Yesterday was Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane’s birthday. It was also his annual State of the City address, attended by a record 460 people.
That’s a testament to his leadership, and the landslide election victory he had in November.
But the most surprising part of his speech wasn’t his dedicatory remarks about the “best city in America,” it was in the way he concluded his speech. He did so with two forceful pronouncements that he intends to pursue a public vote on the controversial Desert Discovery Center as well as one to create a hybrid district system. Under this proposal Scottsdale would see its six at-large council seats shrink to three with others being elected from a specific southern, central and northern district. The three other councilmembers would continue to be elected at large, as would the Mayor.
On the heels of presiding over the best candidate campaign in Scottsdale since Robert Pettycrew’s in 1994, and after smashing nemesis Bob Littlefield, it would be easy for Lane to forget some of these key planks of his re-election campaign. After all, it’s his last term, leaving him unencumbered. But that’s not the kind of person he is.
Residents should be grateful. And his fellow councilmembers should take notice. Both of these proposals are overwhelmingly popular with the voting public. Buck Lane behind the scenes and the Mayor has proven his fundraising prowess to go straight to the voters, via the initiative process. Buck Lane and risk opposition or no endorsement. Buck Lane and understand the opening this creates for a future opponent.
Speaking of Lane opponents, Councilman Phillips, who supported Bob Littlefield in the mayoral election, had the class to be at the State of the City yesterday. One may disagree with Phillips at times but under it all he is a patriot for Scottsdale, unlike the Littlefields, in it only for themselves. Yesterday marked the second year in a row Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield couldn’t find her way to Lane’s State of the City. Classless. If Hillary Clinton can sit near Donald Trump, Kathy Littlefield can do the same for Scottsdale. Oh, and her husband still hasn’t congratulated Lane on his November victory. Even more classless.
Fortunately, Scottsdale is a wise enough community to understand how and when to successfully treat effluent. And, fortunately, yesterday was a day to celebrate all that is right with Scottsdale, not those who are wrong for it.