Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

April 13, 2005


Host: Jose Cardenas

Mary Robinson


  • A locally-based international humanitarian organization gets some support from a global leader, Mary Robinson, the former United Nations High Commissioner for human rights and the former president of Ireland.
Guests:
  • Claudia Walters - Mesa Vice Mayor
  • Janie Thom - Mesa city councilmember


View Transcript
>> José Cárdenas:
Tonight on "Horizon," this cotton field in Mesa is a prime piece of real estate at the center of a contentious fight. The battle is over a tax incentive package for the Riverview development.

>>José Cárdenas:
Plus, a locally based international humanitarian organization gets some support from a global leader, Mary Robinson, the former United Nations High Commissioner for human rights and the former president of Ireland. That's next on "Horizon."

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

>>José Cárdenas:
Good evening, I'm José Cárdenas filling in tonight for Michael Grant. Welcome to "Horizon." First up, Governor Janet Napolitano has vetoed a bill that would have allowed pharmacies and healthcare institutions to refuse to fill certain prescriptions or provide certain services, namely, those related to emergency birth control. Napolitano said the bill burdened women in particular and would have likely met successful challenges in court.

>>José Cárdenas:
The battle over a proposed shopping center in Mesa is one of the hottest issues in the May 17 election. Early voting for that election begins tomorrow. At the center of the debate, the Riverview project, a proposed a 250-acre development with a Bass Pro Shops store, a super Wal-Mart, and other stores. Propositions 300, 301 and 302, must all be passed by voters to approve an $80 million tax incentives package for the developer of the project. Opponents of the proposal say there are plenty of developers who would build there without the incentives. Supporters say the retail is needed to bolster Mesa's lagging economy. Here to talk about Riverview, in support of the project is Mesa Vice Mayor Claudia Walters. And with a differing view, Mesa city councilmember Janie Thom. Thank you for joining us on "Horizon."

>> Claudia Walters:
Thank you.

>>José Cárdenas:
The focus has been on Riverview, but incentives and proposals are all around the valley. Tell us about some of them.

>> Claudia Walters:
Chandler used them, Scottsdale did it with the expansion of the Nordstrom's. There has been an auto mall in Gilbert that they have included very large incentives and over the border from Mesa and Tempe, there is the project that's going in there that is about a mile and a half away from the proposed Riverview development and that has a major incentive, about $91 million.

>>José Cárdenas:
We'll talk a little bit later about the fact that the legislature has got some proposals there to deal with this whole issue of incentives, and they are not just focusing on Mesa, but Tempe, Chandler, but let's talk about the Riverview project. What are the incentives being offered?

>> Claudia Walters:
The incentives are based on the revenue generated on the site. It's anticipated that over the lifetime of the incentive deal, that about -- approximately $84 million would go back to the developer. It's capped at 20 years and they are getting a percentage back of the revenues that are generated from the site. They are also getting interest. That's why the interest goes up so high. A lot of times when you see these packages people only talk about the base amount, they don't recognize that in the Scottsdale deal, they were paying 9\% interest and the Chandler deal, 9\% interest and that drives the actual numbers up much higher. Ours we're talking about the interest and it comes up to about $84 million, but that's a share of the revenue that's coming in. We required the developer to take the up-front risk.

>>José Cárdenas:
Councilmember Thom, why do all three propositions have to be passed in order for this to come out the way the proponents are look for.

>> Janie Thom:
When councilmember Walters explained the incentives and the dollar amounts, that refers mostly to the development agreement. The -- what is referred is the general plan amendment and zoning amendments for the property. Right now it's rural property. It's a farm -- and that's the way it's been for about 109 years. I was not a part of the petition drive to put this measure on the ballot. There is a question of legislative actions and that is what is being referred, is the council's legislative action that was the general plan and zoning amendments. The incentives are a part of the development agreement, and my position is that we should not approve this project because there is considerable question as to whether or not the incentives will be able to be met with the sales tax that is going to be generated on site. We have a brand new study, Tim Hogan, professor emeritus of economics issued a press release. He says in any scenario, Riverview will not produce $170 million in new tax revenue over 30 years as Riverview developers and Mesa councilpersons have insisted. Instead, that revenue will be no greater than $21 to $56 million over a 34-year period.

>>José Cárdenas:
Vice mayor Walters, why should people vote yes on all three of these, especially in light of information such as what was just read to us.

>> Claudia Walters:
In fairness that, information comes from someone who was hired by those opposing the development. What it does not take into account is that Mesa is losing revenue to neighboring cities that are offering these incentives. It assumes that Mesa is on an island and that we can make decisions unilaterally to do something different than everyone else is doing, and still move ahead and be able to finance our city. We are in competition with neighboring cities for sales tax and if we don't have these kinds of developments go forward, then our tax revenues walk across the border. In point of fact, over the last 20 years, we have had declining revenue from sales tax when adjusted for population and inflation in Mesa. We've had a 20-year decline of about 20\%. Some of this is undoubtedly because people are going to shop at neighboring communities that have offered incentives and brought in these big developments. And what this study does not seem to take into account is revenue that is not going to be in Mesa any longer, the lost revenue. They are only talking about additional new revenue.

>>José Cárdenas:
Councilmember Thom, as somebody who lives in the East Valley, I'm quite familiar with the fiesta mall. It does seem to have lost its appeal. You have competition from Chandler. Isn't the vice mayor right, that we need some kind of major effort to revive the Mesa economy?

>> Janie Thom:
There has been a great amount of concern about fiesta mall, and I like fiesta mall. It's one of my favorite places. The mall itself is a class A mall. It was just sold for $134 million. There is no problem with the mall itself. The surrounding area is a problem. A lot of the stores are closed and a lot of the restaurants are closed north and east of the mall. And that has been a concern. There is some new redevelopment going on in the area, some of the stores that were closed have been reopened with new businesses in them. So we look forward to that happening. There is also a possibility that new uses around there could pop up, but 73 -- according to another study that I have, 73\% of the people who live in west Mesa now shop at fiesta mall, and there is great concern that the Riverview development will cannibalize, if you will, the stores at fiesta mall.

>>José Cárdenass:
It could cause more damage?

>> Janie Thom:
It could cause damage. In addition to that, there is a Wal-Mart on Main Street, and the proposal does include a new Wal-Mart on this site. That's great. I like Wal-Mart, I'm a Wal-Mart shopper, however, if that Wal-Mart -- right now all of the sales tax, city sales tax collected at that site goes into the city treasury. If that Wal-Mart closes and moves to Riverview, only a portion of that city's sales tax will go to the city, whereas most of it, 50\% in the first 10 years and 75\% in the second 10 years will go to the developer. So, there will be a net loss of sales taxes far as that particular corporation is concerned.

>> Claudia Walters:
That was certainly figured in when the city was looking at the numbers. In terms of Fiesta Mall, as councilmember Thom just pointed out, Westcor, which say very well known developer parent company, recently purchased fiesta mall knowing full well that the Riverview project was in the works and so was the Tempe marketplace project. It's naive to suggest that the Tempe marketplace would not have the same kind of impact on Fiesta Mall. Once again, this notion that somehow Mesa is an island unto itself and people won't cross those borders is naive.

>>José Cárdenas:
Vice mayor, speaking of numbers, what about revenue, jobs, what do you anticipate it would produce?

>> Claudia Walters:
The projections that we have are that it could produce up to $170 million in net revenues to the city that's net. In terms of the jobs, using the calculations that are used in terms of square footage and that are generally accepted, it would be about 5,000 jobs. That's a range of jobs. Everyone keeps focusing on just the retail component of this. There is an automotive component and 48 acres of Business Park in this. All of the focus seems to have been on Wal-Mart, which does not have any incentives, as a matter of fact it's specifically precluded in the development agreement from having incentives and there has been a lot of focus on the bass store.

>>José Cárdenas:
Councilmember Thom are you concerned about the quality of the jobs that would be created?

>> Janie Thom:
Yes, I certainly am. Most of this project is supposed to be retail development, and we all like to go to nice stores and restaurants, however, they are not offering prime wages at retail stores. A lot of them are just minimum wage, and we estimate, actually, that there could be a total of 1200 retail jobs at the site. I just feel that the 5,000 figure that we're hearing is grossly overestimated. If we had heard an announcement that there would be a major credit processing or manufacturing employer coming to that site, airbus, 3 M, Bank of America, something like that, I would say, yes, maybe we could have 5,000 jobs.

>>José Cárdenas:
You would be in favor of an incentive package for that?

>> Janie Thom:
Probably, but there is a difference between reasonable incentives and unreasonable incentives. On this site, I did vote for some of the incentives. There is $1.8 million involved in this for the theaters and the restaurants that will be in phase I of the development. And I -- because those incentives will be used for infrastructure, which is a new road that will go east off of Dobson Road and also water and sewer lines, I thought that was reasonable, and I voted for that. I've also voted for incentives at other projects in Mesa, but $84 million is a huge amount of money, and when I'm talking about reasonable incentives, pretty much that figure is below $15 million, and that would be only for something that is supposed to generate much more than the figures we're talking about.

>> Claudia Walters:
The problem with that is that --

>> Janie Thom:
The jobs itself is not a huge generator of sales tax income, and that is why they are asking for the incentives, that and the fact that they like to have a free store wherever they go.

>>José Cárdenas:
Let's do this before we come back to Riverview. I want to make sure we talk about what's going on at the legislature, because as you pointed out at the beginning, incentives is an issue all over the valley. Can you tell us what's happening right now at the legislature?

>> Claudia Walters :
Well, the legislature has considered the last couple of years some bills that would limit the ability of cities to have shared revenue or rebates or whatever you want to call it, tax incentives on retail sales. The problem has been that when it comes down to it, the bills that have been brought forward are generally Maricopa County only. In Mesa that's not helpful. We border Pinal County with a lot of our territory, Apache Junction, Queen Creek, and just Pinal County, and my support has been for a statewide ban. Mart of fact, Mesa was very late to the sales tax incentive game, and we have been losing as a result of it. We haven't talked too much about the car dealer issue but that's been a huge issue for us. My support has been for something statewide, but in the meantime, I can only wonder why this group would want to tie Mesa's hands and no one else's.

>>José Cárdenas:
Councilmember Thom there are people who are opposed to incentives, but some feel that should be decided at the city level. Should the legislature be involved and control everybody regardless of the circumstances?

>> Janie Thom:
The legislature has a perfect right to legislate as far as incentives are concerned. I haven't lobbied for or against that, and I'm just kind of waiting to see what they decide to do. I don't have a very strong opinion on that, because I know that our legislators are also interested in this issue. Five of the legislators that represent Mesa have weighed in on the issue and they are opposed to it. Three of them represent district 22, which is the part of Mesa that is south of Power Road and east of -- or south of Main Street and east of Power Road. That is about 30\% of the city, and all three legislators that represent that district are opposed to this project, even though they may be weighing in another manner in the incentives.

>> Claudia Walters:
That's misleading.

>>José Cárdenas:
You get the final shot here.

>> Claudia Walters:
Thank you. We only wanted to do incentives in Mesa, we determined, if we could get a special project. This is a special project. The bass pro shop brings in people from all over. It would generate new revenue from Mesa. This is the kind of thing worthy of an incentive. I support the statewide clamp down. I would ask people to consider why one city should get incentives and not another, and why legislators who live in Gilbert would stand up against something in Mesa and they didn't stand up against the incentives in their own community. We need a level playing field for cities and we don't have that today. I'll work for that, but until then, I have to stand up for Mesa.

>>José Cárdenas:
We'll leave it there for now, vice mayor Walters and Councilmember Thom, thank you for joining us on "Horizon."

>> Claudia Walters:
Thank you.

>>José Cárdenas:
The International Foundation for Education and Self-Help or IFESH, based in Scottsdale, is a nongovernmental, nonprofit charitable organization that supports humanitarian work in sub-Saharan Africa. Its mission is to reduce hunger and poverty, empower the local community by raising literacy, and to foster cultural social and economic relations between Americans and Africans. IFESH was established under the vision and leadership of the late Reverend Leon Sullivan. His daughter, Dr. Julie Sullivan, has taken the helm of IFESH as president and CEO and is relaunching the organization. Dr. Sullivan joins us in a moment. First, Merry Lucero spoke with an international leader who was here on behalf of IFESH.

>> Mary Robinson:
I'm really delighted to be here. I'm going to speak from the heart.

>> Reporter Merry Lucero:
Mary Robinson, the former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the former President of Ireland spoke to a gathering of Arizona community leaders in Phoenix on Monday. Robinson addressed the issue of HIV/AIDS in Africa, especially as it relates to the plight of women and children.

>> Mary Robinson:
It's really shocking what is happening, and the way I put it is on our watch. And of the 29 million in sub-Saharan Africa who are HIV positive or who have full-blown aides, 60\% are women or girls.

>> Merry Lucero:
Robinson was here for Scottsdale based IFESH, the International Foundation for Education and Self-Help which works to reduce hunger and poverty and build education, cultural and social and economic growth in South Africa. After the presentation, I spoke with Mrs. Robinson.

>>Reporter Merry Lucero:
Is the HIV/A's pandemic your biggest concern in Africa?

>> Mary Robinson:
I think it's a terrible problem because it's setting back development, it's accentuating poverty, which was already bad. Some countries have more teachers dying than they are able to train new teachers. The impact on women and girls is very striking. Girls between 15 and 24 are in some cases six times more likely than their boy/young-man counterparts to become HIV positive that's because some men think by sleeping with a virgin they cure themselves. It's because in terrible situations of poverty, sex is the only thing that a girl can sort of semi trade with for food or education.

>>Reporter Merry Lucero::
Do you think that people in the United States are isolated or insulated from the scope of the crisis in Africa?

>> Mary Robinson:
I think it's a very interesting question. People in this country responded enormously generously to the Asian tsunami partnership understand some 30\% of households did something, gave something, sent money, packaged and sent. And we have silent tsunamis and the fact that over 5,000 every day die of AIDS in Africa, means that every couple of weeks you have a tsunami out of AIDS alone.

>> Reporter Merry Lucero:
How do you do that? How do you mobilize global leaders to take action in Africa and do something that's going to make a difference?

>> Mary Robinson:
Now we have an agreed agenda at the international level, which are these millennium development goals that were decided on in September 2000. I talk a lot to audiences in this country. People don't know about them, so how come we have a global agenda that people don't know enough about? The goals being to have those in absolute poverty and hunger by 2015 help every child go to school as primary education, girls and boys. At the moment, more than 120 million children never go to school and the majority of those are girls, and then to tackle HIV and aids, environmental degradation, maternal and child mortality, et cetera, these are agreed by governments, and we're going to take stock this September in the general assembly of the progress or lack of progress that has been made, but it means that richer countries can support these goals, that governments now in development countries in Africa must pay attention to governs, tackle corruption, have independent judges, train their place. That's all part of this development. I'm more hopeful because I'm aware of a global movement called the global call for action against poverty, and three days this year, we're all going to wear a white band around our wrist, around your head, around your neck, and millions of people will be in solidarity for those in power to help to bridge the divides, because its a matter of life and death.

>> Reporter Merry Lucero:
If there's one thing that people can take away from hearing you speak or learning about the mission of IFESH, what do you wish that people would take away?

>> Mary Robinson:
I would say it's my belief, that everyone can make a difference. If you think about it, you'll know how you can make a difference. You can join one of the groups here in Arizona. You can support IFESH. You can, as a consumer, buy products that are fair trade products, coffee and other products. I'm honorary president of OXFAM. You can see what can be done to be more thought fall about these divides.

>> Reporter Merry Lucero:
Mary Robinson, thank four joining us here today.

>>José Cárdenas:
Here to talk more about IFESH, Dr. Julie Sullivan, president and CEO of IFESH. To see transcripts of your father was a world figure and established the Sullivan principles. Tell us about those.

>> Julie Sullivan:
Yes, my father was elected to the board of General Motors in 1977, and the premise of the principles was to support social conduct, ethical principles, to promote equal hiring practices in South Africa, among the blacks and the whites. To try to eradicate the system of apartheid.

>>José Cárdenas:
Now, we've talked in the package and in the intro about relaunching IFESH. 234 what sense are you relaunching it?

>> Julie Sullivan:
Really in the sense of bringing more exposure to IFESH, to bringing more community awareness of the problems in Africa that exist. Focusing on the needs of children of the poor.

>>José Cárdenas:
There are a number of areas of focus, as you've indicated, one of them being education. Now, why is that a major area of focus for IFESH?

>> Julie Sullivan:
Well, we need to support primary education sector reform in Sub-Saharan Africa so children under the age of 14 are given access to better educational opportunities. As you know, in Africa, most children do not have access to the kind of education facilities that we take for granted in the U.S. they'd have a lack of books. There is a lack of schooling facilities. Across the board, there is a major dearth of infrastructure.

>>José Cárdenas:
What about teachers?

>> Julie Sullivan:
Teachers, one of the major programs of IFESH is the teachers for Africa program. What we do is send American volunteers to Sub-Saharan Africa to train teachers in primary Ed and secondary Ed sector reform, to train the teachers in how to develop more innovative systems of learning. And, of course, you have teachers in Africa and they are very well committed and you have the reform system but what you don't have is the knowledge and expertise. That's what IFESH is trying to encourage.

>>José Cárdenas:
IFESH is involved in dealing with the serious health problems affecting Africa. We read a lot about HIV/AIDS and what it's doing to the continent. What is IFESH's involvement there?

>> Julie Sullivan:
Well, if any of the viewers have watched Hotel Rwanda, you know about the pandemic of HIV/aids. You know of public health problems that exist in Africa. Communicable diseases are rampant in Sub-Saharan Africa and there needs to be more support for public health programs. IFESH, and other organizations including president Mary Robinson's organization, realizing rights, ethical, global initiatives is supporting global health and education reform through the training of trainers, through the training of public health workers and allowing American citizens to become more aware of the problems that impact Africa. Because Africa is geographically isolated, I don't believe that many Americans are really aware of the linkages that must be made between Africa and the U.S. to actually take the steps to correct poverty, lack of clean water, lack of sanitation. Those are the areas that IFESH has concentrated on.

>>José Cárdenas:
In addition to HIV/AIDS, we're talking about tropical diseases, women's health issues. What can you tell bus that.

>> Julie Sullivan:
Nearly 70\% of all deaths occurs in children under the age of 14. Maternal health and issues like the lack of access to clean water, lack of sanitation, women are the nucleus of the household, but because educational attainment is denied to women in most Sub-Saharan African countries, they do not have the training in order to reduce the prevalence of disease among children. Of course, we talk a lot about HIV/aids, but there are other diseases as well, such as diarrhea, measles, pneumonia, polio. Polio has yet to be eradicated in Africa. It's something -- the immunization is something that most Americans take for granted.

>>José Cárdenas:
In fact, we just celebrated the anniversary of Jonas Salk and his conquest of polio.

>> Julie Sullivan:
Yes, yes, but it's something that's still highly prevalent in most Sub-Saharan African regions. Again, it's putting a spotlight on awareness, that there is a need, that Africa has to make very big jumps between the state of not having access to resources, funding, infrastructure --

>>José Cárdenas:
Is that the principal issue, funding? Because some of the solutions are relatively inexpensive, mosquito nets, $1.50 for a birthing kit?

>> Julie Sullivan:
Well, I don't know that the solution is funding alone. The solution is greater interest in the problems of Africa. Whenever you have a situation in Rwanda where you have a genocide and the international community turns a blind eye, you become aware that it's more of a matter of people being able to feel in touch with the problems of people who live very far away from them.

>>José Cárdenas:
Dr. Sullivan, we're running out of time, but thank you for joining us and talking about this most important issue.

>> Julie Sullivan:
Thank you very much. It was a pleasure.

>>José Cárdenas:
To see transcripts of "Horizon" and find out about upcoming topics, go to our web site, www.azpbs.org.

>> Reporter Mike Sauceda:
Arizona's housing market is on fire. We're setting record prices for new and resale homes and the level of sales continues at a blistering pace. We'll talk to two local economists about the housing market, plus gas prices are setting records as well. A representative of the Triple-A will discuss why prices are up. That's Thursday at 7:00 on "Horizon."

>>José Cárdenas:
Thanks so much for joining us tonight on "Horizon." I'm José Cárdenas. Good evening. Have a good night.

Mesa Riverview Project


  • A cotton field in Mesa is a prime piece of real estate at the center of a contentious fight. The battle is over a tax incentive package for the Riverview development.
Guests:
  • Claudia Walters - Mesa Vice Mayor
  • Janie Thom - Mesa city councilmember


View Transcript
>> José Cárdenas:
Tonight on "Horizon," this cotton field in Mesa is a prime piece of real estate at the center of a contentious fight. The battle is over a tax incentive package for the Riverview development.

>>José Cárdenas:
Plus, a locally based international humanitarian organization gets some support from a global leader, Mary Robinson, the former United Nations High Commissioner for human rights and the former president of Ireland. That's next on "Horizon."

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

>>José Cárdenas:
Good evening, I'm José Cárdenas filling in tonight for Michael Grant. Welcome to "Horizon." First up, Governor Janet Napolitano has vetoed a bill that would have allowed pharmacies and healthcare institutions to refuse to fill certain prescriptions or provide certain services, namely, those related to emergency birth control. Napolitano said the bill burdened women in particular and would have likely met successful challenges in court.

>>José Cárdenas:
The battle over a proposed shopping center in Mesa is one of the hottest issues in the May 17 election. Early voting for that election begins tomorrow. At the center of the debate, the Riverview project, a proposed a 250-acre development with a Bass Pro Shops store, a super Wal-Mart, and other stores. Propositions 300, 301 and 302, must all be passed by voters to approve an $80 million tax incentives package for the developer of the project. Opponents of the proposal say there are plenty of developers who would build there without the incentives. Supporters say the retail is needed to bolster Mesa's lagging economy. Here to talk about Riverview, in support of the project is Mesa Vice Mayor Claudia Walters. And with a differing view, Mesa city councilmember Janie Thom. Thank you for joining us on "Horizon."

>> Claudia Walters:
Thank you.

>>José Cárdenas:
The focus has been on Riverview, but incentives and proposals are all around the valley. Tell us about some of them.

>> Claudia Walters:
Chandler used them, Scottsdale did it with the expansion of the Nordstrom's. There has been an auto mall in Gilbert that they have included very large incentives and over the border from Mesa and Tempe, there is the project that's going in there that is about a mile and a half away from the proposed Riverview development and that has a major incentive, about $91 million.

>>José Cárdenas:
We'll talk a little bit later about the fact that the legislature has got some proposals there to deal with this whole issue of incentives, and they are not just focusing on Mesa, but Tempe, Chandler, but let's talk about the Riverview project. What are the incentives being offered?

>> Claudia Walters:
The incentives are based on the revenue generated on the site. It's anticipated that over the lifetime of the incentive deal, that about -- approximately $84 million would go back to the developer. It's capped at 20 years and they are getting a percentage back of the revenues that are generated from the site. They are also getting interest. That's why the interest goes up so high. A lot of times when you see these packages people only talk about the base amount, they don't recognize that in the Scottsdale deal, they were paying 9\% interest and the Chandler deal, 9\% interest and that drives the actual numbers up much higher. Ours we're talking about the interest and it comes up to about $84 million, but that's a share of the revenue that's coming in. We required the developer to take the up-front risk.

>>José Cárdenas:
Councilmember Thom, why do all three propositions have to be passed in order for this to come out the way the proponents are look for.

>> Janie Thom:
When councilmember Walters explained the incentives and the dollar amounts, that refers mostly to the development agreement. The -- what is referred is the general plan amendment and zoning amendments for the property. Right now it's rural property. It's a farm -- and that's the way it's been for about 109 years. I was not a part of the petition drive to put this measure on the ballot. There is a question of legislative actions and that is what is being referred, is the council's legislative action that was the general plan and zoning amendments. The incentives are a part of the development agreement, and my position is that we should not approve this project because there is considerable question as to whether or not the incentives will be able to be met with the sales tax that is going to be generated on site. We have a brand new study, Tim Hogan, professor emeritus of economics issued a press release. He says in any scenario, Riverview will not produce $170 million in new tax revenue over 30 years as Riverview developers and Mesa councilpersons have insisted. Instead, that revenue will be no greater than $21 to $56 million over a 34-year period.

>>José Cárdenas:
Vice mayor Walters, why should people vote yes on all three of these, especially in light of information such as what was just read to us.

>> Claudia Walters:
In fairness that, information comes from someone who was hired by those opposing the development. What it does not take into account is that Mesa is losing revenue to neighboring cities that are offering these incentives. It assumes that Mesa is on an island and that we can make decisions unilaterally to do something different than everyone else is doing, and still move ahead and be able to finance our city. We are in competition with neighboring cities for sales tax and if we don't have these kinds of developments go forward, then our tax revenues walk across the border. In point of fact, over the last 20 years, we have had declining revenue from sales tax when adjusted for population and inflation in Mesa. We've had a 20-year decline of about 20\%. Some of this is undoubtedly because people are going to shop at neighboring communities that have offered incentives and brought in these big developments. And what this study does not seem to take into account is revenue that is not going to be in Mesa any longer, the lost revenue. They are only talking about additional new revenue.

>>José Cárdenas:
Councilmember Thom, as somebody who lives in the East Valley, I'm quite familiar with the fiesta mall. It does seem to have lost its appeal. You have competition from Chandler. Isn't the vice mayor right, that we need some kind of major effort to revive the Mesa economy?

>> Janie Thom:
There has been a great amount of concern about fiesta mall, and I like fiesta mall. It's one of my favorite places. The mall itself is a class A mall. It was just sold for $134 million. There is no problem with the mall itself. The surrounding area is a problem. A lot of the stores are closed and a lot of the restaurants are closed north and east of the mall. And that has been a concern. There is some new redevelopment going on in the area, some of the stores that were closed have been reopened with new businesses in them. So we look forward to that happening. There is also a possibility that new uses around there could pop up, but 73 -- according to another study that I have, 73\% of the people who live in west Mesa now shop at fiesta mall, and there is great concern that the Riverview development will cannibalize, if you will, the stores at fiesta mall.

>>José Cárdenass:
It could cause more damage?

>> Janie Thom:
It could cause damage. In addition to that, there is a Wal-Mart on Main Street, and the proposal does include a new Wal-Mart on this site. That's great. I like Wal-Mart, I'm a Wal-Mart shopper, however, if that Wal-Mart -- right now all of the sales tax, city sales tax collected at that site goes into the city treasury. If that Wal-Mart closes and moves to Riverview, only a portion of that city's sales tax will go to the city, whereas most of it, 50\% in the first 10 years and 75\% in the second 10 years will go to the developer. So, there will be a net loss of sales taxes far as that particular corporation is concerned.

>> Claudia Walters:
That was certainly figured in when the city was looking at the numbers. In terms of Fiesta Mall, as councilmember Thom just pointed out, Westcor, which say very well known developer parent company, recently purchased fiesta mall knowing full well that the Riverview project was in the works and so was the Tempe marketplace project. It's naive to suggest that the Tempe marketplace would not have the same kind of impact on Fiesta Mall. Once again, this notion that somehow Mesa is an island unto itself and people won't cross those borders is naive.

>>José Cárdenas:
Vice mayor, speaking of numbers, what about revenue, jobs, what do you anticipate it would produce?

>> Claudia Walters:
The projections that we have are that it could produce up to $170 million in net revenues to the city that's net. In terms of the jobs, using the calculations that are used in terms of square footage and that are generally accepted, it would be about 5,000 jobs. That's a range of jobs. Everyone keeps focusing on just the retail component of this. There is an automotive component and 48 acres of Business Park in this. All of the focus seems to have been on Wal-Mart, which does not have any incentives, as a matter of fact it's specifically precluded in the development agreement from having incentives and there has been a lot of focus on the bass store.

>>José Cárdenas:
Councilmember Thom are you concerned about the quality of the jobs that would be created?

>> Janie Thom:
Yes, I certainly am. Most of this project is supposed to be retail development, and we all like to go to nice stores and restaurants, however, they are not offering prime wages at retail stores. A lot of them are just minimum wage, and we estimate, actually, that there could be a total of 1200 retail jobs at the site. I just feel that the 5,000 figure that we're hearing is grossly overestimated. If we had heard an announcement that there would be a major credit processing or manufacturing employer coming to that site, airbus, 3 M, Bank of America, something like that, I would say, yes, maybe we could have 5,000 jobs.

>>José Cárdenas:
You would be in favor of an incentive package for that?

>> Janie Thom:
Probably, but there is a difference between reasonable incentives and unreasonable incentives. On this site, I did vote for some of the incentives. There is $1.8 million involved in this for the theaters and the restaurants that will be in phase I of the development. And I -- because those incentives will be used for infrastructure, which is a new road that will go east off of Dobson Road and also water and sewer lines, I thought that was reasonable, and I voted for that. I've also voted for incentives at other projects in Mesa, but $84 million is a huge amount of money, and when I'm talking about reasonable incentives, pretty much that figure is below $15 million, and that would be only for something that is supposed to generate much more than the figures we're talking about.

>> Claudia Walters:
The problem with that is that --

>> Janie Thom:
The jobs itself is not a huge generator of sales tax income, and that is why they are asking for the incentives, that and the fact that they like to have a free store wherever they go.

>>José Cárdenas:
Let's do this before we come back to Riverview. I want to make sure we talk about what's going on at the legislature, because as you pointed out at the beginning, incentives is an issue all over the valley. Can you tell us what's happening right now at the legislature?

>> Claudia Walters :
Well, the legislature has considered the last couple of years some bills that would limit the ability of cities to have shared revenue or rebates or whatever you want to call it, tax incentives on retail sales. The problem has been that when it comes down to it, the bills that have been brought forward are generally Maricopa County only. In Mesa that's not helpful. We border Pinal County with a lot of our territory, Apache Junction, Queen Creek, and just Pinal County, and my support has been for a statewide ban. Mart of fact, Mesa was very late to the sales tax incentive game, and we have been losing as a result of it. We haven't talked too much about the car dealer issue but that's been a huge issue for us. My support has been for something statewide, but in the meantime, I can only wonder why this group would want to tie Mesa's hands and no one else's.

>>José Cárdenas:
Councilmember Thom there are people who are opposed to incentives, but some feel that should be decided at the city level. Should the legislature be involved and control everybody regardless of the circumstances?

>> Janie Thom:
The legislature has a perfect right to legislate as far as incentives are concerned. I haven't lobbied for or against that, and I'm just kind of waiting to see what they decide to do. I don't have a very strong opinion on that, because I know that our legislators are also interested in this issue. Five of the legislators that represent Mesa have weighed in on the issue and they are opposed to it. Three of them represent district 22, which is the part of Mesa that is south of Power Road and east of -- or south of Main Street and east of Power Road. That is about 30\% of the city, and all three legislators that represent that district are opposed to this project, even though they may be weighing in another manner in the incentives.

>> Claudia Walters:
That's misleading.

>>José Cárdenas:
You get the final shot here.

>> Claudia Walters:
Thank you. We only wanted to do incentives in Mesa, we determined, if we could get a special project. This is a special project. The bass pro shop brings in people from all over. It would generate new revenue from Mesa. This is the kind of thing worthy of an incentive. I support the statewide clamp down. I would ask people to consider why one city should get incentives and not another, and why legislators who live in Gilbert would stand up against something in Mesa and they didn't stand up against the incentives in their own community. We need a level playing field for cities and we don't have that today. I'll work for that, but until then, I have to stand up for Mesa.

>>José Cárdenas:
We'll leave it there for now, vice mayor Walters and Councilmember Thom, thank you for joining us on "Horizon."

>> Claudia Walters:
Thank you.

>>José Cárdenas:
The International Foundation for Education and Self-Help or IFESH, based in Scottsdale, is a nongovernmental, nonprofit charitable organization that supports humanitarian work in sub-Saharan Africa. Its mission is to reduce hunger and poverty, empower the local community by raising literacy, and to foster cultural social and economic relations between Americans and Africans. IFESH was established under the vision and leadership of the late Reverend Leon Sullivan. His daughter, Dr. Julie Sullivan, has taken the helm of IFESH as president and CEO and is relaunching the organization. Dr. Sullivan joins us in a moment. First, Merry Lucero spoke with an international leader who was here on behalf of IFESH.

>> Mary Robinson:
I'm really delighted to be here. I'm going to speak from the heart.

>> Reporter Merry Lucero:
Mary Robinson, the former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the former President of Ireland spoke to a gathering of Arizona community leaders in Phoenix on Monday. Robinson addressed the issue of HIV/AIDS in Africa, especially as it relates to the plight of women and children.

>> Mary Robinson:
It's really shocking what is happening, and the way I put it is on our watch. And of the 29 million in sub-Saharan Africa who are HIV positive or who have full-blown aides, 60\% are women or girls.

>> Merry Lucero:
Robinson was here for Scottsdale based IFESH, the International Foundation for Education and Self-Help which works to reduce hunger and poverty and build education, cultural and social and economic growth in South Africa. After the presentation, I spoke with Mrs. Robinson.

>>Reporter Merry Lucero:
Is the HIV/A's pandemic your biggest concern in Africa?

>> Mary Robinson:
I think it's a terrible problem because it's setting back development, it's accentuating poverty, which was already bad. Some countries have more teachers dying than they are able to train new teachers. The impact on women and girls is very striking. Girls between 15 and 24 are in some cases six times more likely than their boy/young-man counterparts to become HIV positive that's because some men think by sleeping with a virgin they cure themselves. It's because in terrible situations of poverty, sex is the only thing that a girl can sort of semi trade with for food or education.

>>Reporter Merry Lucero::
Do you think that people in the United States are isolated or insulated from the scope of the crisis in Africa?

>> Mary Robinson:
I think it's a very interesting question. People in this country responded enormously generously to the Asian tsunami partnership understand some 30\% of households did something, gave something, sent money, packaged and sent. And we have silent tsunamis and the fact that over 5,000 every day die of AIDS in Africa, means that every couple of weeks you have a tsunami out of AIDS alone.

>> Reporter Merry Lucero:
How do you do that? How do you mobilize global leaders to take action in Africa and do something that's going to make a difference?

>> Mary Robinson:
Now we have an agreed agenda at the international level, which are these millennium development goals that were decided on in September 2000. I talk a lot to audiences in this country. People don't know about them, so how come we have a global agenda that people don't know enough about? The goals being to have those in absolute poverty and hunger by 2015 help every child go to school as primary education, girls and boys. At the moment, more than 120 million children never go to school and the majority of those are girls, and then to tackle HIV and aids, environmental degradation, maternal and child mortality, et cetera, these are agreed by governments, and we're going to take stock this September in the general assembly of the progress or lack of progress that has been made, but it means that richer countries can support these goals, that governments now in development countries in Africa must pay attention to governs, tackle corruption, have independent judges, train their place. That's all part of this development. I'm more hopeful because I'm aware of a global movement called the global call for action against poverty, and three days this year, we're all going to wear a white band around our wrist, around your head, around your neck, and millions of people will be in solidarity for those in power to help to bridge the divides, because its a matter of life and death.

>> Reporter Merry Lucero:
If there's one thing that people can take away from hearing you speak or learning about the mission of IFESH, what do you wish that people would take away?

>> Mary Robinson:
I would say it's my belief, that everyone can make a difference. If you think about it, you'll know how you can make a difference. You can join one of the groups here in Arizona. You can support IFESH. You can, as a consumer, buy products that are fair trade products, coffee and other products. I'm honorary president of OXFAM. You can see what can be done to be more thought fall about these divides.

>> Reporter Merry Lucero:
Mary Robinson, thank four joining us here today.

>>José Cárdenas:
Here to talk more about IFESH, Dr. Julie Sullivan, president and CEO of IFESH. To see transcripts of your father was a world figure and established the Sullivan principles. Tell us about those.

>> Julie Sullivan:
Yes, my father was elected to the board of General Motors in 1977, and the premise of the principles was to support social conduct, ethical principles, to promote equal hiring practices in South Africa, among the blacks and the whites. To try to eradicate the system of apartheid.

>>José Cárdenas:
Now, we've talked in the package and in the intro about relaunching IFESH. 234 what sense are you relaunching it?

>> Julie Sullivan:
Really in the sense of bringing more exposure to IFESH, to bringing more community awareness of the problems in Africa that exist. Focusing on the needs of children of the poor.

>>José Cárdenas:
There are a number of areas of focus, as you've indicated, one of them being education. Now, why is that a major area of focus for IFESH?

>> Julie Sullivan:
Well, we need to support primary education sector reform in Sub-Saharan Africa so children under the age of 14 are given access to better educational opportunities. As you know, in Africa, most children do not have access to the kind of education facilities that we take for granted in the U.S. they'd have a lack of books. There is a lack of schooling facilities. Across the board, there is a major dearth of infrastructure.

>>José Cárdenas:
What about teachers?

>> Julie Sullivan:
Teachers, one of the major programs of IFESH is the teachers for Africa program. What we do is send American volunteers to Sub-Saharan Africa to train teachers in primary Ed and secondary Ed sector reform, to train the teachers in how to develop more innovative systems of learning. And, of course, you have teachers in Africa and they are very well committed and you have the reform system but what you don't have is the knowledge and expertise. That's what IFESH is trying to encourage.

>>José Cárdenas:
IFESH is involved in dealing with the serious health problems affecting Africa. We read a lot about HIV/AIDS and what it's doing to the continent. What is IFESH's involvement there?

>> Julie Sullivan:
Well, if any of the viewers have watched Hotel Rwanda, you know about the pandemic of HIV/aids. You know of public health problems that exist in Africa. Communicable diseases are rampant in Sub-Saharan Africa and there needs to be more support for public health programs. IFESH, and other organizations including president Mary Robinson's organization, realizing rights, ethical, global initiatives is supporting global health and education reform through the training of trainers, through the training of public health workers and allowing American citizens to become more aware of the problems that impact Africa. Because Africa is geographically isolated, I don't believe that many Americans are really aware of the linkages that must be made between Africa and the U.S. to actually take the steps to correct poverty, lack of clean water, lack of sanitation. Those are the areas that IFESH has concentrated on.

>>José Cárdenas:
In addition to HIV/AIDS, we're talking about tropical diseases, women's health issues. What can you tell bus that.

>> Julie Sullivan:
Nearly 70\% of all deaths occurs in children under the age of 14. Maternal health and issues like the lack of access to clean water, lack of sanitation, women are the nucleus of the household, but because educational attainment is denied to women in most Sub-Saharan African countries, they do not have the training in order to reduce the prevalence of disease among children. Of course, we talk a lot about HIV/aids, but there are other diseases as well, such as diarrhea, measles, pneumonia, polio. Polio has yet to be eradicated in Africa. It's something -- the immunization is something that most Americans take for granted.

>>José Cárdenas:
In fact, we just celebrated the anniversary of Jonas Salk and his conquest of polio.

>> Julie Sullivan:
Yes, yes, but it's something that's still highly prevalent in most Sub-Saharan African regions. Again, it's putting a spotlight on awareness, that there is a need, that Africa has to make very big jumps between the state of not having access to resources, funding, infrastructure --

>>José Cárdenas:
Is that the principal issue, funding? Because some of the solutions are relatively inexpensive, mosquito nets, $1.50 for a birthing kit?

>> Julie Sullivan:
Well, I don't know that the solution is funding alone. The solution is greater interest in the problems of Africa. Whenever you have a situation in Rwanda where you have a genocide and the international community turns a blind eye, you become aware that it's more of a matter of people being able to feel in touch with the problems of people who live very far away from them.

>>José Cárdenas:
Dr. Sullivan, we're running out of time, but thank you for joining us and talking about this most important issue.

>> Julie Sullivan:
Thank you very much. It was a pleasure.

>>José Cárdenas:
To see transcripts of "Horizon" and find out about upcoming topics, go to our web site, www.azpbs.org.

>> Reporter Mike Sauceda:
Arizona's housing market is on fire. We're setting record prices for new and resale homes and the level of sales continues at a blistering pace. We'll talk to two local economists about the housing market, plus gas prices are setting records as well. A representative of the Triple-A will discuss why prices are up. That's Thursday at 7:00 on "Horizon."

>>José Cárdenas:
Thanks so much for joining us tonight on "Horizon." I'm José Cárdenas. Good evening. Have a good night.

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