Kuby Interview – Podcast October 25, 2021

Prioritizing People Over Corporations. Steve Williamson and Karen McClelland welcome Lauren Kuby to Democratic Perspective. Kuby is a Tempe City Councilmember who is running for a seat on the Arizona Corporation Commission along with current incumbent Sandra Kennedy. If elected, the two will join incumbent Anna Tovar to create the first Democratic majority on the powerful five-member board that controls the state’s utilities and corporations.

In addition to her duties as a Tempe Councilmember, Kuby is a sustainability scientist at ASU and a nationally recognized champion for affordable, clean energy from renewable sources. If elected to the commission, she will seek to help oversee the transition from fossil fuels to renewables. And, given the extreme weather events and water shortages caused by climate change, the stakes for the 2022 election could not be higher.

In next year’s general elections. Kuby’s and Kennedy’s opponents will likely be Republicans whose campaigns are financed by the very utilities they hope to regulate. So, it’s important for all voters, especially Democrats, to look down the entire ballot and vote for a more sustainable future.

Posted in Arizona Economy, Arizona Politics, Campaign Finance, Corporate Welfare, Dark Money, Elections, Energy Policy, Environment, Environmental Issues, Ethics, Government, Infrastructure, Interviews, Political Candidacy, Public Accountability, Regulatory Agencies, Regulatory Capture, Renewable Energy, Voting | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Keene Interview – Podcast October 18, 2021

The Complexities And Frustrations Of City Management. Steve and Guest host Karen McClelland welcome Sedona’s Deputy City Manager, Joanne Keene, to discuss what the city can and can’t do to address common complaints and the city’s most pressing issues. They begin by addressing what can be done about the hundreds of homes that have been converted to short-term rentals creating problems for residents and the workforce. “The reality is that the city cannot do much,” says Keene. “We’re pre-empted by the state. It’s a very frustrating issue.”

She says that the city has been discussing the issue with the state legislature and the League of Cities and Towns. The city is even considering hiring a lobbyist hoping to influence change. However, as Williamson explains that, even if the state law is changed, it would only affect future short-term rentals. He notes that the lack of city of control is entirely a Republican effort led by Governor Ducey. So, if you want change, you have to change the legislature and the governor.

The guest and hosts go on to discuss other difficult and controversial issues such as ATVs, music venues, affordable housing, and traffic. The concern is that, without significant change, there is a risk of Sedona losing its sense of community.

Posted in Arizona Politics, Community, Education, Environment, Federal Lands, Government, Housing, Infrastructure, Interviews, Jobs and Employment, Local Politics, Public Policy, Tourism | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Moore, Wozniak Interview – Podcast October 4, 2021

Filling The Need With Food And Shelter. Hava and Steve welcome Laurie Moore and Kathy Wozniak to the show to discuss their approach to helping those who are unsheltered and food insecure. Moore is president of the Sedona Area Homeless Alliance. And Wozniak is president of the board of Project Fill The Need.

Posted in Community, Community Activism, Compassion, Food Insecurity, Housing, Human Rights, Hunger, Income Inequality, Interviews, Public Service, Social Services, Social Work | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Richtman Interview – Podcast September 27, 2021

Prioritizing Lives And Democracy Over The Filibuster. Steve Williamson and Karen McClelland welcome back Max Richtman, President of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, to discuss the pending Human Infrastructure bill which is at the heart of President Biden’s agenda. As you likely already know, Democrats will try to pass the bill through a reconciliation process in order to avoid a filibuster. Yet Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin have announced they do not support the bill. As a result, the bill could die in the Senate. And, by opposing any changes to the filibuster, the two Democrats also threaten the proposed voting rights bill.

Nevertheless, Richtman is hopeful. He recently wrote a letter to Sinema in support of the two bills and co-authored an editorial in the Tucson Sentinel in hopes of influencing her. He explains that Sinema has reservations about the cost of the reconciliation bill. Yet the bill will be paid for, in large part, by raising taxes on the very wealthy and large corporation.  Moreover, according to Richtman, by enabling the federal government to negotiate prescription drug prices for Medicare and Medicaid, the bill would save about $500 billion over 10 years.

Richtman notes that the bill could also improve the lives of seniors by providing enough funding to expand Medicare to cover dental, hearing and vision. It would also increase the number of people who provide home care for seniors by increasing their salaries and benefits. Richtman believes that would save money in the long run, because it’s much cheaper to keep people in their homes.

Posted in Arizona Politics, Campaign Finance, Climate Change, Domestic Terrorism, Economic Policy, Government, Interviews, LIberals and Conservatives, Medicare, National Politics, Pharmaceutical Pricing and Procurement, Pharmaceuticals, Political Contributions, Political Lies, Public Health Policy, Social Security, Social Services, Taxation, Taxes and the Deficit | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Segner Interview – Podcast September 20, 2021

Replacing Misinformation And Fighting With Dialogue. Democratic Perspective host Steve Williamson welcomes Steve Segner, hotel owner and president of Sedona Lodging Council, to discuss changes in the City of Sedona.

Segner begins by announcing an upcoming panel discussion on short-term rentals intended to correct misinformation and disinformation. “We need to get the information out there that’s correct in a way that’s not slanted and not one-sided,” he explains. “We’re not thrilled that there’s short-term rentals. But we’re also pragmatic that the law got passed and does, in fact, make it legal.”

The panel discussion will include the City Attorney, the City Manager, the Chamber of Commerce, and a man who manages 500 AirBnBs in four states. “We’re trying to get all the facts on the table,” Says Segner. “Then we’re going to open it up to the floor so people can ask questions. If we can get this panel format to work, we can use it for other things in the city.”

The event is part of Segner’s long-standing desire to end the angry rhetoric between community and political tribes. “Instead of everybody screaming at each other, let’s have some dialogue. I’m just sick to death of people just fighting and not having dialogue,” he says.

Posted in Capitalism, Civil Society, Class Conflict, Community, Community Activism, Cultural Diversity, Disinformation, Domestic Extremism, Government, Housing, Interviews, LIberals and Conservatives, Local Politics, Political Polarization, Public Policy, Social Media, Tourism | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Segner Interview – Podcast September 20, 2021

Martinez, Williamson interview – Podcast September 13, 2021

Workers Priced Out Of Sedona. Steve Williamson welcomes Linda Martinez and City Council member Jessica Williamson to discuss a long-standing problem for Sedona – affordable housing. According to Williamson, affordable housing is defined by income based on a household spending no more than 30 percent of its income on rent. The problem is that the median cost of housing in Sedona is $850,000 while the median income for the area ranges from $41,400 to $48,150. So, only the very wealthy can afford a home in Sedona.

An Arizona law that has taken away local control of short-term rentals has further compounded the problem by turning apartments into condos and converting homes to mini-hotels.

Martinez sums up the impact this way: “When we don’t have diversity of housing, we lose what it means to be a community.” She says Sedona needs housing for ordinary workers – plumbers, electricians, people to work in groceries and hardware stores, people to cut hair. “We are all dependent on one another. It’s important to all of us.”

Posted in Civic Renewal, Class Conflict, Community, Cultural Diversity, Development, Disinformation, Government, Growth, Housing, Income Inequality, Interviews, Jobs and Employment, Labor Shortages, LIberals and Conservatives, Local Politics, Political Lies, Public Policy | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Martinez, Williamson interview – Podcast September 13, 2021

Ruby, Lutes Interview – Podcast September 6, 2021

Fighting The Good Fight. Back from an extended vacation, Steve Williamson welcomes John Lutes and Jay Ruby to the show. Lutes is chair of the Yavapai Democratic Party, a business owner and manager who ran for Yavapai County Supervisor against one of the extreme right Oath Keepers. And Ruby is events chair of the Yavapai Dems who recently campaigned to remove far right Congressman Paul Gosar from office.

Located in one of the reddest areas in the country, represented in Congress by an anti-government conspiracy theorist, and surrounded by the nation’s largest chapter of Oath Keepers and other far right militias, the two men are attempting to bring some political sanity to an area that has experienced three decades of Republican rule. As Lutes says, “Our nation’s built on dialogue, and if you have too much of one-party rule – and it doesn’t matter where you are in the world – one party rule begins to corrupt.”

Lutes and Ruby have organized R&R (Referendums and Redistricting) meetings throughout the county to inform and activate residents about issues that will impact Arizona for years to come. The referendums involve seven petitions – three about public education and four about voter suppression and dirty money. And redistricting, of course, refers to the realignment of congressional and legislative districts based on the 2020 Census.

Posted in Arizona Politics, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Community Activism, Corruption, Dark Money, Democratic Governance, Government, Interviews, Labor Movement, Labor Unions, Local Politics, Paul Gosar, Political Clubs, Political Polarization, Public Education, Tax Law, Taxation, Voter Suppression, Voting, Water Policy | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Ruby, Lutes Interview – Podcast September 6, 2021

Deardon, White Interview – Podcast August 30, 2021

A Master Class On Sedona And Arizona Schools. Guest host Karen McClelland, a former school board member, is joined in the studio by Sedona-Oak Creek School District Superintendent Dennis Deardon and Sedona Red Rock High Junior, Hunter White.

Faced with the pandemic and declining enrollment, Deardon took on the dual role of Superintendent and Principal. The move seems to have paid dividends for the school. Despite the disruption caused by Covid-19 and a housing shortage, the school has added 75 students!

The turnabout seems to have come about, at least in part, as a result of innovation. For example, the school added White to the school board as a student representative, giving young people the opportunity to have their voices heard and their questions answered. For more, check out our podcast. Class is now in session.

Posted in Community, Community Activism, Cultural Diversity, Education, Education Funding, Education Policy, Innovation, Interviews, Pandemic, Public Education | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Deardon, White Interview – Podcast August 30, 2021

Gunnigle Interview – Podcast August 23, 2021

Holding Police Accountable. As the next in our eight-part of our series on criminal justice, Hava welcomes attorney Julie Gunnigle to discuss the DOJ investigation of the Phoenix Police Department and a variety of other civil rights issues.

Gunnigle begins by noting, “The story of this investigation goes back years because Phoenix Police Department and some of those in the outlying areas have been some of the most violent in the nation. That violence hasn’t been met with any kind of accountability within our prosecutor’s office. But that was just one of 5 different issues that made the DOJ step into our county.”

She says the other issues included charging protesters with criminal gang enhancements for exercising their first amendment rights, ongoing issues with respect to our unhoused population and those experiencing mental health incidents, and the 2017 death of Muhammed Muhayim who died in the same way as George Floyd. “It’s been shameful, and I think it really show that police are unable to police police and, for that reason, you have to have the feds step in,” says Gunnigle. “Now I’m not really optimistic as to what happens next. But it is a step, and it speaks to exactly how urgent and dire the situation in Arizona is.”

On the other hand, one issue that does give Gunnigle hope is the HR4 John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Bill to restore parts of the voting rights act gutted by SCOTUS. Congress is expected to vote on the bill this week.

Posted in Arizona Law Enforcement, Civil Rights, Civil Society, Community Activism, Criminal Justice Reform, Criminology, Cultural Change, Department of Justice, Government, Housing, Human Rights, Interviews, Justice System, Law Enforcement, Legal Issues, Mental Health Programs, Morality, Policing, Public Accountability, Race and Class, Racial Discrimination, U.S. Court System, Women's Rights | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Gunnigle Interview – Podcast August 23, 2021