Here and Now Archive

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.

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.

Is the United States relying too much on importing fossil fuels at the expense of national security? Retired Army Captain Brett Hunt and retired National Guard Lieutenant Colonel Joe Knott talked about ongoing efforts at the U.S. Department of Defense to use more renewable energy. It is part of helping facilities, including military bases, become more sustainable in case of a natural disaster or enemy attack.

Valley temperatures are expected to climb to 118 degrees by Saturday.  National Weather Service Meteorologist Ken Waters said the very hot highs may give way to our first dose of monsoon-related humidity.

How often are you tempted to eat something that may not be very good for you? Many scientists, doctors and journalists have blamed process foods for the obesity epidemic in the U.S. 

The current issue of The Atlantic explores whether ignoring Americans' taste for so-called junk food instead of fruits and vegetables is exacerbating food-related health problems.

Steve Nickolas is the founder of the Scottsdale-based Healthy Food Project. He has also been in the bottled water business for a couple decades. He talked about healthy eating and processed foods.

Comic Amy Donohue talked about her decision to donate a kidney and her efforts to serve as a spokesperson for organ donation.

Donohue explained how social media stole her kidney. She donated hers to the mother of a woman she met on Twitter.

In recent months, Governor Jan Brewer has taken part in job expansion announcements in Arizona. Go Daddy's operations in the Valley are growing, and General Motors is bringing a new information technology center to Arizona.Economist Jim Rounds talked to Steve Goldstein about why the announcements are important and how the state has improved its approach to attracting jobs.

Former Arizona Attorney General Gary Nelson passed away last month. He argued the state's side in the U.S. Supreme Court's Miranda v. Arizona.

The Supreme Court gutted the Defense of Marriage Act on Wednesday. San Francisco AIDS Foundation CEO and former Tempe Mayor Neil Giuliano talked about the ruling's impact on efforts to expand marriage equality in the U.S.

The merits, legality and logistics of Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Program have spent a lot of time in traditional courtrooms, even after a majority in the court of public opinion approved it at the ballot box in 2010.

As of last week, 35 medical marijuana dispensaries are open, after inspections and approval, and according to state Department of Health Services Director Will Humble’s blog, about 90 percent of Arizona residents live within 25 miles of an operating dispensary.

Humble joined Steve Goldstein in studio for an update on that and other public health issues.

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is planning to file a lawsuit challenging the city of Bisbee's new civil union ordinance. He's also continuing efforts to challenge marshals in the polygamous community of Colorado City.

Horne tells Steve Goldstein that he's not opposed to civil unions but says the move by Bisbee would create problems.

Horne also decried Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery's attempts to make him pay for alleged campaign finance violations. Horne continues to assert that he didn't violate state law.

Starting next week, Ballet Arizona will stage of series of performances, Topia, outdoors at the Desert Botanical Gardens.Ballet Arizona's Artistic Director Ib Andersen explained his inspiration for Topia and how the setting affects the dancers and members of the audience.

Phoenix Suns President Lon Babby talked about the franchise's efforts to rebuild following its second-worst season. He also discussed his pre-sports career as a Washington, D.C. attorney who was on the defense team for John Hinckley Jr. who attempted to assassinate then-President Ronald Reagan.

Alfredo Gutierrez started out as an activist and became one of the most powerful political leaders in Arizona. He has returned to his roots as battles over immigration policy have become more intense.Gutierrez talks about his life, career and immigration reform. Gutierrez' new book, a memoir of sorts, is called "To Sin Against Hope."

Scottsdale-based Rural/Metro announced this week that it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company provides ambulance and firefighting services to nearly 700 communities in 21 states. According to a statement, the company sought bankruptcy protection because of reduced revenue and delayed cash collections.

Yesterday, Rural/Metro got court approval of its bankruptcy refinancing so it can borrow up to $40 million on its way to what it hopes is a company restructuring by the end of the year.

The Rural/Metro filing and Tempe-based US Airways’ expected merger with a just-emerging from bankruptcy American Airline led to Scott Brown who specializes in corporate bankruptcy law for Lewis and Roca, a KJZZ underwriter.

Architect and visionary Paolo Soleri died on Tuesday in Paradise Valley at the age of 93. The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is featuring an exhibition of Soleri's work called Paolo Soleri: Mesa City to Arcosanti.

Steve Goldstein talks with SMOCA Curator Claire C. Carter about the Soleri exhibition.

Arizona has been a national leader in the number of potentially impactful ballot propositions that voters have needed to approve or reject. The Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University recently released a report that included possible changes to improve the ballot initiative process.Former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson, who led the effort to get Proposition 121--the Open Elections Open Government Initiative--on last November's ballot joined Kurt Davis of First Strategic to talk with Steve Goldstein about signature gathering and voter information, among other elements.

This week marks 50 years since Arizona won the U.S. Supreme Court case, Arizona v. California, that helped federal legislation in creating the Central Arizona Project.Historian Jack August, author of "Dividing Western Waters," discussed the case and the effect it had on dramatically increasing Arizona's population.

The latest edition of The New Yorker magazine has led to a lot of debate about same sex marriage and childhood icons. It features Bert and Ernie of Sesame Street cuddling on the couch watching the Supreme Court on television, a reference to the high court overturning the Defense of Marriage Act.

"Mister Magazine" Samir Husni, who directs the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi's School of Journalism, and Phoenix Magazine Editor-in-Chief Keridwen Cornelius, talked about the impact of magazine covers in generating buzz and sales.

Tuesday's announcement that the U.S. Department of Justice and several attorneys general including Arizona's Tom Horne were suing to block the proposed merger between American Airlines and Tempe-based US Airways was a huge surprise to most observers. American was on the cusp of emerging from bankruptcy, and the two airlines had hoped to complete their partnership sometime next month.

Whenever we have questions about the airline industry and US Airways' position in that industry, we turn to Holly Hegeman, the founder of PlaneBusiness Banter. You can follow her on Twitter at @PlaneBusiness.

So how does the DOJ lawsuit potentially affect consumers? Will travelers’ costs remain predictable?

Charlie Leocha is director of the washington DC-based Consumer Travel Alliance.

Chuck Coughlin, advisor to Governor Jan Brewer, discussed why Medicaid expansion in Arizona makes sense economically and morally.

Coughlin also talked about Brewer's governing style and why the world of politics often gets dirty.

State budget talks, at least publicly, seemed to be stuck in a rut. That changed earlier this week when Senate leaders introduced a series of budget bills.Jim Small of The Arizona Capitol Times explained why Senate President Andy Biggs is allowing the budget bills to move forward and how impactful Governor Jan Brewer's proposed Medicaid expansion has been on the legislative session.

The Valley's rapid growth likely wouldn't have been possible without water from the Colorado River via the Central Arizona Project. But the Southwest's ongoing drought has some concerned about whether Arizona will have enough water for the future.

Kathryn Sorensen, Water Resources Director for the City of Mesa, and Robert Glennon, Professor of Law and Public Policy at the U of A and author of " Unquenchable: America's Water Crisis and What to Do About It," discuss the important planning steps Arizona has taken, and whether the public, through conservation, could be doing more to help.

The anticipated merger of American Airlines and Tempe-based U.S. Airways has many in the Valley worried about the effect on the economy, considering the combined airline is going to be headquartered in Dallas, but analyst Holly Hegeman said Phoenix may be used as a hub to the West Coast, a significant benefit to the Valley.

Governor Jan Brewer continues her efforts to expand Medicaid in Arizona, but many conservatives are critical — saying the Governor is selling out principles in exchange for federal money. Steve Goldstein gets different perspectives on the proposed expansion from Mary K. Reinhart of the Arizona Republic, Maricopa County GOP Chair A.J. LaFaro, and Suzanne Pfister of Dignity Health Arizona.

The so-called Gang of Eight bipartisan senators have released their proposed immigration reform legislation. Clint Bolick, co-author of "Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution" with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, said the proposal sounds fair and effective in making modifications to how legal and undocumented immigration is handled.

Arnie Bermudez, former "Tucson Citizen" editorial cartoonist and contributor to, also gave his perspective. Bermudez grew up in Yuma before moving to Tucson.

Arizona's public schools continue trying to climb back from deep cuts to their budgets over the past several years. Their planning for the next fiscal year has not been helped by delayed state budget talks at the Capitol.

Chuck Essigs, Director of Governmental Relations for the Arizona Association of School Business Officials, explained the challenges districts are facing.

Dr. David Peterson, Superintendent of the Scottsdale Unified School District, discussed the nearly $10 million in cuts his district is going to have to make.