Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

July 28, 2011


Host: Ted Simons

Calle 16 Mural Project

  |   Video
  • Sparked by unrest over Arizona’s immigration law, SB 1070, artists are transforming 16th Street in Phoenix into an open air gallery of murals.
Category: The Arts   |   Keywords: art, immigration,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Tonight's edition of "Arizona Artbeat" takes us to 16th street in Phoenix where, as David Majure reports, artists are painting murals to build community pride.

Hugo Medina: Art has been a part of every revolution, every movement; art floats ideas.

Gennaro Garcia: Art. It’s a language, and I think it's the best way to get together our community: with art.

Silvana Salcido Esparza: This is how we can do change of perception. We can do something positive during negative times.

David Majure: In the spring of 2010, Senate Bill 1070 turned Phoenix, Arizona into a reservoir of raw emotion. Anger and resentment over the state’s new immigration law spilled into the streets and into the consciousness of the nation.

Silvana Salcido Esparza: No, that's not where I come from. That's not the way we are. Perception is everything, right? So the perception is skewed.

David Majure: Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza, the owner of Barrio Cafe in Phoenix, traveled that summer, and just about everywhere she went, people wanted to know what's up with Arizona?

Silvana Salcido Esparza: And the questions to me were very stupid, yet to them they were genuine and concerns, and it really brought home the point that we look like buffoons to the rest of the country. So when I came back, I started to think about myself. You know, looking in the mirror, what am I doing? What can I do differently? And I had just commissioned the mural out back. And I'm looking at this mural, and it hit me: we need to do more. What came to me is you have to do more murals.

>> I want Phoenix to be full of murals. Everywhere; not just Calle Dieciseis but every single corner.

David Majure: Chef Silvana found kindred spirits in Mexican-American artist Gennarro Garcia and Bolivian-born artist Hugo Medina.

Hugo Medina: She talked to me, and Gennaro Garcia about the idea, and we came up with doing Calle Dieciseis. What we want to do is get artists to come out and just paint murals all along 16th street.

David Majure: She posted the idea online, and the response was overwhelming.

Silvana Salcido Esparza: All I did was Facebook; I put it up on Facebook, and the rest is history. People just kind of stood up and said, “Yes, absolutely.” People who were desperate to do something to change the skewed perception that people have about Phoenix. What I'm saying is, “Let's take ownership; we have to be accountable for our own actions. You can't fight hate with hate; don't worry about what others are saying. You worry about what you're doing, and how are we making things better, and who doesn't love art?”

Hugo Medina: But this will become mural alley, and we're going to cover this back wall up, and try to get this whole area different artists, different murals. The artists are--most of them--donating their time or doing a mural at cost.

David Majure: Brick by brick and wall by wall, Artists are transforming Sixteenth Street, or Calle Dieciseis, into an open-air gallery of Murals.

Hugo Medina: In doing so, we want to beautify the street because as you'll see, a lot of the buildings have been closed down; you have a lot of tagging that's gone up, so it's really been turning the neighborhood around.

David Majure: In early May Medina led a walking tour of the neighborhood along 16th street between McDowell and Thomas roads.

Hugo Medina: That wall is just calling my name.

Man: So I can get you to come down here and do a mural.

David Majure: The community has a number of existing murals; some have been here for decades; others are relatively new.

Hugo Medina: As you see the different murals you see the different styles, different flavors of the artists.

Woman: This art is terrific. Terrific. Just what we need happening in Phoenix.

Hugo Medina: When I decided to do this mural, I wanted to do an homage to the jimador, who harvests the agave plant to make tequila.

David Majure: The area has a large Mexican population, so Senate Bill 1070 and the economic recession were a double whammy for local business.

Silvana Salcido Esparza: I think it’s dropped off about 50%. That's a lot. You see a lot of the little businesses closing down across the street--very good businesses that cannot survive because their client base has left. Whether they were deported or auto deported, they're gone.

David Majure: Chef Silvana is helping businesses reinvent themselves, and the mural project is bringing people together.

Hugo Medina: It's not our project. It's the community's project. It's something that people in Arizona who live here day in and day out are doing for their community.

David Majure: Calle Dieciseis has evolved into a grass-roots organization that seeks to build community by promoting art, culture and cuisine on 16th street in Phoenix. The murals are simply a catalyst.

Silvana Salcido Esparza: What I keep saying is it's community-based. It means it's going to cost us. Sweat equity, dig into our own pockets, bring out our own talent. You can't go out there and say, “Help us” if you're not doing anything, so what we're doing is we're doing it together.

David Majure: That's how this mural came to be. Emblazoned on the side of a sporting goods store with colorful Mexican imagery and a carved plaster relief of the face of Frida Kahlo, the first official mural of Calle Dieciseis.

Gennaro Garcia: I wanted to do something special. This mural has to be like amazing for me. This mural, I wanted it to be like the face of Phoenix. I wanted people to come visit Phoenix and say, “We have to go to the mural; we have to go and take a picture of the mural.”

David Majure: Garcia designed the mural, but he didn't paint it alone.

Gennaro Garcia: I have a lot of help. I did more--we did 100-150 people.

David Majure: Other artists pitched in, and plenty of kids from the neighborhood stopped by to leave their mark.

Silvana Salcido Esparza: In five years most of those kids will be in high school and driving. They're going to look over and say, “Hey, I did that. See that little line right there? I did that.” It's community. It's a sense of community. It starts with one mural, but it's endless where it can go.

David Majure: Where it goes is anyone's guess. There are very few limitations.

Gennaro Garcia: First of all, we don't want any politics on Calle Dieciseis. But it's there. I mean, let's face it; it’s in our face.

Silvana Salcido Esparza: It's not a political movement. It's not a political retaliation; this is not in retaliation to 1070. This is not a Mexicano movement or a Latino movement; this is a Phoenician movement.

Hugo Medida: We don't want to restrict the artists to not paint what they want to. We want to allow them to have their vision of their Calle Dieciseis mural, but we want it to be Cultural, historic and positive.

David Majure: “Bienvenidos a Arizona,” welcome to Arizona, is the title of Garcia's mural. Its message: build your own American dream. Garcia says he's already living his.

Gennaro Garcia: Because I was -- I'm an immigrant. I was illegal. I was illegal for the longest time, but now I'm a citizen, and I'm part of this beautiful country. This is my country. If I was still living in any other country in the world, and I cannot give the best life to my family, I will come to America. Every single life. Every single life is a beautiful thing. That's the whole idea of America.

David Majure: And the whole idea of Calle Dieciseis is to spread that American spirit.

Silvana Salcido Esparza: And when we're done with this block, we're going to next block, and we just have to nurture it and feed it and take care of it. Calle Dieciseis is here—most definitely here.

Ted Simons: Calle Dieciseis is in the process of registering as a nonprofit corporation to make it easier to raise revenue for its mission. If you'd like to learn more, visit the website, calle16.org, or look for the group on Facebook.

Green Chamber of Commerce

  |   Video
  • Mara DeFilippis, the founder and CEO of the Phoenix Green Chamber of Commerce talks about her group’s mission and some changes to the organization.
Guests:
  • Mara DeFilippis - Phoenix Green Chamber of Commerce
Category: Government   |   Keywords: commerce, changes, organization,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: The Phoenix Green Chamber of Commerce will be getting a new start next week. The group is changing its name and fine-tuning its mission. The chamber's also promoting its founder and CEO Maria DeFilippis to its board of directors. Mara DeFilippis joins us now to talk about the changes. I said your name twice that quickly and didn’t mess it up.

Mara DeFilippis: You’re doing well.

Ted Simons: We’re doing well so far. You’re doing well as--talk about your group--let's call it by its new name Green Camber Greater Phoenix. What does the group do?

Mara DeFilippis: We promote -- we've had a change in our mission statement which we’re very excited about; we spent about three years really identifying what were the biggest needs in the community, and we took maybe about eight months to fine-tune that and develop it, so we're coming out August 1st with our new name, which is the Green Chamber. We do a lot of things to support that. Really the mission statement redefined is probably the biggest change which drives everything else. That condensed mission statement--because I can't remember the whole long thing--is really about advancing a sustainable and diverse economy.

Ted Simons: How do you do that? Because I saw that, I actually wrote that down: “Advancing a sustainable diverse economy.” What does that mean?

Mara DeFilippis: That means that we provide a voice for the community that wants to be heard; we promote businesses; we engage with them; we network with them; we educate the community on some things that are going on that are possible opportunities for advancement for jobs, so they can get involved.

Ted Simons: I notice I was going to go back to the name change--Phoenix Green and now Green Chamber--were there some concerns that folks were getting the wrong idea? Were there territorial spats going on? What was happening here?

Mara DeFilippis: Well, really what was happening was there was a misunderstanding about possible boundaries which we don't have. We serve the greater Phoenix area, and I think that the name change will help to relieve that problem. Really there's no confinement, and we serve Scottsdale, we have members in Tucson, we have -- our membership spans the entire valley as well as we have plenty of guests that attend our events as well from all over the valley.

Ted Simons: The idea of balancing business practices with environmental concerns: talk about that dynamic and how some folks and some businesses that you think should get attention--you should think should be promoted. You're still looking for them--I would imagine--as well, talk about it; how do they do it and it what do we need to know about them?

Mara DeFilippis: We have some very fascinating members. One of the ones that I love to give the best kudos to is the Hyatt in Scottsdale. They have some amazing business practices. They're actually the international hotel that they use to validate all their business practices and also to follow for the financials. So there are things that they do: they put up solar for their hot water heating; next year they'll be putting a green roof on their hotel which is kind of a big deal. These are things that are way at the front run of what's going on out there. And they're testing it, and they're documenting the financial impacts, which I think is the most important part of it to see what's a good idea to be doing for the rest of the Hyatts.

Ted Simons: Indeed, but talk about the challenges in this economic climate. Businesses that want to do kinds of things but may not think it's the best time to do it right now.

Mara DeFilippis: That's a great point and certainly—probably the most argued point. I would say that businesses are looking for either a one or two-year turnaround for a break-even point right now. So with that said, there's plenty of opportunity for these businesses to make some small decisions on where are their resources coming from and how efficient can they be. A lot of times, businesses just running more efficiently can save money. You know, changing--modifying behavior is a great opportunity. And those really don't cost anything besides maybe posting something in the bathroom about turning off your lights, or, you know, implementing a program.

Ted Simons: Indeed. The state as a whole. We can talk about the business community, the valley's business community, but the state as a whole, the whole nine yards, are Arizonans serious about these kinds of issues--about getting green issues at the forefront, about environmental issues in the workplace?

Mara DeFilippis: I think at this point, one of the biggest reasons for the change, Ted, was because we were focused on internal business practices that you were you just asking me about. While those are incredibly important and, we have a program developed to support that and will be using that to educate, the bigger issue--which I think was your previous guest talking about--is the economic condition of Arizona. So for us, we saw that as the one place that really didn't have a voice here in Arizona that was being loud, that was being heard and that was representing businesses that have some credibility and respect in our community. So we thought to come together and provide that forum to do so. So, for example, we're kicking off a mayoral candidate forum for the city of Phoenix on August 3rd. And that will likely be the most heavily attended forum in the history of this year with all the mayoral forums. We have 260 that we have to cap it at, and we've had to cap it already, so people want to hear about what the plans are to attract businesses--to stop losing good people and losing these businesses to other states.

Ted: Well, all right. It's good to hear about it. Congratulations.

Mara DeFilippis: Thank you.

Ted Simons: And best of luck to you. And thank you for joining us.

Mara DeFilippis: Thank you.

U.S. Debt Ceiling

  |   Video
  • ASU economist Dennis Hoffman discusses what Arizonans might expect if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling.
Guests:
  • Dennis Hoffman - ASU Economist
Category: Business/Economy   |   Keywords: debt, economy, congress,

View Transcript

Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to Horizon. I’m Ted Simons. How will you be affected if the debt ceiling isn't raised? It's a difficult question to answer because of the many unknowns surrounding the issue. But here to help us find some answers is Dennis Hoffman, an economist with the Seidman research institute at ASU's W.P. Carey School of Business. Good to see you again.

Dennis Hoffman: Great to be here, Ted:

Ted Simons: Let's start with defining terms? What is the debt ceiling? Why does it meet to be raised?

Dennis Hoffman: Well, let's back up with respect to debt a little bit. The finance of the federal government's operations taps about 40% of the revenues that the feds get right now is by borrowing more. In other words, to spend exactly what they're planning to spend--not additional expenditures but to pay the bills--they've got to go borrow 40 cents on the dollar. Congressional provision requires the treasury to go back to Congress to -- when they approach a ceiling and the total amount of debt outstanding, the treasury has to go back to Congress and ask permission to exceed the previously existed debt ceiling, and we've done this 74 times—I think--since World War II.

Ted Simons: Indeed. And 10 times in the last decade. It's done almost routinely. Why is -- what's happened? What's changed?

Dennis Hoffman: Well obviously a number of folks in Congress have decided to use this passage of the debt ceiling issue to try to push a particular legislative agenda. That's pure and simple.

Ted Simons: Okay, the immediate impact if this debt ceiling is not raised?

Dennis Hoffman: Well, here's the way you want to think about it. The Federal government sends out about 70 million checks a month. I think it's 27 per second or something like that. And they go everywhere--not just to the employees: they go to defense contractors, they go to the military, they go to Medicare service providers, they go to state and local governments who support a lot of federal initiatives. All of those checks go on, and interest on the debt is a significant amount of these checks as well. So the feds are going to be 40 cents on the dollar short come August 2nd, and that's really where we are. So the real question right now--and we're into the great unknown: who's going to get paid and who isn't, if we go past August 2nd?

Ted Simons: And indeed, all sorts of federal reimbursements are going to get hit. Who decides who gets paid and who doesn't get paid?

Dennis Hoffman: You know, I don't think we know that. Operationally treasury cuts the checks and sends it out. If you and I were planning, one thing I might do is I might make sure I pay the interest on the federal debt; I don't want to default on federal debt, but that may not be due until August 15th or August 20th. What do I do to the people that are supposed to get their money on the 3rd, the 4th, the 5th, the 6th, the 7th? Do I say you don't get your money because we're going to hold it back so we can pay the interest on the debt? We don't know exactly who's going to make that decision. I think treasury needs direction from the executive, or from Congress.

Ted Simons: If the government's credit rating is downgraded, conventional thinking it is drives up interest rates everywhere, business won’t expand, people don’t spend money, everything’s more expensive. Is that what is going -- a lot of folks are saying, that's what’s going to happen.

Dennis Hoffman: No, over the long haul that absolutely will happen if debt is downgraded. That's just virtually a certainty. But what we've got to be careful here, Ted, is if debt is downgraded, that's going to be because Congress has failed to act. Congress and the president couldn't agree on a plan, and the debt got downgraded. But all of the uncertainty around this, all of the freezing in the credit markets that’s going on--we're already hearing businesses aren't doing anything; they've just -- they're waiting and seeing what's going to happen. They're not hiring anybody; they're not putting capital projects forward. So if there's a seizure in the economy, dare I say “Lehman 2,” something similar to the fall of 2008, initially you probably won't see rates go up. Initially you'll see the reaction to this seizure, and everything will -- everything will tighten up, there will be a flight to quality. You could actually see rates go down because you can't anticipate any business activity going forward. It's a great unknown.

Ted Simons: It is, but obviously that would be somewhat temporary, though.

Dennis Hoffman: That would be temporary. There would be a long run real big negative here: hundreds of billions of dollars of higher interest payments over the long haul if our debt rating is down.

Ted Simons: Impact to Arizonans: impact to you, to me, just the folks living here, living our daily lives. What are we going to see and when?

Dennis Hoffman: This is a great question, Ted, because I think some of us sit here in Arizona and say, “Oh, well, this is just a D.C. problem, or this is just the folks on welfare somewhere, but not me.” I think that is a very, very short-sighted way of looking at this. So here's some basic statistics. $1.20-1.30, that's what we get back for every dollar we send to Washington. So some of these 70 million checks that the feds send out every month, some of these are headed for Arizona. Who would get them? Certainly a welfare recipient would get them, but an elderly person would get them. It's a Medicare reimbursement, it's a social security check, it's a payment to someone in the military, it's a payment to -- on veteran’s benefits. It's a direct defense contractor payment to Boeing, to Raytheon, to General Dynamics.

Ted: It's projects with cities and towns and states.

Dennis Hoffman: It's highway projects. I've heard a lot of people say, that government expenditure we put in place a couple years ago didn't do anything. Ask the folks that are gainfully employed today, Ted, in the construction industry building our roads and building our airports whether or not that's true.

Dennis Hoffman: Other side says, and many Republicans are saying this -- shrugging it off, saying this is the Y2K of Y211: it's not going to be as bad as you think.

Dennis Hoffman: Well I guess they're willing to run the experiment. And some people are saying, "Look, we shut down government in 1995." Big yawn; it wasn't a big deal. Today we're talking about immediately saying, “We're going to cut government spending by 40% virtually overnight.” And there's going to be big big uncertainty about who gets paid, and who doesn't get paid. I can understand an argument that we need to reduce government spending over the next couple of decades--that we need to get our fiscal house in order. But what I think what I'm hearing is that some folks are trying to force a balanced budget amendment on the federal government, and I'd like to hear the details around that. What if we had a balanced budget amendment in place in 1941? What then?

Ted Simons: The idea of downgrading credit: Again, I want to get back to that. Even if we do see the debt ceiling raised at the last minute and maybe the credit rating stays the same, or some folks -- some folks are saying that America's prestige, the idea of treasury securities being risk-free forever, and for everyone, that takes a big hit, it's taken a big hit now no matter what happens. Is that valid?

Dennis Hoffman: I think so. I think this is a big missed opportunity moment. I had hopes, and I think there were a lot of folks that had hopes last week when the president and Mr. Boehner had a tentative agreement on about 80% of a deal. A grand bargain they were calling it. And what happened was the president wanted to increase the revenue portion from 800 billion up to 1.2 trillion, and Mr. Boehner thought he couldn't get that through his group. The interesting counter might have been, “OK, you want a few more dollars in revenue? How about all of Simpson bowls? How about 4 trillion in cuts? And we'll add 1.2 trillion in new revenues. Now you're talking north of 5 trillion to address a long-run problem that everybody out there knows needs to be addressed. This could have been a real positive signal to the credit market.

Ted Simons: Real quickly--we only have thirty seconds left--one of the Republican plans is to go ahead and do a short-term raising of the ceiling but address this again in a few months or somewhere down the line that's not too far ahead so we can once -- is that a good idea to once again go through this whole song and dance?

Dennis Hoffman: The economy is seizing up right now. If you talk to corporate America, they're in wait and see, they're not hiring; they're not putting capital in place; they want to see this happen. Why do we want to rerun this tape in six months? So hold the president, hold the spenders accountable through legislation today, but get us two to three years down the road with this. Hold them accountable, but get us down the road.

Ted Simons: Dennis, good to have you here. Thank you for joining us.

Dennis Hoffman: Great to be here, Ted.

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