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June 30, 2011

Host: Ted Simons

AAA and Travel

  |   Video
  • The July Fourth weekend and Arizonan's travel.
  • Linda Gorman - Arizona AAA
Category: Environment   |   Keywords: travel, fourth,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: The July fourth holiday weekend is just about here. That means a lot of Arizonans will be heading out of town. I recently talked to Linda Gorman of Arizona AAA about the weekend's travel forecast.

Ted Simons: Thank you for joining us tonight on "Horizon."

Linda Gorman: Thank you for having me.

Ted Simons: Travel numbers, what are you looking at?

Linda Gorman: Across the nation, looking to see 39 million travelers hitting the roads or skies for the upcoming fourth of July holiday. It's a 2.5% decline. Arizona numbers seeing a bigger guideline. 791,000 Arizonans, 3% drop.

Ted Simons: Why the drop?

Linda Gorman: A couple things, the economy is having an impact. And gas prices. So gas prices are about 81 cents more per gallon than last year so motorists have been faced with week after week, even though prices dropped a bit lately, they're still higher last year.

Ted Simons: Motor vehicle trips down?

Linda Gorman: They still remain the dominant mode of travel. In most family, about 78% of the people are going to be traveling by car, but that's a drop of about 6%.

Ted Simons: Who is traveling this summer, this holiday weekend?

Linda Gorman: You tend to think of the fourth of July as a family holiday. But Arizona, we're seeing solo travelers and comprised of just two adults. More than any other part of the country, really smaller composition and we think that's attributing to the drop in road travel and increase in air travel.

Ted Simons: Why do you think that -- is it just families -- do you think the economy is the factor. The bigger the family, the more expensive?

Linda Gorman: I think so, and some families may have taken their vacations earlier. Or waiting to see if prices drop later in the summer and given the transient nature of Arizona, a lot of people aren't from here and taking advantage of the opportunity to fly home to see friends and family.

Ted Simons: Fewer family vacations mean more solo and two-adult vacation vacations and those things?

Linda Gorman: One and two people, those are the type of people that decide to fly. It can be more economical and that's why we're seeing probably this jump in air travel. As a matter of fact, about 12% of travelers are flying. That's a 33% increase over last year.

Ted Simons: That's an awful lot. Do we see trending like this in previous years?

Linda Gorman: 2010 was really the first resurgence since the recession where we saw a huge jump in travel since really 2007. The good news, we're not seeing an increase in year, but haven't lost most of the gains we experienced last year. No, to see that jump in air travel is pretty unusual.

Ted Simons: Higher demand meaning higher air travel prices.

Linda Gorman: Yes, prices across the board, unfortunately, up for travel. So anywhere from 3% to 11%. Depending upon whether you're renting a car, the hotel or airfare.
Ted Simons: Airfare is up 11% up. And even rental cars up?

Linda Gorman: About 5%, hotels about 3%, the costs are up in terms of last year, but interestingly enough, Arizonans are still spending more than the rest of the country, in fact, about $1,100 for the fourth of July vacation which is higher than rest of the country and higher last year.

Ted Simons: That doesn't make sense because our economy in many ways is worse than other parts of the country. What do you attribute this to?

Linda Gorman: What that may -- the reason that might be a factor, if you look at the number of miles people are traveling, if you look at Arizonans, they're traveling farther and so our survey show one out of every four Arizonans is going 1500-miles at least round trip. It's a big vacation. Speaks to the higher air travel and higher expense.

Ted Simons: As far as the research, I love it when you come on and give us this information, how do you -- where do you get this research and who does it.

Linda Gorman: We partner with global insight. It conducts travel data and all of our research for our major holidays, standard phone interviews and ask people when they're traveling and how far. And we consider the travel period being the five days surgery surrounding that holiday. We consider traveling anything 50-miles or more away from home.

Ted Simons: The increase in air travel and the decrease in other forms of draft. What are you seeing for -- you seeing come Labor Day. When the fourth of July did this, Labor Day did this and the points in between were thus.

Linda Gorman: Labor Day was -- Arizona is a unique situation, in our parts of the country, kids are still out of school Labor Day and that's typically not the case in Arizona. Arizona's different so we tend to see fewer travelers traveling over Labor Day than the other holidays because families are hesitant to take kids away from school and stay closer to home and even with gas prices falling, they're going to be higher than Labor Day and people hold back and wait and see what happens with gas and gas prices for the rest of the year or if they travel, they may stay close to homeland.

Ted Simons: We've had a lot of wildfires going on in Arizona and in areas that folks like this visit as far as vacations are concerned. Are you seeing fallout? Canceled vacations, event, trips, the whole nine yards.

Linda Gorman: We're seeing an increase in calls. People call saying, hey, I'm planning on camping in this forest area or driving through this area, what's he closed? They see information in the news about highways and campgrounds closed. We're able to provide that information for them so they know, to either alter their trip plans or pick another destination where they can camp and enjoy their fun.

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

Linda Gorman: Thanks for having me.

Arizona ArtBeat

  |   Video
  • The Phoenix Art Museum
  • James Ballinger - Phoenix Art Museum Director
Category: The Arts   |   Keywords: arts,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Tonight's edition of "Arizona Artbeat" takes us to the Phoenix Art Museum where tomorrow an impressive collection of Mexican art makes its United States' debut. "Modern Mexican Painting" is an exhibition that includes 80 pieces from the extensive private collection of Andres Blaisten. The art was created between 1910 and 1950 -- four decades that are considered a Renaissance period for Mexican artists. Included in the collection are familiar names like Diego Rivera and other artists that many Americans have never heard of. Here to tell us more about the exhibition is James Ballinger, director of the Phoenix art museum. Thanks for joining us. This is an impressive collection. Who is Andrés Blaisten?

James Ballinger: Well, Ted, it's great to be here. Andrés is a major collector of Mexican argument. Intriguing man, has a scientific background. Involved with business, sold a company about 20 years ago and basically invested all of his time in building a collection to redefine the understanding of modern Mexican art and I think he's succeeding and placed his collection on deposit to the university -- at a university in Mexico.

Ted Simons: You've cultivated a relationship with Mr. Blaisten, correct?

James Ballinger: In a way, and somewhat serendipitously. I met him eight years ago in Mexico city and done a lot of projects in Mexico and my wife and I have been down there a number of times and kept running into him and I went to his home and saw a tip of an iceberg and then fortunate to see the first installation of the collection at the university and I asked him if he would consider sending it to the states. We'd love to host of the exhibition. Didn't think he would do that. And two years later, I've changed my mind. Are you game and here we are.

Ted Simons: From 1910 to 1950, a important time for art in Mexico, for a lot of things in Mexico.

James Ballinger: Yeah, I mean, the significance of 1910 is the revolution. Which occurred over a period of years and a great upheaval but Mexico became a world stage. It was a very utopian -- many people, you could overthrow a dictator and that here -- and it was the 20th century and we can change things. 1950 is a little bit less necessary, it's kind of World War II before things change.

Ted Simons: There are a number of rubrics, categories of art. Including the open air schools, 1920, talk to us about those schools.

James Ballinger: It's a fascinating concept. When the revolution came, there was basically no public education in Mexico, in the rural areas they created these -- schools were in tents and thus, open air and got going. And the then minister of education felt that the visual arts could go a long way toward literacy and communication. So artists started teaching youngster, we have a collection of 60 paintings by 14 year olds currently on view also and many of whom ended up in the show later in their life.
Ted Simons: I think we can take a look at some of the video of the exhibit, as people are walking through. The political climate and national self-awareness, big stuff.

James Ballinger: Big thing. And you mentioned Diego Rivera. He was in France and we had all this stuff in the art world--and when the upheaval happened he and other Mexicans came home and shift what had they were doing, looking at the roots of Mexico, the indigenous people, people in the rural areascoming into the urban areas and what they're life would be like.

Ted Simons: You mentioned the European influence, obviously there, but Mexican art influenced as well.

James Ballinger: Yeah, Mexico is a huge influence on American art. Huge. Many artists working in New Mexico, a big art colony, going back and forth. Fulbright scholarships going back and forth. Southern California, the whole area. On the other hand, Mexicans were going to New York making prints. Diego Rivera was doing a series of mural in New York. And the whole WPA mural movement here in America, absolutely is a offshoot from Mexico.

Ted Simons: I want it take a look at a couple of examples from the exhibits if we can,, one of these shows the avant-garde influence coming out of the Cubism and those things, what are we looking at here?

James Ballinger: Angel was a friend of Diego Rivera and Picasso was the great cubist painter. And you're looking at "the poetess." You have a woman poet, in a flat abstract way, with her pens and paper in front of her and cubist artists were trying to analyze form down to its most minimalist look.

Ted Simons: Rivera, he's the big guy.

James Ballinger: It's the bridge to san Martine, in Toledo, Spain. This is 1917 before he came back from Paris through Spain to Mexico and here you see the same fractured look of trying to create the energy and almost the physics of engineering in a painting.

Ted Simons: When you see a David Rivera you think of Frida Kahlo and you've got her there at the museum, but this exhibit does not--

James Ballinger: He set up a very interesting thing. His goal was to create a look at Mexican art that had never been explained and told me if he focused on buying Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera's major works, he'd have eight paintings. The value is astronomical. But instead he spent 25 years looking artists, he bought 20, 30, 40 works, their print, so they all work together. There's 8,000 pieces. When he was here, he made a point that his collection has rewritten the history of Mexican art.

Ted Simons: As a bridge between cultures, how important is an exhibit like this, how important is Mexican modern art?

James Ballinger: As we've discussed Mexican modern art is hugely important and a show like this is very, very important to our community. Arizona was part of Mexico and as we look at our centennial, we'll learn more about that. And I’ve always believed that museums stand so that cultural bridges help you to understand other people, other cultures in a area you should feel safe to understanding and hopefully these bridges can build better tolerance in our communities.

Ted Simons: And the collection looks fantastic. You must be a happy guy.

James Ballinger: We're open on July 4th, especially for this show. Very good. Good to have you here.

Ted Simons: Thanks for joining us.

James Ballinger: Ted, thank you very much.

Higher Education Funding

  |   Video
  • Incoming Chairman of the Arizona Board of Regents Fred DuVal talks about his priorities which include a one-year tuition freeze and predictable levels of state funding at Arizona’s public universities.
  • Fred DuVal - Chairman of the Arizona Board of Regents
Category: Education   |   Keywords: universities, funding,

View Transcript

Ted Simons: The Arizona Board of Regents will have a new chairman as of tomorrow. Regent Fred Duval will take charge. The board governs Arizona's three state universities. Duval's goals are centered on making higher education more accessible and affordable. Joining us now is incoming board of regents chair, Fred DuVal. Always a pleasure.

Fred DuVal: Thank you, Ted.

Ted Simons: Let's talk about priorities and agendas here and we go to the accessibility and affordability. And sounds like your top priority is find something predictable to fund the thing.

Fred DuVal: There are two issues in running the business side of higher education. There's two things, the first is the sufficiency of the revenue between the tuition and state investment and the second is predictability where you're running an enterprise where your costs are faculty in long-term contracts you have to make sense that you can make long-term commitments and the massive cuts that have come about because of the recession have made it difficult. Bipartisan, long-term buy-in that is predictable and we can count on is a priority.

Ted Simons: How long along the line are you?

Fred DuVal: We're meeting with legislators and everyone in open minded there's a understanding of the need and a lack of cash.

Ted Simons: As far as your agenda, I notice, you're calling for no tuition hike in the 2012-2013 school year. Is that viable?

Fred DuVal: I hope so, the tuition hikes over the last few years have been among the highest. We were a bargain for a long time. Our enrollment growth demonstrates there are still students coming at the higher tuition levels but it's becoming an unsustainable level of growth. Our proposition to the legislation is this. We have gone through a recession, the economist say we're starting to see some updates, it’s not huge, but measurable. There's new money to invest and we helped to pass prop 100 on the basis for support of to education. Put some money back against the 490 million cuts to education and in change exchange, we'll draw zero on tuition increases and give the family of Arizona a break.
Ted Simons: That sounds reason A. but is that viable? Give it back, is that something that anyone down there wants to hear?

Fred DuVal: They have tough choices to make but they hear from parents who are paying the tuition raises and we want to give them the victory of having the first zero tuition increase in Arizona history.

Ted Simons: Another agenda items is to model funding on performance and productivity and these things. Tell us about that.

Fred DuVal: Sure. Currently the state invests in enrollment. Input, the bigger we are the more money we get from the state. A freshman is as valuable as a senior, it measures growth and size rather than an output. and our proposition is different. Treat us, pay for us, invest in us invest in us, productivity basis. We want to produce so many degrees and nurses and teachers, what does the workforce needs of the state of Arizona and incent us to meet those needs by investing in the output sides rather than the input sides of institutions.

Ted Simons: I can see community college transfer rates and credit hour efficiencies, those things, but the ideas of the contribution to the needs of the state. How do you quantify that?

Fred DuVal: You tweak it based on what's happening this the state and knowing that certain discipline, healthcare and bioscience and aeronautics, things that are drivers the state's economy, let's make sure we're producing the degrees we need to feed the strategic assets we have in the economic base first.

Ted Simons: I think you mentioned this would give the state the biggest bang for the buck. We've talked about funding and how to get the most out of the what we've got. How do we make sure we'll we're doing this, students are getting a good education?

Fred DuVal: It’s a very important question. 80% of our total costs are in faculty. The quality proposition in higher education is the quality of the faculty and as we've gone through these cut, we've remanaged the institutions and redesigned the relationship between colleges, and done everything we can to change the dynamics of our cost and operational components to protect the quality, in the form of keeping good faculty.

Ted Simons: And you're confident that can be done?

Fred DuVal: We’ve taken $490 million over the last four years on a per student basis, the biggest cuts in the United States, it's been challenging and we're hopeful that the Arizona economy and legislature will stabilize the platform and allow us to move forward.

Ted Simons: Financial aid reform is a big idea. Looks like we're 49th in the country in terms of financial aid and conversely, the universities are doing everything they can to dole out money from the institution. It seems like things are imbalanced-- what do you see.

Fred DuVal: We're a poor state, a history of lower participation. In some of our economic and ethnic groups and we need to make sure that every gifted student who can perform at a university level can come and graduate and change the dynamics and the futures of their families. That requires financial aid. Arizona has not had a state-funded financial aid. We've done it on university dollars and as the economy requires we're going go to the legislature and say, look, it's important we not lose sight of the egalitarian basis, that talent is the most important thing we're investing in.

Ted Simons: Something I've heard from regents is the enterprise driven approach. It sounds similar to a performance model in terms of revenue. What is -- what is enterprise outcome driven approach?

Fred DuVal: Sure, it's an important part. We have three universities who historically each tried to resemble the other. One gets a medical school, the other gets one. There are some instances where the more nurses, the better, the more teaching degrees, the better. But we don't necessarily need every program at every school. We need to have some centralized governance that allocates assignments to different schools to do different things to keep the costs down. Number one. Number two, there's things we do as a system, which if we do it as a system, we can save costs.

Ted Simons: Sounds like an integrated system across the three universities?

Fred DuVal: I would draw a distinction. Integrated on a operational basis so as to achieve efficiencies where centralized operations accomplish that. But differentiated admissions with the universities protecting their brands and different degree outputs.

Ted Simons: We've talked about the legislature and I want to get back to that, but are the universities working together now as best they could?

Fred DuVal: Yes, better than ever before and I've been around awhile and had regents assignment in prior jobs and they're working together well. This conversation about different assignments between the three universities is brand new but going well. It is thrust upon us by the economic reality.

Ted Simons: I was going to say it's like the universities are in the same foxhole and you have to watch out. With the last question, we've talked about the legislature and the tuition freeze, it's almost dependent on the legislature giving something back here. With that in mind, that's the way it seems at least. With that in mind, do you sense an adversarial relationship between lawmakers and higher education in Arizona? I do. I get that sense, enough to where that's going to change, doesn't it?

Fred DuVal: We're working hard to work collaboratively. The interesting part, it leads you to a different conversation instead of how much money we're demanding. We're saying let's have a conversation. You're the policy makers, the fiduciary, what do you want the universities to produce for the future of the state of Arizona and to whom do you want to make this available? Let's decide the public policy question and turn the knobs in a fashion where we invest on a mutually agreed --

Ted Simons: Has that been expressed as well it could have been in the last couple years?

Fred DuVal: We're trying to have that conversation, we've gotten cross wise a time or two. We're a expensive piece of the state budget, we get that. But we can't, in a knowledge-based global based economy, we can't allow the universities to fail. And all parties and ideologists agree with that.

Ted Simons: Good to see you.

Fred DuVal: Thank you very much.