Here and Now Archive

The Arizona Diamondbacks will be spending part of their 2014 Spring Training in Australia. Team President Derrick Hall said the trip will help the organization's international branding.Cactus League President Mark Coronado said the league will still do well even without the popular Diamondbacks for a couple of weeks. Coronado also said the Cactus League needs to become more political and let decision makers know how important its estimated $800 million economic impact is.

Since starting in 2008, the Valley’s Metro Light Rail has served Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa. The system has been more popular among riders than many had anticipated. An Interstate-10 West extension is on the way, and a central Mesa extension is expected to be operating by mid 2015, but the idea of light rail in Scottsdale has never gained traction.What are the pluses and minuses of the system for a city that is arguably the most attractive in the Valley for tourists, with its plethora of resorts, many along Scottsdale Road?

 Former Scottsdale mayoral candidate and longtime community advocate John Washington and attorney James Derouin of Derouin Environmental Law LLC in Scottsdale have two different perspectives.

Marshall Shore, the "Hip Historian," gives tours on some of Phoenix's quirkier historic spots. Shore told Steve Goldstein about his latest tour, which focuses on locations related to the infamous accused murderess Winnie Ruth Judd.

State Senators Rich Crandall and Steve Farley discuss why state lawmakers seem far from ending their current legislative session, even as it has reached its 100th day.

Senators Crandall and Farley talk about the conflict over Medicaid expansion among lawmakers, Governor Jan Brewer's unique leadership position on the issue and whether it gains legislative approval.

The State Senate's vote in favor of Medicaid expansion may have political consequences for the five Republicans who joined 13 Democrats to support it. Those GOP members are already being told to expect conservative primary challenges if they run for reelection.Former State Senator Slade Mead discussed how he was challenged and defeated in a Republican primary after he supported then-Governor Janet Napolitano's budget. Analysts Chris Herstam and Bob Robb of The Arizona Republic also gave their opinion.

Monday's ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an Arizona requirement related to prospective voters proving their citizenship. University of California-Irvine law Professor Richard Hasen said that is a victory for the federal government on the issue of voting rights, but he is convinced the overall battle continues.

Late last month, the Obama Administration announced a new senior advisor position, the first-ever liaison to Native American tribes on environmental issues, and the man filling the position will be Arizona state Senator Jack Jackson Jr., a member of the Navajo tribe. Jackson Jr.'s job will be to work with tribal governments on how certain environmental projects would impact their lands.

 Dr. Eddie Brown is a professor of American Indian Studies at Arizona and executive director of the American Indian Policy Institute. He discussed the Jackson Jr. appointment and the significance of the liaison position.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery talked about federal efforts to approve comprehensive immigration reform and whether his office's identity theft prosecutions could affect whether some undocumented immigrants could become eligible to be on a path to U.S. citizenship. Montgomery also discussed his efforts related to Attorney General Tom Horne's alleged campaign finance violations.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and General Colin Powell discuss the importance of leadership and how political discourse in the United States must become more civil in order to solve complicated problems.

General Powell was in Phoenix as part of the O'Connor House Distinguished Speakers Series.

The Butterfly Wonderland opened over the Memorial Day weekend just outside of Scottsdale on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa reservation. It is the largest indoor butterfly pavilion in the U.S.Mike Fox, Executive Director of Butterfly Wonderland, explained about the butterfly species, the conditions in the pavilion and why people are so drawn to butterflies.

The issue of Medicaid expansion made the 2013 legislative session a contentious one, but Arizona Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Glenn Hamer and Childrens Action Alliance President and CEO Dana Naimark both give the legislature high marks for the expansion, increased funding for Child Protective Services and business-friendly bills.

At the end of June, the state transportation board decided that part of Arizona State Route 260 West of Interstate 17 needed to be widened at a cost of more than $65 million. It  will be the biggest rural highway project in the state over the next several years, but Arizona Department of Transportation engineers did not even recommend the work. So how did it get approved?

Arizona Republic transportation reporter Sean Holstege answered that and other questions.

Author and conservationist William deBuys argued in a recent Los Angeles Times Op-Ed that the future of Phoenix is unsustainable, largely because of the impact of climate change. deBuys and Grady Gammage, attorney and Morrison Institute Senior Research Fellow, debated whether Phoenix has done enough to prepare for a hotter future. Gammage said Phoenix is far ahead of other western cities like Los Angeles and Denver, particularly in terms of planning related to water supply.

President Barack Obama will make his first trip to Mexico since the election of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Erik Lee of Arizona State University's North American Center for Transborder Studies says the two presidents will discuss trade and security issues.

When the legislative session began, increasing funding for Child Protective Services seemed like a foregone conclusion, but progress has stalled in the House.Representative Kate Brophy McGee of Phoenix talked about the delay and her expectations about the higher funding eventually being approved.

State Sen. Rich Crandall, one of the early Republican supporters of Medicaid expansion, looks back at the 2013 session. Crandall plans to leave in the middle of his two-year term to pursue other plans, including State Schools Superintendent in Wyoming, but Crandall said he may come out of retirement to support other GOP legislative moderates.

Wildfire season in Arizona and the West is getting longer, and the potential for catastrophic fires is growing. Journalist Michael Kodas has been in Arizona following the aftermath of the Yarnell Hill Fire. He is author of the upcoming book "Megafire."

Dr. Daniel Von Hoff of Scottsdale Healhcare and TGen spoke about efforts to cure cancer, including the dream teams of physicians coming together with complementary areas of expertise.Von Hoff was featured in the latest edition of Time Magazine in the cover story, "How to Cure Cancer."

The Herberger Theatre Center will host a one-night production of "8" by Dustin Lance Black. The play's focus is the federal trial of California's Proposition 8, which restricted recognized marriage to opposite sex couples.

Steve Goldstein talks with the producer of the show — Neil Giuliano, CEO of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and former Mayor of Tempe.

Arizona's 3rd District Representative, Democrat Raul Grijalva, said he is in favor of the Senate's immigration reform plan, especially when compared to what is being considered in the House, which Grijalva said is too punitive.Congressman Grijalva also discussed his support for the Affordable Care Act, and he revealed whether he wishes he had been named U.S. Interior Secretary.

The Phoenix arts organization, Artlink, will gather its volunteers and community members Wednesday night to discuss upcoming plans for "First Fridays" and "Third Fridays," two of its major efforts. Artlink Interim Co-President Catrina Kahler talked about the annual meeting and the organization's mission.

Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia has made some changes to the department’s leadership. A few were promoted, while others were demoted. With more on the story is Arizona Republic reporter JJ Hensley, who wrote about it in Wednesday morning’s paper and online at Azcentral.com.



After a four-decade ban, the Scottsdale City Council has approved the return of ice cream trucks to the city's neighborhoods.

Leo Blavin, who helped the charge to overturn the ban, explained why he thinks it is a good idea.

Arizona's 9th Congressional District Representative Kyrsten Sinema is working to get her fellow congressional members to focus on the importance of college affordability. In two months, student loan interest rates will rise unless Congress acts.

Representative Sinema also gave her perspectives on comprehensive immigration reform. She believes elected officials are ready to have a serious discussion about what reform needs to include.

The 1 cent sales tax increase approved by voters in 2010 as Proposition 100 expires on Saturday. The vote occurred while Arizona's economy was in the middle of the recession and the state's budget was deep in a deficit. The funding from the higher tax was intended to help fund K-12 education.

Todd Sanders, President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, supported Prop 100. Farrell Quinlan, Arizona Director of the National Federation of Independent Business, was an opponent. Sanders and Quinlan talked about the tax's impact.

Arizona Theatre Company's Artistic Director David Ira Goldstein will leave the position in December after more than 20 years. Goldstein said he is ready for new career challenges, including the opportunity to direct plays in other cities.

The Arizona Republic arts writer and theatre critic Kerry Lengel discussed the budget deficit Arizona Theatre Company is facing. Lengel wrote about the financial problems in Saturday's paper.

The business of health care. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act has many providers and physicians wondering about what is to come, and both for-profit and not-for-profit hospitals and health care systems are exploring mergers. Earlier this year, Scottsdale Healthcare and John C. Lincoln Health Network announced they would pursue an affiliation, not calling that dalliance an official merger. The Valley's St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center is actually run by San Francisco-based Dignity Health.

Last month, it was announced that Vanguard Health Systems, which operates Abrazo Health Care in Arizona, would be bought by Tenet Health Systems of Dallas for nearly $2 billion.

Paul Levy and Eugene Schneller talked about the practical reasons for mergers and their possible effect on patients and consumers.

Levy is the former president and CEO of Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. You can read his observations of running a hospital on his blog. He is also the author of the 2013 book "How a Blog Held Off the Most Powerful Union in America."

Schneller, is co-director of the Health Sector Supply Chain Research Consortium at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

The recent murders of prosecutors in Texas have put prosecutors across the nation on alert.

Scott Decker, Director of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University, provided background on who is involved in targeting prosecutors and what the public needs to be most aware of.

Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles talked about efforts by prosecutors to be aware of their surroundings and realize the potential dangers, even as they are working to prosecute criminals.

The Jodi Arias murder trial in Phoenix has dominated coverage on local television stations and national networks. Arizona Republic critic Bill Goodykoontz offered insights on why the case has attracted so much attention.Former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods talked about whether lawyers change their approach when they are involved in high-profile cases.

The WNBA's Phoenix Mercury has added top draft pick Brittney Griner to the lineup this season. The 6-foot-8-inch Griner is nationally known for her dunking and defense. Griner's presence is expected to help the organization on and off the court.

Paola Boivin, sports columnist for The Arizona Republic, talked about Griner and how the Mercury's popularity compares with that of the NBA's Phoenix Suns.

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