Arizona city council halts work on mural honoring John McCain over ‘protocol’ concerns, neighbor complaints

Arizona city council halts work on mural honoring John McCain over ‘protocol’ concerns, neighbor complaints

Officials in Scottsdale, Ariz., voted this week to halt work on a mural honoring the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump steps up attacks on McCain Trump: 'I was never a fan of John McCain and I never will be' Santorum: Trump should 'send emails to a therapist' instead of tweeting MORE (R-Ariz.) amid concerns over “protocol” and complaints from neighbors.

The “Maverick Mural” was approved by the Scottsdale Development Review Board last month, but city council members voted 5-2 on Tuesday to review that decision, according to the Arizona Republic. 

City Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield raised concerns that local artist Aaron Bass and architect Tommy Suchart did not go through proper public art processes to get the mural approved, insisting to the paper that her opposition was not political.

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“I didn't do this because it was a mural of John McCain," Littlefield said. “Everybody else in Scottsdale has to go through public art process, and it weakens the entire public art process throughout the city if one person doesn't have to go through the process."

The mural, which is set to be 30 feet tall and 120 feet wide, would be a portrait of the late senator comprised of thousands of photos of iconic Arizona images, including copper, cattle and cotton.

Littlefield has also clashed with other city officials over whether the mural can be classified as public art, and therefore, whether it needs to be approved by a local arts non-profit in addition to city officials.

A neighbor whose owns the parking lot adjacent to the mural also raised concerns about the project’s scope, calling it “rather enormous in scope.”

"If you stood at the parking lot and looked at the thing, you couldn't see anything to do at all with Senator McCain,” Dewey Schade told the Arizona Republic in September.

Artist and architect Bass and Suchart have locked horns with Schade over the project, saying that the landlord has impeded their ability to work on the mural. Schade has said the same of Bass and Suchart, accusing them of trespassing and reportedly calling the police.

"All we need is a few days to stand in a parking lot," Bass told the paper. "It's clear that Dewey Schade does not support a commemoration to John McCain or a commemoration to the veterans of this country." 

The council will now hear an application from Bass and Suchart, in addition to public testimony, before voting again on whether to let the project continue.

Bass and Suchart raised over $20,000 for the mural in August, and lamented that it has been stalled.

"If this project is canceled, it's going to send this message to other people that are trying to come to Old Town and do something maybe not so standard," Bass told the Republic. "It will make those people think twice and take their art to the city of Phoenix."

McCain, a giant of the Senate and former Republican presidential candidate, died in August at the age of 81 after a battle with brain cancer.