Here and Now Archive

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 FoxNewsLatino.com, also gave his perspective. Bermudez grew up in Yuma before moving to Tucson.

The latest proposed owner of the Phoenix Coyotes was quickly rejected by the National Hockey League, leaving the organization with another uncertain offseason. Paul Giblin of The Arizona Republic gave an update on the city of Glendale's involvement in the ownership of the Coyotes and the management of Jobing.com Arena.

Ken Campbell of The Hockey News talked about the NHL's views on the Valley as a locale for hockey. In Campbell's words, it's been an "unequivocal failure."

There is a short list of qualifications to be a justice of the peace in Arizona. You must be a registered voter in the state. You must reside in the justice court precinct. You must understand the English language.

Some people think justices of the peace should also be required to have law degrees. Doris Marie Provine, ASU Professor Emerita, has done extensive research on the subject and said the law degree will no't make someone a good justice of the peace.

Arizona Republic columnist Bob Robb said the law degree should be a requirement. He also believes the process of electing JPs is too political.

The Glendale City Council has approved an agreement for the management of Jobing.com Arena, freeing up the National Hockey League to approve a new Phoenix Coyotes ownership group.One of the Coyotes' new owners, Anthony LeBlanc, discussed why he thinks the Valley will be a successful market for professional hockey. Also, longtime Coyotes' broadcaster Todd Walsh said he expects the settled ownership situation to help the team excel on the ice.

Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona says he won't be running for Governor in Arizona, even after a competitive Senate campaign last November.

Democratic strategist Barry Dill tells Steve Goldstein why Carmona won't be a candidate and why other ambitious Democrats may be breathing a sigh of relief.

David Neiwert explores the Minuteman movement, how it was covered by the media and whether it impacted U.S. border security.

Neiwert's new book is called "And Hell Followed with Her: Crossing the Dark Side of the American Border."

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