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October 25, 2018


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Good column. Not much i could add.

If I still lived in Phoenix, I'd probably vote for Gallego if only because I pick up the urban progressive vibe a bit more from her than Valenzuela. If Phoenix has a better future, it will come from emphasizing the nascent if still marginal urban energy in the center city.

I'm semi-excited to hear about all the new construction in Phoenix, which I used to pray for when I was younger. The difference today is that it feels too late to change the trajectory of the city itself, a sprawled out clusterfuck of cars, strip malls, and freeway-like arteries. There's new money downtown but it pales by comparison to the money in Scottsdale. I don't ever see Phoenix redressing that imbalance. It simply has too few assets it can leverage aside from the airport and historic neighborhoods.

I increasingly ponder a national psyche marooned in toxic fantasies of white victimization and cultural panic. America has picked a bad time for a national identity crisis. Its major cities are the future much more than backwaters like Oklahoma or Kansas. All of America's best cities, with the partial exception of Chicago, are booming in population. Their vitality is unmistakable while the despair in Trump Country (see: West Virginia) is often inescapable. America has one future and it's multicultural, multiracial, and cosmopolitan. Nostalgia is not a plan. You either respect reality or you'll get your pockets picked by the plutocrats staging MAGA rallies.

Phoenix is struggling because it was supposed to be the future when the Good Life meant living in ever-bigger houses and driving everywhere. Millenials, however, are not nearly as enthralled by this social paradigm, which helps explain the hopeful portents you see in downtown. Phoenix's relatively few urban progressives are a bedraggled but growing force. I wish them every success they can cultivate in their frustrating weed-patch of a city.

After almost sixty years, Phoenix will finally have an (elected) Mayor from Maryvale or South Phoenix. Is that correct? I guess sunnyslope has never had a mayor either. At least Stanton was from the Aves. It’s strange to think how, after years of submission to central Phoenix, mayoral representation would mean so little for the internal suburbs.

"A pen warmed up on a heating pad"

We're all cranky and old my friends. There's no escaping that.

I think Paul Johnson was a Sloper.
I think he graduated from Sunnyslope High school.

Good column. I've already voted. I couldn't get enthused over either candidate but I finally opted for Gallego. My politically savvy friends don't much like her. They like Valenzuela but doubt that his experience equips him to be a strong mayor. Gallego, by contrast, is reportedly very sharp. I'm not looking for a pal so I picked the candidate who seems better equipped to have an impact. I have no quarrel with anyone who calls it differently.

I have no vote in the Phoenix election.
In 2014 i again moved out of the Asphalt Jungle.
The time before i lived very near the San Pedro.
A quiet slow paced high desert local.

Hoping Phoenix might resemble LA or Seattle is an exercise in futility.
And as Portland gentrfies, who will want to live there.
No matter which of the South Phoenix Hispanics win, not much will change.
Any faliures will quickly bring criticism from Sal and Republican legislators.
They will blame it all on those
"Liberal Democrat Mexicans."

The "Good News". The desert will win!

From my phone near the campfire.

Progressives like to think our vital urban environments are exemplar multicultural spaces. But are they? I have traveled and lived in NY LA and SF fairly recently. I saw little diversity in their vital areas unless you include Asians. Perhaps if I spent more time where the hired help lived. There is more diversity in the 2nd tier cities than in Manhattan, SF etc.

If Democrats persist in convincing themselves in a false social reality voters will persist in denying them any voice in state politics. I don’t pretend to have a solution to creating a more inclusive society but I do know that false narratives don’t help. It would be nice to think Fox News is so successful only because Democrats can’t frame the narrative in a reality more voters see as the truth. It took them 20 years to realize there were still blue collar workers and that was only after Fox News launched so many political careers including the current ape in the White House that it was staring them in the face.

The Dems narrative should focus on fixing problems the average voter can get around; immigration not being one of them. Better being out front in supporting unions, more consumer protections including the funding to enforce them etc. Lets hope the next few weeks gets us started on creating a dialogue voters have a stake in.

Arizona "supporting unions"? That went down the Gila River in 83 when a Democrat Governor sent the Army into mining country. Unlike Govenor Hunt, Babbitt shut down the miners not the mines. He sent cops i worked with like my friend Colonel Ralph Milstead and Captain Frank Navarrette into that Melee and even acting governor Rose Mofford a democrat from the mining town of Miami,didnt help much!
And the republicans fearmongering legislated more strength into the "right to work law.
Todays Arizona legislators are so far "right" of past legislators they almost make Ev Meacham look liberal. So good luck on voting in a legislature that knows there are more colors than WHITE.

ed dravo, I want to push back against an idea that Democrats are somehow guilty of a "false social reality". I have no idea what you mean by this construct but it strikes me as the kind of gaslighting that Republicans are very good at: Democrats are always wrong. No matter what.

I like to tell liberal pessimists that there's only one progressive coalition and we're it. We can play George Lakoff all day and still not do it right because human beings will always argue. That's what politics is - an argument. The problem with politics in America is that we argue about mostly unreal things now. Say, a migrant caravan somehow posing a cosmic threat to white America. Or the news media being "an enemy of the people". Or Republicans favoring pre-existing condition health-care coverage. These kind of things are called "mind-fucks" because they lampoon the very idea that there is such a thing as reality. The truth is fairly stark: Republicans persuade people by lying brazenly. That's it.

I like to say people shouldn't overthink politics. One party wants less income inequality, affordable health care access, environmental protections, more educational and job opportunities, etc. We all know this and even Republican voters favor Democratic policy aims. They then vote for the party that promises them a time machine back to 1955 if they vote for them. Democrats lose because many voters are largely delusional and would sooner die comforted by a Total Explanation (say, liberals are evil and want to take away all my guns!) than confront ordinary reality. I spend a lot of time trying to coax people into seeing their real-world interests. It's useless.

If Democrats practiced the kind of Pavlovian Politics that Republicans do, we might win more elections. But the problem is that we would contaminate our ideals and souls with cynicism, which ultimately disables the very idea that there is something called "reality". Republicans are not constrained by this problem since they run almost entirely on "values" and white identity wedge issues, which are by the very nature divisive and destructive of a functional politics. This is why the GOP can no longer govern: once a party purges itself of all its moderates, it's no longer a party. It's a cult.

The Bernie Left wants to do something similar - purge the Democratic Party of its pragmatists and centrists. If it succeeds, it will make the progressive coalition a mirror image of the GOP because politics cannot be a salvation cult and get anything done. It's gritty, complicated, and frustrating because human beings are that way themselves. It's why politics is always incremental and based on compromise. I know it burns peoples eyeballs to read this kind of "lecture", but there has never been a time in American history where we simply arose in unison and did the right thing. That's not who we are, either as a nation or a species. We can grow up and accept this ambiguity for what it is, or we can rage against reality with purity politics. Broad-based coalitions where people have both feet firmly planted in reality are our only hope of progress.

Why the gendered language? Please be mindful.

"And councilmen — princes who preside over districts the size of cities."

solari, politics is about power, not ideas or wishful thinking. Ideas are the grease used to fry the fish. And I think you’re perfectly well aware of the ‘reality’ of which I speak.

ed dravo, I reread your comment and I have no real idea what you're saying. I think the division in America is simply stoked hysteria by a vile political party. It's very difficult to tell people they're idiots for believing Fox News. But they are.

Fox doesn't do news, they do Politics!
Just ask Mitch.

Cal, it's much darker than that - Fox News incites hatred and fear. This is the linchpin of right-wing messaging - fear of the other. There's no Republican majority without it because the party is now a virtual cult of white victimhood.

One has to wonder when the White Hoods and Torches get their own show on Fox?
Then does CNN get to have Bernie disguised as Karl Marx?
Back in Phoenix will the coke bros stop lite rail?
Should i buy a Chev Bolt?

Thanks for that insight, Cal. Interesting comment about “blue collar” voters in a majority-minority city. But I suppose as long as colonized people remain colonized “blue-collar” voters and mushy moderates get to decide elections. Who benefits from that?

I keep wondering why pseudo-intellectuals imagine themselves to be Tribunes of the People. We all have our hobbies, but for the woke sloganeer of incomprehensible jargon, there should be a better way to analyze our political paralysis. The problem here is that the real enemies of workers are Republicans but white workers will vote for them anyway. Maybe it's because they've been colonized by "false consciousness". Or maybe it's because they have yet to find a reasonable middle course in which to navigate their lives. Between outright propaganda and boring policy proposals lies a sweet spot called attention to one's self-interest. It's not arcane or academic. It's just common sense.

We don't need some Hegelian jingoist mansplaining meta-reality to the rubes. We need a politician with enough empathy for their life situations to speak honestly about what government can and cannot do. It can't, for example, wish away concentrated economic power with demonstrations and consciousness-raising. That doesn't work. But what might work is making a direct case for much higher taxes on the rich and a stronger safety net for the rest of us. But as long as lefty purists imagine themselves to be above such boring drudge work as pragmatism and compromise, the GOP hammerlock on our political institutions will likely prevail.

The right fights like wolverines on crank. Our would-be intellectuals fight like the runners-up in a junior-college debate competition. Blue-collar workers note the difference and opt for the mafiosi in suits and ties.

I keep wondering why pseudo-liberals imagine that pragmatic compromise will deliver any enduring social change. Case in point: Obamacare! What did that pragmatic compromise get the ruling party? Their asses handed to them for the next decade and the constant threat of repeal hanging over all our heads. You know what wasn’t a compromise? The abolition of chattel slavery. And guess what? Since the 13th passed, people stopped being sold to the highest bidder at the county courthouse. Compromise does not engender political revolution—which is what the overthrow of the Republican Party would be in Arizona. It’s not pseudo-intellectual to know your history. Its only “pseudo” when you don’t have the courage to call the devil by his name. Which is why... blue collar 🙄

Gallego was the first non-black candidate to win District 8 since... ever? So there are now no black councilmembers in Phoenix. It is what it is. And instead of supporting the first Latinx mayor of Phoenix... in our lifetimes? An uninformed Oregonian goes with the “urban progressive” as opposed to the ONE candidate who actually got Latinx voters to go to the polls. What role do people of color play in this “progressive” coalition? Politicians? Or just voters?

Pseudo-liberals want to give the keys to the colonizer. Color me surprised. I stand by my statement. I bet the Russian troll would agree with me. The only people who don’t see race are those who don’t want to do anything about racism. That’s not how you beat white supremacists. You must empower colonized people to call oppressors by their name. Why else would they go to the polls?

But, until then, we hope to get to white people stop voting for our racial hierarchy to the change we need. Which is why we’re stuck with Ducey. It’s not false consciousness but a faulty belief system that needs to change. We know our history. Otherwise blue-collar boys wouldn’t need to defend each other from comments about the insufficiency of moderation in a time of voter suppression. In our hearts, we know I’m right, it’s just... how does it make you feel?

But i should stop. It’s a fools errand to try and change the hearts or minds of people who abandoned their homes for greener cities.

I am still here. Just moved to where its browner. That reminds me, at 15 i met my first girlfriend en los campos de uvas. Her last name was Moreno.

PS, enjoyed the cerebral word war above. But took awhile to look up on those 50 cent words.

PS. The greek/russian troll is a local,i believe.

I believe ,IMHO ,that it is going to take a major event to break the fever of the people who are buying into the right wing talking points When the public buys that the tax cuts are accepted as a stimulus and buy the denials of candidates not being against preexisting conditions the people arguing for reason are doomed The only question is will it be war or depression. I personally think it will be depression as the 1% will hold onto their money as long as possible and who is stupid enough to go to war with us.

In June, the Phoenix City Council voted 6-2 to reconsider the South Central light rail design. Valenzuela voted for the resolution, Gallego voted against it. She got my vote that day.

Elections - Enough already! I am tired of having my intelligence insulted by the politicians ads. It is time for America to grow a pair and reject the politics of hate and insult. The problem is they are all doing it.

I read an op-ed from the AZ Republic editors than summarized the candidates and I mostly agreed with it - https://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/editorial/2018/10/24/kate-gallego-daniel-valenzuela-phoenix-mayor-candidates/1736386002/

The bummer for Phoenix is the weak Mayor system - which is the single biggest obstacle to progress. Phoenix, more than any other city, needs geographic prioritization. It can't be done with a Council-Manager system.

Just discovered this blog. Surprised. I thought blogs were over, replaced by Twitter.

Since I've lived here for 50 years, I'll maybe hang out and see what goes.

The Phoenix of 50 years ago was a magical place. I came out here at Easter of that awful year (1968) to visit a friend from my Long Island hometown; it was a spring vacation supposed to last 2 weeks before returning to Notre Dame.

I spent an entire month.

The freedom and orange blossoms in the air were intoxicating. The city ended just north of Shea Blvd. A kid from New York City could get his mind blown from all the wide open spaces around him. And did.

On my 21st birthday, I arrived back here - for good - after a three-day solo in a crapped out Chevy with a blown engine. The car couldn't handle freeway speeds, so I drove Route 66 all the way from St Louis to Holbrook. Most illuminating.

I've had my full adult life here. So who do I think ought to be our next mayor?

Shit, I don't know, but I don't want it to be Kate Gallego. She's la esposa de Ruben Gallego, right? That dude is my congressman, a fact that irritates me when I think about it, which I don't, too much.

I confess I didn't spend much time meditating on the mayoral race. I am way more concerned with the US Senate campaign. I'm all in for Martha McSally.

I mean, the way I look at life, it comes down to an A-10 jockey with 300+ hours strafing towelheads or a fraud in a pink tutu protesting the wars. It's not a hard choice where I sit.

I guess it's Valenzuela for mayor then.

Jack Lavelle, the Gallegos have been divorced for several years.

You can ask anyone in the Jon Talton Memorial Coffee group ( we're honoring him BEFORE he kicks the bucket), that I've said for a long time, " men have really screwed things up, let's let the women run things for a while". Well, McSally and Sinema show that a person really needs to be careful what they wish for.

..."towelheads", lovely.

"Wide open spaces" Looks like Jack was at the Jon Talton/Marshall Trimble book signing at the Poison Pen last nite.
Jack maybe you should condider a write in vote, i suggest Ed Abbey.

PS looks like u favor the neocon philosophy of "war forever". You work for the Krupps?

General John D Lavelle???

Jack, welcome aboard, keep coming back. Hope you dont mind a little Strafing, now and then.

Ramjet and I got together at The Poison Pen last nite. He suggested Talton memorial coffee get togetherm So im thinking that for Ruben we can do it at Starbucks in Payson?

Regarding McSally, I'm reminded of a line from the film "The Battle of Britain": 'We could teach a monkey to fly.'

I suppose the same thing applies to George W. Bush.

It's very difficult to tell people they're idiots for believing Fox News. But they are.

The politics in Phoenix, and it's suburbs is one of the main reasons I left the Valley. I grew up there, and loved it as a kid in the 60s - 70s. Those were different times which are long gone. Unfortunately, the Phoenix Metro area has seen so much corruption that I couldn't support it any longer. I've left the Valley for the Pacific Northwest, and enjoy it so much more. This is not to say that there is not corruption here, but at least it's a lot cooler. :)

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