‘Ugly politics’ and the ABM election
Commentary by Sal DiCiccio
Special to Ahwatukee Foothill News
12 March 2015
Many of you remember the very caustic campaign that the unions ran
against me. The worst part was when they went after my family.
The Ahwatukee Board of Management, using our HOA monies, hired the very
same political consultant to run a campaign against the Save The Lakes
To add insult to injury, some on the board then raised our HOA dues.
I don’t usually involve myself in homeowner association business; my
work on the Phoenix City Council keeps me focused on the city. But I
can’t let slide an item for which the board leadership of the Ahwatukee
Board of Management HOA needs to answer, especially as homeowners start
casting ballots by mail or bring them to the ABM annual meeting April 1.
The item: Late last year, after it increased its budget by 5 percent
and raised our assessment, ABM hired a political operative. You read
that right — our HOA hired a political consultant who has a reputation
as a political hit man.
According to the Phoenix Business Journal, the political consultant who
was hired by ABM is David Leibowitz. Among the area’s leading political
consultants, Leibowitz has a reputation for carving out a
“damage-control niche among the high-profile.”
The debate over the Ahwatukee golf course has divided our community.
There are those who want to see it developed and there are those who
want to preserve it as open space. That is a valid debate. The Save The
Lakes volunteers have been working diligently with my office to come up
with a solution. For the management company to hire a political
operative to further their agenda while using our HOA monies to do so
is not only unfair it’s downright unethical. This has gone too far.
I want to commend board members Jeff Hall, Pete Meier and Bill Israel
who fought to overturn the decision to hire the political operative
with our money. This decision should have been paid for from personal
monies of the other board members…not ours. They need to pay back our
The Save the Lakes volunteers see the bigger picture here. They know
that whatever happens on this one golf course could happen to other
neighborhoods. The same owner owns every other single golf course in
our Ahwatukee Foothills community. That means the Ahwatukee Country
Club, Club West and the Foothills golf course could be facing the same
I feel saddened for our community when it feels it has to bring
Washington-style dirty politics to our community.
I feel bad for the Save The Lakes volunteers who have worked so hard
not just to save their own neighborhood, but to protect the quality of
life of all the Ahwatukee foothills communities. Those volunteers are
about to see the same style of personal attacks that my family had to
endure throughout the last campaign.
To be absolutely clear, there will be no development on the golf course
until the Save the Lakes volunteers sit at the same table as the
developers and come up with a mutually agreeable position — a position
that protects their neighborhood.
I am an Ahwatukee homeowner, I pay the annual assessment to the
Ahwatukee Board of Management, and I always seek value for residents by
watchdogging public expenses. I think people running for re-election
need to explain, and to be held to account.
In the meantime, be prepared for very ugly politics and a campaign
based on personal attacks.
• Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio represents District 6, which includes
Ahwatukee Foothills. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (602) 262-7491.
Read more about Save The Lakes at their website.
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