Guest Editorial: The Man with the Plan

by Alexander Lomax

Politics has been inundated with unrealistic promises since the beginning of politics. It is easy to promise, especially when your average voter often doesn’t understand what’s possible to achieve within a given political framework. Delivering on those promises is a different matter though.

Scottsdale Mayor Dave Ortega has had a relatively smooth first few months in office when it comes to following up on his campaign promises. After a unanimous vote for Scottsdale’s non-discrimination ordinance, it appears as though Mayor Ortega and the council have come to an agreement on one of the other pillars of his campaign, the General Plan.

For those who are unaware, Scottsdale is required to generate a General Plan every decade; it is a non-binding document meant to set expectations and guide the city in the realm of development and community. The council had been unable to come to an agreement on a plan the last time it was up for renewal, so the city had been sans plan for a decade.

This was no small task; after all, as just mentioned, the Council was unable to come to an agreement the last go-round. However, it seems as though this is another win for Ortega.

There is no time to rest on laurels however as the real challenge should be coming up at the end of June. Mayor Ortega plans to bring forward another one of his campaign promises: implementing a district system in the city, as opposed to all councilmembers being elected at large.

Last time we checked, all councilmembers live north of Old Town, leaving zero representation for south Scottsdale at the council. And with so much overrepresentation in north Scottsdale, a district system could be a threat to them as future councilmembers will need to come from the south, and current councilmembers may need to compete against each other within a district. While it seems like a fairly common-sense proposition, it is one that has real political consequences. It won’t be easy.

This will almost certainly be the toughest fight of his short time as Mayor. This will truly be a test of his governing, cajoling, and political skills. It has been a good honeymoon for Mayor Ortega, but we think that that honeymoon is about wrapping up. Now the true challenges begin.