When you’re working hard, time flies – and 2013 was no exception. But in an era where breaking through the partisan gridlock seems impossible, Mayor Greg Stanton and the City Council proved that elected officials can still work together to get things done, create positive change and strengthen the economy. Thanks to your help,
PHOENIX MADE BIG NEWS IN 2013.
Headlines You Remember
First city to end chronic homelessness among veterans
Second U.S. city to pass Access to Care law, pumping $315 million into local economy
Approved only Arizona trade office in Mexico City
Anti-discrimination law earns Phoenix first perfect Human Rights Campaign score
Stanton-backed pension reforms to save $829 million
City funds help move ASU Law, UA Cancer Center to downtown
More Stories to Tell
PHOENIX AIMS FOR LEADING ROLE ON TRADE, GLOBAL STAGE
Stanton’s four trade missions to Mexico since becoming mayor have dramatically improved relations between Arizona and its neighbor to the south – proving that Phoenix has moved beyond the scourge of SB 1070. And in October, Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs José Antonio Meade applauded Stanton’s efforts to open a new trade office during a visit to City Hall. “It makes a lot of sense given the volume of trade,” he said.
The City Council unanimously approved plans in November to open a full-time office in Mexico City – the next big step in establishing a stronger, more productive Arizona-Mexico trade relationship.
It will also be easier to travel to and from Mexico as Volaris airline launched non-stop routes from Sky Harbor to both Guadalajara and Mexico City. Volaris’ Phoenix debut signals regional economic improvement and welcomes friends, family, and new business partners from Mexico.
Phoenix’s economic opportunities also extended beyond Mexico in 2013. As the only U.S. mayor invited to the World Economic Forum in Dalian, China, Stanton gave a presentation on our local business climate and urban ecosystem and why global organizations should look to invest in Phoenix. With Greater Phoenix Economic Council CEO Barry Broome, Stanton met with international companies such as Henkel about expansion opportunities in the Valley.
STANTON, CITY COUNCIL PUT FOCUS ON SMALL AND LOCAL BUSINESS
To help boost the economy, Stanton and the City Council made common-sense changes in 2013 to make it easier to do business in Phoenix – and with the City of Phoenix. Stanton and the Council unanimously approved recommendations of the Development Process Ad Hoc Task Force, giving the city a much-needed overhaul to its plan review process. Companies can now submit building plans, pay fees, and even secure building permits online. “This will make Phoenix the fastest place for job creation,” said Councilman Sal DiCiccio.
Phoenix also reached an agreement with Maricopa County that allows local businesses to expedite the permit process by applying for county air quality and environmental service permits at city offices. Because of the hard work of the Council – especially Councilman Tom Simplot and Vice Mayor Bill Gates – this dual-function will be available at city Planning and Development offices in February 2014.
SMALL BUSINESSES EARNING MORE CITY CONTRACTS
Each year, the City of Phoenix awards millions of dollars worth of contracts for goods and services to private businesses. Too often, though, those contracts go to large, out-of-state companies rather than businesses here at home. Stanton sought a change, and made increasing state and local small businesses’ opportunities with the city a priority. Now, through the creation of a simple database that local business can sign up for, City of Phoenix procurement officers can more easily find Valley businesses that meet the city's needs. In just two years, the value of city purchases from small local businesses has jumped from $50,000 to $2 million -- an increase of 3,860 percent.
BIOSCIENCE CONTINUES TO ADVANCE
Ground broke in February for construction of the new five-story, 220,000-square-foot University of Arizona Cancer Center at St. Joseph’s Hospital on the downtown Biomedical Campus. The center, which will provide outpatient oncology services, is supported by a $16 million City Council investment – championed by Stanton and Councilman Michael Johnson – to get the project rolling.
Late this year, SynDaver Labs – which makes synthetic human cadavers for medical education and research –unveiled plans to expand to the Phoenix Biomedical Campus and create up to 1,000 jobs over the next three years. Walgreens and Theranos teamed up to open new Theranos Wellness Centers in the Valley, which marks the service’s first expansion outside of California and reflects Phoenix’s new competitiveness in the biosciences.
Stanton also teamed up with ASU President Michael Crow and Mayo Clinic-Arizona Director Dr. Wyatt Decker to make the case for more significant bioscience investment, and highlight the 1,000-acre Arizona Bioscience Corridor near Desert Ridge as a hotspot for research, innovation, and commercialization.
'ACCESS TO CARE' LIFTS LOCAL HOSPITALS, PUMPS $315 MILLION INTO PHOENIX ECONOMY
When Phoenix hospitals faced skyrocketing uncompensated care costs – to the tune of $540 million a year – health care leaders warned that they might have to cut services local residents have counted on for years. Stanton and the City Council responded, making Phoenix the second city in the nation to pass an innovative measure to draw new funds from the federal government. The Access to Care ordinance outperformed projections, pouring $315 million into the Phoenix economy, and even serving as a model for Gov. Jan Brewer’s Medicaid expansion plan.
PENSION REFORMS ELIMINATE SPIKING, SAVE TAXPAYERS $829 MILLION
Stanton and a majority of the City Council took significant action to rein in the long-term costs of the city pension systems. In March, nearly 80 percent of voters approved the Stanton-backed plan to require future employees to pay half the cost of their pensions, which will save taxpayers an estimated $596 million over the next 25 years.
In October, the Council ended pension spiking, passing a plan that eliminated city employees’ ability to count car and cell phone allowances, as well as payouts for unused sick and vacation leave, toward a pension. The anti-spiking measures – which were among the toughest in the nation and earned the support of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce – will save approximately $233 million over the next 25 years, bringing the total pension savings to nearly $830 million.
CITY INVESTMENTS CONTINUE TO BUILD A MORE URBAN DOWNTOWN
“A great downtown isn’t skyscrapers alone,” Stanton said during his 2013 State of the City Address. “It must be a neighborhood chock-full of life.” That’s why he and the City Council have made key investments to transform downtown into an urban hub of industry, education, commerce, entertainment and residential life.
With help from a city investment, Arizona State University is expected to begin construction on the new Arizona Center for Law and Society – the future home of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law – on city-controlled land downtown. Councilman Michael Nowakowski joined Stanton and ASU President Michael Crow to unveil the design for the new center, which will stand between Taylor, Polk, First and Second streets. ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts also announced plans to move some classes to downtown’s Warehouse District. These projects, combined with the UA-St. Joseph’s Cancer Center will continue to add academic life to our region’s urban center.
University students and downtown residents also continue to see progress on Phoenix efforts to make downtown more walkable. More than a half million dollars were approved to modernize sidewalks and add parklets.
STANTON PUSHES TRANSIT EXPANSION, BIKE-FRIENDLY OPTIONS
During the toughest of economic times, the City Council approved the funds to complete Metro Light Rail’s Northwest Extension. Construction began in January, and when it’s complete in late 2015, riders will be able to travel north all the way to 19th and Dunlap avenues. PHX Sky Train’s opening in April allows travelers to get off a plane at Sky Harbor and get to downtown Phoenix – and soon downtown Mesa – without ever stepping into a motor vehicle. Sky Train’s ridership is 40 percent higher than anticipated. And because of strong direction from city leaders, including Councilwoman Thelda Williams, who serves as chair of the Council’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, more than 73 million riders took Valley Metro light rail and bus during FY 2013 – setting a new transit record for the Valley.
Phoenix is making major strides to become a more bike-friendly community. Stanton and the City Council approved $1.5 million for bike infrastructure projects, including new bike lanes, and the launch of a new regional bike share program. “Grid Bikes” will bring 500 bikes to Phoenix by June next year as well as another 500 to Tempe and Mesa.
PHOENIX FIRST IN U.S. TO END CHRONIC VETERAN HOMELESSNESS
When Stanton took office, he pledged to unite the city to tackle homelessness – and today, Phoenix is the first U.S. city to end chronic homelessness among veterans. The feat wasn’t easy – and it took a wide coalition of non-profit organizations, faith-based groups, business leaders and government agencies. But those who wore our nation’s uniform – who spent an average of eight years living on the streets – now have a more secure and stable life with access to the resources they need to stay healthy.
Phoenix’s work to honor our veterans doesn’t stop at housing – the city is leading the way to help veterans who need a job find one. For more than a year, Stanton has worked with businesses and community partners to find jobs for unemployed veterans through the Hire, Educate, Recruit and Organize (H.E.R.O.) Initiative. H.E.R.O. is much more than a job fair – it’s a comprehensive event that prepares veterans as they transition to civilian work, matches them with ideal employers, and helps with applications and interview skills. Ensuring that Phoenix’s veterans are employed isn’t just the right thing to do – it also strengthens our economy.
PUBLIC SAFETY REMAINS CITYWIDE PRIORITY
In preparation for hosting the 2015 Super Bowl, Stanton created the Child Trafficking Task Force – made up of public officials, law enforcement experts, and community advocates – to combat crimes often present at large scale events. The task force, headed by Councilman Jim Waring, will examine best practices and provide support to state-level legislative efforts to end child trafficking. In September, with the help of federal funds, Phoenix swore in 15 new police officers – the first hired by the city in four years. Councilman Daniel Valenzuela met with federal officials during each of his first two years in office to help secure the resources.
MAJOR JOB ANNOUNCEMENTS CONTINUE
Phoenix continued to lure quality jobs in 2013. A few of the more exciting announcements: USAA plans to hire 1,000 new employees... SynDaver Labs also expects to hire 1,000 new employees... Silicon Valley-based Gigya will create 200 new Phoenix jobs... Consumer protection leader Asurion will hire 500 Phoenicians... Progrexion will hire for 750 new positions.
Quotes that Count
“I have never been more proud to be a citizen of this city than I am today. What you have done is marvelous. We welcome, we honor, and we appreciate our veterans. Without these brave Americans America would not be the country that it is today.”
– U.S. Sen. John McCain, on Phoenix efforts to become the first U.S. city to end chronic homelessness among veterans
“Keeping our citizens and our hospitals healthy is just good business, and that is what this ordinance is all about.”
– Glenn Hamer, CEO, Arizona Chamber of Commerce, on Phoenix’s Access to Care ordinance
“Here in Phoenix, thanks to the hard work of everyone from Mayor Stanton to the local United Way to US Airways, you’re on track to end chronic homelessness for veterans, period, by 2014.
But we've got to keep going, because nobody in America, and certainly no veteran, should be left to live on the streets.”
– President Barack Obama, speaking at Phoenix’s Desert Vista High School
“At PetSmart, we believe diversity makes us a better company, and we think the same holds true for the City of Phoenix. We are proud to be headquartered in a city that celebrates diversity and equality for all its residents. Congratulations to Mayor Stanton and the City on this exciting milestone.”
– Andy Izquierdo, Vice President of Corporate Affairs, PetsMart, on Phoenix earning a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Scorecard
“Effective partnerships are one example of ways in which we can make our boundaries more permeable and our innovations more effective. The University of Arizona is proud to work with St. Joseph’s Hospital and the City of Phoenix to further cancer research, prevention, and treatment. We also give a special thank you to Mayor Greg Stanton and members of the Phoenix City Council. The center will create several hundred permanent jobs and have an economic impact of $250 million per year.”
– Dr. Ann Weaver Hart, President, The University of Arizona, on the new UA Cancer Center in downtown Phoenix
“By already reaching its 2015 target for emissions reduction, the city of Phoenix has demonstrated its commitment to sustainability practices and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Continuing these practices and adopting the recommended actions should not only double emissions reductions by 2015, but also create a more resilient metropolitan region.”
– Dr. Rajesh Buch, Practice Lead, ASU Sustainability Solutions Services, on Phoenix goal-shattering sustainability efforts
Tweets Worth Retweeting
@AZSuperBowl: "'We cannot wait to put on the best Super Bowl in history!' ~Phoenix @MayorStanton #FAMtrip" (Nov. 11)
@mistyhyman: "Let's get healthy Phoenix!! #FitPHX Goal: move Phx up from 26th to top 10 in American Fitness Index! #wegotthis" (Jan. 8)
@MayorStanton: "@brittneygriner You are going to love Phx and the passionate @PhoenixMercury fans. Welcome to our city! #GrinerStreet" (Apr. 15)
@Education_Envoy: "Our children have been doing their part. #Phx @MayorStanton summer #reading challenge. 159,783...#books and counting! #Education" (July 17)
@viajaVolaris: "Volaris realizó el vuelo inicial Guadalajara- Phoenix y anunció la ruta Ciudad de México- Phoenix: México DF." (Oct. 21)
@MayorStanton: "Congrats to tonight's @AZCEH award winners, and especially to @JodiLiggett - her hard work helped our office achieve Advocate of the Year." (Oct. 29)
@MayorStanton: "Honored to work with Brendan Mahoney @bnmlaw - architect of #PHX human rights ord - lifetime achievement award winner. #EQAZgala." (Sept. 14)
@dustingardiner: "#Phoenix @MayorStanton talks to a group of homeless veterans at a shelter. Talking suicide, drug abuse. Heavy stuff." (May 9)
@GridBikes: "Smile :D. Bike share is here! @MayorStanton introduced the Phoenix Regional Bike Share Program today! #gridbikes." (Oct. 28)
@tomsimplot: "Let there be light in #Melrose! #phx" (Nov. 20)
@phxspokespeople: "@MayorStanton @billgatesaz @DTValenzuela We love the beautiful new pedestrian bridge at 15th ave and Dunlap. Thank you from all of us!" (Sept. 14)
@JenLongdon: "In the neighborhood of 940 guns voluntarily surrendered today. Thank you @MayorStanton,
@phoenixpolice & AZ4Gun Safety! Phoenix safer 2nite." (May 18)
@MayorStanton: "Congrats to Coach Vaughan and the @Mountain_Pointe football team. Undefeated season and state champions. @CityofPhoenixAZ proud of you." (Dec. 1)
@MarriageAZ: ".@MayorStanton: 'I want the very best & brightest to stay here in -#Phoenix, including our -#LGBT community.' #AZ4M" (Nov. 25)