Richard: Scottsdale Gateway Alliance branding exercise ought to be further vetted

The Scottsdale Gateway Alliance branding presentation is not as transparent as presented in the press release. I attended this event and walked away with more questions than anything else.

Edmond Richard

The hundreds of attendees were only slightly over 200 per the SGA Twitter feed. The majority of that number was the staff and employees of the survey group and SGA. The remainder of the group was business owners, and I, as a resident of south Scottsdale, was surprised by the true voices in this conversation on branding.

When you think of community, the first thing I reach for is neighbors and other residents as community members. Business owners are part of this group, but not the majority. They may own businesses in the community but often, don’t live in the community.

When someone is giving where you live a brand, it is best to ask those who live there for input. The 2,500 voices were not the pool of voices that made the branding decision.

That 2,500 was soon whittled down to less than 300 people. Those selected few attended the visioning sessions. It was that group of 300 that seemed to steer the conversation. They did mention the online surveys and some door to door surveying, but it seemed to ring hollow.

When this event was made public on Nextdoor many residents tried to get tickets but were denied. What do tickets have to do with our pool of participants? Everything.

The SGA made a statement that they knocked on the doors of everyone south of Osborn in south Scottsdale, yet on Nextdoor the neighbors kept on repeating — I never was part of that, yet they live in the area stated. When people asked why they were not invited, and many did participate in the visioning seasons or online portion, they were confused.

How can participants of the study not get invited to the presentation of what they contributed to? Why state a door knocking event when the numbers of respondents are not mentioned?

If only 300 steered the vision, and the presenters used that pool for the percentages, why did most them not get invited? Why did their voices get left out?

Now, this is important as the SGA presentation made claims that the impact of high density was not a concern to the residents. This branding event reinforced the idea that south Scottsdale is to be reinvigorated by development and high density is not a concern. The presenter stated at almost 90 percent of the people said that high density is not seen as an issue.

That phrase still bothers me and many others. South Scottsdale does not need a brand to tell the residents it is a great place to live. We don’t need a brand to misrepresent us and then suggest that the thing that people abhor the most, high-density development, is what south Scottsdale wants.

Sunshine is a great disinfectant, and I think it is time more light is brought in for this rebranding exercise. If not south Scottsdale will be short on the sunshine as the ever-taller high density leaves the residents in the dark.

Editor’s note: Mr. Richard is a resident of Scottsdale

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