Daily Archives: September 25, 2009

Arizona earns “F” in family financial prosperity

CFED MapThe Corporation for Enterprise Development‘s (CFED) Assets & Opportunity Scorecard is a comprehensive look at wealth, poverty, and the financial security of families in the United States.  The Scorecard assesses the 50 states and the District of Columbia on how well residents are faring and what states can do to help residents build and protect assets.  Arizona was one of five states to receive an “F.”

According to CFED, there are many policies that Arizona could enact to improve its climate for asset building and preservation:

  • Support Entrepreneurs: To encourage small business ownership and reduce race and gender disparities, Arizona should fund organizations that provide technical assistance and loans to microenterprises.
  • Curb Predatory Mortgage Lending: To remedy its high foreclosure rate, the state should curb unscrupulous lending practices, enforce sound underwriting and ban prepayment penalties.
  • Improve Education: To improve math and reading proficiency and increase the number of high school graduates, Arizona should increase school spending, especially in high-poverty districts.

CenPhoTV for the week of 09/25/2009

This week on CenPhoTV, an exciting partnership with US Airways Center and METRO Light Rail, the Grand Avenue Festival, a luau, the film/musical Rent, the film American Casino, an AIDS walk, plus your October 2nd First Friday details.

This week in music: The Necronauts, Jon Auer, Dillinger Four, Riverboat Gamblers, The Revolting Cocks, Jim Rose, Grave Danger, Flathead, Thee Oh No’s, Kevin Daly’s Chicken and Waffles,The Get Up Kids, Igor & The Red Elvises, Emarosa, The Killers, Datarock, Insane Clown Posse, !!! Chk Chk Chk, The Ataris, Violet Wild, Dirt Nasty, Mergence, Honey Pistols, Haunted Cologne.

Shows Just Announced this week: Chevelle, Dash Rip Rock, Everclear, and the Sonic Youth show gets postponed.

Phoenix #93 on magazine’s list of 100 best places to raise a family

PHP4ABA85DB39E64[Source: Arizona Republic] — It’s better to raise children in Sin City instead of Phoenix?  The writers at Children’s Health Magazine think so.  Phoenix ranked 93rd in the magazine’s list of the “100 best (and worst) places” in the U.S. to raise a family.  Las Vegas was No. 92, one slot above Phoenix.  The debut issue of Children’s Health hit newsstands on Sept. 15.

Editors analyzed 30 factors important to parents, including public safety, education, economics, housing, cultural attractions, and health.  They used the most recent statistics available from resources such as the Centers for Disease Control, FBI, and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, said Joel Weber, who co-authored the article with Jaclyn Colletti.

Several factors hurt Phoenix’s ranking: Phoenix has low high school graduation rates, relatively high crime, poor air quality, and high unemployment due to the recession, Weber said.  Public safety and education statistics heavily influenced the rankings because they are top concerns for parents.  Phoenix, like every city, has “good pockets” – some high achieving schools or good city programs, Weber said.  The rankings, however, are snapshot of the city as a whole, he said.

Why did Las Vegas fare better than Phoenix?  Las Vegas has more crime than Phoenix, but “Las Vegas has higher graduation rates – by a lot,” Weber said.  Las Vegas also has more people with advanced degrees and a few more cultural attractions than Phoenix, he added.

The magazine is published by Rodale Inc., the firm behind Men’s Health and Women’s Health magazines.

Local leaders say the Children’s Health ranking isn’t a true reflection of what Phoenix has to offer.  Phoenix is a great place to raise a family said Mayor Phil Gordon, adding that he’s raising his own family here.  “Since we add tens of thousands of new residents every year, a lot of people obviously understand that Phoenix is attractive for everyone, including children,” Gordon said.  [Note: Read the full article at Phoenix #93 on magazine’s list of 100 best places to raise a family.]

Maricopa County pollution levels improving

[Source: Kate Bolnick, ASU Web Devil] — Arizona’s pollution levels showed improvement in Maricopa County in this year’s ozone season, the time of the year when pollution levels are the highest, an official said.  “This year, so far, we have four exceedance days for Maricopa County,” said Maricopa County Air Quality Department spokeswoman Holly Ward.  “Last year we had 18 exceedance days reported.”

Exceedance days are the number of days when at least one of the county’s monitors exceed the ozone standards, Ward said.  “There [are] some core components that this department strives for… the first and foremost is to reduce the number of times [Maricopa County] exceed[s] the public health standard,” she said.

The public health standard comes from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Act of 1970, which was amended in 1990.  The standard was raised in March of 2008 to .075 parts-per-million.  The act clarifies what level of pollution is acceptable and specifies only one exceedance day every three years is allowed.  Arizona is in great violation of the standards, according to the act, but is improving, Ward said.  [Note: Read the full article at Maricopa County pollution levels improving.]

Midtown Phoenix high-rise set to be imploded, 9/27

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Beadle high-rise set for implosion (Photo source: Sadie Jo Smokey)

[Source: Sadie Jo Smokey, Arizona Republic] — At 10 a.m. Sunday, Lisa Kelly, owner of Advanced Explosives Demolition, will push a button.  In 4.5 seconds, a bit of history at Third Street and Earll Drive will fall.  Residents and businesses neighboring the site say good riddance.  Last spring, workers removed the building’s windows, leaving a blighted skeleton of steel and concrete.

In 1972 when it was built, the Mountain Bell Plaza building was one of the first International Style glass-and-steel office high-rises in Phoenix.  Designed by local architect Al Beadle, the building was a perfectly rectangular 10-story block of blackened glass.  For 30 years, the building was home to Mountain Bell and Qwest Communications.  Qwest moved out in 2003, and San Diego developer Joe Pinsonneault bought the building in mid-2004 for $12.5 million.

Jean Switzer lives with her elderly parents on Catalina Drive, one street south of the implosion site.  As of Thursday, she said residents were confused and frustrated at the lack of communication and information about the impending implosion.  “I haven’t received a flier,” Switzer said.  “Nothing about how to prepare, what to expect. Should we stay in our homes?  Should we seal our windows?  These are things that take a long time.”  Phoenix spokeswoman Deborah Sedillo Dugan said a reverse 911 call Saturday evening will alert residents of the blast.  [Note: Read the full article at Midtown Phoenix high-rise set to be imploded 9/27.]

Phoenix’s Opportunity Corridor knocked by recession

Opportunity Corridor

[Source: Mike Sunnucks, Phoenix Business Journal]Four years ago, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon announced he wanted to rehabilitate run-down areas along the 12-mile stretch from the Arizona Capitol through downtown Phoenix to Arizona State University in Tempe.  Dubbed the Opportunity Corridor, it was to be filled with new office, residential, biomedical, and industrial developments.  Today, inopportune times have stalled those plans.

Van Buren and Washington streets east of downtown still are dilapidated and, in some cases, are worse off because of the recession and real estate crash.   “It’s just in the tank,” said Mark Dioguardi, a real estate expert and attorney with the Scottsdale law office of Dioguardi Flynn LLP.

Like much of the Phoenix commercial real estate market, Dioguardi said the Opportunity Corridor is plagued by foreclosures, unsold vacant lots, shuttered businesses, and almost zero transactions, financing, and construction.  [Note: Read the full article at Phoenix’s Opportunity Corridor knocked by recession.]