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Shapiro: Scottsdale politicking should not jeopardize the ‘crown jewel’ of the Valley of the Sun

Photo of Scottsdale community advocate Gary Shapiro
Gary Shapiro, a Scottsdale community leader, advocate and volunteer.
Can you imagine how much more we could accomplish if we were all rowing?
By Gary Shapiro | Point of View

A tale of two cities.

I recently had an encounter with a woman standing in line at the post office. She was a snowbird from Canada. We chatted and exchanged the pleasantries of the day while we waited in line.

She told me she comes to Scottsdale every year and loves it here. She commented the people here are so warm and friendly. She said strangers in line in her hometown would never talk.

I explained we were proud of what I refer to as ‘western hospitality.’ I thanked her for sharing her time in Scottsdale and reminded her to attend Spring Training, the car shows, the arts offerings, Parada del Sol, and the Phoenix Open.
That’s the Scottsdale I am proud of.

We have hundreds of thousands of neighbors, friends, business owners and other stakeholders who have worked tirelessly for decades to perfect and hone our reputation as a best place to live, work, learn and play.

We are the crown jewel and the envy of cities around the globe.

But there is a vocal minority of disrupters who don’t share this tale of our city. For whatever reason, they are hell bent on destroying what’s good in and for Scottsdale.

Sadly, they garner attention and press coverage that is not good for our image. I cringe when I see those events covered in the press or on TV.

Amazingly, some of the folks who complain about our press coverage are the arsons who started the fire. Candidly, I hesitate to comment, as giving those issues and the people behind them more oxygen may not be in our best interests. But it’s far too important not to be silent.

One recent example is Scottsdale’s decision on supplying water to our neighbors in Rio Verde.

From what I know, it was the neighborly thing to do. That course of action had no adverse, or unintended consequences. Yet, the officials in charge cut them off and left them high and dry.

Another recent example are the legislators and new school board members who are jeopardizing the progress and stability of our public schools by wanting to replace our current superintendent.

I’m reminded the Scottsdale school board last year, voted 5-0 to demonstrate their confidence and support for the superintendent and renewed his contract. They wanted to send a clear signal that our community was behind him, and we were happy with his performance and leadership.

Recently, board composition has shifted with the election of two new members, and they are testing their political muscle. That’s pathetic. They seek to divide and conquer versus build on our solid record to achieve even greater heights.

Two last thoughts:

One from community leader Dennis Robbins, a former city councilman. He reminds us that at any given time, there are several hundred thousand people who are sitting in their homes in Scottsdale relishing the direction and accomplishments of our community in contrast to the tens of thousands of people who may have voted to elect a particular candidate.

Finally, one of my favorite all-time quotes from French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre. He said only the guy who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat.

Can you imagine how much more we could accomplish if we were all rowing?

It’s far too easy to destroy things. It takes a skilled and thoughtful leader to build anything worthwhile.

Editor’s note: Mr. Shapiro is a Scottsdale Charro, Realtor and co-founder of Scottsdale Leadership.

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