The Arizona Daily Star goes to pot(holes)

Our sad small town newspaper, the Arizona Daily Star (all the news that Jim Click decides is fit to print) is at it again. This takes tying together a series of reports this week.

The Star’s columnist Tim Steller today has a piece captioned How about the Tucson Pothole Bowl? Now I don’t know whether Steller captions his own columns. Typically a copy editor, in this case the Star’s notorious creative headline writer whom we have belittled for years probably came up with this caption, because nowhere in Steller’s column does he even mention the word “pothole.” The copy editor didn’t even bother to read his piece to come up with this caption.

The caption is actually in reference to a report in the Star earlier in the week.

Pat McNamara in an above-the-fold front page story on Monday — because it was a slow news day? — reported that We’re No. 1 — in potholes:

A.MillerScientific verification of what every Tucson driver already knows can be found in a report by the Making Action Possible Dashboard project of the University of Arizona Eller College of Management, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona and the Southern Arizona Leadership Council.

Their pothole index report says Tucson regional streets rank worst among a collection of 11 Western urban regions.

[Photo of Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller lying in a pothole. (h/t The Tucson Weekly). Miller is opposed to the County Bond election, and supports Republicans in the Arizona legislature sweeping stealing HURF funds for roadways and state revenue sharing funds from Pima County.]

The study identified a national average road condition and gave it a roughness rating of 100. Each region’s roads were rated in points up or down from that average. The smaller the number, the better the road conditions, according to the report, titled MAP Dashboard. (“MAP” stands for Making Action Possible.)

Tucson scored 145.8 on the index, more than San Diego (135.8), Colorado Springs (130.2) and Las Vegas (40.3), among others.

Buried down in the eighth paragraph of this story, which McNamara glosses over without any further explanation, is the reason why Tucson streets are so bad:

Not something that a Tucson-centric Road Runner wants to own up to, but the lowest score among the 11 Western areas ranked was Phoenix, with an 18.7 on the scale.

That’s right boys and girls. The Republican dominated Arizona legislature, most of whom come from the state of Maricopa, have for decades operated the Arizona legislature as if it is the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in making appropriations. Our tax dollars go to the state of Maricopa and pretty much stay in the state of Maricopa.

I love this quote in the Star from George Hammond, the economist at Eller College who did the study: “What it says for the region is that we need to invest in our infrastructure.” Well no shit, Sherlock. Try telling that to the Republicans in the Arizona legislature!

Since the Great Recession began in 2007, Republicans in the Arizona legislature have been sweeping stealing HURF funds for roadways and state revenue sharing from counties and cities to “balance” the state budget, while at the same time transferring more state obligations to county taxpayers, which means less revenue available for road maintenance and repair. Huckelberry: State balancing budget on backs of county taxpayers. That’s why local governments are now forced to resort to bonds to pay for road maintenance and repairs.

I don’t know how many times that someone has made the observation to me that roads in the state of Maricopa seem like ribbons of silk, while driving in Pima County in places can be like driving on the surface of the moon. The reason for this is that the state of Maricopa keeps our tax dollars for itself and tells the other 14 counties — in particular Pima County whom they want to punish for being a Democratic stronghold — “too bad for you!”

The point of these articles in the Star is that they want to blame the Tucson City Council for the condition of our roads because we have a mayor and council race this year. The editors of the Star are always at odds with the Tucson City Council (they believe that they should run this town). But the fault for Tucson’s road conditions lies with Republicans in the Arizona legislature, particularly those thieving bastards from the state of Maricopa. Tucson and Pima County are starved for revenue to pay for necessary road maintenance and repairs.

The Arizona Daily Star will not point out this obvious fact to you because its biggest advertiser, Jim Click, is a major GOP bundler who helped to elect these Republicans to office. And I suspect his multiple car dealerships make quite a bit of money off of repairing vehicles damaged while driving on roads in Pima County. It’s a revenue stream for him.

McNamara’s report does point out the glaring flaw in this study: “Since the time of that data, the city has put at least $40 million into road repairs with another $60 million to go,” Mayor Rothschild said, in reference to the $100 million road bond that city voters passed in 2012. In fact, if you drive around town there are currently multiple road construction projects underway. (Traffic delays due to road construction will be the next thing that the Star complains about. The editors are never satisfied.)

Once again, Hammond said “the city bond, and now the proposed $160 million county road-bond package, simply show that regional leaders have awakened to the reality that roads have been neglected for years.” Dude, have you been living in a cave for the past 8 years?

Regional leaders have been screaming about the Arizona legislature sweeping stealing HURF funds for roadways and state revenue sharing from counties and cities to the neglect of our roadways for years. Just ask their lobbyists and our legislators at the legislature. This “economist” needs to get out of his ivory tower more often and visit the real world.

As for Steller’s column on Tucson making another bid for a college football bowl game, why? Tucson bowl game approved, not finalized for 2015. There are too many college bowl games now (the new bowl would mean 82 of 128 FBS teams will play in the postseason next season. Seriously?) Tucson’s experience with bowl games has not been good. We had the Weiser Lock Copper Bowl for a while (1989-1996) before Weiser Lock pulled out and a new sponsor, the Insight.com Bowl took over (1997-1999). And just like our highway funds, the state of Maricopa stole our bowl game from us in 2000.

There is only one bowl game that I care about: I want to see my Arizona Wildcats play in and win a Rose Bowl in Pasadena just once before I die. Focus on that.

11 responses to “The Arizona Daily Star goes to pot(holes)

  1. Unfortunately, if you boycott local car dealers, you are also hurting the employees who work at the dealerships, so that’s not a good idea. When you have millions of dollars to spend, any downturn in your dealerships really is not relevant, because you have plenty of funds stashed to ride out any downturn. The idea that you can make changes by boycotting is utopian.
    While the city is hard at work trying to fix potholes, its like trying to save a crumbling dam. Fact is, many potholes are now getting deeper and more dangerous. Riding on a scooter, I avoid many streets that I know have pothole issues. But in some cases I have to use them. There are some streets I know of where traffic has to come to an almost complete stop to maneuver around the damaged pavement sections; its really worse than Mexico. And the county is far worse; they have all but abandoned roads in outlying areas, conducting a form of triage, especially in locations where such roads are only used by farm machinery.
    But things can get much worse in the future, if we allow a state legislature whose majority consists of sellouts that respond to any input attached to money to continue without holding them accountable.
    I strongly recommend that BLOG FOR ARIZONA open up a new section that concerns itself ONLY with the state budget, past, present and future to show Arizona residents that right now its only a race to the bottom and that there are other and better ways to run our state economy. We have numerous conservative blogs in Arizona that continuously present a steady stream of ideological misinformation to gullible readers. Its time to make something else available as well. Right now, I am guessing there’s a good chance that in the future, the state legislature will “cook the books” or fess up that they are in the category of states listed in the links below.

    http://tucson.com/ap/state/nearly-half-of-states-expect-to-confront-big-budget-gaps/article_84991e79-778e-50e3-b2fe-00c6d2e7f777.html

    http://www.itepnet.org/whopays3.pdf
    shows arizona as having a very regressive and volatile tax base.

  2. I hadn’t realized that we had such good roads in Maricopa County. They also seem to like washboards and gravel pits as I travel around on them. If Tucson’s roads are worse, then that is one more reason not to live there, as if I needed any more. What I don’t understand is if you hate Arizona as bad as you seem to, and you hate how things are in Tucson, WHY do you still live here?!?!? There are so many better places to live, based on what you describe as better, that I don’t understand why you continue staying in a place where everything makes you angry.

    • Some of us are stuck here, Steve. Everything here makes me angry too.

      • Well, it is hard for me to imagine a situation which would keep you from moving, but I trust you and will accept your word that such circumstances exist. I won’t bring the subject up again. Thank you for letting me know that.

    • Yeah, Meanie, why don’t you be a good boy and stop with your intelligent criticism and ideas for improvement and just go away. After all, it’s “My Country, Right or Wrong, Love It or Leave It.” Me and my republican friends would never criticize the President. We’d druther just pack our guns and move to some real freedom loving country.

      • I think you tried way too hard to be clever here and just came across sounding sort of dazed and confused. Perhaps subtle sarcasm is not your forte’.

        • I thank you for pointing out my short comings–confused, dazed, not clever, and lacking in subtle sarcasm. The real point of my comment though is that Meanie is to be commended for his efforts to investigate, analyze, criticize and work for improvement in our local, state, and national governments rather than just packing up and leaving as you suggested.

          • When you say what you mean, it is much clearer and to the point. Sarcasm is hard to pull off. No one can hear the voice in your head when you write it. I can’t do sarcasm very well. “AZbm” does it well because he often gives examples of his sneering sarcasm in his responses to other people, so we have examples by which we can compare.

            Anyway, getting back to my original comment…if I was as miserable as “AZbm” seems to be from his postings, I would pack it up and move. This is a big country filled with wonderful places to live. I would seek out a more pleasant place and go live there. You only get one life; why live it in misery?

  3. captain*arizona

    Conservatives behave themselves out of fear not decency because they are not. If you sign off with: and remember to boycott jim click dealerships and put a bumper sticker on your car bike or laptop he will get the message from his commissioned sales staff! I live in phoenix so I don’t know tucson politics I assume click is a conservative.

    • Captain,
      Mr. Click’s influence is felt statewide… and even nationally. Combined with his wife (Vicki), his kids and employees at his dealerships, he has given millions to candidates at every level. They give in the six figures to Super PACs (such as FreedomWorks), Ducey’s gubernatorial campaign and his IE committee, the Attorney General’s race, etc.

      And, yes, he is a conservative.

      Some sources:
      http://bit.ly/1ErHy3W
      http://bit.ly/1GVSeJS
      http://bit.ly/AZp965

      • The local media loves to point out how Jim Click is so altruistic while not mentioning that he supports policies that ensure there are more people needing economic help.