Jim Lane has a lot to brag about.
Lane couldn't have been elected mayor at a more challenging time than 2008. It was the leading edge of the Great Recession and the city would soon be facing the challenge of navigating through a sea of red ink -- a $30 million deficit to be exact. City employees' wages were frozen and more than 100 of them were offered early retirement in order to reduce overhead.
Mayor Lane and the City Council's challenge was how to keep delivering the same high-level services taxpayers expected with a lot less money to do it.
Other Valley cities suffered through identical challenges. But they dealt with the economic downturn with far less success than Scottsdale. Their leaders made desperate decisions from which many of those cities have yet to recover. Glendale comes to mind.
Our Mayor and Council never panicked. They created an austerity plan and stuck to it. Sacrifices were made -- especially by city employees. However, quality citizen services continued and taxes were kept under control.
Being at the helm of city government during that turbulent time, Jim Lane can now claim credit for Scottsdale weathering the storm. He also helped steer the city through a bumpy post-recession recovery.
Most of us, including elected leaders, are now resigned to the fact that we're living in the "New Normal."
Besides confronting unparalleled economic challenges, Mayor Lane has had to work with four different city managers during his two four-year terms. Of course he had more than a little something to do with firing the first three. Nevertheless, he has been able to help guide the city through some choppy circumstances after the financial fallout from the recession.
Rightfully, when he ran for re-election in 2012, the theme of Mayor Lane's campaign was "Reform, Results and Recovery." He has already pledged that his third term will be about taking Scottsdale "from better times to the best of times."
Next month Mayor Lane will deliver his annual State of the City address where he will tout the thriving Cure Corridor of medical services along Shea Boulevard, the renaissance of McDowell Road and the evolution of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Not to mention the new Museum of the West and the revitalization of downtown, including residential development.
Jim Lane will be the harbinger of good news. However, "good news" alone doesn't win elections - particularly in a festering political environment and a politically divided city.
When Bob Littlefield announced his campaign for mayor several months ago, Lane backers dismissed the three-term councilman's candidacy as a political sideshow. They joked that Littlefield couldn't muster the money or votes to be little more than a sparring partner for Mayor Lane. Now, as conservative Republicans around the country are flocking to Donald Trump's campaign, confidantes in Lane's camp are now concerned that Trump's anti-government message may trickle down and reach critical mass in Scottsdale.
One local Republican politico recently quipped: "Bob Littlefield may be the Donald Trump of Scottsdale, except with better hair."