2017-07-02 Year-End Report

Dear Friends…   Scottsdale’s fiscal year ended June 30, so again I’ll report on Council decisions over the past year that affect you and your city’s livability.  Let me begin by introducing our new City Manager – Mr. Jim Thompson – hired January 1.  If you have a chance to deal with him, you’ll find he […]

2016-07-02 Year-End Report

Dear Friends…   Scottsdale’s fiscal year ended June 30, so it seems timely to share a report on some Council decisions over the past few months that will affect you and your city’s livability.   Your Council adopted a Balanced Budget for next year…that’s good! Unfortunately, the Budget isn’t sustainable and hasn’t been for several […]

Campaign Memories…

In just two days, I will reach the end of an eclectic nine-month journey. Several times, I’ve been asked whether I think it’s been worth it. Would I do it again if I could roll back the clock to last February? The journey has certainly been fraught with twists and turns…many of which deepened my […]

Birthday of the Preserve…

Last weekend, I went to an outdoor “birthday party” at the Browns Ranch Trailhead to celebrate twenty years since the first official action taken to create the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. The preserve is not yet the full acreage envisioned in the Recommended Study Boundary; still, it is amazing to realize how far we’ve come in […]

Fair Deals…

On November 2, 2010, citizens approved a new provision to our City Charter, Article1§3(O), providing: “The city shall not give…public funds…to any individual, association or corporation…except where there is a clearly identified public purpose and the city…receives direct consideration substantially equal to its expenditure.”   It’s legalese, but, in a nutshell, it’s to make sure […]

Thoughts on Tax Reform…

A few weeks ago, I wrote a newsletter discussing tax collections in Scottsdale. I made a couple of comments that I hope resonated with readers; First, I “ran the math” on the Council’s much-lauded vote to not increase property taxes by the legally allowed 2%…an action that saves the average citizen about $2.25 per year. […]

Scottsdale’s Dark Money…

Dark Money! A lot has been written about how the Supreme Court opened the door to corporate election spending, but how did this morph into the anonymous donor influence on elections we see today?   “Dark Money” emerged, I would suggest, because two protections the Court intended to retain are being flaunted and circumvented – even […]

Decades of Visions…

In 1991, a community visioning process identified four dominant themes to define the future of Scottsdale – Sonoran Desert; Resort Community; Arts & Culture; and Health & Research. In 2002, citizens approved a new General Plan for our city, reaffirming many of these same visions. More recently, a new group of eighteen Scottsdale citizens have […]

Compromising Visions…

The Arizona Republic reported that in late July, the City of Scottsdale received the first annual payment on our $81.4 million investment in SkySong. The $141,942 we received is a return of less than two tenths of one percent…not much, but still greater than zero!   At this point, the $81.4 million investment is a […]

Voting Completely…

  In our country, voting is one of our most important privileges…and responsibilities! As individual citizens, we enjoy the opportunity to express our collective preferences for individuals to lead our nation, our state and our community government. Much is written about low voter turnout, so I won’t dwell on that theme, except to observe that […]

Educating Young Citizens…

During candidate forums, voters often want to hear our views on our schools. I usually answer with a discussion of the economic value a community derives from a good education system. Businesses locate where they can recruit a talented and educated workforce; business leaders choose to live where their children can receive a quality education. […]

A Taxing Session…

For the past few years, Councilmembers have leaned forward to pat themselves on the back for not increasing the City’s property tax assessment. The maximum allowable increase is 2% ($500,000) each year; foregoing the increase saved the average citizen about $2.25…not enough for a hot fudge sundae at Dairy Queen, but a savings, nevertheless!   […]

Envisioning Scottsdale…

Scottsdale is a beautiful place for us to live, for tourists to visit and for businesses to prosper. This didn’t happen by accident; we were fortunate we had leaders of vision who foresaw possibilities of greatness. Citizens of Scottsdale deserve credit for electing individuals who supported and pursued citizen’s visions of the future.   Sixteen […]

Experience Matters…

Candidates for public office often promise voters they will impose sound fiscal management and pursue economic development and jobs by streamlining regulations. Unfortunately, most candidates have little or no experience in doing these things. Too late, voters realize their elected Council representatives think sound fiscal management means limiting spending to match every dollar that comes […]

Entertaining Scottsdale…

A topic frequently debated in Council Candidate Forums is our City’s so-called “Entertainment District.” I’ve frequently given this as an example of Council not following the vision of citizens. Let me explain…   Supporters of the District tout it as one of Scottsdale’s most significant economic engines, a major employment center and generator of local […]

Getting to Know Me…

­­­During a City Council candidate forum last week, a member of the audience gave the moderator an open-ended challenge for each candidate to complete the sentence; “If you really knew me, you’d know…”   Being “politically proper” I suggested they read my campaign pamphlet which introduces me as a person of integrity, experience and vision. […]

Accommodating Tourism…

One thing all Scottsdale City Council candidates strive to do is tip their hat to tourism. They extoll its virtues and acknowledge its importance to our economy. They promise to do everything in their power to protect, encourage and grow this local industry. Sometimes, the discussion goes no further. How important is tourism? Think of […]

Considering the Consequences…

In almost every candidate forum, I’ve been asked to share my thoughts about high-rise buildings – usually apartments – springing up in Scottsdale. I often make the observation taller, denser housing projects are actually the fulfillment of a vision – it’s just not a vision shared by many Scottsdale citizens.   Some candidates defend the […]

Envisioning Livability…

A couple of years ago, City Council embarked on a vision to expand WestWorld to seven acres under roof and climate control the entire building. It wasn’t a very well thought-out vision and voters were never consulted. There was no business plan; there was no marketing plan; construction costs were hastily estimated; and Council’s decision […]

A Sign You Care…

Two weeks ago, all candidates for Scottsdale City Council received a plea from Friends of the Scenic Drive to not post campaign signs along Desert Foothills Scenic Drive. In case you’re not familiar with the area, Desert Foothills Scenic Drive is the six mile stretch of our signature Scottsdale Road from Happy Valley, north to […]