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October 20, 2011

Host: Ted Simons

Arizona Centennial: State Fair History

  |   Video
  • Arizona State Fair executive assistant Jack Bell shares some of the fair’s rich history.
  • Jack Bell - Executive Assistant, Arizona State Fair
Category: Community   |   Keywords: state, fair, arts, history,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: The state fair celebrates 100 years of Arizona's heritage and history this Saturday and Sunday with its Arizona experience weekend. The official centennial event takes place at the state fairgrounds where quite a bit of history has taken place. I recently spoke with Jack Bell, an executive assistant for the state fair; he's also the unofficial historian for the state fair. Thanks for joining us on "Horizon."

Jack Bell: Thank you for having me.

Ted Simons: State fair starts as a territorial fair for I guess obvious reasons?

Jack Bell: Correct. In the 1890s, there was a territorial fair that was located on the Salt River in the area Central Avenue.

Ted Simons: Central Avenue, and then what, they decided 19th Avenue, Mcdowell -- how long was it down there?

Jack Bell: It was down there about seven years and it was destroyed by a flood of the salt river. And then there was just a lapse of probably about eight or nine years when there was no fair or celebration of our state's prosperity.

Ted Simons: Before we get to 19th Avenue and Mcdowell, just the idea of a territorial fair or a state fair, to show livestock, to show agricultural accomplishment? What was the reasoning for these things?

Jack Bell: That is it, to show what we did the past year. What our achievement were in agriculture, the prosperity of the community, and it was a time to relax and celebrate the past year.

Ted Simons: And presented in certain ways? Was it a parade? How did they present things back in the old days?

Jack Bell: It was a showcase of your home EC, your pies, cookies, your preserves, the crops, there was a demonstration of how to grow cotton was the main thing for Arizona. And then of course the livestock, the best looking pig, the largest cow, goats, sheep, rabbits.

Ted Simons: The prize pig.

Jack Bell: The prize pig.

Ted Simons: When is the ribbon -- a lot of things seems like, I want to get to 19th and Mcdowell, that's when it seems like competition really started rearing up there. Why 19th Avenue and Mcdowell? That seems like it was back in the boonies back in those days.

Jack Bell: Back in those days it was. There was just open fields all the way around the property.

Ted Simons: And that's -- people know 19th Avenue now with the veterans memorial coliseum, some people know that's where the state fair is now, but back then that was way out in the open and there was a racetrack there. That was a massive racetrack. Talk about that.

Jack Bell: Correct. It was one of the west's best race tracks. It was a mile long, the property was developed in 1905 by a group of businessmen led by the owner of the Adams hotel from downtown Phoenix right here. They sold subscriptions and raised the money privately to build and develop the fairgrounds. And they had in 1905 the opening, with a wooden grandstand that was just beautiful. We have some pictures to share with that. The grandstands were tilted at a slight angle, just as the current grandstands are, to where the spectators in the grandstands could see the back stretch as the horses came around. The person -- the purse in the days, 1907, 1909, was $30,000 for the week of racing during the territorial fair.

Ted Simons: That's a lot of money back in those days.

Jack Bell: That equates out about $750,000 in today's dollars. And that was one of the richest in the west.

Ted Simons: And that's horse racing. But then along comes the automobile, and you got auto racing. Correct?

Jack Bell: Auto racing showed up in 1908 at the territorial fair. And then in 1912, the state fair had what was called the cactus derby. It was an auto race from Los Angeles to end at the state fair during the state fair.

Ted Simons: Interesting.

Jack Bell: And that was 511 miles in length. And at the time, there were no bridges across the Colorado River, so the route went from Los Angeles down to Yuma.

Ted Simons: Oh my God.

Jack Bell: From Yuma back up to the mountain range, and then on towards Yuma -- I mean Phoenix.

Ted Simons: Wow. And that was -- that was one of the first auto races. Then as the years go by, it seems like open wheel -- there's some beautiful photographs and some amazing memories I guess of good old fashioned 1940s, 1950s auto racing right there at the fairgrounds.

Jack Bell: Correct. We had sprint car racing at the fairgrounds.

Ted Simons: And big names coming through?

Jack Bell: Yes. We had Bobby Mall, Pernelli Jones…

Ted Simons: Yeah.

Jack Bell: There's just all the legends were there.

Ted Simons: So we've got horse racing, we've got auto racing, rodeo as well, showing livestock. And when did games of chance, when did the gaming aspect, the fun and the games, when did that start to become more of an emphasis than racing and showing animals and such?

Jack Bell: Probably the evolution started in the late '50s, early '60s as the community grew and expanded, the agricultural aspect started to fade away. And the faster pace became more involved, and the youth just wanted to have the excitement and the entertainment aspect.

Ted Simons: But there Ferris wheels back in the old days, correct? There were rides.

Jack Bell: Correct. The original territorial fairs had the Ferris wheel and the merry go rounds and such rides. They weren't as elaborate as today's.

Ted Simons: Sure. Sure. And as far as entertainment, when did that become a special emphasis of what was originally a way to show livestock and crops?

Jack Bell: In the 1950s there's a lot of big-name touring groups that were presented at the state fair. And that became one of the big attractions to draw people in the community into the fair to see something different.

Ted Simons: And tell us about the names. Who stopped by?

Jack Bell: Patsy Cline played in the grand stands; Elvis Presley was presented in the grandstand. All of the old country music players were there.

Ted Simons: You've got a trophy here on the set, we've got to find out what that is. That's an old looking trophy. Tell us about it.

Jack Bell: That's the trophy presented in 1915 at the Arizona state fair to the winner of the pasteurized cream, the trophy was presented by the superintendent of health.

Ted Simons: So a pasteurized cream gets a trophy that size.

Jack Bell: Yes.

Ted Simons: This must be fascinating for you to find -- it's like detective work, finding these memories, this old stuff. The fair has a lot of history.

Jack Bell: Tremendous amount of history is located there. Especially at the fairgrounds of things that happened. The first flight from coast-to-coast landed at the state fairgrounds in 1911.

Ted Simons: My goodness. Last question, we know what the fair was designed to do in the old days. What is the state fair design to the do now? How has it changed and what's its purpose? Why it is there?

Jack Bell: The purpose is still a celebration of the prosperity of Arizona. To show what we've done, what we've accomplished, and to let the citizens of our state enjoy our achievements.

Ted Simons: Well, Jack; it must have been a lot of fun for you - digging this stuff up. It's good to have you here, and thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

Jack Bell: Thank you for having me.

Lawsuit Challenges Arizona Labor Union Law

  |   Video
  • Goldwater Institute attorney Clint Bolick and labor attorney Stan Lubin debate the merits of National Labor Relations Board v. State of Arizona. This lawsuit filed by the NLRB would invalidate a voter-approved amendment to Arizona’s constitution that guarantees use of a secret ballot when organizing a labor union.
  • Clint Bloick - Goldwater Institure attorney
  • Stan Lubin - labor attorney
Category: Law   |   Keywords: labor, unions, law,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Good evening, and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Arizona's jobless rate fell two tenth of a percent last moment it's now at 9.1%. Most of the hiring came in education, with the start of school. Also of note, construction added jobs for the seventh straight month. Voters last year approved an amendment to the state constitution that guarantees the right to a secret ballot in union organizing votes. But the national labor relations board went to court, saying the voter-approved initiative is unconstitutional. Here to talk about the case is Clint Bolick, director much litigation for the Goldwater Institute, an intervener in the lawsuit, and Phoenix attorney Stan Lubin who represents the Arizona AFL/CIO. Good to have you both here. Thanks for joining us

Stan Lubin: Thank you.

Clint Bolick: Thanks for having us.

Ted Simons: Stan, I want to start with you. Why this lawsuit? Has anyone been harmed? What's going on here?

Stan Lubin: Yes, people are harmed. When you have a constitutional amendment or a law like the one that was passed, it creates an atmosphere where people will not use -- enforce their rights or stand up for their rights. More importantly, it interferes with the operations of the federal law by limiting the means by which people can select the unions of their choice. In addition, it takes away the ability of -- grants the ability to individuals who might not like what's going on to file their own lawsuits in state court. And you can end up I think about four or five states have passed this kind of law, you can end up with four or five different kinds of approaches by each state, multiply it by 50 and you can see what kind of damage it does. All of that hurts the administration of a uniform policy nationally, which is what the national labor relations act is all about.

Ted Simons: Interfering, meddling, pick the term, employee labor relations. Agree?

Clint Bolick: Absolutely not. The national labor relations act has protected the right to secret ballot informing unions for 75 years. The Obama administration, addicted to its union support base, vowed to get rid of that. And to replace it with a system that is ripe with coercion. And so the voters of Arizona overwhelmingly voted to protect the right to secret ballot. It is a right that people don't have to exercise, but if they want to do it, we are protecting it in this law. And it's unfortunate that the Obama administration has nothing better to do than sue Arizona every week it seems, and especially to take away the right to secret ballot.

Ted Simons: The idea of secrecy being the best way to show genuine worker sentiment, how do you feel about that?

Stan Lubin: Clint and I went around about this on while back on this show. The fact is, the statute does not require a secret ballot. It says that any means by which a union can demonstrate majority support is valid. The problem is when you go to the secret ballot election; it takes about six weeks to set it up. And in that period of time, management hires these union busting outfits that come in from out of state, all across the country, and basically intimidate, coerce, etc., and harass the employees into basically scaring them away from their union. The bullet points to some kind of harassment of the unions - The fact of the matter is - for every single incident of union harassment found by the labor board over the last 75 years, there have probably been a thousand, and I'm not exaggerating, incidents where management has done that during the election run-up. That's why it is important to have this alternative means.

Ted Simons: Harassment -- .

Stan Lubin: It's been there forever. The case Goss back into the '50s supporting the right of unions to be organized, employees to organize their unions by virtue of voluntary recognition or other means- cards, in addition to secret ballots.

Ted Simons: The idea of coercion being a two-way street.

Clint Bolick: Oh, absolutely it is. And the right to secret ballot is what prevents coercion by both sides. In fact over a dozen Democratic members of Congress wrote to the Mexican government a few years ago urging them not to get rid of the right to secret ballot to prevent employer coercion.

Ted Simons: I don't want to go too far on that aspect. The judge who allowed this case to continue said among other things that congressional attempt from where he sits is at the federal law should be the framework, federal law by way of Congress, should be the framework for settling labor employee disputes. This looks like it leaps over that.

Clint Bolick: Well, no. And it's important to recognize that the arguments have not been engaged yet. Basically the state asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit, he declined to do that. And he granted the Goldwater Institute the right to intervene on behalf of workers who don't want to lose their right to secret ballot. So the question of federal preemption, does the federal law basically sweep away the state law has yet to be argued. And if all you have to do is look, for example, at the recent employer sanctions decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to see that the courts will not sweep aside state protections very lightly.

Ted Simons: Why shouldn't Arizona or other states have their own laws regarding unions and voting for unions in this case?

Stan Lubin: Because the federal government has passed a law, the Congress passed a law in the '30s that basically says it will be one federal policy towards organizing into unions across the country. I know that in the '40s and '50s in Wisconsin there were a number of attempts by the state of Wisconsin to pass their own laws allowing different things to be done. One of which was -- required a secret ballot. Every one of those laws was struck down by the Supreme Court systematically because it interfered with the operation of the labor relations act. That's the problem with the Arizona law. It interferes with the ability and authority to enforce this law uniformly, which will include the right to have a union without necessarily going through a secret ballot.

Ted Simons: NLRB, if this goes through, this is OK and everyone starts putting up their own laws, their own rules, what's the NLRB for?

Clint Bolick: If you look at the NLRB website, you'll find that what it is supposedly for is to protect the right of workers to exercise their freedom of conscience. They are violating that. They are running roughshod over the very law they're supposed to be enforcing. So the same people who are predicting our defeat here also predicted the defeat of Arizona's employer sanctions law, but what's similar about them is that both of them promote the underlying objectives of the federal law.

Ted Simons: Do you agree, promote the underlying objectives of the federal law?

Stan Lubin: You know, the argument that Clint just made is exactly the same argument that has been rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court on at least a dozen occasions. And I don't agree with him. The fact is that it will -- it is not -- the purpose of the law is not to protect the right of a secret ballot. The purpose of the law is to allow employees to choose or not choose whether or not they want to be part of the union. Whether they want to be represented by a union. That is the one purpose of the law, the second purpose is to require employers to deal with them in a fair and honest way should they choose to join a union. And that's the two purposes of the act that the NLRB is required and authorized to enforce.

Clint Bolick: Stan, how many federal cases have recognized the right of secret ballot as the preferred means of union recognition? A lot of them. So this is going to be a feisty battle, and I think the Supreme Court is going to side with the workers.

Stan Lubin: It's not a question of the preferred means, it's a question of the fact that the Arizona law superimposes a requirement for that in all cases. It's going to scare employers out of recognizing voluntarily even when they know all their employees or most of them want the union, it's going to authorize individual employees who are angry at the fact that -- I'm sorry, who are upset at the fact a union represents them that doesn't want them to file a lawsuit, and throw into chaos the idea of bargaining until that lawsuit is resolved one or two years down the road. That is not what this -- what Congress wanted to see happen. And the NLRB for the first time in 75 years is finally recognizing that in a bigger way than they have in the past.

Ted Simons: Critics say this is just a way to protect business from folks who want to form a union. That's the bottom line.

Clint Bolick: Actually, it's about protecting the right of conscience of workers when given the free choice, repeatedly workers have rejected unions. Why? Because the unions have been wiping out their jobs, wiping out their industries.

Stan Lubin: That's nonsense.

Ted Simons: How is this not a free choice without the secret ballot, it's not a free choice?

Clint Bolick: Basically what happens, the alternative is you get tapped on the shoulder and asked to sign a card. That is the kind of system you have in Russia, not in the United States.

Ted Simons: Shoulders being tapped out there?

Stan Lubin: Shoulders will always be tapped out, there but at least they're not being hit by a hammer by the antiunion crusaders that come into the state, charge a couple hundred thousand dollars to the employer and beat up on the employees. They fire them, it takes two or three years to get their jobs back, they don't get a decent remedy. That's the alternative to what this law is all about.

Ted Simons: You think the Supreme Court winds up with this?

Stan Lubin: Probably not. I don't think it will get there.

Ted Simons: You think so, don't you?

Clint Bolick: I do. Federalism is the defining legal issue in the age of Obama, the U.S. Supreme Court is very interested in these issues.

Ted Simons: Gentlemen, great discussion. Good to have you here.

Stan Lubin: Thanks for having us.

Clint Bolick: Thank you.

Ocean Chemistry Research

  |   Video
  • Professor Ariel Anbar of ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration talks discusses how ASU and the University of Cincinnati are planning to use a new geo-chemical technique to study ocean chemistry in an effort to study a mass extinction that hit the Earth 250-million years ago.
  • Ariel Anbar - Professor, ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration
  • Greg Brennecka - Doctor, ASU School of Earth and Science Exploration
Category: Education   |   Keywords: ASU, ocean, cehmistry, science, mass, extinction,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Theories abound as to what caused the earth's most substantial mass extinction some 252 million years ago. Researchers at Arizona state University and the University of Cincinnati are using a new geo chemical technique to study the ocean's chemistry in an effort to discover what at the time wiped out 90% of ocean life. Here now to talk about all this is professor Ariel Anbar of ASU's school of earth and space exploration. And from the same school, joining us, Dr. Greg Brennecka. Good to have you both here.

Dr. Greg Brennecka: Thank you.

Ted Simons: Did I get that right? 250 million years ago, 90% of ocean life went kaput?

Ariel Anbar: Yes. Greatest mass distinction in earth’s history.

Ted Simons: What are the general theories?

Ariel Anbar: There are a number of ideas. A period of volcanic eruption, there have been ideas about a big meteorite impact like wiped out the dinosaurs, and there's been an idea that has gathered steam that a change in ocean chemistry was instrumental in making this happen.

Ted Simons: That was instrumental in getting you guys to start working on this research. Talk to us about what you looked at and what you were looking for.

Dr. Greg Brennecka: We looked at carbonate rocks that deposited over the same time period, and uranium isotopes and thorium-uranium ratios in these rocks to tell us a little bit about the ocean chemistry of the time they were deposited.

Ted Simons: What were these ratios tell you if you saw them?

Dr. Greg Brennecka: If it was a major change at a certain time period it would tell us when there was a change in the ocean chemistry.

Ted Simons: And did you find it?

Ariel Anbar: He did. He's the lead author in the study. He found a substantial shift in the uranium isotopes and thorium uranium ratios, and that tells us the amount of oxygen in the oceans decreased just before this extinction.

Ted Simons: So basically what you saw was what happened right prior to and during the extinction?

Dr. Greg Brennecka: Yes. We saw a marked shift, the uranium isotopes and thorium-uranium ratios right before or immediately after the extinction of them.

Ted Simons: Did this method of study break new ground? I get the impression this was a unique way of looking at this particular problem, or this issue.

Dr. Greg Brennecka: It definitely is. Professor Anbar's group has been working over the last many years about new novel techniques to look at changes in ocean chemistry, which this was the latest element that they use to tackle this big problem.

Ted Simons: What got you going on this element?

Ariel Anbar: This particular element? We focused on chemical elements whose abundance and chemistry in the ocean is sensitive in the amount of oxygen. Uranium was sort of next on the list of elements we could measure, and whose chemistry should be strongly affected by oxygen. And it was particularly well suited to this problem.

Ted Simons: Why is this research important?

Ariel Anbar: A bunch of reasons. First of all, just trying to understand how we got here. If that extinction hadn't happened, evolution would have gone a different way. And dinosaurs -- that extinction paved the way for the rise of dinosaurs, which paved the way for the rise of us. From a fundamental standpoint it's important. There's also interest in this kind of question because of global climate change. I don't want to overplay this, but as temperatures get warmer, one of the things that happen is parts of the ocean start to lose their oxygen or the amount of oxygen decreases. There's generally an interest in whether or not how changes in oxygen in the oceans affect biology. So this is the granddaddy of changes in ocean chemistry affecting life.

Ted Simons: Were some of these ideas at play with you when you did this research and led this particular effort, or were you just looking at hard science trying to get hard facts?

Dr. Greg Brennecka: There are always a lot of different reasons you do research projects, and being part of our lab, understanding history of oxygen in the ocean is always a big goal. And looking at these samples to understand a mass extinction event, that plays into different aspects. You look at what's going on now in the ocean, maybe some of these changes, we can draw parallels to what's going on. And what could be happening.

Ted Simons: Did you expect to find what you found?

Dr. Greg Brennecka: That's a good question. No. Not necessarily. We expected to see changes as drastic as they were, I don't think I expected to see that. Honestly I didn't really know what to expect going into this. This is a very new technique that's being explored and it was just a good table set to do this on, and this is kind of a novel technique to use.

Ted Simons: Did it surprise you at all?

Ariel Anbar: Yeah. We were expecting to see a shift. We picked this period in earth's history because we knew ocean chemistry changes, broadly there's been theories about it. So we thought we could test it and expect to see a shift. We didn't expect it to be so close to the extinction. That's what surprised us, because the previous thinking was the ocean chemistry changed long before and was -- and oxygen was low in the ocean for quite a while leading up to the extinction. We found there was a big shift just benefit extinction, which affects the timing.

Ted Simons: How does this affect the idea, the theories? How does this come into play?

Ariel Anbar: I think it strengthens the idea that the change in ocean chemistry caused the extinction, because there is this substantial increase or decrease in oxygen just before the extinction, that suggests there really is a cause and effect relationship there. Previous to this, there was evidence of a change in ocean chemistry, but it was not as extreme and it was much earlier. So the thought was, well, maybe it's connected, but there was more room for debate. I think it makes it more solid.

Dr. Greg Brennecka: I think the sharpness of the change we saw is important too. It happens very quickly in geologic time. It's just a very sharp change in uranium isotopes as well the uranium thorium ratios.

Ariel Anbar: The other thing the technique allows us to do, we build a pretty strong case what we're seeing represents the global oceans, even from measuring one location. And that has been unclear before whether this change was global.

Ted Simons: All right. We've got to stop you right there. Fascinating stuff. Thanks for joining us.

Ariel Anbar: Thank you.

Dr. Greg Brennecka: Thank you very much.