Mixed message in Flagstaff city council results

2012-05-16T09:05:00Z Mixed message in Flagstaff city council resultsJOE FERGUSON Sun Staff Reporter Arizona Daily Sun
May 16, 2012 9:05 am  • 

Flagstaff residents can expect some familiar faces on the "new" city council next month.

Voters gave community organizer Coral Evans and NAU employee Karla Brewster second, four-year terms Tuesday.

The new face on the council will be Jeff Oravits, who served on the city's appointed water commission and campaigned as a critic of City Hall overspending.

All three candidates were backed by the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce.

The fourth person endorsed by the Chamber, consultant John Malin, came in last in the six-person race.

Evans received the most votes Tuesday night, getting 560 more than Mayor-elect Jerry Nabours and nearly 1,200 more than her nearest council rival, Brewster.

Evans ran as an advocate for neighborhood issues, including the controversial property maintenance ordinance.

"I am so honored the citizens of Flagstaff would trust a second term to me," she said on Tuesday night. "I look forward to the next four years and serving my community."

Brewster said she, too, looked forward to a second term, pledging to work with the new mayor and Councilmember-elect Oravits.

"I can work with anybody," she said.

Brewster spent most of her time on the campaign trail championing economic growth, including the newly-created Economic Collaborative of Northern Arizona and the expansion of the Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology.

Oravits, a landlord, ran against what he saw as wasteful city spending, unresponsive city bureaucrats and the proposed property maintenance ordinance.

He pledged to work cooperatively with his fellow councilmembers, especially the new mayor.

"I am very excited to see Jerry get in as mayor. I think that with all the councilmembers and the new mayor, we are going to work together and get some things done for Flagstaff," he said.

Jim McCarthy, who came in fourth Tuesday night, said he was disappointed in the low voter turnout of about 39 percent.

He said he believes conservative voters came out to support Nabours and Oravits while moderates stayed home, and last night's results represent a shift in the local political landscape.

"It is very possible (the Council) is going take a dramatic shift in direction," McCarthy said. "It is something I am worried about,"

Small business owner Avtar Khalsa also said he was disappointed with the low turnout.

"I was hoping for more turnout, but I really don't have a sense for the way the low turnout affected the results," he said.

The new mayor and councilmembers will be seated on June 19.

Joe Ferguson can be reached at 556-2253 or jferguson@azdailysun.com.

Copyright 2015 Arizona Daily Sun. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(11) Comments

  1. Common Sense
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    Common Sense - May 17, 2012 3:56 pm
    Westisbest said: "In one fell swoop we've transformed from the "Berkeley of Arizona" to the "new Mesa." A sad day for Flagstaff and a signal that there are consequences when lazy people can't even bother to vote w...Time to start thinking about other places to live other than Tea-drunk Arizany."

    Thanks for the laugh! I had never heard "Berkeley of AZ". That implies that we have an institute of higher learning here. Oh, does that mean NAU?
  2. getreal2012
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    getreal2012 - May 17, 2012 3:27 pm
    Typical liberal elitism; when the result doesn't go their way it’s the fault of the uninformed/unmotivated voters.
  3. dark cloud
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    dark cloud - May 17, 2012 9:34 am
    No mixed message. We voted for a Mayor that isn't happy with City Hall. Sounds like a mandate to me. Hope! We have hope, Flagstaff.
  4. Flaglifer
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    Flaglifer - May 17, 2012 7:19 am
    West If you knew anything about Flagstaff you'd know these elections between the presidential elections always have a low voter turnout. I always considered the Berkely from Arizona an insult myself. We are independent and not like anyone else and for that I thank God. And if the Tea Party and freedom of speech sickens you I suggest Venezuela. There you always know who is going to win and who is in charge.
  5. KmKayisKMK
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    KmKayisKMK - May 17, 2012 7:16 am
    @Westisbest: Well you lost all credibility to me when you described Flagstaff as "Berkeley of Arizona." Flag consists of quite a different mix of cultures that make for a much more interesting dynamic than CA's Berkeley. While I consider myself a strong moderate with a slightly left lean I am extremely pleased with the change of thrones. It doesn't take a conservative to understand that the last council and mayor failed this community. I look forward to more sense and humility in our town.
  6. Flaglifer
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    Flaglifer - May 17, 2012 7:03 am
    Now we need to work on the city charter so that elected officals have the power to get things done instead of staff that is hired behind closed doors.
  7. Bigfoot
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    Bigfoot - May 17, 2012 4:29 am
    Seems to me like the Progressive vote was split between McCarthy and Khalsa, allowing pro business Oravits to creep in. If either of the first two had not run, the other most likely would have been elected.
  8. Bob
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    Bob - May 16, 2012 6:50 pm
    I have lived here for 40 years. And, I am sad to say that in spite of all the hoopla for elections, the reality is that usually, around 15-20 percent of the total number of eligible voters decide who sits on council, what bonds pass and what other election issues are decided. In spite of our zeal for candidates, their agendas, the changes we want to see, how we want to spend our money, most people just don't care enough to be counted. We live in a world ruled by a minority..of our own making.
  9. Fromthemiddle
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    Fromthemiddle - May 16, 2012 2:06 pm
    Interesting lead to an article " mixed message" The mix message i see is that Coral lead with the votes while supporting the PMO, which is highly unpopular.
  10. Westisbest
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    Westisbest - May 16, 2012 11:24 am
    In one fell swoop we've transformed from the "Berkeley of Arizona" to the "new Mesa." A sad day for Flagstaff and a signal that there are consequences when lazy people can't even bother to vote when the ballot comes to right their door. Less than 40% turnout is appalling. We now have a mayor and council elected by only a small minority of voters. Time to start thinking about other places to live other than Tea-drunk Arizany.
  11. Wheels
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    Wheels - May 16, 2012 10:35 am
    I can 'splain' it:
    My 5 candidates made a sweep. I voted for Nabours for Mayor because we need a leader who's objective enough to see and deal with issues. I don't think White could do either.
    I voted for Coral and Karla. I often disagree with them but they are open and responsive. If I e-mail the Council, they are usually the only ones that respond. I respect that.
    Oravitz should bring an outsiders perspective that's needed.

    5 candidates?
    Yes, I live in Continental. "Malin for last place!
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