Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

April 21, 2008


Host: Ted Simons

Juan Williams

  |   Video
  • A conversation with the NPR and Fox News analyst about Senator Barack Obama�s presidential candidacy and the difference between NPR and Fox News.
Guests:
  • Juan Williams, NPR
Category: Elections

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
NPR and fox news analyst Juan Williams was in the Valley recently. He was a speaker at ASU's Center for Community Development and Civil Rights. The group held its fourth civil rights forum on the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Larry Lemmons spoke with Mr. Williams at the Downtown Phoenix campus.

Larry Lemmons:
Mr. Williams, I'd like to begin with an article in the "Wall Street Journal" today, Obama and King. 40 years after Martin Luther King has been assassinated, and now we have an African-American man who could very well become the next President of the United States. Clearly that says a lot about how America has changed. How would you characterize it?

Juan Williams:
There's no question, if Dr. King was alive 40 years later and saw the reality of Barack Obama, not just a black man but a guy named Barack Obama, who's father was an immigrant and who's mother is white -- he'd say that's unbelievable that he could be the leading contender for his party's nomination. In so many ways there's something that binds the two of them in the American mind when it comes to race. Which is that Dr. King and Barack Obama both represent the idea of rising above race, of unity, of the so-called "Promised Land" or the dream in king's language, that people would come together and appeal, not on the basis of racial division or racial animosity, but appeal on the basis of common identity and common American spirit. And he would say, you know what, race is a secondary consideration, not the primary reason I'm supporting or opposing somebody. And I'm listening to them and I see them as a truth-teller to all involved. Truth, in the inspiring sense. So that's what I see as somehow binding Dr. King and Barack Obama in the American mind.

Larry Lemmons:
Of course you said in your article that on the one hand, Obama appeals to young white voters with his idealism. In the same way that Dr. King would have. But on the other hand, in order to get the black vote, you say that he has had to do things that weren't necessarily within Dr. King's canon of behavior. Could you talk about that?

Juan Williams:
Once that white voters demonstrated they were willing to vote for a black man, Iowa Barack Obama wins, comes in a close second in New Hampshire, and then suddenly the attention shifts to South Carolina where about half of the Democratic electorate is made up of African Americans. And suddenly you saw an interesting thing take place; Barack Obama had to argue, with other black people, about the idea that he was black enough. If you'll recall, initially there were people who said, you're not black enough, you're half white and you come from this immigrant experience of your father and lived in Indonesia and Hawaii, you have this Ivy League education. So he had to argue he was black enough. Then secondly, he had to argue that he was someone whose time had come, that black people shouldn't be waiting for someone down the way to achieve this ultimate political power of a successful presidential campaign. And I might add, they also had to -- I'm talking here about Barack Obama, his wife Michelle and the likes of Oprah Winfrey, also had to reassure black people that he was not going to be assassinated. He's not just going to be another leading black American figure who's just going to be killed by the white races. What this generated was tremendous sense of pride in Barack Obama among black people. He's been getting 80-plus percent of the black vote nationwide. But it really at that point turns, and he becomes the black candidate. He becomes representative of black aspirations to have one of the black people finally hold this highest top political office, as opposed to the way whites view Barack Obama, which is the color of his skin is secondary. It's just coincidental to the fact that we find him someone who represents our highest ideals. And we take pride in the idea that we don't view him as a black guy. We view him as someone who is capable, well educated, former editor of the Harvard Law Review, and someone who's going to help us get past all of the racial baggage of the past. On the one hand, he's getting past all the racial baggage of the past with the white voters, but with black voters he's focusing on his racial identity in order to win their solidarity.

Larry Lemmons:
You, of course, work for NPR and you work for Fox. People might think of NPR and PBS also as being left of center, and they might think of Fox as being right of center. You worked for both. Can you give me an idea of what it's like to work with both, and how are they different?

Juan Williams:
Well, I can tell you, for Fox, there's no question, it's a conservative cable network. I think that Fox was created to somehow give voice and presence to conservative political points of view. On many of the shows that I appear you'll have a conservative host in the likes of Bill O'Reilly, and then they'll have conservative guests, and then they'll have me there almost as a foil, as another voice, as another perspective. And I always joke that I get the worst seating and the worst lighting and the last question. But that's their market. NPR is seeking to have a broader market, but NPR has a history. The history is that it started as a bunch of college stations, young people, started in the '70s, in the aftermath of the Watergate hearings, was seen as coming from the left side of the political spectrum, representing that kind of academic free spirit that existed on the campuses. Or higher-income people who had a high level of education, especially in the precincts of Manhattan and Boston, people who were seen as the intellectual elite in the society. So NPR has this image of being left wing. But in fact, I think NPR represents an oasis in terms of the landscape of the moment. NPR is really trying to be a reliable source of news, no matter what your political stripe.

Larry Lemmons:
Is that a good thing or a bad thing that these broadcast outlets have become politicized?

Juan Williams:
I don't think it's a good thing. But remember, I'm 53 years old. And I grew up absolutely enamored of the Walter Cronkites of the world, the Huntley Brinkley Report. I think if you have an authoritative, credible journalist, that's a very high -- it's almost like a priesthood to me. It's something that I think is important. We are a very diverse country. And I'm not just talking in terms of racial diversity; I'm talking in terms of geographic diversity, ethnic diversity, levels of education, experience, the amount of foreign travel, very diverse. It's important that we have credible sources of information that people can view as trustworthy. And I think we have fewer and fewer of those today. Let me just tell you this, sometimes I ask people, I say where do you get your news and information from. Overwhelmingly people say to me, well, I listen to John Stewart or I tune in to Steven Colbert or Oberman or O'Riley or Jay Leno or Letterman or Oprah. And they go, okay, yeah, and my friend, he tells me stuff, or sometimes I catch the headlines in the car.
And I'm thinking, wait a minute, they are not listening or reading one journalist, one person who's committed to delivering them the straight story. They haven't mentioned one such source of information yet. Yet, that's the reality. We have so much, many more sources of information, internet, radio, TV, more stations on cable, Universe 500 plus. Yet the idea of impartial, absolutely credible journalism has become more and more of a limited and precious resource.

Larry Lemmons:
Juan Williams, thanks very much for talking to "Horizon."

Juan Williams:
Larry, my pleasure. Nice to be with you.

One on One

  |   Video
  • Andy Gordon of Coppersmith/Gordon/Schermer/Brockelman and Barrett Marson, House GOP Spokesman, debate the issues in the state Legislature, including the Budget and the Arpaio/Gordon kerfuffle.
Guests:
  • Andy Gordon - Coppersmith, Gordon, Schermer and Brockelman
  • Barrett Marson - Spokesman, State House Republicans


View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Now for our regular Monday feature focusing on issues of concern to those watching the state legislature and upcoming elections. Two political types go one on one. Tonight Andy Gordon of the law firm Coppersmith, Gordon, Schermer and Brockelman goes head to head with Barrett Marson, the State House Republican spokesman.

Barrett Marson:
Good evening, good to be here with you. We'll start right off with the budget. We got the -- the legislature completed the budget last week and the governor signed it as well. It was only 69 minutes from the time that the legislature sent the bill up to when she signed it. But you know the funny thing is, it's almost exactly what she vetoed a month and a half ago, or more than a month ago. It was almost exactly. The sweeps and the state agency reductions are 95\% of the way there. So really, when the governor vetoed that a month and a half ago, it's as if she didn't move and the legislature didn't move. So two times was the charm. For her, two times is the charm.

Andy Gordon:
Actually there was movement in that bill. This was a deal basically done a while ago. The legislature seems to be more worried about fooling around with some other bills. We could talk about Senator Pierce's. The real question is what they're going to do with the next one. The 2009 budget is about $2 billion. I think we all know how it's going to come out. Mr. Boone has already said he's going to accept capital financing, that's going to happen. There will be some sweeps, there'll be some rollovers, they can have this sucker done next week, he can let all these people go home. After six years of dancing with the governor, we all know how this is going to come out. The question is, "Why does the dance have to last so long?"

Barrett Marson:
The dances last so long again sometimes because the governor doesn't accept things first time around. Didn't accept some of the tax reductions first time around. She vetoed those. Those eventually became law. Again, it's negotiating with the governor who stands firm, and then finally gives in to what the legislature wants. And again, she gets some stuff out of it, as well as, it's negotiating, it is a dance. But it is something where the governor has to attempt to assert her position. But in the end, signs exactly what she vetoed previously.

Andy Gordon:
This is an interesting twist, because after hearing the republican legislators -- and a couple of democrats, to be honest with you, Mr. Chevron -- complain ultimately the general perception is -- the budgets that come out and are approved are ultimately the ones that she's been pushing.

Barrett Marson:
She never pushed for a 10\% income tax reduction. She never pushed for the suspension or the repealed of the property tax. So that's not true. She had to be brought there. She stood firm, I will not support a permanent income tax. Yet that's what happened. The same thing is happening now. She would not support $300 million in reduction of state agencies, but that's what's happening this year.

Andy Gordon:
And there's going to be some sweeps in the big bill.

Barrett Marson:
I'm not talking sweeps, I'm talking about real reductions�

Andy Gordon:
The real question is the change by republicans on capital financing, that they finally acknowledge that the state's going to have to do that. That I suspect is the really big difference.

Barrett Marson:
Maybe the fight will be more on how long, because you don't have to do 30-year capital financing. The governor said that is a short-term problem, our budget -- economic downturn is a short-term thing. We can do a shorter term capital financing.

Andy Gordon:
The trick is to be in a position when we come out of this economic cycle that we haven't so hindered ourselves and hurt ourselves that we've left the state in the kind of condition as when she came into office.

Barrett Marson:
Are you a Republican, because that's what we're saying. When you borrow and bond that much money, you're hurting future generations.

Andy Gordon:
Let's talk about one of my other favorite Republicans, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Mayor Gordon. I have to say, I've known Phil for many years, he's a close personal friend of mine. And I have never been as proud of a politician as I've been of Mayor Gordon and what he's taken on with Sheriff Arpaio. It reminds me of Joseph Walsh, quite frankly, taking on Senator McCarthy and showing the shamefulness of what Arpaio has been up to.

Barrett Marson:
I'm not quite sure I see it quite as heroically. The timing seems odd. Remember, for a long time he's taken a stance on, we're going to have to change the internal policy that doesn't allow the Phoenix PD to ask people about their immigration status. I'm not sure. He's been part and parcel. He hasn't done a lot, I think is the problem. Say what you want about Sheriff Joe Arpaio's tactics, the issue is he's responding to what the people of Maricopa county want. You may disagree, but poll after poll, election after election, not just poll but elections, show people want something done about illegal immigration. Sheriff Joe's doing it. The businesses, those poor businesses that have to deal with Phoenix Police in action, they're the ones who went to Sheriff Joe and said please do something, Phoenix PD won't do it.

Andy Gordon:
There's no question that we have a role in dealing with illegal immigration. Indeed, you can look at what the head of DPS, Mr. Van der Pool, is doing. He's not doing it with racist sweeps of Mexican-American neighborhoods. It was time for someone to call Sheriff Joe Arpaio on exactly what he was doing. Where are the rest of the Republicans? Where's Senator McCain, for instance, on saying I agree or I disagree with the tactics that Sheriff Joe Arpaio is up to? That is me --

Barrett Marson:
It is more -- the Democrats are passing the buck again, asking for federal action. Which we all agree, the Feds need to take the action. They haven't, so therefore people like Arpaio, people like Andy Thomas are taking the action. You may not like the actions, but they are taking strong actions and saying, we should not tolerate the illegal population running roughshod over businesses.

Andy Gordon:
Barrett, this isn't action directed towards immigration. This is classic racist conduct. That's what Mayor Gordon was objecting to. Quite frankly, the fact that no major Republican will step out and cross the sheriff, I think is shameful.

Barrett Marson:
I think it's great that the DOJ is getting an opportunity to look at this. Because I think once they do look at it, we can put it all to rest. People say it's racist when it's clearly not. Now on to some sort of breaking news today. Ken Bennett, the former Senate President, announced today that he would not be running for C.D. 1, congressional district one up north, a big rural district. And I think that's pretty much the Democrats and the state party and the "D Triple C," the national campaign, really just trying to delve into his personal matters, trying to embarrass him. They spend no time saying, we're going to attack your son. You didn't do anything wrong, but your son did, and we're going to go after that.

Andy Gordon:
I think it was more what I understood Senator Bennett had said, he wanted to stay with his oil business and wasn't able to leave that behind. It's surprising that after all of this, the Republicans frankly are not able to come forward with a significant candidate to hold the seat. My hunch is they're going to lose that seat. Kirkpatrick has gotten off to a pretty good start with fund-raising. The numbers work in that district for the Democrats. In addition to holding the seats we have, we're going to have a net gain of what?

Barrett Marson:
We'll see about that. Harry Mitchell has raised a significant amount of money, but so has Schwiegert. Schwiegert has raised a lot of money. He's clearly in the first tier in c.d. 5.

Andy Gordon:
I sort of thought this might come up. Of what Schwiegert's raised, over $200,000 is his own money. He's only raised about $400,000 or so --

Barrett Marson:
That puts him in first place among Republicans in that district.

Andy Gordon:
It does. But what's interesting is, there's a poll out today from the American Hospital Association that has Harry 50, Schweigert 24, Harry 49, Laura Canaparic 26. It shows that, despite the fact that Canaparic's way behind in the fund-raising, that Schweigert's money isn't making much difference. And they're going to spend all the money in the primary anyway.

Barrett Marson:
I don't know if they'll spend all of the money in the primary. He's going to have to spend some money clearly to get his name out there -- but you know, with the money that he has, people will focus more on him. Nothing helps you raise money like having money.

Andy Gordon:
Well, and the fact is, my point is, for instance when you look and see what they did down in Tucson, it's not very effective. But of course, Gabby's still a million dollars ahead. Should be a good year for the D's in the congress.

sB 1028 Loan Originator Licensing

  |   Video
  • State Senator Jay Tibshraeny talks about his bill which would establish a loan originator program within the Department of Financial Institutions. A person would then be prohibited from acting as a loan originator unless licensed as one by the department.
Guests:
  • Jay Tibshraeny - State Senator, Chandler
Category: Business/Economy   |   Keywords: Legislature,

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Good evening, and thanks for joining us on "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. The state senate today approved a bill that would require city and county law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration law. The bill was approved by a vote of 20 to 9 and now heads to the governor. Police departments could meet the bill's requirements by building a relationship with federal authorities to solve the problem of illegal immigration, getting immigration training for their officers, or by embedding federal immigration agents in their departments. The bill would also prohibit local governments from having policies that prevent sharing immigration status in certain cases.

Ted Simons:
The sub-prime mortgage mess has produced quite a few casualties. Today a story in the Arizona Republic reports that some homeowners in the Phoenix area are choosing to walk away from their mortgages, even when they're not immediately facing foreclosure. They're walking away because they owe more than their home is worth. Still, foreclosures have quadrupled from a year ago. And some blame mortgage lenders for a good part of the problem. Joining us to talk about his efforts in the state legislature, Senator Jay Tibshraeny of Chandler. His bill would require that mortgage lenders be licensed in Arizona. Good to see you again, thanks for joining us on "Horizon."

Jay Tibshraeny:
Thanks for having me tonight.

Ted Simons:
Licensing of loan originators, why would that make a difference?

Jay Tibshraeny:
The loan salesman. I guess the reason it makes a difference -- that person is the person selling you a very expensive instrument, the loan on your house. And in that industry, the real estate salesman that you deal with is licensed. The architect that drew the house is licensed. The home builder that built the house is licensed. Yet the person that deals with all your confidential information, your tax returns, your finances, has no licensing requirement, no requirement that looks at, is this person qualified to sell me a 200, a 300, a 400, a 500,000 mortgage. I think the time has come to put them under some professional regulations and ethics and accountability in an industry that's sorely in need of it right now.

Ted Simons:
Why haven't these folks been regulated heretofore?

Jay Tibshraeny:
I'm not sure. A lot of other states do regulate loan officers, loan salesmen. Arizona, for whatever reason, has lagged behind. I know last year there was an attempt to do it, and it didn't happen. I ran mortgage fraud legislation that I concentrated on last year, and that did get through. But this year I've concentrated on this loan officer licensing, and it's been moving through the process pretty good. But I think the timing is good for it now at the legislature. It passed out of the House about two weeks ago, 48 to 4. It's going through the Senate as we speak, and it'll be in caucus tomorrow morning. We'll have a vote in the Senate within the next week on it. Because of the tremendous problem we're having with the housing industry in this nation, and how mortgage loans and the lenders and the lending industry has related to it, I think people say, its time for a little regulation, a little ethics, a little regulation in this industry right now.

Ted Simons:
When you talk about regulation, what are we discussing here? Is it education? Is it -- what would regulation involve?

Jay Tibshraeny:
It'll involve a couple of things. But obviously it's going to require a test to be taken before you can get your license. So you'll have to do some education and then take a test to get your license. There will be ongoing education, much like the real estate industry has, where you have to take so many classes every year to get your license renewed. It'll require background checks to look into the background, and things that are shady in your background, or if you have a felony in your background, are all going to be reasons not to issue a license to that person right now. Right now we don't have that. Education, a look into your background, and ongoing education.

Ted Simons:
You originally tried to get this through, and it seemed to stall in committee. What happened?

Jay Tibshraeny:
The bill initially that I dropped in the Senate, because it didn't get a hearing in the Senate, that's not an unusual occurrence in the Senate. Chairmans have the decision of hearing or not hearing bills. My particular bill didn't get a hearing in the Senate. Much like the mortgage fraud legislation from last year. But using an instrument that we call a striker, I was able to use one of my bills that had landed over in the House on a different subject, and working with the chairman of the financial committee in the House -- I was able to get a hearing on it and get it through the process over there, and then it circled back to the Senate where it sits today.

Ted Simons:
On the Senate side though, wasn't there a competing bill, a differing bill, that said maybe voluntarily these folks could go ahead and be licensed, and you go out of the secretary of state's office instead of a different avenue? Why was that a bad idea, or not as good as your idea?

Jay Tibshraeny:
I liked my idea, I'm sure the sponsor of that bill liked her idea better. But that's voluntary, it's strictly voluntary. So if you're a salesman, you can volunteer to go register. There's no enforcement and there's no real other teeth to that registration, other than I'm listed in the Secretary of State's website that I'm going to sell mortgages. Versus mine which has regulations, which has enforcement, and which has ongoing education, which has enforcement to where, if you violate the law, you can have your license suspended. The thing that you make a living at, selling those mortgages, you're licensed. If you are a bad operator, you could lose that ability to make a living.

Ted Simons:
What about the brokers who have used some of these -- some are pretty fly by night characters over here, and that's obviously the reason you've got legislation. What about those who have used these people in the past? Is there not some responsibility on that end?

Jay Tibshraeny:
There is. A lot of people don't realize brokers are currently licensed in the state. The mortgage brokers. But the people working under them are not licensed. And the real estate industry, the broker's licensed, but so is the real estate salesmen. The brokers have responsibility, but that responsibility, I think, breaks down at the sales level by not having really any enforcement there. So I think broker licensing will continue, but I think you need that extra added step of the salesperson being licensed. Yes, we can penalize and hold brokers accountable, but you still have that salesman out there, even if the broker gets rid of them, if you don't have a way to track them and now who those operates are, and have a system, they can go from broker to broker without any knowledge that they're not really a very ethical person.

Ted Simons:
Quickly, what kind of response are you getting from the real estate industry?

Jay Tibshraeny:
This particular bill is getting very, very good response from the real estate industry, the banking industry, the lending industry. It pretty much has unanimous support from the business community and the related businesses that this is the time, the time to do it, and we need to do it now.

Ted Simons:
Alright Jay, thank you so much for joining us, good to see you again.

Jay Tibshraeny:
Thank you.

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