Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

July 2, 2008


Host: Ted Simons

Race and Gender in Elections


  • The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) hosts a discussion in Washington D.C. on race and gender in elections.
Guests:
  • Thayer Verschoor - State Senate Majority leader
  • Phil Lopes - Leader, State House Democrats


View Transcript
Ted Simons
>>Tonight on "Horizon," expanding photo radar statewide and other new laws from the recently concluded legislative session. We'll listen in on Governor Napolitano's weekly press briefing. Plus we'll take you to Washington, D.C., for a discussion about race and gender in politics. That's coming up 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
>>Hello and welcome to "Horizon". I'm Ted Simons. Governor Janet Napolitano held her weekly press briefing today, the first one since lawmakers adjourned sine die. Here's what she had to say about one of their primary accomplishments.

Governor Janet Napolitano
>>Legislature was dealing with a $1.2 billion deficit in the current fiscal year, close to $2 billion deficit in the '09 fiscal year, the year that just began, and that required cuts, required sweeps, it required bonding for construction, which I have always supported and would even in a non-down-time year. It required a K-12 rollover, and it required a lot of attention to say what is. How do you do this in the fairway possible, protect safety net purposes, higher education that we know we're going to need, and what - They achieved those goals. For example, they didn't touch urban revenue sharing at all, not a penny, but, yeah, other things that ultimately the cities get or the counties get, whatever, but they were spread out, you know, and that had to happen and everybody knew that was going to happen. Yeah, we were able to invest in the universities, in our build capacity there, not only completing the biomedical campus here in Phoenix, which we really, really need. That is a $470 million issue, but the bond also for major building repairs and perhaps new buildings at the three university campuses. In exchange, the three campuses are going to share $50 million worth of cuts. There were cuts all of the way through this budget. Indeed, if you add up cuts and fund sweeps between '08 and '09, the legislature did about $1.3 billion worth of cuts. This notion that somehow this budget papered over a deficit is inaccurate and wrong. These were really hard and I think overall, they did a very, very good job of trying to make the cuts as fair as possible.

Ted Simons
>>After 166 days the second regular session of the 48th Arizona state legislature is over. Lawmakers called it quits Friday, but not before passing a nearly $10 billion late budget. Legislative leaders will join me in a moment to talk about the session's highs and lows. But first David Majure takes a look at a piece of the budget that expands photo radar statewide.





David Majure
>>You see them on state highway 101 through Scottsdale, photo radar cameras catching speeders in the act. Now you might see them all over the state. That's because lawmakers passed a new budget that establishes a statewide photo enforcement system. Speeding citations will cost $165, plus a $16.50 surcharge that goes to clean elections. The Governor's office is said to have come up with the plan.

Governor Janet Napolitano
>>What we will do -- we will see how it goes, but, again, it is a very simple system, and designed to deter speed. It also produces revenue, but that revenue that it produces was not included in the balance of the '09 budget.

David Majure
>>One interesting twist, photo radar citations won't count against points against your driver's license. No record of the photo radar violations and it cannot suspend or revoke your license because of them. That is a problem for insurance companies that rely on that information to price premiums.

C. Ronald Williams
>>Masking particular violations from public safety officials and/or the insurance companies is an important public safety issue as well as a fairness issue. The public safety issue aspect of it is that there should be consequences for poor driving behavior. The fairness aspect of it is that individual is now put into a pool with you and me, safe drivers, and why should we be paying the same insurance rates on our premiums as that individual who may be flaunting the law, who may be violating the law and posing a risk to the general public.

David Majure
>>Speeders caught by a police officer can lose their license and see insurance rates rise. Those caught by the camera do not have to worry about either. They face a fine.

David Majure
>>Sen. Thayer Verschoor voted against the plan.

Sen. Thayer Verschoor
>>I think it is a mistake to expand photo radar statewide. I have always had a problem with it. I didn't support the use of it on the 101 by D.T.S., and I quite frankly, if there is any silver lining in the expansion of it is the admission that really this is to generate revenues.



David Majure
>>Democratic representative Pete Rios voted for the bill expanding photo radar.




Rep. Pete Rios
>>A revenue generator, people will pay $165. Nothing for safety or points off your license and I think it is really sad when we're doing it for that particular purpose. I love the governor dearly. I know why she put it on there. But that was the piece I didn't ever agree with, and I had been questioning and arguing against it throughout the process. But at the end of the day when you vote, you vote on a package, and that was included. So a lot of us voted for a Package that included photo radar and many of us don't like that piece.

Sen. Thayer Verschoor
>>I don't think it will be the revenue generator they thought it would be.

Rep. Pete Rios
>>Some said it would generate $45 million, some said generate $90 million, I'm not convinced it will generate close to any of those two amounts. People are going to know when they see a van with a camera on top, slow down unless you want a ticket.

Governor Janet Napolitano
>>This is designed to be a deterrent, and we have seen that happen in Scottsdale, and what we want to see if this -- with the no points, is it cheaper to Administer, administration Costs and we get the same deterrent effect. And if we don't, over time, it can always be adjusted. It is a statute. A new thing. We are going to augment our manpower with technology in a Way that has little administrative overhead and we will see what happens.


Ted Simons
>>Joining me to talk about what went right and what went wrong this session are senate Majority leader Thayer Verschoor, a republican from Gilbert, and leader of the
House democrats, Representative Phil Lopes Of Tucson.

Ted Simons
>> Good to have you both on Horizon.

Phil Lopes
>> Good to be here, Ted.

Ted Simons
>> Biggest accomplishment this Season, this session, I should say.

Thayer Verschoor
>> I think, you know, there was -- the session was pretty Much overshadowed by the budget Deficit. It is hard to go beyond that as Far as accomplishment. There was individual accomplishments. We did stuff to tighten up the Employer Sanctions bill.
I think that will help. I ran a bill to make it easier, kind of stream line the
incorporation process. Other members had successes in some of their bills and
legislation, and, you know, we sent the marriage amendment to
The ballot and for me personally I think that was a very big accomplishment for the session.

Ted Simons
>> Okay. We will take it more personal then. What happened this session that gives you the most pride?

Thayer Verschoor
>> Again, you know, sending the marriage amendment to the ballot
was something that I was glad we were able to accomplish. Unfortunately the budget was a tough budget and it was something that I couldn't support, and that kind of
overshadowed everything when you are facing a $2.2 billion budget deficit, it sucks the wind out Of everything else.

Ted Simons
>> Biggest accomplishment Overall and the one that, again, you're most proud of?

Phil Lopes
>> No question that the biggest accomplishment was solving the budget problem, both the '08 budget problem as well as the '09 budget problem. What makes me proudest about this session, again, relates to the budget, because we were able
to do both the '08 and '09 Budgetary fixes without affecting in a major way those
programs and those services that me and my caucus and my fellow Democrats have worked very hard over the last five or six years to establish. Kindergarten being one of those did not get hit in any significant way.

Ted Simons
>> Let's go to the other end of the spectrum, the worst thing that happened this session.

Phil Lopes
>> Well, I think the worst thing that happened is the fact that we spent so much time trying to get a budget out. I think the legislature as a Body, as an institution, is
going to suffer enormously in the eyes of the public because it just looked like we couldn't get this thing done. And I think that's going to -- We're going to live to regret that.

Ted Simons
>> Did democrats in general feel as left out this session as last time?

Phil Lopes
>> No, no. No, we did not. Actually last time we were more involved than we were the previous time. But this time we were involved in the process from the very beginning with Senator Verschoor, other republicans from the House and Senate, we were all involved throughout the time, yes.

Ted Simons
>> Worse thing that happened this session.

Thayer Verschoor
>> Well, I would say the worst thing that happened this session was the budget. The borrowing was way too much. We're going to be facing probably a $1.5 billion shortfall in 2010, and with this budget, with almost a billion dollars in borrowing, that didn't do anything but shift the problem to 2010 and 2011.That was a concern I had with borrowing that kind of money. It doesn't resolve the crisis, unfortunately, and we don't see the economy turning around which is what needs to happen. Some of the things in the budget is also going to hurt our economic recovery. We saw fees increased without going through the process, and, you know, I have heard from the agriculture community that they're -- they have real concerns about these fees being able to be increased on. Some of them even doubled. Areas like D.E.G are going to be able to raise fees. We have seen an expansion of the Lottery. I think studies have shown as gaming expands, that doesn't create, bring in new money, Takes money away from other parts of the economy, and those Are going to be retail sales and places like that where we need to see some of that money staying in those areas.

Ted Simons
>> There was a lot of talk this Session regarding caucuses not holding together as they may have had in the past, a, and, b, not holding together as much as they wanted to. Talk about that and the problems there in.

Thayer Verschoor
>> You always have difficulties in the caucus, so many members with different ideas.
There were a lot of different Ideas on how to solve the budget. We had difficulties in that area. But in the end, you know, the budget that rolled out was a budget that my caucus for the most part did not and could not support because of the amount of borrowing that was in that budget, because so little -- because you had an expansion of the lottery. You had school choice issues that were rolled back, and so you had a lot of things that republicans were not really able to be supportive of.

Ted Simons
>> Why did not the caucus hold together any better than it did? The republicans that voted for the budget turned this thing. Was it a failure of leadership in terms of paying more attention to these folks earlier in the session, which is something that I have heard?

Thayer Verschoor
>> You know, I think that the difference was that you just had too wide of a gap in what the solution should be, you know, and you had some members that favored more borrowing and some members that favored deeper cuts. You couldn't get those two issues close enough together.

Ted Simons
>> The borrowing aspect, the right thing to do? Bonding for schools especially.

Phil Lopes
>> Oh, yes, no question in my mind that that is the right thing to do. We all do that in our every day lives. And the question that we faced and we -- we will continue to face is do we do long-term financing, which we have done for years and years and school districts throughout the state have done for years and years, or do we cut back essential services? When I'm faced with that kind of a question, there is no doubt in my mind that that borrowing is the way to go.

Ted Simons
>> Deferring money, state money to school districts again, right thing to do?

Phil Lopes
>> Again, again it is a choice. It is a choice that you have to make. Do you want to defer that payment for a week or two or three, or do you want to lower teacher's salaries, for example? No, that is a choice that there is no question in my mind which one to go with.

Ted Simons
>> Go ahead.

Thayer Verschoor
>> You know, Ted, the problem with that is going to be now we're going into -- we won't get to 2010. We will be coming back and revisiting this issue again, whether it is in November or whether it is in January, I'm not sure. Because my guess is we're anywhere from one to 300 million slide in revenue still that we will have to resolve for 2009.The problem with the borrowing, you have a midnight reversion, you have a $300 million rollover, and then you have this borrowing in the capitol. More borrowing, they call an investment. You have almost $2.5 billion in borrowing. The problem is you are going to get hit with all of the debt in 2010, and 2011.You're not going to have the Rainy Day fund. Not all of the fund sweeps to resolve it. We're going to have to do some
Cuts in areas, and they're going to be more drastic than it could have otherwise been.

Phil Lopes
>> My answer to Senator Verschoor, aside from the merits of the argument, there were not enough people in the legislature that thought that way in order to make that happen. The question becomes, it is very interesting, kinds of philosophical discussion, but if you can't get the coalition, if you can't get the people to support something, it can't go there.

Ted Simons
>> Is there a whistling past the graveyard aspect to this budget?

Phil Lopes
>> Well, the best answer to that is that we have rolled over K-12 payments before.
We have capital financed, long term financing for school construction before, and we have been able to pay that off in a way that keeps our state growing and our economy going. I'm optimistic that we will be able to do that again. We had an almost $2 billion
deficit shortfall. What we passed was about $1.9, making up $1.9 of that. We may have more to make up. We'll manage it. That is our responsibility is to manage these things.

Ted Simons
>> We heard senator Verschoor in the piece talking about photo radar and the concerns there.

Phil Lopes
>> I spent my life in public health, and there is no question about the value of slow -- of changing driver's behavior, and photo radar, it is conclusive evidence that it changes the behavior of drivers. It slows them down. And I think anything that conclusive is worth our pursuing, aside from the revenue issue.

Ted Simons
>> I want to ask you about, one of the proudest things of the session, getting the vote
against gay marriage on the ballot.

Thayer Verschoor
>> It is not against gay marriage. You have to understand the marriage amendment defining marriage between a man and a woman. That is what it is about. That is all it simply says. What has happened in California with the budget shortfall we're having, I think this is a timely issue and getting it to the ballot for the voters of Arizona to decide.

Ted Simons
>> My question is we're hearing criticism that this one issue soured a lot of the session and took up a lot of time. Fair criticism?

Thayer Verschoor
>> Apparently it did take up a lot of time toward the end. I mean, you know, I've heard -- you know, I've heard folks say this wasn't that big of an issue, but yet, you know, I have heard democrats say we shouldn't have spent that much time on it.
I agree. We shouldn't have. The votes were there. People were in agreement on it. We should have voted it up or down. Instead we had members of the Democrat Party try to work very hard and spend a lot of time and in fact killed a lot of legislation that was out there that folks were looking for that would have been very helpful in moving forward the economy, I think even the Senator Arzberger worker bill was a victim of that debate. If it was an issue that shouldn't have taken up a lot of time, fine. The votes were there. We should have voted it up. We would have been done with it and moved on. Apparently it was a very important issue for both sides.

Phil Lopes
>> That issue will be remembered as the issue in the Arizona Senate that showed us at our absolute worst hour. The kind of incivility, the kind of cleverness that evolved
around that debate is something nobody wanted to watch. I watched it, and I was -- I was not only horrified, but I was absolutely embarrassed for all of us about what went on around the debate of that issue, aside from the merits of the issue.

Ted Simons
>> Is that a fair criticism?

Thayer Verschoor
>> I think it is a fair criticism. We saw an attempt to filibuster an issue that really the votes were there, and it shouldn't have gone on as long as it did and there was a lot of incivility over that and it was a sad thing. I think that it could have been something that should have moved through to a vote very quickly, and, like I said, we would have voted it, the votes were there, people were there and ready to vote for it, and we could have moved past that and moved on to other issues.

Ted Simons
>> Last question, are we going to see a special session?

Thayer Verschoor
>> Oh, yeah, I believe we will. I don't know whether it will be In November or January, but, yeah, I believe we absolutely are going to see a special session.

Ted Simons
>>A special session?

Phil Lopes
>> I think as long as the economy continues to level out where it is now, we will probably see a special session in January. If it goes down, could see it earlier, if it goes up, we may not see it.

Ted Simons
>> Very good. Well, we will stop it there. Thank you so much.Good conversation.

Phil Lopes
>> You're welcome.

Thayer Verschoor
>> Have a happy fourth.

Ted Simons
>> You, too.

Ted Simons
>>> This has been a history-making presidential campaign with a woman and an
African American candidate going as far as they have race, gender, and politics national association of Latino elected and appointed official's conference held last week in Washington D.C. The group known as "Naleo," Represents over 6,000 Hispanic officials.
Mike Sauceda attended its discussion on race, gender, and politics.

Mike Sauceda
>> About 8\% of Washington D.C.'s more than half million residents are Hispanic descent according to the census bureau. The number of Hispanics in Washington D.C. was bolstered temporarily by several hundred Hispanic officials who attend the 25th annual conference. They gathered to hear from other Politicians like Senator Hillary Clinton. They sat in on sessions dealing with many issues important to Hispanics, such as mental health, education, and race.

Hillary Clinton
>> And I was very honored to have so much support in the Hispanic community.
I was moved by the millions of Latinos who participated.

[applause]

Mike Sauceda
>> Race and gender certainly have been at the forefront in this presidential election season. One of the sessions covered those areas. Kicked off by burough of Bronx President Adolfo Carrion. He talked about the variety of races that make up the Hispanic ethnicity.

Adolfo Carrion
>> If you look at us across the room, we are Amer-Indian, European; we have been influenced by every European Colonial power that was fighting for the lands on this side of the Atlantic. We are African. We are hybrid. Before the hybrid was invented, before the auto industry came up with hybrid, we were there.

Mike Sauceda
>> Karen Narasaki talked about the Asian building block.

Karen Narasaki
>> We are very much the quintessential swing vote. About a third of us are Democrats, about a third, little less, Republicans, and then the vast majority in the middle claim to be independent, very much vote not so much on party, but whether the candidate is speaking to the issues. If they perceive a candidate to be anti-immigrant, regardless of
the party, they won't vote for them. Like the Latino community, if there is an Asian American running, they will cross party lines to support the candidate.

Mike Sauceda
>> Both the Asian and Hispanic vote went heavily toward Hillary Clinton in the primary.
A majority did not vote for Obama because of race -- Clinton a known commodity among Asians and had more contacts. NAACP said Obama was not doing
Better with --

Hillary Shelton
>> Believe it or not, before the first primary was held, Senator Clinton polled higher than Senator Obama in the African-American community. And in many ways, some of the things raised earlier, Senator Clinton was better known. Senator Clinton had spent a lot of time raising money for African American candidates, as I know she has done for Latino candidates and the like. Spent a lot of time providing support for our issues and concerns, whether election reform issues or the like. We knew her in those terms. But it took Senator Obama actually getting out into the communities and getting to know him.

Mike Sauceda
>> Allegations of sexism surfaced during the Clinton Campaign.

Faith Winter
>> They still had the Hillary Clinton nut cracker dolls at the airport. We had radio personalities calling her a whore on air. That is unacceptable.

Mike Sauceda
>> Sexism, racism, affects the impression that children have on Politicians.

Faith Winter
>> I speak at elementary schools a lot. I ask kids, what does a politicians look like? They raise their hands and they say well he is old, white and rich. If our kids think that you have to be old, white, and rich to be the ones making the decisions and setting policy in this country, and who do we think makes those decisions and sets the policy?
Who do we think belongs in those positions of power? For the first time in our country, we're going in and it is not automatically -- our kids aren't saying he is old, white, and rich.

Ted Simons
>> Studies reveal the U.S. is shifting toward an older work force. Labor shortages are projected and employers are relying on older workers to fill the gap. We'll look at the implications of an aging work force tomorrow at 7:00 on "Horizon."

Ted Simons
>>> That is it for now. Thank you so much for joining us I'm Ted Simons. You have a great weekend and a great night, too.

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