Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Griswold's New Tone

Interesting article from Gary Nelson regarding Griswold's new tone in the waning weeks of the Mesa Mayor's race. As we have pointed out here, Rex Griswold has gone on the offensive in the past few weeks in the mail and on the phone talking about Scott Smith and his background as a developer.

First, Griswold should thank Nelson for the article because its helping him get extra mileage out of his flyers and phone calls... well, I guess he should probably thank me as well since I have reposted them in their entirety. Here is one of the most interesting lines from the piece:

"Griswold said he has not accumulated a long list of high-profile endorsements because he wants to retain his appeal as an unencumbered political outsider."

Personally, I find that hard to believe. I would bet that he tried to get the endorsements of the other people and was not able to do so. Look at the endorsements on his site, he takes a great deal of effort to make sure you know the occupation or the background of each one of his endorsements. Do you really think that he was trying to shy away from a high-profile list? Why say that someone was Mesa's Man of the Year, if it doesn't really matter about their profile?

I think that Tom Freestone hit the nail on the head. Based on the first election and the endorsements of late, you have to assume that the momentum is going for Smith. Griswold needs people to know that he is out there and to do so, he is trying to reinvent himself as this outsider. I guess if it worked for Smith before, Griswold figures it can work for him now.

He goes on to say that he was brought on "to reform." The he points to the hire of a new City Manager and Police Chief as his types of reforms. Did he do those all by himself? Did he even take a leadership role on either of these efforts? I'd be interested to see if anyone else gives him credit for those two events. I've also heard from several people that the building codes still need a lot of work, so I wonder why he is taking credit for that as well.

It would be interesting to see who Griswold considers among the "insiders" of Mesa. It would be especially interesting to hear on how he intends to work with those folks if he were to get elected. The problem with election races is when they heat up, the heat is on you as well. When he turns up the negatives attention on Smith, he can't help but put more emphasis on his accomplishments (or lack thereof).

New LDS Temple in Gilbert

It looks like the LDS church is looking to build another temple in Gilbert. And for once, I have to agree with Blake Herzog, what will Mesa have left? I read that this is part of the plan that will bring 4 temples to Arizona, which is impressive because some whole nations that only have one.

Now, I remember as a kid going down to the temple area to see all of the Christmas lights and all the festivities. I also remember all of the shops being decorated and Mesa making all of downtown a winter wonderland. That has since stopped, but you could always count on the temple to be decorated. They also do the Easter Paegent which brings a lot of people to downtown as well.

Bringing people downtown meant more people in the area, spending money in stores, and hanging out downtown. There are a lot of family owned businesses in the area that are frequented a lot by temple goers including places like Pomeroy's which caters to clothing for mormon missionaries.

When there is a new place to go with easier freeway access and newer surroundings, where do you think people are going to go? What will happen to the Mesa temple? Will this impact the move to have light rail come to the temple area? Will this impact the revitalization plans in the area? Will people still invest in the area or are they going to let this one go and move down to the nicer one down the way?

Obviously, the LDS church can do what they want, but will it do to Mesa.

Big Time Transit Hike

Looks like I'm not the only one with questions about the wisdom of raising a big tax for transit in the middle of a bad economy. A few people in the Tribune's letters to the editor have said the same thing. This is the line that really gets to the heart of the issue:

"Advocates for a new transportation plan are thinking decades into the future. But they are looking to raise taxes on people who are worrying about paying their bills next month."

Thirty years is a long time to push some of the local sales taxes nearly as high as 10%. The question you have to ask is: How does that impact the short term economy and how does it impact us long term?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Is now really the time for more taxes?

From reading the Arizona Republic, you'd think we are in the middle of a bustling economy instead of a multi-billion dollar statewide deficit right now. On the front page today is a story about a planned $42 billion dollar transportation plan that looks to raise its money from a 1 cent sales tax increase. The gov's plan for increased taxes includes several billion for more transit, according to the pie chart I saw in the paper today.

Then on the opinion page, you have the Republic opining on the need for $1.4 billion more in bonding for the universities to build more buildings. This is why Michael Crow is getting paid so much? To build even more buildings? The guy has three campuses, don't you think he ould probably do okay with what he has already?

This is the kind of spending that you expect to see when things are looking up, people are spending a lot of money and the economy is booming. Instead, the folks are pitching these like they are "economic stimulus proposals." I understand that transportation and infrastucture helps boost the overall economy, but why so much so fast?

Its like people are lining up to raise our taxes by outrageous amounts - during the time that we can least afford to pay them.

Early Voting taking off again

Nearly 12,000 people have already made up their mind when it comes to the Election in Mesa. From what I remember, this is about the same pace as last time around, which is pretty impressive considering there are fewer city council races. Are these just the people that vote no matter what? Or are people being motivated to turn in their ballots?

During the March election, we continued to see steady influx of ballots over the next couple of weeks. It will be interesting to see if it happens the same way this time around. As the candidates fight for every last vote, I imagine things will start heating up even more.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Democrat Activists for Rex Griswold

Well, I think we finally know who was doing the polling in Mesa. After what I heard today, it certainly must be Rex Griswold, and its my guess that he found out that he is pretty far behind.

I have had a couple of people tell me that they got an interesting phone call from some Democrat supporting Rex Griswold talking about how he is the "independent voice." I thought it was a curious strategy for conservative Mesa, and I became even more confused when I heard the actual message that has been posted on Rex Griswold watch. Listen for yourself:

I have to assume that this call is intended for Democrats in Mesa. I don't know how many Democrat activists there are in Mesa, but hey, that's besides the point. What is interesting is two times in a row, the caller proceeds to call Griswold "independent," as if that would help her get over the fact that its an activist using her credentials as a Democrat to call on behalf of a Republican. Do you think Griswold told her that the Police and Fire Unions were behind Smith?

She then proceeds to invoke the names of Matt Salmon and Russell Pearce as the "political power brokers" behind Smith (perhaps Smith should pay Griswold's campaign for the free publicity). She non-chalantly adds, "And the same people who have been running city government for years."

Like who? Does he mean Claudia Walters? If that's what his campaign is going for, wouldn't Rex Griswold be among the same people who have been running the government for years? Also, is he trying to insinuate that Smith is more "republicany" than Griswold is, and thus, the lesser of two evils?

I don't know if any of this is working, but clearly Griswold is behind and he knows it. He has taken the risky approach to go after Smith as the "insider" while trying to paint himself as an "outsider." This is the same guy who has sat at every council meeting for the past 5 years and been a leader on nothing.

He prides himself on answering his own phone, yet very little changed under his watch. Does he mean to say that these problems only recently started - no one ever called him on his cell phone about all of this?

Will this risky strategy work? I have my doubts. Besides, what does it do over the longrun? He has now pretty much called everyone endorsing Smith (including the majority of the new council) a bunch of political power brokers and good ol' boys. What's that going to do to a working relationship?

I would much rather he try to prove to the electorate on why he is the best candidate instead of focusing all of his time trying to trick fringe elements into supporting him.

Higgins and Austin go head to head

The two candidates for District 5, Dina Higgins and Phil Austin debated the issues last night at Red Mountain High School. Every vote is going to count in this race - especially with the large undervote this time around.

From the comments, it sort of appears to be a passionate approach versus a measured approach to problems. Higgins appears to advocate calling people out, making the hard decisions, and taking action. Austin appears to advocate for bringing people together, building a consensus approach, and talking about the way things ought to be instead of how they sometimes are.

It will be interesting to see which approach appeals to the voters the most.

Tragic Falcon Field Crash

For the second time this month, a small plane has crashed near Falcon Field. Unfortunately, this time, 3 people had their lives tragically cut short. The pilot made a last minute heroic effort to save lives by avoiding the nearby shopping center (I assume the Wal-Mart) and took the plane down in the nearby orange groves. This is truly a tragic event and my thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the three individuals who passed away.

Airplanes can dangerous, but so can cars. We don't always read about the people who die each day across the valley from car accidents. Let's hope that people understand this tragic event for what it is - an accident, and they avoid trying to make any drastic decisions. Falcon Field must continue to be a functioning general aviation airport.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Republic Endorses Scott Smith and Phil Ausin

So, did anyone else see that the Arizona Republic endorsed Scott Smith and Phil Austin today? I saw it in the Mesa Republic section, but I am completely unable to find it online.

ETA: Here is the Republic's Endorsement of Smith. Here is the Republic's Endorsement of Austin.

The new AZCentral looks pretty, but it has made it harder to find things. In fact, I think they just barely brought the Mesa campaign section back online and its only been hastily edited to reflect the remaining races.

All of that aside, the Arizona Republic did a very nice write up of why they are supporting Smith in the May Election. After they endorsed Walters in the primary, I think its only logical for them to pick Smith in the run-off for three reasons:

1. Walters picked Smith. If he is good enough for her, he is good enough for them. Its sort of a transference thing.

2. Its good to pick a winner. After picking the person who lost last time around, they are smart to pick the person who is most likely to win especially since they are sticking with Austin in the D5 race.

3. Smith is the only one who has made any sort of effort to continue to hone his message. Griswold is still talking about the same old stuff that he talked about last time around, what would motivate them to change their mind?

Overall, it was a pretty good write up in favor of Smith talking about his ability to build coalitions and bring change. Much to the chagrin of Rex "We don't need no stinkin' endorsements" Griswold, Smith has been able to get a lot of mileage out of the endorsments from Walters, Richins, Finter, Kavanaugh and the others.

As for Phil Austin's endorsement, I don't know how much of this one was him actually deserving it and how much of it was the Republic not wanting to look foolish by switching their endorsement. It would have been awkward for them to say, "We had no idea that Higgins was going to work so hard, so yeah, we like her chances better."

So, instead, they stuck with the experience angle and made sure to say enough nice things about Higgins so that they could go back to her later if they had to. In the end, I think that this race is still too close to call. I haven't heard much about what is going on, but I didn't really hear much last time either. It will be interesting to see how this one turns out.

Future of Gateway Airport

Mesa, Phoenix, Queen Creek, Gilbert and the Gila River Indian Community met to discuss the infrastructure needs of Gateway Airport. They also have made passenger service their highest priority over their current push for cargo service.

While the airport may not be self sufficient as of yet, its important that the cities continue their support of the ongoing development. However, it does make you wonder why neither Chandler nor any city in Pinal County is involved.

It will be interesting to see how these different moving parts come together over the next few months. I have heard many people talk about how this area is the future of Mesa and a real opportunity to make something different. It truly is one of the last great opportunities for economic, residential, and commercial development in our fair city. Let's hope that we are able to get it right.

Jordan Elementary to stay open

Mesa Public Schools officials voted to keep Jordan Elementary open yesterday. Here is the coverage from the Republic and here is the story from the Tribune. I am glad that people are looking at this from all angles instead of just making the cuts and hoping for the best. From the special education programs to the students outside of the district, the funding savings seemed to have been based on a lot of assumptions.

However, I encourage that everyone looks on how to make Jordan a viable candidate to not only stay open in the future but to thrive in that community. As some of our areas around town age, the people stay in their homes even after their kids are long gone. If people want the schools to stay open, they are going to have to be open to some innovations in education.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Rex Griswold makes a BIG mistake

The folks over at Griswold Watch have posted a copy of a recent flyer from Rex Griswold. I have to say that I am SHOCKED that Griswold decided to put this out. In the flyer, Griswold mentions no less than 4 times that his opponent is a developer and tries to insinuate that Smith is some sort of "insider." See for yourself, I have taken the liberty of pointing out the references in the mailers:

It a difficult task to smear your opponent and have people want to support your smiling face. I suspect there is a reason that most people don't try to sell themselves and beat up on their opponents on the same thing.

Not only that but he has taken to using the phrase "good old boy" which seems out of place in a printed professional looking brochure. Plus, its a phrase that some of his supporters (I suspect staffers) have been using as well as its the phrase of the day over at Scott Smith Watch.

I think that this flyer is a big mistake for 3 reasons:

1. Griswold is the ultimate insider. He has been on the council for 5 years. Under his watch, things have gotten worse and he has done nothing about it. Not only that, but he has let major opportunities like MD Helicopters almost slip away. What does that say about him? Either he is truly part of the problem, or he wasn't able to assert himself in any kind of effective way. Either way, I don't think thats the kind of leadership that people who are looking for change want to see.

2. Griswold sounds desperate. He has changed his tune a couple of times now, and its hard to tell where he will be next. First, he embraced people like Walters and hoped people would like his experience, now he is saying that he is the only one with any non-insider experience? In the same breath he is talking about the right combination of experience and leadership, he is trying to put his opponent down as a developer? But what about him? What experience does owning a restaurant prepare you for making deals at Gateway airport? It sounds like he has put everything he could have learned at a restaurant to good use already - namely answering his own phone.

3. Griswold has certainly taken money from developers. So, are they bad or are they good? Doesn't it come off as hypocritical to come out against developers and the like and call them "Good Old Boys" and then still take money from them? What's more, the biggest things coming down the pipe for the economic future of Mesa are all development projects. How do you think the people from the Waveyard, Riverview, or the GM proving groups will react when they hear about this? Do you think they are going to want to work with a guy who thinks they are all so bad? Do you think any other developers are going to donate to him at this point? What would he do if they all went to him and asked for their money back?

In the end, I think that coming out tough against his opponent with something like this was a bad move. I don't really see an upside to coming out with such misguided and harsh language that is only going to alienate people and drag this last month into the mud. Griswold would have been better served to continue to send out his old feel good pieces or done more publicize his 100 day plan.

News you can use

Riverview's car dealerships are starting to open. Perhaps this will help people remember that Riverview is not the same as Tempe marketplace. The potential for more revenue to Mesa is far greater with the dealerships in place. The sight of those Toyotas and Nissans driving off the lot will be more music to the taxpayer's ears than any random coffeehouse guitarist sitting in some corner of Marketplace singing away.

Mesa Public Schools is voting Tuesday on if they will close Jordan Elementary. If this only saves them about $800,000, they better start looking for some bigger cuts. The board is going to speak publicly about this issue for the first time on Tuesday. That should be interesting. I suspect its going to be a fairly packed house full of angry parents.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Project near Gateway goes upscale

The guy behind Riverview is looking to build in Mesa again, this time near Gateway. He is being asked to create a high end shopping center to compliment the future plans of the GM proving grounds that are across the street. Congratulations to Councilman Scott Somers for not settling for "typical." Now, lets hope that this project is a little more high end than what was promised to us in Riverview.

It will be interesting to see what DMB comes out with across the street. That certainly could make it alot easier for DeRito to attract tenants.

Sheriff Joe is coming to town

Arpaio has set his sights on Mesa and he is actually going to give Mesa PD two days notice. He certainly appears to have the public sentiment on his side. This article already has dozens of pages of comments on it.

Its interesting. Clearly there are a lot of people who care about immigration, yet the City Council does nothing about it as they fade into the end of their terms. Since their legacy is going to be based around all of the financial troubles that the city has, you'd think they would be jumping to help shape thier legacy a little bit. Same thing goes for the mayoral canidates. You'd think they would be spending more time talking about this stuff.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tribune Forum

In case you missed the forum at EVIT last night, here is a video of it on the Tribune's site. You can see all 49 minutes of it!

Here is the recap of the debate from the Tribune as well. I encourage you to take a little bit of time and watch what these guys have to say. I was sort of surprised to see so few people in the audience, especially since this is such a big election. I am guessing that voter turnout is probably going to be lower this time around.

I am also starting to hear some rumblings from people that they are tired of this election already. Its the same thing I am hearing a lot about the Presidential Elections as well, except for instead of having only a few weeks left, we have 7 more months!

Crime down in Mesa

Good news. The crime rate is down in Mesa. I would be interested to see how the rest of the valley is doing as well. Is the crime rate better or worse than some of the surrounding cities?

I think that public meetings have helped people become more aware of what is going on. Lets hope this spirit of conversation and community can be translated into improvements in immigration enforcement as well.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Debate Review

I do have to say that its sort of funny that I am posting the Tribune's review of the Arizona Republic debate. ETA, here is the Republic's take on the debate.

Also, the Tribune is doing their own debate tonight at 6pm at EVIT.

I tuned in and watched part of the debate on TV. I am sure they will replay it a couple times between now and the election and so I will have to try to watch the whole thing. Overall, I thought that both candidates did a good job sticking to the issues. I heard Griswold try to tag Smith with the "developer" thing once in his speech, a theme which it sounds like he tried to repeat throughout the night.

It sounds like I tuned it right at the good time because I was able to catch the MD helicopters discussion live. I thought it was interesting that Griswold is now saying that he was unable to negotiate with the people though he did meet with them. Smith called him out on it saying that its a different story than he was saying before. I have had several people tell me that they heard Griswold say that he didn't care if MD left at a forum during the primary.

Beyond that, there didn't appear to be all that much difference between the two candidates and their answers. It seemed like Griswold takes credit for everything that has been done in the past few years and Smith knows how to do anything because of his private experience.

From everything I have seen so far, this whole thing is going to come down to who do people trust to lead Mesa?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Fiesta District Future

Here is a very interesting and comprehensive article about the Fiesta District. I thought it was a little funny that the writer is already assuming that Dennis Kavanaugh has taken back over as the councilman. I am sure Tom Rawles doesn't really mind.

The more interesting thing to note is that there is a perception problem that extends beyond the stabbings. They certainly don't help the situation, but its the mixed bag approach that makes the area such a mystery. There is a brand new Target and Bank right next to run down areas and aging strip malls. Best Buy is moving across the street which will help the mall, but hurt the plaza its in right now.

Don't get me wrong, I don't blame businesses for trying to position themselves. I just wish there was some vision for the area and where its going to end up. I bet that these discussions are even taking place already, but we cerainly aren't hearing about them.

Fundraising Update

So, here is the latest on the Mayor's race and the District 5 fundraising. Two things that really caught my eye:

1. Phil Austin has been able to raise quite a bit of money since the election. It sure sounds like people were taken by surprise when he came in so far behind Higgins. In some ways, I am surprised that more people didn't also donate to Higgins. I wonder if he is going to be able to turn that added cash into additional votes. It seems like Higgins has been able to find ways to work harder instead of smarter. She has these new big signs that I have seen all around, that are smaller than the big ones, but are still pretty easy to read. I wonder how much money she has saved doing that.

2. I am surprised to hear that Griswold has found a way to pay himself back in the midst of a heated run off race. How is he paying for all the stuff that he needs to do while paying himself back $17,000? Is this an indicator that he is not going to put his full effort into this? If he is so confident in his ability to win, wouldn't he keep the loan in the campaign and assume that he could raise more money after he won? Is he trying to set up some sort of dynamic where he hasn't loaned himself money, but Smith has?

Debate tonight

Remember that there is a debate between the Mayoral Candidates tonight at the Mesa City Council chambers. It should be excited to hear what everyone has to say. I would be interested to see what people think after hearing both candidates have a chance to go head to head.

I am going to try to catch it tonight on Channel 11, but I would love to hear some other people's take on it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Who is polling in Mesa right now?

In the last day or two, I have recieved emails from several readers who have told me that they either received or had a neighbor receive a telephone survey regarding the Mesa Mayor's race. I seriously doubt that the Tribune would do another one following the fairly disappointing reception of their last survey.

With the much documented financial problems of the Republic, I seriously doubt that they are doing it either. Is one of the candidates doing it? Is someone else interested? Its sort of an interesting time to be doing something like this less than a week before people start voting by mail again.

If anyone knows what is going on, please email me or post in the comments section.

November Ballot shaping up

Looks like the slum inspection ordinance is going to be on the ballot in November. It will be interesting to see how it does with so many people turning out to vote for President. My guess is that it will all depend on how the issue is phrased.

So, now, it looks like we will have one or more bond issues with a property tax as well as this slum inspection ordinace on a fairly hefty ballot that will include the President, members of the Corporation Commission, legislators, countless statewide propositions including ones on immigration and property taxes. I wonder how many people will make it all the way to the end.

From the failure of school bonds across the Valley last year, to a proposed major transportation plan funding increase, I certainly hope that Mesa is looking for ways to make sure that these critical services are able to survive another potential voter tax revolt.

More bad news for Mesa

Mesa Fire Chief is predicting more bad news for fire service. The number of firefighters are down and response times are up. It looks like they are trying to do as much as possible with what they have, but it still is not going to be enough. Mesa's problems are only going to get work as the economy goes south unless we can figure something out.

I think that raising taxes right now is a very risky proposal.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Bet Arpaio ignores the request

Mesa police would like to be informed next time Sheriff Joe sends a crime sweep into Mesa. Sounds like a reasonable request to me. That's is exactly why it will probably be ignored.

Immigration is a huge problem, but going through the streets with big unannoucned sweeps is not the way to solve this problem. Gascón is right. This is an emotionally charged issue and it does have the potential for violence.

The Mesa PD should be aware when its coming. Law enforcement should be about cooperation and building support. Having Arpaio tromping through this whole thing like a crazy old man just adds emotion and confusion to the mix.

The problem is that people are so fed up with illegal immigration that they welcome anyone who appears to be doing something to fix the problem. He has public perception on his side and as long as he keeps that, he can continue to trample civil rights and cost the county millions of dollars because no one will be able to stand up to him.

About Endorsements

This is an interesting bit of news. Scott Smith's campaign made a mistake in including a Rex Griswold supporter on an invitation to an upcoming fundraiser. I haven't really heard of Suzanne Davis, so I don't know if its a big deal or not, but it never helps to have someone publicly say they are not supporting you. On the other hand, the newspaper just publicized Smith's fundraiser for free and reminded people that he is being supported by the three newly elected council members and other Mesa leaders.

What is interesting to me is how Griswold is handling the whole thing. First, warning Smith to be careful is a funny bit of advice when he has been charged for a bit of his own carelessness in the form of campaign violations. Herzog takes a little bit of time away from Smith bashing to make a similar observation.

Second, he tries to turn the tide of positive stories for Scott Smith by claiming that Smith is "trying to get all the endorsements (he) can." It conjures up this image of Smith running all over town begging people to support him. Thats an interesting twist in a story where he is trying to make hay over endorsements.

Seems to me that we have recently seen several prominent people step forward and say that between Griswold and an unknown, they would rather go with the unknown. What does that say about his brand of leadership?

I think the commenter Thinkindependent said it best:

"Its always the person with a crappy number of endorsements who say its not a big deal."

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Scott Smith momentum continues

Checking out some of the blogs I read daily and I came across this announcement that Yarbrough and Tolman have also endorsed Scott Smith.

First, I think its cool that other places are starting to pick up on Mesa politics. The more people are talking, the better the dialogue.

Second, its pretty impressive that Smith has racked up yet another impactful set of endorsements. That certainly has to help boost his support in District 1 and 3 where he has now locked up both candidates.

ETA: The Arizona Republic has covered the endorsement as well.

Lowe's coming to West Mesa

Well, I am shocked. It looks like there is going to be a Lowe's in West Mesa without a big stink or a public hullabaloo. From the sound of the neighbors, we may not even have to vote in an election to allow the store to be built.

I respect the neighbors and their efforts to keep their neighborhoods safe. However, the site seems like a fairly decent place to build especially since there is a Costco, a Home Depot, and a bunch of car dealers already in the area.

This is such a new thing for Mesa. A big box being built without an election. Its a fairly prudent move on the council's part because it certainly could have had a negative impact on the upcoming Bond election.

Is Rawles trying to make nice?

Councilman Tom Rawles has announced that he will stand for the Pledge of Allegance, even though he will not recite the words or put his hand over his heart. As he heads into the end of his four years on the council, you have to wonder if he is trying to make a little bit of nice before he goes back into private life. Either that, or he is going to get his name back in the news one more time before he steps down.

You have to hand it to the guy, he sticks to his guns and does what he believes. He seems like the kind of guy where you always know where you stand.

Should he be on a city council representing one of the more liberal parts of the city in a place where the City does a lot beyond his view of "core city services?" I don't know the answer to that, but I do know that I have always liked to have a "devil's advocate" around to help make sure my thinking is clear.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Did the Mesa PD fail Issurah Jackson?

Make sure to weigh in on if you think the Mesa PD failed Issurah Jackson. Its really interesting to see what people have to say. For the most part, the people who took the time to weigh in believe that the PD did NOT fail, which is what I believe.

Like I said yesterday, its a truly tragic situation and my heart goes out to everyone who was involved. There was no way of knowing with the limited information from Sunday who this assailant was or if he would do something like this again. Sending out heightened police presence and sounding all of the alarms could have the potential to create a public hysteria.

Its important to be vigilant in making sure people are doing the right thing and behaving as society expects. Living in a civilized society for most, means agreeing to abide by a social contract in which you agree to live your life and not do harm to others. You have to trust that other people are going to do the same. When people break that promise, it has horrific and tragic results. However, we can't spend all of our time assuming that people are out there waiting to hurt us.

We have already grown to have a more than healthy amount of mistrust in our lives. I don't know about you but I always think that the news is slanted and every time I have ever dealt with a car dealer, I always feel like he is trying to screw me over.

We have to find a balance between doing our best to assure people's safety while maintaining our individual rights and freedoms. So no, I don't think that the Mesa PD failed Issurah Jackson. Now I do fear for the overreaction that is more than likely to take place which has the potential to have a crippling effect on Fiesta Mall and the entire surrounding area.

Confirmed: Blake Herzog hates Scott Smith

In the most mysterious of headlines, Blake Herzog takes yet another swipe at Mesa Mayoral frontrunner, Scott Smith. She makes a half-hearted attempt to say that Griswold is the better choice for mayor in a write up containing some reasons and some seemingly backhanded compliments. Its almost like Smith has offended her in some way.

Its sort of interesting to see such slanted editorial writing in a blog from a paper that is unwilling to take a stand in local elections.

Do the rest of the Editorial Board also have it out for Smith? Their tacit acceptance of 3 negative blogs from Herzog in a week and a half makes me wonder.

Can Mesa keep MD Helicopter?

MD Helicopter's parent company is looking to purchase a small jet manufacturer and they plan on bringing that operation to their new facility, where ever it may be. As the Republic says, that certainly sweetens the deal. So, the question is, can Mesa keep MD Helicopter?

It sounds like Mesa has pretty much messed this thing up from the beginning. From different stories, this is the impression that I get: First, they sent some staff level person to negotiate a contract. Second, they took a hardline stance on raising the rent. Third, I don't think that they even put Gateway on the table until MD threatened to walk away. All of this under the watch of the current council.

So does the allure of the future of Gateway have enough to keep these people in town? Is anyone stepping up to make sure this deal happens?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Undervote in Mesa Race

Wow, missed this yesterday. I didn't realize that there was a dramatic undervote in the Mesa City Council Races. I would be interested to know if there is a big difference between the undervotes in the early ballots and those in the election day voters. You would think that people with early ballots in their hands wouldn't use the "I don't know enough" excuse to not vote.

Heck, during the council races, I had lots of search traffic on this blog from people trying to learn more about the candidates. There was a lot of interest during that time, especially in the Richins/Tolman race. In fact, I still get a lot of Richins and Tolman name search traffic. If you have internet access and an early ballot, there should be no reason for you to not vote in the race. Yet, it still happens.

That's totally interesting to me. Will there be an undervote in District 5 again with Higgins and Austin on the ballot in the run off? There was 17% of the people who didn't pick a council candidate last time around.

More on Fiesta Mall stabbing

They have identified the victims and the suspect in the Fiesta Mall stabbings. Turns out that the suspect has a history of mental illness and felt like the victims were "disrespecting" him.

This is truly a sad story and a tragic one for Issurah Jackson's family. No one should have to go through this sort of tragedy. People should be able to feel safe when they go to the mall, or when they step out on the street. These are two places that the suspect has violated, from his drive-by shooting 10 years ago to the stabbings this week.

I also fear that this will be bad news for Fiesta Mall. Its a tragic and isolated incident, but its the kind of thing that could have a lasting effect. Bad press like this is sure to scare some people away and I hope that they have some plans on how to change the image of the mall without going overboard. You can't put armed guards and metal detectors at each door, because that only reitterates the reasons people should be afraid.

It is my guess that this will be bad news for The Knife Shop as well. As long as I can remember, those guys have been in business at Fiesta Mall. Plus, anyone can buy knives in the home departments of any of the other department stores. However, reactions often defy logic and reason. It is my hope that there isn't a rash outcry against those guys. For pete's sake, they sell swords at that place and we haven't seen a dramatic rise in sword killings or ancient duels.

If you have concerns, go hear what they have to say at Rhodes Junior High tonight at 6:30.