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May 29, 2014

Host: Ted Simons

2014 Election Preview

  |   Video
  • Statewide, legislative and congressional races will take place in this year’s election cycle. One day after the filing deadline for signatures needed to qualify for the ballot, political consultants Stan Barnes and Bob Grossfeld will discuss the upcoming primary and general elections.
  • Stan Barnes - Political Consultant
  • Bob Grossfeld - Political Consultant
Category: Politics   |   Keywords: politics, election, preview, general, primary, state, legislative, congress, race,

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Ted Simons: Yesterday was the filing deadline for Arizona candidates to turn in their signatures, and that means that today the field is set for statewide, legislative and congressional races. Political consultants Stan Barnes and Bob Grossfeld are here to discuss the upcoming campaigns. Good to see you both here. It's that time of year again or season again. Let's just start with the 30,000 foot view here. Are we going to see some surprises?

Stan Barnes: Yeah. Bob and I, other nerds watching this program, we love this kind of thing. This is Christmas in the summertime. There's something like 70 people running for the House or the Senate and 130 running for the House, so we're going to see new personalities, we’re going to see missteps, we're going to see smear attack ads, we're going to see some bare knuckle, we’re going to see some belly flops, we're going to see some people raising a lot of money, we're going to see people raise no money. It's going to be a very interesting thing. There's a long way to go between here and the primary and then the general.

Ted Simons: Are you thinking we're going to see some surprises some November?

Bod Grossfeld: Oh, yeah, absolutely. The issue right now is who and what. The what I'm looking at, everybody's looking at, the Republican gubernatorial primary. You've got seven people there. Somebody's going to win this thing with 30% of the vote.

Ted Simons: Impact of having that kind of a crowd in there. Could you have a dark-horse come out of that? Or could the dark horse just simply impact the other races?

Bob Grossfeld: I think there will be some impact. Who's going to steal votes from whom? But just at a minimum, somebody could pick up 10% of the votes just by breathing.

Stand Barnes: There's a lot of analogy to the national presidential race in 2016 and the Arizona gubernatorial race in 2014. On the national scene, we have Hillary and all things Hillary on the democratic side, and then we have a plethora of Republican governors and U.S. senators going to run for president. In Arizona, Fred Duval is the lone democrat and he’s united his party, and there's seven real candidates who are all over the spectrum -- the money spectrum, all over the philosophical spectrum and all over the personality spectrum. It's going to be very interesting.

Ted Simons: Does that help or hurt Duval?

Stan Barnes: He loves it. This is how Janet Napolitano got to be governor in 2002. This is the democratic playbook. When you've got fewer registrants than the other party, you hope that the other party has its own civil war, and Republicans are in the midst of a civil war and some of that is going to come out in the primary.

Ted Simons: Do you agree with that? Because people still don't know who Fred Duval is.

Bob Grossfeld: I know. [ Laughter ]

Ted Simons: Your answer is in your smile I guess there. Isn’t it?

Bob Grossfeld: Look, Fred now has an opportunity to go around and run the campaign he wants to run without having to think a whole lot about what a November opponent's going to say within reason and he's doing that. He's been incredible successful so far. Much more successful than I think most people would assume somebody without a primary would have. He's running and he's running very hard.

Ted Simons: Alright, we've got to get to the Attorney General's race here. Will the incumbent get out of the primary?

Stan Barnes: That is the echo chamber conversation being had in all hallways at the Capitol today. Certain lawmakers, Republican lawmakers came out and asked him to resign. They're following a trail of U.S. senators and Congressman Salmon. I think the answer is probably, no. He seems to have what I describe as a Churchillian manner of sticking with it and never giving up. You can give him that credit. He's not giving up. However, a great many Republican thinkers myself included believe that if he's the nominee he cannot win the general election so as long as he's in the race all he's doing is hurting the Republicans.

Ted Simons: Is he hurting the Republican Party, is he hurting other candidates?

Bob Barnes: Yes, yes, and yes. If he happens to survive the primary then whoever wins the primary for governor and for other officers they have to campaign together and they'll be explaining him wherever they go and that's not a good scene.

Ted Simons: Felicia Rotellini, Democrat, you're smiling again over here. We got the first of two smiles of the evening. But again, Rotellini, can she beat a Brnovich? Can she beat a Horne?

Bob Grossfeld: She definitely can beat a Horne. Brnovich is an unwritten script so far. Nobody knows much about him. He hasn't been campaigning that anybody I know can see. And unless he's raising money very quietly, there's not much of a campaign there. And I suspect he's probably holding back waiting for Horne to just explode.

Ted Simons: Do you think she would be able to, Rotellini, would be able to pick off enough Republican votes out there to beat an unknown like Brnovich, who we’ll know more about should he get out of the primary?

Bob Grossfeld: I think so. She's very popular. She's very well liked and there's still that bad taste left from four years ago where she got clobbered and that's all coming back out again now because of the Horne missteps.

Stan Barnes: It's an important theme that is going on here with all the top executive offices, save for the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Democrats have one candidate no primary, Republicans have primaries that are sure to be nasty and not pretty. And, you know, there's a lot of chatter about the Duval, Goddard, Rotellini, one, two, three on the democratic side, those are three great candidates and you've got a united democratic party backing some seriously good candidates, Republicans have got to watch out. They might find themselves on the wrong side.

Ted Simons: Is that Secretary of State race Goddard's to lose?

Bob Grossfeld: I think so. He's so well-known, and his positives are up where they ought to be, that if he runs a decent campaign, he's there.

Stan Barnes: There are three Republicans running: Will Carden, Representative Justin Pierce, and Senator Michelle Reagan. You know, just picking out of thin air, but if your name is Reagan and you are a woman and you have a great reputation like Senator Reagan does, that makes you pretty formidable. But she has to get through a primary with two other good candidates both of whom would make great Secretaries of State. I don't know who Terry Goddard wants to run against, but I bet it's not Michelle Reagan.

Ted Simons: Interesting. Superintendent of Public Instruction, will the incumbent get out of the primary?

Stan Barnes: Yeah, I think he will. I think there's a lot of focus on that race in very small circles, but if you get out of the very small circles, very few people are focused on the dramas that may be there and Huppenthal has never lost an election, he’s got great name-ID, he’s done good things for the office, and so I think he's going to do a lot better than people say.

Ted Simons: What about David Garcia? Can he pick off enough Republican votes? Is that going to be a race? Or, again, is that Huppenthal’s to lose?

Bob Grossfeld: I think in a way it's Hoopenthal's to lose because he's made some missteps. The fact he's been labeled as the “Superintendent of Private Instruction” and that's caused a significant constituency for public schools to get very up in arms and energized in a way that they haven't been in a very long time.

Ted Simons: Alright. As far as the treasurer's race again lots of -- Hugh Holman is the only name that anyone recognizes in that race.

Stan Barnes: Yeah, Randy Pullen, who was the party chairman and is a decent fellow. The funniest part about that office is –- it plays to my own personal biases -- is Republicans have held the Treasurer's job in Arizona for almost every term since 1948. And Republicans weren't in the majority in the state until late 80s. In other words, people trust the Republicans with the money is my logic so -- [ Laughter ] It's going to be a Republican that wins. I don't even know if there's a democrat filed in the Treasurer’s race.

Ted Simons I don't think there is no democrat is there?

Stan Barnes: It’s to my point. It's not even worth running as a Democrat.

Ted Simons: But to get out of a primary, you mentioned Randy Pullen, you've got a lot of connections there. Can Holman get out of that primary?

Stan Barnes: I'm just guessing like everybody else. I think he probably can. He's got more name-ID straight up. Pullen might spend more money and change that dynamic, but there's a lot of randomness to this thing as voters go down the ballot and we'll see.

Ted Simons: CD-1. How strong is Anne Kirkpatrick?

Bob Grossfeld: She's very strong and has been working the grassroots like in a way that people don't see, especially with congressional races. The constituency work, the going around from town to town doing it consistently every weekend, that's something that don't show up and that's what she's been doing. She's been working hard.

Stan Barnes: It's another circumstance, Ted, where Republicans are going to have a nasty primary, are having a nasty primary and Democrats are united and are coasting and so we'll see. I think speaker Tobin is likely to be the nominee for the Republicans. And he's having a fundraiser this week with Mitt Romney leading the event. I think he's going to have the resources. With Anne, who's a great Congresswoman in her own right, what she's vulnerable on is this is a non-presidential year, the Republicans turn out in higher percentages than Democrats, and she's really got to hold every single Democrat and cut into the Republican base in order to hold that thing. I don't know if she will.

Ted Simons: Last time we had the discussions regarding congressional district nine, the consensus was Kyrsten Sinema might as well start campaigning now because they're going to be coming after her right and left. She seems relatively secure in this race.

Bob Grossfeld: They're coming at her right and right, not right and left. They're beating her up already. I don't see any movement. She's holding strong. And she's doing everything right.

Ted Simons: What do you think?

Stan Barnes: I think have you sensed a theme? Republicans are going to have another nasty primary here, be divided, it hurts their fundraising, it hurts their messaging. They both have to play to the right because they want to win the right and they can't play in the center where Sinema wins that election.

Ted Simons: Well, let’s get then to what could be a Democratic nasty race and that’s CD-7 Mary Rose Wilcox, Ruben Gallego. What goes on there? Is that the old guard versus the new guard?

Stan Barnes: That is old versus new, but it's also –- there’s much more strata in it. There's four or five candidates that have filed.

Ted Simons: Actually, you're right.

Stan Barnes: And I think all of them end with a vowel, I think they’re all Hispanic, they all lay claim. One of them is named Caesar Chavez, they all lay claim to that mantra. Only one has Ed Pastor’s endorsement and that’s Mary Rose Wilcox. Ruben Gallego is a hustling, hard-working guy who's going to raise a lot of money. But the others are going to cut in. So no one really knows how that’s going to play out.

Ted Simons: What do you think is going to happen over there?

Bob Grossfeld: Right now Reuben's got the ground game going for him. Much more so than anybody I think understands. He's got his folks going door to door, but not carrying paper. They've got little palm pilot type things, boy that dated me, iPhones. They're doing iPhones. And having the voter file on it. So when they go door to door, they're ticking off who they talked to, what kind of response they've gotten. I mean it's high tech like nobody's ever seen before.

Ted Simons: Before we get you guys out of here, very quickly will the state legislature change noticeably?

Stan Barnes: No. It will be ‘R’ and ‘R’ in both chambers and the personalities will shift.

Ted Simons: What do you think?

Bob Grossfeld: Pretty much the same.

Ted Simons: Pretty much the same. Alright, guys, we look forward to speaking with you some more as the season progresses. Good to have you both here.

Arizona Artbeat: Touvlo

  |   Video
  • A Mesa woman has figured out a way to take her love of words and create one of a kind custom art pieces. See how Yolanda Esquer turned her home project into a flourishing business creating concrete block art.
Category: The Arts   |   Keywords: the arts, arizona, project, block, art, concrete, touvlo,

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Shana Fischer: Block by block, Yolanda Esquer has turned a simple home project into a flourishing business.

Yolanda Esquer: Initially when I started, I made a block with our last name on it. And I took it to a photo shoot and the photographer really liked it and she said, you know, you ought to make these and sell them. And I just kind of -- when you're talking to someone it just kind of sits in the back of my head.

Shana Fisccher: But it got her thinking and several years later, she took the plunge and started Touvlo.

Yolanda Esquer: The materials I use are pretty basic -- water, mortar and cement. I take that, and then I pour it into the mold and I smooth out the top of it. I'll spray water on it if I need it to get a little bit shinier and I use whatever I'm going to stamp into the concrete. It's never going to be the same because, you know, I obviously do it one at a time. And so the finishes and the textures and even the colors, even though it's always gray, is always going to vary depending on the temperature outside or if I put too much water or too much cement or too much mortar or not enough mortar, not enough cement, not enough water. It's always different. It's never the same.

Shana Fischer: Working with concrete in Arizona does present some challenges.

Yolanda Esquer: I have to work very quickly. In the sense that in Arizona, especially during the summer, the concrete cures very quickly, whereas the wintertime I have a couple of hours. If somebody says that doesn't look right or even if I don't like it, I can go back and start all over again.

Shana Fischer: Once the concrete is in the mold. Yolanda uses her stamps to create names, words, even quotes. Pretty much anything a client can dream up, Yolanda can do.

Yolanda Esquer: I really get a kick out of people when they walk up and you can just see their brain just going wow I can do this or I could do that or wait a minute, what word do I want to do?

Shana Fischer: Words have always held a special place in Yolanda's heart. A voracious reader since childhood, when it was time to name her business, she drew upon that passion.

Yolanda Esquer: Well, I have great love of words and language, and so when I was trying to think of a name for the company, I looked around like different languages and Greek is what I ended up with. So the word Touvlo in the Greek means brick.

Shana Fischer: And while Yolanda is proud she's making a living with her blocks, there's something else that fuels her, a piece of advice we can all learn from.

Shana Fischer: I'm not so much for, you know, the money or oh, you know, to be someone that's known. I think it's just very simple to me and I don't even think of myself as an artist. I think of myself as just somebody who likes to do what I do.

Ted Simons: And those blocks can be found at the Gilbert Farmer’s Market. That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thanks for joining us, you have a great evening.

Special Legislative Session

  |   Video
  • A special legislative session to revise Arizona’s system for protecting abused and neglected children was wrapped up. Jim Small, an editor with the Arizona Capitol Times, gives us an update.
  • Jim Small - Journalist, Arizona Capitol Times
Category: Legislature   |   Keywords: legislature, special, session, arizona, update, children,

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Ted Simons: A special legislative session to overhaul Arizona’s child safety and welfare system wrapped up today with the creation of a new agency. Here with the details is Jim Small of The "Arizona Capitol Times." Jim, good to see you. Let's get into it. What happened today?

Jim Small: Basically, today, the legislature gave final approval to this reform package and funding package for the new Department of Child Safety. The Senate had done some work yesterday, a little bit of floor action yesterday but today was the final vote in the Senate and then the house debated the bill and also voted on it today and this afternoon about two hours after the session ended and the lawmakers called it quits, the governor signed the bill so everything is now in place for the new agency to basically replace the old child protective services.

Ted Simons: And the new agency will be called...

Jim Small: The Department of Child Safety.

Ted Simons: D-C-S

Jim Small: D-C-S

Ted Simons: And who will be in charge?

Jim Small: Charles Flanagan who was the former director of the Juvenile Corrections Department. He had been tapped actually by Governor Brewer back when she first announced in January that she was going to spin off the CPS agency into a new division at the time, a new division within the Department of Economic Security and she called for this new agency to be created. She selected him to lead that new division and he comes from kind of a corrections background. He was a warden and moved into the administration at the Department of Corrections before moving to juvenile corrections, but I think he's got a background, his approach to things, you know, I think he really won over a lot of sceptics throughout this process, that he's committed to doing what needs to be done and not simply treating things as though they are punishment.

Ted Simons: Not too much enforcement, in other words.

Jim Small: Enforcement is definitely a part of it. That's one of the things that the legislature had enacted last year and in fact it was that enforcement wing at OCWI that found -- had come across these N.I., these not investigated cases and actually it was the head of that department, that division that reported this to the governor's office, you know, after he felt that he wasn't getting any good response from DES director Clarence Carter.

Ted Simons Oversight for this new agency. What do we got?

Jim Small: We've got a bunch of different oversight. One thing they did is they continued, there's a legislative oversight panel, they expanded their scope and their role in this. There's a citizens oversight panel that will basically keep an eye on what's going on over there. You know, it's made up of folks from state government, folks from outside state government with the idea of providing a little more transparency and accountability to monitoring what CPS is doing and trying to take them out of the shadows a little bit, which has always been a complaint about the old agency.

Ted Simons: Sounds like internal and external audits going on here?

Jim Small: Yeah, you know, there's definitely going to be a lot of, you know, checking up and keeping tabs on what they're doing, especially when it relates to the backlog of cases that they have in terms of these almost 15,000 cases that have been inactive for more than 60 days. You know, as these case workers have struggled to go back through these 6,500 cases that were discovered in the Fall, you divert your resources from the incoming cases and right now they're getting 940 –- more than 940 -- complaint calls a week into the system so it's bailing water out of a boat with a teaspoon a little bit and so they're going to, you know, some of these audits and this monitoring is going to really work to make sure that they're keeping on pace with the incoming cases and also with whittling down the backlog.

Ted Simons: You mentioned the backlog and being in that leaky boat there. Budget $60 million, what that like 55 for next year and five to close out this year?

Jim Small: Yeah, five for the current year and almost 55 for the upcoming year, you know. A lot of that is aimed at, in fact, getting rid of this back log. It's aimed at hiring new staff, bringing them in, getting them trained and also paying for overtime for the new and existing staff to really start to cut into that 15,000 case backlog.

Ted Simons: How much debate was there on the budget per se and especially the idea of benchmarks to allow for the budget to continue? I know there was some talk regarding benchmarks. It doesn't sound like it went too far.

Jim Small: No, it didn't. Yesterday there was a lot of discussion about it in the Senate. There was an amendment that was offered, it was supported by -- offered by Senator Kelly Ward, a Republican from Lake Havasu City and it was, you know, supported by Andy Biggs and other fiscal conservatives who said look we don't want to keep throwing money at this problem. We've thrown more than $250 million at this over the last several years. And we haven't really seen any results. We want to tie -- we'll give them the first half of the funding, but we want to tie the second half of the funding, make it conditional on them hitting certain goals, on them knocking down the backlog to a certain point or getting staffing levels to a certain point or retention or whatever those benchmarks would have been and the governor's office said that was a nonstarter, they weren't going to go for it. The amendment was ultimately defeated by the Senate yesterday and the House today, a similar amendment was drawn up and it was offered on the floor and there was a quick statement about why, you know, it's fiscally prudent to do this kind of thing, but then the amendment was withdrawn. It was never voted on, recognizing that the Senate hadn't done it yet and second that the governor viewed that as a poison pill and would have rejected the bill and told them to start all over again.

Ted Simons: I know it's an effort to put $3 million, an additional $3 million in there for preventive services and that didn't make it, as well. So you got the budget there, you got the guy in place. You got the name for the agency. When do they open the doors and what's the first order of business?

Jim Small: Effective immediately, the bills had an emergency clause on them, which meant as soon as the governor signed them a little bit after 2 o’clock this afternoon, the Department of Child Safety was officially the new state agency and Charles Flanagan was officially the director of it and that money goes into effect basically right away, so I think their first order of business is, you know, trying to just formalize that transition, that final break and separation from the Department of Economic Security and, you know, for a lot of people, it will be somewhat business as usual as they continue to plow through the backlog cases and deal with the new cases coming in and at the administrative level, it’s make sure that that transition is as smooth as possible and while at the same time, trying to keep track, keep on track with everything else they're doing.

Ted Simons: Mentioned the first order of business. What is the first order of tinkering next session from the legislature?

Jim Small: Well, we don't know that yet but, you know, the other thing I think that we have to keep in mind is it's not just the legislature. We're going to have a new governor next year and we don't really know, you know, whoever the new governor is going to be, there's eight candidates that are in the running for it. So we don't know what they're going to want to do and that was one concern, in fact, from some legislators, we're doing this whole thing, we’re making all these changes, we may come back here next year and have to do a lot of this over again or redo pieces of it that the new governor doesn't like or add pieces on it that they want to see in addition to what's already there.

Ted Simons: So last question here for those watching or saying this is all fine and dandy but what changes, will things get better? What tangibly changes here?

Jim Small: I think what tangibly changes is you've taken this agency that was a one piece, a large piece, but one piece of a much larger state agency and you've pulled it out and you’ve kind of separated it off, which allows for a little more scrutiny because it's not wrapped up -- it's not one piece of a piece of pizza, it's kind of its own thing now and now on top of that you've got a new director who seems, you know, again he won over a lot of sceptics and he's committed to getting this done and changing the culture, the institutional culture, I think that's really the big thing that everyone's waiting to see, what's going to happen with that? Are they going to make the fundamental shifts in attitudes towards privacy and towards secrecy and towards a lack of transparency or is this going to be business as usual? I think if it's business as usual, you're going to have a lot of very unhappy legislators and not to mention the public.

Ted Simons: Let the tinkering come next session. Thanks for joining us.