Daily Archives: February 8, 2010

Department cuts could hurt Phoenix anti-graffiti efforts

[Source: Michael Clancy, Arizona Republic] — Graffiti could gain a foothold in Phoenix because of several proposed budget cuts.  Cuts in four departments could affect the city’s ability to respond to graffiti, often seen as a precursor to worse crime.  Neighborhood Services, Arts & Culture, Parks and Recreation, and Police have identified potential budget cuts that affect graffiti control.   “These are all quality of life issues that impact neighborhoods and the public,” said Erynn Crowley, deputy director of the Neighborhood Services Department.

In Neighborhood Services, three inspectors who spend time making sure stores have graffiti supplies locked up could lose their jobs.  The employees also check adult-business licenses, enforce mobile- and street-vending rules, and administer laws at special events.  The department now will react to complaints instead of actively checking for violations.  Savings are estimated at $421,000 this year and next.

In Arts, the public-art preservation program could be reduced.  One of its functions is to clean up graffiti and vandalism on public-art pieces.  The program, if the cuts are ultimately approved, would be reduced to half the size it was two years ago.  The cuts would total $60,000.

In Parks, ending a softball program would result in the elimination of maintenance staff in northwest and northeast Phoenix.  If the program ends in July, as proposed, the maintenance cuts will result in longer intervals for graffiti removal, among other items.  Savings are pegged at $179,000.

Finally, the Police Department is proposing the elimination of the bias crimes/graffiti squad. The squad investigates crimes related to prejudice and graffiti, which often is the result of gangs marking their territory. Savings in the department would total $710,000.

Altogether, the cuts would target 15 jobs and save $1.4 million.   [Note: Read the full article at Department cuts could hurt Phoenix anti-graffiti efforts.]

Art Detour, park fate on tap for Feb. 10 Grand Avenue Merchants Assoc. meeting

The next Grand Avenue Merchants Association (GAMA) meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 10, 5:30 pm at Moderncat Studio, Bragg’s Pie Factory, 1301 Grand Avenue (enter through the gray hallway door on McKinley). Here’s the agenda:

  • Introductions and Sign-in
  • Review of Minutes for the January 13, 2010 GAMA meeting
  • Request for reimbursement for web and domain expenditures incurred by Kate Benjamin, GAMA Communications Director
  • GAMA Logo, Kate Benjamin, GAMA Communications Director
  • Outdoor Advertising Structure Permit, Adam Baugh from Withey Morris
  • Proposed “Gift and Thrift Boutique Gallery-Studio”
  • Art Detour Plans and Suggestions
  • University Park/GAMA Letter of Support, Beatrice Moore
  • Old Business
  • New Business

Note: GAMA meetings are always the second Wednesdays of the month at 5:30 p.m. and take place at varying locations.  If you would like to be on the GAMA e-mail list, contact Beatrice Moore or Kate Benjamin.

Voice your ideas on connecting Rio Salado to downtown Phoenix, Feb. 11

[Source: City of Phoenix] — The first of three stakeholders meetings to discuss the HOPE VI Rio Salado Connector Trail to downtown Phoenix has been scheduled for Thursday, February 11 at 5:30 p.m., 1150 S. 7th Ave. (northwest corner of 7th Avenue and Buckeye; the yellow building with bell tower).  Please attend to contribute to the pedestrian improvements plan for this project.

This session will be held as part of the Matthew Henson Village Community Action Team meeting.  For more information, please contact Gail Brinkmann, City of Phoenix Street Transportation Department, 602-495-2073.

Downtown Phoenix Journal recap (02/08/10)

[Source: Si Robins, Downtown Phoenix Journal] — When DPJ’s Phoenix Suns blogger and I paid a visit to US Airways Center last week to interview guard Goran Dragic, we didn’t know what to expect.  The guy is in his early 20s and from Slovenia, and before arriving in Phoenix via the NBA Draft a year-and-a-half ago, he spoke very little English.  So, we weren’t sure he’d be able to give the DPJ crowd much insight on what he likes about Phoenix culture.  We were right, in some respects.  Dragic, who lives in a condo overlooking Tempe Town Lake, really only ventures into Downtown Phoenix for practice and games.  He spends the rest of his time perusing the East Valley.  It brings up a question that we at DPJ ask ourselves a lot: How do we get people from over there to come over here?  When I take a look at the content we featured this past week on the site, there are plenty of reasons to spark a trip Downtown for those that live in outlying areas.  I compiled a list of unique Grand Avenue locales worth checking out on a First Friday.  There’s a growing Scrabble night at Urban Beans for those looking for a mellow, fun school night out of the house.  And there is a whole plethora of nightlife fun, including the massive martini list at FEZ.  These are just a select few.  Keep telling your friends and family to venture Downtown.  There is something for everyone, and there’s a whole lot of it.