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December 27, 2013


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The current Phoenix mayor and council members have no articulated vision for the city. There are no "Future Forums" calling the citizenry to dream of what might be. There continue to be crumbs thrown to various neighborhood organizations to shut them up lest they get uppity. There are no plans for for creative infill of the city core. We are being lead by managers and not by leaders.

I've lived in Phoenix for almost 18 years (with a century-long sabbatical in Las Vegas for 4 years), and I have noticed two things. One....there are a lot of very smart, very clever, and very talented people in this area that could make a lot of positive magic happen if given half a chance. Two....the level of kookacracy is so deep and so widespread that any mention of "community" will be answered with hair-brained response of "Commie!!!" or "Socialist!!!" All the while, every thing that needs fixing gets a little more broken. All great ideas, Jon....but I have lost all hope that this state can reform unless a large influx of blue state people move here, or enough of the kookacracy generations die off that things begin to even out a bit. Or......something really bad happens that forces serious change. Can you guess which of those I think will happen??? Hint....I've decided to move back to Wisconsin in February.

One quick tidbit about jobs. I read that Phoenix has a decent job growth rate, at least compared to other cities. However, 90-some percent of those new jobs require a high school diploma or less.

Best improvement of 2013:
Phoenix City fathers painted the bike path on Grand avenue,Green.
But just for 8 blocks? Guess no more $$ for green paint.

I just want to thank you for making "championship golf" the term of mockery and derision it so richly deserves to be. Best wishes to you and your family in the new year.

CHUMP ionship golfff
Its hard to think about children dying violent deaths all over the planet when you are lined up for that birdie.

A number of people have written me about this article in New Times:


I have been reluctant to write about it because instantly the topic would have shifted to me ("Talton hates Arizona"). But to be brief, it is shoddy pseudo-journalism at its worst. Hope it helps them sell some ads. One of Phoenix's problems is the lack of serious journalism and analysis. If one can't get it from the "alternative" press, it is indeed sad.

The writer makes some rookie mistakes. One is using sources that are highly suspect and compromised/biased by the growth machine. Another is setting up a straw man that doesn't exist. Neither Ross nor I (nor any critic of Phoenix unsustainable Ponzi scheme) argues that "Phoenix is doomed." But by using this as a straw man, the writer can avoid addressing the serious, complex and nuanced issues that the city and state actually face and how the consequences will (are) play out.

The water situation is especially misunderstood. Water directed to agriculture can't simply be re-routed to more subdivisions. One is that many farmers won't give up their rights. Second, these allocations largely live on paper and don't represent real water. The Colorado is oversubscribed. The renewable supplies of the Salt River Project are under stress by reduced snowfall, a situation likely to grow worse. Finally, the farms-to-houses formula is deeply flawed. It doesn't account for the affect an increased heat island and longer, hotter summers have on evaporation, or the use of pools, artificial lakes, etc. It doesn't account for the frauds and lack of enforcement involving water resources.

Arizona is past a healthy carrying capacity of population. It doesn't need more people, especially in single-family-house sprawl. It needs to grow startups, venture capital, incomes, educational outcomes, pathways up for the working poor, a quality economy and connections with the world. It needs to grow tolerance and develop real cities with the urban amenities demanded by talented workers. It needs to grow political diversity and an environmental ethic. It doesn't need to grow population.

The large population, urban form, stresses on the environment, a low-wage economy in a transformed global economy and, yes, climate change all represent a turning point. Not talking about it or writing propaganda for the Real Estate Industrial Complex won't make this reality go away.

The next 30 years won't be a replay of the last 30 years of the 20th century. Arizona is tragically unprepared for this discontinuity.

That was a very well written article by Stern. If a person has a problem with the article it is because the person had an agenda going into the reading of the article.

The key point here is that Phoenix should not be here in it's current state. It's a desert. IT SHOULDN'T BE HERE. Arguing about the details after the fact is, well, too late.

There shouldn't be 330 million people on this country. There shouldn't be 7 billion people on this planet. But, there are.

Mother Nature will fix everything in her own time and God help the people who will suffer and die in the process.

When you were born, the only guarantee you had was that you are going to die. So, have a beer, enjoy your family and friends. Really look at that sunset. Look in the mirror and laugh at the folly that is your species.

Happy new year. You survived one more year. Now enjoy the next one.

Gezz Reb your depressing. I was looking forward to another year of complaining and griping. And another year of sobriety. Now U and Petro want me to drink and smoke intoxicants and be happy?

Actually I thought the article was a comedy. It was actually serious?

REB, I just sent U a cheer U up card.

Your senior Senator just reported on television the other day that when he visits Russia he'd like to "take off his shirt and do some things together." with Vladimir Putin.

You may be becoming more socially forward-looking than you think!


Here u go reb. Google this, phillip levines "they feed they lion"

2014- Another year of burn and churn for the great armpit of the American Southwest. The temperature has risen an average of 10 to 15 degrees in Maricopa County since 1990 and the collective IQ has fallen 10 to 15 points during that same period. Expect that trend to continue in this showcase of reactionary mainstream Republican Party values.

Bring your suntan lotion and leave your brain behind as you enter the land of low wage stupidity. Not a real city at all.

Going Back to Wisconsin, the land of the famous Tea Party Governor Scotty Walker, and one of the best displays of racially divisive politics America has to offer. One step down from Arizona. The land of white power without ever uttering the "N " word.

Don't worry about Arpaio being Governor, Mr. Talton: he has no choice but to try and remain Sheriff until he dies, rather than have an incoming administration do a clean audit.

Speaking of audits (secret files on your enemies, or everyone) (oh thats NSA and CIA)I watched Hoover last nite.

"Meanwhile, fight for shade trees and grass in the heart of the city."

Exactly. It's not brain science or rocket surgery. But to water the trees and grass in the heart of the city might take away from some of the water set aside for all of that championship golf.

A good way to frame that story would be that the 'elites' are stealing the city's water for their private golf courses.

The New Times article says that the Hohokam could have stayed if they had really, really wanted to: "What the Hohokam teach modern Phoenicians about the future, then, is that the greatest sustainability challenge for this area isn't its environment — it's whether there's the desire to live here."

This seems analogous to the Peak Oil issue where peak production is regularly confounded with the Peak Demand issue. Yes it will be peak demand that stops growth but not in a nice way.

Which leads me to believe that this show will cease to be attractive long before hard physical limits are encountered. Is there a reason to move to Phoenix except of cheap housing and heat? Phoenix has been able to grow while acquiring the roles of overheated slum sink, sprawled desert dystopia/utopia etc. There will be a tipping point when the heat just becomes too much, energy prices escalate, and the unpaid bills of sprawl become due (probably during the 2020s, a generation after the biggest boom). Eventually used up and exhausted, people won't see the point of reworking a fabric under stress if there is not much worthwhile to preserve. Why bother? Better pick up and move.

AWinter: Heat Map suggests move to Portland.

Jon, ABSCAM made the movies in American Hustler. Pretty well done flick. But not a lot of surprises if you understand cons.

The women stole the show.

Great blog for Phx Metro.

Low wages will continue to be an issue for years to come. Hedge fund rentals at least keep the rent low, though not helpful to the small investors.

I've lived here since 1964, seen lots of changes and will see more. Phoenix, like most cities, has always been a city in transition.

One comment on "championship golf" and the water it requires: most courses use effluent; only the old ones are grandfathered in with potable water. Overall, golf is slumping as the rates go up and the clientele shrinks.

Chasing little balls around on green grass with huge clubs has become passe the new sporting events include blowing coke up your ass while playing screw everyone and the planet we live on. Theses games are currently depicted in the movies.
The Wolf of Wall Street
and American Hustle

morecleanair -- "One comment on "championship golf" and the water it requires: most courses use effluent...."

I knew that and I was hoping someone would repeat that old chestnut. Do you think that trees and grass in downtown Phoenix could survive on the same type of water?

Also, since you seem to know a bit about the issue, could you clarify what is meant by 'effluent'?

It's not water and poop as the term would seem to suggest.

One other comment -- for now.

The undercurrent of defeatism that I am detecting from some commenters is the same sort of attitude that gave us 35 years of destructive conservofascist government in this country.

As my WWII veteran father would say: "Stop crying and be a man."

Even though it would be great if more boomers moved to the center city, developers don't think they will as evidenced by the new large development targeted for boomers in Verrado.




effluent water is water treated at a waste treatment plant that is safe to use for irrigation, but not safe to drink. In college I worked on a golf course that used effluent water. I didn't get sick, but my clothes and work boots crumbled into dust after being exposed to the effluent water.

The only effect it had on me is that it made me allergic to Democrats and Republicans. I get a real bad rash on my ass when I'm around them. ( : - )

The Arizona Republic had an article in its Saturday edition about changes in the local housing development model. The essense of the article was that a shift is taking place from home building in the suburbs to home building in the central city. But two things from the article stand out:

(1) "Real estate reports show infill projects in 2013 now make up almost 13 percent of the estimated total of 11,500 new-home permits issued through November."

(2) "Available lots for new homes inside the boundaries of Loops 101 and 202 have fallen to about 2,350."


I suppose that "available lots for new homes" includes lots suitable for apartment or condominium development. But the bottom line seems to be that the vast majority of available residentially zoned lots exist in the boonies, not in the central city, much less the downtown.

Rezoning could perhaps change that, but I don't know what the economics are with respect to homebuilders.

One of the facts brought out in the article is that infill residential projects typically involve higher-end homes marketed to young urban professionals who are willing to pay more to live in the central city. Apparently, home developers more typically rely on economies of scale (e.g., large numbers of tract homes) to make an attractive profit.

Whether West Phoenix is really going to become the next homebuilding mecca as widely claimed remains to be seen. Mr. Talton points out that immigration into the state is well below historical standards. Right now the state's unemployment rate is higher than the federal rate and seems to be moving in the opposite direction.

The mainstream media never seems to mention the big problem facing the state in the coming years: nearly a billion dollars in tax cuts recently passed are beginning to kick in, and the state will be hurting for revenue, particularly if the growth estimates prove overly rosy. Court decisions requiring money taken from education budgets to be replaced will only exacerbate the shortfall.

Dont forget Jerrys 4 million residents near Tonopah.

AZReb -- "I didn't get sick, but my clothes and work boots crumbled into dust after being exposed to the effluent water."

I have no interest in your unsupported anecdotes and I'll bet you vote Republican every time -- which means that you are a Republican -- but you lie to yourself about it.

If I were you, I'd have that rash looked at by a doctor.

I would think the Hohokam would have preferred to stay as the shift from agriculture, in what was a garden, to hunting and gathering in a desert would be a life-style change most of us would not want to make.

I'm sorry headlice, you lost me. If I disparage Democrats AND Republicans, that makes me a Republican. I voted for Nappy, does that make her/him a Republican?

Your logic is illogical.

AzReb -- Yawn...... Forgive me if I decline to follow you into the rabbit hole.

I think that you are a concern troll.

I like it when a new god arises and starts out handing out judgments.
So first order of god work is to obliterate those dastardly trolls with a barrage of poisonous wordology.

And I thought "Real" men did cry?

"Men come an go"

Some excerpts from a good article:

Thoreau, in a mysteriously beautiful passage in his 1862 essay “Walking,” likens the diminishing numbers of passenger pigeons in New England to the dwindling number of thoughts in a man’s head, “for the grove in our minds is laid waste.”

Two years after Martha’s death, Madison Grant published “The Passing of the Great Race,” a warning about the threat to pure “Nordic” peoples from immigrants he viewed as invasive species. White men, Grant believed, needed protection as much as the bison and the passenger pigeon. To that end, he helped persuade Congress to keep Jews, Asians, and Eastern Europeans—the rock pigeons of the world—out of the country.

The environmental movement that emerged as the passenger pigeon was disappearing—and that was inspired by the bird’s plight to save the bison—was largely a movement of hunters. The Boone and Crockett Club, founded for rich sportsmen in 1887, by Theodore Roosevelt and George Bird Grinnell, morphed into a powerful lobbying group that boasted among its members John F. Lacey, the Republican congressman from Iowa, who spoke movingly about the passenger pigeon on the floor of the House of Representatives as he argued for what became the first federal bird-protection law, the Lacey Act, of 1900. These men were conservationists not in spite of their trophy hunting but because of it—they wanted vast protected forests because they wanted a vast supply of creatures to kill. The “near euphoria” of shooting things, in their case, was a key to saving them. But the patricians of the Boone and Crockett Club shared Greenberg’s contempt for market hunters, men who made a living from the things they killed.
One of the club’s members, Madison Grant, went further, moving the club toward a more strictly preservationist attitude, and the radical idea that unspoiled nature itself

Lash -- That's a commonplace argument about conservation that you can get from just about any hunting or fishing license that you buy.

I don't this particular "Gee whiz! Who woulda thunk it?" argument would extend to much of anything else.

One logical parallel to the hunter/conservationist argument is that pro-lifers really only want to raise plenty of potential cannon fodder. Another would be that the only people who will have the wherewithal to save the AZ desert is the Real Estate Industrial Complex -- because they will want to preserve plenty of additional desert to despoil with housing tracts.

Theodore Roosevelt did not propose a national parks system so that he and his cronies would have plenty of animals to kill. That's a fake argument -- as fake as the belief that unkempt hippies spit on returning Vietnam war veterans.

That may have happened in a Tom Cruise movie, but not in real life.

Lash -- "I like it when a new god arises and starts out handing out judgments.
So first order of god work is to obliterate those dastardly trolls with a barrage of poisonous wordology."

So, I take it that AZReb is authorized to spout at will and anyone who says differently is 'handing out judgments'.

Headlice - "that may have happened in a Tom Cruise movie, but not in real life" - prove it.


I just posted the NY article and cant vouch for anything in the article. Just thought it was interesting.

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