Hidden Letters to the Editor: Debt and Light Rail

These letters appeared this morning in the Scottsdale Republic under “YOUR VIEWS.”

Shining light on Scottsdale debt

After reading a recent article about Scottsdale’s debt — written by someone other than a city official — it strikes me as odd that Scottsdale’s debt is so secret.

Yep, it costs money to borrow and it appears that our current municipal lead­ers seem to think it’s OK. I’ll bet two things — these leaders are the same ones that criticize some fellow in charge of the country about spending more than one makes. Secondly, these leaders are the same ones who talk about fiscal re­sponsibility as though it actually applies to them.

Both interesting concepts, but apparently difficult to implement. But most importantly, just be glad that Scottsdale lost the bidding for the Phoe­nix Coyotes! Pile that debt on top of our current predicament and wouldn’t that be interesting?

Joe Secola, Scottsdale

Transit foes on the wrong track

In a recent My Turn about light rail, Tom Silverman stated that we have al­ready had a discussion regarding transit options. I beg to differ. The discussion we had a few years ago was hijacked by those who are so against light rail, you can’t even mention the word “transit” without them foaming at the mouth.

I speak for many who work in the area and find the current transit system far inferior to what a city this size should have. Many of those who fight transit also fight growth and development. Un­fortunately, they are not winning that battle and with every passing day we see more multifamily developments ap­proved. By refusing to discuss transit options, they are creating a less livable city.

Many of the residents who work downtown, and possibly Silverman’s own employees, take transit. In a few years, when we have added more residents to the area, those who created the mess will be long gone. Perhaps we can erect a bronze monument commemorating all those brave and selfless souls who fought improved transit options — and made our city “safer.”

Sharon Riccio, Scottsdale

I can’t let Sharon’s letter go without highlighting a few of her comments.

The discussion about transit that we had a few years ago was initiated by light rail proponents and largely controlled by them, too. The fact that it didn’t turn out the way they wanted doesn’t mean the opposition hijacked it. What it means is that proponents did a poor job of presenting their case, in part because there’s not much of a case to be made for light rail in Scottsdale.

The current transit system IS inferior to what it should be. Light rail won’t make it better. In fact, light rail has already made it worse.

Cuts to funding for bus routes and equipment are a direct result of the black hole that we call Valley Metro Rail. Specifically, the popular 510 Express route from McCormick Ranch through downtown Scottsdale and into downtown Phoenix fell victim to rail cannibalizing the budget.

I love this statement:

In a few years, when we have added more residents to the area, those who created the mess will be long gone.

Sharon, you accidentally hit the nail on the head. The drivers behind light rail (pardon the pun) are developers who want to cram more residents into Scottsdale and violate our General Plan in the process. They’ll be on to the next project in another city before long.

The folks who are letting them do it–Mayor Jim Lane and Council member Virginia Korte (among others)–will indeed be long gone when we have to wrestle with the urbanization of Scottsdale.

In closing, I’d just like to say that “light rail” does not equal “transit.” Opposition to light rail does not equal opposition to transit. We should use facts to determine the modes of transit that will determine our transit mix in Scottsdale, not blind rhetoric.

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