Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

March 1, 2007


Host: Cary Pfeffer

Copper Theft Bill


  • Copper theft is becoming a bigger problem in Arizona as drug users sell the metal to get money for their fixes. Representative Jerry Weiers has sponsored a bill that aims to reduce the problem by requiring I.D. when selling copper and checks or money orders mailed to the seller instead of cash at time of sale. Weiers will talk about his bill.
Guests:
  • Jim Weiers - House Speaker
  • Thayer Verschoor - Senate Majority Leader
  • Jerry Weiers - State Representative
Category: Business/Economy

View Transcript
Cary Pfeffer:
Tonight on Horizon, the state legislature has been in session for almost two months. State republican leaders will give us an update on progress at the capitol.

Cary Pfeffer:
And these sculptures may have been stolen for their copper. Learn about a bill to crack down on copper theft. All that coming up on Horizon.

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

Cary Pfeffer:
Good evening and welcome to Horizon. I'm Cary Pfeffer. It's been nearly two months since the state legislature went into session. So far not many bills have actually made it all the way through the process, and the big issues like the budget and immigration, transportation, well, they're still on the table. I'll talk to two republican legislative leaders about those issues. But first governor Janet Napolitano backed up her revenue estimates at her latest weekly press briefing.

Governor Napolitano:
Well, the adjustment in the revenue number was based on the actual data we had from the end of quarter corporate tax payments and also December sales tax receipts for the holiday season, and those numbers are based on what we've actually got. I'm going to be meeting with my budget staff actually right after this meeting, and we'll talk about whether we still are confident in those numbers. But throughout this budget process on revenue, we have taken a conservative slant on things, and the Arizona economy seems, while we don't have the huge jump in revenue that we did last year, we do seem to be plugging along at a very steady rate. So if we, if we make a change, you will know, the legislature will know. But right now the numbers, the actual basis for the change that you referenced, is based on the actual data of returns actually in.

Cary Pfeffer:
Plugging along at a steady rate. Well, are we? Here now to bring us up-to-date on the legislation and the budget are house speaker Jim Weiers and Senate Majority Leader Thayer Verschoor. Thank you very much for being here.

Jim Weiers:
My pleasure, Cary.

Cary Pfeffer:
Let's start with what the governor had to say, in your view, Speaker Weiers, are things moving along, plugging along, and are we dealing with real numbers when you're in discussions of the budget?

Jim Weiers:
Anytime you put them on paper, they're real. Are they representative of reality? Probably not. We sat down with the governor today, and we've got presentations by economists and forecasters on the 7th of next month. We've asked that we allow these people and can you say that there's an expert when it comes to predicting? Seven different predictors, seven different predictions. Now these people pretty much have an idea of what's going on. I don't think the numbers that the governor is coming up with are going to be quite in line. The governor is going to be meeting with people of almost the same type and caliber on the 4th and the 5th, so we agreed today that we would not agree on anything on the beginning numbers that we'd wait until the people that do this for a living come up with some real solid numbers within the next week, week and a half.

Cary Pfeffer:
And from that point then, you feel like the real --

Jim Weiers:
And from that point, then we get together and with a budget, you have to start at the start. You have to agree on what numbers you're going to be beginning with as far as the forecast. And we haven't, but we did make some movement today on some of the adjustments, on some supplementals. We're sitting down and waiting for more data to come back in on caseload. These things drive the budget. So it's not like we aren't doing anything. And or the last month and a half, we have been having hearings as to the agencies, as to the requests, looking at where they're at and adopted up to 90-95\% of where the budget will end up ultimately anyway. The bills at this point have not been drafted, but most of just the work that needs to be done to get to the budget and get it out has been done at this point.

Cary Pfeffer:
Some of that early work and, Senator Verschoor, talk a little bit, if you had to look into a crystal ball and you've gone through this process a little bit before, how would you characterize where you're headed?

Thayer Verschoor:
I think we're in really good shape, Cary. One of the things the speaker talked about are the subapprops committee breaking up into different departments. They've gotten through all their work, and so that just completed, and so now, starting next week, the senate is going to be going into budget week in which we're going to delve right into the budget. Now that we know a lot of that work has been done this is just a natural part of the process. And I think the concern is, I would love it if we could just keep our spending within what our revenue numbers are going to be. That's not going to be where the issue is at. I mean, obviously there are, there are proposals, spending proposals, out there that go far above the revenues that we are predicting to come in and what I believe will be the actual revenue numbers, and that's where is going to be the tug and the pull. I'm very optimistic we can get those. I hope we can stay close to what we bring in and not borrow a lot of money.

Cary Pfeffer:
And as your sense how would you compare where it seems like you're headed compared to those last couple years in the process?

Thayer Verschoor:
Well I think that from what I've been able to talk to my members in the senate and the caucus, I think there is a lot of concern. They don't want to go down that path and borrow when we fought really hard to get away from borrowing and just to stick within the revenues that we have and the money that we have on hand and to keep a very balanced budget.

Cary Pfeffer:
All right. We will see where that goes and some of the details as they, as the process moves along, as it does.

Cary Pfeffer:
Let's talk about immigration issues, because that also ends up being a major focus of attention. There has been -- there have been a couple of different issues that have gotten the attention of sort of the outside of the state capital. Employer sanctions. Also talked about other sort of get tough policies. Jim, how would you characterize what you've seen and what the chances are that some of that stuff will move forward?

Jim Weiers:
Polls are interesting. A lot of politicians put a lot of stock in that when you look at the poll that came out last week that said employer sanctions, number one issue as far as people out there saying, legislature, address any issue, address this issue. The house has undergone this, and I do appreciate getting the breathing room from the senate to take this. It will be probably next week, I think, on Monday or Tuesday you'll see an employer sanctions bill coming out hopefully out of the house. And if we can get one out of the house, we'll shift over to the senate and see how they're going to react to it. But that's what people are asking for. You've got businesses out there that are hiring people knowingly illegally and, in doing that, where is the incentive for illegals not to come across? If you continue to give them business in the way of work and you promote people and you reward people for breaking the laws, then where do you break the chain? Now, you have to make it stern enough and strict enough to where it doesn't become worthwhile to hire illegals. On the other hand -- and this is what we did last year , what we had passed out and was vetoed ultimately by the governor which somehow ,I'm still trying to figure out how this worked as it was somehow designed by the media and spun as it was employer amnesty. It was the toughest illegal immigration employer sanctions legislation in the United States. The part that people saw was amnesty was that we wanted to safeguard businesses that had been accused and, as they went through the process, in the end showing that they were not guilty, that they did nothing wrong, that they'd be able to recover their costs. That's all. And somehow, some way, that was spun as amnesty. You know, we're coming back this time, and we're not going to put that in there. People said -- we tried. People said no amnesty. That's fine. We want to make sure, and I think that you'll see the democrats did come up with a bill that , and I told them, as they sat down with me a couple weeks ago, that I couldn't agree with a couple of the issues. One is that it would only apply to companies that employed 40 or more employees. That excludes about 96\% or 97\% of all employers. That truly was the most employer amnesties that you could get. Contained within the bill was also the idea that the people coming across, the illegals, would have absolutely no responsibility in being charged with smuggling, which there is a piece of legislation passed through and the county attorney has been very successful in taking those cases and carrying them forward. And Joe Arpaio, the sheriff here in Maricopa County, has been very successful in arresting these people. So it's worked all the way they wanted that removed. There was other issues as far as the fund coming back in and how it would be fined it would come off the fines as people were prosecuted and fined, so you had nothing to start it up with, which didn't make a whole lot of sense. So a lot of holes were shown as to what was being proposed. The biggest thing is that you would simply say and when there was testimony with the sponsor, say, well, what number do you want to start with when it comes to the size of the company? And I said the number above zero. That's one. Any employer who employs anybody has got to be brought into this, and I think that anything less, that truly it's a sham. It doesn't make sense. That's what gives the legislature a bad name is that you're not doing the job you're supposed to be doing.

Cary Pfeffer:
Senator, if you had to predict what kind of reaction it would get, a bill like that would get on your side?

Thayer Verschoor:
Well, I think it's going to get a very positive reaction. You know, it's more than just polls. The polls show it high, but in the last two election cycles, we've seen all those issues, the voters have shown very high support for being tough on illegal immigration. And so anything that we can do, I think the voters have said stated clearly, I think most of the members feel the constituents out there, if the feds aren't going to do it, then they want us to step up and start to close that gap. They're serious about it, and we're serious about it. We are going to do something. And employers are going to have to be responsible. But at the same time, you want to make sure that you're fair to those employers that are doing the right thing.

Cary Pfeffer:
And if you had to predict, besides that, between the two of you -- besides employer sanctions likely making it out of the legislature, are we going to see a couple of other things? What would the other top two quick --

Jim Weiers:
There's a couple things coming up. One is -- and I think that you may have heard. If you didn't, you should have heard about it. It's with the Arizona National Guard.

Cary Pfeffer:
Right.

Jim Weiers:
The guard and even the leadership for the guard said the guard is not there to do what the guard you think they're supposed to do. They're a support unit only. We had testimony saying that you had guardsmen that were confronted by armed illegals, and what they did, is they relocated to a different position, which anybody sitting there said, well, what you did is retreated. We've had a number of guardsmen say that we operate under this thing, and the acronym is fear, f-e-a-r. Forget everything and run. That is not what this is about. The border is the issue. It should be the issue. If you've got somebody there with ammo or with an m-16 and you say you're going to do everything except what people expect you to do by what you look like, that's not a guardsman, and we need that to actually --

Cary Pfeffer:
Something on the guard.

Jim Weiers:
Something on the guard to give them money where the governor at this point can really truly at this point, if she wants --

Cary Pfeffer:
Deploy.

Jim Weiers:
Deploy in the first defense mode as far as protecting. The other, give the guard amnesty against getting involved in the situation. We've heard guardsmen say we're fearful at this point of taking an affirmative approach, because we don't want to get charged. We don't want to lose our commission. We don't want to go to jail. And I think this is the silliest thing I've ever seen.

Cary Pfeffer:
That's muddy water there. And your hoping to try.

Jim Weiers:
Absolutely. And I think you'll also see a lot of things with Gidem which some positive notes have come out with the city of Phoenix and things you'll see coming up with the sheriff's office. We are so excited about so many things that are happening down there.

Cary Pfeffer:
In the last minute here, senator, talk a little about transportation and what you think the top one or two action items might be as far as what we'd see coming out.

Thayer Verschoor:
Obviously one of the top action items is accelerating our freeway construction here in the state. We've done some things last year, very popular and have been very productive. I think there's been obviously a move to do more of that. And also we're seeing some formation of some study committees to look at all of the different types of ideas that you can do to increase the transportation infrastructure here in the state, which is hugely important. You know, if we, right now we're kind of getting to the point where we're growing so fast that, if we don't keep up with the transportation thing, we're going to be stifling our economy here in the state, and that's the last thing we want to do. Arizona has been very fortunate in the last many years to have a really strong economy because we've done things like cutting taxes and we've done things like lessening regulation. And now we really need to step up and support that economy with the proper infrastructure. And so you'll see a lot of measures in that.

Cary Pfeffer:
Senate Majority Leader Thayer Verschoor thank you very much for being here, appreciate it. House speaker Jim Weiers appreciate your being here.

Jim Weiers:
Thank you.

Thayer Verschoor:
Thank you.

Cary Pfeffer:
Appreciate it

Cary Pfeffer:
Earlier this month a well-known Arizona artist was the victim of thieves who took massive bronze sculptures from his property in Northern Arizona. Bronze is mostly copper, and the thieves may have taken the artwork to melt down for its raw material. If this is the case, the crime of copper theft has expanded from industrial looting into the world of art. In a moment, we'll talk more about the efforts to curb the theft of copper in our state. First producer Merry Lucero and Videographer Scot Olson bring you the story of the stolen art.

Merry Lucero:
Artist John Waddell is known as one of Arizona's foremost sculptors. His work spans more than 50 years. Waddell creates his bronze art in his expansive home studio near Sedona, meticulously working first in wax relief. Some of his most recognized sculptures are the dancing nude figures in front of the Herberger Theater in Phoenix.

John Waddell:
My work deals with the beauty of each human being and how it's really good that we don't all look alike but that we have our differences, which makes for the beauty of our society.

Merry Lucero:
Ironically, his work depicting human beauty has fallen victim to a very ugly human act. Eight larger than life bronze figures were stolen from him. It had taken him two years to compose their placement.

John Waddell:
And I had a piece of ground, 10 acres, up above. Roughly 10 acres that was flat, but it was also a beautiful spot for showing the work, because you couldn't see any houses and you could see for miles. You could even see the mountains of Sedona and Mingus Mountain, and it was a great spot. So I made there a sculpture park.

Merry Lucero:
The Waddells had about 25 figures on this hill. They were showing them to friends when they discovered the theft.

John Waddell:
I walked about here, and I began to get sort of confused. You know, I thought the sculpture was right there. There was one single figure. And then, going back down the path here, you see those big red rock stones?

Merry Lucero:
Uh-huh.

John Waddell:
Those were the bases upon which the sculptures were sitting. And it took me a few seconds to orient myself, and I turned back to my friends and my wife, who were down the path there, and I said, the sculptures are gone.

Merry Lucero:
The Waddells have since moves the remaining sculptures closer to their house. The stolen sculptures were part of a larger group called "generations."

John Waddell:
In this group that was stolen, there was a 75-year-old -- the sculpture of a 75-year-old man and then figures ranging from 50 on down to a 17-month-old child. One of the central figures in the group is of my wife, Ruth, who was around 60, mas o menos, I don't remember just because the grouping took eight years to make. Which is not unusual for my work.

Merry Lucero:
Eight years of work and 4500 pounds of bronze.

John Waddell:
The bronze I use is 95\% copper, and it's gone up so much that they would, they would take it, and they're easily spirited to a place where they can be melted down or, but they wouldn't send them, they wouldn't keep them in their sculptural form any longer than they had to, because that's the way they'd be discovered.

Merry Lucero:
All that remains now on this pristine plateau are viewing areas for sculptures that are no longer there. The pathways to their empty bases and tire tracks which the F.B.I. has made plaster casts of.

John Waddell:
I, I hate to think it, but it might have been an inside job. I've had a lot of people working for me through the years who knew how to move these things, because I always had to get people in to help me move them.

Merry Lucero:
Despite the loss, Waddell remains a positive force in his art and his philosophy of life.

John Waddell:
It's difficult to handle emotionally, but I'm something of a stoic, and I'm very involved in the work that I'm doing right now. I look at my work not at the material value, because that can change with inflation and all sorts of things, but rather that I'm communicating with someone not even of this generation or the next but maybe thousands, several thousand, years from now. I do have a shred of hope that they haven't been melted down. Now I have to keep concentrating on what I'm, I'm doing, 'cause these things have to be cast.

Cary Pfeffer:
The Yavapai county sheriff's office is working on the Waddell sculpture case. If anyone has information or leads regarding the stolen sculptures they can call the Sheriff's office at 928-771-3260 or Yavapai "silent witness" at 1-800-932-3232.

Cary Pfeffer:
And Representative Jerry Weiers has sponsored a bill to help reduce copper theft. He joins me tonight to tell us about the bill and also to be the first time we've ever had brothers on the same program. So --

Jerry Weiers:
Thank you for having me on.

Cary Pfeffer:
You bet.

Cary Pfeffer:
Why don't we talk about how you got involved with this idea, because we've heard, especially in the last few months, the sort of increasing profile of this particular crime, especially in the building industry that's suffered considerable losses.

Jerry Weiers:
Sure.

Cary Pfeffer:
Tell us about how you got started.

Jerry Weiers:
You know, Cary, I don't remember exactly how it originally first started. I have the west valley, which takes in a lot of farmland, some orchards, some areas that have a lot of flowers in them, and of course we have a lot of industrial and then a lot of homes and businesses, so it's a pretty wide variety of people, and it's a huge, huge area. And what's been happening over and over and over, especially in some of the irrigation districts, is thieves are stealing the motors and the pumps. The farmers go out to irrigate their properties, and they turn a switch on and nothing happens, and they start looking around, and there might be $3000 worth of damage, but they're literally losing millions of dollars worth of crops. And so it's been going on for quite some time. I remember two and a half years ago going to a specific meeting on this. Right after I got elected. And at that time, it wasn't nearly as prevalent as it is now, and it wasn't just the copper or, I'm sorry. At that time, it was just the copper. Now it's turned into several other things.

Cary Pfeffer:
Raw materials. Exactly. And the idea for your bill is to put some specifics into the process, and those specifics would be designed in the transfer between somebody coming in with, quote-unquote, scrap raw materials and selling it to either a person who is sort of an in-between person or the person who would actually melt this stuff down. Try to explain how that would happen.

Jerry Weiers:
Well, what we're trying to do is we're trying to figure out a way that we can catch the bad guys. And quite honestly, when I say bad guys, there are professionals that understand that it is very easy to steal copper. You know, they literally will steal a forklift and steal large rolls of wire. And then we have, you know, what's referred to quite often as the tweakers, the people on meth and--

Cary Pfeffer:
That are looking for a quick --

Jerry Weiers:
They're looking for a very quick buck, something that's real easy to turn over. Those are the ones that are the irritants, although most the time they're not the ones that are doing the worst damage. You know, for example, not too long ago, we had an air conditioner, you know, we're not using our air conditioners this time of year. A split system, you have half your air conditioner inside and the other half sits outside on the ground, and it gets warm one day and they turn it on. Nothing happens, and they go outside, and there's nothing there.

Cary Pfeffer:
So the idea is to reach out to the, to where that money exchanges hands and try to get some more controls there.

Jerry Weiers:
Well, that's one of the things that we're trying to accomplish. Although you know no matter what I do here, this isn't going to fix all the problems. We can have all the laws in the world, but if we can't get the bad guys to quit doing it , you know, we can make the penalty so severe that they won't want to, but when you get someone on drugs, it's pretty hard for them to think clearly. Sometimes the penalty isn't that severe for them.

Cary Pfeffer:
As you look ahead what do you think your chances are as far as getting this through and what would the timetable be?

Jerry Weiers:
Actually, I think we're very, very close. I've worked hand in hand, we've had several meetings in just this last two weeks with a large contingency of people. Farmers, with some of the bigger utility companies, A.P.S. And the works, a lot of the irrigation systems, some of the police departments, Phoenix police, Coolidge, and tried to take all the concerns that everybody has. And then, at the same time, in all fairness, the businesses, the legitimate businesses, the scrap dealers that simply are trying to do what they do, you know, we have free enterprise, and at the same point everybody looks to them as the answer, they're not the sole answer, but they can certainly help us get to that point.

Cary Pfeffer:
We will keep an eye on this, and good luck on those efforts. Thank you very much for being here.

Jerry Weiers:
Thank you very much. I appreciate being here.

Merry Lucero:
Senator John McCain appears on the "David Letterman Show" and says he is a candidate for president. This comes on the same week as a Cronkite eight poll that shows he has a comfortable lead among Arizona republicans in the race for the white house. The "journalists' roundtable" Friday at 7:00 on "Horizon."

Cary Pfeffer:
Also don't forget we'll have that reporters' roundtable on Friday in here to keep you up-to-date and to their unique perspective on the world. Look forward to that. I'm Cary Pfeffer. Thanks very much for watching. I appreciate your tuning in and enjoying the programming here at eight. And we'll hope that you have a great evening and see you next time.

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Republican Legislative Leadership


  • House Speaker Jim Weiers and Senate Majority Leader Thayer Verschoor will talk about the progress of bills and the budget in the current legislative session.
Guests:
  • Jim Weiers - House Speaker
  • Thayer Verschoor - Senate Majority Leader
  • Jerry Weiers - State Representative
Category: Legislature

View Transcript
Cary Pfeffer:
Tonight on Horizon, the state legislature has been in session for almost two months. State republican leaders will give us an update on progress at the capitol.

Cary Pfeffer:
And these sculptures may have been stolen for their copper. Learn about a bill to crack down on copper theft. All that coming up on Horizon.

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

Cary Pfeffer:
Good evening and welcome to Horizon. I'm Cary Pfeffer. It's been nearly two months since the state legislature went into session. So far not many bills have actually made it all the way through the process, and the big issues like the budget and immigration, transportation, well, they're still on the table. I'll talk to two republican legislative leaders about those issues. But first governor Janet Napolitano backed up her revenue estimates at her latest weekly press briefing.

Governor Napolitano:
Well, the adjustment in the revenue number was based on the actual data we had from the end of quarter corporate tax payments and also December sales tax receipts for the holiday season, and those numbers are based on what we've actually got. I'm going to be meeting with my budget staff actually right after this meeting, and we'll talk about whether we still are confident in those numbers. But throughout this budget process on revenue, we have taken a conservative slant on things, and the Arizona economy seems, while we don't have the huge jump in revenue that we did last year, we do seem to be plugging along at a very steady rate. So if we, if we make a change, you will know, the legislature will know. But right now the numbers, the actual basis for the change that you referenced, is based on the actual data of returns actually in.

Cary Pfeffer:
Plugging along at a steady rate. Well, are we? Here now to bring us up-to-date on the legislation and the budget are house speaker Jim Weiers and Senate Majority Leader Thayer Verschoor. Thank you very much for being here.

Jim Weiers:
My pleasure, Cary.

Cary Pfeffer:
Let's start with what the governor had to say, in your view, Speaker Weiers, are things moving along, plugging along, and are we dealing with real numbers when you're in discussions of the budget?

Jim Weiers:
Anytime you put them on paper, they're real. Are they representative of reality? Probably not. We sat down with the governor today, and we've got presentations by economists and forecasters on the 7th of next month. We've asked that we allow these people and can you say that there's an expert when it comes to predicting? Seven different predictors, seven different predictions. Now these people pretty much have an idea of what's going on. I don't think the numbers that the governor is coming up with are going to be quite in line. The governor is going to be meeting with people of almost the same type and caliber on the 4th and the 5th, so we agreed today that we would not agree on anything on the beginning numbers that we'd wait until the people that do this for a living come up with some real solid numbers within the next week, week and a half.

Cary Pfeffer:
And from that point then, you feel like the real --

Jim Weiers:
And from that point, then we get together and with a budget, you have to start at the start. You have to agree on what numbers you're going to be beginning with as far as the forecast. And we haven't, but we did make some movement today on some of the adjustments, on some supplementals. We're sitting down and waiting for more data to come back in on caseload. These things drive the budget. So it's not like we aren't doing anything. And or the last month and a half, we have been having hearings as to the agencies, as to the requests, looking at where they're at and adopted up to 90-95\% of where the budget will end up ultimately anyway. The bills at this point have not been drafted, but most of just the work that needs to be done to get to the budget and get it out has been done at this point.

Cary Pfeffer:
Some of that early work and, Senator Verschoor, talk a little bit, if you had to look into a crystal ball and you've gone through this process a little bit before, how would you characterize where you're headed?

Thayer Verschoor:
I think we're in really good shape, Cary. One of the things the speaker talked about are the subapprops committee breaking up into different departments. They've gotten through all their work, and so that just completed, and so now, starting next week, the senate is going to be going into budget week in which we're going to delve right into the budget. Now that we know a lot of that work has been done this is just a natural part of the process. And I think the concern is, I would love it if we could just keep our spending within what our revenue numbers are going to be. That's not going to be where the issue is at. I mean, obviously there are, there are proposals, spending proposals, out there that go far above the revenues that we are predicting to come in and what I believe will be the actual revenue numbers, and that's where is going to be the tug and the pull. I'm very optimistic we can get those. I hope we can stay close to what we bring in and not borrow a lot of money.

Cary Pfeffer:
And as your sense how would you compare where it seems like you're headed compared to those last couple years in the process?

Thayer Verschoor:
Well I think that from what I've been able to talk to my members in the senate and the caucus, I think there is a lot of concern. They don't want to go down that path and borrow when we fought really hard to get away from borrowing and just to stick within the revenues that we have and the money that we have on hand and to keep a very balanced budget.

Cary Pfeffer:
All right. We will see where that goes and some of the details as they, as the process moves along, as it does.

Cary Pfeffer:
Let's talk about immigration issues, because that also ends up being a major focus of attention. There has been -- there have been a couple of different issues that have gotten the attention of sort of the outside of the state capital. Employer sanctions. Also talked about other sort of get tough policies. Jim, how would you characterize what you've seen and what the chances are that some of that stuff will move forward?

Jim Weiers:
Polls are interesting. A lot of politicians put a lot of stock in that when you look at the poll that came out last week that said employer sanctions, number one issue as far as people out there saying, legislature, address any issue, address this issue. The house has undergone this, and I do appreciate getting the breathing room from the senate to take this. It will be probably next week, I think, on Monday or Tuesday you'll see an employer sanctions bill coming out hopefully out of the house. And if we can get one out of the house, we'll shift over to the senate and see how they're going to react to it. But that's what people are asking for. You've got businesses out there that are hiring people knowingly illegally and, in doing that, where is the incentive for illegals not to come across? If you continue to give them business in the way of work and you promote people and you reward people for breaking the laws, then where do you break the chain? Now, you have to make it stern enough and strict enough to where it doesn't become worthwhile to hire illegals. On the other hand -- and this is what we did last year , what we had passed out and was vetoed ultimately by the governor which somehow ,I'm still trying to figure out how this worked as it was somehow designed by the media and spun as it was employer amnesty. It was the toughest illegal immigration employer sanctions legislation in the United States. The part that people saw was amnesty was that we wanted to safeguard businesses that had been accused and, as they went through the process, in the end showing that they were not guilty, that they did nothing wrong, that they'd be able to recover their costs. That's all. And somehow, some way, that was spun as amnesty. You know, we're coming back this time, and we're not going to put that in there. People said -- we tried. People said no amnesty. That's fine. We want to make sure, and I think that you'll see the democrats did come up with a bill that , and I told them, as they sat down with me a couple weeks ago, that I couldn't agree with a couple of the issues. One is that it would only apply to companies that employed 40 or more employees. That excludes about 96\% or 97\% of all employers. That truly was the most employer amnesties that you could get. Contained within the bill was also the idea that the people coming across, the illegals, would have absolutely no responsibility in being charged with smuggling, which there is a piece of legislation passed through and the county attorney has been very successful in taking those cases and carrying them forward. And Joe Arpaio, the sheriff here in Maricopa County, has been very successful in arresting these people. So it's worked all the way they wanted that removed. There was other issues as far as the fund coming back in and how it would be fined it would come off the fines as people were prosecuted and fined, so you had nothing to start it up with, which didn't make a whole lot of sense. So a lot of holes were shown as to what was being proposed. The biggest thing is that you would simply say and when there was testimony with the sponsor, say, well, what number do you want to start with when it comes to the size of the company? And I said the number above zero. That's one. Any employer who employs anybody has got to be brought into this, and I think that anything less, that truly it's a sham. It doesn't make sense. That's what gives the legislature a bad name is that you're not doing the job you're supposed to be doing.

Cary Pfeffer:
Senator, if you had to predict what kind of reaction it would get, a bill like that would get on your side?

Thayer Verschoor:
Well, I think it's going to get a very positive reaction. You know, it's more than just polls. The polls show it high, but in the last two election cycles, we've seen all those issues, the voters have shown very high support for being tough on illegal immigration. And so anything that we can do, I think the voters have said stated clearly, I think most of the members feel the constituents out there, if the feds aren't going to do it, then they want us to step up and start to close that gap. They're serious about it, and we're serious about it. We are going to do something. And employers are going to have to be responsible. But at the same time, you want to make sure that you're fair to those employers that are doing the right thing.

Cary Pfeffer:
And if you had to predict, besides that, between the two of you -- besides employer sanctions likely making it out of the legislature, are we going to see a couple of other things? What would the other top two quick --

Jim Weiers:
There's a couple things coming up. One is -- and I think that you may have heard. If you didn't, you should have heard about it. It's with the Arizona National Guard.

Cary Pfeffer:
Right.

Jim Weiers:
The guard and even the leadership for the guard said the guard is not there to do what the guard you think they're supposed to do. They're a support unit only. We had testimony saying that you had guardsmen that were confronted by armed illegals, and what they did, is they relocated to a different position, which anybody sitting there said, well, what you did is retreated. We've had a number of guardsmen say that we operate under this thing, and the acronym is fear, f-e-a-r. Forget everything and run. That is not what this is about. The border is the issue. It should be the issue. If you've got somebody there with ammo or with an m-16 and you say you're going to do everything except what people expect you to do by what you look like, that's not a guardsman, and we need that to actually --

Cary Pfeffer:
Something on the guard.

Jim Weiers:
Something on the guard to give them money where the governor at this point can really truly at this point, if she wants --

Cary Pfeffer:
Deploy.

Jim Weiers:
Deploy in the first defense mode as far as protecting. The other, give the guard amnesty against getting involved in the situation. We've heard guardsmen say we're fearful at this point of taking an affirmative approach, because we don't want to get charged. We don't want to lose our commission. We don't want to go to jail. And I think this is the silliest thing I've ever seen.

Cary Pfeffer:
That's muddy water there. And your hoping to try.

Jim Weiers:
Absolutely. And I think you'll also see a lot of things with Gidem which some positive notes have come out with the city of Phoenix and things you'll see coming up with the sheriff's office. We are so excited about so many things that are happening down there.

Cary Pfeffer:
In the last minute here, senator, talk a little about transportation and what you think the top one or two action items might be as far as what we'd see coming out.

Thayer Verschoor:
Obviously one of the top action items is accelerating our freeway construction here in the state. We've done some things last year, very popular and have been very productive. I think there's been obviously a move to do more of that. And also we're seeing some formation of some study committees to look at all of the different types of ideas that you can do to increase the transportation infrastructure here in the state, which is hugely important. You know, if we, right now we're kind of getting to the point where we're growing so fast that, if we don't keep up with the transportation thing, we're going to be stifling our economy here in the state, and that's the last thing we want to do. Arizona has been very fortunate in the last many years to have a really strong economy because we've done things like cutting taxes and we've done things like lessening regulation. And now we really need to step up and support that economy with the proper infrastructure. And so you'll see a lot of measures in that.

Cary Pfeffer:
Senate Majority Leader Thayer Verschoor thank you very much for being here, appreciate it. House speaker Jim Weiers appreciate your being here.

Jim Weiers:
Thank you.

Thayer Verschoor:
Thank you.

Cary Pfeffer:
Appreciate it

Cary Pfeffer:
Earlier this month a well-known Arizona artist was the victim of thieves who took massive bronze sculptures from his property in Northern Arizona. Bronze is mostly copper, and the thieves may have taken the artwork to melt down for its raw material. If this is the case, the crime of copper theft has expanded from industrial looting into the world of art. In a moment, we'll talk more about the efforts to curb the theft of copper in our state. First producer Merry Lucero and Videographer Scot Olson bring you the story of the stolen art.

Merry Lucero:
Artist John Waddell is known as one of Arizona's foremost sculptors. His work spans more than 50 years. Waddell creates his bronze art in his expansive home studio near Sedona, meticulously working first in wax relief. Some of his most recognized sculptures are the dancing nude figures in front of the Herberger Theater in Phoenix.

John Waddell:
My work deals with the beauty of each human being and how it's really good that we don't all look alike but that we have our differences, which makes for the beauty of our society.

Merry Lucero:
Ironically, his work depicting human beauty has fallen victim to a very ugly human act. Eight larger than life bronze figures were stolen from him. It had taken him two years to compose their placement.

John Waddell:
And I had a piece of ground, 10 acres, up above. Roughly 10 acres that was flat, but it was also a beautiful spot for showing the work, because you couldn't see any houses and you could see for miles. You could even see the mountains of Sedona and Mingus Mountain, and it was a great spot. So I made there a sculpture park.

Merry Lucero:
The Waddells had about 25 figures on this hill. They were showing them to friends when they discovered the theft.

John Waddell:
I walked about here, and I began to get sort of confused. You know, I thought the sculpture was right there. There was one single figure. And then, going back down the path here, you see those big red rock stones?

Merry Lucero:
Uh-huh.

John Waddell:
Those were the bases upon which the sculptures were sitting. And it took me a few seconds to orient myself, and I turned back to my friends and my wife, who were down the path there, and I said, the sculptures are gone.

Merry Lucero:
The Waddells have since moves the remaining sculptures closer to their house. The stolen sculptures were part of a larger group called "generations."

John Waddell:
In this group that was stolen, there was a 75-year-old -- the sculpture of a 75-year-old man and then figures ranging from 50 on down to a 17-month-old child. One of the central figures in the group is of my wife, Ruth, who was around 60, mas o menos, I don't remember just because the grouping took eight years to make. Which is not unusual for my work.

Merry Lucero:
Eight years of work and 4500 pounds of bronze.

John Waddell:
The bronze I use is 95\% copper, and it's gone up so much that they would, they would take it, and they're easily spirited to a place where they can be melted down or, but they wouldn't send them, they wouldn't keep them in their sculptural form any longer than they had to, because that's the way they'd be discovered.

Merry Lucero:
All that remains now on this pristine plateau are viewing areas for sculptures that are no longer there. The pathways to their empty bases and tire tracks which the F.B.I. has made plaster casts of.

John Waddell:
I, I hate to think it, but it might have been an inside job. I've had a lot of people working for me through the years who knew how to move these things, because I always had to get people in to help me move them.

Merry Lucero:
Despite the loss, Waddell remains a positive force in his art and his philosophy of life.

John Waddell:
It's difficult to handle emotionally, but I'm something of a stoic, and I'm very involved in the work that I'm doing right now. I look at my work not at the material value, because that can change with inflation and all sorts of things, but rather that I'm communicating with someone not even of this generation or the next but maybe thousands, several thousand, years from now. I do have a shred of hope that they haven't been melted down. Now I have to keep concentrating on what I'm, I'm doing, 'cause these things have to be cast.

Cary Pfeffer:
The Yavapai county sheriff's office is working on the Waddell sculpture case. If anyone has information or leads regarding the stolen sculptures they can call the Sheriff's office at 928-771-3260 or Yavapai "silent witness" at 1-800-932-3232.

Cary Pfeffer:
And Representative Jerry Weiers has sponsored a bill to help reduce copper theft. He joins me tonight to tell us about the bill and also to be the first time we've ever had brothers on the same program. So --

Jerry Weiers:
Thank you for having me on.

Cary Pfeffer:
You bet.

Cary Pfeffer:
Why don't we talk about how you got involved with this idea, because we've heard, especially in the last few months, the sort of increasing profile of this particular crime, especially in the building industry that's suffered considerable losses.

Jerry Weiers:
Sure.

Cary Pfeffer:
Tell us about how you got started.

Jerry Weiers:
You know, Cary, I don't remember exactly how it originally first started. I have the west valley, which takes in a lot of farmland, some orchards, some areas that have a lot of flowers in them, and of course we have a lot of industrial and then a lot of homes and businesses, so it's a pretty wide variety of people, and it's a huge, huge area. And what's been happening over and over and over, especially in some of the irrigation districts, is thieves are stealing the motors and the pumps. The farmers go out to irrigate their properties, and they turn a switch on and nothing happens, and they start looking around, and there might be $3000 worth of damage, but they're literally losing millions of dollars worth of crops. And so it's been going on for quite some time. I remember two and a half years ago going to a specific meeting on this. Right after I got elected. And at that time, it wasn't nearly as prevalent as it is now, and it wasn't just the copper or, I'm sorry. At that time, it was just the copper. Now it's turned into several other things.

Cary Pfeffer:
Raw materials. Exactly. And the idea for your bill is to put some specifics into the process, and those specifics would be designed in the transfer between somebody coming in with, quote-unquote, scrap raw materials and selling it to either a person who is sort of an in-between person or the person who would actually melt this stuff down. Try to explain how that would happen.

Jerry Weiers:
Well, what we're trying to do is we're trying to figure out a way that we can catch the bad guys. And quite honestly, when I say bad guys, there are professionals that understand that it is very easy to steal copper. You know, they literally will steal a forklift and steal large rolls of wire. And then we have, you know, what's referred to quite often as the tweakers, the people on meth and--

Cary Pfeffer:
That are looking for a quick --

Jerry Weiers:
They're looking for a very quick buck, something that's real easy to turn over. Those are the ones that are the irritants, although most the time they're not the ones that are doing the worst damage. You know, for example, not too long ago, we had an air conditioner, you know, we're not using our air conditioners this time of year. A split system, you have half your air conditioner inside and the other half sits outside on the ground, and it gets warm one day and they turn it on. Nothing happens, and they go outside, and there's nothing there.

Cary Pfeffer:
So the idea is to reach out to the, to where that money exchanges hands and try to get some more controls there.

Jerry Weiers:
Well, that's one of the things that we're trying to accomplish. Although you know no matter what I do here, this isn't going to fix all the problems. We can have all the laws in the world, but if we can't get the bad guys to quit doing it , you know, we can make the penalty so severe that they won't want to, but when you get someone on drugs, it's pretty hard for them to think clearly. Sometimes the penalty isn't that severe for them.

Cary Pfeffer:
As you look ahead what do you think your chances are as far as getting this through and what would the timetable be?

Jerry Weiers:
Actually, I think we're very, very close. I've worked hand in hand, we've had several meetings in just this last two weeks with a large contingency of people. Farmers, with some of the bigger utility companies, A.P.S. And the works, a lot of the irrigation systems, some of the police departments, Phoenix police, Coolidge, and tried to take all the concerns that everybody has. And then, at the same time, in all fairness, the businesses, the legitimate businesses, the scrap dealers that simply are trying to do what they do, you know, we have free enterprise, and at the same point everybody looks to them as the answer, they're not the sole answer, but they can certainly help us get to that point.

Cary Pfeffer:
We will keep an eye on this, and good luck on those efforts. Thank you very much for being here.

Jerry Weiers:
Thank you very much. I appreciate being here.

Merry Lucero:
Senator John McCain appears on the "David Letterman Show" and says he is a candidate for president. This comes on the same week as a Cronkite eight poll that shows he has a comfortable lead among Arizona republicans in the race for the white house. The "journalists' roundtable" Friday at 7:00 on "Horizon."

Cary Pfeffer:
Also don't forget we'll have that reporters' roundtable on Friday in here to keep you up-to-date and to their unique perspective on the world. Look forward to that. I'm Cary Pfeffer. Thanks very much for watching. I appreciate your tuning in and enjoying the programming here at eight. And we'll hope that you have a great evening and see you next time.

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stolen Sculptures


  • Arizona sculptor John Henry Waddell is known around the world for his life-size, realistic bronze statues of human figures in poignant poses. Earlier this month, eight of Waddell’s statues were stolen from his property in Cornville, south of Sedona. Tragically, thieves might have taken the artwork for the metal. Bronze is 90 percent copper which is valued for its record-high prices. We’ll speak with Waddell about the incident that likely reduced his artistic creations to raw material.
Guests:
  • Jim Weiers - House Speaker
  • Thayer Verschoor - Senate Majority Leader
  • Jerry Weiers - State Representative
Category: The Arts

View Transcript
Cary Pfeffer:
Tonight on Horizon, the state legislature has been in session for almost two months. State republican leaders will give us an update on progress at the capitol.

Cary Pfeffer:
And these sculptures may have been stolen for their copper. Learn about a bill to crack down on copper theft. All that coming up on Horizon.

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

Cary Pfeffer:
Good evening and welcome to Horizon. I'm Cary Pfeffer. It's been nearly two months since the state legislature went into session. So far not many bills have actually made it all the way through the process, and the big issues like the budget and immigration, transportation, well, they're still on the table. I'll talk to two republican legislative leaders about those issues. But first governor Janet Napolitano backed up her revenue estimates at her latest weekly press briefing.

Governor Napolitano:
Well, the adjustment in the revenue number was based on the actual data we had from the end of quarter corporate tax payments and also December sales tax receipts for the holiday season, and those numbers are based on what we've actually got. I'm going to be meeting with my budget staff actually right after this meeting, and we'll talk about whether we still are confident in those numbers. But throughout this budget process on revenue, we have taken a conservative slant on things, and the Arizona economy seems, while we don't have the huge jump in revenue that we did last year, we do seem to be plugging along at a very steady rate. So if we, if we make a change, you will know, the legislature will know. But right now the numbers, the actual basis for the change that you referenced, is based on the actual data of returns actually in.

Cary Pfeffer:
Plugging along at a steady rate. Well, are we? Here now to bring us up-to-date on the legislation and the budget are house speaker Jim Weiers and Senate Majority Leader Thayer Verschoor. Thank you very much for being here.

Jim Weiers:
My pleasure, Cary.

Cary Pfeffer:
Let's start with what the governor had to say, in your view, Speaker Weiers, are things moving along, plugging along, and are we dealing with real numbers when you're in discussions of the budget?

Jim Weiers:
Anytime you put them on paper, they're real. Are they representative of reality? Probably not. We sat down with the governor today, and we've got presentations by economists and forecasters on the 7th of next month. We've asked that we allow these people and can you say that there's an expert when it comes to predicting? Seven different predictors, seven different predictions. Now these people pretty much have an idea of what's going on. I don't think the numbers that the governor is coming up with are going to be quite in line. The governor is going to be meeting with people of almost the same type and caliber on the 4th and the 5th, so we agreed today that we would not agree on anything on the beginning numbers that we'd wait until the people that do this for a living come up with some real solid numbers within the next week, week and a half.

Cary Pfeffer:
And from that point then, you feel like the real --

Jim Weiers:
And from that point, then we get together and with a budget, you have to start at the start. You have to agree on what numbers you're going to be beginning with as far as the forecast. And we haven't, but we did make some movement today on some of the adjustments, on some supplementals. We're sitting down and waiting for more data to come back in on caseload. These things drive the budget. So it's not like we aren't doing anything. And or the last month and a half, we have been having hearings as to the agencies, as to the requests, looking at where they're at and adopted up to 90-95\% of where the budget will end up ultimately anyway. The bills at this point have not been drafted, but most of just the work that needs to be done to get to the budget and get it out has been done at this point.

Cary Pfeffer:
Some of that early work and, Senator Verschoor, talk a little bit, if you had to look into a crystal ball and you've gone through this process a little bit before, how would you characterize where you're headed?

Thayer Verschoor:
I think we're in really good shape, Cary. One of the things the speaker talked about are the subapprops committee breaking up into different departments. They've gotten through all their work, and so that just completed, and so now, starting next week, the senate is going to be going into budget week in which we're going to delve right into the budget. Now that we know a lot of that work has been done this is just a natural part of the process. And I think the concern is, I would love it if we could just keep our spending within what our revenue numbers are going to be. That's not going to be where the issue is at. I mean, obviously there are, there are proposals, spending proposals, out there that go far above the revenues that we are predicting to come in and what I believe will be the actual revenue numbers, and that's where is going to be the tug and the pull. I'm very optimistic we can get those. I hope we can stay close to what we bring in and not borrow a lot of money.

Cary Pfeffer:
And as your sense how would you compare where it seems like you're headed compared to those last couple years in the process?

Thayer Verschoor:
Well I think that from what I've been able to talk to my members in the senate and the caucus, I think there is a lot of concern. They don't want to go down that path and borrow when we fought really hard to get away from borrowing and just to stick within the revenues that we have and the money that we have on hand and to keep a very balanced budget.

Cary Pfeffer:
All right. We will see where that goes and some of the details as they, as the process moves along, as it does.

Cary Pfeffer:
Let's talk about immigration issues, because that also ends up being a major focus of attention. There has been -- there have been a couple of different issues that have gotten the attention of sort of the outside of the state capital. Employer sanctions. Also talked about other sort of get tough policies. Jim, how would you characterize what you've seen and what the chances are that some of that stuff will move forward?

Jim Weiers:
Polls are interesting. A lot of politicians put a lot of stock in that when you look at the poll that came out last week that said employer sanctions, number one issue as far as people out there saying, legislature, address any issue, address this issue. The house has undergone this, and I do appreciate getting the breathing room from the senate to take this. It will be probably next week, I think, on Monday or Tuesday you'll see an employer sanctions bill coming out hopefully out of the house. And if we can get one out of the house, we'll shift over to the senate and see how they're going to react to it. But that's what people are asking for. You've got businesses out there that are hiring people knowingly illegally and, in doing that, where is the incentive for illegals not to come across? If you continue to give them business in the way of work and you promote people and you reward people for breaking the laws, then where do you break the chain? Now, you have to make it stern enough and strict enough to where it doesn't become worthwhile to hire illegals. On the other hand -- and this is what we did last year , what we had passed out and was vetoed ultimately by the governor which somehow ,I'm still trying to figure out how this worked as it was somehow designed by the media and spun as it was employer amnesty. It was the toughest illegal immigration employer sanctions legislation in the United States. The part that people saw was amnesty was that we wanted to safeguard businesses that had been accused and, as they went through the process, in the end showing that they were not guilty, that they did nothing wrong, that they'd be able to recover their costs. That's all. And somehow, some way, that was spun as amnesty. You know, we're coming back this time, and we're not going to put that in there. People said -- we tried. People said no amnesty. That's fine. We want to make sure, and I think that you'll see the democrats did come up with a bill that , and I told them, as they sat down with me a couple weeks ago, that I couldn't agree with a couple of the issues. One is that it would only apply to companies that employed 40 or more employees. That excludes about 96\% or 97\% of all employers. That truly was the most employer amnesties that you could get. Contained within the bill was also the idea that the people coming across, the illegals, would have absolutely no responsibility in being charged with smuggling, which there is a piece of legislation passed through and the county attorney has been very successful in taking those cases and carrying them forward. And Joe Arpaio, the sheriff here in Maricopa County, has been very successful in arresting these people. So it's worked all the way they wanted that removed. There was other issues as far as the fund coming back in and how it would be fined it would come off the fines as people were prosecuted and fined, so you had nothing to start it up with, which didn't make a whole lot of sense. So a lot of holes were shown as to what was being proposed. The biggest thing is that you would simply say and when there was testimony with the sponsor, say, well, what number do you want to start with when it comes to the size of the company? And I said the number above zero. That's one. Any employer who employs anybody has got to be brought into this, and I think that anything less, that truly it's a sham. It doesn't make sense. That's what gives the legislature a bad name is that you're not doing the job you're supposed to be doing.

Cary Pfeffer:
Senator, if you had to predict what kind of reaction it would get, a bill like that would get on your side?

Thayer Verschoor:
Well, I think it's going to get a very positive reaction. You know, it's more than just polls. The polls show it high, but in the last two election cycles, we've seen all those issues, the voters have shown very high support for being tough on illegal immigration. And so anything that we can do, I think the voters have said stated clearly, I think most of the members feel the constituents out there, if the feds aren't going to do it, then they want us to step up and start to close that gap. They're serious about it, and we're serious about it. We are going to do something. And employers are going to have to be responsible. But at the same time, you want to make sure that you're fair to those employers that are doing the right thing.

Cary Pfeffer:
And if you had to predict, besides that, between the two of you -- besides employer sanctions likely making it out of the legislature, are we going to see a couple of other things? What would the other top two quick --

Jim Weiers:
There's a couple things coming up. One is -- and I think that you may have heard. If you didn't, you should have heard about it. It's with the Arizona National Guard.

Cary Pfeffer:
Right.

Jim Weiers:
The guard and even the leadership for the guard said the guard is not there to do what the guard you think they're supposed to do. They're a support unit only. We had testimony saying that you had guardsmen that were confronted by armed illegals, and what they did, is they relocated to a different position, which anybody sitting there said, well, what you did is retreated. We've had a number of guardsmen say that we operate under this thing, and the acronym is fear, f-e-a-r. Forget everything and run. That is not what this is about. The border is the issue. It should be the issue. If you've got somebody there with ammo or with an m-16 and you say you're going to do everything except what people expect you to do by what you look like, that's not a guardsman, and we need that to actually --

Cary Pfeffer:
Something on the guard.

Jim Weiers:
Something on the guard to give them money where the governor at this point can really truly at this point, if she wants --

Cary Pfeffer:
Deploy.

Jim Weiers:
Deploy in the first defense mode as far as protecting. The other, give the guard amnesty against getting involved in the situation. We've heard guardsmen say we're fearful at this point of taking an affirmative approach, because we don't want to get charged. We don't want to lose our commission. We don't want to go to jail. And I think this is the silliest thing I've ever seen.

Cary Pfeffer:
That's muddy water there. And your hoping to try.

Jim Weiers:
Absolutely. And I think you'll also see a lot of things with Gidem which some positive notes have come out with the city of Phoenix and things you'll see coming up with the sheriff's office. We are so excited about so many things that are happening down there.

Cary Pfeffer:
In the last minute here, senator, talk a little about transportation and what you think the top one or two action items might be as far as what we'd see coming out.

Thayer Verschoor:
Obviously one of the top action items is accelerating our freeway construction here in the state. We've done some things last year, very popular and have been very productive. I think there's been obviously a move to do more of that. And also we're seeing some formation of some study committees to look at all of the different types of ideas that you can do to increase the transportation infrastructure here in the state, which is hugely important. You know, if we, right now we're kind of getting to the point where we're growing so fast that, if we don't keep up with the transportation thing, we're going to be stifling our economy here in the state, and that's the last thing we want to do. Arizona has been very fortunate in the last many years to have a really strong economy because we've done things like cutting taxes and we've done things like lessening regulation. And now we really need to step up and support that economy with the proper infrastructure. And so you'll see a lot of measures in that.

Cary Pfeffer:
Senate Majority Leader Thayer Verschoor thank you very much for being here, appreciate it. House speaker Jim Weiers appreciate your being here.

Jim Weiers:
Thank you.

Thayer Verschoor:
Thank you.

Cary Pfeffer:
Appreciate it

Cary Pfeffer:
Earlier this month a well-known Arizona artist was the victim of thieves who took massive bronze sculptures from his property in Northern Arizona. Bronze is mostly copper, and the thieves may have taken the artwork to melt down for its raw material. If this is the case, the crime of copper theft has expanded from industrial looting into the world of art. In a moment, we'll talk more about the efforts to curb the theft of copper in our state. First producer Merry Lucero and Videographer Scot Olson bring you the story of the stolen art.

Merry Lucero:
Artist John Waddell is known as one of Arizona's foremost sculptors. His work spans more than 50 years. Waddell creates his bronze art in his expansive home studio near Sedona, meticulously working first in wax relief. Some of his most recognized sculptures are the dancing nude figures in front of the Herberger Theater in Phoenix.

John Waddell:
My work deals with the beauty of each human being and how it's really good that we don't all look alike but that we have our differences, which makes for the beauty of our society.

Merry Lucero:
Ironically, his work depicting human beauty has fallen victim to a very ugly human act. Eight larger than life bronze figures were stolen from him. It had taken him two years to compose their placement.

John Waddell:
And I had a piece of ground, 10 acres, up above. Roughly 10 acres that was flat, but it was also a beautiful spot for showing the work, because you couldn't see any houses and you could see for miles. You could even see the mountains of Sedona and Mingus Mountain, and it was a great spot. So I made there a sculpture park.

Merry Lucero:
The Waddells had about 25 figures on this hill. They were showing them to friends when they discovered the theft.

John Waddell:
I walked about here, and I began to get sort of confused. You know, I thought the sculpture was right there. There was one single figure. And then, going back down the path here, you see those big red rock stones?

Merry Lucero:
Uh-huh.

John Waddell:
Those were the bases upon which the sculptures were sitting. And it took me a few seconds to orient myself, and I turned back to my friends and my wife, who were down the path there, and I said, the sculptures are gone.

Merry Lucero:
The Waddells have since moves the remaining sculptures closer to their house. The stolen sculptures were part of a larger group called "generations."

John Waddell:
In this group that was stolen, there was a 75-year-old -- the sculpture of a 75-year-old man and then figures ranging from 50 on down to a 17-month-old child. One of the central figures in the group is of my wife, Ruth, who was around 60, mas o menos, I don't remember just because the grouping took eight years to make. Which is not unusual for my work.

Merry Lucero:
Eight years of work and 4500 pounds of bronze.

John Waddell:
The bronze I use is 95\% copper, and it's gone up so much that they would, they would take it, and they're easily spirited to a place where they can be melted down or, but they wouldn't send them, they wouldn't keep them in their sculptural form any longer than they had to, because that's the way they'd be discovered.

Merry Lucero:
All that remains now on this pristine plateau are viewing areas for sculptures that are no longer there. The pathways to their empty bases and tire tracks which the F.B.I. has made plaster casts of.

John Waddell:
I, I hate to think it, but it might have been an inside job. I've had a lot of people working for me through the years who knew how to move these things, because I always had to get people in to help me move them.

Merry Lucero:
Despite the loss, Waddell remains a positive force in his art and his philosophy of life.

John Waddell:
It's difficult to handle emotionally, but I'm something of a stoic, and I'm very involved in the work that I'm doing right now. I look at my work not at the material value, because that can change with inflation and all sorts of things, but rather that I'm communicating with someone not even of this generation or the next but maybe thousands, several thousand, years from now. I do have a shred of hope that they haven't been melted down. Now I have to keep concentrating on what I'm, I'm doing, 'cause these things have to be cast.

Cary Pfeffer:
The Yavapai county sheriff's office is working on the Waddell sculpture case. If anyone has information or leads regarding the stolen sculptures they can call the Sheriff's office at 928-771-3260 or Yavapai "silent witness" at 1-800-932-3232.

Cary Pfeffer:
And Representative Jerry Weiers has sponsored a bill to help reduce copper theft. He joins me tonight to tell us about the bill and also to be the first time we've ever had brothers on the same program. So --

Jerry Weiers:
Thank you for having me on.

Cary Pfeffer:
You bet.

Cary Pfeffer:
Why don't we talk about how you got involved with this idea, because we've heard, especially in the last few months, the sort of increasing profile of this particular crime, especially in the building industry that's suffered considerable losses.

Jerry Weiers:
Sure.

Cary Pfeffer:
Tell us about how you got started.

Jerry Weiers:
You know, Cary, I don't remember exactly how it originally first started. I have the west valley, which takes in a lot of farmland, some orchards, some areas that have a lot of flowers in them, and of course we have a lot of industrial and then a lot of homes and businesses, so it's a pretty wide variety of people, and it's a huge, huge area. And what's been happening over and over and over, especially in some of the irrigation districts, is thieves are stealing the motors and the pumps. The farmers go out to irrigate their properties, and they turn a switch on and nothing happens, and they start looking around, and there might be $3000 worth of damage, but they're literally losing millions of dollars worth of crops. And so it's been going on for quite some time. I remember two and a half years ago going to a specific meeting on this. Right after I got elected. And at that time, it wasn't nearly as prevalent as it is now, and it wasn't just the copper or, I'm sorry. At that time, it was just the copper. Now it's turned into several other things.

Cary Pfeffer:
Raw materials. Exactly. And the idea for your bill is to put some specifics into the process, and those specifics would be designed in the transfer between somebody coming in with, quote-unquote, scrap raw materials and selling it to either a person who is sort of an in-between person or the person who would actually melt this stuff down. Try to explain how that would happen.

Jerry Weiers:
Well, what we're trying to do is we're trying to figure out a way that we can catch the bad guys. And quite honestly, when I say bad guys, there are professionals that understand that it is very easy to steal copper. You know, they literally will steal a forklift and steal large rolls of wire. And then we have, you know, what's referred to quite often as the tweakers, the people on meth and--

Cary Pfeffer:
That are looking for a quick --

Jerry Weiers:
They're looking for a very quick buck, something that's real easy to turn over. Those are the ones that are the irritants, although most the time they're not the ones that are doing the worst damage. You know, for example, not too long ago, we had an air conditioner, you know, we're not using our air conditioners this time of year. A split system, you have half your air conditioner inside and the other half sits outside on the ground, and it gets warm one day and they turn it on. Nothing happens, and they go outside, and there's nothing there.

Cary Pfeffer:
So the idea is to reach out to the, to where that money exchanges hands and try to get some more controls there.

Jerry Weiers:
Well, that's one of the things that we're trying to accomplish. Although you know no matter what I do here, this isn't going to fix all the problems. We can have all the laws in the world, but if we can't get the bad guys to quit doing it , you know, we can make the penalty so severe that they won't want to, but when you get someone on drugs, it's pretty hard for them to think clearly. Sometimes the penalty isn't that severe for them.

Cary Pfeffer:
As you look ahead what do you think your chances are as far as getting this through and what would the timetable be?

Jerry Weiers:
Actually, I think we're very, very close. I've worked hand in hand, we've had several meetings in just this last two weeks with a large contingency of people. Farmers, with some of the bigger utility companies, A.P.S. And the works, a lot of the irrigation systems, some of the police departments, Phoenix police, Coolidge, and tried to take all the concerns that everybody has. And then, at the same time, in all fairness, the businesses, the legitimate businesses, the scrap dealers that simply are trying to do what they do, you know, we have free enterprise, and at the same point everybody looks to them as the answer, they're not the sole answer, but they can certainly help us get to that point.

Cary Pfeffer:
We will keep an eye on this, and good luck on those efforts. Thank you very much for being here.

Jerry Weiers:
Thank you very much. I appreciate being here.

Merry Lucero:
Senator John McCain appears on the "David Letterman Show" and says he is a candidate for president. This comes on the same week as a Cronkite eight poll that shows he has a comfortable lead among Arizona republicans in the race for the white house. The "journalists' roundtable" Friday at 7:00 on "Horizon."

Cary Pfeffer:
Also don't forget we'll have that reporters' roundtable on Friday in here to keep you up-to-date and to their unique perspective on the world. Look forward to that. I'm Cary Pfeffer. Thanks very much for watching. I appreciate your tuning in and enjoying the programming here at eight. And we'll hope that you have a great evening and see you next time.

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