• The most interesting thing I learned on this Phoenix trip is how Gannett has removed Eugene C. Pulliam's name from the masthead of the Arizona Republic. (I typically read the paper online). This is a remarkable act of historical vandalism. One more reason that the boobs come here from the Midwest and say, "Phoenix has no history." Gannett wants every "product" to be the same, coast-to-coast. You get two pickles, not three. Heaven forbid that unique cities such as Phoenix or Cincinnati get distinctive newspapers.
• I was talking to a man at an event downtown last night. He said, "I don't get it. Every time I ride light rail, the cars are full." Yes, it is a shocking thing — if you believed the years of anti-light-rail propaganda. We built it, you bastards. And it's a huge success. Stations need markings to downtown Phoenix. God knows, we need transit-oriented development — but that would require a real economy with large numbers of good jobs in the central core. Commuter rail is needed, too. Meanwhile, has anybody else noticed how the guy who records the Spanish language announcements at stations sounds like a porn star, especially when he says, "muchas gracias."
• Oh, for more private capital and good jobs in the central core. Not more development — that would be a consequence of having a real economy. It would also empower cultural and restoration efforts. Here are 13 historic homes on the endangered list in Phoenix. Losing them would be a crime. Meanwhile, I was downtown on Tuesday and looked down Fourth Avenue to see a closed street and pile of dirt. My first thought: The sons of bitches have torn down Union Station. It is still there. But is anyone working to protect it and make it a train station again? Chirp chirp...all the money is in north Snottsdale.
• On the ground, the vacuousness of the debate among Phoenix City Council candidates is as embarrassing as it sounds at a distance. Do any of these candidates have vision, an understanding of urban issues or the severe challenges facing Phoenix? I have yet to hear it. What a change from the councils that enacted the policies that helped build light rail and turn around dowtown. Now it's all small ball and The Sal Show.
• Is it true that the Phoenix Symphony sandbagged Mayor Greg Stanton with an ultimatum that it would move to Mesa if it didn't get an even better deal at Symphony Hall?