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March 04, 2013

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Nice Alice Cooper reference,

I think you might've blown through your first billion by the end of the second paragraph, but I'm not sure what level of palm-greasing would be required.

The long empty lot on the northwest corner of Central and McDowell...

If I had a billion I'd fill that lot with old cars as tightly packed as I could make them. I'd then hire a crew at minimum wages to do two things:

1) Keep the cars running, idling in their spots 24/7, filling them with gasoline endlessly.

2) Another crew would be sign twirlers in the sun hot. The signs would all say: Freedom to Pollute!

I would do this in every major city in the country.

I would do it to rub this culture's dirty dog nose in its freedom to pollute, freedom to amass obscene amounts of money, freedom to turn humans into cheap signs, and freedom to say "fuck you" to the future.

My underlying message:

If you don't like it assholes, them make a law to stop me. Take away my freedom. Until you do, those cars aren't going to ever stop running, polluting, and going nowhere...

"The long empty lot on the northwest corner of Central and McDowell, in the heart of the nation's sixth largest city, would become a sculpture garden for the Phoenix Art Museum."

The visual I get from this is getting me excited, my heart stated beating faster, except that I know it would not and won't happen.

Not to mention all the other wonderful ideas you have here.

Pat,
I should have made clear that my various enterprises and investments would continue to make money. Their relocation to central Phoenix would keep creating new wealth an draw more wealth-creating companies. Thus, this wouldn't be a one-time pot of money. In creating the South Lake Union development in Seattle that houses Amazon's headquarters, a biosciences cluster and other businesses, Paul Allen has made a killing. This not only gave the city a wonderful asset, but (along with his continued growth in wealth) provided him the money to build the Experience Music Project, renovate Cinerama and restore Union Station, etc. He also owns the Seahawks (which carry the CITY name).

Jon, you beat me to the punch. You'd double your investment if all this would be pulled off.

Perhaps the best way to revitalize the city would be to recreate the cooling, aesthetic effect that large citrus groves had on a younger Phoenix. These groves would, to be on a scale that would work these days, have to be large enough to cover most of the arable land in Maricopa County.

You would want to start with land already prepared for the groves: golf courses and the empty space between Joe Arpaio's ears.

What about buying new homes for 80% of Arizona's population in states where they can be sustained?

Wow, that's visionary urban planning, but I'd say it's a decade too late and none of the people in charge seems to care enough about giving central Phoenix a real identity. For that matter, none of the people that have taken charge of this country cares much about maintaining its livability -- only its corporate exploitation at any cost and heedless of likely future outcomes. We are witnessing the ascendancy of sociopaths more craven and irresponsible than the robber barons of yore.

Why not just move the entire city of Phoenix to Orange County, CA where it would fit in a lot better? (But leave Ranch Market where it is please.)

Just coincidentally, a billion dollars is about what the Arizona legislature gave away in tax cuts to business owners and the wealthy.

In 2012 and 2011 the Arizona legislature passed two gigantic tax cuts, both of which benefit corporations and the wealthy.

One of them cuts the state's individual income tax rate on long-term capital gains by 25 percent, as well as giving businesses that lose money the ability to use the losses to offset future profits (and taxes) for 20 years (previously this was 5 years). This means that businesses which lost money at any time during the past 20 years can now use those losses to offset current and future tax liabilities on profits.

The cost of that set of tax cuts from FY 2014 through 2019, according to the state Joint Legislative Budget Committee, is $440 million.

The other set of tax cuts, which cut corporate income taxes by nearly 30 percent and business property taxes by 10 percent, will cost $538 million from FY 2013 through 2018.

http://azstarnet.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/brewer-signs-package-to-slash-biz-taxes/article_f4531c48-a114-5126-87b2-296e70319796.html

Add them together and the lost state revenue totals $978 million.

Jon come back and run for Mayor!

@Jon Talton....
I have heard for years that the Union Pacific wants to quit using the downtown railyard. It would be nice if Stanton and Smith could use that track for the start of a heavy passenger rail line, beginning with service from/to Phoenix through the East Valley down to Maricopa.
@koreyel....
I believe most cities of any significance have laws prohibiting sustained idling. As a side note, I hate drive through windows for that very reason.

Just don't eliminate the Macayo, please.

Macayo's will remain.

"Why not just move the entire city of Phoenix to Orange County, CA where it would fit in a lot better?" -Charlie

Even the City of Phoenix is too blue for Orange County...however, how about taking most of the City of Scottsdale (especially N. Scottsdale).

Jon, why not reinstall some of the old streetcar lines in Phoenix?
According to Wikipedia, the City of Phoenix Street Railways in 1938 were numbered and operated as follows:

#1 Brill Line (10th Street Line). Ran south on 10th Street from Sheridan to Pierce, west on Pierce, south on 4th Street, west on Washington Street, and terminated at 2nd Avenue station. Return trip traveled north from 2nd Avenue, east on Monroe, to 4th Street, and north via Pierce.

#2 Capitol / W. Adams - East Lake Park (Washington Street Line). Ran east from 22nd Avenue, across the Santa Fe Railway tracks, to end of the line at 16th 1/2 Street.

#3 Kenilworth (5th Avenue Line). Ran south from Encanto Blvd. along 5th Avenue, past the Kenilworth School, and terminated at 2nd Avenue station.

#4 Indian School (3rd Street Line). Ran south from Indian School Road along 3rd Street, with double-track mainline as far as the loop at Monroe. Looped west at Washington and terminated at 2nd Avenue station. Return trip north and via Monroe back to right-hand track and north again on 3rd Street.

I like your plan Mr Talton. However, I think you should find a place for a Ferris wheel. Its name could be The Dream Catcher. It would not have to compete with the huge wheels that are in many big cities like London’s Eye that earns $25 mil. annually, it could be smallish but beautiful. The space near the wheel could also incorporate other activities for the young (or young at heart) like a bungee-cord jump (as shown here: http://www.takingthekids.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Mountain-Village-at-Telluride.jpg ).

Speaking of billionaires, I wonder what type of philanthropy might be associated with Bruce and Diane Halle . . . he of Discount Tire fame?

Jon come back and run for Mayor!
Hmm... speaking of "If I were a..."

What kind of "power base" might you have here in Phoenix, Sr. Talton?

Any answer to that question would be a the least very entertaining, or would it be sobering?

This has been very entertaining.

It reminds me of a bit Steve Martin used to do.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to tell you how to become a millionaire."

"OK, first , get a million dollars."

HaHa

headless lucy: I'm still chuckling about your suggestion for what to do with some golf courses! Guess they don't qualify for conservancy easements, do they?

Most everything can be plotted on a trend curve. In fact, it can be a pretty good exercise for those given to critical thought and introspection. For many reasons, golf is a sport in decline. Chief among them are aging demographics and escalating costs in many locations. What would Mr. Talton advocate doing to re-purpose some of these beautiful, spacious, water-guzzling dinosaurs?

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