Chandler voters had their first opportunity to hear what City Council and mayoral candidates had to say Wednesday at a forum.
Hosted by the Chandler Chamber of Commerce and the Chandler Independent newspaper, the forum drew about 25 people as candidates discussed a range of local and regional issues.
The six candidates vying for three seats on the council — Dean Anderson, Bobby Joe Harris, Lowell Huggins, Dale Mukavetz, Matt Orlando and Martin Sepulveda — said they supported Chandler’s smoking ban, but almost all said they would not support a statewide ban.
Mukavetz said he would support a statewide ban if it was similar to Chandler’s.
All of the candidates supported an extension of the regional half-cent transportation tax to improve highways and mass transit in the East Valley.
While most candidates said they supported bonds for transportation, public safety, parks and the museum, Mukavetz said those dollars should have been bonded to upgrade the city’s automated traffic control center to handle growing traffic.
Mayoral candidates Boyd Dunn and John Conley faced off on their visions for working with the council, their background experience qualifying them to be mayor and what they felt the city’s role was in downtown redevelopment.
Conley said he wanted to bring more restaurants and art museums to downtown to attract people. Dunn said the council’s successful work to bring brownstone townhomes and the justice courts to the downtown will bring people to Chandler in the future.
Barb Ross, who recently served as a member of Chandler’s Citizen Bond Committee, said she was disappointed in the small turnout, but was happy to hear from the candidates.
"Some of the candidates I didn’t know really well," she said. "It was good to hear their answers and see how they handle themselves in public."
The forum was taped and will run at various times on cable Channel 11.
The Tribune will host a candidates forum at 7 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers, 22 S. Delaware St.