Thursday, July 22, 2010

Two candidates for Scottsdale City Council cite feud with C of C when backing out of debate

From the Arizona Republic -
Two candidates running for Scottsdale City Council are boycotting an upcoming forum put on by the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce to show their discontent with the business group's campaign-finance policy.

Councilman Bob Littlefield and Guy Phillips said they will not participate in the Aug. 11 forum until the chamber reveals donors and pays fines associated with advertisements the group circulated before the fall 2008 city election.
The apparent conflict stems from the 2008 campaign season when the Chamber-endorsed-praised candidates mostly didn't win, and those candidates who didn't gain the Chamber's favor but won anyway have been exacting a little payback.  (More background on the matter here)

While incumbent Littlefield and candidate Phillips are portraying their "boycott" of the C of C's forum as a matter of principle, neither one was likely to earn the Chamber's endorsement - Littlefield has been railing against the C of C for years and Phillips is a Tea Party type who doesn't approve of public infrastructure.

Since this post is more about commentary than news, here are a few points -

1.  The C of C should just shut up, pay their fines, and not do it again.  Despite their protestations to the contrary, the 2008 ads *were* an attempt to influence the election.  That means that campaign finance laws apply, including disclosure of donors.  By not accepting responsibility for their actions in 2008, they've kept the issue alive for the 2010 election cycle.

2.  Littlefield and Phillips should quit the "high road" pretense.  It's an election year, and part of any office holder's (or candidate's) job is to reach out to voters.  Ditching the forum does nothing to help inform voters or allow them to compare candidates.

3.  The Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce is *far* from perfect and God knows that I have my issues with their retail/tourism-centric vision for Scottsdale's economy.  However, it is still the *Scottsdale* Chamber of Commerce.  The anti-government.anti-society ideology that the likes of Littlefield, Phillips and Mayor Jim Lane are trying to foist off on the City has been crafted by Grover Norquist, Dick Armey and others to protect the interests of large interstate and international corporations.  There's absolutely no room in the "ideology" for "maintain and improve Scottsdale's quality of life."

Note:  the other candidates on the ballot, who are all scheduled to participate in the forum, are Linda Milhaven, Ned O'Hearn, Wayne Ecton (incumbent) and Dennis Robbins.

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