The man who launched an effort earlier this month to rename Apache Junction by voter initiative hasn’t hit the street with petitions yet — but not because he’s had a change of heart.
Vinton Peck, 75, and his wife headed the group that incorporated the city in 1978 after numerous failed attempts, and they are now on a drive to remake the city in an image they think will allow the city to expand by annexing Gold Canyon and other existing communities.
“Apache Junction’s good at annexing land. It’s not so good at annexing people,” he said, referring to about 12 square miles of empty state-owned land on the city’s south side, expected to soon start opening up for development.
Peck’s vision has involved nine other voter initiatives besides the attention-grabbing name change, but he said he realized he was taking on too much at once after consulting with an informal “committee” of supporters.
He said many, but not all, share his dislike of the name Apache Junction. His proposed alternative is Superstition.
Some of the other issues Peck wants to put to a public vote include a City Council district representation system, nullification of all elections with less than 50 percent voter turnout and term limits for elected officials.
And Peck envisions more elected officials, including the city manager, police chief, city attorney and city clerk.
He said the committee will likely streamline his proposals, either by combining questions or pulling some entirely. But Peck said the name change and council districts are his top priorities.
He said he isn’t daunted by the mostly negative response the name change has gotten from a city which has fought off previous efforts to change its name, in part because he saw the same kind of resistance to incorporation.
Kay Doubles, a 40-year resident, said she’s never had a problem with the name, and she’s already feeling some trepidation over the changes she’s already seeing, such as taller buildings blocking mountain views and new homes she fears could push property taxes past what she and her husband can afford.
“If they take Apache Junction away, it’s going to make me feel like I’m next, they’re going to find a way to sweep me away because they don’t like the looks of me,” she said.