Joel Navarro grew up in Tempe, has coached sports there for 20 years and still has his parents in town.That puts him in touch with generations of Tempeans, which he says gives him a strong grasp of the issues he wants to face on the Tempe City Council.
"I think I have a well-rounded understanding of what Tempe is all about," Navarro said.
The Phoenix fire captain said his life-and-death decision-making skills as a firefighter would aid his ability to make tough decisions as an elected official.
Navarro said he's familiar with many of the issues through a long history of volunteer work and coaching.
He'd push for more code enforcement to get property owners to take better care of homes. He'd also expand programs for affordable housing, especially along the Metro light-rail line.
Navarro would like Tempe to pay greater attention to the details, including the city's appearance. He wants the city to take better care of parks, roads, alleys and landscaped medians. Navarro said Tempe is well-run but needs to keep progressing to ensure it preserves the quality of life he's enjoyed.
Navarro said Tempe's canal banks are underused and should be transformed into a boardwalk atmosphere to encourage greater use. Residents would get out of their cars more, he said, and bike or jog to Town Lake or other places in the city. The improved canal corridors could be used more widely for athletic events, too.
"It's a fun way to get people involved and out of their cars," he said.