Bass: Government overreach and the Maverick Mural

Is the controversy swirling around the Maverick Mural a result of the subject: the late Sen. John McCain?

Is it a result of the privately funded project’s color scheme: red, white and blue?

Or is it a result of a blustering landowner who has demanded that the City Council overreach into private matters?

Aaron Bass

In Scottsdale, a privately funded mural painted on a citizen’s commercial building needs approval from the City of Scottsdale. The Development Review Board (the “DRB”) heard arguments for and against the Maverick Mural on Dec. 20; they approved the project by a vote of 6-1. Their analysis was limited to a review of design and color; the city attorney made that very clear at the December meeting.

At the Jan. 8 City Council meeting, Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield moved to reconsider the DRB’s approval of the Maverick Mural; that motion, seconded by Suzanne Klapp, passed by a 5-2 vote. Virginia Korte and Linda Milhaven dissented.

The real issue here is a private matter between two property owners.

Dewey Schade, the aforementioned blusterer, is the owner of a parking lot on Marshall Way. That parking lot is adjacent to 4235 Marshall, which is the proposed home of the mural.

When 4235 Marshall was renovated in 2017, the owner, Eric Marvin, painted the side of the building adjacent to Schade’s parking lot. While access to paint the building came at a price of nearly $5,000, there were no cries of outrage or calls to Scottsdale PD.

Now that access is necessary to paint a mural that commemorates a man who devoted his entire adult life to public service, it is unclear what amount of money will satisfy the opportunistic Schade; he has thus far refused to allow access to paint the mural.

Moreover, Schade has on multiple occasions called 9-1-1 and demanded that first responders cite the muralists for criminal trespass. Further, he has pressured City Council members to vacate the DRB’s December approval for the mural; apparently, some council members have listened.

I hope that Mr. Marvin and Schade can come to an agreement concerning access, but this is not the concern of the City Council. Certainly, all citizens, including Mr. Marvin, have a right to access their property to maintain and improve it; similarly, all citizens have a First Amendment right to express their views.

In any case, the difference between Mr. Marvin and Schade is not a matter for the City Council.

Now, former Councilmember David Ortega, a Schade proxy, is lobbying against the mural. As represented in his recent opinion piece, the Maverick Mural offends Mr. Ortega’s artistic sensibilities. Beauty, Mr. Ortega, is in the eye of the beholder.

Additionally, Mr. Ortega does not respect the opinions of others.

He has criticized Councilwoman Virginia Korte’s integrity because she supported the mural’s color and design. He neglected to mention that Ms. Korte and the DRB had a thorough and thoughtful discussion on the record concerning color and design before the DRB approved the mural.

Current and former councilmembers must know that the question before the city concerns only the color and design of a project that comes at no cost to the taxpayers.

Certain councilmembers must approach the mural’s fate without bias, with integrity; there is no place in government for those who are willing to overreach on behalf a wealthy constituent with a very loud whine.

Editor’s Note: Aaron Bass is the artist for the Maverick Mural.

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