Updated: Sep 26
Interviewer: Trevor Shore
Interviewee: Dr. Ed Ackerley
Date Interviewed: March 20, 2023
Edited By: Liam Larkin-Smith
Link to Youtube Upload: https://youtu.be/xWW7QeTBRgY
Link to Sound Cloud Audio: https://on.soundcloud.com/Wf3xL
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Trevor: Welcome, everybody, to KAMP Student Radio for a very special interview today with a local Tucson legend, Dr. Ed Ackerly, hosted by Trevor Shore. Dr. Ackerley, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview.
Dr. Ackerley: Thank you, Trevor. I appreciate you having me here at KAMP Radio.
Trevor: It's great to have you here. Like I said, a local legend in Tucson. I know you grew up here, spent a lot of time here. Tell me a little bit about how Tucson was when you were growing up and how it has turned into modern time.
Dr. Ackerley: Sure. So I was born and raised in Tucson. I went to school here, private school when I was in elementary school, and then I went on to public school, graduated from Palo Verde high School on the East side and then went on to the University of Arizona and became interested in in what's happening to my city, and then went on to get a doctorate degree after that. And I've worked at my firm for 47 years. And what has changed about Tucson? When I was a young boy, we left our doors unlocked and people would. Come and go as they pleased. We weren't really concerned too much about crime. There wasn't any problems with that in my young life. And people came from all over the country, all over the world actually, to Tucson, to visit Tucson because of its culture. It's obviously the great things like the Desert Museum and Sabino Canyon and Colossal Cave and later Kartchner Caverns and the Titan Missile museums and all the great things, food, culture that Tucson has to offer and of course, weather. For many years, for about 40 or 50 years, golf was a really important thing. People would come to Tucson to play golf and stay and stay at the Racquet Club and play tennis. And so sports was a real big deal. And so I remember Tucson as being a very friendly, very clean, very fun place to grow up. It was a great cultural center and it's changed here in 2023. I see things a little differently. Our town has gotten crime ridden. There's lots of fentanyl and homeless issues going on. There's a lack of police presence. And so I'm a little disappointed in how Tucson is faring right now in 2023. So it has changed quite a bit since I was a little kid. And that's why I have jumped in to try to make a difference.
Trevor: Yeah, and so, speaking of that difference, you're currently running for mayor to be the next mayor of Tucson. Explain first off how you kind of got into that and how the process is going.
Dr. Ackerley: Well, I worked for many years and my family had a company here. So we're busy making money and busy making a difference on the bottom line, which was our own, and helping clients grow their businesses. We have an advertising agency, so we spent a lot of time working with small businesses, getting them to grow and to make money. And I kind of blame myself and blame my counterparts in the business community, community who kind of looked the other way for several years and just kind of let government do what it wanted to do. And in that regard, they prioritize things other than safety and cleanliness. In 2019, I decided to run for mayor. Jonathan Rothschild was the mayor for eight years, and he decided not to run for a third term. So I stepped in last cycle and I did pretty well for a guy that had never run before, had never been in political office. I did really well. I challenged the system and did well. And so I didn't win, but I came back this time around, and I have a pretty solid team, and we're doing well, actually, and trying to get signatures now. All candidates are getting signatures right now to qualify for the ballot. So I jumped in because I feel that I can make a difference in Tucson and provide leadership to the city council and to the city manager to help fix some of these problems.
Trevor: Yeah. So you talked about running for mayor, and how has the campaign been different this time as opposed to last time where you kind of jumped in without knowing what was kind of going to happen?
Dr. Ackerley: You know what the analogy that I use is if I ever buy a house again. When I first bought my first house, which we've been in for 31 years, I thought I knew everything. And at the very last second, they wanted 11,000 more dollars. And it was just an incredible experience. And I say that if I ever bought another house again, I know what to expect. So I didn't know anything when I ran the last time. I just kind of blindly jumped in and tried to figure out what to do. And it was myself, my brother, who's my partner in my company, my nephew, who's a former state legislator, and a couple of other volunteers helped us try to do what we did. We did great, but we really didn't have much of a team this time. I have a campaign chair, I have a campaign manager, I have a campaign coordinator, I have a campaign scheduler, I have many advisors. I have about 100 volunteers. We're a real bona fide campaign team this time around. So it's really different from what I did before and it's making a difference because we're really getting some attention now that we didn't get the first time.
Trevor: And how has the community support been? Because Tucson is kind of a close knit community if you want to make it that way. So how has that support been this campaign?
Dr. Ackerley: Well, when I ran last time, I won everything east of Craycroft Road. So basically that's where I grew up. Our company is kind of based on the east side, so it was pretty obvious that I would win all the precincts on the east side. I didn't do too bad in the midtown portion and then I did okay in parts of the western city. I didn't do it well at all in the in southern Tucson, over in southwest Tucson. I did not win any precincts in ward five and so I've been concentrating a lot of effort over in that area and many of those people over there speak Spanish as their first language. So I've been practicing my Spanish and I'm fairly fluent in Spanish and can get by. And so we've been doing a lot of events over in the southwest corner of the city to try and make inroads with those folks. And I think that's been a good experience for me to try to reach out to some of the people who don't know who I am and what I offer to try to get some awareness in that. And we've done really well with that and. Esmo importante porte muches so bringing that whole perspective that I can speak Spanish, that I do understand the cultural differences of those families and have been very well received in that area.
Trevor: Yeah. And in class. So for those of you who don't know, Dr. Ackerley is one of my professors.
Dr. Ackerley: Full disclosure?
Trevor: Full disclosure. Yeah. You've been here at the university teaching for quite a bit, and you oftentimes in class talk about how great of a city Tucson is and things that people can do, because oftentimes students think there's nothing to do here. Do you want to describe for some of the viewers some of the things that they can do they might not know about?
Dr. Ackerley: Sure. So one of the things I was just happened to be talking to a client who owns a White stallion ranch. It's a dude ranch here in Tucson. There's two of them, Tanque Verde guest ranches. The other one. And then I just invited one of our senators, us. Senators, down to Rancho de la Oso, which is in Sassa Be, Arizona. So one of my clients owns a dude ranch. It's the number one vacation spot by USA Today voted number one for family vacations in America. And so when you think about Disneyland and Las Vegas and all the places that people in Grand Canyon all the places people can go on family vacations right here in Tucson, we have White Stallion Ranch which is cited as the number one family vacation spot in in America. And so I think there's lots of hidden gems in Tucson like that western cultural. We're the 23 miles. We're a city of gastronomy only one of four in the world. And so we were just named by Time magazine as one of the top 20 places in the world. There was Bozeman, Montana, and a couple of other small places in America. But Tucson was ranked by Time magazine as one of the 20 places in the world as a must must see, must go to vacation spot or engagement spot. We do have a lot of positive things going for us culturally. Obviously, the University of Arizona sits right in the middle and it's an engine of culture, music, entertainment, sports, obviously academics and scholarship and so forth. And so we have a tremendous amount of offerings. There shouldn't be people sitting on their couch saying there's nothing to do in Tucson. Thousands of things to do in Tucson in the course of a year. And we have things that maybe they're not the glitzy glamorous thing of a Las Vegas strip and maybe they're not professional sports like you would get in Cleveland or in Miami or in New York, but we do offer quite a few things that people sometimes don't know what's going on. They just need to look little bit and they would be surprised how many cool things there are to do in Tucson.
Trevor: Yeah, and I got to say that's something that I didn't really know about Tucson until I had your class. And then you oftentimes bring in a lot of local community leaders, and one of them being Grant Cougar, who had told me about a lot of opportunities, jobs, job wise here and stuff to do. How has it been over the years meeting these influential people in the Tucson community?
Dr. Ackerley: Well, I have a double edged sword. It's kind of actually three now, three edges of a sword, if there can be such a thing. Being in the advertising business just allows me to be exposed to so much more than the average business person because that particular business is media and public relations related. And so I get on the map pretty quickly with things that I can do that not a lot of other people get exposure to. So that alone has given me some great exposure. But that, coupled with my experience at the University of Arizona, teaching out of the Eller College and also the SBS College, and teaching communications and marketing and advertising and creativity, gets me in another realm of academia and scholarship that is pretty powerful. And you couple that with my advertising experience. I know a lot of the people that are in administration at the University of Arizona for those two reasons. So I'm exposed to a lot of things that other people perhaps wouldn't be exposed to. And then you add on top of that the fact that I'm running for mayor. There's relatively few places I can go in the city where I don't know somebody or that there isn't some engagement on some level. And so it's kind of interesting as a guy that's grown up here, to be able to speak to so many different aspects of our community and have those, those conversations with people. It's kind of neat. I'm not running for mayor for any personal, I have a great career. I have two careers. This will be my third one. I'm not running because it's going to be beneficial to Ed Ackerley. I'm running because it's going to be beneficial to the city of Tucson and to help the city that I love, to be a better city and to fix some of the things that we can fix. There's a lot right with Tucson, but there are some things that we need to address immediately, and that's what I hope to do.
Trevor: Yeah, and one of those things that I know you want to address immediately is fixing potholes in Tucson. If you've ever been to Tucson, you're on the roads. The roads are a major issue, especially right now. Feels like you have a flat tire every time you drive. How do you plan on going about and instilling all these fixed potholes?
Dr. Ackerley: Well, I think one of the things that historically Tucson, when we laid the streets 70 years ago, 60 years ago, many of the older streets are laid right on top of dirt. And when we have monsoons in the summer, it's not like other cities where the black top can sustain that type of big rush of water all at one time, plus having 116, 120 degree weather in the summertime just bakes the asphalt. And so many of our streets are not treated in a way that they can take the abuse that they get both from the weather and then when you put trucks and buses and cars over the top of that, they're just going to fail on a regular basis. And so I joke that I'm not belittling the concept of a million trees, but that's one of the one of the mantras that one of the candidates is using is to plant a million trees, which I understand the concept of climate change and so forth, but I'd like to fill a million potholes. I think that's what we need to do. We need to do the basics. And one of the basic things that the mayor and council do is to make sure that transportation is good for all people who use our streets. Filling these potholes, I've been driving all around last few weeks and because of the rains and snows that we had, we're back in that issue again of having potholes all over Tucson, and you have to almost be a defensive driver when you're driving. And what I think is just a priority. We just got to get out and fill the potholes. And we haven't done that. We do some and they do fill hundreds of potholes every year. I think we need to fill millions of potholes and let's get these streets passable and usable. When you go up north, I don't want to compare us to Maricopa County, but when you go up north, north to Phoenix, they're not suffering like we are, but they have the same thing. They have monsoons, they have the same problems that we have, but they're somehow able to not have the potholes that we have in Tucson. So it's a matter of priority of getting it fixed. So that's one of my big issues is to make sure we can make a difference by showing people that we're serious about this. We just passed a bond package to repave streets. It was $450,000,000 over ten years. And let's get started right away. Let's not wait to repave all these streets. Let's go get these potholes filled first and then we can work on repaving as we need to.
Trevor: Yeah, obviously it's a great thing. I know a lot of people want that. I personally want that. But you oftentimes in class at least talk about leadership because it is a leadership class. How do you think you are a leader prior to the campaign and how do you feel like you're a leader during this campaign?
Dr. Ackerley: I would think that leadership is a skill and a tool that we use to help make things better for people. And leadership is about bringing people onto the same page and getting them empowered to do the things that we need to do. I would just use an example would be, public safety is one of my big issues that I talk about. And 15 years ago when my high school classmate who played football with me was the police chief, he had almost 1300 police officers at his command. We're asking Chad Kazmar, our current police chief, to do this with about half of that. He has about 700 police officers. And if those that are in the know know that that's actually more like 300 police officers, we're trying to address crime and criminality and lawlessness and even the homeless problem where they're getting victimized. Those folks are getting victimized too, from the crime, from other people who are victimizing homeless people and businesses are being victimized. And we're trying to do that with less than half of the police force that we had just a mere 15 years ago. And obviously, our population has grown in that time as well. So what needs to happen is there needs to be leadership at the city council level. There needs to be a mayor who stands up and says, okay, we could spend a bunch of money on this particular program or this particular program or this particular program. They're all near and dear to many people's hearts. But shouldn't we be focusing on public safety first? Because that's the single most important thing that we can do is to make sure that people are safe and not fearing for their lives and so forth. We had 93 murders in 2021. That's nothing to be proud of. We had 67 last year. Again, that's nothing to be proud of. And we're on target again to have many dozens of murders this year. And I don't think we should be known as a murder capital of the Southwest. What we should be known for is a safe place that we're not going to tolerate lawlessness. How do you do that? You stand up, you empower the police force, and you empower citizens to make sure that we are just not going to tolerate lawlessness and criminal activity. That takes a strong leader to clean up Tucson on and to make sure that the message is sent out clear and loudly that we are not going to put up with this lawless behavior by people. And I think I can bring that to City Hall. I think I can bring to the 10th floor and bring to the council meetings. A powerful leadership perspective that is currently perhaps lacking in Tucson. So we have an interesting dynamic in Tucson. We have what's called a strong manager, weak mayor format of government. That doesn't mean that the mayor should be weak. It just means that the city manager runs the city of Tucson on a day to day basis in other markets and other municipal holidays. Sometimes the mayor is a full time, 40 hours a week, 70 hours a week paid employee who is managing all the things that have to happen to make a city run. That's not how we do it in Tucson. The charter calls for a strong manager that we pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to manage the budget and manage the 5000 employees that the city has. And the mayor and council serves as a policy board to kind of prioritize where that money, that $2.1 billion, should be spent and what things we should spend it on, and what needs to happen at the council level and from the mayor's office is to tell the city manager from a priority perspective, what things need to be done. I believe that public safety, transportation, economic development, cleaning up our parks, cleaning up our medians, and marketing Tucson to the broader community is where the priorities should be. And that will take leadership to tell the manager, these are the things that we want to spend the money on and get away from some of these programs that are wasting resources in my mind and not pointing us in the direction that I think we need to be pointed in. And so I bring the, you know, a lifetime of I was a leader in first grade. I was a leader in my high school athletic teams, I was a leader, I've been a leader in my church and I've been a leader of about 15 organizations. I've been the president of or the chairman of over the last 30 years. I've taken a lot of companies and led those companies to positive profitability. I obviously am a leader at the University of Arizona. And so put all those things together, I think I can transfer those leadership skills to the mayor's office. And again, I'm not doing this, I don't need the job. I'm not saying that I don't want the job. I'm just saying I'm not doing this because I need a job. And this could be a job that I could get paid for to do some things. That's not why I'm doing it. I'm doing it to bring my perspective of leadership and management and maybe conservative fiscal policy to the mayor's office and to help the manager do a better job of managing the resources that we have.
Trevor: And you just mentioned and mentioned earlier as well how you're not doing this for yourself. You want to do this for the greater community of Tucson. How important do you think that is in anything? Whether it be politics, sports, school. When someone takes a leadership role that they don't do it for personal reasons to make themselves better. They do it for to make the greater good better.
Dr. Ackerley: I think we all have a responsibility in our civic engagement to give back to the community and to do things that benefit the society at large and whether that be volunteering at a local PTO with your school and your kids or whether you're volunteering as a student here at the U of A and the 600 or 675 organizations that are available to students on campus, or whether you get involved in student government or KAMP radio and become a volunteer to help learn some things but also give back to the community. I think we're all responsible to do that from time to time, and sometimes we don't do that very well and we kind of focus on ourselves and say, I'm doing this to help myself. I think we all need to look at leadership from another perspective and say, become a servant leader and do things for the betterment of the society. I'm doing this not for myself, but for my grandkids. I have two grandsons who live here with us, and I want them to live in the city that we talked about earlier. That the town that I grew up in and the city that I grew up in, that they're safe and that they have opportunity to grow and to maybe stay here in Tucson when they graduate from school and to build a life here with their families just like my family was able to do. And that's why I'm doing it. Some would say that some of the people that are running for office currently are doing it to maybe have a springboard to another job somewhere in government or that they're doing it because they don't have a job right now and they're looking forward to employment. And again, I don't want to say that I'm not doing this because I don't need the job. I don't need the job. What I need is to fix Tucson and we need to do a better job as a community to create the ambiance where we're doing things for each other, that we're not shooting each other on the streets. We're letting other people pass in front of us. We're holding doors for each other. We're helping other people clean up their yards. We're having Eller make a Difference day is one of the things we do at the Eller College. And our students go out and clean up dirty places in the city. They help seniors in their homes. They do lots of different things to make a difference. And I think that's what I'm doing this for is to make a difference in my own city.
Trevor: Yeah. And that's a very valid reason to do this. So I got to ask because you took obviously a big leap of faith, not only running the first time, but running the second time. As mentioned, you have two careers currently. Could have taken that to the sunset, rode that to sunset and been comfortable, but you stepped out of your comfort zone. How was that making that decision to go out of the comfort zone? And also, what would you tell a younger person, maybe my age, maybe a little bit older, just getting into the career field? What is it like taking that comfort zone step? And would you suggest doing it?
Dr. Ackerley: Well, when I speak to students who come into my classes, we talk about, you know, this is your education, and you need to grab hold of it, and you personally need to be in charge of your own education, just coming to class and or not coming to class. As we know, sometimes students don't even come to class. But not engaging with your own education, not taking advantage of the opportunities that are put before you, not participating fully in the experience of your education, is just going to kind of affect you down the line. And if you get a job and you're working somewhere and you're not putting in 100% or putting in the engagement that needs to happen, then you're not going to get out of it. You're going to get out of it exactly what you put into it. And if you don't put in a lot to it, you're not going to get a lot out of it. If you are in your classes, if you don't put a lot into your classes as a student, you'll probably tell other people that class wasn't very good. It wasn't very good because you didn't put your effort into it. That's why it's not as good as it could be. And so civic involvement is very much like that. You get out of your involvement in your city exactly what you put into it. And if you're not engaged and you don't care, and you throw paper out the window and you speed down speedway, and you are a part of the problem, if you're a Fentanyl user and you're stealing from the Quiktrip store and the Circle K and you're not participating in the social structure that we have, you're part of the problem. And so we all need to take responsibility for our own behavior and to make our place more inviting for visitors and other people who can come to Tucson and to enjoy a lifestyle that is powerful and, you know. Taking personal responsibility, having personal behavior that is meaningful. We all do things from time to time that we wish we wouldn't, but on the whole, we've got to get away from allowing the criminals in our town, the lawless people, break windows, steal things, do things that aren't good. And if we had that at the University of Arizona, students wouldn't want to come to the University of Arizona if there was a lot of criminality and a lot of loneliness on the campus itself, and there's some stuff that goes on, but it's pretty clean campus. And if we're allowing our city to be taken over by people, the wrong forces. And I'm just telling you, you asked me very early on why I still in Tucson and why I lived my whole life here and worked here is because Tucson was a beautiful and a pretty cool place to grow up and have a life. I've been very blessed to have a great career and a great family and a great experience here in Tucson. And to me, it just doesn't make any sense to let that slip away. And so engagement is the answer. We got to all get involved. We all got to take responsibility and do what we can to make it better. I'm kind of a fan of presidential history and so forth, and I'm running as an independent, so I'm not necessarily attuned to one political party or the other. So I like things about Ronald Reagan. I like things about Abraham Lincoln. I like things about George Washington. I like things about modern day presidents. But John Kennedy stands out to me for a variety of reasons. And one is that he said, ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country. I like to pull that into the local. Ask not what your city can do for you, what your city is going to give you, what your city is going to create for you, give you free bus fare, give you free transportation, give you clean roads and so forth. The question is, what are you doing for your city? What are you doing to help your city be a better place? And what have you volunteered to do for kids? What have you volunteered to do for seniors? What have you volunteered to do for those that are less fortunate? What have you volunteered to do to raise up our police officers and give them the respect that they deserve as opposed to belittling them and saying that they're not doing a good job? So that's my mantra. Ask not what your city can do for you. Ask what you can do for your city. And I'm going to be asking that question for people for four years. How can you help me make this city better?
Trevor: I know you mentioned in class that you are in the pedal to the metal phase of the election. How has that been in terms of balancing, obviously, the campaign? But you do have a life outside of the campaign.
Dr. Ackerley: Not much.
Trevor: Yeah, but how has that been, trying to balance those social relationships as opposed to just being work, work, work?
Dr. Ackerley: Well, I will say that I am married. I have a wife of 31 years, and she's very supportive of me and what I do. I have three sons. They're all grown 37, 30, and 28. One of them will be turning 29 here this weekend. And I have two grandsons, aged ten and eight. And then I have an extended family of my brothers and sisters that live here in town, and nieces and nephews. And so family first family is really important, actually, I will say faith is first. I'm practicing Roman Catholic. I have been all my life. I went to Catholic elementary school. I go to church every Sunday. And I'm not espousing that people should be Catholic, but I do believe people should have a spiritual life and whatever they believe that to be, I think that's a good part of being a well rounded person is to have a spiritual perspective. And I have a good family life, and then I have a good work life. I've been blessed with a great career, and the University of Arizona has noticed that, and they've promoted me and made that part of my life very meaningful. But I've got a life coach. I've been to a shrink. My life coach told me she wanted me to go to a psychologist just to make sure that I was doing this for the right reasons. I've engaged a leadership coach to help me with my, to make sure that my views on leadership are powerful. I've been teaching leadership for 30 years, but I actually hired a coach to help me, just to make sure that I'm on the right track. I get up at 03:00 in the morning and work out for 2 hours. You know, I'm I'm what I tell people is I'm preparing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically, and doing everything I can to get ready for this job, to be the best leader I can be. If the voters decide that I'm the best candidate and that they want me to be their mayor, I'm going to put 100% into what I do, and at the same time, keep my business afloat and do the things I need to do there. And the U of A has been so gracious. They've told me that if I do become mayor, that I will still teach, and they'll be very honored to have me as an instructor at the same time I'm running the city. So they've been just really supportive of my future efforts. And so if I do become mayor, we have a city manager that runs the city. My job is policy, so I'll come and teach at the University of Arizona. I'll run my business like I would, and the charter just says I have to show up at two city council meetings a week. Jonathan Rothschild, our previous mayor and the current mayor, they kind of view it more of a 40 hours a week job. I have 80 hours weeks and 90 hours weeks, so I'll be able to fit it all in and do the very best job I can for the city of Tucson.
Trevor: Yeah. And I know over the years here, as you have been teaching at U of A for a while, you have seen some great leaders come through here, you know, great coaches, great teachers, great presidents of the university. One person that comes into mind who you may or may not have had interaction with, but I'm sure you took leadership qualities from them, is the great late Lud Olsen. Right? I'm sure you saw his coaching ability, and I know you were here when they won the national championship. Have you taken any of his leadership qualities over the years or try and form maybe into better ones or learn anything from him?
Dr. Ackerley: He was a great coach and a great and his wife, Bobby Olsen, his first wife, they were a great couple, and they were so complimentary of one another, and she was a very centered person, and she really helped him lead those young men in their lives. You talked to the Steve Kerrs and the Judd Bushlers and the guys that were in those beginning years, Sean Elliott. And so forth of what a great kind of a mom and dad figure they were, but also just great mentors for those students. I think the one thing that Lute Olsen brought and brings had brought to the University of Arizona was his charisma and the fact that he was just so well respected by so many people. Granted, at the end of his career, like all people, you can't win every single game and be a national champion all the time, but he was very respected. And I think his charisma, I tell my students he would walk into a room, he'd almost float into the room. He'd walk into a room and it was just kind of awe inspiring to see him, how he interacted with people, and people were so enamored by him. Tucson is a U of A sports town, and our sports coaches tend to have kind of a celebrity and personality about him. And I will have to say he did set the very high bar for charisma. And I kind of emulate that. Lute was a friend of mine. I didn't go over to his house for dinner. I went to a couple of family functions with he and his family and know several of his children. But he was a great guy and treated me with respect and dignity and I did take away a lot of things from him. Just one of the things I think that we could have used this past couple of days with our teams in the March Madness is that how did he take his teams to the final four and to the national championship. He did it with great teamwork and yeah, he had excellent individual athletes that were really talented, but he was a master at making the whole team come together as a team. And I think that's sometimes missed sometimes in some of modern day coaching, and we all got to come together. And that's kind of what I want to bring to the city of Tucson. I can do everything I can, but I need everybody working together to make sure that we can make Tucson a better place.
Trevor: Yeah, and I know, obviously, like you said, sports here in Tucson are a very big deal because we don't have any pro sports teams. If you did become mayor, which I know is obviously your goal, sports would be a big part of that just in forming that community. Would you have plans to attend, try and attend sporting events, show that you are a member of the community just like any other average citizen?
Dr. Ackerley: Well, sports are important to me. I'm the chairman of Coaches for Charity. It's a student scholarship program for high school kids that we've had for. About 13 years now. I started that some time ago and enjoy doing that. I'm president of Rito Park Foundation, which is trying to save horse racing in Tucson. And as a historic designation, we're in our 80th season. I'm on the National Football Foundation, so I get involved in a lot of different kinds of sporting events and activities. I'm a supporter of the Arizona Bowl, which I think is a really powerful thing that we have in Tucson. And so the answer is yes. I'm an avid U of A football fan. I even go when the seasons are not that good because I love college football. I attend basketball games every once in a while. I go to softball games, baseball games. So the U of A sporting events. I think there's now 21 sports that they have, I think are really important for the city of Tucson and make up part of the great culture. So the answer is yes. I'm an avid sports fan, and I would probably take advantage of as many of those opportunities as I could. And I love going to little kids sports, and I go to my grandkids sports, and I do show up at things around town because I think it's pretty cool. I just went to an event two Sundays ago. It was a senior men's slow pitch softball league on a Sunday morning at Santa Rita Park. And there were teams out there, they were having a great time, and I really enjoyed sharing some time with them.
Trevor: You didn't participate?
Dr. Ackerley: Well, I could. I played softball, and I actually was a softball pitcher and enjoyed that early in my career. And I probably could go back out there and play again, but I was just there as a spectator and having some fun with those guys.
Trevor: Nice. Well, we have about less than ten minutes here. I want to kind of open the floor up to you if there's anything you want to talk about. Can be about the campaign, can be about anything. And then I will ask. The final question I have is, and we can end on this. I'll give you time to think is. I always ask people, my guests, to end on their best story, so their favorite story can be sad, can be funny, can be good. Unrelated to this, it doesn't matter. That's how I always end my interviews.
Dr. Ackerley: Okay. Well, I will just say that running for mayor is a daunting opportunity for me. You don't take the running for mayor lightly. As an individual, it's obviously consuming an inordinate amount of my time and energy. But I think I'm handling it well with all of the other responsibilities that I have. And I'm at a stage in my life where I don't have little kids running around and I'm not being torn in a lot of different ways in my company because it's pretty established and so it's the right time and the right place for me. I say I've been preparing all of my life to become mayor. I have been practicing leadership for quite some time. I've been teaching it for many years. I have a degree in leadership. And so it's time for me and it's kind of a unique opportunity for me to see if I can make a difference here in Tucson. And so I'm blessed in that way. And I think it's going to be a win or lose of the election. I'm just going to give it everything I have and let the chips fall where they may and accept the outcome as whatever the outcome is. I would say one of the stories that I would tell first off, I would just say that our president, Bobby Robbins, Robert Robbins, who was the president of the university when he first came to the University of Arizona, he asked people in town halls, he'd say, what do you think my number one responsibility is? And people would answer with hire a basketball coach, hire a football coach, make money, be an ambassador, get grants and do all the things that you have to do as a president of the university. And the one thing that he said was public safety is really important. I have to make sure that when a student comes to the University of Arizona four years later, we return them back to their parents and they're safe and everything has gone well. And he has a pretty good track record of that. There's been a few problems, obviously, and some of that crime and lawlessness has crept in from the outside world. But I believe that's what the mayor's first responsibility is public safety and to make sure that we are safe and that our world is safe no matter if we're here at the U of A or if we're in a business somewhere in Tucson or enjoying ourselves at a city park, we need to make sure our citizens are safe. So I think my story that I would like to tell has to do with the $2.1 billion budget that the city of Tucson has. Certainly half of that money is earmarked because it comes from federal resources and it's earmarked for housing or streets or transportation. And so there's a lot of dedicated funds that we don't really have any control over. They come from state herf monies to fix roads and so forth. But there is a discretionary amount of income that comes to a city our size, and that's where the mayor and the council make decisions based on those discretionary funds. And so knowing how to budget and knowing it as priority. So I want to tell the story. And when I was about ten years old, my father started our company, Ackerley Advertising, in 1968, and I was about ten years old. And he brought home his paycheck, whatever money that my parents could make, and he put it in five and $10 bills and $1 bills at the time, and my mom and he brought all the kids into the living room and they put all the money on the floor. I think it was probably about $500 back then. That was a lot of money in 68. So they picked up the first $100 and said, this is the house payment. Then they picked up a few more dollars and said, this is the car payment and this is the insurance and this is the TEP Power bill. It was called Tucson Gas and Electric at the time. This is the money we pay to Saveco and Myersons and so forth for food and all the stores that they would participate in. They'd pick up some more money. We went to private school, so this is your lunch money and this is your tuition. They'd pick money up off of the floor and by the time they got down to the very end, there was just a few dollars left. And they said, this is what we have for us to enjoy the next couple of weeks. And so when you ask for a new bike or when you ask for new clothing or so forth, you got to know that all this money is going out for all these other things. So our enjoyment I remember one time, many times we would go over to the Skags, it was called Skags, then it was called Osco and then it was called CVS. We would go over to Oxford Plaza and buy a five cent ice cream cone and sit in our cars and watch the people walk up and down the sidewalk at the local shopping center. Or we'd go out on Sunday nights and put a blanket on the ground in the backyard and bring out the TV and watch The Ed Sullivan Show. We would do a lot of family gatherings and so forth. What that instilled in me was priorities. What are your priorities as a family and what are your priorities as a city and you have a limited amount of money. $2.1 billion is a lot of money. And $500 back then was a lot of money for a small family, large family. I'm the youngest of seven, but it's what you do with what you have, and we can do better with what we have. We have a great infrastructure here in Tucson. We have great people that live here. We've got a great university. We've got lots of people with lots of ideas and energy. It's just going to take somebody that's willing to step in and lead those people in the direction. Four years from now, I'd like people to look back and say, man, what we started with was okay, but what we have now is awesome. And I want to clean up the streets, clean up the medians, clean up the parks, and get these people that are addicted to fentanyl and have mental illness, get them a place to live and get them the help that they need to get off of this terrible stuff and to make sure that roads are safe and clean and that we have jobs and that you students that are working in jobs now that when you graduate from the U of A that you don't jump on the first plane and go back to Memphis or back to Dallas or go somewhere because there's nothing to do in Tucson and there's no place to earn a living. Let's turn that around and let's give people opportunity and let's have people live in Tucson and enjoy the Old Pueblo in the way that I know we can. And that's what my goal is to instill that pride of civic pride in Tucson and bring back the power that I know we can do here in Tucson. It's kind of like having the bear down wildcat pride. I want to expand that out to the city and say, when people say, where are you from? I want people to say, with pride, I live in Tucson. So that's what I want to do.
Trevor: Yeah. Well, that is great. That's about all the time we have here. I want to thank you so much again, Dr. Ackerley, for coming on and I wish you the best of luck in your campaign. And I'll be in class at 08:00 A.m on Wednesday.
Dr. Ackerley: Very good.
Trevor: Any final remarks in the last couple of seconds?
Dr. Ackerley: Well, Trevor, I appreciate you and KAMP and student media. I think this is a really great opportunity for people like you to learn the trade and become good at communications. But I think it's also great for the students to have students who care about their community and to bring them information that's powerful. So kudos to you and Mike and all the group here that does a great job of sharing not only on radio but UATV and the Wildcat and all the student media. It's a really great thing that we have here at the U of A.
Trevor: Well, once again, I want to thank Dr. Ackerley for coming on. For Dr. Ackerley. This is Trevor Shore, KAMP Student Radio. We will see you next week for another interview. Thank you so much for tuning in. Have a great one.
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