Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

September 30, 2005


Host: Jose Cardenas

Journalists Roundtable


  • HORIZON's weekly roundtable where local reporters get a chance to review the week's top stories.
Guests:
  • Paul Giblin - of the "Scottsdale Tribune"
Category: Journalists Roundtable

View Transcript
>> Jose Cardenas:
It's Friday, September 30th, 2005. In the headlines this week, Congressman J.D. Hayworth unveils his proposal to deal with illegal immigration while the Minuteman Project is ready to launch a month-long border vigil. State lawmakers say they are becoming uneasy about the future costs associated with a proposed medical campus in downtown Phoenix. And a new KAET Channel 8 poll shows declining support for a proposed statewide ban on same-sex marriage. That's next on "Horizon."
>> "Horizon" is made possible by the friends of Channel 8, members who provide financial support to this Arizona PBS station. Thank you!
>> Jose Cardenas:
Good evening. I'm Jose Cardenas Cardenas filling in for Michael Grant. Joining me to talk about these and other stories are Paul Giblin of the "Scottsdale Tribune," Chip Scutari of "The Arizona Republic" and Paul Davenport of the Associated Press. Congressman J.D. Hayworth this week became the latest member of the Arizona delegation to unveil a plan to deal will illegal immigration. What are the key points of Hayworth's plan?
>> Paul Giblin:
Well, he's asking for three things... Most important is he is trying to get on top of employers. Employers have been bringing in illegals or at least hiring them when they get here. He wants to start punishing employers pretty severely. Second part of his plan is he wants to upgrade Social Security cards, make them harder to duplicate and put computer chips in them, make them more useful than they are right now. Thirdly, he wants to put a lot more enforcement along the border. When he was doing this, he also said that McCain's plan, Kyl's plan, he said was amnesty. It was kind of tough language from him against other Arizona senators.
>> Jose Cardenas:
But it is, in fact, a much tougher proposal than any of the others that are currently out there?
>> Paul Giblin:
Right. The McCain-Kyl plan would have worker visas, that sort of thing. J.D.'s doesn't include that. He's taking a much tougher approach, as you mention.
>> Jose Cardenas:
Minutemen. They're coming home. They were on the northern border. Now they're coming for another month-long project here in the south. What can you tell us about that?
>> Paul Giblin:
Just as you said, they're coming here. They say they want another high-profile sort of month like they had back in April. I think these -- what the Minutemen are doing and what we see with J.D. and we see this also in the governor's race, maybe you guys could talk about that, but it seems to me that immigration is becoming the big political issue this year. I'm seeing it all over the place.
>> Chip Scutari:
Definitely. We were talking before the show, we're kind of surprised J.D. Hayworth isn't running for governor now that he's announced his big immigration plan, and like Jose Cardenas said, definitely tougher than either Kyl's bill or McCain-Flake-Kolbe's bill. Illegal immigration will be probably the number one issue in the governor's race.
>> Paul Davenport:
I don't think it's going to be to go away any time soon. There's talk that the White House will come out with its own plan, a Bush plan, this fall maybe. But still we're getting close to an election year and it's tough for Congress to agree on something like that quickly under that kind of spotlight. So with a border watch going on, immigration in Congress still percolating, plus who knows what the legislature will do when they come back, they loved this issue last time.
>> Jose Cardenas:
Paul, talking about the governor and immigration, this week that $1.5 million that was announced a while back got divvied up. Is that right? What can you tell us about that?
>> Paul Davenport:
Back in the summer she had declared an emergency along the border in four border counties, and she said would that free up $1.5 million, as you said. This week she divvied it up. The largest shares, more than $400,000 each, go to Cochise County and Pima County. The other two border counties and some local governments and an Indian nation get the rest. They're going to be using it for law enforcement costs, healthcare related to the recovery of folks trapped in the desert when they're trying to cross illegally and that sort of thing. So it's reimbursement for costs incurred.
>> Jose Cardenas:
Andrew Thomas campaigned on stop immigration, and he's in the paper today with a legal analysis that says the people being smuggled can be prosecuted. What can you tell us about that?
>> Paul Davenport:
That originates with an opinion request from Sheriff Arpaio. He wants to start -- has a squad to go after human smuggling, and it has been debated and still likely will be debated, but the county attorney says that you can arrest and prosecute immigrants who, in fact, have hired somebody to bring them across, that they're engaging in human smuggling themselves, not just the coyote or somebody else who is involved with getting the money at that end. We don't have other law enforcement officials agreeing with that, possibly they will, but he is out in front on that one.
>> Jose Cardenas:
Chip, it looked like you wanted to jump in on that last comment on the governor and immigration.
>> Chip Scutari:
Well, I was going to talk about that 1.5 million, the emergency declaration the governor made that also Bill Richardson of New Mexico did back in August. It's got a lot of national attention. Although, it's a very small amount of money and it's more of a symbolic thing. I was reading this week the Republican gubernatorial candidate of Virginia, I think his name is Mark Kilgore, mentioned Governor Napolitano favorably in a stump speech about how to get tought on illegal immigration. So just kind of touching back to our point on how big illegal immigration is, Napolitano and Bill Richardson of New Mexico are getting a lot of publicity for just declaring a state of emergency at the border. So it's become a nationwide story, and it's going to probably put Janet Napolitano even more in the limelight, and I think J.D. and some of the Republicans want to make sure they're still out in front looking like they're tougher on illegal immigration than the governor is.
>> Paul Davenport:
Chip, why is that happening? It's not like illegal immigration just started six months ago. Why are all the politicians getting in the news so much on this topic?
>> Chip Scutari:
Well, I think when we're talking about Governor Napolitano, she got beat up pretty bad in the last legislative session, the House Republicans and Senate Republicans sent her a lot of bills that she couldn't really agree with and she vetoed them, and I think her political team and her advisors said, hey, we've got to start developing a plan to fight illegal immigration, and to her credit, since June she's really done a lot of things to at least put on her resume to show she's fighting illegal immigration.
>> Jose Cardenas:
Her explanation for vetoing those proposals was there was no money attached to it and there were other problems with it. Russell Pearce said that's not true. Who is right here?
>> Chip Scutari:
Well, the biggest one was that -- Russell Pearce is the Representative from Mesa -- the biggest one is they wanted local law enforcement to get involved with tracking down human smugglers and getting involved, acting as federal immigration agents, and what the governor's point was is this is an unfunded mandate and we usually need an M.O.U., a memorandum of understanding, with the feds to accomplish these kind of joint task forces which are very difficult and complicated to do. Usually the feds, meaning the Department of Homeland Security, doesn't like to sign off on those M.O.U.s. So I think that was her point.
>> Paul Davenport:
I think it's an element in Hayworth's bill that opens the door for that local law enforcement role to deal with immigration. That's another element of it. There's a lot of material in that bill.
>> Chip Scutari:
And I think the political rhetoric in 2006 on illegal immigration is going to be off the charts. Not only do we have the governor's race, we have Senator Jon Kyl going up against Democrat Jim Peterson, the shopping mall developer who's got a lot of money to spend.
>> Paul Davenport :
Who himself has said immigration is the biggest issue in his race and that's coming from the Democrats.
>> Jose Cardenas:
Peterson?
>> Paul Davenport:
Peterson.
>> Jose Cardenas:
Some suggestion at least in the headlines when the declarations were announced that the Democrats had outflanked the Republicans on immigration. Do you think that's a fair assessment?
>> Paul Davenport:
I think it's going to seesaw back and forth. This week the big news on that front is the Hayworth bill. It kind of depends what we're going to see come before Congress, whether those bills advance.
>> Paul Giblin:
Interesting to me is that when that Goldwater announced he was running for governor he was attacking Napolitano on immigration. And then when Peterson announced he was going for federal office, he was going on the same thing. So you have both Republicans and Democrats blaming each other for not doing enough. It's an interesting scenario shaping up that.
>> Chip Scutari:
That sounds like politics to me.
>> Paul Giblin:
Yeah.
>> Jose Cardenas:
Let's talk a little bit about the Flores case, and let me first mention that I'm involved in that case, but the suggestion is that the prospects for special session are dimming. What do you hear about that?
>> Paul Davenport:
The governor told reporters this week that pretty much from her perspective that the talks she has been having with Republicans about trying to come up with a new bill to replace the one she vetoed at the end of the last legislative session are over. She doesn't see Republican interest in continuing those talks. I talked to House Speaker Jim Weiers' office and was told that, yeah, that's pretty much it, because from their vantage point the governor hasn't taken the first step on the other issues. So that leaves the Flores English-learning issue headed for court where a judge is going to hold a hearing on whether to impose sanctions against the state. There's several issues at stake there, but the big thing that captured the most attention is the plaintiffs want the state's highway dollars withheld to prod the state into action on the Flores issue.
>> Chip Scutari:
I think privately some political observers would say that the legislative Republican leaders are pretty happy that the Flores case an the -- and the other key issue in that, corporate tuition tax credit, which is a school-choice measure, they want that to spill over into next year because they can use it against Napolitano. Once again, the Flores case will be couched on the umbrella of illegal immigration. The Republicans will say, how much money should we spend of on children of illegal immigrants. Tim Hogan, who is the lawyer in the Flores case, I think he put out a stat that 70\% of these students are legal residents and it shouldn't be a big deal. Once again, that will be fueling the rhetoric over illegal immigration. I think House Republicans, Senate Republicans want this to go into next year so they can use it against the governor.
>> Jose Cardenas:
One point of agreement last year, though, parties came together somewhat kicking and screaming, was on the funding of the medical school. Lawmakers this year are saying they're a littl euneasy about the dollars. What are you hearing about that?
>> Paul Davenport:
That came out of an oversight committee meeting this week at the legislature, and they had to have this hearing to review the plan the regents have put forward in order for the second half of the fiscal year's dollars to flow. That's going to happen. But what they did do was say, we're not committing to future year's funding. So that puts the administration on notice they're going to have to fight for it again, and the context here is that the charges are of broken promises in connection with those vetoes we talked about before. So that spills the issue again into the next regular session.
>> Jose Cardenas:
Governor is talking about revamping CPS and somewhat cautious reaction from the legislature, I understand.
>> Paul Davenport:
That's right about two weeks ago the administration put forward a plan that's basically intended to improve some of the things that CPS and the other agencies do to help troubled families that might end up with abused or neglected kids so that fewer kids are pulled out of the home, or when they are, they're put in with other relatives or in foster homes instead of group shelters, that kind of thing. They went before the legislature this week and explained that. The legislators said they liked what they heard but some of them were really skeptical that CPS won't back off from that or change directions down the road. It remains to be seen how that's going to shake out but so far there seems to be a lot of support for trying to get these kind of positive goals done.
>> Jose Cardenas:
Chip, Napolitano's administration has made a major area of focus in hinting relationships with Mexico and points south in terms of at least trade, and yet the governor is canceling her trip to Chile. What's going on there?
>> Chip Scutari:
She had an economic trade mission all scheduled for late October, but it was made well before hurricane Rita and Katrina hit, and the governor has always been a big believer in having a solid homeland security plan. So she really wants to drill down and get their emergency preparedness ready in case there's an earthquake in California or, you know, nursing homes have to be evacuated, because those massive hurricanes in the Gulf Coast region really opened her eyes to so many problems that we hadn't even thought of before. She said, Hey, I want to get this done and we'll reschedule the trip to Chile.
>> Paul Davenport:
How long would that have taken her out of the picture where she wouldn't be available to work on the emergency preparedness.
>> Chip Scutari:
It was a five-day trip, and I think some of it may be more symbolic, showing the folks, the voters of Arizona, that we have to care about ourselves before we can go to Chile. She wanted to build momentum -- She traveled to London last November on a similar trade mission that had been relatively successful. They got a couple of plants here. They're hoping British Airways goes to seven days a week. So that's what she wants to build on, but she said right now we have to take care of our emergency response -
>> Jose Cardenas:
And then Ireland about mid-summer?
>> Chip Scutari:
Yeah, so she gets around plenty. She gets all over the state, she goes to D.C., she has been to Ireland, London. I think she wants to make an annual trek to improve our economic relations with foreign countries.
>> Jose Cardenas:
Paul, closer to home, West Nile Virus, what's the latest.
>> Paul Davenport:
The Department of Health Services is spreading the word this week that unlike last year where West Nile, second year in the state, it peaked early, July, that time period. This year it's apparently peaking right about now, maybe the next month or so, and they're saying you still have got to take those precautions in terms of getting rid of standing water and wearing long sleeves when you go out in the evening and putting on repellent and stuff like that because this disease can have serious -- this virus can have serious consequences.
>> Jose Cardenas:
Two more things I want to touch on before we start talking about poll numbers. One is photo radar on Loop 101 and the other is the latest in Colorado City.
>> Paul Davenport:
Colorado City, I can talk about that. I talked to Attorney General Terry Goddard. He has asked the U.S. Justice Department to conduct what they call a preliminary inquiry, which is a step you take if -- that may lead to a formal investigation with the end result being something like a consent decree. What he wants is the police department in that polygamist community investigated for civil rights abuses of the local residents.
>> Jose Cardenas:
Paul, photo radar, Loop 101?
>> Paul Giblin:
Interesting development there. The city wants to put photo radars on the 101 because people go fast and kill themselves and other people. In order to do that, they have to get an approval from ADOT. So that could go on this month. The city is going to request permission to do that. Whether they'll get it, I don't know.
>> Paul Davenport:
Who would be putting up these, the equipment, the city or the state?
>> Paul Davenport:
I wish I could answer that one. I don't know that one. But it's a city initiative to get it done.
>> Jose Cardenas:
We have some other questions I'm sure you all can answer, and this has to do with the new poll released this week by KAET found weakening support for a proposed ban on same-sex marriage that could appear on the 2006 ballot. Chip, what did the poll show how Arizonans feel about this measure?
>> Chip Scutari:
Well, Bruce Merrill, an ASU pollster, did the survey of about 400 voters statewide, and it showed a huge swing from May, about a 20-point swing, a decline in support for this initiative. What some people are speculating is that it's not that people are against the ban on same-sex marriage. It's that they deny -- the initiative would also deny benefits to unmarried couples, and that is a huge key that could swing the outcome of the race. The proponents of this ban on same-sex marriage were quick to come out to say this poll was done when no one is paying attention, we haven't started our media campaign. It's way too early to take anything from this. But it did show a lot of people were thinking this would be a slam dunk and drive conservative voters out to the polls in 2006 and hurt Governor Napolitano.
>> Jose Cardenas:
That was supposedly the strategy, put this wedge issue, one among several, on the ballot and it would hurt the governor, but the polls show the governor is doing fairly well right now.
>> Chip Scutari:
The polls show her approval rating is nearly 70\%, which is phenomenal for a governor of any state, especially in Arizona, which is a Republican state. But I think the same-sex marriage issue is going to tighten up quite a bit, and I think it will be very close at the end.
>> Jose Cardenas:
Then we have President Bush down around 50. What do you read into that?
>> Chip Scutari:
Well, he's having a tough time. The war in Iraq is -- the perception at least is that's not going well. He's had the slow response to hurricane Katrina, which was deadly. The perception was he was out of touch.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Gas prices?
>> Chip Scutari:
Gas prices. He's had a lot of his over the last year or so. I think Merrill had a poll, I think in 2002, after the 9/11 tragedy where Bush responded well, where he was about 90\% approval rating. His ratings have taken a severe dive in the last year or so, and that could play in part into Jon Kyl's race because he is very close with President Bush on a lot of issues. We'll see. Democrats are hoping that Kyl's closeness with President Bush rubs off on voters in 2006.
>> Paul Giblin:
How do you see that? Do you think it will.
>> Chip Scutari:
I think it all depends on how Jim Peterson runs his race. He's got a lot of money but he's never run for office. Kyl is quiet but effective. And I think it all depends on next -- early next summer if Peterson is running a legitimate race, I think it could be a factor.
>> Paul Giblin:
He has been trying to do that already, trying to tie Kyl to Bush. He has been doing that tar baby approach. I'm interested. I don't know if it will work. It's interesting to watch.
>> Chip Scutari:
We'll see.
>> Jose Cardenas:
We talked about the Republicans trying to put these wedge issues on the ballot to affect the governor, but they haven't really even come up with a candidate yet for the most part. What's going on there?
>> Chip Scutari:
I think October is the magical month for Republicans in the governor's rate. Because I think former ADOT Director Mary Peters, Senate President Ken Bennett and Court of Appeals Judge Jan Flores who just retired from the bench are all going to make the decision in the next three weeks. Senate President Bennett was back in D.C. meeting with RNC types and the Republican Governors Association, kind of sizing up his gubernatorial run, and he told me he would make a decision within two weeks. I think by Halloween we'll know who is in the race and who's not.
>> Jose Cardenas:
And any sense whether, at least for some of these candidates, this is really just a dry run for the next gubernatorial race?
>> Chip Scutari:
I don't think so. The reason I say that is the word on the street is in 2010, which is an eternity away, but that guys like Rick Renzi and J.D. Hayworth, big names in the Republican party, will go for that seat in 2010 and that these guys like Mary Peters and Ken Bennett know this is kind of their one shot at the brass ring.
>> Paul Giblin:
I would also suggest in a state with so many more Republicans than Democrats any year is a good year for a Republican to run.
>> Chip Scutari:
Yeah, and it's interesting. When you look at Republican voter registration, Pinal County within a year or so is going to go Republican. Cochise County went Republican in 2004. So the trend is definitely going in the Republican favor. They just have to find a decent candidate to run against Janet Napolitano next year.
>> Jose Cardenas:
They have about a 150,000 vote edge right now?
>> Chip Scutari:
Yeah, and they're hoping that combined with the same-sex marriage ban is going to drive voters to the polls.
>> Jose Cardenas:
Paul, speaking of politics and parties, the Democrats got some attorney's fees this week. What's the story there?
>> Paul Davenport:
That's a follow-up to an Arizona Supreme Court ruling this summer. There was a legal case stemming from Grant Woods' stint as a State Attorney General where he'd gone after the Democratic Party for taking corporate money for some overhead expenses. Grant Woods challenged them, eventually the State Supreme Court said, Well, you shouldn't have gone after the party. It was not illegal for the party to take the money, and then so, therefore, they knocked out that lower court ruling on that. Now this week the court said, Well, now it's time for you, State, to pay up, and the Democratic Party gets $37,500 from the taxpayers.
>> Jose Cardenas:
Another controversial issue, nationally, locally, all the time, of course, the abortion issue. This week Judge Rosenblatt denied a request to have a "choose life" license plate.
>> Paul Davenport:
That's right. And as you noted, it has been going on in other states and other courts have dealt with it with some mixed results. Here Judge Rosenblatt said that, no, the state's denial of a "choose life" license plate requested by a coalition of anti-abortion groups did not step on their first amendment rights. They've already promised to appeal to the 9th circuit.
>> Jose Cardenas:
Is it going to become an election issue?
>> Paul Davenport:
I don't know if that has the same umph as something like same-sex marriage. I don't know it it has that kind of stature to the electorate.
>> Chip Scutari:
Were you surprised by the ruling or was that expected?
>> Paul Davenport:
No, I wasn't surprised, but basically -- because I find it hard to predict what judges are going to do, but also because different courts have ruled different ways on that issue.
>> Jose Cardenas:
Paul Giblin, Taser International stock. SEC announced an investigation.
>> Paul Giblin:
Right, the SEC has announced an investigation. They're interested in as to whether outsiders were privy to some documents that insiders should have been looking at. Taser says they're going to cooperate with the SEC and try to get through the investigation as quickly as possible. On another front, Terry Goddard, the Attorney General, reached an agreement with Taser this week about some of the language they use to promote their stun guns, which are guns that shoot electric blasts at people and in most cases knocks them out. Not in every case. There have been some deaths associated with taser guns. So Terry Goddard hammered out this agreement with the company where they will alter the way they advertise their guns. They previously were saying a safe alternative. Now they'll be less firm on the language about the safety. They're going to say it's safer than other -- I forget the exact wording they're using now, but other -- not lethal force but they're saying it's safer than other forms of force. Whether it's safer -- whether safer means deadly -
>> Jose Cardenas:
The question is what practical impact will that have?
>> Paul Giblin:
Probably not much. I think that people, law enforcement agencies, are familiar now with tasers. They're used throughout the country. I think people know what they're getting when they get tasers. But now they have it on paper as well.
>> Jose Cardenas:
Didn't the City of Tempe, or was it DPS, announced they were looking at their use of tasers in connection the Fiesta Bowl upcoming based on last year -
>> Paul Davenport:
I think that was ASU -- I'm not sure.
>> Paul Giblin:
It was DPS. What else you're seeing is a lot of agencies, when they brought in Tasers, they would shoot their officers with the gun just so that they could experience it. They were having problems with that because officers were being injured. Personally, I don't think that's such a great idea. You don't shoot an officer with regular gun just to get them familiar with using a gun. That doesn't make any sense. Why should you shoot officers with tasers. You shouldn't use Tasers or guns unless you have to, but if you have to use them, you don't want took on the receiving end of that.
>> Jose Cardenas:
Not as the demonstrator. Chip, Cindy Sheehan, attracted a lot of attention nationally, had a meeting with Senator McCain, and she's going to be here next Monday.
>> Chip Scutari:
Yeah, she had a meeting with Senator McCain. I think he was under the impression that there was giong to be a lot of Arizona constituents and they weren't, and she proceeded to disagree with him over the war in Iraq, and I think McCain dealt with it the right way, just said we can agree to disagree. And Cindy Sheehan made quite a name for herself being the peace activist who camped out in Crawford, Texas outside of Bush's ranch there. She's going to be in the Valley on Monday. I'm sure it will draw a lot of media attention because she's a big name in the media now. But I think McCain handled it the right way.
>> Jose Cardenas:
She also tried to meet with Senator Clinton
>> Chip Scutari:
I didn't know that. What happened?
>> Jose Cardenas:
They had their discussion. They had their discussion. But no noticeable impact there. Do you think that will be an issue in local politics, state politics?
>> Chip Scutari:
I think it will be definitely a big issue in the Kyl-Peterson race. I don't think it will really be an issue in Governor Napolitano's race because it's such a federal/national issue. But I think Peterson will use that against Kyl, that the war was wrong, we went into the war under false pretenses, trying to find weapons of mass destruction.
>> Paul Davenport:
But at the same time, Peterson when he announced he covered a lot of ground in the announcement speech, but he did not make any kind of flat statement we should get out, period. He couched that with terms of, We still got to do the job and get out. All in one breath.
>> Jose Cardenas:
And speaking of getting out, we need to end this interview. Thank you for joining us on "Horizon." If you would like more information about "Horizon," go to our web site at www.azpbs.org. Once you get to our homepage, click on the word "Horizon" to see transcripts or information about upcoming shows.
>>> Announcer:
Convicted murderer James Hamm goes to the Arizona Supreme Court to plead his case to be admitted to the State Bar of Arizona. And a mom and pop operation competed with the large record companies and offered Native Americans a chance to record their treasured music. Canyon Records on "Arizona Stories" Monday night at 7:00 on Channel 8's "Horizon."

>> Jose Cardenas:
Tuesday, a conversation with one of the preeminent investigative journalists of our time, Seymour Hirsch. Wednesday, a look at the upcoming Supreme Court session and changes on the Court with law professors Paul Bender and Cathy O'Grady. Thursday, it's Governor Janet Napolitano's monthly visit to "Horizon." She'll talk about efforts to revamp our disaster planning. Coming up next on "Now," "Caught Inside the Storm" goes inside the management mess at FEMA, plus an in-depth look at the indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. That's our show for tonight. Thank you for joining us and have a good weekend.

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