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2018 Scrum

By Sal DiCiccio, Phoenix City Council District 6

Dear friends,

I wanted to pass along five reasons why I support Prop 123, the May 17 special election referendum to help fund Arizona’s public K-12 schools.
1) $3.5 billion – that’s BILLION – for schools without raising taxes!
2) We’re using the state land trust, which exists to support public schools!
3) The state land trust will still grow by more than $1 billion!
4) We’re working to help pay teachers what they deserve!
5) Schools will receive $230 million this fiscal year – and billions more to come!
As you can see, Prop 123, which is supported by Governor Doug Ducey and the state’s business and education communities, is a no-brainer. Please join me in voting “Yes” on Prop 123 on May 17!

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By Sal DiCiccio
Phoenix City Council
District 6

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.

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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.

Sincerely,
Matt Salmon

READ MY OP-ED
"Why I'm leaving Congress"

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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/

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By Christina Sandefur
Executive Vice President, Goldwater Institute

Timothy Sandefur
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

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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.

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lane portrait*A second candidate poll in Scottsdale this week finds the City Council races tight (as the poll before it did) with Mayor Lane maintaining his commanding lead over Littlefield.

*The real question now for Littlefield’s ill-conceived mayoral run is how badly it will hurt his wife re-election’s prospects in 2018?  It will likely be significant.  And with Councilman David Smith uncertain to run again, the council candidate field could be much deeper than 2016.

*Speaking of this year’s Scottsdale council races incumbent Suzanne Klapp has raised a stunning amount for her campaign, likely a new record for a seat – by a wide margin.

*Glendale shook up the West Valley and all of the Valley some 15 years ago when it started doling out public dollars for economic development projects.  That was made possible by city voters supporting an amorphous bond question which was ultimately utilized for sports facilities and other projects.  History seems to repeating itself.  Peoria is not only throwing millions in public funds to revitalize the struggling “P83” entertainment area but in November it has placed on the ballot a large city sales tax increase whose primary purposes seems to be a fund like Glendale had.

*The Summit Group is a well-regarded political consulting group in town.  But what will they be doing the night of November 8th if marijuana legalization passes but Sheriff Arpaio is defeated?  They’re both clients.

byran-jeffries*Phoenix City Hall was atwitter with talk this week that former Phoenix City Councilman and current United Phoenix Firefighters’s Association Bryan Jeffries could make a run for Mayor since Greg Stanton is in his final term.  Others who have expressed interest include Tom Simplot, Michael Nowakowski and even Phil Gordon, the last of whom would need to overcome legal obstacles.  Current Councilmembers Danny Valenzuela and Kate Gallego are said to be eyeing the seat themselves and certainly have formidable constituencies from which to wage a strong campaign.  Either will be in the discussion to be appointed as Mayor too if Stanton leaves early for a Clinton Administration or seeks another political office.

*The likely order of finish in the upcoming Arizona Corporation Commission race?  Burns.  Tobin.  Mundell.  But the race remains fluid as resources remain a challenge for all.

*Those backing the minimum wage hike that will be on the Arizona ballot November 8th are doing so in the name of worker’s fairness and rights.  Yet, the campaign behind it stiffed the petition circulators, the very people their measure is designed to help.

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The embattled Bob Littlefield has many problems as he seeks to become Scottsdale’s Mayor at the same time his wife is serving as Vice Mayor.  Bad polling numbers.  Mayor Lane’s adoption of a “Two Littlefields Are Too Much” message which is devastatingly simple for voters to understand.  Etcetera doesn’t do justice to the enumeration that could take place on what plagues Bobastic.

Yet, two examples and two people underscore Littlefield’s ills quite well.  That’s because campaigns are about addition.  But to look at the Screamer of Scottsdale is to see only subtraction.  Indeed, Susie Wheeler is a top Scottsdale equestrian and has long been a Littlefield supporter. But not this time.  She’s endorsed Mayor Lane because of his commitment to the community’s ranch culture while Littlefield wants it to gallop out of town.

zrakeyThen there’s George Zraket.  He was Bob Littlefield on the Scottsdale City Council before Bob.  Indeed, as anti-business as Littlefield is – even wanting to shut down small businesses in Scottsdale’s downtown – Zraket makes one of the two Littlefields look like Richard Branson.  Yet, according to Lane’s social media, he showed up at the Mayor’s house this weekend to support him.  That’s remarkable.  Despite a similar political philosophy Zraket has such disregard for Littlefield he opted for the pro-business Lane.  Maybe Zraket was inspired by seeing the most popular musical in the land that regales Alexander Hamilton’s decision to endorse Thomas Jefferson over Aaron Burr.  He did so because while disagreeing with Jefferson he realized he had principles where Burr purportedly had none.   Like Littlefield.  (By the way, a tip of the cap here to Scottsdale businessman and former Mayoral candidate Bill Crawford for introducing “Hamilton” vernacular into this year’s mayoral race dialogue).

Credit goes to Scottsdale and some unlikely citizens for realizing this.  It’s one thing for Grumpy to be one of the Seven Dwarfs, or one of seven members of the City Council.  It’s quite another to have him as one of one, the Mayor of a great city like Scottsdale.

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lane portraitAccording to a new poll conducted September 14-15 by Public Opinion Strategies, one of the country’s more notable pollsters with extensive experience in Arizona and Scottsdale, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane holds a commanding 27% lead over former Councilman Bob Littlefield.  And that’s before Lane has started spending the bulk of his substantial campaign coffers.

Lane’s large margin is an uptick from another pollster’s findings in May that had the popular Mayor up by 17%.

With his second consecutive election loss looming the question now is how badly he’s damaged his wife’s re-election prospects in 2018.  Bombastic Bob is trailing by wide margins everywhere in Scottsdale and with every sub-group.  The poll also found Scottsdale voters disagreeing – by huge margins – with the notion of Bob serving as Mayor at the same time his wife Kathy serves as Vice Mayor and/or as a councilwoman.

The city council races are much closer with Suzanne Klapp setting the pace at 31% followed by Virginia Korte and Dan Schweiker at 29% with Guy Phillips currently trailing at 26%.  Respondents, made up of 300 voters in Scottsdale’s 2012 or 2014 General Election were given the choice of voting for up to 3 candidates.  Phillips appears to be hurt by his close association with Bob Littlefield whose FAVORABLE/UNFAVORABLE numbers are poor.  Schweiker is enjoying the opposite dynamic.  His name proximity to popular U.S. Congressman David Schweikert is aiding his support among Republicans, especially in the northern part of the city Schweikert represents.

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With massive reserves in place and some terrific new resorts coming online the tony Town of Paradise Valley doesn’t have too many problems. But there are two items on the horizon worth recommendations.Maria Syms

The first is the likely departure of Town Councilwoman Maria Syms. She was the top vote-getter in the August 30th GOP Primary Election for one of two seats in Legislative District 28 for the Arizona House of Representatives. Securing one of those seats in November seems likely.

Since town councilmembers are not paid Syms is not required to relinquish her Paradise Valley duties. However, that would seem the likely progression as the demands of being a rising star in the lower chamber take hold.

daran-wastachakIf so, the appointment to fill her seat will be made by Mayor Michael Collins and the remaining members of council. But there really should be no deliberation and no applications. Daran Wastchak should gain the nod by acclimation.

While Wastchak has come up short in two bids for Town Council he has had the guts to step in the arena. He also serves admirably on the Paradise Valley Planning Commission. He was the next closest finisher in the recent election that saw Mark Stanton re-elected and Julie Pace and Scott Moore elected for the first time.

If and when an appointment to Council becomes necessary Wastchak should be the easy call.

Away from Town Hall and up Camelback Mountain many nearby residents remain up in arms about a plan to build a giant new home on the most elevated private property on the mountain. While Paradise Valley is a community rightfully adhering to property rights this new project is raising legitimate concerns. For example, engineers cannot guarantee that large boulders in the building envelope will not fall to homes below. All of this begs the question: With budget surpluses and a penchant for preservation why not consider buying this lot and other problematic ones in town to further preserve Camelback and Mummy Mountain much like Scottsdale is preserving the McDowell Mountains?

Recently, Scottsdale leaders wisely made the decision to purchase a home that intrudes on the majesty near Tom’s Thumb Trailhead. Why shouldn’t Paradise Valley consider likewise? In a clash between one person’s ego versus the overall environment we know how the community would best be served, and we bet residents would be willing to pay for preservation, this time and in the future.

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*The Arizona Republic’s breathless liberal opinionistas can’t understand why Governor Ducey would speak at a Trump rally, as he did this week. It’s simple.  He doesn’t want to get primaried in 2018, and Trump ally and State Treasurer Jeff Dewitt looms as a potentially formidable challenger.  There may be others.  Anyone would start as an underdog versus Ducey – Kelli Ward’s failure against McCain being a perfect example why.  Yet, stranger things have happened.

*All Hail Christine Jones.  Whatever one thinks of the blind ambitionist, her successful execution of the “outsider” strategy in the Congressional Five GOP Primary was terribly impressive.  Yes, those who spend the most in congressional races usually win.  Still, waltzing into the East Valley and buying a seat well, it hasn’t been done that well since . . . John McCain in 1982.

*Donald Trump effectively labeled opponents during his presidential primary.  “Low Energy.”  “Little Marco.” “Lyin’ Ted.”  Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane ain’t like The Donald in approach but his recent labeling of long-shot opponent Bob Littlefield as a “Crazy Uncle” gets the gold medal so far for Arizona political monikers.

*Speaking of Littlefield the guy is just one big gaffe machine, and an offensive one at that.  According to online commentary he’s called Scottsdale City Councilwoman Linda Milhaven a “Great Satan” and Arizona Cardinals President Michael Bidwill and renowned Scottsdale businessman and philanthropist Bob Parsons “scumbags.” What a gem.  Is anyone still thinking of voting for this guy?

*State Representative Jay Lawrence had one of the best radio voices during his nights at KTAR.  And whoever his sign guy is deserves a “best of” award too for the best placements.

*Speaker Syms?  Special advisor to Attorney General Mark Brnovich.  Paradise Valley Town Councilwoman.  And now top vote getter in the GOP primary for Legislative District 28.   She’s threading a lot of political needles in her run so far, portending a real shot at a House leadership position in future years.

*If Paradise Valley Mayor Michael Collins maintains his two-term pledge look for just re-elected Town Councilman Mark Stanton to emerge as the most likely successor in 2018.

*As the public mostly rails against the idea of new taxpayer funded facilities for the Diamondbacks, Coyotes or Suns, the City of Phoenix is assembling a massive taxpayer subsidy package for Fry’s to land downtown.  It will be interesting to see the public’s reaction:  big taxpayer help for billionaire sports owners bad but big taxpayer help for billionaire grocery store owners good?

*The City of Peoria’s new sales tax hike proposal – billed as a quality of life tax – has political support built on quicksand.

*Kirk Adams is Governor Ducey’s Chief of Staff.  With the exception of a starring role in a suspect Arizona Republic story about pressuring State Treasurer Jeff Dewitt into supporting Proposition 123 he has largely avoided trouble.  That’s not easy to do for any Chief of Staff.  But people are now starting to talk:  Are some of his recommended appointments and positions more about aiding himself once he resumes his lobbying career?

*Paul Ryan was supposed to have a tough GOP primary but blew away his opponent by an extremely wide margin.  Closer to home, Sheriff Arpaio  had a primary too.  He was running against Donald, Mickey and Goofy.  Yet, more than one-third of the electorate abandoned him.  That’s a troubling and underreported sign heading into a difficult November election.

*Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu won his Congressional District One GOP Primary but hardly in spectacular fashion.  He struggled in every county besides his own where he ran up the score.  And nearly all – if not all -- of his favored candidates in Pinal County for County Attorney, Sheriff and Supervisor lost.  So, unlike McCain who won by a surprisingly large margin for momentum heading into the General, Babeu limps.

*So State Representative Rick Gray sold his political soul to Arizona Public Service only to have the company renege on a Full Forese.  Finishing out of the money on Tuesday night it’s almost easy to feel sorry for the guy.  Almost.

*There are a lot of reasons for Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers’ anemic showing Tuesday night, despite an easy campaign narrative of a Glendale comeback. Among them were an incredible disloyalty to the firefighters, business leaders and others that supported him in 2012.  It’s a lesson for all Arizona elected officials, from Governor Ducey on down.

*Seeking to make a name for themselves in political circles a number of younger consultants are trying to get into the polling business.  They are cutting corners to cut costs.  As a result the results are largely garbage.  A case in point was a recent article by the Arizona Republic positing how good Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell was looking for re-election.  It relied on polling results from one of the neophytes.  Our case in point.

*We’re losing track of how many times Wendy Rogers has lost whatever she’s been running for in recent years.  She lost again Tuesday night.  Hopefully this will be the last time Arizona has to endure her on the ballot.

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Why is Bob Littlefield’s quixotic campaign for Scottsdale Mayor stuck in the mud?  A lot of reasons.

littlefield at deskHe’s anti-business, even supported by a union that used scorched earth tactics to shut down Arizona’s home grown grocer, Basha’s.    He’s been on both sides of just about every issue in town from development to subsidies to the Desert Discovery Center.  He’s the ultimate politician that’s out of step with so much of what Scottsdale is and stands for.

But another reason he’s slogging through mighty mud mania is the bizarre world he is seeking to enter.  He wants to be Mayor at the same time his wife is Vice Mayor.  It’s strange and problematic. Just as it would be if Joanne Lane ran for city council at the same time her husband was serving as Mayor.  Or if State Senator John Kavanagh didn’t serve in the Arizona State Legislature but on the Fountain Hills Town Council with his wife Linda who is the current mayor.

Littlefield of course says not to worry.  It’s no big deal even though it’s never happened in Arizona history from what we can tell.

But judging from Littlefield’s recent actions it is a big deal.  Because he’s already embarrassing the city.

Consider what just took place in the Scottsdale Airpark.  There GoDaddy Founder and impressive Scottsdale philanthropist Bob Parsons unveiled his latest investment in the city, a large television and video production facility.  In attendance were Scottsdale Mayor Lane, Governor Doug Ducey, Phoenix Mayor Stanton and members of the Scottsdale City Council, invited in their official city capacity to celebrate an important private sector contribution to the economy.  Vice Mayor Kathy Littlefield was there too, as she should have been.

And belittling Bob Littlefield came along for the ride.  He who only days before called Parsons (and Arizona Cardinals President Michael Bidwill) “scumbags” for supporting Lane.

Putting aside the indignity of attending someone’s event he had just show scorn for Bob Littlefield proceeded to video tape the event, especially Mayor Lane’s remarks, presumably for some bizarre political campaign purpose.

He embarrassed himself and Scottsdale in so doing.  In the highly unlikely event Littlefield’s Arizona Lottery like quest for Mayor is successful it won’t be the last time the unprecedented combination of a husband and wife on the Scottsdale City Council make the city like adulterated rather than appreciative.

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By: Sal Diciccio 

The public is being misled by True Life and the underlying property owner. On several occasions, True Life and the owner have lied to the residents surrounding the Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Club, so why should we trust them now?

 

It is my obligation to make sure that I protect the quality of life in our community, provide the facts and consider the impact of any decision on other areas of our community. Those other areas would include Ahwatukee Country Club, Foothills and Club West golf courses. Any decision made on the Lakes property could and would set a precedent for those other areas.

 

That said, I am not surprised by True Life's development plan. This is what developers do. They promise a “farm” or a “school,” but in reality, they are paving the way for high density development. And if they succeed at the Lakes, it will open the floodgates to high density development in all of our golf courses and in particular Ahwatukee Country Club.

 

We are being told that the Lakes is going to be turned into some type of agricultural setting. This could not be farther from the truth.

 

The same developers that purposely shut down the golf course and created an environmental hazard are coming out with a plan to save our community?

 

The truth is they purposely neglected maintaining the golf course in order to create a wasteland so that the surrounding residents will be put in a desperate situation.

 

True Life is one of the parties that created this blight to exact concessions from neighbors. That is not what a good neighbor does. 

 

True Life owes $1.4 million in back taxes- which could go towards our schools and other vital services for our community. That is not what a good neighbor does.

 

True Life had multiple code enforcement violations because of the way they managed the Lakes property. That is not what a good neighbor does.

 

You and your family take care of your property and pay your taxes. Why should they be exempt from that basic requirement?

 

Do not buy into the argument that these developers don't have money. The amount of money True Life spends every month on public relations and lobbyist could have easily kept this golf course watered and clean.

 

Let's lay out the facts about the developer’s proposal and the impact of development on this property:

 

Fact One: The developers want to triple the density that would normally be allowed on this property. 

 

Fact Two: The Lakes golf course was purposely designed to curb flood waters from negatively impacting surrounding properties. We recently saw many homes surrounding the Lakes property flooded. Imagine what would happen if this property, this open space and flood plain were developed.   

 

These developers live in areas that would never allow this type of density to come into their neighborhood. Nor would their neighborhood ever allow a critical flood plain to be compromised by high density development putting existing homes at risk.

 

Fact Three: The Ahwatukee Lakes was purposely designed to provide an open space for our community. The open space was provided to the original developer in exchange for higher density at other locations.

 

Fact Four: Ahwatukee Country Club has over 2,000 high density units zoned on that property. If it is developed, we are looking at the equivalent of five high-rise apartment complexes on one single parcel of land.

 

Regardless of the promises these developers make, nothing will stop them or anyone in the future from coming in and using the Lakes as precedent. If True Life succeeds, they will have created a model for all developers: neglect a property until it becomes a blight and an environmental hazard, then use strong arm tactics on desperate residents, forcing them to accept anything to make the blight go away, even if that means high density housing.

 

That means Ahwatukee Country Club, Foothills and Club West golf courses would all have higher density on their properties as well.

 

For these reasons, I caution residents not to sign anything until it has been reviewed by an attorney. This plan has nothing to do with agriculture. This is all about maximizing density and profits.

 

Please share this with your neighbors!

 

http://www.ahwatukee.com/news/article_638ac386-5f21-11e6-ab07-0bf52ca36fd9.html

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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:

  1. Promoting economic development while ensuring fiscal accountability
  2. Serving the constituents of the City, in particular District 3
  3. Streamlining regulations for residents and businesses while not compromising public safety
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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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.”

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To learn more about Andy Tobin, his campaign for the Arizona Corporation Commission, or to make a donation, please visit www.andytobin.com.

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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:

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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.”

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