Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

August 20, 2008


Host: Ted Simons

Governor Napolitano


  • Governor Janet Napolitano makes her monthly appearance on HORIZON. She talks about her role in the upcoming Democratic National Convention.
Guests:
  • Janet Napolitano - Arizona Governor
Category: Governor Visit

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Tonight on Horizon: the governor will be speaking next week at the democratic national convention talking about the economy. And a flash flood forces the evacuation of hundreds of people near the Grand Canyon. Governor Janet Napolitano will talk about those issues and more coming up next on horizon. 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 will speak next Tuesday night at the democratic national convention. She will address economic issues and other concerns. Here to talk about that and other things is Arizona governor Janet Napolitano. Thanks for joining us.

Janet Napolitano:
Good to be back.

Ted Simons:
Will that be it, the economy on Tuesday night the focus from you and others?

Janet Napolitano:
That will be my focus. There are a number of other speak, Tuesday night. Other governors, Mark Warner the former governor of Virginia will give the keynote. That's Hillary Rodham Clinton's speech night as well. Shes talking about a lot of different things. I'm going to focus on the economy, what Senator Obama wants to do particularly for the middle class which has been so squeezed these last few years.

Ted Simons:
The D.N.C. Is saying you'll be talking about jobs, economic growth and fairness. What do you mean by fairness?

Janet Napolitano:
I think that we want to make sure that everybody -- when the economy turns around and starts coming back, that we more fairly distribute the wealth that arises from that. That one of the things that has developed over the past seven years is an enormous differential between the very few at the top of the economic pyramid and everyone else. And that there needs to be some sort of a fairness issue that also underlies our economic policy.

Ted Simons:
Does that play as well into the title "Renewing America's Promise"?

Janet Napolitano:
Right. Was the title given to the overall democratic platform this year. Renewing the American dream, renewing the American community, really looking at our roots where we come from as a country and using that to go forward.

Ted Simons:
You mentioned Senator Clinton will be speaking that night as well. That will be getting a lot of attention. What do you want to hear from her?

Janet Napolitano:
Well, I think I want to hear from her her commitment and her sense of where the issues are. I have enormous respect for Senator Clinton. As democrats they really, you know, I guess the enviable position of having two very, very highly-qualified candidates at the end. So I think it's that. And to show to the country that we are now all in this together, we are one party and one party reaching out, not just to democrats but to independents and republicans as well.

Ted Simons:
Do you think enough has been done among Clinton supporters to bridge that gap and to get over the primary season?

Janet Napolitano:
Overall, yes. I think I talked to a number of Clinton supporters. And they're ready to rock and roll. They understand that on the issues, you can't support Hillary Clinton and then turn around and support John McCain. They're so different on so many issues. And so that bridge is very -- has really crossed. Then I worked with a number of Clinton supporters on drafting the platform because I chair the platform drafting committee. And we really worked through how are we going to articulate their somewhat different vision on health care, for example. And we came to an agreement on that. And that's how we're going to move forward this fall.

Ted Simons:
And drafting that platform I'm sure brought all sorts of challenges and a lot of work this summer. Talk to us a little bit about that.

Janet Napolitano:
Well, we were blessed with very, very good staff. But yes, it was some significant work. Because it needed to be a platform that democrats can run from or -- not from, excuse me, I misspoke. But can run on throughout the rest of the country. And it has to include a whole host of different issues. And be written in a language that's specific enough so that people know where we stand, general enough so that it's not one policy paper after another.

Ted Simons:
Figuring out platforms, though, in the past has been or can be just a rock em sock em affair. People have their issues, they have their concerns and they really want them addressed and addressed hard at the convention. I mean, talk about democrats who are notoriously independent-minded. It's not quite the same as the G.O.P. Which seems to -- always seem to have their kind of ideas more in line. How difficult again is it to get all of those different ideas shaped into a platform?

Janet Napolitano:
Well, I think to demonstrate how strongly democrats feel about Senator Obama and the need for change in Washington, D.C. , it really wasn't all that difficult. --we had to hash out language on health care and a few other issues. But the in the end at the platform committee, the standing committee, no dissenting votes, no minority reports. So I think the platform will be very smooth sailing. And that's the way it ought to be. We listen to a lot of ideas. We had over 1600 meetings around the country where people, on the internet, sent in their thoughts about the platform. We read those, was organized those ideas. So there was a big public participation in this before we even sat down to the drafting part.

Ted Simons:
You recently said you were not vetted for the vice-presidential position is. That true?

Janet Napolitano:
That is true.

Ted Simons:
Okay. What is up with the idea of Barack Obama text messaging his vice-presidential choices? Is that yet another way to mobilize voters and such?

Janet Napolitano:
I think it is. And I think it shows he wants to let his supporters know first and use some of the technology now available to us. It hasn't been available to nominees in the past. And so we will all be waiting over the next few days to get that message.

Ted Simons:
To find out who's going to speak the following night after you.

Janet Napolitano:
Exactly.

Ted Simons:
We can go over individual people, but that seems, you know, whatever. But what kind of vice-presidential candidate should Barack Obama be look for?

Janet Napolitano:
Well, I think the vice-president needs to be someone who can take over the presidency should the unthinkable happen. It needs to be someone who agrees with Senator Obama on his policies, his positions, and then someone with whom he can campaign with happily. And I put those in kind of descending order of importance. And as i've said before, there are many, many good choices that Senator Obama has almost too many in a way. And I'm sure he's going to pick somebody very good.

Ted Simons:
You mentioned someone who agrees with his policy. But an independent-minded vice-president, that can be a benefit as well, can't it?

Janet Napolitano:
Yes. And there's a difference between agreeing versus being a sycophant. You don't want that but you do want someone who looks at the world the way you do, see the presidency and vice-president the same way you do.

Ted Simons:
Joe Biden a good choice?

Janet Napolitano:
Excellent choice.

Ted Simons:
[inaudible] a good choice?

Janet Napolitano:
Excellent choice.

Ted Simons:
you're going to say excellent to everyone.

Janet Napolitano:
I am.----Well that depends…

Ted Simons:
we had a recent Reuters Zogby poll that last month had Barack Obama with a seven point lead. This month latest poll has John McCain with a five point lead. What happened?

Janet Napolitano:
Well, first of all consider the source. It's a Zogby poll. That was the -- Zogby predicted up to the day of the election that John Kerry was going to win the election last time. It's not the most accurate poll. That aside, there are other polls that have Obama up five to seven points. So the polls are a little bit over the map. And I think it would be fair to say that Obama has been a little quiet lately, getting ready for this convention, getting ready for the selection of the vice-president. But the democrats are together and ready for a great convention coming out and ready to rock and roll this fall.

Ted Simons:
McCain attack ads taking their toll?

Janet Napolitano:
Perhaps. I always regret to say that. Because I think so many of us are so tired of negativity. But it does move points sometimes. And so that may have had some effect. Very unfair attacks, I must say. I'm kind of disappointed in the ads.

Ted Simons:
To that end, how does the Obama campaign respond, a campaign that's based on hope, on change, on kind of a positive message? How do you respond when a you're being attacked and b those attacks seem to be working?

Janet Napolitano:
Well, I think first overall on a national campaign you remain positive and keep people focused on the future. And what we need to do as a country unified for the future. But I will tell you that -- and this was reported in the "New York Times" today so I'm not disclosing anything, that in certain places in these battleground states where McCain has been running these very negative and misleading ads, Barack is attacking right back.

Ted Simons:
Okay. There's also some concern that Obama's core, the more liberal side of the democratic party, not all that pleased with some of the stuff they're hearing from the candidates. First of all what are you hearing to that end? And secondly, is this just something that you get with a national campaign and a national party?

Janet Napolitano:
I think so. And I wouldn't, you know, what happens is first of all I think there was some misunderstanding of his positions. Many of his positions really haven't changed at all. But they were just not well-communicated about his earlier positions weren't well-communicated. But more than that when you're the national candidate of a national party you've got to speak to more than one element of the Democratic Party. He's got to lay out his visions not just for democrats but for independents, Republicans, for the entire electorate about where he wants to take the country. I can say as a governor, even as a governor that means sometimes you disappoint people that are in one element of your party or another because you're not towing a particular line. You're really trying to solve problems and you have to look at a variety of different solutions.

Ted Simons:
Are Democrats ready to hear that message, to hear that my issue may not be addressed to my satisfaction but I still have to get out there?

Ted Simons:
I think so. And not only that, you have to say in comparison to what. And as we see, Senator McCain has moved substantially from where he was even a year ago on many important positions, be it the wiseness or lack thereof -- the wisdom or lack thereof of the bush tax cut that benefited only a few to immigration policy and so forth. And so we see the same thing perhaps even more so on the McCain side.

Ted Simons:
okay. Let's get to some state issues here. Three of the nine initiatives so far are trying to get on the ballot presented and then rejected because of signature problems. What's going on here?

Janet Napolitano:
Well, I think it's hard to say. And I haven't been involved too much in the signature gathering part of these. But two of the three are very important, to me, anyway. One is trust land reform and one is transportation. Both of which we sorely need to have in this state and to let the voters vote upon. The people rung those campaigns feel confident that on the law they are right that, signatures should be counted or that they have enough legal signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Ted Simons:
Do you think there should be better regulation, though, for paid petition gatherers?

Janet Napolitano:
I don't know what the ultimate problems were. And so I don't know whether that was an issue with paid petition gatherers or not. I don't know whether it's how the secretary of state is doing some of the counting on names versus not. I really don't. So rather than suggest a solution I think I'd better know better -- I should know better what the problem is.

Ted Simons:
Let me ask you this: with the time initiative now still not technically on the ballot, if this doesn't make it, if the legal challenge doesn't go through, what happens to transportation in this state? Is there a plan b?

Janet Napolitano:
Well, it's not a very good one. The plan b that we have is basically by the year 2011 we'll be down to only maintenance only funding. And we'll only be able to repair what we have. And we certainly won't be able to plan for big long-term projects like freeways, roads and rail and commuter rail which are all encompassed within this initiative. It's not a great plan b.

Ted Simons:
There has to be some sort of idea what happens if this thing doesn't get on the ballot.

Janet Napolitano:
The answer is not much.

Ted Simons:
Not much. Okay. You are commented on a campaign, the Russell Pearce campaign. You commented on the personal nature and the attacking nature of those against Russell Pearce for a variety of reasons. Why did you feel the need to comment on that?

Janet Napolitano:
Well, I was asked about it. I was asked about it at my weekly press briefing. And I said, look, I don't agree with Represent Pearce. I don't think he's been a helpful influence at the capitol. I don't think his positions have matched well with the interests of the people in his district and the kinds of things that they need to see happen in state government. And I think that's a lot to campaign about in terms of what he has done as a legislator and his record. But the personal attacks to me are unnecessary and not called for. I'd like to see us try to lift the level of political discourse.

Ted Simons:
And those on the other side would say, if he's associated with these people or associated with these activities or allegations, why not bring them up.

Janet Napolitano:
Like I said, let's differentiate. I think one is was he associated with a neo-Nazi and so forth. And then the other is, of course, I guess there was an allegation with respect to his wife and a domestic violence incident. Let me just say again, I believe that there is so much there in terms of his legislative records that that really ought to be the focus, about educating those primary voters out in the east valley about what he actually does when he's downtown in phoenix.

Ted Simons:
Let's move now to the west side and the air force base out there, Luke and your thoughts on this residential encroachment. The lawsuit against Maricopa county. General idea on that.

Janet Napolitano:
Oh, I think the county -- I have no -- I cannot understand why they're doing what they're doing. Literally zoning residences in accident zones for Luke air force base, which is a safety issue but it's also putting the continuation of Luke air force base at risk when there is another process. I think the law is crystal clear. The attorney general believes the law is crystal clear. The mayors agree with us the law is crystal clear. What the deal is with Maricopa County you got me. We couldn't get them to agree with everybody else about what they're supposed to do, that's why we have to go to court.

Ted Simons:
They're saying that rezoning may cost them in terms of compensation to landowners, that it would be an unfunded mandate because they're not getting any money to compensate these folks. Again your response.

Janet Napolitano:
Pshaw! That's what I would say. You don't hear the cities complaining and they're under the same rubric. That argument could be made about any kind of regulation. Look, we have Luke air force base. It's a $2 billion economic asset. It's an important part of our national military preparedness in terms of pilot training. And what they are doing is simply irresponsible and wrong.

Ted Simons:
This comes on the heels of losing a, what 7.8, close to $8 million regarding buying up land around bases that was I guess earmarked or whatever the better word is for that. What happened to that money? Why was that money taken away?

Janet Napolitano:
Well, that money was part of the overall budget where they took leftover moneys from a variety of accounts to help balance the $2 billion deficit. It's my hope that that is a temporary sweep and that we'll be able to replenish those accounts. But there are a whole host of things we do to protect Luke and our other bases from encroachment. That's only one piece of an overall pie we have. Bun the most important thing we have is through the planning and zoning process to prevent more unwise development from occurring in the accident zones around Luke. And that's what Maricopa County is -- they've gone far off the page.

Ted Simons:
Something else that was lost in the budget was this idea of school vouchers for disabled and foster kids. The speaker now wants you to call a special session to find some money. He thinks he has some money of his own he wants to use, wants the department of education, superintendent of public instruction to use money from his office, find some way to get these kids back to the schools that they were once at. Your response is overall issue. First of all, would you call a special session for something like this?

Janet Napolitano:
No. And let me just say -- let me start off with, first of all let's not play politics with several hundred children who are unfortunately caught in this circumstance. But as we can tell even from this conversation, there were lots of cuts and sweeps that had to occur to fill the $2 billion hole in the budget. We're more than willing to work with families in terms of -- and foster parents and so forth in terms of placement of kids. This was a private school voucher program that was added to what was already there a few years ago. Court of appeals has already said they think that program is unconstitutional. So legally it's suspect. But again, I got a letter from represent nelson. Represent Nelson writes a letter saying, he wants me to refill the military base acquisition fund. Speaker Weiers wants to help these kids. Other people want to help those who are caught -- who are disabled but are not yet receiving disability payments who previously we'd been covering. Others who want us to cover adult dental services that had to be cut. Every time I turn around there is a very powerful or compelling case for other things that had to be cut. So to single one out because it's the speaker's pet program, with all respect and sympathy really for the families involved, but we're going to have another tougher budget year and I'm just not sure that's the wisest way to go about it.

Ted Simons:
Speaking of a tough budget year and special sessions do you see one coming for the budget?

Janet Napolitano:
I can't tell right now. Our July revenue figures, we almost hit the mark in terms of right on the button in terms of what we estimated. But the national economy is very up and down, mostly down. Housing has not come back. And we see that ripple effect still powerfully going through the Arizona economy. So if we have to adjust we'll adjust.

Ted Simons:
Will adjustment mean taxes, increased taxes? Is that something that's going to have to be addressed eventually?

Janet Napolitano:
I don't want to say that right now. I mean, we obviously will look at other options always first. And want to do so, however in, such a fashion that we create a good base for Arizona moving forward, that we continue to invest in the types of things that we know will lead to a better, healthier, more diverse economy as we move through the next decades. So there's always that balancing issue in mind about what we need to do.

Ted Simons:
You recently had some staff changes. Chief of staff, top legislative advisor, top lobbyist all leaving. What's going on there?

Janet Napolitano:
It's summer and if they stay much longer they're really sucked into another legislative session because by the time we get to September we're already beginning to review budget requests from the agencies and legislative requests. And so typical time for transition, these three individuals obviously have provided remarkable service to the people of the state of Arizona. They'll still be connected. They're not leaving, but they're not going to be doing the day-to-day work.

Ted Simons:
A lot of legislative experience, though. Just all around experience in all three accounts there.

Janet Napolitano:
A lot of experience, a lot of service. Their replacements are also similarly experienced and have been working with me for a number of years. And so we always knew at some point there would be a transition. Every administration has one. So we had some good succession planning in place.

Ted Simons:
We had a very serious situation up at the Grand Canyon recently with a flood up there that trapped a bunch of folks that were fortunately rescued. I know you had a chance to go visit that Grand Canyon Supai village on Monday. I think we have video of you landing and taking a look around. What did you see up there?

Ted Simons:
Well, fortunately the village itself was doing all right. Although the trails leading down to the village, a portion of those had been wiped out. And then further down the canyon where you have Havasu falls, beaver falls, Mooney falls, very popular campgrounds in Arizona. Those are totally wiped out. So we're going to have a lot of recovery work to do.

Ted Simons:
Everyone rescued. It sounds like everyone was accounted for.

Janet Napolitano:
Remarkable. I got a call Sunday morning around 8:00 from the head of the department of public safety letting me know about the situation. Immediately sent four helicopters and two of our National Guard Blackhawk's up there. Coconino county sheriff's office, Mojave county sheriff's office deserve major credit working with the department of public safety and the national guard, also the red cross and salvation army picked up probably all told about 400 people. Everybody found.

Ted Simons:
How long do you think that area is going to be out of commission? Because that sounds like that area was hit very hard.

Janet Napolitano:
The camping areas, it's hard to say. They're just now beginning to send in some folks to do damage assessment. But it wouldn't surprise me if it were several months.

Ted Simons:
Real quickly. A couple more issues before we -- does Honeywell pollution settlement, I'm interested in. There's a controversy from the member of the corporation commission that some of the money which apparently will go to the western climate initiative, a favorite project of yours, he's saying this money should not go there, the settlement money, but go toward the people who were affected by the pollution. Your response.

Janet Napolitano:
Well, this is by Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce. He doesn't believe that climate change has happened so. That's part of the motivation there. But the western climate initiative is a major project to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in Arizona, which will also have the effect of helping us clean up our air quality. So it needed some resources. And the way this settlement was structured, that not only is it an appropriate use of that money but a very good use of that money. And there's other moneys that are going for other purposes. So the director of the department of environmental quality will send commissioner pierce a lengthy letter spelling that out.

Ted Simons:
Not the first time, though, there have been accusations or concerns that you were working unilaterally, you were going past the legislature in issues that legislature at least, and this in some cases feels would be more their responsibility. You feel you can do this.

Janet Napolitano:
Oh, not -- if I didn't feel I could do it I wouldn't be doing it. But not only that, if there are issues further down the road that need legislative approval of course we'll go to the legislature. And the process by which this initiative is moving forward in terms of setting standards, deciding a cap and trade program for our region and the like, has been a very open process. Lots of stakeholders involved, including staff of the corporation commission.

Ted Simons:
Okay. Last question. What the heck is going on with the virtual fence down at the -- the virtual virtual fence down at the border?

Janet Napolitano:
You know, this is interesting. Because last week literally I was in a meeting in Los Angeles with the homeland secretary Michael Chertoff and -- small meeting about a half dozen of us. And they never once mentioned that they were having to stop the virtual fence in Arizona because interior hadn't yet agreed. So I was caught by surprise as much as anyone else and I've got some folks looking into it right now, you can bet.

Ted Simons:
how much has been done down there? What kind of progress has been made?

Janet Napolitano:
Not a lot of on the virtual fence. They've had all kinds of technical difficulties. So I think we need a real status update in what we can expect over the next few months.

Ted Simons:
30 seconds here. Immigration overall. Are we seeing things cooling down as far as the rhetoric, as far as the issue is concerned?

Janet Napolitano:
By many, not all. Certainly not by Represent Pearce. That's his one issue. But we are seeing the number of apprehensions go down, which indicates the number of illegal immigrants crossing the border is going down as well.

Ted Simons:
All right. Very good. Governor, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

Janet Napolitano:
Thank you.

Ted Simons:
what do goat milk fudge, rattlesnake souvenirs, bells and chocolate have in common? They are all things "made in Arizona." find out more about the unusual products made in our state. That's Thursday at 7:00, on horizon.

Ted Simons:
And that is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

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