After asking tough questions and coming into conflict with unions all over the city, Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio of Ahwatukee believes there could be a recall election and he's getting prepared just in case.
"They've already spent $45,000 and collected $55,000," said DiCiccio about the group who started the recall petitions against him, Save Phoenix Taxpayers. "That tells you they're extremely serious about it and that's a lot of money for a City Council race. People normally don't make that big of an investment unless they're serious."
DiCiccio says he's aware of the groups that have been out collecting signatures in District 6. That's why he decided to form his own group, Citizens Protecting Taxpayers, to raise money in case of a recall election.
So far the group has raised close to $180,000, but DiCiccio believes in an election he will still be outspent.
"I think they have enough signatures," DiCiccio said. "The $45,000, if you look at their expenses, that's equivalent to 12,000 to 15,000 signatures, which is more than enough. Now they just have to make a tactical decision of when they file and if they file."
DiCiccio said the group may not file the signatures for a few reasons. He believes they are afraid of what an election might bring out and they realize DiCiccio has a good following.
"I think they've done polls in our district and found I've got very strong poll numbers on my side," DiCiccio said. "The only way to win is they would have to be exclusively negative. They would have to run a very strong smear campaign. If they do follow through with it, it brings out everything they've been hiding for years - their control."
A non-profit organization called Protect Voters' Rights has contributed all but $100 of Saving Phoenix Taxpayers' funding. DiCiccio believes the nonprofit is a front for United Phoenix Firefighters to contribute to the recall effort without being named.
The firefighter's union did not respond to requests for comment. Saving Phoenix Taxpayers also did not respond to calls.
DiCiccio believes if a recall election does happen it will be costly for everyone involved.
"If they do follow through with this it's going to cost tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars to run a special election," DiCiccio said. "They'll be pouring in, from what I hear, anywhere from $400,000 to $500,000 to get me recalled. It's almost exclusively all union money. They don't want to reform and streamline processes in the city.
The taxpayers will have to decide, not about me, but it's about do they stick with a system that's designed to protect certain beneficiaries or are we going to change the city of Phoenix to where it's more responsive to the public. It's going to be a real simple campaign."
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