Council candidates discuss Chandler issues at forum - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Council candidates discuss Chandler issues at forum

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Posted: Friday, June 4, 2010 1:39 pm

Remaining fiscally responsible, attracting and retaining jobs and maintaining safe and stable neighborhoods were the three main issues the seven Chandler City Council candidates were most concerned about during a Thursday night forum.

Most of the candidates also had issues with the new City Hall under construction and the $9 million redevelopment of Arizona Avenue.

The candidates introduced themselves and answered questions during the forum hosted by the Chandler Chamber of Commerce and the East Valley Tribune.

They are vying for three open council seats in the Aug. 24 election.

Scott Taylor, who started Taylor-Nielsen Association insurance agency in Chandler eight years ago, said he's ready to be "bored" at "boring" council meetings. He said the city needs to brand itself better and attract more companies to move to the city.

"We need to be an easy city to do business with," said Taylor, who is married with three children. "There is always room for improvement."

Taylor said he is against the Arizona Avenue project, and would have spent the money on improving Gilbert Road.

Chandler Councilwoman Trinity Donovan is running for her second term. Donovan is the executive director for the Chandler Christian Community Center. She has a bachelors degree and a masters degree from Stanford University, and has lived in Chandler for 25 years.

Donovan said the city needs to look at innovative ways to invest in downtown, and incorporate more mixed-use projects, such as Chandler Preparatory Academy moving into an old grocery store.

She did vote for the Arizona Avenue project and said although it's a temporary inconvenience, it's making the lanes safer and more consistent by making both sides two lanes. She added the city chose the less expensive and shorter construction process.

"This strengthens downtown as a destination," Donovan said.

Terry Roe is a retired Mesa police sergeant who has lived in Chandler for 22 years. He's been a DARE officer and supervisor in the Mesa Unified School District.

Roe is concerned with excessive spending, focusing on Chandler's core services and giving young people the skills, training and education they need. He said the city needs an advertising theme and needs to embrace more technology.

Roe is against the City Hall building and the Arizona Avenue project, which he calls "excessive" and government "mismanagement."

Chandler Councilman Jeff Weninger is running for his second term. He opened and operates four Dilly's Deli and Floridino's Pizza & Pasta restaurants.

Weninger said the government process needs to be streamlined. He voted against the new City Hall under construction and the narrowing of Arizona Avenue.

"I don't think it's fair to businesses to cut off traffic," with the Arizona Avenue project, said Weninger, who is married with three children. "I believe it's a want, not a need. They should have widened the sidewalks for a lot less."

Kevin Hartke is a former Chandler councilman who is now a commissioner on the Planning and Zoning Committee, the chair of Chandler's 2010 Census Committee and a minister at Trinity Christian Fellowship. He is also the director of "For Our City, Chandler," a citywide initiative that brings together faith communities, nonprofits, businesses and the city to help Chandler.

"We need to make it easier for jobs to come here and streamline the process for businesses" to move in to the city, said Hartke, who is married with four children.

He approves of the Arizona Avenue project and said it will bring "value" to the city. He said it's what was voted on with the General Plan.

Donna Wallace is a former councilwoman who served eight years ending in 2006. She also served seven years on the Chandler Unified School District governing board.

She has lived in Chandler for 30 years, has owned Doug's Radiator and Muffler in Chandler with her husband for the past 39 years, and is a sales associate for Macy's at Chandler Fashion Center.

Wallace said she also wouldn't have supported building the new City Hall. She said the city should have renegotiated its current lease, or moved into an existing building. She also doesn't support the narrowing of Arizona Avenue, especially since it was widened years ago.

Wallace said the city should have spent the money instead on building a new museum, which voters have approved twice.

Arizona Sen. Jay Tibshraeny, R-Chandler, was the only candidate not at the forum. He is running unopposed for Chandler mayor. Tibshraeny is a former Chandler mayor, vice mayor and councilman.

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