Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

June 17, 2010


Host: Ted Simons

Candidate Funding Web site

  |   Video
  • The Arizona Secretary of State has updated its Web site to make it easier to track candidate spending and funding sources. Secretary of State Ken Bennett will demonstrate the Web site.
Guests:
  • Ken Bennett - Secretary of State
Category: Vote 2010   |   Keywords: campaign finance, Secretary of State,

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Finding out how much candidates are spending and where they're getting their money just got a little easier with the secretary of state office launching a newly redesigned campaign finance website. It allows for side by side candidate comparisons, and provides a way to track what corporations and unions spend to help elect or defeat a candidate. Here with more is Arizona secretary of state Ken Bennett. Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us. Why is this revamping of the campaign finance site necessary?

Ken Bennett:
Well, I think it's important to provide more transparency and disclosure to the citizens. Typically in the past, if you wanted to find out who was spending how much or who was contributing how much, or giving money from whom, you could only go in and look at one committee at a time. And you'd have to print all of that report out and set them aside and go in and look for another committee, maybe in that same race, and you had to go one committee at a time and print things out and lay them all out. And our staff was able to revamp the whole thing so that you could go in and see all of the candidates for the statewide races, or all of the candidates for legislative races in one list, and then you can begin to sort and line them up and divide them up into different races or whatever it is and see everything on one screen at the same time.

Ted Simons:
When you say you can go ahead and look that up, you mean you, everyone.

Ken Bennett:
Everybody who gets on the website at AZSOS.GOV. Go into elections, there's a campaign finance reporting button, and you going in and it just immediately comes up with all the candidates in the statewide races, and you can begin to look and define even in particular which races you're interested in.

Ted Simons:
We're looking at it right now, and we're making our way around the website. You can look at side by side comparisons. What are we looking at?


Ken Bennett:
For example, it Immediately it goes to all of the candidates in the 2010 election cycle. You can see over there on the top right, you've got 2010 election cycle, and the statewide races. If you wanted to, you could go to the state -- you could just say, instead of seeing all the statewide races, I want to see the ones for governor. And then as soon as you do that, all of the ones now displayed are in governor. You can go to the different columns, for example, income or expenditures, and choose one of them and say, let's sort on those either in ascending or descending, and see who has received the most income, or put the most income into their campaign, and you can see it just side by side, and then if you wanted to sort on expenditures, who is spending the most money, you can go over to the expenditure side and see who's spending money in the governor's races. You could further narrow it if you wanted to over on the right by party and some other things, but -- you say, I want to see just these.

Ted Simons:
Yeah, I gotcha. We're moving all over the place here.

Ken Bennett:
And then across the top, you can also see that you can go into different types of committees. You can go into the candidate committees are displayed right now, but you can see to the right, I think that says parties, you can look at what are the committees associated with the parties, whether they're local legislative district committees, or statewide party committees. Next one over there is political action committees, or you can go -- again, you can then begin to just line all these up side by side, you can narrow them down. Or you can go into -- one of the ones you mentioned was the independent expenditures. The Supreme Court recently created a ruling that says corporations and unions can spend money in candidate races to defeat or elect certain candidates, but beginning in a few weeks, those companies will have to report within 24 hours of expending at least $5,000 in a statewide race where those -- who they were spending money on to try to defeat which candidates or support which candidate.

Ted Simons:
Is this labor intensive? Obviously the old system took a lot of work and time, but do you still have to ingest this material?

Ken Bennett:
Well, you still have the responsibility -- you have to know enough about what you're looking for, but as I said, the earlier system, if you wanted to see 12 candidates in the governor's race, had you to go individually into 12 different committees, had you to go through the big database and find which they are, you couldn't sort them in a very user friendly way. And this now would allow people to put all of the governor candidates up there together, or all of one party or all of another. They can put all the statewide races up, they can look at all of the legislative races or just zoom in on their district. And then once that information comes up, that has all the side by sides, if you want to drill down into the actual reports that back up those amounts, you can click on almost any one of those categories across the report and then all of a sudden the individual detail. So, for example, if you see that so-and-so running for governor has raised $2 million, as we have one this year, then you can click on the detail for that income and see, well, most of that came from their own pocket, or three are they getting it from a wide -- .

Ted Simons:
You mentioned the Supreme Court decision, the since united. Did that have an impact into what you were trying to achieve? ! Or were you underway already.

Ken Bennett:
Our I.T. director and one of our other staff members were working on the citizens united case, and one of our other staff members, my assistant secretary of state, said I wonder if we could look at it this way and something clicked, and bill and Jim's head, and they said, why not? Why don't we reformAT this whole thing and restructure it so when people go into this website, they see everything at one glance, and they can start sorting from there depending on which races they want to focus on or which parties. They want to focus on income or spending, they want to focus on political action committees, do they want to -- so it's interesting that this was kind of a result of trying to build the system for the since united case to be ready for unions and corporations that will be reporting their expenditures. But we've broadened it and applied it to all political committees and campaign finance committees in Arizona.

Ted Simons:
The website is --

Ken Bennett:
AZSOS.GOV.

Ted Simons:
We had a chance to go around it a little bit, but that's one much those things where you find yourself moving around, it's almost like a dictionary, you wind up somewhere far away from where you first started.

Ken Bennett:
At least you find yourself in areas where it's meaningful to you.


Ted Simons:
Yes.

Ken Bennett:
And -- before you let me go, I have to tell you, your youngest viewer tonight is my niece Christina, who is 7 years old. And I'm going to do a shout out for Christina. Happy birthday to Christina.

Ted Simons:
I think you just did, Happy birthday, Christina. Good to have you with us.

Clean Air Lawsuit

  |   Video
  • State lawmakers raided funding that was intended for more mass transit to help clean the air. Sandy Bahr of the Sierra Club will discuss the lawsuit that has been filed to restore the funding.
Guests:
  • Sandy Bahr - Sierra Club
Category: Environment   |   Keywords: environment, clean air, Sierra Club,

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
In an effort to balance the budget, state lawmakers raided lottery money that was designated to go to mass transit to help clean up the air. The center for law and the public interest recently filed suit to get that money back. Here with more is Sandy Bahr, the Sierra Club's Grand Canyon chapter. Good to see you again. Thanks for joining us.

Sandy Bahr:
nice to be here.

Ted Simons:
This deals with local transit assistance funds. What are those?

Sandy Bahr:
Well, the local transportation assistance fund is lottery money, and it's designated for investments in mass transit, so we can help reduce air pollution. And in our air quality plan for basically the Maricopa County area for particulates and carbon monoxide, we've said that we would use these dollars to help improve air quality, and we took credit for that in those plans as a way to get to cleaner air and now the legislature has said, OK, we're just not going to fund them.

Ted Simons:
This was originally, this passed in the mid 90s?

Sandy Bahr:
1993.

Ted Simons:
And we're talking how much money per year?

Sandy Bahr:
It's -- what they put in the plans is roughly eight to 10 million per year. And that's the only part that's actually enforceable, because these plans are federally enforceable plans, and so they take all the dollars, but we can only challenge what they put in the actual plans. What they do is they say, OK, we're not meeting the health base standards for particulates, carbon monoxide, and actually ozone as well, and this is how we are going to get to those health-base standards. And there are a number of measures in there, and mass transit is part of it, because obviously a lot of our pollution comes from transportation. And you can't -- you can't submit a plan, get it approved, and implement that plan if you take away the money that is supposed to fund those measures.

Ted Simons:
And again, because this deals with clean air act standards, because this deals with the feds, that's why you're filing suit, because the state, if it's totally within the realm of the state, I guess the legislature can do what it wants. Correct?

Sandy Bahr:
Right. Well, the clean air act allows for citizen enforcement when the government is not following its own laws, and this is another instance of that. And so again, the standards are based on, you know, what is good for our lungs. So it's about clean air, but it's also about following the clean air act. And without the clean air act, being there, we wouldn't be able to challenge it. We would be able to say it's wrong, but we wouldn't be able to challenge it legally.

Ted Simons:
When the legislature was thinking in the process of going ahead and raiding this money, what was the debate? What were you hearing as the reason why the legislature could go ahead and repeal the statute?

Sandy Bahr:
Well, they took whatever they wanted to and they were told that -- it was part of the debate on the floor, don't take these dollars. It's in the state implementation plans. It's unlawful to do this, it's wrong to do this, and at a time when -- we're trying to get into compliance with our particulates. This also affects that 5% plan, which also affects federal highway dollars. And there are a lot of issues that are riding on this, and -- but the legislature -- legislators just ignored that. And just went forward and approved it anyway.

Ted Simons:
So you're talking eight to 10 million or something along these lines a year, to get at that money, so much else was put in jeopardy?

Sandy Bahr:
Yes.

Ted Simons:
Does that make sense?

Sandy Bahr:
It makes no sense whatsoever.It’s a “Penny wise and pound foolish”, but the legislature is very good at that. That's what he did all year from the state parks, to transit, and investing in transit when you have a down economy is so important, because when people don't have jobs, or when they've had to cut back, they're going to rely more on transit because they, you know, they can't afford their vehicles. And so it makes even more sense to do it. But of course for us, we've been breathing bad air for a long time, and the state has delayed its -- it's taken lawsuits to get action repeatedly to get action, and here we are moving in perhaps the right direction with transit and they just, you know, take it away.

Ted Simons:
How important is mass transit, and just the money therein to air quality issues? We understand it's going there and the design the idea is, let's go ahead and do this to help clean the air. How much does it help?

Sandy Bahr:
It's so important to air quality, because a lot of our air pollution is generated by transportation. In fact, the ozone, I mentioned before, we have an ozone plan that’s been submitted but hasn't been approved. It jeopardizes that plan as well. Vehicles emit volatiles that react with sunlight that form ozone. It's horrible for our lungs. There's going to be a stronger ozone standard adopted in August. We are going to be out of compliance, and we need those dollars to help us meet the health-base standards to be in compliance because of -- it's important for people to breathe clean air, and also, obviously people are concerned about sanctions. Because at some point sanctions will kick in, including when the 5% plan is disapproved.

Ted Simons:
I know the governor and the department of environmental quality, you guys are the center gave them 60 days' notice --

Sandy Bahr:
that's required by law.

Ted Simons:
Any response at all in those 60 days?

Sandy Bahr:
I haven't seen any response.

Ted Simons:
So this is going forward. Give US A timetable. What's next? What happens here?

Sandy Bahr:
Well, they will respond at some point, and either they'll say they're going to reinstate the dollars, or not, and then it will escalate. I think that when people realize that it also further risks the particulate plan, which -- that's the closest to requiring sanctions. And that's where the federal highway dollars are really at risk. And unfortunately that's the only way to get the attention of the state. They generally people's lungs isn't enough. If you -- you have to say, look, we're going get serious with this with some highway dollars. So I think that once they realize that, we'll see them at least try to do something to reinstate those dollars. Because it's such a small part of the budget overall, and it's an important part of mass transit funding, and for getting us clean air.

Ted Simons:
Sandy, good to see you. Thanks for joining us.

Sandy Bahr:
Thanks.

Coyotes Update

  |   Video
  • An investment group trying to buy the Phoenix Coyotes has shown proof of its ability to purchase the team. Arizona Republic Reporter Rebekah Sanders will tell us the latest.
Guests:
  • Rebekah Sanders - Arizona Republic
Category: Business/Economy   |   Keywords: sports, Phoenix Coyotes,

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Ice Edge holdings investment group continues its efforts to buy the Phoenix coyotes and keep the hockey team in Glendale. Ice Edge is trying to prove to NHL and Glendale officials that it has the resources to buy the team and work out a lease agreement with play at jobing.com arena. Next Tuesday, the Glendale city council will consider a special taxing district to help finance the deal. Here with an update on the latest concerning the coyotes is "Arizona Republic" reporter Rebekah Sanders. Good to see you again.

Rebekah Sanders:
Nice to be here.

Ted Simons:
Who is ice? Who are these folks?

Rebekah Sanders:
It's funny, a year ago we were talking about the Coyotes, and it had just come out this group, we didn't know much about them, but they've hung in there for about a year trying to buy the coyotes, it’s a group of Canadian and American investors who are hockey fans, two of them played at Yale, and they've just been through ups and and downs trying to buy the coyotes. They're now the only group Glendale is talking to.

Ted Simons:
What happened to the group which -- with Jerry at the helm?

Rebekah Sanders:
He's a Chicago sports mogul, owner of the bulls, and the white Sox and he also has been in and out of the game for a year, and he announced he would not pursue the coyotes any longer, just last week when Glendale said they were talking exclusively to Ice Edge.

Ted Simons:
Do we know what happened there? What kind of dynamics were at play?

Rebekah Sanders:
They're both trying to cancel each other out, pretty much. The groups want to be the only one in the game, it helps their negotiating. And he just wasn't going to play anymore, if he couldn't be at the table.

Ted Simons:
It seemed like it was almost seemed like a done deal. They were pretty much in charge for a while.

Rebekah Sanders:
Exactly. There's been lots of changes in the picture of who might own the coyotes, and certainly a lot more can change in the future. Ice Edge isn't a done deal.

Ted Simons:
It's not a done deal. What does Ice Edge have to show first to the NHL? What do they have to show them?

Rebekah Sanders:
Today they met a deadline to show Glendale proof of their financing to buy the team. And next they're going to be trying to convince the NHL that they're a viable owner. They need a vote from the NHL owners to take over the team.

Ted Simons:
By showing and proving to Glendale they are viable, does that pretty much mean the NHL should be satisfied as well?


Rebekah Sanders:
Not necessarily. The NHL has different needs and requirements than Glendale, but Ice Edge says they've been checked out by the league for quite a few months now they don't expect any major problems. We'll see what happens.

Ted Simons:
There was a Friday deadline, was it the deadline Friday was for what, the NHL or Glendale?

Rebekah Sanders:
For Glendale to show their proof of financing. But of course the league is going to be concerned about seeing that proof as well.

Ted Simons:
OK. If something along those lines doesn't work out, or if that deadline had not been made, been met, what would have happened? The whole thing blows up again?

Rebekah Sanders:
Back to square one, pretty much.

Ted Simons:
Ice Edge, you mentioned Canadian investors. We heard originally this group was interested in playing a few games in Canada. They still interested in doing that?

Rebekah Sanders:
They are. Five games in Saskatoon was the original plan it's still in the agreement with the city, it's pending NHL approval. And they say it's just to generate revenue in some way to kind of boost these sinking financial situations.

Ted Simons:
The citizens of Glendale, hearing all this stuff, hearing a lease agreement is in the works, kind of interested in how far along that is as well, but as far as the citizens are concerned, what kind of reaction are you hearing from folks now the Glendale?

Rebekah Sanders:
It's mixed. There's especially Glendale residents who are fans who just want something to be finished, and they want to know that their team will be here. Other residents are concerned that the city may be putting itself -- making itself responsible for too much financially, and they argue that the sports investment was bad from the beginning. But, you know, I think people just in general want it over.


Ted Simons:
Indeed. But again, as far as a lease agreement with the coyotes with jobing.com and Glendale, the whole agreement there, what's at play? What are the numbers? What are we looking at? And compare that to what was in play in the past.

Rebekah Sanders:
The city needs a lease with whoever is going to own the team. Because they invested $180 million to bill the arena. They pay that debt off by different payments from the team and sales taxes and the arena district. They have changed that -- the lease agreement now to get Ice Edge on board, and agreed to create a new taxing district all around the sports arena that the University of Phoenix stadium to raise money, to get back to Ice Edge to help the team stay afloat.

Ted Simons:
Is this something that has overwhelming support with Glendale officials?

Rebekah Sanders:
Definitely Glendale would like to see this happen. But the challenge is they need the buy-in from the property owners in the district, namely Steve Ellman, who built west gate city center, those agreements are still in flux.

Ted Simons:
I was going to ask, how is that going? In flux or Petering one way or the other?

Rebekah Sanders:
At least last week nothing had been signed or finalized. We're going to try and get an update pretty soon.

Ted Simons:
So correct me if I'm wrong here, the NHL deadline for a Glendale deal is the end of the year in terms of just getting the whole thing wrapped up and ready to go?

Rebekah Sanders:
Correct.

Ted Simons:
And if that doesn't happen?

Rebekah Sanders:
I -- you know, no one is really entertaining that idea, because no one wants to jinx this, I think. But I think if that didn't happen, it would be very likely that the team would relocate.
Ted Simons:
And the city is already pledged, what, 25 some-odd million dollars to cover losses until an owner is found. Correct? So it behooves the city to move Ice Edge along a little bit, I would imagine.

Rebekah Sanders:
Yes. I mean, deadline after deadline has passed. This has been a much longer ordeal than I think anyone ever thought, and just a little while ago the NHL said the city needs to put up a bunch of money as guaranteed if they're going to get this deal done and keep the team here.

Ted Simons:
OK. So it seems like all systems are go, but as with all -- as always with the story, they're going only a certain distance.

Rebekah Sanders:
That's right.

Ted Simons:
Rebekah, thanks for joining us.

Rebekah Sanders:
Thanks a lot.

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