Mesa City Council, District 4

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  • Candidate picture

    Jake Brown

  • Candidate picture

    Jen Duff

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Biographical Information

What makes you the best person for the job?

How long have you lived in Arizona?

How long have you lived in Mesa?

What is your age?

Tell us about your background/ occupation?

Have you ever been convicted of a crime? Please provide details.

Where do you stand on the city’s plan to bring ASU downtown?

Where do you stand on downtown’s larger development projects and their possible encroachment on historic properties?

What do you think is the best funding source for public safety and why?

How should the city control its debt stemming from increasing public safety pension costs?

What are the greatest opportunities and challenges facing the community? What will you do to address those challenges?

Age 35
Family My wife is Holly Brown, and we have 5 children.
Education Bachelors Degree from BYU. Law Degree from ASU. Licensed Realtor
Work history I have been a Realtor and real estate investor since 2009. Since 2013 I have worked as a prosecutor for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office
Previous public office None
Twitter @JakeBrownMesa
Campaign Phone (480) 225-8738
The strength of a city is dependent on the strength of the individual neighborhoods within it. Neighborhoods become stronger as people living there look out for each other, treat each other with respect, feel safe, and feel empowered to do what they feel is necessary and right for them and their family. In other words, to the extent that the Golden Rule is exhibited and lived in a neighborhood, it will make the city a better place. My background as a Realtor, in law enforcement as a prosecutor, as a husband and father to five amazing kids qualifies me for this position. I have also served on multiple committees in my neighborhood and with the city. I have pushed educational attainment through scholarships and on the Early Childhood Education Task Force. I want Mesa to be the kind of place that my kids are proud of when they are raising their children. As we exemplify the Golden Rule, Mesa will be a better place for all of us.
I was born and raised here.
I was born and raised here.
34
I have been a Realtor since 2009. I have helped many people throughout Mesa and the East Valley in their search for their place to call home. I have also used my real estate license to invest in properties. I know what it takes to revitalize an area.

I have also worked as a prosecutor since 2013. I currently prosecute identify theft and white collar crimes.
Nothing besides minor traffic offenses.
I have some concerns with how ASU came about and the costs involved. I worry that some city leaders felt that ASU was absolutely necessary to improve our downtown corridor, and with that negotiated from a position of weakness. That said, the decision on ASU has been made, and I am excited to see how it can improve our downtown. It will definitely be an asset to continued business and residential development in the area. It may not be exactly what I would have done, but let's take advantage of the growth and change that an institution like ASU will inherently bring. I look forward to a bright future for Mesa and our downtown neighborhoods.
I love seeing my kids play on the same train at Pioneer Park that I played on when I was a kid. Having lived in Mesa my whole life, I love the history here. My grandpa Darl Andersen built a house just around the corner from where I currently live, and I hope that Mesa always respects the great history that we have. I also know that change will come and that our downtown needs to develop. Seeing the many current projects and proposals is exciting. How to balance these competing priorities will be a key focus going forward. Each project will need to be evaluated based on the value of the historic properties involved, the benefit to the neighborhood and the desires of the property owner and neighbors.

Using these metrics, I fully support the development proposed by City Creek Reserve for the corner of Mesa Dr. and Main Street in Mesa.
As a prosecutor, I know that public safety is incredibly important to the well-being of any community. Protecting life, liberty and pursuit of happiness needs to be the first priority of government, especially local government. I support Question 2 in Mesa to properly fund this key government function.
Public safety pension debt is a contractual obligation the city has, and the only thing we can do now is pay it down as quickly as possible. The only way this can be done is reducing spending in other areas for a time to pay down this debt. Mesa spends millions of dollars a year on interest and debt service. We were one of a minority of government entities that saw our debt increase last year, and our debt is projected to go up again next year. I believe in a truly balanced budget and the need to pay down debt as quickly as possible. During these strong economic times, we need to build up a rainy day fund instead of increasing our debt.
For too long in Mesa, city leaders have been looking for that next big project that would improve the surrounding areas. This is especially true in District 4. I believe the greatest problems facing our community is threefold. 1) The city congregating people in need into certain areas, 2) debt, and 3) lack of development.

I will oppose further congregation of communities in need. This will lead to stronger neighborhoods and a stronger city.

I will also fight to ensure that we are not passing our debt onto future generations. It is easy to convince ourselves that every expense is necessary, but that is not always the case. Just like families across Mesa do everyday, sometimes we need to just say no to some good ideas

Mesa needs to work more with developers and not against them. It should be easy to open up a small business here, and it should be easy to build. Our city employees need to work with business owners and not fight against growth.
Age 58
Family Engaged to Ivan Martinez. 2 brothers, 3 nieces, 1 nephew, 1 grand nephew, parents.
Education Mesa Community College, AA Fashion Merchandising ,1980. Mesa High School 1978
Work history Jef International Inc / Lobina Lures 1990 - present. Professional Tournament Bass Angler 1984-1990. Buyer at Goldwater's department store 1978-1984.
Previous public office None
Twitter @JenDuff4Mesa
Campaign Phone (602) 524-9852
I have experience in all realms of Mesa’s community. I'm a native resident, Mesa small business owner for over 28 years, community volunteer, and civic servant. I’ve serve(d) as the Board Chair for the i.d.e.a. Museum, Mesa Community College Development Board, City of Mesa Planning & Zoning Board, co-founder of RAIL Mesa (Retail, Arts, Innovation & Livability), member of Mesa Rotary, Mesa Chamber of Commerce, East Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and graduate of two Mesa Leadership programs, Mesa Fire & Medical Citizen’s Academy, Flinn-Brown CivEx and others. MCC Hall of Fame. I have the experience and relationships as well as an understanding of Mesa’s sectors for effective change and collaboration. I regularly represent neighborhood and community concerns at city council meetings and have a solid grasp of city processes, opportunities and challenges. A woman on city council will add diversity to viewpoints and decisions.
I'm native to Arizona, 58 years.
I'm native to Mesa, 58 years.
58 years
I am native to Mesa, and a graduate of Mesa High and Mesa Community College. My first career was in fashion at Goldwater’s department store. Although I loved fashion (and still do!), I found I didn’t love the business. I returned to MCC briefly in the mid 1980’s while competing in bass fishing tournaments. In 1989 I lived in Japan under the invitation of JBTA (Japan’s Bass Tournament Association) to compete and promote the sport. At the end of my tour, I set-up an import/export business, Jef International, Inc. and Lobina Lures, specializing in sport fishing equipment. The business continues to thrive today, and I am blessed with an excellent staff that allows me to spend time in the community.
No
I support the city’s decision to bring ASU to downtown. Mesa set an initiative to create an Innovation District in its downtown. ASU’s new school in cutting edge technologies is the perfect catalyst for this development. It will attract quality employers, innovation labs, entrepreneurship and co-working spaces to spur downtown Mesa’s economic vitality. Central Mesa already has the infrastructure in place (roads, utilities, public safety, etc.) and the City is the service provider for all the utilities. The revenues from sales tax and utilities, as well as higher incomes from quality employment, will contribute to the city coffers and provide essential services such as public safety, without the need to raise rates and taxes. We need a sustainable economic solution that will raise the standard of living and education in District 4 – which has been the most depressed area in Mesa for 40 years.
I am pro economic development and pro historic preservation. Both should be equally strong and respect each other in their own realms – one not dominating the other, but working in harmony. Currently, the City of Mesa does not have a Historic Preservation department or a professional Historic Preservation Officer. At minimum, we immediately need a full time Historic Preservation Officer as Mesa embarks upon huge redevelopment in the historic area of downtown to ensure Mesa's past, present and future come together in a way that fully incorporates our history and progress.
Public Safety represents the majority of the City’s funding via the General Fund, which is primarily funded by sales tax. Sales tax hits the low to mid income the hardest and has the most economic fluctuation. If Mesa adopts sales tax on internet sales it could provide the additional revenues needed. If not, we may need to look at property tax as a possible funding source to provide stability. Further study is needed.
State law requires that the city pay off the debt stemming from public safety in 25 years and the city has adopted a plan to repay the debt in the required time. Money is being set aside in a special fund, which may make it possible to pay off the debt sooner than 25 years. This is a nationwide problem and specifically a statewide problem. The debt is not Mesa’s fault, but it is Mesa’s responsibility. In Mesa’s case, the state board mismanaged the funds and the plan was overly generous. In addition to mismanagement, there have been legal challenges that have resulted in special assessments over the past few years. Mismanagement by the state board and plan benefits need to be addressed to prevent increasing pension costs.
Our greatest opportunities are through SkyBridge at Gateway Airport (seamless trade with Mexico) and an Innovation District in downtown Mesa – creating economic vitality that has been lacking for 40 years in Central Mesa. I see ensuring that Mesa is an affordable place to live, while retaining our history and values amidst significant redevelopment and planning for our energy and water needs for the next 100 years as our biggest challenges. It is also important that we focus on raising our median income and educational levels, which are lacking state averages. I believe with strategic planning and collaboration, Mesa can be one in the top 50 of most livable cities in the US. We need visionary leadership and development now while the economy is good, otherwise it may be another 10 years before circumstances are optimal again.