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CityNorth will be a 144-acre complex of hotels, shops, restaurants, department stores, outdoor spaces, residences and parking garages. It is in the heart of Desert Ridge, the master-planned community surrounding the corner of Deer Valley Road and Tatum Boulevard, north of Loop 101.
Not only will CityNorth be large - by comparison, Kierland Commons covers 38 acres, and Desert Ridge Marketplace has 110 acres - it will be exclusive, with five-star hotels and retailers such as Nordstrom.
PHOENIX -- Tucson continues to spend more public money on state lobbyists than the larger city of Phoenix at least on paper.
Tucson spent $239,880 on lobbyists and gifts to lawmakers in 2006, a drop from the $275,585 it spent in 2005, according to the most recent numbers reported by the Arizona Secretary of State's Office.
City officials say the money is paying off in the form of favorable legislation and a larger share of state revenue for things like Downtown redevelopment and transportation.
East Valley school districts are spending tens of thousands of dollars to lobby the Legislature this year, in hope the lawmakers will send more of the state's precious funding their way. The Mesa Unified School District, the state's largest district, has budgeted up to $45,000 to spend on lobbying by Jaime Molera, a former state superintendent of public instruction. The district hired Molera, in part, to work with lawmakers on issues related to Career Ladder, a performance pay plan that is a large piece of how the district pays its teachers, he said.
Corporation Commissioner Jim Irvin is in the hot seat with the threat of impeachment in the air, but lawmakers are missing the opportunity to address the root of the problem - the commission itself.
While Irvin stands accused of interfering with a Valley utility company acquisition, the commission regularly impedes commerce, maintains monopolies and doles out protective subsidies to favored groups at the expense of Arizona residents.
Of course, the commission's operations are all legal under the Arizona Constitution.
Divided government will be the name of the game when Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano and the Republican-controlled State Legislature start the 2003 session Jan. 13.
The business community also faces some divisions as industry and interest groups take different tacks on mammoth issues such as taxes, economic development and how to deal with the state's $1 billion budget shortfall.
Movie director Peter Jackson began his Lord of the Rings saga with an ominous message: The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air, Cate Blanchett darkly says. Much that once was is lost.
We have the same sense of foreboding when considering Arizona's unresolved budget crisis, without the Hollywood ending. Arizona has been fortunate to have a vibrant economy and falling poverty rates, but a series of bad policy decisions now puts this at risk.
Scottsdale's Motor Mile just may be one of the most profitable corners of real estate in Arizona. Featuring luxury cars such as Bentley and Rolls-Royce, its a safe bet most Arizonans probably will spend more time dreaming about cars like these than driving them. So why are taxpayers footing bills for these dealerships? A few years ago, the Scottsdale City Council voted to give $1.5 million to 19 car dealers for an ad campaign to make the area the ultimate car buying destination. I guess 19 car dealerships weren't obvious enough.
Tucson's legislators scored poorly on the Goldwater Institute's 2003 Legislative Report Card, which grades legislators according to their commitment to free markets, limited government, rule of law, individual liberty, and individual responsibility.
In fact, Tucson Districts 27, 28, and 29 had some of the lowest scores in the state. None of those districts produced a legislator with a score higher than 39 percent, which translates to an "F+" on the Institute's (rather generous) grading scale.
When I arrived at the Goldwater Institute more than 10 years ago as 29-year-old political neophyte, I was dispatched by the board of directors to meet with then-Speaker of the House Jane Hull. I was surprised at how happy she was to meet someone she didn't know.
I soon realized she would have been happy to meet anyone who was about to replace the first president of the Goldwater Institute, Michael Sanera. Sanera had proved to be a constant irritant to Speaker Hull and many other public officials.
Tucson's city officials are having second thoughts about building an aquarium as part of the Rio Nuevo downtown development project. Given the shaky financial state of aquariums nationwide, second thoughts are in order.
The aquarium boom has cost more than $1 billion and resulted in many bankruptcies. Now that they've got their thinking caps on, city officials should have another look at Rio Nuevo itself.
Rio Nuevo is an ambitious example of the Downtown Disneyland theory of urban redevelopment.