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Phoenix Voters 'Say Yes to the Future,' Rejecting Koch-Backed Effort to Ban Light Rail Expansion in Least Sustainable US City

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/08/27/phoenix-voters-say-yes-future-rejecting-koch-backed-effort-ban-light-rail-expansion


I was glad when David Koch died, and glad whenever anyone rejects a Koch industry or proposal. The following segment from Democracy Now illustrates the massive negative impact of the Kochs.
That being said, Phoenix is a dying city that should never have been built. Along with Vegas and LA, it’s a blight on the desert, destroying the aquifers and Colorado River, and a massive consumer of coal-fired electricity due to the terrible heat sink.
It will be a ghost town within a few decades, and good riddance.


Glad to see Phoenix finally getting light rail extensions. The traffic is getting to be as bad as L.A. Why would anyone want to move there is beyond me. The temperatures soar well into the hundreds in the summers, valley fever is a common illness that can last a lifetime (from a common soil pathogen stirred up by the frequent dust storms), and water is a scarce resource, though with well over 300 golf courses and lots of private swimming pools, fountains, and private lakes, you wouldn’t think so. Of course we all know that good clean water flows towards money. Good riddance, David Koch. If I ever see your grave, I’d be happy to piss on it.


Fastest growing city … In the desert, amidst global heating? Shows the extent of climate change deniers? BTW, I’m glad the folks fleeing Illinois and California have not seriously invaded my poor southern state. We are still dealing with the coyotes and armadillos.


On a technical note, in a sprawling city like Phoenix, light rail should be used for only a few of the densest corridors. A whole lot more service could be put in place a whole lot faster and cheaper using buses. If the concern is emissions from the buses, then battery electric buses are now available. They would work well in the flat topography of Phoenix - although the AC requirements for them might limit their range.

50k riders a day is not impressive. My city which has a metropolitan area population only a little more than a third of Phoenix has a transit ridership of about 200,000 per day.

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THANK YOU PHOENIX!! As goes Phoenix, so may the rest of the nations cities go. We have to make public transport an option ON PAR with the private automobile. The four lane highways should be transformed into routes for competitive public transport services interconnecting hubs and making the inane marketing of the wastrel model “identity” of “success” and “necessity” of having to own a clunker at the very least sold by the proverbial ‘used car salesman’ a curse of the past overcome by clear vision of what liberty REALLY means!

Heal the nation’s koch addition!! Demand emergency therapy now!

No matter how much they improve their public transit, Phoenix AZ will remain the most CO2 polluting city in the western hemisphere. Only those Arab Gulf state and Saudi cities (one of which sports an huge enclosed indoor ski slope complex) are worse.


We moved to The Pit in 59 when it was paradice. It was clean squeaky clean. Less than 20,000. Earlier this month I had to travel 65 miles into Phx from Superior to the border of Mesa and Phx during a high pollution alert for a Doc appointment. By the time I got back out into the desert I was sick. My Doc put me on antibiotics and steroids, after 12 days I am still sick. Ozone gives you a sunburn on the insides of your lungs. I haven’t lived there for over 2 years and my tan was all gone and now I get a sunburn from the ozone. This is world wide. It won’t be long until it’s deadly. I have to go back there on the 3rd of next month, what is one to do when that is where your healthcare is? Getting to my healthcare makes me sick. They need the rail everywhere. Freeway traffic, from the womb to the tomb.

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An otherwise-forgettable sci-fi/horror novel offered one unforgettable scene: two Native Americans are watching the world from their home in the White Mountains of Arizona. One says to the other, “They’ll come up here and strangle us all for spit before there’s a dry swimming pool in Phoenix.”

As much as we came to love the Sonoran Desert, having lived in Tucson from 1978-1982, Mrs. Guild annd I moved back east when it became obvious to us that people were loving it to death. Lawns? Golf courses?? Royal palm trees???

Just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean that you SHOULD.


I live on the Texas Gulf Coast, and people with money continue to build right on the water. As Texas is a big oil and gas state, climate denial is built into the culture here. We also have property in Cochise County, and were going to build a home there. But with the aquifers emptying, and the temperatures rising, we decided against it. In a few more years, the rising temperatures will make that area unliveable. We need a climate denier with money to literally burn who might take it off our hands.


Always good to “win” a tiny holding action against the neoliberal, colonizing forces like the Kochs that claim to “own” the Earth.

But please recognize, these small holding actions do not defeat the monster egos that sit at the top of the capitalist pyramids.

We need to – literally – de-colonize the colonies, and the whole global system. We need to dismantle the economic and political structures that followed from colonization – including “whiteness” and white supremacy, and including the United States of America – de-colonize our own consciousness – and affirm the ecology of the Earth as the central organizing principle of “the economy” and of human society at large.

If we do not genuinely dis-empower the Kochs and their like – end their wealth, end their “ownership,” end their propaganda and policy machinery – they will ALWAYS be back for more, and more, and more, and they will come again, and again, and again.

Props to Phoenix voters, but “we” are still losing very badly. The ecology of the Earth is dis-integrating, mass extinction is underway, the catastrophe is accelerating, and the collapse of “civilization” is in the near future. We need real victories that change the dynamic of human economy and society on Earth. We need to be able to imagine all this.


All over Europe they have electric trolleys.
Did the Kochs want service for only the coat and tie crowd by rejecting expansion to some poorer areas?
He didn’t see that many of his coat and tie crowd were just as, or more low life than the lunch box commuter.

Yes, some N American cities like Toronto too. And until the 1970s, at least half of Pittsburgh’s transit routes was streetcars (locally called trolleys) too. But the difference is:

  1. European neighborhoods are denser.

  2. The streetcar tracks and wires are already in place.

In the case of the US with few exceptions all the past extensive streetcar infrastructure has been taken down and buried under layers of asphalt. Replacing it would be very expensive. Buses are infinitely more practical and with battery-electric buses, they are as clean as streetcars and quieter.

The white middle class needs to get over this idiotic stigma of riding buses.

You’re right, people are just plain stupid to move to Phoenix.
Re the coyotes and armadillos–they’re native species, most likely.
It’s the humans who are the invasive species, and by far the most destructive.
Long live coyotes and armadillos!!!

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OK, not bad. What’s their plan for future water?

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Light rail is basic high capacity, energy efficient mass transit for crossing long distances of metropolitan areas. Their stations are often a mile or more apart. Bus routes by design fail to integrate convenient transfers. Also, the standard 40’ bus does not convert very well to hybrid nor battery electric operation. Transit agencies proudly herald new electric buses that are actually a cheap pretense of bus modernization. Self-driving cars is another fraudulent excuse transit agencies want us to believe will replace bus service. Ass backward transit system design is a criminal matter that transit agencies and bus manufacturers - including GM & Ford - should be prosecuted to enact reforms.

Cities in desert climes can and should build to utilize water retaining shadey habitat. Adapting to climate change can inspire visions of redeveloped communities. Reducing global warming GHGs will require energy conservation measures of this type.

I followed the Phoenix ballot measure a bit. Studied the route on a google satellite map and concluded it was low impact and predictably productive. I likened its Salt Creek arroyo viaduct as “a pleasant walk across from one stop to the next as an excuse to forget whatever reason a rider had to go somewhere else and another walk across to help not remember. People will ride to go there.” That comment I’m sure upset measure supporters who couldn’t find a thing good about the proposed light rail expansion.

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alas one of the koch-suckers did not live to see himself getting bitch slapped.

As Wellan articulates, the type of transit recommended depends on population density and other factors, not dogma such as buses are inherently better.

Light rail has its place between heavy rail (subways/metros) and buses (including dedicated bus routes). Toronto, for instance, was set to build a network of light rail in an eastern suburb until derailed by a couple of Trump-like buffoons (the Frod brothers). It would have cost roughly the same as the one-stop subway extension currently plannned.

One advantage of investing in tracked vehicles (streetcar, LRT or subway) is that it indicates commitment to transit that encourages visionary urban planning for more than the short term. In Toronto, BTW, streetcars are called streetcars – not the same as light rail trains that run on dedicated tracks.