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Four Phoenix City Council members sworn in

PHOENIX -- Thursday was inauguration day for four members of the Phoenix City Council.

Newly-elected council members Laura Pastor and Kate Gallego joined re-elected incumbents Jim Waring and Sal DiCiccio in swearing in ceremonies at the Orpheum Theater in Phoenix.

Gallego made one of the most notable comments during the day's speeches. She is the first woman to represent District 8 on the council. Gallego said that a lot of the residents of her district are illegal immigrants, including Dreamers who were brought to America as children and want to get an education here. Gallego said she'll be giving them a job.

"For the first time in Phoenix history, and maybe for the first time anywhere in the country, the majority of my staff will be Dreamers," Gallego announced.

Many Dreamers worked for Gallego during her campaign.

Pastor, who represents District 4, is the daughter of Arizona Rep. Ed Pastor. She joins a divided city council, but pledged that she'll work with other councilmembers to get things done.

"Compromise is neither a bad word nor a bad thing," she said. "It simply means achieving together."

But some council members hinted that there will be more differences to come in 2014. In his inauguration speech, Waring said that he probably will not agree with Pastor and Gallego on every issue, but he said "I believe we can do much to move the city forward."

Meanwhile, DiCiccio, considered the most controversial member of the council, has had his differences with Mayor Greg Stanton. In 2013, he accused Stanton of trying to rig a vote concerning pension spiking.

But during his inauguration, DiCiccio praised every member of the council, and even jokingly said he loves Stanton.

"You may not think I do, but I do like him," he said.

When some members of the audience laughed, DiCiccio quipped "I do like him! There's no one I don't like pretty much. Well, maybe one or two."

In the coming year, DiCiccio said the city still needs to do more to do away with pension spiking.

"We don't have the money to pay for it, folks," he said. "We've got to create a model to do that. That's not going to happen here at City Hall. That is going to have to be done through an initiative process."

DiCiccio also said the city needs to encourage more schools to move to downtown Phoenix. And he claimed that Phoenix City Hall is run by "those pesky union guys" and that needs to stop.

Meanwhile, Waring used his inaugural speech to call for more spending to fight domestic violence. He said it claimed more than 130 lives in Arizona in 2013. He said that Phoenix spends more to maintain its golf courses that it does to protect people from domestic violence.

"$6 million to $7 million for golf versus $200,000 for domestic violence. We need to reverse those numbers," he said. "Life and death issues should be something that we should focus on here."

Waring chairs the city's Human Trafficking Task Force and said it's also a big problem in Phoenix.

"It's getting more attention now because the Super Bowl is coming here (in 2015)," said Waring. "Amazingly to me, people of means, people who should know better in all walks of life, are coming here and will engage in abhorant practices with young people. That is absolutely not acceptable."

Waring vowed to get that message to visitors coming here for the big game.

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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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