News

Mayor Phil Gordon's Business Deal With Protester-Killing Bahrain was Seriously Bad Timing

Dealing with the ruling royalty in far-flung parts of the globe could have possible benefits for Arizona, but these non-democracies can be brutal, as Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon is finding out this week.

Gordon inked a five-year deal with Bahraini government officials on Monday aimed at developing stronger economic ties.

The same Bahraini government, led by the King of Bahrain, Sheikh Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa and his royal family, is shooting scores of protesters who want a constitutional monarchy that treats Shia muslims better. At least six people have died and 66 are injured, according to the latest report by Al-Jazeera. People are being shot and beaten with rifle butts, says the report. On Tuesday, Gordon was still sending upbeat messages on his Twitter account about his Monday meeting:

Great 2 days connecting the Bahrain delegation with dozens of AZ businesses. We need to build relationships to attract capital and jobs. 6:05 PM Feb 15th via Twitter for iPhone

That changed two days later:

Images from Bahrain are riveting. I'm getting questions about our economic development MOU, but my thoughts are about people not dollars. 11:46 AM Feb 17th via Twitter for iPhone

We assume the questions to which he refers were coming from the Arizona Republic's Emily Gersema, who wrote an article published today about the mayor's blunder.

On top of everything, Gordon's taking heat because his girlfriend was paid $8,000 to set up the meeting with the Bahrain folks.

Gordon's main focus today: TGIF.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern