This is the latest newsletter from Sal DiCicco, Phoenix City Councilman:
“A FAXED MESSAGE THAT WAS SENT ON 2/18/2011 CONSISTS OF WHAT APPEARS TO BE A TARGET WITH A SILHOUETTE OF MR. DICICCIO AT THE CENTER. THAT THE MESSAGE WAS SENT TO MR. DICICCIO NEAR THE TIME OF THE TUCSON, ARIZONA, SHOOTING; A SHOOTING IN WHICH AN ELECTED OFFICIAL WAS A PRIMARY TARGET, MAKES IT OF GREATER CONCERN.” — Phoenix Police report 4-11-11-click for actual report
You want to know why things don’t get done in politics? Because special interests that live off of your tax money will do and say anything to keep their gravy train — at your expense. Most decision-makers cave to the pressure.
People have asked why I have been so determined to make the changes necessary to protect you and your family. It’s because I have hope and because I believe. I believe in Phoenix, that we can make our city a better place. And I believe the current path, the one taken by Detroit, General Motors and Greece, should move to a path that makes us economically strong long into the future and protects our quality of life.
Things don’t get done because it is too easy for most to walk away and leave someone else to deal with the problems.
The calls and the threats started to pile on when I began exposing a system where employees can walk away with hundreds of thousands dollars of your money at retirement, that Phoenix’s 15,000 employees get an average $100,000 in total compensation, 40 1/2 days off a year (to start), free transit, $8,000 a year for education expenses, post-employment health dollars and a generous guaranteed-payment pension that allows them to retire in their 50s (plus more benefits). All these are perks that your tax dollars fund for city employees, benefits I’ll bet that you — the boss — don’t get.
Check out this is the fax sent by the city of Phoenix labor union “Aiming for you.” It was one of a dozen faxes, most with union letterhead and sent from a union fax machine, that made threats and called names.
My car was vandalized in a secure city hall parking garage that only city employees can enter. Click here for Phoenix Police report.
They even faxed me a picture of the car I drive (often with my kids in it), to send the message that they watch me. And my wife got a call at home asking if she knew of any good agents for union workers. Not very subtle.
OK, I get that elected officials get hooted at and called names. That’s just part of the package, and I can handle that. I’m a big boy. Besides, I don’t work for them. I work for you. But such tactics show you why change is so hard and why so many don’t take on big issues.
The bullying really kicked into high gear when I took to the Legislature Senate Bill 1322 (SB1322), an idea to help bring some fiscal sanity to the city and relief to taxpayers. All it does is require big cities to check if the private sector might be able to do some non-core and non-public safety work more efficiently and less expensively, saving taxpayers that hugely expensive labor load and skyrocketing pension costs. It could save taxpayers between $250 and $300 million per year, in Phoenix alone. Union workers could bid on those jobs also; they just had to compete on a level playing field, for the first time. It treats everyone, you and the employees, fairly.
You wonder why so little fiscal reform happens at the city of Phoenix, why Phoenix would rather raise your taxes and fees ($130 million in the past year) than stand up to union bullies who threaten (and elect) them. They’d rather pass a food tax on the poorest among us who can least afford it than stand up to the special interests. And don’t buy the “employee sacrifice” line. After getting close to 20 percent in compensation increases the past five years (which you pay for) during the worst recession of our lives, the employee give-back is around 1 percent. How much has your worth declined in the past five years? More than 1 percent?
Their plan is all so predictable: First come the threats, then recall, then smear and more smear and finally a candidate is presented with the secretive backing of the special interests.
I need your help
You no longer need to accept mediocrity from your employees; as the boss, you should be expecting more, not less. You no longer need to accept higher water bills, higher taxes on your food, expensive fees on your business that stifle job creation. You have my commitment. I do need a small commitment from you. Help everyone you know be aware of the changes needed to fix this. You must demand this change from your elected officials. Please pass this along, call your legislators. I need you to call your councilperson and say enough is enough, you need to represent me and my family and not the special interests.
My best to you and your family,
Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio represents District 6, which includes Ahwatukee, Arcadia, Biltmore, East Camelback and North Central. He can be reached at email@example.com or 602-262-7491.