Kevin Patterson and Sal DiCiccio
Special to AFN

It’s tough this time of year to get one’s head around an election.

The heat and our efforts to get around it alone take up a lot of time.

Still, Ahwatukee voters will join their counterparts across the 6th City Council District on Aug. 29 to elect a representative for the next four years, choosing between two-term incumbent Sal DiCiccio and challenger Kevin Patterson.

So, I am wondering, why aren’t Ahwatukee residents talking advantage of what the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce and AFN are offering – namely a chance to ask these two candidates a question about some community or city issue that is bugging them?

Several weeks ago, AFN threw out the invitation to readers – the Chamber is doing the same to its members – to submit questions they want the candidates to answer during a forum at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 26, at the Ahwatukee Activities Center, 4700 E. Warner Road, Ahwatukee.

To help prime the pump for those questions at the forum, sponsored jointly by the Chamber and AFN, this newspaper has serialized a questionnaire both candidates responded to.

The final part in print appears today. The entire questionnaire and answers are on ahwatukee.com

So far, only one reader has filed a question with us. It’s an interesting one, but if you want to hear it and the answer, you’ll have to drop by the forum.

Given the complaints, fears and observations I come across on social media sites involving Ahwatukee, it’s a little astonishing that we have not been inundated by questions.

Of course, those who attend the forum will have a chance to submit questions at that time.

And even if we don’t receive any more between now and then, or even during the forum, we will have a number of questions prepared in advance to serve up to the candidates.

But this forum isn’t for our benefit.

It’s for you, the voter.

No other medium or news organization is offering this opportunity to Ahwatukee voters.

I suppose there’s the strong possibility that voters are still worn out from last year’s marathon election, where not only were we choosing a president but many other office hopefuls.

The beauty of the council election is this: It is the only choice voters have to worry about making. They can focus their complete attention on just two combatants for one office – an office that can and does affect every resident, homeowner and businessperson in Ahwatukee.

Yes, it’s true that each City Council member also wrestles with citywide issues as well. That makes the Chamber-AFN forum even more significant.

Between these big issues – such as the city’s mushrooming pension liability and even its policies toward illegal immigrants – and the issues affecting Ahwatukee – such as when light poles will be painted and whether the level of regular police patrols should be elevated – there are ample areas to drill the candidates on.

It seems to me voters right now have a choice before making their selection.

They can listen to or read unchallenged rhetoric or they can submit questions that pin them down.

Obviously, candidates can duck and weave around questions. But by asking the candidate a question that’s important to you, you have perhaps a greater personal basis for deciding whom to vote for.

You can send your questions to pmaryniak@ahwatukee.com. There is no limit on the number you submit, nor will you be identified in any way.

If the question is for a particular individual, please indicate that.

And mark 5:30 p.m. July 26 on your calendar because you also will have a chance to schmooze a little with each candidate before the Q&A begins, giving you yet another opportunity to take a measure of each man.

Now is the time to pay attention to each of these candidates and the election – and not wait until afterward when you can only grouse on Facebook.

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