More Bond Babble

This column appeared in today’s Scottsdale Republic:

Unflattering theory why bonds failed

The Scottsdale Republic has report­ed that the recent rejection of bond issues for Scottsdale split along regional borders by significant margins. The widest percentage of nega­tive votes occurred in Scottsdale’s far north, typically where the wealthier res­idents live. Most of the city services the bonds proposed were intended for im­provements in southern Scottsdale.

Since there is no available research on the motives of those who rejected these important infrastructure bond re­quests, it is nonetheless relevant to spec­ulate on probable causes and to initiate a dialogue among voters. Of course, Scottsdale leadership may have asked for too much all at once and for too many packaged requests for the citizens to parse all the details, as Bob and Kathy Littlefield have explained.

Clearly, the distressed economy makes everyone wary of increased pub­lic capital expenditures, and this idea possibly influenced the rejection.

A virulent and resurgent anti-govern­ment movement and mood at all levels may also have contributed. But people, this is Scottsdale. Surely we can rise above the trivi­ality of local political motivations and place our city’s needs above bickering personnel concerns. Why don’t we want improvements in our parks, libraries and community facilities? Can it only be be­cause people believe the City Council is disingenuous?

I would like to add another, more probable reason that informed citizens and research sociologists can pursue: That we enjoy the benefits of our illustri­ous city but really hate to pay for them (“No new taxes”), even though most of us can afford the modest increases. In other words, we have civic pride but are tight with our wallets when it comes to spend­ing for the overall public good.

Scottsdale resident Don Sharpes is professor, Emeritus College, at Arizona State University.

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3 Comments

  1. It is obvious that this professor is discussing a subject that he has not researched. Don Sharpes’ comments are outrageous and just plain stupid. Why would a person who never attended any of the bond issue meetings or has no real knowledge write to the Scottsdale Republic and say Scottsdale citizens are cheap. That was not the issue, the real issues was the way this bond issue was presented to the voter’s and the illegal attempts at promotions. It became very apparent that the citizens do not trust the city council with an open check book.

  2. It’s funny how Coppola seems to find these sorts of letters to reproduce more than the ones who logically describe the senselessness of the bond election. So much for being bi-partisan in reporting. It probably doesn’t matter as he will be gone in the next wave of employee cuts at the Republic as they probably move into a online issue only.

    As far as the vote distribution, I commented in this space at the time that the north part of town and the south part were pretty close in their mutual dislike of the bonds. Where does this professor get his information? Since he is a professor at ASU I guess that is a rhetorical question.

  3. Sharpes “tight with money” insult is SO typical of a public sector employee. Ever hear the saying “bite the hand that feeds you?” It means to treat someone badly who has provided you with money.

    Sharpes has a taxpayer paid pension any private sector worker would love to have. Is it any surprise he demands another $220Million in taxpayer money?

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