Globe’s District 4 council election pits former councilmember against incumbent in downtown race

District 4 council candidates incumbent Vice Mayor Mike Stapleton, owner of the Copper Hen (left) and Desmond “Dezi” Baker (right), owner of Vida e Caffé in downtown Globe are set to face off for a second time in this year's general election. Photos courtesy Desmond Baker/Carol Broeder

The District 4 Globe City Council race seems like it’s “déjà vu all over again,” as two candidates face off once more.

One is incumbent Vice Mayor Michael “Mike” Stapleton and the other is Desmond “Dezi” Baker, who was elected in District 4 in 2008 and again in 2010.

Stapleton has been on the council for four years, and was appointed its vice mayor two years ago, he told the Silver Belt.

Both men also own downtown businesses, the Copper Hen and Vida e Caffé, respectively.

Desmond “Dezi” Baker

Baker, who has lived in Globe 15 years, was born in Casa Grande to an Arizona pioneering family. He lived in Mesa prior to moving to Globe.

Baker served on the council during a time of change and would like to see change happen again.

“During my first term they changed all six seats, including the mayor, in the same election,” he said. “Our council was instrumental in creating a new general plan.”

Baker served during a time when he believed that city hall had more control over the council than necessary.

“I believe that city hall has taken control again,” said Baker, quickly describing what is going on as “not nefarious.”

Baker envisions a “citizen’s movement” in Globe.

“I want to restore government to the citizens and have the council make the decisions,” he said.

Baker described himself as a “proponent of eco-tourism and the redevelopment of Globe,” citing his efforts as a councilmember toward “the beautification of downtown Globe,” including serving as chairman of the tree committee.

He also wants to see more done in Globe for eco-tourism, which he calls “free money.”

“In four years, they have done very little,” he said. “I am saddened by what Mike (Stapleton) hasn’t done.”

Baker considers his own business, Vida e Caffé, as a contribution to the community, as well, having spent about $600,000 to restore the downtown building it is in.

It’s a project Baker said was “held up for two years because of codes.”

Baker believes the City of Globe should be practicing “code encouragement, not code enforcement.”

The city should be telling those who want to operate businesses in Globe, “We’re here to help you, not hurt you,” he told the Silver Belt.

Baker said he occupied the Copper Hen location for 12 years before buying Vida e, which had to be restored before it opened in January 2017.

He believes that Stapleton may have been given a $50,000 grant to open his restaurant, which Stapleton denies. “He opened his business overnight,” Baker said.

He believes at least part of his issues with the city stem from being blackballed over “leading the charge” against both a private prison that tried to locate in Globe in 2011, as well as the installation of traffic cameras.

“I believe I would do well for the city as a councilman again,” he told the Silver Belt. “I was known as a good councilman as well as a smart councilman.”

In addition to owning Vida e, Baker is also a writer and has been “a minister forever.”

He describes himself as a man of integrity, with moral fiber, and who has been “married to the same woman” for many years.

Michael “Mike” Stapleton

Stapleton is a business owner who has supported his fellow downtown business owners, as well as the Cobre Valley Center for the Performing Arts and the Globe Downtown Association, he told the Silver Belt.

He has been heavily involved with economic development in Globe, he said, as well as helping the Town of Miami by “identifying ideas to benefit both.”

When the swimming pool in Globe closed, Stapleton was instrumental in getting kids transported to the pool in Miami via Cobre Valley Transit, he said.

Built circa the 1950s, the Globe pool had been “band-aided for years,” Stapleton said.

An unpopular move at the time, the council voted to close the pool after it was discovered leaking about 10,000 to 12,000 gallons of water per day, and its pump room that “looked like a waterfall.”

With an estimated cost of $500,000 to fix, council decided it was better to focus the city’s efforts on building a new aquatic center for about $5 million.

Stapleton said he was instrumental in infrastructure improvements, including replacement of the main waterline under Highway 60.

He also talked about street improvements, such as fixing High Street — from Maple to Cottonwood — which he describes as one of the worst streets in the city.

“High Street is now a brand-new street,” said Stapleton, adding he wants to continue with the city’s five-year plan on street improvements.

Stapleton said he was instrumental in helping the fire department obtain a new engine for $546,000, which he describes as a huge assist to the city, that “happened on our dime.”

Stapleton said he has been supportive of bringing more events into downtown, saying that when he came to Globe 10 years ago, “There were more parades — parades for every holiday.”

“We are slowly bringing that back,” he said.

Stapleton said he is continuing to support increasing downtown parking, as well as working on developing a Parks and Rec department for kids.

Referring to the recent hiring of new police chief Dale Walters, Stapleton said, “We really did our homework on this one.”

He is also in full support of rebuilding the police department, as well as the police explorers program.

As to Baker’s comments that he received a grant for the Copper Hen, Stapleton said he has used his own money after retiring from Motorola (later General Dynamics) after 35 years.

Stapleton bought his home in Globe 10 years ago, being a “weekend warrior,” before moving to Globe permanently four years ago.

During his last three years of employment, Stapleton commuted between Globe and Scottsdale every day, before his 2015 retirement, he said.

“It took seven months and $200,000 to open Copper Hen,” in 2016, Stapleton said.

Like everyone else, Stapleton had to complete the city’s packet before opening the restaurant. “They kept a real close eye on everything I did,” he said.

Stapleton said the Gila County Health Department had told him they wanted to use the Copper Hen as “an example on how to open a new business in Globe.”

As for the election, Stapleton said, “I’d love to continue my service to the City of Globe, but it’s up to the citizens.”

Nov. 6
General Election

The General Election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Friday, Oct. 26 in the last day to request an early ballot by mail, and Friday, Nov. 2 is the last day to vote early.

For more information, contact the Gila County Elections Department at 928-402-8709 or go to www.gilacountyaz.gov/government/elections.

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