Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

February 7, 2005


Host: Michael Grant

Consumer Protection Week


  • From used cars to credit cards, consumers are complaining to the Attorney General's office after being victimized. Today, the office is kicking off consumer protection week. This year's theme, protecting your financial security, educate yourself, protect yourself, empower yourself.
Guests:
  • Terry Goddard - Arizona Attorney General
  • Russell Pearce - Mesa representative


View Transcript
>> Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon," the top ways consumers are getting ripped off. The Attorney General tells us how we can prevent being victimized. And should English be the only language of government? Should the minimum wage be raised? Two legislator talk about their bills. Those stories are coming up.

>> Michael Grant:
Good evening. I'm Michael Grant. Welcome to "Horizon." From used cars to credit cards, consumers are complaining to the Attorney General's office after being victimized. Today the office is kicking off consumer protection week. This year's theme, protecting your financial security, educate yourself, protect yourself, empower yourself. Joining us now is the Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard. Welcome back.

>> Terry Goddard:
Good evening, Michael Grant. Happy consumer protection week.

>> Michael Grant:
Why the emphasis on protecting your financial security?

>> Terry Goddard:
Because so many people, especially in Arizona, seem to have more threats to their financial security through identity theft and through some of the other schemes and frauds that we're uncovering every day. It seems like there are constant new variation of old frauds, like the lottery -- the lottery scheme that says you've won even though you haven't bought a ticket, or the famous Nigerian offshore funding scheme. Those are two of the most successful in history. We want to make sure that folks know that there's some things to watch out for and if it's too good to be true, it's probably a phony.

>> Michael Grant:
It's absolutely amazing some of the permutations some of these go through, dear reputable business person, I have $20 million trapped in a Swiss bank account that my government will not let me get to blank, blank, and blank --

>> Terry Goddard:
We selected you because of your imminent international qualifications, right?

>> Michael Grant:
On identity theft, big problem in Arizona but we were talking before we went on the air, the federal trade commission recently released a study that said, number one, an awful lot of identity theft is really the low-tech variety and number two, most often friends and relatives are involved.

>> Terry Goddard:
Here in Arizona we have to be particularly concerned about abuse of the elderly, and unfortunately we have a very large elderly population which can be abused, and we're very concerned at the AG's office about financial overreaching by purported caregivers and sometimes by family members. There's a lot of action there. Unfortunately these are very often crimes that don't ever get reported, and we stumble upon them occasionally or somebody gives us a call and we can investigate. But unfortunately the best -- fortunately the best thing we can do, that's why we're doing this outreach on consumer protection week and everyday afterward is to make sure consumers know what to watch for and hopefully can protect themselves more effectively.

>> Michael Grant:
We have some statistics we want to throw up on the screen. The first are numbers, calls received. How do those numbers compare? 66,000 --

>> Terry Goddard:
66,000 is a lot of calls. We take those and some of them turn into criminal complaints. Many of them turn into opportunities to discuss a problem with a merchant or a service provider. We get redress for the consumers.

>> Michael Grant:
You said that the calls received number has gone down --

>> Terry Goddard:
It's down. That's one of the reasons -- usually we should be delighted, wow, there must be less fraud out there than there used to be. But I'm not convinced of that. I don't think fraud has declined. We've had as many as 80,000 calls in past years. So the 66 number is one that I think just represents that many folks don't know they can call the Attorney General's office, that we are the keeper of the consumer fraud act for the State of Arizona, we can bring prosecutions if somebody has been ripped off in the marketplace, and our goal, the fundamental aspect of the Attorney General's office in this state, is we're trying to make a level playing field out there so that consumers have the best possible shot for a fair deal.

>> Michael Grant:
Attorney General's office, though, is looking really mostly for patterns of --

>> Terry Goddard:
Yes, within that 66,000, hopefully we're going to be able to get them -- we keep records of what the top problems are that consumers are calling bus. Yes, we're looking at patterns. Obviously we don't want to waste our limited resources pursuing a problem that only affects two or three people. It's bad for those two or three but we want the ones that have the maximum impact for the most number of consumers.

>> Michael Grant:
Next numbers we've got are on complaints filed. What's the difference between a complaint filed, about 16,000 or so, and the calls received?

>> Terry Goddard:
The calls received are very often people who are just confused or need direction and there may be another agency of government or a private function that can service them much better than we can. By the time we get to a file, we call them the yellow files in the AG's office, that means that action is being taken, that letters are being written to try to get this problem resolved and that we're on the way hopefully to get the -- some redress for the consumer.

>> Michael Grant:
Those obviously will involve more time --

>> Terry Goddard:
Much more time, investigator time. Absolutely.

>> Michael Grant:
Monetary recovery statewide about 1.5 million in 2004?

>> Terry Goddard:
Yes, and a couple of individual cases, the most dramatic being the Qwest recovery the year before, which was over $3 million right there in one consumer action. So sometimes it depends on happens in a particular year. So that consumer recovery can be dramatically different from year to year.

>> Michael Grant:
Ok well let's take a look at total consumer complaints. You mentioned that you track these things and I think we have a list that talks about the most frequent one --

>> Terry Goddard:
Automobiles are always right there at the top.

>> Michael Grant:
And used car sales. I guess I'm not astonished.

>> Terry Goddard:
This is not late-breaking news. That tends to be the top of the list every time we've taken a temperature of Arizona consumers. And unfortunately, repairs are very high and even new car sales are often at the top of the list.

>> Michael Grant:
Now, services, what general -- that's number five on the list. Generally what are we talking that?

>> Terry Goddard:
That's a wide variety of personal services. Could be yard repair. It's many of the classic, even though they may break into contracting, many of the services are dealing with people that aren't licensed contractors, unfortunately. The famous Williamson gang and some of the others that come in to do your driveway or your roof and yet they really don't do anything. They just charge you a lot of money up front and often use strong arm tactics in the bargain. If somebody comes to your neighborhood and says I have a little extra asphalt and we could do something for your driveway, I have been doing the roof down the block, how about if I do yours and we get you a knocked off price, be very suspicious. Immediately get their Arizona registrar of contractor's number, license number, if they have one, and chances are they won't.

>> Michael Grant:
Credit, credit card and billing disputes is number 10 on the list. Does that go to the kinds of things I would expect disputes over the interest rate, disputes over whether or not you actually bought something and are being charged --

>> Terry Goddard:
Sometimes. There's a lot -- there's so many transactions that I think just numerically those tend to fall into one of the high areas. It also is the entering wedge for identity theft. Very often those disputes, you look at your credit card, and I hope everybody does every month very carefully, and you may see a few things on there you don't recognize and you have to get that straightened out with your credit card company right away because you cannot wait. You cannot let the trail grow cold if, in fact, that's a phony charge that somebody else has put on your bill.

>> Michael Grant:
It's kind of interesting, we have a Spanish language subset of the data we just saw, the Spanish language complaints will be rolled into that.

>> Terry Goddard:
That's right. That's part of the total number.

>> Michael Grant:
Again, motor vehicle, used car sales --

>> Terry Goddard:
Number one. A repeat favorite.

>> Michael Grant:
One that struck me was the immigration, which is number 4 on the list, but this involves getting papers -- it's that sort of immigration?

>> Terry Goddard: These are people who are trying to get processed, trying to become the citizens in most cases, and we've had, unfortunately, way too many folks who figure, I'm dealing with a clientele who either is very unsophisticated about laws in the United States or is not willing to report because they, in fact, may not be documented. So we've had several successful prosecutions against document preparers or individuals, one case a retired INS agent who was taking literally tens of thousands of dollars from clients and not producing anything. He is now in prison.

>> Michael Grant:
All right. If I've got a consumer complaint, if I think I've been ripped off, office has an 800 line, does it not?

>> Terry Goddard:
Yes, we do. I hope you have it because I don't have it right here. We also have a website and you can do immediate filing electronically if you have a computer, that's WWW.AGAZ.gov and that's probably the simplest way to register a complaint.

>> Michael Grant:
I know the office has some printed materials available on different subjects as well that people can --

>> Terry Goddard:
We have great booklet on identity theft and if somebody is interested in how to protect themselves or what to do if they think they have been compromised, you can contact us through the website or give us a call because that's a piece of information that's very timely right now.

>> Michael Grant:
Consumer protection week. Terry Goddard, thanks for the time.

>> Terry Goddard:
Thank you so much.

>> Michael Grant:
Couple bills currently before the state's legislature guaranteed to be contentious. Glendale representative Steve Gallardo is sponsoring a minimum wage bill that would increase the minimum wage to $7.10. Mesa representative Russell Pearce one of the sponsors of an English-only referendum that would allow voters to require that all government business be conducted in English. Efforts to make English the only language of official communication have met with mixed success in the past. Here's a look back.

>> Teacher:
Start with Ricky.

>> Larry Lemmons:
The last English-only influenced initiative passed easily in 2000. Prop 203 mandated all public school instruction is to be conducted in English and students with limited English proficiency will go through a one year English immersion program. While a setback for bilingual education, the intent appeared to be to make non English speaking students proficient in English as soon as possible. House concurrent resolution 2030 seeks to ensure most government business is conducted in English. It's the latest step in a long history of attempts to make English the only language acceptable in state government. Arizona adopted a constitutional amendment by voter initiative in 1988. Article 28. Making English the official language and mandating that government must be conducted in all its forms in English. Article 28 was subsequently ruled unconstitutional by federal and appellate courts. The United States Supreme Court vacated the decision in 1997. The amendment was overturned as unconstitutional by the Arizona Supreme Court in 1998. The court ruled that official English violated the free speech clause of the United States constitution and was, therefore, unenforceable. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear English-only proponents final appeal in 1999. Article 28 still exists in the constitution but it's essentially dead, needing the voters to remove it.

>> Michael Grant:
Here now to talk about house concurrent resolution 2030, Mesa representative Russell Pearce and Glendale representative Steve Gallardo. Gentlemen, good to see you.

>> Russell Pearce:
Hello.

>> Steve Gallardo:
Good to be here.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Pearce, you call this official English. We just saw English-only. What do you think is the difference?

>> Russell Pearce:
There's a lot of difference. It doesn't prohibit communications in other languages. What it does is require the government, though, to conduct, the official record is to be in English and that we stop producing brochures in every other language. There's 329 different languages spoken in the United States, and there's actually 26 states that currently have some form of official English and, again, like president Teddy Roosevelt said, it's one thing that binds us together as a nation because we are a diverse nation but it's our English, it's the assimilation, it's the process where we become Americans, and English is one of the greatest ways to do that. We know in order to be successful you're going to have to learn English. We all know that, 8 out of 10 immigrants that have been polled say, yes, English is absolutely critical.

>> Michael Grant:
How do we advance that goal, though, by having official English providing that a bill has to be written in English, which last time I checked, I think, is, in fact, how it is done. So how are we advancing that goal?

>> Russell Pearce:
There's good question. Because if we don't provide -- require, if you will, that official business be done in English, what we do is we get where we can demand things in another language, we use a crutch because we continue to put out stuff in other languages. Today one of the challenges is that people come here today and they demand services in another language. I mean, you have a right to come here if you come here legally, but you don't have a right to come here and demand you get services in another language. This is America. We decided over 200 years ago that we ought to speak English. That's been decided. So now we need to codify that apparently because we have --

>> Michael Grant:
Give me an example of how that happens. I want to go --

>> Russell Pearce:
In terms of --

>> Michael Grant:
What is being printed now --

>> Russell Pearce:
Hundreds of documents are being printed in other language, primarily Spanish, but hundreds of documents are being printed in other languages.

>> Michael Grant:
Such as?

>> Russell Pearce:
Materials sent home from school. Records are recorded. Driver's license machine annuals being done in multiple languages, including Spanish and English. So there's lots of issues. Again, this is America. Come here and you speak English. It's good for you and good for everybody else. You have to assimilate. Assimilation is critical if you want to become an American and prosper in America.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Gallardo let me pull you into the conversation. What's wrong with the idea?

>> Steve Gallardo:
Currently it's already in our constitution. Arizona's constitution already recognizes English as the official language. The initiative that Mr. Pearce has, the courts have already ruled. The courts have already ruled that English may be the official language of the State of Arizona but it cannot be the only language, that you cannot cut off access to government for our citizens, that we have to be able to allow them to seek assistance to our state government. I would agree with Mr. Pearce, English is the official language. I would also agree, and I believe he would agree with me, that people who come to our country want to know the language. They are working to assimilate into our communities, they want to learn the English language they know in order to be successful in our country. They have to master that English language. This particular initiative does nothing but divide our community continually. English is already recognized in our country as the official language. This does nothing to assist folks in learning English.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Pearce, I think, maintains that it doesn't help someone, doesn't encourage someone to integrate, to learn English, by, for example, giving them a driver's license manual in Spanish.

>> Steve Gallardo:
Well, there's already an educational component that we have right now in our society. There are folks that are trying to learn English as we speak. This particular initiative takes out an education opponent that the 1988 version had. This particular initiative does nothing to assist or help folks to assimilate in our community. So if it does anything, it blocks access to government for folks that otherwise should be entitled to, just because they're not mastering the language.

>> Michael Grant:
You say not true?

>> Russell Pearce:
No, it's not. It's very clear in -- there's an amendment prepared, but it's very clear in the official -- in the official English initiative referendum, if you will, that makes it very clear, you can conduct business in any language necessary for health and safety, to maintain like the native language culture, for the deaf and the blind, for any purpose that's legitimate you can communicate. What you can't do is have the official record and continue to cost taxpayers a lot of must not and give people the crutch to not learn English. You can't communicate, the parts the Supreme Court struck down absolutely have been fixed and the reason they struck that down wasn't because official English is unconstitutional, the way it was written, they thought would it prohibit a government employee from communicating in another language and this doesn't do that.

>> Michael Grant:
What drew your attention to this at this time? I think most people don't perceive it as a large problematic issue. Why --

>> Russell Pearce:
I can tell you the polls indicate 82 to 85\% of the people in America believe in official English. And the recent poll done by this station had it about 70\% in Arizona that agree with English -- official English. Again, we are having immigration in mass numbers never before known in this country's history that is threatening the assimilation process. So it is time to step up to the plate because they're coming here today and demanding services in other than English. They demand. I can tell you I have many instances that have been brought to my attention. So it's clear that we codify, we need to make it clear if you come to America you need to speak English. It is truly -- it binds us together. I think it's good for us.

>> Steve Gallardo:
I would have to really disagree with what representative Pearce is stating right now. Our country is a melting pot. Our state's a melting pot. It doesn't mean that people have to melt their language or their culture or their customs. We have a tradition in our state to pass down our cultures and customs to our children in order to -- so they can be able to appreciate their history. Folks are not coming to this country to demand that services be provided in their language. We are supplying this to the people of our state in order to help them assimilate in our society. They're not here coming to our country not wanting to learn the language. They're coming to our country to provide a better life for themselves. So I believe this particular issue is already settled from the 1988 initiative. We already recognize English as the official language and this does nothing to assimilate our folks from other countries into our society.

>> Russell Pearce:
Not true. We know that.

>> Steve Gallardo:
And, plus, the initiative was very divisive in 1988. It barely passed by 1\% of the electorate and I believe that should this get on the ballot you're going to see again a very divisive issue that is going to divide our state.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Gallardo, let's shift to the minimum wage. You are proposing $7.10. What's the current level and why do we need to pull it up to $7.10?

>> Steve Gallardo:
The State of Arizona is one of six states that do not have a minimum wage statute on our books. Arizona's citizens come from a long history of working very hard and asking or looking for fair living wage. My proposal will increase the minimum wage from 5.15 to 7.10. It will provide a lot of folks, including 127 state employees to $7.10. Right now we have over 2000 preschool teachers that are earning less than $7.10. We have healthcare and -- healthcare, aides and nurses who are earning less than $7.10. This will bring them up to be able to provide a decent living for their family and children.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Pearce, what do you think about this concept?

>> Russell Pearce:
It's proven, in fact there's been some economists that have written on this for many years, it destroys jobs, doesn't increase jobs. The numbers are right now if you raised that from that -- to that $7 rate, you will lose 65,000 to 100,000 jobs in Arizona alone. They continue to quote a study that was done by a couple of economists have that refuted, that have been replicated by other economists time and time again that shows it absolutely has a damping effect. Plus, we're a free market. The market demands what's done. We pay wages according to market. And first of all, 85\% of those folks that receive minimum wage are people that are not heads of households, they're kids in college, kids in high school, they're kids who live in a home that there's other wages. There's only 15\% that even could fall into a category of this. So it's absolutely damaging to the economy and regulation costs Americans $835 billion a year. When are we going to stop telling private business how to conduct business?

>> Michael Grant:
Let me cycle back to a point you made. How does raising the minimum wage to $7.10 destroy, I think you said, 65,000 jobs?

>> Russell Pearce:
Absolutely. There's been several --

>> Michael Grant:
How does that snap.

>> Russell Pearce:
Because, first of all, you remove people from the market -- immediately when you raise the wage, you hurt young workers in two ways, one they lose the job, second is because they don't get the job, they don't get the experience to move on. Most people that start out at a low wage move on in the first year to a more comfortable wage. It's a training process. But when you start dictating to businesses, there's a huge cost to that business, they can no longer afford to hire certain people. So it's the drop-outs, again the other folks -- you know, we can get into other issues that impact that, too, but clearly it is bad for the economy, it loses job, destroys the economy, it hurts businesses.

>> Steve Gallardo:
That is a scare tactic that is used in just about any state that deals with the minimum wage issue. Alaska just recently increased their minimum wage to $7.15, and what they've seen is 6\% increase in the number of jobs being provided in Alaska. Several states, there has not been one state that's your argument has been proven to be real. It has been proven that any state that increases the minimum wage benefits the state. It benefits the economy. It takes people who are normally benefiting off of state services are now able to provide for their families. Right now --

>> Russell Pearce:
There are no studies to state that.

>> Steve Gallardo:
Right now families are living off less than $11,000 a year.

>> Russell Pearce:
It's not true.

>> Steve Gallardo:
It is true.

>> Russell Pearce:
No --

>> Steve Gallardo:
The increase to 7.10 would benefit 125,000 families in State of Arizona, 70,000 are women.

>> Russell Pearce:
Want me to respond to that? First of all, only 2.8\% of the workers earn less than 5.50 are single parents. Secondly there is another study that shows those people on welfare when you increase the minimum wage, mothers stay on welfare an additional 44\% of the mothers stay on welfare longer. A huge increase because --

>> Michael Grant:
Why?

>> Russell Pearce:
Because of the way the economy works. You're in a free market. When you drive people out of the ability to hire and employ because there's a cost, consumers decide if I quit buying your product it's harder for you to earn a living and the higher the wages go the more cost to the consumer. It is absolutely contrary. The Kato institute did a huge study. I encourage people to read it. It's one of the most in depth. They absolutely employed tons and tons of economists and it destroys the economy and it loses jobs.

>> Michael Grant:
I do hear those kinds of studies every time this issue comes up.

>> Steve Gallardo:
And we have seen study after study that has shown that that has not happened in states that have increased their minimum wage. As a matter of fact, it has been a benefit to many of those states. We have seen just recently in 2004 Florida and Nevada have now increased their minimum wage. It has not hurt the economy. We have not seen job loss. It has benefited the state, the citizens of the states where the minimum wage has increased. Again, State of Arizona, we have state employees, Mr. Pearce, that -- 127 of them, state employees who are currently making less than 7.10 an hour. It's shameful the state legislature refuses to hear this issue--

>> Russell Pearce:
I wouldn't -- that wouldn't fix that issue. The study he cites and probably by card and Kruger has been -- has been proven not to be true time and time again. This is bad for the economy. It's anti-free market. It's anti-small business. It's destructive to again those people out there trying to get those cheap jobs as they move on through the workplace.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Russell Pearce thank you very much for joining us. Representative Steve Gallardo, our thanks to you as well.

>> Steve Gallardo:
Thank you.

>> Paul Atkinson:
This fire at an APS substation caused the loss of 20\% of the Valley's electricity last summer. Businesses, governments and residents were asked to conserve energy to prevent rolling blackouts. It worked. But now the Corporation Commission wants to make sure it doesn't happen again. The issue Tuesday at 7:00 on "Horizon."

>> Michael Grant:
Thank you very much for joining us on this Monday evening. I'm Michael Grant. Hope you have a great one! Good night.

English Only/Minimum Wage


  • should English be the only language of government? Should the minimum wage be raised? Two legislator talk about their bills.
Guests:
  • Terry Goddard - Arizona Attorney General
  • Russell Pearce - Mesa representative


View Transcript
>> Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon," the top ways consumers are getting ripped off. The Attorney General tells us how we can prevent being victimized. And should English be the only language of government? Should the minimum wage be raised? Two legislator talk about their bills. Those stories are coming up.

>> Michael Grant:
Good evening. I'm Michael Grant. Welcome to "Horizon." From used cars to credit cards, consumers are complaining to the Attorney General's office after being victimized. Today the office is kicking off consumer protection week. This year's theme, protecting your financial security, educate yourself, protect yourself, empower yourself. Joining us now is the Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard. Welcome back.

>> Terry Goddard:
Good evening, Michael Grant. Happy consumer protection week.

>> Michael Grant:
Why the emphasis on protecting your financial security?

>> Terry Goddard:
Because so many people, especially in Arizona, seem to have more threats to their financial security through identity theft and through some of the other schemes and frauds that we're uncovering every day. It seems like there are constant new variation of old frauds, like the lottery -- the lottery scheme that says you've won even though you haven't bought a ticket, or the famous Nigerian offshore funding scheme. Those are two of the most successful in history. We want to make sure that folks know that there's some things to watch out for and if it's too good to be true, it's probably a phony.

>> Michael Grant:
It's absolutely amazing some of the permutations some of these go through, dear reputable business person, I have $20 million trapped in a Swiss bank account that my government will not let me get to blank, blank, and blank --

>> Terry Goddard:
We selected you because of your imminent international qualifications, right?

>> Michael Grant:
On identity theft, big problem in Arizona but we were talking before we went on the air, the federal trade commission recently released a study that said, number one, an awful lot of identity theft is really the low-tech variety and number two, most often friends and relatives are involved.

>> Terry Goddard:
Here in Arizona we have to be particularly concerned about abuse of the elderly, and unfortunately we have a very large elderly population which can be abused, and we're very concerned at the AG's office about financial overreaching by purported caregivers and sometimes by family members. There's a lot of action there. Unfortunately these are very often crimes that don't ever get reported, and we stumble upon them occasionally or somebody gives us a call and we can investigate. But unfortunately the best -- fortunately the best thing we can do, that's why we're doing this outreach on consumer protection week and everyday afterward is to make sure consumers know what to watch for and hopefully can protect themselves more effectively.

>> Michael Grant:
We have some statistics we want to throw up on the screen. The first are numbers, calls received. How do those numbers compare? 66,000 --

>> Terry Goddard:
66,000 is a lot of calls. We take those and some of them turn into criminal complaints. Many of them turn into opportunities to discuss a problem with a merchant or a service provider. We get redress for the consumers.

>> Michael Grant:
You said that the calls received number has gone down --

>> Terry Goddard:
It's down. That's one of the reasons -- usually we should be delighted, wow, there must be less fraud out there than there used to be. But I'm not convinced of that. I don't think fraud has declined. We've had as many as 80,000 calls in past years. So the 66 number is one that I think just represents that many folks don't know they can call the Attorney General's office, that we are the keeper of the consumer fraud act for the State of Arizona, we can bring prosecutions if somebody has been ripped off in the marketplace, and our goal, the fundamental aspect of the Attorney General's office in this state, is we're trying to make a level playing field out there so that consumers have the best possible shot for a fair deal.

>> Michael Grant:
Attorney General's office, though, is looking really mostly for patterns of --

>> Terry Goddard:
Yes, within that 66,000, hopefully we're going to be able to get them -- we keep records of what the top problems are that consumers are calling bus. Yes, we're looking at patterns. Obviously we don't want to waste our limited resources pursuing a problem that only affects two or three people. It's bad for those two or three but we want the ones that have the maximum impact for the most number of consumers.

>> Michael Grant:
Next numbers we've got are on complaints filed. What's the difference between a complaint filed, about 16,000 or so, and the calls received?

>> Terry Goddard:
The calls received are very often people who are just confused or need direction and there may be another agency of government or a private function that can service them much better than we can. By the time we get to a file, we call them the yellow files in the AG's office, that means that action is being taken, that letters are being written to try to get this problem resolved and that we're on the way hopefully to get the -- some redress for the consumer.

>> Michael Grant:
Those obviously will involve more time --

>> Terry Goddard:
Much more time, investigator time. Absolutely.

>> Michael Grant:
Monetary recovery statewide about 1.5 million in 2004?

>> Terry Goddard:
Yes, and a couple of individual cases, the most dramatic being the Qwest recovery the year before, which was over $3 million right there in one consumer action. So sometimes it depends on happens in a particular year. So that consumer recovery can be dramatically different from year to year.

>> Michael Grant:
Ok well let's take a look at total consumer complaints. You mentioned that you track these things and I think we have a list that talks about the most frequent one --

>> Terry Goddard:
Automobiles are always right there at the top.

>> Michael Grant:
And used car sales. I guess I'm not astonished.

>> Terry Goddard:
This is not late-breaking news. That tends to be the top of the list every time we've taken a temperature of Arizona consumers. And unfortunately, repairs are very high and even new car sales are often at the top of the list.

>> Michael Grant:
Now, services, what general -- that's number five on the list. Generally what are we talking that?

>> Terry Goddard:
That's a wide variety of personal services. Could be yard repair. It's many of the classic, even though they may break into contracting, many of the services are dealing with people that aren't licensed contractors, unfortunately. The famous Williamson gang and some of the others that come in to do your driveway or your roof and yet they really don't do anything. They just charge you a lot of money up front and often use strong arm tactics in the bargain. If somebody comes to your neighborhood and says I have a little extra asphalt and we could do something for your driveway, I have been doing the roof down the block, how about if I do yours and we get you a knocked off price, be very suspicious. Immediately get their Arizona registrar of contractor's number, license number, if they have one, and chances are they won't.

>> Michael Grant:
Credit, credit card and billing disputes is number 10 on the list. Does that go to the kinds of things I would expect disputes over the interest rate, disputes over whether or not you actually bought something and are being charged --

>> Terry Goddard:
Sometimes. There's a lot -- there's so many transactions that I think just numerically those tend to fall into one of the high areas. It also is the entering wedge for identity theft. Very often those disputes, you look at your credit card, and I hope everybody does every month very carefully, and you may see a few things on there you don't recognize and you have to get that straightened out with your credit card company right away because you cannot wait. You cannot let the trail grow cold if, in fact, that's a phony charge that somebody else has put on your bill.

>> Michael Grant:
It's kind of interesting, we have a Spanish language subset of the data we just saw, the Spanish language complaints will be rolled into that.

>> Terry Goddard:
That's right. That's part of the total number.

>> Michael Grant:
Again, motor vehicle, used car sales --

>> Terry Goddard:
Number one. A repeat favorite.

>> Michael Grant:
One that struck me was the immigration, which is number 4 on the list, but this involves getting papers -- it's that sort of immigration?

>> Terry Goddard: These are people who are trying to get processed, trying to become the citizens in most cases, and we've had, unfortunately, way too many folks who figure, I'm dealing with a clientele who either is very unsophisticated about laws in the United States or is not willing to report because they, in fact, may not be documented. So we've had several successful prosecutions against document preparers or individuals, one case a retired INS agent who was taking literally tens of thousands of dollars from clients and not producing anything. He is now in prison.

>> Michael Grant:
All right. If I've got a consumer complaint, if I think I've been ripped off, office has an 800 line, does it not?

>> Terry Goddard:
Yes, we do. I hope you have it because I don't have it right here. We also have a website and you can do immediate filing electronically if you have a computer, that's WWW.AGAZ.gov and that's probably the simplest way to register a complaint.

>> Michael Grant:
I know the office has some printed materials available on different subjects as well that people can --

>> Terry Goddard:
We have great booklet on identity theft and if somebody is interested in how to protect themselves or what to do if they think they have been compromised, you can contact us through the website or give us a call because that's a piece of information that's very timely right now.

>> Michael Grant:
Consumer protection week. Terry Goddard, thanks for the time.

>> Terry Goddard:
Thank you so much.

>> Michael Grant:
Couple bills currently before the state's legislature guaranteed to be contentious. Glendale representative Steve Gallardo is sponsoring a minimum wage bill that would increase the minimum wage to $7.10. Mesa representative Russell Pearce one of the sponsors of an English-only referendum that would allow voters to require that all government business be conducted in English. Efforts to make English the only language of official communication have met with mixed success in the past. Here's a look back.

>> Teacher:
Start with Ricky.

>> Larry Lemmons:
The last English-only influenced initiative passed easily in 2000. Prop 203 mandated all public school instruction is to be conducted in English and students with limited English proficiency will go through a one year English immersion program. While a setback for bilingual education, the intent appeared to be to make non English speaking students proficient in English as soon as possible. House concurrent resolution 2030 seeks to ensure most government business is conducted in English. It's the latest step in a long history of attempts to make English the only language acceptable in state government. Arizona adopted a constitutional amendment by voter initiative in 1988. Article 28. Making English the official language and mandating that government must be conducted in all its forms in English. Article 28 was subsequently ruled unconstitutional by federal and appellate courts. The United States Supreme Court vacated the decision in 1997. The amendment was overturned as unconstitutional by the Arizona Supreme Court in 1998. The court ruled that official English violated the free speech clause of the United States constitution and was, therefore, unenforceable. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear English-only proponents final appeal in 1999. Article 28 still exists in the constitution but it's essentially dead, needing the voters to remove it.

>> Michael Grant:
Here now to talk about house concurrent resolution 2030, Mesa representative Russell Pearce and Glendale representative Steve Gallardo. Gentlemen, good to see you.

>> Russell Pearce:
Hello.

>> Steve Gallardo:
Good to be here.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Pearce, you call this official English. We just saw English-only. What do you think is the difference?

>> Russell Pearce:
There's a lot of difference. It doesn't prohibit communications in other languages. What it does is require the government, though, to conduct, the official record is to be in English and that we stop producing brochures in every other language. There's 329 different languages spoken in the United States, and there's actually 26 states that currently have some form of official English and, again, like president Teddy Roosevelt said, it's one thing that binds us together as a nation because we are a diverse nation but it's our English, it's the assimilation, it's the process where we become Americans, and English is one of the greatest ways to do that. We know in order to be successful you're going to have to learn English. We all know that, 8 out of 10 immigrants that have been polled say, yes, English is absolutely critical.

>> Michael Grant:
How do we advance that goal, though, by having official English providing that a bill has to be written in English, which last time I checked, I think, is, in fact, how it is done. So how are we advancing that goal?

>> Russell Pearce:
There's good question. Because if we don't provide -- require, if you will, that official business be done in English, what we do is we get where we can demand things in another language, we use a crutch because we continue to put out stuff in other languages. Today one of the challenges is that people come here today and they demand services in another language. I mean, you have a right to come here if you come here legally, but you don't have a right to come here and demand you get services in another language. This is America. We decided over 200 years ago that we ought to speak English. That's been decided. So now we need to codify that apparently because we have --

>> Michael Grant:
Give me an example of how that happens. I want to go --

>> Russell Pearce:
In terms of --

>> Michael Grant:
What is being printed now --

>> Russell Pearce:
Hundreds of documents are being printed in other language, primarily Spanish, but hundreds of documents are being printed in other languages.

>> Michael Grant:
Such as?

>> Russell Pearce:
Materials sent home from school. Records are recorded. Driver's license machine annuals being done in multiple languages, including Spanish and English. So there's lots of issues. Again, this is America. Come here and you speak English. It's good for you and good for everybody else. You have to assimilate. Assimilation is critical if you want to become an American and prosper in America.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Gallardo let me pull you into the conversation. What's wrong with the idea?

>> Steve Gallardo:
Currently it's already in our constitution. Arizona's constitution already recognizes English as the official language. The initiative that Mr. Pearce has, the courts have already ruled. The courts have already ruled that English may be the official language of the State of Arizona but it cannot be the only language, that you cannot cut off access to government for our citizens, that we have to be able to allow them to seek assistance to our state government. I would agree with Mr. Pearce, English is the official language. I would also agree, and I believe he would agree with me, that people who come to our country want to know the language. They are working to assimilate into our communities, they want to learn the English language they know in order to be successful in our country. They have to master that English language. This particular initiative does nothing but divide our community continually. English is already recognized in our country as the official language. This does nothing to assist folks in learning English.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Pearce, I think, maintains that it doesn't help someone, doesn't encourage someone to integrate, to learn English, by, for example, giving them a driver's license manual in Spanish.

>> Steve Gallardo:
Well, there's already an educational component that we have right now in our society. There are folks that are trying to learn English as we speak. This particular initiative takes out an education opponent that the 1988 version had. This particular initiative does nothing to assist or help folks to assimilate in our community. So if it does anything, it blocks access to government for folks that otherwise should be entitled to, just because they're not mastering the language.

>> Michael Grant:
You say not true?

>> Russell Pearce:
No, it's not. It's very clear in -- there's an amendment prepared, but it's very clear in the official -- in the official English initiative referendum, if you will, that makes it very clear, you can conduct business in any language necessary for health and safety, to maintain like the native language culture, for the deaf and the blind, for any purpose that's legitimate you can communicate. What you can't do is have the official record and continue to cost taxpayers a lot of must not and give people the crutch to not learn English. You can't communicate, the parts the Supreme Court struck down absolutely have been fixed and the reason they struck that down wasn't because official English is unconstitutional, the way it was written, they thought would it prohibit a government employee from communicating in another language and this doesn't do that.

>> Michael Grant:
What drew your attention to this at this time? I think most people don't perceive it as a large problematic issue. Why --

>> Russell Pearce:
I can tell you the polls indicate 82 to 85\% of the people in America believe in official English. And the recent poll done by this station had it about 70\% in Arizona that agree with English -- official English. Again, we are having immigration in mass numbers never before known in this country's history that is threatening the assimilation process. So it is time to step up to the plate because they're coming here today and demanding services in other than English. They demand. I can tell you I have many instances that have been brought to my attention. So it's clear that we codify, we need to make it clear if you come to America you need to speak English. It is truly -- it binds us together. I think it's good for us.

>> Steve Gallardo:
I would have to really disagree with what representative Pearce is stating right now. Our country is a melting pot. Our state's a melting pot. It doesn't mean that people have to melt their language or their culture or their customs. We have a tradition in our state to pass down our cultures and customs to our children in order to -- so they can be able to appreciate their history. Folks are not coming to this country to demand that services be provided in their language. We are supplying this to the people of our state in order to help them assimilate in our society. They're not here coming to our country not wanting to learn the language. They're coming to our country to provide a better life for themselves. So I believe this particular issue is already settled from the 1988 initiative. We already recognize English as the official language and this does nothing to assimilate our folks from other countries into our society.

>> Russell Pearce:
Not true. We know that.

>> Steve Gallardo:
And, plus, the initiative was very divisive in 1988. It barely passed by 1\% of the electorate and I believe that should this get on the ballot you're going to see again a very divisive issue that is going to divide our state.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Gallardo, let's shift to the minimum wage. You are proposing $7.10. What's the current level and why do we need to pull it up to $7.10?

>> Steve Gallardo:
The State of Arizona is one of six states that do not have a minimum wage statute on our books. Arizona's citizens come from a long history of working very hard and asking or looking for fair living wage. My proposal will increase the minimum wage from 5.15 to 7.10. It will provide a lot of folks, including 127 state employees to $7.10. Right now we have over 2000 preschool teachers that are earning less than $7.10. We have healthcare and -- healthcare, aides and nurses who are earning less than $7.10. This will bring them up to be able to provide a decent living for their family and children.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Pearce, what do you think about this concept?

>> Russell Pearce:
It's proven, in fact there's been some economists that have written on this for many years, it destroys jobs, doesn't increase jobs. The numbers are right now if you raised that from that -- to that $7 rate, you will lose 65,000 to 100,000 jobs in Arizona alone. They continue to quote a study that was done by a couple of economists have that refuted, that have been replicated by other economists time and time again that shows it absolutely has a damping effect. Plus, we're a free market. The market demands what's done. We pay wages according to market. And first of all, 85\% of those folks that receive minimum wage are people that are not heads of households, they're kids in college, kids in high school, they're kids who live in a home that there's other wages. There's only 15\% that even could fall into a category of this. So it's absolutely damaging to the economy and regulation costs Americans $835 billion a year. When are we going to stop telling private business how to conduct business?

>> Michael Grant:
Let me cycle back to a point you made. How does raising the minimum wage to $7.10 destroy, I think you said, 65,000 jobs?

>> Russell Pearce:
Absolutely. There's been several --

>> Michael Grant:
How does that snap.

>> Russell Pearce:
Because, first of all, you remove people from the market -- immediately when you raise the wage, you hurt young workers in two ways, one they lose the job, second is because they don't get the job, they don't get the experience to move on. Most people that start out at a low wage move on in the first year to a more comfortable wage. It's a training process. But when you start dictating to businesses, there's a huge cost to that business, they can no longer afford to hire certain people. So it's the drop-outs, again the other folks -- you know, we can get into other issues that impact that, too, but clearly it is bad for the economy, it loses job, destroys the economy, it hurts businesses.

>> Steve Gallardo:
That is a scare tactic that is used in just about any state that deals with the minimum wage issue. Alaska just recently increased their minimum wage to $7.15, and what they've seen is 6\% increase in the number of jobs being provided in Alaska. Several states, there has not been one state that's your argument has been proven to be real. It has been proven that any state that increases the minimum wage benefits the state. It benefits the economy. It takes people who are normally benefiting off of state services are now able to provide for their families. Right now --

>> Russell Pearce:
There are no studies to state that.

>> Steve Gallardo:
Right now families are living off less than $11,000 a year.

>> Russell Pearce:
It's not true.

>> Steve Gallardo:
It is true.

>> Russell Pearce:
No --

>> Steve Gallardo:
The increase to 7.10 would benefit 125,000 families in State of Arizona, 70,000 are women.

>> Russell Pearce:
Want me to respond to that? First of all, only 2.8\% of the workers earn less than 5.50 are single parents. Secondly there is another study that shows those people on welfare when you increase the minimum wage, mothers stay on welfare an additional 44\% of the mothers stay on welfare longer. A huge increase because --

>> Michael Grant:
Why?

>> Russell Pearce:
Because of the way the economy works. You're in a free market. When you drive people out of the ability to hire and employ because there's a cost, consumers decide if I quit buying your product it's harder for you to earn a living and the higher the wages go the more cost to the consumer. It is absolutely contrary. The Kato institute did a huge study. I encourage people to read it. It's one of the most in depth. They absolutely employed tons and tons of economists and it destroys the economy and it loses jobs.

>> Michael Grant:
I do hear those kinds of studies every time this issue comes up.

>> Steve Gallardo:
And we have seen study after study that has shown that that has not happened in states that have increased their minimum wage. As a matter of fact, it has been a benefit to many of those states. We have seen just recently in 2004 Florida and Nevada have now increased their minimum wage. It has not hurt the economy. We have not seen job loss. It has benefited the state, the citizens of the states where the minimum wage has increased. Again, State of Arizona, we have state employees, Mr. Pearce, that -- 127 of them, state employees who are currently making less than 7.10 an hour. It's shameful the state legislature refuses to hear this issue--

>> Russell Pearce:
I wouldn't -- that wouldn't fix that issue. The study he cites and probably by card and Kruger has been -- has been proven not to be true time and time again. This is bad for the economy. It's anti-free market. It's anti-small business. It's destructive to again those people out there trying to get those cheap jobs as they move on through the workplace.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Russell Pearce thank you very much for joining us. Representative Steve Gallardo, our thanks to you as well.

>> Steve Gallardo:
Thank you.

>> Paul Atkinson:
This fire at an APS substation caused the loss of 20\% of the Valley's electricity last summer. Businesses, governments and residents were asked to conserve energy to prevent rolling blackouts. It worked. But now the Corporation Commission wants to make sure it doesn't happen again. The issue Tuesday at 7:00 on "Horizon."

>> Michael Grant:
Thank you very much for joining us on this Monday evening. I'm Michael Grant. Hope you have a great one! Good night.

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