*Mayor Ortega: Finesse. Many remain surprised inside and outside Scottsdale that he won. No matter. He did. Credit and respect are due. Ortega deserves room to prove himself, despite his awkward ways. But he needs to remember he is one of 7 that govern Scottsdale’s future. Emperor, he is not. Ideas like his to fire all of the volunteers serving on the Planning Commission and Design Review Board are ones he needs to avoid, especially if he wants to clamp down on the many rumblings that he will be a one-term mayor. Fortunately, he will be serving with others that may provide important counsel and comparisons as we observe below.
*Councilwoman Betty Janik: Keep doing what you are doing. We were always bullish on her as a candidate. We are again as she assumes the dais. Janik understands winning coalitions having served important roles to enshrine Proposition 420 by popular vote in 2018, the bond campaign in 2019 and then her own council campaign in 2020. She’s on a roll with her political hat trick. Janik does her homework and is the kind of person that even in disagreement is not disagreeable. We hope her winning streak now continues, on behalf of Scottsdale.
*Councilman Tom Durham: Be artful. Smart. Fond of the desert. Appreciator of the arts. That’s a great start for someone to serve Scottsdale. But Durham is also relatively new to the city. Despite being a quick study we hope he will listen as he leads, especially to the wise men and women that preceded him, and who have a lot to offer about what makes Scottsdale special. Becoming a staunch supporter of the arts, joining Councilwoman Milhaven among others, would be a compelling, immediate boost for one of the defining elements of the city.
*Councilwoman Tammy Caputi: Be big for small. A new public servant with a smile. That’s refreshing to see. Caputi loved electioneering. She is also the youngest person on the council now and the only one with young kids. This gives her an important, different perspective. As does her standing as a successful small business owner. Scottsdale’s business community desperately needs councilmembers who understand the beating they have taken in the past year, especially those in the Arts District.
*Councilwoman Solange Whitehead: Stay true. There’s a reason she has become the conscience of the council. Many predicted she would govern from the extreme left. Instead, Whitehead has done so with principled practicalism. Like Caputi, she seems to relish the interaction with people and the true essence of public service. And it is why she will be heavily favored to win re-election, should she so choose in 2022.
*Councilwoman Linda Milhaven: Stay steely. Milhaven now finds herself with a much different council than when she first elected, then re-elected. We don’t think it will change her much though. Milhaven will likely play a critical role in reminding her colleagues that one can be for thoughtful growth, but also pro-business too. And Scottsdale will need that voice as other Valley cities continue to seize some of what has distinguished Scottsdale in the past, as well as to help the local economy recover from the pandemic’s turmoil.
*Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield: Keep On With Keen Common Sense. Littlefield needs no help on likability questions. She loves Scottsdale, being on the council, and it shows. Like Whitehead, she is extremely well-positioned for re-election in 2022 assuming Scottsdale doesn’t seek to become weirdly autarkic in the short term. Littlefield has grown into her role as a councilwoman in a way Ortega may want to emulate as Mayor. She is accessible and typically exhibits a coherent, positive common sense when arriving at her positions. Littlefield has proven that she can’t be pigeonholed despite the distinct political profile of her husband, and similar concerns when she assumed office. She may vote against numerous development proposals but she is not afraid to support them either when she sees merit. Or to stand up for new Scottsdale infrastructure when some in her constituency oppose such expenditures.
Next week a notable new City Council takes charge. We wish them all well as stewards of one of the best cities in America.