Southern Scottsdale Should Be A Political Stepchild No More

Proximity to Sky Harbor, freeways, a great downtown, the Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix Zoo, the Indian Bend Wash.
“South Scottsdale” should be a prideful label, not a derogatory one.
Maybe the two strip clubs in the area advance the negative connotation. Or the automobile dealer departures along McDowell Road.Scottsdale-Sign-547x198
Or maybe the big talk but little action from both public and private sectors that has yielded an ASU office facility, but one without urban coattails.
Politically, there is no reason to keep doing the same thing. It hasn’t worked since the demise of Los Arcos Mall and the failure to realize the voter-approved arena district. Countless task forces and master plans aren’t getting it done.
What might?
Light rail has been put on the table as an area addition by a contingent on the council. Another idea is to connect the Indian Bend Wash and Papago Park via an elevated trail down the middle of McDowell Road.
But beyond these bigger ideas that may or may not be a panacea there is a very real structural problem.
There is no council member singularly devoted to the area. Indeed, there hasn’t been a single council member elected from the “south” since Robert Pettycrew in 1994. It’s a new definition of taxation without representation.
Those elected say all the right things about revitalizing the area but they are not there, living and breathing the neighborhoods.
This should change.
Several election cycles ago Scottsdale voters were asked to consider a Phoenix-style district system that would have created six council districts with the mayor continuing to be elected at-large.
Scottsdale voters said no.
It’s time for them to consider a new “Scottsdale” version, anew.
A hybrid system could make a lot of sense, especially to help the south rise again.
It would look like this: the mayor would continue to be elected at-large as would three members of the city council. But the three others would be directly elected from a “North,” “Central” and “South” district.
A talented, dedicated public servant working nearly exclusively for the betterment of Scottsdale’s original neighborhoods will make a difference. After all, little else has. At least it is worth a try with voters.