For better or worse, Phoenicians with a sense of civic pride claim as their finest achievement not a magnificent city hall as in San Francisco, or a great subway system as in New York, or the breathtaking parks of Cincinnati. No, it is the efficient, professional handling of city business through the council/manager form of government.
And it all began with the charter government movement of the late 1940s. Anyone that wants to understand Phoenix City Hall today or contemplate changes such as a strong mayor, must have at least a basic understanding of how we got here.
Once upon a time, Phoenix was a wide-open town, full of vice, politics dominated by unsavory bosses, and city hall eminently bribable. Then a group of crusading young businessmen, who knew the city could not grow and prosper under this corrupt yoke, threw out the rascals and created the cleanest city government in America. They went by the name of the Charter Government Committee. The rest is history.
But history is written by the victors. And the real story of Charter is more complex...and far more interesting.