We walked till our feet were sore. We collected so many soy-based-ink pamphlets our swag bags were overflowing. That’s just day one of Greenbuild 2009. Check out this brief, slightly jittery (the caffeine was free and flowing!) walk through the lower level of the expo.
Previous week’s games
11/06/09 SUNS 110, Celtics 103
11/08/09 SUNS 102, Wizards 90
11/09/09 SUNS 119, 76ers 115
11/11/09 SUNS 124, Hornets 104
Next week’s games
11/12/09 SUNS @ Lakers, 8:30 p.m., TNT
11/15/09 SUNS vs Raptors, 6 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
11/17/09 SUNS @ Rockets, 6:30 p.m., My45
Remember that brutal, early, five-games-in-seven-nights road trip out East the Suns had? The one that included stops in Miami, Orlando and Boston. You know the one I’m talking about, right? The one where two wins would have been satisfactory. Yeah, that’s the one. Turns out the Suns actually went 4-1 on that trip. Don’t believe me? Look it up. But, there was a lot more to that road trip than just the wins. It’s how the team won.
In Miami, the Suns fought through a mediocre first three quarters, and closed it out with a dominating fourth. They finished the final 12 minutes with something we haven’t seen from them before: zone defense. It threw the Heat out of whack, and held them to 23% shooting from the floor in the final quarter. Pretty impressive.
Then it was off was to Boston, where things just got better. The Suns controlled the Celtics from start to finish, taking the lead with 1:23 or so to go in the first, and never looking back. Phoenix once again did it with a strong closing quarter, holding the previously unbeaten Celtics to 20 points in the fourth. It also helped that the Suns dropped 110 on the Celtics — 20 more than Boston had allowed all year.
Next up was a day game in the nation’s capital. This could have easily been a letdown game for the Suns, coming off the huge win in Boston. Instead, the Suns came out and did what they had to do. They struggled some, but played well enough to get the W. Oh, and did I mention they held the Wizards to just 19 points in the final period?
Finally, the trip concluded with a grind-it-out win over the Sixers in Philadelphia. Weird to call it a grind-out win with a final score of 119-115, but that’s what it felt like. The Suns overcame a 16-point deficit, thanks in large part to the play of Jared Dudley, to get the victory. The 21 points and 20 assists from Steve Nash didn’t hurt either.
So, what did the Suns do when they came back home? Just beat the New Orleans Hornets by 20 with a national television audience watching on ESPN. The Suns did so by owning the glass on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, and with an impressive showing from the second unit. Goran Dragic had a near triple double off the bench to lead the reserves. Phoenix also had eight players in double-figure scoring. After the game, Jason Richardson said, “Funny thing is, we haven’t even started to run yet.” I can’t wait to see what this team is like when they start running.
Tonight, the Suns face a huge challenge in the LA Lakers. I know, it’s early in the season, but this is definitely a big game for Phoenix. The Suns have the opportunity to not only prove to the world that they’re much more than an afterthought, but they also have a chance to prove it to themselves. There’s no doubt in my mind that if the Suns continue to play with the effort that they have been, they can take the Lakers.
Suns go green
On Wednesday, US Airways Center was powered by green renewable energy from APS, coinciding with the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo that is in Phoenix this week. The Suns had lots of fun giveaways promoting clean energy, including one entire section winning compact fluorescent light bulbs. Five dollars from every ticket purchased through a promotion of APS went to Luke Air Force Bases’ Live Green Program.
In addition to the promotion of renewable energy, the Suns debuted the Lou Amundson Bike Valet. The bike valet parking is available to ticket holders for $1, and is located on the parking lot at the southwest corner of 3rd and Jefferson streets. The valet is open two hours before tip-off and operates for an hour after the conclusion of the game.
I urge everyone Downtown this week to go out and support all of the excellent initiatives taking place. It’s an exciting time to be in Downtown Phoenix, and it’s the right time to do something about the way you live. We all can make improvements in our lives. This week affords us many opportunities to learn, give, help and teach. Walk, run, bike, skateboard, rollerblade or take the light rail… you have lots of options. Please make the most of it.
The Greenbuild International Conference and Expo is already underway this week, and runs through Friday. Late registration and entry can be pricey to some of the events, but if you have the means, please do stop by. The expo will feature hundreds of exhibits of people and companies doing their part to lessen their impact on the earth. But, there’s so much more to explore. There’s a green-building job fair, forums, roundtables, films, lectures, summits, tours, hikes and more, exploring green initiatives in Phoenix, Arizona and beyond. This is a great opportunity to share ideas and take away some new knowledge.
Coinciding with Greenbuild is the Phoenix Green Streets Festival on Friday and Saturday, November 13-14. Put on by Roosevelt Row, Green Streets will feature vendors and demonstrations of all things green in Phoenix. The festival will take place on Roosevelt Street between 4th and 7th streets from 6-10 p.m. on Friday. There’s all kinds of fun stuff happening all day Saturday, which is the Day for Downtown celebration — tree plantings, demonstrations at the Grow House, visiting with urban chickens and park clean-up events. Plus, there’s sustainability-minded vendors at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market and Urban Grocery and Wine Bar, and many of Downtown Phoenix’s favorite boutiques and shops will be open for urban strolling on the Second Saturday Sidewalk Sale. Check out Phoenix Green Streets page for all the details.
Matt’s Big Breakfast is apparently the breakfast place of choice. All I can say is I haven’t seen this many people crowded around a little house since Pappy died. Dang. You can tell this is a popular place from the get-go. Maybe that is an understatement; I waited for nearly an hour early on a Friday morning. But, this early in the morning, I was only thinking about one thing: food. There was definitely a rumbly in my tumbly.
So, without much hesitation, I settled on the Chop & Chick, a succulent pork-and-egg combo. As I waited for my grub, I realized I was sitting right next to an egg with legs in a recliner. That will mess with your head a little bit. Well, perhaps it will if you are weak with hunger.
Triumphantly, my breakfast entered the room (given the size of the place, I could have probably watched her put it on the plate). Inadvertently, I heard trumpets sound. This breakfast looked glorious. I could barely contain myself. I snapped a few pics to document the occasion, because nothing would remain, and then I dove in. The eggs were fluffy and delicious. The giant pork chop was cooked to perfection. Even if your stomach gets full at this early stage, they plop a large quantity of hashbrowns that are cooked to perfection — buttery middles with browned outsides — and some fantastic buttered toast and jam right beside you. Matt’s is simply not playing around with your hunger. It’s crushing it.
I ate to my heart’s content. All of this was washed down with some of the best orange juice I have ever had.
To say that this was a glorious experience would not be enough. However, to state that I had to roll myself home might be the best act of praise I could give.
Matt’s Big Breakfast is located at 801 N. 1st St. (602.254.1074) — light rail station at Central/Roosevelt.
I work at Arizona State University’s College of Public Programs. We are developing a scholarship to encourage students to explore careers in service, since we are losing nearly three out of every five people working in the government and nonprofit ranks over the next decade. To highlight the need for such a program my boss, Debra Friedman, wrote a little ditty in The Arizona Republic. To underscore the issue, the piece focused on the retirement of longtime Phoenix City Manager Frank Fairbanks. And, being a model 21st century communicator, I posted the editorial’s link to my Facebook and Twitter pages.
The link was reliked, commented on, retweeted, and dugg. But, one particular tweet caught my eye:
@tdhurst has a reputation for being a little contrary from time to time, but (maybe) he had a point this time — Phoenix grew, but was it in a good or sustainable way? I’ve been thinking about that question all weekend, and this is what I’ve come up with: Making Phoenix grow wasn’t Mr. Fairbanks’ job.
Most cities west of the Mississippi have a council/manager form of city government, where the council is made up of elected officials and the manager is appointed by council. Under this system, when a policy is put forth by a majority vote of council, it becomes the job of the manager to budget for, plan for, and execute said policy. And, because the manager reports the council (not the voters), he or she is responsible for carrying out those policies regardless of whether or not the manager believes it is a good use of time or effort. Needless to say, there are times where this can be frustrating for city managers (which means it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that there is an informal monthly meeting of city managers from across the Valley of the Sun called the 4-3 Club).
So, what’s the recipe for a successful manager? Do you remember that Supreme Court case in 1964 when Justice Potter Stewart uttered the now-famous “I know it when I see it” phrase referring to pornography? Well, there is a unspoken rule among managers that the opposite is true of their profession. Said differently, one knows a good city manager when they don’t see them. Fairbanks had four decades of experience with the city of Phoenix, yet I can guarantee that eight out of 10 people have no idea who he is. He ran an organization with nearly 15,000 employees, but stayed out of headlines. The average lifespan for a job as city manager is five years; Fairbanks held the job for 20. Point is, the less you hear about your city manager, the better.
Take, for instance, Scottsdale. There has been quite a hullabaloo over in America’s Most Livable City. Manager John Little was fired last week, and now he’s hiring an attorney to fight the body that cut him loose. The circumstances would take a little more space than I’m allowed to explain, so I’ll whittle it down: They don’t get along. And, don’t forget that Fairbanks’ replacement comes with a little baggage of his own — something that caused Council Mike Johnson enough hesitation to vote against David Cavazos’ appointment.
So, I guess my answer to Tyler comes in two parts:
- Yes, Frank Fairbanks was extremely talented. This summer, Phoenix was named an All-American City, which only added to the portfolio of awards for outstanding management under Fairbanks’ leadership.
- Phoenix grew, but yes, maybe not in the best way. But, it is important to know that it wasn’t Fairbanks’ job to make the decision on the direction of the city, but rather to carry out the decisions made by council. If you or any resident of Phoenix are interested in the sustainable development of Phoenix for the future, get involved in city of Phoenix politics. A great way to start is to call your City Councilman and set up a meeting. Remember, you are their employer.
The sad reality is that local politics are still on the bottom rung of the “paid-attention-to-politically” ladder, but shouldn’t be. Healthcare reform has been grabbing all the headlines lately, but won’t enter into actuality for at least two years even if it passes. In contrast, Phoenix City Council will be voting before the end of the year on measures to encourage adaptive reuse that will have an immediate affect on us Downtown devotees by luring cool businesses, bars and other hot spots into the core of our city.
So, let’s allow our city manager to manage, and hold our elected leadership accountable for the future of Phoenix.