Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

April 8, 2008


Host: Ted Simons

9/11 Memorial


  • state lawmakers narrowly passed a bill to remove 12 inscriptions from Arizona's controversial 9/11 memorial in Phoenix. Rep. John Kavanagh, who sponsored the legislation, and Rep. Steve Farley, who opposes it, join us for a discussion on the measure.
Guests:
  • John Kavanaugh. - State Representative
  • Steve Farley - State Representative
  • Steve Zabiliski - Executive Director, St. Vincent de Paul


View Transcript
Ted Simons:
TONIGHT on "Horizon" state lawmakers discuss a bill. Plus an initiative created for schools to increase student achievement among minorities helps them beat the odds. Also tonight, our economy is hitting social service agencies with a double whammy. Fewer donations, increased needs. Those stories next on "Horizon." Horizon is made possible by contributions from the friends of 8, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Ted Simons:
Good evening, welcome to "horizon." I'm Ted Simons. A bill is moving ahead in the state legislature to remove as did inscriptions from the embattled Arizona 9/11 memorial. Legislation is passed by the house and moves onto the senate. In a moment, we'll talk about some of the controversies over the legislative measure. First, Merry Lucero gives us a closer look at the memorial in its current state.

Merry Lucero:
Arizona's 9/11 memorial in phoenix is a circular steel and concrete structure. Words are engraved through the metal so sunlight illuminates endescriptions on the sculpture. The inscriptions came from interviews from Arizonians involved with 9/11 and its aftermath. The memorial was built with more than 1/2 million dollars in private funds raise by the 9/11 memorial citizens commission.

Shelly Cohn:
we never intended for this to be a political issue and most -- as far as I know, all of the memorials on Wesley plaza are created by established commissions who raise their money all on their own.

Merry Lucero:
Nevertheless, the memorial has been a center of controversy since it was unveiled on 9/11 in 2006. At issue, not the design but several of the inscriptions.

Shelly Cohn:
When the controversy arose, we agreed to have public hearings on the issues raised by the newspaper and several people unhappy with the memorial. We did public meetings. We had many discussions. We listened to the citizen issues and recommended some changes that are currently underway and taking place at this moment. To take down two of the statements, to add six new statements and to create an introductory plaque that really speaks to the context of what the memorial is all about.

Merry Lucero:
Now, the memorial has a chain link fence around it for the alterations. The two inscriptions being removed via the commission's recommendations are not among 12 inscriptions targeted in proposed state legislation to change the memorial.

Shelly Cohn:
There were people in the legislature who felt the commission didn't go far enough in taking some of the inscriptions off.

Merry Lucero:
Shelly Cohn says some of the inscriptions in the legislation were discussed in the commission's public meetings but others were not raised as controversial. The commission and the artists who designed the memorial say they want to protect the focus and integrity of the peace.

Shelly Cohn:
Some of the inscriptions that are deemed controversial reflect the diverse opinions people had around 9/11. And so, for instance, there are two things right next to each other. We must bomb back. You can't fight terrorism with more bombs. Those two things are diametrically opposite. They reflect public opinion. When you take off inscriptions, you need to look at the balance of statements that are on there and that remain. And I don't know that that has been considered in the way that the bill is going forward.

Merry Lucero:
Another concern of the commission is certain statements being removed. The complexity of feelings, post-9/11 and the educational opportunities to discuss them will be lost.

Ted Simons:
Here to talk about the issue, the sponsor of the legislation to change the memorial. Representative John Kavanaugh. Joining us is Representative Steve Farley who opposes the changes. Gentlemen, thank you for joining us.

>> Thank you.

Ted Simons:
John, do you think this bill will end the controversy?

John Kavanaugh:
I believe it will. I think when the 12 phrases -- and these are the most controversial -- are removed, while everyone won't be totally happy -- which is impossible to achieve any way -- the really inflammatory phrases that are driving some people away will be gone. The memorial will be what it should be, a place where all Arizonians could gather to mourn and reflect and gather.

Ted Simons:
Why shouldn't this bill end the controversy?

Steve Farley:
I think we've seen over the past few months since the bill was introduced that the controversy has if anything intensified. There's been several very intense and emotional hearings in which people on both sides were arguing passionately which phrases should be kept? Which phrases should not be kept? No one could come to an agreement at that during the time. The commission went through a series of these hearings over the last six years. They're making changes to the memorial based that the legislature doesn't have any type of public input or public process for accountability to determine which phrases are staying and which phrases are going away. Two examples that these 12 phrases that are disappearing. There's two of them referring to the deaths of the sheik community killed shortly after 9/11 because people thought they were Muslim. The sheik community felt very strongly these ought to be included. I don't think they'll be very happy when they find out this bill wants them to be excluded.

Ted Simons:
What do you make of that? The idea is 9/11, what led to the event and the aftermath, should that not be included?

John Kavanaugh:
That wasn't idea. This was supposed to be a memorial about the events of 9/11.That's really the root of this controversy. Most people expected to see a standard memorial when you go to see the Arizona memorial or the code memorial we recently dedicated on the mall this commission had a different concept. They went away from the memorial concept. This is more like a 9/11 center or museum. If you go to the Reagan or Nixon museums, you see references to Iran contra or Watergate. This is not a museum. This is a memorial. It's not supposed to provoke. And the commission members stated that their intent was to provoke you that I don't think the people want that. I don't think the people want the controversy that divide us and disrespect the positions of 9/11.

Ted Simons:
maybe not to provoke but certainly to reflect. And in terms reflection, I mean, should you not show the anger and the confusion of the country because of 9/11?

John Kavanaugh:
It's not on a memorial! A memorial is not meant to be a place to cause discussion and debate. A memorial is a place to go and remember and to mourn. Discussing issues of what might have caused it and the wisdom of what we did afterwards might be fine for 9/11 center or a school study program, but this is like a gravestone. When you go to your rel'tis' gravestone, he has it says "beloved husband. "toy doesn't have an asterisk, he beat his wife five years ago. It's not appropriate for a memorial.


Steve Farley:
I heard a very moving testimony from survivors of people whose relatives were killed in the 9/11 attacks. During the testimony of this bill, they made very clear the last thing they wanted was a gravestone. They already had a gravestone for their loved ones. They wanted a place where people could come together and remember and think about what it is that makes us American. How we can have differing opinions and yet we don't kill each other. We come together and we come up with something that remembers what makes us great and how the freedom of expression and freedom is what we stand for. And I think we really saw that what one of those survivors, her brother, was killed in attacks, she said in front of the committee that when she was there at the dedication, she felt embraced by all of Arizona. It was such a moving experience for her, the way that this turned out and the design of the memorial.

Ted Simons:
That said, a statement like you don't win battles of terrorism with more battles, is this the memorial for that statement?


Steve Farley:
As Shelley Cohn expressed in the piece before this. That one is together adjacent to a phrase that says "must bombback." I think it captures the sort of complex and confused feeling as we felt in the weeks and months following that. And I think that's the purpose of this entire memorial. Let's think about it. What happened? Who are we? What are we thinking? What do you we think now?

Ted Simons:
What was the opposition when this process was occurring?


John Kavanaugh:
It was nonexistent. No one had any idea the memorial would contain these types of inflammatory phrases. When it did become public, when the phrases were printed in newspapers, that's when a statewide controversy erupted that controversy remains to this day. That's what I need -- that's what I'm trying to remove.

Ted Simons:
Can you accept and those who just simply see things on that memorial that bother them, can you accept that there are those who are moved and touched by it and thus it is a public memorial that serves that purpose?


John Kavanaugh:
FBI agents issued a July 2000 memo wanting the congress questions whether the CIA didn't prevent the attacks. What purpose in terms of a memorial does accusing the government of knowing about this and doing nothing, fear of foreigners, does it really do anything good for Arizona to suggest we're a bunch of zenophobes? I don't see a purpose to the phrases I'm trying to remove.

Ted Simons:
Does a memorial involving something so sensitive as 9/11 include questions and criticisms?

Steve Farley:
I think a memorial should make us think. There were a lot of questions that were raised by attacks in the first place. Our airwaves were filled with questions. Why are they doing this to us? What happened? What should we do now? How should we strike back? What should we do? I think this does capture that "what happened?" I think future generations will be able to see that. This is a six-year process with endless public hearings and a completely public process where the 9/11 memorial commission held meeting and hearing after hearing and vote after vote after they decide on this, they heard more public input, even though they didn't have to. They thought it was finished and they made more changes in response to that public input. All of this was one did completely private money. Now we're trying to tell the private money what they should do based on the whims of the legislature.

John Kavanaugh:
It's a public memorial. It belongs to the people. It should be acceptable to the people. My changes will also be funded with private donations. I went to the code talker's memorial dedication within sight of the 9/11 a few weeks ago. It's a respectful memorial that lets you remember those great men for what they did it doesn't have references to Wounded Knee or they stole our land. Totally inappropriate it would have disrespected the code talkers. Just like these inscriptions disrespect the victims and embarrass the state.

Ted Simons:
I want to ask you the same question I asked john. That is personally and for those that seem in a similar position of yourself, can you see where some would find some of these inscriptions unpatriotic and thus not necessarily a memorial representing much of the public?

Steve Farley:
I can definitely see how people would object to certain phrases within them. I object to certain phrases within them. I don't object to the underlying concept that we as Americans are stronger because we can hear things we disagree with and accept them as the legitimate opinions of other Americans. I think that's what makes this memorial very powerful. I don't really see that there's a solution in the future where you can get all the people to agree which phrases are important and which are not. This is obviously a very important memorial to a lot of people. To some people, it's important because they don't like the phrases on it and they think it ought to be changed and so other people, they think it's absolutely perfect and captures the spirit of who America is and it honors the memory of those who've they lost.

John Kavanaugh:
I've whittled it down to the 54 to the 12 most offensive. These are the 12 that are keeping most Arizonian as way I saw a retired firefighter at a hearing cry over the presence of these phrases which keep him and his family away and people that visit because he thinks it's so disrespectful to his former comrades. Something needs to be done. 9/11 isn't republican, democrat, conservative or liberal. It belongs to everyone and that monument should have the offensive phrases removed so everyone could feel comfortable going there.

Ted Simons: It may not be partisan but we're seeing a lot of that right now as far as some of the votes are going. Steve, where do you see this -- what happens in the senate here? What can you tell? And further I know no one wants to predict what the governor wants to do but I think she certainly seemed inclined to go along with the changes.

Steve Farley:
I can't speak for the governor. She made statements that I think she believes strongly of the good work of the 9/11 commission including its chair Billy shields and how hard it was to be able to make the decisions they'd been making and how good of a memorial we've ended up because of it. I know it's been a side to various committees in the senate. I'm unclear whether or not it'll be brought to the floor. Regardless, we'll see the changes happen and be done in June any way. The commission agreed upon that I think we'll end up with something that people will be embracing.

Ted Simons:
Thank you ,gentlemen.

Steve Farley:
Thank you.

Ted Simons:
Why some schools with Latino children beat the odds and others don't. That began as a national study by the center of Arizona and the Morrison institute for public policy in ASU. It focused on 12 Arizona elementary and middle schools with mostly Latino students who were mostly low income. Students were beating the odds in reading and math scores. Following the study, an education initiative was created to take the study's findings and put them into a framework schools and educators can follow. Nadine Arroyo shows us how one school is implementing the initiative.

Nadine Arroyo:
Reciting the sounds of the alphabet may sound as part of the daily lessons in a kindergarten class. At holiday park elementary school in phoenix, it's actually part of the student goals, goals they're expected to take responsibility for and take pride in.

Student:
My sister knows how to read and I want to know how, too.

Nadine Arroyo:
Setting and reaching goals are one of a few methods to achieving academic success at Holiday Park elementary. This is not exclusive to students. Teachers are also expected to identify their goals for each student and assure they both succeed. This is part of an initiative called "beat the odds."

Teacher:
Do you remember the title of the book I just read to you?

Student:
Green ham and eggs.

Teacher:
Green eggs and ham.

Nadine Arroyo:
Holiday Park is one of 27 k through 12 schools participating in the program, all of which are predominantly low income and Latino majority. This is proving Arizona students regardless of their race and economic status could learn and achieve academics.

Deby Valadez:
We looked at data before, we'd get our benchmark results or this or that but we never really looked at here they are and here's a name that goes with it. All the teachers have the learning logs, what skill, who is the specific kiddos. So now it's not just numbers out there. We're like, ok. This person needs this.

Nadine Arroyo:
Beat the odds applies three basic categories, discipline thought, discipline people and discipline action. The principal along with the teachers work together to identify challenges. Best teaching practices, possible resources and each individual teacher's action plan as well. The concept isn't to teach for teaching but teach to learn.

Roberta Barraza:
I've taught but my daily assessment of the children, I find myself looking into the children more than I have before. I've done assessment before when I needed to. Every quarter, I've had to do it now I integrate it into my daily teaching. I find myself looking into children more than ever before. Guiding my instruction through data.

Nadine Arroyo:
The program spans from a national study called why some schools with Latino children beat the odds and others don't. A study conducted jointly with the Morrison institute for public policy in Arizona state university. The study found with implementing key elements within a school's control, all students could achieve at or above grade level. The key ingredient, teachers at each grade level working and coming together as a team to identify how to best help struggling students while assuring continued success of those that require less guidance. These teachers say this new approach works.

Dana Bailey:
I love having the support of my team. It makes a huge difference. Last year, I was planning everything myself. I have trying to have my lower students move up by myself. Now it's like, I'm a team. I have other people I can rely on I think that's a huge part of my individual progress as a teacher.

Roberta Barraza:
We actually say our scores out loud and talk about, ok, how many children do we have at this level? At first it was hard to get passed that, I have this many students below. What am I going to do? Now it's, we're working together as a team. We're working together. What can we do to make children learn?

Nadine Arroyo:
The program requires all teachers to work together to assist in the success of the program and that of the students including special class teachers such as art, music and even physical education teachers.

Deby Valadez:
This year, that has really been grade level groups meetings and looking at data. Here are the kiddos that aren't making it? How can we help each other? What are you doing for yours? What are you doing for them? Leadership meetings, they bring their data, who is getting it? Who is not? How can we help? Our special area, art, music and PE teachers, if they have a break, they're pulling in the kiddos that are struggling. It's really at looking at every child.

Nadine Arroyo:
For the 27 participate schools including Holiday Park elementary, the program ends this school year. But holiday park school teachers say the lessons learned from the programs are from now on part of their teaching guidelines.

Roberta Barraza:
I see myself as a better teacher assessing wise, assessing and meeting goals for myself. I was always meeting goals. Now I find myself successful in that sense. I'm looking forward to next year with this mind-set because I'm learning it now. But now to integrate -- I'm integrating it now but for it to come natural. It's challenging. It's challenging for myself. I have to find myself saying, ok, I need to do this. I need to do that. Not need to, but it's part of a routine now. It's becoming part of a routine. So as a better teacher. Whatever it takes working together as a team.

Ted Simons:
Social service agencies that provide food assistance and temporary shelter say the economy is hitting them way double-edged sword. Families are facing foreclosures and layoffs and seeking more assistance while individuals and business haves less liquid capital to make charitable donations. Joining us now to talk about how they're dealing with that as well as fund-raising and awareness event coming up is Steve Zabiliski, executive director of St. Vincent de Paul. Good to have you here.

Steve Zabiliski:
Thanks for having me.

Ted Simons: Good to have you here, but we got you here because it sounds like with the economy the way it is, you could use our help.

Steve Zabiliski:
It's tough right now. As people struggle with what we see in the economy every day it affects charities like St. Vincent de Paul in two ways. First it puts pressure on our donations as people that typically support us find it more difficult to do that. On the other side, we have more and more people coming to our charity dining rooms and medical clinic and dental clinic, homeless shelter or seeking assistance to help them with rent or utilities.

Ted Simons:
What are you looking for as far as donations? Obviously, money helps but what else?

Steve Zabiliski:
Money is certainly an important thing that allows us to fund literally the millions of dollars a year that we provide in direct services, particularly in rent and utilities that keep people from becoming homeless. In addition to that, since we have a series of thrift stores, five in Maricopa county, in fact, we just opened a new thrift store this week in chandler off Arizona avenue and Warner, people could donate really anything you have in your home we can use in our thrift store. A couch, table, chair, lamp, clothing, anything at all you use, we can use.

Ted Simons:
In the poor economic times, I would think maybe a thrift store might be doing better business than usual?

Steve Zabiliski:
It does in certain respects. The problem is you don't get as many donations. When people don't go out and buy a new refrigerator, we don't get the used refrigerator that we can sell or give away. We give away much of the merchandise in our thrift stores we have.

Ted Simons:
You mentioned donations in terms of objects, material, cash, and donating of yourself is a factor as well?

Steve Zabiliski:
That's in our mission station statement. St. Vincent de Paul serves the poor and gives others the opportunity to serve. The work is done by more than the 10,000 volunteers, individuals, businesses, families, corporations, organizations that come down and share their time and share their talent doing the work of the society.

Ted Simons:
We talked about what the economy is doing to a great extent regarding the services. How are you meeting the challenges?

Steve Zabiliski:
It's not easy. Fortunately we had a reserve fund. It's only half of what it was a year ago. So we're struggling a little bit. We have to make very difficult decisions on who we can serve and how long we can help someone. It's not easy. The other thing we do is we're more aggressive in the fund-raising as one example; we have a big fund-raising breakfast coming up this Thursday, April 10, at the Arizona Biltmore.

Ted Simons:
The call to care breakfast? Talk more about that.

Steve Zabiliski:
Right, it's the call to care breakfast. No charge to attend this breakfast. People could come to the Arizona Biltmore at 7:30 in the morning. They'll learn about St. Vincent de Paul, the work of our dining room, ministers and homeless shelter. Then they have the opportunity if they so choose at the end of the breakfast to make a donation. If they choose to. Most people do. But they don't have to.

Ted Simons:
So it's not only a fundraiser effort, it's a way to get awareness?

Steve Zabiliski:
That's exactly what it is.

Ted Simons:
Um, again, we're talking the Biltmore Thursday?

Steve Zabiliski:
The Biltmore Thursday April 10th at 7:30 a.m., if people would like more information call us at 602-261-6801 or gost.vincentdepaul.net. There's no charge to attend.

Ted Simons:
We have that information on the screen right now. Before we let you go, I have to ask you, you know what you're doing, you've been doing this 11 years, is that right?

Steve Zabiliski:
11 years.

Ted Simons:
11 years when you go home, you must feel good about what you do?

Steve Zabiliski:
well, what's most rewarding is not only seeing all the people that have been helped that day in our clinic -- I was at our homeless shelter today, for example, and got to visit with the people there but seeing the volunteers, the men and women, those who are retired, the young children who come down with families, the businesses, the Arizona diamondbacks, for example are regular volunteers at St. Vincent de Paul. Qwest communications comes down, APS employees; we literally have hundreds and hundreds of businesses that come down. To see these people who are all busy, that have difficult lives and challenging lives, yet they recognize that giving back to society making Arizona a better community is something that they're really proud do. To see that is very humbling.

Ted Simons:
All right. Thank you very much for joining us.

Steve Zabiliski:
My pleasure.

Ted Simons:
It's AIMS test week. We'll talk about the pros and cons of the high-stakes exam and the color of this map bay is real estate risks in your neighborhood. Find out more tomorrow on "horizon." Please visit azpbs.org/horizon for video and transcripts of this program. That's it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you for joining us. You have a great evening. Horizon is made possible by from contributions from the friends of 8, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

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