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January 18, 2017

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But, then, the deeply conservative state government quite abhors diversity in either population or planning, or input. These Republicans have very little interest in promoting a liberal "heresy" such as repurposing because, in their orthodoxy, such "radical" ideas carry the potential for being "uncontrollable," like a chain reaction. These rigid ideologues want to "manage" progress, which by necessity will often stifle unfettered creativity. Dullsville is their motto.

Staid, predictable, boring, and conformist are the watchwords of the day for the "small-ball" Republicans of Arizona. Progress according to their terms or not at all because unfettered equates to liberalism in their small minds.

@RC: thanks for the informative and enlightening article.

When the term “start-up” appears my mind automatically goes to tech; particularly software or maybe a little chip design. I’m afraid for most metros that train has left the station. There’s aren’t going to be any more San José’s and Seattle. It could have have been as easily Boston (DEC/Wang) or Dallas (TI); even Atlanta (Hayes) or Phoenix (Motorola). Let’s face it; some things in life are almost accidents.

But then you add: “Offices, laboratories, condos, apartments, bars, bistros, restaurants, gyms, yoga studios, hair stylists, drug stores, coffee shops, and other businesses filled them.” Innovation comes in many flavors. The Cathy’s of Atlanta built an empire around a fried chicken sandwich.

When it comes to an “innovation district”, I think the best thing a city can do is get out of the way. The cost of a business license should be $1. Building inspection and code enforcement should be very liberal.

I think the future of the SLU is going to be somewhat disappointing; start-ups can’t afford it anymore. Jane Jacobs describes this at length in “Death and Life…”.

In Phoenix's case, I believe growth is dependent on how it fits into the conservative orthodoxy--as regards both business conduct and political leanings.

The Republicans treasure control above all, with business being seen as key to that social control. This control transcends profits. That may partly explain why growth has been anemic in Arizona since the Recession "officially" ended.

I think the executive and legislative conduct in the same timespan has been an intentionally not-so-subtle message that said, "This is how we play ball in Arizona." You're completely with us, or we don't want you; Take it or leave it.

It seems reasonable to conclude that, if growth is truly one's main endgame, encouraging diversity and highly divergent viewpoints would be intrinsic keys. Economic Darwinism, if you will.

But, in a place that shamelessly parades its evangelical hypocrisy, anything scientific is VERY circumpectively considered--at best.

While you may be correct in City Hall's relatively minimal role, SLU's success was very much rooted in the public sector. Seattle's talent is a result of education funding. SLUT, the waterfront, codes that prevented suburbanization, and even bike lanes and sidewalks were game changers.

Excellent point, Ex-Phx Planner. I would add that these outcomes came from a long history of civic support for the public good and love of place.

Rogue Columnist,

As opposed to the long history in AZ for the private (wealth) good and love of (plundering) place.

I gotta tell it like it is.

wkg in bham,

I think the idea that a city gets "out of the way" should also apply to a state government (i.e.: AZ) and its dominant party staying out of the business environment, too. Business should have the freedom to conduct itself away from political pressures, but it seems to me that the Republicans in AZ forget that freedom is only valid in its absolute. Everyone has it, and it is not validated by one's political proclivities.

However, when business takes advantage of lax regulation enforcement and oversight by not maintaining a safe workplace or engaging in fraudulent and criminal behavior, that justifies close scrutiny and stiff penalties--just as the same applies to the "everyday Joe."

Jon I am glad, Mary Jo is on the job. May she survive the same assaults that were visited on you when you were at the AZ Republic.

Jon said, "But nothing quite so defines a real urban innovation district as Seattle's South Lake Union".

The state of Washington outside Seattle may be "conservative" but i think not as dumbdowned as Arizona. Soon the theocrats will own Disney Land at the Grand Canyon.
National Parks will go away as will the employees and their benefits to be replaced by private enterprise employers offering cheap wages and no benefits. Wilderness will become a dream of a few wild men and women that live on the fringes and in the deep forests. Insanity rules the day as the insane politicos find rapid ways to quickly kill the planet. But for these kooks that's OK as they are going to a better place. I got news for them,according to my god the coyote, the jokes on them, it doesn't exist.

For what I think is a good read of whats to come that has been here before I posted comment number 70 on The New Confederate blog.

I enjoyed this read. My $0.02:

1) Items 1 & 2 are, unfortunately, black swans in the case of modern civic investment. Who are the wealthiest individuals in Arizona? Well, there are many with significant means (though much than Allen in SEA or Dan Gilbert in DET) but we don't even know them for their local philanthropy. I won't bother naming them -- I'm not out to shame anyone for not bothering to involve themselves with the 'leaders' in this state -- but the bottom line is that we don't have that wealthy & community-involved individual who wants to put his/her mark on Phoenix. And as for Amazon -- what would even be the successful local company that would make an effort to stay here and transform Phoenix? With places like SEA/SF/DEN/SLC/PDX already with the infrastructure and workforce population in place, why bother to try to build your own in a state that, frankly, might not be so wonderful to be associated with in the first place (though North Carolina seems to be making a run at bumping us since we stole the crown from Florida)?

2) Like others, I think the government needs to get out of the way, for the most part. Our company has offices outside AZ plus one in each of PHX and Tucson. Tucson is, hands down, the most business unfriendly municipality to deal with but PHX isn't necessarily a whole lot better (your chances of flying under the radar just seem better in the Valley). It's always a balancing act but, from my experience, the unhelpful, not interested in the spirit of the regulation or helping anyone but just enjoys being a PITA bureaucrat (the punitive government rep) seems to far outweigh their constructive, forward-looking counterparts. So, as regulations increase, so does the firepower for the 'troublemakers'. Again, it's a fine line but I think Phoenix/Maricopa County can do better.

The problem with the theocrats in Arizona is that they use their supposed Christian association and values to cover for their real religions: business, money, power, the military (with its its culture of "macho" bullying), and exclusion of any real diversity.

That this pattern shows up in how the powers-that-be in Arizona view innovation and progress is not incidental: any proposals have to be filtered and granted through the lens of a far-right, conservative dogma.

The GoDaddy founder is probably AZ's richest active player, but it's all about profit, not people -- save for what's left in their wallets.

In addition to an “innovation district”, most metros could do to have: a skid row district, a red-light district and a gayborhood.

@ex-planner: good comments except I would change “codes that prevented suburbanization” to “codes that allowed virtually anything.

When you have state legislatures packing revolvers sporting magnum loads cradled in hand tooled holsters brazenly riding on their hip while doing state business there is no hope anyone with any brains or connections would want to headquarter a high wage business in the state unless it was running guns to Mexico.

I predict in a matter of hours the blood letting will begin and the killers will not bother with the white hoods and sheets.
Its open season on liberals and anyone not "White". No longer a need for the boys with guns to shoot paper targets and clay pigeons with so many human targets available.

Welcome to Hell.

Cal,

Many of the gun nuts bought all of those guns with the idea of using them--as opposed to merely "collecting" them or having them as "protection."

What better a way to use those excess gun and ammunition than against those they despise: Blacks, Jews, the poor, intellectuals, elites, and liberals (who are communists in name only in their small minds).

If there is a war (be it class, race, socioeconomic, or commoners vs. elites/intellectuals/liberals), the ones they're fighting against won't mean anything to these "crusaders," so they'll be giddy at the prospect of killing them. After all, in their far-right/alt-right/fascist worldview, their enemies have NO right to exist.

Do you really think they bought all their guns, bunkers, and survival supplies to just let them go UNUSED?

I completely believe this is an accurate appraisal of how these people think. I caught enough whiffs of this drivel, in a strong enough way, to really see how strongly they believed in this perverted dogma.

Amen Bro, pass the bullets burn the books.

More CO2 to add with Trump's hot air and the methane in it. From 1968...

Fire Lyrics
from The Crazy World of Arthur Brown


I am the god of hell fire, and I bring you!
Fire, I'll take you to burn.
Fire, I'll take you to learn.
I'll see you burn!
You've fought hard and you saved and earned,
But all of it's going to burn.
And your mind, your tiny mind,
You know you've really been so blind.
Now's your time, burn your mind,
You're falling far too far behind.
Oh no, oh no, oh no, you're gonna burn!
Fire, to destroy all you've done.
Fire, to end all you've become.
I'll feel you burn!
You've been living like a little girl,
In the middle of your little world.
And your mind, your tiny mind,
You know you've really been so blind.
Now's your time, burn your mind,
You're falling far too far behind.
Oooooooooooooo.
Fire, I'll take you to burn.
Fire, I'll take you to learn.
You're gonna burn!
You're gonna burn!
You're gonna burn!
Burn, burn, burn, burn, burn,
Burn, burn, burn, burn, burn, ahhhhhhhhh
Fire, I'll take you to burn.
Fire, I'll take you to learn.
Fire, I'll take you to burn.
Fire, fire ahhhhh....

And the laughing you hear in the song...it's Trump.

Jon, if Spicer called a press briefing and the reporters boycotted the briefing, wouldn't that deliver a powerful wake up call to the White House to stop the lying that came right out of the starting gate?

Press needs to stop covering these. Go after the scandals, lies and conflicts of interest.

Good to know all the dirt but no power to do anything about it with a Republican gerrymandered Congress, Sessions Justice Department and soon to be Trump Supreme Court. Darwin rules except in schools.

Darwinism is used by the Reptilicans when it's useful--and excoriated when it isn't.
Typical passive-aggressive, want my cake and eat it, too (mis)behavior.

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