Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

November 18, 2008


Host: Ted Simons

Housing Arizona

  |   Video
  • Participants in the recent Arizona Town Hall entitled "Housing Arizona" talk about the town hall's recommendations, the mortgage crisis, and efforts to create affordable housing in Arizona. Arizona Town Hall
Guests:
  • Bill Christiansen - Superintendent, Tolleson Elementary school district
  • Ed Beasley - Glendale city manager
  • Patricia Garcia-Duarte - CEO, Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix and Arizona Town Hall participant
Category: Mortgage Crisis

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
>>> Tonight on "Horizon" the city of Glendale announced as the new home of USA basketball. Arizona town hall recommends ways to do a better job of housing Arizona. It looks like voters have approved a plan to unify six west valley school districts. We'll talk with the superintendent of one of those districts next on "Horizon."

Announcer:
>>"Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of 8, members of Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Ted Simons:
>>> Hello and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Two weeks ago, voters in 76 Arizona school districts voted on plans to merge into as few as 27 districts. Unofficial election results indicate four unification plans were approved. Another five are being disputed. The largest plan approved by voters is in the west valley. It would combine six school districts into one unified district. The plan calls for tolleson union high school district to merge with the fowler, Littleton, pendergast, union and Tolleson Elementary districts. Here to talk about the plan is superintendent of the Tolleson Elementary school district, Bill Christiansen. Thank you for joining us on "horizon." Great to have you here.

Bill Christiansen:
>> Thank you.

Ted Simons:
>> Were you surprised by the outcome of the election?

Bill Christiansen:
>> We were very surprised. When the commission released the map of the west valley, there wasn't a lot of support for it at all. Basically our PTS's, local groups and governing boards took an official stance against the unification plan saying there wasn't enough evidence that this would approve student achievement.

Ted Simons:
>> Why do you think the voters went for it?

Bill Christiansen:
>> A lot of overrides had failed last year in school districts. We were one of those. We were phasing out and going through some budget crisis as I believe we're all facing these days. We went back to the voters to approve our overrides for this year, both the k-3 and maintenance override. Those did pass. On the ballot, we felt our voters felt they were supporting education and voting the school districts. They voted for the overrides. They voted for unification at the same time.



Ted Simons:
>> We not looking for anything specific to the west valley that other regions, concerns or questions that --

Bill Christiansen:
>> I don't think so. Overwhelmingly for parents and other parents I spoke with over the last few years never liked having up to 40,000 students in a growing situation in a school district. We were very shocked by the outcome. Once the election was called, there wasn't much we can do to influence elections, obviously, but we could give as much information out as we could. As we spoke to people, we were caught off guard. We didn't expect it would pass.

Ted Simons:
>> There are some questions now about the election, the outcome itself because of the law. Talk about that.

Bill Christiansen:
>> There's a lot of questions. As we started to meet and come together, both individually and in the capacity of six superintendents, we met the morning after the election as a group and started to talk through some logistics but one of the of things that popped out to many of us and to our attorneys was the way that the election verbiage, senate bill 1068 was worded which calls for a majority of qualified electors. Qualified electors has a very specific definition. It's been in place since 1899, the definition, meaning that's really registered voters rather than the majority of the votes. It's very unique. We have no idea why a legislation would have been written that way. Consolidation of school districts says majority of votes. Override says majority of votes. Joint unifications of unified districts says majority of votes. However this one was written as majority of qualified electorates.

Ted Simons:
>> That'll be impossible to get this thing passed as registered voters were included.

Bill Christiansen:
>> Absolutely. We were as confused as anyone. We asked for clarification in the county level at this point in time saying based that this -- on what this says, we don't think the legislation passed. We don't know what the intent of the legislature was. It's difficult for anyone to speak other than the legislature as a whole.

Ted Simons:
>> Machinations of unifying all of these districts has to be awfully complicated. Explain what happened so far? What needs to be done?

Bill Christiansen:
>> So far, the superintendents are meeting weekly. It's been very good and productive meetings. We're starting to lay out a time table for the 18 months which we believe is our time table. What is happening as is with the question of the qualified electors, we have a lot of qualified questions and more legal questions that need to get addressed as we go through the process. We're beginning to meet. We deal with governance. How you will the board work? Will there be 24 board members? That's what is happening right now. Will elections be sooner? What will basically happen? We're starting to work through that internally. Then we'll work from that from legal opinions.

Ted Simons:
>> Is there a road map you can work from?

Bill Christiansen:
>> The commission from the beginning, the idea was the voters would approve unification and the districts would come together and pave that way. Of course, we've got our own skills and own abilities to collaborate with staff and collaborate with each other. There's not a road map. There's not a blueprint of this will happen first. This will happen next. That's not taking place. We're doing that ourselves.

Ted Simons:
>> The biggest concerns you've heard so far from parents and teachers and employees?

Bill Christiansen:
>> The biggest from parents right now is, "are we going to be that large? Am I going to lose the ability to talk to the superintendent or my child's principal?" A lot of those fears -- as we're saying to them -- is schools shouldn't be affected in this process. There's still children to teach. There's still teachers in classrooms and still principals needed for the schools. Some of the changes will ultimately occur -- that's where some of the fears are also coming from -- is jobs. Will there be a massive loss of jobs? It's way too early to address that issue. There's some logic that there won't be six transportation and six maintenance and those duplications from services. The question really is from teachers is the salary issue. Will their salaries go down? We're on six different salary schedules and six different health insurance programs and six different curricular models. Will those change?

Ted Simons:
>> Very quickly here the idea for unification, much of the idea is that it can save money. Do you she process saving money?

Bill Christiansen:
>> Initially, I don't see it saving a lot of money at all. The idea is, and I totally respect the direction of the governor and the commission and the attorney general by putting more money in the classroom. We do know that research proves more money, better achievement. The issue is whether or not this plan the way it's laid out is going to actually put significantly more money into the classroom to improve student achievement. The research doesn't support a district of this size being increasing student achievement.


Ted Simons:
>> all right, bill, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

Bill Christiansen:
>> Thank you, I appreciate it.

Ted Simons:
>>> The city of Glendale is adding another sports trophy to its already impressive collection. The city announced today that the headquarters of USA basketball is moving to Glendale which is already home to the Arizona Cardinals, the phoenix coyotes and the fiesta bowl. Earlier tonight, I spoke with Glendale city manager Ed Beasley about the move.

Ted Simons:
>> Ed Beasley, thank you for joining us on "Horizon."

Ed Beasley:
>> Thank you for having me.

Ted Simons:
>> Let's talk about USA basketball specifically. What is it? What is coming to Glendale?

Ed Beasley:
>> USA basketball is a process that started a year ago. There was a request for a proposal that came out from USA being it's basically the men's and women's Olympic basketball team. They also have a developmental program which provides for youths for 16, 17 and 18 to be developed and also participate in programs. It handles the pan American games and is the headquarters for basketball in the United States.

Ted Simons:
>> You're talking head quarters and training center? The whole shebang in Arizona?

Ed Beasley:
>> That's correct. Midwestern university's medical school will provide another aspect of otheopathic medicine as well as dentistry.

Ted Simons:
>> Why did they leave Colorado? What kinds of incentives were given to them to get them down here?

Ed Beasley:
>> That's the beauty of the deal they recognized they wanted to grow their business. They wanted to have a community that would allow for them to grow. What our proposal brought forward was the unique partnership between Midwestern University, rightpath limited which developed our project in conjunction with USAB and the city. The city provided the facilitation between the two partners to come forward. Rightpath will be the financial developer and is providing the means to move forward. They could lease back to rightpath. The reason they're interested in this project -- it could be $40-$50 million -- it creates a destination opportunity for them. It is means foot traffic.

Ted Simons:
>> Let's talk about main street Glendale. Where is that? What is that?

Ed Beasley:
>> Main Street Glendale is the prospect that take place between rightpath and the city of Glendale west of the 101 directly across from the stadium and Westgate between Camelback and Maryland. It's anchored to the south for the white sox and dodgers' facility and to the north with the USA basketball facility. In between these two is where Main Street USA will exist.

Ted Simons:
>> How long of a commitment have they made to stay in Glendale?

Ed Beasley:
>> The agreement we're working on obviously will be a long-term agreement. They wouldn't move away from Colorado if they didn't think they could be here long term. There's several agreements we need to finalize between financial design and construction. This'll be a 30-plus year agreement.

Ted Simons:
>> As far as the time table for getting this particular facility built, what are we looking at?

Ed Beasley:
>> We hope to be opened between now and '010.

Ted Simons:
>> As far as the economic impact of what is going on out there let's talk about jobs and talk revenues. What are you forecasting? What are you thinking?

Ed Beasley:
>> Well, we had Elliott Polack who does a great job in forecasting. We're looking at $64 million impact and $26 million direct impact to Glendale.

Ted Simons:
>> As far as Glendale becoming kind of a hub now for sports, how much did having the cardinals and the coyotes and the spring training plans in place, how much did that help with the USA basketball?



Ed Beasley:
>> Huge amenity they took a look at the cardinals' facility and took a look at the arena and took a look at Westgate and the white sox and the dodgers and they saw that being this in the synergy of all the sports taking place, basketball would be a natural fit. They recognize also as part of those agreements they could have access to those facilities working with the city and the entities from their standpoint, where else could you get that type of synergy and type of entertainment district and still be able to put down your own capitals to have your own identity.

Ted Simons:
>> as far as having your own identity, it sounds like today now the white sox are pretty much free of Tucson and they're heading on up here, hah?

Ed Beasley:
>> I think it'll be beneficial to both cities and both areas. Certainly the white sox had a great opportunity down in Tucson but now they'll still be able to continue with some cash payments as well as the ability now to do work with them to replace the facility. It's great for us in the sense that the white sox will be here in spring training. We always hoped and planned for that. It allows the fans to have a planning aspect. What I mean by planning is if you're a white sox fan, you can plan your vacation rather than necessarily being in one part of the state, being in Maricopa County. In this period of time, it's important to families.

Ted Simons:
>> Update us on this facility that the white sox and dodgers apparently will share out there in Glendale?

Ed Beasley:
>> It's ready to go. We expect them. We'll be in operation in February. It's state-of-the-art facility. Largest facility in cactus league. Both teams are exceedingly happy with the outcome.

Ted Simons:
>> With all of this going on, you have an announcement pretty good shot for Tucson getting the final 4 NCAA basketball championship?

Ed Beasley:
>> We pretty much feel we're a shoe in for the mix. Coyotes games, white sox games, dodger's games -- now with the Olympic team there, it'll fit really well in.

Ted Simons:
>> for those who are skeptical that sporting events, sporting facilities can bring in the kind of revenues that cities need to take care of sporting events and sporting teams and such, what do you say to them? Does it -- first of all, it pays for itself, correct? How much more are you getting out of this?

Ed Beasley:
>> Here's the thing we've always said. It really started on the path of what we decided to move forward with. From the beginning of time when times were good or times were bad, whether it was Roman or Greek, there was always sports. It was a destination point opportunity. It was a place to create dreams and also a place to forget many things if they weren't going well. From our standpoint, the new model that works very well is not so much the sports activity itself which will create some interest and also some destination point but the ancillary uses that go around it. The entertainment. The development. The food. You know, those types of things, the commercial, the retail. And so that's what generates the sales tax dollars that helps pay for the stadium and the facility. When you surround those things where people now you when they go to see their favorite team or see their favorite concert or see their favorite event, they're not just jumping in a car and leaving afterwards. They're saying, let's stay -- let's have a meal. Let's have a drink. Let's go ahead and catch a movie. Let's make a full time out of it. We've purposefully tried to strategically set ourselves in a position where those things surround the facilities that we've developed.

Ted Simons:
>> All right, very good. Ed Beasley, thank you so much for joining. We appreciate it.

Ed Beasley:
>> Thank you.

Ted Simons:
>> Housing Arizona is the title of the 93rd Arizona town hall that took place earlier this month in the Grand Canyon. Participants worked to find consensus on how to improve housing in Arizona. The recommendations include requiring mortgage counseling for home buyers and providing incentives to encourage the development of more affordable housing.

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>>> It's never really been a high topic that's been discussed, housing. At the town hall, we did have the opportunity to really talk about the American dream and this current crisis that so many families are losing their homes really gave us the opportunity to stress the importance of housing counseling and home buyer education, because we have proven that the families that have gone through counseling and education are doing very well. They picked the right mortgages for their needs.

Ted Simons:
>> Kind of a comparison between marriage counseling and mortgage counseling.

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> That is correct.

Ted Simons:
>> Tim, was there a sense of urgency because of all of the things going on?

Tim Mullan:
>> Well, there definitely i was sense of urgency. We had people from the private sector as well as public and city municipalities from Prescott to Sedona to phoenix. There's definitely a sense of urgency with the current marketplace the way it is. We're dealing with something that we've never seen before in that there are people that above and beyond the working class and the middle-class are dealing with situations where they are unable to afford the houses they're living in. They have to make a decision whether they can stay in their houses and provide for their family or do they go and give it back to the bank and rent? Or find inexpensive home?

Ted Simons:
>> You're a realtor. You're out there on the front lines. Talk about the world as it was before September and what you're seeing right now? And even September, we started seeing a slowdown in the economy but I'm sure it's been a revolution in the past couple of months.

Tim Mullan:
>> It has. But this has been going on for a year or a year and a half. This is nothing new to the majority of us that's been in the business for awhile. We've seen the short sale situation where a person owes more on their mortgage than it's worth and they go in before it goes into foreclosure, they put it on the market and try to get someone to purchase that property. The difference is forgiven by the bank. That's the short sale. And we've been dealing with these for probably a year or a year and a half. Within the last couple of months, that has just completely quadrupled or magnified to the point where banks are overwhelmed, realtors are overwhelmed, not-for-profits are overwhelmed. No one knows how to deal with this issue.

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> The problem there was long before. The problem was being masked because people were able to sell their homes. The problem really got serious when people weren't able to sell their homes anymore because the property values started to drop. At that point, then we started to see more foreclosures.

Ted Simons:
>> Neighborhood housing services of phoenix. What does your group do? Again, how has it changed in the past few months especially? I know things have been bad for awhile.

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> NHS phoenix is dedicated to create first-time homeowners. We've had to retool and retrain to council people that are at the point of losing their home. We have a whole new component that is foreclosure intervention. We do a lot of counseling to help families stay in their homes. There's a help line that people can call if they want to talk to an organization that has foreclosure intervention counselors. The government put this number together. It 1-877-448-1211. That is free counseling. There's a lot of entities out there. Some are legitimate. Others aren't so legitimate. Those agencies are charging people for something they can get for free. We encourage people to seek a hud-approved organization.

Ted Simons:
>> are you getting state and federal funds now?

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> Yes, we do. We receive support from the state and local municipalities to provide for foreclosure intervention counseling. Last summer, congress approved the national foreclosure mitigation counseling program. We're one of the agencies, recipients of that money to help us offset the cost of counseling.

Ted Simons:
>> You're going to get neighborhood stabilization money too, correct?

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> There's money coming to the state. We are all working on reviewing the plans. The recipients have to submit their plans by December 1 to hud and then a lot of different organizations have the opportunity to either acquire and rehab, provide counseling and education. The municipalities may use some of this money to provide down payment and closing cost assistance. There's a variety of things that will help us bring our communities back.

Ted Simons:
>> Tim, I know work force housing was one of the things that was addressed at the town hall. Talk about that and the true cost of housing.

Tim Mullan:
>> One thing that was brought to light was the transportation. How that figures into the true cost of housing. And we have these bedroom communities. The anthems and the surprises but a lot don't have the infrastructure or jobs to support the people that live out there. What was brought up in our town hall was that we need to develop housing along the light-rail system, the future part extensions of the light-rail system so that people that live out in the bedroom communities have affordable, public transportation to go into the city to get those jobs and pay for them. And one thing that was very enlightening is that a majority or more than 1/3 of people in today's economy pay more for their transportation than they do for their housing. They have car -- two cars possibly, their car insurance, their gas, their maintenance. That's actually more than it would be to pay for their mortgage.

Ted Simons:
>> What would you want to see state lawmakers do just to that specific end?

Tim Mullan:
>> Well, is that when they're looking at developers coming along and looking to develop extensions out to certain areas that they include public transportation in that development fee and make sure that those people that are living on the outskirts are serviced by public transportation.

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> We need better planning. We need comprehensive plans that take into account everything. The access to employment, the cost of transportation. We need to be friendlier to our earth so having better energy efficiency products, because essentially that could also help better qualify someone into a home and transportation is a costly component of people's expenses.

Ted Simons:
>> Real quickly, you did talk about a phone number for those who are looking for counseling, looking for information if they were facing some tough times as far as their homes.

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> The number is 1-887-448-1211.

Ted Simons:
>> 887?

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> I'm sorry, 877.

Ted Simons:
>> There you go. You got it right. Ok. All right. Tim, should there be a moratorium on foreclosures?

Tim Mullan:
>> I think there probably should be, but what we see -- and she'll probably agree with me on this -- is that you put a moratorium on foreclosures for people who really are in trouble already and you're just kind of extending out the problem that once the moratorium is gone, they're still in trouble. So there really needs to be -- they really need to go through counseling and look at reducing the debt or the note on the house so the people could afford the payment rather than have them just hold off on paying their mortgage.

Ted Simons:
>> Back again on what could possibly be done about all of this. Should we see tighter regulation on lenders?

Tim Mullan:
>> I think that's a part of it. That's just one part of it. I think there needs to be discussion about how the money that is coming into our cities and towns and how it is utilized there needs to be oversight within the banks, within the lenders and how it's -- what else do you have as far as that's concerned -- there's several ways you can utilize it.
Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> There's a lot that needs to be done. One of the things we discussed at the town hall as well is the whole need for financial literacy. Too much debt. And that's a fundamental problem. We're a society that wants everything now and we want to charge it. So that is a big problem. We need to do more financial education at the schools, from k to 12 and then hopefully as adults, better financial decisions are made. That's been the root of the problem.

Ted Simons:
>> All right. Well, very good. Thank you, both, for joining us tonight on "horizon" we appreciate it.

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> Thank you.

Ted Simons:
>> coming up on a special edition of "horizon" experts talk about educating Arizona. We'll visit a nationally acclaimed charter school in Tucson and see what asu is doing to test innovations in education. That's Wednesday at 7:00 on "horizon." That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening. If you have comments about "Horizon" please contact us at the addresses listed on your screen. Your name and comments may be used on a future edition of "Horizon."

Announcer:
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School District Unification

  |   Video
  • According to the unofficial election results, voters in six West Valley school districts have voted to combine their districts into one unified district. The superintendent of one of those districts (Tolleson Elementary) explains why the outcome of the vote is being questioned and how the districts are preparing for the process of unification. School District Redistricting Commission
Guests:
  • Bill Christiansen - Superintendent, Tolleson Elementary school district
  • Ed Beasley - Glendale city manager
  • Patricia Garcia-Duarte - CEO, Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix and Arizona Town Hall participant
Category: Education

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
>>> Tonight on "Horizon" the city of Glendale announced as the new home of USA basketball. Arizona town hall recommends ways to do a better job of housing Arizona. It looks like voters have approved a plan to unify six west valley school districts. We'll talk with the superintendent of one of those districts next on "Horizon."

Announcer:
>>"Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of 8, members of Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Ted Simons:
>>> Hello and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Two weeks ago, voters in 76 Arizona school districts voted on plans to merge into as few as 27 districts. Unofficial election results indicate four unification plans were approved. Another five are being disputed. The largest plan approved by voters is in the west valley. It would combine six school districts into one unified district. The plan calls for tolleson union high school district to merge with the fowler, Littleton, pendergast, union and Tolleson Elementary districts. Here to talk about the plan is superintendent of the Tolleson Elementary school district, Bill Christiansen. Thank you for joining us on "horizon." Great to have you here.

Bill Christiansen:
>> Thank you.

Ted Simons:
>> Were you surprised by the outcome of the election?

Bill Christiansen:
>> We were very surprised. When the commission released the map of the west valley, there wasn't a lot of support for it at all. Basically our PTS's, local groups and governing boards took an official stance against the unification plan saying there wasn't enough evidence that this would approve student achievement.

Ted Simons:
>> Why do you think the voters went for it?

Bill Christiansen:
>> A lot of overrides had failed last year in school districts. We were one of those. We were phasing out and going through some budget crisis as I believe we're all facing these days. We went back to the voters to approve our overrides for this year, both the k-3 and maintenance override. Those did pass. On the ballot, we felt our voters felt they were supporting education and voting the school districts. They voted for the overrides. They voted for unification at the same time.



Ted Simons:
>> We not looking for anything specific to the west valley that other regions, concerns or questions that --

Bill Christiansen:
>> I don't think so. Overwhelmingly for parents and other parents I spoke with over the last few years never liked having up to 40,000 students in a growing situation in a school district. We were very shocked by the outcome. Once the election was called, there wasn't much we can do to influence elections, obviously, but we could give as much information out as we could. As we spoke to people, we were caught off guard. We didn't expect it would pass.

Ted Simons:
>> There are some questions now about the election, the outcome itself because of the law. Talk about that.

Bill Christiansen:
>> There's a lot of questions. As we started to meet and come together, both individually and in the capacity of six superintendents, we met the morning after the election as a group and started to talk through some logistics but one of the of things that popped out to many of us and to our attorneys was the way that the election verbiage, senate bill 1068 was worded which calls for a majority of qualified electors. Qualified electors has a very specific definition. It's been in place since 1899, the definition, meaning that's really registered voters rather than the majority of the votes. It's very unique. We have no idea why a legislation would have been written that way. Consolidation of school districts says majority of votes. Override says majority of votes. Joint unifications of unified districts says majority of votes. However this one was written as majority of qualified electorates.

Ted Simons:
>> That'll be impossible to get this thing passed as registered voters were included.

Bill Christiansen:
>> Absolutely. We were as confused as anyone. We asked for clarification in the county level at this point in time saying based that this -- on what this says, we don't think the legislation passed. We don't know what the intent of the legislature was. It's difficult for anyone to speak other than the legislature as a whole.

Ted Simons:
>> Machinations of unifying all of these districts has to be awfully complicated. Explain what happened so far? What needs to be done?

Bill Christiansen:
>> So far, the superintendents are meeting weekly. It's been very good and productive meetings. We're starting to lay out a time table for the 18 months which we believe is our time table. What is happening as is with the question of the qualified electors, we have a lot of qualified questions and more legal questions that need to get addressed as we go through the process. We're beginning to meet. We deal with governance. How you will the board work? Will there be 24 board members? That's what is happening right now. Will elections be sooner? What will basically happen? We're starting to work through that internally. Then we'll work from that from legal opinions.

Ted Simons:
>> Is there a road map you can work from?

Bill Christiansen:
>> The commission from the beginning, the idea was the voters would approve unification and the districts would come together and pave that way. Of course, we've got our own skills and own abilities to collaborate with staff and collaborate with each other. There's not a road map. There's not a blueprint of this will happen first. This will happen next. That's not taking place. We're doing that ourselves.

Ted Simons:
>> The biggest concerns you've heard so far from parents and teachers and employees?

Bill Christiansen:
>> The biggest from parents right now is, "are we going to be that large? Am I going to lose the ability to talk to the superintendent or my child's principal?" A lot of those fears -- as we're saying to them -- is schools shouldn't be affected in this process. There's still children to teach. There's still teachers in classrooms and still principals needed for the schools. Some of the changes will ultimately occur -- that's where some of the fears are also coming from -- is jobs. Will there be a massive loss of jobs? It's way too early to address that issue. There's some logic that there won't be six transportation and six maintenance and those duplications from services. The question really is from teachers is the salary issue. Will their salaries go down? We're on six different salary schedules and six different health insurance programs and six different curricular models. Will those change?

Ted Simons:
>> Very quickly here the idea for unification, much of the idea is that it can save money. Do you she process saving money?

Bill Christiansen:
>> Initially, I don't see it saving a lot of money at all. The idea is, and I totally respect the direction of the governor and the commission and the attorney general by putting more money in the classroom. We do know that research proves more money, better achievement. The issue is whether or not this plan the way it's laid out is going to actually put significantly more money into the classroom to improve student achievement. The research doesn't support a district of this size being increasing student achievement.


Ted Simons:
>> all right, bill, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

Bill Christiansen:
>> Thank you, I appreciate it.

Ted Simons:
>>> The city of Glendale is adding another sports trophy to its already impressive collection. The city announced today that the headquarters of USA basketball is moving to Glendale which is already home to the Arizona Cardinals, the phoenix coyotes and the fiesta bowl. Earlier tonight, I spoke with Glendale city manager Ed Beasley about the move.

Ted Simons:
>> Ed Beasley, thank you for joining us on "Horizon."

Ed Beasley:
>> Thank you for having me.

Ted Simons:
>> Let's talk about USA basketball specifically. What is it? What is coming to Glendale?

Ed Beasley:
>> USA basketball is a process that started a year ago. There was a request for a proposal that came out from USA being it's basically the men's and women's Olympic basketball team. They also have a developmental program which provides for youths for 16, 17 and 18 to be developed and also participate in programs. It handles the pan American games and is the headquarters for basketball in the United States.

Ted Simons:
>> You're talking head quarters and training center? The whole shebang in Arizona?

Ed Beasley:
>> That's correct. Midwestern university's medical school will provide another aspect of otheopathic medicine as well as dentistry.

Ted Simons:
>> Why did they leave Colorado? What kinds of incentives were given to them to get them down here?

Ed Beasley:
>> That's the beauty of the deal they recognized they wanted to grow their business. They wanted to have a community that would allow for them to grow. What our proposal brought forward was the unique partnership between Midwestern University, rightpath limited which developed our project in conjunction with USAB and the city. The city provided the facilitation between the two partners to come forward. Rightpath will be the financial developer and is providing the means to move forward. They could lease back to rightpath. The reason they're interested in this project -- it could be $40-$50 million -- it creates a destination opportunity for them. It is means foot traffic.

Ted Simons:
>> Let's talk about main street Glendale. Where is that? What is that?

Ed Beasley:
>> Main Street Glendale is the prospect that take place between rightpath and the city of Glendale west of the 101 directly across from the stadium and Westgate between Camelback and Maryland. It's anchored to the south for the white sox and dodgers' facility and to the north with the USA basketball facility. In between these two is where Main Street USA will exist.

Ted Simons:
>> How long of a commitment have they made to stay in Glendale?

Ed Beasley:
>> The agreement we're working on obviously will be a long-term agreement. They wouldn't move away from Colorado if they didn't think they could be here long term. There's several agreements we need to finalize between financial design and construction. This'll be a 30-plus year agreement.

Ted Simons:
>> As far as the time table for getting this particular facility built, what are we looking at?

Ed Beasley:
>> We hope to be opened between now and '010.

Ted Simons:
>> As far as the economic impact of what is going on out there let's talk about jobs and talk revenues. What are you forecasting? What are you thinking?

Ed Beasley:
>> Well, we had Elliott Polack who does a great job in forecasting. We're looking at $64 million impact and $26 million direct impact to Glendale.

Ted Simons:
>> As far as Glendale becoming kind of a hub now for sports, how much did having the cardinals and the coyotes and the spring training plans in place, how much did that help with the USA basketball?



Ed Beasley:
>> Huge amenity they took a look at the cardinals' facility and took a look at the arena and took a look at Westgate and the white sox and the dodgers and they saw that being this in the synergy of all the sports taking place, basketball would be a natural fit. They recognize also as part of those agreements they could have access to those facilities working with the city and the entities from their standpoint, where else could you get that type of synergy and type of entertainment district and still be able to put down your own capitals to have your own identity.

Ted Simons:
>> as far as having your own identity, it sounds like today now the white sox are pretty much free of Tucson and they're heading on up here, hah?

Ed Beasley:
>> I think it'll be beneficial to both cities and both areas. Certainly the white sox had a great opportunity down in Tucson but now they'll still be able to continue with some cash payments as well as the ability now to do work with them to replace the facility. It's great for us in the sense that the white sox will be here in spring training. We always hoped and planned for that. It allows the fans to have a planning aspect. What I mean by planning is if you're a white sox fan, you can plan your vacation rather than necessarily being in one part of the state, being in Maricopa County. In this period of time, it's important to families.

Ted Simons:
>> Update us on this facility that the white sox and dodgers apparently will share out there in Glendale?

Ed Beasley:
>> It's ready to go. We expect them. We'll be in operation in February. It's state-of-the-art facility. Largest facility in cactus league. Both teams are exceedingly happy with the outcome.

Ted Simons:
>> With all of this going on, you have an announcement pretty good shot for Tucson getting the final 4 NCAA basketball championship?

Ed Beasley:
>> We pretty much feel we're a shoe in for the mix. Coyotes games, white sox games, dodger's games -- now with the Olympic team there, it'll fit really well in.

Ted Simons:
>> for those who are skeptical that sporting events, sporting facilities can bring in the kind of revenues that cities need to take care of sporting events and sporting teams and such, what do you say to them? Does it -- first of all, it pays for itself, correct? How much more are you getting out of this?

Ed Beasley:
>> Here's the thing we've always said. It really started on the path of what we decided to move forward with. From the beginning of time when times were good or times were bad, whether it was Roman or Greek, there was always sports. It was a destination point opportunity. It was a place to create dreams and also a place to forget many things if they weren't going well. From our standpoint, the new model that works very well is not so much the sports activity itself which will create some interest and also some destination point but the ancillary uses that go around it. The entertainment. The development. The food. You know, those types of things, the commercial, the retail. And so that's what generates the sales tax dollars that helps pay for the stadium and the facility. When you surround those things where people now you when they go to see their favorite team or see their favorite concert or see their favorite event, they're not just jumping in a car and leaving afterwards. They're saying, let's stay -- let's have a meal. Let's have a drink. Let's go ahead and catch a movie. Let's make a full time out of it. We've purposefully tried to strategically set ourselves in a position where those things surround the facilities that we've developed.

Ted Simons:
>> All right, very good. Ed Beasley, thank you so much for joining. We appreciate it.

Ed Beasley:
>> Thank you.

Ted Simons:
>> Housing Arizona is the title of the 93rd Arizona town hall that took place earlier this month in the Grand Canyon. Participants worked to find consensus on how to improve housing in Arizona. The recommendations include requiring mortgage counseling for home buyers and providing incentives to encourage the development of more affordable housing.

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>>> It's never really been a high topic that's been discussed, housing. At the town hall, we did have the opportunity to really talk about the American dream and this current crisis that so many families are losing their homes really gave us the opportunity to stress the importance of housing counseling and home buyer education, because we have proven that the families that have gone through counseling and education are doing very well. They picked the right mortgages for their needs.

Ted Simons:
>> Kind of a comparison between marriage counseling and mortgage counseling.

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> That is correct.

Ted Simons:
>> Tim, was there a sense of urgency because of all of the things going on?

Tim Mullan:
>> Well, there definitely i was sense of urgency. We had people from the private sector as well as public and city municipalities from Prescott to Sedona to phoenix. There's definitely a sense of urgency with the current marketplace the way it is. We're dealing with something that we've never seen before in that there are people that above and beyond the working class and the middle-class are dealing with situations where they are unable to afford the houses they're living in. They have to make a decision whether they can stay in their houses and provide for their family or do they go and give it back to the bank and rent? Or find inexpensive home?

Ted Simons:
>> You're a realtor. You're out there on the front lines. Talk about the world as it was before September and what you're seeing right now? And even September, we started seeing a slowdown in the economy but I'm sure it's been a revolution in the past couple of months.

Tim Mullan:
>> It has. But this has been going on for a year or a year and a half. This is nothing new to the majority of us that's been in the business for awhile. We've seen the short sale situation where a person owes more on their mortgage than it's worth and they go in before it goes into foreclosure, they put it on the market and try to get someone to purchase that property. The difference is forgiven by the bank. That's the short sale. And we've been dealing with these for probably a year or a year and a half. Within the last couple of months, that has just completely quadrupled or magnified to the point where banks are overwhelmed, realtors are overwhelmed, not-for-profits are overwhelmed. No one knows how to deal with this issue.

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> The problem there was long before. The problem was being masked because people were able to sell their homes. The problem really got serious when people weren't able to sell their homes anymore because the property values started to drop. At that point, then we started to see more foreclosures.

Ted Simons:
>> Neighborhood housing services of phoenix. What does your group do? Again, how has it changed in the past few months especially? I know things have been bad for awhile.

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> NHS phoenix is dedicated to create first-time homeowners. We've had to retool and retrain to council people that are at the point of losing their home. We have a whole new component that is foreclosure intervention. We do a lot of counseling to help families stay in their homes. There's a help line that people can call if they want to talk to an organization that has foreclosure intervention counselors. The government put this number together. It 1-877-448-1211. That is free counseling. There's a lot of entities out there. Some are legitimate. Others aren't so legitimate. Those agencies are charging people for something they can get for free. We encourage people to seek a hud-approved organization.

Ted Simons:
>> are you getting state and federal funds now?

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> Yes, we do. We receive support from the state and local municipalities to provide for foreclosure intervention counseling. Last summer, congress approved the national foreclosure mitigation counseling program. We're one of the agencies, recipients of that money to help us offset the cost of counseling.

Ted Simons:
>> You're going to get neighborhood stabilization money too, correct?

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> There's money coming to the state. We are all working on reviewing the plans. The recipients have to submit their plans by December 1 to hud and then a lot of different organizations have the opportunity to either acquire and rehab, provide counseling and education. The municipalities may use some of this money to provide down payment and closing cost assistance. There's a variety of things that will help us bring our communities back.

Ted Simons:
>> Tim, I know work force housing was one of the things that was addressed at the town hall. Talk about that and the true cost of housing.

Tim Mullan:
>> One thing that was brought to light was the transportation. How that figures into the true cost of housing. And we have these bedroom communities. The anthems and the surprises but a lot don't have the infrastructure or jobs to support the people that live out there. What was brought up in our town hall was that we need to develop housing along the light-rail system, the future part extensions of the light-rail system so that people that live out in the bedroom communities have affordable, public transportation to go into the city to get those jobs and pay for them. And one thing that was very enlightening is that a majority or more than 1/3 of people in today's economy pay more for their transportation than they do for their housing. They have car -- two cars possibly, their car insurance, their gas, their maintenance. That's actually more than it would be to pay for their mortgage.

Ted Simons:
>> What would you want to see state lawmakers do just to that specific end?

Tim Mullan:
>> Well, is that when they're looking at developers coming along and looking to develop extensions out to certain areas that they include public transportation in that development fee and make sure that those people that are living on the outskirts are serviced by public transportation.

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> We need better planning. We need comprehensive plans that take into account everything. The access to employment, the cost of transportation. We need to be friendlier to our earth so having better energy efficiency products, because essentially that could also help better qualify someone into a home and transportation is a costly component of people's expenses.

Ted Simons:
>> Real quickly, you did talk about a phone number for those who are looking for counseling, looking for information if they were facing some tough times as far as their homes.

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> The number is 1-887-448-1211.

Ted Simons:
>> 887?

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> I'm sorry, 877.

Ted Simons:
>> There you go. You got it right. Ok. All right. Tim, should there be a moratorium on foreclosures?

Tim Mullan:
>> I think there probably should be, but what we see -- and she'll probably agree with me on this -- is that you put a moratorium on foreclosures for people who really are in trouble already and you're just kind of extending out the problem that once the moratorium is gone, they're still in trouble. So there really needs to be -- they really need to go through counseling and look at reducing the debt or the note on the house so the people could afford the payment rather than have them just hold off on paying their mortgage.

Ted Simons:
>> Back again on what could possibly be done about all of this. Should we see tighter regulation on lenders?

Tim Mullan:
>> I think that's a part of it. That's just one part of it. I think there needs to be discussion about how the money that is coming into our cities and towns and how it is utilized there needs to be oversight within the banks, within the lenders and how it's -- what else do you have as far as that's concerned -- there's several ways you can utilize it.
Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> There's a lot that needs to be done. One of the things we discussed at the town hall as well is the whole need for financial literacy. Too much debt. And that's a fundamental problem. We're a society that wants everything now and we want to charge it. So that is a big problem. We need to do more financial education at the schools, from k to 12 and then hopefully as adults, better financial decisions are made. That's been the root of the problem.

Ted Simons:
>> All right. Well, very good. Thank you, both, for joining us tonight on "horizon" we appreciate it.

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> Thank you.

Ted Simons:
>> coming up on a special edition of "horizon" experts talk about educating Arizona. We'll visit a nationally acclaimed charter school in Tucson and see what asu is doing to test innovations in education. That's Wednesday at 7:00 on "horizon." That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening. If you have comments about "Horizon" please contact us at the addresses listed on your screen. Your name and comments may be used on a future edition of "Horizon."

Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of 8, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you. "Horizon" is the source for in-depth reporting and thoughtful discussion about local Arizona issues. Each weeknight, Ted Simons offers civil discourse with knowledgeable panelist who has are there not to agitate but rather to educate. Horizon works hard to provide with you news and information that's factual, nonjudgmental and balanced. Finding reliable information has never been more difficult and more important. Your contribution now will help assure that thoughtful public programs will always have a home on 8. Thank you.

USA Basketball Moves to Glendale

  |   Video
  • The Glendale City Council approved a memorandum of understanding for USA Basketball to move its headquarters to Glendale. City Manager Ed Beasley talks about the project that will include a multi-court training facility and other amenities. City of Glendale Web site
Guests:
  • Bill Christiansen - Superintendent, Tolleson Elementary school district
  • Ed Beasley - Glendale city manager
  • Patricia Garcia-Duarte - CEO, Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix and Arizona Town Hall participant
Category: Business/Economy

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
>>> Tonight on "Horizon" the city of Glendale announced as the new home of USA basketball. Arizona town hall recommends ways to do a better job of housing Arizona. It looks like voters have approved a plan to unify six west valley school districts. We'll talk with the superintendent of one of those districts next on "Horizon."

Announcer:
>>"Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of 8, members of Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Ted Simons:
>>> Hello and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Two weeks ago, voters in 76 Arizona school districts voted on plans to merge into as few as 27 districts. Unofficial election results indicate four unification plans were approved. Another five are being disputed. The largest plan approved by voters is in the west valley. It would combine six school districts into one unified district. The plan calls for tolleson union high school district to merge with the fowler, Littleton, pendergast, union and Tolleson Elementary districts. Here to talk about the plan is superintendent of the Tolleson Elementary school district, Bill Christiansen. Thank you for joining us on "horizon." Great to have you here.

Bill Christiansen:
>> Thank you.

Ted Simons:
>> Were you surprised by the outcome of the election?

Bill Christiansen:
>> We were very surprised. When the commission released the map of the west valley, there wasn't a lot of support for it at all. Basically our PTS's, local groups and governing boards took an official stance against the unification plan saying there wasn't enough evidence that this would approve student achievement.

Ted Simons:
>> Why do you think the voters went for it?

Bill Christiansen:
>> A lot of overrides had failed last year in school districts. We were one of those. We were phasing out and going through some budget crisis as I believe we're all facing these days. We went back to the voters to approve our overrides for this year, both the k-3 and maintenance override. Those did pass. On the ballot, we felt our voters felt they were supporting education and voting the school districts. They voted for the overrides. They voted for unification at the same time.



Ted Simons:
>> We not looking for anything specific to the west valley that other regions, concerns or questions that --

Bill Christiansen:
>> I don't think so. Overwhelmingly for parents and other parents I spoke with over the last few years never liked having up to 40,000 students in a growing situation in a school district. We were very shocked by the outcome. Once the election was called, there wasn't much we can do to influence elections, obviously, but we could give as much information out as we could. As we spoke to people, we were caught off guard. We didn't expect it would pass.

Ted Simons:
>> There are some questions now about the election, the outcome itself because of the law. Talk about that.

Bill Christiansen:
>> There's a lot of questions. As we started to meet and come together, both individually and in the capacity of six superintendents, we met the morning after the election as a group and started to talk through some logistics but one of the of things that popped out to many of us and to our attorneys was the way that the election verbiage, senate bill 1068 was worded which calls for a majority of qualified electors. Qualified electors has a very specific definition. It's been in place since 1899, the definition, meaning that's really registered voters rather than the majority of the votes. It's very unique. We have no idea why a legislation would have been written that way. Consolidation of school districts says majority of votes. Override says majority of votes. Joint unifications of unified districts says majority of votes. However this one was written as majority of qualified electorates.

Ted Simons:
>> That'll be impossible to get this thing passed as registered voters were included.

Bill Christiansen:
>> Absolutely. We were as confused as anyone. We asked for clarification in the county level at this point in time saying based that this -- on what this says, we don't think the legislation passed. We don't know what the intent of the legislature was. It's difficult for anyone to speak other than the legislature as a whole.

Ted Simons:
>> Machinations of unifying all of these districts has to be awfully complicated. Explain what happened so far? What needs to be done?

Bill Christiansen:
>> So far, the superintendents are meeting weekly. It's been very good and productive meetings. We're starting to lay out a time table for the 18 months which we believe is our time table. What is happening as is with the question of the qualified electors, we have a lot of qualified questions and more legal questions that need to get addressed as we go through the process. We're beginning to meet. We deal with governance. How you will the board work? Will there be 24 board members? That's what is happening right now. Will elections be sooner? What will basically happen? We're starting to work through that internally. Then we'll work from that from legal opinions.

Ted Simons:
>> Is there a road map you can work from?

Bill Christiansen:
>> The commission from the beginning, the idea was the voters would approve unification and the districts would come together and pave that way. Of course, we've got our own skills and own abilities to collaborate with staff and collaborate with each other. There's not a road map. There's not a blueprint of this will happen first. This will happen next. That's not taking place. We're doing that ourselves.

Ted Simons:
>> The biggest concerns you've heard so far from parents and teachers and employees?

Bill Christiansen:
>> The biggest from parents right now is, "are we going to be that large? Am I going to lose the ability to talk to the superintendent or my child's principal?" A lot of those fears -- as we're saying to them -- is schools shouldn't be affected in this process. There's still children to teach. There's still teachers in classrooms and still principals needed for the schools. Some of the changes will ultimately occur -- that's where some of the fears are also coming from -- is jobs. Will there be a massive loss of jobs? It's way too early to address that issue. There's some logic that there won't be six transportation and six maintenance and those duplications from services. The question really is from teachers is the salary issue. Will their salaries go down? We're on six different salary schedules and six different health insurance programs and six different curricular models. Will those change?

Ted Simons:
>> Very quickly here the idea for unification, much of the idea is that it can save money. Do you she process saving money?

Bill Christiansen:
>> Initially, I don't see it saving a lot of money at all. The idea is, and I totally respect the direction of the governor and the commission and the attorney general by putting more money in the classroom. We do know that research proves more money, better achievement. The issue is whether or not this plan the way it's laid out is going to actually put significantly more money into the classroom to improve student achievement. The research doesn't support a district of this size being increasing student achievement.


Ted Simons:
>> all right, bill, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

Bill Christiansen:
>> Thank you, I appreciate it.

Ted Simons:
>>> The city of Glendale is adding another sports trophy to its already impressive collection. The city announced today that the headquarters of USA basketball is moving to Glendale which is already home to the Arizona Cardinals, the phoenix coyotes and the fiesta bowl. Earlier tonight, I spoke with Glendale city manager Ed Beasley about the move.

Ted Simons:
>> Ed Beasley, thank you for joining us on "Horizon."

Ed Beasley:
>> Thank you for having me.

Ted Simons:
>> Let's talk about USA basketball specifically. What is it? What is coming to Glendale?

Ed Beasley:
>> USA basketball is a process that started a year ago. There was a request for a proposal that came out from USA being it's basically the men's and women's Olympic basketball team. They also have a developmental program which provides for youths for 16, 17 and 18 to be developed and also participate in programs. It handles the pan American games and is the headquarters for basketball in the United States.

Ted Simons:
>> You're talking head quarters and training center? The whole shebang in Arizona?

Ed Beasley:
>> That's correct. Midwestern university's medical school will provide another aspect of otheopathic medicine as well as dentistry.

Ted Simons:
>> Why did they leave Colorado? What kinds of incentives were given to them to get them down here?

Ed Beasley:
>> That's the beauty of the deal they recognized they wanted to grow their business. They wanted to have a community that would allow for them to grow. What our proposal brought forward was the unique partnership between Midwestern University, rightpath limited which developed our project in conjunction with USAB and the city. The city provided the facilitation between the two partners to come forward. Rightpath will be the financial developer and is providing the means to move forward. They could lease back to rightpath. The reason they're interested in this project -- it could be $40-$50 million -- it creates a destination opportunity for them. It is means foot traffic.

Ted Simons:
>> Let's talk about main street Glendale. Where is that? What is that?

Ed Beasley:
>> Main Street Glendale is the prospect that take place between rightpath and the city of Glendale west of the 101 directly across from the stadium and Westgate between Camelback and Maryland. It's anchored to the south for the white sox and dodgers' facility and to the north with the USA basketball facility. In between these two is where Main Street USA will exist.

Ted Simons:
>> How long of a commitment have they made to stay in Glendale?

Ed Beasley:
>> The agreement we're working on obviously will be a long-term agreement. They wouldn't move away from Colorado if they didn't think they could be here long term. There's several agreements we need to finalize between financial design and construction. This'll be a 30-plus year agreement.

Ted Simons:
>> As far as the time table for getting this particular facility built, what are we looking at?

Ed Beasley:
>> We hope to be opened between now and '010.

Ted Simons:
>> As far as the economic impact of what is going on out there let's talk about jobs and talk revenues. What are you forecasting? What are you thinking?

Ed Beasley:
>> Well, we had Elliott Polack who does a great job in forecasting. We're looking at $64 million impact and $26 million direct impact to Glendale.

Ted Simons:
>> As far as Glendale becoming kind of a hub now for sports, how much did having the cardinals and the coyotes and the spring training plans in place, how much did that help with the USA basketball?



Ed Beasley:
>> Huge amenity they took a look at the cardinals' facility and took a look at the arena and took a look at Westgate and the white sox and the dodgers and they saw that being this in the synergy of all the sports taking place, basketball would be a natural fit. They recognize also as part of those agreements they could have access to those facilities working with the city and the entities from their standpoint, where else could you get that type of synergy and type of entertainment district and still be able to put down your own capitals to have your own identity.

Ted Simons:
>> as far as having your own identity, it sounds like today now the white sox are pretty much free of Tucson and they're heading on up here, hah?

Ed Beasley:
>> I think it'll be beneficial to both cities and both areas. Certainly the white sox had a great opportunity down in Tucson but now they'll still be able to continue with some cash payments as well as the ability now to do work with them to replace the facility. It's great for us in the sense that the white sox will be here in spring training. We always hoped and planned for that. It allows the fans to have a planning aspect. What I mean by planning is if you're a white sox fan, you can plan your vacation rather than necessarily being in one part of the state, being in Maricopa County. In this period of time, it's important to families.

Ted Simons:
>> Update us on this facility that the white sox and dodgers apparently will share out there in Glendale?

Ed Beasley:
>> It's ready to go. We expect them. We'll be in operation in February. It's state-of-the-art facility. Largest facility in cactus league. Both teams are exceedingly happy with the outcome.

Ted Simons:
>> With all of this going on, you have an announcement pretty good shot for Tucson getting the final 4 NCAA basketball championship?

Ed Beasley:
>> We pretty much feel we're a shoe in for the mix. Coyotes games, white sox games, dodger's games -- now with the Olympic team there, it'll fit really well in.

Ted Simons:
>> for those who are skeptical that sporting events, sporting facilities can bring in the kind of revenues that cities need to take care of sporting events and sporting teams and such, what do you say to them? Does it -- first of all, it pays for itself, correct? How much more are you getting out of this?

Ed Beasley:
>> Here's the thing we've always said. It really started on the path of what we decided to move forward with. From the beginning of time when times were good or times were bad, whether it was Roman or Greek, there was always sports. It was a destination point opportunity. It was a place to create dreams and also a place to forget many things if they weren't going well. From our standpoint, the new model that works very well is not so much the sports activity itself which will create some interest and also some destination point but the ancillary uses that go around it. The entertainment. The development. The food. You know, those types of things, the commercial, the retail. And so that's what generates the sales tax dollars that helps pay for the stadium and the facility. When you surround those things where people now you when they go to see their favorite team or see their favorite concert or see their favorite event, they're not just jumping in a car and leaving afterwards. They're saying, let's stay -- let's have a meal. Let's have a drink. Let's go ahead and catch a movie. Let's make a full time out of it. We've purposefully tried to strategically set ourselves in a position where those things surround the facilities that we've developed.

Ted Simons:
>> All right, very good. Ed Beasley, thank you so much for joining. We appreciate it.

Ed Beasley:
>> Thank you.

Ted Simons:
>> Housing Arizona is the title of the 93rd Arizona town hall that took place earlier this month in the Grand Canyon. Participants worked to find consensus on how to improve housing in Arizona. The recommendations include requiring mortgage counseling for home buyers and providing incentives to encourage the development of more affordable housing.

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>>> It's never really been a high topic that's been discussed, housing. At the town hall, we did have the opportunity to really talk about the American dream and this current crisis that so many families are losing their homes really gave us the opportunity to stress the importance of housing counseling and home buyer education, because we have proven that the families that have gone through counseling and education are doing very well. They picked the right mortgages for their needs.

Ted Simons:
>> Kind of a comparison between marriage counseling and mortgage counseling.

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> That is correct.

Ted Simons:
>> Tim, was there a sense of urgency because of all of the things going on?

Tim Mullan:
>> Well, there definitely i was sense of urgency. We had people from the private sector as well as public and city municipalities from Prescott to Sedona to phoenix. There's definitely a sense of urgency with the current marketplace the way it is. We're dealing with something that we've never seen before in that there are people that above and beyond the working class and the middle-class are dealing with situations where they are unable to afford the houses they're living in. They have to make a decision whether they can stay in their houses and provide for their family or do they go and give it back to the bank and rent? Or find inexpensive home?

Ted Simons:
>> You're a realtor. You're out there on the front lines. Talk about the world as it was before September and what you're seeing right now? And even September, we started seeing a slowdown in the economy but I'm sure it's been a revolution in the past couple of months.

Tim Mullan:
>> It has. But this has been going on for a year or a year and a half. This is nothing new to the majority of us that's been in the business for awhile. We've seen the short sale situation where a person owes more on their mortgage than it's worth and they go in before it goes into foreclosure, they put it on the market and try to get someone to purchase that property. The difference is forgiven by the bank. That's the short sale. And we've been dealing with these for probably a year or a year and a half. Within the last couple of months, that has just completely quadrupled or magnified to the point where banks are overwhelmed, realtors are overwhelmed, not-for-profits are overwhelmed. No one knows how to deal with this issue.

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> The problem there was long before. The problem was being masked because people were able to sell their homes. The problem really got serious when people weren't able to sell their homes anymore because the property values started to drop. At that point, then we started to see more foreclosures.

Ted Simons:
>> Neighborhood housing services of phoenix. What does your group do? Again, how has it changed in the past few months especially? I know things have been bad for awhile.

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> NHS phoenix is dedicated to create first-time homeowners. We've had to retool and retrain to council people that are at the point of losing their home. We have a whole new component that is foreclosure intervention. We do a lot of counseling to help families stay in their homes. There's a help line that people can call if they want to talk to an organization that has foreclosure intervention counselors. The government put this number together. It 1-877-448-1211. That is free counseling. There's a lot of entities out there. Some are legitimate. Others aren't so legitimate. Those agencies are charging people for something they can get for free. We encourage people to seek a hud-approved organization.

Ted Simons:
>> are you getting state and federal funds now?

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> Yes, we do. We receive support from the state and local municipalities to provide for foreclosure intervention counseling. Last summer, congress approved the national foreclosure mitigation counseling program. We're one of the agencies, recipients of that money to help us offset the cost of counseling.

Ted Simons:
>> You're going to get neighborhood stabilization money too, correct?

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> There's money coming to the state. We are all working on reviewing the plans. The recipients have to submit their plans by December 1 to hud and then a lot of different organizations have the opportunity to either acquire and rehab, provide counseling and education. The municipalities may use some of this money to provide down payment and closing cost assistance. There's a variety of things that will help us bring our communities back.

Ted Simons:
>> Tim, I know work force housing was one of the things that was addressed at the town hall. Talk about that and the true cost of housing.

Tim Mullan:
>> One thing that was brought to light was the transportation. How that figures into the true cost of housing. And we have these bedroom communities. The anthems and the surprises but a lot don't have the infrastructure or jobs to support the people that live out there. What was brought up in our town hall was that we need to develop housing along the light-rail system, the future part extensions of the light-rail system so that people that live out in the bedroom communities have affordable, public transportation to go into the city to get those jobs and pay for them. And one thing that was very enlightening is that a majority or more than 1/3 of people in today's economy pay more for their transportation than they do for their housing. They have car -- two cars possibly, their car insurance, their gas, their maintenance. That's actually more than it would be to pay for their mortgage.

Ted Simons:
>> What would you want to see state lawmakers do just to that specific end?

Tim Mullan:
>> Well, is that when they're looking at developers coming along and looking to develop extensions out to certain areas that they include public transportation in that development fee and make sure that those people that are living on the outskirts are serviced by public transportation.

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> We need better planning. We need comprehensive plans that take into account everything. The access to employment, the cost of transportation. We need to be friendlier to our earth so having better energy efficiency products, because essentially that could also help better qualify someone into a home and transportation is a costly component of people's expenses.

Ted Simons:
>> Real quickly, you did talk about a phone number for those who are looking for counseling, looking for information if they were facing some tough times as far as their homes.

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> The number is 1-887-448-1211.

Ted Simons:
>> 887?

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> I'm sorry, 877.

Ted Simons:
>> There you go. You got it right. Ok. All right. Tim, should there be a moratorium on foreclosures?

Tim Mullan:
>> I think there probably should be, but what we see -- and she'll probably agree with me on this -- is that you put a moratorium on foreclosures for people who really are in trouble already and you're just kind of extending out the problem that once the moratorium is gone, they're still in trouble. So there really needs to be -- they really need to go through counseling and look at reducing the debt or the note on the house so the people could afford the payment rather than have them just hold off on paying their mortgage.

Ted Simons:
>> Back again on what could possibly be done about all of this. Should we see tighter regulation on lenders?

Tim Mullan:
>> I think that's a part of it. That's just one part of it. I think there needs to be discussion about how the money that is coming into our cities and towns and how it is utilized there needs to be oversight within the banks, within the lenders and how it's -- what else do you have as far as that's concerned -- there's several ways you can utilize it.
Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> There's a lot that needs to be done. One of the things we discussed at the town hall as well is the whole need for financial literacy. Too much debt. And that's a fundamental problem. We're a society that wants everything now and we want to charge it. So that is a big problem. We need to do more financial education at the schools, from k to 12 and then hopefully as adults, better financial decisions are made. That's been the root of the problem.

Ted Simons:
>> All right. Well, very good. Thank you, both, for joining us tonight on "horizon" we appreciate it.

Patricia Garcia-Duarte:
>> Thank you.

Ted Simons:
>> coming up on a special edition of "horizon" experts talk about educating Arizona. We'll visit a nationally acclaimed charter school in Tucson and see what asu is doing to test innovations in education. That's Wednesday at 7:00 on "horizon." That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening. If you have comments about "Horizon" please contact us at the addresses listed on your screen. Your name and comments may be used on a future edition of "Horizon."

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