Featured Editorials




Billions In Marijuana Dispensary Cash Need Not Be On The Streets
AZ AG Mark Brnovich Helped Establish Framework For Business Model

(PHOENIX) Arizona startup ALTA has opened for business and is addressing a security and tax collection crisis impacting Arizona’s multi-billion dollar cannabis industry.

Banking laws make it nearly impossible for the state’s legal marijuana industry to utilize typical financial services. After months of successfully meeting regulatory requirements, ALTA, is now providing financial services to dispensaries that allows them to pay bills and conduct transactions without the risk of being all cash.

The State of Arizona has approved ALTA’s patented digital payments technology clearing the way for dispensaries to pay bills, suppliers, and make other transactions securely and electronically.

ALTA was created thanks to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s FinTech Sandbox program. The Sandbox program allows innovative start up financial technology companies to test out their business models as they get licenses and regulatory approvals. Now that it has officially launched, ALTA has successfully exited the Sandbox.

“The Sandbox program has allowed ALTA do to something incredible.  We created a digital exchange that allows for instant payments using a digital asset that replaces cash, and everything adheres to existing banking regulations.  There’s not many companies in the world that can say that!” said Wessel.

Now that it has successfully launched in Arizona, ALTA is planning to expand into other states.

“The utilization of ALTA is going to revolutionize how business is being done in cannabis.  It makes it so much easier  for retailers, wholesalers and vendors to conduct transactions.  It’s like Venmo for businesses.  We’re excited to be one of the first businesses to use ALTA in Arizona” said Rami Sweis President and Founder of Oasis Cannabis AZ.

“Given the lack of clarity at the federal level regarding banking in the cannabis industry, we are pleased to have the option to work with companies like ALTA, who provide services for our rapidly growing industry.,” said Harvest House of Cannabis CEO Steve White.Read More

Arizona’s Premier and Only Kentucky Derby Event with Live Horse Racing and Betting — The Bulleit Bourbon Derby DayClub: Presented by Sanderson Lincoln Returns Better Than Ever Saturday, May 1st to Turf Paradise

The Expanded Event Now Includes 3 Separate Areas Including Air-Cooled Scottsdale Polo Style Tents, Winner’s Circle and Pavilion Experiences with VIP and Front Row Tables; Tickets Now on Sale

(PHOENIX) – Arizona’s most exclusive and only Kentucky Derby Party with LIVE thoroughbred horse racing and on-site private betting returns to Turf Paradise in Phoenix on Saturday, May 1st with a bigger and more socially distanced experience. New for 2021 enjoy three different experiences inside The Bulleit Bourbon Derby DayClub: Presented by Sanderson Lincoln.

All event details can be found at ThePoloParty.com/Derby. There is limited capacity and CDC and Turf Paradise protocols will be followed.

Guests can enjoy the Sanderson Lincoln Black Label Lounge which includes reserved tables in the covered, air-cooled Sanderson Lincoln Black Label Lounge track-side tent near the finish line. It includes amazing views plus convenient access to Turf Paradise betting terminals, no-host bar inside the tent for Mint Juleps, champagne, cocktails and close proximity to food trucks for additional refreshments and 65” TVs to watch the Kentucky Derby and live horse racing at Turf Paradise. Space is limited. Tables for two start at $250 and go up to $2,000 for a front-row table of 8. Some table options include complimentary bottles of Veuve Clicquot or Chandon Champagne, rose centerpieces, and chocolate-covered strawberries.

Bulleit Bourbon Derby DayClub guests can also enjoy a new experience for 2021 called the Ketel One Botanical Pavilion.  It includes reserved tables in the covered Ketel One Botanical Pavilion open-air tent. It is near the finish line but further off the backstretch than either the Black Label Lounge or Winner’s Circle tickets.  The Pavilion is close to the action and tables include a bucket of Ketel One Botanical Vodka Spritz Seltzers plus convenient access to Turf Paradise betting terminals, 65” TVs to watch the Kentucky Derby and live horse racing at Turf Paradise, no-host bar inside the tent for mint juleps, champagne, cocktails and close proximity to food trucks for additional refreshments. Space is limited. Tables for four start at $275 and go up to $400 for a front-row table.

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The Modern Hillside Estate Sold for $4.4 Million on the Edge of Mummy Mountain in Paradise Valley

(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty, Arizona’s leader in luxury real estate, is proud to announce the sale of award-winning interior designer David Michael Miller’s Paradise Valley estate. The hillside contemporary estate was designed by acclaimed architect Ned Sawyer.

This exclusive property is the former home of renowned interior designer David Michael Miller and was completely remodeled by him in 2016. Miller has established his accredited career in the Southwest and initially began design in Phoenix. Since 1989, he has led his own interior design firm called David Michael Miller Associates. Miller is known for his ability to make living spaces “quiet.” He emphasizes ridding spaces of unnecessary visual noise and allowing the architecture to speak for itself.

Luxury agents Grant Almquist, Joe Bushong, and Chad Christian of Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty represented Miller, while luxury agent Suzi Miller of Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty represented the buyer.

The home is located at 6200 E. Hummingbird Ln, Paradise Valley and is a total of 4,559 square feet. The estate sold for $4.4 million and is rested on the Northeast slope of Mummy Mountain in Paradise Valley.

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Harry M. Lourimore launches new real estate firm to create and expand excellence in residential land development

(PHOENIX, Ariz.) – One of the most active and successful land and home building executives in Arizona, Harry M. Lourimore, recently announced the launch of his new company Lourimore Land & Development.

Lourimore Land & Development is focused on becoming a leading residential developer in the Phoenix marketplace by applying its real estate and development expertise to a variety of residential and mixed-use asset classes. Currently, Lourimore is focused on creating single-family residential opportunities for home builders and building vibrant multi-family communities within the Phoenix marketplace.

“Our mission is to create enduring communities of high quality and distinct character through thoughtful design and execution. They will reflect our commitment to excellence and our passion to make positive contributions to communities,” said Harry Lourimore, Founder and President of Lourimore Land & Development.

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(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) – Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty, Arizona’s leader in luxury real estate, is proud to announce the closing of another record-breaking deal. This Silverleaf estate, originally listed for $24,000/month, leased for $25,125/month making it the highest lease in Scottsdale according to the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS).

Luxury Agent Ryan Hass of the Camelback Tower office at Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty represented the buyer and closed the deal.  The buyer and seller names have not been disclosed.

“There’s many benefits for tenants to rent long term in Arizona, while the rate of return for landlords and investors is typically very successful in Scottsdale, when done correctly. The tradeoff is a win-win to say the least, but there’s a process to making it work for everyone, including the neighbors in the community.  The Scottsdale lease market is very strong year-round and the demand only continues to grow and the luxury lease market is an excellent option for homeowners or investors,” said Hass.

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Featured Editorials

By Alexander Lomax

I’d like to think that we all could agree that the more people get vaccinated, the quicker we can have a legitimate return to normalcy. It shouldn’t be controversial; that was probably ADOT’s assumption when they put up digital highway signs saying “Want to return to normal? Get Vaccinated”.

But never doubt state Senator Kelly Townsend’s ability to jump into a subject and make us all a little stupider in the process.

Townsend, who routinely represents the tin foil hat constituency of Arizona, tweeted a picture of the sign with a comment that said “Seen in Communist China today. Oops, I mean Arizona”.

Where to start? I don’t even know. Her comments are often a 7-layer burrito of Stupid, offering many different ignorant snippets to single out, and I try to keep my diatribes to a readable length. I will say that with what is clearly a proud embrace of anti-vaxxerism, I believe that she has won the crown of Chief Tin Foil Hatter of our state’s legislature.

I have often wondered: does she really believe the BS that she spews? In the past, I have seen her be somewhat thoughtful and more nuanced than I would have previously thought. She seems to know her constituency fairly well, so perhaps she’s mirroring her voters.

One thing we do know however is that counties that voted for Trump have significantly lower vaccination rates than other counties, and comments like this from “leaders” are certainly a significant reason why.

Words can have real consequences. People will die because of stances like this. I’d like to think that Townsend could understand that, but I’m not sure that she wants to.

By Alexander Lomax

The eyes of the nation are on Arizona, and it’s not pretty.

Certainly, you are aware of the election audit farce going on right now. Well since my last rant about it, we’ve had a few new developments that have put Arizona neck-and-neck with the likes of Florida when it comes to embarrassing stories.

Perhaps you’ve seen former AZ Representative Anthony Kern serving as a volunteer for the audit. Well, that same Anthony Kern was widely photographed taking part in the insurrection at the US Capitol in January. How are we supposed to have any faith in the audit when at least one of the volunteers showed such obvious, demonstratable bias? The fact that that man has access to our ballots (some of which likely had his name on them) is disturbing.

Ohhh, and did you hear about the bamboo ballots? One of the fraud observers told reporter Dennis Welch that the auditors were looking for bamboo fibers on ballots, to attempt to prove the conspiracy theory that 40,000 ballots (presumably pre-filled for Biden) were shipped here from China. Where could one possibly start with this? The ridiculous notion that China would send pre-filled ballots as part of a grand conspiracy with the County Recorder and Board of Supervisors? The inherently racist and ignorant idea that anything from China must be produced with bamboo? Are they really chasing down every ridiculous conspiracy theory they can?

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By Scottsdale Pinetop

Reaching the highest point in the world has long been an object of fascinations for many explorers, risk seekers and the above-average traveler. For some, it’s a bucket-list item. For others, it’s a physical and emotional challenge worth taking. But for some, it serves a higher purpose.

Photo by Tom Shannon/ AZ Department of Public Safety

And that was exactly the case for Scottsdale Fire Chief Tom Shannon and his team this past month. Known as “Peck’s Trek” – in honor of fallen Goodyear firefighter Austin Peck – the nine-day 80-mile hike up and down Mount Everest served as a memorial to honor our fallen Arizona heroes.

“It was our honor to bring the prayers and memories of fallen law enforcement colleagues to the top of the world,” said Chief Shannon. The trek originally was set to honor 11-year firefighter Austin Peck who died in 2019 from a rare form of cancer and long-time friend of Scottsdale’s firefighters David Grefka who also passed from cancer shortly after Peck. But it soon became something more.

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By Scottsdale Pinetop

In Scottsdale, we are known for a lot of great things. Just to list a few…

Our city has been acknowledged on numerous occasions as North American’s top golf destination. Nationally acclaimed as a leading tourist destination thanks largely to events like Barrett-Jackson, spring training and the city’s five-star resorts and hotels. The city is home to nearly twenty percent of the state’s corporate headquarters and is listed number six in the United States for job seekers.

All these things combined make Scottsdale one of the country’s best places to live, play and most importantly work – especially if you are a working woman. In a recently released national study by SmartAsset, Scottsdale is ranked ninth among 200 cities in the U.S. where women are most successful.

According to the report, women in Scottsdale had the 15th highest education rate with over 57% of women 25 or older with at least a bachelor’s degree and median earnings of $60,723. Additionally, Scottsdale had the 19th-highest percentage of full-time working women earning at least $75,000 and over 38% of Scottsdale businesses owned by women.Read More

By Gilbert Guru

#NeverShutUp inspired a 10-year-old, Gavin Henss to start Giving Sole, a Phoenix-based non-profit that gives brand name, brand new shoes to kids in the foster care system.

At a Suns vs. Cavs game, Gavin created a sign that said, “King James 23 You are More than an Athlete #NeverShutUp.” The poster got the attention of Lebron James, and the internet – propelling a viral post and Lebron’s shooting sleeve as a gift. Gavin had heard in the media that athletes should up and dribble and he made the sign to show that we all have a voice – regardless of who we are.

Gavin had the idea to start the non-profit after this demonstration of fate. Gavin and his parents fostered a young girl for almost a year and ever since she left their family, Gavin had been trying to figure out to help foster kids everywhere. He had originally thought he needed to wait until he was an adult to help, but after Lebron showed that he too had a voice the idea for Giving Sole came to him. Gavin wanted to show the world that you can achieve what you do not think you can and for Gavin, an achievement is giving to others in need.

Giving Sole’s mission is to remind foster children that they are more than their circumstances and that their voices matter. The shoes are a reminder of their inherent worth – this is why Giving Sole only gives brand name, brand new shoes; no hand-me-downs ever.

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There have been some recent stories in local media about the Goldwater Institute jumping into a Scottsdale issue about access to its public swimming pools.

The organization is intervening on behalf of a for-profit Valley-based swim company called Neptune.  Neptune argues, as does Goldwater, that Scottsdale should basically commercialize its pools to favor it, over Scottsdale schools and local non-profits with a heavy concentration of Scottsdale residents and students such as the Scottsdale Aquatic Club and numerous others.

Rather than build its own pools for its own profit, Neptune is seeking to change the rules and use of local resources by locals themselves to bail its poor fortunes in the area out, after losing and burning relationships with numerous private pool properties in the Scottsdale area.

Neptune’s initial legal efforts lost badly in Maricopa County Superior Court.  Indeed, they actually lost on a motion for summary judgment. Enter, oddly, the Goldwater Institute to help Neptune’s appeal.

Not liking the criticism about its efforts from a Scottsdale parent with Scottsdale youth swimmers, a Goldwater lawyer fired back, but missed so many marks.  Bigly.

Like we can’t think of anything more tone-deaf in Scottsdale.  Basically, Goldwater’s Jon Riches’ argues forcefully for the commercialization of the city’s public resources like pools, parks and PRESERVES.


We don’t know where Riches lives but it’s clearly not Scottsdale.  If he does, or had, Riches clearly would have recalled a rather large debate that happened in 2016, 2017 and culminating in 2018 in which Scottsdale voters overwhelmingly rejected commercialization of its McDowell Sonoran Preserve.  The only thing less politically popular than the “Desert Discovery Center” and utilizing the Preserve to boost city returns might have been Michael Auerbach’s city council candidacy.

Neptune = Desert Discovery Center when it comes to use of Scottsdale’s public resources.  If Neptune’s endeavors and arguments weren’t all wet before, they surely are now.

By Alexander Lomax

In my 16 years in Arizona, I have witnessed quite a few low moments from the AZ GOP. What is currently going on with our farce of an election audit may take the cake, however.

Our elections are amongst the most sacred of rituals in our society, with a proper amount of checks and balances in place to ensure accuracy. On top of all of the traditional checks, including the accuracy of our vote-counting machines verified at 100% accuracy by all 3 county parties, we have a split government with split duties for elections. With a Democratic County Recorder in charge of mail-in ballots and the Republican-dominated Board of Supervisors tasked with managing day-of voting, it was a system uniquely hedged against any games.

None of this matters, however, since a former President can’t take a loss, and an entire party is groveling to his capricious whims in the hope that he may provide the golden ticket of an endorsement, or at least not attack them.

The battle cry was transparency, but the outcome has been disturbingly un-transparent. The sources of funding for this audit are a complete mystery, as is the methodology. Observation has been strictly limited, with reporters mostly in the dark unless they were able to sneak in due to the horribly lax security.

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“Our code of conduct now matches our openness and Western hospitality. We are raising awareness, guarding individualism, providing safe work and living spaces. With sincere effort, we improve Arizona one city at a time.”

Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega, speaking in support of the city’s new non-discrimination ordinance, passed unanimously on April 20, 2021

This week it took a newly constituted Scottsdale City Council to do what should have been done years previous:  pass a non-discrimination ordinance providing greater protections for the community’s LGBTQ community.

Kudos to Mayor Ortega and a unanimous City Council for a job very well done.  We won’t say it was a politically easy vote.  Look what is going on in Mesa where a similar ordinance there is being challenged by a referendum drive and possibly going to a city-wide vote.  But the policy adoption was easier, as public opinion in recent years has moved rapidly in the direction of progress.  That’s why we shouldn’t forget those who stood in the well and made their case when such ideas weren’t quite so popular.  People like former Scottsdale City Councilwoman and always leading and compelling community voice Virginia Korte.

No one in Scottsdale has been more consistent or compelling for this important change than she.

Korte introduced the idea to and for Scottsdale.  And she was indefatigable in its pursuit, even during setbacks.

Here’s something else the public doesn’t know.  Just hours after Scottsdale should have been feeling pride for what its City Council did there were rumblings that what was going in Mesa (i.e. opposition) would migrate to Scottsdale.  People concerned with not allowing the City Council’s work to be undone, notably those that spearheaded the inclusive, successful city bond campaign in 2019, talked and started to rally throughout the day.  If the fight was going to come to the city progressive patriots would be ready.  Korte was asked to lead such an effort.  As always, her decision was to help her beloved city.

While it currently appears that the Mesa fight may stay there, Korte’s willingness to captain the cause underscores what she has meant, and means, to this historic achievement.

Thank you, Virginia Korte. Godmother to this goodness.  And thank you Scottsdale City Council for making it happen.

By Scottsdale Pinetop

At one moment or another, we’ve all wished for our own fairy godparent to grant our deepest wishes. Made popular by Disney’s Cinderella, a fairy godmother is the physical embodiment of hope and is devoted to making dreams come true.

And while they may not fit the traditional depiction of a “fairy godmother”, one non-profit organization known as the DreamCatchers Foundation is dedicated to fulfilling end-of-life dreams to those within their communities. And for adult hospice patients whose final wishes are being granted, that can mean everything.

The DreamCatchers Foundation is a network of high school and/or college student organizations that work closely with local hospices within their communities to fulfill the dreams of their patients with either a memorable experience or event. For example, a “Dream” may be a sailboat ride of someone who loves the ocean, a trip to a ballgame of their favorite team or something as simple as a birthday party.

This was the case for one Arizona resident, Stella Sgro, who recently turned 100 years old on Wednesday, April 21st. Not only is that an accomplishment in itself, but Stella is also a World War II veteran who served as a drill sergeant, air raid warden and factory worker in the U.S. Army in a time when women were discouraged from serving in the military. She’s a first-generation American from an Italian family and at the age of twelve, she was struck by lightning and survived. Now, this is someone who deserves to be celebrated!

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A Message Sent On Behalf Of Scottsdale Police District 2 Command Staff 

In an effort to continue collaboration on safety in our community, we wanted to alert Old Town businesses, including bar and hotel security and staff, to be vigilant in the coming days as the potential for civil unrest could again occur within our city. The difference between this time and last year is, we are going to be dealing with full establishments and more people in the area, which could be adversely affected by any potential unrest.

We wanted to revisit the importance for each business to establish and/or refresh yourselves on a safety plan for if/when a civil unrest event occurs. Whichever strategy your business chooses to maintain, ensure that your staff understands and can follow that plan should the need arise. Protection of your staff, guests and customers should be paramount to any other potential loss or damage of property.

As we saw last year, civil unrest situations can develop quickly and with little to no warning. It is imperative that all of us remain vigilant, take ownership and communicate information to each other should there be any indication that something may occur.

We ask that over the next few weeks, you conduct a “once around,” “sweep,” (or whatever you’d like to call it) of your properties and direct areas of control. Please do this at the beginning, during and end of your shifts. Please keep an eye out for “staged items” or any suspicious items that may appear out of place.

Please make sure that equipment or loose property that is stored outside is secured and anything that could be used as improvised weapons, barricades or means of damaging or destroying property is removed from the area. Please ensure that your dumpsters are not overflowing and locked at night if possible.

Please let us know if you or your employees hear of any rumors of unrest, or people planning on inciting a disturbance.

Ofc. Daniel Safsten #1304
Downtown Crime Prevention Officer

Is a city or town the better when their teachers, police officers, firefighters, healthcare workers and others can no longer afford to live in the place they serve?  This is a question facing many Arizona cities, but most especially Scottsdale, as rising rents and home values are creating unprecedented problems.

Kudos to Arizona Republic real estate reporter Catherine Reagor for her ongoing coverage on the topic, especially an article from this past week that outlined by the problem as well as potential solutions.

While many in Scottsdale like to occupy the fault line of growth or no growth affordable or attainable housing is yet another example of how governing is far more complex.

You can read Reagor’s insightful article here.

By Alexander Lomax

As a liberal with a science background, I have had myriad things to say about this pandemic. Initially, my beef was with the politicization of it, primarily from the right. The desire to nullify it, compare it to the flu, and to reject simple modes of reducing transmittance was at least somewhat a top-down driven movement, led at least de facto by a President who simply couldn’t deal with a pandemic in an election year (or any other year, for that matter). The pendulum always does keep swinging however, and for the sake of balance and intellectual credibility, it’s time to have a talk with my fellow liberals…

I’ll preface this by saying that while I have thought about this particular op-ed for a while, what spurred me into actually writing it was a recent trip to perhaps the pre-eminent liberal hotspot of the United States: the Pacific NW. While I was there I saw fear; I saw that fear manifested via actions designed to nullify most non-existent risk. After seeing probably 25% of drivers driving with masks on, and folks being masked up while walking by themselves with no one around, all the while in an area with very low infection rates, it was clear that perhaps the pendulum had moved too far.

I was vociferous in my views that while we were still figuring out what this virus was, that caution was prudent. I was similarly loud about how if we feel confident that simple harm-reduction methods like masks and distance work, then we should embrace them. So with that spirit in mind, I will be similarly pronounced when I say…there is such a thing as being too cautious.

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By Gilbert Guru

Arizona Community Colleges are on the rise. Dr. Casey Durandet, a professor at Paradise Valley Community College, was recently one of 23 faculty nationwide to be awarded the 2021 Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty Award. The award is a national recognition for those making a difference in the classroom, presented by the American Association of Community Colleges.

Dr. Durandet has been a physics professor at PVCC for over 20 years. According to PVCC, Dr. Durandet utilizes her experience and passion to inspire and mentor her students, especially young women pursuing careers in STEM.

Furthermore, Dr. Durandet established a scholarship in 2019 titled “Excellence in STEM” designed to help PVCC, particularly women, pursue majors in STEM. College is a burden and an inhibitor to many people and Dr. Durandet is making it more accessible and demonstrating to women that they can enter the heavily male-dominated field.

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By Scottsdale Pinetop

Rosie the Riveter – one of history’s most recognizable cultural (and feminist) icons since its inception in World War II with a message to women everywhere that “We Can Do It.”

Women have continued to play increasingly important roles in all branches of the U.S. military, as history can attest for more than 80 years. And Arizona is no exception.

Last week, Gov. Ducey appointed Brid. Gen. Kerry Muehlenbeck to serve as the first female leader of the Arizona National Guard – a major accomplishment for military women in Arizona. She will be replacing retired Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire.

After leaving active duty in 1977, Muehlenbeck joined the National Guard and went on to work as a civilian prosecutor in Arizona. She will now be responsible for over 8,000 guard members and employees of the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs. Picking up where her predecessor left off, Muehlenbeck will be continuing the state’s response to the pandemic including delivery of goods and services, build temporary medical facilities and provide supplies to the underserved Navajo Nation who continues to be severely impacted by COVID-19.

When asked about the historic nature of the appointment at a press conference, Muenhlenbeck tactfully and gracefully toed the line between feminist and professionalism by stating:

“The historical importance of being the first female adjutant general in Arizona is not lost on me. But I do hope that what I’ve done and who I am is more important than simply my sex.”

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The year was 2004.  The City Council consisted of Mayor Mary Manross and Councilmembers Wayne Ecton, Bob Littlefield, Cynthia Lukas, Ned O-Hearn, Roberta Pilcher, Tom Silverman and then Councilmember David Ortega.

That March, Scottsdale voters were asked to consider a major change to the way its City Council would be elected.  Instead of 6 councilmembers being voted in by a city-wide majority Proposition 100 offered a change to six new council districts, which in turn would elect its own representative to council.

The argument then, as we hear some making now, is that Scottsdale has become so large that it should follow the lead of Phoenix, Mesa, Glendale and others.

But Proposition 100 was soundly defeated in 2004.  With 61% voting no and only 39% yes.

A look back at the hows and whys is noteworthy and instructive.  Scottsdale voters south of Camelback were positive on districts while those north of it were overwhelmingly opposed.

The pro-district forces didn’t raise much money and were largely made up of what might be described as a pro-development campaign. Its largest donor was landowner Henry Becker, he of weird protest signs at Pima and Happy Valley Road infamy.  The 6-district construct offered to the electorate was the result of a task force.

The opposition didn’t raise much money either.  Its leadership reads like a who’s who of anti-growth activists over the years.  John Washington.  Don Badenoch. Lee Tannenbaum.  Susan Wheeler. Sam West. Patty Badenoch. Lois Fitch.  The powerful Coalition of Pinnacle Peak led donations to the “Don’t Lose Your Vote” opposition campaign.

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By Alexander Lomax

I recently spoke about Rep. Kirkpatrick’s retirement and how the race to succeed her will almost certainly become crowded. We received a bit more clarity recently with Randy Friese’s official announcement of his candidacy.

Friese joins Kirsten Engel as the two stated candidates to succeed Kirkpatrick. Like Engel, Friese has spent plenty of time in the state legislature with little to account for it, the victim of being permanently and fastidiously in the minority at the Capitol. However, Friese has another thing going for him; he was the doctor who helped treat Gabby Giffords after her 2011 assassination attempt.

Indeed, Giffords’s sphere of influence has proven to be something that her would-be assassin never could have imagined. To have treated her is enough of a catalyst to send someone to the state legislature and become a legitimate Congressional candidate (Friese), to have been an intern for her was enough to be vaulted to the state House of Reps (Hernandez Jr.), and to be married to her (along with being an astronaut, of course) enough to become a US Senator. It is as if she is the political equivalent of one of the most historic coaching trees in sports.

Will this be the last of the major announcements for Arizona’s 2nd congressional district? It may very well be. Along with the strength of both announced candidates, federal laws allow for candidates to run for seats in districts in which they do not live in. And many, MANY Democrats have already been eyeing both the 10th Congressional district which will be created this year due to our population increase, as well as the 9th district which many political insiders believe current occupant Greg Stanton will abandon in pursuit of statewide office. There will be no shortage of potential options for upwardly mobile and unceasingly ambitious folks here.

So while the chessboard has cleared up a bit, the big moves have yet to be made, and many are breathlessly waiting on them.

A number of years ago there was a creative proposal to build a New York City-inspired “High-Line Trail” down the middle of Scottsdale’s McDowell Road, up in the air, connecting the Indian Bend Wash to a new Red Rocks-style amphitheater in Papago Park.

Those familiar with the High-Line know what a remarkable recreational amenity and economic development driver the project has been.

The idea for Scottsdale was similar, but different.  And before the massive redevelopment of old automobile dealerships along McDowell.

There was a lot of discussion about a “High-Line” for Scottsdale’s southern city.  Could it too drive more economic development, tourism and create yet another spectacular walking, jogging and biking place in the community?

Some people liked the idea. The Scottsdale Republic even endorsed the concept.  Others decried the cost and disruption.

But at its interesting core the idea was really about connectivity.  Southern Scottsdale boasts many attributes with the Indian Bend Wash and Papago Park (which is actually in Phoenix) at the top of the list.  But there is nothing connecting them other than the highly-trafficked McDowell Road.  In other words, to get from one to another and enjoy both an automobile was required because to walk or bike it was not appealing.

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By Alexander Lomax

Life certainly isn’t back to normal. We all have had enough normal-ish experiences, but everyday life sort of resembles Canada; a lot of similarities but nearly everything is slightly yet noticeably different. One thing that is nowhere close to normalcy is the live music scene, which has been destroyed by Covid for obvious reasons. But are we recapturing this aspect of our lives? It is on the horizon, it would seem.

Believe it or not, there are actually a few festivals going forward this month. Party promoter Relentless Beats is being a bit of a trailblazer on that end, with two shows planned for the month. I use the term “trailblazer” with special trepidation, as I’m not convinced of the safety of large groups in one space yet, but someone has to take the risk (and I assume that they have a robust insurance policy). They are bringing ‘90’s California rock heroes Sublime to the Valley, along with another edition of their Wet Electric Festival. Their typical attendees are young and indestructible, so my greatest hope is that their older family members are already vaccinated since I doubt that it is front of mind for many who will be attending.

Chandler had a much wiser idea for its 21st annual jazz festival, happening at the time of writing this; to decentralize it and put it in 4 different spaces to reduce crowd sizes in one particular area. I recognize and value their risk mitigation attempts, even if it’s not quite the return to normalcy we’d all like. Highlands Church in Scottsdale is being similarly safe as it brings the Kingston Trio to town this month: mandatory masks and distancing.

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By Councilwoman Tammy Caputi

For those of you who missed it, Tuesday’s council meeting showed there may be reason for optimism about the future of Scottsdale. The City Council voted 6-1 to move forward with the Kimsey Project, with plans that include a 168-room hotel, 190-dwelling units, a restaurant and commercial space at 7110 E. Indian School Road. Yes, council approved a project with height, density, and apartments, and it was approved without any stipulations, exactly as the applicant requested!

This was accomplished through teamwork, compromise, and a huge amount of public outreach. I participated in many meetings with residents, staff and the developer over the past few months. The collaborative process turned this project into a winner! Community support and benefit, especially from the surrounding neighbors and small businesses made the difference. I was glad to join my colleagues in supporting this watershed project, which will set the tone for development over the next few years in Scottsdale.

More coverage and information can be found in the Scottsdale Independent.

2022 Scrum

Phoenix, AZ (May 03, 2021) – Data Orbital is pleased to release its Presidential Results Comparison by Legislative District for 2020.

After tracking the early vote returns and the post-election ballot counting, Data Orbital did a dive into the election results to determine the breakdown by Legislative District in the Presidential race. Their vote count tracking garnered national media attention as all eyes watched Arizona in the contentious last days.

But in the months following the election, many are looking to unpack the results and glean data that could predict future movement and trends.

This latest interactive dashboard allows voters to select a district and see the district results compared to the statewide results. The district results covered are for the 2012, 2016, and 2020 elections.

The districts are color-coded to indicate districts that saw Republican increases in both 2016 and 2020, those that decreased in 2016 and 2020, and those that decreased in 2016 but increased in 2020.

“While the statewide results for President were extremely narrow, there is more to unpack when you look at specific legislative districts. While a majority of Republican-dominated districts saw President Trump’s performance worsen from 2016 to 2020, a majority of the Democrat-dominated districts saw President Trump’s performance improve from 2016 to 2020. This mirrors similar patterns nationally where we saw President Trump outperform his 2016 numbers in Hispanic districts.”

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

Stay tuned for a Maricopa County precinct dashboard, analyzing the results of the Corporation Commission race – a down ballot, largely partisan race that we have used to see voter behavior changes over the past three cycles.

Arizona Treasurer’s Office Continues to Break Multiple Records & Outperform Large University Endowments Nationwide 

PHOENIX, AZ – According to a just-released report, the Arizona Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund (PLETF), managed by the Treasurer’s Office, outperformed the long-term average returns of some of the largest university and college endowments in the country.

“This extraordinary performance translates into more money for our beneficiaries, including K-12 public schools, and less taxes for Arizona taxpayers,” Treasurer Kimberly Yee said. “I am proud of our exceptional, internal investment team at the Arizona Treasury, which is among the best in the country. This report is evidence of their hard work paying off for the great state of Arizona.”

When comparing the 10-year returns of the PLETF to University Endowments for FY20, Arizona’s endowment ranks in the upper 75th percentile and beats some of the top public and private universities in the country including Harvard University, Cornell University, University of Southern California, Michigan State, Northwestern University, and University of Chicago to name a few. When comparing the 10-year returns of the PLETF to Public University Endowments for FY20, Arizona’s endowment ranks in the upper 90th percentile and beats the likes of University of Michigan, Georgia Tech, Berkeley, Ohio State University, and many more. The information was compiled and released by the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO).

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Phoenix, AZ (January 4, 2021) Arizona-based Data Orbital has consistently been one of the most accurate election pollsters, and the 2020 cycle has solidified that. Given an A/B rating (one of the industry highest) by political data website FiveThirtyEight and a member of the American Association of Public Opinion Researchers Transparency Initiative, Data Orbital has long prided itself on its industry-leading work.

With a laser focus on the Presidential and U.S. Senate races this year, we are proud that our final Presidential survey was accurate within 0.29% and our U.S. Senate survey within 1.25%.

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(PHOENIX) – Americano! – a record-setting musical production based on the life of a DREAMer – has reached out to the incoming Biden Administration via a letter sent December 2, 2020 to propose a special performance at The White House.
It would help celebrate President-Elect Joe Biden’s pending reversal of President Donald Trump’s policies and follow in the footsteps of productions like Hamilton which performed for the Obama Administration.

During his first 100 days in office, President-Elect Biden has pledged to rescind President Trump’s 2017 Executive Order that sought to end the DACA program. Biden’s administration also plans to produce legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship for over 1 million DREAMers.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court decided on a temporary reprieve on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program with a solution ultimately being required by Congress.

Americano! is the true-life story of Antonio Valdovinos who learned of his DREAMer status on his 18th birthday when he tried to enlist in the U.S. Marines after graduating from Camelback High School in Phoenix.
Americano! completed its record setting 27-show run earlier this year on February 23rd at The Phoenix Theatre Company, breaking all-time for an original musical production. Besides the box office record, 9,048 people saw Americano! with a string of 10 sold-out performances.
The production has also garnered positive reviews from both sides of the political aisle.

“I saw ¡Americano! The Musical at The Phoenix Theatre Company. It’s the inspiring story of my friend and DREAMer, Tony Valdovinos. Great music with an important message to Arizona,” said U.S. Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Arizona) who saw the show the same night as U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona). Rep. Gallego played an important role throughout Biden’s presidential campaign. Other notable attendees have included Gov. Doug Ducey (R-Arizona), newly elected U.S. Senator Mark Kelly (D-Arizona) and Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego.Read More

(SCOTTSDALE, AZ.) Litigation has been filed challenging the largest income tax hike in Arizona history. The lawsuit was filed by Scottsdale’s Rose Law Group on behalf of Ann Siner, CEO and Founder of My Sister’s Closet, and retired Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Buttrick.

The litigation was filed after the vote was canvassed. The lawsuit does not challenge the election but rather the legality of Proposition 208. The Arizona Constitution says the power to tax and spend state funds rests with the Legislature. Prop 208 bypasses Arizona’s elected leaders and gives the power to spend the funds to unelected bureaucrats with no oversight.

In addition to violating the rights of Arizona taxpayers, the tax hike puts the state’s economy in jeopardy.

Siner said. “Business owners are already suffering greatly because of COVID. Many are closing. Prop 208 will simply cause more businesses and their owners to leave Arizona. In the long run that’s bad for the economy and bad for school funding. I am all for getting more money to schools. But 208 is not the cure. It’s bad medicine that will shrink our economy and hurt school funding in the long run.”

Judge Buttrick said, “The Arizona Constitution was written to prevent the sort of overreach demonstrated by Prop 208.  It fundamentally upends the way Arizonans are taxed and sets a dangerous precedent for the future.”Read More