The Scottsdale councilman who called for a vote Monday to oppose the relocation of an electric substation is encouraging his supporters to turn out in heavy numbers with buttons, banners and T-shirts.
City Councilman Bob Littlefield's intent, just two weeks before Scottsdale voters will cast ballots for a mayor and three council members, is to place Mayor Mary Manross and council members Betty Drake, Ron McCullagh and even Littlefield's choice for mayor, Councilman Jim Lane, "on the spot and force them to declare themselves on the issue," according to the e-mail to supporters.
Littlefield has said the public should know the candidate's positions before the Sept. 2 election.
Littlefield's e-mail was sent before the Scottsdale Solis Resort developer - who wants to relocate the substation from northeast of Scottsdale and Camelback roads to the northeast corner of Indian School Road and 68th Street - upped the ante by alleging that the council vote scheduled for Monday would be illegal.
Attorney Tom Irvine wrote a letter on the developer's behalf saying the item should be removed from the agenda. In addition to saying it would violate due process and property rights, Irvine accuses Littlefield of simply trying to create a political issue.
As of Friday, the item was still on Monday's agenda.
When asked about his e-mail, Littlefield said he was not trying to create a politically charged atmosphere.
"I was only kidding," he said about asking supporters to wear buttons and T-shirts. "I don't expect anyone to actually do that. That was an (inside) joke among us who have been doing this a long time."
After saying the buttons, banners and T-shirts "would not be too much," Littlefield ends the e-mail: "Spread the word."
McCullagh, who is seeking re-election, said he expects to vote and will give Littlefield the opportunity to make his case.
"I'm not going to question his motives," McCullagh said. "I'm there to address whatever issue from the dais he puts up there."
In July, Littlefield asked for the council resolution after neighbors near 68th Street and Indian School expressed its opposition to the substation. If the resolution is adopted, it would send a message of opposition to Salt River Project about relocating the substation. Hotel developer Mark Madkour said the substation must be moved from the current site for his hotel project to work. Madkour owns the commercial property at 68th Street and Indian School.
Littlefield said while he's been accused of being political, he said Irvine's letter is itself political and designed to keep the incumbents from having to vote on the issue. Littlefield said the politics started when it was determined the council would not vote on any aspect of the project until after Sept. 2. He is opposing Manross, Drake and McCullagh in their re-election bids, and is supporting Lane to defeat Manross.