[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — Phoenix businessman Jon Garrido, 66, announced Thursday that he would challenge Councilman Michael Johnson for the District 8 city council seat. On Sept. 1, Phoenix voters will elect four city council members. Council members Peggy Neely, Tom Simplot, and Sal DiCiccio are also up for reelection.
The centerpiece of Garrido’s campaign is a proposal to redevelop land near the Salt River, which runs south of downtown Phoenix. Garrido wants to put water in the mostly-dry riverbed, similar to the way that Tempe Town Lake was created. Garrido also proposes that Phoenix build a “Mexican Rivera” — a casino, hotel, and shops — near Chase Field. The casino could generate $1.1 billion annually for the city, he estimated. “We need to make downtown Phoenix a destination,” said Garrido, who owns several news Web sites. “The first thing that people say when they leave the convention center is, ‘Where’s Scottsdale?'” he said.
He estimated that it would costs $500 million to build the projects, but says that figure does not include the Salt River improvements. Garrido plans to put an initiative on the November 2010 ballot to pave the way for proposed casino. Now, only Native American tribes have casinos in the Valley.
Garrido is a fifth generation Arizona resident. Earlier in his career, he was a real estate consultant. He’s also held planning and economic development posts in Tuscon, in El Paso, TX, and at the Salt River Maricopa Indian Community.