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June 21, 2016


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You all know I think ED Abbey got it right in the "Good News", with the "Phoenix" going up in flames but maybe Folks like Elon Musk and the boys and girls at Google and Apple will save us? I give you Elon and The SUN GOD.

Good column as usual, Jon. I saw that t-shirt post and had a similar reaction. Brings to mind what I heard an economist predict during the Great Recession: That Phoenix could sustain only one more boom and bust cycle, and then it would be done. Four people dead from the heat in one weekend. This should give people pause instead of just the usual "Well, they were idiots anyway" response that only serves to deflect from real talk about climate change.

Please do not let a small thing like climate change deflect from the gathering momentum of the dumbing down of the human race. Darwin would have a field day with humans at this juncture. He would witness the brain drain in real time. Do you need more examples than the hikers? Moms shot by toddlers with guns in diaper bags. I could type all day.

The small town of Piedra, located just west of Gila Bend, hit 127 degrees Sunday, good enough for the hottest temperature on the planet so far this year.

Chris, maybe 127. That's being questioned. But sooner than we think
Phoenix Downtown Asphalt will boil
and I heard a news station was trying to cook eggs on the ground.

Mombo, it's the God, "Coyote and His Knee" being evil. Uncreating what he created along time ago. Soon just Old Man Coyote and Sajuaro Gigantic practising animism,no humans.

A few summers ago, a softball team from Phoenix came to Anadarko, Oklahoma for a tournament. The humidity was torture, and the Phoenix softball players were getting sick and passing out in the Oklahoma sun.

LeAnn, the heat + humidity is a different animal altogether. As someone who has lived in many regions of the U.S., I can attest to the fact that the humidity and heat of the South and East Coast is more unbearable than the heat in Phoenix. You can escape the saturation in Phoenix, not so much in Houston, Miami, or New York.

That being said, climate change is a very real threat in the arid West. What is even more concerning in real-time is the parallel threat of the urban heat island. More sprawl will equal more heat and the probable exponential increase in temperatures in the summer (especially at night).

However, I also always caution against jumping the gun when a temporary weather pattern interrupts averages.

That is to say no one was writing this when it was 80° in May and the average temperatures should have normally hovered between 99° and the low 100°s. As humans I understand we express most concern when we experience abnormalities that affect us negatively.

I remember a similar conversation on Rogue a year or two ago when a regular contributor commented on the drought in East Texas and along the Mississippi as the new normal for that region. Then only a few months later for that same region to experience extensive flooding.

The point, climate change will lead to unpredictable weather patterns: therein lies the danger. For the Southwest, the likelihood that it will continue to get drier means that population control is the only real answer. Phoenix has to become a more densely populated city where trees can shade more people and grass can cool neighborhoods and parks and have higher utility. It's a good thing that Phoenix no longer is the fastest growing city in the U.S. That it is still one of the fastest growing (Top 15) means that smart growth initiatives are the only way forward.

The only likely way of getting there is to defeat Republicans at the Federal level first and then at home. As for a political opinion, I'm convinced Clinton can win Arizona and Arpaio will lose his throne. As a volunteer for registration drives and for the ADP, I've seen the growth of the opposition to the craziness at the Legislature. For several years it was slow and steady and even in stasis as many Hispanics and minorities didn't show up to vote. They didn't vote for their own self-interests and didn't participate even at a moderate level. Trump has shaken that status quo and there is the real possibility that the surge in Latino registration translates to real votes in November. There isn't such a huge gap to fill in Arizona between those that vote R or D as there are in states in the South or Texas.

I didn’t find the article particularly bad. I’d call it (to use a golf term, if that’s not too offensive) “par for the course.” It’s filled with anecdotes and lacking in actual facts. It’s typical journalism of today. How many times have you read an article about something you are very familiar with and gone “wait a minute. There’s more to this than that. You’ve obfuscated more than illuminated”. And then move on to the next article and take it at face value. My worst peeve is the justification of an idea is to cite another pundit with a link or quote.

Phxsunfan ever the optomist: "Clinton can win Arizona and Arpaio will lose his throne."
Arizona will go Republican and Joe will only lose if there is a viable candidate. To date a good guy like US Marshall David Gonzales has still not signed on. Maybe U and David should be talking.

Did I hear you invoke Malthus? "For the Southwest, the likelihood that it will continue to get drier means that population control is the only real answer. "

I think Arpaio could lose the primary in August to Saban in his own party. If not, he will likely face Penzone in November. In 2012, Arpaio won the election against Penzone with the smallest margin ever having only 50.7% of the electorate (less than 80,000 votes).

In the presidential race, Obama lost to Romney (who had strong support from the Mormon community) by 9.03% of the vote or 208,422 votes. The eligible number of Latino voters was close to 1 million yet only half registered to vote and even less actually voted: that equates to over 589,000 Latino voters remaining silent in 2012. The number of eligible Latino voters in Arizona has likely exceeded 1 million by tens of thousands. Trump is the perfect change agent to combat the inertia in the Latino community this year.

As for "population control" I am referring to urban growth boundaries and the real pricing of suburban lifestyles. The further one lives from the amenities of the core and the urban fabric already in place, the more one should have to pay for the negative externalities they truly incur.

"Further from the Urban core". I'm 35 miles from the Urban core and have a desire to move deeper into the less inhabited desert. I live extremely modest to insure I can live out of the core. 320 square feet with Solar. And my Honda Fit with 130 thousand miles. I remind you it was the ASU rat study that indicated more rats in the box equal more violence. Spawl will continue until developers have bleed out the Beast.
The demise of the valley of the sun began with the construction of Roosevelt Dam. It used to be a nice village. Now Phoenix is a dark canyon of high rise buildings doomed to be the "Phoenix".

I agree that if public policy does not limit sprawl, eventually resource cost and limitations will. People will eventually be priced out of the suburbs.

When I talk about suburbanites paying more for their costs, I'm speaking of those that have chosen a cookie cutter, big stucco box out in say, Surprise as opposed to a nomad like yourself.

The funny thing is that if you refer to Phoenix in mythological terms, the beast always rises again. In its cyclical regeneration and in many a retelling, that doesn't always mean total decomposition but a resurgence or a general renewal.

Although more rats in a box may mean more violence for the species, in juxtaposition, more humans in a well designed city equals less violence and more civic engagement. Rats don't have the ability to build well defined spaces and habitats that allow for privacy and limited social interactions when one so desires them.

In other words, humans are capable of coping with increasing density free of increases in abnormal rates of pathologies. More trees may also contribute to less violence in urban neighborhoods as green space can be subconsciously therapeutic.

Arpaio can be defeated however Saban had difficulties running the small Buckeye police department and has no money base. Pezone is a nice guy with narrow police experience and no money base. Joe has millions and will only lose if he loses LDS support. The white Sun City types would vote for him even of he was locked up in his own jail. Phxsunfan U need to use your knowledge and connections and organization skills to get a viable candidate like David Gonzales. I might be able to give you a little help when it comes to "White voters". U can get my email from Jon.

BUT If Trump wins, Joe will be head of HLS and his command staff and others will likely continue to keep MCSO from becoming more professional as I was hoping Joe would do when he was first elected. But then his PR person took over MCSO and Joe became a movie star.

Joe's "star has tarnished" considerably, and he will lose more Republican support than what he experienced in 2012. Gonzales would be the greatest choice but I don't think he'll bite. Penzone was a cop for 21 years and served on assignments with the DEA. He nearly beat Arpaio last go around even with fictitious stories of domestic violence levied by the Arpiao camp. Joe's problems are gift wrapped for Dems in November.

As for Trump, the neverending bafoonery coming out of his campaign so close to July is remarkable. Not only has it led to him sliding in polls and giving more ground back to Clinton, but the Dems raising $25 million more in May alone. The Republicans are cannibalizing their own party and are unaware of the pending bloodletting. Grab some popcorn people!

Phxsunfan I support your enthusiasm and hope you are right. Joe's court battle may have sunk his ship along with the fact he is a grumpy old man at 84. And Arizona is Trumps to lose. But Arizona is a crazed state and not likely to change until "The Mexican" votes.

U said, "In other words, humans are capable of coping with increasing density free of increases in abnormal rates of pathologies. More trees may also contribute to less violence in urban neighborhoods as green space can be subconsciously therapeutic."
I agree on the tree deal but not so sure humans are as capable of coping as you would have me believe. But you may be right we are more like the Coyote than the rat.

Personally I like living where there are wide open vast spaces punctuated by Sajuaros and mesquite. I yearn to see a resurgence of Horn Toads, I get claustrophobic in the forest.

If Abbey was right and Phoenix burns and you are right and it is reborn, may it once again be a Village on the Banks of the Salt.

Hasta luego

Cal, I have to say I do enjoy your back and forth as it elicits more thought than the mere Phoenix sucks posts from some contributors.

Personally, if I am alone too long I get cabin fever. I lived alone once and found it a waste of money as I always had a friend over or stayed at a friend's house. It's cheaper to live with a roommate(s) and make some memories together.

I'm buying a 2-bedroom condo and already have roommates - a married couple - lined up.

Well I do frequent the Downtown Market cafe on occasion for a bowl of rice and beans. And I'm a member of the Phoenix Art museum and frequent the Heard museums exhibits, cafe and book store. Even desert rats occasionally need a break from the quiet solitude of shifting sand.

Since moving to Houston from AZ 10 years ago, I have to say I find the summers more tolerable. I can sometimes forget that sentiment in July and August when the swampy heat is at its worst, but I was reminded of it last July when I visited Phoenix for the first time in the summer in several years. That blast furnace effect was a rude slap to my unconditioned face. At least in Houston you get whole days with real cloud cover, rains are more substantial and bring wider cooling. The humidity and our abundant trees and grass minimize the heat island effect. In drought years, Houston can do a fair imitation of the Valley, but in better years like last year, it never got over 100 and was only even close a few times.

Don't get me wrong, outside in the sun in the middle of the day is not a place you want to be, but I don't think I am so miserable here in the summers as I remember being in AZ. As for RC's other points about Phoenix development, I think Houston contrasts favorably. There is a lot of development in our downtown, including residential. Residential has historically been a weak side to downtown, but the City has been trying to encourage more housing in downtown with some success. Downtown is a very defined area bordered by four freeways and is almost entirely high rise development. The central part of the city generally has been getting more dense for a long time. High rise condos and 3 story, tiny lot single homes have been going up everywhere inside the 610 loop. Houston learned a tough lesson in the 80's oil bust and is not as singularly dependent on the energy industry as it used to be. That is not to say that the recent oil prices aren't causing a lot of pain

RC; a possible explanation about the shallowness of the NYT article.

There’s an underappreciated side to the now-infamous New York Times Magazine story about Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s deputy national security advisor for strategic communications. As shallow and self-important as Rhodes comes across in the article, he clearly knows his audience. “The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns,” Rhodes said. “That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”….



The NYT Magazine article referenced in the excerpt is: (a real mind bender).


wkg, said,"“The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns,” Rhodes said. “That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”….

The ASU Cronkite "Journalism school is cranking out a number of these folks.
Hopefully a few will graduate to being real "REPORTERS".

Given the job prospects, journalism (or “communications” as they say today) is a pretty ballsy field to go into. Glad Jon is holding a paying gig.

Sad but true, WJG. Even print reporters also have to be telegenic (me excluded). It wasn't always this way.

After watching Mike Barnacle,I switched to Fox to get my weekly dose of their views.They had two women who could pass for models with short dresses and considerable cleavage.I couldn't help but wonder how they could possibly contribute anything to the conversation and how they compared to old,crusty Barnacle.It"s all about ratings,I guess.

Paul Dean mentioned at the Bolles event a couple of weeks ago that he gave a talk at a "journalist" event comprised of many eager to be NOTICED young people. His advise, something about most are not looking where the should be "in the shallows"! Currently MJ has an article on a "reporter " that became a prison guard to investigate for profit prisons. Pretty gutsy, me think.
MIKE given FOX news viewers I'm sure the T&A news casters got noticed but did they say anything and did anyone hear it.
Did a tree fall?

Those short dresses and considerable cleavage plus bumper sticker messages are why the D's are owned by the R's.

Go ahead and own the presidency. The R's control EVERYTHING else in the country.

D's fight for the minds of America.

R's own the groins of America.

What's that old saying, "Men think about sex 100 times per day" And as we now know about modern women, they think about sex 500 times per day.

The groins have it.

On Houston and Phoenix summers I agree with jon7190. Triple digit weather well into October significantly limits Phoenix's walkability score. It is understandably tempting for those fond of Phoenix to try to put lipstick on the sprawling pig.

Although I do believe there is some personal preference when it comes to choosing which type of heat to "enjoy", or how cold is too cold, there is also real physiological limitations that make the heat and humidity of the South, in say Houston, more intolerable.

As some of you may know (I'm certain Rogue does), sweating alone is not how the body cools itself. Unless the water is removed by evaporation - and high relative humidity retards evaporation - the body must work harder to cool itself. Under conditions of high relative humidity, the body is doing everything it can to maintain 98.6°. The heart must pump more blood through dilated circulatory vessels; sweat glands begin a period of hyperactivity that encourage liquids (including essential dissolved chemicals like sodium and chloride) to move onto the surface of the skin. Nonetheless, the moisture in the air does not allow the evaporation off the skin to occur which means the body continues to sweat to no avail. Shade and wind do next to nothing to offset this effect.

Today in Houston it will be 92° with relative humidity of 66%. That equates to a heat index of 110°. In Phoenix it will be 109° with no relative humidity. The difference, the lack of high humidity in Phoenix allows the body's natural mechanism to cool and to do so most efficiently. In Phoenix all one needs is periods of shade and to remain hydrated to remain safe.

I'm used to hearing the common meme that Phoenix remains in the triple digits into October. However, in reality that is rare. The average last day for 100° is September 23rd. October is one of the months in Phoenix in which a rapid decline of average high and low temperatures are experienced: the average high for Oct. 1 is 92°, Oct. 8 is 88°, Oct. 21 is 83° and Oct. 31 is 79°.

After so many years spent in Phoenix, one becomes accustomed to people, mostly in liberal areas, equating the City of Phoenix with the state of Arizona.

I understand this is natural. When news of crazy laws from the Capitol and from the Arpaio clown show break, Phoenix is often the city tagged in print or in the info box on the TV screen. However, the reality of the situation is not so black and white.

Phoenix is by and large, a more progressive and Democratic city that often is in conflict with Republican state legislators. Even after a short time living in Phoenix you get the sense that state Republicans dislike the city. After a longer time in Phoenix you understand that Republicans actually do dislike Tempe, Phoenix, ASU and anything they believe to be a liberal sanctuary.

As for outsiders this dichotomy isn't clearly visible. As such, the vitriol Phoenix receives as a city from outsiders is not so hard to understand.

In 2013, I remember reading an article and a study from the Urban Land Institute that served as the article's primary source. Both stating that 43% of the land in Phoenix remains vacant (I'm still trying to locate the study online). If that figure holds true, of the 516.704 sq miles that make up the city, only 294.521 sq miles is actually land that has been developed or preserved. Of that over 70 sq miles is land that has been protected as park or preserve land. That leaves 224.521 sq miles of developed land. If all the leapfrogged developments where combined the density of Phoenix would be 6,961.6 people/sq mile.

Compared to Seattle which after waterways and parkland are removed (of the 142.5 sq miles of Seattle, only 85 sq miles is land suited for development) the urban densities aren't as contrasting. Seattle at 85 square miles has a density of 8160.86 people per sq mile. A difference of only 1,198.96/sq mile.

That being said, the carrying cost of both cities are vastly different. Seattle's 85 square miles of land, mostly due to its topography and geography, has been efficiently developed limiting much of the single family home sprawl. By contrast, the 516 square miles of Phoenix leaves pockets of development far removed from the Central City. This is mostly true for the city that lies north of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve.

If the world were perfect, Phoenix would de-annex most of North Phoenix leaving a more densely populated core. Since de-annexation is forbidden, the next best solution would be for Phoenix to add preserve land at a faster rate. Preserving as much of the 222.31 square miles that remains empty would limit negative externalities.

Neither one of those solutions are likely to occur in the next few decades. That leaves Phoenix at a disadvantage when it comes to revitalizing downtown. Until the city enacts policy and taxing mechanisms that encourage infill, downtown won't develop as fast as it could.

This creates a problem for the city. As the city will be spending billions on light rail and transit in the next 2 decades, it should also invest in preserve land. This would discourage sprawl. Taxing suburban businesses and homes at rates that include their true costs would help bring development and companies into the Central City.

Phxsunfan, excellent four posts. I agree with all of them , particularly liberal cities hated by many current elected state legislators, phoenix preserving land and the heat and humidity stats. I learned from working the grapes and lettuce in the mid 1950's that with a broad hat, a long sleeve shirt, pants and water the Valley of the Sun was duable. Also a bandana for wetting and placing around your neck worked well.
And shade was place where we took lunches. A dip in the canal was where we many times we ended the day.
Humidity: Avoid Key West in the Summer. I have never been comfortable in high humidity. Heavy sweating i think is one of those southern Confederate things.
As always, Good to have you back with great posts.

With a broad hat, long sleeve shirt, pants and water one can walk a quarter mile or more to a Phoenix bus stop and wait in the sun and heat until a bus with erratic service arrives. With this same garb one can walk across one of the many sprawling asphalt parking lots in Phoenix during triple digit weather in the non-cooling heat island with no problem. Mmmm...

Anyone who has had to live in Phoenix and be employed without a car would know the average weather stats. for Phoenix are misleading not informative. But for the retiree contemplating a move to Arizona, this statistical information would provide great boosterism to choose Arizona over Florida for weather.

Arizona, Texas or Florida: you' all are Confederates.

Cal, It must have been nice to be in Arizona in the 1950's.

Killing the Hidden Waters by Charles Bowden, fifth edition with a 2003 Introduction by Bowden.

If you live in the South West and have not read this book, shame on you.

A couple of quotes from the introduction: “I’ll tell you where I went wrong. The Faucet in the kitchen always becomes the reality we believe. The reality of resources being finite and expensive to acquire is a handwriting that has always been on the wall. Welcome to the future, the place that will make us face the experiences of our past.”

Drifter it was my idea of Heaven not hell.
I will always remember the wet sheets, cots and mom praying a Calvinistic prayer for a breeze. didn't work unless you ask the Hopi gods.

I also can still hear the every rotation squeak of the fan motor wheel pulley on swamp coolers. Our first house didn't have one as the coolers were a rather new arrival in the SW.

One can choose to live in the Center City which has highly reliable and predictable, even free, bus and light rail service. In the Central City there are well designed and effectively shaded stations and transit centers. Some are cooled and even air conditioned in the summer. Trees and vines have been maturing since before 2008 and now provide canopies that offer relief from the sun. There is no more excuse in Phoenix or Tempe for not taking advantage of transit. There are no asphalt lots baking stations. That's not boosterism, that's the reality of my daily life in Phoenix.

PHXSUNFAN check your shoes: http://phoenix.about.com/od/wacky/a/meltedshoes.htm

"field engineers have believed that stripping agents might create adverse effects in a Saudi environment."


Phoenix asphalt history:

Boiling in Kiev:http://englishrussia.com/2012/06/05/asphalt-is-boiling-in-kiev/

Desert Sand is cooler!

June Fools joke, Melting shoes is a Urban Legend!

Britain has spoken by a narrow margin: no to the status quo, yes to the unknown.

The unknown can be scary, but the known is scarier.

Ditto for the US.

Hillary is known, the status quo and unacceptable.

Bring us the unknown.

Mombo U mean Jose Mujica?

Thanks, Jon. Remember that a spate of high temps is merely weather, not climate. You can always have a spike in the weather record; it is the long-term trend that is the tell, not the spike. I'm sure you know this. And that the long-term trend seems to at least confirm a heat-island effect if not climate change.

(I am not a denier -- reliable weather records extend in some places back to over 200 years, with abundant proxy data going much further back. Plotted against long-term records of atmospheric CO2, we have just about the biggest smoking gun one could want.)

What particularly galls me as a longtime Phoenician is the lack of engineering and design aimed at ameliorating the effects of heat. We should be leading the world in devising construction and landscaping techniques to mitigate heat.

In short, where is the shade? We put up the same linear arrangements of dreary boxes that you find in Iowa or Pennsylvania.

Unknown isn't on the ballot in November. Voting for a US president isn't an essay exam; it's a choice for candidate A or candidate B.

Hillary is known, the status quo and mostly acceptable. The real estate developer is known and unacceptable.

Hillary for president.

Excellent post by Joe. But most Arizona legislators are opposed to cities, particularly Phoenix. An obvious Den of evil.

Anon: Do you feel morally irresponsible if you dont vote for either A or B.
Lest u forget there is still a place on the ballot for write in. Both A and B are murderously unacceptable. However both are smarter than George Bush Jr. Regardless, a choice of A or B equals victory for the Neocons. Anon just for you I have a BERNIE T-shirt, Extra large.

I've enjoyed the weather this year for the most part, with some notable heat and a nice early start to the monsoonal pattern and already some summer storms. Hopefully we will have a nice cool July like last year but with lots of storms.

Cal, my view is that a write in vote is a waste of time or in a close election a inadvertent way to vote for A or B. The Neocon facet is the unacceptable aspect of Clinton. The rest of the Clinton package is fine with me. A Sanders nomination would be the first time I wouldn't support a Democratic presidential nominee. I don't do, and never have done, Republican.

Anon, I'm really tired of voting for the "lest worst" candidate. And regardless a write in or not voting is still a freedom option available in Amerika.
So I'll likely write in Bernie and The ever humble Jose Mujica.

And there isn't anything I like about the three Clinton's. But I do like that the Party is approving of doing away with the death penalty and pushing a more progressive platform.

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