Sal DiCiccio: BLM Mural Backpedaling

Phoenix City Councilman released the following statement Thursday evening regarding a response by City Manager Ed Zuercher to BLM activists:

This is Government Speak for: “Public would have handed us our ass if we allowed the BLM mural to happen.”

Never underestimate political self-preservation.

We Win Again!!!

Sal DiCiccio
City of Phoenix
Councilman, District 6

Scottsdale Candidate Releases YouTube Ad

Scottsdale City Council candidate Michael Auerbach released the following ad on YouTube called Blue Lives Matter.

Jeremy Whittaker Liberal Democrat or Opportunist?

Jeremy Whittaker’s Voting Record:

In 2006 he voted in the Democrat Primary Election!

In 2008 he voted in the Democrat Primary Election!

IN 2016 he voted in the Democrat Primary Election!

As a registered Democrat in 2016, he voted in the Democrat Presidential election. Yes, the election where he chose either Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton!

Then, he decided to run for Mesa City Council in a predominantly Republican district.  So in April 2016 he re-registered as an independent.  Was that real or for show?  Well, let’s see: in 2018 while on City Council he requested a Democrat primary ballot and voted in the Democratic Primary Election.  He’s also a fixture in the LD25 Democrat District meeting scene. A lot of people in Mesa are genuinely confused about who to vote for in the City Council race coming up in Mesa. Jeremy Whittaker is an incumbent running for re-election, and some conservatives are supporting him because of his stated efforts to lower utility fees and his failed opposition to the City’s deal with ASU in downtown Mesa. Many conservatives are supporting Republican small business owner and mom, Julie Spilsbury. Conservatives should beware of Whittaker. Facts don’t lie and the public record has shown that Whittaker has contemplated instituting a primary property tax; he has never voted in a single Republican primary, and has voted in nearly every Democrat primary; and was a registered Democrat until recently. Even as a registered Independent, he STILL REQUESTS AND VOTES A DEMOCRAT BALLOT.

First, Whittaker’s opposition of utility fees to fund public safety was offset by his idea of instituting a property tax for Mesa voters.  He never tells voters that side of the story. In one city council meeting you can see the exchange between GIles and Whittaker as a frustrated Giles lets Whittaker know that his property tax idea is a failed one. Mesa Voters rejected a primary property tax two decades ago, and polling continues to show that Mesa voters don’t want primary property taxes, aka renting your property back from the government under threat of confiscation.  Voters in Mesa also don’t want to “defund the police” by literally cutting their funding, which is what Whittaker’s utility scheme amounts to.

Second, Whittaker has made opposition to ASU a central plank in his efforts to convince conservatives he is one of them, referring to a failed ballot initiative in 2016 for the deal. What Whittaker hasn’t told the voters is that he has supported the wrong kind of taxpayer subsidized development in downtown. Whittaker is a supporter of subsidized low income housing in downtown Mesa, risking the creation of conditions of dense poverty that crushes local schools, churches, and neighborhoods. He has voted for numerous projects along the lightrail and downtown to pack downtown with government supported housing, sometimes voting to give away city owned property at a fraction of its value to support the projects. Even the liberal Atlantic has said what a failed experiment dense public housing for the poor is.  While Phoenix and Tempe have renewed their city cores, Whittaker has been all about creating concentrated poverty in downtown Mesa.

While we know Whittaker is liberal and claims to care about the poor, but the data says that helping the poor come out of poverty requires them to be in balanced communities. Packing poor people together in older areas and public funded apartments increases stress on neighborhoods, keeps poor people in the cycle of poverty, and creates eventual social problems. Mayor Giles and the Council know the importance of having educational and economic opportunities in downtown to add needed balance to the economic mix of downtown. They found another way to finance the ASU project without raising taxes by using opportunity funds, some of which are paid for by developments being built near ASU spurred because ASU is there. Whittaker’s advocacy for government housing and opposition to true economic balance should be noted by conservative voters. 

Lastly, how one votes is secret in America. If someone votes, their party registration, and the ballots they requested is a matter of public record. Here is what the record shows about Jeremy Whittaker. 

Ducey Wants to Flatten the Curve, Not Shutdown the Great Outdoors

By Calamity June

On Monday, March 30th, Governor Doug Ducey issued an Executive Order suggesting Arizonans “stay home, stay healthy and stay connected.”  Governor Ducey went on to state Arizonans should “limit their time away from home and if they do go out, to ensure social distancing.”  Finally, Arizonans are “staying home because it’s the right thing to do.”  Governor Ducey remarked, “when you use words like shelter in place, that’s what happens during a nuclear attack.”

This means our state’s hiking trails and parks can remain open for people to enjoy and get some exercise as long as we all practice physical distancing.  

During his news conference, Ducey listed off “essential services,” and stressed how the grocery store’s shelves would remain stocked and drug stores would remain open.  Restaurants would still be open for takeout and delivery.  Furthermore, he encouraged people to only purchase a week’s worth of groceries. As President Donald Trump and others have noted, the supply chain is operable and there is no reason to hoard anything.  Don’t be greedy. 

This means our state’s hiking trails and parks can remain open for people to enjoy and get some exercise as long as we all practice physical distancing.  

US Senator Kyrsten Sinema had a phone call earlier in the day on Monday 30th with a lot of the liberal mayors in Arizona pushing them to defy Governor Ducey and issue their own “shelter in place” order. After the mayors’ call, the mayor of Phoenix issued her own directive to close all of Phoenix’s hiking trails.  

Fortunately, Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio embodies the duty to present the calm during COVID-19.  God Bless Councilman DiCiccio for pushing back against Mayor Gallego every time she has pushed to shut down anything in Phoenix.  

Listen to Councilman DiCiccio on Seth Leibsohn’s March 31st radio show.  As you will hear, Councilman DiCiccio remarked how the city isn’t sanitizing the light rail or the buses. Why aren’t they closing public transportation? Why does the mayor want to close our parks and hiking trails?  It doesn’t add up.

On April 1st, City Hall is scheduled to vote on closing the city’s parks, including its hiking trails.  Also, according to the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation’s website, the mayor has decided unilaterally to temporarily close the city’s playgrounds, fitness equipment, basketball and volleyball courts, and sports complexes in its public parks effective Tuesday, March 31st at 5pm until further notice.

Being on a hiking trail in the Phoenix sun is one of the best ways to keep your body healthy.  Practice safe social distancing. Being outdoors is good for one’s health and wellness. It even states as much on Phoenix’s Parks and Recreation Department’s website. Be sure to call City Hall and let them know you want to keep our parks and hiking trails open during COVID-19.

Phoenix taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for the Suns’ arena

By Boaz Witbeck 

The Phoenix City Council is considering whether to spend $150 million in taxpayer money on a plan to renovate the Phoenix Suns’ Talking Stick Resort arena.

At a recent public meeting, supporters of the plan argued that it’s worth $150 million to keep the team downtown.

Wanting to keep our beloved Suns in Phoenix is understandable, especially with the owner at one point threatening to move the team out of the city. But a taxpayer handout isn’t the way to do it. We would all do well to listen to Phoenix resident Greta Rogers, who told the City Council last December, “We [Phoenix residents] are not in the business of paying taxes to support private enterprise.”

Ms. Rogers is right. Government should not be picking and choosing winners in the private sector. In her words, “They can support themselves or fail on their own lack of diligence.” In that spirit, we urge the City Council to reject the plan when they vote Jan. 23.

Since 2006, politicians across North America have spent $11 billion in taxpayer funds on 54 ballparks, arenas, and stadiums.

Taxpayers forked over $430 million for the Orlando Magic’s Amway Center. They paid $305 million for the Brooklyn Nets’ Barclays Center. And they’re on the hook for $250 million for the Milwaukee Bucks’ new arena. The list goes on.

Most of this spending – $9.3 billion worth – occurred without any taxpayer approval.  The people footing the bill had the opportunity to vote on funding for just 15 facilities. Only eight won voter approval.

Politicians like to claim that using taxpayer funds to build or renovate arenas will stimulate the local economy. The facts, however, say otherwise. 

One study unambiguously concluded, “there is no statistically significant positive correlation between sports facility construction and economic development.”

On the contrary, economics professors from the College of Holy Cross note that teams and stadiums propped up by taxpayer funding can actually choke off local economic activity. People spending money to go to games might have less money to spend at the local theater or might be deterred to go to eat out because of all the traffic from a sporting event.

Funding for stadiums can also crowd out expenditures for important public services and bust municipal budgets. Sometimes that money is wasted on arenas that sit empty. Houston’s Astrodome, which was built with $31 million in public funds and left the county millions of dollars in debt after being condemned for code violations. Despite all of this, last year Harris County approved another $105 million in taxpayer funds for renovations. The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis sits empty, leaving the taxpayers of Missouri paying $144 million in debt and upkeep costs until 2021 – in part because Los Angeles is subsidizing a new stadium for the NFL’s Rams, the team that left St. Louis.

In an ideal world, owners wouldn’t threaten to leave cities unless they get a taxpayer handout and politicians wouldn’t cave to their demands. Local officials need to always remember they’re supposed to look out for our interests.

Spending our hard-earned money on bad investments is not in our interest.

We Americans love our sports teams. But we shouldn’t allow politicians to use those attachments to benefit the well-connected at our expense.    

Boaz Witbeck is deputy state director of Americans for Prosperity-Arizona

Removal of Pancho Villa Statue Denied

A conservative watchdog group’s attempt to have a downtown Tucson statue removed was denied after a unanimous vote last week by the Public Art and Community Design Committee.

The 14-foot bronze statue of Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa on a horse stands in Veinte de Agosto Park. The statue was a gift to the state of Arizona from the Mexican government and a Mexico press group.

The removal request was submitted by Washington, D.C. based Judicial Watch as the group received complaints from multiple residents. City records do not indicate that a public hearing was held to hear complaints prior to the statue having been unveiled in 1981.

Mark Spencer, the Phoenix-based coordinator of Judicial Watch’s Southwest Projects, said the statue “needs to go” because “Pancho Villa did great harm to people.”

After the vote concluded, Spender said he would consult with his legal team to ensure that the panel adhered to city policies.

In charge of managing the city’s public art collection, the committee said the request did not meet any of the 10 criteria used to consider removing public art, such as damage or a request from the artist.

During the meeting, a dozen residents gave statements defending the statue, pointing to its aesthetic value and role in celebrating local Mexican-American culture.

“We don’t want to forget that history, that history that is grounded in Mexican-ness,” said Lydia Otero, a professor of Mexican-American studies at the University of Arizona. “Each person that walks up to the statue has to ask questions about why this statue is here, right downtown. And they have to come up with their own answers. You know why? Because we are Tucson and it is complicated.”

Reposted from All About Arizona News.

Voters Deserve Opportunity to Decide if More Light Rail is Right for Phoenix

Building A Better Phoenix

It has been almost a month since our grassroots group—Building a Better Phoenix—turned in 40,000 signatures to give voters an opportunity to stop the disastrous $7 Billion dollar expansion of light rail in the city of Phoenix. 

Gathering twice the number of signatures required to qualify for the ballot in under 8 weeks was an extremely difficult task and would not have been accomplished without the hard work of concerned residents and small business owners throughout the city. The overwhelming support from the public has humbled us and shows how people from all different backgrounds can come together to help save a community.

We have also learned that our battle against the endless amounts of misleading information being published about our group and the alleged benefits of light rail has only begun.

Contrary to lies being told by politicians and rich special interests, we are not being led by the Koch Brothers or any other group. Building a Better Phoenix decided early on that we would not accept funding from any outside group to pay for the signatures needed to qualify for the ballot. This is a promise that we have kept. Unlike the opponents to our ballot measure that won’t disclose who is funding their misinformation campaign, we have been transparent throughout our signature gathering efforts.

It is also evident that the backers of light rail are now trying to sell the project on its fabricated economic benefits. If light rail is as good as they claim, then why were we kept in the dark about the South Phoenix extension reducing Central Avenue from four lanes to two? Why weren’t we told about the increase levels of crime light rail would bring? Why weren’t we notified that the traffic restrictions along the light rail line would cripple small businesses and make it extremely difficult for emergency vehicles to access our neighborhoods?

All we are trying to do is save our community from a stagnant permanent fixture that will increase crime, traffic congestion and bankrupt countless small businesses, many of which have been around for decades. It’s not that we are afraid of change. Change is great as long as it is a positive change. 

Seeing that most residents agree with our concerns, it appears that Valley Metro and Phoenix politicians are now preparing to ignore the will of the voters and move forward with the construction of the South Phoenix light rail line early next year. The message is clear: they don’t care what the public thinks or if the project is rejected at the ballot box, they intend to build it anyways. 

Their position is unbelievably arrogant and would put our transportation tax dollars at risk. It only makes sense that all planned light rail projects are postponed until after the vote. We hope that Phoenix and Valley Metro reconsider their reckless position and listen to the voters.

Our goal from the beginning was to give the residents of Phoenix an opportunity to cast an informative vote on either spending billions more on light rail or instead use those funds on other much needed transportation projects. We are proud that we have made it this far, and look forward to engaging in an honest, factual debate on the issue.   

Susan Gudino is treasurer for Building a Better Phoenix and is a South Phoenix resident. For more information on Building a Better Phoenix, please visit www.buildingabetterphx.com

Statement by Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio on Sale of Phoenix Sheraton

Phoenix is closing on the downtown Sheraton sale, remember that the real loss to taxpayers is $200 Million.

This is the final, sad chapter in an orgy of corporate welfare and insider dealing that has cost the citizens of Phoenix far more than anyone at City Hall will admit.

Inept staff who insisted on making this deal are saying the loss is $36 Million. Even using their numbers, anyone in the private sector who did a deal like this would get fired in a heartbeat for such a loss. Yet the politicians and city staff do it, and our public media watchdogs never hold them accountable.

How many cops could $200 million have added to our force?

How many miles of paving?

How many units of low-income housing?

Those are real things our citizens will never get because of this deal.

Follow the story on Facebook.

Tempe’s Prop 404 – What You Need To Know

Tempe Cash

Tempe’s Prop 404 isn’t an increase by $30,000,000! It’s actually an increase by $156,591,369!

Arizona Auditor General Report dated December 5, 2017.

“Permanent Base Adjustment Summary Analysis:

Pursuant to the Arizona State Constitution, the City of Tempe (City) seeks voter approval to permanently adjust the expenditure base of the City as determined by the Economic Estimates Commission. If approved by the voters, the City’s base expenditure limitation will be increased by $30,000,000, adjusted each future year for population and inflation growth since 1979-80.

With voter approval, in 2018-19, the City’s expenditure limitation will increase by $156,591,369, from $342,305,491 to $498,896,860. The City will utilize the additional expenditure authority for any local budgetary purposes including public safety (police and fire/medical rescue) expenditures; community services, parks and youth programs; community development projects; transit operations and maintenance; and pay-as-you-go capital
financing.

If approved, the additional authorized expenditures will be funded from state and local sources.”
Just one more example of the progressive socialist Tempe City Council misleading us so they can continue to increase our outrageous taxes and fees!

About the bill:

Proposition 404: Permanent base expenditure adjustment

A strong economy has grown Tempe’s revenues over the last several years, but a state-imposed ceiling puts a cap on the amount municipalities can spend on their services, facilities and amenities. For the third time since the Arizona Legislature put the ceiling in place in 1980, Tempe must ask voters to raise the limit so the city can spend the revenue it brings in. Base adjustments do not raise sales or property tax rates. All annual expenditures still go through a public process and City Council approval.

The General/Special Election is March 13. This is the first Tempe election that will be Ballot by Mail, which means that every registered voter will get a ballot in the mail. Ballots will be mailed Feb. 14. Voters who need a replacement ballot can request one through the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office until March 5; after March 5, replacement ballots are available at either of the two ballot centers in Tempe or at the Recorder’s Office. Voters can also drop off their voted ballots or vote at a ballot center. Ballots must be received by the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office or dropped off at a ballot center by 7 p.m. March 13. Maricopa County recommends that ballots be placed in the mail on or before March 7. Additional information is at http://www.tempe.gov/city- hall/city-clerk-s-office/ election-information/ballot- by-mail-elections

Any information about the election, from voter registration to finding the results, can be found at http://www.tempe.gov/city- hall/city-clerk-s-office/ election-information or by calling 480-350-4311.

By Tempe Republican Women

Mesa Councilman David Luna Needs To Hear From You!

Since this is my blog, once in a blue moon I’ll ask a point of personal privilege. On this occasion, I’m posting on a specific neighborhood issue in Mesa.

Would you rather have warehouses, restaurants, apartments or homes?

I’ve held off making this post until I’ve had some information and facts on the issue. It’s time to spread the word and take some action.

The City of Mesa stands ready to approve or reject a plan to develop single-family homes on the southwest corner of Thomas and Recker Roads. The developer, Desert Troon and Wendell Beck, have already received approval from the Mesa Planning and Zoning Board to rezone the land from multi-use to residential but the Mayor and Council must sign off on the P&Z Board’s final recommendation. That meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 5th.

Typically, when the Council hears a planning and zoning item, the council defers to the councilperson who represents the area of the proposed item. In this case, that would be Councilman David Luna.

Last week (Tuesday, February 13), I reached out to Councilman Luna’s office requesting his position on the plan to develop the Thomas and Recker parcel. I asked for his thoughts and how he intends to vote on P&Z’s recommendation. One week later, I have not heard back from Councilman Luna.

I also asked my contact at the Red Mountain Social Club if a recent visit by Councilman Luna revealed anything about his position on the property. At their meeting on February 8th, Luna said that he opposed the rezoning and prefers to see the land kept multi-use with light commercial and restaurants on the property.

During the Planning and Zoning meeting, City of Mesa’s Economic Development Director, William Jabjiniak, pushed for the area to become class A offices and warehouses. He even disclosed that he is pushing for the construction of warehousing of up to 150,000 square feet so that Mesa can attract more industry to northeast Mesa. Jabjiniak believes the Planning and Zoning Board erred in its decision to rezone the parcel to single-family residential.

I also spoke with a neighbor in Red Mountain Ranch that also confirmed Luna’s position on the rezoning and what should be built on the land.

Those opposed to rezoning the land for homes fall into two camps. A small handful of Red Mountain Ranch residents want the land to remain vacant. the City of Mesa wants to build more offices, warehouses and light industrial on the land. Multi-use also means that high-density apartments could also be built on the land. You don’t have to look far to see what happened on the southwest area of Las Sendas where townhomes, a long-term care facility and a charter school are being built.

Because the owner of the property has sat patiently for twelve years, it’s highly doubtful that the land will remain vacant. Something will be built.

I’ve spoken with the owner and confirmed that other developers have approached him about building apartments. He told me that his goal is to build single-family homes in a secure gated community. Those plans are solid and even have a name – The Villas at Red Mountain.

Villas Red Mountain

I recognize the fact that the land will be developed and there are really only two choices – multi-use or residential.

If David Luna gets his way, the southwest corner of Thomas and Recker Roads will be turned into offices, restaurants, light industrial and maybe even apartments. Like many of my neighbors in Red Mountain Ranch, I believe this is the wrong place to build out more office space and warehouses. That area remains south of the 202 as part of the Longbow plan. Incidentally, during the P&Z meeting, Jabjiniak revealed that the large concrete building across from Boeing on Higley has no tenants or prospective tenants.

The choice is clear, the Mayor and Council should approve the final recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Board. The southwest corner of Thomas and Recker Roads should be developed as a quality single-family residential community. The Mayor and Council should sign off on the development of The Villas at Red Mountain.

Now it’s your turn.

Please call, email, write or visit Councilman David Luna’s office and ask him to approve the plan to rezone the land for single-family residential. Tell Councilman Luna that you don’t want to see or hear tractor trailers and fast food squawk boxes across the street at all hours. This area is right for only one type of development and that’s a quiet high-quality community.

I’d also ask you to contact Mayor John Giles and ask him to support our quiet residential community of Red Mountain Ranch.

Again, the Mayor and Council meet on Monday, March 5th at 5:45 to hear the rezoning case. The Planning and Zoning Board made the right decision when they approved request to rezone.

Please call Councilman Luna and Mayor Giles and ask them to support the plan to rezone. Then plan on attending the council meeting at 57 E 1st Street (map) at 5:45 on Monday, March 5th.

You have less than two weeks to make your voice heard!

Councilman David Luna
(480) 644-3771
district5@mesaaz.gov

Mayor John Giles
(480) 644-2388
mayor@mesaaz.gov

For information about the plans for The Villas at Red Mountain, visit their website at VillasAtRedMountain.com.