Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

October 20, 2006


Host: Michael Grant

Journalists Roundtable


  • Donít miss HORIZONís weekly roundtable where local reporters get a chance to review the weekís top stories.
Guests:
  • Robbie Sherwood - Arizona Republic
Category: Journalists Roundtable

View Transcript
Michael Grant:
It's Friday, October 20, 2006. In the headlines this week Republican senator Jon Kyl and Challenger Jim Pederson went Face-to-face in a series of Debates. David Peterson will resign from the -- the head of the capital Mall commission wants to cover Up quotes on Arizona's 9/11 Memorial until they can be Removed.

Michael Grant:
Good evening. I'm Michael grant. This is the journalists Roundtable. Joining me to talk about those and other stories is Robbie Sherwood of the "Arizona Republic," Howard Fischer of Capitol media services and Mary Jo pitzl of the "Arizona Republic." With less than three weeks to go Before November's election the Candidates running in the U.S. Senate race sat down this week for a series of televised Debates. Robbie I guess we got more heat than light?

Robbie Sherwood:
There was some heat in the Opening debate Wednesday night Televised here in the valley. A lot of just direct speaking to Each other, challenging each Other on Iraq, taxes, Immigration. Jim Pederson afterwards admitted to being angry during that Debate. His demeanor sort of presented that. He was scrunched up and a little Grinchy, grouchy during that Debate. And it showed and he admitted it. "but I'm so passionate about the Issues that's what drove my Anger."

Michael Grant:
For months obviously they've been lobbing shells at each Other through television. So when you come face-to-face Got to be pent up stuff going on there.

Robbie Sherwood:
Sure it was. You never know who wins these Things. But certainly Kyl was the more Practiced candidate in front of the camera, more polished. And I thought that Pederson made a strategic mistake certainly in the first debate. I think he corrected it in the Second debate it was there in Tucson which is when the Moderator asks you a specific Question and asks you to please Be specific on your plan for Immigration, one of the key Examples about three instances Where he breezed past the Question and started talking About what Kyl's doing and What's wrong with that. We asked you what you wanted to Do, Mr. Pederson and he blew Right past it.

Howard Fischer:
One of the fascinating things about debates -- nothing against Debates. I'm glad we have them here on Channel eight and everywhere Else. People don't end up seeing them. They see Robbie's or my stories the next morning but they are seeing the commercials. That's what they see about the Candidates and that's what's going to win or lose. It's nice to say Kyl won the First debate, Pederson came Close to winning the second but it's almost sort of meaningless. It's the money being spent on what is an increasingly negative Campaign that's going to affect what happens on another 7.

Michael Grant:
Speaking of money, Jim Pederson dropped another what, 700 k?

Robbie Sherwood:
$700,000. What's significant about that Now we're after the primary Election and that's 4,000 more Than what we needed to trigger The millionaire's -- if you Remember anything about that It's there to sort of help Traditionally-funded candidates To deal with people who are rich And who come in and can try to Buy a race.

Michael Grant:
Right.

Robbie Sherwood:
Wealthy candidates. And what it allows Kyl to do is Something extraordinary if he Had the resources to do to blow The caps that are on individual Contributions of $2,100 and go Three times above that and turn -- and war chest authority much Bigger than Jim Pederson's and Make it a lot bigger in the Final weeks. I don't know what effect that would have but it allows them to raise a whole lot more money.

Howard Fischer:
That's clear. What do we have close to 22 million in combined spending already? This kind of race and this Desperation at the end, 25, 26 million which for a state of 6 million people and maybe two some registered voters is Phenomenal.

Robbie Sherwood:
Is it a good idea for Kyl to run more commercials? Sort of at the saturation rate At this point.

Michael Grant: I wish I could see more Commercials on this race really, Rob. I hate to buck you on that.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
You need to buck KAET TV, Then.

Michael Grant:
The latest one Jim Pederson Held a press conference today in Relation to the allegations about his bankruptcy, speaking of television.

Robbie Sherwood:
He came out with an ad that Talks about Jim Pederson's Bankruptcy and alleging that Through a corporation commission Filing that had the wrong Indication on there that Indicated through a check box he Had not filed bankruptcy when he Had that Pederson had deceived His creditors and deceived Lenders and the public about This. What Mr. Pederson sought to Correct was the fact that he Said that that filing was Accidental, that when he Realized it he corrected It. But more importantly he had People who had lent him money Over the years, bankers and the Like who said they don't ever Take that into -- the Corporation commission filings into indication when they're Talking about giving somebody a Loan. They have highly sophisticated Ways of finding out how much you have if you try to borrow Millions from the bank.

Howard Fischer:
It's fascinating because Jon Kyl saying it was a check box. Everybody knew Jim Pederson had filed a bankruptcy. He boasted about it said it was Character development. This wasn't a secret. This wasn't like -- so I think there's a bit of overkill on Kyl's part.

Michael Grant:
Well, we've presaged this on Last Friday's edition but David Pederson is going to be cutting A plea deal with a. G.'s office And shutting it down?

Howard Fischer:
Yes. This is kind of a -- I don't Know whether it's a sort of Whimper end to a long Investigation. The a. G.'s office had issued Search warrants back in February In Dave Peterson's office and Pulled boxes of records out of There and computer tapes and Even some stuff related to Former financier Michael milkmen.

Michael Grant:
This had been going on for nine, ten, 11 months.

Howard Fischer:
Right. And they went through with Allegations of theft of public Funds and insider dealing and Hiring relatives and everything Else. What we ended up with is going to be a-single -- single count of failing to comply with Finance records. Elected officials have to disclose all sources of income Over 1,000 a year. Peterson made a couple of grand from this character first Program that he's been pushing for years. Did not declare it. We're talking misdemeanor here. Now, as part of the deal to drop The other charges, though, Attorney general terry Goddard Is going to have him resign from Office before the end of his Term after he pleads on Wednesday but before sentencing Which could be a few weeks Later.

Michael Grant:
So the bottom line here is that office may be vacant i.e. Somebody appointed by governor Napolitano to serve for only about six weeks.

Howard Fischer:
Exactly. Because the new treasurer is Going to be elected on November 7 and 1. So it's really an interesting -- I know terry Goddard will see this as a big victory, we got Him to resign. Okay.

Robbie Sherwood:
So what are you doing in December, Michael? You might make a good candidate for that. [Laughter]

Michael Grant:
If I could just balance a Checkbook.

Robbie Sherwood:
If you read the search Warrant that was originally filed there was never any one huge allegation in there. This is probably the biggest one which is that he took in about $4,000 in commissions from this Character-building thing that he was allegedly pushing on state Time. It was just sort of accumulative Effect of it. I think probably if you make all that small stuff go away it probably isn't worth it to resign for.

Michael Grant:
Mary jo, governor's race. Going to cancel the third debate or what?

Mary Jo Pitzl:
So says the current governor. She says there's not enough time to pull off a third debate. Her opponents are still trying to angle to get a third one Lined up but with two and a half Weeks to go, not looking good.

Howard Fischer:
What's interesting about this is that Len munsil blew an Opportunity. There was supposed to be a third Debate in flagstaff on September 12.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
October.

Howard Fischer:
October 12 and Barry Hess Agreed to it and governor agreed to it. He said one of my daughters is having a birthday. I'm sorry. If you're running 30 points behind in the polls and you need the exposure, you say to your Daughter, i'll tell you what. Let's put your birthday off until tomorrow. Now he's saying she won't agree to dates. He blew the opportunity. Now trying to get a group of Black ministers from south Phoenix to hold a community Forum and sort of embarrass the Governor into going ahead and Saying how can she turn down a Group of black ministers for a Community forum. I don't know if it's going to happen. As Mary Jo says we are running Out of time.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
There's a poll, the Grand Canyon state poll done by N.A.U. Came out this week. It's on the governor's race very Consistent. 30 point plus lead for governor Napolitano in a three person Field. I think this one was up, shoot, 33 points, I believe. She's been holding pretty steady Consistent with other polls that have been done.

Michael Grant:
Incidentally, speaking of Polls we got a series of date that on the props. I know you dug into that stuff. Give us some of the highlights.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
Probably the one passing most easily is the minimum wage. I think people look at, that they say, you know, 6.75 Minimum, sounds good to me. Can't imagine working for that little. And they check the box. I think that's got 73\% approval. The smoking propositions, there are two; they both propose Smoking bans of different Strengths. Are neck and neck. Which underscores that voters like the idea of banning smoking but they don't know what's 201 versus 206.

Michael Grant:
If they both pass, then --

Mary Jo Pitzl:
The one with the most votes Prevails where they have Conflicting language. But there's all these little Twists and turns. If 206 supported mostly by Tobacco money prevails then we Will have smoking bans, bars would be exempt if a bar owner so chooses, but since they didn't talk about taxation or Enforcement but the other one Does. And if the other one also passes you will get smoking in bars plus a two cent a pack tax on Cigarettes plus the department of health services being the Smoke police.

Robbie Sherwood:
Did they poll on the land Use?

Mary Jo Pitzl:
No. They did not touch the state Trust lands. He didn't touch that one.

Michael Grant:
How about gay marriage?

Mary Jo Pitzl:
Gay marriage is squeaking past about 51\% approval. Humane farms was the second most Favorable, the one that would Require enough room in pens for Pregnant calves, veal calves and Pigs to turn around.

Robbie Sherwood:
I think the only one they Polled on that's failing is the Lottery winner, one lucky winner Minutes a million dollars.

Michael Grant:
You can't win if you don't Vote?

Mary Jo Pitzl:
This is the ballot measure that's gotten most attention if you measure it by intergalactic Standards it has gotten more ink and more press than practically Sheriff Joe and it's going down.

Howard Fischer:
When the "new York times" Editorially basically says the Whole thing is flawed and then People say, you know, how can this be? I got to admit I understand the Perspective of a lot of people Saying, look if I vote because I'm interested, I don't want This idiot up the block voting Who's only voting because they Want the million dollars and Cancelling out my vote.

Robbie Sherwood:
To underscore Howie's point I Haven't seen the segment but I'm Told there is a segment on the Daily show with mark ostrolow, Another checkmark of Arizona.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
It also talked about prop 200 In terms of incentives and noted that even god uses incentives. So if prop 200 is wrong, god is wrong.

Michael Grant:
Oh, okay. All right. I'm following that.

Michael Grant:
Let's talk about that further after the show. Speaking of surveys, we've got some new data -- data on the Hayworth-Mitchell race.

Robbie Sherwood:
Survey outlook polling has Hayworth up three points with Harry Mitchell a virtual tie when you look at the margin for Error shows that it's very Close. Tales of internal campaign polling showing sort of the same Thing. That race a bit under some Radars shifts on the television Screen could actually be one of the more interesting ones. You can tell by the sheer Negativity of both sides that you know when it's close. You can also tell by paying Close attention to those ads and who's paying for them. You're seeing stuff from the National republican campaign Committee and the democratic National campaign committee. That tells you two things. The dems think they can get the Seat despite heavy republican Advantage. Republicans feel like they have to play defense there that it's Vulnerable.

Michael Grant:
It's in play.

Robbie Sherwood:
If you look at some of the Polling and you're a betting man you'd bet that Harry Mitchell is Going to get a lot closer to J.d. Hayworth than Jim Pederson Is going to get to Jon Kyl.

Michael Grant:
Interesting. Speaking of interesting things, Mary peters, the nominee to head the department of transportation talking about her agenda?

Howard Fischer:
Yes. In fact now that she's actually been confirmed she's actually willing to talk. No big surprises there. I mean, she says we need to find Better ways to use the limited Dollars that we've got. She's basically telling the States and the cities, stop counting on Washington for your Funds. You need to look at creative Ways of doing it. One of them when she was here as the state head of transportation Deals with toll roads. She says if you come from back East you stop and throw the Quarter in the bin and that seems silly. Now with the transponders you can pay your dollars driving at Highway speeds. She said if we're going to have High speed lanes, for example on State route 91 in California, Riverside, you've got four Special lanes that if you don't want to sit three hours in Traffic you can pay and it's a Sliding scale toll depending upon how crowded it is. You can pay between 1.60 and $8 to get home to kiss your kids Good night.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
Poll roads were tried here. It wasn't so much that Mary was Pushing it but there was a law That said you shall do Experiments and they were trying To add it on the superstition And couldn't make it work Financially. Another group couldn't to finish out the loop 202. So toll road sound good in Concept but making the economics of that work out has yet to be proven in this state.

Michael Grant:
Today the United States Supreme court issued an order regarding a legal challenge to Arizona voter i.d. law. Howie, I guess we better be Bringing i.d.

Howard Fischer:
Yes. The on again, off again, on Again i.d. is back. The Supreme Court said, look, the people who challenged the Prop 200, the trial judge looked at their challenge. And they had asked her for a Stay. This is Rosalyn silver. She said there's nothing to prove you're going to succeed and there is a balance of Hardships. What had happened is our good Buddies at the ninth circuit in San Francisco without any Comment said we'll just stay the Law. What the Supreme Court said today in an unusual unsigned Opinion was that ninth circuit had no reason to overturn the Ruling and in fact the state has legitimate interests in protecting the integrity of its Elections. That was the argument Terry Goddard presented on behalf of Secretary of state Jan Brewer.

Michael Grant:
He was also making an Argument about the chaos with the system having been in place for the primary and perhaps cancelled for the general.

Howard Fischer:
The other argument he was making was look; this isn't a Question that you can only bring a driver's license. There's a long list of i.d. both Photo and non-photo that you can Bring and also an ultimate Escape. You request an early ballot which you can do in the state until next Friday and there's no Requirement for i.d. So if you're registered to vote and you don't think you have the I'd., you get on the web, call your county recorder's office and get that early ballot no Harm no foul.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
Isn't another escape route you can cast a provisional Ballot if you show up on November 7, don't have the Requisite i.d.

Robbie Sherwood:
That requires you to come back. You wake up, read the paper, your candidate lost by 30 points Are you going to come back? There's some logical flaw for that. But yeah, there is a remedy for that.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
And the important thing to Remember about this is that it Puts things back the way they were for last month's election.

Robbie Sherwood:
For the primary.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
There's a lot of concern that Voters will be confused. And the merits have yet to be debated before the court. That will happen probably next Year.

Michael Grant:
I was going to say, Howie, That the ninth circuit will go ahead and decide this case. This just vacated the stay that Ninth circuit had slapped on --

Robbie Sherwood:
In fact it's actually going back to ros silver's court. The briefing schedule starts in November and she's going to have to hear the full-blown case and it will go to the ninth circuit And the Supremes. Justice Stevens in a separate Concurring opinion said allowing the election to go forward under these rules; we will see how many people are turned away. Right now it's a lot of Speculation as to how many People might be disenfranchised. If we go ahead and let the Election proceed then we can weigh the ballots of hardship, producing i.d. To make sure -- Does pose a hardship.

Robbie Sherwood
If you're worried about i.d., About voting machines, about the Number of ballot propositions And whether or not you're going To be able to make the same Decision or rational decision When you get in there, do Yourself a favor and vote by Mail.

Michael Grant:
Illegal immigrants rights Groups going after the wire Transfer situation?

Howard Fischer:
This was a lawsuit waiting to Happen. For several years now the state has been using what they call D-a-m-m-i-n-g -- damming Warrants. What they're using it on is People sending money from other States, Illinois, New Jersey, Into Arizona. The argument is that the money Being sent by wire, western Union mainly, is being used for Reimbursement for illegal Purposes, human smuggling, drug Smuggling. So the attorney general's office Came up with what they say is a Super secret algorithm, along With the formula for the new Coke locked away, that tells Them when these things are Likely illegal. Now, what's interesting is that theoretically if you have your Money seized, you have a money Order going through and the State notifies you you say, well, but I'm not illegal. Then you have to go to a police Department and prove to their Satisfaction that your transfer is legal, that you did buy the Car, that you do own the car, That you did purchase something That there's a legitimate reason For sending the money. What this lawsuit allegation Alleges is that first you have an interstate commerce but it goes beyond search and seizure. You need probable cause. Terry's argument was we have shown the police probable cause that this type of transaction is Illegal. Is that enough to overcome a Federal court's decision on what your rights are under search and Seizure? Hard to say.

Michael Grant:
All right. Well, let's move, Mary Jo, Rather nimbly, I think, to how dumb we are.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
I don't understand the Question.

Michael Grant:
Let me slow down here.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
This is not very nimble. There was a survey released this Week by a textbook company that Based upon some education Factors ranked Arizona at the Bottom of the heap and labeled It the dumbest state which by The way has brought the highest Number of comments to our Website at the "Arizona Republic" lots of back and forth Mostly jokes about this standing For Arizona.

Michael Grant:
Now, they are a school Textbook company. Do you think, assuming that they Might want to sell textbooks to the state of Arizona, was this a particularly smart, if I may use that term, marketing ploy?

Mary Jo Pitzl:
Well, as I said, perhaps if they had lots of pictures and Big type and very small words it Might work.

Robbie Sherwood:
At the risk of going over the Head of some of our Arizona-educated viewers here, there's a lot of things going on In the state that we are not Necessarily as dumb as we look. We have a lot of English Language learners. Not dumb they just don't speak English. Tends to have an effect on your Test scores and that sort of Thing. If you look at the whole system absent what we're trying do to Bring those people up to speed And the level of spending we Might actually be overachieving in some areas.

Howard Fischer:
Now you touched on the issues because many of the factors deal with the amount of money. Even Tom Horne says we're at the Bottom of spending on a per Pupil basis. If you also include we're measuring teacher salaries, class size, all of which are Functions of money, then the Ratings are what they are. And I talked to the head of the Company. He said, look, Howie, you can Look at the numbers. It's true. It's subjective in the extent we pick out the 21 factors but the factors are the factors. You're at the bottom, Vermont's at the top.

Michael Grant:
Tom Smith is saying that we ought to cover up the 9/11 Memorial until we sort out the whole phrase situation?

Mary Jo Pitzl:
Yes. This is an interesting -- smith is the chairman of the Governmental mall commission. They control Wesley Bolin plaza and the monuments that go out There. They had a hearing on Wednesday to talk about this controversial 9/11 memorial. They went out just for discussion purposes. At the very end of this about an Hour and 15 minute discussion Smith just says, you know, I Think we should cover it up. I recommend we cover up the offensive phrases until such time as they can be removed. But it was one man speaking. There was no venue; no opportunity for them to vote and it's unclear whether anybody is going to do anything about it.

Michael Grant:
And the other thing is there was some question with where title to the thing actually sits At this point in time?

Howard Fischer:
That's been one of the Issues. Theoretically the 9/11 Commission raised private money To build it, dedicated it on September 11 this year, deeded It to the state which Theoretically means it's within The purview of tom's commission But within the -- Janet Napolitano who is being Criticized by Len munsil for the Whole thing. Nobody wants to do anything. So what's going to happen is Billy shields who runs the 9/11 Commission says we'll deal with It after election.

Michael Grant:
Okay. And in the meantime, it's just a Statement not necessarily a --

Mary Jo Pitzl:
Right. Although we go by it daily to see if it's been draped a la John Ashcroft in the justice Department in Washington.

Michael Grant:
Keep us posted on that Situation. And with that, panelists, we're Out of time.

Michael Sauceda:
The United States Supreme Court has started its new Session. The court caseload but there are some cases of significance such as school racial diversity cases and a case involving partial birth abortion. This is the first full term of the court with a new member. Two asu law professors will talk about the session Monday at 7:00 on Horizon.

Michael Grant:
Tuesday learn the results of the latest Cronkite eight poll. Also on Tuesday we'll tell you about a new law that some say could eliminate habeas corpus for aliens linked to terrorism possibly some citizens. Wednesday excerpts of a debate Held by the chamber of commerce when republican J.D. Hayworth and his democratic challenger Harry Mitchell. Thanks for joining us on this Edition of Horizon. Hope you have a great weekend. I'm Michael Grant. Good night.

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