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PHOENIX – Attorney General Brnovich announced today that the Attorney General’s Office awarded nearly $400,000 in grants to community organizations that provide mental health treatment and services to first responders. The organizations will assist firefighters, emergency medical services, and law enforcement across the state.

Four different grants were awarded to organizations, including the United Phoenix Firefighters (two separate grants), EMPACT Suicide Prevention, and Marana Health Center. Over 2,000 first responders and first responder families are expected to be served statewide over the next year through direct treatment, mental health services, and training.Read More

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey announced today $300,000 in funding from the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund has been allocated to organizations across the state that support senior citizens, the homebound and those who are medically fragile. The funding will support organizations that have provided much needed aid to vulnerable populations impacted by COVID-19, by assisting with grocery shopping, meal deliveries, transportation to medical appointments, emergency errands and social interaction during a time of physical distancing.

“Arizona continues to focus on protecting public health, especially for those most at-risk like seniors and those medically vulnerable,” said Governor Ducey. “Volunteer and community organizations across the state are working day and night to provide support for those in their care through additional food deliveries, transportation and other services — and we’re proud to support their efforts. Thank you to everyone who has donated to the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund so we can protect at-risk Arizonans, and to everyone who has stepped up to help others.”

Recipients of the funding include:

  • Foundation for Senior Living (statewide)

  • Benevilla

  • Aster Aging

“We are so appreciative of this generous donation,” said Tom Egan, President and CEO of Foundation for Senior Living. “Our team has been working diligently to shift many of our programs to meal and food bag deliveries to seniors and adults with chronic health issues or disabilities. So far, we have seen our expenses increase by 25 percent and we’re anticipating the community will continue to need help throughout the summer. This donation will help offset our expenses and allow us to serve those in need.  We are so grateful to Governor Ducey and the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund!”

“We believe we are strongest when we work together,” says Joanne Thomson, President and CEO of Benevilla. “The support from the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund Now will help provide much needed services to the most vulnerable population in our community. Working together we are able to help seniors with grocery shopping, emergency errands and more, we are able to provide support and friendship to caregivers who might feel overwhelmed and alone and continue to support families in our community during this time.”

“The support that Aster Aging has received from the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund is truly making the difference for vulnerable older adults in the East Valley,” said Deborah Schaus, CEO of Aster Aging. “Requests for Meals on Wheels and our other basic need services have continued to grow as we strive to keep seniors safe during the pandemic.”

The AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund was established by Governor Ducey as part of the Arizona Together Initiative to provide financial support to non-profit organizations serving Arizonans most in need statewide. The AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund has collected more than $8.2 million to date. Arizonans can visit ArizonaTogether.org to learn more, donate and find volunteer opportunities.

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey has announced that following a national search, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has selected Arizona for its new U.S. advanced semiconductor factory. The project will create over 1,600 new high-tech jobs and generate thousands of additional jobs in the state for suppliers and other companies within the semiconductor industry. TSMC’s total spending on this project, including capital expenditure, will be approximately $12 billion from 2021 to 2029.

“We’re incredibly proud that one of the world’s leading technology companies has chosen Arizona for this high-tech project, one with national and global significance,” said Governor Ducey. “TSMC could have picked any place in the world to build this advanced manufacturing factory. They chose Arizona for our unbeatable business climate, already thriving tech sector and ready access to an international supply chain. I’d like to thank TSMC Chairman Dr. Mark Liu for his commitment to Arizona. We are honored to be selected for this project and look forward to building a collaborative long-term relationship with TSMC. I’m very grateful to President Donald Trump for his leadership and tireless efforts to bring more manufacturing back to our shores. I’d also like to thank Secretary Ross, his team at the U.S. Department of Commerce including SelectUSA, and the Trump administration for their partnership.”

Arizona has long been a hub for the advanced manufacturing and semiconductor industries. The state’s skilled workforce, strong supply chain, strategic geographic location, commitment to pro-innovation policies and unmatched quality of life have continued to drive rapid industry growth and economic momentum. This new U.S. facility will enable TSMC to provide enhanced service to customers and partners and increase its ability to attract global talent.

The facility will utilize TSMC’s 5-nanometer technology for semiconductor wafer fabrication and have the capacity to produce 20,000 wafers per month. Construction is planned to begin in 2021 with production targeted to start in 2024. The Arizona facility will be the company’s second manufacturing operation in the United States.

Several sites in the City of Phoenix are still being evaluated for the location of the factory. The Arizona Commerce Authority will continue working with TSMC, the U.S. administration, the City of Phoenix and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council to finalize all aspects of the project.

PHOENIX — With Arizona food banks experiencing a spike in demand, Governor Doug Ducey today announced a $500,000 grant from the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund for Arizona food banks to help fight hunger. Member organizations that are part of the Association of Arizona Food Banks/Arizona Food Bank, which is receiving the grant, supply a network of nearly 1,000 food pantries and organizations in all 15 counties in Arizona, some of which have experienced a demand up to five times greater than usual due to COVID-19.

“We want to make sure nobody goes hungry as we respond to COVID-19 and get people back to work,” said Governor Ducey. “With these dollars, Arizona food pantries across the state will be able to make more food deliveries and help more families, while implementing new protocols that prioritize public health such as drive-thru pick-ups. This grant is made possible because of the generous donations to the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund, and my thanks goes out to everyone coming together and pitching in to help Arizonans in need.”

The Association of Arizona Food Banks/Arizona Food Bank Network is comprised of five regional food banks, including:

  • St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance

  • Desert Mission Food Bank

  • United Food Bank

  • Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona

  • Yuma Community Food Bank

The food banks will use the funding to address the spike in demand, including: meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities; acquiring more packaging materials to deliver food; securing additional storage space; implementing further adaptations to promote physical distancing among clients; coordinating convenient drive-through food pick-ups; and more.

“These unprecedented circumstances have created an increased demand for our services to support Arizonans who are struggling to provide the most basic needs for their families,” said Angie Rodgers, President & CEO of the Arizona Food Bank Network. “This gift from the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund will help to ensure small pantries in local communities stay open and ready for families in need during this time. We’re grateful for the support which will make a difference in our capacity to serve across the state.”

“Our deepest thanks to Governor Ducey and everyone who donated or raised money for the Arizona Coronavirus Relief Fund, making this gift to AzFBN possible. These dollars will help small food pantries statewide as they work to help Arizonans struggling with hunger,” said Michael McDonald, Chair of the Board of Directors, Arizona Food Bank Network, and CEO, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. “These charities are doing all they can to meet the increasing need, and this financial help for them truly couldn’t have come at a better time.”

The AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund was established by Governor Ducey as part of the Arizona Together Initiative to provide financial support to nonprofit organizations serving Arizonans in need.

The AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund has collected more than $8.2 million to date. In April, the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation donated $5 million to support the purchase of PPE including 1.1 million N-95 masks. Additional grant announcements will be made as disbursements are finalized.

Individuals and organizations interested in supporting the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund can learn more about how to contribute at ArizonaTogether.org.

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey today announced that the Stay At Home order in Arizona will be ending on May 15 and replaced by new guidance for the next stage of economic recovery. The new guidance aligns with gating criteria issued by the White House and Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and aims to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 resurgence, protect vulnerable populations, and guide the reopening of businesses with enhanced physical distancing and safety measures in place.

Arizona’s new Executive Order, which takes effect on Saturday, May 16, builds on Arizona’s comprehensive efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect public health, including: ramping up testing availability and frequency; implementing tracking of key health metrics such as reported symptomatic cases and emergency room usage; standing up surge hospital capacity to be used as needed; expanding statewide contact tracing; bolstering supply chains for personal protective equipment for frontline medical workers and emergency responders; implementing enhanced safety protocols to protect those living and working in high-risk facilities such as nursing homes; and providing public health guidance for businesses and individuals to ensure continued physical distancing.

“Since the start of this pandemic, Arizona has taken a calm and steady approach to protecting health and slowing the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Ducey. “Today, our hospitals have capacity to provide care to those who need it; our businesses are implementing and adapting to new physical distancing measures; and data shows Arizona is headed in the right direction. It is time to move forward with the next steps of Arizona’s economic recovery — while continuing to make health and safety our number one priority. I’m grateful to all Arizonans for their partnership and cooperation during these trying times. By continuing to follow the data and recommendations of public health officials, we can continue to move forward safely and responsibly together.”

Governor Ducey also announced today an accelerated plan to test all staff and residents of long-term care facilities as well as individuals within Arizona’s prisons. As part of this plan, the Arizona Department of Health Services will partner with private-sector labs to expand testing to 147 long-term care facilities and provide antibody tests for correctional officers. Additionally, major league sports can resume limited reopening, without fans, this Saturday, May 16.

The Arizona Department of Health Services also released additional guidance for businesses and customers as more industries resume partial operations. This guidance includes:

  • Pools, with physical distancing and enhanced sanitation – can reopen Wednesday, May 13 (GUIDANCE)

  • Gyms & Fitness Providers, with physical distancing and enhanced sanitation – can reopen Wednesday, May 13 (GUIDANCE)

  • Spas, with physical distancing and enhanced sanitation – can reopen Wednesday, May 13 (GUIDANCE)

While never formally closed, many places of worship opted to temporarily change or suspend services in order to follow physical distancing guidelines. As they resume operations, the Arizona Department of Health Services released GUIDANCE for enhanced physical distancing and safety precautions.

View today’s Executive Order HERE.

View daily Arizona updates HERE.

Featured Editorials

We don’t typically focus too much on business moves on this blog, as there is so much in the local space of politics and culture. Besides, corporate battles rarely become public or are blatantly obvious in the public eye at the local level.

Every once in a while, a move comes by that is such an undeniable power move to our community that it demands mentioning though. This particular move had all the hallmarks of Shaquille (or “Shaqtus”) O’Neil posted up in the paint and swatting an opponent’s attempt at a lay-up into the third row of attendees however. Enter HonorHealth.

Banner Health had intended to purchase a plot of land in north Scottsdale near Loop 101 and Hayden as a location to place a hospital. As the 800 lb gorilla of the non-profit hospital industry in the southwest, with nearly $8 billion in annual revenue and over 50,000 employees (and strong local ties, seeing as how they’re headquartered in Phoenix), it seemed like a slam dunk for them to enter the Scottsdale market with their first hospital there.

HonorHealth said “Not so fast” however; it had territory to protect! After all, with numerous facilities in the city, they did not want to give up their turf so easily, so what followed was a legitimate bidding war for the parcel of state land.  The CEO of HonorHealth just kept pushing the price up until the CFO of Banner said “No mas” and gave up, leaving HonorHealth with an extremely highly priced plot of land that will likely yield a questionable ROI but with turf intact.

Considering the status of Scottsdale as being a premier place to retire, having a dominant position in this particular market in this particular city is of serious value. And ultimately, there is the old school bully mentality that nearly everyone’s parents told them at some point in time as children: if you don’t stand up to the bully, they’ll keep pushing you around.

Rarely has corporate strategy come into the forefront in such an obvious and delightfully intriguing way such as a public auction, and even more rarely does it impact our little slice of heaven like this will. We only wish we could have seen it in person. Congratulations to HonorHealth; you may have overpaid, but you made an important statement in the process.

I know that on occasion that I can be a broken record about the need for more development, that building more will alleviate our pressing housing crisis and benefit so many. We have also been somewhat dismayed at the Scottsdale City Council’s recent inclination to get in the way of good developments moving forward; we coined the term “the Council of No” as a way to demonstrate our dismay.

However, one recent vote truly turned our heads and made us think that perhaps something changed. We couldn’t help but pour over this 4-3 vote in the Scottsdale City Council to green-light the proposed Optima North project in north Scottsdale. The strangest part? Notoriously growth-hesitant Mayor Dave Ortega and Councilman Tom Durham joined the yes votes.

And we have to ask: what the heck is going on here? Has hell frozen over? Are election year decisions coming a bit early?

We only say this because this seems like just the sort of project that Ortega specifically would be saying no to: lots of height and significant density. 1,330 units would be considered incredibly large for this Council, and 118 feet tall buildings have rarely made it through this iteration. Railing against those two aspects of development were core aspects of Ortega’s campaign, after all..

So what changed? Why is he now a yes vote when he has consistently been against similar projects since he was elected Mayor? We can’t consider this a strategic, low-impact Yes vote that would have no influence on the project, considering the small margin of victory for the project. Has the tide finally turned, right after we had expected Council to take a hard turn towards an anti-development ethos?

It may be possible that the project had enough merits to convince Ortega and Durham. After all, Ortega is well known as a fan of mixed-use developments, and this is certainly a well thought out development. But so were numerous others that didn’t pass through the gauntlet of the Council of No..

We very much welcome this new development but can’t help but look at it with a bit of cynicism. Perhaps it is time to start greasing the re-election wheels early, or at least soften up potential future opposition. Whatever the reason, it’s a good start, and while we have serious doubts we do hope it’s the first Yes out of many over the next two years.

The culture of an area can be absolutely critical to its development; some areas are dependent on government to attempt to create solutions, and some areas foster innovation and in the process create budding leaders. One young man in the Valley is demonstrating precisely why the second option is the preferable one by far, and so we just had to share this story..

Check out this story about Cooper Weissman, a 17 year old who is running two businesses which he started himself; he has been creating and running his own businesses since eighth grade. One of them is a logistics company and the other a blockchain company. He has even hired a few of his classmates as interns.

While the entire story is impressive, perhaps even most telling is the attitude of this young man. ““I started businesses my whole life, pretty much all of them have failed,” he said. Any entrepreneur knows that you absolutely will fail many times, but it’s not about how many times you fall, it’s about how many times you get back up.

In a world of instant gratification, where many of his classmates are no doubt hoping to have a career as an influencer and adding absolutely no societal value as a result, Cooper understands the long game, about building skill sets and knowing that not everything will be easy. Those are the sorts of traits that are needed to succeed in this world, not the ability to do a cute dance and use the right hashtags in an attempt to get attention.

But more than that, we look at this story as a reason to be thankful that we live in a country like the United States and a state that looks kindly to innovation like Arizona. Many countries are so steeped in bureaucracy that simply the process of starting your own business is such an onerous pain that it is more lucrative to simply get a government job and coast through your career.

So any time you read a story about red tape harming businesses, or socialism harming the entrepreneurial spirit, perhaps you should keep Cooper in mind. It is helpful to know that the best intentions of capitalism can still be found, and that as much as you may feel inclined to rant about “kids these days”, great examples of what’s possible will continue to shine.

The pandemic uprooted many institutions, and while the various levels of government stepped up in an unprecedented way some entities got a little too comfortable with that financial support. The Paradise Valley Unified School District governing board showed their hand recently; that seemed to be precisely what happened with them this year, and they are now facing the consequences.

In a blockbuster of a story, the board recently had to explain to a packed audience of concerned parents why there was a $14 million shortfall for the upcoming school year and how they would whittle away at it. Apparently this resulted from an inability to effectively plan for a time without COVID-related government assistance; more damning was the fact that this assistance came from the state government, not the federal largesse, and as such a reasonable person should have assumed that it would not last longer than it was absolutely needed.

So far the proposed resolutions for bring the budget into compliance involve cutting days off of employees’ time, but even then they estimate that that will only carve around $4 million from the deficit. Other proposed solutions tend to be a bit more controversial, such as cutting back on social emotional learning and various behavioral specialists.

Could this happen elsewhere? It’s certainly possible, but this seems to be more the result of an egregious oversight and poor planning. This is even more shocking considering that the board is composed of some experienced and intelligent people, and we would certainly expect more out of them. At the risk of sounding like we are relying on old political stereotypes, this seems to be the sort of trap that more liberal school districts would fall into, with the expectation of additional funding opening the door for various pet projects (ones that may assist with re-election) and the hope that things will work themselves out afterward.

Considering the recent election, it would not be hard to believe that this scenario could have happened elsewhere. While we cannot expect that from more conservative districts who at least tout the virtue of living within their financial means, re-election prospects have a way of changing people. That said, this scenario again shows the merit of keeping up-to-date on what’s going on in your local government. If more people asked more questions sooner rather than after it became an issue, perhaps this could have been avoided.

By Alexander Lomax

All things told, this election was extremely positive for Democrats in Maricopa County. Despite her campaign’s best efforts to lose, Katie Hobbs kept Trump-wannabe Kari Lake out of the Governor’s seat, and Adrian Fontes kept unhinged conspiracy theorist and otherwise unhireable former Kalamazoo cop Mark Finchem away from our elections. And even though State Superintendent Kathy Hoffman lost her re-election campaign, she prevailed by two points over Tom Horne in Maricopa County.

But despite the outperformance by Dems within the county, there was one major, glaring failure: Julie Gunnigle. While nearly all Dems won Maricopa Co., Gunnigle lost by 6 points to Rachel Mitchell in their race to be Maricopa County Attorney. She underperformed Kris Mayes, her statewide counterpart, by 8 points in the county.

So what gives? Why was Julie Gunnigle this year’s David Garcia, i.e. a tire fire failure of a campaign?

None of this should have been a surprise. Besides, as this blog has spoken about before, Gunnigle’s campaign manager was Bruce Franks Jr., a battle rapper turned state rep who was pressured into resigning from the Missouri state legislature after duping his campaign donors and using their donations for all sorts of personal wants including a trip to the casino. To think that someone with such a sketchy background who had lived in Arizona for barely a year and had no background in campaign management would be the right person to lead such a difficult and nuanced campaign was simply ridiculous and emblematic of the dumpster fire that was to come.

Perhaps the more overarching problem which coalesces other concerns is that this campaign was stuck in 2020. The murder of George Floyd galvanized much of a nation as to the need for police reform, or defunding as per the more leftist elements (which Gunnigle regrettably dabbled in). We all remember the protests and the passion, and the message was heard; such egregious actions from law enforcement seem to be mostly a thing of the past (for now).

But for the areas where protests went on, that success eventually played second fiddle to and even helped manifest larger issues. Areas such as Seattle, San Francisco and Portland had “mostly peaceful” protests that consistently turned violent, or at least strongly anarchistic. The human void left by boarded up businesses and dying population centers caused by said anarchy has been partially filled with homeless living in tents and fentanyl abuse. The positive and constructive turned into negative and destructive in a way that has persisted.

The Gunnigle campaign never picked up on this though. They were stuck in the America of 2020, oblivious to the fact that the page had turned and that her form of “restorative justice” and “criminal justice reform” was starting to grow old even in the bluest parts of America, when addiction and its affiliated crime is showing to be a much larger threat to minorities than law enforcement. That messaging had turned radioactive.

However, this seems to play into a larger issue with Democrats in Maricopa County; to be frank, racial politics. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, Democrats everywhere have gotten significant pressure from black activists to hire their own in executive positions lest they be considered “anti-black”. Certainly this played a gigantic role in Gunnigle’s decision to hire someone with social media savvy but little experience and even less ethical turpitude, and that same dynamic is playing out elsewhere in party politics.

Aside from the obvious concerns resulting from white guilt or fear of being called racist determining executive decisions, it is worth mentioning that the black community makes up about 6.5% of the population in the county, compared to the 32% share of Latinos in Maricopa County. Meanwhile, Republicans are having Latino outreach committees and events and are waking up from their Arpaio race-baiting slumber. They understand numbers, but Democrats are led by emotions. As Democrats continue to say that one race’s lives matter more than another, the Latino community will continue to leak over to the GOP side and threaten to make this election look like an anomaly for Democrats.

The numbers won this election, as they always do. Democrats would be best served by not being led by guilt or emotion and instead taking a hard look at their demographics and consider if they are truly listening to at least 51% of the voting population (and preferably much more).

As the dust settles on this election, conclusions and general punditry are coming out of everywhere and anywhere. Shoot, we even did so regarding what we believe Arizonans told us about the statewide candidate campaigns. But no one is talking about the various propositions that Arizonans also voted on, so we’re here for you on that subject.

1. A Little Less “Power to the People”

There were three ballot propositions related to ballot propositions themselves; after all, they are frequently the bane of those currently in power (how dare the electorate not trust their elected officials to do what’s in their best interest!), and attempts to reign in this power is an evergreen attempt from the legislature come election time. This time, it was a mixed bag, but moved the axis of power slightly away from the electorate.

First the most obvious and egregious power grab from the legislature, Prop 128, which would allow Arizona state lawmakers to amend or repeal voter-approved ballot initiatives if any portion has been struck down by the state or U.S. Supreme Court. While constitutionality is important, with what is very clearly a stacked state Supreme Court that portion made it a significant attempt at a power play by the GOP. It went down in flames, 64-36.

Props 129 and 132 had more positive fates however. 129 requires a single subject in the title line for citizen initiatives, and it passed 55-45. More damningly, Prop 132 mandates that any proposition that includes a tax of any sort must pass with a 60% vote, essentially a poison pill. It squeaked by, 51-49.

So the electorate decided to take some power away from themselves voluntarily. Apparently they trust the government more…curious.

2. Decency and Wisdom Largely Won Out

We were very pleased to see a few big wins for decency and sanity in the proposition votes. One, Prop 211 was the biggest winner of the night; Terry Goddard’s passion project that recruited prominent Republicans and Independents regarding more transparency in dark money election spending won big, 72-28. Indeed, it was the top vote setter of 2022. Proposition 209 which puts more limits on medical debt collection, both interest rates and exemptions on what can be repossessed to pay for it, won with a similar margin. Lastly, Prop 308, the “Dreamers” proposition that allows for in-state tuition for undocumented students who have been in Arizona for a while also passed, albeit with a very narrow 51-49 margin.

Regardless of how you felt about the winning candidates from the election, these are some common sense propositions grounded in decency and good policy, and we are glad that they passed.

3. A Big Change to Elections, but No Change to Elections?

Yes, that is awkwardly phrased. But two election-based issues came to the voters, leading to one big change and one non-change.

Due to Prop 131, you will now be voting for a gubernatorial slate, as the 55-45 passage will set the stage for a Lieutenant Governor to be elected alongside the Governor, serving as a Vice President to a state’s President. This means that the Secretary of State will no longer be the Governor’s backup and is a system implemented in many other states. In a state that likes to split tickets, it will be an adjustment from an overdue one.

However, voters also shot down more purported election protections; Prop 309 would have necessitated a photo ID instead of two non-photo IDs when voting in person, and would have required mailed in ballots to include the voter’s birthdate as well as an identifying ID number, such as the last four of their social security number of their driver’s license number. Privacy concerns seemed to sink it, albeit in a close way, with a 51-49 loss. That said, since it seemed to be more of a way of attempting to solve a non-existent issue, perhaps it’s for the best.

From Councilwoman Solange Whitehead

As of writing on Wednesday night, there are STILL a few votes trickling in and waiting to be counted. In what would likely be the single tightest election for Arizona state races in our state’s history (and if we’re wrong, please show us where), there is almost certainly one race that is going in for a recount, and perhaps two. So even though we do not have complete and definitive outcomes, there are still a few pieces of info that we can glean from what just happened to our dear state.

1. Trump is Dead Weight to the Republican Party

Much has been said nationally about the loss of “Trumpy” candidates, but Arizona may have been the brightest of spotlights for both the rapid ascent of those who jumped on the Trump Train as well as the rapid decline. None was as pronounced as the media personality who was expert at getting earned media while dissing the media, who eschewed traditional politics in the name of going against the political grain. That, of course, is Kari Lake, so well formed in his likeness that a Trump/Lake ticket was already being widely talked about. In what would have been a slam dunk win for Karrin Taylor-Robson after what could VERY politely be called a timid and uninspiring candidacy from Katie Hobbs, the door was wide open for a Republican win. Bombast without experience wasn’t enough to win over the McCain Republicans though, especially not after insulting John McCain.

Few kissed the ring as hard as Mark Finchem, who was actually in DC for January 6th. No race epitomized Trump’s desire to disseminate his “stop the steal” dishonesty far and wide. While Adrian Fontes has made his fair share of enemies on the left, few could say that he wasn’t better prepared for the job than Finchem, and many saw the risk of giving the Head of Elections job to someone whose allegiance seemed to be more with a former President (and future candidate) than the Arizona people.

Blake Masters and Abe Hamedeh both seemed to be relatively Trump-adjacent, in that they said and did what they needed to in order to get the endorsement. All of that was enough for the nod, but not enough to win. And while Masters, checkered background and all, offered the potential to win his race, Trump’s endorsement of Hamedeh was truly head-scratching. A very young man with very little legal experience and little leadership experience vaulting to the top of the race because of a strong family Rolodex and an endorsement instead of being most viable. Trump could have rode a winner, but instead he perplexingly put his money on an underdog and might lose as a result.

Lastly, perhaps the biggest loser: Kelli Ward. The AZ Republican Chairwoman will not be running for re-election, so her legacy is now one of kissing Trump’s butt, having her records subpoenaed, and then losing the state bigly. Yikes.


2. The Quality of Independent Expenditures Matters

As always, there was quite a bit of outside money that came in looking to impact our elections, and while some seemed to largely cancel each other out, there are a couple examples that we think stand out about how to do it and how not to do it. What’s effective and what’s not.

First, for the effective…the massive haul brought in in favor of Adrian Fontes and against Mark Finchem. First of all, the list of different independent expenditure groups was truly impressive, meaning that there was much less risk of one group with poor marketing taking up all the airwaves with mediocrity. Moreover, it seemed as though they generally all stayed to a very common theme and subthemes: about protecting our democracy, how Mark Finchem will be a danger to it and how Adrian Fontes will fight for it. In a race that is as narrow in scope as SoS, it’s perhaps easier for this than other races. They did not fall into traps and stayed focused however.

But we can compare that to the Corporation Commission race; in a race typically dominated by Republicans getting gigantic IE support from Pinnacle West (APS’s parent company), it was the Dems who got major IE support this time. Sandra Kennedy and Lauren Kuby got about $1.5 million in support between them. However, dominating these expenditures, outside of a very last second bailout attempt for Kennedy by a group named “Arizonans for Lower Energy Bills” (creative name, y’all), was the group Chispa, a local wing of the League of Conservative Voters. They consistently spend a lot of money in the Corporation Commission races for Dems, and a large amount of their expenditures seemed to be Spanish-language communications about how Kennedy and Kuby would fight for clean energy. While the Republicans got de minimis IE support and they were all on even fundraising footing due to the Clean Elections system, the GOP candidates finished #1 and #2. Chispa’s spending was at best pointless, and perhaps gave a false sense of security to the candidates.

3. What’s the Point of Being an Incumbent if You Won’t Tout What You’ve Done?

Easily one of the most head-scratching performances this cycle was that of Kathy Hoffman. While education turned into more of a flashpoint subject in the last few years for the Republicans than it was during her shocking win in 2018, the Republicans didn’t truly capitalize; instead they voted in a man with a laundry list of ethical and legal issues in his past, a man who could stand up to Joe Biden in a geriatric anti-charisma contest, Tom Horne. But Tom Horne can fundraise, and he did so in this race, bringing in nearly one million total. That said, Horne spent most of that to get through his primary, leaving Hoffman with a significant financial edge after the primary when she received her second Clean Elections check.
However, it’s how she used it that’s so perplexing. As an incumbent, she had four long years to build her resume of accomplishments for this moment: to tout what she’s done in order to make the case to re-elect her and let her finish the job. Along with name ID and fundraising, it’s one of the main benefits about being an incumbent.

Yet when reviewing all of her digital ads on Facebook, Instagram, Google and YouTube…every single one of them in the final 6 weeks of the campaign was vaguely negative, inviting people to learn about Tom Horne at “therealtomhorne.com”. ZERO mention of what she’s done, ZERO mention of what she will do, just hoping that people want to find out about the “real Tom Horne”. Unsurprisingly, they didn’t.
Her campaign had success attacking David Schapira in the 2018 primary, so perhaps that is what she snapped back to. That is poor political consulting and instincts though; while it is always fair game to bring up salient points about your opponent’s ethics, if it’s coming from the campaign as opposed to an IE it should ALWAYS be paired with how you’re better. People want to vote FOR somebody; she had $180K worth of dedicated general election money to tell voters why they should vote for her, and yet she chose not to. In such a close race, that likely made the difference.

A Democrat running for Treasurer is always a campaign of quixotism, but this Superintendent race was the real unforced error on the part of Dems in an otherwise surprisingly positive election.

4. What We Haven’t Learned Yet: Will the AG Make Hobbs’s Life Hell?

As of now, the AG race is still too close to call. We are loathe to comment too much as a result, but perhaps the person who should be paying the most attention is Katie Hobbs. If Abe Hamedeh wins, he could hypothetically make her term rather difficult with an extra level of legal scrutiny on every single thing she does, every appointee she makes, or could essentially work as the legal arm of the GOP legislative majorities. Obviously, a Mayes win will mean much smoother sailing for Hobbs.

While the Governor’s race and the Secretary of State race are rightfully placed at #1 and #2 of importance in Arizona, a lot of people will be sweating the likely recount in the Attorney General’s race, and for good reason.

At the time of writing this on Sunday night, not every race is completely certain at this point. One thing that is for certain however is that the best case scenario for Republicans did not work out, and we see that playing out in some of the Scottsdale area races rather prominently.

As a reminder, the city of Scottsdale is covered within three different legislative districts: district 8, which is heavily Democratic and encompasses the southern end of the city, slightly right-leaning district 4, which covers Paradise Valley along with parts of central Phoenix, and heavily-Republican district 3, which covers central and northern Scottsdale. You can find our preview of these races here.

Some races turned out precisely how we imagined. For instance, we were confident that John Kavanagh would have no issues in the district 3 Senate race, and he is currently up 63% to 37% over Democrat Thomas Dugger. Juan Mendez, the Democrat in the district 8 Senate race, holds nearly the exact same margin of victory over Republican Roxana Holzapfel.

In those same two districts, the House races were similarly uninteresting. More so was in district 3, where Republicans Joseph Chaplik and Alexander Kolodin had no Democratic challenger for either of the two seats. While there was a Republican “single shot” challenger in the district 8 House races, Caden Darrow was no match for Democrats Melody Hernandez and Athena Salman.

One thing we learned however is that District 4 is indeed a legitimate swing district. Even though it holds a small Republican voter registration, in the battle between incumbent Senators, Democrat Christine Marsh is currently ahead by 2,262 votes (51.0 to 49.0%) against Republican Nancy Barto. Barring a sharp turnaround (which could be possibly depending on the makeup of existing votes), it looks as though Marsh may head back to the Capitol. This would be considered at least a moderate surprise and a real win for Democrats.

In the district 4 House, Democrats used the “single shot” strategy of running one candidate for two seats, a method that the LD 28 Democrats in the same area perfected previously. They will indeed be successful again, with Democrat Laura Terech all but assured of heading to the legislature along with Republican Matt Gress. Former Republican legislator Maria Syms sits 2.24% (or nearly 5,750 votes) behind Terech for second place.

So what can we glean from all of this? It’s quite simple: central and north Scottsdale has stayed conservative and south Scottsdale has stayed (relatively) liberal. But Paradise Valley has remained within the political parameters of the former legislative district 28: truly purple. Get ready for another decade full of very, VERY expensive legislative races as both parts scratch and claw for the majority.

While the eyes of most tuned-in voters have largely been transfixed towards the more big ticket races such as those for Governor and the US Senate, it is worth noting that there were a few important Scottsdale-area races for which we currently have clarification for.

For starters, regular readers and those who pay attention to Scottsdale city politics know that there was one active city council seat to fill after Kathy Littlefield and Solange Whitehead got enough votes in the primary to avoid a run-off. As we somewhat expected, Barry Graham easily outdueled Pamela Carter with a 16 percentage point lead at the time of writing.

A few things to note with this race: one, the more development-friendy voice of Linda Milhaven is now being substituted for what some would call a more growth-hesitant voice of Barry Graham as the council and the tone and tenor of the electorate slides further towards the NIMBY side.

Secondly, while this race was one Republican running versus another Republican, it also had the dynamic of being one between a much more establishment Republican in Graham and one much more in the Trump wing of the party in Carter. Much like other “Trumpy” candidates around the country, Carter found out that there is a somewhat limited appetite for that style of candidate this year.

Also, voters were voting in two new members for the Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board; you can get a brief run-down of the candidates here. At only around an 800 vote gap between #2 and #3 as of writing, this could still change by the time all votes are counted. However, as it stands right now conservative Amy Carney would be moving forward along with liberal Robb Vaules. What does that tell us? Well assuming that these standings hold, it could imply that perhaps Scottsdale isn’t as hard-right as we sometimes confuse them for. That our city desires some degree of balance in that regard.

Lastly, there was the question about raising the cap that schools can spend in a year to an amount that’s tied to the level from 1980 tied to inflation plus 10%. This is the same antiquated rule that has plagued the entire state and hasn’t yet been resolved at the statewide level except for a one year reprieve.. While this vote was seen more as providing an option to spend more with a large inflow of spendable funds as opposed to setting the stage for more consistent spending, it is passing by only a small margin. Perhaps this implies that while Scottsdale is getting a bit less socially conservative, overspending will always be on its mind.

By Vernon Parker

I proudly served a Mayor of Paradise Valley and was humbled to make history as the first African American to hold that office. This election, Arizona has an opportunity to make history and reign in dark money or anonymous political spending by voting yes on Proposition 211, Voters’ Right to Know Act.

After serving as Mayor of Paradise Valley, I wanted to continue serving Arizona as a member of the Corporation Commission. I found myself in the crosshairs of a dark money campaign in 2014.

The attacks on me and my character were brutal, false, vicious, and launched from the shadows. It took its toll. But I lived to fight another day.

Five years later APS’ parent company Pinnacle West admitted to giving $12.9 million to 16 different political groups. More than $10 million went to groups that contributed to the Corporation Commission elections in 2014.  I felt a degree of vindication but the implications of what happened were troubling.

The Corporation Commission regulates APS which explains why the utility used Arizona’s lax laws on anonymous political spending to hide what they were doing.

My story is far from unique. How many times have we seen outrageous campaign commercials paid for by groups using equally outrageous committee names? If we don’t know who cut the check, how do we know the motivation behind the ad?

Dark Money spending has only gotten worse since I entered politics and the problem will get worse if dark money groups are able to run and hide. Real transparency in election spending will never happen if some are able to spend from the shadows, just like APS did years ago.

Let’s be clear, I have nothing against political spending, as long as it is done in the light of day. Those who contribute to political campaigns, and report the spending, are often motivated by the greater good.  Those who deliberately hide their political spending are generally motivated by their own self-interest.

I am a lifelong Republican. I served in the Bush ’41 and Bush ‘43 administrations. In supporting Proposition 211 I am gladly joining my good friend and lifelong Democrat Terry Goddard. That’s because this issue crosses party lines. Indeed, recent polling shows it has overwhelming public support across the political spectrum. That’s because dark money hurts Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. More importantly, it damages the political process.

What happened in the Corporation Commission races in 2014 was shameful, but it doesn’t have to keep happening. Please join me in voting yes on Proposition 211 and put the power of the political process where it belongs, with those who cast the votes not those who cut the checks from the shadows.


Photo Credit: azcentral.com

In today’s political climate, where social media algorithms seem to turn everything into an us vs them, with us or against us dynamic. It is increasingly difficult to work across the aisle without your own eating you alive and primarying you. So when denizens of each political wing come together in support of a common cause, it is worth noting.

One of those such instances is happening right now with Proposition 308. For those who are unaware, Prop 308 will be on your ballot this fall, and it will give “Dreamers” the ability to have the same rights when it comes to education as many of their documented colleagues. It is a common sense proposition based on decency and fairness, keeping aside the supposed “sins” of parents and allowing children not to be permanently painted by them.

Therefore we were elated to read this recent story, where progressive Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and conservative Mesa Mayor John Giles have come together in support of Prop 308. And leaving aside the more extreme elements of today’s Republican Party, where illegal immigration is the grievest of all ills, it makes all the sense in the world.

Why is this? First, let’s talk about Arizona’s brand. When it comes to recruiting large employers to our state to set up shop and bringing hundreds or thousands of jobs with them, hardline nativist policies don’t work. Quite the opposite, they turn off much of a highly educated and well trained workforce that doesn’t want to come to a state with extreme policies (see also: total abortion bans). While seniors are reliable voters and are most in favor of those sorts of policies, a young workforce (i.e. the type that make our country run) are not.

Two, it’s about the workforce. Employers want educated labor pools, and to leave off a large segment of the population and denying them that education to help them rise up and advance simply limits the headcount of our educated workforce.

Lastly, it’s simply the decent thing to do. Your average person does not feel it right to punish children for what their parents have done, and polls reflect this. In North Korea, they will jail entire families when one member escapes and defects to a different country. It should be an extremely uncontroversial statement to say that we should not follow North Korean policies.

Often it takes a certain degree of common sense, certain policies and ideas that are so very correct for their time, to bring together the polar opposites. Prop 308 is one of those, and we hope that Arizona voters will also see what the cooler heads of the ends of the political spectrum can clearly see: that Proposition 308 deserves your Yes vote.

Matt Gress. Photo Credit: Phoenix Business Journal

In the last few days we have broken down the all-important Q3 campaign finance reports for both statewide and federal races here in Arizona. Now for our final breakdown we consider the local legislative races that will impact our Scottsdale residents, as a number of candidates look to represent our city in the State Capitol.

First, we will look at the new Legislative District 3 which covers much of north Scottsdale and further north, into Fountain Hills. We regret to inform you that these will be very boring races. John Kavanagh is currently unopposed for the LD3 Senate seat, and the only competitors for Joseph Chaplik and Alexander Kolodin for both LD3 House seats are write-in candidates who do not have a prayer. The primaries determined the general election outcomes, so we will not bother with campaign finance results as there is no need for them to raise or spend money at this time.

The new LD4, covering central Scottsdale into Phoenix, is a very different situation however. It currently has a very expensive and contentious Senate race between incumbents Nancy Barto and Christine Marsh, brought into the same race by redistricting. Nancy Barto has raised $307K to date and sits with $94K cash-on-hand (CoH). More interestingly perhaps is that $268K in independent expenditure (IE) dollars have been spent against her, with only $41K in her favor. Statewide Democratic interests see this as a critically important race and are spending as such.

Running against her is Christine Marsh, who as Senator of the previous District 28 is no stranger to high dollar campaigns. She has raised $359K to date and sits with an impressive $151K CoH. Since it appears that she did not switch over her campaign to the new district in the campaign finance portal, it is difficult to see the IE money that has been spent for and against her this cycle, but it is fair to say that it is probably significant in both directions.

Lastly, the LD4 House race, where the Democrats are utilizing a single-shot strategy, running one candidate for two seats in the hope to pick off one in a right-leaning district. Democratic candidate Laura Terech is running for that one seat, and she has held her own, raising $124K along with substantial funds transferred from her previous campaign. She sits with $82K CoH and has had $66K in IE funds benefitting her.

Matt Gress and Maria Syms are the two Republican candidates, and Matt Gress has been a fundraising machine, with $429K raised to date and $310K in IE support as opposed to $68K against him. Meanwhile, Syms has had very muted fundraising, bringing in only $86K but retaining an impressive $64K of those funds.

District 4 remains one of the more interesting districts in the state, with two Senate incumbents facing off and a single-shot candidate who could pick off either Republican. While Barto seems to have the registration advantage for the Senate, any of the three House candidates could be looking for their next career path in November.

By Barry Graham

As we mentioned yesterday, the all-important Q3 campaign finance reports recently came out for all political races, and it provides us a crucial final window into each campaign’s relative strength and opportunity for success. Yesterday we covered the statewide races, and today we look at the most important federal races in Arizona.

First, the biggest race of them all, the race to be on of the two US Senators from the state of Arizona. First, we start with incumbent Mark Kelly, who has been an unmitigated machine when it comes to fundraising. For his campaign to date, he has raised an incredible $75.5 million. He still has a cash-on-hand (CoH) buffer of  $13.2 million which will be difficult to spend at this point with all TV spots scheduled. He could instead hold onto a good portion of it and use it to wield additional power in the Senate upon (likely) re-election.

Next is Kelly’s nemesis this election, Blake Masters. While being a close associate to tech billionaire Peter Thiel gave off the early impression that Masters might be able to compete when it comes to fundraising, relatively poor polling against Kelly likely had the impact of drying up some of the spigots. He has raised $8 million to date, a number that simply won’t cut it in a competitive US Senate race, and also took loans of $1 million to bolster his coffers. He currently has a relatively puny $2.8 million CoH.

Now we hop over to the new 1st Congressional District, covering much of Scottsdale and Paradise Valley. Incumbent David Schweikert has long been a relatively poor fundraiser, and while this cycle a spark was clearly lit under him, his numbers aren’t eye-popping for an incumbent. He has raised $1.2 million with an additional $460K in transfers and loans to feed his coffers, and stands with $245K CoH. Democratic challenger Jevin Hodge is actually in a better situation: while he has raised $1 million with a  $10K transfer, he sits with a strong CoH advantage with $439K in the bank. He’ll need every penny to knock off the incumbent.

Lastly we go to the only other “purple” district in the Valley, the new CD-4. Incumbent Greg Stanton has been a fundraising machine, bringing in $3.8 million to date and has  just under $2 million CoH. Challenger Kelly Cooper simply has not been able to keep up, raising $590K and needing to loan the campaign $1.35 million. She has $254K CoH but still has an outstanding loan of $719K. It seems clear that Stanton will cruise to re-election, and Cooper will have a very expensive lesson learned.

While one of these races should be relatively competitive, as David Schweikert’s runs for re-election sometimes are, the real lesson is the difficulty in ousting incumbents, and how funding will often dry up if the donor class doesn’t see polling results they like. No one wants to invest in a sinking ship after all.

We are in the final stretch for political campaigns, and the extremely important Q3 campaign finance reports were just released. These will give us our final peer into the financial capacities of campaigns before early ballots are mailed out, so we looked into the most critical statewide races to see how the candidates are doing.

First, we start with the Governor’s race. Kari Lake has run a non-traditional campaign (pre-Trump non-traditional at least) and has eschewed more normalized ways of fundraising and spending in favor of earned media and organic social media mobilization, and her fundraising has reflected that. To date she raised $3.55 million in this last reporting period but still maintains a robust, $1.5 million cash-on-hand (CoH). While independent expenditure groups (IEs) have spent $1.9 million to help her, they have also spent $3.6 million to defeat her.

Katie Hobbs boasts relatively similar but better numbers, which would be one of the rare instances that a Democratic candidate for Governor has outraised their Republican counterpart: raised $4.7 million this past quarter and has $1.7 million CoH. More tellingly is the IE battle, as she has had $1.4 million in IE support but a menacing $6.1 million in IE spend against her, mostly thanks to the Republican Governor’s Association.

Now onto the Secretary of State race, where like the Governor’s race the candidates are relatively similar in terms of CoH, but the IEs tell a different story. Mark Finchem raised $592K last quarter and still has $385K CoH. That said, while his IE support has been negligible, he does have a daunting $2.35 million in IE spend against him. Meanwhile, Adrian Fontes has excellent fundraising prowess recently with $1.7 million raised in Q3 and has $746K CoH. IE spending has been much more muted, with $428K of spending in favor of him and, $58K against.

Lastly, we will address the Attorney General’s race, where again the Democrat has outraised the Republican in the final stretch. Abe Hamadeh raised $730K last quarter and sits with $418K CoH. IE spending has been relatively balanced, with  $860K spent to benefit him and $760K to defeat him. Meanwhile, Kris Mayes had a blockbuster quarter with $1.2 million raised and enters the last stretch with $447K CoH. However the IE spending is incredibly unbalanced, as while a meager $46K was spent to help her,, $1.4 million has been spent to defeat her.

These numbers reflect the new reality in Arizona politics: that statewide races will be real contests and will likely go down to the very wire. With little TV commercial inventory available and repeated mailers and digital ads having marginal benefit, candidates will have a challenge in fighting through the noise and making impactful final pitches.

By Councilwoman Solange Whitehead

As you probably know, there will be a run-off for the final seat on the Scottsdale City Council, as Solange Whitehead and Kathy Littlefield secured re-election after the first round but no candidate cleared enough votes to avoid a run-off for Linda Milhaven’s seat. We have already written about this race and the endorsements therein, but there was one development that we did not anticipate and gives us reason to give this race another look.

We knew that Barry Graham, as a former member of local GOP leadership, would cater to and court a large subset of the local Republican party. But the much more interesting dynamic of this race is that it seems to be turning into a proxy war between the hard-right wing versus the more mainstream wing of the Republican party.

This became much more clear as Congressman Paul Gosar headlined a fundraiser for Pamela Carter. It seems quite odd that Gosar, who represents much of rural Arizona, would be so interested in a Scottsdale city council race, until one looks at it through the prism of the current conflicts within the Republican party. Gosar is a darling for the more extremist elements of the GOP, the ones who believe that any negative event is an FBI false flag and that those who charged the Capitol on January 6th were actually saving the country.

In our initial summary of the race, Pamela Carter registered as merely a blip on our rundown, as her then-primary focus on her website was stopping child sex trafficking. No serious person who follows municipal elections would consider that anywhere near their top priorities; past that, it would be considered laughable to serious people, but apparently it was critical enough to Carter for it to warrant top billing. It made no sense until we combined that with her support from Gosar.

Gosar was also a significant “wink nudge” promoter of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which believed that the Democratic party was led by a cabal of child sex traffickers, leading to the absurd “pizzagate” event where an armed gunman stormed a pizza place in Washington DC under the assumption that children were being kept for sexual slavery. What he found was a bunch of terrified adults and kids: not terrified because they were kept captive, but terrified of the armed gunman now in their presence. Serious people understand that this is ridiculous, but apparently not Carter as she made this a centerpiece of her campaign.

While Barry Graham leans much closer to the NIMBY crowd than we would prefer, he’s at least a serious and reasonable person who wouldn’t offer up the potential for brand damage for our city. Pamela Carter’s canoodling with the regrettably extremist elements of the GOP strongly implies the possibility (maybe even probability) of her making city council a spectacle. Scottsdale is better than that. We should keep fringe views away from our city’s leadership and leave them where they belong: on the fringes.

Photo Credit: 12 NewsRegular readers of APG know that the fight over short-term rentals has been front and center for both Scottsdale and Paradise Valley. For a while onerous and conflicted state law dictated that municipalities had essentially no local control over the issue until a massive localized public outcry became too loud to ignore. Now that municipalities have been offered some degree of control, both Scottsdale and PV aren’t wasting much time.

The first move was from Paradise Valley, as Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner moved to put a lid on the industry. Next it was Scottsdale’s move, and they recently unveiled their STR regulations proposal, but initial analysis implies that it won’t be enough to satisfy the citizenry.

Amongst the proposed regulations are the potential requirement of licensure with the city; that said, due to a $250 maximum fine set at the state level (i.e. about half of a day’s rental fees at a nice AirBnb rental), it’s tough to see how that will change behavior. Additionally, bad behavior cannot lead to a revocation or rejection of an application, merely a yearlong suspension.

With an estimated 6,000 short-term rentals in circulation within the city borders, the problem is as salient as ever. Additionally, this problem rears its ugly head in other ways; after all, that is 6,000 homes that will not be sold to potential residents nor be rented out, which as a result bleeds into the rental and housing unaffordability crisis pervasive in the city.

So will this have a material impact? Likely not much of one, so long as Scottsdale remains a major vacation destination and demand remains high. The STR management is so lucrative, especially in Scottsdale where it is not at all unusual to have homes going for thousands of dollars per night. A $250 fee is a drop in the proverbial bucket.

And so it goes; the local control that the state so generously granted to cities was closer to a mirage and the problem will not be resolved until the state truly cedes power on this issue. Until then, the citizenry will need to continue to speak out and stay involved.

We believe that an engaged and informed citizenry leads to significantly better outcomes for all of us.Regular readers know that we informed you about the public input conversations about our tourism plan. Well now you may have another chance, and this time it has to do with taxation.

You may be aware of a 0.2% sales tax that was enacted in order to help pay for land acquisition for the McDowell Mountain Preserve, Since that tax is set to expire in 2025, Council has decided to form a nine-person advisory task force in order to give input on the extension and use of that tax.

While the public input forums for commentary about our tourism plan were open to the public and purely conversational instead of task-based, this task force will be comprised of citizens appointed by the council. In a nod to the short-lived Scottsdale 3-2-1 campaign that Mayor Ortega spearheaded to attempt to implement a district system, council has tentatively agreed to have three members each from the northern, central, and southern areas of the city.

While there is little disagreement to the fact that the tax probably should be extended, there are currently some disagreements as to what it should be used on. A majority agree that it should be targeted and focused purely on park upkeep and maintenance, although Linda Milhaven expressed that she would like to see it be used as essentially part of the city budget.

While this will be an appointed body, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get involved, it likely just means that you need to know someone. If you are friendly with a current councilperson or the mayor, this is a good opportunity to reach out and volunteer yourself for this role. Especially if you reside in south or central Scottsdale, areas that are underrepresented in council and thus there will likely be less competition for these roles. We recommend that you reach out to them and let them know your interest.

Opportunities are there to influence your city; we will do our best to let you know about them, but ultimately the onus is on you to be proactive and get involved. Don’t let others decide your fate.

2020 Scrum

Data Orbital is pleased to announce the results of its latest statewide, mixed mode survey of likely Republican primary election voters. The survey was conducted from July 18th to July 20th.

The survey tested all Republican candidates whose names will appear on the ballot for Governor in the upcoming August 2nd Republican primary.

With mail-in ballots already being returned, Kari Lake shows a commanding 11-point lead over Karrin Taylor Robson. Lake is pulling away from the field as a poll conducted by Data Orbital earlier in July showed Lake only 4 points ahead of Taylor Robson.

Pollster George Khalaf had this to say about the latest results, “With nearly 250,000 Republican ballots returned, it is clear Kari Lake has maintained – and grown – her lead in the Gubernatorial race. We have seen the Undecided rate steadily drop from 28% in late June to 12%, with a little more than a week until Election Day. With what we are seeing in our polling, and every other public poll released on the Governor’s race, one thing is clear: Kari Lake is on her way to securing the Republican nomination.”


This poll of 550 likely primary election voters was conducted through a combination of live survey and text to web that collected 32.4% of the results from live caller landlines, 34.2% from live caller cell phones, and 33.4% from text to web. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.26% with a 95% confidence interval. Respondents were weighted on a number of different demographic figures based on prior primary election voter turnout figures. The poll was conducted from July 18 – July 20, 2022. All non-released questions would not reasonably be expected to influence responses to all released questions. The questions released are verbatim from the survey provided to respondents. Toplines and demographic data can be found here. Crosstabs for this survey can be found here.


The election for Scottsdale City Council is underway, and, as a candidate, I am committed to keeping Scottsdale prosperous and one of the lowest-taxed cities in the valley. 

I want this for you and for my own family. While collecting signatures to place my name on the ballot, the message I heard from residents became clear.  Voters love the amenities and quality of life in Scottsdale and they want a City Council that will encourage a vibrant city economy that pays for all the wonderful city services they enjoy.  With increasing inflation rates today, assuring that our city finances are healthy is more important than ever before.

I am a government finance professional; and, as a public finance and municipal lawyer representing cities and towns in Arizona and other states, I help them make deals that increase economic prosperity for their residents.  Additionally, since I served over ten years on the city’s Board of Zoning Adjustment and the Scottsdale Industrial Development Authority, I have put my knowledge and experience to work already for the economic benefit of the city. I’ve also served as a Pro Tem Judge in Maricopa County Superior Court.

I am running to keep your city taxes low, your property values high, and to reduce city debt while ensuring Scottsdale continues to have the best in class amenities and municipal services we have come to expect.  I will make long-term decisions to ensure the health of our magnificent desert preserve and parks, our outstanding police and fire services, our tourism industry, and our world-class dining, commercial and retail services.

We live in tough times. We are coming out of a major global pandemic, but now we are facing runaway inflation and rising interest rates.  Now more than ever we need someone on the City Council with my municipal finance experience and focus. We cannot turn to short-sighted and costly thinking that results in economic decline. There is no goal more resident-friendly than shifting the Council’s focus to keeping local property and sales taxes low and property values high.

The inflation we are facing will impact senior citizens and those on fixed incomes the most, and we must work hard to assure that our most vulnerable city residents can prosper as well.  We can do this by making sure we continue to foster increased economic activity that generates city revenues, working to assure that we have an adequate housing supply, spending taxpayer dollars wisely, and maintaining a fiscally conservative city budget.

I look forward to sharing my goals for my work as a councilman and thoughts on a wide array of issues over the coming weeks. Please contact me on my website at strattonforscottsdale.com.

I am here to listen to you.

By Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner

Dear Fellow Paradise Valley Resident:

I’m pleased to have the support of all the past Mayors of Paradise Valley who are active in Town affairs. Today, I am honored to share a recent video in support of my re-election from our dear friends and long-time Paradise Valley residents and public servants, former Paradise Valley Mayor Ed Lowry and former Paradise Valley First Lady Patsy Lowry:

Lowry Video

In the video, Ed says the following:

“I think Mayor Jerry has done a fabulous job of coalescing a lot of different ideas, people and personalities into a team that works well together. It doesn’t mean that everyone has to agree with each other. It does mean though that everyone has to listen to each other, respect each other and work together for the betterment of the town.”

I would like to thank Ed and Patsy for their kind words, as well as former Paradise Valley mayors LeMarr, Winkler, Parker, Clarke, Wick and others for supporting my campaign.

I hope you will join them and many other former Town leaders and residents in voting to re-elect Jerry Bien-Willner as Mayor in the August 2 election.

Thank you for the privilege of serving as your mayor.