Scottsdale candidates clash again in forum

Two different camps in the Scottsdale City Council election emerged more forcefully during a 90-minute forum Tuesday hosted by Scottsdale Leadership.

The divide between six candidates has focused around the city’s character, economic development and vision. Cindy Hill, Kathy Littlefield and David Smith have views that often clash with Linda Milhaven, Jennifer Petersen, Dennis Robbins. Among the topics they disagree on are their visions for downtown, the growth of high-rise buildings and the general direction that Scottsdale is headed.

MORE: Forum video

At times, candidates fired shots that stressed their differences.

“The bottom three candidates are living in the past,” said Robbins, an incumbent who grouped himself with Petersen and Milhaven, also an incumbent.

Robbins said the three in his group, who were the top three vote-getters in the primary election, “have a vision for the future.”

The six candidates are competing in a runoff for three seats on the council in the Nov. 4 election. None of the candidates scored enough votes to win outright in the August primary.

Petersen said the city “can’t stand still.”

“By standing still, we’re essentially going backwards,” she said.

Smith disagreed that battle lines are drawn around the past vs. the future.

“There are distinct differences,” he acknowledged. But Smith argued that it comes down to whether candidates share a vision with residents.

“Do you have a vision to have the largest bar district in the state of Arizona?” he asked viewers. “Do you have vision to have more high rises built in the downtown area?”

Littlefield said she opposes “the short-sighted parasitic growth supported by the incumbents.”

Hill said she and Littlefield are resident-friendly and “want to fight the status quo.”

Milhaven said a recent council vote highlights the “two Scottsdales.”

Last summer, the council voted 6-1 to adopt Scottsdale Leadership’s Principles of Civil Dialogue, which state that “as a member of the Scottsdale community, I will genuinely listen; speak respectfully; and be accountable for my words and actions.” The opposing vote was Councilman Bob Littlefield, Kathy Littlefield’s husband.

“That the civility pledge does not get a unanimous vote reinforces the fact that there are two schools of thought in this community — one looking forward in a positive way, and one trying to create fear,” Milhaven said.

There was some agreement during the 90-minute forum. The candidates said they support education and the Scottsdale Unified School District override, which also is on the Nov. 4 ballot. The district is asking voters to combine and renew two overrides this fall.

“Us not passing the override has direct implications for how the economic engine of our city moves forward,” Robbins said.

Littlefield said she supports the override “reluctantly,” adding that, “the reason is I don’t know how that money is going to be spent.”

Petersen said “it has never been a mystery.” She urged people who worry about how the money will be spent to visit the school district’s website or, a website run by a political group that supports the override.

Scottsdale City Council candidates forum

Candidates running for Scottsdale City Council answer questions in a 90-minute election forum hosted by Scottsdale Leadership.

Plays Mondays at 9 a.m., 1, 5, 8, and 11 p.m. on CityCable 11.

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