March 1 Issues and Experts event will evaluate ‘The Changing Face of Downtown Scottsdale’

The Issues and Experts event will be the first of a series of talks geared toward helping residents understand the issues that matter in Scottsdale. (File photo)

Editor’s note: The event will be held at Scottsdale Community College, 9000 E. Chaparral Road, in the Turquoise Room (SC164). The room is in the same building as the cafeteria and welcome center. Participants are encouraged to park in Lot A, which is the lot closest to the room.

Some say the American dream is dead.

Terrance Thornton

Some say the idea of an American pulling themselves up from their bootstraps in the pursuit of his or her happiness is a figment of our collective imagination.

Some say those ideals are moot and those not pursuing economic prosperity fulfill the promise of the old adage, “there’s a sucker born every minute.”

Well, I think those people are wrong.

One of our core missions at the Scottsdale Independent newspaper is the publishing of purposeful information that encourages and supports meaningful community involvement, and that provides local residents with the knowledge and participation they need to make rational decisions about public issues.

An extension of our core principles will be a Thursday, March 1 Issues and Experts community conversation to be held at Scottsdale Community College where myself and a handful of movers and shakers will figure out how to help the little guy in downtown Scottsdale.

You know? The folks who believed they could create something special by their own volition and, some say, without the artisans, merchants, proprietors and property owners who are still fighting for the American dream the Scottsdale we all know today would be a shadow of itself.

I agree with those folks and both myself and my News Services Editor Melissa Fittro spent some considerable time these past few weeks striving to understand the myriad factors distressing to established downtown proprietors and residents.

From the outside looking, downtown Scottsdale — including its Old Town, its Entertainment District and the Arts District — is largely, if not solely, inhabited by the small business owner.

Turns out, that was, and still is, a big part of the American dream as 99.4 percent — or 538,552 businesses — of all Arizona businesses fall into the small business category, which is defined as privately owned corporations, partnerships or sole proprietorships with assets less than $10 million.

Furthermore, here in Arizona, small business accounts for 44.4 percent — or 995,671 total employees — of the state’s total workforce.

We operate each of our newspapers as a public trust, in the public interest and it seems much of the public interest is in the corner of the small business owner, which is why our event will not be like what you are accustomed to seeing.

We are going to ask the questions and drive home the points of the small business owner and the every day Scottsdale resident who feels like they don’t have a voice in the world of big business, which, by the way, equates to almost 1 percent of the businesses in Arizona.

The Issues and Experts series is sponsored by the Scottsdale Coalition of Today & Tomorrow and hosted by the Scottsdale Community College and we will run from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

A modest entry fee will be charged, but the first 25 new subscribers to our Daily News Brief who send me an RSVP will have that fee waived, so if you care about downtown Scottsdale — you need to be there.

We are committed to upholding high ethical standards in all of our dealings and this Issues and Experts series will be a physical manifestation of who we are as people and, maybe more importantly, as a news organization.

Independent Newsmedia Arizona Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at

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