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February 9, 2012

Host: Ted Simons

Adopt a Pound Dog

  |   Video
  • Dozens of “E-list” dogs (those scheduled to be euthanized) are being transferred from shelters all over the state to Tempe for a special pet adoption event February 11th and 12th. Longtime pet rescue volunteer Cathy LaSausa will speak about the event and how to reduce the number of dogs that end up on the “E-list."
  • Cathy LeSausa - Pet Rescue Volunteer
Category: Community   |   Keywords: animals, adopt, dog,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Over 150 dogs are up for adoption this weekend at Kiwanis park in Tempe. These are dogs scheduled to die in shelters all across Arizona. Organizers of the happy Valentails adopt a pound dog weekend are trying to save the lives of these animals by finding them loving homes. At the same time they want to erase the stigma that can sometimes go with shelter dogs. Joining me is Cathy LaSusa, she's one of the organizers of the happy Valentails event. Good to have you here.

Cathy Lasusa: Thank you for having me. And thank you so much for allowing us to talk about the plight of shelter dogs.

Ted Simons: you bet. Well, let's talk about the plight of shelter dogs. When we go to the park this weekend for happy Valentails, what kind of dogs are we looking at?

Cathy LaSusa: Happy Valentails adopt a pound dog weekend is the largest single event and unique event of its kind in the state of Arizona. We're going to have about 170 dogs all that were slated to be killed in over eight municipal shelters across the state. And there are -- they're very good dogs, they're small-to-large dogs, young-to-adult dogs, male, female, special needs dogs, all that just need a chance.

Ted Simons: How were these particular dogs chosen? Obviously they were on the E list, what other criteria was involved?

Cathy LaSusa: Basically that's all. Dogs that were scheduled to be killed, the shelters call it the E List, the euthanasia list. These dogs were owner turn-ins, strays, dogs that couldn't be reunited with their families, dogs that were unwanted, dogs that were found in different neighborhoods, and we are hoping to find all these dogs great homes and they are deserving of that.

Ted Simons: And as far as getting on this E list, how long does a dog usually have to be in the pound, in the shelter before they get on this list?

Cathy LaSusa: Usually a mandatory hold period vary. It varies from municipalities, from state to state. Usually it's about 72 hours, it's usually three days.

Ted Simons: Oh that's all, huh?

Cathy LaSusa: Yeah.

Ted Simons: Oh, my goodness. That's surprising. What else is surprising about shelters and pounds in Arizona? That's a different world than most of us experience.

Cathy LaSusa: Yes, it is. First what you said in the introduction is very important. To eliminate the stigma of shelter dogs. People are -- they're not marketed very well. People don't understand that at any given time there can be pedigrees in shelters, there can be puppies in shelters, people go and have impulse buys and buy dogs and cats and pets from puppy mills and pet stores, and back yard breeders, and don't really take the time to think about, hey, maybe we can find a good pet in our local animal shelters, and the shelters could do a little bit more to encouraging the public to come in and help them make a good match.

Ted Simons: I think sometimes the public will go in and they don't know what they're looking at. They don't in a dog behaves a certain way or looks -- what do you look at with a shelter dog? Do you look for activity, maybe a little sheepishness? Friendliness, sometimes a little cautiousness is not a bad thing. What do you look for in a shelter dog?

Cathy LaSusa: The most important thing is for people to know what type of dog they're looking for. What their lifestyle is. Do they want an active dog, a quiet dog, a lap dog? Do they want a puppy? Do they want to raise a dog that's already gone through house training? So the most important thing is to understand what your needs are and to go to the shelter and insist from your local animal shelters that you be provided with volunteers that are familiar with the dogs and that have been working with the cats and dogs to know what those animals are really like. And the animals in shelters are I have scared, they're in a foreign environment, they may have come from a very good home and then all of a sudden they're in an enclosed area being looked at and stared at and their whole routine is changed. And so many dogs get killed in animal shelters because they're fearful, and because they may be timid. But it's important to know that these shelter dogs just need a loving chance at a home, and a good family.

Ted Simons: If someone were to go to a shelter or go to the event this weekend in Tempe, and they say I want X, Y, and Z, this is the lifestyle we live, will there be people to say, this is a good one, and conversely say, if I'm looking here at some kind of dog and you know what I'm looking for something different say, I don't think that's necessarily for you.

Cathy LaSusa: Yes. We have about 175 volunteers, this is a event that's a massive undertaking. We have about 175 volunteers that have been involved with this event. We have about 27 veterinarian professionals, several of whom will be on site to help out. And we have fosters and rescue groups that are participate who have become familiar over the last week or so, the last couple weeks with these animals and have been assessing the animals as to their temperament and level of playfulness. There will be plenty on hand to help any individual who wants to come to the event.

Ted Simons: You can pretty much -- someone will be there to tell about you that dog if you're interested in that dog.

Cathy LaSusa: Right. Exactly. And like with any rescue group, with any good shelter that really is concerned and caring about the pets if an animal is adopted out and it doesn't work out, then we would be happy to work with those people, work with the family or household and if it doesn't work out definitely have the animal come back to us, put in a foster home or put in with our rescue group to make a better match the next time.

Ted Simons: All right. Very good. Good to have you here. Good to get that information out. We appreciate it.

Cathy LaSusa: Thank you so much for having us.

Ted Simons: The happy Valentails adopt a pound dog weekend takes place this Saturday and Sunday at Kiwanis park in Tempe. The $55 adoption fee includes spay, neuter, vaccination, and microchip. For more information go to

Ted Simons: Friday on "The Journalists' Round Table," antiunion measures advance in the Arizona senate, we'll discuss that. As well as what could be a looming budget battle at the capitol. That's Friday on "The Journalists' Round Table."

Ted Simons: That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

Court Ruling on Gay Marriage Ban

  |   Video
  • ASU Law Professor Zachary Kramer offers his legal analysis of a court ruling calling California’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional and what the decision could mean for a similar ban in Arizona.
  • Zachary Kramer - ASU Law Professor
Category: Law   |   Keywords: federal, court, gay, marriage, ban,

View Transcript

Ted Simons: On the Northwest corner of courthouse plaza in downtown Prescott, stand as historical marker proudly declaring the city's status as Arizona's first capital. President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Arizona a territory in 1863. Most assumed the capital would be Tucson, then the state's largest and most cultured city. But the region's military commander having just driven the confederates out of Tucson a year before, persuaded the territorial government to bestow the honor to camp Whipple. For five months, the officers of the territorial government of Arizona were operated from tents and log cabins here before being moved to Prescott. The state capitol was moved one more time to Phoenix in 1889.

Ted Simons: The ninth circuit court of appeals ruled this week California's ban on Gay Union is unconstitutional. Here to talk about that ruling and its impact on Arizona is ASU law professor Zachary Kramer. Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.
Zachary Kramer: Thank you, thanks for having me.
Ted Simons: Let's talk about the case. What was, is, California's Prop 8, what was ruled on here?

Zachary Kramer: Prop 8 is a constitutional amendment passed by voter initiative in 2008. And it says that marriage in California is the union of one man and one woman. It was a rash, or a trend of state laws, most of them constitutional amendments, I think there are 30 in the country at this point. Arizona has one, the language is almost exactly the same. And so by far the majority of states have them now.

Ted Simons: So how was then prop 8 challenged in court, and how did it get to the ninth circuit court of appeals?

Zachary Kramer: It started in the trial court and it was a very high-profile case because the lawyers, Ted Olson and David Boies, who were opponents in the 2000 election litigation, they joined forces, they had a press conference and announced they were tackling same-sex marriage. Just as back story, it's useful to know it was not the first same-sex marriage case obviously, but it was -- it received a lot of attention because who the lawyers were. So they challenged it in federal court, under federal law. And they argued it violates the due process clause of the 14th amendment, and the equal protection clause of the 14th ammeandment. The trial court ruled a few years ago a district court judge Vaughn who has retired, he wrote this broad, really expansive opinion that said there is a fundamental right for same-sex couples to get married, incredibly broad language. So that was on appeal before the ninth circuit. It was before a three-judge panel and they struck it down under the protection clause.

Ted Simons: And they struck it down with the ruling that, correct me if I'm wrong, is considered by many to be a narrow ruling.
Zachary Kramer: Yes.
Ted Simons: Talk to us about that and the implications.

Zachary Kramer: Sure. It's shockingly narrow. And it’s narrow when you have to compare it to the trial court, which was incredibly broad. So the same issues were before the ninth circuit and they acknowledge what the trial court did, talking about due process and equal protection. And then they said, but there's a third argument that the plaintiffs had raised, and because it's the narrowest argument we're going to only focus on that and the idea that they're going to bite off is -- as little as they can chew. You don’t have to speak to the constitution unless you have to. So they ended up ruling that California, because of its unique history with respect to same-sex marriage, has done something that no other state has done, and that's grant same-sex marriage and take it away. Prior to Prop 8, same-sex marriage was legal in California for about four to five months. In that four to five-month period, 18,000 couples registered and got licenses and married. And Prop 8 came in response to those marriages, and Prop 8 essentially said we're with drawing this right to get married, and this court said that is what is important in this case. Not the question of can a state deny same-sex marriage rights, which is a big question that everybody wants to know answer to and is hoping the Supreme Court will answer. But what the court said is, all we care about is they had a right and they've taken it away and according to the court they took it away for an improper reason.

Ted Simons: Taking it away for an improper reason. Something as narrow as that. Decidedly narrow, what does that mean regarding a Supreme Court review, which is obviously the next step, if it gets there?

Zachary Kramer: There's an intermediate step that could happen. It's possible that they could appeal it to a larger panel of the ninth circuit, which would be an 11-judge panel. And the last I checked they were still weighing their options. But because the decision is so narrow, in my mind it's not clear why the Supreme Court would want to take this case. Because right now it only applies to California. And the court is -- they are clear, they say it over and over again in an opinion we were talking about California's law, no other state, no broad right here.

Ted Simons: Could the Supreme Court go ahead and take it on those narrow grounds and then expand?

Zachary Kramer: Sure, they could. They could. I guess the question is, why would they if they don't have to? And so especially when you're dealing with a kind of divisive, contested issue, a civil rights issue, and the country is still discussing it, there's a presidential election going on, it's not clear that the court is going to want to come in at this point. They have tended in the past to let these sorts of issues play out in the states, the states develop answers to these question and come in once there's been a robust, full discussion. Arguably it's still early in the same-sex marriage opinion from the court's perspective.

Ted Simons: With all that in mind, how does this ruling and the general nature now of this particular case impact Arizona's law?

Zachary Kramer: I don't think it does at all. And that's because although the laws are almost exactly the same, Arizona never had same-sex marriage. And so if the reasoning that the court gave a stand, if anyone was to file a case in Arizona the court would say, that's all well and good, but the Perry case that you're citing isn't on point because that is unique to California.

Ted Simons: In other words, Arizona didn't take something away.

Zachary Kramer: Correct. So the court -- they kept saying over and over in their opinion that context matters. And the context is that they withdrew a right. They say they withdraw it, they eliminated it, they stripped it, but the basic idea, there was a right and now there isn't a right. Arizona hasn't done that.

Ted Simons: Last question.
Zachary Kramer: Sure.
Ted Simons: This case making news because of the decision here and we'll see where it goes, but there's also the federal defense of marriage act, that's also making its way through the courts as well.
Zachary Kramer: Yeah, that’s right.
Ted Simons: Talk about that dynamic.

Zachary Kramer: So the defense of marriage act is a federal statute that essentially the same one as the California, Arizona, one man, one woman. But for purposes of federal law. And there are a variety of challenges going on across the country, challenging DOMA. There's one picking up steam in Massachusetts that looks like it’s headed toward the Supreme Court. All of them are headed toward the Supreme Court. And so that litigation is a direct question, can the federal government deny same-sex couples the right to marry. Its the question the trial court in the Perry litigation in California answered, but the appellate court stayed away from. So I think that litigation, if it makes its way to the Supreme Court is going to be very hard for the court not to take it. In large part because they're going to probably be divergent opinions from various courts, but it's also a direct broad question.

Ted Simons: And as usual, it's whatever Anthony Kennedy decides will probably be the result.

Zachary Kramer: There are people it this Perry case was written for Kennedy, this outcome written opinion that we -- speaking to him, some of his -- it must be weird to be him, I don't know.
Ted Simons: Hey, fascinating stuff. Good information. Thanks for joining us.

Zachary Kramer: Thanks for having me.

State Spending Limits

  |   Video
  • The Arizona House Majority Leader, Representative Steve Court, and House Minority Leader, Representative Chad Cambell, debate a proposed House rule change that would limit lock state spending to a formula based on the previous year’s appropriations.
  • Steve Court - Arizona House Majority leader
  • Chad Campbell - Arizona House Minority leader
Category: Legislature   |   Keywords: legislature, spending, rights,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Arizona will get $1.6 billion from a $26 billion settlement with banks over bad foreclosure practices. The money will go to help reduce principals on mortgages and compensate victims of improper foreclosures.
Ted Simons: And Ron Barber, an aide to former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords will run in the special election to replace Giffords in congressional district 8. Barber was wounded in the Tucson shootings that injured Giffords. Barber says he has the support of Giffords and her husband, but he does not say if he'll run again in November's regular election.
Ted Simons: A bill that calls for a rigid system of spending limits known as the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, or TABOR, was vetoed last year by Governor Brewer. Some Republican lawmakers are trying to implement the restrictions this year by way after legislative rules change. Here to debate the issue is house majority leader Steve Court and house minority leader Chad Campbell. Good to have you both here. Thanks for joining us.
Chad Campbell: Thank you.
Steve Court: Thank you.
Ted Simons: Steve, we’ll start with you. What exactly is being proposed here?

Steve Court: This is a rules change being proposed that would institute a TABOR-like restriction on spending, basically it -- TABOR takes last year's spending amount and allows it to increase by the amount of inflation, plus population growth. And that would be kind of the starting point of what could you spend in the next year.

Ted Simons: Why is it a good idea?

Steve Court: It's a good idea because typically the way we budget, we look at what revenues we expect to be available and then we try to find ways to spend it. And that in a good growth economy like Arizona has, that tends to grow the size of government because you're going to increase your revenues faster than inflation plus population growth, and you start adding new programs, and you get to recession period like we recently had, and you can't sustain it.

Ted Simons: Why is this a bad idea?

Chad Campbell: Two major reasons. First and foremost, the two factors considered population growth and overall economic growth are kind of arbitrary in relation to how much you're spending as a state. We saw this TABOR-like provision in Colorado, failed miserably. In fact, the voters had to go and suspend it because they couldn't fund their schools, couldn't fund their health care. They had roads falling apart. Really just destroyed the state out right. But secondly, to do this in a rule change on the floor as opposed to actually trying to push a bill forward through the public hearing process, through votes of the elected leaders of the state, is just downright wrong. It's not what rules are meant for, they're meant for procedural motions, not policy. This would set a horrible precedent for how we make laws in this state.

Ted Simons: Colorado's experience with this, not necessarily the best, what happened up there and why would it be different down here?

Steve Court: Colorado's different because they did it through a voter mandate, a referendum. They put it into their constitution and the lawmakers couldn't suspend it when they needed to in a recession. Being in a rules change, it will take a simple majority vote to suspend the rule and then be able to move forward.

Ted Simons: But isn't the idea of making it a rules change difficult for a legislature to suspend it because you would essentially be put on record and it could be used against you, you are -- you're someone who wants to increase taxes?

Steve Court: Exactly. That's why we want the rule change. You are on record, and you can -- you are on record as saying we're going to adopt a new budget that would grow the size of government. And you can justify that one way or the other, but you're still on record.

Chad Campbell: And this is exactly why we don't need this TABOR provision. Either in statute or by rule change. We're elected by the people of the state to do a job. If the people don't want us or don't like the job we're doing, if we're spending too much or too little money they can kick us out of office. They can recall us, we just saw it happen with Russell Pearce. The voters have their say. We need to act responsibly, and to tie our hands for any unforeseen fiscal crisis that may come down the road. It’s just a bad fiscal policy.

Ted Simons: I why not put people on record, if it's -- if you do believe the recession is here, we need to raise revenue, now is a time to do it, I support this, why not have that more on record than it is now?

Chad Campbell: I'm on record for every vote I make for the budget, for a tax cut, for a tax increase. Any vote I make is public record. To put more obstacles in the way of doing the public policy making process, as it was intended by the founders of the state, it's just wrong.

Ted Simons: What do you make of that? A lot of folks have a problem with the rules change idea.

Steve Court: I think it adds more transparency to the process. When we take a normal vote on a budget, people can't say is this growing the size of government? Shrinking the size of government? This would put us on record as saying we're going to suspend this rule, we're going to grow the size of government, ordinarily in good times we've had -- mid 2000s we were growing state revenues greatly and we were spending it. That was growing the size of government which we could not sustain once the recession hit.

Ted Simons: The idea of Colorado was brought up. You talked about it being on the ballot as opposed to something as far as a rules change is concerned. What difference really does that -- other than the fact you would be on record voting for it?

Steve Court: And we could through a simple majority vote, suspend that rule. In Colorado it was part of their constitution, they could not suspend it, they could not override it. They had to go back to the ballot to do that.

Ted Simons: I want to ask you about what Steve mentioned regarding this boom, bust, boom, bust. It seems as though supporters say this would keep bubble activity to a minimum. Valid?

Chad Campbell: No, I disagree. We already have a constitutional spending limit in place here in Arizona. We've never come close to reaching that limit. Again, we as elected officials have to behave responsibly. We have the opportunity to slow down our growth every time we vote on a budget; we have the opportunity to increase growth if we want to every time we vote on a budget. All this is going to do, is two things. It’s going to politicize the process, even more than it's already politicized, which I think is horrible and something voters don’t want in this state. And secondly, doing it through this rule change is going to open up a new precedent of allowing policy decisions to be made by rule changes, which limits debate, limits public participation and really ties the hands of the people who are elected by the voters of the state in each district to do their job.

Ted Simons: If raising taxes, raising revenue is bad and something you wouldn't support and your fellow lawmakers wouldn't support, why not just not support it? Why the rules change?

Steve Court: The rules change has more to do with the spending side than raising revenues. So it's --

Ted Simons: OK. Same question, though, spending.

Steve Court: Again, it puts us on record as saying we're supporting a growth in government spending over and above what would normally be required. And the normal process like I said earlier, you don't -- it's hard for the public to decipher whether or not you're growing government. Just because you have the revenues doesn't necessarily mean you should be spending it all.

Chad Campbell: The real reason for this rules change, you alluded to it earlier, because the governor vetoed this very same measure last year. If this rules change were to be adopted this year and put in place, the governor's budget proposal, and I don't think anybody is accused Governor Brewer of being some outrageously free willing spending liberal, the governor's own budget proposal this year would not be able to make it to the floor of the house for debate if this rule were adopted. This is trying in essence to subvert the governor in what she has in her budget and what she did last year with the veto.

Steve Court: Well, I would disagree with that. We didn't even have the governor's budget when we proposed this rule at first. And that's fine. If her budget is going to grow government faster than a rate of inflation plus population growth, we should go on record saying we're willing to do that or not willing to do that.

Ted Simons: For those that say this will lock in spending at levels that are unnaturally low, how do you respond?

Steve Court: Again, it's a rule change. It can be suspended with a simple majority vote. It does not lock us into anything.

Ted Simons: I think that my confusion at least is that you say it can be suspended with a simple majority vote. But the purpose of the rules change is to I think embarrass folks or put folks on record to not make that vote. So I don't get that.

Steve Court: It's definitely to put them on record. We'll agree with that.

Chad Campbell: This is politicizing the budget. Let there be no doubt about that. You're exactly right when you say that, Ted. Again, if you feel like the budget is out of control and you're spending too much money in this state or spending too little, we can correct that as the legislature every time we vote on a budget. You do not need to put this rules change in place, it is unnecessary, and again, it's really opening the door for bad precedent.

Ted Simons: Last words --

Steve Court: I would still support it. I would not support a constitutional amendment like Colorado did, but whether it's a statute or rule change; it just puts more transparency into the project for us.

Ted Simons: Gentlemen, good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.

Chad Campbell: Thank you.

Steve Court: Thank you.