Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

July 29, 2005


Host: Michael Grant

Journalists Roundtable


  • Don't miss HORIZON's weekly roundtable where local reporters get a chance to review the week's top stories.
Guests:
  • Phil Riske - Arizona Capitol Times
Category: Journalists Roundtable

View Transcript
>> Michael Grant:
It's Friday, July 29, 2005. In the headlines this week, it appears the Republican field to challenge Governor Janet Napolitano in 2006 is about to grow. An attorney is pushing for an exemption from the AIMS test for 3,000 students who are learning the English language. And Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard says the use of E-mail could violate the state's open meeting law. That's next on "Horizon".

>> Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by the Friends of Channel 8, members who provide financial support to this Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
Good evening, I'm Michael Grant, and this is the Journalist's Roundtable. Joining me to talk about these and other stories are Phil Riske of the Arizona Capitol Times, Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services, and Mike Sunnucks of the Business Journal.

>> Michael Grant:
It appears the Republican primary for governor in 2006 could be a crowded affair. One person with a legendary name in Arizona politics is ready to announce his candidacy. Phil, you wrote today that Don Goldwater, the nephew of the late Senator Barry Goldwater will run next year. What do you know about his plans?

>> Phil Riske:
We don't know, because he is not providing any interviews to the press until prior to the announcement on Tuesday. He is going to Sun City to first announce, and then other places in the state. He has worked for the Arizona department of administration for seven years as the special events manager. He is the nephew of Barry Goldwater. His only other entry was in 1992 when he ran for the state Senate, and lost about two to one margin.

>> Michael Grant:
That was the first he ran?

>> Phil Riske:
I'm trying to find people who know more about his politics. I called the Goldwater institute, which was established in the name of Barry Goldwater. Asked if they knew much about Don, he is a board member. The CEO said quote, if Don shares his uncle's philosophy, he will be a great governor. Even the institute didn't know much about him.

>> Howard Fischer:
You have the conservative wing of the party, right now the only real announced candidate is John Greene. John Greene supports gay rights, supports a woman's right to abortion, which makes him sound curiously like Barry Goldwater. They have been hunting for somebody. Don has worked in the party for years. He heads the legislative district in Lavine and he has been a good workhorse type person.

>> Michael Grant:
What kind of neighbor is he?

>> Howard Fischer:
He is far enough -- he is on the other side of the hill.

>> Michael Grant:
Okay.

>> Phil Riske:
He is serving on the special committee of the clean elections commission that's looking into changing rules on office holder accounts.

>> Howard Fischer:
One of the interesting things, it's an interesting point to bring up clean elections, what's the Goldwater name worth. Barry has been out of office for nearly two decades, he died nearly a decade ago. All the candidates are probably going to run publicly financed. You may remember what happened to Matt Salmon, any time he spent money, or anybody spent money on his behalf, Janet got money. Primary race, $450,000 is all they get. Million registered Republicans, going for a target 300,000 like voters, that's a buck and a half.

>> Michael Grant:
In those kind of political circumstances is valuable.

>> Howard Fischer:
Definitely. The question is, Tuesday he is going to have press conferences, we pepper him with questions, how do your views compare with those of your more famous uncle. He could go to having an advantage, to a definite disadvantage. If he loves it with the TV cameras all around, people will remember who he was.

>>Michael Grant:
Other potentials? Is Russell Pearce running?

>> Mick Sunnucks:
He is getting a lot of urging from the fellow anti illegal immigration folks to challenge Janet or take on Jeff Flake, Flake is one of the sponsors of the guest worker. Pearce has been probably the foremost anti immigration spokes person at the legislature. And that, if he ran on that issue alone, he could have some legs in a Republican primary.

>> Michael Grant:
That's the key, is the Republican primary.

>> Howard Fischer:
Here is part of the problem with all of that. Number one, you start off with the basics that Russell told us, if he runs for governor, he will be a bachelor, because his wife will divorce him. The other problem becomes while immigration is an issue at the state level, in terms of Congress, he agrees with flake on so much else. No government waste. To simply say I want to take on Jeff Flake solely based on he is sponsoring an immigration bill that we believe has amnesty, I don't know how far you get. Now, the third piece of the equation, Mike talks about the conservative supporters whispering in his ear, comes down largely to state senator Karen Johnson who has been pushing Russell over the edge.

>> Mick Sunnucks:
Running for Congress is expensive, running for governor, you get signatures, you get matching funds. Running against Flake, he would have to raise a lot of money, Stan Barnes did that and got maybe 40\%.

>> Phil Riske:
As of today, there are five independents. One is in eligible because he is 19 years old. I interviewed Ken Bennett, I don't think there is any question he is going the way he talked. Barry Hess.

>> Michael Grant:
He is going to run?

>> Phil Riske:
He is going to run in September. Howie touched on this. I think the flavor of the Republican primary for governor next year is going to be a positioning game -- first of all, who can criticize the governor the best. Secondly, a real positioning of who is the most moderate and who is the most conservative. Because as Howie said, John Greene is a fiscal conservative, but a social liberal. I'm going to guess that your friend from Lavine is probably more conservative than John.

>> Howard Fischer:
We don't allow Democrats in Lavine.

>> Howard Fischer:
Here is the interesting thing. In the primary we know it tends to be the more conservative folks who vote. The question is, you slitting your wrist for philosophical basis. The vast majority of Arizonans do not want Roe V Wade overturned. They have no problem with the U of A, let's say, offering domestic partner reduction in tuition. A guy by the name of Richard Carmona. He used to teach and was a doctor in Tucson and he headed the health department, he is the U.S. surgeon general. Hispanic, from Tucson. Where are Janet's strengths? Tucson and Hispanic. If you want somebody who can beat Janet Napolitano at her own game, Carmona may be the guy if he is willing to do it.

>> Mick Sunnucks:
The Republicans have been pressuring Carmona to run. And he is hemming and hawing. If that doesn't happen and Marilyn Quayle doesn't run, I think you'll see a lot behind Ken Bennett. Salmon went in the general election with no money and there was trouble.

>> Phil Riske:
There was a good point, if a Republican is nominated, that person will have a better chance.

>> Howard Fischer:
Yes, but the question is a Republican or John Greene? He is a nice guy, he is not your classic attractive candidate, I don't know how else to put it.

>> Michael Grant:
All right. What is JD Hayworth saying about the job offer from Fox.

>> Mick Sunnucks:
The rumors are that he might go to the media, have a talk show. His camp says no way, he is going to run again. If JD would do that, Matt Salmon would find a house in Scottsdale and the party establishment would get salmon back in the delegation. He made no bones that he would run for Congress again.

>> Michael Grant:
People who have run before, but unsuccessfully, Fred Duval is talking about secretary state?

>> Mick Sunnucks:
He said he won't run unless it's an open seat. That would mean Jan Brewer would have to move on but I think she's probably going to stay in that seat. Fred is kind of a guy in search of an office to run for. He ran for Rick Remzi's congressional seat. He is pretty well respected but he is trying to find his place in Arizona politics.

>> Howard Fischer: But that's the problem. He goes back to the Babbitt administration. After the run for Congress, nobody knows who he is. And Jan brewer is pretty good on the campaign trail. I think he recognizes it doesn't make any sense. As Mike points out, he would like to do something. What that is, I don't know what's out there that's available.

>> Michael Grant:
Another development this week, Senator McCain has reactivated his straight talk pact.

>> Howard Fischer:
After he lost the presidential primary, he said I'm going to get money to use to travel around the country and help other candidates and I can give to candidates. Under a lot of rules, you can give to other candidates. He decided to reactivate that. He would like to keep his ideas alive. From a political reality standpoint, if you're going run for president, don't you want a bunch of people be holding to you? You went to their fundraiser, contributed? If John McCain comes to town, you'll get the media out for somebody who may not be able to people out.

>> Mick Sunnucks:
It takes a huge amount of money. Hillary Clinton has been doing it on the democratic side.

>> Howard Fischer:
You mentioned Bill Frisk. Bill Frisk in what he did in the stem cell research. He had blocked votes to allow stem cell research, distancing himself from the president. He has a great rush from the party even at the national level.

>> Michael Grant:
Speaking of the upper chamber what if the Senate gave a hearing on immigration and no one from the white house showed up.

>> Mick Sunnucks:
They held hearings, bush administration officials didn't attend. They said they're still studying the issue. That discouraged Janet a little bit, and she mentioned that at her press conference. Border security, if you offer something that looks like amnesty, you get hammered from conservatives. If you don't offer amnesty and ask the illegals to go back, like Kyl proposed, you risk alienating Hispanics. Frisks's comments earlier in the year said maybe next year.

>> Michael Grant:
It's interesting, President Bush and the administration generally had signaled that they wanted to get something done on the issue, had laid out not in any detail but had laid out an initial set of proposals. Curious that almost knocking on the door there and nobody shows.

>> Mick Sunnucks:
It's a question of political Capitol. They have the Supreme Court nomination, Bolton, they pushed CAFTA. I think time is running out for immigration reform.

>> Michael Grant:
Phil, Governor Napolitano going to push through a special session next month, why don't we bury the hatchet over that darn pesky veto deal?

>> Phil Riske:
I think burying the hatchet and kissing and making up is probably a ways off. She is supposed to speak with the speaker and Senate president. The English Language-Learning Bill. Speaker weir says there's more than that, there's another veto such as funding for the sports and tourism. She vetoed a bill that would have placed legislative control over unappropriated federal funds and a bill that would have placed all surplus revenues automatically into the rainy day fund. The speaker is saying all of these things have to be resolved.

>> Michael Grant:
So the strategy, Howie, would be load up all that stuff on their side and say in exchange for that we'll give you what you want on English language learning?

>> Howard Fischer:
I don't think they're going to give her what she wants. I think to a certain extent the speaker is involved in negotiating. The tuition tax credits with a five-year review versus five-year sunset. The compromise position may be a sunset but perhaps it's eight years, guess who will be out of office in eight years from now. English language learners, I don't see any middle ground. I think you have a philosophy, we passed a proposal, tells each school to tell us how much you need, prove you're doing it right and we'll fund you. The governor has a formula that says we'll give each school $1200 for each English language learner. I don't see a middle ground. Tim Hogan who filed the Lawsuit, is going to go back to the judge, say I don't care which side you like, we have nothing and the kids are starting next week.

>> Phil Riske:
He is going to file next week, he told us. He is going to ask for withholding of federal highway funds. He is tinkering with that. ASU college law professor, constitutional law professor Paul Bender said that it would be very strange to have a penalty outside the scope of the original lawsuit. In other words, highway funds being held for a violation in education.

>> Michael Grant:
This is really a remarkable segue. Tim Hogan, with the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, is asking a federal judge to exempt from the AIMS graduation test some 3,000 students who are learning English. Howie, why is Hogan taking this step?

>> Howard Fischer:
This is the other half of the lawsuit, this goes bag to the Flores case. Tim Hogan said we don't have adequate funding. He said now we have a law on the books on the state side that said with the class of 2006, if you don't pass AIMS, you don't graduate. He pointed out that the failure rate for kids who are English language learners is approaching 80\% who haven't passed all three parts of it. He is saying to the judge, how fair is it to knock them from the programs they need to get the skills they need and say I'm sorry, you don't get your diploma. Tom Horne's response comes to I think we've been funding it but besides that if they don't have the skills they need, why give them a diploma in the first place. He believes that the parents will accept the fact that the kids need to repeat 12th grade and get the skills they need. I think it's a hard thing to tell the parents. Now you get the things you should have been getting all along.

>> Mick Sunnucks:
We make the tests easier, give points to the kids for showing up to school on time. This is another example of are we serious about AIMS or keep piling on excuses for kids who are failing.

>> Howard Fischer:
If the kids are learning disabled, the legislature already created certain exemptions. If you have kids by state definition who do not have a command of the English language which is the state's responsibility, should you say I'm sorry, you don't get to graduate with your class. I think there's a real issue here. If the state admits we didn't provide the funding, then how can they come back and say you can't let these kids graduate?

>> Michael Grant:
Any idea on the time line for the judge taking up the request and ruling?

>> Howard Fischer:
There is no rush on this, you've got the whole school year, I think he would like to have a hearing by the end of the year. We're back to the question of it isn't the judge setting policy, the judge is saying here is federal law, this is what you're doing. The Roosevelt decision where the state Supreme Court said here's what the constitution said. It was much easier to say those awful judges are picking on us. I'm sorry, you can have the political force to amend the constitution and get rid of the requirements or comply. You can't do.

>> Michael Grant:
If I recall correctly, the Supreme Court 23 years before -- that's another subject for another show. The attorney general's office is saying if you send an E-mail, you may have violated the open meeting law.

>> Howard Fischer:
I think Terry Goddard realizes meetings don't have to occur like this. They occur in cyberspace. What he said is the nature of the open meeting law is if you deliberate on something, you don't have to deliberate at the same time. If all four of us are members of a city Council, I write a note to you, suggesting we ought to put a traffic light up at mill and university, what do you think and they write back and send the same thing to the other people, by the time you get to the Council meeting, the decision has been made out of the public purview.

>> Michael Grant:
What if I send that E-mail and nobody applies.

>> Howard Fischer:
Terry suggests if we put on the agenda, not a problem but proposing legal action is action is defined in title 38 in the public records in the open meeting law. Therefore sending something saying we should take this action also violates. The other thing he reminds the public officials, they are public record so you better find a way to archive them. If I send an E-mail to you, even just one way, even if you're a staffer, it's not an open meeting law violation but that has to be a matter of public record. Everyone thinks public record is only on paper. It isn't that way.

>> Phil Riske:
Is he saying don't delete.

>> Howard Fischer:
He is saying if you do delete, that's the same as destroying a public record and if you do, you could be thrown out of office.

>> Mick Sunnucks:
You will see lawmakers not use E-mail. President Bush, president Clinton didn't use E-mail.

>> Michael Grant:
Big news from Intel this week.

>> Mick Sunnucks:
They're going to locate a $3 billion new plant at the Chandler campus. It's a huge win for the state. It came because the state pass aid tax cut toward Intel and other manufactures. The governor wasn't a huge fan of this, but she signed it and she gets the credit and it will help her next year in the campaign.

>> Howard Fischer:
One of the interesting things, I'm not here to sing the governor's praises but -- the legislature wanted to pass a bill. She insisted on the trigger and going to 80\% of the sales factor instead of allowing companies --

>> Mick Sunnucks:
There was a lot of opposition in her office, George Cunningham and folks on the left side were against it. It took a lot of lobbying from business folks and technology folks. The governor is smart enough to know if Intel didn't come here, it could be an issue next year.

>> Michael Grant:
Public records requests, you asked some questions about Wal-Mart and AHCCCS.

>> Howard Fischer:
About 150,000 are listed as employed. I said who are their employers. We found a way to sort that out. Among large companies, Wal-Mart is at the top. One in ten Wal-Mart employees is getting their health care paid for by the taxpayers of the State of Arizona. Wal-Mart spokesman said, we're not sure how accurate these figures are. They're saying we do offer a good health insurance policy, we think after two years only three\% of our employ -- 3\% of our employees are getting health care from the state.

>> Michael Grant:
Panelists, we are out of time. Thank you very much. If you would like to see a transcript of tonight's program, please visit our website at www.az.pbs.org. When you get there, click on the word "Horizon", and that will lead you to transcripts, links and information on upcoming shows. Monday on "Horizon", a look at crime stats for Arizona, which has the highest overall crime rate. Tuesday, we'll tell you more about Arizona's dropout rate. Our state might be tied with Louisiana for the worst dropout rate in the nation. Here's what's on Wednesday.

>> Merry Lucero:
From kindergarten through 12th grade, charter schools an our states universities and community colleges. Arizona's public education system is challenged by enrollment and population growth. Our education report card Wednesday at 7 on "Horizon". Michael Grant: Thursday, we talk to Governor Janet Napolitano in her monthly visit to "Horizon". Thanks for joining us on a Friday. I'm Michael Grant, have a great one. Good night.

Content Partner: