I would like to set the record straight and defend myself and others against recent accusations and inferences made regarding individuals in the business community donating to campaigns for City Council and mayor.
While I understand the divisive political motivation to sell a false narrative and create the perception that this is the equivalent of “buying votes,” I offer an alternative perspective on this issue, because making decisions on quality development is one of the most important roles for those serving on council.
I invite every voter to consider this: development is what has given us a city in the first place.
Winfield Scott, the founder of Scottsdale, was our original developer. Since Scottsdale’s incorporation in 1951, entrepreneurs, builders and investors have taken big risks to buy, design, invest, and build our master-planned communities, grocery stores, retail centers, multi-family housing, landmark buildings --- and most likely your house.
Builders and developers have played a big role in creating the high quality of life in Scottsdale we all enjoy. They have built world class resorts, hotels, shopping and dining experiences and attractions that contribute to our renowned tourism.
At this election, we find ourselves at a crossroads. As our city grows and we approach buildout, we now face a pandemic that has created a disastrous chain reaction of negative economic consequences in our economy. We cannot afford to drive away high-quality investments, jobs, and opportunities by creating an environment hostile to the business community.
In some of the attacks on quality development, inferences and accusations have been made stating the city has facilitated “giveaways” to developers.
These ignorant statements are made without consideration for the economic vitality and quality of life contributions these developments mean for Scottsdale. Allowing quality projects to move forward with significant public involvement does not mean giveaways. It means we must recognize the bigger picture as we make these decisions.
I face two opponents in the Scottsdale City Council election who run on platforms demonizing new development. Most Scottsdale residents would not have a house to live in if Betty Janik and Tom Durham had been on City Council when their neighborhoods were considered for approval.
Their platform of us vs. them and rigid adherence to existing zoning in all scenarios is foolish, short-sighted, and harmful to our city’s future generations.
Bob Littlefield, husband of existing Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield, who is running for mayor, explained in a recent forum that he believes Scottsdale has always been a bedroom community, and that COVID-19 has proven that we don’t need office space or schools.
According to Mr. Littlefield, we can sit sequestered in our homes, alone, in front of our computers, while our kids “learn” virtually with no peer-to-peer interaction, and we can balance working full time while taking care of their every need.
What a terrible, unhealthy, depressing, isolating picture of our future. By contrast, I understand the totality of our complex economic issues and the needs for the future vitality of Scottsdale.
I support smart, compatible growth that adheres to the myriad of area character plans, which are elements of the soon-to-be-updated General Plan. Because the messaging surrounding development has been twisted, not many realize that the city uses the General Plan as a guide for growth --- it is not designed to be unchanging in the face of a city that is growing and shifting at the rate Scottsdale is.
In fact, on the city’s website, it states: “The General Plan is designed to be a broad, flexible, living document that is legally amendable. There are many decisions and events that compel it to respond to the changing conditions, needs, and desires of the community.”
I encourage every resident to read the General Plan in its entirety, but most specifically, the portion relating to its purpose and utilization at this link: https://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/Assets/ScottsdaleAZ/General+Plan/purpose.pdf.
It is well-documented that I partnered with some of our city’s most notable investors for projects I am proud of. Development is, at its core, an incredibly complex and thoughtful process from start to finish --- and to imply otherwise is negligent leadership.
This is not to say that all development is or has been good. I would regret seeing our city lose because of a few bad apples and runaway false messaging that ignores the bigger picture, like great new high-value opportunities.
I believe our residents are brilliant and capable of understanding this, and when equipped with the facts, they can see through the politically motivated hysteria to recognize the quality economic opportunities presented to us to create the best future for our children and future generations.
I do not rely on political shenanigans and misstatements of facts dividing voters to gain support. I rely on transparency, real facts and a strong history.
As a 42-year business owner, I am proud the business community believes in my candidacy enough to invest in my ideas.
I have earned their respect because they know I will stand up against inappropriate development or bad business practices. I have a proven track record as a community leader for putting everything on the line to fight for quality of life for residents, neighborhoods, and businesses in Scottsdale.
That is why I have support from residents and businesses. In fact, as a voter I would seriously question why an entire segment of stakeholders has chosen not to invest in certain campaigns. I promise I will work hard to ensure the best path forward by bringing all voices to the table in the spirit of true collaboration, education, preservation, and Scottsdale’s bright future.
In summary, the recent accusations and inferences made regarding individuals in the business community donating to campaigns for City Council and mayor is without merit and nothing more than an extension of divisive distractions used to build a political base for the people for no growth.
There really is no issue of influence buying votes when a candidate is supported by major job creators for our great city. If the voters really want to look somewhere for undue influence, consider this: how about the possibility of a Mayor Littlefield and councilmember Littlefield living under the same roof. Think about it.
Editor’s Note: Bill Crawford is a candidate for Scottsdale City Council in the upcoming Aug. 4 primary election.