PHOENIX — Thursday was inauguration day for four members of the Phoenix City Council.
Newly-elected council members Laura Pastor and Kate Gallego joined re-elected incumbents Jim Waring and Sal DiCiccio in swearing in ceremonies at the Orpheum Theater in Phoenix.
Gallego made one of the most notable comments during the day’s speeches. She is the first woman to represent District 8 on the council. Gallego said that a lot of the residents of her district are illegal immigrants, including Dreamers who were brought to America as children and want to get an education here. Gallego said she’ll be giving them a job.
“For the first time in Phoenix history, and maybe for the first time anywhere in the country, the majority of my staff will be Dreamers,” Gallego announced.
Many Dreamers worked for Gallego during her campaign.
Pastor, who represents District 4, is the daughter of Arizona Rep. Ed Pastor. She joins a divided city council, but pledged that she’ll work with other councilmembers to get things done.
“Compromise is neither a bad word nor a bad thing,” she said. “It simply means achieving together.”
But some council members hinted that there will be more differences to come in 2014. In his inauguration speech, Waring said that he probably will not agree with Pastor and Gallego on every issue, but he said “I believe we can do much to move the city forward.”
Meanwhile, DiCiccio, considered the most controversial member of the council, has had his differences with Mayor Greg Stanton. In 2013, he accused Stanton of trying to rig a vote concerning pension spiking.
But during his inauguration, DiCiccio praised every member of the council, and even jokingly said he loves Stanton.
“You may not think I do, but I do like him,” he said.
When some members of the audience laughed, DiCiccio quipped “I do like him! There’s no one I don’t like pretty much. Well, maybe one or two.”
In the coming year, DiCiccio said the city still needs to do more to do away with pension spiking.
“We don’t have the money to pay for it, folks,” he said. “We’ve got to create a model to do that. That’s not going to happen here at City Hall. That is going to have to be done through an initiative process.”
DiCiccio also said the city needs to encourage more schools to move to downtown Phoenix. And he claimed that Phoenix City Hall is run by “those pesky union guys” and that needs to stop.
Meanwhile, Waring used his inaugural speech to call for more spending to fight domestic violence. He said it claimed more than 130 lives in Arizona in 2013. He said that Phoenix spends more to maintain its golf courses that it does to protect people from domestic violence.
“$6 million to $7 million for golf versus $200,000 for domestic violence. We need to reverse those numbers,” he said. “Life and death issues should be something that we should focus on here.”
Waring chairs the city’s Human Trafficking Task Force and said it’s also a big problem in Phoenix.
“It’s getting more attention now because the Super Bowl is coming here (in 2015),” said Waring. “Amazingly to me, people of means, people who should know better in all walks of life, are coming here and will engage in abhorant practices with young people. That is absolutely not acceptable.”
Waring vowed to get that message to visitors coming here for the big game.
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