Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Should be a colorful meeting of the Scottsdale City Council on Tuesday

At first glance, the Council's agenda looks like a quiet one - a short consent agenda (just 8 items! Sometimes, the tally reaches into the 30s) and a regular agenda that starts off with two mundane items - an update to the City's sign ordinance relating to commercial signage and a proposed zoning for a dental office.

However, the last item on the agenda, #11, could get interesting -

11. Non-discrimination Relating to City of Scottsdale Employment Activities; Contractors,Suppliers or Lessees Doing Business with the City of Scottsdale; and Businesses and Organizations within Scottsdale.

The ordinance up for approval at the December 4th meeting would "prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in City of Scottsdale employment activities."

Also part of the agenda item is a request to "[d]iscuss and provide direction to staff" regarding a proposal to extend the same non-discrimination language to contractors, suppliers or lessees doing business with the City of Scottsdale and to businesses and organizations within Scottsdale.

I expect that the change to the City's own employment policy will pass by a comfortable margin, with a few grimaces from certain members of the Council; however, the proposed extension of the ordinance to contracts, vendors, and other businesses that do business in or with the City of Scottsdale is a different story.

There will be some screaming over it from the local business community (and probably others), but those components of the change will be put off for as long as the Council can get away with (it *is* an election year, after all. :)) )

Of course, in all of the soon-to-be-hubbub over this, folks may forget that the December 11 Council agenda contains an item that is at once both more boring and controversial - consideration of the City's updated Transportation Master Plan (TMP).

The screaming about the non-discrimination ordinance at the December 4th meeting will be dead silence compared to what will happen the first time that someone mentions 'light rail' at the December 11 meeting.

It should be entertaining...loud...but entertaining. :)

For the record, I support at least the consideration of adding light rail ('high capacity transit' in the TMP) to Scottsdale because it's the 21st century and it's time that Scottsdale moved into it.


Note: At a meeting in September, the Scottsdale Human Relations Commission voted on these changes (non-discrimination ordinance) and recommended that the City Council approve them. Coverage of that meeting here.

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