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August 02, 2013

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I would now look to the Police Chief leaving. Phoenix has become an undesirable city. A pity as it was once a nice town. Headed south in my motor home, soon.

I dragged these over from immigration blog.
A Halliburton Christmas gift.
http://www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/dr20130628-our-farblondzhet-senators.
Now maybe the GOP will pass an immigration bill.

Arizona's McCain problem.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/02/john-mccain-obama_n_3694435.html?ref=topbar
Here comes Jan.

As I exchanged with Arizona Republic reporter Eugene Scott and others on Twitter last night after this news broke, while it was surprising when this news came out, I suspect that Mr. Cavazos saw the writing on the wall: his controversial yet flawed $78,000 pay raise conceived to keep him here, a deeply dysfunctional City Council as it sits now, and elections to that Council happening in August and then November. Like Rogue, I supported Messrs. Kreitor and Zuercher to assume the top post. I was surprised with the Council's choice of Mr. Cavazos.

What should be noted is that one of the reasons the City of Santa Ana chose Mr. Cavazos is because of his role in downtown Phoenix's revitalization. I suspect that we will see a Legends 2.0 in Santa Ana as one of Mr. Cavazos's first projects.

On a related note, I think that it's long overdue for a revision of Phoenix's form of government, including the move to a Strong Mayor and the addition of more Council seats. Each City Councilperson has roughly 180,000 constituents in their district, a number that is too high when compared with our peer cities.

Hi Edward, I first read your name as Edith Jensen, a (former?)Arizona Republic reporter, then I put on my glasses.
I agree with you on Cavazos leaving. However I am not a fan of a strong Mayor and city council. The Chicago Daileys always come to mind.

If ever a city needed strong leadership, it's Phoenix. I understand the historical hesitations toward the strong mayor government, but Phoenix is on the edge. It needs someone with the vision charisma and focus of a Michael Crow (not specifically him, but someone with a similar style) to crack the whip and address the heat island and climate change in a serious way. As for Cavazos, I found him to be highly political and closed off. I do like Ed Zuercher, but it's more important to change business as usual at City Hall.

The life of a City Manager is 3 years on average. The long tenure of the past two was sort of a fluke. I think the future will hold closer to the average. It is a brutal job for the manager and their family....

I never heard Marvin Andrews complain. He made the job look easy including casual lunches in Papago Park.

Hey, cal:

We've already devoted enough thread-time to this subject, but I missed this article a couple of months ago. Ray McGovern:

Obama told friends he reneged on progressive promises out of fear of assassination — former CIA analyst

Petro, I heard stuff that within a month of Obamas first election. Of course it was just out there in the air and I could not confirm it. But I find it credible.
What I heard was something like "you can play here but not here." Sounds like a threat to me.

U think Bush senior has a few markers and still has a say or two at the CIA?

Petro, Maybe we should ask AZrebel to put his ear to the ground and see if he can hear the galloping thunder of the CIA-NSA Calvary horses on Russian soil.

Or maybe we should get together for coffee in a drone safe place.
No such thing.

I'm up for coffee anytime. I can even buy my own now.

Drone? I should be so lucky...

San Antonio has 10 city council districts compared to Phoenix's 8. Perhaps the time has now come for Phoenix to add 2 new city council districts...

Phoenix needs less council persons and the staff it takes to support them. Phoenix needs a strong city manager and strong competent Department heads.
If you have a very strong and competent Water Department head or a strong and competent Police Chief, why do you need a bunch of assistant city managers and a bunch of political council persons? Phoenix has too many middle managers. The police department could easily reduce the number of assistant Chiefs by at least two. And other departments likewise.

I think we should reduce the city council to a Mayor and 3 city council persons. Have a strong city manager with a strong contract that favors the city and the manager is fireable at any time but requiring 3 of 4 votes.

OK, tell me I have lost it again!

Here U go Petro.
From a friend of mine a comment.

"meanwhile the intelligence agencies have this global alert going lest we think they are unnecessary. trust me, if a sparrow falls from the sky in the next few days they will state the death resulted from edward snowden's leaks."

Your friend is correct, I believe (and quite funny.)

The intent of such an alert - if it indeed were not so transparently self-serving - is a curious thing to ponder. For example, they advise that tourists be aware that places of congregation, or mass conveyance, are being targeted. After the requisite "duh," what exactly can be accomplished with such a warning? Are people really expected to not "show up" or something? Like a dedicated terrorist can't find a crowd somewhere: "Oh, nobody showed up at the mall today, guess I'll call the whole thing off..."

Yup, just a big "ooga-booga."

It's interesting watching the media grappling with this "unexpected" new phenomenon:

The suburbs are dead — and that’s not a good thing

Not a "good thing" from a certain perspective, I suppose - but there are perfectly good reasons for it.

The number of city councilmembers is independent of the levels of administration within a municipal department.

Regardless of whether a strong mayoral form of government exists, having too few councilmembers results in not having enough residents' needs being met, especially in a very diverse city like Phoenix with its large population size and geographical area.

Rogue wrote:

"There may prove to be much more to this than meets the eye."

Cavasos' Santa Ana deal seems to include much higher total compensation than his Phoenix gig, though the initial base salary is the same.

"The proposed compensation package includes $315,000 in an annual base salary the first year, plus benefits, including moving expenses and a housing allowance. According to a city report, the estimated first-year cost of the agreement is $558,625, $515,395 in the second year and $515,895 in the third."

http://www.theliberaloc.com/2013/08/02/santa-ana-set-to-hire-new-city-manager/

Note that the moving costs are paid in the first year.

In Phoenix, Cavasos' package included the base pay plus "a $600 per month car allowance, $4,000 annual 'longevity' bonus and about $35,000 in deferred compensation".

http://www.azcentral.com/community/phoenix/articles/20121203phoenix-manager-cavazos-get-big-raise.html

But that's still way below the $515,000 a year he's reportedly getting from Santa Ana (which includes a housing allowance). I'm not sure how full the Phoenix figures are (no mention of health insurance, etc.) but I wouldn't be surprised if Cavasos was attracted to substantially bigger compensation for a lot less work (the city is more than ten times smaller).

Rogue wrote:

"There may prove to be much more to this than meets the eye."

Cavasos' Santa Ana deal seems to include much higher total compensation than his Phoenix gig, though the initial base salary is the same.

"The proposed compensation package includes $315,000 in an annual base salary the first year, plus benefits, including moving expenses and a housing allowance. According to a city report, the estimated first-year cost of the agreement is $558,625, $515,395 in the second year and $515,895 in the third."

http://www.theliberaloc.com/2013/08/02/santa-ana-set-to-hire-new-city-manager/

Note that the moving costs are paid in the first year.

In Phoenix, Cavasos' package included the base pay plus "a $600 per month car allowance, $4,000 annual 'longevity' bonus and about $35,000 in deferred compensation".

http://www.azcentral.com/community/phoenix/articles/20121203phoenix-manager-cavazos-get-big-raise.html

But that's still way below the $515,000 a year he's reportedly getting from Santa Ana (which includes a housing allowance). I'm not sure how full the Phoenix figures are (no mention of health insurance, etc.) but I wouldn't be surprised if Cavasos was attracted to substantially bigger compensation for a lot less work (the city is more than ten times smaller).

Cavasos is getting a bigger compensation package. Details when my comment is rescued from the spam trap.

"Bob Murray, a consultant who recruits city managers and helped negotiate the contract for Cavazos, the current Phoenix city manager, said most city managers earn about $220,000 a year. He said those at the top of the scale earn about $350,000, and in a few rare cases total compensation exceeds $400,000 a year."

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/arizona-pensions-funds-phoenix.html

Sanjeev Ramchandra You sound like a city employee. City departments are loaded with excessive staff. Suggest you read "The Good News" by Edward Abbey so U get a handle on the future of Phoenix.

Strong responsive department heads can meet the diverse needs of Phoenix Citizens. I am opposed to adding more Politicos to the mix. Just induces favoritism and graft. The less political elected council persons the better. Need an auditing system that could be drawn from all the staff needed to serve the politicos to insure city departments are responding appropriately.

Reference Cavasos this guy was suspect from the get go. He didn’t go because of another $100, 000. He went because of the idiots on the city council. Now we will see if the Police Chief stays put. He is a good guy that could not do anything tomorrow but relax. Why would he want to stay in Kooks ville. Probably loyalty to those folks that recruited him. Who shall stay unnamed. One of the best cops ever highly recommends Chief Garcia as one of the good guys. You can read about that cop in “Shadow in the City” by Charles Bowden.

Hey Emil U log onto Frontera List? If you like I can get you into the insane asylmn south of Juarez ran by El Pastor. Might be a real eye opener.

Chris Thomas, How about U knock off the legalize talk and step out do something that benefits humanity. In my years I have seen the lawyer stuff from Henry Florence, Gary Peter Klahr, to the current deal makers. Want a deal call an attorney. Except your fee of $10,000 is about $40,000 low. (from the last blog)
The lawyers I know get $650 an hour.

Since this is Friday Saloon, wanted to mention the headline of The Wall Street Journal this morning..."Low Pay Clouds Job Growth".
Nice to know Wall Street is concerned about working class wages. If the current President was a Republican the would be touting the "employment recovery".
Not enough (comment deleted due to fear of NSA).
Has anyone read "Gunfights and Gunfighters" by Gordon Hunsaker?

Octane: Has anyone read "Gunfights and Gunfighters" by Gordon Hunsaker?

Yes, I have. Gordon was my Narcotics Partner on the Phoenix Police Department in the early 70's before he went on to the air patrol. He retired and went onto fly for the Russians and eventually the CIA in Afghanistan. While in Russia he adopted a young boy he found abandon in a garbage dump. His son is now a US citizen serving in the military. Gordon is currently writing a new book and frequents Arizona regularly.

The Front Page, Rolling Stone article on fire is excellent.

Not a city employee and not denying that there is excessive administration and/or staff in Phoenix city departments.

Just saying that an increase in the number of city councilmembers does not affect the size of individual departments (e.g., police, water).

Thanks, Cal. I'll make a point of reading it.

Octane, The book does not cover the points I have mentioned. It jumps around on Gordons early life in the Glendale area and gets off into some Phoenix and Arizona law enforcement history. If you have been in the valley for 60 plus years you will recognize some of what he writes about. Its available on line from Amazon. I have a hard copy if U would like to borrow it.

Petro, AZRebel, JM, U ready for a coffee sitdown? E-mail me!

The departing City Manager had big shoes to fill:
http://www.businessofgovernment.org/sites/default/files/denhardtreport.pdf

But maybe it would have been hard for any successor? I do not think Phoenix has outgrown the Council Manager form, I think both the Council Manager form and more proactive monitoring of local finance by states is needed in a country with the changing demographic and economic profile of America. There is going to be much less room for error.
http://www.auditor.state.oh.us/conferences/fiscaldistress/handouts/files/Fiscal%20Indicators-%20A%20proactive%20approach%20to%20local%20government%20financial%20assistance.pdf
Fiscal Indicators:
A Proactive Approach to Local Government Financial Assistance

http://blogs.cfr.org/renewing-america/2012/06/15/policy-initiative-spotlight-north-carolinas-local-government-commission/
Policy Initiative Spotlight: North Carolina’s Local Government Commission

Already the financial pressures bode ill for local and state governments:
http://my.earthlink.net/article/top?guid=20130728/f3ecb6be-ce7f-4f22-b5c7-986f067b2971
Exclusive: 4 in 5 in US face near-poverty, no work

It is very interesting that he is going to a California city with a mostly hispanic population. He can set an example in California of what a quality city manager can do:
http://www.zocalopublicsquare. org/2011/07/17/thankless-but- essential-work/ideas/nexus/
Thankless, but Essential, Work
Who Will Manage the Rustbelt Cities in our Midst?

California needs to start monitoring of its local government finances. NY has started a financial indicator system recently and CA needs to at least do something like that. It was embarrassed by the Bell scandal and others, because it wasn't doing any monitoring.

Conditions are changing and states need to step up to the plate. Slacking will lead to more rude surprises.

http://www.theatlanticcities. com/housing/2013/07/insane- true-costs-raising-family- americas-major-metros/6172/
Maps
The Insane, True Costs of Raising a Family in America's Major Metros
http://www.theatlanticcities. com/jobs-and-economy/2013/01/ more-losers-winners-americas- new-economic-geography/4465/
More Losers Than Winners in America's New Economic Geography
http://www.theatlanticcities. com/jobs-and-economy/2012/10/ high-inequality-us-metro- areas-compared-countries/3079/
The High Inequality of U.S. Metro Areas Compared to Countries
http://nextcity.org/ equityfactor/entry/inequality- a-predictor-of-poor-economic- success-in-cities
Inequality a Predictor of Poor Economic Success in Cities
http://brr.berkeley.edu/wp- content/uploads/2013/05/ Benner-Pastor-Buddy-Spare- Some-Time.pdf
Buddy, Can You Spare Some Time?
Social Inclusion and Sustained Prosperity in
America’s Metropolitan Region

http://nextcity.org/ equityfactor/entry/suburban- poverty-rates-soar-across- america
Suburban Poverty Rates Soar Across America
http://www.businessinsider. com/poverty-in-america-looks- worse-today-than-it-did-in- 1980-2013-7
Poverty In America Looks Worse Today Than It Did In 1980

I think states and local governments need to reform pension arrangements. The changing economy and demographics pretty much makes it certain the pensions will not be paid as negotiated. The funds will just not be there.

Employees need to be protected in their retirement as well. Most Americans have no savings going into retirement. 76% are living paycheck-to-paycheck. This promises some unpleasant surprises in future without advance planning.

The biggest costs is health care and medical bills keep on rising. Maybe there should be more people moving out of US to places with more affordable health care? maybe governments should negotiate with them to make this possible for state and local employees?
Cost of living in US is too high for people who retire with no savings.

Note this is the case even with medicare and it is a conservative figure:

http://www.marketwatch.com/ story/your-retirement-health- care-tab-will-run-240000-2012- 05-09?siteid=nwhwk
Your retirement health-care tab will run $240,000
http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/02/05/social-security-retirement-benefits-column/1891155/
401Ks are a disaster: Column
Recent and near-retirees, the first major cohort of the 401(k) era, do not have nearly enough in retirement savings to even come close to maintaining their current lifestyles.
http://www.businessinsider.com/how-much-to-save-for-retirement-health-care-2013-5
Retirees Are Greatly Underestimating How Much They'll Need To Save For Health Care

Nearly half of Californians are on track to retire in or near poverty, according to a University of California (Berkeley) study. A separate analysis of census data from The New School for Social Research found that three-quarters of Americans ages 50 to 64 have an average total retirement account balance of under $30,000. "
http://healthland.time.com/2013/02/20/bitter-pill-why-medical-bills-are-killing-us/#ixzz2Le9zHLXY
Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us

And then there is this:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/08/hospital-prices-cost-differences_n_3232678.html?ref=topbar
Hospital Prices No Longer Secret As New Data Reveals Bewildering System, Staggering Cost Difference

This is why this has become a trend:
http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/article_4d001329-5b1a-5c29-8d95-6c4ca006f281.html
More retirees leaving U.S.
Mistakes to avoid with your retirement health costs

I repeat: Phoenix has become an undesirable city. A pity as it was once a nice town. Headed south in my motor home, soon.

Cal wrote:

"Strong responsive department heads can meet the diverse needs of Phoenix Citizens. I am opposed to adding more Politicos to the mix. Just induces favoritism and graft. The less political elected council persons the better."

A strong-man as mayor may be more "efficient" (if you define efficiency to mean someone who has no peers to dissent with his opinions), but the results will strongly depend on whether that one person in office is competent and honest. If you think strong mayors aren't subject to favoritism and graft then you don't read the newspapers or history books.

An elected city council means that corruption is more difficult to get away with. There is accountability among peers and the fact that different councilmen represent different districts makes it less likely that one individual can hijack city government for personal gain.

Cal wrote:

"Need an auditing system that could be drawn from all the staff needed to serve the politicos to insure city departments are responding appropriately."

Again, the mayor and city council exist to offer broad input to the city manager, who is really the one (with layers of numerous assistants) running the day to day operations.

If responsiveness is key, the question is, responsive to whom? Presumably responsive to the populations residing in various sections of the city.

A mayor does not represent city districts (each with its own demographics and challenges) so much as the powerful economic and other institutional interests who power the city and own/control its resources.

Not all areas get the same resources. Their district councilperson is elected by them solely for the purpose of representing them. It is this democratic input that gets passed on to the city manager. They also get a vote on the appointment of the city manager.

Also, there is a question of logistics.

The city council appoints the city manager who is responsible for the city’s day-to-day management and operations.

But the City of Phoenix is big (having 30 departments and/or major city functions) and, while the City Manager has direct control of six departments, he needs help with the rest. He has direct oversight of three assistants who in turn manage various departments. He also oversees the Assistant City Manager who in turn oversees four of his own special assistants who manage various functions. You can see the organizational chart here:

http://phoenix.gov/citygovernment/cityworks/ssLINK/118/orgchart.pdf

No doubt the assistance have assistants, and so forth, that aren't shown in the broad chart. So, even if the mayor alone appointed the city manager, the existence of a professional bureaucracy (necessary to run the day to day affairs of government), which exists largely from administration to administration without change, and of different departments (each with its own agenda and priorities), would make a mayor-dictatorship more complicated.

Well played out Emil but I am sticking to my rather narrow opinion. We can just keep adding more and more but I am the guy that goes to the fridge to get something to eat and instead cleans it of rotten stuff forgetting why I was there in the first place. Between large corporations and the many layers of government bureaucracy, we will become the world of the Blade Runner. It reminds of a saying that came about recently, "to big to fail". Mega cities, who needs them. Not me.

I was not yet born when Blade Runner was released though I have seen it. It has been a long time but I believe the movie is about moral issues surrounding bioengineering. I also believe an oligarchy (via mega corporations) was in charge. This would be the opposite of "many layers of government bureaucracy." While a city council, large or small, could be considered a layer of bureaucracy having more members representing different constituencies isn't adding layers but adding more accountability; as Emil suggested.

In the last sentence, I meant to write that a city council, large or small, WOULD NOT be considered a layer of bureaucracy since, by definition, a bureaucracy is a body of government officials not elected to office.

Headline: "City considers whether to go with mayoral form of government, city council, alderman??"

Year: 400 A.D. London

Damn, doesn't this stuff ever get solved? Do we have to solve the same problems every generation for 100 generations?

I'm surprised we haven't gone extinct by now.

Per phxsunfan: In the last sentence, I meant to write that a city council, large or small, WOULD NOT be considered a layer of bureaucracy since, by definition, a bureaucracy is a body of government officials not elected to office.

Words that rhyme with bureaucracy autocracy, democracy, Eurocracy, kleptocracy, mobocracy, plantocracy, plutocracy, slavocracy, technocracy, theocracy

There are a number of definitions of bureaucracy, I kinda like the following:
Professional corps of officials organized in a pyramidal hierarchy and functioning under impersonal, uniform rules and procedures. Its characteristics were first formulated systematically by Max Weber, who saw in the bureaucratic organization a highly developed division of labour, authority based on administrative rules rather than personal allegiance or social custom, and a “rational” and impersonal institution whose members function more as “offices” than as individuals. For Weber, bureaucracy was a form of legalistic “domination” inevitable under capitalism. Later writers saw in bureaucracy a tendency to concentrate power at the top and become dictatorial, as occurred in the Soviet Union. Robert K. Merton emphasized its red tape and inefficiency due to blind conformity to procedures. More recent theories have stressed the role of managerial cliques, occupational interest groups, or individual power-seekers in creating politicized organizations characterized by internal conflict.

Phxsunfan wrote: I was not yet born when Blade Runner was released though I have seen it. It has been a long time but I believe the movie is about moral issues surrounding bioengineering. I also believe an oligarchy (via mega corporations) was in charge. This would be the opposite of "many layers of government bureaucracy." While a city council, large or small, could be considered a layer of bureaucracy having more members representing different constituencies isn't adding layers but adding more accountability; as Emil suggested.

I must admit at 73 I get it wrong a bit. But not to fear I got the young folks to keep me from falling off the rails. You are more that likely right phxsunfan but I am sticking to my old narrow minded opinion that more elected officials are just an expense we do not need. And once elected you either get corrupted or the corrupt destroy you in a number of ways including assassination. I disagree with you and Emil that electing more council persons adds more accountability. Most of those folks that get elected have a hard time just counting.

And I am not sure we saw the same Blade Runner, I have seen both the first release and the Directors cut. I thought the film was about morals and ethics. About greedy folks and corporations, about authoritarian rule and about corruption and about multi-faceted bureaucracy. But then I probably just not smart enough to know what I saw.

What I really liked was the cop that made paper chickens and left his trail with them.

Has any member of the Phoenix City Council ever been assassinated?

Blade Runner was about bio-engineered "replicates" which were some kind of organic robot. An elite few, mainly corporations, ran the show ... in effect, an oligarchy. Generally speaking, an oligarchy can be stymied by a body of elected representatives. It is harder for one member to circumvent governmental checks and balances and to be corrupted when more of their peers (who represent smaller constituencies they answer to) are on their back.

No but the Kennedys were. And Martin Luther King among others.

I agree with Ur logic but is not the planet ran by oligarchy's. The bankers call the shots.

It's not safe getting in the road of the military industrial complex.

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