Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

August 25, 2006


Host: Michael Grant

Journalists Roundtable


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Guests:
  • Paul Davenport - Associated Press
Category: Journalists Roundtable

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Michael Grant:
It's Friday August 25, 2006. In the headlines this week, Arizona is off the hook for $21 million in fines after the 9th circuit court of appeals issued its ruling in the state's English language learner case. The U.S. Senate race between incumbent Jon Kyl and challenger Jim Pederson is heating up as both make accusations about each other trying to buy the election. And Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon has announced his opposition to the protect marriage Arizona initiative, saying it would hurt the city's recruitment efforts. That's next on Horizon.

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Michael Grant:
Good evening, I'm Michael Grant and this is the
journalist's roundtable. Joining me to talk about these and other stories are Paul Davenport of the Associated Press, Paul Giblin of the East Valley Tribune and Mike Sunnucks of the Business Journal.

Michael Grant:
On Thursday, the 9th circuit court of appeals in San Francisco issued its ruling in the ongoing English language learning case. A three-judge panel erased an order by U.S. District Court Judge Raner Collins holding the state of Arizona in contempt, ordering it to pay $21-million dollars in fines. Paul, let's start with the opinion itself. Basically what did the 9th circuit say?

Paul Davenport:
This was an order that didn't really cover a lot of ground. They made one big point, and that had one concrete result. The court of appeals said that the district judge should have considered changed circumstances that have occurred in this case since a federal judge made a ruling that the states' programs were inadequate. That was back in 2000, and a lot of stuff has happened since then: Proposition 301 was passed to provide money for teacher pay, then no child left behind law has taken effect on the federal level; there's been the student's first program with school construction money flowing to the local districts. So the landscape and the education funding environment has changed. Superintendent Tom Horne that was a key point of his appeal to the 9th circuit and the 9th circuit agreed. What they did was they remanded it back to the U.S. district court level in Tucson, Judge Collins' court saying that he should have had a hearing to consider the changed circumstances.

Michael Grant:
An interesting point, Paul. So once the hearing starts before Judge Collins, it's not just going to focus on the narrow universe of, well, is $350 right, is $430 right, is $1,200 right as some have suggested. It's going to be as you put it a broader landscape of the educational landscape.

Paul Davenport:
Yeah. You'll have to look at what the changed circumstances are, what the state itself has done, what's on the books now that effect these programs. And we're talking about funding, talking about the various mandates for new instructional models that are under the law, and then you have to get into all these other issues associated with the law that was enacted by the legislature in March as to whether it has conflicts with other federal laws and -- excuse me with federal laws and therefore has to be struck down on that basis. So there is a lot of ground to be covered.

Mike Sunnucks:
I think the court ruling pretty much went along with what Horne's argument was.

Paul Davenport:
On that point, yes.

Michael Grant:
And he pretty much, this was kind of a win for him. But didn't the judge not really take into account no child left behind, some of the federal funding that's come since the original ruling?

Paul Davenport:
Well, Collins, yes. And that's what the 9th circuit said go back and look at all this stuff. So he's got a lot of going back and starting over on a lot of key points.

Michael Grant:
What the court did not reach, though, it's about the only thing that well, I mean, this is a pretty broad ruling -- but what it didn't reach was the actual merits of the plan that the legislature had passed finally in what, the March-April time.

Paul Davenport:
Right. And the 9th circuit explicitly said that they weren't going to go there. Courts often will say we're not going to rule on something we don't have to and they're going to let it come back up to them obviously once Judge Collins rules again and then you can expect another appeal by the losing side.

Michael Grant:
Mike, if this wasn't a home run for the legislature and superintendent Tom Horne I'd say it would at least qualify as a pretty strong triple.

Mike Sunnuck:
Yea, They're pretty happy. I mean, as we just mentioned, this was Horne's argument, was that the judge should have considered these changes in the funding landscape. The governor's office, you know, said that they want to try and get a solution to this pretty soon. I mean this case has been going on for years, and I think that everybody involved with it doesn't look good the more it drags out.

Michael Grant:
Paul, did the court, any discussion so far among the parties in terms of the timing of this? I know I saw a couple of comments that we need to get on with it very quickly, et cetera.

Paul Davenport:
What I was able to discern from the lawyers in the case is they expect the judge to have a scheduling conference pretty soon to set this. There was some comment by Tim Hogan, the plaintiff's lawyer, that taking note of the fact that Judge Collins over the years has pointed out this case is 14-years old. And as Mike just alluded to dragged on for awhile, and so the judge, even though he got slapped down on this, -- that's not something Tim said -- that he'd want to keep this case moving now that it's back in his courtroom.

Michael Grant:
In the meantime, what actually happens to the additional funding that the legislature had approved for English language learners? That fell by the wayside, did it not?

Paul Davenport:
That did in the sense that the they wrote the law, was that funding increase , that per-student funding increase, to go out to school districts will not actually take place unless there was a court ruling upholding this law and that hasn't happened yet. That has yet to start. And also the fine money, the 21 million, that's still in the state treasury. They never kicked it out to the districts and charter schools. And the thinking from the lawyer for the state is that will probably just go back into the regular account in the general fund. But he thought it would be probably prudent to touch base with Judge Collins before they do too much with that.

Michael Grant:
And the final aspect, Mike, one of the other things that Judge Collins that ruling had gone to well English language learner students don't have to pass the aims test. 9th circuit actually had stayed that aspect.

Mike Sunnock:
Yes, they kept that, and it's kind of ironic. The kids that originally were impacted by this case, that they brought it for, are long out of school. The way it's going now, the kids that are in school now probably won't get any benefit from this case. A lot of people are really well intentioned here but I don't really see any results. It seems like it's going to go on and on appeal after appeal. And the folks that say they doing it for the children maybe they should try to fast track a few things.

Paul Giblin:
What's your best guess, are children being born this year or next year?

Mike Sunnuck:
It Might be kindergarten's children that benefit from this.

Michael Grant:
There'll be an all day k.

Michael Grant:
Another education related subject. Governor Napolitano putting several educational ideas on the table this week, Mike?

Mike Sunnuck:
Yea, she wants to raise the dropout age to 18 and she wants to have algebra taught in more schools, have it more available to 8th graders. And she's been talking to business organizations and groups. We have pretty bad educational standing in school scores here. And this is kind of her goal to boost our math and science scores and try to keep kids in school. We have I think probably the worst dropout rate in the country and Len Munsil, and some of the republicans, have made that kind of an issue in the governor's race. So this is her way to kind of work on those concerns.

Paul Giblin:
But, This is one of those questions where is the law really going to change things if the minimum dropout age is 18? I mean, are kids going to look at their driver's licenses, and say Oh I'm not old enough to drop out of school, I suppose I'll stay in school? Is that really going to happen?

Paul Davenport:
I asked that of Tom Horne. He said there isn't much enforcement now as it is. He doesn't like the idea. He says that would put disruptive older kids in classes where they don't want to be. But Napolitano says hey we haven't figured this out yet. Lets let the P-20 council, let them hash out the details of how to make this thing work.

Mike Sunnuck:
I think one thing, it goes back to the Flores case is the dropout rates among Hispanics and immigrant children is very very high. And that's the key to try to lower, I'm with you I don't know if, changing the age is really going to change that.

Michael Grant:
There were a number of proposals, Paul, and I didn't study them in great depth -- obviously some of them the legislature would have to agree with and pass.

Paul Davenport:
That's right.

Michael Grant:
I think the dropout age in particular.

Paul Davenport:
Some of them would go to the legislature. And they did say that they have in mind the next session. Others could go to the state board of education.

Michael Grant:
War of words between Republican senator Jon Kyl and challenger Jim Pederson intensifying this week. Both sides traded charges on who's trying to buy the election. Paul let's start with the money trail. What's each campaign saying about the other sides' bucks?

Paul Giblin:
Just what you said. Each side is saying the other side is trying to buy the election. That's hard to argue with. The only guy not trying to buy the election is a guy named Richard Mack who we've never heard of. He's a Libertarian doesn't have any money. Yes, they're trying to buy the election but with whose money? Jim Pederson is largely trying to buy it with his own money. Jon Kyl is largely trying to buy the election with other people's money. That's where the distinction is. Kyl's camp says that Pederson is the one man largest special interest group in Arizona. Whereas Pederson's camp says that Kyl is using special interest money from Washington. He gets a lot of his money from auto dealers, pro sports people, live entertainers, airlines, restaurants, auto manufacturers oil companies. So Pederson says Kyl represents all those people and that's the distinction.

Michael Grant:
Interestingly enough in fact, Jim Pederson was on the program this week and we were talking about the fact that going back to the 1980 race between Barry Goldwater and Bill Sholes. Bill Sholes also had a very well-financed campaign. Senator Goldwater did as well. But it was again this contrast between self-financing and contribution financing 26 years ago.

Paul Giblin:
Right. And you know, an interesting thing I was talking to Pederson myself and I asked him about that. I said you have a lot of money obviously, but you're really willing to throw it away. He says, well, I figure if I die and have any money left and I'm a failure in life, I think the guy's really committed to getting that seat and spending as much money as it will take to do it.

Michael Grant:
Paul, where does the so-called millionaire's rule lock in? I know that's complicated. But if you're running against a millionaire who drops a lot of his own money into the campaign, -- the opponent then certainly things happen.

Paul Giblin:
Right, I'm glad you brought that up. Kyl's camp petitioned to the federal elections commission this week. They have a lot of numbers and spent a lot of time digging through Pederson's paperwork and they said look at all the money he's spending. He's way over the millionaire's amendment. That was something that John McCain among others helped bring into law. What that does, everybody has a limit how much money they can get from their contributors. But if you have someone like Jim Pederson throwing a lot of personal money into the campaign that will allow the other candidates to go back to their contributors and say, you can give me more now because my limit has been raised. So Kyl asked the election commission to lift up his limit so he can go back to the airlines and auto dealers and whoever and get more money. They haven't answered yet. But in Washington State a similar thing happened and Washington State they said, no, it doesn't apply yet because you're still in a primary election.

Michael Grant:
You're really not running against each other yet.

Paul Giblin:
Right. Right. Kyl has no opponents, no Republican opponents. Pederson has no Democratic opponents yet they're not officially running against each other. As Paul Davenport said a few minutes ago, they're still seeking the nominations for the seat.

Mike Sunnucks:
One thing I think is interesting is Pederson has run all these ads in spring. But the polls really haven't moved in his favor at all and that's kind of going against the national trend. Supposed to be a Democratic year. Democrats have a good chance in taking one or both chambers back but you're not seeing that with him. He's down like 12, 15, 18 points in all the polls.

Paul Giblin:
Right, but they did move initially, it was real wide. Then, when they went on TV the first time it narrowed up a bit then they went dark and went that way again.

Mike Sunnucks:
Kyl has the McCain kind of ace in his hole. McCain backs him. McCain's the most popular guy in the state. He appeals to moderates and independents. If you see things -- if Pederson is making some headway you'll see McCain come out and help Kyl. That's his trump card.

Michael Grant:
Mike, Senator Kyl has come out with a new TV ad?

Mike Sunnucks:
He came out with an ad touting his national security experience. He served on the intelligence committee. It's been one of his issues in Washington and it kind of talks about closing some of the loopholes that existed after 9/11 with Zacarias Moussaui. They couldn't exactly search as much as they wanted to so he's touting that. One thing they'll point to is Pederson's a business guy. He's a real estate developer, he doesn't have any national security experience. One interesting thing the Pederson camp came back with was Kyl supports Bush administration oil policies. Oil policies that we have right now that have really high crude oil prices and that means money for Iran and Saudi Arabia and these countries that bank roll some of these terror groups. So we have both sides of the terrorism argument from that one ad.

Michael Grant:
Paul, did I understand you correctly that at the current time Pederson is spending about $450,000 a week just on television advertising?

Paul Giblin:
This week he was spending $484,000 a week which is the high water point in his effort to far. This week Kyl spent $240,000 on TV ads which was not the high water mark for his campaign, but I think he's going to have to come up because Pederson is showing no signs of running less TV --

Mike Sunnucks:
They both try to have these populist arguments. Pederson saying Kyl is a tool of big oil and big business and people don't like that. Then the Republicans say here's this rich guy trying to buy the election. That hasn't gone over well in other states, California and other states where executives have pumped money in themselves. They're both coming from the same angle that not for the little guy.

Paul Davenport:
So unless you lived in one of the few congressional districts that are really competitive in this state you're just going to be bombarded with Kyl -- that's going to be the one race on your television set for the rest of the fall season.

Paul Giblin:
Oh, it's skewing some of the other races. Some of the propositions say they're having a hard time getting TV because they're trying to line up their TV slots but these two guys are buying so much TV time that price of TV ads has gone way up.

Mike Sunnucks:
Frequent flier customers.

Paul Giblin:
Right.

Michael Grant:
Actually what, about three Republican forums in one this week?

Paul Davenport:
It was an interesting session at the Republican Jewish coalition in Scottsdale earlier in the week. They had the Republican candidate for bill Montgomery talk. They had two senate candidates, Carrie Lynn Allen and Collette Rozati go at it, shall I say politely?

Michael Grant:
I understand that one was a real donnybrook.

Paul Davenport:
That was kind of blood on the floor almost, rhetorically, anyway. Then the Republican gubernatorial candidates. It was interesting. You had Allen and Rozati, a bitter fight between those two and then immediately followed by the Republican contest and then Mike Harris gets up and says, hey, guys, how about if we don't criticize each other? We don't want the nominee to be damaged goods in the general election. Fact of the matter is that's a pretty safe district for either Allen or Rozati in terms of registration so maybe it doesn't apply there.

Michael Grant:
They really don't like each other one little bit, do they?

Paul Davenport:
No. It gets really personal in terms of what they're saying about each other not just voting records. The word "liar" comes up.

Paul Giblin:
Allen says Rozati is too dumb to get a championship. It -- chairmanship. Allen said Rozati was anti-Semitic.

Paul Davenport:
She didn't use those words but she asked for Republicans to run for party volunteer post and referring to the people in those spots as being non-Christian.

Mike Sunnucks:
They both have a history of personality conflicts down at the legislature. Allen has her runs in with the conservatives from the senate side and Rozati said controversial things about Michelle Reagan and some of her primary opponents. So they both don't have those. Not warm and fuzzy.

Mike Sunnucks:
Rozati is pro-life.

Paul Davenport:
You go down the line and they're at odds on a lot of issues. It's a clear choice ideologically.

Michael Grant:
In the meantime, Mike, who endorsed Len Munsil?

Mike Sunnucks:
A Tucson auto dealer, big guy in the Republican Party. Big friends with the Bush family and time on son endorsed Munsil. The Republicans gubernatorial field hasn't got a lot of traction with the business community and these are two of the top business guys on the G.O.P. side. Don Goldwater is really hard core, hard right, immigration talk, doesn't really appeal to some of the business wing of the party. So Munsil while saying he's tough than Napolitano on immigration is probably a little softer than Goldwater on that issue.

Michael Grant:
There was a ruling from the clean elections commission finally this week on the allegations against the Napolitano campaign that they had housed up in engaging the computer consultant, right?

Paul Davenport:
Right. I think the easiest way to explain it was the Republican party said she jumped the gun on spending that she didn't have the cash on hand to pay for some of the spending commitments she made right at the start of her campaign for her website and a mass e-mail they did I think within the first 24 hours.

Mike Sunnucks:
And while Republicans got --

Paul Davenport:
That was sort of a side issue. It's not against the rules or the law to send an e-mail to somebody you probably shouldn't politically.

Michael Grant:
Obviously did alert a lot of people, though, that website was up.

Paul Davenport:
I got one thanking me for being a supporter and that raised my eyebrows. But basically they said -- and they reached a settlement agreement. And her campaign says, no, we didn't violate it but we need to get this behind us. And the commission went ahead and said, you violated the rule but because other candidates are doing the same thing, we think, and because this is sort of new territory, the interpretation on this point, we're going to cut you some slack and then they dismissed the case and imposed no fines.

Michael Grant:
All right. Let's move to the congressional level here. There's J.D. Hayworth, Henry Ford thing, Paul?

Paul Giblin:
Right.

Michael Grant:
Straighten this out for us.

Paul Giblin:
This goes back to J.D. Hayworth's new book which is called "whatever it takes." there's three passages in that book which refer to Henry Ford. And in the context of J.D. Hayworth speaking about a movement that was called Americanization back in the turn of the last century, the idea was to take immigrants from other countries and the melting pot idea.

Michael Grant:
The melting pot.

Paul Giblin:
ight. They learn English and then become American. So Henry Ford was a big champion of this and he helped -- helped a lot of people get that way, get Americanized. So he talked about this in this book. Then some Jewish people said, yeah, he did, but he was also the nation's foremost anti-Semitic. And the Jewish news of greater Phoenix I believe is the exact title of the newspaper did an editorial. And it said exactly that. They said, you know, keep in mind that yes, while he was for Americanization he was also anti-Semitic. And that's when things really got rough. Then J.D. Hayworth sent a letter back to the Jewish news saying that this is just a political attack job. And his basis for that argument was that publisher of the newspaper had contributed money to Harry Mitchell. And that is what really triggered some people in the Jewish community who started raising their eyebrows and they said, why don't you know this? Don't you have any Jews on your staff? And this is a sensitive issue for us. And Hayworth has never apologized for it. He just goes forward with it.

Michael Grant:
Is this a lesson in don't take an one day story and turn it into a two or three day story?

Paul Giblin:
I think it is. It is that. And it's also -- it's kind of indicative of how J.D. Hayworth and everyone who's around him attack every issue. Every issue is a 10 on a 10 point scale. There is no 3. There is no room in a J.D. Hayworth --

Michael Grant:
We'll let that one go but focus on this one. Sort of a full blast kind of thing in everything.

Paul Giblin:
Right. And I mean, the guy has a beautiful record from a pro-Israel point of view. There's no one who can argue that. The guy could have said, oh, sorry about that. I wasn't quite aware of that aspect of Henry Ford. Thanks for pointing it out to me. And he would have been the hero still. But instead he attacked and now he's raised a lot of eyebrows and made it an issue.

Mike Sunnucks:
You can see Mitchell go after the Jewish folk in that district. It's one of the few areas of the state where we do have a substantial Jewish population. And it tends to be oriented towards the Democrats. I think you're seeing them try to cut into that.

Paul Giblin:
And unlike other constituent says, Jewish people show up at the polls and back their candidates with money. You don't see that with every constituency.

Paul Davenport:
I'm on all these e-mail lists and get e-mails from every campaign I don't plan to cover. I don't cover that one. Mitchell's e-mails and the Democrat's e-mails go after Hayworth relentlessly. Does Hayworth do that as well?

Paul Giblin:
Harry Mitchell for the most part has stood back and watched this particular issue kind of fester. He hasn't had a big role in promoting it. So that was kind of an easy one for him.

Michael Grant:
What's that expression you never kill a guy in the process of committing suicide?

Michael Grant:
Mike, some interesting poll results on the race on both sides to replace Jim Colby down in I think it's CDA.

Mike Sunnucks:
CDA. Tucson, Sierra Vista, tombstone part of the state along the border. Tucson weekly poll had Gabriel Giffords ahead of Patty Whites a former Tucson TV anchor 25-27. Kind of surprised people. Whites has a big ID but Giffords has the party establishment behind her and more money. She's pumped a lot of her own then and really good endorsements, AFL-CIO, teacher's union. Arizona club. She's seen as a good centrist candidate. On the Republican side immigration Hawk Randy Graff is way ahead of business-backed Steve Huffman. I think it's 36-13. Kind of shows you the simmering frustration with the border down there.

Michael Grant:
Very quickly, Paul, because we're out of time. Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon opposing protect marriage Arizona this week?

Paul Davenport:
That's right. He and U of A President Emeritus Peter Likins filed an amicus brief saying if the marriage act on partnerships and such it would hurt hiring, make them let competitive for quality employer out of time. --

Michael Grant:
All right, panelists we are out of time.

Larry Lemmons:
We begin a 4-part series, Arizona education update. Money was made available this summer to expand all day kindergarten. Because of the short notice for some districts, different plans have been put into place. We look at the impact all day k has made on school districts Monday night at 7:00 on channel 8's horizon.

Michael Grant:
Tuesday the latest Cronkite-eight poll where we asked Arizona voters about four immigration propositions and who they would vote for in the race between Governor Napolitano and a Republican opponent. Also Tuesday we continue the education series with a look at arts education. Thank you very much for joining us on a Friday edition of horizon. Hope you have a great weekend. I'm Michael Grant. Good night.

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