In the end, Stanton clashed with his colleagues for supporting Biltmore-area residents' wishes to limit building heights and preserve views of the red sandstone cliffs of Camelback Mountain. As for the South Mountain Freeway route, still an unresolved issue, he continues to work with the neighboring Gila River Indian Community to find a location for the freeway on reservation land.

Stanton was skeptical in 2001 when his colleagues supported the idea of building a football stadium in downtown Phoenix. Instead, he led the charge for creating more educational opportunities in the heart of the city, like Bioscience High School, an education center in downtown Phoenix that provides a science-based education for high school students who dream of being medical professionals, scientists, and engineers.

In several high-profile cases, Stanton stood by neighbors, even when the rest of his colleagues on the City Council weren't on his side. That didn't win him friends in high places. He was criticized for being too ambitious. Some political insiders complained that Stanton was indecisive.

A cynical political watcher might say that Stanton often picked neighborhood interests over special interests, carefully measured each decision, and weighed its political ramification with an eye to someday making a bid for mayor.

On the other hand, an optimist might argue that Stanton's approach is counterintuitive, given that elections typically are won with big money, rather than residents' small donations. (In the end, Stanton raised about $615,000 to Gullett's more than $310,000.) They would say that Stanton is a homegrown guy who genuinely wants to do the right thing.

As he was quick to point out at every available opportunity on the stump, Greg Stanton grew up in West Phoenix in a working-class family. His father was a shoe salesman who rode the bus to work every day. Stanton went to law school at Marquette University in Wisconsin but came back to Phoenix to raise a family.

Whatever Stanton's motivations are for being a community advocate, the residents are better off because of it. The bottom line is that for nearly a decade, he aptly represented the city, pushed for education and bioscience development projects, managed to avoid major scandals, and ran a fiscally conservative office.

Stanton made sure residents were happy.

He ran a tight ship in the District 6 office, demanding much from his staff, as they hosted neighborhood events and town hall meetings and worked tirelessly to resolve resident concerns.

Stanton worked just as hard.

For example, after serving a 15-month stint on the City Council, Stanton ran for re-election in 2001. Although he was unopposed in the race, Stanton still went into neighborhoods and knocked on doors.

He wanted people in the district to get to know him better, he said at the time. They must have liked what they saw, because after he'd represented the area for less than two years, nearly 13,000 people cast a vote for Stanton — in an unopposed race.

An ambitious politician, indeed. And for someone with mayoral aspirations, it was smart; this was the district to win over.

Sal DiCiccio, a then-former councilman, told the Republic in 2001 that political clout in the district could boost political careers.

At that time, Phoenix officials were in the midst of redrawing the boundaries for City Council districts. Some thought that District 6, a barbell-shape area that includes the far northern and southern reaches of the city connected only by a stretch of 48th Street, would be split during the redistricting process.

"The real battle will be who ends up with Arcadia and the Biltmore area," DiCiccio told the Republic. "Residents there raise a lot of money for candidates, and practically everyone votes."

Not only did District 6 remain intact, Stanton picked up a chunk of North Central Phoenix, also an area filled with active community leaders who show up to the polls.

It was a boon for Stanton, and the move wasn't contested by any of the council members — not even Councilman Claude Mattox, who also had mayoral aspirations.

"It helps to have a district where the voter turnout is very high," Stanton tells New Times. "But that is a double-edged sword. You have to work your tail off to make sure they turn out and support you. I spent nine years working incredibly hard to make sure they respected my work and my work ethic, even if they didn't agree with all the positions that I took. There is a good reason why, after being gone for two years, District 6 voters overwhelmingly supported me. I'm very proud of that."

Stanton's longtime stable of voters didn't disappoint. They turned out en masse on August 30 and again on November 8, and both times they chose Stanton.

It wasn't just District 6 that put Stanton in the Mayor's Office. During the primary, he beat Gullett in each of the eight City Council districts.

To some extent, Stanton's 17-point lead over Gullett in the primary election was the result of a glut of mayoral candidates splitting the vote. And he was the lone Democrat among five Republicans. But it doesn't account for Stanton's trouncing Councilman Claude Mattox in District 5, an area that Mattox has represented for more than a decade. Or for grabbing the most votes in former Councilwoman Peggy Neely's District 2, a heavily Republican district that she represented for more than a decade.

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12 comments
Kelly Levine
Kelly Levine

I would not be surprised if we end up with 2% food tax for ever and higher water bills to pay for the fat pay checks the city employee's get lot of perks. They even get free bus, and light rail passes to come and go to work. Who in the private sector gets that what about the city retirement how they spike there total income using the unlimited sick time they store up over years all that plus others perks get lumped into the total income then their retirement check every month is based on a % of that. Right now city employees hardly have to contribute anything to there retirement it's all on the backs of city tax payers. Do some research I was shocked when I did why are city employees still living the high life of 2006.

Ross
Ross

Click on the link to Bioscience High School (which at last report was part of Phoenix Union High School District, not City of Phoenix) and you will get a message

"Nothing was found that satisfied your request"

Which kind of summarizes the mayoral election, also.

Guest
Guest

Greg actually went to Michigan for law school fyi

Bnbk
Bnbk

Great work once again Monica !

Guest
Guest

Christ what a shit piece. Did Stanton write it? Ugh. Lacey, demote her to listings.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

Kelly, City Employee contribute a LOT to that retirement - they work for it. They agreed to do the work for that compensation and we, the Citizens of Phoenix - through our elected representatives - agreed to pay them that amount. You know why they get paid well? Because they have to put up with the kind of crap you're posting here. You're obviously a cheat and a liar and we should not listen to your deceitful crap designed to divide the citizens of Phoenix.

Ross
Ross

Marquette for undergraduate degree, Michigan for law school. Michigan's law school is ranked 7th in the country; Marquette is ranked 95th. But what would a New Times writer know about the difference?

Matt Helm
Matt Helm

Wow, Deb, do you kiss your kids with that mouth?

Dogbiter
Dogbiter

Wes, thanks for chiming in. Now go back to your Hobbit hut.

 
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