2022 promises election intrigue in Chandler - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

2022 promises election intrigue in Chandler

January 2nd, 2022 SanTan Sun News
2022 promises election intrigue in Chandler
Community
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By Ken Sain, Staff Writer

The new year will include a city election and it’s likely one of the hot topics will be if Chandler should pass a non-discrimination ordinance or not.

The mayor and three council seats will be up for grabs in August’s primary election – as are two seats on the Chandler Unified School District Governing Board, where incumbent Lindsay Love has announced she will not seek reelection. Two council seats will be open as incumbents Rene Lopez and Terry Roe are termed out.

As of mid-December, nine people have announced their intention to run for those three council seats. One of them is incumbent Matt Orlando. And three already have filed for the nonpartisan school board races, where there is no primary election.

The actual number of council candidates won’t be known until April, when they must file petitions with enough qualified signatures. More candidates can enter the race and some of those who have filed their intent to run may change their mind and drop out.

Unlike 2018, the mayor’s race may be contested. Mayor Kevin Hartke is being challenged so far by Ruth Jones. She intends to make Hartke’s opposition to a non-discrimination ordinance a campaign issue.

“I remember citizens that felt excluded and weren’t able to walk into the same place I was,” Jones said of her youth after the Civil Rights Act was adopted, but not always followed. “That’s wrong. I also remember in the ’70s, and the people who didn’t want the ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] passed because it was too much of a hassle, it would cost businesses money. And that wasn’t right either.”

Chandler is the largest city in Arizona that has not passed a non-discrimination ordinance after both Mesa and Scottsdale approved such laws last year.

Chandler is currently conducting a study that is expected to take six months, looking at the need, or not, for a NDO. When it came before Council last year, Hartke signaled he would prefer a non-binding proclamation over an ordinance.

The topic is also likely to be a key issue in the race for the three council seats. Orlando is one of two current members who support a NDO, the other being OD Harris.

Of the other eight candidates to file the intention to run, one – Alex Chuang – has since said he’s changed his mind and will not run. He could, of course, change it again before April.

The others, in alphabetical order, are Joseph Curbelo, Angel Encinas, Darla Gonzalez, Craig Mears, Cody Newcomb, Jane Poston and Farhana Shifa.

Any candidate who gets more than 50 percent of the votes in the primary will be elected outright. If one or two candidates fall below the 50 percent threshold, they will advance to the November election, based on a formula.

Candidates have until April 4 to turn in their petitions. Primary election day is Aug. 4. Voters will also be deciding many statewide races, including a new governor since Gov. Doug Ducey is termed out.

Here are some other issues likely to be in the news in 2022:

The pandemic

Even if a third new variant of COVID doesn’t materialize, the current variants coronavirus likely will continue to impact Chandler, though not nearly in the way it did in the early months of 2021, when classrooms were closed and many businesses were seriously hobbled.

One of the first acts by the Legislature in the session that begins a week from tomorrow, Jan. 10, could quickly pass – in a way that doesn’t violate the state constitutional – of a ban on mask and vaccine mandates, which Ducey is almost certain to sign into law.

The latest data from the county health department show COVID levels in Chandler are almost as high as they were when 2021 began, with a citywide level of 238 cases per 100,000 and positive new tests results of 12 percent.  Only slightly more than 50 percent of all Chandler and Sun Lakes residents have received at least one shot of a vaccine.

Commuting residents

If you use I-10 to go to and from work, start planning a new route. And don’t think the Loop 101 Price Road Freeway or US 60 will be an answer.

Indeed, even main surface roads in Chandler are expected to be tested as the Arizona Department of Transportation ramps up the three-year I-10/Horseshoe Curve. Besides adding lanes to I-10, ADOT is reconstructing the US 60-I-10 interchange, replacing the Broadway Road overpass and realigning SR143 to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

While ADOT says it will do its best to not create many rush hour disruptions, they are inevitable. And ADOT believes that many motorists will start to hit Chandler’s major east-west arterials to avoid lengthy freeway tie-ups created by traffic using the 101 to reach the Loop 202 Red Mountain Freeway.

It’s not just daily commuters likely to feel the impact: getting to and from Sky Harbor may have some wondering if they should have just walked to or from wherever they were trying to reach by plane. ADOT has posted plenty of helpful tips – including alternative rotues – at i10broadwaycurve.com.

NDO Study

The equity and inclusion study the Council ordered to review the city’s policies is expected to take about six months, making it likely to come up for consideration this summer, possibly right around the time of council elections.

Supporters say some Chandler residents don’t feel safe or welcome in a city where they can lose their job or be harassed because of their sexual orientation, race, religion or other factor.

The business community has rallied in support and the Chandler Chamber of Commerce being one of the most vocal backers. Opponents are most concerned about protections for transgender people and anyone who has religious objections to people with same-sex relationships.

Baseball’s labor issues

Chandler doesn’t host a Major League Baseball team’s spring training, but the sport’s labor issues would have a ripple effect throughout the East Valley economy. The owners have locked out players and stopped all business as a collective bargaining agreement is being negotiated.

That could threaten the Cactus League season. The economic impact of an estimated $644 million would hit all areas of the Valley.

In 2020 the Cactus League season was cut short because of the pandemic. That early cancellation cost the region $281 million. So an extended work stoppage this year could have a similar impact.

The cities hit hardest will be those with spring training facilities, such at Tempe, Scottsdale, Mesa and others. Still, some of those tourism dollars are spread throughout the region and Chandler residents who work at one of those facilities could be harmed by drawn-out negotiations.

Higher home prices, rent

Even if interest rates rise – as they are expected to – existing and new home sale prices likely will remain unaffected and, in fact, continue to rise – as will rents. Look for more homebuilders to get into the build-to-rent trend for standalone houses, as investors see a lucrative, long-term revenue stream less impacted than home sales by the ups and downs of the economy.

Another big driver of home sale prices and rents is the steady influx of newcomers into Maricopa County for plenty of reasons, many starting with the word “Intel.”

As construction of its two new fab plants continues, the tech giant’s $20 billion project is expected to generate 3,000 jobs within the company and at least 15,000 jobs created by businesses that want to be closer to the action.

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