South Scottsdale may make a push in the next City Council election with at least five residents who are considering a run for elected office in March.
Two people so far have filed with the City Clerk’s Office: Merlin Gindlesperger, a former mayoral and council candidate, and Ron McCullagh, who last ran unsuccessfully on the GOP ticket for the state House in District 8, representing Fountain Hills, Rio Verde and parts of Scottsdale. Both live south of McDonald Drive.
While Councilman Tom Silverman and Vice Mayor Ned O’Hearn said they haven’t decided whether they’ll vie for another term, Councilman David Ortega took himself out of the running. Ortega filed as a mayoral candidate July 3 to try to unseat Mayor Mary Manross, who plans to defend her post.
A fourth open council seat remains a possibility — putting the seven-member council majority up for grabs in the March 9 general election.
Councilwoman Cynthia Lukas said she is considering resi gning from her seat, which voters elected her to for a second term in March 2002, to run for mayor.
"I won’t confirm that I’m running until I make that decision to resign," Lukas said. "There are many things that I want to accomplish before that decision point."
The other three south Scottsdale residents who said they are thinking about taking a plunge into politics are Nancy Cantor, president of the newly created Scottsdale Coalition; Kevin Osterman, former planning commissioner; and William Crawford, organizer of a possible special election to ask voters to create six council district seats with an at-large mayor to replace the current at-large system.
Cantor said she won’t make her final decision until she finishes her chemotherapy next month.
"I wouldn’t rule it completely out," Cantor said. "I don’t feel that my part of the community has been fairly represented, and I sure don’t feel that the city has taken into consideration the mature neighborhoods of Scottsdale, and that’s everything south of Chaparral (Road)."
Osterman is chairman of a new political action committee called Save Merchants and Ripoff of Taxes, or SMART, which is against the council’s July 2 vote to give Ellman Cos. a sales tax subsidy to develop the former Los Arcos Mall site. He said he also is unhappy with the current state of politics and south Scottsdale.
"I’m looking at types of (council) decisions and quality of decisions made, and I’m shocked," Osterman said.
Voters elected Silverman and O’Hearn to their first terms in 2000. Both intend to make their decisions this fall.
"Who else runs will not be a factor in my decision," O’Hearn wrote in an e-mail.
Silverman said: "It’s just a possibility. I don’t know."