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August 30, 2016


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This is a real problem, all right. My husband works for a Phoenix-based startup, and he handles the situation by being an independent contractor, living in Hawaii and coming in every six weeks or so to work with for a week his team but doing the rest of his work from home. This is fine and dandy for him, but a lot of the people who work there, who are from all over the place, really are not happy about living in Phoenix!

All true Rogue, but nothing new. Relatively less expensive housing close to the wealthy west coast technology cities is Phoenix's story. Microsoft was founded in Albuquerque but relocated to Seattle which provided the necessary ingredients to build a corporate technology powerhouse. In the very unlikely event such a start up is ever founded in Phoenix, it would have to relocate to a city that has the characteristics to support its growth. A total void in Phoenix.

Call centers, sales jobs and branch offices are high paying jobs for present day Phoenix and for the foreseeable future. Still good for less well off retirees or third tier work talent. It still has a couple of decades like this before the heat really starts to grind the place into the ground.

Another easy victory for Arpaio. Trump in November. The Arizona electorate has once again spoken: ONLY STUPID WHITE PEOPLE WELCOME.

First “Seattle”. As noted by Drifter, Micro Soft was founded in Albuquerque but moved to “Seattle” (actually I think Bellevue). For the urbanity? Nope; It just happen to be where Bill Gates and Paul (?) Allen were, as we say in the South, raised up – they also went to Udub.

Silicon Valley is more interesting. It became the locus of solid state electronics when William Shockley, the inventor of the transistor, moved there. He invented the device while working in that hub of cosmopolitan ambiance of suburban New Jersey (Bell Labs). The reason for leaving? His mother was ailing and he needed to be there to see to her health and comfort. Early on Boston (DEC) or even Dallas (Texas Instruments) were probably more tech-centric than San Jose. Actually Shockley was pretty much a crank. The real key was when Bob Noyce moved there to work with Shockley. Dissatisfied with Shockley, Noyce Gordon Moore (and others) quit and founded Fairchild Semiconductor (an investment for the Fairchild Camera – which had nothing at all to do with tech). Noyce et al. soon tired of dealing with the News York Corporate types and quit to found Intel – initiating the “angel financing” model, Unfortunately, Fairchild raided Motorola in Phoenix to replace the heart of its management team.

Many things in innovation are spontaneous and cannot be planed. Pittsburg as the hub of robotics? Go figure. Atlanta as the “Nashville” of hip-hop – well a little more probable – but still an accident. L.A. for movie making – who knows. Dalton, Georgia (a small city Northwest Ga.) the apex of carpet making in the U.S.

Oops, above was supposed to start with:

A little history of Seattle and Silicon Valley; they were both “accidents”.

Dullsville, dullsville, dullsville.

Same OLD, same OLD, same OLD.

In the main, Phoenix is in many ways a monochromatic city devoid of excitement. It seems to be a larger version of the goody-goody town in the movie "Pleasantville."

The city struggles under a pall, not unlike a killer temperature inversion, that emanates from the state capitol on 17th Avenue.

It also suffers from the actions of a bunch of bad actors in the legislature and law enforcement over the past 20-25 years.

Thus, by the both the “powerholders” and electorate not only continuing their renegade behavior, but joyfully celebrating it—and becoming ever more defiantly unrepentant by the day--the state is socially and economically “crucifying” itself. On that metaphorical cross, above the slowly asphyxiating state of Arizona, lies nailed a sign reading: “Passive-Aggressive Regressively Revisionist.”

I believe most multinational businesses view Arizona this way. While it has already cost Arizona 4 billion dollars, this will only increase—and not just in dollar amounts lost.

The real problem is getting this state and its majority conservative electorate to realize their behavior has ramifications, including economic “blowback.”

There is a large portion of Arizona’s electorate that sees the state as a paradise where any behavior, however boorish, is inconsequential. Whether this is a strongly held belief, wishful thinking, or an outright delusion is a difficult determination.

The overly-prevalent, one-sided “boosterism” is partly culpable.

If the powerholders and electorate don’t “wake up” and pay attention to the rest of the world and its opinions, or that these have merit and economic “weight,” the future could be very bleak.

I believe the reason the blue areas, and their journalists, are so dismissive and condescending about Phoenix IS BECAUSE Arizona's angry and increasingly defiant RED (and red-eyed) legislators and law-enforcement have been completely dismissive and condescending about inclusiveness, acceptance, and being cosmopolitan.

Arizona's conservative practices, creeds, and justifications stand in direct opposition to commonly-held definitions of freedom, religion, moral integrity, responsibility, and progress (especially in human rights and inclusiveness) around the world.

By parading their arrogant and defiant pride in celebrating and continuing these moral affronts, Arizona’s leaders and majority conservative electorate define the state as an “outlaw pariah” to the rest of the world. These boorish displays of ignorance have caused the state, as well as its less fortunate citizens, to suffer great economic harm which is likely to continue and accelerate.

That the rest of the world would not only notice this imbalance, but likely condemn and boycott it, never seems to dawn on these "rebels."

What goes around comes around.

I believe many large and multinational businesses have little or no interest in being located in a political and social “backwater” that espouses policies that are aggressively regressive revisionism, wishing to “live in the past,” and, judging by its leaders’ bullheadedly arrogant rhetoric, will likely be “doubled down” upon.

This business disinterest in relocating or expanding to Arizona stems from potential relocating employees’ unease about living here, the businesses’ unease over being in a state with such a chaotic, unpredictable, and undisciplined legislature, and the businesses’ “brand” image. These businesses have concerns over how their public “image” might be negatively perceived if they were located here and thus be seen as supporting Arizona.

I believe this hesitancy to seriously consider Arizona as a place to do business has contributed greatly to Arizona’s anemic recovery from the Great Recession—and will continue to negatively affect Arizona’s economy going forward.

Unfortunately, Rogue Columnist, it all goes back to the POLITICS.

Change THAT, and maybe everything else begins to grow.

Another thing is the dismal state of education in Arizona. This is an incredible turn-off to businesses considering relocating there.

What does this scream around the world? Because the overly conservative legislature and Governor obsess about a balanced budget, a surplus, and ever greater “efficiencies,” Arizona doesn’t take education funding, and its concurrent proven potential for advancing society, seriously. And Arizona’s power structure and majority conservative electorate doesn’t seem to care about funding education or social services adequately in either the short or long-term—because the power structure here sees any funding not as an investment, but as bigger government and an expense to be reduced. This is a very reasonable conclusion that I believe many business leaders, who might consider Arizona as a destination, have come to also.

The tipping factor making Arizona undesirable for business relocation might be that a good education system is a quality of life issue for the business because an intelligent and competent workforce—at all levels—is necessary for the business to thrive. It’s their lifeblood. These businesses are looking for long-term trends because being located somewhere spans decades. Adequate education funding isn’t one of those trends here because it isn’t truly valued in Arizona.

There is also the “dumbing down” effect this deliberate shortchanging of education has on future generations, and the immoral uncaring and unconcerned attitude of both the majority conservative leadership and electorate toward those generations’ future prospects for a good life. While business mainly deals with the “bottom line,” this implication profoundly affects how the more enlightened world--and its businesses--view Arizona’s base greediness and un-Christian “you’re on your own here” mentality.

Why would businesses locate here if their main requirement—a well-educated workforce requiring appropriate investment in dollars—isn’t being met because the majority conservative leadership and electorate don’t value it???

Great piece. As a 30-something, I'm not especially keen on the state politicians either but what really bothers me is this focus on tech growth. Arizona does have open spaces, good weather, and is a border state (both with Mexico and expensive/busy California) but we're like everyone else trying to be the next Silicon Valley and I have to ask, why? And not just for AZ but for the rest of the country.

Part of the answer, I believe, is articles like the NYT piece where it's easy to juke the stats (as you called out) on tech firms. They don't have a tangible product. We can point to an old warehouse downtown and say, "these kids are going to bring millions to the state!" and no one can do much to deny it. It doesn't take much capital to start a tech firm (anyone can code) and the buildings don't necessarily get larger as firms succeed. As oppose to conventional industries where growth/failure is visible to the public eye (look at many of our craft breweries expanding or Amazon distribution centers bustling with traffic) where no politician wants to stand next to freight company whose trucks are all sitting idle because business is struggling.

Unfortunately, Arizona's economic strengths are either not sexy enough for public support (mining is dirty, construction builds over open spaces/suburbs aren't hip, farming isn't feasible for most, hospitality simply doesn't provide good enough wages) or too good for the status quo to let thrive in a truly free market (looking at you, solar energy). So you wind up with catch-alls like, "tech" where nothing gets accomplished but politicians can stick a feather in their hat.

But... we have that mattress company!?!?!

Mattresses filled with product from Mexico. Not much has changed since I started my police career in the late sixties.

Excellent piece Jon and good well thought out and presented comments.
Well at least until BH and I signed in.

Excellent Column. I would add that any analysis of what is happening in Arizona must include the demographics of movers to Arizona. Domestic immigrants to Arizona age 55 and older are typically moving to Arizona for retirement. Their concerns are more parochial and typically are limited to low taxes, inexpensive housing, crime and health care availability. Since they are unlikely to have children in Arizona, they are much less concerned, if at all, with education or the type of jobs Arizona is creating, apart from health care for their own benefit. From 2010 to 2015, the 65 and over population of Arizona increased 27%, the fourth highest growth in percentage terms in the nation, as compared to a statewide population growth of 6.8% during this period. A good number of these people did not raise their family in Arizona and vote accordingly. This is a continuing problem in bringing real change to Arizona.

Unfortunately, voting isolationist to keep low taxes looks a lot like America being isolationist versus the rest of the world.

Both actions marginalize: Low taxes=low services=low quality of life. Isolationist sentiments versus the world marginalizes America.

There's an old saying, "You get what you pay for."

Trying to do things on the cheap, as Arizona tries so often to do, gets Arizona defined as, "cheap."

WKB, metropolitan Seattle already had an educated workforce of engineers and other scientific backgrounds when native son Gates relocated from ABQ to Redmond. The availability of highly educated workers in the proper fields was the main ingredient I was suggesting necessary to retain or attract corporate headquarters and high paying salaries.

Your point that Gates in the 1980's didn't relocate Microsoft to Metro Seattle for urban amenities is valid. Today though the work force necessary to build high wage paying corporations do value urban living and tolerant environments. Those qualities are rare in metro Phoenix. My experience there over the decades was that political intolerance and anti-intellectualism rule metro Phoenix and Arizona. Yesterday's reelection of Arpaio tells me things haven't changed at all.

Today Gates wouldn't put Microsoft in Redmond. Top young talent wants real cities. And companies have discovered the benefits of density and "creative friction," where ideas are easily exchanged.

Thus, Amazon's world headquarters is in downtown Seattle. It's the hottest destination for top companies. Weyerhaeuser left its suburban office "park" campus for Pioneer Square downtown. Expedia is leaving suburban Bellevue for Seattle's waterfront. It's a nationwide phenomenon. Maybe not so much in Alabama. Certainly not in Phoenix.

You can grow old waiting for people to change.

Arizona elected a woman who doesn't believe in public education as its Superintendent of Public Instruction. Oh yeah, home schooling is great--if your Dad is Aristotle and your Mom is Marie Curie. Otherwise there just might be some gaps in your education.

Arizona elected as its Governor a man whose chief claim to fame as a businessman was selling overpriced ice cream novelties, dished out by low wage employees.

And then there are the state's two U.S. Senators. I'm still waiting for someone to tell me what John McCain has ever done for Arizona...ever... And in 20 years time I bet I'll be asking the same question about Jeff Flake.

Time and again the state has been ordered by the court to adequately fund public education. Time and again the state's legislature has found ways to avoid doing so. Because tax cuts come first!

Yes, we have all that sunshine. By rights we should be the world's leader in generating solar electricity. We aren't. We never will be. After all, that might cut into APS's profits.

Yes, we have the multi-faceted glories of nature, including the Grand Canyon. And instead of reveling in it, we have to constantly protect it from uranium mines, condos, whatever the next big moneymaking scam is.

This all would be somewhat funny, in the manner of farce, if it weren't so sad.

Each time I travel through Chandler I see one or seven self driving Google cars.

Each time I travel to different cities I utilize Uber.

People used to live downtown because jobs were there; businesses likewise. This paradigm has been upended.

Young talent wants real cities they can afford. Cities they can afford to raise families in. Not cities catering to older hipsters and tourists.

Of course that's my humble opinion!

The 800lb. gorilla in the room is that silent/moral/regressive majority conservative electorate that sees most "change" as "progressive" (socialist/communist).

By the time THAT segment becomes even mildly tolerant of any other ways of living but their own, it's quite likely Phoenix will be about as attractive to major business as the middle of Kansas.

I've even coined an acronym for Arizona’s conservative rhetoric...

IDIOT; Intentional Defiance In Our Theocracy.

And I do believe Arizona's adherents of their theocracy pursue it as diligently as the mullahs and ayatollahs pursue theirs in Iran.

Amen Brad

And Cal, if you manage, when the real estate values go down, down, down, and people disappear, you may get the Great Sonoran Desert back.

If that's your fondest wish, I hope you get it--I mean that.

The great Sonoran sent the HoHoKam farmers packing.
Per Jared Diamond, "Agriculture was the beginning of the decline of man" or something like that.

Back to Hunter Gatherers and away from the planets greatest EVIL, Organized Religion.
And sand only golf courses.

Homey, great piece. Why don't you respond to the NYT article with this one or something just like it as an op-ed?

With regard to the intolerance in Arizona, which I believe makes many of those considering Arizona uneasy...

Much of it starts with the uber-patriotism that becomes a justifier for other, more sinister forms of prejudice.

Perhaps we have it all in REVERSE.

It seems all of the uber-patriots want everyone who disagrees with them to do things as they, the uber-patriots do.
These uber-patriots say, "Love it or Leave it!"

Why does this sound like Nazi Germany and how the Nazis forced everyone in Germany to either submit, leave, or be imprisoned and possibly killed?

Again, perhaps we have it all in REVERSE.

I think the uber-patriots want to compel everyone to exercise freedom according to THEIR (the uber-patriots) definition of freedom.



You need to take a deep breath and think about what you have been exposed to in the seven, very short years you have been in Az.

This is a state where it is possible for Jan Brewer to think she was a viable candidate for Vice President of the United States. Think about that, long and hard.

This is a state where it is possible a sheriff will serve into his early 100's , even if he has to run his office from a prison cell.

This is a state where dolphins are being reintroduced back into their natural habitat. Even though that natural habitat was over 400 million years ago.

It took this state over 100 years to become what it has become.

You new folks have three choices if you are unhappy with how things are in this state.

1. you can leave.
2. you can leave.
3. you can leave.

Many old timers on this blog are gone.

I'm in the White Mountains with one foot on the way to New Mexico.

With all due respect, you can even resort to all CAPS on your posts. You and the rest of the youngsters aren't going to change anything about this state.

The LDS church has a 170 year head start on you.


1. The blog's traffic is rising. I'm sorry some of our old commenters aren't here but I know for a fact they still read it.

2. "Don't rock the boat, accept Arizona as it is" may be the prevailing ethos. It isn't on this blog, as you know. Nor will it be. The Resistance endures.

3. The LDS has done many progressive things in Utah, which is way ahead in rail transportation and economic development, among other things.


Totally agree, Rogue.
However, the enduring mystery is "why" the different agenda in the headquarters state versus the satellite state.

I would liken it to the back east owners of the mines and cattle ranches of old versus the folks here doing the actual work.

We did the dirty work, they got the money while looking down their noses at us.

Kind of made us the kranky folks that we are.

Ruben Perez,

No, you're right on my being able to change it; but Mother Nature...

The sun that used to “sell” Arizona will wind up selling it “short” when the summer temperatures start to regularly top 120 degrees—and the “Valley” will come to be known as the “New Death Valley.” How will Arizona thread THAT camel through the eye of the needle?

As an epitaph, what will Arizona going to do about the coming water crisis from the lack of snowpack runoff to the Colorado River? Desalination? As if all these "righteous" conservative brethren are suddenly going to open up their super-glued shut wallets? Plus, these cheapskates would have to get that water through two places they abhor—California and Mexico. As I've said before, comedy isn’t pretty.

Also, payback's a "perra."

Ruben Perez,

Are you the community activist that had a hand in russell pearce's recall?

I do think the heat, over time, has cooked some people's brains.

It's one thing if your heritage is from the desert: one could make the biological argument of being adapted over the millennia.

However, I think that for some Anglos, they aren't biologically ready (or adapted), and this shows up in their thinking--and "ill" comments.

At RC re: “what top technology talent wants: vibrant, authentic downtowns and urban neighborhoods, dense innovation districts, abundant cultural assets, and progressive values.” I can’t argue this any more than you can defend it. Sweeping generalizations are almost always false. I make the following from my own observations.
- What top talent wants is lots of money.
- This will almost always be found in large metros (>1,000,000 population)
- Preferences do not run to high rise living.
- Commute times are a real factor in selecting a place to work.
- Costs (to the business) matter. Places like Manhattan, San Jose, Boston and (it sounds like Portland and Seattle) are costing them out of consideration for most small operations.
- I can only speak of electrical engineers, but most of those I know are geeks. Their circle of interest is very limited. Almost cultural barbarians.
- EE’s cultural values run to the conservative side. Gays: no big deal as long as it’s not rammed down their throats.
PS: can you offer any explanation for the moving Boeing corporate HQ to downtown Chicago?

Bradley, the first thing U should know is Rubens indigenous grandmother got scalped. And we both know a lot about the Great Southwest when the Seri roamed from the Baja into the Sonoran desert. Possibly consuming Hohokam. (A good read, “Killing the Hidden Waters” by Charles Bowden).
Ruben and I have spent almost 150 Moses type years studying Theocrats wherever they rise up on the planet. Consequently there is some good reasons to consider the following:
Ruben said, “However, the enduring mystery is "why" the different agenda in the headquarters state versus the satellite state. I would liken it to the back east owners of the mines and cattle ranches of old versus the folks here doing the actual work.”
Regarding Russel Pearce: The Movement you speak of didn’t kick out Pearce. The LDS Quorum of Twelve Brethren in Salt Lake concluded that Russel was an embarrassment and his rhetoric was backfiring against Church long term goals. So they picked another LDS (Quiet type) to run against Russell and get back to the mission. Note they found Russell a nice paying job where he couldn’t cause much trouble. He is still a Mormon in good standing.
Jon said, “3. The LDS has done many progressive things in Utah, which is way ahead in rail transportation and economic development, among other things.”
Jon and I differ somewhat here. Sure there are “liberal LDS”. The Udall family always comes to mind. You can google the Udall’s.
However no matter how Liberal or conservative (FLDS) a LDS member in good standing is first a Mormon as is with all Theocracies. Addressing the light rail and economic development in the smog city that can kill you, Salt Lake, I would suggest it has more to do with the location of the Salt Lake LDS Temple that drives much of the development. Only the Nauvoo Temple is as sacred. No Light rail to it yet even though it draws millions of visitors. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nauvoo_Illinois_Temple.
LDS Liberalism or Conservatism is dictated by the leader or Prophet of the churches Quorum of 12 Apostles. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quorum_of_the_Twelve_Apostles_(LDS_Church)
In the past the hoof beats of Calvary troops brought about a communication from god for a change in Church Edicts. And then pressure let a few people of dark color join the church. But will a Black man or a woman ever rise to the Quorum of 12? And if a LDS member became president would there be conservative edicts reign down from the heavens. Would Joseph Smith rise from the dead with the Golden Tablets in hand?
I suggest to you, The Lost tribe of Israel is on point with long term goals regardless of the “appearance” of a difference between Utah and Arizona Mormons.

Boeing HQ moved because top two execs at the time wanted to live in downtown Chicago and use BA charitable giving to move in city's A List. Also get away from their workers. Big mistake.

Silicon Valley is part of the "education for Sale " disaster. also interesting is the "Starving the Beast" statement.
Sound familiar, "Bleeding the Beast".

AND, Hunter/Gathers:
"Agriculture is an ancient problem that had been the ruin of many historic civilizations, including the Greeks, the Romans, and the Mayans." (and the Hohokam, next up)

Guess I should return to eating meat?
84 was the last time I had a steak.

So, is it that Phoenix will likely be very slow growth, or a gradual decline?

I really don't see Phoenix ever even slightly being the boomtown it was between 10 and 35 years ago.

I'm guessing the cumulative effect of the bad press, the coming water availability crisis, and the likely heat acceleration will put paid the explosive growth Phoenix once enjoyed.

If something doesn't keep moving forward, and remains in a stasis, isn't the likely end result stagnation and eventual irrelevance?

Silicon Valley could come to Utah?

Regarding the possibility of a Liberal in Utah. They are an endangered Species.

Conservative LDS Utah politicians lead the way in moving citizens of the US public lands to the domain of states.

Goal sell off land to private developers.

Hopeful plan; Charge admission at the Grand Canyon.

Overall goal; Make as much $$$$ as possible before the lift off.




The three biggest obstacles that I've found in 20 years of evangelizing and working for the Phoenix entrepreneurship community: the education system, the "optics" of our racist politics, and the huge geographical area. It's very difficult to achieve critical mass when things are so spread out, although "Silicon Valley" extends from San Jose to San Francisco.

The education system must be fixed before anything else, and that includes ASU. Although it takes pride in being entrepreneurial, it's so big and so siloed that its efforts are often difficult for students to benefit from. In addition, there's a real town/gown problem as ASU doesn't play well with the community. And the elementary and early childhood education system establishes a digital divide that's difficult to overcome. People are trying to fix the education system (SySTEM School, Coding Academy, Basis, etc), but those create their own problems.

As for the legislature, I long ago lost hope that they'd understand what we need, and even though Doug Ducey talks a good game about entrepreneurship and business, he's all about crony capitalism and not about spending where it might do the most good. Couple that with our blooming corrections-industrial complex, and we do have some things to overcome.

Young people start out loving Phoenix and try desperately build businesses here, but somehow we have difficulty scaling them and keeping them. Sooner or later they give up and wander off to some place where it is easier.I still see SO much brain drain in my work that is depresses me.

Hey Cal,

Back in AZ
It's we three kings
Greed, guns, and gasoline...

Oh, and I do believe God is looking
on the kind of behavior you describe
with disdain and opprobrium.

Mother Nature is God's instrument on the ground here.

We had a clean slate at the beginning.

Pretty obvious where things are going....

Look under the "Climate change" category in this blog for this story: 2016 Is Breaking All Kinds of Climate Records, and It’s Only Half Over.

The upward parabola 1900-date is frightening.

But remember,

Back in AZ
It's we three kings
Greed, guns, and gasoline.

And all the scientists are commie pinkos out to destroy America's "competitive advantage."


I just think everything in Arizona is viewed by the power structure through the microscopic lens of the passive-aggressive regressive conservative politics. They so want the politics to remain the same that it seems they will hold back economic progress to keep Arizona "the same."

Lord Acton said it best: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I find this odd: Arizona officials rail mightily against federal overreach, but they are so concerned with maintaining their little fiefdom that they assert their authority into every nook and cranny of the state.

Francine, I agree that ASU is way too big and sprawling.

The Arizona University System needs restructuring to provide greater accessibility, affordability, and accountability to a public university education for many more Arizonans:


But ASU supposedly has a great business school, and that's about all the Arizona power structure cares about.

Make that money, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

Francine, said "and we do have some things to overcome."
Francine I envy your skills at communicating in writing. However I think you like many in Arizona are "Hoping" for a Miracle. The above things you hope for are about as achievable as a Genie showing up and giving you three (3) wishes. "We shall overcome" does not happen by miracles but by awareness and aggressive not passive action. Passive action in Arizona is the definition of Democrats.
ASU business school has been financially captured by LDS donors and their philosophy for the world economy prevails.
AND to insure their missionaries get into ASU school of business. They have many routes such as the following.

Francine said, "Young people start out loving Phoenix and try desperately build businesses here, but somehow we have difficulty scaling them and keeping them. Sooner or later they give up and wander off to some place where it is easier.I still see SO much brain drain in my work that is depresses me."
I suggest the young that leave Arizona for other places are making the smart move.

But the global world is shrinking and soon Theocracy will dominate the planet and Burkas and Underwear will be the latest fashions.

God save us from MBA's. George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump both graduated from business schools. I rest my case.

The "miracle" that will thrust Arizona into the first ranks of economic development is that overdue super earthquake that is supposed to wipe away everything west of I-5. Beachfront property in Yuma is right around the corner.

Barring that, we're about 40 years behind the rest of the West Coast in every measurable way--except for sprawl. That we can compete in.

ASU vs Stanford, Cal Tech, USC, and all of the UC schools? Good luck with that.

Especially with a legislature that would cut off its own hands rather than fund any kind of education--except, of course, charter boondoggles.

The LDS will do anything and everything for Deseret as long as the tithes & business contracts keep flowing in from the colonies.

B. Franklin:

I think one of the reasons (maybe the overriding reason) is that the power structure in Arizona has little interest in the kind of world that exists beyond Arizona's borders.

Arizona is 40 years behind because the power holders want Arizona to stay in the past. "Change" is anathema to them.

Hello Mayberry!

"The "miracle" that will thrust Arizona into the first ranks of economic development is that overdue super earthquake that is supposed to wipe away everything west of I-5."

According to the United States Geological Survey (via Nate Silver), the frequency of a major (magnitude 6.5 or more) earthquake within a 50 mile radius:

Phoenix: 1 per 7,500 years

Seattle: 1 per 150 years

Only Anchorage, San Francisco, and Los Angeles rank higher in Silver's table of 23 select major cities.

Together with Phoenix's lack of tornadoes and hurricanes, dryness, etc., it's probably why data storage centers flock to the area.

According to the Seattle Times, Seattle is overdue for a 9.0 megaquake. Enjoy.


"These days, there is hardly an empty lot left in the city’s core, and there are as many apartments under construction, or about to be built, as all of those that were built from 1996 to 2008. . . The city bought entire blocks of empty land to entice three state universities to build their campuses downtown, increasing the number of students to 12,000 this year from 400 just 10 years ago. It has given developers tax breaks and other incentives to build, build, build."


The same article quotes a 28 year old downtown resident who is forced to move because of soaring rental costs.

I'm not sure how this benefits ordinary residents. Additional retail activity downtown might increase sales tax collections, but the expanded infrastructure improvement and maintenance costs and perhaps some of the offsetting tax breaks might well eat into if not erase these gains.

An increase in professional income and related corporate profits is well and good, provided that some of the gains are redistributed, but absent that, what accrues is real estate appreciation and a boutique retail sector serving a limited professional market (aka yuppie retail), staffed by service workers who have to commute from the periphery because they can't afford to live where they work.

Similarly, the shift from single family homes to apartments may not be a good sign. Everyone needs a place to live, but with the days of easy credit and mortgage terms gone, and the lack of a housing bubble to suck buyers in with the prospect of rapidly appreciating assets, it makes more sense for the "real estate industrial complex" to move heavily into the rental market, whether buying previously built houses at the bottom of the market, or building new apartments to accommodate population growth and/or multiplying households as children grow up and move out.

We all know what happens when a small number of owners buys up an essential product, whether it's housing or pharmaceuticals, then waits for demographic changes to increase buyer's demand: price increases. It's not as though ordinary residents can just say no as a greater and greater percentage of their incomes goes to providing shelter to themselves.

Some additional thoughts on standard of living:

Just increasing population doesn't increase standard of living, even if employment and production of goods and services increases because new population is building/providing more; this is because new population also consumes proportionally no, so that instead of each individual getting more stuff, you have each individual getting the same amount of stuff; because even though more individuals produce more stuff, there are proportionally more individuals who need to consume.

Simply paying everybody more merely causes inflation, because a greater amount of money is chasing the same amount of stuff. No improvement in standard of living there.

There are two ways to improve standard of living: (1) Improving the quality of goods through technological advance (as for example cars that improve mileage or make driving easier through power steering and brakes); (2) Increase productivity through the use of automation and/or organizational improvement.

It's easy to see how "a better mousetrap" improves quality of life.

But increased productivity will only increase general standards of living if the increased profits from productivity gains (i.e., the same amount of stuff can be produced from the same or fewer man-hours of labor) are shared.

You'll notice that I say nothing about employment levels. That's because, over the long term thus far, jobs made superfluous by new technology, have been replaced by other kinds of jobs. Also, if workers need to work fewer hours to receive the same income (because automation decreases the need for human labor but workers receive the same income for less labor because productivity gains through automation are shared), that too results in an increased standard of living.

What doesn't result in a general increase in the standard of living, is when productivity gains are not generally shared. Then you have a situation where: (1) the demand for goods and services by the typical individual stagnates (or in the bottom quarter, declines); (2) the incomes of top earners (e.g. executives) increases, but because their consumer needs are already largely met by their existing incomes, the increased profits from productivity gains are channeled into financial investments or speculation which merely bids up the value of notional assets like stocks, etc., instead of adding consumer demand for goods and services.

In the second case, general demand increases only if a credit bubble allows increasing debt to replace the absence of increasing incomes through shared productivity gains. In the absence of an (unsustainable) credit bubble, you get slow growth at best in the economy.

From the 1980s to the Great Recession, unshared productivity gains were offset by increasing consumer and mortgage debt.

Since then, growth has been sluggish, in part because of the financial conservatism which occurs when financial markets and consumers suddenly find that the value of their assets has decreased while their liabilities remain the same or increase; and in part because a new credit bubble has been restricted by more rigorous lending standards following the systemic credit crunch and debt defaults associated with the financial and housing collapse.


"Just increasing population doesn't increase standard of living, even if employment and production of goods and services increases because new population is building/providing more; this is because new population also consumes proportionally no..."

That should obviously read "...consumes proportionally more..."

The "miracle" comment appeared to be tongue-in-cheek in its first use, then taken seriously by a second commenter. So...

Aside from the crassness of wishing destruction on another city in order for Phoenix to finally enter the broad sunlit uplands, there are a few problems with your thesis, genius. I'll mention a couple.

1. Phoenix has its own considerable vulnerabilities. And unlike the cities in the Ring of Fire which experience periodic earthquakes, Phoenix's are far more complex than rebuilding.


And, please, don't anyone embarrass themselves by peddling the magical thinking that Phoenix is actually better prepared for climate change.

2. If the sum of all your hopes comes true — all along the West Coast! — the beneficiaries would be real cities. E.g. Denver. For all the reasons enumerated here and in the stories on The City Desk, no, Arizona can't keep digging the hole of extremism, ignorance, sprawl, and ugliness — and expect the mountain of a quality economy to appear.

I must be frank: With some exceptions, the quality of comments keeps going down. It's especially unhelpful that the topic is trolled. This is a blog about cities — why are suburbanites here peddling David Brooksian propaganda? Go to Joel Kotkin's tent revival and feel better.

In the coming days and weeks, I will decide whether to keep the comments feature. We've lost too many people who really added value for readers. And I write this for readers and for my tastes, not for trolls, much less for some more nefarious activities of which most of you aren't aware.

I have no particular love for Phoenix and no particular antipathy to Seattle relative to Phoenix. What I wrote was a form of jiu jitsu, and if that went over your head, too bad.

Every major city has vulnerabilities, some common and others idiosyncratic. I don't see how that refutes anything I wrote; nor does a vague (and if directed at me, unwarranted) reference to David Brooks. So much easier to argue by name-calling associations than by responding to content with content. Likewise, if your accusation of trolling is directed at me, I have no idea what you might be talking about.

By all means, close down the comments section and go back to sleep. Then you can publish the same identical (not just similar) blogs over and over again, without interruption.

Go away, Bob.

Perhaps part of the problem is that those of us on the left, or what passes for the left in Phoenix, have lost hope that things will ever change here.

The same issues rise up year after year: Public education, immigration, wages, transportation, water usage, arts' funding. Nothing is done about them.

The Right rejoices at this stasis. They are usually better organized and certainly more steadfast in their desire for the status quo than we are in our desire for, and ability to implement, change. And boy, do they like to vote against things!

It gets old, you know?

I'm not entirely convinced that there are more of them than us...but then I suppose that kind of perhaps baseless optimism is one of the signs of being a Progressive.

So we wait.

We wait for the Latinos to finally vote in numbers. We wait for the reactionary Angry White Folks to slowly die off. We wait for the No Tax crowd to come to their senses. We wait for something--anything--that stops unlimited sprawl for sprawl's sake.

In the meantime, the masses will be placated by their favorite billionaires' tax payer supported circuses. At least we can all look forward to being disappointed by the Cardinals, Suns, and Diamondbacks.

B. Franklin is an example of a value-added comment. Thanks.


Kind of like being a conservative in Illinois, New York, or California, eh?? Kind of a stranger in a strange land.

I read the Times article. Much like the urbanization of Phoenix, there will be small "victories" at the margins. We'll get some more cost conscious operations and start ups here, but anyone who thinks Phoenix is going to look like (or even try to look like) San Francisco or Seattle needs their head examined. Salt Lake City is much closer to Silicon Valley and offers just about everything that Phoenix does. So that's an uphill climb.

I think there's a consensus that coastal cities are at least as much at risk from Global Warming as Phoenix is. It may get hotter here, but I'm surely not worried about floods. To me, that's a real pressure point. When folks start abandoning the coastal cities that are in such vogue these days, I;ll start thinking more about global warming.

One of the reasons that Phoenix is appealing to call centers and other tech support operations is that we're fairly well insulated from real environmental damage. No floods, no earthquakes, no hurricanes, no ice storms, no extreme storms- just heat, but that can be controlled and protected against.

Heat can be mitigated--up to a point.

Water can be rationed--up to a point.

But these things will come at a cost, financially, politically and socially.

And the "no tax/status quo" crowd that is running this state is not going to want to pay for the things that might help smooth the way.

I'm 100% sure that LA, SF, and Seattle are better prepared to deal with their problems than we are with ours.

For example, as long as we continue to undervalue education, we will continue to lose the kind of brain power that we will need to deal with these issues.

And all the call center/tech support jobs in the world won't change that.

B. Franklin:

I'm with you: I sent a long paper to Jon that said those same exact things because business wants educated workers. Unfortunately, educated workers also happen to be curious about the wider world and how it lives. They bring these "radical," "progressive" ideas with them.

The conservatives don't like those kinds of ideas.

They're still of the belief that the "ideal weather" of Arizona trumps all.

I think by the time they realize the "weather" isn't so ideal, it may be too late.

I understand Jon's "melancholy and the infinite sadness" over this.
If I were from Phoenix as he is, I would probably be the same way--though not likely as diplomatic as he is.

But then, the conservative right in Arizona is a hard-headed crowd. I have to give them credit--and not the benefit of the doubt--for THAT!

I believe "diplomatic niceties" are seen as "kiddie talk" by them.

Maybe BA will move its headquarters back to Seattle. The Chicago move never seemed sensible.

I'm a newcomer to this forum, but I sense in the columns about Phoenix a wistfulness about what once was. There is also a desire for what could have been. And this was trampled out of existence by ambition and a cynical indifference.

That predecessor Phoenix was charming because it had a style and verve. It could have been built upon, but it was levelled in the name of "progress."

The ironic part is that the song I reference is that it came out in 1982, but the message was lost in the build, build, build rallying cry of the time in Phoenix.

This about fits the mood:

My City Was Gone
The Pretenders, Pretenders

I went back to Ohio
But my city was gone
There was no train station
There was no downtown
South Howard had disappeared
All my favorite places
My city had been pulled down
Reduced to parking spaces
A, o, way to go Ohio

Well I went back to Ohio
But my family was gone
I stood on the back porch
There was nobody home
I was stunned and amazed
My childhood memories
Slowly swirled past
Like the wind through the trees
A, o, oh way to go Ohio

I went back to Ohio
But my pretty countryside
Had been paved down the middle
By a government that had no pride
The farms of Ohio
Had been replaced by shopping malls
And Muzak filled the air
From Seneca to Cuyahoga falls
Said, a, o, oh way to go Ohio

© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
For non-commercial use only.
Data from: LyricFind

Rogue Columnist:

Phoenix is an example of "freedom" let loose on a 40 mile by 50 mile "canvas."

This scattershot, helter-skelter approach has been a main contributor to the areas vulnerabilities.

When there is no regulation, or so few regulations as if to not matter, you get a cacophony. In something transient or temporary, that can be beneficial.

Unfortunately, Phoenix is stuck with its structural homogeneity and infrastructural vulnerabilities. Most of it is permanent AND the majority of the building was done on the cheap to maximize profits.

Most of it is likely permanent because of the extreme aversion to spending in Arizona.

If ever there were a case for some "centralized planning" (call me a commie pinko: I can handle it), Phoenix is it. So there goes your proof.

Little was spent in planning modern Phoenix, and it shows. You get what you pay for; An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure--Hey, B. Franklin!

That pound of cure, should it ever materialize, will be in the form of the Hispanic voting bloc that will wash clean the stain of the Anglo-military-regressive complex.

But that wait could be interminable.

Final comment on this column, so much sprawl and dehumanizing was gained, but so much of the charm was lost.

The same thing that eliminated the charm is working against getting high-tech; This is an unfettered ambition that only seeks gain without giving back. Being inherently selfish, there is little charm, bonhomie, funkiness, or warmth in Phoenix--just a desire for more, more, more.

Greed for greed's sake. And very little stopping to "smell the roses."

An interesting take on the tech "second cities":


Ben writes:

I'm 100% sure that LA, SF, and Seattle are better prepared to deal with their problems than we are with ours.


Gee. Staggering income and wealth inequality. Coastal global warming issues. Earthquakes. Infrastructure. California budgets. The rent's too damn high. Water. Drought. Wildfires. The swell California light rail project. Traffic

See, everyone doesn't write code for Google, or produce hit movies, or arrange Amazon's financing. That's how the media plays it.

Here's the reality:


Thanks for the line, INPHX. You can be relied upon to inject reason into hype.

Sorry - that should be, link.

Shorter INPHX: we should celebrate low-energy economic backwaters because they're more affordable. Sadly, Arizona's idiocracy depends on blue states paying its freight. Funny how that works.

It's weird to read that success is actually a failure because it's priced appropriately. True, great places cost more. France, for example, is much more expensive than Somalia, the gold standard for the Randian political experiment. So, people who can't compete end up living in places with cheap houses, a degraded public square, Trump rallies, bad mass transit, and other downscale markers of Real Americans (obesity, declining living standards, worsening morbidity stats, etc.).

The future is being midwifed in places where smart people live. They tend to avoid Arizona because it caters to chronic whiners and racists. You get a reputation that's hard to shake: electing a proto-fascist like Joe Arpaio, for example. Or passing laws like SB1070. The future is not going to be kind to Arizona because people who deny science, social responsibility, and planning don't tend to create change so much as react to it as a threat. A reactionary state is one where people live in denial about the future. They believe they can vote themselves back to Mayberry. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

The Republican Party is now a virtual suicide cult. It tells uneducated old white people that they don't have to engage reality anymore. Rather, they can simply react stupidly and blindly like a small child having a temper tantrum. Their epistemic closure does not permit new information, skepticism, or creative thinking. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemic_closure

Yes, living as if tomorrow doesn't matter does afford a kind of airy detachment that almost seems like its own reward. But when the time comes to rescue Zonies from their magical thinking, California will be there to pay for the disaster relief. It's coming sooner than you think. Once the CAP stops delivering water to Arizona, its death spiral will become obvious. I'm guessing it's about 10 years in the future. Don't forget to blame all the liberals who warned you.

Rogue, if you do shut down the comments section, open it up occasionally for a soleri comment event. He has provided me with much insight and awareness about Phoenix and more over the years.

Thanks Rogue, Thanks soleri


With all due respect if you limit comments to brillant folks or not provide for comments it will require me to fill a 4 hour void in my day.

The short answer to INPHX is that SF, LA and Seattle are loaded with intelligent people.

Arizona is not.

And many of the ones who are here, are either packing to leave, or completely overwhelmed by the tsunami of stupid that is this state's chief claim to fame.

Smart people figure out solutions to problems. Dumb people do not. I suppose to be charitable it's really not their fault. They're dumb, after all. Blame God, I guess.

It's just that simple.

Soleri makes everything better. Thank you! I guess the comments stay.

I am approaching 57 and, having been here for more than 31 years, have given up on the thought that Phoenix would be transformed into anything approaching a sophisticated cultural mecca with an interesting urban vibe.

Thirty years ago Phoenix retained a lot of its old charm and also seemed like a place poised to move up into something closer to top-tier status. Now much of the historic charm is gone, and that dream seems further away than ever. It seems just as likely that our future is to be an overgrown El Paso.

There are, of course, stray pockets of gems -- Stinkweeds, Pizzeria Bianco, Changing Hands bookstore, the newish record store on 36th and Thomas whose name escapes me, the newish Hidden Track wine shop downtown at 1st and Adams, Barrio Café, etc. And it's an easy place to live and get around.

When occasionally channeling James Howard Kunstler, Rogue occasionally suggests that the future of Phoenix lies in reverting to its old Salt River Valley footprint. Whether that actually happens with regard to population, it certainly is true with regard to cultural amenities. It is not just sprawl that is an impediment to creating something like a "real city': it's that much of the sprawling suburbs are so damn bland. Between that and a legislature that is hostile to the state's cities, it's hard to make much headway. Old Arizona had a lot of appeal. And perhaps a new Arizona would as well. Right now, I don't see how we can get there.

Who the hell is Bob?

This is your "old friend" Emil Pulsifer. These are the only two online aliases I've used here. I made the mistake of dropping by again to see if anything had changed. It has, but not for the better: you're even more of an insecure wiener than you used to be. I merely quote the New York Times to the effect that central Phoenix is no longer a vast wasteland of empty lots (though there are plenty of untenanted buildings) -- something Grady Gammage recently confirmed in an interview; and I pointed out that the real estate industrial complex lives anew, but had switched to rental property such as apartments.

For this, you stupidly accuse me of trolling, and threaten to shut down all comments. For your information, having a difference of opinion isn't trolling. Trolling is a deliberate attempt to disrupt by posting gratuitously provocative, insincere remarks that have no merit on the basis of content.

You remind me of a querulous old woman who tells the same stories and makes the same complaints, over and over, even when events have overtaken the original narrative and premises. Any information that challenges that is viewed with suspicion and hostility, as something personally threatening and motivated by malign, hidden motives. You deliver paranoid hints about "nefarious" conspiracies by users doing unspecified things.

In a nutshell, you're boringly repetitive, childishly insecure, and increasingly unbalanced in your dotage. All of this might be overlooked, were you not such an abusive asshole.

See you in the funny papers, loser. As I told you months ago in private email, you're a terrible disappointment. This was your second chance. I won't give you a third.

@Yep re: “This was your second chance. I won't give you a third.” Good. Hasta lavista.

It's possible to be brilliant, knowledgeable, obsessed, and unreadable. We all have opinions and some of us have opinions dressed up in cap and gowns preening their wonderfulness. It's a big world and there's room enough for all of us, even people who don't play well with others.

Ideally, comments create a community of interest. I came here because I was intensely interested in Phoenix. I don't really care about policy, so my eyes glaze over if someone starts playing the wonk. This usually isn't a problem since most people either don't have this talent, or if they do, don't decide to bore everyone to death with it.

It helps to know stuff, of course. I like to read Paul Krugman for that reason. But Krugman isn't just writing for a room full of graduate students in economics. He writes for ordinary people like us who are neither world-class intellects nor experts in arcane subjects. He's a public intellectual in a nation that mostly doesn't read or think outside familiar pathways. We are who we are, and Krugman is happy to meet us more than halfway.

This blog galvanizes a lot of interest precisely because it's accessible and readable for many people, not just those who see themselves as brilliant. If you're too smart for this world but insist on sharing your opinions with your lessers anyway, you're probably overcompensating. Engagement is what really matters. Prickly superiority complexes get old very fast.

@ Soleri Re: “Prickly superiority complexes get old very fast”. Bravo.

Even though I don’t agree with you on much of anything, I hope you stick around. It’s just not the (same) without you.

To briefly set the record straight: I suspected Yep It's Me was Emil. He had stormed away after I declined to "defend" his posts from legitimate disagreement.

"As I told you months ago in private email, you're a terrible disappointment." In fact, these were some of the most abusive, hysterical emails I have ever received. Waaaaay over the top. Like a mask dropping. And some will recall that I had even let this individual write some guest columns.

This site has historically had some of the most civil commenters — trenchant arguments sometimes, wit, I hope — but overall elevated. So I thank you for keeping it that way.

What Soleri said.

Soleri writes:

Yes, living as if tomorrow doesn't matter does afford a kind of airy detachment that almost seems like its own reward. But when the time comes to rescue Zonies from their magical thinking, California will be there to pay for the disaster relief. It's coming sooner than you think. Once the CAP stops delivering water to Arizona, its death spiral will become obvious. I'm guessing it's about 10 years in the future. Don't forget to blame all the liberals who warned you.


Cause everyone knows how great California's water situation is.


And their budget, too.



As far as your 10 year prediction, well, what do you think is more likely in the next 10 years- Arizona turning into a desert wasteland or the big one hitting Seattle? More importantly, what do you think this guy thinks?


Then there's this gem:

It's weird to read that success is actually a failure because it's priced appropriately. True, great places cost more.

Well, yeah. Demand is one part of the equation, but the NIMBY attitude restricts supply, too. Doesn't it?

And for the poor, forced out minorities? Or middle class? Tough luck, I guess. There's always Bakersfield.

The stupidity of the France/ Somalia comparison stands on it's own. Easily.

And for you Randian deniers, here's one to mull over. What's going on with Ireland, the EU, and Apple?

It's staring you right in the face.

Speaking of staring you right in the face, where will global warming be felt the most and the quickest?

Right from the Front Page:


INPHX has apparently - and strategically - given up global warming denialism for fresh political score-keeping, namely that the coasts are more vulnerable than Republican redoubts like Arizona. Therefore, "we win!!!".


It's never easy to assess the interplay of craven cynicism and outright stupidity that the birdbrain right leverages in their various flights of fantasy. Since it's a tenet of right-wing nihilism that science is a hoax and that only subliterate goobers know the real score, why does INPHX toy with the heresy that climate change is real? Oh, yeah. To suggest you don't need to do things like education, planning, environmental stewardship, and other liberal ideas because you won't be the first to go down the shitter once the warming goes into overdrive. And that places with back-office operations and golf-playing geezers are really better than global capitals of technology, innovation, and prosperity.

Whatever works, I guess. Still, you might think that the right would attempt some internal consistency when responding to the failures of their governance. So, instead of justifying a weak, low-wage economy, there might be some effort made to suggest why the Randian experiment keeps failing in places like Arizona, Kansas, and Louisiana. But that might mean learning something, so that's off the table. Given the choice between upholding the One True Faith and possibly offering fresh policy proposals, it's much easier to simply make up crap, like Seattle's imminent destruction in an epic earthquake.

Dream on, bozo. As bad as the effects of that eventual earthquake will be, it won't be nearly so bad as a state living in oblivion when it comes to diminishing water resources and ever-increasing temperatures. The Republican Party has staked it's future to a dying demographic, fantasy economics, and wishful thinking. Arizona is Exhibit A in your eschatology. Well, the End Days are approaching faster than we realized. Until then, the proof on the table is that Republican states are loser states, full of people incapable of competing in a global economy but who blame Mexicans and Muslims for their plight. Sad! Maybe you should think of legalizing meth amphetamines if only to make all those trailer labs more lucrative.

Pulsifer, U feel better now that your brain went into an orgasministic convolution? I am surprised that blue veiner didn’t explode your head. By another name it was just a vicious brain fart.

Your “Yea, its me”, phony cover was about as clever as new mousetrap. Your brain print was written all over the page.

I think it’s really unfortunate that your possibilities are so impaired by your nastiness. Reminds me of the Evil Savant child that never leaves childhood.

But then as I recall someone once said the American Indians would have done it to us if we hadn’t done it to them first!

The insistence on always being right is vulgar.


for U city dwellers.
As a remedy to life in society I would suggest the big city. Nowadays, it is the only desert within our means.
Albert Camus

Soleri said, "Since it's a tenet of right-wing nihilism that science is a hoax and that only subliterate goobers know the real score, why does INPHX toy with the heresy that climate change is real? "

I am not sure of INPHX intent here. He doesn't strike me as if he is part of the religious right and the evangelical crowd that dismisses science in favor of the great liftoff that is sure to come this year and has for the last 2000 years.
It's interesting to me in that I have a number of acquaintances that are not stupid and not politically far right but still have little faith in the fairly agreed upon science of climate change?

And I am not sure why Soleri's comments here seem to provoke a few people to react as they do.

I disagree with Soleri and Jon and INPHX and Pulsifer and WKG and Ruben on any number of issues but avoid responding in an angry manner.

The commenters I miss here are many but in particular Petro and Suzanne.

Even if the blog subject is not of particular interest to me, I still read the front pages and refer to the History to be found here for my on info and for friends that I guide to these sites.

So, as a friend of mine said many time, "keep scribbling."

From the above front pages: Good reads.



Soleri, of course, goes with the conventional wisdom and chooses to ignore and deny the realities of the issues that confront LA, SF, all of California, Portland, and Seattle while magnifying the issues that trouble Arizona.

And to think that several posts ago, I stated that confirmation bias is the biggest problem people have in reasoning.

But there's nothing there there. There's no analysis. There's no addressing the water and climate and cost and fiscal issues that plague those areas. The earthquake risk. The pushing aside of minorities while the 1% rake in their profits. Just sheer blissful and willfull ignorance.

Just more nonsense about bozos and accusing millions of Americans of being "losers" (gee- who does that sound like??)

I guess FEMA is just wasting time, eh?


Go argue with them, genius.

INPHX With all due respect to the "information" U post here, why do I get the impression U keep making this a personal dislike of Soleri?

I enjoyed the New Yorker article and there has been many things posted here by many that I have enjoyed regardless of their politics, religion or opinions. I would be sad if hate brought down this blog.

Let's all play nice. It is true that other places in the West have problems and face threats, but a) this is a blog that mostly focuses on impediments to greater economic success in Phoenix and b) most other western states are more successfully competing in the global economy. INPHX, you can tell Soleri I told you so after the Cascadia subduction zone goes off.


I dislike a lot of what Soleri posts, especially the vapid insults. Don't know if that constitutes a personal dislike; I've never met him.

My sense is that he feels the same way.

Neither of those emotions have anything to do with his willful ignorance/denial of the issues confronting his non Phoenix Nirvanas.

This is not a church, so different views are welcome. It does surprise me that people who don't like cities and want to defend the Arizona status quo come here. But the rocks come with the farm.

Among the many fine commenters, including Concern Troll and Ex Phx Planner, none brings the intelligence, razor-sharp writing and trenchant analysis of Soleri. I'm grateful anytime he chooses to enrich the column with his posts.

Soleri writes:

. Given the choice between upholding the One True Faith and possibly offering fresh policy proposals, it's much easier to simply make up crap, like Seattle's imminent destruction in an epic earthquake.

The woman that wrote that article for the New Yorker won a Pulitzer for that article:


And I never used the term imminent.

Need to re-think that one?

INPHX, the Seattle Times broke much of this before the New Yorker. But it's not germane to Phoenix's economic, social and political issues. Earthquakes big and small happen on the Ring of Fire and major earthquake zones. Some of the most desirable and consequential cities are there, too: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing, etc. They'll get rebuilt. Phoenix will still have the issues discussed here, made worse by continued denial and deflection.

P.s., Seattle has a pet active volcano, too.

P.p.s. Sea level rise in the Puget Sound isn't expected to be a major problem compared with the southeastern states, many of which forbid study of climate change or even mention of it by state agencies. The Holy Free Market will take care of things. Or global warming is a hoax. Whatever. Goodbye, Florida.

The Planet is going to be OK, folks.
Not so much us. Humans pretty much a non event in the infinite Galaxies.
So Jenkins in his indestructible titanium robot suit will still be in good shape as he meanders about a human-less planet, just in case a port needs to be available. The Planet will be inhabited by Wobblies, field mice and the dogs will sit around the campfire and discuss the possible existence of man.
A good nite in the desert to burn the candle reading "City" by Clifford Simak. It's as good now as it was when I was 12.

INPHX, how does the possibility that some of the cities with whom Phoenix purports to compete will be destroyed relieve us of the obligation to do better?

I have to break my pledge on no more comment for this particular column...

To answer you, Chris Thomas, many in Phoenix and Arizona believe there is no reason to compete by "do(ing) better," because Arizona is a paradise that doesn't need "changing."

I posit that willful ignorance is more arrogant than denial because denial acknowledges the possible existence of that which it denies.

Willful ignorance believes, by its own delusion, that everything is fine because there is nothing wrong. Nothing exists that could be wrong. Because the "true believers" said so.

That kind of arrogance is a form of stupidity because of its propensity for delusion.

Please pardon my flights of fancy.

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