Ryan Winkle, a Democrat running for City Council in Mesa, has been watching House of Cards too much. A recent party switch from Republican to Democrat seemed to have secured him the endorsement of Mesa’s lone Democrat: Dennis Kavanaugh. Of course there is always a possibility that Winkle is truly a liberal and has found his proper home among the likes of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Winkle, when asked about how to revitalize West Mesa, said that he wants to build an urban garden. Gardening is surely a noble goal, but the people in Mesa District 3–made up primarily of Dobson Ranch and the failed Fiesta Mall area–likely want jobs and a revitalized Fiesta District rather than a downtown communal garden.
Liberals, never short on good utopian ideas funded by hardworking taxpayers, are out of touch with the reality of people who work hard and are over-taxed. Kavanaugh, Winkle’s mentor, has fallen out of favor with many residents in West Mesa because of his support of tax-subsidized housing. The good people of Mesa seem willing to invest in parks, infrastructure, and education in the city. However, incentives that bring more poverty and tax-funded projects–such as subsidized project apartments–into densely populated areas aren’t going to bring capital into West Mesa. The schools, most of which are Title-1 schools, are filled with the needy families, and long-time residents are stretched trying to meet those needs. Subsidizing and encouraging more needy families into the area won’t build a balanced community.
The Mesa District 3 City Council race should be interesting. As a moderate Republican Jerry Lewis has drawn a clear contrast against Winkle on the issue of tax-subsidized housing. Lewis, who served in the State Senate, has found common ground with moderates and conservatives on the issue of tax-subsidized, low-income housing, and it may be an issue that voters look strongly at. Winkle and Kavanaugh think Mesa will be revitalized with urban gardens and low-income housing. In contrast, Lewis and Mayor Giles want to carry on the legacy of Mayor Scott Smith by building a better Mesa with fiscally responsible budgets, smart economic development, and friendlier business practices to attract investment and jobs into Mesa.