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June 14, 2017


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And what's your take on the seemingly endless number of multi-story condos/apartments spreading like a new cancer across central Phoenix? WHO exactly do these developers think are going to purchase/rent these overpriced closets?

What finally pushed me over the edge was the demise of the old Circles Records building followed by Macayo on Central to make way for yet MORE of these overpriced residential monstrosities. Losing those two bits of history were an affront to the city I grew up in that I doubt went unnoticed by anyone who's made Phoenix their home over the last 50 years.

My husband and I have lamented the fact that Phoenix has no sense of its own history; all architecture here is disposable and nothing is sacred. Anything that can be razed and rebuilt for profit is fair game.

rogue, you wrote,

"Imagine if Phoenix sought to be No. 5 in the best economic, social, and cultural areas?"

I have written to you, and I believe here, that a great social and cultural scene in Phoenix would bring way too many questioning and potentially liberal minds to the city.

The conservative powers-that-be are dead-set against a cultural, social, and artistic oasis. They conservatives see the resulting cosmopolitan and diverse population that would result as an existential threat to both them and the political landscape they created.

You keep it from being built, and the people will stay away.

And the conservatives will do everything they can to make Phoenix an inhospitable locale for those who are "different," worldly, and the culturally diverse "envelope pushers."

Phoenix lost its soul long ago. Maricopa County has become a desert warehouse for those looking for cheap housing and warm place to wait out death. The poor get poorer and the dumb get dumber. Welcome to once was a great state.

At least ASU has transformed itself into a much more notable major university with many strong, different programs.

Additionally, I've seen some impressive growth and changes at Grand Canyon and Arizona Christian universities, and I even heard a radio ad for a new residential campus of Ottawa University being built in Surprise. It's something, at least, and there are also specialized/graduate institutions like Midwestern University.

We're making notable improvements in education, albeit slowly and behind the normal learning curve. The same can be said about downtown, Roosevelt, the corporate build-up around Tempe Town Retention Pond and so forth -- it's a lot of "better late than never" but, literally, it is indeed better late than never.

Without discrediting any of Jon's many valid points, I think we can still remain optimistic about the long-term future of the Phoenix metro area.

Maybe we're behind the curve, maybe we're slow in coming along, but as long as we are making progress and making an effort and doing our best,that is important and worth celebrating whether it's belated or not. Because many cities, after all, do get worse. And at least I don't think that is the case here currently. Things are getting better, albeit perhaps slowly and behind the normal curve.

A long time ago when I was young and even more obsessive than I am today, I used to go to the library at Central & McDowell to gaze through the microfiche copies of The Arizona Republic. I had no research project - I was simply curious about my "city" and what it was like before I was born. For some reason, the only thing I remember from all that wasted time was a small ad for a performance by Sergei Rachmaninoff at Phoenix Union High School auditorium. It was 1926 and tickets were $2.

I bring that up because Phoenix was a small city of around 30,000 and yet the great Russian composer/pianist scheduled it on his tour. Maybe he hoped to see cowboys and Indians.

Phoenix may have been an eden but it was not rich. There were no mining or manufacturing tycoons endowing universities or proposing grand public amenities. Yet Phoenix was not merely a crude backwater on the rise. Its aspirations were typical of that day in that it wanted to be more than big. There was an active City Beautiful moment, which bequeathed us Encanto Park. Architecture was still rooted in Beaux Arts principles. Neighborhoods, even modest ones, were dignified and graceful.

What happened?

World War II. By the time the war was over, America was ready to bust out of its straitjacket of rules and principles. We wanted bigger, better, and flashier. We wanted to drive everywhere and park for free. By 1960, Phoenix was utterly and forever transformed into a new ideal: the anti-city of cars, production housing, freeways, and declining civic involvement.

We made a critical set of mistakes at a crucial time that we can now see are irreparable. The entire country did as well. Stunning buildings were demolished for parking lots. Downtowns were plunged into death spirals. Sadly, Phoenix missed the second stage of city building prior to the war in which monuments and universities were seeded. We did, however, snare the nation's second McDonald's.

You look at Rust Belt cities with all their typical urban problems and yet they have a gravitas that Phoenix lacks. Put another way, they have "legacy greatness" - the great public institutions, amenities, and monuments that European cities took for granted. Americans won World War II and weren't that impressed. We wanted to drive and live in ranch houses. Phoenix gladly transformed itself into this ideal.

The urban vs suburban/exurban divide has political consequences, which we know all-too well. Arizona's right-wing tilt is no accident, in this regard. We're still "winning" the previous war. And, sadly, we're still losing in our civic lives.

Jon, the New Times also quoted you in the latest publication, same subject.
I got to Sunnyslope Arizona in 1950 to live among the tubercular’s as a cure for my asthma and allegories. It worked until bout 1980. Phoenix is now in the top 20 cities where it’s dangerous to take a breath. In 1950 Phoenix was the 99th largest city and had a population of 100,000 and a great DOWNTOWN. Arizona had 750,000 human beings, which was more than enough.
As some of you old readers of this column know Jon and disagreed from the get go about Phoenix becoming a MEGA city and I never have believed Arizona needed to have a population greater than one million. Arizona is closing in on 8 million and the metro area of the valley of the sun is rapidly pushing towards 5 million. I consider such obscene. I just got back from California’s Coast and High Desert. The air was good and my companion and I were amazed at how much better we could breathe. Not much need for inhalers in the pristine desert void of ugly man made edifices.
Mark in Scottsdale, what is it that makes you think bigger is better and that more population growth on the planet is a good thing. In 1950 Scottsdale was a quaint but enjoyable village. I do my best to stay away from it and Phoenix as much as possible. Apparently the financial picture of the Phoenix Country Club is so bad they are going to allow for multi-story condo buildings (more high density rat dens) to be erected on the property?
So I am planning on one more year in the desert between Apache Junction and Florence and then my goal is to move deeper into the desert. Probably somewhere between Ajo and Mexico or back to the San Pedro near Whetstone Arizona. Places where the opera is the coyotes sound on the desert wind. And where you can make your own Martini from the Agave. Where sometimes you can still hear the Silence roar.

And Uruguay still looks good so I just renewed my passport. Maybe Belize.

Cal, having been born, I don't know that I feel the right to tell others not to be born. The same goes for freedom of movement and the choice of where I wish to live.

Cal, I would want the best for Phoenix and the other cities of the Valley regardless of which way population was trending. I am not a booster of growth, it just happens so we need to be prepared to deal with the negatives and take advantage of the positives that come with an increase in population.

Population growth has been characteristic of Arizona since its beginning. I don't see that changing any time soon.

Certainly I would hate to see Arizona become as built up as California has become, but decades of fast growth seem to imply that is where we are headed.

Fortunately, even in California, there are still plenty of wide open spaces. As you plan to do here, you just have to go further and further out.

Mark, Just for you.

Possibly until the Europeans arrived in Arizona (1450) the population was decreasing.

"Population must be brought back into the national conversation. "


Population, Immigration, and the Drying of the American Southwest

By Kathleene Parker November 2010

Download a pdf of this Backgrounder

Kathleene Parker is a former journalist and editor specializing in environmental and water issues, and a fifth-generation native of the American Southwest, now living near Albuquerque.

This Backgrounder offers an historical overview of the critical issue of water in the American Southwest, where the water situation is becoming increasingly dire during a prolonged — but not uncharacteristic — drought in the arid region.


Cal, unfortunately, Phoenix will likely never be aesthetically pleasing either visually, culturally, or artistically. Anything now would be merely window dressing at best.

Phoenix, as rogue has so aptly details, has been, since the 1950's and 60's, a place devoted almost exclusively to profit, with little being given back by the profiteers. Their one-track minds left banality.

Any sense of cultural and artistic sensibility is likely not on the radar of the current conservative power structure. The power-brokers aren't simply indifferent, but openly hostile for the reasons I have detailed in my previous post.

Billy Preston said it best: Nothing from nothing leaves nothing. He was talking about a conservative then (Nixon) as I am talking about conservatives now (Ducey, etc.).

Meanwhile in the state of Texas where its OK to kill presidents and lie about killing school children:
What does Dallas Texas White supremacist conspiracy nut job Alex Jones have in common with DC shooter, James T. Hodgkinson? Both are domestic violent abusers Plus Jones is a psycho and in my opinion a bully coward. And "reporter?", Megyn Kelly's has ventured into the arena of trashy tabloids.


I think that maybe NBC should edit the Alex Jones interview to minimize most of what Jones might say about Sandy Hook so that the families might be spared Jones's poppycock.

However, I have enough faith the majority of Americans that they will see how removed from reality Jones is, I think that jones needs to be afforded the opportunity to demonstrate how delusional he is.

I understand the risk that a lot of "ugly Americans" might see Alex Jones as a "messiah" not unlike Jim Jones--and that his popularity might grow. Both have brewed a toxic Kool-Aid laced with poison that initially tastes good.

But I think an appropriately edited interview would make many, many more Americans loath and despise this divisive and evil savant.

What's interesting to me is that Kelly, already unpopular with many from her previous gig, would try to tussle with such a dangerous provocateur so soon into her new gig. Did neither Kelly nor any of her handlers at NBC see this coming, especially in this day and age, where the unexpected and convention-defying is the order of the day?

Bradley, I thought of you and many of your past comments you when I read this article by a Christian aid worker about the dangers of focusing too much on politics rather than kingdom work.

Emily Fuentes, "What if God Does Not Want a Christian Nation?

Mark in Scottsdale: The Republicans brought religion into politics, from calling liberals "godless communists" in the 50's to the "Moral Majority" of the Reagan years, to the current control-oriented Evangelicals anti-freedom, control-oriented dogma of anti-abortion, bigotry against immigrants, and theologism against Muslims.

I am simply answering the right-wing by pointing out their religious hypocrisy.

What do "One Nation Under God" and "in God We Trust" imply if not that we should act like God would have us conduct ourselves?

The article you referenced says this, "If you read the instructions to the Church in the New Testament, it is not in the context of a Christian nation, but rather as a small persecuted minority."

That statement will always be true in any age because those who truly behave as Jesus would will always be in the small, persecuted minority.

My aim is to change minds by telling the truth. I think this is a form of "kingdom work," because the kingdom is omnipresent as God is omnipresent.

I will always be repeating that, however the choice of words.

Mark in Scottsdale: God does not want anything, nor does God want for anything.

God simply gave man and woman a choice: God or Satan. To have that choice, there must be freedom to choose.

God doesn't want a Christian anything--God doesn't need anything.

God simply want us to choose, and how one lives their life, and how one acquires the things (actual or spiritual) one desires are determined by the God or gods one worships.

Therein lies our choice of our fate.

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


I had a moment of revelation this morning as I went out to my car, realized I'd left my wallet in it, and that my car had been broken into and burgled overnight. In my first moments of rage and that sense of violation, I realized how a republican is made. That is to say, I was wronged so now someone needs to pay. Also, I hate this feeling so much that I could care what effects it has on anyone else, I'm for anything that will keep me from feeling this way again.

Then I thought, that's silly. It's just money. It's just the inconvenience of cancelling cards. And, to blame the victim a little, why did I screw up and think that my possessions in my car in my driveway should be safe from someone who has no business with any of my possessions or my car or my property?

But I'll be honest here, I'm a changed man. If you told me that police in my part of Phoenix were going to start cracking down, busting heads, and doing some "old school" zero-tolerance policing, I'd applaud it. We've tried helping people. We've tried integrating these wrecks -- many of whom have mental illnesses if not simply social issues -- and all we get for it is the chore of trying to build a city, a community, a society with them all tied around our necks as an anchor. There is no reasonable precaution to take with these people because their lives are preying on us. We can argue how it got to be here but, bottom line, if the cops swept up all the vagrants and punks hanging around our neighborhoods for which they have no business, no regard, and no interests -- I'd just shrug and enjoy the clean sidewalks.

Blaxsabbath, I had similar experiences in Phoenix. I moved to the whiter, more homogeneous Portland four years ago, and the situation here may be even worse. The streets of downtown are clogged with the homeless cadging handouts and screaming to high heaven. Welcome to Alienation 101.

I suppose we could reinstitutionalize the mentally ill, although in today's civil liberties climate that seems unlikely. Getting tough on crime is lucrative for private prisons and law enforcement agencies but it doesn't address the underlying issue. There are a lot of unhappy people today living on the margins. You just hope they don't take politics too seriously like James Hodgkinson.

I totally get why the lock-em-up crowd votes Republican: they want their Mayberry back and they think you can vote for it. You can't. The problem with an anything-goes society is that social norms and taboos fall by the wayside. You can move anywhere, reinvent yourself, and leave behind all the restrictive rules that used to govern human society. That's freedom. It's also hell.

We have a lawless president and attorney general who promise to get tough on crime. Bill Cosby rapes dozens of women and walks after a six-minute defense at his trial. Recidivists are back on the streets after short lock-ups. Is it any wonder authoritarianism wins elections?

I have no idea what the "answer" is but I suspect the typical solution is moving to far-flung suburbs in order to escape the poor and marginalized. A couple of weeks ago in Portland, a deranged homeless guy on light rail slit the throats of three men who were defending two young women against his threats. Another homeless guy rushed to one of the victims in order to steal his wedding ring and backpack. It turned out that this homelesss man used to be "normal", that his life fell apart after he injured his knee and was prescribed opioids for pain. He got addicted and then progressed to heroin before ending up on the streets. Four years again, the Portland Police Department rewarded him with a certificate of appreciation for apprehending an armed robber downtown. Today, he's in jail.

The paradox of freedom is that we want money more than we want freedom from that compulsion. Society withers when the only guardrail protecting you is your bank account. Always be careful what you wish for because prosperity and unlimited freedom come with a heavy price tag. The American Dream became a nightmare when we radicalized the human concept in order to transform ourselves into purely economic actors.

soleri, One thing many people don't realize in their aggrandizing ways is the "cost" one pays after possessing something. Hoarders could tell you something about how their possessions become yokes around their necks. So could a boat owner. One pay for their possessions long after they own them.

There is a song by a group called Firetown called "Where the Shadows Fall." The refrains perfectly encapsulate "be careful what you wish for..."

You say you want to be swept away
Caught in the tide
When it all come washing over you
You'd better decide

You say you want the world in your hand
You want it to turn
When you try to hold it close to you
Your fingers get burned

We in America, as evidenced in Arizona, have always felt that our freedom was limitless. Few of us understood that freedom without limitations was the ultimate tyranny.

This tyranny manifests itself in different ways.

There is the tyranny of having the freedom to "keep up with the Joneses," and being a slave to keeping pace.

There is the tyranny of using up things like water and the planet's resources like carbon sinks (trees, oceans) and becoming enslaved by our appetites when their carbon-capture abilities are exhausted.

They're the tyranny of becoming enslaved by heat when our out-of-control appetites cause an out-of-control global thermostat.

But, mostly there is the tyranny of our untamed greed becoming the agent of those changes that enslave us.

We humans are our own worst enemy: Nobody hurts you harder than yourself.

Soleri has a way of always editing his remarks to the essentials.

Why is it the cops job to sweep up vagrants? Long day, buried my dentist of 37 years. Will rest. MORE commentioned on Vagancy and societal ills later, MAYBE.

Cal, When you have a society that glorifies aggression when it in service to capitalism, is not natural that they would be indifferent to and shun those who aren't conformist to the money god?
Most of these aggrandizers have a sense that it is the "losers" own fault--and that society had nothing to do with it.

Also, isn't it reasonable that if one subscribes to that ambition, that person is more likely to lack empathy, be unsympathetic, and then become outright hostile to the "losers" in the capitalistic game of life?

All taking and no giving is perfectly fine with those who promote a "you're on your own, here" society. But don't press them on the morality of that or who is the ultimate "god" in their life.

Blaxabbath, U sound like a candidate for an all-white gated community. Or maybe Sun City West. U can sign up for the MCSO Posse and ride the streets seeking vagrants and thugs.
Most states and cities had vagrancy laws, which prohibited loafing or loitering. The laws were often used to arrest persons considered undesirable by the community, although they were doing nothing that ordinarily would be illegal. A 1972 U.S. Supreme Court decision made most vagrancy laws unconstitutional.
IN my opinion this law went away primarily because of inexcusable overuse and abuse by authority's .

When I became a cop we were filling jails (Including David Mapstones favorite jail) with "vagrants" costing the taxpayer. The humanitarian side was that these "vagrants" got free lodging and food. Also in 62 when I was working the State Hospital we took in most anyone that seemed a little bit whacko? Again a humanitarian gesture subsidized by taxpayers.
There are no permanent solutions to these issues but there are ways to reduce the problems that are inherent in the homeless and mentally ill. By thugs I guess you mean "criminals". We still have laws and forms of incarceration for such. However keep in mind the person that violated you by committing a "crime of opportunity" may have used your stolen funds at the grocery store or to get that next hit de cheva. Welcome to the real world.
A long time ago before Jon and I were friends I blasted Jon for his column in the Arizona Republic on panhandling and I criticized Phoenix city government particularly the Phoenix PD for issuing citations to panhandlers. Panhandlers don’t go to court and they don’t take care of the citations that go to warrant and so we get to feed and house the panhandler when he gets arrested for an outstanding warrant.
And here is what Governor Ducey and his conservative buddy, a transplant New Jersey transit cop politician got passed in 2015. A law that in 2013 was found unconstitutional and that even whacko Jan Brewer wouldn’t sign.

Speaking of the Homeless.

and my favorite article today.

From my phone: today's Arizona Republic has stories on the homeless. One about the Group Homeless Angels.

Cal, you wrote,
"A long time ago before Jon and I were friends I blasted Jon for his column in the Arizona Republic on panhandling and I criticized Phoenix city government particularly the Phoenix PD for issuing citations to panhandlers. Panhandlers don’t go to court and they don’t take care of the citations that go to warrant and so we get to feed and house the panhandler when he gets arrested for an outstanding warrant.
And here is what Governor Ducey and his conservative buddy, a transplant New Jersey transit cop politician got passed in 2015. A law that in 2013 was found unconstitutional and that even whacko Jan Brewer wouldn’t sign."

But, Cal, you'd have to admit it sure keeps the jails full--and fills the pockets of Corrections Corporation of America. Just another scam on the taxpayers.


Coyote Cal, even though we could never live in the same place, I like your style and the fact your heart's in the right place.

Bradley, U might be suprised how spiritual it is in the desert where the silence roars. Like I use to tell my mom, "instead of finding god in a building, I'll take you to the top if Mingus Mountain in a lightning and thunder storm where you will feel the presence if an almighty power". She would just sorta laugh and say oh you are so silly. I hope she has met her maker but if she has I am on the road to meet
Hasta Luego

Bravehearts: Whistle blowing in the age of Snowden. A good read and what he learned from those that went before him and why that led him to go outside the "Community".
A comment by Kalle Lasn is on target:
"Trying to reform the system from within is a mug"s game".

Cal, I've stood at Monument Point on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, at the head of the Bill Hall trail.

To my East, I felt nothing other than serenity. However, when I simply turned to the West, without any steps, toward a wide plateau called the Esplanade, I felt a very powerful spiritual presence.

It was about a year later I read about a man exploring a fissure in the Esplanade. He found 10-15 feet high petroglyphs in that fissure. When I went down the Esplanade toward Surprise Valley, I saw the fissure, but because the park rangers asked us not to go off trail, which would destroy undergrowth hundreds of years old, I never saw those petroglyphs. But I felt their spiritual aura. A singular experience my inadequate words can't equal.


Cal Lash-

I did sound like a posse member. And, in my moments (hours) of anger over the weekend -- I've since settled a bit -- I did see the world through the eyes of such an individual. What you call a "crime of opportunity" I call a violation. I'm not going to argue the finer points but the bottom line is, just because someone is a street rat it doesn't give them the right to violate another person.

I don't live in any more fear than I did before the theft but that's, in part, because the money lost was recreational cash and I don't ever feel physically threatened (being an educated white male has its privileges). But I think of the people (those folks in Sun City you mentioned are a good example) who do have safety and security at the top of their policy agenda. And I can see how they say, "I don't care what you do about immigrants/roads/Medicaid/police force/corporate taxes, just keep me safe." And I don't think the people who say this are insincere. I gave my report on Saturday morning to the police and told them, honestly, that if they find my wallet, I hope it's because the thief used the cash to buy a bunch of heroin and suffered an OD in some dumpster. Not exactly the most progressive statement but, in the moment, I meant it. I felt violated and the unknown person who did it was still walking the streets, rewarded, and waiting to prey on me or one of my neighbors again.

As I ate a late breakfast Saturday, I had no interest in hearing about smart policing or reaching out to neighborhoods. A wall around the trashy apartments nearby sounded like a better solution to me. It's unfair, sure, but the world is unfair. I like to think that I'm smart enough to know that isn't the 'right' answer -- but I appreciate the high emotions that can overwhelm such knowledge in anyone.

Back around 2013 Charles (chuck) Bowden drove me through rural communities in New Mexico and proclaimed that rural America had became addicted. New Mexico small towns have signs that say call 911 on Meth users (not the normal crime stop signs).

Blaxabbath:Since I am retiring I got some work for you.

Yeah, Cal! Bronson!

Blaxabbath, Many Americans have the same idea about terrorism that you did about being held up: Build a wall, hire more police, or enact draconian laws, and, presto, we're magically protected.

This is rather amusing to the rest of the world that lives with the specter of terrorism everyday.

I could say something about trying to integrate the "have not" thieves and terrorists with the haves, but I'm doubtful the haves have any interest in that.

The simple accommodation is to accept that we live among those who are violent--and there's always a chance this violence might touch us, or worse.

It's kind of like we're all on that great "highway" of life, and sometimes violent encounters occur. There are no guarantees one won't get "dinged," or worse, in life.

When you're number 5, those kinds of things like robbery are just a part of the landscape....

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