Haskell: Scottsdale needs more independent voices this election

It’s that magical time of year, that special season when insults, distortions, and lies fill the air/air waves. No, I’m not talking about a family dinner at the in laws house.

I’m talking about election season. In case you’ve been MIA, pronounced legally dead or have simply been distracted by the majesty of the presidential race, you may not realize that there’s another race in town and one that is just as consequential for Scottsdale residents. The mayoral/council race.

Whether you’re a member of Scottsdale’s newest preferred demographic, the Millennial generation or you feel that you’ve been marginalized and ignored by local leaders, it’s time to get engaged. I’d also like to point out that although Millennial lives/demographics matter, so do other demographics. Great cities are not made up of homogeneous demographics.  Not everyone wants to live in an apartment or frequent bars on a regular basis. ( Only to withstand the horrors of a 12 month election season.)

Some are frustrated by the fact that the more the physical landscape changes in Scottsdale (becomes more apartment “laden“), the less the political landscape changes.  There’s a reason for this. There are too few independent voices.

You are often forced to associate  with various factions and dare not express an independent thought especially regarding hot button issues like transit for example. Folks new to the process are often “ groomed “ by those with links to various political camps. They often begin their career in local politics serving on a board or commission which they are appointed to by a mentor on council thus assuring that the next generation of “ leaders “ will follow in the foot steps of those who have helped them climb the ladder .

Some residents are disappointed that there is no third choice in the Mayoral race and never was in spite of Mr Crawford’s brief participation in yet another local race for purposes that have become obvious to most who – pay attention.  Regarding the distortions and half truths that often plague election season, I recently saw a pro Lane campaign ad (Mayor Lane for those Millennials and others who may have been napping ) in which former council member and current Mayoral candidate Bob Littlefield is characterized as being anti small business. There are many things one could accuse Mr Littlefield of but being anti small business is not one of them.

You could say he was not political enough (wink, wink), that he was too opinionated/manipulative  or – too humble?  But anti business? This is undoubtedly a position supported by a growing segment of the downtown business community  AKA – the bar lobby who back Mayor Lane.

The commercial also raises questions regarding how appropriate it would be to have Bob Littlefield serve as mayor while his wife is a sitting council member and by the way – vice mayor. The ad fails to mention that although she currently serves as vice mayor, all council members have the opportunity to serve in this capacity for several months. Gives them the opportunity to hone their skills/plot their run for higher office.

You might not think that two Littlefields on the council is appropriate but hey – the Millennial generation is already well represented by  some of the remaining council members so what are the rest of us supposed to do?

We need more well informed, independent voices involved in the process. Politics isn’t a game for shy, retiring types or the easily manipulated. If you would prefer to take a leaf out of Hillary Clinton’s book and simply “delete“  election season – that’s not an option.

If you are satisfied with the road Scottsdale seems to be headed down, one adorned with apartments and bars, a vote for Mayor Lane is probably in order.  If you are a member of a demographic that understands Scottsdale’s history and isn’t content with the direction Scottsdale seems to be headed, a vote for Mr. Littlefield is in order.

There are no easy choices this election season. Vote – but do your homework first.

Editor’s Note: Ms. Haskell is a Scottsdale resident.

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