Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

August 11, 2008


Host: Ted Simons

small Town Challenges: Payson Water


  • We begin a four-part series looking at specific challenges Arizona's small towns face. Payson, like many other state communities, must ensure an adequate water supply for its residents. A recent deal with SRP has allowed Payson to pursue a sustainable economy.
Guests:
  • Barrett Marson - Spokesman, State House G.O.P.
  • John Laredo - Political consultant for Tequida and Gutierrez and state lawmaker


View Transcript

Ted Simons:
>>> Tonight on Horizon, the legislature's session is over, but not the politics. We'll have an update. We begin a new four-part series looking at the challenges facing small Arizona towns. Tonight Payson and water. Also how you can dispose of the new c.f.l. light bulbs properly and a conversation with former congressman Mickey Edwards who helped start the heritage foundation, next on horizon.

Ted Simons:
>>> Good evening, thanks for joining us tonight on Horizon. I'm Ted Simons. A time initiative will not be on the November ballot. It would have increased the state sales tax one penny to pay for transportation projects. The secretary of state's office disqualified proposition 203 for falling short of the required valid signatures. Joining me now to talk about that and other post session issues, state house G.O.P. spokesman Barrett Marson and a political consultant for Tequida and Gutierrez, state lawmaker John Laredo. Thanks for joining us.

Barrett Marson:
>> Good to be here.

Ted Simons:
Let's talk the time initiative, off the ballot, Barrett. What happened here?

Barrett Marson:
>> I think today was the result of when justice is met or when arrogance is met by justice and justice wins out here. And what happened was, you know, this deal, this initiative was from the very beginning filled with backroom deals, bribery, extortion, every negative thing you can think about politics it had and now it's met hopefully its final end and justice.

Ted Simons:
>> Bribery and extortion, not even on the ballot. Is that why people didn't sign up for it?

Barrett Marson:
>> Many signed the initiative but they weren't valid signatures.

John Loredo:
>> You know, I'm pretty positive this thing is going to get challenged in court. And we'll see whether or not the secretary of state brewer was accurate in knocking the different signatures off. But clearly somebody kind of dropped the ball here. My understanding they raised over a million dollars. They should have been able to buy the signatures. I'm not quite sure what happened. But clearly somebody kind of dropped the ball.

Barrett Marson:
>> Ted, I think it's really important to remember that right now there are boxes full of 18,000 signatures sitting in the home builders of central Arizona office that are just sitting there and they're now useless. There are 18,000, even if 40 or 50\% had been disqualified it would have pushed them over and we'd be talking about how it was certified today. Again, part of the arrogance, because it was the extortion deal with the home builders where they're forced to pay $100,000 to remain or to get excluded from impact fees that really was I think a crux of what people didn't like.



Ted Simons:
>> John said someone dropped the ball. Who do you think dropped the ball?

Barrett Marson:
>> The people who ran it, the consulting firm the governor's hand picked consulting firm, and if you remember early on one of the republicans firms was going to do it, a great track record. Here's a new firm, going to be their biggest thing, worth a lot of money to them, and john, am I right in that assigning blame there?

John Loredo:
>> I mean, clearly, when you're handling an initiative this large, you know, you've got to have your ts crossed and is dotted and everything else. Who knows what happened here, but clearly there's going to be a whole lot of hurt feelings on every side of this thing.

Ted Simons:
>> So funny --

John Loredo:
>> But you know, the real issue here is that if this thing doesn't make the ballot, the transportation needs of the state go unmet yet again and the whole reason we have this initiative frankly, legislature failed to do anything again on this issue, this needs to be addressed, either legislate slatively or by initiative and it hasn't been done.

Barrett Marson:
>> Remember, part of the bribery here is $1.3 billion of the initiative was going to go for land conservation. How is that addressing the transportation needs? Freeways, light rail, buses, whatever you want to say. 1.3 billion was going to buy off the conservationists. That's part of the problem with this initiative. It wasn't truly focused on --

John Loredo:
>> But those issues, you know, who knows if they're even going to get argued or not. The reality is Joe six pack voter doesn't care about this stuff. He cares about sitting in traffic for hours instead of being able to get home in time for dinner. And the reality is that this initiative was the only thing that was going to address that issue, the legislature didn't do anything. Speaker wires had a dog and pony show that he had this committee, they talked about it, they didn't do anything.

Barrett Marson:
>> I'm not sure what you're talking about.

John Loredo:
>> No transportation issue.

Barrett Marson:
>> That was the governor's committee as well.


John Loredo:
>> So the reality is legislature failed again to do anything about this thing because they don't like taxes for anything, for any reason. Something needs to be done for transportation here. So we'll see if this thing gets challenged and put back on the ballot and we'll see whether or not it passes.

Ted Simons:
>> We're also going to see whether or not a mailing campaign is going to hurt Russell Pierce in Mesa. Barrett, what is going on? These are very, very strong Mailers sent out against this guy. What's going on here?

Barrett Marson:
>> Well, I mean, I think what's going on, you're seeing an intraparty squabble going on. And they are very aggressive mailers, and I think, you know, we could maybe see a backlash on people, you know, these are one allegation is 28 years old, another is a few years old and I'm sure there's more to come, but we could see a little bit of a backlash, people not appreciating the aggressiveness of, you know, one republican going after another. In such a heavily republican district.

Ted Simons:
>> Is this the mainstream G.O.P. going after the fringe?

John Loredo:
>> I think it's the hand that delivers the money, the g.o.p. going after the G.O.P. fringe. Clearly the party is in desperate need of fund raising, I mean, they're broke. And the reason why they're broke, you know, the folks in the business community point to Russell Pierce and say you either have room in that room for him or you have room in that room for us, and clearly they're trying to get rid of pierce because of employer sanctions, I mean, look, these folks were ok when Russell was targeting the little brown skinned workers. But the sect that Russell started targeting the business owners, we got to do something about this. And they are. I haven't seen a legislative race where you've got so many independent expenditure committees focusing on knocking off one person.
You've got three of them. You've got quinlan, his judgment matters thing, Nathan Sproles, you've got Mack McGruder and Jason Vex, they're going over him with a vengeance and I don't think we've seen the pinnacle of it yet.

Barrett Marson:
>> They really are going after him, and this is the number one republican target. But remember, all employer sanctions thing was really a democrat idea. Democrats were tired of the legislature going only after the illegals. So they wanted to go after the businesses. This is democrats. And Pierce picked up on it no doubt and he's been a champion of it, but democrats started this whole idea. Senator Bill Brotherton, now a judge, really started it.

John Loredo:
>> Democrats were in the minority. The reality is it was a republican sponsored bill that made its way through a republican-controlled legislature.

Barrett Marson:
>> But the democrat governor signed it.



Ted Simons:
>> Before we go, ask you quickly how much does this hurt the G.O.P., this infighting? This is serious stuff.

Barrett Marson:
>> I don't know how much it hurts it outside of district 18, which is covers generally Mesa. West Mesa and Central Mesa. I don't know if it impacts anything in Tucson or west phoenix or anything. But this is what they're talking about in west mesa now.

Ted Simons:
>> Ok. Before we go I want to get to the voucher program for disabled and foster kids, defunded again, thoughts on where it goes from here.

Barrett Marson:
>> well, we hopefully are having a meeting, looks like the legislature's having a meeting tomorrow and there's a way to move $5 million within Tom Horn's budget, superintendent of public schools instruction tom horn's budget to fund the programs for disabled and foster kids.

Ted Simons:
>> Is it right for the speaker to be able to do that?

John Loredo:
>> Absolutely not. It's not about the kids at all. This is a test tube issue for the voucher program. If they can get this challenged in court and the court upholds the voucher program, they're going to come back next year and try to do vouchers for everybody. This is about vouchers, not about the kids at all. There are a whole lot of kids in the budget that got left out that could use the $5 million.

Ted Simons:
>> We have to stop it there, dog gone it. We have so many more things to discuss. Thanks for joining us both, we appreciate it.

Ted Simons:
>>> We begin a new four-part series tonight called small town challenges. We look at four Arizona towns fighting to maintain what makes them unique while making sure residents are provided what they need. Tonight we focus on payson and the decades-long attempt to secure water for the growing community. Larry Lemmons shows us how the Town has met that challenge.

Larry Lemons:
>> The toughest challenge for Buzz Walker has been to make sure future generations have plenty of water. Walker has been the water superintendent for the town 36 years. 36 years thinking about water.

Buzz Walker:
>> An average a day water use in Payson is 1.5 million to 2 million gallons a day, peak day Fourth of July, 4.5 million gallons a day. We can produce about 6 million gallons a day.

Larry Lemmons:
>> On this particular summer day Payson is awash in water. Clouds hang low over the valley. The water used in the town, however, comes solely through 43 local ground water wells. That's about to change. A significant deal with the Salt River project will allow Payson to draw from the Blue Ridge reservoir. Now called the C.C.Kraken Reservoir.

Buzz Walker:
>> The challenge for Payson, surrounded by federal public lands, it takes a special use permit to bring water off the lands for use within the town. Those aren't easy to come by. There's a lot of competition for use of the forest and public water supply is just one of them. So knowing how difficult it is to get permits to produce water outside of town, we started pursuing a surface water option. Just about 30 years ago from what was then called Blue Ridge Reservoir, 25 miles Northeast of Payson. That went through several Iterations, couple of things didn't work, but the Arizona water settlement act of 2004 gave us an opportunity to work with the Salt River project in acquiring a different kind of water supply, surface water, in addition to our ground water.

Cameron Davis:
>> Payson has obviously been known as a kind of a pit stop on the way to somewhere else at 87 and 260, where you come, get a hamburger, fill up your gas tank, and go somewhere else. A lot of times people don't get off the beaten path of 87 and see all the beauty and various things that are here and that Payson has to offer.

Larry Lemmons:
>> One thing Payson offers is green valley park. It's a water reclamation project surrounded by a green park. Watered by the lake itself. The water in the lake leaks to the ground water and recharges six surrounding ground water wells. It's a place to fish and hang out with the ducks and geese. Projects like this indicate that city planners have been concerned with the availability of water for some time.

Buzz Walker:
>> The deal with s.r.p. requires that Payson stop pursuing producing ground water from the forests. It's going to be awful difficult to do that anyway. And live within a reasonable ground water cap, pumping from our existing wells, again that's no problem for the town of Payson because we didn't want to overpump them and get into trouble. What it does do is add 3,000 acre feet a year to our 2500 acre feet a year of ground water, gives us about 5500 acre feet a year total, you add in some effluent waste water recharge and that gets us to 600 acre feet a year and we assume the buildup population will be 38,000 to 40,000, so we think that we have found our forever water supply.

Larry Lemmons:
>> Water and growth go hand in hand in the high country. Payson city planners realized that controlling growth was the only way to ensure there would be enough water to create a sustainable environment.

Buzz Walker:
>> We have a very limited land base. What's left to develop in the town of Payson is pretty much hillsides. So we understand that our focus is probably on tourism and small commercial development, lot of retirement, but there are three grade schools in the system, so there are a lot of families here. Payson has adopted growth control strategies over 10 years ago that said that once we started approaching the annual safe field of our bedrock aquifer, 1826 feet a year, we would start imposing ever stricter requirements on the size of new subdivisions and approval of new commercial projects. We're not so worried now that we have an additional water supply to come in. But as far as I know it was the only rural community in the state that actually controlled growth for the benefit of the existing customers' water supply. So I think the challenge now is overcoming a statewide perception that Payson was short on water. That arose from the fact we were cautious about our water use. The good news is to get the word out now that water will never be a limiting factor, according to any of our plans. And how do you use that limited land base now to develop a sustainable economy?

Ted Simons:
>> We are currently undergoing a transformation in the world of light bulbs, moving away from the old incandescent bulbs toward the new compact fluor ess ent lamp, c.f.l. the new bulbs contain mercury and need to be disposed of properly. Here's a program set up by waste management to do just that.

Don Casano:
>> My name is Don Casano, government and community relations manager for waste management of Arizona. C.f.l.s are going to be actually taking over by 2012. That's when they're mandated to get rid of the incandescent bulbs or stop manufacturing those. Once you use these tubes you have to dispose of them properly, because they contain trace amounts of mercury. Just as all fluorescent tubes do. So we will talk to you about a kit waste management has introduced which is a home use kit that will take care of that problem. Let me show you how easy it is to order this kit, recycling your c.f.l. tubes right from your home. First you go on the website which is thinkgreenfromhome.com. Once there, you will scroll down when you see the products and services area. And c.f.l., fluorescents, and recycling. Click on that. Takes you right to the page that has the order information. You'll notice when you get to this page the kit is $14.95. This kit includes postage both to your home and back to the recycling facility and this kit will hold up to 15 fluorescent tubes. So it's an economical way of handling that. Once here, click on add to cart, pick the kit you want to order, insert the quantity, and then click checkout. Fill in your personal information and it's done. Let me show you how to set up the recycling kit once it arrives at your home. Open the mailer box, remove the instruction sheet, your tracking sheet, the vapor lock foil bag which is your receptacle for your bulbs, and the shipping box. This is the bag in which you will place the used fluorescent bulbs. Once the vapor lock bag is completely full, insert it into the shipping container, close and seal. Now it's ready to go to the post office or to your mailbox.

Ted Simons:
>>> Former Oklahoma congressman Mickey Edwards is the author of a new book, "reclaiming conservatism, how a great American political movement got lost and how it can find its way back." Larry Lemmons caught up with Edwards recently before an appearance at the Goldwater institute.

Larry Lemmons:
>> Mr. Edwards, your book, "reclaiming conservatism," how did conservatism get away, in your opinion, from the ideals that it once embodied? Barry Goldwater, that sort of thing?

Mickey Edwards:
>> Well, it got away from its principles over a period of time. I mean, after George Wallace lost his campaigns for the presidency, a lot of people who were southern populace democrats who had nothing in common with Barry Goldwater or American conservatism came over and got into the conservative movement, later the religious right developed, so this was all spread out over a period of a couple of decades as new groups moved into the movement who had only one thing in common, and that is, you know, they were anti-soviet union, worried about communism, and they wanted to win elections and wanted the republican party to win elections and gain power. And somehow all those ideas that were at the heart of the Goldwater conservative movement got lost. Then you later had in the Congress, you had people like new gingrich whose main goal was political power. Whatever that took. And so they sort of turned republican conservatives in congress into republicans first, which meant you support a republican president whatever he does, so forth. And so over a period in my book I actually trace how the republican national convention platform changed from 1964 to 2004, every four years. And in many ways today is the opposite of what we once stood for.

Larry Lemmons:
>> So then conservatism is not necessarily synonymous with republicanism.

Mickey Edwards:
>> What we used to talk about was that we conservatives were taking over the Republican Party. And we did for a while. And then the Republican Party took over the conservative movement. You know, and the principles, you know, conservative movement was about philosophy. It was about an attitude toward government and it was about the constitution. Well, gradually that got swept aside and it became whatever position you have to take, whatever relationship between government and citizen you have to endorse in order to hold political power. You know, and so it was the party idea that triumphed over the conservative idea and that's where we are today.

Larry Lemmons:
>> You mentioned newt gingrich specifically. Who else do you think led the conservative movement astray?

Mickey Edwards:
>> Well, there's a lot. I mean, first of all some are not in office. I mean, they're people like Colter and Limbaugh and people with no concept of what a conservative is or should be, but in congress after gingrich you had Denny Hastert and I really like Denny, he was a good friend, you know, but his idea was that the house of representatives, which, you know, we used to praise the house of representatives, we believed in congressional strength and a weaker presidency, but under Hastert, the idea was if you have a congress that's controlled by republicans, its job is to support a republican president. No matter what he does. So there's been a lot of people. I mean, if you look at the Republican leadership in congress today, you know, when the president claims that he has a certain degree of executive privilege that the congress can't even question people who work for the white house, you know, and the congress tries to enforce a contempt subpoena, republicans walk out. I mean, you know, it's outrageous.

Larry Lemmons:
>> Considering the ideals, say, of fiscal conservatism and limited government, how would you say the current administration is doing in those areas?

Mickey Edwards:
>> George Bush is a lot of things, you know, he loves baseball, you know, he apparently loves his little place in Texas. You know, he's a lot of things. He's not a conservative. Nothing conservative about George Bush. You know, not in his way of thinking, not in his understanding of the constitution, not in his knowledge of the role of government, I mean, he's not conservative in any way.


Larry Lemmons:
>> Of course you were one of the founders of the heritage foundation. How has that evolved?

Mickey Edwards:
>> I gave a talk there recently about my book, and I was introduced by somebody who had been on my staff. Now she's at the heritage foundation, but I was chairman of the American conservative union, national chairman, and she was on my staff. And so you had all these people there, and most of them didn't know much about the heritage foundation, so she starts out by saying let me tell you about the heritage foundation, let me tell you about our mission statement, and she starts talking about strong national defense, lower taxes, preserving traditional social values, I said wait a minute. I mean, in 1973 when we formed the heritage foundation, it wasn't about preserving traditional social values. That was added in 1993, 20 years later, so the heritage foundation is another one, you know, that the idea of being able to have a president of their party to whom they can feed data and feed ideas, you know, has begun to predominate over what they once were and stood for.

Larry Lemmons:
>> You're here to talk about the future of American conservatism
At the Goldwater institute, what do you think needs to be done to reclaim that heritage that you say is no longer being appreciated?

Mickey Edwards:
>> You know, first of all I want to complement you, because I have been asked that question so many times in a different way, in a different way. I've been asked, ok, what do conservatives need to do to be able to win elections? And to which my answer is if we don't stand for the principles we believe, and I don't care whether we win elections, you know, so in terms of how do we get it back, for one thing, we have to declare our independence from the republican party. And that means you continue to be a republican, you can run for office as a republican. But when the party, whether the president or the party leadership, says we're going here and it goes against the constitutional principles, you say I'm sorry you're going without me. I'm not with you on this one. You know, so that's a major part of it. We have to remember what we believe in. For example, the neo cons are in my opinion a little too willing to use military force. Well, during the Goldwater and Reagan years, we believed in what we called peace through strength. The purpose was to be strong but to avoid war. You know, the reason we wanted to be strong was not to rush into war but to keep the peace so we just need to go -- Ronald Reagan had this famous quote, you know, that government's not the solution, government's the problem. But in my book I talk about the entire quote. And he goes on to say we're not antigovernment. We're for government that creates opportunity. I mean, so, what we need to do is go back and remember what it was about, to some extent that means going back to Goldwater, because what he said is we believe in the constitution. That's what we're trying to conserve, conservatism is about conserving liberty, and you do that by conserving the principles in the constitution.

Larry Lemmons:
>> Mickey Edwards, thanks for talking to Horizon.

Mickey Edwards:
>> Thank you.

Ted Simons:
>>> Tomorrow on Horizon, in the second part of our series, small town challenges, we'll travel north to Sedona, where they're trying to improve roads while maintaining the town's unique charm. That's Tuesday on Horizon. And that is it for now. Thank you so much for joining us. I'm Ted Simons. You have a great evening.

Announcer:
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