Few people have more conscientiously served Scottsdale over the many years than Virginia Korte. Southern Scottsdale businesswoman. Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce President. Non-profit leader. Stalwart supporter of Scottsdale public schools. Early voice to preserve the McDowell Mountains. She’s a Scottsdale Hall of Famer in every sense of the word. She wants to be Mayor of Scottsdale, badly. She’s considered it at various times in the past and was an early mover in the 2020 race when Mayor Jim Lane will be term limited.
Yet, something went horribly awry on the way to a coronation. Despite the fact that the McDowell Sonoran Preserve itself was founded and funded by numerous public votes, Korte strongly contested the notion that the ill-conceived Desert Discovery Center (DDC) should be likewise decided. But she didn’t just stop there. She almost single-handedly organized a well-funded campaign to defeat Proposition 420 which properly called for citizen concurrence for the DDC and projects like it in the Preserve.
To put it mildly, it was not a nice, effective or well-received opposition campaign. History books will look to it as a political don’t. Though hard to do Korte even supplanted Lina Milhaven in the animus rankings of backers.
Korte’s position was not one of political courage. It was political inanity, even philosophically inconsistent with her work on previous Preserve votes. Scottsdale’s political earthquake following Proposition 420’s stunning success has left many wondering if Korte will go the way of David Smith or Wayne Ecton who, as Councilmembers, lost standing, constituencies and ultimately re-elections.
But Hall of Famers like Korte are just that for a reason. They don’t give up, and Korte certainly doesn’t appear to be doing that with her aspirations to be Mayor. Understanding her political problem as well as the need of the community to move on from the dubious DDC, Korte has aggressively moved to kill the project once and for all. Alternative locations. Funding. Everything. That’s smart.
The Mayor’s election is still two years away and the passion and organization of Proposition 420 will no doubt fade, somewhat. Will it be enough for Korte? Maybe. Maybe not. But by eliminating more roil she both lances her boil and keeps alive her chance of one day becoming a Scottsdale royal.