The leader of a group formed to oppose a ballot initiative that would create six council districts in Scottsdale resigned Tuesday because of disagreements about the group’s political strategy.
Paula Pennypacker said she is stepping down as chairwoman of FairVote because a majority of its members wants to actively campaign to defeat the district initiative, while supporting the city’s current at-large form of government.
"They want to campaign for status quo. I’m totally opposed to that," she said. "I am for looking at all election systems before we make up our mind. We’re talking about a change to the (city) charter here."
The Scottsdale City Council voted last month to place an initiative on the March 9 ballot asking voters if they want to create council districts to replace the current at-large council system.
Under the proposal, the city would be divided into six districts with one council member elected from each, plus an at-large mayoral seat. Residents would vote only for council candidates in their districts.
Pennypacker, who splashed onto the city’s political scene this summer when she engaged in the district debate, said the campaigning is dividing the city. She said she will continue to take an active role in educating residents about "alternative election systems."
FairVote member Patty Badenoch, who commended Pennypacker for her efforts and civic involvement, said Pennypacker’s departure was for the best.
A majority of the roughly 12-member group indicated there is not enough time before the spring vote to sit back and educate residents on alternative forms of government.
"We wanted to simply go after and defeat districting and keep the at-large," Badenoch said.