Featured Editorials




Teachers Ready To Help Autistic Students Recover From Post COVID Trauma Following Months Of Isolation.

(PHOENIX) Making the transition from on-screen learning to in person classroom learning can be especially challenging, even traumatic, for many autistic students as they re-learn socialization skills that may have been tragically lost when COVID forced schools to close last school year.

Gateway Academy, the Valley’s top school serving Twice-Exceptional students (academically capable and diagnosed with a level 1 Autism Spectrum Disorder) resumed in person learning on Monday July 12.

Its faculty and staff have spent the summer getting ready to welcome back its students with an emphasis on restoring those critical and needed socialization skills. It also stands ready to help new students, who could benefit from Gateway’s unique approach.

Gateway Academy’s Executive Director and CEO, O. Robin Sweet said, “While mandatory school closures and on screen learning were needed to slow the spread of COVID, the unfortunate side effect for autistic students was the loss of some important socialization skills. We are eager to serve new students and welcome back our current students so they can recover, regain skills, and thrive.”Read More

A Country Club for Racing Enthusiasts Nearly Doubles Memberships Since 2020 As the Facility Expands and New Residents Flock to Arizona

(MARICOPA, Ariz.) Similar to the surge in Arizona golf memberships during Covid, memberships are not only off to a fast start at the Valley’s first and only motorsports club, they are in full throttle mode.

Since opening in 2019, APEX Motor Club is reporting its best numbers yet with more than 250 members and more than half of those joining since the pandemic hit in 2020. Membership initiation fees run similar to golf country clubs starting at $50,000 and go up to $85,000. Yearly dues range from $5,000 to $10,000 a year.

APEX’s country of club for motor enthusiasts currently offers members a completed 2.27-mile private race track, just 20 minutes south of the I-10/Maricopa Road interchange or 30 minutes from Sky Harbor. The facility now boasts a car vault.

The Vault at Apex holds 42 member cars where upon arrival at the track, your car is fully checked and prepared for track usage. When members are finished, the car is returned to the vault where a comprehensive check of the vehicle is completed and notated.

Read More

Evolve Body Sculpting, Optimus Micro-needling, Hair Reduction, Botox, Fillers, Skincare and Lip Enhancements are at the Top of Every Mom’s List

(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) – Berardi Aesthetics & Plastic Surgery’s owner Dr. Joseph Berardi, MD, Scottsdale’s Best Plastic Surgeon, offers the best experience in Arizona, providing all the services Mom really wants this Mother’s Day. Get Mom a gift this year that boosts her confidence, helps her not look so tired, and helps her GLOW by Scottsdale’s most notable plastic surgeon and his amazing team.

Non-Surgical technology by InMode, Evolve Tite, Trim, or Tone, are cutting edge toning, trimming, and tightening technology without downtime. Each procedure generally takes 30 minutes to an hour. The benefits of skin tightening with Evolve include toned and tighter skin, cellulite reduction, smoother texture, and increased production of collagen. Dr. Berardi’s exclusive practice offers this state-of-the-art technology, Mothers will enjoy the exclusivity of the groundbreaking treatment.

Among many surgical procedures, as in Mommy Makeovers, Breast Augmentations, and Facelifts, Berardi Aesthetics & Plastic Surgery offers a wide array of other aesthetic procedures including IPLs, Microneedling, Hair Reduction,  Botox/Dysport, HA fillers, medical-grade skincare products, and treatments.  Dr. Berardi’s InMode Morpheus8 RF can drastically tighten and rejuvenate skin on the face or body. During the consultation, Dr. Berardi will be Mom’s biggest advocate and evaluate skin and overall health to determine the best procedure/treatment. The treatments can make the biggest difference for Moms.  They can instantly be rejuvenated and have Mom’s feel on top of the world.

Read More

Berardi Aesthetics & Plastic Surgery has seen a rise in liposuction, breast augmentation, and a new technology that’s replacing Cool Sculpting during the pandemic

(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) Dr. Joseph C. Berardi, an internationally recognized plastic surgeon in Scottsdale, has seen his business rise during the COVID-19 pandemic. Increased downtime at home, zoom meeting insecurity, and lockdown pounds have people looking to plastic surgery.

During the pandemic, Berardi Aesthetics & Plastic Surgery has seen a dramatic increase in people wanting procedures to help feel good about themselves. Working from home has been a major player in the decision-making process for many people. They are able to recover at home at their own pace, and without needing to take off work for an extended period of time.

“It’s not surprising that our business would increase during the pandemic,” said Dr. Joseph C. Berardi. “People are spending a lot more time on zoom meetings and they are looking themselves and now they are seeing more imperfections or things they’ve never seen before. Add to there are still a lot of people working from home and it has allowed the opportunity to recover in the comfort of their own home rather than having to go to office so soon.”

Add to that, Dr. Berardi owns his own surgery center so patients don’t have to worry about going into a busy hospital where they may be administering care to Covid patients.

The biggest increase has been attributed to EVOLE by InMode, originally only available in New York and Los Angeles. EVOLVE uses radio frequency energy and electrical muscle stimulation to achieve long-lasting body sculpting results with little to no discomfort or downtime.  The New EVOLVE system is the first and only FDA cleared all-in-one system to reduce cellulite, tone muscle and tighten skin.

Read More

The New Darlings, Husband and Wife Influencers, List their Enchanting Home in the Brentwood Historic District

(PHOENIX) Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty, the Valley’s leader in luxury real estate,  is proud to announce the New Darlings’ home is now on the market. Christina and Robert Martinez are the husband and wife behind the New Darlings.

The New Darlings have 460k+ followers on Instagram and a wholesome family and lifestyle blog. Christina, Robert, and Oliver Martinez’s memories are recorded and featured on the blog, including the remodeling journey of their Phoenix home.

The enchanting home is a 1930 Tudor in the historic Brentwood neighborhood of Central Phoenix. The property received a complete overhaul from its current owners, no surface untouched, no idea left undone.

“We spent so much time and energy to find a harmony between beauty and functionality for our home,” said Christina Martinez. “We are sad to be leaving this house but we are excited to find new owners that will appreciate it as much as we do.”

The 1,846 square foot main house is home to 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and is listed at $700,000 by Michelle Renteria of Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty.

Read More

Featured Editorials

By Alexander Lomax

The city of Scottsdale isn’t exactly known for bold new ideas. The preservation of the past is actually a fairly important part of Scottsdale’s identity. As such, even relatively non-controversial ideas have a fairly tough road to implementation.

Any readers here have almost certainly been to street fairs; events where a road (or several) is blocked off, with vendor tents and foot traffic filling the street. The Temple Festival for the Arts is a prominent and successful example of this. Scottsdale is considering following suit, with initial plans for something similar written into Scottsdale’s general plan. The idea is a once-a-month street fair, not a regular disruption of local businesses.

Tempe Festival of the Arts – Photo credit: Arizona Republic

Why this is controversial, I don’t know. I suppose that for nearly any idea that comes to city councils, there are winners and losers, and as such there will usually be some opposition. However in my opinion the objections raised by Councilwoman Littlefield and a few business owners don’t hold weight.

The shop owners in the Scottsdale Progress article linked above seem to be concerned about a loss of business, but yet that strongly implies that they would have no interest in taking part. This sort of thinking typifies many of the old school, buggy-whip companies of the 21st century: what we’re doing now is working, why change it? And that line of thinking is how companies, cities, and cultures get left behind.

Councilwoman Caputi gets it in this case; something like this would generate a heck of a lot of foot traffic from people who otherwise wouldn’t think to set foot in some of these shops. How on earth is that a bad thing? As we move away from Covid and back to “normal”, it feels like being around lots of people in a fair setting would be quite refreshing. The most introverted of us aside, we could use this as a society.

It’s time that we stop clinging to an antipathy to change and be open to trying something new. A Scottsdale street fair seems like a great step in that direction.

By Alexander Lomax

The parade of new entrants in Arizona political races continued last week, as we have a new candidate looking to unseat Mark Kelly: Blake Masters declared his candidacy for the US Senate.

Who is Blake Masters, you may be asking yourself. Not much is known about Mr. Masters, but what is known is unusual. Most notably, he is the COO for a foundation started by ideological multi-billionaire Peter Thiel. Thiel is known as a strident Libertarian, an incredibly wealthy man who wants as little taxation and as few rules as possible; an Ayn Rand purist. It is safe to say that Masters would take that ideology to the US Senate if elected.

The other most notable thing about him is his age, a ripe young 34 years old. While I don’t think that your average voter is clamoring for more septuagenarians in the halls of power, I have to wonder what skill sets and experience one could accrue by such a young age to be prepared to deal with the host of different issues that a Senator must tackle.

Masters seems like an intelligent guy, I have few doubts about that. But what does he add to the race? When I see someone who is very young and inexperienced for a particular role, I see someone who can easily be molded into someone else’s likeness, someone who could easily be manipulated to do someone else’s bidding. In this case, it is obvious and clear; he will serve as a puppet Senator of sorts for Thiel, who has been attempting to steer American policy towards his whims and to his advantage for years now.

So then why wouldn’t Thiel run for Senator himself? Well then the cover comes off, and you would know exactly what you are voting for; a systematic dismantling of public safety nets and a further funneling of wealth towards the top. With Masters, you get a fresh face serving to mask that policy.

I for one have been happy with Mark Kelly’s performance, or at least not displeased by it. But when I think of who in the Republican primary would best serve the interests of everyday Arizonans, Mark Brnovich has already demonstrated his ability to do this, and would be a significantly better choice in the primary.


In our legal system equality is supposed to preside.  Black or white.  Rich or poor.  Powerful or not.  Yet, there is a belief that the elite, including politicians, can be above the law.

We’re about to find out, courtesy of the Scottsdale City Attorney’s Office.  It is apparently deciding whether to charge embattled Paradise Valley Councilman Paul Dembow with a crime, after the Scottsdale Police Department found probable cause for charges, according to the Scottsdale Independent.

For any reader, or person in Paradise Valley, still unaware of Dembow’s decrepit behavior, allow us to remind.  He was caught on video, apparently stealing a cross as part of a memorial established by a Paradise Valley family distraught over the death over their father.  Howard Brown was killed by Dembow’s daughter in a tragic car accident and there have been legal and political fireworks ever since.

Putting aside who is right, and wrong, in the years-long fight, most all would agree that stealing such a memorial for Father’s Day is about as low as it gets.

Rather than admit he was drunk, stupid, angry or something else Dembow chose to deny it was he in the video, something Scottsdale Police are reported to have rejected.

A potential crime and then lying about it to voters and your colleagues.  It doesn’t get much worse.

Dembow is now not just a laughingstock.  He would surely be ranked today as Paradise Valley’s worst person. Despite his demise, the Scottsdale City Attorney’s Office, led by Sherry Scott, should not and cannot send a message that elected officials get to skate when they engage in such behavior.  Failure to back up the Scottsdale Police Department’s investigation would do just that.

Many are watching this sordid chapter.  It’s long past time for Dembow to resign rather than put Paradise Valley through the embarrassment and trauma.  But it can end another way too, courtesy of the Scottsdale City Attorney’s Office.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of the real estate market going bananas here in the Valley along with much of the rest of the country. A mix of Covid incentivizing people to move away from heavily crowded areas along with economic policies and personal financial situations has lead to an influx of home buyers from other states, pushing up our home prices significantly.

It looks as though the steady march of home prices upwards has finally come to an end; a recent report shows that the market is cooling off. Housing inventory has spiked, as have the number of price reductions. As this report details, this does not mean that a price drop is imminent (sorry, prospective home buyers). Instead, the average prices will stabilize throughout the rest of this year, with the precise month depending on what city you’re in.

Photo Credit: The Arizona Republic

Part of this seems like it may be a natural outcrop of the summer heat; if you’re thinking of relocating from the Bay Area or SoCal, a few 110 degree days in a row may get you thinking twice about moving to the Valley of the Sun. However, another aspect may simply be migration running out of steam; if either Covid or high taxes had been a reason to leave, you most likely would have done so already.

A housing market is only as healthy as its accessibility to the middle class, and many middle class wage earners have been priced out of this market unless they want to purchase a condo or move out to the outskirts of the valley. This will not change overnight, but millennials with dreams of home ownership in their heads can perhaps sleep a little easier, knowing that the recent rise in prices won’t continue unimpeded.

For those that are homeowners currently, it’s been a heck of a ride, but they never last forever. But with a home full of new equity, perhaps now is a good time to utilize a cash out refinance to take care of repairs that you’ve been putting off.

With new data coming out about significant increases in wages across the country, perhaps we are entering a golden era where wages actually catch up to housing prices. One can dream, at least.

Maricopa County has been in the news a lot lately.  Some supporters of former President Trump don’t like the outcome of its 2020 election even though it appears to have been smartly and ethically performed by county officials.

Now, there’s something else Maricopa County deserves credit for: updating its billboard ordinance.  Certainly not as controversial or newsworthy as a hotly contested presidential election but the modernization of its code, just as numerous other Valley cities have done, is effective government at work. It couldn’t be any better timed, post-pandemic, for locally owned businesses, small businesses and charities which cannot afford to pay the often huge costs of static billboards. That’s because digital billboards typically rotate among 8 advertisers unlike old billboards which remains in place for at least a month with the same advertiser. This allows billboard companies to charge less for each digital advertiser.

Additionally, digital billboards turn off at night unlike most old, non-digital ones. Due to the ability to change digital ads remotely via a computer, unlike static billboards, digital billboards can be critical resources for public safety and criminal apprehension to get the word out about Amber Alerts, Silver Alerts, public health and other emergencies such as the posting of time sensitive information about local criminals. Even the FBI uses digital billboards to help pursue criminals.

Technology has improved so many facets of life. Billboards are no different. That’s why the numerous other cities mentioned, including Phoenix, have already updated their ordinance. So why wouldn’t Maricopa County?  It would be comparable to it still wanting to listen to 8-track tapes rather than Spotify.

Notably, the proposed, new ordinance would effectively prohibit new digital billboards and only allow the conversion of about 40-50 signs on limited lands governed by Maricopa County, not the Valley’s bevy of cities. Let us repeat: 40-50 signs in a county of 4.4 million people and 5.9 million acres! The primary purpose behind the ordinance change is to allow the conversion of EXISTING traditionally lit signs to digital; NOT to allow a whole bunch of new signs. In fact, the ordinance change would disallow the current practice allowing two arterial street billboards in close proximity to each other on intersecting arterial streets. Read More

Rewind to last spring.  It was thought Scottsdale would be among the most brutally hit Arizona cities by a once-in-a-century pandemic.  Instead, it not only survived but thrived.  Much of that had to do with Scottsdale’s municipal point guard, its City Manager Jim Thompson.  It was not easy to walk the fine line of looking after public health while still being sagacious with the business community.  But Thompson did it.

For that, he was rewarded, as reported by the Scottsdale Progress.

Read the full article to digest Mayor David Ortega’s rationale for Thompson’s salary raise, along with two other charter officers.  It was on the mark.  And Scottsdale is the better for it thanks to Thompson and people like Mayor Ortega who understand that when you have an All-Star at the helm don’t let them get interested in free agency

Can anyone think of a more decrepit thing for a politician to do than to remove a memorial cross to a dead person in the community he represents?

Yet, that is what Paradise Valley Councilman Paul Dembow was recently accused of doing by Judith Brown whose father was killed by Dembow’s daughter in a car accident.

When asked if it was he who stole the memorial Dembow denied it to the Paradise Valley Independent saying, “the unrecognizable figure in the grainy night video was not me.” Click here to read the full story.

But now the Scottsdale Police Department, which is handling the investigation, says it now has probable cause to charge Dembow, contradicting Dembow’s assertion. Click here to read the full article from the Scottsdale Independent.

We have said it before and repeat it again, necessarily. If Dembow not only undertook this disgusting act but then lied about it to the public, media and Paradise Valley voters– as now appears to be the case according to the police — he needs to be removed from office by his peers.  Not censured.  Not allowed a graceful retirement as he nears the last year of his current term.  Removed.  Collegial enabling and tolerance by fellow councilmembers and senior staff – as has occurred in the past — would be nearly as bad as Dembow’s lack of decency and decorum.

Indeed, Dembow doesn’t even have the guts to speak to local reporters after purportedly lying, now ducking instead behind his lawyers. But who needs a lawyer if you didn’t steal a cross? Just say so.

Read More

Scottsdale Independent Police: Probable cause found to charge Paradise Valley councilman with theft. Click here to read the full story.

There are numerous, good arguments for and against term limits for politicians.  The ongoing actions by long-time Paradise Valley Town Councilmember Paul Dembow, real and alleged, make a strong case for the policy.  That’s because when someone has been in office too long they can start doing strange, dumb and even unethical things.  They get too comfortable in the job and start thinking they are above it all, the temptation and logic goes.  It’s about them, not you.

So let’s dive into this a little more as recent events in Arizona’s toniest town are startling.

Years ago there was a tragedy.  Dembow’s daughter, while driving, hit Paradise Valley resident Mr. Howard Brown.  He was killed.  Brown’s surviving family members alleged a cover-up and pursued it mightily through legal means.  They suggested the Paradise Valley Police Department showed favoritism by calling Dembow and allowing him to take his daughter, an adult, away from the scene.  The daughter was apparently not tested for being under the influence despite a purported history of such.  Litigation ensued. Notably, both Dembow and the Town of Paradise Valley prevailed in court.

But that’s not where it ended for the Brown family.  It has engaged in a multi-year effort to embarrass Dembow and remind the public of what took place.  Freeway billboards.  Road signs.  Corner protesters.  Speaking at town council hearings.  The list is long.

Dembow has understandably become frustrated.  He’s won in court.  And he is a father.  And what parent wouldn’t do just about anything to come to the aid of a child?

But, at times, Dembow’s conduct has been as shocking as the Browns.  Lashing out at other councilmembers. Embarrassing the body. Engaging in suspect behavior that has, in part, caused the Town to spend taxpayer money to review council ethics.  Even opening the town up to other potential legal claims not yet prosecuted.

And now, this:  new, shocking allegations by the Browns that he stole a family cross placed at the scene of Howard Brown’s death.  They even have a video, according to media reports and commentators on social media, that proves it.  Here is a link to the video.

Following the incident’s furor, Dembow claimed it was not him according to this article in the Town of Paradise Valley Independent. We’ll let readers decide for themselves if the video shows it’s him or not.

Read More

By Alexander Lomax

The honeymoon of Mayor Dave Ortega’s first year in office has continued, as one of his campaign talking points is now coming to the forefront: the City Council will soon be considering regulations on short-term rentals. Many homeowners know this problem first-hand; out-of-towners renting a home in their neighborhood to get away and enjoy our good weather and amenities, only to let themselves go, party late into the night, and cause a ruckus for those who actually live nearby.

I find this issue to be incredibly interesting for two reasons: one, it is a perfect example of the struggle between local control and more centralized control, and two, it also covers the intersection of tourism and community, one which is particularly salient in Scottsdale.

This is not a new issue for many neighborhoods, but it could easily be considered most relevant for Scottsdale considering its status as the tourism center of Maricopa County. State Representative John Kavanagh had previously sponsored a bill giving more power to local municipalities to provide oversight and regulations (it went nowhere). The evergreen issue with legislators and lawmakers however is that they NEVER want to give up power, as little as they may wield it. Local control is nothing but a buzzword given by politicians in order to get elected and soon to be abandoned when it means that they need to loosen their grip of power on anything.

Read More

By Alexander Lomax

During the 2020 Scottsdale city elections, development was a common theme. The winning candidates, most stridently Mayor Dave Ortega, campaigned strongly against developments that may have been more focused on whether or not they could do such projects instead of whether or not they should. Southbridge 2 was a prime example, and was one of the topics which led Mayor Ortega to victory.

That ethos is currently being tested by the Greenbelt 88 proposal, which was heard in a recent Planning and Zoning Commission hearing. The project’s hearing went on for 4 full hours, something that is quite rare in the typically sleepy world of planning commission meetings.

A four-hour-long planning and zoning meeting typifies the current zeitgeist in Scottsdale: the difficulty of trying to find the right balance between growth and preservation, and the strong feelings on both sides. According to observers, the number of supporters was about the same as the number of detractors at the meeting. Just like a four-hour-long meeting, this is also a rarity; oftentimes you can clearly see which side is better organized and more passionate. In this case, a draw.

Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

As many successful political campaigns know, whether it’s a candidate race or ballot measure, it isn’t just about “how to win” but also identifying how you can lose. Campaigns are all about learning from others and understanding accomplishments and mistakes when putting your best foot forward.

In just five short months Scottsdale voters will be asked to decide on the city’s growth for the next 10 years in November’s general election, something that hasn’t been done in over 20 years. Last month, the Scottsdale City Council unanimously approved the plan, known as the Scottsdale General Plan 2035, after spending over a year gathering community input and concerns. This isn’t the first time the city has tried to resolve its outdated general plan. In 2012, Scottsdale voters rejected the city’s proposal by a 2% margin.

Sounding a bit like déjà vu? That’s because it is.

Well, maybe in some respects to the successful 2019 Scottsdale bond election as it was the first major bond program to pass by Scottsdale voters in 19 years. Better known as For The Best Scottsdale campaign, the bond packaged invested in 58 projects throughout Scottsdale and totaling $319 million. The effort was passed by Scottsdale voters with an average of 70% of the vote.

Read More

By Phoenix Fuel

Fifty-eight laps around a pool—a mile to be exact —seems like no easy treck. However, for one 91-year-old it was no problem.


Nancy Moore decided to celebrate her 91st birthday different than most. As a resident at Westminster Village retirement community in Scottsdale, a group of Moore’s friends from the community gathered together to cheer her on with handmade signs and pom-poms in hand. At first, Moore said she would swim just one mile in the pool (a total of 58 laps). With still a bit of energy to give, Moore decided to swim an extra two laps making it an even 60 laps around the pool. Incredible!

This isn’t Moore’s first time pushing her swimming limits. At the age of 71, Moore participated in the 1.8-mile swim across the San Francisco Bay to Alcatraz Island for the Alcatraz “Sharkfest” Swim. Not only did Moore finish the swim, but she even outswam several participants who were much younger than her. If that wasn’t enough, Moore went on to swim across to Alcatraz Island two more times, making her the oldest woman to have completed the Alcatraz “Sharkfest” Swim.

Read More

By Alexander Lomax

I recently wrote about how crowded the race for Governor has become on the Republican side, but perhaps we can say the same about the Democratic side today. This morning (as of writing), Arizona legislator Aaron Lieberman announced that he will be running for Governor, joining Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and former Nogales Mayor Marco Lopez.

Lieberman is relatively new to the political world, currently in his second term representing Arizona’s 28th legislative district, a perennial battleground district covering Paradise Valley and parts of central and east Phoenix. Lieberman is a prolific fundraiser who raised over $250,000 for his first bid for office in 2018, and so he will definitely compete with the other Democratic candidates in that regard. The more salient question, however, is whether or not there is even room for him. In many areas of the Democratic primary voting populace, there isn’t an overwhelming desire for a white man with relatively little experience when there are other palatable (and many would say, superior) options.

So the question that many insiders have been asking over the last few months as the secret was dispersing, and many more are asking today…why? Why would he want to take on what seems like overwhelming odds? To take on both the most popular Democrat in Arizona and a Latino with a compelling story and experience? The answer that everyone keeps coming back to is…redistricting.

Read More

By Laine Alexander

The campaign to give DREAMers in-state tuition has begun again. The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (Dream) Act was introduced in 2001 and has since then, repeatedly failed to pass.

Arizona State Legislature voted earlier this year, to ask voters in November 2022 if they want to partially repeal a 2006 ballot measure that banned immigrants living here illegally, from benefiting from in-state tuition rates. If it is passed by voters, DREAMer who are living in Arizona illegally could pay in-state tuition rates if they graduated from high school and attended school within Arizona.

Some Republican voters and lawmakers have voiced their support in the campaign over the last few months, however, there is still exist a large opposition. “Americans should not have to pay for non-American citizens, illegals, giving them a favored status for their trespass and invasion into America,” said John Fillmore, an Apache Junction Republican, on the House floor on May 10, 2021.

Additionally, the rebuttal from the opposition that is arguably difficult to overlook is the cost effect it will have on taxpayers. Steven Camarota, Director of Research at the Center for Immigration Studies, explained the effect it will have on taxpayers. He stated, “On average, each illegal immigrant who attends a public institution will receive a tuition subsidy from taxpayers of nearly $6,000 for each year he or she attends, for a total cost of $6.2 billion a year, not including other forms of financial assistance they may also receive.”

Read More

By Scottsdale Pinetop

Photo by The Ritz-Carlton Residences Paradise Valley, The Palmeraie

Peace offerings can be a powerful and resourceful political instrument in the international toolbox when helping to bring peace to fractured parts of the world. Just look at the historic 1979 Camp David Accords between Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, with the assist of President Jimmy Carter, that ended the 30-year state of war between the Middle East neighbors.

It can be just as powerful on the local level as well. Earlier this month in an out-of-court settlement, Five Star Development and the Town of Paradise Valley resolved its several yearlong legal disputes involving the Ritz-Carlton luxury master-planned development. A sigh of relief for all parties involved and for the town’s residents.

The rancorous and litigious relationship between the Ritz-Carlton project and the Town of Paradise Valley has long been a painful thorn in the sides of both parties for several years. To be fair, no side has been 100% right in the bickering. But it’s finally time to put the in-fighting to bed.

Read More

Ok, Now It’s a Bit Crowded

By Alexander Lomax

In my last post, I talked about the Secretary of State race and how there are two strong options on the Democratic side. Well as any behavioral psychologist will tell you, giving a consumer too many different options is often negative, and in the same vein, there is such thing as too crowded of a field. And it feels like that has now become an issue when it comes to who Republicans will choose for Governor, now that Matt Salmon has jumped into the race.

Most longtime Arizona political followers know Salmon as the former east valley Congressman who retired from Congress in 2016 to spend more time with his family (which oddly enough, wasn’t followed by some sort of sex scandal). That said, being completely out of politics for 5+ years and having little statewide presence in this state, with so many new voters arriving since then, is a significant liability; he has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to name recognition with the average voter.

However, Salmon had the prescience to lend his support to Andy Biggs to succeed him in that seat. With Biggs’s 27 vote victory of Christine Jones in the ’16 primary for Arizona’s 5th Congressional seat, Salmon did his future self a major favor, and assuming that Biggs comes out in full force for Salmon, it boosts his chances significantly.

Read More

By Alexander Lomax

Statewide races in Arizona are starting to get hot and heavy on both sides of the aisle. Many consultants have been waiting for the chess pieces to move on the board, and they got a few big moves recently; after Katie Hobbs announced for Governor, former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes formally announced his run to succeed her as Secretary of State the next day. Not to be outdone, current House Minority Leader Reggie Bolding jumped into that same race by the end of the week.

Bolding has been one of the leading voices against the recent voting bill signed by Gov. Ducey which took the “Permanent” out of the Permanent Early Voter List, part of Republican efforts around the country to make voting more difficult for many registered voters. Voters who decided to take an election off will find that they need to jump through hoops to receive a ballot; it seems to be a punishment for taking a midterm election off, which is a significant portion of the populace regardless of party registration.

On a side note, the AZ GOP seems to be doing its best to elevate Democrats to prominence and puffing up their chances of winning statewide office. The audit disaster makes me wonder if Karen Fann is making side bets on Hobbs being our next Governor, and this bill gives a Democrat who otherwise has had no hands-on experience with elections a strong talking point for an elections-focused seat.

Read More

By Alexander Lomax

All across the world, people are yearning for a return to everyday life, or at least whatever that will look like in 2021. Along with the return of staples of normalcy, we have seen a pent-up energy being released in less-than-ideal ways. Jumping onto the courts and fields of professional sports, throwing items at players, and throwing temper tantrums on flights seem to have become the new normal in our post-Covid world.

Here in Scottsdale, our ability to act like mature adults will be tested in spades; Scottsdale City Hall will allow limited capacity in-person to their meetings.

What could possibly go wrong, you may ask? Well, perhaps you read my musings a few weeks back about the children cosplaying as adults who disrupted a recent Scottsdale Unified School District meeting. They refused to wear masks and were angry about “critical race theory”, the new cause du jour for “conservatives” looking for something to be angry at; never mind that it is not taught in our schools nor was it on the meeting’s agenda. Facts should never get in the way of misplaced anger!

Read More

By Phoenix Fuel

To get through those long, hard days sometimes all it takes is a little encouragement. And while at times that may be hard to find, some individuals can prove to be a source of inspiration.

Daniel Aldana is known as a man who defied the odds. Seven years ago, Aldana was faced with a life-or-death situation having to undergo more than twenty surgeries and almost lost his life three times after being hit by a Jeep along the freeway in Chandler. Recovery wasn’t easy as his left leg was constantly infected and kept him sick. Eventually, Aldana made the tough call to amputate his leg using his strength and bravery to get him through the difficult time.

However, the loss of his leg did not stop or even slow down Aldana from reaching his dreams to build custom trucks. So he went on to apply for a lift technician position at Lifted Trucks in Arizona. When it came time for his interview, the employees at Lifted Trucks had no idea Aldana’s circumstances. At the time, Aldana was wearing pants and was a strong man who would get the job done. Since he has started working at Lifted Trucks, he continues to encourage and amaze his co-workers each and every day.

Read More

2022 Scrum

PHOENIX, AZ – In a show of strength today, Kimberly Yee for Governor announces 32 county, city and town endorsements representing local governments, including mayors and law enforcement officials across Arizona.

“Kimberly Yee stands with law enforcement and that’s why I am proud to support a proven conservative fighter like Kimberly for Governor,” Graham County Attorney Scott Bennett said. “Kimberly is the ‘Law and Order’ candidate in this race and has a proven record of working with law enforcement. She will ensure our communities are safe, will fight crime and will support our police as they protect and serve.’

“Kimberly is the leader we need to represent Arizona. She is a fighter who will make sure our communities are safer and stands firmly to protect our 2nd Amendment rights,” Prescott Valley Mayor Kell Palguta said. “I trust her leadership when it comes to making decisions on behalf of Arizona. That’s why I am proud to support Kimberly Yee in the race for Governor.”

Read More

PHOENIX, Arizona – The Kari Lake for Governor Campaign has surpassed the amount of signatures needed to qualify her for the ballot in 2022, based on current projections. With over 8,400 signatures collected online in just over 3 weeks, the campaign expects to have one of the highest signature turn-ins ever by next March. This is also believed to be the fastest in terms of days spent collecting and the earliest on the calendar that a candidate has reached the threshold.

“I am overwhelmed and humbled by the grassroots support that I am getting from all over the state of Arizona including 3,840 people who have signed up to volunteer since June 4th,” Lake said. “Arizonans are clearly looking for a new voices, a new direction – which is why they’re coming out in droves to support my candidacy.”

The campaign has set a goal of collecting the most signatures ever by statewide candidate and encourages registered Republicans and Independents to follow the instructions at KariLake.com/petition to add their name to the rapidly growing list.

I have some big news…

Yesterday I announced my campaign for Arizona Secretary of State. We need to secure our elections and make the office work for all Arizonans again.

I’m running for Secretary of State for you, the people. Our elections are not secure, our businesses are not served, and our needs are not served in this politicized office. It’s time to secure our elections once and for all and de-politicize the office of Secretary of State. 51% of voters now believe that cheating likely affected the outcome of the 2020 election. We must get to work immediately restoring trust and fixing the problems that, quite frankly, have been there for some time.

The Secretary of State is supposed to administer the papers and affairs of the state, work with businesses, and manage and certify elections. It requires hard work, focus, dedication, and a commitment to put responsibility ahead of personal or partisan preferences. You have my word that I will work hard, be focused and dedicated, and commit to put responsibility first.

Read More

May 20, 2021

RE: Race For Arizona Secretary Of State

Dear Beau:

We are writing as concerned citizens who hope you will continue your service to our community by running to be Arizona’s next Secretary of State.

We believe that our state, and our nation, are in a crisis. Confidence in our electoral systems is at a historic low. In 2016 and 2020, huge swaths of the electorate refused to accept the results, and this has had a chilling impact on the ability of our elected officials to do their jobs and serve our state. We are on a dangerous path, and we need a leader who can restore faith and confidence in our electoral process.

You have been a leader in our community for over thirty years. You run a large business enterprise and have worked with dozens of Arizona companies and organizations. You understand how to manage people and systems to get everyone working on the same page. You have the kind of real-world experience that our state needs to make sure that all of our citizens have full and complete confidence in our voting systems and our electoral process.

The lack of confidence in our elections is an existential threat to our democracy, and that is why it is so important to have someone of your background, knowledge and experience serving as our next Secretary of State. It is time for real and principled leadership in that office, and we hope that you will answer the challenge and enter the arena.

Read More

Phoenix, AZ (May 24, 2021) – Following the enthusiastic reception to its release of a 2020 Presidential Results Dashboard, Data Orbital is pleased to release its Corporation Commission Results Comparison by precinct in Maricopa county for 2020.

“As a down-ballot, largely partisan race, Corporation Commission results have always provided a unique window into the electorate and given us previews of trends in certain areas year over year,” said Data Orbital President George Khalaf. “After the 2016 election cycle, our corporation commission race analysis predicted the districts that would end up seeing close races and seat flips in the 2018 cycle.”

The interactive and color-coded dashboard allows results to be selected by Maricopa county Legislative District (and voting precinct) along the following breakdowns.

  • Districts where Republicans won the slate
  • Districts where Republicans won the vote total, but split the slate
  • Districts where Democrats won the vote total, but split the slate
  • Districts where Democrats won the slate.

Additionally, the results can be viewed by both Democratic and Republican advantage and Republican gains and losses from 2016 to 2020.

George Khalaf offered the following statement on the results. “It’s clear that the Corporation Commission race remains a good predictor of partisan performance. Suburban districts like Legislative Districts 17, 20, and 28 that showed weak Republican slate performance have largely continued to slide. The most intense case of this is District 17 that encompasses parts of Chandler. It showed significant performance gains for Democrats while not registering any notable gains for Republicans. We will update this dashboard as part of the redistricting process to provide analysis on projected results within newly drawn lines.”

Data analysts, candidates, politicos, and interested citizens can view the dashboard here.