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Volunteers Needed for Arts Advocacy Day in downtown Phoenix

[Source: Boy Meets Blog]

Arts Congress 2011: Monday, February 7th

The Arts Congress is coordinated by the Arizona Action for the Arts and is the official advocacy day for the arts here in Arizona. The event draws attendees from across the state representing large arts organizations, arts administrators, artists and community leaders. The event consists of training sessions, face-to-face meetings with state legislators, networking, caucuses, and representation in the House and Senate galleries. (If you don’t want to volunteer but would prefer to go as an attendee, click here to sign up.)

The Arts Congress is this Monday, February 7, 2011 at the State Capitol on the Senate Lawn and is is an all day event beginning at 7:30 am and ending at 3:30, but volunteers can sign up for 4 different shifts.

The Arts Congress organizers are looking for volunteers to work at the registration booth, volunteers to set up the coffee and muffin table and coordinate with the catering company for the lunch order, volunteers for the event check out, and volunteers to work as ambassadors. The ambassadors will be staged throughout the State Capitol and will be pointed out to the event attendees to answer questions, etc. The ambassadors are asked to work from 9 am to 3, but the organizers can be flexible. And if you can give a minimum of 3.5 hours, you’ll get lunch.

To sign up or if you have questions, contact Michelle Peralta at info@azcitizensforthearts.org or call 602-253-6535

 

Arizona Governor declares Phoenix a “hell hole”

hellhole9p092309_tmb0001_20090923222052_640_480[Source: Fox 10 News] — Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is caught on camera making a remark you wouldn’t expect.   The state’s budget battle apparently prompted her to refer to the State Capitol as a “hell hole.”  No doubt the state’s budget battle taken its toll on Gov. Brewer — enough to get her to say something surprising during a stop in Tucson.

She told a group of Republicans at the Tucson Country Club: “It’s a great relief to say the least to get out of that hellhole in Phoenix.”

Her office says she wasn’t referring to the city of Phoenix — instead, the state Capitol.  Not because of the building, but because of the budget battle.

It’s been a trying few months for Brewer as she’s tried to solve the state’s huge budget deficit.  Brewer has been pushing for a 1-percent sales tax increase, but lawmakers in her own party have fought back against it.  The governor expects to call lawmakers back to work soon to try and resolve the remaining budget issues.

Arizona so broke it may sell off its House, Senate

Capitol For Sale[Source: National Post, Ontario, Canada] — Has Arnold Schwarzenegger heard of this?  Arizona’s financial condition is so desperate the state is considering selling off its legislative structures, including its Senate and House buildings, for US$735 million.

The Arizona Republic reports: “Dozens of other state properties also may be sold as the state government faces its worst financial crisis in a generation, if not ever.  The plan isn’t to liquidate state assets, though.  Instead, officials hope to sell the properties and then lease them back over several years before assuming ownership again.  The complex financial transaction would allow government services to continue without interruption while giving the state a fast infusion of as much as $735 million, according to Capitol projections.”

Arizona is looking at a budget deficit of about $3.4 billion, in a state with a population of 6.5 million.

The financial crisis doesn’t reflect well on the Republicans, who have dominated both houses of government for 15 years.  The selloff reportedly could include the House and Senate buildings, the Phoenix and Tucson headquarters of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the State Hospital and the state fairgrounds, and some prison facilities.  But the copper-domed Capitol building, built in 1901, is apparently excluded.  [Note: Read the full article at Arizona so broke it may sell off its House, Senate]

Viewpoint: Central Phoenix, the good, bad, and ugly

[Source: Jon Talton, Rogue Columnist blog] — Because I know the fragile self-esteem of Phoenicians is at stake, let me begin my observations about the state of the center city with the good stuff.  I smelled the orange blossoms — even stepping out into one of ugliest urban spaces anywhere, the pedestrian loading zone at Sky Harbor.  Many of the Midwestern transplants dislike the scent, which makes me dislike some of them even more.  But this small, fleeting thing reminds me of my often magical city that is gone forever.

Some of the projects begun under former Mayor Skip Rimsza and spearheaded by people like former Deputy City Manager Sheryl Sculley, retired Deputy City Manager Jack Tevlin and Ed Zuercher, now a deputy city manager, have turned out quite well.  As I wrote before, the starter light-rail line is great.  Now lots of places are clamoring for LRT; the trick will be to avoid using light rail when commuter rail would be more efficient.  A metro area the size of Phoenix needs both.  The Convention Center is such a startlingly attractive set of buildings that you wonder if the design was approved by mistake, given Phoenix’s ability to erect such ugliness.  The ASU downtown campus, Mayor Gordon’s signature accomplishment, is more of a reality, and thus will be more difficult for the Legislature to destroy.  The lovely oasis of Arizona Center remains, shady and cool.

Read on if you want to know “the rest of the story,” as the late Paul Harvey would say.

Much of the center city looks as if it has been cleaned up after repeated carpet bombing by the Allies in World War II.  There’s just nothing there.  It’s staggering to see the cleared land along Van Buren, Washington and Jefferson in what was to be Mayor Gordon’s “Opportunity Corridor.”  Other vacant lots proliferate around the Central Corridor.  City Hall seems to have learned nothing from its clear cutting of the neighborhoods between 7th Avenue and the state capitol during the 1980s.

This is problematic for many reasons.  First is what’s lost.  One would never know that Phoenix in 1950 was as densely populated as Seattle is today.  Buildings, many average but many with architectural value, crowded along every street.  For example, the district between 7th Avenue and the capitol had many Victorian houses and apartments from the territorial and 1920s era.  Van Buren and east McDowell, to give just two examples, sported commercial strips with the buildings right up to the sidewalk.  Downtown and the warehouse district were dense with interesting, durable, and in some cases priceless buildings.  Now all gone.  [Note: To read the full blog entry, click here.]

Downtown Phoenix businesses lobby for new light rail stops

[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic, March 3, 2009] — When light-rail construction scared off scores of shoppers, many struggling downtown merchants considered the $1.4 billion line more of a curse than a blessing.  Light rail began running in December, and what a difference a few months has made.  Last week, several downtown business owners lobbied a transit agency to make sure that their shops would sit near a future light-rail route.  Metro appeared before an influential downtown business group to talk about plans for a light-rail span that would link West Phoenix, the state Capitol, and downtown in 2019.

Metro is weighing several possible routes on the west end of downtown Phoenix.  One option would put tracks on Jackson Street.  Another alternative would use Washington and Jefferson streets, Metro officials told the Downtown Phoenix Partnership.

  • Dale Jensen and David Wallach, two of the businessmen behind the proposed Jackson Street Entertainment District pushed for the Jackson Street option.  The city wants an entertainment district, and a Jackson Street light-rail route makes sense, Wallach said.
  • Bill Smith, who owns four downtown restaurants, including Stoudemire’s Downtown, argued for the Washington-Jefferson option.  All of his downtown restaurants sit near the Washington-Jefferson corridor.  “I have to disagree with my brother, Dale Jensen,” Smith said.

The banter was playful, but the stakes are high.  Metro recently announced that initial daily light-rail ridership was nearly 20 percent higher than expected.  About 30,000 boardings — one-way trips — are made each day.  If a business is located near the future light-rail line, those trains could bring thousands of potential customers.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

New state archives in downtown Phoenix to be dedicated, Jan. 15

https://i0.wp.com/www.faza.net/images/PRpers.jpgThe Friends of Arizona Archives invite you to attend the dedication of the Polly Rosenbaum State Archives and History Building.

  • Date: Thursday, January 15, 2009
  • Time: Remarks and Ribbon Cutting 9 a.m. (Honorable Ken Bennett, Master of Ceremonies); tours 10 a.m. to Noon
  • Place: 1901 West Madison Street at 19th Avenue (parking available at the State Capitol, Records Building, Wesley Bolin Plaza, and on adjoining side streets where permitted)

Refreshments will be served, including cake from Polly Rosenbaum’s 100th birthday cake’s recipe.  RSVP by January 7 if you plan to attend.  Specify whether you would like to take a tour of the facility after the ceremony.   RSVP via e-mail or by phone to 602-770-5057.  For more information, visit the FAzA website.  This event is presented by Mortenson Construction and Gila County.

The USS Arizona and “a day that will live in infamy”

The USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor is “ground zero” where World War II began for the United States.  The event where Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto stated: “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant…”   The USS Arizona serves as the final resting place for many of the battleship’s 1,177 crew members who lost their lives on December 7, 1941.

Visit the historic Arizona State Capitol for the exhibit, “Flagship of the Fleet: Life and Death of the USS Arizona.”   For most of us, the most common image of the Arizona is of the ship in flames at Pearl Harbor.  This exhibit tells the rest of the story, its focus is personal.  Using rare artifacts and photographs, it tells the story of the men.  The exhibit brings the history of the ship up to date with film footage documenting the research that has been conducted on the ship since the 1980s.

Depression-era interviews of 700 Arizonans preserved

[Source: Richard Ruelas, Arizona Republic] — The Works Progress Administration, a government public-works program started during the Great Depression, didn’t just leave Arizona with canals and sidewalks.  It also preserved some personal human history.  The project yielded oral histories of about 700 residents, most of whom were elderly when they were interviewed in the 1930s.  Consider them slices of government-funded history.

The WPA, later renamed the Work Projects Administration, was part of the New Deal that President Franklin D. Roosevelt instituted during the Great Depression.  It included projects such as those canals and sidewalks.  But writers needed jobs, too.  So did teachers, librarians, artists, and other white-collar workers.  But according to the Web site of the Library of Congress, there was a belief that these folks might not make good bricklayers.  So the government launched the Federal Writers’ Project.  Part of its mission was to document life histories.  The project lasted from 1935 to 1939, before federal funding was yanked.

Melanie Sturgeon, director of Arizona’s History and Archives Division, said most of the interviews were done by the time federal funding dried up.  “By the time 1939 was over,” she said, “they were just cleaning (the interviews) up.”  Twelve boxes containing interviews are stored in the new Polly Rosenbaum Archives and History Building in downtown Phoenix.  The material is available for viewing in the archives center, just west of the State Capitol.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

This Veterans Day, let us remember…

The Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center’s annual Veterans Day Parade runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, November 11 in midtown Phoenix, featuring nearly 100 parade entries including military and civilian marching units, color guards, military vehicles, equestrian units, floats, balloons, and bands.  The parade will run north from the VA Medical Center, beginning at Seventh Street and Montecito (north of Indian School Road), turning west on Camelback Road and proceeding to Central Avenue, then turning north to Bethany Home Road, where it will end at North Phoenix Baptist Church.

Later, take time to stop by and visit the memorials at Wesley Bolin Memorial Park in downtown Phoenix.  To learn more about the memorials in and around our nation’s capital, click here.

Central Phoenix vortex of Arizona House Democratic leadership

Starbucks, Park Central Mall

[Source: Arizona Republic] — Arizona is the nation’s 6th largest state.  It sprawls across more than 110,000 square miles, from the farm fields of Yuma to the desert sands to the Coconino high country.  So The Insider thought it interesting that House Democrats chose to represent that vast geographic diversity by picking a leadership team composed of three lawmakers who live so close to each other that they probably frequent the same Starbucks.  And that’s saying something.

The incoming team of House Minority Leader David Lujan, Assistant Minority Leader Kyrsten Sinema, and Minority Whip Chad Campbell live in a central Phoenix neighborhood basically bordered by Camelback on the north and Roosevelt on the south, between Seventh Avenue and Seventh Street.  But Sinema swore that she and the other newly minted Dem leaders would have no trouble keeping the concerns of rural Arizonans close at heart during budget talks and other negotiations.

Why?  Well, for one, Sinema noted that she was born and raised in Tucson, and Campbell attended school in Flagstaff at Northern Arizona University. Besides that, the leadership team has agreed to take on one lawmaker from rural Arizona and another from southern Arizona who’ll serve as “close advisers and assistants.”  They’ve also already agreed to take a day trip to Tucson later this month to meet with local officials, with a subsequent trip planned to Yuma.

That’s all well and good, but Arizona’s Rural vs. Urban, Maricopa vs. Everyone Else tensions run deep.  The Insider bets it won’t take long before a rural Dem wonders aloud if the Central Phoenix Trio knows a latte from a lettuce head.