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November 14, 2011

Host: Ted Simons

ASU Morrison Institute Poll

  |   Video
  • Poll Director Bruce Merrill and Associate Director Tara Blanc discuss the results of their latest poll on immigration and a proposal change to Arizona’s primary elections.
  • Bruce Merrill - Director,Immigration Poll
  • Tara Blanc - Associate Director,Immigration Poll
Category: Education   |   Keywords: immigration, poll, elections,

View Transcript

Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Former Senate president Russell Pearce could be in line to get money from the state to pay for his recall expenses. The Capitol Times reports a provision in the constitution requires that the state pay for "Reasonable special election campaign expenses." State lawmakers will have to figure out exactly what that means and how much they would have to pay Pearce. Pearce has indicated that he might take advantage of the provision.

Ted Simons: A new poll is out with some interesting numbers regarding Arizonan' attitudes on immigration studies. The poll was conducted by Dr. Bruce Merrill. Survey also questioned Arizonans on a proposed ballot measure, a proposed ballot measure, I should say, that would create an open primary system in the state. Here now to discuss the poll results are Dr. Bruce Merrill and Dr. Tara Blanc, the poll's associate director. Good to have you both here again. Let's start with the number, let's go ahead and get right on into it. The idea of a path to citizenship in Arizona. What exactly was asked?

Bruce Merrill: Well, what we were interested in, and remember, this is a special population. And we asked about people that had been here in the state illegally for a number of years. Many of them who had children that were American citizens, and what we should do about that population. And what we found is what we've consistently found over the years, that when you talk about illegal immigration in Arizona, it's really a complex term. Part. It relates to the border and being tough on the border. And the state is overwhelmingly hawkish on that issue. Everybody in Arizona wants more border security. But when you ask people what to do with this population that's been here for a long time, they tend to be much more moderate in that question, and consistently, 65 to 75% of the registered voters or the adults living in Arizona, support what McCain used to call an earned path to citizenship.

Ted Simons: Let's go ahead and take a look at some of these results here.

Bruce Merrill: Sure.

Ted Simons: Because some folks will be surprised not just by the overall results, but as we get diaper into some of these numbers, that's, Tara, that's pretty significant there. Were you surprised at these results?

Tara Blanc: Well, we weren't surprised because again, we have asked this question before. When we used to do the Cronkite eight polls we asked those questions all the time. A high percentage of people who really do support this. It's interesting because our research shows voters see this as a separate issue. We talk a lot about illegal immigration and tend to see this as kind of a monolithic issue, what to do about people all in the same problem. As Bruce mentioned it's clear people want the borders closed but it's also very interesting that people do see this as a separate issue. And so we weren't surprised to find that that high a percentage of people would support some kind of path to citizenship.

Ted Simons: Do you think that the percentage was higher because, in the question, you brought up -- it wasn't just, do you support a path to citizenship.

Tara Blanc: Correct.

Ted Simons: You kind of explained the issue, got more information out there.

Tara Blanc: Correct. And the more information you give people, the better an answer they can give, obviously. So we did offer people some information about the steps that would be involved. For this population in order to earn citizenship which is a pretty long path. But I do think that that information helps people give a more accurate answer about their feelings about this.

Ted Simons: Agree with that?

Bruce Merrill: Absolutely. The interesting thing, Ted, is this is almost the same plan that McCain had offered when he ran for the presidency. He later changed it to some degree, but as Tara said, we have found the same results over the last four or five years.

Ted Simons: The break down of Democrats, Republicans, independents, talk to us about that. Because conventional wisdom would be that Republicans would not be all that much in favor. As you mentioned John McCain had to draw back just to get out of his primary, just to get the base happy. Republicans were pretty much in favor of this, weren't they?

Bruce Merrill: Well, sure. I think it's the question that people are people. They're not first Republicans or Democrats. And I think when you explain what the situation is, it's not terribly surprising that a majority of Republicans are supportive of this issue also.

Ted Simons: 79% of independents were supportive. 69% apparently Republicans. 89% of Democrats. Again, any surprises there at all?

Tara Blanc: No. I would have expected it to break that way. I think, again, the numbers are high overall but I think the way they broke is pretty consistent with what we would find normally.

Ted Simons: More support among the young, Latinos and women, and it sounds like education was a factor as well. Correct?

Bruce Merrill: Sure, sure. The higher a person's education level, I think it's what it speaks to, Ted, is, this is a very complex issue. And the answer isn't just rounding everybody up and somehow herding them back across the border. They come back. Sure, you can make it more difficult for them to be here and that's been the policy the last few years. But again, I think what's interesting in Arizona is, people based on what's happened with illegal immigration in the last few years, kind of look at us as an ultraconservative electorate and consistently with our polling data, we don't find that. The electorate in Arizona is pretty moderate. And you give them information. They're perfectly capable of really taking that data and making good decisions with it.

Ted Simons: Someone watching this poll, watching the program, would say, yeah, but what about all the polls on SB 1070? Arizonans seem to be in favor of SB 1070. Lawmakers who were in favor of that were rewarded by the electorate. How do you reconcile the difference?

Tara Blanc: We asked a general question about what people thought were the most important issues facing Arizona. The three top issues were immigration, jobs and the economy and education. That indicates that illegal immigration is still seen as a problem, a big problem, and as Bruce mentioned earlier, it's clear that Arizonans want the borders closed. And my suspicion is that when people look at things like SB 1070 and other kinds of measures like that, it's with the idea that we need do something about the problem. We need to address it. It's not that we just want to let it go away. I think that it's not surprising that there is that kind of support for things like SB 1070, but then people can turn around and look at the realities of a problem. And the reality is that there's, you know, many millions of people in this country who have been here a long time. What do we do about them and how do we practically go about addressing that issue?

Ted Simons: Does that suggest lawmaker who is want to expand on SB 1070, and run in all different directions? Might have a disconnect with the electorate?

Bruce Merrill: No. I think Tara is right. I think part of the problem, Ted, as long as we are in a recession, at least a perceived recession, people are frightened about their jobs. And it's easy to blame somebody. And it's very easy in psychology, we call it scapegoating. And this isn't a negative term. It just says, you know, how do we explain how bad things are? One way to explain how bad things are is that there's these people that came across the border illegally and they're taking jobs away from people that need them here in this country. So as Tara says, I think it's a very complex problem, and, but we don't find, if you just ask about being tougher on illegal immigration, sure. And remember, the question that we looked at is on a very limited special population.

Ted Simons: Indeed. OK. The other big question from the survey, this poll regards the open primary system. Let's take a look at the numbers here. And explain, Bruce, if you will, again, what was asked of folks?

Bruce Merrill: Well, basically, if you look at the data, what we were interested in is following very closely this proposal that's being put about by former mayor Paul Johnson, which is the, an attempt to have a California-type jungle primary, which is a nonpartisan kind of an election, where people would actually go to the polls and the candidates that want to participate, let's say, for governor, they could choose to put their party on the ballot or not. But all of the people running for governor would be voted on, if somebody didn't get a majority, the top two would be in a runoff. And the important thing here is, it wouldn't matter if they are Republicans or Democrats. Or wouldn't be a Republican running against a Democrat, it would be the two top vote getters. So it's an attempts, I think, more than anything to moderate some of the conflict that we've had, not only conflict, in the legislature, but very often I think we can make a case that the political composition, the very conservative members of the house, aren't always representative of the average voter in Arizona. So this proposal, I think to have a nonpartisan election, along with the idea of the reapportionment or the redistricting commission to have more competitive districts, is really an attempt, I think, to soften some of the political rhetoric that people are sick and tired of in this state and this country.

Ted Simons: It looked like from the results Democrats, Republicans, obviously independents were very happy with this idea. But Democrats and Republicans were in favor of this idea. And I know that the parties themselves aren't crazy about it. Were you surprised to see those numbers from party --

Tara Blanc: I was a little surprised at the Republicans were as agreeable as they appeared to be in this poll. But thinking about it, a little further, I would agree with Bruce that I think the issue is that people are really tired of the partisan bickering, the partisanship, and they see this as a way, everybody sees this or not everybody but the people who are in favor of it see it as a way to kind of go around that. In other words, looking at being able to choose the candidate I want to choose, having the option to pick the best candidate as opposed to the best candidate in my party. Maybe that might be a way around some of this.

Ted Simons: Bruce, the idea that maybe in a top-down jungle primary, whatever you want to call it that minority parties would never have a chance or would rarely have a chance. That's one of the criticisms. Some other criticisms that are out there you may not know what you are getting into if you start going down that path.

Bruce Merrill: Number one, third parties don't have any chance in the American political system anyway. We have single-member districts with plurality elections. It makes it almost impossible to have minor parties. So I don't think that changes much. Not knowing what you get into, I think that's certainly legitimate. I am not completely convinced that this is the ultimate solution to bring about a more moderate representative legislature. But it's a beginning. And you know, Ted, I think every poll comes out the way you ask the question. I think what most people heard here, like Tara said, nonpartisan. And I think that people are really tired right now of these parties fighting and bickering. And so I think anything that says nonpartisan maybe they are going to be kind of leaning in that direction.

Tara Blanc: One of the other issues, too, in the way the primary system is set up now so many of the races are decided in the primary. They're very noncompetitive by the time you get to the general election. And I suspect that some of the people who support this idea would like to see more competitiveness in these races and see this as a way to do it much like the municipalities do.

Ted Simons: With the Phoenix Merrill race and we saw to a degree, in the Russell Pearce recall election. Was that not something that to keep in mind when you are looking at this particular idea?

Bruce Merrill: Oh, absolutely. I think if people look at the Pearce race and think that all of those Pearce people changed their mind in a illegal immigration is just not the case. What actually I think 457ed in the big picture there was the high turnout brought a lot more moderates into the political system. There were enough of them to override the conservative vote, and that bodies well for maybe politics in Arizona being more moderate in the future.

Ted Simons: All right. We will stop it right there. Good to have you both here. Thank you.

Bruce Merrill: Good to be here, Ted.

“GoGreen Phoenix” Conference

  |   Video
  • Taking place November 15th at the Phoenix Convention Center, this one-day conference is designed to help Arizona businesses become more sustainable. Find out how the conference is helping businesses “go green” from Carolyn Bristo, Sustainability Officer for the City of Phoenix, and Ericka Dickey-Nelson, Co-Founder of GoGreen Conference and President of Social Enterprises.
  • Carolyn Bristo - Sustainability Officer for the City of Phoenix
  • Ericka Dickey-Nelson - Co-Founder of GoGreen Conference and President of Social Enterprises.
Category: Sustainability   |   Keywords: Phoenix Convention Center, go green, ,

View Transcript

Ted Simons: Tomorrow Arizona business owners have an opportunity to learn how to make their companies as sustainable as possible at the Go Green conference in Phoenix. Here to talk about tomorrow's event is Ericka Dickey-Nelson, president of Social Enterprises. Carolyn Bristo, sustainability officer for the City of Phoenix, and Rodney Glassman, director of subsector solutions for Waste Management of Arizona. Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us. Ericka, we will start with you. What is Go Green? Did I get it right?

Ericka Dickey-Nelson: You got it right. It's a one-day sustainability conference for business owners and business leaders. Really anyone who can make decisions about sustainability in a business. So our goal with the event is to give the audience 245 attends actionable steps they can take away. An arsenal of business they can take and actually act on.

Ted Simons: How did you get started with this.

Ericka Dickey-Nelson: We started in Portland in 2008. We are in six states now. What we found even in Portland which is supposedly one of the greenest cities in the U.S., there was a huge need for education for the business community. There's a lot going around consumer education, but for businesses specifically, there wasn't really anything in existence. We created the event and had soldout every time we have done it since we started in 2008.

Ted Simons: Why did you pick Phoenix?

Ericka Dickey-Nelson: So we had a great meeting with Carolyn and her team at the city. One of the things that really impressed us about Phoenix, we actually work with the NRDC, the national resources defense council. They did a smarter cities study and that's how we did our research on Phoenix. They have over 70 initiatives at the city they are working on, many of which are focused on businesses. When we met with them we were so impressed with all they were doing considering the situation they are here.

Ted Simons: Talk about the situation we have here. What is going on? Sounds like a lot of activity.

Carolyn Bristo: Well, at the city of Phoenix, we are very proud to be hosting the first of what we hope to be many more Go Green conferences for Phoenix. We have a strong and a long legacy of over three decades of sustainable programs in the city of Phoenix. So we see this as an opportunity for us to go greener faster, and smarter. We have, our legacy is an extensive one. We have had water conservation program for over 30 years and we are actually using less water than we were using in 1995. We have had an energy efficiency and conservation program for over 30 years and have saved hundreds of billions of dollars through cost avoidance. We have a green fleet. We have been greening our fleet for over 15 years, and over 63% of the fuel that we used last year was green fuel. So we are very excited about hosting this conference.

Ted Simons: I want to get to the business aspect in a second with rod debut back to the governmental aspect sounds like, what do you plan to learn, though, from this kind of a conference? Sounds like a lot of stuff is already going.

Carolyn Bristo: Lots of things are going on but I always say that the biggest room in the house is the room for improvement. So we have got a lot of areas in which we can improve from recycling and waste diversion to really a lot of leadership and a collaboration, energy efficiency, we have got some very aggressive goals for renewable energy.

Ted Simons: OK. To the private sector here. What do you plan to take, what do you look to take from this kind of event?

Rodney Glassman: Before even focusing on tomorrow's event, tomorrow is a great day to have the event because tomorrow is America recycles day and Waste Management is proud to be working with whole foods market and any of your viewers that are interested in recycling a cell phone can go to any whole foods market in the greater Phoenix area and recycle that cell phone and receive a free half gallon of milk. In regards to commercial businesses and working with businesses, Waste Management is the leading and the largest environmental solutions company in North America. So we are all over the board when it comes to improving and greening up businesses, especially in the area of commercial recycling. We are able to offer that to businesses in the city of Phoenix and across the valley. But we are doing a number of different things that we are going to be talking about tomorrow including taking land fill gases and turning that into electricity. We also just opened a brand new recycling facilities in surprise, Arizona, $23 million facilities where we offer tours and so we are going to be promoting bringing businesses out not just to see the can that you put those recyclables in but how we bale that and how that is reused.

Ted Simons: Back to my original, you got the marketing aspect down. I figured that out. You succeeded in that element which I want to talk to but in a second as well because a lot of companies don't but as far as the idea of a private business getting something from the conference, what do you look for? What can you -- what can Waste Management learn?

Rodney Glassman: Well, we are interested in doing is getting more tools. More tools on sustainability and that's what we are going to be sharing as well tomorrow. There are a lot of businesses, believe it or not that don't recycle. There arrest lot of businesses that are unsure how they can green themselves up. We have some wonderful collaborations with the city of Phoenix. One of the companies that we are partners with is called Big Belly Solar and they are actually trash compactors you can put in front of your business that use about the same amount of energy as toasting a single slice of bread. And if you are able to use those kind of machines, just like City of Phoenix is doing, you can actually reduce the number of trucks, the number of pickups that your business is using thereby reducing your carbon footprint and recycling your recyclables. That's one of tools we are bringing to the conference but the reality is we are always interested in improving and learning so we are excited about getting this.

Ted Simons: Did I just get green washed? Is that the idea?

Ericka Dickey-Nelson: I hope not!

Ted Simons: But getting your message out there. Saying here's what we do, how we do it and here's what we can do better.

Ericka Dickey-Nelson: Green washing so basically its when you do all this hard work on sustainable practices and try to market what you are doing. That a lot of people market things that aren't necessarily true. We are going to he will what you green washing is and how you can avoid it.

Ted Simons: What exactly is green washing?

Ericka Dickey-Nelson: Falsely advertising green practices that aren't authentic.

Ted Simons: That is a problem?

Ericka Dickey-Nelson: It is. We are going to showing video examples of advertisements that are green washing and it's going to be companies that you recognize. And it's really shocking. It's great. Most people don't really know what it is.

Ted Simons: I wasn't green washed then.

Rodney Glassman: No, not only were you not being green washed, but Waste Management has a solution atrium which is one of the teams with our company. We will talk about this tomorrow but if a business is interested in making sure that they are not just advertising about being sustainable but are actually wanting to put some meat on those bones we have a team that's able to come into businesses to talk about commercial recycle, to talk about solar, to talk about other renewable features and how we can green them up so it's not just the advertisement. And they can simply do that by going to WW of

Ted Simons: As far as the governmental aspect, it's not a business. You are going to have to red tape is around everywhere in a variety of forms. How do you get past that? How do you get sustainability on the fast track in terms of municipalities?

Carolyn Bristo: Well, I think you get past that through leadership, cooperation and collaboration. I think that's the only way to go. In sustainability, it is a business. Because it's about the triple bottom line-community, economics, and environment. And all businesses want to sustainable return on their investment. Of course, regulatory relief, cutting the red tape, making it easier to do business with the city and fast tracking as you talked about last year, we were able to pass the first green, one of the first green colds in the city of Phoenix. It's a voluntary code. Last year we gave about $1 million in incentives to businesses to go green. We are -- and we are working very closely with APS, with ASU on an energize Phoenix program in our light rail corridor. So all of that is about, it's got to be about collaboration and leadership.

Rodney Glassman: And to add to that, public-private partnerships. Waste Management is actually partners as the environmental solutions provider for Arizona State University. In fact, Litchfield park, the city of Chandler, and as well as the city of Goodyear actually utilize our services to work with them on not only their waste hauling but their recycling. We work with cities and towns in collaborating as well as providing greater efficiencies for them in serving their residents.

Ted Simons: So I am a small business owner and I go to the conference and I hear Rodney talk about his company and I hear Carolyn mention the city is doing this. I am a small business. What do I take from this? What do I learn from this and how do I apply it to my business?

Ericka Dickey-Nelson: The important thing we are doing in addition to having great people like this, we want to hear it from the horse's mouth. The actual business owners who have done it. So I think we are going to have the majority of the speakers will be those businesses that have actually implemented these and what steps they took to get from A to Z. They will talk us through literally every question that we ask these speakers to talk about will be, what exactly did you do to get to this point? And how did you succeed? We did interview about 200 businesses for the 50 slots. So we interviewed a lot of folks that were regarded as cutting edge case studies, and we came away with the best of the business that will be showcased. Those that are really doing things that are out of the box.

Ted Simons: Can you give us a quick example?

Ericka Dickey-Nelson: Yeah. There's so many examples but Ping is a great example.

Ted Simons: Interesting.

Ericka Dickey-Nelson: They are going to be speaking on the greener supply chain question with Phil McNeilly who heads up sustainable purchasing with the City. We worked with the City to actually come up with a lot of our case study ideas of them, who we interviewed and found out what stories are most compelling. We are going to learn more about that tomorrow. I don't have all the details but we could know they have some really interesting things that they haven't put into place yet so that's one of the reasons we found them interesting because they are not, they're working to get there but they haven't done it all. They are going to tell us about their plans.

Ted Simons: As far as dealing with other businesses, from where you sit, are people more amenable to sustainable? Do they understand sustainability these days.

Rodney Glassman: The reality of what's driving sustainability from the private sector aspect are consumers. Throughout the valley consumers are interested in supporting businesses that are greener which is one of the reasons we are so excited as a company about not just telling people what we have to offer but more importantly, going into businesses, learning about their operations, and looking at how we can improve their operations. One of the great success stories that we have seen has to do with compacting units. You drive through retail centers, you will see there's those big rolloffs in the back. Big front load containers. By installing solar compacting monitors that are fueled by the sun but that monitor when those pickup needs to happen, we have the ability to reduce the number of trucks that are on property. We increase safety and that's just one element, one kind of success story we are able to do simply by listening to the needs and listening to operations that are going on.

Ted Simons: Very quickly, as far as coming from a governmental standpoint, is this what Phoenix residents want?

Carolyn Bristo: It's exactly what Phoenix residents want. All of us want the highest quality of life for ourselves and the businesses want the high quality of life. So from residents to businesses, to every sector of the community. So our bottom line is about the highest quality of life. And you do that through effective stewardship over your human, your economic resources and your environmental resources.

Ted Simons: All right. Very good. We will stop it right there. Great conversation. Thank you for joining us.

Carolyn Bristo: Thank you for having us.