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Hait: Why Julie Pace is the right woman for Paradise Valley right now


If the Town of Paradise Valley was a song, it would be a country western tune titled “Don’t Make Me Change, But Don’t Leave Me Out.” That’s been the refrain for as long as I can remember.

And I have a long memory, having lived in PV for more than 45 years. In the interest of full disclosure, I recently moved to Scottsdale. But my life in PV gave me a front row seat to the past four decades, during which the town was continually pressured to widen its roads, trade mountainsides for more houses, and increase its density to accommodate resorts and developments. Depending on the backbones and wishbones of the various mayors and councils, the town stood its ground or gave ground.

This push me-pull-me dance continues today, except this time the stakes are higher than ever before. Six resorts are poised to submit redevelopment proposals which, depending upon how they are each received, can change the character of PV forever. I am convinced that Julie Pace is the right woman at the right time to lead the town through this challenge.

Julie, a fourth-generation Arizonan, is a passionate volunteer advocate. She is serving her second term as a member of the Town Council and previously served as vice-mayor. She chaired the Paradise Valley Advisory Committee on Public Safety (ACOPS) and facilitated the reinvigoration of the Paradise Valley Mountain Preserve Trust. She led efforts to improve the town’s hillside ordinance to ensure that safety and responsible planning are integral to hillside building plans.

She is also an accomplished professional who is comfortable in the business world. She brings 30 years of experience as an employment, construction, and OSHA lawyer representing myriad companies to Paradise Valley. She is also a dedicated civic benefactor. Julie and her husband David Selden, residents of PV for more than 20 years, are avid supporters of Valley cultural institutions that enhance all our lives, contributing time, leadership, and funding.

If we had the luxury of designing a candidate to run for the office of mayor at this critical juncture for the town, Julie would be that person. She brings extensive knowledge of business and development. She is skilled at building and leading teams. And she has a successful record of working with city governments. But most important, Julie is a person who cares.

Julie helped to spearhead the book I wrote with my granddaughter, “The Story of Camelback Mountain,” all proceeds of which benefit the Paradise Valley Mountain Preserve Trust. Julie found our extraordinary illustrator, Sebastien Millon. In our book, Camelback Mountain is saved by the “People Who Care.”

Julie personifies these people.

Julie’s experience on the PV Council proves she can find that balance between those who sing “Don’t Make Me Change” and those who cry “Don’t Leave Me Out.” She puts residents first while keeping developers at the table. She is a fierce protector of the town’s residential persona and our resorts. She doesn’t see this as contradictory because she knows that the best solutions are best for everyone.

I’ve worked with Julie on our neighborhood issues. I know how she operates. She brings her considerable energy to focus on the problem. She challenges all parties involved to find a creative solution. She works tirelessly to find the answer that works for everyone, in the short and long term, one that doesn’t compromise the character of the town or create more problems down the road. It’s not the easy way to work but it is the right way.

Julie will elevate this community by her ability, integrity, and work ethic. She will inspire it by her caring. I encourage you to support Julie Pace for Mayor.

She is the right woman for this very important moment in time.

My background includes being an award-winning journalist who has written for national, regional, and local magazines. I am the author of more than a dozen non-fiction books including “Day Trips from Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff” (Globe Pequot) and co-author with my granddaughter of “The Story of Camelback Mountain.” I served as deputy director of the Arizona Office of Tourism and am a partner in Strategies, a strategic communications firm. An avid conservationist, I serve on the board of the Grand Canyon Trust.