The Jake Files

March 9, 2006

Chandler City Council Endorsements

I sent in my mail ballot earlier this week.  Before getting into who I voted for and why, let me explain what I’m looking for in a candidate.

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.

What resources did I use to come to my voting decisions?  Pretty much the same ones as anyone else.  I don’t spend my time watching Channel 11 to catch the latest City Council meeting.  Why do that when 24 or Lost are on instead?  I look for the same information that everyone else does online – the candidates’ websites, campaign finance reports on the City website, mainstream media articles (when they deem local politics to be newsworthy).  I don’t have any particular insight, other than the knowledge that 2 of the candidates I voted for took an interest in the campaign to block the Wal-Mart development at Riggs and Arizona Avenue.  And again, I’m NOT a one-issue voter, but that is the issue I know the most about.

One other item of note:  I’m not really concerned with voting blocks on the council.  With 3 council seats and the Mayor’s seat up for grabs, there will be over 50% turnover on the council, so there’s a lot of uncertainty about how these things will shake out.  That was not a deciding factor for me.

I want to make one other comment before the endorsements.  I think that the field of candidates, by and large, was pretty good.  I think that they would all serve well, and there are a couple of candidates that I really wanted to vote for, but just didn’t feel their public stands on the issues were strong enough. 

So without further ado, the Amazing Jake endorsements for City Council are: 

Frank Peake

Chris Stage

Bob Caccamo

Frank Peake took an early interest in the Wal-Mart battle.  He was a speaker at the neighborhood meeting with the developer, and addressed issues of traffic.  As Chairman of the Maricopa County Transportation Advisory Board and Chairman of the City of Chandler Transportation Commission, Mr. Peake spoke with authority about the traffic implications, and he asked questions that the the developers didn’t want to answer in a public forum. 

Mr. Peake is a long-time resident of Chandler and has been very active in the community.  His background as a vice-president in financial institutions would make him an asset in any council discussions on city fiscal policy.  Finally, although it’s not a detriment to serving on the council to NOT have a military background, Amazing Jake is impressed with anyone who puts their life on the line in the service of their country.  It’s definitely a plus in my mind to have a US Marine on the council.

Chris Stage is another candidate who has taken the lead in community service.  Ms. Stage was a leader in the community efforts to prevent a Wal-Mart from locating at Alma School and Queen Creek, and she provided some advice to the Riggs Residents group in their Wal-Mart campaign.  Ms. Stage’s primary qualification in my mind is her connection to Chandler communities at the grass roots level, and her willingness to take a stand on an issue she feels is important.  In her professional career, Ms. Stage has worked as an ASU administrator and as executive director of a local non-profit organization, and she holds a PhD from ASU.

Bob Caccamo is the lone incumbent in the council race, and has a long history of service to the community.  He has taken a firm stand regarding the proliferation of big box stores, and deserves to keep his position.  I also like the fact that he gives his full attention to his city council duties, as he is unencumbered by a day job like those of us non-retired types.

To all the candidates, good luck on Election Day.  To everyone else, get out and exercise your right to vote.


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