2015 in Preview, and New Year’s Resolutions

I didn’t hear much talk around New Year’s Day this year about resolutions. There was a distinct anti-resolution mindset for the past few years, but I didn’t even see much of that this year.

Do I “believe in resolutions?” I think the onset of a New Year is a good opportunity to review what’s important. That is the first step in doing what’s important. Even if I don’t necessarily always adhere to the results of that review, it’s always good to go through the process.

To that end, I realize I’ve already fallen down on several of my priorities, and January isn’t even behind us. One of mine was to publish at least one article, quote of the day, or photo of the day, every day on ScottsdaleTrails. I just counted and this makes the 11th article of the month. with six days left, I’m going to have to do better than three every remaining day to catch up!

I’m also working on my existing business and new business ventures, so I’m going to have to really get with the program. I need to do a LOT more cycling this year, and I’ve had an embarrassingly small number of miles in January.

 

I have taken some first steps to getting back in the cockpit for more flying this year. Hopefully fuel prices (avgas is a LOT more expensive than auto fuel) will stay low and I can actually afford to log some time.

I want to improve ScottsdaleTrails’ layout and functionality. That may mean migrating from WordPress to a new content management system (maybe Joomla), or a dedicated digital publishing platform.

Down the list a ways is the notion of migrating political content to the old ScottsdaleCitizen site, and trying to focus more on “the good stuff” on ScottsdaleTrails.

But no matter what, you’ll continue to get from me observations and analysis of important issues. Those remain the same as last year, with the focus on your quality of life, the things that nurture it, and the things that detract from it.

Efficient use of your tax dollars starts with not squandering them. I’m certain our city government will continue with giveaways to those with political connections (e.g., campaign contributions) to our mayor and city council members. They’ll find ever-more-clever mechanisms for those giveaways, and continue with evolution of language that supports them.

The result will be even more high-rise housing projects, at least as long as the developers can continue to get financing. As those projects come online, you’ll see strong downward pressure on rents. That will leak out to the single-family rental market, which will push out investor/landlords and add to the lag of our owner-occupied property values behind the national market. In the meantime, the new apartment dwellers will boost bar district problems, and traffic on our streets.

As more of our neighbors are affected by these problems, we may see some new faces at City Hall. Hopefully this new energy will reinvigorate the involvement of our vintage neighborhoods, which will be reflected in better quality representation on the City Council.

Of course, the council members who’ve sold out, or bought into the urbanization of Scottsdale, will around the end of the year make a renewed effort to paint themselves as defenders of neighborhoods and champions of quality of life. Suzanne Klapp is on the downhill slope of her second term on council and has not telegraphed a run for a third term. Virginia Korte is though to have long desired the middle chair, and she’ll likely challenge Jim Lane if he hasn’t been able to find another stone from which to leap from the mayor’s office. Of course, Korte may have shot herself in the foot via her meddling in the Tonalea School mess. All this political jockeying will begin to get serious after the council’s 2015 summer break.

True fiscal conservative Guy Phillips will be up for reelection if he isn’t just sick of it. Maybe having Kathy Littlefield as an ally will help keep his spirits (and sense of civic duty and accomplishment) high.

Throughout all of it, Jason Rose will have his hand out for more taxpayer subsidies for his polo matches. He’ll have a lot of company. The Museum of the West already got a nice chunk, but I predict attendance won’t come close to supporting their cash burn. They’ll be back.

Meanwhile, we will have suffered through another round of taxpayer-subsidized Super Bowl parties, and golf tournaments. Whether spring rains will help mitigate our drought may impact the future of the golf industry in Scottsdale. Baseball spring training thankfully has a slower pace and uses a LOT less water.

The uncertain health of the Scottsdale Republic (and parent Gannett) will determine the quality of coverage of these issues, or lack thereof, in our paper of record. Fortunately, the Scottsdale Independent continues to lead the charge on many issues, and I hope they can get vastly better circulation this year.

I’ll be doing my part on ScottsdaleTrails, and on the ST Facebook page.

So with today being the 25th, I guess I’ll quit saying “Happy New Year,” and get on with it!

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