Urban Landscape

Real Estate Mirage...

"Affordable Rental Housing for Arizona's Working Families"


  1. I am not a big fan of word puzzles but for some reason this sign captivated me and I just spent half an hour getting all anagrammatical (I think that's the word; I'm not checking...yet) with it.


    I'm weird. Major shock.

    Anyway I love this picture for two main reasons:

    *Awesome that the City of Phoenix is among those holding the note for this project. I'm glad to see it can afford to keep it hands in...I guess I'd call it theoretically prospective rental income.

    *I REALLY love the completion date of December, 2011. It sends me off through my mind wistfully recalling several like signs I've passed by over the years...all of which stood for many years after those completion dates had passed, usually spending their last days withering alone in overgrown fields as the letters faded. Around here signs like that one are(to coin a phrase)long-term kindling. I suspect things are not so different in the desert as I might hope.

  2. It is "anagrammatical"...I almost can't believe it...but mostly I follow up to give props to your sign for being plastic; the kindling comment isn't relevant (although if you were to use the sign for kindling it would probably give you some wild colors). The ones I've seen were always big wooden things but I guess that's a function of (er) location, location, location.

    Real-estate humor is an untapped vein, I tell ya.

    OK...I am shutting up. Thanks for the post, though!

  3. The name of the project struck me as so overblown I can't tell ya...and your doing anagrams is very fitting, especially the one you posted here.

    The project is basically public housing for Indians (or Native Americans if you prefer) and if you could read the what is written on the upper left side you would see it is "sponsored" by Native American Connections. The building in the background hosts at least a dozen agencies for Indians. The history is this area is where the old Indian School was (and is now the park with the mallards in the recent photo) and nearby is the Phoenix Indian Hospital.

    I truly have no beef with Indians doing what they can with their own agencies to improve their conditions in this state. They truly got the rawest deal of them all by Americans and the Westward Movement.

    The construction model on the sign is similar to the other (some already built) projects around the city for various "working families" of specific ethnicities and sponsored jointly by similar nonprofits and essentially paid for by the City of Phoenix taxpayers. Our pandering mayor (he who marches with Al Sharpton when he comes to town) is the primary advocate of these things.

    I don't really mind the idea of NGOs (Non-Governmental Agencies) sponsoring things and am not opposed to 'leg up' programs. I just think that the taxpayer shouldn't have to share the largest burden of the cost of these things, as our mayor and Rev Sharpton believe.

    Real Estate has now suddenly gone from being a joke in Phoenix to a serious topic of panic. I personally know several people who bought houses, fair and square, a year or less ago and have now been essentially evicted, the loan terms negated, because the houses had been in foreclosure and the paperwork wasn't completed correctly. The new buyers had no idea the houses had been in foreclosure and the titles had not been properly cleared. The result? THEY get kicked out.

    So the headlines about moratoriums on mortgages are more than just about stopping the foreclosures on people who are in a house and have stopped paying. It's about people who thought they were buying a house with a free and clear title, made their down payment, got a mortgage they could afford and have been living in the home until one day they get a letter in the mail...

    These are true stories. My question is: why would anyone in their right mind buy a house now unless they built it themselves on land they knew the title was clear? Which is difficult to do. So when I write the entire real estate industry is about to be thrown in chaos, it's not just a hypothetical statement.

  4. I wasn't trying to make light of the mortgage situation; I don't know remotely enough about it to have any opinion other than what I read here. What you say is congruent with what I'd imagine: people thinking they had clear title to their homes getting screwed because the previous owners were in default. I do sense that it's happened enough that there's no reason to think any of it was by mistake.

    I'm not sure about the Indians, but that's probably because I am in New York where for years there's been this big battle about cigarette taxes to non-reservation residents. I don't smoke but I think if you buy them there you should be able to buy them tax-free...there's a lot of mention of treaties and various breakages of said by the federal government. But I've seen more than one Oneida Nation police vehicle and all of them have had US government plates on them. It stunned me at first until a friend who really studies these things explained that the treaties basically make the Indians wards of the federal government. It seems to be true, and so I have to rule out the phrase "sovereign nation" when it comes up (and it does, often). I think deals were made with both sides hoping they'd benefit, and I don't begrudge the Indians any success they have but I have a feeling that whatever it might be, it will be limited. The big thing here is casinos; there are a few very successful ones operated on "Indian" land, but you get no sense that it's really benefiting very many Indians.

    I could be wrong; I'm just thinking and talking. Just didn't want you to think I was making light of a real-estate situation I really have no clue how to begin discussing; my comment was more based on "location, location, location"...or you could say my comment was pretty lame. And you'd be right. I'll just make the Jack Benny face and move on. :)

  5. I didn't think you were making light of the mortgage situation. It has been occurring to me more and more lately that California, Arizona and Nevada are really screwed as a region for a long time due to the real estate boom aftermath. Only Florida really is also in as bad a shape as we are, although some other states certainly have problems. Everything here was based on real estate, construction, jobs, taxes and it's all fallen apart. How we recover is anyone's guess. I'll survive as well as a lot of diehard Arizonans I know but it's going to be a tough long road.

    How odd about non-Indians and cigarette taxes. Selling untaxed cigarettes to non-Indians is big business (along with gambling) for Indians here. They profit from our vices as tribes but I'm not sure how much individual tribe members profit.

    I don't think anyone here is under any delusion that Indians are truly sovereign nations. There are 21 tribes here and over 25% of the land in the states is federal reservation land. The entire northeastern corner is the Navajo Nation. I think they should be given true sovereignty and many of them are capable and willing to take it on but after decades of dependency on the BIA, many are not and have become welfare states. Sad, sad situation.

    We're an odd state. Only 15% of the land is privately owned and the rest is federal, reservation or state trust land. It was laid out in quad townships by the federal government and actually is a construct of federal planners before it was a state. It explains a lot of our politics and the hatred for the federal government, some of which is misplaced, because we're also very dependent on the feds in many ways. We were the 48th state, the last mainland state and our Constitution was written at the height of the Populist era, yet most people don't have a clue that our government runs very differently than most states. They move here from somewhere else and think it's the same as where they came from and we are organized and elect very differently. A lot of that ignorance it what allowed for the real estate exploitation to happen I think.