The cost of Peggy Neely’s breakfasts is less troublesome than the nature of them

05 Jul 2011 06:17 pm
Posted by: Donna

The Republic reported today that of all the Phoenix Mayor candidates who were on the City Council, Peggy Neely rang up the highest total on discretionary spending for her office. A lot of it went for food.

According to a review of City Council spending from July 2007 to December 2010, Neely’s office had the highest expenditures charged to the city, totaling nearly $108,000 with about $42,455 reported to be for food. Much of that, $33,000, was for food at Roy’s Restaurant at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa.

She’s taking flak from her opponents for amount but I’m bugged by the fact that she chose that same venue, at a restaurant in a swanky golf resort at Desert Ridge, to do a monthly constituent outreach event. These breakfasts were held once a month over a period of 3 and 1/2 years, at 7 am on Friday mornings. Hmm. What kind of people typically go to breakfasts at resorts hosted by prominent local elected officials at 7am on weekdays? My experience is they tend to be politicos and/or schmoozy networkers looking for a favor or an opportunity. I’ve been to more than a few myself and I can tell you that the only working class people you ever see at them are the servers. Sure enough, here’s how a Republic piece a month ago about Neely’s replacement Bryan Jeffries’ (who is taking a more varied and inclusive tack on constituent outreach) describes Neely’s monthly breakfasts:

In recent years, those have taken place on weekday mornings at Roy’s, a fine-dining restaurant at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort in northeast Phoenix. Always in attendance were city staff members, officials with the Paradise Valley Unified School District, business representatives hoping to curry favor with the councilwoman, and a handful of regulars from the ranks of voters.

Not that there’s anything unethical about being a business representative currying favor with a councilwoman at a breakfast at a posh resort. Curry on with your bad-ass networking selves, schmoozers! But candidate Neely made her priorities known in the years she served on the Council and they sure as hell didn’t include the kind of people in her district who wouldn’t be able to get to the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa on a workday.

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