Hi from Ros in Phoenix.Plenty below including today’s subjects, a little on why we’re here in Phoenix, how to listen to Saturday’s show from San Francisco, and my personal campaign to get better lighting in American hotels. So all absolutely vital.
SHOULD THE RICH PAY MORE TAX?
That’s what America’s second richest man Warren Buffet says. Do you agree? Do the richest people in your country make a fair contribution? And if you think rich people should pay more, explain why they have to give a bigger proportion of their income than everyone else?
The landing into Phoenix’s self-styled ‘Sky Harbor’ played on all my Dan Dare-fuelled fantasies of space travel.The vast dusty red Arizonan desert is broken up as it reaches skyward into vast mountain ranges and plunges into craters and canyons. It looks other-worldly. Then over one last set of mountains comes Phoenix with its tightly organized grid system, using roads to box factories, houses and scrub-land into strict formation. And above the highways, business parks and town-house complexes, planes queue to land at the airport which is right in the centre of the city.
True the massive freeway billboards advertising America’s big brands that are visible as you approach the runway, slightly undermined my visions of space travel, but when you consider President Bush’s Mars ambitions, maybe they weren’t so far-fetched.
WATER IS THE NEW OIL
This is America’s fifth largest city and with no shortage of desert to spread out over, it has one of the lowest population densities of the big US conurbations. As my co-host today Steve Goldstein from KJZZ put it, ‘we’re not short on space here’. But what Phoenix is short of is water. It’s the issue that is head and shoulders above all others on what people want to talk about.
The Arizona Republic newspaper’s front page yesterday declared – ‘It’s nearly November – and it’s 100 degrees’. Ask anyone who’s lived here for a while and they have anecdotes about how it’s hotter and drier than it used to be. Combine that with population growth and water is not something to be taken for granted they say.Concern about water and how we ensure we have enough of it is not only the concern of Arizonans – we know because so many of you responded when we discussed this from Portland on World Water Day earlier in the year. I also remember when we were in India a 20 year court battle over which provinces were allowed access to a major river was resolved. That was all about needing more water…. and there are many examples. It outlines the many concerns around the world better than I can in a few paragraphs here.Is water a commodity we need to treat with more care? Or is this melodramatic scare-mongering getting in the way of far more pressing matters such as finding new energy sources?
WHY ARE WE IN PHOENIX?
The BBC is always looking to develop its relationships with other broadcasters around the world – that was one of the reasons we were working with SAFM a couple of weeks back in South Africa – and that’s why we’re here. We were always going to be going to San Francisco and once that show was set up, there was interest from the people who distribute BBC shows in the States for us to come and visit KJZZ and so we have. Whatever the reasons, it is fascinating to be here. We’ve spent the past two days speaking with people and I think you’re going to enjoy having them as our hosts for a day.
SAN FRANCISCO SPECIAL
The show is in addition to our five regular programmes this week. It’s on at our usual time on Saturday, but for those of you who listen to us on a local broadcaster, you may not get to hear it. We’ll be talking about climate change. I’d invite you along, but we’ve no tickets left. Of course you’re more than welcome to join us all the usual ways – phone, text and so on.AMERICANS – WHERE’S THE BIG LIGHT?
Just a quick question for those of you in the States. Why do none of your hotels have main lights? Is this a cultural phenomenon that I’m just not getting? Is lighting a room with one bulb frowned upon? I have to spend about ten minutes turning on lots of side lights just to see what I’m doing whenever we do trips over here. Probably not a subject we’ll be devoting large chunks of the show to, but I thought I’d ask.Speak to you later.