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The stadium district could go down to defeat, and the Coyotes might never score a goal at Los Arcos, but Rose gets points just for changing the terms of the debate. Over tough resistance, he's selling the hell out of the idea that the development will save the area.
In a realm where image is everything, that matters more than the merits of the debate: for Rose, style is substance, and he's made a career out of making politics personal.
When people talk about Jason Rose, they start with the hair.
"I'd have to say he does have the best hair in town," his fiance, Republican fund raiser Stacey Pawlowksi, says. "It's certainly better than mine."
Rose's locks pile up on his head and roll down over his collar. Other guys his age are just starting to pay attention to Rogaine commercials, but it looks as if baldness exists on a different planet than Rose does. He has enough hair to support a whole economy of styling products, oceans of gel, jet streams of blow-dried air. It doesn't matter that his shirts are impeccably pressed, and he's almost always wrapped in a sports coat. The first thing is still the hair. It says that Rose, despite his politics, his family connections and his friends, is not your average Young Republican.
"He's, in some senses, a novelty," Kevin DeMenna, one of Rose's former bosses says. "Jason has an ability to entertain--and it's inherent, it's not manufactured--while he makes his case."
Other people in Rose's field--who asked not to be named, saying they may have to work with him some day--put it in less flattering terms. Rose is long on style, they say, but short on substance.
"He's got the look; he's got the hair; he's very slick and magazine," says one. "He's a rich kid. He's been given a lot of opportunities and he's done something with them, in a slick kind of way, but there's not a lot of depth to it. It's not just a job, it's a lifestyle."
Rose capitalized on his connections to get his professional start in Phoenix. It's a skill he's maintained ever since.
He graduated from Occidental College in California and went to work for Nelson, Robb, DuVal and DeMenna; partners Bob Robb and Fred DuVal are also Occidental grads. So is former attorney general Grant Woods.
"Bob [Robb] considers Occidental something close to the Vatican of education," DeMenna says.
Family ties also helped Rose get on McGovern's campaign team last year. McGovern has known Rose's father, Scott Rose, for years. Scott Rose is a partner at O'Connor Cavanagh, an influential Valley law and lobbying firm.
But even Rose's detractors agree that once in the door, he constantly hustles. "His work ethic is incredible," one critic of Rose concedes.
Cassidy Campana, Rose's former employee at Rose and Company, says he will sometimes work from 2 or 3 in the morning until 11 at night.
"I've never met a guy who worked harder," DeMenna says. "The thing about Jason now and then is that his professional life and his personal life, there really isn't a boundary. It isn't that he's always working. It's that the things he does to relax are the same things he does at work."
Rose's clients get not only a defender, but someone willing to take the offensive. For people blackened in the public eye, Rose is willing to hit back--hard.
"That's a niche, for better or for worse, that I've developed," Rose says. "If the client's looking for someone to represent their interest passionately, then you're damn right I'm going to do that. I'm not going to be scared to throw the hard punches."
Rose's first solo PR battle, in which he represented opponents of a controversial Grand Canyon development, offers a primer on Rose's art of war.
Canyon Forest Village is a one-square-mile development just outside Grand Canyon National Park proposed by a Scottsdale partnership. The developers want to swap more than 2,000 acres of private land in the Kaibab National Forest for the 600-plus acres of U.S. Forest Service land between the park and the town of Tusayan.
Rose represents the Grand Canyon Improvement District, a group of Tusayan area businesses opposed to the project. It is a client he took with him when he left Robb and DeMenna.
Rose has taken no prisoners in the battle. On billboards that went up last spring, Rose blasted Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt for his support of Canyon Forest Village. As the signs let everyone know, Babbitt was an attorney for the project back in 1991.
"He [Rose] plays on America's notion that everything is sick, everybody's out to get somebody. It's kind of just despicable," Tom De Paulo, a partner in the development, says.
One of De Paulo's partners is from Italy. "So they attacked with 'Don't sell the Grand Canyon to foreigners,'" he says.
"I won't even say he walks the edge; he goes way over the edge," De Paulo adds. "One of these days it'll catch up with him. We've all got to sleep at night."
Rose is unapologetic about making his client's case.
"When it comes to protecting the Grand Canyon, I hope that I would be more confrontational," he says. "I feel passionately that blading one square mile of the south rim [of the Canyon] is something worth fighting against."