Arizona Republic issues “report card” on Phoenix mayor

[Source: Scott Wong, Arizona Republic] — A year after Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon gave his 2008 State of the City address, [the Republic takes] a look at how well he followed through on his policies and goals:

What he said in ’08: “Phoenix is a city on the rise.  And because we are a city on the rise, we face our challenges — our opportunities — from a stronger position than most other big cities can.”  The reality: The housing crisis and broader economic recession dealt Phoenix’s budget a fierce blow.  But Phoenix literally is a city on the rise. Several projects have helped fill the downtown skyline, including the expanded convention center, Sheraton hotel, and future CityScape project.

What he said in ’08: “We need more investments, more partnerships, more international flights.  Last year I hinted at a new non-stop flight to Europe… We’re nearly there and we’ll have it before we meet again.” The reality: Well, we met again, and Lufthansa, the referenced airline, abandoned its plan for a non-stop flight across the pond due to the economy.  “We’re just grateful the airline is still in business,” the mayor’s spokesman said.

What he said in ’08: “We’re proud of our innovative solar projects… But let Phoenix now become the global center for sustainable energy.”  The reality: The city and state have lagged behind other regions when it comes to attracting solar and other renewable-energy firms, but Gordon has laid out a bold plan to make Phoenix the greenest city in the country.  Stay tuned.

What he said in ’08: “Before this year is over, 20 miles of light rail will be operating.  And that train will leave the station on budget and on time — on Dec. 27.”  The reality: Metro light rail launched its $1.4 billion starter line by its Dec. 27 target.  Ridership has exceeded expectations but fare hikes are imminent given the budget crunch faced by Phoenix and other cities.

[Note: To read the full article and online comments, click here.]

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