Tag: Mesa Arizona

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We are enjoying a few days of cooler weather, with grey skies occasionally lowering to gently rain on the desert floor. In the high country, north and south of the Valley of the Sun, the mountains have a fresh coat of snow. All of this is carried to us on the desert winds.  Arizona is […]

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Mesa, Arizona, has long been slightly small business hostile, with thickets of ordinances and regulations slowing business openings. Yet, they, and Lord Governor Ducey, seem to have sensed a limit to the local citizenry’s acceptance of the heavy hand of government. That, or they see the economic rocks towards which the ship of state is […]

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Thanks to Mesa and the East Valley Veterans Parade Association


solo flightThe East Valley Veterans Parade Association and the City of Mesa refused to fail, honoring our veterans with a great parade, 11 November 2020. It was a reverse parade this year, with the parade entries positioned along a half-mile stretch of Center Street, in the northbound lane. Mesa Police Department controlled the whole area and controlled the release of cars out of several public parking staging areas at the top of the parade route. It took from 11:00 am, when the first car entered the parade route, until 2:50 pm, when the last vehicle exited the parade route, for all the cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks to drive the parade. Join me for a pictorial review of the parade, with a few remarks to keep us on the parade route.

Many of the parade audience became parade participants, as they decorated their vehicles with flags, streamers, and hand painted banners thanking veterans. There were enough kids and dogs to overcome any cute emergency. There was even a World War II veteran riding in the passenger seat of his son or grandson’s car, just there to see the parade and be part of the event.

Model A

Thanks for RAF Cadet Memorial Service, 8 November 2020


I was very pleasantly surprised Sunday morning in Mesa, AZ. The Royal Air Force Cadet memorial service was held as it has been for the past three decades or so at the Mesa Cemetery. I bore witness to this as I feared it would be another remembrance cast aside on the pyre of our fearful reaction to a middling pandemic. Not so. While people wore the city council mandated face masks, the mayor of Mesa was there to speak, as he had in the preceding years. This annual memorial service is held the Sunday before Remembrance Day, our Veterans Day, and calls to mind the special relationship between our two countries and the service and sacrifice of those who have served.

The air filled with the sound of bagpipes and bugles blew clear and true. Prayers, poems, and remembrances were offered. The roll of the honored dead was read. Mayor Giles spoke brief and appropriate words, as did the honorary British consul for Arizona. I thought the best remarks were offered by the young Royal Air Force officer, on assignment at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma. More on that in a bit, but first the event in pictures:

Governor Ducey, Stop the Petty Tyrants


Republican governors have been successfully panicked into letting the same local thugs, who reveled in the powers granted to them during the Great Lockdown, now order American citizens to cover their faces, some with as much legal force as the Saudi religious police. Governor Abbott of Texas at least had the wisdom to forbid any criminal penalties under this exercise in bodily control over every free person. Governor Doug Ducey has not been so bright, and so will rightly accrue state-wide blame against the Republican Party. He must immediately amend his latest executive order, number 2020-40, to prohibit anything more than a parking ticket sort of civil penalty for mask non-compliance.

Mesa, Arizona, is muddling through a middle route, requiring masks in most public indoor settings but not while eating or drinking. They will levy civil fines for persistent non-compliance, limited to $50, following Maricopa County.

Mesa issued its mask order Monday, June 22. It was published as a non-text enabled PDF image file. The city council notably exempted schools, a sane decision. Their order really amounts to requiring mask use in interacting with people indoors. Exceptions include working out in a gym or swimming, as well as sitting at a bar or a restaurant table when served food or drink. There are medical and religious exemptions that may be invoked without challenge.

View from a Desert Southwest Street


Sitting outside in sunny downtown Mesa, Arizona. I’m following doctor’s orders, getting a ration of sunshine for Vitamin D. So, I sip an iced coffee from Jarrod’s Tea, Coffee, and Gallery.

The Mesa Brew Fest was cancelled, but lots of people are walking and sitting outdoors drinking in each establishment’s designated drinking area, patio, beer garden. Inside, people from teens to 70ish, I estimate, are filling Jarrod’s with needed business. You see, he just knocked a hole in one wall and doubled his floor space. So, he is doing the small business high wire act in a historically tough for business downtown.

Remembering the Murder of a Convenience Store Clerk


One year ago, around midnight, as Saturday turned into Sunday the 16th of December, 2018, a gunman entered a small independent convenience store. The space inside is tight, very close quarters, and the clerk decided to fight for his life and his co-workers, instead of accepting whatever fate the thug decided. The clerk, Jose Alcaraz-Hernandez, lost his life, and a co-worker was seriously wounded. The crime has not been solved in the year since that night.

The large group of prayer candles and flowers gave way in fairly short order to a permanent wooden cross. The hand-painted cross outside the store tells us that Jose Hernandez was born November 18, 1964, and was killed on December 16, 2018. From a photograph put up in the first days, we know him to have been a grandfather. We know nothing of the killer. If the police know more, they are not saying so to the public.

Visiting the site on the anniversary evening of this crime, the memorial was little changed. A few flat stones, for candles, and rounded stones to keep the cross upright in the dirt, were added. Two candles had been blown out by the wind. Perhaps someday the killer will be found in this world. Of a certainty, there is one Judge who saw, who sees, and who will give justice in the end.

RAF Cadet Memorial Service: 10 November 2019 [Updated Photos]


The town of Mesa, Arizona, hosted the annual Royal Air Force Cadet memorial service at 1045, Sunday 10 November 2019 in the center of the Mesa Cemetery. There 23 cadets died far from home, learning to fly before going to Canada to train in their warbirds.

The Caledonian Society of Arizona provided the bagpipes. The Commemorative Air Force of Arizona conducted flyovers in the basic (Stearman biplanes) and advanced trainers (T-6) used in World War II. A firing detail of seven American Legion members rendered a 21-gun salute in three volleys. British Last Post was played, on a British military bugle, followed by the U.S. version on U.S. military standard bugle. A Boy Scout troop handed out programs, British standard poppies (much larger and sturdier than the VFW “Buddy Poppy”), and cups of water (the temperature under mostly sunny skies heading into the 80s.

Wheels of Justice Spinning?


In mid-December, I wrote about the murder of a convenience store clerk in “Drug Dealing: Not a Victimless Crime.” In that piece, you saw the rapid response of a makeshift shrine, with many prayer candles burning. Now, that temporary shrine is replaced with a permanent cross, lit by two prayer candles at all times.

The cross confirms the sparse details given in a follow-up KTAR news story, shortly after the murderous attack, or robbery attempt:

Jose Alcarez-Hernandez, 54, died in the shooting that police said may have been the result of a robbery gone bad.

The East Valley Loves a Parade: Martin Luther King Jr. Parade


Monday, 21 January 2019, was a bright day for the Valley of the Sun. The East Valley Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade and Festival, hosted by the City of Mesa, was well attended and had enough parade entries to last over an hour. Both the crowd lining the parade route, and those marching, broadly reflected the East Valley community.

Parade Organization:

Unlike the Veterans’ Day parade, where a non-profit group has had primary responsibility for organization and funding over the years, The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade was a public-private partnership event. The City of Mesa takes lead responsibility:

Veterans’ Day in Mesa, AZ: Bigger and Better


For decades, the Phoenix Veterans’ Day parade dominated the state, and certainly the Valley of the Sun. While Mesa has always hosted a parade, it has been much smaller, and less spectacular. This year’s East Valley Veterans Parade was bigger, better, and showed signs of truly being the East Valley Veterans Parade, hosted by Mesa.

Mesa Mayor John Giles and the city council participated, as always, but this year they were joined by Mayor Jenn Daniels and the town council of Gilbert. As the Mesa Police Department led the parade, with a line of motorcycle officers, and a marching unit, the Gilbert Police Department countered with a restomodded heavy Chevy.

Remembrance of RAF Cadets in Arizona? Yes, and Therein Lies a Tale


Three Veterans’ Days ago, I attended the East Valley Veterans Parade in Mesa, AZ. After the parade, I walked over to a restaurant for a bite to eat. In walked a spry elderly gentleman, who sat down across the bar from me. He had a small lapel pin, a twin blade propellor, telling me he was an aviator. So I asked. He had flown from England, as he had for many years, to honor his fallen mates from pilot training.

For obvious reasons, Britain was not a safe place, to learn to fly, during most of World War II. So, the United States agreed to set up three airfields, with support facilities, for the RAF. That is how Mesa got Falcon Field, which is very much in use today.

Conservative Urbanism


shutterstock_153379958Over at Politico, Ethan Epstein of the Weekly Standard writes that Mesa, Arizona may be the model for conservative urbanism:

While it’s willing to make investments, Mesa is also lean in ways that more bloated liberal cities can’t boast. Take the City Council. Despite Mesa’s hefty population, council members are part-timers who have day jobs in fields from education to copper mining. City leaders also pay themselves considerably less than those in other cities do. Mesa City Council members make only $33,000 a year, and the mayor is paid only $73,000. (And those salaries represent the fruits of a big raise: Before last year, city councilmembers made less than $20,000 a year and the mayor earned only $36,000.)