At the end of Tuesday night’s Scottsdale City Council discussion referring a solid package of important community improvements to the November 5th ballot there was applause from the good number of people in attendance.
It was unusual, and refreshing to hear. It symbolized how various members of the public and council, who often disagree on issues, all came together for Scottsdale’s greater good.
What preceded this, however, was noteworthy.
During public comment Jason Alexander discussed the need for the bond but then alluded to potential opposition because a majority of the council was making too many bad land use decisions, in his opinion. Alexander is, of course, a potential, formidable City Council candidate in 2020 and is now a grassroots organizing Hall of Famer for his noble and ultimately successful crusade against the ill-advised Desert Discovery Center.
Indirectly, Milhaven took Alexander to task later in the meeting discussing the inappropriateness of threatening the bond package because of disagreements elsewhere. We concur. Milhaven noted her disappointment, even strongly, with some of the elements in the bond package. But in the end she was going to support it because of its necessity.
Over the past number of years Alexander has gone from a bomb thrower to a top-tier candidate for City Council. Some might even call him a favorite for 2020.
And that’s happened because Alexander didn’t just prevail on the biggest electoral issue in the city in the past many years, but because the Princeton graduate has been smart and measured, opposing some things, supporting others. He understands that Scottsdale doesn’t ultimately reward people who say no to everything. Those people may win battles. They lose wars.
The bond approach of Kathy Littlefield and Solange Whitehead may be instructive. They share a slower growth philosophy like Alexander. Yet, they have been patriots through this process, just like Alexander was supporting Scottsdale’s transportation tax measure, despite it being on the same ballot as Proposition 420 on the November, 2018 ballot. Proposition 420 was the culmination of Alexander’s and many others’ work to kill the Desert Discovery Center.
And this bond work is the culmination of Alexander’s allies and so many others to finally achieve what so many before have failed to do. Pass a substantial bond plan that makes a great city even better. It has been TWENTY YEARS since that has happened.
Rather than oppose the bond Alexander should do exactly what he is doing: run for the City Council. Holding it hostage because of other concerns may be a political move worse than Virginia Korte’s politically bizarre jihad against Proposition 420. And that’s hard to do.
You don’t starve your child if they are behaving badly. And you don’t starve your beloved city if you don’t like the conduct of some. Linda Milhaven was right.