Debate tonight: 6:30 pm Virginia Piper Auditorium, 600 E. Van Buren
There’s a harsh truth about those folks in the shiny red trucks. Yes, they put out fires and provide emergency care. Their jobs can be risky, but so are those of law enforcement officers, our military and border patrol agents. They also work half the time you do, get great benefits and love the unions that fight to provide all of the largess. When vacancies exist in the department, lines are long with those wanting desperately to be selected as newly hired recruits.
The firefighters have a mega presence at city hall. They often have one of their own — or at least a relative — on the council. Lobbyist and former firefighter union boss Billy Shields and Phoenix Fire Chief Bob Khan are well known to the council members. Mayor Philly Gordon even endorsed Khan’s sister Maria Baier for the council seat she held. Baier also got an assist from her good friend Janet Napolitano — a nice quid pro quo for Baier signing on to the infamous ‘Republicans for Janet’ website. And firefighter union president Bryan Jeffries, a Phoenix resident who works in Mesa, was appointed to fill out the remainder of District 2 member Peggy Neely’s term when she resigned to run for mayor. He lost his primary election bid to retain that seat.
Mayoral candidate Wes Gullett signed on with Napolitano, also. Those familiar with this site know he was not our first choice. But given the options in this runoff, we have made the realistic decision that an iffy Republican, especially one pledged to support SB 1070 and dismantle the food tax, is better than a radical liberal who will have at least four years to do insurmountable damage.
Now we hear that the firefighters are calling Phoenix mayoral candidate Wes Gullett “reckless and irresponsible” for his stated opposition to Phoenix’s outrageous food tax. The union will endorse Democrat Greg Stanton in the runoff election for Phoenix Mayor.
In the primary, former councilman Claude Mattox was the top pick of the firefighter’s union. The firefighters want that tax on your food to continue. Gullett does not. Stanton refuses to commit to lifting the tax. He was off the council at the time it was passed, but stated he would have voted for it if he had the opportunity. It raised $28 million while the City of Phoenix simultaneously and unconscionably paid out $28.9 million to city employees as performance pay raises and longevity bonuses. Gifting retention bonuses when people are counting their blessings to have jobs is preposterous.
Unions being what they are, throw their support to liberal Democrats. Lawyer Greg Stanton, who called for the dropping of charges against firefighter union honcho Billy Shields’ thieving daughter Mindy, and came out in opposition to SB 1070, is the union’s guy. He is not ours.
A mayoral debate is scheduled this evening, Tuesday, September 20, at 6:30 p.m. UA College of Medicine, Virginia G. Piper Auditorium in Phoenix, 600 East Van Buren St. (map)