Our Hero

The most powerful man in Phoenix explains why he's just a regular guy

So we will just have to see. Mullen cites significant retail and housing projects going in downtown--perhaps most interestingly, loft-style condominiums planned for Buchanan Street by local Tom Pacione, who describes himself as an "entrepreneur type, okay?", and who is emphatic that he wouldn't have considered his project except for the stadium. His proposed lofts sound like just the sort of big-city urban living experience that city boosters have long hoped for.

Even Zimbalist concedes that, while stadiums only recirculate dollars, they can improve a downtown if further development follows.

And maybe that concern isn't most essential today, as the ballpark prepares to open. Many Phoenicians are in the clutches of Diamondbacks fever. They have their team and their official hats and balls and tee shirts. They crowd into the ballpark for a preview whenever it is open to the public. Although the odious sales tax is not forgotten, it is certainly fading.

"The money will keep popping up whenever any little problem happens at the stadium," predicts Montini. "It will be drowned out for a while, but it will keep popping up and be annoying, like a mild chronic skin infection, but not really threatening."

Perhaps it will truly be as Colangelo always dreamed it.

That's Rich
Colangelo is asked, Are the built-ins in your office mahogany? Are the rugs Oriental?

"Why does everyone write about the furniture in my office and the kind of suits I wear?" he asks. "I want to be remembered for who I am, not what I am. I would not like to be known as one who had all this success. But if that is mentioned, I want it to be emphasized that I was an honorable person who was a good husband and family man, and member of his community who wanted to bring as much positive attention to his community as he could."

But your wealth--your office, your suits--is part of who you are.
Also, I want to thank you for giving me all this time. I want to thank you up-front, because you won't like the article.

"Why not?"
You said at the outset that you wanted something fair. It's my intention to be fair. But I have come to know you well enough to understand that what I consider fair, you will not.

"What are you going to say?"
That your standards for how others should perceive you is impossibly high. That you want them to see you as you see yourself, and that perception won't happen between someone with your resources and the guy in the street who's worried about his kid's doctor bills.

"Those are the people who you would like to get one-on-one and say, 'I know what you are going through. Because I have been there.'"

That isn't going to change anyone's mind. You will still be seen as a rich guy. You are a rich guy.

And you can't get one-on-one with everyone.
You expect too much.
He asks, as though he isn't sure and as though it is a knowable thing: "Does that make me a bad man?"

No. Just a man who will know a lot of disappointment and frustration.
He considers a moment. He says without ambivalence:
"If given a choice of being disappointed and frustrated or being thick-skinned or oblivious, I choose the former. Because if I ever accepted the latter, it would be a real inconsistency in my life, to be hard and cold. If that is the way I have to deal with life because there are people who say, 'He's a rich guy,' then I will continue saying until it is over: If they ever got to know me personally, they would have a different impression."

Contact Deborah Laake at her online address: dlaake@newtimes.com

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