Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

August 14, 2008


Host: Ted Simons

Congressional and Corporation Commission Races

  |   Video
  • Learn what you need to know about congressional and corporation commission races in the upcoming primary from Arizona Capitol Times reporters Jim Small and Phil Riske.
Guests:
  • Phil Riske - Arizona Capitol Times
  • Jim Small - Arizona Capitol Times
Category: Elections

View Transcript
Ted Simons
>>> There are heated primaries in congressional districts One and Five. Plus, eight Republicans and four Democrats are running for three open seats on the Arizona Corporation Commission. Here to talk about those primary races are Phil Riske and Jim Small of the "Arizona Capitol Times."

Ted Simons
>> Gentlemen, thank you for joining us.

Phil Riske
>> Good to be here.

Ted Simons
>> Phil, let's get started with CD-5. A lot of familiar names on the Republican side going against Harry Mitchell. Who is the strongest candidate?

Phil Riske
>> Right now it appears to be David Schweikert. He has about 800 grand in the bank, aggressive television campaign. And polls show now that he is the man to beat.



Ted Simons
>> It sounds like so many folks had certain areas of the district where they are strong. Is he strong overall or is that money the deciding factor?

Phil Riske
>> I think he is probably stronger overall than some of the other more located candidates. You know, Anderson has his on constituency in the legislature, as does Knaperek. You know money talks. It doesn't guarantee a win. His money seems to be well spent, and he has got good commercials and right now I would say he is leading.

Ted Simons
>> Does it look to you that the strongest candidate out of the primary would be the strongest candidate against Harry Mitchell?

Phil Riske
>> Probably so. I will give the caveat that I think that a gentleman by the name of Jim Ogsbury, an attorney, could be a sleeper. I say that because door-to-door campaigning in Arizona seems to be very successful. He has knocked on 20,000 doors throughout the district. You might watch for him. Whether David -- David will probably be given enough money because Harry is going to have at least $2 million going in. If he has enough money, he will probably be the strongest against the incumbent.

Ted Simons
>> Anyone in the G.O.P. side capable of beating Harry Mitchell?

Phil Riske
>> I don't think so.

Ted Simons
>> Why is that? Why is he so strong?

Phil Riske
>> Harry has got quite a history in that district's politics. He taught school for -- taught history for 18 years. He knows a lot of people. He was probably the most popular mayor Tempe ever had. What it comes down to when you vote for somebody, you end up voting for somebody you like. And Harry is loved in that district. So, no, I don't think he can be beaten.

Ted Simons
>> Is anyone loved or liked in CD-1 enough to get out of the Democrat and Republican side?

Phil riske
>> I don't know if anybody is loved or not. They're all newcomers. Some have run before. Renzi retiring because of the 35 felony indictments against him. I think that Ann Kirkpatrick, former state rep, is probably -- her opponents claimed that she will be the anointed one by the party. That is probably true. Most of the national and state money will go to her. She appears to be the Democrat nominee. The polls show that Cindy Hay and she will end up in the general. Both Kirkpatrick and Hay are campaigning against each other even though the primary has not been decided.

Ted Simons
>> They're that confident. Is this thing just a total toss-up?

Phil Riske
>> I think so. A 13% Democrat voter registration advantage, but the Democrats in that district are pretty conservative. Most of the national observers say it is a toss-up.

Ted Simons
>> Corporation Commission, it seems like everyone and their brother -- how many open seats, three?

Jim Small
>> Three open seats. Four democrats and eight republicans going for the seats.

Ted Simons
>> Who is the strongest candidate, start with the republican side since there are so many?

Jim Small
>> When you have eight people, it is tough to say who is going to be the strongest candidate. We have seen races like this before in the past and for other seats like that. Get out of the primary with 14, 15% of the vote, move to the general, because you split the vote in so many ways, you know, I mean, three of these eight people will move on. I think you would probably give the advantage off the top to representative Robson. He has a track record. He has a lot of money. He has been raising money for pretty much a year and a half now with his eyes on this race. He is running with a couple of other fellow lawmakers, McClure, Stump. You have Wong, John Allen another former lawmaker who’s running, and a slate, another team of three people. Rick Fowlkes, Hobbs --

Ted Simons
>> The Democratic side now has intrigue because you have clean election gaming going on. One candidate changed his name?

Jim Small
>> Sam George was well-known in the Arizona political circles ten, even less than ten years ago, five, six years ago as Sam Majenas was his name. Dick Mahoney, the former secretary of state, he was his top aide and worked on his gubernatorial campaign. He has a lot of history in politics in the state and some of it good and some of it not so good. There are a number of people who think that is part of the reason he changed his name was to leave some of that stuff behind and come back. He is running as a team with Sandra Kennedy and Paul Newman.

Ted Simons
>> This is going to be a very important election. The Democrats might push alternative energy requirements further and perhaps some of the Republican candidates will try to get rid of it all together.

Jim Small
>> Basically all of the Democratic candidates, all four of them say that they want -- what they did now was a baby step. A couple of Republicans have come out strongly against them.

Ted Simons
>> Very good. Thank you for joining us.

small Town Challenges: Eloy Amusement Park

  |   Video
  • A new amusement park is about to hit the small town of Eloy. The legislature has approved a funding mechanism for the Decades Rock and Roll theme park, and once funding is raised, the new park is expected to create more jobs than there are workers in Eloy. Find out what city officials think about the new park.
Guests:
  • Tina Miller - Director of Communications and Community Development, Arizona Office of Tourism
Category: Business/Economy

View Transcript
Ted Simons
>>> Eloy is halfway between Arizona’s two biggest cities, yet has remained a small agricultural town for decades. That could be changing soon with the Decades Rock and Roll theme park. Backers of the park recently got a special taxing district approved to help fund the park. We end our four-part series “Small town challenges" with a look at the theme park in Eloy. I'll talk to a state tourism official about small-town tourism, but, first, Mike Sauceda tells us more about the park.

Mike Sauceda
>> It seems like the sky is the limit for Eloy now, home of an internationally-known sky diving facility, and soon to be home of the biggest amusement parks in Arizona.

Belinda Akes
>> Like Anaheim used to be -- look at what has happened there. We have so much room to grow.

Mike Sauceda
>> Like a blank slate, 84 miles of land. According to an Arizona Department of Commerce fact sheet, 69 miles from Phoenix, 52 from Tucson, off Interstate ten and near Interstate eight. In 2007, it had nearly 14,000 people. Unemployment rate of 7.7%, with a labor force of over 4,300 people. Median family income in Eloy, $29,000 annually. Double that labor force plus some would be needed for one of the theme parks, the Decades Rock and Roll theme park.

Belinda Akes
>> Over 3,500 jobs for the three years that they plan to do the build out. And once the facility is here, they’re talking five to 6,000 permanent jobs, which are going to be a real boost for Eloy and the surrounding area. The construction phase, you know what kind of jobs those entail. When the theme park is finally up and running, there will be jobs -- restaurants, hotels, people operating the rides. There will be a lot of people, management positions. There will be upper level jobs, so it will bring in people that are looking for, you know, being in a director or a management position.

Mike Sauceda
>> The theme park is expected to generate $267 million of tax revenue over ten years for the state. The city of Eloy will get about $180 million of that.

Mike Sauceda
>> Besides jobs, the theme park brings big changes to the life-style in Eloy.

Frank Acuna
>> There are people out there, small percentages that probably don’t want to lose that small town atmosphere. The important thing to look at is that it has a lot of potential to bring back those people who have gone on and gotten educated or have gone on and started careers elsewhere, and possibly bringing them back.

Mike Sauceda
>> The Decades theme park will have rides and different -- there will be 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, based on the music of the decades. The park will be built by $750 million in bonding by a special taxes district approved by the legislature. Paid back by 9% tax limited from the park and surrounding area. Promoters have to raise $100 million on their own. The legislation of the park will not -- was not approved without effort from the city of Eloy.

Frank Acuna
>> It didn't fall into our lap. They did a presentation at one of our council meetings, and I’m sure that we were all a little skeptical about it. Once they got through the presentation, you know what, I think we were all sold. I think we were all excited about what was going on. What sold me on the project was a couple of things. One, the fact that they were able to get the financing. The second thing, the experience that they brought in. Some of these people had worked for other amusement parks.

Mike Sauceda
>> The Decades theme park is not the only amusement facility planned for Eloy. Another planned for south of town.

Frank Acuna
>> Talking about a western theme amusement park dealing with Arizona, Arizona being the theme, and from what I understand, and I don't know a whole lot about it, is that they're going to incorporate Arizona history with approximately 55 different types of rides. They're supposed to have a 450 room hotel, I guess, they plan on building.

Mike Sauceda
>> Even in the heat of the day, planes take off to get parachuters high enough to sky dive over Eloy. Developers say they have plans to deal with the heat and hope to compete with nearby Disneyland.

Frank Acuna
>> Decades I think it will be a lot of fun. I think it will do well. I think a lot of people want to see something different.

Ted Simons
>> Here to talk about tourism in general and small town tourism is Tina Miller, director of communications and community development for the Arizona Office of Tourism.

Ted Simons
>> Tina, good to have you on the show.

Tina Miller
>> Thank you, delighted to be here.

Ted Simons
>> How much do small towns push tourism in Arizona?

Tina Miller
>> Tremendously. In fact, tourism is the only industry in Arizona that affects all 15 counties. All 15 counties in Arizona have something to provide the visitors an experience, wonderful amenities that Arizona offers.

Ted Simons
>> Conversely, how much do these small towns depend on tourism?

Tina Miller
>> Like I said, it is tremendous. In fact, when you look at it, the majority of visitation can come to Maricopa and Pima County. Travel-related expenditures, tax bases go, are more in the smaller communities. They're very dependent on tourism for their tax base.

Ted Simons
>> When you have folks around the country, around the world inquiring about Arizona, where places are, what to do, are they familiar with some of the smaller towns? Do they have any idea what is going on around the state?

Tina Miller
>> They do. That is our job at the Office of Tourism to introduce the vibrant communities, rich cultural heritage that Arizona has. That is what we do, internationally, domestically, even in Arizona itself.

Ted Simons
>> Considering gas prices, that controversy with people may be doing staycations as opposed to leaving town, are we seeing more of that this summer?

Tina Miller
>> We can't project numbers. Staycation, are they staying home for us? They are not cancelling vacations, changing travel patterns, staying closer to home. They may stay at a resort or they may go up north to experience some attractions there.

Ted Simons
>> Talk about some of the things under the radar, in some of the small towns, Sedona, Eloy, these kinds of places people may not be familiar with, what have you got?

Tina Miller
>> You can't forget the 124th world continuous rodeo in Payson. That is going on this weekend. That is a lot of fun. For 124 years, they have been roping cattle, tieing hogs, all of that great stuff. Apple Annie's Orchard always has something going on. There are so many different things to choose from to educate visitors about the heritage, diversity, culture of Arizona. There are lots of different things to do around the state.

Ted Simons
>> Are these things to do all year-round, or is this head up to the north, high country in the summer, desert stuff in the wintertime?

Tina Miller
>> We see that visitation in Northern Arizona increases in the summer. In the cooler months you see more in Southern Arizona. There are things going on, every single day something going on in Arizona in some corner of the community.

Ted Simons
>> In general, overall, the state of tourism in Arizona right now.

Tina Miller
>> It is great. Last year we had another record-setting year. We had 35.2 million visitors come, two million of those were international visitors. And we had 19.3 billion in tax generated tax revenues. It has been a great year for tourism. We know people are still coming to Arizona despite the economy.

Ted Simons
>> I was going to say, economy, gas prices, they're still coming.

Tina Miller
>> They are. And we are welcoming them with wide open arms.

Ted Simons
>> Thank you for joining us.

Tina Miller
>> Thank you, pleasure.

Terry Goddard

  |   Video
  • Arizona Attorney General joins us to talk about several issues, including a fight with the county over encroachment around Luke Air Force Base.
Guests:
  • Terry Goddard - Arizona Attorney General


View Transcript
Ted Simons
>>> Hello and welcome to “Horizon." I’m Ted Simons. The self-deporting program started by immigration and customs enforcement last week so far resulted in six volunteers. The self-deporting program is aimed at nearly half a million illegal aliens. Among the six who volunteered to leave the country was an Estonian from Phoenix. The pilot program in five cities ends August 22nd.

Ted Simons
>>> The state has sued the county to protect Luke Air Force Base from encroachment. The county says it is allowing development surrounding the base to protect property rights. Joining us to talk about this is Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard.

Terry Goddard
>> Luke is not only a critical asset to the national defense but the economy to Arizona. $2 billion a year in recession proof funds come in because of the payroll at Luke Air Force Base. One of the things they made clear in the annual, periodic evaluations of these bases, we in government have to protect them. We have to stand up and make sure they can continue to perform their mission. In that light, the legislature four years ago passed a statute that specifically said you cannot build residential property, you cannot build homes in the high accident potential zones, and in the high noise zones, and they asked every county and every city that had property that was affected by a national defense facility to change their state plans, excuse me, land use plans to conform with the state requirements.

Ted Simons
>> It sounds as though the county cannot legally build there, but the county says not only it can, but have to protect private property rights and to compensate some of these folks who are going to lose money.

Terry Goddard
>> We found out because of the hard work of a number of West Valley cities, Peoria in particular did a map that showed how many new building permits have been granted. Everybody knew some were being granted. There were 96 in the last almost four years that have been granted in the high accident potential zone and in the high noise zones prohibited by state law. The county is a subdivision of the state and they cannot pick and choose and say we will follow this statute and not that one. In this case that is what they did. They continued in violation of state law to grant 96 residential permits. I had to go to court and we’re going to ask for a preliminary injunction. Change your zoning plans -- you can do other things, land owners are not deprived of all of their rights. Anybody who has had property in the vicinity of a major defense facility like Luke air force base, the fact they might not know, this is not a surprise to them, that there are over 40,000 landing and takeoffs from Luke and its affiliated facilities every year. That is not a secret. Landowners knew there were restrictions and they acknowledged them. The county in essence wants to up zone their property and oh, you were not going to -- now we’re going to let you do it.

Ted Simons
>> We will keep an eye on that story as it proceeds. The crime suppression sweeps the sheriff is doing here in Maricopa County. Your department is monitoring those sweeps.

Terry Goddard
>> We know about them. The last one was frankly a surprise to a lot of people. In the Mesa sweep and certainly others, our investigators will be on the scene because we want to make sure that the peace is kept and we want to make sure that frankly the law is being followed. As long as legitimate arrests are being made for violations of the law, of course the sheriff can do that. But I’m very concerned and some of the allegations recently, people being stopped because they look like they're Latino, that goes over the line in terms of our civil rights laws.

Ted Simons
>> Have you received specific complaints to that end?

Terry Goddard
>> Yes, we have.

Ted Simons
>> That is as far as you can go on that one.

Terry Goddard
>> It is. Our jurisdiction does not go into some of these areas. Some are federal, not state crimes. There is a concern for all of us that this might go into stopping people because of who they are, not what they have done.

Ted Simons
>> Before we let you go, I know you are headed off tomorrow, talk to us about the cooperation with Mexican law enforcement.

Terry Goddard
>> I’m excited about this. A period of about a year so far of unprecedented assistance from the government of Mexico and state enforcement agencies in Mexico. For a long time, please help us with the war against drugs, problems with immigration, flood of folks coming across the border and we got no response. This new administration, they have stepped up and helped us in the fight against methamphetamine, stopping the supply being manufactured or cutting it way down from illegal facilities in Mexico. This effort that we're signing with the state of Sonora is to help with everything from stopping human trafficking across the border and on our side trying to stop the sale of illegal arms that are going to Mexico.

Ted Simons
>> Quickly, is it safe to say the Mexican government will help as far as human smuggling is concerned providing the American government helps with things like smuggled arms?


Terry Goddard
>> That is one of the things we’re agreeing to basically. We will help with law enforcement issues on our side of the border, if you will help us. They have stepped up. One of the things I’m most excited about is the possibility of doing bi-national criminal investigations, where if we have a suspect that may be in Mexico or in the United States, we will open the file on them, Mexico will, too, and we will have a much better chance of getting some of these very serious criminals.

Ted Simons
>> Thank you for joining us.

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