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January 30, 2013


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Zane Grey had a cabin near Payson. That oughta be worth something.

It burnt down.

Jon, how does Phoenix compare to Salt Lake city?

Favorite Phoenix planning story. I worked at the old Phoenix Public Library from the 1960's until 1990. That year the administration called us all in and showed us the plans for the new library. Most interestingly to me, they planned to devote an entire floor to government documents. I raised my hand and said "By 1995, government documents will be almost entirely electronic. You might just want to buy a few extra PCs with CD-ROM drives." The reaction was as if I'd slapped them in the face with a fish. I moved to New York later that year. Along the way, the government documents floor quietly died.

I too like the name ‘Phoenix’ and I really like ‘Phoenix Sky Harbor’. But then, I grew up near the ‘Superstitions’ and I love them as well.

McCain has never done anything for Arizona, except to facilitate foreign miners in rape of our soil.

I like the question cal asked. Why aren’t there comparisons with Salt Lake, a city that a good many Arizonian’s think of as mecca.

Conservative cities do not attract world-class thinkers. 'Nuff said.

Salt Lake does much better, with a more diverse economy and fine commuter and light rail system. But it's much smaller, has the support and focus of the LDS church leaders to get things done, and that last part brings its own downsides.

"Here are a few reasons why Phoenix can't be Seattle: No major headquarters of global corporations and non-profits;"

Ahem. Make-A-Wish. Started in 1980. Now in 37 countries. Still based in Phoenix.

Food for the Hungry isn't quite as recognized, but it has a big footprint.

I am reluctant to single out a commenter, but Justin exemplifies the parochial Phoenix mindset that is so destructive.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest private foundation in the world, with an endowment of $36 billion. Its headquarters, in central Seattle, is an architectural wonder. It attracts some of the top talent in the world.

Then there's the Allen Institute for Brain Science, started with a $100 million donation by Paul Allen. Another huge player. There are others, all with a significant footprint in the city and adding to its competitiveness and appeal to talent.

I'm sure Make-A-Wish does nice things, but one would never even know it's based in Phoenix.

Jon, I'll agree with the majority of what you say in this blog ... and have many of the same criticisms about Phoenix. If you'd said Phoenix has few charity headquarters, I would've said "yup" and kept on sailing. Perhaps you can explain how pointing out your error constitutes my having a destructive parochial mindset. There's a reason I subscribe to your blog - because I largely agree and like your style. The overreaction seems out of character for you.

Then I apologize, Justin.

Goodwill has a ever-growing footprint in the valley. Why have a vibrant 90,000 square foot retail anchor store in a strip mall when you can have a smelly Goodwill instead.

There's no "old money" here in the valley. If there is a little, it is just visiting.

There's no chance of having "new money" develop here for all the reasons already covered on this blog.

So grab your coupon and head for Goodwill.

Good People! Good service! Goodwill!

Role Models: The "Good News."

Edward Abbey is buried here, somewhere? in the Sonoran desert.

The Sahuaro Kid

Mr. cal,

The last time you could be referred to as "kid" was when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

You can't be the Sahuaro Kid when you're older than the sahauro. (:-)

Valley of the Klan(KKK) is an accurate fit.

NRA President Wayne LaPierre issued a statement advocating the arming of all parties to arbitration:
"Had the court reporter been armed, along with the paralegals, support staff and the party's attorneys, this tragedy could have been prevented" he was quoted as saying.

He went on to say, "More guns in the workplace means less violence--Arizonans, of all people, should know that."

this might be a fictional account but it speaks much truth

Terry Ballard, aren't there many out of print government documents of great interest which are not available in electronic form?

Also, it is often a lot easier to browse a book for general classes of information than it is to do a word-search using an online version, even when they exist.

Not only is this true because general categories don't lend themselves as well to word searches, but also because word searches can bring up an overwhelming number of hits, each of which has only a tiny portion of text associated with it in a long table of results, so determining whether the hits are relevant may be daunting and time consuming.

It's faster and easier to flip paper pages and visually scan as one does, than to scroll through online text. Oversize books make this even easier, relative to tiny online print (or, if zoomed, a full page doesn't fit on the screen); and I have often found scanned documents with entire tables divided into multiple pages, some of which may be upside down or sideways. Trying to figure out what one is looking at can be a nightmare.

Finally, it's much easier to DISCOVER previously unknown items of interest when one can walk through a physical documents collection, browse titles and quickly flip through pages, especially when they are all concentrated in a single room or on a single floor, and particularly when one doesn't know a specific title or type of of document to begin with. A CD must be requested by title or call number and loaded. In the time it takes to examine it, half a dozen physical titles could have been browsed and replaced.

(Out of time.)

Phoenix just ain't got it!

I keep thinking to myself why do I have such a love hate relationship with Phoenix - more dislike than love and you keep giving me eloquent answers.

The smell of books, dust, decay and the smell of the ancient paneled places they reside provide one with a much richer experience than when when your hard drive burns up while scrolling thru mind dumbing downloaded documents.

NPR had an interesting interview with gang members in south L.A. on gun laws. Asked if new gun laws would reduce the number of guns on the street, the kids were quite clear, NO.

They advised if the have the money they can make one phone call and buy any gun they desire. No guns shows, no gun retail outlets, no Walmarts, just one phone call. No registration, no background check, no nada, just one phone call.

When GANG member was asked for a solution, there was a long pause and a "probably more cops."

AZREBEL, U read the one about the guy that was killed by a falling Sahuaro that he was trying to destroy with a gun?

More Sahuaros, less asphalt
Hasta Luego
The OLD Sahuaro Kid

"You can't be the Sahuaro Kid when you're older than the sahauro." -AZrebel

I may now need a new computer screen... ;-)

I have more to post on Phoenix later... but Cal brings up a interesting point about gangs and guns: Of course they don't go through legal channels to purchase guns. Guns are purchased by gangs much the same way cartels in Mexico go about arming their members. Organized straw-buying operations are used to purchase guns in places with lax gun controls and are then funneled to gangs. I believe this is the problem facing Chicago. Guns from states around Illinois, purchased legally (sometimes stolen from homes where guns weren't secured properly), make their way to the inner city.

It's econ 101
U make it illegal
I'll make an illegal fortune
selling it.

And I dont believe the stats that say the United States supplies "most" the guns in Mexico. Try Russia and and other European countries.

Chicago, thats just across the border from Juarez? I believe EL Paso is ranked as one of the more safer cities in the US?

Most of the guns recovered in Mexico are traceable back to the U.S. When the Mexican Federales or military uncover huge weapons "facilities" owned by cartels they are almost always American made weapons.

Chicago and El Paso are very different cities...being a mostly Mexican-American city in terms of demographics, it has a culturally homogeneous harmony much like Seattle or Portland (two very White cities). There is some gang activity but relatively small occurrences compared to other cities like Dallas and Houston; which are not two of the safest cities in the U.S.

"most of the guns recovered"
(i have a lot of difficulty with that statement)
i m not able to elaborate but my sources tell a somewhat different story.
not to say but maybe just maybe the liars figure
but i am not saying
from my cell phone atop a Sahuaro

It is no secret that guns are making their way to Mexico from China and Eastern Europe; however, the movement of people, drugs, and weapons between the U.S. and Mexico is obvious and well documented.

Phx sun fan
for a starter
try molly molloys frontera list
and if u want u can e mail me at coper1658@gmail.

And to further ur education
maybe we can set up a meet with El Pastor or El Sicario.

Molly Molloy wrote an interesting book about El Sicario. Nonetheless, there is still huge movements of weapons and drugs between the U.S. and Mexico. NRA denial about that fact isn't surprising given their stances about guns and violence in our own country.

"well documented" I have a lot of difficulty with that particularly when the "facts" come from Mexican Federales and other Mexican Government sources. Getting numbers from El Chapo might prove more accurate.

Well, I am off to see Carlos and enjoy a Tequila Sunrise or two.

I agree big movement.
As to NRA, I never have believed figures put out by Public Relation firms and lobbyists.

Mexican Role Model murdered.

In the Twin Cities, firm moves downtown for the "cool" factor. This is happening in successful cities all over the country. Not in Phoenix:


And in San Diego:


for all you prolific writers out there a challenge>


Mr. Talton, Not many cities can attract foundations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. I think it is fortunate to have them establish anywhere west of the Mississippi.

"...a destructive parochial mindset"

No doubt one of them thought "HQs for the takers."

Goodwill seems to be on a growth spurt, recycling products for a place where nothing is made.

That's my point about one of the reasons it's very difficult for Phoenix to aim for Seattle, which is not to say it can't learn some best practices.

That said, Phoenix has an unusual problem with getting the rich there to engage and give back. There are honorable exceptions, but not many. Tons of money has been made there, but the stewardship is extremely weak for a city of that size.

Where, for example, is the Sperling Foundation? It exists, but one would never know it. Phoenix doesn't benefit.

The real-estate industry is notorious for being a laggard in contributing to the arts and to civic causes.

A few years ago, a study was done on giving to the arts. Compared with peer cities, Phoenix was extremely low.

Yes, I agree absolutely about the arts. And it is not because there is not an audience in Phoenix willing to pay for the opportunity to experience world class exhibitions.
On a smaller scale, however, there are a lot of people working hard to keep Phoenix Artlink and First Fridays afloat.

Mention of “best practices” brings to mind how Phoenix is such a shining example of “worst practices”.

Three glaring examples:

1. Become a retirement Mecca. Local people who retire and stay are OK. Attracting retirees from afar – bad idea. They have no connection or ties to the city. All they want are their immediate wants satisfied. “Good Schools? My kids are long gone.” I’m not voting for any tax, no matter how necessary.” “ Projects of any duration. I’m very likely to be dead before any of this will do any good.”
2. Pursue tourist money. A little tourism is OK. Beyond a certain point – it kills the soul of a city. Music, restaurants, etc. cater to tourist tastes. Tourism should be to share what you do, eat, enjoy etc.
3. Grow too fast. A city needs to grow at a rate where newcomers can be absorbed into society. They’ll never be true Phoenicians, but at least they will not ruin or overly dilute the culture too much.

Phoenix will likely never attract large companies such as a Fortune 500 because they rarely move (even Seattle is unlikely to attract one and Chicago was lucky to get Boeing). Those type of moves are extremely rare and too much energy is focused on the hope of luring such a company to Phoenix. Focusing on large companies means that start-ups in the city are largely ignored after they have begun business activities. Shortly thereafter, those start-ups either leave (if successful) or fail because there is little support in Phoenix after they have been established. I am not saying that the region should ignore a future Apple assembly plant, for instance, but those are also very rare opportunities.

Phoenix should also focus on bringing back businesses and headquarters that moved from Central Ave to the burbs. I have friends that work in or near the "Scottsdale Airpark" and "Deer Valley" and they absolutely hate it. I would to...those buildings look like bunkers surrounded by parking lots! And again, we need more apartments in the downtown Phoenix footprint. There are 3 apartment buildings currently under-construction but we need a few more; especially in the northern half around Roosevelt. The highrise apartments being built above CityScape is a start for the southern half of downtown.

Another critical decision Seattle (and Portland) made: Not to build freeways:


Best Practices - North America 1450

1. don't let no strangers on shore.

Best Practices - West 1800

1. don't let no strangers move here from anywhere east. specially them Texans.

Best Practices - AZ 1950

1. don't let no strangers move here from the midwest.

Best Practices - corporate America 1990's to Present.

1. use the term "Best Practices' to cover every hare-brained idea you can think of to cause companies to fold under incredible management/ HR stupidity.

Jon, I think it is a little bit of a fib, or omission, to say that Seattle decided not to build freeways: the I-5, I-405, SR 520 (which is being expanded), SR 167 (also being widened), SR 99 & 509 & 599 (which are being widened but luckily part of it as a deep-bore tunnel), and the West Seattle Freeway (another freeway currently being widened) are all part of a network that could have been worse if not for activism from the anti-transit crowd. Unfortunately that same crowd also stymied train transit in the region for decades. While freeway construction in Seattle avoided some important neighborhoods, unlike Phoenix, freeways were (and are) indeed built in the region. In Phoenix, I-10 through downtown should have been a deep-bore tunnel in order to preserve more of the historic districts in its path.

You're just being endearingly disagreeable pSf. Look at the articles, on the city-destroying freeways that were stopped.

As I have written before, Phoenix had a chance when we temporarily blocked the Papago -- but the city fathers were against transit and density. So a huge opportunity was lost. The only victories were putting the Papago below grade and killing the Paradise Freeway.

Agree on deep bore for the Papago. So many priceless historic houses were lost. Even now, they should extend the deck to Seventh and Seventh.

"Even now, they should extend the deck to Seventh and Seventh." -Rogue

Completely agree...there is plenty of clearance to expand the Deck Park Tunnel.

I also agree that the most horrendous city-destroying freeways were stopped in Seattle. Especially the one in the article you linked; the Thomson Expressway would have been a reprehensible thing that would have destroyed important neighborhoods like Pioneer Square. I couldn't even image Seattle without Pioneer Square. Still, the city did build freeways in the 60's (including the I-5) which destroyed "tens of thousands of homes and businesses" as it cut through central Seattle neighborhoods.

Another thing...I do hope the "South Mountain Freeway", an extension of the Loop 202 from Chandler/Awhatukee is stopped. There is no need for a freeway that slices through South Mountain Park and Preserve and through the agricultural communities in Laveen.

Hey! At least Phoenix beats Seattle in attracting the young, mildly-educated, semi-skilled, pickup truck driving, UFC watching, shootin' guns in the desert, and quoting memorables from Jersey Shore talent!! Hell, we may lead the country in that category.

I should add the the cost of construction for the South Mountain Freeway, a 22 mile extension of the 202, would be $1.9 billion...$500 million more than the 22-mile segment of the starter line for light rail in Phoenix ($1.4 billion).


SD Mittelsteadt...that is why you should move to the Central City and leave the pickup truck driving crowd to the burbs...

Great blog, Jon. What you say is so true. Only fools or those born with rose-colored corneas could fail to see that everything mentioned in this article is the truth and not some bitter blogger's nasty interpretation of it (no... you're not bitter or nasty). I don't feel bad for a great majority of the people here because they know better and don't care....just as long as they get theirs. I most feel bad for the natives who do care, want to work for positive change, yet feel like they're up against Hurricane Sandy with a free Nature Conservancy umbrella. And yes.... I do know a few of those people.

Actually, phxSUNSfan, the cost is closer to $2.2 billion and by the time they would actually start building the thing, the costs could go up even further. It is a ridiculous project that will affect our traffic in such a miniscule way that its not even worth studying it anymore. Hopefully, GRIC and our nations clean air laws can stop it from being built.

Mittlesteadt, are you quoting the cost overrun from a source or is that your estimation? That is a ridiculous price tag at either point. With that investment we could speed up the construction of light rail extensions and even build a few lines for streetcars in Central Phoenix to join Tempe in their endeavor.

Meanwhile, metro Phoenix is still building freeways, which only hollow out the core, enable sprawl, are very costly once the externalities are priced in, and keep funding from needed transit projects in the existing urban footprint.

The 303 is bad, but the South Mountain Freeway will be a disaster.

The 303 is a joke, especially since builders are no longer focused in exurban development, save Chandler. It is a huge waste of money that could deliver metro Phoenix a commuter rail system instead. Besides, the type of people that would likely live near the 303 are not those who would consider a place in the core. That differs slightly from the South Mountain Freeway which is much closer to Central Phoenix.

pSf, the South Mountain Freeway is bad in its own right. One wonders what real-estate hustles are benefiting the insiders. That money could have funded light-rail to south Phoenix and/or Desert Ridge, funded train service between Phoenix and Tucson.

Epic fail.

I agree, which probably wasn't worded well enough in my last post. Since the South Mountain Freeway is so close to Central Phoenix it is a horrible idea. It would further ruin agriculture in Laveen. It would also be an elevated freeway over South Mountain Park which would look hideous. There does seem to be a good amount of resistance to the plan from GRIC community members, residents of South Phoenix, and Ahwatukee. Hopefully this thing is stopped.

I urge everyone to check out this link. It's updated regularly and shows all the great urban/downtown/transit projects going on in cities around the country:


Mr. Cal: A native of El Paso once told me that the water of that city is naturally laced with lithium, which is a tranquilizer. I hadn't given it much thought until lately, but when I googled it, there appears to be some truth to the claim.

Pat, You can just call me cal.
Lithium is a one of natures wonders
not outrageously priced by the big Pharm folks and it is of significant value if you are bipolar. However I hear the El Paso thyroid problem is somewhat higher.

And that reminds me of how little violence there is in El Paso and Nogales and Douglas, USA. /But you would not know it listening to the kooks.

I am sure you all have noted that a popular politico refrain is "we gotta "seal" the border before all that violence spills over." Of note is that most people trying to escape Berlin died on the east side of the wall.

Tear down that Dang wall.

what do you make of this?

Laudable that ASU is involved with this issue (though the sustainability movement is shot through with unrealistic techno-"solutions", but that is another matter), but it is noted that the center will be in Haarlemmermeer, not Phoenix.

We seem to want to study the problems until one day we wake up dead from what was obvious: cant breathe, undrinkable or no water, and probably incinerated.
I believe it was Petro that pointed out over coffee that many (technological) solutions require more and more energy.
The Prince of Wales gets it and has a published speech called "on the future of food."

If ASU scientists were serious we would all be wearing breathing apparatus on the bad air days.

Emil - I didn't say that I wanted the government to move from paper documents, but that this is what will happen, and it did. The library administrators didn't scrap that plan as a favor to me - trust me. They did it because what I said was true. I am not anti-paper - I have a whole shelf of Mark Twain first editions in my home library.

many (technological) solutions require more and more energy
To clarify and expand (because many of these techno-solutions ostensibly address energy directly): More and more complexity is the key - not just technical complexity, but also the specialization required in complex society. This affects energy consumption more indirectly, which can hide these costs from the otherwise well-meaning.

I make that 1) Michael Crow continues to spread ASU's footprint into other countries, and 2) ASU is choosing places actually open to changing policy and incentives to promote sustainability, as opposed to Arizona.

Maybe Arizona can learn from China.

Learning in Arizona is against religion.

Based on my investigations this AM, over black water, currently identified as as coffee, with a preeminent thinker I have determined that the planet earth is moving "forward" to a tribal hunter gatherer society of approximately 296 individuals per community tribe.

Wallace Stegner once said about his writing, "In fiction I think we should have no agenda but to tell the truth."

Check out Petro's critique of Zero Dark Thirty".

Speaking of Role Models
How about Barack Obama-The Drone Ranger.


And the latest drone


Excellent dialogue between Rogue and phxSunfan.

I watched Zero Dark Thirty and I like M.Petro’s analysis. However, if my recollection serves me (and it may not), I thought it was a woman from another dept. that handed the main character actress the lead on the guy who was a messenger in Pakistan. In other words, It is my understanding that it was not through torture that information on Bin Laden was obtained; rather the opposite.

I've heard that most of the torture was performed before the Iraq invasion, and all they wanted was information about Saddam and his complicity in 911. The truth did not serve them, so they went ahead and invaded Iraq anyway on the basis of lies.

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