On the previous page I told you about five things that I like about living in the Greater Phoenix area, but not everything is rosy in the Valley of the Sun. Here are five things that I don't like about living in Phoenix.
Five Things I Hate About Greater Phoenix
- I hate that other people have discovered this place. Our phenomenal growth over the past 30 years is a testament to the fact that people want to come here. Yes, when people lose their jobs or get divorced, why not pick a spot that's sunny all the time? That philosophy has led to quite a transient population; they get here and find out that they aren't any happier or more employable than where they came from. And yes, it's hot. Often they come with no job and no savings, so they can only afford to live in crummy, unsafe neighborhoods. They gripe about what a hell-hole it is here, but they often can't afford to leave. On that same theme, net growth remains very high. Many more people stay than go. People who get fed up with home prices in Los Angeles and Seattle, for instance, (and who no longer want to contend with earthquakes and rain) find that they can improve their cost of living here. Our unbridled population growth inevitably brings problems in supporting it from an infrastructure perspective.
- I hate that our education system is failing so many of our youth. People are always throwing around that statistic from a few years ago about how Arizona is ranked at or near the bottom of states for education. That ranking really had to do with funding, and over the past 30 years I haven't seen that throwing more money at our education system has helped. I wish I had the answer, but I don't.
- Sprawl. I don't know how we prevent it. All that population growth has to go somewhere. I nearly have to pack a bag to visit relatives on the other side of the Valley. I do a lot of driving around town, and a 40 mile one-way trip isn't unusual for me. People who have long commutes during rush hour, which is basically from 6 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., suffer.
- A drug store, office supply store, pet supply store, grocery store, auto parts store, beauty supply store, fast food place on every third corner. Our neighborhoods seem so formula driven. Subdivisions often lack variety, creativity, originality, and beauty.
- I hate the old, tired 'west side of town vs. east side of town' debate. It isn't as bad as it used it be, but let's just get over it. You east-siders aren't smarter or better looking because you live east of Central, and you west-siders need to get the chip off your shoulders about defending the west side of central. The west side of town has some very nice, residential, affordable neighborhoods. The reality of the situation is that until the west side of town can attract more and better restaurants, night life, resorts and attractions -- like the City of Glendale has made an effort to do -- the east side of town will be the preferred location for higher income residents, and, maybe more importantly, tourists.
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