An AZCentral article from Edward Gately yesterday describes the city council’s ongoing reaction to the new “economic development action plan,” the construction of which was outsourced to a consultant. Which begs the question: Why do we need an economic development staff?
The bookends of the article for me are a quote from the report and a quote from a council member. The report says we should,
…galvanize and champion a united city: One Scottsdale…champion a united city and minimize or eliminate negative interaction between and among public officials and citizens. Exemplify civil behavior and respect differences of opinion.
Obviously, the author of the report understands nothing about Scottsdale and has never been involved here before. Otherwise, she would realize that all the talk about ‘civil dialog’ and ‘respecting differences of opinions,’ is just a way for the council majority and their campaign contributors to try undermine the credibility of those who disagree with their selling of our quality of life to the highest bidder.
Perhaps the author should search ScottsdaleTrails for definitions of “civil dialog.” Or attend a few more city council meetings. Normally it only takes one council meeting for the average citizen to understand that the problem is the council, not the residents. But consultants can be a little thick.
The other bookend is a quote from incumbent councilman Dennis Robbins. To be fair, I find Dennis to be a likable fellow. And he’s probably one of the best examples of the veneer of civility, even though he votes in lockstep with Linda Milhaven, who is the worst example. And in the end, it’s the votes that count.
Speaking of votes, Dennis never saw a housing development too tall or too dense; nor a zoning concession too generous. To that end, his quote:
Developers are people, too.
Technically, that’s true. However, a) most of the worst offenders don’t live here, so they are not “citizens” of Scottsdale (even if they are somewhat human), and b) the generous zoning concessions they receive from Dennis and his council colleagues represent millions of dollars in profits that come at the expense of the physical character of our community. They also affect your property values by increasing traffic, and by flooding the market with cheap housing. Ordinary ‘people’ don’t have these profiteering opportunities.
To be sure, I don’t think the blame for failure to safeguard our quality of life and community character lies with developers. Rather it is the charge of elected officials like Dennis, who have abdicated that responsibility.
Dennis must be channeling former council members Wayne Ecton (“The wrong people voted”) or Betty Drake (“If you don’t want traffic, move to Ajo”). Hopefully he’ll follow them into political oblivion.
If you ever needed a reason to vote and a guide as to how, statements like this are priceless.