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May 22, 2013

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What role can the arts play in creating a more vibrant and interesting community? And what is the role of government in helping arts organizations thrive?

1. What kind of city do you see Phoenix becoming?

2. What challenges will we face with climate change?

3. What are, specifically, Phoenix's best assets and its worst deficits?

4. Why is one of Phoenix's best buildings, the Westward Ho, a virtual homeless shelter?

5. Why does it continue to be so dangerous to commute by bicycle here when cities like Portland and Tucson show us how easily it can be done?

6. Who do you consider to be the best architects working in Phoenix today? Who were the best ones of the past 60 years?

7. Do you think it's a good idea that Arcadia is starting to look like Gilbert?

8. What's the last book you read about cities?

9. Do you think water should be more expensive to discourage waste? If so, what happens to central Phoenix?

10. Do you take campaign donations from people who tear down buildings in order to profit from land-banking?

Just to be clear, soleri's questions would be numbered 9 to 18. Right?

No need for anarchy at this point in the discussion.

What do U think about the state legislature crafting laws that adversely effect cities.

#19. from cal the night detective.

I'd like to send out a special SCREW YOU AND BURN IN HELL for the person who invented the anti-spam word match before a message is posted.

How about, "Given the diminishing mountain snowpacks,what's the freaking plan?"

21. How do you feel about deannexation?

Energy?

This issue is outside no one's purview.

All good questions, but the depressing thing is whoever gets elected won't even understand them. Phoenix's reason for existence is to make profit for real estate developers. Even the light rail, convention center, TGEN were boondoggles for construction companies.

Good lookin' out, Reb. :)

As for the Captcha lament - I have to delete spam daily at my place; I can only imagine what it's like for a site with this level of traffic!

What do YOU THINK the city's role SHOULD BE in downtown economic development?

At what point do we stop investing millions in freeways which promote sprawl and put those transportation funds into improving transit?

I think those are great questions Jon. But I think its necessary for us to consider where we think Phoenix is headed before deciding which questions to ask. There are some that think Phoenix is just in a slump and will continue to grow and grow (see this mornings AZCentral), while there are others who see the end of cheap oil being the near death-knell for the city and all of its near neighbors. Some questions surely apply to both, but there are some critical ones that only apply to one or the other.

Some of these questions are excellent; others could be, but aren't sufficiently specific in their current formulation: politicians are by preference and experience masters of the "non-response response", so expect the usual vague, feel-good, but essentially non-informative and non-committal answers.

If you want to know who opposes additional annexation by the city, then ask: Do you oppose additional annexation by the city?

Incidentally, I don't think that you would get a single affirmative answer even if you asked this wriggle-proof question. Who would oppose annexation itself (as opposed to a specific annexation) on general principles, a priori?

Asking whether someone supports "better bus service" is unlikely to provide much insight. Ask them something specific, such as whether they are willing to increase the size of the bus fleet, the hours of operation, and the number of drivers, by 25 percent (or whatever figure you deem reasonable).

Some of these questions have been addressed. For example:

http://www.azcentral.com/news/election/questionnaire2011/phoenixmcc.php

Click on the specific candidate names (including current council members) to see quite elaborate questionaires which go a long way to address questions about philosophy of governance, downtown development, and so forth.

I hate to say it, but by far the best Q&A addressing Mr. Talton's point about the FAST team based in Rota, Spain can be found here:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/01/22/facts-and-questions-about-what-happened-in-benghazi/

Note that this includes specific claims made by State Department spokesmen, not just speculations by Fox News pundits.

That said, it's hard to be FAST when the diplomats issue last minute orders to deplane and change into civilian clothes.

Sorry, the FAST team comment was supposed to go into the previous thread.

Do you have ties to nonprofit organizations that receive donations from companies that do extensive business with the city? If so, do you recuse yourself from votes when those company contracts are up for renewal?

Here's an excerpt from Daniel Valenzuela from the "Should the city be doing anything differently in addressing traffic congestion?" question:

Valenzuela: Different? No. But indeed a commitment to do more within our available budget and means. First and foremost, since transportation is a regional and statewide challenge, I support the continuation of a regional approach through participation in the efforts of the Maricopa Association of Governments and the Arizona Department of Transportation. Phoenix officials, along with those from other communities, must cooperate in order to adequately address common transportation challenges. On a more local level, wise use of bond monies to construct turning lanes and bus pullouts will maximize our existing street network. Finally, I support the continued expansion of the Light Rail system and continuing review of our bus system routes and timetables that make for a more efficient mass transit system and few cars on the roads.

OK, the first thing to note is that he's for the status quo ("Different? No.")

The second thing is that he doesn't want to spend any more on mass transit than is already budgeted ("a committment to do more within our available budget and means"). Without expanded funding, expanded transit is impossible, no matter what else he might say on the subject in trying to create an impression.

Third, he's punting the transit question to the state ("since transportation is a statewide and regional challenge").

Fourth, his idea for maximizing local funds for transit is a few more turn lanes and bus pullouts.

Fifth, he says he supports the continuing expansion of light rail. Which continued expansion? That which is already budgeted? Doesn't say. No follow up. Where busing is concerned, he's worthless ("I support...continuing review of our bus system routes").

Apply this to the other questions and the other council members, and you'll have a much better idea of where they stand on some of these issues.

Of course, this was asked in 2011. It would be nice if these questions were asked again, now. Incidentally, if Democracy For America MC ever gets around to asking your (or other interesting) questions, please let us know, Mr. Talton.

P.S. When I said "you'll have a much better idea..." I meant the general reader, not Mr. Talton, who is probably well informed on council members' positions.

Question for Phoenix City council candidates - Year 2035

"What is your position on the ongoing Jody Arias trial? Do you feel the free advertising for Phoenix on all the cable channels is worth the $50 million cost of the trial?"

"members who think civic greatness is filling potholes and collecting trash"

If civic greatness is NOT filling potholes and collecting trash then feel free to call me an opponent of civic greatness.

Civic "greatness" obviously relies on MORE than filling potholes and collecting trash.

Is this sort of idiotic straw man argument representative of the Libertarian Party? (Thane Eichenauer was a previous "Liberty candidate" for Phoenix Mayor.) Or was this simply some impish prank?

A small digression: don't forget that at least a third of the electorate in this country is composed of idiots. (I say this without any reference to political party membership.)

If you need proof, consider the fact that House Republicans ordered the House cafeterias to change the name of "French Fries" and "French Toast" to "Freedom Fries" and "Freedom Toast" in 2003 after the French expressed reservations about the Iraq war. Note that this DIDN'T require a vote (a single committee had jurisdiction over this administrative element).

In 2005 Gallup asked poll respondents whether this was "a silly idea or a sincere expression of patriotism". Fully one-third of respondents said that it was patriotic!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_fries


Yea, it's always been about 30%. Though it's been dropping as a percentage, over at Jon's poll today about that many insist that they'll buy any damned thing they please, regardless of its provenance:

Vote: Are you an ethical consumer?

No, I buy books at full price at a local book store

1) What are your personal or business relationships with the Phoenix Police Department?
2) What is your view on community policing and how do you reconcile the ideology of austerity with the reality of managing a large metropolitan environment?
3) How do you intend to counter the Republican Party onslaught against cities and the corruption of Maricopa County right wing overreach?
4)How will you promote Phoenix as a cultural, commercial and intellectual destination?
5) What are your Tea Party tendencies or affiliations?

good Jmav

My apologies for the following digression, but I saw an interesting article today on China's increasing demand for automobiles (and gasoline and crude oil) -- with all that implies for climate change and oil prices.

The Washington Post business article notes that China is now the biggest new car market in the world, selling 19.4 million last year and "easily outstripping sales in the United States".

Despite an economic slow-down in China, auto sales there are up 10 percent this year and "analysts say they could hit 30 million annually in a decade or so", which was the size of the entire world's auto market in 1970.

The article notes that "increased car ownership is driving up gasoline demand at double-digit rates, boosting China's oil consumption to about 10 million barrels a day, most of it costly imported crude".

Another ominous trend reported by WaPo is the way the Chinese market mirrors that of the U.S. in that bigger cars are viewed as status symbols. "The Chinese want more cars, and bigger ones at that. Sales of sport-utility vehicles are 'white-hot'..."

The two-page article:

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-04-22/business/38736630_1_gm-china-car-sales-luxury-car-market

Here's a graph showing China's oil consumption from 1991 through 2013. Note that it's the difference between Chinese production and usage that increases demand on world oil markets, and that its usage has increasingly been outstripping its production growth:

http://blogs.marketwatch.com/energy-ticker/2013/03/15/chinas-oil-demand-to-grow-5-this-year-barclays/

By contrast, U.S. oil consumption fell last year to 18.6 million barrels, the lowest since 1996.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-18/u-s-oil-demand-falls-to-16-year-low-api-reports.html

This makes sense because the Chinese economy at about $7.5 trillion GDP is about half of the size of the U.S. economy at about $15 trillion.

Note however that China's economy is expected to grow larger than that of the United States in anywhere from 3 to 7 years:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2013/04/05/just-how-big-is-china-bigger-than-you-think/

When that happens, expect Chinese oil consumption to more than double and exceed that of the United States.

It's also interesting to me that the cost of a gallon of gas in the U.S. was stable in 2000-2003 at about $1.50 but started climbing precipitately each year after that: $1.90, $2.30, $2.60, $2.85, $3.30.

http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=pet&s=emm_epm0_pte_nus_dpg&f=a

But the increase in China's net oil imports is fairly small over the same period: from about 2 million barrels a day in 2003 to about 4 million barrels a day in 2008. (See the Barclay's link above.)

That's only an increase of 2 million barrels a day on a world market where crude oil production increased from 67.2 million barrels a day in 2003 to 72.2 million barrels a day in 2008.

http://www.indexmundi.com/energy.aspx?product=oil&graph=production

(Scroll down for the numbers.)

That means increased world production (5 million barrels a day) well outstripped China's increased net demand (2 million barrels a day), yet gasoline prices more than doubled over the same period.

All of this suggests to me that something else is largely responsible for the increase in crude and gasoline prices.

P.S. Also note that world crude oil production was at an all-time high in 2012 at 74.6 million barrels a day (see the indexmundi link above and scroll down for the numbers). Note that this is crude oil production not the more general petroleum liquids so the figures may seem smaller than other data; but I thought this more relevant to the subject of gasoline prices.

And an opinion?

Did someone say "opinion?"

Perhaps the price increase is reflecting the decrease in EROI (Energy Return On Investment?)

opinon on the next 50 years?

From DDT to neonicotinoids, we used to lead in these matters, now we don't.

(Is just it me, or can we say that anything prefixed with "neo" is evil?)

The next 50 years? Not trending well. Not trending well at all.

Nice stats emil.

Since we can't point a finger at the Chinese and say, "don't do as we do, do as we say" and ask them to limit their car usage, what say we just ride this oil/car thing straight to hell. There's no turning around this train wreck, so enjoy the ride.

22. Which do you think better exemplifies a thriving city: Portland or Houston?

This is a list of questions I had for the last Mayoral election. Still relevant for this race. Sustainability focused.

1. Would you help take the lead in having the city become the leader (example: Minneapolis) to really promote public transport and walkability, by closing down at least one main thoroughfare in downtown to cars and only allowing buses, bikes and public transport?

2. Would you support putting some kind of mandated city policy in place to demand the use of pervious concrete vs. asphalt in all future projects, mandate for cool roofs on new builds/tear offs, etc. to minimize urban heat island effect?

3. Would you set and achieve the goal of planting x amount of trees in the next 1-4 years?

4. Would you work on and help enforce the codes/policy regarding our historic buildings?

5. Would you involve and engage the citizens by having meetings and seeking knowledge from local experts first before seeking outside assistance?

6. Would you support the use of creative temporary projects on vacant city lots?

7. Would you help the city implement an integrated vegetation management plan for the health of the residents to stop using harmful chemicals, and an integrated pest management plan for all city owned buildings?

8. Would you get serious about bike safety, bike lanes, and signs and strategies to protect both bicycle riders and pedestrians?

9. Would you speak out on land/building banking and penalize those who are harming our economy?

10. How would you help change the extreme difference in funding between say, a Paradise Valley public school, and a downtown Phoenix public school? "No child left behind - unless you're poor."

11. Would you vigorously pursue the sustainability industry to bring new ventures/green jobs to Phoenix? How would you do this?

12. Would you stand behind the importance of beautification and public spaces with visual interest? i.e. Making it easier with less red tape for community organizations to create public art pieces/projects, etc.

13. Would you help promote our art community? How would you do this?

14. Would you promote utilizing solar and renewable energy practices in the city?

15. Will you develop a sustainability initiative for your own office?

16. Would you promote vibrancy by supporting short-term use of vacant city owned buildings to be used in creative ways, i.e. pop-up galleries, performance art spaces, etc.?

17. Will you help advocate for completion of a comprehensive sustainability and climate change adaptation plan?

18. Will you support recycling for multi-family housing and commercial business?

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