The Problem with the City Manager is the Chamber of Commerce

Rick Kidder, Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce CEO

Rick Kidder recently submitted a novel of an opinion piece to the Republic pointing fingers at all those he blames for the departure of Chamber/developer/bar friend, former Scottsdale City Manager David Richert. It’s too bad there wasn’t a mirror handy while he was typing that tree-killer, because as Kidder says himself:

Culturally, we are better at finding someone else to blame, but there is a point where a mirror is one’s best source.

I’ll spare you the bulk of it other than providing this link where you can read it on AZCentral. However, here’s my response via comment post:

Wow, 1500 words from the Chamber of Commerce. “Citizen” only appears once, “citizenry” once. Therein lies the problem. Kidder says,

City councils make mistakes. City managers make mistakes. One is held accountable at the ballot box; the other by the City Council itself.

Unfortunately, the part that Mr. Kidder leaves out is that the City Council (and the Mayor) hold the City Manager accountable for THEIR mistakes, too, in hopes that the voters WON’T hold THEM accountable.

Richert did exactly what Mayor Lane and the Council told (and/or allowed) him to do, right up to the point where it became clear this was going to be an election issue. Then they made up a couple of excuses and threw Richert under the bus.

The Chamber is as responsible for this as the Council. Mr. Kidder’s now infamous statement that he was “going to raise a million dollars to crush the activists” is a perfect illustration of why we shouldn’t vote for Chamber puppets for City Council (or Mayor).

The greatest diplomats in history couldn’t survive as Scottsdale City Manager given whoever is in that position is inextricably caught between the residents who have the power of the ballot, and the Chamber which has the power of the campaign contribution.

UPDATE, 7/14/2012: I just scanned Kidder’s opinion piece once again before discarding it. One other particularly egregious statement jumped off the page and poked me in the eye:

Both the City Council and the city manager will only function well with open dialogue and the absence of agendas. Build a vision first. Make the vision clear and non-negotiable. Be willing to be judged against outcomes stemming from that vision.

Absence of agendas? I think he means absence of any agendas beyond the really big one that the Chamber is pushing, which is give the developers and bar owners what they want, the residents’ wants be damned.

Vision? If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: Our elected representatives and city manager only need enough vision to read the General Plan. That document expresses the vision of the citizens. The citizens wrote the plan. The citizens ratified it twice by vote.

The citizens rejected the Prop 430 General Plan changes because the new vision statement didn’t reflect the will of the citizens as to how and what degree Scottsdale will grow and develop.

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