Scottsdale's Shifting Political Winds

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."

Bob Dylan
Subterranean Homesick Blues

As the city's political winds shift, some people are going with the flow. 

For the better part of two years Mayor Lane had been hesitant to take a position on the Desert Discovery Center. On several occasions he sounded as if he supported the DDC and wanted to avoid a public vote on the project because he had reservations about the ballot language that would change the City Charter. At other times his support for the desert education center seemed less than enthusiastic and he leaned toward a public vote. 

Last week His Honor announced his decision: "The (ballot) language really covers the bases. In essence, it is what I was looking for. I will vote for it."

After years of making Mayor Lane the target of relentless ridicule, the No DDC faction was caught by surprise by his support of Proposition 420. "After hurling a lot of negativity at Mayor Lane, it's time to thank him for making a good decision when it really matters most," according to No DDC Chieftain Jason Alexander. 

Mike Norton, Alexander's second banana, responded: "I am proud to say I was wrong about Mayor Jim Lane to a degree. His endorsement of Prop 420 means something. I respect his decision even if it came through a couple of years of wrangling. We all make mistakes." 

But Lane, Alexander and Norton weren't the only ones who did an about-face. 

Following the lead of Mayor Lane, Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp decided to also ride the political current. Up until last week, Klapp had hinted she thought Proposition 420 was bad public policy. Now the third-term councilwoman plans to vote "yes" on the proposition to change the City Charter.

The biggest turnaround was dealt to No DDC from the Arizona Progress & Gazette, a local blog that has been opposed to the Desert Discovery Center from the project's inception. The blog, whose publisher has made a sizeable contribution to DDC opposition, recently swooned over Councilwoman Linda Milhaven sticking to her guns and saying she intended to vote "no" on Proposition 420. 

"While we profoundly disagree with Milhaven on this issue, and have on matters concerning WestWorld too, we recommend her for re-election," according last week's editorial. "Milhaven is the antithesis of groupthink and a reminder, right and wrong, of what leadership is."

No DDC followers were flabbergasted. And they only tepidly disagreed because they didn't want to bite one of the hands that feeds their campaign. 

The three groups collaborating to pass Proposition 420 (No DDC, Protect Our Preserve and Protect Our Preserve Political Action Committee) are also working to turn the tide in the City Council election. Besides backing the re-election of Kathy Littlefield, the groups are throwing their support behind Solange Whitehead. Some believe Whitehead could be the leading edge of a new wave of candidates spawned by their opposition to Desert EDGE. 

To Be Continued: The Perfect Political Storm Shaping Up in 2020