Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

September 14, 2006


Host: Michael Grant

Governor loses battle over line item veto


Guests:
  • Howard Fischer - Capitol Media Times
  • Dr. Mark Osterloh - Proponent of Proposition 200
  • Farrell Quinlan - Arizona Chamber of Commerce and opposes Proposition 200
  • George Gascon - New police chief, City of Mesa
Category: Legislature

View Transcript
Michael Grant:
Tonight on Horizon, the governor loses a court battle over a line item veto. We'll talk about that ruling and its implications. A million dollars for voting, one lucky voter could win that if proposition 200 passes and we'll also tell but proposition 301 which deals with meth and probation. Finally meet Mesa's new police chief, all that's next on Horizon.

Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by contributions from the friends of Eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Michael Grant:
Good evening. Welcome to Horizon. I'm Michael Grant. The Governor lost a state Supreme Court ruling earlier this week over one of her line item vetoes, court ruling that the governor overstepped her boundaries in vetoing part of the pay raise package for state employees, handing a win to the republican controlled legislature. Here to talk about the ruling and even possibly its implications on the legislative process is Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services. Put the facts of this in context. It was a part of a pay raise for state employees.

Howard Fischer:
This was a massive pay hike that they decided to enact immediately for state workers because they had fallen behind and their retirement pension costs were going up. But in the middle of this the republican legislators put in five lines that said, people who are hired beginning next year above a certain pay grade would no longer be covered by merit system protection, specifically the kind of things where you get to have a hearing if you are disciplined or demoted or whatever. Not a big deal. There aren't any people working at that at this point. Well the governor used her power of line item veto to take out those five lines and sign the rest of it. The state constitution says a governor may veto items of appropriation in a bill. Of course, she said, of course, it's an appropriation because people who are exempt from the merit system gather leave time faster than the people who are not exempt, so when these people who have yet to be hired finally leave, we will owe them more money. She took that argument to the court of appeals. Excuse me, to the Supreme Court. Let me just say that the justices found that a little hard to swallow. They basically said governor, what part of the difference between an obligation and an appropriation do you not understand? Yes, theoretically speaking people who have yet to be hired will need more money in the future. An appropriation is a line in the budget saying, here's the money to pay that. There is nothing in the budget to pay that.

Michael Grant:
There is a line item obligation power in the governor.

Howard Fischer:
If you will. And, of course, the governor said, well, you know the difference between an obligation and an appropriation is something only an attorney could love. Well, governor, first, you're an attorney. So hopefully you would understand that. And, second, we have a whole history in this state of situations where the state has had obligations, Arnold versus Sarn with mental health, issues of Medicaid where a state had an obligation but never funded it. So clearly there's a difference there and for some reason it escaped the governor.

Michael Grant: And it certainly bothered the legislature and, Howie, I would think probably bothered the Supreme Court, that the problem with that interpretation is almost every law passed may lead, very quickly, or at some time in the future to some sort of obligation if you were to interpret the governor's line item power that broadly, you might as well disband the legislature. Now, stay with me here. This is not offered as a positive idea. But simply have the governor basically fill in the blank.

Howard Fischer:
And that would very clearly be true because she would have dictatorial powers. For example, while this happens to be a ballot measure, the measure you are talking about tonight dealing with meth users first-time offenders going to jail. Ok, if you are sending them to jail, whereas, before they were guaranteed probation there is a cost here. There is no appropriation for that. There is no specific line in the budget for that. But if you do that, it means every time you change a criminal law, every time you change penalties for the department of environmental quality, if they have to hire more people to enforce that, everything has an appropriation implication somewhere. And you are right, if the legislature had lost this one, you might as well have a dictatorial governor, now obviously from Janet's perspective that wouldn't be such a bad thing.

Michael Grant:
She has been very good, I think, about testing various waters. Pushing the edges of some boundaries, maybe many boundaries, but always knowing where the line was. This one, I think, even to casual observers, most people said, that's not going to fly. Was this just pushing the edge of the envelope too far?

Howard Fisher:
I think this was pure politics. You have to understand that where the labor -- it was labor unions who helped get Janet Napolitano elected four years ago. They will help get her reelected this time. By going ahead and taking out this part that would be considered anti-labor, she did a solid for them. Even knowing perhaps it would be rejected by the Supreme Court, she can go back and say, look, I did you this favor, I tried. So she loses nothing by this. She gets to stay solid with the labor unions. And they get to go back and say, you know, get out and vote for Janet.

Michael Grant: Any other legislative implications for this? I mean, they have become very much more careful in drafting their budget, but that was a completely different issue a couple of sessions ago, but any other legislative implications?

Howard Fischer:
Well, you know, trying to second guess what legislators will do, I'm guessing some very creative lawmaker may decide to take something and phrase some future obligation as an obligation versus an appropriation to get around the governor. Clearly, every time one of these decisions come out, the process clays. The last time the line item veto went up about governor Napolitano and the Supreme Court said, well, you can't phrase bills this way so as you point out now we have 15 budget bills instead of four. So clearly, somebody's going to play with this. Does it mean anything long term politically? I think it doesn't. I think that the legislature and the governor are going to argue next year, assuming she's reelected, now, if it's governor Munsil, well who knows what we've got.

Michael Grant:
All right. Howie Fischer, Capitol Media Service. I guess I'll see you on the Friday edition tomorrow. Thanks.

Michael Grant:
As we continue our coverage of the propositions we will vote on in the upcoming general election tonight we take a look at proposition 200. It would enter people who vote in the preliminary and general elections every two years in a lottery to win a million bucks. Talk about that issue from both sides, but first Mike Sauceda tells us more about the Arizona voter reward act.

Mike Sauceda: On the streets of downtown Tempe opinions mostly favored proposition 200 which would enter people who vote in the primary or general election every two years in a public drawing for $1 million dollars. The money for the prize would come from unclaimed lottery money.

Tanya Chesney:
I think it's an awesome idea. I think it will get more people to vote.

Allen Poore:
I think it get people out to vote. I think it might prop people to maybe who wouldn't vote to go ahead and start voting. Hopefully.

Russ Lathem:
Well, I mean, I think that it would. I think there's a lot of people that would otherwise stay at home but for a chance at a million dollars they get up and go to circle k and buy a ticket for the lottery. So, chances are they will probably get up, go to the polling place for a chance at the same.

Shena Gibson: I think it's kind of, it's a sorry ploy to get people out to vote for money. I think that money could be better distributed elsewhere. I mean, theres plenty of foundations out there who could definitely use a million dollars as opposed to one person getting it. I mean, that I think that people should have enough care to go out and vote themselves without having an incentive like $1 million to maybe win.

Mike Sauceda:
Helen Purcell, the Maricopa county recorders says this should have no impact on vote process.

Helen Purcell:
We don't know what impact that has on our office. I think we have been trying to figure that out. It has always been against the constitution, not only of Arizona, but I believe of the constitution of the United States, that you cannot have any kind of a payment for voting. And that seems to me that that's what we're doing here. Even though it might be only for one person, but there still is some type of a payment. Or everybody would anticipate that there would be. It's just something that I'm not really wild about.

Michael Grant:
With me tonight to present the pro side on proposition 200 is Dr. Mark Osterloh who got that measure on the ballot. Here to oppose the measure is Farrell Quinlan of the Arizona chamber of commerce. Gentlemen, welcome to you both. Mark, tell me why this is a good idea.

Mark Osterloh:
Because we want to get everybody in Arizona voting. If you want truly representative and democratic government, everybody has to vote so their opinion is heard. They get people in the Legislature that pass measures that are important to them. Right now, maybe one out of four people is voting in election. That's terrible. We should not have a government of the minority, we could have a government of the majority. This is a simple incentive. Anybody who votes in the primary gets a chance to win. If they vote in the general they get a second chance to win a million dollar prize. The money comes from the unclaimed prize fund. The Arizona lottery, when people don't claim their prizes. So it's simple. It will be effective. It will get everybody voting and we will have the highest voter turnout in America.

Michael Grant:
Is this around anywhere else?

Mark Osterloh:
Nobody else in the world has it as far as I know.

Michael Grant:
Alright, Farrell, tell me why this is just a stinky idea.

Farrell Quinlan:
Well, you used the term stinky, but USA today called it tawdry and other mainstream or even liberal publications have come out against it. The "New York Times" and others. And it just seems gimmicky, and because it is. The idea that everyone needs to vote is something that should be challenged. There is a reason why some people don't vote. Either that they don't feel that they know enough about either the candidates or the proposition question. I recently moved to Chandler, and there was a city wide vote on -- last march and I chose not to vote because I really didn't know what was going on in that race. And anyone knows Chandler politics there's a lot to know. [laughter] And so I chose not to put my uninformed ballot into the process because I felt it was -- it would have probably robbed somebody else's vote who actually did follow the issues. And that's one thing I have a -- we have a problem with is that you have a number of uninformed or just voters that just don't care and we are going to bring them into the process, into the ballot box. And I think what you are you are going to see is a lot of disruption in terms of some of the messages that go out, some of the candidates, and some of the appeals that are going to be made. Are they going to be made on the merits of the issues or is it going to be to garner some of that huge bubble of people who don't know or don't care to have them vote for something that may be popular or sound good, A single issue that might be something that disrupts what people who really are following the issues and would be in favor of.

Michael Grant:
Mark, I mean, we are guessing here. We don't know what impact this would have on voters. Right?

Mark Osterloh:
Well it boils down, do you believe in democracy or don't you? If you believe in democracy, you believe that everybody that's eligible to vote should vote. That's the whole basis of our government, government of the people by the people and for the people. Now there are all kinds of arguments about moral issues. Once people decide to vote they are going to study the issues and candidates because they want people in office that will represent them and the people that are opposing this are people that are scared to death of all of these new voters, may not be in their political camp and believe in the same things they want.

Michael Grant:
But returning to the opinion, though, we don't know if this will have any impact on turnout or not, right? It's never been tried.

Mark Osterloh:
It hasn't been tried but Arizona can lead the way in this one. We lead the way in clean elections in the state so we can lead the way with this one.

Michael Grant:
Do we want people showing up for this sort of reason or do we want it -- you don't want them showing up for the things that we were taught in civics and government class about good citizenship and those kinds of things.

Mark Osterloh:
Well, if everybody did what they were supposed to do, we wouldn't have prisons and we wouldn't have divorces. Ok? We are dealing with real people. We have got a real problem. Ok? Even god uses incentives. What does he say? Do what you are supposed to do and I will reward you with heaven. We are saying do what you're supposed to do but we will reward you with a chance to win a million dollars. So if incentives are good enough for god they are good enough for the voters of Arizona.

Farrell Quinlan:
I'm not going to invoke -- the almighty here.

Michael Grant:
Are you going to take on God here?

Farrell Quinlan:
No I'm not going to invoke the almighty here and take on a childish notion of how god interacts with the people. You know, they had near 100\% voting in Iraq and Albania under the communist system. That was not a democratic system. Just because everyone votes does not equal democracy. I probably don't floss as much as I should. But if I was given $1 million incentive to floss I would probably floss. But where does this end? The question is, is it the job of the state to try to induce people to vote that really have no care about the issues at all? And I don't see -- I don't see the connection that just because you are going to show up at a voting station that you are going to then feel obligated to learn about the election. Because actually it's a disincentive to learn because you'll just go and say I'm just going to go anyways and cast my vote, get my lottery ticket, and why is that lottery ticket an inducement for me to learn about the election?

Michael Grant:
Do we have a serious studied voter here?

Mark Osterloh:
Well, first of all, yeah, once you go to the polls and you decide you are going to vote, you are going to want somebody in office who represents you. First you have got to decide to go vote. Then you will study the issues and the candidates but he talks about Iraq.

Michael Grant: but if I'm there for a million dollars do I really care who represents me?

Mark Osterloh:
You are not going to study all the cars and that are out there and how much they cost and all the options if you are not going to buy a car but once you decide you will study them. The same with voting, once you decide you are going to vote for whatever reason, you are going to say who's going to take care of the potholes in front of my house, whose going to take care of that crack house down the road? Who's going to get good health care for my family? Who's going to take care of education for my kids? People will make decisions on their own and enlightened self-interests. The same arguments they have there, the same discredited arguments that were used in the past. That say we shouldn't let women vote because they will be unformed and we shouldn't let African-Americans to vote because they don't know how to vote and won't study the issues and won't care. Once people decide to vote they are going to say I am going to vote for who will take care of the issues important to me. Most of the arguments say people say that these people will not take it seriously. They will take it seriously.

Farrell Quinlan:
That's so shameful for you to invoke the woman's suffrage jet movement the early 20th century or the civil rights movement of the 60's where there were actual legal barriers, there were, you know, attack dogs keeping voters away from polls and there were all kinds of laws on the books, literacy tests. And there was actually government coming down and keeping people from the franchise. In Arizona, you can start voting in the general election on October 5. You can get a ballot in the mail. You can show up on election day. You have -- you have every opportunity to go vote. There is practically no barrier to vote in Arizona. Except you don't have $1 million possibility of hanging out there. That just seems -- it's really shameful that you invoke these iconic struggles of the past to support your kind of sleazy proposition.

Michael Grant:
Well, ok. You get last word but you only get about 15 seconds.

Mark Osterloh:
There are barriers to voting right now. They do jamming of phone lines when messages go out. They have had people put police in front of polling places in the past to keep them from voting. People are not voting because they are frustrated with their government right now.

Michael Grant:
Ok. Give me photos of the police. Dr. Mark Osterloh, thank you very much for joining us. Farrell Quinlan, our thanks to you as well.

Michael Grant:
Another proposition voters are going to decide on in the November general election is proposition 301, which deals with probation for methamphetamine offenses.

Merry Lucero:
Current law states that people convicted for the first or second time for drug possession or use, including methamphetamine, get probation rather than jail or prison time. Only when a person has been convicted three times of personal possession or use of drugs can that person be sentenced to jail or prison. Proposition 301 would amend the current law so that a person who is convicted for the first or second time of personal possession or use of methamphetamine can be sentenced to a term in jail or prison. The change in the law would allow judges to use a jail term as a condition of probation to force meth users to comply with court mandated drug rehab. A yes vote has the effect of making a person ineligible for mandatory probation if the person is convicted of an offense involving the personal use or possession of methamphetamine. A no vote has the effect of retaining the current law requiring mandatory probation for a person convicted for a first or second offense for the use or possession of methamphetamine unless the person has been convicted three or more times of personal possession or use of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia, refused drug treatment as a condition of probation or rejected probation.

Michael Grant:
Last month, city of Mesa officially welcomed a new police chief, George Gascon, 28-year veteran of the Los Angeles police department. Most recently assistance police chief at that department. Gascon replaces former chief Dennis Donna who retired in January. Gascon talked with Horizonte host, Jose Cardenas about his new job and here's that interview.

Jose Cardenas:
Chief, welcome to Horizonte and to Arizona.

George Gascon:
Thank you, Jose. Thank you very much.

Jose Cardenas: The newspaper articles describing the welcome that we were referring to said it was almost Holly wood more than what you would normally associate with Mesa. We're you surprised with the warmth of the reception?


George Gascon:
I was. I was pleasantly surprised. I had been made to feel very welcome since the very beginning but the reception was beyond what I expected. It was extremely well attended by community members, by members of the police department. I was made to feel very much of this community already. And I really appreciate it. I'm very excited.

Jose Cardenas:
Well, and I suspect part of the depth of the response and the enthusiasm was because you have been pretty highly sod after over the years by different cities. What made you choose Mesa?

George Gascon:
You know, when the opportunity came, and I've had other opportunities, and frankly, I was very happy in L.A. It's not like I was out there looking for work. The opportunity came and I started to research Mesa, looked at the police department, looked at the community in general, looked at the infrastructure that is there and saw both the difficulties they are facing today but also saw a number of opportunities. It's a great police department. Very good work force, well educated, motivated. There's a lack of focus today, if you will. And certainly there are opportunities and challenges coming up with budgetary constraints. But I law saw a great opportunity to begin to work not only making a positive impact in mesa through public safety and policing but also working toward a developing new policing models that will be more effective. The realities are populations are going to continue to grow. Policing budgets are not going to grow proportionately to the size of the population. And in policing we're going to have to start looking for different models. I think Mesa presents a great opportunity to experiment and enhance the quality of policing services and do more so efficiently.

Jose Cardenas:
I want to talk a little bit about those models, which as I understand are based on some of the things you have done in L.A., and I want to talk about that as well, but before we do that a little bit about your personal background.

George Gascon:
Sure, 28 years with LAPD. And I have basically worked most every assignment. Broad base of experience, worked in gangs, worked in recruitment, worked in patrol. It's been a great deal of my time working in informal assignments. Most of my career in L.A. was centered around the east and the south part of the city, very active. I'm also a licensed attorney in the state of California, practiced actually part time while I was a police officer. Most recently I was running operations with the LAPD which is roughly about 70-75\% of the department. We have 19 police stations. All sworn patrol officers, detective, all of our special operations, detectives, our air support, all those entities come under the office of operation, and I ran that for about two and a half years.

Jose Cardenas:
Now I understand you yourself are an immigrant to this country.

George Gascon:
That's correct. I was 13 years old when I came from Cuba, went straight into L.A. I was raised there. I went to the military from there. Came back, went to college obtained my undergraduate degree, went to law school, went to the LAPD. Pretty much been in L.A. my entire life since I was 13.

Jose Cardenas:
Now, I understand you've received a lot of attention and praise for some programs that you have implemented in Los Angeles that you intend to implement here. Can you tell us about that?

George Gascon: Sure L.A. is probably one of the most under-policed major cities in the world. Proportionate number of police officers to citizens, about half of what it is in New York and Chicago, for instance. One of the things that I recognize is that we have to come up with different models. We have to be more efficient, and part of what I did is I put together a program based on national statistics that talks about 10\% of the suspects committing 50 to 55\% of the crime, 10\% of the victims accounting for 40\% of the victimization and 10\% of the locations, accounting for the site where about 60\% of the crime occurs. So what I did is I created three circles, people, places and activities and kind of put them in a triangle where the three circles intersected that's what I started to protect our policing efforts. That would yield a tremendous amount result. And proportionally L.A. was able to lower crime at a greater rate than most any other city in the country, cities of 500,000 or more people.

Jose Cardenas:
Chief, let me ask you about a couple of others areas and then maybe come back to what you intend to do in Mesa. What is your view of the proper role of local law enforcement in terms of immigration enforcement?

George Gascon:
Well, you know, and I think it will be important to put a little bit of context in this. When I was a captain in the LAPD I was part of a board of inquirers that looked into the scandal that we had in rampart division which basically surrounded a small group of officers that became criminals. They started to act as criminals and were involved in narcotics activities and they were involved in many other illegal activities. And one of the things as we review the management failures, in this particular incidence, we noticed that these officers were allowed to use immigration as an arm to intimidate and to extort from people and prevent people from becoming witnesses to crimes and witnesses to their own misconduct. So any time that they had a problem and they felt it was someone that maybe complaining they would simply pick him up and take them to, at the time it was IMS. So that experience, in conjunction with other experiences in my professional life as policing, has really kind of reinforce my idea that in order for us to be able to be effective in policing we need the support of all the communities that are within the jurisdiction that we police. And if you have a particular community that becomes fearful of reporting crimes, or fearful of stepping up and being witnesses because of the consequences they may have, in terms of deportation, what occurs is that you have a break in policing. And then our ability to deal with crime, that impacts everybody, not only the immigrant community gets diminished significantly.

Larry Lemmons:
Arizonans go to the polls this week. We'll look at the winners and losers in this year's primary and look ahead to what it means for the general election in November. The journalist's Roundtable, Friday at 7:00, on Horizon.

Michael Grant: Thanks very much for joining us on a Thursday. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one. Good night.

Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by contributions from the friends of Eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

New Mesa police chef


  • Last month, city of Mesa officially welcomed a new police chief, George Gascon, 28-year veteran of the Los Angeles police department. Most recently assistance police chief at that department. Gascon replaces former chief Dennis Donna who retired in January. Gascon talked with Horizonte host, Jose Cardenas about his new job.
Guests:
  • Howard Fischer - Capitol Media Times
  • Dr. Mark Osterloh - Proponent of Proposition 200
  • Farrell Quinlan - Arizona Chamber of Commerce and opposes Proposition 200
  • George Gascon - New police chief, City of Mesa


View Transcript
Michael Grant:
Tonight on Horizon, the governor loses a court battle over a line item veto. We'll talk about that ruling and its implications. A million dollars for voting, one lucky voter could win that if proposition 200 passes and we'll also tell but proposition 301 which deals with meth and probation. Finally meet Mesa's new police chief, all that's next on Horizon.

Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by contributions from the friends of Eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Michael Grant:
Good evening. Welcome to Horizon. I'm Michael Grant. The Governor lost a state Supreme Court ruling earlier this week over one of her line item vetoes, court ruling that the governor overstepped her boundaries in vetoing part of the pay raise package for state employees, handing a win to the republican controlled legislature. Here to talk about the ruling and even possibly its implications on the legislative process is Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services. Put the facts of this in context. It was a part of a pay raise for state employees.

Howard Fischer:
This was a massive pay hike that they decided to enact immediately for state workers because they had fallen behind and their retirement pension costs were going up. But in the middle of this the republican legislators put in five lines that said, people who are hired beginning next year above a certain pay grade would no longer be covered by merit system protection, specifically the kind of things where you get to have a hearing if you are disciplined or demoted or whatever. Not a big deal. There aren't any people working at that at this point. Well the governor used her power of line item veto to take out those five lines and sign the rest of it. The state constitution says a governor may veto items of appropriation in a bill. Of course, she said, of course, it's an appropriation because people who are exempt from the merit system gather leave time faster than the people who are not exempt, so when these people who have yet to be hired finally leave, we will owe them more money. She took that argument to the court of appeals. Excuse me, to the Supreme Court. Let me just say that the justices found that a little hard to swallow. They basically said governor, what part of the difference between an obligation and an appropriation do you not understand? Yes, theoretically speaking people who have yet to be hired will need more money in the future. An appropriation is a line in the budget saying, here's the money to pay that. There is nothing in the budget to pay that.

Michael Grant:
There is a line item obligation power in the governor.

Howard Fischer:
If you will. And, of course, the governor said, well, you know the difference between an obligation and an appropriation is something only an attorney could love. Well, governor, first, you're an attorney. So hopefully you would understand that. And, second, we have a whole history in this state of situations where the state has had obligations, Arnold versus Sarn with mental health, issues of Medicaid where a state had an obligation but never funded it. So clearly there's a difference there and for some reason it escaped the governor.

Michael Grant: And it certainly bothered the legislature and, Howie, I would think probably bothered the Supreme Court, that the problem with that interpretation is almost every law passed may lead, very quickly, or at some time in the future to some sort of obligation if you were to interpret the governor's line item power that broadly, you might as well disband the legislature. Now, stay with me here. This is not offered as a positive idea. But simply have the governor basically fill in the blank.

Howard Fischer:
And that would very clearly be true because she would have dictatorial powers. For example, while this happens to be a ballot measure, the measure you are talking about tonight dealing with meth users first-time offenders going to jail. Ok, if you are sending them to jail, whereas, before they were guaranteed probation there is a cost here. There is no appropriation for that. There is no specific line in the budget for that. But if you do that, it means every time you change a criminal law, every time you change penalties for the department of environmental quality, if they have to hire more people to enforce that, everything has an appropriation implication somewhere. And you are right, if the legislature had lost this one, you might as well have a dictatorial governor, now obviously from Janet's perspective that wouldn't be such a bad thing.

Michael Grant:
She has been very good, I think, about testing various waters. Pushing the edges of some boundaries, maybe many boundaries, but always knowing where the line was. This one, I think, even to casual observers, most people said, that's not going to fly. Was this just pushing the edge of the envelope too far?

Howard Fisher:
I think this was pure politics. You have to understand that where the labor -- it was labor unions who helped get Janet Napolitano elected four years ago. They will help get her reelected this time. By going ahead and taking out this part that would be considered anti-labor, she did a solid for them. Even knowing perhaps it would be rejected by the Supreme Court, she can go back and say, look, I did you this favor, I tried. So she loses nothing by this. She gets to stay solid with the labor unions. And they get to go back and say, you know, get out and vote for Janet.

Michael Grant: Any other legislative implications for this? I mean, they have become very much more careful in drafting their budget, but that was a completely different issue a couple of sessions ago, but any other legislative implications?

Howard Fischer:
Well, you know, trying to second guess what legislators will do, I'm guessing some very creative lawmaker may decide to take something and phrase some future obligation as an obligation versus an appropriation to get around the governor. Clearly, every time one of these decisions come out, the process clays. The last time the line item veto went up about governor Napolitano and the Supreme Court said, well, you can't phrase bills this way so as you point out now we have 15 budget bills instead of four. So clearly, somebody's going to play with this. Does it mean anything long term politically? I think it doesn't. I think that the legislature and the governor are going to argue next year, assuming she's reelected, now, if it's governor Munsil, well who knows what we've got.

Michael Grant:
All right. Howie Fischer, Capitol Media Service. I guess I'll see you on the Friday edition tomorrow. Thanks.

Michael Grant:
As we continue our coverage of the propositions we will vote on in the upcoming general election tonight we take a look at proposition 200. It would enter people who vote in the preliminary and general elections every two years in a lottery to win a million bucks. Talk about that issue from both sides, but first Mike Sauceda tells us more about the Arizona voter reward act.

Mike Sauceda: On the streets of downtown Tempe opinions mostly favored proposition 200 which would enter people who vote in the primary or general election every two years in a public drawing for $1 million dollars. The money for the prize would come from unclaimed lottery money.

Tanya Chesney:
I think it's an awesome idea. I think it will get more people to vote.

Allen Poore:
I think it get people out to vote. I think it might prop people to maybe who wouldn't vote to go ahead and start voting. Hopefully.

Russ Lathem:
Well, I mean, I think that it would. I think there's a lot of people that would otherwise stay at home but for a chance at a million dollars they get up and go to circle k and buy a ticket for the lottery. So, chances are they will probably get up, go to the polling place for a chance at the same.

Shena Gibson: I think it's kind of, it's a sorry ploy to get people out to vote for money. I think that money could be better distributed elsewhere. I mean, theres plenty of foundations out there who could definitely use a million dollars as opposed to one person getting it. I mean, that I think that people should have enough care to go out and vote themselves without having an incentive like $1 million to maybe win.

Mike Sauceda:
Helen Purcell, the Maricopa county recorders says this should have no impact on vote process.

Helen Purcell:
We don't know what impact that has on our office. I think we have been trying to figure that out. It has always been against the constitution, not only of Arizona, but I believe of the constitution of the United States, that you cannot have any kind of a payment for voting. And that seems to me that that's what we're doing here. Even though it might be only for one person, but there still is some type of a payment. Or everybody would anticipate that there would be. It's just something that I'm not really wild about.

Michael Grant:
With me tonight to present the pro side on proposition 200 is Dr. Mark Osterloh who got that measure on the ballot. Here to oppose the measure is Farrell Quinlan of the Arizona chamber of commerce. Gentlemen, welcome to you both. Mark, tell me why this is a good idea.

Mark Osterloh:
Because we want to get everybody in Arizona voting. If you want truly representative and democratic government, everybody has to vote so their opinion is heard. They get people in the Legislature that pass measures that are important to them. Right now, maybe one out of four people is voting in election. That's terrible. We should not have a government of the minority, we could have a government of the majority. This is a simple incentive. Anybody who votes in the primary gets a chance to win. If they vote in the general they get a second chance to win a million dollar prize. The money comes from the unclaimed prize fund. The Arizona lottery, when people don't claim their prizes. So it's simple. It will be effective. It will get everybody voting and we will have the highest voter turnout in America.

Michael Grant:
Is this around anywhere else?

Mark Osterloh:
Nobody else in the world has it as far as I know.

Michael Grant:
Alright, Farrell, tell me why this is just a stinky idea.

Farrell Quinlan:
Well, you used the term stinky, but USA today called it tawdry and other mainstream or even liberal publications have come out against it. The "New York Times" and others. And it just seems gimmicky, and because it is. The idea that everyone needs to vote is something that should be challenged. There is a reason why some people don't vote. Either that they don't feel that they know enough about either the candidates or the proposition question. I recently moved to Chandler, and there was a city wide vote on -- last march and I chose not to vote because I really didn't know what was going on in that race. And anyone knows Chandler politics there's a lot to know. [laughter] And so I chose not to put my uninformed ballot into the process because I felt it was -- it would have probably robbed somebody else's vote who actually did follow the issues. And that's one thing I have a -- we have a problem with is that you have a number of uninformed or just voters that just don't care and we are going to bring them into the process, into the ballot box. And I think what you are you are going to see is a lot of disruption in terms of some of the messages that go out, some of the candidates, and some of the appeals that are going to be made. Are they going to be made on the merits of the issues or is it going to be to garner some of that huge bubble of people who don't know or don't care to have them vote for something that may be popular or sound good, A single issue that might be something that disrupts what people who really are following the issues and would be in favor of.

Michael Grant:
Mark, I mean, we are guessing here. We don't know what impact this would have on voters. Right?

Mark Osterloh:
Well it boils down, do you believe in democracy or don't you? If you believe in democracy, you believe that everybody that's eligible to vote should vote. That's the whole basis of our government, government of the people by the people and for the people. Now there are all kinds of arguments about moral issues. Once people decide to vote they are going to study the issues and candidates because they want people in office that will represent them and the people that are opposing this are people that are scared to death of all of these new voters, may not be in their political camp and believe in the same things they want.

Michael Grant:
But returning to the opinion, though, we don't know if this will have any impact on turnout or not, right? It's never been tried.

Mark Osterloh:
It hasn't been tried but Arizona can lead the way in this one. We lead the way in clean elections in the state so we can lead the way with this one.

Michael Grant:
Do we want people showing up for this sort of reason or do we want it -- you don't want them showing up for the things that we were taught in civics and government class about good citizenship and those kinds of things.

Mark Osterloh:
Well, if everybody did what they were supposed to do, we wouldn't have prisons and we wouldn't have divorces. Ok? We are dealing with real people. We have got a real problem. Ok? Even god uses incentives. What does he say? Do what you are supposed to do and I will reward you with heaven. We are saying do what you're supposed to do but we will reward you with a chance to win a million dollars. So if incentives are good enough for god they are good enough for the voters of Arizona.

Farrell Quinlan:
I'm not going to invoke -- the almighty here.

Michael Grant:
Are you going to take on God here?

Farrell Quinlan:
No I'm not going to invoke the almighty here and take on a childish notion of how god interacts with the people. You know, they had near 100\% voting in Iraq and Albania under the communist system. That was not a democratic system. Just because everyone votes does not equal democracy. I probably don't floss as much as I should. But if I was given $1 million incentive to floss I would probably floss. But where does this end? The question is, is it the job of the state to try to induce people to vote that really have no care about the issues at all? And I don't see -- I don't see the connection that just because you are going to show up at a voting station that you are going to then feel obligated to learn about the election. Because actually it's a disincentive to learn because you'll just go and say I'm just going to go anyways and cast my vote, get my lottery ticket, and why is that lottery ticket an inducement for me to learn about the election?

Michael Grant:
Do we have a serious studied voter here?

Mark Osterloh:
Well, first of all, yeah, once you go to the polls and you decide you are going to vote, you are going to want somebody in office who represents you. First you have got to decide to go vote. Then you will study the issues and the candidates but he talks about Iraq.

Michael Grant: but if I'm there for a million dollars do I really care who represents me?

Mark Osterloh:
You are not going to study all the cars and that are out there and how much they cost and all the options if you are not going to buy a car but once you decide you will study them. The same with voting, once you decide you are going to vote for whatever reason, you are going to say who's going to take care of the potholes in front of my house, whose going to take care of that crack house down the road? Who's going to get good health care for my family? Who's going to take care of education for my kids? People will make decisions on their own and enlightened self-interests. The same arguments they have there, the same discredited arguments that were used in the past. That say we shouldn't let women vote because they will be unformed and we shouldn't let African-Americans to vote because they don't know how to vote and won't study the issues and won't care. Once people decide to vote they are going to say I am going to vote for who will take care of the issues important to me. Most of the arguments say people say that these people will not take it seriously. They will take it seriously.

Farrell Quinlan:
That's so shameful for you to invoke the woman's suffrage jet movement the early 20th century or the civil rights movement of the 60's where there were actual legal barriers, there were, you know, attack dogs keeping voters away from polls and there were all kinds of laws on the books, literacy tests. And there was actually government coming down and keeping people from the franchise. In Arizona, you can start voting in the general election on October 5. You can get a ballot in the mail. You can show up on election day. You have -- you have every opportunity to go vote. There is practically no barrier to vote in Arizona. Except you don't have $1 million possibility of hanging out there. That just seems -- it's really shameful that you invoke these iconic struggles of the past to support your kind of sleazy proposition.

Michael Grant:
Well, ok. You get last word but you only get about 15 seconds.

Mark Osterloh:
There are barriers to voting right now. They do jamming of phone lines when messages go out. They have had people put police in front of polling places in the past to keep them from voting. People are not voting because they are frustrated with their government right now.

Michael Grant:
Ok. Give me photos of the police. Dr. Mark Osterloh, thank you very much for joining us. Farrell Quinlan, our thanks to you as well.

Michael Grant:
Another proposition voters are going to decide on in the November general election is proposition 301, which deals with probation for methamphetamine offenses.

Merry Lucero:
Current law states that people convicted for the first or second time for drug possession or use, including methamphetamine, get probation rather than jail or prison time. Only when a person has been convicted three times of personal possession or use of drugs can that person be sentenced to jail or prison. Proposition 301 would amend the current law so that a person who is convicted for the first or second time of personal possession or use of methamphetamine can be sentenced to a term in jail or prison. The change in the law would allow judges to use a jail term as a condition of probation to force meth users to comply with court mandated drug rehab. A yes vote has the effect of making a person ineligible for mandatory probation if the person is convicted of an offense involving the personal use or possession of methamphetamine. A no vote has the effect of retaining the current law requiring mandatory probation for a person convicted for a first or second offense for the use or possession of methamphetamine unless the person has been convicted three or more times of personal possession or use of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia, refused drug treatment as a condition of probation or rejected probation.

Michael Grant:
Last month, city of Mesa officially welcomed a new police chief, George Gascon, 28-year veteran of the Los Angeles police department. Most recently assistance police chief at that department. Gascon replaces former chief Dennis Donna who retired in January. Gascon talked with Horizonte host, Jose Cardenas about his new job and here's that interview.

Jose Cardenas:
Chief, welcome to Horizonte and to Arizona.

George Gascon:
Thank you, Jose. Thank you very much.

Jose Cardenas: The newspaper articles describing the welcome that we were referring to said it was almost Holly wood more than what you would normally associate with Mesa. We're you surprised with the warmth of the reception?


George Gascon:
I was. I was pleasantly surprised. I had been made to feel very welcome since the very beginning but the reception was beyond what I expected. It was extremely well attended by community members, by members of the police department. I was made to feel very much of this community already. And I really appreciate it. I'm very excited.

Jose Cardenas:
Well, and I suspect part of the depth of the response and the enthusiasm was because you have been pretty highly sod after over the years by different cities. What made you choose Mesa?

George Gascon:
You know, when the opportunity came, and I've had other opportunities, and frankly, I was very happy in L.A. It's not like I was out there looking for work. The opportunity came and I started to research Mesa, looked at the police department, looked at the community in general, looked at the infrastructure that is there and saw both the difficulties they are facing today but also saw a number of opportunities. It's a great police department. Very good work force, well educated, motivated. There's a lack of focus today, if you will. And certainly there are opportunities and challenges coming up with budgetary constraints. But I law saw a great opportunity to begin to work not only making a positive impact in mesa through public safety and policing but also working toward a developing new policing models that will be more effective. The realities are populations are going to continue to grow. Policing budgets are not going to grow proportionately to the size of the population. And in policing we're going to have to start looking for different models. I think Mesa presents a great opportunity to experiment and enhance the quality of policing services and do more so efficiently.

Jose Cardenas:
I want to talk a little bit about those models, which as I understand are based on some of the things you have done in L.A., and I want to talk about that as well, but before we do that a little bit about your personal background.

George Gascon:
Sure, 28 years with LAPD. And I have basically worked most every assignment. Broad base of experience, worked in gangs, worked in recruitment, worked in patrol. It's been a great deal of my time working in informal assignments. Most of my career in L.A. was centered around the east and the south part of the city, very active. I'm also a licensed attorney in the state of California, practiced actually part time while I was a police officer. Most recently I was running operations with the LAPD which is roughly about 70-75\% of the department. We have 19 police stations. All sworn patrol officers, detective, all of our special operations, detectives, our air support, all those entities come under the office of operation, and I ran that for about two and a half years.

Jose Cardenas:
Now I understand you yourself are an immigrant to this country.

George Gascon:
That's correct. I was 13 years old when I came from Cuba, went straight into L.A. I was raised there. I went to the military from there. Came back, went to college obtained my undergraduate degree, went to law school, went to the LAPD. Pretty much been in L.A. my entire life since I was 13.

Jose Cardenas:
Now, I understand you've received a lot of attention and praise for some programs that you have implemented in Los Angeles that you intend to implement here. Can you tell us about that?

George Gascon: Sure L.A. is probably one of the most under-policed major cities in the world. Proportionate number of police officers to citizens, about half of what it is in New York and Chicago, for instance. One of the things that I recognize is that we have to come up with different models. We have to be more efficient, and part of what I did is I put together a program based on national statistics that talks about 10\% of the suspects committing 50 to 55\% of the crime, 10\% of the victims accounting for 40\% of the victimization and 10\% of the locations, accounting for the site where about 60\% of the crime occurs. So what I did is I created three circles, people, places and activities and kind of put them in a triangle where the three circles intersected that's what I started to protect our policing efforts. That would yield a tremendous amount result. And proportionally L.A. was able to lower crime at a greater rate than most any other city in the country, cities of 500,000 or more people.

Jose Cardenas:
Chief, let me ask you about a couple of others areas and then maybe come back to what you intend to do in Mesa. What is your view of the proper role of local law enforcement in terms of immigration enforcement?

George Gascon:
Well, you know, and I think it will be important to put a little bit of context in this. When I was a captain in the LAPD I was part of a board of inquirers that looked into the scandal that we had in rampart division which basically surrounded a small group of officers that became criminals. They started to act as criminals and were involved in narcotics activities and they were involved in many other illegal activities. And one of the things as we review the management failures, in this particular incidence, we noticed that these officers were allowed to use immigration as an arm to intimidate and to extort from people and prevent people from becoming witnesses to crimes and witnesses to their own misconduct. So any time that they had a problem and they felt it was someone that maybe complaining they would simply pick him up and take them to, at the time it was IMS. So that experience, in conjunction with other experiences in my professional life as policing, has really kind of reinforce my idea that in order for us to be able to be effective in policing we need the support of all the communities that are within the jurisdiction that we police. And if you have a particular community that becomes fearful of reporting crimes, or fearful of stepping up and being witnesses because of the consequences they may have, in terms of deportation, what occurs is that you have a break in policing. And then our ability to deal with crime, that impacts everybody, not only the immigrant community gets diminished significantly.

Larry Lemmons:
Arizonans go to the polls this week. We'll look at the winners and losers in this year's primary and look ahead to what it means for the general election in November. The journalist's Roundtable, Friday at 7:00, on Horizon.

Michael Grant: Thanks very much for joining us on a Thursday. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one. Good night.

Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by contributions from the friends of Eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Proposition 200


  • A proposition on the November ballot would give some lucky voter in Arizona a million dollars for voting. But is it the right idea? We'll talk to people on both sides of the issue.
Guests:
  • Howard Fischer - Capitol Media Times
  • Dr. Mark Osterloh - Proponent of Proposition 200
  • Farrell Quinlan - Arizona Chamber of Commerce and opposes Proposition 200
  • George Gascon - New police chief, City of Mesa
Category: Elections

View Transcript
Michael Grant:
Tonight on Horizon, the governor loses a court battle over a line item veto. We'll talk about that ruling and its implications. A million dollars for voting, one lucky voter could win that if proposition 200 passes and we'll also tell but proposition 301 which deals with meth and probation. Finally meet Mesa's new police chief, all that's next on Horizon.

Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by contributions from the friends of Eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Michael Grant:
Good evening. Welcome to Horizon. I'm Michael Grant. The Governor lost a state Supreme Court ruling earlier this week over one of her line item vetoes, court ruling that the governor overstepped her boundaries in vetoing part of the pay raise package for state employees, handing a win to the republican controlled legislature. Here to talk about the ruling and even possibly its implications on the legislative process is Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services. Put the facts of this in context. It was a part of a pay raise for state employees.

Howard Fischer:
This was a massive pay hike that they decided to enact immediately for state workers because they had fallen behind and their retirement pension costs were going up. But in the middle of this the republican legislators put in five lines that said, people who are hired beginning next year above a certain pay grade would no longer be covered by merit system protection, specifically the kind of things where you get to have a hearing if you are disciplined or demoted or whatever. Not a big deal. There aren't any people working at that at this point. Well the governor used her power of line item veto to take out those five lines and sign the rest of it. The state constitution says a governor may veto items of appropriation in a bill. Of course, she said, of course, it's an appropriation because people who are exempt from the merit system gather leave time faster than the people who are not exempt, so when these people who have yet to be hired finally leave, we will owe them more money. She took that argument to the court of appeals. Excuse me, to the Supreme Court. Let me just say that the justices found that a little hard to swallow. They basically said governor, what part of the difference between an obligation and an appropriation do you not understand? Yes, theoretically speaking people who have yet to be hired will need more money in the future. An appropriation is a line in the budget saying, here's the money to pay that. There is nothing in the budget to pay that.

Michael Grant:
There is a line item obligation power in the governor.

Howard Fischer:
If you will. And, of course, the governor said, well, you know the difference between an obligation and an appropriation is something only an attorney could love. Well, governor, first, you're an attorney. So hopefully you would understand that. And, second, we have a whole history in this state of situations where the state has had obligations, Arnold versus Sarn with mental health, issues of Medicaid where a state had an obligation but never funded it. So clearly there's a difference there and for some reason it escaped the governor.

Michael Grant: And it certainly bothered the legislature and, Howie, I would think probably bothered the Supreme Court, that the problem with that interpretation is almost every law passed may lead, very quickly, or at some time in the future to some sort of obligation if you were to interpret the governor's line item power that broadly, you might as well disband the legislature. Now, stay with me here. This is not offered as a positive idea. But simply have the governor basically fill in the blank.

Howard Fischer:
And that would very clearly be true because she would have dictatorial powers. For example, while this happens to be a ballot measure, the measure you are talking about tonight dealing with meth users first-time offenders going to jail. Ok, if you are sending them to jail, whereas, before they were guaranteed probation there is a cost here. There is no appropriation for that. There is no specific line in the budget for that. But if you do that, it means every time you change a criminal law, every time you change penalties for the department of environmental quality, if they have to hire more people to enforce that, everything has an appropriation implication somewhere. And you are right, if the legislature had lost this one, you might as well have a dictatorial governor, now obviously from Janet's perspective that wouldn't be such a bad thing.

Michael Grant:
She has been very good, I think, about testing various waters. Pushing the edges of some boundaries, maybe many boundaries, but always knowing where the line was. This one, I think, even to casual observers, most people said, that's not going to fly. Was this just pushing the edge of the envelope too far?

Howard Fisher:
I think this was pure politics. You have to understand that where the labor -- it was labor unions who helped get Janet Napolitano elected four years ago. They will help get her reelected this time. By going ahead and taking out this part that would be considered anti-labor, she did a solid for them. Even knowing perhaps it would be rejected by the Supreme Court, she can go back and say, look, I did you this favor, I tried. So she loses nothing by this. She gets to stay solid with the labor unions. And they get to go back and say, you know, get out and vote for Janet.

Michael Grant: Any other legislative implications for this? I mean, they have become very much more careful in drafting their budget, but that was a completely different issue a couple of sessions ago, but any other legislative implications?

Howard Fischer:
Well, you know, trying to second guess what legislators will do, I'm guessing some very creative lawmaker may decide to take something and phrase some future obligation as an obligation versus an appropriation to get around the governor. Clearly, every time one of these decisions come out, the process clays. The last time the line item veto went up about governor Napolitano and the Supreme Court said, well, you can't phrase bills this way so as you point out now we have 15 budget bills instead of four. So clearly, somebody's going to play with this. Does it mean anything long term politically? I think it doesn't. I think that the legislature and the governor are going to argue next year, assuming she's reelected, now, if it's governor Munsil, well who knows what we've got.

Michael Grant:
All right. Howie Fischer, Capitol Media Service. I guess I'll see you on the Friday edition tomorrow. Thanks.

Michael Grant:
As we continue our coverage of the propositions we will vote on in the upcoming general election tonight we take a look at proposition 200. It would enter people who vote in the preliminary and general elections every two years in a lottery to win a million bucks. Talk about that issue from both sides, but first Mike Sauceda tells us more about the Arizona voter reward act.

Mike Sauceda: On the streets of downtown Tempe opinions mostly favored proposition 200 which would enter people who vote in the primary or general election every two years in a public drawing for $1 million dollars. The money for the prize would come from unclaimed lottery money.

Tanya Chesney:
I think it's an awesome idea. I think it will get more people to vote.

Allen Poore:
I think it get people out to vote. I think it might prop people to maybe who wouldn't vote to go ahead and start voting. Hopefully.

Russ Lathem:
Well, I mean, I think that it would. I think there's a lot of people that would otherwise stay at home but for a chance at a million dollars they get up and go to circle k and buy a ticket for the lottery. So, chances are they will probably get up, go to the polling place for a chance at the same.

Shena Gibson: I think it's kind of, it's a sorry ploy to get people out to vote for money. I think that money could be better distributed elsewhere. I mean, theres plenty of foundations out there who could definitely use a million dollars as opposed to one person getting it. I mean, that I think that people should have enough care to go out and vote themselves without having an incentive like $1 million to maybe win.

Mike Sauceda:
Helen Purcell, the Maricopa county recorders says this should have no impact on vote process.

Helen Purcell:
We don't know what impact that has on our office. I think we have been trying to figure that out. It has always been against the constitution, not only of Arizona, but I believe of the constitution of the United States, that you cannot have any kind of a payment for voting. And that seems to me that that's what we're doing here. Even though it might be only for one person, but there still is some type of a payment. Or everybody would anticipate that there would be. It's just something that I'm not really wild about.

Michael Grant:
With me tonight to present the pro side on proposition 200 is Dr. Mark Osterloh who got that measure on the ballot. Here to oppose the measure is Farrell Quinlan of the Arizona chamber of commerce. Gentlemen, welcome to you both. Mark, tell me why this is a good idea.

Mark Osterloh:
Because we want to get everybody in Arizona voting. If you want truly representative and democratic government, everybody has to vote so their opinion is heard. They get people in the Legislature that pass measures that are important to them. Right now, maybe one out of four people is voting in election. That's terrible. We should not have a government of the minority, we could have a government of the majority. This is a simple incentive. Anybody who votes in the primary gets a chance to win. If they vote in the general they get a second chance to win a million dollar prize. The money comes from the unclaimed prize fund. The Arizona lottery, when people don't claim their prizes. So it's simple. It will be effective. It will get everybody voting and we will have the highest voter turnout in America.

Michael Grant:
Is this around anywhere else?

Mark Osterloh:
Nobody else in the world has it as far as I know.

Michael Grant:
Alright, Farrell, tell me why this is just a stinky idea.

Farrell Quinlan:
Well, you used the term stinky, but USA today called it tawdry and other mainstream or even liberal publications have come out against it. The "New York Times" and others. And it just seems gimmicky, and because it is. The idea that everyone needs to vote is something that should be challenged. There is a reason why some people don't vote. Either that they don't feel that they know enough about either the candidates or the proposition question. I recently moved to Chandler, and there was a city wide vote on -- last march and I chose not to vote because I really didn't know what was going on in that race. And anyone knows Chandler politics there's a lot to know. [laughter] And so I chose not to put my uninformed ballot into the process because I felt it was -- it would have probably robbed somebody else's vote who actually did follow the issues. And that's one thing I have a -- we have a problem with is that you have a number of uninformed or just voters that just don't care and we are going to bring them into the process, into the ballot box. And I think what you are you are going to see is a lot of disruption in terms of some of the messages that go out, some of the candidates, and some of the appeals that are going to be made. Are they going to be made on the merits of the issues or is it going to be to garner some of that huge bubble of people who don't know or don't care to have them vote for something that may be popular or sound good, A single issue that might be something that disrupts what people who really are following the issues and would be in favor of.

Michael Grant:
Mark, I mean, we are guessing here. We don't know what impact this would have on voters. Right?

Mark Osterloh:
Well it boils down, do you believe in democracy or don't you? If you believe in democracy, you believe that everybody that's eligible to vote should vote. That's the whole basis of our government, government of the people by the people and for the people. Now there are all kinds of arguments about moral issues. Once people decide to vote they are going to study the issues and candidates because they want people in office that will represent them and the people that are opposing this are people that are scared to death of all of these new voters, may not be in their political camp and believe in the same things they want.

Michael Grant:
But returning to the opinion, though, we don't know if this will have any impact on turnout or not, right? It's never been tried.

Mark Osterloh:
It hasn't been tried but Arizona can lead the way in this one. We lead the way in clean elections in the state so we can lead the way with this one.

Michael Grant:
Do we want people showing up for this sort of reason or do we want it -- you don't want them showing up for the things that we were taught in civics and government class about good citizenship and those kinds of things.

Mark Osterloh:
Well, if everybody did what they were supposed to do, we wouldn't have prisons and we wouldn't have divorces. Ok? We are dealing with real people. We have got a real problem. Ok? Even god uses incentives. What does he say? Do what you are supposed to do and I will reward you with heaven. We are saying do what you're supposed to do but we will reward you with a chance to win a million dollars. So if incentives are good enough for god they are good enough for the voters of Arizona.

Farrell Quinlan:
I'm not going to invoke -- the almighty here.

Michael Grant:
Are you going to take on God here?

Farrell Quinlan:
No I'm not going to invoke the almighty here and take on a childish notion of how god interacts with the people. You know, they had near 100\% voting in Iraq and Albania under the communist system. That was not a democratic system. Just because everyone votes does not equal democracy. I probably don't floss as much as I should. But if I was given $1 million incentive to floss I would probably floss. But where does this end? The question is, is it the job of the state to try to induce people to vote that really have no care about the issues at all? And I don't see -- I don't see the connection that just because you are going to show up at a voting station that you are going to then feel obligated to learn about the election. Because actually it's a disincentive to learn because you'll just go and say I'm just going to go anyways and cast my vote, get my lottery ticket, and why is that lottery ticket an inducement for me to learn about the election?

Michael Grant:
Do we have a serious studied voter here?

Mark Osterloh:
Well, first of all, yeah, once you go to the polls and you decide you are going to vote, you are going to want somebody in office who represents you. First you have got to decide to go vote. Then you will study the issues and the candidates but he talks about Iraq.

Michael Grant: but if I'm there for a million dollars do I really care who represents me?

Mark Osterloh:
You are not going to study all the cars and that are out there and how much they cost and all the options if you are not going to buy a car but once you decide you will study them. The same with voting, once you decide you are going to vote for whatever reason, you are going to say who's going to take care of the potholes in front of my house, whose going to take care of that crack house down the road? Who's going to get good health care for my family? Who's going to take care of education for my kids? People will make decisions on their own and enlightened self-interests. The same arguments they have there, the same discredited arguments that were used in the past. That say we shouldn't let women vote because they will be unformed and we shouldn't let African-Americans to vote because they don't know how to vote and won't study the issues and won't care. Once people decide to vote they are going to say I am going to vote for who will take care of the issues important to me. Most of the arguments say people say that these people will not take it seriously. They will take it seriously.

Farrell Quinlan:
That's so shameful for you to invoke the woman's suffrage jet movement the early 20th century or the civil rights movement of the 60's where there were actual legal barriers, there were, you know, attack dogs keeping voters away from polls and there were all kinds of laws on the books, literacy tests. And there was actually government coming down and keeping people from the franchise. In Arizona, you can start voting in the general election on October 5. You can get a ballot in the mail. You can show up on election day. You have -- you have every opportunity to go vote. There is practically no barrier to vote in Arizona. Except you don't have $1 million possibility of hanging out there. That just seems -- it's really shameful that you invoke these iconic struggles of the past to support your kind of sleazy proposition.

Michael Grant:
Well, ok. You get last word but you only get about 15 seconds.

Mark Osterloh:
There are barriers to voting right now. They do jamming of phone lines when messages go out. They have had people put police in front of polling places in the past to keep them from voting. People are not voting because they are frustrated with their government right now.

Michael Grant:
Ok. Give me photos of the police. Dr. Mark Osterloh, thank you very much for joining us. Farrell Quinlan, our thanks to you as well.

Michael Grant:
Another proposition voters are going to decide on in the November general election is proposition 301, which deals with probation for methamphetamine offenses.

Merry Lucero:
Current law states that people convicted for the first or second time for drug possession or use, including methamphetamine, get probation rather than jail or prison time. Only when a person has been convicted three times of personal possession or use of drugs can that person be sentenced to jail or prison. Proposition 301 would amend the current law so that a person who is convicted for the first or second time of personal possession or use of methamphetamine can be sentenced to a term in jail or prison. The change in the law would allow judges to use a jail term as a condition of probation to force meth users to comply with court mandated drug rehab. A yes vote has the effect of making a person ineligible for mandatory probation if the person is convicted of an offense involving the personal use or possession of methamphetamine. A no vote has the effect of retaining the current law requiring mandatory probation for a person convicted for a first or second offense for the use or possession of methamphetamine unless the person has been convicted three or more times of personal possession or use of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia, refused drug treatment as a condition of probation or rejected probation.

Michael Grant:
Last month, city of Mesa officially welcomed a new police chief, George Gascon, 28-year veteran of the Los Angeles police department. Most recently assistance police chief at that department. Gascon replaces former chief Dennis Donna who retired in January. Gascon talked with Horizonte host, Jose Cardenas about his new job and here's that interview.

Jose Cardenas:
Chief, welcome to Horizonte and to Arizona.

George Gascon:
Thank you, Jose. Thank you very much.

Jose Cardenas: The newspaper articles describing the welcome that we were referring to said it was almost Holly wood more than what you would normally associate with Mesa. We're you surprised with the warmth of the reception?


George Gascon:
I was. I was pleasantly surprised. I had been made to feel very welcome since the very beginning but the reception was beyond what I expected. It was extremely well attended by community members, by members of the police department. I was made to feel very much of this community already. And I really appreciate it. I'm very excited.

Jose Cardenas:
Well, and I suspect part of the depth of the response and the enthusiasm was because you have been pretty highly sod after over the years by different cities. What made you choose Mesa?

George Gascon:
You know, when the opportunity came, and I've had other opportunities, and frankly, I was very happy in L.A. It's not like I was out there looking for work. The opportunity came and I started to research Mesa, looked at the police department, looked at the community in general, looked at the infrastructure that is there and saw both the difficulties they are facing today but also saw a number of opportunities. It's a great police department. Very good work force, well educated, motivated. There's a lack of focus today, if you will. And certainly there are opportunities and challenges coming up with budgetary constraints. But I law saw a great opportunity to begin to work not only making a positive impact in mesa through public safety and policing but also working toward a developing new policing models that will be more effective. The realities are populations are going to continue to grow. Policing budgets are not going to grow proportionately to the size of the population. And in policing we're going to have to start looking for different models. I think Mesa presents a great opportunity to experiment and enhance the quality of policing services and do more so efficiently.

Jose Cardenas:
I want to talk a little bit about those models, which as I understand are based on some of the things you have done in L.A., and I want to talk about that as well, but before we do that a little bit about your personal background.

George Gascon:
Sure, 28 years with LAPD. And I have basically worked most every assignment. Broad base of experience, worked in gangs, worked in recruitment, worked in patrol. It's been a great deal of my time working in informal assignments. Most of my career in L.A. was centered around the east and the south part of the city, very active. I'm also a licensed attorney in the state of California, practiced actually part time while I was a police officer. Most recently I was running operations with the LAPD which is roughly about 70-75\% of the department. We have 19 police stations. All sworn patrol officers, detective, all of our special operations, detectives, our air support, all those entities come under the office of operation, and I ran that for about two and a half years.

Jose Cardenas:
Now I understand you yourself are an immigrant to this country.

George Gascon:
That's correct. I was 13 years old when I came from Cuba, went straight into L.A. I was raised there. I went to the military from there. Came back, went to college obtained my undergraduate degree, went to law school, went to the LAPD. Pretty much been in L.A. my entire life since I was 13.

Jose Cardenas:
Now, I understand you've received a lot of attention and praise for some programs that you have implemented in Los Angeles that you intend to implement here. Can you tell us about that?

George Gascon: Sure L.A. is probably one of the most under-policed major cities in the world. Proportionate number of police officers to citizens, about half of what it is in New York and Chicago, for instance. One of the things that I recognize is that we have to come up with different models. We have to be more efficient, and part of what I did is I put together a program based on national statistics that talks about 10\% of the suspects committing 50 to 55\% of the crime, 10\% of the victims accounting for 40\% of the victimization and 10\% of the locations, accounting for the site where about 60\% of the crime occurs. So what I did is I created three circles, people, places and activities and kind of put them in a triangle where the three circles intersected that's what I started to protect our policing efforts. That would yield a tremendous amount result. And proportionally L.A. was able to lower crime at a greater rate than most any other city in the country, cities of 500,000 or more people.

Jose Cardenas:
Chief, let me ask you about a couple of others areas and then maybe come back to what you intend to do in Mesa. What is your view of the proper role of local law enforcement in terms of immigration enforcement?

George Gascon:
Well, you know, and I think it will be important to put a little bit of context in this. When I was a captain in the LAPD I was part of a board of inquirers that looked into the scandal that we had in rampart division which basically surrounded a small group of officers that became criminals. They started to act as criminals and were involved in narcotics activities and they were involved in many other illegal activities. And one of the things as we review the management failures, in this particular incidence, we noticed that these officers were allowed to use immigration as an arm to intimidate and to extort from people and prevent people from becoming witnesses to crimes and witnesses to their own misconduct. So any time that they had a problem and they felt it was someone that maybe complaining they would simply pick him up and take them to, at the time it was IMS. So that experience, in conjunction with other experiences in my professional life as policing, has really kind of reinforce my idea that in order for us to be able to be effective in policing we need the support of all the communities that are within the jurisdiction that we police. And if you have a particular community that becomes fearful of reporting crimes, or fearful of stepping up and being witnesses because of the consequences they may have, in terms of deportation, what occurs is that you have a break in policing. And then our ability to deal with crime, that impacts everybody, not only the immigrant community gets diminished significantly.

Larry Lemmons:
Arizonans go to the polls this week. We'll look at the winners and losers in this year's primary and look ahead to what it means for the general election in November. The journalist's Roundtable, Friday at 7:00, on Horizon.

Michael Grant: Thanks very much for joining us on a Thursday. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one. Good night.

Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by contributions from the friends of Eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Proposition 301


  • Current law states that people convicted for the first or second time for drug possession or use get probation rather than jail or prison time. Prop 301 would amend current law so that a person who is convicted for the first or second time of personal possession or use of meth can be sentenced to a term in jail or prison. The change in the law would allow judges to use a jail term as a condition of probation to force meth users to comply with court mandated drug rehab.
Guests:
  • Howard Fischer - Capitol Media Times
  • Dr. Mark Osterloh - Proponent of Proposition 200
  • Farrell Quinlan - Arizona Chamber of Commerce and opposes Proposition 200
  • George Gascon - New police chief, City of Mesa
Category: Elections

View Transcript
Michael Grant:
Tonight on Horizon, the governor loses a court battle over a line item veto. We'll talk about that ruling and its implications. A million dollars for voting, one lucky voter could win that if proposition 200 passes and we'll also tell but proposition 301 which deals with meth and probation. Finally meet Mesa's new police chief, all that's next on Horizon.

Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by contributions from the friends of Eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Michael Grant:
Good evening. Welcome to Horizon. I'm Michael Grant. The Governor lost a state Supreme Court ruling earlier this week over one of her line item vetoes, court ruling that the governor overstepped her boundaries in vetoing part of the pay raise package for state employees, handing a win to the republican controlled legislature. Here to talk about the ruling and even possibly its implications on the legislative process is Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services. Put the facts of this in context. It was a part of a pay raise for state employees.

Howard Fischer:
This was a massive pay hike that they decided to enact immediately for state workers because they had fallen behind and their retirement pension costs were going up. But in the middle of this the republican legislators put in five lines that said, people who are hired beginning next year above a certain pay grade would no longer be covered by merit system protection, specifically the kind of things where you get to have a hearing if you are disciplined or demoted or whatever. Not a big deal. There aren't any people working at that at this point. Well the governor used her power of line item veto to take out those five lines and sign the rest of it. The state constitution says a governor may veto items of appropriation in a bill. Of course, she said, of course, it's an appropriation because people who are exempt from the merit system gather leave time faster than the people who are not exempt, so when these people who have yet to be hired finally leave, we will owe them more money. She took that argument to the court of appeals. Excuse me, to the Supreme Court. Let me just say that the justices found that a little hard to swallow. They basically said governor, what part of the difference between an obligation and an appropriation do you not understand? Yes, theoretically speaking people who have yet to be hired will need more money in the future. An appropriation is a line in the budget saying, here's the money to pay that. There is nothing in the budget to pay that.

Michael Grant:
There is a line item obligation power in the governor.

Howard Fischer:
If you will. And, of course, the governor said, well, you know the difference between an obligation and an appropriation is something only an attorney could love. Well, governor, first, you're an attorney. So hopefully you would understand that. And, second, we have a whole history in this state of situations where the state has had obligations, Arnold versus Sarn with mental health, issues of Medicaid where a state had an obligation but never funded it. So clearly there's a difference there and for some reason it escaped the governor.

Michael Grant: And it certainly bothered the legislature and, Howie, I would think probably bothered the Supreme Court, that the problem with that interpretation is almost every law passed may lead, very quickly, or at some time in the future to some sort of obligation if you were to interpret the governor's line item power that broadly, you might as well disband the legislature. Now, stay with me here. This is not offered as a positive idea. But simply have the governor basically fill in the blank.

Howard Fischer:
And that would very clearly be true because she would have dictatorial powers. For example, while this happens to be a ballot measure, the measure you are talking about tonight dealing with meth users first-time offenders going to jail. Ok, if you are sending them to jail, whereas, before they were guaranteed probation there is a cost here. There is no appropriation for that. There is no specific line in the budget for that. But if you do that, it means every time you change a criminal law, every time you change penalties for the department of environmental quality, if they have to hire more people to enforce that, everything has an appropriation implication somewhere. And you are right, if the legislature had lost this one, you might as well have a dictatorial governor, now obviously from Janet's perspective that wouldn't be such a bad thing.

Michael Grant:
She has been very good, I think, about testing various waters. Pushing the edges of some boundaries, maybe many boundaries, but always knowing where the line was. This one, I think, even to casual observers, most people said, that's not going to fly. Was this just pushing the edge of the envelope too far?

Howard Fisher:
I think this was pure politics. You have to understand that where the labor -- it was labor unions who helped get Janet Napolitano elected four years ago. They will help get her reelected this time. By going ahead and taking out this part that would be considered anti-labor, she did a solid for them. Even knowing perhaps it would be rejected by the Supreme Court, she can go back and say, look, I did you this favor, I tried. So she loses nothing by this. She gets to stay solid with the labor unions. And they get to go back and say, you know, get out and vote for Janet.

Michael Grant: Any other legislative implications for this? I mean, they have become very much more careful in drafting their budget, but that was a completely different issue a couple of sessions ago, but any other legislative implications?

Howard Fischer:
Well, you know, trying to second guess what legislators will do, I'm guessing some very creative lawmaker may decide to take something and phrase some future obligation as an obligation versus an appropriation to get around the governor. Clearly, every time one of these decisions come out, the process clays. The last time the line item veto went up about governor Napolitano and the Supreme Court said, well, you can't phrase bills this way so as you point out now we have 15 budget bills instead of four. So clearly, somebody's going to play with this. Does it mean anything long term politically? I think it doesn't. I think that the legislature and the governor are going to argue next year, assuming she's reelected, now, if it's governor Munsil, well who knows what we've got.

Michael Grant:
All right. Howie Fischer, Capitol Media Service. I guess I'll see you on the Friday edition tomorrow. Thanks.

Michael Grant:
As we continue our coverage of the propositions we will vote on in the upcoming general election tonight we take a look at proposition 200. It would enter people who vote in the preliminary and general elections every two years in a lottery to win a million bucks. Talk about that issue from both sides, but first Mike Sauceda tells us more about the Arizona voter reward act.

Mike Sauceda: On the streets of downtown Tempe opinions mostly favored proposition 200 which would enter people who vote in the primary or general election every two years in a public drawing for $1 million dollars. The money for the prize would come from unclaimed lottery money.

Tanya Chesney:
I think it's an awesome idea. I think it will get more people to vote.

Allen Poore:
I think it get people out to vote. I think it might prop people to maybe who wouldn't vote to go ahead and start voting. Hopefully.

Russ Lathem:
Well, I mean, I think that it would. I think there's a lot of people that would otherwise stay at home but for a chance at a million dollars they get up and go to circle k and buy a ticket for the lottery. So, chances are they will probably get up, go to the polling place for a chance at the same.

Shena Gibson: I think it's kind of, it's a sorry ploy to get people out to vote for money. I think that money could be better distributed elsewhere. I mean, theres plenty of foundations out there who could definitely use a million dollars as opposed to one person getting it. I mean, that I think that people should have enough care to go out and vote themselves without having an incentive like $1 million to maybe win.

Mike Sauceda:
Helen Purcell, the Maricopa county recorders says this should have no impact on vote process.

Helen Purcell:
We don't know what impact that has on our office. I think we have been trying to figure that out. It has always been against the constitution, not only of Arizona, but I believe of the constitution of the United States, that you cannot have any kind of a payment for voting. And that seems to me that that's what we're doing here. Even though it might be only for one person, but there still is some type of a payment. Or everybody would anticipate that there would be. It's just something that I'm not really wild about.

Michael Grant:
With me tonight to present the pro side on proposition 200 is Dr. Mark Osterloh who got that measure on the ballot. Here to oppose the measure is Farrell Quinlan of the Arizona chamber of commerce. Gentlemen, welcome to you both. Mark, tell me why this is a good idea.

Mark Osterloh:
Because we want to get everybody in Arizona voting. If you want truly representative and democratic government, everybody has to vote so their opinion is heard. They get people in the Legislature that pass measures that are important to them. Right now, maybe one out of four people is voting in election. That's terrible. We should not have a government of the minority, we could have a government of the majority. This is a simple incentive. Anybody who votes in the primary gets a chance to win. If they vote in the general they get a second chance to win a million dollar prize. The money comes from the unclaimed prize fund. The Arizona lottery, when people don't claim their prizes. So it's simple. It will be effective. It will get everybody voting and we will have the highest voter turnout in America.

Michael Grant:
Is this around anywhere else?

Mark Osterloh:
Nobody else in the world has it as far as I know.

Michael Grant:
Alright, Farrell, tell me why this is just a stinky idea.

Farrell Quinlan:
Well, you used the term stinky, but USA today called it tawdry and other mainstream or even liberal publications have come out against it. The "New York Times" and others. And it just seems gimmicky, and because it is. The idea that everyone needs to vote is something that should be challenged. There is a reason why some people don't vote. Either that they don't feel that they know enough about either the candidates or the proposition question. I recently moved to Chandler, and there was a city wide vote on -- last march and I chose not to vote because I really didn't know what was going on in that race. And anyone knows Chandler politics there's a lot to know. [laughter] And so I chose not to put my uninformed ballot into the process because I felt it was -- it would have probably robbed somebody else's vote who actually did follow the issues. And that's one thing I have a -- we have a problem with is that you have a number of uninformed or just voters that just don't care and we are going to bring them into the process, into the ballot box. And I think what you are you are going to see is a lot of disruption in terms of some of the messages that go out, some of the candidates, and some of the appeals that are going to be made. Are they going to be made on the merits of the issues or is it going to be to garner some of that huge bubble of people who don't know or don't care to have them vote for something that may be popular or sound good, A single issue that might be something that disrupts what people who really are following the issues and would be in favor of.

Michael Grant:
Mark, I mean, we are guessing here. We don't know what impact this would have on voters. Right?

Mark Osterloh:
Well it boils down, do you believe in democracy or don't you? If you believe in democracy, you believe that everybody that's eligible to vote should vote. That's the whole basis of our government, government of the people by the people and for the people. Now there are all kinds of arguments about moral issues. Once people decide to vote they are going to study the issues and candidates because they want people in office that will represent them and the people that are opposing this are people that are scared to death of all of these new voters, may not be in their political camp and believe in the same things they want.

Michael Grant:
But returning to the opinion, though, we don't know if this will have any impact on turnout or not, right? It's never been tried.

Mark Osterloh:
It hasn't been tried but Arizona can lead the way in this one. We lead the way in clean elections in the state so we can lead the way with this one.

Michael Grant:
Do we want people showing up for this sort of reason or do we want it -- you don't want them showing up for the things that we were taught in civics and government class about good citizenship and those kinds of things.

Mark Osterloh:
Well, if everybody did what they were supposed to do, we wouldn't have prisons and we wouldn't have divorces. Ok? We are dealing with real people. We have got a real problem. Ok? Even god uses incentives. What does he say? Do what you are supposed to do and I will reward you with heaven. We are saying do what you're supposed to do but we will reward you with a chance to win a million dollars. So if incentives are good enough for god they are good enough for the voters of Arizona.

Farrell Quinlan:
I'm not going to invoke -- the almighty here.

Michael Grant:
Are you going to take on God here?

Farrell Quinlan:
No I'm not going to invoke the almighty here and take on a childish notion of how god interacts with the people. You know, they had near 100\% voting in Iraq and Albania under the communist system. That was not a democratic system. Just because everyone votes does not equal democracy. I probably don't floss as much as I should. But if I was given $1 million incentive to floss I would probably floss. But where does this end? The question is, is it the job of the state to try to induce people to vote that really have no care about the issues at all? And I don't see -- I don't see the connection that just because you are going to show up at a voting station that you are going to then feel obligated to learn about the election. Because actually it's a disincentive to learn because you'll just go and say I'm just going to go anyways and cast my vote, get my lottery ticket, and why is that lottery ticket an inducement for me to learn about the election?

Michael Grant:
Do we have a serious studied voter here?

Mark Osterloh:
Well, first of all, yeah, once you go to the polls and you decide you are going to vote, you are going to want somebody in office who represents you. First you have got to decide to go vote. Then you will study the issues and the candidates but he talks about Iraq.

Michael Grant: but if I'm there for a million dollars do I really care who represents me?

Mark Osterloh:
You are not going to study all the cars and that are out there and how much they cost and all the options if you are not going to buy a car but once you decide you will study them. The same with voting, once you decide you are going to vote for whatever reason, you are going to say who's going to take care of the potholes in front of my house, whose going to take care of that crack house down the road? Who's going to get good health care for my family? Who's going to take care of education for my kids? People will make decisions on their own and enlightened self-interests. The same arguments they have there, the same discredited arguments that were used in the past. That say we shouldn't let women vote because they will be unformed and we shouldn't let African-Americans to vote because they don't know how to vote and won't study the issues and won't care. Once people decide to vote they are going to say I am going to vote for who will take care of the issues important to me. Most of the arguments say people say that these people will not take it seriously. They will take it seriously.

Farrell Quinlan:
That's so shameful for you to invoke the woman's suffrage jet movement the early 20th century or the civil rights movement of the 60's where there were actual legal barriers, there were, you know, attack dogs keeping voters away from polls and there were all kinds of laws on the books, literacy tests. And there was actually government coming down and keeping people from the franchise. In Arizona, you can start voting in the general election on October 5. You can get a ballot in the mail. You can show up on election day. You have -- you have every opportunity to go vote. There is practically no barrier to vote in Arizona. Except you don't have $1 million possibility of hanging out there. That just seems -- it's really shameful that you invoke these iconic struggles of the past to support your kind of sleazy proposition.

Michael Grant:
Well, ok. You get last word but you only get about 15 seconds.

Mark Osterloh:
There are barriers to voting right now. They do jamming of phone lines when messages go out. They have had people put police in front of polling places in the past to keep them from voting. People are not voting because they are frustrated with their government right now.

Michael Grant:
Ok. Give me photos of the police. Dr. Mark Osterloh, thank you very much for joining us. Farrell Quinlan, our thanks to you as well.

Michael Grant:
Another proposition voters are going to decide on in the November general election is proposition 301, which deals with probation for methamphetamine offenses.

Merry Lucero:
Current law states that people convicted for the first or second time for drug possession or use, including methamphetamine, get probation rather than jail or prison time. Only when a person has been convicted three times of personal possession or use of drugs can that person be sentenced to jail or prison. Proposition 301 would amend the current law so that a person who is convicted for the first or second time of personal possession or use of methamphetamine can be sentenced to a term in jail or prison. The change in the law would allow judges to use a jail term as a condition of probation to force meth users to comply with court mandated drug rehab. A yes vote has the effect of making a person ineligible for mandatory probation if the person is convicted of an offense involving the personal use or possession of methamphetamine. A no vote has the effect of retaining the current law requiring mandatory probation for a person convicted for a first or second offense for the use or possession of methamphetamine unless the person has been convicted three or more times of personal possession or use of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia, refused drug treatment as a condition of probation or rejected probation.

Michael Grant:
Last month, city of Mesa officially welcomed a new police chief, George Gascon, 28-year veteran of the Los Angeles police department. Most recently assistance police chief at that department. Gascon replaces former chief Dennis Donna who retired in January. Gascon talked with Horizonte host, Jose Cardenas about his new job and here's that interview.

Jose Cardenas:
Chief, welcome to Horizonte and to Arizona.

George Gascon:
Thank you, Jose. Thank you very much.

Jose Cardenas: The newspaper articles describing the welcome that we were referring to said it was almost Holly wood more than what you would normally associate with Mesa. We're you surprised with the warmth of the reception?


George Gascon:
I was. I was pleasantly surprised. I had been made to feel very welcome since the very beginning but the reception was beyond what I expected. It was extremely well attended by community members, by members of the police department. I was made to feel very much of this community already. And I really appreciate it. I'm very excited.

Jose Cardenas:
Well, and I suspect part of the depth of the response and the enthusiasm was because you have been pretty highly sod after over the years by different cities. What made you choose Mesa?

George Gascon:
You know, when the opportunity came, and I've had other opportunities, and frankly, I was very happy in L.A. It's not like I was out there looking for work. The opportunity came and I started to research Mesa, looked at the police department, looked at the community in general, looked at the infrastructure that is there and saw both the difficulties they are facing today but also saw a number of opportunities. It's a great police department. Very good work force, well educated, motivated. There's a lack of focus today, if you will. And certainly there are opportunities and challenges coming up with budgetary constraints. But I law saw a great opportunity to begin to work not only making a positive impact in mesa through public safety and policing but also working toward a developing new policing models that will be more effective. The realities are populations are going to continue to grow. Policing budgets are not going to grow proportionately to the size of the population. And in policing we're going to have to start looking for different models. I think Mesa presents a great opportunity to experiment and enhance the quality of policing services and do more so efficiently.

Jose Cardenas:
I want to talk a little bit about those models, which as I understand are based on some of the things you have done in L.A., and I want to talk about that as well, but before we do that a little bit about your personal background.

George Gascon:
Sure, 28 years with LAPD. And I have basically worked most every assignment. Broad base of experience, worked in gangs, worked in recruitment, worked in patrol. It's been a great deal of my time working in informal assignments. Most of my career in L.A. was centered around the east and the south part of the city, very active. I'm also a licensed attorney in the state of California, practiced actually part time while I was a police officer. Most recently I was running operations with the LAPD which is roughly about 70-75\% of the department. We have 19 police stations. All sworn patrol officers, detective, all of our special operations, detectives, our air support, all those entities come under the office of operation, and I ran that for about two and a half years.

Jose Cardenas:
Now I understand you yourself are an immigrant to this country.

George Gascon:
That's correct. I was 13 years old when I came from Cuba, went straight into L.A. I was raised there. I went to the military from there. Came back, went to college obtained my undergraduate degree, went to law school, went to the LAPD. Pretty much been in L.A. my entire life since I was 13.

Jose Cardenas:
Now, I understand you've received a lot of attention and praise for some programs that you have implemented in Los Angeles that you intend to implement here. Can you tell us about that?

George Gascon: Sure L.A. is probably one of the most under-policed major cities in the world. Proportionate number of police officers to citizens, about half of what it is in New York and Chicago, for instance. One of the things that I recognize is that we have to come up with different models. We have to be more efficient, and part of what I did is I put together a program based on national statistics that talks about 10\% of the suspects committing 50 to 55\% of the crime, 10\% of the victims accounting for 40\% of the victimization and 10\% of the locations, accounting for the site where about 60\% of the crime occurs. So what I did is I created three circles, people, places and activities and kind of put them in a triangle where the three circles intersected that's what I started to protect our policing efforts. That would yield a tremendous amount result. And proportionally L.A. was able to lower crime at a greater rate than most any other city in the country, cities of 500,000 or more people.

Jose Cardenas:
Chief, let me ask you about a couple of others areas and then maybe come back to what you intend to do in Mesa. What is your view of the proper role of local law enforcement in terms of immigration enforcement?

George Gascon:
Well, you know, and I think it will be important to put a little bit of context in this. When I was a captain in the LAPD I was part of a board of inquirers that looked into the scandal that we had in rampart division which basically surrounded a small group of officers that became criminals. They started to act as criminals and were involved in narcotics activities and they were involved in many other illegal activities. And one of the things as we review the management failures, in this particular incidence, we noticed that these officers were allowed to use immigration as an arm to intimidate and to extort from people and prevent people from becoming witnesses to crimes and witnesses to their own misconduct. So any time that they had a problem and they felt it was someone that maybe complaining they would simply pick him up and take them to, at the time it was IMS. So that experience, in conjunction with other experiences in my professional life as policing, has really kind of reinforce my idea that in order for us to be able to be effective in policing we need the support of all the communities that are within the jurisdiction that we police. And if you have a particular community that becomes fearful of reporting crimes, or fearful of stepping up and being witnesses because of the consequences they may have, in terms of deportation, what occurs is that you have a break in policing. And then our ability to deal with crime, that impacts everybody, not only the immigrant community gets diminished significantly.

Larry Lemmons:
Arizonans go to the polls this week. We'll look at the winners and losers in this year's primary and look ahead to what it means for the general election in November. The journalist's Roundtable, Friday at 7:00, on Horizon.

Michael Grant: Thanks very much for joining us on a Thursday. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one. Good night.

Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by contributions from the friends of Eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

What's on?

Content Partner:

  About KAET Contact Support Legal Follow Us  
  About Eight
Mission/Impact
History
Site Map
Pressroom
Contact Us
Sign up for e-news
Pledge to Eight
Donate Monthly
Volunteer
Other ways to support
FCC Public Files
Privacy Policy
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Google+
Pinterest
 

Need help accessing? Contact disabilityaccess@asu.edu

Eight is a member-supported service of Arizona State University    Copyright Arizona Board of Regents