Mayoral Forums

Politics is not for the feint of heart and this week proved that in spades!  The first part of the double header took place in the lovely and historic neighborhood of Villa Monterey.  This is truly a treasure representative of the best of Scottsdale where neighbors are neighbors, and most importantly, they care deeply about their community.

As the sun settled over the palms, the candidates for mayor and city council lined up to offer reasons why you should vote for them.  Before any of them began, Kathy Feld, president of the Villa Monterey Unit 4 Home Owners Association and the hostess for the evening, read a very disturbing email from Mayor Jim Lane. The contents of the email rebuffed the residents by suggesting that this was not a “real forum” and that he would come if and when the candidates were “official.” (No candidate including Mayor Lane has yet to file petitions that would indeed make them official.)

This begs the question:  was Lane really concerned about an unofficial forum or was he playing a quiet game of dodge ball to forestall having to face the residents with questions about his pattern of voting against them in favor of his new pals, the wealthy developers?

After spending an evening talking with residents, it was clear that they weren’t fooled by the fuzzy math from the city staff that assured them that 6,000 new residents using the Chaparral corridor would only increase the traffic flow by seven cars! These large development projects will indeed impact the area by overloading Chaparral and Miller Roads.

Many also fear that on the same developer’s drawing board is a black X over the homes facing these two thoroughfares indicating the plans to widen these road have not been scrapped in spite of the recent historic zoning.

The most heated topic of discussion however focused on the encroachment of the neighborhood by the so-called Entertainment District. Several of the elderly widows spoke of their concern for their safety as strangers find their way into the neighborhood at all hours of the night. What the “E. D.” means for these residents is noise, litter, trespassing, parking, and public urination.

Mayor Jim Lane , on the other hand, is a big proponent of the nightclubs in the Entertainment District. Lane posted on his website:

Bars are self-sustaining. Mayor Lane said the new study more accurately portrays the economic impact of the district, and all the bars and restaurants in the downtown. They are big numbers and should have huge economic impact on our city and on the overall, so in that sense it’s positive.

Does that remind anyone else of the thirty pieces of silver?

An independent research report on the crime rate in Scottsdale, indicated that overall crime was down by about 8%.  However, the crime in the E.D. is up 23%.  Police resources must then focus on this area leaving many neighborhoods thinly patrolled as  a result.

Oh by the way, the “study” often cited by Mayor Lane that outlines the profitability of the E. D. while not addressing the crime rate was funded by the liquor industry.  I’ll drink to that!

The second game of the double header took place on Thursday night (17 May) at the Granite Reef Senior Center. In a classic political flip flop Lane agreed to attend, then declined, then attended. Could it be that the Arizona Republic actually did some real reporting and sent a reporter to cover the forum that caused him to “see the light?”

Score this one: Lane 0, Challengers 2.

The next game for Lane is a shutout….that is for other candidates and citizens.  It is a hoity toity reception hosted by zoning attorney Paul Gilbert.

Norm Seeley posted photos and a short video of the opening remarks. The Republic covered their article. Craig McDermott gave it a little coverage, too. [Craig posted expanded coverage Sunday 20 May]

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