Devil’s Advocate: Looking back at spring 2018


From rent growth to tragedy in the Roosevelt Neighborhood, downtown Phoenix has had a busy few months, and Downtown Devil has been there to bring the community hyperlocal news that matters.

Downtown Devil has had a great year, and before we take a break for the summer, as many of our staff members scatter around the country, it’s worth looking back at some of the top stories that impacted downtown Phoenix these past few months.

As editor-in-chief, I’ve been especially proud of the coverage our staff and contributors provided this past semester, and look forward to the deep hyper local stories they will continue to bring in fall as we return to regular coverage.

As a goodbye, see you later, here’s a look back at some of the top stories of the semester.

Arts and Entertainment:

Adult Puppet Theater grows in popularity in Phoenix

Audio editor Keerthi Vendantam goes behind the scenes of the adult puppet community in this piece, looking at the ins and outs of this imaginative part of downtown Phoenix. This piece captures the quirky fun that often comes with the downtown arts community, as Keerthi takes readers to the underground culture of puppetry, from the beloved Great Arizona Puppet Theater to the All Puppet Players theatre troupe with the help of local puppeteers, including Shaun McNamara and Stacey Gordon.


Downtown is growing and so is the cost to live here

Rising prices and a growing cost of living continue to be a hot topic for anyone living, working or considering moving into downtown Phoenix. Business Editor Veronica Graff took a deep dive at some of the factors driving these increases, from the city’s overall economic expansion to construction costs. She also looked at how this affects overall affordability, with the increasing need for workforce housing proving hard to come by.


Following Roosevelt Neighborhood violence, residents express concern in rising homeless activity

Following the tragedy in the Roosevelt Neighborhood, concerned residents and community leaders met to discuss difficult issues surrounding an increasing homeless population. Staff reporter Sara Edwards was in attendance and broke down the complexities and fears following the violence as local residents searched for answers. In this article, Sara looked at the challenges facing the system and why the programs in place to help combat homelessness are doing their best but face limitations in prevention. Homelessness and the associated consequences are issues that Downtown Devil has and will continue to follow going forward.


PUHSD students protest school resource officers at district meeting

From DACA to March for Our Lives, downtown’s younger residents are continuing to be vocal about their futures and schools. Following the Parkland school shooting, there has been increased debate concerning guns and schools, and Phoenix has been no exception. Phoenix Union High School students protested the use of school resource officers in their campus at a district governing board meeting. Staff reporter Leah Soto was on the ground to capture the action and went in depth, breaking down why students say having officers in schools makes them feel unsafe and like criminals.

Multimedia editor Nicole Neri contributed to the article, capturing the faces of the students behind the movement.


South Phoenix business owners oppose light rail at council meeting

The South Phoenix light rail expansion has been a hot topic this year, one that Downtown Devil has followed closely. Politics Editor Rebecca Spiess was at city council as some longtime business owners raised concerns about the expansion and the reduction of traffic lanes. The plan had previously been approved and community meetings were held, but some of the owners felt their voices had not been heard. Rebecca broke down their concerns, and members later appeared on the Rundown.


METROnome: Gaelynn Lea takes cello-style violin to Valley Bar

Columns Editor Lerman Montoya previewed Gaelynn Lea before her show in January, giving readers a look at the artist herself, and her blend of classic violin and folk music in this Metronome. Lerman captured her story, and how her brittle bone disease prevented her from playing cello, but led Lea to adopt a unique violin style.


The Rundown: APS, downtown ASU growth and citizen shade committee

Daniel Perle, host of the Rundown, and Stephanie Morse, education editor, have been breaking down the best stories of the week all year on the Rundown, Downtown Devil’s radio show in partnership with Blaze Radio. This semester, the show has taken an interactive approach with guest interviews bringing the voices behind stories to readers. This episode includes an interview with Sean Sweat, president of the Urban Phoenix Project, as he talks about trees and shade downtown. The show will continue on as a podcast next semester with a change in cast.

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