While Scottsdale’s Proposition 420 is heavily favored to prevail at the polls in November despite a notably dishonest campaign by opponents, it’s fair to ask what happens if it fails?
A reminder that Proposition 420 is the noble initiative brought forth by some 37,000 citizens to require public votes on projects like the Desert Discovery Center (DDC) that seek to inappropriately intrude on the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.
Back to the original question: what would be the fallout if deception defeats Proposition 420?
In our opinion it wouldn’t just open the door to the financial and environmental boondoggle that is the DCC, it would send a much bigger message. And that would be one of opening the floodgates to more development in the Preserve, beyond just the DDC. After all, once one major development is permitted what’s to stop another?
A “no” vote would also be a sign that perhaps Scottsdale voters just don’t much care about the Preserve anymore, despite spending some $1 billion in taxpayer monies to make it a reality. And where could such apathy lead in the future? The sale of land. A bond measure doesn’t pass? Sell some Preserve land to fund other projects. A recession hits and tax revenue plummets. Sell some land.
It’s a situation that played out next door at Taliesin West. There a foundation dedicated to famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright got into periodic financial trouble over the many years. Its solution? Selling chunks of land Mr. Wright left. Indeed, that’s how the large subdivision of Ancala came to be.
Come November 6th there’s a lot more to consider than public votes and an ill-conceived sequel to the Desert Botanical Garden. It will be a statement on our own red line that should never be crossed.