The Apache Junction City Council election is nearing in a few short months.
The 2022 primary election is Aug. 2 and will include four candidates for three seats: Darryl Cross, Ari Kalan, Robert Schroeder and Bryan Soller.
As the primary election nears, the Independent is conducting Q&As with each council candidate to get his opinion on various topics to do with the city of Apache Junction. You will also see a similar Q&A series for the two candidates vying for the office of mayor: Mehmood Mohiuddin and Chip Wilson.
We kick off the Q&A series by asking candidates, “Why are you running?”
As the election gets closer, keep an eye on yourvalley.net/apache-junction-independent and the print edition of the Apache Junction/Gold Canyon Independent for more from the Q&A series.
Darryl Cross, 57, is a fire sprinkler service technician. He has lived in Apache Junction for 18 years.
Why are you running?: As a current commissioner for the Apache Junction Planning and Zoning Commission, I enjoy being involved in our community. It brings joy and satisfaction to my life helping others where I can. Apache Junction is an awesome community with a lot of diverse and caring folks from all walks of life. We have a rich history that basically started 100 years ago this year. I am running to serve the citizens of our community. It shouldn’t be about me, but rather the people I serve. If elected, I want the citizens to feel that I am the most approachable council member that is always out and about in the city and helping out where I can.
I want to help preserve our small-town feel and expand upon our Western heritage. We do not need to become a downtown Tempe or a Scottsdale Quarters — that is not who we are. I think we should be more like a downtown Wickenburg or Cave Creek with rustic old shops that support small businesses. Places where you can go out and enjoy an evening of dinner and dancing, horse friendly with hitching rails throughout.
At the same time, the city is getting ready to grow in a large way to the south. We need to manage that growth in a way that does not overwhelm our city staff and services. I served on planning and zoning while the first phase of growth was being proposed and designed. I can continue to help move that growth in a positive yet controlled way.
We are a large retirement community with many winter visitors. I support them and the economic boost they give our small businesses during the months they are here.
At the same time, we have a lot of retirees that live here year-round and are on very limited fixed incomes. I want to work with our city and come up with ways to protect them from losing their homes due to this crazy out-of-control inflation.
Additionally, we have a lot of low-income residents that need help. Some are living in rundown homes that are barely a roof over their heads. With very little income they are just one small disaster away from being homeless. I want to find ways to help these families improve their situation.
Our small businesses are the backbone of this city and our country. I want to continue supporting them in any way possible. It should not cost an entrepreneur a small fortune to start a business in our city. Nor should it cost a fortune to remodel and expand. Their tax dollars collected from our spending is what funds this city. We need to make it easier for business owners to operate here.
We have some really good schools that are making great strides over the past few years to improve test scores and the quality of education our kids receive. I want to continue these improvements in any way we can. At the same time, I want to explore more options and opportunities for things our kids can do when not in school. Our parks and recreation does a fantastic job providing lots of activities for our kids. But we also need to attract other businesses to help entertain and engage our children. Kids need a place to just hang out with their friends. Hopefully with some of our projected growth, we can find and entice these businesses to move here.
Ari Kalan, 34, works in general construction and remodeling. He has been back living in Apache Junction for three years. He grew up in Apache Junction and graduated from Apache Junction High School in 2006.
Why are you running?: I am running for city council because I grew up here in Apache Junction and am now raising a family of my own here. I want to make sure that we are growing responsibly as a city to maintain our small-town rural aesthetic and lifestyles. I have the experience necessary in management and the passion for my community and city to be an effective leader for the community and city.
Robert Schroeder, 50, is owner/operator of Three Phase Mechanical Air Conditioning & Heating. He has lived in Apache Junction for 15 years.
Why are you running?: I am seeking re-election as your Apache Junction City Councilman because over the last three years I have introduced policies and initiatives such as striving to make Apache Junction an International Dark Skies community and a much-needed service sign at the entrance of our city to showcase the organizations our city has to offer.
Also I am your representative and sit on the board of CAG (Central Arizona Governments) and PRTA (Pinal County Regional Governments). These positions are positions that I take very seriously and hope to remain a part of. Overall, I would like to continue to help make Apache Junction a safe and healthy environment for families, individuals and businesses alike.
Bryan G. Soller, 62, is a police lieutenant. He has lived in Apache Junction for 3.5 years.
Why are you running?: To make positive change in Apache Junction, ensure we keep open spaces, dark skies with a small-town feel, have reasonable and calculated growth, protect and help local small business.