Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

August 29, 2005


Host: Michael Grant

Arizona Stories: Elizabeth Hudson Smith


  • Discover the extraordinary story of an African-American woman's experience in the early days of Wickenburg.
Guests:
  • Tom Simplot - Phoenix City Councilman, Fourth District
  • Cathy Paddack - Director, Outreach and HIV prevention, Terros


View Transcript
Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon", a task force set up by the City of Phoenix hopes to make a dent in the war on methamphetamine. The Air Force research lab in Mesa has been given the axe by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. And the extraordinary tale of an African-American woman in the early days of Wickenburg 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 and welcome to "Horizon". I'm Michael Grant. President Bush paid us a visit today. The president's plane landed at Luke Air Force Base where he was greeted by Senator John McCain. The president spoke to an audience in El Mirage about the Medicare prescription benefit, which takes full effect at the end of this year. The president also stressed the importance of working with the state to protect Arizona's borders. The city of Phoenix may soon see stricter laws governing the sale of pseudo-amphetamines. Not content with what they consider a watered-down state law that was approved by the legislature this year, two Phoenix Councilmembers have created a task force to promote two ordinances that would go beyond the state law in the effort to curb the production of methamphetamines. Larry Lemmons describes the urgency evident at the task force's initial meeting last Thursday.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Arizona is number one in meth use for children ages 12 to 17. That's one of the sobering facts Arizona attorney general Terry Goddard presented to the meth task force at Phoenix city hall. This was the first meeting of the task force led by Phoenix councilmen Dave Siebert and Tom Simplot.

>> Tom Simplot:
Several months ago, Councilman Siebert and myself asked the mayor if we could co-chair this task force. We asked our attorney general if he would be a part of this process. He readily agreed. A year ago, the city Council voted unanimously to support the attorney general's efforts at the legislature to start the process of limiting the availability of pseudoephedrine or those type products on the market. We supported the attorney general in his efforts. Unfortunately, what came out of the legislature was a watered down version. We had promised at that time if that happened, we would be back here at city hall to take a much more direct approach on a local and regional level, and that's exactly what we're doing here today.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Earlier this year, Goddard had lobbied for a state law that would have regulated the sale of pseudoephedrine, the primary ingredient needed to make methamphetamine.

>> Terry Goddard:
This bill would make pseudoephedrine class 5, which means that it would have to be distributed by a pharmacist. And I think that's the appropriate step because these are dangerous. What you turn these tablets into is one of the most lethal drugs that's out there in the market today. We've got to stop the production of meth; this is the most effective way to do it.

>> Larry Lemmons:
But some retailers didn't want to step into what they felt was a law enforcement role.

>> Kathy Boyle:
We already know that they use fake Ids sp we know part of the bill would be that the pharmacist is going to have to write down the address and sign it to keep the log book for law enforcement to come in at their leisure to check to see who is purchasing the products. For us, if they're not using real IDs, what does that tell law enforcement? For pharmacists to step into a law enforcement activity, they are not trained to do that. And also to keep the log book is onerous for the pharmacist as well. I can tell customers right now, if this goes into effect, you can expect longer lines at your pharmacy to wait for your pharmacist or your technician to make the transaction.

>> Larry Lemmons:
The bill passed by the legislature did not include requirements that pharmacists dispense the product or require buyers to sign a log or show an ID. The meth task force is made up of representatives of law enforcement, the fire department, the Chamber of Commerce, the city attorney and many others. Some came with personal experience of the devastating effects of meth use.

>> Donna Neill:
The community I live in, we've had in the last 13 years six meth labs, which is quite a few. The last one we took care of, they had a horse inside the house, children, grandchildren, the grandfather lives there, the grandkids had taken over the house. When they brought him out, he was so weak, so thin and so green. His whole body, they get an oily effect on top of them and it was just unbelievable. They had birds in there so they would know when the chemicals were getting too strong, so there were live birds, dead birds. The rats. The confusion in there was just unbelievable.

>> R.J. Shannon:
I've worked with mothers against gangs for a number of years. We had a lot of wonderful children that would come in and just hang out all day. We had one little girl who was probably four, used to come over every day and hang out. She lived across the street at 14th street and Thomas. And one day she didn't come. The reason that she didn't come was her mother had a meth lab in their apartment and this child had died from being poisoned.

>> Jay Keyser:
hat I hear all the time and we have in common throughout the area is people don't feel safe. We have been designated by the police department for coordinated effort due to the highest rate that we've experienced - the highest rate in the city for violent crimes. And with that is all of the other crimes that aren't violent. The underlying causes that we are looking for we know are drugs. Drug use. And in particular, amphetamine use. We have had a lot of shootings in the last six months, particularly on the 27th avenue corridor. One particular area of the corridor, we have had a cascade of residents move out. These are folks who own condominiums and are fed up. They want to move somewhere where they feel safe. It's a crisis.

>> Larry Lemmons:
The new ordinances passed unanimously by the task force would require a person buying a product contained pseudoephedrine present a federal ID, the buyer's name, date of birth, address, and quantity of the product will be recorded. The seller would report the information to the chief of police every month. Also, products containing pseudoephedrine will be kept behind a store counter. If such product is found to be displayed and easily accessible, it can be seized by authorities and destroyed. The ordinances must be passed by the city council before taking effect. Similar ordinances have already been passed by other Arizona cities.

>> R. J. Shannon:
Today was the first day that I heard that Arizona was number one for meth use among teens 12 to 17. That is a devastating statistic to find out. There's a lot of work that needs to be done not only with younger people and older people who are using. I think there's been a denial factor around teen use. We have to address that.

>> Donna Neill:
If we can continue this movement and get people behind this, we can change everything. I believe that it needs to go state level.

Michael Grant:
Here now to tell us more about the task force, the Phoenix City Councilman for the fourth district, Tom Simplot. And to help us understand the devastating effect of meth on the user and those around the user, the director of outreach and HIV prevention for Terros, Cathy Paddack. Cathy, why the explosion in meth use I would say in the past I guess five years?

>> Cathy Paddack:
Well, if you will remember, we had a crack cocaine problem. It's the same type of drug, it's a stimulant, but the high lasts longer and is cheaper in the long run. So you're getting a bigger buzz for your buck, so to speak. We are running into huge problems because of the drug abuse psychosis and the violence and just on and on.

Michael Grant:
One of the things pointed out in the package is the effects on, oftentimes, children in the meth lab environment.

>> Cathy Paddack:
Right. The fumes from methamphetamine are very, very heavy. If I'm 5'7" -- which I'm not -- and cooking methamphetamine, and I've got a child crawling or a toddler, the fumes are coming down to the child and that child is using methamphetamine without their consent, so to speak, so we've got a child who is definitely impaired by methamphetamine. The same damage that happens with the methamphetamine addict, the pleasure center is also being killed, so to speak, in that child.

Michael Grant:
Tom, obviously some people disappointed the state legislation did not go further; however; it did take it behind the counter and took some other steps that just went into effect. Why not give it a chance to see if it impacts the issue?

>> Tom Simplot:
We know that the state law was flawed several ways, especially when you compare it to what Oklahoma and other states have done. What the state did, was they may have taken it out of the aisle, but they still don't have any record of who is buying the drug on a day-to-day basis. What the folks do who are making the drug is they will go from store to store to store. The state legislation did nothing to stop that problem.

Michael Grant:
What about the pharmacy alliance spokesman we had? Who said hold it, meth users and manufacturers are known for fraudulent ID. Which is in fact true. Are we creating much of a paper trail given the nature if you pardon the expression the clientele you deal with?

>> Tom Simplot:
To do nothing exacerbates the problem. We have to take every step we can to remove the one common ingredient and that's the psuedoephedrine. We have to remove that common ingredient from easy availability, which will result in a higher price for the drug, which will result in hopefully lowering the usage. Together with the other efforts we will take down the path - which is of course education, prevention and the things that Cathy works on, on a daily basis, passing this law will help us reach that goal.

Michael Grant:
Cathy, you were telling me that it is exceptionally hard to get off meth?

>> Cathy Paddack:
One of the reasons that it's hard to get off meth, and I've had heroin addicts who are now meth addicts saying heroin addiction is a walk in the park. This grabs such a hold on them. Physiologically, it damages the pleasure center, it begins to die. So, if you use methamphetamine for a certain period of time, you will never experience that joy that you maybe did originally before you ever used drugs. More importantly, you're never going to experience the high that you keep chasing, which they call it chasing the dragon. The first use of any substance creates some kind of mood altering that you're seeking. You're never going to get that again.

Michael Grant:
Tom, this can't really work, can it, with Phoenix as an island?

>> Tom Simplot:
No. The number one choice would have been for a piece of statewide legislation and that didn't happen. We said last year when we support Attorney General Goddard, if the state legislature doesn't do something we would work on a regional level to do something ourselves and that's what we're doing.

Michael Grant:
What sort of feedback have you gotten from other municipalities, like Glendale, Mesa, Tempe, whatever the case may be?

>> Tom Simplot:
We're actually preparing basically a motion for the Arizona League of Cities and Towns, which meets in Mesa in the next 30 days. We will be presenting our ordinance. We have approached Maricopa County, because when you think about it, we also need Maricopa County's assistance; otherwise, people will simply go from city to city or into the unincorporated areas, and so far we have had a very favorable response.

Michael Grant:
If they don't pass, what will you do next?

>> If the other cities and county don't pass something, we know that we've done what we can as a first step. The task force is just the beginning. This is a holistic approach to a very deep and severe problem in our community.

Michael Grant:
Possibly a return to the legislature next year.

>> Tom Simplot:
If we have to, absolutely.

>> Michael Grant:
Tom Simplot, Phoenix City Council, thanks very much for joining us.

>> Tom Simplot:
Thank you.

Michael Grant:
Cathy Paddock, appreciate your information, as well. The Base Realignment and Closure Commission has voted to approve the Pentagon's decision to move the Air Force research lab in Mesa to Ohio. This move could mean as many as 450 jobs will be lost. Merry Lucero tells us what the lab does.

>> Merry Lucero:
Pilots train in advanced high tech flight simulators at the war fighter readiness division of the Air Force research laboratory located at Williams Gateway Airport in Mesa.

>> Col. Daniel Walker:
Training is a fairly expensive proposition. We're primarily interested in the Air Force here, but we work with other services. Any way we can show the commanders to get their soldiers, airmen, Marines ready for their mission faster, which includes initial training and rehearsals for any particular mission, that will help the commander when they actually are called on to do their job in combat or in other operations.

>> Merry Lucero:
Research is also conducted to improve air-to-air and air-to-ground combat procedures.

>> Col. Daniel Walker:
We develop, we analyze, experiment with different ways to train the war fighter, to be more effective in combat. They'll be able to learn faster, we will be able to get it to them more efficiently, it will stay with them longer. It will be better value to them when they need to do their job.

>> Merry Lucero:
88 government employees work at the facility. Hundreds of additional jobs are related directly or indirectly to the operation.

>> Col. Daniel Walker:
We have made an effort to be part of the community that we're in. It has been very beneficial both for us and for places like Arizona state where we do a lot of cooperative research programs along with what we call a collaboratory. We do it in collaboration with the civilian researchers and contractors and with the military defense contractors and those organizations that have an interest in training airmen.

>> Merry Lucero:
The labs proximity to Luke Air Force base and other military installations is a benefit.

>> Col. Daniel Walker:
The airmen that come and participate in our studies are very enthusiastic parts of our studies and our research and ways to do better training. We're very happy with our relationship with Luke Air Force base and other military institutions, both in the reserve component and the National Gard and the active duty for their ability to come here and train. So the fact that they are here helps us do our mission better.

Michael Grant:
The President and Congress must still approve the closure list. If finalized, the move must be completed no later than 2011. Wickenburg, Arizona is a virtual gold mine of history, having been founded after gold was discovered there. And the latest nugget to be unearthed is Elizabeth Hudson Smith. She was an African-American woman who owned several properties in Wickenburg in the early 1900s but she also faced the heavy hand of discrimination. Mike Sauceda and videographer Scot Olson tell us her story.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Some 40 years after the emancipation proclamation freed the slaves, a young African-American woman arrived in Wickenburg. Her name, Elizabeth Hudson Smith.

>> Dennis Freeman:
She was born in Alabama in 1869. Her father's name was Sales Hudson. He was a slave who ran away two times and caught two times, but was emancipated after the emancipation proclamation during the Civil War, who told his daughter to go out and see what freedom there was.

>> Mike Sauceda:
This is one of only two images known to exist of Smith. This photo was taken at the Baxter opera house she owned, one of several business ventures owned by Smith in Wickenburg. It's a manifestation that she put the advice of her father into action by obtaining an education.

>> Dennis Freeman:
Because Elizabeth Hudson Smith spoke fluent French, and women from Phoenix would come on the Santa Fe railroad for French lessons in Elizabeth's hotel parlor, we have surmised that she possibly attended the Ursuline Nuns School for Girls, which was established after the French-Indian wars, but one of the prerequisites for graduate from their school was that the girls speak fluent French.

>> Mike Sauceda:
George Pullman, the inventor of the Pullman sleeping car, was responsible for bringing Smith and her husband to Wickenburg when he came to vacation nearby. The couple were employed to care for Pullman and his family.

>> Dennis Freeman:
When Elizabeth saw this land and saw the beauty of the Sonoran desert, she and Bill left the employment of the Pullman family, and she came to the Baxter hotel. She cooked, her husband served, worked as a valet at the hotel, and because they had been working for George Pullman, his sense of taking care of people was highly refined, and their reputation began to really grow.

>> Mike Sauceda:
That reputation caught the attention of the Santa Fe Railroad, which needed a hotel and restaurant for passengers on their way to Los Angeles.

>> Dennis Freeman:
They came to Elizabeth and William and said, we want you to build a hotel, comparable to the Harvey houses, a place where our passengers can be pampered, a place where they will have fine meals and enjoy staying before they get on the train for Los Angeles. Here was Elizabeth, a young African-American woman working with her husband as employees of the Baxter Hotel. She said where in the world would we ever get the money? William Smith's mother sold her house in Springfield, Illinois. It was reputed that George Pullman also contributed and Santa Fe railroad also may have contributed. Elizabeth went to James Creighton, the leading young architect in the territory, who designed her hotel. The hotel was built and opened in 1906. Elizabeth Hudson Smith had a golden age. She dressed in velvet dresses, she wore hats, she wore arm-length gloves and she was an astute business woman.

>> Mike Sauceda:
The Hotel Vernetta, named after William Smith's mother, was the first brick building in Wickenburg. This is one other known picture that may include Smith. It shows her in front of the hotel. The hotel still stands at One Apache Street.

>> Dennis Freeman:
The hotel also became a gathering place. It was a place for people to come and have a wonderful meal. It was considered at the top of the line to come to the Vernetta hotel for a family dinner. People came and they congregated here. Elizabeth was always circulating among the guests. She was a fine conversationalist. She loved to talk to the people. She was interested in everything, she was highly entertaining. She could carry on, hold her own in any discussion. She really enjoyed being the grand dame of the Vernetta hotel.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Smith was a devout Presbyterian, and this is a model in the museum in Wickenburg of the church she helped found. How did an African-American woman become so successful in Wickenburg just four decades after slavery? Freeman says it was because the town was largely Mexican-American when Elizabeth arrived.

>> Dennis Freeman:
They took Elizabeth in as an equal. There was no color line. She loved them, they loved her, and there was a willingness and a vision that everybody had to build this town.

>> Mike Sauceda:
After Arizona statehood, Freeman said that changed when white southerners began moving into Wickenburg

>> Dennis Freeman:
When people came from the outside who were not familiar with her history, suddenly she became just an African-American person and she was subject to the prejudice that the people brought with them. And she had to go underground. She had to take off those velvet dresses, take off those fancy hats and those beautiful gloves. She had to dress in the clothes of a maid in her hotel just because they didn't want her too uppity. She was no longer allowed to attend the Presbyterian church she helped to found. You can go there and look at their founding charter. There's Elizabeth's name right on it. She was no longer allowed to attend the social gatherings of women who would get together. And even people that she had helped financially get their own businesses started would cross the street when they saw her coming the other way.

>> Mike Sauceda:
The lingering effects of that racism endured into this century. It was in approximately 2001 that a manikin of a prostitute was removed from the upper window of a display at the Desert Caballeros exhibit left over from the days of attempts to label the Vernetta Hotel as a brothel.

>> Dennis Freeman:
This is Elizabeth Hudson Smith's site. The plain bronze plaque was put there by an uncle who was a dentist from the Midwest for her.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Smith's story ended when she died in 1935, her death shrouded in mystery.

>> Dennis Freeman:
There are two points of view of how Elizabeth Hudson Smith died. When I spoke to Tony O'Brien, who was an Anglo man, he told me that Elizabeth Hudson Smith had been long suffering with a long illness. Tony had gone to her farm and she had given Tony O'Brien her cattle to take care of because she was not physically strong enough to take care of matters of her farm. When I spoke to Doc Garcia, who was the grandson of Ignacio Garcia, Doc said, well, what I remember about Mrs. Smith, she was walking by the house, told us that she was going to the doctor because she had a little head cold, and the next day she was dead. There is the opinion that she either had a long, lingering illness or possibly she was poisoned. Because all of her land disappeared. But those are, as you know, those are very sensitive issues in this town.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Freeman says a will was never found and her beloved Vernetta hotel, other properties and $50,000 never went to her nieces and nephews. She never had children of her own. Smith's story was largely forgotten as the state and Wickenburg moved forward. The story was revived in the play Freeman wrote, in 1998, titled, The Wickenburg Way. The play featured an act about Smith and it led to healing for the town. It was brought home by the then oldest man in Wickenburg, who had been a friend of Smith's.

>> Dennis Freeman:
Tony O'Brien walked up to the actress, Mary Kelly, his face was wet with tears and he stood in front of Mary and said, Elizabeth. It's me, Tony. And put his arms around her. And for a 20 foot circle around those two, everybody burst into tears.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Smith's ghost is said to haunt the stairwell and other parts of the old Vernetta Hotel, which is now the administrative offices of a Christian bulimia and anorexia clinic. One story says she even made a pot of coffee after a request by businessmen who had an office in the old hotel. Smith's heyday is long gone, but her legacy is starting to bloom again.

>> Dennis Freeman:
I would like history once and for all to reveal Elizabeth Hudson Smith as the deeply responsible, wonderful flower of a human being that she was.

Michael Grant:
We'll bring you another Arizona story next Monday. Tomorrow night on "Horizon" we'll talk about the census and we'll visit with Arizona Senator Jon Kyl.

>> Reporter:
Many Americans say the border is broken as illegal immigration has become a hot political and social issue. Arizona's border crisis is a look at the phenomenon of immigration, the situation on the border, the role immigrants play in the workforce and the politics behind it. Arizona's border crisis Wednesday night at 7 on channel 8's "Horizon".

Michael Grant:
Thursday Governor Napolitano will be with us on "First Thursday" and don't forget the Journalists' Roundtable on Friday where we will recap the news. Thanks very much for being here on a Monday evening. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one. Good night.

Base Realignment


  • The Base Realignment And Closure Commission has voted to close Mesa's Air Force Research Lab.
Guests:
  • Tom Simplot - Phoenix City Councilman, Fourth District
  • Cathy Paddack - Director, Outreach and HIV prevention, Terros


View Transcript
Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon", a task force set up by the City of Phoenix hopes to make a dent in the war on methamphetamine. The Air Force research lab in Mesa has been given the axe by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. And the extraordinary tale of an African-American woman in the early days of Wickenburg 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 and welcome to "Horizon". I'm Michael Grant. President Bush paid us a visit today. The president's plane landed at Luke Air Force Base where he was greeted by Senator John McCain. The president spoke to an audience in El Mirage about the Medicare prescription benefit, which takes full effect at the end of this year. The president also stressed the importance of working with the state to protect Arizona's borders. The city of Phoenix may soon see stricter laws governing the sale of pseudo-amphetamines. Not content with what they consider a watered-down state law that was approved by the legislature this year, two Phoenix Councilmembers have created a task force to promote two ordinances that would go beyond the state law in the effort to curb the production of methamphetamines. Larry Lemmons describes the urgency evident at the task force's initial meeting last Thursday.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Arizona is number one in meth use for children ages 12 to 17. That's one of the sobering facts Arizona attorney general Terry Goddard presented to the meth task force at Phoenix city hall. This was the first meeting of the task force led by Phoenix councilmen Dave Siebert and Tom Simplot.

>> Tom Simplot:
Several months ago, Councilman Siebert and myself asked the mayor if we could co-chair this task force. We asked our attorney general if he would be a part of this process. He readily agreed. A year ago, the city Council voted unanimously to support the attorney general's efforts at the legislature to start the process of limiting the availability of pseudoephedrine or those type products on the market. We supported the attorney general in his efforts. Unfortunately, what came out of the legislature was a watered down version. We had promised at that time if that happened, we would be back here at city hall to take a much more direct approach on a local and regional level, and that's exactly what we're doing here today.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Earlier this year, Goddard had lobbied for a state law that would have regulated the sale of pseudoephedrine, the primary ingredient needed to make methamphetamine.

>> Terry Goddard:
This bill would make pseudoephedrine class 5, which means that it would have to be distributed by a pharmacist. And I think that's the appropriate step because these are dangerous. What you turn these tablets into is one of the most lethal drugs that's out there in the market today. We've got to stop the production of meth; this is the most effective way to do it.

>> Larry Lemmons:
But some retailers didn't want to step into what they felt was a law enforcement role.

>> Kathy Boyle:
We already know that they use fake Ids sp we know part of the bill would be that the pharmacist is going to have to write down the address and sign it to keep the log book for law enforcement to come in at their leisure to check to see who is purchasing the products. For us, if they're not using real IDs, what does that tell law enforcement? For pharmacists to step into a law enforcement activity, they are not trained to do that. And also to keep the log book is onerous for the pharmacist as well. I can tell customers right now, if this goes into effect, you can expect longer lines at your pharmacy to wait for your pharmacist or your technician to make the transaction.

>> Larry Lemmons:
The bill passed by the legislature did not include requirements that pharmacists dispense the product or require buyers to sign a log or show an ID. The meth task force is made up of representatives of law enforcement, the fire department, the Chamber of Commerce, the city attorney and many others. Some came with personal experience of the devastating effects of meth use.

>> Donna Neill:
The community I live in, we've had in the last 13 years six meth labs, which is quite a few. The last one we took care of, they had a horse inside the house, children, grandchildren, the grandfather lives there, the grandkids had taken over the house. When they brought him out, he was so weak, so thin and so green. His whole body, they get an oily effect on top of them and it was just unbelievable. They had birds in there so they would know when the chemicals were getting too strong, so there were live birds, dead birds. The rats. The confusion in there was just unbelievable.

>> R.J. Shannon:
I've worked with mothers against gangs for a number of years. We had a lot of wonderful children that would come in and just hang out all day. We had one little girl who was probably four, used to come over every day and hang out. She lived across the street at 14th street and Thomas. And one day she didn't come. The reason that she didn't come was her mother had a meth lab in their apartment and this child had died from being poisoned.

>> Jay Keyser:
hat I hear all the time and we have in common throughout the area is people don't feel safe. We have been designated by the police department for coordinated effort due to the highest rate that we've experienced - the highest rate in the city for violent crimes. And with that is all of the other crimes that aren't violent. The underlying causes that we are looking for we know are drugs. Drug use. And in particular, amphetamine use. We have had a lot of shootings in the last six months, particularly on the 27th avenue corridor. One particular area of the corridor, we have had a cascade of residents move out. These are folks who own condominiums and are fed up. They want to move somewhere where they feel safe. It's a crisis.

>> Larry Lemmons:
The new ordinances passed unanimously by the task force would require a person buying a product contained pseudoephedrine present a federal ID, the buyer's name, date of birth, address, and quantity of the product will be recorded. The seller would report the information to the chief of police every month. Also, products containing pseudoephedrine will be kept behind a store counter. If such product is found to be displayed and easily accessible, it can be seized by authorities and destroyed. The ordinances must be passed by the city council before taking effect. Similar ordinances have already been passed by other Arizona cities.

>> R. J. Shannon:
Today was the first day that I heard that Arizona was number one for meth use among teens 12 to 17. That is a devastating statistic to find out. There's a lot of work that needs to be done not only with younger people and older people who are using. I think there's been a denial factor around teen use. We have to address that.

>> Donna Neill:
If we can continue this movement and get people behind this, we can change everything. I believe that it needs to go state level.

Michael Grant:
Here now to tell us more about the task force, the Phoenix City Councilman for the fourth district, Tom Simplot. And to help us understand the devastating effect of meth on the user and those around the user, the director of outreach and HIV prevention for Terros, Cathy Paddack. Cathy, why the explosion in meth use I would say in the past I guess five years?

>> Cathy Paddack:
Well, if you will remember, we had a crack cocaine problem. It's the same type of drug, it's a stimulant, but the high lasts longer and is cheaper in the long run. So you're getting a bigger buzz for your buck, so to speak. We are running into huge problems because of the drug abuse psychosis and the violence and just on and on.

Michael Grant:
One of the things pointed out in the package is the effects on, oftentimes, children in the meth lab environment.

>> Cathy Paddack:
Right. The fumes from methamphetamine are very, very heavy. If I'm 5'7" -- which I'm not -- and cooking methamphetamine, and I've got a child crawling or a toddler, the fumes are coming down to the child and that child is using methamphetamine without their consent, so to speak, so we've got a child who is definitely impaired by methamphetamine. The same damage that happens with the methamphetamine addict, the pleasure center is also being killed, so to speak, in that child.

Michael Grant:
Tom, obviously some people disappointed the state legislation did not go further; however; it did take it behind the counter and took some other steps that just went into effect. Why not give it a chance to see if it impacts the issue?

>> Tom Simplot:
We know that the state law was flawed several ways, especially when you compare it to what Oklahoma and other states have done. What the state did, was they may have taken it out of the aisle, but they still don't have any record of who is buying the drug on a day-to-day basis. What the folks do who are making the drug is they will go from store to store to store. The state legislation did nothing to stop that problem.

Michael Grant:
What about the pharmacy alliance spokesman we had? Who said hold it, meth users and manufacturers are known for fraudulent ID. Which is in fact true. Are we creating much of a paper trail given the nature if you pardon the expression the clientele you deal with?

>> Tom Simplot:
To do nothing exacerbates the problem. We have to take every step we can to remove the one common ingredient and that's the psuedoephedrine. We have to remove that common ingredient from easy availability, which will result in a higher price for the drug, which will result in hopefully lowering the usage. Together with the other efforts we will take down the path - which is of course education, prevention and the things that Cathy works on, on a daily basis, passing this law will help us reach that goal.

Michael Grant:
Cathy, you were telling me that it is exceptionally hard to get off meth?

>> Cathy Paddack:
One of the reasons that it's hard to get off meth, and I've had heroin addicts who are now meth addicts saying heroin addiction is a walk in the park. This grabs such a hold on them. Physiologically, it damages the pleasure center, it begins to die. So, if you use methamphetamine for a certain period of time, you will never experience that joy that you maybe did originally before you ever used drugs. More importantly, you're never going to experience the high that you keep chasing, which they call it chasing the dragon. The first use of any substance creates some kind of mood altering that you're seeking. You're never going to get that again.

Michael Grant:
Tom, this can't really work, can it, with Phoenix as an island?

>> Tom Simplot:
No. The number one choice would have been for a piece of statewide legislation and that didn't happen. We said last year when we support Attorney General Goddard, if the state legislature doesn't do something we would work on a regional level to do something ourselves and that's what we're doing.

Michael Grant:
What sort of feedback have you gotten from other municipalities, like Glendale, Mesa, Tempe, whatever the case may be?

>> Tom Simplot:
We're actually preparing basically a motion for the Arizona League of Cities and Towns, which meets in Mesa in the next 30 days. We will be presenting our ordinance. We have approached Maricopa County, because when you think about it, we also need Maricopa County's assistance; otherwise, people will simply go from city to city or into the unincorporated areas, and so far we have had a very favorable response.

Michael Grant:
If they don't pass, what will you do next?

>> If the other cities and county don't pass something, we know that we've done what we can as a first step. The task force is just the beginning. This is a holistic approach to a very deep and severe problem in our community.

Michael Grant:
Possibly a return to the legislature next year.

>> Tom Simplot:
If we have to, absolutely.

>> Michael Grant:
Tom Simplot, Phoenix City Council, thanks very much for joining us.

>> Tom Simplot:
Thank you.

Michael Grant:
Cathy Paddock, appreciate your information, as well. The Base Realignment and Closure Commission has voted to approve the Pentagon's decision to move the Air Force research lab in Mesa to Ohio. This move could mean as many as 450 jobs will be lost. Merry Lucero tells us what the lab does.

>> Merry Lucero:
Pilots train in advanced high tech flight simulators at the war fighter readiness division of the Air Force research laboratory located at Williams Gateway Airport in Mesa.

>> Col. Daniel Walker:
Training is a fairly expensive proposition. We're primarily interested in the Air Force here, but we work with other services. Any way we can show the commanders to get their soldiers, airmen, Marines ready for their mission faster, which includes initial training and rehearsals for any particular mission, that will help the commander when they actually are called on to do their job in combat or in other operations.

>> Merry Lucero:
Research is also conducted to improve air-to-air and air-to-ground combat procedures.

>> Col. Daniel Walker:
We develop, we analyze, experiment with different ways to train the war fighter, to be more effective in combat. They'll be able to learn faster, we will be able to get it to them more efficiently, it will stay with them longer. It will be better value to them when they need to do their job.

>> Merry Lucero:
88 government employees work at the facility. Hundreds of additional jobs are related directly or indirectly to the operation.

>> Col. Daniel Walker:
We have made an effort to be part of the community that we're in. It has been very beneficial both for us and for places like Arizona state where we do a lot of cooperative research programs along with what we call a collaboratory. We do it in collaboration with the civilian researchers and contractors and with the military defense contractors and those organizations that have an interest in training airmen.

>> Merry Lucero:
The labs proximity to Luke Air Force base and other military installations is a benefit.

>> Col. Daniel Walker:
The airmen that come and participate in our studies are very enthusiastic parts of our studies and our research and ways to do better training. We're very happy with our relationship with Luke Air Force base and other military institutions, both in the reserve component and the National Gard and the active duty for their ability to come here and train. So the fact that they are here helps us do our mission better.

Michael Grant:
The President and Congress must still approve the closure list. If finalized, the move must be completed no later than 2011. Wickenburg, Arizona is a virtual gold mine of history, having been founded after gold was discovered there. And the latest nugget to be unearthed is Elizabeth Hudson Smith. She was an African-American woman who owned several properties in Wickenburg in the early 1900s but she also faced the heavy hand of discrimination. Mike Sauceda and videographer Scot Olson tell us her story.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Some 40 years after the emancipation proclamation freed the slaves, a young African-American woman arrived in Wickenburg. Her name, Elizabeth Hudson Smith.

>> Dennis Freeman:
She was born in Alabama in 1869. Her father's name was Sales Hudson. He was a slave who ran away two times and caught two times, but was emancipated after the emancipation proclamation during the Civil War, who told his daughter to go out and see what freedom there was.

>> Mike Sauceda:
This is one of only two images known to exist of Smith. This photo was taken at the Baxter opera house she owned, one of several business ventures owned by Smith in Wickenburg. It's a manifestation that she put the advice of her father into action by obtaining an education.

>> Dennis Freeman:
Because Elizabeth Hudson Smith spoke fluent French, and women from Phoenix would come on the Santa Fe railroad for French lessons in Elizabeth's hotel parlor, we have surmised that she possibly attended the Ursuline Nuns School for Girls, which was established after the French-Indian wars, but one of the prerequisites for graduate from their school was that the girls speak fluent French.

>> Mike Sauceda:
George Pullman, the inventor of the Pullman sleeping car, was responsible for bringing Smith and her husband to Wickenburg when he came to vacation nearby. The couple were employed to care for Pullman and his family.

>> Dennis Freeman:
When Elizabeth saw this land and saw the beauty of the Sonoran desert, she and Bill left the employment of the Pullman family, and she came to the Baxter hotel. She cooked, her husband served, worked as a valet at the hotel, and because they had been working for George Pullman, his sense of taking care of people was highly refined, and their reputation began to really grow.

>> Mike Sauceda:
That reputation caught the attention of the Santa Fe Railroad, which needed a hotel and restaurant for passengers on their way to Los Angeles.

>> Dennis Freeman:
They came to Elizabeth and William and said, we want you to build a hotel, comparable to the Harvey houses, a place where our passengers can be pampered, a place where they will have fine meals and enjoy staying before they get on the train for Los Angeles. Here was Elizabeth, a young African-American woman working with her husband as employees of the Baxter Hotel. She said where in the world would we ever get the money? William Smith's mother sold her house in Springfield, Illinois. It was reputed that George Pullman also contributed and Santa Fe railroad also may have contributed. Elizabeth went to James Creighton, the leading young architect in the territory, who designed her hotel. The hotel was built and opened in 1906. Elizabeth Hudson Smith had a golden age. She dressed in velvet dresses, she wore hats, she wore arm-length gloves and she was an astute business woman.

>> Mike Sauceda:
The Hotel Vernetta, named after William Smith's mother, was the first brick building in Wickenburg. This is one other known picture that may include Smith. It shows her in front of the hotel. The hotel still stands at One Apache Street.

>> Dennis Freeman:
The hotel also became a gathering place. It was a place for people to come and have a wonderful meal. It was considered at the top of the line to come to the Vernetta hotel for a family dinner. People came and they congregated here. Elizabeth was always circulating among the guests. She was a fine conversationalist. She loved to talk to the people. She was interested in everything, she was highly entertaining. She could carry on, hold her own in any discussion. She really enjoyed being the grand dame of the Vernetta hotel.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Smith was a devout Presbyterian, and this is a model in the museum in Wickenburg of the church she helped found. How did an African-American woman become so successful in Wickenburg just four decades after slavery? Freeman says it was because the town was largely Mexican-American when Elizabeth arrived.

>> Dennis Freeman:
They took Elizabeth in as an equal. There was no color line. She loved them, they loved her, and there was a willingness and a vision that everybody had to build this town.

>> Mike Sauceda:
After Arizona statehood, Freeman said that changed when white southerners began moving into Wickenburg

>> Dennis Freeman:
When people came from the outside who were not familiar with her history, suddenly she became just an African-American person and she was subject to the prejudice that the people brought with them. And she had to go underground. She had to take off those velvet dresses, take off those fancy hats and those beautiful gloves. She had to dress in the clothes of a maid in her hotel just because they didn't want her too uppity. She was no longer allowed to attend the Presbyterian church she helped to found. You can go there and look at their founding charter. There's Elizabeth's name right on it. She was no longer allowed to attend the social gatherings of women who would get together. And even people that she had helped financially get their own businesses started would cross the street when they saw her coming the other way.

>> Mike Sauceda:
The lingering effects of that racism endured into this century. It was in approximately 2001 that a manikin of a prostitute was removed from the upper window of a display at the Desert Caballeros exhibit left over from the days of attempts to label the Vernetta Hotel as a brothel.

>> Dennis Freeman:
This is Elizabeth Hudson Smith's site. The plain bronze plaque was put there by an uncle who was a dentist from the Midwest for her.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Smith's story ended when she died in 1935, her death shrouded in mystery.

>> Dennis Freeman:
There are two points of view of how Elizabeth Hudson Smith died. When I spoke to Tony O'Brien, who was an Anglo man, he told me that Elizabeth Hudson Smith had been long suffering with a long illness. Tony had gone to her farm and she had given Tony O'Brien her cattle to take care of because she was not physically strong enough to take care of matters of her farm. When I spoke to Doc Garcia, who was the grandson of Ignacio Garcia, Doc said, well, what I remember about Mrs. Smith, she was walking by the house, told us that she was going to the doctor because she had a little head cold, and the next day she was dead. There is the opinion that she either had a long, lingering illness or possibly she was poisoned. Because all of her land disappeared. But those are, as you know, those are very sensitive issues in this town.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Freeman says a will was never found and her beloved Vernetta hotel, other properties and $50,000 never went to her nieces and nephews. She never had children of her own. Smith's story was largely forgotten as the state and Wickenburg moved forward. The story was revived in the play Freeman wrote, in 1998, titled, The Wickenburg Way. The play featured an act about Smith and it led to healing for the town. It was brought home by the then oldest man in Wickenburg, who had been a friend of Smith's.

>> Dennis Freeman:
Tony O'Brien walked up to the actress, Mary Kelly, his face was wet with tears and he stood in front of Mary and said, Elizabeth. It's me, Tony. And put his arms around her. And for a 20 foot circle around those two, everybody burst into tears.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Smith's ghost is said to haunt the stairwell and other parts of the old Vernetta Hotel, which is now the administrative offices of a Christian bulimia and anorexia clinic. One story says she even made a pot of coffee after a request by businessmen who had an office in the old hotel. Smith's heyday is long gone, but her legacy is starting to bloom again.

>> Dennis Freeman:
I would like history once and for all to reveal Elizabeth Hudson Smith as the deeply responsible, wonderful flower of a human being that she was.

Michael Grant:
We'll bring you another Arizona story next Monday. Tomorrow night on "Horizon" we'll talk about the census and we'll visit with Arizona Senator Jon Kyl.

>> Reporter:
Many Americans say the border is broken as illegal immigration has become a hot political and social issue. Arizona's border crisis is a look at the phenomenon of immigration, the situation on the border, the role immigrants play in the workforce and the politics behind it. Arizona's border crisis Wednesday night at 7 on channel 8's "Horizon".

Michael Grant:
Thursday Governor Napolitano will be with us on "First Thursday" and don't forget the Journalists' Roundtable on Friday where we will recap the news. Thanks very much for being here on a Monday evening. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one. Good night.

Meth Task Force


  • Phoenix officials have formed a task force to fight the prevalence of methamphetamine in the Valley. Phoenix Councilman Tom Simplot joins Michael Grant to discuss potential ordinances to restrict the sale of pseudoephedrine, the primary ingredient used to make meth.
Guests:
  • Tom Simplot - Phoenix City Councilman, Fourth District
  • Cathy Paddack - Director, Outreach and HIV prevention, Terros


View Transcript
Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon", a task force set up by the City of Phoenix hopes to make a dent in the war on methamphetamine. The Air Force research lab in Mesa has been given the axe by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. And the extraordinary tale of an African-American woman in the early days of Wickenburg 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 and welcome to "Horizon". I'm Michael Grant. President Bush paid us a visit today. The president's plane landed at Luke Air Force Base where he was greeted by Senator John McCain. The president spoke to an audience in El Mirage about the Medicare prescription benefit, which takes full effect at the end of this year. The president also stressed the importance of working with the state to protect Arizona's borders. The city of Phoenix may soon see stricter laws governing the sale of pseudo-amphetamines. Not content with what they consider a watered-down state law that was approved by the legislature this year, two Phoenix Councilmembers have created a task force to promote two ordinances that would go beyond the state law in the effort to curb the production of methamphetamines. Larry Lemmons describes the urgency evident at the task force's initial meeting last Thursday.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Arizona is number one in meth use for children ages 12 to 17. That's one of the sobering facts Arizona attorney general Terry Goddard presented to the meth task force at Phoenix city hall. This was the first meeting of the task force led by Phoenix councilmen Dave Siebert and Tom Simplot.

>> Tom Simplot:
Several months ago, Councilman Siebert and myself asked the mayor if we could co-chair this task force. We asked our attorney general if he would be a part of this process. He readily agreed. A year ago, the city Council voted unanimously to support the attorney general's efforts at the legislature to start the process of limiting the availability of pseudoephedrine or those type products on the market. We supported the attorney general in his efforts. Unfortunately, what came out of the legislature was a watered down version. We had promised at that time if that happened, we would be back here at city hall to take a much more direct approach on a local and regional level, and that's exactly what we're doing here today.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Earlier this year, Goddard had lobbied for a state law that would have regulated the sale of pseudoephedrine, the primary ingredient needed to make methamphetamine.

>> Terry Goddard:
This bill would make pseudoephedrine class 5, which means that it would have to be distributed by a pharmacist. And I think that's the appropriate step because these are dangerous. What you turn these tablets into is one of the most lethal drugs that's out there in the market today. We've got to stop the production of meth; this is the most effective way to do it.

>> Larry Lemmons:
But some retailers didn't want to step into what they felt was a law enforcement role.

>> Kathy Boyle:
We already know that they use fake Ids sp we know part of the bill would be that the pharmacist is going to have to write down the address and sign it to keep the log book for law enforcement to come in at their leisure to check to see who is purchasing the products. For us, if they're not using real IDs, what does that tell law enforcement? For pharmacists to step into a law enforcement activity, they are not trained to do that. And also to keep the log book is onerous for the pharmacist as well. I can tell customers right now, if this goes into effect, you can expect longer lines at your pharmacy to wait for your pharmacist or your technician to make the transaction.

>> Larry Lemmons:
The bill passed by the legislature did not include requirements that pharmacists dispense the product or require buyers to sign a log or show an ID. The meth task force is made up of representatives of law enforcement, the fire department, the Chamber of Commerce, the city attorney and many others. Some came with personal experience of the devastating effects of meth use.

>> Donna Neill:
The community I live in, we've had in the last 13 years six meth labs, which is quite a few. The last one we took care of, they had a horse inside the house, children, grandchildren, the grandfather lives there, the grandkids had taken over the house. When they brought him out, he was so weak, so thin and so green. His whole body, they get an oily effect on top of them and it was just unbelievable. They had birds in there so they would know when the chemicals were getting too strong, so there were live birds, dead birds. The rats. The confusion in there was just unbelievable.

>> R.J. Shannon:
I've worked with mothers against gangs for a number of years. We had a lot of wonderful children that would come in and just hang out all day. We had one little girl who was probably four, used to come over every day and hang out. She lived across the street at 14th street and Thomas. And one day she didn't come. The reason that she didn't come was her mother had a meth lab in their apartment and this child had died from being poisoned.

>> Jay Keyser:
hat I hear all the time and we have in common throughout the area is people don't feel safe. We have been designated by the police department for coordinated effort due to the highest rate that we've experienced - the highest rate in the city for violent crimes. And with that is all of the other crimes that aren't violent. The underlying causes that we are looking for we know are drugs. Drug use. And in particular, amphetamine use. We have had a lot of shootings in the last six months, particularly on the 27th avenue corridor. One particular area of the corridor, we have had a cascade of residents move out. These are folks who own condominiums and are fed up. They want to move somewhere where they feel safe. It's a crisis.

>> Larry Lemmons:
The new ordinances passed unanimously by the task force would require a person buying a product contained pseudoephedrine present a federal ID, the buyer's name, date of birth, address, and quantity of the product will be recorded. The seller would report the information to the chief of police every month. Also, products containing pseudoephedrine will be kept behind a store counter. If such product is found to be displayed and easily accessible, it can be seized by authorities and destroyed. The ordinances must be passed by the city council before taking effect. Similar ordinances have already been passed by other Arizona cities.

>> R. J. Shannon:
Today was the first day that I heard that Arizona was number one for meth use among teens 12 to 17. That is a devastating statistic to find out. There's a lot of work that needs to be done not only with younger people and older people who are using. I think there's been a denial factor around teen use. We have to address that.

>> Donna Neill:
If we can continue this movement and get people behind this, we can change everything. I believe that it needs to go state level.

Michael Grant:
Here now to tell us more about the task force, the Phoenix City Councilman for the fourth district, Tom Simplot. And to help us understand the devastating effect of meth on the user and those around the user, the director of outreach and HIV prevention for Terros, Cathy Paddack. Cathy, why the explosion in meth use I would say in the past I guess five years?

>> Cathy Paddack:
Well, if you will remember, we had a crack cocaine problem. It's the same type of drug, it's a stimulant, but the high lasts longer and is cheaper in the long run. So you're getting a bigger buzz for your buck, so to speak. We are running into huge problems because of the drug abuse psychosis and the violence and just on and on.

Michael Grant:
One of the things pointed out in the package is the effects on, oftentimes, children in the meth lab environment.

>> Cathy Paddack:
Right. The fumes from methamphetamine are very, very heavy. If I'm 5'7" -- which I'm not -- and cooking methamphetamine, and I've got a child crawling or a toddler, the fumes are coming down to the child and that child is using methamphetamine without their consent, so to speak, so we've got a child who is definitely impaired by methamphetamine. The same damage that happens with the methamphetamine addict, the pleasure center is also being killed, so to speak, in that child.

Michael Grant:
Tom, obviously some people disappointed the state legislation did not go further; however; it did take it behind the counter and took some other steps that just went into effect. Why not give it a chance to see if it impacts the issue?

>> Tom Simplot:
We know that the state law was flawed several ways, especially when you compare it to what Oklahoma and other states have done. What the state did, was they may have taken it out of the aisle, but they still don't have any record of who is buying the drug on a day-to-day basis. What the folks do who are making the drug is they will go from store to store to store. The state legislation did nothing to stop that problem.

Michael Grant:
What about the pharmacy alliance spokesman we had? Who said hold it, meth users and manufacturers are known for fraudulent ID. Which is in fact true. Are we creating much of a paper trail given the nature if you pardon the expression the clientele you deal with?

>> Tom Simplot:
To do nothing exacerbates the problem. We have to take every step we can to remove the one common ingredient and that's the psuedoephedrine. We have to remove that common ingredient from easy availability, which will result in a higher price for the drug, which will result in hopefully lowering the usage. Together with the other efforts we will take down the path - which is of course education, prevention and the things that Cathy works on, on a daily basis, passing this law will help us reach that goal.

Michael Grant:
Cathy, you were telling me that it is exceptionally hard to get off meth?

>> Cathy Paddack:
One of the reasons that it's hard to get off meth, and I've had heroin addicts who are now meth addicts saying heroin addiction is a walk in the park. This grabs such a hold on them. Physiologically, it damages the pleasure center, it begins to die. So, if you use methamphetamine for a certain period of time, you will never experience that joy that you maybe did originally before you ever used drugs. More importantly, you're never going to experience the high that you keep chasing, which they call it chasing the dragon. The first use of any substance creates some kind of mood altering that you're seeking. You're never going to get that again.

Michael Grant:
Tom, this can't really work, can it, with Phoenix as an island?

>> Tom Simplot:
No. The number one choice would have been for a piece of statewide legislation and that didn't happen. We said last year when we support Attorney General Goddard, if the state legislature doesn't do something we would work on a regional level to do something ourselves and that's what we're doing.

Michael Grant:
What sort of feedback have you gotten from other municipalities, like Glendale, Mesa, Tempe, whatever the case may be?

>> Tom Simplot:
We're actually preparing basically a motion for the Arizona League of Cities and Towns, which meets in Mesa in the next 30 days. We will be presenting our ordinance. We have approached Maricopa County, because when you think about it, we also need Maricopa County's assistance; otherwise, people will simply go from city to city or into the unincorporated areas, and so far we have had a very favorable response.

Michael Grant:
If they don't pass, what will you do next?

>> If the other cities and county don't pass something, we know that we've done what we can as a first step. The task force is just the beginning. This is a holistic approach to a very deep and severe problem in our community.

Michael Grant:
Possibly a return to the legislature next year.

>> Tom Simplot:
If we have to, absolutely.

>> Michael Grant:
Tom Simplot, Phoenix City Council, thanks very much for joining us.

>> Tom Simplot:
Thank you.

Michael Grant:
Cathy Paddock, appreciate your information, as well. The Base Realignment and Closure Commission has voted to approve the Pentagon's decision to move the Air Force research lab in Mesa to Ohio. This move could mean as many as 450 jobs will be lost. Merry Lucero tells us what the lab does.

>> Merry Lucero:
Pilots train in advanced high tech flight simulators at the war fighter readiness division of the Air Force research laboratory located at Williams Gateway Airport in Mesa.

>> Col. Daniel Walker:
Training is a fairly expensive proposition. We're primarily interested in the Air Force here, but we work with other services. Any way we can show the commanders to get their soldiers, airmen, Marines ready for their mission faster, which includes initial training and rehearsals for any particular mission, that will help the commander when they actually are called on to do their job in combat or in other operations.

>> Merry Lucero:
Research is also conducted to improve air-to-air and air-to-ground combat procedures.

>> Col. Daniel Walker:
We develop, we analyze, experiment with different ways to train the war fighter, to be more effective in combat. They'll be able to learn faster, we will be able to get it to them more efficiently, it will stay with them longer. It will be better value to them when they need to do their job.

>> Merry Lucero:
88 government employees work at the facility. Hundreds of additional jobs are related directly or indirectly to the operation.

>> Col. Daniel Walker:
We have made an effort to be part of the community that we're in. It has been very beneficial both for us and for places like Arizona state where we do a lot of cooperative research programs along with what we call a collaboratory. We do it in collaboration with the civilian researchers and contractors and with the military defense contractors and those organizations that have an interest in training airmen.

>> Merry Lucero:
The labs proximity to Luke Air Force base and other military installations is a benefit.

>> Col. Daniel Walker:
The airmen that come and participate in our studies are very enthusiastic parts of our studies and our research and ways to do better training. We're very happy with our relationship with Luke Air Force base and other military institutions, both in the reserve component and the National Gard and the active duty for their ability to come here and train. So the fact that they are here helps us do our mission better.

Michael Grant:
The President and Congress must still approve the closure list. If finalized, the move must be completed no later than 2011. Wickenburg, Arizona is a virtual gold mine of history, having been founded after gold was discovered there. And the latest nugget to be unearthed is Elizabeth Hudson Smith. She was an African-American woman who owned several properties in Wickenburg in the early 1900s but she also faced the heavy hand of discrimination. Mike Sauceda and videographer Scot Olson tell us her story.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Some 40 years after the emancipation proclamation freed the slaves, a young African-American woman arrived in Wickenburg. Her name, Elizabeth Hudson Smith.

>> Dennis Freeman:
She was born in Alabama in 1869. Her father's name was Sales Hudson. He was a slave who ran away two times and caught two times, but was emancipated after the emancipation proclamation during the Civil War, who told his daughter to go out and see what freedom there was.

>> Mike Sauceda:
This is one of only two images known to exist of Smith. This photo was taken at the Baxter opera house she owned, one of several business ventures owned by Smith in Wickenburg. It's a manifestation that she put the advice of her father into action by obtaining an education.

>> Dennis Freeman:
Because Elizabeth Hudson Smith spoke fluent French, and women from Phoenix would come on the Santa Fe railroad for French lessons in Elizabeth's hotel parlor, we have surmised that she possibly attended the Ursuline Nuns School for Girls, which was established after the French-Indian wars, but one of the prerequisites for graduate from their school was that the girls speak fluent French.

>> Mike Sauceda:
George Pullman, the inventor of the Pullman sleeping car, was responsible for bringing Smith and her husband to Wickenburg when he came to vacation nearby. The couple were employed to care for Pullman and his family.

>> Dennis Freeman:
When Elizabeth saw this land and saw the beauty of the Sonoran desert, she and Bill left the employment of the Pullman family, and she came to the Baxter hotel. She cooked, her husband served, worked as a valet at the hotel, and because they had been working for George Pullman, his sense of taking care of people was highly refined, and their reputation began to really grow.

>> Mike Sauceda:
That reputation caught the attention of the Santa Fe Railroad, which needed a hotel and restaurant for passengers on their way to Los Angeles.

>> Dennis Freeman:
They came to Elizabeth and William and said, we want you to build a hotel, comparable to the Harvey houses, a place where our passengers can be pampered, a place where they will have fine meals and enjoy staying before they get on the train for Los Angeles. Here was Elizabeth, a young African-American woman working with her husband as employees of the Baxter Hotel. She said where in the world would we ever get the money? William Smith's mother sold her house in Springfield, Illinois. It was reputed that George Pullman also contributed and Santa Fe railroad also may have contributed. Elizabeth went to James Creighton, the leading young architect in the territory, who designed her hotel. The hotel was built and opened in 1906. Elizabeth Hudson Smith had a golden age. She dressed in velvet dresses, she wore hats, she wore arm-length gloves and she was an astute business woman.

>> Mike Sauceda:
The Hotel Vernetta, named after William Smith's mother, was the first brick building in Wickenburg. This is one other known picture that may include Smith. It shows her in front of the hotel. The hotel still stands at One Apache Street.

>> Dennis Freeman:
The hotel also became a gathering place. It was a place for people to come and have a wonderful meal. It was considered at the top of the line to come to the Vernetta hotel for a family dinner. People came and they congregated here. Elizabeth was always circulating among the guests. She was a fine conversationalist. She loved to talk to the people. She was interested in everything, she was highly entertaining. She could carry on, hold her own in any discussion. She really enjoyed being the grand dame of the Vernetta hotel.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Smith was a devout Presbyterian, and this is a model in the museum in Wickenburg of the church she helped found. How did an African-American woman become so successful in Wickenburg just four decades after slavery? Freeman says it was because the town was largely Mexican-American when Elizabeth arrived.

>> Dennis Freeman:
They took Elizabeth in as an equal. There was no color line. She loved them, they loved her, and there was a willingness and a vision that everybody had to build this town.

>> Mike Sauceda:
After Arizona statehood, Freeman said that changed when white southerners began moving into Wickenburg

>> Dennis Freeman:
When people came from the outside who were not familiar with her history, suddenly she became just an African-American person and she was subject to the prejudice that the people brought with them. And she had to go underground. She had to take off those velvet dresses, take off those fancy hats and those beautiful gloves. She had to dress in the clothes of a maid in her hotel just because they didn't want her too uppity. She was no longer allowed to attend the Presbyterian church she helped to found. You can go there and look at their founding charter. There's Elizabeth's name right on it. She was no longer allowed to attend the social gatherings of women who would get together. And even people that she had helped financially get their own businesses started would cross the street when they saw her coming the other way.

>> Mike Sauceda:
The lingering effects of that racism endured into this century. It was in approximately 2001 that a manikin of a prostitute was removed from the upper window of a display at the Desert Caballeros exhibit left over from the days of attempts to label the Vernetta Hotel as a brothel.

>> Dennis Freeman:
This is Elizabeth Hudson Smith's site. The plain bronze plaque was put there by an uncle who was a dentist from the Midwest for her.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Smith's story ended when she died in 1935, her death shrouded in mystery.

>> Dennis Freeman:
There are two points of view of how Elizabeth Hudson Smith died. When I spoke to Tony O'Brien, who was an Anglo man, he told me that Elizabeth Hudson Smith had been long suffering with a long illness. Tony had gone to her farm and she had given Tony O'Brien her cattle to take care of because she was not physically strong enough to take care of matters of her farm. When I spoke to Doc Garcia, who was the grandson of Ignacio Garcia, Doc said, well, what I remember about Mrs. Smith, she was walking by the house, told us that she was going to the doctor because she had a little head cold, and the next day she was dead. There is the opinion that she either had a long, lingering illness or possibly she was poisoned. Because all of her land disappeared. But those are, as you know, those are very sensitive issues in this town.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Freeman says a will was never found and her beloved Vernetta hotel, other properties and $50,000 never went to her nieces and nephews. She never had children of her own. Smith's story was largely forgotten as the state and Wickenburg moved forward. The story was revived in the play Freeman wrote, in 1998, titled, The Wickenburg Way. The play featured an act about Smith and it led to healing for the town. It was brought home by the then oldest man in Wickenburg, who had been a friend of Smith's.

>> Dennis Freeman:
Tony O'Brien walked up to the actress, Mary Kelly, his face was wet with tears and he stood in front of Mary and said, Elizabeth. It's me, Tony. And put his arms around her. And for a 20 foot circle around those two, everybody burst into tears.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Smith's ghost is said to haunt the stairwell and other parts of the old Vernetta Hotel, which is now the administrative offices of a Christian bulimia and anorexia clinic. One story says she even made a pot of coffee after a request by businessmen who had an office in the old hotel. Smith's heyday is long gone, but her legacy is starting to bloom again.

>> Dennis Freeman:
I would like history once and for all to reveal Elizabeth Hudson Smith as the deeply responsible, wonderful flower of a human being that she was.

Michael Grant:
We'll bring you another Arizona story next Monday. Tomorrow night on "Horizon" we'll talk about the census and we'll visit with Arizona Senator Jon Kyl.

>> Reporter:
Many Americans say the border is broken as illegal immigration has become a hot political and social issue. Arizona's border crisis is a look at the phenomenon of immigration, the situation on the border, the role immigrants play in the workforce and the politics behind it. Arizona's border crisis Wednesday night at 7 on channel 8's "Horizon".

Michael Grant:
Thursday Governor Napolitano will be with us on "First Thursday" and don't forget the Journalists' Roundtable on Friday where we will recap the news. Thanks very much for being here on a Monday evening. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one. Good night.

What's on?

Content Partner:

  About KAET Contact Support Legal Follow Us  
  About Eight
Mission/Impact
History
Site Map
Pressroom
Contact Us
Sign up for e-news
Pledge to Eight
Donate Monthly
Volunteer
Other ways to support
FCC Public Files
Privacy Policy
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Google+
Pinterest
 

Need help accessing? Contact disabilityaccess@asu.edu

Eight is a member-supported service of Arizona State University    Copyright Arizona Board of Regents