2/14/2013 8:24:00 AM Mayoral challenger criticizes Skoog at Prescott Valley forum
Candidates receive instructions on how the Prescott Valley candidates forum will work from Yavapai County Supervisor Tom Thurman at the Puerto Vallarta Restaurant in Dewey Monday night.
Photo courtesy Les Stukenberg
Ken Hedler Special to the Tribune
Bad weather delayed Mayor Harvey Skoog's return to the Mesa airport from Minnesota Monday, and he showed up an hour late to a council candidates' forum at Puerto Vallarta restaurant.
After he arrived, Skoog responded to criticisms from challenger Louie Lizza and Lizza's supporters in the audience.
Once again, Lizza used a forum to criticize decisions by Skoog and the council majority that Lizza believes favored the financial interests of developers at the expense of ordinary taxpayers.
He mentioned development agreements with the Fain Signature Group that rebate portions of the town's 2.33-cent sales tax to pay for infrastructure improvements and cover bond payments that financed construction of Tim's Toyota Center.
Lizza also criticized the council's support for creating community facilities districts for StoneRidge, Pronghorn Ranch and Quailwood that require homeowners to make bond payments to finance streets and other public improvements.
"They made too many concessions to developers," Lizza told a gathering of about 70 people at the forum, sponsored by the Highway 69 Republicans. "This is not personal. I like Harvey Skoog. He is a great guy."
Lizza, a retired New York City police officer who owns a home in StoneRidge, is trying to prevent Skoog from winning his third four-year term.
Skoog disputed Lizza's comments about the events center. He said the federal portion of a lawsuit that investors filed over the financial performance of the events center has been dropped.
"No, it is not," Lisa Imburgia, who ran unsuccessfully against Skoog in 2009 and is backing Lizza, heckled from the audience.
Skoog also said Lizza's comment that the events center is going bankrupt is "absolutely not true."
The sparring between Skoog and Lizza added drama during an otherwise staid candidates' forum, which lasted about an hour and a half.
The eight candidates delivered opening and closing statements, and fielded questions from the audience in their bids to prevail in the March 12 mail-only election. Running for two four-year council seats are incumbert Michael Whiting, Douglas Bebb and Steven Marshall. Craig Arps, Marty Grossman and Matt Zurcher are running for the open two-year council seat.
Whiting, appointed to the council this past February, is an Arizona native who cited his 30 years of experience in the public sector.
Bebb, owner of Mad Fellows, a research and engineering firm, said he will be a "responsible leader of the community." He also called for the creation of "value-added" jobs, and said an economy "that is built on retail is a house of cards."
Marshall, an Iraqi war veteran who is pursuing a bachelor's degree in aeronautics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, said he wants to make a difference and solve the water problem.
Grossman has been active in the community since moving here in January 2009 from New York City. He worked as a letter carrier for 30 years.
Arps, the youngest candidate at 24, is a draftsman for Superior Industries and was home-schooled by his parents after he completed the eighth grade. "I want to see limited government," he said.
Zurcher, 33, is a manager at Verizon who formerly worked for a Los Angeles County supervisor, former U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Flagstaff, and a Republican member of Congress in California.
He said he wants to bring more age diversity to the council.
The candidates dealt with some "explosive issues," Mike Siavelis, who works in the alternative energy field, said after the forum.
Without mentioning names, he said some candidates are running on single issues.
Voters will have another opportunity to hear the candidates at a forum that the StoneRidge homeowners association is sponsoring from 6 to 8 p.m. next Tuesday in the golf course clubhouse, 1601 N. Bluff Top Road.