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Former mayors urge Phoenix City Council to get its act together

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (right) and Councilman Sal DiCiccio. (Facebook photo)

PHOENIX -- Four former Phoenix Mayors say the current Phoenix City Council needs to get its act together.

In a letter to the Arizona Republic, Phil Gordon, Terry Goddard, Skip Rimsza and Paul Johnson wrote that they've seen a growing divide and heard personal attacks among current city council members that are distracting each of them from doing their jobs.

Gordon told KTAR that needs to change.

"If the trend that the media continues to report continues, we will have deadlock," said Gordon. "Issues will be based on partisanship, as opposed to the merits based on what is needed."

One example of the arguments came during an October council vote about pension spiking among city employees. During that debate, Councilman Sal DiCiccio accused Mayor Greg Stanton of trying to rig the vote in his favor.

Stanton told KTAR that he has not attacked anyone on the council.

"I've never engaged in any name calling, nor will I. That's not my leadership style and never will be," Stanton said.

Stanton defended the job he is doing and said he is excited about Phoenix's future.

"Everything that I said I was going to do during the campaign is exactly what we are doing," said Stanton.

DiCiccio said Stanton's claim isn't true.

"He's had to be pushed on pension spiking, and he's had to be pushed on the food tax vote," said DiCiccio. "These big problems require big ideas, and there's definitely a lack of leadership when it comes to that."

Gordon admits that he also had his issues with council members during his time as mayor. One of those with whom he got angry was DiCiccio. But Gordon claims that the council was always able to work through their differences and get things accomplished.

Since Gordon left office, he said there has been some reconciliation between DiCiccio and himself. Both men said they recently met to talk things over.

DiCiccio said that the Gordon apologized that he got mad at him when Gordon when they served on the council together. DiCiccio said he and Gordon are planning another meet-up this week.

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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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