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State of Scottsdale: Mayor David Ortega delivers annual municipal address

Photo of Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega
Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega at the Jan. 18 State of the City address at Scottsdale Stadium, which drew hundreds wanting to hear the mayor’s vision for the new year. (Photo: Terrance Thornton/
Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega remarks on triumphs, challenges and water
By Terrance Thornton | Digital Free Press

The movers and shakers of Scottsdale were front and center Wednesday, Jan. 18, as hundreds gathered at Scottsdale Stadium to hear remarks from Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega.

The annual Scottsdale ‘State of the City’ address was held at the The Fieldhouse at Scottsdale Stadium, which is just a baseball’s throw from the entrance to the Cactus League home of the San Francisco Giants, 7408 E. Osborn Road.

Mayor Ortega would later remark the “spine of the community” begins at Scottsdale Stadium and stretches north to the revitalized Civic Center Plaza meant to begin opening in phases this weekend.

The event itself was hosted by the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce with President and CEO Mark Stanton serving as master of ceremonies and HonorHealth — the city’s largest employer — the keynote sponsor.

Michelle Pabis, HonorHealth government relations director, offered opening remarks providing insights to legacy and emerging partnerships with the municipality including the ongoing ‘Blue Zone’ assessments underway in certain municipal ZIP codes.

Scottsdale Poet Laureate Lois Roma-Deeley offered a poem she penned for the event prefacing the reading.

“It is my pleasure and my honor to represent Scottsdale as a poet,” she told the crowd of elected leaders and local power brokers. “It is a place that honors itself and is a poem in the making — a place with deep cultural ties and a place rich in poetic possibilities and poetic inspiration.”

Mr. Stanton, who is also an elected leader at the Town of Paradise Valley, introduced Mayor Ortega.

“He was first elected mayor January 2021 and immediately he focused his day to day on the well being of Scottsdale,” Mr. Stanton said. “Protecting the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and the world-renowned brand. Today we get to hear his update and his vision.”


Mayor Ortega: the state of Scottsdale

Mayor Ortega offered about 20 minutes of remarks focused on triumphs and challenges over the last calendar year and challenged the audience and his fellow residents to reduce the use of water by 5% of total consumption.

While water remains a hot topic in the Valley of the Sun, Mayor Ortega begin his annual address by lauding the community, municipal employees and those in attendance.

“Scottsdale is amazing,” he said. “Scottsdale is synonymous with high expectations. Scottsdale is the destination we call, ‘home’ … where neighbors raise families. I am proud to say our City Council, charter officers and over 2,400 city employees work hard to deliver high expectations.”

Mayor Ortega pointed out the upcoming ‘Super Season’ where Scottsdale will become the epicenter of American sports as the Super Bowl Host Committee events are planned all week leading to the kickoff of Super Bowl LVII Sunday, Feb. 12, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale.

Earlier in the month of February is hosting the beloved Parada Del Sol & Trail’s End Festival, which is sponsored and produced by the Scottsdale Charros.

“The (San Francisco) Giants are always among the leaders in attendance during spring training and the Charros contribute millions of dollars to local charity,” he said while also pointing out the unparalleled success at Scottsdale Arts through hundreds of thousands attending Canal Convergence this past November. “The foresight and meticulous planning brings Scottsdale to the world stage … excellence that is made possible by city of Scottsdale employees.”

Mayor Ortega explained to those in attendance that Scottsdale has maintained its AAA bond rating, which he says is amongst the highest of all Arizona municipalities.

“Scottsdale exceeds expectations … we have twice the open space per resident than any other city in Arizona,” he said. “Scottsdale employees are great people doing great things.”

Mayor Ortega went on to explain staggering economic growth in the private sector including hundreds of millions in private investment at the Scottsdale Airport, which is already one of the busiest municipal airport in the nation known for its first-class, touch-and-go jetway.

“New Silicon Valley-based HQs are coming to Scottsdale,” Mayor Ortega said. “The best way to protect the future is to create a roadmap now and ours is General Plan 2035. Out vision statement conveys just about everything you need to know about who we are, what we value and what we expect for the future.”

Scottsdale now requires short-term rental property operators to obtain and maintain a local license, conduct sex offender background checks on booking guests, carry liability insurance and provide neighbor notification — all part of Scottsdale City Council’s newly adopted vacation rental ordinance. (Photo by Arianna Grainey/

Short-term rentals, Scottsdale development & water rights

Mayor Ortega is steadfast in the assertion excessive height and density need to be reduced — especially in language found part of the Old Town Scottsdale character area plan, which he said was ‘hastily’ approved.

“City Council has reopened dialogue and will re-evaluate the plan that was hastily approved,” he said. “Excessive height and density need to be reduced.”

Scottsdale now requires short-term rental property operators to obtain and maintain a local license, conduct sex offender background checks on booking guests, carry liability insurance and provide neighbor notification — all part of Scottsdale City Council’s newly adopted vacation rental ordinance.

The local governing board voted unanimously in favor of the revised version of Ordinance No. 4566 during an Oct. 25 public hearing at City Hall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd.

“Proliferation of short-term rental properties has pushed out year-round residents and taken away from the tranquility of our neighborhoods,” he said.

On the heels of headlines and what appears to be the threat of pending legal action, the Scottsdale City Manager’s Office Monday, Jan. 16, issued a ‘statement of facts’ regarding the recent decision to end water access to residents of the Rio Verde Foothills.

“The mega drought scorching the lower basin states and Mexico is inescapable,” he told the hundreds in attendance. “We were the first to initiate our water drought plan … close to 50% of Scottsdale relies on our Central Arizona Project allocation. Our actions today puts us in a better position. I will not sugar coat this: conditions at the Colorado River are not going to get better anytime soon.”

Mayor Ortega contends more water shortages are anticipated to be reported in coming months.

“We must remain steadfast and remain committed because more shortages are predicted by the bureau,” he said. “We are committed to conservation and safeguarding our environment. Scottsdale remains agile. We do no sidestep challenges, we take them head on.”

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