Phoenix Vice Mayor Laura Pastor is not holding back.
In a statement on Wednesday about the city's planned Latino Cultural Center, Pastor called out District 6 Councilman Sal DiCiccio, saying that his criticism of a Latina consultant's work was not only "fake news" but "a sad display of white hyper-masculinity."
To recap the underlying issue, the city has been considering the launch of a Latino Cultural Center for almost a year. Most recently, a report came out detailing how much that would cost — $4.5 million.
The funds allocated for a cultural center fall short of this by a couple of million.
Last year, the city budgeted $1.4 million to be spent on building or renovating a space for the center. As part of the project, the City Council approved a $70,000 contract with Los Angeles-based consultant Evonne Gallardo, who heads Evonne Gallardo Arts and Culture Management.
Her report assessing the cultural center plans was released to council members in September, and later posted on the city's website.
DiCiccio, in an October 3 statement, took issue with part of the report that states the findings cannot be discussed with anyone else — including Phoenix residents — without written consent from Gallardo.
He called the provision a "complete violation of public trust and transparency."
"The citizens of Phoenix deserve to know who is influencing their representatives and what they are saying," he wrote.
The city pushed back on Gallardo's nondisclosure agreement, which even went as far as requesting her name not be used.
In the end, the nondisclosure was taken out, said Sam Stone, DiCiccio's chief of staff.
That's why Pastor's statement today seemed to be out of left field, according to Stone.
Pastor's statement accuses DiCiccio speaking for the entire Latino community despite being a white man.
"As a proud Latina, not even I would claim to know what is best for this community as a whole," Pastor said in a statement. "This is exactly why this study was essential, vetted, and carried out with extensive community outreach to gather critical feedback."
She also accused him of "machismo" and "white male privilege." (See below for her entire statement.)
Stone said Pastor took DiCiccio's quote about a "violation of public trust" out of context for her own statement, and is taking a swing at him for political gain — maybe even prepping for a mayoral run.
"I was laughing pretty hard reading it," Stone said. "It’s just a giant muddle of clichés."
Stone seemed more amused than concerned by Pastor's hyper-masculinity diss. He was quick to fire off on Facebook .
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
"Did someone give Laura Pastor an updated book of lame, cliched, liberal whine-whistles," Stone wrote on his own Facebook page.
Adding in the comment section of a Phoenix New Times' reporter's post about the statement, "The Vice Mayor seems to be saying that a Latina consultant can't produce crappy work, because she's Latina. That's funny."
Pastor's October 25 statement follows below:
“Councilman Sal DiCiccio’s claim that the year-long process of completing the Latino Cultural Center feasibility study was 'a complete violation of public trust and transparency,' is just fake news, pure and simple. In addition, for him to criticize and demean the consultant who did the work, a well-qualified and competent Latina whom he himself voted to select to author this study, amounts to machismo. Even worse, for him to speak on behalf of the greater Phoenix Latino community by claiming to know what their culture represents is condescending, and a sad display of white hyper-masculinity.
"As a proud Latina, not even I would claim to know what is best for this community as a whole. This is exactly why this study was essential, vetted, and carried out with extensive community outreach to gather critical feedback. The resulting study is a vital first step in a longer process to provide our City with the long-overdue Cultural Center it deserves. To suggest that this process was not inclusive and missing adequate public input is baseless. To imply that elements encompassing what the Latino community deserves are absent from the report is irrational. To say he speaks for or knows what is best for the Latino community in Phoenix is belligerent and offensive.
"'Las Phoenikeras' are a proud and humble people, full of a vibrant and rich heritage and history. For a lone councilperson to assert what it means to be one of us dishonors and belittles the infinite contributions that we have given to this City. He may object to the research methods of the consultant and articulate that. But engaging in tired, old behaviors is not only disgraceful, it looks a lot like white male privilege.
"Councilman DiCiccio ought to be ashamed of himself.”