Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

August 12, 2010


Host: Ted Simons

Arizona’s Congressional Primary Election Races

  |   Video
  • Dan Nowicki, a reporter who covers national politics for the Arizona Republic, discusses the state races to win a seat in Congress.
Guests:
  • Dan Howicki - Arizona Republic
Category: Government

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Controversy in the Republican primary for congressional district 3 continues. The secretary of state's office lists 10 candidates running in that race, but much of the attention has been focused on Ben Quayle the son of former vice president Dan Quayle. The younger Quayle has admitted playing a role in a website that looked at the trashy side of Scottsdale nightlife, even though he denied the connection at first. And the mud continues to be tossed in the U.S. senate race featuring incumbent John McCain and former congressman J.D. Hayworth. Here with the latest on the state's congressional races is Dan Nowicki, who covers national politics for "The Arizona Republic." Good to see you again.

Dan Nowicki:
Thanks, Ted.

Ted Simons:
Interesting times.

Dan Nowicki:
Sure is.

Ted Simons:
Let's talk about the Republican side and then democratic side. John McCain is pull ago way from this thing, isn't he?

Dan Nowicki:
It looks that way. The last polls show him with a lead, from 20 percentage points to 25 percentage points. What looked to be a fight of his political life and a potentially big upset for cane kin isn't turning -- for McCain isn't turning owl that way that. That J.D. Hayworth had appeared in a late-night info commercial. And he said buyer beware and gave McCain a lot of fodder for a lot of TV ads and exploded the situation and around greater Arizona, the perception of J.D. Hayworth, they didn't follow him outside of Maricopa County, they didn't follow his congressional career that much and perceived him as, well, he's the conservative running against McCain. Particularly, those voters outside of Maricopa County, is kind of a TV Huckster.

Ted Simons:
But it could seem, though, with immigration so front and center as far as politics in Arizona right now and as a public issue, that's made for Hayworth, you would have thought it would catapulted him.

Dan Nowick:
The narrative couldn't have worked out better. He's the hard-liner, the guy who wrote the book, whatever it takes on border security. But to McCain's credit, he seemed to see this coming early on and Hayworth accused him of having a election year conversion, but he became more border security focused and the drug cartels but he says it's not a position change, but allowed him to steal that issue from Hayworth and the build the fence ad was ridiculed but it's seemed to help McCain.

Ted Simons:
On the democrat side, polls seem to show a lot of folks are undecided. Who is getting traction?

Dan Nowicki:
The conventional issue is the former vice mayor of Tucson, probably the front runner because he's had more time to organize his campaign and raise money. He debuted a new TV ad today. He's out in front, but all four of the candidates are not well known, it seems the polls show half of the Democrats aren't decided yet.

Ted Simons:
So with that in minds, this basically a race for second place here? Whoever comes out of the democratic side, I think a lot of them thought they're going against Hayworth, they're going against a pretty strong McCain.

Dan Nowicki:
I know all four of them would love to run against Hayworth. But they're expecting to run against McCain. They make the case they're the one who can beat McCain. I think the national Democrats agree that McCain will be tough to beat. Generally speaking a Republican year and might be tough to beat McCain in the general election.

Ted Simons:
Let's get to some other races. Congressional district 1. Eight Republicans in this case against Ann Kirkpatrick. Any campaign picking up steam here?

Dan Nowicki:
That's the toughest race to get a handle on. It's sprawling and goes into several little Arizona markets. Radio stations and lots of little newspapers and it's hard to get a handle on who is pulling ahead there. Not really done much to distinguish themselves from one another. Paul GOSAR got the coveted Sarah Palin endorsement.

Ted Simons:
And sounds like Sydney Haste leads as far as raising money and the leading candidate last election?

Dan Nowicki:
Well known. And rusty Bower, he's the former -- rusty bower, the Mesa Republican, back in those days and he's been trying to beat the carpetbagger rap. He's running up in northern Arizona. Seems he's not gotten as much traction as I and some others thought early on. Kirkpatrick vulnerable at all. If there's a big GOP tidal wave, I think potentially, she's definitely vulnerable. But it's going to depend understanding a lot of these races who the Republicans wind up nominating.

Ted Simons:
Let's go to district 3. The mud is flying, everything is going every which way. Is this pretty much still up in the air in?

Dan Nowicki:
It seems like every time you see a poll, there's no public poll so you have to rely on campaigns to lend you their internal numbers. So you have to take it with a grain of salt. Seems like the numbers are shifting around. The most recent poll I saw showed Steve Moak in the lead. It seems really close. I don't know how much you can count on any clear frontrunner. It seems that things are changing rapidly.

Ted Simons:
There's one democrat in the race, and the conventional wisdom, the lone wolf has a better handle on it. But does that work in this district.

Dan Nowicki:
It's a GOP-leaning strict. John Shadegg dominated it for years. The Republicans are counting on keeping the seat no matter who is the nominee. The Democrats strenuously disagree. They think that hole berg is a good -- hole berg is going to be a good candidate.

Ted Simons:
With two libertarians and one green candidate, are there so many folks in there that anyone can pop out of anywhere?

Dan Nowicki:
Yeah, the green party or the libertarians -- going to get much traction, but things are moving and not settled. People are telling me, too, that they're watching very closely the early returns and telling me in CD3, people are hanging on to their ballots more than other districts. I assume this race has something to do with it.

Ted Simons:
CD5, we've got six Republican candidates in that one and looks like the same folks from the last go-around.

Dan Nowicki:
One new face is Jim Ward. He's picked up some moderate business community, Republican support. SCHWEIKERT seems to be the one with the energy.

Ted Simons:
But he did lose to Harry Mitchell in the last election. Is Mitchell considered more vulnerable? And how close is he running to Obama. Is that name mentioned a lot?

Dan Nowicki:
Oh, yeah, you hear them running against the Obama administration and I think they're counting on -- and a lot has to do with the timing and the mood of the American people and maybe the timing wasn't right two years ago but it might be right now. Harry Mitchell has defined political gravity, it's Republican leaning as well. He beat J.D. Hayworth in an upset. So obviously a popular former Tempe mayor, well known. But just the number, you can't be too comfortable if you're Harry Mitchell.
Ted Simons:
But what if you're Gabrielle Giffords.

Dam Nowicki:
I thought that -- I think he probably went into this not expecting much of a primary fight but his GOP rival, Jesse Kelly seems to have the momentum down there.

Ted Simons:
Overall, and I guess I should have asked this earlier, are the Democrats maybe shying away a little bit from the Obama administration? What's happening as far as national politics and identification is concerned.

Dan Nowicki:
You see it on the border issue a lot. All the three so-called vulnerable democrat, the centrist district, one, five and eight. You see them, they all decried the Obama administration lawsuit against Arizona and you see them all calling for more border security. You know, you've had quotes in my notebook and I could read it to you and I don't know if you would able to guess if they're Gabby Gifford or Jon Kyl.

Ted Simons:
The last question, very quickly. Primaries we've seen this week, any indication, any tide, anything going on there?

Dan Nowicki:
Well, supposedly the year the incumbents are going to get beat. The year of the tea party. Holding up to some degree. You see anti-establishment candidates doing well. I don't know how that's going to apply to the Arizona. The big race is McCain versus Hayworth and as we talked about, McCain seems to have taken steps to alleviate the concern that he's going to fall prey to the tea party anger.

Ted Simons:
All right, Dan, good stuff. Thanks for joining us.

Tempe Town Lake Dam Break

  |   Video
  • Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman has the latest on efforts to replace the dam that ruptured July 20th.
Guests:
  • Hugh Hallman - Mayor of Tempe
Category: Government

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
It's within just over three weeks since the dam at Tempe town lake ruptured, spilling close to a billion gallons of water into the mostly dry Salt River bed. In a moment, we'll hear from Tempe mayor Hugh hallman about the latest on efforts to replace the dam, but first, David Majure and photographer Scot Olson provide a look back at what happened.

David Majure:
It changed overnight. From full to foul.

>> Now that the lake is empty, there's going to be a smell.

David Majure:
Eye catching to eyesore. Recreational to just plain wrecked. Tempe town lake was a very different place before the night of July 20th when a section of the inflatable rubber dam burst.

9-1-1:
9-1-1. What is your emergency?

>> I'm at Tempe town lake and I believe a section of the dam on the lake might have just given way.

Hugh Hallman:
Last night, we had a failure of the number two bladder. It's the piece you see behind us. It's something we've been concerned about for some time has occurred.

David Majure:
Tempe officials say they knew the dam was ill equipped to withstand the harsh desert heat. They were designed to have a watering system to have water over the dam. It was supposed to keep the rubber cool and make it last longer, but Tempe mayor says it doesn't last.

Hugh Hallman:
In this desert environment with the cold of the winter and heat of the summer and without the watering system, the chips actually added to the deterioration of the piece of the dam structure.

David Majure:
Officials say monthly inspections reveal no immediate risk of failure, but there were signs that the 10-year old dam might not last.

Hugh Hallman:
These dam systems were reported to last at least 30 years.

David Majure:
In April 2009, the maker of the dam, Bridgestone industrial products, agreed to replace the rubber segments and cover the costs up to $3 million. In fact, work was supposed to start the day after it ruptured.

Hugh Hallman:
Fortunately, if it was going to occur, it occurred yesterday avoiding any loss of life to the crews associated with the repairs.

David Majure:
It should be easier, faster and less expensive. The replacement dam is temporary. After five years, the city has to buy and install a new dam.

Hugh Hallman:
We will switch to another technology, either a rubber dam manufacturer with a clear record or other technology.

Ted Simons:
Joining me now to discuss efforts to replace the dam is Tempe mayor Hugh Hallman. Thanks for joining us. Good to see you. Update us on what's happening right now at the lake.

Hugh Hallman:
We're in the process of replacing the rubber dam segments -- the bladders is what they're called -- as we speak. When the event occurred, we had two of the segments in-house, the third had been completed in the manufacturing process and was in the process of being shipped and the fourth was starting manufacturing. We have pushed Bridgestone hard to replace the segments but it takes time. This is a very sophisticated well-engineered product and planning the replacement with flood flows that come in the spring took longer.

Ted Simons:
These are five years at best?

Hugh Hallman:
The segments we'll use for five years. That was part of the condition with Bridgestone. They're leaving the rubber dam manufacturing business and didn't want to have a continuing dam sitting out there. The agreement was they provide these dam segments at no charge and install them at bridgestone cost. They'll be saving money and that's because of the segment lost air, probably with $800,000, it will be saved. The original method by which they would have been replaced, install a steel structure on the back side of the dam. Water is pumped out and areas that empty, the dam rubber segment gets taken out and a new one put in. This time, with the river gone, essentially -- the water is now in Phoenix -- the dam segments can be replaced quickly. We'll use a cofferdam for the fourth segment. We want to refill the lake but not rely on the -- Will these last for five years? Significantly longer, but we agreed with Bridgestone to replace the dam segments within five years.


Ted Simons:
What options do you have as far as a permanent dam?

Hugh Hallman:
There are obviously hundreds if not thousands of dams across the country we can look to to get good experience and knowledge about what may be the best technology. We also have valuable experience and understanding. This manufacturer, leaving the industry, there's a manufacturer, Sumitomo, who have a clear record and that's still a technology we're examining. The dam segments would be replaced every 15 years if we go to that kind of technology. There are steel gates that are operated -- pneumatically in this case -- and gates that rise from the top. We would have to replace the dam structures that exist under each of them. Our goal is to make sure we're making the selection based on longevity. A sustainable system and I don't think those questions were asked when the original dam was put in place in 1996 at a cost of $16.8 million. Nobody was asking the question, I think, directly, what is the long-term lifetime of those things and how do we replace them? We do own a cofferdam. In this case, we're looking for a 60-year lifetime solution. We might use rubber dam segments that get replaced more frequently. Might use a steel structure. The goal is to select a technology where the operation and maintenance costs and replacement costs get us to a sustainable number. $500,000 to $750,000 a year. The lake costs about $3.1 million a year to run. The value to our community in terms of new residential and recreational amenities is significant. We have to weigh in the balance that value and what the community should pay for it. The lake has to pay for itself and that's one of reasons I ran for mayor. We have to operate this entire project in a way it does not become a burden to our taxpayers or community.

Ted Simons:
Talk about the burden to Tempe. What is this going to cost Tempe to not only replace the dams -- I know Bridgestone is responsible for some if not all of this -- and getting the new technology in place? Does Tempe have the money for this?

Hugh Hallman:
Let's start with the first question and sometimes reporters don't want to believe the answer. Bridgestone, under a contract we negotiated, agreed to pay for the replacement. That came about because one of the reasons I ran for office in '98 and mayor in 2004, my concern how the lake should operate. In this instance, one of the issues I was concerned about when I ran the first time in '98, we were promised 30-year dams but only got a 10-year warranty. Concerns were raised and we addressed those and we reached a new agreement. They would replace the dam structures. Didn't happen as fast as I would like, but I suspect that Bridgestone wished it happened more quickly too. The long-term solution, again, we're looking for something and we have technologies identified that likely get us in the range of $500,000 to $750,000 in a replacement life cycle costing. That's within the realm of the lake operations. This is not as dire an issue as some would like to make it. A 60-year life recycle has real dollars associated with it. Ask what it costs to run a golf course for 60 years, a library. That's a responsible approach here.

Ted Simons:
The last question. Only a minute or so left. There are some who say that now that the opportunity is there, there shouldn't be a lake. The lake shouldn't be there. How do you feel about that? There's some folks who have a problem with that lake.

Hugh Hallman:
A lot of folks who have a problem with the lake identify things like water conservation and water use. But these are the numbers they have to run into and deal with directly. The lake has about three million people a year who use it. An average golf course has about 80,000 people who use it. The amount of water for town lake is the equivalent of what it takes to water about two golf courses. We could have 160,000 people using the amount of water on a golf course, or two, or three million people currently who use the water for that benefit. And a lot of that water lost goes into the aquifer.

Ted Simons:
Good luck getting that thing fixed.

Hugh Hallman:
Thank you very much.

Unsealed Grand Jury Documents in Maricopa County Investigations

  |   Video
  • Interim County Attorney Rick Romley and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas hold separate press conferences offering different takes on unsealed Grand Jury transcripts and what they say about investigations into County officials.
Category: Law

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Good evening, and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. "A grave miscarriage of justice and an abuse of power." That's how interim Maricopa County attorney Rick Romley describes efforts by the county sheriff and former county attorney Andrew Thomas to seek criminal indictments against county officials. At issue are two matters that were brought before a grand jury early this year. Allegations that a judge and county officials conspired to hinder an investigation into the new county court tower. And charges that county supervisors illegally used public funds to conduct sweeps for electronic listening devices. On July 20th, Romley asked that the grand jury transcripts be unsealed. And just last week, a judge assigned to the case issued an order granting that request. Today, Romley released the transcripts and other documents. He says they show the grand jury voted to end the inquiry back in March. He calls the action by the grand jury a rare move that means the panel saw absolutely no merit in the case. Despite that, he says the sheriff's office continues to threaten and intimidate county officials with allegations of criminal wrongdoing.

Rick Romley:
This ongoing miscarriage of justice and abuse of power by the Maricopa County sheriff's office and the former Maricopa County attorney, Andrew Thomas, are the reasons we're here today. I have prepared a detailed presentation that will show unequivocally that the conduct of the Maricopa County sheriff's office and the former county attorney was not to seek justice. But was to persecute those who dared to oppose them. This is not acceptable. And to that end, I have forwarded this material to the United States attorney and the FBI for their consideration in their ongoing investigations into the Maricopa County sheriff's office and the Maricopa County attorney's office regarding abuse of power. Additionally, I have instructed my staff to notify the Arizona Supreme Court's independent bar counsel that's looking into allegations against unethical conduct against Andrew Thomas to provide them that material.

Ted Simons:
At a press conference held after Romley released the documents, former county attorney Andrew Thomas responded to the release of the grand jury material.

Andrew Thomas:
We have never been able to tell our side until today because the grand jury proceedings had not been unsealed and Rick Romley's attempted ambush liberates us so we can tell the taxpayers we spent their money well and there's serious corruption in Maricopa County government and the supervisors who 0 appointed Rick Romley one of them came within a whisker of being indicted and to think that -- battled that corruption in the face of them trying to describe a career because Lisa stood up to them and did her job is disgraceful and the lies that Rick Romley has told today in saying that the investigation was ended for lack of evidence. We asked it be ended so it could be sent to the department of justice.

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