Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

June 27, 2005


Host: Michael Grant

Arizona Stories: Taliesin West


  • The visionary architect Frank Lloyd Wright made Scottsdale his winter home and created a working and living environment, literally, with the labor of apprentices. The beautiful Taliesin West is a manifestation of Wright's vision. Beverly Hart of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation will talk about the foundation's recent difficulties and decisions.
Guests:
  • Tim Keller - executive director, the Institute for Justice, Arizona chapter
  • Kevin Adam - legislative director, League of Arizona Cities and Towns


View Transcript
Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon", the United States Supreme Court rules that local governments can seize your property and turn it over to private developers. And a local institution reflect the genius and vision of one of the 20th century's most influential architects. We visit Taliesin-west in tonight's Arizona Story.

>> Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by the friends of Channel 8, members who provide financial support to this Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
Good evening, I'm Michael Grant. Welcome to "Horizon". The United States Supreme Court has adjourned for the summer. No word yet of possible retirement of Chief Justice William Rehnquist or of another justice. On its last day, the court decided a number of important cases. They split on the Ten Commandment displays. By a 5-4 ruling, they determined the display could not remain inside a Kentucky courthouse, but by another 5-4 ruling, said the display could remain on the grounds of the Capitol in Austin, Texas. Also, the court ruled that the internet file-sharing networks are responsible when users download music and films illegally. That's a victory for the entertainment industry. The court ruled that cable companies do not have to share their lines with smaller internet service providers and the court rejected the appeals of two journalists, Judith Miller of the New York Times, and Matthew Cooper of "Time" magazine. The two refused to reveal their sources as part of the investigation to determine who leaked the name of a CIA operative Valerie Plame. They face up to 18 months in jail. July 5th on "Horizon", a week from tomorrow, we'll recap this past Supreme Court session with ASU law professor Paul Bender. Last week the court ruled 5-4 to allow local governments to seize private property in accordance with the Fifth Amendment's eminent domain power, and then turn that property over to a private developer if that decision benefits a community financially. Eminent domain seizures have usually been done after public hearings and not with the intention, at least ostensibly, of transferring the property to another private source. One of the most well-known such cases locally was that involving Bailey's Brake Service in Mesa. The city had tried to seize Bailey's shop and put up a hardware store after Bailey had refused the financial offer from the city. In that case, the Arizona court of appeals ruled in 2003 in Bailey's favor saying the intended use of the property must "substantially predominate" over the private use. However, the case before the Supreme Court involved a number of homeowners against the city of New London, Connecticut. The Institute for Justice argued for the homeowners. And joining us tonight is Tim Keller, the executive director of the Institute for Justice, Arizona chapter, and Kevin Adam, the legislative director of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns. Good to see both of you. Tim, a number of people, in fact I think including Justice Sandra Day O'Connor who wrote a pretty scathing dissent on this one, are saying with the exception that you get the money, there's nothing left to the Fifth Amendment Constitution of the United States constitution in this regard. Is this in the heat of the moment or accurate.

>> Tim Keller:
I think it's accurate, I think the court took the eraser and erased the words public use, which used to be private property shall not be taken for private use without just compensation. And now it just provides just compensation.

>> Michael Grant:
Had there been a firm standard as to what qualified as a public use or not?

>> Tim Keller:
The last decision from the U.S. Supreme Court was 1950's Berman V Parker, the court held that Washington D.C. could declare a blighted area and condemn it, the public use being that of eliminating a blighted condition, and transferring the property to a private owner.

>> Michael Grant:
This case, no allegation of blight. Some of the plaintiffs, some of the most sympathetic people I can think of. One woman, the house had been in the family for more than 100 years. She in fact, I think, was born there. But the city of New London was saying we need this property for a beneficial private use with public overtones.

>> Tim Keller:
What our clients in the case said was our property is not for sale. The U.S. Supreme Court said sold to the highest bidder. And now the developer is going to bulldoze the homes. We are still fighting in a political realm to try to prevent that. Otherwise, our clients are going to have their homes bulldozed and they are going to suffer the indignity of having a private developer build private office space, retail and parking lot.

>> Michael Grant:
Kevin, anything from the First Amendment in this regard to the United States Constitution.

>> Kevin Adam:
In fact, as Tim has indicated there have been previous decisions by the court to where you can convey property from one private entity to another provided there's a public use. Historically, the Arizona statute is based on that Berman V Parker decision where there has to be an underlying blight or slum condition that you're rectifying. That wasn't the case with Connecticut law. I think it's important to point out that while the constitution places limitations on government authority, it's not the only source of limitation and that clearly state constitution and state laws can place limitations. And the law in Arizona is different from that in Connecticut. It's more strict in Arizona, there has to be that harmful use in existence before you can convey that property to another private entity. However, the Supreme Court found that they essentially in deciding the Connecticut case that there are different circumstances; they essentially upheld the Connecticut law. In Connecticut there was concern that the area was significantly distressed from an economic perspective. You had major employer leave, the population at its lowest level since 1920 yet unemployment was skyrocketing. The Connecticut legislature and the city of New London decided that they had a drastic situation there in which they needed economic revitalization. They pursued allowing for this condemnation without having that slum or blight condition underneath.

Michael Grant:
And Kevin, that's an important point to stress, they felt there was a public, I guess I would say, benefit to this because of the economic conditions that you recited but not a traditional public use that I think many people would think. It wasn't being condemned to become a highway or public buildings or anything along that line, it was this larger concept of well, this will be a public use from the standpoint that it will help the overall economy of the community.

>> Kevin Adam:
Michael, clearly when property is conveyed for public ownership for a road or a bridge, that's clearly the traditional use, it's the one that most people recognize. But there's also the longstanding ability to convey it to another private entity but provided that it is for public reason.

>> Michael Grant:
Tim, would the institute simply say if it's going to another private owner, by definition it's not a public use or would the institute say there can be circumstances where it's not clear-cut.

>> Tim Keller:
I think it's a fine line when you talk about taking somebody's home or business to transfer to another private owner for that owner's beneficial use. The court said because there's a beneficial use, we're going to define it there's a public use. That flies in the face of the amendment and in Arizona's Article Two, section 217, which says that private property shall not be taken for private use. The reality is, if economic incentives, increased tax revenue can justify property taking, then nobody's property is safe because any property can generate more tax revenue as a Costco or super Target.

>> Michael Grant:
Do you have any question that this case simply could not happen in Arizona because of Arizona's constitutional provisions?

>> Tim Keller:
One thing is clear; every eminent domain case in Arizona is decided on a case-by-case basis. However, the silver lining here in Arizona is that we have a separate constitutional provision and as early as 1914, our Arizona Supreme Court has said decisions interpreting the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution are not controlling in this state and lend little aid in interpreting article 217. The Bailey case was litigated almost ultimately won in the Arizona court of appeals is an example of that more stringent protection. I do believe that this ruling will lead to increased attempts by local cities to condemn for private use.

>> Michael Grant:
I think one of the other distinguishing elements in Arizona, I believe the Arizona constitutional provision says a court will decide what a public use is, not requiring the deference to local government or state legislature, but the Supreme Court said it was going to upheld the local court authorities.

>> Tim Keller:
It said that the court will determine that whether it's a public use without regard to any legislative assertion that the use is public. Theoretically the Arizona courts will not look to assertion by the local government that it's a public use and will make independent evaluation when it comes before the court.

>> Michael Grant:
Kevin, I think this is what bothers a lot of people about the decision. A city looks at a piece of property, I'm going to use hypothetical numbers, currently this is generating $5,000 in property tax revenue. If we move in a health club, some upscale condos, and mixed retail, we can generate $5 million in combinations of property taxes and sales taxes and those kind of things. You get somebody calling the shots on public use that really is financially incentive, how do you allay those concerns?

>> Kevin Adam:
Justice Stevens stated that government cannot take property from A for the sole purpose of conveying it to private entity B, if the only reason is that B can make it more productive and bring in more revenue. He goes on to say those aren't the facts presented to us in the New London case. He doesn't say what the baseline is. He doesn't address that.

>> Michael Grant:
He is stressing the alleged economic revitalization aspects, not the dollars flowing.

>> Kevin Adam
That isn't enough to be constitutional, there has to be a greater public use. He doesn't define what that is, but again I think it's very important to point out that the Arizona law requires a higher standard than what the Supreme Court ruled is permissible under the U.S. constitution.

>> Michael Grant:
Justice O'Connor encouraged everybody in the legislatures to get this altered. Is that the institute's next stop, several state legislatures?

>> Tim Keller:
There is no doubt there will be a push to repeal or correct a number of the statutes.

>> Michael Grant:
Not often that state legislatures get to call this kind of shot on the United States constitution. Thank you for talking about it.

>> Tim Keller:
Thank you, Michael.

>> Michael Grant:
In the mid-30's, visionary architect Frank Lloyd Wright decided to become a snowbird. He brought his family and apprentices from his summer home in Wisconsin and began constructing what would be known as Taliesin-west. Near the McDowell Mountains in Scottsdale, the institution would grow and prosper. Producer Larry Lemmons and videographers Richard Torruellas and Scot Olson bring us tonight's Arizona Story.

>> Bruce Pfeiffer:
This is the drafting room at the studio. It was the first room built. This block was the first masonry wall. You see here in Arizona, you can't dress the stone. You put the flat part of the stone against the floor, and pour concrete behind it. The things overhead tells a story, this is actually a drafting room, living room. Actually, the first room built was the kitchen. That's central to the whole thing. He called it a galley. He referred to Taliesin-west as a ship on the desert.

>> Larry Lemmons:
The view from the prow of Flank Lloyd Wright ship on the desert, the Scottsdale landscape is virtually pristine. Although signs of civilization invade the horizon. Looking back towards the prow the McDowell Mountains raise behind the vessel. Taliesin-West has grown incrementally from the desert floor.

>> Vernon Swaback:
Taliesin-West is a statement of a very heroic person, of someone who first programmed the life to the experience in these structures and then designed the structures to support that.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Considered a visionary today, the architect Frank Lloyd Wright sometimes faced ridicule in his day when he introduced organic architecture. He believed that form and function are one; a structure and a site are one.

>> Vernon Swaback:
He wanted for architecture to be a natural consort to the ground. For the lives of people to be a flowering of the spirit and the land, one and the same, both being nature, both being natural. He would say what is natural is not necessarily architectural but what is architectural must always be natural.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Wright bridged the gap between environmentalism and architecture. Taliesin-West is an exemplar of this idea, reflecting a great respect for the land.

>> Bruce Pfeiffer:
He came out in 1927 and 28, working as the governor's consultant, and fell in love with the desert, he loved it. In contrast to Wisconsin.

>> Larry Lemmons:
On a Wisconsin hilltop, Wright had built the original Taliesin in 1911. Taliesin, the name of a Welsh poet, means a shining brow. It served as a home, office and summer place for his apprentices. Wright found the site for Taliesin-West in 1937.

>> Bruce Pfeiffer:
When Wright came out, he came out with twenty-five men who served as apprentices. And that work force built Taliesin-West. Built on the side of the mountain, with sand, the beams, and the white candles.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Bruce Pfeiffer came to Taliesin as an apprentice more than fifty years ago.

>> Bruce Pfeiffer:
I really enjoyed it, read by candlelight. At that time, we were really in the wilderness.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Vernon Swaback began his apprenticeship in 1957.

>> Vernon Swaback:
I have a very nice house. Architecture has been good to me. As a teenager, I lived in a tent, which had the depressed slab about 8 feet square. It was a red canvas what we call a sheepherders canvas that opened on both sides. The floor was cushioned and carpeted, and colorful pillows around it with some kerosene lanterns, which I felt was more like Arabian nights than a boy scout. At night, instead of getting in a car and driving home through crowded freeways and finding a house with lots of garage doors, I walked out in the blackness of night. Quiet, mystical, and when I went to sleep in my little tent, I was part of all of that. I have said it often and I can say it without any fear of reservation, that in many ways I will never live that well again.

>> Larry Lemmons:
From the beginning at Taliesin West, the apprentices learned from their mentor. And collectively filled what is now the home of both the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. There's a theater on site. As well as a cabaret. Life was a mixture of manual labor and social function.

>> Vernon Swaback:
Our little inside joke about that would be to be a Taliesin apprentice you needed a hammer, a sleeping bag and tuxedo.

>> Larry Lemmons:
The living room quarters in the Wright house were unpretentious tending to be relatively small, but filled with beautiful art and cultural clues.

>> Vernon Swaback:
I think the most exciting thing about this room as well as all of Taliesin West, coming out to the middle of undeveloped desert and rather than thinking in terms of survival or shelter there's this immediate sense of grand pianos and wide open spaces and Indian blankets and a celebration of cultural life.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Wright worked tirelessly, and embued his apprentices with vision and purpose.

>> Bruce Pfeiffer:
I think that's what kept him going, he surrounded himself. To him, youth was a quality, not age.

>> Larry Lemmons:
There were 70 to 90 apprentices at Taliesin at the time of Wright's death in 1959. All who experienced his life and work in the desert carry with them a reflection of his vision.

>> Vernon Swaback:
Culture is a way of making life beautiful. Beauty to him was not prettiness or taste or fashion, beauty was fundamentally something had worked, like life itself.

>> Bruce Pfeiffer:
Buildings in harmony with nature, dedicated to human beings.

>> Michael Grant:
Joining me now to talk about the recent troubles of the Frank Lloyd Wright foundation and the solutions, the chairman of the board of trustees of the foundation, Vernon Swaback, Who has not changed the shirt that he had on the tape. Good to see you.

>> Vernon Swaback:
Good to see you.

>> Michael Grant:
It's been awhile. It must have been a truly unique experience for you.

>> Vernon Swaback:
Absolutely phenomenal. Anyone who has had that experience will never forget it and fortunately, it may remain at the top of experiences forever.

>> Michael Grant:
Recently I read in the republic there was a fight over control of the foundation. What's going on?

>> Vernon Swaback:
It wasn't so much a fight over control as kind of a self-imposed look at both the past and the future with the notion that it was time for a transition that would make the foundation much stronger for its mission in the future. You know, there aren't too many places that have the continuity that the foundation has had. There are 18 people there who have been there 50 years or more. And it becomes much like a family company that at some time or other the notion of opening up that structure to others really needs to happen.

>> Michael Grant:
Not really a fight over control but a fight over relinquishment of control?

>> Vernon Swaback:
To say it was a fight is really a little bit out of the nature of what was going on behind the scenes. I mean, it's just difficult. In other words you have patterns set up. Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation was established in 1940, the fellowship in 1932 and there are patterns that go on almost by way of assumption rather than taking a clinical look at things. To jump in and say, the mission of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation needs renewal and the mission is so much greater than what our present circumstances are manifesting.

>> Michael Grant:
What is its mission? I don't think, quite honestly that many people understand it.

>> Vernon Swaback:
Frank Lloyd Wright in addition to just the world's sense of him as being the greatest architect, kept everything that he had ever done there is something like 20,000 drawings and hundreds of pieces of art, the Frank Lloyd Wright archives believed to be the greatest archive on any artist ever- anywhere. The foundation owns Taliesin west in Scottsdale and Taliesin in Wisconsin. The mission is to preserve and renew the buildings and to preserve the archives and to operate the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. In addition to that there is resident community known as the Taliesin fellowship, which has been the live-work community that started in 1932. It is overseeing the rather special kinds of organizations. Some of them don't have to change as much as others. The one that really needs to change is opening up the governance structure to the global kind of reality that the Frank Lloyd Wright foundation represents.

>> Michael Grant:
That was the key change, to bring outside directors to the foundation.

>> Vernon Swaback:
Right. It was a matter of reorganizing the existing bylaws to enable that to happen. To a large extent, having a larger representation of outside board members and having that be a strong empowered board that could operate more autonomously. The original structure had veto powers that the resident's community could exercise for board action, it was necessary to remove some of those things. I think in the end everybody realizes nobody gave up anything. If the foundation isn't strong, none of its elements are strong.

>> Michael Grant:
Good step in your opinion.

>> Vernon Swaback:
Very good step. Recently it's been announced we received a grant of $425,000, the largest single grant ever received by the foundation, it's all symptomatic of having our house in order and things that are yet to have.

>> Michael Grant:
Vernon Swaback, always a pleasure to talk to you. We appreciate the information and appreciate Taliesin west, quite honestly.

>> Michael Grant:
Tomorrow night, the results of our latest KAET-ASU poll. We'll know what you think about rising home prices and tell you what you thought about the Arizona town hall focused on trade with Mexico. We'll have a recap of that. On Wednesday, we visit with Maricopa County Andrew Thomas. That's the next couple of nights on "Horizon". Thank you very much for joining us on this Monday edition of "Horizon". I'm Michael Grant. Hope you have a great one. Good night.

Eminent Domain


  • The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that local governments can seize homes and turn them over to private developers. We'll discuss the ramifications of the decision with Kevin Adam, the Legislative Director of the Arizona League of Cities and Towns and Tim Keller of the Institute For Justice.
Guests:
  • Tim Keller - executive director, the Institute for Justice, Arizona chapter
  • Kevin Adam - legislative director, League of Arizona Cities and Towns


View Transcript
Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon", the United States Supreme Court rules that local governments can seize your property and turn it over to private developers. And a local institution reflect the genius and vision of one of the 20th century's most influential architects. We visit Taliesin-west in tonight's Arizona Story.

>> Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by the friends of Channel 8, members who provide financial support to this Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
Good evening, I'm Michael Grant. Welcome to "Horizon". The United States Supreme Court has adjourned for the summer. No word yet of possible retirement of Chief Justice William Rehnquist or of another justice. On its last day, the court decided a number of important cases. They split on the Ten Commandment displays. By a 5-4 ruling, they determined the display could not remain inside a Kentucky courthouse, but by another 5-4 ruling, said the display could remain on the grounds of the Capitol in Austin, Texas. Also, the court ruled that the internet file-sharing networks are responsible when users download music and films illegally. That's a victory for the entertainment industry. The court ruled that cable companies do not have to share their lines with smaller internet service providers and the court rejected the appeals of two journalists, Judith Miller of the New York Times, and Matthew Cooper of "Time" magazine. The two refused to reveal their sources as part of the investigation to determine who leaked the name of a CIA operative Valerie Plame. They face up to 18 months in jail. July 5th on "Horizon", a week from tomorrow, we'll recap this past Supreme Court session with ASU law professor Paul Bender. Last week the court ruled 5-4 to allow local governments to seize private property in accordance with the Fifth Amendment's eminent domain power, and then turn that property over to a private developer if that decision benefits a community financially. Eminent domain seizures have usually been done after public hearings and not with the intention, at least ostensibly, of transferring the property to another private source. One of the most well-known such cases locally was that involving Bailey's Brake Service in Mesa. The city had tried to seize Bailey's shop and put up a hardware store after Bailey had refused the financial offer from the city. In that case, the Arizona court of appeals ruled in 2003 in Bailey's favor saying the intended use of the property must "substantially predominate" over the private use. However, the case before the Supreme Court involved a number of homeowners against the city of New London, Connecticut. The Institute for Justice argued for the homeowners. And joining us tonight is Tim Keller, the executive director of the Institute for Justice, Arizona chapter, and Kevin Adam, the legislative director of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns. Good to see both of you. Tim, a number of people, in fact I think including Justice Sandra Day O'Connor who wrote a pretty scathing dissent on this one, are saying with the exception that you get the money, there's nothing left to the Fifth Amendment Constitution of the United States constitution in this regard. Is this in the heat of the moment or accurate.

>> Tim Keller:
I think it's accurate, I think the court took the eraser and erased the words public use, which used to be private property shall not be taken for private use without just compensation. And now it just provides just compensation.

>> Michael Grant:
Had there been a firm standard as to what qualified as a public use or not?

>> Tim Keller:
The last decision from the U.S. Supreme Court was 1950's Berman V Parker, the court held that Washington D.C. could declare a blighted area and condemn it, the public use being that of eliminating a blighted condition, and transferring the property to a private owner.

>> Michael Grant:
This case, no allegation of blight. Some of the plaintiffs, some of the most sympathetic people I can think of. One woman, the house had been in the family for more than 100 years. She in fact, I think, was born there. But the city of New London was saying we need this property for a beneficial private use with public overtones.

>> Tim Keller:
What our clients in the case said was our property is not for sale. The U.S. Supreme Court said sold to the highest bidder. And now the developer is going to bulldoze the homes. We are still fighting in a political realm to try to prevent that. Otherwise, our clients are going to have their homes bulldozed and they are going to suffer the indignity of having a private developer build private office space, retail and parking lot.

>> Michael Grant:
Kevin, anything from the First Amendment in this regard to the United States Constitution.

>> Kevin Adam:
In fact, as Tim has indicated there have been previous decisions by the court to where you can convey property from one private entity to another provided there's a public use. Historically, the Arizona statute is based on that Berman V Parker decision where there has to be an underlying blight or slum condition that you're rectifying. That wasn't the case with Connecticut law. I think it's important to point out that while the constitution places limitations on government authority, it's not the only source of limitation and that clearly state constitution and state laws can place limitations. And the law in Arizona is different from that in Connecticut. It's more strict in Arizona, there has to be that harmful use in existence before you can convey that property to another private entity. However, the Supreme Court found that they essentially in deciding the Connecticut case that there are different circumstances; they essentially upheld the Connecticut law. In Connecticut there was concern that the area was significantly distressed from an economic perspective. You had major employer leave, the population at its lowest level since 1920 yet unemployment was skyrocketing. The Connecticut legislature and the city of New London decided that they had a drastic situation there in which they needed economic revitalization. They pursued allowing for this condemnation without having that slum or blight condition underneath.

Michael Grant:
And Kevin, that's an important point to stress, they felt there was a public, I guess I would say, benefit to this because of the economic conditions that you recited but not a traditional public use that I think many people would think. It wasn't being condemned to become a highway or public buildings or anything along that line, it was this larger concept of well, this will be a public use from the standpoint that it will help the overall economy of the community.

>> Kevin Adam:
Michael, clearly when property is conveyed for public ownership for a road or a bridge, that's clearly the traditional use, it's the one that most people recognize. But there's also the longstanding ability to convey it to another private entity but provided that it is for public reason.

>> Michael Grant:
Tim, would the institute simply say if it's going to another private owner, by definition it's not a public use or would the institute say there can be circumstances where it's not clear-cut.

>> Tim Keller:
I think it's a fine line when you talk about taking somebody's home or business to transfer to another private owner for that owner's beneficial use. The court said because there's a beneficial use, we're going to define it there's a public use. That flies in the face of the amendment and in Arizona's Article Two, section 217, which says that private property shall not be taken for private use. The reality is, if economic incentives, increased tax revenue can justify property taking, then nobody's property is safe because any property can generate more tax revenue as a Costco or super Target.

>> Michael Grant:
Do you have any question that this case simply could not happen in Arizona because of Arizona's constitutional provisions?

>> Tim Keller:
One thing is clear; every eminent domain case in Arizona is decided on a case-by-case basis. However, the silver lining here in Arizona is that we have a separate constitutional provision and as early as 1914, our Arizona Supreme Court has said decisions interpreting the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution are not controlling in this state and lend little aid in interpreting article 217. The Bailey case was litigated almost ultimately won in the Arizona court of appeals is an example of that more stringent protection. I do believe that this ruling will lead to increased attempts by local cities to condemn for private use.

>> Michael Grant:
I think one of the other distinguishing elements in Arizona, I believe the Arizona constitutional provision says a court will decide what a public use is, not requiring the deference to local government or state legislature, but the Supreme Court said it was going to upheld the local court authorities.

>> Tim Keller:
It said that the court will determine that whether it's a public use without regard to any legislative assertion that the use is public. Theoretically the Arizona courts will not look to assertion by the local government that it's a public use and will make independent evaluation when it comes before the court.

>> Michael Grant:
Kevin, I think this is what bothers a lot of people about the decision. A city looks at a piece of property, I'm going to use hypothetical numbers, currently this is generating $5,000 in property tax revenue. If we move in a health club, some upscale condos, and mixed retail, we can generate $5 million in combinations of property taxes and sales taxes and those kind of things. You get somebody calling the shots on public use that really is financially incentive, how do you allay those concerns?

>> Kevin Adam:
Justice Stevens stated that government cannot take property from A for the sole purpose of conveying it to private entity B, if the only reason is that B can make it more productive and bring in more revenue. He goes on to say those aren't the facts presented to us in the New London case. He doesn't say what the baseline is. He doesn't address that.

>> Michael Grant:
He is stressing the alleged economic revitalization aspects, not the dollars flowing.

>> Kevin Adam
That isn't enough to be constitutional, there has to be a greater public use. He doesn't define what that is, but again I think it's very important to point out that the Arizona law requires a higher standard than what the Supreme Court ruled is permissible under the U.S. constitution.

>> Michael Grant:
Justice O'Connor encouraged everybody in the legislatures to get this altered. Is that the institute's next stop, several state legislatures?

>> Tim Keller:
There is no doubt there will be a push to repeal or correct a number of the statutes.

>> Michael Grant:
Not often that state legislatures get to call this kind of shot on the United States constitution. Thank you for talking about it.

>> Tim Keller:
Thank you, Michael.

>> Michael Grant:
In the mid-30's, visionary architect Frank Lloyd Wright decided to become a snowbird. He brought his family and apprentices from his summer home in Wisconsin and began constructing what would be known as Taliesin-west. Near the McDowell Mountains in Scottsdale, the institution would grow and prosper. Producer Larry Lemmons and videographers Richard Torruellas and Scot Olson bring us tonight's Arizona Story.

>> Bruce Pfeiffer:
This is the drafting room at the studio. It was the first room built. This block was the first masonry wall. You see here in Arizona, you can't dress the stone. You put the flat part of the stone against the floor, and pour concrete behind it. The things overhead tells a story, this is actually a drafting room, living room. Actually, the first room built was the kitchen. That's central to the whole thing. He called it a galley. He referred to Taliesin-west as a ship on the desert.

>> Larry Lemmons:
The view from the prow of Flank Lloyd Wright ship on the desert, the Scottsdale landscape is virtually pristine. Although signs of civilization invade the horizon. Looking back towards the prow the McDowell Mountains raise behind the vessel. Taliesin-West has grown incrementally from the desert floor.

>> Vernon Swaback:
Taliesin-West is a statement of a very heroic person, of someone who first programmed the life to the experience in these structures and then designed the structures to support that.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Considered a visionary today, the architect Frank Lloyd Wright sometimes faced ridicule in his day when he introduced organic architecture. He believed that form and function are one; a structure and a site are one.

>> Vernon Swaback:
He wanted for architecture to be a natural consort to the ground. For the lives of people to be a flowering of the spirit and the land, one and the same, both being nature, both being natural. He would say what is natural is not necessarily architectural but what is architectural must always be natural.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Wright bridged the gap between environmentalism and architecture. Taliesin-West is an exemplar of this idea, reflecting a great respect for the land.

>> Bruce Pfeiffer:
He came out in 1927 and 28, working as the governor's consultant, and fell in love with the desert, he loved it. In contrast to Wisconsin.

>> Larry Lemmons:
On a Wisconsin hilltop, Wright had built the original Taliesin in 1911. Taliesin, the name of a Welsh poet, means a shining brow. It served as a home, office and summer place for his apprentices. Wright found the site for Taliesin-West in 1937.

>> Bruce Pfeiffer:
When Wright came out, he came out with twenty-five men who served as apprentices. And that work force built Taliesin-West. Built on the side of the mountain, with sand, the beams, and the white candles.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Bruce Pfeiffer came to Taliesin as an apprentice more than fifty years ago.

>> Bruce Pfeiffer:
I really enjoyed it, read by candlelight. At that time, we were really in the wilderness.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Vernon Swaback began his apprenticeship in 1957.

>> Vernon Swaback:
I have a very nice house. Architecture has been good to me. As a teenager, I lived in a tent, which had the depressed slab about 8 feet square. It was a red canvas what we call a sheepherders canvas that opened on both sides. The floor was cushioned and carpeted, and colorful pillows around it with some kerosene lanterns, which I felt was more like Arabian nights than a boy scout. At night, instead of getting in a car and driving home through crowded freeways and finding a house with lots of garage doors, I walked out in the blackness of night. Quiet, mystical, and when I went to sleep in my little tent, I was part of all of that. I have said it often and I can say it without any fear of reservation, that in many ways I will never live that well again.

>> Larry Lemmons:
From the beginning at Taliesin West, the apprentices learned from their mentor. And collectively filled what is now the home of both the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. There's a theater on site. As well as a cabaret. Life was a mixture of manual labor and social function.

>> Vernon Swaback:
Our little inside joke about that would be to be a Taliesin apprentice you needed a hammer, a sleeping bag and tuxedo.

>> Larry Lemmons:
The living room quarters in the Wright house were unpretentious tending to be relatively small, but filled with beautiful art and cultural clues.

>> Vernon Swaback:
I think the most exciting thing about this room as well as all of Taliesin West, coming out to the middle of undeveloped desert and rather than thinking in terms of survival or shelter there's this immediate sense of grand pianos and wide open spaces and Indian blankets and a celebration of cultural life.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Wright worked tirelessly, and embued his apprentices with vision and purpose.

>> Bruce Pfeiffer:
I think that's what kept him going, he surrounded himself. To him, youth was a quality, not age.

>> Larry Lemmons:
There were 70 to 90 apprentices at Taliesin at the time of Wright's death in 1959. All who experienced his life and work in the desert carry with them a reflection of his vision.

>> Vernon Swaback:
Culture is a way of making life beautiful. Beauty to him was not prettiness or taste or fashion, beauty was fundamentally something had worked, like life itself.

>> Bruce Pfeiffer:
Buildings in harmony with nature, dedicated to human beings.

>> Michael Grant:
Joining me now to talk about the recent troubles of the Frank Lloyd Wright foundation and the solutions, the chairman of the board of trustees of the foundation, Vernon Swaback, Who has not changed the shirt that he had on the tape. Good to see you.

>> Vernon Swaback:
Good to see you.

>> Michael Grant:
It's been awhile. It must have been a truly unique experience for you.

>> Vernon Swaback:
Absolutely phenomenal. Anyone who has had that experience will never forget it and fortunately, it may remain at the top of experiences forever.

>> Michael Grant:
Recently I read in the republic there was a fight over control of the foundation. What's going on?

>> Vernon Swaback:
It wasn't so much a fight over control as kind of a self-imposed look at both the past and the future with the notion that it was time for a transition that would make the foundation much stronger for its mission in the future. You know, there aren't too many places that have the continuity that the foundation has had. There are 18 people there who have been there 50 years or more. And it becomes much like a family company that at some time or other the notion of opening up that structure to others really needs to happen.

>> Michael Grant:
Not really a fight over control but a fight over relinquishment of control?

>> Vernon Swaback:
To say it was a fight is really a little bit out of the nature of what was going on behind the scenes. I mean, it's just difficult. In other words you have patterns set up. Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation was established in 1940, the fellowship in 1932 and there are patterns that go on almost by way of assumption rather than taking a clinical look at things. To jump in and say, the mission of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation needs renewal and the mission is so much greater than what our present circumstances are manifesting.

>> Michael Grant:
What is its mission? I don't think, quite honestly that many people understand it.

>> Vernon Swaback:
Frank Lloyd Wright in addition to just the world's sense of him as being the greatest architect, kept everything that he had ever done there is something like 20,000 drawings and hundreds of pieces of art, the Frank Lloyd Wright archives believed to be the greatest archive on any artist ever- anywhere. The foundation owns Taliesin west in Scottsdale and Taliesin in Wisconsin. The mission is to preserve and renew the buildings and to preserve the archives and to operate the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. In addition to that there is resident community known as the Taliesin fellowship, which has been the live-work community that started in 1932. It is overseeing the rather special kinds of organizations. Some of them don't have to change as much as others. The one that really needs to change is opening up the governance structure to the global kind of reality that the Frank Lloyd Wright foundation represents.

>> Michael Grant:
That was the key change, to bring outside directors to the foundation.

>> Vernon Swaback:
Right. It was a matter of reorganizing the existing bylaws to enable that to happen. To a large extent, having a larger representation of outside board members and having that be a strong empowered board that could operate more autonomously. The original structure had veto powers that the resident's community could exercise for board action, it was necessary to remove some of those things. I think in the end everybody realizes nobody gave up anything. If the foundation isn't strong, none of its elements are strong.

>> Michael Grant:
Good step in your opinion.

>> Vernon Swaback:
Very good step. Recently it's been announced we received a grant of $425,000, the largest single grant ever received by the foundation, it's all symptomatic of having our house in order and things that are yet to have.

>> Michael Grant:
Vernon Swaback, always a pleasure to talk to you. We appreciate the information and appreciate Taliesin west, quite honestly.

>> Michael Grant:
Tomorrow night, the results of our latest KAET-ASU poll. We'll know what you think about rising home prices and tell you what you thought about the Arizona town hall focused on trade with Mexico. We'll have a recap of that. On Wednesday, we visit with Maricopa County Andrew Thomas. That's the next couple of nights on "Horizon". Thank you very much for joining us on this Monday edition of "Horizon". I'm Michael Grant. Hope you have a great one. Good night.

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