As Controller I made multiple visits to SCI Phoenix to meet with a group of concerned inmates, Real Street Talk (RST), to discuss how to end our gun violence crisis. Meeting with community leaders with solutions for the violence was not new to me. Still, their unique perspective left an everlasting impression on me. These are men who will spend most, if not the rest of, their lives in SCI Phoenix. Even while incarcerated, the violence on our streets touched their lives.. The message from these men was in one accord we must provide our young men with pathways to get out of the street lifestyle. They believed that incarceration was no longer a deterrent for few young men driving the violence and that until they felt their life had value this violence would not end. This experience drives the work I do for our city every day. These men intuitively described the evidence-based strategies that have successfully reduced gun violence in communities nationwide and expressed that our residents want and need the same thing, opportunity. Real Street Talk reaffirmed that we all must lead compassionately because that is the only way to move forward.
First is public safety. All of us deserve to feel safe no matter your neighborhood. I will activate the emergency operations center to coordinate our city’s response to gun violence. I will get illegal guns off our streets, implement proven intervention and diversion strategies to prevent violence in the short term, and make long-term investments in our least advantaged neighborhoods to lift residents out of poverty and address the root cause of the violence. Then, fixing our schools. As a public school parent with a daughter in 7th grade, this issue is personal. Zip code shouldn’t determine the quality of your education. I would appoint a school board that shares my vision for the equitable and world-class education all of our students deserve. I’ll direct libraries and rec centers to offer programming outside of school hours to advance our students’ educational goals and give our kids a safe place to be outside of the classroom. Finally, improving city services. We must ensure services are meeting our residents’ needs at a high standard. That means timely trash pick up, faster 911 response times, and a policing model responsive to the specific needs of every neighborhood.
Firstly, I am the only candidate with citywide executive experience. I also know our city’s budget inside and out from serving as Budget Director and Controller, where I conducted financial audits of our city’s departments and how they spend our resources. As a result, I have the knowledge and experience to ensure that our tax dollars are spent in a way that serves their highest purpose. While serving in the Controller’s office, I also conducted reports on our city services to identify inefficiencies and inequities in their delivery to our different neighborhoods. I provided recommendations to the mayor about solving the identified challenges, from on-time trash pick-up to the police budget. Not only did that take political courage, it means I have actual plans to deliver the world-class city services that our residents deserve by eliminating red tape and inefficiencies that I would implement as Mayor.
I have a proven record of creating real pathways to change for our city by identifying issues, connecting with stakeholders, and building consensus to guide the change we need to make government work for the people of this great city.
For example, when I was Controller, and my office investigated the city’s response to the civil unrest after George Floyd’s murder, we created a community council composed of residents from different neighborhoods and with different political philosophies. We had members of our council who fundamentally “backed the blue” and others who believed in “defunding the police.” Despite these ideological differences, we successfully created a call-to-action that every member of our council agreed to. This was only accomplished because my office and I consistently met with this group to build consensus and ensured that our council members heard and understood each other’s perspectives. We were able to build consensus on a topic that, at the time, was the most polarizing issue in our communities. We were only able to do this because we were committed to doing the work to break down silos and build bridges.