The spring election season took shape Wednesday as City Council hopefuls in four East Valley jurisdictions filed papers to get on the ballot. The races will likely include battles over a potential property tax in Mesa, eminent domain in Tempe and rapid growth in Chandler and Queen Creek.
Election dates Wednesday: Deadline to file as regular candidate Feb. 2: Last day to file as a write-in candidate Feb. 9: Early voting begins Feb. 13: Last day to register to vote March 14: Election Day May 16: Runoff elections (if necessary)
Mesa will elect three council members next year to serve Districts 4, 5, and 6.
Two candidates joined the race Wednesday for the District 4 seat, making the race the most crowded and diverse. District 4 is the only district with a majority Hispanic population. The race will match Pat Esparza, a member of the Mesa Association of Hispanic Citizens, against three other candidates including J.T. Ready, a Minuteman activist and opponent of illegal immigration.
DISTRICT 4 (downtown and areas south)
• Pat Esparza, 41, federal investigator and substitute teacher. Has served on a number of city boards, including the Mesa 2025: Financing the Future committee.
• Kyle Jones, incumbent, 49, low-voltage contractor. Chairman of the Mesa 2025: Financing the Future committee that recommended a property tax and sales tax increase.
• Ilias Kostopoulos, 75, retired mechanical and electrical technician. Running to defend the city against taxes. Ran unsuccessfully for mayor seven times in Tempe and as a mayoral write-in candidate last year in Mesa.
• J.T. Ready, 32, concealed weapons instructor. Opposes a property tax and wants to make the government more efficient.
DISTRICT 5 (northeast Mesa)
• Rex Griswold, incumbent, 53, restaurant consultant.
DISTRICT 6 (southeast Mesa)
• Scott Somers, 37, Phoenix firefighter and paramedic. Wants to ensure public safety, support business and education, and help develop the Williams Gateway Airport area.
• Janie Thom, incumbent, 64, investor. Opposes a city property tax. Wants to continue bringing hospitals and businesses to the city.
Tempe will have at least one new council member as voters decide who to place in three seats. Incumbents Ben Arredondo and Len Copple will run for another term, but Councilwoman Pam Goronkin said she will spend more time with her husband and his new job in California.
One of the hottest election issues could be the city’s attempted use of eminent domain to force industrial businesses off their property to build the planned Tempe Marketplace. Several property owners sued successfully to block condemnation.
• Ben Arredondo, incumbent, 58, deputy superintendant of schools in Maricopa County. Supports renovating every city park and other municipal buildings. He supported eminent domain for the Marketplace.
• Len Copple, incumbent, 64, retired attorney. Wants to oversee projects such as an expanded transportation system and downtown redevelopment. He defends eminent domain, saying it was important to clean up the polluted Marketplace site.
• Shana Ellis, 35, assistant director at Tempe Community Council. A lifelong Tempe resident who has served on many civic boards. She said she supported eminent domain for the Marketplace.
• Onnie Shekerjian, 47, self-employed public policy researcher. Has served on numerous local and state education organizations. Shekerjian, whose last name rhymes with excursion, opposed eminent domain for the Marketplace.
• Corey Woods, 27, graduate student and teaching assistant at Arizona State University’s College of Education. Running because of a lifelong passion for politics. He gives high marks to Tempe’s leadership but said the city was wrong to use eminent domain for the Marketplace.
Mayor Boyd Dunn will be challenged by Vice Mayor Phill Westbrooks in an election that will focus on growth issues and revitalization of the city’s older neighborhoods.
• Boyd Dunn, 53, family law attorney. Favors increased police and fire protection and accelerated completion of transportation projects.
• Phill Westbrooks, 44, director of community benefit at Chandler Regional Hospital. Favors police and fire expansion, and would implement more public forums to gather community input on issues.
• Bob Caccamo, incumbent, 64, retired Chandler High School principal. Could not be reached for comment.
• Trinity Donovan, 28, vice president of community impact for the Valley of the Sun United Way. Wants to build and strengthen communities, be a voice for residents and ensure economic viability and strong neighborhoods.
• Rick Heumann, 51, sales manager and member of Chandler Planning and Zoning Commission. Could not be reached for comment.
• Becky Jackson, 52, president and CEO of the Chandler Chamber of Commerce. Wants to continue efforts to revitalize downtown and create a sound economic plan to prepare for buildout.
• Frank Peake, 38, vice president of Town Bank of Arizona. Wants to continue efforts to revitalize downtown neighborhoods, improve transportation and ensure economic vitality as the town approaches buildout.
• Chris Stage, 42, executive director of the nonprofit Neighbors Who Care for homebound seniors. Wants to ensure adequate police and firefighters, and a sustained quality of life as the town approaches buildout.
• Jeff Weninger, 35, owner of Dilly’s Deli chain and Floradino’s Pizza and Pasta. Wants to improve response time on police and fire calls, and ensure parks and resources are sustained.
The mayor’s spot and three council seats are up for grabs in Queen Creek. All incumbents are running again. One of the biggest issues in town is ever-increasing traffic because of explosive growth.
• Wendy Feldman-Kerr, incumbent, age unavailable, owns the Feldman Agency, a Tempe-based insurance and financial services firm. Wants to grow the town along the general plan, improve traffic and retain the small-town rural feel.
• Art Sanders, 51, owns a Tempebased firm that specializes in producing CDs and DVDs for the seminar industry. Wants to eliminate waste in town spending, secure town’s financial future.
• Joyce Hildebrandt, incumbent, 61, real estate broker. Wants to use citizen input to determine how residents should pay for potential town services, such as fire and emergency response.
• Gary Holloway, 51, incumbent, superintendent for a construction firm. Wants to improve and maintain the town’s quality of life.
• Gordon Mortensen, 55, business owner. Wants to grow Queen Creek in a healthy way.
• Monte Nevitt, 47, vice president of Farm Management for Cythe & Spade Company and member of the Queen Creek Unified School District board. Wants to improve the quality of life in Queen Creek.
• Jon Wootten, incumbent, 44, software architect at Intel. Wants to maintain growth along the general plan, retain small-town atmosphere.