Mike Fernandez on the Bonds, Realtors, and John Little

This column appeared in today’s Scottsdale Republic.

Tell city to go back to drawing board on bond

Are you ready for your property taxes to go up for the next 20 years? Evidently, the Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors thinks that’s a good idea.

In a recent Community Voices arti­cle by the Realtors’ community-affairs director, former City Manager John Little espoused mostly convoluted rea­soning for supporting the Scottsdale bond election.

I agreed when he referred to home ­ownership as a “coveted possession, that little piece of the world uniquely ours” and maintaining those “little touches that make it unique to us.”

Where I disagreed was his encourag­ing you to self-impose a new property tax on your “coveted possession” that could make it more difficult to maintain those little touches.

Little’s support of the bond should come as no surprise. While serving as city manager for Scottsdale, Little gave away money to his fellow retirees that could have gone for infrastructure improvements (more commonly known as Scottsdale’s golden­ parachute retirement scandal) [officially: “Retirement Incentive Program”]. What does come as a surprise is that Real­tors would go along with imposing a new property-tax increase on Scottsdale home­owners. I always thought that low prop­erty taxes were a plus. This strikes me as biting the hand that feeds you.

Outside of their association leaders, I suspect the average Realtor doesn’t see this move as being in his or her best interest.

Obviously, it’s in Little’s best in­terest. He is now able to curry favor with the leaders of the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce by getting the Realtors association’s board of direc­tors under tow. Couple this move with announcing you are thinking about running for City Council and, voila, you now have a springboard from which to launch your council campaign.

I doubt most Realtors would view this as good community relations. Hear­ing all this hyperbole coming from a tax-and-spend bureaucrat is not all that unusual. However, hearing it from your city’s largest trade association is alarm­ing. Spending taxpayers’ money is what bureaucrats do best. Realtors should stick to doing what they do best … sell­ing houses.

I bring this to your attention because once again the politicians and their bureaucratic toadies are not leveling with the voters.

When you get your ballot, you will see four questions with up to 11 projects listed under each question. What you will not see is a disclaimer declaring the City Council, at its own discretion, may choose not to fund all the voter-­approved projects. They may choose to fund only one project in each of the four numbered questions. Oh, really?

These types of shenanigans occur when you allow bureaucratic mind-sets to set the agenda.

I encourage all those who will be voting in the Scottsdale bond election to vote NO on all four questions. Send a message to the council: Go back to the drawing board and exclude the “wish list” projects from the 39 on the ballot and place only those eight projects the bond task force originally deemed as necessary on the new ballot.

Michael Fernandez is owner of Pottery Paradise Inc. in Scottsdale.

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3 Comments

  1. I read Mike’s comment today. I’m glad he emphasized in his first line the length of time it would take to pay off this fiasco. If it passes, I will be very surprised. If most residents are like me, they saw a big increase in the tax bill for this year and probably are not anxious for another big increase; especially one of that duration.

  2. I am a Realtor, very aware of Scottsdale Politics. I work and live in this beautiful town.

    Unfortunately, your average person is a low-information voter. So, when they are advised to vote a certain way, they listen!

    People ‘in the know’ depend on this outcome, and that’s a politician’s reasoning.

    I believe that this Board of Realtors should not tell all 8,000 members how to vote, or to vote yes! That is confusing, without knowing all the facts.

    Why do the Realtors band together on other occasions and work against any bill coming at the homeowner that will raise taxes? This is exactly that, and who knows when (or if) the city will move forward on these projects.

    Wake up, Realtors, fight for your homeowners!

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