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Lewis will talk about his keys to success and putting underestimated demographics to work

Cardone Ventures, the Scottsdale-based company that teaches other companies how to grow and scale their business, is proud to announce Super Bowl Champion and NFL Hall of Famer Ray Lewis will headline its

Nine Figure Boardroom happening this weekend at The Scott in Scottsdale.

Lewis, who played 17 seasons in the NFL for the BaltimoreRavens, is only the second player in NFL history to win both the NFL Defensive Player of the Year and Super Bowl MVP award in the same year (2000).

The Super Bowl Champion will share his story,including how he went from winning on the field to winning in business with his 52 Ventures company and how he’s putting underestimated demographics to work. 52 Ventures is uniquely positioned at the nexus of culture, commerce, and community and is dedicated to the ethos of prosperity re-imagined.

“Excited to be a part of such an amazing event. It has been my life’s mission to impact millions of lives. I have seen what the 10X brand and Brandon have built over the years and the impact they have made,” said Ray Lewis. “This collaboration not only impacts the business owners but the employees that work for these businesses. What we are building together will help me achieve my life’s mission.”

Lewis added the under representation of capital available for high growth minority businesses does not come from a lack of will or talent. Rather, this gap encapsulates a myriad of structural barriers underscoring America’s tumultuous history.

The Hall of Famer will also be joined by Brandon Dawson, co-founder of Cardone Ventures who built the first ever decentralized democratized community owned entrepreneur platform and then sold it for 77 times EBITDA. Dawson partnered with Grant Cardone, using the same systems and proprietary scaling process to build Cardone Ventures and grow it from zero to $275 million in less than 60 months.

Other successful CEO’s including Lessen CEO Jay McKee and Hap Klopp, founder and CEO of The North Face will also share lessons they learned along the way. Klopp will share his own journey going from an owner of a small retail store to a worldwide brand and share his knowledge of how to build a thriving enterprise in today’s market.

Dawson says business owners must constantly update their strategies to stay ahead of the curve, not falling behind when an ever-shifting economy changes the rules. “It’s not enough to react to challenges, you must be proactively learning, and setting strategies that anticipate the worst and that’s how you can turn crisis into opportunities. Cardone Ventures provides these methods for thriving to business owners across industries,” said Dawson.

Nine Figure Boardroom is designed to help participants avoid being reactive and instead anticipate what’s to come and capitalize from any economy by being proactive. Strategies covering five key areas of sales, people and leadership, marketing, money mindset and scaling in downturn markets will be used to guide business owners into making decisions that will improve growth and resilience.

“It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when trials and challenges threaten your business,” said Dawson. “Embracing the struggle can lead to opportunities you never thought possible. This event will teach business owners how to turn the struggles into success. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear from some of the most successful business owners and get solid advice that will set you on the path to succeed.”


These homes offer the coolest and ideal opportunity to beat the summer heat in luxury.

With the month of June comes the summer heat in Arizona. Thankfully, Arizona’s leading luxury home brokerage Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty has plenty of amazing custom homes in the cooler parts of the state, perfect for the most refined home buyers looking to escape the triple-digit temperatures.

One such home is at 75 Junipine Circle in Sedona, and is represented by Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty Agent Jeanette SauerCovering 4,000-square-feet and featuring five bedrooms and four bathrooms, this new build is listed for $3,300,000 and elegantly merges modern architecture with sophisticated rustic charm. It features luxurious appointments, natural materials, and upscale windows that frame the breathtaking mountain views and lush greenery, inviting the outdoors in and creating a harmonious connection with nature. It’s truly a sophisticated modern getaway.

Next we stay in Sedona for the home at 283 Paramount Drive. It is listed for $1,750,000 and is also represented by Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty Agent Jeanette Sauer and contains four bedrooms and four bathrooms in its 2,700 square feet of space. This mid-century heritage estate uniquely embodies charm with timeless architecture and craftsmanship, boasting a petite vineyard, resort-style patios, hot tub, natural stone waterfall, and three outdoor fire-pits in a spectacular setting of stunning red rock panoramas. Also, the 1950s movie “Broken Arrow” was filmed right near here, so you can both live in comfort and surrounded by history.

Heading north to the pines, this Townsend Winona Valley property in Flagstaff promises the ultimate indoor and outdoor oasis to keep you cool this summer. Listed by Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty Agent Trina Painter for $1,750,000, 5225 Townsend-Winona Road in Flagstaff, the property sits on 2.6 acres with mature pines backing the National Forest. The main house offers 4,281-square-feet with 3 bedrooms and 3 baths, vaulted ceilings, natural light, a stone fireplace, open concept living equipped with an entertainment bar. This impressive estate also includes a one bed, one bath guest house with an additional 823-square-feet with full kitchen, laundry & living space. But that’s not it — the spacious game room leads to the flagstone patio and fenced backyard that overlooks the sand volleyball court. Perhaps the coolest feature includes an indoor pool where one can cool off or unwind.

Next head to Munds Park to view the luxurious cabin at 17700 S Krolak Way. Listed by Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty Agent Ashley Krolak for $3,750,000 and spanning a roomy 7,029 square feet with seven bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms, the main level features a grand kitchen with a six-burner gas cooktop, pot filler, warming drawer, oven, convection microwave, copper sink and prep sink on the island, plus two fridges. The back deck is ideal for relaxation, offering a fireplace, steam shower, and a jetted tub. Truly an ideal space to beat the heat for a relaxing weekend getaway.

You are certain to be enchanted by the home at 1293 Elkhorn Trail in Flagstaff. Listed for sale by Russ Lyon Sotheby’s Realty Agent Keith Laizure for $5,000,000, this spectacular log home is set on almost five pristine gated acres at the end of a private road nestled against the Coconino National Forest on two sides. Featuring four bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms across its spacious 8,500-square-feet, its great room with a two-story soaring ceiling is the ultimate space for luxurious living, and a Malpais stone fireplace, floor to ceiling windows, and real antique reclaimed wood plank floors offer a grand open floor plan for entertaining.

Finally there is the indulgant home at 5227 E Canyon View Court in Prescott. Listed for sale for $1,850,000 by Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty Agent David Arustamianit contains six bedrooms and four bathrooms over its 3,949 square feet of space. Its vaulted ceilings add grandeur while the kitchen is a chef’s dream with gas range, stainless steel appliances and oversized waterfall island. The extended balcony offers incredible panoramic mountain views, and it even has a secret bunker featuring concrete walls, electrical wiring, a 275-gallon water tank, a sewer hookup option and escape tunnel, if one might need to get away longer than intended!

When you need to escape those triple digit temperatures, you don’t need to sacrifice luxury and comfort. Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty has the ideal luxury home for you regardless of where in Arizona you look to escape.

Two-day festival among the red rocks to feature 20+ award-winning Arizona wineries, live music, local breweries and distilleries, food trucks + artisan vendors

For the 15th year, the two-day, nationally recognized Sedona Winefest will be returning to Sedona Posse Grounds Park (525 Posse Ground Rd., Sedona, Arizona 86336) on September 28TH and 29th, 2024.

Sponsored by the Verde Valley Wine Consortium, the acclaimed wine festival will feature 20+ award-winning Arizona wineries, food trucks serving local cuisine, a variety of artisan vendors, live music and local breweries and distilleries.

“This is a milestone year for the festival as it has continued to grow, bringing in wine lovers from not just across the state but the entire nation to experience what our local wineries and the Sedona area has to offer,” said Sedona Winefest Founder Sandy Moriarty.

The famous two-day festival, held from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 28th and Sunday, September 29th, will feature a number of local food trucks, award-winning wines from the state’s best wineries, with winemakers in attendance from each of the state’s three wine growing regions, along with local breweries, distilleries and options for non-drinkers.

Early bird online tickets go on sale on June 15, 2024 at www.sedonawinefest.com or https://www.eventbrite.com/e/15th-annual-sedona-winefest-tickets-924597113857 for $35/person and include full festival access, a commemorative glass and eight wine tasting tickets. Day-of, at the door tickets will be available for $45/person. Non-wine drinkers will be charged a general admission price of $10/person kids under the age of 18 (accompanied by an adult) will receive complimentary access.

For more information on the 15th Annual Sedona Winefest, visit www.sedonawinefest.com or email sedonawinefest@gmail.com.

Running Labor Day Through Election Day, The Show Features John McCain’s Ascent into the Wild Psyche of Donald Trump’s Brain Along With a Bevy of Historical Icons Taking the Stage at Soho Playhouse in New York

Arizona’s Quixote Productions, founded by political strategist and public relations executive Jason Rose, in conjunction with long-time John McCain consultant and public affairs executive Max Fose, eagerly awaits the World Premiere of the side-splitting uproarious new musical, Ghost of John McCain at the Soho Playhouse in New York City.

Previews for the Off-Broadway musical will begin Tuesday, September 3rd, 2024, with Opening Night slated for Tuesday, September 24th. Production of this astonishingly relevant work will run through Election Day, November 5th, 2024.

“I think John McCain would laugh his tail off seeing this musical. As a student of history, I believe he would appreciate the conflict between two historic men – McCain himself and Former President Trump, and how the cast in this performance come together to outrageously debate who is at fault for the state of our politics, America’s values and a direction for our country,” said Fose.

The Phoenix resident is co-producing the work alongside Arizona Businesswoman Lynn Londen and Paradise Valley Resident Jason Rose.

“Americans are sick of our politics and laughter is just what the doctor ordered. It’s easy to imagine Senator McCain being glad for a night of side-splitting political comedy. The beauty of Ghost of John McCain is that it pays tribute to him as well,” said Londen.

With a book by Scott Elmegreen, music and lyrics by Drew Fornarola, and direction by Catie Davis, Ghost of John McCain thrusts the late Senator into an afterlife he never expected when he finds that “heaven” is inside Trump’s brain. An uproarious exploration of power, rivalry, and the human condition, Ghost of John McCain is the ticket we need during the election cycle from hell.

“Wild times call for wild theater. The volume of current events in America is already pushed to 11. It’s thrilling to work with a creative and producing team that’s game to crank it up to 16,” said Author Scott Elmegreen.

Located in lower Manhattan, the Soho Playhouse is built on the site of Aaron Burr’s Richmond Hill Estate, across the river from where a pair of political rivals, Burr and Hamilton, etched their story into history. Ghost of John McCain will bring to the stage the dynamic between a modern pair of political juggernauts. One from Arizona, and one from New York.

“I’ve had so much fun working on this collaboration between the New York and Phoenix theatrical communities. We aimed to create something that is hilarious and entertaining, but also thought provoking and unique. We’re so excited to be able to share it in one of New York’s great historic venues,” said Playwright Drew Fornarola.

Co-conceived by Rose and the late former Arizona Attorney Grant Woods the musical takes audiences on a journey into the afterlife, where Senator John McCain finds himself trapped inside the mind of none other than former President Donald Trump.

While it’s not the Inferno, like Dante, McCain meets a “Greek Chorus” of iconic figures also trapped inside the President’s brain including Hillary Clinton, Roy Cohn, Eva Peron, Teddy Roosevelt, Robert Jordan, Kanye West, Grizabella from Cats, and Lindsey Graham. Together they rebel and regale the President’s relentless demands for affirmation, offering a satirical yet serious statement on the state of America.

“There couldn’t be a better time or place than a presidential year Off-Broadway for this surreal show to debut,” said Co-Producer Jason Rose of Quixote Productions, “Now more than ever Arizona has taken center stage in national politics. Ghost of John McCain stands as an evergreen story of the effect one man can have on the American landscape, so much that he still lives on inside the brain of one of the most controversial and powerful men in the world. This is a show that within one act generates laughter, reflection and tears.”

Casting for Ghost of John McCain has already started and cast announcements are expected in the coming weeks.

“We’re in the process of assembling an incredible group of actors from Broadway and beyond for this premier production. Across the cast and creative team, the artists involved see the necessity of theater that both entertains and contributes to the political conversation of this critical election year,” said Director Catie Davis.

Tickets are now available for purchase at www.sohoplayhouse.com or by calling (212) 692-1555 beginning at 3pm each day.

What started with two guys in a Phoenix garage in 1988 has transformed the family-owned business Diversified Roofing into not just one of the largest roofing companies in the state, but one that serves over 30 states across the nation, providing an average of 300 roof replacements per year and fielding over 3000 calls annually. The company’s 36 years in business, and multiple acquisitions (including Star Roofing in Arizona, Remedy Roofing in Texas, Service Works in Florida and Sta-Dry Roofing throughout the Midwest and East Coast) has taken them from being a solely residential roofing business to a multi-million-dollar company that also handles commercial and industrial roofing projects, along with handling everything from repairs and replacements to new builds, and installations of a variety of roofing systems.

“Having been in the roofing industry previously, I saw the mission and values that the Schouten family had created at Diversified Roofing and knew they were doing something unique and offering a superior quality of service to their clientele,” says Brad Nally, Partner of Diversified Roofing. “To see how far the company has come in these three plus decades has been impressive to watch and an honor to be a part of.”

Initially founded by Marty Schouten and Ed Wolff in 1988, and now run by Marty’s son Mark Schouten, the Diversified Roofing team now consists of over 300 employees utilizing a fleet of 100+ trucks to inspect, repair and re-roof for all matter of roofing issues for their clientele.

“While we can perform work from California to Florida, our company roots started here in Arizona. We have become a go-to resource for everything roofing – annual inspections, general maintenance, emergency repairs, capital improvements and beyond,” said CEO Mark Schouten.

With revenues increasing two times year-over-year for the past three years, their list of clientele has grown right along with it. Commercially, the various companies under the Diversified Roofing umbrella work with a variety of household names, including the likes of Home Depot, Fry’s/Kroger, Kohl’s, USPS, American Furniture Warehouse, Tractor Supply and Hobby Lobby, to name a few.

And in addition to day-to-day services and offerings, the Schouten family also ensures they’re giving back to the communities they serve. Over the past three+ decades the Diversified Roofing team has provided free roofing for a variety of non-profit organizations that are close to their hearts, including HomeAide, Maggie’s Place, Sojourner Center, Boys & Girls Club and Girl Scouts.

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

Featured Editorials



“I am disgusted and appalled by the attempt on President Trump’s life.  In the United States, we resolve our differences at the ballot box and move on.  We have had too many presidents and candidates struck by assassins or would-be killers.  My fervent prayers are for President Trump, his family, and the families of the victims.

I want to assure Maricopa County residents I will do everything I can to keep them safe while they exercise their constitutional right to vote.  And I will make sure our law enforcement and public safety officials have all the resources they need.

Once again, I pray for President Trump’s full and complete recovery.”

This is a place where free speech and public debate are welcomed and encouraged. The Speakers’ Corner originated in the mid-19th century at London’s Hyde Park. The concept spread worldwide both physically and now virtually. Here at the Arizona Progress & Gazette, we are presenting this platform in the form of question-and-answer style interviews with people who have had a meaningful impact on the community.

Bob is from New York and relocated to Arizona in 1979. To become the operations Controller of Revlon US. Before coming to Arizona Bob began his business career with Deloitte after earning an BS in accounting form Saint Johns and a MS in economics from Fairly Dickinson. He received an MBA from ASU in 1981. His career in corporate financial management spans 40 years with 30 years as a CFO. Bob is currently employed as a fractional CFO for 2 Scottsdale based companies and 1 Nevada company. And sits on the Board of Cell Trust, a Scottsdale based company.

Bob has lived in in McCormick Ranch for 26 years with his wife Carol, they have 3 sons whom they are very proud of. And have 6 grandchildren.

Son Christopher, served in the military in Afghanistan, a full colonel. He served as the special medical liaison for the joint Chiefs of Staff, works at Walter Reed medical center, and is currently a doctor at John Hopkins suburban in Maryland, Son Matthew is currently deployed and is serving in the Army as a tank commander stationed in Poland.  Oldest Robert is an Arizona Addiction Specialist and Counselor. Bob volunteers at his local church, the Valley for the Harvest Compassion Center, and Teen Challenge.

What prompted you run for Scottsdale City Council?

I am running for Scottsdale City Council because as a 26-year resident and property owner, I have the very same concerns as my neighbors, and the people of Scottsdale have. I want to represent and respond to the concerns of the people of Scottsdale by bringing my C-Level managerial experience to our city’s government. As a Scottsdale resident I am concerned about density, traffic congestion, and rising crime. My concern is that my quality of life will continue to deteriorate.  Why? Because the current City Government allows rezoning that leads to increased urbanization and allows complete disregard for our concerns about multistory apartment buildings. If urbanization has a positive economic benefit, why isn’t our tax decreasing

What is your definition of smart growth?

A mix of residential, commercial, and recreational spaces to create vibrant, communities where people can live, work, and play without needing to drive long distances. Protecting natural landscapes, parks, and recreational areas to maintain the city’s unique desert environment and provide residents with opportunities for outdoor activities. Investing in infrastructure that supports sustainable growth, such as water-efficient systems, renewable energy sources, and modernized public utilities that our homes depend on. Ensuring that residents have a say in development decisions through public consultations and participatory planning processes, fostering a sense of community ownership and responsibility. If the community speaks out against urbanization listen to them.

What do you think are some short term and long term solutions to solving Scottsdale’s housing shortage?

Convert underutilized commercial spaces and office buildings into residential units like town houses and condominiums for ownership. Encourage homeowners to consider the benefits of ADUs, such as granny flats or garage apartments, Partner with private developers to create an understanding of what Scottsdale residents advocate for their community

Do you consider traffic to be a problem in Scottsdale and if so, what solutions would you propose?

Yes, I do, my solutions start with Installing smart traffic signals that adjust timings based on real-time traffic conditions to improve flow and reduce congestion. Use roundabouts and traffic circles to improve the efficiency of intersections and reduce the likelihood of accidents. Provide incentives for carpooling, such as dedicated carpool lanes and reduced tolls or parking fees for carpool vehicles. Promote the use of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to reduce the number of single-occupancy vehicles on the road Encourage businesses to adopt remote work policies and flexible working hours to reduce peak-hour traffic congestion.


What is your vision for the future of Downtown Scottsdale?
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Scottsdale residents who are registered on the early voter list have already received their ballots and have likely noticed an overabundance of options for Scottsdale City Council; nine, to be exact, all vying for one of three seats. We have written about these races a few times (you can check them out here), but one name stands out not just due to incumbency but also extremely prolific fundraising: Tammy Caputi.

Before we really dive into the odds, let’s jump into the fun part, the part that you’re all here for: math! So to avoid a run-off and win outright, let’s say that 50,000 people vote for council races, and they vote for 2.5 of the 3 seats on average (some will “single-shot” or only vote for 2, most will vote for 3). We would multiply 50,000 x 2.5 to get 125,000. We would then divide that 125,000 by the 3 seats to get 41,666.7, and then divide that by 2 and round up to the next number to get 20,834. 20,834 votes to avoid the run-off in this situation.

For comparison, in the 2020 city council race, 184,910 total votes were cast for city council, not 125,000, but it’s just easier to work with rounder numbers.

Now that we’ve bored off half of our audience, let’s go back to Caputi. In this instance, she would need to get a vote on a bit over 40% of submitted ballots to be elected. If everyone were to use all 3 choices (extremely unlikely, but it serves as an upper bound), that percentage rises to 50%.

Caputi has her detractors, primarily vis a vis a perceived coziness with developers and nightclub owners, but those detractors also seem to be in the loud activist minority. Money speaks more than anything, and your average voter doesn’t get into the minutae of city politics where those activists lie. Most voters will likely be focused on partisan primaries and other more polarized elections.

With around $160,000 in her coffers, getting a vote on between 40-50% of ballots seems extremely achievable if she were to want to spend that balance down. If she tries to save for the general election, it could be tougher, but between significant name ID and the ability to pepper the area with some cable and streaming TV ads and mail pieces, a smart spend of $100,000 seems like it would be enough to do the job.

Frankly, the best that nearly any other candidate can reasonably hope for is to make it to the run-off election in November, and if they’re wise they should be rooting for her to not win outright. If she does win in July (and no one else does), only four competitors will go to the general election, compared to six (including her) if she doesn’t.

Arizona in some ways serves as a brilliant example of democracy in action, specifically its propensity towards ballot initiatives. Granted, the bar is high for a specific issue to be codified into law via a public vote, most notably the need for proponents to get a few hundred thousand signatures to get on the ballot. But it is the purest form of direct democracy which has been used rather liberally in our state.

This election will provide a number of very impactful votes which could have a significant impact on our state’s future. So what should you be looking out for?

By far, the biggest one that could upend the way we elect politicians is the initiative to do away with partisan primaries; they would be replaced by an initial election with candidates of all parties where all registered voters could participate, after which the top two, regardless of party, would face off in the general election.

Partisan primaries often reward the candidates on both wings of the parties, the ones who appeal purely to the party’s base instead of the general electorate. For instance, without this the last gubernatorial election could have easily been Karrin Taylor-Robson against Katie Hobbs in the general election; Taylor-Robson had more moderate appeal but didn’t engage Republican primary voters as well as Kari Lake, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Republicans in the legislature have put forth a competing measure to guarantee the right for one candidate from each party to make it to the general election, but it comes off as more attempting to have a semblance of control over this subject.

Having candidates that speak to all of us instead of 10-20% of the populace would be welcome, and our government could use more collaborative types over combative types. This ballot initiative (not the one foisted upon us by the Legislature) deserves your attention.

Next is an additional $2 raise to the minimum wage, and also makes it a hard $18 minimum wage for restaurant workers pre-tip. Yes, costs have gone up quite a bit in this state, but Arizona already has a fairly progressive minimum wage law, and one that is tied for inflation. This seems like a solution looking for a problem.

Lastly, the pro-abortion initiative spearheaded by abortion access groups in the state, most notably Planned Parenthood. This was started during the furor from when the state reverted back to the 1864 abortion law, but legislators have since reversed that and codified a 15 week limit on abortions now. This initiative would codify abortion as a right until the time of “fetal viability” (which has a nebulous definition but is probably near the 8th month of gestation). If the options were this initiative versus the 1864 bill, this initiative wins, but it’s harder to see the need for it in opposition to a fairly reasonable 15 week rule.

This is a place where free speech and public debate are welcomed and encouraged. The Speakers’ Corner originated in the mid-19th century at London’s Hyde Park. The concept spread worldwide both physically and now virtually. Here at the Arizona Progress & Gazette, we are presenting this platform in the form of question-and-answer style interviews with people who have had a meaningful impact on the community.

Steve Casares is a Citizen of Scottsdale, Arizona, having moved with his family to the area in October 1998. Steve is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Class of 2009, representing our Congressional district. He is a member of the first graduating class at Notre Dame Preparatory, Scottsdale, Class of 2005. Steve recently completed educating at the United States Military Academy at West Point, as an Assistant Professor of Leadership and Ethics to our Nation’s Cadets. He initially served as a civilian and loved educating so much, he sought to be reactivated into active duty to continue to teach the Cadets of West Point. Steve returned to Scottsdale, his home, our home, in July of 2023. Steve’s other military assignments include Fort Campbell, KY, Arlington National Cemetery, and The Pentagon. Steve is also a Bronze Star recipient for services rendered in Afghanistan.

What prompted you run for Scottsdale City Council?

Very simply, this is my home. My parents live here; my close friends live here and are raising young families; I intend to raise a family of my own here one day. I will also likely be teaching either this semester or next semester at my old high school—Notre Dame Prep. I desire to continue to represent and serve Scottsdale, this time as a legislator. I believe my career as an intelligence officer in the United States Army has enabled me to work effectively as a member of a team as well as decisively lead. My thoroughness, discipline, and sound judgment would be value-added to the Council, Staff, and Citizens of our city.

What is your definition of smart growth?

Smart growth for me, in the context of city planning and urban development, is managing essential City services and infrastructure with continued population growth and urbanization. For Scottsdale, this includes, but is not limited to:

1) Revitalized and efficient public transportation.

2) Incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into existing city infrastructure, such as water recycling and distribution, traffic signals, etc.

3) Ensuring new single-family homes are both of sound construction quality and affordable for median income earners.

4) Recruiting and retaining innovation-centric companies, whether they be processed-based or product-based.

I encourage your readers to take a quick look at a recent piece from Forbes online, addressing the rise of ‘smart cities’. While I disagree with some points and solutions, it is an excellent analysis of what population growth forces planners and policy makers to consider. Intelligent City’s Blueprint for the Future City

What do you think are some short term and long term solutions to solving Scottsdale’s housing shortage?

The Scottsdale housing shortage must be observed in the context as a multi-faceted issue requiring a multi-faceted solution. Furthermore, this is a regional issue, so any viable solution will likely be a regional one involving our sister cities. This recent piece from the New York Times summarizes our predicament both in Scottsdale and Maricopa County at-large.

In the short-term, local developers need to start on approved, non-initiated projects for multi-unit housing, of which there are approximately 10,000 in Scottsdale alone—the delays are a part of the problem.

Do you consider traffic to be a problem in Scottsdale and if so, what solutions would you propose?

Yes, vehicular congestion is an issue which needs to be addressed. The three intersections that consistently come up in conversation as I speak with voters are Frank Lloyd Wright (FLW) and Scottsdale Road; FLW and 101; and northbound on Scottsdale Road at the 101. I would also add in Shea Blvd between Scottsdale Road and 92nd Street. Speaking with fellow Citizens the past six months, and based on observation over the past several years, these intersections are the most troublesome.

Community engagement and dialogue should be the starting point for any proposed modifications to the City’s transportation plan. It is the duty of a legislator to listen, learn, and provide information to our City Staff for the development of feasible options.

Explore additional options via a task force of a potential causeway to commute non-Scottsdale residents into our City for work.


What is your vision for the future of Downtown Scottsdale?
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Fiscal responsibility is something that all engaged citizens (except perhaps those to the extreme political left) want; government is funded by our money, and we all want to believe that those funds are being used appropriately. And it should come as no surprise to our readers that conservative politics often focuses on this, as do the conservative politicians that look to lead.

Like with anything in politics, if an issue is something that is problematic and a politician has a solution for that problem, fantastic. That’s adding value to society. But some politicians don’t know when to pivot towards real problems and instead start inventing a problem that doesn’t exist so they can invent the supposed solution.

Unfortunately, this is where much of the politics and many of the candidates in Scottsdale find themselves.

What do we mean? Well let’s start with this; the city of Scottsdale recently released their proposed 2024/25 budget, and perhaps the most shocking part? A 10% DECREASE in spending compared to the previous year. This reflects a slowdown in revenue and is a purported conservative approach to budgeting and the city’s expectations. In other words, a model of fiscal conservatism.

You would never think that if you listened to some of the screeds of city candidates who consider themselves “conservative”, however. Several talk about runaway spending and “slush funds” and all sorts of hyperbole. Instead of attempting to add value to society, they are being purposely misleading and attempting to invent a solution where a problem doesn’t exist.

In all fairness, it wouldn’t be the first time that politicians attempted to trump up issues for the sake of standing out, but these cases are particularly egregious since it’s not that fiscal responsibility is a mild issue in the city, it’s that it’s actually a strength. Instead of trying to locate legitimate issues and provide solutions, these candidates are spitting in your face and trying to sell you an umbrella to block it.

It truly is unfortunate, since there are many talented people running in local races. But the more they talk about this particular issue, the more they expose the apparent fact that their desire to be in perceived power seemingly outweighs their desire to actually fix problems. And that’s unfortunate.

By Ronald Sampson

As a relatively fiscally conservative person and a natural Republican, I **want** to dislike most government spending that I see. It’s a happy place to distrust it. But the activists on both sides of any issue tend to ruin it for everybody, finding any reason to be angry, even if it means resorting to half-truths, ignorance, or purposeful obfuscation. It’s an unfortunate part of policy, and by proxy, politics.

More perniciously, people who desperately desire to stand out and get some clout will do so: the political left does it by distorting anything that Trump says into an indicator that he’s Hitler-reincarnate, and the right did it by attempting to convince us that Hillary Clinton was the leader of a cabal that harvested kids for body parts and adrenochrome (remember PizzaGate? Yikes, conservatives…yikes).

Who you trust is important. And people like former Scottsdale Mayor Mary Manross matter; a steady, reasonable hand who has weighed in on Scottsdale’s issues judiciously, not suspiciously. So when she wrote this statement of support for the initiatives coming to the ballot, we all should give a listen.

Also notable are the voices of dissent against it, both who they are and their rationales. While attempting to not make this political, it is irritating that one particular candidate for Mayor uses falsehoods (if not outright lies) when talking about it, as well as certain activists who clearly are looking for sway and clout.

I’ve heard these people talk about it as a tax increase, but it’s very much a tax decrease. The sales tax will go from 0.2% to 0.15%. In what world (other than a world of dishonest clout-chasing) is that a tax increase? Stated services would be increased; that’s a good thing. There is talk about it being a “slush fund”…well, do you have a problem with how the 0.2% tax is being used now? If not, then why would you assume that a lesser amount is somehow some slush fund?

It feels as though it’s the definition of bad-faith arguments: attempting to fill a vacuum of information with the presumption of bad intentions with absolutely zero proof to imply that. It’s the worst of our politics.

That’s not to say that questions shouldn’t be asked, that everyone should simply fall in line. Absolutely not. But if the people talking the loudest aren’t at least comparing it to our current situation and wondering if this is an improvement over that (or an improvement over the alternative: no funds dedicated to our parks), then there’s a good chance that they’re bad faith actors, more interested in gaining followers and clout or attempting to make a name for themselves politically then considering the best interest of the city.

Photo Credit: CNN

For our Scottsdale readers, especially our North Scottsdale and Carefree readers, you are likely aware of the Boulder View fire: at the time of writing, it has affected over 3,700 acres and is now almost entirely contained; homes were evacuated and warnings were issued. Our thoughts are with the families who were affected and sincerely hope that property damage was minimal.

It’s hard not to see this as yet another in what seems to have become an increasing trend of wildfires in this area, following only a month after the Wildcat Fire. A look back at the state’s recent wildfire history shows a disturbing number in the state in the last year. 

“Global warming” was the catchphrase for a while and anecdotally, the Valley does seem to have warmed up over the last couple decades, although much of that could likely be attributed to increased urbanization, i.e. the heat island effect. “Climate change” is the preferred nomenclature now, as the impacts of our changing world aren’t purely relegated to warmer temperatures, but instead more extreme weather patterns. More frequent and intense wildfires as a result of dryer conditions are often included in those effects and a sign that we must act now to reverse the impacts to a segment of the population..

Are we going to attribute these fires to global climate change? Please hold off on the angry comments for now, as we are not. We can acknowledge climate change and not attribute everything bad that happens in our local climate to that. That is a fallacy due to recency bias at best, purposeful misdirection at worst. There will never be a time where we can attribute a local weather event to a global concern. Could that be the case? Sure, but reality tends to be much more nuanced.

Instead of attempting to make a political point in either direction however, it’s best to acknowledge the possibility and adjust accordingly. One way is to listen to the advice of the businesses most impacted by wildfires: insurance companies. For instance, insurance giant Chubb is happy to offer you a number of ways that you can make your home more resistant to wildfires, which you can find here. Sage advice, as you know they have a vested interest in your home not burning down nearly as much as you do.

Also, especially for those on the outskirts of the city and with a bit more land, is the animals they have on that land. It’s easier for an individual or family to evacuate in the face of danger, much more difficult for a ranch with horses or livestock. This current fire should serve as a good reminder to have an exit plan in place, to keep it updated, to consider a dry run on occasion, and to take it seriously. The stakes are significant and shouldn’t be minimized.

Scottsdale is in a unique situation; it has walked the fine balance between urbanization and protection of its open spaces extremely well. But that also means that the issues inherent in nature will often creep up and impact people. Instead of trying to point fingers, those who are on the front lines should instead be highly prepared for the possibility that hopefully will never come to fruition, but very well might.

By State Representative Joseph Chaplik

Scottsdale is a special place. Independent minded. Rugged spirit. Beautiful open spaces. Unique architecture. Great quality of life. Yet, we’re all getting fed up with certain members of the City Council and special interest groups trying to change and mold Scottsdale into the image of Phoenix – or worse – Portland and San Francisco.

We need leaders on the Scottsdale City Council that we can trust to bring conservative leadership and protect the character of Scottsdale. That’s why I’m proud to endorse Jan Dubauskas, Adam Kwasman, and Mason Gates for Scottsdale City Council.

Jan Dubauskas has proven her commitment to Scottsdale and she’s unwavering in her conservative principles. I trust her to oppose bad development, progressive policies, and the influence of special interests. She’s the voice we need on Scottsdale City Council. Please learn more about her, give her your support and consider making a donation → www.JanforScottsdale.com.

Adam Kwasman is the conservative we need who I know will fight for Scottsdale and protect it from dangerous liberal policies. With crime and homelessness on the rise, we need Adam who will stand strongly against crime and will work tirelessly to keep Scottsdale a safe place for families. As a business owner himself, he knows what it’s like to run a business in Scottsdale and will implement policies that help local businesses thrive. Unsurprisingly, Adam was awarded the “Champion of Small Business” and “Hero of the Family” during his time in the legislature. Adam Kwasman is the clear battle-tested choice for Scottsdale City Council, and we must work together to help put him there. Join me, Councilmembers Littlefield and Graham in endorsing Adam Kwasman for Scottsdale City Council.

Mason Gates is the young, conservative leader that we need on the council to provide balance and represent the voices and values of Scottsdale residents. He is sharp, articulate, principled, and will bring a strong work ethic for Scottsdale. I know that Mason will work diligently to solve problems, bring a fresh perspective, and seek to represent the interests of residents above all.

This race is one of the most important that will be on the ballot this July. Let’s make sure we choose the right people.

Media criticism of social equity marijuana licenses tends to rely on isolated problems while ignoring success stories. The former are much easier to find. The latter have no need to reach out to the nearest newsroom or are drown out by politicians, reporters, and industry players with an agenda and a soap box.

First a little background. Arizona, and a number of other states, had the best of intentions when they introduced ‘social equity’ components in determining how recreational marijuana dispensary licenses or permits were to be granted in the 2020 package that was approved by statewide votes 60% to 40%. Arizona prioritized people of color as well as communities and individuals who were disproportionately impacted by marijuana laws that seemed to target minorities for incarceration. Other states have similar rules to right past wrongs. But in offering these financial opportunities, many states offer little if any assistance to help these groups navigate the complicated and byzantine rules to secure a dispensary license. Unless you can afford expensive expert attorneys, the process is daunting, cost-prohibitive, and almost insurmountable.

Rather than spending substantial sums in a lottery-based system where results were far from guaranteed or forgoing the opportunity entirely due to the associated costs, some social equity applicants choose to partner with investors. Under this arrangement, both sides stood to benefit financially, while the applicant avoided essentially all of the financial risks and usually maintained a majority interest in the applying entity.

For the fortunate few, thousands of applicants in Arizona (only 26 licenses were awarded), the next step of finding a location for a dispensary and obtaining the needed zoning was another mountain to climb.  Without a business partner, the applicant would have to obtain substantial financing and hire specialized zoning attorneys with high hourly rates to have any possibility for success, effectively creating an “all in” scenario for individuals with no industry experience or know-how.  For those with the limited financial means that qualifies the person to hold a majority interest in applying entities, that kind of financial risk made little or no sense—particularly given alternative options presenting certain, immediate, life-changing opportunities.

Arelise Hollinquest is a Phoenix area healthcare professional. Hollinquest, an African American with a family member who previously fell victim to the state’s harsh marijuana laws, is poised to dramatically change her life and the lives of her extended family thanks to the social equity dispensary program. After business partner Mike Halow helped her make hundred of thousands of dollars of profit from obtaining an Arizona recreational dispensary permit, Hollinquest is now setting her sights on opening a dispensary in New York City. Halow also helped her get a license there in addition to helping her find a location with the right zoning. Halow has more than 15 years’ experience in both medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries. He operates or is involved in the operation of dispensaries all over Arizona and three other states, employing scores of people. He is also a real estate investor.Read More

We have a pretty good feel for our readership, and we know that for a good segment of our readers, mentions of the word “diversity” will be seen with skepticism and outright eye-rolling at worst. And while in its excesses it has certainly earned that skepticism. There are times that it is seen as the goal instead of more pertinent objectives, times that it is weaponized inappropriately. But many times, a homogenous group makes decisions with significant blind spots, and more diverse leadership would have anticipated those problems in advance.

That said, a recent article brings up a strong potential case study in where a lack of diversity can hurt an event: the lack of diversity in leadership of the Thunderbirds, the group that puts on the WM Phoenix Open. To this day, the Thunderbirds have never had a single female member, and even amongst the men, only two are black and two have Latino surnames.

Granted, for a sport that leans heavily white and male, it shouldn’t be a surprise that that demographic is heavily represented in a group such as the Thunderbirds, especially when the clubby, insular world of big business and wealth is included. It is a fundraising apparatus, after all. And the 21st century attempts to force-integrate certain institutions such as male-only or female-only colleges have often been more politically-motivated than out of necessity.

That said, golf is a sport that is played heavily by men and women alike; after all, the LPGA exists and thrives. And while we don’t have exact demographics, anyone who has been to the Phoenix Open knows that there are many, many women in attendance. So to not have any women in the event’s leadership at all, at an initial glance, seems foolhardy and backwards.

While Latino voices are very heavily underrepresented in the Thunderbirds leadership, at least there are ostensibly some voices that hopefully would speak up if something was wildly out of touch with their sensibilities. Same with black voices in leadership, although their number at least approaches the percentage of the overall population in Arizona. But to not have any women in a group that clearly caters to a significant female viewership seems like a massive oversight.

After all, women have experienced concerns and dangers that would have raised caution flags before the events of this past Open. Most have had to deal with some degree of danger related to groups of men that drank too much, of a pack mentality that seems to have overcome this year’s Open in the face of too much imbibing. What can feel like a “crazy day with the boys” for men can often feel like something very different for women: a serious cause for concern and feeling unsafe.

Women in leadership could very likely have seen the warning signs ahead of time and given notice as well as useful tips to avoid a negative outcome. It’s hard not to see how an “old boys club” mentality may have led to overlooking significant shortcomings whose fixing would have led to a better event for all. This is a flaw that the Thunderbirds should fix before planning begins in earnest for the next event.

Friends, we try not to dwell too much on the statistics of this website; it may come off as a bit indulgent. But with that said, sometimes we are taken aback and thankful for your readership and your participation, and we just had to share. Last year, we had over 112,000 different readers here in America, and about 75,000 coming from here in Arizona. Those numbers are already being left in the dust, as in the last twelve months we have increased our readership up to over 124,000 American readers.

On top of that, with over 456,000 individual page views, many of you are reading multiple articles, which we appreciate since we pride ourselves on having diverse viewpoints on a number of different subjects. And with over 96,000 of our readers in Arizona over the last 12 months, our localized content is clearly getting to the right people.

We do our best to provide news with a take; other organizations with teams of reporters will report the news, but we digest information, attempt to provide both sides of that story, and give you an angle or perspective that you haven’t thought of, or maybe you have but you hadn’t seen elsewhere. We’re not perfect, but when you take a chance as we try to do, you never are.

Apparently it’s working to some degree, but it only works with you. Otherwise we’re just typing into a void, a tree that falls in the forest.

But one thing we ask of you: engage us. Leave comments and continue the conversation under these stories. We’ll be honest…many of the comments aren’t positive. We often take a side, and that will naturally irk some people, either organically or by representatives of a party that we were critical of. They aren’t always easy to read (and yes, we do read them), but so long as they’re not abusive, all’s fair in love, war, and blogs.

Our society thrives with conversation, with banter, with an exchange of ideas. You have honored ours and seem to appreciate it (even if sometimes you tell us that we’re wrong). Thank you for listening, and help us build a better society with thoughtful banter in the comments.

Ohhh, and please share any and all articles you like, and even ones you don’t. Because 124,000 readers is cool, but 150,000 would be cooler. 🙂

Russ Skinner

In our “Looking Towards July 30th” series we have been looking at contested primaries that may shape the future of our area. In our last installment, we look at one of the more unusual primaries, the Democratic primary for Maricopa County Sheriff.

This seat was never a truly intriguing one until Joe Arpaio and his particular style of bravado and camera-seeking tactics made him a household name nationally…until his thumbing of his nose to federal mandates led to an incredibly high bill due to county taxpayers and voters grew tired of his schtick. Paul Penzone defeated him in 2016 and won re-election in 2020, but recently decided that he desired a new path in his career and vacated his seat early.

And here is where it gets interesting: by rule, the person who is appointed to replace an elected official in the county must be of the same party as the person to be replaced. Penzone’s chief deputy Russ Skinner was in line to take over, but he was a Republican and Penzone a Democrat. Skinner switched parties and became a Democrat soon before the official announcement of Penzone leaving the seat. However, that means that Skinner, a lifelong Republican, will have to run in a Democratic primary.

The local Democratic Party was obviously not happy with the prospect of a DINO (Democrat in Name Only) in the purest sense of the word being their flag-bearer in this race, and thus recruited Tyler Kamp to run for the seat. Kamp has a long career in law enforcement and more specifically with the Phoenix Police Department as well as Director for a non-profit focused on eradicating poverty. He also has the full faith, support, and endorsement from the party.

That said, the endorsement of the party will only go so far, as the party is unlikely to spend money on a large-scale awareness campaign to tell its primary voters this; that will be on Kamp himself, and that comes down to money. Kamp has only filed one campaign finance report so far, and as of the end of March he had raised $19K with $18K cash on hand. Unimpressive numbers, but those are likely to materially change for the better when Q2 reports are filed in July.

Meanwhile, Skinner has raised a respectable $53.4K but has already spent $46K of that, leaving him with just over $7K cash on hand. This is where party support matters: Kamp was able to lean on the party to get the thousands of signatures to qualify for the ballot, but Skinner had to pay for those. Between a cash advantage and party support, Kamp is the clear front-runner at this point.

Meanwhile, while less intriguing than the dynamics on the Democrat side, the Republicans also have a contested primary as well. Longtime Joe Arpaio ally Jerry Sheridan is running and will be challenged by longtime Phoenix PD veteran Frank Milstead and Glendale PD veteran Mike Crawford. Sheridan has had a gigantic head start when it comes to fundraising as well as having previous campaign experience. So far this election cycle, he has raised an eye-popping $283K, has spent $115K, and has $170K cash on hand. Milstead has raised about $21K but spent $18K of that, leaving him with a paltry $3K cash on hand. Meanwhile, Crawford sits with a relatively strong $36K cash on hand, making him the only realistic competitor to Sheridan.

That said, it looks as though it will be Sheridan versus Kamp in the general election.

This is a place where free speech and public debate are welcomed and encouraged. The Speakers’ Corner originated in the mid-19th century at London’s Hyde Park. The concept spread worldwide both physically and now virtually. Here at the Arizona Progress & Gazette, we are presenting this platform in the form of question-and-answer style interviews with people who have had a meaningful impact on the community.

Former Scottsdale Councilmember Lisa Borowsky is running for Mayor in a race that includes incumbent David Ortega and Former Councilmember Linda Milhaven. She served on the Scottsdale City Council from 2008 to 2012. She spent her career as an attorney representing homeowners throughout the Valley for construction problems and other concerns.

It’s been more than a decade since you were on the City Council. What prompted you to want to run for Mayor?

As a lifelong Scottsdale resident, I am passionate about the future of our city, but I am concerned about the direction the current administration is taking us. Our city’s rich, western heritage and renegade spirit laid the foundation for the lifestyle and economic vitality we all enjoy today. Scottsdale has a reputation as the top tourism destination of the southwest which we must prioritize, protect and build upon.

As Mayor, my vision for our future prioritizes high-quality projects, residential and commercial, expanding our tourism and entertainment options. and improving those we already enjoy, such as Old Town and Westworld. My office will actively encourage and rely upon the input of residents, business owners, event producers, and other stakeholders; together, we will accomplish world class results.

I understand overdevelopment is top of mind for an overwhelming majority of our citizens, and I agree it must be reined in. However, an equally big concern is the irresponsible spending at City Hall. My record on Council evidences my commitment to a fiscally conservative approach to protecting taxpayer dollars. Transparency and accountability are missing at City Hall under the current administration which we cannot afford.

What is your assessment of Mayor Ortega?

He’s enamored with being the Mayor.

Editor’s Note: 
Here is a link to Ortega’s Speaker’s Corner responses
https://arizonaprogressgazette.com/speakers-corner-david-ortega/

Here is a link to Milhaven’s Speaker’s Corner responses.
https://arizonaprogressgazette.com/speakers-corner-linda-milhaven/

You are widely viewed as a conservative candidate. Is that an accurate assessment and do you feel it works for or against you in Scottsdale’s present political climate?

As a fiscal conservative, I have a record of overseeing taxpayer dollars responsibly. My fiscal conservative leanings are an advantage in any political climate.

As someone who has owned a business in Scottsdale, what is your take on Scottsdale’s economy and how could it be improved?

Small businesses are the lifeblood of Scottsdale. As Mayor, I envision reaching local business owners in a meaningful way to gather input and, ideally, collaboration with the city to enhance the future of Scottsdale’s economy for all.

What is your definition of smart growth?

As Mayor, attracting high quality projects is my top priority when it comes to growth. I will work with my Council colleagues to ensure we are sensitive to the needs and goals of our residents. On my watch, the Council will encourage and, more importantly, listen to citizen input about the future of our great city. Expanding tourism attractions, events and venues are top priorities once elected. We must maintain and grow Scottsdale’s place as the tourism capital of the southwest.

Is Scottsdale’s housing shortage a crisis and what should be done about it?

The city should not interfere in market driven home prices or housing stock which are matters for the private sector. I do not think there is a housing shortage or crisis.

Is traffic in Scottsdale a problem and what should be done about it?

Density is increasing and increased traffic is the consequence. The City should withdraw from the regional road improvement fund and put our taxpayer dollars to better use within our city limits.

Do you support or oppose increasing Scottsdale’s spending limits as outlined in the Permanent Base Adjustment ballot item? (feel free to elaborate)

Oppose. The current administration’s reckless spending should not be rewarded with an increase to the spending cap.

Do you support or oppose a measure to reduce and replace an expiring city sales tax to fund improvements to parks at the Indian Bend Wash and upkeep at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve? (feel free to elaborate)

Oppose. The current administration’s reckless spending should not be rewarded with an additional tax revenue stream.Read More

While it doesn’t get as much attention as bigger ticket elections, the town of Paradise Valley will choose both its next mayor as well as several town councilmembers this year. We have recently covered the race to be the next mayor as the candidates make their case (get up to date here), but recently the prospective councilmembers had a chance to differentiate themselves at a recent forum.

As far as drama and tension go, we are sad to announce that there will be nearly none of that in this particular race. After all, there are three seats to be voted on, and there are three candidates total. All candidates (current planning commissioner Karen Liepmann and current council members Scott Moore and Julie Pace) are running unopposed. Barring an act of God, they will head to the council.

While this may be seen as a serious anomaly, as wherever there is perceived power there will typically be numerous people who seek it out, it is worth mentioning that not only is Paradise Valley a small town, but town councilmembers do not get paid for their efforts, so it is obviously less enticing of an electoral ring to strive for.

As could perhaps be expected, the forum turned into a bit of kumbaya moment, with relatively few differences and a very noticeable lack of conflict. A focus from all of them is keeping the standard of development high. All agree that the preservation of building standards is not just paramount for resorts, but also for single-family homes.

Another point of agreement is regarding speed cameras. Sometimes a contentious subject in other municipalities, car accident rates have gone down significantly since their inception in PV, and all agree to their efficacy. They also agree to the importance of their short term-rental limitations and agree that having a mayor that has strong relationships at the state capitol is important to help keep those restrictions in place.

The only point of difference is how a hypothetical $1 million grant would be spent. The candidates all referenced law enforcement, but Liepmann also mentioned expanding their community center. Not exactly political fireworks.

All things told, this election will be perhaps the most boring one in the Valley. That said, that’s not a bad thing. When everyone agrees that things are going in the right direction, that’s a pretty good spot to be in.

Kate Gallego has had a strongly positive time as the mayor of Phoenix. The city has overseen major global businesses setting up shop there during her time in office, she has avoided major snafus, and outside of a growing homelessness issue (which has been the case in nearly every major American city since Covid) the city hasn’t encountered major issues.

However, there is now buzz going around that Gallego may abandon her post…for Washington.

In January she was appointed to the Transforming Transportation Advisory Committee; perhaps a result of her hands-on participation in helping Proposition 400 pass, which will extend light rail and provide massive funding for present and future transportation projects. Perhaps her help with crafting Transportation 2050 helped, which is a 35-year plan to guide Phoenix’s transportation future.

But another aspect that isn’t often talked about except within political circles? Family.

For those who are unaware, Mayor Gallego and Congressman/current US Senate-candidate Ruben Gallego were married and had a son together but split before the birth. Said son lives in Mayor Gallego, but obviously it’s not ideal for a son to be a few thousand miles away from its father. While the business of leading a city like Phoenix is an important one, family almost always comes first except for the most ambitious of politicians. Gallego does seem to have her priorities straight.

While Gallego’s transportation credentials are certainly real and her knowledge in that space profound, it’s reasonable to assume that part of the reason why she took that committee position was to have a reason to be in DC more in order to see her child.

It’s also reasonable to believe that should Joe Biden win again, both Gallegos are angling to get the Mayor into the cabinet, perhaps as Transportation Secretary. Current Secretary Pete Buttigieg is almost certainly too ambitious to stay in this position another four years, and Gallego in that seat would be best for both Gallegos.

Is this set in stone? Absolutely not, and it all depends on Biden winning again, which is very much in doubt. But if he does, don’t be surprised if there is an opening for Mayor of Phoenix.

Photo Credit: 12 News

Economic predictors come in all shapes and sizes. The price of a Big Mac is considered a viable inflation indicator, and tipping amounts and men’s underwear sales are considered indications of a recession. But a recent observation of a car lot in Scottsdale may tell us a few things about the economy as well as the state of one of the biggest car producers in the world.

People have started noticing the number of Teslas piling up in a parking lot right next to a boarded-up movie theater near Northsight Boulevard and Arriba Drive in north Scottsdale. A check of the Google Street View perspective over the years has shown that the number of cars in the lot has increased steadily since 2021.

So what does that say about the economy? One could surmise a few different things from this observation. As nearly everyone knows, Tesla is more on the luxury end of the pricing spectrum and could well be considered an indicator of an economic slowdown. Luxury items are often the first things to be impacted by a slowing economy as people hold onto their existing cars later or consider cheaper options.

Additionally, we all know of the pervasive inflation issues that have hit our country (and most of the world) in the wake of the pandemic. As everyday items cost more across the board, many people look to cut costs elsewhere. With less expendable income, a luxury item such as a Tesla becomes less viable. While inflation has gone down materially, high interest rates also make financing a luxury car even more expensive, compounding the affordability issues.

However, another aspect that is not economic by nature may be playing a significant role: Tesla’s extremely controversial leader, Elon Musk. Electric vehicles have long been largely the domain of politically left-leaning buyers, as the car fit in nicely with their desire to reduce carbon emissions. Tesla was long the preferred brand until Musk bought Twitter (now X) and gained a lot of infamy for espousing views and amplifying content that was often in opposition to the views of those same left-leaning buyers. Alienation from the brand has been profound as many Democrats are now looking elsewhere so as to not financially support someone they deem problematic.

So perhaps it’s a signal about buyers being financially squeezed, as they have been for several years now. But in all likelihood, the growing lot of new Teslas is a result of many factors, including the company’s head and his inability to keep his mouth shut and just stick to his job.

This is a place where free speech and public debate are welcomed and encouraged. The Speakers’ Corner originated in the mid-19th century at London’s Hyde Park. The concept spread worldwide both physically and now virtually. Here at the Arizona Progress & Gazette, we are presenting this platform in the form of question-and-answer style interviews with people who have had a meaningful impact on the community.

Incumbent Mayor David “ Dave” : Ortega highlights his personal insights and civic  accomplishments while seeking re-election.

Why are you seeking  re-election?

I love serving Scottsdale residents as mayor!

Scottsdale shaped me an involved parent, Little League coach, successful businessman and church and community volunteer. I came to Scottsdale in 1978 to apprentice under architect Bennie Gonzales and in 2000 won elected office, becoming the first architect and Latino councilman in the history of Scottsdale.

Upon taking office in June 2000, the first agenda item I championed was to correct a major problem created by the previous city councils. Specifically, removing the ramp/tunnel obstruction at the defunct Scottsdale Galleria, to straighten Scottsdale Rd and reopen development access at the vacant Waterfront canal frontage. I also spearheaded senior housing next to the Granite Reef Senior Center and helped craft General Plan 2001—the 10- year vision which was approved by voters.

After my stint on Council, I served six years on the Development Review Board (DRB) and served six years on the Arizona State Facilities Board, which authorized 21 new public schools every year, on a $ 420M yearly budget. I also served three years on the Maricopa County Private Industry Council. I carry 23 years of public service at state, county and city levels as I seek my second term as mayor.

What is your assessment of council terms of Borowsky and Milhaven?

In January 2021 as mayor, I stepped into reversing preexisting blunders caused by Mayor Lane, Borowsky and Milhaven. I took office as the COVID-19 pandemic was peaking and uncovered runaway development, financial blunders and downright negligence since they had squandered Scottsdale’s water.

Before I took office, 23,689 multi-housing units were approved by Borowsky and Milhaven during the 12-year mayor Lane tenure. Borowsky and Milhaven together approved 6274 apartments in 2011 and 2012. Borowsky left council for a failed bid for Congress and Milhaven approved 17,415 more apartments. 23,689 apartments equate to 42,000 more residents!

SouthBridge2 (SB2) was the breaking point. As a civilian in 2019, I led opposition against the massive SB2 project in Old Town. SB2 would cram 970 apartments, push 160-foot buildings

against the Waterfront canal and excavate Fifth Avenue for private underground parking. Mayor Lane and Milhaven ignited a referendum, and 17115 voters signed a petition to overturn SB2. I carried the petition and helped truck the referendum into City Hall.  Subsequently, Council withdrew SB2, except Milhaven insisted it go forward. Borowsky did not sign the petition and stayed silent.

It turns out Borowsky was too busy attempting to up-zone SpringCreek, a 284-acre property which was vested for 142 houses. Residents of Sedona were enraged because Borowsky’s proposal would cram 2,000 dwelling units on the site with no water or sewer. Rejected by Yavapai County, zoning attorney Borowsky maneuvered annexation by Cottonwood, with a backdoor 18-mile access thru state land. Today the Borowsky land sits undeveloped, as worst example of a greedy failure. KeepSedonaBeautiful.org reports the failed Borowsky saga.

Mayor Lane and Milhaven gifted height and density subsidies to developers, and I am proud of my first term progress to unwind the Lane era debacle. Borowsky and Milhaven are masters of over-development and are trying to revive their failed ideology.

You are widely perceived aa a mayor who favors limited development.  is that accurate?

Community vision, land use and guiding principles must be approved by resident stakeholders every 10 years. Councilwomen Borowsky and Milhaven and Mayor Lane failed to craft and gain approval of General Plan 2025. They ignored their duty in 2009-12, in violation of Arizona statutes and opened the door to unfettered development.

Under my leadership, the new Council garnered citywide input, held dozens of meetings and unanimously forwarded General Plan 2035 (GP-2035) to the voters. It was approved in 2021. We also revised the citywide parking ordinance so that guest parking at all apartments is now required, and we lowered density and height limits. Milhaven, always the contrarian, clung to her failed past.  Borowsky railed against GP-2035 and opposed its passage and she lost.

I led community dialogue and unanimous Council approval of the anti-discrimination ordinance, a code of conduct for city employees and template for our hospitable city.  Borowsky opposed the anti- discrimination ordinance and Milhaven was inept and unwilling to get it done prior to my initiative as mayor.

What is your stand on Scottsdale’s economy and how could it be improved?

Successful economic vitality in Scottsdale rests with three essentials:  1) well-planned land uses; 2) engaged, innovative residents who can balance commerce and high-standard quality of life; and 3) skilled management of water resources and infrastructure.

Frequently, residents thank me for promoting water conservation, for wise stewardship during the megadrought and for my hardline protecting Scottsdale water from outsiders.

When I took office, the entire Southwest was suffering from the megadrought, and I was shocked to learn that Mayor Lane, Borowsky and Milhaven had knowingly allowed 1-billion gallons of Scottsdale water to be trucked to outsiders in dry-lot subdivisions in the county.

I immediately took action to stop the water losses. Council agreed with the cutoff and consented to formation of an adjoining Domestic Water Improvement District (DWID) in Rio Verde Foothills, so that outsiders would build their own facilities. But Maricopa County Supervisor Galvin double-crossed the DWID formation and stranded his constituents. Complying with federal drought mandates, Council followed through with the December 2022 cutoff and we immediately saved 65 million gallons of water!

For reference, Scottsdale Water delivers 65 million gallons of water daily to Scottsdale residents, hospitals, businesses and schools. And we retrieve about 35 million gallons to purify and then store. Lane, Borowsky and Milhaven squandered 1-billion gallons of our water. And after Milhaven left office, she sided with outsiders who sued Scottsdale, and lost in court.

Mayor Lane admitted that despite years of warnings, in 2017 he countermanded the directive given by Scottsdale Water executives to cutoff outsiders. From 2017 to 2020, more than 700 dry-lot houses were built in the Rio Verde area. For decades, Lane, Borowsky and Milhaven betrayed the interests of Scottsdale ratepayers.

It is true that I took “heat” because Galvin, Lane, Borowsky and Milhaven tried to deflect their blunders. Make no mistake, under my leadership, we will protect Scottsdale Water because our multi-billion-dollar water facilities and resources secure our residential and commercial property valuations and economic future.Read More

Photo Credit: DigitalFreePress

As you almost certainly know, Scottsdale voters will decide on July 30th whether or not to give David Ortega a second term. Former councilmembers Lisa Borowsky and Linda Milhaven are taking him on and attempting to make it to a run-off election in November, and a recent forum demonstrated both that the knives have officially come out, and what specific approaches they both will take in making their case to replace him.

First is Ortega’s approach and demeanor. He has developed the reputation of sometimes being curmudgeonly, of sometimes being combative in communications with other elected officials in the public sphere, and occasionally cutting people off in the council dais when he deems that they are not sticking to the topic at hand.

While his supporters will view it as him fighting for the city, his opponents are using it as an example as to how he doesn’t play well with others. Borowsky used the term “lash out” and Milhaven stressed “collaboration”, both clear digs at Ortega’s sometimes combative style. Ortega would state that his only obligation is to the city of Scottsdale and its people, not to other politicians.

Additionally, the conflagration between Ortega and the Coyotes is clearly an angle that his opponents will attempt to use against him. His opponents charge him with having a contentious relationship with Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo, while Ortega would say that Meruelo’s last-second attempt to move the team to the Scottsdale/Phoenix border was poorly thought out and would be a net negative for residents.

Both candidates, especially Borowsky, are leaning into a slow-growth talking point, much like Ortega did with his 2020 campaign, capitalizing on a lack of a desire for large apartment complexes and the traffic they can bring. While Ortega has somewhat loosened his standards in the last couple years compared to the first couple years and voted in favor of a few large projects, his approach has been significantly slower-growth than his predecessor. Besides, both of his opponents have a track record of having voted in favor of large apartment complexes in the past, so this criticism seems to be more grasping at straws rather than a legitimate gripe and point of differentiation.

While Ortega has earned legitimate criticism as to how effectively he can work with people he disagrees with, is that enough to change course after a four year term which has largely been positive? Voters will ultimately dictate that, but ultimately, the main question about this upcoming election isn’t whether Ortega will be in first place, but instead if he will be able to avoid a run-off election and instead win outright on July 30th.

By Councilwoman Betty Janik

Over the past several months, Scottsdale residents have had the opportunity to assess the agendas and goals of the candidates for City Council.  For me, the ideal candidate has actively participated in civic engagement, respects and listens to all voices, builds consensus with diverse groups, and does not shy away from compromise. The candidate has strong community ties, insight into our problems, and offers the opportunity for our city to grow in a positive direction.  Maryann McAllen has these qualities.  She is a longtime resident, served on several commissions including COS Paths and Trails, Transportation, and Parks and Recreation, as Chair of the latter. As the mother of 4 active children, she volunteered a helping hand to Scouts, Little League, Soccer, PTO’s and park and recreation activities. She has served on the boards of several charities in leadership roles. I trust her judgement. She is a true servant of our community.  For these reasons, I endorse Maryann McAllen for Scottsdale City Council.

INCUMBENTS

Councilman Tom Durham is running for his second term on Council.  He brings special talents to Council.  He has demonstrated his ability to read City contracts and quickly identify inconsistencies.  He has a solid grasp of financial statements as a carryover from his career as an attorney.  A little-known fact is that he negotiated down the Optima Development Agreement by nearly 30%. As a member of the working group on STR regulations, he joined with our city staff, lobbyists, and Paradise Valley officials to craft legislation which gave Scottsdale more power over short-term rentals with the passage of Senate Bill 1168.  He continues serving as mock trial coach at a local high school. I endorse Councilman Tom Durham for reappointment to a second term.

Councilwoman Tammy Caputi is also running for re-election and has a significant lead in the polls. This is a credit to her solid campaign and dedicated supporters.  As a business owner, she represents the business/development community, which is an integral part of COS.  While I don’t agree with all of her positions, I respect her contagious optimism.

Councilmembers Tom Durham and Tammy Caputi have been endorsed by Fire and Police.

VOTE THE PRIMARY

Finally, I am sending out a call to all registered voters, especially Independents. The primary is a critical step in the election cycle. Don’t miss out!! Even as an Independent, you can cast your vote for Scottsdale primary candidates by requesting a mail-in ballot by July 19 from the County Recorder.

https://recorder.maricopa.gov/Elections/EarlyVotingBallot/earlyvotingballotrequest.aspx.

Don’t let the vocal minority turn this into a partisan election. Let’s maintain trust in local government and in the election process.  I ask all registered voters to cast their ballots in the Primary.  Let your voices be heard.

Respectfully

Councilwoman Betty Janik, Scottsdale

2022 Scrum


By Scottsdale City Councilmember Tom Durham

What’s the truth about “road diets?” It’s really pretty simple. The current City Council has approved one – and only one – road diet. The residents asked for something to be done about the dangerous conditions on 68th Street. 68th Street is mostly two lanes, but it expanded to four as it went north. This transition created problems as cars sped up and switched lanes. This section of 68th Street had three times the number of accidents as an average Scottsdale street and ranked in the top 7% for accidents per mile. Tragically, there were two pedestrian fatalities in recent years. To address the issue, City staff held neighborhood outreach where neighbors agreed to the plan.

The work on the road included dedicated turn lanes and protected pedestrian crossings, all of which made the street safer. There was plenty of room because 68th Street was below 40% capacity. Police and fire personnel confirmed that narrowing the road would not present access issues.Read More

With six months to go until Election Day 2024, Democrats hold a slight edge over Republicans in the State.For President, the Democratic incumbent President Joe Biden leads Republican former president Donald Trump by a slim 38.8% to 38.1% margin. Independent Robert F Kennedy Jr. has 13.5% support. 8.1% reported as being undecided.

In the US Senate race, presumptive Republican nominee Kari Lake trails Democratic Congressman Ruben Gallego, the presumptive Democratic nominee, 48.1% to 43.9%. 6.3% of voters are undecided.

Pollster George Khalaf had this to say about the latest results, “With Election Day 2024 a little under 6 months away, the races for President and US Senate in Arizona are a toss-up. As we get closer to Election Day, it will be interesting to note what happens to the support currently given to Robert F Kennedy Jr and if President Biden or Former President Donald Trump pick up more of his current supporters. One thing remains clear, all eyes will be on Arizona and the outsized role our state will play in shaping the direction of the Nation.”

This poll of 550 likely general election voters was conducted by live phone survey that collected 46.0% of the results from live caller landlines and 54.0% from live caller cell phones. 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 general election voter turnout figures. The poll was conducted from April 27th – April 29th, 2024. 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.

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.

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