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November 29, 2018


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I've long been a skeptic about the value of pro sports' venues in downtown Phoenix. It wasn't the cost, however, that offended me. It was, rather, the replacement of downtown's fine-grained urban texture with obscenely overscaled structures and their necessary parking garages. Along with its convention center, downtown Phoenix exemplifies the hazards of thinking bigger, better, and taller can replace what was once the city's organic vibrancy. What looks good on a postcard tells a different story during the day when the empty sidewalks and barren stretches of inert monoliths expose our collective wishful thinking. Downtown Phoenix has no soul.

The build-it-and-they-will-come mentality is what passes for urban planning in Phoenix. I'm not blaming the professionals for being unable to create a civic heartbeat downtown. That was always an impossibility. Where I find fault is the emptiness of the dream itself. Once we tore out the last of downtown's character, what did we think we would create? An urban playground, maybe? A simulacrum of vitality? It exposed instead our pretenses in the worst way possible. Instead of real citizens doing real things, we have the homeless pushing shopping carts and puzzled tourists asking where the real downtown is.

The patient needs constant immunosuppressive treatment lest rejection of its artificial organs kicks in. This means subsidies, and they can and will never end. It's the bad bargain we struck when we abandoned downtown in the late '50s for the joy of driving everywhere. Phoenix was too small a city when this misbegotten period began to withstand its worst effects. Everything since then has been a footnote to a tragedy. At long last, there is no need for a downtown in a vastly overgrown suburb.

Imagine you're a president who fancies himself the greatest deal-maker ever. He thinks he has the midas touch and buys or builds hotels, a professional football team, an airline, casinos - you name it. He keeps declaring bankruptcy because his actual abilities are crude and limited. He needs a constant infusion of cash to maintain his delusional self-image, including that of oil-rich nations interested in leveraging his incompetence for their own interests. This is the nightmare we're living with nationally. For Phoenix, the good news is that our insanity is limited by a specter much worse than orange bloat and out-of-control narcissism. Climate change will deal our delusions a much harsher verdict than would an election or a special counsel. Our planning requires an advance directive for the end of life itself.

Sarver can go pound sand. No more public money for corporations or the rich. I think he will be very disappointed or surprised that the Salt River Tribe or the Gila are going to expect him to put up more money and will insist on a cut or at least profitability for any deal. Both tribal governments do a much better job looking out for their communities than the Phoenix or AZ gub’mints do.

People who hate Robert Sarver:
- Suns fans
- Suns employees
- former Suns employees and players
- Maricopa County taxpayers
- US taxpayers

Since we obviously care more about sports than we do about children, I have no doubt that, somehow, someway, the money will be found to keep our mediocre teams downtown.

Perhaps they can take the money from public schools? Oh, that's right, that money is already earmarked for Eddie Farnsworth.

Well, it will be found somewhere...

Personally, I think that ASU and the presence of 12,000 or so students downtown has done more to breathe life into the area than Jerry Colangelo ever did.

Adding the Suns' home games and the Diamondbacks' home games, you end up with about one third of a year's worth of days/nights. I wouldn't want to run a business based on customers--maybe--showing up every third day.

In my experience, the vast majority of sports' fans get in and out of downtown without a glance sideways.

"In my experience, the vast majority of sports' fans get in and out of downtown without a glance sideways..."

When I used to frequent downtown I found the same to be true, the exception being a few strip clubs that would let you in with no cover if you had a ticket stub from the Suns or D'backs.

I would hate to see the Suns leave, but not sure they are worth the investment. More so if they don't start winning.

Couldn't have summed it up better, Jon. The knee-jerk reaction about giving stuff to rich team owners or feeling we should have preserved every single old building downtown is a gross, counterproductive simplification. What the entire Phoenix metropolitan area (larger than either metro Denver or Seattle-Tacoma...a surprise to most people) is lacking are leaders who give a rip about it. There are plenty of people who live to exploit it (e.g.,team owners unfortunately), but not enough who care about it (Michael Crow being a notable one who does). The new mayor needs to be in the latter camp, whomever she may be.

The demographics of downtown phx have changed. While the homeless will always be with us, thousands of “real” citizens are moving to downtown/midtown condos, correct? If the Suns left I don’t think that would stop people from moving there. If downtown is more residential than retail—or at least more than in the past—then maybe it won’t be so dependent on subsidized tourism (just subsidized housing) for economic development. So that money could go to other things than lining the pockets of terrible owners while still enriching nearby residents (and visitors from other parts of the Valley). The Glendale experiment has been a boondoggle. But that’s what happens when you think sports are your only option. Downtown just has more options now. No reason to throw good money after bad.

Optimism and hope like religion is necessary for many.

Phoenix has always been home for the homless in Winter. I recall when to get housing and food all you had to do was show up at the State Hospital or drink enough to get the cops to throw you in the jail at 17 S 2nd Avenue. A number of jail guards obtained good art work from incarcerated native Americans. But who got the magnificant brass door knobs?

Or should it be houseless?

Pro Sports/The Suns: I quit the world of sports when it became PRO. I did attend one Suns basket ball game in the late sixties or early seventies at the State Fair grounds.
I would prefer to see something other than a PRO sports venue?

The arena capacity is 18,400.

The Suns are falsely reporting attendance of 15,000. ( that may be tickets sold)

Actual game attendance is 6,000 to 8,000.

I don't see any math where it would make sense to spend $100+ million to entertain 6,000 people.

Since most of the followers of this blog are liberals(as I am)we are guilty of going off half cocked without a plan B. We need to consider our options very carefully. Surely we can figure out how to help the Suns without making Server richer.

How about an amateur sports arena.
Glad you decided i was a liberal.

If left to the normal markets forces, the Suns arena could become an indoor swap meet or a large Goodwill store.

The value of the Sun's franchise, around $1.4 billion , will only go higher if the Suns found a new location.

As is generally the case, I thought California was leading the way when they didn't hang on to their football team 25 years ago. It seemed pro football was no longer a desirable asset for major cities, at least at the going rate.

Lo and behold, the Rams are back and now there are two NFL teams in LA. While I'm not a big fan, and I wouldn't walk across the street to see the garbage Sarver continues to put on the floor, I think there are positives to having the teams in town. And the venues get used for a lot more than just sports, it seems every major entertainment act (Cirque de Soleil, Disney on Ice, WWE, etc. etc.) that can't fill a football stadium ends up downtown, along with WNBA, college bowl games and other amateur sports. It's a pretty big engine for downtown. What needs to happen is Phoenix needs a head cracking mayor to sit the hissy bitches down and get the Diamondbacks, Coyotes and Suns to figure out a way to make it work.

I agree, Talton for Mayor!

There ya go, Cal!

Doggie, please don't encourage that peyote smoking police pensioner.

Mr. Talton couldn't get elected assistant to the assistant back-up ambulance driver in Anywhere, AZ.

And that's on Arizona, not Mr. Talton.

If the state leaders had implemented just 25 percent of Jon's "suggestions" over the years, we would be in a much better place going into the coming battle with Mother Nature.

CHIEF Ruben has been hallucinating in his tepee sweat lodge. Zinkes comin for U.

The Sarver organization just uttered the magic words, GIVE US WHAT WE WANT OR WE'LL MOVE. That makes it easy. Vote no on the improvements and let the leave.

You don't get off that easy, Ruben (and others).

What's your Plan B to counteract the damage to downtown?

And as much as I'd love it, we lack the means to restore the fine-grained storefront urban texture lost to these giant developments. And nothing would fill it in the age of online shopping.

Move the AZ Rattlers in. They played there before and unlike other sports teams they win championships. Bring the Coyotes back downtown, they are dying in Glendale. The Coyote fan base is more of the central/east population. In order to further fill the arena, you could ask the new group of tenants now arriving downtown. I bet they have ideas that would not even occur to us old farts.

My bad. Rattlers are already there. Just add Coyotes and other events.

Exhibit A for "other events" just look at any New Times publication. There are events downtown that I couldn't dream up with all of cal's peyote. I bet they would love to have the arena as a venue for their activities and their arts. If the public has to pay for the damn place let these young folks use it. The concourse would make a great revolving art exhibit area.

It will be interesting to see how the climate towards sports in general changes once more and more states pass laws to regulate sports betting.


Even at this point we are seeing major adoption in terms of sports betting on major news outlets such as abc and cbs, which frequently display sports betting lines and odds on their broadcast.

Not only that but local agents have more and more information at their disposal to become a bookie and get a piece of the pie on the upcoming trends and rising in popularity of the activity.

Two years from now the landscape can look very different.

Great piece by the way, I subscribed.

t's a pretty big engine for downtown. What needs to happen is Phoenix needs a head cracking mayor to sit the hissy bitches down

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