Speakers’ Corner: Bob Littlefield

Editor’s note: This is a place where free speech and public debate are welcomed and encouraged. The Speakers’ Corner originated in the mid-19th century at London’s Hyde Park. The concept spread worldwide both physically and now virtually.

Here at the Arizona Progress & Gazette, we are presenting this platform in the form of question-and-answer style interviews with people who have had a meaningful impact on the community.

Our first Speakers’ Corner guest is former Scottsdale City Councilman Bob Littlefield.

Over the past few years, Scottsdale has become decidedly cautious, and some would say resistant to excess growth. You voiced such concerns years before others. Do you feel you were ahead of your time?
Yes, absolutely.

What is your opinion of the way Mayor Ortega is managing growth?
Sadly, like many of his Council colleagues, Ortega ran on a platform of limiting overdevelopment. But then. once in office, he betrayed the voters who supported him by voting to approve the very overdevelopment (such as Optima and The Parque) he promised to control! So, I would rate Ortega as a failure as Mayor.

Which Council members are best reflecting your beliefs on growth and why? Kathy Littlefield and Barry Graham, because they are the only Councilmembers who have kept their campaign promises to oppose overdevelopment and the urbanization of Scottsdale. Whitehead, Durham, Janik and Ortega all promised during their campaigns to limit overdevelopment. But then. once in office, they all betrayed the voters who supported them by voting to approve the very overdevelopment they promised to control!

If you were on the Scottsdale City Council today, what would be your number one priority? Opposing overdevelopment and the urbanization of Scottsdale, both of which are eroding our city’s special character and high quality of life.

What do you consider to be Scottsdale’s greatest asset?
Scottsdale is a very special place – it is literally the best place in the Valley to live, work and visit. It is so special every one of us who lives here, in every part of the city, gladly paid a premium to do so. It is so special it is the number one tourist destination in the valley, attracting visitors who heavily support our local economy.

Scottsdale got to be so special largely because we have a great climate, a stunning natural landscape and a unique Western character all our own. Unfortunately, our current development-friendly City Council majority is eagerly squandering two of these assets by blocking the residents’ views of the stunning natural landscape with tall, dense apartment buildings and by eroding Scottsdale’s unique Western character with bland architecture and clogged traffic.

What do you think Scottsdale will look like in another 20 years?
Unless voters can somehow elect a truly resident-friendly Mayor and City Council that will return sanity to the current insane development mania I fear in another 20 years Scottsdale will have become just another bland, featureless suburb of Phoenix. Our landscape will be dominated by ugly buildings, our streets will be clogged with traffic and our stunning natural landscape will be invisible unless you travel to the Preserve.

Don’t think that could ever happen? Back in 2018 our then City Council majority (also a wholly-owned subsidiary of the development community) actually approved commercial development in the McDowell-Sonoran Preserve! Only a herculean effort by the citizenry to put an initiative on the ballot (which passed by a wide margin) prevented this from happening. Never underestimate the power of greed.

This bleak future is exactly what I am working to prevent.