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January 06, 2009

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I'm disappointed with Obama, too. We somehow hoped that his outside-the-box political campaign would midwife a creative and challenging administration. But what's apparent now is how careful Obama has been not to offend certain interests. America's consumption-based economy is moribund but conventional wisdom still rules. So we'll throw untold billions at it until the failure becomes obvious. Then for us the real work begins. Let's just hope it isn't too late.

Our political and business class may be chastened but they're not exactly singing from our hymnal. We may as well admit how marginal our viewpoints are in the overall national discourse. It isn't merely the average American who thinks good times are just a stimulus check away. It's nearly everyone vested with credibility and air time.

At any rate, Phoenix has already become a case study in how not to build a sustainable and competitive city. The denial here is thick but the old paradigm is cracking. Light rail has served one useful purpose. The central city looks so forlorn that you can ride 22 miles and scarcely see anything that looks like a vibrant city (partial exception: Mill Avenue).


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