Scottsdale City Council candidates solidify political promises

Scottsdale Election 1

Local voters will elect three people to Scottsdale City Council and a mayor after foregoing a primary election process, at the Tuesday, Nov. 8 general election.

Scottsdale mayoral candidates are Mayor Jim Lane and challenger Bob Littlefield while city council candidates are challenger Dan Schweiker and incumbents Suzanne Klapp, Virginia Korte and Guy Phillips.

The Scottsdale Independent and Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting two debates in addition to help voters better understand where candidates stand on local issues that matter.

The first debate, sponsored by Comerica, will be Tuesday, Sept. 27, focusing on the mayor’s race while the second debate, Tuesday, Oct. 4, will focus on city council candidates.

Both debates are from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Doubletree Resort by Hilton, 5401 N. Scottsdale Road and will be moderated by Scottsdale Independent Editor Terrance Thornton.

This week’s question-and-answer installment is on what promise these political candidates were willing to make in the weeks leading up to the November general election.

The mayoral race

Both Mayor Lane and challenger, Mr. Littlefield, agreed to respond to being asked what political promise they were willing to make to the Scottsdale electorate as the general election nears. This is what they had to say:

Bob Littlefield

•What is one promise you are willing to make to Scottsdale voters today that will have a tangible outcome during your time on council?

Bob Littlefield

Bob Littlefield

Traffic congestion is the No. 1 complaint of Scottsdale residents in every survey I have seen. So it should come as no surprise my opponent made a campaign promise to solve Scottsdale’s traffic mess when he first ran for mayor in 2008.

Of course, he didn’t keep that promise. In fact, traffic in Scottsdale has gotten worse during his administration.
Improving traffic flow in Scottsdale isn’t impossible. But it does require leadership and perseverance. Here is what I will do to make Scottsdale’s traffic mess better if I am elected mayor:

First I will stop approving the overdevelopment that makes our traffic mess worse. Every time we give a developer increased height and density that means more people crammed into a smaller space, which means cars on our streets and thus more traffic crowding. This overdevelopment also overstresses the rest of our infrastructure.

Second, I will fix the problems with our bus and trolley systems. The problem with our bus and trolley service isn’t just the frequency, it is the routing. Every year the city of Scottsdale pays about $3 million to Valley Metro and the city of Phoenix for bus service. Yet, when you see a bus driving around in Scottsdale you seldom see more than a handful of passengers riding in it. This means Scottsdale taxpayers are not getting their money’s worth for what we spend on bus service. We must insist our bus contractors do a better job of routing the bus service they provide to us or we should spend that $3 million in more productive ways.

Third, we need to either fix or replace our “Intelligent Transportation System.” We spend $500,000 annually to run this system, which is supposed to make our traffic signals throughout Scottsdale operate effectively and efficiently. Clearly we are not getting our money’s worth out of it. For that amount of money we should be getting a better result.

Jim Lane

•What is one promise you are willing to make to Scottsdale voters today that will have a tangible outcome during your time on council?

Jim Lane

Jim Lane

Our promise: To keep the Scottsdale economy strong. Without such, our quality of life suffers. Tax revenues decline. Public safety, parks and roads deteriorate. Taxes increase.  When I became mayor during the depths of the Great Recession I committed our city to being more pro-business. It’s worked. Taxes have remained low and so has crime. Our quality of life has remained high. Property values are rising.

We’ve expanded our McDowell Sonoran Preserve while saving taxpayers more than $86 million. Our southern city is revitalizing.  Being pro-business means being pro-resident so that all of our citizens have the services they need to enjoy their neighborhood and their time in our city.

In contrast, my opponent would be the most anti-business mayor in Scottsdale’s history. He has called for shutting down small businesses in our downtown. The largest political benefactor of his career was the special interest that tried to shut down beloved local grocer Bashas’. Simply put, my opponent’s anti-business philosophy and naiveté on the economy would return our city to the malaise of 15 years ago when people where asking what was wrong with our community.

So don’t just count on candidate’s promises. Look at what they have done. Our economy and the state of Scottsdale is strong because of the pro-business approach we have adopted.

If you like Scottsdale, I would appreciate your vote for my final term as mayor.

The council race

City council candidates agreed to respond to being asked what political promise they were willing to make to the Scottsdale electorate as the general election nears. This is what they had to say:

Virginia Korte

•What is one promise you are willing to make to Scottsdale voters today that will have a tangible outcome during your time on council?

Virginia Korte

Virginia Korte

My promise to voters is that I will make every effort to achieve a positive outcome that reaches far beyond serving four more years on the city council.

I have always worked hard to build community consensus and do what I believe to be best for our city and citizens. Admittedly, that has become more difficult within the current political environment. The hostility has reached heights of which, in my almost 30 years of involvement in the private and public sectors of our community, I hoped I would never see.

We can and must do better.

I am proposing, no matter what happens in the November election, that we have a cooling-off period. People need to stop the name-calling and finger pointing. Let’s have a truce and enjoy the holidays.

I am willing to sponsor and take the lead on planning an event where citizens can come together and discuss issues. Some may want to blow off steam and others may choose to offer constructive ideas. I want to facilitate a productive dialogue that does not turn into a shouting match.

For now I am calling the event “Vision 2017: Putting Scottsdale First.”

I intend to fill in the details after the election and hold the event in the spring of 2017. Everyone will be welcome.

I realize there will be those who doubt my motivations. In fact, some may tag this article with bitter and insulting comments.  If they want to continue the vitriol and venom, that is their choice. And, if they don’t want to participate in the event I am describing, that is their prerogative.

This is not a promise made in the heat of a political campaign. It is a pledge to all of those who care about working together to put our city first.

Suzanne Klapp

•What is one promise you are willing to make to Scottsdale voters today that will have a tangible outcome during your time on council?

I will remain focused on committing my time and resources to improving Scottsdale by carefully weighing each issue to determine the best outcome for all our residents, families, businesses and the tourists who love our city.

Suzanne Klapp

Suzanne Klapp

A broad intentional overview of sustainable economic development while preserving our open spaces will move Scottsdale forward. That includes assuring improvements to our transportation system and continuing to find a balance between our robust entertainment district and the peaceful neighborhoods where we invest in our children.

It means encouraging a multitude of lifestyles and housing needs. It means fully supporting the important work of our first responders — police, fire and emergency services. Similarly, I support the elimination of the food tax while assuring that the city’s operating budget is responsible and fits residents’ needs.

Additionally, I will make sure we advance Scottsdale as an Age Friendly Community that not only values our older residents but incorporates them wherever possible into the fabric of our city. You can expect my respect, common sense and determination to serve the most connected as well as the most vulnerable at all times.

I will work wherever and whenever possible to keep Scottsdale the best city in Arizona to live, work, learn and recreate.

Guy Phillips

•What is one promise you are willing to make to Scottsdale voters today that will have a tangible outcome during your time on council?

Guy Phillips

Guy Phillips

You would have to be a desperate politician to make promises in the hopes of getting elected.

I stand on my last 3.5 years record of not raising taxes, supporting and encouraging tourism and big events, supporting public safety and standing up for the little guy.

I will continue to do the same.

Northeast Valley Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at tthornton@newszap.com

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