Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Weighing in on the Incentive Debate

I have to comment on the blog by Ron Pies on Waveyard in the Republic. First, he admits that he lives in Tempe, so right there, he has no credibility on the subject. Ron Pies, Todd Stallion, whats with people from Tempe hating on Mesa? Its like telling someone else how to raise their kids. In the end, the whole Waveyard debate seems to come back to one thing: Incentives.

First, a math lession. Whats half of nothing? Have you guessed? Well, the answer is NOTHING. People are complaining that the City of Mesa is entering a deal that will generate sales tax dollars for the city and they are willing to give away some of the profits in order for that to happen. Doesn't the old saying go, it takes money to make money?

Incentive is defined as:

Something that incites or tends to incite to action or greater effort, as a reward offered for increased productivity.

Subsity is defined as:

A direct pecuniary aid furnished by a government to a private industrial undertaking, a charity organization, or the like.

Which definition fits here? I think "incentive" is a much better fit. Can anyone argue that Waveyard would not offer increased productivity compared to Riverview Golf Course? Its a 9 hole golf course that barely anyone outside of Mesa uses. Its not some superspectacular course - it is a public course that is lost in the sea of the other high class golf courses that are found all over the Valley.

Some of these taxpayers seem to think that any incentive paid is coming out of their pocket. The fact is, people who shop there, but a surfing ticket, sit on the beach, etc are the ones who pay the incentive. Whats wrong with Mesa trying to do something to increase revenues?

Look around, we have potholes in the streets, police and fire are stretched, and the city needs to think of ways to make more money. Yet, people sit there and are saying no, because they think its "direct aid." This implies that there is no benefit to the government, when in this case, there clearly is.

Unless you are going to start coming up with alternatives of your own, I am sticking with supporting Waveyard.

Mesa Air in some hot water

Based on the $80 million ruling against them, I hope that Mesa Air isn't the center piece for the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport plan. Whats more, if you look at the comments, there is some serious hate going on for Mesa Air. It makes me wonder about all of those commercials I have seen with those smiling employees who say things like, "I started on the runway!" Was there a caddle prod being threatened? You have to assume that this will strain the relationship between Mesa Air and US Airways, right?

More light rail?

I guess its important to discuss the impacts of potential light rail extensions into Mesa, but shouldn't we wait for the thing to be up and running before we get too far down the tracks (pardon the pun)? They are already looking at the extensions for 2015, and talking about ridership as if its all a done deal.

I think we should all wait and see how this thing goes before we go on an extend it all over the place. Plus, running the tracks down main street so it gets reduced to 1 lane in each direction seems like it would create a traffic nightmare. And, if those shop owners have been downtown in the last year or so, I bet they are shaking in their boots about what the construction would do to their business.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Jon from Exurban made my day

Jon from Exurban League has a great review of the new Gateway logo over at their blog. It includes the hilarious observation of how close the logo comes to a hammer and sickle on its side that I have posted above. Be sure to check it out yourself. Its hialarious when people out think themselves.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Mayor Candidates at Hispanic Town Hall

Here is the suggestively titled Trib article from the weekend: "Town hall Hispanics grill Mesa candidates." It sounds like some locals took the candidates and made fajitas out of them. At least, thats what I think when I read the word "grill."

From everything I heard, no one was all that impressive. Judging by the quotes from each of the candidates, it sure sounds that way. Walters sounds defensive. Smith sounds inexperienced. Griswold sounds too eager to please.

I doubt that we really need more resources in a diversity office at this point when we don't have enough money to do other things.

Go Gadget go!

Anyone else remember Inspector Gadget? It looks to me like "Go Go Gadget Airport!" to me. Someone got paid $10,000 to come up with that. You know you are in trouble when the best thing that someone can say about it is "It grows on you."

Let's hope that their business plan is better than their logo design.

Tribune trying to sell papers

Check out the Trib's front page Waveyard article from Sunday. Its pretty sensational. Here are the facts that they have:

1. A guy from Florida says the wavepool can't be done.
2. One of the Waveyard guys had a business deal go south on them.
3. These guys are being financed by a huge Australian finance company.

Gee, scandal scandal! Its weird. The pictures don't match up with the story at all. Why would the Waveyard guys be all smiles in the midst of a hit piece? Did the Trib lie to them about what the story was about?

You know what else is great? The ensuing 6 page comment war between the Yes folks and the No folks. The accusations are flying and the conspiracies are running deep. Are people being paid to gin up these comments on both sides?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Griswold captures the early fundraising lead

The Tribune is reporting, Griswold tops field in Mesa campaign fundraising. Congratulations to Mr. Griswold, he is beating his opponents by nearly double their amount. How much did he spend to put his smiling face all around town? How much do each of them have left in the bank?

I wish that everyone would get with the times and post the fundraising reports online. I would be very interested to see who is donating to what campaign. Did either of the incumbents have a war chest before this campaign started? How much was raised while they were "exploring" vs. how much did they raise since they became official candidates? These are questions that I am interested in, but I don't have time to go down and look it up at the clerk's office.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Salmon's Response to Robb about Waveyard

Found this response to Robb's column about Waveyard in the online version of the Republic today. I only found it because I was tracking a link back to the blog and found that the east valley opinions is carrying Robb's article as well. There right below it was a article by Matt Salmon. I wonder if they will run this front and center in the Valley and State just like the snipe job they ran by Robb.

You gotta love this last line:

"Apparently some conservatives don't even like it when government cuts good business deals keeping taxes low while simultaneously increasing public revenues; my guess is that is when they become journalists or policy analysts for pointy headed policy think tanks."

Truitt gets the nod for District 5

The Trib reports, Mesa appoints Truitt to City Council. Congratulations Darrell Truitt on representing District 5 for the next couple of months. I am sure that the learning curve is going to be swift, but I am sure you can handle it. Here is a word of advice: Don't tell us how hard it is to be on the council.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Imagine Robert Robb in swim trunks

Here's a shocker: Robert Robb doesn't like Waveyard. He, of course, hates ice cream, apple pie, and puppies. Heaven forbid that Mesa tries to generate revenue.

Robb argues that Mesa isn't getting a good deal and they are probably going to get less sales tax revenue that they would from other uses. Getting less sales tax than it could from other users? Nestled between two huge shopping centers and a couple of car dealerships, what kind of use would generate more dollars than a place for tourists to go? I don't see another power center doing the trick. Short of leasing the land to the indians and getting a casino (something that one of my readers mentioned yesterday as an idea that they would detest), I think that this is a good idea to raise the revenue base. Only something with one of a kind components might have a shot in bringing more people are revenue into the city.

Robb neglects to mention the financial troubles that Mesa has had in the past, the fact that the property tax was shot down, or the fact that our future rises and falls with the tides of sales tax revenue. The city needs to be more creative in the way they conduct their business and Mr. Robb is beating them up for doing so. Its so nice for him to climb down from his tower from time to time to tell us how dumb we all are and that he knows what is good for us.

Robert Robb seems like the kind of guy who would have poopooed Disneyland because it had never been done before. The large majority of the people I have talked to are in favor of this project. Fortunately, most of them don't read Robert Robb.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Not one, but two hotels in East Mesa?

There are Two 6-story hotels planned for east Mesa. Who knew? Its apparently going to go along with the medical complex that they are building out there. I don't know who is going to stay in the hotels, but let's hope it starts generating bed taxes and other things right away so that growth can start paying for itself. Lets hope there isn't any accidents out there because who knows how long the response times would be.

We need to start looking at the city from a broad perspective taking into account that we are going to continue to grow - especially in the east part of town. Those people deserve the same coverage and treatment as the people from other parts of town. So the question is: How can the city pay for the fire stations, police stations, and parks that they need out there?

No Duh!

This just in: If Waveyard isn't built in Mesa, it will go somewhere else. I don't really think that this is shocking to anyone. This is the kind of project that will certainly find a home somewhere in the Valley or some other state closeby. I don't really like to be threatened, but its also helpful to have a dose of reality.

I really think that the voters understand what is at stake here. With the Super Bowl coming to town this year and all the development coming out of the ground at Westgate, I think that people are starting to see what we missed the boat on. I know that many people are still glad that we don't have the stadium (especially after the Cards have lost two weeks in a row in painful fashion). I was luke warm about the stadium at best, and I know a lot of people who were against it. Now, a few of them have started to say that they feel like we missed out. It took several years to realize this, but hey, better late than never. I certainly hope that people look at what Waveyard can bring to Mesa - a town driven by sales tax - and understand that we need to start looking for ways to grow our local revenue.

Its clear that Waveyard will be built somewhere - so why not get the benefits here in Mesa?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Road Side Memorials Redux

Bob Schuster of the Republic blogged about the Rex Griswold road side memorial vs. Campaign Sign issue having the same observations as some of my readers. One of the commenters, called "insunnymesa" has written in to defend Griswold saying that this whole roadside memorial issues is the mayor's doing. Or as the commenter likes to say, the "major." The commenter misses the mark, however, since here is Griswold's direct quote:

"I think two weeks is a reasonable time" for memorials, Griswold said. "We allow them the two weeks to grieve and then they should come down."

That is the line that people like Schuster and some of my readers are having a problem with. Griswold apparently thinks that its okay to have a memorial up for ONLY two weeks, but campaign signs can be up for five months. Whether or not the law allows for it, the lack of sensitivity combined with the eagerness to self promote is troubling.

That doesn't even account to the fact that there is another election between now and the Mayor's race. Boy, some people are going to be bummed when they show up at the polls to vote on the Mayors race to find only Waveyard on the ballot.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Dip in Mesa's Sales Tax

The Republic is reporting that there is a dip in sales tax revenues to start the new fiscal year. Dips happen in sales from time to time, when people are concerned about the economy, or war, or lots of different reasons. In end, it usually doesn't make that big of a difference because as long as spending continues at a relatively decent pace, revenues will eventually catch up.

In Mesa's case, however, it makes a much bigger deal because sales tax is one of the biggest revenue sources that we have. Other cities use more stable sources of revenue such as a primary or secondary property tax to keep their services working. Mesa, on the other hand, uses that wonderous roller coaster that is sales tax revenue. Voters made it clear that they didn't want a property tax... and I am fine with that. However, we need to look for more stable ways to boost revenue when the economy hiccups.

Hopefully, this will end up being nothing, but who knows. More cuts may be on their way.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Is BlogNetNews being gamed?

I have not been on BlogNetNews for very long, and I appreciate the fact that they are willing to add me. You know what I don't appreciate? The fact that someone, or a few someones for that matter, take the time to go through and rank everyone with a 1. I think my cumulative rating is something like a 1.38. So thanks for everyone who takes the time to rate with something besides a 1! I have always been miffed, but then someone named "Chester" sent me this observation:

"Awhile back, I checked blognetnews after all of the rankings have been reset for the week. I noticed that Seeing Red had a 10 ranking. Just for interest, I ranked them a 1 to see what would happen. The feedback I received said that their new ranking for the week is 8.5. When do the math, you find that there were 5 people who ranked the blog a perfect 10. 5 people since the ranking was reset that morning."

Well, that is interesting... lets look at the rankings:

Seeing Red AZ (8.43)
Daniel's News & Views (3.88)
Sustainability, Equity, Development (3.31)
Politico Mafioso (2.89)
ThinkRight Arizona (2.87)
The Arizona Report (2.38)
Random Musings (2.29)
Arizona Political Heat (2.06)
Mesa Issues (2.00)
Espresso Pundit (1.57)
Red State Arizona (1.56)
AZ Political Intel (1.56)
Arizona 8th (1.13)
The Sonoran Alliance (1.11)
AZPoliticalNews (1.00)
Gabby Watch (1.00) (1.00)
Musing (1.00) (1.00)
AZplace (1.00)
El Gringo (1.00)
Rum, Romanism and Rebellion (1.00)
AZNetroots (1.00)
LiberalDesert (1.00)
Sacred Mountain Blues (1.00)
m2powered communications solutions (1.00)
Data Port (1.00)
Blog For Arizona (1.00)
Man Eegee (1.00)
LIGHTHOUSE (1.00) (1.00)
Spidelblog (1.00)
A Democrat's Lament (1.00)

Not that these rankings really mean anything, but could it be that it only takes about 5 people to skew the rankings so heavily? If 5 people come on every day and give Seeing Red AZ a 10 and the rest of us a 1, it might just be possible.

Don't get me wrong, I read Seeing Red AZ, just like a lot of other people do and I generally like what the guy has to say. Its just interesting that it appears that a lot of effort is taken to try to control the BNN rankings.

Waveyard Early Ballots

The Republic is reporting that the Waveyard Ballots are "heavy" in the east part of the city. When you look at the numbers, it looks like about half of the people who have requested the early ballots are from District 5 and 6, which put together, make up the large portion of the east part of the city. I think someone told me once that these guys usually end up being about half of the vote to begin with, so them having half of the early ballots is not that much of a surprise.

However, the real question here is: How do they feel about Waveyard? Do they support it? Would they rather have it closer to them or further away? Do they see the city as a whole and understand the benefits to them or will they vote no because its not in their area? Therein lies the real question.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

District 5 down to 4

Here are the 4 finalists for the City of Mesa District 5 Seat. Phil Austin almost didn't make the cut. Interesting... You would think that the Mayor might have passed his list around before making it public so he could avoid problems like this. But that is Mesa for you, I guess. Here are the finalists:

Phil Austin
Occupation: Lawyer
Years in district: 4
Considering running for a permanent seat? Yes

Terry Benelli
Occupation: Executive director, Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation
Years in district: 21
Considering running for a permanent seat? Yes

John Perkinson
Occupation: Real estate development, investment
Years in district: 21
Considering running for a permanent seat? No

Darrell Truitt
Occupation: President of Engineers, Planners and Surveyors Group
Years in district: 21
Considering running for a permanent seat? Not probable

I would bet that Benelli and Austin are going to run for this seat, no matter what. So, that should be an interesting race by itself. It would be a shame if the council were to pick one of them, because it would clearly give them an advantage. So, if the council wanted to avoid that, it would come down to John Perkinson and Darrell Truitt. What they don't mention is that Perkinson is on Scott Smith's campaign... I found that out after a bit of snooping (well, its actually quite blatant on Smith's site). And Truitt looks to be a transit guy - I wonder how that will go with the conservatives.

I would have put the money on Austin at the start, but that was before the council had a hard enough time getting him on the consideration list. Now it has gotten a lot more interesting.

21-1 - Hats off to the Rockies

You have to hand it to the Rockies. They have been downright unstoppable during the final stretch. At this point, I wouldn't be surprised with anything that they do. They might even sweep the World Series at this point. Who knows.

I am very proud of the D-backs and how they played this year. Lets hope that they can put a run together for a few years to come. Who knows, when bad contracts like Ortiz and Johnson finally come off the books, we may be able to get some free agents.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Waveyard Update

Waveyard Commercial

I was looking around this weekend and looks like Waveyard put their commercial online. Looks like things are going well with the election, but not quite as well as the Valley and State version of this article let on. Did anyone else see that? Looks like the online version has slightly more accurate information.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A bit of Griswold irony

A commenter named "Mesa" hit the nail on the head:

"I find it interesting that Rex Griswold chimed in about the length of time a roadside memorial can stay up and then decides to put his campaign signs up so they can sit there on the corner for 5 months. Typical for someone in the City of Mesa to do something like that and I'd love to hear what he would say about it now after his signs started popping up."

You got to hand it to the guy. He can advocate for the removal of roadside memorials and then without batting an eye, put his campaign signs up a week later. You stay classy, Rex Griswold.

Now, we are stuck seeing his smiling face up there for the next few months, but thank heavens those memorials will be removed! Personally, I think that the inevitable blackened out teeth and arrows drawn through Griswold's head are going to be much more distracting.

Friday, October 12, 2007

I still think D-Backs can do it!

Not quite the classy showing one would hope for on National TV. However, before Denver turns their nose up at us, they should remember that it wasn't too many years ago that Denver's own fans were throwing snowballs on the field at a Broncos game. Thats the snowball calling the waterbottle a projectile... or something like that.

They need their bats to come alive and for Doug Davis to have a good solid start tonight.

Welcome Light Rail!

Metro's Greatest Hits

Great video from Espresso Pundit this morning. I admit, I am a sucker for those "World's Craziest Police Chase" shows. How did those guys miss the huge train coming behind them?

I am going to reserve any judgement on Light Rail until the thing is up and running, but you have to love watching things run into other things. Maybe more people will go to D-Backs games when they can just drive down the street to a place like Tri-City, get on the train and go downtown. Who knows if it will work, but I am at least willing to give it a shot.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

D-backs in 6!

Look for Brandon Webb to have a solid start tonight to kick off the NLCS! I think that they can pull this bad boy off and bring us back to the World Series. I know that some of the national folks out there say that this isn't what they were hoping for, but you have to admit, both of these teams are playing out of their mind right now. Lets hope the 4 days off have helped to cool down the Rockies.

Twelve people want to represent District 5

The Tribune is reporting that there are 12 people who have signed up to be considered for the District 5 position. Here are the candidates:

Phil Austin
Occupation: Lawyer
Years in district: 4
Considering running for a permanent seat? Yes

Terry Benelli
Occupation: Executive director, Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation
Years in district: 21
Considering running for a permanent seat? Yes

Christopher Benjamin
Occupation: Business owner, real estate broker, investor
Years in district: 4-plus
Considering running for a permanent seat? Yes

Charles Brown
Occupation: Real estate property manager
Years in district: 18
Considering running for a permanent seat? Not at this time

Dina Higgins
Occupation: Metal sculptor
Years in district: 14
Considering running for a permanent seat? Yes

Vern Mathern
Occupation: Retired from Boeing
Years in district: 11
Considering running for a permanent seat? No plans

Robert Meko
Occupation: Retired elementary school principal
Years in district: 21
Considering running for a permanent seat? May consider

Gerald Paulus
Occupation: City gas division director
Years in district: 3.5
Considering running for a permanent seat? Undecided

John Perkinson
Occupation: Real estate development, investment
Years in district: 21
Considering running for a permanent seat? No

Buddy Petsch
Occupation: Stockbroker/financial adviser
Years in district: 10
Considering running for a permanent seat? Yes

Darrell Truitt
Occupation: President of Engineers, Planners and Surveyors Group
Years in district: 21
Considering running for a permanent seat? Not probable

Pete Tufts
Occupation: Commercial Realtor
Years in district: 5
Considering running for a permanent seat? Yes

For those counting at home, there are 6 people who are definietly considering a run, 2 undecideds, and 4 who are saying no. However, even some of the nos sound wishy washy. I think it might be best to think about selecting one of the people who says that they won't run. That way someone gets to perform a civic duty, and we get a competitive District 5 race, which will be interesting and fair. I think that Councilman Rawles spoke about kingmaking, and in this wide of a field, I think he may be right.

The real question is: How many of these people will run if they don't get selected to the seat?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

People are brutal sometimes

Bob Schuster poses an interesting question to the blogosphere about Compromise needed on roadside memorials. Looking at the comments so far, most of the people are pretty much against them. However, some of the comments seem a tad brutal.

People are complaining about the distractions... well, I have been driving in other cities and sometimes the statues in the middle of the streets can be distracting, but you don't hear people calling for them to be taken down. So are campaign signs and advertisements for that matter, should we take them down as well?

Just as with those other roadside distractions a compromise should be found on this issue, especially in Mesa. I think the city has enough to do that a code complaince officer shouldn't be out ticketing roadside memorials that aren't causing anyone danger.

If the city really wants to do something, perhaps a 6 month limitation should be placed. Then perhaps some sort of memorial can be erected somewhere and people could donate money to have the memory live on in some sort of distracting way. And the money from the memorial could go to fix the potholes in the streets.

Now THERE is an idea!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Scott Smith survey and trust

I heard someone talking about this bit of interesting information coming from mayoral candidate Scott Smith that was being passed around the internets today. Its apparently part 3 of an email thing that he has been sending out. I didn't know about this before now, but I do have to say that the results are interesting. Sure, they are far less than scientifically accurate, but in a lot of ways they sure seem to reflect some of the prevailing opinions out there.

Going back to the beginning of his discussion I'd like to comment on a few things:

  • Smith says that 38.5% said that they do not trust the city to spend as promised. And another 26.2% said they were unsure. He adds them up to say that "64.7% of the survey participants saying that they have questions about the way things are done." Perhaps I wouldn't go as far about those unsure folks, but the people who took his survey sure don't seem to be happy with the status quo. I think that Mesa tends to be a little cynical, but this does seem like a problem... that is, of course, if his numbers can be trusted.

  • Wow. The the average rating on the health of the city was a 1.82 out of 5. That is a lot of people voting 1 which Smith defined as a crisis. I wonder what Griswold and Walters think when they see things like that? I am sure they would say that this is "merely a perception problem" but in this case, isn't perception really reality? Unless they can come out and say the city is not in a crisis, I don't know how they don't come off sounding defensive against this point if Smith starts pounding on them with it.

  • Finally, at least these people are consistent. How do you get out of a crisis? You “Find Economic Opportunities” which Smith says ranked as the number 1 priority of the survey participants. I am glad to see that people are willing to do more than just lament on the current situation. We certainly need someone who is looking for solutions.

I am not saying that anything that Scott Smith has released represents any sort of scientific reality, but it is interesting in the realm of putting forth a discussion. Will Griswold and Walters be able to mount a credible defense against this?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Waveyard Myths ...Busted

Great editorial in the Tribune this weekend: Myths fall to Waveyard’s realities

The Editorial goes on to answer the concerns about water, the parks, and the revenue incentives deal. Here is the most important line:

"If Waveyard doesn’t reach at least $2 million in credits each year, the developers must pay the difference to the city out of their own pockets."

Mesa is protected and we get a pretty cool place to go that should attract people from all over. Plus, in the end, we all know that the City could use more revenue.

I can see the few same angry bloggers are booing and hissing over the Tribune taking a stance and answering the questions. Of course, as is their custom, they ignore the things that the tribune is saying and attempts to go on the offensive about the Tribune itself or the politicians who are supporing it. Its the same ad hominem attacks (look I did learn something in school) that don't prove anything, but make them feel better.

Sorry Cubbies

With great apologies to all of my friends who are Cubs fans, but better luck next year! Besides, next year will be the 100 year anniversary and that will be a much better story for ESPN. I loved the sign that someone was holding up that said something along the lines of "Next Year is your year!" Plus, lets hope that means they come to Mesa hungry and playing well during spring training. We need all the help we can get to stay at the top of the attendance rankings.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Ballfields and Water - Mesa's Promise

Here is the the third in Gary Nelson's series on Waveyard: Mesa gives assurances on ballfields, Waveyard water supply. It shows me that the city, in some form, understands that there is a lack of trust from the voters. They are doing a lot to try to help alleviate the concerns about Waveyard as people begin to vote, so the decision will be more about the project itself instead of about if the City will do what its supposed to.

I think if you look on the merits of the project, Waveyard is a good idea for Mesa. Here's why:

1. Its going to be like nothing we have ever seen before. People will come to Mesa just to check it out. Just like how people come to Sandusky, Ohio just to go to Cedar Pointe.

2. We need the tax revenue - and I'd rather have tourists pay it. We shot down a property tax, and we are all complaining about the rising utilities costs. Lets do something to help offset the taxes that we pay.

3. Its a good deal. I know that people hate incentives deals, but sometimes you have to spend money to make money. The City seems to be fairly protected in the deal - heck, even VBO and Tom Rawles seem to be in support of the way the deal was written.

Naturally, there will be people out there who will doubt the intentions of the city and the developers no matter what happens. I came across this great blog post about Waveyard and wouldn't you know who couldn't resist to comment, but "Mr. Fuzzy Hat" himself, JT Ready. See, JT believes that the city is always up to no good and no matter what they do, there is something wrong with their actions. He thinks that developers have black hearts and everything they do is sinister. Also, he believes that he should chase down Hispanics and try to arrest them. Plus, he was the founder of the minutemen and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Woo hoo! 2 - 0.

Anybody. Anytime. The D-backs showed once again that they can beat you a million different ways and the support can come from anyone. It still cracks me up that the national media is trying to talk about how the Cubs keep screwing up instead of how the D-backs are playing well. They have had solid pitching, timely hitting, and unbelieveable relief so far. Let's hope they can take it to Wrigley over the weekend and bring it home. Maybe finally the NL West will get some respect if both the D-backs and the Rockies can pull it off. However, I hope they keep playing as hard as they are now - this is not the time to be over confident.

Here is one question: Why are they starting the games so late? They are starting 7:00pm our time, which means 10:00am Eastern Time. The game finished by about 11:00pm here, which is 2:00am out there. Heck, I am tired by 11:00 and I certainly would have trouble staying up till 2:00am to watch a game. The result is: no one watches the game. Perhaps, that will work to our advantage as people continue to underestimate us.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Waveyard Park issue might be settled

The City of Mesa has identified replacement park sites that they would consider for relocating the softball fields if Waveyard passes. I, for one, am glad to see that the City is at least working in the right direction towards coming to some sort of conclusion prior to the election.

I understand that the final site will probably not be picked by the time the election comes around. And why should it? The City should be very careful about the promises they make based on something that is still up in the air. Hopefully, they have a process in place, and lets all pray that it involves the neighbors in the area, since they seem to have strong opinions about it.

Parks are very important for quality of life, and I respect that people want this issue resolved. As I have said before, I am not against cutting back on a few parks for the time being to make more money to help pay for the essentials, but I know that many people don't agree with me.

Let's hope that this issue is settled to the satisfaction of those involved so its not standing in the way of their vote on Waveyard.

Crime rate is down...

Congratulations to the Mesa Police Department and Police Chief George Gascón for lowering the overall crime rate in Mesa. I think targeting serial criminals and taking the proactive approach to making the streets safer and helping reduce drug and gang activity in our neighborhoods.

However, one question still nags me. I read awhile back that response times are increasing because the Police force is stretched too thin. How does that stat relate to the overall crime rate? I think its a very important piece to the puzzle that must be discussed as part of the discussion.

Like I said...

Lots to post about today. How fun!

The Tribune has an excellent editorial today about the pay raise issue and the City Council. Look closely, and you will see that the newspaper hits on many of the points that yours truly has espoused on this very blog. Two lines that especially rang true to me:

"A council salary raise would be a difficult sell in Mesa under any circumstances, and an impossible one right now. "

"Mesa needs to engage residents instead of further alienating them."

Now Walters was defended by the Republic saying that she wasn't aware that the Tribune was going to make this a big issue. Whether that is true or not, these councilmembers need to learn not to speak in hypotheticals, especially when there is nothing to gain from it. We get it, you have opinions on things... and thats all well and good, but hey maybe you should focus on the issues at hand, and not walk down the merry path that is only going to tick people off. I am sure that there is some reason for why they "should" be talking about it, the council always seems to have an excuse on why they do what they do. However, I can tell you two things for sure:

1. Voters don't want to know how hard you think you work.

2. Voters don't want to know that you think you are underpaid.

Go D-backs!

That was a heck of a game last night. It was really fun to watch, and it was also pretty cool to see the stadium full once again. I know a lot of longtime Cubs fans because their connections to Mesa and the long tradition of Spring Training. In fact, I will fully admit that the Cubs were the team I rooted for before the D-backs came to town. I was glad to see that when push came to shove, a lot of my friends who are Cubs fans and will continue to support them in spring training decided to support the D-backs.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

You can't stop the rainin' by complainin'

Here's a couple of the things that I don't get about Mesa. People don't want a property tax - the election made that clear. They don't trust the council - which is pretty self evident. They want things to stay they way they are - yet they are unwilling to support anything that might help.

I was looking through the opinions today and I saw this one by David Gundlach. Its just oozing with a sense of entitlement. Tell me, Mr. Gundlach, what do you think would be the right deal?

Here's what I don't understand. If the City is supposed to be making all sorts of cuts to make sure that we have enough money for Police, Fire and Roads, why not sell off some land that could be put to a better use to make more money for the city? If we need to tighten our belts to make things work, why not cut back on a few parks or use a few pieces of city property to a higher and better use?

When you are broke, you don't keep spending money on things like going to the movies or candy. You start looking for ways to spend your money wisely and perhaps look around your house and see what you aren't using any more and perhaps hold a little garage sale.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Who wants to represent District 5?

City of Mesa is looking for people to replace Griswold

More importantly, I learned that perpetual whiner Todd Stallion doesn't even live in Mesa. Thats fascinating that he takes so much time to complain about everything. Rawles may have a point, perhaps it would be best to have someone who isn't seeking election to the seat. That way, some work could get done, while the other people campaign for the seat.

You Get Two Weeks to Mourn

Mesa wants roadside memorials taken down

You'd think we live in a city with no major problems that the code enforcement team has the time to go around and make sure to cite everyone with a roadside memorial. They say that they aren't going around and looking for it, but I am not so sure. Now, Rex Griswold has taken a stand! This is a very touchy subject, and I was pretty surprised that he was willing to lay down such a hard line, since its my impression that making tough decisions isn't always in his nature. Here are my thoughts on the subject:

1. Kudos to Griswold for making a stand - albeit, probably not a very popular one. I don't know what it gets him politically, but hey, he is sticking to it. I totally reserve the right for takebacks if he comes out and reverses his decision if this article gets any backlash.

2. Is there really an appropriate amount of time that a memorial should have? I have seen ones that have been up for a couple weeks and ones that have been up for a couple of years. As long as its not causing any propblems, I don't see why the city even needs to be involved. Complaints about ugliness are not the same as safety complaints.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Republic now defending the council against the Tribune

Arizona Republic columnist Gary Nelson has this to say about the potential pay hike that was mentioned by the Tribune over the weekend. Which is funnier?

a. Nelson is not able to mention his former employer for many years by name

b. Walters, sensing backlash, is all over this bad boy backing off of the raise

I am going to have to go with b. You know why? The charter says that the current council would not be able to get the pay raise anyway. So why not go against the raise and make ground with the conservatives? You aren't getting the benefit anyway, anything short of denying the hike still sounds self serving.

Also, there's this passage:

"As for Saturday's newspaper story, Walters said, 'The headline was rather surprising.'"

I didn't know that it was the job of one paper to get someone's view on the headline of another newspaper. I can't wait until we get to hear about what the Vice Mayor thought of the headlines of the New York Times from over the weekend.

Is there a conflict?

Critics say Richins’ funding links to Mesa present conflict of interest

Look closely at the headline. Who are the critics? Is it his opponent? Is it a voter? According to the Tribune, its some folks in an online forum. When was this forum? Is this the comment section of some other article?

Second, look at the wording of the headline. The word "funding" makes you think that something might be wrong with his campaign funding or perhaps he is trying to skirt the law with some sort of violation.

I admit, it got me. You gotta hand it to headline writers. I thought it was some sort of scandal involving Dave Richins and something that he was doing on his campaign. As it turns out, the non-profit that he runs receives money from the City. According to the paper, the West Mesa Community Development Corp. "helps local businesses and bolsters community projects" and gets some of their money from the City to do it.

Well, heaven forbid the City of Mesa invests in something that would help local West Mesa businesses and bolster West Mesa community projects. Besides, it looks like most of the money comes from Community Development Block Grants which are from HUD. So, the money comes to the city from HUD, and the city sends it out.

How does that make Richins a Mesa employee, which is the claim of these mysterious critics?

Mesa City Council wants more money

Interesting tidbit from Saturday's Tribune: Mesa council considering raises. First and foremost, please notice who they have quotes from in the article. Its another opportunity for Griswold and Walters to talk about themselves in the paper.

What I think is funny, is that neither of them really capitalized on the opportunity. Do they really think that the average voter really cares how much they make right now? Do they really think that we are going to be so shocked with how low it is? I thought one or both of them would talk about the fact that its a hard job, but something that they are pleased to do. Or perhaps they want to keep their current salary and wait until all the Police and Fire Stations could be funded before they ask for a raise. They are making cuts left and right, yet they are asking people for more money?

Its like when they were threatening all sorts of cuts during the property tax vote last year, and then they had someone out giving us report cards on our recycling bins. Does that make any sense?

I would dare to say that if they council asked the voters right now for a pay raise, they would be roundly rejected. Plus, I bet if this raise goes up to vote with some sort of property tax, or bond, those would be rejected as well. I appreciate that the council works hard, and perhaps a councilperson could deserve more money, but I am not sure that these guys are the right guys to be asking for it.