Public Needs Final Say On Desert Discovery Center

The public should decide whether or not the Desert Discovery Center is built on McDowell Sonoran Preserve land and/or use Preserve funds. That’s my position. I want this process to be up front and transparent on this issue because that’s what our residents deserve before the city spends tens of millions of dollars on the project.

Unfortunately, my opponent Bob Littlefield has been less than transparent. As a candidate for mayor, he loudly proclaims his opposition to the DDC while failing to mention he strongly supported the DDC as a Councilman.

Here is what he said about the Desert Discovery Center according to the minutes of a July 1, 2008 city council meeting:

“Vice Mayor Littlefield said the Desert Discovery Center is a key component of the Preserve and has been part of the Preserve vision for decades. He said the DDC Steering Committee is charged with, and working toward, presenting recommendations on the Desert Discovery Center’s design, and a variety of other items, to the Council. Vice Mayor Littlefield stressed that competing proposals, and differing points of view as to who is in charge, should not impede the effort. He requested this item be placed on the agenda to ensure the group finishes its mission and provides the Council with its recommendation.”

You can change opinions but you can’t change the facts. Bob was for the Desert Discovery Center before he was against it. He called it a key component of the Preserve. He’s now an opponent because he thinks it serves him politically. That’s what politicians do and Bob is unquestionably the ultimate politician. I am for seeing the results of designs before categorically rejecting them. That’s responsible. If it comes back too big or inappropriate, count me as an opponent. And I think we should look at all possible locations for the project, not just the Gateway area.

If we had not taken a thoughtful, deliberate approach to key decisions, the city would not have been able to further expand the McDowell Sonoran Preserve under my leadership AND save $86 million of taxpayer money in the process.

But no matter my or anyone’s personal position, the public should vote on whether or not the Desert Discovery Center should be built on Preserve lands. Additionally, if we had a great debate and public vote about taxing ourselves for the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, shouldn’t we do the same before spending $70 million on a Desert Discovery Center within it?