I’ve been privileged to serve on Town Council for a decade. I’ve served with many great people, and some who exemplified the worst that politics has to offer. After serving with all of the candidates who are running in this election, I’d like to share my thoughts on each one.
Mayor Jerry is as smart a person and as good a leader as exists. I’ve had the pleasure of serving with good mayors and bad, but none that I would hold in higher esteem that Mayor Bien-Willner. He championed a financial stress test, that was implemented before the COVID-19 pandemic, which turned out to be the best tool to help us manage the town during these tough times.
He’s guiding the town through tough waters. He’s running unopposed for a good reason. I totally support Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner.
Councilman and former Vice Mayor Scott Moore:
You can’t find a more knowledgeable person in planning and engineering. Mr. Moore is a successful commercial and industrial developer in the west Valley. He does not have a conflict of interest because he doesn’t develop in the Town of Paradise Valley. He brings the total package to council: knowledge with traffic control, setbacks, utilities, drainage, and knows the town code like the back of his hand.
He is an expert and easy to work with. While he’s the most soft-spoken member of the Town Council, he speaks up when we need his expertise and fights back developers who want too much density in our town.
For those of you who know what David Sherf brought to council on resorts, Scott Moore does the same but for development. The town needs “Moore” of him, and Scott Moore has my vote and support!
Councilman Mark Stanton:
Stanton supports short-term rentals which are destroying our town — just go to his organization’s website (Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce) and look at the membership that he represents.
He specifically represents that he “lobbies at the local government level.” Stanton also pushed a deal to double the density of the largest project in the town’s history and he made sure the town had to pay for the infrastructure up front for a developer’s project for the first time in the town’s history.
Right after this vote, he got his job as the CEO of the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce. Interesting timing to say the least.
Now the Town of Paradise Valley is being sued by that developer.
His organization has short-term rental companies as members, who he lobbies for and their interests are certainly not in-line with town values. He loves the short-term rental companies so much he gave one his organization’s highest awards! He’s a not only a no vote, he should resign due to conflicts of interest.
Current Vice Mayor and Councilwoman Julie Pace:
Julie Pace is a champion of hillside, and she has worked tremendously hard to preserve the town’s values of open space and mountain preservation.
I’ve disagreed with Ms. Pace on a few items: she was a fan of single hauler trash by removing the residents ability to select their trash company, I’m not; she has supported tinting of new or redone flat roof houses that are not part of hillside, I don’t; and a few more.
However, Ms. Pace is always working toward a goal that has an argument behind it, even if I don’t agree, and her heart is in the right place. She’s smart and does the work of 10 people. I don’t think she sleeps. I support Julie Pace’s re-election, albeit not all of her “wish list.”
Jon, is an affable guy. Nice guy. His family has lived in town forever. I personally like Jon and suggested he run the last election cycle.
Some things have changed since the last election cycle. He does offer up some concerns that are noteworthy. He is a developer of residential homes (Calvis Wyant) in our town, that presents a conflict of interest. He also is for density more so than anyone on council with the exception of Scottsdale Stanton.
Mr. Wainwright, as a planning commissioner, supported and voted for a project that would have placed 30 condominiums plus 150 room hotel on four acres. Talk about too much density! Thank goodness the majority of the planning commission voted against the project.
Bottom line, politics is not perfect. Rarely do you get a person of service who is right on all subjects. Scott Moore, Julie Pace, and Jon Wainwright are the Town Council candidates that have my support in this election.
Editor’s Note: Paul Dembow is an elected member of Paradise Valley Town Council.