Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

February 1, 2012


Host: Ted Simons

Arizona Centennial: Tempe Historic Building Tour

  |   Video
  • A guided tour of historic buildings in downtown Tempe is being offered Saturday, February 4. Tempe City Architect Mark Vinson will talk about those buildings showcased on the tour.
Guests:
  • Mark Vinson - Tempe City Architect
Keywords: historic buildings, guided tour,

View Transcript

Ted Simons: The city of Tempe is offering tours of historic areas this Saturday. The walking tours will cover Mill Avenue, Tempe Town Lake area and old Arizona State University locations. Here to talk about the historic buildings of Tempe is Tempe architect Mark Vinson. Thanks for joining us.

Mark Vinson: Thank you.

Ted Simons: What's this tour all about? What's going on here?

Mark Vinson: This is a tour that's been done in the past, has kind of languished for a couple of years. We have revived it this year. One of the key elements is it's in conjunction with the Arizona Centennial, so it's an official centennial event. We feel preservation has been a key element in the revitalization of downtown Tempe. We like to put that foot forward with our residents and visitors.

Ted Simons: Renovation in downtown Tempe Harks it always been a factor among residents and among city officials or is that pushing and shoving toward the end?

Mark Vinson: Well, it's been a factor for the last 30 to 40 years. I think the real key will probably take a look at this building later was the decision to rebuild Tempe Municipal Building in downtown Tempe. That kicked off other revitalization of downtown Tempe. We have built on that.

Ted Simons: Let's go with some photographs. We'll start with the Hackett house. I guess it was a Tempe bakery. The house is still there.

Mark Vinson: It was originally the Tempe Bakery. Originally it was built as a speculative building because the railroad had just come to town and it was built on 4th street, the connection between the railroad depot and Mill Avenue some of it was built by a local speculative group and was sold to a German immigrant baker, Mr. Hilge. He operated his building there until it was -- until he passed away, then it was acquired by the Hackett family. The Hackett house was acquired by the city in the 1980s and rehabilitated.

Ted Simons: Lots of events, marriages there at the Hackett house.

Mark Vinson: That's true. Tempe's Sister City Organization, the primary tenant there, they operate and coordinate those events.

Ted Simons: The Laird and Dimes building is one that I think a lot of people would recognize on the corner. I don't think the Hooters is there in this picture but we got a Hooters there now.

Mark Vinson: This was built in 1893 as you can see in the photograph originally a Victorian style with lots of ornate woodwork and balconies. Remodeled in the 1920's to a Spanish Colonial Revival style. Then in 1960, when Mill Avenue was designated as a U.S. highway, according to federal highway regulations, parts of the building had to be taken off to make the road wider, screens had to be put over windows, so the building was never the same after that until the city through a public-private partnership the building was rehabilitated in the 1990s, early 1990s. One of the interesting things during the history of the building when it was the drugstore through most of its life was it was the unofficial City Hall. Lots of discussions, political intrigue went on there. It's been an important component in Tempe history for a long time.

Ted Simons: Another building is the Vienna Bakery. For a long time Tempe residents will know that restaurant Mexico, which has been around different locations in Tempe, is here now. This is a significant architectural building, correct?

Mark Vinson: Correct. Again, built in 1893, it was actually constructed by a former employee of the Tempe Bakery that we talked about a minute ago who went on his own and started his own bakery. That's what this building originally was. It's a rare example of territorial Victorian architecture although it too in the 1920's got the Spanish colonial revival treatment. There was once another portion of this building that was demolished years ago, but the remnant piece as you mentioned is home to restaurant Mexico and a well loved spot for downtown patrons.

Ted Simons: Yes, indeed. Another building I think people will recognize, although in this photograph it's a long time ago in a different form, Peterson and Cutler -- what is this all about.

Mark Vinson: The Peterson Cutler building was a two-story commercial Victorian style brick structure rehabilitated in 1983, has housed many businesses over the years, folks may remember Stan's Metro Deli there in the early '90s. Unfortunately during renovation work a fire started and the building was essentially entirely consumed by fire. So what we see today is a for the most part a reconstruction of the original building with some of the original detail elements returned to their original position, but tried to keep the same proportions and rhythm of the openings and so forth to not necessarily mimic history but to recreate that feel that we know as mill avenue.

Ted Simons: Another building very recognizable, especially to long time residents, is the Casa Loma building. This was a hotel down there in the '70s. It now has the shoe mill on the bottom floor. Looks like Café Bola is here now. This has quite a history as well.

Mark Vinson: Originally built 1899 as Hotel Atwood. It was actually a hotel for most of its life span. I believe Teddy Roosevelt stayed there when he dedicated Roosevelt Dam and other famous personages. Remodeled in the 1920's in the Spanish colonial revival style, rehabilitated in the early '80s and has been an office building on the upper levels and retail and restaurant on the lower levels. We feel it's an important mix of uses in the downtown area. We try not to have single use buildings because the space is just too valuable not only from an economic standpoint but just the vitality of the area demands that mix of uses.

Ted Simons: There's one single use building, the Valley Art Theater.

Mark Vinson: That's true.

Ted Simons: Everyone recognizes this building. It's been through some times itself.

Mark Vinson: Right. Built by Red Harkins in 1940 as the college theater. So it has had a great life span of airing great films. Was sold by Harkins in the early '60s and since reacquired in the late '80s by the Harkins operations and completely rehabilitated and continues to show great movies there.

Ted Simons: Yeah. We have about one minute left here. I know that the Tempe – upside-down pyramid building is on the tour. Built in 1970 or so, considered historic?

Mark Vinson: It is not designated historic on the national register of historic places as yet. It's currently going through the process of Tempe designation. But as significant as the shape, the striking form of the building, we feel it's even more significant because of its role as a catalyst in redevelopment of downtown Tempe when the decision was made to build that building there instead of at Rural and Southern, that was a key component in kicking off revitalization of downtown.

Ted Simons: Fascinating stuff. The walking tour is this week. I think there's a luncheon involved as well. Good to have you here. Good information. Keep up the good work in Tempe.

Mark Vinson: Thank you.

Justice Michael Ryan

  |   Video
  • Retired Arizona Supreme Court Justice Michael Ryan passed away this week at the age of 66. During his career as a trial judge, he presided over some of the most high profile cases in Arizona history. In this 2010 interview, one of his last interviews on “Horizon”, Justice Ryan talks about his career.
Category: Law   |   Keywords: law, arizona, supreme, court, justice,

View Transcript

Ted Simons: Retired Supreme Court Justice Mike Ryan passed away this week at the age of 66. As a trial judge he presided over some of the biggest cases in state history. The political corruption sting known as AZSCAM, the criminal trial of Governor Evan Meacham, and the drug case. Ryan was a marine whose combat injuries in Vietnam left him confined to a wheelchair. In one of his last interviews on "Horizon" he talked about how his military service helped him as a judge.

Hon Michael Ryan: People have trouble focusing sometimes on the task at hand. I think that's what the military really prepares you for as to focus on what you have do at that moment. For example, a trial judge has to handle a whole host of different things at the same time. It's almost like being a platoon commander sometimes. It gets so hectic. But if you're able to keep calm and keep focused you're able to get the job done.

Ted Simons: And this may be a redundant question considering some of the attributes you just described, but what makes an effective justice? Is it someone who is obviously focused and disciplined in these things, but are there things we wouldn't ordinarily think about that would make for a good justice?

Hon Michael Ryan: If you're talking about a justice on the Arizona Supreme Court, yes. I think you need to have focus. And you have to have a lot of self-discipline. You're essentially working almost as a one-person law firm. You have a couple of law clerks to help you. So forth. You can talk to the other justices, but you have to prepare for each case by yourself. You draft the opinions on your own and you have to try to keep up with workload. That requires a lot of discipline and focus. I think another attribute of being a good justice is humility. I say that because people think of justices as being all-knowing and maybe sometimes arrogant, but a good justice at any Supreme Court level has to have some humility because you don't know everything about every aspect of the law. Something new comes up every time. And it really helps to -- you may have an opinion about something but it helps to have the humility to listen to someone else and say, wait a minute, I was wrong, you were right, change your mind. Change your opinion on something.

Ted Simons: Compare and contrast that with a trial judge.

Hon Michael Ryan: A trial judge should have humility, but I think the best attribute a trial judge should have is patience. Because you are dealing with a lot of different people. You're dealing with court staff, jurors, litigants, attorneys who may have cases in several different courts at the same time. You have other staff that you have to deal with, the clerk's office and so forth. You're managing a major operation being a trial judge. So you need a lot of patience and you've got to deal with people respectfully and with, as I say, a great deal of patience.

Ted Simons: You managed as a trial judge, oversaw and judged some pretty high profile cases here in Arizona. I want to briefly touch on just three of them. Let's start with the Suns drug trial in the 1980s. What are your thoughts on all that?

Hon Michael Ryan: Well, the presiding criminal judge comes walking in -- we heard some rumors there was a grand jury investigation going on. I really wasn't paying too much attention to it because I was pretty busy on other stuff. Presiding judge, criminal judge comes walking in, says, I've got a case for you. It turned out to be the Phoenix Suns drug case. It made national news, obviously, and then one of the major crisis that occurred was the grand jury trips were released. During the testimony that was heard by the grand jury, there are a number of players who are named that had been at parties where supposedly cocaine was used, but they either weren't involved or didn't use it or were never charged. So you had this national embarrassment for some of these players. I felt really bad for some of them. And the other problem I saw that I had to confront was the intense media scrutiny. Every day there was reporters outside my office waiting for motions to be filed and so forth and so on. I had experienced some media coverage of various cases but not to that extent.

Ted Simons: Speaking of media coverage, let's move to another case. The Meacham trial. I'm guessing that made the Suns drug case look minor league. Compare and contrast what you saw your memories with the Meacham trial and some of the other cases. Did that seem -- anyone who was here at the time it just seemed like a zoo.

Hon Michael Ryan: It was a zoo because you had the impeachment trial before they had the criminal trial. That trial, which was presided over by Chief Justice Gordon, who was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court at the time, was televised, gavel to gavel. Then when the criminal trial came up after Governor Meacham had been convicted by the Senate they had the criminal trial on -- they brought forward the criminal trial on other charges that he had not been tried on in the Senate. Channel 8 said we would like to cover this gavel to gavel, which meant my children couldn't watch Sesame Street in the morning. At any rate, everyone agreed to it. So we did that. That was a very different experience because the first time at least in Arizona I think the first time in the country that they had gavel to gavel coverage of a trial, criminal trial, in a superior court. That was quite an experience. Part of the problem was picking a jury because so many people knew about everything that happened, so it took us a couple weeks to pick a jury. Once we got a jury picked things went pretty smoothly after that. So we did okay.

Ted Simons: Did you do okay with the AZSCAM trial?

Hon Michael Ryan: The AZSCAM trial -- most of the defendants I think there were 16 or so defendants, most of them pled guilty. Two demanded a trial. That trial lasted about seven months, and most of the time the jurors and myself and the lawyers and the two defendants, the prosecutors were listening to tapes or watching videotapes of these various bribery transactions. It went on for hours and days, day after day after day. Then in the middle of that trial, the major informant or the person that the County Attorney's office used to be the mobster who was buying off these people to have legalized gaming here, published a book. It came out in the middle of the trial. Of course the defense attorneys were going crazy because he revealed grand jury stuff that went on in the grand jury, which is supposed to be secret -- and so forth and so on. So during the day I was listening to him and at night I would have to go home and read the book, then I would have to ask the jurors if they had heard about the book, read the book, I had to tell them they couldn't read the book.

Ted Simons: Crazy stuff.

Hon Michael Ryan: It was really crazy.

Legislative Update

  |   Video
  • An Arizona Capitol Times reporter provides a mid-week update on news from the Arizona State Legislature.
Guests:
  • Jim Small - Reporter of Arizona Capitol Times
Category: Legislature   |   Keywords: Legislature, Arizona Capitol Times ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Good evening. Welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. A state Senate committee hears bills that target public unions and some once dead immigration bills are back in the state capitol. Here with the latest in our weekly legislative update is Jim Small of the Arizona Capitol Times.

Jim Small: The Senate government and reform committee met today and they considered four anti-public union bills, going after unions for, you know, government employees, state, city, county, and municipality. The idea is basically to try to take away power. The critics like the Goldwater Institute who is pushing these bills says the public unions in Arizona have too much power and cost taxpayers too much money.

Ted Simons: Basically we're talking no collective bargaining negotiations. Just zippo.

Jim Small: Right. One of the bills would have the effect of basically banning collective bargaining, banning governments from entering into collective bargaining agreements with any unions. While that may not affect the state, which doesn't do that with any of its public employee unions, it would impact cities and towns and some counties who have these agreements with their cops and firefighters.

Ted Simons: This is because the proponents say unions are driving up the cost of operating government and they are also saying -- do we have testimony on this? That union workers, public workers are compensated and paid more than those doing equal work in the private sector? There was some talk of this.

Jim Small: That's one of the arguments that the proponents said. Government employees make something like $140,000 annually a year. That takes into not just their salary but also their benefit package and retirement package and vacation package and other time off. So combined when you take that and you work the numbers to say that the analogs in the private sector make far less than this.

Ted Simons: It's interesting because the other side says it's union busting and they say folks in the public sector don't make the kind of income that the private sector does but they use compensation to help make up the difference.

Jim Small: And that's the difference. Little bit of an apples and oranges thing. Total compensation package versus salary. The salary for police officers and firefighters may not be dramatically greater than in the private sector.

Ted Simons: This sounds like it could be a real donnybrook. How far could this go through the legislature, how far on the governor's desk?

Jim Small: No reason it couldn't get to the governor's desk. You have a supermajority of Republicans that control both chambers of the legislature. You have a super conservative governor. That's been popular in Republican circles for a while now. It's interesting to see if they will get traction. Couple of the bills have been around for a while, union dues, have existed in the past and they haven't gotten to Governor Brewer's desk. This might be the year. We'll see. The one thing to note, it is an election year and you're talking about going after the public employee unions that have the most political clout in the firefighters and police. I imagine that will give some Republicans pause.

Ted Simons: Steve Smith is pushing a couple of immigration bills seemingly similar to those that didn't make it last time around.

Jim Small: They deal with illegal immigrants in schools and in hospitals. One of them would require hospitals when someone goes to the hospital they have to show proof of citizenship at the hospital. Hospitals are still supposed to treat them, that's federal law, but the hospital would have to compile a report, in fact call the local immigration federal immigration office and let them know we have someone here who can't prove they are a citizen. Thought you should know if you want to pick them up that would be great. Compile a report on that. The hospitals have to submit an annual report. Same thing with the schools. Basically they would require students to show proof of citizenship. They can't stop those students who can't prove that but they would make a note of it and put together a report and show here's how many students we have every year that can't prove their citizenship and here's what it costs to educate them.

Ted Simons: If these ideas couldn't make it with Russell Pearce at the Helm last go-round, any idea of their chances this time without Russell Pearce are not?

Jim Small: They got to the floor and had backing on the floor of Senate president Russell Pearce. Now you have Senate president Steve Pierce who seems to be focused more on business interests than some of this immigration stuff. It's a question as to whether they get to the floor. If they do, this legislation was included in Alabama's legislation which passed and there was some argument at the time from some of the Republicans who voted against it, this is unconstitutional. We can't do this, but those things were allowed to go into effect in Alabama. The federal judge there said, no, these are fine and let them go forward. I know Senator Smith and other proponents are pointing to that saying this stuff is legal. The reason you had last time for not voting for it are wrong. There's no doubt that will be a major -- a major arrow in the quiver for supporters.

Ted Simons: And last year we heard of immigration fatigue. Are they well rested, ready for round 2?

Jim Small: I think the folks who voted against the bills last year would say they are not and the Arizona economy still hasn't picked up and we should be focusing on that.

Ted Simons: Good to have you here.

Jim Small: Thanks for having me.


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