Daily Archives: March 22, 2009

ASU downtown Phoenix students to promote “Action, Advocacy, Arts” on April 3

Arizona State University’s “Action, Advocacy, Arts” will emphasize the strength of community dialogue and engagement through a series of free activities from 1:30 to 10 p.m. on Friday, April 3 at the Downtown Phoenix campus University Center, 411 N Central Ave. Highlights include:

  • 1:30 to 3 p.m. — A Civil Rights Forum featuring national Native American rights leader John Echohawk, who has been called the “Thurgood Marshall of Indian Law.”
  • 3:30 to 5 p.m. — Open discussions led by experts on current civil rights and social issues, including immigration, health disparities, human trafficking and poverty in America.
  • 6 to 10 p.m. — An Urban Art Exhibition featuring four new mixed media collections and a celebration of the arts as ASU joins the First Friday Art Walk.

For more information, click here.

Viewpoint: Phoenix kidnapped by the Cartels

[Source: George F. Will, Washington Post] — Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris, a solid block of a man with a shock of thick gray hair, is stolid and patient, but there are limits.  Clearly he is weary of explaining that this is one of America’s safest large cities, with declining rates of violent crime and property crime, even though it has one of the nation’s highest rates of home foreclosures.  Unfortunately, there are the kidnappings.

There were 368 reported kidnappings for ransom here last year — perhaps more than anywhere else, other than Mexico City, where kidnapping is such a long-established industry that the wealthy sometimes buy kidnap insurance.  It is difficult to know how many kidnappings occurred there or here: Many are not reported because it can be dangerous to do so.  And because they are settled before there is time to report them.  Receiving a finger severed from the kidnap victim often speeds ransom transactions in Mexico.  Not here yet.

In any case, law-abiding citizens here are rarely at risk. Most of the kidnappings are drug smugglers and human traffickers preying on one another.  Some of the smugglers who bring in drugs from Mexico bring people, too, along desert trails and through dry washes, to “drop houses.”  Regarding both drugs and people, Phoenix is a transshipment point: Most of both are distributed to other states.  But some of the people become pawns in horrific transactions.  A person in the United States might pay, say, $2,500 to have someone smuggled into the country, and then might receive a phone call: Pay another $5,000, and we will stop raping or torturing — do you hear the screams? — the person you want.

A small “drop house,” with no functioning toilet, may, Chief Harris says, hold 60 people — he has seen 100 — in squalor.  Fifty of them just want to move deeper into America in search of work, but all of them might have only their underwear, their clothes having been taken away to prevent them from running away.  [Note: To read the full opinion piece, click here.]

Phoenix ZIP codes tell the story of 2008

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Home prices fared better in historic neighborhoods, like F.Q. Story, than others during recent economic slump.

[Source: J. Craig Anderson, Arizona Republic] — When will the housing market hit bottom, and how long will it take to get there?  The answer is clear: It depends on where you live.  The Valley’s housing slump is really a collection of highly localized downturns, each following its own timeline and trajectory, according to analysis of 2008 Valley Home Values data compiled by the Information Market for The Arizona Republic.

While the market pressures bearing down on home values are universal, the impact of those forces is determined in part by variables such as a neighborhood’s size, age, demographic makeup and location, location, location.  A closer look at three ZIP codes in Phoenix illustrates some of the different ways neighborhoods across the Valley are being affected, but no two communities are exactly alike.

  • In the F.Q. Story Neighborhood Historic District north of downtown, ZIP code 85007, the data show a slight increase in the median sales price from 2007 to 2008, although real-estate analysts said too few homes sold for a reliable statistic.
  • The median sale price in ZIP code 85050, a portion of Desert Ridge north of Loop 101, declined 13 percent in 2008 — a sign prices have begun to level off since the 21 percent decline the previous year.
  • ZIP code 85033, in the Maryvale neighborhood of west Phoenix, experienced a one-year median drop of 53 percent in 2008, greater than any other area in metro Phoenix after a decline of just 1 percent the previous year.

[Note: To read the full article, click here.]