Phoenix Mayor Stanton Writes… MAY 2018

Mayor Stanton Writes…

Re-Engaging Opportunity Youth

Many times over the years, I’ve said that the future of our city depends on the success of our youth. It seems obvious, but the reality is this is a reminder we need — all across Arizona, we must do more to lift up every child.

In Phoenix, we’ve put special attention on “opportunity youth,” ages 16 to 24, who neither work nor are in school. Research shows that if we don’t get this population re-connected into our economy quickly and help them build the skills they need to compete, it could be an enormous long-term drain on the local economy. In fact, the Morrison Institute estimates that for each “opportunity youth” in our community, taxpayers bear a burden of $51,350 a year.

In our community, this was an especially urgent challenge. Six years ago, a Measure of America report found that nearly one in five young people in this age range fell into that category — one of the highest rates of opportunity youth in the nation. These alarming numbers got us to roll up our sleeves and find a solution.

We teamed up with ASU, the Maricopa County Education Service Agency and many others to get these youth on the path to education or employment.

By partnering with local nonprofit and community organizations, we became the first city in the nation to develop a model to standardize services at 12 re-engagement centers and share data to track our progress. Through this re-engagement network, we’ve provided support services to hundreds of youth, helping them stay in school, get back in school or earn a job.

We’re changing lives by turning libraries into learning centers. Today, more than 120 adults are going back to school and learning skills through the library’s Career Online High School. Even better, so far 70 percent of those who earn their diploma through this program have gone on to enroll in post-secondary education options.

Our efforts are paying off — and creating opportunity. Because of this strategic partnership by city and county leaders, educational professionals and the nonprofit community to form reengagement centers, we’ve seen a significant drop in the number of opportunity youth in the region.

This year’s Measure of America report even highlights Phoenix’s efforts as a model for others.

Each of our youth deserve the opportunity to succeed — and we all have a stake in the future of every youth. We still have much work to do, but the progress we’re making shows we can make a real difference for our youth and change the course of our future for the better.

To learn more about the City of Phoenix or to contact Mayor Stanton, call 602.262.7111 or visit

Mayor Stanton Writes… APRIL 2018

Mayor Stanton Writes…

Just recently, I gave my annual State of the City address and provided a report on what we’ve accomplished together over the last six years — as well as the challenges ahead of us.

It’s remarkable to think of the progress we’ve made, especially when it comes to creating good jobs. Phoenix produced the highest wage growth of any region in the country, and small businesses here raised wages more than anywhere else. We have near record low unemployment rates, our city is a top 10 growing economy, and we continue to grow tech jobs at a fast pace.

Phoenix is stronger than ever and, more importantly, the decisions we’ve made have forever changed the course of our future for the better.

What is especially important about our progress is that we’ve done it together. On the City Council, we’ve worked in a bipartisan way to get things done. And we’ve partnered with many in our city — including the business community — to move in the right direction.

Here are just a few accomplishments worth noting:

  • Phoenix exports are up 20 percent since 2012, compared to just 0.1 percent nationwide. That’s not by accident. Since Day One, we’ve made repairing our relationship with trade partners, especially Mexico, a top priority — and we even established two permanent trade offices in Mexico.
  • We’ve seen a 48 percent increase in tech jobs — that’s more than 24,000 new jobs. The investments we continue to make to help tech companies grow is paying off.
  • The more than $30 million Phoenix has invested in bioscience facilities has helped leverage nearly $500 million of investment from our university partners — both on the downtown biomedical campus and the Arizona Biomedical Corridor near Desert Ridge. Not only are these investments creating good jobs, but they are making sure that our residents have access to world-class health care. And our higher education hub downtown has opened a new pipeline of hard-charging innovators who will drive our economy in the decades to come.
  • Transit continues to help drive people to work and drive our economy. More than $10 billion of investment has been made along the light rail lines since the tracks opened a decade ago. And as a result of the additional investment voters made just a few years ago through Proposition 104, we’ve accelerated the light rail line to Metrocenter by three years and the South Central Light Rail Extension by more than a decade. Connecting the heart of South Phoenix to the rest of the city though light rail will create new economic opportunity and transform our community.
  • We’ve authored one of the best sustainability comeback stories in the world, and it’s because our city has taken real, measurable steps towards a sustainable future. Our commitment to reach our Zero Waste goal by 2050 is gaining international attention. Last year we were one of only 10 cities to be recognized with the C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Award for our leadership in sustainability.

There are still challenges ahead of us, but I’m proud of the work we’re doing to make Phoenix better for everyone. Not only have we created a strong economy for today, but we have also built the foundation for a brighter future that we will hand off to our children. Together, we’ve made it so Phoenix isn’t just growing, we’re growing up.

To learn more about the City of Phoenix or to contact Mayor Stanton, call 602.262.7111 or visit

Mayor Stanton Writes… MARCH 2018

Mayor Stanton Writes…

We’ve worked hard to build an innovation-based economy that works for every Phoenix family. To achieve that, we are attracting big companies that bring good, high-paying jobs in sustainable industries — but equally important, we’re supporting and growing the small businesses that feed our local economy.

And people across the nation are taking notice that Phoenix is a great place to open up shop.

This February, I was honored to receive the Small Business Advocate Award from the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Partner America, which recognized the city’s efforts to offer the best possible tools for small businesses. This accolade is a shared one — and a reflection of the work the City Council has done to adopt common-sense policies that have made it easier than ever to do business in Phoenix.

Over the past several years, we’ve found innovative ways to help support the growth of small businesses so that anyone with a good idea and the willingness to work hard can get started.

When I took office, I listened to concerns from the business community that our permitting system took too long, and it was more complicated than necessary to simply get a business off the ground. We responded by cutting red tape, creating a 24-hour online permitting system, and moving plan reviews online, too. As a result, business owners can spend more time growing their companies and less time waiting in line.

We also gave entrepreneurs a helping hand with business readiness classes to take the guesswork out of starting or growing their companies. The hive@central business incubator in our library helps owners navigate the legal ins and outs of a startup all the way to finding access to capital. And it offers those resources in both English and Spanish. The city’s export boot camp, ExporTech, prepares more established entrepreneurs to sell products and services internationally — and makes easier the process of entering the global marketplace.

Traditionally, cities haven’t taken the lead in offering these kinds of programs and services to businesses. But in Phoenix, it has made all the difference for real entrepreneurs in our community with big dreams.

Jose and Leticia Gamiz brought their dream to the hive@central three years ago. The husband-wife team had a vision for opening a restaurant, and through the Mapa Para Su Negocio curriculum they grew and transformed that idea into a reality. The hive connected them with a network of experienced mentors who helped turn their unique food concept in to the wildly popular Mi Vegana Madre vegan Mexican food truck. When asked about his path to launch the restaurant, Jose Gamiz responded, “Mi Vegana Madre was born in our hearts and our minds, but really it was born at the hive.” That’s a success story everyone in Phoenix can celebrate.

When our small businesses do well, our residents and families get ahead. I’m proud of our progress, and I know Phoenix will continue to do its part to expand opportunities. If there is one message that this award sends locally and nationally, it’s that Phoenix is open for business.

To learn more about the City of Phoenix or to contact Mayor Stanton, call 602.262.7111 or visit

BALLE 2015 Injects New Energy Into Localist Movement

– By Kathryn M. Miller

An enthusiastic crowd officially kicked off the BALLE 2015 Conference the evening of June 10 at the majestic Orpheum Theatre in Downtown Phoenix, led by the Valley’s own localist rock star, Kimber Lanning of Local First Arizona (

Although the conference was well underway with local tours and an opening Vision Session, the Phoenix Sparks event at the Orpheum truly set the stage for the remainder of this week’s activities.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton welcomed conference goers from Arizona and around the country saying, “What Local First Arizona does for Phoenix makes it a stronger city, what you do in your respective cities as passionate localists makes your community stronger and therefore, we are a stronger country because of the work that you do.”

The mayor continued, “Our economy is stronger when we are supporting the health and prosperity and happiness of our local businesses, community leaders and our local organizations.”

And the line-up of Phoenix Sparks speakers went on to underline the mayor’s point.

Speakers included Angela Hughey, ONE Community; Kade Twist, Postcommodity; Oye Waddell, Hustle PHX; Joe Larios, Center for Neighborhood Leadership; Silvana Salcido Esparza, Barrio Cafe; Miguel Jardine, The Local Soil Company; Ann Morton, Artist/Social Practitioner; Joe Johnston, Agritopia; Heidi Jannenga, Web PT; Maynard James Keenan, Caduceus Cellars & Merkin Vineyards. Each provided inspiration and the story of their own localist path and shared how their respective businesses and organizations are making an impact within local communities.

BALLE events picked up again this morning and continue into the afternoon with Conference Tracks on a variety of topics ranging from Community Capital and Local First to Soil & Nature and more, followed by and evening Party in the Park at Civic Space Park and after-hours at Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour – with more of the same tomorrow. The week of events wraps on Saturday with the final two tours of the 2015 BALLE Conference: Arcosanti Tour and Revitalizing Mainstreet in Rural Arizona Tour.

BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) was founded in 2001 to nurture and curate the emergence of a new economy – one that will support the health, prosperity and happiness for all people and regenerate the vital ecosystems upon which our economy depends. Learn more at

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