Thursday, February 18, 2010

Interesting Criticism on the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway

While I obviously disagree with his overall stance on the subject, I can at least take a little pride in helping push Jon Talton to discuss the Loop 202 from his well-informed perspective:  I'll restrain from elaborating much on my comments here, since I already posted them on his article's comments section (and have written ad nauseum on the topic already), but this is a worthy dialog for us as Laveen residents and for others impacted by the proposed freeway.  After all, it makes sense that fellow Phoenicians might see this as yet another unnecessary freeway for most -- it's our job to convince them otherwise.  While I hope to have sufficiently addressed these claims, I'd love to know what others think.

***And btw, I've mentioned him before on this blog, but just to be thorough I highly recommend that you follow Mr. Talton's "Phoenix 101" series of articles.  I first discovered his AZ Republic business columns in 2005, shortly before he was ousted for his controversial views [at least, that's how I understand it].  His move to Seattle since then would have been a much greater loss, were it not for his continued impassioned blogging about Phoenix as the "Rogue Columnist."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

City Budget Hearings

I just returned from the city budget meeting at the Burton Barr Library.  It looks to me as though people are generally unconcerned about the food tax, and instead focusing on the somewhat false dichotomy proposed by the city: either pay the food tax or see further reduction of emergency response services, which are already stressed to maintain adequate staffing levels.

I think there must be other alternatives.  Please visit and see where the cuts are currently proposed.  Also, please join my plea in asking for a more transparent system that allows residents to view the city manager's complete budget.  If this is made possible, perhaps we can make more informed recommendations without needing to say yes or no to police officers, depending on whether or not we want a food tax.

There were a few great ideas presented tonight, including one person who suggested we could consider a targeted food tax on junk food items, and then some guy in a mask talking about the Federal Reserve (???).  Please bring your thoughtful suggestions to the meeting next week at Cesar Chavez H.S.

Friday, February 12, 2010

An Important Note About Mortgage Defaults

Yes, it is a powerful force in our market -- particularly in a community like Laveen, where we have grown so rapidly in the last five years, and then seen our property values decline due to foreclosures and short sales.  Those housing bubble years are having a devastating impact on our home values, as has been officially reported by the Maricopa County Assessor.

But another debate has also arisen out of this situation, and that is whether it is acceptable to strategically default on a home loan that you could otherwise afford but choose not to any longer.  Recently, a UA law professor wrote a paper titled "Underwater and Not Walking Away: Shame, Fear and the Social Management of the Housing Crisis," which raised the question of why more Americans are not behaving in their rightful economic best interests.

I find this debate absolutely fascinating, and furthermore see it as the necessary dialog that can foment a true recovery,  not just reestablishing growth but also promoting the right kinds of value-creating behavior for a sustainable economy.  That's why I've started cataloging my various discussions on the matter over at my other oft neglected blog.  Please click the link and let me know your thoughts on the matter.  There's some great stuff there, including links to the Motley Fool's compelling coverage, along with that of ABC News and our own AZ Republic.