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Combative Phoenix District 8 city council runoff nears finish

PHOENIX — The contentious battle over who will represent District 8 on the Phoenix City Council continues.

Leaders in the African-American community are rallying voters to support diversity in the district’s Nov. 5 runoff elections.

Demanding representational equality and speaking out against “regressive anti-diversity effort to deny black Phoenicians a seat at the City’s political table,” a large group of Pastor Warren Stewart supporters addressed the media on the steps of the Calvin C. Goode Municipal Building in downtown Phoenix.

Goode, who served over 20 years on the City Council, was at the rally reminding voters that the election could undo 47 years of hard-fought progress and put into question the city’s commitment to political leadership diversity.

“At the present time, I think they have five whites, two Hispanics. You ought to have more diversity in this city and certainly one out of eight is not too many,” said Goode, who is referring to the current District 8 leader, Michael Johnson, who has termed out.

The group is taking aim at front-runner Kate Gallego, making claims that she is disconnected from the African-American and Latino residents who live in the South Phoenix area. Activist Jarrett Maupin said the group is also concerned that she’s only lived in the district for six months.

“When we created the district system, we sort of said District 8 would be for the African Americans. I believe strongly in representation and we are being threatened and shut out,” said Goode.

Gallego’s campaign manager, Lisa Fernandez, said Gallego has been living in the district for longer than six months.

If a non-black candidate were to win the election, it would be the first time in nearly 50 years District 8 would not have an African American representing that community.