Thursday, July 31, 2008

Picture Day

Apparently, its picture day today. Had a couple of emails with pictures in it today, mostly about the District 18 Senate race. It looks like more good and bad news for Kevin Gibbons. More signs are popping up for him all over town. If you look closely, you can see that they are being paid for by the firefighters. I'm sure that some people are going to have problems with the phrase "protecting the border" based on his immigration positions, but its a smart move on thier part.However, also today, I was sent this hilarious cartoon referring to his failure to vote in a couple of key Mesa elections. I especially love the frowny face on the voting booth.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Check your mailboxes

Early voting starts tomorrow. Perhaps now we'll start hearing from some of the other candidates. Let me know if you get anything of particular interest that you would like to share.

Its not rocket science

The police have found 22 suspects at a drop house at Broadway and Dobson. The same area has also seen a 75% increase in burglary in the past month. I am not saying that illegal immigrants are committing every burglary in the area, but I think that both of these facts are symptoms of the same problem.

Like it or not, parts of Mesa have a crime problem. And its not just illegal immigration, but it is a part of it. When people find they can get away with small crimes in the area, they start moving on to bigger and bolder crimes. When they are proven successful, then its only a matter of time before drop houses and drug houses follow. Breaking the law is breaking the law be it being in this country illegally, breaking into homes, stealing cars, etc.

The solution is a combination of increased police presense, added immigration enforcement, community involvement, and neighborhood revitalization. Each of these must be in a balanced solution that will help put a much needed focus on the community.

A New Mesa Blog

A new blog has popped up called "Thoughts on Mesa" and its chock full of news, rumors, and other info about what is going on in Mesa. It appears to be a conservative view on what is going on in Mesa, with an emphasis on West Mesa. Check it out when you have a chance.

As I have said before, its great to have more people paying attention and writing about the community. In fact, I think the Adams and Jefferson guys are from Mesa as well, or at least they are covering some of the local politics.

If there are other Mesa blogs that I am missing, let me know! I like to make sure I have a full gauge of what is going on the community.

More on the Pioneer Park Train

I got a very interesting comment today on an old post about the Pioneer Park train. The person felt so moved by what I wrote that they actually took the time to get a blogger account so they could refute me. Here is what they said:

"How more wrong can you be? First off, NO taxpayer monies have been or will be used in the Pioneer Park train restoration. Secondly, the cost of moving and restoring it is much closer to $100K, not $400K. Next, there are not any organizations currently in the US willing to give us a dime for the train. Moving it is just too costly. There are people willing to take it like the AZ railway Museum in Chandler. But, like all the others, they want Mesa to pay the moving and area restoration costs. Finally, the train has no real salvage value as, again, it's size and material content make it unprofitable for salvagers.

It is people like you with short-sided vision and no real concept of what's important that have put Mesa in the mess it is currently in. Thank God the ones who built this wonderful city were true pioneers who weren't afraid to TRY! Naysayers have never accomplished anything!"

Allow me to retort:

1. I am glad to hear that no taxpayer money would be used to restore the train. However, as long as it sits there unrestored, taxpayers are paying to keep people away and make sure that no one is getting hurt by a train that is chock full of asbestos.

2. If the cost is only $100k, congratulations, you are now 18% of your way to making your goal of saving the train! I am not against saving the train, my observation was merely that the support appeared to be luke warm at best.

3. I am not going to advocate for any taxpayer funds to save this project. If the city decides to get rid of it, it should go to the first people who willing to move it.

Finally, I am glad you were able to make such a snap judgement about me and my vision for Mesa from this single post. In fact, we have advocated for more vision and exciting ideas to help improve this city. I am not against people trying, I encourage people to make the efforts to improve our city. What I am against, is the wasteful spending that doesn't help our ultimate goals.

The train has a lot of fond memories for me, but its function at this point is almost nil. Its too dangerous for kids to play on and it seems weird to have a train sitting there surrounded by a fence. I am for preserving the tradition of Mesa that deserves to be preserved or can help our long term quality of life. I do not begrudge those who want to save the train, I simply think that there must be a timeline for resolution on this issue.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Kevin Gibbons makes BIG mistake

I have to admit, it has been interesting to watch the words fly back and forth in the Russell Pearce/Kevin Gibbons District 18 show down. They have done a good job of keeping July interesting, while providing people with a lot of food for thought.

Last week, we learned that only about 20% of Gibbons' donations came from Mesa. At the same time, he had spent a lot of time talking about how he wanted to work with Mesa to make things better. In fact, as someone pointed out to me, if you notice closely, you can see him trying to harness his inner Scott Smith, invoking the "Build a Better Mesa" mantra.

I joked at the time that it looked more like he was running for city council than for the state legislature. However, after the latest revelation, I am not sure if he would be qualified:

Kevin Gibbons Fails to Vote in Multiple Municipal Elections
District 18 State Senate Candidate did not vote in Riverview, Property Tax, and Waveyard Elections - Apparently no interest in West Mesa's Future

MESA – Over the past few years, the City of Mesa has had three key municipal elections that have had a major impact on changing the face of West Mesa and the city as a whole. Each election, Riverview held in May of 2005, Property and Sales Tax held in May of 2006, and Waveyard held in November of 2007, had direct impacts on the voters of District 18.

Although these elections had some of the highest voter participation in Mesa history, Kevin Gibbons failed to vote in any of the three municipal elections.

“Development projects and incentive packages have been a hot topic. In fact, in just the last 3 years, District 18 has had two elections that allowed the voters to decide whether the projects were important for the development of West Mesa,” said Matt Tolman, District 18 Republican chairman and former candidate for West Mesa City Council, “I would like to know how Gibbons voted in May of 2005 along with 52,647 other residents of Mesa. Unfortunately, Kevin Gibbons failed to vote in the Riverview election. I would also like to know where Kevin Gibbons’ vote went in the 45,837 votes cast in November of 2007 for the Waveyard project. Unfortunately, Kevin Gibbons also failed to vote in the Waveyard election.”

According to Kevin Gibbons’ website, Gibbons states that he “has always been interested in politics and has volunteered on many campaigns over the years.” He pledges to work with the city saying, “So much more can be accomplished by working together with the City to improve services, capitalize on the opportunities for economic growth and build a better Mesa.”

“How can we count on Kevin to capitalize on opportunities when he has failed to take advantage of the ones that have already come before us,” questioned Tolman, “It’s not like any of the three municipal elections were a secret.

The Riverview election featured a multimillion dollar campaign focused on our backyards. How can he change anything at the legislature when his track record shows that he refuses to participate in the local voting process?”

Gibbons’ track record of failing to support Mesa extends beyond missing two key municipal elections. In May of 2006, 50,403 residents of Mesa voted in the election to decide a primary property tax and a sales tax extension. Kevin Gibbons failed to vote and be included in that number. Gibbons is also supported by Democrats and tax and spend State Representatives who voted for the Governor’s budget which cut over $30 million to the cities and towns, including taking $2 million away from Mesa.

On his website, Gibbons states his decision to run for the State Senate was because he “couldn’t sit on the sidelines anymore. I just had to get engaged in the process.”

“Gibbons wasn’t kidding when he said he was sitting on the sidelines,” concluded Tolman, “We need someone who is committed to not only what is going on at the legislature, but also what is going on here in Mesa as well. With vote at home early ballots, there is no excuse for not participating in Mesa’s elections. We don’t need a representative in the State Senate who is going to sit on the sidelines and miss votes.”

# # #

I think its a BIG mistake that Kevin Gibbons didn't take the time to vote in these elections. Its not like these were school bonds that were under the radar with no one talking about them. As Matt Tolman points out, people spent MILLIONS to promote Riverview, which was in the newspaper every day for months. Waveyard also directly impacted his part of town.

It seems like Politician 101. If you want people to take the time to vote for you, you must be an example by showing others that you take the time to vote. There are a thousand voting cliches that apply here, all of which would be relevent.

So, this is what we know about Kevin Gibbons:

1. He is Jeff Flake's brother-in-law.
2. He is an immigration attorney.
3. He takes donations from lots of outside groups.
4. He doesn't vote in local elections.

Not exactly what I call a recipe for success.

Mesa in the USA Today

Mesa's GM proving grounds is mentioned in the USA Today as part of the national trend on rethinking growth patterns and density. Its an interesting read, although they call Gateway, a "small airport," which I thought was pretty funny. From everything I have read, the airport is going to be fairly essential to the long term stability of the area.

I also have to disagree that the success of the entire area is predicated on gas prices. Now, if gas were to come back down to a buck a gallon, perhaps I'd change my mind. However, the big thing that is missing is that there is also a quality of life component that the story missed.

People want to be able to work and shop in their community. We see what LA is like, and its not only gas, but congestion, commutes, and time. Bedroom communities are on the way out not just because of the shrinking mobility, but also as people spend more time working, they want to maximize the time with their family.

Welcome to our ool.

Notice there is no "p" in it.

In this case, the "p" stands for parasite. Mesa is closing down its pools for extra chlorination, following the parasite scares in several local pools and in Phoenix. No word on if they are going to take the time to clean the facilities from top to bottom like they did in Phoenix.

Its interesting that these types of issues seem to be surfacing more now than in the past. Its not like kids in diapers swimming in public pools was invented this summer. Are we starting to see more resistant strains of viruses? Are people becoming less courteous? Are there other things that the city should be doing to help prevent these problems?

It appears that the Pearce campaign has launched new site covering Kevin Gibbons and his various campaign efforts. In has several of the releases from District 18 residents that have been covered here, plus some funny campaign signs including the one above.

Friday, July 25, 2008

More groups target Russell Pearce

Sonoran Alliance has some excellent coverage on the latest group that has been formed to go after Russell Pearce in District 18. They do a good job covering the players and who is involved with the latest effort. It looks like I picked the right race to follow closely, since it looks like its going to be the biggest primary in the state. The Tribune article reports that there are perhaps 2 groups or more that have their sights set on this race.

The Sonoran Alliance mentions an email that they received yesterday that helps back the Tribune article. I received an email as well, I wonder if it was the same. Here is the text of what I received:

"What if there were no hypothetical questions?"

Support our Troops

Wear Red on Fridays

Won't someone do something about this?

Russell Pearce for Arizona State Senate in Legislative District 18

That someone is YOU. and a new group named Judgment Matters.

Judgment Matters is an Arizona political committee organized to run independent expenditure campaigns. By law it cannot coordinate with any candidate's campaign and all of its activities are solely the responsibility of Judgment Matters.

One of Judgment Matters' first projects is a primary voter education and mobilization effort in Arizona Legislative District 18 - the same district from which Rep. Russell Pearce is running for the state senate.

Would you and your like-minded friends be willing TODAY to contribute $500 to activate primary voters in LD18 to oppose the promotion of Russell Pearce to the Arizona Senate?

Could you give more? Maybe $1,000 or put together a group of smaller donations totaling $1,000?

Do you know of a PAC that might be interested in supporting the effort?

Even $25 or $50 would go a long way toward helping get the truth out about Rep. Pearce's record.

A surgically-timed contribution from you and others can help excise Russell Pearce and his strain of politics from Arizona's legislature.

URGENT: Early voting ballots begin to hit voters' mailboxes next week!

A couple hundred votes one way or another could very well deliver a humiliating defeat and end a political career or be spun as vindication.

Judgment Matters wants to ensure that LD18 voters understand the stakes.

The time to act is TODAY! Before the weekend - time is extremely short.

You can also help the effort by forwarding this e-mail to others you believe agree that judgment does matter in our state legislators.

Please reply to this e-mail by the close of business Friday, July 25th. A contribution form is attached to this e-mail to ensure your contribution is delivered in a form that can be put to use immediately.

Please fill out all of the requested information and contact Judgment Matters before you drop anything in the U.S. Mail. We may be able to save you the 42 cents and, more importantly, speed the processing of the contribution by picking up the contribution from you.

Feel free to call with questions too.

Thank you in advance for any fundraising help you can provide,

Farrell Quinlan

I'd say that its fairly pointed on what their mission is. You have to assume that the same type of folks who donated to Gibbons (Pederson, Employer Sanctions opponents, Farmers, etc) will donate to this effort as well.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Renewal in Mesa

Two great stories about renewal and investment going on in Mesa:

First, ASU poly is opening several new buildings and is starting to look more like a college instead of a military base. There is still probably a ways to go, but it appears to be headed inthe right direction. As more focus is placed on the Gateway area, ASU poly is going to have to be a part of their long term plan to sustain the area. The developments need to attract world class businesses and ASU poly needs to train world class employees if the area is to help the long term growth of our local economy.

The second great story is that Banner Baywood hospital is investing almost $40 million in a new ER. I am sure there is still a little bit of bad blood toward Banner for closing the old Mesa Lutheran (Banner Mesa), but between the investments they are making at Banner Desert and Baywood, they still appear to be committed to the community. Having large corporations (for and non-profits) decide to continue to invest in Mesa is also going to be key to Mesa's renewal. The more they invest, the more it will encourage other people to invest as well.

Where property rights and common courtesy collide

Why does this have to be happening in Mesa? Neighbors are in an uproar because a homeowner is keeping a port-o-potty in the front yard. I guess its better than having people relieve themselves in the yard, but it definitely adds a non-cosmopolitan (read: ghetto) flavor to the neighborhood.

No word if the neighbors have talked to the homeowners about it. From the tone of the article, it appeared almost as if they were shocked that people would have a problem. Its one thing to have a lot of parties, its another thing to have so many parties that you are tricked into thinking that its okay for people to line up to go to the bathroom in your front yard.

Take a close look at the picture. The j-john is right next to the basketball hoop. How would you like to get a rebound bouncing off of that thing? Plus, in this hundred plus degree weather, that thing certainly can't smell very good.

Mesa needs to start taking pride in itself as a community before other people will start to take notice. The first step is for the neighbors to make sure their yards are cleaned up. The second step is to say something directly. People do have private property rights to do with their house what they please, but most people listen to reason.
Obviously, there is no HOA in this situation, but some common courtesy should prevail.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Only 20% of Kevin Gibbons' Donors are from Mesa

When it comes to elections, its been a quiet summer so far, except for the Gibbons/Pearce contest which seems to be getting hotter by the minute. It makes you wonder if all of the other races around here are fairly pedestrian, or if they haven't realized that Early voting starts next week.

I have spent a little bit of time on Kevin Gibbons' website, and he spends a lot of time talking about Mesa, and how as a legislator, he would work closely with Mesa. In his Issues section, he talks even more about Mesa. In fact, he says,

"So much more can be accomplished by working together with the City to improve services, capitalize on the opportunities for economic growth and build a better Mesa."

It almost sounds like he is running for City Council instead of the State Senate. Don't get me wrong, I think its important for legislators to understand where they come from and respect that their duty is to their constituents. That is why I was pretty surprised when this came across my email:

Gibbons Funded by Out-of-Town Open Borders Supporters
District 18 1st Vice Chairman, E. Paul Whetten to Kevin Gibbons:
“Give Back Money from Open Borders Advocates”

MESA – District 18 Senate Republican Candidate Kevin Gibbons claims that he has the answers for our immigration policy problems. As an immigration attorney Mr. Gibbons has a credible claim to expertise in immigration law, but one look at his list of donors shows where his loyalties in immigration policy come from.

While Gibbons says that he wants represent Mesa, only 20.6% of his donations come from people who live within the city. In fact, only 15.1% of his donations are from people in District 18. In contrast, 100% of Russell Pearce’s donors are from inside the district.

More to the point, 53 of Gibbons’ donors are out-of-town farmers from Yuma and Buckeye, with over 30% of his total donations coming from Yuma alone. A large majority of these donations come from the farming community that is actively engaged in employing cheap labor which is against Arizona’s new employer sanctions laws. Since Mr. Gibbons would obviously better represent the views of his Yuma “constituents,” perhaps he should consider running for their senate seat.

Kevin Gibbons supports initiatives that will weaken the laws requiring the use of E-Verify. He also advocates for a guest worker program that will basically open the borders for his farm and fast food supporters who desire cheap labor. Kevin Gibbons’ policy positions are not the forward thinking policies supported by the citizens of District 18. On the contrary, they are the failed “business-as-usual” policies that do nothing to solve our immigration problems and promote the defiance of our laws.

While Gibbons talks of “real reform” for illegal immigration, his supporters and backers tell a different story. From former Democratic Party Chairmen to Open Border Supporters, his rhetoric does not match the real intentions of his patrons.

Russell Pearce has been a champion of the taxpayer and a nationally recognized leader on immigration issues. He has the conservative credentials and a solid track record of representing the people of District 18. Even a cursory examination of Mr. Gibbons’ list of out-of-town open border advocates and Democrat power brokers reveal who he would really represent.

If Mr. Gibbons sincerely wants to represent the citizens of District 18, I suggest that he return donations he’s received from supporters whose policies we have clearly rejected.


I highlighted the section in red, because I think it is the most important to note of the whole release. I understand that a candidate is going to get money from PACs and people from outside the district, etc. But people should notice that only 20% of his donors to come from Mesa, and only 15% come from his district. I think that this is something that Gibbons should respond to.

Its one thing to take money from Jim Pederson. Its another thing to take money from just about anyone. If he cares about Mesa as much as he says on his website, shouldn't more people in Mesa be financially supporting him?

Positive National Attention for Mesa

For once, Mesa is in the national spotlight for something good. Mayor Scott Smith was asked to represent Arizona in a national discussion about the future of the mountain west. The notion is that over the next 30 years, the area is going to grow into a fairly large interconnected community. Now, there are a few mountains and canyons in the way, but you get the idea.

The West is still the fastest growing region in the country and its a pretty big deal that someone from Mesa actually got to be the representative. Perhaps its the new blood that Smith brings or the recognition that the Gateway area is going to be a national experiment on building a quality community from scratch, but either way, its great to see Mesa in the positive spotlight.

Now, if only we could get the Mesa sections of the Tribune and the Republic to cover more stories beyond murders, hit-and-runs, and other tabloid materials. Mesa is turning around, but we need everyone telling a positive story.

Foreclosures and struggling economy

The Republic is reporting that 40% of Mesa's home sales are foreclosures. This is bad news for everyone because it brings down home values and will take years to recover from. As the story says, it starts with investors during the boom economy. They speculate and buy up houses bringing up the values of the houses around them. However, when the economy turns sour, the people either sell the houses for a loss or default on them, flooding the market with undervalued homes. This causes trouble for the people who have overextended themselves and are unable to sell their homes for what they need to make to get their loans covered.

The real story here is that foreclosures are on the rise from people actually losing their jobs. This is a trend that speaks a lot about the current economy and what the climate is going to look like for the next few years. Its one thing for a person to lose their investment property. Its another thing for them to lose their home.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Latest on Kevin Gibbons

It looks like there is good and bad news for Kevin Gibbons. According to Sonoran Alliance, it looks like he has gained an ally in Steve Court. They are sharing posts and attending/skipping the same events.

On the bad news side, the Arizona Republic published a guest editorial by Bob Hisserich connecting Gibbons/Stop Illegal Hiring/Wake Up Arizona during the time when Wake Up Arizona is under investigation for campaign contribution violations.

Also on the bad news side for Gibbons, he is also being questioned for his connections to the people behind the Governor's Transportation Initiative. Here is a release that came across the email:

Kevin Gibbons Trapped Between Barack and a Tax Increase

House Transportation Chairman Andy Biggs to Gibbons: Give Back Money from Democrats and Governor’s Transportation Plan Backers

MESA – In the latest salvo from special interest-funded newcomer District 18 Senate Candidate Kevin Gibbons, he compared Representative Russell Pearce to Democratic Presidential Nominee Senator Barack Obama. To that notion, House Transportation Chairman Andy Biggs replied, “Barack Obama and Russell Pearce have about as much in common as Kevin Gibbons and a real Republican.”

Governor Janet Napolitano is a top supporter of Barack Obama. Her top fundraiser Jim Pederson and his family gave over $1,500 to Kevin Gibbons and over $10,000 to Barack Obama. Under intense scrutiny, Gibbons gave away Jim Pederson’s money. However, Gibbons has not given back the other $6,660 that he has raised from Democrats and backers of the Governor Napolitano’s transportation tax increase plan.

"At least 13% of Gibbons' donors are Democrats or supporters of Governor Napolitano’s TIME initiative,” said Biggs, “It’s tough to question someone else’s fiscal credentials when you have so many backers of expanded government and wasteful spending in your own camp.”

Kevin Gibbons has claimed to be a proponent of smaller government and cutting back on wasteful spending. However, he is supported by Democrats and those who are backing the Governor’s TIME Initiative, which raises sales tax rates nearly 18% for 30 years to pay for a litany of wasteful projects. Her plan includes $1.7 billion in giveaways to environmental groups and billions more to light rail and inter-city trains.

“Why hasn’t Kevin Gibbons come out against the Governor’s TIME Initiative?” questioned Biggs, “We know the Governor is willing to cut deals to get support for her pet project. Has Kevin Gibbons been convinced that investing in a statewide train service is a ‘critical’ transportation need?”

From the budget borrowing to the transportation tax increase, the Governor and Senate and House Democrats have placed a lot of future burden on Arizona’s taxpayers. Jim Pederson and others on Gibbons’ donor list have been helping push these initiatives.

Biggs concluded, “If Kevin Gibbons wants to run as a Republican, it’s time for him to start acting like it. Support from people who advocate for this kind of wasteful spending is unacceptable for a Republican legislative candidate. He should give that money back.”

More on Waveyard

Its hard not to get a little worked up everytime you read about things like this. Waveyard is looking to expand into Dubai. However, there is a little ray of hope in this article, and that is Waveyard is already looking to expand their Mesa facility. The hotel rooms have gone up, the convention, concert and water park space has grown as well. Let's hope that its going to look as good as they have promised.

It looks like they are doing a decent job of making sure that Mesa is taken care of first, however, when you have both Councilmembers providing guarded comments, there is probably a little more work to be done. They are now promoting their new techonology on their website, which is probably great for courting investors, but they better make sure to take care of the voters who have already invested in Mesa.

What has happened to Blake Herzog?

What has become of Blake Herzog? Her blog has mysteriously disappeared. It looks like she is still reporting news as a "Tribune writer," however, its curious to see if her days as an editorial writer are over.

During the election, she was none to kind to Scott Smith, and it would be interesting to see what she thinks about everything he has done since he took office. With the changes at Gateway, the high profile legislative races, and all the Waveyard developments, there appears to be a lot to blog about. Heck, its keeping yours truly busy. So, Blake, if you're out there, drop us a line and tell us whats going on.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Russell Pearce and Kevin Gibbons Update

Kevin Gibbons fired off a release earlier this week critical of Russell Pearce's taking of clean elections money. In the release Gibbons compared Pearce to Barack Obama.

It is a funny observation that Pearce is taking clean elections money, but you see how the certain segments of the business folks are lining up against him, and you wonder if he didn't do what is best for his campaign. After all, Gibbons' list reads like the who's who of anti-Pearce business-folks. I recommend you check out the release on Sonoran Alliance and the comment section afterwards, its quite a passionate place.

Also, Russell Pearce got the endorsement of another Republican organization. Its rare that Republican groups take sides during the primary, but this is the second such group to do so. I wonder if they will still be on Jeff Flake's Christmas card list.

East Valley Immigration and the Tribune Stories

If you haven't checked it out, East Valley Immigration has done a great job in covering the Sheriff's special report in the Tribune and the other immigration goings on in Mesa as of late. I have been keeping up with what is going on, but haven't been around much to provide commentary.

Ultimately, we are continuing to deal with two forces here. The desire for something to be done about immigration, and the desire to respect people's civil rights. I think that both can be accomplished if people work together to figure this stuff out. The Sheriff must realize that things will go better if he coordinates with the community.

Gascon must realize that the Sheriff is going to do what he wants and the people are going to love him for it. What Mesa must do is make sure that they continue to execute their laws in the best fashion to keep people safe while doing what they can to battle illegal immigration.

Short of a federal investigation, Arpaio is going to continue to conduct business the way he sees fit. Mesa must learn to take the good from it and figure out ways decrease the negatives while maintaining vigilant on illegal immigration.

Why not start with monthly

The Mesa Arts Center is thinking about going to weekly art shows to help spur interest in downtown. As I have mentioned before, I would recommend that they go to monthly shows like "First Fridays" in Phoenix. They may also consider encouraging a few more artists to live downtown or get a little bit more space and locations interested before they launch with such a venture.

It would be wise for them to have small galleries or showings all up and down Main Street to get other businesses in the act and give people more than one destination to check out. Perhaps have some school generated art at one, some guest art at another, maybe try to get some travelling exhibits. That way, all of the focus is not just on the art center, but the whole area.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Save Our Train meeting tonight

The Save Our Train committee is meeting tonight at 6pm to talk about their effort to save the train at Pioneer park. The committee meets at the City's Purchasing Department conference room, 20 E. Main Street.

The story says that they have applied for a few grants, but no word on if they got them or if they will have even close to enough money by the deadline. Mesa is hopefully thinking up a contingency plan on how to handle the sale of the train in a community-friendly way. Let's hope Chandler or somewhere else wants it.

At this point, it would probably be cheaper to comission a tran statue to represent where the train stood. There would be less asbestos and the kids could probably even play on it again.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Kevin Gibbons and Employer Sanctions opponents

Looks like Kevin Gibbons has gotten his full website up and running. You can learn more about the guy and where he stands on various issues. I am not sure if I would have chosen the picture that he did for his website, but hey, its not my campaign. He looks very serious, but he is pointing his hand at the camera, like he is saying "Can you believe this guy with a camera is taking a picture of me right now? Look at this thing." I can almost hear it in a sort of "Tony Soprano" type of voice.

The District 18 Republican House Debate and the Republican Senate Debate are now both online for you to watch. Lefty Blogger Random Musings even has some comprehensive coverage and interesting take on the debate.

Also in the news, Kevin Gibbons is being called out again. This time for his affiliation with the "Stop Illegal Hiring" act and its connection to Wake Up Arizona! Here is the latest:

Kevin Gibbons Funded by Employer Sanctions Opponents
Bob Hisserich to Gibbons: Give Back Money from “Stop Illegal Hiring” Masterminds

MESA –When it comes to employer sanctions, District 18 Senate Republican Candidate Kevin Gibbons claims that he wants to revisit the issue as part of a “comprehensive plan that deals with all of the different aspects of the issue.” As a national leader in employer sanctions, thanks largely to Senate Candidate Russell Pearce, Arizona has one of the most effective, non-discriminatory laws in the nation.

Gibbons motive behind this quest to change the employer sanctions laws came into focus when I discovered some of Gibbons campaign donors contributed the maximum amounts are behind the deceptively titled “Stop Illegal Hiring Act.”

The people behind this initiative have been vocal opponents of any illegal immigrations enforcement efforts and are bankrolling Kevin Gibbons to get their voice heard in the legislature. Arizona has too many people in office who are not who they appear to be and electing Mr. Gibbons would be like hiring a fox to guard the henhouse. Gibbons has received $2,640 in donations from prominent members of the campaign – shared donors include:

  • Andrew Pacheco, Campaign Chairman
  • Marion “Mac” Magruder
  • Sandy Magruder
  • Western Growers Political Action Committee, AZ
  • Anna Marie Aja, Western Growers
  • Matthew Bigham, Western Growers
  • Chad Willems, Campaign Consultant

In all, those who have donated to Mr. Gibbons have also contributed nearly $35,000 directly to the “Stop Illegal Hiring Act,” not to mention the ADDITIONAL $38,000 in donations filtered through “Wake Up Arizona” which is made up of the same individuals. Their ballot initiative, if passed, would significantly weaken Arizona’s Employer sanctions laws.

Mr. Gibbon’s supporters want to abolish the required use of E-Verify and want to go back to the far riskier and much maligned Federal I-9 process which is full of fraud. E-Verify is 99.7% accurate and is working to help employers hire LEGAL employees easily in conforming to Arizona State Law. Gibbons would be mistaken to attempt to discontinue the use of E-Verify. My wife has been a Human Resource Professional for 21 years and uses E-Verify and attests to it’s effectiveness in hiring a legal workforce.

Returning to the old system would require Arizona to wait until the Federal Government has taken action against an employer before the State is allowed to take action. That would be unmistakably a step in the wrong direction.

What’s more, their plan eliminates the use of anonymous tips to help catch people who are hiring people illegally! If anonymous tips are good enough to report other crimes they should be good enough for hiring those who are suspected of being in the country illegally.

Gutting Arizona’s employer sanctions law is not something that the constituents of District 18 or the citizens of Arizona will stand for. Apparently Kevin Gibbons doesn’t want to revisit the law, he wants to gut it on behalf of the “cheap labor” donors who are bankrolling is campaign. The people of District 18 deserve better than someone masquerading as a Republican who has a workable, tough policy on illegal immigration enforcement and hiring.

If Kevin Gibbons wants to represent the people in District 18, Kevin Gibbons should remove his mask of being a Republican, be honest, and admit that the people behind his campaign are really the people behind the deceptive “Stop Illegal Hiring Act.”

# # #

According to the release, the same people who have given about $2,700 to Kevin Gibbons have given nearly $73,000 to the "Stop Illegal Hiring" effort that will be on the ballot in November. No word from Gibbons if he supports the plan, but he is definately backed by people who do. So his donor list now contains people who want to change the employer sanctions laws, the liquor folks, and Jim Pederson. Perhaps he is the one cashing the checks made out to "Anyone but Russell Pearce."

Glasper holds his nose and says nothing stinks

Here is the obligatory response from Maricopa Community Colleges Chairman Rufus Glasper saying that there is nothing wrong with them giving away state pensions to their lobbyists. In the same breath, he admits that they are terminating their agreements with "specially funded employees working with ABEC and EVP." He assures that a transition is on the way, but he doesn't explain to where.

Not only that, but he never really explains why they thought it was a good idea in the first place or why it took them so long to make a change once their mistake was discovered. In fact, the best thing they could say about East Valley Partnerships focus on education was:

"EVP’s dedication to workforce development is well-known."

Gee, that sure seems like enough that their president should be able to collect $10,000 annually from the state's pension plan. I bet they would throw another couple thousand in a year if he promises to think about education "really hard" a couple times a month. If this is going on in the community colleges, it makes you wonder if other people have found ways to sneak into the pension trough.

The Sheriff is back again

Sheriff Joe Arpaio is back in Mesa again today. It seems sort of funny that one of the main reasons he didn't want to give Mesa warning is so that there wouldn't be a media warning about the event, yet he comes out and announces it while it is still going on.

If you haven't read the complete story on Arpaio this week in the Tribune, make sure you check it out. Its a very interesting read and the Tribune has devoted a lot of ink to it. It will be interesting to see what comes of it and if it helps or hurts the Sheriff. I am sure it will sell a lot of papers for the Tribune, because as his latest press conference shows, anything he does is newsworthy.

Vision for Downtown

So last week I asked for some vision for Downtown. It turns out that the smart guys at Exurban League already had some ideas. They, like me, believe that it shouldn't try to be the next Mill Avenue. The concept of locally owned shops and other creative destinations would be a great idea for the area. However, they do need to find a way to make sure that people are attracted downtown or something to keep the overhead low because independent businesses need to stand on their own. There is no corporation holding them up when the economy is down.

However, its great to hear some creative thought. Perhaps with this new mayor and council, there will be more people willing to listen.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

State Budget Woes and a "Tribute" to the Governor

Well, the state's big budget deficit means another loss in revenue in Mesa. This time Mesa has to give back nearly $2 million in revenue so that the state can make ends meet on their budget.

On the same note, I saw this video posted on Sonoran Alliance:

I have never been a huge Napolitano fan, and this just shows what kind of trouble the state is in. Afterall, you know things are bad when the state is trying to take money from Mesa.

Good news for Downtown Mesa

So, MCC isn't coming downtown, but a new wine bar is in August. The downtown area can be such a unique place if only they could figure out how to attract people down there on a regular basis. Mesa shouldn't feel too bad since Downtown Phoenix can only do it when there is some sort of sporting event going on.

What they need to do is figure out what kind of crowd they want to cater to and put together efforts to attract those people. My thought is that the area could be attractive to wealthier young folks and middleaged people who don't like the crowds and atmosphere of Mill Avenue. Depending on rent, couldn't they attract some of the downtown phoenix artists with the idea of more space and nicer studios? Phoenix has been cracking down on First Fridays, would it work in Mesa? Would promoting activities like cruising be part of the solution?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Gibbons and donations from the Liquor Industry

Even more questions about those who have donated to Gibbons. Once again, its former City Council candidate and current District Chairman Matt Tolman questioning his donations from the liquor industry. Here is what came across my email:

District 18 Republican Senate Challenger Takes Liquor Donations

District 18 Chairman Matt Tolman to Kevin Gibbons:
Give Back Liquor Money like You Gave Back the Democratic Chairman's Money

MESA – District 18 Senate Republican Candidate Kevin Gibbons is in hot water again. Less than a week after it was revealed that he took donations from former Democratic Party Chairman Jim Pederson, it has been announced that his campaign has received donations from prominent members of the liquor industry.

District 18 Republican Chairman Matt Tolman questioned whether Gibbons' quest to raise big dollars has put his values at odds with those who he intends to represent. "It looks like Gibbons is willing to take money from just about anyone who will write a check," said District 18 Republican Chairman Matt Tolman, "We need someone who represents the citizens of the district, not special interests."

In all, Gibbons has already received $1,950 in donations from prominent members of Arizona's liquor industry. Donors Include:

  • Bob Delgado, President, HENSLEY & COMPANY
  • Douglas Yonko, Principal, HENSLEY & COMPANY
  • Steven Barclay, Executive Director, BEER & WINE DISTRIBUTORS OF ARIZONA

"We need a champion who will continue to fight for liquor control issues," explained Tolman, "Someone who is committed to preventing underage drinking and supporting DUI laws. We need to know that the people who represent us at the legislature are not compromised because of deals they have cut for campaign donations."

Kevin Gibbons is searching all over Arizona for donations to run against conservative Russell Pearce for State Senator in District 18. Pearce has been a strong voice on fiscal and immigration issues and is running as a clean elections candidate.

"District 18 already has a candidate for Senate who has been a supporter of family values and a friend to the taxpayer," said Tolman, "He has the support of conservative groups and taxpayer organizations. Certainly more of a crowd that represents District 18 compared to Gibbons and his laundry list of liquor purveyors and democratic insiders."

Tolman concluded, "If I were Kevin Gibbons, I would get out the checkbook again and return the money to the liquor industry like he did last week to Jim Pederson. And if he is set on donating it instead, perhaps he should give it to MADD."

# # #

That line at the end about MADD is pretty funny. I still maintain that if you are going to give money back you should give it back to the donor instead of spending their money on something else, but I guess that's beside the point.

You can see who donated to Gibbons for yourself. Its hard to make a comparison between how much Gibbons and Pearce have raised because one is running clean and one is not. However, there is a cutoff to how much Pearce will get, but Gibbons can continue to raise more. Will he continue to get more money out of the liquor industry? Who knows.

I am not sure how big of a deal this is, but it will be a concern of some of the conservative, non-drinking crowd in that area. One would think that it would probably be wise just to avoid that type of funding altogether. Between this and the Pederson donations, its not a question of IF he can raise the money, but maybe if he SHOULD.


Both the Republic and the Tribune have covered the Scott Smith's speech at the Mayor's Breakfast forum yesterday. The focus, according to the Mayor, City Manager, and Economic Development Director, is to bring more jobs into the community. Here is a very telling quote from Chris Brady:

“Here’s the difference: Tempe’s total added up to 19,000 (employees), Chandler’s two added up to 20,000 and Mesa’s four added up to 12,000,” Brady said. “Let’s take 11 through 50 (in the ranking); Tempe was the home of 18 of them, Chandler was 11, Gilbert was five and Mesa was three. This has to change.”

He is absolutely correct. For too long, people have been leaving Mesa to go to work. Twenty years ago, Mesa was the suburbs and everyone went downtown to work. Now people leaving Mesa and going to downtown, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Tempe and Chandler. Not only do we need people to stay in Mesa for work, but we need people from other communities to view Mesa as an employment destination.

It looks to me like they are focusing on the right stuff, the airport, freeway access, expanding what we already have. Let's hope that other businesses catch the excitement and invest in Mesa.

Build what you promised first

Well, we have finally heard from Waveyard. And the first thing after months of silence, is that they are taking their ideas nationwide. While this is an exciting concept that Mesa could be on the cutting edge of something, my first recommendation to the people behind the "Liquid Evolution Adventure Parks" is to build what they promised first.

This announcement is the equivalent of a band printing their t-shirts, planning a world tour, and starting a fan club before they have written their first song. I think the citizens of Mesa should see a few more results before they should be jumping for joy that Waveyard has on deck for the rest of America.

If you recall, I am a big fan of the concept behind Waveyard. I think that it could be a really exciting place unlike anywhere else in the country. I am afraid that this "one of a kind" concept will be, pardon the pun, watered down if they take it on the same scale elsewhere. That is why it is key that Mesa becomes the standard, and not the prototype. City officials should not settle for anything that could end up being the "ghetto" Waveyard when someplace like Waveyard San Diego, Waveyard Orlando, or Waveyard Tuscaloosa opens up.

Welcome to East Valley Immigration

Check out the new blog on Immigration in the East Valley. Just in time to cover the 4 day story the Tribune is doing on Sheriff Arpaio. Here is their introduction:

"I've been running my blog for a little over 6 months now. I've gotten a really good response and figured since it's in the news so much I can make it a daily thing. I'd love to be added to your blog list. Thanks!"

Check them out when you have a chance. Pretty interesting observations.

As long as we are updating blogs, it has now been 6 months since the Mesa Issues imposter has posted. Either they had absolutely no staying power, or they really were just looking to bash candidates as everyone suspected. I guess their mission was accomplished. Their sham of a site still comes up third on a google search.

Speaking candidate bashing, Scott Smith watch has been very quiet despite a new immigration policy and a lot of talk about economic development. They only poked out briefly to try to cover the logo, something they tried to pin on Smith even though he had nothing to do with it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

This park brought to you by Mesa Issues

I am thinking about raising money to pay to sponsor one of 50 parks in Mesa. Its a pretty smart way to get maintenance paid for when the city doesn't have the money to do it. I certainly think we'd have to shoot for the $1,500 parks - I am proud of my readership, but I am also realistic.

I wonder how if they determine the cost by the cost of upkeep or by the value of the location. I am sure that some parks are more valuable than others for advertising/sponsorship purposes. If you are interested in helping "This park brough to you by Mesa Issues" become a reality, let me know in the comment section.

If you are interested in doing something yourself or with your business contact Darla Paulson at 480-644-3337 or visit

Sheriff Joe Grafitti

Have you seen the Nazi Joe Graffitti popping up all over town? Its a stencil of the sheriff's head with a words above it or next to it. Because of swift action, you may not have seen it. I saw this story on the evening news last night, and the location they were broadcasting from had already painted over the graffitti.

Its okay for people to disagree with the Sheriff and what he is doing, but vandalizing other people's property is not a way to get your point across. Its hard to take people seriously when they are hurting others to get their point across.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fallout from Pederson donation to Gibbons

This is what happens when you try to get out of town! It turned out to be a pretty busy weekend in the Russell Pearce/Kevin Gibbons race. As I reported here, it was revealed that Kevin Gibbons had taken money from former Democratic Party Chairman Jim Pederson. Well, things appeared to heat up even more over the weekend. We have to give a lot of kudos to Sonoran Alliance who was all over this story all of the holiday weekend.

First, Sonoran Alliance reports Gibbons gave the money to a domestic violence shelter. Good for him for not keeping the money! Now, two questions to be answered: the statement says that they gave back the donation made by Pederson. What about the ones from the rest of his family? Plus, does spending other people's money instead of returning it back to them send the right message to taxpayers in this tight economy?

Next, the Maricopa County Republican Party took their message to Gibbons a step further by voting to endorse Pearce in the primary with a vote of 20-1. Only nudist Horst Kraus voted against it. Now, we know that there are a lot of people outside the Republican party scene that vote for these elections, but the Party is definately a source of grassroots support to get boots on the ground. Its also a place to get some conservative credibility. Gibbons is going to have to spend every penny of his cash in this primary just to fight against all of the negative press he is starting with.

Finally, I don't know if its directly connected, but Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA) has announced their support of Russell Pearce. I would bet that a lot of the rest of the union crowd is going to endorse Gibbons, so it will be interesting to see how much of the law enforcement crowd will follow suit. We may end up seeing a situation where there will be law enforcement on both sides of the issue.

At the end of the day, its going to be an interesting race. Gibbons has a money advantage, but its not clear if its going to be enough to get him over the top. I expect that he will have even more money to pump into the race before everything is over with. However, before people jump to give him the advantage, I would point to the District 5 race to remind people that money isn't everything. Higgins has significantly less money than Austin and still pulled off a decisive victory. This will come down to who is able to work harder and smarter.

Too late for some

Here is an excellent article from over the weekend about independent retailers around Mesa. It is a little too late for some. However, let's hope that a little extra publicity will help some of them out so we don't see more of them close like the independent coffee house in the Fiesta Mall area that I mentioned last week.

Check out Local First Arizona for more information. Having locally owned businesses is good for the economy and for tourism. When people come to town to visit, you aren't jumping to show them your Chilli's or TGIFridays. You want to show them something that they don't have at home. We need all kinds of retailers and businesesses to make up a thriving city.

MPS budget meeting tomorrow

The Tribune has a rundown of all of the upcoming school budget discussions that will be happening all over the East Valley. Mesa Public Schools will be discussing their budget and the $13 million in cuts tomorrow at 5pm at 549 N. Stapley Drive.

Let's hope that they will have some discussion about getting some of these programs funded through private means.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

More on Kevin Gibbons and other Legislative Races

It appears like the party faithful are taking notice. First the County Republican chairman weighed in. Now, I got an email forwarded to me from District 18 Chairman Matt Tolman. Here is an excerpt:

"It is this governor and her policies that have strapped this state to the point of financial ruin. It was Mr. Pederson who ran against Senator Kyl, spewing lies and falsehood against the Senator.

How soon will it be before Governor Napolitano and Senator Obama lend their support to his campaign?

How can we trust Mr. Gibbons who wants open borders, who had registered in his name 'Inmigracion Sin Barreras', translated into 'Immigration without Barriers'. His campaign filings also show that most of his financial support is coming from the outside of Maricopa County and from those individuals who are attempting to supplant the will of the people and their passage of the Employer Sanction Law, which requires employers to check a persons legal status before hiring them."

Someone complained to me that I am not covering the other races enough. My reply is that I cover what is exciting and I think interesting to my readers. However, ask and you shall receive. Here is the finance reports for all of the legislative candidates so you can see who they are taking money from:

District 18
Russell Pearce
Kevin Gibbons
Judah Nativio

Cecil Ash
Steve Court
Kanani Henderson
Ron Middlebrook
Tammie Pursley

District 19
Chuck Gray

Kirk Adams
Rich Crandall
Kathy Romano

District 21 (Partially in Mesa)
Jay Tibshraeney

Warde Nichols
Steve Yarbrough
Phil Hettmansperger

District 22 (Partially in Mesa)
Thayer Vershoor
Eddie Farnsworth
Joe Bedgood

Andy Biggs
Adam Armer
Bob Brown
Laurin Hendrix

Since some people are clean elections candidates and other are not, its hard to really compare some of the numbers outright, but it is interesting to see who they are taking donations from.

More trouble for Kevin Gibbons

I reported last week that Kevin Gibbons didn't show up to his district debate. Now, we may know one of the reasons. He probably didn't want to answer questions about his donors. Here is a release we just received regarding Kevin Gibbons and his campaign finances:

District 18 Republican Challenger Takes Max Donations from Former Democratic Party Chairman
Maricopa County Republican Chairman Tom Husband to Gibbons: Give Back Jim Pederson's Money

MESA – District 18 Senate Republican Candidate Kevin Gibbons has received over $1,500 in campaign contributions from Millionaire developer and former Democrat Party Chairman Jim Pederson and his family. Arizona voters will remember Jim Pederson as the former chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party who also ran as the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate against Senator Jon Kyl.

"I can't understand why a Republican would take money from people who have clearly aligned themselves against the Republican Party and its principles," said Maricopa County Republican Committee Chairman Tom Husband, "I have a strong recommendation for Kevin Gibbons: Give back Jim Pederson's money."

As Democratic Party chairman, Pederson is remembered for having supported and helped to fund the Clean Elections Initiative, which limits our 1st Amendment rights in state elections. He also is considered to have been instrumental in recruiting Janet Napolitano to run for Governor. Napolitano has gone on to push through a bank breaking 2008-09 budget that includes reliance on debt, property tax increases, accounting gimmicks, fund sweeps, speeding tickets, and increased state gambling just to keep things in balance.

In 2006, Jim Pederson spent millions of his own money to bankroll his Senate campaign. In the end, he lost to Republican Senator Jon Kyl by nearly ten points. Now, Jim Pederson is using his money to fund the Governor's State Trust Land Initiative and has donated money to the redistricting initiative effort.

"Pederson is up to his old tricks in targeting trusted Republicans just like he did as chairman and when he ran for the United States Senate against Jon Kyl," said Husband, "The Arizona State Senate can't afford any more people who take their cues from the Democrat Governor and her people.

In addition to Mr. Gibbons, District 18 also has Russell Pearce, who spent 8 years in the Arizona House, seeking the Republican nomination to replace Senator Karen Johnson as the State Senator for District 18. He is running as a clean elections candidate, while his opponent, Kevin Gibbons is running as a traditionally funded candidate.

"We hope Mr. Gibbons comes to his senses and gives the money back to Jim Pederson", said Tom Husband.

(ETA: Sonoran Alliance is covering this as well.)
# # #
I looked at the finance reports myself and Gibbons has taken $1,560 dollars from the Pederson family. This is the same guy who is the biggest single donor to the Arizona Democratic Party. Not only that, but I was just barely getting over the fact that the guy was on TV day in and out everyday with some new complaint against Kyl. Now, he is back, and this time, clearly trying to target Russell Pearce. In fact, when you look at the finance list, you see its a lot of people donating to Gibbons who come from farming or ranching backgrounds who have probably been hurt by the latest immigration policies. It appears that the bulk of the donations are more Anti-Pearce than Pro-Jeff Flake's brother-in-law.
This looks like its going to be the race to watch this September in Mesa.

Economic Development and Mesa

Hopefully, the next few years will be an economic boom in Mesa. We have a lot of things in place and if they are are developed carefully and thoughtfully, we should be able to get Mesa out of these economic doldrums. It wasn't that long ago that Mesa was driving the entire East Valley. Now, the valley has gotten bigger, but Mesa should be able to take back its role as a regional leader. Two stories really go to this notion of economic development:

Scott Smith is laying out his building a better Mesa plan at breakfast on Tuesday. He talked a lot about his plans during his campaign and even still has some of them up on his website. It should be interesting to see what he has to say, but I already think that its great that he is putting some of the responsibility on the businesses to help Mesa thrive. This is going to be a group effort.

The other bit of news is that the Gateway area annexation meeting went off without a hitch. This area is definately going to be the future for Mesa and its long term viability. The mixed use project portion with major resorts and other exciting features. Mesa and the developer need to work together and make sure that its a high quality destination. There is no reason why that area can't be the resort destination in the likes of Scottsdale or Paradise Valley, especially to the growing communities in Pinal County. Combined with its proximity to the airport. It really will be the heart of Mesa's economic development.

Mesa Immigration Policy Released

Mayor Smith and Chief Gascon have clarified their immigration policy. The Tribune also has excellent coverage of the event, complete with video for you to watch. According to the stories, these rules have been clarified by Mesa police:

-Police "shall" check immigration status of everyone people arrested for crimes.

-People cited and released for minor offenses may be asked about their immigration status. If an officer "develops" probable cause to suspect the person is here illegally, ICE will be informed.

-Immigration status will not be sought for crime victims and witnesses, juveniles, people stopped for civil traffic violations, people seeking medical assistance or people participating in police volunteer activities.

Sounds fairly straight forwatd. I am sure its not going to be enough for the die-hards, but its a step in the right direction. Now, no one can say that they didn't know how the law was to be enforced. This combined with the ICE assistance secured by the Mayor should allow Mesa PD to do their job efficiently and take care of immigration issues while doing their job in thwarting all crime. Immigration status is only part of the solution to lowering Mesa's crime. We must remember that people who are legally also commit crimes (we see them all the time on "Cops" in Mesa).

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Mesa Public Schools Cuts outlines

With little fanfare or public input, the Mesa Public Schools is posed to pass a budget on July 8th that contains about $13 million in cuts. The school has about 1,500 fewer enrolled than in the past, and the result is fewer dollars. The cuts, mostly around the fringes, are common sense and do not impact the overall student in the classroom. They should also probably take a closer look at their administrative costs.

There are several programs that can hopefully be retained through grants or donations, because they are the types of programs that has made MPS one of the best districts in the state:

• The Mesa Youth Placement, which helps students with job skills such as resume writing and interview skills, will seek grants, and if not found, will be eliminated.

• The Technitorium and Imagitoriums, mobile art programs, will be closed by 2011.

• Science and other field trip district funds will be eliminated.

Fiesta area coffee house closes shop

A week after announcing they they were going to move to a different location, Essenza Coffee House has decided to close its doors for good. Its not all that surprising however, since Starbucks is closing 600 stores, but its always disappointing when local-owned businesses go under. Not really clear how big of a blow that this makes to the entire Fiesta District renewal, but it is one more store front that will be empty.

I believe that the shop is in the same plaza as the closed down 3 fountains movie theater. After seeing what happened when the Target took out the old Service Merchandise, perhaps its time for the land owners to consider the same over there.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

New Immigration Policy for Mesa

Mesa is set to announce a new immigration policy on Wednesday (here is the Tribune article). Its not clear if this is in the wake of Sheriff Arpaio being in town last week or if this a fulfillment of one of Scott Smith's campaign promises or a little of both.

Mesa has needed a defined immigration policy for some time to help battle its image as a "sactuary city." The new deal cut with ICE combined with a new policy could go a long way to battle these perceptions. It will be interesting to see what they come out with tomorrow.

Community Colleges making more friends

Without notice, MCC has dropped their plans for building a downtown campus. It looks like the community college's policy of making decisions without notifying anyone will continue.

Here is the most offensive part:

"(MCC President Shouan Pan) said college officials decided several months ago not to build the downtown campus."

Did they think that other people may want to know? While I do not necessarily think its a bad thing that they "refocus" their efforts on the main campus, it might have behooved them to start some sort of transition process or outreach effort to let people know what was coming.

Look at Councilman Kavanaugh for example, the investment is now coming to his district, yet, he is disappointed about the development of downtown that was depending on the downtown campus. Clearly the Athena project pulling out was a major blow to their plans.