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February 10, 2012


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"...the signature atrium looks as if it would do to the humans inside what cruel children do to bugs on summer sidewalks with a magnifying glass."


I remember the State Capitol before the new legislative chambers were built (Lescher & Mahoney, architects). It sat in a four-acre park/botanical garden, which was probably the nicest formal garden in Phoenix. The then-new chambers effectively ruined it although you can still catch hints of its original beauty. I only vaguely recall Washington Street's faded glory - the depredations came fast and furious in the 1950s - but the current condition reifies the word "despair".

The degraded office-park architecture of the current capitol complex cannot be disguised with clever plantings or festive colors. The architecture from the 1970s and '80s was the nadir of American design. Value-engineering public buildings was as natural an impulse back then as putting brutalist parking garage in the heart of downtown Phoenix. We did these things seemingly from sheer perversity and contempt for beauty. How else do you tear down the Fox Theater in 1975? Historic preservation was a hot subject then and yet Phoenix obliviously tore down one of its most thrilling buildings for a bus depot. The no-nonsense generation that won World War II wasn't going to get sentimental about anything so effete as lovely old things. Sometimes I think they would have preferred to erect a giant Quonset hut, stuccoed of course, to house all government functions. Show those French fairies how Americans get things done!

Because we haven't made progress in manufacturing time machines, modernism is our only recourse to navigating the present. Frank Lloyd Wright's late-life genius was not something we necessarily agree on. Woody Allen's movie Sleeper used his Marin County Complex to depict a cartoon-like future. Similarly, his Oasis design for Arizona's capitol building had a kind of retro-futurism about it. Dementia might have been clogging Wright's Usonian neural networks, but his Pro Bonum Publico design was as perfect for its day as any Mormon church of the 1950s (my favorite is the one at Cheery Lynn & Evergreen next to the Phoenix Country Club). We can't prove a counterfactual, but Wright's design properly situated - say, about where Phoenix Municipal Stadium is situated - would tell a different story about Arizona than the ultra-cheap architecture that so haunts us today.

Papago Park has not been as well-cared for as I would like. The National Guard has fucked up their allotment with antennae and pre-fab buildings. There are a couple of big water tanks, baseball fields, and a zoo parking lot from hell. Even though it was once a National Monument (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papago_Park), it seems for most people it's just so much desert. Wright saw the magic of the location and imagined something stunning. Knowing what we know about ourselves, we can quickly make several deductions. 1) it never would have been built. 2) had it been built, we would have ruined it with crappy value-engineered buildings for state offices. 3) it would have justified suburban sprawl by being so far outside downtown, further weakening Phoenix as a city.

It's a minor irony but I'll note it anyway. Frank Lloyd Wright died at St Joesph's Hospital. The man who helped make Phoenix appear more than a refuge for neo-Confederate blowhards and smug Presbyterians from Omaha died in a building perfectly suited for Mamie Eisenhower's hemorrhoid surgery. The irony is further amplified by our ruinous descent from even that point. In 1972, Good Samaritan built a new hospital complex so wretchedly ugly that it blights the old Miracle Mile neighborhood. It makes me wonder if the future was ever really hip or whether it was just a stowaway virus killing everything that made life tolerable and kind.

We'll never know. All the anguish about Arizona is not going to fix anything. We loved this place in our own miserable way and this is what happened. Maybe in a parallel universe we could stop the madness. The "what ifs" that torment us are a shrieky nest of grackles.

But who could forget the 1965 Zip Code Parade?


Polly Rosenbaum so kindly gave me a copy of this photo when I interviewed her back in 1999.


"...significant political events since statehood..."

From statehood until the 1950s Arizona was firmly Democratic; in the 1950s Republicans began to make inroads, in part because of growing numbers of White suburban voters in Phoenix and Tucson (the spread of air conditioning was conducive to growth) and in part because of conservative "Pinto Democrats" in rural areas, many of whom later changed parties.

The Republicans have controlled a majority in both houses of the state legislature since 1993.

Currently, they have a supermajority and control every branch of state government.

If this Arizona Democratic Party blog is to be believed, "Republicans have controlled the Arizona Legislature since the election of 1966".


I gotta go with Wright on this one. It fits the environment better and my artist friends like it. Personally in my parallel universe the areas encompassed by Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada, are a protected roadless wilderness.

OUR old state buildings, Not to worry, the LDS will sell the OLD state buildings back to us for no less than a 10 percent profit.

SB 1070 would never have happened, and would not be an issue, if there were jobs in the United States.

SB1070 has nothing to do with racism or intolerance, but everything to do with a simple math problem. The United States has more people who need jobs than it has jobs. The ratio of job seekers to jobs is a huge positive number. Therefore we don't need immigrants and any excuse to get rid of immigrants will get some support, no matter how mean-spirited.

Want to diminish intolerance? Create millions of jobs.

Mick wrote: "...SB 1070 would never have happened, and would not be an issue, if there were jobs in the United States..."

Pearce, has had his agenda to demonize the entire ...'Hispanic Communty'... far before SB1070. He tried to pass similar bills at least 9 times prior to SB1070, and failed. One time, making it all the way up to then Gov. Nepolitano's desk, before she vetoed it.

No, sorry Mick, this had little to do with "jobs" and more to do with an agenda to make the Hispanic Communty "Second Class", or Demonize this Minority Voting Block in Az.

They (Pearce and Crew) are afraid that this segment will eventually have enough power in the State to take control of the Government, and slowly phase the right-wingers out..

So they went on an all out offensive, like, targeting Hispanic teachers with accents.
Going after the Voting Rights Act as well as passing the Voter ID Law, which kept an estimated 40k eligible Hispanic and Native American Voters from casting Votes (due to no birth certificates).
Targeting Mexican Americans directly, by passing a law that bans "Ethnic Studies" (only Mexican American studies were banned...not Asian, African or Native American Studies).
Then the infamous SB1070 which would require "proof" of all Hispanics in Az's--Citizenship.
Lastly, the targeting of "Dream Act" students, by increasing the tuition over 300%.

Remember some within the right-wing running this State, have an underlying agenda (bigotry) and openly display this behaviour.

Case in point, Sen Lori Klein, did so by reading the infamous derogatry and racist letter on the Senate floor.. (No appologies ever came from her after the fact btw) She went on to say to protesters outside the Captitol, (who were demanding an appology)...and... just happened to be Hispanic US Citizens..to.."Go Back to Mexico".. on the Capitol Grounds.

The GOP Moderates, have since "parted ways".., with the extremists like her and Pearce, who feel as though getting hundreds of cities, and organizations to boycott your state was no way to "create jobs".. They voted against 5 anti-Hispanic Pearce bills, after SB1070.

The Dems have organized and registered over 400% more voters thanks to the relentless attacks by the extreme right-wing..

Ironic, though the GOP has outnumbered the Dems., they may now be trumped in this years election cycle... 'years'... before Pearce and Crew thought this would occur..?

The fact remains, Pearce is no longer a State Lawmaker and his loyal conservative district followers could not stop this from occuring.

The Dems like Bivens, and Heredia, who are to blame for running the Dems or..balance-of-power into the ground in the last few elections.., can now thank the Groups like Promise Arizona and Mi Familia Vota for the new adreneline injected into their party.
Not to forget, the "Union Busters" running the GOP, can also be thanked for fueling the Democratic Party surge..


The capital building of North Dakota looks like a Soviet era dormitory.


Little is said about the Independents, who are now about 1/3 of the electorate. Haven't they really become the swing voters? Why do we still cast so many discussions in the R vs. D mode? How do we categorize a voter who is socially more liberal and fiscally more conservative? Seems that we're perceptive enough to move beyond typecasting.

Three myths that will never be proven in our lifetime:

1. Proof of Bigfoot's existence.

2. Proof of extraterrestrial existence.

3. Hispanic voting bloc that would actually vote.

"3. Hispanic voting bloc that would actually vote."

It happened in California and so far Hispanics in AZ, especially Phoenix, are registering to vote in droves. Will it equate to huge numbers at the ballot box? That is still unknown but don't dismiss the possibility. You can thank Hispanics for actually voting in Pearce's district and getting rid of him; there is some momentum.

So we're on for 6 pm Friday at Portland's?

There are many unknowns. Many independents lean GOP. Many are ignorant of the issues. Ideology and lies from the right poison serious debate. I wonder how many independents actually are when it comes time to vote.

I'm making the Portland's date.

Many independents are actually Democrats who have to try to hide their true leanings from the Republican majority.

Jon: Independents may be like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates in that we don't exactly know what we're going to get. Seems like with Congress' approval down to 10%, that these numbers may generate more Indys. If there were a box called "Political Agnostic", I'd check it!

Many Independents are lapsed Catholics.

Not to try to "hijack" this thread...

There are plenty of Independents, which can vote and are considered relevant.

However, NONE are represented in either House of the Arizona Legislature.

In other words, there are plenty of "Independent" minded Dems and GOP members, just none willing to drop their own political affiliations to run as I's..


P/S The "myth" that Hispanics (or Hispanic Voting Bloc) could be relevant in an election, has already been proven. Though most Hispanics in LD18 were registered as Dems, they turned out to support Lewis, (a Republican) who eventually mopped the floor with Pearce, by more than 12%.. Some more of that "Independent" minded thinking at its finest.

I will say we probably need a new party. Who will be the Whigs? Dems or GOP?

GOP is in more turmoil, IMO...

Phoenix New Times recently reported a story about Hispanic get-out-the-vote efforts in the Maryvale city councilman race that saw Mattox dumped in favor of Valenzuela. Ironically, it was organized by a group of undocumented youth activists who could not themselves participate in the election.


Mick wrote:

"SB1070 has nothing to do with racism or intolerance, but everything to do with a simple math problem. The United States has more people who need jobs than it has jobs. The ratio of job seekers to jobs is a huge positive number. Therefore we don't need immigrants and any excuse to get rid of immigrants will get some support, no matter how mean-spirited. Want to diminish intolerance? Create millions of jobs."

Mick, a bill similar to SB 1070 was passed in 2006 when Arizona had plenty of jobs to go around: it was vetoed by then governor Janet Napolitano. So, the sentiment existed back when the state unemployment rate was just 4.6 percent.

The economy is not a zero sum game, where there are only so many jobs and if someone takes one, somebody else can't get one. Immigration during Arizona's boom years (including undocumented immigration) helped grow the economy, which created more jobs.

There is nothing controversial about this assertion: Arizona's economy (especially in the metropolitan areas, which constitute the bulk of it) has long been reliant on growth: attracting new population, so that new housing can be built and new jobs can be created for the new population.

What was true for legal immigrants from other states (i.e., that they contributed to economic growth) was no less true for illegal immigrants, who also paid sales taxes, excise taxes, property taxes (passed on by landlords in rent collected at apartments and rental housing), payroll taxes (in most cases), and who bought goods and services (autos, food, clothing, furniture, etc.) from local businesses.

Arizona's illegal immigrant population has already sharply declined, for economic reasons: immigrants come to the United States for work, and Arizona was in the top two states for job losses as a percentage of its workforce; its economy has also been slow to recover, in part reflecting national trends, but exacerbated by the housing crash, which also affected Arizona far more than most states.

P.S. Sorry, I gave a misleading impression when I used the phrase "dumped Mattox in favor of Valenzuela". Blame my poor memory these days, together with a weak grasp of city politics. Valenzuela was running against Sperduti, even though Mattox's seat was in play; and Maryvale voted for Stanton rather than Mattox in the mayoral race (no surprise there).

Iam on for The Portland.
Walt advised he is on.

I would have loved to make the Portland gathering, however, I don't drink any more.

Then again, I don't drink any less.

(I'll be out of town)

AND just to set the record straight, I was the one who came up with the cow manure and big shovel quote in the last blog. Dang Helen reached over my shoulder and hit the send button with her name on it. If it weren't for her other attributes, I 'd get rid of her.


OT but worth reading.

I've mentioned before the disconnect between the lives most people lead and the "values" they uphold. My next-door neighbor lives on disability. His wife is a public-school teacher. Yet he hates government, wants capitalism enshrined as our official American doctrine, and thinks making the rich richer should be the entire point of our political economy. Why? They're job creators.

A friend of mine stays above water with unemployment compensation. Yet she considers herself a "producer" and loves Ayn Rand.

Among the most conservative citizens are public-safety workers and military personnel. Yet they enjoy extravagant government pensions and health care.

The social compact is an unavoidable fact of our existence, yet we feel victimized by it. When someone we perceive as "undeserving" gets something, we're angry. This anger seldom transcends the cultural and racial biases through which we vote our "values". It can't. We're simply too angry to see things clearly.

"Modernists still pine for the "Oasis" building that Frank Lloyd Wright sketched out as a potential replacement in the late 1950s."

Perfect! A prescient homage to bee die-off! Could any design have better expressed the Arizona zeitgeist?

Walter Hall said, "We loved this place in our own miserable way and this is what happened."

A very appropriate application of the past tense.

Just to bury Frank Lloyd Wright a little more: He was no doubt a great architect but he was, like Corbu and Robert Moses, one of the great vandalizing influences on our cities and civic design. His community planning projects were car-based disasters. Wright loved to drive.

Had the Oasis capitol been built in Papago Park it would have done more than pull one more asset out of downtown. It would have nessasarily been surrounded by a vast surface parking lot. It would not have been the "saharo" preserve envisioned by Cal. Nothing about Wright's design would have produced an ennobling house of the people. As state government would have grown, Papago Park would have become a vast wasteland office park.

The Baghdad Opera House, aka Grady Gammage Auditorium, was the rare Wright public building that "works."

I agree with you Jon re the car based disaster.
but I still like the design.
The girl friend and I still have lunch by hole in the rock on occasion.

Supreme Commander: Arizona zeitgeist this!

Todays Republic was a miss mash of bull about pioneer days. Out of all the ink splashed across the pages of dead trees there was only the quote by playwright James Garcia that made any sense. " Arizonans should know, should make themselves aware, should understand that, as eternally resplendent as our sunsets may seem, we are all but migrants in time. (just for U Mick)

Excuse this old man from repeating but, The following quote from Charles Bowden sums it up for me about "Pioneer Days" Bowden's comment reference a family that got to arizona around 1900.

yep, i think she was from that pioneer stock. all of my life i have been around people who think their arizona vanished after world war 2. when the boys and girls set the pioneer society in tucson in the 1880s, they made the cut off for membership the arrival of the railroad. i am certain the tohono o odham and the pueblo people saw the end of the world when the apache and navajo blundered down from great slave lake.i think my arizona was murdered long before i was born and i await its return.

AZrebel, I was at Soleri's bridge at High Noon in Scottsdale ready for the gun fight, where were U? Down and out with the bell.

What is a Soleri's Bridge?

High Noon is in Tombstone.

I am right here.

If you mean a Cosanti bell, I can't afford them.

Emil, I think you are wrong about the zero sum game. The economy is DEFINITELY a zero sum game. Companies fire Americans and replace them with immigrants. I've seen it in companies that I worked for. IBM would fire Americans and replace them with H-1bs. They did not hire ADDITIONAL workers. They just fired Americans and replaced them with immigrants. There was ZERO job growth. Americans lost jobs. Immigrants took them. That's reality.

Illegal immigrant cause "growth" I'm going to yell "BULL ***!" Wrong!!!

Florida is flooded with illegal immigrants who replaced American workers. American construction workers lost their jobs, and were replaced by immigrants. I know plenty. If you went to construction sites in Florida a few years ago, you saw zero Americans and plenty of immigrants. The Americans were all at the unemployment office or out begging for jobs. Meanwhile, Americans lost their homes.

The local hospital system nearly buckled under the costs of treating uninsured illegal immigrants. Employers would drive injured illegal immigrants to the hospital, and dump them out at the ER door. The hospital was obligated to treat the illegal. So the hospital lost MILLIONS of dollars on the treatment of illegal immigrants. Nurses were FIRED to make up for the lost dollars. The hospital suspended contributions to the employee 403(b) retirement plan to try to offset the massive hemorrhaging of cash caused by the losses incurred in the treatment of illegals.

The hospital lost millions more due to the completely unrecoverable costs of labor and delivery of illegal immigrant children.

On top of that, the local school systems were crushed by the burden of trying to educate hordes of non-English speaking children whose parents paid NO property taxes. The children lived in camps, in cars, in shacks, and trailers, and their parents paid no tax at all.

Florida's taxpayers had to support illegal immigrants, so that employers could pay illegals less than they paid Americans. Millions of Americans lost their jobs and their houses. Hospitals went under or nearly went under. Schools are being closed because school boards are broke.

This is NOT growth. This is the opposite of growth. This is disaster.

The construction workers who lost their jobs to illegal immigrants, and the nurses who got fired from their jobs to offset the cost of caring for illegal immigrants, LOVE SB 1070.

It's all about jobs.

Saying that immigrants create growth is pure nonsense. It's absurd.

Here's an idea.

Let's fire every single American who makes more than $50K a year.

Let's import millions of immigrants - let's say 100 million -- from Mexico, India, and any other darn place to replace them. I'm sure that we can find foreign bookkeepers, engineers, nurses, truck drivers, and plumbers to take those jobs away from Americans.

All those immigrants will work much cheaper than Americans. We can always find someone from another country who will work for cheap.

We can fire all those Americans, import millions of immigrants, and call it GROWTH!!! We can have crazy massive growth!!! HOORAY!!! We may have millions of unemployed Americans, but we can fool ourselves and call it GROWTH!! Look how many houses those immigrants need!! They have to pay payroll taxes too!! Don't count the Americans that lost their jobs. GROWTH!!!

Mick: Having read your posts for what seems like a long time, I must tell you that they remind me of a forlorn hipster character nicknamed "Moondog" who hung outside the jazz clubs on 52nd street many years ago. He played exotic instruments called the "ooo" and the "trimba". His mantra was that we should all abandon hope because the world was sliding into the abyss.
At least he didn't blame the immigrants . . .

"If you went to construction sites in Florida a few years ago, you saw zero Americans and plenty of immigrants." - Mick

While selecting the "immigrants" from a job site can be a challenging task, I can attest that in several southern states many non-English-speaking persons have been doing a lot of the dirty work. I witnessed contractors bringing in teams of silent workers, tossing them a $2 'respirator', and sending them in to remove asbestos on the cheap. ¡bienvenida en América!

"At least he didn't blame the immigrants . . ." - morecleanair

What about the immigrants' employers?

I will not bother wasting my time on all of your xenophobic and "bunk" stats about immigrants Mick, but I will chime in and set the record straight.. or enlighten you to the "Truth"..on a few.

Mick wrote: "..They just fired Americans and replaced them with immigrants..."

It's called "Capitalism" Mick.
You don't like to pay more for IBM products on Amazon..... Do you? Then you (as a CEO of IBM) do what you have to do to remain "profitable" as any Corp., would tend to do...No?
The market dictates how much you can afford to pay for your workforce.

In other words Mick, If you don't like working for IBM because they pay immigrants less to do the same job..? Then the problem would be easily solved by working elsewhere..

Mick wrote: "...The local hospital system nearly buckled under the costs of treating uninsured illegal immigrants..."

The Hospitals are far from collapsing or "buckling".....But if they were? It would NOT be due to the very small "immigrant" population, as the right-wing ferry...'propaganda express'.. has fed you. It would be more so due to the millions of American Citizens who still cannot afford insurance. In fact, it would be this group of Americans that would be the blame of this mysterious "Hospital Collapse" that no-one seems to know anything about.? More likely though, due to the fact that they (Hospitals) are also Corporations, and they make a living on the all encompassing "patients"..and without patients, they have no need to exist. Nothing more to this Mick..

Mick wrote: "...the local school systems were crushed by the burden of trying to educate hordes of non-English speaking children whose parents paid NO property taxes.."

More fiction Mick.
In Arizona many immigrant families own homes and more so before the housing market crashed and the economy. (your Property Tax statment has been de-bunked) Not to mention--before they also became targets of the wing nuts running this state. They also pay huge sums of Payroll Taxes as well as their employers for the "products or services" you buy. They also pay Sales Taxes, and Social Security (which they will never see)..
[Note: some employers do hire immigrants and do not pay taxes, but the immigrants have to buy here to survive here, making them once again, the taxpayers in that scenario]

I will not bother addressing anymore of your un-truth's Mick, and respectfully bow out of this thread, and let you have the last word.. As I suspect the "Truth" and your unwillingness to hear or see it, is not worth my time.


P/S The "Whigs" IMO, would be those from the GOP or Dems to stand up and take a position which may or may not be popular with their respective party. If it would be indeed "right for Arizona".. (not "wrong" like those who supported and passed SB1070)... Will have to watch the politicains more closely to pick them out.
"New party" has my attention.
Just my two cents

The GOP has been swirling around the drain now since about Reagan's tenure. Sadly, the GOP really existed for one reason -- the abolish of slavery. Everything since then has been a downhill slide. Since the Civil War it really has been a long downhill slide:

-- money via corporations and trusts have dominated the GOP every since
-- the newly freed blacks abandoned to Jim Crow
-- the level playing field plowed by special "free market" interests
-- the anti-unionism then the Darwinian embrace of poverty (you deserve it you lazy sloths!)
-- the embrace of racism with the Southern strategy
-- the subsequent love-fest with the Confederate battle flag (didn't a couple 100 of thousands of good Republicans die fighting to ground that standard?)

Evidently, large numbers of people wish that we will return to the Dark Ages because oligarchy, inherited wealth, and the power of the church must be returned to their rightful God-given places.

Also, isn't Papago Park pretty much a wasteland now? Shabby buildings, rusting vehicles and Iraqi cannons, a slab of asphalt and a weed-covered shooting range. And let's not forget the continuing tradition of gay hookups and bashings on the other side of McDowell.

Maybe Paolo Soleri has a capital blueprint for the future. I'm pretty sure it will have a big concrete dome. It will be built when the mythological Hispanic voting block appears at the end of the Mayan calendar.

nice post electric.
for your reading list; The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.
and being an engineer you might like The Conundrum by David Owen.

Being an old republican I can attest that there are really some "good" republicans. I have some acquaintances that are gay jewish republicans. And inspite of their freckles I have a fairly easy time of liking IKE, Teddy, Abe and Thomas J.

Between the religious whackos Santorum and Romney, Raging Rick is one scary dude. But then he is not a Theocrat. All the election race needs now is a Sharia candidate. But then I know folks who think a Muslim is already President.

Besides hooking up (North MT. Park is also a hook up to go to.) Papago Park is still somewhat calming. The Botanical Gardens are fairly cool. Just not enough. Need to get the National Guard out of there.

At 92 plus I am not sure Paolo is still doing visionary stuff.
And while U R convinced the Hispanic voting block is a myth, I have to tell U the the Mexican Cartels are a Political force to be taken seriously. But don't forget they are Pure Capitalists.

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