Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton makes his monthly appearance on Arizona Horizon to discuss top issues, including a recent visit he took to China for a global climate change conference.
Ted Simons: Each month Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton joins us in studio to discuss the latest city issues which includes the call to close hiking trails after the temperature reaches 110 degrees. Here's Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton. Good to see you again.
Greg Stanton: Always good to be here.
Ted Simons: Happy summer to you.
Greg Stanton: It's so far so good, although it's been very hot.
Ted Simons: It has and we have had some deaths on hiking trails around town. The idea of closing these trails after the temperature gets to about 110, talk about this.
Greg Stanton: I can certainly express my opinion about it but the decision will be made by the Phoenix park board this week. I actually am very interested in the idea. The idea is twofold. When the temperatures get to extreme heat where the National Weather Service says it's potentially deadly conditions do we inform hike there's they should not be out on those trails, that it is such a dangerous situation not only for them but for the emergency personnel, those firefighters and police personnel and park range there's put their own lives at risk when they do mountain rescues, which has happened literally hundreds of times, too often during extreme heat, does it make sense. Secondarily, my colleague on the council, councilman Williams is a champion for animals, to make sure that animals don't get out on the trails during times of extreme heat because it's equally as dangerous and deadly for them. That's very important. Animals don't have a choice to be on those trails and so I think I do support council woman Williams' idea that we adopt a policy about what Heath level is not appropriate to have animals on those trails.
Ted Simons: Sounds like 100 degrees for dogs, 110 for humans. How would you manage such a thing? Informational only? Will there be penalties? Is it like the stupid motorist law, is there a stupid hiker law where you pay if you have to be rescued?
Greg Stanton: We'll have to talk about that with the appropriate penalties. Mainly it will be used as an educational service that we would let people know through this ordinance that this is really potentially deadly behavior. Obviously we spends most of our time educating people during the first few times of extreme heat and if there are people that continue to go out and put themselves and emergency personnel in dangerous situations we have to get more strict and actually enforce those penalties whatever they may be. That's what the parks board is going to make that decision. I think it is something that we should look at whether 100 for animals, 110 for humans is the right temperature ought to be made by medical experts obviously. The concept that there should be an extreme heat level under which we say this is not appropriate to put yourself in a life-threatening situation and to put our public safety officers' lives in danger that makes sense to me.
Ted Simons: Concept of penalties make sense?
Greg Stanton: Yes, at some point you really can't pass an ordinance without penalties. We can use good judgment on enforcement but we should have penalties involved.
Ted Simons: We have another exit, a long time Dean, vice Dean, communications chief, are you concerned about this?
Greg Stanton: Yes, I am. U of A School of medicine which I was involved in from day one, was lucky enough to be involved in the recruitment to downtown Phoenix to a biosciences campus from day one. It's been a massive success. We have a brand new, beautiful building that provides incredible training for those up and coming doctors. We have a doctor shortage in the state of Arizona, to have a second research based medical school in the state of Arizona was a huge accomplishment. I really call upon the board of regents who I respect greatly to ensure that as they go through leadership changes at the University of Arizona that continuing to support and provide the financial resources not just to continue the efforts of the medical school but to grow those efforts. You have to grow in the research enterprise. I'm concerned about those departures. Judy Burness, incredibly talented person who has worked well with myself and other elected officials to make sure the university was connecting with the business community and the political community and the community as a whole. I really call upon the board of regents to make sure that as they bring in new hires they are people committed to the future of the U of A medical field.
Ted Simons: Investigate what's going on here?
Greg Stanton: In terms of investigation whether any wrongdoing has gone on I'm not aware of that. What I'm aware of is what an asset the school has meant to our economy as a whole. It spins off not just great doctors but in a research capacity tens of millions, arguably hundreds of millions of dollars per year into our local economy. That's brain power in the heart of our community. I don't know if they should do a formal investigation in terms of wrongdoing but they ought to look at the questions certainly why these folks are leaving but more importantly put people in place in a replacement capacity that are committed to the future of Phoenix.
Ted Simons: Don't threaten the accreditation.
Greg Stanton: Well, accreditation is incredibly important. Yes, there was a challenge last year. It had to do with the decision making structure of the -- not the quality of the school. It's a great medical school that gets top flight candidates applying from around the country and the boast students here locally applying. It wasn't an issue of the quality of education. It had to do with some of the decision making structures of the organization. They have to fix that. They have gotten it fixed I'm confident accreditation won't be at risk moving forward. The realty is this. Now and in the future the geography of these universities, this is not Tucson university, ASU is not Tempe university. It's incredibly important ASU grow beyond Tempe. They are a statewide import. Geographical distinctions don't make sense any more. U of A is the university with the medical school. They opened a second one in Phoenix. It's got to continue to grow. Very important for the future of our city.
Ted Simons: You're concerned.
Greg Stanton: I'm concerned.
Ted Simons: You concerned about the coyotes? Sounds like a lot of noise about them moving out by the reservation and I think the team owner was going to make a big announcement last week, didn't happen. He's made so many promises and it's not happening. Are you concerned about the coyotes moving to Phoenix and the suns staying?
Greg Stanton: My position on that, the time that we talked about it, times I have been on this television show, has not changed. The coyotes are a regional asset. Our first choice is actually to keep them in the city of Glendale, where they have been for the last few years. Hopefully they worked out a deal. Obviously that looks like it's not going to be. That long term they are going to look for a new location. I-suggested what makes most sense for this region is to not have two new facilities built over the next five or ten years but to do a joint facility where the Phoenix Suns and the coyotes could play together. I still think that makes the most sense but most importantly we want to make sure the coyotes stay in the valley and we have a solution that keeps them in the valley so when they finally hoist that Stanley Cup it's here in the valley, not in Canada or some other location.
Ted Simons: You mentioned your first option would be in Glendale. Glendale's mayor is not all that pleased. To be an effective regional leader requires engagement and communication with all valley partners. I feel that has not been accomplished. He's talking about you.
Greg Stanton: With all due respect I think he does an outstanding job leading the city of Glendale. We work closely together, but obviously the situation between the city of Glendale and the coyotes has devolved to the point where they were put on notice that after the current agreement which ends after the upcoming season there was no agreement in place beyond that and the coyotes were actively looking for a place to locate. In fact it was the coyotes who contacted me and the city of Phoenix to look at options. As a regional leader it's my job and responsibility to keep regional assets in this location. My first choice as I said earlier, I'll say it again, is for the coyotes to reach a long-term deal with the city of Glendale and remain. But that doesn't seem to be moving in a positive direction. They are out of that arena in one year. We have to come up with a long-term solution to keep that regional asset here. My job is to lead and that's exactly what I plan to do whether it be on the coyotes or the gam us of issues I get to work on as mayor of Phoenix.
Ted Simons: We'll probably talk more about this next time you show up in our studio. Great to see you.
Greg Stanton: Great to be here.
Greg Stanton: Have a safe summer.
Ted Simons: You too.
Greg Stanton: Phoenix Mayor