Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

September 23, 2010


Host: Ted Simons

Arizona's Poor Civic Health

  |   Video
  • The Arizona Civic Health Index finds that Arizonans are not as well informed as people in other states, voter turnout continues to decline and residents feel a disconnected with their elected leaders. Lattie Coor, of the Center for the Future of Arizona, discusses the report.
Guests:
  • Lattie Coor - Center for the Future of Arizona
Category: Elections

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Good evening and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. A report released today by the center for the future of Arizona and the national conference on citizenship finds that Arizonans are not doing well when it comes to civic duties. The Arizona civic health index finds Arizonans are not as well informed as people in other states, voter turnout continues to decline, and residents feel a disconnect with their elected leaders. Here to talk about the report is Lattie Coor, chairman and CEO of the center for the future Arizona.

Lattie Coor:
Nice to see you again, thanks for having me here.

Ted Simons:
What is the index designed to do?

Lattie Coor:
When we did the Gallup Arizona poll, and released it last fall, a couple things disturbed us. First, Arizona citizens in that poll thought their elected officials were not doing a good job. But only 10% thought they thought their elected officials actually represented their citizen interests. Secondly, even though Arizonans showed in that Gallup poll they loved this place, loyal to it, 12% said they didn't think people where they lived cares about one another. Very strang piece of that. So as we began talking with the national conference on citizenship who had been doing a national civic health index, the notion of civic health became very clear to us, just as we have fiscal health and the health of our education system, that civic health was something we ought to take a look at.

Ted Simons:
Apartments index looks at a lot of facts are. We referred to it in the intro. The disconnect between citizens and politicians. I mean, 10%, 12% -- that's exceedingly low and yet we don't see a lot of change in terms of our elected leaders.

Lattie Coor:
And I don't know how to reconcile that. One suggestion -- not an unworthy one -- is that people are just tuned out F. they don't have higher -- tuned out. If they don't have higher regard for their elected officials or the process and aren't doing something about it and not paying attention to the news, not registering, not voting, they're kind of -- and disconnect is probably the best way to describe it.

Ted Simons:
You mentioned not paying attention to the news. The numbers show we aren't as well informed as folks around the country. What's that about?

Lattie Coor:
It's -- the newspaper reading is about 15% than national ample, television viewing is also about 15% less than the national average. Magazines and even communication by web. The reason we wanted to do this index, get it on the table and get people thinking about this and talking about it, we think it's important enough we do need to try and understand it more fully.

Ted Simons:
If we do understand it more fully and find that out that Arizona is kind of a laid back state. You go to the Sky Harbor airport doesn't move as fast as JFK or other airports. Can you only go so far with some of these ideas or concerns in a place like Arizona?

Lattie Coor:
Hard to say, especially when you see what's happening with our fiscal problems and what's happening to effects on the basic fundamentals of the case and the kind of social network system, it has to have a consequence for citizens that they see. I don't know what the basic answer is. Except to say we think there are things that can be done about it. Letting people know, getting people to start to look at their own civic health and individual communities around the state and see if they can't build a deeper connection. It's not just voting. It's that people don't seem to connect to one another. Aren't as familiar with one another. Aren't as involved in their own immediate communities and I don't think Arizona's that different from the rest of the nation. We think there have got to be reasons how that can be better.

Ted Simons:
It's interesting you bring that up, the part we're not as strongly connected to one another. Why is that important?

Lattie Coor:
Interesting -- the interesting marker. Eating dinner with family and friends on a regular basis. That's kind of a personal thing and yet the national data shows that the more people eat dinner with on another, family and friends, the more active they are in voting. In Arizona, if you take the data, those families that eat dinner regularly with one another, vote at a 80% level. Those that do not, vote at a 29% level. We don't know why, but there is a relationship there we think is worth at least observing.

Ted Simons:
The idea, though, of talking or exchanging, you know, errands or favors with neighbors, mentioned in the report with that. We don't do well with that either. The nature of Arizona, transient. People come and go quickly and when they do come out, they have friends back in Ohio or Illinois and not concerned about the friends out here. How can Arizona get past that.

Lattie Coor:
I think the passage of time. The biggest surprise is how deeply passionate people are about Arizona. So it isn't that they're just here in person, they love the place, they're connected to the place, in that sense, but not connected to other individuals. We may ultimately find out that's the nature of the beast but we think focusing attention on it and thinking about it and talking about it and gets communities to talk about it could give us a more complete answer.

Ted Simons:
I do want to find out your ideas on where we go from here. I noticed in the report that Tucson scored high on the neighbor level and information -- a lot of these things, Tucson does pretty well on.

Lattie Coor:
I think a great coherence in the community and connectedness in the community and that's the part we see in other parts oft state that aren't present. Interestingly, there's greater connection in the Phoenix area than the rural areas. Contrast for the rest of the nation all right. Rural areas are more closely connected and vote more than the urban areas.

Ted Simons:
What do we do with the findings?

Lattie Coor:
We've set forth a plan to invite five communities around the state to work with us and develop their own civic engagement, civic renewal plan, whatever works best for them. Connecting citizens and getting them involved in community affairs and registering and voting, whatever works, over the next year, and see if we can't get a major national foundation that's interested in civic renewal to help fund these five communities to see what they can do to increase civic improvement in their own community. That's what we're going to set out to do and a year from now, let's see what this looks like.


Ted Simons:
We'll have you back. Before then, too. Good to see you, thanks for joining us.

Lattie Coor:
Thank you, Ted.

City of Mesa Prop 420: Spring Training Stadium

  |   Video
  • Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts discusses Prop 420, a measure that asks city voters to approve public expenditures for a Cactus League Spring Training stadium and related facilities.
Guests:
  • Tom Ricketts - Chairman, Chicago Cubs
Category: Vote 2010

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Proposition 420 in Mesa would allow the city to move ahead with plans to build a new spring training facility for the Chicago cubs at riverview park near the 202 and 101 freeways. Voters will get to decide the measure in November. I recently talked with Chicago cubs chairman Tom Ricketts about the team's plans to stay in Mesa. Thanks for joining us.

Tom Ricketts:
Thanks, Ted, great to be here.

Ted Simons:
Do the Cubs want to stay in the valley and if so, why?

Tom Ricketts:
The answer is absolutely yes. We want to stay in Mesa. The cubs have a 50-year history in Mesa. We have a lot of fans that are used -- very much love coming down here for spring training and we have a lot of fans that have moved here over the years that are loyal attendees of spring training.

Ted Simons:
I things mentioned do you want to stay in the valley, or is it just Mesa or the metropolitan area that attracts you?

Tom Ricketts:
I'm exclusively focused on Mesa right now. We're working closely with the mayor and city council to try and get our enough facility put together.

Ted Simons:
The facility would be practice fields, a stadium and Wrigley field west. What's that?

Tom Ricketts:
Our concept, when you go to spring training, you drive up in your car and park and go to the stadium and go out and go to your car and drive away. Wrigley starts when you get to the neighborhood and we with an we want to create that vibe. We talk about the concept of Wrigley field west. But it's a more three dimensional day. Like things for the family. Batting cages or museum or historical center 0 on cubs or baseball history and restaurants and bars and things people can do around the game and not only during spring training but year round.

Ted Simnons:
Is that a privately financed deal. The Wrigley field west aspect of the deal.

Tom Ricketts:
What we're talking about in proposition 420, the ballot initiative on the Mesa ballots in November is a public-private partnership. Where the city will be renting us the land where the stadium S. The city will have use of the stadium during the non-spring training part of the year and then a few other fields during the non-spring training part and we put our money in N to developing the commercial side.

Ted Simons:
As far as the riverview park area, this whole waveyard has been going you up and down. And now there's talk of perhaps you guys sharing that area of that land with some kind of waveyard concept. What are your thoughts?

Tom Ricketts:
I really haven't talked to the guys about that. We're focused on making sure we can get the facilities we need built.

Ted Simons:
Is that a deal-breaking kind of thing or something you would consider or work around?

Tom Ricketts:
We'd have to see what this looks like. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Ted Simons:
Are you concerned about enough land on that particular site? Not only for your own facility and Wrigley field west but something else that might go in there.

Tom Ricketts:
I think there's enough land do what we want to accomplish and I'm sure we'll able to put it to good use. Why that area and not northeast Mesa?

Tom Ricketts:
I think the location works well for what we're trying to accomplish. If we're trying to create a place where more people come to a spring training game and spend more and stay longer and have a better day, I mean, it's a good location and also a quasi commercial area already and people can come in and go to other stores and theaters right in that area and I think it fits a lot better than going some place that's wholly residential or some place like downtown.

Ted Simons:
Obviously prop 420 is there to get this deal in place and move forward with the cubs and Mesa. For those who say, we -- the city should not be paying anything for a private company or a baseball team or a sports team in general, how do you respond to that?

Tom Ricketts:
I this I what every voter in Mesa should know, there's no new taxes associated with this development. There's no sales tax or property tax. It's going -- that's going on to the citizens of Mesa. And what they're going to get in return is not only you keep all the jobs that we currently have with the spring training facility we have, we're going to create a lot more new jobs as we go out and build this new facility. So for really no real direct cost we can generate another economic engine for Mesa.

Ted Simons:
So do we know what the engine drives? How much in the way of --

Tom Ricketts:
There's studies that have been done, the cubs generate about $138 million of revenue for -- for the area. I'm not sure exactly how much that stays in Mesa or leaves Mesa. But it's substantial. And the point is that if we can get the proposition passed and maintain all of that economic -- all of that revenue, the economic value and enhance it as we're willing to put in our own money to grow what spring training means for the cubs.

Ted Simons:
Are you concerned in the riverview area you have the riverview mall and the Tempe mall -- the marketplace, it's called. Are you concerned about a lot of retail activity and competition?

Tom Ricketts:
Obviously, we haven't studied to the extent we know exactly what will go in or wouldn't go in. What we know is we get a couple of hundred thousand people coming in and that's a good start and if we can get them coming back on non-game days to take part of other events and activities we at least have a base.

Ted Simons:
Prop 420, what will Mesa voters be voting on? We're not sure what's going in there. The whole waveyard thing is out there and we don't know what that situation -- what are they voting on?

Tom Ricketts:
By voting yes, you're giving the mayor and city council the authority to go forward and close the deal with us.

Ted Simons:
Just with you, nothing else, and that's --

Tom Ricketts:
To the extent there's -- the waveyard stuff, I don't know anything about that, but it's directly between us and the city.

Ted Simons:
And I have to ask this. But is there a plan B? What happens if 420 fails?

Tom Ricketts:
We're just really focused on plan A. There's no plan B. We've been in Mesa for a long time. We very much want to stay. We appreciate the relationship we have with the community and how hard they've worked to get us a new facility we need and that's all we're focused on right now getting 420 passed.

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

Prop 111: Lieutenant Governor

  |   Video
  • A constitutional amendment that would rename the office of secretary of state as the office of attorney general and prescribe a new process for electing the Lt. Governor. Tom Simplot, representing Government for Arizona‚Äôs 2nd Century will speak in favor of the proposition; Joe Sigg of the Arizona Farm Bureau speaks in opposition.
Guests:
  • Tom Simplot - Government for Arizona 2nd Century
  • Joe Sigg - Arizona Farm Bureau
Category: Vote 2010

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Tonight we continue "Horizon's" vote 2010 coverage with a look at proposition 111, which would rename the secretary of state's office to lieutenant governor and require candidates for the office to run on a single ticket with gubernatorial candidates of the same party. Here to talk about the measure is Phoenix city councilman Tom Simplot, representing the group Government for Arizona's Second Century. He is for the measure. Speaking against prop 111 is Joe Siggs of the Arizona Farm Bureau. Good to have you both here.

Joe Siggs:
Thank you.

Ted Simons:
Start with you, why is this necessary? Why does it make sense?

Tom Simplot:
For those who follow the process, they know this started with justice Sandra day O'Connor and the O'Connor project. That made Arizona better without making it bigger and this was one of the more popular notions and ideas. Primarily that Arizona is one of only five states throughout the country without a lieutenant governor position. The believer is that prop 111 will bring transparency to the voters so they know when they vote for that second in line, they will understand what the succession line is.

Ted Simons:
Does this make Arizona government better?

Joe Siggs:
I agree with Tom, that if -- the time has come and we agree with the idea of having a lieutenant governor. It's this particular vehicle and the language of prop 111 is that we have an issue with.

Ted Simons:
What's the issue?

Joe Siggs:
Three, primarily. One, you're forcing people to run as a team who might not necessarily be a team. It may be a team that's pitching horseshoes and handgrenades and we think that deserves a second thought. Number two, one of our issues is it would be that this changes the secretary of state, lieutenant governor,that is the chief elections officer. The lieutenant governor is subserving to the governor and now you have a governor looking over the shoulder, if you will, of the chief elections officer and it's a question of keeping separation of powers. The third issue we have is the language of prop 111 enshrines in the constitution, a discussion of mechanics of primary and party. And it's very specific. Independence -- independents have neither primary nor party and as we read proposition 111, this would exclude independents from running for those offices.

Ted Simons:
Last concern first. The problem of independents, trying to find a ticket to run on?

Tom Simplot:
Absolutely from our perspective, a non-starter and the reason is this. This language is actually based on language found in Utah when they converted their office to lieutenant governor. The constitution is silent when it comes to independents running. This proposition focuses on article 5 section 1 of the constitution which talks about how you're elected to the office. Prop 111 talks about if you choose to run on a party ticket, you shall run as a ticket with the gubernatorial candidate after the election. It's silent when this comes to those who want to run as independent candidates. So it's up to the legislature to define that.

Ted Simons:
So basically what you're saying is right now, it's a work in progress?

Tom Simplot:
Not a work in progress. It really, from our perspective, simply follows the historic trend or historic policy of how we've operated here in Arizona. For example, in the Arizona constitution today, there are only two duties delegated to the secretary of state, and it's exactly what prop 111 would do as well.

Ted Simons:
That response, is that good enough for you?

Joe Siggs:
Obviously not. I think your term, work in progress, is a good way to put this. I think this needs to be thought out better. Again, we're all in favor of the idea of having a lieutenant governor, but when we're putting language in the constitution that proscribes this "shall," deals with the issue of party and deals with the issue of primaries of which independents have none, I don't see that the legislature can fix that issue. As I see it, if this where to pass it, would take another vote to allow for that process of independents to be included. So we -- we think that that's a real problem.

Ted Simons:
Your second concerns with that the elections chief would be aligned with the executive. I understand that aspect and I want to get your response to that, but the idea of it seems the underlying idea is to have someone who is at least familiar with the governor's platform so if it's -- there's a transition, it's not a shakeup.

Joe Siggs:
Sure, but there are other molds. We don't need to make the lieutenant governor the chief elections officer.

Ted Simons:
What do you think about that.

Tom Simplot:
Arizona in its short history has five secretaries of state elevate to the governor's position. Two of those changed parties mid stream, which is a huge shakeup philosophically.

Ted Simons:
Does it make sense to have the chief elections officer that closely aligned with the executive?

Tom Simplot:
Well, I guess we have to look at what we have today and that's an elected -- a partisan elected official, a secretary of state who oversees many of the elections and I'll point out that our county elections sisters are also elected. It's not whether they're elected or partisan, it's whether they're qualified and doing the job write.

Ted Simons:
Should there be a lieutenant governor's office which acts pretty much like the vice president does in Washington?


Tom Simplot:
Well, it was the decision of the O'Connor project through this process this would be the most efficient and fair and transparent way to make it happen and that was how it evolved.

Ted Simons:
Efficient, fair and transparent?

Joe Siggs:
Perhaps. But I think we need to also consider this idea of separation of powers. Because these people do run whether they're election officer, secretary of state, they are partisan, and in most cases, but they are running for that office and have a responsibility and a fiduciary interest in taking charge of that office. In this case, now you have a lieutenant governor who has a subserves and to the governor and I think we've diluted that process. So having a lieutenant governor is a more transparent way to go and we agree, but we think here's other models that would work better.

Tom Simplot:
Can I point out an issue? The governor and lieutenant governor may or may not be closely aligned. That will fall out during the primary process because you don't run as a ticket in the primary process, it's dependent on which candidates come out of the primary.

Ted Simons:
I know it was tried once before to have the primary included and that was voted down soundly. But would it make better since if the idea of transparent and continuity are the goal.

Tom Simplot:
I think the goal of the O'Connor project was to bring as much transparency and efficiency to this process in order to encourage people to run -- let me rephrase that. There was never an incentive or a purpose or a reason to discourage people to run. This still encourages people to run for those offices in a primary. If you're expected to run on a ticket in a primary, that may limit or discourage people from running for the office.

Ted Simons:
We have a system that a lot of people aren't happy for. And you'd like to see it changed. This is one way to change it. Is it better to leave the system the way it is or give this a try?

Joe Siggs:
Well, I think it's better to have a more well-thought out process. It makes a comment about -- for the "The Arizona Republic," in his three decades, this is the worst thought-out proposition that he's encountered. I think it deserves honorable mention, not the worst one, but if we're going to make the change, think it through and make the change, because I think we can get everyone on the same page that way.

Ted Simons:
We've got to stop it there. Thanks for joining us.

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