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The race for 3 seats at Scottsdale City Hall approaches critical leg in campaign

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The Aug. 2 primary election features seven candidates vying for three seats atop Scottsdale City Council. (File Photos/

Early July sees key voter deadlines for August primary

By Terrance Thornton | Digital Free Press

With the August primary election rapidly approaching, the race for three elected seats at Scottsdale City Hall is in full swing as local newspapers host local debates, local corners are filled with campaign signs and local mailboxes are stuffed with candidate postcards.

At the Tuesday, Aug. 2 primary election, there are seven candidates seeking three Scottsdale City Council seats. For any candidate to be elected at the primary election, he or she must receive a majority of all legal votes cast, according to the Scottsdale City Clerk’s Office.

The members of Scottsdale City Council who have seats expiring this December are:

  • Scottsdale Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield, who is seeking re-election.
  • Scottsdale Councilwoman Linda Milhaven, who is termed out.
  • Scottsdale Councilwoman Solange Whitehead, who is seeking re-election.

Candidates seeking elected office aside from the incumbents, Ms. Littlefield and Ms. Whitehead, are:

The last day to register to vote in the August primary election is Tuesday, July 5, as the following day, July 6, early ballots are mailed to voters with in-person voting set to begin the same day.

To vote early in person, or drop off your early ballot, you can do so at the following Scottsdale locations:

  • Florence Ely Nelson Desert Park – 8950 E. Pinnacle Peak Road.
  • Indian Bend Wash Visitor Center – 4201 N. Hayden Road.

To begin election coverage at the Arizona Digital Free Press & Scottsdale Daily Beat, each candidate seeking a seat at City Hall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd., was contacted for comment on three general themes.

Barry Graham:

Photo of Barry Graham
Scottsdale City Council candidate Barry Graham.

Scottsdale candidate Barry Graham was the first to respond. This is what he had to say:

Why are you the right choice for Scottsdale City Council this August?
I am the right choice to serve on the City Council because my votes on many of the city’s most critical issues over the past 10 years have proven that I respect and value resident input.

Serving on several boards and commissions, I have learned how the city works—and also how vital residents’ input and ideas are in determining Scottsdale’s path forward.

I agree with the overwhelming majority of citizens who tell me that preserving Scottsdale’s unique character will protect their quality of life, expand the economy and attract visitors.

If elected, what verifiable campaign promise are you willing to make to voters?
Major decisions, such as passing ordinances and approving master plans, require four votes. As a member of the city council, I am committed to:

  • Managing the “apartment boom,” which includes respecting residents’ opinions and preserving their quality of life.
  • Protecting Scottsdale’s character, including Old Town and South Scottsdale, the Shea Corridor and North Scottsdale.
  • Cracking down on short-term-rental bad actors.
  • Scrutinizing expenditures to ensure taxpayers get more efficient city government.
  • Ensuring that residents feel safe and supporting public safety.

What do you love most about being a Scottsdale resident?
I enjoyed growing up in Scottsdale, but I didn’t realize how special it is until I left to attend college back east — the weather, open spaces, arts, culture and our pristine Mountain Preserve.

Our city’s terrific amenities are matched only by our exceptional people. For example, every year, citizens donate thousands of volunteer hours to our boards and commissions, nonprofits, churches, schools and parks that enhance our city. The residents of Scottsdale make it a special place worthy of protecting.

Raoul Zubia

Photo of Raoul Zubia
Scottsdale City Council candidate Raoul Zubia.

Scottsdale candidate Raoul Zubia was the second to respond. This is what he had to say:

Why are you the right choice for Scottsdale City Council this August?
As a lifelong resident of Scottsdale, I have seen many changes throughout the years. I have also seen what happens when leaders and citizens work together toward a common goal. The Greenbelt and the Preserve are two examples of collaboration. Currently, there is divisiveness between citizens and council. I am running because we need business people on council who can balance growth while protecting our quality of life. Some have called for a moratorium on new projects. This will have dire consequences on our economy. It will drive projects to other cities, and cause Scottsdale to stagnate, lose businesses and tax revenue, which will lead to higher taxes and reduced services.

If elected, what verifiable campaign promise are you willing to make to voters?
When talking to the citizens of Scottsdale, I hear over and over, “The council does not listen to the residents.” This has been the sentiment of the residents for many years. It’s how we became so divisive. As a councilmember, I will always listen to the citizens, and ask their input. As a citizen myself, I know how it feels to feel left out of the conversation. I understand we will not always agree, but I will listen to all sides. It is only when all sides are heard that I can make a decision that will benefit all of us.

What do you love most about being a Scottsdale resident?
As I mentioned, I am a lifelong resident of Scottsdale. As far back as I can remember, I have always loved this city. It was a wonderful place to grow up. There are so many things to love about Scottsdale, but what I love most is the way it has grown into a destination city. Over the decades, Scottsdale has done an excellent job of attracting people to our beautiful city. People around the world plan their vacation to come to Scottsdale and do the things we get to do every day — world class shopping, dine at some of the best restaurants in the world, enjoy beautiful weather, etc. It is why I still live here.

Tim Stratton

Photo of Tim Stratton
Scottsdale City Council candidate Tim Stratton.

Tim Stratton was the third candidate to respond. This is what he had to say:

*Why are you the right choice for Scottsdale City Council this August?
I am running for council because we need at least one member of Council who is a government finance expert and who will serve as a fiscal watchdog of taxpayer money. I work with cities and towns across the country on budget and finance legal issues. I want to put that experience to work for Scottsdale families. I have served as the chairman of Scottsdale Zoning Board of Adjustment and as chairman of the Scottsdale Industrial Development Authority where I worked on city economic development issues. I will work to keep your taxes low, neighborhoods safe, and make sure we only accept the highest quality appropriate development in Scottsdale. We need councilmembers who are open minded and fair and who work for modern solutions to our problems. I will protect Scottsdale and make sure we are making good economic decisions at the same time.

*If elected, what verifiable campaign promise are you willing to make to voters?
See my list of 10 principles. That Is my detailed plan. Of all of the ten principles, the first is the most important. I promise that I will take the time and do the work necessary to listen to any Scottsdale resident, taxpayer or business owner. A good Councilmember listens to all the facts then makes the beat decision for the whole community. That is my unwavering promise to the voters of Scottsdale.

*What do you love most about being a Scottsdale resident?
I love our relaxed lifestyle and amenities. We are one of the lowest taxes cities in the Valley but we have so much to offer. I want to keep it that way. People I have spoken to moved to Scottsdale for all the amenities and the lifestyle. This includes golf, shopping, restaurants and nightlife as well as our great schools and access to social life and world class experiences. Scottsdale is what it is today because of forward thinking and innovative leadership. There is little innovation in today’s Council. Few on Council have school aged children and they are out of touch with what today’s families need, or want. They are slowly killing Scottsdale and driving away business and innovation. I am running to restore Scottsdale’s reputation as a great place to raise a family and live.

Dan Ishac

Scottsdale City Council candidate Dan Ishac.

Scottsdale City Council candidate Dan Ishac was the fourth to respond to questions provided by the Arizona Digital Free Press. This is what he had to say:

*Why are you the right choice for Scottsdale City Council this August?
My analytic skills combined with my financial and business experience, will be a strength in making short- and long-term decisions for Scottsdale. Moreover, I am not beholden to a party or a specific group within Scottsdale. I will represent all residents and business interests. We must maintain our strength, achieve sustainability and enhance our security to be even greater tomorrow than we are today.

*If elected, what verifiable campaign promise are you willing to make to voters?
I spoke with thousands of residents while gathering signatures. I heard a fervent desire for moderation of the extreme voices, a return to civil discourse and a decision based on facts, not emotions. The most important promise is that I will make decisions that I feel are best for the city based on facts and data, and input from residents, and not just the vocal ones. And while I will not always make each constituent happy, I will do what I believe will benefit the city and its residents. My goal is to make Scottsdale even greater than it is today.

What do you love most about being a Scottsdale resident?
What I love most is that there is no single thing that makes Scottsdale great. It is our breadth of offerings. As a midsize city, we offer an unparalleled range of services, attractions and amenities while being located within a major metropolitan area.

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