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May 1, 2012

Host: Ted Simons

Aging in Place Pilot Project

  |   Video
  • The Maricopa Association of Governments and the Greater Phoenix region is one of five areas in the country invited to take part in the Aging Pilot City Leaders Institute on Aging in Place, a new national pilot project striving to help people aged 65 years and more to live independently in their homes. Amy St. Peter of MAG and Joe LaRue of Sun Health Senior Living explain how Valley residents will benefit from the project.
  • Amy St. Peter - MAG
  • Joe LaRue - Sun Health Senior Living
Category: Community   |   Keywords: aging, pilot, project, valley, residents, health, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: The Phoenix metro area is one of five regions selected by the Met-Life Foundation and Partners for Liveable Communities to participate in a national pilot project on aging. The City Leaders Institute on Aging in Place will develop strategies to help seniors remain in their homes as they face challenges to health care and independent living. Here to tell us more about the program is Amy St. Peter, Human Services and Special Projects Manager for the Maricopa Association of Government, and Ron Guziak, President and CEO of Sun Health, an Arizona medical nonprofit that supports healthy living initiatives. Good to have you both here. Thanks for joining us. Let's talk about this national pilot project on aging. What exactly is the goal?

Amy St. Peter: The goal is to help people to live more independently in their own homes. We know from experience and research, from really what's going on across the country, when people can't live at home anymore they are forced to go into institutional care, which is also more expensive and may not suit their needs. It's important to have in place but may not be a person’s wants or needs at that point in their life. We really want to be able to provide other options.

Ted Simons: Options for those 65 plus, that's a lot of folks.

Ron Guziak: Sun Health is pleased to be a part of this program. For 40 years we've been serving the communities in Sun City, Sun City West, Sun City Grand where people have come to retire and live healthy and well with vitality. We have provided health care services and now providing independent living services, as well as we want to focus on the folks who want to live in the community, who want to share in the excitement of being a part of a community of seniors, and have a robust lifestyle.

Ted Simons: Are you seeing a change in that attitude among seniors to where living at home, aging in place, if you will, is more important than maybe it used to be?

Ron Guziak: I don't know if it's so much of a change. I think the people who came to Sun City wanted to live in their own homes. These are communities that were founded 40 years ago. Time has changed for them. They have aged in place, and some of them want society to help them be in a position where they are in independent living situations where they have all their needs cared for. Others want to live in the community in a village atmosphere, and I think there's a cross-section. But I think it is somewhat age-related. We're talking about baby boomers from 55 to 65 that might be a different need. 65 to 70, 80, 82, it just depends on the circumstance and the health of that individual.

Ted Simons: For those who live in areas not like Sun City, who have lived in a home for 30, 40, 50, 60 some odd years, what are the concerns and challenges? They want to stay at home. Can they do it?

Amy St. Peter: They can if they have assistance. We're looking at what kinds of intervention are most appropriate right now for people. People often pick a home based on their current living situation. They don't necessarily project how their needs are going to change in the future. Even something as simple as changing a light bulb can land someone in a nursing home if they fall and break their hip. If they require assistance getting to and from different medical appointments and even to work, we are finding older adults are wanting to work and aren’t finding employment opportunities. Even the kinds of programs we offer need to be tailored to today’s seniors and tomorrow's people, as well. They want to remain engaged they want to volunteer and have a very active lifestyle. Older people today are more educated and affluent. They want those choices. People want to be in control of their own destiny but they need assistance in order to make that work.

Ted Simons: Are municipal services in place to handle all these folks who may not want to go to a certain specific spot, but want to age and stay home?

Amy St. Peter: Not to the stale that we're going to need them to be. The Maricopa system of Governments is tracking how many people we have and how needs are changing. We have 462,000 people over the age of 65 in our community just within the next eight years that number will increase to 700,000. That will really present a challenge. The people that we're trying to serve are also the solution. They present resources, they want to give back and contribute. We have to help them in order to be able to give back.

Ted Simons: You've told us what your organization does. As far as what this pilot project is looking for, how do the twain meet?

Ron Guziak: So one of our goals is to create what we call pathways to population health. We do that, we think, in several ways. One of the ways is to help as a nonprofit to serve the community, and exactly what the community's looking for. We know as Amy said services are somewhat limited at times. They are available in many communities but the coordination is lacking. We're hoping through our participation in this program that we can help design a collaboration and the coordination of services. So that when something is needed, it's easily found and can be presented to the individual at the right time. I think that's mainly what people are looking for when they want to be independently living on their own. They know the service is there but just don't know quite how to get it.

Ted Simons: The Phoenix area must be doing something right to be involved in this pilot project. What's going well now and what can improve?

Amy St. Peter: We're at a unique moment in time. People are living longer than they used to. That presents challenges and opportunities we haven't been faced with before. At the same time, we have some really talented people of the city of Scottsdale, their Granite Reef Senior Center won a Pinnacle Award and was recognized for being the number one senior center in the country. We’re doing some great work there. We're very thankful to have the Mayor Greg Stanton as a member of our leadership team for this project. We have the right combination of talent, leadership and expertise in a way we really haven't seen before. All of this will manifest hopefully in some significant changes that will help people better be socially engaged within their community.

Ted Simons: What kind of results do you want to see from this pilot project?

Ron Guziak: We want to show the rest of the country how it can be done and done well. I think we have the opportunity to do that because of the nature of the communities we have in the Phoenix area and specifically in the Northwest Valley. We have the opportunity to kind of be a leader and coordinate and collaborate, and just demonstrate best practice. We're excited about that opportunity.

Ted Simons: And we can't forget the opportunity of funding, funding models and practices, has to be big.

Amy St. Peter: It has to be a public-private partnership. Serving the needs of the community, it's not up to just one sector. It needs to be collaboration. We are able to partner with Sun Health, with other nonprofits and the local governments with the private sector to try and develop a sustainable funding base to really make it work.

Ted Simons: Good conversation, good luck with the pilot project.

Amy St. Peter: Thank you.

Ron Guziak: Thank you for having us today.

Wednesday on "Arizona Horizon," lots to keep up with at the legislature and we'll do so with our weekly legislative update. And we'll find out about university students working on technological innovations. That's Wednesday on "Arizona Horizon," 5:30 and 10:00 here on Eight HD. That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons, thanks for joining us. You have a great evening.

Arizona Budget

  |   Video
  • State lawmakers and the Governor have agreed on a new budget and lawmakers are expected to pass it today. Bob Robb of the Arizona Republic will talk about the budget.
  • Bob Robb - Reporter, The Arizona Republic
Category: Government   |   Keywords: state, lawmakers, arizona, budget, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Arizona Horizon," I'm Ted Simons. Lawmakers are close to passing a state budget. This after on again, off again talks between the Governor and legislative leaders resulted in an agreement. Here to talk about the budget is columnist Bob Robb. Thanks for joining us.

Bob Robb: Good to be with you.

Ted Simons: As we're taping right now, they are so close in the late afternoon, early evening. It’s pretty much a done deal.

Bob Robb: It's passed the Senate and it’s awaiting action in the House. But they wouldn't have brought it to the floor if they didn't know they had the votes.

Ted Simons: Give us an overview of the budget.

Bob Robb: It's primarily designed to get the state past the expiration of the temporary sales tax at the end of the next budget year, with a minimum of stress on the ability to sustain state programs. So over this year and next year revenues are expected to exceed what would be necessary to maintain existing spending by about a billion dollars. And the legislature and the governor have agreed to spend about $200 million of that in restoring various cuts that have been made, and not spend $800 million of that. It creates a reserve that can be used in 2014, the budget year after next, and 2015, to try to make up for the expiration of the temporary sales tax.

Ted Simons: Indeed. And to make up for the expiration also to look at perhaps what could be a result of the Affordable Health Care Act. These kinds of things led -- seemed like there were two different revenue projections. The governor's office saw things a little rosier than the legislature did. The legislature won out on the projections. Were you surprised by that?

Bob Robb: I was not, particular after what the state has come through. Being prudent about revenue projections is the sensible course of action if you're not going to do anything to replace the 1% temporary sales tax. And the difference between the revenue projections, what tax increases would be between the governor and the legislature, wasn't that great. The largest difference was in the extent to which the governor was proposing to continue sweeping funds from other accounts and using them to support general fund programs, which the legislature wanted to end. So that was actually the biggest confrontation over revenues. The legislature largely won that. There's some sweeps here but not nearly to the extent that the governor was proposing.

Ted Simons: There's one sweep that seems to be getting a lot of attention. It's not the most money in the world $50 some odd million dollars, but still, the idea of taking money from this mortgage settlement fund that states and mortgage lenders kind of agreed to with the state's attorneys generals because of more foreclosure fraud and these sorts of things. The money, say critics, is supposed to be used to help folks hurt by the foreclosure crisis. The legislature says, “Well, we were hurt by the foreclosure crisis because we lost public revenue, public funds, we'll take $50 million.” Quite a brouhaha over that.

Bob Robb: I think this was a pocket money that the governor and the legislature could seize in order to compromise the differences between them, between what you put aside for the future and what you spend today. It undoubtedly would be subject to legal challenge. That's not nearly as consequential as it was a few years ago when there was no reserve. Given that you have $800 million in what is not being spent, $450 million of it going into a rainy day fund, the rest just being carry-forwards, if they were to lose that lawsuit it wouldn't be that consequential.

Ted Simons: But just the idea of doing it has some folks up in arms.

Robb Bob: Oh, yeah, sure.

Ted Simons: All right. This $450 some odd million rainy day fund, I've asked it to a lot of folks and I want to ask it to you. When voters approved the one cent sales tax, did they have it in mind for the legislature to sit on it?

Robb Bob: They did not. But the recovery in state revenues wasn't nearly as quick as anticipated at the time that it was submitted to voters. And so if you were to plow that money into spending today, you would in just the budget that the next legislature is going to deal with not have to look at cutting it again. And one of the things that the Republican legislative members have been most insistent upon in the last couple years is to get out of this process. Let's develop sustainable programs and move forward. And that's what this budget is intended to do.

Ted Simons: Are these sustainable programs, though? Because again, Democrats and critics will say you're gutting the system that -- there has been some reimbursement here, the governor did get quite a few spending items in there as far as education and prisons and public safety and these sorts of things. But there are other programs that are still not where they used to be. Is that responsible? Is that a concern?

Robb Bob: Well, it's a huge concern. Whether it's responsible depends upon your point of view. These programs, what the Republican legislature and the governor have done is to put current state programs on a sustainable basis, where you can even look at the expiration of the temporary sales tax a year or two later and to say, “There's a good chance we will have the revenue to support what the state is currently doing.” The question is whether the state is doing enough. There's lots of things that continue to be left unfunded, likely to remain unfunded for the foreseeable future. Any kind of new construction for education. Any kind of books or textbook money from the state for education. All-day kindergarten, a popular program, remains unfunded. And until and unless the federal government provides a mandate, continuing to fund health care fund indigent health care at 35% of the federal poverty rather than 100%. But if you're going to do those things you need additional revenue to do it. They are not sustainable with the existing revenue source. So I would say until we're going to deal with the issue of revenues, cutting state spending down to the point that it's sustainable by existing revenues is the responsible thing to do. And over the last two years remarkable strides have been made to try to put the state on that kind of a sustainable fiscal basis.

Ted Simons: All right. And last question here. So when critics and Democrats say this is short-sighted, not looking for the long-term, you would say just the opposite?

Rob Bobb: I would say the opposite. If you think otherwise, put your proposed revenue increases on the table. They haven't done that.

Ted Simons: All right. Did they not have a budget proposal? Didn't the House Democrats come through with something?

Rob BObb: They did, and this is very comparable to where the Democrats were. The main difference is that it doesn't fund a full restoration of Kids Care. The Democrats have a good point, that's not a big ticket item with all this money sloshing around. It is something you would have anticipated being restored.

Ted Simons: It's nice to hear there is even some money sloshing around. Thanks for joining us, good to have you here.

Rob Bobb: Good to be with you.

BCS Championship

  |   Video
  • The BCS has recommended a four-team championship series to replace the current controversial system to determine a champion in college football. Robert Shelton, Executive Director of the Fiesta Bowl, will talk about the new plan and how the Fiesta Bowl may be involved.
  • Robert Shelton - Executive Director, Fiesta Bowl
Category: Sports   |   Keywords: BCS, championship, football. fiesta, bowl, shelton, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: The controversial BCS system used to determine a college football champion appears to be history. The BCS has approved in principle a new four-team championship series starting in 2014. The new head of the Fiesta Bowl Robert Shelton is here to talk about the proposed championship system. Good to see you, thanks for joining us.

Robert Shelton: Ted, thank you for having me. I like the term “new”, I've been at it for nine months now. You’re keeping me young.

Ted Simons: Well considering after 10 years, pretty new there. But this playoff system, what did the BCS agree to?

Robert Shelton: I want to emphasize that there has been no conclusion yet. This is a group of commissioners and the A.D. at Notre Dame. They have been working rapidly, slowly, depending on your point of view. They are now focused on some kind of a four-team playoff configuration as different from the current BCS.

Ted Simons: How would the final four teams be decided?

Robert Shelton: That is still up in the air. There are discussions about the set of polls, just taking the top four. There is a discussion, in addition to that you have to win your conference. There are good comments about how you get, for lack of smaller terms, the smaller conferences, making sure they have access, say the Boises States. All of these factors are still in play. I think the one thing we can count on is it's now zeroing in on four teams as the focal point.

Ted Simons: People will want to know. National rankings, will they be a factor? Will these polls be a factor because boy, people are upset with those two factors in the BCS.

Robert Shelton: You're going to have to have some way to determine who's one, two, three, four. And that means a series of polls. Do you want computers, coaches, the A.P.? There's no doubt when you get into social choice you can't please all the people all the time.

Ted Simons: With that in mind, will all schools have equal access to the championship, and how do you do that?

Robert Shelton: I think all schools have access but you gotta finish in the top four.

Ted Simons: How do you do that?

Robert Shelton: Well, that’s a good question. Let's say you come from one of the power conferences. Now you play within your conference a number of tough games, SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, PAC-12, ACC. When are you going to schedule outside of the conference? Are you going to schedule other tough teams so strength of schedule come into pools or if the polls don't take into account strength of schedule, are you going to face less challenging opponents? A lot of scheduling is going to revolved around how you determine those top four.

Ted Simons: Now can you look at the basketball championship? When you look at March Madness, the Final Four, all those things, they have a committee in a room somewhere figuring out who's number one and who's number 16. Will that be similar, do you think?

Robert Shelton: I doubt they are going there. It's different picking 64 or 68 teams, who knows how many there will be next year and picking four. There's a lot of heat over the difference between four and five, less heat, the difference between 68 and 69.

Ted Simons: Let's get to local concerns here. Where would these games be played? Let's go with the final four. Where would the finals and semifinals be played?

Robert Shelton: There are still options. One might be you play them in the four current BCS bowls where you would alternate a semifinal a regular opponent and semifinal and regular opponent. You’re going to have two semifinals and four bowl games. Every other year you have a semifinal. The championship game could be in those bowls. There's a lot of sentiment to bid that championship game out. Hopefully the greater Phoenix metropolitan area would be aggressive and strong in that bid. I've already talked to some people. There's some sentiment for playing at least the semifinal rounds on the home field of the higher-ranked team. I don't particularly like that. I don't think you have the right infrastructure at all these home sites. Last year, for example, Givingstill Water, Oklahoma State, an all expenses paid trip to Tuscaloosa might not have been in the best interests of college football, with all respect to Alabama the reigning national champ. So nothing has been settled on this but these are all possibilities they’re thinking of. They seem to have iterated to four teams, and now you only have about 25 other variables that you have to deal with on those four teams.

Ted Simons: What about the Fiesta Bowl? Where do you stand in all this?

Robert Shelton: We have been very up front, very assertive, talking to the commissioners, talking to the presidents on the BCS Presidential Oversight group. Certainly talking to Bill Hancock, who runs the BCS, about what we bring. We bring value-added. Locally it's well-known we have a volunteer cast of thousands that are second to none. We've got a destination that people love. You've got the Valley of the Sun, all these municipalities with the resorts and activities going on. You don't have ice dropping off of your arena or tornadoes to worry about. This is a place that people love to come. It's because of the infrastructure. Kudos to all of the municipalities around here that put it together. We can really claim, as no other site can, to be in a genuinely neutral site.

Ted Simons: Can you get past the past? In other words, is the speed bump? Is that a handicap?

Robert Shelton: That is gone. I've gone around and met with all the commissioners, and they say that's done, you've handled it, you've got a board and bylaws, you've set up a government structure that's the envy of bowls around the country. Let's talk about the future.

Ted Simons: Let's talk about the reaction of the commissioners and football conferences. And what happens about a consensus? Obviously it's kind of vague right now. What if a concensus isn't reached?

Robert Shelton: Well they definitely somehow. I told them, they have a very tough job, when I had my one on 30 meeting with them in Florida last week. They will reach a consensus, they know they have to. I think they will reach it before the July 4th holiday. Then these options, plural, will go to the BCS Presidential Oversight Group, and that will be the final deciding group sometime in the future.

Ted Simons: Will we hear more details? When do we get something a little harder and faster?

Robert Shelton: The commissioners meet later this month of May, the presidents at the end of June. I think those are key dates to look for more specifics to come out.

Ted Simons: Alright. Sounds encouraging.

Robert Shelton: I’m encouraged. It's not done, we certainly don't control our own fate. People are very receptive and they know the Fiesta Bowl is a place where teams and fans and donors and supporters like to come.

Ted Simons: Good to see you again. Thanks for joining us.

Robert Shelton: Thanks for having me.