Denise Ceballos Viner
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1. Are you a precinct committeeman? If yes, for how long?
2. Why are you running for City Council?
I am running for the district 8 City Council seat to replace Carlos Garcia. This man has openly shared his anti-police sentiments and ignored the cry of the community for more public safety. The lack of support from most of our City Council leaders is the reason why many of our officers are walking away. We cannot afford to keep Carlos Garcia in office and cannot afford to elect other candidates into office with similar anti-law enforcement beliefs.
3. City Council requires a significant time commitment, usually 2-4 meetings a month, as well as reading prep prior to meetings. How will this fit in with your other commitments?
For the past 10 years I have worked closely with law enforcement helping at risk youth, domestic abuse victims, foster children, special needs children, and victims of sexual abuse. I have dedicated a great deal of time bringing resources to, and educating the communities of, Maryvale and South Phoenix. I have hosted toy and backpack giveaways for our underserved youth and led rallies to bring awareness to sex trafficking and gang violence. As an advocate of my community for many years, the City Council responsibilities will fit in perfectly with my commitments to serve.
4. What do you believe is the role of the City Council in our community?
The role of the City Council is to make decisions and vote on issues that will benefit their constituents. Identifying problems and needs within the community and establishing goals to meet those needs. The City Council is expected to be the best representation of the community, by acting as the legislative branch of the city government.
5. Do you think you have any personal or professional relationships that could become a conflict of interest while serving as a Council member?
Being married to a police officer creates a conflict of interest as a Council member. I will recuse myself from voting on any Law Enforcement issues, until my husband’s retirement next year.
6. What is your approach to handling controversial and complicated issues?
I pray for wisdom when dealing with controversial and complicated issues. I analyze the problem and gather the facts before proposing solutions.
7. What skills and experience do you have that you believe would be beneficial to you as a Council member?
I am the President of Padres Unidos, Arizona's largest Hispanic parent organization where we advocate for stronger families, better education, and safer neighborhoods. Our goal is to empower and educate Hispanic parents so that we can speak with one, strong, unified voice about the issues that are truly most important to our community.
8. What previous community involvement have you had in your city or another city?
For over 20 years, I have served many of our at-risk youth, helped women in domestic abuse situations and aided mothers who have lost their children to child sex trafficking. I have hosted cultural events and fundraised money to help find shelter for homeless individuals and families.
9. Based on what you know about City government, what do you see as top priorities for the City and why?
Our law enforcement officers are overworked, understaffed, and attacked by our current councilmember. It’s time we heal our community and develop a better relationship of trust between community and our police. I am skilled in creating environments where police and community can come together. I understand that working together is the only way to help build trust and accountability, while protecting our children, families, and neighborhoods. Our fire department has experienced a dangerous trend in which 9-1-1 calls for service have increased 49%, yet the manpower and emergency equipment to serve the community have not. Response times from an overworked, understaffed EMS system have gone up from the nationally acceptable five minutes to nearly nine minutes. In life and death situations, both our firefighters and community members deserve better. Our homeless population has grown and it’s time we help these individuals who struggle with addiction, mental illness, and/or poverty find resources to rehabilitate themselves and live in better circumstances, off the streets.
10. Do you support the defund the police movement? Please explain your response, and describe the role of City Council regarding this issue.
I do not support the defund the police movement because it is dangerous and irresponsible. Crime has risen and families do not feel safe. Too many fine officers have left and many more will leave unless morale rises and we start treating our officers with the dignity and respect they deserve.
11. What is your position on anti-discrimination ordinances?
Did not answer.
12. What is your opinion on the increase in gun violence in our cities, and what do you propose as mitigation?
The gun violence will continue to increase if we don't have more officers patrolling our streets. We are 800 officers short and others are pulling 10-12 hours shifts 7 days a week. Until our City Council is fully supporting our officers we will continue to see them walk away and the crime will continue to overpower our city. Let's start by voting Carlos Garcia out of office and replace him with people that care for the community and public safety.
13. What is your opinion on the homelessness crisis? What solutions do you propose?
We have no problem finding housing to help the numerous refugees but are incapable of making enough beds for those struggling with homelessness. There are several nonprofits and businesses we can team up with to come up with temporary housing solutions. We could offer enough beds. Many times some of these homeless do not qualify for temporary housing simply because they are unable to follow rules of no drug use. This is the reason we need to collaborate with our mental health services experts to set up more long-term drug and mental rehabilitation housing. We need to help people overcome these hard addictions.
14. Please feel free to add any additional information you would like voters to know about your candidacy.
I care for both our community and law enforcement. I’m not looking for power, I’m looking for change. If the people in office have not done enough to better our community the last 2 or 4 years, VOTE THEM OUT! When I win, hold me accountable. I will be working for you, not the developers, unions nor politicians. Please donate to my campaign at: www.vinerforphoenix.com