When, in July 2008, Mayor Phil Gordon was named "Best Mayor in North America," one Phoenician described the mayor as "a man who builds bridges; his complex and diverse constituency makes the job especially difficult in this era of anti-immigrant sentiment. He [Mayor Gordon] is intelligent, fair, open and, above all, creative. He ... sees Phoenix as a global citizen, partner and player."
How much of Mayor Gordon's enlightened approach to people, issues and solutions stemmed from his Jewish upbringing in a synagogue where the rabbi was Albert Plotkin, an equally devoted practitioner of reaching out to all Phoenicians, is a fair question? How much stems from the values that he learned from his parents, other teachers, and peers?
Nevertheless, Mayor Gordon learned well to speak out not only for business and economic interests but also for Mexicans, Chinese, victims, tenants, veterans, and others.
The mayor's accomplishments in his 8 years in office, 2004 - 12, reads as a successful shopping list:
- (1) Revitalizing downtown Phoenix.
- (a) Phoenix Convention Center
- (b) Arizona State University's downtown campus
- (c) University of Arizona Medical School
- (d) Arizona State University College of Nursing
- (e) beginnings of a pharmacy school
- (f) beginnings of a new hospital
- (g) research centers
- (h) Walter Cronkite School of Journalism
- (i) a new Marriott hotel
- (j) a light rail system
(2) reduced crime levels
(3) new educational initiatives
(4) more jobs
(5) new bond initiatives
(6) adoption of the International Building Code
(7) a Military Veterans Service Commission
Mayor Gordon appealed to all types of voters. For example, Barry Broome, president and chief executive of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, said Gordon's legacy "is sealed as a mayor that worked hard on the city's economy."
Voters approved him, electing with 72% of the vote in 2003 and 77% of the vote in 2007.
President Bush noticed him and had him join with the Presidential party in attending Israel's 60th anniversary in 2008 in the holy land.
Lastly, Mayor Gordon noticed the Phoenix Jewish community's attempts to restore the 1st Beth Israel Congregation as the Cutler Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center. The mayor worked with the Jewish community in seeking funding sources.
Now, you too, can view Mayor Gordon's Early Phoenix AZ home.
The Jewish Friendship Trail in Phoenix and Scottsdale invites you, your family, or your group to come take a tour with us of the Jewish sites in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona.
Email us at The Jewish Friendship Trail to arrange your tour.