By The Happy Wanderer
A few weeks before the official start of the 1991 NFL calendar year, New York Football Giants head coach Bill Parcells abruptly resigned. His decision to step away from the game sent shockwaves across the league. During his eight-year run at the team’s helm, he led a once-moribund franchise to 85 wins, five playoff appearances and two Super Bowl victories.
After Parcells’ resignation, a competition commenced over who would replace him. The team’s general manager George Young preferred that veteran offensive coach Ray Handley take over the top spot. Other team leaders preferred that defensive coordinator and wunderkind Bill Belichick succeed the iconic Parcells.
Eventually, the Giants tapped Handley for the job. He was the head coach for only two seasons, however, and the choice to go with Handley set the Giants on a course of mediocrity for nearly two decades. Belichick…well, he’s only gone on to become the most prolific and renowned head coach in the history of professional football.
We’re not writing that the City of Scottsdale and the early 1990s New York Giants are an exact match, but there is one striking similarity: like the head coach who would take over for Parcells, the next mayor of Scottsdale has big shoes to fill. Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane has adroitly led “the West’s Most Western Town” since 2008. In just over a decade, Scottsdale has gone from teetering on the edge of financial disaster to being named the best city in the United States to find a job.
Mayor Lane is termed out in 2020. His potential successors are now laying the groundwork for their mayoral campaigns. The two legitimate contenders (John Karolzak doesn’t count…his initials, “JK,” are an apt description for his political aspirations) are current Scottsdale councilmembers Virginia Korte and Suzanne Klapp.
Councilmembers Korte and Klapp are longtime elected officials During their tenures, both have left indelible marks on the city we call home. Korte has played a key leadership role in revitalizing the McDowell Road Corridor. She’s helped guide the successful conversion of vacant car dealerships into tax revenue generators. Klapp has been a strong defender of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and was an ally of those who fought tirelessly to protect the Preserve during the Desert Discovery Center debacle.
Both candidates have devoted groups of followers across Scottsdale. And both face vociferous groups of opponents. For instance, the hashtag “#NeverKorte” has surfaced in the last two years and is frequently seen in Facebook posts, tweets and online comments made by community activists who don’t agree with Councilmember Korte’s political stances.
The 2020 election cycle in Scottsdale is shaping up to have multiple intriguing showdowns, but the clash for mayor will be the most captivating. The winner will chart Scottsdale’s future for the next decade. For the city’s sake, let’s hope that citizens choose to go with the candidate who’s the next Bill Belichick and not Ray Handley.