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Guest Commentary

Kush: Councilwoman Whitehead needs to get her facts straight


On Feb. 10 Councilwoman Solange Whitehead issued an emailed newsletter citing her outrage over a proposed state senate bill known as SB1117.

This proposed bill is in response to the likes of Councilwoman Whitehead who, along with other council members throughout the Valley, have done everything in their power to deny the rights of private property owners to improve their property as well as take away affordable housing opportunities from Arizona’s working classes.

In fact, through her rabid anti-housing actions, Councilwoman Solange along with Councilwoman Littlefield and Mayor Ortega are more responsible than any single public officials in the entire state for this pro-housing bills origin.

The State Legislature has not been deaf or blind to the continuing outcry form landowners and citizens’ complaints about city councils though out the Valley opposing nearly every multi-family project brought to a vote before them.

As we grow, Arizona needs more housing and it is our elected officials’ responsibility to insure that there is a place to house our growing population.

This responsibility somehow passes by Solange. Instead, she only responds to or supports the vitriol of the NIMBY (not in my backyard) of organized residents who don’t want apartments in their neighborhood, usually citing traffic; lower property values and increased crime as their reasoning for their opposition. When the truth is, they just don’t want “those people” in their neighborhood.

To add insult to injury, in her editorial, Solange does not even get her facts straight! She says the bill pre-empts cities on all housing matters, which is totally false. She also says projects could be approved without council votes. This is also false.

I suggest she actually read the bill (as I did) and she will see that there is no council vote required if the project adheres to the city’s general plan (a plan which was passed by the voters). Also, the “By Right” language which she is so frightened of only applies if the case in question is within 2 miles of light rail (Last time I looked Scottsdale lacks light rail).

There are many excellent provisions to this bill to include allowing for “Granny” flats in your rear yard or setting time limits on city approval and allowing “at risk” permits.

Bottom line, Solange should actually take the time to read and analyze the bill’s language and rethink her position on housing. (I have a copy from the bill’s author that I can share) I know that I plan to do all that I can to support this bill.