Four individuals will be running for three open seats on Paradise Valley Town Council this August, while Jerry Bien-Willner is running unopposed for re-election to the mayor’s seat.
Scott Moore, Julie Pace and Mark Stanton are all seeking re-election to Town Council, while longtime town volunteer Jonathan Wainwright is the newcomer to the race.
The deadline to file as an official candidate to appear on the 2020 ballot was 5 p.m. April 6.
Paradise Valley’s primary election is Tuesday, Aug. 4.
Town Council members serve four-year terms, while the mayor serves a two-year term. Mr. Bien-Willner was first elected to the position of mayor in 2018, when he also ran unopposed.
Mr. Bien-Willner says in short, he decided to seek re-election because there’s more work to be done for Paradise Valley.
“I have a lot to offer still in this role to serve the residents and the town,” he said. “Two years goes by pretty quick, and we accomplished a lot, but I think there’s a reason why many council terms are four years --- that seems to be about the shortest people can get things done and have that impact.”
The mayor said he’s received a lot of encouragement and is very pleased with the response from community members and his colleagues.
“The lack of opposition, I view as a form of endorsement of the job I’m doing,” he said.
Looking to 2021 and 2022, Mr. Bien-Willner said he will be striving to maintain Paradise Valley’s identity, its residential character and limited government form, which includes prudent financial management and top-notch public safety.
“The key focuses of the town tend to be mine as well,” he said.
“This pandemic has changed peoples’ lives in the short-term, and it will continue to have some impact for some time. I believe we’re well-prepared to meet the challenges and I look forward to leading the town through those.”
Mr. Bien-Willner’s family moved to Paradise Valley when he was the age of 3. He is active in the business community as an investor and entrepreneur and maintains a law practice with a national firm with offices in Phoenix.
Mr. Wainwright has lived in Paradise Valley since 1965, and he has served in numerous positions over the past 42 years --- starting as a town volunteer during high school.
Today, Mr. Wainwright serves as chair of the Planning Commission.
“I’m not running against anybody --- I’m very fond of everyone on council, I know all of them quiet well,” Mr. Wainwright said of his decision to run for Town Council. “I’m hoping, if elected, to add a fresh perspective and new perspective. Every organization I’ve served on --- and there’s been a lot of them --- I find that every organization benefits from a little bit of turn over, fresh perspective, new blood. In this particular election if I didn’t run it looked like there would be no one else signing up. There are three incumbents, this gives voters an opportunity to have some voice. If I didn’t run, four years from now there will have been eight years without any change or new perspective.”
Mr. Wainwright hopes to bring a historic perspective to Town Council if elected, pointing out his experience serving on Planning Commission, Hillside Committee and Board of Adjustment, among other municipal posts.
“My point of view is modeled in many ways by those who helped found the town,” he said.
If elected, Mr. Wainwright’s top priority will be public safety, he said.
“Residents must feel safe in their homes, or all other concerns become academic,” he said.
Mr. Wainwright’s father was Paradise Valley’s first police chief, and his wife is a Paradise Valley Police Department volunteer.
His professional career began in banking and construction finance, which later transitioned into small subdivision development and custom home building.
“This background provides a solid understanding of how to build quality infrastructure and homes that are both beautiful and coexist well with the surrounding environment and existing neighbors,” he said.
Mr. Moore is running for his second term on Paradise Valley Town Council, having first been elected in 2016 after serving on the Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment.
In 2019, Mr. Moore served as vice mayor of the council.
“In difficult times, it’s important to have strong, steady and proven leadership,” Mr. Moore said.
“As your former vice mayor, my extensive successful experience in town government and my four years on the Town Council have provided me with a significant amount of perspective and know-how on the challenges our town faces and our next steps after the COVID-19 crisis.”
Prior to volunteering for the town, Mr. Moore was a board member of Paradise Valley’s destination marketing organization, Experience Scottsdale; and former council liaison for the Paradise Valley HOA committee and the Veterans Appreciation Vintage Car Show Committee.
Mr. Moore says his priorities hold true to the town’s values, including:
Mr. Moore is an Arizona native, and raised his family in Paradise Valley, a couple of miles away from where he now lives. He is employed as executive vice president for a large real estate investment and development company, and has over 33 years of experience in acquisitions, zoning entitlements, civil engineering, private and municipal infrastructure development, including commercial, industrial and residential building.
“I have an open door policy with residents and thank all those who have reached out to me. I welcome the opportunity to continue hearing from all of your about any issue that may be affecting your quality of life in Paradise Valley,” Mr. Moore said.
Ms. Pace is also running for her second term on Paradise Valley Town Council, where she is currently serving as vice mayor. Ms. Pace says she is running for re-election to continue fighting for the town’s quality of life.
Ms. Pace has lived in Paradise Valley for 18 years, and has provided public service in leadership positions for over 28 years, in addition to being a 25-year employment and OSHA lawyer.
“I have a strong compass for protecting our unique and special community,” Ms. Pace said. “I have a solid background in both business and legal as an employment lawyer with college degrees and deep experience through good times and recessions.”
Ms. Pace says she is financially savvy, fiscal conservative, and a “doer” who is creative with solutions and results oriented.
“I am proud of making a difference for our town and have done so many times in my service as vice mayor and a councilmember,” she said.
During her first campaign, Ms. Pace was passionate about preserving the town’s scenic views, mountains and unique residential character --- she says she has more to do on that front.
“This election is critical regarding development issues and the General Plan,” Ms. Pace said. “The higher density development and short-term rental pressures are high. My voting record is strong on preserving quality of life. I will integrate those views into the General Plan.”
Ms. Pace says residents must act now to support councilmembers whose voting record lines up with town values.
“Our current mayor and core council members are good at pushing back on development that residents do not want to see. Residents may not realize how much we do behind the scenes to avoid projects that do not fit our town. There is a difference between those who want to see our town turn into Scottsdale and rent short-term rentals and sale condos, and myself who want to hold the line and keep what is the paradise in Paradise Valley,” Ms. Pace said.
“When the economy turns around, our town will confront more requests for variances, condos, and denser projects. Residents will need to choose who will roll over for developers and who will stand strong for our town values and responsible development.”
Mr. Stanton is seeking his second full term on Paradise Valley Town Council, after first being elected to council on a two-year term in 2014. In 2016, he was elected to his first full term as a councilmember.
“I’m seeking re-election because I feel I have more to contribute, more to do be done, and I feel that I can help our town as we move forward through the opportunities and challenges ahead,” Mr. Stanton said.
“I feel good about the encouragement I’ve received from so many residents, neighbors, friends and hundreds of people who signed my petition. The words of encouragement and support have meant a lot and encouraging me to continue volunteering for the Town Council. It’s the residents who have elected me, I hope they’ll consider doing that this term.”
Mr. Stanton is a lifelong resident of Paradise Valley, and is employed by the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce as president and CEO.
“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 resident,” he said.
Mr. Stanton says during his time on council he has provided balanced leadership on key issues including:
“What’s next on the horizon? The new Lincoln Medical Center and proposed plans for the Smoke Tree Resort and El Chorro Lodge. If approved, these projects will generate revenue for our Town, enhance the Paradise Valley brand and support many critical services for our residents,” Mr. Stanton said.
“In addition, I’m looking forward to the process of creating an updated General Plan for Paradise Valley, which the voters will ultimately review and consider for approval.”