Opinion

Bien-Willner: Trust your experience, continue with successful and steady leadership

Posted 6/20/22

I’ve been privileged to serve as your mayor for the past four years, vice mayor for two years before that, and earlier as your councilmember and planning commissioner.

I believe my record …

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Opinion

Bien-Willner: Trust your experience, continue with successful and steady leadership

Posted

I’ve been privileged to serve as your mayor for the past four years, vice mayor for two years before that, and earlier as your councilmember and planning commissioner.

I believe my record for our town and approach to leadership are publicly known, tested, and proven. And I remain totally committed to keep our town the successful, safe, and peaceful paradise that so many have worked so hard to make it.

My re-election campaign has deliberately mirrored how I have chosen to lead our town as your mayor — with a positive vision based on listening and teamwork, a commitment to civility, honesty and transparency, and respect for others. And to win, but not at any cost.

Readers of the Independent will notice an uptick in negative and false attacks by my opponent towards a variety of people — especially me.

Despite this, the actual track record is clear. During my four years as your mayor, my opponent has followed my position with her votes 99% of the time.

The five times she chose her own path, she could not muster support. Her votes failed. And our community didn’t miss a beat. These are plain facts.

But, my opponent increasingly chooses not to let facts get in the way of her own narrative.

First, as she has done to other citizens who have exposed distortions in her posturing, my opponent very recently disparaged former Mayor LeMarr and his clearly-explained commentary on her manufactured wedge issue of “setbacks” and “open space.” But, Mayor LeMarr’s remarks on my opponent’s misstatements and tactics remain correct and true.

I have never attempted to reduce open space in our town — nor have my council colleagues — and I never will. There simply isn’t a genuine issue, let alone any threat to our town.

My opponent likewise pushes a story about the Sanctuary Resort’s application in 2019 to request permission to reconfigure one of its buildings. She seeks recognition for intentionally disrupting the public process, and supposedly saving our community from both the Sanctuary Resort and the majority of her peers on council, including me. This account is also fictionalized, as former Vice Mayor Jini Simpson just explained in the Independent.

In a different Independent article, my opponent swipes at my proven leadership against dangerous short-term rentals by falsely claiming she is “the only candidate for mayor who has consistently opposed party houses.” Instead, many people were outraged when my opponent heaped praise upon Airbnb during a public council meeting just months ago. Yes, the same Airbnb that fights the town’s efforts to eliminate “party houses.”

Clearly, I cannot prevent my opponent from misrepresenting issues or past events, or from engaging in the criticisms and lectures directed at me and others that routinely follow.

But here is the reality, and what actually matters: During my time as mayor, our community has been thriving. We have remained one of the safest places in Arizona, even during civil unrest. We have worked hard and successfully to protect our unique residential character. We have supported our community’s resorts, while resisting undesired changes. Paradise Valley is consistently ranked as the finest community in Arizona, and among the best in the nation.

And town residents experience and know this.

Some have asked: If she doesn’t have a positive track record of her own, and our town is doing great, why would my opponent exploit a loophole and run for mayor in the middle of her council term? I will defer to the savvy voters of Paradise Valley on this question.

I humbly ask for your vote for a two-year term in the Aug. 2 election so we can continue to keep our town on top, where it belongs, and on the right course. As always, thank you for support and your trust.

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