Tag Archives: michael seiden

Southern Scottsdale Character Area Plan (CAP)

You can give your input on June 17th!

By MICHAEL SEIDEN
Scottsdale Leadership Class 24

Sixteen years ago, when we were moving from Denver to the Phoenix area for a job that I just couldn’t refuse, we looked at several areas in the Valley.  We had been Colorado residents for 24 years and raised our family there.  It was hard to leave.  However, each year, for several years, we had vacationed in Scottsdale during our kids’ Spring Break, usually staying at the Embassy Suites, now the Chapparal Suites, on Scottsdale Road.  As a result, we knew something about the area before we moved.  The one thing that we wondered about was whether or not Scottsdale was a “real place”.  It seemed so beautiful and well cared for that we questioned its reality.  Even the McDonalds didn’t have its normally ostentatious golden arches sticking into the air.

Having decided that Scottsdale was the only place in the Valley that we wanted to live, we purchased a home and settled in.  It’s now been 16 years and we’ve never regretted our decision.  We’ve determined that this will be our home for the rest of our lives.  That’s why we’ve taken an interest in Scottsdale and want it to be the best that it can be.  To some, it may seem that Scottsdale consists of several separate enclaves, from the south to the north.  Still, we’re one city and the character of the city is determined by its whole.  Scottsdale needs a vision for its future.  For those who view the word “vision” as being too amorphous and “touchy/feely”, it’s simply addressing the question of what we want Scottsdale to reflect as its image to the world.  Do we want to have others see us as “The West’s Most Western Town”, the “Beverly Hills of the Southwest” or an “All American City” that attracts great jobs and families?

As part of the process to determine what Scottsdale will look like in the future, a Scottsdale Character Area Plan is being drafted.  This plan will document policy that will determine the vision for Southern Scottsdale and guide policy decisions for private and public projects in that part of the city.  On Thursday, June 17, there will be two Open Houses at the Convergence Room at SkySong.  The Open Houses will be held from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.

For those who think that Southern Scottsdale is just a small enclave of rundown strip malls and older homes, you should know that the area consists of about 15 square miles, running from McKellips Road on the south to Indian Bend Road on the north, from the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community on the east to the City of Phoenix and Paradise Valley on the west.  Approximately 30% of Scottsdale’s population lives in this area.  The future character of this area will have a major impact on the future of Scottsdale and all those interested in that future should try to attend one of these sessions.

As an aside, since the South Scottsdale area is adjacent to Tempe and Phoenix, the character of that area will probably be impacted by the plans developed for the Discovery Triangle, from which Scottsdale recently withdrew.  One may question whether isolation will improve the character of Scottsdale or diminish it.

For more information on the Scottsdale Character Area Plan please visit the City of Scottsdale website by clicking here.

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Community Service Decisions

By MICHAEL SEIDEN
Scottsdale Leadership Class 24

We all have our own reasons for getting involved in community service. Some have a passion for a particular cause, such as battered women. Others may have specific expertise that they want to share with a worthy organization. Some may want to have something that looks good on a resume. Still others may want to use community service to make business contacts.  In selecting what form your public service will take, it’s important to find the right fit between the organization’s expectations and your own.

For example, take the case of joining a not-for-profit organization’s Board of Directors. Directors roles can differ greatly from board to board. Some boards are strictly focused on raising money, setting expectations for directors’ direct contributions as well as their support for fund raising efforts. Other boards may require the directors to have specific business or other types of expertise to help support the management of the organization.

Time requirements are also a factor. One must be certain of how much time the organization expects its volunteers to donate and those time requirements must fit the individual’s lifestyle. While your boss may well support your community service, you don’t want him or her asking you when you’ll be able to find time for your “real job.” There are other factors, as well. Like any other good management decision, picking the right opportunity for community services requires investigation, analysis and a well thought out decision.

What is your reason for getting involved?

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Scottsdale Leadership and a Vision for Scottsdale

By MICHAEL SEIDEN
Scottsdale Leadership Class 24

The City of Scottsdale is viewed differently by various people.  There are those who view it as the “Beverly Hills” of Arizona. Others relish in the old established neighborhoods that flourished under the “Western Town” image of the 50’s through the 70’s.  Hikers enjoy walking through the beauty of the desert in the McDowell Mountain Preserve while the partiers love the weekend action at the Waterfront.  Scottsdale is the venue for exciting events such as the Barrett Jackson Auto Auction, the Arabian Horse Show and the Open at the TPC.  It is the home of world class resorts, an active local airport, a budding bio-tech incubator and one of the most successful shopping centers in the country, as well as a number of massage parlors and strip clubs.  It is considered the “fifth whitest city in the U.S.” but has led the way in promoting diversity.

This is Scottsdale today but what will the City be like tomorrow?  What is our vision for the future?  Scottsdale Leadership provides the city’s future leaders with a comprehensive view of most aspects of our city; the services that are provided to our citizens, the venues used for the exciting events that provide some of the revenue for those services, the historical locations that have served as foundations for the present, the inner workings of our government.  By putting together an understanding of how all of these pieces come together, we can work with the current leadership of Scottsdale to build a vision of the future.  That vision takes the city’s core values and defines what Scottsdale will look like five or ten years from now.

While learning about the city and developing their leadership skills, members of Scottsdale Leadership Class XXIV can contribute to Scottsdale’s future by addressing the following questions:

  • What are Scottsdale’s core values?
  • If we adhere to those core values now and into the future, what will Scottsdale look like five and ten years from now?
  • What specific things can we do as committed citizens to make that vision come about?

Visions become reality through dialogue and discussion.  What better place to have this dialogue and discussion than through Scottsdale Leadership?  This dialogue is open not only to members of Class XXIV but to alumni, as well.  It’s almost a certainty that there will be diverse views and not everyone will agree.  However, by submitting your ideas to this blog, we will have a compilation of how a group of creative and committed leaders view the future of their city.

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