In a rancorous and contentious campaign season, one can expect all manners of high-blown rhetoric and less-than-civil dialogue to surface, and indeed it has.
Within the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce's Scottsdale Campaign for Economic Development 2008-09, we have presented nothing but a positive, values- and policy-driven agenda, and in these challenging times all of us should be focused on making Scottsdale's economy stronger, now and in the future.
The mission statement of the Scottsdale chamber is: "Building a vibrant and prosperous community through business leadership." The chamber is not just a business organization. Rather, it exists to serve the needs of the business community and to act as one of many thoughtful stewards of this fine community.
The organization has never staked a claim as a sole source of right answers, but has and will continue to assert itself on behalf of the business community and reflect the community care of the thoughtful individuals who govern it.
In June, the chamber hired Behavior Research to conduct a survey of Scottsdale voters. The results of that survey were staggering in the sense that it was evident that the people of this city have a clear understanding that our quality of life and our economic prosperity are linked. The full survey is available on the chamber's Web site at www.scottsdalechamber.com.
In an effort to gain additional clarity prior to this important election for mayor and City Council, we asked all of the candidates the same questions we put to the voters of Scottsdale. The chamber had concluded that the voting public had the right to know the answers to these questions.
Now, as the city sees huge budgetary challenges, we all must rally around solutions.
One of the mayoral candidates, Mary Manross, responded. Her opponent sent a note indicating that he would not.
Councilman Ron McCullagh and Councilwoman Betty Drake, who have served on the council for the past four years, also responded, as did candidates Suzanne Klapp and Nan Nesvig. The other two City Council candidates, for their own reasons, chose not to respond.
Candidate responses can also be found at our Web site.
The questions put forth to the voters in June deal with issues surrounding economic prosperity for our community. Now more than ever, as this community joins the nation in facing stern economic challenges, the answers to these questions are crucial. As voters and citizens, you are entitled to answers on issues of importance like these because the prosperity of our city is vital to our future.
This economy has claimed victims already.
A few auto dealerships that once contributed mightily to our sales tax base are now gone. Restaurants, retail and hotel properties - once assured of revenues that matched the quality of their service - are bracing now for difficult times. We need to know how our leaders will address our challenges.
Among the candidates who responded there are some differences of opinion as one would expect. You will have to decide which candidates best represent your interests. On behalf of the chamber, we hope that every registered voter in Scottsdale opts to have his or her voice heard on or before Nov. 4.
In the meantime and regardless of the outcome of the elections, chamber staff and volunteers will be back at work trying to help build a stronger economy, just as we have since before the incorporation of Scottsdale.
Rick Kidder is president and CEO of the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce.