A recent article by Terrance Thornton at The Independent newspaper asks, “What’s wrong with Scottsdale.”
Thornton’s premise is that with voters rejecting a city bond, a school budget override, a general plan update, and serious contention over a second attempt, there must be a problem with Scottsdale…specifically Scottsdale voters. As I said to Terrance during our phone interview (from which he quoted only a very small part), his premise is flawed.
These issues have very little to do with each other, and it’s not much more than a coincidence that they have all occurred within a relatively short time. However, one thing they all have in common is that they were very poorly presented to the voters.
I find it somewhat amusing that a comment from Councilwoman Virginia Korte is apparently what triggered Terrance to write this article. He paraphrases her comment thus:
Councilwoman Korte says the dysfunction at the ballot box has come through misinformation, ignorance and a lack of leadership on the part of the Scottsdale City Council.
I would remind us all that Councilwoman Korte has been on the council for a year. Before that, the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce (of which she was once president, and over which she apparently still has considerable influence) has had a solid majority of supporters on the City Council for ten years or more.
The recently-imploded North Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce and executive director Joe Galli carried similar weight. Between the two Chambers, they’ve gotten virtually every zoning concession, amended development standard, and corporate welfare payment they’ve requested of the City Council…just not when they’ve gone begging to the voters.
So if there is an issue with “lack of leadership” in Scottsdale, it falls squarely upon the Friends of Virginia Korte fan club. Of course, Mayor Jim Lane, and members Dennis Robbins, Linda Milhaven (Robbins and Milhaven are incumbent candidates this year), and Suzanne Klapp share the blame.
As disappointed as I was with the lack of depth of this article and heavy reliance on a source I consider to be much more a part of the problem than the solution, I believe it could be a good start to a real community conversation.
It will take a lot more than two or three articles to allow us to call it “a conversation,” much less a productive one. But every conversation has to start somewhere, and Terrance seems a lot more suited to the task than his competition.