A Brief History of the Coalition of Greater Scottsdale
In 2006, more than 80 active citizens, business owners, and merchants met on the second floor of Chaparral Suites, hosted by the Suites’ then-owner, Tom Silverman. The driving force was the need to have the voices of the residents and business owners heard at City Council and to promote appropriate decisions. The then-current Council was rapidly changing this residential/tourist city into one of greater density and increased height – destroying residents’ vision and impacting the quality of life for nearby neighborhoods.
The diverse group elected its first Board of Directors: Patty Badenoch, Nancy Cantor, Jim Heather, Sonnie Kirtley, Sharon Oberritter, Paul Reich, Rita Saunders-Hawranek, Bob Vairo, John Washington, and Linda Whitehead. John Washington was selected as the first chair and served until spring of 2008. Sonnie Kirtley served as chairman 2008 to 2019. Betty Janik was then selected as the COGS chair but took sabbatical to run successfully for Scottsdale City Council in 2019. Sonnie was appointed to Executive Director of the Board and continued administrative duties during Betty’s “absence”.
In 2006-07, bylaws were written and approved. We also selected our mission statement: “Consistent land use policy and preservation of our unique quality of life.” In 2019 the members approved changing the non-profit to a 501 (c) 4 to allow more involvement in elections, bonds and other endorsement activities not permitted with the original 501( c) 3. COGS continues to support Scottsdale non-profits such as the Scottsdale Neighborhood Arts Project and Friends of the Library/Heritage Collection.
The COGS membership and the current Board of Directors represent the entire geographical diversity of Scottsdale, from the northern edge to the southern tip of the city.