Friday, January 25, 2002

For a first day in South Phoenix our professor assembles us at the Ecological Center for a tour and then a brief lecture on what to look for when driving around.  Dr. K points out that there is an ongoing effort to erase South Phoenix as it is -- a gentrification of sorts.  She asks us to keep our eyes open for the “best of” the south side.  After the tour my waned interest in hiking has been renewed.  I am anxious to come back and do some of the trails with my son.  I would like to think that I am embarking on this adventure in South Phoenix with unbiased eyes.  And I believe that I have.  I even think that I would like to live here…there seems to be a sense of community.   

Sunday, January 27, 2002

I took my son hiking to South Mountain Park today.  We hiked to Natural Tunnel, which I had never heard of until my visit to the Ecological Center on Friday.  We talked to many people on the trail.  We saw joggers, hikers, mountain bikers and one kamakazi biker (so called because he was on a downhill mission that meant barely missing a hiker was a rush).   After our 4 mile hike we went to lunch at El Mesquite on Baseline just east of Central Avenue.  I had eaten there on Friday and thought the food was great.  After lunch we went on a horseback ride.  When we got back I talked with one of the ‘wranglers’ about how she felt about the growth.  Her reply was just as I would have expected it to be:  the growth is good for business, but the small town feel, or ambiance, is fading.

On a final note for today, as I hiked I noticed a little graffiti here and there and I wondered how this graffiti is different from petroglyphs painted on the rocks thousands of years ago?


Friday, February 1, 2002

Put a bit of roofing on a house today for Habitat for Humanity.  It was very rewarding.  Took a tour of the South Ranch Community in which every house has been built by volunteers. Listened to informative discussions by representatives of Habitat covering topics from qualifications to the Home Owner's Association.  Overall, it was a very educational day.  


Friday, February 8, 2002

Met at the Park today.  Our speaker was Ronnie Snodgrass from the Phoenix Police Department.  He spoke about his 31 years of experience working in the South Phoenix area.  I thought he was very informative, but maybe a little biased.  He said that once it gets dark in South Phoenix....things change.  I wonder, couldn't one say that about any place in the city?  Perhaps he thinks South Phoenix is so bad because he specializes in finding the bad and eliminating it.  Mr. Snodgrass recommended going to the Phoenix Police Department website to check the crime status of individual neighborhoods.  By doing this one could determine how much crime is committed in the area one may want to move.

Our next speaker was Karen Williams of the Rio Salado Project.  Karen discussed the benefits to the community and to Phoenix.  Somehow I feel that the city is doing this for the city and not the community.  After all, in one of our readings I think I recall some old timer saying that Phoenix was built for and ran by Anglos for the betterment of Anglos.  Seems to still be the case.

Friday, February 22, 2002

Reflecting on the last four weeks of field work in South Phoenix I realize it is a place to go, not to fear.  As for the "best of" South Phoenix?  The people. 


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