Myers: Proposition 420 passage protects public voice in Preserve decisions

Two months ago, an extraordinary event happened in Scottsdale, residents banded together and collected enough signatures on a petition to put a City Charter change on the November ballot that if passed would require a public vote to build anything in the Preserve and/or to divert Preserve funds to anything other than acquiring land or building trails.

Howard Myers

The Protect Our Preserve PAC turned in over 37,000 signatures and the county determined that over 30,000 of those signatures were valid which far exceeded the 24,000 required so proposition 420 is now officially on the ballot.

This change would simply give the public control over what happens in their Preserve rather than leaving such important decisions up to four members of the city council. Now that it is on the ballot you would think it would be the easiest decision voters ever had to make, a “Yes” gives them a voice and vote if the city council decides something should be built in the Preserve.

A “No” vote leaves critical decisions like this up to just 4 members of the city council, and they can decide to build anything they want in OUR Preserve. Should be a slam dunk.

However, those who want to build their pet project in the Preserve and use Preserve funds to build it, don’t want the public to have a vote on their project, so they are doing everything they can to confuse the public, cast doubt in their minds, all in the hope of defeating Proposition 420 at the polls.

They even named their Political Action Committee “Protect YOUR Preserve” to take advantage of the popularity of the group that worked so hard to give citizens a choice, “Protect OUR Preserve” and thereby cast doubt in the voter’s minds, which way they should vote. There are signs all over the city saying “Protect YOUR Preserve vote No on 420” clearly an attempt to just confuse voters.

They have also put out all sorts of propaganda saying Proposition 420 would limit access to the Preserve, put decisions in the hands of a small elite group of citizens, have “unintended consequences,” hamper management of the Preserve, etc. all of which are totally false, but again designed to cast doubt in the minds of voters.

The fact is Proposition 420 does protect the Preserve from inappropriate development and further gives citizens a voice in the process of deciding what is appropriate to put in the Preserve and what is not. It is also a fact that the opposition to 420 do not have a single valid argument why citizens shouldn’t have a vote, rather they are focused on how great their project is and why it should be built.

If Proposition 420 passes, they will have to convince the public of that, and that is what they fear the most. It is unfortunate that they really don’t believe they can convince the public that their pet project should be built in the Preserve, and therefore have to resort to such underhanded tactics to prevent the public from getting a voice and vote on their project.

Proposition 420 was born and embraced by the public because it would give them a voice, via a vote, that the city council refused to give them. Were it not for the arrogance of both the city council majority and the Desert Discovery Center (or Desert EDGE) advocates, insisting that this project be built in the citizens Preserve and use citizen tax dollars to build it, Proposition 420 would not have been necessary, but their actions proved that our Preserve needed more protection, both now and in the future, which is exactly what this charter change will provide.

So, please think about it and vote “Yes.” Give yourselves a vote and control over what happens to our Preserve. It is the right thing to do for us residents, the Preserve we built, our children and grandchildren who will follow us, and all our visitors. “Yes” on Proposition 420.

Editor’s note: Mr. Meyrs is a resident of Scottsdale and longtime McDowell Sonoran Preserve advocate

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