Freshman Rep. Kolodin Grabs Spotlight as Major Water Cuts Expected in Scottsdale: Is He Using His Pulpit Effectively?

Alexander Kolodin. Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Regular readers know just how seriously we take the water issue here at the Arizona Progress & Gazette: you can get up to date here. A recent bombshell report by the Scottsdale Water Director shines a new light on Scottsdale’s potential future water deficit, and freshman Representative Alexander Kolodin has used the opportunity to gain the spotlight regarding this issue. But is he doing so in a productive manner?

Taking a step back, you can find a rundown of Scottsdale Water Director Brian Biesemeyer’s findings in this article. There is a major positive development, that the city is banking away significant amounts of water in a water savings account of sorts. But the negative finding is the real headline: that even under a best-case scenario the city should expect a 40-50% cut in water from the Colorado River in 2024.

Obviously, with such a major development, true leadership is needed. We have seen through the Rio Verde Foothills water crisis that the city and county are not working together, and so the opportunity is there for a legislator to step into the leadership void in a way that is pragmatic, not polarizing, and the need is critical. As such, Rep. Kolodin’s interest in the issue is noteworthy.

We should add that Kolodin’s background does give one pause regarding his potential to not polarize this subject. After all, he gained notoriety by being a major Republican party attorney, so to a degree, polarization is likely somewhat hard-wired into him. That said, people can often surprise in their ability to step up to the plate in difficult positions.

In that spirit, some comments in this article give pause. ”Here’s the thing: I’m not sure if that water is there,’ Kolodin said. ‘I’m not sure Scottsdale knows how much Scottsdale has,’ he added with a scoffing laugh. ‘Cities have been saying for years, ‘look how much water we have’ … I think it’s actually going to be a pile of (expletive),’. While the Scottsdale Progress is editorializing here, these are not the words of a highly serious person on a critical issue. If he’s not sure that that water is there, he should do his damndest to learn more instead of attempting edgy statements.

That said, he does seem to have a legitimate interest in the issue, and he recognizes the lack of cooperation between the county and city. He is clearly an intelligent person with the ability to understand the nuances of complex situations. He has the ability to step into the void, bridge the divide and build real solutions. But will he leave his political nature aside to do so?

Alexander Kolodin has a real opportunity to truly make a mark. It will depend on his ability to leave aside political gotcha-ism and be a true, pragmatic leader who chooses to embrace and not alienate those across the aisle. This could be HIS issue, the most important work he does. Will he step up to the challenge? Time will tell.