Alley: Prop. 420 issue has never been about resident vs. resident

If you live south of Shea, chances are you received the latest No Prop. 420 mailer earlier this week. As a lifetime resident who has chosen to raise my family here, this latest attempt to divide our city and prey on who they clearly assume are ignorant south Scottsdale voters is manipulative and disappointing.

Andrea Alley

I love the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

I and many of my south Scottsdale neighbors who support Yes Prop. 420 use it often, and I vehemently disagree that voters in my neighborhood are uninformed. No Prop. 420 leadership clearly believes that those who live in south Scottsdale are ignorant, too poor to care, too lazy to research the truth, and probably don’t even know what the McDowell Sonoran Preserve is.

After all, people like that don’t need facts; they just need to be told how to think. Smart voters use data to make decisions. Since No Prop. 420 has none, they resorted to the only tool at their disposal: confusion. This is why both “Yes” and “No” signs say the same thing. Confusion is indeed a powerful way to play dirty politics, but Scottsdale voters know better.

Their mailer reads: “According to the latest user survey, at least 70% of those who visit the Preserve live north of Shea Boulevard” — but there is no survey cited.

For actual data about who enjoys the preserve, visit these links:

  • vimeo.com/264965036
  • dropbox.com/s/f4qtkymul3gmt6h/HIKER%20ORIGINS%204-14-18.xlsx?dl=0

Next up: classism.

“Not all of us can afford to live in one of the elite neighborhoods near the Preserve where the Prop. 420 campaign to change the City Charter originated.” No 420 leaders seem to think those who live in 85255 and 85260 are evil and selfish, as it then goes on to claim that those who live in these ZIP codes only want to make the Preserve their personal playground and shut out anyone else.

This is not the first time they have made this accusation: http://www.noddc.org/campana-desert-edge-advocates-attack-85255/. Yet, they cannot explain how giving Scottsdale citizens a vote on Preserve development keeps anyone out of our currently wide open and free-of-charge Preserve or “supports the lifestyle of a few.”

Lastly, according to the mailer, long-range projects and emergencies will have to go to an “expensive election,” passing 420 puts the “environmental sustainability of our Preserve at risk,” it will limit Preserve funds, and increase our taxes.

Simply put: No. No, it won’t — it’s right there in the language. Projects big enough to require elections would be planned out well in advance. The entire proposition was borne out of concern for the Preserve environment and the goal of saving taxpayers $68 million on a 6-acre edutainment center. The city has already spent $1.7 million on Swaback’s DDC proposal back in 2016 — much more expensive than an election would ever cost.

Prop. 420 is also a tax issue. We are paying self-imposed taxes for the next 16 years to fund the preserve. If we’re done purchasing land and have $68M for an event center, why not return the money to the taxpayers to address the needs of our entire city – issues like dangerous crumbling bridges?

We are talking actual danger here. If No Prop. 420 proponents are so concerned about everyone’s access to the Preserve as they claim, why not run shuttles from Old Town and south Scottsdale to the Preserve and introduce the jewel of our city to everyone — since we must not even know it’s there!

Ultimately, my question to the “No crowd” is this: If the education and entertainment center has been planned all along and is an asset to the whole city, why use confusion and divisive tactics to prevent a public vote?

Is this attitude toward residents in the southern half of our city the reason why it is a hub of high density, crumbling bridges, and a shut-down major bypass at Drinkwater that has doubled the traffic in Old Town — just as the high season hits?

Friends and neighbors, every taxpayer in Scottsdale should be infuriated that Protect Your Preserve No 420 PAC is sending out mailers that pit us against one another. This issue has never been resident vs. resident; it is taxpayer vs. special interests.

Prop. 420 was created by concerned residents from every corner of the city who genuinely want to protect our preserve from development, prevent our Preserve funds from being plundered by a sold-out council majority, and finally remove the death grip that developers have over every square mile of Scottsdale.

Prop. 420 is a non-partisan issue that has united voters against the tyranny of sold-out politicians and the special interests that control them. That is worse governance than giving us a collective voice in our Preserve’s fate will ever be.

If you ask me — that is not worth the risk.

We deserve a voice on the fate of our Preserve. Whether you live to the north or the south, you deserve a voice and councilmembers who will listen. I ask that you pursue the facts and if you agree, join me in voting yes on Proposition 420 and for Kathy Littlefield and Solange Whitehead only to ensure that we get our voice back.

Editor’s note: Ms. Alley is a lifetime Scottsdale resident, wife, and mother of two young Preserve users

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