Scottsdale’s trolleys are incredibly popular, and an attractive way to conveniently transport our residents fairly short distances. I definitely support the continued expansion of this system.
That leads right into bus transit and how we can increase ridership. We must offer a positive, comfortable environment with consistent service if more folks are to choose transit. We need to offer transportation choices for our residents.
But transportation is one of many issues that Scottsdale cannot resolve alone. We are part of a large metropolitan area, where the issues of traffic, air quality, water supplies and adequate social services are not confined to city boundaries. For that reason the Council recently voted to join the regional metro rail organization to have a seat at the planning table. We must understand what other cities are planning and how we will be able to seamlessly connect our transportation system to our neighbors. We cannot isolate Scottsdale.
This summer, I will have the honor of becoming the Chairman of the MAG Regional Council, the main regional policy-making body in the Valley. I look forward to working with my fellow mayors, the leaders of our Native American communities, and leaders in the business and non-profit sectors.
Many of my fellow Council members also are involved in MAG committees and other regional groups, and I commend them for their work. Scottsdale historically has always provided strong regional leadership. I am proud that we are carrying that tradition into the future.
MAKING PRESERVATION RELEVANT
The last major topic I want to discuss this evening is one of the best examples of the way our traditions are so firmly tied to our community vision.
The best records we have of the very first State of the City address trace this tradition to April 5, 1988, when Mayor Herb Drinkwater delivered his remarks just after being sworn in for his third term. In that address, one of his main points was the need for state land reform to protect significant parts of Scottsdale. Does that sound familiar!
Almost 20 years to the day later, we are still working at it and I am sure Herb is looking down on us with approval. Talk about perseverance…we’ve got it!
I want to thank Senator Carolyn Allen, who is one of the most influential voices for land reform at the Capitol and one of the key advocates who has been working toward a resolution.
Also the Governor, who took up the cause this year and has tried to hammer out a compromise among the primary interest groups. Unfortunately, the effort now appears to have stalled. I have reason to be encouraged, however, about the discussions of an initiative process for the November ballot, which would have great benefit to Scottsdale. We are fighting, on behalf of not only our McDowell Sonoran Preserve, but for the beautiful Arizona wilderness throughout the state.