This column appeared in today’s Scottsdale Republic.
Before voting on Scottsdale bonds, ask several questions
The upcoming vote regarding the city bonds is without a doubt the most bizarre election I have seen in all the years I have been involved in Scottsdale politics.
Scottsdale bond campaigns used to be low-key affairs that centered on the merits of the various projects in the bond package. Debate was always civil, and never focused on the individuals involved.
That is not the case in this campaign. Big money is flowing into the coffers of the pro-bond-tax campaign that is trying to convince Scottsdale voters to approve a massive increase (31 percent over the next four years) in our property taxes.
Make no mistake; there are plenty of objective, factual reasons to vote against these bonds. They are a big property-tax increase during a weak economy. The few truly worthy projects are bundled with many unworthy ones, forcing voters who want the worthy projects to approve the unworthy ones, too.
Even worse, there is no guarantee that, if the bonds are approved, the money would be spent in the ways voters were promised, a classic example of bureaucratic “bait and switch.”
But if, despite all this you are still thinking about voting for these bonds, ask yourself these questions before you cast your ballot: Why are the proponents of this bond tax spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to convince you to raise your property taxes? Who will benefit from these bonds so much that they are willing to make four- and even five-figure contributions to the pro-bond-tax campaigns?
Why did one of the pro-bond-tax campaign committees illegally fail to report an $86,000 contribution until after the early ballots had been mailed and many had already been voted and returned? Why has the other pro-bond-tax campaign committee tried to confuse voters by copying the logo of the opposition committee on their own promotional materials?
And, most important of all, why do the pro-bond-tax campaigns claim these bonds will keep your taxes low when the city’s own numbers clearly show that the bonds will raise our property taxes dramatically?
I urge Scottsdale voters to reject these four bond questions and send a strong message to the City Council to resubmit to the voters a bond package that is leaner, more transparent and truly accountable.
Bob Littlefield is a Scottsdale councilman. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.