A City Council candidate who unsuccessfully tried to develop some land he owns and a development company are the major financial backers of a proposition that would change the city’s council form of government.
Proposition 100 will ask voters on Tuesday’s ballot if they approve creating six geographic council districts, while keeping the mayor elected citywide. Council representatives are currently elected at large.
Council candidate Henry Becker and Recorp Realty Inc. have pitched in $1,000 and $5,000 respectively to the "Council Districts for Scottsdale’’ campaign, according to finance reports filed with the city clerk. The group in total raised $6,590.
"They are two land developers who have a personal issue that they believed they can get solved’’ by a district form of government, said Bob Vairo, president of the north Scottsdale-based Coalition of Pinnacle Peak, which opposes the proposition.
Becker and Recorp could not be reached for comment Friday.
Meanwhile, COPP members have donated $1,480 to the antidistricts campaign run by John Washington and Don Badenoch, president and treasurer of "Vote No on Proposition 100 — Why Scottsdale?" The vote-no group raised $4,552, according to its latest campaign finance report.
Jim Derouin, attorney and co-chairman of the city’s former District Advisory Task Force who supports six council districts, brushed off the developer-funding criticism. "My response is, ‘So what?’ " he said.
Derouin went on to say that Becker has "been black-balled by COPP, not by the city of Scottsdale, to use his land the way he wanted to use it,’’ referring to Becker’s failed idea to have retirement homes built on his land in north Scottsdale.
"The fact of the matter is that Recorp does not run this city . . . Those who are running the ‘shadow form of government’ are raising the issue," Derouin said.
In a recent COPPsponsored districts debate, former city manager Dick Bowers called COPP a "shadow government’’ that operates exceedingly well in its efforts to influence decisions.