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April 04, 2023


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Soldier on, Jon. If not you, then who?


If not you, then who?

Montini and Laurie Roberts. They continue to carry the torch that Jon lit.

Jon, I have been with you, as many others have been, since the pre-blog days.

You raise a difficult question. I will need to think on it further.

'A pen warmed up in hell'

I am of the opinion that first and foremost is the health and welfare of you and your bride. All else comes second or third or ceases.

Probably the time has come for you to drink more Martinis, listen to more opera and maybe pen a few more mysteries. Not necessarily limited to Mapstone.

You are correct in that you have made great effort to inspire sanity in an insane place and been punished for pointing out how kooky things can get. And the insanity has not lessened but gone full throttle driven by fanatical bi polar mania.

I don't know how much effort it takes to operate Rogue Columnist and maybe its time to shut it down. Or maybe replace it with a monthly or semi monthly comment on a choice of any subject that you prefer. Maybe exclude a comment section.

I think you should not disappear until such time that your gift of penning in writing has finally ran out of ink.

So is the opinion of the Red Dude staring into a glass of red wine at the La Amapola bar.

Jon - please don't disappear. Maybe we would be satisfied with once a month edition. But Comments are a Must.
And yes, Cal, it takes a LOT of effort to put the Rogue together, even if you already have the photos from a wide variety of places.
I watched TV for fifteen minutes this evening for the first time in a couple of years. I wanted to see if anyone had a horse and a rope to throw over the tree limb. New York may be trying to grow a tree but looks like it is going to take a long time.
Hugs to all, Mariam

Thanks Mariam.
Im probably one of few here that know your old enough to have witnessed hanging by horse and tree.
Well maybe Helen Highwater saw a few.

Well shoot!
I meant until your gift of
penning has ran out of ink.
I left the word writing in the sentence. So much for editing at 82.

Jon -- I spoke too quickly, thinking of what I want (to continue having Rogue) instead of what you may need. Cal is absolutely correct -- your health and relationships, and the writing you most love to do, should come before keeping this blog going.

But I would hate to see it go.

I don't know your Arizona vs other readership profiles, but maybe time to do US and global only. Lots of news to analyze, few with your brain.

After reading this a wave of emotions hit me and surprisingly began to sob. While it's true that we have likely lost the war for Phoenix and AZ, there have been a few wins and your writing, I suspect, has had a much larger influence than you realize. I've been an admirer of your work since AZ Republic and the AZCentral blog. I cannot express how grateful I am for being of service to my home town and in many ways to me as well. I would love it if you continued but I fully understand your thinking. Do what's best for you and your health now.

I would miss Rogue Columnist immensely if you retired it, but a writer has to write what's in his heart and mind in the moment. If that's not the history and fate of AZ, let it go. I think the ultimate sadness is not that you did it and may be moving on, but that there are so few, if any, new writers taking on the topic of the past, present and future of Arizona--and Maricopa County--such a vast, diverse subject. Whatever you choose, the very best to you. I need to start getting into your mysteries now, as I'm sure there's a lot of descriptive AZ material there, too!

I wonder whether we are at the darkest hour. It seems folks across the country are beginning to turn things around. A year ago Kansas beat back an abortion ban. The "red wave" last fall was a ripple. Arizona elected Katie Hobbs instead of Kari Lake. Just yesterday Wisconsin elected Janet Protasiewicz rather than Dan Kelly. To name four positives.

I think the situation is changing. It's just hard to see the progress.

As a 40 year Phoenix resident, I am extremely frustrated as to how things have developed. I'm 65 and I could just say screw it; why should I even care at this point. But I take a bit of optimism in that we finally are getting more infil development and real industries not dependent on growth, such as the semiconductor developments. But I admit it is easy to just give up and laugh/cry at what has occurred in the Valley of the Sun. I don't know what else can be done by Jon that he already hasn't done and it's unfair to put in on him. But how about a You Tube channel? Maybe that would generate more interest and allow for interviews, discussions, etc. Any thoughts here?

Return on investment.

(Investment of your time, health, physical and mental well-being of you and family)

Your Seattle Times column has grown and evolved so that it is a voice to be reckoned with in the region.

Your Facebook footprint is active, well followed, broad spectrum of friends/ followers.

Rogue Columnist? Only you can judge the ROI at this point.

Kenny Rogers would tell you, “you gotta know when to hold em and know when to fold em “.

Selfishly, I hope you keep writing here forever. But as others have said, you have done good work here and if you feel it doesn't work in your life or you no longer get enough out of the work, I respect whatever you decide. 

I honestly thought you were going to retire it when we went for a year or so with no new posts. I was glad to see you return. I don't think the break helped the health of the commentariat (and I suspect the size of the readership). 

If I have a complaint about the posts, it would be that it feels a bit like the writing is on autopilot at times (this goes way back, not just since the break). Not the history posts so much as the weightier topics. You write mostly conclusions without trying to really build a case or convince. Like drive-by opinions. This is almost always the case with national or international topics, less so with AZ affairs but even those feel a bit underdeveloped oftentimes.

 I say this with respect. Every once in a while you go deep and you're a hell of a writer. When I've occasionally read your Seattle column, it doesn't seem to be the case there. You go into a lot of facts and data to support your opinions and it feels a lot more robust. 

I understand this is a side gig, and a non-paying one at that. I wouldn't be offended if you sold advertising on it, if that would help. I don't know how much community impact is reasonable to expect from a small blog, but a quality voice is always a valuable thing. It would be a loss to many if you returned your pen to hell.

What you have changed that is invisible to you is the education and enlightenment your blog provided. Uncounted strangers that were motivated to learn more and development opinions on local matters that impact them. You brought light to ignorant desert rats like myself.

I'm just a nobody and relatively new reader (only a couple of years) who did arrive by way of the historical posts. But I really enjoy how this blog tells a bigger story than anyone else does, laced with real history and not made "commercially appealing" by holding back any punches.

This publication explores root causes, rather than just reporting something that happened recently (and often the local papers don't want to step on any toes, to the detriment of the reader).

I sometimes contemplate how much a single person can really do, and when to keep up the effort vs when to regroup and refocus. I don't have any answers on that topic, other than staying between the lines of "packing up and shutting up" and "letting them chew you up and burn you out".

It's true that the average person doesn't want to pay attention to politics and just be blissfully unaware in what they hope is a fair & free world. But when folks get pulled too close to the grinder gears, some of us start paying attention.

I know that the disaffected (an invisible disparate community who all found themselves, surprisingly, affected by these changes in a negative way) are only growing in number. And we need smart people with invaluable knowledge to help guide the way out.


Are you going to sit there and tell me that after decades and decades of precedent, we have catholic parents who willingly turn over their innocent children to predator priests to scar these children FOR LIFE??!!??!!

Catholics !!! You should not leave your child with a priest for one second. Otherwise, it's on you.

Hi Jon, appreciate what you do and whatever time you can devote to it. Even if you don't write much more, keeping all the old stuff as a resource is much appreciated.

I regularly read this blog and have found it helpful and interesting for quite a few years now, even though I don't comment often.

I agree, though, that the situation in this country generally and in journalism requires something bigger. I, too, have experimented with something like what you are doing here with naturalresourcestoday.org and a relatively new effort called Law of the West (lawwestweekly.com) that I think would work better as a collaborative, more traditional journalism effort than a solo undertaking.

The profit motive in journalism is, I think, part of the problem. It requires the sale of advertising and the catering to stories that don't really justify it. So I'm enamored more of either the nonprofit model or, if profit-based is the way to go, a subscription model like what we have here with the Colorado Sun.

Independence is crucial. The papers that remain say they have it, but it's more myth than reality. Between the corporate overlords like at Gannett/Gatehouse and the hedge fund vipers like at the Denver Post, the only independence left is that needed to funnel money to the man.

More collaboration between the whole lot of us in the field that are out here trying to figure out a way forward. That's a start, at least, and maybe the way.

I have greatly appreciated your work chronicling the evolution of my homeland. As a PHX-born man, I have deeply conflicting feelings about the city.
Those of us *from* there all feel this conflict, and through the years, I've felt that you truly *get* that, and you convey it in a way nobody else ever could or would.
Whatever fate awaits your warm pen, I do thank you for your work here. Of course I want you to go on forever, but as Kurt Vonnegut said, "So it goes."

You know what has been one of the biggest casualties of the past hand full of years?? Humor.

If something is humorous to 99 people and then one person doesn't get it or finds it not funny, it's considered bad and the 99 have to stifle their laughing.

I sent the fake photos of trump running from the police and wrestling with the police to my many maga\republican friends and neighbors. Man, were they butt-hurt. It's been two weeks and they're still pissed. Like I told them, trump running?? Hell, that's funny. They think Biden in a Walking Dead photo is funny, so do I. But it goes both ways. If you can't see that, you're going to have a very unfunny future.

I miss the old days. If you had a dense person in the group, you told them to figure out the joke or get the hell out. Now we cater to the dim-bulbs.

Thank you for all your generous words and for sticking with me.

I also must thank honorary Front Page Editor Richard Silc and Arizona researcher Mike Sampson for their voluntary efforts in providing interesting news links.

I don't know the road ahead. Rogue won't go away, but it won't be exactly the same, aside from those popular photo galleries. Please check back and also enjoy the archives.

.002% of US population homeless.

99.998% housed.


A very important asset of any state or community is its conscience, even if that conscience is not listened to as often as we'd want, or seemingly at all. An asset is an asset, the loss of which is a real loss. Further, if it's otherwise impossible to move a very heavy thing, use leverage. Use your occasional pieces to inspire many more voices. Sometimes the most effective thing we can do is to nurture a constituency for change—the people who will fill up council chambers or legislative hearings. Consider launching and moderating a non-newspaper, a site for thoughtful research and opinion: PhoenixStories.org or some such thing. Multiply yourself.

Freddie Curtis Adams Jr.

Thank you Dennis M Burke for this great story.

For you that may have missed it just touch on Dennis name at the end of his post

The town of Pine , AZ water system has pipes that are leaking 30% of the water being delivered.

I would hate to think of the percentage of leakage in the pipeline delivering millions of dollars towards the homeless.

I would hate to think of the percentage of leakage in the pipeline delivering billions of dollars towards the classrooms in our schools.

Where did I put that can of Flex Seal ???

Is it still fun? It wasn’t fun for me anymore. It was a good ride for a long time.

I’ve appreciated your work since your days at the Republic. You were - and are - a breath of fresh air. I’ve been a regular Rogue’er almost since the start. Just want to say thanks.

Yep, it’s a frustrating world we live in. The kooks just keep a-kooking. But hasn’t Rogue fostered at least some tiny bit of success? WBIYB indeed.

I would hate to see the end of Rogue. I would hate it even more if the cause were a sense of defeat, that the bastards were winning - that the illigetemi were carborunduming. Are they? I’m an optimist. I smell change in the wind. Aw heck, can’t you stick around for another round?

Thanks, and whatever your decision, you have my best regards.

"The desert Smells like Rain" by Gary Paul Nabhan is a great book.
Jeff said,
"I smell Change in the Wind."
Here's hoping Jeff
but the developers just keep developing and the air keeps stinking and water has becomes a profit making market.
Soon coming to your neighborhood.
Fresh Breathes for sale.

Jon, you know I respect your insights. If you go...history and depth? Just a question is there any conflict for you to engage with the Arizona Mirror or is this not an organization you are comfortable with? Just a thought. It's a tough call. And yes, I get it. crAZy is feeling less and less safe. Wishing you well.

Google "Unsustainable
at Common Dreams web site.

Susan, I wouldn't be interested in the AZ Mirror. But thanks for thinking of me.

Jon, consider setting up camp on Substack. There are similar patron-creator newsletter platforms like Medium and, yeech, Twitter.

Substack has launched a Twitter clone too, and you could actually get paid for your Roguing and Columnisting.

You'd be in great company among veteran journalists, academics, authors -- people worth listening to.

Most Substacks I see, and I subscribe to a few, charge in the range of $50-$60 a year or $5 a month.

Try it out and see if your followers will put some cash in your hat.

Thanks for the ideas, Bobson. I write for the Seattle Times and my novels for money. Also, I'm trying to lower my workload. So whatever continues here will be free. I'm slammed on copyediting my next mystery now.

As you work on “copy editing “ your current and future books please keep this in mind, cal is hanging over the void with one foot on a banana peel, the other foot is attached to a leg that could suffer a blood clot at any moment, I’m hanging on to one of his pant legs. My hand is cramping up. His elastic waistband is rated for 200 lbs. I weight 230 lbs. But, hey, no pressure. Take all the time you need.

After reading all of the Mapstone series and the other mysteries, I was captivated by the characters. It's impossible not to develop a connection to them. When I take a mid-story break, I find myself thinking about them and eager to get back to the story. Now I finally looked for this wonderful blog, more connected to our reality and zeitgeist. I hope it's not at its end. That would be a shame.

Superman lives in Payson.
He goes by Wayne.
He is about 6'3''
250 lbs
Rides the worlds biggest Harley.
Just ask for him at any coffee shop that offers pancakes.

We lived in Seattle for 35 years - and I enjoyed your column there (and still do - the Seattle Times is a great newspaper, even digital). It was a pleasure to find you in Phoenix as the Rogue Columnist and I've spent many hours reading the recommended articles. Will your column affect change? I hope so, but at the very least, it's given me encouragement to keep on going and not give up among all the negative things out there. In Ahwatukee, we've elected some good people and I have hope. By the way, I'm leaving for a few weeks and downloaded all of your books through Kindle to read on the trip.

cal, Speaking of coffee shops and pancakes.

In the spring thousands of swallows return to San Juan Capistrano.

In the spring thousands of grey haired Harley riders return to the cafes of Payson.

Yea but one cant miss Superman.
He usually has his
uniform T-shirt on while riding a Harley twice as big as two regular big Harleys.
He lives up the road from you. Near Arizonas last phone booth.

Another blogger calling it quits in terms of his current posts: https://cjones.iihr.uiowa.edu/blog/2023/04/no-mans-land

His specialty is water quality vis a vis agriculture in Iowa.

Thanks iaed.

Paradise Valley approves 12 new homes
on 17 acres at Mummy Mountain.
Starting price 11 million.

I once worked out in the highest house on Mummy mountain with Leona Hemsley as we put Harry through exercises in his lap pool. Leona had her own pool on the other side of their house. I was advised Leona was not able to sell the house for what she wanted. Then I heard but never confirmed it was intentionally burnt done as a fire fighter training exercise.

Coming to your neighborhood for Summer in the Great Sonoran Desert, tents with AC.

Gun violence IS primarily a mental health issue in this country.

The mental illness of NRA members and the mental illness of a good portion of Republicans.

Would a sane person send out a Christmas card with the whole family holding AR-15’s ???

Their the same folks that believe its ok to own non white humans.


Looks like the damn thing blew up.

No, it suffered a rapid unscheduled disassembly.

Back in the day we said "blew up".

I know, but these are gentler times.

Mr. Baldwin how do you plead? Guilty or not guilty?

"Rich, white, celebrity."

You need to choose guilty or not guilty.

"Rich, white, celebrity."

Case dismissed. May I get your autograph?

Blowing up.
Tesla, Twitter and space ships.
Elon's 9 kids in danger of being poor?
Naw, Elons rich, white and a celebrity.

Probably a relative newcomer to your writings and I’ve enjoyed immensely. With the growth and surge of new people I suspect you’ll continue to gain more followers and hopefully illuminate them to some of the issues of the state. I hope you continue in some form or another, but also hope you do what is best for you.
Affecting change can take a lot of time. Maybe think of it like a great tree—the one who plants the seed may never get to actually see the end result of their early work?

As the lateness of this reply demonstrates, I get to your blog and catch up every couple of months, but/and I enjoy it immensely and sometimes send a link to tell my AZ friends. I've read all your Arizona-related books but the latest one which is waiting for me this summer, and I've read just about everything on your blog. I'd say post when you feel like it, but please don't stop completely or shut it down (unless you have to). Your knowledge of Phoenix history, insight into the problems of unsustainable growth in the desert, and the way you connect them are deeper than anything I've found in several other serious books on the subjects. They're really important, you're right, and you might be planting the seeds of change even though it's not as apparent as it should be. I keep learning a lot while enjoying your writing. (P.S. I grew up in Phoenix '61-80, ages 4-24, and visit often. It's home and I stay connected.)

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