Friday, February 29, 2008

Now this would be an interesting election

So, Hurricane Bay is up for a council vote next week. The neighbors hate it, of course, but it would probably be good for Mesa to diversify a bit. So, lets assume the council passes it. Lets also assume the neighbors are mad, as they always seem to be in Mesa, and they refer it to the ballot. Would this wait until November to be decided? Would it be on the same ticket as the bonds with a potential secondary property tax attached? That could make for some interesting election issues.

I can already see it, "Vote Yes on 301 - because we like to party" and "Vote Yes on 302 - because we need someone to arrest these people." Or something like that.

More big fundraising returns

It looks like Claudia Walters won the latest round of fundraising, gathering over $24,000 is the last cycle. Scott Smith gathered another $18,000 in donations, and Rex Griswold gathered over $17,000. Here is the Republic's take as well. She also has the most on hand, so I predict that she will make a major push over the last few days. The real question is: can she push past the overarching sentiment that she is to blame for many oft he problems. Whether this fact is true or not, she has been taking the majority of the hits on this issue, while most people have given Griswold a pass.

ETA: I just found out that $10,000 of Walter's money came from a personal loan. Why didn't they make a bigger deal out of it? The loan issue was beaten to death when Smith and Griswold donated to their campaigns.

Seeing how much Yarbrough is being outspent by Kavanaugh, I stand by my previous statement about how Yarbrough should be banging on taxes now more than ever. However, I predict that his goose is fairly cooked. Based on the money, support and the momentum, here is how I predict these races are going to play out:

District 1 - Richins will win, but it might be closer than people thought
District 2 - Alex Finter will win handily
District 3 - Dennis Kavanaugh will win
District 5 - Phil Austin will win

This leaves only the Mayor's race. I am going to have to wait and see how these last few days play out. There might be a chance for someone to win outright depending on how turnout goes. However, each has their own base so a runoff might be inthe cards. The most interesting thing is that I am predicting that District 5 will be won outright, so that would mean that the Mayor's race is the only thing that has potential for a run off.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

District 3 rundown

Here is the Tribune's take on Kavanaugh vs. Yarbrough in District 3. Clearly, Kavanaugh has the edge when it comes to experience and knowing people around that district. Those people down there love him.

However, I think Kavanaugh should be careful about using the secondary property tax to finance past bond debt. I have said it before, and I will say it again, I don't think that is a very popular idea. The bonds have been passed, and whether the property tax was implied or not, its not the right move. If Yarbrough were smart, he would be pounding away on that point every chance he gets. Talking about Kavanaugh's experience isn't helping his cause, he needs to light a fire these last few weeks if he wants to have a chance.


The Republic has an interesting rundown of who is endorsing whom in the upcoming Mesa elections. They must also be hurting for space or for clicks, because they had the article reviewing the endorsements as a separate link. I thought it was interesting that they didn't mention anything about the Police and Fire in the article - just on the rundown list. Judging by the fact that all of the signs I see seem to point to the police and fire endorsements, the candidates seem to think they are a pretty big deal.

What is most shocking to me is that Walters has won nearly every establishment endorsement, leaving Griswold with very few. I had thought that the people would split between the two, but really Walters mopped up in that category. So, who is backing Griswold? I looked to Griswold watch to see if he had anything to say about it, but alas, it looks like he has closed up shop. Great Oden's Raven!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mesa Mayoral Candidates on the budget

Once again, the main focus of the article doesn't really seem to be in tune with the headline. This is supposed to be a discussion on budget solutions, and a large portion of the story is about the bond package. The problem is still there whether or not the bonds pass. I understand that things need to be built and the bond will help with that, but its not fixing the long term problem.

The most interesting part is the discussion of the failure of the primary property tax in 2006. I don't think Griswold's assertions are true about the knowledge of the voters when it comes to the tax. They knew what they were voting on, and the people had made it clear what was supposed to happen if the tax went down. I remember phrases like, "more cuts aren't the answer," to help describe the troubles that were ahead.

The problem is, nothing ever happened. Why didn't the City sell its land in Pinal County after the tax went down before the market bubble burst? Why didn't they cut the programs they said they were going to cut? Why didn't the look at these alternative revenue sources before the budget got so bad?

Here is what lies ahead:

-18-month budget deficit of up to $16 million
- 5 percent cut in city department budgets
- An expected reduction in state shared revenue
- Declining sales tax receipts

And they wonder why the council gets blamed for being part of the problem...

West Mesa Showdown

I have heard that its getting a bit heated in District 1 between Dave Richins and Matt Tolman. I think that its interesting that both are being called "community backed" because I guess I have a different version of what I call the community.

In my mind, Richins is the community guy with the neighborhoods, the fire fighters, the Republic behind him. Tolman appears to be more the party guy with Legislators in his corner and serving as the Republican Party chair. I am not placing more value on one or the other, I just think its interesting phrasing.

Overall, the article seems interesting because its supposed to be talking about redevelopment, but it never really gets to the meat of the issue. Its says, Richins is for X,Y, and Z, and Tolman is against X,Y, and Z. I guess its hard to get into detail when you only have so many words. Richins seems like more of the known commodity while Tolman still appears to be fairly unknown beyond the typical conservative lines.

I bet people from District 1 would like to know how he voted on Waveyard, Riverview, and the property tax.

Speed Humps

People who don't live on Hermosa Vista hate the temporary speed humps. The people who do live on the street like them. Now, the stats seem say that the speeds are getting down to the legal limit, and traffic has actually decreased in the area. Seems like a good thing to me.

However, Mesa has a survey that says people don't like it. Well, unless there is some other compelling reason to remove them, I'd say they are doing their job. Kids don't like vegetables, but that doesn't make the greens any less good for them.

Why does the city take a stand on stupid things like Roadside memorials, but turn their tail and run on other things like these speed humps? Now Councilman Jones said that other streets are taking the brunt of the traffic woes. If there are stats to prove that, I might change my mind. However, once again, either Mesa is doing something misguided or they have once again failed to explain themselves properly.

This makes me sad...

This banner is in a place of major prominence on the East Valley Tribune website. From this lame banner to the party girls that always seem to be on the cover of AZCentral, I am sad to say that the newspapers have become less about news and more about ads. Apparently, its more important to read the idol blog than to have consistent coverage on whats going on. If they want someone to gush all over the Arizona contestants, I bet there are some people who would recommend Jason Massad for the job. He seems to do a good job heaping on the praise.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Library Centennial

Happy 100th Birthday Mesa Library. You know, its been over twenty years since they put it that sculpture out front of the main library, and I still think its ugly.

Lowe's goes to the Council

Well, it looks like Lowe's near Country Club and Guadalupe is going to be finally voted on by the Council. This is Mesa afterall, so this probably won't be the last we hear about this. For the third year in a row, we'll probably have to have a citywide vote on a project that would likely pass very easily in another community. I have heard a lot of complaining from the neighbors, but I have yet to hear what they would want instead of Lowe's.

Wave Goodbye to the Train

Saving the train at Pioneer Park is not getting a lot of support. I know that some people are sad about this, but I think it is a good thing. There are a lot of other things that we could be focused on right now. Plus, I don't think its worth $350,000 to save it, especially since kids still won't be able to play on it.

In case you are wondering, here is a run down on what each of the candidates thinks about saving the train. I agree with a couple of the candidates who say the train should be replaced with play equipment. Dave Richins mentions train themed equipment, which I think is the best idea of all. They shouldn't be raising money to save the train, they should be raising the money to replace it with something useful.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Review of Tribune Features on Griswold, Walters, and Smith

So, I waited to review the stories about the three canidates for Mayor until I had a chance to review them all and compare and contrast each of them. First, I have to say, it fairly noticable that Butler's report on Walters was much harsher than either of Masaad's pieces on Griswold or Smith. I'd say that Griswold probably ended up with the most favorable review, leading to more accusations that Griswold and Massad are buddies. So here is the rundown:

Rex Griswold Tribune Feature

It was interesting to see that this article seemed to have more quotes from other people than any of the others. It had the chamber president, a pollster and the unhappy candidate for Senate. Couldn't Griswold beef up the article with some of his own opinions on things?

However, the most glaring feature of this article was the talk about religion and the part it plays in this election. I don't know who brought it up, but it went out of its way to point out who was and wasn't LDS in the race. Judging from the mail that I have seen, Griswold has subtly pointed out that he was non-LDS in each of his pieces. I am not LDS, but I don't think that religion should be the primary focus of this race and it certainly shouldn't be one of the main features in a candidate bio.

Claudia Walters Tribune Feature

Like I said before, clearly the harshest of the three pieces. What I don't understand is how Walters gets all of the city's shortcomings pinned to her, while Griswold always seems to be linked to the opportunity. Is it me, or does she come off as the bookworm who does all the homework, and Griswold comes off as the jock who sleeps through class, but gets all the attention?

I was surprised that she is coming out so forward with Hawker's endorsement. People have told me for a long time that the current Mayor was always in favor of Walters. Didn't that get around enough for the people who it would benefit? I think that there are plenty of people out there who will be turned off by that endorsement. Also, I give her credit that she has names for all of her plans, but she certainly doesn't seem to have ways to fund them. Plus, its neat to see a bunch of new programs, but we still haven't fixed our old problems.

Scott Smith Tribune Feature

Well, Scott Smith doesn't have council experience - a fact that Jason Massad mentions no less than 6 times. The reporter takes the time to write well placed jabs talking about how Smith approaches problems, and speculates on Smith's comfort with details. A particularly blatant one:

"With no political history to draw upon, there are few indicators to predict how Smith would tackle the many challenges facing cash-poor Mesa."

I didn't know that other kinds of experience didn't apply to running for office. Its also sort of interesting because when you start to read the comments about Smith in each of these articles, there is this new notion that he should have run for council first before tackling a run for Mayor. However, the paper says that the Mayor is just another member of the council, elected citywide. So whats the difference which seat Smith chose to run for?

If you have some time, make sure you check out the interactive videos. Its pretty cool that they allowed each candidate to pick the places to do their interviews. They each have an interesting perspective, and I think that they tell you a lot about each of the candidates.

Don't worry...

I have seen the detailed bio pieces and the interactive questionaires that the Tribune has set up for each of the candidates running for Mayor. Thanks to everyone who has called them to my attention!

I am simply waiting to see how all three go before I weigh in on them. In fact, I am sort of interested see what slant they take with the last one since the first two have been so different.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Illegal Immigration and the candidates for Mesa Mayor

Here is an interesting article that you should read if you want to take a look at how each of the candidates will approach illegal immigration. The current mayor goes short of saying that Mesa is a sanctuary city, but says that they have been "way too lax."

The overall tone I get from this article is that while Mesa is technically not a sactuary city, most people perceive it to be. Look no further than the comment section of the article to see what people think.

I don't know how the current councilmembers running don't get impacted negatively by an implication like that. Under their watch, like it or not, people think that the City has become a sanctuary city.

They both were in favor of parking restrictions to limit day laborers, but it didn't pass. Where is the leadership on that one? Walters says that she has the experience to bring the real change, and Griswold says that he has the right mix of business and government experience to make a difference, but in the end, it seems like we constantly hear them say things like "we couldn't get the votes." Well, its going to be hard to change the perception when the only words in the regular person's vocabulary are "budget deficit" and "sanctuary city."

Saturday, February 16, 2008

11,000 down, 45,000 to go

Over 11,000 people have voted in the Mesa mayor's race. There is still a lot of people to go, but its interesting to see how many people had made up their mind right at the beginning. I don't know who that favors more. I will say one thing, I think its interesting that District 6 is the top returner right now. I thought one of the incumbents might have been having a little bit of luck motivating their base of supporters to turn out.

Please don't make me start moderating my comments

So, I am looking through all the comments today, and it looks like I was comment bombed by someone who really doesn't like Scott Smith. They weren't even subtle about it, and the way they went about it wasn't all that subtle either. They literally searched the blog for every mention of Smith and posted the same negative comment about him being a home builder. Spent quite a bit of time doing it too.

Interestingly enough, I looked up the stats (yes, i do a little stat tracking on this site) and it looks like this guy isn't even from Mesa. The culprit appears to be a Gilbert resident. So why does a Gilbert resident care so much about what other people are doing.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine Hearts for Mesa's Mayoral Candidates

In honor of Early Ballots landing in people's homes and the endless barrage of mail and phone calls that has followed, I have put together Valentine's greetings based on what I think each candidate for mayor would say if they were to send you a valentine. Please enjoy!

Special thanks to Exurban League for the link to the awesome heart generator.

Rex Griswold

Claudia Walters

Scott Smith

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mesa Police trying to do more with less

Gascon wants to reduce crime even further in the upcoming year, even with budget cuts. If he can do it, I am all for it. In fact, I'd like to see other areas of the city try to follow his lead and do more with less.

Despite what some of the very vocal critics say, Gascon has been good for Mesa. The city has an illegal immigrant problem, but it also has a crime problem. While one feeds the other, they are not mutually exclusive. He has been more focused on the crime, and not as much on the nationality or legal status of the criminal. In that arena, he has done a great job.

Does Mesa need to do more to tackle illegal immigration? Yes. But I don't think that they should drop everything else they are doing to focus squarely on this single topic. Reducing crime and having the desire to reduce it further is a good thing.

Lil Slugger

I love that Louisville Slugger has given a custom bat to the kid who hit a burglar that was in his house. I would have loved a custom bat like that when I was a kid his age.

First, I think that its great that this kid was brave enough to jump out and try to protect himself against a menacing burglar.

Second, I am glad to see that the burglar isn't try to sue the kid and the batmaker for damages.

Rex Griswold puts lipstick on a pig

This is an absolutely hilarious catch by Rex Watch. It turns out that Rex Griswold has decided to post the positive snippets of the Arizona Republic's statements about him from their endorsement of his competitior Claudia Walters on the front page of his website.

Here is what Griswold has on his site:

"...Rex Griswold has the specifics. He tells us that Mesa should diversify its World War II-era revenue stream and update its woefully outdated zoning codes."

Here is the real section from the Republic:

"...Rex Griswold has the specifics. He tells us that Mesa should diversify its World War II-era revenue stream and update its woefully outdated zoning codes.

But there hasn't been much passion in his speeches, not much that would make the average citizen say, 'Sign me up!'"

He certainly appears to be taking the quote out of context and omitting the key portion of that sentence. Would someone allow him to do that if it were for a review of his old restaurant?

If the local food critic had said, "I thought that the salad was great, until I found a huge hair in it." Would he put "I thought the food was great!" on the cover of the menu?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tolman conflict of interest?

The Tribune muddies the waters once again, this time proving they're an equal opportunity smearer by taking a swipe at the other District 1 candidate, Matt Toman. You'll remember awhile back, the Tribune questioned if the other candidate, Dave Richins, had a conflict of interest because of some of the the funds that his non-profit receives are given by the Feds, but doled out by the city.

Turns out that Tolman manages several low rent houses, some of which reside in Mesa. They story details some events that certainly don't paint Tolman in a favorable light. Are all his properties like this? Who knows.

There is a bigger question though. Will Tolman continue to work in the city if he gets elected? I know that other people have continued to do business in town after they got on council. Is it different because he is going to have influence over the codes that his business is forced to work by? Tolman should probably announce his intentions prior to the election.

However, these "conflict of interest" questions just put a cloud over a bigger question: who would do the best job for District 1? I would hope that the Tribune would spend a little more time trying to focus on the merits, and a little less time trying to play "gotcha" with both of the candidates.

Who is the conservative in the Mesa Mayor's Race?

There has been a lot of talk lately in the national media about the about the conservatives and where they will go in the Presidential race. Its very interesting to see how McCain is handling it. Its also interesting to see this issue spill over to the local races. A few posts back, there was a back and forth between a couple of the commenters on who is the "conservative" in the Mesa Mayor's race.

Now that I have had some time to think about it, I don't necesarily know if there is a traditional "conservative" in the race. However, Scott Smith may have grabbed the mantle by announcing the endorsement of several conservative legislators (which was mentioned in the Republic this morning). I am not sure if Mesa is as conservative as it used to be, but Smith seems to be putting himself in a decent position by being both an agent of change and perceived as the more conservative of the three.

A wave of change?

Almost 58,000 people have requested an early ballot for Mesa's election. We will have to wait and see how many of these folks actually turn them back in, but one thing is for certain, it looks like people are at least motivated to participate this year.

Is it Obama's message of hope? Is it having McCain on the national ticket? Are people just fed up with the city? Only time will tell, but its clear that all three candidates think that the larger turn out means that people are looking for change.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Blogger fight!

There is a very interesting (and hilarious) exchange going online between Republic Blogger TotallyNutz and some commenters. Plus, Griswold Watch has joined in on the fray. As one of the commenters points out, TotallyNutz started by deciding to write himself in before deciding to go with Griswold after sitting down with him.

If you are looking for some interesting dialogue and insight to why someone with city experience is supporting Griswold, this is the place to look.

The Good and Bad of Mesa

Its funny. It seems like every time you turn around and read something good about the City of Mesa. Its almost like we can't get out of this rut.

First, I have to give the city a compliment. This story about Mesa selling recovered items in weekly yard sales and on ebay is great. Sure, its not going to fix the budget problems, but they generated $130,465 last year and have already collected $72,210 since January. Thats probably more than enough to keep the project going. We need more creative thinking like this in other areas of the city.

However, then I turn around and read about the questions that have popped up about the city's fees. What is the city doing in the business of regulating fortune tellers or psychics? I agree that they need business permits just like any other business, but do they really need a special permit? What is this, "ghost hunters?" Also, Mesa is collecting almost $550,000 a year in liquor fees for practically doing nothing? For less than putting a rubber stamp on a state approved license? Its not like Rawles was asking tough questions. Don't you think people should know why Mesa is changing so much? And Vice-Mayor Walters says she is okay with it? When things like this come out, you can see why people have trouble trusting the government.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Train Update

Here is the latest on the Pioneer Park train. So, here are the options:

A. Pay almost $400,000 to keep it where it is.

B. Pay $30,000 to move it to Chandler.

C. Let someone buy it and pay the city money.

Gee, I wonder which one makes the most sense with a city in financial trouble. I sure think that moving it to Chandler where it helps bring sales tax dollars and commerce to that city sure would make a heck of a lot of sense to me. Make sure you attend the meeting and make your voice heard.

I wonder...

In the past few days, I have had a more than few people tell me that a lot of the Republic staff wouldn't even stay for the whole forum that they were hosting. That's probably not the most helpful thing to do when they are going to pick candidates to endorse. Perhaps Maryniak had a headshot shoot to get to.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Walters gets the Arizona Republic endorsement

So, when I was able to track down the council endorsements, I also found the Arizona Republic's endorsement for the Mesa Mayor's race. Congratulations to Claudia Walters on earning their support. They did tout her experience as I predicted, but they also talked a lot about her passion. She has always been a passionate speaker, and she has her "change the conversation" rap down pat.

Here are two observations I have about this endorsement:

1. They tout her 8 years on the council as a good thing. I don't necessarily think that the average voter thinks the same as they do. I have heard plenty of people comment on her 100 day plan and ask why she hasn't done any of this stuff in the over 2000 days she has already had on the council. (ETA: In fact, I posted this comment on AZCentral only to find that some guy had said almost exactly this statement.)

2. The Republic contradicts itself right up front. They say "this city needs to do things differently than it has in years past" and they they support the candidate with the greatest tenure in doing the same stuff as they did in the past. When she starts talking about "getting votes" and procedure, those aren't the types of things that inspire confidence - those are the types of things that make people think she is entrenched in the system.

Did the Republic check out the results of their own online poll they did last week before they did their recommendations? If I recall correctly, Walters was running a distant third to Griswold and Smith. When I talk to folks around town, thats pretty much what I am hearing. People think its going to be Griswold and Smith in a run-off. For some reason, people are tagging Walters with the negatives of being on the council, while everyone (short of Griswold Watch, of course) seems to be giving Griswold a free pass.

So, will this endorsement boost her up in the ratings? Only time will tell. But she deserves kudos on this hard fought endorsement.

Republic endorses Dennis Kavanaugh and Phil Austin

So, I have been looking since last week to see when the Republic was going to post the online versions of their endorsements from last week. For some reason, they posted these ones in their blog, while they posted the ones for Richins and Finter in their main "Mesa Election" secton. Weird.

In the District 3 Race, Dennis Kavanaugh gets the endorsement. They did, in fact, point out his commitment to the arts as one of the main reasons he should be supported. They also took a subtle swipe at Rawles when they talk about the fact that Dennis is willing to meet with neighbors and consider their opinions.

In the District 5 Race, Phil Austin gets the endorsement. They talked about his experience as a mediator and his outeach plans as the main reasons for endorsing. 2 for 2 on the council endorsement predictions and reasoning! I was a little surprised that they have made sure to pretty much say something nice about each of the candidates (except Tolman in District 1).

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Early Voting is starting!

Early voting for the Mesa Council Election starts soon. Well, here is when the real fun will probably begin. I am assuming that we haven't hardly heard a peep out of very many candidates because they are going to wait until now to spend their money.

It will be interesting to see what kind of stuff will come out in the next couple of weeks. If you see or hear anything or get something in the mail, please report it so we can hear what people are saying.

Remember to Vote!

Today is the Presidential Preference election. I got my sticker on, I'm proud to say. Make sure you go vote and make your voice heard. I am really interested to see the Super Tuesday results and what that will do to the local tickets.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Put something on the front page and see what happens...

Its very interesting to see what happens when a story is put on the front page of the Valley and State section on Sunday. The Republic places a Gary Nelson rehash on the front page on Sunday and now instead of the 1 or 2 pages of comments, there are 4 or 5. It just goes to show that despite so many people who are engaged and are following this race closely, the large majority of folks do not pay attention, nor do they read the little Mesa Republic sections. In the wake of one of the greatest Super Bowls in recent history, here is something to consider as pointed out by a commenter named Jay4:

"Mesa could have been hosting the Bowl in a few about revenue."

I still think its interesting that Claudia Walters is once again trying to take credit for finding Mesa's financial problems. This of couse, is a structural problem that has been there for years and years, but she was the one who found it? She might have been one of the first to really have to address it, but she certainly is not the one who found it. Pretty soon she'll be saying that she discovered the Hohokam Ruins and she was the one who lured the Cubs to come spring train out here.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Scott Smith jumps himself into the fundraising lead

Scott Smith is now the top fundraiser in the Mesa Mayor's race (here is the Tribune's take on it as well). Of course, we have known that for a month now because he donated $70,000 to his own campaign at the first of the year.

Because the newspapers focus so much on the "horse race" aspect of the fundraising, they often miss some interesting things. Looking back at December's Republic article and comparing it to the current amounts, you can find some interesting things:

Rex Griswold
December 9th: $77,200
December 31st: $80,000
Change: +$2,800

Scott Smith
December 9th: $60,700
December 31st: $144,000
Change: + $83,300
That's +$13,300 in contributions and +$70,000 in a personal loan

Claudia Walters
December 9th: $46,762
December 31st: $52,000
Change: +$5,238

So, for the second time in a row, Scott Smith is outpacing his opponents in fundraising in outside contributions, but his personal loan looms so much that it eclipses this fact.

Its also interesting to note that if you take out the loans, according to the Republic's count: Rex Griswold has raised about $63,000, Scott Smith has raised about $64,000 and Claudia Walters has raised about $52,000 from outside donors. Its pretty amazing how close that is! Goes to show that this thing is fairly wide open and each candidate has their own base of support.

Arizona Republic Endorses Dave Richins and Alex Finter

The Republic has started to dole out their recommendations. The first two up were District 1 and 2.

In the District 1 Race, Dave Richins gets the endorsement. In one of the strongest endorsements I have seen in a long time. They talk about everything that Richins has done for the district. They also take a pretty good shot at Dave's opponent saying "Matt Tolman has not done much of anything to bring residents together or work toward positive change." POW! Thats a pretty good one.

In the District 2 Race, Alex Finter gets the endorsement. In this one, they give kudos both to Finter and his opponent Manny Cortez for their commitment to the city. They endorse Finter despite his questions about the bond, which by the way, I think are legitimate questions. After seeing Finters commitment to the Financing the Future report, I tried to look it up online at the City of Mesa site, and alas its nowhere to be found. So, gee, I am sure a lot of people are working towards that vision right now.


If I were to bet on the outcome of the District 3 and District 5 endorsements, I would predict that the Republic Endorses Dennis Kavanaugh in District 3 - touting his experience as vice mayor and commitment to the arts and Phil Austin in District 5 - touting his experience and desire to work with people.

As for Mayor, its sort of hard to tell. If you go with the fact that I am predicting that the Republic will select pretty much the same candidates who were endorsed by the Fire Fighters, then it would be Scott Smith. If you go with their constant theme of experience, then maybe they go with either Rex Griswold or Claudia Walters. I would almost bet in the experience department they would lean towards Walters because she seems to know her stuff the best. And she defends the city tooth and nail.

Its tough to tell I think that the Mayor's seat is the wild card right now.

Best Buy moving on up

Looks like the Best Buy near Fiesta Mall has decided to move across the street and actually become part of the mall. In one way, this is a great idea, that Best Buy is fairly old and outdated. It was great back in the day, but with the newer stores and the greater emphasis on home theater and less on computers and cds, the old store just wasn't up to snuff. Plus, I bet that this gets them on the gigantic monument sign that they are planning for the 60. And at least the project isn't closing up shop and moving out of town.

On the other hand, what is going to happen to the shopping center across the street? Thats going to be the third empty big store for that plaza. If I remember correctly, this is basically the kind of slow death that killed the northwest corner of Alma School and Southern. Now that area is blighted. Certainly with those condos coming in across the street, there must be someone who wants to be there. The Fiesta District needs to find more retailers not just rearrange the ones that they already have. I hope the study comes back with some suggestions instead of just fancy names.

Perhaps someone should get Lowes on the phone and see if they would move into the plaza that Best Buy is leaving since they can't get in the other one and the neighbors on Guadalupe and Country Club don't want them.