Selling Out

From an AZCentral article this morning:

Jim Lane made headlines in 2008 when he defeated incumbent Scottsdale Mayor Mary Manross, marking the first time in city history a sitting mayor lost a re-election bid.

Now, Lane is seeking to retain the top seat for another four years. The retired accountant says he has kept his promises and steered Arizona’s sixth-largest city toward economic prosperity.

Lane already has tallied ample campaign contributions — more than $150,000, according to the most recent finance statements — and no challenger is anywhere close.

Despite that, a grass-roots effort is building to oust the one-term mayor. It includes a City Council member who once considered Lane a strong ally.

Councilman Bob Littlefield and other critics claim the mayor has sold out to special interests and deep-pocketed developers who are boosting his campaign finances.

After forming an exploratory committee¬† [for a mayoral campaign] in January, Littlefield said he will not seek the mayor’s seat in the Aug. 28 primary, dissolving any hope of a contentious matchup.

Running would have required his resignation from the council. Instead, Littlefield has thrown his support to candidate John Washington, an activist who ran as a write-in candidate for mayor in 2008.

[Mayoral candidate Drew] Bernhardt has said that a “silent majority” of residents feel that Scottsdale is headed in the wrong direction.In November 2010, voters nixed a $36.6 million bond package for municipal projects but embraced a $118 million construction bond for the Scottsdale Unified School District, causing some residents to blame the failure on a mounting distrust of government.Another indicator was the defeat of the city’s General Plan update in the March election, when voters narrowly shot down the plan that would have guided Scottsdale’s long-term development and character.

They said the plan failed to capture the views of residents.

Resident Howard Myers, a longtime advocate of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, said that vote sent a message.

“The defeat of the General Plan was as much an indicator to the way people see the city going as to the plan itself.”

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