Scottsdale City Council

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    Bill Crawford

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    Kathy Littlefield

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    Linda Milhaven

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    David Smith

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    Solange Whitehead

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Biographical Information

How long have you lived in Arizona?

How long have you lived in Scottsdale?

What is your age?

Tell us about your background/ occupation?

Why are you the best candidate for your city?

Have you ever been convicted of a crime? Please provide details.

Scottsdale has a list of infrastructure needs, but the City Council opted not to pursue a bond request this year. How would you propose funding the road and other infrastructure needs?

Do you favor the proposal to build Desert Edge in the city’s preserve? If not, would you build it elsewhere?

Are you satisfied with development in Old Town or what would you do differently?

Are you satisfied with development in north Scottsdale or what would you do differently?

Are you satisfied with development in south Scottsdale or what would you do differently?

What are the greatest opportunities and challenges facing the community? What will you do to address those challenges?

Age 65
Family My wife Debbie, 4 Children, 3 Grandchildren
Education Certified for Musculoskeletal Evaluation and Rehabilitation at the University of Florida Center for Exercise Science College of Medicine, Health and Human Performance.
Work history In business for myself for over 40 years. In business in Downtown Scottsdale for over 20 years.
Twitter @iamfitness
Campaign Phone (602) 576-6797
I have lived in Arizona for 22 years.
I have proudly called Scottsdale my home since 1996.
65 years old.
I was born and raised in the mountain town of Ouray, Colorado. There, I learned western values, morals and the strong work ethic that has driven me throughout my life. I believe honesty, integrity, hard work and kindness go a long way. I served as a volunteer firefighter and on mountain rescue teams. For over 40 years, I have had the privilege of owning and operating my own businesses. I developed several of the first Nautilus facilities and I have built fitness centers around the world. I have owned and operated Basic Training MedX Fitness and Strength Training Center in Downtown Scottsdale with my wife Debbie for over 20 years. In 2012, I was inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame for my life's work in the fitness industry. As chairman, I worked with two US Surgeons Generals on national fitness programs. I am featured in national media acknowledging my contributions to health and fitness. I was a decorated volunteer with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Posse for over a decade.
With my combined experience in business, community service and public safety, I am uniquely qualified to serve Scottsdale. Our city needs to build leadership that works with all sides to solve problems and keep the shine on Scottsdale. I've devoted myself to protecting Scottsdale's unique brand and quality of life for over 20 years. I have successfully advocated for residents, neighborhoods and businesses on critical issues impacting our city. I chaired Council Districts for Scottsdale and we brought the question of districting to the voters. I petitioned the city to appoint a treasurer as specified in the charter, which they did. I chaired The Association to Preserve Downtown Scottsdale's Quality of Life, which brought compatibility to the Entertainment District and surrounding neighborhoods. I co-chaired Downtown Scottsdale's Economic Vitality Coalition and strengthened our Downtown economy. I have a proven track record regarding issues citywide. I will continue to work hard for you.
No
Addressing and funding the needs of Scottsdale's deteriorating infrastructure is a multi-step process. Step one in this process is to vote "YES" to Question 1 on this year's ballot. I don't typically advocate for an increase in taxes, but in this case, I strongly urge Scottsdale residents to approve this one. If Question 1 is successful, we will generate more than $70 million in tax revenues over ten years and we will receive $170 million in Maricopa Association of Governments matching funds. This revenue is critical to fixing our roads, bridges, relieving traffic congestion and increasing safety throughout Scottsdale. Step two in this process is for the Scottsdale City Council to design and agree on a well-defined, transparent and easily understandable bond package and present it to the voters for approval. For too long we've kicked the can down the road and haven't worked together to develop such a bond. We've allowed politics to get in the way and defeat previous bond packages.
The McDowell Sonoran Preserve is Scottsdale's crown jewel. For over 20 years, my wife Debbie and I have spent countless hours in the Preserve, riding our horses, hiking and enjoying nature's treasures. I do not believe the Desert Edge should be built in our city's Preserve. I believe there are other locales that are better suited for such a facility. In 2016, I wrote an Oped suggesting the center be built in Downtown Scottsdale where it would compliment our existing Museum of the West and would be welcomed by the business community and hospitality industry. A desert educational center isn't a bad idea. However, a desert educational center in the Preserve without the support of Scottsdale residents is a bad idea. Scottsdale residents voted five times to tax themselves to assemble the Preserve for the purpose of preserving the pristine land within the Preserve for perpetuity. I believe if there is to be a change in the land use within the Preserve, it should be decided by a public vote.
I believe Old Town is progressing nicely. When I first moved here, Old Town Scottsdale was known as the" Rodeo Drive of the Southwest". Then came Kierland Commons, Scottsdale Quarter and Desert Ridge, pulling our high-end merchants and their customers with them. Add the recession of 2008, and Downtown businesses have had their share of challenges. Economists tell us there are 3,500 Downtown residents, and we need 8,000 to make it work again. We're on the way. We are making the necessary improvements to the Scottsdale Stadium to protect our valuable relationship with baseball. We are planning an additional five new hotels to enhance our valuable tourism business. Needed improvements and up-zoning to Fashion Square have been approved and new office space is on the way. Following my efforts with the Mayor and the Entertainment District, six new ordinances were passed which improved compatibility with the surrounding neighbors. Old Town is now a vibrant live, work and play destination.
North Scottsdale should be under a close watch to insure our covenants with property owners and investors does not change. Open space, dark skies and the rural desert environment must be safeguarded. Property values and low taxes are very important to the residents of this area and all areas of Scottsdale and I will do my part to protect them citywide. This is why I have been endorsed by the Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS. As your Councilman, I promise to protect their quality of life and keep them safe from over development.
As a South/Downtown Scottsdale resident and business owner for over 20 years, I understand the unique needs of the area. South Scottsdale is experiencing a rejuvenation and McDowell Corridor continues resurgence efforts, decades in the making. Sky Song has been a strong success and has encouraged housing options. In turn, encouraging new business development which enhances quality of life across the board. Now that the area is populated with many new high-density apartments, we must be very particular on what we allow to be built there. The reception of the existing neighbors, the traffic impact and quality of life concerns must be addressed when new proposals are considered. South Scottsdale has not had representation on the City Council for over a decade. South Scottsdale residents must have a fellow resident on City Council so that they can trust that their elected representatives will ensure future growth is smart, compatible and balanced for the area. I am that candidate.
I believe Scottsdale is the best city in America and the best is yet to come. Our biggest threat is electing the wrong leadership. If we squander our opportunities, make wrong decisions and foster division, we could lose our quality of life, our economic vitality, our tourism and our new business. If we oppose our future, we may not have one. It is critical that we address our deteriorating infrastructure with a responsible financial plan that supports our long term needs and allows us to keep the shine on Scottsdale. I will work to bring all sides together so we can get a much-needed bond package to residents. The voters are looking for leadership that will give them accountability and transparency to resolve our 800 million dollar shortfall for our capital improvements, assets and deteriorating infrastructure. I will provide that leadership. As a community leader, I have a proven track record of bringing people together to solve problems. As your Councilman, I will unify Scottsdale.
Age 70
Family Married 48 years to husband Bob, 2 adult children and 1 grandchild.
Education Bachelor's Degree in Business Education from Arizona State University.
Work history I have held a number of finance, accounting and management positions. Currently I am part owner & Treasurer of NetXpert Systems, Inc.
Twitter @kslittlefield
Previous public office Scottsdale City Councilwoman 2014-present
Campaign Phone (480) 951-2549
I am a Native of Arizona and a native of Scottsdale
I am a Native of Arizona and a native of Scottsdale, I grew up here, attended Scottsdale schools and received a Bachelor's Degree in Business Education from Arizona State University.
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I believe in being active in our community. Over the years I have served in many community service organizations: I was elected President of my Civitan Club, an organization which helps handicapped children. I served as Treasurer for the North Scottsdale Little League, and was treasurer of several after-school performing arts programs at Cochise Elementary School. Currently I am a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Mayflower Society, where we focus on helping our service veterans and their families.
Scottsdale citizens need a strong representative voice on the Council focused on their behalf, and I believe my record during my first term proves I am that voice. Too often, citizen concerns are ignored by the very Councilmembers who owe their positions to those voters. I have seen citizens come to Council regarding issues that affect their neighborhoods, urging restraint on building densities and heights. Too often, I have seen their voices being ignored. I am a Councilmember who listens with an open mind. And I have fought for Residents in all parts of our beautiful city, North, Central and South. Because of this I have been honored in this election to be endorsed for re-election by Police and Firefighters and by the Coalition of Greater Scottsdale, a citizen organization dedicated to keeping our city special for all our citizens.
No
I generally oppose tax increases, but this case is the exception which proves the rule. By passing Question 1 on the ballot in November, citizens will go a long way toward getting the money we need for many of our transportation needs. For 18 years Scottsdale citizens have been paying County Prop. 400 taxes – an approved tax by the voters for transportation needs in Maricopa Co. We have a huge $140M dollar balance available through 2020 which will pay us back for city projects that meet its criteria. There are about 22 of these projects throughout the City. But we must have a dedicated income stream to match with those available funds to get Maricopa Co. to release them to us. Otherwise, the money will go to other County cities for their needs. I want our citizens’ tax dollars to go to Scottsdale’s needs. The 1/10 of 1% sales tax increase for 10 years (or until it brings in $70M) would be our necessary dedicated revenue stream to qualify for the Prop. 400 matching funds.
No, absolutely not. In fact, I am the only Councilmember who has voted 100% not to move forward with this project without the approval of the voters. We must keep our Preserve a true Preserve, not just open space, and not just a park. We must also keep the promises made to the citizens when they agreed to generously fund this unique and special Preserve. When Scottsdale residents voted five times to tax themselves almost a billion dollars to buy the land for the McDowell Sonoran Preserve they were promised the land would be “preserved” forever. Unfortunately, a group of special interests has proposed a commercial development, originally called the Desert Discovery Center (DDC) and now relabeled the Desert EDGE, right smack in the Gateway to our Preserve! Adding insult to injury, these special interests want taxpayers to subsidize their private commercial venture. I am absolutely opposed to this.
The No. 1 threat to the quality of life in all parts of Scottsdale, north, south and Downtown, is overdevelopment. Scottsdale’s high quality of life is the result of our high standards for design, development and code enforcement, lots of open space, unobstructed views of the stunning natural landscape, low density and a unique Western character all our own. Overdevelopment undermines all of these qualities. It also imposes a financial burden on the current citizens – cramming more people into the existing space clogs our streets with traffic and stresses our infrastructure, requiring current residents to pay for the extra police, firefighters, water, sewer and road improvements to support the extra growth. Overdevelopment is the major cause of the infrastructure crisis our city government currently faces, and I will continue to fight against it as I have for the last three years.
The No. 1 threat to the quality of life in all parts of Scottsdale, north, south and Downtown, is overdevelopment. Scottsdale’s high quality of life is the result of our high standards for design, development and code enforcement, lots of open space, unobstructed views of the stunning natural landscape, low density and a unique Western character all our own. Overdevelopment undermines all of these qualities. It also imposes a financial burden on the current citizens – cramming more people into the existing space clogs our streets with traffic and stresses our infrastructure, requiring current residents to pay for the extra police, firefighters, water, sewer and road improvements to support the extra growth. Overdevelopment is the major cause of the infrastructure crisis our city government currently faces, and I will continue to fight against it as I have for the last three years.
The No. 1 threat to the quality of life in all parts of Scottsdale, north, south and Downtown, is overdevelopment. Scottsdale’s high quality of life is the result of our high standards for design, development and code enforcement, lots of open space, unobstructed views of the stunning natural landscape, low density and a unique Western character all our own. Overdevelopment undermines all of these qualities. It also imposes a financial burden on the current citizens – cramming more people into the existing space clogs our streets with traffic and stresses our infrastructure, requiring current residents to pay for the extra police, firefighters, water, sewer and road improvements to support the extra growth. Overdevelopment is the major cause of the infrastructure crisis our city government currently faces, and I will continue to fight against it as I have for the last three years.
I have many goals I would like to accomplish in my second term, primarily strengthen our city finances, do a better job of supporting our first responders and fight overdevelopment. But my number one immediate goal is to put a stop, once and forever, to the idea of allowing commercial development in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve without the permission of the voters.
Education Paradise Valley High School Wellesley College, BA Columbia University, MBA
Work history Banker
Twitter @Linda_Milhaven
Previous public office Scottsdale City Council, 8 years
Campaign Phone (602) 690-0901
Over 30 years
Over 30 years
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Scottsdale Community Bank President Better Business Bureau, Past Chair Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce, Past Chair Scottsdale Arts, Past Chair Scottsdale Leadership, Alumni Achievement Award Women of Scottsdale. Woman of the Year Scottsdale Industrial Development Authority, Past President Scottsdale Community College, President's Advisory Council
No
The entire City Council agrees that we do not have the financial resources to meet our infrastructure needs with current revenues.

Question 1 on the ballot will raise the sales tax rate to generate $70 million dollars that will allow us to claim $170 million dollars from County matching funds. This will help to fund necessary road improvements but it does not help us meet the rest of our needs.

The City Council identified another almost $600 million in needs. We will need to come back to the voters with a bond election funded by property taxes. As we pay down our current bonds, our property taxes will decline. New bonds will replace the debt we are paying down, keep our property taxes at historically low rates and fund our much needed infrastructure improvements.
Our Preserve is uniquely Scottsdale. An education center will help us to celebrate, enjoy and learn about our special desert.

Contemplated for over 25 years, the City Council, in 2007, approved this use in the Preserve at the Gateway trailhead.

The concept has had many iterations and we have more work to do. I hope the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy will take a lead role to define an appropriate center.

The City has two restricted sources of revenue that may be used for this purpose. Bed tax, paid by hotel guests, is restricted by citizen vote to support tourism. Preserve tax is limited for use in the Preserve. These taxes, in combination with private support, can support this project.

Six acres is about the size of a trailhead. It seems only fair to use a similar footprint for people, who might not be hikers, bikers, climbers or birders, to enjoy and learn about the Preserve. Expanding the Gateway trailhead has long been the plan and seems appropriate.
On a recent Sunday afternoon in Old Town, I was pleased to see families taking a walk, young adults walking their dogs and folks enjoying a meal on the many restaurant patios. I stopped by the Museum of the West and met many visitors. We are re-creating a great downtown.

Despite the progress, we have large vacant parcels as well as tired buildings that are prime for redevelopment. We should encourage private investment in these properties to create a robust downtown that includes residential, office, recreational and hotel uses.

While doing this, we must also protect the heritage and history of Old Town. We must preserve the area east of Scottsdale Road surrounding Main Street and its old west flavor. We must protect the arts district to the west of Scottsdale Road. Surrounding these areas, we have opportunities to redevelop Old Town in ways that will support our historical areas and help them to prosper.
In the 70’s, our family outings involved a rides out to Carefree for ice cream or visits to Rawhide. From our home near Cactus Road driving north, it was all open desert. It makes me sad to see all the development along that route since that time but I am heartened to remember that we protected over 30,000 acres of that amazing desert in our Preserve.

I know that many others are also saddened to see the private property in the north developed. While development of private property throughout Scottsdale is inevitable, we must ensure that all development is compatible with its surroundings.

At a recent open house, I met a man who has lived in the north since before it was part of Scottsdale. I asked him if he was pleased with his decision to agree to annexation. He beamed and so “oh yes”. He said that Scottsdale has assured the quality of the development in the area.

During my tenure, nearly all of the new development in north Scottsdale has been residential.
South Scottsdale is experiencing a renaissance. Eight years ago when I was first elected, we were wringing our hands over what to do with all the empty car dealerships on McDowell Road. Skysong was still more dirt lot than office complex.

Since then, Skysong is reaching build out. Empty dealerships have been replaced with new residences. New restaurants and neighborhood businesses have sprung up. Homes in south Scottsdale are selling faster and appreciating more than in any other part of our City.

We can be proud of the work we have done to re-develop south Scottsdale.
In addition to the issues discussed above, we need a diverse and vibrant local economy. Our local economy creates jobs and generates tax revenues that help us to enjoy some of the lowest sales and property tax rates in the region.

Our tourism industry is a big contributor. We must continue to offer amenities that make our city attractive to residents and tourists so we continue to attract visitors.

We must attract new businesses to sustain and diversify our economy. Our reliance on tourism, real estate and retail make us very sensitive to economic swings. In the last economic downturn, our sales tax revenues declined by a third. We are heavily reliant on sales tax revenues. Presently, sales tax revenues make up almost half of our general fund operating revenues. By diversifying our economy, we add industries that are less sensitive to these swings and ensure our economic vitality in the future.
Age 74
Family Wife, Diana, two adult daughters, six grandsons
Education Northwestern University, BS Accounting Northwestern University, MBA Finance CPA - State of Illinois
Work history 40 years in corporate finance, last as CFO for Tennessee Valley Authority and CFO for AMTRAK. Served 3 years as Scottsdale City Treasurer during the great recession.
Previous public office Elected to Scottsdale City Council 2014
Campaign Phone (480) 369-7482
Moved to Scottsdale, Arizona in 1986
Moved to Scottsdale, Arizona in 1986
74
I spent 40 years in corporate finance for Fortune 500 private and public companies. The last 13 years were spent as Chief Financial Officer for US Government owned/sponsored companies: the Tennessee Valley Authority and AMTRAK.

After retirement, I joined the City of Scottsdale as City Treasurer to navigate through the Great Recession and served 2009-2013.
As the City tries to regain its financial footing and recover from the impacts of the Great Recession, it is imperative that at least one Councilmember be known for fiscal integrity, proven experience and trusted vision. These are the qualities I brought to Council in 2014 and will bring again in 2018. These are the qualities that have motivated eighteen former members of Council and Mayors to enthusiastically endorse my candidacy for re-election. Paul Messinger said, "David has demonstrated a keen understanding of City government that has been invaluable in his service to Scottsdale citizens." Former Mayor, Bill Schrader, said, "We need to keep David, he has done an outstanding job for all of Scottsdale." Richard and Marion Saba said, "David's honesty, financial experience and ability to communicate with citizens are exactly what our City Council needs."
NO
Major capital expenditures for public infrastructure should always be financed with secondary property tax bonds to insure the financing burden is spread among all benefiting parties: citizens, businesses and out-of-state investors. It represents the least cost financing option and. furthermore, the financing obligation (bonds) are issued only after project completion. A vote for property tax bonds can be specifically tied to capital projects.

In contrast, financing with a sales tax imposes the majority of the burden on citizens, with a minor share paid by visitors: business and out-of-state investors pay nothing. By its nature, a sales tax is imposed before a project is completed and if financing is sought, it is more expensive that property tax supported bonds. A vote for a sales tax increase cannot be specifically tied to capital projects.

I am urging voters to approve the small sales tax proposal this November:Council must then return in 2019 with a reasonable bond program.
Council has not decided to build a Desert Edge anywhere, since due diligence on the project proposal has not even begun. Council has authorized city staff to look at alternative sites, but we have not received their report.

As a financial pragmatist on Council, I assure voters that if the City proceeds with a Desert Edge project, I will only vote to do so if it is financially prudent and in the citizen's best interest. To that end, I insisted the project be submitted in stages (which has not yet been done) and that a location be selected that insures the greatest probability of financial success.
We should never be "satisfied" with development in any part of our town. We should always be striving for improvement.

Old Town Scottsdale is perhaps the largest "man made" tourist attraction in the state of Arizona. It is important that we continue to protect and foster this great asset.
Again, we should never be "satisfied" with development in any part of our town. We should always be striving for improvement.

In North Scottsdale, we must continually strive to achieve the right balance between residential and commercial development to preserve the lifestyle preferred by the residents of this region.
Again, we should never be "satisfied" with development in any part of our town. We should always be striving for improvement.

Substantial new development has occurred in South Scottsdale, particularly with new multi-family developments. Some of this may not have enhanced the livability of the area for the benefit of current residents. We must continually strive to encourage investments that improve the lifestyle preferred by the residents of this region.
Opportunities and challenges are often just two sides of the same coin.

We are challenged to restore the city to a fiscally sustainable state: doing so will provide an opportunity for financially sound future growth. I will address this opportunity/challenge by encouraging citizens to support a realistic capital improvement bond program as well as sales tax reforms.

We are challenged to insure the development in our city improves livability: doing so will mean improvements in the quality of life for all residents and greater appeal to visitors. I will address this opportunity/challenge by supporting adoption of a new General Plan for the city with updated statements of citizens' visions and goals for their city.
Age 56
Family Married to my husband Mike for 28 years. We have three children: Lynelle, Derek, and Bethany.
Education Electrical Engineer, University of Florida
Work history Electrical engineer, RE investor, Executive Director of a non-profit
Twitter @Solange4az
Previous public office Preserve Commissioner for 6 years (appointed).
Campaign Phone (480) 510-3480
22 years.
My husband and I moved to Scottsdale in 1996: we fell in love with everything Arizona, and Scottsdale in particular. So we stayed, and raised our three kids here.

We purchased a home in Sweetwater Ranch so my husband could bike to work. We still live in the same house and our neighbors are like family. Many helped us raise our kids!

As neighbors, we rarely display political signs in our yards, perhaps out of consideration for different viewpoints. But my neighbors made a big exception for me – we have “Solange For Scottsdale” yard signs everywhere. It is incredibly welcoming when I come home after a long day on the campaign trail.
I am 56 years old.
I was born on Aberdeen Proving Grounds as an army brat.

I am an Electrical Engineer from the University of Florida, After ten years in engineering, I helped launch a start-up company, and then founded and served as the Executive Director of a non-profit. I was named Arizona Wildlife Federation’s “Conservationist of the Year”. I served for six years as a Scottsdale Preserve Commissioner and more recently, my husband and I paid for the 3-D Printer Lab at Scottsdale Community College. We wanted to get this “cool” technology in the hands of SCC’s students to make engineering fun and spur their imaginations.

I became a candidate at the urging of my kids and many others in the community. I am working full time to understand the city’s greatest challenges, and meeting with residents and community leaders so we can get Scottsdale back on a sound financial track in order to protect our quality of life and earn back public trust.
A City Council person’s job is to represent constituents’ interests and safeguard tax dollars. Over 2,300 voters nominated me which is hundreds more voters than all other candidates, including incumbents. I began knocking on voters’ doors in January and I’m still knocking. My campaign is funded by people, not special interests. Most important – my support comes from every Scottsdale zip code, age group, and from voters representing all party affiliations. I understand the City budget, the General Plan, the City Charter, and regularly meet with residents, business owners, and community leaders, to discuss their views. My platform represents our shared community goals : 1) prioritize residents over special interests, 2) make community benefit a requirement for tax dollar expenditures, and 3) protect our unique character, quality of life, and Preserve
No.
Tax payers are facing $800 million of unfunded infrastructure needs, the potential loss of an additional $170 million of our taxes, and City services are being stretched to a breaking point. This financial crisis is not from lack of tax revenues. It was caused by a City Council majority that lacked fiscal discipline, prioritized special interests over our interests, and has not upheld City code and zoning.

To get Scottsdale back on track, we must ensure every tax dollar spent moves us forward: 1) eliminate over-development which digs us deeper in debt and chips away at our value, 2) Limit tax dollars expenditures to public safety, infrastructure maintenance, and quality of life. 3) end tax dollar give aways to developers. 4) Update development fees to cover development costs.

These priorities that will safeguard our City’s value today and tomorrow and ensure that Scottsdale remains attractive to tourists, first and second homeowners, and companies looking to set up shop
I oppose the Desert Edge and helped lead the monumental effort to pause the project and get the “YES on 420” proposition on the ballot.

The Desert Edge is the most visible example of a City Council majority disconnected from our community’s needs, values, and the City’s financial realities.

The City Council effort to develop the Preserve, misuse millions of tax dollars, and deny a public vote demonstrates that Scottsdale’s Preserve is vulnerable to exploitation.

A “YES on Prop 420” protects all taxpayers from poor decision making or political corruption by requiring voter approval for any future development in the Preserve. Today, tomorrow, and forever.

A “YES on Prop 420” is the only fiscally responsible way to protect our $1 billion asset.

Taxpayers should not fund a Desert Edge anywhere. Our bridges are collapsing, FD understaffed, and rainy day fund bone dry. Tax dollars should be spent maintaining the City: public safety, infrastructure, and quality of life.
Old Town remains true to the City's historical roots and is beautiful. There is a nice mix of restaurants, shops, museums, hotels, and parks. The Saturday morning farmers market is golden.

Enhancing Scottsdale’s downtown so that visitors & residents can get around without a car is a vision many locals would like to see fulfilled. The national data shows that they are not alone. Improving Scottsdale’s walkability makes our community more attractive to all demographic groups - visitors, retirees, and high wage earners . Working with all stakeholders, Scottsdale needs an updated downtown vision focused on increasing pedestrian options. There are also many lower-cost strategies that can be implemented right away. Years ago, Scottsdale made the bold decision to route Drinkwater Blvd underground thereby creating today’s Civic Center plaza a car-free zone. This proved to be a brilliant investment. When City leadership is aligned with community priorities, great feats are possible
Scottsdale’s unique character is being overdeveloped from the North to the South.

Development decisions have been ceded to developers and Scottsdale’s rural character, mountain views, and historical roots are disappearing. Developer fees are not covering developer costs leaving today’s residents with more bills and less value. In June, City Council burst through N. Scottsdale’s height restrictions, up-zoning 1,000-acres while handing $21.9 million to a single developer.

Our future value is not guaranteed. But the best way to predict the future is to create it. We need to update our General Plan in partnership with the citizens, enforce and protect our rural zoning, slow down development and ask more questions, tilt the playing field in favor of the highest quality proposals and adjust development fees. And, we need to make open space, views, and quality of life priorities again.
Scottsdale’s City Council majority is on an up-zoning spree; hotels, condos, and apartments. My concerns are many.

For starters, the City Council should approve specific projects. One by one. I disapprove of the massive blanket up-zoning that is happening. There is no benefit and plenty of downsides. Increasing density and height upfront is costing tax payers millions of dollars that the future developer would have had to invest in the community in exchange for the zoning change.

Traffic is a problem, too. The promised “car-less” future sounds good to me but today’s residents and visitors drive cars. In the rush to approve, I worry Council is creating parking shortages, exacerbating downtown traffic, and not collecting enough fees to correct either.

We need to restore planned growth with community buy-in, uphold zoning and design standards, and collect fees for increased public safety, transportation options, and fund quality of life amenities such as parks & libraries
Scottsdale is the best town in the west – we are rugged, yet elegant. We retain a rural horse culture in the north with a vibrant downtown in the south connected together by a greenbelt meandering past ponds, parks, and playgrounds. Scottsdale is home to the largest urban Preserve in the nation – an asset that draws tourists and second homeowners from around the world.

Today’s value comes courtesy of resident driven priorities and implemented by (historically) resident-friendly City Councils. But residents no longer have a voice at City Hall and our valuable ‘brand’ is being chipped away by rampant growth, our unique character is disappearing, our infrastructure is crumbling, and the Preserve is threatened with development.

I am running to restore resident priorities at City Hall. Our future prosperity depends on it. www.SolangeForScottsdale.com