Years in Scottsdale: 66
Years in Arizona: 68
Immediate family: Husband, 2 children
Education: BA in Education at ASU
Job: Treasurer of NetXpert Systems, Inc.; Scottsdale City Council
Do you think the city has too many apartments and if so, what would you do about future plans for more?
The first question should not be do we have too many apartments, but what housing needs are we lacking that we need to fill. Are apartments the only lifestyle we wish of offer our citizens?And, how many can the city’s infrastructure and land mass maintain without destroying they quality of life we want to uphold.
Name three top concerns in Scottsdale for the next four years and tell how you would solve them.
Number 1 is water and its dwindling supply from the lakes and rivers that supply us. We are a desert community and are in the middle of a drought. Already the water levels are falling dangerously low and we are being asked to cut back. I believe greater consideration of this very real threat to our lifestyle should take priority for all development that wishes to come here. Water saving methods should be required on all new development. Also, honest, real analysis should be considered on a regular basis with water depletion concerns updated. We are headed toward a Tier 2 drought – as a council, we need to know the consequences of constantly increasing the consumption needs going forward.
Number 2 is safety – safety in our homes, on the roads, and in the workplaces. I support the police efforts to fight crime and do not support the idea of defunding the police. The infiltration of drugs in Scottsdale is also increasing, and I believe we need the expertise of our police to control it.
Number 3 is homelessness. There are many causes for this, including illegal crossing of the border, job disruptions, increasing costs of living, etc. I would like to see us work with our neighboring cities and unite to find solutions to housing, crime and joblessness. I believe the best answers will only come from working together as a united community to identify the causes and find solutions.
How would you assess the city’s handling of growth and what are your top priorities for future growth?
The City of Scottsdale does not handle growth well. We let the developers and their agents determine what they build in Scottsdale. Unsurprisingly, they want to build apartments for the high, never-ending income stream. We should, instead, determine what we need to build to maintain the quality of life of our residents, ensure our zoning and codes are in line with that, and then stay within the zoning. Builders know what those codes are when they buy the property. Up zoning property for their benefit should not be an automatic given.
Given existing legislation at the state level, what if anything more should the city do to address short-term rentals that have become nuisances?
Scottsdale has been very pro-active in addressing the problem. Last year we put together a citizen task force to research our options and create a code enforcement ordinance in Scottsdale. It hasn’t completely solved the problems, it has helped and put owners on notice that they would be held responsible for community complaints of noise or misconduct at their houses.
How can the city provide affordable workforce housing?
That is the 10-million-dollar question! I would love to hear some real solutions to this. The only thoughts I have regarding it is to hold to our current zoning and do not allow upzoning for land that qualifies for affordable workforce housing. Workforce housing can come in many shapes, sizes and styles…but it has to be affordable and available to folks with low to moderate incomes.
How can the city balance property rights/development and ensure that water resources are protected for the long-term?
The short answer to this is to hold with the current zoning and do not automatically approve up- zonings whenever asked. When people buy property, it comes with an allowable building density, usually in line with other properties nearby. Water needs can be determined by the zoning allowed in the area. As our water levels drop in the lakes, it will become more important than ever to hold to current zoning. More people will always require more water, but we can plan for and limit the increases by considering water as a priority sticking point whenever zoning increases are requested.
What is your position on creating council districts? Would you vote to create them?
The Romans said it best: divide and conquer. I understand the desire for it by some citizens, but I don’t believe it has worked well when tried. South Scottsdale would be hurt the most. They have a huge advantage right now - South Scottsdale has more people than the other two areas. i.e. more votes. When districting, the city would be divided into three districts. Each district area is determined by population so that each one has approximately the same number of people. A South Scottsdale district would lose land mass until its population of its district was equal to the other two districts. The other two districts would gain those citizen votes. The two districts with the most in common regarding development are the North and Central. They would have 4 council votes, regardless of who was Mayor, and they could “trade” votes with impunity regardless of either Mayor or the South. I do not believe this is a good way for our City to work together for a common cause or to solve our common problems.
Does City Council have a role in protecting and growing tourism and if so, how would you define that role?
Yes, the Council has a role in protecting and growing tourism. This is one of the major economic drivers in Scottsdale. People literally come to Scottsdale from all over the world to see our city and visit our renown Old Town and our unique Preserve. I support the work that Experience Scottsdale does in advertising our city and the programs and events developed by Scottsdale’s Cultural Council. These programs bring people here to enjoy our western heritage, our Preserve, and stay in our beautiful hotels. As a result, we can keep our taxes low and still enjoy a high quality of life here in Scottsdale. I will continue to vote for and support these programs.
Name your biggest accomplishment while on Council that you took the lead on and why that issue is important.
I was the sole council vote against the DDC when it came before Council. The Desert Discovery Center was an attempt to allow commercial development inside the boundaries of our Preserve. I also worked to gather signatures to put the measure on the ballot for a citizen vote. The DDC went down in flames. To this day, commercial development is not allowed inside the Preserve boundaries.
Why are you running for council again, what is left for you to do specifically?
I am running for Council for a third term to continue the work of keeping our city special and beautiful for our citizens. I hope to continue to be the councilwoman who not only listens to citizens but also acts on their behalf. I will continue to be their voice when dealing with land and zoning issues, to protect the Preserve they voted for, and to support our police and fire departments to keep us all safe.
How has your public service benefited Scottsdale?
I have represented the citizens of Scottsdale on Council, so their voices are heard. I have supported and voted for projects and issues that concern public safety, our well-used parks, and sports fields, and have tried to protect their homes and neighborhoods from unwanted intrusions of density, height, and noise. If re-elected, I will continue to do so.
Littlefield: Overdevelopment the big issue
By Kathy Littlefield
Progress Guest Writer
The most pressing problem facing Scottsdale today is overdevelopment. Overdevelopment is bad for Scottsdale residents because it clogs our streets with traffic, overtaxes our infrastructure, blocks scenic views, and degrades our city's special character and high quality of life.
Residents clearly don’t want this. In the last two City elections voters sent a clear message: STOP overdevelopment, particularly the tall, dense, traffic-clogging apartments approved by past Council majorities.
Election results prove this: In 2018 Scottsdale voters approved Prop 420, to forbid commercial development in the Preserve by a margin of 80-20. And the top two vote-getters in the City Council race both ran on platforms of halting overdevelopment. In 2020 two of the three winners in the City Council race also ran on those platforms.
Even more revealing was the citizen-led effort to refer the tall, dense Southbridge II development to voters. After the developer-friendly Council majority approved the project in late 2019, opponents only had 30 days, over the Christmas and New Year's holidays, to gather 17,000 signatures to qualify their referendum for the ballot. They did it! The developer-friendly City Council majority, seeing the handwriting on the wall, about-faced and quickly disapproved the project they had enthusiastically approved only three months earlier. Even they recognized the Scottsdale public wants overdevelopment halted!
Clearly Scottsdale residents from all parts of Scottsdale want to return sanity to Scottsdale's development process and protect our beautiful city's special character and high quality of life. Unfortunately, the majority on the Scottsdale City Council still isn’t listening.
Earlier this year they voted, despite overwhelming opposition from neighboring residents, to approve two tall dense apartment buildings in South Scottsdale, Kimsey and Greenbelt 88. And there are at least four tall, dense, traffic-clogging apartment projects scheduled to be considered by your Council in 2022:
- High Street Residential at Scottsdale Rd. & Gold Dust, 254 apartments
- 92 Ironwood, 273 apartments – back for reconsideration
- District at 9400 Shea, 219 apartments – also coming back
- Optima McDowell Mountain Village, 1500 apartments!!!
I am not against all development; if a project offers real tangible advantages to the citizens of Scottsdale, I support it.
Unfortunately, most of what has been presented to the City Council recently are oversized apartment complexes designed simply to put money in the pockets of the developers – little care or concern is given to increases in traffic, water usage, or city cost increases such as trash pickup, park maintenance, or other general costs that current residents of Scottsdale must pay.
I believe our residents have the right to expect their quality of life will be upheld and their Council will uphold the zoning laws that protect their homes now and into the future. I ask for your vote so I can continue to represent you as Your Voice on Scottsdale’s Council and continue my efforts to Keep Scottsdale Special.
You can find more information regarding my stands on issues on my website, kathylittlefield.com. If you have questions or would like more information, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Littlefield: Overdevelopment threatens Scottsdale
By Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield
Progress Guest Writer
Overdevelopment has always been bad for Scottsdale residents because it clogs our streets with traffic, overtaxes our infrastructure, blocks scenic views, and degrades our city's special character and high quality of life.
It also makes Scottsdale less desirable as a tourist destination when our unique character is diminished by large numbers of tall, dense bland apartment complexes.
But now there are two other reasons why overdevelopment is bad for Scottsdale residents.
The first is its negative impact on public safety. Adding more residents means more demand for public safety services. The call by some to defund the police (an idea I vehemently oppose) has made it harder to recruit new police officers. Scottsdale is currently short 50 sworn officers and is struggling to make up that deficit, especially when our neighboring cities, facing the same challenge, are competing with us for recruits.
I have been endorsed for re-election by Scottsdale police and firefighters because they know I will fight for public safety. But we also must stop adding additional demand for their services whenever a developer asks us to approve a new tall, dense apartment project!
Another major reason to oppose overdevelopment is drought! Arizona is in the middle of its worst drought in centuries and the water levels in the lakes we depend on for our water supply are dropping rapidly. There is no end in sight; in fact, things are getting worse!
Last month the commissioner of the US Bureau of Reclamation said the status of the Colorado River system is dire and the seven Basin States will need to conserve between 2 million and 4 million acre-feet of Colorado River water in addition to current conservation efforts.
While our water department does a great job of conserving water, they cannot make new water out of thin air. Water saving methods should be a given and expected on all development projects, and we should all do our part to conserve.
But we cannot conserve our way out of this drought crisis – we must stop adding additional demand for water whenever a developer asks for a new tall, dense apartment project!
How do we justify to our citizens the unceasing increase in water demand newly approved development creates, while at the same time asking them to cut their own water use? The totals just do not add up.
I believe it is past time to take this bull by the horns. There are already over 10,000 apartments approved but yet to be built in Scottsdale. We need to be forward thinking and limit the approval for new development to those which we can currently sustain.
Reality, folks, is when you turn on the tap and nothing happens. Parts of California are already implementing water rationing; it would be wishful thinking on our part to assume that can’t happen here.
We need to be pro-active and forward-thinking to protect our citizens from a shortage of clean water. Let’s take steps now to limit the crisis before it blows up in our faces.