Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

September 7, 2011


Host: Ted Simons

Grand Canyon Musical Festival

  |   Video
  • Now in its 28th season, the Grand Canyon Music Festival some of the world’s finest musicians as well as music education and outreach programs in rural Arizona. Dorothy Lawson and Cornelius Duffalo of the string quartet ETHEL talk about their music and their work with Native American composers through one of the festival’s outreach programs.
Guests:
  • Dorothy Lawson - String Quartet ETHEL, Cornelius Duffalo - String Quartet ETHEL
Category: The Arts   |   Keywords: music festival, native american, outreach,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: The Grand Canyon music festival wraps up its three-week concert series with performances Canyon national park. Now in its 28th season, the festival features some of the world's finest musicians as well as music education and outreach programs in rural Arizona. " Ethel "is a is a string quartet that's been involved With the festival since 2005. I'll talk with members of "Ethel"in a moment, but first, let's listen to some of their work.

Ted Simons: I recently spoke with "Ethel" violinist Cornelius Dufallo and cellist Dorothy Lawson, a founding member of the string quartet. Welcome to "Horizon." Thanks for joining us.

Dorothy Lawson: It's a pleasure, Ted.

Ted Simons: What is "Ethel" trying to do?

Dorothy Lawson: It's a string quartet but we've thought of ourselves as a band. We're a voice, we're composers for people of our all time and generation and we've expanded to include work that we do reaching out to people of other cultures and we generally keep our minds as open as possible to the uses of music.

Ted Simons: Did -- I know you started -- what? -- '98?

Dorothy Lawson: '98.

Ted Simons: Was the crona quartet an influence?

Dorothy Lawson: Without them, there wouldn't have been an easy access to the market. They changed the way the people viewed the medium.

Ted Simons: When you started and tried to expand the boundaries, be adventurous, has that changed or evolved over the years?

Dorothy Lawson: Oh, yes. The first work we did, the first way we understood our -- our role in the world, it was pretty traditionally. We were profession musicians and working inside of a urban environment in New York City and loved it and easy access to all kinds of creative minds and composers we loved. And that was the initial energy behind it. They were their voice. The medium. As it's gone along, like I say, we've discovered and developed more of our own voices in the music and improvise a lot and all compose but we also began to -- through -- through exposure to other cultures which was not entirely of our design, we realized this was another opportunity and we've been doing it more and more actively ourselves and reaching outside of our world.

Ted Simons: People will hear string quartet and improvise and say, what's going on here? What's going on here?

Cornelius Dufallo: That's a good question. You know, when "Ethel" started out, it was more unusual for string quartet players to improvise, definitely but over the last 10-12 years that's changed quite a bit and there's younger groups coming up who do improvise and do different genres and it makes us feel proud that the genre has changed over the years.

Ted Simons: I know you mentioned looking for contemporary composers and newer music and composed in the last 15 years or something, what is contemporary arrangements accept for a string quartet? It seems almost anything goes these days.

Cornelius Dufallo: That’s a really good question and it’s hard to explain. The easy answer is to say that the contemporary arrangements is the music being written right now. And in many ways, it's as simple as that. But when you get into it more, there are things about contemporary music that attract us, particularly, composers who are influenced by other genres, popular idioms and -- idioms and we are interested in music that crosses cultural boundaries.

Ted Simons: When does that way of trying something new and venturing out, when does that become the idea you're having more fun than the audience, that the audience isn't quite hanging in there? Can you go too far with something like that, or can you go too far?

Cornelius Dufallo: That's a good question. Wow, you're full of good questions.

Ted Simons: We try.

Cornelius Dufallo: It's so important to us to maintain a connection with the audience and a real understanding of what it is that communicates with the audience, because we play for them.

Dorothy Lawon: Uh-huh.

Ted Simons: Is that how you see it as well?

Dorothy Lawson: Yes.

Ted Simons: What he said?

Dorothy Lawson: Absolutely. I would say that we've kept in touch with that all along as we've developed and, in fact, it feels like -- very much like riding a wave. We're not actually totally designing the trajectory, but following what works. We're actually using energy we get from the audience.

Cornelius Dufallo: Yes.

Dorothy Lawson: Because they do respond warmly, avidly, and moved to be part of something that's of our time.

Ted Simons: Yes.

Dorothy Lawson: And we're not designing, we're listening and watching and -- we're available to it, but that's more our attitude.

Cornelius Dufallo: But a lot of composers these days have a similar attitude. It's not just us. A lot of composers we're reaching out and commissioning are also interested in the connection with the audience.

Dorothy Lawson: Yeah.

Cornelius Dufallo: I think in a lot of ways, the days of the ivory tower and the composer who doesn't necessarily care if people are listening, maybe those days are over.

Ted Simons: Interesting. The days of just sitting down at some sort of symphony hall and not moving -- they may be gone too, especially with something like the Grand Canyon music festival. Talk about that event and why you're drawn to it.

Dorothy Lawson: Oh, gosh. Well, the -- a lot of the festival is fairly traditional. It's concerts for a live audience and some of the events are strictly classical. And -- but they -- they know us personally, the people who run the festival, Clare Hoffman and Robert, are dear old friends and they've approached us many times over the years to participate, knowing that our approach is more visceral and less -- less grounded in a tradition and more -- it's more of kind of a conversational style.

Ted Simons: Sure.

Dorothy Lawson We -- we do talk to the audience, we invite immediate response. We -- we love it when they feel compelled to get up and dance. It's all good. [Laughter] And you know, we've had a lot of warm relationships around that. The fact that people like to be approached that way. Maybe it's also moved the festival a little bit. I don't know. But they are the ones who created that particular festival and been running it for 30 years. It's a magnificent thing.
Ted Simons: And outreach programs and educational programs involved as well?

Cornelius Dufallo: Right, there's an incredible program called the native American composer apprentice project and we've been doing this for -- what? -- this is our seventh year this year. And we tour around Navajo and HOPI nations and work with high school students and help them to develop their pieces for string quartet and then over the course of a week, we collect 25 pieces and perform them all at Grand Canyon music festival at the end of the week.

Ted Simons: I would imagine when you get those to. Perform, it's amazing what you wind up with, isn't it.

Dorothy Lawson: It's incredibly exciting. We look forward to that as much as anything we do all year.

Ted Simons: And can you tell these are compositions made from this particular land? Does it come through?

Cornelius Dufallo: I would say so. I think there's a -- there's an amazing mix in a lot of music we find. There's an amazing mix of very old traditional melodies mixed with rock 'n roll rhythms and harmonies and it's a fascinating fusion. It inspires us.

Ted Simons: You've got the Grand Canyon and the native American composers, that's got to move you a little bit, huh?

Dorothy Lawson: It's huge. And also very, very exciting what -- of course, what happens to the students as people. Because the program not only involved a certain amount of training they get, which is not available through their regular schooling, but they're presented to their communities and their school populations as extraordinary individuals with interesting voices and because we perform the pieces not only for the festival but not high schools and the kids themselves have been really kind of keeping a culture alive around writing music. It's incidental in a lot of ways but it's for string quartet. There's a professional composer involved who comes and not only shows them the technology we're using, the reading and writing of it, but gives them some sense of how we develop ideas and combine them, run ideas one over another, you know, it's a compositional idea.

Ted Simons: And contemporary music moves on.

Dorothy Lawson: Exactly, exactly.

Ted Simons: Dates for the festival?

Dorothy Lawson: The final concert is September 10th. This coming Saturday, yeah and it's been a three-week festival so two of the weekends are done and we performed at those weekends.

Ted Simons: It's good to have you here. And continued success and thanks for joining us on "Horizon."

Cornelius Dufallo: Thank you.

Ted Simons: Saturday is your last chance to catch a concert at this year's Grand Canyon music festival. For more information, visit the festival's website at GrandCanyonmusicfestival.org. That's it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thanks so much for joining us. You have a great evening!

Health Benefits for Same Sex Partners of State Employees

  |   Video
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judges upheld a lower court decision to block an Arizona law from taking effect that would have eliminated same sex health care benefits for domestic partners of state government employees. Dan Barr, the plaintiffs’ attorney in the legal challenge to the law discusses the case.
Guests:
  • Dan Barr - Attorney
Category: Law   |   Keywords: health benefits, same sex partners,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: The ninth circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that the state must provide benefits to same-sex partners of state employees. The action requires the state to continue benefits to domestic partners until a full hearing is held on the merits of the case. Joining us now with more on the court's ruling is Dan Barr, an attorney for the plaintiffs in this particular case. Good to see you again.

Dan Barr: Thanks for having me.

Ted Simons: What did the ninth circuit rule?

Dan Barr: It affirmed the district court ruling from last summer in all respects and held that the state of Arizona simply had shown no rational basis for prohibiting same-sex couples from getting domestic partner benefits.

Ted Simons: Is the court saying if they're going to offer healthcare benefits, you got to offer them to all?

Dan Barr: You can't -- you -- the court said you don't have to offer healthcare benefits no anyone.

Ted Simons: Uh-huh.

Dan Barr: But if you offer healthcare benefits, you can't exclude a particular group arbitrarily and in a discriminatory fashion and what the state of Arizona has done here, said for gay and lesbian employees, you can't get these benefits. And can't get them not only because you're not married, but we prohibit you as a matter of law from getting married. So it's impossible for gay and lesbian to get the benefit.

Ted Simons: The idea there's no other option, I want to get into that more. What about opposite sex domestic partners? How are they impacted by state law?

Dan Barr: As it stands, they don't get the benefits. There are 140,000 state employees and retirees and dependents who get these benefits. Of those, approximately 800 who were domestic partners. And of those, there's a small percentage who are gay and lesbian. So the heterosexual ones do not get the benefits.

Ted Simons: Some watching would say it doesn't sound fair. And the court said the same-sex partners can. That sounds like inequality there.

Dan Barr: People can make that public policy argument but for the heterosexual couples they have an argument, they can get married. The same-sex partners don't have that option. So there are no circumstances whatsoever they could ever get these benefits.

Ted Simons: So basically what you're saying is that extra option as we get back to the impossibility for the same-sex partners because there's no other option, you've got to go ahead and move ahead with this?

Dan Barr: That's correct. It's one. Things if it were legal in Arizona for same-sex people to get married, then the state could remove domestic partner benefits for everyone. Because you -- people would have the option of getting married or not.

Ted Simons: The governor's office says that imbalance flies, the quote, flies in the face of logic and the law. How do you respond?

Dan Barr: They have lost on that argument in two courts and we've had four judges say that the state has yet to show a rational basis. If they want to make that argument, fine, they'll continue to lose with it.

Ted Simons: But when the governor's office again says that the court has basically created an inequality, are they wrong?

Dan Barr: Well, the state of Arizona are the people who created the inequality. They removed the benefits. And they did so in a way that for a certain segment. The workforce, the gay and lesbian workforce, they made it impossible for them to get the benefits. What this really is an equal pay for equal benefits thing where you have two state employees doing exactly the same job. One is heterosexual and has the availability to get these healthcare benefits and the other doing the exact same job can't get those benefits. That's unequal treatment under the law.

Ted Simons: So when, again, the governor's office here speaking, not the governor herself, we didn't hear from her but her office, that the court's motivation, plaintiff's motivation, maybe even your motivation is to legalize gay marriage, how do you respond?

Dan Barr: Well, all of our plaintiffs signed affidavits say they're in committed relationships and given the option they would want to get married so I don't think it should surprise anyone that any of these people would want to get married. They've said so under oath. I would advise the governor's office, whoever is making the statements that those arguments don't fly in court and they need to come up with arguments. They failed to do so far in over a year of litigation and had four judges say their arguments are irrational. To flunk the rational basis test is a true achievement. The fight in constitutional litigation is what analysis applies. The strict scrutiny analysis, intermediate or rational. If you get strict scrutiny, the plaintiff almost always wins, rational basis, the state almost always wins, here the state of Arizona has lost twice under the rational basis test.

Ted Simons: Are you expecting to go to the full 9th circuit or the Supreme Court?

Dan Barr: My hope is and maybe I'm naive, people in the state are going to go, why are we fighting this fight? It doesn't involve much money, doesn't involve very many state employees and we've had four judges tell us it's irrational. Why are we doing that. Hopefully, they'll do that. If not, you know, they can go before the full ninth circuit, they can file a petition for certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court and I expect that to all be unsuccessful or we can go back before a full trial before a judge who has already said the law is irrational.

Ted Simons: All right. Good to have you here.

Dan Barr: Thanks for having me.

Redistricting Commission Investigation

  |   Video
  • Attorney General Tom Horne discusses his investigation of the IRC for possible Open Meetings law violations.
Guests:
  • Tom Horne - Attorney General
Category: Government   |   Keywords: investigation, redistricting,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Arizona attorney general Tom Horne's investigation of the state's redistricting commission now includes a special action filed today in superior court. Here to tell us about the move is attorney general Tom Horne. Good to see you again. Thanks for joining us.

Tom Horne: Good to see you.

Ted Simons: Why did you file the action?

Tom Horne: Three of the commission members are stonewalling, two have testified, and three are refusing to testify and one of the grounds, they don't have probable cause to proceed and I filed an action in Superior court to compel them and setting forth the probable cause to show that evidence existed there could be a violation of law. In that the two that did testify said that the chairman had been calling them to try to get a unanimous vote in favor the consultant they hired and under the open meeting law, you can talk to one other person but not two because that becomes a majority. You don’t do that behind the scenes. You do that in public.

Ted Simons: Is that why you initiated the investigation?

Tom Horne: Yes, and now we have testimony on the record from two of the commissioners that went on and we have quite a bit of other evidence that I put into the pleadings that I filed with the court indicating probable cause to believe there may be a violation of law here which could lead to different sanctions but including the possibility of the removal of a commissioner.

Ted Simons: As far as picking the mapping company, my impression was that your attorneys were involved in giving information on guidelines and rules.

Tom Horne: That's a mistake. Our attorneys were not involved -- we were replaced as counsel long before they picked the firm. We were counsel to them in the very beginning and a lawyer from our office gave them training on the open meeting.

Ted Simons: But there was a connection before the selection was made?

Tom Horne: That's correct.

Ted Simons: The other side is saying there could be a conflict of interest since your attorneys advised long before, but still before the selection was made.

Tom Horne: We have a letter from Joe foster, was the ethics attorney under Terry Goddard and serves on the ethics committee for the state bar, saying there's no conflict because the acts took place after we were no longer counsel. What is significant, when we were counsel we gave training on the open meeting law and specifically told them you can talk to one our person but not the majority of the commission and line up the votes and go into an open meeting where you have a sham, where you're rubber stamping, which you’ve already agreed to. The deliberations are supposed to take place in public.

Ted Simons: Are you saying the two Republicans on the commission support the claims?

Tom Horne: We have testimony from two of the members. I don’t like to talk about parties because as attorney general, I try to be nonpartisan, but we have testimony from two commissioners that the chairman of the commission called them saying she wanted a unanimous vote for the consultant implying she had three votes and needed their two votes and so she may have talked to all of the members but she shouldn't have talked to as many as two. She could have talked to one, but not as many as two.

Ted Simons: Former attorney general Terry Goddard has written an Op-ed piece along with former mayor Paul Johnson and he criticizes you for announcing an investigation without first having a lawsuit, without first going to a grand jury and getting some kind of indictment. Instead of doing a confidential investigation and then getting the lawsuit or indictment, he says it's the cart before the horse and a fishing expedition, doing this first as opposed to that. How do you respond?

Tom Horne: It's clearly not a fishing expedition and when I filed the action in court, I gave the probable cause including the testimony we just talked about so it's clearly not a fishing expedition. I had to disclose this information to show I had probable cause to do the investigation. In the article, Mr. Goddard puts the word investigation in quotes. Further diverts the commission from doing its assigned task and does nothing to find or prevent lawbreaking. It's the opposite of the truth. It's my job to find out if there's lawbreaking and it does do something to prevent lawbreaking and we're trying to get at the facts and here's a former attorney general participating in a coverup where he tries to justify people not testifying when I have the facts to show there's probable cause there's a crime committed.

Ted Simons: What he's saying is an investigation would make sense but do it confidentially so if nothing is found, the political process isn't in some way stained.

Tom Horne: Ted, he’s not saying an investigation makes sense. He puts the word "investigation" in quotes and says I’m diverting the commission from its task and does nothing to prevent law breaking.

Ted Simons: I think he's saying the confidentiality part.

Ted Simons: Well, I had to go to court to compel people to testify and show the court I have had probable cause and I have the testimony of two commissioners that show that, in fact, the chairman was lining up the votes, in secret. Not in the view of the public. We also have the fact that the three people who voted for the consultant, they gave a perfect 700 points to the consultant chosen. We have testimony from another commissioner that could not be honest, so for them to do that, it would be very unusual if that was done independently and coincidentally and there's indication it would be an agreement which would be a violation of the open meetings law.

Ted Simons: For those who are saying -- You called this a coverup by the Democrats.

Tom Horne: I don't refer to political party, Ted. I think its important--

Ted Simons: It did say a coverup.

Tom Horne: Yes.

Ted Simons: The Republicans aren’t covering this up

Tom Horne: There's a coverup going on and if they think they're going to escape our effort to find the truth, they need to think a second time and if Terry Goddard thinks he can intimidate me, somebody needs to tell him to think twice. I haven't reached a conclusion whether or not there's anything illegal but I'm not going to let people stonewall me. The people expect me to get to the facts and I'm going do this.

Ted Simons: And the people expect it to be a independent redistricting commission.

Tom Horne: Yes.

Ted Simons: And some folks, we know what side of the fence they're on, they say you're trying to intimidate the commission. And republicans are trying to muck up the process before the map line is even drawn.

Tom Horne: I've not expressed an opinion, who they hired or anything they've done. The only thing I've found when I got information that the law was broken, people expect me to get at the facts and it's important to me as attorney general to be nonpartisan. Once the election is over, I represent the people and they expect me to prosecute the people, whether they're Republicans or Democrats or independent, if they violent the law. This is an attack on me to keep me from getting to the facts. We’re not going to permit a coverup, we’re going to get the facts.

Ted Simons: Good to have you here.

Tom Horne: Good to be here, Ted.

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