There are 11 candidates seeking one of three seats up for grabs at the Aug. 28 Scottsdale primary election.
Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane is facing two challengers - Drew Bernhardt and John Washington.
Both Mayor Lane and Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp are seeking re-election.
For a person featured in either race to attain a seat on the local dais a majority of all votes cast must be obtained, according to the Scottsdale City Clerk's Office.
All voters must be registered by Monday, July 30 to participate in the August primary.
Council candidates, in alphabetical order, are Denny Brown, Bill Crawford, Councilwoman Klapp, Debra Komarnicki, Virginia Korte, Eric Luoma, Joe Meli, Joanne Phillips, Guy Phillips, Chris Schaffner and Christian Serena.
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Each candidate was asked a few questions or given the opportunity -- in 200 words or less -- to explain to you, the reader, why they are a good fit for the local governing board.
For those who responded, this is what they had to say:
Job: Sexton Shepherd of the Hills UCC
•What has prompted you to run for a seat on city council? On the school board, I discovered that one man can make a difference. I want to bring that energy and positive focus to the city I love.
•What direction do you want to take local government? I've discovered that civility equals productivity. I would like to bring that attitude to the city council. I also am concerned that some of our positive growth has been unfairly put on the back of neighborhoods. I am glad that Scottsdale survived one of the worst economic downturns in history, and people continue to want to live, learn, work and play in our great city. As we move forward, we need a vision for growth with neighborhoods in mind. We need to have a vision and execute that vision for the McDowell Road Corridor.
•If elected what will be your priorities? I live in Old Scottsdale, as a matter of fact, one block north of McDowell Road. This area would be a priority for me. I would like to see the city promote the area using Sky Song as a hub, "Scottsdale's Miracle Mile, a Center for Creativity and Innovation." I would like to see Scottsdale embrace it's history with a positive focus on the gallery district. We need to finish the work on the preserve.
Job: Business owner, educator
Statement: Scottsdale's challenges affect all of us. The need for strong leadership and ideas has never been greater. Bad planning and incompatibility issues require immediate attention. I support our diverse citizenry with responsible compatible change that enhances quality of life and maintains our 60-year brand. This is why I'm running for Scottsdale City Council and need your vote. As a 35-year business owner and National Fitness Hall of Fame inductee, I have always donated valuable time to community service including the U.S. Olympic Committee, Maricopa County Sheriff's Posse, the U.S. Navy, mountain rescue, volunteer fire fighting and multiple civic organizations. As founder and president of the Association to Preserve Downtown Scottsdale's Quality of Life, I have protected downtown residents and businesses. As a community leader, my constant voice in city wide issues has resulted in action and change. With criticisms, I offer solutions. The choice is clear. Involvement! I lead by example, not promises. My accomplishments indicate what I will do when elected. My work is not finished. My presence on city council will ensure citizens have a voice to protect and preserve quality of life and promote economic vitality that honors Scottsdale's heritage and builds a strong future.
Job: Business owner, councilwoman
•What has prompted you to run for a seat on city council? I serve as councilwoman in Scottsdale, and I want to continue my work on assuring financial security, maintaining essential city services, assisting businesses to remain strong and create jobs, supporting tourism, completing the Preserve and remaining responsive to residents.
•What direction do you want to take local government? I want local government to remain streamlined and efficient, while providing excellent city services. I plan to maintain Scottsdale's reputation as one of the "best run cities" in the country.
•If elected what will be your priorities? My priorities are increasing revenues through tourism, responsible and quality growth, and job creation. I also intend for the city to retain its AAA bond rating. I will continue to support providing services and amenities that are needed in the city. I will always work to develop a vision for Scottsdale, listen to the views of citizens and to build consensus.
•What has prompted you to run for a seat on city council? I'm campaigning for city council because I'm dedicated to making Scottsdale the best it can be for all of our citizens. We need leaders with vision who are willing to be creative in carrying on our tradition of building consensus.
•What direction do you want to take local government? City government must work harder at being citizen-friendly. It's imperative the city council respect and listen to the voices of small business owners, neighborhood leaders and taxpayers. To stabilize our economy faster, I'm committed to collaborating with neighboring communities to create partnerships that help us achieve mutual economic goals.
•If elected what will be your priorities? It's vital to create a more diversified economy. My focus will be on attracting new businesses that bring well-paying jobs to Scottsdale - the kind of employment opportunities that will allow people to work, live and raise families here. I also plan to lead our city in rededicating itself to the restoration of the McDowell Road Corridor, which can launch us into a new era of economic development. I remain committed to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and to finishing what we started 20 years ago - because the mountain preserve helps us improve our own quality of life and also attracts tourists. I will always put Scottsdale first.
Job: President, Cactus Flower Florists
•What has prompted you to run for a seat on city council? I see an opportunity to better my community with my strong historical knowledge, fiscal responsibility and leadership experience.
•What direction do you want to take local government? I want to be sure that Scottsdale is always progressing and that we lead by example with city council decisions. Council should set policy and get out of the way, I am not a believer in micro-managing our professionals that we have hired.
•If elected what will be your priorities? Some of my priorities are: Moving forward with the Desert Discovery Center, combining the management and marketing of Westworld, TPC and the DDC and creating an opportunity for local citizens and national players to come up with creative and visionary ideas for the McDowell Road Corridor.
Joanne "Copper" Phillips
Job: Educational consultant
•What has prompted you to run for a seat on city council? For the past 20 years, I have served on various City of Scottsdale committees, input groups, task forces and commissions; I have presented and commented at numerous city council meetings on issues affecting neighborhoods and citizen rights/services. In the past four years, the council majority has ignored citizen concerns and desires in favor of approving projects with significantly increased height, density and congestion. They have approved and expanded the entertainment/bar district with almost no restrictions, to the detriment of nearby neighborhoods, compromising safety, property values, and the freedom of residents to enjoy their property. Continuous rezoning of land for uses incompatible with neighborhoods has occurred throughout the city, despite resident objections. Poor communication, poor fiscal management, poor policy decisions put Scottsdale at risk for losing the quality lifestyle, western heritage, and Sonoran desert environment that attracted us and keeps us here. My goal is restore citizen driven government, citizen voice and our quality of life.
•If elected what will be your priorities? 1. Create a General Plan Update that reflects a clear, unambiguous vision for the city, respecting citizen values as they affect growth and development, tourism, quality of life, business and employment. Multiple stakeholders must be involved, at a grass-roots level, encompassing citizens from every area of the city, the business community, health, technology and tourism industries. The vision, however, must be a refection of the residents' desires for their city, and everything else a means to that end. 2. Comprehensive review/change of policies, procedures, ordinances to streamline "doing business" with the city, from hiring to building permits, neighborhood ordinances to conditional use permits, vendor contracts to intergovernmental agreements. The goal is to make city government more efficient, effective and responsive. We have tremendous talents/resources among our employees, but I do not believe we are recognizing and benefiting from those talents as much as we should be. 3. Restructuring of all commissions to better represent lay citizens and remove perceived conflicts of interest. Reconfigure commission hearing processes to ensure sufficient citizen outreach and input.
•What has prompted you to run for a seat on city council? The misguided direction of the current council. The residents have been taken completely out of the equation.
•What direction do you want to take local government? In the right direction. No more developer-driven agendas of high-rise, view-busting apartments up and down the Scottsdale corridor. I want to create a council that is respectful and receptive to the citizens first and all else will fall into place.
•If elected what will be your priorities? Police and fire protection, citizen driven agendas, a balanced budget and creating a business climate that will attract entreprenuers large and small to come to Scottsdale. It goes without saying, police and rire protection come first. My motto will be "Is this in the best interest of our citizens?" If you agree with my priorities - I'm your Guy!
Job: Account manager
•What has prompted you to run for a seat on city council? I have been concerned with the growing distance between government and the citizens. This is evidenced by the throngs of citizens who come to City Hall to provide input, only to be quickly cut off end then summarily ignored. Further evidence includes the voters' rejection of the recent attempted General Plan Update. This crucial, visionary policy document is supposed to be a reflection of the citizen's desire for the future of the city. Yet, the citizens were pushed out of the process and their concerns ignored by the Council.
•What direction do you want to take local government? Local government should be responsive to the citizens and dedicated to serving their needs. Our city government should get back to protecting and enhancing our quality of life. That is what brought us our great status, and is the key to keeping it.
•If elected, what will be your priorities? The General Plan Update is critical. This state-required document provides the vision for the next twenty years for the city of Scottsdale, and will be binding for the next 10. This document must be produced with direct citizen involvement. Appoint a city manager that will be dedicated to executing the charter required duties of providing first-rate services in a cost efficient manner, enforce all laws and ordinances as they were intended, and implement the General Plan in good faith. We must ensure that our Primary Responders are appropriately compensated and shown the respect they deserve. We must re-focus our efforts to drive our very lucrative tourism industry. This is achieved in part through quality infrastructure, controlling density and traffic, protecting our airport, and effective promotion of our quality of life, great resorts, shopping, golf courses, etc.
News Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at 623-445-2774 via e-mail at email@example.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/nvnewsman