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June 09, 2014

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Arizona's right-wing revolution has salted the earth with tax cuts so deep that there can be no recovery. This Randian experiment will fail to deliver the promised nirvana but it no longer has to. The "haves" are mostly segregated now in their economically homogeneous ghettoes (one reason why the sprawl lobby and the right-wing are one and the same). They have opted out, for the most part, of the society's necessary carrying costs. They will not vote to raise their own taxes. They might vote for Democrats who seem less crazy than Republicans but those Democrats cannot vote for tax increases unless they're the most regressive kind (i.e., sales). The tax increases that Arizona really needs, say on property and income, are off the table. Fred Du Val cannot change this. No one can. It's too late.

I spend a lot of time tinkering with words in order to explain this one idea I have. I know I bore people because the attention I command is comparable to that of a user manual's small print. I struggle to say this softly, loudly, indirectly, and with Old Testament certitude: there is no recovery for a state that has disconnected itself from memory, continuity, and reason.

Arizona is a nightmare. The sprawl that defines it now is anti-communitarian and rootless. The social contract is no deeper than the ways tourists enjoy a day at the beach or an ocean cruise ship. It is this sprawl that prevents Arizona from tackling its systemic failures because the costs of those failures are disguised to the "tourists". They don't see the problems since their comfort and lifestyles have been gated and guarded in the most literal sense. Arizona may as well be the Cancun of these United States.

Tourists can leave anytime. I suspect as social dysfunction and climate change worsen, Arizona's will decamp with few if any tears. They will seek out places that cost more but have greater stability. Places where people understand ordinary reality. Such as, you get what you pay for.

No more, no less.

I repeat myself.
Phoenix will not rise out of the ashes again. It had its chance and blew it. As for "raging" about LDS in Gilbert and Chandler.
If you are not aware that the Temple in Salt Lake rules in Arizona U do not understand Arizona politics. And other than the LDS Mayor of Mesa, Scott Smith, the pols at the legislature hate Phoenix and Tucson.

The folks that run this state getting instruction on school spending from their brothers in Utah.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/02/states-education-spending_n_3375632.html

Arizona is probably the richest state in the nation-- it just hasn't realized it yet.

Cheap electricity is the absolute lifeblood of civilization. And day after day after day Arizona is bathed in unrelenting photons that can now be economically converted into electricity, or whose energy can be stored in molten salts to spin generators long after the sun has set.

We are rich, rich, rich, rich...
We just don't know it yet.

The Solana Generating Plant proves the point:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solana_Generating_Station

We can build a hundred of these dropping the costs of
them dramatically...

If I am running for Governor I am selling the solar agenda at an amp level that drowns out all of today's incendiary bullshit politics.

I would be promising Arizonans the lowest renewable energy rates in the nation. You'll be able to run your air conditioner without worries. I am asserting that this will draw the Elon Musks and Tim Cook's of the tech world to participate with clean factories and e-gas station.

Literally, viscerally....

I'd leap over all the hot-button bullshit issues that are today's politics. The one's discussed as baseline reality by Talton in his post.

It's like Africa going from no phones to wireless phones without the land lines. It's a quantum leap over the morass of stupidity that dominates our minds. It appeals to our individual selfishness and our collective desire for a shining civilization. It will appeal to everyone. What's not to like about cheap clean boundless electricity? You can do anything and everything with electricity.

All it takes is a some leadership with a vision.
But either way this is the inescapable future.
Even Exon gets it:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25286-exxon-to-disclose-extent-of-its-carbon-asset-exposure.html#.U5Xkb5RdWwE

So we will get there with or without the next AZ governor's helps. The difference is, we should go now, in style, leading the country.


So riddle me this, John Calvin: Salt Lake is run by the Mormons but has an advanced system of light rail and commuter rail, a real downtown and an advanced economy -- all supported by the LDS. Not so in Phoenix because of the East Valley LDS veto elite. Why?

Koreyel, I should love your comment but I'm wondering where the game changer is. Solana cost $2 billion. It doesn't actually lower the cost of electricity, as Ray Stern's piece in last October's New Times stated. http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2013/10/solana_10_facts_you_didnt_know.php?page=5
It does lower carbon outputs dramatically, which is justification enough for its investment. But this does not translate to lower power costs. Sadly, even rooftop solar panels will cost ratepayers more as time goes on.

At any rate, I'm hoping you can clarify that. For Arizona, the issue is not some deus ex machina deliverance from bad choices. Rather, it's the steady and clear-eyed gaze to a future where energy and resources will still need to be conserved and the polity itself enhanced through critical investments. Think education, transportation, economic development, and the environment. The only problem is that you need a mature and conscious citizenry to do that.

Good luck with that part.

Well Pope Jon, Salt Lake is where the Temple sits in all its glory. Spare no expense for the faithful and to fleece the tourists that come to hear the Tabernacle choir. Of course only China has worse pollution than Salt Lake. Mesa and SNOWFLAKE, AZ (POPULATION 5000) have great LDS temples. No such money spent on LDS churches in Phoenix and Tucson OR better known as Sodom and Gomorrah and have become synonymous with impenitent sin. John Calvin cleared away sin for the wealthy as you can tell who is going to heaven based on the accumulation of wealth. The Coke brothers got a direct pipe line to god. May the spirit of Nauvoo be with you brother. But keep an eye on all those new Wasabi temples now being erected in the good ole Masonic USA.

Maybe Phoenix should set aside 8 square blocks around the light rail for the LDS, The Catholics, the Protestants, the Jewish and the Muslims in downtown Phoenix with underground parking so as to avoid the asphalt Inferno. Should increase downtown population on Dead Sundays. God knows there are a zillion downtown small restaurants and cafes trying to stay afloat in this sea of sand.

soleri, you are not a boring read and is someone ghostwriting for cal?

i see in Orion magazine that Soleri has been doing the Banksy thing on Portland streets with crayons.

and if you r still a skeptic of climate change check out the Puffin bird piece in Mother Jones..

Soleri, I didnt recognize you at first with those funny looking glasses.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/08/naked-bike-ride-portland_n_5467558.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

Soleri for president. He inhales well

The governors race: Republican cast looks like, Two Face and The Riddler. Where is Batman when U need him.

Currently the republican party lives in a fictitious out of control bigoted and religious world high on fantasy endorphin's and perverted radicals

For great hard boiled fiction its Jon Talton and from the past.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detective_Comics

In support of my pessimism, I offer you.

The Second Coming

By William Butler Yeats
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Cal, thanks. As you can see, there were lots of gawkers taking pictures. I was halfway tempted to go but it was about a six mile ride to get to the park in a quiet residential area. Last year, it was downtown and near-chaos resulted.

Portland is nearing peak craziness. Everyone wants to be outside. The patios and sidewalks at the brew pubs are overflowing. I would think the closest comparison in Phoenix might be when the summer finally crashes in late October and old-timers celebrate at the Hi-Liter.

Imagine a Phoenix where there's a nude bike ride, maybe with Jan Brewer as Grand Marshal. Joe Arpaio could wear his leather thong. Unfortunately, he'd probably choose to ride on top of his tank, a kind of reverse homage to Tiananmen Square. Tom Horne could score dates with the Law 'n Order crowd watching him pedal. Paul Babeu could chase illegal aliens in his devil-may-care way. John McCain might show up to remind voters he was half-naked in Hanoi.

You could have Mormon missionaries riding, too. They would paint their chests white and ride in pairs. The mavens at the Goldwater Institute might convince us that privatization of the bike ride would save the taxpayers $10 while helping Zonies grasp the wisdom of Naked Capitalism. But the best scenario would involve you on your recumbent, a replica of Spot in a side-car, and a saguaro on your lap.

Jon, I think you put the conclusion at the beginning...

But, as to the longer course, a couple of thoughts. First, when referring to Tucson, did you mean to say it is reliably red or did you mean blue?

Second, I'm not sure reflecting on a 1980s Arizona Democratic Party has much relevance to what to expect today. Sure, it's important to understand the history and where we came from, but we are long past that point.

However, the most salient point you made, "Don't expect to be reminded how the Republicans have had a near total lock on power for decades. Anything that's wrong — they own it. Their damage should be issue No. 1." is really ALL that this election is about. EVERYthing else is extraneous.

I can't say what individual candidates will do, but I can and do try to help point them in the right direction.

That salient point is directly out of Machiavelli and is made repeatedly by John P McCormick in Machiavellian Democracy.

Your second most important point, "Maybe there's a progressive state hiding in there. But don't hold your breath," is most poignant because of the implicit meaning of the second sentence.

Nothing will change if all anyone does is "hold their breath."

But I, for one, intend to breathe fire, not hold my breath. And I intend to make scorched earth resembling residue of the fucking Republican culprits. Like Andy Toxin, the fool that thinks he can just folksy his way into Congress. And John Kavanagh -- the sanctimonious blow hard who is ALL about selling out Arizonans to the for profit human warehousing industry. Or the soft-spoken Herrod sycophant who skims millions from taxpayers wanting to provide quality private school education -- at the same time he advances bills like SB1062.

There's plenty more, but the bottom line is that Arizona Democrats CAN take the legislature, this year. They have candidates and are organized and ready to hunt for bear, as it were.

Really, major change in the tone of lawmaking happens with as little as winning two more seats in the senate. But realistically, we can and do expect to do significantly better than that.

I don't care how many naysayers dispute it. Dr. Tyson said (about scientific facts and reality) so eloquently in the 13 episodes of Cosmos, it really doesn't matter if anyone believes it, it's true anyway.

Only one poll will count. And I'm not talking about relying on independent voters to take GOP primary ballots and vote the kooks out in August.

This is not about lamenting the demise of a moderate wing of the AZGOP. Screw the wingnuts.

It's time to reclaim Arizona.

Eagle: 1) Yes, I meant blue. Sorry and thanks for the catch. 2) History is never extraneous.

Indeed, history always broadens perspective. And in terms of a warning on what Arizona Democrats must NOT do, I agree. Still, screw the 1980s, we're going to reclaim Arizona.

Tucson is blue, but not as blue as it used to be. Not to indulge my chronic pessimism here, but I'm pretty sure Ron Barber is going to lose his CD2 race. Gabby Giffords was pure political gold and she barely hung on in 2010 against a tea-party wack job. As we all know, off-year elections are not good for Democrats. Krysten Sinema has morphed into a conservative Democrat given her own district's 50-50 demographics. Even Giffords had to pose as a defender of the 2nd Amendment (that is, not the one in the Constitution but the one that the NRA has persuaded us means unregulated guns for every crazy person in the nation). Ann Kirkpatrick is going to have a tough time of it as well up north. The legislature? Forget about it.

Morris Udall was CD2's congressman back from 1961 to 1991. He was an unapologetic liberal in a state that was not nearly as crazy and disconnected as it is today. He ran for president in 1976 but came up short against Jimmy Carter in the primaries. Carter had run for governor of Georgia in 1970 as a George Wallace-style populist. Once elected, he did a complete reversal, almost as if he had decided he was going to run for president someday. Udall was a jack Mormon, but Carter enlisted Mayor Coleman Young of Detroit to suggest Udall was a racist anyway. I never liked Carter and that maneuver made me dislike him all the more.

Tucson was a good fit for Udall and his brand of green politics. Tucson could have become Arizona's Portland but it didn't quite have the same institutional factors in place. The city had sprawled wildly in the post-war era but retained a relatively strong core near UofA. Today it looks increasingly like a suburb of Phoenix. The heart sinks at the lost opportunities. Udall died in 1998 of Parkinson's but the Arizona dream died years earlier.

The Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State projects that by 2030, Hispanics are expected to make up 25 percent of all registered voters in Arizona, up from 15 percent in 2010. According to the Pew Research Center, 18 percent of participating voters in the 2012 presidential election in Arizona were Hispanic.

We're a long way from 2030 and the projected 25 percent of registered voters being Hispanic. Consider also that in Arizona in 2012, 25 percent of Hispanic voters voted for Mitt Romney.

Assume that in 2014 20 percent of registered voters are Hispanic. That means that the Hispanic vote, net of Republican Hispanics, could account for perhaps 15 percent of Arizona registered voters total. That's important, but scarcely a landslide force, even assuming that Hispanic participation in statewide races keeps pace with that of non-Hispanics.

Even in 2030, if 25 percent of Arizona registered voters are Hispanic, then net of Republican Hispanics they would only account for about 18 percent of registered voters in the state.

In the 2012 primary, the Secretary of State’s Office reported that 8.7 percent of voters were independents, who have to choose a political party’s ballot to participate.

Making it easier for independents to vote in primary elections might end up moderating radical Republican politics in Arizona more than Hispanics coming-of-age.

Democrats also need to create an organization which motives and assists left-leaning independent voters to participate in Republican primary elections.

In case you unaware of an off earth option:

'pity this busy monster, manunkind'

pity this busy monster, manunkind,

not. Progress is a comfortable disease:
your victim (death and life safely beyond)

plays with the bigness of his littleness
--- electrons deify one razorblade
into a mountainrange; lenses extend
unwish through curving wherewhen till unwish
returns on its unself.
A world of made
is not a world of born --- pity poor flesh

and trees, poor stars and stones, but never this
fine specimen of hypermagical

ultraomnipotence. We doctors know

a hopeless case if --- listen: there's a hell
of a good universe next door; let's go

E. E. Cummings

Urban guidance from Phoenix to a Great Lake city just an hour train ride from downtown Chicago.

Phoenix Example for Milwaukee Faces Challenges


As city officials and private sector types continue working to revive downtown's W. Wisconsin Ave., the Greater Milwaukee Community this week hosted Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton for a talk on what's being done in that Arizona city.

Stanton, and Wellington Reiter, senior vice president of the Arizona State University Foundation, discussed the recent establishment of a downtown Phoenix campus for the university, which has its main campus about 10 miles away, in Tempe.

Since its 2006 opening, the downtown campus has expanded to 12,000 students, a growing share of the university's overall enrollment of 76,000, Reiter said. The downtown campus includes new and renovated buildings for classes and student housing, and a light rail connection to the main campus, he said.

The city helped pay for about half of the light rail system, as well as $200 million of additional costs tied to developing the downtown campus, which continues to add new buildings, said Stanton, an Arizona native and Marquette University graduate.

The downtown campus and light rail link have helped spur additional development, Stanton and Reiter said.

But any comparisons to Milwaukee might face an apples vs. oranges problem.

Milwaukee's two largest universities already have a downtown presence.

Marquette is on the edge of downtown. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee operates its Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health at The Brewery, and its School of Continuing Education on two floors of the Plankinton Arcade, above the Shops of Grand Avenue.

Could UWM or Marquette increase their downtown presence? It's possible. But the combined enrollment of both schools -- about 41,000 students -- is well below that of Arizona State.

Also, Phoenix's much larger population, and greater wealth, give that city some big advantages when it comes to helping pay for mass transit and other development costs.

According to the latest Census Bureau estimates, Phoenix's population is 1.49 million, compared to around 599,000 for Milwaukee.

And the median household income in Phoenix is $47,866, over one-third higher than Milwaukee's $35,823, according to the bureau.

cal, I love the verse that you chose, both of them. Another universe is good; but will you be able to smell the desert's petrichor on a summer afternoon?

Suzanne, I'm checking with e e c on that but there is always Abbey and the other planet near Organ Pupe

Rogue, Salt Lake has light and commuter rail because it is overwhelmingly Mormon. AZ, being a Mormon colony, will get nothing because is it 95% heathens (i.e., not Mormon). Your votes are much appreciated tho!

Further thoughts on the power (or not) of a growing Hispanic vote in Arizona:

Of Arizona registered voters, about 29.5 percent are Democrats; about 35 percent are Republicans. So, right off the bat, Democrats need to make up 5.5 percentage points worth of voters, just to catch up with Republicans.

The situation is actually worse, first because Democratic registration is hemorraging: just four years ago they had about 32 percent of AZ registered voters.

Second, Democrats may also have more ground to make up because of the characteristics of registered independent voters in Arizona, who now account for about 35 percent of the state's registered voters, in a near tie with Republicans.

Solid information about the political leanings of the state's registered independents is hard to come by, but the fact that Republicans have a lock on state politics at both the legislative and executive level suggests that the state's independents may tend to lean Republican. If so, the Hispanic vote will need to offset that as well.

At the legislative level, note that parties win political seats through district votes, not total statewide votes. So, the fact that there will be more Hispanics voting and that roughly 3/4 of the state's Hispanics voted for Obama over Romney, doesn't necessarily translate into vast legislative gains.

It isn't the number of new Hispanic votes; it's the number of new districts that Hispanic votes can convert from Republican to Democratic. Hispanics tend to live in poorer districts of the city which are already under Democratic control. More residents of such districts won't win new legislative seats.

Off topic, but right on meta-topic: http://www.thenation.com/article/173346/could-phoenix-soon-become-uninhabitable#
Nothing new within for Rogue readers. I remember in the 50s in early elementary years when Phoenix would get mentioned in national media and feel an excited pride.

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