Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

February 11, 2008


Host: Ted Simons

One on One

  |   Video
  • In our weekly analysis of important issues facing the State Legislature, House Republican Spokesman Barrett Marson and Sam Coppersmith, columnist, attorney for Coppersmith, Gordan, Schermer and Brockelman and former Democratic Congressman, bring their different viewpoints to HORIZON.
Guests:
  • Barrett Marson - House Republican spokesman
  • Sam Coppersmith - Attorney, Coppersmith, Gordon, Schermer and Brocklman and former Democratic congressman
  • Alan Stephens - Executive Director, Western Progress


View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Tonight on Horizon, the man who led the campaign to get rid of affirmative action in California wants to do the same in Arizona. Issues bubbling up in the state legislature are confronted by our political antagonists in one-on-one. And a look at legislation related to sustainability. It's all next on Horizon.

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

Ted Simons:
Good evening. I'm Ted Simons. In the news today, Congressman John Shadegg has decided not to run for re-election. In a statement late this afternoon U.S. Representative from district 3 announced after consultation with his family and deep reflex he would not seek re-election. He's been the representative for the third district for nearly 14 years. Affirmative action in Arizona is being tar get by the Arizona civil rights initiative. The group behind the initiative launched a petition drive to ban gender or race preference in hiring and university admissions. He hopes to get the initiative on the 2008 ballot. The group is supported by Ward Connerly who successfully led a movement in California. In a moment we'll hear from him first show you a clip from a news conference last Thursday by Representative Cloves Campbell of Phoenix.

Representative Cloves:
As you well know, there is a gentleman that's come into town and he's starting a new initiative called the civil rights initiative. His name is Ward Connerly. He's talking about the fact that he think everything in Arizona is equal, everything in Arizona is on the up and up, people in Arizona have the same opportunities as everyone else. Not only African Americans, he thinks that Hispanics opportunities are available for everyone that are equal, Native American opportunities, women issues, everyone should be equal. I tend to think, and I think most people standing behind me think that Ward Connerly is wrong.

Crowd:
Amen.

Representative Cloves:
And we're going to make a point every time we get an opportunity. We're going to talk about the fact that Ward Connerly and his civil rights initiative is anything but a civil rights initiative. It's an assault on civil rights here in Arizona. And we're going to fight this assault to the end because we think we have enough support here by the people standing behind me and by the people in the legislative halls that we can defeat this initiative. Ward Connerly has been paid well. And I mean paid very well to talk about the facts that he thinks that everything is equal. The fact that he thinks that everything is fair. The fact that he thinks that America is at a point where we don't need any more affirmative action law. Well, you're going to have to excuse my French, I said it all morning. I think Ward Connerly is a damn fool. And I'm going to go on record as saying that. And I'm going to continue to say that. He's over at the Biltmore right now talking about the fact he thinks it's time for America to take a new look at ourselves and show we are a prosperous country, which we are. A country of opportunity which we are. But it is not a country of equal opportunity, that we can all stand up and say, I have the same thing you have. Ward Connerly is totally wrong. We're going to make sure we continue to say Ward Connerly is totally wrong. If he continues to come back to Arizona we're going to continue the fighting.

Ted Simons:
Ward Connerly is a former member of the University of California regents. During his tenure there he and the regents voted to cease the use of race in admissions. He was also instrumental in getting the California civil rights initiative passed similar to the one being promoted in Arizona. He spoke at Goldwater institute on Thursday part of the organization's speaker series. Larry Lemmons spoke with him at the Biltmore.

Larry Lemmons:
Why don't you talk about the initiative?

Ward Connerly:
There is a group called the Arizona civil rights initiative which is trying to put an initiative on the ballot to amend the constitution to prohibit race preferences, gender preferences and public contracting, public employment and public education. In essence everyone should be treated equally. There should not be distinctions made between people and when they apply for college and giving them extra points and lower standards. And set asides and contracting. All of those things would be forbidden by this initiative.

Larry Lemmons:
And of course you've done something similar to this before, proposition 209, I believe, in California?

Ward Connerly:
That's correct.

Larry Lemmons:
Can you tell us how you came to the decision to do that? And what led up to that?

Ward Connerly:
Well, I was serving on the board of regents of the University of California where I served for what I call it a 12-year sentence. And I was chairing the finance committee, which is the major oversight committee. And I discovered that the practices that we call "affirmative action" had become anything but affirmative action. It had become a system of discrimination against whites and more importantly against -- not more importantly but more significantly against Asians. We were discriminating against Asians in college enrollment by a very, very substantial amount. And I believe that no one should be treated differently in our country by their government. We all pay taxes, we have no choice about the matter. We belong to the government. So the government should not take our money and then treat us differently. And when I saw that university was doing this, as a regent I moved to get rid of it. And in 1995, the regents followed my lead and passed a resolution to end race preferences. And a year and a half later, the voters of California reaffirmed what we did. And we embedded it into the state constitution.

Larry Lemmons:
Well, do you think affirmative action then has been successful up to this point as a means to right some of the wrongs that were brought about by slavery?

Ward Connerly:
It's been mixed success. I think that in the early days, the very early days, affirmative action as a form of making sure that there was not discrimination, and one must understand that that's how it started out. It was not the system of quotas and preferences and set asides. It was a system of making sure that there is no discrimination. That's what John F. Kennedy who was the first one to coin that phrase aced every federal agency and everyone doing business with the federal government with federal money to take affirmative action to make sure there was no discrimination. That's the way it started out. We all benefited from that. We don't want to end that. But the idea that people should be treated differently is antithetical to the pay affirmative action started out and to the 1964 civil rights act which command that every citizen be treated equally "without regard to race." So I think that initially the concept was well-designed, still is on that basis. But over time it evolved into a very elaborate system of "we want this color for that job" and "we want this person for that job" based on their skin color or their "race" or their gender or how they spell their last name. We see it in the private sector. We see it in the public sector as well. I mean, there are many cases where I've heard producers in television stations say that, you know, we really need a "and then you can fill in the blank -- of what they really want. What they have in mind.

Larry Lemmons:
That's okay. That's show business.

Ward Connerly:
Yeah, that's show business. They can do whatever they want in the private sector. But the government, they should not be able to do that with our tax dollars.

Larry Lemmons:
To clarify, then, you do agree with the antidiscrimination basis of some of these laws. What you don't like is the idea that a quota system was created on top of that to I guess in people's minds, to alleviate that discrimination.

Ward Connerly:
Well, yeah. That's what we object to and what we're trying to change in this country. You look right here in the state of Arizona. The city of Tucson has a minority and women business enterprise program in which if you are a "minority" black, Latino, Native American or a female-owned business you can bid over 7\%, up to 7\% over the low bid and get the contract. So let's say that a white-owned business, white, male-owned business bids $100,000. If a minority-owned business bids $106,999 and 99 cents the city would deem that to be the low bid. That makes no sense to me. It's discriminatory, it's unfair, it's costly. Taxpayers are paying for this idiocy.

Larry Lemmons:
What would you say to critics who would say affirmative action has tried to level the playing field. Because quite frankly racism still exists in this country. How could you determine discrimination isn't taking place?

Ward Connerly:
First of all the premise you state there is still discrimination. Yeah, there is. And nobody has a monopoly on it. I've seen places where one minority discriminates against another. So nobody has the monopoly on that. It's not a franchise that one group has over another. But I think that way to stop discrimination, as Chief Justice Roberts said, the way to stop discrimination is to stop discriminating. It sounds simplistic, but there is a lot of wisdom in that phrase. One way in contracting is you just take the low bid. You don't know what the race is. Don't even be asking about the race. Prequalify the contractors or the bidders to make sure that anyone who is bidding on that meets the threshold requirements. And then take the low bid. When you open that envelope you don't know what it is. But it makes no sense to say, "here is the low bid of 100,000 and here is a minority-owned bid and it's 106,000. We're going to take that one because it's owned by a minority." That ends up leading to a lot of fraud. I see it in California where a lot of minority-owned businesses are really owned by white guys. A lot of women-owned businesses are owned really by their husbands. And they try and play games with the numbers of the percentage of ownership so they can get the benefit of this preference. But the taxpayers are paying for that.

Larry Lemmons:
Thank you, Mr. Connerly, for talking to Horizon today.

Ward Connerly:
Glad to do it.

Ted Simons:
Now for our regular Monday feature, focusing on issues of concern to those watching the state legislature, two political types going one-on-one. Tonight House Republican spokesman Barrett Marson goes head-to-head with Sam Copper Smith, an attorney for Coppersmith, Gordon, Schermer and Brocklman -- and a former democratic congressman.

Sam Coppersmith:
So we can't really even agree on what to call our first issue. Is it employer sanctions or work site enforcement?

Barrett Marson:
Work site enforcement just rings, I think. Totally works for me, work site enforcement. And the important thing is with work site enforcement, a federal judge decided it's legal, it doesn't violate federal law, and now this is the law of the land. And I know it's going to be appealed by the was bazillion on attorneys in this case. But it is now the law. And groups have to have to follow - I'm sorry, businesses are really going to have to follow this law. Not difficult to follow but they'll have to follow it.

Sam Coppersmith:
Well, it does impose a little terms of in my firm we may not hire lawyers or secretaries all that often.

Barrett Marson:
No new lawyers in Phoenix? Oh, how terrible!

Sam Coppersmith:
But speaking of lawyers, one thing that sort of struck me was how do I put it this way, the same businesses that couldn't figure out how to sue this law are going to have to figure out how to comply with it. And there are going to be some issues I understand tactically a number of choices that were made in terms of how they went after the legislation so naturally they lost it at district court level.

Barrett Marson:
Yeah. I think a lot of people don't understand how these lawyers went about it. They were told specifically they sued the wrong people. They still went for it. Then the lawsuit was thrown out and they were kind of surprised about it. They had to sue again and it was really quick. It was not that good situation for those groups who were suing and who appeared not to have a great grasp of what was happening.

Sam Coppersmith:
I'll be curious to see what happens. Because the law may be coming in at a most propitious time if the University of Arizona truly is saying, if Arizona is in a recession, what better time to make it tougher to hire people.

Barrett Marson:
Another scene that's going on at the legislature right now is C.P.S. Records. There is a desire after three deaths last year in the city of Tucson, after C.P.S. had occasion to investigate a case of abuse of these kids, another two have died recently. And the state as a legislature at least is moving to open up records where C.P.S. has had intervention and the children have died. And there's been some pushback on this. I fail to understand why when on such a serious case, when a child has died, why after the state contact why shouldn't we have some oversight of public viewing of this? So that people understand what went wrong, what happened?

Sam Coppersmith:
Let me give you -- first off I have to disclose I'm on the board of directors of a nonprofit that provides foster care services and therapeutic foster care services in Arizona. So I mean, we do it in Arizona. We do it a number of other states. So I have an interest in this because of my service on that board. Let me say that is there a problem with learning from those tragic experiences? Probably not. But let me caution you that particularly when it comes to opening up a C.P.S. file, I think the people even in your caucus in the legislature are dealing with this whole collateral damage issue. You know, how do you prevent lives from being ruined that touch the tragedy but aren't necessarily part of the tragedy? How do you protect those kids? How do you keep it from being basically just an exercise in voyeurism and one that actually looks at the system and helps examine it? The problem is if the insistence is this has got to be very visible and very public you're going to have to deal with those issues. On the other hand, could there be a mechanism to go in where you have something like protections for juveniles where you have some sort of screening or whatever that isn't necessarily fodder for newspapers or point scoring, if it really is meant to sort of look at how C.P.S. is doing things and what are the things to see, then yeah, sure. I don't think anybody could argue with that.

Barrett Marson:
Good. And I hope there isn't. And as a former member of the illustrious profession of journalism it's important to shed light to get answers. I hope there isn't much opposition to this. It's a reform that is really needed.

Sam Coppersmith:
If you could do it in reporting of juvenile cases with initials and things like that to let people understand what the system is. But the problem is what I worry about is you have an under funded system where people are under horrendous stress right now.

Barrett Marson:
It says it's under funded. But the legislature and the governor have pumped millions of dollars into it. We raise salaries for C.P.S. workers. We've added C.P.S. workers. There has been a great deal done over the last couple of years.

Sam Coppersmith:
Not denying that. On the other hand the state is still growing and the -- growing and the need is still there. Speaking of that, what are we going to make of John McCain?

Barrett Marson:
It's amazing. I said here last week, I sometimes don't understand why conservatives aren't so happy. I mean, there's a couple of issues.

Sam Coppersmith:
Why? That's not how conservatives treat each other.

Barrett Marson:
He is pro-life. He's generally, I mean, he doesn't take an earmark. Generally very fiscally conservative. So on some of those core issues he's pretty conservative. Gets a 82 or something.

Sam Coppersmith:
Know what you think, this guy is a moderate.

Barrett Marson:
Exactly. He bucks the trend sometimes. But I don't know that that should be enough.

Sam Coppersmith:
What counts for this? I mean, the most bizarre thing about this is, as a democrat you look at the republicans and you guys are having this incredible debate like who's more electable? I worry about John McCain. To us the answer is really simple. You republicans are looking at us on the democratic side and saying, Hillary, Obama, what are you guys going to do? Are you nuts? The choice is clear.

Barrett Marson:
I think the choice will be clear some November when and if John McCain is on the ticket in the Arizona. I think you're going to see the republicans do very well here. I think you're going to see a decision by both national campaigns to not put any money in Arizona. The democrats will write Arizona off. So you will see from the top down, republicans both making up sort of their money issues and maybe some of the other issues. They'll make it up by just having John McCain at the top of the ticket. Democrats will not spend -- national democrats will not spend the money.

Sam Coppersmith:
I'm not sure I heard anything after you said that the republicans have to make up their money issues.

Barrett Marson:
Big deal.

Sam Coppersmith:
I don't think republicans are used to playing from behind when it comes to money.

Barrett Marson:
Congresswoman Gifford has a nice 1.1, $1.2 million war chest. Congressman Mitchell has I think $800,000 cash on hand. So yes, the republican challengers.

Sam Coppersmith:
And Senator Bee, no one is really sure where he is. Have they heard of cell phones? Or is that just a house thing?

Barrett Marson:
He refuses to live in Washington, D.C. However, he is still here in Arizona all the time. He is doing work here.

Sam Coppersmith:
They just don't know what work it is or where he is.

Barrett Marson:
He takes a couple days off and goes someplace but we don't know where. I think the important thing is the democrats don't want to talk about this. There was a news conference a few weeks ago. Democrats do not want to talk about. John McCain gets on the top of the ticket what that will do for their chances to retake the house.

Sam Coppersmith:
To retake the state house and keep both the Gifford, Mitchell and try to get the --

Barrett Marson:
The C.D. 1 seed, I think there are only so many open seats.

Sam Coppersmith:
The real money advantages of the congressional and the senatorial committees, I think that's where you're going to see people playing in Arizona. I think John McCain on the ticket means there's no national republican money. I think the democrats still can have some fun.

Barrett Marson:
Good seeing you tonight, Sam.

Sam Coppersmith:
All right. Take care.

Barrett Marson:
Give my best to your legislative over lookers.

Sam Coppersmith:
Okay.

Ted Simons:
Western progress is an organization advancing what it calls progressive policy solutions across the eight-state rocky mountain region. Recently the executive director of the organization Alan Stephens wrote an op-ed in the "East Valley Tribune" about what issues he hopes the state legislature will focus on this session. He joins us to talk about that and other sustainability issues. Alan good to see you.

Alan Stephens:
Thanks for having me.

Ted Simons:
Progressive policy solutions on what?

Alan Stephens:
A variety of issues that challenge the rocky mountain west. We talk about the Rocky Mountains we're talking about the eight states in the intermountain rocky west which includes Arizona and New Mexico towards the south. We have a lot of very similar issues in each of these states dealing with water planning, dealing with energy independence, energy issues, transportation issues, infrastructure, budget issues. A variety of kinds of things that we have very similar interests in across the Rockies.

Ted Simons:
With budget concerns as they are at the state legislature, how does your set of ideas translate into getting something done in these hard times?

Alan Stephens:
Well, I think particularly in the areas of sustainability it's probably a good time to talk about issues where there's not a direct outlay of dollars. But instead a reflecting on policy decisions in the area of water, for instance, I think this is going to be a session where we'll see a lot of activity on water. And it's a bipartisan interest in legislators, a republican legislature and democratic governor are both concentrating on resource planning. There are a number of bills which would link water resource planning with land use planning in a variety of ways. That's a very positive trend particularly during the long-term drought which we're experiencing, and particularly if we see a shortage develop on the Colorado River which is possible over the next few years if the drought continues. We'll have to make sure that future land development is really conditioned on the availability of water.

Ted Simons:
Talk more if you would about water use and land planning as it pertains to a transportation plan, which in terms of sustainability is a necessity.

Alan Stephens:
Well, obviously the local governments are very involved in local land use planning, as they should be. But the state is very involved in transportation planning in a partnership with the local level. And then there's the myriad of folks that are involved in the water planning, federal government as well as local and state entities. And in order to assure that we're going have a sustainable community here, we've got to make sure that availability of water exists. Obviously if we don't coordinate our land use planning, with how much water is available we're going to run into problems. That's the whole idea between the ground water management act that was passed in 1980 and certainly into our negotiations with the other basin states for the Colorado River allocation and the future of the central Arizona project. With that, however, also comes the fact that wear in transportation we just can't endless endlessly expand. That takes more energy and water and creates more air quality problems in the valley. Same things happening in other places across the Rockies in Denver and Salt Lake. We're all dealing with the same issue. So we're talking about trying to figure out a way to work with local governments and state governments to construct a methodology to coordinate local land use planning and general plans. For instance there's a bill in the legislature that senator owe hall earn has introduced which would requite general plans of local governments which deal with land use planning to be coordinated with water resource planning. And through the department of water resources information that is available in terms of how much water is available particularly in rural Arizona this is a key component which we've really been missing in how Arizona grows.

Ted Simons:
And Arizona would seem to be a perfect place to grow solar energy. Why are we not seeing more done?

Alan Stephens:
Well, actually we're beginning to. I know the many members of the Arizona corporation commission are very interested in providing incentives, working with the utilities that they oversee, to create incentives in their service areas so that more people avail themselves of solar energy equipment, and then that they also look at ways that they can encourage the utility companies to avail themselves of concentrated solar. Everybody from the state chamber's office, to the governor's office, members of the legislature are all interested in this. I think as solar energy becomes cheaper we're going to see more requirements. Like the corporation commission has mandated in Arizona that the utility companies that they oversee have 15\% of their energy portfolio be in renewable energy sources. That is from biofuels, from solar energy in particular, wind, and so as that happens you're going to see the costs of these renewables, the cost of generating them come down and down so they're going to be much more viable.

Ted Simons:
Only about a minute or so left. How are sustainability issues different here in Arizona than the other states that your company deals with or your organization deals with?

Alan Stephens:
Well, they're very similar in fact. Although we are in the desert, obviously, although we have some Colorado Plateau in the northern part of the state, but so we've got to deal particularly with the water availability. We have a legislature that is grappling with transportation funding, which is obviously part of the picture. A number of other states are, too. So there's not a lot of differences. There's a lot of similarities, as a matter of fact.

Ted Simons:
Okay. And real quickly, I know in Colorado they have a net metering system as far as solar is concerned. Can we do something like that where you can give back to the grid if you have excess?

Alan Stephens:
I think there are plans underway for legislation to be introduced forward comprehensive energy independence program in Arizona and I think we'll see it in the next few weeks.

Ted Simons:
Alan, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it. The flu has now spread across the state earning Arizona the center for disease control and prevention's highest flu activity designation. Is it too late for a flu shot? Or if you have got one are you have? That's Tuesday on Horizon. And that's it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thanks for joining us on Horizon.

Sustainability

  |   Video
  • A look at some of the issues Western Progress is promoting at the Legislature. Alan Stephens, executive director for the non-partisan think tank, joins us in the studio.
Guests:
  • Barrett Marson - House Republican spokesman
  • Sam Coppersmith - Attorney, Coppersmith, Gordon, Schermer and Brocklman and former Democratic congressman
  • Alan Stephens - Executive Director, Western Progress
Category: Sustainability

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Tonight on Horizon, the man who led the campaign to get rid of affirmative action in California wants to do the same in Arizona. Issues bubbling up in the state legislature are confronted by our political antagonists in one-on-one. And a look at legislation related to sustainability. It's all next on Horizon.

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

Ted Simons:
Good evening. I'm Ted Simons. In the news today, Congressman John Shadegg has decided not to run for re-election. In a statement late this afternoon U.S. Representative from district 3 announced after consultation with his family and deep reflex he would not seek re-election. He's been the representative for the third district for nearly 14 years. Affirmative action in Arizona is being tar get by the Arizona civil rights initiative. The group behind the initiative launched a petition drive to ban gender or race preference in hiring and university admissions. He hopes to get the initiative on the 2008 ballot. The group is supported by Ward Connerly who successfully led a movement in California. In a moment we'll hear from him first show you a clip from a news conference last Thursday by Representative Cloves Campbell of Phoenix.

Representative Cloves:
As you well know, there is a gentleman that's come into town and he's starting a new initiative called the civil rights initiative. His name is Ward Connerly. He's talking about the fact that he think everything in Arizona is equal, everything in Arizona is on the up and up, people in Arizona have the same opportunities as everyone else. Not only African Americans, he thinks that Hispanics opportunities are available for everyone that are equal, Native American opportunities, women issues, everyone should be equal. I tend to think, and I think most people standing behind me think that Ward Connerly is wrong.

Crowd:
Amen.

Representative Cloves:
And we're going to make a point every time we get an opportunity. We're going to talk about the fact that Ward Connerly and his civil rights initiative is anything but a civil rights initiative. It's an assault on civil rights here in Arizona. And we're going to fight this assault to the end because we think we have enough support here by the people standing behind me and by the people in the legislative halls that we can defeat this initiative. Ward Connerly has been paid well. And I mean paid very well to talk about the facts that he thinks that everything is equal. The fact that he thinks that everything is fair. The fact that he thinks that America is at a point where we don't need any more affirmative action law. Well, you're going to have to excuse my French, I said it all morning. I think Ward Connerly is a damn fool. And I'm going to go on record as saying that. And I'm going to continue to say that. He's over at the Biltmore right now talking about the fact he thinks it's time for America to take a new look at ourselves and show we are a prosperous country, which we are. A country of opportunity which we are. But it is not a country of equal opportunity, that we can all stand up and say, I have the same thing you have. Ward Connerly is totally wrong. We're going to make sure we continue to say Ward Connerly is totally wrong. If he continues to come back to Arizona we're going to continue the fighting.

Ted Simons:
Ward Connerly is a former member of the University of California regents. During his tenure there he and the regents voted to cease the use of race in admissions. He was also instrumental in getting the California civil rights initiative passed similar to the one being promoted in Arizona. He spoke at Goldwater institute on Thursday part of the organization's speaker series. Larry Lemmons spoke with him at the Biltmore.

Larry Lemmons:
Why don't you talk about the initiative?

Ward Connerly:
There is a group called the Arizona civil rights initiative which is trying to put an initiative on the ballot to amend the constitution to prohibit race preferences, gender preferences and public contracting, public employment and public education. In essence everyone should be treated equally. There should not be distinctions made between people and when they apply for college and giving them extra points and lower standards. And set asides and contracting. All of those things would be forbidden by this initiative.

Larry Lemmons:
And of course you've done something similar to this before, proposition 209, I believe, in California?

Ward Connerly:
That's correct.

Larry Lemmons:
Can you tell us how you came to the decision to do that? And what led up to that?

Ward Connerly:
Well, I was serving on the board of regents of the University of California where I served for what I call it a 12-year sentence. And I was chairing the finance committee, which is the major oversight committee. And I discovered that the practices that we call "affirmative action" had become anything but affirmative action. It had become a system of discrimination against whites and more importantly against -- not more importantly but more significantly against Asians. We were discriminating against Asians in college enrollment by a very, very substantial amount. And I believe that no one should be treated differently in our country by their government. We all pay taxes, we have no choice about the matter. We belong to the government. So the government should not take our money and then treat us differently. And when I saw that university was doing this, as a regent I moved to get rid of it. And in 1995, the regents followed my lead and passed a resolution to end race preferences. And a year and a half later, the voters of California reaffirmed what we did. And we embedded it into the state constitution.

Larry Lemmons:
Well, do you think affirmative action then has been successful up to this point as a means to right some of the wrongs that were brought about by slavery?

Ward Connerly:
It's been mixed success. I think that in the early days, the very early days, affirmative action as a form of making sure that there was not discrimination, and one must understand that that's how it started out. It was not the system of quotas and preferences and set asides. It was a system of making sure that there is no discrimination. That's what John F. Kennedy who was the first one to coin that phrase aced every federal agency and everyone doing business with the federal government with federal money to take affirmative action to make sure there was no discrimination. That's the way it started out. We all benefited from that. We don't want to end that. But the idea that people should be treated differently is antithetical to the pay affirmative action started out and to the 1964 civil rights act which command that every citizen be treated equally "without regard to race." So I think that initially the concept was well-designed, still is on that basis. But over time it evolved into a very elaborate system of "we want this color for that job" and "we want this person for that job" based on their skin color or their "race" or their gender or how they spell their last name. We see it in the private sector. We see it in the public sector as well. I mean, there are many cases where I've heard producers in television stations say that, you know, we really need a "and then you can fill in the blank -- of what they really want. What they have in mind.

Larry Lemmons:
That's okay. That's show business.

Ward Connerly:
Yeah, that's show business. They can do whatever they want in the private sector. But the government, they should not be able to do that with our tax dollars.

Larry Lemmons:
To clarify, then, you do agree with the antidiscrimination basis of some of these laws. What you don't like is the idea that a quota system was created on top of that to I guess in people's minds, to alleviate that discrimination.

Ward Connerly:
Well, yeah. That's what we object to and what we're trying to change in this country. You look right here in the state of Arizona. The city of Tucson has a minority and women business enterprise program in which if you are a "minority" black, Latino, Native American or a female-owned business you can bid over 7\%, up to 7\% over the low bid and get the contract. So let's say that a white-owned business, white, male-owned business bids $100,000. If a minority-owned business bids $106,999 and 99 cents the city would deem that to be the low bid. That makes no sense to me. It's discriminatory, it's unfair, it's costly. Taxpayers are paying for this idiocy.

Larry Lemmons:
What would you say to critics who would say affirmative action has tried to level the playing field. Because quite frankly racism still exists in this country. How could you determine discrimination isn't taking place?

Ward Connerly:
First of all the premise you state there is still discrimination. Yeah, there is. And nobody has a monopoly on it. I've seen places where one minority discriminates against another. So nobody has the monopoly on that. It's not a franchise that one group has over another. But I think that way to stop discrimination, as Chief Justice Roberts said, the way to stop discrimination is to stop discriminating. It sounds simplistic, but there is a lot of wisdom in that phrase. One way in contracting is you just take the low bid. You don't know what the race is. Don't even be asking about the race. Prequalify the contractors or the bidders to make sure that anyone who is bidding on that meets the threshold requirements. And then take the low bid. When you open that envelope you don't know what it is. But it makes no sense to say, "here is the low bid of 100,000 and here is a minority-owned bid and it's 106,000. We're going to take that one because it's owned by a minority." That ends up leading to a lot of fraud. I see it in California where a lot of minority-owned businesses are really owned by white guys. A lot of women-owned businesses are owned really by their husbands. And they try and play games with the numbers of the percentage of ownership so they can get the benefit of this preference. But the taxpayers are paying for that.

Larry Lemmons:
Thank you, Mr. Connerly, for talking to Horizon today.

Ward Connerly:
Glad to do it.

Ted Simons:
Now for our regular Monday feature, focusing on issues of concern to those watching the state legislature, two political types going one-on-one. Tonight House Republican spokesman Barrett Marson goes head-to-head with Sam Copper Smith, an attorney for Coppersmith, Gordon, Schermer and Brocklman -- and a former democratic congressman.

Sam Coppersmith:
So we can't really even agree on what to call our first issue. Is it employer sanctions or work site enforcement?

Barrett Marson:
Work site enforcement just rings, I think. Totally works for me, work site enforcement. And the important thing is with work site enforcement, a federal judge decided it's legal, it doesn't violate federal law, and now this is the law of the land. And I know it's going to be appealed by the was bazillion on attorneys in this case. But it is now the law. And groups have to have to follow - I'm sorry, businesses are really going to have to follow this law. Not difficult to follow but they'll have to follow it.

Sam Coppersmith:
Well, it does impose a little terms of in my firm we may not hire lawyers or secretaries all that often.

Barrett Marson:
No new lawyers in Phoenix? Oh, how terrible!

Sam Coppersmith:
But speaking of lawyers, one thing that sort of struck me was how do I put it this way, the same businesses that couldn't figure out how to sue this law are going to have to figure out how to comply with it. And there are going to be some issues I understand tactically a number of choices that were made in terms of how they went after the legislation so naturally they lost it at district court level.

Barrett Marson:
Yeah. I think a lot of people don't understand how these lawyers went about it. They were told specifically they sued the wrong people. They still went for it. Then the lawsuit was thrown out and they were kind of surprised about it. They had to sue again and it was really quick. It was not that good situation for those groups who were suing and who appeared not to have a great grasp of what was happening.

Sam Coppersmith:
I'll be curious to see what happens. Because the law may be coming in at a most propitious time if the University of Arizona truly is saying, if Arizona is in a recession, what better time to make it tougher to hire people.

Barrett Marson:
Another scene that's going on at the legislature right now is C.P.S. Records. There is a desire after three deaths last year in the city of Tucson, after C.P.S. had occasion to investigate a case of abuse of these kids, another two have died recently. And the state as a legislature at least is moving to open up records where C.P.S. has had intervention and the children have died. And there's been some pushback on this. I fail to understand why when on such a serious case, when a child has died, why after the state contact why shouldn't we have some oversight of public viewing of this? So that people understand what went wrong, what happened?

Sam Coppersmith:
Let me give you -- first off I have to disclose I'm on the board of directors of a nonprofit that provides foster care services and therapeutic foster care services in Arizona. So I mean, we do it in Arizona. We do it a number of other states. So I have an interest in this because of my service on that board. Let me say that is there a problem with learning from those tragic experiences? Probably not. But let me caution you that particularly when it comes to opening up a C.P.S. file, I think the people even in your caucus in the legislature are dealing with this whole collateral damage issue. You know, how do you prevent lives from being ruined that touch the tragedy but aren't necessarily part of the tragedy? How do you protect those kids? How do you keep it from being basically just an exercise in voyeurism and one that actually looks at the system and helps examine it? The problem is if the insistence is this has got to be very visible and very public you're going to have to deal with those issues. On the other hand, could there be a mechanism to go in where you have something like protections for juveniles where you have some sort of screening or whatever that isn't necessarily fodder for newspapers or point scoring, if it really is meant to sort of look at how C.P.S. is doing things and what are the things to see, then yeah, sure. I don't think anybody could argue with that.

Barrett Marson:
Good. And I hope there isn't. And as a former member of the illustrious profession of journalism it's important to shed light to get answers. I hope there isn't much opposition to this. It's a reform that is really needed.

Sam Coppersmith:
If you could do it in reporting of juvenile cases with initials and things like that to let people understand what the system is. But the problem is what I worry about is you have an under funded system where people are under horrendous stress right now.

Barrett Marson:
It says it's under funded. But the legislature and the governor have pumped millions of dollars into it. We raise salaries for C.P.S. workers. We've added C.P.S. workers. There has been a great deal done over the last couple of years.

Sam Coppersmith:
Not denying that. On the other hand the state is still growing and the -- growing and the need is still there. Speaking of that, what are we going to make of John McCain?

Barrett Marson:
It's amazing. I said here last week, I sometimes don't understand why conservatives aren't so happy. I mean, there's a couple of issues.

Sam Coppersmith:
Why? That's not how conservatives treat each other.

Barrett Marson:
He is pro-life. He's generally, I mean, he doesn't take an earmark. Generally very fiscally conservative. So on some of those core issues he's pretty conservative. Gets a 82 or something.

Sam Coppersmith:
Know what you think, this guy is a moderate.

Barrett Marson:
Exactly. He bucks the trend sometimes. But I don't know that that should be enough.

Sam Coppersmith:
What counts for this? I mean, the most bizarre thing about this is, as a democrat you look at the republicans and you guys are having this incredible debate like who's more electable? I worry about John McCain. To us the answer is really simple. You republicans are looking at us on the democratic side and saying, Hillary, Obama, what are you guys going to do? Are you nuts? The choice is clear.

Barrett Marson:
I think the choice will be clear some November when and if John McCain is on the ticket in the Arizona. I think you're going to see the republicans do very well here. I think you're going to see a decision by both national campaigns to not put any money in Arizona. The democrats will write Arizona off. So you will see from the top down, republicans both making up sort of their money issues and maybe some of the other issues. They'll make it up by just having John McCain at the top of the ticket. Democrats will not spend -- national democrats will not spend the money.

Sam Coppersmith:
I'm not sure I heard anything after you said that the republicans have to make up their money issues.

Barrett Marson:
Big deal.

Sam Coppersmith:
I don't think republicans are used to playing from behind when it comes to money.

Barrett Marson:
Congresswoman Gifford has a nice 1.1, $1.2 million war chest. Congressman Mitchell has I think $800,000 cash on hand. So yes, the republican challengers.

Sam Coppersmith:
And Senator Bee, no one is really sure where he is. Have they heard of cell phones? Or is that just a house thing?

Barrett Marson:
He refuses to live in Washington, D.C. However, he is still here in Arizona all the time. He is doing work here.

Sam Coppersmith:
They just don't know what work it is or where he is.

Barrett Marson:
He takes a couple days off and goes someplace but we don't know where. I think the important thing is the democrats don't want to talk about this. There was a news conference a few weeks ago. Democrats do not want to talk about. John McCain gets on the top of the ticket what that will do for their chances to retake the house.

Sam Coppersmith:
To retake the state house and keep both the Gifford, Mitchell and try to get the --

Barrett Marson:
The C.D. 1 seed, I think there are only so many open seats.

Sam Coppersmith:
The real money advantages of the congressional and the senatorial committees, I think that's where you're going to see people playing in Arizona. I think John McCain on the ticket means there's no national republican money. I think the democrats still can have some fun.

Barrett Marson:
Good seeing you tonight, Sam.

Sam Coppersmith:
All right. Take care.

Barrett Marson:
Give my best to your legislative over lookers.

Sam Coppersmith:
Okay.

Ted Simons:
Western progress is an organization advancing what it calls progressive policy solutions across the eight-state rocky mountain region. Recently the executive director of the organization Alan Stephens wrote an op-ed in the "East Valley Tribune" about what issues he hopes the state legislature will focus on this session. He joins us to talk about that and other sustainability issues. Alan good to see you.

Alan Stephens:
Thanks for having me.

Ted Simons:
Progressive policy solutions on what?

Alan Stephens:
A variety of issues that challenge the rocky mountain west. We talk about the Rocky Mountains we're talking about the eight states in the intermountain rocky west which includes Arizona and New Mexico towards the south. We have a lot of very similar issues in each of these states dealing with water planning, dealing with energy independence, energy issues, transportation issues, infrastructure, budget issues. A variety of kinds of things that we have very similar interests in across the Rockies.

Ted Simons:
With budget concerns as they are at the state legislature, how does your set of ideas translate into getting something done in these hard times?

Alan Stephens:
Well, I think particularly in the areas of sustainability it's probably a good time to talk about issues where there's not a direct outlay of dollars. But instead a reflecting on policy decisions in the area of water, for instance, I think this is going to be a session where we'll see a lot of activity on water. And it's a bipartisan interest in legislators, a republican legislature and democratic governor are both concentrating on resource planning. There are a number of bills which would link water resource planning with land use planning in a variety of ways. That's a very positive trend particularly during the long-term drought which we're experiencing, and particularly if we see a shortage develop on the Colorado River which is possible over the next few years if the drought continues. We'll have to make sure that future land development is really conditioned on the availability of water.

Ted Simons:
Talk more if you would about water use and land planning as it pertains to a transportation plan, which in terms of sustainability is a necessity.

Alan Stephens:
Well, obviously the local governments are very involved in local land use planning, as they should be. But the state is very involved in transportation planning in a partnership with the local level. And then there's the myriad of folks that are involved in the water planning, federal government as well as local and state entities. And in order to assure that we're going have a sustainable community here, we've got to make sure that availability of water exists. Obviously if we don't coordinate our land use planning, with how much water is available we're going to run into problems. That's the whole idea between the ground water management act that was passed in 1980 and certainly into our negotiations with the other basin states for the Colorado River allocation and the future of the central Arizona project. With that, however, also comes the fact that wear in transportation we just can't endless endlessly expand. That takes more energy and water and creates more air quality problems in the valley. Same things happening in other places across the Rockies in Denver and Salt Lake. We're all dealing with the same issue. So we're talking about trying to figure out a way to work with local governments and state governments to construct a methodology to coordinate local land use planning and general plans. For instance there's a bill in the legislature that senator owe hall earn has introduced which would requite general plans of local governments which deal with land use planning to be coordinated with water resource planning. And through the department of water resources information that is available in terms of how much water is available particularly in rural Arizona this is a key component which we've really been missing in how Arizona grows.

Ted Simons:
And Arizona would seem to be a perfect place to grow solar energy. Why are we not seeing more done?

Alan Stephens:
Well, actually we're beginning to. I know the many members of the Arizona corporation commission are very interested in providing incentives, working with the utilities that they oversee, to create incentives in their service areas so that more people avail themselves of solar energy equipment, and then that they also look at ways that they can encourage the utility companies to avail themselves of concentrated solar. Everybody from the state chamber's office, to the governor's office, members of the legislature are all interested in this. I think as solar energy becomes cheaper we're going to see more requirements. Like the corporation commission has mandated in Arizona that the utility companies that they oversee have 15\% of their energy portfolio be in renewable energy sources. That is from biofuels, from solar energy in particular, wind, and so as that happens you're going to see the costs of these renewables, the cost of generating them come down and down so they're going to be much more viable.

Ted Simons:
Only about a minute or so left. How are sustainability issues different here in Arizona than the other states that your company deals with or your organization deals with?

Alan Stephens:
Well, they're very similar in fact. Although we are in the desert, obviously, although we have some Colorado Plateau in the northern part of the state, but so we've got to deal particularly with the water availability. We have a legislature that is grappling with transportation funding, which is obviously part of the picture. A number of other states are, too. So there's not a lot of differences. There's a lot of similarities, as a matter of fact.

Ted Simons:
Okay. And real quickly, I know in Colorado they have a net metering system as far as solar is concerned. Can we do something like that where you can give back to the grid if you have excess?

Alan Stephens:
I think there are plans underway for legislation to be introduced forward comprehensive energy independence program in Arizona and I think we'll see it in the next few weeks.

Ted Simons:
Alan, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it. The flu has now spread across the state earning Arizona the center for disease control and prevention's highest flu activity designation. Is it too late for a flu shot? Or if you have got one are you have? That's Tuesday on Horizon. And that's it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thanks for joining us on Horizon.

Ward Connerly

  |   Video
  • A conversation with the former University of California Regent, who was instrumental in passing Prop 209 in that state, outlawing race and gender-based preferences in state hiring and state university admissions.
Guests:
  • Barrett Marson - House Republican spokesman
  • Sam Coppersmith - Attorney, Coppersmith, Gordon, Schermer and Brocklman and former Democratic congressman
  • Alan Stephens - Executive Director, Western Progress
Category: Law

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Tonight on Horizon, the man who led the campaign to get rid of affirmative action in California wants to do the same in Arizona. Issues bubbling up in the state legislature are confronted by our political antagonists in one-on-one. And a look at legislation related to sustainability. It's all next on Horizon.

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

Ted Simons:
Good evening. I'm Ted Simons. In the news today, Congressman John Shadegg has decided not to run for re-election. In a statement late this afternoon U.S. Representative from district 3 announced after consultation with his family and deep reflex he would not seek re-election. He's been the representative for the third district for nearly 14 years. Affirmative action in Arizona is being tar get by the Arizona civil rights initiative. The group behind the initiative launched a petition drive to ban gender or race preference in hiring and university admissions. He hopes to get the initiative on the 2008 ballot. The group is supported by Ward Connerly who successfully led a movement in California. In a moment we'll hear from him first show you a clip from a news conference last Thursday by Representative Cloves Campbell of Phoenix.

Representative Cloves:
As you well know, there is a gentleman that's come into town and he's starting a new initiative called the civil rights initiative. His name is Ward Connerly. He's talking about the fact that he think everything in Arizona is equal, everything in Arizona is on the up and up, people in Arizona have the same opportunities as everyone else. Not only African Americans, he thinks that Hispanics opportunities are available for everyone that are equal, Native American opportunities, women issues, everyone should be equal. I tend to think, and I think most people standing behind me think that Ward Connerly is wrong.

Crowd:
Amen.

Representative Cloves:
And we're going to make a point every time we get an opportunity. We're going to talk about the fact that Ward Connerly and his civil rights initiative is anything but a civil rights initiative. It's an assault on civil rights here in Arizona. And we're going to fight this assault to the end because we think we have enough support here by the people standing behind me and by the people in the legislative halls that we can defeat this initiative. Ward Connerly has been paid well. And I mean paid very well to talk about the facts that he thinks that everything is equal. The fact that he thinks that everything is fair. The fact that he thinks that America is at a point where we don't need any more affirmative action law. Well, you're going to have to excuse my French, I said it all morning. I think Ward Connerly is a damn fool. And I'm going to go on record as saying that. And I'm going to continue to say that. He's over at the Biltmore right now talking about the fact he thinks it's time for America to take a new look at ourselves and show we are a prosperous country, which we are. A country of opportunity which we are. But it is not a country of equal opportunity, that we can all stand up and say, I have the same thing you have. Ward Connerly is totally wrong. We're going to make sure we continue to say Ward Connerly is totally wrong. If he continues to come back to Arizona we're going to continue the fighting.

Ted Simons:
Ward Connerly is a former member of the University of California regents. During his tenure there he and the regents voted to cease the use of race in admissions. He was also instrumental in getting the California civil rights initiative passed similar to the one being promoted in Arizona. He spoke at Goldwater institute on Thursday part of the organization's speaker series. Larry Lemmons spoke with him at the Biltmore.

Larry Lemmons:
Why don't you talk about the initiative?

Ward Connerly:
There is a group called the Arizona civil rights initiative which is trying to put an initiative on the ballot to amend the constitution to prohibit race preferences, gender preferences and public contracting, public employment and public education. In essence everyone should be treated equally. There should not be distinctions made between people and when they apply for college and giving them extra points and lower standards. And set asides and contracting. All of those things would be forbidden by this initiative.

Larry Lemmons:
And of course you've done something similar to this before, proposition 209, I believe, in California?

Ward Connerly:
That's correct.

Larry Lemmons:
Can you tell us how you came to the decision to do that? And what led up to that?

Ward Connerly:
Well, I was serving on the board of regents of the University of California where I served for what I call it a 12-year sentence. And I was chairing the finance committee, which is the major oversight committee. And I discovered that the practices that we call "affirmative action" had become anything but affirmative action. It had become a system of discrimination against whites and more importantly against -- not more importantly but more significantly against Asians. We were discriminating against Asians in college enrollment by a very, very substantial amount. And I believe that no one should be treated differently in our country by their government. We all pay taxes, we have no choice about the matter. We belong to the government. So the government should not take our money and then treat us differently. And when I saw that university was doing this, as a regent I moved to get rid of it. And in 1995, the regents followed my lead and passed a resolution to end race preferences. And a year and a half later, the voters of California reaffirmed what we did. And we embedded it into the state constitution.

Larry Lemmons:
Well, do you think affirmative action then has been successful up to this point as a means to right some of the wrongs that were brought about by slavery?

Ward Connerly:
It's been mixed success. I think that in the early days, the very early days, affirmative action as a form of making sure that there was not discrimination, and one must understand that that's how it started out. It was not the system of quotas and preferences and set asides. It was a system of making sure that there is no discrimination. That's what John F. Kennedy who was the first one to coin that phrase aced every federal agency and everyone doing business with the federal government with federal money to take affirmative action to make sure there was no discrimination. That's the way it started out. We all benefited from that. We don't want to end that. But the idea that people should be treated differently is antithetical to the pay affirmative action started out and to the 1964 civil rights act which command that every citizen be treated equally "without regard to race." So I think that initially the concept was well-designed, still is on that basis. But over time it evolved into a very elaborate system of "we want this color for that job" and "we want this person for that job" based on their skin color or their "race" or their gender or how they spell their last name. We see it in the private sector. We see it in the public sector as well. I mean, there are many cases where I've heard producers in television stations say that, you know, we really need a "and then you can fill in the blank -- of what they really want. What they have in mind.

Larry Lemmons:
That's okay. That's show business.

Ward Connerly:
Yeah, that's show business. They can do whatever they want in the private sector. But the government, they should not be able to do that with our tax dollars.

Larry Lemmons:
To clarify, then, you do agree with the antidiscrimination basis of some of these laws. What you don't like is the idea that a quota system was created on top of that to I guess in people's minds, to alleviate that discrimination.

Ward Connerly:
Well, yeah. That's what we object to and what we're trying to change in this country. You look right here in the state of Arizona. The city of Tucson has a minority and women business enterprise program in which if you are a "minority" black, Latino, Native American or a female-owned business you can bid over 7\%, up to 7\% over the low bid and get the contract. So let's say that a white-owned business, white, male-owned business bids $100,000. If a minority-owned business bids $106,999 and 99 cents the city would deem that to be the low bid. That makes no sense to me. It's discriminatory, it's unfair, it's costly. Taxpayers are paying for this idiocy.

Larry Lemmons:
What would you say to critics who would say affirmative action has tried to level the playing field. Because quite frankly racism still exists in this country. How could you determine discrimination isn't taking place?

Ward Connerly:
First of all the premise you state there is still discrimination. Yeah, there is. And nobody has a monopoly on it. I've seen places where one minority discriminates against another. So nobody has the monopoly on that. It's not a franchise that one group has over another. But I think that way to stop discrimination, as Chief Justice Roberts said, the way to stop discrimination is to stop discriminating. It sounds simplistic, but there is a lot of wisdom in that phrase. One way in contracting is you just take the low bid. You don't know what the race is. Don't even be asking about the race. Prequalify the contractors or the bidders to make sure that anyone who is bidding on that meets the threshold requirements. And then take the low bid. When you open that envelope you don't know what it is. But it makes no sense to say, "here is the low bid of 100,000 and here is a minority-owned bid and it's 106,000. We're going to take that one because it's owned by a minority." That ends up leading to a lot of fraud. I see it in California where a lot of minority-owned businesses are really owned by white guys. A lot of women-owned businesses are owned really by their husbands. And they try and play games with the numbers of the percentage of ownership so they can get the benefit of this preference. But the taxpayers are paying for that.

Larry Lemmons:
Thank you, Mr. Connerly, for talking to Horizon today.

Ward Connerly:
Glad to do it.

Ted Simons:
Now for our regular Monday feature, focusing on issues of concern to those watching the state legislature, two political types going one-on-one. Tonight House Republican spokesman Barrett Marson goes head-to-head with Sam Copper Smith, an attorney for Coppersmith, Gordon, Schermer and Brocklman -- and a former democratic congressman.

Sam Coppersmith:
So we can't really even agree on what to call our first issue. Is it employer sanctions or work site enforcement?

Barrett Marson:
Work site enforcement just rings, I think. Totally works for me, work site enforcement. And the important thing is with work site enforcement, a federal judge decided it's legal, it doesn't violate federal law, and now this is the law of the land. And I know it's going to be appealed by the was bazillion on attorneys in this case. But it is now the law. And groups have to have to follow - I'm sorry, businesses are really going to have to follow this law. Not difficult to follow but they'll have to follow it.

Sam Coppersmith:
Well, it does impose a little terms of in my firm we may not hire lawyers or secretaries all that often.

Barrett Marson:
No new lawyers in Phoenix? Oh, how terrible!

Sam Coppersmith:
But speaking of lawyers, one thing that sort of struck me was how do I put it this way, the same businesses that couldn't figure out how to sue this law are going to have to figure out how to comply with it. And there are going to be some issues I understand tactically a number of choices that were made in terms of how they went after the legislation so naturally they lost it at district court level.

Barrett Marson:
Yeah. I think a lot of people don't understand how these lawyers went about it. They were told specifically they sued the wrong people. They still went for it. Then the lawsuit was thrown out and they were kind of surprised about it. They had to sue again and it was really quick. It was not that good situation for those groups who were suing and who appeared not to have a great grasp of what was happening.

Sam Coppersmith:
I'll be curious to see what happens. Because the law may be coming in at a most propitious time if the University of Arizona truly is saying, if Arizona is in a recession, what better time to make it tougher to hire people.

Barrett Marson:
Another scene that's going on at the legislature right now is C.P.S. Records. There is a desire after three deaths last year in the city of Tucson, after C.P.S. had occasion to investigate a case of abuse of these kids, another two have died recently. And the state as a legislature at least is moving to open up records where C.P.S. has had intervention and the children have died. And there's been some pushback on this. I fail to understand why when on such a serious case, when a child has died, why after the state contact why shouldn't we have some oversight of public viewing of this? So that people understand what went wrong, what happened?

Sam Coppersmith:
Let me give you -- first off I have to disclose I'm on the board of directors of a nonprofit that provides foster care services and therapeutic foster care services in Arizona. So I mean, we do it in Arizona. We do it a number of other states. So I have an interest in this because of my service on that board. Let me say that is there a problem with learning from those tragic experiences? Probably not. But let me caution you that particularly when it comes to opening up a C.P.S. file, I think the people even in your caucus in the legislature are dealing with this whole collateral damage issue. You know, how do you prevent lives from being ruined that touch the tragedy but aren't necessarily part of the tragedy? How do you protect those kids? How do you keep it from being basically just an exercise in voyeurism and one that actually looks at the system and helps examine it? The problem is if the insistence is this has got to be very visible and very public you're going to have to deal with those issues. On the other hand, could there be a mechanism to go in where you have something like protections for juveniles where you have some sort of screening or whatever that isn't necessarily fodder for newspapers or point scoring, if it really is meant to sort of look at how C.P.S. is doing things and what are the things to see, then yeah, sure. I don't think anybody could argue with that.

Barrett Marson:
Good. And I hope there isn't. And as a former member of the illustrious profession of journalism it's important to shed light to get answers. I hope there isn't much opposition to this. It's a reform that is really needed.

Sam Coppersmith:
If you could do it in reporting of juvenile cases with initials and things like that to let people understand what the system is. But the problem is what I worry about is you have an under funded system where people are under horrendous stress right now.

Barrett Marson:
It says it's under funded. But the legislature and the governor have pumped millions of dollars into it. We raise salaries for C.P.S. workers. We've added C.P.S. workers. There has been a great deal done over the last couple of years.

Sam Coppersmith:
Not denying that. On the other hand the state is still growing and the -- growing and the need is still there. Speaking of that, what are we going to make of John McCain?

Barrett Marson:
It's amazing. I said here last week, I sometimes don't understand why conservatives aren't so happy. I mean, there's a couple of issues.

Sam Coppersmith:
Why? That's not how conservatives treat each other.

Barrett Marson:
He is pro-life. He's generally, I mean, he doesn't take an earmark. Generally very fiscally conservative. So on some of those core issues he's pretty conservative. Gets a 82 or something.

Sam Coppersmith:
Know what you think, this guy is a moderate.

Barrett Marson:
Exactly. He bucks the trend sometimes. But I don't know that that should be enough.

Sam Coppersmith:
What counts for this? I mean, the most bizarre thing about this is, as a democrat you look at the republicans and you guys are having this incredible debate like who's more electable? I worry about John McCain. To us the answer is really simple. You republicans are looking at us on the democratic side and saying, Hillary, Obama, what are you guys going to do? Are you nuts? The choice is clear.

Barrett Marson:
I think the choice will be clear some November when and if John McCain is on the ticket in the Arizona. I think you're going to see the republicans do very well here. I think you're going to see a decision by both national campaigns to not put any money in Arizona. The democrats will write Arizona off. So you will see from the top down, republicans both making up sort of their money issues and maybe some of the other issues. They'll make it up by just having John McCain at the top of the ticket. Democrats will not spend -- national democrats will not spend the money.

Sam Coppersmith:
I'm not sure I heard anything after you said that the republicans have to make up their money issues.

Barrett Marson:
Big deal.

Sam Coppersmith:
I don't think republicans are used to playing from behind when it comes to money.

Barrett Marson:
Congresswoman Gifford has a nice 1.1, $1.2 million war chest. Congressman Mitchell has I think $800,000 cash on hand. So yes, the republican challengers.

Sam Coppersmith:
And Senator Bee, no one is really sure where he is. Have they heard of cell phones? Or is that just a house thing?

Barrett Marson:
He refuses to live in Washington, D.C. However, he is still here in Arizona all the time. He is doing work here.

Sam Coppersmith:
They just don't know what work it is or where he is.

Barrett Marson:
He takes a couple days off and goes someplace but we don't know where. I think the important thing is the democrats don't want to talk about this. There was a news conference a few weeks ago. Democrats do not want to talk about. John McCain gets on the top of the ticket what that will do for their chances to retake the house.

Sam Coppersmith:
To retake the state house and keep both the Gifford, Mitchell and try to get the --

Barrett Marson:
The C.D. 1 seed, I think there are only so many open seats.

Sam Coppersmith:
The real money advantages of the congressional and the senatorial committees, I think that's where you're going to see people playing in Arizona. I think John McCain on the ticket means there's no national republican money. I think the democrats still can have some fun.

Barrett Marson:
Good seeing you tonight, Sam.

Sam Coppersmith:
All right. Take care.

Barrett Marson:
Give my best to your legislative over lookers.

Sam Coppersmith:
Okay.

Ted Simons:
Western progress is an organization advancing what it calls progressive policy solutions across the eight-state rocky mountain region. Recently the executive director of the organization Alan Stephens wrote an op-ed in the "East Valley Tribune" about what issues he hopes the state legislature will focus on this session. He joins us to talk about that and other sustainability issues. Alan good to see you.

Alan Stephens:
Thanks for having me.

Ted Simons:
Progressive policy solutions on what?

Alan Stephens:
A variety of issues that challenge the rocky mountain west. We talk about the Rocky Mountains we're talking about the eight states in the intermountain rocky west which includes Arizona and New Mexico towards the south. We have a lot of very similar issues in each of these states dealing with water planning, dealing with energy independence, energy issues, transportation issues, infrastructure, budget issues. A variety of kinds of things that we have very similar interests in across the Rockies.

Ted Simons:
With budget concerns as they are at the state legislature, how does your set of ideas translate into getting something done in these hard times?

Alan Stephens:
Well, I think particularly in the areas of sustainability it's probably a good time to talk about issues where there's not a direct outlay of dollars. But instead a reflecting on policy decisions in the area of water, for instance, I think this is going to be a session where we'll see a lot of activity on water. And it's a bipartisan interest in legislators, a republican legislature and democratic governor are both concentrating on resource planning. There are a number of bills which would link water resource planning with land use planning in a variety of ways. That's a very positive trend particularly during the long-term drought which we're experiencing, and particularly if we see a shortage develop on the Colorado River which is possible over the next few years if the drought continues. We'll have to make sure that future land development is really conditioned on the availability of water.

Ted Simons:
Talk more if you would about water use and land planning as it pertains to a transportation plan, which in terms of sustainability is a necessity.

Alan Stephens:
Well, obviously the local governments are very involved in local land use planning, as they should be. But the state is very involved in transportation planning in a partnership with the local level. And then there's the myriad of folks that are involved in the water planning, federal government as well as local and state entities. And in order to assure that we're going have a sustainable community here, we've got to make sure that availability of water exists. Obviously if we don't coordinate our land use planning, with how much water is available we're going to run into problems. That's the whole idea between the ground water management act that was passed in 1980 and certainly into our negotiations with the other basin states for the Colorado River allocation and the future of the central Arizona project. With that, however, also comes the fact that wear in transportation we just can't endless endlessly expand. That takes more energy and water and creates more air quality problems in the valley. Same things happening in other places across the Rockies in Denver and Salt Lake. We're all dealing with the same issue. So we're talking about trying to figure out a way to work with local governments and state governments to construct a methodology to coordinate local land use planning and general plans. For instance there's a bill in the legislature that senator owe hall earn has introduced which would requite general plans of local governments which deal with land use planning to be coordinated with water resource planning. And through the department of water resources information that is available in terms of how much water is available particularly in rural Arizona this is a key component which we've really been missing in how Arizona grows.

Ted Simons:
And Arizona would seem to be a perfect place to grow solar energy. Why are we not seeing more done?

Alan Stephens:
Well, actually we're beginning to. I know the many members of the Arizona corporation commission are very interested in providing incentives, working with the utilities that they oversee, to create incentives in their service areas so that more people avail themselves of solar energy equipment, and then that they also look at ways that they can encourage the utility companies to avail themselves of concentrated solar. Everybody from the state chamber's office, to the governor's office, members of the legislature are all interested in this. I think as solar energy becomes cheaper we're going to see more requirements. Like the corporation commission has mandated in Arizona that the utility companies that they oversee have 15\% of their energy portfolio be in renewable energy sources. That is from biofuels, from solar energy in particular, wind, and so as that happens you're going to see the costs of these renewables, the cost of generating them come down and down so they're going to be much more viable.

Ted Simons:
Only about a minute or so left. How are sustainability issues different here in Arizona than the other states that your company deals with or your organization deals with?

Alan Stephens:
Well, they're very similar in fact. Although we are in the desert, obviously, although we have some Colorado Plateau in the northern part of the state, but so we've got to deal particularly with the water availability. We have a legislature that is grappling with transportation funding, which is obviously part of the picture. A number of other states are, too. So there's not a lot of differences. There's a lot of similarities, as a matter of fact.

Ted Simons:
Okay. And real quickly, I know in Colorado they have a net metering system as far as solar is concerned. Can we do something like that where you can give back to the grid if you have excess?

Alan Stephens:
I think there are plans underway for legislation to be introduced forward comprehensive energy independence program in Arizona and I think we'll see it in the next few weeks.

Ted Simons:
Alan, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it. The flu has now spread across the state earning Arizona the center for disease control and prevention's highest flu activity designation. Is it too late for a flu shot? Or if you have got one are you have? That's Tuesday on Horizon. And that's it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thanks for joining us on Horizon.

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