[Source: Scott Wong, Arizona Republic] — Free health care for all Phoenicians. The creation of a Mexican Riviera-type development along the Rio Salado. And a new Phoenix energy board to oversee the city’s sustainability efforts. They are just a few ideas from Plan 468, which the New Vision slate unveiled during a Thursday evening news conference attended by one reporter.
City Council candidates Robert Dennis Johnson (District 4), Nathan Oshop (District 6) and Jon Garrido (District 8), all Democrats, published the six-point strategy online. “Everybody talks about a comprehensive plan. We’ve done it,” said Garrido, who is in a three-way race with incumbent Michael Johnson and Darlene Jackson. The plan calls for:
- Transforming the Rio Salado, or Salt River, into a giant lagoon that would anchor a multi-billion dollar beachfront development called Playa del Sol. It would serve as a world-class destination, attracting 8 million new tourists to its resorts, golf courses, shops, casino, and Phoenix SeaWorld.
- Free health care insurance for all Phoenix residents, paid for using $1 billion in casino revenue from the Playa del Sol project. The only caveat: The proposal relies on Arizona voters to pass an initiative allowing a casino to be built on non-tribal land.
- Refocusing economic-development efforts from downtown to the Indian School Road Corridor by creating jobs in research and development, light manufacturing, and international trade. The city would forge business ties with Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Spain.
- Forming a city energy board charged with reducing the city’s carbon emissions by 30 percent within 10 years, and redeveloping blighted landfills into revenue-generating commercial developments.
- Widening the reach of city community centers so they serve all segments of the population.
- Developing urban mixed-use “nodes” where people can work, shop and play.
Even though the slate is being outspent by incumbent candidates, none have put together a more ambitious and complete plan than New Vision, said Robert Dennis Johnson. “We realize we are outgunned. This is a David vs. Goliath fight,” he said. “But what we have, when you look at this, is substantially more than any of our challengers are offering.” [Note: Read the full blog post at Phoenix’s “New Vision” city council slate unveils Plan 468.]