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Quenching Thirst: A 2021 Halftime Report

Droughts are no fun whether they are environmentally induced like Arizona is now experiencing, or a dearth of activity promulgated by a pandemic. The latter is easing but the former is showing no end in sight. Both present challenges. And both are items we have found ourselves immersed in, every day, for the first half of 2021.

WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE: Let’s begin with the Colorado River Indian Tribes  (CRIT), a principled people and tribe in far western Arizona. There, they hold the largest first priority water rights of anyone in Arizona to Colorado River water, among our state’s most precious commodities. At a time when Arizona grows more parched and water becomes even more essential to life and livelihoods CRIT has been planning for years a new construct, supported by its people,that would allow it to lease portions of its water rights to others in Arizona. It is a right enjoyed by other tribes in Arizona. But it will require congressional action for CRIT to do the same. Read all of the details here. For years, we have been privileged to be a part of CRIT’s smart, conscientious and cautious approach to the concepts. Communications. Media relations. Strategy. Collaboration. It’s a move that could be very meaningful for CRIT members as well as the State of Arizona. That’s why so many stakeholders have come out in support of the pending CRIT legislation. As possibilities with CRIT awaken, so too are those with companies and causes around the state as Arizona reawakens from its long, Covid slumber. Some areas are roaring back to life. Some more slowly. It’s all a reminder how precious our quality of life, businesses and natural resources are. That’s where we can come in. To quench these thirsts. To make a difference when good ideas, solutions or success have dried up. Fortunately, we have been tending pending CRIT legislation. As to some pretty important, and cool, gardens the first half of 2021. Just look what other things have sprung up . . .

THE ART OF ROCK: What happens when Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer Alice Cooper discovers an Andy Warhol piece and then decides to auction it off with a Scottsdale gallery rather than national behemoths? One helluva story that we are honored to help tell, including via press conferences.  Warhol’s “Little Electric Chair,” part of his “Death & Disaster” series, is likely to be the most expensive piece of art ever sold in Arizona when the Larsen Gallery Art Auction in Scottsdale takes place on October 23rd. The moment is making headlines across the state, country and globe and promises to be a critical moment for the Arizona art scene. Read the USA Today article here. Speaking of auctions congratulations to the greatest Arizona one of them all, long-time company client Barrett-Jackson, on its excellent Scottsdale event in March. It was a very difficult decision to move from its historic January dates to March. But it proved sagacious with Covid cases spiking then. The “World’s Greatest Collector Car Auction” has provided us a seat at their exciting table for years to provide public affairs and political advice. The company’s collection of talent is not only client but friends, mentors and educators equal to any price of their fancy cars.. And speaking of cars Mercedes-Benz of Scottsdale continues to be a valued client, especially when we get to celebrate their year-long charitable campaign to support smaller, local charities especially impacted by the pandemic.

AN ANNIVERSARY THAT WILL ROCK, TOO: On the same day as the Larsen Gallery Art Auction, The Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships: Presented by Talking Stick Resort celebrates its 10th Anniversary. Hard to believe it’s been a decade since we came up with the concept but very cool that it’s now the most attended polo event in the United States and has, indeed, become the “Phoenix Open of Polo.” Old favorites and new surprises are on tap for the milestone year. Check it all out, including tickets, tables and ways to enjoy The Scottsdale Polo Party at ThePoloParty.com or call the event’s General Manager, Leslie Owen at 480.423.1414.

GOING GREEN. Since the passage of Proposition 207 in November, a campaign we were grateful to participate with, legal marijuana sales have exploded. They have done so responsibly, as many of us predicted they would. Among the benefits besides higher sales tax revenue for the State of Arizona are the innovators that have flocked to Arizona to serve the burgeoning industry. ALTA, an Arizona startup, created a system that allows marijuana dispensaries to pay their bills and taxes without hauling bags of cash. Banking laws make it nearly impossible for the state’s legal marijuana industry to utilize typical financial services. ALTA came up with a digital payment technology to solve the problem. Its creation was assisted by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s FinTech Sandbox program. ALTA started serving dispensaries in April and RMA was there to help launch this major innovation. Read more here.

GOING GREEN 2. We often represent best in class. We were (and are) fortunate to do so again with Harvest, the largest operator of dispensaries in Arizona. As the Department of Health Services readied to authorize the debut of recreational marijuana sales in Arizona, we worked with the Harvest team to position it with the public and media as not only the first place to sell the product but as the industry leader.  Read all of the details here.

GETTING GREEN. That’s what most Arizona homebuyers are getting right now when they sell their homes. As one of the top markets in the nation few have been better positioned to help Arizonans ride the wave better than Russ Lyon Sotheby’s, the top luxury real estate brokers in the state. From the biggest sales to the best houses, it has been a busy public relations time for us, led by our Communications Director Jennifer Parks-Sturgeon, as we have helped the company showcase its many successes from Tucson to Sedona and Desert Mountain to Paradise Valley.  Learn more about two recent sales here.

HOME RUN. If Russ Lyon Sotheby’s is selling many of the Valley’s most expensive homes, Cullum Homes is building them. Indeed, their Village at Silverleaf has sold out as has its Cholla Heights project on the eastern slope of Camelback Mountain. All the while incredible momentum continues at its Desert Mountain, Mountain Shadows, Ironwood Golf Villas and Phoenician properties too.  Read about the Silverleaf sales here.

CURVE BALLS. Baseball, and public relations, is not just about home runs. It’s about helping those who may be having a challenging time with curve balls. Such was and is the case with Embry Healthcare, a top provider to Arizonans with Covid testing and vaccinations as it works through important issues with Arizona’s Department of Health Services. 

UMPIRES AREN’T THE ONLY ONES WHO WEAR MASKS. That’s something we have certainly learned over the past year. Earlier in 2021 as Arizona again struggled with an outbreak, we were asked to spotlight the only mask endorsed by the CDC, owned by a Valley businessman. The timing couldn’t have been better nor the press conference detailing the safer, more comfortable Respokare mask, more well received. Learn more here.

PLAYING AS A TEAM. For quite some time the beautifully conceived Ritz-Carlton and Palmeraie projects in Paradise Valley have had a contentious relationship with its town leaders. There were many reasons for this but the bottom line? It wasn’t doing either party any good. Awhile back we were asked by the Ritz’s developer, Five Star Development, to assist it with a smart, serious and sincere effort to reconcile matters with Town officials. It didn’t happen overnight but it did eventually occur as both Five Star and the Town of Paradise Valley reached a key settlement to serve all well moving forward. Read the article here.

OFF TO THE RACES. We have been involved in a lot of political campaigns over the many years. We have seen about it all. That’s why potential candidates, at all levels, often come to us. We’ll give it to you straight. We’ll be candid. We’ll do due diligence the right and thorough way. And so it has been with major political figures throughout the first half of the year as they seek seats for the U.S. Senate, Governor, Secretary of State and others for the 2022 elections. But we don’t just get involved with races involving people. We do so with those involving horses too. Like at the 2021 Bulleit Bourbon Derby DayClub on Kentucky Derby day in May at Turf Paradise. It was our 6th year doing the event and was the best one yet. Practice made perfect for the sister event of The Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships. It will return next year on Saturday, May 7th.

INSPIRATIONAL: We’ve worked with many DJs over the years but never one who has overcome so many obstacles and adversity like DJ MPower. Born with Down Syndrome, Michael Papazian discovered his love of spinning tracks in middle school. He has gone on to graduate high school, get two associates degrees from Scottsdale community college and now he’s living his dream playing gigs all over the Valley. His story is captivating audiences everywhere and we’ve been proud to get his story featured on ABC15, Yahoo! News and many other news sites. See his story here.

NEW OWNERSHIP FOR OLD FAVORITES: Firm Partner Jennifer Moser has long represented one of Arizona’s top charity events, Celebrity Fight Night. And did so again as its impresario and founder Jimmy Walker decided to hand the reins over to Dick and Stacy Stephenson, owners of Cancer Treatment Centers of America. What a beautiful ride it has been for Jimmy who now leaves the event in very good hands with the Stephensons. Even older than Celebrity Fight Night is the Scottsdale Plaza Resort at Scottsdale and Indian Bend Roads. But it too is changing hands thanks to its able brokers Mike Sutton and Brent Moser of Lee & Associates who tapped a certain someone they know to help publicize the $90 million sale. Read more here.

CRISIS: It’s perhaps the most rewarding and challenging part of our business. When you know what hits the fan for a person or company and we are asked to become their masters of disaster. It’s a role we relish, and thrive with. The first part of the year was no different as cases both crazy and common called our number and our team, as it always does, rose to the occasion to fix and salvage with counsel and candor. We wish we could tell you all the tales but then we’d have to move you into the witness protection program.

FAR FROM THE LAST DANCE. Who knew we would be in the musical business after launching a record-setting run of Americano! The Musical last year at The Phoenix Theatre Company? But that’s exactly what Jason Rose’s production company is doing. Quixote Productions, including RMA’s Mary Turner, have been hard at work to develop four new works along with ongoing efforts to progress the Broadway-aimed Americano!, something no one from Arizona has ever done. Earlier this year, Americano! finalized an agreement with New York City-based Amas Musical Theatre to co-produce a live production of Americano!, starting with a two week workshop this November 8th to the 20th thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Ramsey Social Justice Foundation. Read more about the Amas Musical Theatre workshop here. Quixote Production has also finalized an ambitious slate of upcoming new musical projects scheduled to debut over the next several years, made up of artists from around the world. More details to come later this year.

WELCOME, AND WELCOME BACK. To new clients and some of these returning including but not limited to Brookfield Residential, DMB, Becker Boards, Lee & Associates, Bob Parsons & YAM Holdings, and Woodbury Corporation.

NEVER SAY GOOD-BYE: It was a great song by Bon Jovi and we hate to say it to our own Mary Turner. But we say so, and do so, with pride. She came to us as a green college graduate from the University of San Diego in Fall, 2017. Mary wanted to find her way in public policy and politics. She has. Big-time. Making a difference for us and issues around the state. Thank you Mary. We have big hopes and expectations for you, especially as you embark on your new gig as the Director of Operations for Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s bid to become a United States Senator. Finally, happy birthday to our company’s swiss army knife, Mike Scerbo. Indispensable he is to our success and in spirit of The Phoenix Sun’s amazing run, our Jae Crowder.

Well, if all of this hasn’t quenched your thirst about things we’ve been up to for the first part of 2021 perhaps it will whet your appetite for what’s in store for a very big and exciting rest of the year.

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