Meet the Candidates
Part three of a three-part series exploring the candidates for Williams City Council and for Williams Mayor.
Ken Edes, incumbent Williams Mayor, has been in Williams since 1990. Edes, a republican, is a local pastor in Williams. He's married with six grandchildren. By June he said he is expecting to have eight grandchildren. Edes has held public office, in various capacities, for 14 years.
"I've had six years on city council and mayor for the last eight years, so I've been in office 14 years," Edes said. "I ran for mayor eight years ago, because Jim Hoffman was stepping down. I've really worked well and worked with some really good city councils over the last 14 years and felt that some leadership was needed and we needed to go some places as a city. I feel that the role of a mayor is more of a consensus maker, peacemaker, in the council sessions and in the council and outside of it to represent the city across the state, vying for our needs and our place in the government of this state. Jim Hoffman had done some things and he actually had suggested that it might be a good idea to run, so I started my campaign there."
Edes said it was hard to name his greatest accomplishment, as he did not like to personally take credit for anything the city accomplished.
"That's a difficult one, because I don't think it's any one thing," he said. "It's hard for me to take credit for anything, because we do things as a team. If anything I'd like to take that as an accomplishment that we do things and we do things as a team. Part of what I try to do on this council is (give) everybody an opportunity to share their feelings, to share their beliefs and then, when we vote, we vote as a majority. Part of the mayor's job is to bring them together as a team and not let
them get disunified - that we move forward and accomplish the things that we desire to do. We've done that really well, especially in the last eight years. I think that's probably my accomplishment. It's something that's not easy, but I enjoy doing."
Edes said he was seeking re-election because he felt there is more he would like to see accomplished for the city.
"There's always more to do, but one of my personal projects is the railroad museum. We are really close. I've worked nine years with Al Richmond pounding doors down at the state level, trying to find a way to fund and bring the railroad museum to Williams," Edes said. "We are currently knocking on GADA's door, the Greater Arizona Development Authority, looking at some bonds, at some possibilities, of bringing in some financing for the railroad museum. We're closer than we've ever been before. In fact, I believe that within the next two years the railroad museum will go from a dream to a reality. That's one of the things I'd really like to see happen and accomplish.
"There are other things. I'd like to develop a youth council. Several cities across the state have youth councils where the youth actually do a city council. They put themselves in a council of their peers. They come and they sit down with (city) council once or twice a year and go over their ideas, their visions, their dreams and they hear the city council and then on difficult issues, the city council pulls them in and gets their views. The Arizona League of Cities and Towns, which I'm on the executive committee, they have a conference every year. Part of that conference is that they hold a day conference for the youth councils across the state. There are a handful of them. They get together and talk to other youth and talk about politics. I just think that's a great idea.
"I'd like to get our youth involved in the community that way. Currently Mike Fleischman is working with SADD, Students Against Destructive Decisions, and they want to come to council, because they have some ideas. I'm working with Mike to bring them and have a work session with city council, so they can present their ideas. I've talked to most of the council and I think that they're all for giving them kind of a 'yes you can' idea and see what we can accomplish. It started with the accident (Sept. 10 on Perkinsville Road). I've always been involved with kids - they're our future. I've coached at the high school for nine years and I had four years in Little League prior to that, getting involved in the kids. They've got great ideas. They feel like adults won't listen to them. I like to bring them in and give them a voice and a say."
Edes said that he feels the current city council is doing a great job for the local community.
"I've worked with some great city councils over the last 14 years. What I like about the current council is everybody's passionate about serving the community, about doing what's best for Williams, trying to accomplish all that we can," Edes said. "There's very little personal agendas in this council. They're really a joy to work with. It's real positive. It's pretty easy consensus building, team building, because everybody understands the concept of the team. We move forward rapidly and I like that."
For the next two years of his term, one thing Edes would like to see concerns the aforementioned youth council.
"I think the big thing is the youth council. I would like to see them involved and give them a voice," he said.
Edes occupied a seat on the Parks and Recreation Commission for about two years and eventually became the president and chairman of the commission. From there he moved into the city council. Edes is currently president of the Williams Rotary Club as well. He served the community in the (Williams) Alliance and served on the Habitat for Humanity Committee. He's also a part of the ministerial association and serves on the Arizona League of Cities and Towns' executive committee, serving all 91 cities and towns in Arizona, the Northern Arizona Council of Governments (NACOG), the sub-committee for Head Start and serves on the executive board of the Sustainable Economic Development Initiative (SEDI). Edes is also on the executive committee for the Arizona Town Hall, which meets twice a year.
When it comes to growth in the Williams area, Edes said he believes there are a number of ways to control growth in the area.
"When I became mayor eight years ago I started a retreat and we got together as a council the first of the year between January and March. We would sit down and we would, instead of just focusing on the day to day issues and what needs are facing us, we would sit down and we would talk 25 years out. We focus on our future, where we're going, where we want to be, so that we aren't always having to be firefighters putting out fires, but we can actually plan for the future and plan for growth," Edes said.
"We talked about, eight years ago, what kind of growth we felt Williams needed. At the first retreat that's all it was. We felt that Williams (was) going to grow. There's not much we can do about it. Northern Arizona is a booming place. We wanted to control that growth. We didn't want high density, major growth. We felt that Williams would grow to 6,000, possibly 8,000 in 30 years. With limited land we wouldn't go much beyond our borders. For acquisitions we wouldn't annex too much. There are always things that we'll annex, but not huge amounts, and those we need to provide the services for, that group of people, and how we'd provide it effectively and efficiently," he said.
"One of the things we've done about growth is we've talked over the years about that industrial (Frontage) road across from the freeway, we'll probably have that put in this year or next year, which will be an industrial park put in for business and focus on commercial.
"I feel that Williams is going to grow. I feel we need to control the growth. I think we need to be careful. We want to stay a bedroom community. We want to stay a quality community. At the same time a small community doesn't afford a lot of the luxuries that a little bigger communities will and some of those needs Williams faces, because we're 30 miles from Flagstaff and 60 from Prescott. Six thousand (residents) will probably afford us a place where we can actually bring in some of the needs that we have, some of the conveniences we feel we should have. We've been trying, but over the years it's been tough."
Edes said he believes water is one of the biggest issues currently facing the Williams community.
"That ties into the second biggest, the growth in the county. A lot of people call Williams their home and live in the county. Williams is their home. Williams may grow to 6-8,000 in 30 years. The county right now is probably 10,000 in a 10-15 mile radius from us, but in 10 years that 10,000 may grow to 30 or 40,000. That is going to put a huge strain on Williams. That is something that we're going to need to address, (that) we need to plan for. We need to be careful how we organize those things, because we can't avoid the county issues.
"Water has always been an issue. The council over the last 10 years has continuously pursued meeting our water needs. We got together and we talked about the future at the retreat and one of the things that we wanted to address, future-wise, was the water needs for the community of Williams. We probably have the water for today. That doesn't mean we have it for tomorrow. We need to continue the work until we have our water issues solved.
"That doesn't solve the issue of water for the county, which is one of the huge things that Williams will face. The county may grow to 30,000 in probably 20-25 years and that makes Williams a place where they are going to come. It is a hub. We can probably shun the county and make them go other places, but it would be to our detriment. Their kids are going to be going to school here, they're going to be part of the community. We need to find ways to address the issues that will bring and find ways of serving the county."
One thing Edes said he would like to see accomplished if he is re-elected would be the completion of the Arizona State Railroad Museum. In regards to the proposed theme park in Williams, Edes said he was in a "wait and see" mode.
"The theme park's being talked about - move forward with them, wait and see how well they accomplish things, how quickly. I think one of the economic engines that will be part of Williams will be the railroad museum, seeing that brought in and made a viable issue. It's been accepted as one of the centennial projects, the statehood projects.
"In 2012, Arizona turns 100-years-old and actually, I've been told, that if we get that up and running, it may be one of the little gems that the governor, whoever the governor of the state will be, would use for the celebration in 2012. We have an opportunity to shine and I think we need to take advantage of that. That's the one thing that I would like to accomplish," Edes said.
John Moore, a Williams mayoral candidate, has lived in Williams for a number of years.
"It seems to me that I'm almost a native, but I've actually only been here a little over 20 years. I came here as a police chief Jan. 1, 1986," Moore said. "My wife Judy and I, we raised our youngest son here. He owns and operates Twisters. Williams is our home, we love it here."
Moore, who said he has no party affiliation, is currently employed as the entertainment director for the Grand Canyon Railway. He said he doesn't believe that party affiliations mean much in today's world.
"I sometimes vote democrat and sometimes I vote republican. I personally think there's room for a third party, particularly in our presidential elections now. That's part of what's happened with all of our politics and politicians, I think, people get in office too long," Moore said. "That's part of why I'm running for mayor. Ken's been in office now for 14 years, most of it unopposed during the election. I think people should have a choice at least to put somebody new in (and) I don't know if political affiliation has a lot to do with anything anymore."
While he is not an incumbent for the mayor's seat, Moore has served on Williams City Council for four years.
"I thought long and hard whether to run for city council again or run for mayor. Quite frankly, a lot of people came to me and asked me to run for mayor. That was part of my decision," Moore said. "I think the people need a choice. I don't think you should be able to run for mayor year after year without much opposition. While I think Ken has not done a bad job as mayor, I think we need some new leadership. We
need some things different in the city government. I won't say we're stagnant, but we need new ideas, new methods.
"I think there's one difference between Ken and I. I think he sees a big picture. I think it's important to him to deal with state level stuff. I know he belongs to a lot of different committees and attends a lot of different state functions. I think the position of mayor should be more at home taking care of the little things, taking care of the things that the people want you to deal with. Not that we don't have big things to deal with, because we certainly do and we're going to be facing those."
Moore said that, if elected, he would like to see a few changes in town, including possibly getting a second grocery store in Williams.
"One thing that I would like to accomplish that I think our community needs (is that) I think we need a second grocery store. I would like to see that happen. I'd like to see another pharmacy, whether it be within another grocery store, or one that stands on its own. I think we need that," Moore said. "I would like to accomplish the projects that we've already got started (and) see those completed, our sewer plant, our water plant has been almost completed. We did quite a bit the last couple of years. We talked 20 years about doing streets and finally last year we actually resurfaced and did some streets, which I thought was a start in the right direction. I think we need to continue that. I would like to see that continue and be one of my accomplishments.
"I like the sidewalk program; maybe we would extend that and make it better. I think an accomplishment may be that we don't have excessive growth. I think that we need to really sit back and look at what we're doing and where we're going with development right now."
Moore said he rates the current city council as "efficient" and "effective."
"I would like to see some more young people in the city council. A couple of years ago we elected Andrew Hamby, a young man; I think we need some new, young ideas on the city council. Overall I think the current city council does a good job. We've got a pretty good mix, we've got a couple new people and we've got some who've been here for a long time. I think that's what makes the city council work well," Moore said. "I don't know that I would do a lot differently. I think, as a mayor, I would be more prone to try to listen to and check with the community, not only the business community, but the people who live here and work here. I think the difference between being on city council and being the mayor (is that) the mayor, somewhat, gets to direct what directions the council takes. Not that the city council can't do it with three people, but the mayor can select the agenda, he can take on and put off the agenda, where the city councilman can't do that by himself. It think that's very important for the direction our community goes. Right now our community needs to settle down, sit back, look at where we're headed, where we want to go, in a controlled manner and make our decision from there."
Moore served as police chief in Williams for six years beginning in 1986. He is also credited with starting the red ribbon campaign, through the Governor's Alliance, for Williams. Moore is a past president of the Williams Rotary Club and belonged to the chamber of commerce board of directors for over 10 years.
"I started the DARE, drug abuse resistance education, I started that program in about 1986-87. It was a very successful program for many years, so I have been involved in the growth of service organizations and clubs," Moore said.
He said he believes the city will encounter growth in the coming years.
"There's no doubt we're going to have growth and, whether you're for growth or against growth or whatever, you can't stop that," Moore said. "What we can do, and what I can do as a mayor, is help control the way we have growth. A case in point would be the housing addition they tried to build up south of High School Hill (Forest Canyon Estates). Ken and I were at total opposite ends of the spectrum on that. He was for building the housing, in fact he voted for that, the high density. I voted against it until a lot of changes were made. We cannot go into our neighbors and impact with traffic, new roads, more trash pickup, and more water. We've got to sit back and control our growth.
"Our major growth? I don't know what's going to come before us in the next couple years. I know in the last couple years we've had talk about theme parks and we've had talk about a theater. I don't know whether those are good or bad. I haven't seen enough information to make that decision. It's pretty hard to say that I support this or I support that until you've seen the actual plans. I do know this, if it costs the tax payers of Williams one penny, then I don't support any kind of growth that costs us money."
Growth, Moore said, ties in directly with the biggest issue he believes is facing Williams today - that of water.
"I cannot support growth until we know that we have the necessary water. We can't sit here and plan what might work in the future for water. We have to have it there. Water is probably the biggest issue. Another big issue facing Williams today and I think it's an issue that hasn't really been talked about; I think if we do get growth and we continue to get growth and we have more houses, I think that our solid waste is going to become a problem. We pay a lot of money now to have our solid waste hauled to Flagstaff. It's gone up. Those are the things that have a direct impact on our citizens and I think that that can, and will be, a big issue in the years to come. We've done well with our treatment plant. It will soon be finished. We've done well with our water plant. Things are looking up for Williams, but I think probably one big issue for Williams is the solid waste and, of course, growth is the big issue. How do we grow, where do we grow, do we do it with housing? How do we support the housing? Each time we build a new house it brings in more water usage, more solid waste, more electricity, and more police services. Those are the two biggest issues. I moved to Williams when I did, because it was small, it was quaint, and I realize we can't always keep it that way, but if we can keep it that way somewhat and let it grow enough to maintain the services that we need, then I'll be happy."
If he could accomplish one thing, if elected, Moore said he'd like to see more unity in the community.
"I would like to make our community the very best place in the whole world to live. I'd like to see it drug free," Moore said. "I'd like to see our kids be able to grow up and get educated in a great school system, which I think we have. I would like to see the people come together as one community for the people, that they as a whole like. I would like to see them work together on projects. As a mayor I will try to lead the community to bring it together to support a better lifestyle."
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