Thursday, October 14, 2010

The gloves coming off in Scottsdale...again

Things in Scottsdale got ugly in 2008, and it looks to be getting the same way in 2010.

In case anyone is thinking the nastiness of the state's and country's political discourse this year hasn't trickled down to local races, think again.

From the Arizona Republic -
Two candidates running for Scottsdale City Council have fired back against a recent political advertisement that accused them of raising taxes and increasing spending.

The ad in Thursday's Scottsdale Republic targets candidates Ned O'Hearn, Linda Milhaven and Councilman Wayne Ecton. Ecton did not immediately respond. Paid for by the Keep Scottsdale's Future Bright committee, it is plastered with the headline "Warning!" and discourages readers from voting for the three, which the ad describes as "the tax and spend trio."
The group, Keep Scottsdale's Future Bright, is chaired by Tom Mason and its treasurer is Mike Fernandez.

Mason is a Scottsdale-based real estate agent and a contributor to Mayor Jim Lane's campaign committee.

Fernandez is a long-time activist in Scottsdale politics, acting as chair or treasurer of a number of committees that are "against" something or other.  He has also contributed to the coarsening of Scottsdale's political discourse, utilizing the City Council agenda's "public comment" section to launch personal attacks against certain members of the council and their families, including current target Wayne Ecton.

In the ad in question, they criticize each of three candidates, Linda Milhaven, Ned O'Hearn, and (of course) Wayne Ecton for different votes (Ecton is a current member of the City Council and O'Hearn is a former member of the Council) or activities (Milhaven is a former chair of the Scottsdale Cultural Council).

The best (in a "they really should do their homework" sort of way) was the criticism of Ecton's vote for a retirement-incentive program that encouraged senior City employees to retire early. 

The program came in for criticism from some who thought the program was too generous to exiting City employees (one week's pay for each year of service).  The program was used to rationalize firing John Little, the former Scottsdale City Manager.

The ENTIRE council voted for the program, not just Ecton. 

Yet, Mason, Fernandez, et. al. have targeted their criticisms for only one of the current members running for reelection.  Bob Littlefield, one of the clique favored by Lane, Fernandez, Mason, Lamar Whitmer, et. al., is getting a free pass.  Late council member Tony Nelssen would have been up for reelection, but his untimely passing ended his campaign.  As he was part of the same bloc as Littlefield, I have no doubt he would have received the same free pass.

It will be interesting to see what the Mason/Fernandez group discloses in its campaign filings.  I expect their list of contributors to be a short one.


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