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Bird on FireLessons from the World's Least Sustainable City$
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Andrew Ross

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199828265

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199828265.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 October 2021

Viva Los Suns

Viva Los Suns

(p.185) Chapter 6 Viva Los Suns
Bird on Fire

Andrew Ross

Oxford University Press

In other Southwestern cities, like Tucson, El Paso, and Albuquerque, with Mexican urban cores that preexisted Anglo settlement, a cultural, if not political, condominium of power sharing had evolved over time. Phoenix was a more straightforward product of Anglo America. Notwithstanding that Trinidad Mejia Escalante, the wife of the founding father, Jack Swilling, was Mexican, the city’s origin myth was one of Anglos re-creating a city on top of Hohokam remnants, and it was reinforced by a strong presence of Mormon settlers in the East Valley, with their own version of white pioneerism. Anglo dominance was unquestioned for at least a century. As an early twentieth-century promoter put it, Phoenix was “a modern town of 40,000 people, and the best kind of people too. A very small percentage of Mexicans, negroes, or foreigners.” For sure, the public drama and energy of the civil rights era ushered some nonwhite politicians into high office—Raul Castro became governor and Alfredo Gutierrez senate majority leader in the late 1970s. But it was only in recent years that Anglo ascendancy had been challenged by the mercurial growth of the Latino population (according to the 2010 U.S. census, 30.8 percent of the state, 31.8 percent of Maricopa County, and 34.1 percent of Phoenix itself, all numbers that had more than doubled since 1990), spreading well beyond the traditional barrio districts where its political representatives had been contained. Anxiety about the decline of demographic and political dominance was a new wrinkle in the ongoing debate about population growth that Phoenix had long hosted. Historically, most of the anxiety about growth was founded, with good reason, on fears that water supplies would not be adequate for the rapidly expanding urban needs. Concerns about the deterioration of air quality, wilderness loss, and the overall environmental impact of urban sprawl had sharpened the anxiety over time. But the influx of Mexican immigrants from the south after the passage of NAFTA changed its tenor. Metro Phoenix had only 86,593 foreign-born residents in 1980, and by 2005, 612,850 were foreign-born, most of them from Mexico.

Keywords:   Barrio Defense Communities, Carrying Capacity Networks, Defenders of Wildlife, Pioneer Fund, antiunion laws, carbon calculus, coyotes, eugenics, migrants, protected lands, race and racism, reform organizations, sanctuary cities, wildlife refuges

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