Myers: Scottsdale Prop. 420 debate has reached fever pitch

The debate over Proposition 420 is getting way out of hand, even for Scottsdale politics.

Howard Myers

The petition effort united the city around giving citizens a voice, via a vote, on any development in the Preserve, a vote that this City Council had denied them.

Now the opponents to Prop. 420 are trying to divide the city by coming up with ridiculous arguments against it that have no basis in reality. No, the sky will not fall if 420 is approved, the only thing that changes is that any development in the Preserve would have to be approved by the community.

That means the DDC/DE advocates would have to convince the public their project is good and belongs in the Preserve so maybe the sky is falling on them.

In the process of trying to kill a public vote, council members Korte, Milhaven, and Smith have insulted all the Scottsdale citizens who donated their time and money to get the signatures as well as all those citizens who signed the petition, in excess of 37,000 Scottsdale citizens.

They are even claiming this petition has been funded by “Dark Money.”

Virtually all the money raised before and during this effort, either by Protect Our Preserve or the PAC, came from Scottsdale citizens, not some mysterious outside wealthy individual or corporation, unlike donors to the No on Prop. 420 movement, many of whom live outside of Scottsdale and/or are members of big corporations that are trying to influence the election.

But what is even worse than insulting all those Scottsdale citizens is that they are trying to divide the city, not unite it. Like it or not, no matter what happens in the election, Prop. 420 was a major citizen statement that should be recognized, one that united residents in this city like nothing else before, with the possible exception of the Preserve itself.

The real issue is that this election, and Prop. 420, is about a lot more than just protecting our Preserve. It is about where the city is headed, how it grows, and what it becomes. This was the perfect opportunity for the City Council to unite the community, building off the success of this ballot measure and the unity it created.

At least four members of the current council understand the magnitude of this effort and how it has united citizens from all over the city, and have supported Prop. 420, standing behind citizens. However, council members Korte, Milhaven, and Smith seem to have totally disregarded what citizens want, and certainly don’t listen to citizens to find out, and even worse have no clue what they are doing to our city.

We are in a deep financial hole we may never recover from as a result of all the development that doesn’t pay for itself. As a result, they need community approval of tax increases to repair failing infrastructure as well as getting enough yearly revenue to balance the budget, without under funding all the things that need to be funded. To do that they need a community that trusts the council, but what they have done instead is insulted a major segment of the community and also ignored what citizens wanted to see in the bond questions, both of which has created more distrust.

So, this is about a lot more than Prop. 420, it is about uniting the community to get the citizens to invest in fixing Scottsdale to keep it special and the great place it was.

It is time the opponents to Prop. 420, and especially the three council members who are actively opposing it, grow up and applaud this significant citizen accomplishment instead of trying to denigrate it and all the Scottsdale citizens involved with it.

It is time we all recognize that this is a bigger issue than just giving citizens a vote on development in the Preserve, it is about allowing the citizens to be involved in deciding what they want their city to be, and how to get there, which will then build the trust necessary to properly fund needed projects. It is time for our “leaders” to look beyond what they personally want and do what is best for the city and its citizens.

Hopefully the voters will see through all the negative misrepresentations the anti-Prop. 420 people are putting out and give themselves control over their Preserve, which is a great start. Then they also need to change the makeup of the council to a more resident friendly one.

If they don’t do both we will be in a worse mess than we are now. We can’t continue to elect council members who put us in this mess and aren’t even telling us how bad it is.

Our founding fathers had the wisdom to provide citizens a way to oppose a government that doesn’t represent the citizens, this year Scottsdale citizens are using it to Protect Our Preserve. A great start.

Editor’s note: Mr. Myers is a Scottsdale resident and community advocate

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