Her Secret is Patience: Our Costs are Rising out of the Ashes

by Gayle Plato
Phoenix rising from the ashes, an image we all know in this town. She is reborn after devastating challenges and rises again, eternal. In spite of bad times and economic downturns, we can depend on our warrior spirit to smartly retreat. Lean down the government costs and funnel any revenue to the most important programs, helping the needy among us. Help schools function, hospitals heal, and citizens be safe from crime. Face the burn of caustic fiscal devastation; Phoenix can rise again from the ashes.

Unless, the Phoenix City Council and a few other supporting municipalities, see everything through the windows of the light rail ride, or the netting of the stimulating jellyfish. Phoenicians make art without honoring the logic and science of the numbers. We are at prime Mayor, and the Fibonacci numbers of this golden strand of reality are on the wall like a gang tag.

I propose the City of Phoenix go back to the drawing board; in light of the severe recession. We need a referendum, City Council to rescind funding the superfluous, and crack the books to scale back. Turn off the light rail today and funnel any of that money including stimulus dollars into buses. It is a Crazy Train of debt, with future growth questionable at best. We need to take every extra dime and focus on the infrastructure that really matters. Finally, we need to demand a change of spending practices; a panel of citizens and politicians must start to oversee all spending of tax dollars. Billions are spent with very little accountability and only a few politicians in charge, and that is a waiting disaster. No Parent Teacher Organization could get away with doing that from a candy bar fund raiser.

I also ask that the 2.4 million dollar expense of the ‘art’, called, Her Secret is Patience, be scrapped if it costs one dime more. With a name only Ralph Waldo Emerson could love; she sounds more like horse running in the fifth and looks more like( I’m sorry but really) a glow-in-the-dark condom. Yet this art is a tad better than the horrifically ugly library near me, Desert Broom- the Big Rusted Tin Roof, or the infamous broken pots on the 51, a.k.a. Piestewa Pottery Barn. At least I can check out a book at the library and get in and out of town on the freeway.

It’s funny, but in truth, there are people who work for the city, getting fired this year while we pay for poorly installed art and light rails to a pancake house. There are thousands of children who could benefit from really good programming not happening or being cut, as we see money funnel into broken toilet bowls and multi-million dollar prophylactics. Let alone the stimulus redistribution of our hard earned wealth. No one is immune from this spending disease.

If my business slumps and I fall behind, I have to face reality. I do not go on spending, and if need be, I make drastic cuts. Anything not necessary is gone, and certain behaviors of business-as-usual discontinued. Families in this Valley are cutting to the bare bone, trying to pay for upside down mortgages, or worrying about rent paid to landlords in foreclosure. None of us wants to see completely irrelevant art, useless transportation, nor wasted future spending on upkeep and improvement. What are many businesses doing? Closing up shop on half of their locations. Schools and hospitals, day care centers, and local parks are shutting down. Yet, we can all ride the rail around if we lose our houses or cars I guess.

According to Valley Metro numbers, the light rail has exceeded expectations, with 34, 000 people per day ridership. Okay, let’s round that up to 35K. That means, if I do my math, dividing up the ridership by the overall cost as published of 1.4 billion (with more to come), each rider could have been given $40,000. That will buy a few decent cars. So those of you riding from the IHOP to the Capitol, would you have rather had a new car? Specifically, how about a Pontiac as I hear they are going outta style soon.

Phoenix is not alone in it’s future going out of business sale. But this bird will not be able to rise from the ashes of a fire sale. We cannot wait until the place goes up in flames as the blindfolded local leadership all lay down in ditches. My secret Mayor Gordon, City Council, my secret is not patience, but prudence.


  1. Gayle,

    You have no idea what you are talking about. City of Phoenix’s budget is balanced for the next two years. Also arts funding comes from a specifed tax that can not be busted when it is convenient to you.
    Light rail is a sucess, it is always full and it revitalizing downtown. Even if Phoenix wanted to shut it down. We can not, city of Phoenix does not run the light rail, and would also have to reimburse the federal government for the money they invested in the line.
    Its funny that you complain how Phoenix runs their budget but I have not heard you admonish the Republicans at the State Legislature. If you want to know how the money is spent you can call the city managers office unlike Sheriff Joe we honor FOIA requests. BTW we do have several citizens oversight committees. There was a citizen’s panel that chose that art piece.
    Here is your secret Gayle, you have zero knowledge on this subject matter.

  2. Lisa- Of forgive me then. I guess not one more dime of any taxpayer money will be used to fix or repair. Nor will any more taxpayer money be needed to keep any of the programs going, or expansion. Just because there is a Proposition or federal allocation, does not mean it’s free. Sucha common liberal fallacy.

    I did note that a referendum would be in order; that is quite realistic as citizens assume there is no recourse once money is spent or allocated to be spent.

    They money is taxpayers’; it is managed by Phoenix. Phoenix monies were used. Whether a panel of three, five, or heck even ten, in my OPINION there is very little accountability.

  3. Gayle, not only are you ignorant about the City’s budget process (as Lisa points out), but your math sucks as well. Your $40,000-per-ride figure works only if LIGHT RAIL WAS ONLY OPEN ONE DAY. In fact, the investment is spread over 20+ years, and 300 million+ riders, not 34,000. Plus, the feds picked up half the tab, with taxes we had already paid. So you should at least learn how to work a calculator and complete a simple multi-step computation before posting.

  4. Actually it is quite simple. If you average 34K riders a day–heck make it 50K a day, we are paying for actual riders. Joe Blow may ride every day, and I understand the theory that you multiply that as he is not on the road, but in truth, he is NOT five people of the five day work week. Just one guy riding five times. 34k is 34K. It does not go up by riding more than once. The number actually serviced is not that impressive compared to the cost. Busses service the ENTIRE VALLEY and have drivers not replicants nor computer chips– well some of them might have a chip in them, I don’t know them all.

    The numbers get muddled when you use the over time we will service– well if a meteor lands on the 60 or 101, you’d have ridership go up too as the roads would be a bear to navigate around the gaping abyss.

    If swine flu mutates, we’ll have a lot less ridership and then the four guys without homes and the crazy dude with no pants gets all the money in my calculation.

    You are all into the myopic number crunching of the sell. I am looking at the reality of who actually climbs on the thing. You do not count Janet Napolitano every time she rides it as if shes a new person, even if she changes her mind a few times before jumpin’ on.

  5. Gayle,

    Go ahead then, put it on an initiative. Put it on an iniative to stop light rail. If you are so sure. Go collect the signatures, you will not be able to get the minimal amount signatures. You and you cadre are all talk, but have zero follow through. Who wants to put a bet down now that Gayle is all talk on this?

  6. Gayle,

    What happened with your popular referendum? Its been day one since the challenge, have you drafted the language yet?

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