The Jake Files

March 8, 2006

Party Affiliation in Chandler Mayoral and Council Race

The last Chandler City Council meeting before Tuesday’s election was a showcase of political sniping.

It started when Councilman Martin Sepulveda questioned Mayor Boyd Dunn’s public appearances with Republican congressmen and called for an elected officials’ “code of conduct.”

Sepulveda, who is backing Dunn challenger Phill Westbrooks, said, “It’s not my intent to browbeat,” but challenged Dunn’s Feb. 20 appearance with U.S. Sen. John McCain on the city’s cable channel and mailing, at city expense, invitations to a public session with U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake in November.

Today’s story in the Arizona Republic by Edythe Jensen highlights the tension on the current council. 

It also helps answer a question that I, and several people looking for information on this site, have been trying to find out:

Search term:  “Westbrooks what political party is he” – 7 hits

Search term:  “Boyd Dunn Chandler, AZ Republican” – 13 hits

Sepulveda said he suspects the invitees are Republicans. Dunn is a Republican; Westbrooks is an Independent and former Democrat. The city elections are nonpartisan.

Well, now we know.  But does it really matter for a city council election?

Long time readers of The Jakefiles (ed. note: longtime? who are you trying to kid?) may have noticed that the Amazing Jake tends to fall on the conservative side of the political spectrum.  Similarly, such readers may have also noticed that I have not tended to find favor with some whose positions one would think I would be in agreement with politically. 

One prime example would be Jeff Weninger.  Reading Mr. Weninger’s positions, one might think to oneself, “He sure does sound conservative, the kind of conservative that would make the Amazing Jake all gooey inside.”  And if Mr. Weninger were running for a state or federal office, I might overlook the shocking lack of posture and inadequate communication of an actual message instead of identification with known political figures.  But in a LOCAL election, LOCAL issues matter much more than adherence to a party platform.

WHOA there, Amazing Jake!  Are you saying that principles go out the window if those principles are personally inconvenient to you?  Isn’t that kind of, well, unprincipaled and hypocritical?

Well, one might think that.  But let’s look at it this way.

Is it a conservative principal to allow monopolistic power to crowd out competition in the marketplace?  I don’t think so.

Is it a conservative principal to make changes to the City General Plan just to accommodate a big employer and tax generator?  Definitely not.

Is it a conservative approach or a liberal approach to seek answers on how a given business will impact the economy, the traffic, and the quality of life in a community?

Now, I’ve never been a one issue voter in my life.  I don’t intend to start now.  But the issue that matters most to me in this election the quality of life in southern Chandler.  That quality of life includes reasonable traffic, diverse choices of retail establishments at which to shop, and ensuring that long term economic health is more important than short term sales tax revenue followed quickly by empty grocery and retail stores. 

So, when I make (actually, made) my choices for Mayor and City Council, I am looking beyond party label.  I’m looking for leadership over generic slogans, specific plans over generalities, the track record of the candidate involved, and other clues to the candidate’s character that indicate to me how they might approach issues.

If a kneejerk liberal were running for council, what do I care where they stand on abortion or foreign policy?  What I want to know is, will they be responsive to the public?  Will they respect personal property rights?  Will they promote economic growth as a means to increasing city revenues, or retreat to tax increases to generate funds?  This is why the Amazing Jake wants specifics when candidates publish their websites, and is generally disdainful when they don’t.  It makes me think they have something to hide. 

Then again, I could be wrong.

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2 Comments »

  1. Jake,

    I recently found your website. I have enjoyed reading your take on Chandler politics, and yes I should of stood up straight and worn a suit in the presence of Senator John McCain. I would like to address a couple of issues that you brought up. The quotes on the Big Box issue was part of a 30 minute interview with the Chandler Independent. I am sure you know that I did not make all of those statements in that exact context. I am on record saying that a big box does not belong at AZ Ave. and Riggs. I would like to get the neighborhoods input and proceed from there. I envision a unique mix of retail and restaurants. We have this mix in downtown Chandler. I believe Chandler needs more of this throughout the city. I don’t want to eat out at a chain restaurant every night. Chandler has new hotels locating here, and tourists want places and experiences that are memorable.
    I have said numerous times that I think we probably have enough Walmarts in Chandler already. I have also said that I believe the best places for big box stores is in the freeway corridors. I am just not willing to say that under NO circumstance could a big box go anywhere else.
    When I said that I don’t want to see 20 people making decisions for an entire city, I was speaking about the location of city hall. I have been the only candidate speaking out against the use of eminent domain in building the new city hall. The council spent $200,000 on a study so RNL could tell us that of the 4 potential sites for city hall, the 2 sites that we actually owned were no good and the 2 that would possibly take eminent domain to aquire are the winners. I said that I don’t want 20 people who showed up at those stakeholder meetings making a decision for this entire city. There is no reason to take up prime retail or condo space on AZ. Ave for a government building. How is that going to encourage development?
    I do think big box stores have there place in Chandler. I think the Walmart at AZ. Ave. and the 202 is well placed. I was absolutely AGAINST Walmart locating at Queen Creek and Alma School. These stores, well placed contribute to the safety of the citizens of Chandler. The sales tax revenues from a Home Depot and a Lowes can fund the payroll of a firestation. Are we getting close to having enough big boxes? Yes, but I do believe they have their place in Chandler. I think we need to achieve a balance and start working on getting those unique shopping, dining and entertainment venues here in Chandler.
    Thanks for keeping me on my toes and thinking about standing up straight.

    Jeff Weninger

    Comment by Jeff Weninger — March 8, 2006 @ 11:50 pm | Reply

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