The Phoenix Chamber is hosting a televised debate on August 15 in partnership with KPHO, our local CBS affiliate. Despite the fact that a number of political analysts predict that Wright is going to run second or third in this hotly-contested primary of six candidates on August 30, GPCC figured out a way to keep Wright out from in front of the cameras.
They devised a list of six "Candidate Eligibility Criteria." Wright met five of the six, but was shut out of the big debate since she hadn't raised $50,000 by a certain date, one day after she formally entered the race! Anna Brennan was also excluded. The Chamber's lobbyist, Michelle Bolton, is quoted as saying: "It's anyone's game at this point." No, it isn't. Not when two of the six hopefuls are kept off the field.
Arizona's newspaper of record, likewise, left out any mention of Wright or Brennan when they gave their endorsement to political operative Wes Gullett. The laughable part here is that Gullett is running as a conservative outsider, when he is a lobbyist and worked for Senator John McCain and Governor Fife Symington and later supported Janet Napolitano for governor. His wife was Mayor Phil Gordon's chief of staff. He lobbied for the Service Employees International Union whose bosses are as close to professional henchmen as you can get. Some conservative. Some outsider.
What's really going on here can be summed up in one word: unions.
There are a number of union contracts coming up for renewal. Wright and Gullett say they will stand up to the costly union demands instead of getting in bed with union leaders. Candidate Peggy Neely says she will fight the unions, too, but she's slept with them for so long that she has bedsores. Claude Mattox simply pretends that union problems are already being solved.
At least snake-oil salesman Greg Stanton doesn't pretend he will abandon his union good buddies. That honest stance is the only redeeming feature of this little rodent who is adept at trickery and radiates smarm. Get this: He wants to promote the arts as an economic engine. His victory would be the worst outcome for Phoenix residents.
Consider the fact that Greg Stanton had $70,000 stolen from his last city council campaign by his treasurer, Mindy Shields. Mindy happens to be the daughter of Billy Shields, the former head of the firefighters' union. Papa Billy is not someone you want be crossways with, because, in my opinion, he is the poster child for union thuggery. Whether Stanton can spend the $70,000 – repaid to him by Mindy Shields' father and mother – is highly debatable. Before you feel too sorry for Stanton, remember that it was his choice to lay down where he got fleas.
Much of the press is bemoaning the fact that they don't see candidates with big ideas and a big vision for Phoenix. Let's see how well that works out. Remember when Mayor Terry Goddard had this grand vision of Formula One auto racing around the city? All the streets had to be finely honed to accommodate the pricey sport. The only big vision I saw from that was money going down the drain.
I'll settle for honesty, intelligence and a person of good moral principles and personally would be delighted to see Jennifer Wright as Phoenix mayor. Ironically, she is being criticized for looking too young. It's in the genes, folks! She has accomplished plenty.
What the mainstream media and the Phoenix Chamber really don't like about Wright is that the Tea Parties like her and, under her watch, Phoenix will no longer be a sanctuary city. I can still see Mayor Phil Gordon on national TV, lying through his teeth as he proclaimed that Phoenix was not a sanctuary city.
Make no mistake: The national union bosses decided to use the Phoenix election as a test case. If they can take over the council, they will apply the tactic all over the nation at a time when folks are tired of plush union retirement benefits and perks breaking the banks of cities everywhere. You can bet that the $2 million they are pouring into Phoenix will have hooks of steel.