Scottsdale students win Valley Metro wrap-design contest

Staff reports
independent Newsmedia Inc. USA

 

Valley Metro unveiled the 14th Annual Design a Transit Wrap Contest winner during a lunchtime ceremony recently at Arcadia High School in Scottsdale.

This year’s winner is art student and senior John Reniewicki, whose design and slogan — “Ride On” — took home the grand prize. The second- and third-place winners were also from Arcadia, marking the first time ever that all three winners were from the same school.

“We are thrilled Scottsdale Unified School District students are being recognized for their talents and commitment to public transit,” said Valley Metro Board Member and Scottsdale Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp. “John’s design highlights the importance of our transit system in an imaginative, engaging way.”

Valley Metro CEO Steve Banta agrees.

“Public transit is an important issue for high school students,” he said. “This contest helps us to connect to a younger generation that is choosing to use transit. We are grateful for their ridership and ongoing support of our transit system.”

The Design a Transit Wrap contest is part of a larger effort to spread awareness about the benefits of public transit.

Valley Metro provides eco-friendly public transit options to residents of greater Phoenix and Maricopa County including the planning and operations of a regional bus system and the development and operations of light rail.

In Fiscal Year 2013, total ridership for the system was 73.4 million passengers, which set a new record for bus and light rail boardings.

The first 20 miles of light rail opened December 2008. Seven light rail extensions are planned or are under construction that will create a 60-mile system by 2034.

 

Scottsdale studies options to shrink $3 million budget gap

By Beth DuckettThe Republic | azcentral.com

Scottsdale could eliminate employee positions and close Palomino Library to the public to help reduce a $3 million gap in the upcoming budget.

The changes, which require City Council approval, would help Scottsdale afford pay raises for its employees, city officials said.

Palomino Library at Desert Mountain High School operates via an intergovernmental agreement with the Scottsdale Unified School District. By ending the agreement, the city would close Palomino to the public, saving roughly $400,000. The library would remain open to Desert Mountain students.

If the council agrees, the library would revert to the high-school library, just like others in the district including Chaparral, Coronado and Saguaro, city officials said.

Positions at the remaining libraries are being held open to accommodate library employees from Palomino, should it be necessary, the said.

The number of city positions overall recommended for elimination still is being determined. The savings are projected at $600,000. Some positions are filled and some are vacant.

“More details will be provided when the proposed budget is released,” city officials said in a response to The Republic. “We value our employees, and every reasonable effort will be made to reassign them to other positions for which they are qualified that become vacant due to resignation or retirements.”

The proposed budget is due out Tuesday, March 18.

Scottsdale City Manager Fritz Behring, in a presentation Feb. 4, updated the City Council on the 2014-15 budget, which takes effect July 1.

Behring, the former Pinal County manager, is overseeing his first city budget after assuming the top management role in July.

Scottsdale is working to trim its general-fund operating budget by about $3 million in ongoing reductions to afford pay increases for employees. At $1.5 million, the city is halfway there.

“Staff has identified another $500,000 of spending cuts we could incorporate into the budget plan for the upcoming fiscal year,” Behring said. That would be on top of the $400,000 library savings and potential $600,000 from positions.

The Scottsdale City Council has said it does not want any sales- or property-tax increases next fiscal year.

In addition, council members have expressed support for employee raises, but not necessarily across the board, Behring said.

“We want to make sure employees deserving of compensation increases get those compensation increases,” he said.

In addition, Scottsdale is considering selling three downtown buildings to raise money for projects.

They are the human resources building at 7575 E. Main St.; the McKnight building at 4021 N. 75th St.; and the Community Design Studio, or former Ascension Lutheran church, at 7506 E. Indian School Road.

If the City Council agrees, Scottsdale would put the buildings up for sale and relocate existing offices to other facilities.

The offices potentially affected are the city auditor, code enforcement, economic development, human resources, neighborhood resources and planning offices.

Revenues from the sales would go toward the capital-improvement plan.

For additional savings, Scottsdale could examine its fleet of roughly 1,000 vehicles. An initial review showed Scottsdale has “a great number of vehicles in the fleet that are underutilized,” Behring said.

Vehicles and equipment could be sold. By correcting half of the problem, Behring said the city could save $500,000 a year.

“I think it’s a good area to look at the fleet we have and how we can reduce not only the capital costs, but the expense of maintaining that many vehicles for very few miles used throughout the years,” Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp said.

Scottsdale could identify several millions of dollars in savings by retasking staff and reprioritizing duties, Behring said.

“My personal opinion is we want to do this painlessly as possible,” Behring said. “You can’t turn an ocean liner on a dime, and you can’t turn a government bureaucracy on a dime either.”

Mayor Jim Lane said a real concern has been the tendency to defer costs, which can catch up with the city later.

“I would suggest strongly … that these are structural changes in the budget that might be presented in savings,” he said.

 

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Celebrate the Day, Celebrate Scottsdale

Scottsdale is a marvelously diverse and unique city, partially because of the work of great men like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who have helped to shape our history. I hope many of you have been able to take this day – away from work and school – to enjoy time with your families, and to enjoy Scottsdale’s many outdoor recreation opportunities in this beautiful weather.  If you are working, thank you for your dedication and service.  Here’s to a beautiful week of sunshine and fair skies!

Klapp tapped for League of Cities finance committee

Staff reports
Independent Newsmedia

Scottsdale Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp has been appointed to the National League of Cities 2013 Finance, Administration & Intergovernmental Relations Steering Committee, a press release states.
This committee has the lead responsibility for developing NLC federal policy positions on issues involving national economic and financial policy, municipal management and authority and citizen participation and civil rights.

The appointment was announced by NLC President Marie Lopez Rogers, mayor of Avondale, Ariz.

“As a local elected official, I am honored to represent the city of Scottsdale on federal policies that affect and possibly benefit the fiscal and administrative operations of our city,” said Councilwoman Klapp in the release.

As a member of the committee, Councilwoman Klapp will help shape NLC’s policy positions, while advocating on behalf of America’s cities and towns on Capitol Hill, with the administration, and at home.

Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp appointed to National League of Cities Finance, Administration & Intergovernmental Relations Steering Committee

City of Scottsdale

Scottsdale City Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp has been appointed to the National League of Cities (NLC) 2013 Finance, Administration & Intergovernmental Relations Steering Committee.  This committee has the lead responsibility for developing NLC federal policy positions on issues involving national economic and financial policy, municipal management and authority and citizen participation and civil rights. The appointment was announced by NLC President Marie Lopez Rogers, mayor of Avondale, Ariz.

“As a local elected official, I am honored to represent the city of Scottsdale on federal policies that affect and possibly benefit the fiscal and administrative operations of our city,” said Councilwoman Klapp.

As a member of the committee, Councilwoman Klapp will play a key role in shaping NLC’s policy positions, while advocating on behalf of America’s cities and towns on Capitol Hill, with the administration, and at home.

For more information on NLC’s other committees and councils, visit http://www.nlc.org/influence-federal-policy/policy-committees.

The National League of Cities is the nation’s oldest and largest organization devoted to strengthening and promoting cities as centers of opportunity, leadership and governance. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.

 

Klapp, Korte, Luoma will lead Scottsdale into future

By SCOTTSDALE OPINIONS
Wed, Oct 10 2012

OUR VIEW

The August primary results presented Scottsdale voters with a clear choice of candidates for three seats on the City Council. On one side of the chasm are three candidates who look to the future. On the other, three candidates ready to lead the city into the 1960s.

As we did before the primary election, we’ll take the candidates committed to make Scottsdale better.

Virginia Korte, Eric Luoma and incumbent Suzanne Klapp have deep roots in the community. They have been involved with numerous and diverse organizations, giving them a big-picture understanding of the community.

Most importantly, they demonstrate independent thinking. Scottsdale is best served by council members open to new ideas, asking tough questions to measure a proposal’s strength, not because they want to kill something just because it’s new.

Klapp, in her four years on the council, hasn’t been flashy. She doesn’t grandstand or launch into long speeches. When Klapp speaks, she has something to say. She asks good questions that get to the heart of a matter. She makes solid, logical arguments. On contentious zoning issues, she weighs the desires of a neighborhood and the welfare of the city as a whole and generally arrives at the right answer.

Klapp has earned another four years on the council.

Every city should hope to have a leader like Korte on its council. She ran the family business on McDowell Road. She chaired the task force that launched the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. She saved the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce, using a consensus style of leadership to return the group to financial stability. Today, she runs the non-profit Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Services.

Korte has served on numerous city boards and received some of the community’s most-treasured honors. She’s in the Scottsdale History Hall of Fame.

She knows where Scottsdale has been. She has seen the McDowell Road corridor in its heyday, and in its worst days. She has seen what works and what doesn’t. She’s a solid leader with a firm understanding of Scottsdale’s vast opportunities.

In the city’s early days, the Scottsdale City Council was filled with business leaders carrying credentials similar to Korte’s. It can benefit by returning to that tradition.

Luoma is a younger Korte. He grew up in and now runs his family’s business, Cactus Flower Florists. He has been involved with the Scottsdale Charros, Scottsdale Leadership, the city’s fire committee and other groups.

Luoma and his young family live downtown because they like its vibrancy. “I have the historical knowledge of when people used to complain about empty buildings downtown. Now, they complain because it’s full of loud people,” he said.

Clearly, he understands that an energetic downtown is better than a comatose one.

Luoma’s business experience would be vital. Selling a discretionary product, Luoma has a good feel for how the economy is doing. He would bring needed insights to budget discussions.

In this campaign, he has advanced creative ideas, such as putting WestWorld, TPC Scottsdale and the proposed Desert Discovery Center under the same management, in the belief that together they become a greater attraction. It’s the sort of thinking that made Scottsdale what it is today, and that we need more of on the council.

In Klapp, Korte and Luoma, voters have candidates of optimism who see Scottsdale’s best days ahead. We heartily recommend them.

 

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Battle lines drawn in runoff for Scottsdale City Council

by Beth Duckett - Sept. 2, 2012 09:27 PM
The Republic | azcentral.com

A fall runoff election for Scottsdale City Council is shaping up to be a battle between business-backed candidates with deep ties in the community against challengers who say they favor a more grass-roots, resident-friendly government.

Scottsdale’s Nov. 6 general election could pit six candidates with strikingly different views on major issues that have emerged in the past year, including taller downtown buildings, growing complaints about downtown nightclubs and a proliferation of multiple luxury-apartment projects that could bring nearly 7,000 new units to the city.

“I’ve seen the ebb and flow of people who think Scottsdale is headed in the right direction and people who think it’s not,” said Jason Rose, who owns a Scottsdale-based public-relations firm. “Right now, it’s at or near an all-time high in terms of the gap between those who feel it’s headed in the right direction and those who don’t.”

Rose was a consultant on Mayor Jim Lane’s re-election campaign. Lane easily was re-elected to a second mayoral term in last Tuesday’s primary election. But the outcome among the 11 candidates seeking three other council seats was far less clear, as six of them are headed to a fall runoff.The top two vote-getters were non-profit executive Virginia Korte and incumbent Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp. Korte and Klapp raised the most dollars for their campaigns among the 11 candidates. They won the endorsement of a local chamber of commerce and The Arizona Republic.

The remaining four runoff candidates, in order of votes received as of Friday, were air-conditioning contractor Guy Phillips, Cactus Flower president Eric Luoma, account manager Chris Schaffner and educational-consulting firm owner Joanne “Copper” Phillips (no relation to Guy). Luoma also received the endorsement of the chamber and The Republic.

While early-ballot counting was continuing, as of Friday evening, none of the candidates had secured enough votes to win a seat outright, which would mean all six would go to a runoff — two for each available seat.

While candidates agree protecting the tourism industry and small businesses is crucial, views diverge when it comes to restrictions on development, reining in of bars in the downtown entertainment district, and plans to build thousands of apartment units in Scottsdale over the next five years.

Korte and Klapp have said the city and business owners are making strides to address concerns from residents in the bar district.

But Guy Phillips and Joanne Phillips have criticized the revelers, excessive noise and public drunkenness they and others have observed in downtown Scottsdale. The conglomeration of bars and clubs south of Camelback Road and east of Scottsdale Road attracts thousands of visitors every weekend.

Rose said campaign messages of Korte and Klapp are similar to Lane’s, who has touted an open and businesslike approach at City Hall.

According to Rose, Lane and the top council vote-getters represent a business-friendly attitude, which Scottsdale voters appear to support for now.

In the primary campaign, Lane raised close to $180,000, far more than his two challengers combined. Among the council candidates, recent campaign-finance reports show Korte raised the most money, bringing in $78,700, followed by Klapp with $61,300 and Luoma with $33,300.

Guy Phillips raised $17,300, Schaffner $9,250 and Joanne Phillips $8,900, according to the reports.

Luoma is a political neophyte whose top issues are job creation and targeting new businesses and growth using Scottsdale’s widely-known cachet, he said.

Guy Phillips, who ran unsuccessfully for council in 2010 and has support from the “tea party” movement, is in many ways the antithesis of the current council.

While he supports small businesses and tourism, much of his campaign has focused on more and better political representation for residents and criticism of what he calls a “grow or die” mantra of the existing council.

The runoff is “pretty well-defined that it’s the special-interest groups against the residents,” Guy Phillips said. He criticized candidates who have received hefty sums of campaign dollars.

“They are pretty well obliged to vote the way the contributors want,” he said.

On a similar note, Joanne Phillips said the community is divided between candidates who align with residents and neighborhoods and those “with platforms in favor of increased height and density and are supported by big money and developers and huge war chests.”

According to Joanne Phillips and Schaffner, Scottsdale’s government is out of touch with residents, as evidenced by elections in November 2010 and March this year, when voters shot down, respectively, a modest bond proposal and the city’s General Plan that would have guided growth in 10 to 20 years.

But Klapp, who owns and manages a FastFrame store in Scottsdale, said voters backed candidates who have managed the city’s resources well and run it with less revenue and low taxes in the recession.

Twice, in 2011 and this year, council members voted against a hike in the primary property-tax levy, after taking the increase every year since 1995.

“I believe it’s performance, and a great city that is heading in the right direction and is providing the services residents want and keeping taxes low, which has resonated with voters,” Klapp said.

Luoma said residents supported pro-business candidates because “they know we’re committed to our city” and have “been here for long time and have a big network of supporters.”

While Luoma acknowledged hearing about the “grass-roots vs. money” argument, he said nothing could be further from the truth.

“My message was bringing in some dialogue back to the council and listening to the citizens,” Luoma said. “A lot of people came up to me and said, ‘We like you because you’re a businessman and you know what it’s like to run something, be in charge and have employees and have to make decisions.”

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2012/08/30/20120830scottsdale-city-council-runoff-lines.html#ixzz25d588Qle

Votes for optimism: Klapp, Korte, Luoma

The Arizona Republic
Friday, August 3, 2012

A crowded ballot awaits Scottsdale voters, with 11 candidates seeking three seats on the City Council.

Three candidates, however, rise above the others in the Aug.28 election: Virginia Korte, Eric Luoma and incumbent Suzanne Klapp.

The three have a demonstrated commitment to making Scottsdale better. Their roots in the community are deep; they have been involved with numerous and diverse organizations, giving them a big-picture understanding of the community.

Most importantly, they demonstrate independent thinking. Much of the rest of the field wear ideological blinders, opposing anything outside a tightly constrained view of Scottsdale. We would much rather have council members open to new ideas, asking tough questions not to kill a proposal but to measure its strength.

That’s what you get with Klapp, Korte and Luoma.

Klapp, in her four years on the council, hasn’t been flashy. She doesn’t grandstand or launch into long speeches. When Klapp speaks, she has something to say. She asks good questions that get to the heart of a matter. She makes solid, logical arguments. On contentious zoning issues, she weighs the desires of a neighborhood and the welfare of the city as a whole and generally arrives at the right answer.

Klapp has earned another four years on the council.

Every city should hope to have a leader like Korte on its council. She ran the family business on McDowell Road. She chaired the task force that launched the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. She saved the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce, using a consensus style of leadership to return the group to financial stability. Today, she runs the non-profit Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Services.

Korte has served on numerous city boards and received some of the community’s most-treasured honors. She’s in the Scottsdale History Hall of Fame.

She knows where Scottsdale has been. She has seen the McDowell Road corridor in its heyday, and in its worst days. She has seen what works and what doesn’t. She’s a solid leader with a firm understanding of Scottsdale’s vast opportunities.

In the city’s early days, the Scottsdale City Council was filled with business leaders carrying credentials similar to Korte’s. It can benefit by returning to that tradition.

Luoma is a younger Korte. He grew up in and now runs his family’s business, Cactus Flower Florists. He has been involved with the Scottsdale Charros, Scottsdale Leadership, the city’s fire committee and other groups.

Luoma and his young family live downtown because they like its vibrancy. “I have the historical knowledge of when people used to complain about empty buildings downtown. Now, they complain because it’s full of loud people,” he said. Clearly, he understands that an energetic downtown is better than a comatose one.

Luoma’s business experience would be vital. Selling a discretionary product, Luoma has a good feel for how the economy is doing. He would bring needed insights to budget discussions.

In this campaign, he has advanced creative ideas, such as putting WestWorld, TPC Scottsdale and the proposed Desert Discovery Center under the same management, in the belief that together they become a greater attraction. It’s the sort of thinking that made Scottsdale what it is today, and that we need more of on the council.

This campaign offers choices. Multiple candidates are running campaigns that boil down to one word: No.

Scottsdale deserves better. In Klapp, Korte and Luoma, voters can support candidates of optimism who see Scottsdale’s best days in the future.

Read the original article here.

Council hopefuls discuss Scottsdale tourism, housing, downtown

The Arizona Republic
August 1, 2012

This is the second of a two-part series presenting Scottsdale City Council candidate responses to questions from the Scottsdale Republic. Read Part 1, published July 26.

Vying for three seats on the council are Denny Brown, Bill Crawford, incumbent Suzanne Klapp, Debra Komarnicki, Virginia Korte, Eric Luoma, Joe Meli, Joanne “Copper” Phillips, Guy Phillips, Chris Schaffner and Christian Serena.

Early voting begins Aug. 2. The primary election is Aug. 28.

 

What do you believe are specific steps the city can take to protect its tourism industry?

We must continue our work with the Convention and Visitors Bureau to market Scottsdale to targeted cities so we can strengthen our tourism industry. We have to make a long-term commitment to our marketing efforts, because we are in constant competition with other popular tourist destinations. We must provide desirable attractions to tourists, such as the recently approved expansion to the equestrian center at WestWorld to make it a year-round amenity. We should move forward with the development of the Desert Discovery Center in order to create an innovative amenity that highlights the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and creates an educational and interactive desert experience for residents and tourists of allages and physical abilities.

 

There are more than 5,000 apartment units planned throughout the city. Are you supportive of this? Why or why not?

Recently approved apartment projects are filling growing demand and Scottsdale is stronger because we can offer a variety of housing choices. Prior to the recession, more than 5,000 apartment units were converted to condominiums. Now, Scottsdale’s apartment units command the highest rents and enjoy the highest occupancy rates in the Valley, and it was all achieved due to our high quality of life and high-quality projects. Residents are attracted to rentals because they do not require a capital investment and they allow more flexibility, particularly for young professionals and downsizing homeowners.

 

Is the city is doing enough to address concerns about improper behavior and clustering of bars in the downtown entertainment district?

Yes, while we do need additional parking available near the district, I have personally worked with the entertainment district owners to implement programs that clean up trash and to introduce a noise ordinance. Additionally, the city has added permit parking in the nearby neighborhoods, negotiated more public parking in and around the Galleria, passed an ordinance to stiffen fines for improper behavior and stepped up the police presence with the resultant 16 percent reduction in crime this year. Owners and the city are making strides to improve the relationship between residents and patrons in the entertainment district. Some property owners are upgrading their facilities and changing their focus to a somewhat older customer base looking for a higher-end entertainment experience.

 

Do you agree with the direction the city has taken in terms of the downtown-infill incentive district? Why or why not?

Yes, the downtown infill-incentive district is jump-starting development in areas that would remain vacant, unsightly or underutilized. Development projects are filling demand for housing in the area, which will provide customers for downtown businesses. During my time on council, I have worked to position Scottsdale for a quick recovery as the economy improves without compromising our quality of life.

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/community/scottsdale/articles/20120724scottsdale-council-candidates-address-issues-election.html#ixzz22VOIsh15

West World Expansion

A great, short article on the importance of the Westworld expansion.

Thank you again to the Airpark News for your endorsement!

Read the Article Here




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