Scottsdale City Council election outcome spurs new perspective of priorities

A view of a flag signifying the city of Scottsdale at the Scottsdale City Hall complex in downtown Scottsdale (File photo)

Local voters Tuesday, Nov. 6 elected three people from a field of five to represent their interests at Scottsdale City Hall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd.

In all, Scottsdale voters re-elected two incumbents — Linda Milhaven and Kathy Littlefield — and one fresh face — Solange Whitehead — to serve atop the local dais for the next four years.

New members, incumbent or otherwise, will take office this January.

In a Sunday, Nov. 11 report to Scottsdale City Council, City Clerk Carolyn Jagger has the latest results, which are:

  • Kathy Littlefield received 50,937 votes, which accounts for 25.65 percent of ballots counted.
  • Solange Whitehead received 44,637 votes, which accounts for 22.48 percent of ballots counted.
  • Linda Milhaven received 37,114 votes, which accounts for 18.69 percent of ballots counted.
  • Bill Crawford received 34,459 votes, which accounts for 17.35 percent of ballots counted.
  • David Smith received 31,047 votes, which accounts for 15.63 percent of ballots counted.

According to the Scottsdale City Clerk’s Office, thus far 107,636 ballots have been tabulated by county election officials.

A loss in stride

Scottsdale resident, proprietor and Old Town advocate Bill Crawford came up short, he says, but remains steadfast to the idea of serving the Scottsdale community.

 Bill Crawford

“My heartfelt congratulations to Kathy Littlefield, Solange Whitehead and Linda Milhaven, each of whom I know will work hard to unite our city and protect Scottsdale’s quality of life,” he said in concession statement.

“I am forever grateful to the residents of Scottsdale for their words of encouragement and support throughout the election cycle.”

Mr. Crawford has been credited with running a classy campaign that sticked to his perspectives on local issues that matter.

“I am so proud of my campaign team and all of our supporters and volunteers for their dedication,” he said.

“They made every effort to reach out to Scottsdale residents from north to south. The days and night were long, but this was an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. I will continue to be an active presence and community leader in Scottsdale, and I will continue to collaborate to develop effective solutions to issues that our city faces now and in the future.”

David Smith

For Mr. Smith, the loss was deep, but he, too, will carry on as an advocate for the city he calls home. Mr. Smith did not return a call for comment but did issue a statement to his newsletter list of which the Independent is a recipient.

“Reflecting on the four years, I was honored to serve as your councilman, I am pleased to have had the opportunity to plant a few seeds of change, championing initiatives to build upon and improve the quality of life we all enjoy in Scottsdale,” he said in his newsletter delivery.

“I have worked to sensitize fellow citizens to the importance of reinvesting in our city assets, to insure a fiscally sustainable future. I have emphasized the importance of protecting our rich heritage as a community committed to arts and culture. I have supported every initiative promoting tourism, the bedrock of our economic foundation. And, I have urged a more compassionate tax structure to relieve the unfair burden on our neediest citizens.”

In his statement, Mr. Smith thanked his wife, Diana, campaign committee and those who rendered a vote for him.

“As I now return to the ranks of ‘Scottsdale citizen’ I commit my continued support for all things that enhance the livability of our community — this special place we all proudly call home,” he said.

A pursuit of priorities

For Ms. Whitehead, her election to Scottsdale City Council is an illustration of the mutual love between community and resident.

Solange Whitehead

“Scottsdale is a remarkable community and that has amazed me,” she said following her campaign win. “When I moved here, I heard that from everybody and we just proved that again. I am in love with Scottsdale — this is a community that really cares.”

On the campaign trail, Ms. Whitehead says, she encountered an engaged electorate.

“The unity and positive engagement — I know the other side kept saying we were being negative — but there are 250,000 people here and what I saw from McKellips to Carefree was how people shared the perception of getting the city back on track,” she said. “Everybody told me that they are proud to live in Scottsdale.”

For Ms. Whitehead, she says her time as an elected leader will be spent attempting to “get the city back on track.”

“We are $800 million in the hole because we had eight years of priorities that were terrible,” she said. “You don’t give away money you don’t have. You don’t spend money you don’t have.”

An evaluation of priorities is paramount for the city of Scottsdale, Ms. Whitehead says.

“My focus has always been priorities, I have spent my whole life focusing on priorities; my campaign was not that expensive — I didn’t even have signs,” she pointed out. “You can do a lot with very little as long as your priorities are right.”

Councilwoman Littlefield, who has now been re-elected to her second consecutive term, says her initial priority is to find a way to help the community bridge the divide created by local political posture.

 Kathy Littlefield

“How do we move forward from here? How do we unify Scottsdale and how to we make it more wonderful than it already is?” she asked. “The election is done and we can put it behind us.”

Coupled with her re-election, Ms. Littlefield says the passage of Prop. 420 and the sales tax measure are three wins for the city of Scottsdale.

“We have what we need and I think it will be a positive step for the community. I am so very glad that Question 1 passed,” she said of the infrastructure sales tax measure. “I think Scottsdale took a major step forward.”

On the short-term, Ms. Littlefield says motorized scooters will be corralled through adoption of local rules and regulations but coming down the pike is a larger conversation about how tax dollars should be spent.

“For a longer view, we need to figure out our budget and I think what we truly should do is take a look at each and every one of those buckets,” she said of the municipal budgeting. “I think we need to determine with each of these pots of money, if you will, what is our priorities for Scottsdale?”

For Ms. Littlefield, her primary focus will be the pursuit of maintaining and improving the levels of quality many who call Scottsdale home enjoy.

“Everything should be geared toward what the citizens need themselves to keep their quality of life here at home,” she said. “What are we not prioritizing that we need to and what can be replaced and what cannot? What is the most important thing that we need to focus on?”

Councilwoman Milhaven, who was re-elected to an other four-year term, says she is ready to hit the ground running with her new colleagues.

“I am so honored to have the opportunity to continue to serve the citizens of Scottsdale,” she said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to meet the needs of our community.”

Linda Milhaven

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

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