By Larry Kush
When Barry Graham was first appointed to the Scottsdale Planning Commission eyes rolled in the Scottsdale Planning Department as staff was aware that Mr. Graham had exactly zero experience in the planning and zoning practice and policies needed to make intelligent zoning decisions. He went on to prove their fears, by voting no on nearly every, much needed, multi-family project presented to the commission. It seems Barry fancies himself as a neighborhood advocate having learned from the likes of Councilwomen Kathy Littlefield and Solange Whitehead that opposing such important projects was a sure way to pad his political ambitions.
To no one’s surprise, Mr. Graham recently announced his candidacy for Scottsdale city council, no doubt wishing to take his anti-growth policies to yet a higher and more impactful level. Just like his mentors, Councilwomen Whitehead and Littlefield, Mr. Graham lacks the experience, compassion and wisdom to run a city with a near billion dollar budget. Mr. Graham boasts a master’s degree in accounting and yet was recently quoted as saying “I disagree with those who try to convince us that escalating prices are simply a result of supply-and-demand. We have added record numbers of apartments and condos, yet prices keep skyrocketing. Obviously, Mr. Graham skipped the required economics 101 courses required of his degree(s). Any secondary school teacher will tell you of the fundamental and ageless truth of the basic principle of supply and demand.
The Arizona Multifamily Association recently issued a statement that Scottsdale is short nearly 50,000 dwelling units that are needed to keep Scottsdale up with population growth. In fact, nearly every study done my governmental agencies, points to the fact that all of the Phoenix area (Scottsdale included) is short of dwellings to house our expanding growth. Our public servants such as nurses, police officers and fire fighters cannot live in the city they serve (Scottsdale) because of the likes of Mr. Graham who on his short stint as a planning commissioner constantly denied projects specifically targeting the housing needs of these important groups.
Mr. Graham is wrong for Scottsdale! He denies or does not grasp basic economic truths and instead focuses his votes on protecting the Nimby’s (not in our back yard) fear mongers and not the vital economic and social needs of our citizens. Scottsdale needs leaders who as a whole, are focused on doing what is right for our city and not instead kowtowing to the vocal “stay out of our city” minority.
Larry Kush is a 45 year Scottsdale Resident having recently completed a six year term as a Scottsdale Planning Commissioner. Larry is a former home builder and life-long advocate for fair and affordable housing