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May 28, 2013


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I think community colleges provide excellent educational experiences. Classes are actually taught by teachers instead of grad students who may or may not have a grasp of the English language. Unless you're going to an Ivy league school, why pay the extra tuition?

I concur with Diane on that. Also, community colleges allow low income students to attend basic classes for the lowest tuition you can find anywhere and then matriculate to one of the 4 year schools.

As for the letter writer, sheesh what crybaby! If he thinks he's being picked on he should see my Twitter feed. He sure couldn't handle being an outspoken liberal feminist.

Moreover, I don't suppose it's ever occurred to this massively self-absorbed git from Ahwatukee that people like Jon may not be at all interested in trying to convert him, while coddling his tender feelings the whole time. I know I sure don't. The more reactionaries I encounter and the more I learn what their beliefs truly are, the less interested I am in any engagement besides defeating them. Let someone else try and be the Wingnut Whisperer. Not my thing.

Just a small counter to your Ahwatukee reader... I lived there for about 6 years in the late 90s/early 2000s and crime rose like crazy. It wasn't gangland murders or drive-bys, but lots of burglaries and petty crimes. I also heard, on many occasions, gun shots....at 32nd & Chandler!! But otherwise, Ahwatukee was nice.

Regarding the growthgasm.....those reports always make me cringe. Partially because the rankings use percentage of growth rather than actual number (how many people actually moved to Buckeye), but also because they never can explain what makes up that new growth.

For instance, one group that seems to be missing from nearly all discussions about the growth is the baby-boomer-ready-to-retire demographic. I have nothing against this group, mind you, but what they want, what they need and what they are willing to spend is completely different from the huge segment of people in the middle of the age demographic. There is a point to the comparison because it deals with the "why" of population growth. In the past, the strong job market was the primary mover, with retirement and weather being next in line (IMHO). However, over the past decade, jobs have been very hard to find. At least the one's that still pay a decent salary, provide decent benefits, and don't require you to wear a telephone headset or apron.

So all of this new growth??? Who are these people and why are they still coming here??

The Tookie letter is a fake.

Between their two hour morning run, 1 hour wait for a latte, 1 hour commute, 10 hour workday, 1 hour commute, 2 hour bike ride, 3 hour wait for a seat at the "in' restaurant, and 10 minutes to bond with their family, they wouldn't have time to write such a long letter.

The national average for crime is 4.

For Tookie, Violent crime 5, property crime 8.

Darn those pesky "statistics".

We can be sure that Jon will not be swayed from his principles in writing books to cater to a few readers.

Unlike our Ahwatukee poster, I'm up-to-date with my Talton, having just finished The Night Detectives on Friday. The only thing I find irritating is that I'm left wanting more.

I've been gone from AZ a long time, made only a few trips back and wasn't there as long as Jon, so my memories are less clear and much has changed. I tried using Google Street View while reading the book. I was able to trace Mapstone's drive up Central, for example. Much different than when I used paper maps of New York City while reading Nero Wolfe.

I was also able to check on things that didn't sound right to me and corrected some of my memories (The Biltmore IS just north of Camelback with an entrance on 24th...I had it placed more east despite having lived on 24th between Indian School and Camelback and spending a whole summer bicycling from there to Paradise Valley through Dreamy Draw (on a road that has been replaced by a freeway).

I have a pro tip for your readers: when you don't like what an author has written, stop reading them (books or blogs). I have done so for Philip Jose Farmer, Clive Cussler and J. A. Jance, to name a few.

And a shout-out to the Red Dude and his cameo.

Brewer's push for federally funded Medicaid expansion demonstrates a rare example of political leadership for Arizona politicians.

Yes beautiful East Picacho is gone (except for the lonely motel sign). That little stretch of I-10 is to be widened and the interchange reconfigured I believe. The big U.P. yard is to be built at Red Rock on former cotton growing land. There is no room to expand the old S.P. (P.F.E.) yard in Tucson. It's a lousy place to switch anyway-- too steep. Hard to get 'em started. Once you get them started, hard to stop. Allowing cars to roll free on that grade is problematic also.

Well, I don't know about Arizona, but here in Colorado, credits from Colorado public community colleges are-by law- transferable to any Colorado public college or university, which allows students to earn their higher degree without incurring truly crushing student loan debt. Really, though, why would you want the embarrassment of University of Phoenix downtown-or even to continue to exist? The high default rates from these for-profit schools, which only exist to milk the government, will eventually cause the next big bubble to burst. At least, that's how it appears to me, a non-college graduate. My daughter, however, is going the route I described above, and is carrying way less debt than most of her peers. Don't know how it'll turn out when she returns to the four-year college, maybe her professors will sneer at her, but oh, well...

Thanks Buford
I lived in Awhatukee for about ten years. Almost as boring as old Sun City.
I moved to the North side of South Mountain So I was a lot closer to Ranch market for my Sunday morning Munedo.
I could care less about the color or politics of fiction characters. Jon and I first fought over buildings and Saguaros before I discovered he and I had a common Phoenix history and he was writing mysteries set in Maricopa County. Jon and I still do not agree totally on buildings and Cacti but we have become friends. I was unaware Jon was slipping me into Night Detectives. I was one. I am honored to be a friend of Jon’s and be able to provide him with stuff from 1950 forward. Recently I gave him a sorta history book called Gunslingers and Gun fights by my old Narc partner, Gordon Hunsaker. Gordon flew for the Russians and later the CIA in Afghanistan after retiring early from the Phoenix PD.
I look forward to the next Mapstone and the next Cincinnati Case book mysteries.

East Picacho
John was Eddies Place a drinking stop for you?
The ground in that area has sunk 20 feet due to the giant sucking of water for agriculture.

It seems there will be a club meeting Saturday morning now that 1 escaped after 101 days from a Cheva Prison.

101 thats police code for female.
918 thats code for crazy
so watch out for the corvette driven by a female PPD officer with the plate 918-101

One thing I like about the State Farm Headquarters in Tempe is its access to public transportation. Tempe is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the U.S. All of Town Lake is accessible by foot, light rail, and bike. Parking in the area, particularly ASU's lot 59N, will be lost to development. Although a garage will be built underground, 2,000 parking spaces will disappear. ASU will not be replacing those spots as they feel that students, faculty, and visitors have adjusted well to walking, biking, taking light rail, and utilizing the free Tempe bus services.

The push for more student housing around campus also will mean less driving for students. The City of Tempe was also forced to realign the streetcar route in order to gain federal funding. One of the new routes is C-shaped and will start near Rural and Rio Salado going west, head down Mill, and turn east onto Apache...it will pass right in front of ASU's sports facilities, the State Farm development, and the condos of Hayden's Ferry Lakeside. The City will decide on the final route of the streetcar in June.

Interesting analysis of Brewer's healthcare about-face and the real politik behind it.

However, nearly all employers in Arizona with 50 or more employees, offer employer sponsored health insurance; furthermore, this has been consistent since the late 1990s. It is the smaller employers who are culpable for taking Arizona to near the bottom of the states in terms of percentage of employers who offer health insurance. See the easy to read graphs on page 29 of "State-Level Trends in Employer Sponsored Health Insurance: A State by State Analysis" (April, 2013) by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:


Note also that because Obamacare's generous increase in matching funds applies to the already existing AHCCCS population, not just prospective new enrollees, it was on track to actually SAVE THE STATE MONEY even before the Governor's proposal for a hospital tax to "cover state costs".

This savings later deteriorated, but only because so many of the childless adults already on the rolls before the freeze, fell off the rolls and couldn't get back on (because of the freeze), in massive numbers and very quickly. That, after all, was the main selling point of the freeze to conservatives in the legislature: that attrition would quietly do the work they themselves were too politically cowardly to perform openly. They were "dizzy with success" until the Governor came along and spoiled everything.

The Governor's hospital tax more than takes up the slack, and is projected to ADD $100 million or more to the state general fund in FY 2014. So, Republicans in the state legislature who oppose the plan yet claim an interest in fiscal responsibility are shooting themselves in the foot.

The bottom line for them is that they don't want to see the population get something from the government that significantly improves their lives, because that creates a bad example that can only work against conservatives who run on a "(big) government is bad" ticket.

Emil, did Brewer outline a plan for a hospital tax in all of Arizona? I was under the impression that Phoenix, Phoenix hospitals and other business interests proposed the Phoenix Access to Care Ordinance to aid the expansion of AHCCCS (Medicaid) in the state. From a short article in April out of the AZ Republic:

"Phoenix officials announced Wednesday that they have received federal approval for the Phoenix Access to Care Ordinance, a plan to tax local hospitals and pool the money to generate about $200 million in federal matching funds to care for uninsured and underinsured patients.

The City Council last December adopted the ordinance, which imposes a short-term tax on 11 local hospitals to generate about $130 million.

Under the ordinance, hospitals cannot pass the tax along to patients. Instead, the money will create a funding source for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state’s Medicaid program, and trigger a 2-1 federal match.

Phoenix is the first city in the state to adopt such an ordinance, which officials say will allow 33,000 more children to enroll in AHCCCS."

Are these separate issues?

Walmart is the largest employer in the United States after the federal government. So, it is not surprising that it is the largest private employer in Arizona.


It seems to be true that Walmart has a lower than average presence in Washington State. I would like to know why. Anyone?

Arizona has, for the size of its economy, about the same number of headquarters as other states. In 2012, Washington state's GDP was $372 billion and it hosted 8 Fortune 500 company headquarters (4 in Seattle); Arizona's GDP was $269 billion and it hosted 6 such headquarters (4 in Phoenix); Texas had a GDP of $1,391 billion and hosted 52 such headquarters. Texas's GDP is 5 times larger than that of Arizona's and 3.7 times larger than Washington state's.

State GDP:


Headquarters by state (default to AZ):


Yes, there is a new statewide assessment under Brewer's plan that will go into effect Jan. 1 2014 if that plan is implemented. Click on "What does the new Provider Assessment mean for Arizona, and when will it take effect?" here:


Yes, there is a new statewide provider assessment (hospital tax) under Brewer's plan that will go into effect Jan. 1 2014 if that plan is implemented.

In that case, do you know if the Phoenix Access to Care Ordinance will be supplemental? Or, will it no longer be necessary if a similar plan would be enacted statewide? It is possible that it can act as a "fail-safe", in your opinion, in the event that the Legislature blocks Brewer's plan?

Re comment above, the median U.S. age is 37.1 according to the 2013 CIA Factbook. Arizona's median age as of the 2010 Census was 35.9 and Phoenix's was 32.2.

One reason why Phoenix is "young" is the large percentage of Hispanic residents and their children. That said, "the group with the greatest percentage gains from 2000 to 2010 were those between 55 and 64 years old, which reflects the overall aging trend nationally. In nine Maricopa County cities, 20 percent or more of the population is 65 or older. The share of Arizona's population under 45 shrank."


According to the Governor's website, the statewide assessment replaces the Phoenix assessment and cities will no longer be able to levy provider assessments.


According to the Governor's official website dealing with Medicaid expansion, the statewide assessment will replace Phoenix's and cities will no longer be allowed to levy such assessments. I can't post the link here because I've already tried twice and for some reason it disappears into spam. Will try separately.

According to the Governor's official website on Medicaid expansion, the statewide assessment will replace Phoenix's and cities in general will no longer be allowed to levy such assessments.


I can't provide a link to the website because, whether cut and paste or typed by hand, the posting software here eats the post. (I've tried four times.) But Google (Brewer medicaid expansion) and it is among the top links returned.

Yet not all headquarters are equal in their economic and civic impact. Phoenix has nothing to compare with Amazon, with its downtown campus, three skyscrapers on the way and 15,000 well-paid employees. Or Microsoft with 40,000 employees. Or Starbucks, Costco, Nordstrom, etc.

I can't seem to get the link to the Governor's website on Medicaid expansion to post. But it can easily be found using search engines.

Meanwhile, here's something for super-wonks dying to know what the federal government says to states in general (and Arizona in particular) about expansion:


I am looking for the Governor's website on Medicaid expansion as well. If I find it, I will post a link.

Emil, I found this site, not sure if it is the one you were looking for:


Good point, Rogue.

That said, Avnet "may be the world's largest franchised distributor of electronic components and subsystems. Avnet has 16 centers and locations in more than 34 countries"; its Phoenix employment exceeds the combined employment of Starbucks and Nordstrom in Seattle.

Freeport McMoRan is "one of the world's largest producers of copper and gold" and again roughly matches those two.

But nothing like Microsoft and Amazon.

Could Costco's large presence have contributed to Walmart's notably diminished presence in Washington state?

That's the link. (I found it, I just couldn't get it posted. Tried 4 times, using both cut-and-paste and typing it in from scratch.)

I wonder if the smaller number of Walmarts in Washington State has anything to do with ordinances? I know Walmart face many battles in cities in Washington. For instance, in Monroe, WA the residents are fighting the construction of a new Walmart...same in Tacoma.

Obviously you aren't going to construct a plot to satisfy the letter writer's values (and why should you?!), but it would be funny if you wrote a book wherein you seemed to be doing just that: the villain would be an atheist, environmentalist, left-wing radical; only later in the book would it transpire that he was actually a right-wing fundamentalist conspiring with big capital to sabotage the public's view of the environmental movement, using a fake "environmentalist" group to do just that. Naturally, there would be some pending legislation approaching that would benefit the corporate interests; and they could use a breaking scandal (breaking when they decide) to weaken public and congressional support.

I believe that some Washington cities, like Tacoma, have moratoriums on big-box stores over 65,000sq ft. Although Tacoma's moratorium expired in 2012, the message was received.

A proposed Walmart in Fircrest, WA was never built after a bitter fight in 2007.

Sorry, I meant some pending legislation approaching that would UNDERMINE the corporate interests (hence their need to sabotage it).

Forgive the repetition, but I have restored all of Emil's posts from spam, to teach the filter.

Emil, I have another theory about Walmart. Since Walmart caters to customers with less disposable income, perhaps socioeconomic demographics plays a huge role in where they setup shop. For instance, Mississippi (one of the poorest states in the nation) has 2.985 million residents as of 2012; they also have 63 open Walmarts (15 closed)...that means they have 1 Walmart for every 47,380 residents. Alabama has 4.822 million residents, 89 open Walmarts (18 closed), or 1 store for every 54k residents.

Georgia has 9.92 million residents and 111 open stores (30 closed)...or 1 Walmart for every 89,369 residents. Arizona has 6.553 million residents, 45 open stores (3 closed)...or 1 store for every 145,622 residents. Washington has 6.897 million residents and only 26 open stores (1 closed)...or 1 store for every 265,269 residents. I found the number of stores per state on your PBS link; there is an interactive map that shows the number of stores per state:

I noticed that the map from PBS shows store data from 2001...so I compared data from 2007 and from the most recent list of Walmart stores based on a search of walmart.com's store locator. I found the pattern to hold, even 12 years later. I also came across a list (really a ranking) of states with the most Walmarts per capita. The data here seems accurate according to my counts. Mississippi is #2 on the list for most Walmarts per capita, followed by Alabama at #3, Georgia at #17, Arizona at #30, and Washington at #40.

Going to be a thorn in your side...but Rogue's filter removed one last post. I promise not to give it anymore trouble today if you restore that last post. Thanks again!

How is it possible that University of Phoenix has a stadium but no team?

JJ, the University of Phoenix doesn't "have" (as in own) the stadium...it only purchased naming rights. The stadium is owned by the Arizona Sports & Tourism Authority and the primary tenants are the Arizona Cardinals and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

Minneapolis, Target headquarters, seemingly has few Walmarts and a lot of local ordinances inhibiting the Walmart way. The rest of Minnesota probably brings the state's average up.

Minnesota has 19 Fortune 500 company headquarters?
Mostly in the Twin Cities. That's a lot.

Good of you to post one of your critic's letters.

It is not the usual psychotic rant we've come to expect from your modern day Republican.

With a few minor edits it would make a fine segment on Saturday Night Live.

Not likely the author is Arizona born.

Minnesota does have plenty of food, retail and chemical company headquarters: Hormel, Nash-Finch, Target, Best Buy, Supervalu, CHS, General Mills, Land O'Lakes, Mosaic, 3M, Ecolab, etc. For some reason I thought Mansanto was headquartered in Minneapolis as well; turns out they are based out of St. Louis.

Back to the A-wa-Tookie letter and the contention that Jon's books were too hard on Phoenix. Here's the thing: if one grew up in places like Kokomo, Dubuque or Joplin, Phoenix looks pretty good. For those of us like Jon who have spent most of our adult lives hereabouts, we have a sad sense of what's been lost forever. We're left with drought, congestion, pollution and Kooki-fication.

Wonder is Michael Connelly gets defensive emails about portraying the noir side of Los Angeles.

PhxSUNSfan, note how many in Minneapolis are in the Fortune 100. Those in Phoenix are lower on the list. UnitedHealthcare and Medtronics are in growth industries.

Maybe you are thinking of Cargill. It is a huge Minneapolis based commodity trading company. Its size would clearly place it on the Fortune list but for the fact it is not publicly traded.

Those in Seattle fall in the top 100 which may make their presence more influential.

The CEO of Avnet wrote a column which displayed far right tendencies so that may explain the company 's lack of stewardship in e Phoenix.

I agree Morecleanair.

Wonder [if] Michael Connelly gets defensive emails about portraying the noir side of Los Angeles.
Heh. Of course not - a city with diversity can more easily embrace its "dark side."

I just don't recall much in the way of gratuitous Phoenix bashing in the Mapstone books. Dry Heat was published two years after Arizona Dreams and the only criticism that comes to mind was a description of Maryvale as slums of a sort.

It also looks like the letter writer is motivated mainly by things written in Rogue columns than in the books (did Mapstone ever slam Ahwatukee or its architecture?).

Regarding Michael Connely, I'm sure the answer would be "yes". Authors, and columnists, get all kinds of mail, and some of the complaints are a lot weirder than annoyance with the writer's politics and/or parochialist dander. Unless you get a lot of letters like this, I'd put it in perspective and move on.

Incidentally, I don't get to read as many of Mr. Talton's books as I'd like because the only books I buy (or trade for) are those I can get free or nearly free, and I haven't seen much of his works at garage sales or library book corners; as for Bookman's, the trade paperback editions I've seen there are very nice but I keep running up against the fact that I can get three or more smaller, older paperback books there for the same amount of trade credit.

Just trying to explain why, despite being a big fan of what I've read, I don't weigh in more on the latest titles.

I saw an economic news analysis item recently in the business section of the Arizona Republic. It noted that Arizona ranks seventh from the bottom in replacing jobs lost during the recession, replacing 71,000 workers or just 28 percent of the 256,000 jobs lost during the recession. The national average is 67 percent. High tax New York state, which lost nearly the same number of jobs as Arizona, has gained 373,000 jobs, or all it lost plus another 121,000.

The article notes that the situation is actually worse because Arizona kept hemorraging jobs after the recession, losing a total of 307,000 through September 2010.


I suppose this shows how important context is. Local boosters concentrate on Phoenix rather than the state at large, restrict comparisons to metropolitan cities with 1,000,000 or more jobs, look at job creation as a percentage of an already low number of jobs, and ignore how far the state has to go just to get back to square one; when that is done, for example, the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale statistical area is 7th out of 26 in a 12 month moving average of job growth from April '12 to April '13.


Statistics are useful but they need to be sufficiently balanced and varied to get the full picture.

It also isn't clear how Arizona (or Phoenix) will accomodate projected larger numbers of new migrants with such slow job growth.

BTW, thanks to pSp for his interesting speculations and research re Walmart and Washington state. Some really good links there.

P.S. In a Robert Robb column, for example, 7th out of 26 would read "7th in the nation". Also, Robb would likely use a particular month for a year-over-year job growth stat and would wait until Phoenix had a particularly good month.

Seattle and Silicon Valley
Can the SS save the world?
The New Yorkers
A reporter at Large
By George Packer

The SS
Or maybe the Universe will become only Silicon Valley and Seattle.
The rest of Human race will wink out.

Community colleges are the answer to the "University" of Phoenix and other for-profit colleges, tech schools and institutes that take lucrative educational loans and then burn their students out before they get their paper or graduate them to become low-level cooks, clerks, or book-keepers with too much debt.

Getting rid of the 2% food tax I'm all for. My property tax dropped 33% since 2009. I can afford a house so I'm willing to pay more so that the poor can afford a bit more.

Glad to hear you're back cal!

Missed you at the club meeting, eclecticdog

Emil, I prefer the economic reports that come out of the University of Arizona, Eller College of Management for a more balanced picture.

Here's their Spring 2013 issue of "Arizona's Economy". I expect their Summer issue to be out very soon.


@Red Maceta...the outlook from Eller has a more positive take on Arizona's economy than what has been released from W.P. Carey. Eller's staff is bullish on Arizona's future economic growth.

I also noticed that Eller's articles are less detailed on the housing market and blue chip forecasting. Though I must concede, it is hard to compete with Elliot Pollack's especially cheery housing forecasts in recent reports. W.P. Carey also does a better job breaking down employment growth rates by sector and comparing them nationally (MSA comparisons).

I'm in the midst of reading Concrete Desert, and liking it. However, when the site first came up I was spoilered by Peralta's non-deputy status and news Mapstone is married.

Since I am fanatical about reading books in order, I'll try very hard to forget those two items as I catch up.

Interesting take on the governor and Medicaid. I never believed she grew a heart.

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