Friday, October 30, 2009

Twitter Friday @MesaIssues

You know #FollowFriday. Every week, Mesa Issues celebrates Twitter Friday. Get ready for our weekly recap, post of the week, newly added post of the month and so much more, all in 140 characters.

Check out our twitter page @MesaIssues. Check us out at We would always appreciate a follow!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mesa pitching the Cubs next week

Aided by City and State leaders, the City of Mesa is going to have a chance to make their pitch to the new owners of the Cubs next week. Mesa has several land owners who would be willing to be part of a new stadium facility, and it looks like some of them are going to meet with the Cubs while they are in town.

Mesa is walking a fine line here between being resolved in keeping the Cubs and appearing too willing to do anything. The threat from Florida is real, but that should be mean that the Cubs can hold Mesa hostage for anything they want.

With the potential of facing yet another election, Mesa residents should be reminded that unlike some of the other projects we have voted on in recent years, the Cubs are already contributing to the local economy to the tune of $50 million a year. Mesa cannot afford to lose the Cubs, so let's hope that the Mayor and all of our city leaders are able to put Mesa's best foot forward next week.

Saving $300,000

The City of Mesa is taking another shot at a vision for downtown, this time with a $300,000 stimulus grant. Free money, right? Well, eventually, the taxpayers are going to have to foot the bill for this stimulus spree, so maybe this would be a good first place to start saving some of it.

In our attempt to save Mesa $300,000, here is our best guess of what will come out of the study:

- Create a sense of "place" using distinctive landscaping features, pedestrian friendly walkways, and interesting design and architecture.

- Integrate transit into the planning, encouraging different kinds of businesses, shops, and residential to create a mixture of people living and shopping in the area.

- Attract a regional employer or university to locate downtown in the vicinity of the light rail creating a destination for students and workers.

- Focus on the local attractions such as the Temple and the Mesa Art Center and attract like minded opportunities to their area to create a richer experience.

- Encourage the integration of historic neighborhoods with new, interesting architectural designs to embrace the area's history while looking ahead to its thriving future.

- Give the area a name and a theme that capture the spirit and essense of the area.

- Place residential and office above retail locations to create not only a shopping destination, but an interesting place to live and work.

Any of these sound familiar? We understand that there should be a plan in place for what to do when the light rail comes, we just wonder how these planners make so much money by basically saying the same thing over and over. Mesa would also do well to talk about how this is not coming out of general fund dollars, because taxpayers aren't all that interested in a downtown plan, when the city has already had to cut millions from their current budget.

School Override Elections on Tuesday

There hasn't been a lot of talk about it, but Mesa Public Schools along with nearly 30 other districts across the valley are headed to a school override election this Tuesday. Make sure you look at the issues for yourself, but with the current state budget taking such a big chunk out of education, one would assume that these override and bond issues are becoming increasingly more important.

That being said, the schools that go out for these overrides time and again should not assume that these issues are going to pass, just because they have in the past. There is a large group of people, especially in Mesa, who are going to vote no on anything. School districts should me mindful of this fact and be very transparent about what the money is being used for, and how the money has been spent in the past. Taxpayers are inclined to continue to give money to schools, but they want to make sure that their money is being used efficiently.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Naples group is serious about the Cubs

The group from Naples, FL is serious in their endeavor to attract the Cubs. They have several serious supporters and it looks like they may have a few funding options at their disposal. As Keep the Cubs mentions, however, they appear to have very little political support for their effort. So, if push comes to shove, and the stadium eventually needs taxpayer funds (which pretty much all stadiums do), there's a big chance at trouble.

However, with the intentions of Naples on the table, it does teach us a few things:

First, as blogger Joanna Allhands points out, a downtown stadium is probably out of the picture. There is not enough acreage available to support that type of facility and retail attraction that the Cubs appear to be looking for. If Mesa is to be competitive, their location will not likely be downtown.

Next, it appears that more than Mesa may need to be involved. By now, the Cactus League must realize that the Cubs are the rising tide that lifts all ships. They should be helping keep the Cubs in Arizona. Same goes for all midwest transplants throughout the Valley. The local Cubs fans should be on red-alert.

Finally, Mesa is going to need to hit a homerun. Not that there isn't enough pressure on Mayor Scott Smith, City Manager Chris Brady, and whomever else is on their team already, but Mesa needs to show that they have come to play. This may not necessarily mean more money or bigger deals, but it should show a creativity that may not have characterized Mesa in the past. This is just too big of a revenue source to let leave. Which means Mesa should either embrace the Keep the Cubs effort that is already underway, or do more in promoting their own effort.

Bad news for sales tax revenues

Once again, Mesa's sales tax revenues have taken a turn for the worse. Once again, Mesa is on the sales tax revenue roller coaster. Once again, we are waiting for the end of the month and crossing our fingers that revenue should be okay. Last month it looked like things were stabilizing, but this month revenues are off again.

Although this sparked a bit of back and forth last time, this is yet another example of why Mesa needs to look for steadier revenue sources. Again, we are not advocating for a tax increase, but we do think that the City should be able to offer its citizens a minimal expectation of what services they should expect.

All of this bad news just goes to serve as a reminder why Mesa needs to work hard to keep revenue sources that we have (the Cubs) and continue to foster others that have future potential (Gaylord and Gateway).

Safety Tips from the Mesa Police Association


Mesa, AZ - It is important to keep our kids and community safe during Halloween. As you are getting yourself and family ready for the spooky festivities, the Mesa Police Association (MPA) has a few tips to consider. "

Children can hardly wait to put on their costumes and fill up their bags with treats," states Sgt. Fabian Cota, President of the Mesa Police Association. "Unfortunately that excitement can sometimes make both children and adults forget to be careful while they're out having fun. "

Mesa Police Association is offering the public these instructions for friends and family to stay out of danger this Halloween.


-Teach children if anyone tries to grab them to make a scene; loudly yell this person is not my father/mother/guardian; and make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming, and resisting.

-A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds. Stay in a group, walk slowly and communicate where you are going.

-Plan and review with your children the route and behavior which you are familiar with. Remain on well-lit streets and use the sidewalks. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the farthest edge of the roadway. Never cut through alleys or sidewalks.

-Check the sex offenders database so that you can avoid those houses, if applicable, in your neighborhood.

-Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.

-Make sure you use a flashlight with new batteries.

-Take extra effort to eliminate tripping hazards on your porch and walkway. Check around your property for flower pots, low tree limbs, support wires or garden hoses that may prove hazardous to young children rushing from house to house.

-Teach children their home phone number and to how call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost. Remind them that 9-1-1 can be dialed free from any phone.

-Secure emergency identification (name, address, phone number) discreetly within Halloween attire or on a bracelet.

-Think twice before using simulated knives, guns or swords. If such props must be used, be certain they do not appear authentic and are soft and flexible to prevent injury. Also, beware that some masks can block light.

-Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible Adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.

-Remember curfew and noise ordnance laws - police officer do enforce these.

If parents, friends and family follow these tips, the MPA is sure that we will continue to keep our community safe. Founded in 1989, the MPA’s mission is to promote the positive role of Law Enforcement Professionals, and to protect and secure rights and benefits for our members through effective representation with local, state, and national governments. The organization is currently the largest association representing active Mesa Police Officers.

Friday, October 23, 2009

State of Mesa: Councilmember Scott Somers - District 6

We have a new edition of our series, "State of Mesa." We have offered each councilmember an opportunity to submit their own editorial on the state of their District to be posted on Mesa Issues. Here is Councilmember Scott Somers' State of District 6:

State of the District: Mesa Gateway Bucking the Trend

Mesa, along with the rest of the nation, continues to struggle with the downturn in the economy. Many economists are starting to say that we’ve hit bottom, but it certainly seems to be a marshy bottom as unemployment in Arizona continues to hover above 9-percent. In this environment, investments in economic development become increasingly important for our State and City’s long-term recovery and growth.

In many ways, southeast Mesa is bucking the trend of receding economic activity with the addition of new businesses and expansion of existing ones. This growth has created jobs and brought millions in private investment to the City.

Major aerospace employers now occupy the north ramp of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. Cessna, Embraer, and Hawker-Beechcraft have or will soon create a combined $47M in capital investment with 260 jobs and an annual payroll of $16M.

Despite the decline in business and recreational air travel, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and its major tenant Allegiant Airlines continue to expand. The Airport Authority recently accepted a $9M Federal grant for the expansion of the Charles Williams Terminal. With that announcement came the addition of Allegiant’s 20th destination from Mesa. Allegiant employs 60 people at Gateway and funded an earlier $3M expansion of the terminal.

The Arizona Aerospace Institute was conceived to promote a global role for the State in aerospace research and infrastructure. We expect AzAI will soon plant its flag in Mesa. Mayor Smith and I are pleased to be among the founding members of the advisory board.

Manufacturing is beginning to seed itself near Mesa Gateway. Soon CMC Steel will open its doors. The company will recycled metals to create steel rebar. The mill’s capacity will be able to supply nearly all the steel rebar needs for Arizona. CMC invested $120M in our City and will provide 60 jobs with an annual payroll of $3.6M.

Healthcare services are expanding in east Mesa. Banner Baywood recently opened its new emergency room; Mountain Vista Medical Center is up-and-running offering improved cardiac and stroke services to the east Valley; and A.T. Still is expanding its medical education and services campus to begin construction on a specialty hospital.

Tourism initiatives in southeast Mesa are progressing. Last year voters overwhelmingly approved the Gaylord Resort and Convention Center. This project will bring 1200 resort rooms and nearly 500,000 s.f. of convention space to Mesa. Despite the down economy, Gaylord Entertainment was able to retire debt and raise capital, money that is reported to help with their expansion projects, most notably right here in Mesa. Gaylord will bring nearly $1B (that’s Billion) in private capital investment to Mesa – the largest such investment in Arizona history.

Don’t be surprised if you see a movie star in Mesa in the coming years. The Gateway Studios project located south of the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport continues to move forward. While there are a few obstacles to overcome, this project promised to bring $70M in private investment to southeast Mesa, along with some notoriety.

Mesa is quickly being recognized for its innovation in planning. Recently, the Mesa Gateway Strategic Development Plan, which we’ve been working on for nearly 2 ½ years, received an award from the American Planning Association for “Best 21st Century Plan”.

I expect southeast Mesa will continue to see tremendous growth in Healthcare, Education, Aerospace, and Tourism in the coming years. Will continued diligence and innovative planning it can truly live up to our vision of a 100,000 high-wage job center.

@MesaIssues Twitter Friday

Everyone always talks about #FollowFriday. Here at Mesa Issues, it's also Twitter Friday. That means we'll be on Twitter today talking Mesa, recapping the week, and sharing our thoughts in 140 characters or less!

Check out our twitter page @MesaIssues. Check us out at We would always appreciate a follow!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Yankees one win from shutting out Cactus League

Just 10 days ago, we said that we had spoken too soon about the Cactus League not doing well in the MLB playoffs. We guess we spoke too soon again. The Phillies beat the Dodger in convincing fashion in 5 games. Now, we are one Yankee win away from the Cactus League being shut out of the World Series.

Like we said before, it's good that spring training in Arizona next year will be home to two of the final four MLB teams in the Playoffs. However, it doesn't look like we will be home to either the NL or AL Champ, or the World Series winner.

Let's hope that this will help motivate the Valley to rally behind the Cactus League and help keep the Cubs in Mesa and help the Gila River Indian Tribe find a team of their own.

Fewer DUI arrests in Mesa - Good or Bad news?

Normally, a decline in DUI arrests would be considered a good thing, right? One could assume it meant fewer impaired drivers on the streets and that the harsher DUI laws are working. The Mesa Police Association doesn't think so.

The Mesa Police Association believes that the reduction in DUI arrests is a function of the decentralized enforcement system that has been implemented along with policy changes requiring all offenders to be taken into custody. They argue that the shift of focus from DUI enforcement to overall patrol is the cause of the reduction in arrests.

So, the real question is: are DUI arrests down because there are fewer people committing this crime or because there are fewer people enforcing it? Have DUI casualties gone up? Have property damage and collisions gone up? What are the trends like in other communities?

Its easy to guarantee that something will go up if there are more officers to enforce it. That is true of any type of enforcement. If more officers were looking for drug dealers, they would probably net more arrests as well. The question is, is Mesa being dramatically underserved now in its DUI enforcement because of these policy changes?

Mesa lands national swim meet - every little bit helps

Here is some good news for the local economy. Mesa has been tapped to host a national swim meet in 2011. The event is expected to attract over 2,500 swimmers (including former olympians) and is expected to generate over 12,000 room nights in hotels.

They are estimating that this will generate $1.5 million for the local economy. It's not clear how much of that money will go directly into the city's general fund to off set some of the major cuts we have seen as of late, but the truth is, every little bit helps.

Anytime Mesa can be placed on a national stage is positive news generating more opportunities for visitors to come to Mesa, spend money, and learn more about our city. The more events we can attract, the more momentum that is gained for Mesa as a destination and before long, our city can be a "must-schedule" for rotating events.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Keeping Gateway Affordable

Mayor Smith wants to keep Gateway Airport affordable and simple and we think that's a good thing. Maximizing the amount of money squeezed out of something like parking only eventually leads to that money being programmed for something else unrelated. When this is done, it eventually means that when or if the money starts to dwindle, other funds must be found to keep that particular project going.

Look at the tobacco funds for children's programs, for example, people are smoking less - that's good, but now it means less money for the kids - that's bad. So, where next to help the kids?

If parking is merely self-sustaining and affordable, it becomes much easier to manage, and can become a potential resource in the future. Keeping parking in line is sort of like keeping an open equity line on a property. The old wisdon is that equity should only be tapped to improve the property itself, thus adding value. Keeping parking unincumbered not only keeps Gateway an affordable travel option, it could eventually help with the Airport's long term growth.

The Mayor is right - just because you can make money doing something, doesn't always mean that it's the best option. Patience and savings always seem to pay off in the long run.

County In-fighting continues

The Maricopa County Attorney's office wants to prosecute Supervisor Don Stapley so badly that they are trying to break procurement rules. As a result, the Board of Supervisors is not willing to approve the special prosecutors.

Needless to say, the action was not taken lightly by the attorney's office who compared the board's actions to investigations on former President Richard Nixon. This back and forth is just the latest in the long string of in-fighting.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Joe has briefly left his partner in crime, Andrew Thomas, to wage the internal battle, so that the Sheriff can try to stand toe to toe with the Federal Government. The sheriff has become sort of like Mike Tyson or Charles Barkley, you never really know what he is going to accuse, and they all become so much bigger than life that you can't really even be surprised anymore.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Find your own team!

There is a great editorial from the Southeast Republic saying that the Gila River Indian Community should have a chance to woo a spring training team, but says that it shouldn't be done at Mesa's expense. The editorial makes a good point, these communities shouldn't be competiting for the same commodity, they should be working together to expand it for everyone's benefit.

As we have said before, the current spring training split will not work forever. Next year, there will be 15 teams in Arizona and 15 teams in Florida. This creates a scheduling nightmare, because there aren't an even number of teams, so either some one has to sit out or compete in a split squad game. Eventually, a team is either going to leave for Florida or one is going to come to Arizona. We know that Florida is on the prowl for teams, and have already set their sights on the Brewers as well as the Cubs. Phoenix is probably going to have to do something to keep the Brewers in town as well.

So, this brings up an interesting question - are there other teams in Floriday that should be attracted to Arizona? Here is the list of teams and where they play in Florida. First, they need to update their website a little. The Indians and the Reds don't play in Florida anymore.

In looking at the other teams, you can take a couple out fairly quickly. Neither Florida team would leave, neither would the New York teams (East Coast/newer stadiums), nor Boston which is getting a new stadium (though they are having some trouble). However, the Twins are also in Ft. Myers and are not getting a new stadium. Do you think, perhaps, they would look for greener pastures? How about the Orioles, who have a 20 year old stadium as well.

Clearly, there are some other teams that the Gila River Indian Community could attract that would actually help the Cactus League without hurting Mesa or any other surrounding city.

Please watch your children!

Residents of Mesa: Please take the time to look after your kids. We have had a series of very tragic and unfortunate events that could more than likely be avoided with stronger parental supervision.

Just in the past couple of days, a 3 year old girl was killed in a parking lot, a car hit a stroller, and a toddler nearly drowned. Please keep your children safe!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Another Twitter Friday @MesaIssues

We always appreciate the mentions on #FollowFriday and we hope you're ready for another edition of Mesa Issues Twitter Friday. Mesa Issues rewind, great people to follow in Mesa, and so much more.

Check out our twitter page @MesaIssues. Check us out at We would always appreciate a follow!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stimulus to help hire 25 new police officers

Mesa has accepted nearly $6 million in federal stimulus dollars and has dedicated the money to hiring 25 new police officers. This is great news for Mesa, and will help continue trend in reducing crime throughout the city.

The stimulus funds will help this program for the next 3 years, however, the challenge will come when Mesa has to foot the bill for the officers in the fourth year. Fortunately, Mesa has three years to plan for this eventuality, and it would be wise for them to start saving now.

The fact that Mesa is one of the only cities that received their full alotment of stimulus funds for this program makes one wonder if there really is anything to the idea that the Dems are targetting Mesa.

Economy still tough for local businesses

The Human Bean, the donut shop turned coffee cafe, has closed its doors. The coffee house was the former site of the controversial Venchell donut shop that ran into sign ordinance issues a few years back.

Apparently, the high profile corner of Country Club Drive and Main Street was not enough to keep business flowing in the area. It just goes to show, that despite some indicators that things are turning around, the economy is still tough for local businesses. The question is, how does this bode for other downtown businesses on Main Street that may not have as prime of a location.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Light rail in Mesa sluggish to help commerce

Merchants along the light rail line in Mesa aren't seeing the financial benefits from being near the busiest stop on the system. Blogger Joanna Allhands blames the problem on the wrong types of merchants and the wrong type of development.

We agree with Allhands on her points, but we also think that there is an even more simplistic answer to the problem. Mesa's only stop is at the absolute end of the line. The traffic is mostly limited to those coming in from further out to board the train and to those coming home at the end of their journey. Therefore, people are close to their car.

If they are just getting out of their car, they have had the chance to stop somewhere else and get what they need. Same goes for when they are done at the end of the day, many would rather get into their vehicle and head toward home instead of doing their shopping right at the end of the line. Having a car gives them the ability to select whatever they want, far beyond the limited options at the end of the line.

The other problem is that there isn't any sort of destination near that stop to draw people from elsewhere on the line. Is there any draw for people to come to Mesa from Phoenix or Tempe?

Historical Museum closing

When it comes to museums, its location, location, location. For the Mesa Historial Museum, its location nestled deep within the Lehi neighborhood has finally brought its downfall. The historical museum is closing its doors, but some of its exhibits will live on throughout the city.

We have always wondered why the Historical museum stuck it out in its current location, the old school house in Lehi. More than likely, the historical location isn't availble for much else, so it was probably cheap to use, but the location, parking, and overall appearance didn't make it all that attractive of a destination. One would think that it would have been better to be located downtown near Mesa's other museums.

More than likely the Cactus League exhibit and the Wallace and Ladmo exhibit will continue on in some form - the Cactus League exhibit moving to a different museum and the Wallace and Ladmo pieces finding their way into other facilities and libraries. If it comes down to it, we would bet that there would be countless local Mesa businesses who would be more than willing to display some of the items.

Also, we're assuming someone else has thought of this already, but it seems logical that the new Cubs facility (or near by) would be a very logical place to host the Cactus League museum since they have the largest attendance.

Perhaps, this isn't the end of the Historical Museum, but rather just the end of it as it is known now. Maybe over time, it could be returned in a different format.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Matta's at Riverview breaks ground tomorrow

The new Matta's at Mesa Riverview breaks ground tomorrow the 13th at 9am. Over at their blog, Got Matta's?, they say that the first 100 people who show up at the ground breaking will get a special gift. Will it be one of their new head turning t-shirts?

The return of Matta's after closing their doors in downtown is in both the Republic and the Tribune as part of the promotion of the groundbreaking. We have been assured that the Republic's version of the article is wrong and the location will be able to seat more than 40 people.

Many will also be excited to know that some of the original fixtures and other unique pieces from the original Matta's will be part of the decorations in the new location. We were, however, a little less than enthused at the idea that the employees with 25 plus years of experience would be asked to return to the new location. The idea is a nice one, but we have had more than our fair share of cranky, old waitresses in our time and think it might be time to give a few young smiling faces a chance.

Either way, it's exciting news for Mesa and for Riverview's entertainment district.

22 Mesa Public Schools have less than 80 percent capacity

It has been known for awhile that enrollment was down in many of Mesa's schools, but we were surprised to see that there are 22 schools at 80 percent or less of student capacity. Here is the list of schools:

Brinton; Irving; Whittier; Hale; Pomeroy; Lincoln; Frost; Jefferson; Bush; Roosevelt; Jordan; Franklin-West; Guerrero

Junior High
Carson; Smith; Brimhall; Rhodes; Powell; Mesa; Hendrix

High school
Skyline and Westwood

Mesa Public Schools is going to face some real challenges in their efforts to diversify and modernize the school system. Although these schools may not be near capacity, they are still home to the 80% or less in the area who attend these schools and count on being able to send their child to a nearby location. A delicate balance between reform and remaining accessible must be found.

Cactus League comes to play in MLB Playoffs

We admit, we may have spoke a little too soon regarding the Cactus League representation in the Major League baseball playoffs. Two Cactus League teams (the Dodgers and the Angels) have made it on to their respective Championship series. The Rockies have an outside chance of going on, but it would be a tall order to defeat the Phillies, who are the defending World Series champs.

Spring Training in Arizona next year will be home to at least two of the final four MLB teams in the Playoffs. This great news for the Valley, especially if the economy doesn't recover as quickly as we all would want.

However, we hope that the the success of the local teams does not overshadow our original premise of why the Cactus League (and Mesa) needs to keep the Cubs. The Cubs are still the rare team that have generate significant attendance no matter their record from the previous year. We may be lucky enough to have teams that went deep into the playoffs this time, but that is no guarantee for every year. For the same reason certain college teams always get a bowl game because their fans "travel well," the Cubs are the rare draw that raises attendance for the entire league.

Friday, October 9, 2009

#FollowFriday @MesaIssues hosts Twitter Friday

We always appreciate the mentions on #FollowFriday, and we hope you like our regular Twitter Friday performance at Mesa Issues, including our special features like another edition of Mesa Issues rewind.

The blogging today will be micro-style via our twitter page @MesaIssues. Check us out at We would always appreciate a follow!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Smith finds a nicer way to say "Back Off"

Mayor Smith was joined by the Mayor of Denver and the Mayor of Tucson to extoll the virtues of regional cooperation instead of local competition. This latest message, of course, coming a week after Mayor Smith told everyone else in the Valley to stay away from the Cubs. Topics of local cooperation sound like a much nicer way to say "Back Off" to everyone else.

It's good to see Mesa and Tucson together talking about cooperation, especially after Mesa took an active role in trying to land the D-Backs away from Tucson. However, Spring Training baseball is not the only economic opportunity where Arizona needs to work together to seek economic opportunities that benefit everyone.

It's good to see Mayor Smith working with others to bring around a sense of regional cooperation. Mesa has had a role in the local competitions of the past including the incentive war between Mesa Riverview and Tempe Marketplace. While vying for projects will always be part of the landscape, it's good to see that there are leaders out there who are willing to look towards the statewide well-being instead of sacrificing long-term regional benefits for local gains.

Creative ideas for Mesa Public Schools

In light of the potential shifts in enrollment and moving grades around, Mesa Public Schools is looking into creative ways to use their existing facilities. From traditional schools to more specialized campuses, MPS appears to be taking the model of the past and changing it to specialize more for the differing needs of the students and desires of the community.

Their desire to "not lock the district into one educational model" is going to be a key for their long-term success. It is going to take some time to finalize the details, but the result has the potential of creating a robust district filled with a diverse number of educational options offering vocational, traditional, and advanced education.

The challenge to some neighborhoods will be that the local elementary school or junior high may change its purpose or focus. Some parents will no longer just assume a natural progression from the neighborhood elementary to the closest junior high and then on to the local high school. Instead, the closest school may not be the best to fit the needs of your child, and you're going to have to look around for the campus and the school that meets your student's needs.

This will be a challenge, but in the longrun, it has the potential of producing a wider range of better equipped and educated students ready for college and the workforce.

Sheriff Arpaio continues to pick fights

Last week, no one was willing to step forward and prosecute Supervisor Don Stapley. This week, County Attorney has finally found a team to prosecute the Sheriff's latest witch hunt. These Washington lawyers are the latest to be brought in to try to take down political enemies of Arpaio. The Tribune does a good job of detailing the Sheriff's previous zealous pursuits including his attack on the New Times and the previous attempt against Stapley.

Meanwhile, the Sheriff's behavior has also put him at risk of losing his immigration checks. The Feds are trying to take away Arpaio's ability to do supression sweeps, like the one he used to raid City Hall. Instead, they are trying to limit his immigration checks ot the jails, where they have had the greatest success. Needless to say, the Sheriff takes this as a personal affront to his ability to be "America's Toughest Sheriff."

Looks like the Federal Government will be added to his ever growing enemies list.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Clarificiation for "Thoughts on Mesa"

Our friends over at Conservative Thoughts on Mesa have written a response to our observation that Mesa would do well with a diversification of revenue sources. First and foremost, to be clear, we are not in any way advocating for a property tax. The voters were very loud and clear on the subject the last time around, and it is not something that should be considered in this current economic climate.

Second, when we talk about diversifying revenues, it didn't necessarily mean we were talking about increasing taxes. We agree that local government should be able to look for flexibilities within their system and always look for the most efficient ways to offer up services. Our observation is merely that, a little stability in revenues would mean that we could develop a minumum expectation of what services should be offered by government.

We agree that cuts are not a bad thing, but we also recognize, that every time you cut something, you are taking something away that you used to offer. Imagine if McDonalds went back to only offering a single cheeseburger and fries - there will be people to deal with.

All we were trying to say is that Mesa would do well to continue down the road of looking beyond merely sales tax dollars in its quest for economic development and jobs.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Playoffs show why the Cactus League needs the Cubs

The Major League Baseball playoffs are just about set, and from looking at the teams, you can see why the Cactus League should be working really hard to keep the Cubs in Arizona. Here are the teams that have made it into the playoffs and where they train:

American League
New York Yankees (Florida)
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Arizona)
Boston Red Sox (Florida)
Detroit Tigers/Minnesota Twins (Florida)

National League
St. Louis Cardinals (Florida)
Philadelphia Phillies (Florida)
Los Angeles Dodgers (Arizona)
Colorado Rockies (Arizona)

Notice anything? Florida is home to 5 out of the 8 teams in the Playoffs and is also home to the teams with the best odds of going deep into the Playoffs. In fact, many experts have all of the teams that train in Arizona falling in the first round. It is also important to note that the Dodgers just moved to Arizona this year, otherwise Florida would have had a 6 to 2 advantage.

Why does this matter? Remember the overflow of attention that the D-Backs received after winning the World Series? How about this year after the Cardinals trip to the Super Bowl? Winners attract spectators. When fans come to Spring Training, they flock in greater numbers to see if their team is going to repeat the success of last year or to see how their favorite team matches up with the "big boys."

Cactus League could very well be short of both of these commodities next year. That is where the Cubs come in. It is true that they did not make the playoffs this year, but for the sixth year in a row, the Cubs attendance topped 3 million. Although the Cubs have not won a World Series in over 100 years, they have a very dedicated fanbase that is willing to travel. Year after year, the Cubs top Cactus League attendance, not only in Mesa, but in every ballpark they visit.

The Cubs are the rare commodity that can attract tourists and fans even when their record is not the best. Renewed fan hope has proven to be great for the local economy, not only for Mesa, but for all of Arizona.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Follow @MesaIssues - Twitter Friday

Everyone knows #FollowFriday, but it's also Twitter Friday at Mesa Issues, including our special features like another edition of Mesa Issues rewind.

The blogging today will be micro-style via our twitter page @MesaIssues. Check us out at We would always appreciate a follow!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What is the future of the Tribune?

As you may have heard, Freedom Communications, the parent company of the Tribune has filed for bankruptcy. The newspaper business has been slowly dying away for awhile now, and the Tribune may be one of the latest victims.

However, there is a chance that a group from the Santa Monica Observer may try to step in and by the Arizona papers that Freedom is trying to shed. In fact, they formed a corporation in Arizona for the purposes of "the business of newspaper publishing" which one would assume was done under the auspices of buying and operating the Tribune. Still no "official" news, which is probably why we haven't heard about it anywhere else.

Our question is, do these new owners intead to operate the paper as well? They have experience in the newspaper business, so there is a chance that they would want to come in and run the operations themselves. We love the Trib for their local news and their libertarian streak, we hope that anyone who buys the paper will let it stay alive and keep the uniquely Mesa voice that we have grown to love.

Sales tax news good, but not great for Mesa

The sales tax revenues have stabilized some after a couple months of dramatic decline. The good news is that Mesa won't have to face another round of dramatic cuts to bring the budget in line with revenue - at least not now. The bad news is that the sales tax revenues are still low. Staying stable is better than shrinking, but the city is going to have to continue to do more with less.

Also, this only goes to further show that Mesa really needs to diversify its revenue sources. Having one source, such as sales tax, hold such sway over the budget is not good for the long-term economy viability for the city. In addition, it seems like we are now waiting for the end of the month and crossing our fingers that revenue should be okay. The city cannot be operated like some sales office hoping to make its "numbers" for the month.