Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

April 6, 2010


Host: Ted Simons

Earthquakes in Arizona

  |   Video
  • Discussing Arizona’s susceptibility to earthquakes is ASU associate professor, Dr. Matthew Fouch, who teaches in the School of Earth and Space Exploration.
Guests:
  • Dr. Matthew Fouch - ASU Associate Professor School of Earth and Space Exploration
Category: Science

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
12 earthquakes have hit Arizona so far this year. These were small shakers, and most of them occurred in sparsely populated areas in the northwestern part of the state. But bigger quakes can happen here -- they have in the past. Joining us to talk about fault lines impacts Arizona is Arizona State University professor Dr. Matthew Fouch, who teaches in the School of Earth and Space Exploration. Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.

Matthew Fouch:
Thanks for having me.

Ted Simons:
Let's talk with the big quake in Baja. How unusual for this part of the world.

Matthew Fouch:
It's not that unusual to have a magnitude 7 earthquake along the Baja California. And we've seen plenty of magnitude 7 in that area. What's interesting last August we had a magnitude 6.9 just south of there so it's a bit surprising to see something so large so soon after that one.

Ted Simons:
It's surprising but doesn't necessarily indicate that a cluster is forming and things could happen in the future in this same general area.

Matthew Fouch:
You can make a line between two dots but we have earthquake clusters all the time and every time you have a couple large ones close together, sometime in the future you'll have them farther part and it's all about averages.

Ted Simons:
Today, another major quake over in Indonesia. And people see something in Mexico, and Japanese, does that say that -- in Japan, does that say that the earth is ready to move no matter where you are?

Matthew Fouch:
It's always moving. We have between 8,000 and 10,000 earthquakes a day and we don't record them all, but we record many hundreds of them. The fact we have a few large ones in a short span of time, makes people notice. And the Chile earthquake and heat, that there are quakes going on all around the world.

Ted Simons:
Doesn't mean there's a big one coming down the pike.

Matthew Fouch:
Not a correlation, but there will be more magnitude 7's and 8's in the future, but can't forecast exactly when that will be.

Ted Simons:
How often do quakes hit Arizona?

Matthew Fouch:
Up to a year ago, we thought two or three a year and we've actually, through new data through a project called earth scope, we are looking at looking at the data and figuring out how many earthquakes we have a week, across the state. Not just in a few areas. At least one a week, and maybe more and it's an active area of research where we're looking at right now.

Ted Simons:
And as far as where the quakes happen, we have a map of earthquake activity in Arizona. Again, lots in northern Arizona. Looks like Flagstaff, Grand Canyon area gets the brunt of it.

Matthew Fouch:
Those of the areas of most seismic activity. We do know there's a few small earthquakes in many areas. Phoenix, and south toward Tucson and the clusters you see on the map, in the northwestern part of the state and along the Mexican border and southeastern part of the state, those are the areas that have the largest earthquakes and pose more of a hazard to Phoenix than any of the local faults.

Ted Simons:
Interesting, so the mob we see up there in the Flagstaff Grand Canyon area, may get more activity but if something big is going to hit, it's more than likely going to be south of there?

Matthew Fouch:
We expect large scale motions we feel in Phoenix will probably come from earthquakes in California, Baja California and Mexico and it's possible that earthquakes near Flagstaff can cause a lot of shaking. There are a magnitude 6.0's in the early 90s around Flagstaff. And probably the viewers remember those. And we haven't had too many large earthquakes in the state beyond the magnitude 6's.

Ted Simons:
We have a map showing fault lines in Arizona. Is it simply this is the way it is or could these fault lines change and make for some big rumbling here in the future?

Matthew Fouch:
It's unlikely that we have any fault lines hidden that would generate large earthquakes, because for every large earthquake you have, you should have lots of small ones and we would see those on the seismic machines today. So we would pick up anything like that. See patterns of activity. And large ones, not that likely that we could have anything really large that just caught us off guard.

Ted Simons:
The idea -- and be patient with me on this one. I was in the San Francisco earthquake and a quick conversation with God during the time I was there. But after, there was talk of earthquake weather. It was a warm day for that part of the world at that time. There was a high pressure system offshore, breeze blowing. The concept of high pressure and earthquakes was bandied about. Does that make sense?

Matthew Fouch:
That's a harder correlation to make. Because if you made that correlation, the whole state of Arizona might see lots of earthquakes all the time, especially when we have a high pressure system, which seems to be often. What's more likely, it was a time of year, a warm familiar, it turns out in that case and they're really not correlated. There's new evidence in the last couple of years that areas of low pressure, for instance, typhoons or hurricanes, may trigger small seismic activity near coastlines but the Arizona region or California region there's not anything like earthquake weather.

Ted Simons:
Interesting, so as far as general predicting of earthquakes, are we getting better at it or still a science with a long way to go?

Matthew Fouch:
Well, we like to use the word "forecast," like the weather. And we're better than we used to be, but there are long time frames. We can't tell you what's going to happen tomorrow. Tend to predict things in terms of percentages, like 50/50 type of percentages over long time periods. Anywhere from five to 15 years and so we're not in a position and I would be in a surprised we were in the near future to be able to forecast anything better than that.

Ted Simons:
Even with technological advances?

Matthew Fouch:
That's right. Earthquakes happen somewhat randomly and over longer time frames than weather patterns. And it's tougher to forecast.

Ted Simons:
Last question: Where is the safest place in the country? For earthquakes? If you don't want to feel any shaking from the ground ever again, where do you go?

Matthew Fouch:
That's a great question. Probably somewhere in the Midwest. But if you get too close to the new Madras earthquake zone, they have earthquakes there. Maybe central Iowa that would be a good calculation to me.

Ted Simons:
If I ever felt like I did in '89 again, it's a ticket to Des Moines. Thank you for joining us.

Matthew Fouch:
You're welcome.

May 18th Special Election

  |   Video
  • Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell explains what’s being done to prepare for the special election on a temporary state sales tax increase, and how you can be prepared to vote in it.
Guests:
  • Helen Purcell - Maricopa County Recorder
Category: Elections   |   Keywords: prop 100,

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Good evening and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. A contempt of court charge is upheld against a Maricopa County sheriff's office detention officer, but the officer won't have to make a public apology. The Arizona Court of Appeals today sent back to the lower court a contempt charge against Officer Adam Stoddard, who took a letter from a defense attorney's files. The court said that while it agreed with the ruling, Stoddard did not have to make a public apology to the defense attorney, as ordered by the superior court judge Gary Donahoe. The appeals court order the superior court to find a different punishment for Stoddard; possibly a fine. A bill that makes some Arizonans wait longer before getting a divorce was shot down in the Arizona house today. The bill would have allowed either party in a divorce to ask for a waiting period of 120 days; that's twice as long as the current waiting period. Next month, voters will be able to decide on a one-cent increase in the sales tax to help with the current budget shortfall. Here to talk about the wherefores and whatnots of the election is Maricopa County recorder Helen Purcell. Good to have you on the show. Thanks for joining us.

Helen Purcell:
Thanks for inviting me.

Ted Simons:
We're set?

Helen Purcell:
Good to go.

Ted Simons:
If you're not registered, how do you register?

Helen Purcell:
You have until the 19th of April to register for this election and you can go online and register. If you have a license, driver's license, you can do it online and you can download a form off the secretary of state's website.

Ted Simons:
And describe early balloting.

Helen Purcell:
We have almost 17,000 people on our permanent voting list for every election for which they'll eligible, they'll get a ballot. Meaning the 22nd of this month, of April, we'll send out a ballot to every one of those people on the permanent voting list and anyone who requests between then and 10 days prior to the election will also get a ballot.

Ted Simons:
The early voting can start by April 22nd and if you want the early voting possibility, you have until early May.

Helen Purcell:
10 days before the election.

Ted Simons:
The last day to -- you can take the early ballot to an early ballot site, correct?

Helen Purcell:
Yes, you can choose to do that or drop it off at any polling place on Election Day. We prefer you do it early. Our theme is to get the ballot, vote it and return it.

Ted Simons:
These early sites, are there many of those?

Helen Purcell:
Not for this election. We're try to do this similar to a presidential preference election. Only 409 polling places which is about half of what we normally have and only have our three offices for the early voting. Unless some of the cities that are on this ballot choose to have early voting in their city.

Ted Simons:
And the three -- did you say three sites?

Helen Purcell:
Yes.

Ted Simons:
All in the Phoenix metro area?

Helen Purcell:
No, two in the Phoenix area and one in Mesa.

Ted Simons:
And if you're in Yuma, you better mail it in.

Helen Purcell:
Then you go to another county that makes a difference.

Ted Simons:
I got you. You don't like the idea. You're not crazy about the idea you have a early ballot and then don't even hand it in until election day. The idea is to do it early.

Helen Purcell:
If you don't hand it in until Election Day, we don't count it until after. We have the week to 10 days after that we have to count the ballot.

Ted Simons:
How soon should we get information on this?

Helen Purcell:
We can't release results until after an hour after the polls close. The first results will be at 8:00 and those will be of the early ballots we've counted prior to the election. Everything in, we will have already counted and those will be the first ones and then you see the other precincts coming in, the combined precincts and we'll have a map on the website that you can look at to tell what's coming in and what's not.

Ted Simons:
And as far as polling places, from when to when?

Helen Purcell:
6:00 in the morning until 7:00.

Ted Simons:
Your location, there's always a question. Every time, where do you vote. Do I vote where I voted last time?

Helen Purcell:
This time you probably won't vote where you did last time because we have the consolidated precincts. Go on our website and put in your address and it will tell you. Or call our office. And you can get the information there. It's all going to be on the sample ballot. For the secretary of state's office and there's a number of ways to know where you're supposed to go.

Ted Simons:
There shouldn't be a mystery.

Helen Purcell:
Not at all.

Ted Simons:
What about I.D.?

Helen Purcell:
Well, we have that just a little bit, if you have a driver's license, that -- and you have moved but haven't changed the address on your driver's license, with the change in the law, you can now use that and not have to vote a provisional ballot. But you need photo I.D. with name and address on it, or other type of utility bill or something like that to bring with you at the polling place to make sure we know who you are and a registered voter in Maricopa County.

Ted Simons:
Ok. What kind of turnout are you thinking you might get?

Helen Purcell:
I'm not looking for a very big turnout. I hate that. I wish we would have a large one. And I don't have anything to bank it on except my gut feeling and I think 30%.

Ted Simons:
Really?

Helen Purcell:
Which is ridiculous in an election like this and I hope I'm wrong. I really do.

Ted Simons:
You mentioned an election like this. A statewide special election at this time of year. How unusual is that?

Helen Purcell:
I don't think we've ever had one.

Ted Simons:
Really?

Helen Purcell:
I don't think so, not that I'm aware of.

Ted Simons:
Seems like you have municipal things here and there, but nothing state citywide.

Helen Purcell:
March and May are jurisdictional and big elections of statewide and countywide -- I think we'll find a lot of people, winter visitors have gone back to Michigan and are they going to vote before they leave?

Ted Simons:
I know there's a county attorney, there's a special election but not really -- not really special. How does this work?

Helen Purcell:
Well, it's a special election in that we don't usually have a county election -- for county attorney in this election year. But because we have a resignation and there will be someone appointed by the board to fill in until the -- by the board of supervisors but there will be an election held this year.

Ted Simons:
When November rolls around, it will look like regular business even though it's a special election?

Helen Purcell:
And yes, and in the primary in August.

Ted Simons:
Always a pleasure, thanks for joining us.

Helen Purcell:
Thank you.

Police-Minority Relations

  |   Video
  • Michael White, an associate professor in ASU’s school of criminology and criminal justice talks about how an altercation between a black Phoenix City Councilman and a white police officer might be used to help improve relations between minority communities and the police.
Guests:
  • Dr. Michael White - Arizona State University School of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Keywords: race relations,

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
The alleged manhandling of African-American Phoenix city councilman Michael Johnson by a white police officer is raising questions and tensions. Here to talk about relations between police and minority communities is Dr. Michael White of Arizona State University School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.

Michael White:
Thanks for having me.

Ted Simons:
How has this incident been hand by the city, community leaders and police?

Michael White:
I think it's been predictable. Watching what's happened in the media with the back and forth a little bit. I think there have been positive steps. Certainly, the police department leadership having meetings were residents and community leader dollars a very positive step. I saw, I think last week, that the city manager's office I believe is creating a new taskforce, and I think that's also a very positive step.

Ted Simons:
So that's a positive -- some critics will say we've had taskforces before. They come and go, nothing seems to happen. You think there's an opportunity for something to happen?

Michael White:
There's not a foregone conclusion that it's -- nothing will change. Even if it's temporary, it can produce benefits. There's been many times when taskforces have resulted in permanent committees or oversight of police departments.

Ted Simons:
I know that Phoenix came out quickly with a public meeting and there were critics saying so much was not known. And still early for that public vetting. Is that a valid criticism?

Michael White:
Criticism of --

Ted Simons:
That it was too early for the city to come out with a public meeting or airing without really knowing what happened?

Michael White:
I think the sooner that you are out there and listening and the sooner you're opening those lines of communication, the more positive response you'll have from the community. There was community outrage and people wanted to vent and voice their opinions and that venue offered the opportunity for them to do that.

Ted Simons:
The idea of better communication, how important is that, especially involving police departments and minority communities?

Michael White:
I think it's critical. If you think about community policing, a term that's bandied about for a couple of decades now and still an important principle in American law enforcement, but in general, there's been a recognition that satisfaction with police, that perceived legitimacy of police by minorities citizens is critically important and so anything that kind of fosters that is a good thing. Because what research has been telling us is that people's views of the police and whether they view them legitimately are affected by their personal interactions with the police. Was I treated fairly when I was dealing with a police officer? Was my father treated fairly or other people I know? And what we've seen is that when people believe that they have been treated fairly, they're more likely to view the police as legitimate and more likely to view the police as legitimate, more likely to call the police to report suspicious behavior and more likely to provide information to the police and even more likely to cooperate. Less likely to act defiantly when having a formal encounter with the police.

Ted Simons:
And some say that this is an opportunity for the two sides or how many sides there are, to talk past each other, that no one is really listening. You say that's not necessarily the case?

Michael White:
Not necessarily. There's been plenty of examples of that happening, but when these things happen, there is an opportunity to open those lines of communication, and -- and to create improved perceptions of the police. To improve the overall relationship between the communities that traditionally do not view the police all that positively, whether there's -- where there's been a lot of tension for years and years and years and these type of situations offer an opportunity to remedy that.

Ted Simons:
And seems to offer an opportunity for police departments to look internally for -- for police departments to look internally, correct?

Michael White:
Certainly, allows the police leadership to look at a specific incident and say, ok, how did our officers act in that situation? How did our supervisor act? Are there things we need to change in terms of training? Are there modifications we need to make to the policies so if something did go wrong or officers did not act appropriately, we can make sure it doesn't happen again, or alternatively, they can say everything seemed to have worked as well as it could have.

Ted Simons:
But it seems like transparency in police review would be important to let the public and the community know that this is what's being looked at and this might be a solution.

Michael White:
Of all the aspects of police departments, the aspect that's most closed off is the disciplinary and accountability processes. So again, a situation like this offers a department, in a community meeting, to explain to residents this is what's going on happen. This is how long it's going to take and this is what you can expect and that's a very positive step.

Ted Simons:
Do changes often come out of these kind of internal review mechanisms?

Michael White:
It can, especially if through their review they say see if there was a problem, if it was not an isolated in, the department can uncover the underlying condition or problem, whether it be a training issue or supervisory issue and offers that opportunity.

Ted Simons:
From the police department's perspective, how do they get their message out that, perhaps their police officers working in certain higher crime areas, how do they get that message out that this is what they deal with on a day-to-day basis? We hear from the community on something like this, what does the police department need to make known?

Michael White:
The best way for a police department to communicate is through the line officers, the officers on the street, interacting with citizens and business owners and residents on a daily basis. So work with the line personnel to be good communicators and talk to people and just kind of advertise what you do.

Ted Simons:
That's the whole feedback aspect.

Michael White:
Yes.

Ted Simons:
Are you surprised that this particular case did not raise tensions any higher than it already has?

Michael White:
I don't think that's surprising. It is one incident. You know, I've heard in the media and read there's been some underlying tension among residents and those areas but, you know, it's not all that surprising to me.

Ted Simons:
In other parts of the country, they were saying if this happened there, you'd have serious problems and concerns. Does this indicate it's been handled pretty well so far?

Michael White:
I think so far, it has. Like I said, the almost immediate opening of communication through the public meeting and creation of the taskforce shows that the department is willing to listen and that goes a along way, I think, with residents. In certain communities. They just -- they want to know they're -- that their opinions matter and someone is listening knowledge.

Ted Simons:
Just make sure the feedback is there and make sure the community leaderships are involved. The police, everyone is involved and transparency the key.

Michael White:
Yes.

Ted Simons:
Very good. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate it.

Michael White:
My pleasure.

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