The Arts in our Community

The Arts in our Community

Scottsdale has a rich history of art and culture. From the commitment of Scottsdale Arts to the cities investment in public art, Scottsdale is a genuine arts town.
Scottsdale offers a variety of arts for residents to consume. Scottsdale offers programming in performing arts; our excellent galleries offer paintings and sculptures of many different styles. Scottsdale presents many different styles of dance. What would Scottsdale be without our renowned western art and our nationally-recognized Museum of the West?

Arts in the community are more than wonders to behold and admire. They offer and sense of place. I believe a community can be a good place with limited offerings of art, but it cannot be a great place to live. In order for a city to truly have a community fabric, it must be a place where great art if abundant and accessible.

We are so fortunate in Scottsdale to have both of these qualities.
Scottsdale Arts gives back to our community in so many ways. By taking art directly into the schools with their collaboration with Scottsdale Unified School District Scottsdale Arts is cultivating a new generation of art enthusiasts.

When I was growing up, I was fortunate enough to participate in music education in both high school and college. It is an activity that shaped me for the rest of my life. As a candidate, I strongly support the arts in our community. Many candidates talk about Scottsdale’s special character and they are correct. If you fear Scottsdale meddling into just another community that is blessed with a great climate that is preciously what would happen to our city without the rich and vibrant arts community.

Planning a Scottsdale for Tomorrows Residents

Planning a Scottsdale for Tomorrows Residents

This past Sunday, the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Phoenix hosted a candidate debate for both the City Council and the Mayoral elections.  One of the questions posed to candidates was around the changing demographics in Scottsdale and how that would affect communication in the future. One of the Mayoral candidates responded that the idea that Scottsdale is getting younger is a myth being promoted by developers and advocates who want to build high-density residential.  So that got me thinking. Is that true? So, I did what I naturally do, turned to the data. Here is what I discovered.

According to the city’s website, the median age of Scottsdale is 47 years of age.  That data Source was the U.S. Census American Community Survey 2010-2017. This demographic information was published in 2018, and such is three years old. A closer look at more recent data shows that the website which used 2018 US Census ACS data, shows the median age of Scottsdale as 45.7 for females and 49.0 for females.  Drilling down to even more recent data, the real estate market trends website Point2homes published in December 2019, also used Census ACS data from 2019, shows the average age of residents in the old town zip codes of 85251 and 85257 show the median age is 37.6 years of age.

The average age in our downtown urban center is trending dramatically younger.  This is precisely what we want to see in our downtown.  We need to build a city that appeals to the next generation. 

With the world around us changing very quickly, Scottsdale City leaders need to recognize these changes. New generations of residents may have different visions of our city. We need to maintain our rich western heritage while simultaneously planning a City that appeals to tomorrow’s knowledge workers.  

Scottsdale’s version of the ‘hammer and the dance’

Scottsdale’s version of the ‘hammer and the dance’

By Kevin Maxwell

In a recent article on the financial website The Medium, Tomas Pueyo coins the phrase “the hammer and the dance” when discussing epidemiological modeling.

The hammer, in this case, is the lockdown from COVID-19. Like a hammer striking suddenly and violently, our economy came to a grinding halt. No warning, no preparation.

We were asked to stay at home and increase cleaning frequency and adopt new hygiene standards. We isolated ourselves and learned new terms like social distancing and stay at home orders.

Here the dance part begins. Like that first awkward dance in high school, you take to the dance floor. Slowly at first. Looking around to see if you are doing it right. Looking to see who else is dancing. You might only dance for a moment or two, and then you retreat to the safety of your chair from which you came.

You evaluate the situation some more. Then you go back out and dance a little longer, evaluate, retreat, and do it again. Slowly you become comfortable. This is the dance. This is what economic resuscitation looks like.

Scottsdale’s version of the hammer and the dance will be similar. In a few weeks, we will get the report from the state about Scottsdale’s share of April tax revenues. This will be the first picture we get reflecting a full 30 days of COVID-19 shutdown impacted sales tax revenues. The news will be bad.

Some speculate a 40% reduction in sales tax received by the city. No one suggests that the loss will be less than 30%.

As we speculate on when the crisis might be over, many look forward to a day when the world will be deemed safe again, and things return to normal. Now we understand that recovery will take much longer, months maybe years longer. We won’t be able just to turn the lights on, and everyone goes back to what they were doing. No, we must dance our way again to normal.

Businesses will open gradually. Maybe allowing some workers back with extra precautions in place. Safety measures could include regular temperature monitoring for employees before entering workplaces. Perhaps mandatory wearing of masks while on duty. Restaurants may be allowed to open but with diminished capacity and limited hours. This will be the new normal for some time.

And for every 10 steps, we take forward; we will always retreat hastily by a few steps when something goes wrong. That is the nature of this delicate dance to recovery.

As businesses open, tax revenue will start to trickle in. The lesson of the hammer and the dance is that the recovery will be a prolonged era of evaluation and hopefulness. A balanced budget is achievable only by planning for the worst while hoping for something better.

The leaders who take office in January 2021 will step into one of the more difficult if not most, difficult financial predicaments in the city’s history. To succeed, they must possess a diverse set of skills.

Leaders who regularly don rose-colored glasses will be of limited benefit to us. We will need leaders who are laser-focused and ready to go on day one. This is no time for a learning curve.

In addition, leaders who want to hold a mirror to the glorious past will also not be beneficial for future considerations. While we must look to the past, the period we must focus on is the worst of our recent past — the period from 2009 through 2014, the six-year period that it took for our city to recover from the last recession.

I 100% advocate for citizen input and council consensus. This past summer, as we were considering the bond election, we enjoyed several months of education, discussion, and input from the community. That luxury will not be available to leaders in 2020. The leaders who help us dance will be individuals who act decisively and purposefully.

We are already in a recession. That is an absolute fact. The determination of the magnitude and depth of that recession is forthcoming.

Scottsdale and its tourism infused economy will be resilient, but it is illogical to build a budget based on the assumption that it will come back quickly. It won’t. History tells us it won’t. We need to listen to the lessons of our past.

We will return to economic stability. But the dance floor from here to there is filled with anxiety, trepidation, and some bad music. I am ready to prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and fight to get back to our best as quickly as the city can do so. I seek your vote of support.

There are lessons to be learned through Scottsdale’s economic hit

There are lessons to be learned through Scottsdale’s economic hit

If the current public health crisis has taught us anything it has reminded us how tourist-dependent our local economy has become.

The crisis and the government’s public safety response could not have come at a worse time. This hit to our economy would be devastating in any month of the year, but March? The timing could not have been worse.

One silver lining to this crisis is that we were able to get large events such as Barrett-Jackson, The Waste Management Open and the Arabian Horse show completed before the crisis hit Arizona. Spring Training will bear the brunt of the disruption.

Economic diversification is a sign of stability. If any market becomes dependent on a particular sector than that market is more susceptible to recession. Tourism is somewhat resilient in that it can recover quickly from an economic downturn. However, the tourism industry can be vulnerable to economic, social and political changes. And in this case, changes in public health.

Scottsdale’s economy has been decimated in two short weeks. Bars and restaurants shuttering, winter visitors scattering back to their summer homes means loss of incomes and jobs to our service sector workforce.

It is much too soon for any sort of economic impact numbers to be derived from this crisis. We have no data on duration or impact. However, in a March 16 report prepared by Inter-American Development Bank titled Covid-19: Tourism-Based Shock Scenarios for Caribbean Countries. The report forecasts GDP disruptions to the Caribbean tourism sectors.

The long-term projections are without precedent. While Scottsdale is not as tourism-dependent as many Caribbean Islands the projections are still alarming.

Scottsdale’s Tourism economy might be closely aligned with numbers from Las Vegas where according to an analysis by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Southern Nevada’s Tourism GDP contribution is 20%.

According to Experience Scottsdale’s Visitor Tourism Study, published in November 2019 percentage of tax revenue attributed to visitors is 26%.

The numbers are clear. Scottsdale needs to wean itself from being so dependent on tourism.

Scottsdale needs higher-paying jobs that are sustainable. Jobs in the technology and health sectors. We need more engineers, developers and STEM-based jobs.

Scottsdale’s Economic Development staff does an outstanding job of promoting Scottsdale as a business-friendly community. We need to continue to allocate resources to further encourage economic diversification.

Our community will survive those unprecedented and frightening times. When we emerge from this crisis, I hope we can take some of these lessons and implement them as public policy.

It’s time to grow strong again.

It’s time to grow strong again.

I have some Scottish history for you. The Clan Maxwell is from the Scottish Lowlands. The Coat of Arms for Clan Maxwell is a stag couchant before a holly bush. And upon it is the Maxwell Clan Motto: Reviresco. Translation, “I flourish again”.

I think that is the perfect word for the political climate in Scottsdale right now.  Reviresco!   

Are you like me and just completely fed up with the negativity and divisiveness at City Hall? I am. 
Listening to the naysayers all of the time you would not think there are any good people left who care about our city. People ask me all the time, why would you be crazy enough to enter the race for City Council? I tell them it is because I will never let them win. And by them, I mean anyone who is nasty, mean-spirited and wants a one-issue candidate elected in November. 

I want to be the candidate who pulls the sword of civility out of the stone. Someone has got to do it. 

Will you help me? Will you join the cause? Join the cause to ensure our way of life in Scottsdale remains strong? Will you join the cause to make sure your voice and point of view are represented? Do you want a candidate who takes a logical, data-driven approach to solve big problems? I do. It just doesn’t make any sense to support anyone who only wants to talk about a single issue. A single project. A stagnant way of life. 

I am in the race for Scottsdale City Council and Clan Maxwell needs soldiers! 

My website is up and running. On it, you can support our efforts financially. You can read about my ideas and my solutions for the city. You can sign up to volunteer. You can sign up to be included in all of the events and happenings in this campaign cycle. You can tell me what’s important to you and your family. I want to hear from you. 

If you have not seen my introduction video here is it. Please follow me on my social channels. 

Get with the Clan to stop negativity towards our city. Get with the Clan and solider up.

Thank you for your time and Reviresco! 

Kevin Maxwell 

Let’s Come Together

Let’s Come Together

With the recent Scottsdale elections in our past, the opportunity for the city to shine is now here.

We have had some rigorous discussions and debates the past 18 months. The issue of whether to build on the mountain preserve has been resolved. We have a new slate of city leaders preparing to take office. A small tax change will allow the city to fund some of its transportation needs.

Now the hard part begins. Larger infrastructure funding challenges are ahead. Some difficult decisions are ahead for the city council. I am confident they will do what is best for our city.

Despite the contentious discussions on the ballot propositions, one common thread was evident: Passion and pride for Scottsdale. Citizens in the community are prideful and want to the best for the city. While some people saw a divided community, I saw an abundance of civic spirt.

When we think about the amenities we love about Scottsdale we should not overlook the passion our residents have for our community. It is truly a gift. How many cities are apathetic in citizen involvement?

One point of pride for Scottsdale’s citizen involvement is our boards and commissions appointments. Scottsdale has 18 different citizen-lead boards and commissions. We also have six task forces and committees that provide valuable guidance to the city council. Scottsdale residents’ interest level to volunteer their time has never been higher. Competition to be selected for a board or commission is growing.

Whenever there is an opening for any of these positions the response is overwhelming. Do we realize how unique that is?  I can think of no other community in which residents are lining up at the door to give their time and expertise to important issues.

Scottsdale is attracting a vibrant, young base of citizens who are deflecting the stereotype of being indifferent and unresponsive. Unlike other communities, our youthful residents are engaged and ready to participate in the democratic process.  No less than a half a dozen organizations focused on solutions provided by a younger audience are in the works. These organizations all have two things in common: optimism and confidence. 

As a city we need to follow the lead of these groups to help propel us to continued prosperity. 

We may not all agree on who or what we voted for. But I for one have a single question for our city leaders. What can I do to help you succeed at your mission? Tell us what you need from citizens to help support the decisions ahead of you. 

Scottsdale has a tremendous opportunity to rally around one another, to help lead the city into the future.  Let’s harness our civic pride and support the city. Let show other communities what can be accomplished when we are all focused on a common issue: making the city the best it can be.

The City as an Incubator

The City as an Incubator

Scottsdale is becoming a city of entrepreneurs. Not just the innovation technology businesses that are steaming into Scottsdale. I am refereeing to the city itself. The mindset of our city staff. I find our city staff to be forward-thinking and entrepreneurial. It starts with our Economic Development Department but it permeates through the halls of City Government.

Entrepreneurship and innovation are normally terms used to describe small incubators and start-ups, not the city government. But Scottsdale is different.

As any entrepreneur knows failure goes hand in hand with success. On the Consent Agenda for City Council, November 25th will be resolution 11622 seeking the approval of 2019-178 COS. An agreement to cancel with City’s trademark of the term Eureka Loft so that another small business in California can use the name. This resolution will pass without much fanfare and gone will be a great example of Scottsdale’s forward-thinking vision. An idea the city had to help benefit all of the small, one person, freelancers or start-ups working out of their homes or huddled together in coffee shops all over the city. An idea that offered a place for them to come together, share ideas, learn from one another and become more successful as a community.

Co-working spaces and the idea of shared work environments have been around for nearly twenty years. It has only been in the past few years that several co-working concepts have gotten big and successful. Spaces like Industrious, Deskbhub and AZ CoWork in Scottsdale. Or Galvanize and CO+HOOTS in nearby Phoenix. These super cool, uber trendy workplaces offer a multitude of benefits for their tenants. They are designed to support and cater to small start-ups. I am a big fan of all of these creative outlets where lots of really smart people work. But in 2015 the City of Scottsdale decided to try to offer many of these same amenities to the citizens of the start-up community in Scottsdale, for free!

In 2015 Eureka Loft was carved out of an underutilized second-floor room located in the Civic Center Library. It was designed to operate just like any other co-working concept. With programming and speakers to help guide motivated, self-employed business people along in their entrepreneurial journey. While the Eureka Loft did not have mini-fridges full of RedBull for their users like the other co-working spaces they did offer other valuable services such as the free use of video and podcasting equipment.

Failure is an option here. If things are not failing you are not innovating enough. – Elon Musk

 They offered classes and workshops that any entrepreneur would find valuable. I was an avid user of Eureka Loft. I offered a few lectures there on Digital Reputation Management and Fair Use of Digital Property.  

Ultimately the Eureka Loft was not successful. Perhaps it was the lack of a marketing budget, maybe it was slightly inconvenient to get to. Whatever the case widespread adoption of Eureka Loft never happened. Today the second-floor room is dark and awaiting its new iteration.

I think Eureka Loft, a city-owned and operated co-working space in the public library was an idea ahead of its time. It shows how much the city is thinking about the entire population of the city. The self-employed, ordinary citizens with an idea or a dream. Eureka Loft might have been a swing and a miss for the City. But I am proud that they took a shot.