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City of Phoenix website receives poor transparency grade

Goldwater Institute Director Byron Schlomach (left) and Serena Unrein of the Arizona Public Interest Research Group are shown. (Bob McClay/KTAR)

Phoenix is getting a bad grade from the Arizona Public Interest Research Group for the city's lack of a transparent website.

"We gave them a D because they're just not as transparent as they should be with how they're spending taxpayer dollars," said PIRG's Serena Unrein. "The main thing that the city lacks, according to our report, is a central transparency website. Residents just can't see checkbook level details of how their tax dollars are being spent. We think that people who live in the City of Phoenix should be able to see how their tax dollars are being spent."

Goldwater Institute Director Byron Schlomach said it wouldn't cost much for Phoenix to create such a website.

"In some cities, the cost, per resident, has been less than four cents. It would not be expensive, and the benefits would far outweigh the costs."

Unrein said the report is being presented to Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton on Wednesday.

PIRG rated America's top 30 cities on how well they provide information about city revenues and spending to the public.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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