Daily Archives: January 28, 2009

Phoenix neighborhoods can get anti-crime grants

[Source: Maria Baier, Phoenix City Council] — Neighborhoods registered as a Phoenix Police Block Watch or with the Neighborhood Services Department can get money to prevent crime. Neighborhood Block Watch grants range from less than $1,000 to $10,000 each. The grants fund new or existing programs that have an anti-crime component or safety program. The oversight committee will review applications and give an estimated $1.2 million to eligible neighborhoods. For information, contact the city at 602-262-6543 or by visit their website. Applications are due electronically by 4 p.m. on Friday, February 6, 2009.

Phoenix residents to pay more for trash pick-up

[Source: Scott Wong, Arizona Republic] — Phoenix’s no-drama City Council typically shows a united front on major issues: support for downtown development, light rail, and a domestic-partner registry.  That’s why last week’s split 5-4 vote to hike fees for trash pick up and other solid-waste collection took some by surprise.  The decision, which allows the city to avoid making significant service cuts, marked the first sign of fissures within the usually cohesive council as members grapple with slashing budgets for the general fund and special funds like the one for solid waste.  The council plans to vote Feb. 3 to determine what cuts are required to close a $270 million shortfall in this and next fiscal 2009-2010 budget.

The trash rate increase for single-family homes represents 5.3% or $1.35 a month.  It means homeowners will now pay $26.80 a month, up from $25.45, for things like weekly garbage and bulk-trash pick up and recycling.  The council also increased commercial fees by $2 a month, to $38.25.  Council members Michael Johnson, Peggy Neely, Michael Nowakowski, Tom Simplot, and Thelda Williams supported the rate hikes.  Mayor Phil Gordon, along with council members Maria Baier, Claude Mattox and Greg Stanton, voted against it.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

On Jan. 29, state legislators want to hear from public about proposed budget cuts

[Source: Children’s Action Alliance] — The Arizona State Legislature Senate and House Democratic Caucuses are hosting public hearings on the state budget.  Lawmakers are facing tough decisions this legislative session, with a $1.6 billion budget deficit for FY09 and a projected $3 billion budget deficit for FY10.  Downtown Phoenix residents are urged to voice their opinions.

  • Date: January 29, 2009
  • Time: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Place: Grace Lutheran Church, 1124 N. 3rd St., Phoenix

For more information, contact Cynthia Aragon, Community and Constituent Liaison, House of Representatives, 602-926-3591

Phoenix mayor kills plan to give self two more years

Mayor Phil Gordon (Photo: Nick Oza, Arizona Republic)

[Source: Sarah Fenske, Phoenix New Times] — Saying it was a “distraction,” Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon has asked supporters to back off a plan that would have kept him in the mayor’s office until 2014.  The plan, first revealed by New Times in this blog, would have consolidated municipal elections in Phoenix.  Currently, half the City Council and the mayor are up for reelection in 2011; the other half will run this fall.  The new plan, which would have required an amendment to the city charter, would put everybody on the same schedule — saving roughly $1 million every two years.

But the plan drew criticism (including some from this writer) because, in the process of consolidation, it would have tacked another two years onto the term of Mayor Gordon, Councilmen Claude Mattox and Michael Nowakowski, and Councilwomen Maria Baier and Thelda Williams — in essence giving them a six-year term instead of the four-year one originally approved by voters.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Quote of the Day: Inject culture

[Source: Arizona Republic] — Downtown Phoenix will become a top destination if it injects more culture and personality into the neighborhood, an expert told a business group on Monday.  “You have great buildings… but you have to have that cultural side.  That’s as important as the buildings,” branding expert Jim Schroer said during the Downtown Phoenix Partnership awards lunch.

Sheriff deputies use Phoenix light rail to transport inmates

[Source: KSWT/Associated Press] — The Phoenix area’s new light-rail trains have begun transporting prisoners who are flown in from out of state from the airport to downtown Phoenix. Armed Maricopa County deputies and Sheriff Joe Arpaio himself accompanied the first prisoner, a woman wanted for felony and forgery, on the light rail to downtown last night.  The woman covered her face when local news media surrounded her with microphones and television cameras.

Arpaio says taking prisoners from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to his headquarters in downtown will save about $72,000 a year in airport parking fees.  But a airport spokeswoman says all law-enforcement agencies in the state that are transporting inmates can park at the airport for free.  Arpaio maintained his office pays $27 a day to park at the airport and won’t stop taking inmates on the light rail until he gets written verification that parking is free.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]