Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

October 13, 2005


Host: Michael Grant

Arizona Commission on the Arts


Guests:
  • Tom Horne - Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • Douglas Merrill - senior director of information services, Google
  • Shelley Cohn - Executive Direction, Arizona Commission on the Arts


View Transcript
>> Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon":
Arizona's superintendent of public instruction has an idea to give teachers a pay raise at a lower cost to the state. Google, the Internet search engine company has announced it's seeking an office that will employ 600 in the valley. Plus, an icon in the Arizona arts community steps down from her post with the Arizona Commission on the Arts. She joins us to talk about it. More on those issues, next on "Horizon".

>> 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. State schools superintendent Tom Horne has a truly novel idea to give teachers a pay raise. He's proposing giving teachers a $2,500 tax credit. Here now to tell us about his idea is Arizona state superintendent of public instruction, Tom Horne. How would this work?

>> Tom Horne:
Well, the idea is to give every teacher a $2500 refundable tax credit, which means after tax dollars in the teachers' pocket. To get the same effect with a raise, they would have to get a $3500 raise out of which would be taken Social Security deductions, taxes and so on. For the same amount of money we can get substantially more money into the teachers' pockets. The teachers are sensitive to that, last year most got raises but they had to contribute to retirement and the take=home was lower even if they got raises. For the same amount of money we could give the teachers substantially more money after tax in their pocket than if we appropriated it and gave them a raise.

>> Michael Grant:
Teacher retirement is tied to your salary level. This would not give them, let's say, a $2,500 increase. But I understand your point. By giving the credit, to get the same kind of effect, you really have to run a larger increase up top side.

>> Tom Horne:
We have to get more money into their pockets. Real estate values have gone up in Arizona. It's tougher. A lot of teachers can't afford to buy houses. We have to attract and retain more qualified teachers. For two and a half years I've pushed hard on accountability. We have held our schools accountable. We have taken over five schools. Holding our students accountable, they have to pass a test to graduate. We have a new assessment for teachers where in the first six years they have to pass a test which includes a videotape that shows they can teach kids or leave the teaching profession. The thing I can do to most raise the learning of students is increase the quality of teachers and that will all fail if you don't increase the supply of highly qualified teachers so schools have some choice to make among those most qualified.

>> Michael Grant:
This has, though, a rather indiscriminate feel to it. You get $2,500 tax credit, to what was the universe?

>> Tom Horne:
60,000.

>> Michael Grant:
Regardless of where they're located, maybe whether they teach Math, English, Science, does that matter what district they're in. Why not take the same amount of money and apply it more discriminately?

>> Tom Horne:
It might not get to where it's needed. I think we need to raise compensation for teachers across Arizona. We've done so much in the way of accountability, now it's time to do something positive for the teachers. So we attract and retain those who can give a quality education to our students. Those that are not doing a good job need to go into other professions. We've done a lot to move into that direction. It's not going to work if we don't attract and retain more quality people in the teaching profession. To do that, we've got to raise the level of compensation. This is the most efficient way to get a substantial increase in the pockets of the teachers.

>> Michael Grant:
I guess that's the point, though, that I'm driving at. I doubt many people would argue with the basic premise to pay teachers more, but I think they might also add it would be better to pay good teachers more. If you have across the board increases don't have the element to--

>> Tom Horne:
I don't accept that we are going to have good teachers and bad teachers, and we're going to pay the good teachers more and pay the bad teachers less. We are going to try to have highly qualified teachers in all of our classrooms, we're going to try to eliminate the bad teachers. We took a big step by requiring they have the assessment. This includes a videotape to see how they communicate with students. It includes written narratives, the effect it has on kids and so on. We need to be sure no child is in the classroom with a bad teacher. We have to make sure all of them, we're raising their quality. If we're going to have our kids learn more, and that's very necessary to have our economy succeed, we're going to have to have more highly qualified professionals in the classroom. We've got to raise the quality of our teaching, have all highly qualified teachers in our classrooms, pay them better, not with the idea we pay the poor teachers less, we have to eliminate the bad teachers and have highly qualified professionals in all of our classrooms.

>> Michael Grant:
Arizona School Board Association has come out against the tax credit proposal, saying that it expands the poor public policy of tax credits. What do you say?

>> Tom Horne:
I think they have to listen to the teachers more. I've talked to a lot of teachers, and the teachers are very enthusiastic about it. I'm responsible for raising the quality of education in our state, and I think this is the best way to do it.

>> Michael Grant:
Your probable opponent next year says, it's just Tom Horne playing politics.

>> Tom Horne:
Actually, that's the second sentence. The first sentence was it's a terrific idea. That's what he said. He was quoted in the Arizona Republic. The first sentence was, it's a terrific idea. If it passes, it will be great. If it doesn't pass, maybe it's just a gimmick. We're going to work hard to see that it passes.

>> Michael Grant:
Have you vetted this through any legislators, got any feel for the legislative reaction?

>> Tom Horne:
A lot of positive reaction from legislators. In fact, the Arizona Republic had some positive quotes from Ken Bennett, the Senate president, from Mark Anderson, the House education chair. So we're getting positive reactions at the legislature and that makes us very hopeful.

>> Michael Grant:
$150 million or so estimated hit on the general fund.

>> Tom Horne:
I'm not sure I would use the noun hit, but -

>> Michael Grant:
Well, I think the appropriations committee may see it that way.

>> Tom Horne:
Where we are is that last month we had $100 million in excess of what was projected. If that continues, we'll have $600 million for the year in excess of what was projected. If this bill passed, that would reduce that by $150 million, so that the teachers actually keep more of their earnings. So the excess to the general fund would be $150 million less. Out of $600 million, I think that's a reasonable percentage.

>> Michael Grant:
Tom, you and I both know it wasn't so long ago we were talking about a budget crisis and we were the other way. This imbeds, you know, tax credits are kind of difficult to take away once you have given them.

>> Tom Horne:
Having served in the legislature, I found tax credits are nearly impossible to take away. And that's good. We need to compensate our teachers better. We need to do this permanently. We need highly qualified teachers in our classrooms for our students. I think that's a good thing, it would be permanent. True, we had an economic down turn, we had a reduction in revenues and we had a budget crisis. When I took office in 2003, I said we have to put more resources in education. We're 49th out of 50 states. I don't think that speaks well of our values. The ultimate family value to me is the education of our kids. I'm not in favor of tax increases. I said we have to wait until the economy turns around. When that happens, there will be more revenue and without increasing the taxes, the legislature gives a high priority to K-12 education, we'll be able to beef up our education. My way of preparing for that was to emphasize accountability because I wanted to be able to demonstrate to the legislature, if they put more resources in education we would be able to show academic results for that. I focused on holding everybody accountable, we have done that in a massive way. Now we want to be on the positive side so we get more highly qualified teachers to carry this out.

>> Michael Grant:
Tom Horne, Superintendent of Public Instruction, interesting idea. We'll track it in the legislative session. Thanks for joining us.

>> Tom Horne:
Thank you, Mike.

>> Michael Grant:
You may use it every day. It's the Google Internet search engine. Yesterday, the Mountain View, California based company announced it was seeking an office in the valley to place 600 workers. Here is an excerpt from the news conference where the announcement was made.

>> Governor Janet Napolitano:
Now this fast growing company has selected the valley as the site of its new location. What does that mean? This means more than 600 new high-paying jobs for Arizonans. These are new hires from our state's highly qualified technology based work pool. Google, Inc. takes great stock in its employees, providing them with incentives to stay with the company. And Google represents the type of innovative technology companies that we want to attract to Arizona. It is a hugely successful corporation that continues to grow each year and we welcome them to our state.

>> Douglas Merrill:
We're very, very excited to be joining the valley area today. Basically, I would like to take a couple of minutes and talk about Google. All of you know about a little bit about us at least. We were founded in 1998 by a couple of Stanford graduate students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin who had this idea, this idea that you could take all of the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. That idea that started in that dorm room is now the mission of a company that has 4,000 employees in over 20 locations worldwide and we're very, very excited to be building another location here in the valley area.

>> Michael Grant:
Here now to tell us more about the plans to build an office for Google in the valley is Douglas Merrill, senior director of information services for Google. Douglas, I have often thought I would have liked to have been in that dorm room. I can assure you much more creative things were going on in that dorm room than went on in a lot of dorm rooms that I occupied. These were very bright guys, I think is the bottom line.

>> Douglas Merrill:
Larry Page and Sergey Brin are amazingly brilliant and creative guys. They had a vision that made no sense at the time. To get all the world's information universally accessible and useful. In 1998, no one else was thinking that way. It was a totally radical idea. All these years later that vision is still our mission. And it still drives what we do. And we're still not done. There are incredibly interesting problems to solve.

>> Michael Grant:
It's a remarkable phenomenon.. Speaking of worldwide, Google could have located this office any place. Welcome to the Valley of the Sun. But why Phoenix and Valley of the Sun?

>> Douglas Merrill:
We did a very long complicated site selection. We looked at lots and lots of sites. We do already have offices all over the world. As we were looking for this site, we put a lot of factors and weighed a lot of different items. There were three particular things that pulled us to the valley. First, there is an incredibly rich talent pool here in the area. There are lots of highly skilled and highly educated workers who could become Google employees over time. Second is a very strong commitment to education at all levels, both primary education and world class research institutions which can help feed the intellectual aura of the area. But finally, it's really important for Google that if you want to work hard, you can go play hard. It's important to have a balance. The valley has a great mixture of amenities and common space. It's a great way to work and have a balanced life.

>> Michael Grant:
Douglas, I've got to tell you, all of us are stunned because we've gotten used to these various corporations doing these kinds of searches, identifying five possible areas and having people bid against each other. Google didn't do that. Why?

>> Douglas Merrill:
We didn't choose the valley because of cost or because we got something, we chose the valley because it met our criteria. There's not an opportunity for a bidding war in that concept. We had a set of criteria we wanted to meet, we found a location that meets them and we're so excited to be a member of the community. We're looking forward to a long partnership together. What's to bid on?

>> Michael Grant:
I admire the approach.

>> Douglas Merrill:
Like all companies we look forward to the services of a local community. Obviously, we will be tax paying citizens, we will use the roads, all of the services. We want to be responsible business people. For us, it's a talent game. Google is all about finding the best talent and for them to work making really hard problems fixable and doable. There's great talent here.

>> Michael Grant:
How much of a factor, when you talk about talent pool, the headquarters are in the Silicon Valley, but the fact that the Valley has a presence, INTEL most probably comes to mind, but other things you have mentioned, too, how much of that was a factor in this decision?

>> Douglas Merrill:
Clearly, it's a cycle, so was it particular that we came here because INTEL is here? No. But on the other hand, INTEL is here the same reason we are here. The two of us together makes the valley that much stronger, as do the hundreds of other great high-tech companies. Each of us wants a place where we can get great skilled workers who can be -- new generations can be educated, have continuing education, and have a balanced and quality life. All of those things brought us here and the fact we're all here hopefully creates this cycle which makes us better, much akin to the Silicon Valley that happened around Stanford and some other universities.

>> Michael Grant:
Douglas, as I mentioned before we went on the way, I am very computer illiterate. I do use Google from time to time.

>> Douglas Merrill:
Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
Can you put in kind of lay terms the sorts of things that the 600 people that we're talking about as Google employees will be working on?

>> Douglas Merrill:
We'll be hiring hundreds of people over the coming year. Obviously, they'll work on a variety of things. Primarily they'll work on engineering challenges and customer support efforts. Writing code, operating services, for our services and products worldwide. Adding features, changing the way they work, adding countries. The customer support will provide support for the products we have. There's lots of other products on the site and sometimes they require help.

>> Michael Grant:
We're throwing up some of the web pages as you were talking. I always smile when I see the "I'm feeling lucky" button. A specific location not landed on yet in terms of a variety of different cities. What are you looking for in terms of the right package now for a Phoenix, Scottsdale or Tempe or Chandler, whoever may be in the running?

>> Douglas Merrill:
There's lots of locations we're looking at. We have had great conversations that are ongoing with mayors and city council people and it's been quite impressive how responsive and helpful all have been to us. We like to put sites at places that meet our employees' needs. We like to have our employees get out of their cars, public transportation is a big help. Open space. Destinations where the kinds of people who want to be Google employees like to be. This is not going to be a simple selection. We are looking forward to the challenge of figuring out which one is best and as we learn about the area, we do have a temporary office in Phoenix, to let the few people here begin recruiting and learn about the area. SO we have a place to site. We have a lot of work to do before we pick a final site.

>> Michael Grant:
Before the end of the year?

>> Douglas Merrill:
It's hard to commit because of negotiations.

>> Michael Grant:
Douglas Merrill, thank you for joining us. Welcome to the Valley.

>> Douglas Merrill:
Thank you for having me.

>> Michael Grant:
After three decades with the Arizona commission on the arts, executive director Shelley Cohn stepped down this week. In a moment, she will join us to talk about some of the more notable arts events during her tenure. First, the Arizona Commission on the Arts embodies many reasons to "stack the deck" in favor of the arts. You can learn many of them from a unique deck of cards. Merry Lucero tells us more.

>> Merry Lucero:
The Arizona commission on the Arts deck of playing cards, 52 reasons to support the arts, shows how the arts are integrated into our state and our lives. The project resulted from a proposal by two local designers in a national competition. The award paid for the production of the cards. The deck features writers, artists, performers and arts organizations throughout the state. The four suits, illustrated by Arizona Art Projects are education, community building, creative capital and economic development. The deck features some of Arizona's creative highlights. The five of hearts is the Show Low Fire project. The Yuma Folklorico festival is the queen of clubs, to name a few. Other cards feature facts about the arts in Arizona and the U.S. The cards are a fun and compelling tool to show the public value of the arts and the work of the Arizona commission on the Arts.

>> Michael Grant:
Shelley Cohn joined me earlier to talk about her time heading up the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Shelley, three decades, why are you shutting it down?

>> Shelley Cohn:
It has been a great adventure, 30 years going to a job that I have loved all these years and really felt passionate about. 30 years, it gets a little redundant. So I am ready to try something new.

>> Michael Grant:
You were saying that you have been getting literally hundreds of E-mails from people the past month or so?

>> Shelly Cohn:
Right. It has been so heart-warming to hear from individual artists and arts organizations who have been reflecting on the experiences they have had over the 30 years with the arts commission and tell me the impact this small agency has had on their work as an artist or arts organization or as a school that has affected the learning that kids have had in the arts.

>> Michael Grant:
We tend to focus on the large stuff, and I want to do that in just a minute. That's a good point, the arts commission moves money to a lot of areas, not just the big high profile ones.

>> Shelley Cohn:
Our goal is to make sure that the broadest population has access to the arts. We might fund community festivals. Many of the festivals in the downtown area with the Asian community, the Indian community has support from the commission on the arts, as well as the big organizations.

>> Michael Grant:
It's rural, too.

>> Shelley Cohn:
We used to hear from the rural communities that next to people from the mines, mine inspectors from state government, we were the most recognized state agency that participated in the State of Arizona.

>> Michael Grant:
You were mining for arts, kind of a combination of the two professions.

>> Shelley Cohn:
Absolutely.

>> Michael Grant:
Let's stroll down memory lane. '75, '76, in terms of performing arts venues, we had pretty much Phoenix symphony hall and Gammage.

>> Shelley Cohn:
Scottsdale Center for the Arts. They're celebrating their 30th anniversary this weekend, actually.

>> Michael Grant:
You had just come on board.

>> Shelley Cohn:
That's right.

>> Michael Grant:
Now you have multiple venues.

>> Shelley Cohn:
The venues have multiplied. It's interesting to see that those have been evidenced by public support to create the Mesa Art Center, the Tempe center that's almost up now, in the west valley, Peoria is working on a performing arts facility and they have been voted on by the public. The city of Phoenix in 1988, that was the big bond that created the expansion of the Phoenix art museum, the downtown public library. So that commitment by the public to these venues and facilities for the arts has been tremendous in making sure that the quality that goes into those facilities is high and meets the expectations of the public.

>> Michael Grant:
There are other commercial venues, certainly large concert venues, Glendale hockey arena, the Dodge theater. It's definitely changed, Phoenix is much more of a stopping spot for a variety of different performances and some of the Broadway touring companies, Celtic woman was in recently.

>> Shelley Cohn:
Right.

>> Michael Grant:
As you might expect it attracts a much broader range of entertainment than the mid '70s.

>> Shelley Cohn:
I think that is a product of the leadership we have in Arizona right now. We have creative arts administrators who see what's going on across the country and across the world, ASU public events is noted for that. The Beyond Broadway series brings performances we had never been able to see, because of the leadership.

>> Michael Grant:
Other fun things that have sprung up, first Fridays in downtown Phoenix has gotten a lot of attention recently and there's a lot of other things along those lines.

>> Shelley Cohn:
First Fridays is a personal favorite of mine. There's a particular reason I think it is so great. It is because of the initiative and leadership of the artists who said we want to live downtown, have our studios there, we are going to take control and purchase property and make sure we have the appropriate places to show our work. That didn't happen 20 or 25 years ago, there wasn't a sense of community. Artists came all the time and said there is no gathering place for artists. We feel very isolated. They were looking for somebody else to help them out. This was initiated by the artists and I think now there are support systems in place to make sure these initiatives carry forward and go on into the future.

>> Michael Grant:
That's continued to develop down there, has it not? Is it Jackson Street basically the warehouse development?

>> Shelley Cohn:
It started at Jackson Street and that was when America West came in and there were places found for the artists who had been displaced by America West. But now Grand Avenue and Roosevelt Street are just high activity areas. And then you go north on Central, to the Phoenix Library and they are now a venue for visual art exhibitions, as well. The Arizona commission on the Arts moved in our office 1984 on Roosevelt and Fifth Avenue and we thought we were going to change the landscape. And it's taken 20 years. It's very exciting to be a part of that downtown activity.

>> Michael Grant:
Shelley Cohn, thanks very much for the stroll down memory lane, and thanks very much for your service on the arts commission. What's next?

>> Shelley Cohn:
I am just trying to see how I reinvent myself. I'm taking the desert landscaping class at the Desert Botanical Garden. And I want to see what new adventures there are out there.

>> Michael Grant:
Kickback and enjoy it, thank you.

>> Shelley Cohn:
Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
You can see images of the "52 reasons to support the arts" cards on the Arizona Commission on the Arts website by linking to that website from ours at www.az.pbs.org while you're there, you can also find out about upcoming shows and get transcripts of this show and previous shows. Please join us for the Friday edition tomorrow. Thank you very much for being here this Thursday. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one. Good night.

Google


  • Google, the internet search engine company, has announced it is searching for a site in the Valley to put an office that would employ 600 people. Learn more about the move from a Google company representative.
Guests:
  • Tom Horne - Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • Douglas Merrill - senior director of information services, Google
  • Shelley Cohn - Executive Direction, Arizona Commission on the Arts


View Transcript
>> Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon":
Arizona's superintendent of public instruction has an idea to give teachers a pay raise at a lower cost to the state. Google, the Internet search engine company has announced it's seeking an office that will employ 600 in the valley. Plus, an icon in the Arizona arts community steps down from her post with the Arizona Commission on the Arts. She joins us to talk about it. More on those issues, next on "Horizon".

>> 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. State schools superintendent Tom Horne has a truly novel idea to give teachers a pay raise. He's proposing giving teachers a $2,500 tax credit. Here now to tell us about his idea is Arizona state superintendent of public instruction, Tom Horne. How would this work?

>> Tom Horne:
Well, the idea is to give every teacher a $2500 refundable tax credit, which means after tax dollars in the teachers' pocket. To get the same effect with a raise, they would have to get a $3500 raise out of which would be taken Social Security deductions, taxes and so on. For the same amount of money we can get substantially more money into the teachers' pockets. The teachers are sensitive to that, last year most got raises but they had to contribute to retirement and the take=home was lower even if they got raises. For the same amount of money we could give the teachers substantially more money after tax in their pocket than if we appropriated it and gave them a raise.

>> Michael Grant:
Teacher retirement is tied to your salary level. This would not give them, let's say, a $2,500 increase. But I understand your point. By giving the credit, to get the same kind of effect, you really have to run a larger increase up top side.

>> Tom Horne:
We have to get more money into their pockets. Real estate values have gone up in Arizona. It's tougher. A lot of teachers can't afford to buy houses. We have to attract and retain more qualified teachers. For two and a half years I've pushed hard on accountability. We have held our schools accountable. We have taken over five schools. Holding our students accountable, they have to pass a test to graduate. We have a new assessment for teachers where in the first six years they have to pass a test which includes a videotape that shows they can teach kids or leave the teaching profession. The thing I can do to most raise the learning of students is increase the quality of teachers and that will all fail if you don't increase the supply of highly qualified teachers so schools have some choice to make among those most qualified.

>> Michael Grant:
This has, though, a rather indiscriminate feel to it. You get $2,500 tax credit, to what was the universe?

>> Tom Horne:
60,000.

>> Michael Grant:
Regardless of where they're located, maybe whether they teach Math, English, Science, does that matter what district they're in. Why not take the same amount of money and apply it more discriminately?

>> Tom Horne:
It might not get to where it's needed. I think we need to raise compensation for teachers across Arizona. We've done so much in the way of accountability, now it's time to do something positive for the teachers. So we attract and retain those who can give a quality education to our students. Those that are not doing a good job need to go into other professions. We've done a lot to move into that direction. It's not going to work if we don't attract and retain more quality people in the teaching profession. To do that, we've got to raise the level of compensation. This is the most efficient way to get a substantial increase in the pockets of the teachers.

>> Michael Grant:
I guess that's the point, though, that I'm driving at. I doubt many people would argue with the basic premise to pay teachers more, but I think they might also add it would be better to pay good teachers more. If you have across the board increases don't have the element to--

>> Tom Horne:
I don't accept that we are going to have good teachers and bad teachers, and we're going to pay the good teachers more and pay the bad teachers less. We are going to try to have highly qualified teachers in all of our classrooms, we're going to try to eliminate the bad teachers. We took a big step by requiring they have the assessment. This includes a videotape to see how they communicate with students. It includes written narratives, the effect it has on kids and so on. We need to be sure no child is in the classroom with a bad teacher. We have to make sure all of them, we're raising their quality. If we're going to have our kids learn more, and that's very necessary to have our economy succeed, we're going to have to have more highly qualified professionals in the classroom. We've got to raise the quality of our teaching, have all highly qualified teachers in our classrooms, pay them better, not with the idea we pay the poor teachers less, we have to eliminate the bad teachers and have highly qualified professionals in all of our classrooms.

>> Michael Grant:
Arizona School Board Association has come out against the tax credit proposal, saying that it expands the poor public policy of tax credits. What do you say?

>> Tom Horne:
I think they have to listen to the teachers more. I've talked to a lot of teachers, and the teachers are very enthusiastic about it. I'm responsible for raising the quality of education in our state, and I think this is the best way to do it.

>> Michael Grant:
Your probable opponent next year says, it's just Tom Horne playing politics.

>> Tom Horne:
Actually, that's the second sentence. The first sentence was it's a terrific idea. That's what he said. He was quoted in the Arizona Republic. The first sentence was, it's a terrific idea. If it passes, it will be great. If it doesn't pass, maybe it's just a gimmick. We're going to work hard to see that it passes.

>> Michael Grant:
Have you vetted this through any legislators, got any feel for the legislative reaction?

>> Tom Horne:
A lot of positive reaction from legislators. In fact, the Arizona Republic had some positive quotes from Ken Bennett, the Senate president, from Mark Anderson, the House education chair. So we're getting positive reactions at the legislature and that makes us very hopeful.

>> Michael Grant:
$150 million or so estimated hit on the general fund.

>> Tom Horne:
I'm not sure I would use the noun hit, but -

>> Michael Grant:
Well, I think the appropriations committee may see it that way.

>> Tom Horne:
Where we are is that last month we had $100 million in excess of what was projected. If that continues, we'll have $600 million for the year in excess of what was projected. If this bill passed, that would reduce that by $150 million, so that the teachers actually keep more of their earnings. So the excess to the general fund would be $150 million less. Out of $600 million, I think that's a reasonable percentage.

>> Michael Grant:
Tom, you and I both know it wasn't so long ago we were talking about a budget crisis and we were the other way. This imbeds, you know, tax credits are kind of difficult to take away once you have given them.

>> Tom Horne:
Having served in the legislature, I found tax credits are nearly impossible to take away. And that's good. We need to compensate our teachers better. We need to do this permanently. We need highly qualified teachers in our classrooms for our students. I think that's a good thing, it would be permanent. True, we had an economic down turn, we had a reduction in revenues and we had a budget crisis. When I took office in 2003, I said we have to put more resources in education. We're 49th out of 50 states. I don't think that speaks well of our values. The ultimate family value to me is the education of our kids. I'm not in favor of tax increases. I said we have to wait until the economy turns around. When that happens, there will be more revenue and without increasing the taxes, the legislature gives a high priority to K-12 education, we'll be able to beef up our education. My way of preparing for that was to emphasize accountability because I wanted to be able to demonstrate to the legislature, if they put more resources in education we would be able to show academic results for that. I focused on holding everybody accountable, we have done that in a massive way. Now we want to be on the positive side so we get more highly qualified teachers to carry this out.

>> Michael Grant:
Tom Horne, Superintendent of Public Instruction, interesting idea. We'll track it in the legislative session. Thanks for joining us.

>> Tom Horne:
Thank you, Mike.

>> Michael Grant:
You may use it every day. It's the Google Internet search engine. Yesterday, the Mountain View, California based company announced it was seeking an office in the valley to place 600 workers. Here is an excerpt from the news conference where the announcement was made.

>> Governor Janet Napolitano:
Now this fast growing company has selected the valley as the site of its new location. What does that mean? This means more than 600 new high-paying jobs for Arizonans. These are new hires from our state's highly qualified technology based work pool. Google, Inc. takes great stock in its employees, providing them with incentives to stay with the company. And Google represents the type of innovative technology companies that we want to attract to Arizona. It is a hugely successful corporation that continues to grow each year and we welcome them to our state.

>> Douglas Merrill:
We're very, very excited to be joining the valley area today. Basically, I would like to take a couple of minutes and talk about Google. All of you know about a little bit about us at least. We were founded in 1998 by a couple of Stanford graduate students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin who had this idea, this idea that you could take all of the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. That idea that started in that dorm room is now the mission of a company that has 4,000 employees in over 20 locations worldwide and we're very, very excited to be building another location here in the valley area.

>> Michael Grant:
Here now to tell us more about the plans to build an office for Google in the valley is Douglas Merrill, senior director of information services for Google. Douglas, I have often thought I would have liked to have been in that dorm room. I can assure you much more creative things were going on in that dorm room than went on in a lot of dorm rooms that I occupied. These were very bright guys, I think is the bottom line.

>> Douglas Merrill:
Larry Page and Sergey Brin are amazingly brilliant and creative guys. They had a vision that made no sense at the time. To get all the world's information universally accessible and useful. In 1998, no one else was thinking that way. It was a totally radical idea. All these years later that vision is still our mission. And it still drives what we do. And we're still not done. There are incredibly interesting problems to solve.

>> Michael Grant:
It's a remarkable phenomenon.. Speaking of worldwide, Google could have located this office any place. Welcome to the Valley of the Sun. But why Phoenix and Valley of the Sun?

>> Douglas Merrill:
We did a very long complicated site selection. We looked at lots and lots of sites. We do already have offices all over the world. As we were looking for this site, we put a lot of factors and weighed a lot of different items. There were three particular things that pulled us to the valley. First, there is an incredibly rich talent pool here in the area. There are lots of highly skilled and highly educated workers who could become Google employees over time. Second is a very strong commitment to education at all levels, both primary education and world class research institutions which can help feed the intellectual aura of the area. But finally, it's really important for Google that if you want to work hard, you can go play hard. It's important to have a balance. The valley has a great mixture of amenities and common space. It's a great way to work and have a balanced life.

>> Michael Grant:
Douglas, I've got to tell you, all of us are stunned because we've gotten used to these various corporations doing these kinds of searches, identifying five possible areas and having people bid against each other. Google didn't do that. Why?

>> Douglas Merrill:
We didn't choose the valley because of cost or because we got something, we chose the valley because it met our criteria. There's not an opportunity for a bidding war in that concept. We had a set of criteria we wanted to meet, we found a location that meets them and we're so excited to be a member of the community. We're looking forward to a long partnership together. What's to bid on?

>> Michael Grant:
I admire the approach.

>> Douglas Merrill:
Like all companies we look forward to the services of a local community. Obviously, we will be tax paying citizens, we will use the roads, all of the services. We want to be responsible business people. For us, it's a talent game. Google is all about finding the best talent and for them to work making really hard problems fixable and doable. There's great talent here.

>> Michael Grant:
How much of a factor, when you talk about talent pool, the headquarters are in the Silicon Valley, but the fact that the Valley has a presence, INTEL most probably comes to mind, but other things you have mentioned, too, how much of that was a factor in this decision?

>> Douglas Merrill:
Clearly, it's a cycle, so was it particular that we came here because INTEL is here? No. But on the other hand, INTEL is here the same reason we are here. The two of us together makes the valley that much stronger, as do the hundreds of other great high-tech companies. Each of us wants a place where we can get great skilled workers who can be -- new generations can be educated, have continuing education, and have a balanced and quality life. All of those things brought us here and the fact we're all here hopefully creates this cycle which makes us better, much akin to the Silicon Valley that happened around Stanford and some other universities.

>> Michael Grant:
Douglas, as I mentioned before we went on the way, I am very computer illiterate. I do use Google from time to time.

>> Douglas Merrill:
Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
Can you put in kind of lay terms the sorts of things that the 600 people that we're talking about as Google employees will be working on?

>> Douglas Merrill:
We'll be hiring hundreds of people over the coming year. Obviously, they'll work on a variety of things. Primarily they'll work on engineering challenges and customer support efforts. Writing code, operating services, for our services and products worldwide. Adding features, changing the way they work, adding countries. The customer support will provide support for the products we have. There's lots of other products on the site and sometimes they require help.

>> Michael Grant:
We're throwing up some of the web pages as you were talking. I always smile when I see the "I'm feeling lucky" button. A specific location not landed on yet in terms of a variety of different cities. What are you looking for in terms of the right package now for a Phoenix, Scottsdale or Tempe or Chandler, whoever may be in the running?

>> Douglas Merrill:
There's lots of locations we're looking at. We have had great conversations that are ongoing with mayors and city council people and it's been quite impressive how responsive and helpful all have been to us. We like to put sites at places that meet our employees' needs. We like to have our employees get out of their cars, public transportation is a big help. Open space. Destinations where the kinds of people who want to be Google employees like to be. This is not going to be a simple selection. We are looking forward to the challenge of figuring out which one is best and as we learn about the area, we do have a temporary office in Phoenix, to let the few people here begin recruiting and learn about the area. SO we have a place to site. We have a lot of work to do before we pick a final site.

>> Michael Grant:
Before the end of the year?

>> Douglas Merrill:
It's hard to commit because of negotiations.

>> Michael Grant:
Douglas Merrill, thank you for joining us. Welcome to the Valley.

>> Douglas Merrill:
Thank you for having me.

>> Michael Grant:
After three decades with the Arizona commission on the arts, executive director Shelley Cohn stepped down this week. In a moment, she will join us to talk about some of the more notable arts events during her tenure. First, the Arizona Commission on the Arts embodies many reasons to "stack the deck" in favor of the arts. You can learn many of them from a unique deck of cards. Merry Lucero tells us more.

>> Merry Lucero:
The Arizona commission on the Arts deck of playing cards, 52 reasons to support the arts, shows how the arts are integrated into our state and our lives. The project resulted from a proposal by two local designers in a national competition. The award paid for the production of the cards. The deck features writers, artists, performers and arts organizations throughout the state. The four suits, illustrated by Arizona Art Projects are education, community building, creative capital and economic development. The deck features some of Arizona's creative highlights. The five of hearts is the Show Low Fire project. The Yuma Folklorico festival is the queen of clubs, to name a few. Other cards feature facts about the arts in Arizona and the U.S. The cards are a fun and compelling tool to show the public value of the arts and the work of the Arizona commission on the Arts.

>> Michael Grant:
Shelley Cohn joined me earlier to talk about her time heading up the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Shelley, three decades, why are you shutting it down?

>> Shelley Cohn:
It has been a great adventure, 30 years going to a job that I have loved all these years and really felt passionate about. 30 years, it gets a little redundant. So I am ready to try something new.

>> Michael Grant:
You were saying that you have been getting literally hundreds of E-mails from people the past month or so?

>> Shelly Cohn:
Right. It has been so heart-warming to hear from individual artists and arts organizations who have been reflecting on the experiences they have had over the 30 years with the arts commission and tell me the impact this small agency has had on their work as an artist or arts organization or as a school that has affected the learning that kids have had in the arts.

>> Michael Grant:
We tend to focus on the large stuff, and I want to do that in just a minute. That's a good point, the arts commission moves money to a lot of areas, not just the big high profile ones.

>> Shelley Cohn:
Our goal is to make sure that the broadest population has access to the arts. We might fund community festivals. Many of the festivals in the downtown area with the Asian community, the Indian community has support from the commission on the arts, as well as the big organizations.

>> Michael Grant:
It's rural, too.

>> Shelley Cohn:
We used to hear from the rural communities that next to people from the mines, mine inspectors from state government, we were the most recognized state agency that participated in the State of Arizona.

>> Michael Grant:
You were mining for arts, kind of a combination of the two professions.

>> Shelley Cohn:
Absolutely.

>> Michael Grant:
Let's stroll down memory lane. '75, '76, in terms of performing arts venues, we had pretty much Phoenix symphony hall and Gammage.

>> Shelley Cohn:
Scottsdale Center for the Arts. They're celebrating their 30th anniversary this weekend, actually.

>> Michael Grant:
You had just come on board.

>> Shelley Cohn:
That's right.

>> Michael Grant:
Now you have multiple venues.

>> Shelley Cohn:
The venues have multiplied. It's interesting to see that those have been evidenced by public support to create the Mesa Art Center, the Tempe center that's almost up now, in the west valley, Peoria is working on a performing arts facility and they have been voted on by the public. The city of Phoenix in 1988, that was the big bond that created the expansion of the Phoenix art museum, the downtown public library. So that commitment by the public to these venues and facilities for the arts has been tremendous in making sure that the quality that goes into those facilities is high and meets the expectations of the public.

>> Michael Grant:
There are other commercial venues, certainly large concert venues, Glendale hockey arena, the Dodge theater. It's definitely changed, Phoenix is much more of a stopping spot for a variety of different performances and some of the Broadway touring companies, Celtic woman was in recently.

>> Shelley Cohn:
Right.

>> Michael Grant:
As you might expect it attracts a much broader range of entertainment than the mid '70s.

>> Shelley Cohn:
I think that is a product of the leadership we have in Arizona right now. We have creative arts administrators who see what's going on across the country and across the world, ASU public events is noted for that. The Beyond Broadway series brings performances we had never been able to see, because of the leadership.

>> Michael Grant:
Other fun things that have sprung up, first Fridays in downtown Phoenix has gotten a lot of attention recently and there's a lot of other things along those lines.

>> Shelley Cohn:
First Fridays is a personal favorite of mine. There's a particular reason I think it is so great. It is because of the initiative and leadership of the artists who said we want to live downtown, have our studios there, we are going to take control and purchase property and make sure we have the appropriate places to show our work. That didn't happen 20 or 25 years ago, there wasn't a sense of community. Artists came all the time and said there is no gathering place for artists. We feel very isolated. They were looking for somebody else to help them out. This was initiated by the artists and I think now there are support systems in place to make sure these initiatives carry forward and go on into the future.

>> Michael Grant:
That's continued to develop down there, has it not? Is it Jackson Street basically the warehouse development?

>> Shelley Cohn:
It started at Jackson Street and that was when America West came in and there were places found for the artists who had been displaced by America West. But now Grand Avenue and Roosevelt Street are just high activity areas. And then you go north on Central, to the Phoenix Library and they are now a venue for visual art exhibitions, as well. The Arizona commission on the Arts moved in our office 1984 on Roosevelt and Fifth Avenue and we thought we were going to change the landscape. And it's taken 20 years. It's very exciting to be a part of that downtown activity.

>> Michael Grant:
Shelley Cohn, thanks very much for the stroll down memory lane, and thanks very much for your service on the arts commission. What's next?

>> Shelley Cohn:
I am just trying to see how I reinvent myself. I'm taking the desert landscaping class at the Desert Botanical Garden. And I want to see what new adventures there are out there.

>> Michael Grant:
Kickback and enjoy it, thank you.

>> Shelley Cohn:
Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
You can see images of the "52 reasons to support the arts" cards on the Arizona Commission on the Arts website by linking to that website from ours at www.az.pbs.org while you're there, you can also find out about upcoming shows and get transcripts of this show and previous shows. Please join us for the Friday edition tomorrow. Thank you very much for being here this Thursday. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one. Good night.

Teacher Pay Raise


  • Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne has proposed giving teachers a pay raise by giving them a $2,500 tax credit. Horne will be on HORIZON to talk about his plan.
Guests:
  • Tom Horne - Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • Douglas Merrill - senior director of information services, Google
  • Shelley Cohn - Executive Direction, Arizona Commission on the Arts


View Transcript
>> Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon":
Arizona's superintendent of public instruction has an idea to give teachers a pay raise at a lower cost to the state. Google, the Internet search engine company has announced it's seeking an office that will employ 600 in the valley. Plus, an icon in the Arizona arts community steps down from her post with the Arizona Commission on the Arts. She joins us to talk about it. More on those issues, next on "Horizon".

>> 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. State schools superintendent Tom Horne has a truly novel idea to give teachers a pay raise. He's proposing giving teachers a $2,500 tax credit. Here now to tell us about his idea is Arizona state superintendent of public instruction, Tom Horne. How would this work?

>> Tom Horne:
Well, the idea is to give every teacher a $2500 refundable tax credit, which means after tax dollars in the teachers' pocket. To get the same effect with a raise, they would have to get a $3500 raise out of which would be taken Social Security deductions, taxes and so on. For the same amount of money we can get substantially more money into the teachers' pockets. The teachers are sensitive to that, last year most got raises but they had to contribute to retirement and the take=home was lower even if they got raises. For the same amount of money we could give the teachers substantially more money after tax in their pocket than if we appropriated it and gave them a raise.

>> Michael Grant:
Teacher retirement is tied to your salary level. This would not give them, let's say, a $2,500 increase. But I understand your point. By giving the credit, to get the same kind of effect, you really have to run a larger increase up top side.

>> Tom Horne:
We have to get more money into their pockets. Real estate values have gone up in Arizona. It's tougher. A lot of teachers can't afford to buy houses. We have to attract and retain more qualified teachers. For two and a half years I've pushed hard on accountability. We have held our schools accountable. We have taken over five schools. Holding our students accountable, they have to pass a test to graduate. We have a new assessment for teachers where in the first six years they have to pass a test which includes a videotape that shows they can teach kids or leave the teaching profession. The thing I can do to most raise the learning of students is increase the quality of teachers and that will all fail if you don't increase the supply of highly qualified teachers so schools have some choice to make among those most qualified.

>> Michael Grant:
This has, though, a rather indiscriminate feel to it. You get $2,500 tax credit, to what was the universe?

>> Tom Horne:
60,000.

>> Michael Grant:
Regardless of where they're located, maybe whether they teach Math, English, Science, does that matter what district they're in. Why not take the same amount of money and apply it more discriminately?

>> Tom Horne:
It might not get to where it's needed. I think we need to raise compensation for teachers across Arizona. We've done so much in the way of accountability, now it's time to do something positive for the teachers. So we attract and retain those who can give a quality education to our students. Those that are not doing a good job need to go into other professions. We've done a lot to move into that direction. It's not going to work if we don't attract and retain more quality people in the teaching profession. To do that, we've got to raise the level of compensation. This is the most efficient way to get a substantial increase in the pockets of the teachers.

>> Michael Grant:
I guess that's the point, though, that I'm driving at. I doubt many people would argue with the basic premise to pay teachers more, but I think they might also add it would be better to pay good teachers more. If you have across the board increases don't have the element to--

>> Tom Horne:
I don't accept that we are going to have good teachers and bad teachers, and we're going to pay the good teachers more and pay the bad teachers less. We are going to try to have highly qualified teachers in all of our classrooms, we're going to try to eliminate the bad teachers. We took a big step by requiring they have the assessment. This includes a videotape to see how they communicate with students. It includes written narratives, the effect it has on kids and so on. We need to be sure no child is in the classroom with a bad teacher. We have to make sure all of them, we're raising their quality. If we're going to have our kids learn more, and that's very necessary to have our economy succeed, we're going to have to have more highly qualified professionals in the classroom. We've got to raise the quality of our teaching, have all highly qualified teachers in our classrooms, pay them better, not with the idea we pay the poor teachers less, we have to eliminate the bad teachers and have highly qualified professionals in all of our classrooms.

>> Michael Grant:
Arizona School Board Association has come out against the tax credit proposal, saying that it expands the poor public policy of tax credits. What do you say?

>> Tom Horne:
I think they have to listen to the teachers more. I've talked to a lot of teachers, and the teachers are very enthusiastic about it. I'm responsible for raising the quality of education in our state, and I think this is the best way to do it.

>> Michael Grant:
Your probable opponent next year says, it's just Tom Horne playing politics.

>> Tom Horne:
Actually, that's the second sentence. The first sentence was it's a terrific idea. That's what he said. He was quoted in the Arizona Republic. The first sentence was, it's a terrific idea. If it passes, it will be great. If it doesn't pass, maybe it's just a gimmick. We're going to work hard to see that it passes.

>> Michael Grant:
Have you vetted this through any legislators, got any feel for the legislative reaction?

>> Tom Horne:
A lot of positive reaction from legislators. In fact, the Arizona Republic had some positive quotes from Ken Bennett, the Senate president, from Mark Anderson, the House education chair. So we're getting positive reactions at the legislature and that makes us very hopeful.

>> Michael Grant:
$150 million or so estimated hit on the general fund.

>> Tom Horne:
I'm not sure I would use the noun hit, but -

>> Michael Grant:
Well, I think the appropriations committee may see it that way.

>> Tom Horne:
Where we are is that last month we had $100 million in excess of what was projected. If that continues, we'll have $600 million for the year in excess of what was projected. If this bill passed, that would reduce that by $150 million, so that the teachers actually keep more of their earnings. So the excess to the general fund would be $150 million less. Out of $600 million, I think that's a reasonable percentage.

>> Michael Grant:
Tom, you and I both know it wasn't so long ago we were talking about a budget crisis and we were the other way. This imbeds, you know, tax credits are kind of difficult to take away once you have given them.

>> Tom Horne:
Having served in the legislature, I found tax credits are nearly impossible to take away. And that's good. We need to compensate our teachers better. We need to do this permanently. We need highly qualified teachers in our classrooms for our students. I think that's a good thing, it would be permanent. True, we had an economic down turn, we had a reduction in revenues and we had a budget crisis. When I took office in 2003, I said we have to put more resources in education. We're 49th out of 50 states. I don't think that speaks well of our values. The ultimate family value to me is the education of our kids. I'm not in favor of tax increases. I said we have to wait until the economy turns around. When that happens, there will be more revenue and without increasing the taxes, the legislature gives a high priority to K-12 education, we'll be able to beef up our education. My way of preparing for that was to emphasize accountability because I wanted to be able to demonstrate to the legislature, if they put more resources in education we would be able to show academic results for that. I focused on holding everybody accountable, we have done that in a massive way. Now we want to be on the positive side so we get more highly qualified teachers to carry this out.

>> Michael Grant:
Tom Horne, Superintendent of Public Instruction, interesting idea. We'll track it in the legislative session. Thanks for joining us.

>> Tom Horne:
Thank you, Mike.

>> Michael Grant:
You may use it every day. It's the Google Internet search engine. Yesterday, the Mountain View, California based company announced it was seeking an office in the valley to place 600 workers. Here is an excerpt from the news conference where the announcement was made.

>> Governor Janet Napolitano:
Now this fast growing company has selected the valley as the site of its new location. What does that mean? This means more than 600 new high-paying jobs for Arizonans. These are new hires from our state's highly qualified technology based work pool. Google, Inc. takes great stock in its employees, providing them with incentives to stay with the company. And Google represents the type of innovative technology companies that we want to attract to Arizona. It is a hugely successful corporation that continues to grow each year and we welcome them to our state.

>> Douglas Merrill:
We're very, very excited to be joining the valley area today. Basically, I would like to take a couple of minutes and talk about Google. All of you know about a little bit about us at least. We were founded in 1998 by a couple of Stanford graduate students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin who had this idea, this idea that you could take all of the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. That idea that started in that dorm room is now the mission of a company that has 4,000 employees in over 20 locations worldwide and we're very, very excited to be building another location here in the valley area.

>> Michael Grant:
Here now to tell us more about the plans to build an office for Google in the valley is Douglas Merrill, senior director of information services for Google. Douglas, I have often thought I would have liked to have been in that dorm room. I can assure you much more creative things were going on in that dorm room than went on in a lot of dorm rooms that I occupied. These were very bright guys, I think is the bottom line.

>> Douglas Merrill:
Larry Page and Sergey Brin are amazingly brilliant and creative guys. They had a vision that made no sense at the time. To get all the world's information universally accessible and useful. In 1998, no one else was thinking that way. It was a totally radical idea. All these years later that vision is still our mission. And it still drives what we do. And we're still not done. There are incredibly interesting problems to solve.

>> Michael Grant:
It's a remarkable phenomenon.. Speaking of worldwide, Google could have located this office any place. Welcome to the Valley of the Sun. But why Phoenix and Valley of the Sun?

>> Douglas Merrill:
We did a very long complicated site selection. We looked at lots and lots of sites. We do already have offices all over the world. As we were looking for this site, we put a lot of factors and weighed a lot of different items. There were three particular things that pulled us to the valley. First, there is an incredibly rich talent pool here in the area. There are lots of highly skilled and highly educated workers who could become Google employees over time. Second is a very strong commitment to education at all levels, both primary education and world class research institutions which can help feed the intellectual aura of the area. But finally, it's really important for Google that if you want to work hard, you can go play hard. It's important to have a balance. The valley has a great mixture of amenities and common space. It's a great way to work and have a balanced life.

>> Michael Grant:
Douglas, I've got to tell you, all of us are stunned because we've gotten used to these various corporations doing these kinds of searches, identifying five possible areas and having people bid against each other. Google didn't do that. Why?

>> Douglas Merrill:
We didn't choose the valley because of cost or because we got something, we chose the valley because it met our criteria. There's not an opportunity for a bidding war in that concept. We had a set of criteria we wanted to meet, we found a location that meets them and we're so excited to be a member of the community. We're looking forward to a long partnership together. What's to bid on?

>> Michael Grant:
I admire the approach.

>> Douglas Merrill:
Like all companies we look forward to the services of a local community. Obviously, we will be tax paying citizens, we will use the roads, all of the services. We want to be responsible business people. For us, it's a talent game. Google is all about finding the best talent and for them to work making really hard problems fixable and doable. There's great talent here.

>> Michael Grant:
How much of a factor, when you talk about talent pool, the headquarters are in the Silicon Valley, but the fact that the Valley has a presence, INTEL most probably comes to mind, but other things you have mentioned, too, how much of that was a factor in this decision?

>> Douglas Merrill:
Clearly, it's a cycle, so was it particular that we came here because INTEL is here? No. But on the other hand, INTEL is here the same reason we are here. The two of us together makes the valley that much stronger, as do the hundreds of other great high-tech companies. Each of us wants a place where we can get great skilled workers who can be -- new generations can be educated, have continuing education, and have a balanced and quality life. All of those things brought us here and the fact we're all here hopefully creates this cycle which makes us better, much akin to the Silicon Valley that happened around Stanford and some other universities.

>> Michael Grant:
Douglas, as I mentioned before we went on the way, I am very computer illiterate. I do use Google from time to time.

>> Douglas Merrill:
Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
Can you put in kind of lay terms the sorts of things that the 600 people that we're talking about as Google employees will be working on?

>> Douglas Merrill:
We'll be hiring hundreds of people over the coming year. Obviously, they'll work on a variety of things. Primarily they'll work on engineering challenges and customer support efforts. Writing code, operating services, for our services and products worldwide. Adding features, changing the way they work, adding countries. The customer support will provide support for the products we have. There's lots of other products on the site and sometimes they require help.

>> Michael Grant:
We're throwing up some of the web pages as you were talking. I always smile when I see the "I'm feeling lucky" button. A specific location not landed on yet in terms of a variety of different cities. What are you looking for in terms of the right package now for a Phoenix, Scottsdale or Tempe or Chandler, whoever may be in the running?

>> Douglas Merrill:
There's lots of locations we're looking at. We have had great conversations that are ongoing with mayors and city council people and it's been quite impressive how responsive and helpful all have been to us. We like to put sites at places that meet our employees' needs. We like to have our employees get out of their cars, public transportation is a big help. Open space. Destinations where the kinds of people who want to be Google employees like to be. This is not going to be a simple selection. We are looking forward to the challenge of figuring out which one is best and as we learn about the area, we do have a temporary office in Phoenix, to let the few people here begin recruiting and learn about the area. SO we have a place to site. We have a lot of work to do before we pick a final site.

>> Michael Grant:
Before the end of the year?

>> Douglas Merrill:
It's hard to commit because of negotiations.

>> Michael Grant:
Douglas Merrill, thank you for joining us. Welcome to the Valley.

>> Douglas Merrill:
Thank you for having me.

>> Michael Grant:
After three decades with the Arizona commission on the arts, executive director Shelley Cohn stepped down this week. In a moment, she will join us to talk about some of the more notable arts events during her tenure. First, the Arizona Commission on the Arts embodies many reasons to "stack the deck" in favor of the arts. You can learn many of them from a unique deck of cards. Merry Lucero tells us more.

>> Merry Lucero:
The Arizona commission on the Arts deck of playing cards, 52 reasons to support the arts, shows how the arts are integrated into our state and our lives. The project resulted from a proposal by two local designers in a national competition. The award paid for the production of the cards. The deck features writers, artists, performers and arts organizations throughout the state. The four suits, illustrated by Arizona Art Projects are education, community building, creative capital and economic development. The deck features some of Arizona's creative highlights. The five of hearts is the Show Low Fire project. The Yuma Folklorico festival is the queen of clubs, to name a few. Other cards feature facts about the arts in Arizona and the U.S. The cards are a fun and compelling tool to show the public value of the arts and the work of the Arizona commission on the Arts.

>> Michael Grant:
Shelley Cohn joined me earlier to talk about her time heading up the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Shelley, three decades, why are you shutting it down?

>> Shelley Cohn:
It has been a great adventure, 30 years going to a job that I have loved all these years and really felt passionate about. 30 years, it gets a little redundant. So I am ready to try something new.

>> Michael Grant:
You were saying that you have been getting literally hundreds of E-mails from people the past month or so?

>> Shelly Cohn:
Right. It has been so heart-warming to hear from individual artists and arts organizations who have been reflecting on the experiences they have had over the 30 years with the arts commission and tell me the impact this small agency has had on their work as an artist or arts organization or as a school that has affected the learning that kids have had in the arts.

>> Michael Grant:
We tend to focus on the large stuff, and I want to do that in just a minute. That's a good point, the arts commission moves money to a lot of areas, not just the big high profile ones.

>> Shelley Cohn:
Our goal is to make sure that the broadest population has access to the arts. We might fund community festivals. Many of the festivals in the downtown area with the Asian community, the Indian community has support from the commission on the arts, as well as the big organizations.

>> Michael Grant:
It's rural, too.

>> Shelley Cohn:
We used to hear from the rural communities that next to people from the mines, mine inspectors from state government, we were the most recognized state agency that participated in the State of Arizona.

>> Michael Grant:
You were mining for arts, kind of a combination of the two professions.

>> Shelley Cohn:
Absolutely.

>> Michael Grant:
Let's stroll down memory lane. '75, '76, in terms of performing arts venues, we had pretty much Phoenix symphony hall and Gammage.

>> Shelley Cohn:
Scottsdale Center for the Arts. They're celebrating their 30th anniversary this weekend, actually.

>> Michael Grant:
You had just come on board.

>> Shelley Cohn:
That's right.

>> Michael Grant:
Now you have multiple venues.

>> Shelley Cohn:
The venues have multiplied. It's interesting to see that those have been evidenced by public support to create the Mesa Art Center, the Tempe center that's almost up now, in the west valley, Peoria is working on a performing arts facility and they have been voted on by the public. The city of Phoenix in 1988, that was the big bond that created the expansion of the Phoenix art museum, the downtown public library. So that commitment by the public to these venues and facilities for the arts has been tremendous in making sure that the quality that goes into those facilities is high and meets the expectations of the public.

>> Michael Grant:
There are other commercial venues, certainly large concert venues, Glendale hockey arena, the Dodge theater. It's definitely changed, Phoenix is much more of a stopping spot for a variety of different performances and some of the Broadway touring companies, Celtic woman was in recently.

>> Shelley Cohn:
Right.

>> Michael Grant:
As you might expect it attracts a much broader range of entertainment than the mid '70s.

>> Shelley Cohn:
I think that is a product of the leadership we have in Arizona right now. We have creative arts administrators who see what's going on across the country and across the world, ASU public events is noted for that. The Beyond Broadway series brings performances we had never been able to see, because of the leadership.

>> Michael Grant:
Other fun things that have sprung up, first Fridays in downtown Phoenix has gotten a lot of attention recently and there's a lot of other things along those lines.

>> Shelley Cohn:
First Fridays is a personal favorite of mine. There's a particular reason I think it is so great. It is because of the initiative and leadership of the artists who said we want to live downtown, have our studios there, we are going to take control and purchase property and make sure we have the appropriate places to show our work. That didn't happen 20 or 25 years ago, there wasn't a sense of community. Artists came all the time and said there is no gathering place for artists. We feel very isolated. They were looking for somebody else to help them out. This was initiated by the artists and I think now there are support systems in place to make sure these initiatives carry forward and go on into the future.

>> Michael Grant:
That's continued to develop down there, has it not? Is it Jackson Street basically the warehouse development?

>> Shelley Cohn:
It started at Jackson Street and that was when America West came in and there were places found for the artists who had been displaced by America West. But now Grand Avenue and Roosevelt Street are just high activity areas. And then you go north on Central, to the Phoenix Library and they are now a venue for visual art exhibitions, as well. The Arizona commission on the Arts moved in our office 1984 on Roosevelt and Fifth Avenue and we thought we were going to change the landscape. And it's taken 20 years. It's very exciting to be a part of that downtown activity.

>> Michael Grant:
Shelley Cohn, thanks very much for the stroll down memory lane, and thanks very much for your service on the arts commission. What's next?

>> Shelley Cohn:
I am just trying to see how I reinvent myself. I'm taking the desert landscaping class at the Desert Botanical Garden. And I want to see what new adventures there are out there.

>> Michael Grant:
Kickback and enjoy it, thank you.

>> Shelley Cohn:
Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
You can see images of the "52 reasons to support the arts" cards on the Arizona Commission on the Arts website by linking to that website from ours at www.az.pbs.org while you're there, you can also find out about upcoming shows and get transcripts of this show and previous shows. Please join us for the Friday edition tomorrow. Thank you very much for being here this Thursday. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one. Good night.

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