Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

September 15, 2006


Host: Michael Grant

Journalists Roundtable


  • Don't miss HORIZON's weekly roundtable where local reporters get a chance to review the week's top stories.
Guests:
  • Mary Jo Pitzl - Arizona Republic
Category: Journalists Roundtable

View Transcript
Michael Grant:
It's Friday September 15th, 2006. In the headlines this week, in Tuesday's primary, Len Munsil won the republican nomination for governor and will face Janet Napolitano in November. There were no major problems reported in the primary because of the voter identification requirements mandated by prop 200. And the Arizona legislature won a battle this week at the state supreme court when the justices ruled governor Napolitano misused her line-item veto authority on one bill. That's next on Horizon.

Michael Grant:
Good evening, I'm Michael grant and this is the journalist's roundtable. Joining me to talk about these and other stories are Mary Jo Pitzl of the Arizona Republic, Paul Giblin of the East Valley Tribune and Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services.

Michael Grant:
In Tuesday's primary, over twenty percent of registered voters cast ballots. In the republican gubernatorial primary, Len Munsil winning a four-way race, capturing just over 50 percent of the total vote. Mary Jo, what were the key's to Munsil's win?

Mary Jo Pitzl:
As they like to say, he got more votes than the other guys. It was a pretty commanding win given that it was a four-way field. He has a lot of organization thanks to his ties to the center for Arizona policy. He started early. He got his clean elections funding early. He was organized. And it seems like it was a classy campaign.

Howard Fischer:
That's exactly. It you have to remember his closest competitor was Don Goldwater who started with the, as Len calls it, the million dollar name advantage. But Don, I swear if he had a roadmap of how to run a campaign he must have lost. It because he not only got his money late because he kept thinking, oh, any day now I'll get my $5 donation. When he finally got his money he was so disorganized they were sending out mailers who people who had already cast early ballots which is something you can clearly find out He had no idea what he was doing. Len had people who worked on campaigns before like Sean noble who used to work for Shadegg, people like Vernon Parker . You need that type of organization to tell you how to do it.

Michael Grant:
Mary Jo, even though the early ballots were down, both the requests and the returns, that certainly is an area where organization will come into play and clearly Munsil was equipped with the best organization. That probably makes him the most formidable candidate going into the general, that field of four.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
That kind of organization and expect it to see that repeated again. It's already happening of course for other items that will be on the November ballot. For example the Democratic Party this week sent out a mailer for early ballot requests on behalf of the minimum wage which they believe will not only help the minimum wage ballot proposal but also a lot of democratic candidates .



Michael Grant:
Incidentally has anybody starting with you, Paul -- because I haven't. I think we've got what, 19 propositions on the general election ballot. I think I'm somewhere in the ball park there. You have got the minimum wage, early childhood development. Several others that would tend to pull from the left. On the other hand you have three immigration propositions. Have you take even close look at this to try to figure out? I mean, does this end up a dead heat in terms of who gets pulled out or does one side or another have an advantage?

Paul Giblin:
I'm not sure that ballot propositions pull any voter in, quite frankly. I think most voters show up to the polls and quite frankly a lot of them look it for the first time when they get there. I don't think it motivates a lot of people. Most people come for candidates.

Michael Grant:
I think I would disagree in terms of issues like the gay marriage proposition, those -- in terms of mobilizing particular segments of the voting population.

Paul Giblin:
I'll give you that one. But I don't think it's going to be a big draw to the polls overall.

Howard Fischer:
See I'm going to side with Michael because I notice for example when Jim Pederson was elected four years -- Janet Napolitano was elected four years ago we had union gaming stuff on the ballot . That clearly brought out their field of interests. Look at the votes. Janet won by less than 12,000 votes. Take a look at the turnout on the reservation not just the Navajo reservation. That made a difference. I think certain things do draw people to the polls. In terms of the gay marriage these folks are probably -- immigration attracts people who might not always come out. We'll talk about that with randy in a little while. On the other side the issue of the labor, the minimum wage may in fact pull some people who otherwise aren't even registered which I think the real key for the democrats is not getting them out but registered in the first place.

Paul Giblin:
I still have to disagree with you guys. When you look at the polls leading into the republican primary for Governor, Goldwater was winning. But when it came down to the election obviously Munsil won. What makes the difference is the people who show up at the polls are a quarter of the people registered. I don't think any particular thing is motivating them in most case.

Howard Fischer:
Well, you're wrong. [laughter]

Michael Grant:
Mary Jo, do we end up with -- I mean, have the two sides sort of effects counter balanced each other? Has one side got an advantage or another? Or do you want to go with Paul what's behind door three? Or does it matter?

Mary Jo Pitzl:
I talked to one analyst this week who says he thinks -- Fred S. and he think the ballot is pretty well balanced; it doesn't really skew right or left. It will be up to the candidates to make -- pigs and calves being confined to tight little cages if that image gets put out to people you might have a lot of animal loves -- lovers who might get out who wouldn't otherwise.

Howard Fischer:
Do animal lovers vote for Len or Janet?

Mary Jo Pitzl:
It doesn't skew one way or the other. Clearly Munsil has aligned himself with the gay marriage proposition and the governor came out early and endorsed proposition 202, the minimum wage one. So they sort of already got their folks lined up on those two ballot measures. Will they cancel each other out?

Michael Grant: Well, okay. Is this going to be a 8-week campaign that focuses mainly on immigration or not, Paul?

Paul Giblin:
And despite what Howie says, this will be a 8-week campaign that will focus on immigration. Quite frankly this is the only issue of any merit in Arizona. Education is one that pops up from time to time. But this is the issue you that attracts national attention and local attention and state attention. That's the big issue.

Michael Grant:
Second question, Mary Jo. Can Len Munsil get traction against Janet Napolitano?

Mary Jo Pitzl:
He's tried to stake out a tougher stance than hers while advocating a more comprehensive approach to immigration. I think sometimes when you get into these finer distinctions in a complex debate like this it gets hard for voters to sort it all out. He's not a build the wall guy and she's not a build the wall kind of candidate. So what's the difference between them?

Howard Fischer:
But she's very worried. She in fact made a point to have a press conference on Election Day to announce the state is getting additional money for the border to announce a new gang task force for the border. She's very scared of this issue. And if you punch that little button on her, that little play button she will list a litany of things she says she's done. I was the first to call for a state of emergency. -- first governor. She's very alarmed this is the issue that's going to make her one time governor.

Michael Grant:
Howie getting back to the proposition point, which I agree does not matter -- [laughter] she vetoed two of the proposals that are on the ballot. I would expect Munsil to probably play that card.

Howard Fischer:
Oh, you bet. Because as we talked about in the show, you know, when you veto the expansion of prop 200 to cover things like adult care and subsidize child care, and you're putting it on the ballot and people say, well, why would we want to subsidize illegal immigrants? And he needs to make sure the people understand it's her that did. Because the polls that were taken show people want those measures yet they still seem to support Janet. And Len's job is to connect her. Every time you see an illegal immigrant think Janet Napolitano and that's the message he reruns from now until November 7.

Paul Giblin:
That's why that issue is important because it bleeds over into everything. It bleeds over into wages, bleeds over into education, bleeds over into healthcare. That's why illegal immigration is the issue this year.

Michael Grant:
And speaking of immigration let's go down to congressional district 8 and the race to replace Jim Colby. Very impressive primary win, Mary Jo, Ford. What, 55\% of the vote in a 6 way primary?

Mary Jo Pitzl:
Correct. Former state senator gab Gabrielle Gifford has won her primary by staking out a more comprehensive immigration reform stance which made her stand out over the field. She got her message out, started running early in that. More so than in the governor's race I think immigration will really dominate district 8 between now and November.

Howard Fischer:
And that's clear if you look at what happened on the republican side. Randy Graff was an one-issue candidate. Immigration, immigration, immigration . You know, the idea we have five strands of barbed wire along there, you got to keep people out. And given the nature of that district which is a border district, it runs from the center of Tucson all the way out past Douglas, these are the people who are dealing with us on a day-to-day basis. It's not the benign thing it used to be. I lived down in business. I used - Bisbee. Used to be they'd do the agricultural work and go back. You they see the crime, the hospitals overloaded.

Michael Grant:
Let's turn our attention to the most shocking result of the primary and this is Jason Williams, Mary Jo, defeating Slade Mead for democratic candidate for superintendent of public instruction.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
There was some speculation in the news room that perhaps voters confused him with the basketball player.

Michael Grant:
That seems to be the popular theory.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
But Williams, he's a teacher. He comes from the teaching ranks and his opponent was Slade Mead who only in the last year or so became a democrat. And I think that resonated with some democratic voters that immediate perhaps -- Mead perhaps wasn't as died in the wool as they like their candidates to be.

Howard Fischer:
And Jason recognized that he needed to stay even with Slade in Maricopa. He won big in Pima and southern Arizona and he went out and campaigned a lot down there. I don't know if Slade didn't do as much as he needed to do in the rural counties. In the democratic primary, Maricopa counts but you need that rural vote. How does he do against Tom Horne? That's going to be an interesting race. Tom, now we're back to the immigration issue. Tom makes a big issue about English language learners teaching English the cost of all this. How does it affect our schools? All related to immigration which brings us back to point one.

Michael Grant:
Now Paul, all roads lead to Scottsdale. We know this. Carolyn Allen Staved off, and very handily, a challenge by Colette Rosati.

Paul Giblin:
Allen was the state representative there and Colette Rosati wanted to take her seat. Carolyn Allen many times votes with the democrats quite often. A squishy Republican. Colette Rosati is a far-right republican. She thought that's what people in Scottsdale wanted. She ran that as her campaign rally and it didn't work. She lost.

Michael Grant:
That race I guess just was real ugly.

Paul Giblin:
Oh, yeah. They don't like each other.

Michael Grant:
Yeah.

Paul Giblin:
No. Carolyn Allen was saying Rosati was not the sharpest knife in the drawer and Colette was saying Carolyn Allen was a tax and spend democrat even though she's a republican.

Howard Fischer:
It got even uglier. I was at a debate where Carolyn accused Colette of being an anti-semite and she did that at a synagogue. That's how bad things have gotten here in terms of the feelings. It quite frankly surprised me -- I realize it's a republican primary and the people that turn out tend to be more of the right wing extreme in there. Somehow Colette got 45\% of the vote even with that. As I say, it's been an interesting election to watch. As the races we've talked about we're going to continue talking about and watching how the Republican Party tries to purge itself of anything they don't think is intellectually pure. I.E. Opposes abortion votes for every tax increase, et cetera. Carolyn is not intellectually pure.

Paul Giblin:
The Republican Party is trying to define itself. Is it that far right George bush kind of party or is it something that used to be what the republican party was 10, 20 years ago which many people would say is the Democratic Party now .

Mary Jo Pitzl:
If you want to see a real example of confusion is district 26 or 28 down in Tucson where Pete Hershberger the incumbent won re-election but he placed second in the field and finishing at the top of the heap was a far more conservative republican. Hershberger is one of the more moderate republicans in the house.

Michael Grant:
Joanie Helen loses down in Tucson, Mary Jo. Why did that happen?

Mary Jo Pitzl:
She loss lost her bid in 26 to come back in the senate. Immigration was an issue that her opponent Al Melvin pounded her on. He did very well in the Pinal county parts as well.

Michael Grant:
John Allen lost in Phoenix in a four-way race. What are the hunches there?

Howard Fischer:
I think that John had no idea he was in danger. If you drive around the district, you'll see lots of signs deep in the district from the people who actually won. John had a sign here, a sign there. He was not campaigning. And I don't know what he thought. Whether he thought that basically his name id would catch it, whether in fact he thought that people would say he's the incumbent. Whether he thought his own anti-immigration stance would do it. He's of the Russell Pearce variety. If you can remember the demonstrations where the 100,000 people showed up, there's John Allen standing there with the signs saying "Governor, I'll hold them. You call the national guard." somehow he thought, I don't need to campaign and he didn't and hasta la bye bye.

Michael Grant:
The rest as they say is history.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
Isn't that same district Steve May lost his re-election bid about four years ago and there was a belief he just didn't campaign very hard? Took it for granted?

Michael Grant:
Got close to it. It got redistricted but it's in the same general area. That's true, Mary Jo. Scottsdale. This whole lap dance thing. That was an interesting result.

Paul Giblin:
Right The city council had the idea they wanted to ban lap dances. This is because Jenna Jameson bought one of the two strip clubs in Scottsdale. And of course they get by with doing lap dances. That's part of the ticket there. And so it went on to a ballot measure. And people in Scottsdale, they're okay with lap dances, apparently. They approved it.

Michael Grant:
One of the theories offered was that it was a kickback also against the way the city council has sort of in clandestine fashion moved the ordinance.

Paul Giblin:
You have to go back further than that. You have to go back to ASU walking into Scottsdale and saying thou shalt build us a new campus here. So Scottsdale gave ASU a ton of money to build a sky walk development. They want to redefine it so it's something quite different than taxpayers thought they were getting initially. But along the way Michael Crowe president of ASU walked up to the mayor and said we can't have a strip club next to our glorious new campus over here. Why don't you do something about it? So it was cleaning up Scottsdale for ASU.

Howard Fischer:
Heavy handed tactic by Scottsdale? I'm shocked.

Paul Giblin:
Here's the crazy thing. People in the city vote for the city councilmen who come up with this sort of thing and then vote against what the city councilmen do. I wonder why don't they get rid of these city councilmen. They had the opportunity a couple of years ago but didn't.

Howard Fischer:
They're waiting for you to announce your candidacy.

Paul Giblin:
No. No. When you said I was wrong -- that would be really when I would be wrong.

Michael Grant:
This is a two for all booty on the first aspect of it. Federal judge Rosalynn silver refuse to go suspend the prop 200 requirement?

Howard Fischer:
There are several groups that say that the requirements both for registering to vote which is the proof of citizenship and to showing id is in fact discriminatory for a couple of reasons. Number one this idea it's a poll tax. If you don't have to have a driver's license or one of the forms of id and the utility bill isn't in your name or something you have to go out and either buy a birth certificate, buy a state ID and therefore it's a poll tax. The judge said, maybe we'll talk. But I'm not going to give you an injunction on it. The other issue they said is because Latinos are less likely to have these forms of id it discriminal mates against Latinos and the poor. And the judge said, I don't think you're going to prevail. So I'll leave the law in place. She scheduled a hearing for later this year to say bring me more evidence and we'll talk. Until then I'm going to leave the law in place.

Michael Grant:
The hearing scheduled though with no possibility of impacting the general election or some possibility?

Howard Fischer:
No possibility. You're going to have to present several days of testimony to show the effects of this.

Michael Grant:
In the meantime, Paul, indications are that the proposition 200 ID requirements did not impact the primary.

Paul Giblin:
No, it went very smoothly. Nearly smoothly. You'll find people complaining about everything. But it is easy, Michael. You show a driver's license. It's so crazy. Show a utility bill or the publicity pamphlet that state send you and that and your voter ID card can be considered identification. Quite frankly I think they ought to toughen that up a bit. Pretty base to be a resident of this country to vote in this country's election. That seems pretty simple to me.

Michael Grant:
Maybe we'll float a proposition on it. Oh, no, we already did that. Arizona legislature won a rare victory over Governor Janet Napolitano when the state Supreme Court ruled she misused her power involving the line item veto on a bill involving some state personnel hiring. Howie, judge's ruling was 5-0 against the governor.

Howard Fischer:
Yes. And it was funny because we asked the governor, so, is there no loyalty among friends? You appoint Scott Bails, Annie Herweritz and they turn against you? She sort of laughed and said, well, for all those who said they were on the court to do my bidding; I think we put that issue to bed. This was something I want to say as a non-attorney but one who place here on TV this is one that was easy for the Supreme Court. They passed a pay raise for state employees back in January and the legislature put in five lines that said, anybody hired after January 1 at pay grade 24 or higher is no longer subject to merit protections and dismissal and discipline and all those hearings . And the governor said, well, wait a second. People who are exempt accumulate their leave time fast be than people who are non-exempt. Therefore when these people who are except -- it is an appropriation. Nobody was buying that. Certainly not the high court. One of the things they said was that the governor somehow failed to understand a small difference between an obligation, which perhaps the law created, and an actual appropriation to fund that obligation. Of course the governor's puny answer was that's only a distinction a lawyer could love ignoring the fact she's a lawyer and should be able to love that distinction .

Paul Giblin:
I'm not even going to play a lawyer on TV because you completely lost me with that. No way.

Michael Grant:
I think, Mary Jo, the funny thing on that one there were democrats at the legislature that were not comfortable with that veto. There are certain things that sort of cross party lines and go more to, hey, we're the legislature and you're the governor. And I think the legislature felt with some justification that if that would stand, that would really put the governor in the position of writing bills, not just use ago line item on the budget.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
Yeah. We'll see if this plays out in the next budget if Napolitano is in a position to --

Howard Fischer:
And that's exactly the point. Because theoretically you could have a Governor Munsil and a democratic legislature. I'm not sure. Those stars are particularly aligned. But you do have to understand that when Pete Rios said look I can't authorize you to sue my democratic governor. But go forth, be fruitful, multiply, and best of luck to you. He recognized you do not want to give a governor unlimited power. For the same reason on the other side democratic and republican governors both have vetoed efforts by the legislature to appropriate federal money. Each of them guards their territory jealously.

Michael Grant:
At the state's capitol and between the state legislature and for that matter where the Arizona supreme court hangs out they dedicated the 9/11 memorial on Monday. That is -- that is a very, very interesting memorial.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
It's designed to play off of the sun sort of as a sun dial with various quotes taken from that day etched into this piece of metal. It's a circular ring. I think Horizon did a show on that but people should get out to the state capitol and have a look for it themselves. They also laid in a piece of trade tower one, I believe, about a four-foot length of it. And it's placed in such a position so that at noon on September 11 it will be fully illuminated by the sun. So it's playing off of Arizona's whole sunshine thing and using the sun dial.

Paul Giblin:
It is cool. It's big and to experience it you have to walk into the memorial, the piece of art and you're compelled today stay there for awhile. As I said the slogans, the quotes show up because of the sun and they fade in and out so you're compelled to stay there awhile to read a few more. It is a very powerful piece.

Michael grant:
Howie just about out of time. But real quickly you mentioned this earlier we were getting some additional federal money on the border?

Howard Fischer:
Yes. What's happened is that there's $15 million that congress appropriated in what they call operation stone guard. It's supposed to be overtime for police officers for border-related issues. We're going to get 6.3 million of that which is a pretty good thing given that we're only a small part of the border. We asked the governor why does she think we're getting the lion's share. She said I think it's the squeaky wheel theory.

Michael Grant:
Panelists we are out of time. Thanks for the primary wrap. We'll move forward to the general election.

Larry Lemmons:
Republican Fifth District Congressional Incumbent J.D. Hayworth goes head to head with former state senator and Tempe mayor, Democrat Harry Mitchell on the issues of immigration, Iraq and stem cell research. The road to the general election continues Monday night at 7:00 on channel 8's Horizon.

Michael Grant:
Tuesday, you can learn more about propositions 105 and 106 both of which deal with land conservation. Wednesday, we'll talk to you about proposition 105 which would allow governments in Arizona to increase the debt limit for public safety, fire and transportation projects. Thursday, learn about propositions 205 and 207. All of those propositions and probably more next week on Horizon. Thanks very much for joining us on this Friday edition. I'm Michael Grant. Good night.

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