[Bryan Mordt]

As four candidates — Adam Leach, Vincent Manfredi, Rich Vitiello and Henry Wade — run  for three seats on the council, one of those candidates would like to ditch the city’s use of at-large councilmembers.

Leach, a Maricopa Realtor, has never held public office, but he believes councilmembers should represent specific parts – or districts – in the city.

Manfredi, Vitiello and Wade are incumbents and were elected to represent constituents at-large. Manfredi, the city’s interim mayor, is co-owner and advertising director of InMaricopa. Vitiello is the general manager for Kooline Plumbing. Wade is director of housing counseling services for Chicanos Por La Causa.

The primary will be held Aug. 2. Early voting has begun.

At a recent town hall at the Maricopa Library and Cultural Center, the candidates discussed the merits of districting city councilmembers.

Better representation?

Leach believes residents should voter for their city councilmembers based on geography. Seats on the council would be assigned to different precincts across the city. Currently, council members are voted in at-large.

In explaining his support for such a change, Leach offered up the residents of East Maricopa, more specifically Tortosa, which he pointed out has a lack of lights, infrastructure and commercial space.

“I hear that a lot that people out that way don’t get their voice heard by any means,” Leach said. “For an actual resident to go in front of city council and voice their voice is really challenging, just like it’s challenging for me to speak in front of all of you.

Primary 2020 Maricopa Wells
Voters walk into the polling place at Maricopa Wells Middle School on West Honeycutt Avenue. [Kyle Norby]
“So, could you imagine if you’re one person there, in Tortosa, trying to speak and say, ‘Hey, what about the infrastructure? It takes us an extra 25 minutes to leave.’ That’s why that would be my whole point of ensuring that that resident has a voice to go to that councilmember and they can take it back to the whole city council itself.”

Councilmember Vince Manfredi pointed out he publicly posts his cellphone number for constituents to call and speaks with people in Tortosa and everywhere else in the city for that matter.

“Call me. Talk to me, or scream at me. You can reach me,” Manfredi said. “I’m not hiding. I’m available and open to everyone in Maricopa, regardless of which neighborhood they live.”

Henry Wade agreed with Manfredi.

“I’m answerable to the voters,” Wade said. “I have no idea why you would want one representative when you could have six. When you send an email to the City Council, it goes to all six of us and we’re moving at warp speed trying to get to that question. Very often, you will get a response from two or three people at the same time.”

Councilmember Rich Vitiello echoed those sentiments.

“We’re out there for everybody,” he said. “We don’t care where you live. I’ll say it over and over again: We work for you.”


Editor’s notes: Vincent Manfredi is co-owner of InMaricopa. This content was first published in the July edition of InMaricopa magazine.