Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona

Tucson Chamber Wants Image Change: What Will Become of the ‘Old Pueblo’?

In the 1980s, the Tucson Weekly called Tucson the "Baked Apple".

In the 1980s, the Tucson Weekly called Tucson the “Baked Apple”, my favorite nickname for our city.

Breaking news on the front page of today’s Arizona Daily Star is a 20″ story about dumping Tucson’s “Old Pueblo” nickname. Leaders of the Tucson Metro Chamber of Commerce think Tucson needs a new nickname that reflects our bustling, business friendly city– not a “dusty, old desert town”. From the Star

“Tucson has a choice,” the chamber’s board Chairman Kurt Wadlington and CEO Mike Varney wrote in the program for the chairman’s lunch.

“We can remain the ‘Old Pueblo’ or we can do whatever is necessary to propel ourselves forward to grow, prosper and compete with other cities and regions for the bounties of free enterprise,” the duo wrote. ” ‘The Old Pueblo’ is great for history buffs, but a new mind-set and attitude toward prosperity is long overdue.”

Most of the story  is dedicated to marketing and business types making the case for dumping the “Old Pueblo” because it’s an “archaic marketing motto”.

At the end of the story, the Star solicited opinions from Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckleberry. Rothschild,the only pro-Pueblo voice quoted in the article, says the “The Old Pueblo is part of who we are”– kind of like those historic homes that the business community also wants to get rid of. Huckelberry– in true bureaucratic form– says the old and new can co-exist

“We can embrace the historic nickname that has served us for more than a century while still energetically moving forward to promote prosperity and change,” said Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry. “I am not particularly concerned about what we call ourselves. I am more interested in how we perform as a community.

“Old Pueblo, New Pueblo, Real Pueblo, Science Pueblo. Who cares as long as we are moving to expand our employment base, increase regional wage rates and respect our environment?”

City-of-Tucson-logoI am not generally one to agree with the Chamber of Commerce or Huckelberry, but on the “Old Pueblo”… eh? In the past, I have complained about the old Metropolitan Convention and Visitors’ Bureau (now Visit Tucson) selling Tucson as cowboys, cacti, and sunsets and ignoring the art, music, culture, and progressive values our city offers. I’ve also suggested dumping our archaic logo– which, thank God, no longer has lasso around the sunshine and the saguaro– but it’s still pretty stodgy and still has a saguaro.

I kind of don’t care about the “Old Pueblo” nickname, but I don’t support hiring a marketing crew and spending thousands of dollars to rebrand the city, and the idea of a community contest, as suggested in the article, is stupid. According to the Star, that’s how we got “The Sunshine Factory” as a nickname in the 1980s. Personally, my favorite nickname is “The Baked Apple”; it was often used by Tucson Weekly editorial writers in the 1980s.

us-az-ts-lassoI see Tucson as a progressive, quirky, artistic, urban hipster kind of place– which is why I like the “Baked Apple” as a nickname. (Seriously, think about it. Aren’t we sort of the opposite of the Big Apple? We’re not slick and flashy. We are dusty and hot– and proud of it. 100 days over 100– bring it on!)

But even with Tucson’s hipster edge, it is also as a place where history and culture are embraced– which is why I agree with Huckelberry.

The Star article ends with some past Tucson nicknames and slogans that have come and gone. The “Old Pueblo” outlasted all of the marketing-slogan nicknames. I think that is a message for the Chamber of Commerce.

One comment on “Tucson Chamber Wants Image Change: What Will Become of the ‘Old Pueblo’?

  1. Pingback: In Light of Local Poverty, Tucson Needs Creative Direction & Progressive Economic Ideas | Tucson Progressive

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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela Powers Hannley

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals--not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election. My platform focuses on economic reforms to grow Arizona's economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, growlocal small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs. I also stand for equal rights, choice, and paycheck fairness for women. I am running as a progressive and running clean.

My day job is managing editor for the American Journal of Medicine, an academic medicine journal with a worldwide circulation. In addition, my husband and I co-direct Arizonans for a New Economy, Arizona's public banking initiative. I am a member of the national board of the Public Banking Institute, and I am co-chair of the Arizona Democratic Progressive Caucus, the largest caucus of the Arizona Democratic Party.

I am a published author, photographer, videographer, clay artist, mother, nana, and wife. I have a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio State University and a masters in public health from the University of Arizona. I grew up in Amherst, Ohio, but I have lived in Tucson, Arizona since 1981. I am a proud member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson and the Public Relations Society of America.

My Tucson Progressive blog and Facebook page feature large doses of liberal ideas, local, state, and national politics, and random bits of humor. I also blog at Blog for Arizona and the Huffington Post.

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