City & Local Reform
It turns out that you can fight town hall. Here’s how we’re standing up for local citizens and winning.
A home builder's association is challenging Mesa for imposing a fee on new developments in an effort to raise revenue for museums and to preserve the city's archeological finds.
The Home Builders Association for Central Arizona is the plaintiff in a suit filed Wednesday in Maricopa County Superior Court that challenges Mesas cultural impact fees.
On Tuesday, the city raised the impact fees it tacks onto new homes. The goal was to use the extra money to support a range of city services from new sewage-treatment plants to parks and museums.
We are entering the sweaty tumult of an election season, and the records of office-holders are fair game for their opponents.
All the votes of incumbents, their spending habits and their pet issues - they're all legitimate grist for the rough, grinding mill of politics and campaigning.
But since when did the serial attackers preying on Phoenix become a political issue?
A budget override, routinely passed by 76 Arizona cities and towns in recent years, is facing surprisingly strong opposition in Scottsdale's election Tuesday from businesses affiliated with the city's strip clubs.
Fat with cash and ready to spend, Scottsdale leaders expected voters to overwhelmingly support the idea of exceeding the city's state-mandated spending cap, especially because it means no new taxes.
Instead, Scottsdale is again fighting a 1980 taxpayer revolt that led Arizona voters 26 years ago to flash-freeze municipal spending. advertisement
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Janet Napolitano took some symbolic punches to the face last night from opponents.
But if the front-runner looked through swollen eyelids, she perhaps saw that she converted some in the audience after taking on three aggressive opponents at a debate here. It was sponsored by the Tucson Citizen and the Goldwater Institute.
Three of four undecided voters selected at random by a reporter at the debate said they would likely vote for Napolitano.
We were a bunch of grumpy scofflaws, sitting in a defensive-driving class, nerves still raw over being caught in some act of traffic illegality.
So, when the topic of red-light cameras came up, the reaction was predictable - viscerally negative.
But this is not a reaction confined to just folks already caught in the act. Many others have raised serious privacy issues.
And I have to admit. I don't get it.
Phoenix's recent crime wave has put public safety in the headlines. As our police force works to make our streets safer, we should study ways to improve public safety.
A good place to start is with successful crime-fighting models like New York. Using hands-on leadership and statistics-driven deployment, New York's finest took back the streets. Since 1990, the murder rate has dropped 75 percent and rape, robbery and assaults have been halved.
Once the inspiration for Batman's Gotham City, New York is now the safest big city in America.
On May 1, the Arizona Republic reported, "state lawmakers will consider a $300 million request from Phoenix to help pay for...Civic Plaza expansion." But the entire Phoenix Civic Plaza hullabaloo may be a case of putting the cart before the horse.
Calls to expand the Civic Plaza can be traced back to a 1999 study commissioned by the city to examine the civic center's economic impact. Ironically named "Conventional Wisdom," the study found that the "PCP ranks very low," in terms of "hotel room supply within five blocks, and number of retail establishments within one mile."
En un escrito reciente, un columnista de la Arizona Republic argumentó que los opositores a la expansión de la Phoenix Civic Plaza y a la construcción de laboratorios en las universidades, carecen de la visión que tuvieron los gigantes políticos del pasado de Arizona, como Carl Hayden y John Rhodes. Segón el escritor, "Si hubiéramos escuchado a los opositores, California se hubiera apropiado de nuestra agua."
More of Arizona's cities and towns are considering the use of red light cameras. As they inch their way into the intersection of privacy and technology, cities should proceed with caution.
The debate over red light cameras often degenerates into a shouting match between traffic safety mavens and privacy advocates. "Safety first" proponents say driver safety should trump privacy, while "privacy first" proponents say privacy should trump safety. But in this case, both safety and privacy needs can be met.