Sparks are Starting to Fly in Paradise Valley Race as Accusations Fly

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Things certainly seem to be heating up in the race for Paradise Valley Mayor between incumbent Jerry Bien-Willner and current Councilmember Julie Pace. As we get towards the finish line (there will not be a run-off after the August 2nd race) things have gotten a bit testy, with significant accusations from Pace and shots back from Bien-Willner.

The current ruckus seems to be a result of the tabled suggestion to move setbacks in the town from 20 feet from the road to 10 feet. This would in essence reduce the amount of separation each property has from the roads around it, something which was clearly not particularly desired by many townspeople led by Pace.

The PV Planning Commission agreed and voted 7-0 against recommending it; a harsh blow to the idea. However, Pace has since come out saying that Mayor Bien-Willner is now denying ever promoting it, and has disseminated quotes from meetings seemingly demonstrating some degree of support, and of course implying that he is being dishonest when he denies it had his support.

While not bringing up this particular charge, the mayor has struck back by posting this particular blog on his website which attempts to show a very clear difference between Bien-Willner and “his opponent”, as well as making his case for re-election and also making it clear that he will never send any unsolicited robocalls or texts. We hope for his campaign’s sake that he’s at least willing to knock on some doors himself.

Will any of this move the needle in either direction? Tough to tell, but time is running out to try to get some last minute shots in. Over 200K ballots had been processed in Maricopa County as of the weekend of the 17th, with many more either in transit or sealed and sitting on a counter. The ability to flip a vote is shrinking by the day.

That said, even if Pace were to lose her challenge to Bien-Willner, she will still remain on council. Ergo, we can look forward to these sorts of conflicts for additional years in this case, a prolonged tension that will likely float over council like a gray cloud, even after the local papers are no longer full of campaign ads and op-eds from the supporters of candidates.