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July 11, 2012

Host: Steve Goldstein

Arizona’s Congressional Primary Races

  |   Video
  • With early voting less than a month away, Arizona Republic congressional reporter Rebekah Sanders provides an update on how the primary election races for Arizona’s congressional seats are shaping-up.
  • Rebekah Sanders - Arizona Republic
Category: Elections   |   Keywords: Arizona Republic, congressional seats, elections,

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Steve Goldstein: Arizona's primary election is coming around soon, august 28th. Early voting starts August 2nd. That has candidates in several hotly contested congressional races ratcheting up the intensity of their campaigns. Here's is Rebekah Sanders, congressional reporter for the Arizona Republic. Welcome.

Rebekah Sanders: Thanks for having me.

Steve Goldstein: Ron Barber has the current congressional district 8 seat, Gabrielle Giffords's term. He actually has some primary opponent. Why is that?

Rebekah Sanders: That's right. This was a seat a lot of democrats in fact wanted when Gabrielle Giffords decided in January to resign to focus on her recovery. But for the primary, she endorsed Ron Barber and the other democrats out of respect dropped out. But state representative Matt Heinz has stayed in for this new, the fall election. He is saying that he's going to run hard and the voters deserve a choice.

Steve Goldstein: Okay. What about on the republican side? Jesse kelly was defeated twice. He's not running this time.

Rebekah Sanders: We have two candidates. Martha McSally is a retired air force pilot, definitely the frontrunner. Made quite the wave in the last election. Mark Koskiniemi, he's a pima county employee.

Steve Goldstein: The other candidates including Dave Sitton decided not to run.

Rebekah Sanders: Dave Sitton and Frank Antenori both decided they wouldn't continue. Frank is just running for reelection to the state legislature.

Steve Goldstein: Let's go to CD 9. Some big names on the democratic side. Republican side to my way of thinking, Vernon Parker is most recognizable what can you tell us about those two races so far.

Rebekah Sanders: This is the race that just has a lot of candidates and so you can imagine writing profiles of all of these is taking me quite a bit of time. On the republican side we have seven candidates coming out. Vernon Parker is known for being in Paradise Valley councilman. He ran for congress two years ago. Lost to Ben Quail. He's definitely got the name recognition, but we also have folks like Martin Sepulveda, knows his area pretty well. Then like I said, several others.

Steve Goldstein: On the democratic side, Andrei Cherny, Kyrsten Sinema, well known names.

Rebekah Sanders: Kyrsten Sinema and David Shapira has have made their names at the capitol while Andrei Cherny ran for state treasurer and was at the top of the democratic party here in Arizona. They all have their strengths. Their primary has gotten a bit more nasty than perhaps the republicans have so far.

Steve Goldstein: What is standing out as far as the nastiness. Who is raising the most money?

Rebekah Sanders: Andrei Cherny so far has raised the most money. We'll have new financial reports on Sunday, and that will be revealing for all of the races. It just -- you know, all three of these democrats really want this seat, and so they are lobbying pretty much everything they can find at each other. There's been some attacks on Cherny for some racially sensitive mailers he sent in a Salifornia race ten years ago. Then there's other allegations being lobbed at both David Shapira and Kyrsten Sinema about their potential baggage.

Steve Goldstein: It's most of the competitive in the state. Do the democrats see this as a real advantage? They think if I win this primary I have a very good chance in the general?

Rebekah Sanders: It's one of the closest calls of districts I think in the state. This is a district in much of metro phoenix that really is very -- has gone for both Republicans and Democrats in past elections. So it's a tough one. But certainly Democrats are talking up their game not only in this district but in others. So they are being very optimistic about their chances.

Steve Goldstein: One district where democrats don't seem to have much of a chance is the one that’s a battle between incumbent congressman Paul Gosar – though it’s not his district – and Ron Gould. Of course Sheriff Paul Babeu a lot of people thought he had been the frontrunner before he dropped out. What can you tell us about that so for?

Rebekah Sanders: That district is in much of Northern and Western Arizona, a very strongly Republican district. So it's really more about this primary fight than the general. Gosar represents about a third of his constituents are in this district. It was safer for him to run there. Ron Gould has a chance because he's got club for growth funding. He release add pretty creative ad a few weeks ago where he used the healthcare law as skeet shooting with his shotgun. Definitely made waves. Then Rick Murphy is the third candidate. He's a radio station owner. Paul Babeu, the sheriff from Pinal County, was thought to have a good chance there, but he went through a lot of trouble in February and March over his homosexuality and his relationship with a former boyfriend and a lot of allegations that just made it make more sense for him to go back and run for re-election as sheriff.

Steve Goldstein: Let's come back to money in this district as well. You mentioned club for growth. I would imagine Ron Gould has raised a lot of money through that club for growth, but Go

Rebekah Sanders: It will be real interesting to see this next report. In fact Gould raised very little money in the last cycle and in fact put in about a $90,000 personal loan just to kind of -- it made it look like a better deal for him. But club for growth could definitely start spending once we get closer to the election and things really -- the heat really turns up. Congressman Gosar has not put out official numbers but has been touting that he's had a good quarter although he has historically not been a great fund raise -- a great fund-raiser. It definitely is a big district. So it will take money to get their message out, but even more importantly, observers tell me, it's the shaking hands and kissing babies. So they have a lot of miles to cover in that very rural, sprawling district.

Steve Goldstein About a minute left. Let's go to what's been the highest profile race, the republican primary battle between incumbent Schweikert and Quail, which has gotten pretty nasty. Just based on what you’ve heard and seen so far, how does this stack up?

Rebekah Sanders: This is definitely nasty having an incumbent against an incumbent. It's blamed on redistricting. It's going to guarantee that at least one of Arizona's sitting Republican congressmen is not going to be in office next year. It's a tight race. I mean, Ben Quail has the advantage of his father's connections as former vice president. He has -- can draw on a lot of money. Has also made waves in the ad battle, most recently this week when he issued an ad that kind of rehashed his calling Obama the worst president in history. Hey that's red meat for a lot of voters. They like it. David Schweikert is known as a really hard working congressman who has been around politics for quite a few years and has those networks and is kind of thought of as the guy who has got the networks of the kind of -- the regular Joe on the street. We'll see if that pans out for him.

Steve Goldstein: Rebekah Sanders, thanks so much.

Rebekah Sanders: Thank you.

Chicago Cubs Spring Training Complex

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  • Mesa Mayor Scott Smith talks about today’s groundbreaking for a new spring training stadium and complex for the Chicago Cubs that’s scheduled to open in 2014.
  • Scott Smith - Mesa Mayor
Category: Business/Economy   |   Keywords: Chicago Cubs, spring training stadium,

View Transcript
Steve Goldstein: Good evening. Welcome to "Arizona horizon." I’m Steve Goldstein for Ted Simons. A groundbreaking ceremony was held this morning for a new $84 million stadium and training facility for the Cubs in mesa. It's hoped it will be ready by the 2014 season. Here's mesa mayor scott smith. Welcome.

Scott Smith: Thanks for having me.

Steve Goldstein: Let's talk about the challenges.

Scott Smith: There were a lot of challenges. This is a three-year project. We were first informed by the Cubs a little over threes years ago that they had a great offer from naples, Florida. There was a lot of money thrown on the table by naples to entice the Cubs to Florida. I had a $65 million deficit and the Cubs going to Florida. Welcome to politics. We hunkered down and worked with the Cubs and we had a lot of hits and misses. There was a time when I absolutely knew from information that they had decided to go, to leave. We asked them for a chance to perform. We went down to the legislature and sort of, you know, threw a – struck out basically, so we came to plan b, to basically finance the stadium ourselves and go to mesa voters to get their approval. So we went to November of 2010 and Mesa Voters overwhelmingly approved this project. It was so great this morning to be at a groundbreaking that really celebrated a community success. Everyone in Mesa was involved in this. We had by almost 2-1 margin voters say we want to invest in our community. We want to continue to have this valuable financial asset, social asset. The Cubs are part of Arizona. They are part of mesa, part of the cactus league. It was a real win not only for our community but for the entire Ccactus League and Phoenix Metro area.

Steve Goldstein: Let’s take this back a second. They were that close to moving to Florida?

Scott Smith: That group involved in Florida was substantial. You're talking billionaires that were involved. They had a program and a plan that involved building the Cubs a stadium, presenting it to them and basically paying their way to get out of the mesa area. These were Naples businessman with Chicago roots. This were legitimate, they were real there wasn’t one time when my sources in both Chicago and Naples said they're coming. It's done. They had been given the word that Cubs were going. We asked once again, give us one chance. We think 50 years of tradition, 50 years of performing means something. To the Ricketts family, a great family, great owners, they said, you know what? We owe it to Mesa, we owe it to Arizona. They gave us one chance and once again to all the people that were involved and the Citizens of Mesa, we stepped up to the plate and we didn't whiff this time.

Steve Goldstein: Even for non-sportsfans how important have the Cubs been to mesa?

Scott Smith: They help define mesa in many ways. I was shocked when I went around durr the campaign to find how many had Chicago roots in our valley. The phoenix metro area is the number one relocation area for people with Chicago roots. Number 2 was way far behind. There's literally 300,000 plus people who call Chicago home who have moved to the valley. Many to mesa, the vast majority of whom first tasted our valley by coming to Cubs' spring training. They fell in love with Mesa and Arizona. Of course during March, sucker weather, of course… then when they moved here in July and August, they came to work here. They became part of our community but the roots run deep some of the it was important not only financially, the Cubs were a huge financial contributor to our economy, the Cactus League is like having a Super Bowl every year. The tens of thousands of people who come into our valley from the Chicago area every year and leave over well over $100 million in the coffers, they are important financially but also having these spring training teams was important culturally and socially to Mesa.

Steve Goldstein: Talk about the training facilities. They have become almost Taj Mahals to some extent. How much pressure is there to build a stadium that's worthy of your community, that doesn't price out the average person?

Scott Smith: No doubt the bar has been raised when you look at Camelback Ranch, Goodyear, Talking Stick, which is of course the standard bearer. We're not trying to over-reach or over-do those. At some point in time you say here's the standard. Here's what is acceptable. Let's build to that standard. That's what we did when we established the $85 million budget. We didn't look to out do anyone else. We said there's a standard that's set. Let's build it to that standard, make it so the Cubs can have facilities for their players that are on par with anything else that's in major league baseball and also let's have a facility that our fans and citizens will be proud to go to and they can have a great experience. That doesn't mean you have to out do the next guy. But there’s no doubt that the bar had been raised. Spring training luckily is still within the reach of the average person. You can go and in this stadium, which will seat almost 15,000, we have 9,000 permanent seats and over 4,000 on the berm. You can throw out a blanket. We have party decks. This is the great thing about spring training. It's not really about the baseball, it's about the gathering of people, about tourism, about people coming in from out of state and enjoying this. This is our beach basically. So we need to invest in those assets.

Steve Goldstein: What excites you most about the new facility?

Scott Smith: The fact that it's not just take baseball stadium. It's not a baseball facility. What we have is the connection of the baseball stadium and the -- also that are connected to by a pasea, to a commercial area we'll call Wrigleyville West where we'll invest in restaurants and themed establishments that are hopefully unique and will bring people in, but also at the end of that for sale there's a riverview park which exists today the city of mesa we are expanding, improving. It's going to be a park that is second to none in the valley. We think the park in and of itself will draw people there. You come there, enjoy the park, stroll down the paseo, enjoy the shops, maybe go to a game. It’s a whole experience. And that's unique of all training facilities in the valley.

Steve Goldstein: Is asu's team going to be playing there?

Scott Smith: We hope so. We have been in negotiations for quite a while. There's a couple of hurtles they have to get over. They have a general agreement when you get down to the details sometimes you run into some challenges. We had meetings today. I’m confident we'll figure out a way the Sundevils will share the stadium and positive into a World Class facility and hopefully replicate what uh of a did this year when they moved into High Corbett Field, the spring training facility for the Colorado Rockies. The Wildcats won the college world series. We hope ASU will be in there. We have a couple of things to work out. I’m hoping in the next few of weeks we'll have an agreement.

Steve Goldstein: Mayor Smith finally we’ve only got a minute left, you have been very busy with another institution of higher learning coming to mesa. Briefly give us an idea of why this is part of your strategy.

Scott Smith: The idea of creating new opportunities in education, of lefting the discussion of higher education, bringing in a complement -- we have a great research university here. ASU is among the elite and is well recognized for having done incredible things. As a research university. We believe that there was a market for nonprofit, private liberal arts colleges and we believed if we could cluster those in downtown mesa we could create the kind of consortium, cluster that would create an energy in concert with ASU Poly and ASU Downtown Tempe, this was a great convention. We're excited about what's happening. We have four colleges now sign up for downtown mesa. We're looking forward to a great future.

Steve Goldstein: Mayor Scott Smith, thanks so much.

Scott Smith: Thank you, Steve.

Technology and Innovation: Engineering Education

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  • ASU Engineering Professor John Robertson talks about his involvement with Analog Devices’ University Engineering Program which gives engineering students a hands-on approach to analog circuit design.
  • John Robertson - ASU Engineering Professor
Category: Education   |   Keywords: Analog Devices, Engineering, circuit design,

View Transcript
Steve Goldstein: In our continuing coverage of Arizona technology and innovation tonight we tell you about an Arizona state university professor who was recently named to an advisory board for an electronics company set up a program to help university students. John Robertson, a professor in the ASU college of technology and innovation, was named advisor to the analog devices university program. Here to tell us about the program is John Robertson. Welcome, professor.

John Robertson: Thank you very much.

Steve Goldstein: When people hear the term analog, some may think dated. Why is it not?

John Robertson: Well, it's one of these little invisible links in the electronic chain that we tend to take for granted these days. But I’m afraid like it or not the world is analog. It's only when we get into the computer that we can really start manipulating all the information. For example, if you think on a car what happened with Toyota when they had the accelerator pedal problem, that was an analog signal. They wanted it to vary continuously. Unfortunately it didn’t, it stuck hard on. So this little space between the sensor in one hand and the computer on the other is something that is really very important in everything that we have these days from cars, consumer goods, cameras.

Steve Goldstein: Why is the analog device going to help an engineer get hands on -- I’m going to date myself here and sound like a non-engineer As a kid I remember using a heath kit. Is this an advanced version of that?

John Robertson: Absolutely. Of course the thing in technology is that science tends to emphasize what's new and shiny. In technology it's the weakest link that kills you. So inevitably, the attention goes to the areas where people are having the most difficulty. If you have anything that can affect the signal before it gets into the computer, it's the old story, you're puting in garbage you know what you're going to get out. It's also been a skill where there hasn't been a lot of emphasis. There's been so much going on in the digital world. That's been the attractive thing. So there's almost like a Cinderella approach to it. Analog Devices is one of the major companies in the world with Texas Instruments on this subject. They are known very well to all the professionals. You've got probably half a dozen of their components inside your cell phone. But they have decided that they really want to try to foster a new approach in universities. So we have got this real -- it's bringing the cheap, very low cost -- I shouldn't say cheap. Low cost components into the lab so for something like $100 you get a complete electronics lab. Now, in a little box like this. What's attractive for me is that I’m able to steer them in terms of their emphasis and priorities and what works with the students. And also to start looking at ways in which we can teach students differently with this extra degree of freedom --

Steve Goldstein: We often hear the term public-private partnership. How did this come about?

John Robertson: Well, it's interesting, it's also a private-private partnership in the sense analog device is a big company. They are working together with a small company up in Washington because the small company is more agile and doesn't have all the overhead of the big company. I have been working with them, so that was my link in to Analog Devices. And I guess they are trying to get representation around the country. So it was nice to be giving the West half view, keep all these Easterners in line.

Steve Goldstein: Briefly, we have about 30 seconds left, take us into the future. How important is something like this going to be in making our engineers better?

John Robertson: Well, I think it's going to be very important because it's going to speed up the process. It's going to let them be more adept. Some very scarce skills. There's people who come out with skills in this business have jobs up the kazoo. There's no shortage of jobs for them. I think one of the nice things at ASU is that we have the leading edge. We're on the front line to get into all the new developments. We push them out to the students and push them into the curriculum.

Steve Goldstein: Professor, thanks so much.

John Robertson: Pleased to be here.