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August 08, 2016


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Having lived in Phoenix for 7 years, I always thought Phoenix was out to do its construction "on the cheap."

There always was more room elsewhere, so repurposing a structure was seldom done, or so it seemed to me. How do you repurpose stucco veneer? Is there any charm in doing so?

Anyway, the buildings were left (to rot) and because of the "space" between buildings and street, no real street scene ever developed.

I almost forgot...

Oh, there would probably need to have been some "diversity" for a street scene to germinate and flower. And we all know what the "powerholders " think of diversity.

A vibrant downtown is quite likely going to be more liberal, so there was never any rush for it. Also, how many retirees have any interest in a vibrant downtown where there's the potential from "street people" and all other manner of weirdos? I know because I'm one of them.

But, then, so many people in Phoenix are career-aholics, so stopping to smell the roses and enjoying oneself is seen as a form of laziness--and it doesn't help business (the real god here)in their "profit uber alles" motto.

Viva la difference--somewhere else.

My friend and I grabbed a late lunch in Oracle, AZ yesterday. And out in the desert (whats left of it)the sprawl continues. Senior citizens are still on the rise in Arizona.



And the ridiculous Benson AZ plan to build 28000 homes next to a river that is down to a trickle that at one time you could row a boat all the way to San Manuel from Mexico.

Probably will include a golf course. Where fools will chase little white balls and Coyotee will feed on the rabbits.

Seattle Suns has a nice ring.


Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. Since we're all creatures of habit, this particular habit of moving ever outward will implode upon itself once global warming really heats up and water is increasingly rationed.

Did I mention the possible inability of humans to work at 120 degrees plus?

Today I read an article in the AZ Gannett Rep that seems to contradict Rogue. It suggested that all the parking lots in central Phoenix have mostly been replaced with high rises. The article quoted Mr. Gammage, apparently a very knowledgeable Phoenician on these matters, who also suggested that the density of Phoenix was greater than LA and other Western metropolitan areas.

All is good in the newly fortified mega tandoori oven fondly referred to as downtown Phoenix.

I am 100% against the city or county paying for the improvements to the ballpark absent a clear contractual liability.

That being said, this Kunasek is a 5 star jackass and a textbook example of a government representative letting ego and personal views get in the way.


No Offense Jon,
I know you and Grady are friends and I know Mr. Gammage is to smart to be a fool.
I expect Bob Robb to publish such info for the paper but not Grady.
So what is he?

Sun stroke can be cumulative. When I worked the fields of the Valley of the Sun the only people without a broad brim hat, a long-sleeve shirt and pants and a damp bandanna around their neck were Gringos.

“By 1492, the landmass we call Europe had been butchered, all the forests were made groves, all the meadows made fields, all the ground made tame. A place used up. All the signs of decadence were present and this failure of the heart was seen as INNOVATION.”
Charles Bowden in Blood Orchid.
What would Malthus say about today 2016?

Art and esthetics in building had some cachet in Phoenix in the 1970's. You see the inspiration in the buildings from that era.

But the downtown was bifurcated and nothing was built in one area so that it would be a magnet for architecture designers.

I really don't know why that happened in the scattershot way it did, but I think it had to do with cost. The profit and go-go-go motive is so deeply entrenched in Phoenix that any cost for the sake of beauty is likely seen as not necessary and excessive.

In the same way, taxes are seen as confiscation when they are what people pay to have an orderly and safe society. All are something to be reduced.

What do you end up with: A fairly nondescript and ugly skyline that clearly demonstrate to all where the city's priorities aren't.

World-class cities are visual cornucopias. Phoenix is fairly dull architectually, but as Steve Martin said in 1980, "Comedy isn't pretty."

Though the retirees and their cohorts may dispute this, what one sees where they choose to live is a quality of life issue.

The techies and millennials want to see something new, a spark, and not just the same old, same old.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy--except for the jobaholics. But I suspect the millennials want playtime--and I'm guessing the numbers of those who do are much greater than the jobaholics.

What they see is what Phoenix gets.

I urge newcomers who wonder why Phoenix is the way it is to read the Phoenix 101 columns. For example, there's a three-part series on what killed downtown.

Javier just blew through, hard rain and light hail, well over an inch or more. Temp is 80.
The desert is beautiful, whats left of it.

Seattle overcast!

re 'bob'---the easy answer is let 'em go to the rez, or another state, or pay their own way.

there is no evidence of a public stadium investment doing other than churning discretionary dollars of a community to a specific part of that community. it doesn't create discretionary dollars.


Without the bread and circuses of professional sports to distract them the public could get restless....

Who can say what might happen then?

Regarding downtown, recently I've spent some time there with a couple of real estate brokers. All I heard was "200 new condos on this corner, 350 new condos on that block, 100 new condos over there." These are all described as "upscale"--whatever that means now.

Scattered here and there are a few much older homes priced 50 to 100% higher than they would be in a saner market. These are described as "perfect for a restaurant...or bar...or art gallery...or law office...or..."

Since there hasn't been a large influx of quality new jobs, and we lag way behind in the venture capital investment that might conceivably create them, I think it's likely that we will have a glut of empty "upscale" condos very, very soon.

But as long as the developers get paid, I guess it's all good.

Anyway, empty condos are more aesthetically pleasing than empty lots...aren't they?

B. Franklin:

When there is very little real estate, specifically buildings, that can be repurposed because most of them aren't brick or steel, it's back to build, baby, build.

As far as quality new jobs, I mentioned previously that the people who would fill those new jobs aren't jobaholics.

These people probably are familiar with Arizona's passive-aggressive regressive revisionism that frowns upon diversity, the arts, and equality for all. I'll bet that when the idea of expanding somewhere comes up, Phoenix is probably somewhere near the bottom because of its uber-conservatism.

I also believe the venture capitalists are keenly aware of how millennials view Arizona--and this factors into their calculations of how investing in Phoenix would affect their returns.

B. Franklin;

I think Phoenix is on a long, slow decline, and most of this is due to Arizona's "wishing to stay in the past" politics. The admittedly sluggish recovery from the great recession is merely the outlier of this trend.

The "past" plays really well to the retirees (all apologies to you, Cal), but not so much to a younger generation that espouses progressivism, inclusion, and social justice.

The public relations boondoggles and missteps are Arizona's calling card to the world, and I believe the rest of the world has taken notice. They've voted with their money, as in, to take it elsewhere.

It would take a 180 degree turn from the powerholders here to undo the bad PR of the last 2-3 decades.

Unfortunately, I believe global warming will render Phoenix increasingly inhospitable for year-round living, both from the increased average temperature in Summer and water availability. That clock is speeding up because temperature increase is rising on a parabolic curve.

How likely do you think a political and societal "about face" will happen? The optimist in me wishes it were possible, but the realist side is beyond pessimistic.

Cities/counties Country need more of this:

As Kunasek delivered the letter to the team, he directed a profanity-laced storm at Hall, calling on owner Ken Kendrick to “take your stupid baseball team and get out” and go back to “f–king West Virginia,” according to team notes that Kunasek does not dispute.

Btw Kunasek is
"Kunasek, a fiscal-responsibility Republican who’s been in office since 1997, has already said he’s not running for re-election this year, so this was an opportune time for some venting."

IMO someone needs to convince Mr. Kunasek to stay in office.


Chucko, back one at you on The previous blog.

WKG, "Audacity of Hope"? Maybe the FBI director will be bold and give U Trump by inditing Hillary and Bill for White collar crimes. But then I think whomever the Democrats replaced Hillary with would still beat Trump. The guy is self destructive.
He is right out of a fairy tale.
"Humpty Dumpty".

It's always back to Trump because it requires a "bad guy" to have a good story.

Trump is both a fascinating AND repelling "train wreck" at the same time.

Arrogance on his level is truly detestable, isn't it?

LoL- I told Greg Stanton when he was running for office the key to getting stuff built in downtown was simple- raise taxes on vacant property.

If you have to do something, that is better than a tumbleweed.

Land banking is the part that killed downtown, and now the high cost of land kills businesses downtown.

Which is extremely foolish, but typical in Arizona.

Landlords are the plague that keeps extracting too much wealth.

Arizona will continue to slide as wages here fall further and further behind national growth.

And it starts with a strangled government. LoL.

After all, you have to be on the inside to see the obvious connections between the governor and a certain tribe which doesn't want a casino built, and then denies the gaming permit, etc, etc, etc.

Corruption is so obvious these days. I am surprised the US Attorney has not seized all of Sean Noble's computers to get the docs on the conspiracy to elect the gov- just imagine if they can get one london staffer to spill the beans and take immunity.

Out in the open, it is so brazen.

And yet it keeps going on, and the golfers still go and whack that ball, and spend their money on amazon.

Corruption, audacity and hypocrisy are the catch words of the day.

Pardon my rants, but because I know the rogue columnist has a wide audience in the gun-worshipping state of Arizona, I have to excoriate trump (because he has sunk almost as low as he can, I won't be capitalizing the "t" anymore).

Has Hillary proposed doing away with the second Amendment? Has she said she will appoint Supreme Court justices to do that?

Why on earth would trump bring in the "Second Amendment people," unless he wanted them to use their guns to oppose Hillary?

Had trump said--in his statement, instead of afterward--that the Second Amendment people are among my most stalwart supporters, and Hillary is out to curtail your freedom to own guns, so maybe you second Amendment people better make sure you vote for me because I'll keep all your freedom to own guns.

He said NOTHING of the sort. The implied appeal for the "gun lovers" to act--without specifying HOW to act--is CRIMINAL! He's the one that needs to go to jail!

He can't get his way with the electorate, so he appeals to the gun owners to help him by "the Second amendment people--maybe there is--I don't know"

Had he said, "There is a way--if you Second Amendment people ALL vote for me," that would have been moderately appropriate.

Again, he said NOTHING of the sort.

trump's behavior is indefensible in this matter.

Dan Rather has it absolutely correct:


But then, trump obviously hasn't either the oratorical skill or cosmopolitan intelligence to frame something with anything approaching anything like decency. But then, what bullying braggadocio does?

All I can say about trump is: he's such a whack job that he thinks in "whack job" terms.

Heaven ain't helping us on this one: We will be the ones to screw it up if we elect this "loose screw."

I posted this on Facebook today:

I am not an anti-gun person, although I am a firearms owner who supports sensible gun laws. As to Trump's latest cagey blurt:

Remember, the Giffords shooting came after a very nasty campaign, including threats and ginned up by talk radio (and the Palin bullseye). An unhingeable young man became unhinged. Among the dead was a federal judge.

Most rushed to the insanity defense ("Nothing to see here, move along"). Few were willing to connect the dots, aside from Tom Zoellner in his excellent "A Safeway in Arizona."

We're in a similar moment nationwide.

How many gun deaths are there in the US per year? According to the CDC, there were 33,636 deaths due to firearms in 2013.
Reference: www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/injury.htm

Country comparisons

Every year in the U.S., an average of more than 100,000 people are shot, according to The Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence.
Every day in the U.S., an average of 289 people are shot. Eighty-six of them die: 30 are murdered, 53 kill themselves, two die accidentally, and one is shot in a police intervention, the Brady Campaign reports.

Another thought on Trump shooting vomit.
that Trump – in his shock-jock style – was suggesting that Americans with AR-15s slung over their shoulders and with Glocks open-carried on their hips would respond to any new gun-control measures by mounting an armed insurrection against the hated “Guv-mint.”

The other guys points.

Jon, thanks for the facebook stuff. For me its good to have some stuff show up here as dont do facebook or twitter or instagram or anything but this blog and email.

Regarding guns, being a retired cop, I see no reason to own one unless you are absolutely sure you can kill someone if that time comes. I quit hunting to eat (never did see it as a sport. Why would you want to hunt a deer when you could be a cop and hunt humans?) when i turned 19 had a job and god invented grocery stores. Of course some folks do enjoy shooting inert targets as a hobby.
I still maintain a Concealed Weapon permit (CCW) even though in Arizona it is no longer required as previously and to get one you had to undergo training and pass certain handling safety techniques. Now any fool can lock and load. Not only is that foolish it put a lot of folks in the private business of training people and certifying them for a CCW out of work.
But its the wild west. I am recommending to ADOT and MVD there is no reason for traffic signs and rules, no one pays any attention to them. And if your a"white" northern European, no need for a drivers license.
Trumpism fits. John Birch lives on.

Gun ownership is about responsibility.

Mouth ownership is about responsibility.

I'm supportive of both when they're handled responsibly.

Simple as that.

Putting the biggest mouth on the planet with the biggest guns on the planet should sober anyone up.

If trump can't control his mouth, what does that imply regarding his ability to control those megaton "guns?????"

It's well past the time to put the "well regulated" clause of the Second Amendment back into effect.

Anyone who thinks they need an AR-15 and several thousand rounds of ammunition to "protect" themselves is a menace to the rest of us.

And any politician who is bought by the NRA in order to protect the gun nuts' "rights" is also a menace to the rest of us.

Also, how is firing up the loonies with talk of Second Amendment "remedies" any different from yelling "fire" in a crowded theater? If anything tragic happens, Trump should be charged as an accessory.


Interesting that I see no outrage from the far-right conservative contributors to this column.

What does their silence really say?

On this issue of trump's implied threat,
the silence truly is DEAFENING!

Clinton makes a smart, St Janet, move and goes for the LDS vote. Like Janet her plane has taken her to Utah. Oh wait Janet did that before and right after she got elected. I have not yet learned what deal was made? And why do Arizona LDS make Utah Mormons SEEM like liberals?

If you haven't seen it yet read and watch cop that shoots and kills a 70 year old libarian with blanks? And the same cop's dog video.
Bet you he claims he didn't know Moriarty put real bullets in his gun.


Maybe its the AZ LDS members self-righteous super-patriotism, greed, and passive-aggressiveness toward the "illegals."

I could barely tolerate their hypocrisy.

Religious hypocrisy is about the worst form in my moral world. The fact that they were so smug about it made it all the more intolerable.

They have no idea what's coming for them.

A couple of good articles at an interesting site called “Granola Shotgun” which I have parked in my “favorites” internet menu. The first is


It’s about Riga, Latvia. It goes to show that crappy architecture in the “international style” ala Walter Grropius/Bauhaus, Le Corbusier, Phillip Johnson, et al. infected both sides of the iron curtain. Admittedly the Red side of the curtain featured more concrete boxes as opposed to Western Glass boxes. Post WWII pretty much sucked everywhere. Phoenix’s biggest problem is that it was so small prewar.

Cities that were already fairly big prewar (e.g Atlanta) could suffer the loss of some classics and still have an ample supply of handsome buildings. Then there’s the case of Birmingham (much like Portland) were pretty much backwaters in the go-go 50’s-60’s-70’s era. Many fine old buildings survived more through inertia than anything else.

His most recent posting


chronicles his rental property in Sonoma County, Cali. There are some things to like about Cali (I guess) but I think this will illustrate its biggest problem; it’s way too expensive for middle income families. But it is a great place to be rich; and I guess not too bad if you’re dirt poor.

The writer of the site writes frequently about Cincinnati, which he is quire fond of. If I were a young man I would be looking seriously at Cincinnati, Columbus, Ohio, or Pittsburg. I was very impressed by Columbus when I spent a week there on business. I heard a lot of good things about Indianapolis.

I’ll defer on the “back to downtown” meme. If the thread continues I’s like to comment on it.

As for the architecture thing, I think the Phoenix powerholders never thought it was needed to "sell" the city. In their mind, the weather did that.

But now (I DO believe the godless, communist scientists), the weather is going to be more and more of a handicap than an asset to Phoenix.

If the powerholders in Phoenix had given "amenities" such as art, culture, and architecture some value, that might have resulted in a "real" downtown. Instead, Phoenix just developed in a scattershot, hopscotch pattern that is banal and disorganized. Then again, you get what you pay for. Pay now or pay later.

And yes, I strongly argue that the powerholders (the business and political leaders) could have had a real downtown. They didn't feel it was necessary.

I also posit that having a real downtown would have brought with it the possibility of undesirables (street people, liberals, artsy types). That was a no-no in straight-laced, nose-to-the-grindstone Phoenix.

In fact, the idea that Phoenix was so small prewar (and postwar) meant it was a blank slate. That it looks the way it does is no accident.

Even today, an environment where art and the humanities, in all forms, is valued and nurtured, continues to be seen by the Valley's powerholders as decadent and "liberal."


Don't be fooled by the look of Phoenix now. Before all the teardowns and land-banking, there was a real city there.

Phoenix was never quite a blank slate, either. It sits atop the most advanced irrigation society in the New World. It went through several iterations to get to the blasted wasteland or homogenized suburbia of today. Many of them were quite compelling and beautiful, including mighty acts of civic improvement.

I laud you, Rogue Columnist. But I think most Phoenicians have never thought in ways other than making money. Sadly, what Phoenix is today is the result of that tunnel vision. I do believe any serious talk on a downtown requires people who actually want a downtown.

What you give is what you get. Because the powerholders were all about getting, they gave precious little. Take, take, take, because there's always more land to build on.

I think you know it could have been so much more, but that wasn't important back then.

On the “back to downtown” movement. I know it certainly exists here and in Atlanta. But I think it a thin demographic’ albeit one with a lot of visibility. A good thing about the “movement” here is that it has not been a gentrification process” mostly conversion of commercial buildings into lofts; thousands of them. In town is clearly the focus of nightlife in the metro. I’ll be going there tonight myself. Retailing: not so much. But the numbers don’t lie. Much like Chicago; the better parts of in-town boom while the rest of the CITY dies. But it’s great if you’re twenty something and the club scene rules.

I think the important thing is to have an “in-town option” available. It’s not for everyone, or even a sizable minority, but it’s important to have it there. A good metro should have a neighborhood for everyone.

There has been a big movement here by the better inner ring suburban cities to focus on their downtowns. Upzoning etc. To my mind the best of all words (except for the cost aspect). Nice walkable environment. Most routine things within a walking range (1 mile or less). Good places to eat and decent night life. All without the seediness of in-town.

I really think all cities need their skid rows (aka “the Deuce”) and red-light districts.

wkg in b ham:

You hit the nail on the head with regard to Phoenix: "the cost aspect."

That pretty much rules everything in Phoenix because the profit extraction motive is so strong there. Making money available for development of a "nightlife district" was probably a non-starter; my sense of history says it never was even considered.

The cost issue is also why there is so very little "nightlife." A later curfew means more police patrols, which cost more, etc.

It's really a question of values and the priority given them. An aesthetically pleasing and dynamic downtown, with a mix of old and new, was going to require dollars that would have a long-term return. Phoenix is a short-term return city (i.e. "go-go-go").

Besides, having a vibrant downtown would attract the undesirables--and the powerholders weren't going to do anything for them.

My problem with the Arizona powerholders is their hypocrisy: They want theirs, but they don't want anyone else (the "undesirables) to have anything.

Many of the Arizona powerholders are Mormons (LDS), and they are determined to hold their power at any cost.

These are the same people that so loudly talk about Chicago corruption.

But Chicago is a world-class city: how many long-haul flights, business headquarters, and amenities does Phoenix have beyond championship golf?

@Bradley re cost: In-town Bham rental or purchases are very reasonable. The very high cost stuff in into Downtown Homewood and Mountain Brook village and Crestline Village which are first ring suburbs in the “favored quarter” (Southside in Bham). My knowledge of Atlanta real estate is very dusty. I think it varies from reasonable to very costly depending on which neighborhood you choose. I’m referring to majority white, mixed neighbor hoods. Neighborhoods in Bham only come in three flavors: White/mixed, entirely Black or entirely Mexican/Central American. While we have large Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern populations, they are live in mixed, mostly White neighborhoods.

I don’t have the Chicago love you do. While not “San Francisco” or “Manhattan” costly, living in in-town Chicago can be rather pricey. It has been (rightly?) described as 1/3 Manhattan and 2/3’s Detroit. Despite the surge in the loop area, the city as a whole bleeds population. Vast swaths of it are slowly being abandoned. It has serious financial problems. It basically can’t borrow funds without pledging hard assets – its credit rating is basically “junk”. It has sold off a freeway and its parking meters to plug holes in the operating budget; and this is a budget contains a lot of smoke and mirrors (e.g. vastly underfunding pension obligations). Unlike Detroit, it can’t look to the state for a bailout or work-around; Illinois State government is basically flat broke.

There are several Midwestern cities that I would very much consider living in (as noted previously – but I forgot Minneapolis).

Re “That pretty much rules everything in Phoenix because the profit extraction motive is so strong there.” Too bad it Phoenix doesn’t have those kind, compassionate profit indifferent property owners that you find in New York or San Francisco; or Portland and Seattle for that matter.

Re “Making money available for development of a "nightlife district" was probably a non-starter; my sense of history says it never was even considered.” My experiences with entertainment districts is that they are usually unplanned and spontaneous. Planned districts are usually flops. I think the best a city can do is to eliminate unnecessary impediments; the biggest being insane zoning and building restrictions.

wkg in b ham:

Regarding your points, I think to a large extent, the Phoenix powerholders frowned on the influences that would have made for a vibrant "nighlife" scene BECAUSE it was unpredictable and wasn't in their definition of a "conservative" freedom.

While every place is driven by profit, I strongly believe (as many others here)
that Phoenix's business is driven by a "conservative" ethos--and actively doesn't want business that doesn't subscribe to their "rules." In other words, freedom defined as the natives define it, or "you're NOT welcome."

I'm talking about a downtown where everyone is welcome--and because of this inclusion (heresy in Arizona), a vibrant street, restaurant, AND nightlife scene emerges.

Again, you get what you pay for: Chicago is expensive AND expansive, Phoenix is relatively cheap AND slim-pickings.

The state is caught between a governor wanting to bring redness to the state and the democrats wanting to stay blue.
There's the crux of the budgetary impasse. The money is there, but it's tied up in that.

Oh, I live in the suburbs, but do drive in for the city's amenities: I grew up in "the middle of town."

You silly downtowners can sit there and wring your panties all you want. Before you read my next statement, please Google First Friday downtown Phoenix. Did you do it? OK. Here you go.

If you think for a second that Arizonans are ever going to be in favor of increasing the venues and numbers of those freaks, then I would love for you to send me some of that stuff you're smoking.

There are families. There are freaks. There is culture. There is counter-culture.

There can be a blend. But, this is not California.

Until the Mormons start wearing psychedelic underwear, accept it or move.

P.S. Hi cal. Heart U

It's a stretch to call anything about conservative Arizonans a "culture". Unless you mean the kind found in a Petri dish.

And there are many kinds of "families". Some even include, yikes, "freaks"!

No, this sure isn't California. Heaven forbid that we should have the 6th largest economy in the world.

And a dozen world class universities.

And Silicon Valley.

And the music/film/television studios.

And...well, you get the idea.

Anyway, I thought Mormons already wore "magic underwear". So, psychedelic would be coals to Newcastle.

AZ is AZ.

CA is CA.

B. Franklin, what is your point?

Ms. Highwater,

Arizona can choose to stay cocooned on its own little world, but that really means nothing to the larger part of this planet that embraces "progressive" change.

If you choose to be left behind, good for you.

I choose to embrace inclusiveness, acceptance, being cosmopolitan, and rolling with the punches.

Being open to creativity, whatever that may be, is one of the essences of freedom. Not just my freedom, but everyone's., because freedom is only valid in its totality--and not just the Daughters of the American Revolution's definition.

This majority conservative electorate in Arizona sees the “outside” world changing, and this change, ever accelerating, alarms and frightens them. Wishing to remain in their own little world, and their “comfort zone,” they continue electing these intolerant conservatives to lead Arizona because they detest cosmopolitan “change.” Another facet of this entrenched antipathy toward “change” is this majority conservative electorate demanding their freedom while steadfastly attempting to deny freedom for those they dislike. These conservatives fail to understand that “freedom,” by its very essence, is a concept of the absolute in that freedom is only valid in totality. That means everyone has freedom or it is mere chicanery—especially when one preaches it as just for one side. These attempts to limit the “undesirables” freedom through social control are nothing more than legislative efforts to limit “change” because freedom is the main impetus and driver of “change.” These campaigns to limit freedom for “undesirables” are also part of the larger strategy to deny social justice. The progressive, cosmopolitan world sees this dichotomy and passive-aggressiveness in Arizona’s electorate and views it as the wellspring of intolerance, despising, and hate for the non-conformism, free-spiritedness, and diversity that propels the hated “change.”

I have come to strongly believe this intolerant regressivism energetically springs from a collective willful ignorance which refuses to acknowledge that opinions held elsewhere can negatively impact Arizona. Part of this willful ignorance stems from the incessant “boosterism” spouted by Arizona’s overwhelmingly conservative media. The message also involves a subtle and patronizing scorn for more liberal locales as California and Chicago. This “cheerleading” has a tendency to suggest irrelevancy for other places and their cultures, customs, and moralities by “playing up” Arizona. Not surprisingly, by the repeated power of suggestion coming from the local broadcast and print media, Arizonans have an overly-elevated pride that this state is a “paradise” without equal--and needs no “changing.” They remain blissfully unaware that the world will change with or without them—and that this “change” could leave Arizona “in the dust.”

I am a Christian: being one with God over 50 years ago confirmed me—and this requires me to act as Jesus Christ would to the best of my fallible ability. This also compels me to speak out against the conduct of Arizona’s leadership and majority conservative electorate that is patently un-Christian in its actions and supporting thoughts….

This un-Christian behavior, by a conservative leadership and electorate which wraps itself in the mantle of “under God,” is seen by the larger world to be brazenly hypocritical and a moral affront, because Arizona’s “gods” and religions are of earthly, base desires. This larger world also sees little justice or ethics in Arizona’s intolerantly passive-aggressive regressive revisionism that seeks to roll back progress and turn back the clock on modern human rights. I posit that Arizona’s neo-confederate policies and perverted “religions” have repelled business investment here, to the tune of 4 billion dollars lost from business tax cuts (circa 1996-2015) enacted to entice business investments that never materialized.

As a consequence, the callback response and deconstruct, by businesses outside of Arizona, has been largely to avoid investing in or relocating to the state. Considering that Arizona’s tax structure and legal system are very favorable to business, this should be cause for great concern. However, when freedom has no limitations or considerations beyond its exercise, offensive and ridiculous actions, as well as covering up failures, often become its bastard offspring. Arizona’s propensity for outlandish and obscene behavior has made the state “radioactive” for progressive business and associating with its politics potentially harmful to businesses’ public image and their profits. This business avoidance of Arizona has caused a deficit of 4 billion dollars in state revenues over 20 years from tax cuts designed to lure businesses that haven’t come. It also explains the state’s anemic economic recovery from the Great Recession.

Ms. Highwater,

Arizona preaches "freedom" to death, but it fails to realize that while exercising freedom is guaranteed, insurance against consequences from exercising that freedom

Those 4 billion dollars lost are nonexistent in the state's coffers, as well.


You do realize you don't get paid by the word on this blog, don't you?

Your point being you are a Christian who types a lot?

AZ is AZ.

CA is CA.

By what magic is your God going to change that dynamic??

Bradley, do not let yourself be trolled.

"Helen": If you are so fatalistic and sure about the futility of it all, why come here, much less comment (troll)? This is a blog that caters to those who...wait for it!...want to see progressive change in Arizona.

Remember the axioms that prevent me from either switching to moderated comments or no comments at all. Try to add intellectual value and/or wit in your comments. Don't make ad hominem attacks on others.

You're mentioning First Friday as some kind of panacea, as if some kind of floodgate of creativity will suddenly open?

My God has left us here to determine our circumstances now and in the future: God isn't intervening.

AZ is arid in so many ways; very little grows there.

AZ is AZ, and with people like you will always be the same old, same OLD.

I do believe calling people silly, and that they're wringing their panties, and that those who are different are freaks only demonstrates the intolerance rampant in Arizona.

Therefore, this entrenched majority conservative electorate is a large part of the problem Arizona faces going forward. For businesses seeking new locales, the employees potentially making those moves, and the relocation support services these businesses employ, this majority conservative electorate is the support system for the lawmakers and other “verbal outliers.” Thus, the people, by way of their attitudes against “change,” may be the most intractable barrier to businesses relocating here.

When one considers Arizona’s past two decades of aberrational behavior, in its controversial legislative and law enforcement actions, combined with the confrontational comments of its governmental, business, and conservative advocacy leaders, a clear truth emerges: All of the above affronts to decency and fairness spring from the majority conservative electorate’s strongly regressive attitudes. This “thumbing my nose” and “kiss my butt” behavior is what this majority electorate wants from their leaders, as are the verbal, legislative, and law enforcement “outbursts” broadcast around the world. A deep resolve to resist progress in basic progressive human rights is how the rest of the world views Arizona and its majority conservative electorate.

The lack of a coherent "downtown" is but one outward manifestation of Arizona's determination to be different. When one considers how much pressure is put on people in Phoenix to "conform" to the local "norms," and how determined Phoenix is to be different to the world's norms,
a huge irony results: Phoenix is a victim of the adage, "looks matter."

Phoenix doesn't look like a world-class city, so it isn't considered as a world-class destination for businesses and their headquarters. These executives demand not just golf and sports, but the circuses of food and entertainment that nourish their creative spirits.

If I, a lowly truck driver, has made that calculation, why haven't the Phoenix powerholders?

Keeping their little “fiefdom” as it is may override changing sensibilities that more parallel the rest of the planet so that Arizona can really prosper.

Bradley, excellent philosophical postings.
It seems you believe decesion making should first ask WWJ DO.
I'm OK with that but before I comment further please define what you mean by
"Arizona can Prosper"

I have an attorney friend that believes Arizona has sufficient water supply to support 30 million people and that's his definition of prosper in Arizona. But not mine. My fantasy idea of Prosper is when Arizona is declared a roadless wilderness.


Arizona claims to be business friendly, but it deliberately underfunds education, thereby shortchanging business of its main desire--a well educated workforce.

Part of prospering is being more in line with the sensibilities of the rest of the world. Part is leading by moral example.

On these two metrics, Arizona is woefully lacking.

The idealist in me would love to see man more in harmony with nature. The realist in me understands that the rest of the world wants what we have--and will emit more and more greenhouse gases to get it. Would Americans agree to lower their emissions to allow the rest of the world to emit more? I sincerely doubt it. Too many Americans would see it as a threat to our way of life and security.

I think way too many Americans are over-materialistic and would do well to go on a posessional "diet." We are buried under "stuff." But I think you know there are those, especially in Arizona, who would call me un-American and communist for such thoughts.

I came to my beliefs out of what love is; it is the antithesis of control.

That, I believe, is at the heart of WWJD.

Sadly, in my seven years in Arizona, I never saw this. The closest was a bumper sticker that said "WWJD--What Would JETER Do?

I think that bumper sticker was perfectly fitting about what really was worshipped in Arizona.

And maybe it's a small clue as to why AZ isn't currently prospering.

B. Franklin, Cal, and the assembled "hopeful," including the rogue columnist:

Support for an actual "downtown," the arts, culture, and assorted "humanities" is indicative of a society's desire to "give back," pay it forward, and be charitable.

The fact that Phoenix has a dearth of the above is indicative of Arizona's powerholders, and the electorate that supports them, desire to be stingy and wanting to keep as much as they can for themselves.

Architecture, and the celebration of the old by maintaining and repurposing, is the physical manifestation of humanity and is a visual demonstration of "giving back."

At its core, in economic terms, most support for the arts is NOT hugely profitable. In fact, most of it is done at a loss.

But support for the arts is done OUT OF PASSION. Those who support the arts and humanities believe in their redemptive and mood-elevating qualities.

These things restore one's faith in humanity. They can lift the spirit, and for some connect directly to one's soul.

They can be the definition of "soul."

As Graham Parker sang on his masterpiece, "Squeezing Out Sparks," "Passion Is No Ordinary Word."

While I don't want to harp on the negative, I have to emphasize that Arizona's unwritten motto of, "you're on your own, here," born of a long-tern societal stinginess, is why "what you see is what you get." I don't see much.

The rest of the world sees this, too.
People and corporations are voting "with their feet."

They want hope, they want change, they want passion.

They want to be where those things are.

And I say this with fervor: I think the stinginess (euphemistically called "thriftiness") is so ingrained and interwoven into the Phoenix psyche that it is virtually impossible to undo.

Also as intractable is the "thriftiness" with moving forward (being "progressive") and becoming more inclusive and accepting of others who are different.

On that note, Ms. Highwater's comments prove my points about Arizona's attitudes toward cultural change.

It's those attitudes that are Arizona's greatest handicap against moving forward with the cosmopolitan, accepting rest of the world.

When those attitudes change, you might have a realistic chance at a harmonious
combination of nature and structures, downtown and suburbs, and commerce and the arts.

News flash:

AZ is AZ and CA is CA!

And apparently, never the twain should meet.

I though the point of civilization was a communal effort to at least try to get better at certain things.

And this act of "getting better" might involve things like public education, and universal health care, and fostering artistic expression, and at least an honest attempt to alleviate poverty and suffering.

As well, naturally, as maintaining the roads and public safety....and, of course, championship golf.

By that metric AZ is really really good at only the latter...

So, it might behoove us to at least try to be a little bit more like our betters.

Instead of disdaining them with the phrase I've heard in Arizona since I was a small boy, "we don't want to be like (sneer) California."

The United States has long thought of itself as the land of infinite plenty, and historically we did have abundant resources. But now we are gradually exhausting our fisheries, our topsoil, our water. On top of that, we're coming to the end of world resources.
Jared Diamond

“In much of the rest of the world, rich people live in gated communities and drink bottled water. That's increasingly the case in Los Angeles where I come from. So that wealthy people in much of the world are insulated from the consequences of their actions."
[Why Societies Collapse, ABC Local, July 17, 2003]”
― Jared Diamond

“Much of human history has consisted of unequal conflicts between the haves and the have-nots.”
― Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

“Perhaps our greatest distinction as a species is our capacity, unique among animals, to make counter-evolutionary choices.”
― Jared Diamond, Why Is Sex Fun? The Evolution of Human Sexuality

The above quotes by Jared are courtesy of the faux president of the Thomas Malthus fan club.

B. Franklin:

Arizona has an inferiority complex, because, let's face it, it will never be as popular as California.

That's why there's the incessant boosterism, smugness, and "NOT CAL" window dressings.

For the Arizona boosters to admit there are neat things California has and does would be to admit their own state's shortcomings.

Too much like real.

They'd rather have their mirages.

Arizona has qualities, that's obvious.
But to not look in the mirror, that's delusional.

Like how many Arizonans go to San Diego.

Or, to paraphrase the Arizona booster,
Arizona, Love It or Leave It!

The Sowthwest was a great place before 1400.

“It's striking that Native Americans evolved no devastating epidemic diseases to give to Europeans in return for the many devastating epidemic diseases that Indians received from the Old World.”
― Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

Ray Manzarek of the Doors in his 1974 song, "Bicentennial Blues," said it best about the continuing xenophobic uber patriots...

Love it or leave it
I really don't believe it
I don't understand
What you're talkin' about
Well I kinda have to wonder
If you really mean it
'Cause if you really mean it
I'd better clear out

I thought we were brothers
And all the same
I think you forgot
The rules of the game
You say my country
Right or wrong
If you don't believe
You don't belong

Freedom and policy
Equal opportunity
It's all a camp piece
I thought it was for you and me
Well it's in the Constitution
And the Bill of Rights
You say all men are equal
But some are more equal
And some are never equal
And some are a mess.

That's where I get my morality.

And Bradley are you speaking to Manifest Destiny??

The following is an excerpt from
"Jimmys Blues" by James Baldwin.
"The sons of greed, the heirs of plunder,
are approaching the end of their journey:
it is amazing that they approach without wonder,
as though they have, themselves, become
that scorched and blasphemed earth,
the stricken buffalo, the slaughtered tribes,
the endless, virgin, bloodsoaked plain,
the famine, the silence, the children's eyes,
murder masquerading as salvation, seducing
every democratic eye,"

On the question of business and prospering.
What you think about the following?

"neoliberal elites see Islamic terrorism, and state bankruptcy and collapse as collateral damage in their pursuit of endless wealth."

Color me White, I'm back.
I forgot to mention that black man Stager Lee is back from running Hell and as a white man with a terrible hair piece, intends to run Earth from the White House. Make me wonder if he shot God during a card game and took back his Stetson he had lost to god.


The best trick The Man ever came up with was getting the poor whites to hate and fear the Blacks, instead of questioning just what their white Bosses were up to. With that hatred and fear safely embedded in the white psyche, everything else fell into place.

Here's a quote from the movie "Blue Collar" that somehow seems appropriate:

"That's exactly what the company wants - to keep you on their line. They'll do anything to keep you on their line. They pit the lifers against the new boys, the old against the young, the black against the white - EVERYBODY to keep us in our place."


On the first post: I do believe we as Americans should attempt living with less, as a sense of duty toward being more harmonious with this earth. I don't think it's karmic to be taking so much of this planet's resources for ourselves. I believe part of prospering is being in harmony with that which is around you.

If the Islamists raise too much hell here, how many guns do Americans possess? Because they risk those guns being used on them. Are they ready for that kind of armed violence against their communities?

As to the second post, I have always seen Blacks as our equals. Not sure how that addresses your question.

B. Franklin, I loved "Blue Collar." Excellent performances, true-to-life, and very deep. Richard Pryor was great in a dramatic role.

Why does the union-breaking aspect, along with the overall strategy, remind me of what goes on in Arizona?


Sorry, I got your posts transposed: #1 is #2, and vice versa. To a certain extent the idea of "prosperity" governs what James Baldwin speaks of: I believe we as humans could alleviate much of our society's ills by both living with less and the KISS principle.

U R doin fine Bradley.
At my age my old brain has crammed into it a terrible mess of stuff from my reading. Consequently the blog triggers my memory and I post such in response. Probably it makes little sense to most but it does to me and gee whiz i feel so much better after I hit the send button.
May the midwest treat you well. I dont miss the Iowa I left in 1950 much but I do miss the fire-flies.

To pre-empt anyone saying I am advocating violence against Muslims, I don't.

I do believe the Muslim community knows who the "warmongers" are in their communities. They need to be an active part of showing that they are patriotic toward this country BEFORE allowing those warmongers to remain anonymous. As Eldridge Cleaver said,
‘There is no more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.’

Their freedom of religion ends at the line of attempts to undermine the freedoms of everyone else AND the undermining of our democracy.

Cal, your prior post made me think.

There is a good song in there, if only Screamin' Jay Hawkins of Arthur Brown (Fire) were alive and could pull it off.

B. Franklin: How about Midnight Oil's Blue Sky Mine. They don't like this song in AZ! There's a working-class anthem, mate!

Blue Sky Mine

Midnight Oil

Hey, hey-hey hey
There'll be food on the table tonight
Hey, hey, hey hey
There'll be pay in your pocket tonight

My gut is wrenched out it is crunched up and broken
A life that is led is no more than a token
Who'll strike the flint upon the stone and tell me why
If I yell out at night there's a reply of bruised silence
The screen is no comfort I can't speak my sentence
They blew the lights at heaven's gate and I don't know why

But if I work all day at the blue sky mine
(There'll be food on the table tonight)
Still I walk up and down on the blue sky mine
(There'll be pay in your pocket tonight)

The candy store paupers lie to the share holders
They're crossing their fingers they pay the truth makers
The balance sheet is breaking up the sky
So I'm caught at the junction still waiting for medicine
The sweat of my brow keeps on feeding the engine
Hope the crumbs in my pocket can keep me for another night
And if the blue sky mining company won't come to my rescue
If the sugar refining company won't save me
Who's gonna save me?

But if I work all day...

And some have sailed from a distant shore
And the company takes what the company wants
And nothing's as precious, as a hole in the ground

Who's gonna save me?
I pray that sense and reason brings us in
Who's gonna save me?
We've got nothing to fear

In the end the rain comes down
Washes clean, the streets of a blue sky town


© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

For non-commercial use only.

Data from: LyricFind

Intresting new article at Granola Shotgun: "suburban poverty".


Features the great state of Cali, but could be most anywhere.

With all respect to the Rogue Columnist, I hope he doesn't mind me taking up space, but I'm not on a soapbox with a megaphone.

I'm on the soap factory with a P.A. system cranked up to 11.

I was called a rebel and a smart-ass in AZ for demanding to be treated with respect (whoda thunk a proud Northerner would be called a rebel?). I was barely tolerated because I refused to "conform."

I wear that label as a badge of honor.

What I believe is that Arizona's conservative electorate feels it can have it its way, and because that way is divinely inspired--there should be neither negative consequences, ramifications, or outsider criticism.

The outside world's opinions don't matter to Arizonans because it's paradise in Arizona.

They'll take your money but don't want your opinions if they differ from theirs. What they don't realize is they don't have control over other people's minds--at least not yet.

This attitude shows up in the boorish conduct of the conservative electorate and its elected officials. This “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” attitude informs and energizes the hypocritical actions and behaviors of Arizona’s leaders and the majority conservative electorate supporting them. I argue that by being arrogantly standoffish and defiantly proud of its hypocrisy, which it intentionally broadcasts to the rest of the world, Arizona is increasingly marginalizing itself, and this is to its long-term detriment.

wkg in b ham:

Is there an undercurrent from your link of a vibrant downtown displacing the poor into suburbia?

Paradoxically, lack of adequate parking could be at the center of Phoenix's lackluster downtown.

Most parking garages close after business hours. Most of the rest is metered parking. City of Phoenix extended meter hours until 10 pm.. Most metered parking has at most a two hour time limit. That isn't long enough to walk to and from the car, and engage in unhurried activity, whether seeing a movie, eating out, enjoying night-life, etc.

Light rail isn't practical for most, since most don't live close to it. You don't want to take your wife or date on a bus ride to reach a light rail station; and if you have a car you don't want to drive to a light rail station, find parking, walk from your car to the station, wait for a train, ride it to downtown, walk from the downtown station to your destination, then reverse the process on the way back.

Comment, Rogue?

@ Bradley re “Is there an undercurrent from your link of a vibrant downtown displacing the poor into suburbia?” In my reading of the article, no. I THINK there has been a displacement of people from inner city slums to crappy suburbs, resulting in suburban slums. But I read the article to be about the formation of a demographic of white underclass – one that has always existed but has been a rural, out of sight phenomena. In my opinion, one that is due primarily due to drugs and a breakdown of societal norms (fire away – I know I’ve got it coming).

In any case, read the article and make your own conclusion.

Yep its me, you are right.

Parking meters are a nightmare downtown. Particularly with the extended time and the 2 hour limit. And fines can run as high as almost $300? Ridiculous!
Where I live parking is free as is electric, water, WIFI, the pool and spa and shuffleboard.
Yep its your favorite Coyotee. Cal.

No, lack of parking is not "at the center of Phoenix's lackluster downtown."

Downtown Phoenix has abundant parking and it's much more affordable than any major city in the nation.

Every place I go is within a few blocks of light rail. And my place in Phoenix is near a light-rail stop. So it's been years since I've been car-burdened. We ride LRT at all hours and I would welcome the tax boost to run the buses more hours. If a car is unavoidable, garages I used left their arms up after the attendant went off duty.

Vibrant cities and cars don't go well together. Thus, people who have suburban values and experiences complain about Seattle's "war on cars." There's not one. It's just that cars don't go well with vibrant cities, or one must pay a price in time and patience. This is a shock for people who have lived in suburban, car-dependent settings all their lives.

I'm sure the Downtown Phoenix Partnership could help with individual parking questions if one chooses to drive.

Remember, circa 2000 there was "plenty of cheap parking" downtown because most of the time downtown was dead and much of it covered with surface parking lots.

wkg in b ham:

You might not see this coming, but I do see the connection--and don't disagree with you. But I see this breakdown of norms leading to drug abuse leading to poverty as collateral damage from our having freedom.

To a some extent, I see drug use as a self-discipline issue: If one doesn't look at the long term and/or one is impatient (to either escape or get a quick fix/solution), one is more likely to abuse drugs and suffer the consequences of addiction. The short-circuiting of a career or relationship comes to mind.

That it might be an education issue comes to mind because my influences always stressed the long-term potentially negative consequences of drug use.

To Rogue Columnist:

I lived in Chicago for many years (yeah, I'm a quasi commie-pinko, union supporting, social justice so-and-so).

When I got downtown or in the neighborhoods, what struck me was the closeness. It wasn't exactly a squeeze, but it was close--and the energy was right there in-your-face.
Unbowed, unbent, unbroken, and unrepentant. You felt the vibe because there was no space to dissipate it.

Contrast that with the physical dimensions of Phoenix. In fact, you can feel the difference on Mill St. in Tempe. It isn't gritty urban, but it's much more vibrant than DOWNtown Phoenix.

Cacophony versus silence: With all due respects to the Sonoran Desert, Cal, I'm a city boy. When I'm in a downtown, I want it to feel like a downtown. I'll pay for the parking or take public transit for that energy.

When I'm in the desert (not my accustomed home), I do want the silence to be deafening.

But then, and I must repeat this: I do believe, as a contributor to this column so clearly demonstrated, the electorate and the leaders they elect WANT a dead, stodgy downtown because it's less hassle and more controllable.

They don't see or care that it is a visible calling card to the rest of the world.

Here's another take on the downtown parking issue:


Narrowing the streets -- to provide store-front parking and a bike lane -- is an idea that appeals to me (chiefly because it takes Rogue's street narrowing obsession and does the unthinkable with it: add more parking!).

The article discusses the need for downtown parking databases, whether provided by City of Phoenix or by private parties. Any area that requires research just to park is obviously going to discourage visitors.

The obvious patrons of downtown are locals who don't have to drive or park because they live within walking distance. But last time I checked, downtown didn't have much except a handful of pricey lofts and condos. No wonder those who live in other parts of town choose to patronize businesses that are closer and more easily accessed. Probably in better neighborhoods too.

Brad, I prefer the silence that roars.
I have a real dislike of human noise. Can't stand restaurants that are noisy which is most. I try and go to the movies on Tuesday mornings. Never turn a radio on in a car. Better music is the sound of rubber on the road and the hum in my head.
I Just got back from the Hills of Patagonia where the noise was very subdued to the point I could here the wings and heartbeats of the many hummingbirds, the rattle of snakes and an occasional javelin grunt. U can have your tale of two cities.

To Yep, it's me:

I found parking in downtown Phoenix reasonable, but, then, I moved from Chicago (yeah, I know the locals think Chicago is the first level of Hell--whatever...) so I was used to paying something for parking.

Phoenix was built for the car, not horse buggies, public transportation, or bikes and pedestrians. The spaces are very open and vast when compared to older cities. I feel that makes downtown Phoenix look hollowed out and soulless. Visually, there's nothing old and charming because there was nothing old and charming to begin with.

Letting two distinct skylines develop only compounds the visual (both close-up and distant) disarray.

More parking might bring more people downtown, but I think there have to be the attractions there first.

One piece of good news for Cal and friends: the Army Corps of Engineers has finally put the brakes on the plan to put 28,000 houses in the San Pedro Valley outside Benson. The Feds aren't rolling over on this one yet.



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