Tommy Espinoza makes the most of things, whether it’s investing capital or seizing moments. The Valley is better for it.
The Arizona native packed a lot into the five minutes he had Friday to wrap up the big announcement that Raza Development Fund and LISC Phoenix boosted their equal partnership in the Sustainable Communities Transit-Oriented Development Fund by $30 million. In 2011, the partnership put an initial $20 million into the transit-oriented development fund.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and other dignitaries were on hand to hear Espinoza, president and CEO of Raza Development Fund, speak from the heart about Phoenix, the Latino community and low-income families. He was on point when he said, “Community development is about building up families, not building up buildings.” His riff on social, business and political leadership included a play on the highly charged words “anchor babies.” (Yep, he went there.)
I’m sure fine speeches were delivered Saturday at the opening of the light-rail extension in to downtown Mesa. But the candid, cute comments Mesa Mayor John Giles gave Friday at the announcement that LISC Phoenix and Raza Development Fund will add $30 million dollars to a transit-oriented development fund for projects along the Valley Metro light-rail route are worth sharing for their insights about downtown Mesa’s history and the success of light rail.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton also delivered remarks at the announcement, which kicked off a flurry of transit-related activities in the Valley over a few days. The three-mile extension of light-rail through downtown Mesa opened Saturday. On Tuesday, Phoenix voters will decide the fate of the Proposition 104 transit tax, which in part, expands the light-rail system.
“I’m very excited to be in Arizona because it’s where strong women can get things done.”
I like this partial quote from The Arizona Republic’s Q&A with Sheila Healy, the new executive director of the Arizona Democratic Party. It’s true. Women always have had a strong showing in Arizona politics.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx will join leaders of Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa for an announcement today about LISC Phoenix and Raza Development Fund adding $30 million to a pool of transit-oriented development investment money.
In 2011, LISC Phoenix and Raza Development Fund created a $20 million transit-oriented investment fund to that has helped create more than 2,000 units of affordable housing and 205,000 square feet of retail and community space. The fund leveraged $387 million in total investment activity. The additional $30 million in the investment fund will build on that success.
Some of the projects built with support of the fund include The Newton commercial project near Central Avenue and Camelback Road in Phoenix, the Gracie’s Village mixed-used development in Tempe and the Encore mid-rise senior housingproject in downtown Mesa.
Secretary Foxx’s visit comes the day before the opening of the Metro light-rail extension in downtown Mesa and four days before Phoenix voters decide the fate of the Proposition 104 transit tax.
I grew up 15 years ago today, the final day of watching Dad die. Until then, I was just going through the motions of adulthood.
Death made life real. It shook up my thinking about what I thought was important and worth chasing. Clarity of purpose brought calmness and strength.
Losing Dad hurt like nothing I experienced before or after. But 15 years later, I know that one of the greatest gifts from that experience was losing my fear of death. Life is easier when you’re not afraid to die.
Below is a Thanksgiving column I wrote about Dad in 2000, when I was still struggling to fully understand what losing him meant to my family. I’m still figuring that out.
Briana, a best friend of my daughter, is a first responder. She is a freshly minted teacher beginning her first professional year of school. She’s running toward a crisis. It’s not a burning building; it’s Arizona’s public education system.
Teachers have left Arizona classrooms in droves, causing a critical shortage of educators. Rare is the school district that begins this academic year with a full complement of certified teachers. Many meet classroom needs with long-term substitute teachers.