Scottsdale Chamber Questionnaire 2012

Author: bcrawford
07.02.12

City Council Candidate Questionnaire

Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce

 

Dear Candidate:

The Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce considers endorsement opportunities during every election cycle. This year the Board of Directors has voted NOT to offer endorsements in any city, county, state or federal race.  While not offering endorsements this cycle, the Chamber is asking candidates to fill out and submit candidate questionnaires which will be available to our members  and the public for their review as they make their decisions in the coming elections.

This questionnaire is designed to allow a candidate to address issues and challenges in a short, concise manner.  We ask that you return the questionnaire BY EMAIL to rkidder@scottsdalechamber.com on or before Monday, July 2, 2012.

Name:             Bill Crawford

Address:          4601 N. 73rd Street, Unit 11

Telephone:     602-576-6797

Email: votebillcrawford@aol.com

Years as a resident of Scottsdale: 16

Part I – Please provide clear and concise responses to the following questions. Bullet points, if illustrative of your position, are acceptable.

  1. List the top three issues facing Scottsdale in ranked order and provide bullet point steps to solve those issues.

1) A mayor, council and city staff nonresponsive to residents and small business concerns with incompatible zoning, conditional use permits and quality of life issues city wide.

  • Elect a resident friendly mayor and city council who recognize voters are the bosses and include them in the decision making process.
  • Direct city staff to balance development with quality of life.
  • There needs to be a conscious win-win approach to compatibility between residents and development.

2) Our downtown is a critical component of our city wide vision. The Entertainment District is out of control and threatens public safety, quality of life, the Scottsdale brand and property values. If not balanced appropriately, we risk our valuable brand and reputation. Excuses such as “vibrancy” and “struggling with success” are unacceptable. Action and solutions are long overdue.

  • Revisit and strengthen the noise ordinance so neighbors can secure the quiet peaceful enjoyment of their private property.  We need to create compatibility between residential, non-entertainment business and the entertainment district’s bars and nightclubs as it exists in other cities where there is compatibility resulting in cooperative thriving, successful entertainment districts that play by the rules.
  • Address critical parking and lighting problems. We can build a parking garage with a combination of funds from my proposed taxing district and a bond. We can create a special lighting district within the downtown bar area.
  • Properly fund, deploy and equip our law enforcement with clear public safety policy in the entertainment district.
  • Set standards, insist on accountability and implement consequences for bad players and offending business owners who repeatedly ignore the law and city codes, displaying a lack of conscience and the desire to be a good neighbor. When bad players are not held accountable it is overwhelming, frustrating and intimidating to the surrounding neighbors and degrades property values.  This lack of enforcement is bad public policy and unconscionable. If not addressed, this has far reaching consequences city wide.
  • Halt the rubber-stamp approval process of every bar and outdoor patio and conditional use permit request that comes before the planning commission.

     3) Job growth, economic revitalization within the business community, including McDowell Road.

  • Adopt a business friendly attitude. Remove bureaucratic government restrictions which serve as a disincentive for investment and job creation.
  • The private sector must be given the environment to solve this issue without the micro-management of government. I support development that is compatible with existing neighborhoods and supports quality of life, providing it is acceptable to the adjoining residential neighborhoods. Lack of consideration for residents and stakeholders should not be tolerated. I will support our diverse citizenry and facilitate reasonable, compatible quality growth and business opportunities that enhance Scottsdale.
  • As a 35 year business owner, I know growth and progress is inevitable and we need to respond accordingly to support our business community. As an experienced community leader, I understand balance is necessary so growth does not compromise and negatively impact surrounding neighborhoods. There needs to be a direct approach to compatibility.
  1. How should the City address ongoing budget challenges?  Please identify specific tactics.
  • For the record, I am the one who first petitioned the City of Scottsdale to appoint a city treasurer so that we would be in compliance with the city charter. Despite the initial resistance, it has served us well.
  • General review of city departments, programs and services.
  • I believe we are over staffed with mid-level management.
  • I believe we are missing an opportunity to collect sales tax on single residential rental units and on special event sales tax.
  • We must revisit unrealistic golden parachute retirement and early retirement packages not aligned with standards within the private sector.
  • We need to revisit the Budget Review Commission. This was a valuable organization that provided depth to the process.
  • Instead of spending every dime we have or receive, we need to institute a “Rainy Day Fund” enabling the city to operate for a period of time without having to borrow money. With a forced savings account for our city we will have the security of holding capital resources for tough economic times.
  1. Do you see problems with Scottsdale City government that you would commit to address? If so, please list what you see, and provide bullet point steps toward improvement.

1) The City of Scottsdale has lost its integrity to preserve neighborhoods and residential quality of life city wide.

  • Return the voice to the citizens of Scottsdale, the biggest overall stakeholder in our town.  Encourage citizen involvement.

2) Transparency. There is not adequate information available to the public regarding disclosure and accountability on budget and public safety matters.

  • Monthly line item expenditure reports available on line.
  • Weekly public safety and crime reports available on line. This information must be accurate so we do not create a false sense of security for the public. Scottsdale statistics saw a significant rise in overall crime between 2010 and 2011. Before you can solve a problem, you must acknowledge there is a problem.  Denial is counterproductive when addressing public safety issues.
  • City council meetings should be simultaneously broadcast via CCT to assembly areas in libraries and senior citizen centers city wide with the opportunity for citizens to make audible public comment.

3) Citizens are shut out of the process, issues are not addressed and their voice is not heard.

  • Citizen advocacy. It is extremely important to ensure citizens have a voice. There is a critical need for a citizen advocacy department within the city to provide counseling and balanced representation on compatibility issues related to unwelcomed developments affecting quality of life. At the present time, developers with seemingly unlimited financial resources have legal representation, public relation firms, political consultants and city staff to assist in expediting projects, sometimes resisted by neighborhoods. The individuals within the neighborhoods get three minutes before the dais. Some citizens, for various reasons, are unable to attend and participate at all. This is not fair. I will create a department that represents the interest of residents and businesses and empower their voice.
  1. What would you do to encourage and improve the business attraction efforts of Scottsdale?
  • We need to attract business that is compatible with our professional demographic and our quality of life.
  • There is a large amount of vacant commercial real estate available. We need to encourage businesses and landlords to fill the spaces and possibly incentivize the effort with a pro-business campaign.
  • Furthermore, we need to shorten the process of obtaining a certificate of occupancy and a business license in Scottsdale.
  1. Scottsdale is known for big ideas like the Preserve and the Indian Bend Wash. What do you think should be our city’s next big idea?
  • Our next big idea is appreciating what we have, why we live here and why others are attracted to come here. We must protect our world famous brand and our reputation as an upscale, sophisticated western desert community. We must protect and preserve our pristine image, unique lifestyle and quality of life and continue to promote economic vitality that honors Scottsdale’s heritage and builds a strong future.  We must continue to aggressively attract jobs, technology, research, medical, education, tourism, hospitality, dining, entertainment, arts, culture, events, cars, golf, horses and fun.  Marketing Scottsdale’s extraordinary diverse resources adds value to our 60 year brand.
  1. Describe your plan for the scope, scale and financing of the Desert Discovery Center.

I strongly believe the assemblage of the land while it is available is the absolute priority. It is the raw land that will be our timeless, priceless gift to future generations. The land will provide the outdoor Sonoran experience attracting people to Scottsdale to experience this unique treasure.

When the assemblage of the preserve is secure, then an appropriately sized, environmentally and neighborhood compatible structure can be developed using corporate sponsorship and privately donated funds.

  1. What are your vision and action steps for the revitalization of the McDowell Rd. Corridor?

We need to encourage and stimulate revitalization. Get government out of the way and let the private sector lead with initiative, ideas and financing. If there is a heavy lift project that meets the criteria for compatibility, enhancement, job creation and quality of life then I will support measured assistance as needed.

  1. What changes are necessary to see a successful passage of the city’s General Plan?

The guideline is very simple. It must be resident friendly. Scottsdale has lost the cognitive vision of where we came from, what we are and where we are going. The general plan must be compatible with our city wide vision. It must not disenfranchise the residents and it must protect quality of life and property values. We need to maintain a delicate balance between quality of life issues, a healthy environment and sustainable economic vitality.

  1. Do you support the bond proposal to assist in repairing Scottsdale’s aging infrastructure?

Yes, when it can be demonstrated the repairs are warranted. I especially support a funding mechanism for a downtown parking garage within the bar district.

  1. Downtown has become an important economic driver again with the entertainment district and improved employment centers. How do you feel that issues related to Downtown’s transformation be addressed?

The success of the Galleria Corporate Centre, The Waterfront, Southbank, new residential components and fine restaurants is all positive. Paring the highest concentration of bars in Maricopa County within the same area without proper planning is bad policy.  As a downtown Scottsdale resident, business owner and community leader who has been involved in many issues over the years, my comprehension of the seriousness of this matter has compelled me to proactively engage this problem and work for solutions. The problems in the entertainment district earned the recognition from The Scottsdale Republic as the story of the year for 2011. My involvement as a problem solver earned me a spot on the front page of the Scottsdale Republic Title: “2011’s Who’s Who. The December 29, 2011 edition of the Scottsdale Republic said:  “Scottsdale businessman Bill Crawford is leading a campaign to tackle excessive noise, trash and “rampant illegal activity” in the city’s downtown entertainment district.” The vision shift for downtown Scottsdale is the biggest issue in the history of Scottsdale, and it is certainly the biggest issue we face.  The founder of Scottsdale, Winfield Scott, was a very religious, conservative man who brought to Scottsdale family values and moral convictions. Scottsdale has always been a safe, family oriented community. Those values are being sold out and replaced with businesses catering to a non-stop party atmosphere in the middle of our residential and workplace neighborhoods.  As the founder and president of the Association to Preserve Downtown Scottsdale’s Quality of Life, I have diligently embraced this issue and have educated the public and the media causing awareness and bringing positive change to the city. I have witnessed and been the messenger of many shocking events in the entertainment district firsthand. This is REAL, see for yourself, a picture is worth a thousand words:

View YouTube videos and news reports on the Scottsdale Bar District site; ScottsdaleBarWars:

http://www.youtube.com/user/scottsdalebarwars?feature=results_main

View photographic albums on the Scottsdale Bar District facebook site:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Scottsdale-Bar-District/249507405080670

See local police reports:  www.raidsonline.com

Downtown Scottsdale belongs to all of us, and is unique in the fact  that we have existing quality residential neighborhoods bordering our downtown. The city’s negligence and lack of planning has caused a bars vs. neighbors battle. This is irresponsible and a betrayal to the established residential neighbors, non-entertainment businesses and their customers. These neighbors are engaged in a hostile encounter with some offending bars and their patrons. The result of not addressing this issue will result in a compromised quality of life. Unchecked, property values will decline. Ownership will shift to speculative assemblers, renting to a demographic foreign to Scottsdale. The end result is declining property values, urban blight and increase in crime. The bars must be forced to operate within the standards acceptable to Scottsdale’s brand and coexist compatibility with existing residential neighborhoods and the non-entertainment business community. The entertainment district is out of control. We must realign the entertainment district with our vision and brand and address the critical issues. We have made progress, but there is more work to be done.

With my criticisms, I offer solutions:

  • Revisit and strengthen the noise ordinance so neighbors can secure the quiet peaceful enjoyment of their private property.  We need to create compatibility between residential, non-entertainment business and the entertainment district’s bars and nightclubs as it exists in other cities where there is compatibility resulting in cooperative thriving, successful entertainment districts that play by the rules.
  • Address critical parking and lighting problems. We can build a parking garage with a combination of funds from my proposed taxing district and a bond. We can create a special lighting district within the downtown bar area.
  • Properly fund, deploy and equip our law enforcement with clear public safety policy in the entertainment district.
  • Set standards, insist on accountability and implement consequences for bad players and offending business owners who repeatedly ignore the law and city codes, displaying a lack of conscience and the desire to be a good neighbor. When bad players are not held accountable it is overwhelming, frustrating and intimidating to the surrounding neighbors and degrades property values.  This lack of enforcement is bad public policy and unconscionable. If not addressed, this has far reaching consequences city wide.
  • Halt the rubber-stamp approval process of every bar and outdoor patio and conditional use permit request that comes before the planning commission.

Part II – Included with your completed questionnaire, please submit the following:

  1. Any published My Turn/Guest Columns for either local paper or any on-line publication.

Attachment #1 (See Facebook Page: Vote Bill Crawfodr / Albums: Colums

  1. A list of all city offices or volunteer positions held (e.g. Boards, Commissions, Task Forces, etc.)
  • National Fitness Hall of Fame Inductee 2012.
  • Member of the National Fitness Hall of Fame.
  • Regional seven state Director of The National Association of Fitness Enthusiasts.
  • Member of the American College of Sports Medicine.
  • Founder and president of The Association to Preserve Downtown Scottsdale’s Quality of Life.
  • President of Olive View Manor Home Owner’s Association.
  • Member of the USSA Ski and Snowboarding Team Foundation.
  • Former member of the USSA Rocky Mountain Division Alpine Expert Elite Downhill Division.
  • Former committee member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, Los Angeles, California.
  • Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office:

  Board Member of the McDowell Mounted Search and Rescue Posse.

  Member of the Mounted Search and Rescue Posse of McDowell Mountain; 2008-2012.

  Member of the Qualified Armed Posse.

  Member of the Dignitary Protection Unit.

  Qualified for Rifle Duty AR-15.

  Mounted Posse Rookie of the Year 2008.

  Overall High Point Leader 2010.

  Platoon Point Leader 2010.

  Top Six 2011.

  • Certified Basic Search and Rescue Academy, Yavapai County Sherriff’s Office, Arizona.
  • Directly responsible for saving 4 lives, 3 in Maricopa County.
  • Former Candidate for Scottsdale City Council.
  • Former Board of Directors member of the Scottsdale Symphony Orchestra, Scottsdale, Arizona.
  • Former Chairman of Council Districts for Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Arizona.
  • Former member of the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Committee, Scottsdale, Arizona.
  • Former member of the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee, Scottsdale, Arizona.
  • Former president of Canals of Scottsdale Merchants Association.
  • Former Board of Directors member of the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce, Fort Myers Beach, Florida.
  • Volunteer Ouray Mountain Rescue Team 1986-1990, Ouray, Colorado.
  • Volunteer Ouray Fire Department 1986-1990, Ouray, Colorado.
  1. Resume of your work experience.

View Bill Crawford’s Resume on line: http://www.votebillcrawford.net/downloads/bcrawford2010.pdf

Part III – Answer the following:  AGREE or DISAGREE plus EXPLANATION and/or STRATEGY:

1. Scottsdale has clearly articulated redevelopment goals and policies.

DISAGREE

The defeat of the General Plan was a clear example of Scottsdale’s failure to properly get the message out, subjecting the voters to the anecdotal influence of the opposition. The ambiguous, clever and sometimes deceptive language used to articulate the intentions of development guidelines has cultured a mistrust and frustration of policy. Honest, forthright, comprehensible explanations and guidelines should be used in all cases. The truth always works, because eventually everyone figures it out anyway and credibility is lost.

2. Regional partnerships are essential for Scottsdale’s growth and sustainability.

DISAGREE

As a general policy I disagree. As an exception on a case by case basis, I reserve judgment. Scottsdale’s unique individual character that sets us apart from the greater Phoenix area is a product of resistance to regional policy over a long period of time and it has served us well. Scottsdale is a special place. We pay more to own a home here and we pay more to own a business here. The message to the region should be a welcome to rise to the high standards of Scottsdale without compromising our brand, reputation or quality of life.

3. Scottsdale needs zoning changes that allow for increased height or density in defined areas of the city.

DISAGREE

As a general policy I disagree.  There are rare qualifying exceptions, which need to be judged on a case by case basis on the merits of the individual characteristics, needs and above all the compatibly impact on established residential neighborhoods. This means there might be an exception.  You can’t say yes to everything and you can’t say no to everything.  A policy of “no” without compromise or solutions is self-destructive. A rubber-stamp policy of “yes” without compromise and compatibility is self-destructive.

4. Compared to other valley communities, Scottsdale’s regulatory and environmental processes adversely affects the city’s economic growth potential.

AGREE

The culture within the city management is contrary to the needs of development and business startups. This is an opinion shared by business in general and has been a disincentive for business development in Scottsdale. In many cases, businesses have either left Scottsdale in frustration or chosen to develop elsewhere in the competitive marketplace to avoid costly compliance and delays. The bureaucratic process needs common sense and resiliency.

5. Scottsdale must protect and enhance its distinctive (quality) brand image and preeminent position within the valley.

AGREE

Protect our valuable reputation as the most livable city where quality of life is paramount. This is done by adhering to high standards, height, density and code enforcement, specifically in the entertainment district and surrounding areas. The enhancement is furthered by carefully approving projects that fit Scottsdale’s character and enhance quality of life city wide. We must resist the temptation to be pulled into regional “one size fits all” plans that dilute our character and brand. We must continue to invest in and protect the strong characteristics that have made us the stand out community in Arizona.

6. Scottsdale should continue to develop and invest in arts and culture, including through private development contribution to public art.

AGREE

The arts are a cornerstone for Scottsdale’s brand known throughout the world. The arts and the arts district deserve our utmost attention, protection and support. Scottsdale’s art galleries are an anchor, attracting a sophisticated, world class demographic.  Unfortunately the private development contribution has been selectively enforced lately. Some developers are given a pass on the public art contribution component requirement. I believe in enforcing the public art contribution requirement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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