Guest Editorial: Stick With the Bucking Bronco

By Scottsdale Pinetop

As the old adage goes, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” So why the Scottsdale City Council felt the need to change the city’s flag we do not understand. To those who are not familiar with Scottsdale’s current city flag, it features the city’s seal – a mounted cowboy on a bucking bronco – with a white background. It’s simple and iconic.

Flags are important to a community. They are a symbol of pride, unity and, in Scottsdale’s case, a portrait of our city’s past. Scottsdale’s nickname is “the West’s Most Western Town” paying tribute to our city’s heritage as prominent ranching area. For over 60 years, Scottsdale has proudly worn the title and for good reason. The city even installed a beautiful Ed Mell sculpture of a rider on a bucking horse in the very heart of the Art District. Shouldn’t our city flag reflect that?

What’s the reason for a new flag? In 2017, the city decided to reevaluate the flag after a high school student wrote a letter to the Scottsdale City Council suggesting a new city flag was needed. This wasn’t news to the city leaders. A 2004 survey conducted by the North America Vexillogical Association ranked Scottsdale’s flag a 2.8 out of 10 score, ranking 128th overall behind Phoenix and Glendale. Frankly, we don’t care.

The reaction was to call upon the community to create a new flag. In response, the city received over 260 submissions eventually narrowing down to two finalists. On Tuesday February 18, council approved the “Saguaro Blossom” design, which is supposed to represent Scottsdale’s natural beauty and showcase Arizona’s state flower. We don’t see it. Instead it looks like the pride and joy of Haight Ashbury.

But as quickly as the City Council approved the design, they are apparently just as quick to reconsider the decision. Less than one day after the council voted 4-3 to adopt the new flag, the negative reaction caused at least one councilperson who focused the change, Solange Whitehead, to potentially change her mind. The council is expected to review the decision on March 5th

Sometimes you just don’t mess with a good thing. Scottsdale’s current flag is a good thing. Since the announcement of the new flag, there has been a public outcry from many Scottsdale residents advocating for keeping the city seal on the flag but just make minor improvements to make it better. All of this reminds us of when Phoenix Mayor Skip Rimsza wanted to rename Sky Harbor Airport. The public said no. He backed down. As the City council should now.