Fenger Pointing
The view from the top

By Becky Fenger | May 14, 2008 | Vol. 14 No. 20

I took a drive late yesterday afternoon. It was a lovely drive, going north on 56th Street in Phoenix to East Valle Vista Road and looping down to North Arcadia Drive. The view at the zenith of Valle Vista is stunning and overlooks Phoenix from the south side of Camelback Mountain. Homeowners who live there know they are blessed. They are also cursed.

The fight is on between the Valle Vista Homeowners Association and the Phoenix City Council to gate the road. The request was denied on April 23, but is being reconsidered on May 28. I predict the homeowners will lose. Their councilman, Greg Stanton, is opposed to gating an established community that he rightly calls “a gem of an area.” In the district form of city government, the other councilmen usually follow the lead of the district’s representative.

The City of Phoenix says it wants to increase pedestrian use and preserve views and open space for its citizens. What Hearing Officer Roy Nourse fails to recognize is that many of those using the paths are up to no good, especially after the sun sets.

I side with the homeowners who are concerned for the safety of their neighborhood as opposed to Valley residents who claim it is their right to always have access to the panoramic views afforded by driving or walking to the top of the street. Living at the bottom of a mountain that leads to another beautiful view for 32 years, I can relate to their concerns. Many of the incidents would be comical if they weren’t also dangerous and pitiful.

Joyriders seldom see the posted speed limit signs, especially youth who regard prudent speeds as meant only for the older generations, racing around curves like Indy drivers.
Cyclists train on the incline, and you would be amazed at the force at which they can hurl themselves downhill.

I don’t know whether the detritus from the partiers or the lovers is worse. It is a mystery to me why it is so much fun to smash beer bottles on the rocks when leaving. A neighbor and I tried to keep up with the trash, but the yuck factor got to us. It puzzled us why drinkers would leave full bottles of beer on our front yards until we realized the bottles had been refilled with booze coming out the other end. Yet that wasn’t as bad as all the syringes that were strewn across our property. I guess even drug addicts like to get high with a view. But the funniest was when my friend used a megaphone to shout out her window when she saw a couple making love on top of her large cement mailbox! That’s a special delivery she didn’t need.

Prom times are the worst. Caravans of teenagers group at the top, and the noise doesn’t stop until the sun drives them off. Yes, the hills are alive with the sound of music. At least the panties left behind at this time of year are lacier and in pretty Easter egg colors.

One year there was a loud crash about 5 a.m. We rushed to the end of the driveway to find a young gal staggering from her car that had sailed off the road, through our block wall and came to rest in our neighbor’s tree. What came out her mouth next will remain one of the greatest lines I have ever heard. “Could I borrow a jack,” she mumbled. “I seem to have a flat tire.” Her daddy’s car was totaled!