Schenkat: Outside money backing effort to defeat Prop. 420

The local Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors’ Government Affairs Committee was able to convince the National Association of Realtors to donate $47,409 to the PAC who wants to build the Desert Discovery Center/Desert Edge. Also the Phoenix Realtor Issues Mobilization Committee donated $11,853.

Sandy Schenkat

It is apparent that this funding is to help with the idea of development of the Sonoran Preserve.  I was not able to find out who is on the local Government Affairs Committee because I am not a member.  This committee of local Realtors convinced the National Association of Realtors to chip into this PAC. I was a Realtor in South Florida for 30 years and if my REPAC money was spent like this without my vote, I would find it egregious and an abuse of my dues.

It is evident members of the local committee are either part of the DDCSI or were heavily influenced by the DDCSI, which promoted the DDC/Desert Edge Project last year. The city council awarded this lobbying group $1.7 million of bed tax dollars in late 2016.  The DDCSI hired THINC and Swayback Partners who gave a series of presentations  to try convince citizens of the need the Desert Edge and that $68 million of the Preserve sales tax should be used to fund the project. The carrying costs were never determined but it appears the general fund would be hit to the tune of an additional $2 million annually to subsidize the Desert Edge.

In August 2018, the Protect Your Preserve PAC was formed and the money has been pouring in by outsiders including L.A. developers, local developers and now the National Association of Realtors.  Why is all this money being spent to stop the YES Prop 420 vote? A total of  37,608 citizens signed petitions to prevent the Desert Edge from being built.

It is very apparent this is not just about a charter change.  It is about developers and those who would profit from a Desert Discovery being built in the Preserve, including the tourism industry.  This is about the citizens and their Preserve against  big money and developers who want to exploit the Preserve.

So vote Yes for Prop. 420 and stop the developers from bulldozing the desert.  If I were one of the 9,000 Realtor membesr of SAAR, I would be very concerned about my REPAC money going to support the Protect Your Preserve PAC.  This is not democracy working. This is a highly influential group of Realtors fleecing the hard-earned dues of their Realtor community.

Editor’s note: Sandy Schenkat is a resident of Scottsdale.

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