"I come from a family that has been involved with some capacity of public service for as long as I can remember. I want to work with you and work for you. We need to create more living-wage jobs and encourage both small and big businesses to call Phoenix home, ensure affordable housing options, improve our schools, develop and incorporate more innovative and efficient infrastructure, become the most sustainable desert city and rebuild the public safety landscape that serves and protects us ALL. With over 20 years of communications, marketing, public relations, community service, and public experience, I know what it takes to find solutions, navigate through the noise, and get things done."
As the son of parents who retired from education, I know the importance and encourage the need for a real education. This is why I have always jumped at any opportunity to be involved in local public, private, and charter school programs. For years, Phoenix public schools, overall, have ranked as some of the worst in the country and as of 2019, Arizona ranked as the third-worst public education system in the nation. This MUST change.
We have to give each student, and the teachers, the resources at the city level for success. This includes more free wifi access to underserved communities, mobile/learning device programs, city-sponsored scholarship opportunities, and also provide better financial opportunities for our educators.
It's time for our children in Phoenix to leave the old stigma behind and look for new ways to reach all students, in all schools, in every neighborhood across the city. A quality education unlocks the potential of people and the success of our communities. It's time every student has equal access and opportunity.
For too long, Phoenix has depended on the current Mayor's Transportation 2050 (T2050) Plan and the previous Transit 2000, which included(s) plans for inefficient and incompleted "improvements," and what other major global cities consider to be outdated infrastructure, including our light rail system. The average commuter and other concerned citizens, consider parts of this plan to be a waste of tax-payer dollars and cite increases in loitering, crime, and unsanitary conditions associated with it.
To be CLEAR, I support light rail, subway, and bus transportation and have ridden in Phoenix and other cities I have lived in. What I do not support is expanding the system into parts of town, where developers and city officials, have made and are making deals, to gentrify those areas. I encourage growth but, not at the expense of people's livelihood in the areas of construction. This isn't a Red or Blue issue with me, it's a people and our money issue.
Let's move to our Valley Metro bus system, which as of 2019, moves approximately 49M people around the Valley every year. Our current fleet is comprised of buses that run on diesel, but there is a better option; all-electric buses. They’re cleaner, healthier and save money for transit agencies.
States like California, Texas, Florida, Colorado, and Indiana have already implemented zero-emission buses and in addition to the public health and environmental benefits, transit agencies also see cost savings due to the reduced fuel and maintenance costs of electric buses. Yes, electric transit buses cost around $200,000 more than diesel buses, but, they save around $400,000 in fuel and maintenance over their lifetime and, there are multiple options to help overcome the initial purchase price, let's look at how to use them.
It's time to utilize our dollars towards smarter, cleaner, safer, and more innovative transportation and technology options that make sense for our community and that people look forward to using.
The homeless or unsheltered population and their issues must be addressed now, before it's too late. Homelessness has been proven to be much more expensive when you ignore it than solve it.
The Chinese proverb, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime" best describes my plan to attack this issue facing our city. While I intend to work with current bi-partisan plans in place, I will also modify according to new numbers (including COVID-19's effect on our populations), and add programs to strengthen our resources in getting people back on their feet.
Helping hands > Handouts.
Another program I am interested in creating involves partnering with local companies to mitigate homelessness in Phoenix, by building communities focused on serving those coming out of chronic homelessness and want an affordable, permanent place to call home. We can shelter first, then focus on drug abuse, mental disorders and/or other personal issues.
However, I do know this issue affects everyone differently and we will also look at support services to help long-term unsheltered individuals with addictions, mental health issues, and medical conditions.
Homelessness in Phoenix isn't just about housing, public health or policies, it's a complex issue that will require thinking like we've never done, to get results we've never seen.
Police Funding & Community Relations
If there is anything the past few months have shown us, is that now is the time to rethink how our neighborhoods are protected and served and the agencies who do it. No matter the race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, the safety of each citizen must be our highest priority, as well as the safety of our law enforcement officials.
So, it's not misunderstood, I support our Phoenix Police and Sheriff's Departments. I have family members, best friends, and throughout my radio career, have been fortunate to meet and build relationships with a good amount of people who protect our neighborhoods and cities across the country. What I don't support is the lack of transparency, accountability and disciplinary/legal action when law enforcement officers and agencies are at fault.
We also need conversations about how we can utilize our resources with the understanding that there has to be some type of baseline in policing Phoenix to protect us. However, Police can't and shouldn't be the response to every situation. As for action, let's start by analyzing our 911 calls and police reports, look at the data and see how many of the calls required an officer, or if there were other ways the cases could have been handled.
If the cases could have better served the community by using social workers, case managers or, mental health workers, then let's develop a strategy to pay for that (using the budget we already have), whether by outsourcing or strengthening our department with those people.
Our response to homelessness, poverty or citizens in need, doesn't have to be law enforcement every time. We have to shift funds to more of the things that we know can make our communities healthy and safe and not solely fund police, thinking it will solve all of our city's problems.
Another option is to adopt community policing. This has traditionally been viewed as a strategy, which supports the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving methods, to proactively address public safety issues. This initiative encourages interactive partnerships with relevant stakeholders, leaders, and active citizens of the communities, to work with the police in their specific area.
It's time for Consistency, it's time for Accountability, and it's time for Transparency; from both the police and the people. It's time for us to Restructure, Re-allocate, and Re-evaluate our police/community relationship, TOGETHER.
In Boy Scouts, our motto was "be prepared" and, I have followed that throughout my entire life since. Being the fifth largest city in America, we shouldn't be playing catch-up or maintain a stance of reactive versus proactive. We must "be prepared" as much as possible for any public threat or surprise outbreak.
Since COVID-19 has taken over our lives, 30 plus million Americans are not only facing unemployment but, are also losing their healthcare benefits. Employment and healthcare shouldn't be dependent on each other. In the future, I would like to see a system in place where healthcare is available and affordable to everyone.
From influenza to sexual health, to pandemic response, it should all be approached from a bipartisan angle, to work together to prevent future outbreaks and address any future health crises facing Phoenicians.
On the local front, it is important we support our first responders and front line workers by giving them the PPE, compensation and help they need and deserve.
Infrastructure & Environment
As mayor, my goal is to move Phoenix forward as efficient, innovative, improvisational, and most importantly, inclusive as possible.
My plan is to implement city policy that protects both our environment AND the local economy. That’s why I’m consulting with individuals and companies to work on real renewable energy and tech solutions to protect and create Valley jobs, economic progress, and reduce emissions.
By doing this, we can create and build a true smart city via smart infrastructure, smart mobility and smart technology. Our Phoenix Smart Infrastructure can simplify and improve life for residents and visitors can benefit from. More accessible free WiFi, responsive websites and mobile apps, can make us a leader in the "smart city" space in the U.S.
I also believe that every Phoenician should have the opportunity to contribute to our great city, in taking us to the future. All of us have had those "quirky inventions" or hidden-genius ideas that could be just what our city needs and could potentially improve our lives. I want to hear about those ideas your family, friends and others think are crazy because it's that kind of thinking that will lead this city to the future.