Controversial Phoenix councilman challenged

Posted at 7:15 PM, Aug 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-28 22:15:49-04

In Phoenix's only contested city council race Tuesday, more than 40 percent of early ballots have already been returned.

The final push for ballots is now happening in the 6th District, which covers Ahwatukee, Arcadia, and the North Central Corridor. Eighteen voting centers will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

This race is full of passionate issues, including how to balance the concerns of existing homeowners and the push for redevelopment in the Arcadia neighborhood.

Incumbent Sal DicCiccio and challenger Kevin Patterson are at opposite ends of the political spectrum.

A fiscal conservative, DiCiccio ruffles feathers as he frequently puts other city officials on blast.

"One difficulty for Sal DiCiccio is that everybody's mad at people who are in office, and that's going to end up helping his opponent," political consultant Stan Barns said.

Patterson, a health care executive and foster care advocate, is a first-time candidate.

While city elections are non-partisan, Patterson has received significant help from the Democratic Party, even using its county office for phone banks.

The council already has more liberals than conservatives.

"If DiCiccio loses, which is a long shot, the council will get one more liberal, and it probably won't affect the productivity or the outcome or the policy changes at the city," Barnes said.

Three other city council members are up for reelection, but no challengers stepped up.

Barnes says that's because people generally like the services Phoenix is providing, and many people don't dare enter politics these days.

"It's a bloodsport, it's bare knuckle," Barnes said. "It's lost its civility; it's lost its honor."