Scottsdale Chamber: Prominent Contradiction

A friend forwarded me this call-to-action from Rick Kidder at the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce. It couldn’t have been better timed, given my multitude of recent articles on the issues to which this pertains, especially, “Logical Fallacies.”

I’ve added some notes of my own here and there.

Hello,

For too many years, Scottsdale has been a city of conflicting and seemingly contradictory visions, and we need your help to begin the process of achieving – at long last – some community consensus. Sometimes it is difficult to get past the “I’m right, and you’re wrong” rhetoric, but if we are going to continue to be a city of excellence we must.

Funny, the “conflicting and seemingly contradictory visions” only really got nasty in the early 90s, coincidentally, about the time that the Chamber moved out of City-owned offices and reinvented themselves as a 501C(6) non-profit trade association so they could be more politically active, endorse and contribute to candidates, etc.

Of course, that inevitably led to multiple violations of campaign finance laws by the Chamber and their affiliates. To this day they have never released the names of those corporate members who financed and directed the lawbreaking.

As far as the “I’m right, you’re wrong rhetoric,” no one plays that game better than the Chamber. I’ve NEVER heard them say, “Gee, John, you are right and we are wrong.” In fact, the Chamber and their affiliates have on several occasions labeled their perceived enemies (yours truly and Guy Phillips for two examples off-the-top-of-my-head) as Communists. If you disagree with the Chamber, you are–in their black book–wrong by definition.

Are we going to be the “West’s Most Western Town”? Should we evolve more into an urban and urbane environment? Will what drew people here through the last few decades be what draws both the tourist and the business here in the future? Everyone has an opinion on these issues and we want to hear from everyone.

“We want to hear from everyone.” If only it were so. Clearly they don’t want to hear from me. Just ask them, they’ll tell you.

Please take just a few moments to watch the video here:

www.themindsuite.com/scottsdalevideo

As a prominent member of our community, we invite and challenge you to help us rally the citizens to complete this quick survey conducted by a third party independent research company. The survey is about collecting unbiased data to truly understand what the residents of Scottsdale believe should be our future.

I don’t know if I should be hurt that the Chamber doesn’t think me “prominent” enough to send me this invitation directly. Or maybe they think I’ll forward it to thousands of like-minded trash, which would skew the results.

“Unbiased data.” “Truly understand.” Hmmm. Are they saying they’ve been out-of-touch all these years? They’ve been in business since 1947.

Are they saying the latest incarnation of their Scottsdale Forward cheerleader camp (formerly known as Which Way Scottsdale) will have more validity than their previous efforts?

Or are they just continuing to ask the same questions until they get the answers they want? And even assuming the survey questions aren’t biased, when the results are tallied, the Chamber will tell you that they support well-known Chamber positions in favor of dumbed-down zoning and real estate development standards.

Make no mistake, the Chamber is run by developers (including Scottsdale Healthcare) and the liquor industry. They toe the line drawn by those who give them the most money.

And this looks like they are laying the groundwork for another attempted hijacking of Scottsdale General Plan update.

Your involvement is simple.

1. Take the survey yourself (the address is www.themindsuite.com/Scottsdale) to see how benign [it’s the “good” kind of cancer] and easy it is.
2. Forward the video link and the survey link to everyone you know including customers, employees and friends.

The results of the survey will be shared at the annual economic development symposium – Scottsdale Forward – on March 26, 2015.

It only takes a few minutes and YOU can truly make a difference.

Rick Kidder
President/CEO
Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce

I clicked through to the Chamber survey. Here’s the preamble:

Scottsdale has a unique blend of old and new.

It has been said that one’s greatest strength can also be one’s greatest weakness.

In addition to this unique blend, Scottsdale also ENDURES a CONSTANT DEBATE between whether to protect its rich history and assets or to embrace the changes that are occurring around it.

And often this DEBATE becomes very personal which DIVIDES rather than unites.

As a important citizen of our community, we INVITE and CHALLENGE you to support the process of getting us all WORKING BETTER TOGETHER.

The objective is simple … and that is to first finish off this survey and then to invite EVERYONE you know to share their thoughts and ideas on our COMBINED future.

Wouldn’t it be great to again stand TOGETHER, PROUD AND ALIGNED, like we have so many times in our past.

Your Ideas WILL make a difference.

I’m smelling a load of disingenuous “civil dialog” coming. Here’s the message:

Debate is bad. If you agree with us, there will be no debate. So, that’s good.

And as far as the debate becoming “personal,” it’s a lot easier to be impersonal when, a) you’re getting paid to do what the other guy is taking personally, and b) when you get your way most of the time. And don’t ever make the mistake of thinking I won’t take it personally when you call me a Communist.

Clicking forward in the survey past the personal inquiries, I’ll share the survey points. Note that they all include “background” information, which is clearly designed to influence your responses. Here’s the first set of real survey points–“the Community Gap Index of what makes an ideal community”–for which you select the degree to which you think the concept is important, and then the degree with which you agree:

  • Beauty – I am really proud of the way Scottsdale looks.
  • Business Friendliness – Scottsdale goes out of it’s way to help businesses prosper.
  • City Leadership – Scottsdale City Leadership is efficient, helpful and makes wise decisions.
  • Culture, Sports and the Arts – Our city is rich in opportunities to attend and participate in sports, music, theater and the arts.
  • Diversity – Everyone who wants to contribute is welcome, appreciated and valued in our city
  • Education – Our city has a reputation for high quality education at all levels.
  • Employment – In our city, jobs as well as opportunities for advancement are available at all levels.
  • Entrepreneurship & Innovation – Our city really encourages innovation and new businesses.
  • Health and Health Care – Public fitness opportunities and quality health services are all a great part of our city.
  • Housing – Our city has safe, comfortable and attractive housing at all levels. We have very few homeless people.
  • Nature and the Environment – Our city protects natural beauty, and strives to constantly improve the quality of air and water
  • Prosperity – in our city there is a general sense of prosperity no matter where you look.
  • Safety – Our city has a low crime rate and it is safe to go anywhere even at night.
  • Seniors – Our city takes care of its seniors, encourages them to contribute and has opportunities for them to stay vital, energized and active.
  • Transportation – Everyone can get around our city quickly and easily with minimal delays and minimal congestion.
  • Youth – There are meaningful and rewarding possibilities and opportunities for young people within our city.

The second real set of survey points:

The Background:

Scottsdale has a extremely varied workforce. It contains everything from young professionals who commute to our city to work to a rapidly aging population base; Scottsdale has a demographic makeup that creates challenges and presents opportunities.

Some interesting statistics about this include:

Scottsdale has approximately 145,000 jobs of which 82% are held by someone who does not live in Scottsdale and 66,000 people who live in Scottsdale work elsewhere.

The average age of a Scottsdale resident is 46 years old while the average age of a Phoenix resident is 30.7 years old.

The Challenge presented to FIG 1 is to design and recommend a process to ensure that we find ways to increase the number of people who both work and live in Scottsdale, attract wellness related businesses and find greater balance by attracting more younger workers.

In this section please consider this topic and share your thoughts openly and freely. On the left side please tell us how important each component is to this topic and on the right side please tell us your level of agreement with the statement.

  • Scottsdale provides an exceptional environment for its citizens to ‘age in place’. (Age in place means to provide products and services that allow people to grow older in their home rather than relocate to an institution.)
  • Despite dwindling school enrollments, Scottsdale still supports education well.
  • Scottsdale is a great place to work for young professionals.
  • Scottsdale is a great place to play for young professionals.
  • Scottsdale is a great place to live for young professionals.
  • Scottsdale is a great place to work for mature professionals.
  • Scottsdale is a great place to play for mature professionals.
  • Scottsdale is a great place to live for mature professionals.
  • Downtown Scottsdale is an appealing place for workers.

The third set:

The Background:

Scottsdale has seen renewed growth with the relocation of companies from across the nation and the world. With business relocation comes people relocation, and the city through its Economic Development Strategic Plan research has uncovered a previously unknown challenge. A recent study of a significant number of newcomers to the area indicated that a majority feel disconnected, not welcomed and are finding it difficult to call Scottsdale home.

The Challenge presented to FIG 2 is to design and recommend a process to ensure that all who relocate to Scottsdale feel welcome and are helped through the transition.

In this section please consider this topic and share your thoughts openly and freely. On the left side please tell us how important each component is to this topic and on the right side please tell us your level of agreement with the statement.

  • Scottsdale should find a great way to fully welcome the employees of companies who relocate to our city.
  • Learning about Scottsdale should be really easy for new comers to our city.
  • The Scottsdale community should be open to all types of people who relocate to our city.

The fourth set:

The Background:

In our world today, businesses are increasingly portable in many sectors however, many base industries are decidedly not so. Yet, Scottsdale imports most of its workforce from other areas.

As was mentioned n FIG 01, the most recent statistics tell quite a story. Of the 125,000 plus people who work in Scottsdale only 25,000 actually live in Scottsdale.

This is not surprising as during periods of strong employment, Scottsdale businesses have historically had challenges attracting and retaining a quality workforce. As the economy improves, Scottsdale’s business community must be ready to make certain that the there is an adequate supply of a quality workforce that is ready and willing to help our businesses remain productive.

The Challenge presented to FIG 3 is to design and recommend a process to ensure that we provide an environment where talent is available, thriving and contributing in Scottsdale during both strong and weaker economic times.

In this section please consider this topic and share your thoughts openly and freely. On the left side please tell us how important each component is to you and on the right side please tell us your level of agreement with the statement.

  • Scottsdale is adequately training our own bright young people so that they become a productive part of the city after graduation.
  • Scottsdale competes well with other jurisdictions in Arizona for talented & mature candidates.
  • Scottsdale competes well with other jurisdictions in Arizona for talented young candidates.
  • Scottsdale competes well with other jurisdictions in the USA for talented mature candidates.
  • Scottsdale competes well with other jurisdictions in the USA for talented young candidates.
  • Once someone decides to start their career in Scottsdale they usually will end up staying.
  • Scottsdale businesses have adequate mentorships between interns and experienced staff before experienced workforce leaves/retires (to carry forward learning)
  • Scottsdale businesses have effective internship programs for young people.
  • Scottsdale has programs to adequately connect its community colleges with key businesses.
  • Scottsdale effectively presents itself as a fun and progressive place to work by showcasing current successes.

You may also like

1 Comment

  1. NOT ANOTHER SURVEY!!!!!!!

    When I got the notice for this in emails earlier in January, that is the message I sent to Mr. Kidder. Please. We have been polled and surveyed to death.
    Just once it would be nice to hear someone in leadership Council or Chamber do something in good conscience with the residents.

    Scottsdale is not just about business and the residents not hurting the feelings of business because they have a different view or different values. If they want to get on the same page and deal with the “negativity” then realize that life in Scottsdale is not all about businesses and the Chamber.

    When the Chamber held their first public forum for Counncil Candidates last Spring. they asked if candidates thought the Chamber was working well with the community. Well by comparison to what? When has the Chamber ever gotten out in the community to meet the people in the neighborhoods, and neither had the candidates they supported in the last City Council election.

    But now they want to survey everyone. Enough already.

Leave a Reply to Nancy Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *