Featured Editorials




Led by two industry veterans, one of which is a retired Phoenix firefighter, Tim Maloney and Dane Palmero hope to decrease the rising drowning statistics

It happens all too often every summer in Arizona, preventable drownings that take a child’s life. With the numbers steadily rising each year, two pool industry veterans are determined to make a difference.

Dane Palmero, owner of Simply Fun Pools (a division of Overflow Pools) and Tim Maloney, a retired Phoenix firefighter and owner of Arizona Pool Fence are partnering to raise awareness surrounding pool safety as summer approaches by sharing a few key tips for Arizona residents, as well as hosting a contest to give away a pool fence to a deserving local family.

“As a former fire fighter, I saw these drownings first-hand and the majority of them could have been prevented, which is what led me to open Arizona Pool Fence,” said Maloney. “Partnering with Dane and Simply Fun Pools will help ensure that everyone is who is getting a new pool will know the benefits of having a pool fence and realize that it is a requirement in order to keep your family safe.”

Maloney and Palmero urge residents to keep in mind the following tips for pool safety this summer:

  1. Supervision is Key

The most important thing you can do to reduce the risk of drowning is to ensure there is always a responsible, attentive adult keeping an eye on children when they are near water. Don’t be distracted by cell phones, chores or other people. Drownings are known as a silent tragedy; you will not hear it happen and need to have 100% of your attention on the child.

2. Check Pool Fences and Gates

If there are children under the age of six living in your home, Arizona law requires that your pool area be enclosed by fencing that is at least five feet high and free of openings, along with the ability to self-close or latch. For those who already have pool fences and/or gates installed, always check the self-closing mechanisms to ensure they are functioning properly, check for broken slats or rusting and never leave a gate propped open for any reason.

3. Invest in Swim Classes

Basic swimming lessons from an early age will be instrumental in aiding child safety in the water. The American Association of Pediatrics recommends children start taking swimming lessons from the age of one. However, Maloney adds that “no amount of swimming instruction will make a child drown-proof; supervision is still required at all times.”

4. Learn CPR and First-Aid Procedures

Any adult or babysitter who are caring for children should know CPR and basic first-aid procedures. “Being able to perform CPR after a drowning could be the one thing that keeps a child alive until medics arrive,” said Palmero. For the nearest class to your home, contact your local fire department.

5. Keep the Area Clear

You should never keep toys, tricycles, or other large toys in the pool area, as they could cause a child to fall into the pool accidentally. The areas surrounding the fence should also be cleared of items that a child could use to climb over the fence.

“Ultimately pool safety starts with the homeowner, and that’s why we’re hosting a contest to give one lucky family a brand new pool fence,” said Palmero.

To enter, residents must send an email to arizonapoolfence@gmail.com with the subject line POOL SAFETY CONTEST, and include their name, phone number, address and a photo of their pool with a brief paragraph on why their family is most in need of a pool fence this summer. All entries must be submitted by May 31, 2024*.

For more information, or to request a quote from Simply Fun Pools, or their parent company Overflow Pools (ROC#K-5 296578), visit www.simplyfunpoolsaz.com or call 602.725.8418.

*CONTEST RULES & REGULATIONS: The pool fence is valued at $1500. Anything larger than that must be paid out of pocket by the entrant. The contest is open to legal residents of the state of Arizona only who are at least 18 years of age and must present a valid driver’s license. The contest begins on March 25, 2024 and ends on May 31, 2024. Submissions will only be accepted via email to arizonapoolfence@gmail.com. Limit to 1 entry per person, per email address and per household for the duration of the contest period. Entries received from any person, e-mail address or household in excess of the stated limitation will be void. Arizona Pool fence will attempt to notify the winner via telephone or email on or about June 15, 2024. If the potential winner cannot be reached within five days after the first attempt to contact, a new winner will be chosen to replace them.


Simply Fun Pools is a division of Overflow Pools (ROC#K-5 296578), founded by award-winning pool designer Dane Palmero. His 3+ decades of experience bring affordability to families across the state by building pools with the same grade material and craftsmanship as any of their luxury custom pools, without the bells and whistles. Eight designs are available for customers to choose from, along with three styles of waterline tile and coping – all starting from $29,422. Options to upgrade include LED pool lights, Ultra Poz or Pebble Sheen instead of plaster, an in-floor cleaning system, deck jets and more. For more information, visit www.simplyfunpoolsaz.com.


After bearing witness to the effects and total devastation a child’s drowning can cause a family while on the job as a Phoenix firefighter, Tim Maloney knew he could do something to make a difference. And in 2001, he and his wife Gina formed Arizona Pool Fence to do just that. Since then, the couple has installed over 30,000 pool fences throughout the state. Their high quality pool fences, pool covers, and safety gates are backed by a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty. For more information, visit www.poolfencesinphoenix.com.

Great Hearts Academies Owns a 5.4-acre Parcel of Land at Blossom Rock Projected Opening Fall 2026

The highly anticipated master-planned community Blossom Rock at Superstition Vistas which is scheduled to open in April 2024 recently announced Scholastic Leader Great Hearts Academies plans on building its newest school in the community.  Great Hearts owns a 5.4-acre parcel within the Blossom Rock community, where they project their next tuition-free classical academy to open in Fall 2026.

Great Hearts provides an honors level liberal arts curriculum in the tradition of the finest independent private schools, all in a public tuition-free setting. As such, Great Hearts offers outstanding opportunities for families who want the very best in a college. Blossom Rock is excited to provide the community with an exceptional educational opportunity along with miles of stunning trails connected with the park system, some of the nation’s leading home builders, and breathtaking views of the Superstition Mountains.

“Great Hearts Academies is a renowned educational system and Brookfield is proud to partner with this institution and bring one of the state’s highest performing public charter schools to Blossom Rock in Fall 2026,” said Dea McDonald, president of Brookfield Properties Development Arizona, Land and Housing. “This partnership with Great Hearts signifies the endless possibilities at our newest master-planned community, along with our continued commitment of providing places where people lead richer, more connected, more fulfilling lives that add value to the larger community”.

Blossom Rock is excited to provide the community with an exceptional educational opportunity along with miles of stunning trails connected with the park system, some of the nation’s leading home builders, and breathtaking views of the Superstition Mountains.

“Great Hearts Academies is a renowned educational system and Brookfield is proud to partner with this institution and bring one of the state’s highest performing public charter schools to Blossom Rock, in Fall 2026,” said Dea McDonald, president of Brookfield Properties Development Arizona, Land and Housing. “This partnership with Great Hearts signifies the endless possibilities at our newest master-planned community, along with our continued commitment of providing p. aces where people lead richer, more connected, more fulfilling lives that add value to the larger community.”

Blossom Rock is being developed by the team responsible for Eastmark, which has been the top selling master-planned community in Arizona over the past decade. At Blossom Rock, national homebuilders David Weekley Homes, Lennar Homes, Pulte Homes, Tri Pointe Homes, and its own housing operations at Brookfield Residential will offer a wide range of designs and floorplans to fit a variety of lifestyles. With home sales nearing its end at Eastmark, Blossom Rock is the next thoughtfully planned community to be developed by Brookfield Residential.

Construction is fully underway at Blossom Rock. The 1.5-acre lake and the entry monument are finished, while construction of the first community park, Painted Sky, and several neighborhood parks are nearing completion. 15 model homes by 5 builders are also underway and will complete in time for the Blossom Rock grand opening taking place in April 2024.

For more information about Great Hearts at Blossom Rock visit https://blossomrock.greatheartsamerica.org / or call (602) 438-7045. Join the Great Hearts Blossom Rock interest list.

For more information about Blossom Rock and its offerings, please visit https://www.blossomrock.com/or call (480) 360-4227.

For more information about Brookfield Residential, visit https://www.BrookfieldProperties.com/.

With recent rains, expert roofing company, Diversified Roofing, shares tips for homeowners

After an influx of calls following rainy days in the greater Phoenix area, the local, family-owned business Diversified Roofing is giving Valley homeowners tips on what to do before repairing a roof leak and when to call in the experts.

“Some roof repairs you can do on your own without much experience, and yet other times it’s far better to bring in a roofing professional, rather than making a bad situation worse,” says Brad Nally, Vice President of Diversified Roofing.

The locally owned company oversees an average of 300 roof replacements per year, fields over 3000 calls per year, and has a team of over 200 employees in the field that help with all matters of residential, commercial and industrial roofing projects.

A few tips from Nally on what to do BEFORE you get out the repair kit, include:

  • Clean Your Gutters

This is one of the easiest ways to support leak prevention and should be done about twice annually. This will not only keep any unnecessary weight from pulling your gutter away from the roof itself but can also prevent any abnormal water pathways that could spill over against the roof.

  • Remove Debris ASAP

Following heavy rain or wind, branches and other material might fall onto your roof. Remove debris as quickly as possible or it may obstruct water flow and cause water to pool on the roof, making it easier for leaks to begin.

  • Give It Time to Dry

Even though you may notice a leak in the middle of a storm, wait until the roof is dry before attempting to pinpoint the problem. This will prevent dangerous slips and the dangers of injuring yourself.

  • Look for Discoloration

One easy way to spot a leak is discoloration of drywall on your interior walls and ceiling. They may appear darker and wet, even if the roof is dry (another reason to give the roof time to dry following a storm).

  • Check the Weakest Spots

The edges of the roof and areas where the roof wraps around a chimney or other structures are the weakest parts. Because they are more likely to catch wind from the side, they are more susceptible to damage or leakage.

  • Don’t Make Assumptions

It’s always better to call an expert for an assessment rather than make a guess on what the cause of a leak may be. Underlayment damage, for example, can be a hidden source of leaks, said Nally, and very tough to spot.

“Above all else, safety is our number one concern for homeowners who call in,” said Nally. “We offer free inspections for a reason. And for situations like these, it’s important to call an expert rather than relying on a YouTube how-to video.”

For more information about Diversified Roofing, visit www.diversifiedroofing.com, or call 602.858.9221.

Nationally Significant Scottsdale Ferrari Art Week Announced For March 20-23, 2025 At WestWorld of Scottsdale. The Fair Will Feature 120 Art Galleries Exhibiting Alongside Fashion Shows, Cultural Performances And More.

Seeking to take its place among the nation’s great art events and being announced one year from its inaugural date, Scottsdale Ferrari Art Week, will be an event like no other including art from more than 120 galleries, daily fashion shows, cultural performances, sculptural installations, and other innovative programming. Scottsdale Ferrari Art Week will also have a plethora of collaborations with institutions, galleries, artists, prominent collectors, and off-site VIP events. That’s just a sample of what guests will experience March 20-23, 2025 at WestWorld of Scottsdale.

The art fair and related elements will take place in the same dynamic 120,000 square foot building that houses the world-famous Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction and the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show.

The event is co-owned by a who’s who in the Scottsdale area. It includes Trey Brennen, owner of T.H. Brennen Fine Art, a cornerstone gallery in Old Town Scottsdale; Jason Rose, Scottsdale entrepreneur who owns an Arizona public relations firm, The Scottsdale Polo Championships, and Quixote Productions (which produces musicals around the country); Cities West Media which owns PHOENIX Magazine and Phoenix Home & Garden; Anita Lang, Arizona’s most awarded interior designer; Mark Candelaria, owner of Candelaria Design and Arizona’s most prolific architect of high end homes in the Scottsdale area; Emilie Dietrich, owner of RAYMAR Fine Art Panels and the RAYMAR Studio; and Danny Sharaby, Tickets Unlimited founder and Arizona Arts Commission member. Logan Browning, an arts advisor with a notable stint at Hindman, is serving as the event’s Chief Creative Consultant.

Scottsdale, one of America’s most affluent cities, has a vibrant arts scene rich in cultural history. Put on the map by Elaine Horwitch, art dealer and gallerist responsible for launching the careers of many notable contemporary artists in the Southwest, Scottsdale and the greater Phoenix area are home to a plethora of contemporary and western art galleries, auction houses, internationally renowned artists, collectors and a fantastic network of museums and cultural institutions. Yet, despite this art scene, and prominence as a luxury community, the city has not previously featured a confluence of culture. Scottsdale Ferrari Art Week will attract art patrons from around the world, to the heart of Arizona during the height of tourist season when the region’s many 5 Star Resorts are awash in visitors due to idyllic weather and Major League Baseball’s Spring Training.

“Scottsdale has exploded in popularity over the past few years. It is the wealth of the west in many ways especially during the heart of spring training here when our inaugural event will take place in 2025,” said Brennen who conceived the event after attending an art fair in the Hamptons last summer.

The primary location for Scottsdale Ferrari Art Week is a renowned Scottsdale venue, WestWorld of Scottsdale, a nationally recognized event facility with a breathtaking backdrop of the McDowell Mountains, just off the prominent 101 Freeway with ample parking.

“We are very selective when it comes to the events we sponsor and the use of our brand. When we were presented with this ambitious and compelling concept, we welcomed the opportunity to be the title sponsor and join this excellent team of business leaders, art aficionados, and visionaries to bring yet another signature event to Scottsdale,” said Scottsdale Ferrari General Manager Chad Morgan. 

Rose, a frequent attendee of Art Basel, Frieze, and other art shows around the world said, “Scottsdale’s thriving arts scene has long been a nationally recognized point of pride. Scottsdale Ferrari Art Week is intended to bring as many of these great elements together so the world can experience the area’s compelling and diverse artistic expressions in a new and dynamic way.”

“As soon as we heard the concept behind Scottsdale Ferrari Art Week we didn’t want to just help, we wanted to invest. This is an incredible, and very wealthy market in waiting for something like this. After all we have the biggest golf tournament, car auction, Arabian Horse Show, and best spring training in America, why not a new art event with the same ambition?” said President of Cities West Media Brett Wilson, speaking of his company’s decision to not only invest but provide promotional assets for the show.

Additional event details, including gallery applications, can be found at www.ScottsdaleArtWeek.Com.

Tickets will go on sale to the public in September 2024 with additional partnerships and programs announced leading up to the fair.

This once-in-a-lifetime Paradise Valley property is seated on majestic and historic Mummy Mountain, and is currently owned by a couple of Scottsdale’s most prominent visionaries.

Known for representing buyers and sellers for Arizona’s most spectacular and iconic properties, Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty is proud to announce the listing of a property that perfectly exemplifies the special nature of both its homes and its clients.

This signature estate at 6210 E Hummingbird Lane in Paradise Valley is now listed for $6.25 million by Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty Agent Cionne McCarthy.  The current owners are the visionaries behind the Sanctuary Resort + Spa, Mountain Shadows Resort, Hotel Valley Ho, and many more of the Valley’s most iconic local developments.

The pinnacle of modern luxury, the estate offers 4,700-square-feet of space designed by renowned architects Allen + Philps Partners with interior design led by Jamie Herzlinger Interiors.

Expansive views of the Phoenix Valley define this property. Classic, contemporary styling and walls of glass give this home a cosmopolitan feel in the desert, with open living spaces that lend to the opulent feeling. The main level features a sleek gourmet kitchen and flexible entertaining spaces. A family room/media room opens to the alfresco dining room with intertwined water and fire features, a BBQ grill, and a pizza oven. A striking peninsula terrace boasts a commanding view of the lap pool, which in turn offers sweeping vistas of the entire valley below.
Exterior decking on three levels of the home leaves plenty of room to entertain while guests can enjoy the views.

The primary suite takes full advantage of the property’s breathtaking views, with a bath which is elegantly appointed and luxury exemplified with two separate walk-in closets. Retractable sliding glass walls in the living room, family room and the downstairs game room open the home and fill each room with an ethereal quality where inhabitants feel like they can step out onto the vistas surrounding them.

Designed to provide all the essentials while including touches expected only at luxury resorts, the home is brimming with features. Modern functionality matches elegance in every room including an exercise room with its own gorgeous views. More touches of modernity include the garage which is pre-wired for an electric vehicle, and the Control 4 Smart Home System. When night comes four gas fireplaces light up the inside to match the nightlights of the surrounding valley.

“This property is extremely rare in this ultra-luxury Paradise Valley market,” said Cionne McCarthy, listing agent for Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty, “The current owners have developed several world-class resorts and honed them to a size that features only the most essential rooms and accentuates all the amenities expected by buyers today. It also possesses the perfect private location on revered Mummy Mountain, yet is only minutes from the most concentrated area for luxury hotels, restaurants, and shopping.”

Featured Editorials

By Mason Gates

The Phoenix City Council recently approved the construction of a new homeless shelter near 71st Avenue and Buckeye Road, a key step in the Council’s efforts to address the crisis of homelessness wreaking havoc across the city.

The approval of this shelter project will help stem the burgeoning homeless population in Phoenix, while ensuring that cities bordering Phoenix will not be burdened with the need to provide shelter and services for homeless Phoenix residents.

In particular, the additional bed space in Phoenix will reduce the purported need to repurpose hotel space in Scottsdale to house homeless residents, as fewer former “Zone” residents will need to relocate away from Phoenix to seek shelter and services. I am glad to see Phoenix pulling more of its weight on the homeless issue.

Even though Scottsdale Mayor Dave Ortega and multiple City Council members voted last year to authorize the provision of hotel space in Scottsdale to house homeless Phoenix residents, Scottsdale taxpayers should never be forced to pay for the provision of beds and services for individuals who do not reside in Scottsdale.

While I applaud the Phoenix City Council’s efforts to shelter its own homeless population, local public officials will need to maintain constant vigilance around the shelter site to ensure it never resembles the infamous “Zone” neighborhood. Residents who own property near the new shelter site do not deserve to see their property values crater simply because the city plants an unwanted homeless shelter in the middle of their neighborhood.

Given the possibility that this new homeless shelter torpedoes property values in the neighboring community, I advocate Phoenix residents to vote yes this November on HCR 2023, a proposed ballot measure that will allow property owners to apply for a property tax refund if a city negligently declines to enforce existing laws against public vagrancy.

Even as homeless shelters like the Windemere in Mesa have descended into places filled with drug abuse, violence, and other civic maladies, this new shelter site cannot be allowed to go down the same path. Sobriety must be enforced and residents must be put on the pathway to securing jobs or placed into job training programs. Treatment and housing must be paired together.

My support of Phoenix’ homeless shelter project should not be construed to suggest I would ever support the construction of a similar project in Scottsdale. Hardworking Scottsdale property owners should never be forced to watch their property values fall as a result of the construction of homeless housing within city boundaries.

“Don’t Phoenix my Scottsdale” is not just a bumper sticker slogan, but a real policy guideline that I intend to follow when seated on the Scottsdale City Council.

The recent decision by Phoenix city leaders to build a new homeless shelter is an appropriate measure that addresses Phoenix’ needs and relieves burdens on Scottsdale; however it is not a model that Scottsdale should ever follow.

Photo Credit: Arianna Grainey

This year’s Scottsdale mayoral race won’t be anywhere near as wild as it was in 2020. Back then there were five competitors, including five current and past city councilmembers, vying for an open seat. This year it is much more tame, with an incumbent running against two former councilmembers.

As is often the case in politics, the campaign finance reports are the race before the race, as obviously whoever is in a dominant financial position has the best chance of succeeding. Q1 campaign finance reports were just released, so we now have our first full looking into this year’s mayoral money race, as all three candidates have now filed.

We still start with incumbent Mayor Dave Ortega, who has had the luxury of being a sitting mayor and all of the trappings therein, including a strong rolodex and big donors desiring to back a proven winner. He entered the year with over $73K cash on hand (CoH). During Q1 he raised nearly $43K, spent about $13.5K, leaving him in six figures at $102.5K CoH. A strong start to the year for the incumbent.

Mayor Ortega’s run-off challenger in 2020, Lisa Borowsky, should have significant fundraising prowess by way of name identification and a presumably strong rolodex. She got off to a late start however, with her campaign kicking off near the start of March. She started the quarter with no CoH. She raised $37K, has spent over $18K, leaving her with under $19K CoH.

The other challenger, Linda Milhaven, is in an entirely different financial situation however. She came into 2024 with $9K CoH, but knocked the cover off of the ball from a fundraising perspective last quarter at first glance, bringing in a whopping $73.5K versus a spend of only $8K, leaving her with a very strong $74.5K. However, a closer look shows that $50K of that is in the form of a loan from herself to her campaign; she may not be as willing to spend all of that money as if it came from external donors.

The power of incumbency combined with 3.5 years that have been without glaring errors will make knocking off Mayor Ortega a tall task. But at the moment, Linda Milhaven has taken the financial pole position as the strong competitor at the moment.

In a resounding testament to the momentum of the Mason Gates campaign, we are proud to announce that we have surpassed the significant milestone of collecting over 1,300 signatures from impassioned supporters across our Scottsdale community. This remarkable achievement underscores the unwavering dedication of individuals who believe in a brighter future for our city and who recognize the transformative leadership Mason Gates embodies.

We extend our deepest gratitude to each and every individual who has placed their trust in Mason Gates and our shared vision for progress. Your support fuels our determination to enact meaningful change and tackle the pressing issues that impact us all. From combating overdevelopment to alleviating traffic congestion and addressing homelessness, Mason Gates stands as a steadfast advocate for the well-being of our community.

As we continue to build momentum, Mason Gates remains committed to fostering a future where our city thrives sustainably. With your support, we will champion policies that truly prioritize the residents of Scottsdale. Gates has pledged to stand in firm opposition to overdevelopment, seek to implement innovative solutions to alleviate traffic congestion, and work tirelessly to ensure that every member of our community feels adequately represented.

Together, we can build a brighter tomorrow while keeping Scottsdale a nice place to live, work, and raise a family,

For more information on Mason Gates’s platform and how you can join us in shaping the future of our city, please visit VoteGates.com.

Axon CEO Rick Smith. Photo Credit: Jim Poulin, Phoenix Business Journal

Frequent readers and those in tune to the happenings of Scottsdale already know about the Axon saga: the makers of Taser, once reasonably good partners with the city and stakeholders, have napalmed any and all good faith that they had previously built. The story is bad enough of a look as it is, but it only gets worse when considering their current financial situation.


For those who are less aware, Axon is attempting to circumvent zoning rules and shortchange the taxpayers and education funding in the state through the Arizona State Land Trust with their plan to insert nearly 2,000 apartment units at their headquarters, in an area that can’t support it and doesn’t want it. They are now issuing veiled threats at the city, threatening to take their ball and go home (more accurately, to move their headquarters across the country) if they don’t get their way (read about the entire saga here).

But perhaps the most damning aspect is the performance of the company. Axon’s stock has been on an absolute tear recently; we invite you to check it out for yourself here. As of the time of writing, it is having an excellent month, but one time period does not a trend make. So toggle between a few of the time periods; three months, six months, even one year or five years. The performance is stratospheric.

Axon is flush with cash and with a previously good standing could have likely submitted a reasonable plan for headquarters expansion and remained a strong corporate pillar of Scottsdale. Instead, they sought a backdoor subsidy, that of intense apartment density, even after the taxpayers are poised to help them with their infrastructure.

Mind you, it received nearly $12 million in incentives to stay here in 2020, per the developer agreement signed with Scottsdale then. Its stock price was about $72 at the start of 2020…as of the time of writing, it’s $324.

Scottsdale deserves corporations who understand how to be good neighbors; who understand that compromise with stakeholders is essential and beneficial. It absolutely does not deserve the garbage that Axon is putting all of us through. CEO Rick Smith would do himself, his company, and the entire city a favor by dropping his ridiculous plans, listening to the deafening chorus of unhappy residents, and engaging in some serious reflection regarding how he became so out-of-touch with stakeholders.

Photo Credit: votegates.com

Scottsdalians who use social media have almost certainly been confronted with Mason Gates; he is a Scottsdale city council candidate who has seemingly come out of nowhere, spraying digital ads throughout the city, highlighting videos of him speaking and what he touts as an army of kids willing to do his bidding.

While digital political ads are nothing new, his approach has raised a few eyebrows and prompted us to look a little further. So who is Mason Gates?

Well, for starters, Gates is a mere 20 years old. Yes, you read that right…20 years old.  He touts volunteering in politics in sixth grade as his first entry in the field and where he developed his passion. He grew up in Missouri, and apparently came to Tempe to study finance at Arizona State for two years; that said, two years generally isn’t enough to get a degree, and he claims to be working with a real estate brokerage now, so why he apparently didn’t complete a degree is a question mark.

He apparently moved to Scottsdale less than two years ago and apparently set his sights on the city council nearly immediately. His videos are likely engaging from a Gen Zer’s perspective, fairly well produced from a low-budget perspective and made for social media. However, what’s noticeable is that he doesn’t really say anything.

In them are full of general political platitudes about politicians not being listened to, the sort of generalized preying on an overall dissatisfaction with politicians which is relatively cagey but lacking in merit. He is clearly an intelligent young man with potential promise and unbounding ambition but no one to mentor him and show him the ropes of the community. His list of endorsements from his website are all low-level politicos in different states; the makings of someone who clearly desperately wants to rise through the ranks of politics by short-cutting instead of putting the time in.

While he has reasonably good marketing chops for a kid, it’s absurd to believe that a 20 year old that has been in the city for less than two years can reasonably reflect the needs and wants of a city like Scottsdale in any way, let alone show leadership past what one could mimic by watching House of Cards or The West Wing. Gates would have been well served to wait 20 more years, build a career, make local connections and grow up as an adult before making this run.

By Grace Chapman

Photo Credit: Dmitry Vinogradov

The Navajo Nation, spread throughout the beautiful states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah, is experiencing an incredible journey towards sustainable energy solutions. The Navajo’s use of solar energy is a shift that extends beyond economic empowerment and encompasses cultural preservation and protecting the environment. The Navajo find it important to provide power to their people and do so to approximately 34,000 remote off-grid tribal members. This is incredible because most reservations have issues with power, running water to drink or any system for sewage waste, heat, or electricity. Navajo reservations are in the high plains desert with numerous canyons. Since the Navajo live in harmony with the land and practice traditional economy, power is not the first thing on their minds.

The integration of solar energy infrastructure has become a beacon of hope. Even though the Navajo Nation has not always focused on power as they focus on living in harmony with the land, they have decided to take an inspiring economic approach. Projects such as this provide jobs during construction but also require ongoing maintenance which creates a sustainable source of employment for Navajo communities. Moreover, the Navajo Nation’s embrace of solar energy sparks new entrepreneurial endeavors and reduces dependency on costly and environmentally damaging fossil fuels, offering a long-term cost savings for residents and businesses alike.

The Navajo Nation’s encouragement of solar energy adoption is extremely inspiring and should be utilized more often. Beyond economic benefits, the adoption of solar aligns with the Navajo Nation’s commitment to preserving its cultural heritage and ancestral lands. Since traditional Navajo values emphasize harmony with nature and respect for the Earth, making energy practices a natural extension of cultural beliefs. Solar energy empowers Navajo communities to assert greater control over their energy sovereignty. Historically speaking, the Navajo Nation has faced challenges regarding to energy exploitation and environmental degradation. The incredible transition to solar energy allows the Navajo to reclaim autonomy over energy resources and foster self-sufficiency.

Traditional energy sources such as coal-fired power plants have always imposed significant environmental burdens. Solar energy offers a much cleaner and renewable alternative which mitigates harmful emissions. Every community should take the Navajo’s transition to solar energy as their new form of energy. By embracing solar power, the Navajo Nation demonstrates its commitment to environmental stewardship and climate resilience which safeguards the health and well-being of current and future generations.

The adoption of solar energy within the Navajo Nation represents a multifaceted approach to sustainable development, cultural preservation, and environmental sustainability. As solar projects begin to spread across the vast Navajo Nation, they serve as catalysts for positive change, prosperity and resilience which creates a sense of pride within the beautiful Navajo heritage.

By harnessing the sun’s incredible energy, the Navajo Nation illuminates its path towards a brighter future but also honors their ancestor’s wisdom and forges a legacy of sustainability for centuries to come.

Peoria Mayor Jason Beck

In this blog we often talk about Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Phoenix, and sometimes a few other cities on occasion when they make moves that impress us. One city we don’t often talk about is Peoria, but a recent development indicates that they are pushing themselves into that conversation.

The Peoria City Council recently voted in favor of a couple new projects; one is a new location of an easy valley-based BBQ joint, but the other more noteworthy one is Jefferson House, a west valley version of The Churchill, a vibrant and engaging complex near downtown Phoenix devoted to independent food and drink vendors along with retail. Anyone who has been at The Churchill knows how cool of a concept it is, and how it is highly likely to become a destination for many in the west valley.

Also, pairing with this is news that an airport in Peoria is moving forward, and it’s now quite evident that something special is happening over there. So not only are world-class entertainment options starting to populate the city, but now you won’t even have to drive all the way across the valley after flying in.

So why Peoria? Becoming a destination spot starts and ends with good leadership at the municipal level, and few are better than Mayor Jason Beck. He is a man who understands the importance of not standing in the way of good projects, of making bold moves and working collaboratively. It helps to have a city council that is largely on the same page, but the leadership clearly resonates from the top.

Also, it simply makes sense…population growth in the west valley has been amongst the most robust in the country. Much of the rest of the area may be going through an affordability crisis, but much of the west still offers an attainable American Dream. Few want to drive from there to Scottsdale or Tempe on a Friday night to partake in some fun, so it is logical that one city rise up and provide commensurate entertainment options. Peoria’s leadership had the foresight to take that bull by the horns.

We must give credit to Mayor Beck and the rest of the council for making great moves and acting decisively to put their city on a pedestal. They are proving themselves to be forward-thinking and in tune with the desires of their constituency, and will no doubt reap the rewards.

You almost certainly have heard about the bombshell event that is making news all around the country (and putting our state in a decidedly negative light): the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that a territorial-era abortion law from 1864 will soon become the prevailing law of the state. This now will make performing an abortion a felony except to save the life of a woman, punishable by a minimum of two years in prison.

The reactions have come in swift and heavy from all corners of the political sphere, nearly all of them varying degrees of negative. Democrats were expectedly angered, but the response from Republicans has not at all been in line with the traditional pro-life stance of the party, likely because all reasonable people understand how egregiously draconian it is and how far out of line it is with mainstream views on the subject.

The PR response from Republicans was significant, with Trump weighing in saying that it went too far and calling on Republicans to fix it, and former Governor Doug Ducey expressing his displeasure with it. There is a degree of irony to these statements, as Trump’s Supreme Court nominees ushered in the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, and Ducey’s infamous expanding and stacking of the Arizona Supreme Court and his subsequent nominees voted for it. Certainly they didn’t expect things to go in this direction, but unintended consequences have a way of being unintended.

Republicans understand that if this goes on until November, it will be nuclear for their party; it will give energized and angry Democrats and moderate Republicans incentive to vote en masse for Democrats, and may be the turning point for the Presidential race (which Trump clearly understands). So last week turned into an intense scramble of attempting to fix it, but not without politicking, because of course.

Democrats attempted to pass legislation to protect the right to choose, but being the minority party has its downfalls. While they were able to get Republican Matt Gress on their side, the fact that the Democratic caucus is down two Representatives due to the myriad resignations and lag time before appointees take their seats, it was doomed from the start. Combined with the fact that Republicans would rather create their own solution rather than give a win to the opposition party, it was shot down.

So what happens next? The GOP (with probable pressure from former President Trump) will need to push a solution through the legislature, probably something close to the 15-month ban that had been the law of the land previously. But with a one vote margin in both the House and the Senate, there is absolutely no margin for defectors or anti-abortion hardliners. Meanwhile, the initiative to codify abortion rights up to eight months of pregnancy is almost certain to be on the ballot, and if your average Arizonan has the choice between one or the other, one would assume that they will vote yes on the initiative, and an energized voting base is likely to flip the House, Senate, or both, and Trump’s election chances are seriously imperiled.

There will be some seriously intense conversations in the Republican caucus over the next few weeks. Arms will be twisted,,,hard, The fate of the majority is at risk.

Remind us if you’ve heard this story before: a Democrat legislator in Arizona leaves their seat, thus providing an opening for someone else to take their place and further upending the caucus. If it sounds common, it’s because it had happened a stunning five times already in this legislative session. Now it’s six, as Representative Marcelino Quinonez announced his resignation recently.

Quinonez represented the Democrat stronghold of south Phoenix and Laveen, and is rumored to be interested in the Phoenix City Council seat that Yassamin Ansari is vacating for her run for Congress in the seat that Ruben Gallego is vacating in his run for the US Senate.

Underscoring the chaos inherent in the Dem caucus this year, this news almost immediately followed the announcement of Deborah Nardozzi being appointed to the legislature in the 8th legislative district to replace Jevin Hodge after his resignation. If you’re unaware of the Hodge scandal, we recommend you get up to speed with our coverage of it here.

Whenever there is an exit from such a high-level “safe” seat like a Congressional seat in a heavily partisan district, it has a domino effect, as numerous people exit their posts in order to run for a seat that they could easily keep for decades in all likelihood, as was the case here. That domino effect has secondary effects, and in this case it’s a Phoenix City Councilmember (Ansari) offering a vacancy in another significant elected position.

Another interesting dynamic that serves as an intriguing sidenote: according to sources, Quinonez had been dating Sarah Ligouri, a beneficiary of the litany of resignations, having been appointed to the legislature twice, most recently to fill the seat of Jennifer Longdon in Arizona’s 5th legislative district. Always such a small and weird world, politics is.

With such incredible turnover, things will likely be difficult for the Democratic caucus. New faces will have to come up to speed, there will be a learning curve, and newbies will make mistakes. New people will have to learn how to effectively work with each other, and the caucus is likely weakened as a result. But perhaps the new batch of fresh blood will end up being more effective legislators. Only time will tell.

Photo Credit: Arianna Grainey

April 1st was the deadline for political candidates to submit their nominating petitions full of signatures in order to qualify to be on the ballot. As such, that day provided clarity as to the interesting face-offs that will await us in the upcoming election. And a very interesting showdown is lining up in the race to be the next mayor of Paradise Valley.

We had already spoken about the entrance of Mark Stanton in the race, but he now finds himself with two additional and very formidable opponents in this race, as Mary Hamway and Anna Thomasson will now be on the ballot for the July 30th primary.

We have already spoken about Stanton’s credentials (you can read our coverage here). For those who are not familiar with the town’s politics, Thomasson is a current town councilmember and has been for the last eight years, alongside having been a resident since 1994. Meanwhile Hamway has been a mainstay in PV politics for nearly the entire millennium, having first been a town councilmember back in 2004.

Each candidate has their own very distinct advantages, making this race particularly intriguing. Stanton has entrenched himself strongly with the business community, Thomasson has burnished a reputation of being a ground warrior, willing to knock on every door and talk to every vote, and Hamway has very strong name identification, having been such a mainstay in the town for ages.

As for the issues, there are few major distinctions between the candidates. A push for added transparency is a concern for both Hamway and Stanton, and quality of life concerns are mentioned by all three. Strong relationships with the police department are considered a concern for both Hamway and Thomasson. Perhaps the one biggest distinction is Stanton’s focus on increasing tourism as part of his platform.

That said, for a town such as Paradise Valley that is already considered a crown jewel of the state with very few glaring issues, the winner of this race will be stepping into a relatively comfortable position of maintaining the status of the town, not trying to fix myriad issues thanks to the effective leadership of outgoing Mayor Jerry-Bien Willner. Paradise Valley is fortunate to not just be in this situation, but also to have three highly qualified and exemplary candidates running to lead it.

County Recorder Stephen Richer walked a strange and fine line in his successful effort to oust former Recorder Adrian Fontes; he sometimes found himself flirting with election conspiracies, but his time in the office itself has largely been spent confirming the fidelity of our elections.

One could say that his shift was political expediency, one could say that the newfound insider information shifted his views, but either way there have been consequences for not consistently towing that line that helped vault him to the position in the first place.

As many know, he drew the ire of Kari Lake, which ended up extremely poorly for Lake; Richer filed a defamation suit, and Lake wouldn’t even defend her side of that suit, apparently preferring to pay up rather than to be on the record saying something that might anger her base. But while Richer deftly defeated that challenger, perhaps his biggest battles are in front of him in the form of a primary challenge.

Richer now finds himself embroiled in a three-way primary with state legislator Justin Heap and IT professional Don Hiatt. Both offer an intriguing potential challenge to Richer.

Heap’s website at the time of writing is as barebones as possible, simply showing buttons to sign his petition and donate, but his X profile shows the clear intent to tap into the base’s belief of nefarious activities at the Recorder’s office, touting a desire to implement transparency and an endorsement from Kari Lake. Hiatt’s bid is clearly more of a long-shot as a newcomer to politics. However, his website talks about his experience in IT architecture, probably something that would come in handy to improve historically antiquated government databases.

That said, in a three-way race where 34% of the primary vote could hypothetically be enough,the name identification that Richer possesses may be enough to carry the day. While suspicion of the voting process remains considerable amongst Republican voters, the establishment’s recent unhappiness with Kari Lake cuts into the gravitas of that endorsement for Heap.

The winner of this primary will go on to face Democrat Tim Stringham in the general election, which is certain to not be a cakewalk either. Recorder Richer has his work cut out for him over the next seven months.

Photo by Arianna Grainey

You heard it here, how the country’s laissez faire approach to immigration enforcement may have led to a ring of burglaries in the area (read the story here). Also, the issue of short-term rental (STR) “party houses” has long been a hot-button issue in the city. Now both of these issues are coming to a head and getting the attention they deserve.

Police Chief Jeff Walther is now bringing both of these issues to the forefront. He notes that the theft rings are indeed a nationwide issue, but the culprits in this case were found swiftly. Will this bring an end to it? Probably not; but unlike some municipalities, where theft is treated with a slap on the wrist, it is safe to say that our area is not the most consequence-free for the culprits, and as such is a less enticing destination.

That said, considering the wealth in our area, the prizes will always be significant, so it’s difficult to believe that we will not face this same issue in the future.

STRs are a much stickier topic however, and one that may come to a head in the next week as the Final Four descends on the Valley (for those who are unaware, the Final Four constitutes the last three games of the “March Madness” college basketball tournament). Tens of thousands of fans will descend onto the area from the rest of the country, a potential perfect storm of loud parties and irritated residents.

While enforcing crime is much more cut and dry, enforcing the worst excesses of STRs is significantly more nebulous, since the state legislature essentially tied the hands of municipalities to create their own rules back in 2017. After a public outcry they eased these stipulations recently, but as Paradise Valley recently found out when trying to implement draconian rules meant to squash the industry in the town, municipalities are still somewhat limited.

Scottsdale is wisely seeking public input for potential regulations in the face of an uptick in problems. After all, who better to be able to comment than the people who are directly affected? What the residents want will likely not be viable from a legislative perspective however.

Ultimately, being an attractive potential target for burglars and for people who want to party is not a bad sign; after all, being a wealthy city that’s an attractive vacation destination is unequivocally positive. But all of these issues are coming in a vital year, an election year, and Mayor Ortega and the rest of city council would be well served to be as strict as they can in solving these problems.

by Tim Dickman

I have been privileged to have lived in Paradise Valley for the past 14 years with my wife.  Since serving on the Planning Commission and my announced candidacy for Town Council, I am frequently asked what I believe are the biggest risks to our Town.  As a retired health care CEO and leader of our short-term rental work group,  I thought it might be helpful to share some of my thoughts on those risks and what lessons we have learned.

The “Really Big” Problem

I believe that the biggest threat to our town of Paradise Valley is the constant push  from the State of Arizona to restrict, limit or eliminate altogether the Town’s ability to pass and enforce local zoning.   A number of recent examples are illustrative.  And these are just a few of recent examples.

Four years ago, the State passed the original Short-Term-Rental bill that eliminated the ability of any city or town to regulate Short-Term-Rentals at all!

Every year the Arizona House and Senate attempt to pass a law that would prohibit local towns and cities from having photo radar and that would also ban the license plate readers that are located at the entrances and exits to most of the Town’s roadways.  The Town does not have radar for the purpose of collecting revenue from ticketing.  Rather the purpose is to allow our world class police department to focus on other activities such as patrolling neighborhoods or responding to calls. The license plate readers allow the Town to more easily solve crimes through monitoring.  In short, we would need to hire many more police without the technology deployed.  It simply makes our community safer. Read More

Fountain Hills has generally flown under the radar recently; the quiet, wealthy enclave doesn’t make waves (except when a famous former sheriff decides that he wants to run for mayor), but a recent development is showing some serious cracks in the facade in the town.

Town councilmember Allen Skillicorn has found himself in some hot water, being officially censured by the rest of the council. And the story leads to more questions than answers.

Skillicorn is a recent transplant to the area, having moved to Fountain Hills in December 2020 and was previously a member of the Illinois state legislature, where he found himself in hot water for listing himself as present for votes where he was not in the area at the time. After losing his re-election big in 2020, he nearly immediately crossed the state and restarted a political career in Fountain Hills.

The recent issues came as a result of him following a law enforcement officer for taking his street sign, which reportedly was in violation of codes. However, in an extremely unusual tactic, Skillicorn had had tracking capabilities onto his sign, alluding to the fact that many had been taken already and he was sick of it. Berating a law enforcement officer is never recommended, but one has to wonder what brought him to that place in the first place.

Additional context is provided in that Skillicorn had asked some pointed questions about other councilmembers and their communications with a developer in advance of a vote. While it seems as though he violated typical decorum, it is certainly possible that he had touched upon cozy relationships and was asking hard questions that many didn’t want answered.

If those are all the case, then it is possible that he made too many waves and flew too close to the sun, to the point where levers of power were pulled against him. While his statements lend themselves to someone who is either unskilled in politics or is doing his best to gain attention, and as such diminish credibility, it wouldn’t be insane to think that forces were out to take him down.

That said, the final vote on censure is telling: four in favor, one against and one abstaining. While he may have rightful intentions, he is clearly poor at coalition building, a necessary skill in order to govern.

Again, there are more questions than answers. But Fountain Hill now arises from a deafening quiet and oasis of calm, and now finds itself embroiled in chaos, and we have to imagine that Joe Arpaio is plotting and planning on how to use this to become mayor.

Many city council meetings are full of boring minutiae: zoning issues, liquor licenses, talking through budgets and small changes, things of that nature. But every once in a while, a conversation happens that is truly critical to the future of a city, and this Tuesday represented one of them.

The Protect and Preserve Scottsdale Task Force was assigned the job of figuring out what to do with the expiring sales tax that has helped keep Scottsdale a world class city: a 0.2% sales tax to manage the upkeep of the parks and recreational areas in the city as well as upkeep for the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

The Task Force has come to a very positive conclusion: that it could actually reduce this tax to 0.15% and maintain all of the services that we have come to enjoy and take advantage of. This new reduced tax would be in place for an additional 30 years, at which point before its expiration it would be reviewed again to see if it is still necessary in its current state.

A small portion of these tax revenues (less than a quarter) can be used for debt service for debt accrued while making improvements to parks and recreation services. After that, about half of the revenue would go to park improvement needs with an emphasis on older parks, and the rest split between Preserve maintenance and protection, citywide park maintenance needs, fire fuel mitigation and rescue, and the police park ranger unit. No slush funds or nebulous spending, all of it spelled out with relative precision in the task force’s report.

This Tuesday the larger City Council reviewed and discussed the recommendations from the task force; after discussion, the motion to move forward with the task force’s recommendations passed with a 5-2 vote. Voting against it were Councilmembers Barry Graham and Kathy Littlefield. Littlefield seemed more to object to the mechanics of funding it, whereas Graham objected to a study group not being formed as per his wishes, as well as somewhat vague talk about questioning the need for the spending in the future.

We should consider ourselves thankful to be in a city such as Scottsdale. Many municipalities look for reasons to raise taxes in order to utilize the revenue for their own pet projects, vanity projects, or to satisfy special interests. Here we look for ways to reduce taxes without negatively impacting services, which is precisely how governance should act. I find myself disappointed that Littlefield and Graham felt the need to object for reasons that seemed more reactionary than policy-based, but am thankful that it passed easily nonetheless.

By Ronald Sampson

All of the stars are aligning for the Republicans this year, especially in Arizona. The border is a major national issue, almost entirely because of failures by Democrats. The very top of the ticket is a Democrat President with a 33% approval rating and is running for re-election at the ripe young age of 81. This should be a red wave election, and yet Arizona Republicans seem bound and determined to stop that from happening.

The newest evidence? Their attempt to stop early voting, and perhaps even more so, the attempt to bring it to a public vote in the November elections.

Nevermind that 95% of Arizonans vote early, and that it has been a hallmark of Arizona politics for decades. Nevermind that it offers the sort of flexibility that we all appreciate and allows all people that have the right to vote the ability to vote. Nevermind that attacks on it are based on sour grapes entirely devoid of any facts (remember the Cyber Ninjas fiasco? Remember how we were embarrassed on a national stage as a result?).

So who do we have to thank for this? None other than Senator Wendy Rogers, the legislator who has rarely seen any conspiracy theory wacky enough that she wouldn’t jump on, so long as it was in support of the whims of former President Trump. And her hard-right base in rural Arizona, in a district that stretches into some of the odder stretches of our state’s electorate, seems to appreciate it.

But any reasonable voter, liberal or conservative, should be turned off by it. Moreover, when our state had moved away from the bad press days of Sheriff Arpaio, when our state’s reputation nationally had improved, then came the election denialism. And now comes the GOP shooting all of us in the foot and trying to bring attention to this tragic act of violence.

However, attacking something that is used by 95% of voters is a new echelon of stupidity, and attempting to bring it to a public vote to showcase how stupid they are is…something else. Meanwhile, sane conservatives are waiting for the old GOP that wasn’t mired in the lowest common denominator to come back. Any day now…

If Republicans are so stupid so as to attack that which is universally appreciated, then they deserve what they will get, which will be snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

On Friday, March 29, Scottsdale City Council candidate Jan Dubauskas submitted 1,956 petition signatures at City Hall – almost double the required number.

“Many thanks to the thousands of Scottsdale residents who came together to put me on the ballot,” said Dubauskas. “We love Scottsdale and recognize how important it is to have another member on Council who will put residents first, lead with integrity, and oppose the overdevelopment, road diets and special interest-driven decisions that are changing Scottsdale’s unique charm and way of life. I look forward to taking the voices of these residents with me to Council. Let’s go!”

Dubuaskas has emerged as a frontrunner in the crowded, and hotly contested race, with a message of integrity, “residents first” and keeping Scottsdale special. She is an attorney, Christian, wife, mother, and ASU alum. She has lived in Arizona since 1998 and raised her family in Scottsdale for the past 10 years.

Learn more about Jan Dubauskas at JanforScottsdale.com.

It is our belief that more housing options are needed and that development is a critical aspect in keeping the cost of living reasonable for our residents. Also, the concept of “cultural appropriation” has often gotten out-of-control, pushed to absurdity by the excesses of political leftists. But every once in a while these two items intersect, and in this case it leaves a poor taste in our mouths.

DPC Cos, a Denver-based company, is working through the process approval for an apartment complex at the intersection of Shea and Scottsdale. The complex is named “Cosanti Commons”, which strikes at the heart of the problem.

Perhaps you’ve heard the word “Cosanti”, or more likely “Arcosanti” before. They both refer back to the same source; a man named Paolo Soleri. Soleri was a legend in architectural circles; born in Italy in 1919, he came to the United States to work with Frank Lloyd Wright in 1946. After a brief stint back in Italy he came to Arizona for good in 1956, where he built the renowned “urban laboratory” Arcosanti and became a distinguished guest lecturer at Arizona State University.

Soleri, while not known by too many in the area and certainly not as well known as his colleague Frank Lloyd Wright, was a true icon. Additionally, his time spent in the area (from 1956 until his death in Paradise Valley in 2013) represent a considerable dedication to an area often known as a transient stop in life. While he was far from perfect (notably accusations of sexual abuse), his works had great weight, and come with names that should be valued and preserved.

Enter DPC, using this term with no local ties. An out-of-state company helicoptering in with plans for an apartment complex and co-opting a significant local brand without any attachment to it, without having put in the time and effort to honor, respect, and do justice to the gravitas of the brand.

It amounts to a cheap ploy to appeal to an audience without putting the work in. It amounts to stealing the glory of others for your own personal benefit. Soleri would certainly be rolling in his grave if he knew about it, but since he doesn’t, the onus is on us to reject these sorts of tactics. For those of us who respect our area and the history and culture inherent in it, we deserve better.

Jan Dubauskas, candidate for Scottsdale City Council, is honored to announce endorsements from Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield and Councilman Barry Graham. The endorsements were first announced at an event for Dubauskas on March 21st.

Councilwoman Littlefield says she is “confident that Jan will join me on the Council as a clear voice for the residents of Scottsdale. She has a track record of engaging in Scottsdale as a citizen and amplifying the concerns of the community. As a Councilmember, I believe Jan will continue to put the welfare of our citizens first and work to keep Scottsdale the beautiful city we all love. I am proud to endorse Jan Dubauskas.”

Councilman Graham stated he is “proud to endorse Jan Dubauskas for City Council. Jan has a proven record of service to Scottsdale and will be a strong fiscal conservative for taxpayers. To protect Scottsdale’s unique character and quality of life, we must elect another Councilmember who will stand-up for residents and oppose ideas that don’t make sense for our city.”

“It is a true honor to have the endorsements of these outstanding members of our Council,” said Dubauskas. “Councilwoman Littlefield and Councilman Graham listen to the voice of residents. They have offered strong and much needed opposition to overdevelopment, road diets, and other proposals that don’t serve Scottsdale’s best interests. I am grateful for their trust and confidence; and look forward to serving with them on Council.”

Jan Dubauskas has emerged as a frontrunner in the crowded, and hotly contested race, with a message of integrity, “residents first” and keeping Scottsdale special. She is an attorney, wife, mother, and ASU law alumni. She has lived in Arizona since 1998 and has raised her family in Scottsdale for the past 10 years.

Learn more about Jan Dubauskas at JanforScottsdale.com.

Photo Credit: Ross D. Franklin, AP

Nearly everyone in the Scottsdale area now knows what could easily be called the “The Phoenix Open Debacle of 2024”, when the regularly ribaldrous affair went a few steps too far with the debauchery. Fights, overt drunkenness, and even someone falling off of a balcony were the result (read our coverage here).

Details have slipped in regarding how potentially problematic this iteration of the event was, but a recent story truly showed its messy nature.

According to coverage from Arizona Republic, police officers were called to circumstances at the event an average of every three minutes at the peak of its problems. The majority of calls came from the 16th hole, the epicenter of the rowdiness. Amongst other lowlights? This year set the event record for the most arrests, it included 48 medical emergencies (presumably many including alcohol), and had 127 service calls to law enforcement on Saturday alone.

Adding to the chaos was the gate-keeping. At one point in the tournament, the ticket checkers were unable to keep up with the masses of people attempting to enter and just started letting people in. Overcrowding from a crowd that was clearly less interested in golf as they were the party, alcohol, and a damaged reputation of an event known for being a party was certain to be a toxic brew.

While we know that often golf is secondary (or tertiary) in the minds of many attendees, one must also consider the brand damage that this year’s event has for golfers. What world-class golfers would want to be associated with something like this? At some point it seems like that prospect is akin to U2 playing at a dive bar in Apache Junction: it’s not a good look and may not reflect well on them.

It is clear that a real reset is needed. Can the event still hold onto the semblance of being the most fun golf event of the year without tipping towards a well-dressed frat party? That would be ideal…that is what sets the event apart, after all. But it is clear that serious changes are necessary, and if those changes end up making the event more boring, maybe that’s not the worst outcome.

2022 Scrum

Photo Credit: The Hill

Here are the Arizona Progress and Gazette, we love to cover the weird world that is Arizona politics. Not many states are pure swing states, which brings with it an incredible amount of attention. And perhaps no race other than the Presidential race will be more watched than the specter of a three-person cage match to represent Arizona in the US Senate alongside Sen. Mark Kelly.

Campaign viability is almost always tied to fundraising, and with that in mind we received some clarity as to where the candidates stand in the way of their 2023 Q4 financial statements. And so far, it’s Advantage Gallego.

According to those Q4 reports, Rep. Ruben Gallego brought in $3.3 million and sat with $6.5 in cash at the end of the year. Compare this with Kari Lake, who brought in $2,1 million but with no cash-on-hand numbers available at the time of writing. Incumbent Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s numbers were not available at the time of writing.

Perhaps most notable with the fact that 99% of Gallego’s contributions were under $200. That means that he has been able to build an incredible breadth and scope of donors nationally, ones that he will be able to go back to time and time again until the election, as opposed to max donors who are tapped out until after the primary election.

All of this is a relative pittance in what is certain to be one of the most important races in the country however, especially considering the extremely tight lead that Democrats have in the Senate. For context, a stunning $236 million was spent in the 2022 US Senate election; in all fairness, over half of that was spent by outside groups, but regardless, the bar of competitiveness for a US Senate race starts around $30 million or so, so the early numbers matter but are not critical.

While Gallego’s strength is obvious, a big question will be Kari Lake’s ability to fundraise. During her run for Governor, she eschewed the necessity of traditional fundraising, relying instead on earned media and a strong social media presence. As a result, she was soundly defeated by Katie Hobbs in the fundraising race. While the national Republican party will likely come to her support unless Sheriff Mark Lamb makes it a competitive primary, she must demonstrate that she has learned a lesson from her failure in her gubernatorial race.

But of course, the big elephant in the room is whether or not Sinema will vie for another term in the face of low favorability ratings. But until then, she is certain to utilize her influence and power to raise huge chunks of money to assist her in whatever her next step is.

Connect Maricopa, the official campaign in support of the Proposition 400 renewal, formally launched today with a coalition of business, community, and public sector leaders advocating for the extension of the transportation funding measure. The effort is led by Pam Kehaly, CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona; Mesa Mayor John Giles; Maricopa County Supervisor Jack Sellers; Mike Hoover, CEO of Sundt Construction; and Jim Kenny, CEO of El Dorado Holdings.

In 1985, Maricopa County voters overwhelmingly passed a 20-year half-cent sales tax dedicated to transportation infrastructure. It was renewed in 2004 with the passage of Proposition 400 which invested in highways, streets, and transit. The funding is set to expire December 31, 2025, without renewal. The extension of Proposition 400 was referred to Maricopa County voters by the Arizona Legislature and will be on the November 2024 ballot.

“The renewal of Proposition 400 is an integral part of Maricopa County’s continued economic growth and the overall success of the region,” said Pam Kehaly, CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. “Investing in critical transportation infrastructure will allow the region to appropriately plan for future growth so residents can travel with ease and not experience the burden of long commute times. I am proud of the coalition of business and community associations that are actively supporting this effort and we look forward to sharing our message with Maricopa County voters.”

“Since the passage of Proposition 400, Arizona has become one of the top 6 states for economic momentum,” said Mesa Mayor John Giles. “The regional half cent sales tax has allowed the county to grow responsibly and build a comprehensive transportation network to support Maricopa County residents. This continued investment is critical for future economic development and ensuring Maricopa County residents have access to a variety of transportation options that best meet their needs.

”The Connect Maricopa Executive Committee consists of key business, economic development, and community organizations that understand the importance of investing in the Valley’s critical infrastructure:

  • American Council of Engineering Companies of Arizona
  • Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Arizona Chapter of the Associated General Contractors
  • Arizona Multihousing Association
  • Arizona Realtors Association
  • Arizona Rock Products Association
  • Arizona Trucking Association
  • Greater Phoenix Chamber
  • Greater Phoenix Economic Council
  • Greater Phoenix Leadership
  • Home Builders Association of Central Arizona
  • NAIOP Arizona
  • Valley Partnership

Ne’Lexia Galloway

Students of history (or older readers) will remember the Saturday Night Massacre: it was the last gasp of the Nixon administration and its attempt to cover up the Watergate scandal. In it, Nixon ordered his Justice Department officials to fire the Special Prosecutor in charge of Watergate, which led to a string of resignations as a result.

The Maricopa County Democratic Party seems to have had its own version of the Saturday Night Massacre in what seems to be embattled Executive Director Ne’Lexia Galloway’s attempt to protect her own job in the midst of underperformance, internal dissatisfaction, and a potential financial scandal. As a reminder, Galloway is engaged to be married to Bruce Franks Jr., the disgraced former Missouri State Rep/battle rapper/campaign grifter who played a significant role in tanking Julie Gunnigle’s campaign for County Attorney (get up to date on him here).

In a bombshell recent action, we’ve learned that Galloway personally fired every member of the staff except for one older, part-time employee nearing retirement (i.e. someone not deemed a threat). Their last day was at the end of February. The positions that were eliminated were organizing director (the person in charge of reaching out to potential voters), political director, and campaign director. While short term jobs are not renewed immediately after an election, to have such critical roles eliminated in a battleground county with all countywide seats up for election next year is unprecedented.

Some might say that money is a significant issue, and they are indeed light on cash, with only $16K available at the end of February. However, insiders say that part of this cash crunch is a result of gross mismanagement of funds, including a large allocation of cash sent out for what was supposed to be for mailers; but those mailers never went out. Insiders say that Galloway pushed for this vendor because the pricing was so cheap, but the pricing was so cheap because it didn’t account for the large majority of the costs: postage. A true rookie mistake. Now the party is attempting to claw back those funds, and numerous district chairs are extremely displeased.

Adding to that awkwardness? The fact that one of Galloway’s first actions after becoming the ED of the county Democratic Party was a highly public attempt to attack her former boss Ruben Gallego. Galloway spent several days hyping up a major announcement she was going to drop, only for it to be this statement, amounting to little more than a Gen Z’er who is amazed to learn that their boss won’t fawn over every single idea that a new college graduate has. This is much, MUCH more awkward of a dynamic now that Gallego is the presumed Democratic candidate for the US Senate race in 2024.

Additionally, the friend’s list seems to be narrowing, as the county party became an official sponsor of an event that Galloway’s fiance Franks Jr. put on which neglected to invite the Kesha Hodge Washington, a Democrat and favored candidate of Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. Attempting to purposely alienate the most powerful Democratic elected official of a local seat is…highly risky.

So in summary, it has been bad decisions compounded by bad performance followed by bad financial management that has led to this place: where threats were all around and where money was tight, so Galloway decided to solve both issues at once. And now they will be hamstrung regarding organizing for the future, and their brand has taken a real hit. Her hire has turned into a one-person disaster.

Good governance depends on at least two strong parties that are led competently and have compelling messages. We have seen parts of the Republican party in Arizona devolve into conspiracy theories, and now we are seeing the local Democratic party devolve into power struggles designed to paper over incompetence and underperformance. Much like the Saturday Night Massacre, it’s a sad state of affairs. We can only hope that much like that event, it leads to a wholesale change in leadership and an entirely new direction.

By Alexander Lomax

Now that midterm elections are out of the way, next comes the tradition of political parties having their “reorganization” meetings. What this entails is all of the dedicated party apparatchiks coming together to vote on who should be in their party’s leadership. At the county level, Precinct Committeepeople (PCs) come together to vote on county party leadership. PCs also vote to see who will be on the State Committee, the members of which then vote for state party leadership.

Often, these events are dry and long, full of procedural votes on their party platform, or votes for such boring and generally meaningless positions as 2nd Vice Chair of the county party or the like. Often, leadership will run for re-election, and unless they are particularly unpopular, any opposition will be token opposition. There often aren’t a ton of surprises. However, the chair of the Arizona Democratic Party, Raquel Teran, is not seeking re-election, which means a power vacuum. And with any power vacuum, it won’t go unfilled for too long.

Even more interesting and impactful is the fact that the Dems have had big wins, winning the US Senate seat, the Governor’s race, Secretary of State, and (pending recount) the AG’s office. There is actual power to be had in roles like this. So when those newly electeds all coalesced behind candidates quickly, our ears were perked.

Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo threw his hat in the ring; as the only Democrat of the five member board for several election cycles, he has not had much impact on local politics or policy, and while he has been a mainstay in the local Dem scene he hasn’t been too influential. Therefore it was intriguing to see Governor-elect Katie Hobbs giving her endorsement to him. While his other support seems to have been lackluster, having Hobbs on his side is not to be trifled with. Along with that is a member of her transition team stating that it is her right to anoint the next Chair, which…received pushback.

The next Chair shall not be anointed, however: longtime local union organizer Yolanda Bejarano has stated her intention to run. While many people announce an intention to run, hers is followed by a who’s who of local Democrats backing her: Senator Mark Kelly, Secretary of State-elect Adrian Fontes, presumptive Attorney General-elect Kris Mayes and Congressmen Greg Stanton and Ruben Gallego have all announced their support.

Quite the intriguing development, where Arizona’s incoming Governor is nearly alone in her support of the party’s next Chair. It seems as though Bejarano, an organizer by trade, organized around Gallardo/Hobbs and consolidated support extremely deftly. Meanwhile Gallardo, a candidate in a safe blue seat with no primary challenges for ages, didn’t understand the game that he was playing and assumed that being friendly with one person was enough.

While the votes still need to be tallied, it certainly looks like Bejarano is in the driver’s seat, and with that a deep understanding of organizing and less of the social justice dedication that Teran (or at least gave lip service to).

And now, we wait to see the glorious show that the race for the AZ GOP Chair shall undoubtedly provide! 

Data Orbital is pleased to announce the results of its latest statewide, mixed mode survey of likely Republican primary election voters. The survey was conducted from July 18th to July 20th.

The survey tested all Republican candidates whose names will appear on the ballot for Governor in the upcoming August 2nd Republican primary.

With mail-in ballots already being returned, Kari Lake shows a commanding 11-point lead over Karrin Taylor Robson. Lake is pulling away from the field as a poll conducted by Data Orbital earlier in July showed Lake only 4 points ahead of Taylor Robson.

Pollster George Khalaf had this to say about the latest results, “With nearly 250,000 Republican ballots returned, it is clear Kari Lake has maintained – and grown – her lead in the Gubernatorial race. We have seen the Undecided rate steadily drop from 28% in late June to 12%, with a little more than a week until Election Day. With what we are seeing in our polling, and every other public poll released on the Governor’s race, one thing is clear: Kari Lake is on her way to securing the Republican nomination.”


This poll of 550 likely primary election voters was conducted through a combination of live survey and text to web that collected 32.4% of the results from live caller landlines, 34.2% from live caller cell phones, and 33.4% from text to web. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.26% with a 95% confidence interval. Respondents were weighted on a number of different demographic figures based on prior primary election voter turnout figures. The poll was conducted from July 18 – July 20, 2022. All non-released questions would not reasonably be expected to influence responses to all released questions. The questions released are verbatim from the survey provided to respondents. Toplines and demographic data can be found here. Crosstabs for this survey can be found here.

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