February 18th, 2009
09:34 AM ET
9 years ago

Mesa, Arizona: Poster child for foreclosure

The president unveils his plan to battle foreclosures today.

The president unveils his plan to battle foreclosures today.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - President Obama will unveil his foreclosure prevention plans in Mesa, Ariz., on Wednesday. It's an appropriate place to talk about the U.S. mortgage-default problem: More than half the homes for sale in this sprawling suburban town are distressed properties.

In choosing Arizona, the president ventures to a state suffering from high foreclosure numbers: It had the third-highest rate of foreclosure filings in the nation during 2008, according RealtyTrac, which compiles foreclosure statistics.

Mesa itself, as Mayor Scott Smith often remarks, is the biggest city in the country that nobody knows. It's a young, sprawling bedroom community of Phoenix that has grown explosively since the end of World War II. With 452,933 residents as of July 1 2007, it's now the 38th largest city in the nation: bigger than Cleveland, St. Louis or Oakland.

"Mesa is the largest suburban city in the country," said Scott Butler, the city's director of government relations, "and it's symbolic of how the suburbs have been impacted by foreclosures."

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Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. mw

    McCain does not support the stimulus package for his constituants.
    So no money should go to Arizona.

    February 18, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  2. Carol

    When I read the headline that Mesa, AZ is the appropriate place to talk about the U.S. Mortgage default problem, I felt my blood pressure spike. He needs to stay "at home" and work from his "home office". He loves technology, doesn't he? How about using the internet, large screen HDTV, conferencing by phone or any number of other methods to get his point across. He has the shortest commute in D.C. and yet he racks up millions in jet fuel, security costs, advance costs and other costs too numerous to mention firing up those Air Force One jet engines. I thought he was interested in being as "green" as possible. I resent my tax dollars being wasted in this way. Wasn't the oval office redecorated to his liking? I think someone in the large number of media outlets, journalists from all venues should be keeping a running tally of his almost daily forays "out of the office".

    February 18, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  3. Roy

    Funny, John McCain is bashing the recovery plan in Washington, while President Obama is is in McCain's own state trying to fight foreclosures. Was McCain's solution to gove all the people in Arizona making a million or more another tax break to fix this? Perhaps it's time for McCain to pay attention to his own state, maybe he can talk about this on 'The View'.

    February 18, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  4. jaye

    The economy will not rebound until every republican is voted out of office.
    Those fiscal conservative republicans run our country into the ground and depleted the trillion dollar surplus left by bill clinton, then went on to get us trillions more in debt!

    February 18, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  5. jaye

    The economy will not rebound until every republican is voted out of office.
    Those fiscal conservative republicans run our country into the ground and depleted the trillion dollar surplus left by bill clinton, then went on to get us trillions more in debt!

    February 18, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  6. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    Why is President Obama going to Mesa,AZ? Well after that little comment about companies holding business meetings and conventions here in Las Vegas,NV we haven't heard an apology about that.

    The foreclosure rate here is horrible, if not worse than Mesa. He should come and see the forest of "Bank owned" homes here.

    Of course if anyone has the funding, there are very good prices on some very nice homes. And it's a wonderful place to live, and not as hot as AZ. And yes, there is skiing on Mt Charleston in the winter. It's not just gambling, but other things to do here, and NO state income tax either.

    February 18, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. J

    Hope for the best ; Plan for the worst----- Some of those buyers didn`t control their greed and are paying for it now. Those, I have no pitty for !!! -– Too bad

    February 18, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. Shari, NY

    Isn't Arizona, Sen. McCain's stomping ground? How can this be happening?

    February 18, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  9. JR in Texas

    Can we still run down a buy a Home or two that we can't afford and get the government to pay for it...........everyone else is, why not. Free money.

    February 18, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  10. Tulsa L

    Great and I hope the people of Az. will appreciate the hard work President Obama is doing to try to turn this emonomy around.......unlike their own Senater (John McCain) I hope they will not re-elect McCain come 2010..........after all he is going around with all the other negative Repubilcans and Rush Limbaugh putting down Obamas stimulus plan, hoping that Obama fails........well if Obama fails we all fail because the GOP has no one and has no better plans to correct this bad economy that their President Bush got us into.......and they supported him........McCain supported him 95% of the time , remember that when you go to vote for him the next time.

    February 18, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  11. Franky

    "With 452,933 residents as of July 1 2007, it's now the 38th largest city in the nation: bigger than Cleveland, St. Louis or Oakland."

    That's funny. Is like "The Rugrats" took over the "Smurfs" on their most popular show, LOL!! Now that's funny...but there is not nothing right you can't do to take care of yourself...(laughing)...The Rugrats...where's Tommy at now?? LOL!

    February 18, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  12. Nadine

    Hello, John Mccain, this is your state. Why are you so against the stimulus when AZ is in need of financial help for foreclosures?Maybe you should give up six of those seven homes you own and let some of the people in your state live in them for free while you figure out a better plan.

    February 18, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  13. Cynthia; Bham

    I guess Senator McCain didn't see this going on when he was running for President. I often wondered how his state was doing – with his no pork and all. Now I see and thank goodness he is not President.

    February 18, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  14. Lisa T

    Rick: "When will Obama and the rest of the Democrates get, the people dont want the stimulus and they know your bailout WILL NOT WORK. Take a good look at the spiral and tell me how do you make jobs in a bad economy. TAX CUTS TO BUSINESSES PUT PEOPLE TO WORK."

    Rick, let me try to explain how the American economy truly works in terms that you can understand:
    We are a consumer based economy. When consumers have money they buy "things". When we buy enough "things", the businesses have the demand to make more "things". In order for the business to make enough "things" to satisfy demand, they must hire more employees. When those employees are paid livable wages, they buy more "things" and so the economy goes. The republicans think trickle down policies work and they don't! Let's humor ourselves and follow your logic. Give the businesses bigger tax breaks so that they can hire more employees. Pay those employees really low wages to keep the overhead down. Build/create a lot of "things" and sell them to whom? The underpaid employees who can barely afford their bills and have no left over money for "things"? So what do you have as a result?…Businesses who now have a surplus of "things" that they cannot sell because the average "joe" doesn't have left over money. As a result, the businesses must lay off employees because there is no demand for their "things". The unemployment rate soars, businesses shutter their doors and what?…we all live happily ever after?????

    February 18, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  15. KG, Twin Cities

    I lived in Mesa for 8 of my 19 yrs in AZ. While some areas are nice, it's very representative of all of AZ. One nice block of homes, one trashy block, then another nice block, then another trashy one. And serious crime is in every neighborhood in AZ, not just the poorer ones. I hope Gov. Napolitano changed AZ while I've been away but because Mesa is still in AZ, I will not move back.

    February 18, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  16. thomas

    Everyone needs a place to live and most who have a place to live make monthly payments to either a landlord or a mortgage company. Affordable housing is needed for everyone but it has not been available and that is why many people got in over their heads. This, along with predatory lending practices and job losses produced most of the foreclosures. Predatory lending was done with full knowledge that a signifigant number of these loans would lapse into foreclosure, only to be repackaged and sold again. Easy lending drove up home prices and made homes and rents unaffordable to many people. The home buyer was the victim, not the perpetrator as many would suggest. When affordable housing is not available, people get in over their heads.

    February 18, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  17. Mike in Houston


    Wake up!

    February 18, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  18. cheryl brooks

    What I'd like to know is where is all the people who created this mess are any of them going to jail... I mean the Banks, the brokers ect... People are truly distraught. The people who made extreamly large commissions are the culprits, they didn't care who they gave a loan to as long as they got a commission. Greed!!!!!! What a Shame.

    February 18, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  19. BeefyDaddy

    Let the housing market fall. Real estate pricing was inflated. That was part of the problem. Artificially propping up house values will not solve the problem – it will just make it worse!

    I am a proud liberal. But I rent because I could not afford to live in a nice house in my neighborhood and legitimately pay the appropriate mortgage. And now that pricing is finally getting back to where it should be and I can start to think about re-entering the real estate market, they want to keep home values inflated. Fake values – whether credit default swaps or housing prices or cooked accounting books – are just that...FAKE. Until this economy is based on hard, cold facts and real manufactured goods, we will not recover.

    I voted for Obama because I hate the GOP and 99% of all it stands for, but I have to say this housing plan sucks.

    February 18, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  20. Bill in California

    Jaye, get a clue. Government is made up of 3 branches, one no more powerful than the other. If we are going to 'Spread the wealth, lets' also spread the BLAME.

    February 18, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. Champx

    John Mccains home state is the poster child for home foreclosure, and he thinks Obama is doing a bad job. Sounds like its time for the senile old man to retire.

    February 18, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  22. JD in Moraga, CA

    Have you ever been to Mesa? I have...never alone, and never after dark.

    February 18, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  23. d1120

    Idiots bought those over-inflated houses, and those same idiots are screaming for help...

    February 18, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  24. obama-mama

    Isn't this milk boy McCain's state? I don't think he'll take the help since he's so against everything his president does. I wonder if Milk Boy and Plastic Patsy need a bailout?

    February 18, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  25. naqib


    Might want to do some research...
    Clinton increased the debt by 1.5 Trillion Dollars to just over 5 Trillion...
    Granted Bush increased it 4 Trillion more to just under 10 Trillion...

    However... Obama has 1 Trillion down in one month... and 1.2 Trillion more in work for the bank bailout and forclosures.

    Oh... and he hasn't mentioned health care yet... Trillions more to be sure...

    He's gonna far exceed any president in US history in spending... by far at his current rate...

    February 18, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
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