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Lost In The Maricopa Woods

Muhammad Ali was a great boxer.  But like many, he didn’t know when it was time to do something else.  A case in point was his 1980 bout against heavyweight champion Larry Holmes.  It was just sad, so much so that Holmes actually took it easy on Ali, not wanting to further impugn a legend.

Former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods and Phoenix resident is no Ali.  But he has been a competent, even commendable fighter at times, on behalf of various causes and interests.  But like most high profilers the time comes when influence wanes and the fastball doesn’t have the velocity it once did.

Woods’ foray into Pinal County’s City of Maricopa is a case in point.  It’s more Ali v. Holmes than a Thrilla’ in Manila.

A couple of weeks back Woods unexpectedly rolled into Maricopa warning the Planning Commission about an upscale project called Apex, which would be a new, private automobile country club on the community’s outskirts, in an industrial area, and adjoining a highway and rail line.

Woods, who has probably never been to Maricopa previously, warned the Commission about all the rich people who would somehow harm the city, notwithstanding he’s quite rich himself.

The Planning Commission ignored Woods and promptly passed the project unanimously.  But what’s most curious about Woods’ sudden interest in things Maricopa is that he would not disclose who he really represents.  Or who was paying him.

But is there really much doubt?

Just weeks prior the kind of rich person Woods warned Maricopa about, the backer of a similar project just outside Casa Grande called Attesa, purportedly told Apex backers that if they moved forward that he would have to “kill” their project.  Shortly after the likely deployment of Woods social media and even cable commercials started to appear in Maricopa, warning that Apex would be the end of days.

It will create too much noise notwithstanding noise from the nearby rail line is and will be a lot louder.  There will be more traffic notwithstanding it is a private facility not open to public races like the Casa Grande facility would be, for example.

The approach is comical, especially if judging by the failure of the scare tactics.  After so much money spent the Facebook page (as of this writing) has but 35 likes.  A pro-Apex Facebook page spending but a fraction of what the anti-competitive forces have done, and after they did so, has some five times that amount.

That’s because when a backwoods message is deployed about and towards an impressive, aspiring community like Maricopa it will fail.  Maricopa residents understand economic development, tourism and certainly when outsiders are being the ultimate hypocrites, and are just trying to keep their community down.  

And that’s why Maricopa elected a rising star like Christian Price as its Mayor.  He’s one that understands how to take the community to an even better place, and not to fall for sophomoric legal lectures and scare tactics.

Having failed to convince many Maricopa residents to join their effort Woods has even resorted to a cut and paste legal threat, launched toward the City of Maricopa as if they were a bunch of country bumpkins.  It will backfire, just like all the noise emanating from the project in Casa Grande.

Fortunately, Maricopa doesn’t have any woods to get lost in.  And that’s a very good thing, especially as it has recruited an innovative new business to town that will help it move forward, not race backwards.

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