Bond Venom

The first City Council discussion about the failed bond election last night went from zero to full-on attack mode in less than 60 seconds. So much for “civil dialog.” I noticed Councilman Robbins didn’t speak up to restrain his uncivil colleagues.

The agenda item in question is the last one they discussed. You can scroll down to Item 17 in the list below the video player and click on it to skip the preliminaries.

I thought the conversation was very telling…particularly the way Councilman Littlefield presented his proposal in a fair and neutral manner, and the opposition (Milhaven and Klapp, without restraint—as called for by the Council rules of procedure—by Vice Mayor Korte) immediately attacked Councilman Littlefield with accusations of dishonesty.

If these items were truly “essential,” as represented in bond election campaign literature by Milhaven, Klapp, Robbins, Korte, Lane, et. al., we ought to be having a discussion about alternative ways to pay for them. And as far as priorities are concerned, not one but TWO bond task forces invested over 900 hundred hours (again, according to the campaign literature) establishing the priorities that the Council ultimately ignored when they contrived the bond questions that were presented to the voters.

Of course as Councilman Littlefield pointed out while defending himself, Council member Klapp’s local Quote of the Day statement that, “…nothing [on the ballot] was an emergency…” pointedly puts the lie to the pro-bond campaign’s rhetoric to the contrary.

Milhaven bonds

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  1. John, the NO vision organization dedicated to defeat bond authorization for large capital projects in Scottsdale succeeded in eliminating our City’s time-tested financing alternative of capital improvements through long-term bond funding.

    The defeat of the bond questions has narrowed the range of the “alternative ways to pay” for projects you now implore the Council to discuss. The over 900 hours of volunteer time yielded two unanimous citizen recommendations each of which included four bond questions with projects listed under each, just as the Council adopted and the 2013 ballot showed. These recommendations as balloted were consistent with prior Scottsdale bond elections as well.

    Far from ignoring the citizen task force recommendations, the Council accepted in near totality the recommended questions and projects from the 2013 citizen task force report, albeit with a substantial reduction from the funding amount recommended.

    Finally, neither citizen task force referenced an “emergency” as a project justification that you now allege was a rhetorical “lie” that you attribute to the citizens volunteering their task force time and recommendations supporting the bond authorization, a financing alternative used historically to improve the Scottsdale we have known.

    We’ll see if the NO vision team can now lead to better solutions with fewer financing alternatives. So, in a nod to the “winner” in removing bond funding from considered City project financing alternatives, you have our permission to rest the NO vision misinformation campaign. Chairman, 2012 Scottsdale Citizens Bond Task Force.

  2. Appreciate the comment, John, as it affords me an opportunity to further illustrate the shortcomings of your arguments.

    1. Your first statement is inaccurate and intellectually dishonest. Those associated with Keep Scottsdale Special have a vision of fiscal responsibility (curtailing wasteful spending BEFORE needs arise, which you never addressed) that CAN include bonding. I believe all of us expressed interest during the task force efforts in having a smaller bond package for up to 20 of the highest priority items that were ultimately put on the ballot by the City Council. However, YOU and your committee opposed THAT.

    2. Your “time-tested” statement ignores the fact that Scottsdale’s recent history includes rejection of bonding and tax increases.

    3. Fiscal responsibility is still on the table as a way to pay for items that would have otherwise been financed by bonding (assuming the Council and cronies hadn’t gotten greedy). However, Milhaven, Robbins, Korte, and Klapp squarely rejected even a DISCUSSION of cutbacks. So, they are the ones restricting the alternatives.

    4. The false approximation of the terms, “essential,” “vital,” “urgent,” and the hyperbolic implication that failure of the bonds would lead to disastrous consequences all clearly point down the path of “emergency.” You and your group own that little string of logic. The fact that the voters didn’t buy it doesn’t indicate we were masterful at “misinformation.” It indicates that you weren’t believable, and maybe that you aren’t very pleasant, either.

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