Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

May 14, 2008


Host: Ted Simons

Governor Napolitano


  • Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano makes her monthly appearance on the HORIZON set to discuss issues of importance to the state. This month, she'll talk about bills she's recently vetoed, and about budget negotiations.
Guests:
  • Janet Napolitano - Arizona State Governor
Category: Governor Visit

View Transcript

Ted Simons:
Tonight on "Horizon" governor Janet Napolitano steps into the fray over Sheriff Joe Arpaio's "Crime Suppression" sweeps that nab illegal immigrants. She's taking funds he uses for those efforts to go after outstanding felony warrants. Work continues on the state budget for next year. and a deal to get home builders to back off a fight over state trust land has some republicans fuming. The governor will address those issues and more, next, on "Horizon."

Ted Simons:
Hello and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Governor Janet Napolitano by executive order has taken $1.6 million from Maricopa county to use to go after nearly 60,000 outstanding felony warrants. That money was being used in part by Sheriff Joe Arpaio to conduct his Crime Suppression sweeps, which have netted dozens of illegal aliens. Sheriff Arpaio says he sees the move as part of a conspiracy to keep him from enforcing immigration law. Here to talk about that and more is Arizona governor Janet Napolitano. Governor, always a pleasure. Good to see you.

Janet Napolitano:
Good to see you.

Ted Simons:
Why an executive order to clean up the felonies?

Janet Napolitano:
I think it became clear this spring that we had a huge outstanding felony warrant problem and that a number of law enforcement agencies, state, local had jurisdiction here but nobody is coordinating it or moving it along or really clearing the felony warrants out. I directed the department of public safety. This was their recommendation. Approved it. They will create a multi-agency task force to focus on the felony warrants in Maricopa County and we invited Sheriff Joe to be part of that task force. There's a huge overlap of outstanding felony warrants and illegal immigration. These are illegal immigrants who have broken the laws been involved in gang-related violence and other types of crimes. We want them off the streets.

Ted Simons:
What can the multi-agencies task force do better than what's being done now?

Janet Napolitano:
Right now there's not one place in Maricopa County that's focused solely on the felony problem. That's what the task force will do. We work in the task force setting and U.S. Marshal has agreed and you get state police like the department of public entities and local-lying sheriffs and police department in one place. You have one central focus and plan and produce results. Our comparison is the efforts over the last few months to shutdown drop houses particularly in the Maricopa County. Dozens have been shutdown. We have found hundreds of illegal immigrants housed there. We get the actual smugglers involved and because of the law I just signed, we will be able to seize the houses as well.

Ted Simons:
Why end the contract with the sheriff's department?

Janet Napolitano:
We're not ending it. We're just not renewing it. We want to take those monies and redeploy them. This is a law enforcement redeployment. That happens all the time.

Ted Simons:
How much did the Crime Suppression sweeps factor into the decision not to renew the contracts?

Janet Napolitano:
The counties have other money and this is a $1 million contract. The sheriff's office has larger budget. This is where we think we can coordinate with the federal and state better than the sheriff's office going on.

Ted Simons:
With the sheriff's office going along you think the multi-task force can do a more and better job?

Janet Napolitano:
The sweeps are not aimed at felony fugitives. They are different. The Sheriff has his own funds and wants to continue to use funds in that fashion, that's up to him. To the extent he's using state money, we want to use it in the coordinated effort all together.

Ted Simons:
The Sheriff is quoted as this is a despicable move and to take money away from him and his fight against illegal immigration. Your response.

Janet Napolitano:
That's not right. I'm sorry he uses words that's not necessary. He's invited to be in the task force. The task force by my executive order is focused on illegal immigrants who have been found to have committed felonies already. To me this is where you get the worst of the worst. We have homicide cases in the warrants. You have assault cases in the warrants. We need to focus on getting the wrongdoers off the streets. We are all engaged in law enforcement and we want to enforce the law. The question is how will it be deployed and the money deployed? The head of DPS and law enforcement official says this is the better way to go.

Ted Simons:
Speaker Wiers says he believes the money was for Sheriff Joe Arpaio and thus your removal violates separation of powers and your response.

Janet Napolitano:
We are following the language of the legislation. The legislation says it's to be deployed to be used for crimes involving illegal immigrants. It's got to be deployed in crimes of illegal immigrants and fashion. We can complement it with city and federal funding and organization and make a mark. This is not just a little issue in Maricopa county. There are over 40,000 warrants outstanding. Let's get rid of the backlog.

Ted Simons:
You're saying the money was not solely meant for the sheriff's office?

Janet Napolitano:
Not in that fashion.

Ted Simons:
Have you heard from the Sheriff regarding whether or not he will be part of the task force or wants to be part of the task force?

Janet Napolitano:
I have not. I think he was upset yesterday and, you know, had his press conference and doing press today. I hope when everybody takes a deep breath and steps back and looks at what happened here, they'll understand this is the decision I've made for 15 years as the head of U.S. Attorneys office and head of the U.S. Office. Those will be better used here in coordination of others. I thought it was good recommendation. I accepted it.

Ted Simons:
You have a reputation of having a good relationship with Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Obviously things are strained right now. Is this something that can be healed?

Janet Napolitano:
I hope so. I hope so. But that's up to him. You know, the invitation is outstanding to him and his department. We want to make Maricopa county safer. We want the laws enforced. They have to be enforced in the right way. Like I've said, I've made decisions like this countless times in the past. I think in the context of the immigration debate and some of the other things going on, it gets played in a different way than it would otherwise.

Ted Simons:
When will the task force be up and operational?

Janet Napolitano:
As soon as possible.

Ted Simons:
ballpark?

Janet Napolitano:
As soon as possible.

Ted Simons:
As soon as possible. Let's move on to interesting debate regarding your reactions to a transportation initiative. What is the deal with the home builders as far as the initiative is concerned? There's some folks saying it's a back room deal. Something secret happened here. What's going on here?

Janet Napolitano:
That's ironic because it's in writing. If it's a secret, I want them to tell us what the secret is. Here's what happened. As the transportation initiative was being drafted, there were a number of stakeholders to evaluate. At the end of the process the idea was raised about creating transportation districts that would have authority to impose impact fees. It's not easy to draft. We were running up against the signature deadline and home builders among others preferred that be done legislatively as opposed to being inserted in the initiative package. They reached an agreement that they would support the transportation initiative, help funnel the gathering of the signatures and they would--this is in writing as well--they would work with us to draft the appropriate legislation for the concept and not oppose state trust land reform which is historic for them not to not oppose state trust land reform. We deal with both of initiatives. They go together in some respects because transportation gives us infrastructure for the future and state growth plan for the future. The growth will occur where the transportation quarters are. In the state trust land initiative we set aside state trust land permanently from development including some of the most valuable sites in Arizona.

Ted Simons:
Indeed. And some critics are saying you are reversing the idea that developers should pay for transit as they go with this agreement.

Janet Napolitano:
No, not at all. Indeed because transportation will be funded primarily through a sales tax, builders and developers, what have you, will pay a lot of money in sales tax. Initial estimates are well over a billion dollars if not more. They will pay that way. In addition the initiative for the first time allows us to enter into public-private partnerships to bring money into development transportation of our state. That's good.

Ted Simons:
Home builders money will help get the initiative off the ground. Are there agreements further down the line?

Janet Napolitano:
No, I think in terms--I think the only agreement is we will continue to work together. The initial challenge and one of the reasons we moved was because the signature gathering deadline is approaching us. You have to get 150,000 signatures which means 200,000 signatures.

Ted Simons:
It seems like a situation where one side says impact fees need to stay and the other side says the home builders caved into the governor. Is this a situation where both sides are not happy so something good happened?

Janet Napolitano:
I think so. Impact fees was never in the initiative. What was in the initiative was a concept of district to have the authority to oppose them. Cities and towns nobody who can impose impact fees now is stopped from imposing impact fees. This is an additional infrastructure to do that. Not the easiest thing in the world to craft to get the right legal language. The decision was made let's do that legislatively and keep it out of initiative to get to the ballot.

Ted Simons:
We are talking about a tax here and sales tax and an increase in a penny of the sales tax.

Janet Napolitano:
yes.

Ted Simons:
Is that fair that everyone pays for that as opposed to making it some kind of in some way, shape, or form user fee?

Janet Napolitano:
Everybody uses transportation. Everybody is on the road and highways. This will include rail and transit and van pools for seniors and rural parts of the states would be encompassed in the initiative. It's the first time we've had a statewide plan that the voters can look at and determine for themselves if this is something they want to invest in. The sales tax was evaluated. The gasoline tax was evaluated which is a user fee if you want to look at it that way. The problem was with the price of gas the way it is adding to it a tax, problematic. The use of gasoline is going down. To use that as a major funding source when you need to yield 42 billion plus to implement something statewide that's going to accommodate our current population and future population.

Ted Simons:
In the economic times how do you convince voters that adding the penny that would put Arizona in the top six states as far as sales tax is concerned--I guess we are middle of the pack right now. Top six. How do you convince voters it's the right time for this?

Janet Napolitano:
First of all, they will not be able to make the choice. Do they want to exchange the time tax for the sales tax? Everybody is stuck in traffic paying the time tax. The sales tax doesn't start until 2010. Again, you know, to me it's what do the people of Arizona want for the future of our state? And to me if we can build a transportation structure and get out of sprawl. We've had state trust lands and scenic places protected from development. That's the future for the state of Arizona. That's a plan. The campaign will be putting it before the voter and letting them choose.

Ted Simons:
Let's move on here. I believe last we checked or last you checked, you might have an aims bill that you could be ready it sign shortly. The idea of grades, high school grades supplementing aims scores, you like it?

Janet Napolitano:
I think there's a lot of issues with the aims tests. I have to tell you we have 5,000 or 6,000 high school seniors that should be able to walk across the stage and pick up their diploma and met the requirements. This bill will be able to make them do so. It literally got to my desk before I left. I will sign it in the morning.

Ted Simons:
The critics are saying this is watering down of the test. When does the watering stop?

Janet Napolitano:
I think that's another question. That's a more fundamental question. I hope we look at aims as a 10th grade test. Is that the right kind of test? The suggestions are we ought to use a college-type test as A.C.T as opposed to the aims test. We want a high school diploma that that student is skill wise and ready to go on to education either technical vocation ed, community college or university.

Ted Simons:
I wonder is the state, our lawmakers, the leaders, is Arizona, our parents, is anyone ready for a school to say little Johnny, little Susie is just not passing this test and cannot graduate? That's very difficult for a student especially a student with a 3.0 or higher grade point average in high school.

Janet Napolitano:
Right. There was a antidote in the papers about a senior that has 3.2 g.p.a. And accepted to ASU and not passed the math portion of aims. The explanation is some folks can't do the math part. They can't do the math part. I question that. But in reality what you're saying is what we all agree is that we all have an interest in making sure these kids are as educated and as competitive as possible. They will need that to succeed as a state economically and else wise moving forward. Content of course and not covered by aims. We need to keep pushing forward.

Ted Simons:
Pushing forward as far as the budget is concerned. Any signs there?

Janet Napolitano:
The Republicans are meeting in small groups amongst themselves. No white smoke is coming from the chimney. They haven't spoken with me. They need to get on with it. It's time to get it done.

Ted Simons:
The meetings they had with the '08 fix seemed to get something done. The '08 fix was okay. Why are we not seeing this for 2009?

Janet Napolitano:
You got me. I don't control the legislative process. They have my proposals. I met with them for hours and hours. We ended up, boy, spending a full day Saturday going line by line on the budget. I've given them a proposal on every agency. The ball is in their court. I'm waiting to see it served back.

Ted Simons:
is there any threat at all of a tax increase?

Janet Napolitano:
no.

Ted Simons:
Any threat at all of draining entirely the rainy day fund?

Janet Napolitano:
yes. We will have to use the entire rainy day fund.

Ted Simons:
that's--

Janet Napolitano:
We'll have to do that.

Ted Simons:
Job losses, layoffs, factors?

Janet Napolitano:
Yes. In fact going back to the transportation initiative, you say why would people vote for that now? One of the reasons to vote for it is those are construction jobs that go out immediately. Good jobs and gets the money flowing through the Arizona economy. We want to have flow. That's called a stimulus. I harken people back to remember Franklin Roosevelt in the new deal. What did we do? We invested in the public investment we know we needed. Why not do that now and get people going and working and makes sense.

Ted Simons:
see wpa stamped on the roadways.

Janet Napolitano:
exactly.

Ted Simons:
The emissions rules I know the legislature is trying to overturn your ideas on that.

Janet Napolitano:
The bill is on my desk. This has gotten unfortunately not the issue divorced from the merits from the climate change and limit greenhouse gas emissions in Arizona and be part of the western climate initiative. Part of that is driven by, you know, I think a fear that somehow or other the executive branch will write all the rules and have no public input and dictate them. I think for the new car rules that just were passed last week and we've had a very public process that's gone back several years dozens of meetings, hours of testimony, lots of science involved which needs to be involved. It was very public process. Compared to, for example, the way often times legislatively major bills are done in the dark of night and nobody reads them and it gets passed. It's been a very public process and I intend to use public process as we push forward.

Ted Simons:
And yet legislatures say without more of an input on their side they feel the people they represent is disenfranchised.

Janet Napolitano:
I said to the contrary people are guaranteed to be included which is very important. The public will is to support these rules and policies once they are implemented. It's not to anybody's interest to do them unilaterally.

Ted Simons:
As well, we are talking about something the E.P.A. Has to agree to, right? They haven't agreed to this?

Janet Napolitano:
The E.P.A. Has to grant waivers. The E.P.A. Has not granted waivers to the state. We are in the litigation them. We think that's wrong. We need to get ahead to be less gas dependent and less fuel dependent and change with the climate warming. Climate change and global warming.

Ted Simons:
Speaking of that, stories regarding the state losing five to seven renewable energy businesses to other states recently. How can that change? What do you want to see Arizona--we talk about a lot of renewable energy and sustainability on this program. It seems like other states are making adjustments on the lines and some lawmakers are saying we need to do the same thing. What are we going to do?

Janet Napolitano:
I met with a representative who is a champion of this in the legislature. We need to keep pushing forward. We need the new energy standards that they passed to be implemented. We need to implement the western climate initiative. Yes. We've lost businesses and we've gotten some. It's hard to compare state to state. We could do more. There's no reason why Arizona shouldn't be the Persian gulf of energy. That should be our goal. We are taking steps to get there. I would like to take bigger steps. One idea at the capitol now are tax credits. We are doing an analysis now. If we were in the flush budget time, it be easier to adopt them. We will take a look at serious proposals. They cropped up recently. We want to make sure they pencil it out and makes sense. Overall goal we should be the Persian gulf of renewable and solar energy.

Ted Simons:
Tax credits and these sorts of things you are on board to a certain degree?

Janet Napolitano:
To a certain degree a lot of things with the budget and things we can do and phase in and what have you. We will take a serious look.

Ted Simons:
Will you take another look at the D.U.I. Bill that you vetoed if the one problem you had regarding the interlocking device that reduced the penalty from 12 months to six months. It sounds likes an amended version with your concerns addressed. Was that your problem?

Janet Napolitano:
Absolutely. They tightened up D.U.I. For boating and stuck in from reducing the interlocking and before we knew what the rate would be on drunken driving. Assumed they have taken that out and it's a clean bill and they have not added things in there, you never know until you see the bill. Yes, they dealt with the major issue.

Ted Simons:
They were talking about well, yes, the penalty was reduced and treatment was required within that reduced penalty. Still not enough, huh?

Janet Napolitano:
They just passed the interlock provision last year. To me, if you're going to do that, I thought it was a worthy thing to examine but you have to let it work for a while to see what impact does it have on D.U.I., on our road safety. That's ultimately the matrix you want to look at and then you make a decision. This kind of seesawing back and forth to me was not justified.

Ted Simons:
election. Did you know there was an election and--

Janet Napolitano:
I heard that.

Ted Simons:
You heard noises about that. Are democrats blowing it with this protracted battle?

Janet Napolitano:
No, no, no. I think to the contrary. It has made senator Obama a stronger candidate. You have field organizations up and running and battle tested in all of the states. You have registered millions of new voters across the country. You're ready to go come fall. I know democrats. I've been around quite a few in my day and been to a number of conventions. This party I'm very confident is already making movement to come together to be ready for the very important presidential election.

Ted Simons:
As an Obama supporter and as a democrat that will no doubt--it's almost inevitable that he will be the candidate, not for sure but seems that way. Are you concerned that last night in West Virginia senator Clinton won by 2-1 margins. That's saying something about the Obama campaign.

Janet Napolitano:
I think that says they didn't campaign very hard in West Virginia. They have moved on. He made stops there and so forth. The effort has been now to garner the super delegates and he passed Senator Clinton in the super delegates. He'll campaign in the few remaining states there are. In terms of pledge delegate count by may 20th, he will have the absolute majority. That will be locked up. He will have the most states. He'll have the most caucuses and most super delegates. This thing is coming to a close. It needs to play out and what needs to happen.

Ted Simons:
Governor, always a pleasure. Thank you for joining us.

Janet Napolitano:
Thank you a lot.

Ted Simons:
What must Arizona do to attract and retain enough quality teachers? Participants in a recent Arizona town hall tried to answer that question. Hear some of their recommendations Thursday on "Horizon." that is it for now. Thank you for joining us. You have a great evening.

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