After much consideration and many difficult calls, Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio has announced he will endorse Peggy Neely for mayor.

"Peggy is literally the person to make the changes necessary in City Hall," DiCiccio said on Monday. "I don't think it's hidden that I believe there needs to be a cleaning up of City Hall so that it becomes more taxpayer-based and more about protecting the taxpayer and not the insiders. Peggy is the right person at the right time to do the job. I give her my full endorsement."

The decision was based heavily on Neely's stance on the food tax, the budget and experience DiCiccio has working with Neely in the past. Neely has vowed to repeal the food tax because she says it was not done transparently.

"Last year was the last straw for me," Neely said on Monday. "They came in with the food tax and one-time financial transactions that are not sustainable. This year, our budget will be $150 million in the hole. That will require a lot of cooperation from our employees, but our citizens should not have to continue to suffer the cuts in programs. We need to determine what size government we're going to have and what the priorities are for our citizens."

DiCiccio has been known to clash with mayors before. DiCiccio and Mayor Skip Rimsza often fought publicly over issues in the past and most recently Mayor Phil Gordon has spoken out against him.

Now Rimsza and DiCiccio are on the same page, supporting Neely for mayor.

"I'm very excited about Councilman DiCiccio's endorsement," Neely said. "I see that as very encouraging to work forward to make a change in the city. This is a watershed election. Residents have a tough choice. There are several that would leave business as is, but I believe with Sal and I working together we'll see a big change in the governance of Phoenix and I'm excited to have him on (my side).

"We agree with 70 to 80 percent of everything and we philosophically believe there are a lot of things that need to be done and he has opened the door to discuss that and make change and reform come."

Neely says there was a big change when DiCiccio came into office. She says along with Councilman Bill Gates, they began to create a coalition for change.

Neely points out that departments within the city, when asked to make cuts, have been bringing forward cuts that would anger the public. Instead of sending them back and asking to find true cuts, Neely said the city makes no cuts at all.

Neely added that with zero-based budgeting they would be able to see what cuts can be made and make the city more efficient, which is something DiCiccio is always happy about.

DiCiccio said the choice of which candidate to endorse was difficult because he likes each candidate as a person.

In the end, DiCiccio said he believes he chose the candidate that can make the most change.

"Peggy and I are very closely aligned philosophically," DiCiccio said. "I looked at who is the person who is going to be able to jump in and govern and pull us out of this crisis. I'm friends with all of them, but Peggy is the right person at the right time and the city is facing a crisis and she is the right person to pull us out of it. It doesn't hurt that she's going to repeal the food tax."

When asked about something they may not agree on, Neely says their style. She says DiCiccio is more direct.

"That's probably great for me," Neely said. "We can agree philosophically where we need to go and Sal can be the person that's putting it out there.

"I'm much more a person that works behind the scenes to get things done. Those are strengths we both bring to the table."

The Phoenix mayoral election is on Aug. 30.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

(1) comment

Clif Freedman
Clif Freedman

Please do not vote for Peggy Neely. It is time for a full court press against Neely. She is the worst choice for mayor of Phoenix. The problem is that any of the other candidates are far better than Neely. I believe in Wes Gullet because I think he is brilliant. None of the other candidates have the capacity to move Phoenix forward in this economy. And the other candidates already had many years to not only make productive changes but were in office when the economy turned down. They did NOTHING to help Phoenix when they were in office.

And now we see career politicians working to elect each other…..first insider and former Mayor of Phoenix for two terms Skip Rimza and now insider and career politician and current Councilman Sal DiCiccio. DiCiccio and Neely did nothing to help Phoenix in the past and now they are forming a duet to sing a different tune….don’t fall for it. They clearly are singing out of tune.

I am compiling information from the public that can assist in this matter against Neely. Knowing that Neely almost destroyed North Phoenix but fortunately resigned from the City Council just in time is my motivation to keep her from becoming Mayor. Peggy Neely does not have a clue how to respond to her constituents. She ignored serious problems in her district and set her sites on being Mayor. In this case all you have to do is look at who has contributed to her campaign. Developers, zoning attorneys and others that upon information and belief got favors from Neely for their political donations. More to come on the list of donors!

Bryan Jeffries to the rescue. Bryan is the best thing to happen to District 2. Please email the information you have that I can use to help defeat her. I will research all information. Even the Phoenix Board of Realtors endorsed another candidate. Neely is a Real Estate Broker and marketed herself as the only Candidate for Mayor who is a Real Estate Broker...and the Phoenix Board of Realtors endorsed Wes Gullett. Most in District 2 hate her. Her involvement in the City North debacle is enough reason to insure her defeat. In my opinion everywhere she goes she becomes disliked by the people she associates with......my name is Clif Freedman, President of Sonoran Citizens Improvement Association. Email me at Clif@sonoranciitizens.org. or call me 623 444 9445.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.