Sal DiCiccio: $16 Million Wasted In Just One Day By City Of Phoenix

Sal DiCiccio

Last week, I wrote about the structural deficit our city is facing. Our deficit problems will continue until we make public safety our priority and cut spending in non-essential areas. On Tuesday, city staff gave a presentation regarding the budget deficit forecast. The forecast, which did not come as a surprise to me, shows our deficit continuing to grow out of control, even while we collect increased revenue.

The day after the budget deficit presentation, I voted NO on the following expenses, all of which the Phoenix City Council ultimately approved:

  • $3,668,564 to Downtown Phoenix Inc – a group that already taxes private businesses against their will to spend money on the Downtown area
  • $16,000 to National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials – annual membership fee
  • $60,000 to Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 777 to buy promotional and training material for themselves
  • $108,000 to Ballard Spahr LLP- lobbyists (this is on top of the hundreds of thousands of dollars they already spent on lobbyists at the last council meeting)
  • $12,170,000 to change just 4 bus routes
  • $750,000 to join the ASU Global Institute of Sustainability

TOTAL: $16,772,564

Just during a single city council meeting, we could have cut $16 million of unnecessary spending. But instead, we continued to add to the structural deficit problems we face.

As long as we continue to spend in this manner, we will continue to see your taxpayer monies wasted. And city officials will continue to have their hand out, telling you they need to increase your taxes because they are short on revenues. They’re not. They just have a spending problem.

You have my commitment to continue to protect you, your family and your hard earned tax dollars.

My best to you,

Sal DiCiccio
Phoenix City Council
District 6

Gilbert and Chandler Place Well In Annual US City Fiscal Health Rankings

Town of GilbertCongratulations to the Town of Gilbert and City of Chandler for placing high in the annual US City Fiscal Health Index.

The index, prepared by The Fiscal Times, looks at five factors to derive the rankings including: ratio of city general fund balance to expenditures, ratio of long term obligations to total government-wide revenues, ratio of actuarially determined pension contributions to total government-wide revenues, change in local unemployment rate and changes in property values. Data is reported by the cities themselves from 2015. Only cities with populations of 200,000 were evaluated. (Tempe, Peoria, Surprise, Yuma, Avondale and Flagstaff have populations less than 200,000.)

City of ChandlerThe Town of Gilbert placed 17th while the City of Chandler placed 20th.

Other Arizona cities placed lower on the list:

Phoenix – 43
Glendale – 77
Tucson – 81
Scottsdale – 84
Mesa – 85

At the bottom of the list were Chicago and New York City.

To view the full index, click here.

Winkle for Mesa … In Tempe?

You would think that when you’re running for a local office that you would hold your events in the district, right? Apparently, Ryan Winkle who is running for Mesa City Council in District 3 would disagree!

Winkle is hosting an event that he’s calling a “Community Celebration,” in Tempe. Is that a slap in the face to the voters in Mesa’s 3rd District? We think so… That is the equivalent of someone running for the Phoenix City Council who campaigns in San Tan Valley. It just does not make sense!

Maybe he’s confused about what district and city he is actually going to represent?

Winkle, we know you’re young and naive, but if you’re running to represent people then please run in the district you’re aiming to represent. You are not running for Tempe City Council. The people of Mesa deserve better and deserve to know that you care about them and the issues facing the community. Evidently, you do not.

The Jana Jackson Saga Continues

This past week Sonoran Alliance reported that Janifer “Jana” Jackson, a candidate for the Superintendent of Maricopa County schools, has a serious ghost in her closet that voters deserve to know about. Years ago, when she was living in Indiana, she was taken to court over “check deception.” The plot twist? She failed to appear in court and subsequently had a warrant out for her arrest (see case number 53C06-9309-CM-04018).

Today, however, we are ready to divulge that this was actually neither the first nor the last time Jackson was charged with a crime, taken to court, and failed to show up. To be exact, while she was living in Indiana, she failed to appear in court on six other occasions. See the end of the article for the case numbers for further information.  

These cases range from Jackson being taken to court by her former home-county, the Monroe County Bank, the Bloomington Herald Times, all the way to being sued by the State of Indiana. Ladies and gentlemen, this may be the year of the outsider to run for office, but it is not the year of the criminal. We must hold our elected officials to a higher standard, especially those who influence our children, their education, and their subsequent futures. Jana Jackson is absolutely unqualified to be the next Superintendent of Public Instruction for Maricopa County.

 

Case numbers: 53C05-5903-SC-00591, 53C05-9408-CP-00841,  53C01-9405-CP-00556,  53C02-9311-SC-03072, 53C06-9311-CP-01378, and 53C03-9308-CP-00940.

Gilbert Mayor John Lewis Endorses Steve Chucri for Maricopa Supervisor

Steve ChucriScottsdale (July 18) — Today, Gilbert Mayor John Lewis endorsed Steve Chucri’s re-election for the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. Mayor Lewis has served as Gilbert’s Mayor since 2009, and he and his wife have both lived in the town for thirty years.

“As Mayor of Gilbert, I have worked extremely hard to foster working relationships with the elected officials who also represent our town,” Lewis said. “Steve Chucri has gone above and beyond to work with us and to ensure that our constituents receive the attention and service that they deserve. I am proud to stand with Steve Chucri and endorse him for re-election to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.”

“I’m thankful for this endorsement from Mayor Lewis,” Chucri said. “It has been a privilege to work alongside him and I look forward to continuing to provide the best possible service to Gilbert in the years ahead.”

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About Steve Chucri:
Steve Chucri is a native Arizonan who was born and raised in Mesa, but his family’s Arizona roots started in the mining town of Morenci. His family taught him the values of faith and trust, essential elements to running an honest and transparent business. In addition to serving on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, he is also President and CEO of the Arizona Restaurant Association, the key voice for the $11.5 billion restaurant industry in Arizona. Representing restaurants on a multitude of industry issues while maintaining small business success has proven to be one of his top strengths. Chucri resides in Paradise Valley with his wife of 17 years, Christine, and their two young sons.

Arizona Free Enterprise Club: Minimum Wage Initiative a Ploy to Unionize Workers

Free Enterprise Club

Reposted from The Arizona Free Enterprise Club.

Currently there is a massive effort underway to get several “California-style” initiatives on the ballot in November. The Club encourages anyone approached on the street by one of these petition carriers to “decline to sign.” One of the initiatives likely to get the signatures necessary to qualify jacks up the minimum wage and mandates minimum state-wide paid sick time.

Specifically, the measure increases Arizona’s minimum wage from the current $8.05, to $10 starting January 1st, 2017 – and tops out at a whopping $12 an hour in 2020, then defaulting back to increases based upon the cost of living index. Additionally, if passed, it would mandate businesses with more than 15 employees provide 40 hours of paid sick time and 24 hours of annual paid sick time for businesses with less than 15 employees.

This voter protected act would have a devastating effect on Arizona’s economy. Minimum wage schemes set an arbitrary floor on every industry, every business, and every job – and divorces wages from the actual economic value a position creates. As a result, minimum wages do not heed any more buying power for the people they purport to help, but instead increase costs and therefore create an eventual pressure to increase prices. Mandatory paid sick leave is another invention of the left which seeks to create policies in a vacuum outside any economic realities.

However the real intent of these “worker welfare” movements is more and more obvious. The campaign “Arizonans for Fair Wages and Healthy Families” is being pushed by the union-backed organization LUCHA (Living United for Change in Arizona) who since 2013 has advocated the “Fight for $15” for fast food workers and other out-of-state union groups. The battles are for minimum wage and paid sick leave; the war is unionization of the total workforce. This is evidenced by the fact that this very initiative exempts workers under a collective bargaining agreement. In other words, we have hit a new level of hypocrisy. If this was about creating the workers’ paradise, and not about incentivizing unionization, there would be no exceptions.

As if this all wasn’t damaging enough, the initiative has another kicker, which allows cities and towns to pass more generous wage and benefit mandates. With cities such as Tempe, Flagstaff, Phoenix, and Tucson – Arizona can expect to have a patchwork of employment laws – making doing business across city borders an arduous endeavor.

Arizonans should be wary this election season. Union groups and leftist interests are out in full force – trying to make the Grand Canyon State look more like an increasingly bankrupt California. If voters are wise, they will reject destructive ballot initiatives such as this one.

Follow Arizona Free Enterprise Club on Facebook and Twitter.

Chris DeRose Announces Endorsements for Phoenix City Council

Chris DeRose

Republican Leaders Endorse Chris DeRose for Phoenix City Council DiCiccio, Waring, Schweikert, Stump, Forese, Montenegro, Montgomery throw support behind DeRose’s campaign

PHOENIX (JUNE 7) – Seven Arizona elected officials today announced their support for Chris DeRose’s campaign for Phoenix City Council, District Three. DeRose is running to replace Councilman Bill Gates, who is running for Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

Endorsements announced today include: Phoenix City Councilman Jim Waring; Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio; Congressman David Schweikert; Corporation Commissioner Bob Stump; Corporation Commissioner Tom Forese; House Majority Leader Steve Montenegro; and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

“I’ve known Chris for many years,” Councilman Jim Waring said. “As a felony prosecutor, school board member, and on the village planning committee, he’s demonstrated his commitment to making Phoenix a stronger and safer community and I look forward to serving with him on the City Council.”

“I’m honored to start my campaign with the support of so many leaders who have aggressively watched out for taxpayers and worked to ensure public safety,” Chris DeRose said. “I am committed to these principles and look forward to sharing my enthusiasm and dedication to this community on the City Council.”
City of Phoenix, District 3 includes the neighborhoods of Sunnyslope, Moon Valley, and northeast Phoenix. In 2012, it was carried by Mitt Romney by 53-44 percent and in 2014 by Governor Doug Ducey 50-43 percent.

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About Chris DeRose: Chris DeRose is a major felony prosecutor who has tried more than 40 cases on appeal and argued twice in the Arizona Supreme Court. DeRose has prosecuted homicides, crimes against children, and criminal street gangs. DeRose is also a New York Times bestselling author of three books and an American historian. A former Constitutional Law professor, DeRose was selected by his students as the 2014-2015 Professor of the Year. From 2010-2015, DeRose served as a board member of Phoenix Collegiate Academy, a 2nd-12th grade school creating “a seamless path to college” for a 90% Title I student body. Also from 2010-2015 DeRose served on the Village Planning Committee. From 2008-2009 he served on the Neighborhood Blockwatch Oversight Committee. In 2014, he was named a “Top 40 Under 40” leader in the valley by the Phoenix Business Journal.

Andy Biggs’ Special Fire District Still Burned In My Memory

By East Valley Evan

They say an elephant never forgets. This Republican certainly doesn’t but sometimes it takes an incident to help recall.

The massive fire in Gilbert recently stoked my memory about one of our local politicians who tried to take advantage of a serious public safety threat.

Andy BiggsBack in 2005, Rural Metro notified the Town of Gilbert that they were ceasing operations in Gilbert because it was becoming too expensive to service the town due to the numerous county islands. That provoked a political fight between Gilbert and the county islanders.

In early 2006, county islander and State Representative Andy Biggs jumped feet first into the fight by sponsoring legislation allowing his fellow islanders to form a special fire district that would also pay back the Town of Gilbert for use of their municipal fire service. There was only one problem. The town of Gilbert was not going to recover the full cost of providing that service – an additional $5 million! Gilbert taxpayers like me would have had to pay the difference and subsidize all the folks in the county islands who were receiving Town of Gilbert services.

To add insult to injury, we would have had to pay the start up costs for a year and a half for Biggs’ special district before we even saw any reimbursement for our up front costs.

The Town of Gilbert decided to sue based on the grounds that Biggs’ law was specially catered for his county islanders.

After Gilbert filed the suit, Andy Biggs snuck in another special amendment that would force Gilbert residents to pay the legal fees in lawsuits against the formation of his special fire district. It was written specifically to apply to the Town of Gilbert.

In the first round of legal battles, a judge saw through the special legislation and shot down Biggs’ special law. Unfortunately that the same judge made us pay for the legal costs in stopping Biggs’ unconstitutional law. It ended up costing us over $292 thousand.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, under Don Stapley’s lead, filed an appeal against the lower court’s decision but that case also ended up losing in court. In it’s decision, the Arizona Court of Appeals stated that Andy Biggs’ law failed to be written in a constitutional manner.

This battle over Biggs’ expensive unconstitutional fire district became so heated that it spilled over as an issue in the 2006 elections. Biggs was challenged by a Gilbert resident but ended up winning reelection because most voters thought the issue was settled and other issues dominated. But not this voter.

Fast forward to 2016 and Andy Biggs is now running for Congress in my district. Ten years may have passed and the memories of some voters may have faded but I won’t be voting for Andy Biggs. He’s proven himself time and time again to be the ultimate career politician who’s only interested in one thing – what’s best for Andy Biggs.

It might seem like an eternity in politics but this Gilbert Republican won’t easily forget what’s been seared into memory of how another politician divided a community to serve his own personal interests.

Flagstaff Mayor Jerry Nabours Announces Re-Election Bid

Jerry Nabours(Flagstaff, AZ) – Flagstaff Mayor Jerry Nabours has drawn petitions to run for re-election in 2016. Mayor Nabours was first elected in 2012 and again in 2014. The mayor’s term is two years.

Nabours says, “The last four years I have worked full time to represent Flagstaff with professionalism and integrity. My underlying goal is always to enhance the quality of life for Flagstaff residents.” Pointing to past successes, Nabours says, “Through my relationships with state officials the City has been able to secure a future water source, get substantial funding for forest thinning and start the process for a Veteran’s assisted living facility. During the last four years I have learned a lot and made many friends, always looking out for Flagstaff.”

Among the most challenging issues now facing Flagstaff, Nabours cites traffic and housing. He says “NAU has grown by thousands of students in the past four years and the Board of Regents is projecting more. That is our reality. The more we ignore the situation the less housing is available for non-student residents. We need creative solutions to solve both housing and traffic and I am working on both.”

Nabours serves on the executive committee of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns and is Vice-chair of the Greater Arizona Mayor’s Association. He is a retired lawyer and has lived in Flagstaff for 40 years. He is married and raised two children in Flagstaff.

The city election will be held in conjunction with county, state and federal offices on November 8th. City elections have no party designation. Nabours is a registered independent. The mayor is paid $36,000 per year.

Warren Petersen, Jim Waring to Push for Pension Abuse Prohibitions

Recently, Phoenix City Councilman Jim Waring and State Representative Warren Petersen appeared on AZFamily’s Politics Unplugged with Dennis Welch to discuss the problems associated with Valley Metro.

In January, Rep. Petersen will introduce a bill to prevent civil servants who engage in misconduct from receiving any taxpayer-funded benefits.

Legislation like this is needed after Valley Metro CEO Steven Banta misappropriated funds during the course of his job before leaving with his pension.

Here is the video from that appearance:

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