Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

July 6, 2005


Host: Michael Grant

Environmental Issues


  • Arizona Department of Environmental Quality director Steve Owens evaluates the environmental issues facing our state.
Guests:
  • Bob Grossfeld - political consultant
  • Wes Gullett - political stategist


View Transcript
>> Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon," political interest groups on both the left and the right immersed in the debate over filling the Supreme Court vacancy left by justice Sandra Day O'Connor. We'll look at both sides. Plus, it's summer ozone season and time for high pollution advisories. We'll talk about that and other Arizona environmental issues next on "Horizon." Good evening. I'm Michael Grant. Welcome to "Horizon." Political battle over the imminent nomination to the United States Supreme Court is heating up. Conservative groups trying to steer President Bush's decision while some liberal groups say that Bush should use O'Connor as a model for his nomination. Meantime, the White House and Senate Republican leadership keeping out of the public view on the issue, at least for now. Either way, of course, political historians saying the decision could lead to some major impacts on our nation's culture, government and social structure. Joining me now with more on the politics of choosing a Supreme Court nominee, political consultant Bob Grossfeld, and political strategist Wes Gullett. We thought for long and hard whether or not we would call you a consultant, you a strategist -- I --

>> Bob Grossfeld:
I think a strategist just gets paid more.

>> Michael Grant:
Hey, Bob, you were inside the beltway last week when the news broke. Give us some firsthand observations from Washington.

>> Bob Grossfeld:
I think what was most -- there were two things that were striking. The first is you got a very distinct feel that the White House was not expecting this, and this White House usually is prepared for most things, and they were fairly well scrambling. And I think the second was really more interest in the court's decision that was issued about takings and that. So those two things kind of collided in D.C. where all of a sudden there was this tremendous focus on the court, and immediately the two sides, if you will, were activated and started working 24/7. The lights were burning bright at all of the interest groups.

>> Michael Grant:
Wes, you did get a little bit of that feel. I mean, I don't know if the White House was caught off guard or not but most people were caught off guard, most of the focus, of course, had been on the possibility of the chief justice Rehnquist is retiring because he's in very ill health, and everybody goes past Monday and Tuesday and thinks, well, nobody is going to resign. Then all of a sudden justice O'Connor announces the resignation on Friday morning.

>> Wes Gullett:
Yeah, I think it was a big surprise and I think that the White House was surprised too. I think -- I think everybody was caught off guard. You could tell by the way the interests reacted. The interesting thing is that interests on the -- special interests on both sides have been ready for this. They've been waiting. They were waiting for the Rehnquist resignation, and so they weren't caught off guard at all. They were a little surprised, but it took them about a nanosecond to fire up the e-mails and to start pounding people. I was with Senator Kyl's chief of staff today, and he said the intensity so quickly was what surprised them the most.

>> Michael Grant:
And explain what the interest groups were ready means.

>> Wes Gullett:
Well, the interests on both the right and the left are both very concerned about this. They've got -- they've been amassing war chests. They've been amassing e-mail lists, having their communication systems ready to go.

>> Michael Grant:
They have been researching candidates?

>> Wes Gullett:
They've had their talking points ready to go. Everybody has known what they were going to say and how they were going to position a Rehnquist resignation, and then this one superheat it because justice O'Connor is a swing vote, and so the stakes are very, very high.

>> Michael Grant:
Yeah, Bob, the stakes are high, as Wes points out, because if it was chief justice Rehnquist, I mean, he obviously was solidly in the conservative bloc of the court. That's not to say that a lot of interest groups wouldn't spend time on it, but, still, that's basically walking in place. Here you have Sandra O'Connor who obviously was the dominant swing vote on the court for the past, what, 10, 12, 15 years.

>> Bob Grossfeld:
Yeah, she's been -- you know, it's like on a constellation of issues. Certainly Roe. Certainly affirmative action. Certainly some of the other social issues. She's been the single thread just holding -- holding the line. Everybody, all of the interest groups, I suspect, as Wes was saying, prepared for a long time, and to that extent, it really didn't doesn't matter who stepped down. We knew it was going to be her or Rehnquist or -- there's always a potential of something happening.

>> Michael Grant:
But does it ratchet up the decibel level?

>> Bob Grossfeld:
Absolutely. Because that one thread is now gone, and the progressive groups are now looking at this knowing, with a fair degree of certainty, Roe is going away. And it's just a matter of when.

>> Michael Grant:
Now, Wes, we talked about the various interest groups, and it really does apply to both the right and the left, but being prepared for this thing. At the risk of the Senate coming out, is it also just a remarkable wonderful fund raising opportunity for them in terms of their loyal and devoted, transmitting your message and saying send us $25 to make sure that, and here fill in the blank, blank doesn't happen.

>> Wes Gullett:
Well, it is. It's an enormous fund raising opportunity for these groups. But they're going to spend an enormous amount of money. Some people say 50 to $100 million will be spent on both sides of this issue. It will be like a political campaign. It's going to be enormously intense. And any time that you spend that amount of money in a short period of time, you know, Bob and I know it's hard to spend that much money, but these guys are going to be communicating. And the level is going to get -- unfortunately, I think, too high. The decibel level. And the rhetoric and the hyperbole.

>> Michael Grant:
The president over the weekend already told many of the conservative groups to leave his friend alone, Alberto Gonzalez, and ratchet it down. How large a danger is there here that both sides of this thing overplay their hand, either with the president in that case or maybe with -- maybe with the public, perhaps with the Senate? Do you have to watch that or not?

>> Wes Gullett:
Well, I'm more familiar with the conservatives, and I think that they have a hundred percent chance of overplaying their hand. Now, will they upset the president? I don't know. That's his coalition. He has people in the White House that deal with the conservative groups every single day. They're well in tune to that group. But the fact that he publicly told them to slow down, not be -- be beating on their Attorney General, I thought was pretty telling.

>> Bob Grossfeld:
This is -- you know, looking at it clearly, my point of view, from the outside, this has been a 40-year quest for the Holy Grail, for particularly the neo-conservatives, and they're this close to it. They've got the White House, the Senate, the house, and they will have the court if they have anything to do with it. And I don't suspect that they're going to back off one iota, I mean, after 40 years of wandering around waiting for this.

>> Michael Grant:
What's a win for the liberal or left groups here? Is it someone in the O'Connor model, realistically, I mean --

>> Bob Grossfeld:
I think it is. It would be, hopefully, somebody who could be the surprise, which I think everybody realizes when you get a lifetime job, a lifetime appointment on the court, it can be very liberating, and some people who are expected to go one way wind up going the other, and there's a long history in the U.S. and the court of people doing that. However, given the intensity of this and how much the White House and the neo-cons are after this, to literally reshape the country, I don't think they're going to take a chance on anybody who might swing one way or the other. Not at all.

>> Michael Grant:
Wes, the president has insisted on a number of occasions when asked the question, particularly about "Roe v. Wade," sort of the standard response is I don't have a litmus test, but as you mentioned there's certainly a conservative coalition that has helped him immensely in two election campaigns. He is a second-term president, though. Does he follow through with someone committed to overturning "Roe v. Wade"?

>> Wes Gullett:
I would be surprised if he didn't -- if he didn't pick a conservative justice that was not going to surprise anybody. I think that this is -- they don't know about the Rehnquist resignation, but this is a for sure chance. There are consequences to elections. The conservative people voted 55-45 for this guy in Arizona, and a large majority, compared to his first election in the -- in the country, and those people, I think it was a much more conservative electorate and I think that the president owes those conservative voters a conservative justice.

>> Michael Grant:
So that's where he's going to be. Because the other theory he's offered, let's face it, he's a second term president, worried about the legacy -- I don't know that this is a prediction, but I've heard this alternate view that, well, you know, maybe he does something else from a legacy standpoint. Fill in the blank.

>> Bob Grossfeld:
I suspect, Michael, that moving not just the Congress, not just the White House and not just the country -- or the court, but the entire country to the right is the legacy that he's after.

>> Michael Grant:
Could be.

>> Bob Grossfeld:
And I don't think he's particularly interested or entertained by seeming to just, well, I managed to get somebody on everybody could agree with. That doesn't seem to be his M.O.

>> Michael Grant:
Where does race and sex play in this appointment? Obviously one of the reasons why Alberto Gonzalez is mentioned is, number one, he's the president's friend, he was his counsel, he's now his Attorney General, and he also would be the first Hispanic to serve on the court.

>> Bob Grossfeld:
Yeah, if I had to bet, I'd say it's going to be Gonzalez, just because -- this White House isn't particularly stealth in what they do. It's pretty much out there, and then everybody kind of clamors around it and speculates, and it's -- and they usually go with the obvious.

>> Michael Grant:
As the appointment of the first Hispanic to the United States Supreme Court does that make it for Democrats in the Senate to oppose it?

>> Bob Grossfeld:
Yes, I think it probably would. We'll see how that plays out, assuming that's the case, in judiciary and how they question him. The problem is, this Hispanic with some of the baggage that he would be bringing, and so you could very well wind up with a replay of Clarence Thomas but without the kind of sordid details on the fringe. Really, policy issues.

>> Michael Grant:
What do you think about the Gonzalez option?

>> Wes Gullett:
I think the best thing that Gonzalez has going for him is he's just been through a confirmation process, and he went through a tough confirmation process. However, if --

>> Michael Grant:
Thoroughly vetted.

>> It's like picking a Pope, when you're betting on who the next Pope is going to be you never know.

>> Michael Grant:
Your short list is always wrong.

>> Wes Gullett:
I will take money from Bob that it's not Gonzalez just because there are so many other people, they're looking at so many -- I don't know that he's got the conservative credentials that the neo-cons want, and I think that they're looking for somebody who is a little more sure bet on the court to move the country, like Bob's talking about. It's a lifetime appointment, and this is a big, big deal. So I would take his money on the Gonzalez bet.

>> Michael Grant:
If it's someone the Ds really hate, do they filibuster? Do they re-force the nuclear option?

>> Bob Grossfeld:
I think that's -- that's going to be a matter of timing. This is going to be played out over -- I mean, this isn't like a one-week deal. This is going to be played out over a period of time. A lot can happen, including the Bolton nomination being pushed through as a recess appointment. Including the possibility that Rehnquist just simply can't continue. So there's -- I think there's a lot of loose ends right now.

>> Michael Grant:
But properly positioned you think the Ds would filibuster?

>> Bob Grossfeld:
Absolutely.

>> Michael Grant:
How would the Rs respond? Do they cancel the rule?

>> Wes Gullett:
I think they're going to lean on that crutch, but I think that the American people are going to want a Supreme Court full. I don't think the American people want -- they want a decision. They want the Senate to confirm and they want them to vote up or down. I really believe that. And I think that there would be enormous public pressure on the Democrats to vote on it.

>> Michael Grant:
Okay. Well, Wes Gullett, thanks for being here. Bob Grossfeld, our thanks to you as well. Gentlemen, you made sufficient predictions that you are going to be very embarrassed in --

>> Bob Grossfeld:
Especially me.

>> Wes Gullett:
Absolutely.

>> Michael Grant:
110-plus degree heat along with relatively light winds, a combination that adds up to increased ground-level ozone. It is the summer ozone season, and in a moment we'll talk about that as well as federal funding for clean water, other environmental issues with Arizona department of environmental quality director Steve Owens. First, Larry Lemmons looks at some of the health risks involved with ozone.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Life in the city... The inconveniences of traffic and heat. And there's danger in the air. When sunlight interacts with pollutants from cars and other sources, ozone pollution, or smog, is created. You can't always see it, but it's not healthy.

>> Dr.Art Mollen:
Overexposure to the ozone or even simply any exposure to the ozone is going to cause a sore throat, it's going to cause nasal congestion, it may affect your eyes and cause watery and teary eyes to occur. It's going to cause some chest pain and congestion and some difficulty breathing. All of those are going to be the most common symptoms that people will experience when exposed to excessive amounts of ozone.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Dr. Art Mollen says people with breathing and respiratory ailments and children are especially vulnerable to ozone pollution and should stay inside during ozone health watches and high-pollution advisories.

>> Dr. Art Mollen:
The long-term dangers are potentially chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or dunk lung disease, emphysema, as it's commonly known because that ozone can potentially cause people who are more susceptible to develop lung diseases to exacerbate those conditions, make them much worse. People who have heart disease, there's the potential to have a decreased amount of oxygen being taken into the body and, therefore, taken to the heart. So people should not be exposed to high levels of ozone, particularly if they have heart or lung disease.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Also those most at risk include anyone who works outside while smog is present, such as landscapers or construction workers. Mollen suggests that those who are regularly outside alter their routine if possible.

>> Dr. Art Mollen:
I run at about 5:30 in the morning when I believe that the layer of the ozone is not going to be as severe. Obviously the warmer temperatures will help to take some of the ozone and out, but it's the other side of that is the fact that during that particular time you're also going to have less cars that are on the road and, therefore, less ozone that you're going to be exposed to and less smog. So my advice is, number one, exercise as early in the morning or as late in the day as you possibly can. Do not exercise in the middle of the day when the ozone layer may be more devastating to you. I think that people ought to try to exercise indoors if they can and go to a gym or walk around a mall and change their exercise programs somewhat from what it ordinarily might be or swim if they want to change exercises. That's a good exercise to do. Or simply ride a stationary bike if they normally would ride outside. I think for people who are regular exercisers, they ought to change their exercise program somewhat during the summer months when, again, these warm, hot summer days will cause more sunlight exposure and more ozone to be delivered, and that's why we are just trying to tell people to telecommute, ride the bus to get to work, carpool, do anything you can to reduce the exposure to it.

>> Michael Grant:
Joining me now to talk more about ozone and other Arizona environmental stuff is Steve Owens, director of the Arizona department of environmental quality and also rumored to be on the short list for nomination to the United States Supreme Court. Steve, good to see you again.

>> Steve Owens:
Thank you, Michael. That makes two of us here tonight, I guess.

>> Michael Grant:
Yeah, that's right. Combination of ozone and also the smoke we've been having, that's -- I hesitate to use the term, but a double killer.

>> Steve Owens:
We have been calling it a double whammy at DEQ to be a little more diplomatic but it has been a problem the last week or so with all the wildfires going on, especially the Cave Creek Complex fire. We are in ozone season. It's that time of year again. And we had a combination of our literally skyrocketing temperatures in the triple digits, a stagnant air mass hanging over the Valley combined with a lot of smoke drifting into the Valley from the cave creek complex fire, and then that short-lived buck fire on the west side near Buckeye, there was just a lot of junk in the air, and if you have breathing problems, if you're a child or a senior citizen or anyone, for that matter with asthma or emphysema or some other respiratory problem you really had it hard in the last couple weeks.

>> Michael Grant:
I think it was the salt cedar burning in the buck fire that created that tremendous smoke plume. I think that's one of the biggest -- certainly near the Valley that I'd ever seen.

>> Steve Owens:
That's right. As I understand it, there was some of that down in the river bottom there that caught fire. Fortunately there were no structures endangered or any residents in the area in any way threatened by the fire but there was an awful lot of smoke that came from that fire on the west side. The winds that prevail in the afternoon push things from west to east and so it pushed all that smoke across the Valley. People probably saw that big plume, as you said, kind of looked like a mushroom clouds, and it combined with the smoke coming off the cave creek fire that was wafting in toward the east and southeast Valley at the same time. And so during that particular day, it was very bad in the East Valley in particular.

>> Michael Grant:
Is there some good news to -- obviously the bad news about the sweeping winds that we had were some of the phenomenons that you talked about, plus the fact that it was terrible for the cave creek complex fire in terms of driving it north and east. But is -- is a little bit of silver lining there the fact that at least with the 20, 25-mile-an-hour afternoon winds it also was kind of sweeping and scouring the Valley from time to time?

>> Steve Owens:
That's right. One of the big concerns was when the cave creek fire first started was how much smoke would come into the metropolitan area. We immediately dispatched some of our staff up there to put air monitors there. Eventually we put in the Pine, Strawberry and Payson area and then Anthem and Black Canyon City and cord us junction and back over in Camp Verde as that fire grew. But in the first few days some of the winds were pushing that smoke southward into North Scottsdale and North Phoenix as well as Cave Creek and Carefree. For better or worse the winds shift, it moved it away that from but then that caused the fire to start moving northward toward Payson, Pine and Strawberry. We had a bit of a reprieve we didn't have as much problem with the smoke in the metropolitan area but then we started having problems with the rural communities up in the northwestern Gila County and we had to deal with that as well.

>> Michael Grant:
And that's been the significant difference, obviously, between this year and, unfortunately, the years past, is you've had these, well, 3,000-foot and below fires creating these sorts of difficulties in the urban areas whereas the pine fires were more rural in nature obviously.

>> Steve Owens:
Well that's also right. We knew going into this fire season that we might have a lot more problems with urban wildfires than we'd seen in previous years because we had a wonderful winter, it was very wet, we had a lot of rainfall here in the Valley, but that caused a lot of grass and underbrush to develop. Now with the triple digit temperatures we're seeing everything is parched dry out there. Back in the beginning of May we started preparing for this at the department of environmental quality to be ready to put air monitors out, to work with emergency response personnel and firefighters to be prepared to deal with the smoke issues. I don't think anyone anticipated, though, we would see a fire of the magnitude of the cave creek complex burning over 250,000 acres in as short a period of time as soon as we saw it here in the fire season. Everybody is concerned about what we're going to see the rest of the summer, and this unfortunately was a good lesson for everybody early in the season, and if we can be prepared to deal with other wildfires that we see in the urban areas, we'll be able to make sure that no one is put at risk.

>> Michael Grant:
Obviously we monitor very closely pollutant levels, a variety of pollutant levels, and there are sanctions that we can be subject to depending upon how we violate, how frequently we violate. We're talking really about particulates here with smoke. Do the federal guidelines, for lack of a better term, cut you some slack when you've got the desert on fire? I mean, this is not technically a man-made source; it's not a factory emitting particulates and those kinds of things. Do you have some leeway when basically it's nature on the rampage?

>> Steve Owens:
You have what's called a natural events policy and a natural events plan to accommodate these kinds of incidents, and there are all kinds of federal standards for these particulate matter and what the health levels are. EPA does cut some slack for it. The problem is when you have to figure out how much your particulate problem is coming from smoke and how much is coming from things that the standard is designed to deal with which is like dust and --

>> Michael Grant:
Construction dust --

>> Steve Owens:
Not just the river bottom but construction activities and things like that. EPA looks at that pretty closely. We'll be dealing with EPA in the future to show them if they come back and say you had all these problems during the last part of June, we can point to the fire, but we'll have to work our way through that.

>> Michael Grant:
I do want to touch on one other subject. I understand that Arizona really doesn't get its fair share of federal money in relation to the clean water -- is it revolving fund?

>> Steve Owens:
It's like a lot of other things, Arizona gets the short end of the stick because we're a fast-growing state and so many of the formulas that federal funding are based on are geared toward east coast states, big cities back east and some of the big cities in the Midwest. There's this thing called the Clean Water Revolving Fund that funds water for wastewater treatment, sewer, things like that. In a fast growing state like Arizona we have a lot of communities that literally are outgrowing our infrastructure there that you don't have enough resources around to accommodate all the homes being built.

>> Michael Grant:
Senator Kyl, I understand, trying to work on getting some more money for Arizona?

>> Steve Owens:
Yeah, Governor Napolitano has been working very closely with Senator Kyl, Senator McCain and others to get that formula changed. Senator Kyl introduces an amendment a week ago in the U.S. Senate. Got a lot of people's attention. He withdrew the amendment after being assured that they are going to try to negotiate to change that formula. And we're going to keep watching that very closely.

>> Michael Grant:
Thanks much for the information. To see transcripts of "Horizon" and find out upcoming topics, please visit the web site. You can find that located at www.azpbs.org.

>>> Michael Sauceda:
Governor Janet Napolitano will talk about a summit she has called to look into the possibility of having local law enforcement agencies enforce immigration laws. Plus Arizona Supreme Court chief justice and its newest justice will talk about their experiences clerking for retiring United States Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor. That's Thursday at 7:00 on "Horizon."

>> Michael Grant:
Thanks very much for joining us this Wednesday evening. I'm Michael Grant. I hope you ever a great one! Good night.

U.S. Supreme Court vacancy


  • Political consultant Bob Grossfeld and political strategist Wes Gullett discuss the politics of choosing a Supreme Court nominee.
Guests:
  • Bob Grossfeld - political consultant
  • Wes Gullett - political stategist


View Transcript
>> Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon," political interest groups on both the left and the right immersed in the debate over filling the Supreme Court vacancy left by justice Sandra Day O'Connor. We'll look at both sides. Plus, it's summer ozone season and time for high pollution advisories. We'll talk about that and other Arizona environmental issues next on "Horizon." Good evening. I'm Michael Grant. Welcome to "Horizon." Political battle over the imminent nomination to the United States Supreme Court is heating up. Conservative groups trying to steer President Bush's decision while some liberal groups say that Bush should use O'Connor as a model for his nomination. Meantime, the White House and Senate Republican leadership keeping out of the public view on the issue, at least for now. Either way, of course, political historians saying the decision could lead to some major impacts on our nation's culture, government and social structure. Joining me now with more on the politics of choosing a Supreme Court nominee, political consultant Bob Grossfeld, and political strategist Wes Gullett. We thought for long and hard whether or not we would call you a consultant, you a strategist -- I --

>> Bob Grossfeld:
I think a strategist just gets paid more.

>> Michael Grant:
Hey, Bob, you were inside the beltway last week when the news broke. Give us some firsthand observations from Washington.

>> Bob Grossfeld:
I think what was most -- there were two things that were striking. The first is you got a very distinct feel that the White House was not expecting this, and this White House usually is prepared for most things, and they were fairly well scrambling. And I think the second was really more interest in the court's decision that was issued about takings and that. So those two things kind of collided in D.C. where all of a sudden there was this tremendous focus on the court, and immediately the two sides, if you will, were activated and started working 24/7. The lights were burning bright at all of the interest groups.

>> Michael Grant:
Wes, you did get a little bit of that feel. I mean, I don't know if the White House was caught off guard or not but most people were caught off guard, most of the focus, of course, had been on the possibility of the chief justice Rehnquist is retiring because he's in very ill health, and everybody goes past Monday and Tuesday and thinks, well, nobody is going to resign. Then all of a sudden justice O'Connor announces the resignation on Friday morning.

>> Wes Gullett:
Yeah, I think it was a big surprise and I think that the White House was surprised too. I think -- I think everybody was caught off guard. You could tell by the way the interests reacted. The interesting thing is that interests on the -- special interests on both sides have been ready for this. They've been waiting. They were waiting for the Rehnquist resignation, and so they weren't caught off guard at all. They were a little surprised, but it took them about a nanosecond to fire up the e-mails and to start pounding people. I was with Senator Kyl's chief of staff today, and he said the intensity so quickly was what surprised them the most.

>> Michael Grant:
And explain what the interest groups were ready means.

>> Wes Gullett:
Well, the interests on both the right and the left are both very concerned about this. They've got -- they've been amassing war chests. They've been amassing e-mail lists, having their communication systems ready to go.

>> Michael Grant:
They have been researching candidates?

>> Wes Gullett:
They've had their talking points ready to go. Everybody has known what they were going to say and how they were going to position a Rehnquist resignation, and then this one superheat it because justice O'Connor is a swing vote, and so the stakes are very, very high.

>> Michael Grant:
Yeah, Bob, the stakes are high, as Wes points out, because if it was chief justice Rehnquist, I mean, he obviously was solidly in the conservative bloc of the court. That's not to say that a lot of interest groups wouldn't spend time on it, but, still, that's basically walking in place. Here you have Sandra O'Connor who obviously was the dominant swing vote on the court for the past, what, 10, 12, 15 years.

>> Bob Grossfeld:
Yeah, she's been -- you know, it's like on a constellation of issues. Certainly Roe. Certainly affirmative action. Certainly some of the other social issues. She's been the single thread just holding -- holding the line. Everybody, all of the interest groups, I suspect, as Wes was saying, prepared for a long time, and to that extent, it really didn't doesn't matter who stepped down. We knew it was going to be her or Rehnquist or -- there's always a potential of something happening.

>> Michael Grant:
But does it ratchet up the decibel level?

>> Bob Grossfeld:
Absolutely. Because that one thread is now gone, and the progressive groups are now looking at this knowing, with a fair degree of certainty, Roe is going away. And it's just a matter of when.

>> Michael Grant:
Now, Wes, we talked about the various interest groups, and it really does apply to both the right and the left, but being prepared for this thing. At the risk of the Senate coming out, is it also just a remarkable wonderful fund raising opportunity for them in terms of their loyal and devoted, transmitting your message and saying send us $25 to make sure that, and here fill in the blank, blank doesn't happen.

>> Wes Gullett:
Well, it is. It's an enormous fund raising opportunity for these groups. But they're going to spend an enormous amount of money. Some people say 50 to $100 million will be spent on both sides of this issue. It will be like a political campaign. It's going to be enormously intense. And any time that you spend that amount of money in a short period of time, you know, Bob and I know it's hard to spend that much money, but these guys are going to be communicating. And the level is going to get -- unfortunately, I think, too high. The decibel level. And the rhetoric and the hyperbole.

>> Michael Grant:
The president over the weekend already told many of the conservative groups to leave his friend alone, Alberto Gonzalez, and ratchet it down. How large a danger is there here that both sides of this thing overplay their hand, either with the president in that case or maybe with -- maybe with the public, perhaps with the Senate? Do you have to watch that or not?

>> Wes Gullett:
Well, I'm more familiar with the conservatives, and I think that they have a hundred percent chance of overplaying their hand. Now, will they upset the president? I don't know. That's his coalition. He has people in the White House that deal with the conservative groups every single day. They're well in tune to that group. But the fact that he publicly told them to slow down, not be -- be beating on their Attorney General, I thought was pretty telling.

>> Bob Grossfeld:
This is -- you know, looking at it clearly, my point of view, from the outside, this has been a 40-year quest for the Holy Grail, for particularly the neo-conservatives, and they're this close to it. They've got the White House, the Senate, the house, and they will have the court if they have anything to do with it. And I don't suspect that they're going to back off one iota, I mean, after 40 years of wandering around waiting for this.

>> Michael Grant:
What's a win for the liberal or left groups here? Is it someone in the O'Connor model, realistically, I mean --

>> Bob Grossfeld:
I think it is. It would be, hopefully, somebody who could be the surprise, which I think everybody realizes when you get a lifetime job, a lifetime appointment on the court, it can be very liberating, and some people who are expected to go one way wind up going the other, and there's a long history in the U.S. and the court of people doing that. However, given the intensity of this and how much the White House and the neo-cons are after this, to literally reshape the country, I don't think they're going to take a chance on anybody who might swing one way or the other. Not at all.

>> Michael Grant:
Wes, the president has insisted on a number of occasions when asked the question, particularly about "Roe v. Wade," sort of the standard response is I don't have a litmus test, but as you mentioned there's certainly a conservative coalition that has helped him immensely in two election campaigns. He is a second-term president, though. Does he follow through with someone committed to overturning "Roe v. Wade"?

>> Wes Gullett:
I would be surprised if he didn't -- if he didn't pick a conservative justice that was not going to surprise anybody. I think that this is -- they don't know about the Rehnquist resignation, but this is a for sure chance. There are consequences to elections. The conservative people voted 55-45 for this guy in Arizona, and a large majority, compared to his first election in the -- in the country, and those people, I think it was a much more conservative electorate and I think that the president owes those conservative voters a conservative justice.

>> Michael Grant:
So that's where he's going to be. Because the other theory he's offered, let's face it, he's a second term president, worried about the legacy -- I don't know that this is a prediction, but I've heard this alternate view that, well, you know, maybe he does something else from a legacy standpoint. Fill in the blank.

>> Bob Grossfeld:
I suspect, Michael, that moving not just the Congress, not just the White House and not just the country -- or the court, but the entire country to the right is the legacy that he's after.

>> Michael Grant:
Could be.

>> Bob Grossfeld:
And I don't think he's particularly interested or entertained by seeming to just, well, I managed to get somebody on everybody could agree with. That doesn't seem to be his M.O.

>> Michael Grant:
Where does race and sex play in this appointment? Obviously one of the reasons why Alberto Gonzalez is mentioned is, number one, he's the president's friend, he was his counsel, he's now his Attorney General, and he also would be the first Hispanic to serve on the court.

>> Bob Grossfeld:
Yeah, if I had to bet, I'd say it's going to be Gonzalez, just because -- this White House isn't particularly stealth in what they do. It's pretty much out there, and then everybody kind of clamors around it and speculates, and it's -- and they usually go with the obvious.

>> Michael Grant:
As the appointment of the first Hispanic to the United States Supreme Court does that make it for Democrats in the Senate to oppose it?

>> Bob Grossfeld:
Yes, I think it probably would. We'll see how that plays out, assuming that's the case, in judiciary and how they question him. The problem is, this Hispanic with some of the baggage that he would be bringing, and so you could very well wind up with a replay of Clarence Thomas but without the kind of sordid details on the fringe. Really, policy issues.

>> Michael Grant:
What do you think about the Gonzalez option?

>> Wes Gullett:
I think the best thing that Gonzalez has going for him is he's just been through a confirmation process, and he went through a tough confirmation process. However, if --

>> Michael Grant:
Thoroughly vetted.

>> It's like picking a Pope, when you're betting on who the next Pope is going to be you never know.

>> Michael Grant:
Your short list is always wrong.

>> Wes Gullett:
I will take money from Bob that it's not Gonzalez just because there are so many other people, they're looking at so many -- I don't know that he's got the conservative credentials that the neo-cons want, and I think that they're looking for somebody who is a little more sure bet on the court to move the country, like Bob's talking about. It's a lifetime appointment, and this is a big, big deal. So I would take his money on the Gonzalez bet.

>> Michael Grant:
If it's someone the Ds really hate, do they filibuster? Do they re-force the nuclear option?

>> Bob Grossfeld:
I think that's -- that's going to be a matter of timing. This is going to be played out over -- I mean, this isn't like a one-week deal. This is going to be played out over a period of time. A lot can happen, including the Bolton nomination being pushed through as a recess appointment. Including the possibility that Rehnquist just simply can't continue. So there's -- I think there's a lot of loose ends right now.

>> Michael Grant:
But properly positioned you think the Ds would filibuster?

>> Bob Grossfeld:
Absolutely.

>> Michael Grant:
How would the Rs respond? Do they cancel the rule?

>> Wes Gullett:
I think they're going to lean on that crutch, but I think that the American people are going to want a Supreme Court full. I don't think the American people want -- they want a decision. They want the Senate to confirm and they want them to vote up or down. I really believe that. And I think that there would be enormous public pressure on the Democrats to vote on it.

>> Michael Grant:
Okay. Well, Wes Gullett, thanks for being here. Bob Grossfeld, our thanks to you as well. Gentlemen, you made sufficient predictions that you are going to be very embarrassed in --

>> Bob Grossfeld:
Especially me.

>> Wes Gullett:
Absolutely.

>> Michael Grant:
110-plus degree heat along with relatively light winds, a combination that adds up to increased ground-level ozone. It is the summer ozone season, and in a moment we'll talk about that as well as federal funding for clean water, other environmental issues with Arizona department of environmental quality director Steve Owens. First, Larry Lemmons looks at some of the health risks involved with ozone.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Life in the city... The inconveniences of traffic and heat. And there's danger in the air. When sunlight interacts with pollutants from cars and other sources, ozone pollution, or smog, is created. You can't always see it, but it's not healthy.

>> Dr.Art Mollen:
Overexposure to the ozone or even simply any exposure to the ozone is going to cause a sore throat, it's going to cause nasal congestion, it may affect your eyes and cause watery and teary eyes to occur. It's going to cause some chest pain and congestion and some difficulty breathing. All of those are going to be the most common symptoms that people will experience when exposed to excessive amounts of ozone.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Dr. Art Mollen says people with breathing and respiratory ailments and children are especially vulnerable to ozone pollution and should stay inside during ozone health watches and high-pollution advisories.

>> Dr. Art Mollen:
The long-term dangers are potentially chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or dunk lung disease, emphysema, as it's commonly known because that ozone can potentially cause people who are more susceptible to develop lung diseases to exacerbate those conditions, make them much worse. People who have heart disease, there's the potential to have a decreased amount of oxygen being taken into the body and, therefore, taken to the heart. So people should not be exposed to high levels of ozone, particularly if they have heart or lung disease.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Also those most at risk include anyone who works outside while smog is present, such as landscapers or construction workers. Mollen suggests that those who are regularly outside alter their routine if possible.

>> Dr. Art Mollen:
I run at about 5:30 in the morning when I believe that the layer of the ozone is not going to be as severe. Obviously the warmer temperatures will help to take some of the ozone and out, but it's the other side of that is the fact that during that particular time you're also going to have less cars that are on the road and, therefore, less ozone that you're going to be exposed to and less smog. So my advice is, number one, exercise as early in the morning or as late in the day as you possibly can. Do not exercise in the middle of the day when the ozone layer may be more devastating to you. I think that people ought to try to exercise indoors if they can and go to a gym or walk around a mall and change their exercise programs somewhat from what it ordinarily might be or swim if they want to change exercises. That's a good exercise to do. Or simply ride a stationary bike if they normally would ride outside. I think for people who are regular exercisers, they ought to change their exercise program somewhat during the summer months when, again, these warm, hot summer days will cause more sunlight exposure and more ozone to be delivered, and that's why we are just trying to tell people to telecommute, ride the bus to get to work, carpool, do anything you can to reduce the exposure to it.

>> Michael Grant:
Joining me now to talk more about ozone and other Arizona environmental stuff is Steve Owens, director of the Arizona department of environmental quality and also rumored to be on the short list for nomination to the United States Supreme Court. Steve, good to see you again.

>> Steve Owens:
Thank you, Michael. That makes two of us here tonight, I guess.

>> Michael Grant:
Yeah, that's right. Combination of ozone and also the smoke we've been having, that's -- I hesitate to use the term, but a double killer.

>> Steve Owens:
We have been calling it a double whammy at DEQ to be a little more diplomatic but it has been a problem the last week or so with all the wildfires going on, especially the Cave Creek Complex fire. We are in ozone season. It's that time of year again. And we had a combination of our literally skyrocketing temperatures in the triple digits, a stagnant air mass hanging over the Valley combined with a lot of smoke drifting into the Valley from the cave creek complex fire, and then that short-lived buck fire on the west side near Buckeye, there was just a lot of junk in the air, and if you have breathing problems, if you're a child or a senior citizen or anyone, for that matter with asthma or emphysema or some other respiratory problem you really had it hard in the last couple weeks.

>> Michael Grant:
I think it was the salt cedar burning in the buck fire that created that tremendous smoke plume. I think that's one of the biggest -- certainly near the Valley that I'd ever seen.

>> Steve Owens:
That's right. As I understand it, there was some of that down in the river bottom there that caught fire. Fortunately there were no structures endangered or any residents in the area in any way threatened by the fire but there was an awful lot of smoke that came from that fire on the west side. The winds that prevail in the afternoon push things from west to east and so it pushed all that smoke across the Valley. People probably saw that big plume, as you said, kind of looked like a mushroom clouds, and it combined with the smoke coming off the cave creek fire that was wafting in toward the east and southeast Valley at the same time. And so during that particular day, it was very bad in the East Valley in particular.

>> Michael Grant:
Is there some good news to -- obviously the bad news about the sweeping winds that we had were some of the phenomenons that you talked about, plus the fact that it was terrible for the cave creek complex fire in terms of driving it north and east. But is -- is a little bit of silver lining there the fact that at least with the 20, 25-mile-an-hour afternoon winds it also was kind of sweeping and scouring the Valley from time to time?

>> Steve Owens:
That's right. One of the big concerns was when the cave creek fire first started was how much smoke would come into the metropolitan area. We immediately dispatched some of our staff up there to put air monitors there. Eventually we put in the Pine, Strawberry and Payson area and then Anthem and Black Canyon City and cord us junction and back over in Camp Verde as that fire grew. But in the first few days some of the winds were pushing that smoke southward into North Scottsdale and North Phoenix as well as Cave Creek and Carefree. For better or worse the winds shift, it moved it away that from but then that caused the fire to start moving northward toward Payson, Pine and Strawberry. We had a bit of a reprieve we didn't have as much problem with the smoke in the metropolitan area but then we started having problems with the rural communities up in the northwestern Gila County and we had to deal with that as well.

>> Michael Grant:
And that's been the significant difference, obviously, between this year and, unfortunately, the years past, is you've had these, well, 3,000-foot and below fires creating these sorts of difficulties in the urban areas whereas the pine fires were more rural in nature obviously.

>> Steve Owens:
Well that's also right. We knew going into this fire season that we might have a lot more problems with urban wildfires than we'd seen in previous years because we had a wonderful winter, it was very wet, we had a lot of rainfall here in the Valley, but that caused a lot of grass and underbrush to develop. Now with the triple digit temperatures we're seeing everything is parched dry out there. Back in the beginning of May we started preparing for this at the department of environmental quality to be ready to put air monitors out, to work with emergency response personnel and firefighters to be prepared to deal with the smoke issues. I don't think anyone anticipated, though, we would see a fire of the magnitude of the cave creek complex burning over 250,000 acres in as short a period of time as soon as we saw it here in the fire season. Everybody is concerned about what we're going to see the rest of the summer, and this unfortunately was a good lesson for everybody early in the season, and if we can be prepared to deal with other wildfires that we see in the urban areas, we'll be able to make sure that no one is put at risk.

>> Michael Grant:
Obviously we monitor very closely pollutant levels, a variety of pollutant levels, and there are sanctions that we can be subject to depending upon how we violate, how frequently we violate. We're talking really about particulates here with smoke. Do the federal guidelines, for lack of a better term, cut you some slack when you've got the desert on fire? I mean, this is not technically a man-made source; it's not a factory emitting particulates and those kinds of things. Do you have some leeway when basically it's nature on the rampage?

>> Steve Owens:
You have what's called a natural events policy and a natural events plan to accommodate these kinds of incidents, and there are all kinds of federal standards for these particulate matter and what the health levels are. EPA does cut some slack for it. The problem is when you have to figure out how much your particulate problem is coming from smoke and how much is coming from things that the standard is designed to deal with which is like dust and --

>> Michael Grant:
Construction dust --

>> Steve Owens:
Not just the river bottom but construction activities and things like that. EPA looks at that pretty closely. We'll be dealing with EPA in the future to show them if they come back and say you had all these problems during the last part of June, we can point to the fire, but we'll have to work our way through that.

>> Michael Grant:
I do want to touch on one other subject. I understand that Arizona really doesn't get its fair share of federal money in relation to the clean water -- is it revolving fund?

>> Steve Owens:
It's like a lot of other things, Arizona gets the short end of the stick because we're a fast-growing state and so many of the formulas that federal funding are based on are geared toward east coast states, big cities back east and some of the big cities in the Midwest. There's this thing called the Clean Water Revolving Fund that funds water for wastewater treatment, sewer, things like that. In a fast growing state like Arizona we have a lot of communities that literally are outgrowing our infrastructure there that you don't have enough resources around to accommodate all the homes being built.

>> Michael Grant:
Senator Kyl, I understand, trying to work on getting some more money for Arizona?

>> Steve Owens:
Yeah, Governor Napolitano has been working very closely with Senator Kyl, Senator McCain and others to get that formula changed. Senator Kyl introduces an amendment a week ago in the U.S. Senate. Got a lot of people's attention. He withdrew the amendment after being assured that they are going to try to negotiate to change that formula. And we're going to keep watching that very closely.

>> Michael Grant:
Thanks much for the information. To see transcripts of "Horizon" and find out upcoming topics, please visit the web site. You can find that located at www.azpbs.org.

>>> Michael Sauceda:
Governor Janet Napolitano will talk about a summit she has called to look into the possibility of having local law enforcement agencies enforce immigration laws. Plus Arizona Supreme Court chief justice and its newest justice will talk about their experiences clerking for retiring United States Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor. That's Thursday at 7:00 on "Horizon."

>> Michael Grant:
Thanks very much for joining us this Wednesday evening. I'm Michael Grant. I hope you ever a great one! Good night.

What's on?

Content Partner:

  About KAET Contact Support Legal Follow Us  
  About Eight
Mission/Impact
History
Site Map
Pressroom
Contact Us
Sign up for e-news
Pledge to Eight
Donate Monthly
Volunteer
Other ways to support
FCC Public Files
Privacy Policy
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Google+
Pinterest
 

Need help accessing? Contact disabilityaccess@asu.edu

Eight is a member-supported service of Arizona State University    Copyright Arizona Board of Regents