Phoenix Business Owner Says Mayor Needs To Keep Campaign Promise Regarding Food Tax

(Phoenix, AZ) It seems there were a lot of questions directed at Mayor Stanton at a community meeting held at the Mayo Clinic on April 23rd. But it wasn’t zoning laws or the need to fix our streets that was on most people’s minds, it was the food tax. In fact some of the residents that attended wanted to know why Mayor Stanton isn’t keeping his campaign promise that he made to repeal it like he did during his campaign. While Mayor Stanton continued to tell residents that the tax is needed to keep fire and police services operating, Phoenix business owner and city resident Nohl Rosen reminded him that he needs to keep his promise to the people.

“As a business owner when I make a promise to a customer, I honor it as that is what your supposed to do because it’s good service. I simply reminded the Mayor that he made a promise to the citizens of Phoenix and that he needs to keep it,” Rosen said.

However, during the meeting which was also attended by City Council members Jim Waring and Bill Gates, it was revealed that the food tax was used to give pay raises to city employees and also fund golf courses.

“When the food tax was put into affect 3 years ago, the citizens were told that it was to keep fire and police services going. Now we find out that the money wasn’t used for its intended purpose. Still, Mayor Stanton during his campaign said he would repeal the food tax and hasn’t done it. That would be the honorable thing to do and also sets things right. Just what is the Mayor waiting for?” Rosen further asked.

Rosen says he’s considering doing more of his shopping in Scottsdale and other neighboring cities to fulfill regular household needs until the food tax is repealed and encouraging others to do the same.

Sal DiCiccio: Phoenix Food Tax, Broken Promises

Sal DiCiccio

Follow me on FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/DiCiccioSal
Follow me on TWITTER: http://twitter.com/PhxDistrict6

Mayor Stanton made an announcement on Thursday that he would not fulfill his campaign promise to repeal the food tax.  Along with many Phoenicians, I am very disappointed in his decision.  The citizens have relied on this commitment and, once again, their city is letting them down.

The middle class and the poor are the ones who will be impacted the most.  What makes this decision even more unfortunate is that over $106 million in pay raises have been doled out to city employees while Phoenix citizens have not seen one penny of relief.

You have my commitment to protect you and your family.  I will continue to push for the repeal of this tax that was passed deceptively with barely 24 hour notice.

The credibility of the City of Phoenix has been damaged.  The ability of people to trust the word of Phoenix officials has further diminished.  As I continue my fight to repeal the food tax, I will also strive to restore people’s faith in government.

AZ Republic columnist Laurie Roberts’ article on Stanton’s announcement

My best to you and your family,

Sal DiCiccio
City of Phoenix Councilman, District 6
602-262-7491
council.district.6@phoenix.gov

*Any e-mail you send to council.district.6@phoenix.gov will be subject to the Arizona Open Records Law and may be reviewed by the Arizona Republic.

Thoughts on the City of Phoenix LGBT Ordinance

A few thoughts on today’s culture war battle at the City of Phoenix.

I attended the meeting for the purpose of testifying against the tax on food. I signed a card for that specific agenda item having no intention of testifying on the LGBT ordinance.

My position on this has been very clear. I simply do not believe that the City of Phoenix should inject government policy into the personal and private lives of any Phoenicians except when a crime is committed. Some liberals and libertarians would say “keep government out of our bedrooms.” OK, so how about a little consistency by keeping government to a minimum in our private business matters? What the City of Phoenix did tonight was invite a huge conflict between Constitutional rights and individual sexual identity.

By now social conservatives should realize they have lost the culture war on issues related to sexual identity and behavior. The most reasonable position social conservatives can now take is to hold back any level of government from the power position of  picking winners and losers in the conflict between sexual identity and free speech, religious freedom and freedom of conscience.

Locally, social conservatives did not lose the culture battle in Phoenix tonight. Social conservatives lost the culture battle in November of 2011 when it failed to elect conservatives to the Phoenix city council.

We knew this was coming. The signs were there in 2011 when mayoral candidate Greg Stanton made wide overtures to the LGBT community and efforts to align Phoenix with San Francisco values. Anyone who dared to point it out was labeled a bigot. So goes the spirit of tolerance on the left.

(Too often, both sides fail to see this as a debate over public policy rather making it about personal attacks on individuals and their sexual identities.)

Tonight’s meeting was a reflection of the very intolerance those pushing for tolerance decry. Anyone who dared to oppose the ordinance was booed and jeered. No respect for human dignity and certainly no respect for the public policy process.

Social conservative did turn out at the meeting – certainly not in number. And those who did engage were speaking a different language to the huge LGBT majority who did turn out (probably with plenty of advance notice). Two different languages because there are two different worldviews – one based on faith, the other clearly sexual and secular in nature. There were translators in the testimonials – individuals who know the difference and can communicate between the two worldviews – Cathi Herrod from the Center for Arizona Policy, an attorney from the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Rev. Jarrett Maupin spoke. These individuals are bilingual on issues that tangle logic and emotions.

And there was a tremendous amount of emotion – mostly from the LGBT – about living with a sexual identity that conflicts with traditional societal norms. Who was going to argue with the dozen of transgendered individuals who gave personal stories of rejection, anger and sympathy?

Which brings me to my personal feelings on the whole matter.

My pastor, my church, my Jesus preaches love. The Word commands us to love God first and to love our neighbor as ourselves second. There are two commandments in the New Testament. That’s it – pretty simple. My pastor (who happens to oversee five campuses in Phoenix Metro) reminds us to look past a person’s self-identity and love them no matter what. We are to love them like Christ would love them – regardless of their sin(s) (I’m not going to name them here. You can look them up.) But most important, we are to bring others into a real and living relationship with Christ allowing Christ to work in their lives toward God’s glory.

This is where I separate matters of faith from the role of the state (in this case the City of Phoenix).

If I were Mayor of Phoenix I would have rejected the idea of injecting my sliver of government into the personal and private lives of individuals. To do otherwise is asking for the wailing and gnashing of teeth. This seems to be the only position a reasonable community of people can hold without forcing a cultural conflagration to take place.

Entangling sex and politics is a messy business as we learned tonight. Hopefully our politicians will take note and keep social engineering to a minimal melodramatic level in the future. Political social conservatives lost tonight but true Christianity continues to love on.

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City of Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton Expands Efforts for LGBT Agenda

An article appears in the Arizona Republic this morning describing Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton’s latest drive to expand city authority in the area of  ”sexual orientation” discrimination.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton’s aides and a group of attorneys are working to draft ordinances that could outlaw discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender residents. 

The aides and attorneys believe that if rewritten, city laws would also give victims of such discrimination in restaurants and other businesses an opportunity to file complaints with the city’s Equal Opportunity Department for investigation — an option they currently do not have.

The effort comes as the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel near Van Buren and Third streets tries to recover from threats of boycott by the gay community over a decision by the manager of the hotel’s District American Kitchen & Wine Bar to expel a lesbian couple in late February. 

The hotel is owned by the city and managed under the Sheraton brand through a contract with Starwood Hotels and Resorts. 

Despite the incident at the hotel restaurant, the city’s Equal Opportunity Department, tasked with investigating discrimination complaints by workers or customers at businesses, has received no complaints of discrimination over sexual orientation or gender identity at downtown hotels. 

The department cannot investigate or respond to such complaints anyway because the city has not outlawed discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals or transgenders. Such protections exist for the disabled and for ethnic minorities in areas such as employment, housing and public accommodations like hotels and restaurants. 

Stanton’s policy adviser, Brendan Mahoney is leading the mayor’s charge to address any gaps in the city’s human-rights protections. 

He has convened a group of attorneys — some from gay-rights organizations — who are analyzing the city code to determine how the laws could be amended to ensure equal rights for anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Mahoney said that, while the incident at the hotel restaurant “certainly brought the issue to the forefront,” the timing of the city effort is coincidental.

“This issue was on the mayor’s agenda,” he said.

“This issue was on the mayor’s agenda,” he said. (read entire article)

A few items for discussion here:

Should this even be considered an issue, let alone, a high priority issue for the City of Phoenix and Mayor Stanton? Is this even a serious problem for the City of Phoenix or will it be perceived as an effort to promote LGBT issues?

Was the Arizona Republic article fair or even necessary?

Any sound minded critical thinking person can argue the position that any property or asset the city owns is controlled by the City Council. (He who pays the piper, calls the tune.) But should this effort extend to non-governmental stakeholders or private property owners?

Would these efforts extend to segments of the faith-based community such as Evangelical churches, orthodox Jewish or Muslim mosques? For example, would these faith-based communities be prohibited from using city parking or other assets unless they adopt policies that codify sexual orientation into their bylaws?

Don’t get me wrong. I am sensitive to this issue (family members) and actually prefer that the government stay entirely out of this arena, but is this issue forcing itself to center stage unnecessarily? Is the LGBT community overextending their efforts on this? It’s no secret that Equality Arizona invested itself into the Phoenix Mayor’s election in 2011. Was that on purpose in order to use the City of Phoenix as a platform to push its agenda?

Would love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this. Please be respectful.

Wes Gullett: ‘Thank You’

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Friends,

This has been a long journey together.

I started this campaign nearly a year ago as a long-shot outsider up against the status quo, and with your help, we turned this into a serious, aggressive campaign that forced the politicians to talk about issues they didn’t want to talk about.

While we may not have gotten the result we sought, I want to you to know that your generous support for my candidacy is something I will always remember. This campaign was made up of many people who worked hard every day – you put up signs, opened your homes and talked to your neighbors. For that, I will forever be grateful.

And our efforts were not in vain. Together we created a voice for Phoenix taxpayers who are frustrated by the status quo and who were looking for something different. We changed the dialogue, and I hope, changed the future.

I talked a lot in this campaign about making Phoenix the greatest city in America.

I truly believe that, and while I may not have won this election, I’m still committed to that.

Again, thank you to all friends, old and new, who joined me on this journey. I could not have done it without you.

Sincerely,

Weekend Vids: Schapira vs. Kavanagh, Lewis vs. Pearce & Gullett vs. Stanton

Wes Gullett: Stanton keeps lying

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 3, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Scarpinato

New mailer uses claims already debunked

PHOENIX – Career politician Greg Stanton continues his campaign of lies and deception, demonstrating he’ll do anything to become Mayor, including making up his own facts.

His latest attack piece (attached), repeats lies about Wes Gullett that have already been called “false” and “misleading” by the Arizona Republic. Both claims received ZERO stars by the Republic’s Fact Check.

“Greg Stanton is a career politician who will go to any length to get elected, including lying to the voters,” said Gullett spokesman Daniel Scarpinato. “To Greg Stanton, facts just don’t matter. The truth doesn’t matter. If Greg Stanton won’t tell the truth now, just image what kind of lies he’ll tell as Mayor.”

Stanton and outside shadow groups pouring money into his campaign have made false and negative attacks the highlight of his campaign for Mayor. In fact, another outrageous mailer by a union group supporting Stanton includes religious imagery in an attempt to win votes. Stanton has refused to condemn the mailer.

 

Wes Gullett to call for an end to automatic pay increases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 1, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Scarpinato

PHOENIX — Mayoral candidate Wes Gullett will announce plans on Wednesday to end automatic annual pay increases for city employees, part of a compensation and benefit reform plan designed to save taxpayer dollars. Gullett will be joined at a 1:30 p.m. press conference outside the Historic City Hall by City Councilmen Sal DiCiccio and Jim Waring.

The 2011-2012 budget included pay increases for 89 percent of city employees, at a cost of $28 million. In some years (for example, 2009-10) almost 100 percent of employees received a pay increase.

Gullett’s plan would treat pay raises as an incentive for performance, rather than an entitlement.

When: Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2011; 1:30 p.m.

Where: West side of Historic City Hall, 200 W. Jefferson

Contact: Daniel Scarpinato

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More endorsements for Wes Gullett

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 28, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Scarpinato

Congressmen Jeff Flake and Paul Gosar endorse Wes Gullett

PHOENIX – Arizona Congressmen Jeff Flake and Paul Gosar have endorsed Wes Gullett for Mayor of Phoenix, adding to a broad-based coalition that now includes all Republican members of Arizona’s congressional delegation.

“I am proud to endorse Wes Gullett for Mayor,” Flake said. “Taxpayers deserve a government they can afford. Wes will control spending and bring fiscal sanity to Phoenix City Hall.”

“The leadership of Phoenix is critical to the vitality of our entire state. That’s why I’m endorsing Wes Gullett for Phoenix Mayor,” Gosar said. “Wes has a detailed Seven Point Jobs Plan that will help attract new businesses and industries to our state. At a time when so many are struggling, Wes understands that it’s critical to get people back to work and keep government spending under control.”

“I’m honored to have the endorsements of Congressmen Flake and Gosar,” Gullett said. “I look forward to partnering with them to bring high-quality jobs to the entire region, which will help Phoenix.”

For a full list of endorsements, go to wesgullett.com

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A campaign of lies and distortions

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

The truth is passé for Greg Stanton and his allies

PHOENIX – It’s time for Greg Stanton to explain the increasingly troubling pattern of lies and distortions radiating from his campaign and supporters.

Just yesterday, Stanton was busted for the latest time for making an outrageous and unsubstantiated claim that Wes Gullet used his position on the Planning and Zoning Commission to benefit a client. The Arizona Republic Fact Checkers gave that claim Zero stars and called it “misleading.”

“If Greg Stanton can’t tell the truth to voters in this campaign, what should we expect from him if he’s elected Mayor?” Gullett said. “Attack ads and mailers based on Greg’s lies have been universally knock-down by the local media, yet he continues to mislead the public. He’s lost all credibility and it’s time for him to explain his lies.”

Just a few of the mistruths from Stanton and his supporters that have been busted in recent days:

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Gullett: New Leadership to take-on the unions

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

Wes Gullett will challenge the status quo; Stanton will be controlled by unions

PHOENIX – Escalating public pension costs, no police chief, taxes on the food we buy.

Phoenix needs new leadership, and today’s morning newspaper is just another reminder of why we need a Mayor who will take on the public employee unions and challenge the status quo.

It’s the labor unions who are stalling progress at City Hall. And with their organizations pouring thousands of dollars into electing Greg Stanton, only Wes Gullett has the ability to stand up for Phoenix taxpayers and reform city government.

“We need to take action. We need a sense of urgency,” Gullett said.

Food tax continues to hurt families

Last night, the City Council rejected a move to repeal the food tax. As Mayor, Wes Gullett will provide the critical fifth vote to repeal this tax. Greg Stanton is stalling action and finding excuses to keep the tax, even as Mayor Phil Gordon – a Stanton-backer – admitted “I don’t deny that there’s money that can be found in our budget.” Just more evidence of Stanton’s misaligned priorities.

“Phoenix taxpayers who are struggling in this economy continue to pay the price for taxpayer giveaways to the unions and a lack of leadership at City Hall,” Gullett said. “Once elected, I will be the fifth vote to repeal the food tax, and I’ve put forward a detailed plan to pay for it without impacting vital city services.”

Cost of pension soaring 

Today’s Republic reports that for the second straight year in a row, Phoenix residents will pay more than $100 million to maintain the city’s ailing pension system. Costs will rise $3.6 million next fiscal year, bringing the cost to $110 million.

Only Wes Gullett has put forward a comprehensive plan to take-on the public employee unions and reform this system for the long-term, transitioning city employees to a 401K. His plan was cited in endorsements from both the Arizona Republic and the Ahwatukee Foothills News.

Greg Stanton has failed to put forward a plan that deals with the fundamental problems with our pension system, preferring to kick the can down the road.

“Gullett recognized from the beginning the need to reform the city’s unsustainable pension system, something Stanton was slow to accept. While Stanton takes a cautious, go-slow approach, Gullett presses for making the transition to a 401(k)-style plan,” the Republic wrote. “His leadership is more likely to bring the changes necessary to give employees a good retirement plan without overburdening taxpayers.”

Phoenix still doesn’t have a police chief 

The former police chief of Phoenix resigned months ago, yet the search for a replacement has barely begun. Phoenix has had an “acting police chief” since early March. Gullett called for a national search to begin at that time. While Stanton won’t commit on this issue, he has outlined more than 40 ways to grow government on his own Web site.

“The most sacred responsibility of government is public safety,” Gullett said. “If we do not feel safe in our homes, our places of work, schools and public venues we cannot succeed as a city in the long-term.”

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Wes Gullett Releases New Ad: “Don’t let them get away with it”

Greg Stanton and his allies have proven they will say or do anything to protect the status quo. Even the Arizona Republic has said the ads they are running are flat out lies. Don’t let them get away with it. Vote for Wes Gullett for Mayor and let’s repeal the food tax and get Phoenix working again.

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Greg Stanton campaign supplying more content to outside group

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 25, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Scarpinato

Stanton and union allies will go to any length to stop reform

PHOENIX – Career-politician Greg Stanton says he has no connection with Phoenix Citizens United and Educate Phoenix, groups running ads smearing Wes Gullett that have been called “lies” by the Arizona Republic editorial page and labeled “false” by the Republic Fact Checkers.

But for the second time, these groups are using materials supplied by the Stanton campaign in their desperate attempt to stop reform at City Hall.

A new ad (attached) on the airwaves includes video footage taped by a Stanton staffer, Chase Williams, at a Gullett event from September.

Williams obtained the footage used in the group’s latest ad at a September 10th Gullett meet and greet at the Pomegranate Café in Ahwatukee. Williams is pictured in this photo taping the event. Previously, these groups have used false information from Stanton press releases after they were removed from Stanton’s Web site for lies.

“Greg Stanton and the unions will clearly go to any length to protect the status quo, their $3.7 million taxpayer subsidies and stand in the way of reform,” Gullett said. “Greg Stanton has called for transparency – well, now it’s time for Greg Stanton to be transparent about his coordination with these two groups that are lying to Phoenix voters.”

On October 15, a Stanton spokesman told the Republic “there isn’t any connection between the political-action committee and the campaign.”

Then why is a staffer providing footage to the group?

In addition to Greg Stanton’s lie, the group’s lies have been repeatedly knocked down by the Arizona Republic.

On October 20, the Republic editorial board wrote: “There just is no other way to say it… the ad lies.”

The Republic Fact Check graded the content of the ad “False” with zero stars.

And in today’s Republic, columnist Laurie Roberts writes: “Phoenix Citizens United – whoever that is — has teamed up with Educate Phoenix – whatever that is — to basically lie to you in hopes of scuttling Wes Gullett’s bid to be mayor.”

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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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Wes Gullett: Let’s Get Phoenix Working Again!

Here is the latest campaign ad from Republican Wes Gullett. Be sure to visit Wes’ website and support his effort!

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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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Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery Endorses Wes Gullett for Mayor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 14, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Scarpinato

“Wes Gullett understands the issues facing law enforcement.”

PHOENIX – Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery is endorsing Wes Gullett for Mayor, joining a growing coalition committed to reforming Phoenix city government.

“Wes Gullett understands the issues facing law enforcement. He’ll help us rigorously enforce the law and be a partner in keeping Phoenix safe from gangs and drug cartels,” Montgomery said. “Please join me in supporting Wes Gullett for Mayor.”

“I’m thrilled to have the support of Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. He’s been a leader in prosecuting criminals and keeping our community safe. I look forward to partnering with him to keep Phoenix residents safe,” Gullett said.

Gullett has spoken at length about the need to keep Phoenix safe and support law enforcement. In particular, he has pledged to finally begin the process of hiring a police chief.

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