BLOGIN SLOGIN

DOWNTOWN TUCSON : SANITIZED FOR YOUR PROTECTION




I love the idea of creating a vibrant and vital Downtown Tucson.

But lately it is becoming clear some sort of schizophrenic planning madness has taken hold of the powers that be.

If you want the tour of Downtown Tucson you can now ride a
trolley imported from Japan past a giant moai everyone mistakenly calls a tikki, under an architecturally uninspired and utilitarian overpass, to a city center where historic buildings are routinely torn down in the name of preserving history.
 
Now don't get me wrong. 

The historic trolley and the semi-historic moai are first rate.
 

As  a fan of 
Hayao Miyazaki , having these attractions in the heart of a desert city is wonderfully surreal. 

It's cultural and aesthetic funk. 

And to my mind funk is good.
 
But the other stuff, like the bland underpass and the blatant disregard for authentic Tucson history makes me wonder if downtown is not on the verge of becoming a vision of
Disney Land on brown acid.

Will what is left of Downtown Tucson remain
authentic or will it become an "incredible simulation?"

The jury is out on that one, but one thing is certain: Tucson will never sound the same.

Recently the city embarked on plans to expunge a cornerstone of Tucson's endangered 
sound ecology  with a ban on train whistles.

After more than 100 years the sound of a train whistle is suddenly
unpleasant.
 
Is it the role of government to legislate what sounds we should listen to?

Perhaps.

There is an extensive history of sound ghettoization, favoring some as pleasing and others as noise.

However, if train whistles are such a serious issue they need to be banned, then I can't help and wonder why the city government thinks the sound of military aircraft roaring over residential neighborhoods, school playgrounds and parks is acceptable?

(Hint:
Military money equals big economic driver in Tucson).

If no-whistle zones are implemented, what other sounds will the government come after next?

Certainly not the sound of historic buildings being torn down.

To the city, destruction is apparently a pleasant sound, like the ringing of cash register bells.

The other day I watched a video of
the historic Santa Rita Hotel being torn down.

Usually when a historic building like the Santa Rita is demolished, it is done with affection and respect for the many memories the building represents to the community.
 
A bit of healing, a blaze of glory and all that.

Not so with the Santa Rita.

Instead the historic building was brutishly rammed over and over by oddly phallic looking battering devices as a nearby truck spewed copious amounts of lube upon the debris.



If ever there was a symbol of Downtown Tucson history getting fucked,
the Santa Rita demolition was certainly it.

As I mentioned earlier, I love Tucson.

But for my money: Keep the trains, ban the bland, and embrace the funk.