Breslin: Goliath campaign begins - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Opinion

Breslin: Goliath campaign begins

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Posted: Friday, June 6, 2014 9:52 am | Updated: 3:58 pm, Fri Sep 12, 2014.

A corporate Goliath’s campaign to turn Ahwatukee golf courses into housing tracts is ready for launch — but YOU have the power to take Goliath down now.

The Goliath is mammoth developer Pulte joined to golf course owner Wilson Gee. Together, PulteGee will ask homeowners to undercut the CC&Rs that legally protect both The Lakes and the Country Club from development. PulteGee’s not saying when the Country Club and Gee’s other two Ahwatukee courses (Foothills and Club West) will be next, but all three already are being under-maintained, like the first.

Goliath’s representatives have told the Ahwatukee Board of Management their campaign is imminent. A recent PulteGee editorial that played prominently in area newspapers makes clear the campaign is ready to roll.

Be ready for Goliath to explain why greed is better than green space, for the record of misleading is outrageously clear (http://bit.ly/RYJXCt; more at “Pulte, Promises,” at http://bit.ly/1nvMG0z). In a moment of candor, Pulte Vice President Mike Brilz told a “Save the Lakes” annual meeting that unless Ahwatukee neighbors roll over and play dead, Pulte will use its billion-dollar might to roll the neighborhood and defeat the CC&Rs. (Quoting Brilz): “We’re hopeful Save the Lakes votes to be part of the process. But we’re going to get 5,000 votes and get it done.” It might have been Goliath himself, who once said: Pick your hero; if he kills me, we’ll become your subjects; “but if I… kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us” (1 Samuel 17, 8-10).

Expect the Goliath campaign to be as dramatic. But it will look less convincing than the moonscape of dead trees, wildlife and fish destroyed at The Lakes, and most everybody seems to know it:

• At an April 12 meeting at a homeowner hand-picked to be friendly, Pulte’s Brilz made his case. But Brilz found himself surrounded with hostile questions, and vowed to set up no more homeowner meetings himself. Brilz then threatened attendees with stagnant lakes and an even uglier view. Goliath has since turned The Lakes into parched earth, stumps and displaced wildlife. As fire season begins, Goliath’s answer to “Save the Lakes” is: “Dry the land; Drain the Lakes!”

• As Save the Lakes! Save Ahwatukee! signs sprout up, City Councilman Sal DiCiccio is calling out PulteGee for “blight” and “extortion.” DiCiccio is advancing a city ordinance to restrain them, and shames them with another measure that’s saved another golf course. DiCiccio said: “The problem with this seller (of the Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course) is that they see multi-millions of dollars in their eyes…” (bit.ly/1oeizP1).

• In a taste of the campaign to come, Pulte acknowledged to a reporter it had deployed an unethical “push poll” to figure what argument might get Goliath’s opponents to vote against their own interests. A distinguished homeowner attacked Pulte for engaging in monkey business by http://bit.ly/1k9z1gJ.

The famed psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote that humanscope with death, first, by denying it; second, by getting angry and striking out at others; third, by trying to bargain the way out, before falling (fourth) into depression, then (fifth) accepting the inevitable. By that measure, Brilz sounded to be at the anger stage; Pulte, in bargaining through its push-poll, to stop the decline; Gee, perhaps in depression, for if the nation’s largest house builder can’t forestall his failure with The Lakes, who can?

For Ahwatukee homeowners, the moment is clear. To topple Goliath, print out and sign (and encourage your neighbors to sign) the “Save the Lakes – Save Ahwatukee” petition available here: bit.ly/1mgosbi.

The more of us who speak out with our signatures, the clearer our will, the faster Goliath will fall — and the sooner Ahwatukee’s David will prevail.

• Ahwatukee resident Eileen Breslin is a member of Save the Lakes!

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