Is Scottsdale Becoming Less Special?

People come and go ... but our city's institutions remain.
However, Scottsdale's institutional pillars are crumbling. Regrettably, many civic organizations are losing relevance because of their failure to recognize the community is changing and their resistance to adapt accordingly.
It's a trend that should give citizens cause for concern.
Obviously, the most glaring example of the institutional erosion is the Scottsdale Unified School District. SUSD leadership has allowed the school district to be turned into a second-rate reality TV show that features perp walks and humiliating revelations about cover ups of corruption. The embarrassing ineptitude is expected to continue until the current members of the School Board have been replaced, which will take years.
The more things change at Scottsdale Arts, the more they remain the same.  
A new CEO/president of the organization has been in charge for almost two months. Three directors of various departments have been given the heave-ho and have been temporarily replaced. While the organization is in transition, the same people remain on the Executive Board and the Board of Trustees. For all intents and purposes they are the ones who, for years, have been making decisions about the direction of the organization.
The decision makers, the majority of whom are Baby Boomers, have been satisfied to maintain the status quo. The long in the tooth group is short on creativity and are thought to be out of touch with the arts community - which has made luring a new generation into the organization challenging.
Meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce has some of the same issues as Scottsdale Arts.
For years, the Chamber had been wrestling with how to be relevant when Mark Hiegel was hired to head the organization about two years ago. He brought energy and enthusiasm that finally propelled the Chamber onto the right path. Then, last fall under undisclosed circumstances, the organization's Executive Board encouraged him to resign. Mark Stanton was hired to replace Hiegel two weeks ago. But the same problems persist that have plagued the Chamber's decision making for years.
The most recent example was last week when the City Council voted to place raising the sales tax rate on the November election ballot. Surprisingly, the Chamber sat on the sidelines. The organization that's supposed to be advocating for the best interests of business was AWOL because of the Executive Board's indecisiveness.
And that issue leads to the City Council, where political division and personal distemper are becoming a mirror image of what's happening in the community.  
The latest showdown occurred last week when councilmembers clashed over the most practical way to start funding $800 million of improvements to the city's infrastructure. By a 4-3 vote, those who favored increasing the sales tax won out.   But there were deeper political implications, the kind that leave hurt feelings and bruised egos.
Consensus building on the City Council seems like a thing of the past and, as a result, only adding to the contentious political conditions sweeping the city.
Sadly, as vital institutional pillars of the community are breaking down, Scottsdale is slowly becoming less special.