Monday, March 23, 2009

Is Rio Nuevo Based On A Mistake?

I’d like to suggest that it is. The mistake is a mixture of two things: A sentimental yearning for something that never quite existed in reality, and the failure to see that much of what we realistically expect of a downtown already exists.

This nostalgia for something that never was quite real is captured in this song by Petula Clark. Remember? A kind of fantasy land where all the good stuff was; lit by neon. My guess is that underlying our businesslike arguments for “development” is some similar emotional engine.

In the meantime we easily forget what is already there. Museums and galleries and the public library. The Symphony, Opera, a variety musicals, and performances at the Leo Rich. Theater? You bet: ATC, Beowulf Alley Theater, the Rogue Theatre upstairs at The Temple of Music and Art . At either end of Congress The Fox and The Rialto. Club Congress of course, although not for elderly ears.

It’s not likely that you’ll go hungry, either: Poca Cosa, The Cup Cafe, Barrio Grill, Maynards, El Minuto, and others that I can’t name. Fourth Avenue is alive and well and no more removed from the places I’ve named than some venues in Manhattan or Chicago’s Loop.

Finally, there’s more of Tucson’s great “downtown” actually spread all across the city, at its theaters, galleries and truly wonderful restaurants. Frankly I’m glad it isn’t all crammed into the handful of blocks in the old downtown area.

So... let’s build a new hotel and convention center, which I believe might actually be an important economic resource, get the trolley rolling... and then call it quits.

Friday, March 20, 2009

What Fools These Mortals Be

Well, one mortal anyway. The Arizona Guardian reports that State Senator Thayer Verschoor has dipped into the Republic Party’s bag of tricks and come up with a nifty money saving strategy: No state employee should be paid more than the Governor; 95 thousand bucks a year.

Do that and the sucking sound you hear will be all the state’s highly paid professionals--docs, lawyers, scientists, university professors and administrators--- getting out of town.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

An Odd Editorial

There’s a very odd (dare we say snarky?) editorial in this morning’s Arizona daily Star. It respectfully bows in the direction of all those brave contributors to its Letters section who sign their names. 

This, of course, is not the case where commentators in the “comments” section are concerned, those folks are described as “stealthily posting a drive-by snipe or a gratuitous rant.” These snipes and rants are frequently directed at the Star itself.

I’ve always been a John Hancock sort of guy. Ever since I started blogging I have signed my name to what I write. When I comment on someone else’s blog I sign my name. I can’t really fault the Star’s requirement for full disclosure.

But at the same time there are many posters who might legitimately fear their comments would put their jobs at risk.

You can cruise all the comments here. I particularly direct your attention to comments #9 and #13.

The Star’s editorial is not signed. I'm shocked, shocked.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tucson Citizen...A Temporary Reprieve

A late story (on line) in the Tucson Citizen reports that the scheduled March 21st closing of the Citizen has been delayed while negotiations with two prospective buyers continue.

Renee Horton’s  article on the Tucson Citizen’s web site gives all the details that are available .

Pure speculation: The announcement that the Seattle Post Intelligencer was going all digital may have moved Gannett to drop the “no digital” barrier to sales. Who knows? 

Monday, March 09, 2009

Socialism? Yes, Please!

x4mr, over at “Sustainability...etc” has posted an excellent observation springing from Thomas Friedman’s NY Times piece “The Inflection is Near.” I recommend x4mr’s post and the comment thread it generated.

Perhaps Data Port readers would also be interested in the Barbara Ehrenreich/Bill Fletcher article in the March 6, 2009 issue of The Nation:

“If We Are in the Death Spiral of Capitalism, Can We Start Using the "S" Word?” (Click)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Tucson Citizen- Is There a Buyers’ Group In The Wings?

Citizen reporter, Renee Shafer Horton, posted a report yesterday afternoon about the Justice Department’s querying of potential buyers. Her story appears in the Business section of today’s Citizen. click

What caught my eye was this: 

"Mike Hamila, owner of UNIsystems MS LLC in Phoenix, told the Citizen on Feb. 23 that he had been contacted by Justin Dempsey of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division. Dempsey wanted details of Hamila's conversations with Broadwater. Though Hamila said Tuesday that he was working on a bid, he would not comment further, citing a confidentiality agreement he signed Monday as part of the bidding process."

Monday, March 02, 2009

Saying Goodbye to The Rocky Mountain News

Final Edition from Matthew Roberts on Vimeo.

Tucson: A One Paper Town

No miracle is going to save the Tucson Citizen and the chance of a miraculous intervention saving the Citizen’s journalists is small to none. On March 21st Tucson will become a one newspaper town. That was perhaps inevitable, and we are at least better off than San Francisco, which runs the risk of becoming a no newspaper town with the possible demise of the San Francisco Chronicle.  

The only chance that a brave little band of Citizen alums might keep the Citizen alive as an all-digital paper has been put paid by Gannett’s conditions of sale, so if a group does strike out on its own it will not be as the Tucson Citizen.

The staff is going to receive what they have been assured is the “standard” separation compensation: One week’s pay for each year they’ve been employed up to a limit of twenty-six years. After which they will drift off to whatever fates await unemployed journalists: positions as corporate flacks, advertising copywriters, freelancers or taking school yearbook photos.