Growth big issue with Jerome candidates

Candidates respond to newspaper questionnaire

First there were nine; now there are eight. Soon there will be five.

Even after one withdrew her name, Jerome still has more candidates for the town council than most valley communities combined.

Freelance writer Pamela Ravenwood pulled out of the race for one of five open council seats. That still leaves eight candidates -- four incumbents and four challengers. Councilman John Scarcella is the only incumbent not to seek reelection.

Town Clerk Al Palmieri said with so many candidates it is possible for the council election to be decided during the general election in May. Usually, council seats are decided during the primary, which will be Tuesday. To win a seat during the primary, candidates must receive half of all votes cast plus one.

The Verde Independent recently sent a set of questions to all eight candidates. All candidates were asked the same questions, including a request for a short biography with qualifications.

Incumbent Lisa Rappaport and challenger Rebekah Kennedy did not respond to the questionnaire.

Biography and qualifications

Gil Robinson is a member of Jerome's Planning and Zoning Commission. "I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, spent several years as a Navy Seabee in Adak, Alaska, then moved to Phoenix. I am a mechanical engineer, and my widely varied career experience includes several patents for cable TV equipment, and major computer programs for the insurance industry. Having spent over 20 years in Phoenix, and after our daughter moved to Oregon, my wife Judy and I were ready to leave behind the big city lifestyle -- air pollution, long freeway commutes, etc. We purchased a Jerome lot 15 years ago, and have since built our retirement home."

John Bouwman is an incumbent on the council. "I have lived in Jerome for the past 14 years, in Arizona for a total of 25 years. I live here with my wife Teri, and our daughter Harlie. Between my wife and I we have Harlie, four grown children, and seven grandkids, most of whom live in the Verde Valley. Before moving to Jerome, I worked various processing plants approximately 15 years, with seven of those in management positions. I have done ranching and worked at a school for troubled kids. For the last 20 years I have mainly done construction and maintenance locally. I have served as a volunteer for the last 10 years on the Jerome Fire Department as well as Cottonwood Fire Department. Serving on these fire departments has been a big part of my life and one of the ways I feel I can give back to my community. One of the projects that I am currently working on is the Middle Park in town. We are working to make our parks better, more usable, and more accessible for the handicapped. There's still a lot more to do but slowly and surely we're getting there."

Jane Moore is mayor of Jerome. "I've been a resident of Jerome for 33 years. Have been involved in volunteer activities since 1975, when I helped form the Fire Department Auxiliary to raise funds for much needed equipment. I was on the Planning and Zoning Committee for many years, serving as Chair for several years, also Board of Adjustment member prior to becoming a council member in 1998. Have been on council since then, two terms as vice mayor, one as mayor. Also representative from Jerome on Yavapai County Water Advisory since 1999. I am an artist/potter and have worked at Made in Jerome Pottery for 25 years. I am also an avid horseback rider and love the opportunity Mingus Mountain provides for riding and hiking and enjoying nature and wildlife. Jerome's history and character have always been important to me, and the quality of life this small town provides to its residents and the history that has been preserved deserve to be protected into the future."

Jeannie (Jet) Tennant is an incumbent on the council. "I own the Mile High Grill & Inn and have been self-employed for five years. Running my own business has widened my perspective. Instead of thinking something cannot be done, I know that there is always a way, it's just finding the right path. I am currently serving my first two-year term on town council. I have spent most of my time learning the ropes and promoting youth services. I have focused most of my energy along with many local volunteers to open a community center."

Anne Bassett is member of the Jerome Design Review Board. "I am a Jeroman since 1980. I am committed to historic preservation in my art career, having captured the majority of Jerome buildings in ink, and in my home, which I have restored mostly with original materials and design. I have served on three previous Jerome councils."

Louis Galluzzi is a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission. He has a bachelor's degree in music from Arizona State, and he has worked as a teacher. Since moving to Jerome about 2 1/2 years ago, he has operated a home maintenance and repair business. He is currently making a transition into commercial real estate.

Why do you want to serve on the council?

Louis Galluzzi: "The town is lacking leadership that makes good decisions that (stick). I feel the past leadership and current mayor have embarrassed the town."

Anne Bassett: "I will work on the zoning issues associated with annexation. Gaining grants to make low-income housing at the Hotel Jerome, owned by Jerome, is a project I will further. I plan to increase the use of recyclables (as I did when I started the Jerome composting program, which continues today), to create town income and reduce our sanitation expenses."

Jeannie (Jet) Tennant: "I love being involved in local politics. Congressmen and senators seem to be limited and defined by their political affiliations that I enjoy a sort of freedom and flexibility to explore individual issues based on their content and not just straight party line support."

Jane Moore: "I feel that I can offer a lot of experience to the town, as well as understanding the many difficult issues that we deal with so often. I enjoy the interactions with the many people I deal with, including all the challenges. I think it is important for people to take an active part in their communities, especially in a small town like Jerome, where one voice sometimes can make a difference. I very much want to see the history of the town preserved as well as keeping it a unique place to live."

John Bouwman: "I have been provided with a wonderful quality of life in the many years I have lived here and this is one way I can give back. Jerome also provides a wonderful place to raise children. As a person living here and raising a family I would like to help guide our town so our future generation has a town to be proud of for many years to come."

Gil Robinson: "I currently serve on the Jerome P&Z Commission and have a thorough understanding of the growth issues of Jerome. I have both the time and the sincere interest to assist the town in the upcoming challenges of maintaining its historic nature, while at the same time managing growth."

What do you see as the most pressing problem or issue facing Jerome? How would you like to see it resolved?

Jeannie Tennant: "Growth. Growth is happening and it cannot be resolved, but it could be managed. Taking a pro-active stance toward growth allows our community the opportunity to maintain our collective voice. By looking ahead and defining potential problems we are able to work together to guide the growth in a manner best suited for our community."

John Bouwman: "Jerome's aging infrastructure will require extensive repairs and improvements in the near future. We need to keep our history and at the same time prepare for the growing future. Funding these projects and staying on top of the many changes will be a major challenge.

"All departments must watch their budgets closely and eliminate waste wherever possible. Grants need to be pursued and used in the best interest of the community. An increase in the sales tax rate may be required to offset the cost of our sewer plant improvements. Many people volunteer their time and energy, which greatly reduces the cost of emergency services and general government. Their efforts should be encouraged, supported, and appreciated by all. We have to constantly keep the balance between the old and the new, and all of us working together make it possible to keep this town the great place that it is."

Gil Robinson: "The most pressing issue facing Jerome is managing growth, which is also a significant challenge for all Verde Valley communities. Jerome is especially at risk on several fronts, which include maintaining and expanding our fragile infrastructure, while at the same time protecting our National Historic designation.

"New development will have to, at least in greater part, finance the infrastructure upgrades needed to support this growth. Annexation of surrounding areas will allow Jerome greater control over what happens to these open spaces, and keep Clarkdale from coming up the hill. A hard look at all zoning ordinances will allow us to preserve the unique flavor of the town, keeping commercial areas contained and allowing the remaining 'non-conforming' lots to be developed appropriately."

Jane Moore: "Growing pains are the biggest issue facing our town just as they are in all our neighboring communities. Appropriate management of growth without destroying quality of life is the challenge. Preserving the open space around the town, having enough water for present and future residents, compatibility of new growth to our historic town, affordable housing, antiquated infrastructure, fire protection/water storage, increased traffic are all important issues. And of course, having the funding it takes to continue to provide needed services, maintenance and improvements.

"Adequate planning, knowledgeable staff, active community participation are needed to maintain the quality of life, and of course knowing that we have the money to implement the community's plans would be quite helpful. I am a firm believer in public input and participation. The health of a community is a team effort and if we work together I am hoping we can preserve our small town's character, history, and hopefully, quality of life into the future."

Anne Bassett: "Commercialization, or loss of our authentic historic quality, and financial survival are linked vital issues. It is our charm that makes Jerome popular and we must not lose this.

"We need to support the decisions of our boards, enforce our ordinances, and update them where new challenges have made inroads."

Louis Galluzzi: "The greatest challenge ahead is the new general plan, specifically the wishes of the community, for example, historic preservation and putting it into an ordinance. They talk a lot about historic preservation but never take steps to protect the town.

"Put it in writing in the form of an ordinance."

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