Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

September 12, 2008


Host:

Journalists Roundtable

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  • Don't miss HORIZON's weekly roundtable where local reporters get a chance to review the week's top stories.
Guests:
  • Mary Jo Pitzl - Arizona Republic
Category: Journalists Roundtable

View Transcript
Ted Simons
>>> Tonight on "horizon" i.c.e. is investigating Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his crime supression sweeps.

Ted Simons:
>>> We'll also talk about another lawsuit the sheriff is facing as well presidential hopeful Barrack Obama has opened up a valley office.

Ted Simons:
>>> And we'll talk about the state helping out troubled homeowners. That's next on horizon.

Ted Simons:
>>> Hello and welcome to "horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Joining me tonight are Mary Jo Pitzl of the Arizona republic, Paul Giblin of the east valley tribune, and Howard Fischer of capitol media services.

Ted Simons:
>>> The Maricopa County sheriff's office will be audited by federal investigators later this month. It comes after allegations that the sheriff is breaking their agreement by targeting day laborers instead of violent criminals and violating the rights of Latinos. Paul, what do you make of this?

Paul Giblin:
>> this is one of three investigation going on concerning Maricopa County sheriff's office and it's investigations into Hispanics or suspected illegal immigrants of the one you referred to the immigration custom enforcement agent which used it be ins. They are looking into to see if they are maybe stepping on people's civil rights and in addition to that the congress's investigative arm and government accountability office is doing a similar investigation. In addition that the FBI. is doing an investigation also on the same tracks and broader. It's tough to get my arms around.

Howard Fischer:
>> it's tricky because of the fact you have the group is he complying with the 285g agreement which has specially trained deputies who are entitled it enforce immigration law and specifically determine if you are in the country illegally. They are looking to see if they are living in the confines of that. That's a narrow investigation. This is not really a civil rights' investigation. This is a technical. I would be surprised if they yank the 285 based on. This.

Paul Giblin:
>> Yes or no. It has to have good probable cause to investigate the people in the first place. It's sort of the in the realm.

>> They are brown in Scottsdale and cape creek. That's the reason to investigate. What more do you want?

Mary Jo Pitzel:
>> Paul, what triggered this? Is it a lot of attention giving locally to him? Is the phoenix mayor stamping around?

Paul Giblin:
>> I think there's a lot that triggered this. There's a lot of attention to the mayor and department of justice which probably came through the f.b.i. all the civic organizations and couple of other law makers are getting a little bit squeezy. There's a lot of stuff going on and the real reason I believe is the they are the biggest operation in the country doing the 285gs programs and other agencies are adopting it and saying may be we ought to be doing it. I think the federal government wants to make sure it's up and up here.

Ted Simons:
>> So Washington says this is standard routine procedure, you're not buying that?

Paul Giblin:
>> No, I've been to the dentist before and they tell me about standard routine procedures and maybe not.

Ted Simons:
>> What about the sheriff?

Paul Giblin:
>> He says the same thing the i.c.e. investigation and government is routine audits. I spoke about the f.b.i. investigation and he says he doesn't have direct knowledge although I've spoken to people who knows the f.b.i. he says he has concerns about whether his agency is trampling the civil rights to contact the FBI. that was his response.

Howard Fischer:
>> He'll get your phone number and check out why you think he should be investigated. This is the same guy you got to remember was going every the new times records to find out the i.p. address of the people who seen the new times list of his website. Just because you're paranoid with sheriff Joe doesn't mean he isn't out to get you.

Paul Giblin:
>> I was looking at his website which is sheriffjoe.org and you can go to an on line poll. You can hit the details and it will show you the i.p. addresses of all the people voting.

Howard Fischer:
>> That's interesting. I inquired about. That it's a fascinating thing. You assume you vote on an on line poll and your anonymous. An i.p. can be tracked back. If you have a Cox cable you have a static i.p. address. They know where you live. The sheriffs' people are suggesting somebody hacked the site and did this to us.
Ted Simons:
>> are they finding how you voted?

Howard Fischer:
>> how you vote.

Ted Simons:
>> They know whether or not you said yes or no.

Paul Giblin:
>> Right, they know whether you support them or against them and put out your address to know who you are.

Ted Simons:
>> i thought only people who work at candle factories had something to worry about. What about the candle raid? Was it an employee-sanctioned based raid?

Paul Giblin:
>> Sort of. It was on the pretense of following up. Like the other raids the sheriff's office has done under the pretense of that law they have not actually charged anyone with the employer's sanctions like they have in other cases. Water park comes to mind. They are getting people for forged documents, that sort of thing. They are getting the low-level people and suspected immigrants and they are not getting the responsible employers similar to the other immigration raids. They are getting the suspected illegal immigrants. They are not getting the top people. They are not getting the smugglers and top-heavily people.

Mary Jo Pitzel:
>> It makes you wonder what's happening with the employer sanctions law. We are going to have an employer's sanction on the ballot. It's a little more expansive than the prosecution law. It's hard for the public to gauge does it need to be changed? Is it broke? Does it need to be fixed? A lot say because it's on the books it's a deterrent. That's hard to prove like a negative. We have hood high-profile arrests nothing on employers yet. I know it takes time.

Howard Fischer:
>> It's stricter books versus the watered down. I wouldn't call it light. I call is zero. You need to show that the employer knew or should have known the person was illegal. That's real hard to prove. Unless you're 5' 2 'and the documents say you are 6' 7" and blond, how do you know.

Mary Jo Pitzel:
>> That's one thing that Russell Pearce who broke the law says he will be back in the legislature next year seeking subpoena power because the county attorneys don't have that kind of subpoena power to get not records that might make it easier to build the case.

Ted Simons:
>> I thought was interesting that the company owners quoted him to saying he was one of the first to use e-verify. You have to wonder about the softening effect. Everyone talking about Sheriff Joe Arpaio is that affecting him at all?

Howard Fischer:
>> How many times have we sat here and talked about Sheriff Joe? Talked about multi-million dollars judgments against him? Talked about protests and every poll the guy is in the 70-80\%. After the candle factory thing.

Ted Simons:
>> He's no longer in the 70s and 80s.

Howard Fischer:
>> understood. Let's assume he's down to 55. Dan Saybin has yet to make a case. Simply saying I'm different, if you are going to replace the horse you know with another horse, you better have a damn good reason.

Ted Simons:
>> An ill titled group for voices of civil dialogue. They don't sound long to live.

Paul Giblin:
>> This is Annie Lloyd an independent who ran for a while against John Shandick. She showed up at the raid and has firsthand experience. She put together the group and wants to move forward the immigration debate. She didn't layout a particular course. She wants to start a forum and make it regional and now with the bickering that we've had with the mean spiritedness in the past.

Paul Giblin:
>> I have to correct Howie. Has all these things influenced Joe Arpaio's standing in the community? I think it is. You have people speaking out against him you didn't have that before. You have community groups speaking out about him and did I know happen before has his standing changed? Yes, it has. Will he win the election? Maybe not

Ted Simons:
>> A court challenge Mary Jo that folks were getting rid of idea that requires diploma.

Mary Jo Pitzel:
>> It's like getting a high school diploma in Arizona. The argument was made that students who are economically and socially disadvantaged should be exempt from the requirement because they have not been properly educated to take the test and the judge said no.

Howard Fischer:
>> What the judge said--he did not disagree with the basically statistical data. If you are from the crepe school district in Yuma or the Roosevelt school district in phoenix, the aims graduation rate is lower than perhaps one of the aflewant districts. He said the lack of funding didn't affect the program not being available and then in turn affected a student not getting a diploma. He said without that I can't tinker with the system.

Ted Simons:
>> can they get that.

Howard Fischer:
>> Mary Jo talked in the past about proving negatives. It's hard to say I'll find you a specific student who went to a specific school who didn't get a program she specifically wanted and because of that she failed aims. I think that's almost impossible to prove.

Ted Simons:
>> Any appeal? Any idea?

Howard Fischer:
>> They have been talking about it but no decision.

Mary Jo Pitzel:
>> Aims is on the bubble. The state legislature in the last hour in the budget bill said we'll put aims on a one-year contract renewal and take a look at alternatives maybe aims won't be the subject of debate in two years. It might be something--i don't know what they'll call it.

Ted Simons:
>> something that I'm sure will be subject of quite a bit of debate is the budget and falling tax collections and Mary Jo and they come out with numbers for July. The first month in July and not good at all.

Mary Jo Pitzel:
>> No, not good at all. It's the first month of the fiscal budget year and they are way below projections. They were in the whole and it's deeper. To recover and have a budget passed that the state's operating on now balance out at the fiscal year you have to grow the economy and tax revenues at 6.1\%. It was built on the economy and tax revenues would grow 1.9\%. Pretty impossible standard to meet which means we will have more budget chaos and probably i would suspect come January not much sooner.

Howard Fischer:
>> What this is one of those leading economic indicators if you want to call it that. Sales taxes reflect what people are buying. Sales taxes are not only below projections, they're below last year. Which means people are spending less. The state's population has gone up 3.5\%. With that the actual dollars collected are less which means people are buying less or when they are buying things, they are buying less expensive. We have seen that with the car dealers.auto sales are down 10\% they are not buying the fancier models. 43\% is dependent on sales tax.

Ted Simons:
>> Corporate and income tax are down. You mentioned not until January. Would the governor not be--would it not help her get something going before the new crowd gets in there?

Mary Jo Pitzel:
>> Well, there are two arguments on that. One, I think she in terms of the legislature she has to deal with, she would most likely rather deal with the current crowd than the crowd she's going to get. We don't know who will win the elections in the November and that's a crapshoot and the democrats are hoping to take over one of the chambers in the legislature. If you come in and do a correction on the budget, this is the governor's budget. The lawmakers and democrats who crossed over thought it was a good plan. Why would they come back a couple of months later and say this is not good enough?

Howard Fischer:
>> This governor does her best Annie imitation. She keeps saying, the sun will come out tomorrow and thinks it will get better. We'll though because we'll see the jobless numbers. If the jobless rates continue to rise which means people are not paying income tax and spending money on numbers, I think she will have a hard time sustaining that.

Ted Simons:
>> Everything comes back to Sheriff Joe. Illegal immigration, perhaps employer sanctions cracking down on illegal immigration, is that affecting things like sales taxes?

Mary Jo Pitzel:
>> Well, it's not been proven empirically. It's hard to find and draw those direct lines. Nobody says oh, yeah, this sale was clearly to an illegal immigrant and they are not here and we're not getting the revenue.

Paul Giblin:
>> Look at the program under the state law he arrested a thousand people. A thousand people. The estimates are there are 500,000 illegal immigrants here in Arizona. Most of them are headed out of state. I would say no, all the work collecting illegal immigrants.

Ted Simons:
>> You don't think there's a chill factor there?

Paul Giblin:
>> No. Not any chill factor that amounts to much. I think what affects him is the economy is going south.

Howard Fischer:
>> That's a piece of it. I have to go along with part of what you're saying is the to the extent that some employers if they're not sure of somebody's documentation are not going to hire them. A lot of people who came to Arizona are now passing through. People who would otherwise stay here I believe and would work at the various jobs. The construction industries having problems getting jobs much Mary Jo and I sat down with David Jones who said we can't find people here legally doing the jobs.

Mary Jo Pitzel:
>> How do you get it to go down if you have jobs they are trying to fill?

Howard Fischer:
>> The other side is the economy side of it. It gets down to the whole issue of john McCain talked about would you pick lettuce in Yuma for $75? Would you be up on a hot roof assuming you're qualified to be a roofer for $9 an hour that David Jones is willing to pay? I don't know.

Ted Simons:
>> Keeping in mind the economy and things are not too good. They are funding slow foreclosures and help folks with problems with the homes.

Howard Fischer:
>> Arizona has run the housing department for years and get money from the federal government and unclaimed property. They are taking some of the money and redeploying it. What they want to do it help people on temporary assistance. In other words if you are going behind a month and you can show it's temporary, we will help you while you get grants and loans and help you while you renegotiate. This is not to help folks in foreclosure or pre-foreclosure. All you can help them with is counseling. There's money in there in the federal law and this to help cities buy abandoned properties and foreclosed properties and first-time home buyers who can't afford a down payment buy those prompts. It's a holistic approach.

Ted Simons:
>> We're not talking about taxpayer money here. We're talking about money in the trust?

Howard Fischer:
>> Well, the federal money is tax money. If you forget about something in a safe deposit box, deposits that you didn't get refunded. Most of the money when the property is sold off and cash found this is goes in a housing trust fund.

Ted Simons:
>> I have to keep thing moving. Paul, we understand that Barrack Obama has opened a campaign headquarters in Phoenix. Why?

Paul Giblin:
>> I can't figure that one out.

Mary Jo Pitzel:
>> Because he's running for president.


Paul Giblin:
>> The best guess is he opened it because he wants to say I ran a 50-state campaign even in john McCain's state where he will beat me by 12-15\%. I think he did to say he ran a national campaign.

Ted Simons:
>> is there a chance we will see senator Obama or Senator Biden in Arizona.

Paul Giblin:
>> their campaign people say those decisions have not been made. People know today those decisions are made. He's not coming here.

Ted Simons:
>> how about advertising. Are we seeing advertising?

Paul Giblin:
>> it's being spent on states like Florida and Ohio and Colorado and new Mexico. That's where the money is going. Arizona is decided. Every poll, every reasonable poll will tell you that McCain is going to win it. We will see effort and people getting involved and thing that are very cheap. Maybe Obama might come pick up a slurpy on the way to the Colorado. I don't expect him to do campaigning the headquarters are opened.

Paul Giblin:
>> if you want to campaign for Barack Obama, there's a place to sign up.

Ted Simons:
>> Very good. Howie, ken star is back in the news only in the Arizona would he be back in the news. Apparently there's some lawyer fee concerns here.

Howard Fischer:
>>The state we talked about in this language learner's case. It's proceeding in two directions. There's a hearing in late December whether the state has to pay the 46 million extra for English learner's. The legislature and state are asking the u.s. supreme court to overturn a ninth circuit court decision. The U.S. Supreme Court is specialty. Not just any attorney can practice there. Even if they are legally qualified, there's special training. The arch of house speaker Jim Wires and we need experience arguing with Supreme Court. That's ken star. That's the good news. The bad news is the state that picks up the legal fees pays a maximum of $335 an hour. Ken by virtue of perhaps a little publicity about Monica Lewinsky and a blue dress charges 910 an hour. The department of risk management refuses to pay the difference. What happens if he submits the bill and they don't pay for it?

Mary Jo Pitzel:
>> How much work is star really going to put into this? If his fee isn't guaranteed and People are not telling us what the under the table agreement are, how much is Mr. Star going to work?

Howard Fischer:
>> To talk about the under the table agreement he with want do a public records request for a record that doesn't exist. I think he's been shown the report.

Ted Simons:
>> do we know how much work he's done so far.

Howard Fischer:
>> We know he filed an Aimee cuss brief. It's a nice brief as a non-attorney it's a nice brief. Risk Beestro working for $210 an hour filed an amicus brief.

Howard Fischer:
>> I think we'll stop there. That's a good living if you can make it. 910 an hour.

Ted Simons:
>> i thought that's what they were paying you here.

Mary Jo Pitzel:
>> that's without the decimal

Ted Simons:
>>> Monday, "Horizon" is back in full swing with a visit from the governor. Governor Napolitano will talk about our elections and the presidential election along with many other issues. That's Monday at 7:00 on "horizon."

Ted Simons:
>>> Tuesday, an update on the primary election and a look forward to the general.

Ted Simons:
>>> Wednesday, the state of education in Arizona.

Ted Simons:
>>> Thursday, an update on the violent criminal apprehension team. D.p.s. deputy director penny Gillette will join us.

Ted Simons:
>>> Friday, we'll be back with another edition of the "journalists' roundtable."

Ted Simons:
>>> Next on "now," are evangelicals ready to bolt from the Republican Party? We'll find out that is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you for joining us. Have a great weekend.

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