Category Archives: Governance

DVC In Conversation With District 4 and 8 Council Candidates

Downtown Voices Coalition, downtown Phoenix’s only grassroots stakeholder group that champions issues of urban excellence, like small and locally owned business, historic preservation, sustainability in a broader perspective, and good government, is hosting a series of one-on-one online conversations with the four remaining candidates for Phoenix City Council. The four candidates will be in conversation with our Edward Jensen, our group’s Secretary as well as an ardent observer in Phoenix politics and governance.

Leading off the conversations will be Laura Pastor, a program director at South Mountain Community College and the daughter of U.S. Congressman Ed Pastor, on Friday, October 4, from 7:00-8:00pm. Justin Johnson, running against Pastor for the District 4 seat, will be in conversation with Jensen on Monday, October 7, also from 7:00-8:00pm. Johnson is a real estate developer and the son of former Phoenix mayor Paul Johnson. Conversations with Kate Gallego and Warren Stewart are being scheduled for the week of October 7.

The conversations will be hosted on DVC’s Google+ page  as a Google+ Hangout On Air, an innovative platform to allow many observers from Phoenix to watch and participate in the conversation. Twitter users can send in their questions and comments using the hashtag #DVC4 and #DVC8 (depending on the district represented). Participants who do not have Google+ can watch on DVC’s YouTube channel, The conversation will then be available on the DVC YouTube channel for watching after the live event has concluded.

“I am pleased to be hosting these one-on-one conversations,” said Jensen. “This is a unique, first-of-its-kind way to engage with the candidates and the questions that will be asked are not the conventional questions asked in debates and fora. It gives the candidates an opportunity to envision that they are in their respective City Council seat and working to accomplish their agenda.”

The questions are focused around the central theme of governance and how the candidates plan to accomplish their policy proposals while they are in office.  The four subthemes are “City Hall and the Next City Manager,” “Governance and Intergovernmental Relations,” “Downtown / Urban Phoenix and Urban Living Infrastructure,” and “Sustainability and the Environment in a Broader Context.” The one-on-one conversation format will allow Jensen to pursue different lines of questioning based on the answers given, allowing for tremendous flexibility. About 15-20 minutes at the end will be reserved for audience questions.

Downtown Voices Coalition is a coalition of stakeholder organizations that embrace growth in downtown Phoenix, but is mindful that healthy growth should be based upon existing downtown resources — the vibrancy of neighborhoods, the strength of the arts community, the uniqueness of historic properties, and the wonderful small businesses that dot downtown. For more information, visit

The True Cost Of: Boycotting Arizona

2013 Federal Budget vs. AZ Budget

Arizona’s Legislature: What makes it different

Downtown Voices issues statement on Phoenix’s anti-discrimination policy

Pictured here is Downtown Voices Coalition’s statement on the proposed amendment to the City of Phoenix’s anti-discrimination policy. The organization’s position on this matter is in keeping with one of its nine guiding principles – diversity – outlined here:

“Downtown should reflect a sensitivity to the diverse ethnic, socio-economic, and educational backgrounds, along with the variation in age groups and sexual preferences that are an important characteristic of our downtown neighborhoods. Success of downtown redevelopment will embrace this diversity and incorporate it as a dynamic community asset.”

DVC AZ Republic letter re discrimination ordinance 02-16-13 final

Bill of Rights Monument Dedicated in Phoenix, Supported by DVC

9th Amendment monolith, one of 10 limestone carvings commemorating the Bill of Rights, located in Wesley Bolin Plaza, Phoenix, Ariz.  (photo: Jim McPherson)

9th Amendment monolith, one of 10 limestone carvings commemorating the Bill of Rights, located in Wesley Bolin Plaza, Phoenix, Ariz. (photo: Jim McPherson)

Here’s a great shot by Jim McPherson of one of the 10 monuments to the Bill of Rights, dedicated in December in the Wesley Bolin Plaza in Phoenix.

Downtown Voices Coalition is proud to have been an early supporter of this project, the first in the nation. Read more about this accomplishment (and see more photos) here.

Time to express your opinions on Phoenix’s General Plan Update and planning along light rail

MyPlanPHX provides an opportunity for all Phoenix residents to help shape the future of their city through participation in two very important projects: an update to the city’s General Plan (Conserve Create ConnectPHX), and planning for the communities along the light rail line (ReinventPHX). View the video below and then visit the MyPlanPHX website to begin sharing your opinions.

Local experts and national author to discuss state of sustainability in metro Phoenix, Jan. 17

A panel of local experts and Andrew Ross, author of “Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World’s Least Sustainable City,” will discuss the current state of sustainability in metropolitan Phoenix at a public forum on Tuesday, January 17, 2012.  The event, free to the public, will be held at the George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural Center at 415 E. Grant Street. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., panel discussion 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., audience Q&A 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., and reception with complimentary refreshments 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Panel moderator will be Charles Redman, Arizona State University (ASU) Virginia M. Ullmann professor of Natural History and the Environment and founding director of the ASU School of Sustainability. The current slate of panelists (with two to be added soon) includes:

  • Maria Baier, state land commissioner, Arizona;
  • Steve Betts, former president/CEO of SunCor Development and current Arizona District Council Chair of the Urban Land Institute;
  • Terry Goddard, former Phoenix mayor and former Arizona attorney general who now teaches a course at the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus: “Phoenix and the Art of Public Decision Making;”
  • Taz Loomans, architect and writer/blogger on sustainability issues;
  • Kris Mayes, former commissioner of the Arizona Corporation Commission and current director of the ASU Law and Sustainability Program and professor at the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law;
  • Andrew Ross, professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University.
  • Silvia Urrutia, director of Housing and Healthcare Finance, Raza Development Fund

According to Susan Copeland, steering committee chair of Downtown Voices Coalition, “Issues of sustainability are paramount to the future of Phoenix. Ross’ book is a great springboard from which to begin, or continue, discussion.”

The Downtown Voices Coalition is sponsoring the event with in-kind support from the Lexington Hotel in downtown Phoenix, Four Peaks Brewery of Tempe and the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center.

Bird on Fire” is available at Made Art Boutique, 922 North 5th Street in downtown Phoenix and at Changing Hands Bookstore at 6428 South McClintock Drive in Tempe. It is also available at Burton Barr, Cesar Chavez and Mesquite Branch libraries in Phoenix.

Downtown Voices Coalition is a coalition of stakeholder organizations that embrace growth in downtown Phoenix, but is mindful that healthy growth should be based upon existing downtown resources — the vibrancy of neighborhoods, the strength of the arts community, the uniqueness of historic properties, and the wonderful small businesses that dot downtown. For more information, visit

Valley Leadership presents “Phoenix in Transition” with Mayor Gordon and Mayor-elect Stanton

Mayor Phil Gordon and Greg Stanton to discuss the future of the City of Phoenix
The Valley Leadership Community Dialogue Series will host “Phoenix in Transition” on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011 – a conversation between the outgoing mayor of the City of Phoenix, Mayor Phil Gordon and Mayor-elect Greg Stanton (Valley Leadership alum, Class 19).

As mayor of the sixth-most populated city in the U.S., Mayor Gordon oversaw significant investment in the revitalization of downtown Phoenix including development of the downtown ASU campus, redevelopment of the Phoenix Convention Center and construction of the new Sheraton hotel. He was also a staunch supporter of the controversial $1.1 million multi-modal transportation plan which includes the multi-city light rail system.

As a city councilman, Stanton supported revitalization efforts including the relocation of the Translational Genomics Research Institute to Phoenix. After a vigorous campaign focused on pulling the City of Phoenix out of its current economic slump, Stanton earned a decisive victory and pledged to improve education and make the city’s economy more diverse. This dialogue provides the opportunity to learn more about Stanton’s vision for the future of the City of Phoenix and the challenges the new mayor will face as he seeks to implement his plan.

About Valley Leadership
Since 1978, Valley Leadership has hosted leadership development programs for adults and youth. Valley Leadership strives to provide people of diverse perspectives from both the public and private sectors with opportunities to connect, learn and lead. Valley Leadership seeks to foster dialogue, promote greater understanding of community issues and increase the capacity of individuals to engage effectively in civic action. Both Mayor-elect Greg Stanton and his wife Nicole Stanton are alumni of the Leadership Institute. For more information about Valley Leadership, call 602-952-6760 or visit

Valley Leadership: Connecting…Learning…Leading.

Networks vital for revitalizing Phoenix downtown

Carol Poore, the President and CEO of the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, wrote an op-ed in The Arizona Republic about how networks are important to downtown Phoenix’s success. Her op-ed is the summary of her recently completed Ph.D. dissertation and we at the DVC send our congratulations to her.

As temperatures rise and the Phoenix mayoral race heats up, understanding each candidate’s vision for continued revitalization of our downtown core is essential.

Why? In the words of urbanist Jane Jacobs, downtowns serve as the heart of any city, providing an ecosystem, a place to gather, a place of density and efficiency for both large and small venues that, altogether, create a region’s distinct sense of place, momentum and economic prosperity.

Research I’ve conducted suggests that a lively downtown requires social capital – vital networks needed to sustain collective action, identify opportunities and put in place solutions.

In past decades, two network-building organizations – Phoenix Community Alliance and Downtown Phoenix Partnership – fused people and ideas together, jumpstarting at least nine pivotal downtown projects that otherwise would not have been launched, including Arizona Center in 1988, Human Services Campus in 2005 and Downtown Phoenix Public Market in 2009.

Read more here. Congratulations, Dr. Poore!