The Arizona-Mexico Commission's summer meetings will be in Tucson Wednesday through Friday.
The commission, which works on issues of competitiveness, sustainability, security and quality of life for the states of Arizona and Sonora, will focus on cross-border real estate issues, environment, economic development and other issues.
Arizona Week's Friday broadcast will focus on the key issues, especially economic issues, including ties to border logistics, trade and transportation.
We plan to speak with commission Executive Director Margie Emmermann, at least one official from the state of Sonora, an economist who is an expert on border trade and business issues and someone doing business across the border.
I’ve been a political reporter for 20 years so election season is one of my favorite times on the calendar. But the Special Election for Congressional District 8 is different. Because not only do I get a front seat to the campaigns, but I also live in the district and the race appears to be a close one.
I am on the early voter list that means my ballot arrived weeks ago. I am not affiliated with either party so that means the postal worker who comes to my house six days a week has a hefty job. Nearly every delivery has at least one political mailer and often two or three. Some of those mailers tell me the foibles of Republican Jesse Kelly while other pieces tell me the problems with Democrat Ron Barber. Some of the mail is sent to my wife, another political independent, targeting what the campaigns determine to be womens’ issues. The mailers come from the campaigns, the state political parties, and even outside groups.
As a political reporter I think getting these mailers delivered right to my house are a great service. I don’t have to go any further than the curb to see the latest campaign messages. The staff at Arizona Public Media also brings mailers to our political team so we get to see them all.
The registration in CD 8 is split nearly in thirds between Republicans, Democrats, and third party/no party voters. Republicans enjoy a slight lead in registration but most political observers say it is the independents who will carry the day in CD 8.
This weekend backed that up.
On Friday night, a nice man knocked on my door. He identified himself as from the Democratic Party and just wanted to remind me to vote. He had my name and address on a list and was working his way through the neighborhood. On Saturday, a nice woman with a Jesse Kelly sticker on her blouse pulled up to my house, with the same style list as the man the night before, also to make sure I voted. After a brief conversation, she got back in her car and drove away. She stopped a few houses down and knocked on the door. No doubt to make sure another one of my neighbors had voted.
I’ve lived in my neighborhood for four years but this is the first time I’ve received visits from a campaign worker, let alone drop ins from both parties, reminding me to vote. It looks like the campaigns are expecting a close race so don’t forget to vote.
June brings us to the end of another fiscal year and also to our year-end membership countdown. We’ve programmed some great music programs this month for the final TV membership campaign of FY12, starting June 2nd. As always, this campaign is critical to meet our financial obligations, and to securing solid footing for our new fiscal year on July 1st. If you have made a contribution this year, thank you. If not, please take this opportunity to help AZPM to finance the PBS, NPR and local productions that you have come to expect.
June’s pledge programs feature great music performances from some of today’s biggest stars, including, Il Divo: Live in London, and Great Performances: Tony Bennett: Duets II and Andrea Bocelli Live in Central Park. Music retrospectives include: Big Band Vocalists, British Beat, Ed Sullivan’s Rock and Roll Classic: The 60’s, and more. Find the complete PBS-HD 6 schedule here.
June 12th is the special CD8 election and AZPM’s award-winning local news team will provide you with the best in-depth coverage and analysis of day-to-day political events on TV, radio and online. Your Vote 2012 is designed to keep you informed and to help get out the vote! Videos, voter resources, and campaign calendars are available at the Your Vote page.
Additional program highlights this month - Mondays at 8 p.m., the new Antiques Roadshow series ‘Vintage’ (highlights of popular Roadshow programs) starts on June 18th with “Vintage Phoenix”. Thursdays at 8 p.m. brings the return of the popular summer series Wacky Americana and at 9 p.m., the premiere of Yes Minister, a classic BBC comedy series about a (fictional) self-serving Minister of Administrative Affairs, James Hacker, played by Paul Eddington (Good Neighbors).
Over the past 11 months, AZPM achieved some remarkable results. Going by the numbers, here is a list of accomplishments to demonstrate the return on your membership investment:
13% increase in PBS-HD 6 audiences; ranked among Top 10 PBS stations nationally.
8% increase in average monthly views on azpm.org
184% increase in original tweets @AZPMnews (April 2011 vs. April 2012)
2142 Facebook friends
24,052 total AZPM members
22% increase in NPR 89.1 average quarter hour audience
2 Classical Community Concerts broadcast on 90.5 FM each week that are recorded locally
642 average total hours volunteers give to the station each month
19 daily local radio newscasts between 5am and 6pm weekdays
5 local radio newscasts on Saturday and Sunday morning
6 original TV news/ public affairs programs produced each week
118% growth in original online news and feature stories
Our efforts for the benefit of Southern Arizona would not be possible without you. Please accept my sincere thanks for your continued support and best wishes for the summer.
Republican Wil Cardon is airing a television ad calling out his main opponent, U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake, for supporting a bill that Cardon says would increase carbon taxes.
Cardon's airing a TV ad, a radio ad, and sending emails to reporters about the legislation Flake sponsored in 2009.
Now Flake is responding, saying the bill he sponsored did not do what Cardon says it does, and was intended to counter a Democratic Party effort to raise carbon emission taxes in a Cap and Trade bill.
"Flake's plan to tax energy will cost an Arizona family of four more than $1,000 a year in increased taxes on electricity, oil and gasoline. The Flake energy tax will also mean higher energy costs for every Arizona business -- and increase costs for the coal and fuel industries," a news release from the Cardon campaign says.
Watch Cardon's ad here:
In a letter to supporters, Flake responds, "You may have seen an ad running on television from my opponent claiming that I want a massive energy tax and suggesting that I support cap and trade. This, of course, is untrue."
He goes on to say the bill he sponsored was a "a revenue-neutral tax swap" meant to replace the Democrats' efforts in a Cap and Trade bill.
"The legislation stipulated that any carbon tax revenue raised by the government would go directly into the Social Security Trust Fund, and at the same time the payroll tax would be lowered by the same amount. This way, there was no incentive for politicians to raise the tax, since they wouldn't get their hands on the money to spend. It was used as a way to call the Democrats' bluff. I should note that in the end, we succeeded -- cap and trade failed," Flake writes in the letter to supporters.
He says prominent conservatives supported the effort, and that he never supported raising taxes or spending.
Was your drive home from work today a jolting experience?
Do you wonder why nearly every street in town has speed bumps on it – most of them not on purpose?
Is the ride so rough you think that you’ve become your car’s shock absorbers?
Well, strap in and prepare for more. There’s little relief on the way in this season’s round of government budgeting.
The state is still diverting money from the primary fund set up to pay for highway building and street and road repairs.
The counties and the cities are still complaining that the state is diverting money they need to make fixes.
And we’re still bumping along, putting lots more wear and tear on ourselves and our vehicles than we ought to.
So why is it that we can’t get our streets and roads repaired in a timely manner and properly?
After all, as taxpayers, we put $1.2 billion into the state’s fund for such projects every year, from our gasoline taxes, commercial truck and fuel vendor taxes and what we pay to register and license our vehicles.
A billion two.
Nearly half of it goes to cities and counties – last fiscal year, they got $556 million. Of that, nearly $39 million went to Pima County, another $43 million to the city of Tucson and a little less than $5 million was divided among other metro area municipalities, like Oro Valley and Marana.
Plus, we pay a half-cent transportation sales tax in Pima County that brings in tens of millions a year for road construction and public transit.
And yes, in a growing metro area, the transportation needs are great.
Yet, we’re giving local governments close to $200 million a year from all these and other sources.
And still, the drive home is teeth-jarringly unpleasant.
Makes one wonder what route the politicians and bureaucrats are taking to get to and fro.
It surely can’t be the same rugged byways the rest of us have to travel.
The gasoline tax in Arizona was begun in 1921, at one-cent a gallon. Now it's 18 cents, a level at which it has stayed for 22 years.
Last fiscal year, 2010-11, the HURF produced $1.2 billion in revenue, with $556.5 million split among Arizona's counties, cities and towns. The rest stayed with the state for the highway fund, Department of Public Safety and Motor Vehicle Division funding.
There was a move afoot in the legislative session this year to reduce the amount the state has been keeping -- an additional $1.5 billion over the last decade -- as its share. It fell short, and the "sweeps," as legislators and others call them, continue in thw 12012-13 bvudget.
Those sweeps came in both good times and bad, when both Republicans and Democrats oversaw the process.
What it boils down to simply put is that local governments have less money with which to fill potholes and repair deteriorating streets and roads.
On Friday's Arizona Week, we will look at the numbers, the political process and the results. On air will be:
-- Ken Strobeck, executive director of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.
-- State Rep. Vic Williams, R-Tucson, chair of the House Transportation Committee.
-- A representative of county government.
-- AZPM political correspondent Andrea Kelly, to help explain the numbers and the maneuverings.