As the District 6 incumbent councilman for Phoenix City Council, Sal DiCiccio was reappointed to the position in February and plans to unite the community in a way similar to when he served as councilman from 1994 to 2000.
DiCiccio has been an Arizona resident for the past 45 years, of which he has spent 23 living in Ahwatukee Foothills.
In 1994, DiCiccio was first elected to the Phoenix City Council representing Ahwatukee Foothills and was re-elected in 1997. He left office in 2000 to run for Congress and ended up staying involved in government through the Maricopa County Planning Commission.
“I had no huge inclination to go back to the City Council,” DiCiccio said, but the city’s current economic situation brought him back to office.
“I know I can make a difference and help Phoenix through this crisis,” he said.
Since his appointment in February, DiCiccio has been working to develop an economic agenda and strategic plan for the city.
One of DiCiccio’s main platforms is to make Phoenix one of the best places in the country to create jobs by providing businesses with more freedom to rehabilitate buildings and allowing businesses to independently finance their infrastructure.
“Taxpayers won’t pay for revitalization, developers will,” DiCiccio said, adding that he would require businesses to abide by the rehabilitation code of the building at the time it was built, so long as it doesn’t impede public safety. He said this would help keep costs down and aid the preservation of historic buildings.
DiCiccio’s strategic plan includes district-wide and city-wide goals to improve the economy, decrease wasteful spending and promote public safety.
“It’s transparent,” he said. “I already knew exactly what I wanted to do and all these ideas were given to me by the public.”
Through a variety of partnerships, DiCiccio said he is trying to get a wide-range of Ahwatukee Foothills residents involved with the local government, such as the area’s youth demographic.
Recently, a Mountain Pointe High School senior was appointed to the Ahwatukee Foothills Planning Committee to become a steward between Ahwatukee’s younger residents and the City Council on several issues.
“No one has ever involved the youth in any of these committees before,” DiCiccio said.
As a student at Tempe High School, DiCiccio was taught government by now Congressman Harry Mitchell, who had his students attend City Council meetings for extra credit, which was the idea that inspired DiCiccio to appoint high school students to serve on these committees.
“They’re going to be the next leaders,” DiCiccio said. “They’re going to be in charge.”
This group effort that DiCiccio said he is trying to establish is why he said he is confident that the city will make its way out of the economic recession.
“We will be out of this,” he said. “The only way we’ll get out of this is if we work together … and that’s why I’m running.”
When DiCiccio was councilman in the 1990s, he said he attributed his success in office to the group mentality that the city had. During that time, Ahwatukee established its first ambulance service, a senior center, went from one to 27 police officers and built its first police station.
“We worked together as a team, we were unified,” DiCiccio said, later adding: “We’ve not become as unified as we used to, and I want to bring that back.”
Similar to his own family, DiCiccio said that disagreements are normal, but to solve problems and create a better community, the council will work together for the benefit of its citizens.
“Like a family we squabble internally, but when it comes down to it we work together,” he said.
Stephanie Snyder is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a sophomore at Arizona State University.