Tea Party of Scottsdale, AZ
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City Council & Scottsdale Unified School District Report March 16

by Doug Reed

First, I have a couple on non-City Council items:

We just had an election, but preparation by candidates for the 2018 election is already beginning. Dave Schweikert is running for reelection as our representative in Congressional District 6. By the way, Dave will be our speaker at next month’s Tea Party meeting.  In Arizona, to be on the ballot requires a number of signatures on a Nomination Petition. The number for 2018 will change a little, but in 2016, a minimum of 1,622 signatures was needed. If you live in District 6, are registered as a Republican or as an independent or with no party preference, you can sign the petition. We have petitions available for signature tonight.

Also, we have our twice yearly Adopt-A-Road event coming up next month-April 22nd. For the past several years, Tea Party Scottsdale has “adopted” Chaparral Road between Pima and Hayden. The City supplies trash bags, gloves and safety vests, and we spend about an hour and a half helping to keep Scottsdale beautiful. The cleanup starts at 8:AM, and we meet at Randy’s Restaurant in the shopping center on the northwest corner of Chaparral and Hayden at 7:00 AM for a no host breakfast. Of course, I have a sign up sheet here.

Pam Kirby, Scottsdale Unified School Board member, is not able to be here tonight-she has a school board meeting-so she sent an update for me to share:

1.        The Board took action and approved Hohokam Elementary to be rebuilt as Hohokam K6 under the bond that was passed by voters in Fall 2016.   Hohokam is located in South Scottsdale off Granite Reef between Thomas & McDowell.   Hohokam will lose the "traditional school" label as they are not operating as a traditional school.  The other change is that current year 5th graders will be given the option to stay at Hohokam as Hohokam transitions from a K5 to a K6.  It will remain a K6 after it is rebuilt.  Other options available to Hohokam 5th graders are Mohave Middle school or Tonalea K8.

2.        Administration proposed the 3rd rebuild under the 2016 bond to be Pima Elementary.   Pima is also located on Granite Reef, just north of Hohokam at Osborn.  Administration also proposed that Pima be rebuilt as a Traditional School.  Pima already has many of the characteristics of a traditional school, without the label.  This item will be on the March or April Board agenda for approval.

3.       Assuming Pima is approved, the goal is to have Hopi Elementary (Arcadia), Hohokam Elementary and Pima Traditional open in new buildings in the Fall of 2018.

4.       The Coronado Success Initiative that I spoke of last time (Coronado High School) continues to move forward.  The initiative was recognized and applauded in Mayor Lane's State of the City address on 2/22.

5.       Congratulations to Chaparral High School Girls Soccer and Coronado High School Boys Soccer for their recent state championship victories.

6.       Chaparral High School welcomes Dr. Angela Chomokolatte who comes to SUSD from Catalina Foothills outside of Tucson.  She will be Chap's new principal next year.

7.       Coronado High School welcomes Chris Gilmore who comes to SUSD from Winslow High School.  He will be Coronado's new principal next year.

There were some fireworks at a recent City Council meeting. Mark Stuart, who opposes the Desert Discovery Center, signed up for a 3 minute public comment speaking slot. Stuart attempted to speak about his petition against the DDC. Mayor Lane reminded Stuart that the city cannot use public resources to influence an election. Stuart expressed the opinion that that restriction applied only to government officials, not to private citizens, and attempted to continue. Mayor Lane cut off his microphone, killed the TV feed, and asked police to remove Stuart from the building.  After the meeting, Mayor Lane said that since candidates are not allowed to use the public comment period to stump for election or solicit campaign donations, the same logic applies to Stuart and his campaign against the DDC.  Stuart has filed a notice of claim against the city alleging violation of his Arizona constitutional rights to petition and peacefully assemble and use of excessive force by police. He is asking for $2.6 million in total. If sued, of course the city will be required to defend, which can be very expensive.

Which brings me to the next subject-legal costs. In consecutive meetings in late February and early March, Council approved several significant increases in compensation to law firms involved in City related cases. In just 5 cases, the total authorized legal expenses (meaning maximum allowable unless the law firm is granted another increase) is $905,000.  These include:

$400,000-Claimant alleging he was injured by a Scottsdale police officer during a tenant eviction. The fees charged for outside attorney work in this case range from $210 per hour for a senior partner to $185 for a junior associate.

$85,000-Dispute in land acquisition for new fire station. I think Chief Shannon will have some comments on this later this evening.

$35,000-dispute related to City’s sign ordinance.

$135,000-Wrongful arrest. In this case, the city was granted summary judgement (real quick and cheap), but the plaintiff appealed, lost, and now has appealed again to the Arizona Supreme Court.

$250,000-Claimant was hit by a car while riding his bicycle and alleges the city is partially at fault due to design defects.

And to all of this, we will add the costs to defend if Mr. Stuart (the DDC opponent) proceeds with a suit.   

I’m not pointing this out to be critical of the city, but simply to comment on how expensive the details of running a city can be.

And, speaking of details, here is some information on a little known city program designed to benefit residents. The idea is to offer zoning concessions in return for things like artwork, sidewalk improvements, buried power lines and cash payments into a trust fund. Parker Leavitt of The Arizona Republic published an article two weeks ago summarizing the program. …

To conclude, we have a City Council that is concerned about parking in downtown while at the same time approving projects that increase density in return for art, energy efficiency, sidewalks, buried power lines and cash into an arts trust fund.

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published this page in Scottsdale City Council & DDC 2017-03-21 07:43:10 -0600