Cactus Needles - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Cactus Needles

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Posted: Saturday, October 4, 2008 6:30 pm | Updated: 10:55 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

 Short takes from the Tribune Editorial Board.

Scottsdale just can’t afford to get involved in a private dispute between horse owners and some homeowners who want don’t the horses to use a private path to reach a city riding park.

Horse riders have long followed a dirt utility easement behind homes near 68th and Cholla streets to reach Mescal Park, the Tribune reported Wednesday. But the area’s gradual development is prompting homeowners to say they no longer want neighbors and strangers crossing their land, peering into their backyards or leaving trash behind.

The horse owners have asked the city to intervene, possibly to seize the trail through eminent domain. It’s completely wrong for Scottsdale to use tax money or government force to support the interests of horse owners over the homeowners’ private property rights.

Instead, Scottsdale should mediate a private settlement between the two sides. If they can’t reach an agreement, horse riders will just have to find some other way to reach the park.

The Gilbert Town Council continues to assume the mantle of all-knowing central planners when it comes to dictating how real estate can be put to the most profitable use.

Beyond the council’s recent elitist attitude against affordable apartment construction, members believe they can predict better than the private market that loft-style living is the only way to go near Mercy Gilbert Medical Center.

The new owners of the proposed Main Street Commons say they want to adapt to the rather bleak housing market by raising more conventional apartments than the lofts-over-shops that a previous developer envisioned. This would still be multifamily housing, so the new proposal should fit easily with surrounding land uses.

Government regulators should focus on the rights of the people investing their own money into the project, rather than general views of proper aesthetics.

Television gave citizens greater access to the actions of government through the ability to observe public meetings from their living rooms. That was supported by Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard in an opinion Monday approving of public bodies conducting some meetings over the Internet.

Commenting about a proposed online meeting of a school board, Goddard said that the public must be able to simultaneously view the meeting online and that free Internet access should be provided at convenient locations for the benefit of those without access at home.

Such meetings would be for discussion only; Goddard said that voting would be part of a “traditional” public meeting.

While lacking the force of law, Goddard’s view is a welcome one, as online access would provide the public with a greater opportunity to exercise its right to monitor government activity.

This same right was also advanced in recent years as government entities put public records online, another welcome practice that needs further expansion.

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