Say what you will about Michael Monti—he’s been a big component of the ecology and politics of Mill Avenue. I often park in front of his establishment when I’m out on the town, checking out the people, but not so often when I’m trawling for fares. The establishment to which I speak is the restaurant that he owns and operates: Monti’s Steakhouse aka La Casa Vieja (trans. the old house.) A steakhouse built out of the Hayden residence when the family resided in Tempe—long back when it was still called Hayden’s Ferry.
Now, according to an article in The State Press, Michael Monti has added yet another accolade to his political belt: he’s been endorsed by now Tempe City Mayor Hugh Hallman as a candidate in the mayoral race for the city.
Humbling to say the least—I didn’t even know that Monti was seeking the mayorship. I guess that shows how much attention I pay to most of Tempe politics; at least that which doesn’t directly affect Mill Avenue.
Looking at his opponents, I’d say he’s got quite a run in front of him. Two thorough politicians in the form of Tempe city councilwoman Linda Spears—serving from 1994 to 1998—and son of past Tempe City mayor and former U.S. congressman Harry Mitchell, Tempe councilman Mark Mitchell.
In a sort of way, it might be interesting to have an entrepreneur rather than a politician in the mayor’s seat for a while; but looking at the sort of path the city has made for Mill Avenue, I’m not sure anyone is going to be ideal for that seat. Truthfully, I’m going to be rooting for Monti because in a lot of ways he’s one of ours.
For good or ill, he’s been part of the Ave for a very long time and although this still divorces him from the day-to-day problems that have been heaped down by the city’s decisions; it also means that he knows some of their effects. It means also that he may have a better boots-on-the-ground strategy for fixing it.
If he wins, I’ll probably be one of the first to park my cab at La Casa Vieja to go in and congratulate him.
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