Political Bites : Higher Density in Southeast Valley vs Low-Density?

Urban Density

Is higher-density housing in the Southeast Valley inevitable even in areas planned for low-density?

No. Immediately following the housing bust in 2008 banks were only financing multi-family housing because there was a high demand of rentals from home buyers displaced from foreclosure and short sales. However, in the last six months you are seeing the single family home market heat back up. A number of cities have recently rezoned for lower density to accommodate builders. It is unfortunate that cities don’t stick to their zoning and instead buckle to the whims of the development machine.

Political Bites : East Valley Partnership Brand Changing

Copyright Adam Balch

Copyright Adam Balch

Do you agree with the East Valley Partnership  changing the concept of “East Valley” to “Phoenix East Valley.” (Too much of a change, too little or  about right?)

No.  While there is a need to better highlight what is happening in the East Valley outside of Arizona moving to Phoenix East Valley provides little if any clarification when it comes to creating a strong brand.  I suspect it is pretty close to how people already view the name.  While it isn’t anything damaging, it certainly isn’t memorable or inspiring.  To be honest I am mildly amazed they didn’t call it Phoenix-Mesa.  They weren’t too embarrassed to put that on the airport.

Political Bites : Boy Scouts Policy on Gay Scouts/Leaders

Copyright David Blumenkrantz

Copyright David Blumenkrantz

Do you agree with the Boy Scouts’ compromise on allowing gays as troop members but not as adult leaders?

I am not sure I understand why sexual orientation/choice is a part of any discussion about the Boy Scouts of America.   When I was in the Boy Scouts it was about building character, participating as a good citizen and learning to become a good leader.  I sure as shit wasn’t looking around to see who wanted to sleep with whom.  The problem is it has not become about the kids but instead two warring agendas.

Political Bites : Which Southeast Valley City has the Worst Drivers?

Copyright Boston Public Library

Copyright Boston Public Library

Which Southeast Valley city has the worst drivers, and why?

Worst is relative.  They are all different. Let’s break them down.  Chandler has the tech savvy driver more focused on their mobile devices than on the road they are actually driving on.  Gilbert is the land of the SUV that is oblivious to anything or anyone else on the road.  Mesa has the seasonal driver depending on the time of year you may want to consider avoiding altogether.  Queen Creek drivers aren’t the concern but rather the livestock you may find wandering the roads.  Tempe is the tale of two times.  During the day it’s sane, in the evening can I get a DUI check point?

Political Bites : Jody Arias Trial Reflux

Copyright of J. Stephen Conn

Copyright of J. Stephen Conn

What is your view of the verdict in the Arias trial and why?

The evidence seemed pretty straightforward.  The prosecution made a solid case and the defense didn’t.  There are no surprises here.  Sentencing will be a much bigger issue.  How this trial made it into the media over so many more heinous things that happen on a regular basis is completely beyond me.  Just another media circus to put Arizona in the media in ways that are undesirable.

Political Bites : How Would You Brand the Southeast Valley

Popeye Southeast Valley

Copyright Kurt Christensen

How would you give the Southeast Valley a distinct brand or identity.

Regions can’t market their way to success.  They have to have culture and vibrancy that helps define them.  As Popeye would say, “I am what I am.”.  Regions could learn from this, if you don’t like how you are perceived, then change who you are, when you do your identity will shine through.  Don’t go looking to create a brand.  Create community and infrastructure that attracts magnificent people and let their actions shine outward.

Political Bites : Metro Light Rail South or East

Phoenix Metro Light Rail

Copyright Tony Arranaga

Once the metro light rail hits Gilbert Road, should it head south or continue east (toward Power Road).

The metro light rail should head South at Country Club/Arizona Avenue to Downtown Chandler.  Replicating the old highway 87 and connecting to the Price Corridor technical hub.  It should continue East to Power.  ASU Polytechnic and Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport should be served by commuter rail running out of Tucson and through Queen Creek to Downtown Phoenix.

Policital Bites : Best Southeast Valley Outdoor Wedding Venue

Southeast Valley Wedding Venue

Copyright Kelly Niemann

If you were celebrating a wedding, anniversary or special event – outdoors — in the Southeast Valley, where would it be? Why?

It would be a difficult to choose which Southeast Valley outdoor wedding venue to celebrate at.   If I wanted something in Chandler I would choose the Historic San Marcos Courtyard.  It’s history and stature is just too fabulous to ignore.  If I were looking Gilbert Shenandoah Mill‘s quaint country setting would be my top choice.  Were I seeking something in Mesa I believe Stonebridge Manor would suit my fancy.  In Queen Creek it would have to be Encanterra for its spectacular view of the Superstition mountains.

Political Bites : When Should We Hold City and School Elections?

Election count

Should city and school elections be held separately from the partisan November elections?

No.  The cost of having an election is relatively high.  Requiring material to be sent out via mail, assembling volunteers at each polling place and tallying up the votes.  Having a second election in essence doubles this cost.  Additionally, turn out rates tend to be much higher during partisan November elections.  With already abysmally low voter turn out rates why would we want to do something that we know isn’t effective?