Is The Next Big Idea For Scottsdale in Jeopardy?

It's astonishing to watch all those who have worked so hard for so long to make the Desert Discovery Center a reality being so outmaneuvered by a grassroots group of citizens staking claim to our McDowell Sonoran Preserve.
The silence of the DDC supporters is deafening.  
The proponents of the DDC have settled into "silent majority" status.  In doing so, they're conceding momentum to their opposition in the battle to win the hearts and minds of the public - the same ones who may some day vote on where to locate the DDC.  Or maybe even have a say in whether or not it's built at all.
Guy Phillips is having a heyday, thanks to no opposing opinion from the DDC supporters.  But Councilman Phillips is just getting warmed up.  He's making his opposition to the DDC the cornerstone of his re-election campaign.
Phillips may be a Pied Piper.  But he's not a one-man band.
The Coalition of Greater Scottsdale (COGS) is helping build grassroots support to stymie the construction of the DDC at the Gateway Trailhead inside the boundaries of the Preserve.  COGS, citing a petition signed by more than 600 citizens to prevent the DDC from being located in the Preserve, suggests erecting the project at the site of the former Loloma School at Goldwater Boulevard and 2nd Street or on land the city owns near WestWorld or in Old Town next to the Museum of the West.
Scottsdale's Tea Party affiliate has also piped up about the process.  According to remarks directed at DDC supporters by the organization's spokesperson, Pat Shaler: "I respect the many years of effort many of you have placed in establishing the Preserve; however, neither that, nor the fact that some of you have been planning on a DDC at Gateway for a long time, justifies going forward against the wishes of the voters, now that we see what you want.  We approved the Bonds for a Preserve - not for Disneyland on the Desert."
Make no mistake ... most people who criticize the DDC object to it based primarily on its proposed location inside the Preserve. However, many are also not amenable to tax dollars, including bed tax dollars, being used to underwrite the project's construction costs.  That means the controversy over the DDC can be expected to drag on for months ... maybe even longer.
In the meantime, the DDC supporters have a story to tell. But, unfortunately, no one is telling it.  And, as a result, those who are opposing the DDC are, in political terms, "owning" the argument.  They have also for all intents and purposes declared themselves the sole stewards of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.  And no one is challenging them.
If anyone or any organization was willing to speak up, they would tell the public how important the DDC could be in helping to expand tourism and make the Preserve a destination, not just an interlude between shopping, dining and golfing.  Just ask our Convention and Visitors Bureau: today travelers are looking for an "experience."  Plenty of places other than Scottsdale have beautiful weather, scenic open spaces and majestic mountains for people to commune with nature.
If they took the time, supporters would explain the critical role the DDC would play in educating those of all ages from a lot of places about the Sonoran Desert's eco-system.
And if they got around to it, supporters would make the case that the DDC would be a one-of-a-kind facility like no other in the country.  In other words ... Scottsdale's "Next Big Idea."    
However, the most important thing proponents of the Desert Discovery Center could do is tell people that Guy Phillips, COGS and the Tea Party don't speak for everyone -- even though it seems that way since no one is saying otherwise.