Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

April 20, 2006


Host: Michael Grant

Arizona Town Hall


Guests:
  • Jackie Mieler - communications director, Arizona Office of Tourism
  • Christine Todd Whitman - co-chair, National Smart Growth Council, an initiative of Smart Growth America
  • Chip UíRen - associate general manager , Salt River Project


View Transcript
Michael Grant:
Tonight on Horizon. The checkered flag at P.I.R. means cha-ching for Arizona. We'll talk about the economic impact of NASCAR on our state. Christine Todd Whitman, the former head of the E.P.A. And a former New Jersey governor, will talk to us about Smart Growth. Speaking of growth, that was the topic of the latest Arizona town hall, which has come out with its own recommendations for smarter growth. More on all that next on Horizon.

Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by contributions from the friends of eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Michael Grant:
Good evening. Welcome to Horizon. I'm Michael Grant. Before we get to our main topics tonight, here's the latest news: the federal government says it's going to crack down on the demand side of illegal immigration. Yesterday, immigration officials raided IFCO systems, a pallet manufacturer, for allegedly knowingly hiring illegal immigrants. Seven current and former managers were arrested in the nationwide crackdown, and 30 illegal immigrants were arrested at the company's Phoenix plant. Michael Chertoff, head of the Homeland Security said, "We are going to move beyond the current level of activity to a higher level in each month and year to come." He denied that the crackdown's timing had anything to do with the recent pro-immigrant marches. NASCAR races at Phoenix international raceway in the west valley begin tonight with some qualifying and regional series races. Each race of the three-day event routinely draws about 100,000 fans. Many of those fans come from out of town to cheer on their favorite drivers and end up spending some time and disposable dollars in and around our state. Here now to talk about that is Jackie Mieler, communications director for the Arizona Office of Tourism. Jackie, NASCAR has just exploded.

Jackie Mieler:
It really has. It's amazing how popular it's become in the last 5 to 10 years.

Michael Grant:
What do you think that's attributable to?

Jackie Mieler:
I think a lot has to do with the marketing. The people behind NASCAR are very smart marketers. They get the brands involved that really cross over and these fans have extreme brand loyalty. It also has to do with the drivers. They are good, upstanding for the most part citizens and they're really accessible to the fans and they're keeping their lives clean and not getting into trouble which I think appeals to fans at the time when our sports stars are getting into trouble.

Michael Grant:
Interestingly enough we focus on things like hosting the super bowl, hosting the National college football championships, NBA all-star game awhile back. This three-days of activity, if I recall correctly, kind of beats all those.

Jackie Mieler:
I don't know how to compare them. It's not apples-to-apples but definitely it's competitive with all those type of events. These are people especially when you talk about the travel industry and people coming from out-of-state and spending their out-of-state dollars in the state. NASCAR and the racing industry is really one that has a significant impact with that.

Michael Grant:
One of the things that I know that I have heard that makes this a particularly good economic event, and you just alluded to it, is the fact that people will come here for awhile. It often is an event for them as opposed to just perhaps a one-day kind of thing.

Jackie Mieler:
Absolutely. The Arizona state did a study back in 1999 before we had this April race weekend. But even at that time about 150,000 visitors came from out of state. They're spending $12 million in areas outside of Phoenix so they're getting out to the Grand Canyon, Tucson, whatever it might be, and spreading their dollars around the state. And we can only imagine how that's grown since the addition of this race in April.

Michael Grant:
Okay. Well tell us how the NASCAR event will play out this weekend.

Jackie Mieler: This weekend there are three races. What makes it unique is they're at night; as opposed to our race in April where they are daytime races, these are nighttime races. So tonight kicks off, as you mentioned, with the regional series, these are your "up and coming" drivers; these are guys who want to be on the Busch Series, or the Nextel Cup series, so really exciting, young, "up and coming" drivers. Sponsored by Arizona casino this evening. Tomorrow night is the Bashas' Supermarkets 200, this is the Busch Series race. That's the step below the major event, which is the Nextel Cup series will happen Saturday night. That one is sponsored by Subway.

Michael Grant:
The Arizona Office of Tourism factors into this how?

Jackie Mieler:
Well, first and foremost we just signed on to sponsor a race in November. The Busch Series race will be the Arizona Dot Travel 200. So we're really excited about that. And how we factor it in is, when we sponsor any kind of sporting event our goal is to get people not only to come to the event but extend their stay in Arizona, spend more money, stay longer. By sponsoring events like this we're able to get information in the fans' hands before they make their travel decisions. So as they're thinking, gosh, I want to come to this race in Arizona in November and they have a beautiful Arizona's visitor's guide in their hand, well they're going to likely extend their stay and see some other parts of the state. So that's our goal.

Michael Grant:
It would also seem to me one of the advantages of this, too, it may be bringing in new people perhaps for the first time and introducing a new set of folk.

Jackie Mieler:
Absolutely. The NASCAR fan is actually quite an affluent fan, much to the contradictions of what a lot of people think. And it's a very diverse group. It is definitely bringing people into Arizona to see what we have to offer, to stay in our hotels, shop in our stores, eat in our restaurants and really bring the economic impact we're looking for out of an event like this.

Michael Grant:
You've already mentioned brand loyalty associated with NASCAR generally. It does provide a number of sponsorship opportunities and I know you said, I guess Bashas' is one example.

Jackie Mieler:
Absolutely. For instance, Bashas' does sponsor the race tomorrow night. They can tie in with some of the big NASCAR sponsors like Pepsi or something along those lines and do promotions in their store that really get people excited about the race weekend and tie it altogether. There are endless opportunities for these sponsors whether you're sponsoring NASCAR itself or you're sponsoring Arizona international raceway like we are. There are so many opportunities to work together and reach these consumers that are so brand loyal and much more likely to buy a NASCAR product.

Michael Grant:
I am not a fan, but I have noticed it seems to me that the drivers, the participants in this sport, the teams work harder and sort of both the fan outreach, the sponsor outreach, those kinds of things than perhaps in other sports.

Jackie Mieler:
Absolutely. They're great stewards for the sponsors that they have and they really don't take that for granted and they're out there pumping those products. And like you said, they are so accessible to the fans. And if you've been listening to the radio and television all this week you've heard all these great you know, "go out to Glendale Arena and meet the Ford racing team." Opportunities for fans to interact which you don't have in other sports. They're not as accessible.

Michael Grant:
All right. Jackie Mieler, thank you very much for joining us. I hope the event goes swell.

Jackie Mieler:
Thank you very much.

Michael Grant:
Christine Todd Whitman served as President Bush's E.P.A. Administrator from January 2001 to June 2003. Before that, she was the first woman to be elected governor of New Jersey. She had that job for seven years. She is in Arizona today because she's the co-chair of the National Smart Growth Council, an initiative of Smart Growth America. Whitman is participating in valley forward's livability summit- that will kick off tomorrow morning at the Phoenix convention center. I talked to her earlier this evening.

Michael Grant:
Governor Whitman, thanks for joining us.

Christine Todd Whitman:
A pleasure.

Michael Grant:
Tell me what the National Smart Growth Council is.

Christine Todd Whitman:
Oh. It's something that was started really by Parris N. Glendening who was governor of Maryland when I was governor of New Jersey, a democrat. He did a lot with Smart Growth in Maryland as I was doing things in New Jersey. After he started this he decided that one of the things we needed to do is to reach out to people who didn't necessarily think in terms of sustainable development or it, to bring today people, developers, mayors, others who were intimately involved and understand and who were impacted by what we talk about when we talk about Smart Growth and try to get that message out to others. And one of the things we do, there is a website that is a very good one that has a lot of examples from towns and cities across the country that have put in place some Smart Growth principles to show how they worked for them, how they've done it, what it has meant for economic growth, what's done to stimulate businesses in downtowns, to keep downtowns from decaying and falling apart, to encourage re-growth a long existing infrastructure to show the impact of sprawl on things like water and those sorts of things. There are lessons there. You don't have to reinvent the wheel every time you talk about these issues.

Michael Grant:
We often in Arizona think that we've got dumb growth. I'm not completely convinced that we do, but I'm sure there's always room for improvement. Give me some practical, real world examples of Smart Growth in contrast to dumb growth.

Christine Todd Whitman:
One of the things is what's happening here now. I know the initiative Valley Ford was very much a part of it but to get a light rail system in. That is something that's smart. It revitalizes those areas through which it passes. It increases the value of the properties. Businesses do better. You have this history all across the country. It's tough to get through when you're actually having the development but afterwards it's a boom to all those who are located along it. You see towns that for instance have focused on ground fields. Ground fields is a term for something that might have been a mom and pop dry cleaners or a gas station. Corner gas station that's gone out of business. Nobody wants to come in and clean it up because they're afraid of the potential for liability for the cleanup, what pollution is there.

Michael Grant:
Right.

Christine Todd Whitman:
Legislation has been passed at the federal level that provides some protection so it won't become a superfund site. A lot of states and localities have been passing their own legislation to work with this to make it easier for people to clean up depending on the usage of how far you have to clean up depends on what you're going to use it for so that you can get loans at the banks, so you can get innocent third parties in to revitalize these areas because they're sitting in the hearts of downtowns. They're all over, suburban and rural areas as well and they're eye source.

Michael Grant:
One of the things we are seeing a rebirth here in Phoenix is in-fill. The largest example of that, we call them high-rises but I think by New Jersey standards they're more like mid-rises.

Christine Todd Whitman:
Mini rises.

Michael Grant:
You know, 12, 13 stories and already developed areas, sometimes converting apartment complexes into condominium complexes as the baby boom generation gets older and thinks, well, maybe that's a good lifestyle after all. Is that another example?

Christine Todd Whitman:
That's very much a part of it. It's interesting. There was a study done by Smart Growth and the National Association of Realtors that says that four out of five people who intend to buy a home in the next five or six years, one of the most important things to them is walk ability. They want to be near a downtown, to be able to walk to grocery stores. They don't want to get in their car and spend hours sitting on a highway or a freeway to get from one place to another if they want to do errands. They want to have that sense of community that comes from actually knowing your neighbors maybe and going into the local store and having somebody recognize you. This is becoming a value that people are starting to realize they're missing when we go to mega malls and strip malls everywhere and everybody is spread out over long distances. Not to mention the fact we're getting to be a nation of lards because we don't walk or bike anywhere anymore.

Michael Grant:
Yeah, that's for darn sure. One of the problems, though, is affordability. And often times one of the cheapest ways to grow-- and that doesn't necessarily mean in a negative way, it's meant from the standpoint that, you know, I'm a first time home buyer and I have to get out away a little bit simply to afford it. And unfortunately, buying closer in often times means paying more. Can we solve that?

Christine Todd Whitman:
Well, that's where government often steps in. Not necessarily with-- although a lot of cities and towns have incentives for first time homebuyers in the city. I mean, you can provide incentives for people to live where you want them to live and it's a question of economics of how much you can afford or what you want to do, what it means to you to have people living in your downtown versus constantly sprawling out. Because that puts such a strain on-- when you have the sprawl you have to install power lines, water lines, ultimately you'll need new schools, you'll need new hospitals, all sorts of--

Michael Grant:
Larger wider interstate freeways.

Christine Todd Whitman:
Larger and wider interstates. Today's example is sitting in traffic was any indication of what it was like on a normal basis here. You've got some real problems. And of course the other thing about that is mobile sources are one of our primary sources of air pollution. And when cars are sitting in traffic, not only to mention the fact that the price of gasoline is out of sight so you're spending a lot of money just sitting there, but you're also polluting the atmosphere, which is an enormous problem. Here you have real air quality problems, which people don't think about.

Michael Grant:
You know, let me jump to your E.P.A. background because you just triggered a thought. Obviously the gas prices are going throughout roof. At least one increment of that is shifting to ethanol and away from MTBE. Despite the price increments associated with that, is that a good move?

Christine Todd Whitman:
Well, getting away from MTBE is probably a good move. The question is how much do you need the oxygenated gasoline in the first place? But ethanol and alternate fuels will certainly be a part of the future as a much more clean burning fuel. That's being encouraged in the new energy act. It's something a lot of people have focused on and are trying to develop cars that will accept different forms of gasoline. And then of course you have the hybrid cars, which allow you to run on gasoline and electric at the same time. Those get very good gas mileage. There are a whole lot of exciting things happening and it is good. The problem we found with MTBE is it's getting in water supplies and contaminating water supplies and that's been a big issue.

Michael Grant:
Well, in Arizona actually we have backed away from MTBE about a year ago. But I know in many areas of the country it is causing difficulty as the refineries and other infrastructure shifts over to them. Okay. That was a detour.

Christine Todd Whitman:
That's all right. You're allowed detours. That's the way you get around traffic is detours.

Michael Grant:
Back to livability and Smart Growth. Sometimes one of the real problems, though, is how do you avoid sort of the central planning phenomenon? How do you get the ideas across without necessarily dictating the ideas but instead convincing people that they are smart ideas?

Christine Todd Whitman:
That's the heart of a lot of it. You cannot have the top down approach. You really need to start this at the grass roots level. You need to engage the people living in the community. It's wise associations like valley forward work because they include the business sector, the public sector, the private sector, the people who are impacted by it. You need to have people understand what this means to them. Why is it going to benefit them? Why should they listen to this at all? I've got my home. Why should I care?

Michael Grant:
Well sitting in traffic sometimes helps.

Christine Todd Whitman:
That helps. And when you have droughts that does it, too. People suddenly sit up and say, hey, maybe I won't always have the kind of water supply that I want or expect. And I have to figure out why that's happening. That's why when government does get involved you need to start at the local level and build your way up. That sometimes takes incentive from the top that says you need to do this and you need to have some kind of planning. And the other issue is when you don't have it, if it happens just in little pockets, you have to be able to reach out beyond geopolitical borders. Because Mother Nature doesn't recognize those. What happens in one county next to you affects you. When they put in a big housing development those people tend to use your roads at some point or another. There has to be that ability to communicate and you have to look at an overall plan but it has to start at the grass roots.

Michael Grant:
Christine Todd Whitman, welcome to Arizona and we very much appreciate your time.

Christine Todd Whitman:
A pleasure to be here. Thank you for having me.

Michael Grant:
You just heard Christine Todd Whitman talk about Smart Growth. That was the topic for the 88th Arizona town hall, which put out recommendations making sure we're prepared for growth. I'll talk to a town hall official but first here's more on town hall's recommendations.

Mike Sauceda:
In the past ten years the valley has added 1 million people. That growth rate far surpassing the natural average. That phenomenal growth rate is not about to slow down anytime soon. But growth patterns are changing a bit. Growth is still mainly happening on the outskirts of the valley. It's also going vertical and filling in empty spots within the city. Growth was the topic of the 88th Arizona town hall, which brings together leaders from all over the state twice a year to discuss urgent state issues and make recommendations on how to deal with them. They looked about looking at how to ensure the state's infrastructure would meet growth needs. Here are a few of the recommendations made by town hall to deal with growth in Arizona. A group or agency should be established to improve the collection and interpretation of population numbers. There should be a constitutional amendment of the state land department to integrate state trust land with desirable growth and conservation strategies, counties should be given the authority to regulate lot spreading of any size. There should be a state of the art transportation system developed between Phoenix and Tucson to move goods and people. There should be more mass transit; a stronger and better-funded department of water resources should play a leading role in providing water planning and providing liable water-related statistics. Arizona should increase reliance on nuclear energy and Arizona should adopt a statewide blueprint for future growth in key sectors.

Michael Grant:
Here now to talk ability the town hall recommendations is Chip U'Ren associate general manager of the Salt River project. He is also chairman of the Arizona town hall board. Chip, good to see you.

Chip U'Ren:
Good to be here, Michael.

Michael Grant:
You know, the transportation thing triggered the thought. Of course, big plans at sky harbor airport taking down terminal two. But maybe more important to this subject was the partnership with Williams Gateway to actively develop the reliever. Did that subject come up at all under the rubric of transportation?

Chip U'Ren:
Only in a peripheral way although it was recognized that the gateway could provide a real alternative resource for the growing metropolitan area in terms of relieving some of the pressure on Sky Harbor airport. Additionally one of the things that was discussed was providing a much more robust and creative way to move traffic between the Tucson and Phoenix corridor with regard to the respective airports. Could involve toll roads, could involve shipping by rail, what is otherwise trucked by freeway and other mechanisms that would move traffic more efficiently between those resources.

Michael Grant:
What about traditional rail? There are some rail corridors that come here. It's been talked about from time to time.

Chip U'Ren:
Right. There was a general sense that double tracking of those rails and creating both commercial transport rail facilities in this corridor as well as high-speed individual transportation, mass transportation in this corridor was absolutely essential.

Michael Grant:
I want to go to the-- one of the concerns was, Arizona in urgent need of accurate population estimates and projections for planning purposes. I didn't realize that the data was bad.

Chip U'Ren:
Interesting. Nor did most of the members or participants in town hall. As it turns out, we're trying to plan for 21st century growth with 20th century data. As it turns out, both the federal data and the state department of commerce uses information that essentially dates back to the 1990 census updated to the 1994 census so it's updated in 1994. And therefore it's dated and it doesn't reflect the actual projections and estimates for growth that we've experienced. Consequently those who rely on that data are constantly behind the curve in understanding how they apply that data to their planning projections.

Michael Grant:
It's interesting, Chip. It was only about a month ago that the 2005 census projections came out.

Chip U'Ren:
Correct.

Michael Grant:
Those are the ones that we're talking about I think another 5 million more Arizonans in the next 20 to 25-years. Is this just a data lag issue?

Chip U'Ren:
It probably is three things. It's partially data lag. It's partially that I think we are just now beginning to recognize the criticality of the accuracy and contemporaneous nature of that data as critical to planning so it hasn't had the emphasis in the fact. Third, I think it's unique in that we have a high population of occasional visitors, winter visitors of undocumented individuals and of people who simply don't respond to the data census. And therefore in an area that's so rapidly growing even those components have tremendous impact as you project out based on inaccurate data.

Michael Grant:
One of the other recommendations, a constitutional amendment regarding state land. Now did anyone tip off the town hall we have tried this before.

Chip U'Ren:
It was not a new thought. That's exactly right. And the town hall, believing so strongly in the recommendation, felt that we ought to give it another try. And the focus was I think on the notion that the constitution ought to be amended to allow in the state trust land process consideration for smart-- develop smart and sustainable growth and development that would allow for the set-aside of utility corridors that would provide more adequately for transportation corridors, that would invest in the notion of how that land is going to be used relative in its adjacent seat to the balance of the community. Where as the state land department can't do that by restriction now.

Michael Grant:
It sounds to me building a little bit on what state land has been trying to do with that very significant chunk of land that's over by Apache junction and south of Apache junction into Pinal County.

Chip U'Ren:
Exactly. That's very much along the lines that town hall had anticipated might be appropriate in the amendment.

Michael Grant:
Chip, we talked about two or three of the recommendations. Was there a most significant recommendation in your opinion?

Chip U'Ren:
It's difficult to distill. But if there's one it would be, in my mind, the need to create a comprehensive, integrated blueprint statewide for all sectors of the planning process when it comes to growth and development. And essentially to create an agency or an entity that would provide collaborative, single clearing house points of review and discussion for development planning as it exists throughout the state. We've run the risk and have experienced the consequence in the past of dealing with growth only in its functional individual elements. Transportation on the one hand, air quality on another, affordable housing--

Michael Grant:
Right. Utility infrastructure.

Chip U'Ren:
Utility infrastructure. This concept would be to blend all that together and deal with it comprehensively.

Michael Grant:
All right. And I assume a fine time was had by all. This time up in Prescott?

Chip U'Ren:
It was in Prescott.

Michael Grant:
That's the spring cycle, right?

Chip U'Ren:
The spring cycle, Grand Canyon in the fall.

Michael Grant:
Chip U'Ren, thanks for joining us and filling us in. If you would like information about upcoming shows or for that matter past shows, you can visit the website. You'll find that at azpbs.org. Once you get there, click on the word Horizon to get to the show's home page.

Larry Lemmons:
Governor Napolitano vetoes a measure that would have allowed undocumented immigrants to be charged with trespassing in our state. And a new lawsuit is filed trying to overturn the statewide aims test as a high school graduation requirement. Join us for the Journalists' Roundtable Friday at 7 on Horizon.

Michael Grant:
Coming up next, some issues through a Hispanic lens on Horizonte. Tonight taking a look at a disease that effects 20 million people, and its cause is a mystery. That's next on Horizonte. Thanks very much for joining us on Horizon. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one. Good night.


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 contributions from the friends of eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Economic impact of NASCAR


Guests:
  • Jackie Mieler - communications director, Arizona Office of Tourism
  • Christine Todd Whitman - co-chair, National Smart Growth Council, an initiative of Smart Growth America
  • Chip UíRen - associate general manager , Salt River Project


View Transcript
Michael Grant:
Tonight on Horizon. The checkered flag at P.I.R. means cha-ching for Arizona. We'll talk about the economic impact of NASCAR on our state. Christine Todd Whitman, the former head of the E.P.A. And a former New Jersey governor, will talk to us about Smart Growth. Speaking of growth, that was the topic of the latest Arizona town hall, which has come out with its own recommendations for smarter growth. More on all that next on Horizon.

Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by contributions from the friends of eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Michael Grant:
Good evening. Welcome to Horizon. I'm Michael Grant. Before we get to our main topics tonight, here's the latest news: the federal government says it's going to crack down on the demand side of illegal immigration. Yesterday, immigration officials raided IFCO systems, a pallet manufacturer, for allegedly knowingly hiring illegal immigrants. Seven current and former managers were arrested in the nationwide crackdown, and 30 illegal immigrants were arrested at the company's Phoenix plant. Michael Chertoff, head of the Homeland Security said, "We are going to move beyond the current level of activity to a higher level in each month and year to come." He denied that the crackdown's timing had anything to do with the recent pro-immigrant marches. NASCAR races at Phoenix international raceway in the west valley begin tonight with some qualifying and regional series races. Each race of the three-day event routinely draws about 100,000 fans. Many of those fans come from out of town to cheer on their favorite drivers and end up spending some time and disposable dollars in and around our state. Here now to talk about that is Jackie Mieler, communications director for the Arizona Office of Tourism. Jackie, NASCAR has just exploded.

Jackie Mieler:
It really has. It's amazing how popular it's become in the last 5 to 10 years.

Michael Grant:
What do you think that's attributable to?

Jackie Mieler:
I think a lot has to do with the marketing. The people behind NASCAR are very smart marketers. They get the brands involved that really cross over and these fans have extreme brand loyalty. It also has to do with the drivers. They are good, upstanding for the most part citizens and they're really accessible to the fans and they're keeping their lives clean and not getting into trouble which I think appeals to fans at the time when our sports stars are getting into trouble.

Michael Grant:
Interestingly enough we focus on things like hosting the super bowl, hosting the National college football championships, NBA all-star game awhile back. This three-days of activity, if I recall correctly, kind of beats all those.

Jackie Mieler:
I don't know how to compare them. It's not apples-to-apples but definitely it's competitive with all those type of events. These are people especially when you talk about the travel industry and people coming from out-of-state and spending their out-of-state dollars in the state. NASCAR and the racing industry is really one that has a significant impact with that.

Michael Grant:
One of the things that I know that I have heard that makes this a particularly good economic event, and you just alluded to it, is the fact that people will come here for awhile. It often is an event for them as opposed to just perhaps a one-day kind of thing.

Jackie Mieler:
Absolutely. The Arizona state did a study back in 1999 before we had this April race weekend. But even at that time about 150,000 visitors came from out of state. They're spending $12 million in areas outside of Phoenix so they're getting out to the Grand Canyon, Tucson, whatever it might be, and spreading their dollars around the state. And we can only imagine how that's grown since the addition of this race in April.

Michael Grant:
Okay. Well tell us how the NASCAR event will play out this weekend.

Jackie Mieler: This weekend there are three races. What makes it unique is they're at night; as opposed to our race in April where they are daytime races, these are nighttime races. So tonight kicks off, as you mentioned, with the regional series, these are your "up and coming" drivers; these are guys who want to be on the Busch Series, or the Nextel Cup series, so really exciting, young, "up and coming" drivers. Sponsored by Arizona casino this evening. Tomorrow night is the Bashas' Supermarkets 200, this is the Busch Series race. That's the step below the major event, which is the Nextel Cup series will happen Saturday night. That one is sponsored by Subway.

Michael Grant:
The Arizona Office of Tourism factors into this how?

Jackie Mieler:
Well, first and foremost we just signed on to sponsor a race in November. The Busch Series race will be the Arizona Dot Travel 200. So we're really excited about that. And how we factor it in is, when we sponsor any kind of sporting event our goal is to get people not only to come to the event but extend their stay in Arizona, spend more money, stay longer. By sponsoring events like this we're able to get information in the fans' hands before they make their travel decisions. So as they're thinking, gosh, I want to come to this race in Arizona in November and they have a beautiful Arizona's visitor's guide in their hand, well they're going to likely extend their stay and see some other parts of the state. So that's our goal.

Michael Grant:
It would also seem to me one of the advantages of this, too, it may be bringing in new people perhaps for the first time and introducing a new set of folk.

Jackie Mieler:
Absolutely. The NASCAR fan is actually quite an affluent fan, much to the contradictions of what a lot of people think. And it's a very diverse group. It is definitely bringing people into Arizona to see what we have to offer, to stay in our hotels, shop in our stores, eat in our restaurants and really bring the economic impact we're looking for out of an event like this.

Michael Grant:
You've already mentioned brand loyalty associated with NASCAR generally. It does provide a number of sponsorship opportunities and I know you said, I guess Bashas' is one example.

Jackie Mieler:
Absolutely. For instance, Bashas' does sponsor the race tomorrow night. They can tie in with some of the big NASCAR sponsors like Pepsi or something along those lines and do promotions in their store that really get people excited about the race weekend and tie it altogether. There are endless opportunities for these sponsors whether you're sponsoring NASCAR itself or you're sponsoring Arizona international raceway like we are. There are so many opportunities to work together and reach these consumers that are so brand loyal and much more likely to buy a NASCAR product.

Michael Grant:
I am not a fan, but I have noticed it seems to me that the drivers, the participants in this sport, the teams work harder and sort of both the fan outreach, the sponsor outreach, those kinds of things than perhaps in other sports.

Jackie Mieler:
Absolutely. They're great stewards for the sponsors that they have and they really don't take that for granted and they're out there pumping those products. And like you said, they are so accessible to the fans. And if you've been listening to the radio and television all this week you've heard all these great you know, "go out to Glendale Arena and meet the Ford racing team." Opportunities for fans to interact which you don't have in other sports. They're not as accessible.

Michael Grant:
All right. Jackie Mieler, thank you very much for joining us. I hope the event goes swell.

Jackie Mieler:
Thank you very much.

Michael Grant:
Christine Todd Whitman served as President Bush's E.P.A. Administrator from January 2001 to June 2003. Before that, she was the first woman to be elected governor of New Jersey. She had that job for seven years. She is in Arizona today because she's the co-chair of the National Smart Growth Council, an initiative of Smart Growth America. Whitman is participating in valley forward's livability summit- that will kick off tomorrow morning at the Phoenix convention center. I talked to her earlier this evening.

Michael Grant:
Governor Whitman, thanks for joining us.

Christine Todd Whitman:
A pleasure.

Michael Grant:
Tell me what the National Smart Growth Council is.

Christine Todd Whitman:
Oh. It's something that was started really by Parris N. Glendening who was governor of Maryland when I was governor of New Jersey, a democrat. He did a lot with Smart Growth in Maryland as I was doing things in New Jersey. After he started this he decided that one of the things we needed to do is to reach out to people who didn't necessarily think in terms of sustainable development or it, to bring today people, developers, mayors, others who were intimately involved and understand and who were impacted by what we talk about when we talk about Smart Growth and try to get that message out to others. And one of the things we do, there is a website that is a very good one that has a lot of examples from towns and cities across the country that have put in place some Smart Growth principles to show how they worked for them, how they've done it, what it has meant for economic growth, what's done to stimulate businesses in downtowns, to keep downtowns from decaying and falling apart, to encourage re-growth a long existing infrastructure to show the impact of sprawl on things like water and those sorts of things. There are lessons there. You don't have to reinvent the wheel every time you talk about these issues.

Michael Grant:
We often in Arizona think that we've got dumb growth. I'm not completely convinced that we do, but I'm sure there's always room for improvement. Give me some practical, real world examples of Smart Growth in contrast to dumb growth.

Christine Todd Whitman:
One of the things is what's happening here now. I know the initiative Valley Ford was very much a part of it but to get a light rail system in. That is something that's smart. It revitalizes those areas through which it passes. It increases the value of the properties. Businesses do better. You have this history all across the country. It's tough to get through when you're actually having the development but afterwards it's a boom to all those who are located along it. You see towns that for instance have focused on ground fields. Ground fields is a term for something that might have been a mom and pop dry cleaners or a gas station. Corner gas station that's gone out of business. Nobody wants to come in and clean it up because they're afraid of the potential for liability for the cleanup, what pollution is there.

Michael Grant:
Right.

Christine Todd Whitman:
Legislation has been passed at the federal level that provides some protection so it won't become a superfund site. A lot of states and localities have been passing their own legislation to work with this to make it easier for people to clean up depending on the usage of how far you have to clean up depends on what you're going to use it for so that you can get loans at the banks, so you can get innocent third parties in to revitalize these areas because they're sitting in the hearts of downtowns. They're all over, suburban and rural areas as well and they're eye source.

Michael Grant:
One of the things we are seeing a rebirth here in Phoenix is in-fill. The largest example of that, we call them high-rises but I think by New Jersey standards they're more like mid-rises.

Christine Todd Whitman:
Mini rises.

Michael Grant:
You know, 12, 13 stories and already developed areas, sometimes converting apartment complexes into condominium complexes as the baby boom generation gets older and thinks, well, maybe that's a good lifestyle after all. Is that another example?

Christine Todd Whitman:
That's very much a part of it. It's interesting. There was a study done by Smart Growth and the National Association of Realtors that says that four out of five people who intend to buy a home in the next five or six years, one of the most important things to them is walk ability. They want to be near a downtown, to be able to walk to grocery stores. They don't want to get in their car and spend hours sitting on a highway or a freeway to get from one place to another if they want to do errands. They want to have that sense of community that comes from actually knowing your neighbors maybe and going into the local store and having somebody recognize you. This is becoming a value that people are starting to realize they're missing when we go to mega malls and strip malls everywhere and everybody is spread out over long distances. Not to mention the fact we're getting to be a nation of lards because we don't walk or bike anywhere anymore.

Michael Grant:
Yeah, that's for darn sure. One of the problems, though, is affordability. And often times one of the cheapest ways to grow-- and that doesn't necessarily mean in a negative way, it's meant from the standpoint that, you know, I'm a first time home buyer and I have to get out away a little bit simply to afford it. And unfortunately, buying closer in often times means paying more. Can we solve that?

Christine Todd Whitman:
Well, that's where government often steps in. Not necessarily with-- although a lot of cities and towns have incentives for first time homebuyers in the city. I mean, you can provide incentives for people to live where you want them to live and it's a question of economics of how much you can afford or what you want to do, what it means to you to have people living in your downtown versus constantly sprawling out. Because that puts such a strain on-- when you have the sprawl you have to install power lines, water lines, ultimately you'll need new schools, you'll need new hospitals, all sorts of--

Michael Grant:
Larger wider interstate freeways.

Christine Todd Whitman:
Larger and wider interstates. Today's example is sitting in traffic was any indication of what it was like on a normal basis here. You've got some real problems. And of course the other thing about that is mobile sources are one of our primary sources of air pollution. And when cars are sitting in traffic, not only to mention the fact that the price of gasoline is out of sight so you're spending a lot of money just sitting there, but you're also polluting the atmosphere, which is an enormous problem. Here you have real air quality problems, which people don't think about.

Michael Grant:
You know, let me jump to your E.P.A. background because you just triggered a thought. Obviously the gas prices are going throughout roof. At least one increment of that is shifting to ethanol and away from MTBE. Despite the price increments associated with that, is that a good move?

Christine Todd Whitman:
Well, getting away from MTBE is probably a good move. The question is how much do you need the oxygenated gasoline in the first place? But ethanol and alternate fuels will certainly be a part of the future as a much more clean burning fuel. That's being encouraged in the new energy act. It's something a lot of people have focused on and are trying to develop cars that will accept different forms of gasoline. And then of course you have the hybrid cars, which allow you to run on gasoline and electric at the same time. Those get very good gas mileage. There are a whole lot of exciting things happening and it is good. The problem we found with MTBE is it's getting in water supplies and contaminating water supplies and that's been a big issue.

Michael Grant:
Well, in Arizona actually we have backed away from MTBE about a year ago. But I know in many areas of the country it is causing difficulty as the refineries and other infrastructure shifts over to them. Okay. That was a detour.

Christine Todd Whitman:
That's all right. You're allowed detours. That's the way you get around traffic is detours.

Michael Grant:
Back to livability and Smart Growth. Sometimes one of the real problems, though, is how do you avoid sort of the central planning phenomenon? How do you get the ideas across without necessarily dictating the ideas but instead convincing people that they are smart ideas?

Christine Todd Whitman:
That's the heart of a lot of it. You cannot have the top down approach. You really need to start this at the grass roots level. You need to engage the people living in the community. It's wise associations like valley forward work because they include the business sector, the public sector, the private sector, the people who are impacted by it. You need to have people understand what this means to them. Why is it going to benefit them? Why should they listen to this at all? I've got my home. Why should I care?

Michael Grant:
Well sitting in traffic sometimes helps.

Christine Todd Whitman:
That helps. And when you have droughts that does it, too. People suddenly sit up and say, hey, maybe I won't always have the kind of water supply that I want or expect. And I have to figure out why that's happening. That's why when government does get involved you need to start at the local level and build your way up. That sometimes takes incentive from the top that says you need to do this and you need to have some kind of planning. And the other issue is when you don't have it, if it happens just in little pockets, you have to be able to reach out beyond geopolitical borders. Because Mother Nature doesn't recognize those. What happens in one county next to you affects you. When they put in a big housing development those people tend to use your roads at some point or another. There has to be that ability to communicate and you have to look at an overall plan but it has to start at the grass roots.

Michael Grant:
Christine Todd Whitman, welcome to Arizona and we very much appreciate your time.

Christine Todd Whitman:
A pleasure to be here. Thank you for having me.

Michael Grant:
You just heard Christine Todd Whitman talk about Smart Growth. That was the topic for the 88th Arizona town hall, which put out recommendations making sure we're prepared for growth. I'll talk to a town hall official but first here's more on town hall's recommendations.

Mike Sauceda:
In the past ten years the valley has added 1 million people. That growth rate far surpassing the natural average. That phenomenal growth rate is not about to slow down anytime soon. But growth patterns are changing a bit. Growth is still mainly happening on the outskirts of the valley. It's also going vertical and filling in empty spots within the city. Growth was the topic of the 88th Arizona town hall, which brings together leaders from all over the state twice a year to discuss urgent state issues and make recommendations on how to deal with them. They looked about looking at how to ensure the state's infrastructure would meet growth needs. Here are a few of the recommendations made by town hall to deal with growth in Arizona. A group or agency should be established to improve the collection and interpretation of population numbers. There should be a constitutional amendment of the state land department to integrate state trust land with desirable growth and conservation strategies, counties should be given the authority to regulate lot spreading of any size. There should be a state of the art transportation system developed between Phoenix and Tucson to move goods and people. There should be more mass transit; a stronger and better-funded department of water resources should play a leading role in providing water planning and providing liable water-related statistics. Arizona should increase reliance on nuclear energy and Arizona should adopt a statewide blueprint for future growth in key sectors.

Michael Grant:
Here now to talk ability the town hall recommendations is Chip U'Ren associate general manager of the Salt River project. He is also chairman of the Arizona town hall board. Chip, good to see you.

Chip U'Ren:
Good to be here, Michael.

Michael Grant:
You know, the transportation thing triggered the thought. Of course, big plans at sky harbor airport taking down terminal two. But maybe more important to this subject was the partnership with Williams Gateway to actively develop the reliever. Did that subject come up at all under the rubric of transportation?

Chip U'Ren:
Only in a peripheral way although it was recognized that the gateway could provide a real alternative resource for the growing metropolitan area in terms of relieving some of the pressure on Sky Harbor airport. Additionally one of the things that was discussed was providing a much more robust and creative way to move traffic between the Tucson and Phoenix corridor with regard to the respective airports. Could involve toll roads, could involve shipping by rail, what is otherwise trucked by freeway and other mechanisms that would move traffic more efficiently between those resources.

Michael Grant:
What about traditional rail? There are some rail corridors that come here. It's been talked about from time to time.

Chip U'Ren:
Right. There was a general sense that double tracking of those rails and creating both commercial transport rail facilities in this corridor as well as high-speed individual transportation, mass transportation in this corridor was absolutely essential.

Michael Grant:
I want to go to the-- one of the concerns was, Arizona in urgent need of accurate population estimates and projections for planning purposes. I didn't realize that the data was bad.

Chip U'Ren:
Interesting. Nor did most of the members or participants in town hall. As it turns out, we're trying to plan for 21st century growth with 20th century data. As it turns out, both the federal data and the state department of commerce uses information that essentially dates back to the 1990 census updated to the 1994 census so it's updated in 1994. And therefore it's dated and it doesn't reflect the actual projections and estimates for growth that we've experienced. Consequently those who rely on that data are constantly behind the curve in understanding how they apply that data to their planning projections.

Michael Grant:
It's interesting, Chip. It was only about a month ago that the 2005 census projections came out.

Chip U'Ren:
Correct.

Michael Grant:
Those are the ones that we're talking about I think another 5 million more Arizonans in the next 20 to 25-years. Is this just a data lag issue?

Chip U'Ren:
It probably is three things. It's partially data lag. It's partially that I think we are just now beginning to recognize the criticality of the accuracy and contemporaneous nature of that data as critical to planning so it hasn't had the emphasis in the fact. Third, I think it's unique in that we have a high population of occasional visitors, winter visitors of undocumented individuals and of people who simply don't respond to the data census. And therefore in an area that's so rapidly growing even those components have tremendous impact as you project out based on inaccurate data.

Michael Grant:
One of the other recommendations, a constitutional amendment regarding state land. Now did anyone tip off the town hall we have tried this before.

Chip U'Ren:
It was not a new thought. That's exactly right. And the town hall, believing so strongly in the recommendation, felt that we ought to give it another try. And the focus was I think on the notion that the constitution ought to be amended to allow in the state trust land process consideration for smart-- develop smart and sustainable growth and development that would allow for the set-aside of utility corridors that would provide more adequately for transportation corridors, that would invest in the notion of how that land is going to be used relative in its adjacent seat to the balance of the community. Where as the state land department can't do that by restriction now.

Michael Grant:
It sounds to me building a little bit on what state land has been trying to do with that very significant chunk of land that's over by Apache junction and south of Apache junction into Pinal County.

Chip U'Ren:
Exactly. That's very much along the lines that town hall had anticipated might be appropriate in the amendment.

Michael Grant:
Chip, we talked about two or three of the recommendations. Was there a most significant recommendation in your opinion?

Chip U'Ren:
It's difficult to distill. But if there's one it would be, in my mind, the need to create a comprehensive, integrated blueprint statewide for all sectors of the planning process when it comes to growth and development. And essentially to create an agency or an entity that would provide collaborative, single clearing house points of review and discussion for development planning as it exists throughout the state. We've run the risk and have experienced the consequence in the past of dealing with growth only in its functional individual elements. Transportation on the one hand, air quality on another, affordable housing--

Michael Grant:
Right. Utility infrastructure.

Chip U'Ren:
Utility infrastructure. This concept would be to blend all that together and deal with it comprehensively.

Michael Grant:
All right. And I assume a fine time was had by all. This time up in Prescott?

Chip U'Ren:
It was in Prescott.

Michael Grant:
That's the spring cycle, right?

Chip U'Ren:
The spring cycle, Grand Canyon in the fall.

Michael Grant:
Chip U'Ren, thanks for joining us and filling us in. If you would like information about upcoming shows or for that matter past shows, you can visit the website. You'll find that at azpbs.org. Once you get there, click on the word Horizon to get to the show's home page.

Larry Lemmons:
Governor Napolitano vetoes a measure that would have allowed undocumented immigrants to be charged with trespassing in our state. And a new lawsuit is filed trying to overturn the statewide aims test as a high school graduation requirement. Join us for the Journalists' Roundtable Friday at 7 on Horizon.

Michael Grant:
Coming up next, some issues through a Hispanic lens on Horizonte. Tonight taking a look at a disease that effects 20 million people, and its cause is a mystery. That's next on Horizonte. Thanks very much for joining us on Horizon. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one. Good night.


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 contributions from the friends of eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

smart growth


Guests:
  • Jackie Mieler - communications director, Arizona Office of Tourism
  • Christine Todd Whitman - co-chair, National Smart Growth Council, an initiative of Smart Growth America
  • Chip UíRen - associate general manager , Salt River Project


View Transcript
Michael Grant:
Tonight on Horizon. The checkered flag at P.I.R. means cha-ching for Arizona. We'll talk about the economic impact of NASCAR on our state. Christine Todd Whitman, the former head of the E.P.A. And a former New Jersey governor, will talk to us about Smart Growth. Speaking of growth, that was the topic of the latest Arizona town hall, which has come out with its own recommendations for smarter growth. More on all that next on Horizon.

Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by contributions from the friends of eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Michael Grant:
Good evening. Welcome to Horizon. I'm Michael Grant. Before we get to our main topics tonight, here's the latest news: the federal government says it's going to crack down on the demand side of illegal immigration. Yesterday, immigration officials raided IFCO systems, a pallet manufacturer, for allegedly knowingly hiring illegal immigrants. Seven current and former managers were arrested in the nationwide crackdown, and 30 illegal immigrants were arrested at the company's Phoenix plant. Michael Chertoff, head of the Homeland Security said, "We are going to move beyond the current level of activity to a higher level in each month and year to come." He denied that the crackdown's timing had anything to do with the recent pro-immigrant marches. NASCAR races at Phoenix international raceway in the west valley begin tonight with some qualifying and regional series races. Each race of the three-day event routinely draws about 100,000 fans. Many of those fans come from out of town to cheer on their favorite drivers and end up spending some time and disposable dollars in and around our state. Here now to talk about that is Jackie Mieler, communications director for the Arizona Office of Tourism. Jackie, NASCAR has just exploded.

Jackie Mieler:
It really has. It's amazing how popular it's become in the last 5 to 10 years.

Michael Grant:
What do you think that's attributable to?

Jackie Mieler:
I think a lot has to do with the marketing. The people behind NASCAR are very smart marketers. They get the brands involved that really cross over and these fans have extreme brand loyalty. It also has to do with the drivers. They are good, upstanding for the most part citizens and they're really accessible to the fans and they're keeping their lives clean and not getting into trouble which I think appeals to fans at the time when our sports stars are getting into trouble.

Michael Grant:
Interestingly enough we focus on things like hosting the super bowl, hosting the National college football championships, NBA all-star game awhile back. This three-days of activity, if I recall correctly, kind of beats all those.

Jackie Mieler:
I don't know how to compare them. It's not apples-to-apples but definitely it's competitive with all those type of events. These are people especially when you talk about the travel industry and people coming from out-of-state and spending their out-of-state dollars in the state. NASCAR and the racing industry is really one that has a significant impact with that.

Michael Grant:
One of the things that I know that I have heard that makes this a particularly good economic event, and you just alluded to it, is the fact that people will come here for awhile. It often is an event for them as opposed to just perhaps a one-day kind of thing.

Jackie Mieler:
Absolutely. The Arizona state did a study back in 1999 before we had this April race weekend. But even at that time about 150,000 visitors came from out of state. They're spending $12 million in areas outside of Phoenix so they're getting out to the Grand Canyon, Tucson, whatever it might be, and spreading their dollars around the state. And we can only imagine how that's grown since the addition of this race in April.

Michael Grant:
Okay. Well tell us how the NASCAR event will play out this weekend.

Jackie Mieler: This weekend there are three races. What makes it unique is they're at night; as opposed to our race in April where they are daytime races, these are nighttime races. So tonight kicks off, as you mentioned, with the regional series, these are your "up and coming" drivers; these are guys who want to be on the Busch Series, or the Nextel Cup series, so really exciting, young, "up and coming" drivers. Sponsored by Arizona casino this evening. Tomorrow night is the Bashas' Supermarkets 200, this is the Busch Series race. That's the step below the major event, which is the Nextel Cup series will happen Saturday night. That one is sponsored by Subway.

Michael Grant:
The Arizona Office of Tourism factors into this how?

Jackie Mieler:
Well, first and foremost we just signed on to sponsor a race in November. The Busch Series race will be the Arizona Dot Travel 200. So we're really excited about that. And how we factor it in is, when we sponsor any kind of sporting event our goal is to get people not only to come to the event but extend their stay in Arizona, spend more money, stay longer. By sponsoring events like this we're able to get information in the fans' hands before they make their travel decisions. So as they're thinking, gosh, I want to come to this race in Arizona in November and they have a beautiful Arizona's visitor's guide in their hand, well they're going to likely extend their stay and see some other parts of the state. So that's our goal.

Michael Grant:
It would also seem to me one of the advantages of this, too, it may be bringing in new people perhaps for the first time and introducing a new set of folk.

Jackie Mieler:
Absolutely. The NASCAR fan is actually quite an affluent fan, much to the contradictions of what a lot of people think. And it's a very diverse group. It is definitely bringing people into Arizona to see what we have to offer, to stay in our hotels, shop in our stores, eat in our restaurants and really bring the economic impact we're looking for out of an event like this.

Michael Grant:
You've already mentioned brand loyalty associated with NASCAR generally. It does provide a number of sponsorship opportunities and I know you said, I guess Bashas' is one example.

Jackie Mieler:
Absolutely. For instance, Bashas' does sponsor the race tomorrow night. They can tie in with some of the big NASCAR sponsors like Pepsi or something along those lines and do promotions in their store that really get people excited about the race weekend and tie it altogether. There are endless opportunities for these sponsors whether you're sponsoring NASCAR itself or you're sponsoring Arizona international raceway like we are. There are so many opportunities to work together and reach these consumers that are so brand loyal and much more likely to buy a NASCAR product.

Michael Grant:
I am not a fan, but I have noticed it seems to me that the drivers, the participants in this sport, the teams work harder and sort of both the fan outreach, the sponsor outreach, those kinds of things than perhaps in other sports.

Jackie Mieler:
Absolutely. They're great stewards for the sponsors that they have and they really don't take that for granted and they're out there pumping those products. And like you said, they are so accessible to the fans. And if you've been listening to the radio and television all this week you've heard all these great you know, "go out to Glendale Arena and meet the Ford racing team." Opportunities for fans to interact which you don't have in other sports. They're not as accessible.

Michael Grant:
All right. Jackie Mieler, thank you very much for joining us. I hope the event goes swell.

Jackie Mieler:
Thank you very much.

Michael Grant:
Christine Todd Whitman served as President Bush's E.P.A. Administrator from January 2001 to June 2003. Before that, she was the first woman to be elected governor of New Jersey. She had that job for seven years. She is in Arizona today because she's the co-chair of the National Smart Growth Council, an initiative of Smart Growth America. Whitman is participating in valley forward's livability summit- that will kick off tomorrow morning at the Phoenix convention center. I talked to her earlier this evening.

Michael Grant:
Governor Whitman, thanks for joining us.

Christine Todd Whitman:
A pleasure.

Michael Grant:
Tell me what the National Smart Growth Council is.

Christine Todd Whitman:
Oh. It's something that was started really by Parris N. Glendening who was governor of Maryland when I was governor of New Jersey, a democrat. He did a lot with Smart Growth in Maryland as I was doing things in New Jersey. After he started this he decided that one of the things we needed to do is to reach out to people who didn't necessarily think in terms of sustainable development or it, to bring today people, developers, mayors, others who were intimately involved and understand and who were impacted by what we talk about when we talk about Smart Growth and try to get that message out to others. And one of the things we do, there is a website that is a very good one that has a lot of examples from towns and cities across the country that have put in place some Smart Growth principles to show how they worked for them, how they've done it, what it has meant for economic growth, what's done to stimulate businesses in downtowns, to keep downtowns from decaying and falling apart, to encourage re-growth a long existing infrastructure to show the impact of sprawl on things like water and those sorts of things. There are lessons there. You don't have to reinvent the wheel every time you talk about these issues.

Michael Grant:
We often in Arizona think that we've got dumb growth. I'm not completely convinced that we do, but I'm sure there's always room for improvement. Give me some practical, real world examples of Smart Growth in contrast to dumb growth.

Christine Todd Whitman:
One of the things is what's happening here now. I know the initiative Valley Ford was very much a part of it but to get a light rail system in. That is something that's smart. It revitalizes those areas through which it passes. It increases the value of the properties. Businesses do better. You have this history all across the country. It's tough to get through when you're actually having the development but afterwards it's a boom to all those who are located along it. You see towns that for instance have focused on ground fields. Ground fields is a term for something that might have been a mom and pop dry cleaners or a gas station. Corner gas station that's gone out of business. Nobody wants to come in and clean it up because they're afraid of the potential for liability for the cleanup, what pollution is there.

Michael Grant:
Right.

Christine Todd Whitman:
Legislation has been passed at the federal level that provides some protection so it won't become a superfund site. A lot of states and localities have been passing their own legislation to work with this to make it easier for people to clean up depending on the usage of how far you have to clean up depends on what you're going to use it for so that you can get loans at the banks, so you can get innocent third parties in to revitalize these areas because they're sitting in the hearts of downtowns. They're all over, suburban and rural areas as well and they're eye source.

Michael Grant:
One of the things we are seeing a rebirth here in Phoenix is in-fill. The largest example of that, we call them high-rises but I think by New Jersey standards they're more like mid-rises.

Christine Todd Whitman:
Mini rises.

Michael Grant:
You know, 12, 13 stories and already developed areas, sometimes converting apartment complexes into condominium complexes as the baby boom generation gets older and thinks, well, maybe that's a good lifestyle after all. Is that another example?

Christine Todd Whitman:
That's very much a part of it. It's interesting. There was a study done by Smart Growth and the National Association of Realtors that says that four out of five people who intend to buy a home in the next five or six years, one of the most important things to them is walk ability. They want to be near a downtown, to be able to walk to grocery stores. They don't want to get in their car and spend hours sitting on a highway or a freeway to get from one place to another if they want to do errands. They want to have that sense of community that comes from actually knowing your neighbors maybe and going into the local store and having somebody recognize you. This is becoming a value that people are starting to realize they're missing when we go to mega malls and strip malls everywhere and everybody is spread out over long distances. Not to mention the fact we're getting to be a nation of lards because we don't walk or bike anywhere anymore.

Michael Grant:
Yeah, that's for darn sure. One of the problems, though, is affordability. And often times one of the cheapest ways to grow-- and that doesn't necessarily mean in a negative way, it's meant from the standpoint that, you know, I'm a first time home buyer and I have to get out away a little bit simply to afford it. And unfortunately, buying closer in often times means paying more. Can we solve that?

Christine Todd Whitman:
Well, that's where government often steps in. Not necessarily with-- although a lot of cities and towns have incentives for first time homebuyers in the city. I mean, you can provide incentives for people to live where you want them to live and it's a question of economics of how much you can afford or what you want to do, what it means to you to have people living in your downtown versus constantly sprawling out. Because that puts such a strain on-- when you have the sprawl you have to install power lines, water lines, ultimately you'll need new schools, you'll need new hospitals, all sorts of--

Michael Grant:
Larger wider interstate freeways.

Christine Todd Whitman:
Larger and wider interstates. Today's example is sitting in traffic was any indication of what it was like on a normal basis here. You've got some real problems. And of course the other thing about that is mobile sources are one of our primary sources of air pollution. And when cars are sitting in traffic, not only to mention the fact that the price of gasoline is out of sight so you're spending a lot of money just sitting there, but you're also polluting the atmosphere, which is an enormous problem. Here you have real air quality problems, which people don't think about.

Michael Grant:
You know, let me jump to your E.P.A. background because you just triggered a thought. Obviously the gas prices are going throughout roof. At least one increment of that is shifting to ethanol and away from MTBE. Despite the price increments associated with that, is that a good move?

Christine Todd Whitman:
Well, getting away from MTBE is probably a good move. The question is how much do you need the oxygenated gasoline in the first place? But ethanol and alternate fuels will certainly be a part of the future as a much more clean burning fuel. That's being encouraged in the new energy act. It's something a lot of people have focused on and are trying to develop cars that will accept different forms of gasoline. And then of course you have the hybrid cars, which allow you to run on gasoline and electric at the same time. Those get very good gas mileage. There are a whole lot of exciting things happening and it is good. The problem we found with MTBE is it's getting in water supplies and contaminating water supplies and that's been a big issue.

Michael Grant:
Well, in Arizona actually we have backed away from MTBE about a year ago. But I know in many areas of the country it is causing difficulty as the refineries and other infrastructure shifts over to them. Okay. That was a detour.

Christine Todd Whitman:
That's all right. You're allowed detours. That's the way you get around traffic is detours.

Michael Grant:
Back to livability and Smart Growth. Sometimes one of the real problems, though, is how do you avoid sort of the central planning phenomenon? How do you get the ideas across without necessarily dictating the ideas but instead convincing people that they are smart ideas?

Christine Todd Whitman:
That's the heart of a lot of it. You cannot have the top down approach. You really need to start this at the grass roots level. You need to engage the people living in the community. It's wise associations like valley forward work because they include the business sector, the public sector, the private sector, the people who are impacted by it. You need to have people understand what this means to them. Why is it going to benefit them? Why should they listen to this at all? I've got my home. Why should I care?

Michael Grant:
Well sitting in traffic sometimes helps.

Christine Todd Whitman:
That helps. And when you have droughts that does it, too. People suddenly sit up and say, hey, maybe I won't always have the kind of water supply that I want or expect. And I have to figure out why that's happening. That's why when government does get involved you need to start at the local level and build your way up. That sometimes takes incentive from the top that says you need to do this and you need to have some kind of planning. And the other issue is when you don't have it, if it happens just in little pockets, you have to be able to reach out beyond geopolitical borders. Because Mother Nature doesn't recognize those. What happens in one county next to you affects you. When they put in a big housing development those people tend to use your roads at some point or another. There has to be that ability to communicate and you have to look at an overall plan but it has to start at the grass roots.

Michael Grant:
Christine Todd Whitman, welcome to Arizona and we very much appreciate your time.

Christine Todd Whitman:
A pleasure to be here. Thank you for having me.

Michael Grant:
You just heard Christine Todd Whitman talk about Smart Growth. That was the topic for the 88th Arizona town hall, which put out recommendations making sure we're prepared for growth. I'll talk to a town hall official but first here's more on town hall's recommendations.

Mike Sauceda:
In the past ten years the valley has added 1 million people. That growth rate far surpassing the natural average. That phenomenal growth rate is not about to slow down anytime soon. But growth patterns are changing a bit. Growth is still mainly happening on the outskirts of the valley. It's also going vertical and filling in empty spots within the city. Growth was the topic of the 88th Arizona town hall, which brings together leaders from all over the state twice a year to discuss urgent state issues and make recommendations on how to deal with them. They looked about looking at how to ensure the state's infrastructure would meet growth needs. Here are a few of the recommendations made by town hall to deal with growth in Arizona. A group or agency should be established to improve the collection and interpretation of population numbers. There should be a constitutional amendment of the state land department to integrate state trust land with desirable growth and conservation strategies, counties should be given the authority to regulate lot spreading of any size. There should be a state of the art transportation system developed between Phoenix and Tucson to move goods and people. There should be more mass transit; a stronger and better-funded department of water resources should play a leading role in providing water planning and providing liable water-related statistics. Arizona should increase reliance on nuclear energy and Arizona should adopt a statewide blueprint for future growth in key sectors.

Michael Grant:
Here now to talk ability the town hall recommendations is Chip U'Ren associate general manager of the Salt River project. He is also chairman of the Arizona town hall board. Chip, good to see you.

Chip U'Ren:
Good to be here, Michael.

Michael Grant:
You know, the transportation thing triggered the thought. Of course, big plans at sky harbor airport taking down terminal two. But maybe more important to this subject was the partnership with Williams Gateway to actively develop the reliever. Did that subject come up at all under the rubric of transportation?

Chip U'Ren:
Only in a peripheral way although it was recognized that the gateway could provide a real alternative resource for the growing metropolitan area in terms of relieving some of the pressure on Sky Harbor airport. Additionally one of the things that was discussed was providing a much more robust and creative way to move traffic between the Tucson and Phoenix corridor with regard to the respective airports. Could involve toll roads, could involve shipping by rail, what is otherwise trucked by freeway and other mechanisms that would move traffic more efficiently between those resources.

Michael Grant:
What about traditional rail? There are some rail corridors that come here. It's been talked about from time to time.

Chip U'Ren:
Right. There was a general sense that double tracking of those rails and creating both commercial transport rail facilities in this corridor as well as high-speed individual transportation, mass transportation in this corridor was absolutely essential.

Michael Grant:
I want to go to the-- one of the concerns was, Arizona in urgent need of accurate population estimates and projections for planning purposes. I didn't realize that the data was bad.

Chip U'Ren:
Interesting. Nor did most of the members or participants in town hall. As it turns out, we're trying to plan for 21st century growth with 20th century data. As it turns out, both the federal data and the state department of commerce uses information that essentially dates back to the 1990 census updated to the 1994 census so it's updated in 1994. And therefore it's dated and it doesn't reflect the actual projections and estimates for growth that we've experienced. Consequently those who rely on that data are constantly behind the curve in understanding how they apply that data to their planning projections.

Michael Grant:
It's interesting, Chip. It was only about a month ago that the 2005 census projections came out.

Chip U'Ren:
Correct.

Michael Grant:
Those are the ones that we're talking about I think another 5 million more Arizonans in the next 20 to 25-years. Is this just a data lag issue?

Chip U'Ren:
It probably is three things. It's partially data lag. It's partially that I think we are just now beginning to recognize the criticality of the accuracy and contemporaneous nature of that data as critical to planning so it hasn't had the emphasis in the fact. Third, I think it's unique in that we have a high population of occasional visitors, winter visitors of undocumented individuals and of people who simply don't respond to the data census. And therefore in an area that's so rapidly growing even those components have tremendous impact as you project out based on inaccurate data.

Michael Grant:
One of the other recommendations, a constitutional amendment regarding state land. Now did anyone tip off the town hall we have tried this before.

Chip U'Ren:
It was not a new thought. That's exactly right. And the town hall, believing so strongly in the recommendation, felt that we ought to give it another try. And the focus was I think on the notion that the constitution ought to be amended to allow in the state trust land process consideration for smart-- develop smart and sustainable growth and development that would allow for the set-aside of utility corridors that would provide more adequately for transportation corridors, that would invest in the notion of how that land is going to be used relative in its adjacent seat to the balance of the community. Where as the state land department can't do that by restriction now.

Michael Grant:
It sounds to me building a little bit on what state land has been trying to do with that very significant chunk of land that's over by Apache junction and south of Apache junction into Pinal County.

Chip U'Ren:
Exactly. That's very much along the lines that town hall had anticipated might be appropriate in the amendment.

Michael Grant:
Chip, we talked about two or three of the recommendations. Was there a most significant recommendation in your opinion?

Chip U'Ren:
It's difficult to distill. But if there's one it would be, in my mind, the need to create a comprehensive, integrated blueprint statewide for all sectors of the planning process when it comes to growth and development. And essentially to create an agency or an entity that would provide collaborative, single clearing house points of review and discussion for development planning as it exists throughout the state. We've run the risk and have experienced the consequence in the past of dealing with growth only in its functional individual elements. Transportation on the one hand, air quality on another, affordable housing--

Michael Grant:
Right. Utility infrastructure.

Chip U'Ren:
Utility infrastructure. This concept would be to blend all that together and deal with it comprehensively.

Michael Grant:
All right. And I assume a fine time was had by all. This time up in Prescott?

Chip U'Ren:
It was in Prescott.

Michael Grant:
That's the spring cycle, right?

Chip U'Ren:
The spring cycle, Grand Canyon in the fall.

Michael Grant:
Chip U'Ren, thanks for joining us and filling us in. If you would like information about upcoming shows or for that matter past shows, you can visit the website. You'll find that at azpbs.org. Once you get there, click on the word Horizon to get to the show's home page.

Larry Lemmons:
Governor Napolitano vetoes a measure that would have allowed undocumented immigrants to be charged with trespassing in our state. And a new lawsuit is filed trying to overturn the statewide aims test as a high school graduation requirement. Join us for the Journalists' Roundtable Friday at 7 on Horizon.

Michael Grant:
Coming up next, some issues through a Hispanic lens on Horizonte. Tonight taking a look at a disease that effects 20 million people, and its cause is a mystery. That's next on Horizonte. Thanks very much for joining us on Horizon. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one. Good night.


Announcer:
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