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Glendale council mulls prayers before meetings

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Glendale City Council will vote next month on whether to change the way it begins its meetings.

Currently, each meeting starts with the Pledge of Allegiance, but Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers wants to change the moment of silence that follows to a prayer.

Church leaders in the area would be invited to give a generic invocation that could be acceptable to people of all faiths.

"Everybody knows how many problems that elected officials have in today's world," Weiers said. "Why in the world would we not want to take a couple of minutes and ask for a little help from whoever the particular people happen to believe in or worship? Any divine guidance certainly is better than what we've been getting.

To basically step up and say ‘We can handle it on our own,' obviously history doesn't show that. The city's made some errors and some mistakes."

Weiers said that prayer works in government.

"In my opinion, it works for the state legislature," he said. "It's worked for state legislators and cities all over the United States, and why we would not allow something that we are Constitutionally allowed to do doesn't make any sense to me."

Glendale City Councilman Manny Martinez said he prays during the moment of silence that the council has now but he opposes the council changing that moment to a prayer.

"I'm opposed to it," he said. "When it first came up, I said that I feel that I'm as religious as the next person. However, I don't think that it's appropriate to have a prayer. A moment of silence, to me, takes care of it."

But Martinez said he's in the minority and believes the council will approve the prayer next month.

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 live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

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: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

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 - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We 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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