Listening to many of the candidates for Scottsdale Mayor and City Council prior to the August 4th primary election it’s as if no pandemic or economic pandemonium has occurred.
Oblivious to the economic trauma that has severely wounded our galleries, special events, restaurants, and small business candidates continue to rail against height and density. It’s like complaining about a cold rather than cancer.
There is one issue in this election: how to get Scottsdale business back on its feet.
Without Scottsdale Fashion Square, car dealerships, major events, and businesses large and small getting back on track the city will not have the sales tax dollars to protect its quality of life. From payments for public safety personnel to fixing up parks and maintaining the McDowell Sonoran Preserve less will not be more.
Yet, we have some candidates railing against everything. And we have some purported “pro-business” candidates lacking the fortitude, or ability, to make the necessary, compelling case.
But height and density are not the enemy. Indeed, in appropriate areas they can be helpful, and necessary, to revitalization. For example, we think anyone, but David Ortega should be Scottsdale’s next Mayor. But his vote to approve the Scottsdale Waterfront, which offers two of the tallest buildings in the city, was a smart one. Likewise, there are parts of Scottsdale where height can make sense. Along freeways. In parts of downtown Scottsdale, but not all. Museum Square was approved by acclimation. Southbridge II was not, proving the point.
Rubber stamping every development proposal should never be the Scottsdale way. But neither should rejecting every one too, slamming the door on innovation, expansion and a can-do business spirit that will lift the city. You can always say no when opportunity knocks, but it’s as if some candidates don’t understand that economies must be curated not condemned.
Winning an election is not the end of the road. Then comes governing. Councilwoman Solange Whitehead has shown you can be true to principle while also being practical and judicious. It’s a recent election example some of her cohorts would be wise to consider more fully since Scottsdale is facing the greatest economic collapse it will likely ever know, slowly but surely impacting every city resident, in addition to the extraordinary number of small businesses that have already been laid to waste.