NoDDC has frequently called for a public debate of the issues presented by the Desert Discovery Center. We believe a formal debate conducted in a civil and professional manner would greatly reduce the discord and anxiety now dominating the DDC issue.
The Community Council of Scottsdale arranged a speaking engagement for Desert Discovery Center Scottsdale, Inc (DDCSI) on March 16. The Community Council also invited NoDDC to participate in a debate with DDCS Inc. You’ve all likely participated in debates at the Community Council, as they have been a leading civic organization since the Drinkwater days.
We were just informed that DDCSI refuses to debate us. The Community Council quoted DDCS Inc’s Executive Director Sam Campana calling us “Nazis that are going to hijack the process.” Campana’s word choice is abhorrent, incredibly hurtful to some in our community in a way we should hope to never understand. Campana’s timing couldn’t be more insensitive after the Scottsdale JCC received a bomb-threat this week. Campana insisted on Scottsdale Police presence for a meeting at the Senior Center, she demanded ridiculous rules around people’s freedom to ask questions, and gave every indication some questions will not be recognized and those asking them will be removed. And she used THAT word to describe our group of volunteers advocating for a public vote? Officers from the Community Council who worked with Campana told us DDCSI set a new low for difficulty in working with them.
DDCSI’s stated reason for withdrawing from the debate is it would be in violation of their contract, which is untrue. They also claim they need prior approval from City Council. Whether true or not, please instruct DDCS to proceed with this public debate.
DDCS’s refusal to debate and tacit approval from the City Council not to debate will inevitably lead to much more contention and frustration from the community. A productive debate promotes transparency and collaboration about the process; the situation now incites distrust and division. The negativity harms DDCS Inc and the City of Scottsdale most of all.
In the same vein, please instruct DDCSI to make their public meetings in April more a Town Hall than the rigid format of their November presentations. The community overwhelmingly objected to how little time was allowed for questions and the unavailability of DDCS Inc’s leadership. We will encourage the community to ask hard questions at their will, attend multiple sessions until they’ve had proper opportunity for their questions, and politely insist on answers. The more restrictive Campana makes things for the public and the more police she calls out, the more we will fill rooms with citizens who will stubbornly-but-respectfully ask questions. We hope you will join us in finding a positive, collaborative way for the community to express their opposition to the Desert Discovery Center.