The Jake Files

March 9, 2006

Chandler AZ Mayoral Election Endorsement

In my previous post on endorsements for the 3 city council openings, I listed my primary concerns for choosing elected officials:

I expect elected city officials to be aproachable, responsive to community concerns, and unafraid to take a stand on an issue that may not be popular.  Taking a position on an issue without knowing how the electorate will respond is the mark of a leader – I set the agenda, and this is why you should support that agenda.

The issues I care about at the local level are: protection of private property rights (a man’s home is his castle, after all), low property and sales taxes, policies that promote economic expansion and job creation, road policies that promote low traffic congestion, and public safety in the form of adequate police and fire protection.

The quick-witted reader might notice that I listed character traits ahead of policy positions.  That wasn’t an accident.

I had a difficult decision with the mayoral race.  On the one hand, Boyd Dunn is the incumbent in a city that’s on the right track, and he is, after all, a Republican.  Phill Westbrooks was more of an unknown quantity for me, and it was only yesterday that I found any mention of a party affiliation.

Several things made the decision for me.  It came down to this:

  • Who was more direct in their positions (i.e. takes a stand or makes their policy positions known)?
  • Who is (more) engaged with Chandler citizens and interests?
  • What does my gut tell me?

My impression is that Mayor Dunn may be too flexible in his positions to take the kind of leadership role I’d like in a mayor.  For example, when Mayor Dunn was quoted back about a year ago saying that Wal-Mart should be satisfied with the existing stores in Chandler, and not pursue further locations, it was like shutting the barn door after the animals have all run out.  By that time, Diversified Partners had already withdrawn their application to annex and rezone the parcel on which they proposed to build a Wal-Mart Supercenter.  Where was Mayor Dunn when his opinion would have made a difference in the struggle? 

A couple of other thoughts:  I don’t like the negative attacks that have filled my mailbox with spam this week.  The divisiveness on the council is cancerous.  Second, I have to wonder what the Mayor’s intentions are with his remaining campaign warchest.  He’s still got almost $60,000 left, according to his March 2nd campaign finance filing.  Is he going to be an engaged official, or will be be angling for a higher office?  Third, I just don’t like the fact that he takes credit for accomplishment that has occurred in the city.  His website reads like he alone was responsible for all the good things that have happened in Chandler. 

Phill Westbrooks ran a very good campaign, and it was mostly focused on a positive message.  Of all the candidates, he provided the most comprehensive information about his proposed policies.  He was also very forthright about his opposition to big box stores near neighborhoods.  Based on the number of appearances he’s made and his deep ties to Chandler, my gut tells me he’s truly interested in serving the city.

The Amazing Jake therefore endorses Phill Westbrooks for mayor.

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