Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

July 30, 2007


Host: Christina Estes

Immigration Hotline


  • Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has set up a hotline for people to report information regarding undocumented immigrants. Critics say it promotes racial profiling. HORIZON talks to Arpaio about the hotline, and speaks with State Representative Ben Miranda, a critic of the hotline.
Guests:
  • Ben Miranda - State Representative and Co-chair, Latino Caucus, Arizona State Legislature
  • Darcy Olsen - - President and CEO, Goldwater Institute
  • Bob Grossfeld - President, The Media Guys
Category: Immigration

View Transcript
Christina Estes:
Tonight on "Horizon," Sheriff Joe Arpaio creates an immigration hotline, and that hasn't gone down well with much of the local Latino community. Two political figures go head to head on issues that affect Arizona -- in our regular Monday feature -- one on one. And a new study that recommends growth management in Pinal County, next on "Horizon."

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

Christina Estes:
Good evening and thanks for joining us tonight on "Horizon." I'm Christina Estes. Controversy continues over Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio's immigration hotline. The hotline was set up recently for people to report information regarding undocumented immigrants. The hotline has already received hundreds of calls, but critics say it promotes racial profiling. Arpaio says the hotline is constitutional. Larry Lemmons spoke with Sheriff Arpaio at his office on Friday.

Larry Lemmons:
Well, sheriff, Latino leaders have had a lot of consternation about the immigration hotline. They said it would lead to racial profiling and unrest among the immigrant community here. What's your response to that?

Sheriff Joe Arpaio:
Why don't they let us do it and let's see what happens. We're not going out locking up people, knocking doors in. We develop cases, whether it's drugs or illegal immigration. We develop the case and we get the probable cause. I don't think there's any concern. If there was, why is it we've locked up 627 smugglers in the smugglese under that new state law that I'm sure Mr. Miranda knows about and won't agree with, the county attorney's opinion that we can lock up coconspirators. We have locked up 627 in jail, on a felony. We haven't had any problems about profiling.

Larry Lemmons:
Could you walk us through how this would work? Say, for example, I'm walking down the street and I see people that I -- they look Hispanic to me. They're speaking Spanish. Is that enough for me to call an immigration hotline?

Sheriff Joe Arpaio:
No. But we get phone calls, some cranks all the time, whether it's our animal abuse hotline, which we have, drug hotline, people complain about their neighbors that they're selling drugs because there's six cars throughout and they don't look too well. We get this all the time. So we'll iron it out and see what the intelligence comes up with.

Larry Lemmons:
So say I do call. What would be the trigger, as it were, for you to take action on that? What do you do after I call?

Sheriff Joe Arpaio:
Depends what the information is, what the priority is, and how we develop it. I'm not going to give you all our secrets-- how we develop investigations. But we do obtain probable cause. And I hope that everybody understands that. If Mr. Miranda wants to go and blast me, he seems to forget that I locked up a reservist, a military reservist for pulling a gun on nine people in the state 10 and Miller Road because he said they looked Mexican and they could be illegal. I arrested the person that did that. So I'm very sensitive about racial profiling.

Larry Lemmons:
What's your precedent on being able then to look for probable cause for people?

Sheriff Joe Arpaio:
It all depends. I'm hoping to get some information on murders. We've got 13 murders of illegals that were executed out on interstate 10. I don't see a big uproar why the sheriff hasn't solved 13 murders of illegals. If one murder occurred in a certain city, it would be in the headlines. That happened two-years ago. I still haven't forgotten that. So I'm hoping to get tips on that hotline for murderers, for smugglers, and a lot of different other crimes involving illegal immigration.

Larry Lemmons:
Finally, what would you say to the Hispanic community here in the metropolitan phoenix area who might be worried about the immigration hotline and the message it sends?

Sheriff Joe Arpaio:
I would say the Hispanic community, have some confidence in the sheriff. I know certain groups that don't, but I know a lot of Hispanics that do. And see how it works. Don't go criticizing us until they can find we did something wrong pursuant to that hotline. Why is there such excitement? We're not going to go out because someone calls and go into a store or go on a street corner. We're not going to do that. So I think they ought to just watch right now and see how this pans out.

Larry Lemmons:
Just one more thing, then. What should they be watching for? What should people be watching for to justify them calling the immigration hotline? What would you suggest?

Sheriff Joe Arpaio:
Well, I would think that because all the allegations are it's going to be racial profiling, let's see what happens and see if they can make that case. How we conduct our professionalism and enforcement activities with probable cause and let's see what happens. They're arresting drop houses here all over the place just knocking on a door. No one seems to be complaining about that, about probable cause. But we'll be concentrating on that issue, too.

Christina Estes:
Here now to express his concerns about the immigration hotline set up by the sheriff, State Representative Ben Miranda who is also co-chair of the legislature's Latino caucus. Thanks for joining us.

Ben Miranda:
Thank you.

Christina Estes:
In your opinion, what's wrong with the sheriff's hotline?

Ben Miranda:
I think first of all we have to start with a misconception that Sheriff Arpaio is operating under, that's the fact that immigrant community here doesn't care about closing down drop houses of the neighborhood drug dealer, they very much are, or reducing crime in certain neighborhoods. They certainly are, Christina. I think the problem -- at least what sheriff Arpaio now appears to be saying is, his statements initially was that his officers had broad powers to inquire about the legal status, even from those situations involving minor infractions. I think that it's real important for us to at least see where the common ground is. The common ground is that we all want to reduce crime; we all want to stop smuggling of human beings and drug smuggling. And we're not going to do it by putting the emphasis, as he said it, on literally giving somebody the authority to inquire about legal status and focusing on somebody that's littering in a public park or a minor traffic infraction on the roads. It's certainly not going to stop that way.

Christina Estes:
As of last night, KTAR was reporting the hotline had received over 500 calls, some about businesses hiring illegal workers and about drop houses. Nobody has been arrested as a result of the hotline. The sheriff says we're not going to run around and arrest people. We need probable cause.

Ben Miranda:
The sheriff is saying something different today than when he announced it last Saturday. Last Saturday, as you know, the newspaper carried the article which announced the details are yet to be worked out. How can you announce something that has the potential to infringe on your own personal civil rights without ironing out every detail? When you announce a hotline under these circumstances, it certainly brings back memories to some people of the 30's in Germany, the era in which in Germany many people's civil rights were violated. And basically, I think what we're looking at is a climate that Sheriff Arpaio creates of fear and intimidation in the community. You know, that not everyone that's walking the streets is illegal. Not everyone is here without documentation. They're going to be grouped in with everybody.

Christina Estes:
Early yes today, I heard Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Cox talking about starting a hotline for people that felt they had been unfairly on the sheriff hotline? How do you feel about that?

Ben Miranda:
I think it's important to document the actions of any public official on something this sensitive. I think her idea is good. My only concern is we reach out to that community most directly impacted and make sure that reporting gets done. I know that if Sheriff Arpaio implements exactly what he announced last Saturday, it's not only unconstitutional but it will also create a lot of abuses and racial profiling. I'm sticking to the article that was written about his announcement last Saturday.

Christina Estes:
You think this -- we spoke a few minutes before we began this interview -- you think this is sort of a spin off to earlier when he had 160 deputies certified by immigration authorities to act as immigration agents. So talk about that and the problems that you see with that and where it's going.

Ben Miranda:
I think we need to look at this thing logically. There was a reason there wasn't an agreement that was announced between I.C.E., the Immigration Customs Enforcement and the sheriff's office to train 160 individuals. They weren't trained -- these 160 sheriffs were not trained to go randomly out in the streets and arrest anybody, inquire the status about anyone. The fact is immigration needed help. Immigration needed help to close down drop houses and to investigate those kinds of activities along with anything associated with production of fraudulent documents and also drug smuggling. That is the focus of that agreement. I have spoken to -- the special agent in charge here. He's indicated to me very clearly that that is the focus of what he's authorized by deputizing or certifying these people. It's not to inquire about status of people on Phoenix.

Christina Estes:
Do you think people are raising red flags before they need to be raised? The sheriff made a point of saying, "give us a chance to try this before you start criticizing."

Ben Miranda:
The problem is we all want crime reduced or crime reported. And I'll tell you, these folks that are out there -- and I'm talking in large segments in this immigrant community, both legal and undocumented, those folks are going to be less inclined to report crime if they have someone like Sheriff Arpaio saying anything that you report you may become the suspect for even reporting it. I think there will be a serious, serious problem if he implements it the way he wants to implement it. You ask the question, are we jumping the gun here, reaching conclusions before something materializes that's adverse to civil rights? Absolutely not. Because you need to guarantee -- have some guarantees in place that these won't be abused. You know, abusing somebody's civil rights is one thing. Also trying to reduce crime is also another part that is the focus of this. We won't reduce crime and we won't eliminate the potential for racial profiling, abusing people's rights, if we implement exactly what Sheriff Arpaio has said.

Christina Estes:
But Sheriff Arpaio also makes a point of saying he's not just going to go after people based on the color of their skin or language they speak. There needs to be probable cause. I don't pick up the phone and say Ben Miranda is a little shady and he's not going to run out and arrest you.

Ben Miranda:
Probably the most promising aspect of what he said is that we're here to develop cases. You know what? That goes contrary to what he said earlier in the newspapers. He said that he's going to inquire on even minor traffic infractions or any infractions. That's an exact quote. So if you're out there putting minor infractions at the same level as building a case on a drop house and building a case on a drug dealer you want to get out of a neighborhood, you're off on those priorities. I think we in Arizona deserve better, we deserve something that says yes, you put a priority on closing drop houses and drug dealers. I'd rather have that done first rather than inquire about someone's legal status just because he had a fender bender on our highways.

Christina Estes:
It is tough to predict the future. However I think it is safe to say we'll be discussing this issue again. Thank you again, State Representative Ben Miranda.

Chstina Estes:
Every Monday evening, we feature two political experts going "One on One" on issues that affect the state. Tonight, a discussion on the passage of a new law that will penalize municipal use of tax incentives to attract business. Darcy Olsen, the president and CEO of the Goldwater Institute goes head to head with the president of the Media Guys, Bob Grossfeld.

Darcy Olsen:
Okay, Bob. Let's talk about the municipal sales tax incentive bill that was just passed by the house and senate and signed by the governor. What we had there is a situation where we had sort of a fleecing of Arizona so lawmakers said, hey, wait a minute. We've got to put a stop on cities being able to hand out these million dollar subsidies to companies because we've got cities competing kind of as dog-eat -dog, everybody is warring for this business or that business. Let's put a stop to it and let's make Arizona competitive.

Bob Grossfeld:
And companies playing a game of let's you and him fight, bidding one off against another.

Darcy Olsen:
That's right. So one of the biggest, most egregious situations-- a $100 million subsidy for a project by the city --Desert Ridge development. What you had was the city of Phoenix saying we're giving $100 million subsidy to a corporate developer from Chicago to build basically a really high-end shopping mall to sell us clothes, all on the taxpayer dime. So this bill was a way of saying, "enough is enough." Now, one of the shortcomings of the bill is that it only addresses two out of the 15 counties in Arizona. So it's a little step in the right direction but with a giant loophole.

Bob Grossfeld:
Let's also understand that you have to I think put the whole idea of using the tax code and tax incentives into a context. Because I'm with you on stopping this insanity of Wal-Mart bidding one city after another, against another, in order to put in yet another Wal-Mart. Then when they get turned down, as happened in Phoenix, they say, okay, we'll build it anyway. Because that's kind of goofy. But I think we have to distinguish between using the good things -- the tax codes for good things and using it for goofy they'd be supportive of using taxes in order to benefit a community and benefit society. Like T-Gen. A good example.

Darcy Olsen:
The question is where do you draw the line. These incentives have wasted millions and millions of dollars. The most common of these are to build shopping malls. A quarter million dollar subsidy in Surprise to build a shopping mall. One of the most outrageous. $1.5 million was given to a number of auto dealers in the city of Scottsdale so they could do an advertising campaign to sell their cars. Now, that is a case of using taxpayer dollars to benefit a private company or person. And on this question, the founders of Arizona's constitution who are very progressive, they saw this coming. And they enacted something called the Gift Claus Ban. This said that no city or municipality or government authority can give a private gift or play Santa Claus to a private corporation or company. So that's what we had to put an end to here in Arizona.

Bob Grossfeld:
And I think to some extent that will work. I have -- being from the private sector, I have great faith in the ability of private sector corporate attorneys to figure ways around anything that is devised. So I'm sure they're going to figure something out. But again, back to the idea of tax incentives. Because it's part of our American history. That's how the interstate highway system was developed. That's how -- well, Goldwater Institute -- people are invited. They get a tax break for it.

Darcy Olsen:
The difference, of course -- Here's where we agree. We both recognize that sales taxes and corporate income taxes are getting in the way of companies. That's why these companies are going after these subsidies. They're saying it's hard for me to operate. Let me finish my thought here.

Bob Grossfeld:
I agree with you.

Darcy Olsen:
Let me finish. This Arizona has -- when you look at the average tax sales rate here, the ten highest in the country and our corporate tax rate is the highest in United States. There's a reason these companies are looking to get that lowered. What we're saying is that if it's good for one company, why not all?

Bob Grossfeld:
Time. Time.

Darcy Olsen:
Everybody needs these.

Bob Grossfeld:
You're so good at talking. Try listening. Here's the deal. You made an assumption in what you said that with all these high taxes. No, they're not high.

Darcy Olsen:
They're the highest in the western United States.

Bob Grossfeld:
I run a small business.

Darcy Olsen:
That's a fact, Bob. That's not a guess.

Bob Grossfeld:
Hello. I run a small business. You run a think tank. I understand that.

Darcy Olsen:
Tax incentives are good to bring in one company, good for all. We're saying cut the taxes across the board instead of giving a big handout to a developer from Chicago.

Bob Grossfeld:
If they weren't from Chicago it would be okay, I guess. Listen. Here's what I'm kind of focused in on. There are good uses of tax incentives. There are good, strong uses. And they shouldn't be thrown out with all of these obvious examples of things that really have to go away. Which I agree with you. But you're kind of expanding it beyond what --

Darcy Olsen:
What this bill was to close the public checkbook against these types of things that are meant to lure certain kinds of businesses. It's never been the job of government. Only in the U.S. is it the job of government to determine what business goes on what corner. So you and I do have a fundamental disagreement here.

Bob Grossfeld:
Tell that to someone.

Darcy Olsen: Tax incentives are not the right idea but lowering taxes across the board. So the 50,000 small businesses that are the backbone of Arizona can compete. And maybe that's good for you.

Bob Grossfeld:
And I'm proud of that.

Darcy Olsen:
All right. [Laughter]

Christina Estes:
The Pinal County Board of Supervisors recently commissioned a report to see what the best strategy would be to foster growth in the county. The report was instituted by Morrison's Public Institute for Public Policy. There were six goals in the Pinal report.

Larry Lemmons:
Pinal county's leaders and residents focused on six place making goals. First, to distinguish Pinal County from Maricopa and Pima counties. To protect miles of desert and open land. To provide choices for transportation and mobility. To support unique, fair share communities. To create and attract career-pay, career-path jobs. And to develop Pinal's talent pool.

Christina Estes:
Joining me now to talk about the report, the associate vice-president for economic affairs at ASU and the president of the Morrison institute, Bob Melnick. Thanks so much for joining us. Let's start before we talk about the report, why don't you share with us who helped you create the report? You didn't go make this up on your own. You talked to people.

Rob Melnick:
We used a variety of techniques. We typically use reports like this. This in this case included 50 pretty intense one-on-one interviews of variety of leaders in the county, civic and business leaders throughout the entire geography of the county and also a survey, random sample survey of about 600 residents of Pinal County, throughout the county, that were representative of what the county thinks. We also used documentation research looking at other counties, at Pinal County's history and their plans as well.

Christina Estes:
What surprised you most in the research?

Rob Melnick:
The thing that surprised me most was the fact that no matter where we went geographically in the county -- there are three very distinctly different population centers -- there were the same aspirations for the future and same concerns for the present as well as the future. So no matter if we asked people in Florence or we asked people in Apache Junction or asked people in Casa Grande, they seem to have a very sort of common center of gravity, a common concern about what they didn't want to become and a common aspiration for what they didn't want to become which we felt was positive.

Christina Estes:
What you said you heard over and over was basically they don't want to become Maricopa or Pima County. What's wrong with Phoenix or Tucson?

Rob Melnick:
Not that something is wrong; they wanted to be distinguished from. Their biggest concern was not being Pima or Maricopa, but being lost in the in between, being something that was indistinguishable from one place or the other. I think also they fear the sense of the big city, the issues, the crime, the congestion that goes with any large city. Their concern was both with respect to what they didn't want to become and also what they did want to become, which is something that was special, something that was distinctive and something that matched the heritage of that place.

Christina Estes:
And some of the ways you say to become special include protecting desert and open land. You used the word "green print" what does that mean?

Rob Melnick:
That means essentially identifying those areas that would be most -- that have the greatest potential for being set aside for various reasons. It would be environmentally either sensitive or not appropriate for development for one reason or another that would actually lay out on a map physically the areas that would be best to be kept green. That's something that's a real important value to the people who live in Pinal County, a sense of both agricultural and rural heritage but also a sense of the importance of conservation, of how that contributes to their desirable lifestyle they chose there.

Christina Estes:
How about transportation? Big your issue everywhere across the state. How do folks feel in Pinal County?

Rob Melnick:
Transportation is probably the number one issue of concern to people there. They know they have a problem because the backbone, it goes from Tucson to Phoenix, I-10, was not built for the number of people that it has to deal with. A lot of people in Pinal County have jobs in Pima and Maricopa County. That's a problem. Also the feeder routes east and west of that major backbone are very, very problematic. And population growth is simply outstripping our ability to kind of pour the concrete fast enough.

Christina Estes:
One of the suggestions and possibilities creating a three-county sort of transportation group. How realistic is that? Because Maricopa is a lot bigger, got more money. Don't you think they'd kind of overpower?

Rob Melnick:
That would be tough sledding. It would take an awful lot of political will to create a tri-county, if you will, authority. Indeed there might be some big dog kind of problems there. The flip side is also problematic, that Pinal, although it certainly has its own political capabilities, the fact of the matter is that it's much more difficult in my opinion to think about three separate county authorities that are somehow going to match up in the best interests of the entire state or the metropolitan or as we call it the "megapolitan" region. The future of Pinal affects the future of Pima and Maricopa as well.

Christina Estes:
What about education and jobs? A lot of folks you said working in Maricopa and Pima. What about that?

Rob Melnick:
Our recommendation as a county moves into its comprehensive planning process -- and to under gird, that they think very carefully about making sure that as the residential growth that we know is going to sweep over Pinal County happens, that they set aside land and designate job growth areas and do everything they can in the economic development strategies to ensure that they're not only jobs there but there are good jobs there. Some jobs will get created as a natural byproduct of population growth. But those jobs tend be lower-paying jobs than the kinds that most cities and residents aspire.

Christina Estes:
Bob Melnick with the Morrison Institute. Thank you so much for your time.

Rob Melnick:
You're welcome.

Merry Jane Lucero:
There's been an increase in the number of West Nile virus cases in Maricopa County. We look around a typical backyard for hidden breeding places for mosquitoes that carry the disease. Plus St. Mary's Basilica is known for its historic stained glass windows. We look for the inspiration to restore them to their original brilliance Tuesday on "Horizon."

Christina Estes:
Wednesday, an update on the immigration ordinance passed by the town of Payson. Thursday, a Supreme Court review with ASU law professor Paul Bender. Friday, join us for the Journalists' Roundtable. I'm Christina Estes. Thanks so much for joining us. We'll see you again tomorrow.

One on One


  • Our weekly segment features two political analysts going head to head on the issues that affect Arizonans. Tonight, Bob Grossfeld of The Media Guys, Inc., will be opposed by The Goldwater Institute’s Darcy Olsen.
Guests:
  • Ben Miranda - State Representative and Co-chair, Latino Caucus, Arizona State Legislature
  • Darcy Olsen - - President and CEO, Goldwater Institute
  • Bob Grossfeld - President, The Media Guys


View Transcript
Christina Estes:
Tonight on "Horizon," Sheriff Joe Arpaio creates an immigration hotline, and that hasn't gone down well with much of the local Latino community. Two political figures go head to head on issues that affect Arizona -- in our regular Monday feature -- one on one. And a new study that recommends growth management in Pinal County, next on "Horizon."

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

Christina Estes:
Good evening and thanks for joining us tonight on "Horizon." I'm Christina Estes. Controversy continues over Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio's immigration hotline. The hotline was set up recently for people to report information regarding undocumented immigrants. The hotline has already received hundreds of calls, but critics say it promotes racial profiling. Arpaio says the hotline is constitutional. Larry Lemmons spoke with Sheriff Arpaio at his office on Friday.

Larry Lemmons:
Well, sheriff, Latino leaders have had a lot of consternation about the immigration hotline. They said it would lead to racial profiling and unrest among the immigrant community here. What's your response to that?

Sheriff Joe Arpaio:
Why don't they let us do it and let's see what happens. We're not going out locking up people, knocking doors in. We develop cases, whether it's drugs or illegal immigration. We develop the case and we get the probable cause. I don't think there's any concern. If there was, why is it we've locked up 627 smugglers in the smugglese under that new state law that I'm sure Mr. Miranda knows about and won't agree with, the county attorney's opinion that we can lock up coconspirators. We have locked up 627 in jail, on a felony. We haven't had any problems about profiling.

Larry Lemmons:
Could you walk us through how this would work? Say, for example, I'm walking down the street and I see people that I -- they look Hispanic to me. They're speaking Spanish. Is that enough for me to call an immigration hotline?

Sheriff Joe Arpaio:
No. But we get phone calls, some cranks all the time, whether it's our animal abuse hotline, which we have, drug hotline, people complain about their neighbors that they're selling drugs because there's six cars throughout and they don't look too well. We get this all the time. So we'll iron it out and see what the intelligence comes up with.

Larry Lemmons:
So say I do call. What would be the trigger, as it were, for you to take action on that? What do you do after I call?

Sheriff Joe Arpaio:
Depends what the information is, what the priority is, and how we develop it. I'm not going to give you all our secrets-- how we develop investigations. But we do obtain probable cause. And I hope that everybody understands that. If Mr. Miranda wants to go and blast me, he seems to forget that I locked up a reservist, a military reservist for pulling a gun on nine people in the state 10 and Miller Road because he said they looked Mexican and they could be illegal. I arrested the person that did that. So I'm very sensitive about racial profiling.

Larry Lemmons:
What's your precedent on being able then to look for probable cause for people?

Sheriff Joe Arpaio:
It all depends. I'm hoping to get some information on murders. We've got 13 murders of illegals that were executed out on interstate 10. I don't see a big uproar why the sheriff hasn't solved 13 murders of illegals. If one murder occurred in a certain city, it would be in the headlines. That happened two-years ago. I still haven't forgotten that. So I'm hoping to get tips on that hotline for murderers, for smugglers, and a lot of different other crimes involving illegal immigration.

Larry Lemmons:
Finally, what would you say to the Hispanic community here in the metropolitan phoenix area who might be worried about the immigration hotline and the message it sends?

Sheriff Joe Arpaio:
I would say the Hispanic community, have some confidence in the sheriff. I know certain groups that don't, but I know a lot of Hispanics that do. And see how it works. Don't go criticizing us until they can find we did something wrong pursuant to that hotline. Why is there such excitement? We're not going to go out because someone calls and go into a store or go on a street corner. We're not going to do that. So I think they ought to just watch right now and see how this pans out.

Larry Lemmons:
Just one more thing, then. What should they be watching for? What should people be watching for to justify them calling the immigration hotline? What would you suggest?

Sheriff Joe Arpaio:
Well, I would think that because all the allegations are it's going to be racial profiling, let's see what happens and see if they can make that case. How we conduct our professionalism and enforcement activities with probable cause and let's see what happens. They're arresting drop houses here all over the place just knocking on a door. No one seems to be complaining about that, about probable cause. But we'll be concentrating on that issue, too.

Christina Estes:
Here now to express his concerns about the immigration hotline set up by the sheriff, State Representative Ben Miranda who is also co-chair of the legislature's Latino caucus. Thanks for joining us.

Ben Miranda:
Thank you.

Christina Estes:
In your opinion, what's wrong with the sheriff's hotline?

Ben Miranda:
I think first of all we have to start with a misconception that Sheriff Arpaio is operating under, that's the fact that immigrant community here doesn't care about closing down drop houses of the neighborhood drug dealer, they very much are, or reducing crime in certain neighborhoods. They certainly are, Christina. I think the problem -- at least what sheriff Arpaio now appears to be saying is, his statements initially was that his officers had broad powers to inquire about the legal status, even from those situations involving minor infractions. I think that it's real important for us to at least see where the common ground is. The common ground is that we all want to reduce crime; we all want to stop smuggling of human beings and drug smuggling. And we're not going to do it by putting the emphasis, as he said it, on literally giving somebody the authority to inquire about legal status and focusing on somebody that's littering in a public park or a minor traffic infraction on the roads. It's certainly not going to stop that way.

Christina Estes:
As of last night, KTAR was reporting the hotline had received over 500 calls, some about businesses hiring illegal workers and about drop houses. Nobody has been arrested as a result of the hotline. The sheriff says we're not going to run around and arrest people. We need probable cause.

Ben Miranda:
The sheriff is saying something different today than when he announced it last Saturday. Last Saturday, as you know, the newspaper carried the article which announced the details are yet to be worked out. How can you announce something that has the potential to infringe on your own personal civil rights without ironing out every detail? When you announce a hotline under these circumstances, it certainly brings back memories to some people of the 30's in Germany, the era in which in Germany many people's civil rights were violated. And basically, I think what we're looking at is a climate that Sheriff Arpaio creates of fear and intimidation in the community. You know, that not everyone that's walking the streets is illegal. Not everyone is here without documentation. They're going to be grouped in with everybody.

Christina Estes:
Early yes today, I heard Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Cox talking about starting a hotline for people that felt they had been unfairly on the sheriff hotline? How do you feel about that?

Ben Miranda:
I think it's important to document the actions of any public official on something this sensitive. I think her idea is good. My only concern is we reach out to that community most directly impacted and make sure that reporting gets done. I know that if Sheriff Arpaio implements exactly what he announced last Saturday, it's not only unconstitutional but it will also create a lot of abuses and racial profiling. I'm sticking to the article that was written about his announcement last Saturday.

Christina Estes:
You think this -- we spoke a few minutes before we began this interview -- you think this is sort of a spin off to earlier when he had 160 deputies certified by immigration authorities to act as immigration agents. So talk about that and the problems that you see with that and where it's going.

Ben Miranda:
I think we need to look at this thing logically. There was a reason there wasn't an agreement that was announced between I.C.E., the Immigration Customs Enforcement and the sheriff's office to train 160 individuals. They weren't trained -- these 160 sheriffs were not trained to go randomly out in the streets and arrest anybody, inquire the status about anyone. The fact is immigration needed help. Immigration needed help to close down drop houses and to investigate those kinds of activities along with anything associated with production of fraudulent documents and also drug smuggling. That is the focus of that agreement. I have spoken to -- the special agent in charge here. He's indicated to me very clearly that that is the focus of what he's authorized by deputizing or certifying these people. It's not to inquire about status of people on Phoenix.

Christina Estes:
Do you think people are raising red flags before they need to be raised? The sheriff made a point of saying, "give us a chance to try this before you start criticizing."

Ben Miranda:
The problem is we all want crime reduced or crime reported. And I'll tell you, these folks that are out there -- and I'm talking in large segments in this immigrant community, both legal and undocumented, those folks are going to be less inclined to report crime if they have someone like Sheriff Arpaio saying anything that you report you may become the suspect for even reporting it. I think there will be a serious, serious problem if he implements it the way he wants to implement it. You ask the question, are we jumping the gun here, reaching conclusions before something materializes that's adverse to civil rights? Absolutely not. Because you need to guarantee -- have some guarantees in place that these won't be abused. You know, abusing somebody's civil rights is one thing. Also trying to reduce crime is also another part that is the focus of this. We won't reduce crime and we won't eliminate the potential for racial profiling, abusing people's rights, if we implement exactly what Sheriff Arpaio has said.

Christina Estes:
But Sheriff Arpaio also makes a point of saying he's not just going to go after people based on the color of their skin or language they speak. There needs to be probable cause. I don't pick up the phone and say Ben Miranda is a little shady and he's not going to run out and arrest you.

Ben Miranda:
Probably the most promising aspect of what he said is that we're here to develop cases. You know what? That goes contrary to what he said earlier in the newspapers. He said that he's going to inquire on even minor traffic infractions or any infractions. That's an exact quote. So if you're out there putting minor infractions at the same level as building a case on a drop house and building a case on a drug dealer you want to get out of a neighborhood, you're off on those priorities. I think we in Arizona deserve better, we deserve something that says yes, you put a priority on closing drop houses and drug dealers. I'd rather have that done first rather than inquire about someone's legal status just because he had a fender bender on our highways.

Christina Estes:
It is tough to predict the future. However I think it is safe to say we'll be discussing this issue again. Thank you again, State Representative Ben Miranda.

Chstina Estes:
Every Monday evening, we feature two political experts going "One on One" on issues that affect the state. Tonight, a discussion on the passage of a new law that will penalize municipal use of tax incentives to attract business. Darcy Olsen, the president and CEO of the Goldwater Institute goes head to head with the president of the Media Guys, Bob Grossfeld.

Darcy Olsen:
Okay, Bob. Let's talk about the municipal sales tax incentive bill that was just passed by the house and senate and signed by the governor. What we had there is a situation where we had sort of a fleecing of Arizona so lawmakers said, hey, wait a minute. We've got to put a stop on cities being able to hand out these million dollar subsidies to companies because we've got cities competing kind of as dog-eat -dog, everybody is warring for this business or that business. Let's put a stop to it and let's make Arizona competitive.

Bob Grossfeld:
And companies playing a game of let's you and him fight, bidding one off against another.

Darcy Olsen:
That's right. So one of the biggest, most egregious situations-- a $100 million subsidy for a project by the city --Desert Ridge development. What you had was the city of Phoenix saying we're giving $100 million subsidy to a corporate developer from Chicago to build basically a really high-end shopping mall to sell us clothes, all on the taxpayer dime. So this bill was a way of saying, "enough is enough." Now, one of the shortcomings of the bill is that it only addresses two out of the 15 counties in Arizona. So it's a little step in the right direction but with a giant loophole.

Bob Grossfeld:
Let's also understand that you have to I think put the whole idea of using the tax code and tax incentives into a context. Because I'm with you on stopping this insanity of Wal-Mart bidding one city after another, against another, in order to put in yet another Wal-Mart. Then when they get turned down, as happened in Phoenix, they say, okay, we'll build it anyway. Because that's kind of goofy. But I think we have to distinguish between using the good things -- the tax codes for good things and using it for goofy they'd be supportive of using taxes in order to benefit a community and benefit society. Like T-Gen. A good example.

Darcy Olsen:
The question is where do you draw the line. These incentives have wasted millions and millions of dollars. The most common of these are to build shopping malls. A quarter million dollar subsidy in Surprise to build a shopping mall. One of the most outrageous. $1.5 million was given to a number of auto dealers in the city of Scottsdale so they could do an advertising campaign to sell their cars. Now, that is a case of using taxpayer dollars to benefit a private company or person. And on this question, the founders of Arizona's constitution who are very progressive, they saw this coming. And they enacted something called the Gift Claus Ban. This said that no city or municipality or government authority can give a private gift or play Santa Claus to a private corporation or company. So that's what we had to put an end to here in Arizona.

Bob Grossfeld:
And I think to some extent that will work. I have -- being from the private sector, I have great faith in the ability of private sector corporate attorneys to figure ways around anything that is devised. So I'm sure they're going to figure something out. But again, back to the idea of tax incentives. Because it's part of our American history. That's how the interstate highway system was developed. That's how -- well, Goldwater Institute -- people are invited. They get a tax break for it.

Darcy Olsen:
The difference, of course -- Here's where we agree. We both recognize that sales taxes and corporate income taxes are getting in the way of companies. That's why these companies are going after these subsidies. They're saying it's hard for me to operate. Let me finish my thought here.

Bob Grossfeld:
I agree with you.

Darcy Olsen:
Let me finish. This Arizona has -- when you look at the average tax sales rate here, the ten highest in the country and our corporate tax rate is the highest in United States. There's a reason these companies are looking to get that lowered. What we're saying is that if it's good for one company, why not all?

Bob Grossfeld:
Time. Time.

Darcy Olsen:
Everybody needs these.

Bob Grossfeld:
You're so good at talking. Try listening. Here's the deal. You made an assumption in what you said that with all these high taxes. No, they're not high.

Darcy Olsen:
They're the highest in the western United States.

Bob Grossfeld:
I run a small business.

Darcy Olsen:
That's a fact, Bob. That's not a guess.

Bob Grossfeld:
Hello. I run a small business. You run a think tank. I understand that.

Darcy Olsen:
Tax incentives are good to bring in one company, good for all. We're saying cut the taxes across the board instead of giving a big handout to a developer from Chicago.

Bob Grossfeld:
If they weren't from Chicago it would be okay, I guess. Listen. Here's what I'm kind of focused in on. There are good uses of tax incentives. There are good, strong uses. And they shouldn't be thrown out with all of these obvious examples of things that really have to go away. Which I agree with you. But you're kind of expanding it beyond what --

Darcy Olsen:
What this bill was to close the public checkbook against these types of things that are meant to lure certain kinds of businesses. It's never been the job of government. Only in the U.S. is it the job of government to determine what business goes on what corner. So you and I do have a fundamental disagreement here.

Bob Grossfeld:
Tell that to someone.

Darcy Olsen: Tax incentives are not the right idea but lowering taxes across the board. So the 50,000 small businesses that are the backbone of Arizona can compete. And maybe that's good for you.

Bob Grossfeld:
And I'm proud of that.

Darcy Olsen:
All right. [Laughter]

Christina Estes:
The Pinal County Board of Supervisors recently commissioned a report to see what the best strategy would be to foster growth in the county. The report was instituted by Morrison's Public Institute for Public Policy. There were six goals in the Pinal report.

Larry Lemmons:
Pinal county's leaders and residents focused on six place making goals. First, to distinguish Pinal County from Maricopa and Pima counties. To protect miles of desert and open land. To provide choices for transportation and mobility. To support unique, fair share communities. To create and attract career-pay, career-path jobs. And to develop Pinal's talent pool.

Christina Estes:
Joining me now to talk about the report, the associate vice-president for economic affairs at ASU and the president of the Morrison institute, Bob Melnick. Thanks so much for joining us. Let's start before we talk about the report, why don't you share with us who helped you create the report? You didn't go make this up on your own. You talked to people.

Rob Melnick:
We used a variety of techniques. We typically use reports like this. This in this case included 50 pretty intense one-on-one interviews of variety of leaders in the county, civic and business leaders throughout the entire geography of the county and also a survey, random sample survey of about 600 residents of Pinal County, throughout the county, that were representative of what the county thinks. We also used documentation research looking at other counties, at Pinal County's history and their plans as well.

Christina Estes:
What surprised you most in the research?

Rob Melnick:
The thing that surprised me most was the fact that no matter where we went geographically in the county -- there are three very distinctly different population centers -- there were the same aspirations for the future and same concerns for the present as well as the future. So no matter if we asked people in Florence or we asked people in Apache Junction or asked people in Casa Grande, they seem to have a very sort of common center of gravity, a common concern about what they didn't want to become and a common aspiration for what they didn't want to become which we felt was positive.

Christina Estes:
What you said you heard over and over was basically they don't want to become Maricopa or Pima County. What's wrong with Phoenix or Tucson?

Rob Melnick:
Not that something is wrong; they wanted to be distinguished from. Their biggest concern was not being Pima or Maricopa, but being lost in the in between, being something that was indistinguishable from one place or the other. I think also they fear the sense of the big city, the issues, the crime, the congestion that goes with any large city. Their concern was both with respect to what they didn't want to become and also what they did want to become, which is something that was special, something that was distinctive and something that matched the heritage of that place.

Christina Estes:
And some of the ways you say to become special include protecting desert and open land. You used the word "green print" what does that mean?

Rob Melnick:
That means essentially identifying those areas that would be most -- that have the greatest potential for being set aside for various reasons. It would be environmentally either sensitive or not appropriate for development for one reason or another that would actually lay out on a map physically the areas that would be best to be kept green. That's something that's a real important value to the people who live in Pinal County, a sense of both agricultural and rural heritage but also a sense of the importance of conservation, of how that contributes to their desirable lifestyle they chose there.

Christina Estes:
How about transportation? Big your issue everywhere across the state. How do folks feel in Pinal County?

Rob Melnick:
Transportation is probably the number one issue of concern to people there. They know they have a problem because the backbone, it goes from Tucson to Phoenix, I-10, was not built for the number of people that it has to deal with. A lot of people in Pinal County have jobs in Pima and Maricopa County. That's a problem. Also the feeder routes east and west of that major backbone are very, very problematic. And population growth is simply outstripping our ability to kind of pour the concrete fast enough.

Christina Estes:
One of the suggestions and possibilities creating a three-county sort of transportation group. How realistic is that? Because Maricopa is a lot bigger, got more money. Don't you think they'd kind of overpower?

Rob Melnick:
That would be tough sledding. It would take an awful lot of political will to create a tri-county, if you will, authority. Indeed there might be some big dog kind of problems there. The flip side is also problematic, that Pinal, although it certainly has its own political capabilities, the fact of the matter is that it's much more difficult in my opinion to think about three separate county authorities that are somehow going to match up in the best interests of the entire state or the metropolitan or as we call it the "megapolitan" region. The future of Pinal affects the future of Pima and Maricopa as well.

Christina Estes:
What about education and jobs? A lot of folks you said working in Maricopa and Pima. What about that?

Rob Melnick:
Our recommendation as a county moves into its comprehensive planning process -- and to under gird, that they think very carefully about making sure that as the residential growth that we know is going to sweep over Pinal County happens, that they set aside land and designate job growth areas and do everything they can in the economic development strategies to ensure that they're not only jobs there but there are good jobs there. Some jobs will get created as a natural byproduct of population growth. But those jobs tend be lower-paying jobs than the kinds that most cities and residents aspire.

Christina Estes:
Bob Melnick with the Morrison Institute. Thank you so much for your time.

Rob Melnick:
You're welcome.

Merry Jane Lucero:
There's been an increase in the number of West Nile virus cases in Maricopa County. We look around a typical backyard for hidden breeding places for mosquitoes that carry the disease. Plus St. Mary's Basilica is known for its historic stained glass windows. We look for the inspiration to restore them to their original brilliance Tuesday on "Horizon."

Christina Estes:
Wednesday, an update on the immigration ordinance passed by the town of Payson. Thursday, a Supreme Court review with ASU law professor Paul Bender. Friday, join us for the Journalists' Roundtable. I'm Christina Estes. Thanks so much for joining us. We'll see you again tomorrow.

Pinal County Report


  • For most of the past 50 years, Pinal County wasn’t terribly concerned about its image, choices or growth. But now, Pinal County is changing faster than anyone ever imagined. The Morrison Institute just released a new study on the future of this rapidly-growing county. Morrison Institute Director Rob Melnick talks about the study, The Future of Pinal - Making Choices, Making Places.
Guests:
  • Ben Miranda - State Representative and Co-chair, Latino Caucus, Arizona State Legislature
  • Darcy Olsen - - President and CEO, Goldwater Institute
  • Bob Grossfeld - President, The Media Guys


View Transcript
Christina Estes:
Tonight on "Horizon," Sheriff Joe Arpaio creates an immigration hotline, and that hasn't gone down well with much of the local Latino community. Two political figures go head to head on issues that affect Arizona -- in our regular Monday feature -- one on one. And a new study that recommends growth management in Pinal County, next on "Horizon."

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

Christina Estes:
Good evening and thanks for joining us tonight on "Horizon." I'm Christina Estes. Controversy continues over Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio's immigration hotline. The hotline was set up recently for people to report information regarding undocumented immigrants. The hotline has already received hundreds of calls, but critics say it promotes racial profiling. Arpaio says the hotline is constitutional. Larry Lemmons spoke with Sheriff Arpaio at his office on Friday.

Larry Lemmons:
Well, sheriff, Latino leaders have had a lot of consternation about the immigration hotline. They said it would lead to racial profiling and unrest among the immigrant community here. What's your response to that?

Sheriff Joe Arpaio:
Why don't they let us do it and let's see what happens. We're not going out locking up people, knocking doors in. We develop cases, whether it's drugs or illegal immigration. We develop the case and we get the probable cause. I don't think there's any concern. If there was, why is it we've locked up 627 smugglers in the smugglese under that new state law that I'm sure Mr. Miranda knows about and won't agree with, the county attorney's opinion that we can lock up coconspirators. We have locked up 627 in jail, on a felony. We haven't had any problems about profiling.

Larry Lemmons:
Could you walk us through how this would work? Say, for example, I'm walking down the street and I see people that I -- they look Hispanic to me. They're speaking Spanish. Is that enough for me to call an immigration hotline?

Sheriff Joe Arpaio:
No. But we get phone calls, some cranks all the time, whether it's our animal abuse hotline, which we have, drug hotline, people complain about their neighbors that they're selling drugs because there's six cars throughout and they don't look too well. We get this all the time. So we'll iron it out and see what the intelligence comes up with.

Larry Lemmons:
So say I do call. What would be the trigger, as it were, for you to take action on that? What do you do after I call?

Sheriff Joe Arpaio:
Depends what the information is, what the priority is, and how we develop it. I'm not going to give you all our secrets-- how we develop investigations. But we do obtain probable cause. And I hope that everybody understands that. If Mr. Miranda wants to go and blast me, he seems to forget that I locked up a reservist, a military reservist for pulling a gun on nine people in the state 10 and Miller Road because he said they looked Mexican and they could be illegal. I arrested the person that did that. So I'm very sensitive about racial profiling.

Larry Lemmons:
What's your precedent on being able then to look for probable cause for people?

Sheriff Joe Arpaio:
It all depends. I'm hoping to get some information on murders. We've got 13 murders of illegals that were executed out on interstate 10. I don't see a big uproar why the sheriff hasn't solved 13 murders of illegals. If one murder occurred in a certain city, it would be in the headlines. That happened two-years ago. I still haven't forgotten that. So I'm hoping to get tips on that hotline for murderers, for smugglers, and a lot of different other crimes involving illegal immigration.

Larry Lemmons:
Finally, what would you say to the Hispanic community here in the metropolitan phoenix area who might be worried about the immigration hotline and the message it sends?

Sheriff Joe Arpaio:
I would say the Hispanic community, have some confidence in the sheriff. I know certain groups that don't, but I know a lot of Hispanics that do. And see how it works. Don't go criticizing us until they can find we did something wrong pursuant to that hotline. Why is there such excitement? We're not going to go out because someone calls and go into a store or go on a street corner. We're not going to do that. So I think they ought to just watch right now and see how this pans out.

Larry Lemmons:
Just one more thing, then. What should they be watching for? What should people be watching for to justify them calling the immigration hotline? What would you suggest?

Sheriff Joe Arpaio:
Well, I would think that because all the allegations are it's going to be racial profiling, let's see what happens and see if they can make that case. How we conduct our professionalism and enforcement activities with probable cause and let's see what happens. They're arresting drop houses here all over the place just knocking on a door. No one seems to be complaining about that, about probable cause. But we'll be concentrating on that issue, too.

Christina Estes:
Here now to express his concerns about the immigration hotline set up by the sheriff, State Representative Ben Miranda who is also co-chair of the legislature's Latino caucus. Thanks for joining us.

Ben Miranda:
Thank you.

Christina Estes:
In your opinion, what's wrong with the sheriff's hotline?

Ben Miranda:
I think first of all we have to start with a misconception that Sheriff Arpaio is operating under, that's the fact that immigrant community here doesn't care about closing down drop houses of the neighborhood drug dealer, they very much are, or reducing crime in certain neighborhoods. They certainly are, Christina. I think the problem -- at least what sheriff Arpaio now appears to be saying is, his statements initially was that his officers had broad powers to inquire about the legal status, even from those situations involving minor infractions. I think that it's real important for us to at least see where the common ground is. The common ground is that we all want to reduce crime; we all want to stop smuggling of human beings and drug smuggling. And we're not going to do it by putting the emphasis, as he said it, on literally giving somebody the authority to inquire about legal status and focusing on somebody that's littering in a public park or a minor traffic infraction on the roads. It's certainly not going to stop that way.

Christina Estes:
As of last night, KTAR was reporting the hotline had received over 500 calls, some about businesses hiring illegal workers and about drop houses. Nobody has been arrested as a result of the hotline. The sheriff says we're not going to run around and arrest people. We need probable cause.

Ben Miranda:
The sheriff is saying something different today than when he announced it last Saturday. Last Saturday, as you know, the newspaper carried the article which announced the details are yet to be worked out. How can you announce something that has the potential to infringe on your own personal civil rights without ironing out every detail? When you announce a hotline under these circumstances, it certainly brings back memories to some people of the 30's in Germany, the era in which in Germany many people's civil rights were violated. And basically, I think what we're looking at is a climate that Sheriff Arpaio creates of fear and intimidation in the community. You know, that not everyone that's walking the streets is illegal. Not everyone is here without documentation. They're going to be grouped in with everybody.

Christina Estes:
Early yes today, I heard Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Cox talking about starting a hotline for people that felt they had been unfairly on the sheriff hotline? How do you feel about that?

Ben Miranda:
I think it's important to document the actions of any public official on something this sensitive. I think her idea is good. My only concern is we reach out to that community most directly impacted and make sure that reporting gets done. I know that if Sheriff Arpaio implements exactly what he announced last Saturday, it's not only unconstitutional but it will also create a lot of abuses and racial profiling. I'm sticking to the article that was written about his announcement last Saturday.

Christina Estes:
You think this -- we spoke a few minutes before we began this interview -- you think this is sort of a spin off to earlier when he had 160 deputies certified by immigration authorities to act as immigration agents. So talk about that and the problems that you see with that and where it's going.

Ben Miranda:
I think we need to look at this thing logically. There was a reason there wasn't an agreement that was announced between I.C.E., the Immigration Customs Enforcement and the sheriff's office to train 160 individuals. They weren't trained -- these 160 sheriffs were not trained to go randomly out in the streets and arrest anybody, inquire the status about anyone. The fact is immigration needed help. Immigration needed help to close down drop houses and to investigate those kinds of activities along with anything associated with production of fraudulent documents and also drug smuggling. That is the focus of that agreement. I have spoken to -- the special agent in charge here. He's indicated to me very clearly that that is the focus of what he's authorized by deputizing or certifying these people. It's not to inquire about status of people on Phoenix.

Christina Estes:
Do you think people are raising red flags before they need to be raised? The sheriff made a point of saying, "give us a chance to try this before you start criticizing."

Ben Miranda:
The problem is we all want crime reduced or crime reported. And I'll tell you, these folks that are out there -- and I'm talking in large segments in this immigrant community, both legal and undocumented, those folks are going to be less inclined to report crime if they have someone like Sheriff Arpaio saying anything that you report you may become the suspect for even reporting it. I think there will be a serious, serious problem if he implements it the way he wants to implement it. You ask the question, are we jumping the gun here, reaching conclusions before something materializes that's adverse to civil rights? Absolutely not. Because you need to guarantee -- have some guarantees in place that these won't be abused. You know, abusing somebody's civil rights is one thing. Also trying to reduce crime is also another part that is the focus of this. We won't reduce crime and we won't eliminate the potential for racial profiling, abusing people's rights, if we implement exactly what Sheriff Arpaio has said.

Christina Estes:
But Sheriff Arpaio also makes a point of saying he's not just going to go after people based on the color of their skin or language they speak. There needs to be probable cause. I don't pick up the phone and say Ben Miranda is a little shady and he's not going to run out and arrest you.

Ben Miranda:
Probably the most promising aspect of what he said is that we're here to develop cases. You know what? That goes contrary to what he said earlier in the newspapers. He said that he's going to inquire on even minor traffic infractions or any infractions. That's an exact quote. So if you're out there putting minor infractions at the same level as building a case on a drop house and building a case on a drug dealer you want to get out of a neighborhood, you're off on those priorities. I think we in Arizona deserve better, we deserve something that says yes, you put a priority on closing drop houses and drug dealers. I'd rather have that done first rather than inquire about someone's legal status just because he had a fender bender on our highways.

Christina Estes:
It is tough to predict the future. However I think it is safe to say we'll be discussing this issue again. Thank you again, State Representative Ben Miranda.

Chstina Estes:
Every Monday evening, we feature two political experts going "One on One" on issues that affect the state. Tonight, a discussion on the passage of a new law that will penalize municipal use of tax incentives to attract business. Darcy Olsen, the president and CEO of the Goldwater Institute goes head to head with the president of the Media Guys, Bob Grossfeld.

Darcy Olsen:
Okay, Bob. Let's talk about the municipal sales tax incentive bill that was just passed by the house and senate and signed by the governor. What we had there is a situation where we had sort of a fleecing of Arizona so lawmakers said, hey, wait a minute. We've got to put a stop on cities being able to hand out these million dollar subsidies to companies because we've got cities competing kind of as dog-eat -dog, everybody is warring for this business or that business. Let's put a stop to it and let's make Arizona competitive.

Bob Grossfeld:
And companies playing a game of let's you and him fight, bidding one off against another.

Darcy Olsen:
That's right. So one of the biggest, most egregious situations-- a $100 million subsidy for a project by the city --Desert Ridge development. What you had was the city of Phoenix saying we're giving $100 million subsidy to a corporate developer from Chicago to build basically a really high-end shopping mall to sell us clothes, all on the taxpayer dime. So this bill was a way of saying, "enough is enough." Now, one of the shortcomings of the bill is that it only addresses two out of the 15 counties in Arizona. So it's a little step in the right direction but with a giant loophole.

Bob Grossfeld:
Let's also understand that you have to I think put the whole idea of using the tax code and tax incentives into a context. Because I'm with you on stopping this insanity of Wal-Mart bidding one city after another, against another, in order to put in yet another Wal-Mart. Then when they get turned down, as happened in Phoenix, they say, okay, we'll build it anyway. Because that's kind of goofy. But I think we have to distinguish between using the good things -- the tax codes for good things and using it for goofy they'd be supportive of using taxes in order to benefit a community and benefit society. Like T-Gen. A good example.

Darcy Olsen:
The question is where do you draw the line. These incentives have wasted millions and millions of dollars. The most common of these are to build shopping malls. A quarter million dollar subsidy in Surprise to build a shopping mall. One of the most outrageous. $1.5 million was given to a number of auto dealers in the city of Scottsdale so they could do an advertising campaign to sell their cars. Now, that is a case of using taxpayer dollars to benefit a private company or person. And on this question, the founders of Arizona's constitution who are very progressive, they saw this coming. And they enacted something called the Gift Claus Ban. This said that no city or municipality or government authority can give a private gift or play Santa Claus to a private corporation or company. So that's what we had to put an end to here in Arizona.

Bob Grossfeld:
And I think to some extent that will work. I have -- being from the private sector, I have great faith in the ability of private sector corporate attorneys to figure ways around anything that is devised. So I'm sure they're going to figure something out. But again, back to the idea of tax incentives. Because it's part of our American history. That's how the interstate highway system was developed. That's how -- well, Goldwater Institute -- people are invited. They get a tax break for it.

Darcy Olsen:
The difference, of course -- Here's where we agree. We both recognize that sales taxes and corporate income taxes are getting in the way of companies. That's why these companies are going after these subsidies. They're saying it's hard for me to operate. Let me finish my thought here.

Bob Grossfeld:
I agree with you.

Darcy Olsen:
Let me finish. This Arizona has -- when you look at the average tax sales rate here, the ten highest in the country and our corporate tax rate is the highest in United States. There's a reason these companies are looking to get that lowered. What we're saying is that if it's good for one company, why not all?

Bob Grossfeld:
Time. Time.

Darcy Olsen:
Everybody needs these.

Bob Grossfeld:
You're so good at talking. Try listening. Here's the deal. You made an assumption in what you said that with all these high taxes. No, they're not high.

Darcy Olsen:
They're the highest in the western United States.

Bob Grossfeld:
I run a small business.

Darcy Olsen:
That's a fact, Bob. That's not a guess.

Bob Grossfeld:
Hello. I run a small business. You run a think tank. I understand that.

Darcy Olsen:
Tax incentives are good to bring in one company, good for all. We're saying cut the taxes across the board instead of giving a big handout to a developer from Chicago.

Bob Grossfeld:
If they weren't from Chicago it would be okay, I guess. Listen. Here's what I'm kind of focused in on. There are good uses of tax incentives. There are good, strong uses. And they shouldn't be thrown out with all of these obvious examples of things that really have to go away. Which I agree with you. But you're kind of expanding it beyond what --

Darcy Olsen:
What this bill was to close the public checkbook against these types of things that are meant to lure certain kinds of businesses. It's never been the job of government. Only in the U.S. is it the job of government to determine what business goes on what corner. So you and I do have a fundamental disagreement here.

Bob Grossfeld:
Tell that to someone.

Darcy Olsen: Tax incentives are not the right idea but lowering taxes across the board. So the 50,000 small businesses that are the backbone of Arizona can compete. And maybe that's good for you.

Bob Grossfeld:
And I'm proud of that.

Darcy Olsen:
All right. [Laughter]

Christina Estes:
The Pinal County Board of Supervisors recently commissioned a report to see what the best strategy would be to foster growth in the county. The report was instituted by Morrison's Public Institute for Public Policy. There were six goals in the Pinal report.

Larry Lemmons:
Pinal county's leaders and residents focused on six place making goals. First, to distinguish Pinal County from Maricopa and Pima counties. To protect miles of desert and open land. To provide choices for transportation and mobility. To support unique, fair share communities. To create and attract career-pay, career-path jobs. And to develop Pinal's talent pool.

Christina Estes:
Joining me now to talk about the report, the associate vice-president for economic affairs at ASU and the president of the Morrison institute, Bob Melnick. Thanks so much for joining us. Let's start before we talk about the report, why don't you share with us who helped you create the report? You didn't go make this up on your own. You talked to people.

Rob Melnick:
We used a variety of techniques. We typically use reports like this. This in this case included 50 pretty intense one-on-one interviews of variety of leaders in the county, civic and business leaders throughout the entire geography of the county and also a survey, random sample survey of about 600 residents of Pinal County, throughout the county, that were representative of what the county thinks. We also used documentation research looking at other counties, at Pinal County's history and their plans as well.

Christina Estes:
What surprised you most in the research?

Rob Melnick:
The thing that surprised me most was the fact that no matter where we went geographically in the county -- there are three very distinctly different population centers -- there were the same aspirations for the future and same concerns for the present as well as the future. So no matter if we asked people in Florence or we asked people in Apache Junction or asked people in Casa Grande, they seem to have a very sort of common center of gravity, a common concern about what they didn't want to become and a common aspiration for what they didn't want to become which we felt was positive.

Christina Estes:
What you said you heard over and over was basically they don't want to become Maricopa or Pima County. What's wrong with Phoenix or Tucson?

Rob Melnick:
Not that something is wrong; they wanted to be distinguished from. Their biggest concern was not being Pima or Maricopa, but being lost in the in between, being something that was indistinguishable from one place or the other. I think also they fear the sense of the big city, the issues, the crime, the congestion that goes with any large city. Their concern was both with respect to what they didn't want to become and also what they did want to become, which is something that was special, something that was distinctive and something that matched the heritage of that place.

Christina Estes:
And some of the ways you say to become special include protecting desert and open land. You used the word "green print" what does that mean?

Rob Melnick:
That means essentially identifying those areas that would be most -- that have the greatest potential for being set aside for various reasons. It would be environmentally either sensitive or not appropriate for development for one reason or another that would actually lay out on a map physically the areas that would be best to be kept green. That's something that's a real important value to the people who live in Pinal County, a sense of both agricultural and rural heritage but also a sense of the importance of conservation, of how that contributes to their desirable lifestyle they chose there.

Christina Estes:
How about transportation? Big your issue everywhere across the state. How do folks feel in Pinal County?

Rob Melnick:
Transportation is probably the number one issue of concern to people there. They know they have a problem because the backbone, it goes from Tucson to Phoenix, I-10, was not built for the number of people that it has to deal with. A lot of people in Pinal County have jobs in Pima and Maricopa County. That's a problem. Also the feeder routes east and west of that major backbone are very, very problematic. And population growth is simply outstripping our ability to kind of pour the concrete fast enough.

Christina Estes:
One of the suggestions and possibilities creating a three-county sort of transportation group. How realistic is that? Because Maricopa is a lot bigger, got more money. Don't you think they'd kind of overpower?

Rob Melnick:
That would be tough sledding. It would take an awful lot of political will to create a tri-county, if you will, authority. Indeed there might be some big dog kind of problems there. The flip side is also problematic, that Pinal, although it certainly has its own political capabilities, the fact of the matter is that it's much more difficult in my opinion to think about three separate county authorities that are somehow going to match up in the best interests of the entire state or the metropolitan or as we call it the "megapolitan" region. The future of Pinal affects the future of Pima and Maricopa as well.

Christina Estes:
What about education and jobs? A lot of folks you said working in Maricopa and Pima. What about that?

Rob Melnick:
Our recommendation as a county moves into its comprehensive planning process -- and to under gird, that they think very carefully about making sure that as the residential growth that we know is going to sweep over Pinal County happens, that they set aside land and designate job growth areas and do everything they can in the economic development strategies to ensure that they're not only jobs there but there are good jobs there. Some jobs will get created as a natural byproduct of population growth. But those jobs tend be lower-paying jobs than the kinds that most cities and residents aspire.

Christina Estes:
Bob Melnick with the Morrison Institute. Thank you so much for your time.

Rob Melnick:
You're welcome.

Merry Jane Lucero:
There's been an increase in the number of West Nile virus cases in Maricopa County. We look around a typical backyard for hidden breeding places for mosquitoes that carry the disease. Plus St. Mary's Basilica is known for its historic stained glass windows. We look for the inspiration to restore them to their original brilliance Tuesday on "Horizon."

Christina Estes:
Wednesday, an update on the immigration ordinance passed by the town of Payson. Thursday, a Supreme Court review with ASU law professor Paul Bender. Friday, join us for the Journalists' Roundtable. I'm Christina Estes. Thanks so much for joining us. We'll see you again tomorrow.

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