Tucson Localism: The Best & Worst of 2013

January 2, 2014 |
A Raging Sage Coffee Roasters' patron enjoys a coffee while reading a newspaper. photo: Miguel Ortega

A Raging Sage Coffee Roasters’ patron enjoys a coffee while reading a newspaper.
photo: Miguel Ortega

The holidays are over. Maybe your face still hurts from smiling so much and your gifts sucked. Or maybe everything went perfectly for you. Weirdo.

But, hey, it’s 2014, we survived, and we still live in this awesomeness we call Tucson. The only thing left to do now is to look back at the best and worst of 2013:

Best Localist: Deanna Chevas, former Tucson Membership Coordinator, Local First Arizona. Who doesn’t love Deanna? For almost two years she was the face of the localism movement here in Tucson. She is a passionate and articulate localism advocate and we will miss her.

Worst Presidential Brain Freeze: Obama gives speech on his job creation program and the economy at an Amazon warehouse. Yes, he did exactly that. Who is advising this guy? That is like giving a speech on justice for chickens at KFC headquarters.
Best Young Entrepreneur: Israel Zavala, owner of The Underestimated City. First, this guy opens up his Tucson-centric street wear shop downtown while he and his brother were on unemployment. Then, according to Zevala, streetcar construction and a lack of help from City Hall forced them to shut down. Somehow TCU pops up again on 4th Avenue.  Zevala’s localism marketing – using “TUC” as their store acronym – is just pure genius. Look for big things to come from this guy. Israel is the kind of young talent we want to grow and keep here in La Tusa.
Worst Economic Development Idea: Tucson Mayor & Council proposal to sell El Rio public land to the private Grand Canyon University. If the City would have succeeded, it would have been the first major sale of an active, recreational, public park to a for-profit, out-of-town company. And oh what a sweetheart deal the City of Tucson was offering GCU: the kind of assistance mom and pops can only dream of.

Best Sports Team: The # 1 Wild Cats. When they win, local restaurants & bars are full. Period.

Worst Branding of Tucson Idea: Dropping Tucson’s “Old Pueblo” nickname. First, how exactly do you even do that? Second, dumb ideas from newcomers to Tucson should only be made after at least three years of residency.

Miguel Ortega is an independent business development consultant. His radio program, “Locally Owned with Miguel Ortega”, airs on KVOI 1030AM every Saturday at 11 a.m. You can also listen to his radio columns on KXCI 91.3FM and follow his blog at LocallyOwnedAZ.com.


Category: Community