Featured Editorials

Marketplace

Scrum

Marketplace


PHOENIX, Arizona – Gen Justice has hired attorney Tim Keller to direct and expand its national work protecting the constitutional interests of abandoned and abused children. Keller has been serving as a Senior Attorney for the Institute for Justice, where he directed their educational choice litigation and led the legal team that secured this year’s U.S. Supreme Court victory in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue.

Tim’s commitment to strengthening protections for abused and abandoned children stems from personal experience. The Keller family fostered a neglected child who spent her formative years moving between shelters, group homes, and foster families. “As a foster parent, my heart ached for what this child had suffered,” said Tim, “As an advocate for constitutional rights, I was incensed at the injustices she experienced, time and time again. I could not turn away.”

Darcy Olsen, Founder and CEO of Gen Justice, and Tim Keller met nearly two decades ago when they partnered to improve the education system. “To know Tim Keller is to know a person of integrity with a mind for justice,” said Darcy Olsen. “Tim is the LeBron James of the litigation courtroom, and these kids now have the very best in their corner.”

Tim earned his law degree from Arizona State University. Upon graduation, Tim clerked for then-Presiding Judge of the Maricopa County Superior Court, Robert D. Myers. Following his service to Judge Myers, Tim clerked for the Honorable Ann A. Scott Timmer on the Arizona Court of Appeals. Tim and his wife, Lisa, have four sons. Please welcome them to Gen Justice at Tim@genjustice.​org.

(PHOENIX)  Neighbors, community leaders, city leaders, and business leaders met with Merit Partners, Arizona’s top industrial real estate developer on Saturday November 21st to discuss a new 83 acre jobs center that could employ as many as 1,000 people.

The company, Merit Partners is transforming an old cement plant into a new industrial park near 7th Avenue and Elwood Street. Part of that process involves an $11 million environmental cleanup which began in August. As that process continues and Merit looks to start construction, the company hosted a community event at the site to meet its future neighbors and to gain insight on what residents would like to see at the facility. Merit is also connecting with civic and business leaders in order to connect job seekers with the estimated 1,000 new jobs that would be created by the project called Merit Sky Harbor Industrial Park.

The socially distanced event included free food, a live DJ, and potential project artists. “Our goal was to gain some insight from residents and give them an idea about what we have planned. We want to be more than just good neighbors. We want to be a part of the neighborhood,” said Kevin Czerwinski, President of Merit Partners.

Read More

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) Mercedes-Benz of Scottsdale, as a part of the D.R.I.V.E initiative, is honored to announce One Step Beyond, Inc. (OSBI) as its fifth Valley-based nonprofit to receive a $5,000 donation this month.

As a result of the pandemic, the Scottsdale dealership re-introduced D.R.I.V.E, which stands for Donations for Recovery & Investment that are Very Essential. This initiative has already aided and will continue to aid many Valley charities by providing much-needed funds during these challenging times.

Valley charities have faced unprecedented hardships due to the pandemic and the economic downturn has caused critical fundraising to be cancelled in the spring and the fall. Thus far, the campaign has already donated $5,000 to four other charities including Fresh Start, Arizona’s Children Association, Matthew’s Crossing Food Bank, and the Scottsdale Fire Fighters Association.

Mercedes-Benz of Scottsdale has chosen One Step Beyond, a private, non-profit organization that provides comprehensive programming and services for adults who have intellectual disabilities, to be the next recipient of their $5,000 donation in support of the ongoing programs and support they provide to the community.

“On behalf of One Step Beyond and our many participants, we thank Mercedes-Benz of Scottsdale for selecting us as their featured nonprofit,” said Jeff Swanson, executive director of Arizona Development & Communications. “This generous contribution will support our programs at our Scottsdale campus and will be designated as part of our upcoming Giving Tuesday matching grant effort, providing an additional opportunity for the community to support our organization.”

OSBI opened its newest campus in Scottsdale in early 2020, and then COVID hit. As a result, community funding has never been more important. People who have intellectual disabilities and their advocates have fought for generations against social marginalization, segregated education, inadequate healthcare, and lack of access to opportunities.  The pandemic has added a new list of challenges for this already vulnerable population that thrive on routine, familiar activities, and people, such as family and friends.

Added Swanson, “COVID poses many problems for people with intellectual disabilities and their families. They may not understand why they need to wear a mask in public, or why they aren’t able to meet with or hug their friends. The pandemic is a viral threat that knows no levels and respects no social norms, yet people who have intellectual or developmental disabilities are more likely to die from COVID-19, causing an added and continual crisis for these individuals.”Read More

(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.)— Award Winning Scottsdale based Cullum Homes, the Valley’s leading luxury custom home builder, opened the doors of its brand new three-level model home in The Village at Seven Desert Mountain last Friday for an afternoon filled with Ferraris, light bites and champagne. Project partners Drewett Works, Ownby Design, Greey Pickett, and Chad Morgan, of Scottsdale Ferrari also joined in the celebration.

Cullum’s new model home is on one of 33 home sites located directly on the new par 54 golf course called No. 7 at Desert Mountain, and the Renegade championship course.

Guests attending the private event test drove the exclusive Ferrari Roma automobile, courtesy of Scottsdale Ferrari.

The luxury auto dealer also displayed its Ferrari Portofino in Cullum’s one-of-a-kind custom Car Bar, while the 458 Speciale model was showcased on the nearby motorized lift.  The lift transports cars from the first level of the home to the 1,561-square-foot basement showroom.  This upscale showroom can accommodate up to seven cars, as well as an additional three cars inside the street level garage.

For the ultimate golf lover – Cullum created a high-end “19th Hole” entertainment zone equipped with a 170″ quad TV wall, a plush lounge, wet bar, ping pong table, shuffleboard and an indoor golf simulator.

The 9,628-square-foot home also features four bedrooms, four bathrooms and two powder rooms all in a stunning desert modern architecture style.

Sales are already underway for Cullum’s distinctive collection of “Village” luxury lock-and-leave lifestyle residences.  With residences starting at 3085 square feet, both single and two-level options are being offered, as well as the option to add a Car Bar or “19th Hole” basement entertainment zone.  31 lots remain for sale with home prices starting in the low $2 million range.

Despite the pandemic, Cullum Homes says it continues to see a very high level of activity in their communities throughout Paradise Valley, Phoenix and Scottsdale.

“2020 has been a huge year for us and we continue to see a record number of out-of-state buyers flocking to communities like Desert Mountain. We are thrilled to have this beautiful model home completed in this extraordinary community and open for all to see the fantastic new lock and leave residences,” said Rod Cullum, president and founder of Cullum Homes.

Notable guests in attendance included Larry Van Tuyl, CEO of the Van Tuyl Group Inc., Bill Brownlee, M3 Companies partner, and Scott Urdang, chairman of the board for the Desert Mountain Club.Read More

(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) — One of the most recognizable polo events in the World is now in the books for 2020. The reconfigured, Stella Artois Polo Classic: Presented by Kettle One wrapped up a day of festivities Saturday, November 7th with new victors, and rave reviews from attendees for the socially distanced setting at WestWorld of Scottsdale.

As part of the City of Scottsdale approved changes for 2020 and after receiving certification from HealthyVerify (a consortium that includes Arizona State University and Barrow’s Neurological Institute) the Stella Artois Polo Classic returned with a reduced capacity of 3,132, which sold out. The event featured an extensive social distancing plan, mandatory masks for guests, sanitation stations, temperature checks and unlike previous years an all open-air approach with tables, lattice fencing and umbrellas instead of tents to make guests as comfortable as possible in an environment that was still as fun as possible.

The day kicked off with Valley favorite Scottsdale Maserati’s Arizona Polo Club victorious over Mark Taylor Residential’s Denver Polo Club 6 to 5. Diego Florez scored 4 of the Arizona team’s goals and he like others said that even despite the changes for 2020, the event lived up to his usual expectations.

“As always the 2020 Stella Artois Polo Classic was very well put together to allow for social distancing, but still enabled great entertainment for spectators who love polo, horses, canines, fashion, and much more,” said Florez.

In the featured match of the day, EPR Polo went head to head with Celebrity Cruises in a match supporting Arizona Equine Rescue and Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center. The higher goal match featured professional polo players John Gobin and Marcos Bignoli, alongside Team Captain Tareq Salahi.  Each scored two goals apiece and resulted in victory 6 to 4 over EPR Polo. The match also donated $10,000 to the benefiting charities. EPR Polo Club opponent Allison Freeman and her last chukker horse won the Celebrity Cruises MVP and Best Playing Pony Award.

Read More

Featured Editorials


Staff Report – 

A recap of the top three stories on Arizona Progress & Gazette from the past week. 

  1. Scottsdale’s Multiple-Front Threat

The results of Scottsdale’s elections are the talk of the town, and other towns. Many are now suggesting their capital will bypass Scottsdale altogether rather than navigate the political morass they believe is inevitable Read full story here.

  1. Bad Form

Bob Littlefield never did call Lane.  Unfortunately, Scottsdale is back to the future as Lisa Borowsky has purportedly not conceded or called Mayor-Elect David Ortega. Read full article here.

  1. Arizona Court Sides with Mountainside Fitness, Governor Ducey Must Give Health Clubs Avenue to Re-Open

Victory Tuesday for Mountainside Fitness and other health clubs across Arizona who have been financially impacted by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s arbitrary shutdowns. Maricopa Superior Court Judge Timothy J. Thomason ruled Governor Ducey’s executive order to shut down gyms violated procedural due process and the Governor must give health clubs an avenue to re-open. Read full article here.

By Scottsdale Pinetop

There’s no question that 2020 has been a year full of surprises.

And as we head into the Thanksgiving holiday where relatives and friends come together to enjoy a special meal, the number of cases continues to rise throughout the state – leaving many families in a difficult situation both financially and physically.

But one Scottsdale-based company has taken some proactive steps to provide those in need with a little something to be grateful for.

For the past couple of months, Scottsdale-based Hampton Design & Closets has launched a new nonprofit, Rare Ambition, and has been working hard to ensure families in tight financial situations have food on the table this Thursday. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current unemployment rate in Arizona is at eight percent leaving many families struggling to celebrate the holiday.

This weekend, Rare Ambition is providing families in need with a Thanksgiving basket that includes a turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and a pie.

“There’s no greater joy than losing the excuses and stepping up for another person,” said Mary Hampton, Founder of Rare Ambition. “It’s now my family’s priority to ensure we spread generosity and hope to families that need it.”

Their goal is to provide 100 meals to families in the valley this Thanksgiving.

The challenges of 2020 have prevented families, friends and colleagues from being together and resorting to virtual communications to stay connected. But its the unique acts of kindness and generosity, like Rare Ambition, that highlight the importance of helping neighbors and strangers in need.

It’s a reminder that this Thursday while around the dinner table to show appreciation for all you have and extend assistance to those in need when you can, its especially needed during these tough times.

Happy Thanksgiving! 

By Scottsdale Pinetop

From trains, planes and automobiles – and back to the good old bicycle. It’s the changing reality for many cities across the country.

As the world works to control and eventually stop the spread of COVID-19, the pandemic has people abandoning their vehicles and turning to cycling as a resilient, reliable and recreational way of getting around.

And Scottsdale is embracing this new mindset head on.

According to city officials, the proposed 2.5-mile corridor would connect Tempe to Old Town Scottsdale along 70th Street and will connect to nearby biking trails and neighborhoods. This is part of the city’s effort to provide a “comfortable and connected bicycle network,” according to a recent Scottsdale Independent article.

Scottsdale residents are encouraged to provide their insight and suggestions regarding the “Bikeway Study” by November 30th on the city’s website.

Scottsdale already consists of over 174 miles of bike lanes and another 129 miles of paths cyclists can use. Since 2011, Scottsdale has a “Gold” status from the League of American Bicyclists as does Tempe. But there’s always room to improve.

This is a smart move by the city, not just for the immediate necessity – but for its long-term benefits. Bicycle tourism continues to be on the rise with visitors and residents alike renting bikes to increase their ability to connect to various parts of the valley in a safe and smart way.

Investing and expanding Scottsdale’s already established bike-friendly reputation is a critical asset for the city’s economic future, especially in a post-pandemic environment. We’ve written about the benefits bicycle tourism can bring to Scottsdale before.

At a time when city governments are reassessing past assumptions on tourism and economic development, this trend is an opportunity to embrace cycling as an integral part of urban transportation – not just to survive the current crisis, but to continue to invest in its future to stay competitive and in tune with changing mentalities of its residents.

By Scottsdale Pinetop

Millions of people cross thousands of bridges every day and think nothing of it. Especially for big, busy cities – it’s simply a method to get people from point A to point B. But for one rural Arizona community, a new pedestrian bridge meant everything.

Photo by Rawlings Specialty Contracting

The long-awaited, ten-year project of the Billy Creek Pedestrian Bridge along Porter Mountain Road in Pinetop-Lakeside is a dream finally realized for the small community. As detailed in a recent White Mountain Independent article, concerns surrounding the safety of the 1970 Billy Creek Bridge goes back as far as 2007, as it presented a critical danger to Blue Ridge students and pedestrians who shared the road with an increase in vehicles and traffic.

In the fall of 2019, the town of Pinetop-Lakeside awarded Rawlings Specialty Contracting the contract for the bridge for $1.3 million with anticipation the bridge would be completed in one year.

But the completion of the Billy Creek Pedestrian Bridge stands for something more than just a unique city infrastructure improvement. It’s a symbol.

Read More

This article in the Arizona Republic doesn’t explain Scottsdale Mayor-Elect David Ortega’s unexpected and impressive victory entirely, but it does provide insight into how a left-leaning candidate won in a typically Republican city.
Bottom line:  his candidacy likely would not have succeeded in another political year but he timed this mayoral candidacy well.  He also benefitted from Lisa Borowsky’s too Republican-centric approach.  Her tone would have been right for most cycles, but wasn’t for 2020.  But as we have said before her surprising showing leaves her reputation the better for the run, as is certainly the case with Ortega who threaded many needles to gain the prize.

Unlike at least one member of the Paradise Valley Town Council that wants to hoist the densest project in the history of the community on the old Smoketree hotel property, last night the Paradise Valley Planning Commission showed sobriety in saying no.

That’s what happens when a developer pays too much for the land and seeks a political subsidy in the form of unprecedented density and FAR.  Or when members of the Planning Commission, more learned in hospitality matters than the applicant, refer to the proposal as a “motel.”

Ouch.

The Town Council typically gives significant deference and credence to its Planning Commission.  Reversing its decision would certainly raise eyebrows, especially with additional opposition mounting.  But there really doesn’t need to be any drama.

For a long time Smoketree used to house a restaurant called The Other Place.  And that’s the way out of this discussion now.  Look across the fence line to Smoketree’s neighbor, to the other place and another hotel called The Andaz that redeveloped with taste and acclaim.

The acrimonious and litigious relationship between the emerging Ritz-Carlton project and the Town of Paradise Valley is one of the more bizarre and unfortunate municipal dynamics in the Valley right now.   

By all accounts the Ritz and its associated elements have done an impressive job constructing its hotel and residences.  The prices per square foot once seemed fanciful.  They are now reality.

The developer has endured a Great Recession and now a pandemic. Still, the Ritz continues to make progress, now targeting a Fall, 2021 opening.  The Town, led by at least one councilmember who voted against the Ritz’s entitlement, seems to hold an odd grudge rather than express appreciation for tenacity and taste.  To be fair to both sides the development agreement that was approved for such a big project is complicated, and can cause confusion.  No side has been 100% right in the bickering.  But it’s time for it to end.

The Ritz, and it will be completed, will be an extraordinarily positive property for the Town of Paradise Valley financially, aesthetically and experientially.  So will the first in the nation Fendi Residences next door (being designed by the architect of the internationally renowned brand’s headquarters in Rome), allowing Scottsdale to also benefit from the sophistication of the approach.

However, beyond the merits of more harmony the seeming unawareness of political implications is befuddling.

Next year the hotel will open to rave reviews.  It will be the new “it” property in Arizona.  But perhaps more interestingly hundreds of new voters will start moving in, well in advance of the next town council elections in August, 2022.  A block of hundreds is a lot anywhere, but especially in Paradise Valley.  That’s about 15% of the total votes two re-elected councilmembers received in August.

Moving forward, ignore or mistreat them at political peril.  But perhaps more importantly make such a dynamic irrelevant.  With more collaboration and compromise rather than confrontation, from both sides.

The results of Scottsdale’s elections are the talk of the town, and other towns.  That’s because much of the business and investment community believes the “pro-resident” majority translates into anti-business policies.  Many are now suggesting their capital will bypass Scottsdale altogether rather than navigate the political morass they believe is inevitable.

As we have said before we hope everyone will give Scottsdale’s new political personality a chance.  They may very well prove the skeptics prophetic but shouldn’t it be given the benefit of the doubt, at least at first?

The consequences of too far of a turn away from the successful approach in recent years are significant.

A local economy that is not alive and growing will not have the resources its citizens expect.  For public safety. For parks.  For the quality of life residents have come to know.

Combine this with the massive tourism downturn along with looting and shopping realignment at places like Scottsdale Fashion Square and it’s clear the city is going to be in for some very challenging times for all of these reasons.

Additionally, with the exception of two or three developments and redevelopments making their way through the approval process now the pipeline for new and cool projects in the city has slowed to a trickle.  While some may welcome this, the financial consequences will be severe.

In 2008 incumbent Mayor Mary Manross was narrowly defeated by Jim Lane because of the perception that “Stopsdale” had become to difficult a place to do business and it was no longer a city on the move.  Let’s hope Scottsdale leaders have learned that lesson and history doesn’t repeat itself.

Following the 2016 Scottsdale mayoral race between Jim Lane and Bob Littlefield we chided the latter for his failure to ever call Mayor Lane and congratulate him.  No matter how disappointed or angry a losing candidate may be grace should prevail.

Bob Littlefield never did call Lane.  Unfortunately, Scottsdale is back to the future as Lisa Borowsky has purportedly not conceded or called Mayor-Elect David Ortega.

That’s a shame.  As ballots have been tabulated since November 3rd Borowsky has drawn closer to Ortega.  Her margin of loss is likely to be just 4%.

She could have and perhaps should have won.  That’s tough to think about.  But Borowsky should also take solace in a race well run.  Few at the outset thought her likely to be within turning just a few thousand votes to become Scottsdale’s next Mayor.  Borowsky has much to be proud of.  Campaigns can often diminish people due to loss or form.  But not in this case. Borowsky’s reputation is better for having undertaken a race well run.  It simply was a Democratic year in the suburbs, as exemplified by Joe Biden winning everything south of the Loop 101.

Borowsky can now enhance her reputation further by calling Ortega to concede and congratulate.  Those are never fun calls to make.  But they are the right calls, and something someone else 2000 miles to the east should be doing too.

Many in the Scottsdale business community are highly disappointed by the November 3rd election results.  They are joined by a near uniform dismay from many leaders across the Valley.  “What happened in Scottsdale?” has become a familiar refrain.

Such observations suggest a reversion to less than a municipal mean is inevitable.  

We are hopeful when we say that we disagree.

All of us need to give Mayor-Elect David Ortega and the new Scottsdale City Council come January a chance.

If they are as stridently anti-business as the concerned express, Scottsdale is not only in for some rough years, especially as it tries to recover from the pandemic, but voters will ultimately punish electeds for it.  Because that’s not the Scottsdale electorate.

But we think the new City Council may have a few, pleasant surprises in store.  And they are almost necessitated by no longer being minority political voices on council. They are now the governing majority.  That involves realism not just idealism.

There are two campaign items forged by Mayor-Elect Ortega we hope proceed with dispatch.   Read More

As opposition known, and unknown, continues to grow to an unprecedented redevelopment plan proposed for the Smoketree hotel property in the Town of Paradise Valley, dubious behind the scenes activity make this an even more interesting case.

The Paradise Valley Town Council currently has two members that voted against the impressive Ritz-Carlton project still coming to life, against all odds.  They are long-time Councilman Paul Dembow and Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner.

Dembow first ran for Town Council on an anti-resort platform, targeting the emerging Montelucia Resort at Tatum and Lincoln. He lost.  He then moderated his position and claimed a seat a cycle later.  He’s been a mixed bag ever since, becoming controversial as well, an evolution that likely led to his poor showing in his last re-election campaign where he barely hung on despite a light field.

Dembow was strident in opposing town approvals for the Ritz.  He consistently maintained it was too much and that town could get a better deal. Bien-Willner, then a councilmember, cited similar reasons although he was far more diplomatic than Dembow.

Fast forward to now.  Dembow has become the biggest champion of the Smoketree plan, what would appear to the densest in town history.  Why? How?   Read More

Scottsdale surprised, again, with Tuesday’s election results.  Just as it did in the August primary.  Some quick observations and opinions.

*The typical campaign correlation between spending and winning held true in the case of now Scottsdale City Councilwoman-Elect Tammy Caputi.  No one spent, raised or contributed more of their own money.  But it didn’t when it came to Tom Durham and Betty Janik.  They refused to take money from those with interests before city government and were outspent by most in the candidate field.  Yet, they prevailed.  That says a lot about their message and campaign.

*Lisa Borowsky got further than most anticipated when she became a late entrant into the mayoral sweepstakes. But her messaging was way off in the run-off election with Mayor-elect Dave Ortega.  This was a Democratic year – exemplified by Joe Biden winning the city south the Loop 101.  Yet, Borowsky was running like it was 2010 and 2014 focusing on Republican, Republican, Republican.  To her credit she raised and spent a lot of money. But apparently she did not poll.  That was a big misstep and ended up being fatal.

*We did not support Ortega but that doesn’t mean you can’t graciously congratulate him on a race well run.  Now, it’s time for all, including us, to do what can be done to encourage his success.  For his is now Scottsdale’s.

*The new Scottsdale City Council is old.  It will be fascinating to watch how it relates and governs one of the city’s strengths – its youthful exuberance.  Scottsdale is not Palm Springs.  Nor should it be.  How the new City Council recognizes this, or not, will be fascinating to watch.

*Former City Councilman George Zraket was the most notorious always no vote in Scottsdale.  It eventually cost him his seat as voters tired of the negativity towards all things business.  But that doesn’t seem to be the same governing philosophy of newcomers Ortega, Durham and Janik.  It will be fascinating to see which projects and initiatives they support, and which they do not.  It is not in the city’s interest to renew its reputation as “Stopsdale.”

*If Congressman David Schweikert, who represents much of Scottsdale, is not able to overcome his narrow deficit with his Democratic challenger look for a Republican free for all in 2022.  A Democratic cannot hold the seat in most any year.  People who may take a look or make a serious run include Phoenix City Councilman Jim Waring, outgoing Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane, Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri, former Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker, former Congressman Ben Quayle, and Schweikert himself, among numerous others.

*Finally, a thank you to everyone who ran, win or lose.  It takes guts to step into the arena these days.  You have shown there is, and should always be, a nobility to the notion of public service.

 

By Betty Janik
Candidate, Scottsdale City Council

This has been an extremely difficult time for our country. Polarizing election, interference from foreign adversaries trying to hack our election, and then there is COVID.  But remember, we are a strong nation.  We value our democratic form of government.  We will persevere.  I believe that we will respond peacefully to the election results.  If there is fraud, we will deal with it using the tools at hand to resolve the conflicts in an orderly fashion.  Stay cool and be patient.  We are depending on our country and our country is depending on us.

Nominated for best public comment. Check it out.

Scottsdale’s Arts District was devastated by the pandemic’s onset, shutting tourism down during the area’s high season.  Then the protests and riots came two months later, causing a new round of turmoil as galleries and small businesses boarded up to protect property.

Then, this weekend happened.  Along Main Street’s western flank disturbing and disgusting conduct by resident Paul Ng has gone viral.  You can see it here.

It was not only a terrible representation of the city and the area, it harmed two Scottsdale businesses who had nothing to do with the vile nature of Ng.  You can read about the impact to innocent bystanders River Trading Post and Russ Lyon Sotheby’s here. 

Both companies are now handling the situation admirably and appropriately.  Indeed, Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty has not only terminated the inactive, independent contractor that Ng was, but it is also seeking revocation of his license from the Arizona Department of Real Estate.  They are also returning the relatively small amount of commissions Ng generated for the company to the charitable arm of Arizona civil rights leader Warren Stewart’s First Institutional Baptist Church to help them combat homelessness. Well done.

This page has been a frequent critic of the Scottsdale Police Department for its handling of the Scottsdale Fashion Square looting.  But we have nothing but praise for its handling of the Ng fiasco.  Purportedly arrested for disorderly conduct, we find that action to be potentially pioneering policing when hate and behavior is so obviously disruptive and violating.   Read More

With its heavy reliance on tourism Scottsdale has been a city hit particularly hard by the economic consequences of a pandemic.

We applaud municipal leaders for allowing its public safety officials to review potential event applications at city facilities.  Don’t have a good plan or operate as you suggest?  You don’t get approved or you get shut down.

But if you operate responsibly as happened last week by one of the city’s great corporate citizens, Barrett-Jackson, the local economy – and tourism – can get a critical boost.

By all accounts Barrett-Jackson organized a smart, compliant and safe approach to its new “Fall Auction” at WestWorld. It was the first time the Scottsdale-based company held an auction preceding and in the same location as its spectacle January event.

Having had three auctions around the country canceled – and with Palm Beach anxious to get this one – Barrett-Jackson instead decided to be patriots for its community and hold an economically significant event in its hometown.  The Fall Auction also served an important role as a training exercise for the potentially bigger event in January.

These are not easy times for anyone, especially companies like Barrett-Jackson that employ many at its Scottsdale Airpark location.  But its experience and perseverance was welcome news for a city that hasn’t had too much to cheer about this year, a result that looked almost as good as some of the cool automobiles Barrett-Jackson sold.

 

Staff Report – 

Candidates for Scottsdale Mayor and City Council have started filing campaign finance reports for the October Pre-Election quarter. The reports outline candidate fundraising from October 1st through October 17th.

Mayoral candidates David Ortega and Lisa Borowsky are looking to succeed term-limited Mayor Jim Lane. There are three City Council seats up for grabs. The General Election is November 3rd with early voting underway.

Mayoral 

Lisa Borowsky

Total Raised – $296,884.47

Cash on Hand – $31,897.76

Individually Contributed – N/A

David Ortega

Total Raised – $152,729.85

Cash on Hand – $44,568.09

Individually Contributed – $71,855 (via loan)

 

Candidates 

Tammy Caputi  

Total Raised – $266,818

Cash on Hand – $14,370.39

Individually Contributed –  $110,100 (via loan)

John Little

Total Raised – $148,610

Cash on Hand – $29,280.23

Individually Contributed – N/A

Guy Phillips

Total Raised – $83,795.33

Cash on Hand – $7,136.24

Individually Contributed –  N/A

Tom Durham 

Total Raised – $56,044.51

Cash on Hand – $7,879.25

Individually Contributed – N/A

Betty Janik 

Total Raised – $55,249.92

Cash on Hand – $3,561.74

Individually Contributed – $2,000

Becca Linnig

Total Raised – $55,120.48

Cash on Hand – $32,126.26

Individually Contributed –  N/A

 

Staff Report –

A recap of the top three stories on Arizona Progress & Gazette from the past week. 

  1. Disqualifying David Ortega For Mayor

Now a candidate for Mayor in 2020, former Councilman and current landlord lobbyist David Ortega proclaims his regard for the Preserve, clearly one of Scottsdale’s greatest achievements. Yet, who led the opposition to the Preserve in that critical, landmark vote in 2004?  David Ortega. Read full story here.

2. Well This Would Shake Up Scottsdale’s 2020 City Council Races 

For some time the belief in Scottsdale political circles was that if you ever wanted to be on City Council, 2020 was the time to run. We’re not sure the last time Scottsdale had three open council seats but the prospect in 2020 was the reason the potential field is nearly as large as that seeking the Democratic nomination for President.  Read full story here.

3. Gloves Are Off In Scottsdale

With early voting starting in about three weeks for Arizona’s August 4th primary it’s about that time when the attacks start flying.  And, Scottsdale is no exception. Read full story here.

The home stretch is always a particularly interesting time in elections.  Accusations fly and the competitive juices flow.  Yet, it should also be a time to say thank you to those who have the guts to step into the arena and serve.  To get there is not easy.  Campaigning and its consequences are like being on a thrill ride at Magic Mountain but with few harnesses.

So rather than criticize anyone in the field it’s a time to express customized gratitude.  They also deserve it. 

TO DAVE ORTEGA:  One of the best parts of campaigns are the surprises.  And Ortega has surprised throughout.  Few gave him a shot at the onset.  His efficient campaign is proving people wrong.  Yes, he is benefitting from a huge Democratic year but you have to know how to position yourself for the wave. And Ortega has done that.

TO LISA BOROWSKY:  She also defied conventional wisdom with her strong second place showing in the mayoral primary.  Borowsky came from behind to do it, like her successful run for City Council previously.  She seems to be enjoying her time in this moment.  And it is always nice to see a candidate with a smile not a scowl.

TO BETTY JANIK:  What an impressive performance for a first-time candidate who is proving you are never too old to learn new tricks.  And Janik has produced the best campaign art to date – with due respect to Guy Phillips.

TO GUY PHILLIPS:  Resilience is necessary in campaigns.  Some days are good. Some are bad.  It’s easy to get down.  Especially when you have one as bad as Phillips just before the primary.  But he didn’t give up.  That upsets some.  But it has also been inspiring to others.

TO TAMMY CAPUTI: With her recent injection of personal money into the race she is showing a desire to win.  That’s not unimportant.  Those elected ultimately need to fight for Scottsdale’s best future and no one should have any doubts about Caputi’s tenacity.

TO JOHN LITTLE:  Despite the flak he knew would be coming when he decided to run the affable Little has maintained his relentless positivity, a lesson for this campaign season, and any.  Read More

Government is being asked to help and bail out a lot of things these days.

But there is no more egregious example locally than in the Town of Paradise Valley.

First, we’re going to let you in on a dirty little secret.  Voracious developers often overpay for land because they believe one or both of the following.  The market will remain robust or, no matter what they pay for the land, they can dupe, cajole and otherwise persuade local elected officials to increase the allowable development so much on the property in question that what they paid for the land becomes irrelevant.

The latter is clearly taking place with a proposal to redevelop the old Smoketree Resort in Paradise Valley.  For years the family that has owned the site has maintained an exorbitant price to buy it.  That’s why it has fallen in and out of escrow so many times.  The latest group to take a run at redevelopment is Geneva Holdings, despite having no experience in the hotel business.  

Because they have, or are, overpaying for the land so substantially they are asking Paradise Valley officials to approve what would appear to be the densest project in the history of the community.

That’s a big ask.  Especially, when the relevancy to neighborhoods and town coffers is miniscule.  Contrast this with the urgency created by a closed Mountain Shadows that threated immediate neighbors and a beloved golf course.  Or the Ritz-Carlton which will fill town coffers and put a nail in the coffin for any future discussion about a town property tax.  Or even the old La Posada which basically became a flop house at the town’s most significant intersection before becoming Montelucia.

Conversely, Smoketree is largely surrounded by successful commercial properties and whatever it generates in tax revenue is largely irrelevant to the Town’s budget.  Whether it is redeveloped or not makes no difference to Paradise Valley’s future.

But it does to the bottom line of the property owner and an inexperienced hotel developer that paid too much for the land.

This should not be the concern of Paradise Valley’s politicians.  Just because a developer has been trying hard for a while doesn’t mean abandoning principles.  Inertia is not a rationale for a wayward proposal.   Read More

2020 Scrum


The final results of the general election are now complete, and I am thrilled with the results; I have solidly won a seat on city council! We never let up after the primary, working even harder to win this race. I moved ahead with my positive, forward-thinking message and it was all worth it. I couldn’t have done it without the help of my volunteers, friends, campaign staff and supporters- it truly takes a great and committed team.

Thank you all so much for your work and dedication and your belief in our mission. It’s been a year of full-time commitment that got us here. I’m grateful to everyone in my community who has supported me through votes, donations, volunteer hours, putting up signs, sharing your thoughts and ideas, and listening to mine. You’ve all worked hard with me every single day of this campaign. We truly “left it all on the field.”

I want to give a special shout out to my beloved husband and daughters, who haven’t had much of my time this last year, even though we’ve all been stuck at home together.

Getting elected is just the beginning. I will continue to work as hard as I can for all our residents and businesses to be a positive, forward-thinking member of our city council. Thanks again to everyone. Let’s keep the positive momentum going- this is just the beginning of our journey together- see you at the Kiva!

While there are numerous examples of ticket-splitting between Presidential preference and Congressional preference, our election night poll shows that fully 91% of voters voted a straight ticket.

That’s the highest percent in at least twenty years.

Why is that important? Considering the fact that President Trump ran significantly better than most observers expected, the straight-ticket voting resulted in the President having coattails – helping GOP’ers running under him.  The results: Senate Republicans bucked dire predictions to hold onto at least a tie in the Senate.  House Republicans not only picked up a half-dozen or more seats when they were expected to lose double-digits, but they didn’t lose a single incumbent in the general election, and Republicans didn’t lose control of any state legislative body across the country.

Click here for a brief slide deck on understanding Ticket-Splitters.

A First Look At What Happened Yesterday 

Public Opinion Strategies completed N=1600 interviews last night with 2020 voters. There is a lot more to learn and say about this election, but, here are five initial key takeaways from this work:

  1. President Trump won the 30% who voted on Election Day by 26 points (59% for Trump/33% for Biden).
  2. Late deciders broke heavily towards President Trump. Among voters who decided in October or later (11% of the electorate), Trump won by 16 points (51% Trump/35% Biden/14% Third Party Candidate).
  3. President Trump continued to enjoy crushing margins among non-college white men (67% Trump/27% Biden)
  4. Former Vice President Biden did win seniors, but by just one point (48% Trump/49% Biden).
  5. There were more “shy Trump voters” than “shy Biden voters.” Nineteen percent (19%) of Trump voters said they kept their support for Trump a secret from most of their friends, compared to just 8% of Biden voters.

Click here for a brief slide deck on understanding the Election.

Here is the full link from our website: https://pos.org/post-election-national-survey-2/

Phoenix, AZ (October 20, 2020) Data Orbital is pleased to announce the results of its latest statewide, live-caller survey of likely general election voters. The survey was conducted from October 16 – 18, 2020.

As we have tracked consistently all cycle, President Trump remains behind Vice President Biden. 41.9% of likely voters selected President Trump, 47.1% of voters selected Vice President Biden, 3.0% of voters selected Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen and only 2.4% were firmly undecided. There has been an uptick – now 4.3% – in the number of voters saying they refuse to identify their preference. Read More

Phoenix, AZ (October 7, 2020) Data Orbital is pleased to announce the results of its latest statewide, live caller survey of likely general election voters. The survey was conducted from October 3 – 5, 2020. This is the first Arizona survey released that was fully conducted after the first Presidential debate and the President’s COVID diagnosis.

As we have tracked consistently all cycle, President Trump remains behind Vice President Biden. 43.2% of likely voters selected President Trump, 47.7% of voters selected Vice President Biden, 2.7% of voters selected Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen and only 3.8% were firmly undecided.

The numbers indicate that the race has largely held consistent but does show a slight dip in the President’s numbers since the last survey our firm conducted in the second week of September. In September we had the Presidential margin at Biden +2.7% and now have Biden, just outside the margin of error, at +4.5%.

Read More