Heckman on the Bonds

From this morning’s Scottsdale Republic. My comments are at the bottom.

Don’t let fabrications obscure bond facts

It is time for the truth using the facts about the Tuesday, Nov. 5, Scottsdale bond election that is so critical to preserving our quality of life and keep­ing your tax rate one of the lowest in the Valley.

Every resident must look past those who are against everything and con­tinue to support Scottsdale’s future.

Everyone agrees that Scottsdale is special. That is a fact. We know that it is our unique quality of life that helps attract businesses, jobs and tourists. That is a fact, too. It is a fact that reve­nue from those sources helps keep our tax rate one of the lowest in the Valley.

And it is also a fact that if we don’t reinvest in the essential systems that help make Scottsdale so special, it will impact our ability to attract new busi­nesses, good jobs and more tourists.

I am the former chairman of the most recent of the two citizen bond task forces — so I sincerely appreciate that Kathy Littlefield, the chairwoman of an organization opposing the bonds, re­cently praised the contributions that our task force made with more than 900 hours researching and prioritizing the bond projects for the City Council.

However, I must admonish her group for sowing seeds of deception using fab­rications about the bond proposal.

Truthfully, trying to mislead people into voting no with “bait-and-switch” accusations, smacks of disrespect for Scottsdale voters. Please consider the facts below.

  • Fact: The 2013 bond ballot has more descriptive detail than any other Scottsdale bond ballot in the city’s his­tory.
  • Fact: This bond ballot guarantees accountability for voters by not allow­ing the city to use voter-approved bond funds for projects not on the ballot.
  • Fact: Using bonds is the only way the city can currently afford to pay for repairing, maintaining and updating the necessary infrastructure projects that were postponed during the economic downturn five years ago.
  • Fact: Approving the bond package will only use a small fraction of the city’s allowable bond capacity and will not impact our city’s AAA bond rating.
  • Fact: A sizable portion of our city’s existing debt is being paid by a voter­-approved sales tax for the Sonoran Preserve and a bed tax — both to which tourists contribute a significant amount.
  • Fact: The five City Council mem­bers who support all 39 bond projects are not a part of a political conspiracy. Voters elected Mayor Jim Lane and Council members Suzanne Klapp, Vir­ginia Korte, Linda Milhaven and Dennis Robbins because they trust them to represent residents’ best interests.
  • Fact: Voting yes for all four bond questions will help keep Scottsdale special.

Bill Heckman is a Scottsdale resident.

Like Kathy Littlefield, I respect the work that the two bond task forces put into prioritizing the bond items. I just don’t understand why the City Council—who appointed those commissions—lumped the bond items arbitrarily into four “ballot questions” without respect to the priority that the bond task force had assigned to them.

Mr. Heckman’s accusations of “fabrication” against those who oppose the City Council’s contrivance are ironic, because his own “facts” certainly don’t tell ‘the whole truth.’

  • Descriptive ballot details? The only thing that matters is the ballot language itself. That’s the only legal constraint on what the City Council can do with the bond authorization, and it’s considerably less constraining than the Council first discussed in January. By March, the Council majority was calling for “more flexibility,” and that’s what they approved. Read the ballot language yourself and ignore the fluffy campaign mailers from Mr. Heckman’s cronies.
  • Guaranteed accountability? Preventing the Council from spending on items not on the ballot is only half a “guarantee.” Just ask the folks who voted for the parks and flood control on the Bond 2000 ballot, but never got them.
  • Bond capacity? ‘Let’s borrow because we can,’ is about the most irresponsible rationalization in history.
  • Some debt is serviced by sales tax? Ironically, a sales tax increment for a couple of years might have been a better way to address our present ‘needs’ than by adding a property tax for 25 years. I should also note that wasting sales tax revenue on subsidies and other frivolous spending by Mayor Lane and the City Council, instead of properly transferring a portion to capital improvements is how we got in the present situation of ‘need.’
  • Council Conspiracy? Mayor Lane actually voted AGAINST the present bond package. Why? And why does he now support it?
  • Voting for the bonds will keep Scottsdale special? That is a false equivalence, NOT a fact.

So, who is really, “sowing the seeds of deception using fabrications?” All we asked for was a line-item ballot for the highest priority needs. It’s that simple.

John Washington, editor

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  1. John,

    Gee, do you think the Scottsdale Republic is behind the bond fiasco? They ought to call it the Scottsdale City Council Republic.

    They can waste all they ink they want; this boondoggle will not pass. Nobody in their right mind, especially retired people in south Scottsdale, is going to vote to raise their property taxes for 25 years to fund such a mercurial mess.

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