The Conservative's Corner

by Sal DiCiccio

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friends,

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

By The Goldwater Institute

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Sal DiCiccio

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friends,

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

By The Goldwater Institute

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MORE CONSERVATIVE’S CORNER
Featured Editorials

By Scottsdale Pinetop

The first thing many of us think of is the iconic white rabbit from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.  It’s surprising, bold and serves as a channel for imagination. That’s exactly the kind of character Scottsdale’s art district has and needs more of.

And it’s thanks to the efforts of councilwoman Linda Milhaven and the Scottsdale City Council that “One-Eyed Jack”, at the southwest corner of Marshall Way and Indian School, has now joined Scottsdale’s unique collection of public art.
Read More

Yesterday we wrote about Scottsdale City Manager Jim Thompson’s impression of Hall of Fame Catcher Johnny Bench preventing a wild pitch from harming Scottsdale taxpayers.  You can see it below or CLICK HERE.

There’s even more to the story, reinforcing Thompson’s sagaciousness.  It turns out Tempe and Phoenix, the city in which the Desert Botanical Garden is located,  were planning on contributing about $10,000 each to the special event there.

And Scottsdale was contemplating a taxpayer contribution of $500,000?!

Thank goodness the city has an All-Star behind its plate.  And coffers.

Without a good catcher in baseball too many wild pitches can find their way to the backstop, helping the other team win and wreaking havoc on your own.

That’s a lot like the job of a City Manager, including Jim Thompson’s in Scottsdale.

Thank goodness the city had its own version of Johnny Bench for a recent, near fiasco.

Scottsdale has a lot of tourism tax to spend thanks to a landmark vote in 2010 to tax hotels just a bit more for promotional efforts and a robust local economy.  Recently, the Desert Botanical Garden came knocking for funds.  But they weren’t asking for $25,000 or $75,000.  The request was for an eye-popping half a million bones, all for a special event . . . in Phoenix.

Amazingly, some on city staff thought this was a wise use of money.  Amazingly, the Scottsdale Tourism Commission even endorsed it.

At a time when funding for improvements to Scottsdale Stadium is rising in need (and challenge) spending so much money to help a property outside the city makes zero sense.  Furthermore, and while we are no fans of the Desert Discovery Center, using Scottsdale tax dollars to pump up a potential rival before that issue has been resolved is insulting to those in support of that project.

Simply put, this was the wrong idea at the wrong time in the wrong place.

Fortunately, City Manager Thompson cut through the group-think and said no, once again reminding us why it’s important to have an All-Star behind the plate.

By Scottsdale Pinetop

What’s David Garcia’s education plan for the state? Who knows.

With Invest in Ed off the November ballot, the fight over K-12 education funding moves to the governor’s race. Most voters know where Governor Ducey stands on education funding, highlighted mostly during the teacher walk-outs in April, where he found a solution called “20 by 2020” which provides a 20 percent boost in teacher pay over the next three years. With David Garcia, not so much.

After piggybacking on the teacher’s movement, David Garcia has named himself the “Godfather” of the #RedforED movement. An Arizona State University professor with a Ph. D. in Social Sciences for Educational Research and Policy Studies, Garcia should be the education expert. Yet, his education plans fall short of a passing grade.

Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

The Highs

*Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane announced his endorsement for Bill Crawford for Scottsdale City Council. Read the Mayor’s endorsement here.

*Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters announced her endorsement for former councilwoman Kate Gallego for Phoenix Mayor.

*Former Councilman Daniel Valenzuela has been endorsed by The Honorable Ed Pastor, Councilwoman Laura Pastor, Phoenix State Senator Katie Hobbs, State Representative Lela Alston, former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley and former Attorney General Grant Woods in the Phoenix mayoral race.

Read More

So a noble group of people want to put a mural on Marshall Way in Old Town Scottsdale to commemorate the late Senator John McCain.  Here’s a link to an azcentral.com story about the effort.

Seems pretty simple.  And a big win for Scottsdale as local residents honor McCain in a way that aids a struggling arts street.

Keep in mind that more outdoor art was among key recommendation a group of Marshall Way merchants provided the City of Scottsdale several years ago as a way to reinvigorate its once impressive standing among the better contemporary arts areas in America.  Scottsdale City Councilwoman Linda Milhaven responded to the requests and fought for a new artistic entry way at Marshall Way and Indian School Road that at long last is coming to pass.

Notably, Marshall Way landlord Dewey Schade didn’t participate in those efforts.  Schade, who some say acquired his holdings on the street thanks to his successful ex-wife, has not only failed to be a team player, he’s part of the ongoing problem on Marshall Way, not a solution.  He demands outlandish rents that keep storefronts more often vacant than full.

And now he’s been making noise to thwart the McCain Mural.  How sad.  We don’t know the reasons for his opposition but his, and others, have forced consideration of the piece from staff approval to one that must go to a public hearing before the Scottsdale Design Review Board.  We hope and trust that body will do the right thing, unlike Schade.  You see, as noble as it is to now honor McCain a key point is that more art is good for the area.  It should not matter if it is about McCain, JFK, President Obama or Bernie Sanders.  If the DRB turns down this request it would be a national embarrassment.

Over 20 years ago a packed arena at WestWorld said good-bye to beloved Scottsdale Mayor Herb Drinkwater.  And there stood McCain, eulogizing his good friend in a powerful, emotional way.  The nation rightfully did the same for McCain last month.  Unfortunately, Schade and others of his ilk apparently can’t find the decency to do so this month, or help the downtown arts scene.

By Scottsdale Pinetop

In the final match in Rocky, Balboa remains convinced that it’s impossible for him to beat Apollo. But rather than give up, he decides to go the distance and take on the champion for the full 15 rounds – a task no fighter had ever done before. And while Balboa may have lost the fight, the underdog was the true embodiment of the American spirit — all determination and grit.

Take heart Arizona. The Outlaw Dirty Money Initiative will continue on – just in a smaller form.

After a blow earlier this month from the Arizona Supreme Court’s ruling that the Outlaw Dirty Money Initiative did not qualify for the November 6th ballot, it seemed the initiative was down for the count. But inspired by the recent events and efforts, Phoenix has decided to take steps forward towards prohibiting dark money in its own election. Known as Proposition 419, Phoenix voters will be asked this November to amend the city charter to require all groups spending significant amounts of money in local races to disclose their donors and organization names.

Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

The Highs

*Former councilman Daniel Valenzuela has been endorsed by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433, the Communication Workers of America – Arizona State Council, Sheet Metal Works Union, Local 359, UNITE HERE Local 11 and the Arizona Federation of Teachers 8002.

*Barry Goldwater Jr. announced his endorsement of Nicholas Sarwark for Phoenix Mayor.

The Lows

No Lows for the Week Read More

Near the end of The Last Crusade,  Indiana Jones stood on the side of an abyss, not knowing how he was going to get to the other side.  He necessarily relied on the higher power above and Jones’ leap of faith was rewarded.

The other side, the “No” side, in Scottsdale’s Proposition 420 debate, that being the one to rightfully require public votes on major impacts in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, is asking voters to take a leap of faith of a different kind.  All to build an unnecessary, taxpayer sucking project called the Desert Discovery Center, Proposition 420 opponents are engaged in the most hollow and disingenuous campaign in city history.  Today we wish to focus on yet another example.  Those are the claims that if Proposition 420 passes a cabal of unelected citizens will effectively be dictators of what happens in the Preserve forevermore.   

Let us tell you why this is nonsense and then undermine their argument further, even if it was untrue.

Proposition 420 was very clearly written. We encourage all to read the actual language by going to the City of Scottsdale website. Here is a direct link.   In it Section 12 outlines prohibitions on altering the natural state of the Preserve for things such as the Dumb & Dumber Center (DDC) .  Reasonable exceptions are then spelled out including:  “New trails approved by the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Commission.”  That’s certainly reasonable and should not be understood as eliminating the duly elected Scottsdale City Council from also approving such trails.  It just says the citizens appointed to the Commission must also do so, meaning the Council can’t upend a decision not supported by its lower court.  Read More

Earlier this year the Scottsdale City Council had a rambunctious debate on funding the community’s substantial infrastructure needs.  One group advocated for a more comprehensive bond approach, backed by property taxes, while the other suggested a smaller ball sales tax increase concentrating on transportation needs.  Both sides of this aisle made persuasive arguments but the latter gained majority status.  They cited the increased likelihood of success at the ballot box due to recent failed bond efforts and a rather compelling argument that the city would soon lose out on some $170 million in transportation dollars from regional sources if it didn’t step up to the plate with this package.

The majority was led by Councilman Guy Phillips and joined by Mayor Jim Lane and Councilmembers Suzanne Klapp and Kathy Littlefield.

It’s fair to say the minority of Councilmembers Linda Milhaven, Virginia Korte and David Smith were not happy.  There were even rumblings they would lead a campaign against the measure, which will be voted on this coming November.

Instead, however, they became patriots for their city.  How?  Because they know better than anyone how inadequate Scottsdale’s current funding for infrastructure is.  And that the one tenth of one cent increase in the sales tax to fund a portion of the needs is the very definition of the good not being the enemy of the great.  Their support is seemingly engrained in another reason too.  By this minority supporting the majority in 2018, it should and will be time for the majority to support the minority in 2019 when a broader bond package will be put to voters.

Recent history has shown the import of unanimity by and of members of the Scottsdale City Council to pass big votes.  Milhaven, Korte and Smith have demonstrated the necessary integrity and compromising to make democracy work effectively for citizens this year.  It will be up to the four others to follow that example next year.

By Scottsdale Pinetop

The Highs

*Anna Thomasson, Ellen Andeen and Councilman Paul Dembow were elected to the Paradise Valley Town Council in the Aug. 28 election.

*Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield congratulated volunteers who collected 37K signatures to put Prop. 420 on the November ballot at a Volunteer Celebration dinner this past Wednesday August 29th.

The Lows  

*Paradise Valley resident James Anton lost his election to serve on the Paradise Valley Town Council at the Aug. 28 election. Perhaps he should have actually run a campaign.

*Former councilman Daniel Valenzuela neglected to disclose outstanding debt owed in his name when he filed two recent public financial statements. Filing a false or incomplete disclosure statement is a misdemeanor under Phoenix City Code.
Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

Dubbed “the happiest place on earth,” Disneyland used to be a place for nearly everyone to enjoy. But today, with skyrocketing ticket prices, the long promoted place “made for you and me,” seems increasingly made for someone else.

If we aren’t careful, McDowell Sonoran Preserve could become a desert Disneyland.

Adding to their long list of half-truths, supporters of the Desert Discovery Center (renamed Desert Edge) are now claiming that voting Yes on Proposition 420 will essentially make the Preserve exclusive for only a select few to enjoy. While on the other hand, they say the Desert Edge project promotes inclusiveness and welcomes all. What these advocates forgot to mention is that Desert Edge will be welcoming to all – but at a price.

Read More

There were a lot of interesting election results Tuesday night throughout Arizona.  But also in the Town of Paradise Valley.  There, after running a superb race, Anna Thomasson was rightfully rewarded as the top vote getter.  Ellen Andeen finished an impressive second.

But it was who got the bronze medal that was noteworthy:  2-term incumbent councilman Paul Dembow.  Not only did he get smoked by two first-time candidates, he barely beat the fourth person in the race who didn’t even run a campaign.

Keep in mind residents in Paradise Valley overwhelmingly feel that things in their town are headed in the right direction.  So an incumbent should have done better.  Yet, voters served Dembow some humble pie.  Why?

There are surely any number of reasons from curious positions taken against a variety of proposed improvements to Paradise Valley in recent years, as well as his demagogic and ongoing opposition to the Ritz-Carlton project in town.  There was also his widespread and very smug email to voters basically saying Thomasson was too much of an outsider in Paradise Valley and to ignore her in favor of his slate of insiders.

Town voters are a smart lot and they see if someone is maturing, or not, as one of their seven representatives.

Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

Maricopa County officials can’t seem to get it right when it comes to our voting system. In 2016, it was the lack of polling locations that left over 100,000 voters from casting their ballots. Then in February, it was a misprinted insert in early-voting ballots for the 8th Congressional District’s special election that left more than 30,000 voters confused on how to vote.

Yesterday’s “glitch” is just another example of Arizona’s problematic voting system.

Read More

By Scottsdale Jersey Boy

So we know desperation is setting in with Desert Discovery Center sycophants in Scottsdale.  After all, they have renamed their project (Desert Edge), tapped the worst city manager in Scottsdale history to lead their new efforts and have deceitfully labeled their opposition campaign to Proposition 420 “Protect Your Preserve.”  Mind you, supporters of Proposition 420, the measure that would allow citizens the right to vote on the $70 million, taxpayer-funded miscreant in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve (and any future projects for that matter) call their committee “Protect Our Preserve.”  

It’s officially time to start feeling sorry for those that aren’t just for the Desert Edge, but are literally, politically, hanging on it.

Take their recent trope in a local blog called “Scottsdale Edge.” It’s almost too strange to describe but we’ll give it our best shot.  After all, it’s hard to get inside the heads of people who are the same type to question President Obama’s birth certificate, moon landings and if Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.  Folks, it’s time to take the Art Bell posters off the wall because you really are just Batsh*t Crazy.  Like certifiable.

Brother Scottsdale Edge attempts to gain some support for its sister the Desert Edge by convoluting us through a scenario in which Scottsdale-based Barrett-Jackson has been paying local public relations consultant Jason Rose for years not for the obvious, public tasks he has often been involved with on the company’s behalf, but to surreptitiously upend the Desert Discovery Center.  You see, Rose has very publicly opposed the measure and made a publicly reported campaign donation to those opposing the project.  Why would Rose be doing this the blog surmises?  Because Barrett-Jackson and unnamed others want to dump the $70 million desert eating edifice up the street so more money can be devoted to WestWorld.  Of course they have zero evidence to back up the claim.  And if anyone can find any comments made by Barrett-Jackson about the project, do let us know. Read More

Zoning applicants and neighbors.  From Buckeye to Scottsdale they can get along swimmingly, or not much at all.

Such is the situation to date for a head-scratching case currently ongoing in north Phoenix.  There, near Tatum and Dynamite, is a self-storage proposal that by all accounts resembles what is probably the nicest one in the Valley, that near the Estancia Country Club near Pinnacle Peak in north Scottsdale.  

Take a look at a recent letter the project, Your Next Closet, sent to the city. It’s copied at the end of this article.

So let’s understand this.  Some want a high-traffic, high-potential for problems, higher-density and just simply higher apartment project as allowed by current zoning, or a Goodwill( which has submitted a back-up offer)  rather than a docile, first-class storage facility with all the concessions and benefits described therein?!

Count us among those who just don’t get it.  But we do get how this is an absolutely classic case of how some fancy themselves activists and jump the gun as they jump out to the public with false information.  Guys like Wade Tinant.  Look here at this video he did.  Here is a link.  It appears to be just wrong.  We’ll have more distortions Wade likes to engage in another time. Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

The Highs

*Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield has been endorsed by Arizona Conference of Police and Sherriffs and the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona.

*Former Councilman Daniel Valenzuela has given back to the Phoenix community by volunteering with United Phoenix Firefighters to provide backpacks and school supplies to children in need.

Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

A war-hero patriot, an Arizona Senator and a presidential candidate. The legacy and political career of Senator John McCain has become a staple of Arizona’s pioneering identity. And now as he continues his fight with brain cancer and President Trump’s tweets, local Arizona residents are attempting to honor Sen. McCain’s legacy and Arizona’s history. 

An architect, a developer and a local artists have teamed up to start a campaign to create the ‘Maverick Mural’ in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale, as a tribute to Sen. McCain. The mural is expected to sit on 4235 N. Marshall Way and be 30 feet tall and 120 feet wide.

From a distance, all one sees is the image of McCain in front of the Arizona state flag. But take a closer look and it becomes a collection of smaller images representing Arizona’s five C’s.
Read More

So a political action committee has formed to oppose the right of Scottsdale citizens to vote on new development in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve known as Proposition 420.  It will appear on Scottsdale’s November ballot.  Quite unbelievably, or fortuitously, it is being led by the worst city manager in the city’s history and a former zoning attorney.  We’re not making this up.

So let’s discuss the hilariously named “Protect Your Preserve: No on Proposition 420” committee led by Queen of Spades Jan Dolan before turning to the illogic of their effort.

Dumped by the City Council many years ago Dolan was best known as the City Manager who tried to import her northern California ways into Scottsdale, and even tried to run Barrett-Jackson out of town.  But it’s Dolan’s history with the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Gateway, the proposed site of the ill-conceived Desert Discovery Center, that makes her choice now particularly bizarre and appalling.

You see, Dolan was primarily responsible for the controversy surrounding the acquisition of the Gateway, one of the biggest taxpayer boondoggles in city history.

What is now known as the “Gateway” with its beautiful trail-head was once private land held by Toll Brothers.  The company was in the process of building Windgate Ranch and knew its land north of Thompson Peak would be condemned by the city for the Preserve.  As part of an overall development plan it offered to sell Dolan and the city the Gateway parcel for approximately $110,000 per acre.  Dolan balked, her typical arrogance on full display.  She thought she could get the land for less and undertook unfriendly condemnation proceedings that went to court.  Bad choice.  The court sided with Toll Brothers and compelled the city to pay some three times as much for the land than the deal Toll had offered.  Taxpayers got fleeced and that was the beginning of the end as Dolan as City Manager.

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

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

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

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

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

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2018 Scrum

In case you may have missed it: The Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce has announced its opposition to Proposition 420, the initiative to change the City Charter, and its support of Question 1, raising the sales tax to address transportation issues.
 
I endorse the Chamber’s positions on both issues, which will be on the November 6th ballot.


The Chamber stated that Prop 420, which addresses the sustainability of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and the use of preserve funds, lacks clarity and is open to interpretation.  I agree. 


Furthermore, Prop 420 empowers an unelected and unaccountable group of volunteers, the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Commission, to make and mediate decisions about the future of the Preserve.  As a consequence, this group of volunteers would circumvent the authority of the City Council, who you elect to be accountable to citizens.

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My top priority on the Scottsdale City Council will be to maintain and improve our high quality of life.

I am no stranger to this notion. I have spent over 20 years fighting to protect our quality of life in many ways. My efforts have brought awareness to critical citywide issues, influencing positive action for our quality of life.

In order to keep our city headed in the right direction, we must ensure Scottsdale continues to provide a high quality of life for our residents and visitors.

This includes keeping crime and taxes low and maintaining a strong and vibrant economy.

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Why are we asking for a small Charter change? Why alter the City’s “Constitution”? Are there unintended consequences? Does it handcuff the City Council?

A group of experts, including former Preserve Commissioners and a panel of attorneys, gave these questions serious thought and vigorous debate for several weeks in November 2017. There was extensive research and dialog behind our ballot language, to ensure that our change did exactly what it needed to Protect the Preserve, and nothing more.

To fully understand why we had to alter the City’s fundamental governing document and vote YES TO 420, let’s do a quick review of the history leading up to our decision.Read More

Last Friday, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey joined business leaders and elected officials from across Arizona announcing his support of Rodney Glassman for Arizona Corporation Commission. 

Governor Ducey wrote:

“I’m proud to support Rodney Glassman for Corporation Commission. As an Air Force veteran and water expert with his PhD in Arid Land Resource Sciences, Rodney’s private-sector background and track record of community service make him just the leader Arizonans need to oppose costly mandates while restoring integrity and protecting ratepayers. Please vote Glassman for Corporation Commission.” Arizona Governor Doug DuceyRead More

Hello,

What a week!

Border mayors endorsed Governor Ducey, citing his strong record on growing Arizona’s economy and our trade relationship with Mexico.

Border Patrol agents announced their support for the governor, crediting his “decisive leadership” to help secure the border.

The governor also traveled throughout Arizona — meeting with voters and sharing his vision for securing Arizona’s future.

Keep scrolling for all the highlights from the week.

National Border Patrol Council Endorses Doug Ducey

The National Border Patrol Council and Local 2544 (Tucson Sector) endorsed Doug Ducey for Governor on Monday, stating that Governor Ducey is on the side of law enforcement and on the side of protecting citizens… WATCH »

Border Mayors from Both Parties Endorse Doug Ducey

Douglas Mayor Uribe (D): Gov. Ducey has brought his business approach to government. The result is growing trade with Mexico, more jobs, economic development, and selling what towns like Douglas have to offer… READ »

Nogales Mayor Doyle: Governor Ducey has worked with us here in Nogales to improve Arizona’s relationship with Mexico, especially by increasing trade at our port. It’s resulting in more jobs for Arizonans… READ »

Gov. Ducey in Tucson for Announcement of 600 Jobs

Technology firm TuSimple announced 600 new jobs in Tucson. The expansion is estimated to create a $1 billion economic impact over 5 years. Since 2015, 300+ companies have relocated or expanded to Arizona… READ »

Read More

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Latest News

  • Guest Editorial: Scottsdale’s White Rabbit

    Sep 21

    By Scottsdale Pinetop The first thing many of us think of is the iconic white rabbit from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.  It’s surprising, bold and serves as a channel for imagination. That’s exactly the kind of character Scottsdale’s art district has and needs more of. And it’s thanks to the efforts of councilwoman Linda Milhaven and the Scottsdale City Council that “One-Eyed Jack”, at the southwest corner of Marshall Way and Indian School, has +

  • Johnny Bench, Part II

    Sep 19

    Yesterday we wrote about Scottsdale City Manager Jim Thompson’s impression of Hall of Fame Catcher Johnny Bench preventing a wild pitch from harming Scottsdale taxpayers.  You can see it below or CLICK HERE. There’s even more to the story, reinforcing Thompson’s sagaciousness.  It turns out Tempe and Phoenix, the city in which the Desert Botanical Garden is located,  were planning on contributing about $10,000 each to the special event there. And Scottsdale was contemplating a +

  • Johnny Bench

    Sep 18

    Without a good catcher in baseball too many wild pitches can find their way to the backstop, helping the other team win and wreaking havoc on your own. That’s a lot like the job of a City Manager, including Jim Thompson’s in Scottsdale. Thank goodness the city had its own version of Johnny Bench for a recent, near fiasco. Scottsdale has a lot of tourism tax to spend thanks to a landmark vote in 2010 +

  • Guest Editorial: Professor Without A Plan

    Sep 14

    By Scottsdale Pinetop What’s David Garcia’s education plan for the state? Who knows. With Invest in Ed off the November ballot, the fight over K-12 education funding moves to the governor’s race. Most voters know where Governor Ducey stands on education funding, highlighted mostly during the teacher walk-outs in April, where he found a solution called “20 by 2020” which provides a 20 percent boost in teacher pay over the next three years. With David +

  • #LocalBuzz: Highs, Lows and In-Betweens

    Sep 14

    By Scottsdale Pinetop The Highs *Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane announced his endorsement for Bill Crawford for Scottsdale City Council. Read the Mayor’s endorsement here. *Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters announced her endorsement for former councilwoman Kate Gallego for Phoenix Mayor. *Former Councilman Daniel Valenzuela has been endorsed by The Honorable Ed Pastor, Councilwoman Laura Pastor, Phoenix State Senator Katie Hobbs, State Representative Lela Alston, former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley and former +

  • Dewey The Dick

    Sep 13

    So a noble group of people want to put a mural on Marshall Way in Old Town Scottsdale to commemorate the late Senator John McCain.  Here’s a link to an azcentral.com story about the effort. Seems pretty simple.  And a big win for Scottsdale as local residents honor McCain in a way that aids a struggling arts street. Keep in mind that more outdoor art was among key recommendation a group of Marshall Way merchants +

  • Guest Editorial: Down But Not Out

    Sep 13

    By Scottsdale Pinetop In the final match in Rocky, Balboa remains convinced that it’s impossible for him to beat Apollo. But rather than give up, he decides to go the distance and take on the champion for the full 15 rounds – a task no fighter had ever done before. And while Balboa may have lost the fight, the underdog was the true embodiment of the American spirit — all determination and grit. Take heart +

  • #LocalBuzz: Highs, Lows and In-Betweens

    Sep 7

    By Scottsdale Pinetop The Highs *Former councilman Daniel Valenzuela has been endorsed by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433, the Communication Workers of America – Arizona State Council, Sheet Metal Works Union, Local 359, UNITE HERE Local 11 and the Arizona Federation of Teachers 8002. *Barry Goldwater Jr. announced his endorsement of Nicholas Sarwark for Phoenix Mayor. The Lows No Lows for the Week +

  • Leap. No Faith.

    Sep 6

    Near the end of The Last Crusade,  Indiana Jones stood on the side of an abyss, not knowing how he was going to get to the other side.  He necessarily relied on the higher power above and Jones’ leap of faith was rewarded. The other side, the “No” side, in Scottsdale’s Proposition 420 debate, that being the one to rightfully require public votes on major impacts in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, is asking voters to +

  • Integrity

    Sep 5

    Earlier this year the Scottsdale City Council had a rambunctious debate on funding the community’s substantial infrastructure needs.  One group advocated for a more comprehensive bond approach, backed by property taxes, while the other suggested a smaller ball sales tax increase concentrating on transportation needs.  Both sides of this aisle made persuasive arguments but the latter gained majority status.  They cited the increased likelihood of success at the ballot box due to recent failed bond efforts and +

  • #LocalBuzz: Highs, Lows and In-Betweens

    Aug 31

    By Scottsdale Pinetop The Highs *Anna Thomasson, Ellen Andeen and Councilman Paul Dembow were elected to the Paradise Valley Town Council in the Aug. 28 election. *Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield congratulated volunteers who collected 37K signatures to put Prop. 420 on the November ballot at a Volunteer Celebration dinner this past Wednesday August 29th. The Lows   *Paradise Valley resident James Anton lost his election to serve on the Paradise Valley Town Council at the Aug. +

  • Guest Editorial: Mickey Mouse

    Aug 31

    By Scottsdale Pinetop Dubbed “the happiest place on earth,” Disneyland used to be a place for nearly everyone to enjoy. But today, with skyrocketing ticket prices, the long promoted place “made for you and me,” seems increasingly made for someone else. If we aren’t careful, McDowell Sonoran Preserve could become a desert Disneyland. Adding to their long list of half-truths, supporters of the Desert Discovery Center (renamed Desert Edge) are now claiming that voting Yes +

  • Wake Up Call For Dembow

    Aug 31

    There were a lot of interesting election results Tuesday night throughout Arizona.  But also in the Town of Paradise Valley.  There, after running a superb race, Anna Thomasson was rightfully rewarded as the top vote getter.  Ellen Andeen finished an impressive second. But it was who got the bronze medal that was noteworthy:  2-term incumbent councilman Paul Dembow.  Not only did he get smoked by two first-time candidates, he barely beat the fourth person in +

  • Guest Editorial: More Than Just a Hiccup

    Aug 29

    By Scottsdale Pinetop Maricopa County officials can’t seem to get it right when it comes to our voting system. In 2016, it was the lack of polling locations that left over 100,000 voters from casting their ballots. Then in February, it was a misprinted insert in early-voting ballots for the 8th Congressional District’s special election that left more than 30,000 voters confused on how to vote. Yesterday’s “glitch” is just another example of Arizona’s problematic +

  • Guest Editorial: How Dumb Are They?

    Aug 28

    By Scottsdale Jersey Boy So we know desperation is setting in with Desert Discovery Center sycophants in Scottsdale.  After all, they have renamed their project (Desert Edge), tapped the worst city manager in Scottsdale history to lead their new efforts and have deceitfully labeled their opposition campaign to Proposition 420 “Protect Your Preserve.”  Mind you, supporters of Proposition 420, the measure that would allow citizens the right to vote on the $70 million, taxpayer-funded miscreant +

  • Head Scratcher In Phoenix’s 85331: The Best Option Is Still In Store(age)

    Aug 27

    Zoning applicants and neighbors.  From Buckeye to Scottsdale they can get along swimmingly, or not much at all. Such is the situation to date for a head-scratching case currently ongoing in north Phoenix.  There, near Tatum and Dynamite, is a self-storage proposal that by all accounts resembles what is probably the nicest one in the Valley, that near the Estancia Country Club near Pinnacle Peak in north Scottsdale.   Take a look at a recent letter +