Residents pitch southwest Mesa Cubs facility - East Valley Tribune: News

Residents pitch southwest Mesa Cubs facility

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Posted: Tuesday, September 22, 2009 8:45 pm | Updated: 2:04 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Mayor touted his plans for Mesa and answered the questions of residents at a town-hall-like meeting Tuesday night at La Casita Community Center in Dobson Ranch.

What do a major league baseball team, a legitimate massage parlor, and property taxes have in common with the future of Mesa?

If Mayor Scott Smith has his druthers, they could all have a home on a new foundation he's forming for the city.

Smith touted his plans and answered the questions of residents at a town-hall-like meeting Tuesday night at La Casita Community Center in Dobson Ranch. It was the third and final such meeting in what was billed as the Mayor's Summer Series - albeit the first day of fall.

Before the meeting, the mayor paused to reflect on a recent tragedy that befell the community.

"Two fine young men along with their mother had their lives snuffed out," he told the three dozen or so people gathered. "It weighs on everyone's mind."

The mayor was referring to what police have described as a shocking murder-suicide, in which the boys were shot and killed inside their home by their mother late Saturday night.

Residents at Tuesday's meeting were mostly silent as the mayor expressed his sadness over the event. Some crafted questions on forms to be submitted during the questions and answers portion of the meeting.

One such question was directed at talks of building a new training facility and stadium for the Chicago Cubs to keep the team in Mesa:

"Where in southwest Mesa is the city going to build a new stadium for the Cubs - with an emphasis on southwest?" Smith read from the question form, taking the time to chuckle at the emphasis on the region in the city.

Smith said there were many prime places in the city for the new facility, but stopped short of specifics.

"The Cactus League is big business; the Cubs are king in the Cactus League; they bring $100 million into our community a year," Smith said. "To have them go elsewhere ... It would be a major setback."

Smith said the city was prepared "to do what it has to to keep the team here."

One resident raised the question on a form of giving property taxes a go, again, after the idea was shot down several years back.

The mayor said he supported raising the issue to voters again, especially in the wake of library and transportation cuts, which he said affect the lives of residents across the city.

Perhaps the most pervasive question of the night, however, was one of where to and where not to get a massage.

Residents at the meeting questioned the mayor why no less than 20 massage parlors had to be located within their enclave.

Smith pointed to actions from years past.

The mayor said the city had tough regulations against massage parlors before 2004, when the state created regulations, which the city in turn adopted. He said Mesa gutted its regulations, while other cities kept some of theirs.

"Mesa did lower its standards," Smith admitted of the changes that took place long before his time in office. He said it opened the floodgates for illegitimate massage parlors to exist with legitimate operations.

Smith said his hope was to stanch the flow through exploring new regulations in time.

"Businesses like that are like water," he said of unsavory massage parlors. "They run to the lowest point."

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