Where Does This Phoenix City Council Candidate Really Live?

Denise Ceballos-Viner is running for the District 8 seat on the Phoenix City Council. She owns a home in north Phoenix in District 2./Photo:Viner for Phoenix

ELIAS WEISS | Phoenix New Times

Five months ago, Denise Ceballos-Viner filed her notice of candidacy for the Phoenix City Council. In black ink, she penned her pertinent details: name, date, phone number, mailing address.

But the address on the form, filed with the city clerk, is to a home she doesn’t own in South Phoenix. The home she does own, a Spanish colonial house valued at $800,000 with a well-manicured yard located north of Carefree Highway, is one of three she’s purchased with her husband since 2008 in the upscale Anthem planned community.

The ranch house in South Phoenix, with a market value of $23,000, has metal bars covering the windows and heaps of debris littering the front yard. It’s owned by the parents of a candidate for the Arizona House of Representatives.

The house in Anthem sits in District 2 in the upper reaches of north Phoenix. The one in South Phoenix? It’s in District 8, one of the southernmost in the city. It’s also where Ceballos-Viner is running to unseat incumbent City Councilmember Carlos Garcia.

Where Ceballos-Viner actually lives is critical to her campaign. City council hopefuls “must maintain permanent residence within the district from which the candidate is nominated,” according to the city clerk’s office. It’s a 45-mile drive across several council districts between the two homes.

For Ceballos-Viner to call District 8 home, she’d be living off Baseline Road in a friend’s house, while her children and her husband — Phoenix Police Department Commander Darren Viner, who runs the Black Mountain Precinct in north Phoenix — live in the home in Anthem.

Denise Ceballos-Viner, candidate for Phoenix City Council in District 8, claims to live in this modest ranch home in South Phoenix owned by the parents of Tatiana Peña, who’s running for Arizona’s state House. Elias Weiss

In the Friend Zone

At the South Phoenix home, where the 55-year-old city council candidate insists she lives, the name affixed to the mailbox is Peña.

Tatiana Peña has ties to the controversial Latinos for Trump movement, is a Republican like Ceballos-Viner, and is gunning for a seat in the state House. Her parents, Ana and Manuel Peña, own the house that Ceballos-Viner claims to live in. Peña once lived there, too. She and Ceballos-Viner have endorsed each other’s campaigns on social media and campaigned together.

After a couple minutes of congenial small talk, Peña hung up the phone mid-question during an interview with Phoenix New Times and seems to have blocked our phone number. Ceballos-Viner did not respond to numerous interview requests from New Times. She quipped in a recent Facebook post that “the media only loves to share negativity and fear.”

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