Dolan: the facts about Preserve use and its looming theft

Wake up residents of Scottsdale: your Preserve is being stolen and you are being conned into aiding and abetting in its theft by voting for Prop 420.

Jan Dolan

The loudest leader of the Prop. 420 effort has admitted that he and his fellow proponents do not want a nature center in their backyard — the Preserve. He has confirmed their intent by labeling proponents as NIOBY’s (Not In OUR Back Yard.) And make no mistake they consider the Preserve their backyard and they want to keep it that way.

The intent of Prop. 420 is obvious.

Proponents who live in the area do not want you in their backyard either. Even though they say they just want the public to be able to vote on a nature education center in the Preserve, the vote is not their endgame.
Keeping out the many other Scottsdale residents and visitors who would come to enjoy a nature education center in the Preserve is. That would after all “damage” their “home values,” as they stated recently in the Independent when they also used the NIOBY description.

In other words, the rest of Scottsdale citizens paid and are paying taxes to protect the mountains and desert so some people could have expensive homes with the Preserve in their backyards. The intent is to limit access for everyone else with this disastrous charter amendment that is being pushed allegedly to “Protect Our Preserve!”

The city’s own survey — city of Scottsdale Preserve Intercept Study 2016 — shows who is using the Preserve and who is not:

  • Unsurprisingly the greatest number of users come from the zip codes immediately adjacent to the Preserve. (Remember as they have said it is their backyard!)
  • Residents in the southern zip codes comprise a minimal number of Preserve users.
  • No counts were taken for an age group under 18.
  • Over half are 55-plus indicating that young professionals and families are not using the Preserve much either; somewhat surprisingly only one-quarter of users are under 45.
  • Very few tourists from out of Arizona are coming to the Preserve.
  • Few are from “Other AZ” after already counting Carefree, Paradise Valley, Phoenix (many of whom come to walk their dogs because nearby Phoenix trails do not allow dogs!)
  • The Gateway is used even more overwhelmingly by those who live next door to it. (The self-professed NIOBY’s who are worried about their home values and views being damaged.)

If this slick, deceptive PR campaign funded primarily by undisclosed major donors, “Dark Money,” is successful, a precedent will have also been set to subject the city to the same kind of ugly campaign for a public vote on every controversial issue.

Prop. 420 is simply bad public policy. Because it is, 51 community leaders have taken the time to express their opposition in the city election pamphlet.

Charter amendments are always serious and typically only proposed after months of study and citizen dialogue have shown them to be for the betterment of the community. This one is perhaps the most serious and dangerous of all and it was proposed, without such study and discussion, by people motivated primarily by their own self-interest not the good of the greater community.

And, some of them have even admitted it by saying in this publication that their concerns are damage to their home values and keeping the nature education center out of their backyard.

Editor’s note: Ms. Dolan is a longtime Scottsdale resident and former city manager

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