City Hall

Neil Giuliano, Ex-Tempe Mayor, on His New Book: "There's a Lot People Don't Know"

Former Tempe Mayor Neil Giuliano's giving the tell-all (maybe the tell-most) story of his life in a book released this month, and the man's got some stories to tell.

Giuliano faced some tough times in his decade-long stint as mayor -- from being openly gay to the unsuccessful recall election against him -- but in his, book, The Campaign Within: A Mayor's Private Journey to Public Leadership, he tells his story from the beginning.

"There's a lot people don't know," Giuliano tells New Times.

From growing up confused about his sexuality and "being afraid that I might be that homosexual that church talked about," to stealing a copy of Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex: But Were Afraid to Ask from a dead guy -- it's not as bad as it sounds -- Giuliano has some good stories.

He says he covers his coming out, letting on that he had thought he was doing pretty well concealing his homosexuality.

"In retrospect...of course it [was] obvious," he says.

From that confusion and the feeling that he had to conceal his sexual orientation, he moved on a bit -- becoming an openly gay mayor and later the CEO of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

For local politics junkies, Giuliano has you covered, too, giving behind-the-scenes stuff on his time in Tempe and Phoenix politics.

Giuliano says a lot of the craziness comes at election time -- which we're inclined to believe, given the most recent Tempe mayoral election -- but his time in office wasn't short on controversy either.

For curiosity's sake, we asked him if he thought things in Tempe were nuttier during his reign than they are now.

That, we realized, was a dumb question, as Giuliano pointed to a recent federal indictment and the Fiesta Bowl Scandal.

"Nobody invited me on a Fiesta Bowl trip," he jokes.

We also asked how many people he's going to piss off by telling the back-room stories of yore.

He had at least one come to mind immediately, and although Giuliano didn't name him in the book, that man definitely will know Giuliano's talking about him. Really, just about anybody who knows a thing or two about Tempe politics will know who it is.

You can catch Giuliano on Monday at 7 p.m. at Changing Hands Bookstore.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley