Bond Despondent 3

This column appeared in the “Community Voices” page of the Scottsdale Republic this morning.

Latest vote fails to keep city and schools special

Defeats indicate our shortsighted views

After vacationing in Scottsdale for several years, my wife and I decided to move there for retire­ment instead of our earlier planned destination.

One of the (many) reasons we changed our minds was the fact that Scottsdale was so obviously well-cared ­for — the roads were in great shape, the many parks were clean and invit­ing, there was very little litter, the roadways were nicely landscaped, pub­lic buildings seemed new and well­maintained.

Since moving to Scottsdale three years ago [emphasis added], we have been thrilled with our choice of retirement locations and have sung Scottsdale’s praises to our friends far and wide.

The results of the Nov. 5 bond and school-override election surprised and saddened me. Surprised, because I certainly didn’t anticipate voters turn­ing down all five questions that I was quite happy to approve. Saddened, because I now wonder what will be­come of our new hometown.

People often say Scottsdale is spe­cial, and it surely is. However, Scotts­dale can only stay special if we take care of it.

I reviewed the actual list of projects to be funded with the proposed bond issue — upgrades to parks, libraries and community facilities; improve­ments to police and firefighting equip­ment and facilities; neighborhood flood­ protection measures; new and im­proved roadways and traffic-control equipment. I just didn’t see anything on the list that looked the least bit frivo­lous. I saw a lot of sound projects that would help Scottsdale continue to pro­vide the quality of life we all prize and stay special for decades to come.

I understood that my real-estate taxes would modestly increase to pay debt service on the new bonds but that seemed to me a very small price to pay to keep my hometown the special place that first attracted us.

I also noted the important fact that Scottsdale’s treasurer indicated the new bonds, when issued, would not cause Scottsdale to lose its coveted AAA bond rating. Therefore, supporting the bond issue seemed like such an easy choice, yet the bonds were rejected by about a 60-40 vote. Now, none of the projects will go forward.

To Councilman Bob Littlefield (and his wife), who led the opposition to the bond issue, I say you have done the citizens of Scottsdale a significant dis­service. I worry for the future of Scottsdale if we do not properly care for our city.

Part of being special is having the best schools. Yet sadly, the voters turned down the school override that I also was happy to support despite hav­ing no children who attend those schools.

I also understood that my taxes would increase by a small amount if the override passed but once again, I con­sidered that a small price to maintain a premier school system that benefits us all in myriad ways (just ask a realtor what good schools do for property val­ues).

Now, the Scottsdale schools again will be forced to increase class sizes and cut even more educational pro­grams. How can Scottsdale hope to thrive over the long run if we don’t offer the best possible education in our public schools?

It is bad enough that the state Legis­lature has defaulted on its duty to prop­erly fund public education, but now my fellow residents have compounded this neglect and our school children, along with all the rest of us, will pay the price. I worry further for the future of Scottsdale if we do not support our schools.

I hope Scottsdale residents will be given another chance to vote on these issues. I fervently hope they will recon­sider their past votes if given another chance to keep Scottsdale special.

William Kelly is a Scottsdale resident.

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4 Comments

  1. Mr. Kelly was obviously not a part of nor paying attention to the discussions leading up to these bond questions being placed on the ballot. Everyone who was opposed to the way this was done–too many projects, too much money with no explanation, and without a line-item ballot–predicted this bond election would fail and asked the Council majority not to do it this way.

    Mr. Kelly should spread his criticism a little thinner and make sure some of it gets applied to Mayor Jim Lane, and Council members Robbins, Milhaven, Klapp, and Korte, as well as the Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors which committed major campaign finance violations in support of the bond issue.

    Likewise, he should criticize them for not spending a penny of their hundred thousand dollars in support of the school override.

    Mr. Kelly, I share your concerns, but your criticism is misdirected.

  2. I read that ridiculous letter from that guy this morning. It must have been a slow news day to print such nonsense. One three year retired resident who was obviously misinformed or uninformed complaining about the bond election is hardly newsworthy; especially to get the space he received. It further reinforces why the Scottsdale Republic is slowly disappearing along with the rest of the Republic.

    It’s gotten to a point where even my trashcan is complaining about the embarrassment of me using it as a liner!

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