Chamber of Commerce Council Candidate Forum

This afternoon’s Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce city council candidate forum didn’t reveal much beyond what we already knew: “Their” candidates (Klapp, Korte, and Luoma) oppose and want to erode the well-crafted development standards of Scottsdale’s widely acclaimed General Plan, and “their” candidates want to paint the other three candidates as “anti-growth.”

Jobs Team?
There was a new wrinkle, as telegraphed by new campaign signs apparently installed this morning: Now the Chamber candidates have taken the tack that they are “pro-jobs” and that anyone who opposes them is anti-economic development.

You can (and should) watch for yourself the video of the forum on the city’s website.

However, I was struck by a couple of comments that bookend the forum nicely. The first was from moderator (development company partner and Chamber board chair), Eric Larson in his opening remarks:

The Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce is the voice of the business community, and has served for many years–along with other like-minded organizations–as stewards of this wonderful city. Who represents the business community on our city council is not a decision we want to be taken lightly.

First of all, Scottsdale has almost 30,000 businesses (retail tax licenses, and “business, occupational, and professional” licenses). I believe the Area Chamber’s membership to be approximately one percent of this number. Therefore, I think the Chamber to a large degree is NOT “the voice of the business community.”

Secondly, the job of our elected leaders isn’t to “represent the business community.” Their job is to represent the citizens. To be sure, business interests have a place in consideration and deliberation, but they shouldn’t be the top concern, and certainly not the only concern.

The closing bookend came with incumbent councilwoman Suzanne Klapp’s closing statement:

“…I have been consistently for quality economic development in Scottsdale. I have been consistently in support of a balanced and fiscally conservative budget. And I have consistently looked out for the best interests of the entire city of Scottsdale; not just the business community, not just certain neighborhoods, but the entire community, and most people are very, very happy with the direction the city has taken.

“So, as I promised to you four years ago, I’ll continue to work for improving our economic base. I will continue to look for sources of revenue that will help support the City of Scottsdale.”

Every single development case for which Suzanne has voted (and she’s voted for all of them that have come before the council) has included amended (reduced) development standards…in other words, less quality.

Chris Schaffner made the point that Suzanne has voted in favor of every spending increase that has come before the council. And I can tell you for dead certain that she voted for a budget DEFICIT of $8 million dollars that was only “balanced” by transferring money from reserves. There’s nothing “fiscally conservative” about that.

Suzanne is perfectly willing to lie to get re-elected, let alone mischaracterizing her opponents. Is that the kind of person we want representing US (as opposed to “the business community”) on the City Council?

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