The Jake Files

March 9, 2006

Response from Jeff Weninger

Council candidate Jeff Weninger responded yesterday to the Amazing Jake’s campaign commentary, and was a good sport about the criticism he’s received here

Just a couple of points.  I agree with most of what he said in his comments. 

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.

Well, we’re in agreement that they belong near freeways.  Not so much on whether they could go somewhere else.  Chandler approved a general plan a few years back that identified appropriate locations for various zoning categories.  It’s not too much to expect that when citizens make the largest purchase of their lives knowing what the development plans are for the area they will live in, that the City honor the plan that they developed, and not allow prohibited development in inappropriate locations.  I expect the leaders of my community to take stands on such matters.

Based on these comments…

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. 

…it appears that Mr. Weninger was quoted out of context by the Chandler Independent.  If that’s the case, this just proves the point that more information is needed for voters to be fully informed.  I frankly haven’t been following the city hall debate, so I feel unqualified to comment on it. 

I would caution all candidates, however, not to discount the voice of 20 people who bother to show up at public forums.  In my own experience with the Wal-Mart struggle at Riggs and Arizona Avenue, there was a lot of involvement from the community, but it got to the point when a lot of people sat back and waited for direction from the Riggs Residents folks.  A lot of people were very interested in the outcome, and very willing to get involved when needed, but the legwork and organization was done by a small group of dedicated individuals.  If 20 people show up to a public meeting, that’s not necessarily an indication that only 20 care.

I appreciate Mr. Weninger taking the time to expand on his views; I just wish he had made them more public earlier in the campaign, and in more detail.  If I’ve learned nothing from this campaign, it’s that people want information, and the slate of candidates as a group have done a pretty bad job of distinguishing themselves from each other in a meaningful way that the casual observer would recognize. 

Good luck to Mr. Weninger on March 14th.


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