Bring the Beach back to Tempe Beach Park?

By:  Tempe Thoughts

Hawks Cay Saltwater Lagoon

Hawks Cay Lagoon in Florida

Today candidate for Tempe Mayor, Michael Monti and candidate for City Council Dick Foreman announced their intentions to explore swimming in the town lake.    Their ideas revolve around creating a barrier that would effectively separate the new swimming hole from the lake itself.   This would allow the water water to be treated to “swimming pool” standard    Hawks Cay Lagoon in Florida was brought up as an example of how waters areas could be separated with sand.

Although the idea of a swimming area within the the Town Lake is not a new idea and has been studied by staff in the past, the project has not risen very “high on the priority list” according to Foreman.    When asked about funding both Monti and Foreman stated that the project should be self funding through “user fees” and that they would be asking the community for their thoughts.   The first community forum is set for December 20,2011.



Candidates to announce intentions to create public beach

Forget San Diego! Tempe Businessmen, Candidates Michael Monti and Dick Foreman Announce Proposal to Create the Valley’s First Public Beach  

(Tempe, Arizona) Candidate for Tempe Mayor Michael Monti and Tempe City Council Candidate Dick Foreman will be holding a news conference Tuesday November 29th at 11am to discuss their proposal to create a swimming beach, complete with sand, at the Tempe Town Lake.  The news conference will take place behind the Tempe Center for the Arts at 700 West Rio Salado alongside the pedestrian bridge.

Who: Tempe Mayoral Candidate Michael Monti and Tempe Council Candidate Dick Foreman

What: Announce swimming beach proposal

When: Tuesday, November 29th at 11am

Where: At the Pedestrian Bridge on the south shore of the Tempe Town Lake behind the Tempe Center for the Arts at 700 West Rio Salado

These two candidates believe Tempeans should not have to travel all the way to Saguaro Lake or San Diego to go swimming at a public beach. And they have a plan to get it done without soaking the taxpayer.

What will your future look like if you vote for me?

By: Michael Monti

Michael Monti

During a presidential campaign, voters frequently ask:  How will my life be better four years from now if I vote

for this or that candidate?  How will my Quality of Life be better?  While on a smaller scale, the Tempe Mayoral election should certainly bring the same questions to the surface.

Here’s How Your Future And The Community, As A Whole, Will Be Better If You Vote For Me on March 13, 2012.

First, I’m proud to call Tempe home as I believe we are doing a lot of things right as a community.   I will continue many of the policies set forth by Mayor Hugh Hallman while blazing new trails of development. I will drive innovation in city government, the way we attract and keep businesses here in Tempe and in the way we respond to residents’ needs and concerns.  I’ve got ideas that I’m excited to share with you about creative programs from which we can all benefit.

After four years of my leadership, businesses will say they have had no better friend than Mayor Michael Monti.  I was a co-founder of Local First Arizona, a now thriving statewide Arizona business organization that seeks to help locally-owned businesses prosper. I will bring this kind of leadership and cooperation to Tempe City Hall.  I also have the ability to bring together and guide diverse groups, with differing interests, to help them find common ground on which to move forward together in a personable manner.  Creating and seizing new business opportunities calls for someone that is skilled in looking outside of the box for answers to everyday questions.

Hence, after four years, you will also have witnessed new job creation.  At Monti’s La Casa Vieja, I have had to meet a payroll every two weeks for some 100 employees for the past 17 years.  No one else running knows what it takes to create and maintain employment.  It’s equally important to grasp which city government policies, sometimes inadvertently, kill jobs and make doing business in Tempe difficult.  These issues go hand-in-hand and can’t be overlooked.

Additionally, you will appreciate a government that operates more efficiently.  My plan to reward government employees who save rather than spend is a big step in this direction. In addition, employees who best serve the residents must be both recognized and rewarded. Residents will have a far more responsive, citizen-centered and accessible government.  That’s a good thing for all of us.

Tempe has been labeled an “All-America City” in recent years. That’s remarkable recognition for our great community.  Now, let’s up the ante, and become “The Innovation City.”  Together, we can do this by nourishing an atmosphere where the creative class, entrepreneurs and innovators want to found new businesses or relocate both their businesses and families.  Additionally, with my Tempe Service Corps program, we will increase civic engagement to build social capital to confront the challenges of economic privation and blight that threaten our quality of life.  I can’t stress this enough–it’s vital that we identify and develop ways to harness future talent. We can’t just think about the next four years, but we need to lay the groundwork for the next 40 years and beyond.

I look forward to sharing more of my vision for Tempe’s future.

Streetcar Support Depends on Funding

By: Mark Mitchell

Mark Mitchell

Tempe has always been a leader and ahead of its time when it comes to public transit and transportation. I am proud that our city fully embraced and popularized Valley Metro Light Rail, and that our voters supported the concept of commuter rail at a time when all other Valley cities did not.

In the great tradition of Tempe’s forward-thinking vision for transit, I also support the concept of a downtown street car project.  But we need to make sure it can be planned out and effectively implemented. This project holds tremendous potential to have a positive impact on our community, particularly Mill Avenue and downtown.

However, I have numerous questions and concerns about this project’s feasibility – questions that I believe are shared by Tempe taxpayers.

The 2.6 mile Tempe street car line cannot be built without federal funding. Local taxpayers would pay two thirds of the cost, while the final third would be matched by federal transit funds. However, in my recent meetings in Washington with the Under Secretary of Transportation, he stated that we have an existing revenue problem. The current gas tax is not covering existing programs.  If the current gas tax does not cover existing programs, how can it cover a new street car project?

Congress has extended the current gas tax until March, but has not addressed the long-term sustainability of our transit funding source.

In addition, the proposed operating budget for this project relies on one-time local revenue sources from the sale of property purchased with transit funds. We do not yet have clarification from Tempe city staff if that revenue can be used for operating the street cars or for capital projects only. I am concerned that a one-time money source can be budgeted for a longtime ongoing expense. What happens when the money runs out?

I also do not support a proposal to use revenue from advertising throughout the street car route to help pay for the project. I want to hear new ideas on how to make this concept work without requiring a major rewrite of Tempe’s sign ordinance just for this project.

I have other concerns, including the fact that even with questionable or unsustainable revenue streams this project would run a deficit in its projected operation budget for its first four years. But my primary concern is that Tempe’s current transit fund – hit hard by the ongoing recession – is operating at a deficit now. We have already cut millions of dollars from our transit budget, and now we want to add a massive new project?

Given the information that has come forward about this project so far, it doesn’t make economic sense at this time.

Tempe is a well-balanced city with a vibrant downtown and distinct neighborhoods. A streetcar could be a key part of that balance. However, our challenge is to maintain and improve what we have in a realistic and well-thought-out manner. When I see that for this project, it will have my support.

 Editor Note:  Mark Mitchell is currently a Tempe City Councilman who is running for Mayor of Tempe

OUR “DIFFERENT” TOMORROW – Mark Mitchell for Mayor

By:  Mark Mitchell for Mayor . 
Editor Note:  Please follow this link to vote for your favorite candidate for Mayor of Tempe..

Tempe is different. And we are proud to be different. We welcome people of all ages, from all walks of life. We protect our neighborhoods. We celebrate our diversity. We cherish our schools and we generate thousands of jobs.

Our difference has allowed us to make a positive difference locally, nationally and even internationally. In order to continue attracting families and businesses of all size, we must continue to be a city of choice that distinguishes itself as one of the best cities in the nation.

Leading this great city isn’t going to be easy and our successes didn’t happen overnight. Arizona’s economy was the hardest hit by the economic downturn and these economic challenges have impacted all people still quietly struggling to get by.

I’m running for Mayor because I believe we need a bold vision for our future and strong leaders committed to invigorating our economy, giving our local businesses the opportunities to grow and getting our families back to work.

I work for a local Tempe small business and I know that bringing in business and other economic opportunities will take hard work, require the ability to listen and learn and work in partnership with many. The same goes for leadership at City Hall.

If we are going to attract businesses and entrepreneurs, we have to work in partnership to create the environment to thrive economically and so we can continue to invest in our neighborhoods, parks, and services that keeps opportunity in Tempe. As leaders, we also need to continue listening to our residents’ forward-thinking wishes to preserving our distinct neighborhoods that make Tempe different — one of the most desirable cities in which to live.


For too many other Arizona cities, the smallness of their politics has overtaken their ability to successfully govern their community. Their vision fails to extend beyond partisan talking points focused on the next election. We cannot stand by and allow the very things that make Tempe unique be threatened because of a lack of vision, a lack of leadership or a lack of cooperation.

Tempeans are different. From non-profits boards, volunteer and civic organizations to city boards and commissions, residents from all points in Tempe have always been involved in defining the direction and character of our city. Our residents plan today to build a stronger tomorrow.

The decisions we make today affect future generations. During my service on the city council, I have always strived to do what is best for our community and believe elected officials have an obligation to gather as much information from as wide a variety of sources as possible before making any decision that affects a community. Making decisions when you only expose yourself to one point of view is a disservice I have always taken the time to listen from friends, neighbors, and community members to hear what is on their mind and what issues are important to them. I’m a proven consensus builder and I believe that communication is the key to finding solutions to every issue.

As Mayor, I will strive to unite Tempe in our shared belief that we can be better, we can work together, and we can build upon a community that honors the principles of respect, dignity and civility.

I live in south Tempe and know that many residents are greatly involved in the happenings that affect the entire city. From non-profits boards, volunteer and civic organizations to city boards and commissions, residents from all points in Tempe are very involved in defining the direction and character of our city.


What is different about Tempe is its diversity. Tempe’s geography allows for a well-balanced city that allows for a vibrant downtown and distinct neighborhoods. As Mayor, I’m committed to ensuring that Tempe remains a forward-thinking community that we are proud to call home. We can retain our All-American city character by not only investing in new infrastructure, but by maintaining and improving current services such as public safety, neighborhood preservation, and parks and recreation. Our families deserve to send our children to great schools, to live in safe neighborhoods, and maintain one of the lowest cost for services.

Our challenge is to preserve the unique character and neighborhood pride that defines our community. The decisions to build the Tempe Center for the Arts, work with our business community to attract and retain businesses, invest in our parks, neighborhoods and public safety have helped our city tremendously. Tempe been voted as one of the top 100 communities to raise youth two years in a row, twice been named an All-American City and was recently ranked Tempe #3 by Business Week as “America’s Most Fun, Affordable Cities.


I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to serve our community and I’ve had the great fortune of meeting so many great people and getting to know their families along the way. I know that our community and the environment we raise our children is why we engage each other. I’m running for Mayor of Tempe because I want to continue to give back to the community that has given me so much.

The only way we are going to be able to keep our city strong is if we are fair, work together and invest in a future that is brighter for our kids. I’m proud to be a part of our forward-thinking community. I’m also proud to belong to a family who’ve dedicated their lives to public service in our community.

My dad taught me that you should always care more about the outcome of than getting credit for something. He has also told me many times over that a person cannot be successful unless a whole lot of other people want them to be.

He’s right. That is why I’m running for Mayor and I hope you will join with me. Together I know we can keep Tempe different and build the Tempe of tomorrow we are still proud to call home.

Hallman Endorses Monti

 Tempe’s popular and successful two-term Mayor is endorsing businessman Michael Monti for Mayor. Mayor Hugh Hallman is credited with enhancing Tempe’s quality of life and keeping the City’s budget balanced during trying economic times. Hallman is urging the people of Tempe to build on that success by electing Michael Monti for Mayor. See the video here.Hallman states, “Michael ensured his family business on Mill Avenue, Monti’s la Casa Vieja, has remained successful and vibrant while retaining its identity. That kind of success is clearly the mission of the next Mayor of Tempe.”

Michael takes his role as the owner of an iconic Tempe business seriously donating his time and talent to numerous organizations including

• Arizona Restaurant Association

• Tempe Diablos Charities · Arizona Tourism Alliance

• Tempe Rotary Club · Co-Founder, Local First! Arizona

• Youngest Inductee, Arizona Restaurant Association Hall of Fame

Monti states, “In 1993, my family called on me to keep an iconic and unique business moving in the right direction. In 2011, my friends and neighbors made a similar request with respect to Tempe City Hall. I intend to build on Mayor Hallman’s great work. There is more history to be made.”

To view a video of Mayor Hallman endorsing Michael Monti click here.  To visit the Monti 4 Mayor website click here.


Councilman Mark Mitchell to run for Tempe mayor

by Dianna M. Náñez – Sept. 7, 2011 01:34 PM

The Arizona Republic

Longtime councilman Mark Mitchell told The Arizona Republic today that he will run for mayor next year.

Mitchell’s father, Democratic political icon Harry Mitchell, will stand by his side when he makes a formal announcement Wednesday night at a Tempe gathering.

Rather than shy away from the shadow that his father’s extensive political career will cast on his run, Mitchell said he is embracing the values, worth ethic and love of Tempe he shares with his dad.

“He’s my best friend,” Mitchell said. “I’m lucky to have many mentors. My dad’s a huge mentor.”

He is the first candidate to confirm plans to run for mayor in 2012. The primary election is March 13. The general election is May 15.

Harry Mitchell served as a councilman from 1970-78 before being elected Tempe mayor, an office he held for 16 years before being elected to state and congressional seats.

Mark was first elected to the council in 2000. His third term expires next year.

He said he had hoped to run for mayor in the future, but he only considered a 2012 bid when Mayor Hugh Hallman made a surprise announcement this summer that he would not seek re-election. Hallman’s stepping aside left the race wide open.

Mitchell said his decision was based on wanting to ensure that his hometown continues to prosper.

“This is going to give me the opportunity to give back even more to the community I grew up in and love,” he said. “I want to work to preserve our neighborhoods, help grow our economy, continue to create jobs, usher in a positive change. We’re a forward-thinking community that has been nationally recognized for our innovation. I want to keep Tempe different.”

Harry said he warned his son that a mayor’s role compared with a councilman’s requires an extensive time commitment, which can be especially difficult for candidates with young families and full-time jobs. Mark is vice president of Arizona Flooring and Interiors in Tempe. His wife, Debra, is a teacher and they have two school-age children.

Mark thinks that he is no different than the many Tempe residents struggling in today’s economy to handle increasing work and family responsibilities. Sharing that experience will make him a stronger, more honest candidate, he said.

Harry recalled worrying about balancing family life and his work as a Tempe high school government and economics teacher when he first considered running for the City Council.

“A friend of mine . . . said I should run. I told him I don’t think this is the right time,” he said. “He drove me down to City Hall. I learned there is never going to be a perfect time. You just have to do it if you feel it’s the right thing to do, regardless of what the circumstances are.”

Mark said a priority of his campaign will be to remain fiscally conservative, while securing resources to invest in Tempe’s economy.

“We’ve had to cut our budget by 20 percent, and there’s more (cuts) that have to be done,” he said. “We have to be prepared for what the state Legislature is doing to cities, (and) we have to wean ourselves off the temporary sales tax increase (that expires in 2014). But even in this economy, without factoring in the increase, we are growing our sales taxes.”

Although some conservative residents are encouraging limited spending, Mitchell said that Tempe is a landlocked city that will only survive if it invests in economic development.

“If we continue to invest responsibly, we’re going to be better off for it. Just like with light rail and the (Tempe Town) lake,” he said. “I will tell you this; we cannot get out of the issues we’re in today alone. It’s going to be about partnership with the private sector.”

But explaining public investments to a community where Tea Party members are lobbying for slashing spending will be difficult, Harry said.

“He’s got to be able to communicate these investments. They’re not just willy-nilly spending,” he said. “People expect a certain level of services. He’s got to be able to explain that we have one library in Tempe. It’s very busy. If we cut hours it will be felt by many, many people.”

The main piece of advice Harry had for his son is to be “honest.”

“Don’t get caught up with the title,” he said. “You’re still the same kid who went to Meyer (Elementary) School, to McClintock High School to ASU. Your parents still live in the same house you grew up in. Just be straightforward with people . . . (and) don’t forget how you got here and what matters.”

The Mitchells are already looking forward to continuing a family tradition. When Harry was a kid he hung political signs with his grandfather, W.W. Mitchell, who served as a state legislator. Years later, Mark did the same with his dad.

Harry said he will “absolutely, be out there hanging signs for Mark.”