We get Scottsdale city government has many priorities right now, especially to its first responders and health care infrastructure.
But when an industry like tourism, which is 35% of the city’s economy, cries out for help it is shocking and infuriating no one at the City of Scottsdale is showing the type of leadership desperately needed.
It is not as if the city doesn’t have the means. It has one of the most progressive tourism taxes in the state. Last year, it generated $23 million.
As much of that money should be repurposed immediately to aid Scottsdale businesses which have been laid to waste through no fault of their own.
Give millions to the Super Bowl in 2023 when the galleries on Main Street are going to be a ghost town soon? Insane.
Set up a city website to encourage support for local business? Woefully inadequate.
A Chamber of Commerce that sends out surveys to members asking how they are being impacted by the Coronavirus? Seriously? That’s a new definition of bureaucratic boobs.
Where are the voluntary salary reductions at Experience Scottsdale, like the leadership at most every business in America is doing? It is our understanding these are coming. While not good news for anyone involved we can hopefully point to this as an excellent and needed example of shared sacrifice.
What good are tourism advertising dollars now when there is no demand and when tourism magnets like Taliesin West just closed and laid off 46 people?
Where is Scottsdale’s Steve Mnuchin or Nancy Pelosi to champion help now? Apparently, nowhere to be found.
What good are city committees to address difficult times if all they churn out is public sector pablum devoid of any understanding or positivity for the private sector? When all those committees do is engage in chummy groupthink with everyone participating protecting themselves rather than undertaking real hard choices and anything real for the public good?
Scottsdale leadership seems to think rosary beads and the federal government are the solutions. History will not look kindly on its dithering. How is it one of the most maligned institutions in America, Congress, acted within days and yet Scottsdale’s council, nor anyone, can champion help for those that define the essence of its brand?
What good are the city’s tourism tax funds if it has little to promote after the crisis, when its shops, spaces and events look like something out of the movie Road Warrior?
It is time for Scottsdale leadership to walk and chew gum. Otherwise a bubble is soon going to pop and the yuck and stuck on the city’s face is going to be something they are going to have to live with and look at in the mirror for many years to come.
We are reminded of the city’s economic development malfeasance when it came to McDowell Road. Perhaps the departure of car dealerships that created massive sums of sale tax dollars for the city was inevitable. Perhaps not. After all, Phoenix has found a way to keep its automobile cluster on Camelback Road in central Phoenix.
Over many years city officials engaged in a series of band aids that made everyone feel good because small ball made everyone feel that they were doing something, anything. That same deficient thinking is on display, unfortunately, again. The result for McDowell Road was the loss of millions in sales tax dollars and a new type of row, of apartments. The consequence of failure for Scottsdale’s tourism industry is far greater for the city.
The question is: why this is taking place? Frankly, it’s an infuriating combination of disappointing and dereliction of duty. It is not Scottsdale at its best. It is Scottsdale at its worst, and a new low for Scottsdale government ineptitude. As relentless champions for the city it pains us to say such things. And what makes it all the more shocking? The people who aren’t getting it are usually the ones who do.
GET AN EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE PLAN UTILIZING TOURISM FUNDS FOR TOURISM BUSINESSES APPROVED BY NEXT WEEK, AT THE LATEST. Surely if Congress can act, Scottsdale can. Any such plan may likely have some holes or not be perfect. But the good is not the enemy of the great and as business and investment decisions are being made now delay is a cancer that is infecting the body Scottsdale as never before.
Spring training was canceled this year so we thought baseball might provide an appropriate analogy: Scottsdale is choking during the biggest economic at bat of its life. It’s painful to watch but more importantly, painful for those businesses who have been patriots and productive for the city. They deserve a lot better than they are getting from not even a minor league approach to the crisis, but from city leadership that doesn’t even know where its stadium is.