by Sal DiCiccio
As many of you know, unlike the rest of the world, for governments the year ends on June 30th, and a new year begins July 1st. It’s been a long year, and while our country may be in the midst of the worst internal conflict and strife we’ve seen since the 1960s, here in Phoenix – and especially in District 6 – good things are happening. We are moving forward with quality growth and development, protecting our open spaces, and putting more resources into our parks and preserves. We are also fighting to protect our neighborhoods, ensure we have the basic resources we need to protect public safety, address our growing issues with homelessness and more. And since Sam Stone came onboard last year as my chief-of-staff, we’ve been more effective than ever fighting for our quality of life and protecting neighborhoods. Here are a few of the highlights from this year…
2017-18 Fiscal Year Accomplishments
1. Sober Living Homes Amendment: As you remember, I brought this forward to the Council when we started seeing these facilities flooding our neighborhoods. In response, we created the best model in the nation protecting neighborhoods and patients. Sam Stone in our office led our efforts on this, and every single time the City came back to us and said we couldn’t do something, he figured out a way to get it done.
2. Phoenician Redevelopment: Worked with neighborhood leaders and stakeholders to make sure that the redevelopment of the Phoenician golf courses addressed their concerns about traffic, density, open-spaces and historical preservation. This was one of the most complex land deals in Phoenix’s history, and – in the end – achieved essentially universal support throughout the neighborhood.
3. Relocation of Cholla Trail: Worked with neighbors and community leaders to get a right-of-way included in the Phoenician land deal to relocate Cholla Trail off of Cholla Lane. Now we are working with those same community members on the design and construction for the new trail which will benefit hikers and homeowners alike.
4. New Pickleball Courts: Opened the best new pickleball facility in the State of Arizona at the Pecos Park Recreational Center.
5. Transparency: Got the City of Phoenix to start publishing a simple summary of each Council session with the votes of each council member for easy public reference. Previously, anyone wanting to know how a specific member of the council voted on an issue had to go through literally hundreds of pages of transcriptions from each meeting. Now, all that information is on a single sheet of paper.
6. Bikeshare Ordinance: You may have noticed the flood of yellow and green bicycles in rights-of-ways and in front of business, sometimes in some very dangerous places. So did we. In response, we led the creation and passage of the first City ordinance in Arizona to ensure that bikeshare companies coming into our city operate responsibly and don’t create the numerous problems and safety hazards we saw during the first few weeks after these companies started operating in Arizona. It was Sam in our office who first saw this problem, and moved aggressively to address it, even sending one of our interns out in a pickup truck to relocate wayward bicycles until the companies ramped up their own collection and relocation efforts in response.
7. South Mountain Improvements: Led the investment of over $26 million in our beautiful South Mountain Preserve, that followed an investment of over $4 million just two years earlier. Hikers on our beautiful peaks now have improved signage to guide them, better trails to walk on, real bathrooms, and more parking so that everyone can enjoy our natural wonders for years to come.
8. Fire Station 55: Supported the creation of a new fire station that will help support the Northern portion of our district, as well as the hiring of 17 new firefighters, as we continue our efforts to ensure that we have the resources to get life-saving help to our residents, and do so in time to save those lives.
9. Paving Upgrades: Successfully pushed to speed up the repaving of over half the roads in District 6 over the next couple of years. And this is only the start, I continue to push to move more monies into street paving, and accelerate the process to fix our crumbling streets.
10. Camelback Mountain Preserve Status: Initiated proceedings to secure “preserve” status for Camelback Mountain, which will both increase the funding available to maintain our trails, but also significantly improve the protections for the mountain, ensuring that one of the great natural wonders of our City be preserved forever to ensure future generations the same benefits of the mountain we have had.
11. Fiscal Accountability: Identified and pushed for the elimination of over $2.5 million in wasteful spending — just since January alone. These included things like memberships, lobbying fees, and consulting contracts for things that City staff should already be doing themselves.
12. Fighting Corporate Welfare: While the Democrat majority on the Council supported every single corporate giveaway, I fought for you, voting against every one of these deals.
….These are only a fraction of the things we’ve accomplished on your behalf, but I couldn’t have done it without your support, and the support of our fantastic neighborhoods in District 6. From North Central to Arcadia to Ahwatukee, you – our residents – set the tone for all of us here in the District 6 offices. Thank you