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June 21, 2011


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How could one not see this coming??
Criminal, Just criminal.

Us east valley folks received a great deal of name-calling for our turning down the Crudnals twice, the hockey team once or twice and a variety of water park deals. I believe one water park deal did finally get through, but the economy killed it for now.

Glendale fell for it hook, line and sinker. The deals were snake-oil deals from the get-go.

When I question my Glendale friends and family, they are uninformed, unconcerned and clueless about what their local government is doing in their name. I watched the Glendale mayor on a TV show discussing the new great deal with the Chicago businessman concerning the hockey arena. When you have a rube for a mayor, you better keep your wallet open to pay for all her mistakes.

They're in a deep hole and they ain't done digging yet.

I'll stay in Mesa and support our local owned Dairy Queen. It's debt was retired back in 1962.

The only thing you can trust that is associated with Chicago, is a good pizza.

This sad saga reminds me of a nearly native Phoenician who has long maintained that very little of value has ever taken place West of I-17. I used to think he was a snob. Now, I think he was a prophet!

It seems increasingly obvious that capitalism is not played against socialism so much as with it. So, Wall Street takes risky bets and the taxpayers are left to bail them out for their bad ones. And if the government were to reregulate the financial sector as a result, they would scream SOCIALISM! Heads they win, tails you lose.

I marvel at the insider game here where certain players merely by their connections can make huge fortunes. It also seems that the political side is, more and more, indistinguishable from the money side. In effect they take care of one another against "socialists" who would provide health care to poor people or nutrition to low-income children.

Steve Ellmann won't suffer, just as Donald Trump doesn't suffer, or any real-estate mogul who makes bad bets. This is how American "free enterprise" is defined for the schmucks who watch Fox News: if you're rich, you deserve to be even richer. If you're poor, you could do everyone a favor and die.

Civilization prevailing under these circumstances is a necessary if unconvincing delusion. Wholesale reinvention will not be suffered. I don't see how we survive otherwise, however. The hustles and scams that define Arizona's economic strategy will eventually collapse from their own brazenness. Let's put Shelley's Ozymandias as an jokey epitaph on Westgate:

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away".

After two decades in the east I now live west of I-17. Give me a few years. We're going to recenter the state in the southwest valley. As for Gateway. So much potential. With all the available land and adjacent rail, I've always thought that if we ever got our act together and worked to create the solar equivalent of the Silicon Valley, the Gateway area would be ideal. That was six years agao that I first thought that. What's been done? Not a darn thing.

I can remember that onion smell on the cotton fields near Glendale and out toward Peoria. It was the defoliant used to strip the stalks down to the boll for efficient harvesting. Hard to believe that anyone could be nostalgic for that scary stink. It was, at least, a productive use of land and water. Now it's hell on earth. Too bad.

A new comment on the .357 to Yuma post.

Perhaps Jon can tell us more about Ellman's tentacles elsewhere in the metroplex. Out NorthEast, he bellied up a fledgling project in Goldfield Ranch and is sitting on a very expensive state trust land purchase in Fountain Hills, where we thought he'd at least have the infrastructure in by now.

Ellman's MO is to get possesion of the land, then hold it for ransom from the interested parties. Interested parties who if they knew better would run in the opposite direction. He doesn't do infrasturcture, he does ransom.

I won't even bother to see my beloved Seahawks in Glendale because the location is idiotic.

Downtown stadiums are a 25 min ride on the 72N then a short light rail hop from Rural to Chase\US Air.

The 72N gets me to Wells Fargo Arena and Sun Devil Stadium too.

No parking hassle. A little walking. They do the driving.

I found interesting the Mother Jones article you have listed on your front page section.

Soleri, I got a little upcomence from a "young" philosopher a few days ago.
She said, I dont care much for the dead guys there are too many interesting living philosophers. I didnt ask her what she thought about dead poets and other writers and artists. So I have been trying to read in the living vein. So as to maybe have a great ?discourse? With a young female philosopher.

cal, be careful with this temptress. She may be after your recumbent.

...or your extended magazine.

In todays world
"and he had a great package"

Cal, the genius of youth is to take everything that preceded it and somehow syncretize new ideas, music, language, and technology. The creative process seems hard-wired almost in a Darwinian way. The young philosopher you know is impatient for the new. I remember feeling that way myself a long time ago. Only after the imperative of that process relaxed could I finally start reading the classics.

I can't read most philosophy except for philosophies of history (Vico, Spengler, Marx, Nietzsche, Hegel, Feuerbach). Here's an interesting essay that takes a current topic of political philosophy that is both relevant and interesting for those of us vexed by grand principles: http://www.slate.com/id/2297019/ I have a contradictory relationship to ideology in that I think it's a great way to frame ideas and knowledge except for the fact that in the end, it necessarily oversimplifies and distorts reality for its own sake. Choose your poison! Certitude or ambiguity.


I went to a City Council meeting this afternoon to support a friend who won an RFP to rehabilitate an old house on Mariposa (SWC of Camelback & Central). There were a half-dozen properties the city owned as part of its light-rail park 'n ride project they didn't have to use. I told her that Steve Ellman wanted to put his hockey arena there! She took it as a good sign that Ellman's defeat was necessary for her own hero's journey. She's jobless but cashed out her 401K to buy the house for $27K and put another $50K into renovating it.

Her opponent was Reid Butler, a well-connected player/developer who already owns three properties on Mariposa acquired through previous RFPs. He was seeking the Council's support to overturn the city staff recommendation that supported my friend. He wanted the house for his daughter.

My friend wasn't naive. She knew Butler probably had a lot of chits to cash in and sure enough, he had the immediate support of Sal DiCiccio, Bryan Jeffries, Michael Nowakowski, and Thelda Williams. Phil Gordon seemed helpful to Butler but not fully committed. Michael Johnson, Bill Gates, and Claude Mattox supported the integrity of the RFP process itself. Tom Simplot was absent.

My friend was emotional when she addressed the Council. She said she doesn't know anyone there, had not gone to any of their parties, and is politically agnostic. She's just this person with strong talents in historic house makeovers and interior design. The Council hears a lot of that kind of testimony and looked unpersuaded.

It was fascinating to see the Council debate this issue as if it were the most compelling item on its agenda. There were motions to override staff and reward the bid to Butler that failed on a tie vote. Gordon had come around to my friend's side. Then there was a motion to give the issue a continuance of a week so that staff could explain its decision (since that decision appeared to be wrong!). Gordon appeared to support this. It looked like it was going to pass when Thelda Williams apologized and said she was going to vote for my friend instead. Gordon followed suit. We gasped in disbelief and then the tears came.

Afterwards, city staff came up and congratulated my friend for sticking this thing out. They had told her to bring a lot of people with her to this meeting since all these issues are ultimately political. The little clout the average person has is evidence of many friends since they might vote. In the end, it was just my friend, another longtime friend and myself. But the good guys won.


There is a long history with that corner and Reid Butler is only one of the players, and probably not even the one with the most influence. In a few years, the restrictions on those properties to preserve them as is automatically sunset. So it's only a matter of time when one of the developers with a stake in that corner approach her to buy her out.

It's no secret, but Reid's vision for that corner is ultimately to remove (by demolition or moving)that row of houses for a high rise project.

If your friend hangs on, she might have preserved that street for the forseeable future.

There are arguments on both sides on whether that corner should be high rise. Some point to precedents set with the 11 story building across the street. Others, (including myself) think a lower midrise development would be more appropriate. Either way, it's in no ones interest to have that corner linger as vacant dirt.

Perhaps this decision will wind down a bit of the fervor enough to pop the booster bubble on that corner so that a more realistic project can be built. Either that, or they'll double down and that corner will remain blighted for the forseeable future.

I went with a friend to a Cards playoff game - from Central and Camelback to Glendale- on bus! BIG mistake! 2 hours there, at least 3 getting back! Why they didn't put the stadium near downtown I'll never know!

PhxPlanner, I know that Butler has talked about a 40-story building on that corner. But Mariposa in on the other side of the light-rail tracks, so it's difficult to see why you would need a residential street in an historic neighborhood (Pierson Place) unless you were just being greedy. As it stands, Phoenix has countless empty lots strewn from downtown to Camelback. If Butler is going for the big score, he'll probably have to take a number and wait his turn. If he can live that long, that is. Intensive development didn't happen on Central at the height of the biggest (and probably last) boom in Phoenix history. Even when 1 bedroom condo conversions were being sold for $250K there were no new high-rises built on Central. The post-mortem on that boom will likely be the epitaph for the growth machine itself. It's been sold off for parts. The promise of resurrection is, at best, the bravado of salesmen. All they have now is confidence and the game that goes with it.

I got the feeling talking with city staff that they're fully aware of Butler's ideas, which is one reason why they didn't want him to get that last parcel. The Historic Preservation Officer knew my friend was not the type to screw her neighbors for a quick score. They wanted her to get the house for good reasons, one of which was to keep Butler from destroying the neighborhood.

Pro sports, stadiums, developers, follow the money. In the old days they called it organized crime (OC), then it became white collar crime once enough of the OC sons became attorneys and CPA's, now its just called legalized theft since all the OC guys gave enough to charity (and elected officials) to get to heaven.

Cal your thinking makes sense if the city in question was Chicago or L.A. or New York, but we are talking about Glendale here and that kind of talk (CPA, white collar, charity) is above Glendale's public servants pay grades. They simply fought so hard for the stadium, willing to tax their residents and waste money in order to become "relevant" on a national stage, no less. To an extent, that has worked, but it hasn't sparked any kind of meaningful development and the promised connection to mass transit is long delayed.

I used to believe Glendale was the right selection; but another big box in downtown didn't sit right with lots of people and Phoenix' proposed selection site was the bio-med campus. If the stadium were to be built downtown, it would need to go somewhere in the southern end which would have added a great amount of cost to the project. That brings me to the another reason for the Glendale selection; If memory serves me correctly, much of the land for Westgate was donated by the Long family (???).

Thank you for mentioning Highlands Ranch before I did. There is nothing "highland" about this massive, Ahwatukee clone, nor does it resemble anything close to a ranch. "Souless" is a very accurate way to describe fringe, cookie-cutter housing developments like Highlands Ranch.

"I've always thought that if we ever got our act together and worked to create the solar equivalent of the Silicon Valley" - Lo

Solar? Arizona chose differently many decades ago so that it could build unsustainable sprawl.


I just thought that this bears reapeating...

Phoenix = 0
while (Phoenix = 0)
printf ("How could one not see this coming??")
end while



"I can't read most philosophy except for philosophies of history" - soleri

I've been enjoying the lecture series, "The Self Under Siege", presented by Rick Roderick.

"His economic asset was trucking mogul Jerry Moyes." - Rogue

The synergy is clear: sprawl, highways, and trucking.

Some more important now sprawl jobs coming to Phoenix with annual salaries averaging $75,000 a year; and this billionaire from California will be renovating the historic Barrister Building in downtown:

A nice departure from the sprawl of Mesa Gateway, old GM Proving Grounds, and Chandler...

Dear Phoenix Sun Fan, I agree most politicians in Arizona are not smart enough to get the big graft. The Phoenix PD did the “Arizona Scam” on a bunch of local politicos for measly money. However if you trace, gambling interests and sport and real estate history back towards Kansas City, Chicago, New York and New Jersey ( I was once in charge of the Organized Crime Research and Analysis section)you will find an interesting trail, some of which can be found in Mapstone Mysteries by Jon Talton.

Ah good ole John Long. Long was in my opinion a nice guy and to my knowledge honest and fairly ethical. He and the portable “Truss Joist” came along about the same time and allowed cheap houses to be built primarily in Maryvale, currently ”Little Mexico North.” I was a plaster and sheet rocker back in those days and the walls on some of those houses were so thin you could see through them. If you would like to see a better example of my work you can check out the Gruno Clinic on 900 east McDowell.

Regarding your assertion that Glendale politics are stupid, hard working well meaning folks, the Arizona Revised Statues do not allow stupidity as a defense for white collar crime. However if you live in Texas it works sometimes. I think what occurred in Glendale and many other instances were a crime against humanity.

Want to see a political crime? Stand on seventh street about Grant and look north at the seventh street bridge where it goes by the “ball park” and tell me if that’s not crooked.

PS, The Glendale stadium is without a doubt one of the ugliest edifices ever erected by man.

Thanks for the web site Soleri, it fits in with some other reading, I am doing.

I had lunch in, not so “thriving” downtown Phoenix yesterday and watched the next to last Phoenix Farmers market of the summer. Kinda of sad. The attendance in that twisting heat sink appears more like a struggling circus than a Farmers Market. However the food has really improved and lunch was good.

cal, Someone once told me that Lake Havasu City was a destination for mobsters on the lam, as well as hexavalent chlorine. Can you confirm the former?

I'm glad to see the health computer project and at least part of it is downtown. But why not in or near the Biosciences Campus? You want/need synergy, both for innovation and to attract more. The Sky Harbor office "park" component worries me, because the whole venture could just turn out to be a data farm with few real advanced jobs in Phoenix. So, better than nothing. But...

Hexavalent chlorine.
Well, I see they finally got Bulger after 15 years. Obama’s doing OK, first Osama and now Whitey. Obviously a non discriminatory operation. Whitey went down like in the movies, because of a woman.

Havasu has always had a flow through of minor criminals but law enforcement there is more attuned to arresting drunk and nude coeds.

Closer to home, like Al Capone, federal law enforcement has been hiding out their wise guy snitch’s in Tucson and Phoenix for years. My good friend investigative reporter Al Sitter fumed over what he thought was a miss-carriage of justice by the FBI. Al was the reporter most thought got blown up at the Clarendon Hotel but it turned out to be Don Bolles. Al was also the reporter that wrote a “buyers beware” column when he heard Charlie Keating was leaving Cincinnati for Arizona.
Rate Crimes:“Many of these metals (here I substitute wise guys) can exist in more than one oxidation state, some are of great environmental concern” Study by Bin Guo & Ian Kennedy.

I meant to mention that regarding the flow of felons. Arizona has always been a vehicle pass through spot going east and west. Sometime around the late 40's or 50's Captain Robert Flack as a young patrolman made officer of the year for his number of felony arrests. most on Van Buren which was the main road in and out of Phoenix. His strategy was to stop all vehicles with out of state plates and run record checks. The focus was on out of state cars from Chicago and east.

Also about the Barrister Building. They kicked out the Phoenix Police Museum. Has it found a new home? (Please, not out in Desert Ridge).

Jon, I've heard a few rumors about where the museum is moving to; including the Phoenix Museum of History near Heritage Square. But maybe PhxPlanner, if he is still reading this thread, has more insight to that question.

I am just hypothesizing here, but it may be that the Sky Harbor operation of the data center will be the data farm/super computer component while Barrister Place will house the engineers and other high paid staff. As for the separation from the Bio-med campus, my only assumption is that construction of a new building would take too long (a new building would be necessary on the campus to accommodate this project and staff).

There is also talk of the Police Museum moving back into Historic City Hall...

Police Museum moving back into Historic City Hall...
This would be good and put it on the 4th floor and make spectators ride the old elevator. Hope some of Frankie's bullet holes are still in the walls>

Another clarification: Soon-Shiong's Institute for Advanced Health will be headquartered in downtown Phoenix at the Barrister Place Building...the supercomputer/data center will be housed at Sky Harbor Center.

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