Looking for integrity? You won’t find it in the City of Phoenix
Let’s cut to the chase on this one and dissect the recent news report in the daily headlining: “Food-tax repeal may hit Phoenix hard.”
Back in February 2010, the City of Phoenix was in such dire financial straits that erstwhile Mayor Philly Gordon initiated a 2% sales tax on the food people need to survive. This, while unemployment was soaring and amid unprecedented home foreclosures.
Using scare tactics, Gordon and some of his council minions said they were “desperate to avert layoffs of police officers, firefighters and other city workers,” and needed to generate tens of millions of dollars in new revenue for city services such as senior centers and libraries. Yet even in the tough economy, in December 2009, they coughed up $14.3 million in unconscionable “retention bonuses” to 6,989 employees — who should have been happy to still have a job. Then in May 2011 Phoenix handed out an additional $28.9 million in performance pay raises and longevity awards.
Current Mayor Greg Stanton made the repeal of the food tax an integral part of his 2011 campaign as he pledged to abolish the tax by April. Now. while not making a definitive statement, he equivocates, “We still have significant challenges; the economy is not bouncing back as quickly as people had hoped.”
In a recent memo to Stanton and the City Council, City Manager David Cavazos took on the role of hedger-in-chief, removing the onus from Stanton. Cavazos claims a loss in revenue from the food tax could harm the way credit-rating agencies evaluate Phoenix. A lower credit rating would require the city to pay higher interest rates when borrowing money. Then there is the threatening hammer of layoffs of police and fire fighters, though both have been repeatedly funded by bond elections.
Both Gordon and Stanton are unconcealed Democrats who run in shams ridiculously termed “non-partisan” city elections.
And Phoenix City Manager David Cavazos hired on at $236,995 in October 2009? While acting deputy city manager, career city hack Cavazos was suspended for a week without pay after an internal investigation found that under his watch city workers spent more than $280,000 in taxpayer money on questionable travel expenses. That costly lack of management skills didn’t impede Cavazos’ accession to the top job. It does speak volumes about his utter and longstanding disregard for taxpayer dollars.
In the course of issuing warning memos on the “stark circumstances” associated with repealing the outrageous tax on food, David Cavazos was the recent beneficiary of what amounted to the next best thing to winning the lottery jackpot. This past December, Cavazos became the lucky recipient of a 33% raise, which amounts to an extra $78,000 a year! He will now be pulling down a base salary of $315,000 a year plus a $600 monthly car allowance, $35,000 a year in deferred compensation, and a $4,000 “longevity” bonus.
But don’t hold your breath expecting the food tax to disappear.