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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

There are many seasons in desert gardening. There are two 90-day seasons: hot-to-cold and cold-to-hot versions. A couple of 60-day seasons and even a 45-day season in the dead of winter.  From “Desert Gardening” by George Brookbank: “September and October are like a second springtime. Start another crop of corn, beans and squash. Your tomato plants come alive again with flowers and fruit set will follow. Winter gardening begins with high expectations for lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, beets, turnips and oriental vegetables. Experienced gardeners say it’s the best time of the year for gardening. Try it – you’ll like it.”

So the Southside moves forward in our political seasons as well. The party primaries end in August with just about 10 weeks of campaigning before the general election in November. This may seem like a long time to endure the clutter of campaign signs and the knock, knock, knock of friendly campaigners and their minions asking us if we are registered to vote, have we signed up to vote by mail and have we heard of – fill in the blank – candidate. But, that is what we get for living in a democracy.

And there are longer political seasons. Some of these seasons are defined by terms: two and four years.  And term limits: usually two or three terms. The Southside is covered by several Legislative Districts, a Congressional District, several school board districts, a justice of the peace district, a county board of supervisors’ district, at least two city council districts and who knows what else. I would submit that we should be aware of all of our obligations as voting citizens, but that the elections that matter most to Southsiders’ everyday life are those of the city council and the mayor.

Municipal government provides us with everything from garbage pickup to public parks; from water and sewer service to street lights and libraries. The list of the services provided by the city is indeed long and impressive, but none more significant than planning. At this time the City of Phoenix is required to revise the city’s General Plan in a process that looks for public input. This process occurs about ever 10 years and is usually not very public.

In past articles I have suggested that some of our city representatives had not given the Southside a fair shake in the planning process. I have been disappointed in the city’s response to the suggestion that we need plans for South Central and Broadway Road that are derived from public input not from city dictates and/or developer’s whimsy.

But now there is strong evidence that that political season is coming to end.  Like the desert itself, the city is having “a second springtime”.

In the words of my good friend Rosanne Albright, the city’s the Brownfield’s Project Manager and a great asset to the city and the Southside:

“Mayor Greg Stanton, city council and community members have launched planPHX, an interactive and innovative way for Phoenix residents to help decide how the city grows and changes over the next 10 years through their involvement in the update of the city’s General Plan and planning. This is a tremendous opportunity to shape the future of our city. We hope you’ll get involved and help us spread the word.”

 

Here are some of the ways you can participate in this project:

– Log on to www.myplanphx.com/ and submit your ideas. You can receive feedback from other users, support other ideas and earn points for prizes along the way.

– Follow the project on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/planPHX

– And Twitter: http://twitter.com/planPHX

There are at least 12 public input events planned for all parts of the city, some of them will be entirely in Spanish.  There will be a “planning store front” set up someplace downtown. The planPHX people will be everywhere from grocery stores to Sunday services.

The mayor has said in this process “we will listen before we write.” And there will be a lot of people listening

This is your chance to plan your village to make the Southside what you want it to be.  But you have got to participate.

And, by the way, the mayor has appointed me and several other folks from District 8 (Kate Gallego, Dr. George Brooks, Sandra Ferniza, Theresa Brice, Kimber Lanning) to be on the planPHX Leadership Committee. This process has the full support of both Councilmen Johnson and Nowakowski.

Imagine, I am back working with the mayor and the city council. This must be spring in the Southside.

Written by Greg Brownell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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