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April 29, 2013

Host: Ted Simons

Governor’s Race

  |   Video
  • The Governor’s Race for 2014 is heating up, with multiple candidates declaring a desire to run. Arizona State University Pollster Bruce Merrill will talk about the race.
  • Bruce Merrill - Pollster, Arizona State University
Category: Elections   |   Keywords: merrill, pollster, ASU, governor, election,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: The governor’s race is already heating up with numerous candidates and near-candidates declaring a desire to run. Arizona State University pollster Bruce Merrill is here to talk about what could be quite a campaign. This is really shaping up quite well, isn't it?

Bruce Merrill: It is. Believe it or not, it's getting late. It's only 18 months until the election. It takes that long to put together a really successful campaign in a major statewide election. The election isn't that far off.

Ted Simons: Let's start with Andy Thomas, that's got most tongues wagging right now. Surprised he made this announcement?

Bruce Merrill: Not surprised, or not surprised. He can get clean election money and use that money to further his agenda. In my opinion, I don't think he has a great chance to be successful in the primary. But he certainly could affect the outcome of the primary, depending upon how many people end up being in the race, and how that vote is decided.

Ted Simons: How much could he disrupt a primary? Let's say there are not too many candidates, say there's a whole boatload of them. How does he affect that?

Bruce Merrill: The key thing right now, I think there could be seven, eight candidates on the Republican side. It really gets down -- remember, the turnout in the primary in Arizona is quite low, 30-35 percent, at most. It's going to depend on more than anything, and Andy Thomas is one of those people, how many right-wingers or conservatives get involved. The more right-wing candidates you have, the more they divide that vote, which allows somebody like a Hugh Holman or a Scott Smith, or a more moderate candidate to sneak through a primary.

Ted Simons: Where would a Ken Bennett fall on that grid?

Bruce Merrill: I don't like those terms, conservative or liberal. He certainly has had, because of some of his positions on where Obama was born and some other things, a lot of impact with the so-called Tea Party-ers. That would kind of put him at least towards the right end of the spectrum as we normally talk about it.

Ted Simons: Back to Andy Thomas. Does he have enough name recognition or time to barnstorm and raise that name recognition?

Bruce Merrill: He has more than most, that's for sure. And keep in mind, it's only in Maricopa County because he was a county attorney. But the thing is 70 percent of the vote's in Maricopa County now. That's why you don't hear a lot even with some of the gubernatorial candidates, about people from Tucson or other parts of the state.

Ted Simons: So let's say -- last thing on Thomas -- his announcement, does that mean anyone who may have been thinking, may be thinking twice or vice versa?

Bruce Merrill: I don't think so. It's kind of hard to know how -- he certainly will have his supporters. He was very vociferous for a long time. He and Joe Arpaio were best buddies. He's a disbarred attorney and he has been disgraced in many respects, and he may have a hard time overcoming that. The interesting thing, Ted, you raise an interesting point. One of the people most influential in my opinion, who gets the nomination is who gets Joe Arpaio's endorsement.

Ted Simons: Even now?

Bruce Merrill: Even now. A lot of people don't like Joe. But the people who have a high probability of voting, older retired people in Sun City, Sun City West, East Valley, they like Joe a lot. That’s why during presidential primary elections every one of the candidates wanted Joe's endorsement.

Ted Simons: Let's go over to the Democratic side. Fred Duvall has made his announcement. A lot of folks are expecting Chad Campbell to do likewise. He hasn't yet. First of all, the primary, and then either one of these guys in the general.

Bruce Merrill: I think you've raised two questions. There will be fewer people on the Democratic side. There are fewer Democrats and they haven't competed effectively at that level for some time. There's no big-name person. I think Fred Duvall is an extremely bright person, he’s certainly good qualifications in education, with the board. The question on him, is he tough enough? I've had people ask me that. I like him, he's bright, is he going to be tough enough to take on somebody? Chad might be tougher. He's been in the crucible in the legislature, and it's hard to say, but keep in mind the other factor, whether it's with these two candidates on the Democratic side and to some degree the Republican side, it's going to take a lot of money. Keep in mind, Cardin spent 10 million running a primary for the statewide race for the Senate. The Governor's race is similar. It's going to take a minimum of three to five million dollars for a successful candidate to come out of the primary.

Ted Simons: Sounds like that would hurt maybe Melvin or a Christine Jones if she should decide to run. Who would it help on the Republican side and who on the Democratic side?

Bruce Merrill: It certainly helps somebody like Doug Ducey, a very successful businessman, Ken Bennett. The other thing about both of them, they both have the advantages of name recognition because they ran statewide races. They both have the resources more than the other candidates to fund the campaign. But there's no question, money is a much more important player.

Ted Simons: Duvall or Campbell on Democratic side, capable of raising more money?

Bruce Merrill: I really don't know.

Ted Simons: Hard to say, isn't it?

Bruce Merrill: Yea, really hard to say.

Ted Simons: The mayor of Mesa, he was such a dark horse candidate for so long, everyone's got him as a dark horse candidate. How does he sit in all this?

Bruce Merrill: If you talk to people about Scott, they really like him. He's done a great job in Mesa and that's a tough place over there. They have been down economically for a long time. He's a moderate, and his chance -- he would have a lot better chance as Republican candidate in the general election if he can get out of the primary, than he's going to have -- he's going have a tough time in the primary, I don't think there's much doubt.

Ted Simons: Overall, both primaries in general. Impact of the Latino vote, the changing demographics of Arizona.

Bruce Merrill: Increasingly important. We really saw this, there was a lot of energy that came out of the Dream Act people in Arizona. The more exciting thing with the Hispanics wasn't the traditional Hispanics, it was these young people. I think you're going to see the Hispanics have more and more of a role on the Democratic side.

Ted Simons: Midyear elections, impact there?

Bruce Merrill: You hate to see the politics but there's no question that the Democrats and Obama, the more havoc or crisis they can create in terms of the legislature, allowing them to good out into the legislative and Congressional Districts and say, I need you in Washington, vote Democratic that we can get rid of these Republicans in the house.

Ted Simons: Interesting. Bruce, always a pleasure.

Medicaid Expansion

  |   Video
  • Governor Jan Brewer’s plan to expand Medicaid is being met with resistance from Republican lawmakers. Failure to do anything could result in the loss of some current federal funding for Medicaid in the state. The Arizona Republic reporter Mary K. Reinhart will provide the details.
  • Mary K. Reinhart - Reporter, The Arizona Republic
Category: Government   |   Keywords: brewer, governor, government, medicaid, medical, funding,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Good evening, and welcome to "Arizona Horizon," I'm Ted Simons. A letter from the federal government is helping define the state's battle over Medicaid expansion. Here to talk about what the Feds are saying and what options Arizona now faces is Mary K Reinhart, who's been covering the story for "The Arizona Republic." Thanks for joining us.

Mary K. Reinhart: Thank you.

Ted Simons: There's so much going on here. Let's start with what exactly the Feds said to Arizona last week.

Mary K. Reinhart: The Feds issued a nine-page FAQ in response to questions multiple states have been asking. They aren't exactly real quick on the response. Questions have been sort of piling up. This one from Arizona dates back to late last year. What if we wanted to continue to fund these childless adults with this waiver that we have that will expire at the end of the year, but we want the enrollment to be capped. Would you think about maybe funding it the way you normally do, a - federal match. At the end of that list they said to Arizona, not likely.

Ted Simons: Not a no definitely, but no otherwise.

Mary K. Reinhart: Right. We haven't formally asked what's called a waiver. We haven't made that formal ask. But this was for the Governor's purposes enough of a no to send a letter to legislative leaders saying, see, this isn't going happen, you're not going to get any money from the Feds if you continue to freeze on this population.

Ted Simons: So, this is something that we have to decide or should decide by the end of the year, correct? People will be falling off at the end of the year.

Mary K. Reinhart: That this program for childless adults, people who don't have kids who are 0-100 percent of the poverty level, if we expand. The current program we have right now expires December 31st. That means it goes away. The Affordable Care Act, the federal legislation doesn't -- it sort of has a hole in it where these people cannot go on the exchange to get their needs met. They are sort of out there without anything if we don't expand at this point, unless we continue this program somehow on our own.

Ted Simons: The people you talked to, were they surprised the Feds played a little hardball here?

Mary K. Reinhart: I think some of the Republicans who opposed expansion were a bit surprised. In the past couple of months, they said, the Obama administration won't do this. It's the Obama administration saying, no, we're not going to fund these people. You are on your own. Well, it's the same argument the Governor's office and the expansion proponents are using, we can't throw these people out. The legislature, you have a moral obligation to expand Medicaid so these people don't fall off. Without anything happening, if we did nothing, they indeed would fall off the Medicaid rolls and have no insurance.

Ted Simons: Similar argument on either side of the scales.

Ted Simons: The Governor took this letter or memo and told lawmakers, you have four options. There seem to be five options. First of all, you keep the freeze at the level it is now, you don't expand it higher. Cover remaining childless adults. Eight hundred-fifty million dollars cost to the state, something along those lines?

Mary K. Reinhart: These are estimates. The freeze stays on, remember the number of people we cover gradually declines as it has from 220,000 to something like 85,000. We continue to see fewer and fewer people that we'd have to cover if we continue the freeze under that scenario. Yeah, in the 800 million dollar range.

Ted Simons: Anyone pushing for this?

Mary K. Reinhart: The conservative Republicans in the legislature.

Ted Simons: That's their number one goal right there?

Mary K. Reinhart: Yeah, to continue the freeze and fund it with state funds. If the Feds say no, we can do it alone. We have the rainy day fund, it's about 450 million dollars, we have a carry-forward fund somewhere in the 600 million dollar range. It’s doable for at least three years to cover this population.

Ted Simons: We're talking about eliminating coverage for childless adults altogether. It would cost the state zero, as far as the general fund is concerned, but people would be bouncing off this thing in mid treatment, wouldn't they?

Mary K. Reinhart: Yes, Aand having voters approving coverage to this population twice. We did in say we wanted the population to be covered under our Medicaid program.

Ted Simons: Anyone really pushing hard for this?

Ted Simons: I don't think they are talking about throwing people off. Even the most conservative Republican opponents of expansion are saying we're not going throw people off who are -- you know, people in mid treatment for cancer, people on dialysis, people with serious mental illness, I don't think there's any support for doing that. Okay. Third option, you end the freeze which reinstates the two to one federal match, but it costs the state a lot of money over the next three years.

Mary K. Reinhart: And you still have to get a separate approval to cover those people if you're not covering them all the way to the 133, which is what the Obama administration wants us to do.

Ted Simons: Anyone want that aspect?

Mary K. Reinhart: Not too much. That's a lot of money, yeah.

Ted Simons: One point three billion. Let’s talk about the Governor's plan, the fourth option, that’s the one she's pursuing, pay for expansion with the hospital assessment. And that brings in a lot of money.

Mary K. Reinhart: It brings in a lot of federal money and a little more -- right, it does. It actually is a net gain to the state. Because the hospitals, the hospital assessment brings in more than we actually need for our increased share. The -- when you insure more people, it costs more money. The Feds pay for 90 to 100 percent of that for the foreseeable future, that's in the Affordable Care Act, that's in the legislation. The hospital assessment the Governor has put into her proposal is really sort of a way to say, See, we won't have to spend more money because the hospitals, who have been taking care of an increasing number of insured patients, are willing the tax themselves drawing down even more federal money netting about 100 million dollars for the general fund.

Ted Simons: Indeed not only netting a hundred million dollars for the General Fund, but eight billion dollars in federal funds over the next three years. That's why the Governor and those who support this says there really is no choice.

Mary K. Reinhart: That's what they say.

Ted Simons: Yes, is that getting traction?

Mary K. Reinhart: Well, it's the 64,000 dollar question. It has traction among Democrats who have been supportive of the Governor's plan, and a handful of Republicans in both chambers. There have been pretty consistently enough votes in the Senate for a simple majority. And in the House, close, probably also a simple majority. There are very, you know, strong groups of vocal conservative Republicans in the legislature, the President of the Senate and the House Speaker who decide what bills get heard, and many others frankly who don't believe, A, the federal money will last, that this is a sustainable property tax. They don't think this money is going to be there. They think we'll end up insuring all of these people and get stuck with the bill. They don't think it's the right thing to do in the midst of a significant federal deficit. That that eight billion dollars It's not free money, it's our money. We don't want to make the deficit any worse than it already is, and so we're going do our part to not make it worse than it already is.

Ted Simons: Let’s go on to the fifth option. Thegovernor did not mention this. And that is to go straight to the ballot. How much traction is that getting?

Mary K. Reinhart: It’s getting a little more, the later we get into the session. More and more people are talking about it. It is an option, some of us around for a few years remember from 2009, that's how we got out of the one-cent sales tax debacle, 17 special sessions in a row or whatever you want to call it. It is a way out. Senate President Andy Biggs said, I don't do it, it'll be a dictating of our job that we were sent here to do. So a lot things can happen and probably will in the next couple of months. That is an option more people are talking about.

Ted Simons: Will that get to a ballot? Could there be a special election in time to save those folks who would drop off at the end of the year?

Mary K. Reinhart: More research is needed on that issue.

Ted Simons: Yes, yes.

Mary K. Reinhart: If you recall in early 2010, it took until early to get that on the ballot, and we voted on it in May. The secretary of state needs lead time to make it happen. A statewide election isn't just a drop of a hat. But there could be sort of a bridge put in place, if they wanted to put it on the ballot, maybe you pay for those folks and keep them on insurance until the election is held.

Ted Simons: All right. Wow, good stuff, good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.

Mary K. Reinhart: Thank you.

Sky Train Art

  |   Video
  • The Sky Train at Sky Harbor Airport started operation on Monday, April 8th. Six art projects at the airport were added along with the new Sky Train. Find out about the new art work from Ed Lebow, the Public Arts Program Director for the City of Phoenix.
  • Ed Lebow - Public Arts Program Director, City of Phoenix
Category: The Arts   |   Keywords: art, artbeat, sky train,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: The new SkyTrain at Sky Harbor began operations earlier this month. The debut this month included an art opening of sorts, with the presentation of more than half a dozen art installations designed to coincide with the train. I talked to the City of Phoenix Public Art Program director Ed Lebow about the installations.Good to have you here.

Ted Simons: Five artists, six?

Ed Lebow: Five artists and artist teams and six installations at each of the site and stops along the SkyTrain.

Ted Simons: And how long was the development?

Ed Lebow: Ann Coe likes to say her project manager was pregnant when they started and now she has a -year-old. Since 2008.

Ted Simons: Where is our display? Is it on the train, in the train, around the train?

Ed Lebow: It's the spaces leading up to the train. There are huge terazzo floors. If you get off on light rail, cross a bridge, the entire bridge is designed by an artist working with a design team of architects and engineers and all the rest. East economy lot and terminal four, you hve two major projects there.

Ted Simons: Let's take a look at some of these projects. We'll start with this one with Daniel Mayor. It's kind of like calligraphy here.

Ed Lebow: He's a book maker and print maker who teaches out of ASU. He used a lot of fonts what we like to call in the digital world. In this case he wanted to scatter the floor with a path that led you from one part of the train, the exit, right over to the escalators. The scrawl you have there is limitless as the open, and timeless as the open. Sort of to draw upon the book of travel.

Ted Simons: And Daniel Mayor also did I believe a couple of glass murals, as well. Where are these?

Ed Lebow: When you come off the SkyTrain platform, go down the escalators. There are two bridges that connect the train station to the terminal. He did these remarkable murals that really began with prints of Arizona leaves on aluminum foil. He scaled these up and produced them in traditional stained glass technique for both of these bridges. They are beautiful and large. You can see them from the drop-off area below at terminal four south side.

Ted Simons: Basically those are leaf prints.

Ed Lebow: And very traditional, but in a contemporary setting unlike any other.

Ted Simons: And I would imagine the scope and size kind of takes your breath away.

Ed Lebow: A hundred and fifteen feet along by about nine feet tall, you feel like you're a bug crawling on the leaf.

Ted Simons: Daniel Martin Diaz did a floor on the pedestrian bridge.

Ed Lebow: Daniel Martin Diaz did a remarkable floor on the pedestrian bridgeon 44th Street station to the light rail stop. This is a remarkable project. It's almost 500 feet long, 40 feet wide. You can see from the pictures the kind of hand craftsmanship that went into this. These were produced by Advance Terazzo and some other skilled craftmans. It took about 25 workers. Terazzo is something that dates back a couple thousand years and began with bits of marble from construction built into cement. Now we have modern materials that are really beautiful.

Ted Simons: Mandala-like out there.

Ted Simons: Let's start with Fernandez, well-known in the Valley as an artist. You got him to contribute, as well, huh?

Ed Lebow: We did, we had a competition to select these artists five years ago. They became the artists to do the terazzo projects. Fausto because of his layering of paints and imagery, and he worked beautifully with the design team to create a pattern based on the tail-plane wings.

Ted Simons: Ann Coe, another very familiar artist to folks here in the Valley. She did a floor, as well?

Ed Lebow: She did. It captured all of the whimsy everybody knows Ann has. It's essentially an aerial flyover of the Arizona landscapes, which she loves. You have these wiggling lines of trees and canals and rivers, takes off the topographic maps you often see.

Ted Simons: A floor as landscape.

Ed Lebow: The floor is landscape. This is an outdoor station. The east economy lot, this is an outdoor station. Advance came up with a new product to make it a durable product in the outdoors.

Ted Simons: There was an international team, as well. Was this a ceiling of clouds?

Ed Lebow: Yes, at the 44th Street station on the ground floor, sort of the main entrance to that site, you have the international team, and they had done a good deal of reading about the ancient ocean that used to be here covering Arizona. They were also infatuated with the blueness of our sky, the landscape. They combined those two things into this grid, with the rippling water in the middle.

Ted Simons: How much say did these artists have or how much control did they have over what they wanted to do?

Ed Lebow: Very significant. They began with the drawings and then worked directly with the architects to tweak them as the SkyTrain developed.

Ted Simons: And the overall cost of all of this?

Ed Lebow: About 5.6 million in change out of a 1.5 billion dollar project.

Ted Simons: And again, the money came from…

Ed Lebow: Percent for Art Program. The city has a percent for art program, which means that for every penny out of a buck that the city spends on building itself, involves artists and making these kind of enhancements.

Ted Simons: The response from the artists. Are they happy?

Ed Lebow: They are delighted and thrilled, the response from the public has been goodness, gracious, this is wonderful, wonderful work.

Ted Simons: Congratulations on a success there. Can't wait to get out there and take a look. Thanks for joining us.

Ed Lebow: Thanks for having me here.