[editorial note: I realize that the poem of Robert Frost quoted in the title, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” makes allusions to suicide. The interpretation that I used when employing that phrase is that there’s a long way to go until we’ve made Phoenix a better city. If you or a loved one needs help or has had thoughts of suicide, then know that there is help available to you through Lifeline. Thanks.]
I realize that I’ve been awfully quiet on this space lately especially with some major City of Phoenix City Council elections happening and projects I’ve been working on to advance urban Phoenix. If you’ve been following along on Twitter (where I’m @edwardjensen), it has been no secret that I have been working behind the scenes as campaign chief-of-staff on my friend Dan Carroll’s campaign to be the next District 4 councilperson. We might not have the money or the national political party backing of other candidates but we are the only campaign that has made, is making, and will continue to make a difference in Phoenix should things not fall in our favor tonight.
(If you live in Phoenix’s Council District 4 and you haven’t voted yet, I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to commend Dan Carroll for your vote. He has almost thirty years of demonstrated experience making our neighborhoods better and serves on several local boards and commissions. He gets Phoenix politics and will work for you–our neighbors and neighborhoods–with a passion and intensity previously unseen by any councilperson. For my readers who live in District 8, I commend Lawrence Robinson for your vote. The city’s 18 voting centers–where any Phoenix voter may cast their ballot–are open until 7pm tonight.)
In thinking through the content of this post, I realize that a bit of it might sound a little valedictory. But with seven candidates running, who will advance after tonight is really anybody’s guess. There are miles to go before we sleep and we’ll keep campaigning and working hard on this election until we’re told by the voters to stop. The theme of Dan’s campaign has been that neighbors know best. We hold that to be true always–even if our neighbors may make the misguided assumption that a different candidate will represent them and their interests better as a councillor. That being said, though, there are some things that we have held near and dear to our hearts and we will ensure that whomever advances (us, included) treats these issues with equal importance as we have.
I’m proud of the team that we’ve assembled for this campaign. We are all neighborhood, community, and civic leaders that get this city and have a passion to make it even greater. We have G.G., a longtime advocate for the Encanto-Palmcroft neighborhood and tireless advocate for preserving the quality of life in all Phoenix neighborhoods. Cyndi is from the Osborn Block Watch and is working with our western Phoenix neighbors to reduce crime and make sure our youth have better opportunities available for them. Blanca, a longtime voice for the Pasadena neighborhood, has led the fight against unwanted businesses intruding their neighborhoods. Mike is the former President of ArtLink and one of the first to do an infill project in Phoenix. Linda-Marie has helped us reach out to all of the neighborhoods in our district and has provided her voice for a couple of our calls. I’m (not to toot my own horn, but it’s my web space so I can) one of urban Phoenix’s leading thinkers, raconteurs, and doers. And then there’s Dan: the vice-chair of the Encanto Village Planning Committee, the President of the Midtown Museum District Neighborhood Association, among other things.
These are all things that we are outside of the campaign. The campaign only has brought us together into a wonderful partnership that will last longer than one, two, or even three Council terms. What matters to us is the trust placed in us by neighbors and neighborhood leaders to get things accomplished. We’ll get that HAWK pedestrian-activated crosswalk stoplight put in near the Adam Diaz Senior Center. We’ll make sure that our neighbors in Maryvale aren’t given lip service every four years by politicians and make sure that they’re not forgotten and a vibrant part of Phoenix and Phoenix political life. We’ll make sure that alleys have proper lighting. And, most of all, we’ll make sure that when the City considers changing its definition and scope of infill, that established neighborhoods are protected and have equal–if not more–say than developers and their kin.
This is the first campaign that I’ve been involved with in the behind-the-scenes operation. It’s also the first one that I’ve served as campaign chief-of-staff. And in the process, I’ve seen the best of politics and the worst of it. We’ve all seen, either directly or tangentially, the overly sexist mailer anonymously sent in recent days to our District 4 neighbors demeaning Laura Pastor while praising David Lujan. Both Dan’s campaign and I have been attacked by out-of-town operatives of a major national political party because we’re fiercely independent. We hear of campaigns raising in excess of $100,000 just for this round of the election. (We’ve raised a fraction of that.) So it’s become incredibly obvious that if you aren’t from deep pockets or have the backing of a national political machine, it’s an uphill battle to election. To be honest, however, we did know this going into this race. But that has made us even more committed to this cause and more dedicated to leadership and public service.
There are miles to go before we sleep, Phoenix. So whatever happens tonight, you know that I and those that I have had the honor and privilege to work with on this campaign will be getting to work first thing tomorrow morning–win, lose, or draw.
We hope for a win.