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July 15, 2004

Quality of Life

As a Chandler resident with tongue planted firmly in cheek, I must say I appreciate the city council's efforts to "improve my quality of life."

Infamous councilwoman Donna Wallace has suggested the development of an ordinance that would regulate 24-hour businesses within 300 feet of residential zoning. Not nightclubs (does Chandler even have a single one?) or bars, mind you, but those real troublemakers like drug stores, gas stations, health clubs, and supermarkets. Those middle-of-the-night shoppers and workout addicts sure are rowdy and boisterous!

I've lived close to a 24-hour Walgreens for years now. Across the street from it is a 24-hour Mobil station. South of me is a 24-hour Fry's supermarket. A mile away is a 24-hour Walmart.

Far more impactful on my "quality of life" than those businesses being allowed to operate (I can't even tell they're operating) are the people using my street as a raceway, the noise of the traffic on the major street wafting through the neighborhood, and the fact that helicopters have a tendency to use this neighborhood as a flight path in the middle of the night.

If anything, those 24-hour operations are an improvement to my quality of life. If I need drugs or a thermometer or what-have-you at 2 in the morning, I can get in my car, go the two seconds to Walgreens or Fry's, and get it. When I drive up north or to Tucson, I tend to leave before sunrise to beat traffic. If there's no gas station here, I'll just go fill up in Tempe and their economy can have my sales tax and money.

Old people impact the quality of life more than 24-hour stores, too. There are a ton of old crotchety people in Sun Lakes who think that since they're old and don't have young children anymore, they should vote against every measure to fund the Chandler Unified School District. My undying love to those of you in Sun Lakes who do vote for CUSD dollars, but you've got some cold-hearted neighbors. Especially the ones who write in to the Chandler Independent every week complaining like first-graders. "Phase III used my Phase I facilities with asking! Take away their Dobson Gate privileges! I hope Hospice comes for them tomorrow!" And yet nobody's introducing legislation to cut Sun Lakes loose from Chandler.

If you want to milk more money out of businesses in Chandler, just increase the cost of the damn business license. Don't go around inventing bullshit like this: this plan seems nothing more than legislation in search of a problem. In fact, it may well drive some businesses (and their associated customers) to another city. Like I said earlier, if I have to drive to Tempe to do what I need to, so be it. It's only 5 or 10 minutes away.

For Wallace and Director of Planning Doug Ballard, the magic hours of quality of life ruinment are apparently midnight to 6am. Nevermind the fact that most people are asleep during those hours and won't even realize there's 24 hour retail going on around them. The people who are actually awake may well make use of those horrible businesses that are open at that "unseemly" hour.

If you really want to increase the quality of life, change building regulations so apartment and home builders stop building right off major roads. The apartment complex near Walmart gets more noise and light from the cars and semis passing by on Warner Road than the handful of people who stop into Walmart to buy worms or ice or a pack of smokes.

If you really want to increase the quality of life, slow down home builders who are paving over every inch of dirt we have left in this city. Require builders building near established farms to have all buyers sign a waiver regarding the farm. Numerous farming operations have closed down in past years after Shea and their ilk threw up $200,000 homes and the rich-bitch suburbanites complained about that awful smell so much the farmers finally packed up and left. (Honey, you ain't smelled nothing. I used to play in the pig sty at my grandparents' farm.) We're not only running out farmers, who contribute to the economy and put food on our tables, but if this keeps going there won't be any green left in Chandler (and frankly, this is a statewide problem -- but think locally, and all that rot).

If you really want to increase the quality of life, stop making Chandler's schools all about sports. Our children need a rounded education, not new sports jerseys every six months. They need newer computers, newer books, and properly-funded core classes. They need art classes where everything isn't coming out of the teacher's pocket. Figure out a way to stop your best teachers from leaving for greener pastures, and if you can't, stop replacing them with crappy ones who happen to be good sports coaches. Sports should only be one piece of the whole puzzle, not the largest piece.

If you really want to increase the quality of life, stop letting companies erect new buildings on open fields when there are vacant spaces the size they want or larger all over the city. There are entire strip malls that are empty, yet companies are paving over perfectly good dirt. All this talk of "land reclamation" is nice, but try putting it into practice.

Posted by Colin at July 15, 2004 2:11 PM

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