Republic asks, “help mayor with priorities for 2nd term”

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, photo USA Today[Source: Arizona Republic editorial] — Mayor Phil Gordon concedes that the state of his city is… complicated.  And the nature… the priorities… of his second term seem more in flux.  Seven months ago, he seemed more determined than ever to push an even more ambitious public agenda throughout the city.

  • A comprehensive west side revitalization program.
  • A second publicly financed hotel in downtown.
  • An affordable housing initiative for the inner city.
  • The relocation of the Arizona State University College of Law to the downtown campus.
  • Extension of the Phoenix Parks and Preserve Initiative to acquire more acreage, build regional parks and maintain current ones.

But the economic downturn and a grinding budget-cutting exercise last month have forced city officials to readjust.  It is not the right time to launch expensive new projects, not when sales-tax revenues have flattened and may even fall.  Not when residential construction has dropped to a trickle.  Not when diminished housing values and foreclosures threaten property-tax receipts.

Ever the optimist, and perhaps seeking a legacy beyond that which he already has, Gordon has recently been convinced that America’s fifth-largest city needs to boost its international profile, seeking a share of the expanding global trade that seems as inevitable and promising to some industries as it worries others.  But if you were advising the mayor and the new council, what would you tell them?  Given the looming recession, one that may extend another year or even longer, what should the priorities for this year, and the next few years, be?

We want to her from you.  Please respond to any or all of these questions.  How would you describe the state of the city? Explain.  What citywide priorities should the council focus on?  For example, specific crime problems?  Making it easier to do business in the city?  Development standards?  Planning?  What should be the mayor’s focus during his second term?

Send comments to central.letters@arizonarepublic.com, or to Phoenix Republic, 200 E. Van Buren, Phoenix AZ 85002.  Or fax them to 602-444-7985.

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