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Serving Flagstaff and
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northern Arizona since 1883
Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011
Too old, but too young The recession is falling hardest on rural residents in their 50s, unable to ďŹ nd work but ineligible for Social Security. BY BASTIEN INZAURRALDE Cronkite News Service
WILLIAMS â€“ At the only food bank in this rural community, it was no surprise for founder Guy Mikkelsen to see business boom as the economy faltered. What he expected less was the surge of people in their 50s who had jobs for most of their lives but now need food assistance â€“ those too young to qualify for social aid programs such as Social Security or Medicare and sometimes too old to ďŹ nd a new or comparable positions in a tight job market. â€œThey are ďŹ nding themselves short of supplies and
food, and they are having to come seek assistance from us, many for the ďŹ rst time in their lives,â€? Mikkelsen said. Arizona ranks third nationally for 50 â€” to 59â€”year â€”olds at risk of hunger, with roughly 12 percent of people in this age group experiencing what is known as food insecurity, according to a report released in August by AARP . Among those in their 50s, food insecurity increased by more than a third between 2007 and 2009. â€œThis is potentially a vulnerable group â€Ś who can kind of slip through various components of the safety net in the U.S.,â€? said James Ziliak, coâ€“author of the report and director of the Center for Poverty Research at the University of Kentucky. GUY MIKKELSEN, founder of the Williams food bank, sees more and more people in their 50s who never thought they would have to seek food assistance
See INELIGIBLE, A7 and are now coming to his food bank. (Bastien Inzaurralde/Cronkite News Service)
SAVING COMMUNITY RADIO
â€˜Wedding Houseâ€™ case on Plan C
New sales tax in works
After two hearings are canceled because of conďŹ‚icts of interest, Flagstaff City Manager Kevin Burke will appoint a hearing officer to hear the zoning case.
Without extending the 1-cent tax hike, a legislative analyst says Arizonaâ€™s 2014 budget will wind up $610 million in the red.
BY JOE FERGUSON Sun Staff Reporter
BY HOWARD FISCHER
The Flagstaff City Council created a new and somewhat unique position Tuesday: a hearing officer for the Board of Adjustment. The Council took the unusual step because two previous attempts to hold a hearing on an appeal by a local developer have been thwarted by conďŹ‚icts of interest. Tom Brewster has asked for a hearing to ďŹ ght a ďŹ nding by the city code enforcement ofďŹ cer that he has turned his east Flagstaff home into a wedding venue. Zoning fights are usually brought to the citizen-run commission known as the Board of Adjustment. But a majority of that group declared conďŹ‚icts, disclosing they had either personal or business ties to Brewster. The Council had then stepped in to serve as the Board of Adjustment, but four members also declared conďŹ‚icts of interests and recused themselves from the hearing. The action Tuesday gives City Manager Kevin Burke the authority to appoint a hearing officer for the Board of Adjustment.
JAMES ANDERSON AND ALICE FERRIS stand in Heritage Square earlier this month. (Jake Bacon/Arizona Daily Sun)
More than a radio station
Two Flagstaff consultants help INSIDE â€˘ A7 Tuba City get it voice back by Afghans tour Tuba City station. putting KGHR Navajo Public putting the station back on the air by offering to ďŹ nd $8,000 in pledges to rebuild the main Radio back on the air. 100,000-watt transmitter.
â€œI told them I could have it by (next) Tuesday,â€? Anderson says. The pair understood that the radio station fter more than six months of was an integral part of daily lives for many in silence, Navajo Public Radio in the community of about 9,000 and much of the western Rez. Their company, GoalBusters Tuba City returned to the airwaves in September after a lightning Consulting, works with various nonproďŹ ts to improve their fundraising, sales and marketing strike and subsequent power surges efforts. BY JOE FERGUSON Sun Staff Reporter
destroyed $60,000 worth of equipment.
NOT SO SIMPLE
Flagstaff residents Jim Anderson and Alice Ferris with GoalBusters Consulting were at the center of the rebuilding efforts, working with engineers, advertisers, local officials, the U.S. Department of Commerce and Federal Communications Commission. Anderson, who eventually took the title of interim station manager for KGHR Navajo Public Radio, remembers getting involved in
See WEDDING HOUSE, A7
But ďŹ xing the transmitter wasnâ€™t going to be as simple as they hoped. What was going to be a weekâ€™s worth of phone calls and handshake business deals to come up with enough money to ďŹ x the transmitter quickly turned into several months of work, with new problems creeping up nearly every day, the pair says.
Capitol Media Services
PHOENIX â€” A group of business executive and educators is crafting plans to ask voters to accept a new sales tax to keep the state from falling off a ďŹ nancial â€œcliffâ€? in two years. Andrew Morrill, president of the Arizona Education Association, said members of the Arizona Business and Education Coalition recognize that the main thing keeping the stateâ€™s ďŹ nances in the black through the recession has been a temporary 1-cent hike in sales taxes. That levy, approved by voters last year, brings in about $900 million annually. But that tax self-destructs on June 1, 2013. And Richard Stavneak, staff director of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, told lawmakers on Tuesday that without that extra cash, the budget will be $610 million in the red. Thatâ€™s the best-case scenario. Stavneak provided lawmakers with the possibility that the gap between revenues and anticipated spending could be twice that much.
See SALES TAX, A7
See RADIO, A7
Regulators vote to rein in commodities speculators The rules set new trading limits on oil, coffee, cotton and other staples in a bid to stabilize prices and markets. BY KEVIN G. HALL McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)
WASHINGTON â€” Big ďŹ nancial speculators will be limited in their ability to manipulate the price of oil and 27 other commodities under a set of new rules adopted Tuesday by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Yet even as the CFTC approved the new rules to rein in excessive speculation on a 3-2 party-line vote â€” with Democratic commissioners in the majority â€” some ďŹ nancial-market analysts and lawmakers in Congress complained that the new rules fall short of whatâ€™s needed to
High: 71 Low: 28 4-day forecast â€” A8
curb speculation effectively. â€œThis rule begins the process of doing that, but much more needs to be done,â€? Dennis Kelleher, president of the advocacy group Better Markets, said in a statement. â€œSpeculatorsâ€™ casino mentality brings them big proďŹ ts but hurts everyone else from the kitchen table to the gas pump.â€? In a series of investigative reports in the past three years, McClatchy Newspapers has shown that ďŹ nancial speculation is driving up the prices of commodities, including oil, coffee and cotton â€” and that price volatility in those goods is not resulting simply from the ordinary market forces of supply and demand among producers and consumers. The CFTC regulates the trading of contracts for future delivery of oil, wheat, corn and a host of other commodities. In those markets, ďŹ nancial speculators far outnumber
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DENNIS KELLEHER President of the advocacy group Better Markets both the producers and actual users of the products, who are looking to those markets to hedge against price shifts. Congressional Democrats and the Obama administration sought to rein in speculation in futures markets, which originally were designed to help buyers and sellers of a commodity such as oil to discover a mutually acceptable price for future delivery of the product.
See SPECULATORS, A7 Classified ads: 556-2298 Home delivery: 779-4189 Newsroom: 556-2241
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Speculatorsâ€™ casino mentality brings them big proďŹ ts but hurts everyone else from the kitchen table to the gas pump.â€?
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From the Front Page
Arizona Daily Sun — azdailysun.com
Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011 — A7
White House waffling on long-term care plan? WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House appeared to waffle Monday on the fate of a ﬁnancially troubled longterm care program in President Barack Obama’s health overhaul law, as supporters and foes heaped criticism on the administration. At stake is the CLASS Act, a major new program intended to provide affordable long-term care insurance. Last Friday,
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the administration would not proceed with the plan because she has been unable to ﬁnd a way to make the program ﬁnancially solvent. On Monday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office issued a ruling that cleared the way for repealing the CLASS Act, but the administration rejected that step — and created considerable confu-
sion. Backers and opponents said the White House is trying to have it both ways. “I feel like somebody just called me about how to do really good pet care after they shot my dog,” said Larry Minnix, president of LeadingAge, a trade group representing non-proﬁt nursing homes, which are strong supporters of CLASS. Paying for long-term care for a frail,
elderly family member is a major ﬁnancial dilemma for America’s middle class. Medicare only covers short-term nursing home stays, for patients in rehab. And to become eligible for Medicaid, people have to spend most of their assets, akin to impoverishing themselves. The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program was supposed to help provide an answer.
Afghanis tour Tuba City station WEDDING HOUSE BY JOE FERGUSON
traveled from their homes to receive the State Department training. Nine Afghan radio station owners and “What struck me was just looking at their Pashto interpreters spent several the faces of the group as they were getdays last month in Tuba City learning ting trained and realizing that there have about long-term economic stability in been certain voices in the news telling community radio stations. me for the last 10 years these men were The tour was sponsored by the State my enemy,” he said. “What I quickly Department, whose funding overseas realized was that these guys were no difhas been supporting a large number of ferent from me or the news teams at the Afghan stations in the wake of the fall of native stations we work with — they are the Taliban in Afghanistan. all trying to build a station and to serve The American Councils for International their community.” Education organized the trip, helping a The stakes were also higher. total of nine Afghan broadcasters from “We have trouble getting people to dothree provinces along the Afghanistan/ nate,” he said. “These guys have to worry Pakistan border to learn more about the in- about the Taliban.” dustry from their American counterparts. Ferris said there were some cultural The planned itinerary would include differences to overcome, including an trips to New York, Washington, D.C., and unwillingness by individuals in the small Arizona. communities in Afghanistan to give to Alice Ferris and Jim Anderson of Goany charity other than the local mosque. alBusters Consulting were asked to host “People there just give to the mosque,” the broadcasters because of their experi- she said. “I know darn well I can’t tell ence in helping several rural radio stathem to do a pledge drive. That’s not tions — including KGHR Navajo Public going to work.” Radio and KUYI Hopi Radio — with their The pair advised the men that they fundraising, sales and marketing efforts. needed to reach out to expats and “At ﬁrst, they wanted us to come down governmental organizations as well as to Phoenix and teach them about longretailers. term economic stability for community “We didn’t come up with a magical radio stations,” she said. formula in the hour we spent talking A few weeks later, the American Coun- about that, but it was interesting to talk cils had added another request: Could about that,” Ferris said. the station owners tour a rural radio staBoth Ferris and Anderson acknowltion in Arizona, maybe a tribal station? edged that the long-term economic staAt the time, Anderson was the interim bility would need to come from outside station manager for KGHR. sources in the near future as the U.S. The pair jumped at the chance to work begins to pull out of the country. with the Afghan station owners. Joe Ferguson can be reached at 556-2253 or Anderson remembers the ﬁrst day email@example.com. of meeting the nine men who secretly Sun Staff Reporter
The dwindling number of employees at the station who knew how to use the equipment compounded the issue, with the station manager quitting shortly after the lightning strike.
CHRISTMAS IN SEPTEMBER
Residents ﬁrst heard the station chirp back to life Anderson remembers a in early September with call with an engineer he a series of test messages, had sent out to the Tuba including rebroadcasting a City station to review the holiday program from last damage from the lightyear. JOINING THE STAFF ning strike and to review “It might have been The pair formally joined a little weird hearing a whether several subsequent electrical surges had the staff in March, with Christmas program from their ﬁrst assignment to destroyed other station last year,” Anderson conseek $65,000 in federal equipment. cedes. He heard the bad news in funding from the U.S. De“From a dude in Yuma,” partment of Commerce for Ferris adds. his friend’s voice long before he got the assessment. a Public TelecommunicaThe pair learned in the tions Facilities Program “I told him, ‘Don’t tell months they spent in Tuba grant. me it is going to cost City that KGHR was more Ferris was familiar with $20,000.’ He said, ‘No, than just one choice on the program and knew it is going to be over the radio dial. Congress had set aside $60,000,’” Anderson re“There is only one stafunding speciﬁcally for members. “I said, ‘I can’t tion listed as local in Tuba emergency repairs. have that by Tuesday.’” City, others have a signal A few weeks later, the Ferris explains that the federal grant program was but are from Flagstaff or rural station had put off Window Rock,” he says. abruptly canceled. major repairs over the He notes that Navajo Ferris wasn’t surprised. years, leading to additionPublic Radio is the only “Almost since it was al costs to get the system station broadcasting the started, it was threatened functioning properly. Friday night high school with being eliminated,” “One of the biggest she says. “We had to come football game. It is at 91.3 challenges in running a on the FM dial. with other options for radio station in a rural “They would be out there environment is that it is creative repairs.” (at the games) for those hard to ﬁnd a broadcast Careful budgeting, salengineer in Tuba City,” vaging existing equipment who couldn’t be there, who couldn’t travel or chose not she says. “They had acand using leftover funds to travel,” he says. cumulated a number of from previous grants technical problems over helped get the repairs Joe Ferguson can be the years, and they hadn’t under way, but Anderson gotten an engineer out notes fundraising is ongo- reached at 556-2253 or there.” ing to help pay for repairs. firstname.lastname@example.org.
from Page A1
senior, you are going to be food twice a month on Frifurther challenged to ﬁnd days, and some drive as far from Page A1 resources that are going to as 40 miles to get here. The report used 2001 to help you,” she said. Williams resident Ron 2009 data from the CurBruce, who is 53, said BARELY HANGING ON rent Population Survey, a he sometimes wishes he At the Flagstaff Family were older so he could get monthly survey of about 50,000 people by the Cen- Food Center, a nonproﬁt Social Security benefits. created in 1991 that pre- He and his wife are still sus Bureau. People eligible for Medi- pares free meals every able to go to the grocery care need to be 65 or older day, Executive Director store for some things but – those under that age can Roger Nosker said he’s also have to watch expenses be eligible under certain seeing more people who closely. circumstances – while the appear to be in their 50s “Basically, I come here earliest a person can get seeking help. because of lack of money, “These people have been you know,” Bruce said. Social Security retirement benefits is 62. Another barely hanging on, barely “It’s just not enough when program, Temporary As- making it, and it doesn’t you pay your rent.” sistance for Needy Fami- take very much to kind of Hildebrand said seeklies, is designed for fami- tip the scale the wrong di- ing help for food can be rection,” Nosker said. lies with children. shameful for people who Flagstaff resident Terie have had a salary for most However, people in their 50s are eligible for disabil- Knutson, who is 56, re- of their lives and didn’t ity beneﬁts – the report ceived her ﬁrst food stamps have to worry about the says that half of the people recently but still seeks as- price of groceries. facing food insecurity in sistance at the food center. “There is that social this age group are disabled For the past two months, phenomenon, if you will, – and the Supplemental she has worked in a hotel that we’ve instituted in Assistance for Nutrition in exchange for a room. our country and we talk “I’d rather not have to about it – the American Program, formerly known come to a place like this, Dream – that if you have as food stamps. Ginny Hildebrand, pres- but sometimes, you know, a house, if you have a job, ident and CEO of the As- things happen,” Knutson if you’ve worked all your sociation of Arizona Food said. “And I am just grate- life, things should be Banks, said those in rural ful that they are here.” good,” Hildebrand said. areas are more exposed to “And we know that that TWICE A MONTH food insecurity than urban doesn’t exist for people, The Williams food bank but it’s still in our heads areas. “If you are a low–income allows clients to pick up and in our psyche.”
lasting only long enough for the hearing officer to rule on the case. from Page A1 Separate zoning cases would still be heard Burke told the Council he hopes to have by the existing Board of Adjustment. a hearing officer in place in the next two weeks. Joe Ferguson can be reached at 556-2253 or The position would likely be temporary, email@example.com.
SPECULATORS from Page A1
The rules, which aim to impose a market-wide ceiling on speculative trading, were mandated under the broad revamp of ﬁnancial regulation in July 2010, known as the DoddFrank Act. They were a response to oil prices that surged to a record $147 a barrel in July 2008. A speculative oil-price spike earlier this year proved to be a major head wind to U.S. economic growth and reignited debate on the role of Wall Street money in oil markets. The rules set trading limits, or caps, on individual traders or companies in both the physical market, where a buyer actually takes possession of oil or other products, and the futures markets, where contracts for future delivery of oil or other commodities are traded. The new rules also apply to contracts on foreign com-
SALES TAX from Page A1
Morrill said coalition members have been meeting behind closed doors on a plan that would guarantee funding for education and also have some measurements designed to ensure that student performance improves. But he said this is not some academic exercise. “It is in complete awareness — and in substantial response — to the fact that there’s a funding cliff coming in 2014 if nothing is done,” he said.
POLLS BACK TAX EXTENSION At this point, Morrill said there is no speciﬁc plan for how to make up the money. “We’ve been looking at what polling suggests voters are comfortable with,’’ he said. “We’ve got to be mindful of what folks have indicated they will support.” If history is any indication, what that likely means — and Morrill will not say — is some sort of extension of the sales tax. That was one reason that Gov. Jan Brewer, who championed the 2010 election, chose that as the option. Voters apparently agreed, approving the temporary hike by a margin of nearly 2-1. But things will be different this time. Brewer, who took a lot of heat from within her own Republican Party for pushing the last levy, will not be leading this ﬁght. “Proposition 100 will expire after three years,’’ said gubernatorial press aide Matthew Benson. “Those who wish to extend it will have to return to voters with that proposal.” Benson said Brewer is aware that the current surplus is just temporary. But he said she is not looking to additional revenues. “ S h e i s fo c u se d o n budgeting conservatively and ﬁghting ObamaCare, which is a major driver behind the state’s projected shortfall in the coming years,” Benson said.
HEALTH CARE COSTS TO RISE Stavneak acknowledged that the new federal health care law, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2014, will require the state to once again start enrolling childless adults into the program. The state got a waiver to
modity exchanges that link back to U.S. exchanges. These limits will be imposed on contracts traded for both next-month and future delivery years out. The limits will be adjusted once a year for energy and metals commodities, and every two years for farm products, as the commission reviews market data. The rules were due in January but are unlikely to take full effect before spring. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., whose investigative subcommittee held hearings spotlighting speculation in commodities markets, praised the CFTC’s action: “The position limits rule approved today by the CFTC represents signiﬁcant progress for middleclass families facing rollercoaster gasoline, electricity and food prices,” Levin said in a statement. But another critic of oil speculation, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., saw little to cheer. exclude them from the program earlier this year, saving an estimated $190 million a year. Brewer has joined with officials from other states to challenge the law. Morrill said the other political hurdle is that it is doubtful that lawmakers will be willing to put the issue before voters, as they did last year. That means having to gather more than 173,000 valid signatures to have the issue on the 2012 ballot. Among the foes is Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee. He said higher taxes would be “counterproductive.’’ “It would stall an already stalling economy,” he said. Kavanagh also said the fact Arizona the economy is improving now, even with the extra one-cent tax, does not mean it has done no harm. “I think we would be recovering a lot more had we not increased taxes,’’ he said. Kavanagh also said that the $610 million deﬁcit is not a foregone conclusion. Kavanagh pointed out that if the economy performs as planned, the state should end this ﬁscal year with about $416 million unspent. And next year’s surplus would be about $143 million. He said if lawmakers can resist the urge to spend that money and instead just put it aside, that gives them enough in the bank to cut the deﬁcit two years from now to only about $50 million. And that, said Kavanagh, can be handled easily, without raising taxes.
ECONOMY IMPROVING The ﬁgures that Stavneak presented to lawmakers on Tuesday do foretell an improving economy. Base sales tax revenues — the amount collected on the regular 5.6 percent tax rate, excluding the 1cent hike, are anticipated to be 4.4 percent higher next year than this year, with another 4.4 percent growth the following year. Nearly half of Arizona’s revenues come from sales taxes. But that is still below historical averages, which have been in the 7 percent range. Economist Jim Rounds of Pollack and Associates said he thinks the long-
“I think it’s more like saying you want to have speed limits in general, but then setting it at 125 mph. The fact that you are allowing someone to have so much of the market is the issue,” she told McClatchy Newspapers. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, made public an angry letter he sent Monday to CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler — whose nomination Sanders held up for months in 2009 — suggesting that tougher rules are needed. “The bottom line is we have a responsibility to ensure that the price of oil is no longer allowed to be driven up by the same Wall Street speculators who caused the devastating recession that working families are now experiencing,” Sanders wrote. “That means the CFTC must ﬁnally do what the law mandates and end excessive oil speculation once and for all.”
It is in complete awareness — and in substantial response — to the fact that there’s a funding cliff coming in 2014 if nothing is done.”
ANDREW MORRILL President of the Arizona Education Association term economic outlook for the state is good. But he warned lawmakers against betting on it. “Don’t spend it until you see it,” he said. One big factor, Rounds said, is going to be consumer psychology. And t h a t , h e sa i d , d r ive s whether they’re willing to spend the money that generates sales tax revenues. “People are going to be a little bit more concerned about the economy for a number of years, just because of the shocks that occurred to them personally over the last two or three,” he said.
‘MINIMAL GROWTH’ IN NEAR-TERM Rounds said he’s counting on “minimal growth’’ in the economy for the next several quarters. “We’re still making stuff and we’re still buying stuff,” he said. “Everything’s growing — just barely.” Then there’s the real estate market that Rounds said is making people feel poorer. He said half of the homes in Arizona with mortgages are “under water,” with owners owing more than what is the current market value of their homes. He said, though, that will right itself for most homeowners in three or four years. But Rounds said someone who bought a home for $400,000 at the peak of the market that should have sold for $200,000 is now ﬁnding it is worth only about $150,000. And those houses, he said, won’t be in the black until perhaps 2030. And then there’s the news media. “It’s not the media’s fa u l t ,” Ro u n d s a d d e d quickly. “These are reports that are coming out,” he continued, whether it’s the problems in Washington or companies laying off workers.
Jim Anderson and Alice Ferris were interviewed by Joe Ferguson for a front page story for the Arizona Daily Sun regarding their efforts to b...
Published on Oct 19, 2011
Jim Anderson and Alice Ferris were interviewed by Joe Ferguson for a front page story for the Arizona Daily Sun regarding their efforts to b...