Republic knocks down “lies” from Stanton and his supporters

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 20, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Scarpinato

Gullett says ad should be removed 

PHOENIX – The Arizona Republic today completely knocked-down statements made by career-politician Greg Stanton, and now by an independent group supporting him. The Republic went so far as to call the claims “lies.”

Wes Gullett is calling on the ad to be removed and for Stanton to stop deceiving the public.

The statements, used in a television ad paid for by an independent group supporting Stanton, originated in press releases and public statements made by Stanton. And they are repeated in a mail piece being paid for by Stanton himself.

“There just is no other way to say it: In asserting that Gullett lobbied the Phoenix council for a $100 million tax to benefit the arts, the ad lies. It also contends Gullett voted on the Phoenix Planning and Zoning Commission on behalf of a client, yet another lie,” the Republic wrote.

The editorial continues: “As The Republic’s Lynh Bui reported earlier this month, however, the Stanton campaign in August issued news releases alleging some of the same claims asserted in the TV ads funded by Phoenix Citizens United.”

“These outrageous claims have now been repeatedly knocked-down by independent journalists,” said Wes Gullett. “It’s time for Greg Stanton and his allies to stop deceiving the public and stick to the facts. Intentionally lying to the voters is not a good sign of how someone will operate as Mayor.”

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Gullett to Stanton: Come clean on contributions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 18, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Scarpinato

“We cannot trust Greg Stanton to deliver on his promise of transparency”

PHOENIX – Wes Gullett is calling on Greg Stanton to stop spending tainted campaign money until he explains how thousands of dollars were secretly funneled into his campaign without ever being disclosed.

The Arizona Guardian reports this morning that the city is looking into the legality of Stanton taking a $3,000 contribution – more than six times the legal limit – and never even reporting it. The city clerk says they didn’t know about the money until a complaint was filed late last week, according to the Guardian.

“This revelation raises new questions and follows an alarming lack of transparency by Greg Stanton,” said Gullett. “We cannot trust Greg Stanton to deliver on his promise of transparency when he is not even transparent on his own campaign filings.”

Answers on this matter are long overdue. This is the first time the public has learned that Stanton has received a total of $80,000 in contributions stemming from money that was stolen from his account. Last month, the Arizona Republic first reported that in addition to a repayment of $77,000, other money was also funneled into Stanton’s account.

Despite promises of transparency, Stanton has yet to file any disclosures of how he received the $77,000 or this new $3,000. So far, Stanton has even ignored the advice of his own attorney’s on how to disclose the contributions.

Gullett has called on Stanton to come forward about the details of these transactions for months.

Additionally, Stanton never explained what happened to an additional $14,000 that disappeared from his campaign account.

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Wes Gullett: City forced to explain $200 million in unaccounted funds

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 13, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Scarpinato

Republic also debunks claims in attack ad, erroneous Stanton press releases

PHOENIX – Phoenix city bureaucrats have been forced to explain where more than $200 million in unaccounted taxpayer dollars are being spent in response to questions raised by Mayoral candidate Wes Gullett.

A report in this morning’s Arizona Republic includes an alarming discovery that the city has budgeted a 10 percent increase in spending – $230 million – despite claims that the budget would only increase by 1 percent. The city was forced to explain how this slush fund will be spent, only after Gullett raised the issue.

Amazingly, Stanton defends this practice and the status quo, calling Phoenix “not perfect – but well run” in a press release today.

“We can’t continue to play this shell game with taxpayer money,” Gullett said. “This is the game Greg Stanton played for nine years on the City Council and would continue to play as Mayor. It’s actually frightening that someone who wants to be Mayor would just believe everything city bureaucrats put in front of him and refuse to ask any tough questions.”

The story also outlines in detail Wes Gullett’s plan to immediately repeal the food tax and pay for it. Gullett outlines specific savings for finding more than the $50 million needed to repeal that tax. Stanton continues to find excuses to keep the tax on the books for at least another two years, removing money from the economy and hurting families who are struggling to get by.

“I’ve put forward specific plans to get rid of the food tax and pay for it,” Gullett said. “Greg Stanton refuses to because he needs this tax to pay for his big government agenda.”

DEBUNKING AD
The Republic also debunks an attack ad against Gullett that is airing on television based on erroneous press releases by the Stanton campaign.

The story knocks down an oft-repeated claim by Stanton that Gullett is lobbying for a $100 million tax for the arts. “Gullett isn’t lobbying for the tax,” the story states.

Additionally, the story highlights that Gullett never worked for the Phoenix Association of Realtors, despite claims by the Stanton campaign that he did.

In fact, the only candidate in this race who has voted to benefit a client he was being paid by was Greg Stanton, as reported by the Republic in a separate 2007 investigation. According to the story, Stanton actually voted eight times to benefit his client, and even used his office and taxpayer resources to profit – a violation of state law.

“Stanton also used city email, newsletters and meetings to talk up partnerships among Phoenix, the Maricopa colleges and Arizona universities,” the Republic reported. While getting paid by his client, Stanton made sure to put himself in positions where he could have influence over pet college causes. He chaired the council’s education committee and sat on the panel advising GateWay Community College.

It’s not clear whether Stanton ever stopped these practices before quitting his job on the Council. Once caught, Stanton actually defended the unethical practices, despite an outside expert telling the Republic, he was “not acting impartially.”

At a recent debate, Stanton admitted the violations.

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Taxpayer dollars for electioneering?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 11, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Scarpinato

Are taxpayers subsidizing campaign work for Greg Stanton? 

PHOENIX – Do you need a clearer sign of wasted and misused taxpayer money?

With a proliferation of street signs paid for by public-employee unions popping-up all over Phoenix and $3.7 million of Phoenix taxpayer dollars going to pay city employees to work exclusively for labor unions, the question remains: How much of Phoenix taxpayers dollars are subsidizing Greg Stanton’s campaign for Mayor?

A recent report by the Goldwater Institute found that Phoenix taxpayers are paying an average of $3.7 million for public employees to do union work. These contracts were supported by Stanton during his nine years on the Phoenix City Council. Union members are being released for more than 73,000 hours of time to conduct union business on the taxpayers’ dime – and those same unions are apparently using taxpayer supplemented funds to support and campaign for Greg Stanton.

In recent days, union signs supporting Stanton have gone up all over town. Additionally, there are reports that union members are walking door-to-door campaigning for Stanton.

1) Are they being paid by taxpayers to knock on doors for Greg Stanton?

2) Are union members getting paid by taxpayers to put up signs for Greg Stanton?

3) Are taxpayer dollars subsidizing union functions to free up money for Stanton’s signs?

No wonder the union supported candidates have been elected Mayor time and again.

No one has asked these tough questions. But it’s time for some answers.

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Stanton: Punish Private Property Owners

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 7, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Scarpinato

More tax-and-spend proposals from the status quo candidate

PHOENIX – Career-politician Greg Stanton wants to institute a penalty on Phoenix private property owners who cannot afford to develop their land in a down economy – land they are already paying taxes on.

“Having those empty lots really hurts the quality of life. Those property owners should pay a penalty for that … It shouldn’t be free,” Stanton said at Wednesday’s night debate.

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Actually, it’s not free. Property owners are already paying a 16 percent assessment ratio on vacant land. And that’s not including various other property taxes that are levied by other jurisdictions the land resides in.

Additionally, Phoenix is struggling through one of the deepest economic recessions in the country. We’ve lost more than 250,000 jobs and the housing and commercial real estate markets have collapsed, making it difficult – if not impossible – for property owners and private developers to move forward with plans they had prior to the downturn.

Office vacancy in Phoenix has reached a high of nearly 30 percent.

Stanton’s fine would make matters worse.

“Maybe Greg missed a few things after he quit his job on the City Council, but in 2008, the real estate market collapsed and has yet to recover,” said Gullett spokesman Daniel Scarpinato. “This is just one more example of how Greg Stanton wants to grow government and increase its control over business, even at the expense of private property rights. There’s a clear distinction between Greg’s growing government approach and Wes Gullett’s plan to cut taxes and reform City Hall.”

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Stanton on his unethical behavior: “A few slips”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 6, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Scarpinato

If elected Mayor, will Greg Stanton continue his practice of profiting from clients with business before the city? 

PHOENIX – How does Greg Stanton explain the fact that he used his position on the Phoenix City Council to benefit a client that was subsidizing his personal income?

“A few slips,” he said as a flippant excuse at last night’s mayoral debate.

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Really? A few slips?

Not according to the Arizona Republic:

  • The newspaper reported that Stanton was paid $80,000 by Maricopa Community Colleges from 2003 until at least 2007, while at the same time “supporting college interests on the council.” [Arizona Republic, "Pair Deny Impropriety in City, College Jobs," June 7, 2007]
  • “Stanton also used city email, newsletters and meetings to talk up partnerships among Phoenix, the Maricopa colleges and Arizona universities,” the Republic reported.
  • While getting paid by his client, Stanton made sure to put himself in positions where he could have influence over pet college causes. He chaired the council’s education committee and sat on the panel advising GateWay Community College.
  • Stanton wasn’t shy about the association, even if it ran afoul with state ethics laws. Incredibly, Stanton actually used his “City Hall office to conduct or solicit college work.” “State law prohibits elected officials from promoting the interests of outside employers and using their position to seek private gain,” according to the Republic.
  • A representative of the colleges admitted “there are advantages in having a policymaker” as their paid consultant.
  • It’s not clear whether Stanton ever stopped these practices before quitting his job on the Council. Once caught, Stanton actually defended the unethical practices, despite an outside expert telling the Republic, he was “not acting impartially.”

“Greg Stanton admits he let his ethics ‘slip’ through the cracks for at least four years. What else will he let slip through the cracks and into his pockets if he’s elected mayor?” said Gullett spokesman Daniel Scarpinato.

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The Reformer vs. The Status Quo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 5, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Scarpinato

Gullett offers a reform agenda; Stanton offers more big government

PHOENIX – Wes Gullett continued to demonstrate at tonight’s debate – hosted by Valley Leadership, the Arizona Republic, Channel 12, Cox Communications and SCF Arizona – that he’s the only candidate for Mayor committed to reforming city government and protecting taxpayers.

Career-politician Greg Stanton, on the other hand, once again confirmed his commitment to big government, protecting the status quo and dodging the tough questions.

“Wes Gullett will fundamentally change the way Phoenix does business. He’ll have a laser focus on jobs. He’ll cut red tape,” said Gullett spokesman Daniel Scarpinato. “Greg Stanton? He made clear he wants to continue to advance the big government, big spending, business-as-usual agenda that defined his nine years on the City Council.”

The differences between the candidates are stark:

  • Wes Gullett has a Seven Point Jobs Plan that will create jobs and grow the economy; Greg Stanton is offering a job-killing agenda of more government and higher taxes.
  • Wes Gullett will immediately repeal the food tax and pay for it; Greg Stanton wants the $50 million tax to stay in place and continued to make excuses for taxing Phoenix families who are struggling.
  • Wes Gullett will cut the union contracts that are giving $3.7 million of taxpayer money to fund political and lobbying work; Greg Stanton supported those contracts while on the City Council and after a blockbuster report from the Goldwater Institute, Stanton took weeks to even acknowledge that problem exists – only commenting after Gullett called on him to do so.
  • Wes Gullett will stop the automatic water rate increases; Greg Stanton voted for water rate increases before quitting his job on the city council and has promised to continue raising them.
  • Wes Gullett has released a comprehensive pension reform package that would transition city employees to a 401K resulting in substantial long-term savings; Greg Stanton has trashed the idea and wants to bury his head in the sand while government employees continue receiving better benefits than the taxpayers who fund those benefits receive.
  • Wes Gullett has released a comprehensive Government Reform Plan that would cut taxes, fees and red tape; Greg Stanton has proposed dozens of ways to grow the size of government and has offered no way to pay for them.

“Wes Gullett wants a government we can afford; Greg Stanton wants a government we can never afford, unless we smother Phoenix families under soaring taxes and fees,” said Scarpinato. “Phoenix voters have a clear choice between the reformer and the status quo.”

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Phoenix Mayoral Candidate, Greg Stanton: The conflict of interest expert

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 5, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Scarpinato

Stanton used his elected office and taxpayer resources to benefit client 

PHOENIX – Career-politician Greg Stanton likes to talk about conflicts of interest.

It’s no wonder. He’s an expert at them.

As a city councilman, Stanton voted and used the resources and power of his elected office to benefit a client he was getting paid by – and for nearly half of the time he was on the City Council.

For at least four years, Stanton was paid $80,000 by Maricopa Community Colleges for a no-bid contract while supporting issues that benefited his employer, according to a 2007 story in the Arizona Republic.

“Stanton also used city email, newsletters and meetings to talk up partnerships among Phoenix, the Maricopa colleges and Arizona universities,” the Republic reported. In addition, Stanton used his City Hall office to conduct or solicit college work. “State law prohibits elected officials from promoting the interests of outside employers and using their position to seek private gain,” the Republic reported.

And Stanton actually defended the questionable practices, despite an outside expert telling the Republic, he was “not acting impartially.”

“Greg Stanton has a record of using his position on the City Council to benefit his client and line his own pockets,” said Gullett spokesman Daniel Scarpinato. “How do Phoenix voters know that Greg Stanton won’t abuse his power again if he’s elected Mayor?”

Stanton has a record of being a certified hypocrite. He resigned his job on the City Council to take a top-paying job as a taxpayer-funded lobbyist. He’s taken more than $100,000 in campaign contributions from lobbyists. And in his last year of office alone, he voted to appoint at least 10 lobbyists to city boards and commissions, despite now saying he’s against the practice.

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Gullett to Stanton: Stop supporting union abuse

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 27, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Scarpinato

PHOENIX – Mayoral candidate Wes Gullett is calling on career-politician Greg Stanton to stand up to the entrenched interests at City Hall and join him in pledging to end the abusive union contracts that are wasting $3.7 million a year by letting city employees do union, lobbying and political work instead of their jobs – contracts Stanton has supported.

A blockbuster report released last week by the Goldwater Institute found that Phoenix taxpayers are shelling out roughly $3.7 million a year for city employees to conduct union business instead of doing their jobs. In total, city employees are being released for more than 73,000 hours to conduct union and political business – not the peoples’ business. The same public-employee unions benefitting from those contracts have endorsed Stanton.

“Phoenix’s next mayor should be accountable to the taxpayers – not to public-employee unions,” Gullett said. “As a councilman, Greg Stanton voted to raise water rates, raise parking meter rates and raise fees, all while wasting millions of dollars on contracts for union organizing, lobbying and political activities. Instead, I urge Greg to pledge to stop wasting millions a year by letting unions abuse the public’s trust. Greg should do the right thing and stand up for Phoenix taxpayers, not the entrenched interests at City Hall who are supporting his campaign.”

According to the Goldwater report, “collective bargaining agreements with seven labor organizations require the city to pay union officers and provide members with thousands of additional hours to conduct union business instead of doing their government jobs.” The report finds that “public-employee unions still wield outsized influence on elected officials – and they are using that power to feather their own nests.”

To read the statement Gullett released the day the report was released, click here.

Stanton has been silent and was silent during his nine years on the City Council.

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Hypocrisy Alert! Stanton was for lobbyists before he was against them

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 26, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Scarpinato

PHOENIX – Career-politician Greg Stanton has made banning lobbyists from city boards and commissions the central issue of his campaign for Mayor of Phoenix.

But Stanton – himself a former taxpayer-funded lobbyist – didn’t seem to mind the practice during his nine years on the City Council, when he regularly voted to appoint lobbyists to boards and commissions.

On his Web site, Stanton says: “City boards and commissions should be made up of concerned citizens whose only interest is the wellbeing of our city, rather than private gains and profit.” [Source: greg2011.com]

Interesting, because for nearly a decade, Stanton voted to do exactly what he is now condemning – and then quit his job on the council to take a job as a lobbyist.

In Stanton’s last year of office alone, at least 10 registered lobbyists were unanimously appointed by the council to boards and commissions [Source: Formal city council meeting minutes, 2008]. Stanton never raised the issue once.

What’s more, as of the prior reporting period, Stanton has taken more than $100,000 in campaign contributions from registered lobbyists and has several serving as top figures in his campaign.

“Not only was Greg Stanton himself a registered lobbyist, but he’s also clearly a certified hypocrite,” said Gullett spokesman Daniel Scarpinato. “Because of his shaky record and weak positions, Greg Stanton is in desperate need of a sound bite. But his faux outrage on this issue is just the latest example of Greg Stanton’s record not matching his rhetoric.”

Stanton has made this issue the center point of his campaign. Just how a big of a “problem” is this? Currently, there are less than 30 registered city lobbyists on boards and commissions, representing 3 percent of the nearly 800 people volunteering for such positions.

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No-Show Stanton!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 21, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Scarpinato

Career-politician evades questions, cancels afternoon radio debate

PHOENIX – Last night, career-politician Greg Stanton continued his perpetual habit of evading tough questions and running from his record, namely raising water rates and favoring higher taxes.

Today, he’s ducking out of a pre-scheduled debate.

Both Stanton and Wes Gullett agreed to a live hour-long radio debate on KFNX 1100 AM, scheduled for this afternoon at 4 p.m. But Stanton has now backed out. Gullett still plans to attend and answer questions on-air.

“What is Greg Stanton afraid of? That voters will actually judge him on his record of raising water rates and growing the size of government?” said Gullett campaign spokesman Daniel Scarpinato. “Wes Gullett has put forward specific plans for how he will reform city government and get Phoenix working again. Greg Stanton is just another career-politician who won’t even answer questions.”

Stanton’s no-show follows his inability to answer simple questions directly at last night’s debate.

Stanton danced around the issue of whether he would repeal the food tax, eventually admitting he would not do so immediately, as Gullett has pledged.

But Stanton’s evasiveness was on greatest display in answer to a question on water rate increases (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWRCwfoCicU), which Stanton supported while on the City Council for nine years. After filibustering and providing a non-answer, Gullett asked Stanton directly: “I guess that means you were for it?”

Stanton sat silent for several seconds, looking down at the table, before looking up and only saying: “I have a record.”

Gullett is against further water-rate increases.

“Greg Stanton can’t run from his record,” Scarpinato said. “He might not want to show up for debates, but voters are learning more and more about Greg Stanton’s job-killing plans to raise taxes and increase the size of government.”

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Wes Gullett: ‘Status Quo Stanton’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 20, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Scarpinato

Career-politician resists real pension reform

PHOENIX – Career-politician Greg Stanton continues to advocate for the status quo.

In a press release today, Stanton actually admits to opposing the idea of beginning to transition the city’s public pension system to a 401K in line with what workers receive in the private sector – part of a comprehensive pension reform package unveiled by Wes Gullett yesterday and a long-term solution to the growing public pension burden. And Stanton does so even as a city official he himself quotes says that long-term saving would be “substantial.”

In his nine years on the council, Stanton did nothing to reform the vulnerable pension system before quitting his job to become a taxpayer-funded lobbyist. And unlike Gullett, he has failed to put forward specific plans – other than recommending dozens of ways to grow government on his Web site.

“Greg Stanton actually thinks that Phoenix taxpayers should pay for top administrators at City Hall to get better benefits than they themselves could ever dream of receiving,” said Gullett spokesman Daniel Scarpinato. “While Wes Gullett is looking out for taxpayers and the long-term stability of the pension system, Stanton is clearly looking out for the entrenched interests at City Hall who are backing his campaign.”

In his editing of a quote in the Arizona Guardian from Deputy City Manager Rick Naimark, Stanton also fails to mention that Naimark says over the long-term that moving to a 401K-style system would result in “substantial” savings.

“Greg Stanton wants to kick the can down the road and resist real pension reform,” said Daniel Scarpinato. “Wes Gullett knows we need to have the courage to make real reform now if we are ever going to see long-term savings.”

The Gullett plan also eliminates egregious abuses like “double dipping” and so-called “pension spiking.” It raises the retirement age and increases employee contributions. Included in the Gullett plan is the elimination of a deferred compensation plan, commonly known as a second pension, which costs taxpayers $40 million a year.

Phoenix’s public pension system has become an unsustainable and growing burden on taxpayers. Taxpayers spend nearly $100 million a year to cover the unfunded liability of the employee pension program – a price tag that is growing.

A report released in April by the Goldwater Institute, titled “Defusing the Pension Bomb,” recommended that “new government employees should be place in a defined contribution (401K) plan” and outlines long-term savings.

“The only way to permanently end the egregious and very costly abuses so common to pension systems is to transition to a defined contribution (401k) system where employees own their own retirements and inside players can’t game the system,” said Byron Schlomach, the author of that report. “Claims that moving new employees to 401ks will cost the city ‘for 22 years’ are as true as the assumptions made to arrive at such a specific number. The fact is, defined contribution systems already save corporations millions and protect employees’ retirements at the same time; the same can be true for the City of Phoenix if fear doesn’t get in the way.”

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Support for food tax earns Greg Stanton the status quo stamp of approval

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 16, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Scarpinato

PHOENIX – It’s official! Career-politician Greg Stanton has been endorsed by nearly every big union group in the state – a distinction he’s earned thanks to his support for higher taxes, more spending and continuing the status quo.

The latest: The Arizona Guardian is reporting that Stanton is being endorsed by the firefighters union, who cite Stanton’s support for continuing the food tax as the reason.

“Greg Stanton is clearly beholden to big labor. His support for continuing the food tax when unemployment is at record levels is just more evidence that if elected Mayor, Stanton will go along to get along,” said Daniel Scarpinato, spokesman for the Gullett campaign. “Wes Gullett is firmly committed to repealing the food tax, and has a plan to reform city government and cut spending, while protecting public safety.”

A former city councilman, Stanton helped create the problems Phoenix is now dealing with. Then he quit his job on the council for a top-paying job as a taxpayer-funded lobbyist, leaving a mess behind for Phoenix residents.

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Republican Wes Gullett Releases New Video

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 14, 2011

Friends:

I’m excited to showcase our latest campaign video today, which highlights the clear choice this campaign is all about.

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As Mayor, I will put a laser focus on creating jobs by cutting taxes and getting government out of our way.

My opponent, Greg Stanton, is a partisan who wants bigger government, and inevitably, higher taxes. In fact, he’s already proposed more than 40 ways to grow the size of city government. You can find them on his Web site.

I’ve spent the last 15 years in the private sector, growing businesses and creating jobs. He’s a career-politician whose experience is with growing government – at least before he quit his job on the City Council to be a taxpayer funded lobbyist.

The status quo and career politicians just aren’t going to work anymore. We need new ideas and a new direction to create jobs and unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of the private sector.

I have a Seven Point Jobs Plan to get Phoenix working again. It’s part of why our coalition is growing every day, with support from Republicans, Democrats and Independents who realize we need to change how business is done.

I appreciate your support and encourage you to share this video with your friends.

The new 3G: Growing-Government Greg!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 13, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Scarpinato

Stanton aims to make Phoenix government bigger and more expensive

PHOENIX – If Phoenix voters are looking for the mayoral candidate who will make Phoenix city government bigger, bloated and more expensive, then they’ve found their hero in career politician and taxpayer-funded lobbyist Greg Stanton.

According to Stanton’s own campaign website, the partisan politician proposes more than 40 ways to grow the size of the city’s government, with ideas ranging from hiring a team of taxpayer-funded lobbyists to try to find money in Washington that doesn’t exist to revitalizing the city’s “Pacific Rim Advisory Council.” And nowhere does Stanton explain how to pay for his big spending ways.

Phoenix already has more than 60 boards, commissions, committees and task forces. Stanton, incredibly, proposes 11 news ones, all requiring more government employees, resources, and inevitability, higher taxes.

“Stanton might as well call his plan the ‘City Bureaucrat Full Employment Act,’” said Daniel Scarpinato, spokesman for the Gullett campaign. “While Wes Gullett and city voters want less government and more private sector jobs, Stanton remains obsessed with the big government, big spending habits he’s been addicted to his entire political career.”

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Democratic Party Divisiveness Hurts Phoenix

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 6, 2011
CONTACT: Tony Bradley

Twice in the last four days a Democratic Party spokesman, in support of Greg Stanton, used false and inflammatory scare tactics to create a partisan divide in the Phoenix Mayor’s race, continuing the unusual and highly partisan character of the Stanton effort.

“Greg Stanton and his surrogates continue to make the campaign for Mayor a partisan race. One of the great traditions in Phoenix is that elections are non-partisan. My campaign for Mayor is all about bringing people together, not tearing the City apart along a partisan divide,” stated Wes Gullett.

On Friday the Maricopa County Democratic Party sent out a fundraising appeal attacking Wes Gullett, branding him a “Tea Party” extremist and taking credit for Stanton’s win. The appeal, blasted out to thousands of people, claims that Greg Stanton is the Democrats’ best hope for winning an election in Arizona, setting the stage for a partisan comeback in 2012.

On Sunday morning the partisan vitriol ratcheted up when former Democratic House Leader John Loredo said Wes Gullett was somehow denigrating first responders during the week long commemoration of the 9/11 anniversary on Channel 12’s Sunday Square Off.

“I have been campaigning for Mayor for nearly 10 months and I have always held up our first responders, police and fire as the most dedicated employees in the City. For Mr. Loredo to completely fabricate my position is as outrageous as it is irresponsible. My father was a firefighter. I remember as a child worrying about him entering burning buildings, waking up at 5 in the morning so we could celebrate Christmas before he had to go on duty, and having him miss baseball games because he was serving our community. I know full well the sacrifices made by our first responders and I have enormous respect for them and the job they do to protect us,” continued Gullett.

“This week will be one of reverence, remembrance, and gratitude in my family. My brother was on duty in the Pentagon when the plane crashed into it. I spent 4 long hours waiting to hear if he was safe after the attack. As a Major in the Air Force, he had left his office to establish the new command center for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and was out of pocket. When he called us several hours later his office had been damaged by smoke and water but thankfully he was safe, unlike the thousands who were killed in those fateful hours,” Gullett said.

“When the Democratic Party and its spokesmen try to make a false partisan attack on my patriotism it adds to the divisiveness they have created, it hurts our city, and it clearly shows the reprehensible lengths they’ll go to get Greg Stanton elected,” concluded Wes Gullett.

Despite Stanton’s “Independent” signs unveiled on election night, the national Democrats are also getting in on the action in Phoenix. In a recent missive from the National Conference of Democrat Mayors, they said: “Arizona has an opportunity to turn Purple if we’re able to get Democrats elected in this off year cycle. The Maricopa Democratic Party is working very hard to let the Democrats in Phoenix know that Greg is the only Democrat on the ballot. Greg Stanton is looking for help from Democratic Mayors. He has pledged that if elected Mayor, he will work hard to help get other Democrats elected and he’ll be helpful to other Mayors.” For most of this campaign for Mayor, Stanton used the Maricopa County Democratic Offices as his headquarters.

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Phoenix election results: Republicans prepare to retake Phoenix

Yesterday, the City of Phoenix wrapped up its first round of elections by finalizing who will fill at least three council seats.

(See Results)

Former State Senator, Jim Waring and current councilmen, Bill Gates and Michael Nowakowski easily won their primaries with Waring overcoming interim councilman Bryan Jeffries and Gates fending off a challenge by Steven Gross. Both districts traditionally elect Republicans but in District 7, Democrat Michael Nowakowski won handily against conservative populist challenger, Janet Contreras.

In District 1, it appears that incumbent Thelda Williams may hold on to the 50% plus one votes to win re-election from newcomer conservative challenger, Eric Frederick. Frederick’s supporters are holding out hope that uncounted ballots will deprive Williams the 50% plus one margin for Frederick to continue into a runoff election against her. Ballots will continue to be counted with an unofficial final result announced Friday.

Union-supported Democrat Daniel Valuenzuela may have anchored 42% of the vote in Council District Five but he most certainly will face a runoff against either Republicans Brenda Sperduti or Eric Sloan. At last count, only 27 votes separated both Republicans with Sperduti holding the lead. Tea Party activists had high hopes for Charlie Ellis who finished in 4th place.

But the real excitement occurred in the Phoenix Mayor’s race where Democrat Greg Stanton won almost 38% of the vote. Grouped behind him were five Republicans who combined, secured the remaining 62% of the vote. Republican Wes Gullett captured the highest number of votes at 20.54% guaranteeing him a spot in the runoff election. Following Gullett, were former councilmen Peggy Neely and Claude Mattox. Tea Party candidate, Jennifer Wright, who entered the race at the last minute finished with 11.47% of the vote with unknown Anna Brennan finishing last with almost 5% of the vote.

Republicans now have clear choices in the runoff election to be held in November with Wes Gullett at the head of the ticket. (Incidentally, I believe we broke the story of Wes Gullett entering the mayor’s race right here on Sonoran Alliance.)

Greg Stanton is known as a progressive San Francisco-style liberal Democrat which allows Wes Gullett to run the remainder of the campaign demonstrating a far more mainstream approach of governing the 6th most populated city in America. If Republicans consolidate votes from each of the other campaigns behind Wes Gullett, it is very likely Gullett will be the next Mayor of Phoenix.

Now my editorial.

It’s time to solidify support behind Wes Gullett. Phoenicians cannot afford a liberal progressive mayor like Greg Stanton. Stanton would bring a San Francisco, Gavin Newsom governing-style to Phoenix which would ultimately bankrupt the city. The good news is that Councilman Sal DiCiccio and Bill Gates have another conservative voice and ally on the council in Jim Waring. Should Thelda Williams win re-election (which appears likely) having Jim Waring join the team of conservatives will hopefully put pressure on Thelda to behave herself on votes regarding taxes on water, food and corporate subsidies.

Heading into the runoff set for November will be an exciting exercise in rallying behind a mayoral candidate who is dramatically ideologically different from his liberal Democratic opponent. Depending on who earns second place in district five will may also spark some excitement. Republican Eric Sloan could turn that race into a union vs the taxpayers campaign but a Sperduti win would deflate conservative hopes for reform against the union candidate, Valenzuela.

For those who find their campaigns at the end of the line, don’t rule them out of future political endeavors. This may very well be the beginning for several of them. Politics is oftentimes seen as a war of ideas and their campaigns may only be one battle in the effort to win the overall war.

Congratulations to Wes Gullett, Jim Waring, Bill Gates and the Democratic opponents! Thanks to those who gave it their best effort: Peggy Neely, Claude Mattox, and Jennifer Wright. Now it’s on to the runoff election in November in the battle for Phoenix.