Candidate’s thoughts regarding the Tempe Public Library


By: Kolby Granville

The Tempe public library is a treasure of the community which has undergone drastic cuts during the most recent budget crisis.  For many residents, the library is the primary interaction they have with city services, and the primary place they go for books and internet access.

My interest in the Tempe library went from user to supporter many years ago, more than I care to remember…  My sister had a birthday coming up and I could not think of a present to give her.  For reasons that are now lost to memory, I decided to contact the Tempe library to see if I could donate a series of books in her name.  Indeed, the library was happy to take my money so they could purchase a series of books inscribed with a dedication to her.  Birthday success

A few years later, when I was an instructional designer, I realized patrons were beginning to come to the library to use the internet, and to use email.  My desire to support library services meshed well with my skill set, and I spent over 150 hours developing an elearning program for the Tempe library patrons on how to use web based email.  In fact, the training program was so successful the library used it for years.

In recent years, city services at all levels have been cut due to budget constraints.  The library has been no exception.  Tempe library hours were cut from 70.6 hours a week to 56 hours a week.  The library has also had to cut nearly $400,000 from its yearly budget.  This is a significant amount.  I was the only person to come to the city council and request the library continue its longer weekend hours.

Several years ago Amazon.com introduced the Kindle, an e-reader.  While it initially did not allow for ebook library check-outs (it does now), the Barnes and Noble Nook did.  I purchased a Nook and began the process of checking ebooks out of from the Tempe library (in partnership with the Phoenix Digital Library).  Much to my surprise, the ebook selection was horrible!  It was a very small selection and, in some instances, there were just a few ebooks available for checkout while 40 (or more) patrons were on a waiting list.

This was the case even as Amazon.com announced that it sold more ebooks then paper books.  I did a public records request and found the library spent $242,000 a year on physical book acquisition, and $30,000 on its entire digital library.  This $30,000 included downloadable books on tape, movies, music, and ebooks!  I once again emailed city council and library staff.  This time I asked them to adjust their ratios of expenditures to better reflect the reality of the changing marketplace.

In the end, my email to city staff cost me several hundred dollars as I decided to take matters into my own hands and bought the complete works of Kurt Vonnegut on ebook for the library.

My point is this.  Throughout this city council campaign you will hear every candidate talk…and talk…and talk.  They will talk about how they support police and fire.  How they support neighborhoods.  How they support parks and the library.  Talk is cheap.  The real question is this, what candidate has a (documented) history of support for these services?  I am that candidate.

———-

You can read this article with videos and links to supporting documentation at http://kolbygranville.com/?p=547

 

You can read other opinion/policy papers by Kolby at http://kolbygranville.com/?cat=5

Kolby Granville turns in nominating petitions for Tempe City Council race


By: Kolby Granville

My Thoughts: On Tuesday, November 15, 2011, Kolby Granville submitted 1342 signatures to the Tempe City Clerk, the maximum number of signatures permitted.  A candidate for Tempe City Council must submit 672 valid signatures (but no more than 1342 signatures) from registered Tempe voters.  Candidates have from November 14, 2011 to December 14, 2011 to submit nominating petitions.

Granville additionally submitted his Nonpartisan Nomination Form and Financial Disclosure Statement.  Granville is the first candidate for Tempe City Council to submit the nominating petitions for the 2012 election.

“Frankly, I was humbled by the response I received from friends and neighbors in Tempe when I said I was running for Tempe City Council.  I sent out the nominating petitions to friends and received over 1500 signatures back, more than I was allowed to turn in.  When I turned in my signatures I, literally, had another 200 signatures sitting in the car.”  ~Kolby Granville

The Tempe City Council election primary is scheduled for March 13, 2012.  The general election is scheduled for May 15, 2012.  Current council members Corey Woods and Joel Navarro are up for reelection.  Councilman Mark Mitchell has declared that he will instead run for Tempe Mayor.

Dick Foreman turns in petition signatures


By: Dick Foreman

Dear family, friends and colleagues,

I am now an official candidate for Tempe City Council having filed 1342 signatures, the maximum amount permitted.  This was an all volunteer effort that collected over 100 pages of signatures in just over 7 weeks.

Kate, Brenna and I have been working hard, and so have many of you.

So most importantly, we wanted to thank the many of you who who joined us in making this possible.

For those of you who can, I now encourage you to have a coffee or get together in your home or location of choice.  If you are able to do this, please contact me to lock in a date.  I am going to do all I can to be a candidate who comes to you and addresses the issues that concern you in your neighborhoods, homes and businesses.

Over the next couple of months I will be engaging our community on a number of issues.  I do not say that lightly.  I truly believe that we are at a serious crossroads in Tempe and this campaign will embrace the challenges before us, not cower from them.  I am not going to run scared from problems nor gloss over them.  I am not going to avoid difficult or tough decisions and most importantly, we will have straightforward, honest discussions as we work together.

Specifically:

1)  I will discuss our economic development tools with an eye towards job creation and payback to the taxpayer, NOT governmental picking of winners and losers in the marketplace via tax subsidy tools with limited or no future accountability or sustainability.

2)  I will be discussing a broad range of educational initiatives to significantly engage our elected leaders at all levels to take action and responsibility for our neighborhood schools and their needs, not just talk about them or blame it on someone else.

3)  I will be actively engaging one of the most dynamic institutions in our state, Arizona State University, including it’s student government, to help us deal with our challenges on a much broader and effective basis.

4)  I will define actions that illuminate budget decisions, involve our community and challenge all public projects to perform the service intended without tax increases and, in fact, with intent to increase project benefits to actually lower service costs and property taxes.

Yes, it can be done.

5)  I will engage a robust debate on all expenditures.  We must recognize the very real, even dangerous position many of our homeowners, taxpayers and citizens are in.  Status quo is for someone else.  Not me.

6)  I will run a civil, positive, idea-driven campaign.  I will tap into my public finance, educational and civic experience from over thirty years of service, most of it specifically in Tempe, coupled with a sturdy defense of small business and taxpayer needs as my guide.

7)  I am committed to taking a fresh look at our major community investments and will challenge whether they are serving ALL of Tempe as they should.  Far too often, community facilities use and policies seem to divide Tempe instead of bringing us together.  Nothing is off the table for this discussion!  It’s time to put Tempe first.

If you can help the Foreman For Tempe campaign in any way or are interested in how you can get more information, please let me know or drop by my website at:

ForemanForTempe.com

I’ll see you on the streets, on the web, in school, at business, patrolling the social network and most importantly, in our community.

Respectfully,

Dick

Invest in our Veterans


By:  David Lucier

My Thoughts: My name is David Lucier.  I am an American Military Veteran and a Tempe resident.  I entered service shortly after my 19th birthday and successfully trained to be a Special Forces (Green Beret) Medical Specialist.  I helped command a special operations unit which operated against the Viet Cong and the NVA in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

After 9-11, I worked as a private security contractor in Iraq from 2003 to 2005 and at age 60, I returned home after working for the Combined Joint Special Operation Task Force – Afghanistan. As my 7 sisters liked to point out, it was time I found something to do which was a little bit more “age appropriate”…at which time I cofounded the Arizona Veterans Foundation (AVF), a nonprofit dedicated to honoring and serving Veterans.

I am active in many Veterans organizations and was honored to be inducted into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame in 2009.

The AVF vision is to create the most Veteran supportive state in the nation.

Our mission is to honor and to serve Arizona Veterans, service members, and their families.

The goal is to establish and operate public/private partnerships throughout the state in order to seek and implement comprehensive models and holistic solutions which address the continuum of challenges facing the Veterans communities and stakeholders.

We want more Veterans to come live in Arizona and we want them to be successful by focusing on education & training, jobs & economic opportunity, and health & wellness.

Veterans and Military members are a population at risk.

Their service is inherently dangerous, debilitating, and incapacitating.  Veterans, military members, and their families have the highest negative social indicators than any other group BECAUSE of their service and sacrifice: divorce, suicide, incarceration, homelessness, etc.

Many of us remember what a national disgrace it was for our Veterans when they were place into an ill prepared and overwhelmed VA Medical system during and after the Vietnam War.

The question today is much the same as it was then.  How do we help support the massive numbers of Veterans who will be “coming home” in the near future and how do we avoid the mistakes and horrors of the past?

There are factors which indicate that the returning Veteran scenario is a “Social Tsunami”…a perfect storm…a perfect storm which is forming and it’s heading straight for us.

The wars are winding down, there is tremendous downward pressure on state and federal budgets, the Department of Defense is implementing a large reduction in force…and to compound the problem, it is happening in a weak economic environment, the likes of which we haven’t experienced since the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

This leaves our returning Veterans with fewer choices upon returning home…choices that have both short term and long term impact.

Veterans may have some choices thrust upon them: unemployment and quite possibly homelessness or criminal activities and quite possibly incarceration.

Or, given the opportunity, they will choose education and training as a way to transition back into a civilian environment and prepare themselves for a “new and global” economy and a healthy and prosperous lifestyle.

As Veterans and leaders in our community, we must plan and act accordingly so that our support networks and agencies are prepared for the days ahead.  As a result of our inability to plan and act…in Arizona, currently, we have more Veterans who are incarcerated and homeless than we do in our university system.

In addition to the altruistic reasons for supporting our Veterans, there are the financial, economic, and social motives as well.  Veterans bring with them a wealth of personal, social, financial, and economic resources right now.  They bring with them human and financial capital that can be employed now and in the future.  And the benefits to us will accumulate over several generations just as it has when we consider the accomplishments and contributions of the “Greatest Generation”.

Earlier this year, we were successful in instituting the most comprehensive Veterans educational model in the nation beginning with the “Instate Tuition for Veterans” bill.  We were successful in garnering the support of the Legislature and all three university presidents to establish our universities as the most Veteran supportive universities in the country and designed to bring more Veterans to Arizona and to insure their success.

As we are seeing now, Arizona’s universities are leading the way in the Veteran supportive educational process and their efforts are reaping immediate benefits…for instance, more Veterans are coming to ASU and these Veterans are becoming more successful with higher retention and graduation rates.

And here is the basic immediate economic impact: just 1,000 Veterans over four years will bring upwards of $80,000,000 to our universities and our communities based upon the educational benefits these Veterans bring with them.  And, we will be increasing an ongoing demand for well educated work force.

If we seize the moment and embrace our Veterans with comprehensive,  support systems, protocols, programs and policies, Arizona can and will lead as the most Veterans supportive state in the nation and we, as a community, as a society, will benefit immediately and immensely on every level: socially, economically, and financially.

Similar models can be developed for employment/economic development opportunities along with a health and wellness model.

Reducing the investments in Veterans is counterproductive and by retreating from our Veterans, we create a formula for failure…for everyone…on every level.

We want more Veterans to come to Arizona and we want them to be successful in every aspect of their lives: education, employment and wellness.

If we invest in our Veterans, we will all reap benefits now and the benefits for generations to come.

 

 

B of A closes merchant teller line in down town Tempe


By:  Joseph Lewis

I know it’s sometimes too easy to jump on the bandwagon and hate the mammoth banks for a variety of issues, real or perceived.   Let’s forget about the proposed fees for a couple of minutes and deal with the microcosm of Mill Avenue and it’s 150 plus  merchants.

If you own one of these business’s or know someone who does and they are banking at Bank of America can you please ask them why?   Is it the nice people greeter at the front door who pleasantly ask you to sit and wait 30 minutes to meet with the one or two bankers working behind one of six desk?   Or perhaps like any other merchant you want to get in and out as quickly as possible and can size up the teller line (used to be plural) in about two seconds?   That’s ok with eight terminals there is surely going to be more than two tellers working?    Not today anyway, might as well forget about lunch.   Now there are benefits to long lines in that you can day dream about the time before the smart minds at B of A  literally rearranged the furniture to eliminate the pesky merchant line.  Back to the benefits of line waiting.  You can now eavesdrop while the ASU student tries to explain to the teller, over and over again, how there must be monies in their account because they deposited $100.00 on Friday  (negative balance of $83.50 (fees) at the time)  and only spent $64.58 (that they remember) Saturday night at the bars. “Dammit my ATM card stopped giving me twenties.

Not to long ago the big banks coveted business customers of all shapes and sizes.  In fact the closed  “merchant room”  still sits as a reminder, or slap in the face, that the time when B of A cared about merchants was not so long ago.   I personally had five business accounts at B of A until today.   Today, I moved my accounts to Comerica bank.   Only a block away but a world of difference.  No fees, free web banking, $200.00 “appreciation gift”  and best of all…. NO LINES.

Thank You for reading my rant and if you are a B of A business customer I would love to hear your thoughts as well.

Neighbors viewpoint on Tempe Issues


By:  Marc Mousseux

Education

1.  This is important not only for the residents but for the local economy and it is a feedback system.

2.  A good system attracts good employers to the community.

3.  How can an employer be convinced to set up shop in Tempe if the potential employee pool is poorly educated?  For example, Google set up shop here, then left 6 months later.

4.  How can an employer be convinced to set up shop in Tempe if they can’t advertise to prospective out of state employees that their children will receive a good education?

5.  Education isn’t about infrastructure or equipment.  There are children learning in buildings with dirt floors and glassless windows that could beat our children in any subject.  What’s more is that they’re eager to learn.  It’s societal.  The government has nothing to do with this.  In fact, the government can’t do anything about willingness to learn.  Families and culture can however.

6.  Teachers need to have the power to discipline again.  When there are bad seeds in class dragging the rest of the class down, they need to have negative reinforcement both at home and in class.  It’s as important as positive reinforcement but, apparently, has become unpopular.

7.  Families need to back teachers when disciplinary action is taken versus siding with the child in a knee-jerk fashion.  The sense of community needs to be very apparent to the children, i.e., everyone needs to be on the same page.  If there’s a disagreement between teacher and family, that discussion needs to occur without the child’s knowledge, again, to come back with everyone being on the same page as far as the child knows.

8.  The only thing that the city (government) can do is to strictly enforce standards of education.  In places where competition is highest, learning is best.  Compare the level of education of the general public in countries where competition exists to the level here in the U.S. to understand the aforementioned conclusion.  It’s not the number of graduates, it’s the quality that counts.  Not everyone is cut out to be a college-educated person and that’s OK.  We need people to go down other paths such as the trades or ???  We are doing a disservice to our younger citizens by lowering standards just to get higher graduation statistics.  The majority suffers for the few that are just not cut out for a traditional academic education.  Outlets can be provided for the few via other venues/opportunities where they’ll be more apt to flourish.

 

Graffiti

1.  Plant vines or cacti in front of every bare wall in graffiti-prone areas.  This seems to work by cutting down on any obviously barren walls.  Vines basically get rid of the canvas by covering it w/an undesirable surface (as far as the tagger is concerned anyway).  Cacti would just act as a barrier against the tagger getting close enough to the wall to tag it.  Ocotillo comes to mind as the best candidate.  Catclaw vines seem to be good as a vine for this purpose.  Both Catclaw and Ocotillo are extremely low-water usage plants, so survive well in Tempe.

 

Homeless/Vagrants

1.  They will always be there and chasing them away is like sweeping dust under a rug.  We should help them as much as possible to get back on their feet and integrate them into the Mill scene.  That goes for those who are actually homeless.  There are also those who can simply be called vagrants who CHOOSE to be homeless.  Many of the younger street people that we see on Mill would fall under this category.  We won’t get them off the street, but we can integrate them into the Mill scene and still offer the same services in hopes that something will take.

2.  Tempe could create a community garden in which those homeless that till the soil and take part in some garden activity would be allowed to use its facilities.  Those who don’t participate, and this is very important, would not be entitled to any of the services.  This has to be strictly adhered to so that a sense of community is instilled in them and to give them a vested interest in the community.  Vagrants are only a problem because they have no vested interest.  Once that changes, they actually contribute.

3.  The garden could also have a structure with indoor sleeping and facilities.  In addition, a kitchen could be provided for the homeless or volunteers to use.

4.  The city should pay them for trash pick up on Mill.  We could pay on a per-bag basis.  Some system would have to be put in place to prevent them from simply pulling trash from the existing garbage cans and getting paid for that!  Again, if they’re participating in improving their environment, or at least keeping it nice, a sense of community and vested interest is developed.

5.  Let them play music or sell artisan wares (no permit needed).

6.  Local professionals could come and give free training on whatever they happen to know to those interested.  This would be a step in getting those that want to back on their feet.

 

Budget

1.  We should have an imbalanced budget.  That’s correct… imbalanced.  We should spend less than we take in.  That money should be put aside for harder times because they will come.  They always do.  This would avoid layoffs and panic-driven decisions when times are tough.  It would lend stability to the city and its infrastructure.

2.  Changing the object of funding should be WAY easier than it is today.  That is, when bonds are used to fund a project and a situation changes we shouldn’t simply just forge ahead.  We need to be more agile than that, especially with projects that may not even have started.  If it takes another vote, then hold a special election.  What’s the big deal?  If item 1 is implemented, however, this point becomes moot.

 

Thanks again for listening,

 

Marc

 

What will your future look like if you vote for me?


By: Michael Monti

Michael Monti

During a presidential campaign, voters frequently ask:  How will my life be better four years from now if I vote

for this or that candidate?  How will my Quality of Life be better?  While on a smaller scale, the Tempe Mayoral election should certainly bring the same questions to the surface.

Here’s How Your Future And The Community, As A Whole, Will Be Better If You Vote For Me on March 13, 2012.

First, I’m proud to call Tempe home as I believe we are doing a lot of things right as a community.   I will continue many of the policies set forth by Mayor Hugh Hallman while blazing new trails of development. I will drive innovation in city government, the way we attract and keep businesses here in Tempe and in the way we respond to residents’ needs and concerns.  I’ve got ideas that I’m excited to share with you about creative programs from which we can all benefit.

After four years of my leadership, businesses will say they have had no better friend than Mayor Michael Monti.  I was a co-founder of Local First Arizona, a now thriving statewide Arizona business organization that seeks to help locally-owned businesses prosper. I will bring this kind of leadership and cooperation to Tempe City Hall.  I also have the ability to bring together and guide diverse groups, with differing interests, to help them find common ground on which to move forward together in a personable manner.  Creating and seizing new business opportunities calls for someone that is skilled in looking outside of the box for answers to everyday questions.

Hence, after four years, you will also have witnessed new job creation.  At Monti’s La Casa Vieja, I have had to meet a payroll every two weeks for some 100 employees for the past 17 years.  No one else running knows what it takes to create and maintain employment.  It’s equally important to grasp which city government policies, sometimes inadvertently, kill jobs and make doing business in Tempe difficult.  These issues go hand-in-hand and can’t be overlooked.

Additionally, you will appreciate a government that operates more efficiently.  My plan to reward government employees who save rather than spend is a big step in this direction. In addition, employees who best serve the residents must be both recognized and rewarded. Residents will have a far more responsive, citizen-centered and accessible government.  That’s a good thing for all of us.

Tempe has been labeled an “All-America City” in recent years. That’s remarkable recognition for our great community.  Now, let’s up the ante, and become “The Innovation City.”  Together, we can do this by nourishing an atmosphere where the creative class, entrepreneurs and innovators want to found new businesses or relocate both their businesses and families.  Additionally, with my Tempe Service Corps program, we will increase civic engagement to build social capital to confront the challenges of economic privation and blight that threaten our quality of life.  I can’t stress this enough–it’s vital that we identify and develop ways to harness future talent. We can’t just think about the next four years, but we need to lay the groundwork for the next 40 years and beyond.

I look forward to sharing more of my vision for Tempe’s future.

Streetcar Support Depends on Funding


By: Mark Mitchell

Mark Mitchell

Tempe has always been a leader and ahead of its time when it comes to public transit and transportation. I am proud that our city fully embraced and popularized Valley Metro Light Rail, and that our voters supported the concept of commuter rail at a time when all other Valley cities did not.

In the great tradition of Tempe’s forward-thinking vision for transit, I also support the concept of a downtown street car project.  But we need to make sure it can be planned out and effectively implemented. This project holds tremendous potential to have a positive impact on our community, particularly Mill Avenue and downtown.

However, I have numerous questions and concerns about this project’s feasibility – questions that I believe are shared by Tempe taxpayers.

The 2.6 mile Tempe street car line cannot be built without federal funding. Local taxpayers would pay two thirds of the cost, while the final third would be matched by federal transit funds. However, in my recent meetings in Washington with the Under Secretary of Transportation, he stated that we have an existing revenue problem. The current gas tax is not covering existing programs.  If the current gas tax does not cover existing programs, how can it cover a new street car project?

Congress has extended the current gas tax until March, but has not addressed the long-term sustainability of our transit funding source.

In addition, the proposed operating budget for this project relies on one-time local revenue sources from the sale of property purchased with transit funds. We do not yet have clarification from Tempe city staff if that revenue can be used for operating the street cars or for capital projects only. I am concerned that a one-time money source can be budgeted for a longtime ongoing expense. What happens when the money runs out?

I also do not support a proposal to use revenue from advertising throughout the street car route to help pay for the project. I want to hear new ideas on how to make this concept work without requiring a major rewrite of Tempe’s sign ordinance just for this project.

I have other concerns, including the fact that even with questionable or unsustainable revenue streams this project would run a deficit in its projected operation budget for its first four years. But my primary concern is that Tempe’s current transit fund – hit hard by the ongoing recession – is operating at a deficit now. We have already cut millions of dollars from our transit budget, and now we want to add a massive new project?

Given the information that has come forward about this project so far, it doesn’t make economic sense at this time.

Tempe is a well-balanced city with a vibrant downtown and distinct neighborhoods. A streetcar could be a key part of that balance. However, our challenge is to maintain and improve what we have in a realistic and well-thought-out manner. When I see that for this project, it will have my support.

 Editor Note:  Mark Mitchell is currently a Tempe City Councilman who is running for Mayor of Tempe

Thoughts on a variety of issues written by a University Park Neighborhood Association Member


By:  Marc Mousseux

My Thoughts: Hi all,

This is just a followup on the nice discussion we were afforded with some Tempe Council members and some candidates at the last University Park neighborhood meeting.  I’ve broken up comments into specific topics.  Sorry if this is long, but just wanted to get some basic thoughts out there.  I also apologize if some of the thoughts are incomplete.  I did this super quickly and it’s only a short list of ideas and commentary, i.e., there’s way more where this came from!

Downtown

1.  Rent being too high is the biggest problem in getting businesses to root back in.

2.  Businesses, especially small ones, comprise the single most important factor in getting people (in turn income and in turn tax revenue) back to downtown.

3.  It seems as though the commercial landlords don’t realize that by having such high rent, they are actually shooting themselves in the foot by having businesses vacate because of that.  Some rent is better than none at all.  Getting businesses back into downtown Tempe is a win-win-win for landlords, the city and small businesses.

4.  It may be financially efficient for the city to act as an intermediary for small businesses and barter w/commercial landlords.  If and when an impasse is reached, subsidize the difference until the business income goes above a certain threshold or a time limit is reached.  At that point, the business can be called established or failed and subsidization can stop thus minimizing the city’s expense in this regard.  One can even envision some agreement whereby rent increases as a function of business profit so that over the long haul, the landlords end up getting what they want and the business isn’t crushed in the meantime.

5.  Use pop-up traffic bollards at the N and S ends of downtown Mill Avenue from Friday to Sunday evening making it strictly a pedestrian place, safe for everyone.  The street would all of a sudden become a gathering place and attract even more people.  Have the bollards be far enough N to seamlessly merge Mill into Tempe Beach Park.

6.  Issue street performer/vendor permits.

7.  Allow alcohol on Mill during the same time frame (Fri to Sun eve) so that people can bar hop more freely.  Much of the current Friday/Saturday Scottsdale crowd will immediately flock to Tempe because Scottsdale won’t have this environment.  More business.  More tax revenue.

8.  Turn the flour mill silo interiors into the highest rock gym anywhere!  OK, that one might be far-fetched, but it would be cool!

Signage

1.  A-frame signs and such should be allowed anywhere that doesn’t obstruct bike or wheelchair traffic (people can walk around objects).

2.  If a sign can bring more business, why would the city punish that?

Traffic Calming

1.  Drivers that cut through neighborhoods are just looking for the fastest way to get somewhere.  Make the fastest way be the major streets.  Pretty simple really.

2.  My observation is that Tempe has attempted to calm traffic via draconian methods such as speed humps and medians.  The problem is that the speed limits are so low and the traffic restrictions are so many on the major roads that the combination is very ineffective.  These methods never account for people’s changes in behavior.  That means that if larger streets such as Rural have lower speed limits from Broadway to Apache, people will take College if it’s faster.  If it’s quicker to get to Mill from College via 14th St. than via Apache, people will take 14th.  This needs to be addressed in an intelligent way using traffic engineering.  That means that the traffic flow outside of the neighborhoods needs to be less inhibited so that drivers’ behavior adapts by taking the major roads and staying out of the neighborhoods.

3.  Speed humps specifically are a major issue.  They cause local air and noise pollution and cause drivers to use more fuel by slowing down and speeding up.  The air pollution is due to increased fuel usage as well as large-particulates due to tire and brake friction.  The large-particulate pollution is local so the residents actually get to enjoy that! (obvious sarcasm there)  In addition, noisy brakes, trailers and engine noise all contribute to increased noise pollution locally.

4.  Generally, the signal light timing should really be optimized to keep traffic moving on major streets.  This reduces pollution, saves gas and makes it more desirable to drive on the major streets as opposed to cutting through neighborhoods.  For example, the timing on Rural between Rio Salado and Broadway is absolutely horrendous.  It literally takes 10 minutes on weekdays to go the 2 miles (12 mph!).  At 12 mph, why does that road exist.  Bikes would be faster.  Again, this is why people cut through neighborhoods.

5.  Apache should be closed from College East all the way to Rural.  It’s basically become unusable over the last 3 years and there are no non-student destinations in that stretch anyhow.  The result would be safer for student and no signals would be needed anymore.  Access to Gammage would remain unimpeded.

6.  College should be closed to motor-vehicle traffic at Apache.  This would take care of College traffic, period.  Only locals would use it since it wouldn’t lead anywhere.  Motorized vehicle access would solely be from Broadway.

Daley Park

1.  Scrap the redesign and utilize the money elsewhere like downtown revitalization and small business aid.

2.  If it can’t be scrapped, leave the layout alone and save water/maintenance by replanting using models based on the Zoo and/or Boyce Thomson Arboretum.  These both offer lush low-water usage landscaping ideas.

Trolley

1.  Scrap this.

2.  Not a financially responsible or agile solution.

3.  Increase bus service frequency and routes 4.  If and only if the bus service becomes overwhelmed, consider a trolley service.

5.  Service can not drive ridership.  Ridership should drive service.  Ridership will increase when there are better reasons to go downtown (see “Downtown” list).

Town Lake

1.  Allow windsurfing.

2.  I’ve been fighting this since the planning days before the lake was ever built.  Never got a reasonable answer as to why this was not allowed.

3.  Now paddle boarding is allowed and windsurfing still isn’t?  That’s honestly a joke.

Fraternity/Sorority Housing

1.  Why are fraternities/sororities allowed to exist in off-campus housing?

2.  We have a frat just a few houses away and the house is an eyesore and the tenants cause frequent disturbances.  The lady at the meeting (Jo?) was complaining about one next door to her.

3.  ASU has enough money to put up all the large buildings it has lately.  Why can’t those house fraternities/sororities on some floors or partial floors?

4.  Fraternities/sororities have no vested interest in the neighborhoods.

Paid-For City Art or other Subjective Projects 1.  Not here to argue beauty, but rather relative cost 2.  Not targeting the value of art in a city, but again relative cost 3.  Specifically, the fact that the city contracted a particular contractor to do several projects including the main city entrance piece is outrageous to me as a tax payer.

4.  The word is that this particular contractor charges double to triple of what other contractors charge for the same thing and has no regard for budget whatsoever.

5.   As a tax payer and citizen, I don’t perceive good value here.  The extra cost will not bring more people to downtown.

6.  Better solution is to go with someone that is more reasonable in cost or (take a deep breath) to skip the artwork altogether and use the money for something more concrete like helping small businesses get established again in the heart of Tempe.

7.  This would normally be a nit, but the city entrance art is a high-dollar item so savings would not be a drop in the bucket.

8.  As far as I can tell, all these projects that are happening w/out residents having any input whatsoever.  For example, only through the grapevine do I know that this same contractor is helping on the Flour Mill redesign.  Again, as a taxpayer, I know I’m not getting even close to a good value there because this contractor has no regard for nor sticks to budgets at all.

9.  More generally, shouldn’t we as Tempe citizens get to vote on what we want things to look like and who we want to do them?  That kind of stuff always seems to happen behind closed doors.

Thanks for listening.

Marc

Tempe Deserves a Refund from Fiesta Bowl


By: Ron Pies

In a recent editorial the Arizona Republic stated:

“Insult is a powerful motivator. So powerful, in fact, it turned metro Phoenix into a Mecca of college football.

It all began in the 1960s, when the football establishment routinely snubbed Arizona State University as a potential opponent in postseason bowl play.

People here got angry and took the matter to hand. They built their own bowl game, invited ASU to the first three and the Sun Devils won all three.

Born of such small ambitions, the Fiesta Bowl has evolved through four decades into one of the mighty classics, a regular bolt of economic lightning. Over the last five years, the game has generated more than $1 billion in commerce for the Valley of the Sun.

By the late 1990s, the Fiesta Bowl had grown so prestigious it was a logical partner for the Bowl Championship Series, then forming to stage college football’s national championship. As a member of that elite rotation for title games, metro Phoenix enjoyed a combined $235 million in economic activity this year from its two BCS bowl games and $355 million total when adding the third ring of the Valley’s college football extravaganza – the Insight Bowl.

We provide this background to remind readers that we well recognize the Fiesta Bowl and BCS have been tremendous boons to this Valley. Every large success, however, must at some point confront the problems of staggering growth, and today the Fiesta Bowl and BCS are looking squarely at theirs.”

Republic reporter Craig Harris has led the coverage on much of these developments, bringing into sharp focus the influence peddling and unrestrained spending of Fiesta Bowl management. His stories forced that organization to launch a sweeping internal investigation that led to significant reforms and new management.

Today the BCS faces similar scrutiny after years of raising college football’s TV exposure and postseason revenues to new heights. Its original structure has not adapted quickly enough to the changing football universe. Five of its conferences that don’t get automatic bowl births feel slighted and shut out.

In a follow-up to his Fiesta Bowl investigation, Harris found that 41 percent of schools participating in BCS bowls end up losing money because their share of the payout isn’t enough to cover expenses. It is up to member conferences to distribute bowl earnings to its schools, but too often they are not adequately reimbursing the team that bore the actual expense of playing in a bowl game.

Harris further found that BCS bowls spend heavily on gifts to influence college football’s decision-makers; that bowl executives are paid well above the national norm for non-profit CEOs; and that bowl games are getting government subsidies despite maintaining strong reserves.

If the BCS is going to address these issues, the time is ripe.

An NCAA task force is examining how the bowls are managed and will report its findings later this month. In April, BCS officials will meet in Miami to begin negotiating future contracts.

Here are changes the BCS should consider:

– Find ways to be more inclusive of colleges and conferences beyond the BCS orbit. The shake-up of major college conferences may solve some of that. But the BCS was created to match the best teams in the biggest bowls. That being its lodestar, the BCS should explore better ways to open its bowls to the emerging football powers knocking at the door.

–  Use its influence to compel member conferences to spread the wealth more fairly among their colleges and universities so that bowl participants are made whole for travel and other related costs. A tiered system of payout would fix this.

– Work to make sure salaries of bowl officials fall within a reasonable range of not-for-profit organizations. Granted, the role of bowl games is unique in the not-for-profit world, and the talent pool for top executives is narrow with salaries that are typically higher than most non-profits. Nonetheless, those salaries should not be exorbitant.

– Re-examine public subsidies. Does it make sense for bowls to go to government for funding when public dollars are increasingly scarce? If the answer is yes, then the need must be clearly demonstrated.

The BCS can legitimately boast it has done much to raise the prominence of college football, but its detractors are multiplying and its future less certain.

With so many eyes trained on the bowl system at this moment, it’s a good time to take seriously the criticisms and address them.

Done right, the BCS will continue to serve college football for many years to come.

A recent investigative report by Craig Harris and the Arizona Republic uncovered a list of abuses that eventually led to the termination of the head of the Fiesta Bowl.  Amongst those abuses was exorbitant salaries, the use of Bowl funds for personal uses,  elaborate gifts  for officials.   All of this was possible with the waiver of city and state taxes and subsidies from valley cities that amounted ino several million dollars.  All this was done at a time when revenues were so low that budgets were cut and employees laid off.  At the same time, the Fiesta Bowl shows a very healthy multi million dollar balance in their treasury.

I fully support the Fiesta Bowl and watched as the founders built a premier college football bowl and generated millions for the economy.  Why then was is it necessary for our city to sacrifice needed revenues when the bowl is so healthy that it can afford the extravagances listed in the report.

Isn’t it time for a refund?