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December 31, 2013


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Those of us who have lived with Arizona's growth cycles for 50 years knows that unfettered growth only economics coupled with a severe lack of consistent leadership supporting sustainable quality of life policies means failure. Thanks for your blog post Jon. I'm still here, so I do hope we can improve the quality of our leadership in order to begin to realize a sustainable quality of life we can share and enjoy.

Oops, I commented on Facebook instead of here. Rectifying:

You mean "growth demon," right? :)

Hail the fail.

I wish Arizona the best despite my disappointment with the state's myopic growth strategy. I sometimes try to imagine what it would take to turn it around. I think a couple of thoughts, and then give up.

The best states are building on their legacies from the past - great universities, civic institutions, and strong cities. Arizona has some good assets and some smart citizens. What it doesn't have is a majority willing to vote themselves higher taxes so the state can make the needed investments. It also doesn't have good cities that can attract the young creative class. When a state takes pride in delusional thinking - the Randian nuttiness that bewitches so many - it's a good sign that it's not engaged with reality except on the most superficial level.

We're not going to shame Arizona into better behavior. The Duhs and Ignos may be old and stupid but they're the majority for the time being. The more pertinent question is whether the vaunted demographic revolution finally wrests the state from these people, hands it over to the less demented, and what the result from that will be. I'm not optimistic here because of the impregnable obstacle called "other people". Arizona has a huge underclass of Latinos who don't vote and inspire contempt from the "producers" (translation: old white people endowed by their Creator with socialist goodies like SS and Medicare). That's the conundrum. I wish we would solve it but I don't think we will. As long as Arizona is caught between the rock of racial identity and the hard place of global competition, it's going to take refuge in the nost comfortable place it can imagine. Mayberry may not be in Arizona but politically, Arizona is in Mayberry.

Here's hoping 4 million people leave Arizona and Obama declares the state a wilderness

Nice cal! We elect people that promise more cuts in services and taxes and they kept getting elected. The deterioration of the infrastructure is driving away the people we want to attract. Most of the doctors from the colleges leave for better pastures. Our college graduates get out here for better jobs. There are more jobs, but of lower quality. Why did they think the drones would be a good program? Citizen firepower would have taken many of them out. Jon is right, we need people with vision instead of people running for their next office....

Mike, Jon and I go way back.
I have not changed my position.
Make Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah Roadless wilderness.
Plant Sajuaros.

New Mexico growth.

AZ should have arranged to have a seaport at the time the Gadsden purchase was negotiated.

Stupid is as stupid does.

Dorky, not sure if your post is snark or not, but for the sheer pleasure of typing I'll assume it isn't. There was no Arizona in 1853, the year the Gadsden Purchase was negotiated. There was the territory called New Mexico, which in 1863 was divided in half, creating Arizona.

The Gadsden Purchase was an expensive acquisition for the purpose of building a transcontinental railroad across the southern half of the nation. The motivation here came primarily from the American South, fearful that the North's commercial expansion to the West would weaken them. Still, the sectionalism of the time cast a long shadow. The subsidy for the railroad needed to pass Congress, which by that time had no interest in helping the South's commercial interests. It took a Civil War and another 15 to 20 years before the railroad was built. It was assumed, btw, that New Mexico would be pro-Confederate, which didn't help their prospects.

Why didn't the Gadsden Purchase include Baja California? Originally the negotiations did include it, as well as Sonora and some other northern Mexico states. But internal politics, both American and Mexican, whittled the acquisition down to the size we're living with today. There were no plans, by the way, to dredge the Gulf of California in order to create a seaport near present-day Yuma. It didn't make sense then and it wouldn't make sense today, either.

As you know, much of the American West was once Mexican. The cultural and ethnic facts here are still on view today. If you're one of those Midwesterners angry that Hispanics afflict your all-white Arizona idyll, you would probably be ignorant of our history. You would be what we call a "right-winger", someone who is largely antipathetic to education, the Enlightenment, diversity, and other "socialist" ideas. History casts a long shadow over this enterprise we call America. I like to think we'll eventually evolve out of this idea that America is an exercise in Manifest Destiny (but for white people only).

At least Mayberry had Sheriff Taylor and Deputy Fife. Phoenix is stuck with Sheriff Arpio and his bumbling and dangerous sidekicks.

Mexican Mayberry:
"You are in Zapatista territory in rebellion: here the people rule and the government must obey."

To add to Soleri:

New Mexico could have become a state earlier than Arizona (both were admitted to the union in 1912). But the Southern states were especially suspicious of a territory with such a large non-Anglo voting population.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican War in 1848, conferred instant citizenship on the residents of the former Mexican lands ceded to the United States. While the South wanted the war to extend slavery, especially in Texas — it was started by the slave-owning President James Polk — the South was wary of the Hispanic population.

This is one reason that Polk ultimately decided to demand less territory from Mexico. At one time, it was thought he could take all of Mexico down to Tampico.

New Mexico territory was ultimately more pro-union, and a short but bloody battle decided things at Glorieta Pass in 1862. The Confederate forces retreated back to Arizona Territory, which had a delegate in the CSA Congress for the duration of the Confederacy.

The aim of the CSA was to slice New Mexico and Arizona horizontally. Confederate Arizona would have included the bottom half of both real present-day states.

Had Richmond been willing to spring for its version of the Newlands Act, the Salt River Valley would have been an inviting spot for slaves and cotton.

For the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metropolitan statistical area, economic growth was 2.45% from November 2012 through November 2013 (12-month moving average), placing us 7th among metro areas with a million or more jobs. (Seattle was only slightly better and came in at 6th place).


According to ASU, as of November, Arizona ranked 11th among states in year-over-year economic growth with 1.89%; California was 18th and Washington state was 27th.


As for population growth, we have to ask ourselves to what extent current migration patterns are the lingering aftereffects of the housing and financial crashes and of the consequent economic recession, as opposed to long-term trends.

For the Phoenix metropolitan area, population grew by a meager 0.6 percent in 2011 and by 1.1 percent in 2012, which may suggest the beginning of a growth trend.


One should also use caution when interpreting income statistics such as those contained in the previous blog (e.g., per capita income and median household income).

Per capita income is total income divided by the number of residents (including children, elderly, and other non-workforce participants). Since Arizona is the 9th "youngest" state (median age) according to 2010 Census data, that means dividing GDP by a larger than average number of nonworking youths, which decreases the average.

Median household income is affected by demographics too. According to the Pew Center (2013) Arizona is ranked 6th among states in the number of Hispanic residents. A large number of those came here from Mexico with little or no educational background, unable to speak the language, and perhaps illegally also: among such groups income tends to be comparatively low and this tends to depress overall household median income statistics.

The youth statistic is linked largely to the Hispanic residency statistic, since Hispanics on average have larger families and more children. The Hispanic demographic is quite young in Arizona.

One must also consider the extent to which Arizona's poor rural population drags down state averages. Most of the state's urbanization exists in the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas.

Arizona's comparatively young population may also help offset less than stellar migration into the state: children aging into adults who get jobs and spend money contribute to economic growth.

Geez Louise, Soleri! My point was that The 'New Mexico Territory' (a part of the U.S. in 1853, I suspect) would have greatly benefitted 'the area now known as Arizona' had a seaport been included as part of the railroad deal.

Dork, who was going to pay for that seaport? And why? Yeah, it would have been cool to say Arizona had a port, but you don't simply spend a lot of money on a lark absent compelling reasons like commerce. Railroads made much more sense then and even today. Traveling through the Magellan Straits to a tiny backwater like Yuma? Not so much.

Soleri, yet it was done - traveling around Magellan to get to the gold fields of California. They came by the thousands. Plus, the U.S. Army (Crooks forces) used this route to get to the AZ forts; disembarcation was at Ehlenburg, on the Colorado River. Check it out.

Teresa, yes. And they had a natural harbor at San Francisco in which to disembark. And there was a river close by to advance to Sutter's Mill. But who was going to undertake a massive dredging operation to create a harbor on the untamed Colorado River? Any ideas? And for what purpose? It's one thing to use the river for an ad hoc transportation route. It's quite another to use proximity to the open sea in order to create a harbor.

If AZ's population is predicted to not grow very much, then why are there lots of apartments going up or being considered throughout metro Phoenix? Do developers have different statistics or forecasts or are they just gambling on people moving to the Valley?

Mostly it's habit, on the part of developers and lenders. This is the overall picture for all residential construction. The dinosaur's tail is on fire but this information hasn't reached its brain.

Multi-family (apartments) is where much speculative money is being parked, and it has been a hot sector during and after the recession, with so many unable to buy a house.

People keep coming. But lesser numbers. We don't have a good sense of the number of abandoned or empty houses in the metro, either. So many data gaps, and I don't trust the local-yokels.

According to the Federal Reserve, 1,174 private housing units were permitted in November -- for the entire state. This compares to monthly tops of 7,000 in the 1990s and more than 9,000 in the 2000s. The overall trendline is at a historic low. There's so much inventory to fill.

Thank you Soleri and Rogue for your historical accounts of New Mexico and Arizona. Your historical perspectives add very much to the intellectual experience of Rogue Columnist.

Due to an abundance of low wage jobs, we have households comprised of several generations, young adults not forming households. 30yr olds still living with parents, no interest in marriage, babies later in life if at all.

We have empty apartments, empty houses, empty retail space.

We have plenty of rental housing as hedge funds bought thousands of houses, many still vacant and not yet on the market.

The new apartments were built with renters by choice in mind. Class AAA building affordable to maybe 30% of those who rent.

Decent wages would get houses & apartments full again. Don't see that happening any time soon.

"The Growth God"
Did the ancient Greeks have a god of real estate?

Rogue spoke of the “instant citizenship” conferred “on the residents of the former Mexican lands ceded to the United States.” In many areas of Arizona and New Mexico, and throughout the southern U.S., Spanish land grants are considered legal property deeds.
For your pleasure, here is a picture of one http://www.nara.gov/research_rooms/pacific/land_grant.html

Yes, Cal. His name was Delos Webbopolis.

Oyea the guy Bugsy let live.
very good Chris

I meant the guy the boys let live and finish the casino after they rubbed out Bugsy and Gus Greenwald for skimming.

Suzanne, the Baca Float north of Prescott is just such a land grant, or grew out of it.

It's a common observation in even high school U.S. History texts that the Gadsden purchase should have been extended further so that the state now called Arizona and formerly known as the New Mexico Territory (a la Prince)would have had a seaport.

If we put on our thinking caps, we can see that a port could have been built on the Gulf of California or on the Pacific Ocean side of the Baja peninsula.

Dork, ever hear of San Diego?

I used to think it would be cool if Arizona still had Pah-Ute County so Las Vegas would be ours.

Stupid is as stupid does.

Yes, Soleri, I have heard of San Diego. Have you ever seen a gas station on every corner?

If you tell me that a gas station is not a seaport, I'll sink into a deep depression, and it'll be all your fault.

And, in addition, the seaports of Tacoma and Seattle are about 30 miles apart (even less, as the Seahawk flies)and both thrive.

It wouldn't have worked for at least two reasons:

1. Mexico was never willing to part with Baja California.

2. San Diego never succeeded as a major seaport. Although one of the world's great natural harbors, SD was not easily accessible by rail. The mountains to the east are too formidable. The Southern Pacific did build a line from Yuma to San Diego (the San Diego and Arizona Eastern) through Carrizo Gorge but it was neither economical nor easy going. The Santa Fe built the better connection, but from Los Angeles. It is now mostly used for Southern California's highly successful passenger rail system.

LA and San Francisco (now Oakland), connected to the transcontinental Southern Pacific, Union Pacific and Santa Fe railroads, were destined to be the major ports. Especially LA/Long Beach thanks to decades of public investment.

Seattle and Tacoma were relatively easily reached by rail, first the Northern Pacific, then the Great Northern and Milwaukee Road. They are natural deep harbors. Both are in a destructive rivalry, taking container traffic away from each other even as overall Pacific Northwest volume is stagnant-to-declining.

Mexico is struggling with its attempt at a container port at Lazaro Cardenas, not least because of the narcos. Sailing distance from Asia is not advantageous and the rail connection relatively uncompetitive with U.S. West Coast ports. Prince Rupert, B.C., offers the shortest sailing time. A wider Panama Canal will change everything.

"Baja port could rival L.A.'s

Mexico moves forward with plans to turn a sleepy coastal town into a shipping giant."


Another seaport, bigger seaports?
Ladies and Gentlemen,
WTF is wrong with thinking LESS not MORE.
EARTH needs tender love not ripping and gouging by giant machines.

I like the Baja, leave it alone.

another reason we need less:

Cal -- I am only interested in proving that I am right -- just like Soleri and Emil Pulsifer.

Mother Earth comes in a far third to our combined egos.

Its your rock and your mountain. Go for it.

Im going to join in with the MORE crowd.

Cool graphic:

Restless America: state-to-state migration in 2012

Mom doesn't care:

Excellent A winter. And
Carlin was one of my Heroes.

I, too, read AWinter's link, and it was excellent. Humans are not really wired to think long-term about topics like the one so presented. The climate-change pseudo-debate shows that even in a much more compressed time projection. I suspect if the argument were to gain traction, it would be used by the current denialists. "See! There's nothing we can do anyway!"

Dork, because I have a good idea who you are, I'm a little puzzled why you think I always have to be right. Generally, I leave your posts alone when you sign them under your usual name. I almost always find them stupid and pointless, the kind of inane braying one comes to expect out of talk radio. When you give yourself a new identity in order to troll the blog you claim to be a fan of, it suggests you don't even have the modest courage of your half-baked convictions. I understand you yourself are not stupid. But whether out of boredom or anger, you often come across that way. Own your stuff. It may not be stellar but it's better than charades.

OK, I give. No more saving earth!
Cancel my Sierra club membership.
But I would prefer more wilderness
so if we cant cut down on people
lets stack them up like cords of wood in mega cities.
Enough for now, I m putting on South Africa's music hero, Sugarman and retreating to my Adbuster magazine.

Jon, is there a reason that I get all numbers when using my laptop in order to post and I never get numbers but weird letters I cant decipher when I post from my phone?

Don't hold back, Soleri:
"- stupid and pointless
- inane braying
- don't even have the modest courage of your half-baked convictions."

I'll have you know that my convictions are fully baked.

I have said before,
whats wrong with a real name?
Or is having a "handle" like a trucker on a CB, the thing? These Monikers people assign themselves remind me of people that alter their appearances with a variety of phony stuff including "artful" tattoos.
Must be my age, at 73 I find it strange that so many hide behind some sort of phony, hypocristic pet type name.
Dose not matter what "handle" U choose, most anyone now days can eventually dig out who U really are.
cal lash

Another reason to leave Arizona:

St Janet, the ex traitorous governor of AZ speaks out against Snowden.


and Slate posts controversial article of Snowden.

Should Steven Segal become AZ governor look for Arpaio or Russell Pearce to become DPS director.

Cal -- Benjamin Franklin called himself "Poor Richard" at times.

However, It was common knowledge that this was Franklin.

Poor Richard's Almanack (sometimes Almanac) was a yearly almanac published by Benjamin Franklin, who adopted the pseudonym of "Poor Richard" or "Richard Saunders" for this purpose. The publication appeared continually from 1732 to 1758. It was a best seller for a pamphlet published in the American colonies; print runs reached 10,000 per year.[1][2]

Franklin, the American inventor, statesman, and publisher, achieved success with Poor Richard's Almanack. Almanacks were very popular books in colonial America, offering a mixture of seasonal weather forecasts, practical household hints, puzzles, and other amusements.[3] Poor Richard's Almanack was also popular for its extensive use of wordplay, and some of the witty phrases coined in the work survive in the contemporary American vernacular.[4]

Some where in a blog someone mentioned that Hippies did not spit on Vietnam veterans.
Today I got this E-mail from a friend that is a deeply religious person and an "American Patriot." In a letter to Nancy Pelosi a Mr Guthrie a Vietnam veteran claims he was spit on by filthy people.

I have no opinion on the letter just found it interesting for about 2 minutes

Boston, reurbanization, bling bling:
Two Decades of Change have Boston Sparkling

But the thorniest problems are in the lower basin, where a thicket of political and legal deals has left Arizona holding the bag should the Colorado River continue to diminish. ... That leaves conservation, a tack the lower-basin states already are pursuing. Arizona farmers reduce runoff, for example, by using laser technology to ensure that their fields are table flat. The state consumes essentially as much water today as in 1955, even as its population has grown nearly twelvefold.
Colorado River Drought Forces a Painful Reckoning for States

Re: Vietnam, if you get a chance watch the doco "Sir, No Sir" which deals with the resistance to the war by its conscripts. The spitting story is dealt with neatly and logically. It also discusses Jane Fonda and the Vietnam Veterans Against the War and their alliance. 60,000 soldiers, sailors and marines attended her show in the Philipines, Okinawa, and Thailand. This of course was before she drank the Kool-Aid of her own awesomeness and visited Hanoi to become a prop for the communists and US hawks.

I was in the US Army during the Vietnam War. I never encountered any hostility from anyone outside the armed forces. Nothing at all. Yet it's become a widely accepted "fact" that troops were spat on by hippies. The only problem is that there is no real-time account of this happening anywhere in the media. Indeed, the story only gained traction in the 1980s. I don't know if it was the movie Rambo with its Siegfried motif - the hero as the victim - or maybe just something dreamed up at RNC headquarters. Or maybe both. One consequence of this became from the point forward the near-constant assertion of Vietnam veterans that this, too, happened to them.

After WWI, the German public was persuaded by demagogues that the reason they lost the war was the Dolchstoss - the stab in the back - perpetrated by unpopular minorities like Jews or Commnunists. This idea became the vehicle for ultra-nationalists to whip up hysteria, and the rise of a certain event, which Godwin's Law prevents me from naming.

It's a kind of twofer when you combine separate strains of victimization to magnify your slurs. I understand Nancy Pelosi is not the most physically appealing creature in Congress. The story about her demand for a new aircraft was a lie, but that plastic surgery! Ycch! Clearly, Mitch McConnell, Trent Franks, and Bobby Jindal are much more willowy and fetching. But I don't recall Pelosi lying about a "threat" to America that necessitated the eventual deaths of 58,000 young Americans in the '60s and '70s(and over 4,000 in the 2000s). I don't recall Pelosi besmirching the patriotism of Senator Max Cleland, a triple amputee from that war, as Saxby Chambliss did (and the ever-rabid Ann Coulter). I don't recall Pelosi organizing a Lie-a-thon about John Kerry's war record, which became the central issue in the 2004 presidential election. No, for that you have to examine right-wingers. Not that I suspect any of them would regard their actions as somehow anything other than patriotic. Choosing between tribe and country is a no-brainer when you're on the right. When half this nation is wrong simply by virtue of skin color, religion, sexuality, or economic principles, they can't help but place party over country. Because....er....Freedom!

Cal -- I'm hoping some of my witty phrases survive, as well.

Cal "In a letter to Nancy Pelosi a Mr Guthrie a Vietnam veteran claims he was spit on by filthy people."

Are you offering that as proof? May I recommend a book to you, then, about John Kerry, swift boats, and an early sell offering on stock to a bridge in Brooklyn.

Re the "spitting" tale:



dorky dorkman, was I not clear enough for U. I said it was a forward that I had no opinion of and only found it interesting (for 2 mintues)
It's not proof of anything except that some guy wrote Pelosi a letter.
So we can call U witty phrase Dork from now on?

It was asked why apartment building in Phoenix continues apace.  The question supposed that this was mysterious and one answer suggested was that developers are simply on automatic pilot.

I think the answer is much simpler: because vacancy rates are low and heading lower, and multi-family housing is in demand after many families were displaced by foreclosures and single-family home building has yet to recover.

According to a Summer 2013 nationwide survey by Cassidy Turley Commercial Real Estate Services, the year-to-date vacancy rate was just 5.4 percent, down from 11% in 2010 and forecast to continue lower.  At the time of the report there were just 14,124 vacant units, which is considerably smaller than population growth: the report shows an increase in Metro Phoenix of 47,930 households in just the first half of 2013 and a population increase of 129,510.  See p. 33:


Developers usually put their money where they expect a good return. After being bitten pretty badly during the housing crash I think they are considerably more prudent about building: the days of automatic pilot await the passage of many years if not decades.

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