Messinger: Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane is a good man, a good mayor

If you’ve been around long enough, as I certainly have been in my 86 years, you pretty much see and hear it all.

Paul Messinger

Paul Messinger

But when I hear about John Washington’s wayward critiques of Mayor Lane, on behalf of his friend Bob Littlefield, it reminded me I can still be surprised — even at my age.

You may remember Washington who comments frequently here. He ran against Mayor Lane in 2012 and was resoundingly defeated. That’s because most people in Scottsdale think our community is a very good place to live. Washington and Littlefield subscribe to another point of view.

Everything and everyone is rotten. It’s true you probably voted for Washington and will for Littlefield if you think this to be the case. I don’t though.

Scottsdale has always benefited from mature, thoughtful leadership that has brought us great public places, mountain preservation, Indian Bend Wash, great special events and a quality of life second to none in the Valley. My friend Mayor Lane serves in this same spirit.

And, when developer subsidies were getting out of control he passed a reform to stop them.
When he thought taxpayers deserved an independent city treasurer, not one controlled by the city manager, voters backed him up on it.

And his reform proposals continue to keep Scottsdale pro-business, pro-resident and a city on the move.

Many of Washington’s claims about Scottsdale are so fanciful they challenge the notion of First Amendment rights.

Scottsdale tourism is strong not weak as exemplified by rising occupancy at Scottsdale hotels and record crowds for the Phoenix Open, Barrett-Jackson and Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show.

Because Scottsdale tourism remains so strong we have visitors paying millions in taxes in our city, which keeps resident taxes among the very lower, not highest, in the state.

All metrics show crime remains very low by historic standards. Washington seems surprised we have arrests in our vibrant downtown. First, that shows our police doing their jobs and I remember all too well when there was nothing going on in downtown. It was sleepy. Now it’s alive with restaurants, bars, technology companies and is the envy of Arizona. I may not hang out there very much but it doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate how impressive it is.

Washington frequently talks of Scottsdale’s “debt.” Most of that has to do with our voter-approved commitment to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. And, how do experts and national credit organizations rank Scottsdale’s financial conditions via our city bond ratings? The best in the country.

Lastly, Washington also has a problem with the mayor’s position on the Desert Discovery Center. He has merely voted to study the issue, not support its final funding or construction.

Meanwhile, his friend Littlefield called the project in 2008, “A key component of the Preserve and has been part of the Preserve vision for decades.”

I don’t mean to beat up on John or Littlefield too much.  But having watched Scottsdale evolve into such an extraordinary community I know we can keep it that way with good people and good leaders like Mayor Lane.

Editor’s note: Mr. Messinger is a 74-year resident of Scottsdale and served on city council from 1971 to 1975.

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