Phoenix Mayor Stanton

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Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton makes his monthly appearance on Arizona Horizon to discuss city issues.



TED: COMING UP NEXT ON "ARIZONA HORIZON" -- PHOENIX MAYOR GREG STANTON JOINS US TO TALK ABOUT A VARIETY OF CITY ISSUES. AND WE'LL PREVIEW TONIGHT'S PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE FROM AN ECONOMIC AND JOB CREATION PERSPECTIVE. THAT'S NEXT ON "ARIZONA HORIZON."

"ARIZONA HORIZON" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE FRIENDS OF ARIZONA PBS. MEMBERS OF YOUR PBS STATION. THANK YOU!

TED: GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO "ARIZONA HORIZON." I'M TED SIMONS. TEMPE POLICE ARRESTED THREE PROTESTORS ATTEMPTING TO SHUT DOWN THE MILL AVENUE BRIDGE THIS MORNING. DEMONSTRATION INVOLVED ABOUT 50 PEOPLE CALLING ATTENTION TO THE SHOOTING DEATHS OF TWO AFRICAN-AMERICAN MEN BY TEMPE AND PHOENIX POLICE. PROTEST ORGANIZER, REVEREND JARRETT MAUPIN AND TWO OTHERS, WERE ARRESTED AFTER POLICE SAY THEY FAILED TO KEEP THE DEMONSTRATION ON THE SIDEWALK. NO INJURIES REPORTED AND THE BRIDGE WHICH WAS BRIEFLY CLOSED TO TRAFFIC REOPENED AFTER POLICE CLEARED THE ARRESTS.

PHOENIX MAYOR GREG STANTON JOINS US EACH MONTH TO DISCUSS A VARIETY OF ISSUES FACING THE CITY, INCLUDING CONCERNS OVER THE ACTIONS OF SOME PHOENIX POLICE OFFICERS, JOINING US NOW IS PHOENIX MAYOR GREG STANTON. GOOD TO SEE YOU.


PHOENIX MAYOR GREG STANTON GOOD TO SEE YOU.

TED: YOU SEE A SITUATION IN TEMPE, THOUGHTS OFF THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD?

PHOENIX MAYOR GREG STANTON: POLICE HAVE AN INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT JOB, WE RESPECT THEM SO MUCH, AND ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT JOBS THEY HAVE TO DO IS TO BALANCE THE INTERESTS OF A PEACEFUL PROTEST. PEACEFULLY PROTESTING IS PART OF THE GRAND TRADITION OF AMERICA, ITS PART OF ONE OF OUR PROTECTED CIVIL RIGHTS BUT TO DO SO IN A WAY IN WHICH YOU DON'T IMPEDE OTHERS RIGHTS TO TRANSPORT THEMSELVES TO THEIR JOB OR SCHOOL, WHATEVER THEY'RE DOING. YOU WANT TO GIVE PEOPLE A FAIR AND FULL OPPORTUNITY TO EXERCISE THEIR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS, CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE RIGHTS TO GET WHATEVER MESSAGE ACROSS BUT DO SO IN A WAY IN A DOESN'T IMPEDE EVERYONE'S RIGHTS AND STRIKING THAT BALANCE IS SOMETHING THAT WE IN THE CITY OF PHOENIX WORK HARD TO DO. AND OUR CHIEF YAHER AND LEADERSHIP TEAM AT THE CITY STRUCK THE RIGHT BALANCE OVER THE COURSE OF THE NUMBER OF YEARS.

TED: THE PROTEST WAS INVOLVING POLICE BRUTALITY IN GENERAL. A COUPLE INCIDENTS IN PARTICULAR. WE HAD THE SITUATION IN CHARLOTTE. YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHATS GOING ON OUT THERE, NOT JUST THE REACTION, BUT WHATS GOING ON WITH POLICE DEPARTMENTS AND WHAT SEEMS TO BE, AS CRITICS WILL NOTE, AN INCREASING MILITARIZATION OF POLICE DEPARTMENTS. YOUR THOUGHTS?


PHOENIX MAYOR GREG STANTON: FAIR QUESTION. LOOK, THE CITY OF PHOENIX IS ONE OF THE LARGEST POLICE DEPARTMENTS IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ONE OF THE LARGEST CITIES IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. AND WE PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO NATIONAL TRENDS AND, OBVIOUSLY, IT'S DISAPPOINTING THAT THERE'S BEEN A BREAKDOWN IN COMMUNICATION, IN TRUST BETWEEN THE POLICE DEPARTMENTS AND THE COMMUNITY AS A WHOLE, PARTICULARLY COMMUNITIES OF COLOR. IT'S HEART BREAKING TO SEE WHAT'S HAPPENING IN CHARLOTTE. THE TRUTH IS THAT POLICE DEPARTMENTS AROUND THE COUNTRY WORK VERY HARD TO GET IT RIGHT BUT THEY DON'T ALWAYS GET IT RIGHT AND WHEN YOU MAKE MISTAKES, YOU SHOULD ACKNOWLEDGE THOSE MISTAKES, TRY TO BE TRANSPARENT AS POSSIBLE AND RELEASE ALL INFORMATION TO THE PUBLIC AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE AND YOU SHOULD ALSO HAVE AN ETHIC OF CONSTANT COMMUNICATION SO THAT WAY YOU'RE COMMUNICATING WITH LEADERS FROM ALL COMMUNITIES, INCLUDING ESPECIALLY DIVERSE COMMUNITIES IN YOUR CITY. DOESN'T JUST OCCUR WHEN THERE'S A DIFFICULT INCIDENT BUT INSTEAD PART OF A MUCH LARGER, ALMOST DAILY CONVERSATION. THAT'S HOW YOU BUILD TRUST. IN PHOENIX, WE HAVE HAD THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL TO VISIT PHOENIX TO ACKNOWLEDGE WE'RE ONE OF THE BEST IN THE COUNTRY WHEN IT COMES TO POLICE COOMUNITY RELATIONS, BUT WE'RE NOT IMMUNE FROM ISSUES AND WHAT'S GOING ON IN CHARLOTTE AND OTHER DIFFICULT SITUATIONS, IT COULD HAPPEN IN PHOENIX, ARIZONA, THE BEST WAY TO DEAL WITH IT IS TO BE IN CONSTANT COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR COMMUNITY -- BY THE WAY IT'S THE REASON WHY WE PUT IN THIS YEAR'S BUDGET, BODY CAMERAS FOR EVERY POLICE OFFICER ON THE STREET. BODY CAMERAS IS ONE WAY, NOT THE TOTAL WAY BUT ONE WAY TO BUILD UP BETTER TRUST IN THE COMMUNITY BECAUSE OF BETTER TRANSPARENCY.

TED: IT'S ONE WAY TO DO THAT, PROVIDED THE BODY CAMERAS ARE TURNED ON. SEEMS LIKE INCREASINGLY WITH THESE INCIDENTS THEY'RE BEING TURNED OFF. YOU MENTIONED HOW YOU RESPOND TO THIS KIND OF THINGS, HOW DO YOU KEEP THIS KIND OF THING FROM HAPPENING. ARE THE CRITICS RIGHT? DOES IT SEEM THAT THE POLICE DEPARTMENTS ARE INCREASINGLY MILITARIZED.


PHOENIX MAYOR GREG STANTON : THERE WERE PUBLIC POLICIES IN THE NOT TOO DISTANT PAST WHERE YOU HAD A LOT OF FORMER MILITARY EQUIPMENT SHIPPED TO POLICE DEPARTMENTS. I THINK THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION HAS WORKED CLOSELY WITH POLICE DEPARTMENTS, ESPECIALLY BIG CITY POLICE DPEARTMENTS AROUND THE COUNTRY, TO STRIKE A BETTER BALANCE IN THAT REGARD. IT WASN'T ALWAYS THE DEFAULT TO TAKE USED MILITARY EQUIPMENT AND SHIP IT TO LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENTS. THE BEST WAY TO DEAL WITH IT NUMBER ONE, STRONG LEADERHSIP AT THE TOP. WE'VE BEEN BLESSED IN THE CITY OF PHOENIX TO HAVE A LEADER LIKE CHIEF YAHNER WHO UNDERSTANDS THE IMPORTANCE OF CONSTANT COMMUNICATION WITH ALL PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY, ESPECIALLY COMMUNITIES OF COLOR. WE HAVE A BRAND NEW UP IN CHIEF COMING ON BOARD, CHIEF JERRY WILLIAMS WHO'S GOING TO BE A GREAT LEADER OF THIS DEPARTMENT, WILL CONTINUE THAT ETHIC AND LOOK IN THE CITY OF PHOENIX, WHEN WE REALIZED WE HAD CHALLENGES WITH POLICE INTERACTION WITH PEOPLE WITH VARIOUS FORMS OF MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES, WE LOOKED IN THE MIRROR AND SAID WE CAN DO BETTER AND FORMED A MENTAL HEALTH FORCE THAT IS SPECIALLY TRAINED OFFICERS THAT CAN BETTER MANAGE SITUATIONS SO THAT WAY ISSUES OF MENTAL ILLNESS DON'T BECOME DEADLY SITUATIONS BUT WE BETTER WORK WITH THE HEALTHCARE COMMUNITY SO WE CAN DEESCALATE SITUATIONS.INSTEAD OF TRYING TO AVOID A SITUATION, WE TOOK IT HEAD ON, WE TOOK IT HEAD ON, WE CAN DO BETTER AS A DEPARTMENT AND MAKING SURE THAT AS WE'RE HIRE MORE OFFICERS, WHICH WE'RE DOING RIGHT NOW, THAT WE HAVE DIVERSITY IN WHO WE'RE HIRING, WOMEN AND LATINOS AND AFRICAN AMERICANS AND WE HAVE A DEPARTMENT THAT LOOKS LIKE THE COMMUNITY. THAT WILL HELP BUILD COMMUNITY TRUST AS WELL.

TED: THE EQUATION OF MORE GUNS IF SOCIETY AND MORE POLICE INVOLVED SHOOTINGS. SOME SEE THAT AS -- THERE'S A CORRELATION THERE. DO YOU THINK THERE'S A CORRELATION THERE?


PHOENIX MAYOR GREG STANTON : YOU'RE ASKING ME QUESTIONS THAT WOULD TAKE YEARS OF SOCIOLOGICAL STUDY. LOOK, I THINK OF THAT WAS POLICE CHIEFS THROUGHOUT -- THROUGHOUT RECENT HISTORY, CERTAINLY, HAVE NOT BEEN SUPPORTIVE OF LAWS THAT ALLOW FOR ANYONE AND ANYONE IT SEEMS LIKE TO GET GUNS. THEY'VE BEEN SUPPORTIVE OF SMART LAWS THAT RESULT IN A REDUCTION IN GUN VIOLENCE. FOR EXAMPLE, GETTING RID OF GUN SHOW LOOPHOLES AND APPROPRIATE BACKGROUND CHECKS -- PEOPLE WHO SHOULD NOT GET THEIR HANDS ON WEAPONS AREN'T GETTING THEIR HANDS ON WEAPONS. THEY'VE BEEN IN SUPPORT OF COMMON GUN SAFETY LEGISLATION AND I THINK THAT THE POLICE CHIEFS WERE RIGHT. AND IN PART, THE ISSUES THEY'RE DEALING WITH ARE THE RESULT OF NOT HAVING SMART GUN LAWS THAT RESULT IN GREATER GUN SAFETY. YES, I BELIEVE IT'S AN ISSUE IN OUR COMMUNITY.

TED: THE SETTLEMENT WITH THE EX-VALLEY METRO CEO WHO PAID $180,000 TO NOT TO SUE AND GO AWAY, YOU NEGOTIATED THAT CONTRACT. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?


PHOENIX MAYOR GREG STANTON : FIRST OFF, IT'S INCREDIBLY DISAPPOINTING THAT SOMEONE WE PUT PUBLIC TRUST IN DID NOT KEEP UP THAT PUBLIC TRUST AND WE'VE LEARNED IMPORTANT LESSONS, VALLEY METRO IS SORT OF A PARTNERSHIP OF VARIOUS LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO PROVIDE GOOD TRANSPORTATION TO PEOPLE OF PHOENIX. THERE WAS NOT PROPER CHECKS AND BALANCES IN THAT SYSTEM SO THE CEO COULD KEEP SUBMITTING RECEIPTS THAT WERE NOT ACCURATE AND KEEP GETTING REIMBURSED FOR THOSE RECEIPTS AND KEEP TRAVELING BACK HOME OVER AND OVER AGAIN WITHOUT THE PROPER OVERSIGHT. I THINK OF THAT LESSON HAS BEEN LEARNED AND THE PROPER PROTECTIONS BEING PUT IN PLACE. AND WE SHOULD HAVE LEARNED THAT PREVIOUSLY. IN THE CITY OF PHOENIX THAT, COULD NEVER OCCUR THAT SOMEONE WOULD KEEP SUBMITTING RECEIPTS. WHEN I FIRST FOUND OUT ABOUT IT, WE ACTED QUICKLY TO SAY THAT THE AMOUNT THAT HE SOUGHT REIMBURSEMENT FOR WAS INAPPROPRIATE AND LATER WE FOUND OUT THERE MAY HAVE BEEN FRAUDULENT ACTIVITIES AND I'VE GOT TO BE CAREFUL SPEAKING ABOUT THAT. AS WE SPEAK, THERE'S STILL AVENUE ONGOING CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION OF THE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST HIM. I CAN'T SPEAK, TO THE SETTLEMENT, I WASN'T ON THE BOARD WHEN THE SETTLEMENT WAS MADE. I TRUST THAT THE LAWYERS FOR VALLEY METRO GAVE GOOD ADVICE TO THE BOARD AND MADE THE BEST DECISION THEY COULD UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES.

TED: BUT YOU WERE THERE FOR THE CONTRACT AND THE CONTRACT BASICALLY WAS $305,000. YOU MENTIONED $125,000, NOT PAID BECAUSE OF UNAUTHORIZED SPENDING, $180,000 PAID SO THAT HE WOULDN'T SUE. SOME FOLKS THINK, GO AHEAD AND SUE. WHY WOULD YOU NOT -- WHY DO YOU THINK VALLEY METRO WOULD NOT HAVE WANTED TO SUE?


PHOENIX MAYOR GREG STANTON : GOT TO BE CAREFUL AGAIN, I WANT IN THE ROOM AS LAWYERS GAVE ADVICE TO THE MEMBERS OF THE BOARD. I'M NOT ON THE BOARD OF THE VALLEY METRO RAIL. I'VE GOT TO BE CAREFUL TRYING TO SECOND GUESS THE SETTLEMENT THEY MADE AND THE LEGAL ISSUES THEY WERE DEALING WITH. BUT THE CONTRACTS WITH A MISTAKE. THE CONTRACT WAS TOO ONE-SIDED. MR. BANTA, WHEN HE FIRST CAME TO PHOENIX, A NATIONAL PROSPECT THAT THE GROUP WANTED TO COME TO PHOENIX. I DIDN'T SIGN THE ORIGINAL CONRACT, I SIGNED THE SUBSEQUENT CONTRACT BECAUSE I HAPPEN TO BE CHAIR OF THE VALLEY METRO BOARD AT THE TIME AND, YOU KNOW, THE WORLD IS FILLED WITH IRREPLACEABLE -- I MEAN, THE GRAVEYARDS ARE FILLED WITH IRREPLACEABLE PEOPLE. I THINK THE CONTRACT SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN SIGNED, IT SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ONE-SIDED, HE SHOULDN'T HAVE HAD SUCH LEVERAGE OVER THE BOARD. WHEN A MISTAKE IS MADE, YOU HAVE TO ADMIT IT AND LOOKING BACK, THE CONTRACT SIGNED WAS INAPPROPRIATE AND NO ONE SHOULD BE GIVEN THAT MUCH LEVERAGE OVER THE BOARD AND THE OPPURTUNITY TO RECEIVE TAXPAYER DOLLARS. AT THE TIME WE FOUND OUT ABOUT THE PROBLEM HIM SEEKING REIMBURSEMENT IS RECEIPT, MY CONCERN WAS THAT HE WAS WINING AND DINING ON THE PUBLIC DIME. IT WAS SUBSEQUENT THAT WE FOUND OUT THAT SOME OF THE INFORMATION MAY HAVE BEEN FRAUDULENT. PUTTING PEOPLE WHO WERE NOT ACTUALLY ATTENDING LUNCHES AND DINNERS AS PART OF THE RECEIPTS SEEKING REIMBURSEMENT AND THAT'S WHY THERE WAS AN ONGOING CRIMINAL INVESTMENT. I CAN'T COMMENT BUT I'M VERY VERY CONCERNED ABOUT THE TYPE OF ACTIVITY THAT WE SAW FROM MR. BANTA.

TED: THAT'S THE POINT THAT OTHERS ARE CONCERNED AND THIS GUY IS GETTING $180,000 NOT TO SUE WHEN IT SOUNDS LIKE, BRING IT ON, PAL. WHAT WOULD YOU SUE OVER? YOU BRING IT TO A CIVIL COURTROOM, EVERYTHING HE DOES COMES OUT INTO THE OPEN. WOULD HE -- AS YOU SAY, YOU'RE NOT INVOLVED WITH THE SETTLEMENT BUT YOU WERE INVOLVED BACK IN THE CONTRACT.


PHOENIX MAYOR GREG STANTON : YEAH, I WAS INVOLVED WITH THE SECOND CONTRACT HE SIGNED AFTER HE HAD COME TO PHOENIX, AND AGAIN, LOOKING BACK, I WOULD SAY IT WAS TOO MUCH OF A ONE-SIDED CONTRACT AND WE HAVE TO BE CAREFUL. VALLEY METRO IS NOT A GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY BUT THE MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS LIKE THE CITY OF PHOENIX ARE GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES. AND I THINKWE'VE LEARNED THAT EVEN IF ORGANIZATIONS LIKE THAT, ESPECIALLY IF ORGANIZATIONS LIKE THAT, WE NEED ADDITIONAL CHECKS AND BALANCES, THE SAME LEVEL OF SCRUTINY LOOKED AT FOR THE CITY MANAGER OF PHOENIX, IF THEY'RE SUBMITTING RECEIPT FORCE REIMBURSEMENT. THE SAME EXACT STANDARDS SHOULD APPLY FOR A QUASI GONVERNEMNT ORGANIZATION. IN ANY LEADRESHIP POSITION, YOU SHOULD LEARN LESSONS AND NOT MAKE THE MISTAKES OF THE PAST AND I BELIEVE THAT THE RIGHT STEPS ARE BEING TAKEN SO MISTAKES AREN'T MADE AGAIN.

TED: BEFORE WE GET OUT OF HERE, I KNOW YOU'LL BE VISITING TAIPEI IN TAIWAN AS A SISTER CITY TO PHOENIX.


PHOENIX MAYOR GREG STANTON : TAIPEI IS ONE OF OUR SISTER CITIES FOR THE CITY OF PHOENIX, AND A VERY STRONG SISTER CITY RELATIONSHIP.

TED: WE HEAR ABOUT SISTER CITIES ALL THE TIME, WHATS THE DEAL? WHY IS IT IMPORTANT AND WHO CARES?


PHOENIX MAYOR GREG STANTON : SISTER CITIES HAVE EVOLVED. SO THE CITY OF PHOENIX HAS 10 SISTER CITIES INCLUDING IN TAIPEI, MAINLAND CHINA, ISRAEL, AND IN MEXICO, CALGARY, CANADA, AND A FEW OTHERS. IN THE PAST, THEY STARTED OUT AS POST-WORLD WAR II, THE STATE DEPARTMENT PROMOTING CITIES AROUND THE COUNTRY TO PROMOTE PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE EXCHANGES WITH SISTER CITIES. DURING MY TIME AS MAYOR, I'VE INSISTED OUR SISTER CITY RELATIONSHIPS BECOME MORE ECONOMIC. I BELIEVE THAT PHOENIX IS AN INTERNATIONAL CITY, WE HAVE TO THINK AND ACT MORE GLOBALLY, INCREASE EXPORT ECONOMY IS AN CRITICALLY IMPORTANT PART OF OUR LOCAL ECONOMY. HAVING BETTER RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE ASIAN WORLD WRIT LARGE IS VERY IMPORTANT. THE FUTURE OF OUR ECONOMY AS IT RELATES TO INCREASING EXPORTING TO THE ASIAN WORLD WILL BE VERY, VERY IMPORTANT FOR INVESTMENT -- TO OUR CITY, SO THE CITY OF PHEONIX SHOULD BE INVOLVED INTERNATIONALLY.

TED: DO YOU GET CONCRETE RESULTS FROM A SISTER CITY RELATIONSHIP? SOMETHING WE CAN LOOK AT AND SAY, HUH, THAT'S BECAUSE WE'RE A SISTER CITY.


PHOENIX MAYOR GREG STANTON : WELL LET ME GIVE YOU A PERFECT EXAMPLE WHEN IT COMES TO THE ASIAN WORLD WRIT LARGE. PHOENIX HAS AN EXISTING INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT TO LONDON, THROUGH BRITISH AIR. IT'S CRITICALLY IMPORTANT THAT WE GET ADDITIONAL INTERNATIONAL AIR OPPORTUNITIES SO VISITING A PLACE LIKE THE ASIAN WORLD AND MEET WITH AIRLINE FOLKS TO PROMOTE PHOENIX. IT'S IMPORTANT. WILL IT IMMEDIATELY LAND A NEW FLIGHT? NOT NECESSARILY BUT IT'S IMPORTANT THAT YOU KEEP THE PROMOTING EFFORT. IN THIS CASE, MY TRIP ITSELF WILL NOT BE PAID FOR BY THE CITY OF PHOENIX. IT'S PAID FOR BY THE UNIVERSITY AND THE COUNTRY OF TAIWAN. TO HAVE ME VISIT A CONFERENCE THAT'S GOING ON THERE, I'LL BRING REPRESENTATIVES OF OUR SISTER CITIES. I WANT TO MAKE SURE I LEAVE THIS PROGRAM SAYING THAT SISTER CITY CITIES IS AN IMPORTANT PROGRAM FOR THE CITY OF PHOENIX. OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HERMOSILLO MEXICO, WHERE PHOENIX HAS OPENED UP A TRADE OFFICE THERE IN HERMOSILLO, A CROSS BORDER RELATIONSHIP IN TERMS OF INCREASING OUR EXPORT ECONOMY IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT AND WE NEED TO ADOPT THE SAME PHILOSOPHY RELATIVE TO THE OTHER LOCATIONS WE HAVE SISTER CITIES. IN MAINLAND CHINA, IN ISRAEL, IN EUROPE AND CANADA, PHOENIX HAS TO BE A INTERNATIONAL CITY FOR LONG-TERM SUCCESS AND WE SHOULD USE SISTER CITIES AS A BRIDGE TO ACCOMPLISH THAT.

TED: THANKS FOR JOINING US.


PHOENIX MAYOR GREG STANTON :AS ALWAYS, GOOD TO BE ON.

Greg Stanton, Mayor of Phoenix

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