John Sibley Wolfe - East Valley Tribune: Candidates

John Sibley Wolfe

Who is ChandlerWolfe?

It’s me … John Sibley Wolfe.

I’m a 48-year-old husband, father and small-businessman. I like stupid movies, though my wife also takes me to arty ones, I am a Diamondbacks fan, I play recreational ice hockey at Polar Ice, and I can’t sing.

My wife of 26 years, Michelle, and I took the leap 18 months ago to open a gift shop in downtown Chandler. We named it Sibley’s West to commemorate a department store started in 1868 in Rochester, N.Y. by my great-grandfather, Rufus Sibley. We envisioned a store in which all of the gifts actually come from an Arizona artist or small business.

Business has been good — thanks to streams of tourists, residents stopping by with their guests and folks just looking for something familiar, like Queen Creek Olive Oil or Cerreta’s chocolates, plus more than 160 great Arizona suppliers. The Sabas have been terrific landlords and the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership and its merchants have been supportive.

We have lived in Chandler since 1997, first in Ocotillo and for the last 11 years in Andersen Springs. The girls went to Chandler High, as did three foreign-exchange “daughters” we’re lucky to consider family.

My first career was in journalism. After graduating from Northwestern, Michelle and I moved to Rochester and I worked for my father’s community newspapers for 10 years. As you might expect, I did just about everything. I began as a reporter, then became an editor and eventually ran the company as general manager.

The company was sold in 1996 and we moved to Arizona, where I joined Independent Newspapers, a publisher with publications in four states.

From 1997 to 2002, I was responsible for the news content of the Chandler Independent, a weekly newspaper. I was able to meet a lot of people, who were gracious with their time in letting me share their stories and opinions. I like to think I did a good job and that I was fair to all concerned.

I was active in the Chandler Chamber of Commerce, the Chandler Rotary, and Chandler United Methodist Church.

For the next six years I worked for the CEO of Independent as an internal consultant on training materials, special projects, websites, and new products. I joined the company’s board of directors.

At this time I also served on the board of the Arizona Newspapers Association, leading the group’s legislative committee. I was elected president in 2007.

After my mother passed away in 2008, I decided to go back to school. I was an MBA student at Arizona State — here’s a link to the summary of the experience — and graduated in 2010.

I recommend the program. It provided an unmatched exploration of key issues in business, from the nuts-and-bolts financial analysis and statistics you would expect to the skills needed to create an organizational culture that is productive and ethical. The classes on strategic planning, decision-making, and public policy were invaluable.

My favorite class was probably economics. Professor Bill Boyes challenged us to see capitalism not as bad and evil but a necessity to change, improvement, advancement, and wealth. The free market creates opportunities for people to succeed, but it is also the burial ground for those who do not change and adapt (for example, see Kodak, MySpace, Kmart, etc.)

Another lesson was that government, however well-intentioned, is not a wealth-creator; it is a wealth drain. Taxes taken out of consumers’ wallets means those funds do not go into commerce between private parties and businesses, which stunts their growth. Meanwhile, the dollars extracted by the government are not efficiently spent, regardless of officials’ good (and sometimes bad) intentions. There are more opportunities in the public sector for graft, corruption and “crony capitalism.” (In the private sector, with bottom lines and greater scrutiny, businesses can’t afford to be poorly run. Otherwise, they go out of business or, as we discussed in class, having something else “eat your lunch.”

I’m running for the Chandler City Council to bring my perspective to the discussions. I believe I can ask good questions, investigate issues, and conceive solutions.

I am a believer that elected officials are there to look after the government bureaucracy, to make sure decisions are thought out and fair, and that the voices of the citizen are heard. Government’s role is to provide the services collectively that citizens could not do on their own — like public safety, roads and infrastructure, and parks and libraries.

I think the Chandler community has been fortunate to have an effective local government and council during the period we’ve lived here. The finances have been well-managed, the services provided, and investments made for the next five to 10 years.

I don’t have an agenda, just a willingness to serve and represent you in a way you would appreciate.

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Nora Ellen

Chandler | City Council 100%

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