"Chivalrous," "gentlemanly" and "positive" are words the Gilbert Town Council candidates have used to describe their election campaign, which enters its final week today.
"The candidates are trying to stick to the issues, which is really good for the voters of Gilbert," said Councilman Larry Morrison, one of six candidates vying for three open seats.
"It’s kind of nice that way. Things don’t get obscured with a lot of name-calling," candidate Daryl Colvin said.
Vice Mayor Steve Urie, Councilman Les Presmyk, Lorin Hatch, Cathy Pai, Colvin and Morrison make up the field of three incumbents and three challengers in the May 20 election.
The six advanced from the March 11 primary election, when Councilman Dave Crozier was the only candidate to secure a seat by receiving more than 50 percent of the vote. The second-place finisher was Urie with 2,359 votes, followed by Presmyk with 2,259, Morrison with 2,185, Hatch with 1,956, Pai with 1,170 and Colvin with 1,147.
Morrison is seeking his fourth term. Presmyk and Urie served on the Planning and Zoning Commission and Redevelopment Commission, respectively, before being elected to the council in 1999.
In this campaign, the three incumbents are pushing the importance of economic development. All three support the street bond issue and point to making progress in solving the 2004 General Fund budget shortfall.
Urie acknowledged the candidates, including the challengers, sometimes start to sound alike.
"The point is who has the experience to be able to lead," Urie said.
Council members are due a raise from $900 to $1,300 per month. Hatch said that money should be returned to the town, especially since the council is considering a pay cut for town employees.
"For my first year, I’m willing to serve with no pay," Hatch said.
Pai has two major differences from the other candidates — she’s not accepting financial contributions, and she’s a woman. Pai, a substitute teacher, said being the only female candidate likely helped her advance to next week’s election.
"Because of the school bond, my teacher and education friends are motivated to vote, and I’m hoping my peer group will vote for me," Pai said.
Colvin is the only candidate to oppose the proposed $80 million street bond. Colvin believes Maricopa County should pay its fair share and is concerned about the $18 million cost overrun from the last bond election.
"It was put together hastily without thinking through some issues," Colvin said. "If it’s all or nothing, temporarily at least, I’ll say nothing."