23 July 2006

With an astonishing number of measures on the ballot this election, going to the polls is going to be almost like being a legislator

Blog For Arizona has assembled a Arizona Ballot Measure Guide 2006 for All Propositions

There's a ton of propositions on the ballot this year, from raising the minimum wage to providing a lottery for voters, which has drawn some national and worldwide attention.

I plan on putting together a scorecard here in the same vein, but for now, just few words on Mark Osterloh's Arizona Voter Reward Act. At first, just like most of the disdain that's been heaped on this idea, I shared. If I had my druthers, I'd rather see other means of improving turnout — a national holiday for voters and quicker voter turnaround. And cessation of mail-in balloting, except for extreme exceptional circumstances. On further thought however, what's wrong with a reward for doing a civic duty? As Mike points out in his post, it is true that many voters are already "blissful with ignorance". Maybe it would encourage folks to research the candidates and vote for who they feel is the better qualified candidate, which is what democracy is all about.

20 July 2006

Anthem is the biggest mistake ever perpetrated on the American cityscape

The Angry Geographer tackles Anthem, Arizona in a series on "Band-Aid Urbanism"
Anthem is far away from just about everything. The community's entrance is almost 35 miles from downtown Phoenix, and even farther away from the metropolitan area's main employment and entertainment centers of Scottsdale, Tempe, and Chandler. The nearest public bus stop is ten miles south. Light rail? Ha. Anthem may, in fact, be the least accessible suburban community in the entire United States. There is only one way out of the community: I-17. I'm not kidding. Anthem was designed without a single connection to the Phoenix grid system, or to any surface street whatsoever. Want to see a Diamondbacks game? I-17. Eat at a restaurant not owned by the Del Webb Corporation? I-17. Beat the inbound traffic on I-17? I-17. Del Webb's marketing literature for Anthem seems to stress some nebulous notion of "community," calling it "the grandest opportunity of all." What they don't tell you is that IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO LEAVE.

Actually, Anthem isn't that awful a place. For one thing, it has a fabulous park that in additon to featuring typical park fare of softball fields, soccer fields, basketball courts, and acres of grassland, also includes a full size inline hockey rink, a groovy skateboard mini-park and a train that circuits around the park. But it is true that its development has coincided with the excessive clogging of the main artery that separates northern Arizona from the Phoenix metropolitan area. Bumper to bumper traffic on an interstate highway, and now it's not just confined to Fridays and Sundays, as is per usual in the summertime.

And Anthem isn't too far from Arcosanti, an experimental town demonstrating ways to improve urban conditions and lessen our destructive impact on the earth…