Once upon a time Jason Alexander and Solange Whitehead were allies. They worked smartly and effectively on the same team to defeat the ill-conceived Desert Discovery Center a few years back. In many ways Alexander’s indefatigable leadership paved the way for Whitehead’s election in 2018.
But a split has developed between the two, largely on policy lines. This recent Facebook exchange about a proposed redevelopment across from Honor Health’s North Scottsdale hospital called Ironwood 92 is noteworthy and instructive.
On this one, Alexander is right. Clearly. Undeniably. And Whitehead would be wise to heed his counsel on this particular project. We have written previously about the project’s substantial merits. An empty old office building. Next to a shopping center that supports the plan. Across from a hospital that has endorsed it too. As has the Arizona Nurse’s Association which says housing costs for those on the front lines is getting out of control. And proposed heights are actually less than what is allowed now!
Oh, and did we mention that the project is being proposed by a long-time Scottsdale business person? With an investment partner based in Scottsdale? To be managed by a Scottsdale-based company? It truly is a project by and for Scottsdale.
We could go on but instead want to focus on Alexander’s deconstruction of Whitehead’s previous opposition.
Whitehead talks of “hundreds of emails” she purportedly previously received opposing the plan. She fails to note that NONE of the emails came from people living near the site. Indeed, those closest to the site support it. Overwhelmingly. Wasn’t that and hasn’t that been Whitehead’s campaign and governing ethos?
Whitehead’s strength as a councilor is that she gives most everyone a fair shake. Then, like a good umpire, she calls balls and strikes. She supports some projects, opposes others.
But no sane individual can visit the run-down office site of Ironwood 92 and think it should not be redeveloped to help a hospital, shopping center, traffic flow (since it is adding a new light) and in a small way address spiraling housing costs in Scottsdale. People will again have the chance to see this at a project Open House Wednesday from 4p-6p on site.
Whitehead knows all of this. But she’s playing games for some strange reason. And Alexander is wise to call her out on it.