Whitehead: public trust and the death of the $350M bond

With pained honesty, a Scottsdale City Council majority voted against a proposed $350 million bond question for the 2018 election. The vote was not about public needs, it was about public trust.

Or in this case, lack thereof.

Solange Whitehead

In lieu of a $350 million bond, Mayor Lane and Councilmembers Klapp, Littlefield and Phillips voted to request a 0.1 cent, 10-year transportation tax to fix failing bridges, roads, and invest in Scottsdale’s transportation needs.

Both public safety and the potential loss of millions of dollars in county matching funds add urgency to its passage; dollars that will otherwise enrich other Valley cities.

All four councilmembers acknowledged that the city’s other infrastructure must be addressed on a future ballot. But saw no point in wasting time and tax dollars placing the poorly defined, $350 million bond on the ballot knowing the city’s disenfranchised voters would defeat it.

Worth noting, the transportation tax cannot fund or advance the Desert Edge/DDC which may boost public support for the tax.

Instead of showing much needed leadership and unity, three councilmembers — all Desert Edge/DDC supporters, in my estimation — chose to throw public safety and the millions of matching dollars into the wind.

Their all-or-nothing opposition is another example of the misaligned priorities and financial recklessness that got Scottsdale into this hole in the first place.  Not one of the three accepted any responsibility. Yet the city’s $800 million shortfall and cratered public trust happened on their watch.

“Public trust” happens when elected officials represent their constituents. Scottsdale voters have a long history of approving bonds to build resort like parks, senior centers and libraries, the Giants Stadium, the Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt and the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

The failed bonds of recent years is a reflection of this City Council, not the Scottsdale voters.

Editor’s note: Ms. Whitehead is a candidate seeking a seat on Scottsdale City Council this election year

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