A week ago Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon distributed a news release via email about the stalemate in Congress over illegal immigration. The email directed readers to the Mayor's very own website. When I say the Mayor's own website, I mean www.MayorGordon.com.
The Mayor already has a website to interact with constituents through the City of Phoenix. So, taxpayer money should not be used to buy additional web addresses to promote the Mayor's name--that is something his political campaign should handle. More worrisome, on his website you'll find this headline: Mayor to Congress: "Fix the damn problem." I would expect a city-run website to be clear of obscenities. As the parent of an internet savvy child, do I now have to supervise his surfing of government sites? I am not sure how the city can defend this as a legitimate use of taxpayer money when the language is so far beneath the standards of professional conduct.
The amount of money spent on a URL is miniscule in the grand scheme of the budget of the fifth-largest city in the country. But, as the city grapples with another round of budget cuts, it should leave no stone unturned when considering what to put on the chopping block. These unnecessary, illegitimate uses of taxpayer money to promote elected officials should be the first to go.
Shawnna L.M. Bolick is researching a forthcoming Goldwater Institute report highlighting the use of taxpayer funds for self-promotion by more than 30 elected officeholders in Arizona.
Goldwater Institute: "Piercing the Fog: A Call for Greater Transparency in State and Local Government"