If you’re looking for a smoking gun of how political insiders subvert the will of citizenry, you need look no further than what City Manager Ed Zuercher did behind closed doors.
Zuercher, a strong proponent of light rail, gave an attorney on contract to the city of Phoenix the go ahead to sue Phoenix citizens to stop a filed initiative fixing our roads – an initiative signed by over 40,000 Phoenix residents.
If successful, these citizens would take future light rail monies and use the money to fix our roads today. Phoenix bureaucrats and politicians have been quietly fighting this citizen driven proposal. And, now we know that they have allowed a contract lawyer – someone paid by our tax dollars – to go after these defenseless citizens.
This smacks of government corruption at its worst.
No vote of the council was taken to allow this “waiver.” Nor were council members informed of this action. Once again, the insiders took matters into their own hands.
How the city manager conducts himself transfers down to department heads and other top staff members. They watch these behind-the-scenes manipulations, see how the system can be rigged, and come to feel no restraint on their own actions.
They see the public process being subverted, and are willing to subvert it themselves. They see the lack of transparency at the top, and feel no constraint to be transparent themselves.
The results of constant gaming, insider dealing, and closed-door schemes are predictable – a continuous and obvious lack of respect for our citizens on behalf of City Hall politicians and insiders that is anything but shocking.
Recent days and months have been nothing but one last minute surprise after another.
No one knew the South-Central rail project was only going to have one lane of traffic in each direction around it until the insiders proclaimed it was too far down the tracks to stop.
No one knew about the ridiculous tax on medicine until literally 48 hours before the vote.
The Suns arena deal came forward without public input, or even disclosure of basic, needed information.
Even now, weeks after the deal was brought to light – and despite my direct request – the City has yet to provide a financial analysis of the deal. No response. Nada.
They want us to approve spending $150 million of your money, and they refuse to even give us a line-item breakdown of costs.
This isn’t just totally irresponsible. It’s worse than that. It is absolute and utter contempt for the public.
Politicians and city insiders cannot continue to game the public with one rigged deal after another. It has to stop. Transparency and process needs to be restored, and restored immediately.
The political games being played by City professional staff must end. City Manager Ed Zuercher must clean up his house – or find a new home.
-Sal DiCiccio is the Phoenix City Council for District 6, which includes Ahwatukee.