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January 4, 2012

Host: Ted Simons

"Five Communities Project" Winners

  |   Video
  • Dr. Lattie Coor, chairman and CEO of the Center for the Future of Arizona, discusses the five winners of a CFA-sponsored competition to make Arizona a better place to live and work.
  • Dr. Lattie Coor - Chairman and CEO of the Center for The Future of Arizona
Category: Community   |   Keywords: Arizona, Better Place,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: For much of the last year we have been following the progress of a statewide competition to find the best ideas for strengthening Arizona at the local level. The five communities contest is sponsored by the center for the future of Arizona, the center recently announced the five winning community projects. Here to tell us about the winners is Dr. Lattie Coor, president and CEO of the Center for the Future of Arizona.

Ted Simons: Encapsule what this project was meant to do.

Dr. Lattie Coor: When we had the gallup Arizona poll released two years ago it identified a series of major goals for Arizona's future, education, job creation, civic engagement, health access, environment, and we put together a number of policy activities that have gone with it. But we discovered in the process that local communities wanted to get into it. They wanted to strengthen their economy. They wanted to strengthen their education. They wanted to do work with environment, so we created this contest saying give us your best idea, make sure it's transformational. We'll pick five of you and go with national funders to enable you to put the idea into place.

Ted Simons: We’ll start with the wine growers region in the Verde valley region.

Dr. Lattie Coor: It's a whole state region. Originally there were three proposals. They put them into a single proposal at the end. It has Yavapai County, Santa Cruz County and Cochise County. It's the statewide wine growers association, and they have engaged their community, they have engaged all of the parts of the industry itself and are absolutely convinced as were we when we visited them and saw their material that it will keep young people in their community, will create not only tourism and excitement but a very healthy kind of economic base wherever they are.

Ted Simons: Especially in those rural communities. Another winner, Desert Botanical Garden, talk to us about that.

Dr. Lattie Coor: The mountain preserve alliance, they are committed to making sure that we preserve and use these mountains preserves, but they have the entire region of city, County parks around the city involved with them. So the alliance is to not only preserve them but to find ways to get people to use them more actively throughout the whole metropolitan area.

Ted Simons: Sounds like a worthy winner. What is gangplank?

Dr. Lattie Coor: There is a fascinating kind of new movement where people with creative ideas want to create companies, we have seen it in start-ups in the bay area for a long time, can come in with no cost to them, where these young people that put it together -- the town of Chandler put the space together for them so they could make it happen, that they come together, try 14 their ideas out, create companies. They have to pay nothing but they have to give social capital to encourage one another to come. It's worth a visit. I would encourage anyone who would like to go downtown Chandler, go into gangplank and watch this phenomenon happen. They are creating companies just every day.

Ted Simons: Local talent, small business.

Dr. Lattie Coor: You bet.

Ted Simons: International Sonoran Desert Alliance.

Dr. Lattie Coor: Very long handle for an organization that for years was working on preserving the area around AHO, but now in this project is rebuilding it. They have done a phenomenal job of taking the old high school, putting 30 apartments in there for low income artists. They are all full. They have an activity created there. What this project will do is enable them to provide the kind of preparation for work that is needed in the community, where there are jobs available but people who didn't finish high school or -- get a GED, and a capacity to enter the work force so they don't have to leave after they get their education.

Ted Simons: Number five, the last, the YWCA of Tucson. Why a winner?

Dr. Lattie Coor: Fascinating. They have committed themselves to taking Spanish speaking women in the area, enable them to begin understanding the culture they are living in, master the language, but far more importantly understand that there are things you do when you're here. If you're a parent, if you come from another country, obviously, you don't understand that you have to make requests of the school. Challenge the school. How well are you doing with our youngsters? This program is to reach out to several thousand people all together and build a community within them where they can reinforce one another.

Ted Simons: With these five winning ideas now, for lack of a better way to put it, what do they get?

Dr. Lattie Coor: We have promised them our best effort. We don't have the money. We're going to national foundations, local foundations to help fund them. $100,000 a year per project for three years. So it's a total $1.5 million project that now that we have them selected I and others are riding the circuit. We have had a number of national foundations interested in this and involved with us. It's our job now to get them funded.

Ted Simons: These were the winners, obviously, but there were a lot of entrants.

Dr. Lattie Coor: 96 proposals came in.

Ted Simons: Some of them are good ideas. Are they moving forward on their own?

Dr. Lattie Coor: Best we can tell, approximately 50 of them are moving ahead. We are going to try also to encourage others. There were ten finalists and we're working initially beyond the five that were chosen with the other five, very strong proposals. But we're trying to create a network where they learn from one another, encourage one another, find their own ways to make it happen.

Ted Simons: Last question regarding these five winners, from a distance, what did you see them having in common?

Dr. Lattie Coor: Passion and spark and belief that they are not going to wait for somebody else to do it. They are going to take what they think is very important, our language was transformational and they mostly always did that, and they are going to put together a plan working collaboratively to make it happen.

Ted Simons: Has to be encouraging effort for you to undertake.

Dr. Lattie Coor: Very much so. There's great spirit, great gusto out there and a great willingness to pitch in and make things happen.

Ted Simons: It helps you and others show optimism for Arizona.

Dr. Lattie Coor: You bet.

Ted Simons: Congratulations. We followed this from the get-go. Nice to find out who the five winners are. We'll see where their projects go with a little bit of assistance.

Dr. Lattie Coor: Glad to be able to tell you about it.

Ted Simons: Good to see you.

Dr. Lattie Coor: You bet.

Fiesta Bowl

  • Oklahoma State’s thrilling overtime victory over Stanford was just what the Fiesta Bowl needed as the organization continues to repair its reputation that was tarnished by scandal. The Fiesta Bowl’s new executive director Robert Shelton explains what the organization is doing to win the public’s trust.
  • Robert Shelton - Fiesta Bowl Executive Director
Category: Sports   |   Keywords: fiesta, bowl, sports, football, ,

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Ted Simons: Oklahoma State's overtime win over Stanford in Monday night's Fiesta Bowl brought a positive end to a season of turmoil for the Fiesta Bowl 7 organization. Bowl officials continue efforts to repair a reputation damaged by allegations of illegal political contributions and culture of questionable spending. Last spring the Fiesta Bowl fired its long time CEO John Junker and hired University of Arizona president Robert Shelton as its new executive director to help turn the organization around. Here to tell us how that's going is Fiesta Bowl CEO Robert Shelton.

Robert Shelton: My wife, my three kids, and I were officially neutral. The main thing I wanted to see was a phenomenal game. I don't think anyone turned off their TV sets for that game.

Ted Simons: Obviously, that's a positive point, that's a good starting point for the year and for the rebuilding. Talk about the challenges in rebuilding the Fiesta Bowl reputation.

Robert Shelton: The rebuilding has been going on for some months. They made some changes in board membership, in staffing, implemented new bylaws, new articles of incorporation. That was set up before I came on board officially August 1. I could take that with my board, run with it. We now have a new code of conduct, we have a new financial -- nobody use their own credit cards. There's all this P-card formality, authorization matrix to make sure you have the right number of signatures. Lots of controls. Do background checks. A whole new approach, a whole new attitude. It started with the board, with the volunteers. It's with the committee, with the entire organization.

Ted Simons: Any time there's change even in an organization that's as wracked by scandal like this, any time there's change there's hesitation to that change. Are you finding obstacles out there, slow-footing maybe?

Robert Shelton: You know, I haven't seen that. Maybe it's because a lot of the changes took place before I came on board. I have always been of a philosophy of being open and transparent. I had one on one meeting in my office with every staff member. I bet 85% said they had never been in the office before. That office door is open. They come to me. We talk about things. It's good for me because they know what's going on. I'm the rookie.

Ted Simons: You were quoted earlier this season saying we took our lumps and we deserved it. Talk about that because was it $1 million fine? Was that what the BCS came up with?

Robert Shelton: They required other changes in governance. If you look on our website now, everything is open. You can see the whole governance there. You look at the recent report that Markem receipt, the president of the NCAA commission put out. They talk about best practices in governance. 9 You go through that checklist, boom, boom, boom, we're doing it all. We have really transformed the entire operation. Keeping the really talented people we have, but moving forward.

Ted Simons: Impact on charitable donations, these sorts of things, impact on sponsors, on advertisers. I thought I read some of the advertisers dropped out because of the scandal.

Robert Shelton: We lost a very small number of add titer/sponsors. All the big ones stayed with us. Fort McDowell, Yavapai nation, they are thrilled with how things went this year. We also garnered new sponsors. So I would say that the people in marketing, strategic partnerships did a great job bringing it back. But there's no doubt people were questioning that. Do we want to have our connection and how visible do we want to have the connection. I got to put in a plug for Tostitos. They are a phenomenal sponsor. They stayed with us all the way. They are extraordinarily happy about the game the other night.

Ted Simons: How do you convince people that spending abuse is over, that the political contributions, how do you convince people that that era is over?

Robert Shelton: I think you just have to do it slowly, gradually over and over and over again. We didn't get into the situation overnight. We're not going to get out of it by one statement. We're going to continue to practice what we preach. Thank you for having me on here. It gives me an opportunity to describe everything put into place. For example, charitable donations. There's a spot on our web page. Click on that. We have two calls a year. One ended September 30th. We just handed out 400,000 on that call. Another one march 30th. What we're going to do is make everything overt. People can see what we're doing.

Ted Simons: Are you still giving gifts to politicians?

Robert Shelton: No.

Ted Simons: Zero.

Robert Shelton: Zero. It's against the law.

Ted Simons: So that's over with.

Robert Shelton: That's over with.

Ted Simons: I'm not going to see so and so sitting in aisle 14, section 32 here.

Robert Shelton: Gifts. We're not offering tickets, but in the law if you offer everybody the ticket you can do that but you have to record that amount of expense.

Ted Simons: If you see one you must be seeing a whole bunch of others. This has been a rough year for college sports in general, college football in general. I don't remember a year this tough. What are your thoughts, especially for those who say, college football is out of control. Between scandals and the whole nine yards.

Robert Shelton: I think it's a natural human tendency to take some examples 11 and extrapolate to the body politic as a whole. We know that's a mistake, yet it's human nature to do it. One of the things to keep in mind, these are still isolated incidents. Many are horrific, worrisome, troublesome. The NCAA is committed 100% to getting this cleaned up. One of the things that drew me to this position was maybe somewhat self-servingly, I thought, college president background, I think my background combined with the great tradition of the Fiesta Bowl will be a useful perspective to bring to the bowls over all.

Ted Simons: Are you seeing that? You mentioned isolated incidents, but Penn State obviously is just terrible business. We got Syracuse, Ohio state, Oregon, you got USC, Auburn.

Robert Shelton: Miami.

Ted Simons: If you win, you -- if you're not cheating you're not trying. How do you affect that mindset?

Robert Shelton: You have to incur serious financial penalties. Money talks. It really does. If there are programs -- Penn State situation is a very different situation, but if there are programs whose football or other athletic programs are out of hand I think you have to call to the NCAA and see serious financial penalties.

Ted Simons: Good to have you here. Congratulations on a good game.

Robert Shelton: Thank you. It was a real benefit for all of the Valley of the Sun. A lot of economic benefit. We'll be rolling those numbers out soon.

Sheriff Arpaio Update

  |   Video
  • The Arizona Republic reporter J.J. Hensley provides an update on legal problems facing the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
  • J.J. Hensley - Reporter of The Arizona Republic
Category: Law   |   Keywords: Maricopa County, Sheriff,

View Transcript

Ted Simons: Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio faced a deadline on whether to cooperate with federal officials. Here is J.J. Hensley from the Arizona republic. Good to have you back. Thanks for joining us. Before we get to what the sheriff decided to do, talk about the ultimatum. What was he facing here?

J.J. Hensley: The federal government had given him until today to basically let them know whether he was going to cooperate with 2 their investigation or in resolving the issues they identified in his office. Today kind of marks the beginning of the next period which is 60-day negotiation period where attorneys from both sides will see if they can come to some agreement on what changes need to be made in the sheriff's office.

Ted Simons: So will Arpaio cooperate and define cooperation?

J.J. Hensley: That's been the tricky point all day. Defining cooperation. He says he's going to cooperate. He says he has every intention to cooperate, but his level of cooperation is certainly up for debate because he doesn't believe this investigation holds any water, has very little truth, is kind of long on broad statements and short on details. So as part of his cooperation he sent the DOJ a 29-page records request asking for over 100 items they gathered in the course of their investigation for him to review.

Ted Simons: Basically he wants specifics but he not only says he wants specifics he gave them a deadline?

J.J. Hensley: Yeah. Typical Arpaio fashion, it was full of bold states and included a couple of deadlines, one for two weeks from now for the DOJ to signal to him whether they think they can provide everything he's asked for by march 19th.

Ted Simons: And if they don't meet his deadline, what happens?

J.J. Hensley: We're in a standoff here. Both sides have said we don't want to go to court but we'll litigate this if that's the only 3 way to resolve this issue. So I guess it depends on how optimistic of a person you are. There are certainly some in the sheriff's office who say we're optimistic that the federal government will provide this information that we have asked for and that our attorneys can work with them to resolve this.

Ted Simons: It's my impression that the Justice Department is not going to release specifics until some agreement or deal is reached. Arpaio is saying I want the specifics before the deal?

J.J. Hensley: Right. He asked for a lot of detail. Some of his requests include like the name and identity of every Latino person who we discriminated against since 2007. Now, I talked with a former Justice Department attorney in D.C. today who said a lot of this information that Arpaio has requested would naturally come over the settlement negotiations anyway, so there could be a little bit of posturing here on his part, which also would be in keeping with tradition.

Ted Simons: I want to get to that as well. He says he will cooperate and yet a previous quote he called this report a pile of unsubstantiated lies. How do you cooperate with unsubstantiated lies?

J.J. Hensley: And that's been the issue that I think people covering this have struggled with. Two weeks ago when the report was released, one of his deputy chiefs Jack McIntyre compared it to the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. So how can you cooperate with someone who is doing a Pearl Harbor style sneak attack on you? But it seems like Arpaio's attorney in a separate civil rights case a couple of weeks ago in court told the judge, political rhetoric and realty don't always meet at the sheriff's office. I'm paraphrasing, but he said something along those lines. There's certainly history that Arpaio can say one thing publicly about this being a pile of lies, a Pearl Harbor style sneak attack, while cooler heads might prevail in the negotiation room with his attorney and the Justice Department folks.

Ted Simons: Will those cooler heads agree -- we're talking about federal monitoring. And if we are, how much will he allow for these folks to have this oversight and how long would this oversight last?

J.J. Hensley: There's no telling. Monitoring is certainly a possibility. Given his statements to this point, the fact that the sheriff's office failed to cooperate with this investigation for the better part of a year until the Justice Department filed a lawsuit, all of those things indicate at least according to this former DOJ prosecutor I spoke with today that whatever agreement they come to today will have to include a lot of specific details for federal investigators to feel certain there will be compliance, which could include a monitor. That goes off into a whole 'nother realm. Arpaio said in no uncertain terms he will not cede his authority to run this office to the federal government.

Ted Simons: The Feds seem to want training and constitutional -- they seem like they are saying you need to be trained in how to do a traffic stop. I can't see MCSO going along gladly with that kind of oversight.

J.J. Hensley: Sure. I think part of this is going to be what are they able to negotiate. Feds say we need training on how to conduct a proper traffic stop. We'll show you these training materials. Is there someone we can meet in the middle to demonstrate that kind of compliance? DPS, not to get too far afield, but department of public safety had a similar issue with racial profiling with allegations. One of their remedies was to institute data collection which they have done for the last several years. Their director has said that that made them a better police force. That's one of the things that the DOJ has asked for from the sheriff's office.

Ted Simons: Seems like a lot of things in the past has resulted in many of them have resulted in better policing. Better police forces, better morale with the law enforcement community. Is that a possibility here, do you think, or like you said, is this a standoff and it's going to take a while?

J.J. Hensley: Is it a possibility? Sure. I mean, because even the Justice Department, even Tom when he was out here a few weeks ago, said that was his goal, to use the findings of this investigation to help the sheriff's office become a better police force. So certainly it's a possibility. It's the one DOJ has put forth as their ultimate goal here. The question is whether the sheriff's office, Arpaio in particular, can see the value in that and come to agreement with Justice Department that ultimately will allow the sheriff's office to save face. I don't think you would ever see him admit that they had intentionally discriminated against Hispanic residents because they say quite flatly that they have not done that.

Ted Simons: We have 60 days to figure out if a deal or agreement is done. If at the end of 60 days there's no deal sufficient to the Feds, what happens?

J.J. Hensley: Then it will go to court.

Ted Simons: So it goes to court but he stays sheriff. He still has oversight of that particular law enforcement agency.

J.J. Hensley: The litigation road is a long path. There's 30-plus-year-old lawsuit still working its way through court that has to do with health care in Maricopa County jails. Everyone is trying to avoid that lengthy, expensive path.

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

J.J. Hensley: Thank you.