Arizona Horizon Banner

December 18, 2013

Host: Ted Simons

2016 College Football Championship Game

  |   Video
  • The Fiesta Bowl has been awarded the 2016 College Football Championship Game. The game will be played at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. Robert Shelton, executive director for the Fiesta Bowl, will talk about the acquisition.
  • Robert Shelton - Executive Director, Fiesta Bowl
Category: Sports   |   Keywords: sports, football, championship, game, phoenix, fiesta bowl, glendale,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: The Fiesta Bowl was awarded the college football championship game. It will be played at University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale. Joining us now, Robert Shelton, Fiesta bowl Executive Director -- with that jacket.

Robert Shelton: I wear it proudly.

Ted Simons: Were you surprised?

Robert Shelton: I'm always surprised. We're thrilled. It was an Arizona effort. We're calling it Arizona 2016. Fiesta Bowl had a lot to do with it but so did the Cardinals, AStA. The governor is on our honorary board, Senator Mccain chairs the board, five mayors signed a letter of support. It really was the whole valley of the sun coming together.

Ted Simons: What did you emphasize in the bid?

Robert Shelton: A number of things. This is the way we delivered our bid. You can see it's a replica of the stadium in Glendale. You can see inside the stadium. So we emphasized the quality of the stadium. Then the field comes out and lo and behold -- you get the bid.

Ted Simons: Yes.
Robert Shelton: We emphasized quality of the facilities. We emphasized the fact that right here you can see three of the seven national championship games that we have hosted. Emphasize the fact that we have done this before. The destination of the valley of the sun. The hospitality of the people, the weather. Then the unified approach among the municipalities, among the CBB.

Ted Simons: What is the bidding process? How do you go about doing this?

Robert Shelton: There's a group called college football playoff, the successor to the BCS. They issued an RFP the bid was due the end of September, so about four weeks. So we have been getting together really since January to prepare for this. We had a heads up.

Ted Simons: As far as the impact on the Arizona economy, talk to us about firm numbers. We always hear different numbers, but we have had some experience in the past. What do those numbers look like?

Robert Shelton: If you look at the past four championship games we’ve hosted here, the collective economic impact by the W.P. Carey school was about $640 million. Safe to say this game in 2016, the economic impact will be around the $200 million Mark. Big number.

Ted Simons: When you made the bid and you talked about United front and the stadium and this nice piece of work here, this artwork, how much did the fact that the Fiesta Bowl had a story to tell, and the story was that it hit rough patches and then came back. How much was that a factor?

Robert Shelton: I think it was critical that we had had enough time to reestablish our reputation. The first step was to get into the new college football playoff with the six games instead of four. That helped restore the sense that the Fiesta Bowl is where you want to play football. The greater Phoenix area is where you want to come as a destination. Then after that, this I think really demonstrates the Fiesta Bowl, not just the Fiesta Bowl but this area for college football all the way back.

Ted Simons: Talk about turning the game, the image of the game, the entire event around.

Robert Shelton: It was a collective effort. I'm the fortunate one that gets to come on your show and be the face, wear this jacket of the Fiesta Bowl but really our board approved new governance structure. We had a new leadership team we were to hire in for the fiesta -- I have incredible staff. We spent a lot of time. I traveled the country visiting with commissioners, with presidents on the BCS presidential oversight group, to demonstrate these changes. I think it's now a model of governance for bowls.

Ted Simons: To get there, though, what was the biggest challenge?

Robert Shelton: I think it was just getting everybody to buy in and getting an acceptance that we had to make a change. The Fiesta Bowl was so successful for so many years and then we hit this trough for reasons we don't need to get into, now we're back in the game. We have a parade to put on. It's going to be fantastic.

Ted Simons: Were there folks who didn't realize how endangered this game was?
Robert Shelton: I think the answer is yes. My board understood it, but I think it was touch and go whether we would first of all be one of the since bowls in the new college playoffs. We had to work hard to make sure we did not lose our coveted elite spot in post-season football.

Ted Simons: You have that spot. Talk about what happens as far as semi-final games.

Robert Shelton: The championship game stands on its own. We don't make money on, this we have to raise money. Come January we're going to go around with our tin cup to raise $13-$14 million. Think super bowl. The other host bowl situation that we're in along with the other five bowls, that's set for a 12 year rotation. Every third year we host a semi. In between we have our regular Fiesta Bowl where the selection committee, not polls, the selection committee will give us two top teams. They will take not only the quality of the teams into account but geography. That means fans won't have to travel as far to see the games.
Ted Simons: Which means a Central Florida might not be in the future as it is now?

Robert Shelton: Or four years ago UConn, three years ago UConn. Central Florida is going to put on a great game but it's harder for fans to come out here.

Ted Simons: How you selling this with Baylor and central Florida.

Robert Shelton: It's a little more difficult sell. Last year when we had Oregon and K-state or Stanford and Oklahoma State, but both teams score. They are both 11-1, the fewest losses of any bowl game except the champ game. It's a first time experience for both of them so we know they will play well. I think we'll be surprised to see how competitive this game is.

Ted Simons: The Buffalo wild wings game, Michigan and Kansas State. That will pretty much take care of itself, don’t you think?

Robert Shelton: The tickets are selling real well. Get your tickets now but particularly for Buffalo wild wings. Michigan has not been out west in a long time.

Ted Simons: The idea of ticket sales, if the Baylor central Florida -- central Florida is having a tough time even moving it among their fans. Does the committee say, we would like to get you another title game after but -- do they look at something like this?

Robert Shelton: I don't think that will be an impact on our winning another title game. That will stand on how well we did these previous seven, how well we do the eighth one in 2016. We're going to knock their socks off not only for the game but for the whole valley of the sun region for the pre-game activities.

Ted Simons: You left the presidency of the University of Arizona to take this on. Was it a good move?

Robert Shelton: A very good move. I hope the Fiesta bowl bosses think that. I'm a native Phoenician. This is near and dear to all of us in Phoenix and in Arizona. I thought if I can lend my contacts, some of my credibility then it's a good thing to do. I think with a lot of help we have shown the Fiesta Bowl is back. Phoenix writ large is a destination for great post-game shows.

Ted Simons: Going to stay a while at the Fiesta Bowl?

Robert Shelton: Hope so. It's up to my bowl board.

Ted Simons: Everyone wants to know where Todd Graham is going to go next.

Robert Shelton: He's a much more visible figure in the valley than I am.

Ted Simons: The turn around the Fiesta Bowl is a major accomplishment. I imagine people look at that and say, ‘This guy has something going here.’

Robert Shelton: I think it is. We have a lot of work ahead of us. Two bowl games, the parade, the Yarnell families serving as the marshals of the parade. There's still a lot to be done.

Ted Simons: Congratulations, again, on winning that game. That's a great boost for the valley and we hope they get a couple more. Love that jacket.

Robert Shelton: We could give you an honorary jacket. You have to promise to wear it.

Ted Simons: Good to see you again.

Robert Shelton: Thanks for having me on the show.

Aging Initiatives Grants

  |   Video
  • Valley communities will be better able to fight social isolation and strengthen the connections that older adults have, thanks to two new grants awarded to the Greater Phoenix Age-Friendly Network. The funding will help three pilot communities launch new programs to help older adults live independently. Amy St. Peter, the Maricopa Association of Governments Human Services manager, will talk about how the money will be used.
  • Amy St. Peter - Manager, Maricopa Association of Governments Human Services
Category: Government   |   Keywords: government, human services, maricopa, valley, phoenix, communities, social, isolation,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Two new grants were awarded to the greater Phoenix age friendly network. Funding will be used to launch pilot programs to help older adults live independently and form better connections to their communities. For more we welcome Amy St. Peter, human services director for the Maricopa association of governments. Thanks for being here. The Greater Phoenix Age Friendly Network. What are we talking about?

Amy St. Peter: We're changing the question from how do we create programs for older adults that are insular and separated, how do we fully embded older adults-- and how do we fully engage them, how do we leverage our time and talents better.
Ted Simons: So how do you help fight this social isolation?
Amy St. Peter: One of the main ways we're doing that authorize a new website,, developed really hand in hand with people age and older in our community. It's really different. It's a different approach because very interactive. People can register online. They can join local discussion forums, there's a community calendar. They can hear from people like themselves leading great lives and blog back and forth with them. It's aimed at connecting people online and giving them avenues to connect face to face.

Ted Simons: What about folks who are not all that familiar with computers or not all that comfortable with computers?

Amy St. Peter: We have a lot of outreach to that group as well. We're working with different communities now, four different communities, Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale and the north-west valley. We're developing different pilot projects to help neighbors help neighbors to connect people face to face.

Ted Simons: This is where the two new grants will help by way of the four pilot programs?

Amy St. Peter: Absolutely. We're very thankful we received a grant as part of the community agenda, a national pilot project. That funding comes from the Pfizer foundation. We have funding from the Metlife foundation and that is staffed by partners for livable communities.

Ted Simons: Talk about these models. Are you encouraging volunteers, encouraging older folks to reach out? What's going on?

Amy St. Peter: Well, we're working on a couple models. One called the village a membership based group where residents in the community define their community, what they need to stay in that community and what they are willing to do to make those services available to them, anything from transportation, yard care, also time banks where people are helping each other. They give a service, they get a service.

Ted Simons: You have an appointment, you need to go to the doctor, the grocery store, you need someone to talk to, in your village you find someone who is there, a neighbor if you will?

Amy St. Peter: It's all about people helping each other. This radical notion of people helping each other, not relying on any one government service or nonprofit service but figuring out what the community can do for itself. It's buildings capacity in a very different way than we have been.

Ted Simons: Some are getting support and help and companionship, some of the younger folks are getting some mentorship.

Amy St. Peter: They are getting mentors. For example, a middle-aged person might drive an older person to their dock doctor appointment then the older person may watch your kids after school.

Ted Simons: Competition to find the most age friendly communities in the region. What's that all about?

Amy St. Peter: We're providing technical assistance to four communities but we want to celebrate every single community doing something to embrace people of all ages, particularly older adults. We have an age friendly competition. People can go to our website and tell was their community is doing. It's supported by the Virginia G. Piper charitable trust.

Ted Simons: Describe the content. My community does what compared to something over here?

Amy St. Peter: We're allowing people to define their community. Their block, a neighborhood, a whole city? What is their community doing? What do they love? What makes their community different? We're excited to learn and discover the different things that people are doing within their communities.

Ted Simons: Who reviews the nominations and/or decides the winner?

Amy St. Peter: Absolutely. That would be a very hard decision I imagine. We have a great panel of national experts. We're working with AARP, generations United, aging in place and the Piper trust. People have great expertise from across the country to carefully evaluate each community and judge on its own parents.

Ted Simons: The problem of isolation in older folks, talk to us about this in general.

Amy St. Peter: It's extremely serious and much more far reaching than one would imagine. We have conducted extensive engagement and analysis throughout the community. One is that people really want different things. So the traditional answers like senior centers which may be great for some people don't necessarily appeal to a large part of the population. The traditional answers aren't necessarily relevant to a good part of our population. When people are disconnected they are more likely to have their needs unmet and they are likely to feel devalued. We’re trying to make everyone feel that they do have value.

Ted Simons: It sounds as though later years seems as though it's a moving target in that it's being redefined as we go on, the boomers as they get older are not necessarily the shuffle board crowd.

Amy St. Peter: No. It's a time of exploration on a community level as well as an individual level. Speaking to one of the champions, one of the women blogging on our website, she said retirement has been wonderful. She can do all the things she never had time for before. It used to be life expectancy was close to retirement age so you could work all your time, play golf, play bingo, then die. People can live years after that retirement age and do amazing things with that time.

Ted Simons: Greater Phoenix age friendly network. How long has it been around? Has it changed its mission?

Amy St. Peter: It's changed in its focus slightly to have a focus on how we embed older adults in meaningful ways in their full community with people of all ages. It's a multi-generational focus. The effort has been under way for approximately three years. We have had great leadership from mayor Stanton and the city of Phoenix as well as residents. This is something that faces all of us. We're all aging.

Ted Simons: One more time, that website?

Amy St. Peter:

Ted Simons: Plus is spelled out?

Amy St. Peter: Absolutely.

Ted Simons: Congratulations on this. Sounds like good work. Continued success. Thank you so much.

Campaign Contribution Limits Ruling

  |   Video
  • The Arizona Supreme Court lifted a preliminary injunction against significantly higher campaign contribution limits that can be given to political candidates. Jeremy Duda, a reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times, will talk about the ruling.
  • Jeremy Duda - Reporter, Arizona Capitol Times
Category: Politics   |   Keywords: politics, arizona, supreme, court, government ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: The Arizona Supreme Court lifted a preliminary injunction against significantly higher political campaign donations for political candidates. Jeremy Duda joins us now.

Jeremy Duda: The Supreme Court allowed a bill the legislature passed to go into effect. This dramatically raises up the contribution limits. Arizona up until yesterday had some of the lower limits in the country for state level races. This raises them up, previously they were $440 for legislative races, $912 for statewide races. Now it's $4,000 for the primary and $2,000 for the general.

Ted Simons: This is interesting. Previous decision said no, then the Court of Appeals said yes. The Supreme Court says no. This is going back and forth.

Jeremy Duda: It's gone back and forth like a Ping-Pong ball. The trial court upheld the law, let it go into effect in about a month, a strange ruling has raised eyebrows. Then an injunction threw things into chaos. They were starting to change some of the rules for finance disclosure and that kind of thing. It goes to the Supreme Court, they hear the argument, they vacated the corals decision and that looks like the law of the land for 2014.

Ted Simons: They heard it yesterday and before you could get a cup of coffee they made a decision. Was it a surprise they came back that quickly?

Jeremy Duda: Not too much of a surprise. The Court of Appeals ruled I think they think they ruled in about two hours after hearing the argument. I thought it might be a day or two. They got it done quickly.

Ted Simons: Pacs can donate up to $10,000. It was $2,000?

Jeremy Duda: Something like that. They can donate a lot more and also this eliminates the aggregate limits. Under the previous law, a candidate could only take so much money from pacs. You could get what they referred to pac'd out. You have a pac that wants to give you a check, you can say I’ve taken too much already. Also, there was an aggregate limit on the amount individuals can contribute over all to races in general. That's gone now too.

Ted Simons: Talk about the arguments for and against here, the idea this was a free speech issue on one side, on the other that voters did not want these kinds of money being spend and thus they passed a referendum and initiative way back in the day. That didn't seem to hold water.

Ted Simons: Not really. That was the main argument the Supreme Court was there to hear. There are free speech First Amendment issues but they didn't really deal with that yesterday. The main argument was whether or not voters in 1998, when they passed the clean elections act intended to set hard and fast contribution limits. We had limits since 1986 when they were passed originally. Then the legislature raised them during the 90's. The clean elections act decreased the limits automatically by 20%. You had statute A, and statute B that reduced it by %20. The question before the Supreme Court was did voters firmly establish limits or just create a formula for reducing whatever limits they are in the future.

Ted Simons: With the idea it was a formula opposed to a hard, fast figure.

Jeremy Duda: The big debate, attorney for the clean elections commission house bill said this is what they meant to do. That's perfectly okay. It can withstand legal scrutiny. On the other side the argument was if they really wanted to do this they could have done it in such easier ways, just set limits. New limits are X, Y, Z, and that's it. The clean elections commission attorney said there's ways they could have done this. They chose this one. Chief justice had the line of the day, you said there are ways and seems like would have been clearer than this.

Ted Simons: I think that was probably clear from her statement which way the court would go. This was unanimous?

Jeremy Duda: We don't know yet. It will take a few months for their full opinion. This is the immediate order. Once they issue the full opinion it will tell us what the vote was, whether it was unanimous or some dissent.

Ted Simons: Impact on next year's elections?

Jeremy Duda: Harder to say. There's a school of thought out there that a lot of these candidates can't really raise that much money to begin with. If you look at campaign finance reports, most of the contributions that people get aren't maxed under the old limits. Under the new ones they are much, much higher. They are getting some candidates who are really going to take advantage of this. People with a lot of connections, access to money. Doug Ducey, for example, one of the Republicans running for governor viewed as a guy who can take advantage of the limits. Possibly Christine Jones, Fred Duval. Maybe a few others. It will remain to be seen who is able to take full advantage.

Ted Simons: The idea again is they need that kind of money because right now you have these outside groups, independent expenditure committees, running around, no one knows who they are and they are on the attack. The argument is we need more money to fight back.

Jeremy Duda: Part of the arguments are candidates have lost control of their message is part of the argument. Debates are defined by outside groups, sometimes we don't even know who is spending the money. Of course if you can raise $2000, $4000, from a few more people and get some money, but they are still going to drop $500,000, $1 million, $2 million into a race. Other states have no contribution limits like in the Virginia governor's race. Couple -- a month or so ago. There was still plenty of i.e’s in that race.

Ted Simons: Any recourse for clean elections?

Jeremy Duda: I don't see what it would be. The commission has a meeting tomorrow. They are going to talk with their lawyers, but the Supreme Court -- that's it. There's nowhere to go unless it's an issue in the U.S. constitution you can go to the U.S. Supreme Court. This is strictly the Arizona constitution.

Ted Simons: Let the spending begin? If I'm a candidate whatever I have raised up to now, the Supreme Court said go ahead?

Jeremy Duda: Sure. I’ve already seen some candidates sending out fund-raising emails today.

Ted Simons: Good stuff. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate it.