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Recall efforts filed against 3 council members

Three of Phoenix’s nine City Council members face recall efforts.

A retired attorney filed a recall application in November against Councilman Michael Nowakowski over a traffic-calming project in a historic neighborhood.

North Phoenix residents did the same to Councilwoman Peggy Neely on April 5 over a controversial road project near a swath of the Phoenix’s Sonoran Preserve.

And a group called “Save Phoenix Taxpayers” filed recall papers against City Councilman Sal DiCiccio on April 8 over state legislation DiCiccio wrote that could threaten some municipal jobs.

The Arizona Republic reported that It remains unclear whether any of the efforts will make it to the ballot and force a sitting council member into a recall election.

No one in Phoenix ever has lost his or her office in a recall election.

Richard Gayer has submitted more than 5,000 signatures as part of his recall petition against Nowakowski. Gayer is opposed to a traffic-calming project in the Willo Historic District just north of downtown Phoenix, which he says will diminish the value of his home.

Nowakowski argues that a majority of Willo residents support the project and is confident he’ll survive a recall. “As long as you’re doing the right thing, and you’re listening to the community, that’s all that matters,” Nowakowski said. “Mr. Gayer is just one voice.”

Phoenix officials are reviewing the signatures Gayer submitted, acting City Clerk Cris Meyer said. He said if the signatures are valid, Nowakowski’s name could appear twice on the Aug. 30 ballot — once in a recall election to determine if the councilman should serve the final nine months of his term, and another as Nowakowski runs to serve another four-year term serving District 7.

Nowakowski said the recall against Neely is “purely political” because she’ll likely run for mayor. .

Neely has an exploratory committee for mayor and must resign if she becomes an official candidate. If she does resign, there won’t be a recall.

Many supporting Neely’s recall have already thrown political support to mayoral candidate Wes Gullett, a potential rival to Neely if she runs for mayor.

“Some of the dates are curious, but I still say it’s a democratic process and we should let it work its way through,” Neely said about the recall effort.

Clif Freedman, president of the Sonoran Citizens Improvement Association, said the recall effort is about Neely’s support of Sonoran Boulevard, a road that neighbors in north Phoenix say will bring traffic congestion to the area.

The group must collect 2,925 signatures by Aug. 3 to trigger a recall election.

DiCiccio has been fundraising since last fall, preparing for labor leaders to launch a recall against him.

His push for limited government and privatization of city services has been controversial, with city employees protesting and calling for his ouster.

He penned state legislation that would require Phoenix to competitively bid city services costing more than $75,000. Public-employee unions have protested the proposal.

DiCiccio said the recall effort is an intimidation tactic.

“I was told if I don’t back off, then this is what would be happening,” DiCiccio said. “The only thing is I don’t get intimidated.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

2 comments

  1. Peggy Neely will NEVER be elected Mayor of Phoenix. As a trusted representative of District 2 she violated her fiduciary obligation to her electors. She has “sold out” to commercial interests like Westcor. She has a clear conflict of interest by having Paul Gilbert, a zoning attorney for Westcor on her campaign staff helping to raise money for her failed bid for Mayor. As head of Transportation for the City of Phoenix as a City Council member, Peggy Neely gerrymandered Sonoran Blvd, a road that was supposed to link the new 303 loop east to Route 51. Upon information and belief she was paid off by Westcor with the help of attorney Paul Gilbert to not only change the name of Sonoran Blvd but to actually build the road so that it aligns with Westcor’s property in Northern Phoenix and NOT Route 303. This, of course, enhances the value of Westcor’s 80 acre commercial parcel of property. Why is this important? Because now motorists who are traveling on the new extension of 303 won’t be able to travel east of I-17 to get to Route 51. Peggy Neely for political purposes “broke” the loop and has caused motorists irreparable harm. Not only that but because of her blind ambition to become Mayor, the road Peggy Neely is building, the NEW Sonoran Blvd., will dead end in a Phoenix residential community causing massive traffic and confusion for NOT only the local residents but for the folks who will be traveling WEST from North Scottsdale, Cave Creek Road area, and Carefree who think they are going to I-17 or 303. They will dead end at the intersection of North Valley Parkway and the NEW Neely Sonoran Blvd. This is called the Road To Nowhere. However, there a simple solution, build the Road To Somewhere. The Road To Somewhere is where the road was originally supposed to be built. This road is ONE mile south of the Neely-Westcor Road and perfectly aligns with the new Route 303. In fact, there is funding for this road and not for the Neely-Westcor Road. I am President of the Sonoran Citizens Improvement Association. My name is Clif Freedman. See http://www.sornorancitizens.com

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