Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

September 20, 2010


Host: Ted Simons

Musical Instrument Museum

  |   Video
  • A tour of Scottsdale’s MIM, where visitors can hear the sounds of the world without ever leaving the Valley.
Category: The Arts

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Music lovers can hear the sounds of the world without ever leaving the valley. Producer Colton Shone and photographer Scot Olson take us to the musical instrument museum in north Phoenix.

Colton Shone:
Whether you're a seasoned harp player, or a rookie trying to make music for the very first time, the musical instrument museum is a place where everyone can appreciate music equally. More than 3,000 instruments from every country in the world are on display.

Bill DeWalt:
For most people, they'll recognize many of the instruments that are played in the western countries, like guitar and flute and clarinet and so on. Visitors here will see instruments from all over the world, so there are things they've never seen before in their life.

Colton Shone:
Museum president bill deWalt says that research has been found that every culture in the world has musical instruments, and makes music.

Bill DeWalt:
What is incredible to me I think is this need that people have to express their emotions and their innermost feelings through construction of these amplifiers of human emotion. Musical instruments.

Colton Shone:
Through the audio and visual system, visitors can hear and see the instruments on display being played in cultural context.

Bill DeWalt:
As people move around the world, they take their musical instrument and their music was them. And so you get these incredible influences all around the world.

Colton Shone:
From a bagpipe to a horse's jaw bone, don't be surprised what you'll see on display at the museum. Even when it comes to instruments that were once played by famous artists.

Bill DeWalt:
We do have the piano on which john Lennon composed "imagine." We have a couple of Santana's guitars.

Colton Shone:
DeWalt says they wanted to bring a world class museum to the valley. He says it's a perfect place to be. We know that we're going to be very popular with a very large audience that's here all year-round, and we're going to capture a lot of those people who come here for convention and a lot of those people who come here for tourism.

Colton Shone:
DeWalt says prepare for the best experience you'll ever hear.

Ted Simons:
The musical instrument museum is open seven days a week, it's located on the southwest corner of Tatum and Mayo Boulevards, just south of the 101.Coming up on "Horizon," we'll talk about another ballot measure, this time proposition 112 that would amend the state's constitution's requirements for when petition signatures need to be filed before an election. Again, that's Tuesday at 7:00 on "Horizon." That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

Prop 107: Banning Affirmative Action Programs

  |   Video
  • Prop 107 is debated. It’s a measure, referred to the ballot by the legislature, that bans affirmative action programs in the operation of public employment, public education and public contracting. Guests include Representative Steve Montenegro who sponsored and is for the measure, and Representative Kyrsten Sinema who’s opposed to it.
Guests:
  • Steve Montenegro - Representative
  • Kyrsten Sinema - Representative
Category: Vote 2010

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Good evening, and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. A date is set to hear arguments in Governor Brewer's appeal of a ruling that puts parts of senate bill 1070 on hold. A ninth circuit court of appeals will hear the case November 1st. The governor's lawyers argue that a federal judge was mistaken in ruling that the federal government would likely prevail in the case and that the law might harm legal immigrants. The state department of corrections released its investigation of the private prison in kingman where three inmates escaped in July. The report says prison employees failed to follow sound correctional policies. The report also says the department of corrections did not sufficiently hold the prison company accountable. The prison is run by management and training corporation. State corrections director Charles Ryan says the department has since revamped its monitoring program. A measure to ban affirmative action was placed on the November ballot by lawmakers. Proposition 107 would amend the state constitution to ban affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment, or discriminate, based on race, sex, ethnicity, or national origin. The ban would apply to public employment, public education, and public contracting. The measure would not apply if it would mean a loss of federal funds and it would not invalidate any existing court orders. Here to discuss proposition 107 is representative Steve Montenegro, who sponsored the measure in the legislature, and representative Kyrsten Sinema, who opposes the measure. Good to have you both here.

Kyrsten Sinema:
Good to be here.

Ted Simons:
Steve, we'll start with you, why is this necessary?

Steve Montenegro:
I appreciate being here. What's happening is wrong here in Arizona. Every Arizonan should have the opportunity or should be treated equally and fairly, and every Arizona resident for the matter of fact should be -- should receive fair and equal treatment, have the same opportunities to apply for jobs, government jobs, education, and contracts. And so what we're allowing the government here, the state government to do in Arizona is discriminate by giving special treatment to someone based on race, ethnicity, these areas and give in turn discriminate against other races.

Ted Simons:
Why is this not necessary?
Kyrsten Sinema:
Unfortunately what Steve has described is not accurate. The fact is Arizona does not have affirmative action. What we do have are some limited equal opportunity programs in our educational institutions, and these are really important. Under the way this proposition is written, we will be impermitted, it will be impermissible to provide state funding for these University programs. I'll give you some examples. Right now the way you get into college is solely based on merit. That makes sense. We agree that's how it should be. But once you're in college, we have programs to help women succeed in fields where they have historically been denied access, like science and technology. This referendum, if passed, would make it impossible to use state funding to support those programs.

Ted Simons:
How do you respond to that?

Steve Montenegro:
Based on the data and what we're looking at, that isn't true. First of all, we do have programs that -- the Goldwater institute has made a report about how the city of Tuscon, ace, A.U., and U of A do have programs, they call them goals, they don't call them quotas, but they call them goals. At the same time they are existing in the way they do admit students into the -- their programs, the adds board of regents, the way they hire is based on race as well. If two people are equal, then the deciding making factor is their race, and one thing she said about the program about women in science, that's also not true, because Michigan, Nebraska, and California had similar programs like that that after this passed on the ballot they still survived because they aren't open to males, which is what 107 is asking.

Kyrsten Sinema:
You know, there's a reason that groups like the Arizona students association and even our own chambers of commerce are opposed to this referendum. They recognize that this will take away the ability for to us use state funding to support important programs that simply ensure that students have an equal opportunity to succeed. One program we have, for instance, summer bridge program. This helps Native American students who have been admitted to ASU on their own academic merit, come and live on campus for the summer to prepare for life at the University. It's only open for Native American students because of the special concerns they face in transitioning from a reservation to University life, and so it's a very successful program in helping ensure we're reducing dropout rates and having really talented students graduate from our college.

Ted Simons:
Is there room for those kinds of special programs in Arizona?

Steve Montenegro:
Well, in regards to what she just mentioned, that program will survive proposition 107, because in the proposition we specifically noted that if there was something that the federal government has to do with these type of programs, it's fine. But it is important for us to understand that the information that we're giving the public has to be accurate. We can't just simply make blanket statements and say, well, these programs are going to be eliminated if it's not true. Again, if its open to all races, all genders, then the program will be fine, and that's important to note that it's taxpayers' money, because it's in the area of public employment, public education, and public contracts. So it's taxpayers' dollars.

Ted Simons:
That specific program he says will be fine.

Kyrsten Sinema:
Unfortunately Steve is not accurate. It's not a federally funded program, it's a state funded program by ASU. And the referendum says that no state dollars will be used for those programs. I'll give you another example. We have a program at ASU called the Hispanic mother-daughter program. We reach out to teens when they're only in seventh grade, first generation Latina girls, who by the way, we have a hard time attracting to ASU. We help these girls and their moms once a month throughout their junior high and high school careers get ready for college. This program has received funding from the state through ASU's funding, and we would lose that state funding if this passed. I'm not sure how Steve can argue that we shouldn't be helping Latina girls get ready for college in Arizona.

Steve Montenegro:
Well, I can appreciate that, and the fact is that these programs will be there if they are open to both genders, if they are open to all races, again, what we're going after is the discriminating factor when you give special treatment to one race or ethnicity over the other.

Kyrsten Sinema:
But Steve, it's not Hispanic mother-daughter program if boys and girls are allowed in all races are allowed. This is a program designed specifically for latina girls because we had a difficult time attracting and retaining these particular women to our University.

Steve Montenegro:
It's important to note this is in three areas, public education, public employment, and public contracts. So I don’t think that that program actually falls under this.

Ted Simons:
Let's move away from that program and let's talk about whether or not you believe that open access, opportunity exists right now in Arizona for minorities and for women.

Steve Montenegro:
Well, I believe that we are -- our country, we're trying to move beyond race. This is something that we cannot allow the government, our state government to continue to foster a division between races. The fact is that it is pretty condescending to any minority to tell them you aren't good enough to compete to tell them you're not good enough to work hard, and apply the same measures as any other race.

Ted Simons:
But real quickly, my question dealt with open access and opportunity. Are you saying it's there now, the playing field is leveled, go for it?

Steve Montenegro:
I believe it is. And the fact is that if we're going to allow government to be the one that makes those decisions, then they are the ones perpetuating the inequality and opportunity.

Ted Simons:
What about the idea that affirmative action programs basically tell folks of a certain gender, a certain ethnicity, you need help, you can't do it on your own?

Kyrsten Sinema:
I would agree with you and that's why we don't support affirmative action programs. We don't actually have affirmative action in Arizona. And we've come a long way in our country. I'm a graduate of Arizona state's law school. And generations before me, women couldn't go to law school. So we've come a long way. In fact, today there are more women in law school than there are men in this country. So we've made great advancement, but we still have areas where women and communities of color aren't getting all the access and all the opportunity they need. One example is science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Women still make up only 25% of the students in those fields. Now we only admit qualified students to those programs, but it's a good idea to make sure that we're supporting those women in those programs so they go on to work in those fields.

Ted Simons:
Are we not supporting those women in those programs now?

Kyrsten Sinema:
I will say our three universities have done what I consider a phenomenal job to reaching out to communities such as women in science and math to help them succeed. But we can do more. We haven't done enough yet, because still only one out of every four students at ASU in science, technology, engineering, and math is a woman.

Steve Montenegro:
Well, Kyrsten, it's important to note, the facts are stubborn things. The fact is that if we are going to help people, it has to be based on their necessity on their need. If they're poor, let's help them based on the need, not on the race or their skin color. Second of all, yes, there is affirmative action in Arizona. There are programs that are catering specifically to one race over the other, and there's studies there again, the Arizona board of regents, I already gave you the examples, Phoenix employment, the misinformation that comes is when we talk about programs like WIS. The fact is these programs won't be affected because they are open to males. They are open to both genders and at the same time we have seen in California, Michigan, and in other states that when this proposition went through these programs survive. So that's not accurate.

Ted Simons:
Good enough for California, Washington, Michigan?

Kyrsten Sinema:
Absolutely not. In fact, what we saw in California after the passage of the misleading proposal there, was a major drop in things like, for instance, women gaining tenure in the University of California school system. We also saw drops of really qualified students of color participating in the public school system. Now here in Arizona don't have a robust private education system in the higher education world. We pretty much only have our universities. We need to continue to do what Michael Crow and others have done to attract and retain the most qualified students and then we support them once they're in to ensure they're good workers for Arizona's future.

Ted Simons
Wrap it up if you would please.

Steve Montenegro:
What's important is what she's not telling you is those applications, they weren't -- you weren't asked to latina, white, you weren't asked that. It was -- has nothing to do with race. To say we want to make sure you're checking a box, if you're white, if you're black, if you're Latino, that's racism perpetuated by state government and that's what we want to get rid of here.

Ted Simons:
Last word.

Kyrsten Sinema:
Unfortunately that has nothing to do with this proposal. The bottom line is Arizona needs to do everything it can to attract and retain the best students so we have a strong economy for tomorrow. This referendum will stop our ability to do that effectively.

Ted Simons:
Got to stop it right there. Great discussion. Thank you for joining us.

Public Opinion Polls

  |   Video
  • Pollsters are the soothsayers of the election season. Arizona State University Pollster Dr. Bruce Merrill tells us all we need to know about polling in this election season.
Guests:
  • Dr. Bruce Merrill - Arizona State University
Category: Vote 2010

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Right now public opinion polls suggest that Jan Brewer will continue to be governor, they also indicate that nationwide Republicans stand a good chance of making significant gains in the house and senate. Are these polls accurate, and how has polling changed as technology changes? Here to talk about all that is Arizona state University pollster Dr. Bruce Merrill. Always good to see.

Dr. Merrill:
You good to see you, Ted.

Ted Simons:
We're right up your -- right in the wheelhouse for you here.

Dr. Merrill:
You absolutely.

Ted Simons:
Let's start with, is it me, or are we seeing fewer polls this election season?

Dr. Merrill:
We are seeing fewer polls this year. Number one, polls have become very expensive if they're done right. And there's been some tremendous problems with polling. They have just developed in the last few years, Frankly. For instance, about almost one out of every five people now are using their cell phones for their only means of communication. We do not have access to those numbers. And so we're less and less likely each year to get a representative sampling of, for instance, all registered voters, because if you're using your cell phone only, we can't get you.

Ted Simons:
So you've got a pretty good sample of folks who still have land lines.

Dr. Merrill:
That's it. And we know there are some biases. People that are young, young married people, both working, are people that are much more likely to use only cell phones.
Ted Simons:
You mentioned fewer polls because of the expense. Why is it so expensive?

Dr. Merrill:
Well, again, what happened in the past is you would draw a random sample, say 400 people in Arizona, and if you can't get them, you have to call back and call back and call back. And so what is happening now is there's, for instance, the two major polls that you've even seen in the last couple months here, are the Rasmussen poll, which is a ROBO poll. It isn't even a phone call where people are talking to them. We know very little about the methodology. Or the Morrison institute, for instantce, at ASU has published a couple of polls, but those are polls where you have to have access to the internet to even be interviewed. And my concern with both of those is that there's a tendency for instance, with calls based on the internet, for lower socioeconomic and minorities to not have access to that technology.

Ted Simons:
So the best way to do a poll, as you've described it, is to have a bunch of folks with a bunch of phones and just repeatedly call. In the perfect world, you'd also have people calling cell phones as well. Is that feasible anymore?

Dr. Merrill:
No. It really isn't. And in fact, polls have been remarkably accurate in the last 50 years. Particularly the national polls. The average error in a national poll predicting the presidency since -- in the 1940s has been less than 1%. So based on good scientific academic sampling methods, polls have been very, very accurate. But the demographics of America are changing, technology is affecting polling, I have some real concerns about the accuracy of polls because it may be that polls create public opinion as well as measure.

Ted Simons:
And I want to get to that in a second, but back to the academic sampling aspect, and not get doing deeply involved into that, people will say, no one ever calls me. I saw the sample size, there's only a few hundred, how can they get an accurate representation? No one talks to me about this. How do you respond when people say that?

Dr. Merrill:
Well, it isn't intuitively obvious, but what happens is once you have a population over 2500 people, 2500 adults, 2500 registered voters, 2500 most likely to vote, you only need a random sample, according to probability theory, of 400 to generalize that population with plus or minus 5% accuracy. So it doesn't matter. With 400, I can do a statewide poll or a national poll with the same degree of accuracy.

Ted Simons:
And it still works, doesn't it?

Dr. Merrill:
It could if you're able to get the people that you've randomly drawn, and that's where we're get nothing trouble.

Ted Simons:
OK. I just want to mention, that because we get that a lot, how can we get that, I don't know anyone who has answered a poll! You mentioned the fact that polling -- the impact of polling on campaigns and how they could provide narratives or other aspects of pushing the electorate in a certain direction. Talk more about that.

Dr. Merrill:
Well, basically the biggest use much polls is probably raising money, for instance. So the indirect effect of polling can be enormous. Let's say you have a candidate and do you a poll and their -- and they're slightly behind. That person can take the poll and go to their supporters and say, I'm behind, I need your money. So really, the decision whether or not to run is generally based on polling. In raising money is a big factor. The other major roll the polls have is actually kind of determining what the message is that resonate with the public. For instance, 1070, you do a poll, we know that about 60% of the people support 1070. Well, if you happen to support it, you're going to run on that issue, which reinforces the 1070 in the public.

Ted Simons:
I know that many critics out there of the Rasmussen poll, which seems it's taken on a life of its own the past couple of campaign seasons, some are suggesting it's actually pro-Republican. Has the GOP tries to set the narrative and takes it from there. Is that a valid criticism?

Dr. Merrill:
Well, I don't know, because the Rasmussen poll rarely gives you any methodological way that they've done the poll. For instance, the only way you can tell if a poll is valid is we know that about 32% of the registered voters in Arizona are Republican. So you should be able to look at the poll and it should have 32% Republican. If it has 50%, it's biased. So the problem is with many polls, they should tell you who paid for the poll because people release polls if they're supportive of their position. So the public should know who paid for it, when it was conducted, what the actual wording of the question is, what the population was, and what the sampling error was. And frankly it will media rarely reports any of that.

Ted Simons:
Indeed, and the wording of the question can be huge, can't it?

Dr. Merrill:
It can -- the outcome of a poll is more than anything else determined by the way the questions are worded. You can get a poll to come out any way you want based upon the questions that you ask.

Ted Simons:
So how do you know, you see a poll, it says something, and you're kind of going, I don't know from up or down on this thing. How do you know whether that poll is something you should question or something you should look at and go "interesting"?

Dr. Merrill:
Well, the most important thing is to look at the credibility and the credentials of the people doing the polling. If you see a Gallup poll, the people that do Gallup polling are very well trained. Here in Arizona, you have some very good pollsters. Have you Michael Neil, who is a Ph.D. in survey research, rolledderberg, they're very credible, they've been doing polls for a long time. We used to do a poll at the University that was a University neutral-based poll that is a shame we don't have that frankly, because it's very important not to have ties to anything. So I think for the average person, look at the people conducting the polls, what are their qualifications, and their credibility.

Ted Simons:
And we've talked about polling here, and you've mentioned how it can shape a race and these things. But in the long run, how much influence do polls have and does that influence change as the campaign goes on?

Dr. Merrill:
Well, clearly it does. And basically if you have the media publishing polls that shows a particular candidate ahead, whether or not they're ahead or not, but let's say have you a poll with 10 days to go, showing somebody ahead, there is a tendency for people in our society to want to be with the winners. We put a lot of emphasis on being the winner. And so my concern is, if the poll is accurate, then that's legitimate. But what if the person really isn't ahead, but the poll shows they are? Could that influence in a very close election the outcome of an election? It potentially could.

Ted Simons:
But real quickly, aren't we talking about an enterprise that is -- we're talking free market to the bone here. You get it wrong, no one wants you anymore because most folks want to you get it right.

Dr. Merrill:
Well, that's exactly right. And we can't go night here, but with probability theory, a pollster can never be wrong. Because one of the interesting things, whatever a pollster tells you, they only have a 95% probability that they're even close to the true population parameter. So in other words, if I'm wrong in a poll, I can just say, gee, that's one of the 5% of the times I'd get a sample that was more than 5% from the real estimate.

Ted Simons:
Interesting. Kind of like a weather caster. You got all bases covered.

Dr. Merrill:
Well, absolutely. And we do a lot of it in politics. We just join with the politicians. Absolutely.

Ted Simons:
So keep an eye on the polls, but also keep an eye on what they're asking, how they're asking and it always keep another eye out for other things.

Dr. Merrill:
Absolutely.

Ted Simons:
Very good. Good to see you again.

Dr. Merrill:
Good to see you, Ted.

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