Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

April 14, 2006


Host: Michael Grant

Journalists Roundtable


  • Donít miss HORIZONís weekly roundtable where local reporters get a chance to review the weekís top stories.
Guests:
  • Paul Davenport - Associated Press
Category: Journalists Roundtable

View Transcript
Michael Grant:
It's Friday, April 14, 2006. In the headlines this week, over 100,000 people marching through the streets of Phoenix on Monday to protest against immigration reform. State lawmakers have approved a bill that would allow local police to arrest illegal aliens for trespassing even though the law enforcement community is opposed to it, and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jim Pederson has started airing his first commercials in what's expected to be a very expensive Senate race against incumbent Jon Kyl. That's next on Horizon.

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Michael Grant:
Good evening. I'm Michael Grant. This is the Journalists' Roundtable. Joining me to talk about these and other story are Paul Davenport of the Associated Press, Mike Sunnucks of the Business Journal and Richard de Uriarte of the Arizona Republic. Immigration issues, of course dominating the headlines this week. On Monday more than 100,000 people marched through the streets of Phoenix to protest against immigration reform. On Wednesday the state legislature gave final approval to a bill that would allow police to arrest undocumented immigrants for trespassing. Paul, let's start with the trespass bill. What does it do and what's the governor going to do?

Paul Davenport:
That bill is on the governor's desk. It would enable state and local law enforcement officers to arrest illegal immigrants on the state's criminal trespassing law. First offense could be a-- would be a misdemeanor, however law enforcement could instead of submitting these folks for prosecution just transfer them to federal authorities for prosecution and the bill sponsors say they think that's what would happen in most cases. Second offense would be a felony.

Michael Grant:
Now, 9th floor. Sitting there on her desk.

Paul Davenport:
Before the governor got this bill she told reporters she didn't want to say what she would do with the bill but is going to listen very carefully to law enforcement. Later in the day, her office released a whole packet of letters from law enforcement urging her to veto the bill. That's where it stands at this point.

Mike Sunnucks:
I think that gives her political cover on the issue if law enforcement, local sheriffs', police departments are against it, she can't look too weak for vetoing it. So I think she's got pretty good political cover on that.

Paul Davenport:
Although it probably won't end the issue whether in the legislature-- Randy Pool just pulled today-- the chairman for the national committee of the republican party, former mayoral candidate, pulled the initiative to effectively do the same thing, require authorized police to detain people accused of being here illegally and turn them over to the I.N.S. I have not seen the exact wording, but that's the thrust of it. Randy Pool has used the immigration issue as a main theme of his political career and so we're not going to see the end of this.

Mike Sunnucks:
The big argument against it is it would make law enforcement into border patrol and have them picking up folks. Probably the only crime they have committed is being in the country illegally. I don't think people want the Phoenix or Scottsdale police driving around the Home Depots picking up day labors. The one advantage I could see in it is if they could use the law to go after drug smugglers, traffickers, those types of things. But the concerns are that it will strain police resources.

Paul Davenport:
And that's what the police are saying, unfunded mandate, similar to the bill the governor vetoed last year which would have authorized law enforcement to enforce federal law. This is a different approach.

Michael Grant:
One of the other stated arguments for the bill is that it would also give local law enforcement a tool on the so-called catch and release quandary they sometimes face. There was the incident over in Mesa.

Paul Davenport:
There are chronic complaints that the federal government doesn't do enough interior enforcement. Once you get past the border you're given a free ride. Police will come into contact with folks who are illegal immigrants and there's no quick way to turn them over to federal authorities easily.

Richard de Uriarte:
When I talk to detectives and officers, what they really fear is in the valley you have 200,000 immigrants here. They worry that if you pass a bill like this, give police authority, all those immigrants will just not cooperate on any other kind of--

Michael Grant:
Dry up that information source.

Richard de Uriarte: These are sources, these are neighborhood activists, and now they are coming out from under the shadows for marches and everything else.

Michael Grant:
Mike, let me get back to the gubernatorial veto. Do you think-- I mean, we're going to talk about the march in a minute. We always knew immigration was going to be a giant issue in 2006. It seems to me it's gone from giant to-- what's above giant? I don't know. Bigger.

Paul Davenport:
Mass.

Michael Grant:
Mass. There you go. Do you think Janet Napolitano would veto this bill if she considered she had more viable opposition?

Mike Sunnucks:
I think you would see a scenario where she would let it go into law without her signature if she really felt the pressure in this. She is way ahead in polls. She's favored to win. I think she has a little more latitude on immigration. She wants to look tough but all these letters from the police kind of give her an out on that. I think she has a valid argument. The police have a valid argument. It's like the state of Florida having to take over for the coast guard, their responsibilities there. This is a federal responsibility. And it's the feds' responsibility to take this over, and they haven't. I think she has that also. We have a republican administration.

Richard de Uriarte:
Vetoes define governors more than speeches, more than appointments, which are all providing political cover or expanding your base.

Michael Grant:
It's a finite point in time.

Richard de Uriarte:
At that moment, and it would be a very, very interesting question because clearly the political pressure is not very large right now.

Mike Sunnucks:
Now if she vetoes a number of immigration bills, she has already vetoed National Guard funding for the borders, she may veto this. If we see a series of this, then you could see some political fallout with republicans grouping these together and hoping the voters buy into it.

Michael Grant:
Loading up a bullet point television commercial, more than 100,000 people in the march. That was pretty impressive display on Monday.

Richard de Uriarte:
100,000 was-- is a careful estimate. I'll tell you, you could have filled two Sun Devil stadiums with that group. I was there. What impressed me was when you talked individually with these people, they are very, very humble, modest people. They kind of weren't used to being interviewed. Their hands are callused. They are very modest people. They do landscaping, but they gave up a day and in their slogans, their chants were more aggressive. They were more determined. "We are many. We will be more. We're not criminals. People united will never be defeated." Those are aggressive kinds of chants. They were all having fun. I was struck by all the strollers and it was something.

Mike Sunnucks:
That was a very good move on their part. They got rid of the Mexican flags. That discouraged folks who brought them to put them away and they were handing out American flags to folks. There were little kids in strollers. That diffuses the situation. I think the Phoenix police particularly did a good job, you didn't see any adversarial or heavy police presence. It was enough to keep control but not where you would have a situation that would get tense.

Michael Grant:
Some legislators got honked about this thing. That's a technical term, incidentally, honked.

Paul Davenport:
Honked, that's right. Some of them actually went out who are on the other side of the issue and debated these protestors on the site. That was kind of interesting. But the next day there was a critique of the protest on the Senate floor for the most part, the House didn't really address it, but there was the other side too. Members of the Hispanic caucus were supportive and said a lot of this reflects patriotism on their part and a desire to bring folks together.

Michael Grant:
All right, speaking of things they were saying, "today we march, tomorrow we vote." True or not true?

Richard de Uriarte:
I think marginally votes among some Latinos will rise. I think that would have happened anyway. You have to remember the Latino population in Arizona is a young population anyway. You could say--

Michael Grant:
Much of it is illegal and theoretically incapable of voting.

Richard de Uriarte:
30-40\% of that 100,000 is undocumented, illegal. They only got a few hundred new registrations from the march. Probably because they should have had sign-up desks all along the route. People were turning off by Fillmore when the kids got tired or antsy. But by the same token, this is a Latino-- will it take all those young businessmen, the people who were given amnesty in '86, are they going to turn out more than they ever have? This is a passive, unexcited, engaged community usually.

Michael Grant:
Rich, as you know, though, the Latino community doesn't vote in sort of a monolithic block. What, 40, 45\% voted for proposition 200.

Richard de Uriarte:
And George Bush did incredibly well for him. In fact Matt Doud, his pollster, had said if we had the same result in 2004 as in 2000 as for percentage of Latino votes we would have lost the election, so that was critical--

Mike Sunnucks:
But in California, 187, Pete Wilson pushed for that and still hurts republicans. Latinos go overwhelmingly democrat. They tend to go democrat anyway because of socioeconomic issues.

Paul Davenport:
The Republicans pointing a finger at the democrats on a vote in the U.S. House, which failed to reduce the penalty from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Mike Sunnucks:
And I don't think that floats.

Michael Grant:
Democrats voting against that, yeah.

Paul Davenport:
They didn't want any.

Richard de Uriarte:
They also wanted--

Michael Grant:
And they also wanted, I think, to hang it around the next of the Republican Party.

Richard de Uriarte:
That's exactly it.

Mike Sunnucks:
And the pressure is on the republicans to pass something. They are in charge. Bush is in charge. They haven't done it. If they don't do it, I think it will hurt them across the board. The one guy that wins from this I think is McCain because he has been kind of the leading guest worker person. He's taken the lead on that. That could really appeal to Hispanics. He looks like a republican that's not way far on the right. He seems to be reasonable on that.

Richard de Uriarte:
And that's why the Republican Party has had ads in Spanish pointing just those figures out about the democrats in congress.

Michael Grant:
Before we leave this segment, Mike, business-- how much business impact-- what do you think business reaction?

Mike Sunnucks:
Business is generally in the metal of the road. They want a guest worker program. They are hard working. They work for less. They are not for the proposals to send them back, but I think overall rank and file business want to see increased border security like anybody else. We can't have anarchy at the border where anybody's coming across. There's a lot of workers coming across, but there's also a lot of drug trafficking, potentially terrorists. Business people are kind of in the middle. I don't think we have had any cases here where workers were punished or fired for taking off the day. A lot of downtown businesses, a lot of restaurants closed up shop so their employees could go.

Michael Grant:
Budget talks started this week between the legislature and the governor. One of the issues, how much of the surplus will be used for new spending proposals, how much of it will go back to taxpayers. Mike, what are lawmakers saying about the idea of a rebate?

Mike Sunnucks:
Yeah, they're simmering talk of rebate. The Republicans want these across the board Bush style income tax cuts, also property tax cuts. The governor wants more targeted relief, 100 million compared to 250 to 400, which republicans are calling for. A rebate would be a one-time tax check that we would get back from the state government. It would not lower rates. It takes a two-thirds vote to increase the rates. So that would be a challenge the next budget deficit we come through. That could be something that's played out in negotiations, which started this week and are going to go on weekly until they get a budget.

Michael Grant:
Would the rebate-- you mentioned the 250 million number. Two-part question, I guess. Do we know what form in the current G.O.P. budget recognizing it's subject to negotiation that the 250 takes? And number two, would there be a rebate if this idea were to proceed further on top of that?

Mike Sunnucks:
Yeah, the rebate could be on top of or instead of. I can't see the governor going for both.

Paul Davenport:
The Republicans have already accounted for their 250 million package. Most of it would go for income tax. One-year amount, about a third of it would go for property tax. And then there's a slew of small things that would fill up the balance. If you want to throw a rebate into it would be negotiated downward from that or added to it. One of the big parts is the republicans say you can only use so much of this surplus in the new revenue and count it as permanent for either spending or tax cuts. So maybe the surplus would be one time money you could use for something like that.

Michael Grant:
Paul, is that likely to be a sticking point-- well, one of perhaps several sticking points, between the 9th floor and the legislature in terms of there's a general legislative feeling that we ought to back out as many of these budget gimmicks that we used the past couple three years when we have been in hard times as possible because those would be one-time fixes? I think the governor wants to do fewer of them.

Paul Davenport:
There is some sentiment on that, but even republicans thought about doing-- paying back the so-called school rollover that's a delayed payment to the school districts and they pay interest on it so everybody's happy with it. But they said that costs so little in interest that to pay it back they are thinking, well, why don't we use that money instead for building more highways because those costs are increasing exponentially. So more effective to put our dollars there.

Michael Grant:
In fact for those of us who have been unfortunately around way too long, this has played out a number of times in governors, gubernatorial staff, legislative staffs say, we get nothing out of this stuff on eliminating these budget gimmicks. That's not a strong campaign issue.

Richard de Uriarte:
That's right. Compared to doing something tangible.

Michael Grant:
Yeah. Highways.

Richard de Uriarte:
Or a check in August.

Paul Davenport:
A lost the same staffers will tell you it's nice to have those gimmicks in the bank when you need them next time the cycle goes down.

Mike Sunnucks:
And there's a lot of support in the legislature for funding I-17 north of the city and I-10 in the west valley to put money directly towards that and fast track expansions. There's more support for that than probably any other spending proposal right now.

Paul Davenport:
Fighting over which freeway.

Michael Grant:
Any other indication on some of the major issues that we have been kicking around? All day k, teacher pay increase-- some of the points?

Mike Sunnucks:
The governor is going to push hard for teacher pay increases. She wants $100 million for all day k. I think the republicans will probably offer what they gave last year, in the 30 million range, I think. So you could see something in-between on there. I think the governor will sign some kind of tax relief. She just wants it more modest and targeted. I think property tax is something she would be open to.

Paul Davenport:
Right there you see what's going to be happening. She wants that kind of spending, they want tax cuts. Maybe they will find common ground.

Mike Sunnucks:
One thing I think the Republicans will try to do is avoid a veto and work out a budget. She has vetoed and cleaned their clocks each time in negotiations.

Michael Grant:
Possible we will see a bidding war over border security, I'll see your 1 00 million and raise you 50 million?

Richard de Uriarte:
Yeah. I would just say let's spend more useless money. I think they would like to wait to see what the feds do if there is a comprehensive reform in congress, which may or may not be more likely after all these marches and the senators come back.

Paul Davenport:
The one element of common ground right now on that is that their package includes $50 million for radar to detect folks crossing the border in the desert. She has been talking about how's she willing to spend some money on "technology." Whether that means radar we have yet to see.

Mike Sunnucks:
I think waiting on the feds-- there's a good chance they won't get anything done the way some of the house members talk. They are going to block any kind of moderated guest worker type program out of the senate. That could be a big killer for republicans in November if they can't get anything done.

Michael Grant:
Couple of abortion-related bills. What did the governor do with the fetal pain-warning bill?

Paul Davenport:
She vetoed that bill supported by anti-abortion folks. They argued that it was-- women should know what's really going on when you have an abortion. She said it interferes with the doctor/patient relationship.

Michael Grant:
A parental consent bill, this one would require notarized parental consent.

Paul Davenport:
The argument for this bill is that some of the consent forms have not been legitimate. This is one step to make sure it's really a parent submitting that form, that exemption, that allowance for a young woman to get an abortion. That's wait fog action.

Michael Grant:
Move into some of the politically related subjects. Campaign finance reform and clean elections goes out the window? That's a twofer, right?

Paul Davenport:
One of those huge, massive bills coming up in the form of a strike everything amendment would basically so-called clean elections funding for candidates and state elections and it would also dramatically increase the contribution to the amount of contribution limits for privately funded candidates. That got out of one of the two house appropriations committees. It's awaiting action by the full house. Don't know how far it's going to go but a lot of folks in the republican caucus really resent clean elections.

Michael Grant:
Understood, Rich, but with what's going on Capitol Hill right now? Is this a real good time to run that-- trot that concept out?

Richard de Uriarte:
Plus it seems to me Republicans have figured out the way to handle clean elections.

Michael Grant:
They have been doing pretty well.

Richard de Uriarte:
Which is typical. It's very unusual for a politician to change the system that got them elected. There's a general feeling among republicans that not taking clean elections was Matt Simon's big flaw. It's helping-- obviously it will help incumbents Napolitano and Terry Goddard, but down the road it favors the incumbents and those with stronger party affiliation.

Mike Sunnucks:
It's an incumbent protection act. It's hard for somebody to come from behind. Napolitano has say a 25-point lead, a 20-point lead over Munsil or Goldwater. It's hard to come from behind when you can't outspend somebody and get up on the air, like Pederson is with Kyl. Pederson can come from behind. They funnel all the money through both parties. They can funnel it through different ways. It's not that transparent is what it is.

Richard de Uriarte:
And as Mike pointed out, this is not the year to be against clean elections. You have looks like on the federal side democrats are just running under the campaign I'm Harry Mitchell or I'm Jim Pederson and the other guy is not.

Michael Grant:
This would be the year to be against dirty elections, I think.

Mike Sunnucks:
The social conservatives have a core of grass roots supporters that they can get signatures and $5 from. They don't have to go through the business wing of the Republican Party to get there. It's really helped the anti-abortion crowd.

Richard de Uriarte:
Precisely.

Michael Grant:
You already brought up Jim Pederson. He has his first flight of TV commercials airing. What do you think?

Mike Sunnucks:
He's introducing himself as this independent voice. I think it's a theme to go after Kyl, this lackey for the Bush administration. He tends to be a loyal republican on the hill for the White House. Sides with him on social, tax, foreign policy issues. Pederson just put $2 million of his own money into the campaign. He's got to get up on the air. He's down 20 points. He has to boost his I.D. name. We'll see when Kyl retorts with ads featuring John McCain.

Michael Grant:
Dropped at $2 million pretty soon, you're talking some real money here. That's going to be a very expensive United States senate race.

Richard de Uriarte:
Jon Kyl can bring in as much money and raise as much money as they need. If they need 20 million he will raise it.

Mike Sunnucks:
This could be a race that decides who gets the senate. If things trend the way they are democrats could win Ohio, if Montana, and if things really go democratic this could be the race that decides it.

Richard de Uriarte:
Pennsylvania is another democratic opportunity. Arizona is not on the horizon quite yet as a democratic target.

Michael Grant:
The polls are indicating still about a 15, 18-point spread for Jon Kyl.

Mike Sunnucks:
I think Pederson's big hope is to have a big home stretch campaign, big name I.D. and hope it's a democratic year and the Iraq war kind of slides him into office.

Michael Grant:
Looking ahead to 2008 because we frequently get bored talking about 2006, the Arizona Democratic Party, Paul, has dropped in a request for an early primary in the 2008 election?

Paul Davenport:
Actually an early caucus. We have been going the primary mode recently, but a caucus like they do in Iowa where the democrats all show up at a school or a church or a union hall or wherever on a given time on a designated day and they have a meeting of a couple hours to pick who they want to be president.

Michael Grant:
To caucus.

Paul Davenport:
Yes. It's complicated. There are formulas for how many votes count. If you don't have enough folks supporting a specific candidate. But it would be an alternative-- the whole idea is to get-- among national democrats is to get other states in the mix earlier and not just have it being a nominee in effect picked by voters in New Hampshire and Iowa.

Mike Sunnucks:
And this could help moderate democrat Mark Warner, Evan Bayh, somebody like that, because our democrats here tend to be a little more moderate.

Richard de Uriarte:
Except it only works on paper. The winner of Ohio and New Hampshire gets all this TV coverage and the cover picture on "Time" and "Newsweek," and every major newspaper. That's what all the other states that wanted to have an independent voice--

Paul Davenport:
But if they're generally closer though, that diffuses the impact of any one of those two.

Mike Sunnucks:
I think Louisiana, other states have tried it in the past. The New Hampshire folks have always gotten all the presidential candidates to pledge to focus on New Hampshire.

Paul Davenport:
Moving up their filing date to accomplish that this time.

Michael Grant:
All right. Good. I'm glad we did that quick preview of 2008. Panelists, we are out of time. Thank you very much.

Larry Lemmons:
State legislation currently being considered would give priority to married couples in the adoption process. Phoenix has plenty of water, but conservation is still recommended, and a special PBS documentary about the Armenian genocide Monday night at 7:00 on channel 8's Horizon.

Michael Grant:
Tuesday congressman Raul Grijalva will join us. Wednesday congressman Ed Pastor will be here. Thursday "New York Times" columnist David Brooks will join us to talk about current issues. All of that, probably more, next week on Horizon. Thank you very much for joining us on this Friday evening. I'm Michael Grant. Hope you have a great weekend. Goodnight.

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