Las Vegas Sun

October 23, 2014

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ASU president makes a difference

Sun Expanded Coverage

(The Sun has gone on the road to listen to voters and talk to political leaders around the West. Reporters will examine the economic, cultural and demographic forces re-shaping the region as they drive to Denver for the first of the two major party conventions the Sun will cover.)

TUCSON — ASU president Michael Crow is a controversial figure here, but for whatever people think of him, there’s no question he’s hard-charging and dynamic.

He had been a vice-provost at Columbia before coming here.

Read this New York Times story on him about ASU becoming one of the largest universities in the U.S.

I’m told he successfully lobbied the Republican state legislature and the city of Phoenix to give him hundreds of millions of dollars more than what anyone thought was possible. (Imagine!)

Here’s one situation he seems to have manipulated perfectly: Phoenix built a light rail line which is about to come online. It’s a big deal here. Crow built some ASU buildings downtown. The main campus is in Tempe, and that’s where the light rail line goes. So, by building downtown, he helped the city by guaranteeing ridership. That ridership will lead to more commercial and residential development (eventually, once the slowdown is finished) downtown. The city will be grateful, and give Crow more money. See how this works?

No doubt the Nevada Legislature will learn the lessons of Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta and Phoenix while considering the increasing costs of a petrol-dependent transit system, and deliberate on mass transit options during the next session. Right.

And no doubt UNLV and the city of Las Vegas will work together like Crow and Phoenix. Right.

NOTE: LAS CRUCES -- Yeah, we spelled Tucson wrong in the dateline in a couple posts; unfortunately our fine editors aren't in the field with us and so didn't learn the trick to spelling it, (say "TUCK-SON.") We forgive them, and you should too. As for ASU being in Tempe. Yes, of course it is, and of course we know that. The post was datelined TUCSON because that's where we were filing from. When we said the president of ASU is controversial "here," we meant in Arizona. And indeed he is controversial in Arizona. OK, return to your Saturday evening activities.

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