A new type of urban warfare among Valley cities is upon us. And it is taking place in the West Valley. There, the City of Peoria has announced plans to greatly expand its commercial core around the Peoria Sports Complex, with the unquestioned intent of seizing spending from the current entertainment epicenter just down the 101 at Westgate.
If successful, the Peoria gambit would cost the City of Glendale, Mayor Weiers and the Glendale City Council millions of dollars at a time when it can least afford it.
Peoria officials are trying to play their counterparts in Glendale for fools. The Peoria plan, not unlike Westgate’s, relies on a proliferation of new billboards to help pay for parking garages and other infrastructure to get the project going.
The only problem? A local business—Becker Boards—isn’t a part of anyone’s grand plan. They just want to build a couple of billboards in a commerce park, at a depressed site, next to the freeway.Read more
During a heated 2012 campaign between Scott Lemarr and Maria Syms to be Paradise Valley’s Mayor a well-known couple was murdered in the province. It shocked the Valley. Around that time too were a rash of burglaries in the northern part of the community. While Mayor Lemarr won re-election there was undoubtedly nervousness in the town.
But he acted. And the town acted. Led by Town Councilman Michael Collins, the Paradise Valley Public Safety Task Force involved numerous stakeholders committed to improvement and reform.
The results are starting to speak for themselves. While any crime is one too many Chief Bennett’s latest monthly report shows a 50% drop in crime from this February, compared to last year.Read more
Sure, a Super Bowl is coming and Spring Training is underway but that probably just reminds Glendale that they need to get their bill through the legislature seeking public safety reimbursements for the big game, and that Camelback Ranch is an enduring financial migraine.
And today the Arizona Republic reported the City of Glendale’s bond ratings were downgraded, again. Taxpayers will be hurt as the cost of borrowing money now goes up.
Climbing out of its money hole will not be easy. Things little, medium and big need to be undertaken. It is a city that must be relentlessly pro-business, in so many ways.
The city’s recent, unanimous decision to invest a little to attract a big-selling furniture store was a smart move. It sent a message to the market that Glendale is open for business. There’s a smaller project being debated in the community that could do likewise.
Putting two outdoor billboards at the 101 and Bell, in a commerce park, would seem like a matter for the consent agenda, not contention. After all, it will mean some revenue to the city, but more importantly allow more Glendale businesses to advertise effectively and prominently. According to industry reports some 70% of billboard advertisers are local and in this case Becker Boards is incentivizing that further with a 20% discount for local businesses.
And even though there has been a lot of support from the business community, including from the owner of the commerce park who sees the investment as a way to jumpstart his development, there has been opposition. From two curious quarters.
The first is from the City of Peoria across the street. Why? Because they want to put up their own billboards to help pay for Peoria Sports Complex improvements that will compete directly with Westgate. And take sales tax revenue away from it. Why the financially-strapped Glendale City Council would want to hurt its community by enabling Peoria is a good question.Read more
Think back to 2010. U.S. Congressman John Shadegg announced his retirement. A coveted seat, largely populated by Anglos, was open. A mad scramble ensued. But during the course of the candidate positioning can one imagine if there were an orchestrated effort – and one actually signed by political leaders – to keep the seat for whites? Vernon Parker, the then African-American Mayor of Paradise Valley who later became a candidate to replace Shadegg: No votes for you. Or Paulina Morris, a Latina, sorry you shouldn’t be considered because of your skin color. Thankfully that didn’t happen and in that Republican primary there was rich diversity.
Compare that situation four years ago to what’s occurring now in Arizona’s Congressional District 7, after Ed Pastor announced his retirement.
There, Arizona’s chief race-baiter and biggest political loser, Mario Diaz, has organized Latinos to discourage not only white Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema from switching districts, but to declare this a seat for Latinos only.Read more
Arizona Republic columnist Robert Robb often displays an independent streak in his writing. Except when it comes to Arizona Public Service, the state’s largest utility monopoly. They provide talking points. He fetches.
While again criticizing renewable energy initiatives – demonstrating anew how extraordinarily out of step he is with Republican likely voter public opinion – Robb makes no critique of his corporate inspiration – one of the great subsidy sucking machines in state history.
Nor does he make mention as we have here before (Click here) of his previous job as Chief Subsidy Shiller for sports franchises and corporate interests.
The true “faux conservatives” are not those that see the philosophical consistency with supporting school choice, health care choice AND energy choice through options like rooftop solar. They are those who Robb the title with archaic utility speak.Read more
As envisioned it would further enlighten preserve visitors and hikers, and aid Scottsdale tourism efforts.
There is such a thing as an idea whose time has come. There are also those ideas whose time has passed. This may be one of them.
Putting aside the potential cost to taxpayers – the project once ballooned to $100 million but has since been put on a diet – there are two other reasons why the project may escape further enthusiasm.
First, anyone who has visited Scottsdale’s relatively new trailheads will experience their exceptional design and utility. How would bigger buildings improve on them, or what God has created adjacent?Read more
Other titans of Arizona’s illegal immigration wars have fallen. Andrew Thomas. Russell Pearce. Even Sheriff Arpaio’s last election was close. And although lesser known the smart, affable State Rep. John Kavanagh is likely next on the target list.
Word is that determined moderate Republican and former Scottsdale Planning Commissioner Jeff Schwartz is set to challenge the House Appropriations Chairman as he seeks a seat in the State Senate. And due to some unluck and unforced errors by Kavanagh it could be close.
It didn’t have to be. After all Kavanagh won his 2012 election handily. That’s because while undoubtedly conservative he’s been an advocate for the district, stepping up for the district’s land preservation efforts and tourism industry. Such constituent service has been important since simply labeling oneself a “conservative” even in primaries isn’t a routine recipe for success.Read more
He was one of the brightest Republican stars in Arizona history before the Phoenix New Times unveiled his whole new meaning of “Jose, Can You See?”
Then came the troubles. And while many concluded he was a dead politician walking Babeu had other plans. He focused on his base in Pinal County. He won re-election handily in 2012, his coattails even bringing along a Republican County Attorney. Like Michael Sam being gay wasn’t his identity. Sam is a football player who happens to be gay. Babeu is a tireless public servant, who also happens to be gay, as was learned in rather dramatic fashion.Read more
Amazing. Just amazing.
Following the Paradise Valley Planning Commission’s rejection of a plan to supersize the unremarkable Cottonwoods Hotel in town, backers are now saying they can magically reduce the rejected plan’s proposed density by thirty five percent.
It’s amazing what can happen when you just say no. We opined about the flawed Cottonwoods proposal back in October. Here is a link.
And it makes you wonder, a lot, about the need and premise of the proposal in the first place. There’s little doubt the property needs a little lipstick. But that’s not what this proposal was about. It was nothing more than a denizens of density enrichment plan that would have been good for one pocket book but not good for the character of a town that needs protection more than enhancement.Read more
The 1988 Democratic nominee for President Michael Dukakis talked a lot about the “Massachusetts Miracle,” touting his perceived Bay State successes.
It’s a lesson that could play out this year in the 2014 Arizona gubernatorial campaign, either by Mesa Mayor Scott Smith’s GOP opponents, or presumptive Democratic nominee Fred DuVal.
Smith likes to espouse his achievements, and there are no doubt some, but there are also very big problems.Read more