25th Annual Scottsdale History Hall of Fame to induct five pillars of the city
Editor’s note: This month, three people and two entities will be inducted into the Scottsdale History Hall of Fame. The San Francisco Giants and Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust will be inducted on the organization side. Don Carson will be honored for his contributions to the city’s culinary scene, most notably steakhouse Don & Charlie’s. Richard Hayslip, who has worked for Scottsdale Cultural Council in various capacities for years, including as president and CEO, will also be inducted. Attorney Randy Nussbaum of Sacks Tierney P.A. is the third individual inductee this year, and took time to reflect on Scottsdale and his connection to the city.
Why I love Scottsdale By Randy Nussbaum
My wife loves to describe my relationship to Scottsdale as akin to a saguaro known for its tenacious roots. She’s right, but those roots did not grow overnight; it has been a process.
When I was 6 years old, my family moved from New York to our first Scottsdale home on Valley View off Pima Road. After a short period at Paiute, I attended Mohave Elementary.
Our first home was across the street from the Pima-Maricopa reservation. Before development on tribal lands, exploring the reservation was nirvana for a 7- or 8-year-old. In the age of unlocked doors and little crime, my parents let me wander free after school but sternly warned me to stay away from the reservation and its extensive canal system along Pima Road. But my friends and I couldn’t resist the temptation of playing in the canals’ murky waters, seeking out wildlife that thrived on the reservation and surreptitiously wandering around while curiously trying to learn about our neighbors to the east.
Most roads were not paved and McDonald Road was a fairly major thoroughfare but was dirt and gravel during most of the time that we lived on Valley View. One day my friends and I had the brilliant idea to climb one of the pecan trees on McDonald and hurtle pecans at the occasional truck that went by. The fun ended when a police officer climbed up behind us, hauled us down, and drove us home to our parents. The officer tried to be firm in his admonitions, but failed.
Like any normal 11-year-old, I was traumatized when my parents moved up north of Shea Boulevard in January 1967 and I had to transfer to a new school called Cocopah. But the trauma was lessened when I discovered my new best friend across the street and the freedom of living in north Scottsdale at a time in which everyone had horses and a variety of livestock on their acre-plus lots, every young teenager either had a minibike or a small motorcycle, and the most pressing question among my friends and I was whether the world came to an abrupt end at Bell Road.
You didn’t consider dressing up in Western garb during Parada del Sol week; you just did, and as I recall, we even got Friday afternoon off to attend the rodeo. I marched in the Parada del Sol for two or three years with the Mohave Marching Band and loved waving at my family ensconced on the roof of my family’s business, Carpet Mart, on Scottsdale Road.
It was not unusual for me to hang out at the family store on weekends “to help out” even as a 9- and 10-year-old. My dad eventually realized that my main motivation for showing up to “help” was the probability that at lunchtime I would be sent to the Ranch House hamburger stand to buy burgers and fries for not just me, but the other workers. As I’m writing this memoir, I distinctly remember the faces of the two women who manned the counter in a grouchy, but affectionate, manner.
My years at Saguaro High were a little more challenging because I was at that time naturally shy around strangers and awkward interjecting myself into new groups, but did participate in a variety of schooltime activities and avoided the cut for two years to play baseball.
I graduated a semester early and took my first class at Scottsdale Community College, which led me to being a continuous supporter of that institution to this day. The only time I have not lived in the Valley since 1962 was when I attended U of A, but by my sophomore year, I returned to Scottsdale and transferred to ASU.
I worked my way through both undergraduate and law school officiating all levels of sports, including intramurals, city softball, and high school baseball. I called many a game at Coronado, Arcadia, Saguaro, Chaparral, and Scottsdale High. Scottsdale was still small enough in the mid to late ‘70s that when I officiated a softball game between the police and fire departments, I knew many of the participants, and on at least one or two occasions was given a warning versus a ticket by one of Scottsdale’s finest who remembered me from the game the night before.
When I started practicing law in the fall of 1980, it never occurred me to locate anywhere else but downtown Scottsdale on Second Street off of Scottsdale Road, and I quickly began representing many of the local businesses and was proud to be the co-owner of the first law office-only building ever constructed in Scottsdale, which was completed in 1982.
I was blessed to meet Malcom White when he wandered into our law office 35 years ago and he enthralled me with stories about being the first Mayor of Scottsdale. At about the same time, Guy Stillman came by to visit one of the other lawyers and popped into my office and introduced himself. He explained to me his love of trains and his vision for McCormick Ranch Railroad Park and he so captivated me that I still support and regularly stop by the Railroad Park 33 years later.
In the early 1980s, I was introduced to the woman who became my wife, Polly, by the wife of the individual who hosted my monthly poker game. Polly was 22 and owned an antique shop on Main Street and after we were married, she opened the first auction house in Scottsdale and began conducting estate sales for the rich and famous who retired to Scottsdale in the 1970s and 1980s. Polly and I moved to McCormick Ranch in 1984 and have lived there since. We have raised both of our boys, Michael and Daniel, through the Scottsdale School system.
From the very moment that my dad and mom drove my sister and me to Scottsdale in late 1961 to see the site of our soon-to-be-built house, this city has welcomed me with open arms. When I first started becoming actively involved in all aspects of Scottsdale 30 years ago, my involvement was always openly welcomed. I have been fortunate to have visited cities throughout the world and the United States, and I candidly can’t think of a better place to have grown up. I have tried to do whatever I could to show my gratitude to this fine city, but regardless of any of my contributions, my efforts pale in comparison to what Scottsdale has done for me.
Randy Nussbaum is an inductee into the 2018 Scottsdale History Hall of Fame and an attorney at Sacks Tierney P.A. Sacks Tierney serves Arizona businesses and entrepreneurs in such areas as commercial litigation, construction, loan workouts, real estate law, business transactions, bankruptcy and employment law.