Henninger: The SCOTT Perspective on Scottsdale Mayor and Council Races

By Don Henninger —

We now are in the thick of the race for Scottsdale mayor and City Council seats. Ballots for the Aug. 4 primary will be in our mailboxes within a month.

SCOTT co-hosted forums recently for the five mayoral candidates and nine vying for three council seats. They were recorded and I encourage you to take a look at these links:

Mayor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ug5Xpq5Ft0A

Council: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Utg_-1DfYA4

Here are some thoughts to consider as you prepare to fulfill your role in helping decide the future leadership and direction of your city:

–Do candidates bring a positive or negative spin to their campaigning? Polls show the majority of residents like the direction in which the city is headed. But if you listen to some candidates, the city is in decline and its leaders are out of touch with residents. Scottsdale has problems for sure, but it remains the premier city in the Valley. And to make blanket statements that current council members are not listening to their constituents is hyperbole.

–Do they offer specific ideas of what they want for our city or do they focus only on what they want to prevent? Keeping the “charm” of downtown, for example, is not a strategy. It’s a slogan. Exactly how will they do that? What types of investment will they recruit and encourage to help downtown prosper, making it a year-long center of activity rather than a four-month seasonal tourism draw?

–Do they understand the economic reality facing the city in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown? How will they work with city staff to restore city revenues? Tourism is not the only answer. High-wage job creation is one for sure. What areas of town can be a center for that; what types of buildings and infrastructure will be needed to make it happen? Are they willing to encourage and recruit investment to help the city prosper and keep our property tax rates among the lowest in the Valley?

–Are they honorable and hold high moral standards? Are they ethical? How do they talk and interact with others: are they combative or are they collaborative? Do they take shots at each other on social media or are they respectful of other people’s opinions even if they disagree? There are character hints all along the campaign trail if you pay attention.

With all the challenges facing the city, we are going to need a council and mayor who can work together, unite the community and come up with visions and solutions to keep our economic prosperity and quality of life at the high level it enjoys today.

I respect all 14 candidates in the field looking to pursue a leadership role in our city. It’s takes a tremendous amount of work just to campaign and for that each of them deserves our appreciation.

But that doesn’t mean each of them deserves to be elected. They need to earn it by presenting specific solutions for the challenges ahead, demonstrating the skills and experience to help make them happen and showing an ability to work with others to get it all done.

Don Henninger is the Executive Director of SCOTT.