It was standing room only at the Grace Inn Wednesday night as two candidates for Phoenix City Council District 6 faced off, answering questions from a panel of Ahwatukee Foothills residents.
City Councilman Sal DiCiccio and his challenger Karlene Keogh Parks answered questions for an hour about seniors, homeowners associations, youth, and businesses in Ahwatukee. The two candidates agreed that there was room in the city budget to make cuts, though they differed on what they would cut. DiCiccio believes pay raises for employees should be cut while Keogh Parks was unclear of cuts she would make.
They also agreed that the Loop 202 should not be built down Pecos Road, though Keogh Parks was quick to point out DiCiccio’s possible conflict of interest in the matter since he has some interest in land on the Gila River Indian Community.
Sparks really flew when a question from the audience asked the candidates about mud slinging in this election. Keogh Parks claims her campaign has been positive, aside from pointing out DiCiccio’s conflict of interest and his faulty math. DiCiccio claims groups tied to his opponent have sent out several mailers trying to discredit him by spreading lies. Some have even put up campaign signs claiming lobbyists and developers support DiCiccio. He believes he has received so much opposition from union groups because of the reforms he has been trying to bring to City Hall.
“Let’s end this right now,” Keogh Parks said. “I will give back the $7,228 I’ve taken from unions if you will give back the $275,000 you’ve taken from developers, and why don’t you throw in the $12,000 from lobbyists while you’re at it. Talk about mud slinging. You say the unions are behind me, the developers and lobbyists are behind you.”
DiCiccio’s campaign has sent out some negative information about Keogh Parks, pointing out her voting record since she has missed voting in several city elections since 2005.
Keogh Parks was booed when she mentioned bringing light rail to Ahwatukee some day. DiCiccio said light rail would be too expensive at this time but that he would like to see more public transit that takes riders directly from Point A to Point B. He also said he would like to charge ALEX riders so that the bus is not being subsidized by the city.
At the end of the debate Keogh Parks said she hopes the community took away that she has a passion for the city.
“I think it was good for our campaign,” she said. “I’m not a career politician, I’m a business woman, but I have a lot of passion for the city of Phoenix. I think that came across… I want people to know I’m a consensus builder and I listen to all kinds of groups and all kinds of people. I’m independent and I care.”
DiCiccio said he hopes community members took away how involved he has been in all issues in his district.
“I think it gave me a chance to let the community know how much I care about our community,” he said. “I’ve been very blessed to be a part of this community and a part of the major issues we’ve had here. If you look at every major thing we’ve done, I’ve been involved in everything — including the Loop 202 and I make no apologies for that. I have worked for our community.”
The election will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 27. Early ballots will be in mail boxes as early as Aug. 1.
Arizona voters can request to be added to a permanent early voting list kept by the county recorder, which allows them to receive an early ballot for each election. Voters can join this list by visiting recorder.maricopa.gov. Voters who are not on the permanent early voting list can request an early ballot through the city’s website, phoenix.gov/elections.
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