Featured Editorials




Pollack to Be Honored Later This Month At Large Private Celebration 

It’s not every day one celebrates five decades in business, much less 50 years of redeveloping some of the Valley’s biggest eyesores and turning them into landmark properties.

This month Michael Pollack, the longtime real estate redeveloper and the Valley’s beloved philanthropist celebrates just that – 50 years of making Valley shopping centers beautiful again.

To date, Pollack has either developed or redeveloped more than 11-million-square-feet of real estate projects in Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Louisiana, and California. While based in Mesa, the real estate entrepreneur has helped to create thousands of jobs by bringing renovation projects to the cities of Phoenix, Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Glendale, and Peoria.

In honor of this momentous milestone – Former Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed a commendation and three Arizona mayors including Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke, and Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers, have all signed proclamations congratulating Pollack on his 50 years of contributions to Valley cities and their surrounding communities.

“Michael Pollack has made a tremendous impact not just in the beautiful City of Phoenix but throughout the Valley of the Sun.  There are dozens and dozens of shopping centers where he has rebuilt the center and restored the pride back in our communities. As a result, I am honored to present this special proclamation to Michael and to say thank you for everything you have done and continue to do,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego.

Mayor Gallego, along with other state and city dignitaries, will be on hand to present the proclamations to Pollack at a special private celebration that will include over 500 guests on Saturday, September 23rd.

In addition to the proclamations, earlier this summer Pollack was also awarded the prestigious Mayor’s Cup Award from the City of Chandler for more than 30 years of investing and redeveloping commercial properties in Chandler.

Pollack bought one of his first Arizona shopping centers in the early 1990’s at 610 N. Alma School Road in Chandler and he still owns it today.

To date, Pollack has either redeveloped or developed 32 commercial properties representing more than one million square feet just in the City of Chandler. Every real estate purchase and redevelopment has the same goal and that is to bring pride back into the community and to make the surrounding neighborhoods proud to call Chandler home.

“50 years is a long time and we not only congratulate Michael Pollack for his years of service to this community but we are also proud to have selected him as this year’s recipient of the Chandler Cup,” said Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke. “Michael’s commitment to and passion for our community has truly made a difference in the lives of our Chandler residents and we are so appreciative for everything he has done for this great city.”

Pollack’s professional and personal contributions include hosting events, making financial contributions, sponsoring charitable events, and using his musical talent playing along-side his band “Pollack’s Corporate Affair” to bring people together for charitable causes he believes in.  Pollack’s commitment to give back to communities includes donating to non-profit organizations like:  Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, Mayo Clinic, Banner Health Foundation, Save the Family, City of Hope, Boys and Girls Club, Boy Scouts of America, Haitian Disaster Relief, Chandler Regional Hospital, Assistance League of the East Valley, Special Olympics, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, American Cancer Society, and many others.

“I couldn’t be prouder to celebrate this incredible milestone, along with my family and friends.  I am honored by the recognition I have received for this professional achievement and look forward to the future with excitement and anticipation of what’s to come,” said Pollack.

Michael’s aspirations in commercial real estate are driven by a deep-seated passion for commitment to community and a thirst to see positive changes that can only be realized by the dedication of shaping a brighter tomorrow through positive change today.

When asked about his future goals he has just one.  “My goal is to leave this world a better place than I found it.”

This Thrilling Two-game Series Will Begin at 9 p.m. Local Time on Friday, September 22nd, and Saturday, September 23rd.

The Arizona Coyotes are set to make history as the team heads to Melbourne, Australia, to take on the LA Kings in the first-ever NHL games to be played in the Southern Hemisphere. This event is part of the NHL’s ongoing efforts to expand its reach to a broader global audience.

The two NHL teams will compete in a thrilling two-game series at the iconic Rod Laver Arena, which is known for hosting the Australian Open tennis tournament. Coyotes’ fans can catch the action as it happens Friday, September 22nd, and Saturday, September 23rd at 9 p.m. PST. The games can be seen on ESPN+ and the NHL Network.

The exciting trip overseas marks the second time the Arizona Coyotes have played a game at another continent to showcase their skills. Previously, in 2010, the Coyotes played two regular-season games in Czechia, versus the Boston Bruins, strengthening its global presence and building international connections.

When speaking about Australia, Coyotes player Jason Zucker said, “I’m looking forward to it, it’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re fortunate enough to be able to go on a great trip, have a lot of fun doing it, and have a great team bonding aspect along with it.”

The NHL has a long history of taking the game beyond its traditional North American borders, with the inaugural international matches dating back to 1938 when the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens faced off in the United Kingdom. Over the years, the league has brought the thrill of NHL hockey to fans in 15 different countries, with the most recent Global Series featuring games in Switzerland; Berlin, Germany; Prague, Czech Republic and Finland.

“Getting down there and having this trip right off the bat, it’s going to be fun for all of us. We’re going to get some good work in,” said Coyotes player Alex Kerfoot. “It’s unique, where you have the full team together right away. Usually, when you start in these camps, you’re in split groups, so I think we can take advantage of that and get to know everyone really quickly, and it’s up to us with what we do with that time.”

The NHL’s commitment to expanding its presence beyond the United States and Canada remains steadfast, and the upcoming Global Series in Australia represents a new milestone breaking into the southern hemisphere. The NHL Global Series presents an opportunity for the league to showcase its product to a diverse and passionate audience, highlighting the global appeal of ice hockey.

“Just being together in the short period of time together, traveling together, and going through a little bit of adversity with the travel times, I think it’s going to bond us,” said General Manager Bill Armstrong. “You get to play right away and you get to play a battle-tested L.A. Kings team on the other side, so it’s going to be a tremendous challenge for the group.”

The Arizona Coyotes will depart from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Saturday, September 16, and are expected to return to the Valley on Monday, September 25, leaving fans eagerly anticipating the season home opener on Saturday, October 21st. Tickets are available for the season home opener here.

The Arizona Coyotes and LA Kings game in Melbourne will be a historic moment for the franchise and its fans.

Enjoy memorable events for the whole family while attending Barks & Treats and Creepin’ Candy Crawl!

Award-winning master planned community developer Brookfield Residential is excited to present two FREE City of Avondale Parks & Recreation events at Alamar Park during October. These community events are dog and family-friendly, open to the public, and free to attend.

First, the City of Avondale is excited to announce the upcoming Barks & Treats event, a family and dog-friendly celebration set to take place at the picturesque Alamar Park. This event is free to the public and will take place on Saturday, October 7th from 9AM to 11AM.

Families are encouraged to bring their four-legged companions to Alamar Park’s dedicated dog park to witness furry friends relishing in delectable treats, capturing endearing poses in the pup-photo opportunities set against the Barks & Treats backdrop, and flaunting unique personalities in a spirited costume contest starting at 9:45AM. Prizes will be awarded to winners in different categories. Register online for the pet costume contest at www.avondaleaz.gov/rec.

The event will also feature an impressive K-9 demonstration by the City of Avondale Police Department at 9 AM, an assortment of food trucks, pet adoptions courtesy of the Arizona Humane Society, pet-focused exhibitors, and a self-guided Trick or Treat home tour. From 10 AM to 5 PM, Trick or Treat and discover the lifestyle of the Alamar community by exploring model homes crafted by renowned builders, including Capital West, David Weekley, Brightland Homes, Shea Homes, Brookfield Residential, Lennar, William Ryan Homes, and Woodside Homes.

In addition, we are celebrating Alamar’s third anniversary at the annual Cowboy Cookout on Saturday, October 7th from 4PM to 7PM at Alamar’s Hay Moon Park and Pool. This resident only event promises an enjoyable evening filled with friendship, delicious food, and a strong sense of community.

Finally, as Halloween approaches, kick off the evening by taking a leisurely stroll through Avondale’s Creepin’ Candy Crawl, hosted at Alamar Park on Tuesday, October 31st, from 4PM to 7PM. Meander among the ghosts while collecting treats and goodies from exhibitors and vendors. Don’t forget to bring a chair or blanket to enjoy the family-friendly film Casper along with crafts, activities, entertainment, and self-guided Trick or Treat home tour. From 10 AM to 5 PM, Trick or Treat at our model homes and discover how you can call Alamar home.

For more information on Barks & Treats and Creepin’ Candy Crawl contact the City of Avondale Parks and Recreation Department at (623) 333-2400, visit www.avondaleaz.gov/events, or follow on Facebook and Instagram for updates @AvondaleParksandRec.

Alamar Park is located at 4155 South El Mirage Road in Avondale. 

“All of us at Brookfield are thrilled to once again invite everyone to come out and enjoy our signature events at Alamar,” said Dea McDonald, president of the Arizona Land and Housing Group. “These upcoming gatherings give us a chance to bring the community together for fun, family-friendly experiences. It’s a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and build lasting connections with neighbors. We look forward to seeing everyone there.”

Spanning 40 acres, Alamar Park provides a wide range of amenities including an Amphitheatre, fishing lake, splash pad, dog park, event lawn, several play structures, and more. This park is designed to be the hub for Alamar residents and the surrounding community. The park can host large events, concerts, recreational competitions, urban fishing, company picnics, and popular programming.  Recently Alamar Park received the 2023 Outstanding Facility Award (Population 25,000 – 100k) by the Arizona Parks and Recreation Association (APRA).

The park is located inside of the beautiful community of Alamar, a Brookfield Residential master-planned community spanning across 1,150 acres as the result of collaborations with the City of Avondale.  The community is nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Estrella Mountains.









Pollack Real Estate Investments Owner Celebrates 50 Years of Revitalizing, Refurbishing and Redeveloping Shopping Centers, With 33 of Those Years in Arizona

Pollack to Be Honored Later This Month At Large Private Celebration  

It’s not every day one celebrates five decades in business, much less 50 years of redeveloping some of the Valley’s biggest eyesores and turning them into landmark properties.

This month Michael Pollack, the longtime real estate redeveloper and the Valley’s beloved philanthropist celebrates just that – 50 years of making Valley shopping centers beautiful again.

To date, Pollack has either developed or redeveloped more than 11-million-square-feet of real estate projects in Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Louisiana, and California. While based in Mesa, the real estate entrepreneur has helped to create thousands of jobs by bringing renovation projects to the cities of Phoenix, Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Glendale, and Peoria.

In honor of this momentous milestone – Former Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed a commendation and four Arizona mayors including Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke, Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers, and Tempe Mayor Corey Woods have all signed proclamations congratulating Pollack on his 50 years of contributions to Valley cities and their surrounding communities.

“Michael Pollack has made a tremendous impact not just in the beautiful City of Phoenix but throughout the Valley of the Sun. There are dozens and dozens of shopping centers where he has rebuilt the center and restored the pride back in our communities. As a result, I am honored to present this special proclamation to Michael and to say thank you for everything you have done and continue to do,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego.

Mayor Gallego, along with other state and city dignitaries, will be on hand to present the proclamations to Pollack at a special private celebration that will include over 500 guests on Saturday, September 23rd.

In addition to the proclamations, earlier this summer Pollack was also awarded the prestigious Mayor’s Cup Award from the City of Chandler for more than 30 years of investing and redeveloping commercial properties in Chandler. 

Pollack bought one of his first Arizona shopping centers in the early 1990’s at 610 N. Alma School Road in Chandler and he still owns it today.

To date, Pollack has either redeveloped or developed 32 commercial properties representing more than one million square feet just in the City of Chandler. Every real estate purchase and redevelopment has the same goal and that is to bring pride back into the community and to make the surrounding neighborhoods proud to call Chandler home. 

“50 years is a long time and we not only congratulate Michael Pollack for his years of service to this community but we are also proud to have selected him as this year’s recipient of the Chandler Cup,” said Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke. “Michael’s commitment to and passion for our community has truly made a difference in the lives of our Chandler residents and we are so appreciative for everything he has done for this great city.”

Pollack’s professional and personal contributions include hosting events, making financial contributions, sponsoring charitable events, and using his musical talent playing along-side his band “Pollack’s Corporate Affair” to bring people together for charitable causes he believes in. Pollack’s commitment to give back to communities includes donating to non-profit organizations like: Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, Mayo Clinic, Banner Health Foundation, Save the Family, City of Hope, Boys and Girls Club, Boy Scouts of America, Haitian Disaster Relief, Chandler Regional Hospital, Assistance League of the East Valley, Special Olympics, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, American Cancer Society, and many others.  

“I couldn’t be prouder to celebrate this incredible milestone, along with my family and friends. I am honored by the recognition I have received for this professional achievement and look forward to the future with excitement and anticipation of what’s to come,” said Pollack. 

Michael’s aspirations in commercial real estate are driven by a deep-seated passion for commitment to community and a thirst to see positive changes that can only be realized by the dedication of shaping a brighter tomorrow through positive change today. 

When asked about his future goals he has just one. “My goal is to leave this world a better place than I found it.”


About Michael A. Pollack Real Estate Investments

Michael A. Pollack has been in the real estate business for 50 years. To date, Pollack has been involved in more than 11 million square feet of real estate projects. He has been an institution in the Phoenix commercial real estate market for more than 33 years specializing in redeveloping commercial and industrial properties. Michael A. Pollack is one of Arizona’s most respected privately held commercial property owners and operators based in Mesa, Arizona. Michael’s desire to build pride back into communities is a catalyst for many of his real estate ventures always with the goal of making our Arizona cities better one project at a time. For more information visit Pollackinvestments.com.

Voting for Naming the Mountain Lions Opened on August 26th and Ends on September 9th

Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center invites the public to join them in an inspiring journey of rescue, resilience, and community as they launch a naming contest for two adorable baby mountain lions. This unique initiative not only celebrates the remarkable survival story of these young cubs but also raises vital funds to support their care and development.

Months in the making, the Arizona Game & Fish Department reached out to Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, regarding the arrival of two orphaned baby mountain lions, mere weeks old. Arizona Game & Fish Department’s wildlife biologists discovered the mother of the kittens was fatally injured in a car collision.

Despite her injuries, the mother’s indomitable maternal instinct compelled her to make a final, determined journey back to her den in a bid to reach her kittens.

Tragically, the mother passed away just as she reached her cubs, but her courageous act set in motion a life-saving mission. The orphaned brothers were brought into the care of the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, where they now thrive under the vigilant care of dedicated staff and volunteers.

Transitioned to a spacious indoor enclosure, the young mountain lions receive meticulous care, protection from extreme temperatures, vaccinations, and endless opportunities for growth and development. While they may never experience the nurturing of their mother in the wild, they have found a loving sanctuary environment that will be their forever home.

With the future of these two cubs taking shape as permanent sanctuary residents, the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center is calling upon the community to help name these baby cubs. Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center’s staff and volunteers have curated three sets of names, and the contest opened on Saturday, August 26th for the public to cast their votes and choose their favorite names. The names to vote on are Apache & Alpine, Zion & Bryce, and Echo & Dash.

To cast your vote and help support these two adorable cubs, please visit: https://www.southwestwildlife.org/donate/name-the-kittens-2023.html?blm_aid=2556779521

Each vote cast counts as a monetary donation directly contributing to the conservation and care of these baby mountain lions. There is no limit to the number of votes one can cast, so vote away!

“We are so excited to release this news as it will not only educate the public but also raise much-needed funds for these animals and everything we do here at Southwest Wildlife.  We are excited about the journey ahead in helping to raise and rehabilitate the two cubs here at Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center,” said Founder and Director Linda Searles.

Join Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center in preserving the legacy of love and devotion left behind by the mother mountain lion and ensure a bright future for these two new arrivals.

To make a donation or for more information on how you can sponsor an animal please visit https://www.southwestwildlife.org/donate/donate/donate.html.

Featured Editorials

By Jessica Perez

Photo Credit: Jacquelyn Martin, AP News

On Wednesday, September 13th a U.S. Federal Judge deemed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program illegal once again. Texas District Judge Andrew Hanen’s decision has not ended the DACA program but rather brought it back to the spotlight. Currently, the DACA Renewal process is still in full effect. Yet, initial DACA Applicants have been caught at a standstill as U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been unable to process new applications since 2021.

District Judge Hanen’s most recent ruling is expected to be appealed to the U.S Supreme Court, making it the third time the DACA program will be reviewed. This leaves potential and current DACA recipients to fear for their future as the Supreme Court currently holds a conservative majority. Frankly, the possibility of the end of the DACA program has become more real than ever before.

As of 2023 Arizona is home to 21,890 DACA Recipients. Under the program, eligible immigrants who were brought to the country as children are protected from deportation and are provided with work authorization for a two-year period, subject to renewal. If the program were to come to an end, a large portion of qualified individuals would be forced to leave Arizona’s workforce. This would not only impact recipients but would also affect Arizona’s economy. 15,000 Arizona workers were a part of the DACA program and were estimated to pay $92.3 million in state and local taxes each year. Despite their contributions those who have benefited from the DACA program may now have their future safety at risk.

In addition to current DACA recipients, it is estimated that 44,000 young immigrants are eligible for the program in Arizona alone. Many “Dreamers” continue to prepare themselves for the workforce as it is estimated that 10,000 undocumented youths are in higher education institutions in Arizona. Proposition 308 has made it more feasible for youth to continue their education providing in-state tuition to those who meet qualifications but may not have the proper legal status. Regardless of their achievements and readiness, USCIS is unable to process new DACA applications leaving eligible students under the threat of deportation. They are also unable to acquire work in their field after graduation as they lack the proper work authorization to do so. District Judge Hanen’s ruling once again reminds those in limbo that their future in the United States is unpromised.

While the fate of the DACA program remains uncertain. Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes continues to show support. She has acknowledged Dreamers’ talents and hard work as thousands of immigrants have made Arizona their home through DACA protections, she believes “our state is better because of it”. For many young immigrants, Arizona has become the only home they know as many made the journey to the United States before they could even talk. The Supreme Court once again discussing the validity of the DACA program has not been confirmed but is likely to occur due to past events. In the face of uncertainty, thousands of DACA Recipients and dreamers continue to agonize over the destiny of the DACA program and their future.

It has been no secret that the current make-up of the Scottsdale City Council has been what could be called “growth hesitant”; that there is a concerted effort to focus on what are deemed to be unimpeachably high-quality projects to the detriment of overall growth. We have labeled them “the Council of No” before, where they sometimes seem to look for reasons to shoot down projects. We now have evidence that this ethos may be here to stay…at least until and if new councilmembers are elected.

That evidence? A vote to get rid of the Downtown Infill Incentive Plan; it allowed for developers to request shortcuts to avoid stringent rules related to development requirements in order to facilitate growth downtown. Essentially, it helps get exceptions for some of the more problematic (from both development and activist perspectives) aspects of zoning rules, such as height and density restrictions.

It was enacted in 2010 in the wake of the financial crisis in order to help the area recover, which considering how the Phoenix metro area was on the front lines of the housing boom and bust there was a clear need for a shot in the arm when it comes to pro-growth policies. Considering how well Scottsdale rebounded in the subsequent decade, it’s hard to see how it was not a significant success.

What about now? Clearly, the reason for its enactment is no longer valid. It could certainly be seen as dated and unnecessary from a financial perspective (unless we are to go back into recession that is, something that’s been predicted for a couple consecutive years now). That said, it’s retractment is a new stage in the council’s growth hesitancy, both symbolic and functional.

Statements from councilmembers aligned well with expectations. Solange Whitehead expressed a perceived lack of need to incentivize additional growth. Betty Janik echoed those sentiments, stating that it was unequivocally positive news that it was no longer necessary, crediting a thriving downtown and plenty of demand from developers, although that last part has come into question recently, with only six rezoning requests this year compared to 11 over the same period in the year prior. As is expected, Tammy Caputi took the other end of the debate, stating that the city has been routinely stonewalling requests from developers.

The battle lines regarding development and growth have only grown firmer since the 2020 election, with the pro-development side in a clear minority. At this rate, it seems as though the only thing that will change that would come from future elections.

Michelle Ugenti-Rita, former State Senator, releases the following statement:

Today, I am announcing my candidacy for the office of County Supervisor, District 2, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. The voters of District 2 have been deeply disappointed by the actions of appointed Supervisor Thomas Galvin. Whether it is defending botched elections, fiscal mismanagement (including support for the Prop 400 transportation tax increase) or abdicating his responsibility to the residents in Rio Verde Foothills when they desperately needed a solution for their water problem.

For too long, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has lacked transparency, flown under the radar without accountability and been beholden to entrenched bureaucrats and special interests. It is time to call them what they really are, RINOs, and expose the county cartel that has been facilitating and perpetuating a liberal woke agenda. The district deserves better.

“District 2 is a Republican district and the voters want and deserve a Supervisor who reflects those conservative principles. They are tired of being sold out time and time again when politicians like Galvin who claim to be conservative in order to win their vote, then turn around and support, bloated budgets, tax increases and woke gender politics that only succeed in growing government. This stands in stark contrast to my unmatched 12 year record of successfully delivering conservative results to the voters.”

I am honored to have the continued support and endorsement of Congressman David Schweikert (R-D1) who said “Michelle has a stellar and proven record of principled, conservative leadership. I’m confident that she will make an excellent county supervisor. I’m proud to give her my full endorsement and I encourage my fellow Republicans to join me in voting for her in next year’s Republican primary.”

In addition to Congressman Schweikert, Michelle is endorsed by Senator John Kavanagh (LD-3), Representative Joseph Chaplik (LD-3), Representative Barbara Parker (LD-10), Jacqueline Parker (LD-15) Senator Wendy Rogers (LD-7) and the Honorable Kelly Townsend (Former Representative LD-16).

Lake Mead – Photo Credit: LATimes.com

While we often are focused on the Rio Verde Foothills as the main water story locally, but in reality the drought supercycle that has impacted the Colorado River, and thus Lake Mead and Lake Powell (representing Arizona’s water supply) had been the preeminent local story in the run-up to the Rio Verde Foothills crisis. Now that the crisis in the Foothills seems to be largely resolved, our larger water supply issues may be coming back into the forefront.

It had been a very positive spring and summer insofar as melting snowpack is related, with huge increases in the water levels at both lakes resulting from a far above-average snowpack melt. After several down years with lake levels consistently dropping, it has been an extremely positive and much needed development. But all good things must come to an end, and recent data shows that after a five month surge, water levels at those lakes have receded some

While those levels usually recede in the late summer and into the winter every year, we are still left with plenty of questions. The biggest question? Was this winter of high snowfall and plenty of subsequent run-off a one year aberration within a large drought supercycle, or the beginning of a trend of wetter winters?

First, let’s get the obvious out of the way…it’s nearly impossible to predict the weather two weeks out, let alone for the next 12 months or more. That said, it appears as though the La Niña weather pattern is over; they typically bring additional snow to the southern Rockies, which may have contributed to the outperformance in snowpack this year. It’s not unreasonable to believe that the drought supercycle is set to return.

So what is at stake? We probably don’t need to tell our regular readers, but our entire way of life hangs in the balance. Scottsdale has done its best to get in front of this issue, limiting natural lawns for front yards, but this will be a drop in the bucket compared to what may come in the future. Our farming industry may be the first major shoe to drop, considering how water-intensive it is. Tourism may be impacted in the future as golf courses are seen as luxuries and our brand takes a hit due to repeated water cutbacks.

Unfortunately, all we can do is wait and see what the next few years hold for us and monitor the water levels at Lake Mead and Lake Powell as time goes on. If the previous trends resume, our state could irrevocably change.

The water crisis in the Rio Verde Foothills has been the political football that keeps getting punted back and forth.(get up to date here). Politicians at all levels of government have weighed in, and the result has been slow progress. It now appears as though the stand-off is in its final stages, as the city of Scottsdale has voted to resume water delivery to the embattled area.

However, as is the case for many votes, the interesting aspects are to be found in the details, such as how councilmembers voted, their statements and their amendments. And this particular instance provided plenty of interesting information about what is happening behind the scenes.

First comes the amendment proposed by Mayor David Ortega requiring the standpipe district, the water district created in order to be the entity that makes decisions on behalf of the Rio Verde Foothills residents to come up with a “traffic mitigation plan” for any potential traffic issues. Traffic has polled as a significant concern for voters in the upcoming election, so wittingly or not this is a politically cagey move by the Mayor who is obviously running for re-election.

Not everyone is on board with traffic mitigation as a concern though; standpipe district board member Kent Thomas noted that the route is “kind of isolated – not a lot of homes around it. I’m scratching my head as to the (traffic) impact.” Also notable was the statement of concern about traffic mitigation from councilmember Tammy Caputi; as she is widely assumed to be running for Mayor, she is naturally less inclined to agree with Ortega and instead find ways to differentiate herself.

Another interesting development was Councilmember Barry Graham’s amendment to strike a line that would allow for the agreement to be renewed after the expiration of the deal in 2025. He indicates a willingness to give tough love to the district and prompt them to ween themselves off of the city. Also notable (although not surprising) development was Mayor Ortega’s parting shots at the county, calling the standpipe water board “a novel government entity and they are doing this in spite of the fact that the board of supervisors did not step up on this,” to which his foil Supervisor Thomas Galvin said that they “did step up on this issue.” It is unlikely that they will be getting each other Christmas cards this year.

But regardless of the political implications and jockeying for soundbites and attention, who are the biggest winners in this development? The residents of the Rio Verde Foothills, as Thomas estimates that the water will begin flowing by the end of the month at a very reasonable price. For a community that has been somewhat held hostage for quite some time now, a community that has had more questions than answers, few deserve a positive outcome more than them. 

It should be no surprise to any of our readers that healthcare is an incredibly important industry here in Arizona, and perhaps even most so in Scottsdale. The combination of Americans collectively living much longer than they have in the past and the fact that very many of them choose to live their golden years in our city has led to the outsized importance of the industry in our home. The numbers reflect this reality: it employs more people in our state than any other industry.

As such, we found a recent survey of the best hospitals to work for very illuminating, both in who it includes and who it leaves out. 70,000 employees participated in this survey nationally and the hospitals were ranked based on working conditions, compensation, diversity, potential for advancement, as well as if they would recommend their employer to others. Two notable Scottsdale hospitals were on the list, and one major Arizona healthcare provider was not.

As for the Good list, Scottsdale’s born-and-raised gem HonorHealth makes the cut as one of the best hospitals to work at, which should come as absolutely no surprise. Having been founded in 1962, it is a long-standing good steward in our city and a dedicated member of the community. It is clearly doing many things right, both in quality of services and in how it treats its talent.

Also on the list is the Mayo Clinic; while not originally from Arizona, its two campuses in Scottsdale and Phoenix routinely rank high in quality of care. When employees like where they work, it is often reflected in the quality of work that they do, so it is entirely understandable that Mayo is a genuinely positive place to be a healthcare provider.

However, it’s notable who is off the list of great places to work, and it happens to be the biggest single employer in Arizona: Banner Health. The company trying to make their way into the Scottsdale market was nowhere to be seen on this list. If one were to directly connect the happiness of healthcare providers with the quality of care they give (a very reasonable connection to make in our view), why would we want a lesser provider in the city to lower our quality of care, especially during a nursing shortage?

Part of the reason why Scottsdale is such a great place to live is the high quality of services that we have the luxury of enjoying in nearly every sector. When it comes to healthcare, the Scottsdale firefighters seem to have it right. We should support our existing system, not disrupt it for the sake of a hospital that just wants to expand its empire at the expense of Scottsdale.

Photo Credit: Roman Pilipey, AFP

By Kamryn Sobel

Illegal or not illegal? Earlier this summer, on June 28th, the City of Phoenix requested a Firearms Transfer Agreement to the National Police of Ukraine. The City of Phoenix selected approximately 500-600 unclaimed firearms to be agreed upon to transfer. This was approved and submitted by Assistant City Manager Lori Bays and the Police Department. The question revolving around this topic is the legality of the transaction.

The City asked for approval of the transfer through Gruelle, a private company that exports and imports cross-border. Gruelle has also dealt with a similar transfer of weapons from the U.S. city of Miami and the Ukrainian city of Irpin last August. Per the City Council Formal Meeting with the City of Phoenix, it was approved. However, should the ordinance be rescinded?

Two Republican State Representatives, House Judiciary Chairman Quang Nguyen, and Vice Chair Selina Bliss went as far as filing a complaint saying that this agreement is illegal. In a news release sent out by the Arizona House of Representatives, it claims that this transaction is violating the law and therefore should be looked at. Due to this complaint, it will force Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes to investigate. Despite the disagreements, the City of Phoenix is still planning to move forward with their plans and has refused to act upon the complaints.

According to Arizona’s state laws, or a simplified version, these unclaimed firearms may only be SOLD and not donated. The buyer should also be authorized to receive and dispose of the weapons under federal and state law. It seems it doesn’t matter who is on the receiving end of these weapons, as Ukraine is still at war with Russia. The use of these unclaimed weapons would also be going towards a real conflict as the people of Ukraine continue to struggle.

However, just like State Representatives Bliss and Nguyen said, it is the only option for public officials to follow the law. Though this situation is under unfortunate circumstances and trying to help those in need, the City of Phoenix still needs to make sure that everything is legal in the process. If something were to happen now or in the future, it is important that safety and security is the number one priority.

This is where things get tricky. On one hand, the City of Phoenix brings to light that its actions are like a previous donation of weapons by Governor Ducey in 2022. On the other hand, could they also be praying on their own downfall for the future of firearms in the state of Arizona?

Until the investigation is complete and the report is released, it is hard to tell the outcomes of this donation. Should the ordinance be rescinded, something to consider is how to deal with these events in the future.

As a firm believer of following the law, regardless of the position of power individuals may hold, helping those in need is also extremely important. With the donation of unclaimed weapons, the investigation should also be looking at how they can go about this LEGALLY so that Ukraine, or whoever the receiver, is getting the help they need. So, it is then imperative that the City of Phoenix should carefully consider the agreement, as it could prohibit similar acts in the future.

Photo Credit: Ross D. Franklin

Recently the city of Scottsdale took a more open and assistive approach to homelessness, taking advantage of a grant offer by opening its doors and helping house a number of them (read the full story here). While it was a move that would clearly be seen as empathetic and compassionate, it is not one that comes without potential ramifications, both social and political. And now we learn that a state legislator is carrying that mantle of challenging if this is the right move for the city.

Indeed, State Representative Matt Gress, who represents District 4 which covers Paradise Valley and most of Scottsdale, has officially lined up on the side of skepticism as it relates to this project. He recently submitted a list of questions to Mayor David Ortega related to the initiative; as he puts it, they are questions that his constituency have asked about the project.

While the initiative is relatively small in scope, encompassing the use of 10 hotel beds, and will be funded with a $940,000 grant, the argument could be made that it is opening up a pandora’s box of collaboration with the state, potentially leading to the city being opened up further for housing the homeless. Along with that is a concern regarding a dip in quality of life, assuming that some of the issues that led to those people becoming homeless in the first place (i.e. drug abuse and mental health concerns) would spill over into the city.

While the Scottsdale city council was relatively unified in their support of this plan, with a 6-1 vote in favor and only Barry Graham voting no, this does represent yet another showdown between Mayor Ortega and other echelons of government. Regular readers will remember legislators such as Joseph Chaplik and Alexander Kolodin taking shots at him, as well as county supervisor Thomas Galvin over the Rio Verde Foothills water crisis.

Mayor Ortega, never being one to back down from a fight, clearly isn’t about to start in the face of this challenge. He responded in a way that could be construed as passive-aggressive, saying “At last count, there are approximately 9754 licensed hotel rooms within Scottsdale city limits. Your correspondence regarding 10 hotel rooms will be answered in full by staff.”

While we tend to think that the positives outweigh the negatives for this move by the city, that while there are concerns that the positive brand identity of being a compassionate and pragmatic city should outweigh those, that doesn’t mean that a conversation shouldn’t take place. It is our sincerest hope that we can have that conversation, and that it is productive and not overcome with hyperbole and negativity.

Devin Del Palacio. Photo Credit: Arizona’s Family

The Arizona School Board Association is an organization that largely falls under the radar of your average local current affairs aficionado. Typically you never hear about them unless something has gone very wrong. In that vein, a new scandal is brewing and is threatening to have many more people talk about them, what they do and why.

The most recent president of the association James Bryce was reportedly pushed out of his position and the association’s general counsel released…for what appears to be a case of doing the right thing. This stems from findings that its newly hired executive director lied on his resume and points to a larger problem of political coziness and backroom dealings.

The executive director in question, Devin Del Palacio, is well known in Arizona’s Democratic politics as a longtime member of the Tolleson Union High School District governing board. He unsuccessfully ran for the state legislature in 2018, ending up in 3rd place in a three-way Democratic primary. He ran for re-election to the school board in 2022 and barely squeaked into 2nd place by under 300 votes, with the 1st and 2nd place finishers winning election.

Del Palacio lied about his academic status in order to be eligible for the executive director job; he stated that he graduated from a college when he had spent less than one full year there. But perhaps the most interesting and damning aspect: Del Palacio used those falsified credentials in his application to be appointed to an open seat in the Arizona state legislature. Shockingly, it seems as though not even a basic background check was performed before this appointment.

Also shocking is the amount of pushback that Bryce received from the rest of the ASBA. It should be widely presumed and accepted that a material falsehood on the application you used to get that seat is grounds for termination, or at the very least a reason to ask a lot of hard questions and dig further. To have received a report demonstrating this and to not move forward with a larger investigation, but instead to gaslight the person who brought it forward and pressure them to resign is indicative of a deep rot within the ASBA.

The ASBA may have flown under the radar for a long time, but clearly that was a collective mistake that will hopefully be rectified. How over half of a governing board was willing to ignore material falsehoods and undermine the actions of someone who was attempting to shine light on them demands a true investigation, and at least on the surface seems to demand a full upheaval and real change in that board.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

In what will easily be one of the most watched and most interesting Senate elections in all of America in quite some time, the race to unseat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema just got a bit more interesting, and potentially in a way that will be much more advantageous to the Republicans next year.

Former U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters recently announced that he will be taking another swing at the seat. Masters ran a respectable campaign in 2022 but ran into the fundraising buzzsaw that was Mark Kelly, losing by 5 percentage points. Considering the lopsided nature of expenditures however, with Kelly’s campaign spending over $92 million versus under $20 million for Masters, it was at least a moral victory to keep things that close.

But for anyone who has been watching Arizona politics (or even competitive Senate races), you know that this is not a normal election. As Sinema has redesignated herself as politically independent, this is currently shaping up as a hyper-competitive three-way race, with Ruben Gallego in a strong leading position on the Democratic side and the specter of a Masters/Kari Lake showdown in the Republican primary.

While Lake hasn’t officially announced her run, it is one of Arizona’s worst-kept secrets that she has been eyeing this seat for some time, even going so far as staffing up in preparation. While her fundraising wasn’t where it should have been (primarily since she figured she could eschew campaign orthodoxy), with a gargantuan email list and lessons learned, along with Masters, this would almost certainly line up to be a bruising, expensive primary.

How will it turn out? On its face, it does have the appearance of a stylistic re-run of the 2022 gubernatorial primary, with the Trump-ian candidate (Lake) against a more establishment, moderate Republican (Karrin Taylor-Robson in 2022, Masters in 2024). With Trump having a likely insurmountable lead in the Presidential primary and a primary voting base that still loves him, there is likely not much reason to think that the establishment candidate will win this time either.

Regardless of the outcome however, this is certainly shaping up to be a general election for the ages. And for us pundits who appreciate good content to write about, it’s about the best possible scenario.

By Alexander Lomax

The difference between state politics and county politics is often a large chasm of extremism; state parties are typically much more moderate compared to their county brethren (note: check out our coverage of the Maricopa County Democratic Party here to see some great examples). And true to form, any time it seems as though the state GOP seems to be headed in the right direction, the Maricopa County Republican Party (MCRP) shows that insanity still has foothold on the Republican side.

We have recently found out that the MCRP wanted to run the presidential preference primary…internally. As in, hold an entire statewide election outside the infrastructure of the actual elections system. As in, the state party would be responsible for setting up all the polling centers, performing all of the precinct votes (for a total of hundreds of thousands of votes), and performing all of the quality control.

To look at it another way, the entity which has had a rough go regarding fundraising and has precious little money in the bank would be responsible for building and executing on an entire elections infrastructure…from scratch. Why? Because the pervasiveness of the lies of election security have been so successful within rank and file Republicans in the state that this seems like a logical conclusion to many.

Thankfully for the Republicans, this absurd idea has been shot down and elections will go on as scheduled, but the fact that it even got that far is a sad sign of the times as to where the Party of Trump has gone. They are willing to throw punches at windmills, to incite further doubt in our institutions, spend a ton of money and get an inferior product purely to attempt to placate the former President. Meanwhile, recent chaos in local GOP elections have demonstrated the short-falls of hand counting.

Meanwhile, for the rest of us who believe that Joe Biden is entirely too old to lead a country, for those that think that the progressive excesses of blue states and cities are something to be avoided…where do we go? What options do we have? It is political homelessness defined.

In the epic miniseries Chernobyl, the lead character said “What is the cost of lies? It’s not that we’ll mistake them for the truth. The real danger is that if we hear enough lies, then we no longer recognize the truth at all.” Was he talking about Russia or the modern day Republican party? It’s nearly impossible to tell.


by Shirley Wagner

My relationship with HonorHealth goes back to 1977, when I started working at Scottsdale Memorial Hospital as a nuclear medicine technologist.

The system has had name changes over the years, but quality patient care has always been the top priority. Physicians that practice at the hospital are innovative and forward looking.

Upon retiring, I have continued my relationship with HonorHealth by volunteering at the Thompson Peak campus. Thompson Peak Medical Center was recently awarded a 5-star rating by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Two of the five hospitals in the state awarded this rating serve the north Scottsdale community. The other hospital awarded this 5-star rating is the nearby Mayo Clinic Hospital/Phoenix.

As a longtime and involved resident of Scottsdale, I am opposed to the construction of a Banner hospital at the southwest corner of Hayden Road and the 101 freeway — it is simply not needed. The north Scottsdale area already has the highest quality hospitals with plenty of proven bed capacity and expertise to meet our healthcare needs now and decades into the future.

HonorHealth accepts all major insurances, so Scottsdale residents do not need to travel out of the area to access high quality healthcare. The water usage of the proposed hospital would add additional burden to Scottsdale’s already taxed water supply.

The traffic on Hayden Road is already very heavy, the addition of hundreds of vehicles/day would be chaotic. An additional hospital in the area would exacerbate workforce staffing shortages. An unnecessary new hospital will not create more physicians and nurses but rather further strain the workforce.

I hope Mayor Ortega and the Scottsdale City Council will put Scottsdale residents first and say no to an unwanted and unneeded hospital near Hayden and the 101.

by Alexander Lomax

Photo Credit: Mary Altaffer, AP

The jostling, jockeying and politicking between Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs and the Republican-led Arizona House and Senate has made for some truly interesting watching in the short time that Hobbs has been Governor. While she has had a tumultuous time finding her feet (get up to date here), the AZ GOP has had nearly as tough a time trying to figure out how to legislate over, around or through her veto power.

One of the ways that they learned to exert their power and pressure Hobbs into concessions has been holding up her nominations for positions within the executive branch, one of the traditional checks on power between the parties. The Republican caucus has indeed embraced this with a certain degree of passion. Hobbs has wielded her veto pen early and often, and holding up her nominations has been one of the few responses that the GOP has had, and a response that they’ve embraced.

That response may have recently gotten completely out-of-hand however. Now the GOP caucus has apparently made its own committee…to review her nominees.

I think that the entire premise bears repeating: the party that so many of us gravitated towards as the party of small government just created a new government committee…to do what was already one of their job roles. State senators review appointees and votes on them. Precisely why is a new committee needed for them to do what they’ve been elected to do?

I can appreciate some good kabuki political theater as much as the next nerd, but this is just embarrassing. You signed onto a job, but instead of simply doing your job you’re creating extra bureaucracy in order to create some sort of bush-league McCarthy trials.

Then again, the fact that Jake Hoffman is in the middle of it should be of no surprise. His troll farms and manipulation of the various social media platforms by using people from across the world to pump disinformation into our politics has egregious enough to get him banned from those platforms. He must miss not being a gross puppet master in Facebook groups so he feels the need to overcompensate with this, and we all lose as a result.

The AZ GOP is missing out on an opportunity to be the grown-ups in the room. It’s not as though local Democrats have been mistake-free, far from it. But the GOP seems to be resistant to giving mature, reasonable folks a better option to vote for, as if our demographics and attitudes haven’t shifted since people came here in droves decades ago. I’m embarrassed for them.

Photo Credit: Scottsdale Progress

You probably know Scottsdale as an amazing place to eat, drink, golf, relax, and live in general. On occasion it receives the proper accolades for items that it is not particularly known for often, but rarely does the subject of pets come up. But recently, our fair city was listed as the number 1 most pet friendly city in America in a recent study by WalletHub. We won’t argue, although it is a bit surprising.

Of course, any survey is entirely beholden to the metrics it considers most important, and for the WalletHub study those metrics included some fairly agreeable ones, such as the number of dog parks, the number of dog friendly businesses, and the number of animal shelters. According to bringfido.com, there are 140 pet-friendly restaurants in the city, which is unquestionably impressive.

But perhaps the most surprising piece of information is that this all may actually turn into a political talking point in next year’s Mayoral race. Yes, dogs may be taking a seat at the Scottsdale political table along with development, traffic, and short-term rentals!

After all, this survey (perhaps not coincidentally) comes on the heels of this Scottsdale Progress article talking about the Thompson Peak dog park, part of the Bond 2019 package of debt-funded municipal projects that voters approved in 2019. While some have come under fire for going over budget (some because of inflation, some due to mismanagement) and the Thompson Peak dog park project is no different, many would likely look past a $1 million overrun in costs for a lasting and cherished facility that north Scottsdalians and their dogs will enjoy for years if not decades (assuming it lives up to its hype).

Scottsdale Mayor Dave Ortega was a strong proponent of the Chapparal dog park, is keen to mention his involvement in its founding, and is fond of touting its success. He has made numerous comments about his desire for more dog spaces, his general love for dogs, and even had campaign dog bandanas made for previous campaigns. It would seem to be a case where the personal intersects with the professional.

There are quite a few divisive labels that a city or area could be labeled with, ones that would appeal to some and strongly turn off others. If yours was the best area for, for instance, gun or abortion rights, you would delight some at the cost of alienating others. But not dogs…while being relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of government, making a city friendliest for dogs will have few natural opponents. It might be the most agreeable part of Mayor Ortega’s time in office!

By Monica Zepeda

As the hot Arizona sun beats down relentlessly on this record holding summer, a common complaint crosses my mind; how can we implement outdoor a/c? A bad joke, but a genuine concern for the unwalkable city of Phoenix. As the auto industry benefits from our daily steamy trek on car dependency, the bags of ruined outfits I have and bad hair days are piling high. Paired together with the arduous journey of a simple walk out of your car to your job; this is the dread-worthy walk of life in Satan’s A**hole Arizona

Our Urban Heat has a particular effect on common surfaces of rising to higher temperatures than normal. With no natural barrier to either, their frequent side effects can have a nasty bite. After my second heat exhaustion spell I was beat, I fell ill for the next whole day. Walking from my parking stop to the front door of the downtown courthouse for work was all it took.

The designs of our wonderful city can be attributed to the meddling of auto companies. There’s rich history in the layout of how far buildings are from one another. We are grid locked by a system on a mile-by-mile basis. The sun shines down without worry of buildings or shade stopping its encroachment. There are no tall sky lines to protect us either. This leads to a road to riches for auto industries and an asphalt to pick and shield ourselves up from. 

Of course, the city could help alleviate this by creating natural shade. It could make tree planting a high priority like parts of Tempe and Scottsdale have. It could kill two birds with one stone and both make the city more beautiful and help counteract the urban heat island effect. Yet for some reason, it never seems to be a priority for Phoenix; cars do…which is unfortunate.

The temperatures continue to warm up and the side effects seem to grow right along with it. The dominance of the auto industry making nothing close by in Phoenix makes the city lack walking about. 

We will never stop being advocates for public involvement in our city’s affairs. Often times elected officials are in a bit of a bubble and need to hear from everyday citizens in order to get them out of that bubble. Besides, civic involvement is the high tier from which you have every right to complain about politics!

Scottsdale has been a relative beacon of citizen involvement recently, with numerous opportunities to offer feedback on initiatives and projects, and this is further exemplified by its recent implementation of Speak Up, Scottsdale. It’s a “a new online community designed to foster continuous, meaningful conversation among residents, businesses and the city”.

This was all part of the Scottsdale General Plan 2035, the voter-approved initiative meant to build and implement a proper growth plan to guide the city into the future. Built into it were designed solicitations for feedback from all stakeholders, a welcome change from typical top-down initiatives from many other major cities.

According to the city’s press release, the new forum will be a “hosted online platform that allows participants to contribute their insights, opinions and feedback about city initiatives, local issues, civic matters and services”. It will be found quite conveniently at SpeakUpScottsdale.com.

A city is at its greatest when the citizenry has bought into its progress. Leaders can make good decisions, but if it’s not in concert with the constituency, then progress can only go so far. It’s vital that you weigh in on the issues that impact you the most, and in that spirit we hope that you make your voice heard via Speak Up Scottsdale.

Photo Credit: azcentral.com

It has been nearly impossible to ignore the hyperbolic growth of sports betting in America. Sports matches are inundated with advertisements from sportsbooks, there has been a de facto arms race between a few of the bigger players, and most prominent sports talking heads on digital platforms have had sponsorships from betting platforms.

Now we know that the sportsbook at the TPC Scottsdale is set to open this fall. While this is certainly a time of the signs and probably somewhat avoidable, we can’t help but want to take a step back and see if this progress is actually progress, or an unfortunate reversion to an overall negative.

Sports betting has been on fire from a business perspective in the last few years, with a whopping 72.4% increase in revenue in the US compared to 2021’s record year. Considering Arizona’s status as a state that is business-friendly and somewhat antagonistic to regulations, it was clear that it was destined to be a place that would be comfortable with legalized sports betting. And considering the course’s history as being host to golf’s biggest party, it is only natural that betting would find a home there.

Will it be successful? For DraftKings, absolutely. After all, with a positioning that is front and center in a golf tournament known best for being wild and crazy (and booze-fueled), it will undoubtedly generate plenty of bets from people with little insider knowledge of the sport they’re betting on but the unbridled confidence and inhibition that is inherent in heavy alcohol use. But then the question segues to…does the fact that it will very likely be successful means that it will be a net positive?

It should be stated that the morality (or immortality) of a subject is often situational. Athletes such as Phil Mickelson, Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan were renowned for having lost gargantuan amounts of money gambling, but few would say that it’s inherently bad, since they have the money to lose. But many states often act in a somewhat predatorial way to push the lottery, slots, and other more “blue collar” methods of gambling to people who don’t have much excess income to lose, which is certainly more of a gray area as it pertains to right and wrong.

So what about gambling at the TPC Scottsdale? It’s probably safe to say that the average attendee has a reasonable amount of disposable income, and therefore can eat the consequences of rash decisions easily so long as they are able to stay somewhat in control. As such, our inclination is to lean on the side of personal responsibility. So long as no one is stealing purses to fund a burgeoning gambling addiction, all good.

Two things are for certain however, regardless of assignments of morality. One, it will make plenty of money, and two, the craziest tournament in all of golf will somehow manage to get crazier.

Photo Credit: Mark Heinle, Arizona Republic

Regular readers are acutely aware of the water crisis in the Rio Verde Foothills, the beleaguered community on the border of Scottsdale. Their trouble securing a long-term water source has been well documented and is still an ongoing process. But as the state legislature and other entities were forced to weigh in on the subject, it has now become clear that it is becoming a cautionary tale and has provided a spark for building precedent.

A subcommittee of the Governor’s Water Policy Council recently met and discussed the priorities which will become some of the bigger hot-button issues in Arizona’s present and future growth. It also demonstrated what will clearly become points of friction and contention between growth advocates and their lobbyists and lawmakers in the future. Perhaps most notable is that former AZ Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers is now one of those lobbyists, as he now represents EPCOR, the water service company at the center of the Rio Verde Foothills crisis.

Those issues are related to water allocations for homes built specifically to rent, subdividing properties into numerous smaller subproperties and their water allocations, and grandfathered rights for water. All of them are devoted to figuring out how to best preserve our dwindling water supplies and to find the proper balance between growth and conservation.

It seems evident that there will be a clear political schism, even if everyone agrees to the core problems. The Republican caucus will lean towards the side of growth, home ownership and not overregulating the developers. The Democrats will lean towards pushing developers to properly secure all of the water rights necessary before a shovel is put to the ground, and to not build out more than is absolutely necessary.

It is worth noting that this is simply a working group with no voting power, they are simply there to put together recommendations. As we have seen, every contentious vote has a difficult pathway towards becoming approved legislation. With a Republican-led legislature and a Democrat governor, a consensus is necessary. Since the committee is under the guise of Governor Hobbs, she will likely lean towards being approving of her committee’s findings, but when numerous stakeholders will have dissenting opinions, nothing will be clear cut.

As time has shown, it is easy to identify issues, but it is much harder to find agreements amongst stakeholders on how to alleviate them. And finding agreements between non-political stakeholders does not mean that politicians will also come to the same conclusion. But it is a good start; at least we now all recognize that there are concrete issues that need to be resolved, instead of hiding our heads in the sand.


When it comes to the first year for Governor Katie Hobbs, it has been somewhat turbulent. It began with numerous missteps but seems to have course-corrected after the hiring of her new Chief of Staff (you can get up to date here). That said, recent actions have shown that unforced errors may be nearly impossible to avoid without keeping her entirely away from a microphone.

Governor Hobbs recently made big waves by stating that former-President Trump should have charges pressed against him for election interference in the 2020 election in Arizona. Now that Democrat Kris Mayes is our state AG, this is not outside the realm of possibility. This was in response to a question about whether Arizona should follow Georgia’s path after it pressed charges related to Trump’s interference into their election.

It should be noted that in Georgia’s case, there was a recorded phone call that clearly depicts Trump literally asking election officials to “find” enough votes for him to win the state. While there was clear evidence that Trump and his team made calls to Arizona officials related to the election, and it is likely that there was a similar request to find enough votes for him to win, as of writing there has not been the sort of smoking gun evidence as there is in Georgia.

However, more damning was the Hobbs’s administration’s response. Her Communications Director then had to do damage control and state that Governor Hobbs misheard the question. Pure crisis management due to an unforced error.

It could have been an off-the-cuff political move for Hobbs, considering that Trump fans were unlikely to support her anyway. But in reality it probably is more a representation of her thoughts and attitudes towards the former President. After all, this is directly in the wake of the revelation that she attempted to have Twitter intervene after she used the platform to call his follower base “neo-Nazi”. Such another unforced error simply seems to give more fuel to the fire that she is more engaged with a disdain for Trump than she is leading for all Arizonans.

Regardless of one’s thoughts on Trump, it is not in the jurisdiction of the governor to press charges. While certainly she is well within her rights to have an opinion, there is also wisdom to be found in not expressing your opinion whenever it is asked. While we all say that we want straight-talking politicians, in reality that is often not the case. The best politicians know when to properly dodge a question and when to answer one.

Now we perhaps see why her campaign handlers avoided a debate during her successful campaign; that they can’t trust her to say something that won’t make the rest of the team do damage control. Now that there is some blood in the water, we may see news outlets more aggressively pushing for answers to awkward questions. The Hobbs Team would be well advised to find a way to teach her the importance of silence, sooner rather than later.

Criticism is an absolute given if you run for a high public office; regardless of who you are, what party you’re in and what your background is, you are certain to get some slings and arrows flying at you. Governor Katie Hobbs has taken plenty of those slings and arrows, some being legitimate and some ridiculous. Now a new accusation has come around, but this one with some legitimate evidence.

In 2017 Hobbs posted a tweet where she was critical of then-President Trump. Her tweet, while rather hyperbolic and nowhere near her own jurisdiction as a state Senator, was not the least bit unusual for someone in her position. After all, if you tried to cancel any state legislator who was critical of Joe Biden, half of red-state America would be inundated with apologies from politicians. But while the tweet itself got her roasted on the platform, that wasn’t the end of it.  

After a contentious 2020 election which she oversaw as Secretary of State, online activists used this against her to support their view that the election was stolen. She then reached out to Twitter from her SoS email address in an attempt to get them to resolve this situation. Perhaps most perplexingly, she claimed to not have evidence of doing so, after blocking those perpetrators immediately.

It should be noted that Twitter apparently did not act on this; even though Hobbs apparently offered no evidence, they hypothetically could have performed queries to root out some bad actors. While there was certainly some degree of ideological tilt in parts of the Twitter organization (and likely still is in some capacity at “X”), they apparently had no desire to do Hobbs’s homework for her.

It is also worth noting that political harassment has been a serious problem on the platform, and America’s Ground Zero for that seemed to be Arizona. The amount of vitriol that Hobbs got for that in a role that doesn’t count votes, for someone who largely seems to have done her job in a rather innocuous way is a shameful and sometimes dangerous reflection of the worst of us, as well as the work of operatives who are able and willing to harness the worst of us. They tapped into and weaponized ignorance; those were often far greater evils than the thin skin of an elected official.

That said, the way with which she made this attempt was just about the definition of amateur. To submit complaints within the app is normal; I think it’s safe to say that most users have done so at some point, and absolutely none of us reading or writing this have received the cumulative level of hate that Hobbs has. But to email them FROM HER OFFICIAL EMAIL ADDRESS instead of deploying someone who works in her office, especially knowing that it would be subject to FOIA requests is…quite short-sighted. To do so without ammunition in the way of screenshots that demonstrate the gravity of the problem was…incredibly puzzling. It was a move that seemed to be a snap decision based on emotion, not a thought-out response.

So is this a game-changer? Well, is a politician demonstrating thin skin and making a poorly thought-out Hail Mary request in the heat of a moment a game changer? If that’s the case, there would be too many game-changers to count in our country in the recent past. Now that Hobbs has real power, it would likely serve the AZ GOP to focus on potential suppression in areas where she does have power, instead of throwing impactless red meat clickbait to people who will oppose her whatever she does.

2022 Scrum

Ne’Lexia Galloway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Alexander Lomax

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Subscribe to APG

Enter your email address to subscribe to APG and receive notifications of new articles by email.