Tucson, Arizona. Your humble blogger participated in the Hedgehog group chaired by Warren Prostrollo and recorded by Madeleine Wanslee, who were terrific. These Hedgehog folks are bright and highly informed.
(Nina Trasoff - City Council Member Ward 6)
The Hedgehog Group: Ken Abrahams, Jessica Andrews, Clarence Boykins, Ken "KC" Carter, Mark Clark, Marty Cortez, Jim DeGrood, Michael Duran, Katie Dusenberry, Nicole Gavin, Rodney Glassman, Mary Gruensfelder-Cox, Ellen Hargis, Jacqueline Jackson, Bob Johnson, Marty Laurel, Mike Lupien, David Martinez, Ron Marx, Francie Merryman, Marty Moreno, Laura Penny, Marion Pickens, David Pittman, Curt Reimann, Mike Reuwsaat, Regina Romero, Carl Russell, Nina Trasoff, Ray Woosley.
In the AM we discussed: 1) Best attributes of our community, 2) Arts, Culture, and Recreation, and 3) Downtown.
I didn't say a word this morning.
(Clarence Boykins with Janet) Then for lunch we were treated to a speech from our genius Governor. Of course Janet was fabulous as always, telling the crowd, "A meeting is not a result."
She advised, "Use the Town Hall to begin to create activity leading to solid results."
When asked what were the two greatest issues facing Arizona, the Governor replied, "Education and Growth."
She mentioned the tobacco taxes and acknowledged her opposition to tobacco yet the need for funds from the tax on cigarettes, leading to her slogan, "Buy lots of cigarettes and then throw them out."
We all laughed.
Our Governor actually acknowledged our Republican led State Senate and several local Arizona Senators. She didn't speak as highly of the State House. She fully endorses Giffords desire to have Arizona become the "Persian Gulf of Solar Energy."
In the PM we discussed the environment, water, and transportation. Here I had some things to say, highlighting the threat of non-native vegetation, making damn sure the group got it about buffel grass, and they did. If the final report out includes a line on buffel grass, your humble blogger has made a difference for the community.
(Reuwsaat) I also threw in my two cents about the absurdity of trying to make the desert look like Ohio. Nina Trasoff did point out the progressive water rates but the group agreed this gradation was not aggressive enough to incentivize actual changes in behavior. We all noted that Maricopa is far worse at trying to pretend it is not in the desert. The water conversation was extremely informative. Mike Reuwsaat REALLY knows water, and Ken Abrahams REALLY knows a lot, period. This was the most intelligent conversation I have ever experienced regarding water. Did you know that for every gallon of water delivered to a user, we use two gallons because the system itself leaks that badly?
(Pickens) Marion Pickens and Katie Dusenberry, both probably close to 75 years old, were able to offer extraordinary insight talking to the history of the community. Katie could talk about the sewer system in the sixties.
I cannot speak for the other groups, but this group was very sharp, and the conversation yielded some frank and insightful discussion. I am sure Liza will not be surprised that the group was less than flattering about the Arizona Daily Star and its reporting. The press showed up from time to time. Teya Vitu made an appearance as did another reporter, and a cameraman came in at one point. Teya's 5/4/2007 article
about the participants being rather elite is accurate. It will be interesting to see what they print.
(Frances Merryman) I also experienced the most intelligent conversation I've ever had regarding land development and all of the issues associated with land development. Now, keep in mind, I don't know much about land development. I know a lot more now. One interesting remark noted that Pima County's efforts to manage growth has resulted in explosive growth just on the other side of county borders beyond the controls Pima implemented.
Tomorrow we get to your humble blogger's turf, where I am the expert. I look forward to facing the reaction of this very bright group of people when I speak my mind about my area. Tomorrow might have been explosive, but the meeting held today in my absence diffused the drama, for now.
(Buffel grass is literally consuming and destroying our desert. It's growth is exponential.) On a complete aside, Chris Edwards has taken the ludicrous Tucson Appliance commercial to yet another level, now appearing in a Batman Suit with stoves and refrigerators. If my career truly implodes and I start BuffelBeGone, Inc., I still think I can out do him with my red, purple striped suit, purple helmet with red squares for each 100 acres of baffled buffel, flying over buffel fields with my patented BuffelMatic.
Oh, not that anyone cares, but barring some unusual development, anonymity ends this weekend. I will update the profile to reflect my real name. My resignation will be announced in a press release Friday or early next week at the latest.