Wes Gullett, Mayoral Candidate Who Has Vilified City Workers' Unions, Twice Sought Endorsement from Phoenix Firefighters Union
Wes Gullett's has built his mayoral campaign on being an outsider, not part of the status quo and on not being beholden to "big labor" (um, unions).
In fact, Camp Gullett put out a press release today knocking Greg Stanton for winning the endorsement of the firefighters' union. One glaring omission in the release is that Gullett -- not once, but twice -- sought out the same endorsement.
Pete Gorraiz, president of the United Phoenix Fire Fighters Association, tells New Times that Gullett personally called sniffing out the union's endorsement.
"They talk about transparency, let's be transparent," says Gorriaz.
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Needless to say, Gullett didn't get the endorsement.
Hypocrisy on the part of Gullett to seek approval of a group that he's rallied against?
"I don't see anything contradictory with meeting with those folks," says Daniel Scarpinato, a spokesman for the Gullett camp. "We'd like everyone's support."
He expertly spins the conversation back to Stanton, pointing out that Stanton got the union's approval because of his stance on the food tax. (Stanton proposes eliminating in April 2013 after determining ways to make up the revenue to continue to support city services.)
Gullett first met with Gorriaz before the August 20 primary. Gorraiz says that Gullett called to set up a meeting and the two met at the firefighters' union hall.
The second time, after the primary election in which Gullett secured himself a spot as a finalist in the mayor's race, Gullett again called Gorriaz. This time the two met at a coffee shop.
Gorraiz revealed that Neely, who also bashed her opponents for securing a union endorsement during her failed campaign, also sought the firefighters' endorsement.
Gorriaz response to the man who deliberately vilified unions and aligns himself with those, like Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who bash city employees?
"I told him that it wasn't possible because is his anti-employee rhetoric," Gorriaz says. "It wasn't possible because his discussions about getting rid of the food tax immediately ... without any ideas about the impact on public safety and city services. They are acting reckless and irresponsible. They are just grandstanding with indifference to city residents."
Each meeting between Gullett, who recently won the endorsement of the local Tea Party, and the president of the firefighters' union lasted about 20 minuets.
Gorriaz said he wasn't surprised to get the call from Gullett.
"He's been involved with city politics for a long time, and he's a lobbyists," Gorriaz says. "He knows that firefighters' endorsement comes with manpower, boots on the ground."
Gorriaz said that his union has been a "real partner" with the city for decades, working in support of various initiatives, whether on parks and preserve, on transit or working at legislature to protect city revenues.
"We've never been hogs at the trough" he says.
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