The Conservative's Corner
By Sal DiCiccio
Phoenix City Council
Here is the real story behind the latest move to raise your property tax:
Phoenix politicians secretly knew they were going to raise your property tax. For the past several years they have been purposely draining the fund that pays for capital projects and used those monies for merit and longevity raises. Merit increases are pay raises and longevity increases are bonuses.
Politicians use fancy words to confuse the public that they are supposed to serve.
There were two big lies you've repeatedly been told. One, that employees took pay cuts. This is not true. Every year since the Great Recession they were given pay raises and bonuses. What they did was cut the increase in pay. Most government staff continued to receive higher compensation.Read more
By Matt Salmon
For the past three years, I've enjoyed meeting so many of you, both in Washington and around the beautiful East Valley. Unfortunately, this great honor brings with it a heavy price tag. Spending so much time in Washington, D.C. means I get to spend very little of it back home with my beautiful wife Nancy and my beloved children and grandchildren.
Over these past three years, I've learned that's just too great a sacrifice to make, and so it's with a heavy heart that I must announce I will not be seeking reelection this November.
I wrote an opinion piece about this in the Arizona Republic this morning – I invite you to read it so you understand a little more about why I came to this difficult decision.
I look forward to spending my remaining months in office making sure your interests are represented and any problems you have are quickly dealt with.
It's been an absolute privilege to serve you. Nancy and I will forever be grateful for all your support.
READ MY OP-ED
"Why I'm leaving Congress"
The Goldwater Institute has been the driving force in the Right To Try movement, which seeks to allow dying patients with no other options to access investigational medicines. The Right to Try has already become law in 24 states with bipartisan support. But some opposition remains. The primary argument against the Right To Try is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration already has an effective alternative for dying patients called Expanded Access, more commonly known as compassionate use.
Now, a new investigation by the Goldwater Institute shows that terminally ill patients rarely have the opportunity to even apply for compassionate use. The complicated and time-consuming process strongly discourages doctors and researchers from working with patients to try treatments that might save their lives. Each year, only about 1,200 terminally ill patients in America will even be able to submit an application for compassionate use. This year, nearly 600,000 Americans will die of cancer alone.
Please read our investigative report “Dead on Arrival: Federal ‘compassionate use’ leaves little hope for dying patients": http://goldwaterinstitute.org/en/work/topics/healthcare/right-to-try/dead-on-arrival-federal-compassionate-use-leaves-l/.Read more
By Christina Sandefur
Executive Vice President, Goldwater Institute
Vice President for Litigation, Goldwater Institute
Private property is a fundamental human right. It is the guardian of all other rights. You cannot have freedom of press or religion if you cannot own a printer or a church. That's why the U.S. Constitution refers to private property more than to any other right.
If we cannot be free to own, use, buy or sell property, then we cannot be free at all.
Today, we are excited to announce the release of a new report that highlights what the Goldwater Institute is doing to protect this pillar of freedom through the Property Ownership Fairness Act. Building on a decade of success in the state of Arizona, our report encourages other states to adopt this model legislation as the most effective means of stopping government from taking away your property rights.
We will discuss the report and our new book, Cornerstone of Liberty: Property Rights in the 21st Century, during a live Internet presentation today from the Cato Institute, starting at noon Eastern Time (9 a.m. Pacific time). Please join us by clicking here: www.cato.org/live.Read more
By South Carolina Senator Tim Scott
Our nation’s future is on the line this election. We must nominate a strong conservative leader who will fight at all costs for our country and put our citizen’s needs before their own.
We need the person that can defeat Hillary Clinton next fall to be our nominee.
That’s why today, less than three weeks before the all-important primary in South Carolina, I’m standing up for and endorsing Marco Rubio.
I spent a lot of time thinking and praying over this decision. This is an important election, and I did not take this decision lightly.Read more
Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio is warning that the satanist group wants to ban all prayer; that is their ultimate goal. He added that he is concerned that if the Phoenix Mayor and City Council sneaks a last-minute proposal to ban all prayer and replace it with a moment of silence as demanded by the satanist group, they'll be handing the satanists a big win.
"The goal of the satanic group has always been to ban all prayer. If the Mayor and Council were to give into the satanists; then they would be granting them their wish," Councilman DiCiccio said.
The Councilman began expressing his concerns last week that the ultimate plan of the Mayor and Council was to secretly move the prayer ban at the last minute making it impossible for the public to have the input on the decision.
"Should a prayer ban be successful in Phoenix you will see a ripple effect extending to other cities in the state," the Councilman added. "This will be just one more step in a social engineering for political correctness for Phoenix. It will be an embarrassment if Phoenix leaders end up on the same page as the satanist group."Read more
By: Jim Derouin
Scottsdale’s version of P. T. Barnum, Bob Littlefield, is back. After twelve unproductive years on the City Council, he needs a job and is now running for Mayor. He wrote a column in The Scottsdale Republic, which portrays himself as a crusader for citizen issues, entitled: “Scottsdale Needs a Leader Who Will Protect Its Unique Character.” Well, that’s Bob’s version of the truth. In fact, Scottsdale has never seen a more self-promoting, negative, destructive and divisive politician in its history.
Bob argued that someone is proposing commercial development in the Sonoran Preserve. Wrong. Bob attacks everyone who disagrees with him as being an agent of a developer; literally, he sees a developer behind every tree. Wrong. Bob is also wrong when he pits North against South in bond elections; and when he was so reckless in his opposition to city bond measures that he shot down a school bond initiative that got caught in his irresponsible rhetoric. He calls that “leadership.” If that is “leadership,” we don’t need it.
He also rants against apartments and density, but, in typical fashion, Bob was for density before he was against it. He not only voted for the two tallest buildings in Scottsdale (known as the Scottsdale Waterfront Towers), but, in doing so, he also voted to impose an emergency clause which cut off the right of citizens to challenge the vote. An emergency clause is intended to be used when immediate implementation of an action is needed for matters threatening public health or safety; it was never intended for constructing a residential building. Subsequently, state law was changed to specifically prohibit the use of the emergency clause for such a purpose. Isn’t this curious conduct for someone who claims to be the Great Crusader against density? It is also important to realize that Scottsdale would benefit if more of the 100,000 commuters who work in Scottsdale, and who drive to and from Scottsdale daily, actually lived here. Apartments and condominiums, although not for most of us, represent the new entry point for many “buyers” and are attractive for many who want to both live and work in Scottsdale. Having residents being able to both live and work in Scottsdale has many benefits that shouldn’t be ignored out of hand.
Bob also continues to take credit for fighting “wasteful subsidies.” He knows full well, however, that subsidies are outlawed by the state constitution and, also, specifically in the Scottsdale City Charter. I know because I served on the Task Force that recommended adding the prohibition to the City Charter, a provision that was, subsequently, approved by voters. In short, if something is a “subsidy,” it is both illegal and unconstitutional. If something is not a “subsidy,” then a candidate shouldn’t be misleading voters by calling it one. But this approach is consistent with Bob’s strategy to be loudly against things for the sake of letting us know, loudly, that he is against things. Never let an opportunity go by to attack someone else’s idea.
In short, Bob is a garden variety professional politician; and what Bob really stands for, besides himself, is stagnation--the reduction of Scottsdale’s tax base, the decline of tax revenues, the decline of services, the decay of infrastructure and the reduction of the quality of life for City residents. He is a “free lunch” politician, arguing that we can have all the services, infrastructure and quality of life we want provided that we just do nothing. His shtick is stale; the con job is old. Bob should get a private sector job and stop pretending that he is Robin Hood. That role has already been cast.Read more
America knows Beverly Hills 90210 as one of America’s most famous zip codes. It’s starting to know Scottsdale 85255 as one of its best.
According to the Arizona Republic’s Catherine Reagor the northern Scottsdale neighborhoods of McDowell Mountain Ranch, DC Ranch and Grayhawk have surging property values.
And for good reason. They are uniquely somewhere. At the base of the McDowell Mountain Mountains. With great recreation and parks nearby. Proximity to the 101. Great golf courses. A terrific aquatics center. Good schools. The family mecca that is the Ice Den. And even its own version of Central Park known as WestWorld.
The celebration of this area is a lesson in the Scottsdale politics of 2016.
When proposed these developments were contentious. They involved “rezonings.” And it’s hard to believe that the Ice Den itself took a tortured trip all the way to the Arizona Supreme Court just to be allowed to open.
Yet today they are part of Scottsdale’s signature. The success of the 85255 is part of what makes Scottsdale so strong. When combined with revitalizing southern neighborhoods, the constant quality of life offered in Scottsdale’s central regions and the distinctiveness of the northern reaches its not wanting to claim the city as one of the best in America as Mayor Jim Lane often does.
But to listen to politicians like Robert Littlefield who are anti-business and anti-progress (and who probably sit at home watching television with rabbit ears) is to understand these neighborhoods would have never been if he was in charge. He never would have approved their “rezonings.” Good thing he wasn’t in charge judging from how good they have turned out and how much they have enriched Scottsdale’s reputation and quality of life.
As we celebrate Scottsdale successes like the 85255 it’s important to consider the kind of people that made them possible in the first place. They certainly weren’t like Robert’s Rules of Order.Read more
By David Brooks
New York Times, The Opinion Pages
As usual, there were a ton of artists and musicians at the political conventions this year. And that raises some questions. How much should artists get involved in politics? How can artists best promote social change?
Click here to read more.Read more
Welcome to the site’s new feature, holding politician’s accountable for double talk. And there’s no better place to launch Hypocrite Alert! than with Scottsdale’s Ultimate Politician, Bob Littlefield.
On the campaign trail he talks negatively about the proliferation of apartments in Scottsdale notwithstanding he’s the godfather of not one but the two largest apartment projects in the history of Scottsdale. But that’s not all . . . he then took away the rights of citizens opposing the project, preventing them from putting the project to a city-wide vote.
When confronted with such facts Littlefield tries to go Obi Wan-Kenobi instructing voters such matters may not be the droids they’re looking for.
He then discusses how he’s opposed numerous apartment projects in Scottsdale, except for those that contributed generously to his campaign coffers. But more on that another time.
This time Hypocrite Alert! would like to point out Littlefield cashing one of the most generous contributions of his political career: from none other than the special interest political action committee of who? The Arizona Multi-Housing Assocation. That’s right, the state’s leading defender and purveyor of apartments.
It’s hard to make this stuff up.
But at least Littlefield’s hypocrisies are good for something: laughter.Read more
If running for Mayor of Scottsdale at the same time your wife is Vice Mayor isn’t odd and craven enough for Bob Littlefield, we may have another example.
And, if circumstances are true, it’s disconcerting at best and disqualifying at worst.
According to various social media including that posted by the Catholic Sun, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane was apparently invited by Notre Dame Preparatory High School last month to address a group of students about how government works.
Elected officials get a lot of those requests, along with things like ribbon cuttings.
Apparently, candidate Bob Littlefield got wind of Mayor Lane’s appearance and demanded equal time of the school to speak, even raising the prospect of the school’s non-profit status being jeopardized.
When properly and ultimately denied his request Littlefield sent out an alert to supporters to attend the gathering bogusly claiming Lane was going to be discussing the Desert Discovery Center, a controversial north Scottsdale project that Littlefield has been on both sides of.
How sad.Read more
It’s like a zit on the Mona Lisa.
Anyone who hikes what is arguably the prettiest trail in the Valley, Tom’s Thumb in Scottsdale’s McDowell Mountains, wonders when they ascent. What is that house, albeit a very nice one, doing smack dab in the middle of Scottsdale’s landmark preserve?
Wouldn’t it be nice, most everyone surely thinks, to rid the preserve of the blemish?
And so it now shall be.
Every member of Scottsdale’s City Council ranging from Mayor Jim Lane to Councilman Guy Phillips saw fit to split the difference between the city’s appraisal and one produced by the private property owner.
It was a smart move – council Clearasil -- and a wise use of preserve funds.
There’s no greater defender of Scottsdale’s ultimate politician, mayoral candidate Bob Littlefield, than John Washington, the political gadfly who lost to current Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane by 30 points in 2012.
Like Littlefield, Washington thinks Scottsdale never does anything right despite public sentiment and evidence to the contrary.
And he, like Littlefield, love to dish it out but they sure have a hard time taking it when justifiable criticism arrives to refute his rhetorical incontinence.
Take a recent Washington missive where he pushes back after a Mayor Lane email broadside against Littlefield for being on all sides of just about every issue.
Washington takes his usual jabs at a Lane campaign consultant for owning a polo event and participating in a voter-approved marketing fund for the event for 3 years, seemingly oblivious to the fact that Littlefield himself voted for the funds all three 3 years he sat on the city council, even advantaging the event for complimentary VIP tickets.
Lane’s eblast also raised questions about Littlefield’s contributions and special interests he favors. The incumbent said something along the lines of Littlefield’s largest contributors over the years being “anti-business unions.”
So what does Washington do rather than review Littlefield’s campaign reports? He launches into la-la land suggesting Lane is referencing police unions because they crack down on bars and restaurants in downtown Scottsdale?!
Wow. Someone actually wrote that. Then again Washington was probably the first one in line at Harkins Theatres when Independence Day returned last month because he wanted to see on the big screen what his little head actually believes: aliens are coming to Earth.
It would have taken Washington all of two seconds, as it did us, to see Lane was likely referencing a PAC contribution from the United Food & Commercial Worker’s Union. Lane probably needs to spell that out more clearly next time but there’s little doubt that union is no friend to business, even at one time trying to sabotage Basha’s grocery stores with an insidiously bogus claim about baby formula.Read more
Art, at its best, makes us contemplate deeper. That's what good politics can do too. About issues, people and the direction of a community and country. So take a look at this interesting read in today's New York Times about how enterprising artists are attempting to do and fuse both during these most challenging political times.
Recently, Scottsdale Councilman David Smith lambasted SkySong and its purported voracious appetite for city favor. But in criticizing process and politic he seemed to ignore purpose and triumph.
Once upon a time Scottsdale and McDowell was the heartbeat of the southern city. There stood Los Arcos Mall. Then time passed it by. Scottsdale Fashion Square ascended.
Various plans from hockey arenas to power centers promised renewal. They didn’t materialize. So ASU took a chance on the area with an “innovation” focus. At a time when strip clubs and pawn shops were the most notable neighbors it was no small leap of faith.
Sure, SkySong took awhile to find its voice. But now the chorus of buildings is impressive, as is its design. It’s evolved over the years as any large project does and must. To not allow the private sector to call audibles is to be an archair municipal coach of the wishbone. That SkySong now includes housing is entirely understandable for students and employees that want to be near where they work. Indeed, the unrelated Mark/Taylor Residential multi-family project nearby on McDowell has been so successful it’s acquiring nearby properties for more parking.Read more
By Councilman David Smith
Scottsdale's fiscal year ended June 30, so it seems timely to share a report on some Council decisions over the past few months that will affect you and your city's livability.
Your Council adopted a Balanced Budget for next year...that's good! Unfortunately, the Budget isn't sustainable and hasn't been for several years. That's because the money we have for capital improvements is woefully short of the amount needed. The city was closely divided for/against the Bond Issue last November, so there's little new money for capital investments. For the third year in a row, your city's net depreciable assets declined, because we reinvested less than our assets depreciated. This problem will compound over time.
I tried to get rid of the city's sales tax on food, mindful that this most regressive tax costs every Scottsdale citizen about $50 a year ($200 every year for a family of four) and it hits hardest those citizens least able to pay. We managed a small step forward: over the next three years we'll pull food tax receipts out of the General Fund and put them into the capital program. Unfortunately, that won't give citizens the tax break they deserve. We'll try again next year.
Council took several actions that are going to increase density and congestion in your city:
More and more apartments were approved...sometimes with building plans; other times with only promises. Your Council seems determined to provide living quarters for newcomers, regardless of the effect on current citizens.
The ASU Foundation lease for SkySong was amended to increase the building height from 60 feet to 90 feet at the corner of Scottsdale and McDowell Roads. Citizens will see a massive structure...and a precedent has been created. I argued for the City's 1.5 acre at SkySong to be designated as a city park on the corner, forcing the building back further from curb; I wasn't successful.Read more
Flamboyant boxing promoter Don King used this phrase liberally to describe his rise and that of fighters in his sted who found fame and fortune.
But it can also be said about Javier Munoz. Son of a doorman. Raised in a "scary" housing project in Brooklyn. Openly gay. H.I.V. positive. Cancer survivor. And now playing founding father Alexander Hamilton on Broadway.
Today, Munoz replaces Lin-Manuel Miranda, founder of the uber-hit muscial "Hamilton" as the show's title character.
Only in America.
*There’s been a lot of talk (and evidence) of southern Scottsdale, specifically near and along McDowell Road, being the next hot Valley neighborhood. And here’s more evidence: Mark/Taylor Residential’s new apartment community on McDowell is so successful it’s started purchasing adjacent properties for additional parking. And up the street a respected developer is putting in for-sale, contemporary-style condominiums for upwards of $500,000 a pop . . . on Granite Reef.
*There’s a big disparity in cash on hand between the long-shot campaign of Bob Littlefield trying to unseat the popular current Mayor of Scottsdale, Jim Lane. Littlefield reports $24,000 whereas Lane has $140,000.
*The campaign to legalize marijuana is going to lose in November 53.5%-47.5%.
*After Lane defeats Littlefield for Mayor this year (and it will be his last term due to term limits) will Scottsdale’s 2020 race feature Virginia Korte vs Guy Phillips? Speaking of Phillips, is he going through a political transformation? Typically railing against any and all development proposals in the community he just voted to increase height and add 1,000 apartments to a well-connected developer in Scottsdale.Read more
Dear District 3 Residents,
It is a pleasure to have been selected by the Phoenix City Council to serve as your Councilwoman. I have lived in the same area in Phoenix for 30 years and look forward to furthering the progress of District 3 and the city of Phoenix.
We are a special and unique community with diverse areas that include Moon Valley, Sunnyslope, North Mountain Business Alliance, North 32nd Corridor, Paradise Valley Mall, and our Phoenix Mountain Preserves. My role is to represent you, and as your new Councilwoman, I want to ensure that there is open communication between the council district and its residents.
As Councilwoman, my priorities include:
- Promoting economic development while ensuring fiscal accountability
- Serving the constituents of the City, in particular District 3
- Streamlining regulations for residents and businesses while not compromising public safety
By Congressman Matt Salmon
I invite you to take a moment to watch my video message about why I am supporting Andy Biggs to replace me as your next Congressman.
There are plenty of candidates who run for office to fulfill their lifelong ambitions or dreams – Andy Biggs is not one of them. Andy is running because he believes it is his sense of duty to fight for us in Washington.
I’ve known Andy Biggs for several years and I know he is the right kind of principled conservative that we need in Congress. Andy will continue the fight against the Washington establishment who just want to go along, to get along.Read more
By Korte Scottsdale
Everyone realizes the role arts and culture have played in building Scottsdale’s brand. Our city not only has a history of promoting arts and cultural activities, other cities attempting to expand their involvement in the arts measure themselves against Scottsdale.
Arts and culture contribute to our economic development by attracting businesses that create jobs. And, of course, the arts enhance our special quality of life that we all enjoy.
The topic of today’s email is the seldom-mentioned ways our art galleries, museums and ongoing cultural and entertainment events augment the education of our future generations.
Study after study consistently conclude the same thing: art programs and a community’s cultural opportunities help students improve their learning at every level of their education. Participation in the arts improves students’ reading and language skills. Students exposed to arts and culture even perform better in math. In addition, it has been proven that these types of opportunities also help develop our students’ “higher-order” thinking tasks.Read more
Candidate for AZ Corporation Commission Andy Tobin
Files Thousands of Signatures
Phoenix, AZ - Today, Andy Tobin, the former Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives and Governor Doug Ducey’s appointee to the Arizona Corporation Commission, filed 11,306 signatures to qualify for the ballot. The Tobin campaign filed nearly twice the necessary amount of signatures needed.
Tobin said the following, “During this campaign I have met with Arizonans from all across our beautiful state, and I am incredibly humbled by the support and words of encouragement that I have received. It is not a one-man job to collect 11,306 signatures, which is why I am so thankful for those who joined our team and spent countless hours helping me get my name on the ballot. Above all, I want to thank every single Arizonan who took the time to sign my petition - we could not have come so far without your support. Serving and protecting the taxpayers of Arizona has been my mission and my passion, and I look forward to continuing to serve you on the Arizona Corporation Commission.”
To learn more about Andy Tobin, his campaign for the Arizona Corporation Commission, or to make a donation, please visit www.andytobin.com.
Phoenix, AZ – Today, Republican Phoenix City Councilman Bill Gates filed more than 2,000 nominating signatures for County Board of Supervisors, which is almost three times the 711 signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.
“I am honored and humbled by the amount of support I have received since announcing my intent to run for the County Board of Supervisors,” said Gates. “I am looking forward to a spirited campaign as I work to gain the support of the voters of Maricopa County District 3.”
Additionally, Gates officially resigned his council position under Arizona’s “Resign to Run” law before filing his nomination paperwork.
“It is a bittersweet moment as I close one chapter of my life and open another,” Gates stated. “I am incredibly proud of all I have accomplished at the City of Phoenix with the help of so many including: my colleagues; city staff; the great residents of Phoenix and District 3; and of course my friends and family. Thank you for your advice and support.”
Gates, who has represented Phoenix Council District 3 for the past seven years, issued the following letter of resignation to Mayor Stanton:Read more
GILBERT (May 27) - Today, the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona announced their endorsement for Senate President Andy Biggs for Arizona's Fifth Congressional District.
Andy Biggs released the following statement:
"It is humbling to receive this support from the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona. Firefighters and paramedics across Arizona sacrifice so much to serve our communities, and their valiant efforts should never go without our constant expression of gratitude. I look forward to working from the U.S. House of Representatives with our first responders to ensure that residents in Arizona's Fifth District can continue to count on the best service and care from their public safety officials."
The Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona released the following statement:
“The Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona, representing 7000 Fire Fighters and Paramedics throughout Arizona, proudly endorses Andy Biggs for Congress. “
“Andy Biggs has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to our public safety and has been a fierce defender of the principles that guide good governance as established in the Constitution of the United States of America.”Read more
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