I’m writing in response to Jim Derouin’s guest opinion entitled “Let’s make downtown Scottsdale great again!” That phraseology immediately says a lot; easy to see that this was going to be a political hit piece.
I have worked with Mr. Derouin in the past and, although we didn’t always agree, he earned my respect for his professionalism and intellect. He must have been pretty worked up to write such a personally demeaning article with its totally unsubstantiated allegations regarding Mayor Ortega’s motivations.
I think it’s good that people of Mr. Derouin’s persuasion engage in the discussion on how to improve our downtown physically, economically and culturally, but unfounded attacks on people who are more cautious about sweeping changes isn’t the proper way to get involved.
Just the opposite. Jim is starting the pie throwing before all sides are seated.
His “solution” is to cordon off historic downtown and surround it with a “year-round venue” — a clever euphemism for “let the developer’s shape the city.”
When I ran successfully for the City Council in 2000, I ran on an “Urban Envy” theme. It always intrigues and annoys me that we have what other Valley communities want yet there’s always this push to make us just like them.
Homogenizing Scottsdale into the greater Phoenix metropolitan area while preserving six acres for posterity isn’t the path to economic exuberance. I would argue just the opposite, but that’s another discussion.
My point here is that Mr. Derouin’s speculative allegations about Mayor Ortega’s motivations are uncalled for and I would like to think uncharacteristic of him.
I’ll conclude as he did with advice: Jim, have a cup of coffee, settle down, put mean-spirited politics aside, and respectfully join the discussion on where to go with our downtown.
Editor’s Note: Ned O’Hearn is a former City Councilman who served alongside the current mayor. He has a graduate degree in City Planning and is a retired real estate executive.