City of Scottsdale

City of Scottsdale

What is your vision for the City of Scottsdale?

Don Henninger from SCOTT (Scottsdale Coalition for Today and Tomorrow) asked that question recently, but no viable resolutions came forth.

While the SCOTT organization is founded by a group of business people who value their city, I believe that the only true resolution to change the vision of Scottsdale is to limit campaign contributions and follow the lead Tempe adopted two years ago.

 Councilman David Smith made a motion on Nov. 28, 2017, to limit contributions to $500 per individual donor. The motion to agendize and direct staff to write an amendment to the City Charter to regulate campaign finance failed to pass by a 4-3 vote. 

Councilman Smith was not able to get the idea to move forward because (Mayor) Jim Lane (and Councilmembers) Virginia Korte, Linda Milhaven and Suzanne Klapp voted down the motion. Currently, the campaign fund limit is $6,250 per individual for each mayor and councilmember campaign.  As I said during the Dec. 11, 2018, City Council meeting, “follow the money.”

When City Council members collect large sums of money from certain bar owners and developers, their votes are obviously biased toward those individuals. It is human nature to show favors to those who support a candidate.

 This practice has become very evident in Scottsdale and, therefore, we have four people who collect large sums for their campaigns and they are the four who run our city. It is not difficult to trace back the votes, and the most recent vote over the Rock Bar typifies my supposition.

The Bar District owners weigh heavy on how this city is governed, and I suggest we all “follow the money” on future votes.

 All campaign contributors are listed on the city website. It is not rocket science to look up those campaign finance reports. The absurdity of the vote for the patio dining, smoking and drinking area at the Rock Bar proved my theory.

 Why would the council majority vote to lease city land for a mere pittance of $3,105 annually if the Bar District vote was not so strong? The small amount of annual rent shows favoritism to the Rock Bar property owner. The city certainly spent more than that amount just to present the issue before the City Council. This is city-owned land which is being leased so that patrons of the Rock Bar have a place to smoke, drink and possibly eat pizza. I consider this vote just the tip of the iceberg. 

The only answer for our city to move forward is to eliminate a “sold out” City Council majority. What will it take to reintroduce Councilman Smith’s motion from Nov. 28, 2017? Who will have the courage on the City Council to take a stand against big money?

It appears that Suzanne Klapp could be that swing vote and reposition herself as a citizen-friendly candidate. If she intends to run for mayor in 2020, it is time for Klapp to distance herself from this council majority of Lane, Korte and Milhaven. 

If Klapp doesn’t reposition herself, the choice between Klapp and Korte will give the citizens no choice. More business as the same with the four who are biased toward their big supporters will continue to keep this city from moving forward.

Citizens have very little confidence in their existing form of government. It is time to make a big change and it is all up to Suzanne Klapp. I hope she can have a vision for the city which will heal the city by including its citizens and not pitting them against their government.

I will be awaiting a new motion from a council member with a 4-3 vote in favor of limiting campaign contributions as the beginning solution to move our city forward in 2019.