Council Preview

There are a LOT of interesting items on the city council special and regular agendas for Tuesday night:

In particular, I note the following:

I believe the special meeting agenda is about purchasing a couple of parcels for the Preserve that are going to be auctioned off by the State Land Department on December 7th and December 14th. Regular Agenda Item 19 is, I think, related to this (see more below). However, I believe the vagueness of the special agenda language is in violation of the Open Meeting Law. This is not surprising given the trend of Mayor Lane and city staff lately.

Non-agendized announcement by Mayor Lane that AZ Supreme Court Chief Justice has appointed a new member of the Scottsdale Judicial Appointments Advisory Board. I was not familiar with the convoluted manner in which the appointments to this board were made until I saw this announcement. I have to say, this smacks of something in need of serious change. I will spare you an excruciating lecture on having the state judiciary interfere in (or even control) the local judicial process in this manner. Suffice it to say, however, this is yet another process in which a direct appointment mechanism would avoid these concerns. All Scottsdale boards and commissions should be direct appointment.

Consent Agenda (block approval anticipated without discussion)

  • Item 6. Among the usual bevy of adult beverage license applications you’ll find Cuoco Pazzo. This operator’s previously submitted application included “misleading statements” (in other words he omitted information) about an arrest record. Staff has apparently now taken the position that it is OK to be dishonest on a liquor license application as long as the applicant follows up with a corrected version. I guess that also means it’s OK to have an arrest record and still get a liquor sales license. Ironically, some of the behavior that resulted in this applicant’s legal troubles is much the same as that causing so much current consternation in the “entertainment district.”
  • Item 10, designation of two “Sign Free Zones” in Downtown and the “WestWorld/Princess Area.” This of course means the rest of the city is not worthy of protection from political sign blight. Personally, I feel the city council and city attorney should muster some courage and fight the state (House Bill 2500) on this to extend it to the entire city, but I do not sense much public sentiment to press for it.
  • Item 12 changes some of the calculations of floor/area ratios and other details for the C-O (Commercial-Office) district zoning category. Frankly, I haven’t had time to look at this, but it smells strongly of relaxing development standards to the detriment of community character.
  • Item 17 renews an agreement between the City and the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy regarding volunteers working in the Preserve and other Preserve issues. Again, this is not an issue on which I’ve spent much time. However, there has been a lot of contention surrounding the Conservancy, and I imagine some of it will be reflected in this contract.
  • Item 18 is titled “Bond 2000 Budget Transfer for Pima Road Improvements.” I don’t know about you, but the words “bond,” “Bond 2000” (multiple abuses of this money by the city), “budget transfer,” and “Pima Road improvements” all make me suspicious…and when they are all in the same subject line, look out! From my brief reading of the “background” section, it sounds like someone didn’t do a very good job of budget calculations on this seemingly-eternal road construction project, and now we (taxpayers) have to pony up some more funds.
  • Item 19, Preserve General Obligation Bonds. I’m a big believer in the Preserve. However, I’m not a big fan of shotgun financing, increasing government debt, or higher taxes. There may be other issues with this item, and I’m going to do what I can to force this off the Consent Agenda for further discussion.

Regular Agenda

  • Item 23 is about “Scottsdale Airpark Community” apartment development on Hayden north of Costco. You can read more about that in our article today (one of many, search “Airport” on our site).
  • Item 28 is about spending down our Unreserved Fund Balances. Call me silly, but if the City Treasurer said as recently as two weeks ago “We are on a path of unsustainability,” (this language was presaged in May and again in an editorial the same week) why on Earth would he, the City Manager, and Mayor Lane now be advocating for giving ANY money away?
  • Item 29 relates to Councilman Littlefield’s efforts to support the Scottsdale Unified School District in seeking to keep all of Scottsdale in the same legislative and congressional districts. For more background on this issue see our previous articles on redistricting efforts.

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