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Paradise Valley Town Council candidates talk purpose of political campaigns

Posted 5/27/20

As ballots begin arriving in mailboxes this summer, Paradise Valley residents will have four individuals to choose to fill three seats on Town Council at an all-mail Aug. 4 primary election.

Those …

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Paradise Valley Town Council candidates talk purpose of political campaigns


As ballots begin arriving in mailboxes this summer, Paradise Valley residents will have four individuals to choose to fill three seats on Town Council at an all-mail Aug. 4 primary election.

Those seeking election this year are incumbents Scott Moore, Julie Pace and Mark Stanton --- and newcomer Jonathan Wainwright --- who has been a longtime town volunteer.

Town Council members serve four-year terms, while the mayor serves a two-year term.

Leading up to the August primary, Independent Newsmedia is providing a Q&A session for residents to better understand the four Town Council candidates.
Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner is running unopposed for re-election in August as well; he was first elected to the position of mayor in 2018.

For this first installment of questions, the candidates were asked about their intentions behind running and changes they’d seek while in office.
Read below to see what they had to say.

Scott Moore

• Why you are running for Paradise Valley Town Council?

As a current councilmember and recent vice mayor, I have enjoyed serving the town’s residents as a volunteer for the last several years. And in difficult times such as these, it’s important to have strong, steady leadership. My extensive experience in town government and my four years on the Town Council have provided me with a significant amount of perspective on the challenges our town faces and our next steps after the COVID-19 crisis. As we navigate through this crisis, I will continue to make our town’s unique values a priority.

  • I will continue to stay focused on public safety and the sustainability of our pension plans to ensure the town’s fiscal stability moving forward.
  • As all of us are aware of our current fiscally trying times, I will continue to uphold fiscal responsibility for town expenditures and work to ensure a sustainable, balanced budget for the town.
  • I will promote responsible building to ensure we preserve the unique residential character of our neighborhoods and our scenic mountains.
  • I will continue to fight for the town to be able to control short-term rental properties, which the state currently prevents cities and towns from doing.
  • And, I will oppose any local property tax and work to ensure we never have a property tax in the future.

I was initially appointed by the Town Council to serve on the Board of Adjustment, then followed by serving as a Planning Commissioner and Hillside committee member, until deciding to run for council in 2016. I enjoy what I do and want to be of service to the place where I call home.

My record these past four years has been consistent with the issues I initially ran on. And my desire is to continue to protect our town’s values we all support in another term.

• What do you want to accomplish?

Our town government has done an exceptional job over the years of preserving what makes Paradise Valley special, but there’s more work to be done. During these fiscally challenging times, navigating a responsible path takes an experienced, knowledgeable, diverse, and high-functioning Council.

My top priority if I am re-elected to Town Council will be to use my proven experience and background to help Paradise Valley recover from the COVID-19 crisis and continue to be the best community in Arizona in which to live. As we start to implement the suggested Governor’s office and CDC guidelines for re-opening our resorts, I have been a champion for common-sense responses and have, for example, passed legislation to allow our resorts some flexibility to allow for more effective physical distancing without red tape, and in posting banners that allow them to connect with our residents and to ensure their success in staying open for business, while promoting safety.

Beyond COVID-19, I am proud that our great Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner has enthusiastically endorsed my bid for re-election. Under his leadership and with my fellow councilmembers, we must continue to uphold our community’s values as we move ahead with new development and redevelopment projects.

My professional background in planning, zoning, engineering and development provides me with a valuable perspective on some of the most important issues Paradise Valley faces on an ongoing basis.

My experience in serving the town has provided me with the most effective way to deal with our increased traffic congestion, public safety concerns and the ongoing drainage and flooding challenges we deal with as new development and redevelopment continues with our resorts, medical offices, places of worship and residential properties.

Additionally, I will continue to work with our mayor and state legislators as we face state mandated regulations that tie our hands on the local level when it comes to regulating short-term rentals.

• What do you want to change at Town Hall?

I believe that Paradise Valley residents benefit from a well-run government and a Town Council that is dedicated to protecting our quality of life. With that said, there is always room for improvement, and I believe the best way we can improve our town’s government is by working to get more residents involved in issues important to our community. We have made great strides as a town in communicating with our residents and engaging with them on key issues.

Prior to COVID-19, no other issue has been brought to my attention more than the local challenges we face with short-term rentals and the lack of responsible local control. As we move past the campaign and into another term, I would like to work with our residents more closely on the vast amount of bills our state legislators propose that effect or potentially harm our quality of life in Paradise Valley. We are a unique residential community with beautiful resorts, places of worship, medical offices and mountains that complement our way of life. As your current councilmember, I’m committed to carrying out that tradition.

Julie Pace

•Why you are running for Paradise Valley Town Council?

I want to be re-elected to continue to fight for our town’s quality of life and protect our mountains. I am proud of making a difference for our town and have done so many times in my service as the current Vice Mayor and councilmember. I have more to do to preserve our mountains, scenic views, and unique residential character.

My strength and experience in business, and as an employment and OSHA lawyer, has allowed me to benefit the town and preserve its quality of life. I handle risk management issues successfully. Legal matters often arise, and my understanding of contracts, law and litigation has allowed me to serve effectively to benefit town residents. I was able to use my depth in COVID-19 related issues to assist our mayor and town manager.

I am a problem-solver who thinks out of the box, and I enjoy working with my peers to address town issues.

I like serving our residents and making things better for the current and next generations, while reducing risk and liability. I have more to do regarding drainage and stormwater issues. And, I focus on safety in our community whether on the streets, in the home, or on hillside.

I am privileged to work with the Paradise Valley Mountain Preserve Trust (PVMPT) and will continue to support their efforts to preserve land.

I am fiscally conservative and financially savvy and will continue to work to ensure there is no property tax in Paradise Valley and that we continue to pay down the police pension trust fund. I support our world-class resorts and their employees as they evolve out of a difficult time period.

I will continue to strongly support our excellent chief of police and the concierge police department that partners with our residents to increase safety and security in our community. I was honored to serve as ACOPS chair for over two years. I value and enthusiastically back our police officers and respect their commitment to this community.

•What do you want to accomplish?

I want to be active with our upcoming general plan update to protect our town’s quality of life. Many of our residents have fatigue about the increased traffic, increase in construction density, and short term rental issues that have plagued some neighborhoods. I want to stop short term rentals and stop party houses.

My voting record is strong on preserving quality of life and I will integrate those views into the general plan, including protecting medians and center turn lane on McDonald Drive, implementing ways to reduce cut through traffic, and protecting the one house per acre residential character of our community.

As the economy turns around, our Town will confront more requests for variances, condos, and denser projects. Residents will need to look closely at voting records to determine who will roll over for developers and who will stand strong for our town’s values and for responsible development.

Working with residents, together we have the voice and the power to preserve our town heritage and withstand dense development and short term rental pressures that continue to line up against our one house per acre residential character.

•What do you want to change at Town Hall?

Items to change or improve include:

  1. Establish customer service feedback so residents and third parties who engage with the town can answer surveys that can help our town manager ensure high quality experiences;
  2. Develop and implement better aesthetics for the ugly utility boxes that permeate our town landscape;
  3. Identify ways to reduce traffic;
  4. Address drainage and stormwater issues and projects to help neighborhoods with localized issues;
  5. Continue to preserve mountain lands, open space, and scenic views --- which are under attack; and
  6. Identify and eliminate loopholes or vagueness in the Town Code and make it a level playing field for everyone.

For more information, visit paceforpv.com. Please vote on August 4.

Mark Stanton

• Why you are running for Paradise Valley Town Council?

I am running for re-election to the Paradise Valley Town Council to continue providing leadership and balanced thought on how best to protect quality of life for our residents.

It is a genuine honor to serve on the Paradise Valley Town Council. Working with a talented staff, dedicated volunteers and our residents is a privilege and a responsibility that I take very seriously. Our town is a beautiful and unique community that offers an unparalleled quality of life.

As a lifelong resident of Paradise Valley, I am proud to raise my young family here and remain committed to protecting the town’s financial stability, maintaining the highest level of public safety, and supporting economic development that benefits all our residents.

• What do you want to accomplish?

As your councilmember, my goals are to continue providing balanced leadership on key issues including:

  • Public safety initiatives
  • Responsible growth and development
  • Quality of life initiatives including capital improvement projects, promoting resident engagement, and addressing the impacts of short-term rentals on our neighborhoods

In addition, I am looking forward to the process of creating an updated General Plan for Paradise Valley, which our residents will ultimately review and consider for approval.

There are important tasks ahead and I am fully prepared to help meet those challenges and opportunities as a member of Paradise Valley Town Council.

• What do you want to change at Town Hall?

I believe in maintaining limited government, while looking to find innovative solutions to challenges that we may face.

As an elected official, I believe it’s our responsibility to look at improving policies, streamlining procedures, and implementing best practices for customer service.

“Change for change sake” is not an approach that I support. The town should not be creating problems to solve. The bottom line: We have a responsibility to act responsibly for all residents.

Jonathan Wainwright

• Why you are running for Paradise Valley Town Council?

I am running for Town Council because I am eager to protect and preserve the vision of our town founders and make a positive contribution to my fellow citizens. Three generations of my family have had the privilege to serve Paradise Valley in numerous capacities. I believe the town has benefited from that service, and I wish to continue my dedication to the town in an expanded capacity.

Additionally, institutions, whether they be the United States Congress, the Arizona State Legislature, or a local school board, benefit from some turnover in its membership. As the only non-incumbent running, I hope to offer a fresh perspective and positive change. I salute my fellow candidates and recognize that each of them can make a compelling case for reelection. However, a 0% turnover in any organization is not optimal.

• What do you want to accomplish?

There is much I hope to accomplish on the Town Council.

First and foremost, public safety will always be my top priority. Town residents must feel safe and know their property is well protected. Fortunately, Paradise Valley has an excellent track record in this regard, and crime statistics prove that point. We must remain committed to providing the resources and policies necessary to protect people and their possessions.

Second, the greatest challenge facing our town next year will be the budget, and I am committed to facing this challenge while opposing a property tax. Revenue decreases as a result of the economic downturn will require making tough choices. However, as a fiscal conservative, I am confident that by balancing priorities and delaying discretionary projects, the town can overcome these anticipated budget challenges. Past councils have had to contend with major economic downturns without imposing a property tax, and I am confident the next council can do so as well. I have made necessary but difficult choices in my business career during this challenging time, and I expect our government to do the same.

Third, we must preserve the integrity of residential zoning. It is an outrage that someone who purchases a home in a single-family zoned neighborhood later finds out they live next-door to a “party house” that can be rented out by the night. I am supportive of the efforts that our mayor and state senator have made to change the rules governing these properties and will fight to preserve the single-family nature of Town.

Fourth, I intend to be a proactive voice when the council considers proposed changes to non-residential properties, such houses of worship, resorts, schools, and medical office complexes. As someone who has served over 20 years combined on the Paradise Valley Planning Commission, Board of Adjustment, and Hillside Building Committee, I understand the unique challenges our non-residential properties face. Therefore, applications for redevelopment should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to ensure these properties remain an asset and not a detriment to our town.

Finally, a former town goal that I hope to help resurrect is the annexation of the Maricopa County enclave of Clearwater Hills. I believe it is beneficial to both Paradise Valley and Clearwater Hills for this annexation to occur.

Clearwater Hills will benefit from town services and building codes to maintain a high quality of life, while Paradise Valley will benefit from increased revenues without significant additional expense to the town. In the early 1980s, the town made a significant effort to annex unincorporated county islands and enclaves. Although I was still in college during that time, I was hired by the town to assist property owners with annexation into Paradise Valley. Today, many town residents currently live in what were previously non-incorporated areas. This effort was successful, and the town was changed for the better.

However, Clearwater Hills remains the last significant enclave whose annexation would mutually benefit both Paradise Valley and the non-incorporated area.

• What do you want to change at Town Hall?

As an independent and new voice on the council, I hope to help change its dynamics and promote public input. There has been, and remains, well-publicized animosity between members of the current Town Council. I am a strong advocate of spirited debate but have no interest in taking sides or placing blame in these disputes. Thus, as a new member with only goodwill towards all current council members, I hope to further the council’s effectiveness and increase public interaction.