Scottsdale Independent

Speak Out Scottsdale: Readers respond to Experience Scottsdale story

Speak Out Scottsdale, a new feature presented by the Scottsdale Independent, provides a sampling of the many views and opinions posted by our readers in response to stories that have appeared at www.scottsdaleindependent.com

The views do not reflect the opinions of the newspaper, but are merely meant to provide readers with a reflection of the discussion within the community on various issues. Readers are encouraged to join the discussion and post their comments to Speak Out Scottsdale or email them directly to the editor at scottsdalenews@newszap.com.

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In response to the story, “Experience Scottsdale delivers annual address; lauds municipal projects:”

Mr. Serguine claims millions of dollars have been spent to support our downtown? Tell me what does that mean. Recently a couple of million was spent to add street lights and fix up the pedestrian walk way on Marshall Way to make it ADA compliant. Is that what he is talking about? Who are these people making unfounded claims who want the DDC/DE to go into the Preserve at the expense of the rest of the city? – Sandy Schenkat.

I have so much admiration for you Mr. Myers! Once again you are right on point with your thoughtful, articulate and knowledge of the history of the Preserve. We must continue to speak up and spread the word about our beautiful Desert Preserve being jeopardized! I just don’t understand why this project has been pushed so hard — the $62 million question.  I also agree with you about sending the wrong message through the advertising campaign. Quite honestly, I find this misleading campaign to be distasteful and disrespectful to our beloved city. After learning about the millions of dollars being paid to Experience Scottsdale, surely, they should be able to come up with something much better than Hummers ripping through the Desert. Is the the same demographic that ES wants to reach to look at virtual reality exhibits in the Preserve? – Emily Austin

Truth in advertising is the law. Both explicit and implied claims. – Nancy Voorhees.

On the “projects” mentioned to increase tourism, lets’ look at the facts. Spring training is big so it makes sense to invest in keeping it here or expanding it if possible. Westworld improvements would bring more tourists to Scottsdale IF those improvement brought more events here or expanded the major ones we already have. However, there is absolutely no proof that the Desert Edge will bring even one more tourist to Scottsdale. There is only one truly independent study on it, the Places Consulting 5-year strategic plan for Scottsdale, and in it they claimed the Desert Discovery Center, as it was known as then, would not bring one more tourist to Scottsdale but would instead sap city resources and funds so in that report they recommended not building it. Even the 2010 plan for the DDC could not claim to draw any more tourists to Scottsdale, and that plan was written by those pushing the project. So yes, invest in those things that bring tourists to Scottsdale and encourage them to spend money here, but don’t invest in something that under the best of circumstances can’t claim to help tourism at all. We are also talking a really heavy investment for the Desert Edge, $61 million to start and picking up the loss every year to make it worse. On ES, we should be advertising what can be done in Scottsdale that does attract tourists which would be hiking, biking, or riding a horse in our Preserve and our unique shopping downtown. If you look at tourism statistics, shopping is one of the top things people do here, and it is what really helps our city with the sales tax income we get from it, so both the Preserve and our Old Town and Arts District shopping should be front and center in what we promote. These are two things that separate us from our competition, too. Emphasize what we have that other places don’t have. We also need to attract the right demographic, middle aged tourists that spend money in our city, not the young party crowd that doesn’t. Time will tell but the prediction is city income from tourism will go down as we promote things that can’t be done in Scottsdale and also target the wrong demographic. It will take a couple of years to see the decline, and then it may be too late because we are also changing Scottsdale from the big town with a small-town feel, that tourists really loved, into another big city that most tourists are trying to escape from. Tourism is critical to Scottsdale so our leaders have to pay attention to what they are doing that hurts tourism and therefore reduces our tourism income. Tourists don’t come to see high-rise apartments and experience congestion, they come to escape from that. Time to look at the big picture and do the right thing. — Howard Myers

I actually liked the previous ES branding campaign much better as they had images of attractive couples lounging at a pool in a resort or the stylish cowgirl with the stunning desert background. Whatever happened to branding our “resort” image? We have dozens of world-class hotels/resorts that would benefit from this image as opposed to the current imaging of millennials rampaging and partying in the desert — which is really the opposite of the “resort” image. – Bob Peiman

As our city council’s simple majority continues to insist on height and density, we are losing our edge as a tourist destination. And now the drive is to edge out the Preserve. Exploitation is not going to save Scottsdale. The movement behind the Desert Edge is to pave the way inside our Preserve for future development. Welcome to ANYTOWN, USA. The tipping point has arrived! – Patty Badenoch

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In response to the column, “PV Schools override passage ensures class sizes, teacher raises, by PVUSD Superintendent Dr. James Lee:

As the parent of two PVUSD students, I wholeheartedly support this override and beg voters to return a yes ballot. Our students receive an excellent education from world-class teachers and are supported by amazing staff. Because I fear that our state Legislature will not increase funding, I believe that this override is the best way to secure raises for our teachers and public education staff.  Finally, please remember that this election is entirely by mail-in ballot. Everyone who is eligible to vote was mailed a ballot. You can also visit one of the county’s ballot centers. Ballots must be received or dropped off at one of the ballot drop box locations designated by the county elections department no later than 7 p.m. Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. So get them in the mail ASAP – Megan Starr.

Teachers at PVUSD are paid better than many districts, but don’t get confused and think they’re paid well. Within the confines of the state’s funding levels compounded by freezes, no teacher in Arizona is paid fairly. Please pass this override, Scottsdale. PVUSD is the other-Scottsdale-School-District serving over 20 percent of the Scottsdale resident children. A YES vote equals a 2 percent raise for teachers. PVUSD promises it. Superintendent Lee promises it. They keep their promises.  Two percent is not enough – but it’s what can be paid with the M&O Override passed. Get that money in to our classrooms and in to our teahers’ homes.  Vote on Nov. 7. – Posted by Respect Our Scottsdale Students.

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In response to the story, “New video series promotes downtown small business in Scottsdale:”

Neat idea, good luck Mark Hiegel and Economic Development Team. Downtown is best for businesses that thrive on the density and character of downtown while balancing the higher price per square foot and parking costs. Hope this attracts and supports such well-suited businesses. – Jason Alexander.