Bar Safety Cost, Ambulances, and Golf Subsidies

In case you do not subscribe to Voice of Scottsdale, here’s today’s edition:

Taxpayers Picking Up Tab For Bar Owners’ Security.

Exactly one week ago the Public Safety Ordinance for bars and clubs went into effect. And that’s also when taxpayers started paying for the most costly component of the new ordinance: security training for employees of the Entertainment District.

According to J.P. Twist, the Mayor’s Chief of Staff and architect of the ordinance, the costs for our police and fire personnel to train “civilian security officers” will be “free of charge” to a little less than 200 bars and clubs. While only the bouncers are required to undergo the training, Twist is delighted to report that quite a few of the businesses intend to send their managers, bartenders and food servers through the free-training exercise as well.

The more the merrier.

The training sessions, in which businesses have three months from last Thursday to enroll their employees, include 90 minutes with police and 90 minutes with fire. Each security employee is required to attend one three-hour session. The Police Department’s crime prevention experts will instruct employees about the art of “verbal de-escalation,” or what they also call “verbal judo.” Personnel from the Fire Department will educate employees about occupancy codes, fire prevention and crowd evacuation techniques in case of emergencies.

Given the history of reoccurring violence and other unspeakable incidents in the downtown bar district, it’s hard to quarrel with the need for the security training. But to stick taxpayers with the expense of educating the entertainment industry’s employees is raising both eyebrows and questions.

The Entertainment District is already the most costly area in Scottsdale to maintain. It taxes our city’s resources – including emergency and sanitation services as well as code and law enforcement. Because when you get 10,000 people partying in just several square blocks, stuff happens.

Now taxpayers, and not bar proprietors, will be paying to help prevent that stuff from happening.

Rural/Metro: Rumormongers.

If the Rural/Metro Corporation was half as good at running their company as they are at orchestrating chicanery, their organization might have been able to avoid bankruptcy.

Let’s face it: R/M showed their true colors in 2003 when they walked out of their contract to provide fire service to the City of Scottsdale. Of course that was several failed management teams ago. Nevertheless, the quality of the company’s services has steadily slipped for the past 10 years. Just ask the state’s Department of Health Services, which is currently investigating the company’s poor performance in delivering ambulance service around Arizona.

Rural/Metro, established in Scottsdale in 1951, is no longer the company it once was – or the way our city’s old-timers would like to remember it.

The company has been backed into a corner … and desperate companies do desperate things. For Rural/Metro that has meant starting a disinformation campaign to deflect attention from the mismanagement that has driven them into bankruptcy.

A team of political tricksters was recently deployed to several cities in the Valley. Their mission was to get elected officials and city managers to shift their focus from worrying about Rural/Metro’s financial capability for continuing to provide ambulance service to a supposed scheme concocted by fire departments to replace the company in their respective cities. As Councilman Bob Littlefield would say: “You can’t make this kind of stuff up.”

But operatives working on behalf of Rural/Metro have – which has been exposed as a bankrupt political strategy.

Bite Me!

This week’s best sound bite comes from Mark Stuart, one of the plaintiffs in the complaint filed against the City of Scottsdale that alleges the city’s $1.5 million contribution for improvements at the McDowell Mountain Golf Club is an illegal subsidy to the course’s operators, White Buffalo. In response to the city attorney asking the court to once again dismiss the complaint, Stuart said:

“It’s just another stalling tactic. They can’t actually explain or defend the gift to White Buffalo, so they are asserting every imaginable defense of their conduct.”

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