Some time ago Bob and Karen Hobbs bought the former home of favorite Arizona son Barry Goldwater. Located on a hilltop in the heart of Paradise Valley their preservation and updating of the home was and is spectacular.
From time to time they do events there, mainly political ones favoring the Grand Old Party. But not a once have they sought to commercialize the property with such things as weddings, concerts and wine bars. They’d get laughed and run out of town by neighbors and town officials if they thought about, let alone submitted plans to actually do it.
The Hobbs’ also never hired publicists to tout how great they were for keeping and restoring the Goldwater home, where they now live.
Contrast this approach with the extraordinary arrogance of Zach Rawlings in Arcadia, who is seeking to do everything the Hobbs’ did not.
Instead of quietly and nobly resurrecting a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Rawlings has sought to tell the world how great he is for doing it. And while we agree that kudos are in order, his subsequent endeavor to use it as a mean to gain unprecedented commercial rights in Arcadia is anything but a Hobbesian choice. It’s just wrong.
Indeed the plans submitted to Phoenix allow Rawlings new development rights no other homeowner in Arcadia enjoys. Consequently, any longer calling it the “Wright House” are woefully insufficient. The more proper name is the Arcadia Event & Wedding Center.
And what confuses us beyond how and why somebody, anybody would think the proposal appropriate is the arrogance of the approach.
After all, the number one rule of any new development project – surely taught in Developer 101 – is to gain if not the favor of neighbors then their neutrality. In this case, Rawlings has offended just about the entirety of Arcadia. Ask around. The unanimity is extraordinary. Sure, Rawlings has purchased people to support his plan with fancy titles such as former State Land Commissioner who then go on to stretch their credulity by claiming they actually live in “Arcadia.” Rawlings also touts the number of people within the zip code(s) who support the project, which becomes comical when those numbers are actually researched and the level of support becomes infinitesimal, to be kind.
And what has the all of Rawlings’ self-congratulatory campaign brought him?
Adamant opposition from the Phoenix City Councilman, Sal Diciccio, in which the project sits. Announced opposition from at least two other councilmembers. No announced support from anyone on the Phoenix City Council. And that appears highly problematic as the Arcadia Event & Wedding Center will now need at least 7 votes to gain approval due to guess what? A legal protest from neighboring properties he has so offended. Oh, and have we yet mentioned the deed restrictions that don’t permit Rawlings’ proposed uses at all?
During Michael Jordan’s heyday Gatorade ran a great and famous advertising campaign: “Be Like Mike.” In this case Rawlings might consider being like Karen and Bob. Their reputations were enhanced for what they did, and how they did it, to preserve Barry Goldwater’s legacy. Rawlings should do the same and emulate their humble approach to preservation, not the current pomposity of his Arcadia Event & Wedding Venue.