Is Rick Kidder Really That Stupid?

The Scottsdale Republic published a “My Turn” column this morning from long-time neighborhood antagonist and Chamber of Commerce CEO Rick Kidder. In his column, Kidder said of a proposed relocation of a car dealership to within 50 feet of homes in one of Scottsdale’s vintage downtown neighborhoods, that it would be of “benefit” to the neighborhood.

I recall that Mr. Kidder has a degree in English from Harvard. Presumably that would qualify him to understand the meaning of the word “benefit,” so I’m inclined to think he isn’t really THAT stupid. Which means he’s simply performing his usual role of used car salesman in propping up ideas that virtually everyone else in the discussion who has no profit motive recognizes as being really bad.

Kidder goes on to a circular citation of a Chamber city council candidate forum:

When asked if they supported the [dealership] relocation, all six [candidates] responded with a strong yes.

What Kidder doesn’t tell Republic readers is that it was a yes-or-no question. Candidates were not allowed to qualify or nuance their answers. Kidder intentionally structured the question this way so that if any candidate answered “no,” they could be blasted as anti-business…in a similar fashion to what has happened to Guy Phillips in attack ads from the Chamber’s north Scottsdale chapter.

You can also tell a lot about a person from their associates. In this matter, perennial public office aspirant (she’s unfortunately got a good chance of winning a seat on the Corporation Commission) and development consultant Susan Bitter-Smith was quoted by the Republic:

The opposition includes only a “handful of folks who have concerns” while “lots of neighbors” support the dealership, said Susan Bitter Smith, principal of Technical Solutions, which is part of the development team.

Longtime developer PR flack Jason Rose doubled down on that statement with one of his own:

Jason Rose, a spokesman for Phoenix Motor Co., said about 90 area residents have signed petitions in support of the dealership and area businesses are also supportive.

As with projects-past, Rose and Bitter-Smith circulated carefully-worded petitions among mostly BUSINESS neighbors (not residents), so they could make these statements without being called liars. However, there are a thousand ways to be dishonest without actually telling a lie, and these two know all of them.

Other, similarly-inane justifications include the fact that the dealership owner is a Saguaro High School graduate (maybe he should run for city council), that it is a premium brand, and that it will bring 150 jobs to Scottsdale. I seriously doubt the “150” number, but I can guarantee you that few if any of those jobs will be filled by Scottsdale residents.

So, in essence this car lot will contributing to the ‘imported workers’ problem (with attendant traffic issues and public service strain) so often cited by the Snow Job Team (Klapp, Korte, Luoma) as a reason for building massive housing projects in downtown Scottsdale.

So, in conclusion, I don’t think Rick Kidder is stupid. I don’t think he’s nearly as smart as HE thinks he is, but mostly he’s just intellectually dishonest.

See also the free-access article on this issue in the Independent from last week.

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  1. The 90 area residents begs the question….how is he defining “AREA?”

    We have seen this Bittersmith Team pull people in from “an area.” Unfortunately, the area was no where near the site in question.

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