I’m not talking to YOU anymore!

Korte-headshotIt’s possible that the vagaries of email have resulted in a mis-delivery or non-delivery of the weekly-ish “Voice of Scottsdale” to my inbox. But for the sake of having a little fun, I’m going to assume the more likely and more fun alternative: My stinging criticism and continuing attribution of those writings to Virginia Korte has gotten under someone’s skin, and they’ve taken me off the email list.

It’s ironic, too, because I pretty much agree with everything that was said in the current edition (which was just forwarded to me by a friend)!

I’ve reproduced it below for those of you who aren’t already on the list, and even though I normally disagree with most of VoS, here’s the website where you can sign up:

http://www.voiceofscottsdale.com/

Just make sure you check with me before you believe any of it!

I only have a few points of disagreement (what did you expect?) with this edition of VoS.

It’s a waste of time and space to rehash the political predicament the Chamber created for itself in 2008.  However, suffice it to say, the organization is still gun shy after several legal opinions and lengthy litigation – all of which ended with a negotiated settlement that included a stiff fine for running afoul of campaign finance laws.

The Chamber didn’t just get a slap on the wrist.  It got a public spanking that left a mark on its civic credibility and political psyche. 

I don’t think it’s a “waste of time” at all. In fact, it’s kind of the point of the column, isn’t it?

No one with a political pulse expects the Chamber decision makers to pick Bill Crawford or Bob Littlefield for mayor or incumbent Guy Phillips or Tom Giller for the Council.  It’s not going to happen.

Sounds to me a lot like an endorsement for the other guys. Is this Virginia actually telegraphing what the Chamber will ACTUALLY do? Or is Virginia hereby doing the dirty work of the Chamber herself, anonymously?

The Bottom Line: Every city election, the political divide seems to grow even greater. If the Chamber of Commerce decides to endorse candidates, some believe it would only increase the polarization … and do more harm than good.

This is kind of a backhanded twist on the old “civil dialog” argument. You know the one that goes like this: “If you disagree with me and you are mad about it, you are uncivil and therefore your position is invalid.”

In this case, “the political divide” is indirectly attributed to the aforementioned non-endorsees, Littlefield, Phillips, and Giller. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It is the Chamber and it’s ilk that have created the “divide,” by working continuously to erode Scottsdale’s General Plan for development and the Scottsdale Sensitive Design Principles, not to mention the fundamental purpose of zoning: to protect and buffer land uses of lesser intensity (e.g., homes) from uses of greater intensity (e.g. bars).

Do the Chamber and Virginia Korte actively support, condone, and facilitate this erosion for the benefit of you, the citizen? No, they do it for their developer buddies and their liquor industry supporters, in exchange for campaign contributions.

Without further commentary from me (thank goodness, right?), here’s the 1 March edition of “Voice of Scottsdale.”

Chamber Considering
Role in Local Elections

Mark Hiegel, the new head of the Chamber of Commerce, asked rhetorically in the recent Scottsdale Independent: “Are we better off endorsing candidates or talking about what issues should be most important to voters?”

That’s the question the Chamber contemplates every two years – but usually not publicly. For the past eight years, or four elections, the Chamber’s leadership has privately gone through the ritual of agonizing over whether or not to take an active role in our city elections.

It’s a waste of time and space to rehash the political predicament the Chamber created for itself in 2008. However, suffice it to say, the organization is still gun shy after several legal opinions and lengthy litigation – all of which ended with a negotiated settlement that included a stiff fine for running afoul of campaign finance laws.

The Chamber didn’t just get a slap on the wrist. It got a public spanking that left a mark on its civic credibility and political psyche.

When Hiegel took over the helm in September from Rick Kidder, who returned to his old stomping grounds in Massachusetts, it was a chance for the Chamber to hit the reset button. To his credit, Hiegel hasn’t made any changes for change’s sake as so often happens when new leaders take over an organization.

There’s hardly a board or top-tier group in which Hiegel hasn’t participated – including the Scottsdale Charros, the Cultural Council’s Board of Trustees and, of course, the Chamber’s Board of Directors. After being appointed to head the Chamber, Hiegel made this remark about his new job’s responsibilities: “These are things I was already doing. Now I’m getting paid to do them.”

Hiegel seems to be the right person at the right time at the Chamber, someone who won’t let the organization veer off course like the defunct North Chamber of Commerce did during the 2012 elections.

Readers will remember how the North Chamber of Commerce was the driving force behind the campaign to prevent Guy Phillips from being elected to the City Council four years ago. That poorly executed effort wasn’t just unsuccessful, it was thought to be the final nail in the North Chamber’s coffin that preceded its eventual demise.

Hiegel said he expects the Chamber to reach a decision about how it’s going to handle the upcoming elections by the deadline for candidates to file their nominating petitions on June 1st.

Obviously, the Chamber doesn’t want to repeat past mistakes. But some wonder why even bother endorsing candidates – because it’s not as if most people, especially the political establishment, don’t know who the organization will be supporting: Jim Lane for mayor and Council incumbents Suzanne Klapp and Virginia Korte, plus newcomer Dan Schweiker.

No one with a political pulse expects the Chamber decision makers to pick Bill Crawford or Bob Littlefield for mayor or incumbent Guy Phillips or Tom Giller for the Council. It’s not going to happen. In fact all four candidates wouldn’t clamor for the Chamber’s endorsement, because they would wear the organization’s “non-endorsement” as a badge of honor.

The Bottom Line: Every city election, the political divide seems to grow even greater. If the Chamber of Commerce decides to endorse candidates, some believe it would only increase the polarization … and do more harm than good.

Bite Me!

This week’s best sound bite comes from Councilman Guy Phillips. As part of Mayor Lane’s State of the City Address, Councilmembers were videotaped answering this question: “What do you want Scottsdale to be?” Phillips responded:

“Hello, everybody, Guy Phillips from the Scottsdale City Council. Welcome to the 2016 Academy Awards. Oh, I’m sorry, it’s not the Academy Awards. It’s the 2016 State of the City with Mayor Lane. I want to do whatever we can to make sure Scottsdale stays a bright city and good for the future.”

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