North Central News

Seats up for grabs in Districts 4 and 6

By Teri Carnicelli
Perhaps the most surprising thing about this month’s City Council primary election, set for Tuesday, Aug. 27, is the number of candidates fielded for Council District 4. That’s because longtime District 4 City Councilman Tom Simplot announced in January that he would not seek re-election, leaving the field wide open to all comers. Which means voters will have seven diverse candidates from which to choose.

In District 6, sitting Councilman Sal DiCiccio is facing tough competition from challenger Karlene Keogh Parks. Parks has positioned herself as an “independent” candidate who has the backing of Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and high-profile citizen activists Paul Barnes and Ann Malone.

North Central News gathered some basic information about the candidates to help you in the decision process. We also asked each to make a statement in response to the following question: What is one thing you think the city of Phoenix can do to help its residents in these challenging times? Read their answers beginning on page 4. To learn more about your City Council candidates, check out their websites, blogs, Facebook pages and more, all of which are included here for each candidate.

And don’t forget to get out and vote!

Council District 4

Candidate: Laura Pastor, 43
Occupation: Early outreach director for Achieving a College Education, a South Mountain College program designed to increase the number of high school students entering and completing college
Born: Phoenix, Ariz. “I was born and raised in Phoenix, and I now live two houses down from my childhood home.”
Response: “We need to hire more police officers to keep our community safe. We have not hired a police officer since 2009, and we are currently down about 300 officers from a full force. Crime rates in District 4 are beginning to creep back up, and we cannot afford to be complacent and allow a lack of staffing to result in increased criminal activity. By keeping Phoenix safe and maintaining our quality of life, we can keep Phoenix attractive to both entrepreneurs looking to start small businesses and larger companies with high-wage, career jobs.”
More info: Pastorforcouncil.com; Facebook.com/LauraPastorPhoenix; laura@pastorforcouncil.com

Candidate: Scott Fistler, 33
Occupation: Disabled veteran, precinct committeeman, student
Born: Mount Clemens, Mich. – Phoenix resident: 2 years, 6 months
Response: “I think there are many things the city can do to help its residents. We have a variety of people with different needs. We will not leave anyone behind.” Fistler understands the importance of keeping fire, police, and rescue services well funded, but does not support the continuation of the Emergency Food Tax. He also would like to see the city’s public transit system be more affordable, for everyone.
More info: http://fistler.blogspot.com; Twitter.com/ScottFistler; scott.fistler@hotmail.com

Candidate: Dan Carroll, 47
Occupation: Neighborhood Realtor
Born: Connecticut – Phoenix resident: Lived in Phoenix since I was 10 years old; widowed mother still lives in the Phoenix home I grew up in
Response: “The single most important thing the city can do is to provide pre-recession levels of service for our neighbors, and build from there. North Central News readers have been asked to make sacrifices during the great recession while the city manager asked for, and received, a $78,000 a year pay raise. To me, this is a great betrayal of the public trust.”
More info: www.Neighbors4DanCarroll.com; Facebook.com/Neighbors4DanCarroll; Twitter @DanCarroll4Phx; ILuvPhx@Gmail.com; 602-518-1514

Candidate: Austin Head, 29
Occupation: Marketing, public relations and event production
Born: Phoenix, Ariz. “I have lived in Phoenix for 25 of my 29 years, born and raised in North Phoenix.”
Response: “I will immediately propose the expansion of light rail service in both hours of operation and number of trains per peak hour. When opened for operations, the light rail system was operated on a six-times-per-peak-hour schedule. Since that time rates have been increased by 33 percent and the service has been decreased to five times per peak hour. This is unfair to both the 44,000 users and the 1.5 million residents that are funding the light rail system. We should fully utilize our huge investment in the light rail system by operating the Phoenix elements of the system on a 24-hour basis.”
More info: austinhead.com; austin@austinhead.com

Candidate: David Lujan, 48
Occupation: Chief administrator, ASU Preparatory Academy
Born: Phoenix, Ariz. “I have lived in the Valley my whole life, with the exception of one year after law school. I have lived in my current District 4 home for 16 years.
Response: “Ensure our neighborhoods are safe by putting more police officers and firefighters on the streets and providing more opportunities for children to engage in quality, academic-enriching afterschool programs. When I am on the city council, I will focus on ensuring our neighborhoods are safe, and that we have a city that has a thriving small business community, quality public schools, and a city that values diversity, historic neighborhoods, arts and culture.”
More info: www.davidlujan.com; david@davidlujan.com

Candidate: Justin Johnson, 32
Occupation: Small-business owner, general contracting and homebuilding
Born: Phoenix, Ariz. “I was born and raised in Phoenix. I have owned a home in District 4 for six years.”
Response: “The biggest issues that I have heard from the citizens of Phoenix as I have gone door to door are crime and graffiti. I believe that the solution is a two-part approach. First, the city of Phoenix must stabilize funding for our brave public safety officers so they have the tools necessary to combat crime and keep our neighbors safe. Currently, the city relies on a food tax that is set to expire in less than two years to provide funding for public safety. I support phasing out the food tax because I believe that we cannot eat our way to a safer city and we must find a long-term, stable solution to provide funding to keep our neighbors safe. Second, I believe that we need to find more ways to come together as a community to fight crime and increase public involvement. That is why I have launched a public safety plan that includes Neighborhood Block Watch, increased technology and communication, tactics to battle graffiti, and other strategic elements.”
More info: 602-759-0036; www.JohnsonForPhoenix.com; Facebook.com/JohnsonforPhoenix; Twitter: @Johnson4Phoenix

Candidate: Jeffrey Brown, 47
Occupation: Political consultant and mental health advocate
Born: Born and raised in Phoenix City Council District 4
Response: “I am calling for restoration of Library, Parks and afterschool programs budget and to pre-recession levels, as well as restoration of library hours. In 2008, the city operated 81 after school centers for our youth; that number was drastically reduced and needs to be fully restored so that our most vulnerable are given a chance to succeed. I would also restore the funding and reopen closed pools. I would also conduct a department-by-department review of the budget, from the city manger’s office on down, in order to ensure we retain our AAA bond rating.”
More info: 602-715-2740; www.brown4council.com

Council District 6

Candidate: Sal DiCiccio, 55
Occupation: Small-business owner
Born: Youngstown, Ohio – Phoenix resident: 50 years in Phoenix, District 6 resident for 27 years
Response: “Job creation, fiscal accountability and ending domestic violence are where Phoenix must focus our efforts. We have achieved significant reforms in these areas but we must continue to do better. Our new economy requires us to be constantly looking at better, smarter and faster ways to operate in this global market. When I was elected in 2009, Phoenix was facing a significant economic storm. I ran to put in place a plan with significant fiscal accountability and job creation reforms, making us better able to compete in a global market. Phoenix needed a focus on three areas: fiscal accountability, job creation and protecting our families. I wanted to bring reforms that save taxpayers’ money, create an atmosphere for businesses to thrive and create jobs for our communities.”
More info: http://salforcitycouncil.com; info@salforcitycouncil.com

Candidate: Karlene Keogh Parks, 66
Occupation: Senior vice president at HUB International Insurance Services
Born: Waverly, N.Y. – Phoenix resident: 42 years in Phoenix, 22 years in District 6
Response: “When I talk about my priorities once elected, I often mention three things: working with the private sector to create jobs, strengthening public safety, and protecting the unique quality of life in our neighborhoods. However, I believe that job creation is our most pressing issue. The city doesn’t create jobs—that falls to the private sector—but I do think we can help businesses along by reducing red tape and unnecessary regulations, making Phoenix a wonderful place to live in order to attract new high-wage jobs, encouraging entrepreneurship, and facilitating an open line of communication with the business community. I decided to run for City Council because I noticed time and time again that the council is not focused on the issues that matter most—protecting public safety, working with the private sector to spur job creation, and keeping our neighbors safe and vibrant.”
More info: Karleneforcouncil.com; Facebook.com/karleneforcouncil; karlene.keogh.parks@gmail.com

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