Monthly Archives: March 2011
NOTE: The Downtown Voices Coalition (DVC) does not endorse any candidates, and invites all candidates to submit information on any town hall question and answer event in which they participate.
What is important is that voters be informed, AND VOTE.
[Source: Equality Arizona]
Equality Arizona is excited to be hosting the first candidate forum in the 2011 Phoenix mayoral election cycle. This historic event will not only be the first opportunity for the candidates to appear together in public, it is the first time in history the candidates for mayor of the 6th largest city in the country will participate in a forum focused on LGBT equality!
The forum will be moderated by Emmy Award-winning reporter Donna Rossi of CBS 5 (KPHO). In her role at CBS 5, Donna has covered some of the most high profile stories in the valley and across the state.
We invite you to participate in this exciting event and hear what the candidates have to say about the issues that matter to you.
The forum will be held Monday, April 4th at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, 340 N 3rd Street. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the forum is set to start at 7 p.m. Seating will be limited. We ask that you RSVP today at www.equalityarizona.org
All of the candidates have been invited. As of today, the following have confirmed their participation:
- Thane Eichenauer
- Wes Gullett
- Claude Mattox
- Greg Stanton
Please add your name to the list of participants. RSVP online at www.equalityarizona.org.
Once you’ve let us know you plan to attend, please take a moment to submit a question for consideration by the moderator. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your question and we’ll include it in the mix of questions for the moderator to choose from.
We look forward to seeing you at this exciting event
[Source: Habitat Metro]
Still thinking about what to do this Friday or Saturday evening? Come visit Habitat Metro‘s new acquisition—the Lexington Hotel at Portland Street and Central Avenue. And, check out our “pop-up” restaurant – Cycle.
In addition to great food and fun drinks, visit the studios of our in-residence artists – Kyle Jordre and Jenny Ignaszewski. A whole new way to see First Fridays in Downtown Phoenix…tim sprague
What is Cycle:
Don’t Blink! Cycle is a new restaurant with an expiration date. New chefs, menus and food trucks will “cycle” through the short life of the restaurant. Cycle will only be open at the Lexington Hotel ’til Fall when the entire property undergoes a 6-month renovation.
When is it open?
Cycle’s grand opening will be held on First Friday, April 1, 2011. As usual, the chef, menu and drinks will be announced the week of via Twitter and Facebook. No peeking. We will surprise you.
What is a pop-up restaurant?
The first of it’s kind in Phoenix, Cycle is intentionally a short-lived restaurant with no resident chef. The menu rotates often with new chefs and food trucks on a regular basis. These mini-restaurants exists for only a handful of days, so don’t blink!
Who’s the chef?
Depends on the cycle! Cycle has scheduled the city’s top chefs and gourmet food trucks who will bring their short-lived menu to the restaurant. Check the website for full schedule.
What type of food?
Could be anything! Depends on the chef or food truck during that particular Cycle. Check the online schedule for menus and details for each night of service.
Depends on the rotating chef’s menu. Always expect prices as casual as our space!
Where’s the schedule of chefs/menus/food trucks?
What are the hours?
Check the online schedule for featured meals, chefs and food trucks. First Friday, April 1 and Saturday April 2, Happy Hour from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm – Dining from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Of course, the bar is open till 2:00 pm.
About the Lexington.
With construction beginning in Fall 2011, the Lexington Hotel will undergo a dramatic renovation, reopening in early 2012. The new hotel will become a cultural icon and hangout for Downtown Phoenix residents with dining, art galleries and events, also making it a world-class destination for travelers to “go where the locals go.”
Tim Sprague is Managing Member of Habitat Metro, LLC. He is also member of the DVC Steering Committee. Tim can be reached at email@example.com
A center for Latino art and culture located in downtown Phoenix creates its own world for visitors to enjoy art, entertainment, dancing, workshops and above all, culture.
The Arizona Latino Art and Cultural Center, on Adams and Second streets, houses an art gallery, a gift shop and a performance area. Galeria 147, the name of the art gallery, sprawls across three rooms, each dedicated to different themed shows or artists.
The center sits across the street from the Phoenix Convention Center and in comparison looks deceptively small. In reality, the center is approximately 5,000 square feet, which accommodates private art studios and offices for numerous artists who volunteer or showcase their artwork at the gallery.
The center was founded in December 2009 when a group of people recognized that Phoenix was lacking a Latino cultural center.
“Latino culture and Arizona did not have a focal representation. There was an Irish cultural center, there was an Asian cultural center and a Native American cultural center,” said Mario Mendia, the center’s operation coordinator. “In spite of (Hispanics) being the largest minority in Arizona, there was not a Latino art and cultural center.”
Mendia learned of the aspirations of the group and began volunteering in the months approaching the grand opening.
“I was so impressed with the vision of this project that I remained throughout the last several months, which is about 12 or 13 months,” said Mendia.
The center is currently hosting an exhibit showcasing the journeys of Cuban artists. “The Dream And The Time II” features 50 Cuban artists and will be open until April 30.
The opening reception for the exhibit was held in early March and featured Cuban festivities, food, live music and art.
The center is also currently featuring an exhibit by Carlos Rivas, a local artist who also volunteers at the center. Rivas discovered the center while walking through downtown Phoenix taking photographs and has been volunteering at the center ever since.
The center hosts several other events and receptions throughout the year that feature art, music, dance, film and theatre.
“It’s almost like Disneylandia,” said Mendia.
Recently, George Yepes, a renowned artist who has been featured in over 30 museums across the country, and Gennaro Garcia, a prominent artist from the southwest, completed a two-man show.
Christopher Plentywombs, an 18-year-old Native American artist, created an exhibit of dresses made from newspapers that can be worn. The center hosted an event where models showcased Plentywomb’s fashionable art.
Another prominent exhibit at the center was “SB 1070 – An Artist’s Point of View.” A group of local artists put together the 30 piece show expressing their thoughts on the controversial law. The center also devoted a hallway in the gallery for the public, who were encouraged to create their own art or express their own opinions on SB 1070 on the walls.
“We’re a non-partisan organization, and so we try to be very open to all issues and different points of view,” Mendia said.
The center has also held a Latina Author Night, an exhibit by Latino Native American veterans and an exhibit honoring the virgin of Guadalupe.
The center faced daunting odds in the days approaching its grand opening in December 2009. Founders and volunteers had about three to four weeks to prepare the gallery, the performance area and the gift shop with what Mendia described as “an impossible budget.”
“When we opened up, we had no pencils, no chairs, no brooms,” said Mendia. “No anything.”
In addition to preparing the gallery, which had no lighting, the volunteers had to curate a 30 piece show featuring Arizona Latino artists. Somehow, the volunteers managed to do it.
Volunteers and donors have been a vital aspect in helping the center grow and expand, Mendia said. Target executives, for example, saw a list of the center’s needs in the days approaching it’s opening and donated everything on the list.
Mendia, who worked as a teacher for several years, has been active in expanding the educational and community outreach of the center. The center has hosted educational workshops for elementary schools and hopes to do similar activities in the future.
Artwork from the center is currently being exhibited in buildings on ASU’s downtown campus.
In October, November and December, the center will host three Native American artists from Mexico. Each artist will hold workshops and presentations for the public and students. This program is “phase two” for the center, which includes, among other things, an emphasis on education.
The center also hopes to put on a Colombian show.
Exhibits at the gallery are not exclusively traditional Latino art. The center showcases new-aged art with little Latino influence. Also, several non-Hispanic artists exhibit traditional Latino art.
All of the exhibits in the gallery are for sale. Profits from the exhibits benefit the center, Advocates for Latino Arts and Culture and the individual artists.
The center encourages ASU students to attend receptions and events. Student membership for the center costs $10 a year, which qualifies students to attend special events and to exhibit artwork. General membership for artists and the public costs $25 a year.
The center also rents out it’s facilities for events and meetings. The sense of spirit and culture that other locales lack is provided by the center as companies can also take advantage of the featured performing artists.
Mendia believes both ASU students and the general public would enjoy the many activities the Arizona Latino Art and Cultural Center offers.
“We’re open to everybody who would like to celebrate Latino culture and it’s many facets,” Mendia said.
Contact the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Johnson from Oakville Grocery says that this will be the first grocery store downtown stocking essentials for the community. Johnson says the store will have a coffee bar, pastries, handmade sandwiches, salads, soups, grab-and-go items, milk, eggs and other groceries, specialty products, wine, beer and more.
Johnson also shares their significant local product program and plan to source as many local products as possible for the new store. Johnson says 200 products are needed to fill store shelves!
Johnson says you can submit your products by emailing email@example.com with a short bio along with a description of the product, photos, media coverage/reviews, production capability and packaging information and a link to a website.
Products submitted for consideration must be retail store-ready, Johnson says. Submitted local farmers and purveyors will be reviewed for hand-selected placement in the store’s locavore lineup, Johnson shares, and all submissions must be received no later than Friday, April 15, 2011.
Oakville Grocery is searching for local vendors to help position the store as a key source for locally-grown fruits and vegetables to cater to the needs of downtown residents, Johnson says.
“For nearly 120 years Oakville Grocery has been the glue of the small farmers, vintners and purveyors in its Napa Valley, neighborhood,” Johnson said, “That same community aspect is what we hope to achieve in the unique community of downtown Phoenix by supporting local farmers and highlighting the high-quality local food and products that customers identify with and are proud of.”
[Source: Lynh Bui, The Arizona Republic]
Term-limited mayor aims to lure jobs, development
When Phil Gordon gives his final State of the City address
next [this] week, he’ll have nine months to accomplish some final lofty goals.
The Phoenix mayor wants to bring 35,000 new jobs to the Valley, attract a four-year university from the East Coast to downtown, and start hiring and training police officers again after a more than three-year freeze amid shrinking budgets.
But as Gordon looks to seal his mayoral legacy, the term-limited mayor faces political and economic challenges that could put those dreams out of reach.
He’ll be leading a City Council with at least four of nine members running for re-election or to fill his seat. Consensus likely will be difficult as they start posturing for their own campaigns.
At the same time, Arizona is recovering from a deep recession, and some companies are still wary of coming to the Valley because of political controversy over the state’s anti-illegal-immigrant legislation. Economic realities make new jobs and more city spending seem less likely.
Then, there’s the obvious hurdle.
“There’s not a lot of time,” said Gordon, who turns 60 in April and was first elected in 2003 and re-elected in 2007. “It’s going to go quickly.”
Facing a time crunch
Barry Broome, president and chief executive of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, said Gordon’s legacy “is sealed as a mayor that worked hard on the city’s economy.”
With less than a year left, “it’s really important for an incumbent mayor to do what he can finish,” Broome said, whether it’s completing what he started or taking care not to launch new initiatives that can’t be completed in a limited time frame.
Gordon said he will focus on three key goals:
– New development downtown.
Gordon’s time as mayor has focused on revitalizing downtown Phoenix by bringing an ASU campus and medical school to the area.
“Downtown still reflects what Phoenix is seen as, whether it’s on TV, to visitors or to businesses,” Gordon said. “They’re always coming and seeing the heart of our community.”
He said he now is working on bringing a new county teaching hospital to downtown and developing public-private partnerships to fund Arizona State University’s law school, planned for Taylor and First streets. He said he also aims to develop a marketing district around the downtown sports venues to attract more people and retail by lighting up the streets with electronic billboards and animated signs.
The Legends Entertainment District could open as soon as July, when the Major League Baseball All-Star Game lands in Phoenix.But the hospital and other major downtown development may not come to life, said Martin Shultz, a Valley business leader who also worked as a chief of staff to several past Phoenix mayors.
“The odds are highly probable that that’s not going to happen,” Shultz said. Although there may be some announcements about new development downtown, the economy will be a major stumbling block, he said.
ASU President Michael Crow said it will be at least another year and a half before significant progress is made on the law school.
– Job creation.
Earlier this year, Gordon announced that he would work with Gov. Jan Brewer to bring more than 35,000 new jobs to the Valley.
But those efforts may be stalled. Gordon was hoping at least one-third of those jobs would come from a Chinese manufacturing company looking to bring 10,000 jobs to Phoenix. Landing the company, which Gordon declined to identify, could establish a workforce on par with what Intel or Honeywell International has in the Valley. Recently, however, talks with the company have stalled, Gordon said.
Gordon also has been increasing trade talks with foreign countries, hoping to sway companies from places such as Mexico and the Middle East to invest in Phoenix. But, he said, it will be challenging for Arizona, which is still suffering from image problems because of tough, anti-illegal-immigrant laws the state Legislature approved in recent years.
– Hiring police.
When Gordon campaigned for mayor in 2003, he vowed to make Phoenix “the safest city in America” and was a rallying force behind two public-safety taxes voters approved to expand the police force.
But because of budget cuts, reduced sales-tax revenue and a citywide hiring freeze, the city hasn’t hired recruits since 2008, leaving the Police Department with more than 500 vacancies for sworn officers.
Gordon wants to find ways to lift the hiring freeze to, at minimum, keep the vacancies from going much beyond 500 positions.
“We’ve got to stop the hemorrhaging,” Gordon said.
To pay for it, Gordon said, he is considering cutting other city programs, dipping into contingency funds or raising revenue by seeking a new public-safety tax or adding a surcharge on criminal tickets.
While police have been in a hiring freeze, city crime rates in every major category have dropped to the lowest they’ve been since the 1980s, a trend Gordon said he wants to maintain.
Proposing a public-safety tax would be politically challenging, Gordon said, but “somebody’s got to stand up and talk about this.”
“By maintaining quality of life and maintaining public safety, it makes us more competitive economically,” Gordon said.
Politicians may not have the appetite to support tax increases in the middle of an election year, especially after the city made painful cuts to shore up a $277 million budget shortfall last year.
Councilwoman Peggy Neely, who is considering running for mayor, said that Phoenix has managed to reduce crime rates despite the budget shortfalls and that it may not be the right time to consider a tax or hire officers.
She said Phoenix has done a good job of managing with the resources it has so far.
“We’ve put ourselves on a financial diet, and we have to stay on that track until we see the economy coming back to a level where we are confident our taxes are going to increase,” Neely said.
‘Keep a steady hand’
Shultz said Gordon should work on maintaining stability in the city, especially because Phoenix is poised to see a drastic shift in leadership by the end of the year.
“All he has to do is keep a steady hand on guiding Phoenix out of the Great Recession and into the next chapter of our history,” Shultz said. “If there’s not any great flare-up, he can leave office and go down as a very active mayor who focused on the development of downtown, the economy and jobs.”
Paul Barnes, head of the Neighborhood Coalition of Phoenix, said the City Council is already becoming politically fractured as some members prepare for the Aug. 30 election.
Most recently, council members were divided on whether to remove Police Chief Jack Harris from overseeing the daily operations of the Police Department. He had come under fire amid questions about the credibility of kidnapping statistics the city used to win a $1.7 million federal grant. Gordon and other council members threw their unequivocal support to Harris after news of Harris’ reassignment spread. But several other elected officials supported the city manager’s decision to oust Harris until the city and the federal government complete a probe of the numbers.
“You’re seeing the chaos now,” Barnes said. “You see it in how the affair with Harris got politicized.”
Building consensus will be important for Gordon if he wants to see his policy agenda come to life. The council will also have to reach consensus on other issues, including how to close a fiscal 2011-12 general-fund deficit estimated to range from $50 million to $80 million.
“Whatever Phil is going to be able to get done will be difficult because nine months in government is a blink of an eye,” said former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson, a longtime friend of Gordon’s. “He can get his agenda done, but he has to position it in such a way that it’s helpful for the people running for mayor and council.”
But Gordon already has achieved significant success in office through conceiving the partnership with ASU and downtown and bringing it to life during his time as mayor, Johnson said.
“Phil has one of the best legacies of any mayor I know,” Johnson said. “Sometimes, he doesn’t recognize that. Now, he needs to realize that he should focus on delivering a financially well-run city and to help hand over the reins of leadership to the next mayor.
“He needs to help make the new mayor and council successful.”
SIDE BAR: Phoenix’s government
Phoenix has a council-manager form of government.
The city manager, not the mayor, is in control of administrative duties such as preparing a budget, hiring and firing department heads and running the day-to-day operations of the city.
In Phoenix, the mayor is one vote out of nine council members. The mayor and City Council’s can hire or fire only the city manager.
Some cities, such as Chicago or New York, have a strong-mayor form of government, where the mayor has much power over the city’s daily administration.
Other alternatives are better
The following letter was sent on behalf of the Downtown Voices Coalition Steering Committee to Peggy Neely, Phoenix City Council Member and chair of the Council’s Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee.
The Downtown Voices Coalition is opposed to the proposed Metro West light rail alignment. We are very supportive of light rail, but cannot support a route that cuts through the St. Matthew neighborhood. The proposed east-west route along Jefferson will destroy a historic neighborhood, both physically and socially, and will not create transit-oriented development.
The St. Matthew neighborhood is one of the oldest in Phoenix. It has more 19th century Victorian buildings than any other location in the city. Many of these houses are located along Jefferson Street. Jefferson is a very narrow, two lane residential street in this location. The proposed light rail route will entail widening the street by removing the front easements and vegetation and will create a stretch of elevated track right in front of the residences near 19th Avenue. We are unaware of any other segment of the light rail that cuts right through a historic neighborhood.
It is even more problematic that transportation planners have been negligent in communicating with the neighborhood. Even though 20,000 notices were sent out for the March 2 public meeting about the western alignment, residents of the St. Matthew neighborhood were not invited until yesterday, March 1, and only half of the neighborhood actually received fliers.
Running the line through a low-income historic neighborhood, one that cannot support transit-oriented development, will not fulfill light rail’s economic goals, but it will cause great hardship for a struggling low income community. Other proposed routes, such as Van Buren and 19th Avenue, have greater economic potential and do less harm.
The City Council should require that a proper assessment of the impact on the St. Matthew neighborhood be conducted and a thorough investigation regarding the economic potential of alternate routes be considered.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
Phoenix Artists Design Chucks to Benefit the YMCA
Converse generally don’t say much about someone’s personality — they get beat up, scuffed, and worn beyond belief because they’re everyday, kick-around shoes. But a freshly painted collection of the shoes at the Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA is giving a new attitude to high-top sneakers for a good cause.
A selection of Converse Chuck Taylor shoes are on display for “Converse at the Y”, a silent auction to benefit the center’s kid members from March 21 to 28.
Twenty five artists including “Crafty Chica” Kathy Murillo and her husband Patrick Murillo of Mantastic Crafts, Latino print maker Joe Ray, metal sculptor Pete Deise, and painters J.J. Horner and Jenny Ignaszewski, received a pair of Chucks with no instructions other than to go to town and have them back in a month.
“We didn’t tell them they had to adhere to anything specific like ‘put in the Y logo here’ or something, we just let them go at it,” says Jeff Myers, executive director of the Lincoln YMCA in downtown Phoenix. “I was blown away by the diversity of what we got back.”
The auction was put together to involve community members and benefit the Strong Kids and Families campaign, which allows kids who are unable to pay for a membership to participate in the YMCA and its activities.
Chairman of the board at the YMCA and resident artist Jenny Ignaszewski, took the reigns for the event and put out every artistic connection she knew to generate participants and donations.
Ignaszewski says the most difficult part of organizing the show wasn’t convincing artists to participate or community members to donate — the hardest part was getting 25 pairs of shoes.
“We actually couldn’t get ahold of Converse,” says Ignaszewski regarding how the YMCA got all the shoes for the event.
“But I was at a show with another artist friend and he said Cowtown [Skateboards] had good connections. Sure enough the owner showed up and we were in business.”
Cowtown Skateboards in Tempe donated all of the shoes, which, post-decoration, feature tribal designs, superhero themes, metal works and more.
The bidding for each pair starts at $100 with a $1000 “buy now” price for anyone who is particularly in love with a special pair they see.
“Converse at the Y” closes March 28 with a final party counting down the last hours of the auction from 4:30 to 7 p.m. In the meantime, any bids can be made on the shoes in the main lobby of the center during regular business hours.
The Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA is located at 350 N. 1st Ave. in Phoenix.
The Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix invites the public to a day-long Open House in suppor of Japan relief efforts and closes the day with a candle-light ceremony in remembrance of the earthquake and tsunami victims.
Waiving its customary admission fees for the day, the Garden invites the public to make donations to various relief agencies with computer assistance provided on site, or cash donations for victim relief efforts, which will be sent to the Japanese Consulate in Los Angeles.
Garden visitors will have the opportunity to fold origami paper cranes, a Japanese symbol of hope, or leave a written note on the Garden’s Wish Trees, thereby sending their thoughts and prayers through the wind and across the globe. The Garden welcomes musicians to bring acoustic instruments for brief interludes of music throughout the day.
Starting at 6:00 pm, a Remembrance Service will be conducted honoring the victims through words and music. Banshiki, a ceremonial song to assist the soul on its journey, will be played by Bobby Avstreih on the Japanese Shakuhachi (bamboo flute).
A Toro Nagashi, or floating lantern, will be lit and set adrift while attendees begin a silent candle-light procession around the Garden’s one acre koi pond.
Saturday, March 26: 10:00 am Garden Open House – 6:00 pm Remembrance Ceremony
Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix, located in Margaret T. Hance Park, 1125 North 3rd Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85003 (Third Avenue, ½ block north of W. Portland Street)
[Source: frances & smeeks]
Save the date, April 5th, 2011
Millions of children grow up without shoes and at risk of infection and disease.
ONE DAY WITHOUT SHOES is the day we take our shoes off to raise awareness of the impact a pair of shoes can have on a child’s life.
We will be walking from Frances to Lux and spending the day barefoot, come join us!!!
Lux will have Lux Bux and we will have goody bags for people that walk with us!!
Keep your eye out for more details!