Blog Archives

Tea Party supporters hit downtown Phoenix

[Source: Mike Sunnucks, Phoenix Business Journal]

If you want a pin-up poster of Sarah Palin, would like to abolish progressive income taxes or think Ronald Reagan is the best president ever, you’ll probably be in downtown Phoenix this weekend.

Approximately 2,200 tea partiers are in Phoenix this weekend for a policy summit focused on federal spending, health care, taxes and immigration. The weekend event is at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Presidential contenders Tim Pawlenty and Ron Paul, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, conservative commentator Dick Morris and U.S. Rep. David Schweikert, R-Scottsdale/Tempe, are some of the speakers.

Arpaio is considering a run for the U.S. Senate in 2012.

A host of conservative, anti-tax and anti-government groups are also in Phoenix advocating everything from the elimination of the Internal Revenue Service and progressive income taxes, to fighting labor unions and President Barack Obama on health care.

Sarah Palin will not be there, according to the event schedule. But conservative groupies of the former Alaskan governor can get a large poster of her — as well as Reagan — from the Young America’s Foundation. You just have to sign up for the group’s mailing list.

Judging from the exhibit hall and the sentiments among those attending, Palin enjoys strong support among the tea party activists for a possible 2012 presidential run.

Phoenix steps up efforts for accurate census count

[Source: Scott Wong, Arizona Republic] — The sputtering economy, spike in home foreclosures, and crackdown on undocumented immigrants could pose significant hurdles for officials working to get an accurate count of Phoenix residents for the 2010 census.  At stake are hundreds of millions of dollars in federal and state funding, disbursed to cities based on official decennial population figures.  “There are a lot of concerns that we have,” said Tammy Perkins, who is coordinating Phoenix’s census efforts.  “Every person we miss costs the city $400 a year.  If we miss a family of four, that’s $1,600 a year for 10 years.”

Census figures released this year revealed that the number of immigrants living in Arizona in 2008 had fallen by about 60,000, to 932,518, likely a result of the economic recession and construction slowdown.  Meanwhile, 60 percent of Valley home sales last month involved foreclosures, making it harder to track former homeowners who are now staying with friends, in hotels or living on the streets.

Hispanic leaders have said that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s raids and crime sweeps have forced some immigrants to move out of state or back to their home country, while fostering a distrust of government among those who’ve stayed.  “There is a lot of fear in the Hispanic community.  I think we will have a really hard time getting Hispanics to open the doors and return their census forms,” said the Rev. Eve Nunez, a community leader who is heading a Phoenix census committee focused on the faith-based community.  “We are trying to dispel that fear by telling them how much this will mean to their community.”  [Note: Read the full article at Phoenix steps up efforts for accurate census count.]

County Sheriff cancels inmate transport via Phoenix light rail

[Source: Alyssa Pivirotto, ABC 15] — Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will not use light rail to transport inmates to the 4th Avenue Jail, according to a statement released Thursday afternoon.  Earlier this week, the Sheriff started those transports from Sky Harbor Airport to the downtown Phoenix jail, saying it was a way to save money on parking transport vehicles.  Now, the City of Phoenix has given the Sheriff four parking passes, allowing him to park for free.  [Note: to read the full article, click here.]

Sheriff deputies use Phoenix light rail to transport inmates

[Source: KSWT/Associated Press] — The Phoenix area’s new light-rail trains have begun transporting prisoners who are flown in from out of state from the airport to downtown Phoenix. Armed Maricopa County deputies and Sheriff Joe Arpaio himself accompanied the first prisoner, a woman wanted for felony and forgery, on the light rail to downtown last night.  The woman covered her face when local news media surrounded her with microphones and television cameras.

Arpaio says taking prisoners from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to his headquarters in downtown will save about $72,000 a year in airport parking fees.  But a airport spokeswoman says all law-enforcement agencies in the state that are transporting inmates can park at the airport for free.  Arpaio maintained his office pays $27 a day to park at the airport and won’t stop taking inmates on the light rail until he gets written verification that parking is free.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Mystery novels anchored in Phoenix

[Source: Bonnie Henry, Arizona Daily Star] — He works in a city with seemingly perpetual gray skies and writes a column on the economy — an even gloomier subject these days.  But Jon Talton, former columnist with the Arizona Republic and now with the Seattle Times, is keeping history-professor-turned-detective David Mapstone and his snoopings firmly planted in the sunny Southwest.  “He will always live in Phoenix,” says Talton, author of seven novels, including the Mapstone mysteries, “Concrete Desert,” “Dry Heat,” and “Cactus Heart.”

Talton will be one of more than 300 authors appearing in March at the Tucson Festival of Books. A Phoenix native whose family goes back four generations, Talton grew up in the city center, and weaves its history and characteristics into his scenes.  “I tried to do homage to Raymond Chandler, where the city was very much a character,” says Talton, whose Mapstone works in the sheriff’s office, using his historian skills to solve old cases.  And no, Sheriff Joe Arpaio does not pop up, even in a cameo appearance.  “My sheriff is a Mexican-American and he observes the civil liberties,” says Talton, who has covered business and finance for more than 25 years at newspapers stretching from North Carolina to Denver and now Seattle.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

So what happened on “Peace and Love Day” in Phoenix?

Pat Shannahan, Arizona RepublicOn July 31, Ringo Starr had fun backstage at the Dodge Theatre with Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon, who gave the drummer-singer a key to the city and a proclamation for “Peace and Love Day” before the ex-Beatle took the stage to bring smiles to an adoring audience spanning all ages. 

So what happened outside of Dodge Theatre on “Peace and Love Day” in Phoenix, Arizona? 

The next day, August 1, Phoenix’s Police Department did issue some very good news: Reductions in violent and property crimes for the first six months of 2008 were the largest decreases in more than 10 years.  Reported incidents of violent crime dropped 8.5% overall, homicides down 25.7%, aggravated assaults down 14.2%; property crimes down 10.4% overall, arson cases down 12%, and motor vehicle thefts down 29%.