Daily Archives: December 3, 2008

Viewpoint: For cities, cutting back may simply mean streamlining

[Source: Planetizen] — Tough economic times spell troubles for city budgets.  One way to cut back on costs is to rethink operation of seemingly untouchable public safety services like police and firefighters, according to this column from Neal Peirce.

“Among America’s 87,500 governments, only Washington can print money.  In a pinch, the only real option for cities and states is to spend less — thereby taking money out of the economy and deepening recession. With more than 20 million employees, 14% of the total American workforce, states and cities are a significant part of the total national economy.”

“This recession seems sure to be so serious, say urban finance experts, that many cities will be forced to go well beyond their familiar tight-times reductions in park and library budgets.  A growing possibility: to cut into that historically inviolate sector — police officers and firefighters.”

“Together, police and fire operations consume the lion’s share of most local budgets.  And the fire operations represent the most wastefully managed part of local government, according to municipal experts who spoke as a panel at a National Academy of Public Administration meeting said last week.”  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Regional arts group announces steering committee for Metro Phoenix DNA Roadmap

[Source: Maricopa Partnership for Arts & Culture] — “In no other metro area in the United States will you find such a combination of uncharted ground, open space, meritocracy, and an unpainted canvas than in Metro Phoenix.  Its DNA is based on providing new opportunities in an oasis surrounded by beauty and open space.  People come to and live in Metro Phoenix for one thing: opportunity.”

That is the core finding –- the concept of an Opportunity Oasis –- from the Metro Phoenix DNA Roadmap, the first initiative of its kind for a U.S. city or region.  The effort focuses on building an authentic identity that works across sectors and provides an overarching platform for Metro Phoenix to position it on the global stage for economic success.

The Metro Phoenix DNA Roadmap is being spearheaded by the Maricopa Partnership for Arts and Culture (MPAC) and conducted by the international strategy firm arthesia.  To lead and guide the effort, MPAC has assembled a steering committee comprised of local leaders who will be responsible for the long-term implementation of the Metro Phoenix DNA Roadmap in terms of content and direction.  [Note: To read the full article and list of steering committee members, click here.]

New layoff wave hits Arizona Republic

[Source: Mike Sunnucks, Phoenix Business Journal] — A new round of layoffs began Wednesday at the Arizona Republic as the newspaper’s parent company Gannett Inc. looks to trim 10% from its daily newspapers across the U.S.  Sources said 68 employees were laid off December 3, including 25 from the Republic’s newsroom.  The cuts could continue tomorrow (December 4).

Gannett spokeswoman Tara Connell would not comment on the Phoenix newspaper’s layoffs, but said the Virginia-based media company is cutting about 2,000 workers from its newspaper work force of 20,000 people.  Officials at the Republic also did not respond to request for comment.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Downtown groups invite public to Public Market holiday festivities, Dec. 10

Chef Elizabeth[Source: Phoenix Chamber of Commerce] — In the spirit of the season, join the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Phoenix Partnership, and City of Phoenix Mayor’s Office at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market, a program of Community Food Connections.  Come enjoy some music, art, food, local boutiques, live performances, and best of all, the Downtown Phoenix Public Market.

  • Date: December 10, 2008
  • Time: 5 to 7 p.m.
  • Place: Downtown Phoenix Market
  • Cost: Free
  • Register: Click here

Small businesses rate quality of life, downtowns of Arizona cities

The O’Neil Associates/ASBA Economic Indicators Monitor asked 3,000 small businesses across the state two questions about quality of life.  The first of these asked, “Which of these cities do you believe has the best quality of life?”  Three cities dominated responses.  Tempe was the city chosen most often for best quality of life, with fully a quarter (25%) of respondents.  Tempe was followed by Tucson (21%), and Prescott (21%).  No other city received responses in double digits, although Phoenix (8%), Flagstaff (7%), and Gilbert (7%) were notable.

Quality of Life









When focus was moved exclusively to the issue of the best downtown, only four cities received significant numbers of mentions.  Again, the most commonly cited city was Tempe (29%).  This was followed by Phoenix (23%), Scottsdale (21%), and Prescott (15%).

Best Downtown









The results are taken from the Q3 O’Neil Associates/ASBA Arizona Economic Indicators Monitor.  Results provide insights into the perceptions of business owners on the economic health and vitality of the Arizona economy.  The survey has a margin of error (at the 95% confidence level) of approximately +/-6%.  For a complete copy of all O’Neil Associates/ASBA Arizona Economic Indicators Monitor reports released to date, as well as opinion research reports on an array of other topics, click here.

Noted Arizona architect Gonzales dies at 84

A native Arizonan, Bennie Gonzales gained a national reputation for his Southwestern style architecture (photo source: Stories of Arizona, KAET)

[Source: Kate Nolan, Arizona Republic] — Bennie M. Gonzales, an award-winning Arizona architect who designed most of Scottsdale’s downtown municipal buildings and invented a new style of widely copied Southwestern architecture, has died at age 84 in Nogales.  Gonzales created Scottsdale’s main library, city hall, and the buildings of the city’s art complex at the opposite end of Civic Center Plaza.  In addition to hundreds of homes, public buildings, and multi-family residences in Arizona and around the world, he designed a $1.5 billion residence for a Saudi Arabia king…  “He (Gonzales) was an overlooked giant among architects of our generation in this Valley,” said internationally recognized Phoenix architect Will Bruder, who designed the Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix.

Gonzales’ peak was in the 1960s and ’70s with the Scottsdale city projects, which spawned numerous imitations.  A signature of Gonzales’ work is its lack of 90-degree angles.  He favored much wider angles that opened up space, said Scottsdale architect and former council member David Ortega, who began his career with Gonzales.  “He also really respected the context of where we were working,” Ortega said, citing the hospital Gonzales designed for the Navajo Nation in Chinle.

“Bennie was steadfast that the design fit with the culture.  He used a Navajo blanket motif and a westward hogan entrance,” Ortega said.  The cultural elements and the broad angles produced a decidedly Southwestern style of architecture.  “We knew we were in Arizona,” Ortega said.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]