Schwartz: Prop. 420 usurps the power of the elected in Scottsdale

Friends, I encourage all of Scottsdale to consider this and hope you will join me in voting “no” on Prop 420. My reasons are simple.

Jeffrey Schwartz

First, a change to our City Charter puts the city of Scottsdale on a dangerous path of how our community is governed. We elect our councilmembers and mayor to make decisions upon our behalf.

By supporting Prop. 420, we would be taking away the power and authority we gave our elected officials to make on our behalf. I believe this would be precedent setting and it would open the door for future initiatives that will ask to take away other powers and authority from the body we entrust to make these decisions on our behalf.

This is symbolic of what has occurred in various communities in California. I don’t always agree with the decisions that are made at City Hall, but if we don’t like the decisions our elected officials are making then we should elect other candidates that we support. We can’t become the community that is managing our city at the ballot box. That’s is not the way to effectively and efficiently manage our city.

Secondly, the proposed Charter amendment lacks both community and elected officials’ participation. It is so poorly written that leaves too much room for interpretation. Lack of clarity in interpretation will lead to lack of management because of the uncertainty of “what is allowed, what can be done and who can do it.”

I truly believe there are other ways to address the community’s concerns regarding the protection of the Preserve without changing our City Charter.

For over a year we have seen two groups that both want to ensure the preservation of the McDowell Mountain Preserve but can’t agree on the who, what, when, where, how and why. These issues can be resolved, but not with individuals that think the only solution is “my way or the highway!”

We need to take a different approach and to look at the issues through a different set of lenses. Our own United States Bill of Rights was not a half-baked resolution that was memorialized by one group. Our citizen representatives locked themselves in a room until they could come up with the “Massachusetts Compromise”.

This took a lot of hard work through debate, discussion, and compromise.

I’m saddened at the tone, lack of civil obedience and disrespect by some of the proponents of Prop. 420. To mislead members of our community with non-factual information, offer insults to leaders and citizens of our community, and boycott businesses is no way to win the public’s trust.

We are stewards of our community and we should not tolerate this type of behavior. It’s OK to agree to disagree with your fellow citizens. Civil debate and discussion will help build for a better tomorrow. I am proud to say that I was a volunteer and supporter of “Save Our McDowell’s” in 1996 that helped in the passage of Prop. 404. This Proposition set the stage for the funding of McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

I intend to continue to work hard with my fellow citizens to help shape the best policies and practices to maintain the McDowell Sonoran Preserve for the visitors and tax payers of Scottsdale in a manner that doesn’t impact how our city is governed.

This is why I will be voting “no” on Prop. 420!

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

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