The dust has settled and the rhetorical hyperbole has become silent…or has it? Obviously, the winners are Scottsdale Councilmembers Littlefield and Phillips who warned the majority on the council they were placing too many projects in the bond package and stated the voting public would reject the bond. The biggest winners are the homeowners in Scottsdale (safe for another year).
The losers were individuals and organizations who supported or contributed to the pro-bond campaign, i.e., Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce, Core Construction, Scottsdale Charros, Nationwide Mutual Insurance, Barrett-Jackson, Mayor Lane and Councilmembers Klapp, Korte, Milhaven and Robbins. The last two are up for re-election next year. I wonder if they would like to place the next city bond election on the same ballot as their re-election bid.
With the current skepticism and distrust of politicians being at an all-time high, this defeat should have come as no surprise to the so-called establishment politicos. Instead of trying to figure out why this happened, the Chicken Littles are still squawking. Take for instance what the city’s Bond Committee chair, then Preserve Scottsdale’s Future chairman, former city councilman Wayne Ecton, had to say about the defeat, “It’s going to tremendously affect our ‘quality of life’ (the new buzz phrase used by the tax-and-spend progressives) and the tourists will go other places.”
I especially enjoyed his pitch that voting to raise your property taxes would keep them lower. Evidently I wasn’t the only one confused by his comments.
The biggest loser is the Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors. They spent an unprecedented $100,000, which only propagated the myth of the “Rich Realtors” being pawns of the developers, on a losing campaign. That myth is a mis-characterization of the membership of SAAR.
Most Realtors are like any other self-employed individuals whose interest is making a living for themselves and/or their families. I’m not sure if that myth bothers the “leaders” at SAAR; maybe we’ll find out when they get back from their convention in San Francisco (on the membership’s dime). But, it did get the attention of Inmannews, a real estate and technology news source.
According to Inmannews, “the public reaction to Realtors’ support of the bond measures may have led to their defeat.” SAAR was also thrown under the bus by bond proponent Wayne Ecton who stated, “We had theoretically some people helping us and they screwed up.” I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall at the Realtors’ national convention.
As far as I can tell, the only thing SAAR got for its $100,000 was a divided membership, allegations of influence peddling, perceptions of backroom dealing, a fine for not reporting financial contributions in a timely manner, incompetence, unabashed arrogance, and cries of intimidation regarding push polls to its members.
I am a SAAR member who wants to know how this foray into politics came about and turned into such an unmitigated financial and public relations disaster for SAAR.
Tom Mason, Past President (2004) SAAR