Fishman: A candidate without ideas or experience

Posted 6/9/22

I have carefully read City Council candidate Barry Graham’s website, listened to his questions and comments at Planning Commission hearings, and reviewed third party interviews and comments …

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Fishman: A candidate without ideas or experience


I have carefully read City Council candidate Barry Graham’s website, listened to his questions and comments at Planning Commission hearings, and reviewed third party interviews and comments concerning his background and positions.

As a result, I have serious reservations about his experience, approach, specificity of goals, and lack of teamwork to improve our city and government.
Mr. Graham’s “Put Resident First” campaign states his top three concerns are:

  •  “Out-of-control development: I will protect residents’ quality of life from development that harms the city’s character.
  •  Resident outreach: I will expand the citizen outreach process to include more emphasis on resident input.
  •  Financial efficiency: I will analyze city spending to ensure taxpayers are getting more efficient city government”.

These are certainly worthy of consideration, but they lack specificity as to actions and do not include priorities to improve/preserve our city or a vision for the future. These include heat mitigation and sustainability (including water conservation), emergency planning, and housing.

Instead, his top three concerns are soft: quality of life of residents, improve outreach process, and analysis of city spending for more efficient city government. (Why does he think we need to be more efficient when our financial continue to show strength and excellent results?)

Barry prefers to live in the intangible world. For instance, he indicates there are too many projects for which the city gets a rating of 1 out of 5 stars, (from whom?) and that residents feel unheard and not respected. (Scottsdale’s process and outreach for comments from the community is thorough, frequent, and respected).

As he states, “Citizens deserve a stronger voice.” Stronger than what? How will it be measured? Is he proposing surveys or just his opinion of what that voice is?

Barry came to the Planning Commission with no experience or expertise. He proved that by voting no on nearly every multi-family project. He has even said that the PUD classification has had mixed results as retail space as a percentage of these projects is too low. Really? Why? What is the right number? Each project stands on its own based on location, size, other businesses, etc.

Barry’s little to no development position may politically play well in some circles but is a sure way to ensure Scottsdale does not continue to have a premier brand. Its basis is spurious.

The fact is we have a housing shortage. It’s estimated that in Scottsdale an additional 50,000 units are needed for population growth. (Our population growth in the last census was de minimis). Is it a water issue? (Scottsdale’s water management has been superb with total water deliveries having gone down since 2016 through 2021 with strong plans for managing potential shortfalls).

As an observer I have seen Barry grandstanding arguing over social distancing and immigration policies. This is inappropriate for a Planning Commissioner. I also think he has been disrespectful to the city’s planning staff and investors.

Let’s be clear we need appropriate levels of growth to continue to win in the marketplace. To continue to support Scottsdale’s lower taxes and higher services increased revenues must occur. Given that 70% of the city’s revenue comes from sales taxes and other commerce generated sources how does Barry propose improving revenues? By reducing expenses?

Unfortunately, City Council has not defined what appropriate growth is. Barry is certainly not adding to that discussion by simply stating we need “quality” growth. Perhaps projecting how much additional revenue is needed and future sources would be a good first step. Leadership and meaningful ideas are challenging. So far, he has not met that challenge.


9 comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

  • just_scrolling

    I’m sorry, but who are you and why should we listen to or believe anything you have to say? The only time I’ve seen your name has been on NextDoor where you voice your support for every single project that comes up without being able to respond to basic questions about water and infrastructure. Water will be a problem but no one is going to admit it until we are at a crisis point. Scottsdale has already had to cut Rio Verde off. But sure, there’s no water problem even if the drought lasts forever right? Let’s not talk about the fact that Pinal county has halted all residential building due to the water shortage that you deny.

    This is city council. It is NOT partisan. You bringing up irrelevant issues that half the country agreed with Barry on does nothing to make you a more credible source of information and just shows your ignorance.

    You can’t answer a question with a straight answer yet Barry is soft? You sir, did an extreme disservice to yourself and the rest of Scottsdale by stooping so low and writing this hit piece. What would have helped your fellow citizens (I assume that’s what you’ll claim your intent is) far more than attacking and lying would have been by going directly to the candidate and getting your answers there. But I guess that wouldn’t have left you any hate to spew.

    Your quote “ It’s estimated that in Scottsdale an additional 50,000 units are needed for population growth” is a straight up lie (or you have comprehension problems). Those 50,000 apartments is what a MF housing lobbyist told city council we were to build and PAY FOR. It didn’t go over well. There’s a video. I’d tell you to go fact check yourself, but it’s very clear you don’t care about facts, just typical rhetoric.

    You know who consistently talks about “quality growth” with no definition? Solange. You just did the same yourself by saying we need “appropriate” growth without defining what that is.

    Your claim that Barry has little development experience even after he’s been on the planning committee implies that you have more, which makes your agenda crystal clear.

    Thursday, June 9 Report this

  • xway.mike.norton

    In the peak of a housing crisis that has been worsening for years, three candidates campaign on a promise to make it worse. Crazier still, yesterday Council Member Betty Janik actually called for a moratorium on any and all multi-family construction. If you believe she meant what she said, duplex townhomes would be banned.

    If Graham, Whitehead and Littlefield get elected, Janik's ban on new construction is precisely what will happen for the next four years.

    I cannot think of a better way to kill the Scottsdale economy than to mandate that our already rapidly aging population never be supplemented with young families who want to move in. That none of the critical workers who serve our City could ever hope to live here.

    Scottsdale is already on the path towards the most Assisted Living Centers in the County. We have the County's oldest population and one of our zip codes is actually the oldest in the United States.

    Electing Graham, Whitehead and Littlefield assures to sit with Janik is economic suicide.

    Friday, June 10 Report this

  • jason.alexander

    I thought this was a civil opinion piece. Mr. Graham has created an unfavorable reputation amongst many people, and his behavior at the June 9 2021 Planning meeting was inappropriate. Susan Wood should talk about issues, not bully and cancel people with whom she doesnt agree, as per her comment below.

    The Independent ran another excellent criticism of Mr. Graham's inexperience and poor temperament, two weeks ago from Larry Kush. Search for it under "Beware of Candidates Wrong for Scottsdale".

    Friday, June 10 Report this

  • derouinjg

    "Just Scolling" asks: "Who is Robert Fishman?" My question is: "Who is 'Just Scolling?'" Since when does a campaign use anonymous hit pieces? I do not know Robert Fishman, but it appears, based on other contributions, he is just an ordinary, interested guy who is a resident of Scottsdale. I ask again: "Who is 'Just Scolling?'"

    Mr. Fishman asks legitimate questions about Barry Graham, the junior partner in the "Littlefield-Graham ticket" which is against any new construction investment in Scottsdale regardless of where it is proposed. Bob Littlefield, of course, is the guy who helped set up a GoFundMe slush fund for anonymous gifts that ended up being used for the personal benefit of a council member. Which raises a good question: In light of this connection, I wonder if Barry will vote to prohibit council members from soliciting jobs from the City; or prohibit any City employee, including Charter Officers, from giving anything of value to a council member--things that have occurred and still are allowed. The ethics code still, conveniently, has the infamous "box of chocolate" exception in it that legitimized thousands of dollars of anonymous gifts. Also, Barry is a "numbers guy" so he is well aware of the importance of construction tax revenue for maintaining low residential property taxes. Why not concentrate on these issues rather than on promoting discredited election conspiracies? So, Mr. Fishman, don't be intimidated by anonymous hit pieces written, undoubtedly, by someone associated with the Graham campaign who won't share his or her identity.

    Monday, June 13 Report this

  • Oldjohn

    If the stock and bond markets continue their sizable correction, some of those planned apartment complexes may be abandoned. Just look at the cost of capital , not counting the fact a recession is possible which would lower the demand.

    Monday, June 13 Report this

  • xway.mike.norton

    Hey, you. The one called "just_scrolling".

    Do you expect anyone to be taken seriously when you claim wild stuff like "Pinal County has halted all residential building due to the water shortage"?

    Pinal County is booming with new construction. Permits have not been halted (unless you count "Open Burn" permits - those have been halted.).

    Monday, June 13 Report this

  • just_scrolling

    I’m not part of any campaign. I know who Fishman is, but probably one of the few people who do, so why would anyone trust anything he has to say? He has no reputation for being a credible, non-bias citizen. In fact, he’s purposely only telling one side of an issue and has left anything that doesn’t fit his narrative out. That’s not how credible source acts.. This is a hit piece, plain and simple. An article that talks disparaging and lies about one person, is a hit piece. If someone has so many real questions, you go to the source to get them answered. Obviously he isn’t really interested in the truth or the answers to the questions he asks. I’m sure he’s been recruited because the “usuals” have lost all credibility by calling people names, claiming anyone who doesn’t want more luxury apartments is racist, they blatantly lie to the public and being up private citizens names over and over and over again and the community is sick to death of them and their BS. I guarantee you, if the “usuals” weren’t so combative and belligerent (which is their chosen tactic) that citizens would head them out. No one wants more vitriol. But, I’m not sure any of them are capable of that.

    I assume you know what a non-renewable resource is, and clean water is not one of them. I understand that this hits certain peoples pocketbooks, but it is what it is. Months ago, Pinal county stopped all residential construction because of lack of water. Rio Verde got cut off from Scottsdales water supply. Regardless of how high tech a system is, it will not provide water for a million people in Scottsdale for eternity. That’s a fact that no one chooses to address, and it won’t be addressed until we are in a crisis, and then it’s too late.

    Monday, June 13 Report this

  • Oldjohn

    Nothing like a little hyper inflation or a recession to kill the developers penchant for the apartment boom

    Tuesday, June 14 Report this

  • jason.alexander

    just_scrolling I think is a member of Susan Wood's political group. Wood runs a political group that produces conspiracy-theory videos destroying Scottsdale's brand by claiming we are out of water, have horrible traffic, terrible pollution. What does it say about Candidate Barry Graham when he attends fundraisers from this group? What does it say about Councilor Kathy Littlefield when she endorses these videos on her Facebook page. It says these people are so negative about Scottsdale and shouldn't represent us. It says Graham and Littlefield are so ideologically opposed to growth and intent on pandering to fear that they will set fire to our brand to get elected. They are telling the world we are a miserable place, don't come here.

    Wood and Bob Littlefield infamously ran the anonymous GoFundMe that funneled cash into racist science-denying Guy Phillips' pockets. Can you trust them?

    Barry Graham lies. In tonight's forum, Graham said that 100,000 apartments added to our existing housing supply of 130,000 units would not affect prices. Graham said he has degrees in economics and accounting, which makes his denial of supply and demand even more shameful. Graham claimed the the approval of Greenbelt 88 was causing Uncle Sal's restaurant to close, which is completely untrue as per the owner of the plaza. Graham claimed that there are 10,000 apartments about to be built in Scottsdale despite a report this week from the Planning department showing only 3300 were under construction, 3000 granted zoning but not yet approved, and 1500 proposed but not having even been granted zoning. Barry Graham has denied the results of the 2020 election, absent any facts whatsoever. Barry Graham can not be trusted.

    Wednesday, June 15 Report this