Scarp: Reality shows are drawing card for locals - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Scarp: Reality shows are drawing card for locals

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Posted: Sunday, April 20, 2008 2:53 am | Updated: 11:33 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Welcome again to Scarp’s Scottsdale Sunday brunch, a review of the week’s news where there’s soooo much to choose from. Strangely, no one ever comes back for seconds ...

Read Mark Scarp’s blog, 'Scarpsdale'

• Lots of local people, particularly from Scottsdale, are on reality TV lately, Friday’s Tribune reported.

At least “American Idol” is designed as a talent contest (well, yeah, and high school elections are never about popularity, either). Most other “reality” shows seem to want to outdo the others in revealing some pretty private information about contestants — for cash and prizes, of course.

Well, if it’s all so revealing and everyone is oh-so-forthcoming about themselves, then how about many of these show’s featured folks starting by telling us their last names?

I mean, what have they got to hide? Surely not that much.

• For years I’ve loved architect/artist Paolo Soleri’s bronze windbells, crafted at his Paradise Valley studio, and admired his attempt to demonstrate futuristic living through conservation at Arcosanti near Camp Verde, and I imagine many other residents have as well.

But is a bridge he has designed proposed to connect the Waterfront with SouthBridge over the Arizona Canal downtown — a bridge you won’t be able to drive over — worth $1.7 million in taxpayers’ money?

The City Council is to consider appropriating this sum on Tuesday to build it. Of the $1.5 million already raised for the bridge, $500,000 is a purely private donation from the Scottsdale Waterfront itself, the Tribune reported Friday.

The other $1 million is from Scottsdale Public Art, an agency of the Scottsdale Cultural Council, which gets about one-third of its annual budget from the city to begin with.

The prediction is that all kinds of people will come here to see it, because Soleri is so well-known. The city already has named a short street leading into the Waterfront “Via Soleri.”

Well, if Soleri is such a big name — and it is — why aren’t more multimillionaires and corporate big shots — and we’ve got ’em — lining up to donate to help build it, getting the right to stick their names on it, too?

Some of the $1 million from Scottsdale Public Art may have come from private auspices, but probably not most of it. The city’s top financial officer, Craig Clifford, predicted a no-frills budget for next fiscal year. This bridge would be no-frills?

• Don’t look now, but the same Scottsdale Unified School District governing board members who have been pleading with you to vote for override funds to buy computers and other technology to properly prepare your children for the 21st century may just be about to bring their meetings into, well, the 1990s.

As Thursday’s Tribune reported, the board’s May 6 meeting — whose main topic is which, if any, schools are to be closed — will be the first-ever available on streamed video you can see on your home computer.

Several years ago the school district pulled the plug on cable-televised coverage of school board meetings, citing a tight budget situation that was resolved. Despite this, the board never agreed to go back on TV.

I mean, what have they got to hide? Surely not that much.

In agreeing to the streamed video board members said the issues May 6 are contentious enough to justify it.

Since they’re used to outmoded technology where their meetings are concerned, here’s a telegram for the school board: All board meetings are important enough for people, particularly parents with young children who might have difficulty attending them in person, to watch their tax-supported district officials make decisions via electronic means.

Who knows? Today, streamed video on computers. Tomorrow, we just might see the district put the board meetings back on local cable TV (as City Council meetings are).

Of course, that would mean bringing the district into the 1980s.

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