Riding the Canal

Been back in the habit of taking a morning ride around central Phoenix and the Arizona Canal is part of the route. It’s a nice ride as they built underpasses at all the roads so you can cycle non stop for a long time. Let me know if you wanna ride.

20120921-101854.jpg

AZ Governor Jan Brewer getting the most email in the world, shuts down.

I try to participate in government by protesting and talking and speaking with my elected officials. In the last few years email has become a good way to communicate especially when groups that I participate in give me a quick and easy way to send emails with their messages. Recently Planned Parenthood has been pretty active with the recent passing of HB2443 which further chastises women who choose to have an abortion. So I took action and filled out the form and sent it to my Governor, Jan Brewer.

Look at what I got back:

Governor Jan Brewer not accepting emails
Governor Jan Brewer not accepting emails

Seriously? She is getting so many emails that she cannot accept anymore? Whats the threshold of how many emails she can handle? Is she getting more emails than the President of the United States?

Rogue Columnist: The Arizona syndrome

Come on people of Arizona with brains and spines still in your body. Its time to get involved and active, or just move the fuck out of the state and give up. Which is it gonna be?

So is it “hopeless??” No. Goddard must work harder than he’s ever worked in his life to overcome the white-right. Hispanic turnout must be mobilized. The real enemies of the working class need to be identified. Arizonans need to understand how the “conservative” elected leaders have repeatedly failed them, how the policies of the right have been tried with disastrous consequences. Good luck finding penetrating, muckraking or balanced coverage from most of the local media, but maybe social networking can get some young people to offset the reliable senior and LDS vote. And start building that bottom-up infrastructure as the right did. Still, I know people such as Kyrsten Sinema and Chad Campbell who have been working at this for years. I’m not telling them anything they don’t know.

The sad reality is that the left has nearly disappeared from America. Barack Obama holds down a center that is far to the right of historic American politics. But further right still are the ever more radical and dangerous cadres of reaction. More states will catch the Arizona syndrome. In November, we’ll see how badly.

Rogue Columnist: The Arizona syndrome.

Second time around? – Great analysis of today’s Phoenix with good action points.

Rogue Columnist: Second time around?.

Solution ideas:

  1. Repeal SB 1070.
  2. Elect Terry Goddard governor.
  3. Throw out the Kook majority in the Legislature.
  4. Raise taxes on the rich and, if the Growth Machine ever revives, enact a real-estate transfer tax and a tax on long commutes.
  5. Stop all residential development outside existing urban footprints (and the extravagant planning maps of Buckeye, Surprise, Maricopa, et al, are not existing footprints). For one thing, there’s not enough water.
  6. Establish a real state commerce department employing best practices to attract high-wage jobs.
  7. Build out the Phoenix Biosciences Campus on a speedy schedule to include a hospital, large med school, pharmacy school and private-sector research facilities. Add a full-court press to lure biomed manufacturing from California.
  8. Eliminate GPEC. Let the cities go their own ways.
  9. Fund the public schools and universities to compete at top levels.
  10. Establish real infill incentives along the light-rail line.
  11. Put a premium on shade, including enhancing and reclaiming the shady oases in central Phoenix.
  12. Reform the tax structure so cities aren’t so dependent on sales taxes.
  13. Create a climate-change emergency plan now and begin acting by, for example, building intercity rail, commuter rail, light rail, streetcars and an integrated, easy-to-use transit system.

Desertstandard TV – Greg Taylor @GRTaylor2 and Phoenix Music #desertstandard

Had a great talk with my buddy Greg Taylor last night about Desert Bloom Phoenix and the Phoenix Music Scene. We ran a little long for YouTube so I had to cut out his shout out to the folks at Gangplank:

  • Derek Neighbors
  • Josh Streble
  • Jade Meskill
  • James Archer

The Desert Bloom Phoenix Crew:

Here is some info about the bands and venues he talked about:
Kinch
Dry River Yacht Club
Black Carl
What Laura Says

Sail Inn
Yucca Tap Room
Long Wong’s
Rhythm Room
Trunk Space

Music Matters Project

5 Things I learned about Short Selling my House

Burning down the houseIts no secret that Arizona and housing equals suck ass in 2010. Sure sales are up and kudos to the realtors still in the game and making that happen, but its little secret that the majority of this is Short and Bank Owned sales. The AZ Republic just had an article about people deciding to just walk away from their homes. This article is very interesting and gives you a good look into the psyche of those affected, but it misses out on one huge option: Short Selling.

5 things I learned from my Short Sale:

  1. Get an Experienced Short Sale Realtor
  2. Pay the Realtor nothing upfront
  3. Play for keeps
  4. Keep your home in decent shape
  5. Talk to Friends and Family

1. Get an Experienced Short Sale Realtor

First of all make sure you get someone who knows what they are doing. You should expect them to do just about everything for you and that includes negotiating with the bank.

2. Pay the Realtor nothing upfront

Second you should not pay them anything. This is important as there are companies out their trying to charge the seller an upfront fee. This is a sign of someone who is incompetent. When the sale goes through they will get their commission, 6%, split if there are two agents involved. Its sales ladies and gentlemen, once the sale is complete you get paid.

3. Play for keeps

GMAC, my mortgage bank, wanted me to bring cash to the table to close the deal. This makes zero sense to me and it was a good think I had followed Rule #1 and my realtor was talking to them for me as I would have had some spicy language indeed. The reason this is dumb to agree to is that you are not making any money on this transaction so why should you pay anything for it? Turns out you will be loosing your home and be unable to purchase another one for 2 years. My stance was simple, either take the fair market value that the buyer is offering or you can have the keys to my home and foreclose on me. GMAC is smart and took the buyers offer with no extra cash from me.

4. Keep your home in decent shape

Besides getting a buyer to want to buy the home you are also going to have to get the buyers bank to approve the appraisal of the house. I let my pool go total green and we had to do an acid wash to get it approved. That was an unecessary headache.

5. Talk to Friends and Family

Short selling your home is an emotional nuclear explosion. Personally I felt and continue to feel a large sense of failure. The american dream is all about owning the home and here I was selling mine for a loss. You have to have a support group of friends and family to talk with about this or it will eat you alive. I am very fortunate and have great friends and family. Also you will find that many of your friends have short sold their home or homes as well and just haven’t been so public about it…

In the end Short Selling your house is not a great resolution but it is better than foreclosure. There are also no guarantees that your bank will approve the sale since they are the ones who have to write the loss off their books. However with the new homeowners tax refund extension and more pressure from Washington it is something worth considering.

Hate me or love me please leave me a comment. =)

Attention: Save your AZ State Parks or Kiss them BYE BYE Forever!

Sorry to interrupt your day with this but its really important and you should understand why. Currently Arizona is facing a huge budget shortfall because of the slow economy. One idea that the legislator has is to close down the state parks to save a few million dollars against the $4 Billion deficit that the state currently faces.
The problem with this is not just that we are shutting down everyday peoples access to affordable outdoor recreation but that we are eliminating a significant portion of revenue for local business and in turn State revenue:
AZ Family Channel 3 report:
http://www.azfamily.com/news/Az-state-parks-closing-81323372.html
“State parks take nothing from the general fund and actually give back to the state budget a big fat $22.7 million in state and local taxes. The state legislature has swept millions from state parks to help balance the budget, leaving them too short to operate the 30 parks in the system.
Three have already closed.
Does this make sense since state parks bring in more than $225 million dollars to the state’s economy through the 2.5 million visitors each year.”
AZ Republic
http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2010/01/11/20100111arizona-park-closures.html
“But even those will close unless the parks system gets a $3 million infusion of cash before the end of the fiscal year, said Renee Bahl, the parks director.
Parks officials hope that money will come in the form of a loan from the state’s General Fund, which will be repaid as the parks generate revenue.
Bahl said deep budget cuts to her agency have left her staff with no other choice but to recommend the closures.
Bahl noted that last year parks contributed $25 million to the General Fund, even though parks themselves receive no General Fund dollars. A Northern Arizona University study found that the parks generated $266 million annually in economic activity for rural communities.
“We’re important to the economy,” Bahl said. “We’re important to the people right now. Folks can’t afford to do much these days, and parks are one affordable luxury that we want to keep open.””
The AZ State Parks foundation points out that if this is allowed to happen we may be looking at a huge land grab of pristine public land handed back over to private owners. Maybe they will put a chairlift on the Superstitions and install a KFC on the Flatiron…
AZ State Parks Foundation
http://arizonastateparksfoundation.org/
“The cuts will force major reductions in Parks staff and closure of more than half of the State’s 30 parks this fiscal year.  The resulting loss of Park revenue is projected to leave the Parks System with no money to start the next fiscal year, July 1, 2010.  The next step will be to shut down the entire system and dispose of Parks properties, returning most of them to their original owners.”
According to the AZ State Parks Foundation there are a number of ways you can take action:
#1 – Call Governor Brewer and Email this sample letter (Word Doc):
Phone:  602-542-4331 or 800-253-0883
Email via Governor’s Contact page at:
www.governor.state.az.us/Contact.asp
Mail:  The Honorable Jan Brewer, Governor of Arizona,
1700 West Washington, Phoenix, Arizona 85007
#2 – Attend the AZ State Park Board Meeting on Jan 15th at the Phoenix Zoo and let them know how you feel about this:
http://azstateparks.com/board/index.html#downloads
#3 – Email this sample letter (Word doc) to your legistators (find yours here):
#4 – Let the AZ State Parks Board know where you stand:
http://azstateparks.com/find/contact.html

Sorry to interrupt your day with this but its really important and you should understand why. Currently Arizona is facing a huge budget shortfall because of the slow economy. One idea that the legislator has is to close down the state parks to save about $20 million dollars against the $4 Billion deficit that the state currently faces. Thats less that 1/10 of 1% yet the parks generate around $250 Million in local business revenue each year, and guess what? That revenue is taxed and helps out the State… Huh?

The problem with this is not just that we are shutting down everyday peoples access to affordable outdoor recreation but that we are eliminating a significant portion of revenue for local business and in turn State revenue:

AZ Family Channel 3 report:

“State parks take nothing from the general fund and actually give back to the state budget a big fat $22.7 million in state and local taxes. The state legislature has swept millions from state parks to help balance the budget, leaving them too short to operate the 30 parks in the system.

Three have already closed.

Does this make sense since state parks bring in more than $225 million dollars to the state’s economy through the 2.5 million visitors each year.”

AZ Republic Report on AZ State Park Closures

“Bahl noted that last year parks contributed $25 million to the General Fund, even though parks themselves receive no General Fund dollars. A Northern Arizona University study found that the parks generated $266 million annually in economic activity for rural communities.

“We’re important to the economy,” Bahl said. “We’re important to the people right now. Folks can’t afford to do much these days, and parks are one affordable luxury that we want to keep open.””

The AZ State Parks foundation points out that if this is allowed to happen we may be looking at a huge land grab of pristine public land handed back over to private owners. Maybe they will put a chairlift on the Superstitions and install a KFC on the Flatiron…

AZ State Parks Foundation

“The cuts will force major reductions in Parks staff and closure of more than half of the State’s 30 parks this fiscal year.  The resulting loss of Park revenue is projected to leave the Parks System with no money to start the next fiscal year, July 1, 2010.  The next step will be to shut down the entire system and dispose of Parks properties, returning most of them to their original owners.”

According to the AZ State Parks Foundation there are a number of ways you can take action:

#1 – Call Governor Brewer and Email this sample letter (Word Doc):

Phone:  602-542-4331 or 800-253-0883

Email via Governor’s Contact page at:

www.governor.state.az.us/Contact.asp

Mail:  The Honorable Jan Brewer, Governor of Arizona,

1700 West Washington, Phoenix, Arizona 85007

#2 – Attend the AZ State Park Board Meeting on Jan 15th at the Phoenix Zoo and let them know how you feel about this.

#3 – Email this sample letter (Word doc) to your legistators (find yours here: AZ senateAZ houseFind your District)

#4 – Let the AZ State Parks Board know where you stand.

Take 30 minutes out of your day today and address this issue. Please.

Canvassing for Obama in Chandler AZ

So I finally got off my lazy butt and got involved with the effort to make change happen in the country that I love. Last Saturday I went to Chandler Arizona and met with a bunch of really enthusiastic Obama Supporters and Canvassed Democratic Voters to sign up for Mail In Balloting. It was one of the more rewarding things I have done in many years and I am ready to do it again.

Some neat Statistics that I overheard:
-80% of voters registered for Mail In Ballots actually vote, compared to 40% or worse for regular registered voters
-When there is a record number of voters actually voting Democrats win the elections.

Here are some pictures, it was a lovely beautiful day:
get out the vote
canvasing chandler
political action women