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April 30, 2012


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Never cared much for Tucson.

Good place to stop for a bathroom break on the way to somewhere worthwhile.

Portland is a manufactured pejorative on the right. It's liveable, beautiful, sustainable, and compact. Let's be frank: those are liberal values. Conservative values are sprawl, ugliness, stupidity, and greed.

Tucson's sad destiny sputtered briefly on the wave of a slow-growth movement. Why be like Phoenix? Why not emphasize quality over quantity? At one time, a majority of Pima County Board of Supervisors was in this camp. It's hard to believe when you look at what happened since then to this once-enchanting city.

Jim Click, Don Diamond, et al, took control of this vagrant hippie, gave him a bath along with a stuccoed box to live in and a car to drive from one end of nowhere to the other. The rest is just this nation's history in microcosm.

You vote your values, and if you're lucky, your tribe wins. The tribe that could send a Mo Udall to Congress has been decimated. What we have now is a Brady Bunch tribe whose ideal public square involves left-turn arrows and freeways built in the other guy's neighborhood. Arizona is radical right now because our politics reflects our degraded environment. We don't love Arizona. We love money. And the spiritual ruin in all that looks like one more junky car town no one loves.

AzRebel said:

"Never cared much for Tucson.

Good place to stop for a bathroom break on the way to somewhere worthwhile."

On your way from Phoenix to holiday in El Paso?

I'm skeptical about how streetcars are sold and their transportation value versus cost ( ), a recent example being First Hill in Seattle. I don't like how they're being misused as the latest urban revitalization elixir. And Portland is not that great an example of a transit city - the rest of them are just very bad in contrast.

That said, there is an acre of asphalt for every five cars in this country. Sometime, somehow the sheer craziness of this situation will enter people's minds. Most are resisting that realization to the last inch. To do that the idiocy must be legitimated by an ideology so that it can be seen as something other than a huge waste of resources. The articles of faith are:
- "Freeways for free citizens!"
- The open road is emblematic for the bright future that is always ahead for Americans. No one shall block it.
- It is the triumph of the individual over society (Margaret Thatcher)
- It is not only liberating but also the most efficient transportation system in the world. A lifeblood for commerce and society. It has put America on top in the 20th century and will keep it there in the 21st.
- The bustling vitality on the roads (aka traffic jams) is a sign of a healthy and dynamic economy.
- If you don't build more and more roads, more and more hard-working Americans won't be able to get to their jobs.
- Everything else is 'social engineering' and forcing people out of their cars.
- Ford is the beginning and the end. The industrious genius and the rebelliousness live on.
- Thou shalt not force people to give up the American dream of a half-acre of dirt of their own and picket fences. To deny that opportunity is wrong and Un-American! Think of the minorities!
- Build roads and bridges for stimulus.
- Roads and parking are expensive sunk investments? No more than transit which pulls precious money from innocent taxpayers' pockets!
- Highways are awesome, beautiful and an expression of our industrial prowess.
- Yeah our transportation system has problem but it's a Good Thing overall. How can you be against that?

Anyone not conforming to these beliefs is "not serious", from a different (socialistic) continent or planet, an enemy of the common good. Roger Yoham, George Will and especially those who profit from it maintain these belief by thinking of the car-based fiasco as something other than what it is. They think of it as the vital fabric of modern America.

Tempe is currently looking at a streetcar line as well. It would be two miles long and run from the lake to Southern Ave. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts.

Regarding using Portland as an example for inspiration: Their light rail and street car systems are great. Easy to get from the airport in to downtown and then around downtown mostly free within the "free zone". MAX (light rail) even has employees stationed at ticket machines at the airport to help with buying a ticket as compared with the world's most confusing ticket machine of BART in the Bay Area.
However...downtown Portland has dealt itself some major problems. The City Council has not come up with a solution to the problem of coping with the homeless who tend to clog sidewalks with aggressive panhandlers and people simply stretched out sleeping. I think part of the homeless problem stems from not enough mental health dollars to help those in need...they have nowhere to go. The Council has also increased parking fees on Sundays which has cut down on weekend shopping. I believe they have also raised overall parking fees. Many retailers are leaving for the suburbs.
Another interesting quirk of Portland is the on-going bicycle/automobile wars. There are bike paths everywhere downtown, almost on every street, and it creates conflict with some motorists including regular bicycle fatalities. Downtown Portland is still a great place to walk around. There's lots to do and it's relatively small.
Being that Tucson is just starting out with their Light Rail they may want to study Portland but possibly more importantly cities around the Southwest. Copy the 16th Street Mall in Denver. LoDo regularly closes off streets for festivals and fairs especially when the weather is good.
And Denver is currently undergoing a massive transportation hub development based at Union Station. All light and heavy rail and the bus system will connect through Union Station. (I guess it would take MAJOR bucks for Phoenix to purchase its own Union Station and put it back in business.)
I've only been to Tucson once but it seems to me they have a golden opportunity to "get it right".

Midwesterns will continue to flock to Arizona for their retirement. After forty-five years of living the life they have been told to live, Arizona will be their lifetime adventure. The connection is too great and the migrants remain oblivious to Arizona issues or the effect their collective migration has had on the state. Most wouldn't care in any event.

Accepting Arizona's fate, I've encourage them whenever possible to check out Tucson instead of metropolitan Phoenix. Tucson really has the potential to become a mega-sized Sun City. The number of brown skinned people presents a potential marketing problem, but walled retirement developments could ease their discomfort with cultures different from back home in small town or suburbia Midwest.

A poster child for the mentality that is overwhelming Arizona is the governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker. He ran on not accepting an $800 million dollar grant to construct a train between the two largest cities in the state. Recurring yearly costs to the state were $7 million for employees. The Economist magazine, a promoter of market solutions, even questioned the analysis. The majority voters there, and future Arizonans, had no problem with electing Walker with the "No Train" platform.

Arizona's future is a dumping ground for those possessing this mentality. It may also soon serve as a dumping ground for the country's nuclear waste by invitation from the state's legislators.

A couple of years ago I was quoted in the AZ Daily Star saying, "Imagine you have a relative who's completely crazy, but he's also extremely rich. Phoenix is Tucson's crazy cousin." A commenter on the Star's website was far more poetic: "Tucson is Phoenix's artsy liberal sister, in a rocky relationship with a Mexican cowboy, a little poorer than Phoenix, but way prettier and more interesting. Phoenix is L.A.'s bitch."

Mesa, under Mayor Scott Smith, seems excited about the 3.1 mile extension of its light rail system:

. . . The Local Initiatives Support Corp. and the Mesa Chamber of Commerce announced Wednesday the creation of a position within the chamber to smooth downtown's transition to a rail-oriented destination.

. . . LISC is interested in the project, Brice said, because "we believe this is a very critical time in Mesa in terms of stabilizing Main Street, attracting new businesses and helping to make downtown a vibrant place."

. . . Although Mesa's existing mile of light rail has generated little redevelopment activity, planners believe the corridor will change dramatically as it fills in with mid- to high-rise, mixed-use buildings that depend on rail as their lifeline.

That Tucson WILL screw the pooch will be no surprise to me. They continually get it wrong, because they are Phoenix's little brother. Such is the family line.

Freeways for free people -- little did we know the yoke we put on our necks.

I'm a little surprised azrebel stops for bathroom breaks, I thought he just went beside the road!

eclecticdog wrote:

"I'm a little surprised azrebel stops for bathroom breaks, I thought he just went beside the road!"

This gives me a great idea for a sustainability measure to battle "peak phosphorus".

According to WebMD, extra phosphate is filtered by the kidneys and passes out of the body in urine.

Drivers hate stopping to pee, so why stop at all?

In an urban setting, urine could be deposited directly into a filtration system where the phosphate component is separated and concentrated. The balance would be fed into various automotive reservoirs (e.g., windshield-wiper fluid) where it would help conserve water.

After a sufficient number of road miles the concentrated phosphate could be sold at wholesale collection centers. The driver pockets easy money, is an environmental hero, and extends the effective life of western industry and agriculture by increasing stocks of the precious element. The whole system would probably pay for itself.

In rural settings, or in the vicinity of the Arizona Capitol building, unfiltered urine could be sprayed directly from the moving vehicle, where it would act as fertilizer for nearby crops and farmland, "or for other purposes as permitted by law" (wink, wink).

Ideally, this would be mandated through a federal initiative operating under the authority of the 1992 Rio Declaration.

The Rothchilds made me write this. Dance, little people!

Excellent post Emil.
Azrebel I have a "Still Suit" U can have
so U will not have to stop in terrible Tucson
personaly i like Tucson. Some if the best food and sex i have enjoyed have been in Tucson
La ciudad de moreno.

KEY- TU - thumbs up, TD - Thumbs down

Phoenix - TD
Tucson - TD
Kingman - TD
Quartzsite - TD
Flagstaff - TU
Anywhere in the White Mountains - TU
Bisbee - TU
Tombstone - TU
Holbrook - TU
Winslow - TU
Gallup - TD
Yuma - TD

and yes, I've phosphated in all these places.

I seriously cannot figure out how Scott Walker got elected and stays in office. I've been to Madison, WI several times, and it is not representative of the entire state, I suppose.

But Scott Walker is a complete nut job. Wisconsin is actually doing very poorly economically.

I do not understand why people rush to vote against their own interests.

The only possible outcome of these extreme Republican policies is disaster.

When everything falls completely apart, what are the duhs and ignos going to do?

Will they wise up? I am constantly astonished at the stupidity that I see.

I'll toss in something off-topic, but amusing.

Florida Governor Rick Scott (a crook, just check it out) wants to build a new state university in Lakeland, FL. The focus of the new university would be science and engineering degrees. They want to call it "Florida Polytechnic."

Meanwhile, the University of Florida just eliminated its Computer Science department.

Since the space shuttle program has ended, there have been massive layoffs of scientists, programmers and engineers at the Kennedy Space Center. Likewise, defense companies in Florida are laying off workers, including scientists and engineers.

Florida has essentially no engineering, programming, or scientific jobs. No one can get a job in Florida.

In Florida, students with MS degrees in Computer Engineering get jobs selling stuff at BestBuy, IF they can.

As one pundit said: I drove around Lakeland, FL and saw phosphate pits. (You can also see swamps and abandoned buildings). It doesn't look like Silicon Valley.

And The Lord said, "Go forth and multiply" ...

... and the Devil laughed, and built Motor City.

Ya gotta be thankful for backseat lovin'!! :)

Gallup! This is no NM blog.

Mick, I don't think you could be more off topic than peeing by the road and winding up with phosphate sustainability (nice turn Emil).

For the record, I like Tucson, despite all its faults. It's kind'a cute for a little brother.


Phx historic districts TU
Downtown Flag TU / flagstaff sprawl TD
Show Low & Mogollon sprawl TD
Old Prescott TU / Prescott sprawl TD
Prescott Valley cut thumbs off

Some of Portland's initial vision came from Republican Tom McCall who was the champion of growth ring limits around Portland. Is this the correct term? He also gave a boost to Mayor Neil Goldschmidt who launched light rail before he went to DC as Sec. of Transport. I was fortunate to be in PDX during the mid-70's when this began to germinate. Now, one has the impression that the gridlocked legislature is just moving around the patio furniture, which may be getting threadbare. Agreed, something's amiss in PDX downtown but maybe it is fixable with a better Mayor/Council combo. Dream on, huh?

As for Tucson, who will wave the flag for the train? Will Grady G consider it part of the SUN CORRIDOR?


The fires and the economy have taken care of the Show Low, Mogollon sprawl.

It's now the Show Low Mogollon contraction. And that's good.


sorry about Gallup, I was looking at an 1860 map where AZ and NM were divided lenghtwise instead of their current form.

Forgive me, I had a Nappy moment.
I thought I was a guy, then I thought I was a girl.

I thought I was a governor, then I thought I was a supreme court justice.

I thought I was in favor of the Constitution, then I realized I was part of the new American Gestapo.

When I think like Nappy , I'm so conflicted.

Reb, I wish the Rim had been Valinda-ized and depopulated. But I doubt it.

Oh, and enjoy Gitmo

Re Mr Yohem's article - Per his advice, next time I am in downtown Portland, enjoying an IPA at Bailey's Taproom, I will be on the lookout for the meth-heads stealing hubcaps from my Lexus!

The growth ring around Portland is the Urban Growth Boundary. Every city in Oregon has them, not just Portland (I think the population limit for an UGB is 2000). It is not a fixed line though, it's reviewed and adjusted every 5 years to allow for 20 years worth of growth. Lately there's been issues though that the boundary in Portland was expanded to allow growth but in an area where no one wanted to go. I suspect this will become a contentious issue as time goes on.

The one thing Portland is missing is color!

Color? I always believed that green was more colorful than brown.

"Only about half of Pinal County's population resides in the city proper, where the poverty rate is 21 percent vs. a national average of 13.8 percent (Portland, 16 percent)." - Rogue

Jon, in these statistics, we must account for the percentages of *voluntary* poverty. It is probable that the percentage of those living (happily) below the standard poverty 'line' in Portland is higher than it is in most cities.

Mr. Talton wrote:

"The only hope for the populous states of the Intermountain West is to have cities as counterweights to the radical-nihilism of today's "conservatism." Denver with Colorado is the prime example, but even Salt Lake City is relatively progressive after its (LDS) fashion."

Since Phoenix has economic aspirations as a magnet for data centers and to a lesser degree in the biosciences arena, I thought it would be interesting to compare costs between Phoenix, Denver, and Salt Lake City in this regard. The Boyd Company recently (March 30, 2012) released a report comparing the annual business costs for running a health care information security data center (i.e., confidential medical records) in 50 cities.

The study excludes start-up and relocation costs but includes "all major geographically variable operating costs" including labor (payroll and benefits), electric power costs, property and sales taxes, heating and A/C costs, and corporate travel costs.

Phoenix doesn't fare especially well, showing up in 36th place, at $21 million per year. Denver is actually slightly cheaper, $20.7 million. Salt Lake City is considerably less expensive, at $18.5 million. Here's how Phoenix and Salt Lake City (SLC) stack up by category costs (in millions of dollars):


Annual labor (total): $13.9 / $13.2

Electric power: $0.5 / $0.4

Amortization costs: $3.7 / $3.4

Property & sales taxes: $1.4 / 0.9

Heating and A/C: $1.1 / $0.4

Corporate Travel: $0.3 / $0.2

Of course, there are other things to consider besides cost when building a data center, but things like temperature and humidity are controlled by the indoor environment and factored into heating/AC costs; whereas absence from earthquakes, tornadoes, and other natural violence, is not.

Note that the difference in property and sales tax costs between the two cities is only about $500,000, smaller than the $700,000 difference in heating & A/C costs.

Incidentally, this viewing software is awesome. Click on the arrow at the side of a page to "flip" the page just like reading a book (facing pages continue to be shown); to increase magnification, put the grabber hand on a page and click, and click a second time to return to normal magnification; and hit the ESCAPE key to exit full screen mode.

True, Rate. And Portland is a national magnet for educated young people.

Incidentally, Arizona ranked 2nd highest in combined state and local sales taxes as of July, 2011 according to The Tax Foundation. Colorado was 15th highest, and Utah was 28th highest. Arizona legislators may be unaware that their decades-long strategy of shifting the tax burden from residential property owners to consumers also affects business cost calculations, and adversely.

Rogue, Portland is a magnet for educated young people but not because of job opportunities. Many arrive, would love to remain, but can't earn a living in comparison to other places such as California, and depart. Low wage retail survival jobs are hard to come by. Great place for trust fund people.

Social Creature, Robin Hood would have liked Portland's green. I prefer Edward Abbey brown. To my point Google has the population by color in Portland. Rose Garden is right on, "Trust fund" anglos.

Most Taxes:Arizona finally got a high ranking is something? # 2 on the above post by Emil.

But its most important rank is #1 in Idiot politicians.

Speaking of Politicians. The country is just one step away from becoming a Theocracy.|main5|dl19|sec3_lnk1%26pLid%3D157162

cal, I caught your meaning. Portland is 73% white. That's pretty white.

one less idiot politician with the death of JT Ready. Too bad 4 innocents had to die with him.

We live in an angry state and an angry country. I'm afraid there's going to be many more of these incidents. These kooks paint/talk themselves into a corner, then the only way out for them is violence.

AZREBEL, U can have your choice, Muslim or Mormon.
Based on history I think Geronimo made a mistake. He should have fought to the death against the Anglos that came here to give America religion. ( I dont buy that bull, I think it was all about economics).

When I was young I believed I lived in a place where one had freedom "FROM" religion.
But by the time I was 21 I had been discriminated against enough financially, and for my beliefs that I came to believe if you didnt believe in the Super fairy you were going to be punished here on earth for it.

Another one bites the dust.

No such thing as bad publicity. As Kim Jong Il said to Ms Albright while showing off his internet access: "At least I'm being talked about."

But regrettably, violent shootings are just background noise now. It won't taint the state's reputation much if no one cares or listens.

AzRebel, Portland seems whiter that 73%.

Cal, some would say we already are a Christian theocracy and in some places in the US the separation of church and state is a unknown concept like evolution.

Emil, The Tax Foundation chart you refer to would have one believe that Texas and Kansas, two red spernovas, have a lower sales tax burden than Arizona. Both of these bright red states apply their 8% plus sales tax to food purchases. Most states, including Arizona until recently, exempt food from sales tax. It is important for low income households that use a larger proportion of household income for food.

The Tax Foundation is funded in large part by the usual right wing suspects. Caution is advised.

Tucson is in Pima County, not Pinal.

Apologies, Sam. Dumb typo. No copy editor.

cal, your link to the story on theocracy had a typo. It was written:

"Mormonism Is The Fastest Growing Religion In Half Of U.S. States According To 2012 Religious Congregations And Membership Study"

It should have read, 'Moronism'. Amen.

jmav wrote:

(Texas and Kansas) "apply their 8% plus sales tax to food purchases".

Texas is actually more progressive in its sales tax laws: "All medicine and groceries are exempt from all sales taxes..." Also, "a back-to-school tax holiday in the beginning of August allows for the sale of all clothing articles under $100 with no sales tax for a certain time period".

But Kansas does indeed charge the full 5.3 percent state tax (the "8 percent" totals state and local sales taxes) on groceries and pharmaceuticals. So, good point.

The Tax Foundation table I linked to simply gives state and local tax rates in a handy form. It's up to individuals to apply them intelligently, considering such things as the breadth of the tax base. (I'm indebted to you for raising this point.) If I were citing tax analysis by them I would be more concerned about where their funding comes from or what their political agenda is. [i]My[/i] point was that sales taxes are not only regressive (the higher the more so), they can also be bad business, to the extent that they affect the bottom line of companies considering investing here.

AzRebel wrote: Portland is a manufactured pejorative on the right. It's liveable, beautiful, sustainable, and compact. Let's be frank: those are liberal values. Conservative values are sprawl, ugliness, stupidity, and greed.

As an Arizona native who lived in Tucson I must admit his analysis is right on. I've lived in Portland the past 31 years..and Roger Yohem's full article reflects much of the defensive, civic-smugness that diminished much of my home state.

Jon Talton said it well: Roger should get out more. Tucson is nothing like Portland and never will be.

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