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November 12, 2013


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Mesa may be one of the most forgettable places on planet Earth. That's not to say there isn't value in parts of it. The old city shows a sweetness you can sometimes find in small Mormon towns. But Main Street is mostly inert now, and there really isn't anything about a Goldwater museum, or its natural history museum, which alleviates the bone-crushing boredom of it all. For better or - more likely - worse, this is what happens when agriculture suddenly gives birth to autocentric suburban development. Nor is there a retrofit possible. This place may be prosper but not because there's anything cutting-edge going on. Mesa has one strong suit: its cheapness.

Recently, Tyler Cowen, a libertarian economist, wrote a cover story for Time Magazine extolling Texas as the new paradigm for America. God help us, but if he's right, let's remember Mesa is what this America will look like. Jim Kunstler is always writing about the impossibility of real patriotism is a country so marooned in suburban sprawl. My own sense is that the costs of this nightmare are incalculable. Edmund Burke (right-wingers, look him up) once wrote that "to make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely." You don't love Mesa except for a few old houses in the center city, the Temple, and maybe the performing arts center. The rest is mostly interchangeable schlock, pictures of which would confound the average viewer. Albuquerque? El Paso? Moreno Valley? Who knows and who cares?

Kunstler gets that America's basic problem is material in this sense: you don't revere abstract principles or ideas. You revere what moves you to tears. That's why when Mormons depict scenes of the heavenly afterlife, it seems like illustrations from Heidi: alpine meadows and snow-capped peaks. When our picturesque small towns and stately cities have become degenerated into drive-by crapola, what will we love? I think our Tea Partiers have an answer: white skin.

I heard about the Apple news and the possibility that a couple other tech manufacturers are looking at the area for factories, but I have to wonder.....is that because the US (Phoenix area in particular) is again the best place to make things, or because the cost of labor is finally low enough to compete with other countries???

Also......the game changes once the effects of Peak Oil really begin to hit home. We'll see which cities win and which lose.

The East valley did have it's act together. We wanted nothing to do with the Crudnals and the 'yotes.

We voted them away several times.

Cubs are a proven commodity.

I like living in Mesa. It's a stabilizing force for all the other schizophrenic cities in the valley who can't decide what they want to be when they grow up.

2010 Seattle had a white population of 70% and 75% white for King County. Not much different than Mesa.

I-60(the Superstition freeway) was built to Mill Ave in the 1970’s, but it did not get out to Power Rd. until well into the 80’s. The overpass in this image http://www.azdot.gov/images/default-source/azdot-blog/us60_-2.jpg is Country Club Dr. before opening in 1979. Mesa wanted to lower I-60 below ground level and, because of cost, it was delayed many times. At that time, just about the only thing south of Southern was alfalfa fields.

The only correction I would make is that the Superstition Freeway had reached Dobson by the late 1970s. We used it to reach Desert Samaritan Hospital when I was on the ambulance.

Jon, You are no doubt correct. It probably took 7 years to get the freeway from Mill Ave., past Dobson to Alma School. I got my 1979 date for Country Club from this site: http://www.azdot.gov/media/blog/posts/2012/11/29/from-the-adot-archives-the-superstition-freeway

To SD:

Gov. Brewer was just in Taiwan wooing Foxconn. Perhaps our low wages and relative lack of college graduates can be a feature, not a bug, when it comes to luring low-cost contract manufacturers.

Low cost labor and a lack of college graduates should make Arizona more competitive with its fellow southern states such as Mississippi and South Carolina. Looks like the coming North American resurgence in manufacturing will occur mostly in Mexico.

Maybe Arizona can institute policies to repress wages low enough to compete with Mexico.

Dumb and dumber can be Arizona 's new state motto.

“If the Gilbert Public Schools board does not give the go-ahead, Apple may not be moving in.
"We have all entrepreneurs. We have all these mom-and-pop shops. They're not being given a [tax] break like this company is being offered," said board member Julie Smith at Tuesday night's [school] board meeting.” http://www.kpho.com/story/23964198/apples-move-to-mesa-could-be-stalled-by-gilbert-district

I doubt that the Gilbert school board will hold-up Apples progress. However, who was that?, saying something about “conservative profit-seekers are job creators and tax payers. Go bleed a stone.” (terry dudas) It seems that some conservative profit-seekers pay more taxes than others.

Channeling the east valley ethos....the spiritual center of greater Phoenix. No hope. Run, run run young daughters and sons.

Richard Florida writes about the politics of the suburban/urban interface better than anyone. In this piece, he makes a persuasive argument that the cultural shifts drawing the creative class and empty-nesters to cities has broad political implications:


For Phoenix, the lack of big-city edge is an economic disaster. City leaders and planners understand the problem but you can't simply retrofit the low-density suburban pattern with a light-rail line and expect much to change. For a city with few urban amenities, it's all uphill.

Mesa, like metro Atlanta's Cobb County, has one advantage vis a vis Phoenix: whiteness. It can keep the Cubs winter home because baseball is a sport that appeals to older white people. It's otherwise not a place where the winners in a globalized economy want to be. Even its recent successes point to its longer-term problem: finding a rationale for an incoherent suburban agglomeration in a metroplex without a galvanizing urban core.

"It would be embarrassing, not only for our district, but for our state," Board Member Lily Tram said.

What would be more embarrassing: standing up for an equitable tax policy or caving to let a corporate giant get away without paying their fare share? And not everyone wants Apple -- Motorola, Nokia, Samsung corporations will probably outlast the Apple cult in the so-called free market.

From soleri's Florida link:

“Don’t you have a machine that puts food into the mouth and pushes it down?” he asked sarcastically.

Krushchev and LBJ would have made an interesting superpower paring.

I asked mesa mayor office what tax breaks had been given to apple. Answer: none.

Hey! Mesa will be the farthest away from the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station when it melts down.

Although Mesa may be rising, Goodyear (located at the opposite end of the Valley) apparently is NOT per the recent announcement of Lockheed Martin closing its facility there in 2015 (plus the recent failure of Suntech solar).

Soleri - help me out with your meaning of "incoherent suburban agglomeration . . . ". Are there coherent agglomerations in suburban areas also?

And, are metroplexes with galvanizing cores coherent or incoherent? I'm confused as to your meaning.

Terry, you are confused, which is why you can suckle at the teat of Uncle Sam and call other people socialists.

Alma School was an actual school. Discuss.

Alma School and Southern was where my great-grandparents homesteaded. They were among the first "gentiles" in the area.

"Suckling at the teat of Uncle Sam" may apply to you, but not to me, Soleri. The snarky paucity of your response disappoints me.

The Dudas -- "incoherent suburban agglomeration . . . " Refer to 'Little Boxes' words and music by Malvina Reynolds

"Are there coherent agglomerations in suburban areas also?" Yes. Refer to NYC and San Francisco

Terry, you're enjoying government-paid health care, which means you're getting three times in benefits than the Medicare taxes you paid. I understand in Tea Party land, arithmetic is considered "liberal", so your blind spot is understandable. http://www.cbo.gov/publication/44597

As for "snarky paucity", might I recommend you look in the mirror before you before you play victim? You started this, so if you don't like the way I write, just say so. I have no idea why you're even here except maybe to critique ideas you probably don't understand. If that's true, the word for someone like you would be troll. Other than that, I'm sure you're fun at parties.

"Alma School and Southern was where my great-grandparents homesteaded. They were among the first "gentiles" in the area."

I have always been aware in an almost traditionally Asian way that our lives are but the continuation of the hopes and dreams for the future that those who lived in the present of the past had for their own future and the future of their offspring.

At least, that's what I thought when I visited the old Alma School in the 1980's. The dust ground into the old wooden window sills and plank floor
from the days of yore from of use and disuse of the long gone children told a story that only the most perceptive of eyes and ears can tell.

I'm getting verklempt just thinking about it. Talk amongst yourselves....


The generations before us did things "for future generations".

Our generation does things for the now, hell with future generations.

How the change in attitude came about and why, escapes me.

"A race to the bottom" Per CB

I drove past Foxconn de Mexico twice two days ago. And per my guide, El Pastor SE Juarez is set to dramatically expand with maquiladora's in the near future with investment from China and elsewhere.
A ride through the area of SE Juarez revealed the reason the factories come, extreme poverty.

For Jon: http://www.theglobalist.com/facts-high-speed-rail-where-china-beats-the-world/
a fast ride

AZReb -- Conservatives want to make sure future generations will not be burdened with debt, air to breath, or potable water.

The haters:
Russell Pearce resemblance?

and it goes on and on:
I have often wondered if there is a correlation between body composition and racism.

And it goes on and on:

Cal, Michelle and Dylan at Portland's were asking about you tonight. They miss you.

Thanks Jon.
I will make a point of going
They make the best Portobello meal in town.

Interesting that I asked an elected official, Mesa mayor, a direct question about tax breaks for the Apple plant. The answer was: none. What his office failed to mention was that the Williams air field foreign trade zone was enlarged to encompass the Apple plant thus saving them taxes.

Nice job dodging the question Mayor.

Thank you, Az Reb, for filtering that out. I was wondering where the discrepancy was.

Good work Reb!

Jared Diamond was in town. U know the guy that told us moving on was better than settling down in our own shit. Unfortunately I missed him as I wanted to ask him about the quote by Aldo Leopold from the book A Sand County Almanac.
"There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery and the other that heat comes from the furnace. "

Im up for coffee later this week. Suzanne you and other females are welcome. I have a few tales from Mexico including one about Peludo Y El Pastor.

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