Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

February 20, 2006


Host: Michael Grant

Disaster Response


  • susan Cutter, Director of the Hazards Research Lab, an anti-terrorism research center for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security joins HORIZON to talk about the botched response to Hurricane Katrina.
Guests:
  • Joseph Anderson - chairman and C.E.O.., Schaller Anderson
  • Bob Mittelstaedt - Dean, W.P. Carey School of Business


View Transcript

Michael Grant:
Tonight on Horizon, A.S.U. brings together national figures to talk about the future of health care. A homeland security official tells us what went wrong after hurricane Katrina. And the tale of a family who helped build rural Phoenix into the metropolis it is today. The Luhrs family on tonight's Arizona story.


Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by the friends of channel 8, members who provide financial support to this Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Michael Grant:
Good evening. Thanks for joining us on Horizon. I'm Michael Grant. Several polls suggesting that health care remains one of the most important issues facing Americans today. High costs of prescriptions, constant inflation of medical costs both contributing to the difficulties many face when trying to obtain adequate health care or for that matter, health insurance. Next month Arizona state university will bring medical professionals from around the country to the valley to talk about the future of health care. The national symposium transforming American health care over the next decade, kicks off march 22. This Wednesday the economic club of Phoenix presents the annual Stuart A. Wesbury junior award luncheon. That award designed to showcase excellence in community health. The recipient of that award joins us now. Joseph Anderson is the chairman and C.E.O. of Schaller Anderson. Also joining us to talk about the upcoming symposium is the dean of the W.P. Carey School of Business, Bob Mittelstaedt. Congratulations, Joe.

Joseph Anderson:
Thanks, Mike.

Michael Grant:
Why is Joe getting this award?

Robert Mittelstaedt:
He's been an exemplar of someone who knows how to change organizations and change systems and in fact both when he was in government here in Arizona and when he went into private industry to do some things to help change the health care system to help it operate more efficiently that it has in the past. We're recognizing him for a lifetime of achievement in that arena.

Michael Grant:
Well deserved, Seriously Joe. A lot of people are more familiar with your present incarnation than the prior one, but you and Schaller were certainly in on the ground floor of ACHSS among other things.

Joseph Anderson:
it was. Those are still the places in my heart. Don Schaller is my partner and mentor in health care. We accomplished a lot in the Babbitt administration in the mid 80's around creating a system that is still a model for the country for low income and now moderate-income people in our state.

Michael Grant:
looking ahead, what will you be telling the luncheon as we start to chart a course for the next decade, talk about what's likely to unravel or unfold as the case may be?

Joseph Anderson:
One of the first things, Mike, is certainly my appreciation for the award and its recognition. As you know, you're in your 25th year here at Horizon. You've had numerous shows about health care and some of the leaders of this state. Trying to tell the folks that the solution for our health care problems in this country, quite frankly sit in the room. It's us sitting together creating models of care that work. As long as we're all willing to accept our responsibility in going forward.

Michael Grant:
Bob, why the W.P. Carey Business School on this one? Why not the College of Nursing or why not the U of A Med School?

Robert Mittelstaedt:
we have actually learned how to deliver health care pretty well in this country. The real problem is we have never been able to control it from a business standpoint and health care expenditures in the United States today constitute 16\% of our GDP, twice what it is in Britain. 30 years ago we used to laugh at the Brits saying, look, they are spending 8\% of GDP on health care and we were spending 6 \%. Today they are still spending 8 \% and we're at 16 \%. Everyone is entrepreneurial and goes after their own interests. The problem is there are very few entities that look out for the common good. That's the tension in the system today, the difference between the common good and the individual organization or entrepreneur's interest. That's where we continue to have to find new ways of approaching this.

Michael Grant:
Joe, ever since right after World War II there's been this Baby Boom generation that has driven the country through a variety of different things, positive and negative. The Baby Boom generation now starts moving closer and closer to that point when as you know statistics indicate most people receive the vast majority of their required health care in the final years of their life. Is that at least in part what is driving sort of an increased drum beat for what the heck are we going to do?

Joseph Anderson:
I think it is, Mike. To some extent of course new technology does, physician and provider behavior that Bob just talked about is something that people have to monitor. When you look at the stats, and I think one of the great things about the W.P. Carey symposium coming up is it brings people together, talks about the data and what is the data telling us. The data tells us that 20\% of the population drives 80\% of the costs. We need to figure out the best medical practice and care practice between hospitals and doctors and insurance companies and how we make sure those people are receiving the most appropriate care in the right place.

Michael Grant:
Bob, give us more details on the symposium. For example, who is going to be showing up?

Robert Mittelstaedt:
Well, one of the keynote speakers will be senator Jon Kyl and obviously talking about his interest in health care and his ideas. We'll have a variety of well-known people talking about this from a variety of perspectives. We're looking at it from how is the pharmaceutical industry evolving, how can they contribute to solving the problems we have, how is technology changing and what ways can we use technology more effectively. In fact I think Joe would agree we have all said for years health care is one of the least technology intensive industries despite things like cat scans and MRI's, they don't use information technology as effectively as they can and they should. We'll have sessions on that. Some sessions on understanding the data as Joe was just mentioning in terms of who utilizes care under what circumstances and in what kinds of situations and how can you change the system in a way you both serve people and operate more effectively.

Michael Grant:
Does it deal at all with the payment issues?

Robert Mittelstaedt:
Yes, we will be talking about payment issues from a national scale as well as some of the interesting new developments like health savings accounts and others and whether or not they have the potential to bring more market force into the health care arena. Help us all act more like rational consumers when we consume our health care.

Michael Grant:
Joe, there seems to be the recurring themes in this thing. One of them is that we have unhitched the delivery of medical care from the patient's own responsibility for that, we got a disconnect, a variety of different levels. I think we have reached that somewhat less than startling conclusion. We keep thrashing around, though, with how to get it back together.

Joseph Anderson:
I have been in the business now 26 years, and I think that those of us who remember the old 80 /20 plans, 80\% was the insurance company's responsibility and we paid 20. That system didn't work well. You got a 500 or $1,000 deductible. Now you move back to where there's no dollar coverage. I think you have to reach a happy balance where individuals need to understand the cost of care but also that care is very, very complex today. And some of the expenditures, a lot of the expenditures, high cost expenditures, are not usually voluntary. Your doctor tells you to go to the hospital you don't say, you know, doc, I want to go to this hospital over here. It's really working with the physician and the members to understand their disease, how it can be treated. It's really important and I think that's the next generation of that.

Michael Grant:
Joe Anderson, congratulations again on the award.

Joseph Anderson: Thank you.

Michael Grant: Bob Mittelstaedt, nice to see you.

Robert Mittelstaedt: Thanks.

Michael Grant:
Nearly six months after a devastating hurricane resulted in displacement of thousands of residents of New Orleans parades for Mardi Gras have begun. The city is hoping tourists and partygoers will generate money. A third of the city's residents have actually returned. A recent congressional report placed the blame for the disastrous response to hurricane Katrina on all levels of government, federal, state and local. At this time only Michael Brown, former FEMA chief, has lost his job as a result of those failures. As part of the Malcolm L. Comeauz lecture series, ASU recently invited homeland security Susan Cutter is director of the hazards research lab which uses geographical science to detect vulnerability for terror or disasters. Larry Lemmons spoke with her before her lecture.

Larry Lemmons:
What's your take on the recent congressional report that criticizes the government's reaction to hurricane Katrina?

Susan Cutter:
We know from experience, having worked disasters and studied them for the last 30 years, that as a response agency, FEMA was in trouble when it was moved to the department of homeland security. Not because homeland security department wasn't needed but you needed an independent agency that could pull together all the federal assets rather than being buried in a much larger organization. And so it was problematic from the beginning when FEMA was put into homeland security that it would be able to effectively respond to disasters. That was point number one. Point number two is because homeland security was so oriented toward terrorist attacks and terrorist activity in a post 9/11 world that really natural hazards became a stepchild within the agency. So you have two things going on. One being bureaucratically Reduced in terms of its importance, and two its mission to respond to disasters, some of which were natural disasters, was given I think sort of second status within the agency. And so what happened is things were okay up until hurricane Katrina, largely because the hurricanes that we had seen in a post 9/11 world had hit Florida, and Florida has really good experience with responding to this. New Orleans doesn't. That's what made the difference.

Larry Lemmons:
But it has been shown that many people knew that it very probably would bust the levees if a hurricane hit New Orleans head on. There were the warnings. Why weren't they heeded?

Susan Cutter:
That's a great question. We have known for years within the disaster community that New Orleans was a disaster waiting to happen. We knew it two years ago when there was an essay that was written about what would happen if. There was a FEMA exercise called hurricane Pam that talked about it. I think what you have in the case of Katrina is somewhat of a denial on the part of state and local officials about the reality of such a dangerous situation and again coupled with FEMA not being as effective as it could because of its bureaucratic location in DHS. I think these things came together in a way that was unfortunate.

Larry Lemmons:
What sort of impact do you think it is considering after 9/11 the one thing that justified the creation of the Department of Homeland Security is hey, we're not going to let this thing happen again, meaning terrorism, of course, but implying natural disaster response also. And then Katrina hit, it was catastrophic. What sort of impact is that going to have?

Susan Cutter:
I think in many ways you've hit on the key term, and that's catastrophic. Hurricane Katrina was just extraordinary in terms of the area that it affected. If you look at the impacted area for Katrina it's something like 900 square miles. The impact for 9/11 physically was 16 acres. And I think there's a big difference in just the scale of the response for Katrina versus the scale in 9/11. Now, that's not to say that 9/11 wasn't an important watershed event for the nation. It was. But I think what we have seen is an effort too much focused on one side of the house, which is terrorism, and a lack of recognition for the other side of the house, which is natural disasters, and one hopes that this congressional committee and report will try to bring those two in alignment. The other thing that we have to remember as well is there is a national response plan. And the lead agency and the lead federal officer for that natural response plan is the secretary of the department of homeland security, not the director of FEMA. I think in many ways that's what the hearings are now focusing on, that it is that federal Officer's responsibility to ensure the public safety and he just didn't do it.

Larry Lemmons:
Michael Chertoff.

Susan Cutter:
Yes.

Larry Lemmons:
What do you think his future is?

Susan Cutter:
I don't know. I'm not a politician. It's not my call. But I think if you read the newspapers and you watch some of the testimony, he didn't do the job he was supposed to do.

Larry Lemmons:
Do you think they will take FEMA back out of homeland security now? Do you think that would be wise or do they just have to restructure it?

Susan Cutter:
The evidence we have on how organizations operate and are experience -- our experience with reorganization and government structures suggests that FEMA should be an independent agency reporting directly to the president. It should be a cabinet level agency. If FEMA is to be charged with organizing and coordinating a federal response to a disaster, they need to have the direct linkage to the commander in chief and they need to be able to muster the resources and the federal assets which can be brought to bear, which means they have to have the same rank many in ways as secretary of interior, secretary of defense, secretary of homeland security. They need to have that because these things happen quickly, decisions have to be made very, very rapidly, and within a very uncertain environment, and so you need that direct line of authority and you need to be able to pull these together. FEMA has been an agency over its inception that has gone through various transformations, and FEMA worked best when, a, it was that independent agency, and had that line of authority and responsibility, and two, when the head of FEMA came out of the emergency management community, so you need to have professionals who are familiar with the agency and the agency role in charge of that. And unfortunately, when FEMA was reorganized within homeland security, it fell short on both of those.

Michael Grant:
Phoenix is officially America's sixth largest city with a population of about a million and a half people. It has come a long way from when it was incorporated in 1881. Back then only 3100 people called Phoenix home. Tonight's Arizona story, Paul Atkinson introduces us to one Arizona pioneering family when helped put Phoenix on the map.

Paul Atkinson:
Phoenix... one of America's largest cities rose not from the ashes, but from the hard work and determination of pioneer families such as the Luhrs. The family built the city's first skyscrapers. Now reminders of the past, the Luhrs building and Luhrs tower once stood as beacons of the future.

Robert Spindler:
The Luhrs tower and Luhrs building served as icons that represented to many Phoenicians the transition from Phoenix as a small town to Phoenix to a metropolitan center and a great City of America.

Paul Atkinson:
George Henry Nicholas Luhrs left his home in Germany in 1867.

Alan Luhrs:
He was about 20 years old when the Prussian army decided that they would kind of like to get some these young guys, and my granddad wasn't particularly crazy about joining the Prussian army, so he left and came to the United States.


Paul Atkinson:
Trained as a wheelwright at the age of 7, Luhrs went to work at a California gold mine building and repairing wagons. After a couple years he made his way to Arizona and worked at the Vulture mine in Wickenburg.

Jean Stroud Crane:
He used to tell us he made more coffins than he made wagons because of the Indians. Now, he was never bothered with the Indians. He went out one time and picked up the superintendent's son, who had 25 arrows in him and brought him back for a funeral. But my grandfather was never, never bothered.

Paul Atkinson:
George Luhrs became a U.S. citizen and headed to Phoenix in 1878. He opened a wagon shop and horse stable with another man on the corner of central and Jefferson. On a trip back to Germany, Luhrs married Katarina Gretchen DODENHOUF, a girl who grew up next door. She left the comforts of home to arrive in desolate foreign land.

Alan Luhrs:
It was -- it was the end of the world. She had the first bathtub and the first curtains on her windows and all of that. There wasn't anything here.

Paul Atkinson:
Luhrs helped change that. In 1887 he and his partner built the 20-room commercial hotel.

Robert Spindler:
Personalized service and superior accommodations were the hallmarks of the Luhrs family and the Luhrs properties.

Paul Atkinson:
Luhrs closed the wagon shop and bought out his partner's interest in the hotel. The Commercial Hotel was later named, Hotel Luhrs. It became the family's home. The Luhrs' children, Ella, Emma, Arthur and George, Jr., all grew up in the hotel.

Robert Spindler:
Most of the members of the Luhrs family lived at the Luhrs hotel. In fact, they ran a family business, and everyone was expected to participate and be involved in the family businesses.

Paul Atkinson:
Less than 10 years after he arrived in Phoenix, George Luhrs had become a community leader, having served on the Phoenix city council, the local school board and the Masonic lodge. He also volunteered for the board of trade, a precursor to the chamber of commerce. Although a highly thought of civic leader, Luhrs did make mistakes. He helped convince the territorial legislature to award Phoenix the state insane asylum instead of the University of Arizona, which went to Tucson.

Jean Stroud Crane:
We think he was one of the ones that said, "hey, bring that to Phoenix because that's going to earn Phoenix prestige and money and let Tucson have the university." Well, Tucson was brighter.

Paul Atkinson:
But it was Luhrs' private actions that would define his family's character.

Jean Stroud Crane:
He was very generous and thoughtful man, and he would loan his friends and people who deserved it money but would not charge them interest. At the same time he was paying 3\% a month interest on the money he was borrowing.

Paul Atkinson:
That reputation allowed Luhrs to borrow money to build the 10-story Luhrs building in 1923. Finished in 1924, the Luhrs building soon filled with law firms, insurance companies and other offices. A year later George Luhrs suffered a stroke. His son Arthur left the geology profession to run the Luhrs hotel with his sister ELLA. George, Jr., quit a promising law career to manage the Luhrs building. Then in March 1929, the Luhrs broke ground on what would be Arizona's tallest skyscraper, the 15-story Luhrs tower. George Luhrs, Sr., never saw it built. He died two months later.

Robert Spindler:
George, Jr., absorbed all of the responsibilities of his father in 1925. He was about 30 years old at that point. And it was an important transition. Four years later you had the depression, which was a significant threat to the survival of the Luhrs property and the Luhrs businesses.

Jean Stroud Crane:
There were times when people would insist that he would take worthless stock, and he did it because he needed to keep the buildings filled, and besides, he knew they were having a hard time, too.

Alan Luhrs:
They wanted the business and they couldn't pay, and it wasn't because we were floating in money. There wasn't anything else we could do.

Paul Atkinson:
With little money to pay their mortgages, George, Jr., begged their lender to extend the loans instead of foreclosing. It was the first time the lender agreed to postpone payment on any major loan. The Luhrs' business survived the depression, but the experience made the pioneering family of downtown Phoenix cautious about future development projects. Whereas the Luhrs children had no choice but to work at the family hotel and properties, their children were discouraged from doing the same.

Jean Stroud Crane:
That, I think, was a great mistake, because uncle George did not train one of his either -- he had three nephews and one niece and he did not train anyone to follow his footsteps. I think that was a very great error.

Paul Atkinson:
By the mid-1970s, the health of George Luhrs, Jr., was failing. Faced with competition from brand-new buildings, the family sold the Luhrs building, tower and hotel in 1976. The hotel Luhrs was demolished several years later, ending a legacy that began almost 100 years earlier. Pioneer historian Charlotte Hall wrote a sonnet about George Luhrs, Sr., and the legacy his family left behind.

Jean Stroud Crane:
"Do you remember when the town was young, the kindly honest busy little man who every moment of his lifelong span helped build the place whence his success was rung."

Michael Grant:
For more information on tonight's Horizon program or upcoming programs please visit our website. It's at www.azpbs.org.

Larry Lemmons:
It's one of the most addictive and dangerous drugs ever embraced by drug abusers. Methamphetamine is an accessory to countless crimes and a potential killer. Horizon devotes an entire program to the problem of meth from law enforcement to personal damage. A special edition Tuesday at 7:00 on Channel 8 's Horizon.

Michael Grant:
Wednesday we'll take a look at what should be a severe fire season, unfortunately. Thursday local students go to Washington courtesy of Honeywell. Thanks for joining us this evening. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one. Goodnight.

Announcer:
If you have comments about Horizon, please contact us at the addresses listed on your screen. Your name and comments may be used on a future edition of Horizon. Horizon is made possible by the friends of channel 8, members who provide financial support to this Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Heathcare


  • Join Michael Grant for a preview of the upcoming Transforming American Healthcare National Symposium 2006. Sponsored by the W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU, participants will discuss the future of healthcare. W.P. Carey Dean Robert Mittelstaedt and Joseph Anderson, CEO of Schaller Anderson are our guests.
Guests:
  • Joseph Anderson - chairman and C.E.O.., Schaller Anderson
  • Bob Mittelstaedt - Dean, W.P. Carey School of Business


View Transcript

Michael Grant:
Tonight on Horizon, A.S.U. brings together national figures to talk about the future of health care. A homeland security official tells us what went wrong after hurricane Katrina. And the tale of a family who helped build rural Phoenix into the metropolis it is today. The Luhrs family on tonight's Arizona story.


Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by the friends of channel 8, members who provide financial support to this Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Michael Grant:
Good evening. Thanks for joining us on Horizon. I'm Michael Grant. Several polls suggesting that health care remains one of the most important issues facing Americans today. High costs of prescriptions, constant inflation of medical costs both contributing to the difficulties many face when trying to obtain adequate health care or for that matter, health insurance. Next month Arizona state university will bring medical professionals from around the country to the valley to talk about the future of health care. The national symposium transforming American health care over the next decade, kicks off march 22. This Wednesday the economic club of Phoenix presents the annual Stuart A. Wesbury junior award luncheon. That award designed to showcase excellence in community health. The recipient of that award joins us now. Joseph Anderson is the chairman and C.E.O. of Schaller Anderson. Also joining us to talk about the upcoming symposium is the dean of the W.P. Carey School of Business, Bob Mittelstaedt. Congratulations, Joe.

Joseph Anderson:
Thanks, Mike.

Michael Grant:
Why is Joe getting this award?

Robert Mittelstaedt:
He's been an exemplar of someone who knows how to change organizations and change systems and in fact both when he was in government here in Arizona and when he went into private industry to do some things to help change the health care system to help it operate more efficiently that it has in the past. We're recognizing him for a lifetime of achievement in that arena.

Michael Grant:
Well deserved, Seriously Joe. A lot of people are more familiar with your present incarnation than the prior one, but you and Schaller were certainly in on the ground floor of ACHSS among other things.

Joseph Anderson:
it was. Those are still the places in my heart. Don Schaller is my partner and mentor in health care. We accomplished a lot in the Babbitt administration in the mid 80's around creating a system that is still a model for the country for low income and now moderate-income people in our state.

Michael Grant:
looking ahead, what will you be telling the luncheon as we start to chart a course for the next decade, talk about what's likely to unravel or unfold as the case may be?

Joseph Anderson:
One of the first things, Mike, is certainly my appreciation for the award and its recognition. As you know, you're in your 25th year here at Horizon. You've had numerous shows about health care and some of the leaders of this state. Trying to tell the folks that the solution for our health care problems in this country, quite frankly sit in the room. It's us sitting together creating models of care that work. As long as we're all willing to accept our responsibility in going forward.

Michael Grant:
Bob, why the W.P. Carey Business School on this one? Why not the College of Nursing or why not the U of A Med School?

Robert Mittelstaedt:
we have actually learned how to deliver health care pretty well in this country. The real problem is we have never been able to control it from a business standpoint and health care expenditures in the United States today constitute 16\% of our GDP, twice what it is in Britain. 30 years ago we used to laugh at the Brits saying, look, they are spending 8\% of GDP on health care and we were spending 6 \%. Today they are still spending 8 \% and we're at 16 \%. Everyone is entrepreneurial and goes after their own interests. The problem is there are very few entities that look out for the common good. That's the tension in the system today, the difference between the common good and the individual organization or entrepreneur's interest. That's where we continue to have to find new ways of approaching this.

Michael Grant:
Joe, ever since right after World War II there's been this Baby Boom generation that has driven the country through a variety of different things, positive and negative. The Baby Boom generation now starts moving closer and closer to that point when as you know statistics indicate most people receive the vast majority of their required health care in the final years of their life. Is that at least in part what is driving sort of an increased drum beat for what the heck are we going to do?

Joseph Anderson:
I think it is, Mike. To some extent of course new technology does, physician and provider behavior that Bob just talked about is something that people have to monitor. When you look at the stats, and I think one of the great things about the W.P. Carey symposium coming up is it brings people together, talks about the data and what is the data telling us. The data tells us that 20\% of the population drives 80\% of the costs. We need to figure out the best medical practice and care practice between hospitals and doctors and insurance companies and how we make sure those people are receiving the most appropriate care in the right place.

Michael Grant:
Bob, give us more details on the symposium. For example, who is going to be showing up?

Robert Mittelstaedt:
Well, one of the keynote speakers will be senator Jon Kyl and obviously talking about his interest in health care and his ideas. We'll have a variety of well-known people talking about this from a variety of perspectives. We're looking at it from how is the pharmaceutical industry evolving, how can they contribute to solving the problems we have, how is technology changing and what ways can we use technology more effectively. In fact I think Joe would agree we have all said for years health care is one of the least technology intensive industries despite things like cat scans and MRI's, they don't use information technology as effectively as they can and they should. We'll have sessions on that. Some sessions on understanding the data as Joe was just mentioning in terms of who utilizes care under what circumstances and in what kinds of situations and how can you change the system in a way you both serve people and operate more effectively.

Michael Grant:
Does it deal at all with the payment issues?

Robert Mittelstaedt:
Yes, we will be talking about payment issues from a national scale as well as some of the interesting new developments like health savings accounts and others and whether or not they have the potential to bring more market force into the health care arena. Help us all act more like rational consumers when we consume our health care.

Michael Grant:
Joe, there seems to be the recurring themes in this thing. One of them is that we have unhitched the delivery of medical care from the patient's own responsibility for that, we got a disconnect, a variety of different levels. I think we have reached that somewhat less than startling conclusion. We keep thrashing around, though, with how to get it back together.

Joseph Anderson:
I have been in the business now 26 years, and I think that those of us who remember the old 80 /20 plans, 80\% was the insurance company's responsibility and we paid 20. That system didn't work well. You got a 500 or $1,000 deductible. Now you move back to where there's no dollar coverage. I think you have to reach a happy balance where individuals need to understand the cost of care but also that care is very, very complex today. And some of the expenditures, a lot of the expenditures, high cost expenditures, are not usually voluntary. Your doctor tells you to go to the hospital you don't say, you know, doc, I want to go to this hospital over here. It's really working with the physician and the members to understand their disease, how it can be treated. It's really important and I think that's the next generation of that.

Michael Grant:
Joe Anderson, congratulations again on the award.

Joseph Anderson: Thank you.

Michael Grant: Bob Mittelstaedt, nice to see you.

Robert Mittelstaedt: Thanks.

Michael Grant:
Nearly six months after a devastating hurricane resulted in displacement of thousands of residents of New Orleans parades for Mardi Gras have begun. The city is hoping tourists and partygoers will generate money. A third of the city's residents have actually returned. A recent congressional report placed the blame for the disastrous response to hurricane Katrina on all levels of government, federal, state and local. At this time only Michael Brown, former FEMA chief, has lost his job as a result of those failures. As part of the Malcolm L. Comeauz lecture series, ASU recently invited homeland security Susan Cutter is director of the hazards research lab which uses geographical science to detect vulnerability for terror or disasters. Larry Lemmons spoke with her before her lecture.

Larry Lemmons:
What's your take on the recent congressional report that criticizes the government's reaction to hurricane Katrina?

Susan Cutter:
We know from experience, having worked disasters and studied them for the last 30 years, that as a response agency, FEMA was in trouble when it was moved to the department of homeland security. Not because homeland security department wasn't needed but you needed an independent agency that could pull together all the federal assets rather than being buried in a much larger organization. And so it was problematic from the beginning when FEMA was put into homeland security that it would be able to effectively respond to disasters. That was point number one. Point number two is because homeland security was so oriented toward terrorist attacks and terrorist activity in a post 9/11 world that really natural hazards became a stepchild within the agency. So you have two things going on. One being bureaucratically Reduced in terms of its importance, and two its mission to respond to disasters, some of which were natural disasters, was given I think sort of second status within the agency. And so what happened is things were okay up until hurricane Katrina, largely because the hurricanes that we had seen in a post 9/11 world had hit Florida, and Florida has really good experience with responding to this. New Orleans doesn't. That's what made the difference.

Larry Lemmons:
But it has been shown that many people knew that it very probably would bust the levees if a hurricane hit New Orleans head on. There were the warnings. Why weren't they heeded?

Susan Cutter:
That's a great question. We have known for years within the disaster community that New Orleans was a disaster waiting to happen. We knew it two years ago when there was an essay that was written about what would happen if. There was a FEMA exercise called hurricane Pam that talked about it. I think what you have in the case of Katrina is somewhat of a denial on the part of state and local officials about the reality of such a dangerous situation and again coupled with FEMA not being as effective as it could because of its bureaucratic location in DHS. I think these things came together in a way that was unfortunate.

Larry Lemmons:
What sort of impact do you think it is considering after 9/11 the one thing that justified the creation of the Department of Homeland Security is hey, we're not going to let this thing happen again, meaning terrorism, of course, but implying natural disaster response also. And then Katrina hit, it was catastrophic. What sort of impact is that going to have?

Susan Cutter:
I think in many ways you've hit on the key term, and that's catastrophic. Hurricane Katrina was just extraordinary in terms of the area that it affected. If you look at the impacted area for Katrina it's something like 900 square miles. The impact for 9/11 physically was 16 acres. And I think there's a big difference in just the scale of the response for Katrina versus the scale in 9/11. Now, that's not to say that 9/11 wasn't an important watershed event for the nation. It was. But I think what we have seen is an effort too much focused on one side of the house, which is terrorism, and a lack of recognition for the other side of the house, which is natural disasters, and one hopes that this congressional committee and report will try to bring those two in alignment. The other thing that we have to remember as well is there is a national response plan. And the lead agency and the lead federal officer for that natural response plan is the secretary of the department of homeland security, not the director of FEMA. I think in many ways that's what the hearings are now focusing on, that it is that federal Officer's responsibility to ensure the public safety and he just didn't do it.

Larry Lemmons:
Michael Chertoff.

Susan Cutter:
Yes.

Larry Lemmons:
What do you think his future is?

Susan Cutter:
I don't know. I'm not a politician. It's not my call. But I think if you read the newspapers and you watch some of the testimony, he didn't do the job he was supposed to do.

Larry Lemmons:
Do you think they will take FEMA back out of homeland security now? Do you think that would be wise or do they just have to restructure it?

Susan Cutter:
The evidence we have on how organizations operate and are experience -- our experience with reorganization and government structures suggests that FEMA should be an independent agency reporting directly to the president. It should be a cabinet level agency. If FEMA is to be charged with organizing and coordinating a federal response to a disaster, they need to have the direct linkage to the commander in chief and they need to be able to muster the resources and the federal assets which can be brought to bear, which means they have to have the same rank many in ways as secretary of interior, secretary of defense, secretary of homeland security. They need to have that because these things happen quickly, decisions have to be made very, very rapidly, and within a very uncertain environment, and so you need that direct line of authority and you need to be able to pull these together. FEMA has been an agency over its inception that has gone through various transformations, and FEMA worked best when, a, it was that independent agency, and had that line of authority and responsibility, and two, when the head of FEMA came out of the emergency management community, so you need to have professionals who are familiar with the agency and the agency role in charge of that. And unfortunately, when FEMA was reorganized within homeland security, it fell short on both of those.

Michael Grant:
Phoenix is officially America's sixth largest city with a population of about a million and a half people. It has come a long way from when it was incorporated in 1881. Back then only 3100 people called Phoenix home. Tonight's Arizona story, Paul Atkinson introduces us to one Arizona pioneering family when helped put Phoenix on the map.

Paul Atkinson:
Phoenix... one of America's largest cities rose not from the ashes, but from the hard work and determination of pioneer families such as the Luhrs. The family built the city's first skyscrapers. Now reminders of the past, the Luhrs building and Luhrs tower once stood as beacons of the future.

Robert Spindler:
The Luhrs tower and Luhrs building served as icons that represented to many Phoenicians the transition from Phoenix as a small town to Phoenix to a metropolitan center and a great City of America.

Paul Atkinson:
George Henry Nicholas Luhrs left his home in Germany in 1867.

Alan Luhrs:
He was about 20 years old when the Prussian army decided that they would kind of like to get some these young guys, and my granddad wasn't particularly crazy about joining the Prussian army, so he left and came to the United States.


Paul Atkinson:
Trained as a wheelwright at the age of 7, Luhrs went to work at a California gold mine building and repairing wagons. After a couple years he made his way to Arizona and worked at the Vulture mine in Wickenburg.

Jean Stroud Crane:
He used to tell us he made more coffins than he made wagons because of the Indians. Now, he was never bothered with the Indians. He went out one time and picked up the superintendent's son, who had 25 arrows in him and brought him back for a funeral. But my grandfather was never, never bothered.

Paul Atkinson:
George Luhrs became a U.S. citizen and headed to Phoenix in 1878. He opened a wagon shop and horse stable with another man on the corner of central and Jefferson. On a trip back to Germany, Luhrs married Katarina Gretchen DODENHOUF, a girl who grew up next door. She left the comforts of home to arrive in desolate foreign land.

Alan Luhrs:
It was -- it was the end of the world. She had the first bathtub and the first curtains on her windows and all of that. There wasn't anything here.

Paul Atkinson:
Luhrs helped change that. In 1887 he and his partner built the 20-room commercial hotel.

Robert Spindler:
Personalized service and superior accommodations were the hallmarks of the Luhrs family and the Luhrs properties.

Paul Atkinson:
Luhrs closed the wagon shop and bought out his partner's interest in the hotel. The Commercial Hotel was later named, Hotel Luhrs. It became the family's home. The Luhrs' children, Ella, Emma, Arthur and George, Jr., all grew up in the hotel.

Robert Spindler:
Most of the members of the Luhrs family lived at the Luhrs hotel. In fact, they ran a family business, and everyone was expected to participate and be involved in the family businesses.

Paul Atkinson:
Less than 10 years after he arrived in Phoenix, George Luhrs had become a community leader, having served on the Phoenix city council, the local school board and the Masonic lodge. He also volunteered for the board of trade, a precursor to the chamber of commerce. Although a highly thought of civic leader, Luhrs did make mistakes. He helped convince the territorial legislature to award Phoenix the state insane asylum instead of the University of Arizona, which went to Tucson.

Jean Stroud Crane:
We think he was one of the ones that said, "hey, bring that to Phoenix because that's going to earn Phoenix prestige and money and let Tucson have the university." Well, Tucson was brighter.

Paul Atkinson:
But it was Luhrs' private actions that would define his family's character.

Jean Stroud Crane:
He was very generous and thoughtful man, and he would loan his friends and people who deserved it money but would not charge them interest. At the same time he was paying 3\% a month interest on the money he was borrowing.

Paul Atkinson:
That reputation allowed Luhrs to borrow money to build the 10-story Luhrs building in 1923. Finished in 1924, the Luhrs building soon filled with law firms, insurance companies and other offices. A year later George Luhrs suffered a stroke. His son Arthur left the geology profession to run the Luhrs hotel with his sister ELLA. George, Jr., quit a promising law career to manage the Luhrs building. Then in March 1929, the Luhrs broke ground on what would be Arizona's tallest skyscraper, the 15-story Luhrs tower. George Luhrs, Sr., never saw it built. He died two months later.

Robert Spindler:
George, Jr., absorbed all of the responsibilities of his father in 1925. He was about 30 years old at that point. And it was an important transition. Four years later you had the depression, which was a significant threat to the survival of the Luhrs property and the Luhrs businesses.

Jean Stroud Crane:
There were times when people would insist that he would take worthless stock, and he did it because he needed to keep the buildings filled, and besides, he knew they were having a hard time, too.

Alan Luhrs:
They wanted the business and they couldn't pay, and it wasn't because we were floating in money. There wasn't anything else we could do.

Paul Atkinson:
With little money to pay their mortgages, George, Jr., begged their lender to extend the loans instead of foreclosing. It was the first time the lender agreed to postpone payment on any major loan. The Luhrs' business survived the depression, but the experience made the pioneering family of downtown Phoenix cautious about future development projects. Whereas the Luhrs children had no choice but to work at the family hotel and properties, their children were discouraged from doing the same.

Jean Stroud Crane:
That, I think, was a great mistake, because uncle George did not train one of his either -- he had three nephews and one niece and he did not train anyone to follow his footsteps. I think that was a very great error.

Paul Atkinson:
By the mid-1970s, the health of George Luhrs, Jr., was failing. Faced with competition from brand-new buildings, the family sold the Luhrs building, tower and hotel in 1976. The hotel Luhrs was demolished several years later, ending a legacy that began almost 100 years earlier. Pioneer historian Charlotte Hall wrote a sonnet about George Luhrs, Sr., and the legacy his family left behind.

Jean Stroud Crane:
"Do you remember when the town was young, the kindly honest busy little man who every moment of his lifelong span helped build the place whence his success was rung."

Michael Grant:
For more information on tonight's Horizon program or upcoming programs please visit our website. It's at www.azpbs.org.

Larry Lemmons:
It's one of the most addictive and dangerous drugs ever embraced by drug abusers. Methamphetamine is an accessory to countless crimes and a potential killer. Horizon devotes an entire program to the problem of meth from law enforcement to personal damage. A special edition Tuesday at 7:00 on Channel 8 's Horizon.

Michael Grant:
Wednesday we'll take a look at what should be a severe fire season, unfortunately. Thursday local students go to Washington courtesy of Honeywell. Thanks for joining us this evening. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one. Goodnight.

Announcer:
If you have comments about Horizon, please contact us at the addresses listed on your screen. Your name and comments may be used on a future edition of Horizon. Horizon is made possible by the friends of channel 8, members who provide financial support to this Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

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