The Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce is highlighting Mayor Mary Manross and three council candidates - all of whom were previously endorsed by the business group - in a new campaign blitz starting just three weeks before the Sept. 2 election.
The chamber's Scottsdale Campaign for Economic Development 2008-09 is running a television commercial and has produced a glossy four-page mailer that says Manross, council members Betty Drake and Ron McCullagh, and council candidate Suzanne Klapp are the candidates who support economic prosperity that is needed to support Scottsdale's quality of life. That economic prosperity agenda includes promoting revitalization projects rather than sprawl, preserving the historic and specialty retail districts downtown and attracting more professional jobs.
The ads follow the release of a poll commissioned by the chamber on city issues.
"The idea is to attempt to reinforce some of the results of our survey and have the public understand the need for economic development within the community," chamber president Rick Kidder said.
One of the major issues being discussed by the candidates is where greater height and density should be allowed. The three incumbents being featured in these ads have voted to support taller buildings downtown, which has been the position of the chamber. The chamber has also talked about the need for greater height at the Scottsdale Airpark.
"I think we have all seen that there are certain candidates out there and sitting elected officials who are not necessarily in favor of economic growth as we define it," Kidder said.
Other candidates running for council, specifically Tom Giller and Nan Nesvig, have been the most outspoken against adding new height downtown. If elected to the council, Giller and Nesvig would shake up the majority that have supported the larger chamber-backed projects.
Kidder said to expect more activity from the group through next year. Kidder said the creation of a political committee was not necessary to produce these ads because they do not advocate voting for a specific candidate.
LITTLEFIELD CHOOSES LANE
Councilman Bob Littlefield, who once flirted with a run for mayor because he did not see enough difference between Manross and challenger Councilman Jim Lane, has officially endorsed Lane for mayor.
Littlefield, who has been targeting the ouster of Manross for years, acknowledges he does not always agree with Lane but that it is important to vote for him.
Littlefield, a quotable councilman who often finds himself in the minority on divisive votes, said Lane has been the most consistent fiscal conservative on the council.
But Littlefield said most important is that Lane has consistently supported greater openness and accountability in city government, alluding to the Tribune lawsuit that forced the release of top officials' performance evaluations. In that case, Lane and Littlefield advocated the release of the reviews, while Manross did not. Littlefield also calls on write-in candidate Bill Crawford to withdraw from the race so he does not take away votes from Lane.
EARLY BALLOT TALLY
The Scottsdale City Clerk's Web site is providing updates of the number of early ballots mailed to residents and the number returned.
As of Tuesday, 44,725 early ballots had been mailed and zero returned. The last day to request an early ballot is Aug. 22. All early ballots must be received by Sept. 2.