Thursday, April 30, 2009

Museums to live on

The Mesa Historical Museum and the Arizona Museum for Youth will be merged and housed downtown with the highly successful Cactus League exhibit coming along. Its not clear on what will happen to the old school house that currently serves as the home of the historical museum, but overall, the notion of centralizing all of the museums into downtown is a smart move.

There is a fine line to walk here between maintaining cultural amenities and catering to the changing needs of the community. I am sure that there are people who will say that the Historical Museum should be left alone, but lets be honest - museums, for the most part, are a quality of life amenity that must be subsidized by either the cities or other organizations. We know that Mesa has had major economic troubles, so from the "glass full" perspective, its good that Mesa is able to keep any museums open at all.

In addition, with the success of the Cactus League exhibit, it makes sense for them to look for a permanent home for it. Give people what they want to see. If something is successful and is attracting people to Mesa, put it in the most centralized location possible, make it easy to find, and encourage people to shop and stop for a bite to eat while they are there.

Pro's Ranch Market opens

Pro's Ranch Market, a hispanic targetted grocery store, opened to long lines and great fanfare in Mesa. With so many stores going out of business, it is cause to celebrate when people are willing to take a chance to open something new in this current climate. No word on how many of the employees are Mesa residents, but as we have said before, the location should help.

I do have to take writer Ed Taylor to task, however, for including the somewhat skeptical quote:

"It's a nice, big store, and clean, with lots of employees," said Maria Mirramontes, one of the early customers. "I hope it stays this way."

Come on Ed, there is a line of people around the block, mariachis are playing, and over 400 new jobs are coming to Mesa and that is the most supportive quote you can find? Its assumed that everyone hope that their new store will stay nice. Its probably said every time a Wal-Mart opens or every time someone finds a Goodwill remarkably clean, but by including the quote, its almost an implication that this store may become a blight over time.

Let's focus on the positives here. For more about Pro's Ranch Market, visit their website.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Defending Mesa against legislative budget gimmicks

Thank you to Mayor Scott Smith and everyone else who is standing up to speak out against the latest legislative budget proposal. The outpouring of opposition has sent legislators back into hiding scrambling to throw out explanations as to why their latest misstep makes sense.

Meanwhile, the latest bit of intrigue is the fact that this scheme was actually hatched by the homebuilders, as another blow in their battle to eliminate impact fees. Of course, homebuilders should be held harmless, they didn't create the housing bubble one bit!

So, this comes down to a battle between the homebuilders and the cities, and the legislature was foolish enough to get themselves trapped in the middle. Meanwhile, they have no explanations for their actions and have cancelled two hearings regarding the budget.

As the voters of Mesa, we already approved the first property tax in 50 years to pay for critical public safety and street needs. It is not the time to be forced to turn around and ask the voters for more money because the legislature has taken it all.

Update on Mesa's goats

Good news from Mesa's goats: they are doing their job and they haven't been attacked by transients. This is a follow up from earlier this year when it was announced that goats would be used to remove brush and weeds from Mesa's treatment plant. It is clearly a "green" solution that appears to be working while saving the city $10,000. Great job!

Again, kudos to the guy who thought of a way to get paid and feed his goats. This should be a lesson to any agriculture classes that still exist at the high schools in Mesa Public Schools, perhaps they should be raising goats to clean up weeds and having the proceeds to go to MPS. Perhaps this would help reduce the costs of their latest proposed override.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Legislators forsake cities in latest budget attempt

Like many in the East Valley, we were happy when Mesa Representative Kirk Adams was named Speaker of the House. In fact, we offered him congratulations and said, "Hopefully, this will allow Mesa and the East Valley to have a greater influence and some greater attention paid to our needs."

As the budget debate heated up, we implored Speaker Adams and Senator Russell Pearce, who is chairman of the Senate appropriations committee, to look to Mesa for ideas on how to solve the budget challenges. Needless to say, their latest plan is NOT what we had in mind.

To put in bluntly, the Legislature's latest plan balances the budget on the back of the local taxpayers by merely shifting the burden. This is a cowardly grab of local and school monies to fill a hole that the legislature is otherwise unwilling to fill. They have said that they are philisophically against taxes, and it looks like they have finally seen the hypocracy in being against borrowing before they were for it, so in the end, they decided to make some one else deal with the problem.

Our greatest disappointment in this process is directed at Adams and Pearce because they are Mesa residents and they already know what Mesa has had to go through. So far, Mesa has had to make some of the biggest cuts of all, and they already went to the voters last year to a secondary property tax for several specific projects. These monies that they are going after are already committed to other projects or are being used to pay back things that are already built.

So how would Mesa cover these costs? How can they go back to their homes and look at their neighbors in Mesa and say that they have done the right thing?

Mesa needs to attract more business

Mesa has the office space, but it doesn't have the tenants. A glut of office space is available now with another 2.5 million in square feet that are currently under construction. This type of problem is expected, especially when businesses are shutting their doors leaving even more existing space. So, the real question is, should we lament their emptiness or should we be looking for ways to fill the space?

For now, the first step is to curtail the approval of additional office space. In the past, Mesa has had the tendency to continue to allow more and more of a good (or bad) thing until the entire city is saturated. It sounds like we have a pretty good base of office space lined up, so it might be time to cut down on the approvals.

With the HEAT plan, (healthcare, education, aerospace, and tourism) the next step would be divide up the spaces into the respective categories where they would be best suited, and start pushing them as a block of available space instead of marketing each center individually. In fact, if, for example, there was a large block of medical office space available in a particular area, work to find something that would attract business (ie a hospital, atheletic rehab, a med school, senior treatment, hospice care, etc).

More Good News for the Gateway Area

As a follow up to yesterday's Gateway Area: Destination 2012, it looks like we have even more good news with Allegiant Air posting big numbers in the first quarter of 2009. Again, this is great news for the Gateway area, especially since Allegiant makes up such a big portion of their current success. I am still in favor of diversification, but you should take the time to celebrate when someone is doing good business - especially in the heart of a bad economy.

The key to their success has to do with the growth in travelers and the ability to make up for lower fees with increased capacity. Probably the most important factor leading to their success is the fact that fuel is significantly down from where it was a year ago. Hopefully their success will show other carriers that Gateway is a viable option for additional travel in and out of the valley.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Gateway Area: Destination 2014

It looks like the 2014 is going to be the big year for the Gateway Airport area. That is the year that the new terminal expansion will be done, the new fire station will be built, and the Gaylord resort is supposed to be up and running around that time as well.

The idea that the number of passengers out of Gateway is going to jump from 300,000 to 600,000 next year seems to be like quite a jump, but anything is possible, especially if you have spent any amount of time near the traffic nightmare that is Sky Harbor these days.

It is also great news that Allegiant air is doing good business as well, but I would encourage the Gateway authority to continue to do what they can to expand the business at Gateway even further. If Alliegant can make up so much of the economic and passenger growth of the area, a misstep by the could also spell a major decline. This is not to say that I see anything but upside from Allegiant in the future, but it is a safe bet to keep our eggs in a couple of different baskets.

Its true as the Mayor said, the vison of Gateway is only beginning to be realized. Let's hope that they can continue to grow in the right direction (even though I still think the logo is goofy).


This plane got a little damaged while trying to land at Falcon Field today. No one was hurt in the mishap, which is a good thing. In fact, this is much better than the normal news that comes out of Falcon when some plane has had an accident.

Ah, Mesa...

You have to hand it to Mesa. It truly is a diverse place. For every feel good story about a kid who, at age 19, has started a limo company that is doing okay despite the terrible economy, we have a story about the police chasing and tasering a man on a motorcycle with a case of beer between his legs.

This topic has been mentioned before, and I am sure as its been pointed out, every city has these sorts of problems. It just feels like Mesa continues to wear them on their sleeve. Is that because local news is so scarcely covered that only interesting crimes make the cut?

First, congratulations to the 19 year old gentleman who has been able to take his life-long interest in limos and stretched cars and turn it into a business. Its also promising to see a mother so encouraging in a son's dream - a great story of a supportive parent.

As for the motorcycle beer hauler - we should also follow this because this guy has a fairly long rap sheet going into this arrest. Since it happened in Mesa, its only a matter of time before the questions of his legal status start to flow in. If he is found to have entered the United States illegally, people are going to somehow blame Mesa for this, when in fact, he has been picked up many other places before his run in with Mesa PD.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Much ado about Twitter

Since Oprah's venture into twitter last week, there has been much ado about twitter. The Mesa Issues twitter has been going strong, though I admit that we are still trying to figure out all of the insider language and the nuances.

I am probably a bad twitter friend, since we sometimes forget to check in, and I didn't even tweet the posts from yesterday (oops). Also, while I do try to add everyone who follows us, there is a lot of skepticism on if they really care about what is going on in Mesa. If so, awesome, but "padding the stats" is suspected. Admittedly, I was just excited to learn that we are up to almost 500 followers - yay!

I still remain shocked about how many tweets are about how awesome twitter is, which I equate to people blogging about how much blogging rocks, or someone going on the news to talk about how amazing and useful television is, but hey, what do I know?

Baywood Campus launches teen program during National Volunteer Week

Great news from Banner about getting kids involved in the community:
Baywood Campus launches teen program during National Volunteer Week

MESA, Ariz. (April 22, 2009) – The Banner Baywood Medical Campus is launching its teen volunteer program this week in honor of National Volunteer Week.

The program, which will take place at Banner Baywood Medical Center and Banner Heart Hospital, is aimed at introducing youngsters to the health care industry.

“While health care is not recession proof, it is one of the few industries that is continually growing and looking for good employees,” said Volunteer Services Manager Amy Sanders. “The volunteer program is a good way for young people to be exposed to the workings of a hospital and decide if they would like to pursue a career in health care.”

National Volunteer Week runs from April 19 to 25, and honors those who give voluntary service. More than 800 volunteers serve the Banner Baywood Campus.

The campus’ new program is unique in that it teams the teen volunteers with a parent or guardian.

“This way, teens aren’t the only ones who get to experience the benefits of volunteering,” Sanders said.

The teen volunteer teams will be stationed at one of the hospitals’ main information desks or gift shops. The teams agree to serve one four-hour shift per week for a minimum of 100 hours, and receive a certificate at the end of the program. The teams can also choose which hospital they’d like to serve.

Other requirements for teen volunteers:
- two letters of recommendation from a teacher, counselor, advisor, group leader, religious leader or employer
- attend a three-hour orientation with your guardian
- complete health screening requirements, which include a tuberculosis skin test and current immunizations such as measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox.

Those who are interested in participating can call (480) 321-4122 for more information. Applications are available at the Volunteer Services Office at Banner Baywood Medical Center, 6644 E. Baywood Ave., Mesa 85206.

All necessary applications and requirements are also available online:

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Happy Birthday Mesa CVB

Mesa's Convention and Visitor's bureau celebrated their 25th anniversary this week with a party a Toby Keith's new bar and grill. Apparently, they believe that TK's new place is what is needed to revive Riverview's district.

It was interesting was to read about not only all the stuff that they have done over the two previous decades, but how active they have been in the past few years in improving Mesa as a tourist and revenue destination. From Waveyard to Gaylord, they have been promoting concepts that would help make Mesa unique and attract even more people. While Gaylord seems much more likely than Waveyard at this point, they have been out there looking for creative ways to boost Mesa and its image.

Let's hope they continue this passion and vigor for Mesa for the next 25 years, especially with a focus on Gateway as Mesa's next big attraction.

Why spring training is a big deal

Increased attendance and additional spring training games brought $359 million into the local economy. According to the story, the games attracted 1.57 million people. Now, not every single person out there is from out of town, but there is a significant portion of people who travel here and spend money during that time.

Once again, the Cubs were the top draw, bringing more than 200,000 fans to 19 games. There weren't numbers to show how well Mesa did in additional revenues, but it is surely enough that Mesa would be hurting without them.

Its incredible numbers like these that remind us what Spring Training is such a big deal to the Valley and why its imperitive for the Cubs to stay in Mesa. Just as the Cubs want to upgrade their facility to stay, Mesa must upgrade their strategy for capturing more revenue from the record number of people who come watch games in town.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Two new fire stations are moving forward

The City Council has voted to move forward with the construction of two new fire stations. These new stations are directly from the overwhelming passage of the fire bond program in November. This is the first step in the council delivering what they promised in the bond program, and being able to get these projects going within 6 months of passage is a great move.

Of course, there are a few people who are mad that the stations being built are not the ones in their backyard. Obviously, it would be great if Mesa could be building all of these new stations at once, but the key is, its great that they are even able to build any. Look around the valley, very few cities are taking advantage of the lowered land and construction prices. The fact is, Mesa is getting the most bang for their buck, and probably even creating a few construction jobs in the process.

Also, its important to note that putting a new fire station in town, helps response times for everyone. Now the stations that used to serve the area can focus on the needs of other areas and can stay closer to their base of operations. All in all, even if these stations aren't in your backyard, helping Mesa go from 17 stations to 19 is good for everyone.

Can Toby Keith bring life to Riverview's entertainment district?

Toby Keith's "I love this Bar and Grill" has finally opened at Mesa Riverview. With its giant guitar shaped bar, a mechanical bull, and some creative food choices, it will probably attract a crowd. The real question: Is it enough to bring life to Riverview's entertainment district?

Since Riverview and Tempe Marketplace both opened, there have been a lot of comparisons between the two entertainment districts - most people forget that Riverview also has all of those dealerships, the hotel, and the business area. While Tempe Marketplace has Dave and Busters, Cadillac Ranch, and other attractions to anchor their district, Riverview has been more of a ghost town attracting a few tenants, but not the active district that we were promised.

Toby Keith's new place should attract some people, but the question is, will it be enough? It would seem to me that Bass Pro already attracts the "hunting/fishing, love America and my truck" type of crowd. Is it the goal to get them to spend even more money by checking out other parts of the area? Is it to turn the daytime Bass Pro shoppers into nightlife participants? Is there a Cabella's-style alternative bar that is going to move in Glendale, like "Garth Brooks' Friends in Low Places Bar and Grill?"

Let's hope that it will be enough to help bring some excitement to the Riverview area. In the meantime, it might be a fun time to witness someone try to take the 100 Ounce Challenge.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Waiting for the Cubs

Mesa is now waiting for the Cubs to see exactly what they think they need to stay in Mesa. It was shocking to learn that Fitch went under rennovation back in 1997, but a lot has changed since then, especially in the facilities around the valley. Not only that, but look how technology has changed.

In 1997, dial-up internet was still king, and video capturing was still fairly new. These days, you can go into almost any golf pro-shop, get your swing filmed in slow-motion, analyzed, put on Youtube, and a computer can probably tell you how to get 20 more yards on your drive.

Now, think about baseball as a multibillion dollar business. Wouldn't you assume that they would want the latest facilities to train and rehab their players? Don't you think as the highest draw in Spring Training, they look to some of the other facilities and think that they deserve similar?

If Mesa can get off with a new practice facility and some minor improvements to Hohokam, they should consider themselves getting off fairly easily.

Wins and Losses for the Tribune

Congratulations to the East Valley Tribune for their Pulitzer Prize for local news for their 5-part story on Sheriff Joe known as "Reasonable Doubt" from last year. However, the thrill of this victory must be tempered by the fact that the Trib also announced last week that they are now dropping Saturday service.

For those counting at home, the Trib is only publishing on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. That means if they wanted to run another 5-part story in the future, it would take them nearly 2 weeks to do it!

ETA: In a bit of Irony, one of the Trib's winners is among the many that have been laid off. Now, he's writing for the Arizona Guardian, an online news source.

Also, despite their best efforts, its seems clear that without the deadline of a newspaper looming, the writing for the Tribune website has slowed quite a bit as well. It seems like almost all of their content is now provided by local feeds like Howard Fischer, the AP, or other sources. Also, though the tabs are nice, they don't always appear to work as they are supposed to.

If the economy continues to struggle and nothing comes along to move papers, how long until the Tribune is a weekly like the New Times?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Karen Johnson plans to run for Governor

Former Mesa Senator Karen Johnson has announced that she plans to run against Governor Jan Brewer in 2010.

It doesn't take but a google news search to show that this is probably a bad idea, and it would be best for her to stay retired in Snowflake. Just so you can recall, this is the same Karen Johnson who was a fomer aide to Evan Mechum, asked to meet with Senator McCain to discuss 9-11 theories, and openly bashed gays on several occasions.

She also opposed Riverview, advocated for guns in schools, and even has some of her own friends calling her "crazy."

Sounds like a recipe for success. She served Mesa well in her time in the legislature, but let's hope that this isn't her Brett Favre playing on the Jets, Emmit Smith on the Cardinals, Joe Montana on the Chiefs, Michael Jordan on the Wizards era. Perhaps it would be best if she kept the uniform hanging in the closet.

For your watching enjoyment, here is a video of her quest for the "Truth" about 9-11:

School start times to change

Who knew that tweaking the school start times around MPS could save nearly $1 million a year? While most of the school cuts are very unfortunate, its interesting to see what kinds of efficiencies can be found when people are forced to look for them. Could this $1 million been saved before now? Probably. But what was their motivation to save the money?

These tough times are a good opportunity to look for effiencies within the system that can and will be found. Every family has been impacted by this economy, and for the most part, they have found ways to stretch even further. Very few people have said, "this is as far as we can go."

It times of prosperity, its easy to get lax about the way things are done. In times of hardship, its an excellent opportunity to reform and make changes for the future. That is not to say that laying off 200 employees is ideal for MPS. However, finding ways to improve effiency could help them be insulated from even further cuts.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

All Aboard Mesa Metro Station

Mesa's metro station is the busiest on the Light Rail line the other top of the list was the other terminus at 19th Ave and Montebello. Its not that surprising that the end of the line would be among the most popular stops, especially since anyone from outside the area would go to the end of the line as the closest access to the rail.

It will be interesting to see what happens as the train expands further into Mesa. Does the old Tri-city stop stay popular because of the park and ride, or does the bulk of people move to the new end stop? Meanwhile, it looks like they are getting their kinks out of system and with baseball season starting, we will probably continue to see ridership increase.

The real test is going to come this summer when the weather is 115 degrees and people are having to wait in the heat for a train.

Mesa enters the digital age

The City of Mesa is now facebooking, youtubing and twittering. Its great news for those who rarely visit the City's site and don't have the time to decipher the antiquated categorizing systems that seem to pervade all government websites.

Glad to see that Councilman Scott Somers is also giving twitter a try. We would like to re-extend our offer to him and the other council people to share with us a state of the district post as a guest blogger on Mesa Issues.

Making government more open and accessible is a noble effort, one that builds trust and expands understand of what, exactly, it is that local government does. Good luck on their endeavor, and hope it leads to genuiune community discussion and engagement.

Crime vs. Illegal Immigration

In a recent press conference, Chief Gascon said that crime, not immigration status, is the number one priority of his police department. The message is a good one, but the timing? Not so much.

It is true that violent crimes are down and that Mesa hasn't gone this long without a homicide since the 80's. This should be the focus of the Police Department's efforts, and it looks like their focus on the worst of the worst is paying off. Congratulations to the Mesa PD for all of their hard work.

The problem is, just as Sheriff Joe casts a shadow on everything right that the MCSO does, Gascon's personality and his recent faux pax, are threatening to do the same. When you look at this article, what do you take away from it?

Do you notice the great work being done by the Police or do you notice that immigration, once again, is the topic that creates the controversy? Now, is it the topic that sells papers and creates loads and loads of comment pages, yes. Is there a way to constructively discuss the issue? I think so.

For example, what impact has the employer sanctions law had on the illegal immigation population of Mesa? Can you draw a correlation between the decline in illegal immigration and in the decline in crime? Are violent crimes down and petty crimes up because people are broke and there is less to fight about?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

No homicides in Mesa this year so far

In the past decade or so, Mesa has rarely made it out o January before a homicide has occured. This year, we are already into Mid-April, and we have yet to see a homicide. Come on, Mesa, let's keep up the good work!

It appears that the crackdown on serious crimes appear to be working. Who knows if the employer sanctions laws limiting illegal immigration activity has helped as well? Regardless of the factors, its good news that fewer homicides are happening. Let's hope this continues.

Gascon's funders identified

Sonoran Alliance is reporting that the group Respect/Respeto is behind paying for Gascon's recent trip to Washington DC. They also point out that Gascon has since returned the money - which was probably a smart move.

However, the question is: Has the damage already been done?

As SA points out, once you untangle the web, you can see that Respect/Respeto is affiliated with the Golden Door Foundation. One of their projects is Secure Borders for a Secure Country, which is affiliated with the groups that fought employer sanctions laws here, including outspoken Russell Pearce opponent Jason Levecke.

Mesa cannot afford to appear soft on immigration, especially since its still such a large problem. Gascon has already received a lot of criticism from Arpaio, and one would assume that Pearce is not that far behind. Whatever Mesa is doing to address this issue, they should announce it publicly and soon.

Monday, April 13, 2009

It seems quiet

Not a whole lot to write about today. Are there things going on that I am missing? If so, let me know in the comments section and I am more than willing to post. Now that spring training is gone, the Gaylord is going to be built, and Mesa has made their budget cuts, it appears that we have hit some sort of lull.

Is it the calm before the storm? Let me know if you have any tips!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hiring in Mesa

More than 1,100 people showed up for the 300 to 400 job openings for the new Ranch Market in Mesa. Its not clear how many of them are Mesa residents, but based on the location, we would have to assume that Mesa would be the home to a decent portion of them. In the wake of so many businesses shutting their doors, its great to see one ready to open theirs.

Lets hope that the news is right and the economy is starting to level off. While other cities continue to struggle to fit into their new budgets, Mesa would be positioned to take off and recover more quickly.

Step One: Don't leave gun in public

It seems like it would be Police 101: Don't leave your gun unattended in a public place. Don't change employee records. However, sometimes thats not enough logic, as two veteran Mesa cops were reprimanded for these offenses. Its not clear what a "reprimand" really means, or what action was taken, but these men should have probably known better.

We understand that people make mistakes, but according to the story, those guys are a Commander and a Sergeant. They should be held to a higher standard, especially since I would assume they have people working under them.

Between this and Gascon, is everything okay in the Mesa PD?

Welcome back, Thoughts on Mesa

A big welcome back to Thoughts on Mesa, who have hit the ground running once about blogging about issues around Mesa. He is hot to trot on this Gascon issue, which is not surprising as he has been a vocal critic in the past. He is claiming that ACORN funded Gascon's trip and cites an unknown source to confirm. It seems a little far-fetched to me, but hey, people have been naive enough to fall for things like this in the past.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Gascon makes a BAD move

Gascon says that he doesn't dance for anyone, except he better start dancing for the City Council and fast. Since it has been discovered that a "group of nonprofit organizations that are seeking immigration reform” paid for his trip to Washington, there has been a bit of an uproar. And now, Gascon, who, while outspoken, has done a pretty good job of keeping himself above the immigration fray, has now jumped in the middle of it.

We have to ask: Do you dance with the one who brung you?

Our thoughts on Sheriff Joe and his out of control behavior have been fairly well documented. We sided with Mesa against his raid on Mesa City Hall. Whats more, we have been fairly supportive of Gascon's efforts to reduce crime, and have even opposed efforts to demonize him.

However, in the end, it looks like his stubbornness may be his undoing. The chief is supposed to be an impartial enforcer of the law. Why would you take money from a group that has thoughts about which laws are right and which laws are wrong? When the sheriff conducted the sweeps last year, this is what we had to say:

"Gascon has a concern for riots and civil unrest - it doesn't appear that he is fundamentally against a crackdown on illegal immigration. However, he is allowing those concerns to stand in the way, or at least allow the perception to prevail that he is trying to stand in the way. The result is people calling for his dismissal claiming that he is part of the problem on why Mesa is considered a "sanctuary city." Gascon must clearly define himself as part of the solution."

So what does he do? He moves in the completely opposite direction. Instead of defining himself as part of the solution, he has now aligned with himself with people who clearly want to stand in the way. The result is going to be even more people calling for his dismissal. Is there anything that Gascon can do to fix the damage that has been caused?

Shop Mesa, enjoy the arts

If you shop in Mesa, you could save money towards several of Mesa's different art programs. While a little on the convoluted side, it sounds pretty neat. Basically, shop in Mesa, and you'll get coupons or "Mesa Bucks" which can be built up to get buy one get one free access to Mesa Arts and culural programs.

Saving money is all the rage right now. Coupon programs, discount passes, two for ones are more popular now than they have been in recent years. In this case, its actually a double smart move, because it gets people to invest in Mesa, and then it gets them to spend even more money on Mesa Cultural events. It could potentially be a way to maximize the things that Mesa is already doing.

The only question I have is, how does this work? Is someone going to the businesses and asking them to hand out these "Mesa bucks" or do you just have to go to some central location and show your Mesa receipts?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Mesa Patriot Guard rider dies

Mesa Resident Craig Creed spent his weekends honoring the fallen soldiers as part of the Patriot Guard Riders. Last Thursday, he died after a tragic accident on the 101, riding his motorcycle home from a funeral where he participated along with 60 of his fellow Patriot Guard riders.

From the comments and the reactions, you can tell that Creed had an impact on the lives around him. And even to the end, he died doing something that he thought was important, honoring the lives of those who have sacrificed for his country.

While his death is tragic, its also very honorable. It is a tragic loss of someone with still so much life ahead, but there is no better way to go than doing something you love and honoring those that you care about.

Funeral arrangements for Creed are pending. The family has requested that in lieu of sending flowers to the family, to donate to the Patriot Guard Riders or Boys and Girls Clubs of the East Valley.

Checks may be made payable to Patriot Guard Riders Inc. and mailed to: Patriot Guard Riders, P.O. Box 822513, Vancouver, WA 98682, or BGCEV, 1405 E.
Guadalupe Road, Suite 4, Tempe, AZ 85283.

Train preservation limping along

The group dedicated to preserving the train at Pioneer Park, claim to be up to about $26,000, if you include what they have in hand combined with a grant they expect to receive. This isn't much of a change from the last profile on the group, so its not clear why this is all that newsworthy.

The only real difference is now the pro-train group is claiming that its going to be EVEN LESS to preserve the train. They are now claiming that it will only cost "$75,000 to move the train and another $50,000 to restore it," which may be good news for them, but it doesn't change the fact that they are only a little more than halfway there.

My question to the City of Mesa is how much time are you going to give these folks? I am not against them giving it the old college try, but is someone confirming that the train could be moved for $75,000? If it costs more, who would be holding the bag?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Advertising coming to light rail?

Ever since the all-star game advertised on the light rail cars, Metro has been moving closer to beginning to allow regular advertisements on their train. As I mentioned before, I think that light rail should put the protocol in place for big events, and maybe there is room in there for day to day advertising.

One of the comments I have heard from people who ride the light rail here and have done transit in other places is that it is sort of weird that the train is completely devoid of advertising. Sometimes advertising is a bit of a distraction, but not always in a bad way, sometimes it keeps you from staring at the person in front of you.

If it could generate $1.6 million a year, it might be something to look into. But where does that money go? Does that devalue packages that could be offered to things like all-star games and spring training?

Prepare for more moaning about the property tax

Well, its about that time. The city council will soon choose to implement the secondary property tax that the voters overwhelmingly approved in November. Despite the Public Safety bond winning with 66.9% and the Streets bond winning with 64.6% of the vote, there are going to be a little bit of noise when the council votes to enact the tax.

One of the commenters mentioned the "camel's nose under the tent," well, the voters let that camel in back in November. We need these critical projects and we voted to make sure that they happen. So, the council should be confident in their vote to support the will of the voters.

Now, their job will be to make sure that they can deliver everything that they promised in those bonds. The voters have faith in this mayor and council because they cut the bonds in light of the economic slowdown and they were honest about the needs. Now that we are going to be paying, they need to make sure that they are delivering.