Jablow and Segner Interview – Podcast August 12, 2019

Overtourism – Destroying The Places We Love Most. The combination of the younger experiential generation and short-term rentals is placing increasing stress on tourist destinations around the world. Democratic Perspective welcomes City Councilman Scott Jablow and President of the Lodging Council, Steve Segner, to discuss the impact on one of the Southwest’s most beautiful cities – Sedona, Arizona.

Segner describes the issue this way: “In manufacturing, you can always make more of the product. But with tourism you can’t.” As for the issue of short-term rentals, Jablow says, “Removal of local control is causing the problem. We can’t regulate them. Because of the governor’s mandate of hands off, we’re getting commercial building in residential areas.”

To make matters worse, short-term rentals are taking housing away from the 10,000 workers needed to deal with 3 million tourists each year. Other problems range from traffic to keeping hiking trails clean. But the city is working hard to address the issues. “The good news is that we have the money to do it,” says Segner.

Posted in Arizona Economy, Arizona Politics, Community, Democratic Governance, Demographic Trends, Development, Environmental Issues, Government, Interviews, Local Politics, Taxation, Tourism | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Podcast – August 5, 2019

Democratic Presidential Candidates Versus The Party Of Racism. Democratic Perspective co-hosts Steve Williamson and Mike Cosentino welcome long-time contributor Gary LaMaster to discuss the Democratic debates. But the show begins with a discussion of the mass shootings in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH. Then LaMaster states his view that there is no longer any daylight between white nationalists and the GOP. In the age of Trump, he says, they are one in the same. Eventually, the conversation turns to Democratic debates and a discussion of progressive versus moderate Democrats.

Posted in Congressional Oversight, Conservative Paranoia, Conservatives and Reactionaries, Domestic Extremism, Domestic Terrorism, Domestic Violence, Elections, National Politics, Political Polarization, Presidential Elections, Racism | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Podcast – July 29, 2019

How Best To Remove A Rogue President? Democratic Perspective co-hosts Steve Williamson and Mike Cosentino discuss the congressional hearings and debate next steps following the testimony of Robert Mueller III. Does the Democratic House majority impeach Donald Trump? Or do Democrats wait to remove him through the ballot box? And, if they wait, how much more damage will be done to our institutions? Will they actually succeed? After all, everyone was convinced that Hillary Clinton would assume office in 2017. But Russians and the Electoral College said otherwise.

Posted in Congressional Oversight, Constitutional Issues, Elections, Legal Issues, National Politics, National Security, Presidential Elections, Special Counsel Investigation | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Pierce, Pearce, Pearce and Stuckey Interview – Podcast July 22, 2019

A New Threat To Arizona Water. Mike Cosentino welcomes Bill Pierce, Wayne and Martha Pearce and John Stuckey of Protect Our Water Arizona to discuss the push to extract helium from northern Arizona and the risks it poses. The big problem is that it involves hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) which requires tens of thousands, if not millions, of gallons of water for each well. The technology involves using chemical-laced water under high pressure to fracture underground rock formations to release the helium. Says Wayne Pearce, “It’s not a matter of if there will be an accident. It’s when. A contaminated aquifer could stretch throughout the state and beyond affecting the water for 40 million people.”

Bill Pierce, candidate for Arizona Mine Inspector, notes an additional threat to our water supply. “One of biggest problems we have with water is that much of it is already contaminated with uranium,” he says. “The biggest radiation spill in the US was in Church Rock, New Mexico. That aquifer runs under New Mexico and part of Arizona.” Pierce adds that there are 592 abandoned uranium mines in the region that aren’t sealed, which could lead to further water contamination. And, if that isn’t worrisome enough, he says the threat to aquifers will be difficult to stop as the mining industry in Arizona is guaranteed unlimited water supply by statute.

Posted in Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior, Environment, Environmental Issues, Federal Lands, Interviews, Mine Safety, Native American Issues, Nuclear Weapons, Public Accountability, Regulatory Agencies, Water Policy | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Dunton, Segner, Strauch Interview – Podcast July 15, 2019

Paradise Lost. Sedona has long been considered one of America’s most beautiful places. But it is now endangered by short-term rentals, the Arizona legislature and the so-called sharing economy. It’s a phenomenon that is affecting other vacation destinations. But the threat to Sedona is uniquely troubling given AZ SB-1350, a short-sighted law that takes control away from local communities.

To discuss the problem, Democratic Perspective welcomes community activists Ernie Strauch, Sabina Dunton and hotelier Steve Segner. Dunton explains that a an 8 bedroom, 10 bath “single family home” with an additional bunkroom is being built in her neighborhood that will bring unwanted noise and traffic. And others are being planned. She warns, “Any vacant land in residential areas in Sedona, could be used for the same thing. The city cannot stop them.”

Of Sedona’s more than 700 short-term rentals, Segner states. “They haven’t affected hotels business-wise.” But he notes that they affect hotels and the city in other ways. “We have lost housing for employees,” he says.  “We have already lost 500-700 people from city as a result of short-term rentals. It’s death by Internet.”

Posted in Arizona Politics, Community, Community Activism, De-regulation, Development, Government, Housing, Interviews, Local Politics | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Dunton, Segner, Strauch Interview – Podcast July 15, 2019

Moriarty Interview – Podcast July 8, 2019

The Impact Of Short-Term Vacation Rentals. Democratic Perspective welcomes Sedona Mayor Sandy Moriarty to discuss the impact of vacation rentals on her city. Almost every destination city is having problems with the trend, which has evolved from the small scale short-term rental of individual homes to a huge industry via Airbnb and HomeAway and VRBO (both owned by Expedia).

“People are struggling worldwide to deal with it,” says Moriarity, noting that the rules in Arizona have centered on residential properties because the governor wanted to accommodate the sharing economy. Unfortunately, the industry has changed. Out of approximately 6,600 homes in Sedona, short-term rentals number about 600. And the number is growing.

“We do have to deal with the sharing economy,” she says. “The problem in AZ is that we have to treat all rentals the same – short-term or long-term. What we have seen here in Sedona is that investors come in and buy up single family homes and rent them to make money. It has driven up the price of homes. It also has driven up the price of rent.”

Posted in Community, Development, Government, Housing, Interviews, Local Politics, Public Policy, Sharing Economy, Taxation | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Moriarty Interview – Podcast July 8, 2019

French Interview – Podcast July 1, 2019

Reporting For Duty In The Arizona Senate. Democratic Perspective welcomes Felicia French, retired Army Colonel, Afghan War veteran, medical evacuation helicopter pilot, registered nurse and, now candidate for AZ State Senate from LD-6. French believes her public service has prepared her for office saying, “Any public service causes you to learn to be a team player and to collaborate. You have to learn to work together for the greater good.”

She believes in personal contact. “Whether you vote for me or not,” she says, “I’m still going to work for you. My favorite thing is going door to door to talk with people. I think people have a sensory overload…so much false information. So they don’t know what to believe. That’s why if you go door to door they can see. They can ask questions. I can’t meet everyone, but I try.”

As for the issues, French says, “It’s time to improve our education system, create more jobs and support small businesses, make quality affordable healthcare available for all, and take care of our veterans and their families.”

Posted in Arizona Politics, Climate Change, Community, Continuing Education, Democratic Governance, Education, Education Funding, Elections, Environmental Issues, Global Warming, Government, Health Care, Health Care Policy, Infrastructure Investment, Interviews, Local Politics, Public Education, Public Health Policy, Public Service, Renewable Energy, Small Business, Underemployment, Veterans' Issues | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on French Interview – Podcast July 1, 2019

McQueen Interview – Podcast June 24, 2019

Who’s Buying Our Politicians? Diane McQueen, the northern Arizona coordinator of Outlaw Dirty Money discusses the nonpartisan effort to place a constitutional amendment on the 2020 ballot in Arizona intended to expose those who are funding our politicians. The bill, if passed by voters, will require full disclosure of all major contributions right down to the original source of the money. The campaign will need to gather nearly 357,000 signatures, but it’s shooting for 400,000 to ensure there will be enough to survive the challenges that will likely come from the Koch brothers-funded group, Americans for Prosperity, and others. For more of the dirt on dirty money, listen to the podcast and visit OutlawDirtyMoney.com

Posted in Arizona Politics, Campaign Finance, Dark Money, Democratic Governance, Elections, Initiative and Referendum, Interviews, Political Action Committees, Public Accountability | Tagged , , | Comments Off on McQueen Interview – Podcast June 24, 2019

Babbott Interview – Podcast June 17, 2019

Can An Independent Win In Arizona? Democratic Perspective co-hosts, Steve Williamson and Mike Cosentino, welcome Art Babbott who is running to represent LD 6 in the Arizona State Legislature. As an independent, he’s aware of the difficult task he’s facing . “I need 3-1/2 times the signatures of Democrats and Republicans to get on the ballot,” he says. “In the history of the state, there has never been an independent elected as state representative. That is not by accident. It’s by intention. There are structural barriers to having a competitive electoral system. We have competition elsewhere, except when it comes to our electoral system.”

Asked what motivates him, he replies, “At its core, why I’m running is how we’re having our conversations. One party does not have the patent and trademark on good ideas.”
One of Babbott’s key issues is fiscal policy. Speaking of the budget, he says, “It’s not just numbers. It’s a reflection of priorities. I want to make sure I’m representing people. Not special interests. People across spectrums want us to recalibrate government. I don’t want to just reach across the aisle. I want to be in the aisle. What we’re doing now is not problem-solving. It’s ideological and grenade-lobbing.”

Posted in Arizona Politics, Community, Constitutional Issues, Democratic Governance, Education, Education Funding, Elections, Fiscal Policy, Government, Interviews, LIberals and Conservatives, Local Politics, Mental Health Programs, Political Candidacy, Political Contributions, Political Parties, Political Polarization, Public Accountability, Tax and Investment Policy | Tagged , | Comments Off on Babbott Interview – Podcast June 17, 2019