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Dickman: Why I am withdrawing from the Town Council race


Today I am announcing that I am terminating my campaign to run for the Town Council of Paradise Valley.

My campaign started after I was approached by our current mayor and several town council members who encouraged me to run. After all, I served nearly four years on the ACOPS (police safety) Committee, Chaired the Short-Term Rental Committee (successfully!) for over four years and currently serve on the Planning Commission. Many do not know that I also personally paid and funded an economic research study supporting our town. In other words, I care so much about the town that I have given my money and my time as a volunteer. 

Despite my long record as a volunteer, I was and am an admitted novice when it comes to running for office. To start my campaign, I spent five hours daily for 10 days in front of town hall collecting signatures to qualify my name on the ballot. Candidates are required to submit 172 signatures to be placed on the ballot. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting many residents and discussing the issues important to them. I obtained 190 signatures, far in excess of the required 172.

Several days ago, I was contacted by the town staff who advised that Councilwoman Julie Pace had targeted all of my submissions and requested copies of all of my filings. Although this seems unusual, this information is public. The town staff’s custom is to notify people when this occurs.

Imagine my surprise when, two days later, I was sued by Councilwoman Andeen in Superior Court of Maricopa County. I was served and was ordered to appear in court within a week.

The gist of the complaint is that Ms. Andeen – presumably with Julie Pace, given the chain of events – contested a number of the signatures. In some cases, she claimed that the signature was from an individual who may live in Paradise Valley, but was not a registered voter. She made other claims related to technical matters such as formats to signature dates. After my review, I disagree with many of the disputes of the signatures. This has never happened previously in Paradise Valley.  

After consultation with my wife, and with apologies to my supporters, I have decided to withdraw my candidacy. To hire an attorney and fight in Superior Court for a volunteer, unpaid position is repugnant to me. For those who encouraged me and supported me, please accept my thanks.

I think that this is a sad day for the town — not for me. Do we really want elected officials to sue candidates to discourage them from running? How will we in the future attract the quality candidates that we need? I also feel this is a stain on the Andeen family tradition of encouraging service to the town.  

The race for Town of Paradise Valley is sadly now uncontested. Ms. Andeen apparently believes that the voters should not decide. What she does not recognize, is that this will not help her close friend, Julie Pace.    

 Reader reactions, pro or con, are welcomed at AzOpinions@iniusa.org.