Two new hopefuls announce bid for Tempe mayor

RACE TO THE TOP: Candidates are running to occupy the City of Tempe Town Hall mayoral seat. The election will be held in March 2012. (Photo by Lisa Bartoli)

A former city councilwoman and a prominent restaurateur have announced their intent to join next year’s Tempe mayor’s race.

Linda Spears, a city councilwoman from 1994 to 1998, and Michael Monti, owner of Monti’s La Casa Vieja on Mill Avenue, will join councilman Mark Mitchell in the quest for incumbent Mayor Hugh Hallman’s seat.

Hallman announced in June he would not seek re-election — a move that prompted a diverse group of potential candidates to enter the race.

Spears, who is also the 44th President of the Kiwanis Club of Tempe, said she decided to run after hearing about Hallman’s announcement.

“I decided maybe it was time to focus back on doing community service by running for elective office,” Spears said.

Spears said her platform would focus primarily on the economy and helping an “aging” South Tempe by proposing renovation projects such as repairing city water mains and maintaining public parks.

“The major focus is really still the economy and how Tempe continues to provide the level of services its citizens expect,” she said.

Monti, who owns several restaurants around the Valley, describes himself as a “guy who has been in the trenches in Tempe commerce.”

“I’m very sensitive to the importance of small local businesses,” Monti said. “I am one and it is the locally owned small businesses that give a community integrity and uniqueness.”

In an ideal situation, Monti said he would have delayed seeking election until further down the road because he has young children and is running several restaurants, but he threw his name into the race because “chance favors the prepared mind,” he said.

“I feel the decision of Mayor Hallman not to seek another term left things wide open,” Monti said.

Councilman Mark Mitchell announced his intent to run in early September. Mitchell, son of former U.S. congressman Harry Mitchell, will be following in his father’s footsteps. Harry Mitchell served as Tempe mayor from 1978 to 1994.

The city’s primary election is scheduled for March, and the general election will be held in May.

Monti described Tempe as a mountain and said so far the city hasn’t reached the summit of its potential.

“(Hallman) has done a great job and yet from my perspective, Tempe has so much upside potential and we have so much more to tap into,” Monti said.

 

Reach the reporter at Brennan.J.Smith@asu.
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