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December 17, 2013

Host: Ted Simons

Buy Local

  |   Video
  • The holiday shopping season is in full swing. Kimber Lanning of Local First Arizona will discuss how buying from locally-based companies can help create more jobs than if you buy from chain stores.
  • Kimber Lanning - Director, Local First Arizona
Category: Business/Economy   |   Keywords: business, economy, Arizona, Phoenix, shop, jobs, companies, local,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Holiday shopping season is in full roar. That means it's a busy time for retail merchants big and small, but it's always a good time to buy from local businesses. That’s according to our next guest, Kimber Lanning of Local First Arizona. Kimber, you are a local merchant.

Kimber Lanning: I am. I have had my little business for 27 years. I also have an art gallery that I have on Roosevelt Row for about 15 years.

Ted Simons: So, how is business?

Kimber Lanning: It’s great. There are lots of signs that the economy is really coming around full force. This holiday season is going to surprise some people. Have you noticed how many additional Christmas tree lights are everywhere? People have more time, more money, and are feeling more optimistic.

Ted Simons: The LED lights. You see them everywhere. I'm old school with the regular bulb but the neighbors are looking at me square. The effort to buy local first, talk about the effort in general and is it changing the way people are shopping this holiday season?

Kimber Lanning: I believe we're moving the needle. If nothing else people are shopping around and finding great deals at locally owned businesses. What we saw last year was that independent businesses that had a buy local campaign were up a couple percent from those independent businesses that didn't have a buy local campaign. When you measure year or year independent businesses are keeping up with the chain in terms of increases in overall sales. What that is tells telling us is that people are recognizing it benefits the entire community when you buy locally.

Ted Simons: Are you seeing tangible results?

Kimber Lanning: We do. The institute for self-reliance on the east coast will be doing a study of all communities across the countries that have ‘buy local’ campaigns. There are of them. You and I have known each other since there were only four. We are the largest local business coalition in North America. They look to us to help get the surveys in and measure what people think. We are seeing that people are starting to understand that three times more of their money stays in Arizona when they choose a local company.

Ted Simons: What is the best way to attract residents to local businesses?

Kimber Lanning: Well there are a lot of ways but one thing you need to be found online. Highly recommend that your business get involved with social media. There are tons of people who are looking for business deals on their smart phone. So every independent business we work with is being trained on their search engine optimization.

Ted Simons: Is that even if the businesses around the corner and down the block.

Kimber Lanning: Absolutely. There's a new sort of mode in shopping if you will where people just want to do it from home and they want to find things even if they do get out and look around they want to do their comparison shopping online.

Ted Simons: Talk about the internet in general. Some of the challenges here, this idea of show rooming which was a new phrase to me but I know exactly what people are doing, talk about it and the threat that it gives. If I were a local merchant I would be scared to death seeing people taking pictures of my merchandise.

Kimber Lanning: It speaks to the fact that people don't understand independent business. If you walk into a store and you put your child in the store stroller that's for sale and you push the child all around the store trying out the stroller, you move all the pieces, bits and parts, take the sales clerk's time and you leave to save $ online you have really disrespected that business owner. It's amazing that people think that that behavior is okay. It really shifted in the last few years. I want to share a new study done with you that showed for every $10 million you spends in independent businesses, 114 jobs are grown and sustained in this country for the same 10 million spent in a national chain store only $50. Independent store $114, chain store $50. But for Amazon, spend $10 million on Amazon, it only supports 14 jobs. Americans need to understand the more we choose convenience it's costing us a fortune, our jobs.

Ted Simons: That said, the economy in general, government incentives to the big box chains. These are factors as well I would imagine, these are challenges as well.

Kimber Lanning: They are. One of the main areas that local first Arizona focused on when we first started was leveling the playing field, allowing independent businesses to compete on a level playing field. When you start subsidizing national chain stores suddenly there's an imbalance. My little record store stink weed can compete with best buy but not if we incentivize best buy with lots and lots of money. People think you're getting a cheaper price but really that's deferred billing because we’re paying for it in another way.

Ted Simons: Is that information getting out to lawmaker, community leaders? Is it getting out to consumers?

Kimber Lanning: It is. The lawmakers have stepped in starting with the previous mayor Gordon in the city of Phoenix who said we don't want to compete with our neighboring cities like Scottsdale and Tempe, which just ratchets up the price. If you say this big box is going this side of Scottsdale road and we'll give you more if you come back to this side and this guy gives you more, everybody loses. Particularly the residents. The legislators were hearing this and there was a bill passed through the legislature a few years ago that actually gives the state the right TO WITHHOLD money from the cities that they choose to subsidize businesses.

Ted Simons: Last question, there's a study out there regarding resident passion for their community and how it equals higher GDP. Talk to us about that and what can community leaders, residents learn from that?

Kimber Lanning: This is so important. It's the foundation issue that showed connection to place as the single most leading indicator of places that had prosperity. When people truly love the place they live they are more likely to vote, to volunteer, to give charitably and more likely to have their butts in seats at a Diamondbacks game. People who are really engaged and love this community say, if we want to fix the education system we have to create an environment where people feel accountable for it. The way we do that is by connecting them to the culture of this place and the independent business plays a huge role in that. If you ask people today who live in Arizona who are still very much attracted and attached to Chicago where they came from, ask why they love Chicago so much, they will tell you because of locally owned businesses.

Ted Simons: Are independent businesses smaller, local retailers, do they understand that sometimes you have to take the extra step, maybe go the extra mile and that it's not going to be -- are they up for that challenge?

Kimber Lanning: They are. Not all of them. We're going to lose a lot of small businesses; I'll be honest with you. There's going to be a long way down before we get back up because people are choosing convenience right now because they don't understand the consequences. What I mean is shopping online. That's costing Americans a lot of jobs right now, but what I want people to understand is that independent businesses can be very strong. We have fantastic locally owned businesses. Take Hudson’s' theatres. Apples to apples, it's locally owned, family operated, giving to local charities. Their competitor is owned in Germany. You look at that and they are every bit as competitive.

Ted Simons: Happy holidays. Good luck, congratulations. Years now with that record store?

Kimber Lanning: Yes.

Ted Simons: Congratulations on that. Good to see you.

Kimber Lanning: Thank you.

CPS Oversight Committee Hearing

  |   Video
  • The state legislature’s Child Protective Oversight Committee heard from the director of the Department of Public Safety on its investigation on why child abuse cases were ignored. State Representative Debbie McCune Davis, who is a member of the oversight committee, talks about what was discussed at the meeting.
  • Debbie McCune Davis - State Representative and Member, Child Protective Oversight Committee
Category: Government   |   Keywords: government, child, protective, committee, public safety, abuse, cases,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Good evening. Welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. The legislature's child protective services oversight committee heard from the director of public safety yesterday on a DPS investigation into how and why CPS ignored thousands of child abuse reports. Representative Debbie McCune Davis is a member of the oversight committee. Good to see you again. What was learned from DPS on the CPS probe?

Debbie McCune Davis: We didn't learn much. The director was there at the hearing and spent some time explaining to us what his agency was doing, but to sum it up it's just an administrative review. When pushed for some detail he essentially said he would report whatever his findings were back to the director of child protective services and then the director of child protective services would make it public. That was concerning.

Ted Simons: I was going to ask about that. What do you think?

Debbie McCune Davis: I was concerned that in the second hearing when the question came up about why this was referred to DPS, I asked why. Because I knew they would report back to the agency or to the governor. I didn't think that was what the public wanted. What concerns me in all of these conversations is that the public needs to know what's going on with child protective services. Essentially these are internal reviews, not the kinds of reviews that are going to be helpful in restoring people's faith that CPS is working well.

Ted Simons: And, yet, CPS apparently will get Clarence Carter, director of DES, he vows to release this within hours after getting it, the governor's office has to see it, have to make sure they say that secret material may not be in there. They want to double check on that.

Debbie McCune Davis: I understand that's their process and I think that is what he has to say, but the public wants to know more. References yesterday, were looking at what people are doing and who is doing them and the emails. It sounds to me like they have a probe going on. I'm not certain the public will ever really know.

Ted Simons: Ever?

Debbie McCune Davis: I think we'll see a report. You heard from the care team chair.

Ted Simons: You also heard from the care team chair, any information there?

Debbie McCune Davis: Yes. I thought he did a very nice job of explaining what the care team is doing, giving us an update. I think he was very reassuring in explaining that he's taking the mission seriously. He gave us -- the numbers update is important but not really as important as knowing that someone is looking at those cases and making certain those children are safe. He did say that. I thought he did that with some confidence, with some accountability. There wasn't much detail in what he provided but he did it in a way that made us feel the job was getting done.

Ted Simons: It sounds as though between DPS, the presentation and the care team, the oversight committee from the governor's office, they are both -- things are going along and when we get something to you we'll get something to you?

Debbie McCune Davis: Yes. Nobody was willing to give us a timeline for when they will complete their work. In one case it was not a willingness to do it, the other was, we'll do our work until we're finished with our work. That's concerning. We have to remember, these are cases that are outside the normal course of work of CPS. This isn't the whole problem. This is the tip of the iceberg. The agency is still backed up. The case loads are too high. The uninvestigated cases continue to climb. Frankly, the budget going into 2015, the agency really appears to be asking for money to do nothing more than case load growth.

Ted Simons: How much responsibility -- increasing concern and question, how much responsibility does the governor's office, the legislature have in all in this in that CPS is supposed report somewhat regularly to the governor's office and to the legislature? Did you get those reports, and could this not have been found earlier by way of those reports?

Debbie McCune Davis: Well, there are reports filed. There are semiannual reports but there was also an oversight committee that was statutorily created that the leadership of the legislature took a very long time to appoint members. We should have been meeting a year ago and we should have been looking at how the money appropriated to child protective services was being spent. But there was a delay in the appointment process then a delay because of the problems in the Senate with Senator Murphy's encounters with child protective services getting the group up and running. I think since the committee has been meeting we have been making pretty good progress what. Like best about the committee it's not just legislators. It's folks from within the community that CPS interfaces with including very vocal foster parent groups.

Ted Simons But again, it's been reported from October of to march of there were some odd reports that had the words not responded to on the report. And the question is, did no one see that and did no one question that and if so, why? People were -- CPS is a problem child in more ways than one. You would think people would be looking over that sort of thing.

Debbie McCune Davis: Well, there are people looking at it. Child advocates have been not only looking at it but meeting with CPS on a regular basis. The cases that have been talked about are not any cases, not N.I.s but AIs, alternate investigations. The agency has assured the community over and over again that those children were looked at and that they were handled appropriately. As to the legislative reports, the reports that we looked at, myself and a couple of went back through them, the AIs are reported, the alternate investigations. The cases that are assigned and then after you do the math and back out the numbers you come up with a number of not investigated, but the reports that I looked at didn't have cases that were listed as not investigated.

Ted Simons: Because apparently some of the cases, the words ‘not investigated’ and ‘not responded’ to were included in the reports and you're saying there's no way the governor's office or the legislature would have seen these?

Debbie McCune Davis: I'm saying the reports I looked at didn't have those. They may have been older reports but we were curious as to how the agency and frankly case workers in the community, some who have left the agency, said people were aware that that's how these cases were being handled. There's real confusion about how those cases were essentially taken off the investigation list.

Ted Simons: So with all this said and everything moving as it is, are Arizona kids safer now than when this news came out?

Debbie McCune Davis: I think people are interested in getting the problem fixed. So in that sense, I think we are beginning to address that. But at the public hearing, the forum hosted by children's action alliance, it was really clear from the community that this agency is viewed as overburdened and that the case workers are carrying too large case loads, they are not getting the kind of support they need and that's how we have to solve this problem. We have to do more than just address case load growth. We have to look at putting resources in place to prevent kids from coming into the system and many of the programs that did that in the past have been defunded or minimally funded. We're not doing what we need for families. There's a lot of work left to do.

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

Sustainability: ASU Zero Waste

  |   Video
  • Arizona State University commits to minimizing waste through its Zero Waste Campus Initiative. The initiative covers both liquid and solid wastes. Nick Brown, director of university sustainability practices, will discuss the Zero Waste Campus Initiative.
  • Nick Brown - Director, university sustainability practices
Category: Sustainability   |   Keywords: education, teachers, asu, school, campus, waste, sustainability,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Zero waste. A zero waste campus. What are we talking about?

Nick Brown: We're talking about reducing our waste to landfill, which is our municipal solid waste solid waste. ASU sent about 9,000 tons to our landfills about five years ago. We're already down to about 6,000 so we're about one-third of our way toward our goal.

Ted Simons: This means everything from what? Better water management with better fixtures? We just saw Ground for Grounds in terms of not bringing stuff in to fertilize and using stuff already here to fertilize?

Nick Brown: The components really are looking at our solid waste that is inorganic material, materials that could and should be recycled. That's paper, plastic, aluminum, steel, glass, cardboard. Then the organic co-opponents, food scraps, yard scraps, all kinds of material that come from our campus that could and should be composted or used for energy.

Ted Simons: Your goal is zero waste by?

Nick Brown: 2015

Ted Simons: You going to get there?

Nick Brown: Of course we will. We define zero waste as %90 of our solid waste that had gone to landfill in 2008.

Ted Simons: How do you get students to cooperate with something like this?

Nick Brown: Student engagement is of course key. It's fundamental to our success. When we develop renewable energy programs, 30 or 40 or 50 people at ASU can accomplish this for us. People who do engineering and business management and funding and those kinds of things. If all 8,000 of us don't recycle and hit Green bins with our compostable materials, we won't succeed. So literally it's a program that each and every one of us needs to participate in for us to be successful in.

Ted Simons: Are there ways to make it easier for the kids to get on board? For everyone to get on board?

Nick Brown: We have all kinds of public awareness strategies. Beginning January, each of our sun devil athletics events will be zero waste. So the fans will see a blue bin where recyclables go, Green bin where compostable go and no trash bins. We'll have signs, reads in the stadium that will tell our fans what to do. We really think that athletics is a Gateway toward changing behavior in general.

Ted Simons: I was going to say, from the research on this, 15 tons of waste at the ASU-U of A game?

Nick Brown: That's right. But fans did pretty well. We diverted about 30% of the waste at that game. Last spring we did some baseball games in which we diverted 70 to 80% of all the materials that went through that facility there away from landfill.

Ted Simons: As the process continues, what are you learning?

Nick Brown: We're learning that everyone has to do it, everyone has to work on it. It's a very complex process there are really seven or eight programs that we have to put into place to take care of our organic materials. One of them for the food courts, a different one for Catering services, another for kitchenettes, another for athletics and large outdoor events. It's a really complex program. We have about 50 projects that together will do this. A lot of them are for recyclable material, for compostable materials. It's important that we develop strategies for minimizing the kinds of materials that come on to campus initially so that we can minimize waste that would otherwise have come on to campus. Those projects are in the form of paper reduction, package reduction, product take-back, packaging take-back, those kinds of things.

Ted Simons: You wonder how you quantify, how do you know when you hit zero?

Nick Brown: Most of our municipal solid waste is actually weighed.

Ted Simons: There's a measurement then?

Nick Brown: We actually weigh everything. We're not estimating. We're not looking at things in general. We're actually looking at the record of what we have accomplished.

Ted Simons: Only about 30 seconds left. Anything about this enterprise surprise you?

Nick Brown: It surprises me that it is as complex of an endeavor as it is.

Ted Simons: All right. That's a good, quick answer. Thank you. Sounds great. Next time we go to the football game we'll try to figure out which barrel to use and take it from there. Good to have you here.

Nick Brown: Thanks for the opportunity.

Ted Simons: Wednesday on "Arizona Horizon," we hear from the head of the Fiesta Bowl on gel the championship game and efforts to help seniors fight isolation. That's tomorrow at and 10 on the next "Arizona Horizon." That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you for joining us. You have a great evening.