Mayor of Scottsdale

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Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane explains the city’s decision not to join Phoenix and Tempe in the “Discovery Triangle” regional planning and redevelopment effort.

Ted Simons: A couple of weeks ago, "Horizon" covered the regional planning effort known as the discovery triangle. It's a public-private partnership that includes the cities of Phoenix and Tempe. Scottsdale was supposed to be the third corner of the triangle, but its city council voted not to participate. We'll hear from Scottsdale mayor Jim lane in a memo, but first, here's what the chairman of the discovery triangle develop corporation had to stay about Scottsdale's decision.

Marty Shultz: Scottsdale, at this time, I have to emphasize, at this time, is somewhat divided politically in many different areas. And I think the mayor and a couple of his colleagues decided not to participate in a 3-3 vote.

Ted Simons: But he said "we would be recipient of a little and payer of a lot." Talk to us about that quote and Phoenix and Tempe, what did they get and what did they pay?

Marty Shultz: The cities are paying several thousand dollars. It's a rather inexpensive effort just to keep our small staff going so we can keep our corporation going and doing the kinds of marketing analysis you've heard about. So in terms of the dollar investment, it's for the significant and mayor lane knows that. They also contribute their talent and vision as well. I just think this is one of those things -- and I've been involved before, as you know, Ted, in regional developments. When we started talking about a freeway system years ago, I had cities tell me, Marty, we don't want to participate and we had Indian tribes who said they didn't want to participate for various reasons. It's a change, but the regional cooperation is an imperative and frankly it is the key to this investment.

Ted Simons: Joining me with his side of the story is Scottsdale's mayor, Jim lane. Thanks for joining us.

Jim Lane: Nice to be here, thank you.

Ted Simons: Comment on what you just heard.

Jim Lane: Number one, I'd like to say Marty is a very good friend and we've had a lot of good discussions on these issues but Marty knows this isn't a matter of a membership fee to get into this. This is a matter of what the exchange of value that takes place beyond that. As a city of Scottsdale, this is not a renunciating effort on regional play because We're involved in a great number of regional efforts and public private partnerships and IGAs with a number of communities around us. But as elected for Scottsdale, elected by our Scottsdale voters, we have and it's incumbent on us to be the fiduciary protectors of their resources. And that means value, branding, that means reputation. It means a number of things that -- and controlling our environment. One of the things that we find, and we have found, and we have a tendency to at least be looking hard at this, as to what level of control we're transferring over to another body, a governance that would potentially be weighted against the decisions.

Ted Simons: I want to go back to what you said regarding branding because I know
that was important as far as the council is concerned. What is Scottsdale's brand and how would that be hurt by this particular development effort?

Jim Lane: I suppose -- and I don't want to be too braggart, but I think Scottsdale has a national and international brand as a tourist community, a resort level community. And that plays well with a number of companies that would like to consider us as a place to locate their businesses and frankly to have their meetings and conventions and otherwise. But it's a brand that we've spent a lot of money establishing and we want to enhance it and continue to grow it and it's unique and our reputation goes with that too. In combining, I suppose when we look at several different other communities and this is a -- no denigration or any dismissal of their particular brands and that, we're concerned about selling south Scottsdale as Scottsdale and we've had a fair degree of success in that. Merging in together, dilutes the branding and value, that we want to protect for our businesses and residents.

Ted Simons: I would have to ask because I think most folks who drive through south Scottsdale would say this is not necessarily a brand that needs to be reflected. How can I say this nicely? The area needs improvement and sounds like this particular effort might be a pretty good way to improve south Scottsdale. If there's a branding for Scottsdale, does south Scottsdale reflect that branding now?

Jim Lane: I'd like to say that we're not going to sort of divide them off and somehow categorize them in some different kind of branding. I honestly don't believe and I'm not going to accept the fact that's in such a dire state and I think some of the things we're planning, we put together, as soon as I got into office a year and a half ago, we put together an economic summit for south Scottsdale and that went into a taskforce of stakeholders, business owners and folks that were going to be involved in the area. And we got them together and they came forth after about nine or 10 months with some great recommendations which we're working through right now and frankly, they're going to transform the area and we're working that hard but one of the elements we're selling is it's Scottsdale. Close to downtown and all of things relevant to it. If we were to combine this into a marketing program for the 16,000 acres which we include two or three hundred acres it's difficult to try to establish as our contribution versus the allocation of benefits coming back when you have weighted votes coming the other way. Even as you market it elsewhere. We're losing a little bit on that, in exchange -- I still believe, lending our name to it and our brand and reputation, which potentially could become diluted. I don't want south Scottsdale to be east Phoenix or north Tempe.

Ted Simons: I hear concern regarding power perhaps coming from Phoenix and perhaps Tempe as well. Losing the branding and that the identity but losing -- what seems to be a concern about losing power. Is that at play? You don't have enough chips at the table here?

Jim Lane: Well yeah, There's no doubt in any regional effort, you do dilute the voters' elected officials vote for your community. I mean you have now exchanged the governance into a larger body. Am I saying that is a bad thing? No. We're certainly intimately involved with MAG and other regional efforts because there's a common interest and common exchange of benefits and it makes sense. In this particular case, by definition or at least to this point in time, it doesn't seem like there is that sort of respectable -- well, we wouldn't expect that we -- the allocation of benefits would necessarily correspond to what our contribution would be on a number of levels.

Ted Simons: If the development sees success, if you see things happening in Phoenix and Tempe that could possibly benefit south Scottsdale and keeping whatever brand you want to keep intact, is this something that the city could look back into in the future?

Jim Lane: At any time. And any council could easily look back and see if there's something of value but the other side of it is we can continue to work with them in any case, but doing so independently. You mentioned something about control that I think is an important aspect. Scottsdale has a reputation, in land use and being -- having high standards. And it's something that we don't want to trade away. That control of that aspect of it.

Ted Simons: Last question. Critics will say, Scottsdale has a chance for regional cooperation here and they're not playing ball. How do you respond?

Jim Lane: It's incumbent on every elected incumbent to see how it best affects their community.

Ted Simons: We appreciate it.

Jim Lane: Thank you.

Jim Lane:Mayor of Scottsdale;

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