Rio Verde Foothills Water Troubles Nearly Over After Scottsdale Vote

Rio Verde Foothills Water Troubles Nearly Over After Scottsdale Vote

By Daniel Stefanski |

An Arizona community’s months-long wrangling over water will be coming to a temporary end.

On Tuesday, the Scottsdale City Council voted to adopt Resolution No. 12892, which is an agreement to provide water for the Rio Verde Foothills Standpipe District.

According to a press release issued by the City of Scottsdale in the days leading up to the Council’s vote, the agreement stipulates that “Scottsdale’s own water resources will not be used, and the rate charged to the standpipe district is set so that costs are fully recovered on behalf of the Scottsdale residents who pay for the infrastructure and operation of the city’s water system.”

That September 1st press release from the City of Scottsdale outlined three points under the agreement, including:

  • The Rio Verde Foothills Standpipe District will acquire a water supply that can be provided to Scottsdale at one of the city’s surface water treatment facilities – Scottsdale’s own water resources will not be used.
  • The city will treat the water and make it available at the Pima Road Fill Station, from which haulers contracted by the district could provide water for up to 750 customers in Rio Verde Foothills (the limit stipulated by A.R.S. 9-500.40).
  • The city’s agreement is with the district only, which may then contract with other parties as needed to supply water to Rio Verde Foothills customers; the agreement will terminate Dec. 31, 2025.

The agreement originated from the signing of SB 1432, sponsored by Senator Justine Wadsack, which “outlined requirements of a city or town that provides water service through an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with a standpipe district for a period of up to three years by use of a standpipe for water hauling to residences outside the city’s or town’s water service area that do not have access to sufficient water.”

Democrat Governor Katie Hobbs held a ceremonial signing ceremony on August 22. Two lawmakers, Wadsack and Laura Terech, were in attendance. Senator Wadsack tweeted, “Signing Ceremony in the Governor’s Tower for my bill SB 1432. The people of Rio Verde will have water again!! Water is not a partisan issue. Water is life.”

Representative Terech added, “Today, I had the honor of joining Governor Hobbs, Senator Wadsack, and the Rio Verde Foothills Standpipe District Board at the ceremonial signing of SB 1432. It was an emotional morning. For me, this bill represents the bipartisan cooperation that we will need to secure Arizona’s water future. There’s a long way to go from here and many communities who also face significant water needs, but this is a powerful step forward. I’m proud to have played an integral part in the process.”

After signing the bill in June, Hobbs stated, “This bipartisan bill shows that when we put politics aside, we can come together to solve problems for everyday Arizonans. While it isn’t perfect, I’m glad we were able to deliver relief for the residents of Rio Verde Foothills. Moving forward, I will keep working across the aisle to protect water for every Arizonan and ensure we continue our growth and make Arizona the best place to live, work, and raise a family.”

The signing of this legislation led to the Rio Verde Foothills Standpipe District’s approval of an IGA with Scottsdale, which Republican Representative Alexander Kolodin covered on September 2: “We interrupt our regularly scheduled Twitter war to bring you the news that the Rio Verde Foothills Standpipe District has just voted to approve an IGA with Scottsdale to restore water service. Now back to our program!”

Few legislators worked with more intensity at the Arizona Legislature over this issue than Kolodin in the recently completed session. It was Kolodin’s HB 2561 that was added onto SB 1432 as an amendment before both chambers sent the bill to the Governor’s Office. After SB 1432 passed the legislature, Kolodin thanked many of his colleagues, including Senator John Kavanaugh, Wadsack, Terech, and Representative David Cook, for their efforts in ensuring the proposal’s success. Kolodin wrote, “This is not the first water crisis Arizona has faced and it will not be the last. But, today, we proved that the era of kicking the can down the road is over. This legislature is ready, willing, and able to roll up its sleeves and solve the problem – together.”

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

AZ Department Of Housing Will Not Enforce Homeless Housing Provision In Contract With Scottsdale

AZ Department Of Housing Will Not Enforce Homeless Housing Provision In Contract With Scottsdale

By Daniel Stefanski |

A freshman Arizona Republican Representative scored a victory in his efforts to uphold the interests of hard-working taxpayers.

Last week, Representative Matt Gress issued a press release, announcing that “the Arizona Department of Housing won’t be enforcing a controversial – and very likely illegal – provision in its contract with the City of Scottsdale.”

Gress’s release explained that the “contract provision would have authorized the City to use the state funds to house homeless people from ‘the zone’ in downtown Phoenix and foreign nationals who otherwise would have been expelled under Title 42 in a hotel close to Pima and Indian Bend Roads.” The release added that “the City was previously awarded a $940,000 grant from the Department of Housing to carry out the terms of the contract,” and that “the Department has now admitted to Representative Gress that, despite the terms of the Contract, it does not intend to enforce the ‘Zone’ or the ‘Title 42’ provisions of its Contract with the City.”

In a statement accompanying his release, Gress said, “This is a victory for the safety and well-being of Scottsdale’s residents, many who staunchly oppose their tax dollars being spent to house homeless from other cities and foreign nationals who should have been deported under Title 42. I maintain serious concerns regarding the city’s intentions to utilize area hotels for this purpose and intend to pursue this matter further. Soon I will announce details of a public subcommittee hearing where I plan to delve more deeply into the problematic approach of converting hotels to housing for homeless.”

On August 3, Representative Gress transmitted a letter to Arizona Department of Housing Director Joan Serviss, expressing his concerns about “significant and unsettled questions (regarding) the validity and enforceability of the Contract” between the City of Scottsdale and the Department. Gress asserted that “nothing in state law or S.B. 1720 (what the Department derived its authority to execute the Contract under), however, authorizes the Department or the City to use state monies to provide housing for foreign nationals who entered the country after Title 42 was lifted in early May.”

The Representative warned that “if the Department enforces this unlawful provision, or if the City attempts to require the hotel to house individuals from the Zone or aliens who have been released under the federal government’s unconstitutional parole program, the City and the Department will be vulnerable to a lawsuit by a taxpayer to recover the illegal payment of public monies.”

Director Serviss responded to Gress on August 18, informing the legislator that “while we stand by the validity of the Contract, we have confirmed with the City that the shelter beds and services provided pursuant to the Contract have not and will not serve those individuals impacted by the Zone and Title 42.”

The issue of temporarily housing foreign nationals in cities around Arizona is not new to the state. In 2021, former Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich sent a letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Acting Director of the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, “expressing grave concerns that an ICE contractor has apparently subcontracted with the current owners of a hotel…in Scottsdale to operate a 1,200-person ICE detention facility.” Brnovich noted his disappointment with the federal government over its neglect to confer with his office before executing this contract, highlighting the “important public safety issues involved in locating any detention center in a community setting.”

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

Dark Money Climate Group With Power Over Defense Contracts Has Arizona Roots

Dark Money Climate Group With Power Over Defense Contracts Has Arizona Roots

By Corinne Murdock |

A dark money, globalist climate group poised to obtain power over U.S. defense contracts has Arizona roots.

Last November, the Biden administration proposed granting decision-making power on defense contracts to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi): a London, England-based environmentalist group. In mid-February, a key initiative to SBTi called the Advanced and Indirect Mitigation (AIM) Platform launched at GreenBiz 23 in Scottsdale. 

According to a press release, the AIM Platform will provide net-zero carbon value chain mitigation for SBTi and the GHG Protocol. Value chain mitigation determines the greenhouse gas emissions of each aspect of a company in an effort to reduce it; SBTi is also advancing a successor of the concept, called “beyond value chain mitigation,” or BVCM. 

AIM Governing Committee members are Alexia Kelly, High Tide Foundation; Devon Lake, META; Kelley Kizzier, Bezos Earth Fund (Amazon founder, executive chairman, and former CEO Jeff Bezos); Mandy Rambharos, EDF; Tim Juliani, World Wildlife Fund (WWF); Derik Broekhoff, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI); Graham Winkelman, BHP; Dan Smith, Smart Freight Center; Elena Schmidt, Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB); Lisa Spetz, H&M Group; Meinrad Bürer, Louis Dreyfus Company; Peter Skovly, MAERSK; and Pierre Bloch, Sustaincert.

SBTi funders include the Bezos Earth Fund, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, IKEA Foundation, and Laudes Foundation. The initiative is a collaboration by the Carbon Disclosure ProjectWorld Resources Institute, and WWF, an outgrowth of the leftist dark money initiative called “We Mean Business Coalition” fronting the New Venture Fund: an arm of one of the leading leftist dark money networks, Arabella Advisors.

Washington Free Beacon reported that SBTi didn’t officially incorporate until June, though it launched in 2015. SBTi could receive around $1.2 million in annual estimated fees for their services.

The AIM Platform creators were the Gold Standard, a Switzerland-based, climate-focused finance group; Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), a Virginia-based climate policy think tank; and Neoteric Energy & Climate, a D.C.-based climate advisory firm.

The few Americans on Gold Standard’s leadership include Scott Harder, a California native and founder of the Environmental Financial Group; Kerry Constabile, a New Yorker who formerly served as a sustainability executive for Google as well as a senior officer and lead advisor for the United Nations, and also a technical advisor for SBTi; Sue Ellen Johnson, a North Carolina agriculturalist and advisor for a number of climate groups including Gold Standard; and Lawson Henderson, a Vermont-based manager of Wildlife Works Carbon and formerly a coordinator for Rainforest Alliance. 

C2ES is the successor of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, led currently by Nathaniel Keohane: former President Barack Obama’s special assistant on energy and environment and formerly a senior vice president for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). The former president for C2ES was the deputy administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency under the Obama administration. C2ES and its predecessor were founded and presided over initially by Eileen Claussen, the special advisor to the president on global environmental affairs at the National Security Council and assistant secretary of state for oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs to former President Bill Clinton.

Neoteric Energy & Climate was founded in January by Kim Carnahan, the current CEO, who helped lead the State Department under both Obama and Trump on finalizing the Paris Agreement and other major emissions reductions policies with the International Maritime Organization and International Civil Aviation Organization. Carnahan also worked as the senior director for ENGIE Impact, a Washington-based sustainability consultancy company. 

GreenBiz 23 was the latest in a series of annual events that have taken place in Arizona since at least 2014. Next year’s event, GreenBiz 24, will take place in Phoenix.

Featured speakers for this year’s event included Arizona State University (ASU) Morrison Institute Kyl Center for Water Policy directors Kathryn Sorensen and Sarah Porter.

Most of the other speakers over the years have represented the biggest companies worldwide. This year included representatives from 3M, Anheuser-Busch, Associated Press (AP News), BASF Chemicals, CEMEX, Coca-Cola, Cox Enterprises, Clif Bar, Deloitte Tax, Delta Airlines, Dollar Tree, eBay, Estée Lauder, Ford, General Mills, General Motors, Henkel, IBM, Intuit, Johnson & Johnson, Levi Strauss, Mars, McDonald’s, Meta (Facebook and Instagram), Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Nasdaq, National Public Radio (NPR), NCX, NextEra Energy Resources, Nike, Paramount, Procter & Gamble, Salesforce, Seventh Generation, S&P Global, Starbucks, Under Armour, United Airlines, UPS, U.S. Steel, and Wells Fargo.

The Biden administration also sent speakers: Betty Cremmins and Katy Newhouse, directors for sustainable supply chains with the White House Council on Environmental Quality. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

Scottsdale Legal Nonprofit Secured Religious Freedom Win In Supreme Court

Scottsdale Legal Nonprofit Secured Religious Freedom Win In Supreme Court

By Corinne Murdock |

The Scottsdale legal nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) won a religious freedom case at the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).

SCOTUS ruled 6-3 at the end of June in 303 Creative v. Elenis against Colorado’s anti-discrimination law, Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA), as unconstitutional. The law would prohibit a Christian wedding website designer from refusing to create a same-sex wedding website.

The plaintiff, Lorie Smith, holds the Christian belief that marriage exists only between one man and one woman, and contests against the possibility that she either must produce content that “contradicts Biblical truth,” such as same-sex marriages, or cease business.

Ultimately, SCOTUS determined in a majority opinion written by Justice Neil Gorsuch that Smith’s creative expression constituted speech and that CADA therefore violated the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause.

“Ms. Smith’s websites will express and communicate ideas — namely, those that ‘celebrate and promote the couple’s wedding and unique love story’ and those ‘celebrat[e] and promot[e]’ what Ms. Smith understands to be a marriage,” stated Gorsuch. 

Gorsuch further criticized CADA for its fullest possible outcome: compelling speech of all manners and kinds from any commissioned person if their customer belongs to a CADA-protected class.

“Under Colorado’s logic, the government may compel anyone who speaks for pay on a given topic to accept all commissions on that same topic — no matter the message — if the topic somehow implicates a customer’s statutorily protected trait,” said Gorsuch. “Taken seriously, that principle would allow the government to force all manner of artists, speechwriters, and others whose services involve speech to speak what they do not believe on pain of penalty. The Court’s precedents recognize the First Amendment tolerates none of that.”

Smith does have LGBTQ clients; however, Smith won’t create content that runs counter to her beliefs.

After the SCOTUS ruling, ADF CEO and lead counsel Kristen Waggoner stated that differences of beliefs don’t constitute discrimination.

“Disagreement isn’t discrimination, and the government can’t mislabel speech as discrimination to censor it,” said Waggoner. “As the court highlighted, her decisions to create speech always turn on what message is requested, never on who requests it. [T]he government has never needed to compel speech to ensure access to goods and services.” 

Following the ruling, critics alleged that Smith fabricated a request for a same-sex wedding website after a news article insinuated she did. Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser also derided Smith’s complaint as “a made-up case without the benefit of any real facts or customers.” ADF and Smith rejected those claims.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

Gov. Hobbs Using $60 Million Intended For Homeless To House, Feed Illegal Immigrants

Gov. Hobbs Using $60 Million Intended For Homeless To House, Feed Illegal Immigrants

By Corinne Murdock |

The $60 million promised by Gov. Katie Hobbs to house the homeless in this latest budget is now being used to house, feed, and provide resources to illegal immigrants as well. 

Gov. Katie Hobbs hailed the funding as a means of affordable housing for “every Arizonan” — which now apparently includes illegal immigrants.

“With the Homeless Shelter and Services Fund and the historic $150 million deposit into Arizona’s Housing Trust Fund, we are making real progress toward ensuring affordable housing for every Arizonan,” said Hobbs.

$20 million of the $60 million was deployed immediately in early June through the Arizona Department of Housing (ADOH). The agency neglected to mention in its press release that illegal immigrants would also benefit from the millions.

The funds are dispersed through ADOH’s newly-established Homeless Shelter and Services (HSS) Fund. ADOH advised applicants that it would prioritize those who served those impacted by the court order for the city of Phoenix to clean up its mass homeless encampments in Freddy Brown v. City of Phoenix, the expiration of Title 42 which enabled the expedited expulsion of illegal immigrants, and the closure of sober living homes and residential facilities.

On Wednesday, the city councils for Scottsdale and Phoenix approved their portion of ADOH HHS funding. Unlike Scottsdale, Phoenix approved their funding without discussion.

The following received a cut of this recently-allocated $20 million:

  • Phoenix: $13.3 million
  • Tucson: $2.73 million
  • Mesa: $1 million
  • Scottsdale: $940,000
  • Tempe: $929,000
  • Flagstaff: $840,000
  • Coconino County: $133,000

Apart from Phoenix and Scottsdale, the other city councils or boards have yet to discuss their awarding of funds during a regular meeting.

As part of their agreement to receive the ADOH funds, Scottsdale will take in the “overflow” of Phoenix’s homeless population displaced by the breakup of the mass homeless encampment known as “The Zone.” 

Scottsdale will pay $500,000 to rent hotel rooms at McCormick Ranch, as well as issue $400,000 for supportive services and $40,000 for nutrition and all other “essential needs” for a year.

Up to 120 individuals will benefit from this arrangement. 30 percent of the rooms must go to homeless individuals from “The Zone” — Phoenix’s mass homeless encampment that the Maricopa County Superior Court ruled in May must be cleaned up.

Councilman Barry Graham, who voted against Scottsdale’s recent measure, expressed consternation that city leaders chose to prioritize outsiders over Scottsdale’s homeless population. 

“I voted ‘no’ based on responses to my questions about vetting participants and community safety,” stated Graham. “Scottsdale residents are compassionate — however there are better ways to demonstrate compassion.”

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to