When Chickens Come Home to Roost

While I could, I don’t often say, “I told you so.” However, this is one of those times when I will.

During the last Scottsdale city council campaign after I announced my council candidate endorsements, I was strongly derided by a couple of ‘friends’ for not endorsing candidates they endorsed AFTER my endorsments.

One of those candidates was Bill Crawford, who has since proven his utter irrelevance to protecting the character of Scottsdale. I’ll say no more about Bill.

Scottsdale City Treasurer David Smith
Scottsdale City Councilman David Smith

The other was the smooth-talking former city treasurer, David N. Smith. I don’t think there’s any question among any of us who pay even the slightest attention to city politics that the campaign promises to “protect neighborhoods” by Mayor Jim Lane, and council members Virginia Korte, Linda Milhaven, and Suzanne Klapp were empty. But Smith talked a good game, and had convinced my ‘friends’ that he was one of us. The endorsements of my ‘friends’ were very helpful in getting Smith elected to council.

For my part, it was clear from my interactions with Smith during my efforts to stop unconstitutional, taxpayer-funded subsidies to the PGA and Phil Mickelson, that concern for the residents and taxpayers of Scottsdale was NOT among Smith’s motivation to run for council. It was mostly a chin-flick to Jim Lane, in their ongoing game of who’s-the-smarter-bureaucrat.

But my ‘friends’ didn’t want to hear that. In fact, one of them went on the attack with a shocking level of vitriolic criticism. Clearly, she didn’t feel I was entitled to any of the facts at-hand, let alone my own opinion.

So now we come to “The Outpost” commercial development in North Scottsdale, which includes a gas station and other commercial uses at the NW corner of Pima Road and Dynamite. The council voted last night 5-2 approving this “major amendment” to Scottsdale’s citizen-ratified 2001 General Plan for development.

Unlike other zoning cases, a major amendment requires a super-majority (at least five votes out of seven). There was never any doubt about how Lane, Korte, Klapp, and Milhaven would vote. The opposition to The Outpost focused on Smith, who would finally be tested with an opportunity to be the swing vote in a case where his vote counted (i.e., it wasn’t going to pass without his vote).

And now, my ‘friends,’ you have your answer. Regardless of whatever David Smith said last night, what mattered was what he DID. He voted against YOUR General Plan; he voted against all the residents who opposed the project; and he voted against ‘the neighborhood’ he vowed to protect during his campaign.

It gives me no pleasure to be ‘right’ in my assessment of Mr. Smith and my prediction of this day of reckoning. Indeed, I said several times during the campaign and afterward that I hoped I’d be proven wrong. But I wasn’t, and here you are.

You can’t do anything about Smith until 2018. But Mayor Jim Lane, and council members Korte and Klapp are up for re-election this coming year. Do I need to tell you who will NOT be getting my endorsement?

And while I’m at it, you need to do all you can to support Guy Phillips. You can bet the Chamber of Developers and their Arizona Republic newsletter (which tactically gave no coverage to this Outpost issue) are going to pull out all the stops to defeat Phillips. They’ll try to replace him with Paradise Valley ex-pat Dan (“China Mist”) Schweiker…who is now angling to be David Smith’s clone on the Scottsdale city council.

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  1. I was disappointed too John.

    Dave was sweating and wiping his forehead but he did vote to again rezone land by the Preserve. Might read Helene Cass’s newsletter how City Staff has refused to reply to McDowell Mountain Ranch HOA Board. Desert Disneyland Center committee led by Campana and Kovach expect city to fork up $60m.

  2. I was very disappointed with Smith’s vote. His yea vote definetly violated his campaign promises. Sure didn’t take him long to get on the developer’s tit. His vote once again proves that the residents of Scottsdale can not trust a majority of the City Council.

    1. Smith’s wife is on the board of the Scottsdale Cultural Council, which enjoys a 20-year, no-bid city contract, occupies taxpayer-owned buildings and pays no rent, and gets a $4 million annual, taxpayer-funded subsidy. Smith fully supports this arrangement, and many like it that are just as bad. He is the antithesis of conservative.

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