Phoenix does have a “Master Plan,” but the reality is it’s basically just a document to avoid fights over zoning and planning decisions – something politicians can point to if they need some cover while supporting an unpopular development or land deal. There is no comprehensive vision for the future of Phoenix. And while the current Mayor and Council have passed a raft of “action plans” in different areas, these documents are fragmentary, sometimes directly contradictory, and constitute an extreme progressive wish list of policy ideas that are either unrealistic, or proven failures. There is no real leadership, and hasn’t been for some time.
We need to change that. Tie it all together and develop a common vision that is both practical, and achievable. Key elements of this plan must unite housing, heat island mitigation, public transportation, streets, homeless services, and career development on one end with smart growth and development, faster and more efficient permitting, preservation of open spaces and natural land, and reduced costs to own and operate a small business on the other.
Lastly, a key of this process must be a relentless and ongoing focus on reducing the costs of delivering current services so we can free up monies to do everything else the Council has already promised to do. That’s because, without major changes, Phoenix is headed for a fiscal crisis within the next few years. City professional staff was already planning on raising taxes every year for at least the next ten years just to meet our current obligations. And then the Council went ahead and spent even more money – money that we have this year, and next, courtesy of federal covid funds, but won’t have in the future. Their recklessness has placed Phoenix in a tremendously precarious position, and the only way out of this mess, without ending up where we were in 2009 - cutting staff, salaries, and services - is to make the things we already do cost less.