Lack of Experience and Understanding is Embarrassing

Newby editor Grant Martin once again showcases his lack of experience and understanding of Scottsdale issues with his Scottsdale Republic “OUR VIEW” column this morning entitled

Lack of a few words for plan could be embarrassing

Martin leads with

The proposed General Plan update failed by about 400 votes, in large part because of disagreement over its vi­sioning statement, which detractors said pandered to special interests and developers. The proposed paragraph became the fulcrum of an all-too-pre­dictable debate, with the City Council on one side and community activists squawking about a tarnished quality of life on another.

I love his insult, “squawking.” As if concern about quality of life is like chickens fighting over spilled corn in the barnyard.

There’s no doubt in the mind of any serious observer that the General Plan update in Proposition 430 DID pander to profiteers and zoning attorneys. They may as well have written the update themselves.

Of course, disagreements can be healthy, and pride in one’s community is always laudable. But we’re talking about a paragraph. An inherently ab­stract paragraph at that — but one that’s a required component of a state­-mandated General Plan.

The failure of Proposition 430 wasn’t just the vision statement, though if we can’t get the first paragraph right how much confidence can we have in the rest of the document? Why do you think it’s required?

The very process of crafting the whole update (not only the vision statement) was flawed. It was engineered from the outset to dilute the very principles of the General Plan, and remove what developers perceive to be obstacles to making money.

The visioning statement can indeed be a useful resource in guiding dis­course during debates at the Kiva, but it’s far from the only element influenc­ing our elected officials’ decisions. No one, not even in Scottsdale, is that dog­matic, and that’s a good thing.

None of Scottsdale’s elected ‘representatives’ are “dogmatic” at all, save Bob Littlefield and soon-to-be-installed Guy Phillips. The rest go whichever way the campaign contribution wind blows. That’s “the only thing influencing our elected official’s decisions.”

For this year’s General Plan update, the city hired a private organization to host three town hall-style public fo­rums in February, during which a new visioning statement will ostensibly be hammered out. At a cost of $80,000, the decision might come across as an ex­pensive cop-out, but we think it’s a shrewd way of deflecting potential blowback over an ultimately toothless and hifalutin [sic] document.

“Cop out?” It’s a sell out. It’s expensive whitewash. We have no reason whatsoever to think that the process will be any better this time around, or that the result will have any value.

Again, the visioning statement might not be the supremely powerful doctrine some might want you to believe. But to fail for a second time at passing a Gen­eral Plan because we can’t string to­gether four or five sentences most of us can agree on would be nothing less than an utter embarrassment.

If the update process is going to fail again, it won’t just be because of inability to craft a vision. It will be because of exactly the dismissive attitude toward the spirit of planning that Grant Martin shares with the development-political complex in Scottsdale.

The vision and values expressed in the 2001 General Plan (which is a LOT more than “four or five sentences”) have great value. I propose that we examine whether we want to change the vision and values section at all.

The only reason the document is “toothless” is that Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane and the council majority have chosen to ignore it and exploit every possible loophole to unhitch practice from philosophy.

This is the first paragraph of the current vision and values statement:

The General Plan is the primary tool for guiding the future development of the city. On a daily basis the city is faced with tough choices about growth, housing, transportation, neighborhood improvement, and service delivery. A General Plan provides a guide for making these choices by describing long-term goals for the city’s future as well as policies to guide day-to-day decisions.

I don’t see anything “hifalutin” [sic] about that at all. Grant, have you even read the General Plan?

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1 Comment

  1. Two obvious takeaways from Grant’s “editorial”: 1. Grant clearly hasn’t read the General Plan. 2. The local “newspaper” is totally sold out to those whose goal is to derail all of Scottsdale’s development standards, to the profit of developers and at the expense of the residents’ quality of life.

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