Ben Bethel, Owner of Clarendon Hotel, Ends Quest for Phoenix City Council Due to Our Blog Post About His Drug Convictions

Ben Bethel, owner of the Clarendon Hotel, withdrew his name as a potential candidate for the Phoenix City Council after we reported on his past convictions. Whoops.

Ben Bethel, owner of the Clarendon Hotel, has withdrawn his name as a would-be candidate for the Phoenix City Council's District 7, blaming our blog post from yesterday about his 1996 drug convictions.

"I've decided that sensational journalism will win out over my efforts to make this a better city, so I'll focus these efforts outside of council, and I'll still get a lot done," Bethel wrote in a comment on yesterday's post.

When we called him this evening and asked if he was ending his political career (before it started) because of our little old post?

"Yeah, pretty much," he says glumly.

"I'll continue to be involved with the city -- it's my passion to make it a better place," he says.

Bethel says he knew his quest for a council seat would mean public scrutiny of his 15-year-old legal problems. Yet the guy pulls his name out of the hat after a single article. What gives?

"I figured I'd be offered the opportunity to tell my story," Bethel says. We remind him that we gave him that opportunity yesterday, before we published the article. But Bethel didn't want to come clean about what happened, or even what drugs he'd been selling.

Court records show he pleaded guilty to two counts of selling drugs: One for dangerous drugs, the other for narcotics. In backward Arizona, "narcotics" could mean pot. "Dangerous drugs" usually means meth, LSD, mushrooms, esctasy or other so-called "hard drugs." (Not that mushrooms are all that hard.)

Rather than show us the spirit of transparency in government, this wannabe council candidate hinted that mentioning the past convictions might get us in trouble, seeing as how he got his rights restored and the convictions vacated a few years later. He says he'd hoped that if an article was written about his past, it would be framed in such a way that emphasized his recovery and how he's given back to the community in spades.

Now that he's dropped out, Bethel says he expects a highly conservative candidate to win in District 7 on election day, August 30.

In other words, we might be to blame for that, too.

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14 comments
Boston Park Plaza Hotel
Boston Park Plaza Hotel

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naomiroyy
naomiroyy

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Walter Concrete
Walter Concrete

Apparently no one is allowed to move on from past regressions in their life. He owns a hotel and that's more than 90% of us can accomplish as far as business goes. New Times is quick to denigrate someone who is possibly reformed and ended his chances for office. I agree he needed to be transparent regarding his past and he needed to be smarter in his handling of the press. But there's no need to gloate over it. Speaking of transparency, It would be a positive move if the media was also transparent in their agenda.

GuestyMcGuesterson
GuestyMcGuesterson

He was virtually nameless in District 7, he wouldn't have won over a conservative anyway, not with the crowd that actually votes anyway.. So Mr. Bethel, why not take the money you would have dumped into a campaign and open a community center?

or give some serious thought into fixing your hotel elevator... a 5 minute wait for 4 floors.. are you serious?

Cathrine McClure
Cathrine McClure

Mr. Bethel would have made a great councilman. Sounds like he should be forgiven his past, especially since the law vacated his convictions. What are YOU doing to make our city a better place to live?

vic
vic

If he folds that quickly, there was no way he would fight for the city, too thin skinned. IMO

Tim Hanner
Tim Hanner

I followed the link to his website YeeZag. I was pondering whether he truly understands that he is now a display in his Museum of Consequence & Reality....

YeeZag
YeeZag

Way to go New Times! Instead of being positive about this guy's ideas in light of his past (and he has some really great ideas if you check his website at www.benbethel.com), you now will have Nazi-kowski in office for another 4 years. Sometimes you really do shoot yourself in the foot.

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