Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

January 31, 2008


Host: Ted Simons

Presidential Preference Election


  • Arizona's Presidential Preference Election is next Tuesday, and early ballots are slow coming. Also, there's confusion about polling places. Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell will give voters the latest information on those issues and more.
Guests:
  • Helen Purcell - Maricopa County Recorder
  • Howard Fischer - Capitol Media Services
Category:

View Transcript

>>Ted Simons:
Tonight on "Horizon," Arizona's part of super-duper tuesday, but it won't be so super if you don't know where to vote. The county recorder will fill us in on where to find your polling place and lots more about next tuesday's election. A bill to set up grant money for biofuel pumps at your local gas station, among one of the many pieces of legislation floating around at the state capital this session. We'll get an update on those bills. And the super bowl festivities continue in the valley. We'll take you to last night's super bowl gala featuring NFL hall of famers. All that is next on "horizon." "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 welcome to horizon. Arizona is one of nearly two dozen states that will take part in early primaries on tuesday. Our presidential preference election involves both the democratic and republican parties, and only members of those parties may vote. There are enough polling places for voters this election. A lack of polling places was an issue until just recently. Also, it's the first Arizona election where election officials were able to implement a new law that gives voters the option to be on a permanent vote-by-mail list. Here to talk about election issues is maricopa county recorder Helen Purcell.

>> Ted Simons:
Helen, good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.

>> Helen Purcell:
Thank you for inviting me.

>> Ted Simons:
Before we get started, if i call this a primary, i'm wrong, correct?

>> Helen Purcell:
That's correct.

>> Ted Simons:
Why is it a presidential preference election?

>> Helen Purcell:
This is the party's picking their delegates, or picking their nominees that their delegates are going to support at the conventions. We are not going on to a ballot for a general election.

>> Ted Simons:
Because it is the parties picking their guys, or woman as the case may be, independents are not invited.

>> Helen Purcell:
Independents not invited, no.

>> Ted Simons:
Is this unusual?

>> Helen Purcell:
It is unusual for the country. We have a regular primary in september, at that election, independents are allowed to go to the polls and say which ballot they want, either republican, democrat, or libertarian. That is not the case in a presidential preference election. Specific legislation that was passed by the legislature.

>> Ted Simons:
As far as tuesday's vote, who can vote?

>> Helen Purcell:
Republicans and Democrats can vote. They will have their own ballot. Each one will have a ballot. We have about 450,000 of those people have already requested an early ballot. Some of those as you mentioned on the permanent early voting list automatically got a ballot when early voting started. We have those people who already received ballots, about half of those back in our facility to be counted.

>> Ted Simons:
About half of them back. Is that pretty good for this time or a little slow?

>> Helen Purcell:
No, it is a little slow, and i think that's because other primaries have been taking place in other states. I would hope that everybody gets the ballots in as soon as possible.

>> Ted Simons:
If they don't get them in as soon as possible, they can take them to the polling place on tuesday.

>> Helen Purcell:
They can take them to a polling place. They have to be at our hands by 7:00 on tuesday. Either a polling place or one of the facilities.

>> Ted Simons:
It is not necessarily when it is postmarked, it is when you get them?

>> Helen Purcell:
That's correct. We don't look at a postmark. It must be in our hands by 7:00 on tuesday. We go to the post office late that day to be sure that we pick up everything that's there.

>> Ted Simons:
The idea of people coming in late and maybe taking their absentee ballots and bringing them to the polling place on the day of the election, is that one of the reasons why the Mitchell and Hayward race, it took so long to figure out who won the thing?

>> Helen Purcell:
It takes us time afterwards, we have to look through all of those, process them, check all of the signatures and make sure that they're good and we have to do that before we can start doing provisional ballots.

>> Ted Simons:
Let's talk about polling places. In my neighborhood, it's usually churches, one or the other, i never know which one until it is time for the vote. How do you select the polling places?

>> Helen Purcell:
We have teams of people in the field all of the time checking for polling places. We try to find a building large enough for us to be in there, one that allows us to be there. A lot of the people don't want us to be there because of damage they have gotten in the past from candidates or other people around the polling place. We have to look very hard. It's not easy to find polling places.

>> Ted Simons:
I was going to say, is it getting more difficult all of the time to get these places?

>> Helen Purcell:
It is much more difficult. Since the law has passed that the polling place has to allow electioneering, it has been harder to find polling places.

>> Ted Simons:
At my house, say i want to be a polling place, can i do that as long as there is enough parking, access, can i do that?

>> Helen Purcell:
If you had access disabled, a.d.a. compliant, all of those things, enough space, possibly we would use that. We have used mortuaries, car dealerships. We've gone to anybody that will have us.

>> Ted Simons:
Ookay. There has been confusion in the past regarding polling places. Can you talk about that and the best way to find out where you're supposed to go come tuesday?

>> Helen Purcell:
The best way to find out is to call our number, 506-1511 or to look on the web site www.recorder.maricopa.gov. And that will tell you where the polling places are.

>> Ted Simons:
Are there reasons why there was confusion in the past?

>> Helen Purcell:
We may have to change them. Another thing about this election, because we were allowed, required to consolidate precincts, you're really going to have to check the sample ballot or check with us to be sure you know where you should go.

>> Ted Simons:
As far as volunteers are concerned, election workers, these sorts of folks, talk to us about that, how you get these people together.

>> Helen Purcell:
We have recruiting going on all of the time for people to work the elections, both before the elections, polling place workers. We hire, regular election, we have 7,000 workers on election day. It takes a lot of people to get those people hired. We have people who work after the election, election night that accept all of the materials coming in from the polling places. We have a lot of need. Again, they need to call that number, our main number,506-1511 and say that you're willing to work.

>> Ted Simons:
If you want a message out there for those who have requested the early ballots and maybe have not sent them in as yet, do it.

>> Helen Purcell:
Please get them as soon as possible.

>> Ted Simons:
Yeah, because --

>> Helen Purcell:
That's really important.

>> Ted Simons:
And, again, for those who have already sent in their ballots, and let's say they may have voted for thompson or edwards or rudy giuliani, and they call up and say, hey, can i vote again? The answer is --

>> Helen Purcell:
The answer is no.

>> Ted Simons:
No.

>> Helen Purcell:
First in, first counted.

>> Ted Simons:
No, if, ands, buts about it.

>> Helen Purcell:
506-1511, www.recorder.maricopa.gov.

>>> Ted Simons:
When Arizona lawmakers introduce a new bill, they drop it in a basket called "the hopper." one chamber even has a frog that croaks when the bill is put in the hopper. That frog was croaking a lot recently as lawmakers introduced bills before their deadline. One of the new bills would provide grant money for gas stations to set up pumps just for biofuels. We'll talk more about that bill and other pieces of legislation, but first here's a look at biofuel research being conducted at Arizona state university in a piece that first aired on eight's "spotlight" program.

>>Announcer:
Next time you go to the pump, consider this. It took millions of years for nature to create the world's oil supply, and only about 100 years to significantly deplete it. Clearly, nature can't keep pace with human demand, making this a nonrenewable energy source.

>> Neal Woodbury
We're taking it out of the ground, burning it, releasing it into the atmosphere. What we need to do in order to create a sustainable system, a system that we can perpetuate forever, is we need to create a cycle.

>> Announcer:
Neal Woodbury is director for the center of biooptical nanotechnology at A.S.U. Institute.

>> Neal Woodbury:
We let biology do what it does well, take sunlight, create a fuel out of it, normally it uses sugar and fat basically, and so we want to create those kinds of sugars and fats from the using biology, and then convert them into a form that's good for us.

>> Announcer:
This flask could hold the answer. It is full of billions of cyanobacteria, single cell organisms that thrive on water and sunlight. This has been specially engineered to have large amounts of fat called lipids.

>> Wim Vermaas:
It is a close-up of one of those cells, and inside those cells that are membranes, very thin lipid protein bilayers, and each of those membranes is composed of essentially 50\% lipids, and then those lipids can be converted into biodiesel.

>>Announcer:
Provides an advantage over other biofuel sources like corn or sugar cane and they reproduce quickly, doubling every 12 hours, faster than any plant can grow.

>> Neal Woodbury:
These bacteria have the advantage that they can be grown in completely -- they can be grown on the roof top, over a freeway, they could be grown in the desert where we're not doing any farming, and therefore, they're not competing with the food industry.

>> Announcer:
The lipids produced by the cyanobacteria could be converted into biodiesel with very little processing, offering another major advantage over other methods. The research team is constructing the bioreactor test project this year. Within two years hope to be able to fund a larger scale pilot that would be as long as a football field and twice as wide.

>> Wim Vermaas:
What the real protection of this work is that you can -- it takes co2 out of air, greenhouse gases, making fuels out of it, and those you can put into the car, generate the same amount of greenhouse gases again.

>>Ted Simons:
Here to tell us more about bills at the legislature, is Howard Fischer of capitol media services.

>>Howard Fischer:
I'm here listening to that frog croaking.

>>Ted Simons:
Biofuel, chances of that becoming law.

>> Howard Fischer:
One bill that they're talking about would give tax credits to stations setting up biofuel pumps. For the gas station owners, what is the incentive? Unless you think it is going to pay back. This is not unusual for use tax policy. We have used it for solar hot water heaters, given tax credits. Use it for certain other recyclables so it has a chance. This year is difficult, do we lose revenues? What can we afford?

>>Ted Simons:
So many other bills to talk about. Photo radar is getting a lot of attention on all sides. What's happening down there?

>> Howard Fischer:
This started with the governor saying we are going to have 4.4 million violators out of 3.6 million registered drivers, and that's how we're going to balance the budget. Lawmakers have been looking at this for years. There is a mixed feeling about photo radar. The way people get out of photo radar say it wasn't me behind the wheel, it didn't look like me. He would say the owner of the vehicle is the responsible one. The other side of the equation, since it would no longer be a moving violation for you, then your insurance company couldn't use it to boost your rates. If you are going to have photo radar, how should we balance it off? Lucy mason has a similar bill, not to allow insurance companies to use it but keeps the driver responsible.

>> Ted Simons:
So… those have a chance.

>> Howard Fischer:
Those have a chance. It will get into the mix over the governor's photo radar program. It was supposed to be rolled out as a safety reason. It's not about the money, read my lips, not about the money, except the $90 million to pick up to balance the budget.

>> Ted Simons:
Its kind of hard to make that argument now, lets keep it moving here, the 9/11 memorial. It sounds as though there is a movement afoot to take off all of the quotes and put a time line up there?

>> Howard Fischer:
Yes, sort of the madam governor, tear down this memorial, if you will, to use a Reaganism. The memorial has 54 phrases on there. Some are just statements. Some of them have annoyed people. For example, you don't win battles of terrorism with more terrorism. They say this has made it very controversial. Rather than try to figure out which of those 54 sayings are the controversial ones and which should stay, Representative John Cavanaugh said let's take down the seven panels. The words etched through there, sunlight shines through, we take down those panels, strict time line of what happened from the moment the hijackers boarded the plane. The governor hates it. Look, we had a public process to decide what should be on the memorial, but Cavanaugh has 80 of the 90 lawmakers sign on as cosponsors. This bill has some legs.

>>Ted Simons:
A couple of ideas regarding guns, guns in schools, bars, restaurants.

>> Howard Fischer:
Guns in tv studios.

>>Ted Simons:
Guns everywhere. Guns in school, how likely something like this will get through?

>>Howard Fischer:
Things like columbine, virginia tech, the question is the law-abiding people are not the ones bringing the guns on to campus. Karen johnson's bill would say if you have a permit to carry a concealed weapon, which means you're 21, through a background check, fingerprinted, you can carry a weapon on to a public school campus, community college campus or university campus. Our argument is then these people are no longer sitting ducks. I see that -- assuming it gets to the governor's desk, i think that is veto bait. The last thing we need is people shooting back, whether they're trained or not.

>>Ted Simons:
How about the idea of arming teachers as opposed to students?

>> Howard Fischer:
Again, this comes down, public schools, those are the people who would be armed because they would be 21 and have the permits. Teacher puts the gun in his or her desk. What happens if a student takes it? Who is legally responsible. Those are the details that will hang up that bill.

>>Ted Simons:
Any idea as guns in bars and restaurants, looking like guns in restaurants only?

>>Howard Fischer:
Bills in past year about the need to take a gun into a bar because you never know when you are going to meet a bear there and you are going to have to shoot'em. This is a scaled back version. The argument is there are places that have liquor licenses as restaurants. You can go into a pizza place, going in for the pizza, also serve beer, by law now you have to leave the gun out in the car. That not only means you're unprotected in the parking lot, it also means someone could break into the car and take the gun. A little more sentiment for this one, if you are carrying the gun, you are not allowed to order. Who knows what is tucked under the jacket here. They have narrowed the scope. They told restaurant owners, if you don't want guns, you don't have to do anything. If you want to allow guns, you have to put a big notice up on the door. I think the governor has problems with that if it reaches her desk, i think it is veto bait.

>>Ted Simons:
Another one making noise here, cell phone, cell phone industry, capping contract, these sorts of things. Lobby down there.

>>Howard Fischer:
Hell hath no fury like a lawmaker whose cell service screwed up. It happened last year, this year with Jim Wearing, who got in his words, jerked around by a cell phone company. What part of lawmaker do these people not understand? Unlike you or i who have to put our tail between our legs with the two year contract, limit the length of the contract, provide real guarantees, if you don't get the service you promised, you're out of the contract. No early termination fee. There is a lot of sentiment for some of that down there. There isn't a single person who i have met who has a cell phone who hasn't had some sort of complaint. Is it enough to overcome a powerful cell phone lobby? That remains to be seen. They have been fairly powerful in terms of preventing regulation.

>>Ted Simons:
We will watch that one. We will watch licensing mortgage lenders, the governor mentioned that in the state of the state speech. How far is that moving along in the legislature?

>> Howard Fischer:
It is moving fairly slowly. I think people recognize this is a thing you need to be very careful of. One of the things that got us into the mess we're in, lenders put borrowers into mortgages they shouldn't be in. We can get you into this 2\% introductory rate and your salary can meet it. It could go up to 16, 17\% based on the adjustable rate. The lender has no liability. I mean they're not licensed. They have nothing to lose. If you license them, regulate them, at least you can come back and make sure that they're not putting people into inappropriate lending instruments.

>>Ted Simons:
Agent and brokers are licensed why not the lenders themselves?

>>Howard Fischer:
License agents, brokers, certain limits on what you can do.

>> Ted Simons: a law to prevent custody if a parent practices bigomy…Did I get that right!?

>>Howard Fischer:
Not any bigomy, just child bigomy. Child bigomy is illiegal, actually bigomy violates our state constitution but theres no penalty for it. 2004, we passed a law, this whole Warren Jeffs spill over. Sometimes a woman leaves the compound, says i want a divorce. I want custody of the kids. Right now, the judge says you have an unemployed woman, a young mother, father with a home, he might grant custody to the father. If you are breaking the law, you shouldn't be allowed custody of the kids. I think this one can go very far.

>>Ted Simons:
We have to stop it right there. Thank you for joining us.

>>Howard Fischer:
I will go home to my wives now.

>> Ted Simons:
All right.

>> Ted Simons:
A big ticket gala, -- Larry Lemons takes us to the party.

>> Larry Lemons:
As the guests arrived at the big ticket gala they were greeted by dancers on stilts, not to mention the post modern art pieces, and the vince lombardi trophy. The host committee put in a lot of time planning the event.

>> Christina Estes:
There is a theme to this event. It has taken a while to come up with the theme and everything down to the details. When guests arrived, we have no red carpet, we have astro-turf because it is a football theme. They arrive on astro-turf. They go inside to have their dinner, they will sit at a table where the seats are designed to look like referee uniforms. There is an ice sculpture of a football.

>> Larry Lemons:
There were a number of hall of fame items that travel around the country on display, and a number of items up for auction. What self-respecting bronco fan wouldn't want this.

>> Car:
A kitt if you prefer.

>> Larry Lemons:
We found a replica of a kit car.

>> Dan Sarro:
This is a 1991 replica of the night rider car. We take it around to the valley to raise money for charity. We are here to see if we can get an autograph with jay leno because he is a big car fan.

>> Larry Lemons:
The media weren't allowed to hang out for leno.

>> Joe Horrigan:
There is a really different angle, twist, if you will with the super bowl this year. The new england patriots maybe being another really historic event in the sense of going undefeated, matching the mark of the miami dolphins and the cleveland browns back in 1948. People forget about them.

>> Larry Lemons:
Another potential undefeated season did not go unnoticed by Paul Warfield of the '72 dolphins.

>> Paul Warfield
They're capable -- i think that, yeah, it means two more games that they've won as opposed to the 17, i guess, with the miami dolphins, but nevertheless, i mean, we're still undefeated.

>>Larry Lemons:
It was a packed house as the event officially got underway.

>> Chris Berman:
We have a beautiful new stadium which i am now going to call the big toaster, because it looks like one. You have no choice, once i go with it, that's what it is. You're stuck with it. It is beautiful. Put a couple of english muffins in and it will be great. [laughter] i know the super bowl will be back here within 12 years. There is the first prediction. Of course the commissioner is out there saying a few things right now, but, you know --

>>Larry Lemons:
Apparently the NFL commissioner agrees.

>>Roger Goodell:
I just want to refer back to something that the great swammy said a few minutes ago. He mentioned that it should be less than 12 years for the nfl to be back here for a super bowl. He made that prediction, i believe, did you not?

>> Chris Berman:
Yes, right.

>> Roger Goodell:
I think he is for once right.

>> Larry Lemons:
Berman introduced the hall of fame players in attendance. We spoke with them earlier about how the game has changed since they played.

>>John Hannnah:
Chasing the media for endorsements and doing things to get noticed so the fans will vote for them on pro bowl, doing all of these dances and stuff like that, i think that hurts the game.

>> Bart Starr:
I am very impressed as a former quarterback of how the game is managed by the quarterback today with respect to countering the absolute unbelievable situation, substitution situation.

>>Jack Youngblood:
When they outlawed the head slip that changed the entire perspective of football for the better.

>> Larry Lemons:
They spoke about what the game meant to them.

>> Merlin Olsen:
Leaving the game of football, when someone turned to us in a business situation and said this is really going to be difficult. Can it be as difficult as two a day football in hundred degree weather or the fourth quarter in a game where you're playing in 100 degrees or in 10 below zero.

>>Roger Staubach:
I was a defensive back, receiver, but i played quarterback my senior year. After the game, i come to the dances. The girls like me better as a quarterback. I liked being a quarterback. But I never dreamed I would be in the NFL hall of fame.

>>Larry Lemons:
Berman spoke with the coach of the New York giants Tom Coughlin.

>>Chris Berman:
How cold was it at lambo field?

>> Tom Coughlin:
I am in mixed company. I can't give you the whole explanation there.

>> Larry Lemons:
The governor expressed the sentiment possibly shared by most people in the room.

>>Janet Napolitano:
For those of you visiting out of state, we ask only one thing, and that is that you spend a lot of money while you are here. Thank you.

>> Ted Simons:
Tomorrow night on "Horizon," Arizona Senator John Mccain has risen from the ashes of a crashed political campaign and is moving ahead to super-duper tuesday. Will Arizona senior senator get the republican nomination? We will talk about that on friday's "journalists' roundtable." that's tomorrow on "horizon." i'm ted simons, thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

>>Announcer:
If you have comments about "horizon," please contact us at the addresses listed on your screen. Your name and comments may be used on a future edition of "Horizon."

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

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