Monday, July 21, 2008

John Washington, candidate for Mayor of Scottsdale

A third candidate has responded to my invitation to submit a statement regarding his candidacy.

Today, it's the statement of neighborhood activist and write-in candidate for mayor, John Washington.

From his email -


Thank you for the opportunity to speak to your readers.

You can read muchmore extensive information about my positions and the elections

You asked that I tell you why I am the best choice for Scottsdale. I have to say emphatically that I am NOT. However, we couldn't get anyone better to run for Mayor!

There is not enough interest among better-qualified potential candidates. Elected office in this City pays poorly, requires a lot of work, and has very little dedicated staff support. I have advanced several proposals to fix all that.

Disinterest among real citizens leaves us career politicians and those who want to be. I, on the other hand, am no politician at all. I'm a citizen who has been frustrated at every attempt at positive input into the public process. We've seen public process and public policy hijacked for the benefit of the wealthy. We are selling the soul of our community -- the legacy we should be leaving to our children -- to developers.

Frustrated citizens are expressing their outrage, and folks who normally don't follow the process closely are getting engaged. The more this happens, the more the citizens are greeted with arrogance. This must stop. We MUST restore TRUST between the citizens and their government.

My primary objective is reinvigorating citizen involvement and maintaining it through openness, receptiveness, and honesty. I intend to initiate a conversation about community identity and the necessity of civic character to our quality of life. Only then can we address the many individual issues that face us, including financial health in the context of a struggling national economy.

Many of these issues are directly related. Growth, height, and density must be balanced against quality of life and civic character. Since civic character is directly related to tourism, revenue from development fees reduces revenue from tourism.

Hidden costs of development must be considered honestly and accurately. Development strains infrastructure like water, sewer, power, and roadways. It also dilutes public safety services like fire and police protection.

Only the citizens can best say how we balance growth against character. Other stakeholders should remain part of the process, but it is job of the Mayor and Council to make sure special interests do not dominate the processfor their own benefit, at the expense of our future.

We should respect the process, but we must also recognize when it is failing us. At that point, the Mayor and Council have responsibility to step in and fix the process.

It is clear to anyone who pays attention even a little that we are at such a point. Never in my history in Scottsdale have I seen such City-wide turmoil and citizen outrage. We need leadership to improve dialog through positive outreach and engagement, not by squashing it with arrogance and ridicule.

I want to lead that change.

John Washington

Have a good night...

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