early on during his Arizona quests, but for the first among equals Drinkwater was as a personality and leader.

That Arizona was denied the full life of one of these men is punishment enough.  Drinkwater surely wishes his friend to join him in the heavens, though we know he won’t mind if that’s not what John McCain has in mind just yet.


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Legal beagles say lots of things to tout projects in front of city councils.  But there may be no greater Houdini of Hot Air than Snell/Smell & Wilmer’s Nick Wood.  Currently, he’s espousing the merits of Attesa outside Casa Grande in Pinal County.  It’s a proposed combination of racetrack, automobile country club and other things motorsports. To listen to Wood talk of the project is to think it’s a cure for cancer.  And it must be with the sly attorney’s sleight of hand trying to pass new Pinal County ordinances that will allow his client to get into the pockets of taxpayers for his client’s private business. But hasn’t Wood taken us here before?  And weren’t taxpayers devastated?

Readers may recall that Wood similarly touted what may be the most infamous city subsidy during the past two decades in Arizona.  Here is a link to a recent Glendale Star article. Not too long ago he stood before the Glendale City Council and talked of a “Main Street Commons” to surround the Camelback Ranch spring training facility for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox.  Its shops and sales tax revenues were supposed to pay for the initial city contribution to the complex.  It didn’t work out that way and Glendale taxpayers are still suffocating from the approximate $200 million taxpayer contribution towards one month of baseball each year. 

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The city is a land of great things.  Hikes. Preserves.  Arts.  Imaginative waterways. People.  Nightclubs.  Restaurants.  Spring training.  Special events.  And golf.

Golf is a driver of tourism, the city’s most important industry.  The sport’s economic impact is staggering.  But most tourists can’t play the plethora of private links at Desert Mountain, Desert Highlands, Whisper Rock and Estancia, among others. 4616339842_37a281d7c6_z

It’s the other courses, the public ones, which play the unquestioned, unrivaled and accessible role for tourists.

And first among Scottsdale’s public course equals is Troon North.  Its two 18-hole courses are holes in ones for Scottsdale coffers.  Indeed, Troon North has been recognized by the Golf Channel, Golf Digest, Travel+Leisure and Conde Nast media not just as the best public course in Arizona, but among the best in the United States.

Simply put, Troon North is a Scottsdale point of pride, a tourism trophy that doubles as a gathering spot for the 1800 homeowners that make up the community.

So while residents are used to twosomes and foursomes imagine the shock when a group of  developers showed up to triple the density of a timeshare plan on a beautiful plot of land at the entrance to Troon North, adjacent to the landmark clubhouse.  That would be like seeing Cindy Crawford with acne.

Yet, City of Scottsdale planning staff doesn’t seem to want to play the role of Clearasil.  They are supporting the Floridians call to triple the timeshares at Troon North, forsaking the common sense count from the property’s original count in the low 20s for a Boca Raton like bounty in the 60s. 

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There are two epic boxing matches upcoming.  The undefeated Floyd Mayweather versus MMA fighter Conor McGregor followed by Canelo Alvarez versus GGG in September.  Both are likely tame in comparison to the best fight in Arizona today between; that between civil rights activist Jarrett Maupin and the Arizona Republic.  This is a blog outpost of opinion.  But sometimes no opinion is necessary.  Just read the exchange yourself.  First, the Republic's harpooning of Maupin and the Reverend's most spirited response.

Arizona Republic: As Jarrett Maupin sought justice for a Phoenix family, he also asked them for cash
By Richard Ruelas and Megan Cassidy

The Rev. Jarrett Maupin placed his arms around a weeping Lorenza Valdez and started speaking to the bank of television cameras set up tightly along a wall of her trailer. It had been 11 days since Phoenix police shot and killed Valdez's son Francisco, his body falling inches from where she now stood.

Maupin thanked reporters for coming to the news conference he had called. He said he was there because the Valdez family had reached out to him. “They want justice in this situation,” the civil-rights activist told reporters.

Days earlier, Maupin had wanted money.

The next day, Maupin pressed her, saying he had already fronted the money by dipping into his own pocket. "Let me know when you might be able to get the funds," he wrote.

To get the money, Valdez borrowed from friends and neighbors. For Valdez, who cleans houses during 10- to 12-hour workdays, the money represented approximately one month’s earnings.

Maupin said the money he received from Valdez was not for himself. He said that Valdez had demanded he hire a private investigator and a photographer and that the money was going to them.

“The things the Valdez woman paid for were things she wanted that were outside of the normal scope of advocacy,” Maupin said in an interview with The Arizona Republic.

Valdez said Maupin had been a regular visitor to her trailer until he got the money. Then, she said, he stopped coming around.

Maupin told her he was planning a protest outside Phoenix City Hall. But, in a series of texts, he canceled that protest three separate times, rescheduling it for varying reasons.

The third and final cancellation came about half an hour before the scheduled rally. Valdez said she received that notice while she stood with neighbors at her trailer park in west Phoenix. They were waiting for the buses Maupin had promised would take them downtown.

Click here to read the entire article.

Maupin Response:
The Reverend Jarrett Maupin's response to being the subject of an incredibly error-filled and indisputably biased article that appeared in or on media platforms controlled by The Arizona Republic today...

For Immediate Release...

July, 11th, 2017

Media Alert

The Reverend Jarrett Maupin's response to being the subject of an incredibly error-filled and indisputably biased article that appeared in or on media platforms controlled by The Arizona Republic today:

"I have never been more disappointed or sickened by a media report in The Arizona Republic, than I was today. To be the subject of vicious lies, fabricated scandal, and then to be publicly defamed by a series of professional, personal, and social insult quotes is a form of abuse that the leaders of our paper of record should be concerned about,

"I would like to address several outright lies in the article:

First of all, I am the leader of a years old quasi-religious non-profit social welfare organization that, in-part, functions as a church. This was publicly available information that the so-called journalists that authored this story failed to research or simply ignored. I have also served with distinction as an interim minister and associate minister at several churches.

Second, I do not and never have charged hundreds or thousands of dollars in fees to anyone that came to me with a civil rights concern. I engage in civil rights activism that is totally free and self-sustaining. Completely separate and apart from this community work, I do operate a consulting firm that is exclusively focused on political, business, and community development issues and clientele. These two areas of work function independently of each other and are absolutely unrelated.

Third, I do not and have not ever attempted to solicit money from, manage money for, or demand any sort of donation or contribution from ANY person I have ever advocated for. In fact, The Arizona Republic article states that of ALL of the people they interviewed only two people made this baseless and low accusation. Both of these people have either a personal or political motivation to make these disparaging claims.

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Watching Hillary Clinton before or Republicans in Congress now it’s no wonder much of America felt the need to send Donald Trump to the swamp.  2016 was a requiem for the revolting.  Fortunately, jolts to the political system are not always necessary.  In some places thoughtful is better than turbulent and mild-mannered to maniacal.

One example is in Paradise Valley, Arizona where a man with three names serves as an antidote for a more famous one with two.  He’s Jerry Bien-Willner.  Councilman Bien-Willner.

He exudes competence and goodness.  He’s courteous.  He’s smart, never a smart ass.  He personifies the notion of not being disagreeable even when there are disagreements.

Bien-Willner is a model for anyone in the arena.  And the public arena is very lucky to have him.

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As many head to the beach this holiday weekend, put the novel or Kindle down.  We’re more interesting.  For example:

*Scottsdale’s aggressive and effective anti-Desert Discovery Center grassroots group may spawn a 2018 Scottsdale City Council candidate:  Jason Alexander.  Downtown businessman Bill Crawford is also likely to challenge the incumbent line-up of Kathy Littlefield, David Smith and Linda Milhaven.

*The group has collected many thousands of signatures on its way towards forcing a public vote on the Desert Discovery Center via the initiative process.

*Keep an eye on Scottsdale Unified School District Board Member Pam Kirby.

*Politically, Arizona State Treasurer and top Trump surrogate Jeff DeWit still isn’t sure where 2017 and 2018 might take him.

*Pulte Homes has received the green light from the Glendale City Council to pump a $450 million, master-planned community investment into southern Glendale close to the Arizona Cardinals’ stadium

*Frank Schmuck is looking to gear up and get a new consultant on board for a renewed run for the Arizona State Legislature.

*Governor Ducey is making an underappreciated effort to focus on and secure Arizona’s water future. 

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Check out this article in the Scottsdale Republic showcasing the status quo sycophants of the Scottsdale Unified School District. Here is a link.

What planet do these chastisers of reform live on?

Superintendent Denise Birdwell is rightfully seeking key changes.  What else is she to do?  Accept mediocrity or in some cases tragic outcomes?

Like all school districts Scottsdale is no exception to the funding challenges imposed by conditions in the State of Arizona, both political and economic, over the past decade.  Scottsdale public schools also face potent competition from some of the best charter schools in the country such as BASIS Scottsdale and Great Hearts, as well as a bevy of private schools.

So the choice for Birdwell and the district’s Governing Board is simple:  innovate and improve.  Or wither and die a slow death.

Those who have been slow to adapt to the changing landscape, the educrats of inertia, don’t like the change agent that is Birdwell.  Nowhere is their recalcitrance more repugnant than when it comes to Coronado.  Once a point of pride in southern Scottsdale it’s now an impediment to a continuing renaissance of those neighborhoods.  Graduation rates and academic performance has been poor, to put it mildly.  So Birdwell decided to clean most of the deteriorating house.  Good for her.  And good for the parents and students who will benefit from this brand of leadership.  

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Scottsdale knows what Arcadia is going through. For years things Phoenix have absconded the tonier brand on the other side of its signature street to obfuscate geography.

As the Arcadia area has exploded in popularity so too have developers attempted to elongate what it means to be in Arcadia, in order to boost sales.

Before going further it’s common knowledge that “Arcadia” is the area between 68th Street and 44th Street and Indian School to Camelback Mountain.

But that doesn’t stop some like Scottsdale-based The Empire Group from misappropriating the moniker for marketing purposes. Take a recent advertisement in the Independent Newspapers touting its new “The Villas at Baker Park.” Pay big money for their product on an old nursery site and you too can live “at the epicenter of Arcadia’s vibrant restaurant, retail shops and cultural venues.”

Huh? It would be more accurate to say you could live south of an old Taco Bell at Osborn and 40th Street. Not exactly Arcadia Main and Main. Or an “epicenter.”

Jeopardy is one of the greatest television shows of all time. Geography is a frequent topic. But if it’s ever the one for Final Jeopardy, and you find yourself next to the Empire Group’s Richard Felker, Geoffrey Jacobs or another one of its employees, don’t worry.

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The Town of Paradise Valley rightfully considers itself best in class in so many categories: views, low-density, resorts, proximity to hiking trails, location, public works and no property tax, to name more than a few.

It even has sons and daughters named Goldwater, O’Connor and Rehnquist.

Not often mentioned, though equally important to its impressiveness, are its schools. They range from notable publics like Kiva and Cherokee, to a Montessori school, numerous ones associated with the town’s many churches and even the highly-lauded, private Phoenix Country Day School.

Failure doesn’t come often to Paradise Valley, scholastically or otherwise. Yet, that’s what became of Tesseract at Tatum and Doubletree. There it operated for over a decade with the right to educate up to 340 students, before flunking the test of time.

And there it now sits, a carcass of a campus.

Fortunately, through a rare combination of generosity and ingenuity a solution is at hand.

The property has been purchased by the owners of Mercedes-Benz of Scottsdale. Local residents, the owners Chuck and Anita Theisen, know a thing or two about reviving a tired property. Does anyone recall what the bland office building across from Scottsdale Fashion Square looked like before the Theisens revitalized it into an award-winning showplace for some of the finest automobiles on the road?

This time their sights are not set on horsepower, but the power of the possible, with the Jones-Gordon School as its tenant. It has become the best school in the state for educating students with attention deficit disorder, dyslexia and other learning challenges. As the Town of Paradise Valley’s staff report puts it: “The school focuses on high-potential students with learning differences and those who are considered twice-exceptional.” The results have been remarkable. Parents have become apostles. They must be to pay the approximately $25,000 per year in tuition.

About a dozen Paradise Valley families, including the Theisens, currently use the school now located in Scottsdale.

The new school is seeking no material changes to the existing building. Indeed, it is asking for an enrollment of 200, not the 340 enjoyed by Tesseract. The school’s only real request is to change the grades from Pre-K to 8th Grade to Kindergarten to high school. Only 60 of the 200 total students could be high schoolers.

But all of this isn’t good enough for a few neighbors. They are upset that high school students might be permitted, notwithstanding the significant drop in overall students.

But doesn’t Paradise Valley already know how this ends? And how the world doesn’t end? We can take a quick trip across town to Phoenix Country Day School. They have a similar number of high school students. We are unaware of any marauding gangs, hooligans or knuckleheads the neighbors are using as their boogeymen. The opposite is true. Perhaps it’s because tuition at Phoenix Country Day is a similar five-figure number.

In situations like these we are always reminded of one of the most infamous Valley neighborhood sirens in the past two decades. Then, the newbie residents of Scottsdale’s McDowell Mountain Ranch worried about the Ice Den. They thought the place was going to become ground zero for goofy teenagers and associated problems. How wrong they were. Instead, the Ice Den has become one of Scottsdale’s points of pride, just as Jones-Gordon would if it is added to the educational infrastructure of Paradise Valley.

No brainer is a common phrase deployed to suggest an easy decision. And approval of the Jones-Gordon School this week by the Daran Wastchak-led Paradise Valley Planning Commission, and subsequently by Mayor Michael Collins and the Paradise Valley Town Council would be just that. But it’s also a lot more. It would represent a smart decision to unleash the potential of everyone’s brain and to send a message that Paradise Valley isn’t just best in class because of its riches, but because it never stops enriching what can happen in its classrooms.

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Earlier this year HBO brought to television screens Big Little Lies. It chronicled the fictitious underbelly of money, mothers and mayhem in Monterrey, California. In some ways, Paradise Valley would be a worthy patchwork for a prequel, or sequel. Unfortunately, someone familiar in the tony town’s midst is already bringing an episode to life. And it ain’t fiction.

Right out of central casting it’s taking place on a street called Sunnyvale. Right out of Big Little Lies it involves characters of a country club. Though there isn’t a beach in Paradise Valley as there was in the show, colorful sands play a major role. And there’s a name from Paradise Valley proposals past, Banovac, the realtor trying to enable it all.

All stories must start somewhere and this one does with Tom Hopkins, the globe-trotting, seminar-loving, self-described sales guru. People must be buying some of what he’s pushing because he’s apparently a member of Paradise Valley Country Club. But that’s where his consideration of things Paradise Valley seems to end.

The owner of the aforementioned abode on Sunnyvale, Hopkins is seeking to rent it out to a California drug rehab outfit named Blue Sands. They in turn want to charge as many as ten people at a time up to $45,000 a pop for 30-day stays.

Whoa. And we thought the recent state legislation to allow Airbnb to disrupt Paradise Valley neighborhoods was unwelcome news.

Good stories always need good characters and this one is no different. A broker named Banovac helped to breathe life into the deal in the first place. If that name sounds familiar, it is. The family was once a breathless sycophant to the High Priest of Horseshit, Danny Hendon.

Neighbors are rallying against, lawyering up and protesting much against this ensemble.

After all, wouldn’t you?

It’s not as if those opposed are hard-hearted. There are purportedly 22 other options for rehab treatment within 15 minutes. It really comes down to the hard-heart of Hopkins who appears to have fled to Scottsdale, rather than live on Sunnyvale next to which he seeks to wrought.

Once upon a time a certain Paradise Valley Town Councilwoman observed about the possibility of a medical-marijuana facility coming to town that she was opposed, and state law be damned. Because some things were worth the fight.

Yes, they are. And this is one of them.

We have a better idea for Hopkins and his harem of hard-up fortune hunters feeding off those with hard times. Paradise Valley Country Club. It has plenty of space, and plenty of stories, for Hopkins’ big but not so little neighborhood belie.

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Yesterday one of Arizona’s great self-congratulators, Zach Rawlings, announced a purported solution to the rancor he has caused in the Arcadia area.  There he remarkably transformed a noble effort to save and preserve the David Wright House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, into an exercise in noblesse oblige.

So worthy was he that he should be entitled to run over the concerns of neighbors and utilize the property for concerts and commercial activity.  Arcadia neighbors and Phoenix Councilman Sal Diciccio had none of it.

So yesterday Rawlings announced his grand solution:  some type of partnership with what was formerly known as the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and a tax-write off for himself to the Arizona Community Foundation.

Curiously, he didn’t invite any neighbors to celebrate his victory vision, probably because his acolytes contend the place will still be a place of intense activity, attracting upwards of “30,000 people annually.”

At the heart of the announcement while balloons adorned the building was and is the notion that supporters of the Taliesin architecture school will be able to raise upwards of $7 million to let Rawlings out of his controversial Arcadia corner.

This will be a tall order since the organization has never proven to be a prolific fundraiser.  Nevertheless, it sparked an idea.  If things Frank Lloyd Wright are looking to lance community boils there’s another place it could turn its attention:  Scottsdale.  And the proposed Desert Discovery Center (DDC).

Opposition to that intrusion in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve has caused an uproar that makes Rawlings’ misreading of Arcadia look docile.  Indeed, the Valley has rarely seen a more foreceful and intense grassroots opposition to anything.  Even in this hot summer month the “NODDC” group has announced several events, some to crash those organized by Desert Discovery Center supporters.  That’s chutzpah.  And smart.  

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By: Virginia Korte

The city of Scottsdale and our nonprofit partner, Desert Discovery Center Scottsdale, Inc., invite you to a public workshop regarding the proposed concept for the Desert Discovery Center. Please join us as we introduce you to our experience designer - Thinc Design - and architect - Swaback Partners. They will be leading you through a workshop that will highlight the new Desert Discovery Center concept.

The Desert Discovery Center concept is envisioned as an interpretive education and research center focused on understanding the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and what it can teach current and future generations regarding conserving, living in and adapting to desert environments.

This workshop is an important step in the current process of determining what the DDC concept would cost to build and operate. This planning phase will be complete in August 2017. With this information in hand, the Scottsdale City Council can determine if they want to move forward with the project.

A community workshop will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 30. Registration is required and a number of time slots are available from 3 to 7 p.m. To register, please select the time that works best for you and plan on actively participating for about 1 ½ hours. Please note: One registration per person. Those who register should be prepared to participate in the planning process for the proposed Desert Discovery Center at the Gateway to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve (located at the Preserve perimeter -- Thompson Peak/Bell Road). The Scottsdale City Council has directed further study of the DDC concept at this location.

Project Update

Desert Discovery Center Scottsdale has hired Thinc Design as its experience designer for the Desert Discovery Center concept. Thinc Design has developed world-class projects of national and international significance -- most notably the National September 11 Memorial Museum. The firm's focus is on history, natural history, culture and the environment.

The Thinc Design team will be sharing more information about the developing concept at the Nov. 30 community workshop. To-date, they have provided a Summary of Outcomes (PDF) that gives a glimpse into the aspirations guiding the Desert Discovery Center's experience design:

  • The DDC should inspire future generations to preserve and protect - the story of the Preserve is an invitation to see the potential and value of local preservation, at all scales, and it will inspire local pride and ownership that will grow stewardship in current and future generations
  • The DDC should educate - alignments with STEM and STEAM frameworks will inform the design concepts and exhibits, supporting the educational mandate of the Center
  • The DDC should build anticipation for exploration - an experience that stirs people's imagination, curiosity and sense of discovery ... for many, it will be their first exposure to the real desert
  • The DDC should show people the "world of the desert" - the desert cannot be seen in a day or on a single hike ... there are things happening below the surface and inside plants that most of us cannot see, as well as off-trail locations where species are known to congregate or ancient sites with petroglyphs that must stay undisturbed
  • The DDC should support tourism - many people seek experiences that connect them with the "real place": authentic knowledge, cultural practices and activities ... the Center is ideally placed to align with the strategy of the Scottsdale Tourism Advisory Task Force's long-term plan for interpretation on the climate and ecology of the desert
  • The DDC should be inclusive - design planning will address accessibility for all visitors, including experiences that can replicate some of how the desert "feels" for those who cannot have a direct encounter
  • The DDC should be a model of sustainable design and practice - in its architecture and exhibit design, the Center should be sensitive to the landscape and create the least amount of visual interruptions and impact on the environment ... the eventual size of the Center has been of particular concern and we should aim to define its size in terms of what is needed to achieve the mission and economic and environmental viability ... in its operations, the Center should follow practices for sustainable cohabitation with neighboring residents, including traffic and parking management

For additional information on the proposed Desert Discovery Center Concept please visit the website.

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The people of Arizona face a critical decision this year: continue with the failed policies of corrupt career Washington politicians or support common sense solutions that will make America great again.

Mr. Trump has tapped into the frustration that many voters feel across the state and our nation. We’re excited to hear Donald Trump Jr. speak as we work together to prevent Crooked Hillary from winning the White House.

The rally will take place in Downtown Gilbert on Friday, November 4 from 10:45 am – 11:45 am:

Gilbert Water Tower
45 W Page Ave
Gilbert, AZ 85296

RSVP here to reserve your spot!

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By: Don Cogman

schhweikerDan Schweiker is a small businessman having founded and owned China Mist Tea Company for over thirty years.  He is well known in the local business community for his charitable work, integrity and entrepreneurship. Not only has he been involved in numerous local charities, business and artistic organizations, he has served twice on the Paradise Valley City Council prior to moving into Scottsdale.

In my view, Dan is the type of person we need more of in government service.  He brings a business perspective to government combined with a thoughtful interest in public policy that strives to improve the lives of citizens.  I served with him on a Board of Trustees for several years and observed his many contributions of time, wisdom and insights to make our city better.  I urge you to take a close look at his record and join me in giving Dan your support on Election Day.

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By: Doug Ducey

This election, there will be many important issues and initiatives that you will be asked to consider.

But perhaps the most important vote you will cast this November will be on Proposition 205, the initiative to legalize marijuana.

Even The Arizona Republic agrees: Prop 205 is the wrong way to go.

The marijuana advocates have run their campaign on a tactic we’ve all seen before: they’re trying to sell us bad policy under the guise of benefiting our kids.

As a father of three boys, I have to tell you that easier access to marijuana – and greater exposure to drugs in general – will not improve the lives of our children, or anyone else for that matter.

Look what has happened in Colorado:

  • CO now ranks #1 in the nation for youth marijuana use
  • Crime, homelessness, and cartel activity have all spiked
  • Marijuana related-expulsions from school are at a TEN-YEAR HIGH. In fact, over 60 percent of all expulsions are marijuana-related.
  • In one Colorado hospital, over 50% of newborns tested were positive for marijuana

What’s more: many of Colorado’s largest school districts still haven’t seen a penny of the taxes collected on marijuana sales.

We can’t let what happened in Colorado happen here in Arizona. Get the facts at This election is too important not to spread the word.

Early voting is already underway, and Election Day is Nov. 8th. Together, we can stop Prop 205.

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By: Ken Bennett for Congress

Maricopa, AZ – Arizona businessman and former Secretary of State Ken Bennett proudly announced today the endorsement of Graham County elected officials supporting his campaign to represent Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. County Supervisors Jim Palmer, Drew John, and Danny Smith, Safford Mayor Chris Gibbs, Thatcher Mayor Bob Rivera, Pima Councilman C.B. Fletcher, and Graham Community College District Chair Lois Ann Moody have all thrown their support behind Bennett.

Supervisor Palmer said “I have known Ken Bennett for a long time and there is no one that will represent our district with conservative principles and integrity better than him. Ken’s deep understanding of the issues and proven record in both business and public service is exactly what we need in bringing jobs and prosperity back to the district.”

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By: Weiers for Mayor

Mark Burdick and I had our candidate debate in Glendale yesterday and if anyone thought he was going to change his message, they had another thing coming.  True to form, Mark kept talking down Glendale and he even insisted yet again that “No matter what anyone says, our crime rate has gone up!”

Of course he’s simply making that up, because the data shows our crime rate is down since I became Mayor, the newspapers have written stories about how crime is down and how Burdick isn’t telling the truth, and the police have endorsed me in my campaign.

So why does Mark Burdick keep lying, even after the whole room knows he’s lying?  I have no idea, except what he told the Glendale Star was that his advisors had told him to lie to win and he was taking their advice.

I really appreciated all of the people who came up afterwards to say they were voting for me.  But maybe the nicest things said about what we’ve accomplished these last four years came from Sam Chavira, one of our City Councilmen.  Now Sammy and I don’t always get along and we’ll tangle from time to time on an issue, but he was super complimentary in terms of how far the city had progressed in the last four years and how much better things are today versus back then.

All in all a great day and I wanted you to hear about it from me.  We have just about run out of yard signs after today, but we’ve got more on the way, so if you’d like one, please email me back and I’ll get one out to you.

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Arizona Progress & Gazette: Arizona News, Editorials & Debate