By Scottsdale Pinetop
With early voting starting in a couple of weeks for the November 3rd General Election, the political attacks are flying more frequently. And yesterday’s city council candidate debate was no exception. Moderated by Chris Haines from Scottsdale Community College, here are key impressions and highlights:
*Development, density and economic growth continues to be the #1 issue in the race for City Council becoming a debate between pro-growth and slow-growth ideologies. Each candidate wants to keep Scottsdale special and thriving while preserving the city’s unique brand. How that can be achieved is where the divide occurs.
*Betty Janik didn’t hold back any punches against her fellow candidate Tammy Caputi. She addressed Tammy’s purported support for the Desert Discovery Center during her time on the Development Review Board. Janik also challenged Caputi’s overall message that maintaining high property values and low taxes with affordable housing options as unrealistic. While taking aim at her opponents, she continuously reinforced her messaging that more citizen engagement is desperately needed for City Hall.
*However, Tammy Caputi didn’t shy away from rebutting these attacks while throwing a few attacks of her own. Frequently calling this an “us vs. them” election, Captui championed more business growth and economic development while challenging Betty and Tom’s position on high rise building regulations and what height qualifies as reasonable development for Scottsdale.
*John Little’s past experience as a former Scottsdale City Manager continues to serve him well in the campaign. His clear understanding of various regions in Scottsdale for business development, City Hall procedures and specific financial aspects makes him knowledgeable about Scottsdale’s unique dynamics that distinguish himself among the other candidates and positioned favorably.
*Tom Durham’s biggest challenge is his ability to distinguish himself from Betty Janik. Betty and Tom’s joint campaign tactic served him well in the primary election. And while he held his own during the forum, he will need to expand his messaging if he wants resonate with the business community.
*Calling himself the “Middle Of The Road” candidate, current councilman Guy Phillips came out of the forum fairly unscathed. He continued to express his support to end the face mask mandate, which has been a dark cloud following his campaign since June. He also was the only candidate to announce his political affiliation as Republican in a non-partisan election.
*Unfortunately, voters were not able to hear much from Becca Linnig. Handling a family emergency, Becca was not able to participate in the forum beyond her opening statement. But what she was able to convey reinforced her overall campaign message to invest in Scottsdale city-wide through smart business and planning experience.
*All this being said, all six candidates have equipped and positioned themselves well. Scottsdale voters have no shortage of qualified candidates to serve on the City Council. This is not an easy time to be in politics and any candidate that throws their hat into the ring towards public service is to be commended.