BY BECKY FENGER | aUGUST 1, 2012
When I arrived in the Valley of the Sun in December of 1967, I brought everything I owned in a U-Haul full of knickknacks, high heels, a motorcycle and ski gear. My two silky terriers rode in the car (not on the roof, I'll have you know) and paced back and forth behind my neck. My first night was spent at Mountain Shadows. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
The apartment I rented in Scottsdale, Arizona, was on Chaparral Road, which was surrounded by open land, with the Valley National Bank, dubbed the Fort, the only building nearby. This permitted me to shampoo my waist-length hair and then jump onto my Bultaco Campera with the crimson fadeout custom paint job. Wearing only a bikini and cowboy boots, I'd circle the field until I had air dried.
I thought of all this when I sat in the Scottsdale Plaza Resort last Saturday and listened to the three mayoral candidates and eight of the eleven hopefuls for city council. Here are random observations.
For mayor, I like Drew Bernhardt, despite my friendships with Jim Lane and John Washington. I question Lane's ability to say "No" to developers when homeowners' private property rights are involved. And he's using suspicious red-flag words like "smart growth" and organically built" way too much lately.
Washington lost me totally when I saw a posting about an article on a Minnesota Public Radio site by meteorologist and Republican Paul Douglas urging the GOP to jump onboard with climate change measures. The first printed comment, from John Washington, read: "Powerful piece. Thank you for giving rational Republicans some ammo with which to push back the shrill rhetoric of denial." This wasn't a Little Ice Age ago; it was written on April 2, when everyone should know by now the hoax of manmade global warming.
Drew Bernhardt talks with the common sense that led our Founding Fathers to sing the praises of citizen legislators, not professional politicians. That's why he believes the private sector should drive growth, not public subsidies that pick winners and losers. (Go to www.DrewBernhardtForMayor.com for more info.) It doesn't hurt that he looks the part of Hizzoner. (I'm partial to Marines, too.) It's a known fact that anyone who says, "Over my dead body!" to the suggestion of light rail transit anywhere in Scottsdale warms the cockles of my heart.
That light rail stance and more common sense are reasons Joe Meli is my #1 choice for council. He wants the voters of Scottsdale to sleep well at night, knowing the councilman they elected will listen to them for four years instead of the paltry three minutes they're given at the podium. Hurray! (www.VoteForMeli.com).
It's difficult not to like the Western flavor and boots of Guy Phillips. There's an anecdote about the man who led the fight against the half-baked General Plan 2012 that should make romantics sigh. His wife had a half dozen silk Western-style jackets tailored for him on a trip to the Philippines. Despite the fact they looked like the shiny satin garb Rex Allen, Jr. would wear onstage, he pleased his beloved mate by marching into the testosterone-laden environs of the Scottsdale Police and Fire Departments for interviews wearing his gift. True love.
Christian Serena earlier voiced a no-no in my book. He said he would revitalize McDowell Road by getting the Brewers to come there. Why subsidize wealthy sports franchises that demand new stadiums every 5 years?
Fans of Virginia Korte applaud her devotion to South Scottsdale, but would her passion burn as brightly if she didn't have a vested interest in her prime land there? Maybe, but I find it a dangerous sign when she answers forum questions in more code language than a WWII Indian Code Talker: "The community deserves a conversation around light rail to know the truth," and "we must collaborate with other cities to improve transportation linkage." She's the queen of "consensus building," which is not the paragon of virtue it's made out to be by liberals.
Bill Crawford is to be commended for his fight against public peeing and pooing in the downtown bar district. What's not to love? He's a fan of more height and density.
Memo to Jason Rose: Not one council candidate thought your elevated park trail would spur revitalization. Go back to your metrosexual drawing board.