By Scottsdale Pinetop
Betty Janik and her husband have lived in Scottsdale for over 16 years. She was the co-founder of the Protect Our Preserve PAC, the citizen led committee behind Proposition 420. She served as the President for the Coalition of Greater Scottsdale (COGS) and a member of the 2019 of For The Best Scottsdale PAC, the campaign that spearhead the passage of three city bond questions for $319 million.
Betty Janik gathered 30,753 votes in the August 4th primary election, which made her the top vote-getter among all city council candidates and will move on to the November 3rd General Election.
We had a chance to catch up with Betty Janik about her take on the results from the August primary election and issues facing Scottsdale residents.
- Your campaign had an incredible result as the top vote-getter in the August Primary election. What do you attribute your success to?
I attribute my success to the strong support I have received from the community. Through my volunteer work with Protect Our Preserve and Coalition of Greater Scottsdale, I interacted with highly respected and influential members of Scottsdale. They have endorsed me and promoted me to the community at large. I am most appreciative of this support. Likewise, I have followed through on my commitments to our community. I believe my supporters recognize that I have the ability to unify people. I also show respect for all members of our society. I do not shy away from hard work and I clearly state what I stand for.
- Based on the primary results, what do you believe that says about the mindset of Scottsdale voters?
The results of the Primary came as a surprise to me, especially for mayor. The citizens are looking for new faces and are rejecting the status quo. To me, the voters are saying that want citizen friendly Council members representing them. They want a say in the future of our fine City. They want to be respected and heard.
- Last year you served on the committee of the successful 2019 Scottsdale Bond campaign. What was that experience like? How was it working with previous foes who also served on the committee?
I was energized by the dedication of the committee members as they promoted programs “For the Best Scottsdale.” The results of the election demonstrated that the community will support positive growth for their city. I respected the members who served on the committee. Many were my friend and co-workers from our efforts on Protect Our Preserve and Prop 420. It seems I did not become their foe until I decided to run for City Council. Frankly, I am surprise that they turned on me with such hurtful prose, resorting to name calling and making statements that are/were clearly false. However, if/when elected, I will work to represent all Scottsdale citizens.
- You have been criticized by some as being anti-development and anti-business, opposing major projects like Southbridge II. Is that a fair criticism?
The criticism levied against me as “anti-growth” and “anti-business” is totally untrue and unfair. My opponents are trying to misrepresent my position for the benefit of their candidate of choice. I am for thoughtful, smart growth. Let’s considering commercial development at Crossroads East. The citizens have been asked to underwrite $20 m for Nationwide and $9 m for Axon. It is totally reasonable to question these numbers and have the developer justify them. It is borderline incompetent to just accept them without a detailed analysis for all stakeholders. After all, our tax dollars will cover any shortfalls. Additionally, absent from the costs, are expenses to cover maintenance and salaries/pension for personnel needed for additional services. I am for complete transparency in the process. Looking at Canal-side, instead of asking for zoning changes, how about working with the community for a scaled back project? Instead of 54 units on a small parcel, how about 30 to 40 units? This is what thoughtful growth is all about.
- You have been a vocal critic of the General Plan for Scottsdale. What are your plans to change and/or improve the plan?
The General plan represents another challenge. The voters turned down the previous plan and it appears that the voters did not believe it represented their vision for development. The major General Plan amendment process is the key to control development because it is the only element the impacts changes to the General Plan. I am eager to see the final product of the committee work. I hope it represents the citizens and is ratified.
- With the circumstances brought by COVID-19, how have you been able to reach voters and get your message out? Do you plan on doing anything different leading up to the November election?
It has been a challenge to reach voters. I will dig deep and continue as I did for the Primary – social media, door hangers, writing for the newspapers, zoom meetings. I have accepted invitations to all forums, I have spoken with staff including police and fire department. I am also scheduling informal in person gatherings.
- What don’t people know about Betty Janik or your campaign for Scottsdale City Council?
Betty’s secret – When our family moved to Denver in 1981, we were unable to sell our Kentucky home, interest rates were 13 %, and money was tight. I started a cheesecake business that supplied fine dining restaurants with “Simply Scrumptious” cheesecakes. I can still make a dynamite chocoholic cheesecake.