Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

September 16, 2010


Host: Ted Simons

Phoenix Symphony

  |   Video
  • Michael Christie, The Phoenix Symphony’s Music Director, provides a preview of the new 2010-11 season.
Guests:
  • Michael Christie - Music Director,Phoenix Symphony
Category: The Arts

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
The Phoenix symphony launched a new season earlier this month, and tonight's performance of Brahms violin concerto marks the start of the symphony's classics series. In a moment, we'll hear from the symphony's music director, but first, here's part of a rehearsal we recorded earlier this week.

(Clip of symphony rehearsal)

Ted Simons:
Joining me now to talk about the Phoenix symphony is its music director, Michael Christie. Good to see you again.

Michael Christie:
Thanks for having me back.

Ted Simons:
What's on tap for the season?

Michael Christie:
Well, it's a big season. We've playing with what we have in our economic reality here. But in spite of that, we've been able to put on a great season. In October, we have Donna summer coming. Multi-Grammy award winning artist. She's part of our big annual fundraiser. And I try to make every week something interesting. I really do.

Ted Simons:
I was going to ask, when you schedule the season and get the performances in line and select what you're going to do, what do you look at? Do you try to put a blockbuster next to something obscure? How does that work?

Michael Christie:
We start with 16 classics weeks and 10 weeks of pops and think, well, variety has to be key and it's a mixture of what people know. Your Boleros and Tchaikovsky’s sixth symphony’s and those things. But I think the world of music is just too big to stay on such a narrow slice of the pie. And so for example, this year, we're including a series called rediscovered masters. Looking at eight composers that were somehow suppressed by the Nazis and they created intense music. German cabaret-style music based on folk traditions of eastern Europe. It's music when I hear it, it's incredible. In fact, this year, we're giving several premieres, pieces that have never been heard since they were written in the '30s and '40s.

Ted Simons:
How do you get people who like Boleros and the old workhorses to listen to something they may not have heard before?

Michael Christie:
I try when programming things that are new to people, to not push it too far. I'm a listener of classical music and I know when something is just a little too out there. I just try to use my own litmus test and say, will somebody get this the first time and in my gut, it says no, then I don't play that piece. I think in the five years I’ve been here I’ve built up a lot of trust and had a huge surge in sing tickets last year. Particularly in classics and this year, reversed a trend of steadily decline ticket its.

Ted Simons:
What's going on?

Michael Christie:
Well, classics seems to be the winner so far in terms of galvanizing the audience and I'm proud of that.

Ted Simons:
You should be. We have -- I want to get back to the Bolero.

Michael Christie:
Sure.

Ted Simons:
Everyone knows that. Because they’ve seen the movie and heard -- why is -- take that particular piece of music. Why is it so popular? You can take a Bartok string quartet and people flee the building. But you put a Bolero in there and- is it simplicity, what’s going on?

Michael Christie:
There’s something about just that moment when the single snare drum starts and one by one, each instrument enters with the same melody. There's something about the coming together and then that huge explosion at the end. There's something about that very simple process expect and that enormous satisfaction at the end.

Ted Simons:
You have a world premiere of a composer from Argentina? And that has sort of a Phoenix connection here, which is the title I guess. Talk to us about it.

Michael Christie:
Yeah, well Oswaldo Golijov is one of the preeminent composers in the year and he's married folk music to the symphonic tradition. We actually featured his music a couple of seasons ago, but London Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, everybody’s playing his music because he's able to translate that folk culture into strings and brass and percussion. And so he’s writing a work for us that's celebrating the opening of the musical instrument museum up in North Phoenix and through the MIM and Target and the other people associated with the creation of the MIM, we've been able to commission him that's bringing musicians from Iran and the bay area in California and all over the place and bringing really unique instruments to play with the symphony.

Ted Simons:
I was going to ask you, you're used to dealing with this segment. And this segment, what happens when someone brings in an item, I've never seen it before, but something you're not dealing with in a symphonic structure.

Michael Christie:
There's always a meeting beforehand and get to know them a little bit but when you have a composer like Oswaldo Golijov, he knows exactly what he's writing for. And, you know Yo Yo Ma, people like that who’ve been exploring music of the silk road. They've been introducing a lot of those instruments to us like that. It's part of our musical understanding. I would be surprised there's a instrument we've never heard before. The world of youtube, it's amazing what we can be exposed to because of the internet.

Ted Simons:
It seemed like there was a time when it was very academic, very cerebral, took so many chances and folks go, I don't know what I'm listening to anymore. Are those days over? Or is there still a little bit of that going on.

Michael Christie:
I think by and large, symphony orchestras know they need to be more community focused and not trying to be the New York Philharmonic. I know my audience likes to know about the guest artists and I do intermission interviews and introduce them. And as soon as they get done playing, the audience get to communicate with them. Those kinds of things resonate particularly well with this community. And I think somehow, through the ticket sales, clearly, the mix of music we've picked has really struck a chord.

Ted Simons:
I noticed you mentioned folk influence and flavor in a number of artists and pieces you'll be presenting this season. Dvorak and all those guys did this back in the day. But, is there a movement back there?

Michael Christie:
I think, if I go back to what I was saying about youtube and just this awareness of the world's music, so much of that music influences composers and now people know much more about that and want to see it in the place where they go hear concerts and I think it's incumbent upon us to bring that to the patrons.

Ted Simons:
And maybe again, less academic than what folks experienced in years past.

Michael Christie:
I think, by and large, that's the case.

Ted Simons:
Sounds like things are going well. Hanging in there?

Michael Christie:
It's great. One of the things that I think is so remarkable is that even in these very tight times, everybody is still being creative and I hope our community keeps coming out to our sister arts organizations, because they’re doing great work.

Ted Simons:
Coming up on "Horizon" -- The journalist's roundtable. I'm Ted Simons. Thanks for joining us. You have a great weekend -- actually, a great evening. [Laughter]

Preposition 110: State Trust Land Exchanges

  |   Video
  • State Land Commissioner Maria Baier explains Proposition 110, a proposed constitutional amendment that establishes a process for exchanging state trust lands for public lands.
Guests:
  • Maria Baier - State Land Commissioner
Category: Vote 2010

View Transcript

Ted Simons:
Tonight we continue "Horizon's" vote 2010 coverage with a look at proposition 110. It provides a process for exchanging state trust lands for public lands. The federal government gave Arizona its trust lands about the time it became a state. They're held in trust, leased and sold to raise money for schools and other beneficiaries of the trust. The state land commissioner is here with more on that, but first, David Majure shows us what proposition 110 will do.

David Majure:
Proposition 110 says the purpose of a land exchange must be either to protect military bases from encroaching development or for proper management, protection or conversion to public use of state trust lands.

Sandy Bahr:
We're supporting Prop 110, it's the only proposition we're supporting.

David Majure:
The Sierra club has historically opposed state trust land measures but not this one.

Sandy Bahr:
In the past, the measures said give the state land department authority and trust us and we didn't think that was enough. This includes the kind of accountability that we think will ensure that exchanges are in the public's interest.

David Majure:
For example, land included in an exchange must be identified up front. Prop 110 requires appraisals and public meetings and full disclosure of the public benefits of an exchange. A primary goal of prop 110 is to give the land department a tool that can used to protect Arizona's military bases and defense industry.
Lisa Atkins:
If you look at all of the employees, the civilian and active and serve and guard, it's the largest employment sector in the state of Arizona. The revenue stream, which is recession-proof is close to $10 billion.
One of the things that can close an installation down faster than anything else is the lack of compatibility either in land use or landownership around an installation. It brings what we commonly refer to as encroachment.

David Majure:
Land exchanges may be able to stop encroachment by eliminating incompatible land uses around military bases.

Lisa Atkins:
It's not only land use but land ownership and proposition 110 was designed to give the stakeholders, the military, the conservation community together to work out a process where we can use one asset, state trust lands, to protect another asset.

Sandy Bahr:
To demonstrate to the elected officials that this kind of process can work and it can help to do things like protect these military bases, help to conserve land and including important wildlife habitat and get the approval of the voters.

Ted Simons:
Joining me to talk about Prop 110 is state land Commissioner Maria Baier we should note that we were unable to find any organized opposition to the measure. Thanks for joining us we appreciate it. Why is this so important we have to go to a vote for it?

Maria Baier:
We have to go to a vote to change the constitution and this land exchange authority would require a change to the constitution. That's why we're going to the voters on this measure, what the purpose of this is, why that’s so important is that it sends a message to the United States department of defense that Arizona wants to preserve its military facilities and for us at the land department, it allows us to generate tremendous revenue for the public schools by bringing land into our inventory that produces revenue and exchanging out land that, you know, is better for other purposes, like conservation.

Ted Simons:
There has been a prohibition on land exchanges. Which I think would surprise some folks. Why is that prohibition in place?

Maria Baier:
Well, the Supreme Court found in 1990 that the exchange authority as it was previously interpreted to exist, violated the auction requirement in the constitution. And so they said until the voters changed the constitution to give them that express authority without going to auction, no more land exchanges. And so this corrects that impediment.

Ted Simons:
This takes the auction requirement out, correct?

Maria Baier:
It just says -- yes, it takes the auction requirement out.

Ted Simons:
How does that protect military bases?

Maria Baier:
Well, we have a significant -- the lead-in piece said, we have 9.3 million acres of land and much is in the area of the military facilities and there are numerous military facilities around the state and so encroachment, you know, development, growth, when it gets too near a military facility it often jeopardizes the mission. For example, out around Luke, you know, they need to have air space, for their takeoffs and landings and the Goldwater range, they need to be able to drop live ordinance. Down at fort Wachuca it needs to be deadly quiet all the time. Those things, when neighbors start to move in, those things can undermine the integrity of the base and missions and the state land department can be used as a buffer in some of those areas.

Ted Simons:
We're looking at a map that shows trust lands and military lands. And that relationship. If Prop 110 requires a public hearing and a vote for a land exchange, haven't we had votes for land exchanges in the past?

Maria Baier:
Not like this, we've not had this process in place. It really is groundbreaking legislation. And so this time, yes, there has to be two appraisals. There has to be two public hearings and we have to make sure that we trade lands of equal value and each exchange will go to a vote of the public. And so there's lots of opportunities for people to examine these exchanges, and make sure they make sense for the trust and the communities where the lands are located.

Ted Simons:
Voting on things is almost always a good thing. But it's a complicated issue and a lot of dynamics, putting it up to a public vote, is that wise?

Maria Baier:
We think the public demands that. They also want to make sure that both sides are getting a good bargain in the exchange. That's important. They also want to make sure that the integrity of their community is not going to be undermined by the exchange so it's important to have these votes and for those of us who have been proposing some exchanges over the years, we aren't afraid of it because there's some huge benefits to the state through this exchange process. And we know that once the voters see the parcels that will be exchanged I'm confident they'll be endorsed by the public. Things that make huge -- it will be a huge benefit for the state.

Ted Simons:
What little criticism I could find regarding the proposition involves a number of things, but the idea that this invites perhaps an inequitable deal that could sort-change the public. How do you respond to that?

Maria Baier:
Two appraisals are going to establish the value and these are public-to-public exchanges and the real concern with land exchanges in the past has been whether a private developer would exchange a piece of valueless or essentially valueless land for an piece of valuable state trust land. That's been the concern but these are public-to-public exchanges and it's not as if one public agency is going to try and swipe something from another public agency. But the appraisal process is where you really sift out the any problem that would exist in terms of valuation.

Ted Simons:
And another concern it might invite deals that could threaten open space, preservation and conservation.

Maria Baier:
Quite the contrary. This is the conservationist's best friend. You know, it’s an opportunity to take conservation parcels and block them up. BLM has a number of conservation parcels along the San Pedro River, we’re interspersed with those. They would like to imagine that as a conservation area which is different from our mission. We'd like to do that, we'd like to put that land in their ownership and get from the BLM some revenue producing -- say, solar energy sites or something like that. So this measure is an A+ for conservation in the state of Arizona.

Ted Simons:
We saw a little bit in the opening package what state land is and trust land is. And it's supposed to be sold to the, quote, highest and best bidder. By statute and in the constitution. One more question regarding the proposition. Why isn't just selling to the highest and best bidder good enough? Free market folks would say that works fine.

Maria Baier:
And it certainly does work and that's the core of our mission. We do it every day, that’s what we do at the land department. But for some measures, for some efforts like conservation, military base preservation, the private sector purchases -- neither helps nor hurts them. It's just not their focus. Their focus is can I build a home here? Can I build a office building here? I identified that site and want to purchase it. We don't have any party with a bunch of money that says I want it buy a buffer around this military base to make sure we preserve that. We don't have anybody that comes to us and say we want to preserve the land around the verde river. Those parties don't exist. This gives us an opportunity to exchange land out of the trust for conservation and military preservation and get land into the trust where we can make money for the beneficiaries. It's a quintessential win-win.

Ted Simons:
I was going to say it seems a lot more focused than efforts in the past. Correct?

Maria Baier:
Yes.

Ted Simons:
Last question, how much state trust land do we have?

Maria Baier:
9.3 million acres, there’s some in every county. We have more in our trust than any other state, except for, of course, the state of Alaska. If you think -- I think it's the states of Maryland and New Jersey together and consolidated them, that's the amount we have in the state of Arizona.

Ted Simons:
There's a lot of room to grow and lot of land to work with.

Maria Baier:
Lots of land to work with in Arizona, yes.

Ted Simons:
Thank you for joining us, we appreciate it.

Maria Baier:
Thank you

Tea Party Movement

  |   Video
  • Professor Richard Herrera, of ASU’s School of Politics and Global Studies discusses the Tea Party movement.
Guests:
  • Richard Herrera - Professor, ASU’s School of Politics and Global Studies
Category: Vote 2010

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Good evening and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. The Tea Party candidates around the country earned some impressive victories this week in the latest round of primaries. But how will this early success translate to the general election? Here to talk about the Tea Party movement and what it means to the GOP is Dr. Richard Herrera. He's a professor at ASU's school of politics and global studies. Thanks for joining us. We had a primary election in Delaware and seems like a political earthquake happened. What's going on?

Dr. Herrera:
It absolutely was an earthquake: A nine-time incumbent house member and two-time governor was basically thrown out by the Republican voters in Delaware and it was worthy of the name earthquake.

Ted Simons:
So, we had similar results in Kentucky and Nevada and Colorado, Alaska, these sorts of -- the impact of the Tea Party on the Republican party. It sounds like a civil war going on.

Dr. Herrera:
It does, the sort of interparty politics going on is not uncommon. It it's visible and has leadership because you've got names attached to it like Sarah Palin, who is sort of leading some of the charges and you also have a lot of money behind it as well. The Tea Party Express of California has been active in funding some candidates and backed up for candidates are who are not mainstream candidates to run effective campaigns.

Ted Simons:
What do Tea Party-ers want and what is the Republican party not giving them?

Dr. Herrara:
What Tea Party-ers want. Is what they want a return to what they call Republicanism, ala Ronald Reagan. They want to remove Washington as we know it. That is, really, replace the incumbents who are there. By establishment Tea Party activists they mean just about everybody. Their main targets are Democrats because they're the ones they see a responsible for exploding the role of government. But also not happy with a lot of Republican mainstream establishment candidates and politicians because they see them as responsible, especially during the Bush years doing the same thing the Democrats have done for years. The first phase is to replace Republican candidates did their type of Republican candidates and the second phase is to go after Democrats, which is the bigger goal.

Ted Simons:
We're also hearing mainstream Republicans come you go up out with nasty things to say about folks running in their own party.

Dr. Herrara:
They really are, and part of it is because it's a interparty squabble and a struggle for the hearts and minds of the Republican party right now.

Ted Simons:
Will the GOP establishment, come November, will they support these Tea Party candidates or will they stay home, will they for a democrat?

Dr. Herrara:
The leadership will support them because they want them to win, if for no other reason than to obtain majority in both houses of congress. Whether the voters will is another question. There is sizeable numbers of moderate Republicans in the states and depending on which state, you'll find more or fewer of them. The difference might be, in states like Delaware, the passion is behind the tea party supporters, it’s behind the more angry group of Republican voters who are going to turn out on election day in November. It's possible that the moderate Republicans will turned off completely from voting for Christine O'Donnell, for example, and that means they’re also not going to be voting for other Republicans because they won't be voting and that could have effects in some key states.

Ted Simons:
Downticket items, could be affected. You mentioned getting control of the senate. There's definitely a goal and it definitely looks like it's within their grasp but if you get control with a bunch of folks that you can't control, what dynamic is there?

Dr. Herrara:
That's an interesting one, but really, a lot of Republicans who are -- may win -- are tea party supported, they may support the establishment Republican leadership at least for the time being because where else would they go. They're certainly not going to support the senate Democrats have nothing to offer them, so really they have no place to go but within their own party and starting to see the internal politics play out. You have senators like Jim Demint who is getting from front of the Tea Party movement to claim the mantle of that group. Could be a sign he's interested this moving to the leadership position.

Ted Simons:
Interesting…in Arizona, we don't hear a heck of a lot about the Tea Party here. Is that because the conservatives here pretty much run the show as far as the Republican party is concerned and they’re already over there with the Tea Party?

Dr. Herrara:
I think that's part of the explanation. Absolutely. Republicans in Arizona tend to be more conservative than other states so you don't have a need for a movement, so to speak, and the Tea Party organization in Arizona hasn't shown to be large or effective in getting out the vote, relative to say Tea Party efforts in other states.

Ted Simons:
Alright, good stuff, thanks for joining us, we appreciate it.

Dr. Herrara:
Sure

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