Our team has been knocking on doors all over Ahwatukee and we’ve heard about the 202 expansion every day. The expansion evokes strong reactions from all sides of the debate and as someone who prides themselves as an active listener and consensus builder, I admit this is a difficult issue.
For a decade, Ahwatukee residents have passionately fought the highway extension with community meetings, petitions, and lawsuits. It is a testament to the grit and determination of our community that so much was done about this issue. The extension construction has begun, so now your City Councilman must rise to the challenge of listening to and actively advocating for your concerns, whether it be safety, economic impact, or noise levels damaging our quality of life. When politicians forget to advocate for these concerns they’re ignoring their main purpose.
Many politicians advocate for these concerns at the start of a project and lack the follow through to make them actually work. Listening to community concerns at the start of a project is vital, but so is following through to make sure the project goes well.
I grew up in Ahwatukee. I know first-hand that residents expect a quality of life in-line with both their property value and what they envisioned when they decided to make it their home; That includes roads that are safe. One man told me he was blinded when driving near the 202 and confused by the lack of medians and signs. As your future City Councilman, your safety and well-being are of the utmost importance to me, particularly as the father of two small girls.
This safety issue is indicative of follow through problems and they come from paying lip service to communities but not putting in the work. When politicians don’t listen to communities, and only pay lip service, citizens forget that politicians work for them.
Politicians too often listen to those with the loudest voices, those in the majority, and those with stakes in the development plans. In the event they do go to listen to those whose voices are not as loud, they listen but then do not act. Native American and Environmental groups spoke out about concerns with the 202 and were ignored by our Councilman. Neither the prospect of destroying sacred land or giving our children an unsafe environment were considered by him when the 202 was built. We have to do better.
Homeowners in Ahwatukee expect a lot from the 202 extension, because a lot was promised. Homeowners were promised higher property value and shorter commutes to work. A small few might get both; for many, the unfinished sound wall and the dangerous highway will make their neighborhoods louder and less valuable.
The extension didn’t have to turn out this way, but by ignoring community concerns and not taking action, local government failed to work for the communities it represents.
I’m not afraid to talk about or tackle the tough issues. As your City Councilman, I pledge to always be accessible, attentive, and available to our community’s diverse needs!