Phoenix mayoral candidates Greg Stanton and Wes Gullett showed their view of sustainability during a debate Tuesday night, covering topics from a sustainable economy to renewable energy.

The Arizona State University Global Institute of Sustainability hosted the two mayoral candidates with Dr. Rob Melnick, executive dean of the global institute of technology, as moderator for the event.

Gullett began by saying he views a sustainable city as one with a sustainable economy and jobs that people can keep for years to come. He said a sustainable business model for the city is important for creating that sustainable city.

Stanton's opening statement focused on working together, regionally and nationally, to be more sustainable, and not making sustainability a race. He mentioned his strong record of supporting sustainability efforts while on the Phoenix City Council.

When asked for a specific example of a sustainable effort within a city they support, Stanton did not give a direct answer, but mentioned that Phoenix is doing well and needs to continue to move forward, especially with solar. Gullett mentioned the city's adaptive reuse program.

"If we can use and recycle buildings like the one we're in tonight throughout our city ... that's going to be exciting and also help us with sustainability," Gullett said. "That has been successful in downtown, and we need to encourage it throughout our community."

When asked if the city should offer incentives to energy companies, Stanton gave a definite yes, while Gullett said Phoenix should lower costs for running businesses across the board.

"That's a smart incentive," Stanton said. "It's bringing jobs. If you're bringing me jobs or opportunities that promote green jobs, or meets sustainability goals, then the city ought to be talking to you. I have a track record of using good judgment on subsidies. We have to be smart about it, but we have to be a leader."

Gullett said incentives ought to be avoided, but added that there are some assets the city has that should be brought forward.

"I think we need to lower costs overall, and if we do that we won't have to pick winners and losers," Gullett said.

The candidates were caught off guard when asked their high school and college GPAs. While neither could give a definite answer, Stanton said he graduated from Marquette University magna cum lade, was a Phi Beta Kappa and a Truman Scholar.

Both candidates said they support urban gardening and building codes which support urban gardening, as well as a need for more alternative fuels within the city.

Both promised to create lofty goals for sustainability and to make it a priority.

The candidates took part in one last debate Wednesday night, but no more are scheduled for the run-off election on Nov. 8.

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(1) comment


First congratulations to ASU, the Green Chamber and the candidates for an excellent event. I attended the debate and there is a critical point I want to bring forward. At first glance the views of the two candidates seemed very similar. However, there is a definite difference in philosophy that drives their views that IMHO will make a significant difference in how sustainability policy will be applied by the new mayor.

Mr Gullett said he wants to have sustainability, but he wants to have a sustainable economy as well, while Mr. Stanton stated “Sustainability has to permeate through every decision of the city.”

Both responses are valid based on their particular points of view. Mr. Gullet appears to see sustainability as a worthy destination to reach once more fundamental economic issues are achieved. Mr. Stanton’s words suggests he sees sustainability as an integral part of the process to achieve a sustainable economy. I agree with Mr. Stanton.

I believe that “promoting human prosperity and well-being for all, while protecting and enhancing the earth's life support systems,” a definition of sustainability from ASU, is a powerful tool that can be applied to create jobs, a stronger economy and a higher quality of life. This suggests however that sustainability is not an issue we can wait to consider until times are better, but instead the tool we use in concert with all others to create the prosperous city we desire.

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