October 19, 2009
Host: Ted Simons
- An investigative report from the Goldwater Institute has found that an airport hiring program meant to benefit minorities is instead being used by political insiders. Reporter Mark Flatten will talk about his findings.
- Mark Flatten - Reporter, Goldwater Institute
Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. The city of Phoenix settles a lawsuit with the family of Carol Gotbaum, the New York woman who died while in police custody at Sky Harbor. The city's insurance company said it was cheaper to settle for $250,000 than to continue to litigate the case. Gotbaum's family originally filed an $8 million lawsuit. Phoenix police released a statement saying their officers acted appropriately in the case. They say that Gotbaum accidentally strangled herself after being detained for unruly behavior at the airport. The Goldwater Institute, a conservative think tank, has released a new investigative report claiming that a hiring program for minorities is being misused by well-connected politicians. The airport's disadvantaged business enterprise program sets guidelines for participation of women and minorities in airport concession contracting. A report by Goldwater Institute investigative reporter Mark Flatten, showed the program is being used by some who have a net worth of more than a million dollars. And some of the businesses in the program are owned by people active in politics. Here to tell us more about his report is Mark Flatten. Good to see you again. Thanks for joining us.
Mark Flatten: Thank you for having me.
Ted Simons: Disadvantaged business enterprise program. Explain what this is and the guidelines the program is looking for.
Mark Flatten: What it's billed as is a way to help disadvantaged business owners who suffered discrimination in the past and sets guidelines for minimum participation level. So if you're doing $100 in business at the airport, a certain percentage has to be attributable to small minority-owned business firms. What we found at Sky Harbor over a three-month period, a lot of these leases are going to people who are politically connected. Quintessential insiders. Give a lot of money to political campaigns. If you look at total sales at the airport attributed to these disadvantaged businesses, over a fourth are attributed to five business owners who have extensive political ties.
Ted Simons: You mentioned that county supervisor Mary Rose Willcox and her husband gamed the system.
Mark Flatten: The federal requirements say you can't just be a name on the lease. You've got to perform what they call a commercially useful function. But if you look at years of city documents what you find is there's no reason for Mary Rose Willcox to be involved in this partnership, to run a Chili's in terminal four. She was literally a name on the lease despite what federal regulations say that require a true meaningful participation in running that company.
Ted Simons: You can't just have your name because you are a woman or you are a minority put onto a lease. You've got to have some kind of financial input or run of the day-to-day operations.
Mark Flatten: Yes, the reason for that is these programs are supposed to actually help struggling businesses gain expertise, gain sort of a foothold, but in reality, what happens is to even bid on a contract, you've got to have this minimum participation level by minority and women-owned businesses so what these companies are doing, just to meet the requirements of the bidding, they're bringing in disadvantaged business enterprises and if you look at Mary Rose Willcox's contract with HMS Host, which does the food and beverage sales in terminal 4, it specifies she has no role in running the day-to-day operations and doesn't have to spend time at the business she deems appropriate. You ask, what does she bring to the table? What is her contribution to the business enterprise? And beyond meeting the minimum qualifications for bidding in the closed system, she didn't bring much to the table.
Ted Simons: And yet she told the "The Arizona Republic" she was used -- or participated, I think she would rather use that word -- because of her history, her family's history of running minority-owned businesses, restaurants in this case, through long hard years in central Phoenix. Response?
Mark Flatten: If you look at the city's email, the city's email exchanges, their enforcement actions, they struggled for two years to quantify what it is she does do in running the company and they're saying her role is negligible. It's a Chili's menu. And one of the problems is the city was trying to force her to become more active in running the company that they encountered that it has fixed rules on who can control their franchise. In this case, it was Host. And not an opportunity for her to take a more active role. For over two years, the city tried to define what it is she did to run the company.
Ted Simons: I know the Goldwater Institute had recommendations in running the program. Tell us about them.
Mark Flatten: The simplest recommendations are included in the law itself. You have an open and competitive bidding process without the restrictions that limit who can bid and participate. Those were encompassed in the law itself and what they say -- and if you look at the court rulings on these types of programs, what the courts have said, you shouldn't have to report to these preference programs. You can break these big contracts into smaller contracts and relax bonding requirements and do any number of things to make it easier for any small business to participate and compete without having to resort to preferences.
Ted Simons: And there are those who say the goal is to level the playing field. To get disadvantaged minority-owned businesses who have been struggling, an opportunity, when a plumb gig at the airport rolls around.
Mark Flatten: That may be a laudable goal. The problem is we can't compete with these big national companies and we can't get the financing to make the improvements. But if you look at the reasons for -- to justify the DBE program, they're the same challenges that any small businesses faces. Any small business is going to have trouble raising the kind of revenue and when you look at the court decisions and the law and the regulations themselves, there's any number of things you dock to make it more competitive for everyone.
Ted Simons: Bottom line, get rid of DBE altogether?
Mark Flatten: Certainly, the way it's being run is not the way it was intended to be run.
Ted Simons: All right. Mark, thanks for joining us. We appreciate it. You can get information on past, present and future "Horizon" shows by visiting our website.
- A report out on the Arizona Department of Public Safety's budget indicates the agency could be forced to lay off one-third of its patrolmen. DPS Director Roger Vanderpool will talk about the budget.
- Roger Vanderpool - DPS Director
Ted Simons: The governor recently asked state agency heads to come up with budgets showing how departments would be impacted by budget cuts of 15%. One of those agencies, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, showed that such a budget could mean the layoffs of hundreds of highway patrol officers. Here to talk about his agency's budget is DPS Director Roger Vanderpool. Good to have you back on the program.
Roger Vanderpool: Nice to be here.
Ted Simons: These budget cut, 15%. Talk to us about the impact -- obviously, this is -- 15% is a pretty rough cut. Pretty big impact.
Roger Vanderpool: Yes, it is. It's terrible. Devastating to DPS. It would lay off literally hundreds of DPS personnel. Many of them, the overwhelming majority being DPS officers, both highway patrol and criminal investigators. Those that are working narcotics cases and gang cases.
Ted Simons: What about things like emergency calls, longer waits there?
Roger Vanderpool: Longer waits on emergency calls. Our rescue helicopters would be affected around the state. The crime lab would be affected. Literary everything, every area of the agency would be affected.
Ted Simons: Everything seems to come back to photo radar in one shape or form. Could photo radar -- check that. What's the dynamic of photo radar in this kind of scenario? More of it?
Roger Vanderpool: I guess you could make that connection. It's not a connection we want to make. Obviously, we need officers on the street. We don't have enough officers on the street. We've already taken budget cuts and this 15% would be as I said, devastating. Photo enforcement is just a tool. It will never replace officers and it should never be utilized under that means to replace officers. It's a tool.
Ted Simons: The critics of the 15% budget cut list say all this is a bunch of department heads allowed to -- scare tactics. This is what's going to happen. How do you respond?
Roger Vanderpool: The directions were clear from the governor's office, is to come up with 15% cuts that -- to permanent programs. And I think the governor's purpose was to -- to help inform the legislature that you can't cut your way out of this alone. Budget cuts will really be devastating to the state agencies and to the services that they deliver to the citizens of Arizona.
Ted Simons: Are there ways to further streamline DPS without affecting public safety?
Roger Vanderpool: We were looking at that all the time. And it's what we've been doing all along. To date, we haven't had to lay anyone off or furlough anyone and that's because we've been doing those things. Streamline, be efficient and good stewards of the tax dollar.
Ted Simons: I've heard criticism of things like duplication with law enforcement agencies around the state. Too many folks doing the same thing in different agencies. Is that something to look at?
Roger Vanderpool: I think in troubling times and in times of few assets such as the tax dollars, especially, it leads us to the ability to reinvent ourselves and to take -- and to examine ourselves and provide a better service. And I think that's what all of the agencies are doing now. Is looking at what we can do to provide a better service, more cost effective and not duplicating efforts. But a lot of those efforts really have to do with jurisdictional issues from the city, county and state.
Ted Simons: Indeed, but is this the time to look at those jurisdictional aspects and say something's got to change. If you have DPS and the city of Phoenix and all --
Roger Vanderpool: There are limited resources and tax dollars and we've got to be, again, be good stewards of the tax dollar.
Ted Simons: Do you see public safety compromised if as much as 15% cuts go through?
Roger Vanderpool: Yes, if you look at the 15% cuts that DPS will have to absorb, with laying off officers and coupled with the 15% cuts that the Department of Corrections is going to take, and they're looking at releasing 13,000 criminals, so you're releasing more criminals and cutting the cops, that's not a good -- it doesn't add up.
Ted Simons: If I'm a lawmaker and I have you in a one-to-one conversation and say we don't have the money. It's not coming in and don't see it for the foreseeable future, how do you convince me these cuts to DPS can't be tolerated?
Roger Vanderpool: I think one the fundamental obligations of government is to provide safety, a measure of safety to their citizens. And cutting DPS is not the way do it.
Ted Simons: Your five-year term ends in January. Do you feel like doing this? You're in the eye of a hurricane with the budget mess.
Roger Vanderpool: Yes, I love this agency. It's like sailing into the storm. I want to see the ship out the other side into calmer waters and -- and I think we're doing good.
Ted Simons: All right. Well, thank you so much for joining us only the on "Horizon."
Roger Vanderpool: Thank you.
- What is the role and character of feminism today? Former Planned Parenthood national director Gloria Feldt will discuss feminism.
- Gloria Feldt - Former national director of Planned Parenthood
Ted Simons: It's been a while since "you've come a long way, baby" was part of our everyday lexicon. While feminism has aged, it has not gone away. What is the unfinished work of feminism? That was one of the questions asked at a recent seminar held at Arizona State University with four feminist leaders. The seminar was titled, "Changing the world: Feminism In Action, Generation To Generation." I recently spoke to one of the panelists, Gloria Feldt, the former national head of Planned Parenthood. Thank you for joining us tonight on "Horizon."
Gloria Feldt: It's a pleasure, Ted.
Ted Simons: What is feminism?
Gloria Feldt: Feminism is simple justice. It's just about social justice. About equality. It's about a fair shake for everybody, basically.
Ted Simons: Has -- has feminism changed over -- 2009 feminism, how's it different?
Gloria Feldt: It's evolved many times. Back in the 1900s -- in the past 20, 30, 40 years, feminism has changed from a time when -- well, in my era, generally referred to as the second wave, we were ticked off. Going about breaking every glass ceiling we could find and today, young women grow up with so many more choices in their lives and sometimes the complaints you hear from young women about the complexity of having choices to which I say, hmm, yes, right, fine. It's fine. It's better to have choices and worry about them, than to have no choices at all.
Ted Simons: Is Sarah Palin a feminist?
Gloria Feldt: I think that's the question of the day. She refers to herself as a feminist and in many ways she's totally a product of the feminist revolution. I don't think she quite appreciates she would have never been Sarah Barracuda the basketball player had it not been for title IX and the shoulders she stands on are more progressive shoulders. I think it matters what a woman says and whether she's actually fighting for things that make women's lives better and I don't think Sarah Palin does that.
Ted Simons: There's some who say feminism is a small tent. It's not big enough for Sarah Palin, the stay-at-home mom. These people not thought of feminists.
Gloria Feldt: I think the reason -- it's permeated our culture to the point that people don't recognize it any more and I think feminism has changed men as profoundly as women.
Ted Simons: Talk more about that.
Gloria Feldt: My father, for example, he would -- he liked to play with the kids but never changed a diaper. Never responsible for staying home if a child was sick. My son, on the other hand, has been intimately involved with his children since they were conceived. Let alone, since they were born. And so -- and I think that men, as well as women now -- and by the way, this month is supposed to be the month that women become half of the workforce. And so that's a very profound change and I think that men and women together need to be the next big wave of feminism and change the workplace to make it more -- well, so that everybody can have a life and earn a living.
Ted Simons: And yet it sounds like there's a lot of criticism still of the feminist mind set, coming, mostly, from men. A lot of men still aren't buying into it and are loud and critical of it. How do you respond?
Gloria Feldt: From a life spent in social change movements, I can say, of course, when you're changing the world some are going to get uncomfortable. But just as we have a generation of women like Sarah Palin for whom the changes that feminism has brought has changed her life too, it's -- it's everywhere. And you could -- you could know that when you're changing the world so profoundly and changing the balance of power, it's really changing the balance of power, that some people are going to be uncomfortable, but if you're changing the balance toward greater social justice, greater equality, fairness, fine, a little discomfort is ok.
Ted Simons: The idea of feminist -- feminism as social policy and change and changing that power structure, how do you teach that to the current generation? How does that message get through to the next generation?
Gloria Feldt: Uh-huh.
Ted Simons: Because as you mentioned earlier, things have changed.
Gloria Feldt: And we have to tell our stories. That's why I've been actually going from campus to campus with a group, we call ourselves the women girls ladies, and we have several generations who tell our stories. How we came to feminism and what we think the unfinished business is and we had a great lecture. The women of the world lecture through women and gender studies here at ASU and we're proud to have that conversation because it needs to be a public conversation and it starts with sharing the stories.
Ted Simons: You mentioned unfinished business. Talk to me more. What is this unfinished business for feminism?
Gloria Feldt: For men and women to get together and change the workplace so it's more supportive of families and men as well as women can participate in family life. Secondly, I believe that it is time to change the whole basis for reproductive justice to a human rights basis and I think that the legal notion of privacy, while it has been necessary, isn't sufficient to carry us into the 21st Century and really protect the basic fundamental human right to make our own childbearing decisions without the government or anyone else intervening.
Ted Simons: Arizona has a new law -- it's blocked by the courts -- most of it -- regarding abortion. Are you saying there needs to be a new way to look at that?
Gloria Feldt: There are so many ways now to be parents. There are different kinds of fertility treatments, all kinds of issues that arise today that didn't arise 35 years ago when Roe v. Wade was decided based on a right to privacy. I think it's a human rights issue to be able to make our own personal decisions about childbearing.
Ted Simons: Is that an uphill struggle for feminists to look at it now? You've got a whole new paradigm. You've walked up one hill, and now here comes another one.
Gloria Feldt: It's a big hill to walk up. You begin to talk about it, apply movement-building principles and -- and we actually, in congress, have legislation that has been drafted called the freedom of choice act based on a civil rights protection. For reproductive justice as opposed to just being about privacy. And so you have a legislative agenda. You organized people around it, you educate, educate, educate, and it's a never-ending process. Like a relay race.
Ted Simons: How do you get bipartisan support for something like that? I'm guessing Democrats would be relatively open, but also guessing a lot of Republicans wouldn't. How do you bridge that gap?
Gloria Feldt: There's not a perfect correlation. Or non-correlation. Not all Republicans are anti-choice. Witness the fact that Peggy and Barry Goldwater -- Peggy was one of the planners of planned parenthood and Barry a great supporter until the day he died. It's not accurate to say all Republicans are anti-choice. Or all Democrats pro-choice. You're right, over the years, the polarization has begun to take its toll and I'm hoping we can begin to bridge that gap by talking about human rights issues and talking about really fundamental American values and freedoms that are for everybody. That's not a bipartisan issue.
Ted Simons: Last question: Back to the overriding issue of feminism here. Critics say that feminism in general disdains family, disdains religion and these things. These are loud voices and again, there are a lot of young people, next generation coming up, hearing those voices as well as your voice. Why are they wrong when they say that feminism looks a little bit on families and stay-at-home moms and religion, conservative Christians?
Gloria Feldt: That's an argument designed to keep gender roles in their place, I guess you could say. To keep the traditional division between the gender roles. But this is an era in which it's brains, not brawn, that makes the difference in the workplace. This is an era where we have found repeatedly that better decisions are made in the public sphere when women are part of that decision making process. It's been found that the return on investment is better when you have a third to 40% women in your management team and on your boards of directors. We can't afford not to have effect's talent in today's society and today's culture. So I really think that feminism is for the better of families. It's for the better of society. And that everybody will have a healthier, happy life -- look, men have been put into little stereotypes too. And maybe they don't all like that. I'm actually very optimistic and I think today's generation of young people, both men and women, are just incredible and they're going to take this whole notion of the simple justice that is feminism and take it places that I could never have thought of.
Ted Simons: Thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.
Gloria Feldt: Thank you, Ted. It was great.