Opinion

Smith: Confused by what a Scottsdale politician says?

Posted 10/15/21

Scottsdale voters should be confused by Councilwoman Littlefield’s Opinion piece urging voters to not support the Scottsdale General Plan 2035. The piece appeared Monday, October 11, timed to …

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Opinion

Smith: Confused by what a Scottsdale politician says?

Posted

Scottsdale voters should be confused by Councilwoman Littlefield’s Opinion piece urging voters to not support the Scottsdale General Plan 2035.

The piece appeared Monday, October 11, timed to coincide with the arrival of early ballots (and also, coincidentally, just 10 days after Littlefield announced her intention to run for a third Council term.)

Littlefield began her opinion piece, “There has been a lot of misinformation floating around about my position on the general plan update.

She got that right! One would have assumed from her votes, her discussions, her questions, and her demeanor she supported the Plan.

On June 8, after City Council heard a presentation on the final draft of the

“Scottsdale General Plan 2035” a motion was made to adopt the plan. Littlefield was quick to offer a second to the motion (but not quick enough) so she added, “I will third it then!” She then voted with all her colleagues to unanimously approve the new General Plan and submit it to the voters.

To explain why she intends to vote NO to the plan, her Opinion piece continued, “…I want to make sure everyone knows exactly where I stand on this issue.” By that, she must mean, “where I stand today” as an announced council candidate seeking a third term in 2022.

Consider the alarms she sounded in her opinion piece:

Growth and Density:

Littlefield criticized the plan for suggesting “…a reduction on the dependence of the automobile was stated as desirable” – a goal she suggested might lead to the introduction of less desirable modes of mass transportation. From that shaky premise, she reasoned the goal might ultimately allow “…tall, massive development in the “growth” areas of Scottsdale” which, she declared, “…is really why they want these huge “development” areas.”

Other than the tortured logic, Littlefield’s warning ignores the fact all the multi-family, high-rise dense apartment buildings in Scottsdale today were authorized under the 2001 General Plan – the very plan Littlefield asks voters NOT to replace!

Light Rail and Streetcars:

Speaking of less desirable modes of transportation, Councilwoman Littlefield addressed this issue during Council discussions on June 8. She wanted to be sure voters would not be misled to think the term “multimodal” might include light rail.

Littlefield applauded the new clarity added to the Plan Glossary’s definition of multimodal which specifically exempts “…rail and modern streetcar…” Leaving no doubt of her support, Littlefield even summarized for listeners and for the record, “Light rail, modern streetcar will not be part of the General Plan!”

Preserve Lands:

Littlefield now alarms voters that the new General Plan is too permissive when it says, “Alternatives to the natural state may be subject to a municipal election.” The truth is this language merely restates language embedded in our Scottsdale Code by voters in November 2018 (Article 8, Section 12).

Consider this:

Several times in her Opinion piece, Littlefield referred to an undefined group she calls “they.” She said “they” might construe General Plan language as an invite to light rail; “they” want huge development areas; and what else could “they” be including?

Who comprises this group named “they” – is it anyone who disagrees with Littlefield opinion? If so, does “they” include all the citizens who disagreed with her vote to approve the Plan on June 8? Or does “they” include everyone who now disagrees with her advice to vote NO to the Plan on Nov. 2?

Councilwoman Littlefield states, teasingly, “These are only some of the reasons I do not support the new general plan…” thus leaving all other reasons to the voters’ imagination! Might her re-election hopes be one of those other reasons?

My Recommendation:

Scottsdale voters should approve the Scottsdale General Plan 2035. It is your General Plan, not the plan of politicians. It represents a decade of work by your fellow citizens, dozens of community outreach meetings and deliberations by five different City Councils.

General Plan 2035 will replace our current General Plan – a 20-year-old document crafted in 2001 and approved in March 2002 by the affirmative vote of just 12,950 Scottsdale voters. Coincidentally, 2002 is also the first time voters elected a person named Littlefield to the Scottsdale City Council.

Editor’s note: David N. Smith was Scottsdale City Councilman 2015-19 and Scottsdale City Treasurer 2009-13

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