Blog Archives

Downtown Voices statement on City of Phoenix 2010-11 budget

The Downtown Voices Coalition Steering Committee, in a unanimous vote with one abstention, supports the City of Phoenix Fiscal Year 2010-11 budget proposal outlined by the Citizens for Phoenix coalition, namely:

  • Acceptance of $49 million in proposed city budget cuts, but rejection of $90 million in cuts that will affect street level police and fire service, as well as cuts that would abandon Phoenix’s most vulnerable residents.
  • Acceptance of the Mayor and City Council approved two percent food tax, with the provisio that the tax sunset in two years and not the five years that was passed.
  • Insistence that 100 percent of the anticipated $62 million in food tax revenue go into the city’s General Fund and be distributed to Public Safety, Human Services, Parks and Recreation, and Arts and Culture, in direct proportion to their share of the original 2009-10 budget.
  • Expectation that the remaining $27 million in revenue needed to balance the budget be raised in the following combination of ways: increase fees for permits and services where possible; gain union and non-union employee concessions; and eliminate remaining fat in the budget.
  • Insistence of an independent audit of the budget, systems, and processes of all city departments by a national audit firm that must report back to the Mayor, City Council, and citizenry within the first 12 months, so its recommendations can be implemented as quickly as possible, but no later than the second 12-month period so the two year food tax will not have been in vain.

Steve Weiss, Chair, Downtown Voices Coalition

As Phoenix faces “economic emergency,” mayor floats idea of temporary tax hike

home_balloons[Source: Scott Wong, Arizona Republic] — Saying Phoenix is facing an “economic emergency,” Mayor Phil Gordon this week floated the idea of a temporary sales-tax increase to keep already diminished services from being cut further.  Phoenix recently raised fees and rates for things such as parking meters and trash pickup. But Gordon’s comments, during a City Council meeting, marked the first mention of a sales-tax hike — or “emergency economic surcharge” — that the council could approve to stave off service cuts.

“It may take that to get us through the economic crisis,” Gordon told fellow council members and staffers.  “We have to ask residents: Do they want these draconian cuts?  Do they want to be understaffed in fire and police?  I, for one, think our residents would want to continue the way of life in this city.”  [Note: Read full article at As Phoenix faces “economic emergency,” mayor floats idea of temporary tax hike.]

Phoenix parks board officials try to lessen budget cuts

[Source: Connie Cone Sexton Arizona Republic] — Members of the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board hope to show their passion for a good cause dear to them.  At stake: the fate of the city department they represent, a department facing dire budget cuts.  To lessen the cuts, board members suggest:

  • Trimming the Public Safety Department budget by an additional 1% (under the current proposal, police and fire leaders each would cut an estimated 7.5% of their operating budgets).
  • Creating a sales tax on groceries.
  • Enlisting community leaders to encourage philanthropy.

To get their message across, members are showing up at each of the 14 meetings scheduled to let the community share concerns about upcoming city budget cuts.  The meetings began Tuesday and will conclude Jan. 27.  Board chairwoman Diana Brooks said the meetings are a chance for members to do what they can to speak up for the Parks and Recreation Department and perhaps lessen the proposed cuts.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Neighbors seek answers in aftermath of west Phoenix explosion

The public is invited to attend a presentation by the Maricopa County Air Quality Control Department on compliance by Paramount Petroleum in the wake of a May 1 explosion at the company’s west Phoenix plant.

  • Date: Thursday, August 14
  • Time: 6 p.m.
  • Place: Phoenix Elementary District #1 Governing Board Room (turn south off Palm Lane, just east of 7th St., meeting in northeast corner of the campus)

Firefighters were trying to keep the fire from spreading to other tanks. (Jim Cross/KTAR)On May 1, Phoenix firefighters and hazardous materials crews responded to an explosion at a Paramount Petroleum plant, near 19th Ave. and McDowell Rd.  At the time of the explosion, Victor Rangel of the Phoenix Fire Department, said, “There appears to be a large tank that had raw asphalt product in it.  That caught fire and exploded.  At this point, we have no injuries.”

Rangel said no structures were threatened.  Firefighters were trying to keep the fire from spreading to other tanks.  No evacuations were ordered.

According to KTAR Radio, it was a frightening situation for businesses located near the tank that exploded.  Josh Scott runs Renovated Metals, about 100 yards from the tank that exploded.  His workers heard an explosion.  The ground shook.  Then police evacuated the employees.  “A huge boom and they said sulfur, it smelled like sulfur pretty bad, so they’re all a little shaken up,” Scott said.  “The shock waves scared them pretty much.  The police came in and evacuated them, so we took them to our other yards.”

Phoenix fire ladder trucks sprayed thousands of gallons of water on the tank to cool it down and keep it from spreading to several other tanks nearby.  “So many cylinders over there if it spread.  I just want to be safe and make sure my guys are safe.  When the fire department clears it and lets them back then we’ll open back up,” Scott said.  There’s no word yet on what triggered the explosion.

[Editor’s Note: Within a mile of the explosion site are five schools — Capitol Elementary School, Magnet Traditional School, Franklin Police & Fire High School, Horizons Back-to-Basics School, and Metropolitan Arts Institute.  Within two miles, there are 39 schools.]

Neighborhoods work to stop gun violence in south Phoenix

[Source: EV Living, June 05, 2008] — A gun buy-back, a neighborhood cleanup, and community walk are part of the “Take Back Your Neighborhood” campaign recently unveiled by Mayor Phil Gordon.  The month-long campaign will focus on four specific neighborhoods that, according to police, experience a disproportionate amount of gun violence and include several events specifically designed to make the neighborhoods a safer place. 

Joining the mayor were Phoenix City Council members Michael Johnson, District 8, and Michael Nowakowski, District 7, and representatives of the Phoenix Police Department; Phoenix Fire Department; U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona; Silent Witness; and Arizonans for Gun Safety.

The goal of the program is to empower the residents of these neighborhoods to take action to prevent future gun violence.  The neighborhoods involved in the project and their boundaries are:

  • 7/11 Fight Back (7th to 15th avenues and Buckeye Road to I-17)
  • Lindo Park (19th to 23rd avenues and Roeser Road to Southern Avenue)
  • South Vista (12th to 16th streets and Roeser Road to Southern Avenue)
  • Hermoso Park (16th to 24th streets and Vineyard to Broadway roads)

For more information about the program, click here or call 602-222-5400.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]