Whitehead: community of Scottsdale can come together over Desert EDGE

Our community’s outrage over the Desert EDGE/DDC was never about the proposal.

Solange Whitehead

The issue has always been the denial of democracy to our community. After all, our beautiful, one-of-a-kind McDowell Sonoran Preserve came into being through the ballot box, with over 70 percent of Scottsdale voters approving it.

In a complete departure from past protocol, a majority on our city council have not supported a public vote on the Desert EDGE/DDC project located in the Preserve.

This disenfranchises Scottsdale voters, the very citizens that voted and pay for the Preserve. These same citizens, as taxpayers, will ultimately be on the hook for the substantial construction and maintenance costs of the proposed Desert EDGE/DDC.

But a significant breakthrough occurred at this week’s city council work-study session.

Mayor Jim Lane proposed putting the Desert EDGE/DDC proposal to a “Yes/No” vote on the November 2018 ballot. Now, the Mayor needs to make it binding by moving forward in a timely manner to have city staff draft the ballot language and bring it back to council for approval.

At the same time, the mayor and some council members welcomed citizens’ efforts to complete a citizens’ ballot initiative. If successful, this initiative will result in a second “Yes/No” Desert EDGE question on the ballot and may also address any future development on the Preserve.

There is no downside to having both questions on the ballot. Indeed, moving forward with both in tandem offers a critical safety net for our community.

Citizens may want to celebrate this breakthrough and commend the mayor on verbally affirming his campaign promise. Now it is time for Mayor Lane to deliver and council to support this direction. We will monitor the progress and applaud every milestone.

Editor’s note: Ms. Whitehead is a resident of Scottsdale and a former member of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Commission. Want to sign a petition or gather signatures? Reach out to Solange at solange@mlwsw.com

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