New Phoenix Mayor

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Newly inaugurated Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton discusses his first week in office and future plans for the City of Phoenix.

Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. The new Mayor of Phoenix has been in office for a full week now. Time for Greg Stanton to get settled, take a breath and join us on "Arizona Horizon. Good to see you again, and thanks for joining us.

Greg Stanton: My honor to be here. Maybe a small breath, not a deep breath yet.

Ted Simons: Ok, not enough time. Any surprises in the first week?

Greg Stanton: No, it's what I expected. We had a great inauguration a week ago, brought the community together, and very exciting, and right away, rolled up our sleeves and got to work. We kept it humble. We had a swearing in, but we did have, we didn't have a party room. My job was to get right for work for the people of this city, and that's what we did, and here we go.

Ted Simons: Talk about the things you talk about in your speech, and in your campaign, as well. Promised transparency at city hall. What does that mean?

Greg Stanton: It means a lot of things. But, first and foremost, we should have our meetings at times that people can attend so we'll see a change soon in which people have said over the middle of the day have the meetings, let's have them at night. Let's put many more things on television, not just on channel 11, but create a YouTube channel for the City of Phoenix, and we can have our subcommittee meetings on television. I want to get as many people as possible involved active in city decision-making and change the boards and commissions, cast a net, not just lobbies and insiders. Let's get the community really involved in the city decision-making so there are lots of things that we can do to improve the transparency work. Better city when we have more people involved in the decision-making.

Ted Simons: It may sound like an odd question but can you get too many involved? Can you get bogged down, perhaps kind of situation?

Greg Stanton: You know, sure. At some point. But, we're not close to that point in the City of Phoenix. I think that over the last few years, it got a bit insidery, and I think some people affected by the decisions often didn't 3 feel like they had a say in the outcome. So, we have a long way to go before we would ever get to that point. Terry, when he was Mayor, did the Phoenix future's forum. Many people will remember that. Many got involved in the decision-making. They felt invested in the city. We have got to get back to that feeling that the citizens, all 1.4 people, have a real investment in the future of their city.

Ted Simons: And when you talk about inclusion, same thing?

Greg Stanton: Oh, it has to be. We have to make sure that all the diverse communities of the City of Phoenix are really represented at city hall, and not only on my staff, but in city management, on all of the, of the boards and commissions. One of the things I talked about in my inauguration is that, you know, we can't just focus on downtown. We have to focus on all 500 square miles of the city and make sure all the diverse communities of this city are, are well relating, and as South Mountain Village goes, so does the future of the city, as Maryvale, same thing. If any city is not doing well, the whole city is not.

Ted Simons: I want to get to the area of north Phoenix in a second but how do you do that? You have got downtown. A lot of emphasis on downtown, and I think that everyone agrees, it's really good stuff going on down here. And you have got this bio-thing happening with the Mayo clinic and ASU and northeast Phoenix. But, you mentioned Maryvale, you got up to the Anthem areas and down to Ahwatukee, and a lot of city to cover. How do you get growth everywhere?

Greg Stanton: This is a big city. It's a growing city. But success in one part of the city doesn't come at the expense of another part of the city. In fact, downtown doesn't compete with the rest of the city. And I would argue just the opposite. Success in downtown compliments the rest of the city. Success in Ahwatukee Foothills, Moon Valley, north, east Phoenix, compliments goes on downtown. They are not in competition with each other, and what I said during my inauguration, I believe from the bottom of my heart, a city must demand that it's Mayor multi-task, and that's what I'm going to, to do. I will be very busy and my staff will be, but that's what the people deserve.

Ted Simons: And the idea of this bioscience in northeast Phoenix, you mentioned certain areas are not in competition. We have bioscience stuff going on down here in downtown Phoenix. How do you keep that from becoming a competitive situation?

Greg Stanton: Not competitive at all. One of the great things about our community is the collaborative spirit. And you talked to people from elsewhere, that come here, who are leaders in the biosciences, and they are shocked by how well the cities work together, how well the hospital systems work together, and how well the universities work together. And we understand in this city, I understand, as Mayor, that we are going to sink or swim as a region, as a team. So the partnership between U of A, Arizona cancer center, and in the heart of the city, and the success of Mayo clinic, and the associated industries are going to be built around there, and they are one in the same. You are going to see lots of joint appointments between the musicians. A lot of joint interactions, and joint research proposals, and Etc., and each one's success is dependent on the other. That's how we'll succeed.

Ted Simons: I know that there is a lot of concern regarding pension costs and employee compensation. These are dicey issues. Contracts coming up with employees and unions and such. How do you, how do you work that? How do you get that to, to where it doesn't become an explosive land Palestine or land-field where every step is a problem?

Greg Stanton: It's a tough issue. We have got to make sure that, that our costs, including pension costs, and including the employee compensation system, is, is done in a way that looks out for the best interests of the people of the city. Now, I believe firmly that, that we are blessed to have a great workforce, and we are blessed that the city, that the people who make up the workforce of the City of Phoenix do great work every day. It's part of what makes our city outstanding, and we need to make sure that our costs inner line. These are not going to be easy. It will be tough, but just because it's tough doesn't mean that we should avoid it. We need to embrace it and make those tough decisions, and move forward, what's in the best interest of the people of the city, and as Mayor, I am going to do it.

Ted Simons: For those who say the costs are not in line, are they wrong?

Greg Stanton: No, they are not wrong, and in fact, even during the campaign for Mayor, both candidates, myself included, came up with proposals. My proposal, as was hotly debated on this television show, a few months ago, my proposal is going to save the taxpayers of the city a lot of money. We need to have shared sacrifice, which means that the employees are going to have to pay more for their own pension system. Over time, we need to make sure that the retirement age goes up. Some of the systems in place currently haven't kept up with modern times, and the difference is this -- I will never make city employees political pawns. I will never demonize them for political purposes. They are our partners, not our adversaries. If people watching this show were sitting at the table where I sit they would be shocked by how well the city employees understand the challenges of the future of the City of Phoenix. How much they want to be part of the solution. They don't want to be treated as political pawns. I won't do it, and I will treat them as partners and create a trust atmosphere.

Ted Simons: Last question, you talked about rising above personality and politics. What does that mean and how does that constitute a change?

Greg Stanton: Well, I can only talk about myself, and my belief is that, if we are in a political environment, the Mayor of the City of Phoenix is a high profile political position. But I understand that, that I now am the Mayor of the entire city, whether you voted for me or not. I am your Mayor, and I am going to support you moving forward, and if I'm successful, the city must be, and if I'm going to be successful, I need to work with everyone. All the diverse communities of the City of Phoenix, and it's never personal. We're going to have really hot debates at the City of Phoenix. I'm a pretty good debater myself. I can't wait, but it's never personal. After we make a decision we need to move onto the next issue, and that's the professional attitude that I think that we need to have if we are going to be as successful as possible as a city.

Ted Simons: Good to have you here and thanks for joining us.

Greg Stanton: I will be back any time and would love to be on the show.

Ted Simons: Thank you.

Greg Stanton:Phoenix Mayor;

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