Tempe City Councilman and government nanny Ben Arredondo thinks all ASU freshmen should be required to live in the dorms on the campus. Tempe City Councilman and government nanny Ben Arredondo also thinks strip clubs are verim that should be banned from the City of Tempe.


Council candidates debate housing On-campus forum also includes talk about development by Grayson Steinberg published on Thursday, March 2, 2006

Ryan A. Ruiz / THE STATE PRESS Tempe City Council candidates (from left to right) Ben Arredondo, Lenonard Copple, Shana Ellis, Onnie Shekerjian and Corey Woods participate in a public forum at Old Main Wednesday. The primary election will be held March 14.

While ASU's relationship with Tempe has greatly improved in recent years, more work must be done, Tempe City Council candidates said at an on-campus forum Wednesday.

About 20 people attended the forum, held at Old Main.

The election for three open Council seats is March 14.

Challenger Corey Woods said Tempe and ASU should add more amenities to residence halls so more students want to live on campus, because this would benefit both the city and University.

"Tempe wants students to stop living in rental properties, ASU wants to increase freshman retention," Woods said.

Incumbent Councilman Ben Arredondo said he wanted all freshmen to live on campus.

"But they should have a choice," he added.

The city's free bus pass program for students should also be extended to light rail when it starts running in 2008, said incumbent Councilman Leonard Copple.

This would help reduce the number of students commuting to campus and struggling to find parking spaces. It would also decrease traffic congestion downtown, he said.

Challenger Shana Ellis said the city should also expand its FLASH bus service to help students and employees quickly travel between Scottsdale's SkySong research center and the Tempe campus.

SkySong could spur redevelopment in north Tempe, Ellis added.

Copple said new projects -- including residences, retail spaces and offices -- could be constructed on currently abandoned or vacant lots.

But Arredondo said certain businesses, such as a proposed strip club, shouldn't be allowed.

"Some things are just not welcome in our community," he said.

All the candidates also said future high-rise development in Tempe should be restricted.

Arredondo said he opposed the 30-story height for the tallest buildings of Centerpoint Condominiums, now under construction at Mill Avenue and Sixth Street.

He added he would never allow Hayden Butte, or "A Mountain," to be surrounded by high-rise buildings.

"I really can't imagine what downtown Tempe is going to look like with a 30-story building," Ellis said. "That just seems so high to me."

Challenger Onnie Shekerjian said developers, not the city, should pay for improving roads and sewers around tall buildings, she said.

Tempe should also form planning committees to discuss these towers' effects on neighborhoods, Shekerjian added.

"The people most directly affected should have input," she said.

The candidates also agreed taking private property just for economic development was unacceptable.

Shekerjian and Woods said eminent domain should never be used, except for city improvements like roads and hospitals.

"I'm not for the idea of using eminent domain for generating sales tax revenue," Woods said.

But Arredondo, Ellis and Copple said taking private property was necessary if that property threatened public safety.

Copple said eminent domain was used to acquire property for the Tempe Marketplace, which is now under construction at the Loop 101 and Loop 202. This was necessary because the land was a toxic waste dump and a health hazard, he said.

Acquiring private property for redevelopment helped the city revive downtown Tempe decades ago, Copple added.

"Mill Avenue is the product of eminent domain," he said.

Reach the reporter at grayson.steinberg@asu.edu

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