Gullett for real reform vs. Stanton for status quo - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Opinion

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Gullett for real reform vs. Stanton for status quo

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Sal DiCiccio

Posted: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 4:00 pm

Got your latest city water bill? Shocked?

Are you bothered that Phoenix imposed a food tax that paid for government employee raises?

Early voting already started and only you have the power to stop the nonsense.

Never before has a mayoral election meant so much to our citizens. You have a decision between Greg Stanton, who has been a career politician his entire life and represents the status quo, or Wes Gullett, who is a small businessman who started his own business and wants to make city government responsive to you, the boss.

Gullett is the only candidate that has a real plan in place to create jobs, and a real plan that will bring real reforms that include job-creating solutions like same-day permitting and cutting fees to small business owners so they can operate and hire new employees. Reforms that will stop the pay raises, huge pension benefits, and sky rocketing water rate hikes that raised your water bill 203 percent. Stanton voted for every pay raise and water hike that came to his desk. Stanton voted to increase pay raises over $550 million in just the past six years in office - this alone created the budget mess we are now in.

We need a change. You have seen a cut in kid's programs, senior services, library hours, and fees increased on all businesses and families. All at the same time Phoenix was doling out huge pay raises for employees. Here are just a few of the shenanigans that Gullett will fix his first month in office:

• Food tax = Pay raises: You were told the money was needed to protect police and fire positions. Fact: Phoenix gave $28 million in pay raises this year, equaling the food tax revenue. Gullett supports immediate repeal and Stanton does not.

• Bidding process: My office, along with a group of community leaders, looked into problems and provided solutions last year to our procurement system. With no standardization and little transparency, procurement is ripe for abuse and insider dealings.

• Budget transparency: City Manager David Cavazos refused to release the amount of union pay raises until after the food tax was approved (pay raises = the food tax), the budget was approved, public hearings were conducted citywide and the union contracts were approved.

• Debt fund shift: Last year, the city manager's office said the fund that repays the city's debt obligations was seriously under-funded and the tax rate needed to go up. When the City Council said no, staff shifted tax funds around so the debt repayment fund got less, and paying today's bills got more. That will mean higher property taxes for you down the road.

• Outrageous benefits: I uncovered that taxpayers fund benefits for unionized public employees much greater than what you, the taxpayer, get. Starting clerks get 40.5 days off their first year, average compensation increased 23 percent up to about $100,000 a year for 15,000 employees, city employees can retire in their 50's with generous pensions.

Arizona lost 300,000 jobs during the Great Recession. Guess how many people were let go from the city? Just 15. How does that compare to the private sector world around you?

What can you do about this?

Please don't be fooled by the police and fire signs supporting Stanton - those are paid for by the unions wanting to keep the status quo.

The National Union Bosses, special interest and beneficiaries of the current system have all endorsed Stanton. Gullett is asking for yours.

If you believe we need a change, then I ask that you vote for a change. Please vote for Wes Gullet for Phoenix mayor.

Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio lives in Ahwatukee Foothills and represents District 6, which includes Ahwatukee Foothills. Reach him at or (602) 262-7491.

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