Opining on Paradise: PV Mayoral Candidates Attempt to Differentiate Themselves

We frequently talk about the town of Paradise Valley in this blog; true to its name, it is easily one of the most special gems in all of the state of Arizona. In such a special place, it is difficult to pinpoint too many items for improvement. But like every municipality around, from near perfect to near hell, Paradise Valley holds elections. This year, it will elect its next mayor, and three candidates will have to differentiate themselves and their plan to fine tune paradise.

Since Jerry Bien-Willner is not running for re-election after a successful three terms, it is currently a wide open race with three strong competitors. There is Mary Hamway, a mainstay in PV politics starting with her election to Town Council back in 2004, Anna Thomasson, who has been a top vote-getting Town Councilmember for the last eight years, and Mark Stanton, who is the President and CEO of the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce.

We highlighted this race in some detail previously, which you can find here. That said, the race recently amped up a notch with a de facto forum with the Digital Free Press. The Digital Free Press gave the candidates the opportunity to differentiate themselves, and the result was fairly telling.

In short? There wasn’t anything drastic at all that was said. The answers to the questions often resulted in acknowledging the importance of the topic that was asked, and generally maintaining the current status quo. No major changes, no sticking necks out, nothing truly controversial.

Perhaps the only somewhat controversial statement was from Mary Hamway regarding density and development, a somewhat hot-button subject. With regards to this subject, she responded, “One-acre homes on a Resort-SUP have never been required. You only have to look at Mountain Shadows and Camelback Inn to see that resorts with homes on small lots dates back to the early 1960s.” She is referring to the zoning rule that homes in Paradise Valley come on one-acre plots or larger, and she seems to be challenging that standard, or at least opening it up for review.

Past that, the candidates acknowledged the problems, often outlined their experience and segued to their ability to handle those potential issues, and referred to collaboration as a way to handle any issues that arise.

And frankly, all of this is a good thing. When there is a town as special as Paradise Valley, there simply aren’t many (or any) things to fix. The next mayor will have the relatively simple job of not ruining paradise, and as far as jobs go, it’s about as low stress as it comes. And for that, we’re thankful.