top of page

BISBEE WIRE/Bisbee Economy/All Bisbee #15 AUGUST 2019

Hello, Some new faces around City Hall these days. Welcome to the new City Manager, Theresa Coleman, and city attorney, Jim Ledbetter. And there has finally been some movement on the tourism front with a contract let for marketing. Let's hope the City can move forward now forging unity of purpose. We have big problems to resolve and what is not needed is schisms, malicious gossip, rumor initiation and factually uninformed blather. What is needed is fact-based opinions about the way forward and planning that is actually realizable. There is anecdotal info from business that this is a very slow summer. That has been true at our Inn, the last three months have been the worst in five years. I think it is due in large part because we have not had a tourism director for eight months. And somewhat to STRs. See below. I have been following and researching Short Term Rentals (STRs/aka VRBO, airbnb),for a few years. It has gotten to be a serious problem, particularly affecting long term rentals and loss of neighborhood continuity. Recently I wrote a paper summarizing the Bisbee background, legislative history, and urls to articles. Also some policy prescriptions for Bisbee. It is too long to include, but it is posted on my website



COUNCIL MEETING Tuesday August 6, 7:00 City Hall Agenda and background here: Of Interest: appointments for the city charter review committee, award of a tourism marketing contract, dealing with open meeting complaints, filming in OB @@@@@@@@@@@@@@


We have a new City Manager on the job, Theresa Coleman formerly of Minnesota. She was awarded the job when the negotiations were broken off by  iCM Pauken with the council's first choice, Helen Ruder. Ms. Ruder wrote an interesting account of her negotiations with the iCM focusing on the compensation issue. Ms. Coleman will be paid $109k with a 6 month kicker of $3k if her work is satisfactory. A minor point of interest, she was paid $5300 for moving fee from Minnesota. Mr. Smith, the former CM, was paid about twice as much to move from Northern Arizona. The council has selected new legal representation for the City, Jim Ledbetter of Ledbetter LLF Law Firm P.L.C. He began on July 15 and is being paid a flat fee of $10k a month.  The contract seems to cover costs of paralegals, other attorneys, or consultants if used. Given the kind of legal problems that the city has and continues to have, this could be be an expensive contract. Four members of the City council traded $60,000 for one year of legal repping for $60,000+ for six months of legal repping.  Wow! Such a deal! What's the lesson here? To never, ever, put any item of consequence on the first couple of meeting agendas with a newly seated council because they want to prove their mettle, flex their verbal muscle, and play to their voters. The two newcomers were aided by veteran councilperson Anna Cline and now-resigned  councilperson Gabe Lindstrom in voting to 'see what is out there'. Now they know; an expensive lesson.


The position of Tourism Director (or the misnamed Visitor Center Manager) has been vacant for eight months. I believe that has contributed to the sluggish summer that businesses have been experiencing. We have had absolutely no data about visitation either in person or electronically since December of 2018. Although a person was hired part time in April, it has been difficult to ascertain what she has been doing other than sucking up needed revenue from the budget. It certainly has been not been compiling stats, or posting on social media, or updating the website, or writing grants or soliciting travel writers or tabulating Mine tour stats. All of which needed to be done. (It's also time for the Mine Tour to make monthly disclosures of their gift shop revenue in addition to their tour numbers. The past few years they have taken in about $300,000+ in the gift shop, it would be helpful to see the monthly numbers.) According to the latest direction coming from the iCM and the council, a 'sample' of a bid for doing the tourism marketing for the city was on the last council agenda. Shortly after that meeting an RFP was posted. A total of five bids were received. And the award of a contract is on the agenda for the next council meeting. It will go to a local firm of Dog Cat Mouse Media LLC (Jen Luria, Bridgit Shanahan, Rachael Hudson) all of whom have worked closely for or with the city in the past four years.  I had hoped they would get the contract. The job of Visitor Center Manager was posted on July 17. Salary of $31k-$47k a year. And this after several discussions and an actual decision by the council at the behest of the iBisbee committee to at least name the person doing tourism work by the right name;  Tourism Director. This whole several months process has been lame in the extreme.

This is not complicated stuff. There is absolutely no need for a 'visitor Center Manager'. But there certainly is a need for someone to oversee and be the conduit for the outsourced marketing team, tourism relations, and media relations. The existing Visitor Center at the Mine Tour, a big mistake from several years ago, should made 'passive' with info but no staffing. The name could be changed to CoB Traveler Information  and all hard copy/video would remain in the existing room. The huge desk area could be far better utilized by Science center that is moving into the rear of the mine tour building and, in exchange, they could be responsible for the stocking of the passive info and thereby gain more space for their operations. The VIO (Visitor Information Center) in the museum should be the main dispenser of tourism info and staffed with additional signage around town to direct people to it to the museum.

This part time hire and the vacillation with the position is an example of how little respect Tourism gets although it is the main economic driver in Bisbee.  Again, this reflects the turmoil of the last several months but also a lack of understanding about how the 'business' of Tourism has dramatically changed in the past six years. Much hard copy information, although still used for navigating around Bisbee, has been transferred to electronic media. There are younger visitors who have never and may never, visit a VIO because that is not how they get information. Information moves quickly and monitoring the various electronic outlets enables fast responses. Just a cursory reading of what is going on in other cities and it is clear that Bisbee is in a very competitive market. And lagging.



The unwelcome sight of hundreds of tiny pieces of glass from a busted car door window in our mini cooper greeted me Tuesday morning. Really was a pisser. A truck a couple blocks away on an adjacent street also got hit. Seems like vandalism since nothing was stolen. But...our sense of safety and security was taken from us. There seems to have been more problems with vandalism and break ins this year. The police were courteous, helpful, and forthright about how frustrating this is for them as well as residents. The best defense continues to be neighborhood alertness to unusual patterns, suspicious persons in the area, and reporting what you have seen. There is an online site called Next door that register neighborhoods in a network that people can submit posts to in order to inform those signed up about various things including crime, vandalism, items for sale, and general interest. A Warren area neighborhood has been established if you search for it. As with any public bulletin board, be careful how much personal information you post. Here is the posting I did:

There are many security systems for sale, from the elaborate to  simple, expensive to cheap. It helps to identify what data you want;  recorded or no recordings, length of time images are stored,  scan area, sharpness of image, connectivity online, hard wired or wireless, waterproof or not. So it helps a great to do research; to visit the sites that have tested the myriad systems and report on the pros and cons. I've researched security cameras and/or doorbell cameras as well as received some advice from peeps about what worked for them. I used three different sites to evaluate what would work best for us; Wirecutter, Consumer Reports, CNET. Will do a follow up when finished. If anyone has a system/camera/door cam installed and would like to share the pros and cons, please send me info to Your info will be anonymized.



Reading the tea leaves...If you want to get right with God, the Presbyterian church is having some attendance troubles. The number of parishioners has dropped considerably and the remaining few are elderly. Consequently there are some decisions to be made about the church (next to the Copper Queen Hotel) and the annex across the street. Apparently the decisions will be made in Tucson or Phoenix. Unless there is an influx of church goers. Perhaps it's Presbyterian Time for you. Acacia has apparently been the focus of a nasty rumor that the store is closing. The owners had to take to Facebook to say that it is false; they are staying, their lease is not up for a couple of years. If you ain't got the facts don't repeat this kind of crap.

Filming begins in a week or so around Bisbee Realty/Lyric theater and some sites in Warren.


Anna's Seasonal Kitchen is closed, at least at the current location, 105 Main. The lease was up and a Tea Room will be moving in; no date or info yet. It is unclear if Anna will be returning to Bisbee for business. The Grand Hotel/61 Main is now open 7 days for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 7-9. The Grand is under new management, as the saying goes, and actually have posted when they have music-seemingly almost every night. Copper Queen Hotel Spirit Room is open Fri, Sat, Sun 7am-8pm. Cornucopia Cafe/14 Main is now open Mon-Sat 11-4, closed on Sunday. Contessa's Cantina/202 Tombstone is open 11-8 Mon-Sat. The Quarry/40 Brewery is open for food, Mon-Fri 5-10, Sat/Sun lunch and dinner The Table and Santiago's open 7 days 11-9 High Desert Market/203 Tombstone Thursday through Monday 7-7 will resume 7 days  in Sept. Thuy's closed till August 13 call after that date Poco/15 Main is open Friday 11-3, Saturday 11-4, Sunday 11-3 Screaming Banshee/200 Tombstone is open Tue, Wed 4-9; Thurs-Sunday 11-9 brunch Sun. Cafe Roka/35 Main will be adding Sundays on August 18 in addition to Fridays and Saturdays nights. Music on Friday 5-9 and Sunday 4-8, generally features Shade, Jessica Fleet/Second Hand Swing, and Derren of MajaVia music in rotation. Out of OB... Bisbee Breakfast Club, Mornings, Jimmy's, Tacho's, Dylans, and a few more all worth checking out.


The Bisbee Holistic Wellness Center is at now open at 24 Howell, they offer bodywork, various energy therapies, acupuncture, reflexology, hypnosis, weight training, and  reiki. For more info contact 619 507-1069 for scheduling.

There are three Gyms in Bisbee; Arizona Fitness/215 Arizona St., Lowell Gym/66 Erie St., Bisbee Health and Fitness/Bisbee Rd. All offer weight machines, and operate somewhat autonomously with varying hours.

Lotsa Yoga, of various kinds almost every day/night of the week; Yin, Hatha, Kundalini, Chair.  This is a partial list. Monday nights/Club K, Tuesday/Room to Move, Wednesday/Club K, Thursday/the Y & club K, Friday/club K. See the schedules on the doors of the facilities

Every weekday there are Exercise classes mornings and evenings at either Room to Move/319 Arizona St./Warren and St. Pats/100 Quality Hill/OB Mon, Wed, Fri 8-9 am contact info 520-732-9848.  And Holistic Wellness center at 24 Howell.


BAT MONITORING Citizen scientists...monitor your Hummngbird feeders and report overnight activity!  It's the time to look out for the annual arrival of southern Arizona's two nectar-feeding bat species! The lesser long-nose and the Mexican long tongued bats are nocturnal creatures that drain hummingbird feeders as well as feed on agave blooms. This 13 year project is an attempt to better understand their behavior; arrival in So. AZ, foraging habits and movement patterns.

You can submit information via the website. They also would like photos if you take them. Visit the website for more information on the project:



(I will hopefully, put the cumulative data on my website in the form of tables for the past four years. Go to to see.)

REAL ESTATE These following housing stats are from MLS listing and do not reflect owner-sold homes.I have posted four years of data on The Bisbee housing market has rebounded strongly since the depression in 2008-2011. Since I began tracking sales in Sept. of 2015, roughly 140 houses a year have been sold, while repossessions, defaults, and auctions have dramatically decreased. This year sales are on track to do about the same with 73 homes sold in the first six months. In a city the size of Bisbee with a population of about 5500, that is robust. With scant statistical data available for validation, it is a guess about what is going on but here is my take...The housing market reflects four main factors; an aging population, a plethora of three years of favorable regional and national publicity about Bisbee, a glut of people in their 60's approaching or at retirement age, and house flippers. What is notable about June 2019 is the value as well as the number of houses sold; 17 houses for a total of $3,233,900. That is the single largest month dollar total for residential houses I have been able to find.  Two homes sold, one in Warren the other in OB, for substantial amounts that pushed this total to a record breaking month.  Also houses were on the market for a scant 105 days, and houses are selling for more money. Does that mean the housing stock is low? That owners area asking for more money? Or perhaps better quality homes on the market? Only realtors know for sure. The commercial market is moribund. There has been very little movement this year with only three buildings sold the first six months. Below are some of the commercial buildings on the market. The listings reflect the real estate and may not include the sale of the current businesses in the building: 33 Subway, Club Kilimanjahro; $1,300,000 317 Tombstone Canyon, $565,000 (Jonquil Motel) 901 Tombstone Canyon, Gardens at Mile High; $749,000 37 OK Street, building only (Copper city saloon)  $650,000 29 OK Street, Pythian Castle $1,150,000 9 OK Street, Ok Jail, $225,000 (Bisbee Realty/Lyric Theater) 120 Naco Rd, $269,000 8 Brewery Ave  Bisbee Olive Oil $185,000 business only 50 Brewery $160,000 7 Howell $495,000 building only (Copper Queen Annex) 14 Main, $495 Cornucopia cafe & building 28 Main, $360,000 vacant 86 Main $260,000 (Gloria's Jewelry)

BUILDING PERMITS Lorena at the City has been helpful in getting out building permit info on a regular basis. Because of the turmoil at the city, there has been a span of several months where the value of permits have not been notated although the number of permits have. Beginning with May''s report, the permit value was included and that will give a good idea of the breath of the remodeling, maintenance, and building going on in both the residential and commercial sector. Building permits follow housing sales to a large extent and the first two quarters of this year have been busy for contractors. There were 28 residential permits in June for a total of $281,451, in May 31 permits totaled $242,849. In June four commercial permits at $30,000, in May nine for a total of $11,100. It was the highest number of permits for a single month in the past four years, although the value of the permits was not. Of note...five of the first six months of this year saw more than 30 permits per month issued. That is also a record for the past four years. I would guess that the value of those permits would also exceed the the first two quarters of the past four years. I don't know what the wait time for contractors is, but since one of the major contractors moved out of the area (Noah Suby) and the number of building permits has grown, likely it has increased.

SALES Sales figures are always two months behind. April spending is reported to ADOR by late May and then tabulated and distributed in June. May and June stats reflect the expiration of the 1% bed tax. City tax for lodging is now 12.05%. And since ADOR has only been releasing data in this form since 7/2018 there is no year to year comparisons. It is also best not to take the monthly variations as indicative of trends. As you can see below, the bed tax has dropped significantly reflecting 1% less as well as the end of the high season. However R/Bar did not follow lodging, although retail did. Go figure. Succeeding months will give us a better understanding of how all three sales sectors interact. Month        Bed tax 2.5% Restaurant /bar Retail June          $9686.        $41,847         $75,945 May          $10,460      $40,659         $78,559 3.5%⬇︎ April        $13,312      $39,318         $83,912 March        $28,884      $43,540         $69,196 February     $16,389      $29,425         $70,209 January/2019 $11,588      $28,099         $73,812

####################### ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION Bisbee Dark Skies LLC Bruce Syrett 5 Spring Canyon #1256 Bisbee

Magic Star LLC Larry Davis Sherri Morgan 41 Main St. Bisbee

Meridian Books & Comics LLC Frank Goglia 27 Subway St. Bisbee

Dog Cat Mouse Media LLC Jen Luria, Bridget Shanahan 133 Black Knob View Bisbee

Everything Careers Joanne Darbee P.O. Box 1026, Bisbee

Bisbee Land Surveying Glen Summers 221 Van Dyke St. Bisbee


NEW TOURISM ORGANIZATION FORMS Visit Southern Arizona (VSOAZ) is a new organization formed earlier this year that seeks to become the main tourism organization in Southern Arizona. Touting private/public partnerships, an advertising co-op, and a income producing website, VSOAZ, is modeled on Visit Tucson. They hope to get public funding from bed tax monies in several cities as well as private funding. Someone(s) put some decent money to back the formation because they have hired the services of Group Managment Inc., a Tucson firm, to help get the org off the ground. It looks as if they would likely supplant the Cochise County Tourism Council if successful. @@@@@@@@@@@@


The people at the Gloo Factory below, work with these people on a variety of items. It adds a new dimension for printing as well as sewing.

The Women’s Cooperative can make a variety of products to your specifications. All proceeds from sales go directly to the DouglaPrieta Center and are used to pay the workers, cover the cost of materials, and help pay the costs of the center itself.

The cooperative’s talented seamstresses can make most anything: from custom garments to fashionable accessories. For information about the Women’s Sewing Cooperative, contact Judy Bourg (, Linda Know (, or Maribel Ruiz ( @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@


The Gloo Factory employs 8 people who are part of the Communication Workers of America.The employees have a contract, certain benefits and better than average industry wages afforded by union participation.  This move is in line with Gloo Factory ethos of providing ethically sourced shirts and local fair trade textiles as they believe that workers around the world have the right to organize and work in safe, dignified workplaces.  The Gloo Factory is the only union screen printing shop in Southern Arizona south of Phoenix and prints for unions and campaigns across the country as well as progressive candidates.

The Gloo Factory calls itself a “community-minded” print shop and demonstrates this by donating on average $1,000 a month of printing service to local community groups. In addition to this ongoing commitment, Gloo Factory heavily invests their social and economic capital in local fair trade project DouglaPrieta Works ( on the U.S./Mexico border. The Gloo Factory sources tote bags, aprons, oven mitts, and other custom textile goods from this women’s sewing cooperative in Agua Prieta, Mexico. The cross border self-help organization aims to empower former NAFTA era, factory worker community members through developing capacity for micro-enterprise, facilitating English classes and gardening for greater self-sufficiency out of their community center.


"Lexophile" is  lover of words, especially in word games, puzzles, anagrams, and palindromes, such as "you can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish" and, "To write with a broken pencil is pointless."

An annual competition is held by the New York Times to see who can create the world's best Lexophile! (a tip of the hat to RC for this)

This year's submissions * I changed my iPod's name to Titanic. It's syncing now. * England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool. * Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes. * This girl today said she recognized me from the Vegetarians Club, but I'd swear I've never met herbivore. * I know a guy who's addicted to drinking brake fluid, but he says he can stop any time. * A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months. * When the smog lifts in Los Angeles U.C.L.A. * I got some batteries that were given out free of charge. * A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail. * A will is a dead giveaway. * With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress. * Police were summoned to a daycare center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest. * Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off? He's all right now. * A bicycle can't stand alone; it's just two tired. * The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine last week is now fully recovered. * He had a photographic memory but it was never fully developed. * When she saw her first strands of gray hair she thought she'd dye. * Acupuncture is a jab well done. That's the point of it. * I didn't like my beard at first. Then it grew on me. * When chemists die, they barium. * I stayed up all night to see where the sun went, and then it dawned on me. * I'm reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can't put it down. * Those who get too big for their pants will be totally exposed in the end. * Did you hear about the crossed-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn't control her pupils?



Recent Posts

See All

BISBEE WIRE special edition 4/1/24

Hello, This is a special edition of the Wire. Unbeknownst to many readers, we get a flood of anonymous emails that detail goings on in the very bowels of the city and behind the facade of businesses.


bottom of page