Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

April 22, 2005


Host: Michael Grant

Journalists Roundtable


  • Former Maricopa County attorney Rick Romley announced that he will not run for Governor, joining a growing list of Republican candidates who will sit out the race. The Minuteman Project, which has patrolled the Mexican border this month wrap up early as two leaders prepare to take their case to Washington. And the Arizona legislature prepared a bill to help the Fiesta Bowl land the 2007 national championship game over the objection of the NFL.
Guests:
  • Howard Fischer - Capitol Media Services
Category: Journalists Roundtable

View Transcript
>> Michael Grant:
It's Friday, April 22nd, 2005. In the headlines this week, former Maricopa County attorney Rick Romley announcing that he will not run for Governor, joining a growing list of Republican candidates who will sit out the race. The Minuteman Project which has patrolled the Mexican border this month wrap up early as two leaders prepare to take their case to Washington.

And the Arizona legislature prepared a bill to help the Fiesta Bowl land the 2007 national championship game over the objection of the NFL. That next on "Horizon."

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>> Michael Grant:
Good evening, I'm Michael Grant. This is the Journalists' Roundtable. Joining me to talk about these and other stories are Howie Fischer of "Capitol Media Services." Robbie Sherwood of "The Arizona Republic," and Le Templar of the "East Valley Tribune."

>>> Although we are still a year-and-a-half away from the Governor's race, looking like Janet Napolitano may not face a strong challenger. This week, former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley announced he wouldn't run, joining congressman J.D. Hayworth and other GOP candidates taking a pass on the race. Howie, Why did Rick say he wasn't going to do it?

>>Howard Fischer:
Well, his stated reason and then there are other factors. There is the stated reason and there is a lot of truth of this, Rick's wife likes having him at home. He's been retired since the end of the year. He's probably more relaxed. He probably isn't screaming into the phone at his deputies, at journalists and everyone else. He isn't worried about grand jury subpoenas, and he would like to spend a little more time. I also know that he's been contacted at least informally by folks in the Bush Administration and there may be a job for him waiting there.

>> Michael Grant:
Okay.

>> Howard Fischer:
The rest of the story comes down to two things. Number one, Rick is a pro choice republic can. The conservative wing of the party already started opposition research on him. They are looking for some way to damage him, and I don't think he particularly wants to get into a race where his positions on abortion and God for bid anything else not considered sacred is going to be examined. Number two comes down to what senator Tony Helen told me which was it doesn't matter who Republicans put up, we're not going to win, Janet is going to win. A lot of people realize that. Rick had to have realized that. He's seen the polling numbers. He is well known in Maricopa County. Even if he went out and campaigned in rural areas, unless Janet is caught in bed as the old saying goes with a live animal or dead sheep or something, she's not going to lose.

>> Robbie Sherwood:
Romley, even if he weren't pro choice, being a county attorney politically active, some of the investigations he launched against the Symington administration, you know, very powerful influential parties of his own --

>> Michael Grant:
Bishop O'Brien case, AZSCAM, for that matter. I mean, he did pick up some baggage along the way.

>> Robbie Sherwood:
Those cases, you know -- I'm not saying they didn't have merit but they didn't help him make friends for when he wants to move up a step on the rung. The other thing is Romley has this great story, decorated Vietnam vet. He had issues with his legs. He's handicapped. His legs had been amputated. That's a great story. But this may have been why his wife put the kibosh on this thing, is that it's a great physical strain to campaign for Governor in a state like this. You've just got to be in so many different places at one time and, you know, it may have been a situation where you know, is this worth it, especially given the odds?

Like Howie said --

>> Michael Grant:
Let's talk about some of the possibles, now a probable. Is Keith Degreen who had run against Dennis Deconcini for the senate back in 1988.

>> Howard Fischer:
Yes, and the key being the proverbial legend in his own mind thinks he is the ideal ones who carried the party's banner into the campaign. Keith is from very conservative wing of the party. He recently emerged to testify on something called the tags pair Bill of Rights which is what they did in Colorado to limit what the state can take in each year. This was a great success, never mind that the Republican Governor of Colorado has said oh, my God, what did we do wrong. He sees himself carrying the banner.

>> Michael Grant:
Would he run clean or bring serious private bucks to the table?

>> Howard Fischer:
I think the advantage is -- a lot of folks recognize after what happened to Matt Salmon, that if you run with private money, you not only get matching funds to the other side, but anybody else who spends on your behalf or against the other candidates.

>> Robbie Sherwood:
He said he would run Clean Elections. I'm sure he is going run. He said he would. He is going to run Clean Elections. The man that everybody gets the most excited about right now is Marilyn quail.

>> Michael Grant:
To quote the learned political philosopher, Dusty Springfield, is that just wishing and hoping or is there any substance here?

>> Robbie Sherwood:
I think there is some substance. She has expressed an interest. She hasn't just hung up the phone when people have called her to talk about running. The Republican party is drooling over the possibility of her running. You know there is something to it.

>> Le Templar:
There is a problem, though. What I've heard is she wants assurance that she's going to have the party backing out of the gate, that she's not going to have to run a serious primary campaign, and she wants some proof that she can get a chance at defeating the Governor. We kept telling her that she doesn't have a good chance. So I have to wonder whether that will come together or not.

>> Robbie Sherwood:
I didn't say that -- Marilyn Quayle is a whole new ball game when we talk about who has a chance. She is a woman. Napolitano is strong. She has the name I.D. thing whipped, except for Symington do.

>> Howard Fischer:
What's important, she doesn't have a voting record. She does not have a record, and clearly that's important to the Republican party. You take somebody like a Ken Bennett, senate president. If he runs, there are about 600 recordrd votes on every tiny little issue that are going to be trotted out. He can't win because of those, because sometimes he was voting because the party wanted it that way.

>> Michael Grant:
Robbie, you mentioned Fife. Have we heard anything from Fife Symington lately?

>> Robbie Sherwood:
No, I don't think he changed his position. He is officially interested. I think he's seeing what shakes out. He sees himself if there is nobody else ahead of me who I respect, I mean, he said he wouldn't take on Romley. We did talk to him after the Quayle thing. Quayle is also a candidate that Fife would back down for, but I don't think Keith Degreen is. If that's who they are left with, Fife might take a crack at it. Again then, I think also this whole thing may have been an effort for him to kind of get his name in the papers again and it is a question of whether he was ever serious from the get-go.

>> Michael Grant:
Moving onto other things political, state representative David Burnell Smith is going to appeal that darned Clean Elections thing. That's not a fresh TOP, but he's taking out daggers all over the place.

>> Robbie Sherwood:
Yeah, he feels that he was greatly wronged by the Clean Elections Commission because there was a point during his investigation in which the executive director offered him a settlement of $2500, and that was roundly booed by the nonprofit Clean Elections Institute, and also the commission itself when they took a look at it, saying that, no, he clearly broke the law to the extent that he should be removed from office, when they performed their audits and came to that conclusion. He felt like this was being proverbially stabbed in the back by them. He self-reported this over spending.And he used the metephor: They stabbed me in the back, I'm going to take the knife out and stab them in the heart. He plans to fight this thing all wait to the U.S. Supreme Court.

>>Howard Fischer:
Which may keep him in office until the next election.

>> Michael Grant:
Let's go down to the border where, Le, I understand the minutemen no longer are.

>> Le Templar:
As of Wednesday. They made a decision last weekend to end the official minuteman project, which of course was supposed to be this month-long effort to monitor 23 miles of the border to show if you put enough man power out there you can take control of the border. There were a lot of worries about whether this was attracting white supremacists and other racist, potential for conflict identify violence and that sort of thing. The funny part. They held a press conference in Tombstone on Monday. The leader of the project talked about how the project was going to expand, other groups were going to form in other states. They were going off to D.C. next week to talk to congress about the need for this. Somewhere in there, I wasn't at this press conference, they mentioned by the way, we're ending the official project on Wednesday so we can focus on this other stuff. Other people have been watching this group in action say, yeah, there was a lot of interest when it started April 1st, probably driven by all of the media attention, with you over last two weeks of it, fewer and fewer people actually were participating in the watching and patrolling, maybe as few as 12 or 15 on the final two days.

>> Robbie Sherwood:
Not as fun when there is no TV cameras following you around.

>>Howard Fischer:
That was part of the purpose, they admitted, was to get some media attention.

>> Michael Grant:
Attract attention and from that standpoint, Howie, they succeeded fairly well.

>> Howard Fischer:
Unfortunately, given the nature of our society and short attention span that all of us have, okay, you got your 15 minutes of fame, okay now what.

>> Michael Grant:
And unrelated, but kind of related story, we talked about the former county attorney, the current county attorney, Andrew Thomas deciding not to press charges against sergeant Patrick HAAB.

>>Howard Fischer:
Unbelievable. Here's the deal. Patrick HAAB took his gun and held some illegal immigrants at gunpoint, said --

>> Michael Grant:
And a coyote.

>> Howard Fischer:
Well, but he didn't know that at the time. Here's the deal. His cover story --

>> Michael Grant:
Sometimes you get lucky.

>> Howard Fischer:
That's the point. His cover story was I felt my life was in danger. It was self-defense. He gets arrested. All of a sudden, they look at the group and sure enough, in the group, other than illegal border crossers, and remember, illegal border crossing is not a felony, but there is one coyote in there, which is a felony. Therefore, now the story is, I was making a citizens' arrest of the coyote whom he didn't know was there. Andrew Thomas looks at the facts and ostensibly, he says, well, you know, based on the facts, we can't prosecute. This came down to something very simple. You take an army sergeant, who arrests a bunch of illegals, put him in front of the jury, what's the chances of a conviction? This was a political decision here. Andrew Thomas made the best of it. He said this is not a license to go out and hunt brown people. What but I think that really is the message. You can count on any group of people coming up, there is a coyote in there.

>> Robbie Sherwood:
Does anybody want to start a pool on the next time this is going to occur based on this being a new press accident on what you can and can't do as a citizen with a gun to help combat illegal immigration?

>> Michael Grant:
Howie, was there any concern at all? The press reports were that the seven of them were certainly not telling a consistent story. I mean, it seemed like there were some indications that in addition, I agree with you in terms of perhaps getting a jury verdict, but it also seems to indicate that they were sort of widely spread out on what their story was and what actually happened.

>>Howard Fischer:
No question. Again, this comes back to taking these people, putting them before a jury, having them keep the same stories that they had before, again, no way you are going to get a conviction. But what's interesting now is that Patrick HAAB is going to go back and going to sue the county, the sheriff's department for false arrest, saying they never should have arrested him. This was a colorable case for arresting him. I think there was a colorable case for prosecuting him. I'm not the county attorney. I only play one on TV as the old saying goes.

>> Michael Grant:
It was another busy week at the Arizona legislature, as there was action on several high profile bills. One of the most controversial of course, a measure to allow people to carry guns into bars passed and it has been sent to the Governor. Robbie, a hypothetical. Let's say you are sitting in a bar and a minuteman walks in, what do you do?

>> Robbie Sherwood:
Well, you don't unholster your weapon, or you shouldn't even have one, because I guess my message would be, don't load those holsters and head for the dance floor just yet. This bill has not been signed and I don't think it's going to be. We're all on veto watch today and the Governor had some other things to do, and so I actually think the veto of this bill will occur on Monday. It's, you know, you have a Governor that has to weigh some things out. We have a very politically active National Rifle Association in Arizona. We have some of the -- they've been very successful in liberalizing the gun laws in Arizona. 100,000 members, 60,000 concealed carry members who would like to eat in restaurants in their family without leaving their gun in the car. The way the liquor laws are, you've got to open it up tonight clubs and bars. The Governor, on the other hand, has the entire hospitality, tourism industry of the state. Every major industry says we hate this bill, please veto.

>> Michael Grant:
A lot of coverage for a veto.

>> Le Templar:
The cover she can use is law enforcement to fend off anybody trying to claim that she's against law and order or against, you know, protection of the average citizen, when the police say this is a bad idea.

>> Michael Grant:
Le, I certainly don't minimize Robbie's point on the political force that the NRA represents, but I've got to think the Governor is thinking, I'm not getting any of those votes anyway.

>> Le Templar:
No, but she allowed the bill to go -- to become law, that allows for the gun safety course in high schools which was an NRA bill. I suspect she will allow a couple concealed weapon permit bills that the legislature sent up to her to become law as well. She is looking at them individually and saying is there real harm in allowing these people to have some more ground and gun rights.

>> Robbie Sherwood:
You are looking at it politically. I think you are right when you say well, what damage could this do to me as I run for Governor. It's probably zero when it comes to her base. The Republicans that vote for her are largely female moderates. The NRA's base is largely white, male, conservatives, who weren't going to vote for her whether she signed it or not.

>> Howard Fischer:
The NRA gave her a soft place to land, because even John Huppenthal, he has figured out a way around term limits, proposed an amendment on the senate flow. If the issue is you want to stop at Denny's have a burger and have them serve wine there, let's deal with that. Let's limit this to restaurants which are a different classification. You have to get 40\% of your revenues from food. Leave the bars out, let's limit it to restaurants. The NRA said you can't do that, we need it everywhere where liquor is sold, which also means America West Arena, which means Bank One Ballpark, which means the special events like the TPC, which means every nightclub, and they wanted the whole thing, and now it's going get vetoed.

>> Robbie Sherwood:
It's not limited to concealed carry. It could be a holstered weapon and imagine yourself in a crowded bar and somebody takes it from you. It's not a hidden weapon.

>> Michael Grant:
Le, here's my perception, tell me if I'm right or wrong. I think they are making some lightning progress over there on the budget. What do you think?

>>Le Templar:
If you consider a flash in the pan yesterday, that's a fair prediction. Unfortunately, if you are concerned about when the legislature might be going home, republican leaders ran into a brick wall yesterday. They had hoped to come back with a plan to put out an amended budget that they think they can sort of drag the Governor along into signing and head towards getting everything wrapped up. Unfortunately, they did not have their conservative ducks in a row. Several conservatives -- this was predicted a week earlier -- how on earth can they get a budget out that conservatives supports that the Governor will sign, because they set this artificial rule that they want at least 16 Republicans in the senate and 31 Republicans in the house to vote this out, which would mean you wouldn't need a single Democrat vote on it and somehow you expect a Democrat Governor to sign it. When they realized they weren't going to have conservatives on board they pulled the plug on trying to go forward on it.

>> Robbie Sherwood:
They've empowered some malcontented members on the right-hand side of their caucus to be literally the tail that wag the dog. You have a budget that could enjoy support from every member but 12, 4 in the senate and 8 in the house and it still won't pass because they have set this mandate for themselves.

>> Michael Grant:
Howie, give me a key point analysis. What does it take to get 8 in the house, 4 in the senate, what I've heard, to come over and say we'll vote for it?

>> Howard Fischer:
Well, I don't think it's going to happen. I think the problem becomes if you put in what they want, they don't want the full-day kindergarten. What happened, curiously enough on full-day kindergarten, is that to appease the moderates, they put in some full-day funding, then to apiece conservatives, they put in strings, one year expansion, no more expansion beyond a study. Then moderates fell off. And parents have to bring in proof of income. Medical school is also an issue. The conservatives will never sign off on that $7 million. The Governor has made that a non-negotiating point.

>> Michael Grant:
Tuition tax credits for business? Is that part of their want list?

>>Howard Fischer:
Clearly they want that. Clearly the Governor said it's not going to happen. Tuition tax credits become sort of the vouchers light. Vouchers cannot get out of the Republican controlled house. What they are looking at instead is something to enable corporations to give more money to the organizations that help fund scholarships for private and parochial schools thinking that will get more kids to have choice.

>>Robbie Sherwood:
One of the items they dug in over the most was a $1.5 million dollar pay raise for judges. You know, the conservatives are pretty mad at the judiciary and have been for a long time, but I can imagine, you know, as they are telling house speaker Jim Weiers that they are ready to scuttle the budget, I imagine he wanted to come over the table and choke them.

>> Michael Grant:
Interestingly enough, Le, having watched this process any number of times, it's funny. You'll have an $8 billion universe, and it will unravel on $750,000.

>>Le Templar:
And the reason for that is, the big issues have been discussed from January when the Governor introduced her budget. It's little things introduced at the last minute or that come up, agencies reveal something they need and that hasn't been discussed before, that suddenly creates new tension and things start flying apart.

>> Howard Fischer:
One of the interesting things about this whole fire drill this week is they were trying to get out this Republican budget which the Governor will not sign, because, for example, they are going to put all of the tax breaks into a single bill, not only the ones she wants to business But the tuition tax credit and everything else. And somehow they think once we get 16 and 31 of our own, she'll have to go along. What part of "no" do they not understand? Why are we spending all of this time going that way? At some point, it's going to become obvious to Ken Bennett and maybe a little later to Jim Weiers that he's not going to get the conservatives. He has to tell the conservatives, look, if you won't deal with me, I will go to the Democrats. If you think the budget costs money now, what happens when I have to buy four Democratic votes?

>> Le Templar:
We should be fair. One of the reasons they have gone this route, is they think the voters sent a message last year. When they move the senate to more Republican control and more conservative and upset house moderate members, they think the voters want the budget reined in and Janet Napolitano to not get a free hand. The problem is, they still don't have the votes to pull that off.

>>Robbie Sherwood:
18\% of voters who voted in Republican primaries do want that. I would wonder about the rest.

>> Michael Grant:
So the plan is --

>> Le Templar:
come back Monday. See if people have changed their minds. So far they say they are stickin' to the Republican majority on the budget before they send it out. So we'll have to wait and see what gives in order to accomplish that.

>> Michael Grant:
Well, speaking of plans, what do you think the Governor's plan is on signing the "I'm sorry" malpractice bill?

>> Robbie Sherwood:
I hate to tell you I don't know, but I don't. It's an interesting situation for her, because it's really just a baby step in the pantheon of proposed tort reforms on malpractice. All you are doing is giving doctors the ability to apologize if a procedure goes awry without that being used in court, and also, there is some fundamental changes to who can be an expert witness.

>> Michael Grant:
Right.

>> Robbie Sherwood:
This is probably the one that will earn it a veto if she vetoes it. What you are saying is a physician who is an expert witness has to be practicing in the exact same specialty currently as the person on the hot seat. Different person. Might be a little intimidated to come out against one of his current colleagues.

>> Michael Grant:
So you couldn't pull in an eye, ear, nose and throat guy to testify --

>> Robbie Sherwood:
everybody knows Dr. Ted Diethrich the heart surgeon pioneer, Arizona heart institute. Let's say he decides to retire. The day he retires, he would no longer be eligible to be an expert witness on the techniques he pioneered a few years before that.

>> Howard Fischer:
The other piece of the issue is questions of credibility of the witnesses are left for a jury. (A), if I'm suing a doctor and my expert witness is paid, which comes out in cross-examination, (B), has not practiced in the field, (C), doesn't live in Arizona, and (D), you know, has never seen an operating room, the jury will look and say, okay, his expert witness is an idiot. The doctors don't want to get that for or get into court. But the Governor, there will be a lot of pressure on her to say that clearly, you know, this is a question best left for the courts and the juries. Now, the soft place for her to land, she could let it become law, because the trial lawyers are going to sue. They will find a good case, they will have it overturned based on the constitutional requirements that these are questions for court.

>> Robbie Sherwood:
You can't say that the Governor because she is a lawyer will fall in line in line. She argued both sides the corporate and plaintiff's side.

>> Michael Grant:
Le, the NFL has weighed in opposition to the Fiesta Bowl landing the super national college championship.

>>Le Templar:
Not that they had much difference. The bill sailed out of the legislature. The issue is, the bowl college champion series have come up with a new bowl game that would rotate between the four cities where the bowls are now held. Glendale for the valley would get it in 2007. Problem being is the Fiesta Bowl and the BSC want control of the Glendale stadium and the revenues from that stadium when that bowl game is there. Arizona Cardinals, the major tenant and private partner in that project are arguing our contract says unless it's the Fiesta Bowl itself, we get to have a say over other football games and so forth. They so far haven't been able to resolve their differences, so Fiesta Bowl came to the legislature and said, fix this for us, give us something so we can have control of this situation. One point the Governor seemed to be saying she's thought that's what needed to be done, because she wants the bowl game here. The NFL said you don't understand, you are interfering with major professional enterprise. It's never been done before in the United States, and the Governor then said, well, maybe the bill is a bad idea, let's see if these guys can work it out, but the legislature sent it to her anyway. Now she needs to sign it or veto it.

>> Michael Grant:
What's the speculation?

>> Le Templar:
I honestly don't know, but she hinted at the weekly press conference she doesn't like the bill anymore.

>> Robbie Sherwood:
Only one person voted against it, but she said she didn't think this needed legislation to begin with. That might be her reasoning.

>> Michael Grant:
Panelists, out of time. Thanks. If you would like to see a transcript of tonight's program, visit the web site at www.azpbs.org. When you get there, click on the word "Horizon." That's going to lead you to transcripts, links and information on upcoming shows.

>>Reporter:
National immunization week reminds parents of the need to immunize their children. A conversation with former Speaker of the House newt Gingrich who talks about Tom delay, health care and a possible run for the presidency. And canyon records offers an opportunity for Native Americans to record their music. That's Monday night on "Horizon."

>> Michael Grant:
Thank you for joining us on this Friday edition of "Horizon." I hope you have an incredible fine weekend. I'm Michael Grant Grant. Good night.

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