Madison Square Garden Preservation Group

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An attempt is underway to persuade the Phoenix city council to not approve a change in zoning that would allow a developer to tear down the old Madison Square Garden gym on 7th Avenue and Van Buren. The group Downtown Phoenix Voices claims that the city’s preservation efforts have failed to take into account minority history. By the time an inventory on buildings of cultural importance to Hispanics is done by the city next year, it may be too late to save the old building, which was a site for boxing and wrestling matches and other forms of entertainment for decades. Chris Ibarra of Phoenix Downtown Voices will talk about the obstacles that need to be overcome to save the Madison Square Garden building.

>> José Cárdenas:
Tonight on "Horizonte," the impact of Proposition 200, the Department of Economic Security has found only two cases of undocumented immigrants applying for benefits. We'll talk about the effect of Proposition 200 on both policy and politics. Plus, it may be an old building off 7th Avenue and Van Buren but to some Latinos the Madison square garden is a place of many fond memories. We'll talk to a group that's trying to keep the building from being torn down for a new development. Also the need for more Hispanic bone marrow donors in Arizona. We'll learn what you can do to help out next on "Horizonte.".

>>José Cárdenas:
Good evening. I'm José Cárdenas. Welcome to "Horizonte." It's been almost six months since a federal judge ruled that Proposition 200 was constitutional. The voter approved initiative had two components, one mandated state employees report suspected immigrants who do not have proper documentation when applying for certain welfare benefits. The other requires proof of citizenship when registering to vote. So far the Department of Economic Security has reported only two people to immigration authorities for applying for public benefits. DES also reports a drop in applicants for general assistance benefits from 1,470 in November to 1,226 in January. But as of April, the number of applicants had increase to do more than 1500. No other data was readily available from DES on programs affected by prop 200. One area where quantitative information is available is voter registration. More than 5,000 people tried to register to vote but were rejected because they didn't have proof of citizenship. None was believed to be an undocumented immigrant. Joining me to talk about the impact of prop 200 is state representative Ben Miranda of Phoenix. Also here is Randy Pullen who chaired the yes on Proposition 200 committee. Thank you for joining us on "Horizonte." Ben, the republic just did a major article on the impact of prop 200, basically said it was minimal. Do you agree with that?

>> Ben Miranda:
I agree. I think it's not surprising, by the way, that we found the scarcity of violations of the law with respect to benefits. What is surprising -- perhaps to some people -- is the impact it's had on voter registrations. Early in the process, I think as early as February, we were getting counts of 75% of applicants for voter registration were being rejected simply because of the lack of documentation, which now requires proof of citizenship.

>> José Cárdenas:
I want to come back and talk about that in some more detail but Randy, your overall assessment of the impact of Prop 200. Do you agree with the "Arizona Republic"'s article that it's been minimal so far?

>> Randy Pullen:
I think that it's minimal for some reasons that are beyond our control. Mainly, we have an Attorney General and a governor who have been opposing it all along, and they've done their best to try to stop the implementation of prop 200. But beyond that, I think it's been very successful in terms of shaping the entire debate on a national level, and we have several states now that are looking at similar-type legislation or initiatives in their states and I think that's the positive impact that it's had so far. I would expect that after we go through the judicial process we will see some more implementation of prop 200. We will see the voter I.D. portion of it implemented, and I believe we'll see the broadening of the benefits to include many more programs as it was intended to include initially but were limit by the Attorney General's opinion last November.

>> José Cárdenas:
The judicial process you're think referring to, is that the lawsuit you've initiated currently under consideration?

>>Randy Pullen:
Well, there's actually two lawsuits in process, and there's a third lawsuit which we'll be filing later this month. The one we filed in state court deals with the benefit portion of prop 200, which essentially with a we're maintaining is that the governor acted illegal and unconstitutionally when she proclaimed prop 200 and that it's never been done the way she indict before in the history of Arizona. We believe that the court will agree with us on that issue. Another suit will be filed later this month, and that suit will deal with the fact that the voter I.D. portion of prop 200 is not been implement. We've had elections now where it has not been implemented. Legislation was deemed necessary by the Attorney General, which we question, and legislation was passed by both the house and the Senate and was vetoed by the governor on the pretext that it would not qualify with the Justice Department guidelines. Subsequent to that the Justice Department did say that it qualified. So she -- once again she was wrong in her opinion. So we believe it's been obstruction in the implementation of prop 200 but after we adjudicate all this that it will, in fact, be implemented in its entirety.

>>José Cárdenas:
Randy, the article did indicate at least there's some anecdotal evidence there has been an impact in terms of the healthcare area. What's your assessment of that?

>>Randy Pullen:
I have talked to a number of doctors who work in emergency rooms around -- at different hospitals, and they are -- they indicate that there has been a drop in the number of what they would deem to be illegal aliens applying for emergency services at hospitals, and so they believe there has been already a decrease in those types of costs, and I think we'll see that over time as the unrecovered costs of our hospitals will go down in the future as they are able to reduce the number of services they're providing to illegals.

>>José Cárdenas:
Ben, the fact there have only been a few people, two according to DES numbers, who were turned in or reported for applying for welfare benefits when they weren't entitled to them, does that mean that it's not working or maybe it is working and people are avoiding the offices because they know that they can't do it anymore.

>>Ben Miranda:
No, I think there's always been a very cautious approach that's been used by the immigrant in terms of seeking out medical care, particularly any kind of medical care that requires some type of sanction from the state. I think the emergency room is the last resort for most immigrants, whether it's undocumented or documented. But it doesn't surprise me, Jose Cardenas, a figure that's been used here. I think most immigrants pay as you go. The other thing that I think many people forget is that there are health insurance programs that are available for the undocumented or the immigrant that's here with legal status, and those programs have been utilized, and I think they're becoming more prevalent now. I do agree with Randy with one thing, the immigration issue has been thrust to the forefront nationally by Proposition 200 and I think it's important to keep in mind that Proposition 200 primarily deals with 50% of the equation, and that is the immigrant himself. We need to deal with the other part, Jose Cardenas. We need to answer the basic question... does the United States benefit from the labor that the immigrants provide? Secondly, do we need it? Once you've answered those questions, we can move forward with trying to find a rational, reasonable, workable immigration policy.

>> José Cárdenas:
Ben, you made some reference before, too, to the voter registration, and there has been significant impact there with 5,000 people rejected. What's the explanation for what's happening there?

>> Ben Miranda:
Well, the problem now that has surfaced is that most people thought that the Proposition 200 portion of the law only impacted on people that were Hispanics in terms of voter registration, and they're starting to find out those people that registered by mail, those people that go in and register at any location now have to provide proof of citizenship, and now when you provide that, of course, you have to have it with you, and that's hampered the process for many individuals. Now, the 75% that I -- that -- figure I quoted to you earlier, Jose Cardenas, of those rejected, initially, in the months of January and February, I believe it was implemented on January 25th, those are real figures, and they're hampering the voter registration process for all individuals across the board, whether you're Hispanic or non-Hispanic. I think that's showing some of the unintended consequences of Proposition 200.

>>José Cárdenas:
Randy, you were shaking or head when Ben was talking. What's your take?

>> Randy Pullen:
I don't think it's an unintended consequence whatsoever. I think there's a misunderstanding that was put out there by the anti prop 200 group which basically said that this -- the voter registration and voter I.D. was going -- was made to impact the Latino community, and it absolutely was not. It was made to put in basic reforms that needed to be made in our registration and our voter I.D. process that had been essentially set aside by the motor voter act to a great degree. So this was correcting that. It shows that it's working, and it's defending our fund mental right that we have in this country of -- the democratic process of elections. That's what it was intended to do.

>> Ben Miranda:
I think, José Cárdenas, those that argue that the Latino was disproportionately impacted by Proposition 200, it is correct to a certain extent. Socioeconomicly Latinos right now are rising, rising lower to middle class, and they're going to be impacted more simply because they don't have necessarily the sophistication that always is accompanied in terms of voter registration. So it is going to impact on the lower socioeconomic groups whether you're native American, whether you're African-American or whether you're Latino. But here in Arizona, of course, 35% of Arizona is Latino.

>>José Cárdenas:
Randy, you touched on this a little bit before. The governor's vetoes of several measures that went through the legislature. What do you make of that?

>> Randy Pullen:
I think it was a political mistake for her. I think that's going to come back next year in the general election in '06 and she's going to have to answer some tough questions from the voters. Clearly the voters in Arizona want immigration reform. They overwhelmingly supported it, over a million voter voted for prop 200, and the fact it's not being fully implement and other attempts to include other types of reforms have been stopped by the governor, I think she's going to have to answer to the voters why she did these things.

>> José Cárdenas:
Your take on it, Ben, did she make the right decisions?

>> Ben Miranda:
I think she made a correct decision. We have to move cautiously in the area of immigration because we're -- we've already encountered problems in the voter registration aspect of it. We could encounter some really drastic problems in terms of how it impacts Americans and U.S. residents across the board, and I think a cautious approach is important at this point. When you have pending legislation in Congress, the McCain-Kennedy bill, for one, and the recently implemented the signed, the real I.D. bill that gets implemented in 2008, when you have those in the background it's important through the State of Arizona through the governor to recognize we have to move cautiously.

>> José Cárdenas:
Is she going to pay politically for her vetoes?

>> Ben Miranda:
I don't think so. I think we've turned the corner. I think those people that fed on the fears because of the immigration problem -- and it is a problem, and we do need to control our borders -- there is common ground between what Randy is proposing in many ways and what I'm proposing. We need to control the border. I think the governor recognizes that. In fact she recognized when she signed the antihuman smuggling bill. There are a number of areas where she has moved forward aggressively to try to supplement whatever the federal government does at the border. I think she's seen as a progressive governor, a governor trying to do her best from a state perspective on immigration.

>> José Cárdenas:
Randy, even if this doesn't impact the governor directly in terms of her own position as governor, her own campaign, is it going to motivate the voters to go to the polls and send even more conservative legislators to the legislature?

>> Randy Pullen:
I think the voters are motivated. As a part of the Republican leadership in the State of Arizona, I go to a lot of meetings around the state, and I can tell you that they're motivated with regards to prop 200 and what's gone on with the implementation of the immigration laws in this state, and I believe that they will get out and I think that we will have a very spirited race next year, and I look forward to electing a Republican governor next year on the 9th floor of the executive building.

>> José Cárdenas:
On the flip side of that, though, there's some suggestion that this prop 200 has motivated Latinos who historically don't vote in high percentages to get out and vote. Do you think troops?

>> Ben Miranda:
I think it's going to happen to a certain extent. I don't think it's going to move as swiftly and fast as we saw it in California with 187 in 1994 simply because of the cumbersome process now that people encounter to register to vote. That's going to be a major hindrance to people registering to vote.

>>José Cárdenas:
What do you think of the various demonstrations we've seen, marches, proposals for boycotts, most recently boycotting Randy Childress' dealership because of his role in promoting prop 200 --

>> Ben Miranda:
I think, Jose, that's the flip side of the Randy Pullen group and Kathy McKey group during to folkness immigration. Those groups are now focused on bringing attention to the human side of it. Also they're making the voice of the immigrant known. In some occasion it has to rise and he can express itself in terms of the value immigrant labor has to this state and to this country. We have to take note of that if we're to move forward on a rational, reasonable, workable immigration policy.

>>José Cárdenas:
Randy, what about the fact that the governor did sign one piece of legislation that prohibits local towns and cities from using public funds for day labor centers and now she's just called for a summit on law enforcement's involvement in immigration?

>> Randy Pullen:
Well, it was inconsequential with regard to the work centers because they're not funded by public funds. They're funded privately. So it effectively had no real impact. So it was a non-issue, really. The other issue on her July 12th meeting she wants to have to discuss the issue of illegal immigration, I think she's pandering. I think she is trying to cover herself. She vetoed a number of bills. She didn't -- she's not implementing prop 200. I think that's the way she's going to try to gain political cover from what she has been doing. So far I have not been invited to that meeting. I don't know if I will be invited to that meeting but certainly I hope it will be a debate that will have both sides represented in this -- on this issue.

>> José Cárdenas:
Hopefully we'll have you both back here after that meeting to find out if you were invited or you, Ben. Thank you for joining us tonight. We're out of time, I'm sorry. For thousands of Arizona the Madison square garden in downtown Phoenix was a place to catch a boxing wrestling match or concert. The current owners have won approval by the Phoenix planning commission to tear it down. The city council still has to approve the zoning change. But a downtown Phoenix group hopes the cultural significance of the Madison square garden to Latinos and African-Americans will help save it.

>> Susan Copeland:
They're planning on tearing it down to create a Social Security building, and we think that the building is very significant. It has cultural significance to the Latino community and to the African-American community in Phoenix. It's the largest historic building that's available at this point to save that history, to save that cultural history, and it's really important to keep the building for that reason.

>>José Cárdenas:
The owner of the property told the city planning commission he could have already torn down the building and replaced it with a two-story building. Joining me to discuss the fate of the Madison square garden is Chris Ibarra with the group downtown voices. Thank you for joining us on "Horizonte." The building hasn't made it to the national historic register because it doesn't qualify architecturally. You think it qualifies culturally. What do you mean by that?

>> Chris Ibarra:
First, let me address the architectural question. I think it does qualify architecturally. I think the building has very majestic architectural lines and so do a lot of people. The real story of the building is the interior space. Like Susan mentioned in the preceding segment, the interior of the building is a vast, open atrium space that's -- has kind of an Eiffel tower like metal Torruellas supporting the roof line, which is a wooden bow, boat structure. And that's really where the true story of the building is. Externally it has had some touch-ups done which are reversible which I don't think are significant. Those modifications can be reversed and made to look better. In terms cultural and social significance of the building we are claiming in talking to people in the community there's just a vast amount of history and significance associated with that building, as well as the rest of the site. And this includes members of the Latino community and African-American community and the general broader community of Phoenix, and I'd say indeed the state. This venue --

>> José Cárdenas:
When you say we are claiming, who is the we.

>> Chris Ibarra:
Downtown voices coalition.

>> José Cárdenas:
What's the membership.

>> Chris Ibarra:
We're a coalition of a broad group of stakeholders and focused on community minded downtown development, people like small business owners, community workers, culture workers, academics, artists, art gallery space owners and we're really promoting community minded development downtown, one that maintains the vibrancy and health of downtown communities, that strengthens the arts in our downtown and one that also respects diversity and other themes like connectivity and preserving our history.

>> José Cárdenas:
The city as I understand it actually began surveying buildings for cultural significance sometime last year, Madison square garden still hasn't shown up. Is it a case of too little too late?

>> Chris Ibarra:
Well, are you referring to the Hispanic historic property survey that will begin this summer? The city last year completed an African-American historic property survey, which look looked at sites with significance -- excuse me -- cultural and social significance for that community. I believe if you speak to people in the Hispanic community here in Phoenix they will tell you that the Madison square garden does merit that significance.

>> José Cárdenas:
why is it significant to the Hispanic community and African-American community?

>>Chris Ibarra:
Excellent question. There's many reasons. One of the most -- I guess one of the most known is the building is known for its athletic history, its boxing and wrestling tradition and pretty much every great wrestler or boxer, even before ward war 2 and certainly since then, has appeared there at some time. I was just speaking today with Mr. Robert -- Ruben PADAa pillar of the community in grant park, member of the both 41 American Legion and he used to be an audience member at the garden in the '30s and '40s and after he came back from service during World War II.

>> José Cárdenas:
A different aspect of this... what about the private property rights of the owner? He has already agreed to preserve the grade school building on there. Shouldn't he be entitled to use the rest of the property for his own benefit?

>> Chris Ibarra:
Well, in this case I think we feel that the building belongs to all of us because if a private developer is going to purchase a historic building such as this, I think you have to be -- you have to be respectful of the history and the significance that it holds for the surrounding communities. True, it is in private hands. But I think the reason why it's never been listed and never been considered historic is a function of the fact that we need more representation, I think, from communities of color within our city government and as --

>> José Cárdenas:
We're almost out of time. Let me ask you this question. As I understand it city council is voting next week. Is there enough time to convince the council members to vote favorably to what you're proposing?

>> Chris Ibarra:
I think there is. I think we've already reached the critical mass of people contacting the Mayor and councilman Johnson whose district this building is located within, and we really need to hear from the community members who have a direct association and connection with this building. Could I make one final point?

>> José Cárdenas:
We're out of time but maybe we'll have you back on to discuss it further. Thank you so much for joining us tonight. I apologize we ran out of time. Many who suffer from blood related cancers such leukemia or lymphoma rely on bone marrow transplants as a means of survival but for the Latino community the percentage of donors doesn't match the number of those waiting for a bone marrow transplanted. In the United States there are some 5.7 million people who have signed up to become bone marrow donors, more than 400,000 are Hispanic. In Arizona there are some 73,000 potential bone marrow donors, 17,000 are Hispanic. Joining me to talk about the need for more Latino bone marrow donors is Oscar Correa an education recruitment specialist with the national bone marrow donor program. Thank you for joining us on "Horizonte." Tell me first about the program, what it does and why it was created.

>> Oscar Correa:
We're a national bone marrow program and we were created in 1987 to address the issue of leukemia patients and people with other fatal blood cancers, up to 1979, if you had leukemia or any other fatal blood disease and it got to the point where your only cure was a bone marrow transplant, you can only get transplanted that from a related donor, someone in your family. After 1979 they found that they can do unrelated donor transfers. So in 1987 through an act of Congress our organization was created and we're mandated to create and maintain a registry of volunteer donors which currently numbers 5.7 million people. Every year over 30,000 people are diagnosed with leukemia and other fatal blood diseases. For many of these people their only cure is going to be a bone marrow or stem cell transplant.

>> José Cárdenas:
How does the bone marrow transplant save somebody who has cancer.

>> Oscar Correa:
What it does, when somebody has leukemia or a fatal blood disease, the marrow is the main agent of the immune system. Your immune system stops functioning correctly. There are over 75 different types of leukemia. You're either nah producing enough white blood cells or white blood cells or platelets. Your body tends to compensate for that and is the all point it will kill you. What a marrow transplant does is the donor is pretty much giving their immune system to someone else whose immune system is compromised and vulnerable. We have almost 22,000 people a year die because they can't find donors, leukemia. Leukemia is a prolific killer. One thing about marrow matching and what's really critical here, you mentioned the need for Hispanic donors, is that marrow matching goes along racial ethnic lines. The reason for --

>> José Cárdenas:
You don't need to be related but there still has to be some --

>>Oscar Correa:
There has to be -- yes, some compatibility, and what we match on is six antigens right now, the human leukocyte antigens. You get three from your mother, three from your father and that's kind of like your finger print. About 25, 30% of the time a sibling is going to be a perfect match because you share the same parents. Outside of your family unit, your most likely match is going to be someone from your own racial ethnic group because primarily thinks antigens determine racial characteristics like skin color, eye color, hair color. If you're Hispanic, leukemia patient and you're looking for a donor your most likely match will come from the Hispanic community.

>>José Cárdenas:
is the problem with Hispanic donors, the lack, is that because there's a higher incidence of types of cancers among Hispanics or a disproportionately lower number of donors?

>> Oscar Correa:
Lower number of donors. That's my job in the community, to do community outreach, awareness and education, to let people know there is a need. You know, hundreds of Hispanic, Latino patients die every year because they can't find donors. As opposed to Caucasian donors. In a registry, over 80% is Caucasian. Caucasian patients have an easier time finding donors. For minorities it's a real challenge.

>>José Cárdenas:
How does one go about becoming a donor?

>> Oscar Correa:
It's real easy. Becoming a donor requires giving us consent, filling out a demographic questionnaire, health questionnaire, and having us collect a small blood sample, which we then tissue type the individual. That tissue type gets put on a national database, and so at any one time there's about 3,000 patients that are searching their tissue types are compared to what we have on this database. And if there's a match, then we call that donor in --

>> José Cárdenas:
Then what happens. If I sign up and you find somebody who needs bone marrow from me, what's going to happen to me?

>> Oscar Correa:
We'll call you and say Jose Cardenas, congratulations, it look like you could be potentially a match for someone. Are you still interesting in being a marrow donor. If you say yes, we bring you in, do an extensive health questionnaire, take additional blood samples to make sure your health status hasn't changed from the time you signed up and the time you came up as a match, then we share that information with the transplant center where the patient is.

>> José Cárdenas:
What's going to happen to me?

>> Oscar Correa:
Right now, we do is just taking blood samples from you to make sure you're still healthy and you are compatible, the perfect match for this patient. If there's a transplant center comes back and said Jose Cardenas is the guy we want, at that time then we put you through an extensive medical screening, you spend about two hours with a medical director during an information session to discuss the process. There are two ways we have harvest marrow --

>> José Cárdenas:
We have to leave it right there. But we do have some numbers people can call to get more information. Thank you for joining us on the show. If you would like to become a potential bone marrow donor there is an opportunity this Sunday at St. Daniel the prophet church in Scottsdale. The church is located at 1030 north Hayden road. Testing is from 1:00 to 3:00 in the afternoon. For information call the bone marrow donor program at 602-242-5459. If you would like more information on becoming a bone marrow donor, also please visit the Channel 8 web site at www.azpbs.org and click on "Horizonte." You'll find a link to the national bone marrow donor web site. Thank you for joining us for this edition of "Horizonte." I'm José Cárdenas. Good night.

Randy Pullen: Chairman, Yes on 200 Committee;

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