Category: Cronkite News

Suns owner Sarver eyeing new arena in quest to return team to prominence

John Arlia Thursday, July 20, 2017 Suns owner Sarver eyeing new arena in quest to return team to prominence PHOENIX — Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver confirmed Wednesday that the franchise is actively pursuing options to either renovate Talking Stick Resort Arena or leave its current home altogether. After announcing general manager Ryan McDonough’s contract extension and introducing NBA veteran James Jones as the Suns’ vice president of basketball operations, Sarver addressed the importance of upgrading the team’s facilities. “Our arena is becoming outdated,” Sarver said of the building that also is home to the Phoenix Mercury and Arizona Rattlers. “We’re soon to be the second-oldest arena in the league and the smallest arena in the league square footage-wise.” Talking Stick Resort Arena opened in 1992, technically making it the sixth-oldest building in the NBA, but two franchises with older stadiums are building new arenas and Sarver believes the Suns’ home has fallen behind others that have recently undergone major renovation projects. The Milwaukee Bucks broke ground on a $524 million arena in June 2016 that will replace the BMO Bradley Center for the start of the 2018-19 season, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The defending-champion Golden State Warriors began construction in January on San Francisco’s Chase Center, which is scheduled to be ready for play in 2019. Minneapolis’ Target Center, which has hosted the Minnesota Timberwolves since...

Read More

Pork barreling on: Report shows ‘pork barrel’ spending continues rise

Joe Gilmore Thursday, July 20, 2017 Pork barreling on: Report shows ‘pork barrel’ spending continues rise WASHINGTON – Despite the “tireless work” of Arizona Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain, the number and cost of pork-barrel projects have continued to rise, jumping by over 30 percent this year, a new report says. The 2017 Congressional Pig Book Summary released Wednesday by Citizens Against Government Waste said there are 163 congressional “earmarks” in the fiscal 2017 federal budget, a 32.5 percent increase from fiscal 2016. The report said those earmarks cost taxpayers $6.8 billion, a 33.3 percent increase in costs from the previous year. Citizens Against Government Waste President Thomas Schatz said the report has identified more than 110,000 earmarks that cost $329 billion since the report first came out in 1991. “Members of Congress who say, ‘Oh, it’s just a few million dollars,’ it’s not. It adds up quickly,” Schatz said. He said his group has seven criteria it uses to identify an earmark, which he called “a project that goes into the appropriations bill without hearings, without competition, without authorization.” One of the biggest examples of pork-barreling cited in this year’s report was $1.02 billion for four earmarks to fund support and maintenance for F/A-18 and F-16 fighter jets, which are scheduled to eventually be replaced by the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. And while spending money on planes...

Read More

GOP, Democrats spar over best way to save Endangered Species Act

Ben Moffat Thursday, July 20, 2017 GOP, Democrats spar over best way to save Endangered Species Act WASHINGTON – Democrats and Republicans agreed Wednesday that everybody wants to prevent extinction of endangered species – but they differ sharply on how to do that. That was the main issue as the House Natural Resources Committee took up five bills, what Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson, called a “weird menu” of measures that would modify the Endangered Species Act in ways he called a “waste of time.” Grijalva said that for Congress to “decide which species live or die – for all time – is arrogant and shameful.” But supporters said the bills provide badly needed updates to the Endangered Species Act, which they called a costly, cumbersome set of regulations that tries to fit a Washington-sized peg into a local-sized hole, stripping local authority. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, the chairman of the committee, said the act had been “hijacked by litigation” that has hampered action on species. He pointed to a lawsuit that challenged a 2012 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the Mexican gray wolf populations in Wisconsin, Wyoming, Minnesota and Michigan from the federal list of endangered wildlife. A federal district court initially ruled against the agency in 2014, but the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals this March allowed the rule to go back into...

Read More

Trump taunts states, like Arizona, that denied voter data to task force

J.T. Lain Thursday, July 20, 2017 Trump taunts states, like Arizona, that denied voter data to task force WASHINGTON – Arizona election officials had sharp words Wednesday for President Donald Trump after he suggested that states that are withholding voter information from a presidential commission have something to hide. “What are they worried about?” Trump asked, during remarks to first meeting of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. “There’s something, there always is,” Trump said. “We could say the same thing about him,” shot back Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez. “What is he hiding in his taxes?” The commission was appointed by Trump to investigate allegations of voter fraud in the 2016 election, in which he lost the popular vote to Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton. But Arizona was one of many states that rebuffed some or all of the commission’s request for detailed data on voters, including names, dates of birth, addresses, voting histories, criminal records, political affiliation and last four digits of Social Security numbers, among other information. Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan said earlier this month that Arizona would not comply with the commission’s request for detailed voter information because of “serious privacy concerns” about the use of the data. Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes said Wednesday that election officials have a legal duty to protect voter rolls and that Trump’s “ego is not...

Read More

Advocates: Obamacare repeal would ‘painfully disrupt’ Arizona care

Brianna Stearns Thursday, July 20, 2017 Advocates: Obamacare repeal would ‘painfully disrupt’ Arizona care WASHINGTON – A Senate proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act with no replacement plan in place “would immediately and painfully disrupt the health care system” and could force as many as 709,000 Arizonans off coverage, advocates said this week. “This bill not only will take us back to the days before health reform, when millions struggled to get access to quality, affordable health care – it will leave us even worse off,” DJ Quinlan, a spokesman for the Arizona Alliance for Healthcare Security, said in statement. But supporters of an immediate repeal said it will finally provide Americans the “relief” from Obamacare they were promised by Republicans in Congress and the White House. “The 2015 Obamacare repeal bill is not perfect, but it is a far better start than the legislation considered by both the House and Senate this year,” said Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert. “The 2015 bill will remove most of Obamacare and pave the way for Americans to receive significant premium relief.” Republican leaders in the Senate made the decision to return to the 2015 repeal bill after their efforts to replace the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, fell apart early this week. That measure passed Congress but was vetoed by then-President Barack Obama. But a new analysis of the...

Read More