Energy and water story ideas wantedWhen you tell Arizona folks you want to talk about water resources, they listen. In fact, they may well want to chime in themselves.

That’s what I discovered recently when I drafted my April 2013 Editor’s Letter for Arizona Attorney Magazine. Like every editor, I am always seeking content that advances the conversation, and we’re always on the prowl for stories that are pertinent and timely.

Based on numerous dialogues I’ve had in the past six months, it occurred to me that a few of the areas we should be covering are water resources and energy generation. So I asked.

Happily, I heard from a good number of people with their ideas. But I’d like to hear from even more. And that’s why I’m including that April column below (you can read it and the complete issue here). If you want to be part of the conversation—either as a published author or as someone we should quote in a story—write to me at

Dept. of Power, Water, More Power

In a desert climate, more effort may be expended on energy issues than in other places. And the horse-trading among powerful interests will only increase in 2013.

Back in 2010, we heard from University of Arizona Law Professor Robert Glennon. The water expert said, “What we do to water is what we did to the buffalo: Harvest it to the brink of extinction.”

Even with H2O, what we value is connected to how much we pay: “Water lubricates the American economy just as much as oil does, but Americans pay less for water than we do for cellphone service or cable television.”

The Navajo Generating Station near Page is at the center of a legal dispute that involves the Salt River Project and the Navajo Nation.

The Navajo Generating Station near Page is at the center of a legal dispute that involves the Salt River Project and the Navajo Nation.

An intriguing panel last month on water in a desert climate addressed that and other issues. It opened with the question, “Do we really have enough water? Really?” (I also wrote about the panel online at

The interrelatedness of energy issues was clear as speakers addressed the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station, for which the EPA has advised requires huge and expensive changes. Assuming improvements cost $1 billion (with a b) or more, we may have to reassess water pricing.

Historian Paul Hirt relayed a humorous story demonstrating that water in Arizona is even cheaper than dirt. He got estimates on having a ton of clean topsoil delivered to his house. A ton of clean water (according to WikiAnswers, about 240 gallons) delivered from SRP would cost about 20 times that.

“20 times cheaper,” Hirt marveled, “to get this precious, life-giving resource.”

Heather Macre, a lawyer and Central Arizona Conservation Water Board member, reexamined relations we thought we understood. For instance, she says, “When you turn on a lightbulb, you’re using water. When you turn on your faucet, you’re using electricity.”

Are we trapped in a “relentless cycle of overuse,” as Glennon says? What next steps make sustainable sense, legally or otherwise?

This year, we’d like to cover more energy topics in the magazine. To do that, we need your help.

What issues related to water or other resource should be our focus? What are the legal developments we should follow? And who are the lawyers who should be on our list of sources and authors? Write to us at

“Do we have enough water?” panelists were asked? One responded, “Yes, but ….”

What’s your answer?

Former Fifth Circuit Judge John Minor Wisdom

Organizers of the midyear meeting of the National Association of Bar Executives devised a nefarious plan to keep butts in the seats inside a slew of ordinary Marriott conference rooms—not an easy thing to achieve in a distraction-filled city like New Orleans.

What was their devious scheme? Create a broad swath of great sessions that actually gives music and Blues and oysters and Bourbon Street and beignets a run for their money. Oh well, there’s always the evening.

I’ll be following up with some content about what I gleaned from the presenters. (And on Change of Venue Friday, I plan to provide a selection of photos from the trip. Don’t worry— they’re not from the conference rooms!).

Today, though, I point you one more time to the Times-Picayune and its commitment to tell New Orleans stories on the Crescent City’s 175th birthday.

I mentioned some of those stories on Tuesday. Today, though, I point you to some of the more legal-ish of their offerings. But don’t be dissuaded from reading—these are very interesting!

Here, then, is a brief description of some stories I found intriguing, with a link to read the whole story. (This is just a small sample of what the newspaper covered—search around for more!):

Judge John Minor Wisdom was part of a crucial four-vote bloc that handed down a number of landmark civil rights decisions in the 1960s.

Ruby Bridges and three other 6-year-old girls integrated New Orleans public schools in November 1960.

Lee Harvey Oswald was shot dead, right under the nose of the Dallas police, 2 days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Carlos Marcello was the Mafia boss of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

Louisiana Purchase: The Americas once were the battleground for three European powers: France, Spain and Great Britain.

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It was last fall that we launched our inaugural Ideas Issue. Our concept was that many lawyers have an idea that may be less fully formed than a full feature article, but that may be insightful nonetheless. And so our September 2010 issue highlighted a variety of ideas. They ranged from traffic laws, to Legislator qualifications, to an approach to eradicate the sex trade.

Now it’s time to think about ideas again. Our Call for Ideas from last year was pretty darn good, so here it is again:

Have you ever said, “There ought to be a law” (or a policy, or a regulation)? An upcoming issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine will give you the chance to share your thought—in the “’Ideas Issue.”

This feature story will be dedicated to the thinking of Arizona lawyers and legal leaders. Ideas can be on virtually any topic: jury instructions, obscenity, criminal procedure, immigration, patents, admiralty rules, law practice “in the cloud,” ethics, malpractice, war crimes. You name it. Send us your (im)modest proposals on these or any idea.

Perhaps best of all, each idea will be brief—use no more than 200 words to share your brainstorm.

“There ought to be a law.” We’ve all said it. Now help transform the profession—or even the country.

Post your Ideas here or send them to And here’s an idea: Submit by the end of June.