Guest Editorial: Giving the Middle Finger to Southern Scottsdale

By Scottsdale Watchman

Neptune is the Roman god of the seas. Recently, we noticed a majestic painting of him for sale in one of Old Town Scottsdale’s poshest art galleries. We saw that in his right hand, he has a strong grasp of a trident, pointing it towards the heavens. The next thing we noticed caught us off guard. With his left hand, he was gesturing toward south Scottsdale, giving it the middle finger.

OK, so maybe we didn’t see a painting of Neptune the Roman god flipping the bird. However, Neptune, a FOR-PROFIT Valley swimming organization, is making this obscene expression to our city AND its southern residents.

In the last several months, this FOR-PROFIT business entity has dispatched various people to Scottsdale City Council meetings to complain about how the city is not fostering competition for contracts to provide aquatic services at city pools. They disparaged the existing arrangement between the city and Scottsdale Aquatic Club, a local non-profit organization which has taught thousands of Scottsdale citizens how to swim, trained several Olympians and has hosted swimming competitions across the city since 1964. Critics, of course, fail to mention how Scottsdale is charging the same amount as other cities.

Too bad the Oscars are over because these Neptune representatives deserve Academy Awards for the way they portrayed the role of victims.  

In actuality, that’s not what Neptune is. Neptune isn’t seeking to serve the entire city, which is what Scottsdale Aquatic Club does. What Neptune wants to do is cull the public pools in north Scottsdale and only provide aquatic services to our city’s wealthier residents who swim at Cactus Aquatic Center or McDowell Mountain Ranch Aquatic Center. Indeed, given the chance for pool time at Eldorado Park’s pool, Neptune has refused to pay for lanes there. They just don’t care about southern Scottsdale.

Don’t get us wrong. As strong proponents of free market capitalism, we believe competition is a great thing. It leads to innovation and lower prices for consumers. But Neptune isn’t demanding competition. What it wants to do is cherry pick where it works and disrupt a nearly-60-year-old relationship between the city and Scottsdale Aquatic Club that’s benefited generations of swimmers across the city. There’s a word to describe that. It’s called “greed.” And when it comes to helping residents in all parts of the city, they swim away, giving certain neighborhoods the bird while doing the backstroke.