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March 21, 2016


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I chat up vacationers from the valley sometimes, and they always say they're from Phoenix, and when I ask them what part, they inevitably say Scottsdale, Mesa, Goodyear, San Tan valley, anywhere but Phoenix proper. One guy said he'd lived in the valley for over twenty years, and had only ever been downtown for Diamondback games. Ask people if they've ever been up South Mountain to check out the city at night, most of them don't even know you can do that. Nobody I've ever talked to has been to the Heard Museum or the Art Museum. It's pretty depressing: they really might as well live in Kingman, for all the use they have for their urban anchor city. Phoenix is now just a freight warehouse and distribution center for its own satellite cities. If there's ever going to be a world-class city in Arizona, it'll probably have to be Tucson or Flagstaff.

Same as Pat, when I drove an airport shuttle in the DC area the same thing occurred. Phoenix ? What Part? Peoria !!, Black Canyon City !!
Seems folks identified more with the airport, KPHX, than the "city" itself.
When my family moved to Phoenix in 1950, the population had just topped 100K....... a wonderful place to grow up, I'd never go back.

Real cities are liberal because people understand the necessary interdependence that urbanism entails. You can't separate out the poor, the homeless, the minorities, and immigrants. Of course, the cultural churn alone would create enough dismay for conservatives to condemn cities. The economic dynamism, contrary to right-wing mythology, is also upsetting. They want a static economy predicated on the winners winning and everyone else scraping along.

Arizona is a self-fulfilling prophecy in the self-selection process. Cold-weather refugees want the comforts of back home (white skin, Aryan Jesus, and single-family neighborhoods). The worse things get, the lower the floor drops. You think things can't get worse? You ain't seen nothing yet.

You can't create a good city with concepts and high-minded bromides. You really need the actual matrix of urbanism in place and not just the next best thing. Phoenix - and Tucson - came of age in the post-war boom where cars displaced buses and streetcars, and everyone had a VA or FHA loan to buy a house. The die being cast, everything else is a footnote to the suburban template.

Republicans cannot learn because they may as well be the Afrikaners in 1980s' South Africa. They know they're losing their grip on demographic supremacy and they'll do everything possible to hold back the tide. When it finally breaks, Arizona might improve on the margins. That said, there's no guarantee that all the bad decisions made in the last 70 years won't exert its own gravitational pull to the suburban typology. By the time global warming has crossed over from ominous threat to hellish reality, it will be too late anyway.

I want to type an appropriate, introspective response to this article that sums up my feelings about Phoenix. But I won't, because Pat did it for me. Well said, sir.

It's no different in Chicago, Milwaukee or St. Louis. Residents of an area identify with the closest landmark - usually an airport. Get real and lay off the poor Phoenicians. They have enough heat to deal with.

Every time we won a local battle in Wisconsin for clean water legislation or funding for our schools, the Scott Walker wrecking crew in Madison passed a law to overturn our local laws. Ditto elsewhere. The oligarchs rule.
Here is a deep dark secret from Wisconsin. Has anyone ever noticed that our Koch puppet, two month Presidential candidate never went after Mexican immigrants? All of our dairy farms depend on Mexican laborers. Our Milk Marketing Board poured big bucks into Scotty's campaign. So their boy couldn't blast illegals and went down in flames. Of course there were other factors as well, but this one was huge.

Identify with an airport. Out here in the desert there is this dirt strip that only has small planes landing at night to the headlights of vans?

All the Republican states with both a Republican governor and state legislature routinely override county and city ordinances contrary to Republican reactionary doctrine. Another fine example of Republican intellectual dishonesty.

Remember the Republican never ending mantra against judicial activism. Once the Roberts right-wing court was in firm control, the only Republican complaint was that the court wasn't judicially active enough to override ideologically contrary federal legislation and regulation.(Obamacare)

Republicans, the party of anti-intellectualism. Trump's the perfect poster child of the modern day Republican; he's just too obvious and crude for the upper middle class Republican.

Arizona loves Trump. Arizona:The Enchanted Land of Embracing Stupidity.

I know Republicans who read this blog are a sensitive lot. If you are offended by this comment, well your Trump stupidity and bigotry offends me. If you are going to stand behind Trump in the general election, you are Trump. It is that clear. Rationalizing that you can't vote for Clinton still bestows upon you a Trump stupidity badge

Petty! Most people from the Los Angeles area when asked ..... will say they are from LA!

Anon I agree with your comments. Many Republicans will gag but swallow and vote for Hillary vs Trump. However I do not fear Trump as much as all the other Republicans that tried to be the GOP nominee. And I think there are a lot of Republicans that fear what Trump will do. He already has turned their harden brain cells into mush.
Regarding Arizona, I see little hope as the state continues to draw old white folk as residents that are scared of thier own shadow and want to live in gated communities and pay no taxes. The young smart kids leave and I don't believe the Hispanics will ever vote in sufficient numbers to overcome THE LDS jihadist legislators. And as I write these same politicians are preparing to take over state and national parks as thier own private enterprise's Your grandchildren will get to go to Grand Canyon Disney World and Wilderness will only be a word seldom heard..

Of course the Brussels attacks will ramp up Trumps message and Hillary delivered a speech yesterday that she is not going to pussy foot around like Obama has. She is going to clean up the Middle East and bring her Roman soldiers to every corner of the globe.
Caesar lives on.

What Phoenix needs most is to invest in urban infrastructure and to stop building suburban infrastructure. The South Mountain Freeway, for example, is an epic policy mistake and will do irreversible damage to the city.

As Rogue notes, many of the tools such as TIF, GPLET, Impact Fees, and now Improvement Districts have been eliminated or neutered by the legislature.

On the positive side, voters have approved the light rail expansion sales tax. What's needed most now is a big street improvement initiative to build world class (shaded) sidewalks and bike lanes along the light rail corridors. While the latest improvement district law is a huge blow to infrastructure financing, this could still be accomplished administratively by the City (no new state laws) with creative use of utility fees and impact fees.

Of course, Direct Democracy could also improve this by putting all of the tools that other cities have on the ballot via a voter initiative. Messaging and PR would be the main challenge here but if Phoenix had the civic leadership of peer cities it would definitely be doable. In my opinion, a lack of leadership is the biggest drag on progress in Phoenix.

The South Mountain freeway is just a continuation of the enrichment program for the legislators and their construction company family. I believe change of legislative control of Arizona is beyond help. And no suprises here they got the AG on the way to eliminating photo radar, next no speed limits and no driver's licenses required for white folks. Posse Comititus is here. Say hi to John Birch.

Rogue, et al. See correction on college grad retention rates- eliminating U of Phoenix grads took PHX out of bottom nine.
(at link in original post.)

The Clinton/Trump AIPAC ‘Pander-Off’

While Sen. Sanders stressed the need for a nuanced approach to the Middle East, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump competed to see who could avow their love for Israel more ardently, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry


another opinion of Trump and Clinton.
WAR we love WAR.

No reason to care about elections as here is the real war on cities.

Doug Ducey and Andy Biggs are the two worst things to happen to Arizona. Some newer legislators like Warren Petersen, JD Mesnard, and Justin Olson are trying to catch up. There are Striker bills that show up under three different bills in 2 weeks, bills that help one person, bills that create indentured servitude for "flex loan" borrowers, bills to allow plastic bags to fly on cacti, bills that overturn citizen's initiatives, bills that steal from the land trust because the lege shorted public school by almost 2 billion dollars.
So much wrong with AZ. It's hard to live here.

I'm standing in a line that seems as though it is nearly a half mile long. Most of the people in line are Hispanic. I've never seen lines this long in Arizona (i've been here since 2008).

I hear voting lines in Tempe are 90 mintues out.

Dudas, maybe we can have coffee at Davis Monthan?

Volunteers at the poling site say it has been this way all day. In line so far for an hour and 45 minutes.

How about that war on Brussels, kids? unbridled growth, hmmm?

Problem? Did Maricopa county reduce polling sites fom 100 to 60?

Even more Cal ... from 200 to 60. With the excuse that mail-in ballots have continued to outpace the popularity of voting at the polls. Luckily, this shady attempt to suppress votes didn't work and voter turnout, especially for Dems, was higher than expected.

Patricia, the two worst things to happen to Arizona were modern AC and Barry Goldwater. Barry was the dog whistle that attracted the worst of White America to Arizona, and modern AC made it too comfortable for them. If they didn't have the backbone for Rust Belt winters, they of course wouldn't have the backbone to live with a Phoenix summer on its own terms. Phoenix attracted a better quality of people when they came because there were good jobs during and after WWII. When those began drying up, they were replaced by the rightwing white flighters looking for a cheap place to avoid cold. Ironically, lots of them benefited from careers in the unionized auto industry, and don't really seem to grasp that they weren't getting that good pay and benefits because they were able to attach the same windshield visor to the same kind of vehicle over and over all day. They actually think they were skilled, which makes them even more insufferable.

Good posts Pat

Pat-Isn't it amazing that people who were unskilled and making $50 per hour were surprised when their jobs were outsourced to low wage countries?Go easy on the AC.I don't think I could live without it-maybe coolers in May and June,but July and August would be a bitch.Barry was just ahead of his time as his family company allowed him to keep his head above the clouds and not be troubled by the problems of the working class.He was a Trump without the orange hair.There is enough blame to go around for everybody who prospered in the 50's and 60's while the rest of the world recovered from WW2.

I sit on the 4th floor of a building on the Tempe/Phoenix border. I look at this in a unique way- I am counting cranes right now. If I look to the east, I count a good 9 cranes, perhaps 12, but 9 for sure. If I look to the west, I see none. Well 1, but that is at an equipment yard, and doesnt count. This speaks volumes to the investment in the future. Tempe somehow is attracting investment, phoenix (purposely lower case) is not.

Actually, from my office I see 7 cranes in less than a mile radius in Central Phoenix. They include a new high-rise hotel on Jackson Street, University of Arizona's new medical facility, 3 Roosevelt Row apartment buildings, and 2 McDowell Road midrise apartment buildings. There are more going up further north on Central Ave.

The only crane I desire to see is a bird.

AC, don't be a wimp Mike, get you a cot, couple of wet sheets and go to sleep.
And maybe get your mom to pray for a breeze.

Soon we leave the place where a president seems to "hesitate because they prefer to come to their conclusions in their own way"

to a time where the mobs form around

"Those who eagerly subscribe to the comfort of prejudice".

Quotes by Roger Ebert reflecting on the movie,
Bless Me, Ultima.

I could do without all the cranes in Tempe. Have you driven along the desecrated Rio Salado Parkway recently? Steel and glass boxes nuzzled up to each other . . . no green, no view of the lake, nothing but asphalt and the glare of the sun off the glass. Soon we will have another useless, empty steel and glass highrise OVER the old Monti's La Casa Vieja.

Get off my lawn, you whippersnappers.

Sj, as I continually post, Tempe has became one ugly place. Mill at the bridge looks like a huge ugly space ship landed. Only thing uglier, The Glendale University of Phoenix Cardinals football stadium. May we have a lift off please. THEOCRATS welcome aboard.

And of course we were all suprised that zealot Teddy took Utah and Idaho. Now I am in Bimbo over whether to vote or not for the Donald and what would be our first (his third) lady. Thanks Ted for the great photo.

Oh, my! Cal, I agree Tempe is uglified. Tempe worked so hard to re-do Mill Ave., and for the most part, they were very successful. It is a great place to wander around and people watch. Who the hell thought we needed that glaring crap near the lake?

Sj, given the current out of control erections in Tempe, the great old Valley Art theatre is showing an appropriate film, "Creative Control".
It is not!

Currently I'm re-reading a book that may hold the answers to the future.
"Ask the Dust", by John Fante

A national example of the war on cities:


I understand that our architecture is less than desired. However, do you think State Farm wants to be in the building off Priest north of Southern? Unfortunately, to lure investment in an area, there needs to be some attraction. Many of the kids these days do not appreciate classical architecture, which Phoenix is largely devoid of (not to mention most major cities on the west coast). As much as we dislike it, I do look at Tempe Town Lake and the buildings, and think that at least they are trying to build an economy. Time will tell if it succeeds or fails.

"Valley of the Sun". Here's to the cactus regaining control of the sand. Let the economy move out to somewhere like Seattle or Singapore.

Build an economy? Huh? Buildings should be built because there is a need for a building, not because building stuff is all you have as an excuse for an economy.

Dollars to doughnuts, 75% of those shiny new boxes on Rio Salado Parkway are empty. They were built for tax reasons or subsidies of one sort or another.

We used to grow things here. And make things here.

If building shiny boxes is the best we can do to build an economy, then we should just fold our tents now and leave.

On second thought, you all leave. Cal and I will stay and keep the coyotes company.

The economy? Maricopa county taxpayers give 200 million to build one of the world's ugliest edifices and now the team wants to give us back "Chase" Field. My days investigating Organized Crime always led me to follow the $$$$$!

Tempe built a bunch of new bars,cafes and high end apparel stores on Mill Avenue that have crappy food and stuff at big prices but the best restaurant in Tempe is at University and Hardy. Lalibelas.

And lots of young first time voters and Hispanics were sent a message in yesterday's election. Don't bother to show up,as us old white folks will handle this for you all.

"Downtown" and even as far as 3rd street and Virginia, Phoenix keeps building apartment buildings that remind me of Lebanon type structures in design and color. Particularly the colors. Bright Mexican and sand colored Southwest colors would be much preferable at least to my tastes. And they are only 4 or 5 stories high? Why not ten? They already ruin any view. Of course statistically people that live 11 stories or higher never go outside?

"The problem is that a majority of people who actually vote are suburbanites with deeply suburban values. Most are relative newcomers with no sense of Arizona history or issues. Even longtime residents still consider the Midwestern towns they came from "home." And most of these migrants came from either suburbs or small towns in the Midwest or "Inland Empire" of California. If only Phoenix attracted more people who were actually from the city of Chicago."

Wonderfully put.

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