Opinion

Haskell: A take on Scottsdale’s current affairs

By Lisa Haskell
Posted 9/11/20

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Opinion

Haskell: A take on Scottsdale’s current affairs

Posted

For all you activists, pseudo activists, concerned citizens, outraged outcasts, those who want to support a “cause”, protesters/rioters, mask maniacs and those who have an unhealthy fear of Covid/masks, are you as inspired by the leadership and civic involvement in this community, not to mention nationally, as I am?

Do you look forward to the end of election season with the same eager anticipation as the end of Covid/mask season?

Are you weary of campaign sign clutter, robo calls, mudslinging, character assassination, smear campaigns, distortions and outright lies?

Hey, local PR firms and political consultants have to make a living somehow. Heck, if you got rid of all of the above how would you know it was campaign season? A factual debate on issues you say? Well, that’s certainly no fun.

Does election season frustrate you as much as standing in line behind a caffeine aficionado at Starbucks? You know the ones. “Yes, I’d like a vente, iced low fat/no fat, almond milk, nitro brew latte with a hint of foam and my initials artistically drizzled in caramel on top and I’d also like.....” at this point you realize any hope of getting to work on time has evaporated much like your hopes for a resident-friendly City Council.

The typical seasons have been temporarily replaced with primary season, general election season, we don’t like the results of the election season, finger pointing season followed by the return of summer, I mean Covid, season.

At least the ugliness of election season takes your mind off of social distancing concerns, mask mania and pandemic paranoia.

On a positive note, unlike others who rail against mask mandates, I have found wearing masks to be a liberating experience. For females it means far less work in the morning. Makeup from the nose up only. From the nose down you can look like Chewbacca and no one will care.

An additional benefit of masks? You are not forced to smile at people who don’t deserve it. Making inappropriate faces can be done — under cover of your mask. Comes in handy while waiting in that Starbucks line.

As we transition from primary season to general election season, some issues to ponder.

Campaign financing. Where does that financing come from? Developers? Bar owners or other members of the “entertainment” industry?

Recent election results seem to indicate that there may be hope for residents. Candidates whose campaign war chests were heavily financed by developers and related industries came up short.

Those candidates who are classified as resident-friendly are often up against a never-ending wall of money. Residents need to realize this and instead of enriching Starbucks contribute to candidates who represent your best interests.

Yes, put your money where your Starbucks was.

If residents have no influence at City Hall, they will have no influence on how their city evolves and will continue to fight projects on a case by case basis.

We still need the development community to create the communities residents want but residents need to provide the guidance rather than developers and politicians. Otherwise, you will have exactly the type of community that Scottsdale is fast becoming.

A community with a lower quality of life thanks to traffic congestion, poor air quality, escalating housing prices due in part to an influx of people fleeing their own states for — the same reasons and challenges unique to a desert climate.
California was recently plagued with rolling blackouts. Are you paying attention Arizona? Our climate is changing and not for the better.

This past summer was the hottest on record. We are contributing to this problem by the gross over development of the area. This is not a tropical island or a desert oasis. It is a heat island lovingly crafted by developers and brought to you by local politicians.

I don’t know about some of you but I don’t need real estate in hell. I’ll get there soon enough — so I’ve been told.

Another looming issue with the General Election fast approaching is rabid partisanship. Partisanship should not be allowed to infect city politics but sadly it has.

I think members of either party should be able to patch pot holes but hey in Washington they can’t agree on the most basic of things. Finding common ground has become as difficult as finding vacant ground in Scottsdale.

We need to accept the fact that we won’t agree with our elected officials on every issue but are there areas of agreement where we can come together and make some progress?

A candidate could have an agenda that includes world peace, infrastructure upgrades, a cure for Covid, a safe alternative to mask mandates, ways to protect our environment, ways of cutting deficits while maintaining social programs and an end to the destruction of cities in support of a “cause” but wait. You’re a Republican? A Democrat? Oh God no.

Let’s keep polluting the environment, adding to the budget deficit, preserving crumbling infrastructure and what’s wrong with a good old fashioned pandemic anyway? A new stimulus package? Let ‘em eat cake. I’m doing just fine now that my vaccine patent was approved. World peace? We’ve got peace. I have an AK47 — Don’t you?

And finally, (Yes, listening to me is like standing behind that guy at Starbucks) a topic that Scottsdale officials need to pay particular attention to: Diversity and not just racial diversity but diversity of place and space.

Even the Easter Bunny doesn’t put all his eggs in one basket but Scottsdale sure did.

Wall to wall apartments punctuated with bars and hotels. Little open space or visual interest. How cities evolve and develop will guarantee whether they survive and thrive when pandemics and other unexpected surprises arise.

A recent newspaper article indicated that millennials and others are once again opting to live in homes. Remember those? A housing fad popular with ancient civilizations.

Because of the popularity of work from home jobs, a house in the burbs rather than luxury apartment living is luring folks back to traditional hoods, seducing them with multiple rooms and square footage that allows you to store 10 years worth of toilet paper and garages. Yes, a place for your vehicle and your mother-in-law should she come to visit — or live. Horrors.

And what about some architectural diversity? Thousands of square, wood frame cubicles provide no architectural interest. This type of construction probably won’t withstand the test of time or land on a list of architectural wonders of the world.

We aren’t creating anything memorable just forgettable. Do we (and surrounding communities) want to become a developer’s Disneyland, a cluttered landscape of theme park attractions and apartment communities?

Economic diversity might not hurt either. One word. Pandemic. When a majority of your downtown is made up of bars and restaurants which were forced to close it should be obvious that we may need another leg to stand on.

So what have we learned from all this? If you are standing in front of me in the Starbucks line, keep it short and sweet and preferably low fat. Otherwise, be prepared to endure my wrath from behind my mask. Hand gestures? Still allowed.

Editor’s Note: Lisa Haskell is a resident of Scottsdale.

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