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August 29, 2013

Host: Ted Simons

Arizona ArtBeat: Little Miss Tex Mex Exhibit

  |   Video
  • When you hear about an art exhibit, you might think watercolors, drawings or oil paintings, perhaps even sculptures. You may not think of prints made from wood or linoleum carvings, but a new exhibit at the Phoenix Central Library features these kinds of works. We’ll get an up close look at the work of local artist Donna Atwood and her exhibit, “Little Miss Tex Mex Rides Again.”
Category: The Arts   |   Keywords: exhibit, phoenix,

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Ted Simons: Tonight's edition of "Arizona Artbeat" features an artist who starts with a carving and end was a print. Local artist Donna Atwood creates prints made from wood or linoleum. Reporter Lorri Allen, photographer Scot Olson and Steve Snow take a look at the printmaker and her exhibit which is called "Little Miss Tex-Mex Rides Again."

Donna Atwood: You can't use a bow and arrow to get somebody to love you. You have to use good cooking!

Donna Atwood is talking about the title piece in her exhibit, "Little Miss Tex-Mex Rides Again."

Donna Atwood: I thought, well I want to ride a bird.

Lorri Allen: She says her art is influence bide her environment.

Donna Atwood: Whatever I see around me becomes part of my visual language. And we have -- Of course we have the Flora and fauna of the region, and we also have strong Mexican influence, which I love dearly. I think we get a lot of bad press in Arizona for our relationships with Mexico. I think the underlying part of that relationship is a very good one. Culturally and artistically, and cuisinewise.

Lorri Allen: Here at SANTO press, she collaborates with her former professor Brent Bond.

Brent Bond: My job is easy. All the work was done when you handed it to me.

Lorri Allen: Now in the jargon of printmaking, he is her publisher.

Brent Bond: She has a very good sense of black and white. Negative and positive. And while the medium can easily be used in multiple runs, multiple colors, sometimes I find the most challenging is to work in that one color and try to convey all those values all those different materials and all those different lights, and light quality and characteristics of an external or internal space, whether it's a physical space, landscape, or surreal space. There's still spacial elements in her work that are very successful.

Lorri Allen: Atwood's work can be humorous.

Donna Atwood: I miss being young and thin, but I'll still take the attention. [laughter]

Lorri Allen: It's definitely whimsical. Her love birds print is inspired by this video she took on a walk. And some pieces are commentary on social trends such as EL GUYO.

Donna Atwood: A girlfriend of mine had decided a couple years ago it was that she was going to start dating again. And I thought, oh, my lord. Heaven help us all. She would find these guys and it would seem like it was going well, and she'd go through that process that I have like oh, he brought me flowers, oh, chocolate, oh, we're going out for drinks or a concert, or she even went to Italy with one fellow. And then sometimes she really thinks she's in love and it's going to- This is going to be the one! And you just think UGH.

Lorri Allen: At the library exhibit, people are surprised and delighted to meet the artist.

Bystander: I really love black and white.

Lorri Allen: The coordinator of the gallery's exhibit says Atwood's collection was chosen for its visual appeal and artistic merit.

Iris Huey: We don't particularly look for any sort of theme, but to be honest I think her southwestern theme fits nice in this Arizona library. And I also think that's one of the reasons why it's being so well received here.

Lorri Allen: Atwood says she's grateful to be showcased at the library, but a solo show can be daunting.

Donna Atwood: Not only do you have to work the whole time with no income, you also have to bear the brunt of all of the expenses. And all the while you must believe enough in yourself that you think this is going to be OK this, is going to work out, you're going to sell work, people will like it. You won't publicly humiliate yourself. And I think the only way to do that is to have people around you that go, yeah, this is good! Go with this, do this!

Ted Simons: An artist reception at "Little Miss Tex-Mex Rides Again" exhibit will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, September 6th at the Burton Barr central library in Phoenix. The exhibit runs through October 16th.

Ted Simons: That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

Arizona Income

  |   Video
  • Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute has released a new report on income in Arizona. It shows that Arizona lags behind the national average in income earned from dividends, interest and rental property as well as earned income. ASU Economist Tom Rex, the author of the report, will discuss his findings.
  • Tom Rex - Economist, Arizona State University
Category: Business/Economy   |   Keywords: income, arizona, economy,

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Ted Simons: A new report from ASU's Morrison Institute shows that Arizona lags behind the nation in per capita income in terms of money earned at the workplace, as well as for instance dividends, interest, and rental property. ASU economist Tom Rex is the author of the report. Good to see you again. Thanks for joining us. I want to get to this property income thing, but as far as per capita earnings just in general, we're not doing too well, are we?

Tom Rex: No. No. Arizona is 16% below the national average on per capita income now.

Ted Simons: And why is that do you think?

Tom Rex: It's because of a host of reasons. There's a lot of components to per capita income, and Arizonans below average frequently not by very much, but below average on almost every one of them. So instead of being able to point finger and say it's this one item that does it, it's in fact a full range of factors.

Ted Simons: As far as general per capita income, we're going to get new numbers coming up soon. Correct?

Tom Rex: Right.

Ted Simons: OK. But property income we've got the numbers now. Correct?

Tom Rex: We've got 2011 numbers in property, and the others. There's preliminary numbers only for the overall figure, and it shows 2012 wasn't really any different than 2011. So we haven't made any progress in the last year.

Ted Simons: We may ask you back when we get these updated numbers, especially in general terms of per capita income. Right now the best we can do is property income and the research there, there are different levels or different categories of property income. What are they?

Tom Rex: Property income, basically refers to individual savings whether they do it through bank account, whether they do it by buying stock, whether they buy real estate. All of those would fit into property income. And we're below average on property income by about the same amount as the overall. Which isn't a real surprise. If your populous is not making that much money, they're making less income than their counterparts around the country, they're going to have less money to invest in any of these other ventures. So that I think is the primary reason why property income is so low, is because our earnings are so low.

Ted Simons: I would think, and from your report it seemed to suggest urban areas you would see better at least property income results than you would in maybe rural areas. And yet it sounds like Maricopa County is still below the average for urban areas.

Tom Rex: It is. Yes. It is. It's better than almost- It's better than all the rest of the state, Maricopa County is the best in all the different measures of income. But it is still below in particular other large urban areas. There is a relationship with urban size, and measures like this. And so yes, it's not a problem that you can say it's strictly a rural problem in Arizona, because it's an urban problem as well.

Ted Simons: Do we see differences between Maricopa County, Pima county, Yavapai -- Sounded like Yavapai county was doing well. What are we seeing there?

Tom Rex: Yavapai does well in that particular measure because they have a fair number of rather affluent retirees. Maricopa County used to do better because it used to, relative to the size of the economy, have more relatively affluent retirees. We still have them, they're still moving in, but they're a drop in the bucket now compared to all the rest of the economy.

Ted Simons: And talk more about that. It seemed as though it would be difficult, the whole thing would be difficult for me to research, but as far as research is concerned, with so many people coming in part-time residents, folks who might be having a lot of net wealth to them, staying here for a certain amount of time, how do you balance those metrics? How do you figure out what's really going on?

Tom Rex: Well, the part-timers don't get counted in Arizona. They get counted wherever they spend most of their time where they declare their permanent residence to be. So they're not in the numbers any way, shape, or form. But the retirees that move here, people that retire and move to Arizona for retirement, they're a boost to the economy, most of them are fairly affluent, and that's why you get an example like you mentioned like in Prescott, where you've got fairly good numbers on that because they made their money elsewhere, so their earnings may well have been pretty good wherever they were living. They weren't subject to the lower conditions and Arizona. And then they bring that money with them when they retire.

Ted Simons: So talk about the economic impact of those sorts of folks, and again, how you can balance that. It seems like a moving target. You never know who's going to move here, the past few years it seems no one has been moving here.

Tom Rex: Well, yeah. The short-term cyclical conditions take precedent over everything else essentially. Even the more affluent people that were thinking of retiring, many of them saw such a huge drop during the recession in their savings through their investments and all, that they've had to back off and not think about retiring, not think about moving as soon as they might have expected. But we do know there's a large, large number of baby boomers who are just now, the fleeting edge of them are just hitting retirement age. And they will be in the coming years, Arizona will experience quite a bit of increase in the number of retirees moving here.

Ted Simons: From what we've seen in previous years, how do we rank in terms of western states per capita income in general, property income in particular?

Tom Rex: We're below average. We're better than a couple states like New Mexico, but we're below the average.

Ted Simons: And why is that?

Tom Rex: Well, there's a lot of reasons. We have first off relatively high proportions of retirees and children. They're not part of the work force, they're not earning income. So that's part of it there. Even though when you look at the over-- The working age population, we have a lower percentage, part of the labor force in Arizona. So you put that together, we have fewer percentage of the people earning money. Then for those that are earning money, the average wage is below average here. Partially because their job mixes toward lower wage jobs. Even if you're not working for a company, you're on your own. Proprietors' incomes are really low in Arizona. So you get the idea. It's just, pick up anything you look at, we're below average. And so when you accumulate all of those individual items, none of which on their own are that terribly significant, but you put them all together and there's nothing offsetting on the low end.

Ted Simons: All right. Well, Tom, not the most encouraging of news, but it's an interesting report nonetheless. Good to have you here.

Tom Rex: Thank you.

Copper Mine Response

  |   Video
  • A conservationist who represents a coalition of conservation groups will counter statements made by U.S. representatives about a land swap needed for a copper mine near Superior. Roger Featherstone of the Arizona Mining Reform Coalition will respond to comments made about the land swap.
  • Roger Featherstone - Arizona Mining Reform Coalition
Category: Environment   |   Keywords: copper mine, superior, mining, arizona, update, around arizona,

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Ted Simons: Good evening, and welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons.

Ted Simons: Arizona congressman Paul Gosar was on our show last week and he spoke in support of a proposed land swap needed for a planned copper mine near superior. Tonight we hear from a conservationist who is against the land swap and the mine. Roger Featherstone is here with the Arizona mining reform coalition. OK, let's get the generalities and first and then hear what congressman Gosar and congresswoman Kirkpatrick have to say. Why is this mine a bad thing for Arizona?

Roger Featherstone: It's just not good public policy. There's a process in place that all the other large copper mines, proposed copper mines in the United States go through, and that entails first writing a mining plan of operations, then going through the public review process, then getting a decision. And in this case they're short circuiting that and going straight to Congress for relief from the process, and that's not good policy.

Ted Simons: How are they short circuiting this?

Roger Featherstone: If they go - The way the bill is written, and this is the 12th bill that we've been dealing with in this issue, as the bill is written, there will be no need, but before the land exchange, and then after the land exchange is done, all the decisions are made, so any analysis and alternatives would be more or less meaningless.

Ted Simons: NEPA is the national environmental policy act and the standards therein are what need to be addressed before the mine can go through. When we spoke with congressman Gosar about NEPA, he says that the mine simply can't go through without these NEPA studies. Less hear what he had to say.

Congressman Gosar: A lot of people would like to see a preNEPA done before any land exchange. That's like you and me, if I'm telling you property, you have to go through planning and zoning and the whole environmental aspects before we transfer. Congress has that aspect. Our bill precludes anything going forward within that mine without going through the proper environmental protections. It's already being done. They can't go past go in order to do that.

Ted Simons: If the idea is regardless of when the NEPA studies are done, there is no mine without NEPA studies, what's the problem?

Roger Featherstone: There's a disconnect here between what Mr. Gosar says and what is written in his bill. It's very puzzling to me how there's such a big disconnect. NEPA is a law that requires the forest service, any federal agency to study a proposal, make alternatives, and get all the information in before they make an informed decision. If you- If there's no decision to be made, there's no reason to do the analysis. The way it should happen would be what happened in the Safford mine, when that was permitted, which involved also a land exchange. What happened was the mining company wrote a mining plan of operations that included the land transfer and the mining plan of operations, that was study and reviewed by the forest service and the public, it came to a decision. That's the way it should be done. Not by going straight to Congress for relief.

Ted Simons: But getting to the ends justifying the means, if there is no mine without NEPA study, does it matter when the NEPA studies are done?

Roger Featherstone: Yes, it matters very much. And it's an open question as to whether -- If there's no federal nexus, whether there would even be an analysis done by NEPA. The forest service themselves when they testified in front of the committee this march on this version of the land exchange said clearly that NEPA studies should be done before a decision is made, and if- Unless that happens, it is meaningless to do the NEPA if there's no decisions to be made.

Ted Simons: You mentioned the mining plan of operation, critics are upset because there is no formal plan filed as of yet, but congressman Gosar said critics are jumping the gun because the plan of operation should be ready by year's end. Let's see what he had to say.

Congressman Gosar: That's not due yet. That's coming up shortly in the timetable of aspects. Be patient, and look. These are the numbers that are coming forward. In the mine plan of operation they're going to come forward with those, and they've pretty much got everything resolved. They're carrying over on half of the 50-year water supply, they've invested in reclamation for reused water to use over and over again. The only thing that they're working on and they've had a very open process is where they'll place the tailings. They've been having great ideas in regards to looking at ABC for construction for our roads, but open to the public to those dialogues.

Ted Simons: It sounds like half the operation concerns are resolved, and that water supply issues and -- Except for tailings, but much of the mining plan of operation has been resolved and according to the congressman, it's not even due yet.

Roger Featherstone: Rio Tinto has started the process in 2004. They had plenty of time to write the mining plan of operations. Instead they gambled on going to Congress, which would avoid the mining plan of operations until they got the land in private ownership, which is something they've- They all along they've been very reluctant to put out a plan before they got their bill. And now they've got to put up or shut up, so now they're making this move to get the public involved, help them find a tailing site. They've had 10 years to do this. This is one of the largest mining companies in the world, and if they could not have come up with a complete plan in the last 10 years instead of at the last minute throwing something together, then they have no right to be mining at the site to begin with.

Ted Simons: Whether or not they're throwing something together to have a mining operation ready by year's end, is that not good enough?

Roger Featherstone: No. Because- Well, it is good enough if the land exchange bill itself is halted, and that whole process is halted until the review of the mining plan is allowed to happen. A mining plan in itself can be either good mining plan or a bad mining plan, and it takes a while to figure out exactly what is going to be in that document to know whether they've actually covered all their bases.

Ted Simons: There are also concerns regarding American Indian sacred areas in that particular region. Do you see those as concerns as well?

Roger Featherstone: Absolutely. Absolutely. Hope flat is clearly a sacred site to many tribes. And the land exchange is opposed by every tribe and pueblo in the United States through the national Congress of American Indians and the inner tribal council of Arizona. So this is clearly a sacred site. And of course has a lot of other values. And the fact that this is being pushed through with no consultation written into the bill until after it was passed is again simply not the way that the laws are written to protect the rights of native people to have religious freedom.

Ted Simons: I asked congresswoman Kirkpatrick and congressman Gosar about that issue regarding American Indian sacred areas and tribal rights, and they both commented on this and both seem to say that if you talk to tribal members, they want this project. If you talk to tribal leaders, they don't. Let's see what they both had to say.

Congresswoman Kirkpatrick: Having grown up on tribal land myself, that is part of their spirituality and their culture, and very respectful of that. On the other hand, this is the copper corridor. I have to represent all my constituents, and folks in that area are miners. They have been for generation and generations. And they want this to happen.

Congressman Gosar: There are two studies and two polls that show that less than 20% of the tribe actually believe the way that chairman Rambler and the council have gone. They want the jobs, and they want to have a shot at those jobs.

Ted Simons: It sounds like they're saying that opponents are literally disregarding the will of the people. How do you respond to that?

Roger Featherstone: The will of the people is to protect the land for recreation and for its sacred character, and for the economic diversity of the town of superior. That is the will of the people. What I don't know what studies congressman Gosar is referring, to I've not seen any of those, though I suspect they were probably bought and paid for by Rio tinto. But clearly both tribal government and tribal members are opposed to the land exchange and firmly believe that the mine, the land exchange is incompatible with the sacredness of hope flat.

Ted Simons: The last sound bite is from congresswoman Kirkpatrick. Years of talks which she sees as an open process, there have been numerous meeting and community sessions, we had another one here recently, on what she sees as an honest attempt to get all voices heard.

Congresswoman Kirkpatrick: There's a balance to this. And we've been talking with all the stakeholders on this, trying to address their concerns. You and I talked earlier about the rock climbers. There's been an agreement reached with the rock climbers so that area where they like to climb has been protected. So there's movement. There are ways to do this in a balanced way and that's what we're striving to do.

Ted Simons: Is there from where you stand, is there no way that this mine should go through? Let's say that all the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed and the NEPA studies are done and the mining plan of operations is accurately filed. Would you still be against the mine?

Roger Featherstone: If the mining plan was written, if and it went through the entire process, if the company could pass muster as far as not damaging the sacredness of oak flat, and if the land exchange was abandoned, then our organization very well could support this mine.

Ted Simons: For those in superior and in the area who say the town is broke, we need the jobs, we need the industry, we need to diversify the economy with the diversification that comes with a massive- This is a massive project, there's no doubt about it. You would say?

Roger Featherstone: There's two sides to economic development. Certainly no one would think that a large mine such as this would not have environmental, social, and governmental problems. Those haven't been taken into account, and nor can they be because we haven't seen a mining plan of operation. So in the town of superior, they were doing a good job while the mine was closed, when it closed in 1996, to diversify their economy. And now that this project has come in, that diversification has been abandoned. And that's not the right way to do it. And lastly, I would point out that even under the company's rosy scenario, no mine would open for at least a decade or a dozen years, and so there would be no influx of jobs in the near future anyhow. So there's many other ways to solve the economic problems of superior rather than getting in bed with an industry that is decimated superior in the first place.

Ted Simons: Roger Featherstone, good to have you here. Thank you so much for joining us.

Roger Featherstone: Thank you.