Opinion

Haskell: Only one Scottsdale candidate will represent all residents

Posted 10/25/22

Typically, I do not write letters of support for candidates because No. 1 there are so few I support, and No. 2 I would probably do them more harm than good.

When I was a “raging” …

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Opinion

Haskell: Only one Scottsdale candidate will represent all residents

Posted

Typically, I do not write letters of support for candidates because No. 1 there are so few I support, and No. 2 I would probably do them more harm than good.

When I was a “raging” activist a few years back before cynicism replaced optimism, I attended candidate forums, council meetings, block parties, commission meetings, neighborhood meetings and all meetings where refreshments were served.

My personal favorite? Developer presentations. You know. The smooth-talking zoning attorneys and developer operatives describe in soothing, hushed tones all the advantages of their projects and why neighborhoods will be enriched by a multi-story prison-like structure dumped in their backyard. Who needs views. 

The one topic that seems to unify most residents is their concern over the number of apartments blanketing the area. Love blankets. So warm and cozy on a summer’s day. Every available piece of land no matter how minuscule becomes an apartment complex.

Those with ties to the development community are anxious to spread the propaganda that we have a severe housing shortage. Instead of “drill baby drill” it’s “build baby build” and why not. Nothing to drill for what with our looming water crisis and all. Sure, we have a sea of apartments, but many residents are asking where’s all the retail we were promised?

The favorite city/developer refrain from a few years ago was retail follows rooftops. Seems all we got were the rooftops and not even aesthetically pleasing or architecturally interesting rooftops. Are we trying to solve a housing crisis or a prison crisis? I ask this because many of these communities have little curb appeal and resemble prisons rather than a place you would want to call home.

Square, box-like structures with little architectural interest. Cheap to build. Quick to throw up. The question we need to ask ourselves is what do we want Scottsdale to look like in 20 years? Will people still flock here to see blocks of aging apartments punctuated with homeless camps populated with folks who could not afford the areas luxury rents?

Not a good look and one that may not promote tourism.

Residents who oppose this out-of-control development are labeled NIMBYs rather than advocates for responsible, sustainable growth. Residents should not have to pay for this over-development in the form of water rate increases, rationing etc .

Yes, apartments reign supreme and there is no going back, apparently.

Apartments that no one but the uber wealthy can afford. Longtime residents are tired of being treated like squatters in a community they have called home for a majority of their lives and far longer than many of the developers, investors and politicians who are profiting handsomely from the overdevelopment of Scottsdale.

This election season the pivotal issue for most residents is over-development in the face of a looming water shortage. When evaluating the qualifications of council candidates, interest in Scottsdale as evidenced by your involvement in the community is crucial. I believe Barry Graham is the candidate best able to address residents primary concern — a glut of apartments that are not solving the housing crisis for the folks who are most impacted. Elderly, young families, teachers etc.

And allow me to point out that these are the folks we should welcome into the community. After all, unlike some vacation rental guests they do not typically throw loud parties complete with firearms, Mr. Graham has served on both the Planning Commission and Transportation Commission. I believe Mr. Graham is ready, willing and able to take on the challenge of over-development on behalf of residents. Candidates often bill themselves as “resident friendly” but in reality, are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Let’s hope that history does not repeat itself.

I was recently advised that one of the few apartment communities for elderly on fixed incomes has been sold leaving these vulnerable seniors in fear of being kicked to the curb. This is a property that has been located in south Scottsdale for a number of years. If history repeats itself, rents will be raised forcing these seniors out or another luxury apartment community will be built in its place that city officials will welcome with open arms.

Candidate for City Council Pamela Carter has a plan. Her “plan?” Allow faith-based organizations to take care of these folks, homeless etc. The city, developers, landlords, investors all played a role in creating this situation. Raising rents far beyond what could be considered usual and customary and replacing moderately priced housing stock with luxury cubicles.

Yes, apparently it should be left to faith-based organizations (already stretched thin) to clean up the resulting mess.

While Pamela Carter believes that not everyone deserves to call Scottsdale home, I believe not every candidate deserves to represent all residents. Vote Barry Graham for Scottsdale City Council.