Guest Editorial: 2018 Highlights of Scottsdale

By Scottsdale Pinetop
Very shortly, 2018 will be a thing of the past. But it was a political year like few others full of highs and lows. Here’s a quick look back at some of the major political events in Scottsdale that helped define it as we welcome the New Year.

*This has been the “Year of the Woman,” not just nationally but locally as well. While Kyrsten Sinema, Sandra Kennedy, and Kathy Hoffman’s victories captured state and national headlines, it was Kathy Littlefield’s success that was locally acclaimed. But it’s not just the victory that’s surprising. It was the large margin she won by. The final vote count had Littlefield with 56,829 total votes, over 7,000 votes ahead of second place victor Solange Whitehead (the newcomer to the political arena).
Rounding out the election, Linda Milhaven was able to cross the finish line despite the harsh criticism she received from the Protect Our Preserve community. A vocal advocate for the Desert Discovery Center, she was constantly in the crossfire. But it was her pro-business attitude, love for the arts and regard for the city that ultimately secured her victory. Once again, Scottsdale will have a majority of its members being women, with females being the only three to be elected this year.
It would be unwise to disregard the influence the No DDC organization had on Littlefield and Solange’s success. Early on in the campaign, Kathy Littlefield and Solange Whitehead were not shy to share their support for the Protect Our Preserve movement, becoming one of the organization’s leaders next to Jason Alexander and Mike Norton. And their support paid off.
* Speaking of Proposition 420, the Protect Our Preserve has become a force to be reckoned with. After months of political infighting and bantering – the Desert Discovery Center (DDC) is dead. As in dead, dead. Thank goodness. In the DC Ranch and WestWorld precincts, the measure passed with 84% and 85% of the vote respectively. In numerous other north Scottsdale precincts, the vote hovered around 75%. Even in McCormick Ranch, the core of what support the DDC did have, the measure passed with 69% of the vote. With such a unifying victory, it has many questioning what’s next for the group. Will many of the Protect Our Preserve supporters be eyeing the 2020 City Council seats? Will the group stay together and become the slow-growth group of Scottsdale? If so, the political winds might be shifting in Scottsdale.

*Question 1, was an increase in local sales tax by .10 percent for 10 years to provide funds for transportation improvement projects. While not the most exciting of ballot measures it was an important one. Unanimously supported by all City Council members and candidates, this measure was met with fairly little opposition both in the community and at the polls. However, it is not an overall solution to the 118 identified infrastructure projects. Infrastructure is something the City Council cannot afford to delay further but this is a step in the right direction.
*Serving his last term as Mayor of Scottsdale, Mayor Jim Lane sought out to ensure that those who would continue to lead in Scottsdale and beyond have the best interests of the people in mind, hence the beginning of the “At Our Best” political action committee. The goal – to support candidates and issues that share a passion for Scottsdale, Maricopa County and the great state of Arizona. The PAC supported both Governor Doug Ducey and Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s successful re-election campaigns and contributed toward the Question 1 ballot measure. While Lane did not succeed in helping his friend Bill Crawford cross the finish line for City Council, he was able to assist with Linda Milhaven’s re-election campaign. With two years left on the Scottsdale City Council, what does he still hope to achieve and what’s next for Jim Lane beyond Scottsdale?