Saturday’s Scottsdale Republic “Sound Off” asked:
Is Scottsdale doing enough to keep its entertainment district safe?
Though I admire Mayor Jim Lane for being proactive on this issue, there really isn’t anything that can be done to eliminate all random acts of violence. Only an increased police presence — which will have to be subsidized by us taxpayers — along with a vigilante citizenry that adds a layer of care and conviction, might provide for a safer Old Town Scottsdale.
— Ray Artigue , Scottsdale, marketing communications executive
Progress has been made but there needs to be stronger enforcement and additional solutions implemented. The Police Department funding has not had the full support of mayor and council. Experienced officers have retired or moved on to better- paying positions in other cities and in many cases not replaced. The Conditional Use Permits need to be modified to better enforce control of patrons inside and outside the establishments. Additional police coverage in the bar area and streets out of downtown Scottsdale could be a major factor in improved safety. Tourists and residents need to feel safe as they do in Fashion Square.
— Wayne Ecton , Scottsdale, former city councilman
Scottsdale’s Entertainment District is probably as safe as any other tight concentration of loud nightclubs, high-living beach clubs, disorderly bars and cheap eateries. That’s not the real issue. Rather, why would a quality residential suburb willfully change its image, overshadowing a sedate downtown of tourist-oriented specialty shops, art galleries and gourmet restaurants for this? Why have we allowed partisan big spending commercial interests to infect our politics? Still the West’s Most Western Town? Or now merely the Most Wild Western?
— Bill Searle , Scottsdale, retired
Bravo, Mr. Searle!
Any discussion about the safety of Scottsdale’s entertainment district needs to begin with an acknowledgment that no new law or policy change can make the area 100 percent safe. At best, increased police presence can only reduce the likelihood of another tragedy. Unfortunately, bad people always find a way to do bad things. However, doing nothing is not an option. The cost of providing additional police should be borne by the bar owners, not the average Scottsdale resident, who never visits the area. This would be a good first step, but further measures will likely be necessary.
— Greg Paske , Scottsdale, teacher
The shocking thing is not that a tragic homicide occurred last weekend in downtown Scottsdale. The shocking thing is that it doesn’t happen far more often. Like it or not, Scottsdale is now situated at the heart of a massive megalopolis, an urban construct associated with social problems, including elevated crime. That Scottsdale remains relatively safe, clean and one of the most attractive communities in the country is a credit to law enforcement and the city’s leadership. Ultimately, the police are not to blame for the needless death. The mayor and council aren’t to blame. The perpetrator is.
— Jim Ogsbury , Scottsdale, lobbyist
I take small issue with Mr. Ogsbury’s final comments. The mayor and council may not be legally responsible for the act of assault and murder. However, they are ABSOLUTELY responsible for WHERE it took place. It is an undisputed fact that all crime, especially violent crime, in the bar district has risen in proportion to the proliferation of bars [Crime in the bar district]. That proliferation–and concentration–was enabled and even encouraged by the actions of the mayor and council.
We need to STOP approving new bars in this area, and stop making the problem WORSE. It would be helpful if we had a newspaper that would research and report on this issue.