By Don Henninger
In the spirit of the season – and despite all the challenges the world
is offering to us right now – there still are plenty of reasons why all
of us in Scottsdale can be thankful.
Be thankful that:
–The election campaign for the City Council is over. Starting with the primary in August, it’s been a long haul. What began with five candidates for mayor and nine for council has ended with new faces in the mayor’s office and on three council seats. We hope everyone wishes the winners well and offers support so the “rookies” get up to speed quickly. The challenges ahead are as daunting as any the city has faced in many years.
–There are signs our new leaders are embracing a collaborative spirit. At least that seems to be the message as they get acquainted with each other and prepare to take office. That’s refreshing after a campaign that got bogged down in the mud from time to time. We hope that once in office they put a few early wins on the board (an anti-discrimination ordinance could be one) and set the tone for the way they’ll work together.
–There still are a few investors willing to launch projects in the city. The Scottsdale Collective downtown is one promising development that is working its way through the city bureaucracy. But the investor pipeline is drying up, and that’s not a good sign for the city’s economic health. We hope that our new city leaders remain open to considering worthy developments and send clear signals that the city is not returning to its “stops-dale” days.
–Scottdale Arts is surviving the pandemic crisis, and is one of the few, if not only, arts organizations in the Valley that has not had to lay off employees or make severe cutbacks. That’s testament to strong leadership and fiscal management. We hope that trend continues as the arts are a dynamic part of the city’s culture.
–We’ve made it through a fire season with little to no damage to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. We may be living on borrowed time, though. Fire officials now say it’s not a matter of “if” a fire strikes the Preserve but “when.” Let’s not take our good fortune for granted. We hope we all will support efforts to keep our preserve safe.
–We have a strong city manager in Jim Thompson. The city will need his steady leadership anchor as there are three important vacancies right now — city clerk, city treasurer, police chief. We hope good replacements are found soon for those jobs, critical to the ongoing operation of the city.
–There are a lot of big hearts in our city that are showing up to support worthy causes. Mercedes-Benz of Scottsdale is one. It has given $5,000 donations to five non-profit groups recently and plans to do more. Being on the board of Family Promise, I’ve seen many individuals and businesses support that homeless organization with in-kind supplies and cash. We hope that spirit of generosity continues at a time when our non-profit providers need it most.
–Over 86 percent of eligible voters in Scottsdale cast a ballot in this race. That’s an amazing voter turnout and suggests that the vast majority of residents are engaged and care about the future. We hope that spirit stays active and does not grow complacent in between our four-year election cycles.
As we move through the rest of this exhausting year of 2020, let’s remember we have a lot of reasons to be grateful, and we need to keep adding to the list.
Don Henninger, executive director of SCOTT, can be reached at email@example.com