Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

May 7, 2010


Host: Ted Simons

Journalists' Roundtable

  |   Video
  • Local reporters review the week’s top stories.
Guests:
  • Casey Newton - The Arizona Republic
  • Dennis Welch - The Arizona Guardian
  • Mike Sunnucks - The Business Journal
Category: Journalists Roundtable

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Good evening and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Joining me tonight are Casey Newton of "The Arizona Republic," Dennis Welch of "The Arizona Guardian," and Mike Sunnucks of "The Business Journal." Arizona's immigration law continues to put the state in the national spotlight. Let's talk about marches, and boycotts and buy-COTTs. It's wild out there.

Casey Newton:
If you thought this was going to be a two or three-day story for Arizona, you were wrong. We saw two unions come out, both saying they're going to boycott Arizona. And seen a variety of marches. Celebrities continue to pour into town. Danny Glover was here. Al Sharpton. They're trying to create an image problem for Arizona, in part so the -- the law will be repealed or the 10 other states that are considering adopting similar legislation, don't.

Ted Simons:
The overview about the rallies and the whole nine yards.

Dennis Welch:
We saw the other day; the governor released a statement to ESPN.com, went around the local media and appears she's really worried about these boycotts they're talking about. Particularly the all-star game next year, pulling up stakes. Because it does go to the point of an image problem. You don't need those things. We've seen people pulling conventions and losing room nights. Up to 15,000 nights in hotel rooms have been canceled since this bill was passed.

Mike Sunnucks:
The tourism folks are worried. They were hit hard by the recession and if you're a company and go to San Diego or Vegas or Phoenix, maybe you go to some other place. We've seen the banks with the bailout funds got grief. The government gets grief for traveling to certain places and we're on the list of why would you go here.

Dennis Welch:
The supporters of the bill down at the legislature, people are coming out here after the bill was passed because they support it. I'd like to know who. I haven't seen anyone, statements, hey, we love this law! We're relocating out here!

Casey Newton:
The opposite of the boycott is the buy-COTT and there's a big plan for the end of the month. Where supposedly people will come in from around the country to spend their money here, which is exciting. I know I've got things to sell them. You guys probably do too.

Dennis Welch:
Yeah.

Ted Simons:
The all-star game was mentioned, how serious is this talk? It seems like it was relatively pie in the sky at first.

Mike Sunnucks:
They haven't given any indication they're going to. The diamondbacks came out, they don't take personal views on their own but they're getting pressure to do it but I don't think it's compared to the MLK.

Dennis Welch:
There's a lot at stake. The players, a lot of Hispanic players in the league who are reportedly upset about the law and they're trying to market the game to, and the baseball has had problems with steroids and I don't think they need this on its plate.

Mike Sunnucks:
Nationally, too, shows that people support the bill. The Rasmussen poll. If you talk to people, I think nationally, people still support the bill and it's –

Dennis Welch:
Well, let's talk about the polls out there. First, the Rasmussen poll. There's a lot of talk about how accurate it is and I don't want to go into details how it's conducted. But they've been questioned, the methodology, and you look at other polls, more and more information gets out about the bill, I think the support has been declining, and eroded from 70%, I see polls down to the mid 50s.

Ted Simons:
It's one thing to say you're either for this bill or against it, it's another thing to have a state get hit by a certain image, whether you're for it or against it, Arizona is in the spotlight. The damage done as far as the state's image is concerned. We're not seeing a heck of a lot of talk among business leaders, but what we hear is divided or cautious.

Casey Newton:
I talked to a public relations consultant about this subject and he told me this reinforces some of the worst things that people already assume about Arizona. The Martin Luther King thing is brought up as a point of comparison. And when they think about Arizona, they think back to Martin Luther King. If you have to prove to people you're not a racist. You've lost the argument.

Ted Simons:
The Thunderbird school, he's very concerned. What are you hearing at the business journal? It sounds like -- we'll get to the Phoenix suns in a second -- a lot of businesses keeping quiet.

Mike Sunnucks:
The big businesses, they don't want to take a stand either way. Regardless of what the suns did. Thunderbird, which has a lot of foreign students, is concerned. A lot of people support it, the gist of it; they're frustrated with illegal immigration, and some of the main street guys. Tourism is concerned. Any company that has any kind of public image doesn't want this happening.

Dennis Welch:
If you're a company, why -- if you're a company, why stick your neck out? The Diamondbacks, personally, I'm opposed but as a business, we don't take a -- there's not a lot of upside to come out one way or the other.

Ted Simons:
The governor saying she understands hears it and knows it, but in order to fight illegal immigration, if the state loses business, that's what is going to happen.

Dennis Welch:
You sign a bill like this, you have to own it and for her to back away from it now would not be in her best interest.

Mike Sunnucks:
You believe in the Rasmussen poll or not, sort of half the country supports this. And we have the protesters out there and they're vocal and they're going to be effective and you're going to see some tourism lost. I can't see people not coming to spring training because of this, or golf.

Ted Simons:
What do you think, Casey?

Casey Newton:
Forget the half of the country -- let's talk about the Republican primary voters, this thing has been an absolutely political gift for Jan Brewer. If you were running her campaign, you couldn't be happier about the way the past two weeks have gone. Giving the conservatives what they've wanted for a long time, but with the boycotts, she's the martyr and defending us against the illegal immigrants and look what the big bad national media has done.

Dennis Welch:
We talked a lot on the show about her problems and she was the one who went for the tax increase against her own party. And after signing that bill, she's shown she was the governor now.

Mike Sunnucks:
She doesn't have to say anything more. We've defined where she's at. She defined herself by just signing that bill. She's hard on immigration and everybody else isn't.

Ted Simons:
Let's talk about the -- again, in the business journal, talking about how businesses now, just to be safe and not be involved in anything, some perhaps not hiring Latinos or some perhaps not hiring Latinos; is that really going on?

Mike Sunnucks:
They're very scared. They don't want to end up on the news and have Arpaio there. They're overcompensated. And discriminating in some ways. If they have a Latino or Hispanic applicant, they're going to take the safe side. There are many legal Hispanic workers that might not get jobs.

Ted Simons:
Let's talk about the lawsuits. We've got a few and sounds like the justice department may be moving in that direction. Nothing as of yet.

Dennis Welch:
Just a holding pattern. There are threatened lawsuits. At the end of the day, I think you'll see the first best lawsuit will probably be the one that goes forward on this.

Ted Simons:
Yeah -- go ahead.

Casey Newton:
I think the Department of Justice lawsuit, if one does materialize, is seen as having the best shot. The Department of Justice would have the standing to challenge this law on the grounds that immigration is subject to federal regulation and not state regulation.

Mike Sunnucks:
The sanctions, the one thing that -- they filed all of these suits but maybe when the police start enforcing this, some Hispanic folks will say I was unfairly profiled.

Ted Simons:
The impact, we mentioned it, Los Suns, the impact by the move from Robert Sarver.

Mike Sunnucks:
They've taken a courageous stand and there's some on the other side who don't want to get involved in politics and preaching to the rest of us and shows the landscape of sports. The NBA is reaching out to Latino fans, especially Dallas and L.A. I would say younger folks don't support the law. Maybe an easier go.

Ted Simons:
I know you wrote about this, were you hearing from other sports teams in town -- well, what were you hearing from other sports teams?

Mike Sunnucks:
Well, they got calls from fans disgruntled with them taking a stand. Whether they didn't like the stand or didn't want them preaching and getting into politics.

Dennis Welch:
I think whether you support their stance or not, I think it is courageous, sticking their neck out. They didn't have to get involved, and taking a stand, you know you're going to upset and anger a certain percentage of your fans but to feel like this and to take a stand on that is very rare in sports. Particularly in sports. Who don't want to offend anyone. One day at a time, and that kind of stuff. I think it was unique and courageous.

Mike Sunnucks:
The P.R. standpoint, if they wanted publicity, if you take that stance on P.R. they were very successful.

Dennis Welch:
And they went up with the Los Suns jerseys; maybe they should keep them for the rest of the series.

Ted Simons:
You talked about a businessman and concerns about Arizona business and how this impacts the economy. This is his way, perhaps to tell other business, folks around the country, hey, I don't necessarily feel and some business leaders in Arizona don't necessarily feel the same way.

Casey Newton:
I think it's added to the debate, one thing, the Republican legislature and the governor have managed to turn the page on an economy that's lost jobs. When you have him talking about the potential economic impact, it's a way of reminding folks that Arizona is still in the throes of an economic recession.

Mike Sunnucks:
People like to get tough on the border and businesses don't have a lot of capital because they always go back, when the businesses talk about, they say you just want to hire undocumented workers.

Dennis Welch:
That's the problem with this bill. What they'll be attacked on and Democrats will use against her, this doesn't do anything to protect the border. It goes after people who are here. I think Republicans want more boots on the ground.

Ted Simons:
And the other side will say it wasn't designed to protect the border. It was to address another issue. You get that back and forth. The economy, they've sold some Los Suns jersey.

Mike Sunnucks:
A lot. And there was a guy at the game that wore a pro-1070 shirt and he's going to make those up. And you'll see entrepreneurs on both sides.

Ted Simons:
Let’s move away from the immigration debate and get to something else. Speed cameras on Arizona highways and they're just -- the way of the sunset, huh?

Casey Newton:
Absolutely. Speaking of things that may have appeal to conservative voters, Governor Brewer signed a law that will get rid of the speed cameras effective July 15th. Conservatives have criticized them for a -- on a lot of grounds. One is that it's an affront to liberty. You should have the right to face your accuser and Governor Brewer made sure they went away.

Mike Sunnucks:
They never worked out. Never collected the money that Napolitano promised. You didn't have to show up unless somebody served and that is everybody figured that out.

Ted Simons:
From a practical standpoint, but the DPS had their own study which suggested it was making the highways safer.

Dennis Welch:
But DPS isn't running in a primary like the governor is. You can't discount how much that played into this decision.

Mike Sunnucks:
I think people saw it for what it was was to make money and no matter what DPS says or the safety thing, people see it as a way to collect money.

Ted Simons:
So even if this blatant revenue generator did save lives, the fact it is a blatant revenue generator doesn't cut it. So it should be interesting come July 2nd and 3rd on the highways.

Casey Newton:
Start your engine.

Ted Simons:
By the way, mention city enforcement not affected. It is the state highways and the cameras up.

Casey Newton:
15th is the last day.

Ted Simons:
July 15th? Then July 16th is the day -- you wrote a story about Indian gaming and prop 100 and the money going into that and the governor's past actions with tribes paying dividends.

Dennis Welch:
You have to look at it from an historic perspective. The tribes will be more willing to write checks for Democrats in the past, particularly under Napolitano and recently scratched out a check to take out ads in the two largest newspapers in the state in support of 100. If you look at that, it could be -- you ask yourself why is the gaming industry getting involved in prop 100. They say that the tribes will see backlash and it will be affected if the tax goes down. But if you look at the past actions of this governor, she's taken care of them on key issues. Let it be known she doesn't support racinos as a way to help solve the budget problems.

Mike Sunnucks:
I think it shows there's a chance to win. There's a lot of business money going into this race from a lot of companies that need a friendly governor. The copper mines, the hospitals, the beverage folks, and I think they think she has a good chance of winning. If you're on her side, you'll be taken care of if she wins re-election.

Ted Simons:
The racino idea, is that something that's going to get bounced around again?

Casey Newton:
It's a perennial idea but it has opposition in the legislation, where some lawmakers are opposed. And produce revenues without having to raise taxes and that's appealing to lawmakers.

Dennis Welch:
It's waiting for an opportunity to spring out and -- here we are?

Mike Sunnucks:
A little bit of money -- like $10,000.

Dennis Welch:
But it will pop up again.

Ted Simons:
Speaking of the area out there, the Coyotes, looks like the deal that was supposedly done is not done at all.

Mike Sunnucks:
Glendale turned down the ice edge bid last month. And now it's like they're going back to the girl they didn't ask to the prom and trying to get the date again. And trying to work out something. And the clock is ticking and need to get something done by the end of June or the team goes.

Ted Simons:
If it goes, where does it go?

Mike Sunnucks:
Probably back to Winnipeg. Because of the economy and product out there, bottom line, Winnipeg would be the most obvious place to send it back.

Ted Simons:
Who has the money and cash right now and who maybe doesn't?

Mike Sunnucks:
The question about Rinedorf is how much money he's willing -- there's always been a question how much money he has. Ice edge, whether they can get the financing for it. Not looking as good and it was a few weeks ago.

Ted Simons:
Interesting. Let's get to the governor's race. We talked about Governor Brewer. Joe Arpaio comes out and says he's not running for governor. And this is probably the last time we hear that. Was anyone surprised?

Dennis Welch:
I don't think anyone was.

Casey Newton:
The people at channel 15 who reported he was running for governor. They were astonished.

Ted Simons:
Aside from that particular group of folks, he's now not in the -- what does this do to the Republican primary? Were they ever seriously worried about him in the first place?

Dennis Welch:
Any time that Arpaio talks about running in a race, you've got to be somewhat worried. He would have jumped in; it would have been a game changer. Everybody knows that. But it puts the onus on the Prop 100 election later this month. If Governor Brewer can get her sales tax increase passed, that goes a long way for winning in the primary and the general. You can ask they are opponents, why are you even running?

Mike Sunnucks:
I think it's changed everything. We were writing her off for a long time and she's become the standard-bearer for get tough on immigration. She's got the city of San Francisco and Danny Glover and people coming after her and that appeals to the primary folks. She's got it right now, things could change, but she's has so much momentum.

Ted Simons:
But Buzz Mills has so much money. Any dividends there?

Dennis Welch:
Nothing. The proverbial needle has not moved and, in fact, he's lost a couple of points according to some polls and it's going to get worse with recent reports say he took advantage of his business partner. Took a long vacation and sold the company --

Mike Sunnucks:
Everyone in the state knows who Jan Brewer is now. People who cared about a sales tax maybe knew her, but now everybody knows her. Saw her on Fox signing the bill.

Dennis Welch:
She's the executive now. Before that she was just a person who happened to be on the seventh floor when Janet Napolitano left. I think she's got street cred.

Ted Simons:
Is that going to help her in her push for prop 100? Does what's happening in immigration affect that vote?

Casey Newton:
I don't know how closely the issues are related. But certainly, the governor has been a vocal course in the push for prop 100. And it could give her a bump.

Dennis Welch:
One of the things we'll be watching is how it affects the Latino, the Spanish vote. Will they be motivated to support her key political out there? Are they going to do that? I don't know.

Mike Sunnucks:
I think it's put the focus on immigration and not a sales tax increase. I think the more -- people are disgruntled and not going to vote to tax myself. Now you'll have the high efficacy folks who will come out and vote for it.

Ted Simons:
Back quickly to the governor's race. Dean Martin, we haven't heard from him recently.

Dennis Welch:
Probably a reason. Haven't even got his $5 contribution for public money yet. He launched his campaign the end of January and hasn't qualified for public money yet. Here's something interesting. Earlier today on one of the talk news radio, a.m., there was an advertisement from Martin Cherry, some sort of charitable event he's doing. You're hearing more about his charities than the gubernatorial race.

Mike Sunnucks:
I think a lot of people are making up their mind. This immigration issue is such a hot issue. Whether it's Terry Goddard or Dean Martin, to not be there on this really hurts him.

Casey Newton:
Until you qualify for public money, you don't have the money to purchase the ads or the spotlight that the governor has as a result of her position. It's going to be hard.

Ted Simons:
We've got the attorney general's race with Andrew Thomas in there. Very connected with illegal immigration. Everything happening help him?

Casey Newton:
He came out to say he would defend this law in court and looking forward to it. And tried to do in office as county attorney. It might.

Ted Simons:
What do you think?

Dennis Welch:
I think he's on the right side of the issue. You got to remember, Andy Thomas when he first ran for the office, ran on illegal immigration long before Sheriff Joe or anybody else.

Ted Simons:
Helps him, would you agree, helps him in the primary. What about the general?

Mike Sunnucks:
And it helps Brewer in the general. The way it's trending. If you're tough on immigration. And his opponents don't have that kind of cachet on the issue right now.

Ted Simons:
Thank you for joining us on "Horizon." Coming up on "Horizon" -- ASU President Michael Crow talks about how the university is responding to the latest round of budget cuts. And we'll learn more about who's coming to the rescue of some state parks that are scheduled to close. That's Monday at 7:00 on "Horizon." Tuesday, author Jeffrey Kaye talks about the relationship between business and immigration. Wednesday, Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris shares his perspective on enforcing Arizona's new immigration law. Thursday, a debate on proposition 100, the temporary state sales tax increase that appears on the May 18th special election ballot. And Friday, we'll be back with another edition of the Journalists' Roundtable. Next on "Washington Week" -- The stories include the failed Times Square bombing plot, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the British election. That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you very much for joining us. You have a great weekend.

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