The success of recent Scottsdale efforts to fund city improvements with new general obligation bonds isn’t great. Indeed, a merry band of opponents defeated all of the bond requests several years back and only two passed during the latest effort in 2015.
The campaigns in support of the requests were wayward, but something more fundamental was at play too. Opponents prosecuted what amounted to a transparency and trust argument. You can’t trust City Hall and the tricksters there that are trying to hide secret funding items the rhapsody goes.
The trust thrust was and is misguided. After all, to question the integrity of people like Jim Lane, Virginia Korte, David Smith et al is akin to questioning the very definition of conscientious service. And the public knows it as demonstrated by their regard for the job the City of Scottsdale is doing.
But when it comes to the transparency of the bond proposals opponents had a point. In lumping specific projects into broader categories such as Parks, Public Safety or Transportation the city didn’t do anything that other cities don’t. But most other cities don’t have as discerning or attentive electorate as Scottsdale. Bond opponents argued each spending request – a fire station in the north, a road project on Hayden, etc. – should be allowed an up or down vote. That’s not unlike how judges appear on ballots in Arizona. We don’t vote for judges en masse or as a block. We do so individually.
Scottsdale has always had an activist class. It always will. The “establishment,” if you will, tends to look down on it as bumpkins at the ball. It shouldn’t. No one has a monopoly on good ideas and this may be one that helps to win key quality of life votes, for a change.