Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

August 4, 2006


Host: Michael Grant

Journalists Roundtable


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Guests:
  • Paul Giblin - East Valley Tribune
Category: Journalists Roundtable

View Transcript
Michael Grant:
It's Friday August 4, 2006. In the headlines this week, phoenix police jack harries announced this morning that two suspects are now in custody in connection with the serial shootings occurring in the valley for over a year. In the aftermath of this spring's immigration marches in the valley, several Hispanic groups are teaming together to register 22,000 new voters in Maricopa county. And oral arguments were heard this morning in Maricopa county superior court in a legal challenge to protect marriage Arizona. That's next on horizon.

Michael Grant:
Good evening. I'm Michael grant. Joining me to talk about these and other stories are Paul giblin of the east valley tribune, Richard Ruelas of the Arizona Republic and Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services.

Michael Grant:
Valley residents awoke to good news today that the suspects in the serial shooting case have been arrested. Just this week police in phoenix and mesa police held community forums to talk with residents about the crimes. Paul, what do we know about the end of this crime spree?

Paul Giblin:
They seemed to come together on Monday. Police said they had a lot of different leads. They didn't say it was directly from a tip but they said the public was helpful. There was also a series of fires in Glendale that atf was looking into. They had identified these two suspects tied to the fires. Then they said they got some information on Monday that tied those two characters to the serial shooting. Apparently everything came together and then they moved forward from there.

Michael Grant:
Yeah, the two fires were at wal-mart stores in Glendale, correct? And in reading quickly on the press conference this afternoon but you were there. They weren't necessarily saying that there was a cause and effect relationship between tying these guys to the wal-mart fires and then through that link them back to the serial shootings?

Paul Giblin:
I had a long discussion with the top atf official about that topic. He said they were conducting two separate investigations. Atf was part of the task force investigating the serial shooters but they had their own separate investigation into the fires then the other concurrent investigation into the shooters. He said it wasn't until Monday that they tied them together. He said after that happened after they did make the tie it sped things a along quite a bit.

Richard Ruelas:
Obviously a lot of unanswered questions one being motive. You would think Wal-Mart arson would speak to some political motive but it doesn't seem like there is one that came out. And there is no tie among the victims. They can't find a pattern among the people who have been shot. They just seem to have been hunting on the street. As soon as we get names reporters now start digging. There's not much of a paper trail on these guys and the phoenix police eluded to that. A couple guys who lived in mesa. One of them was a freelance photographer who hung around boxes arenas, was known around the boxing community but we doesn't know why they might have done this yet.

Michael Grant: And the second one charged about three years younger coming from the upper Midwest and sort of a small penny ante kind of criminal background, right?

Richard Ruelas:
Yeah. The one whose the photographer doesn't have any kind of criminal record to speak of at all. The other one has I think a petty shoplifting thing is the only thing that they have. So this is out of character, you know. There's nothing -- there's not a lot of aggravated assault arrests say in the past that speak to this.

Howard Fischer:
And it leads all of us to do this kind of speculation in terms of what snaps, what changes. We know that for one of them a girlfriend had tried to get a restraining order say that he had a meth problem. We know how meth can change a personality. Sometimes with serial shooters we saw this in Washington and other places, something gets into people to say, what can we get away with. And those are the scariest crimes. Because it's one thing to say, i'm not saying rape's a different kind of crime but people are doing it -- there's a reason as to what can we get away with. There may have been something with the fires what can we get away with?

Paul Giblin:
That's a good point, Howie. These guys started lower level, shooting animals and fires and now to shooting people. Maybe they were trying to see what they could get away with. Bill Lewis the head of the task force said they had a slick operation. I said was it similar to the dc shooters who had the headlights out to shoot people. He said it wasn't that slick and I pressed him and he wouldn't give me that information today.

Howard Fischer:
Part of it again we were looking at the TV tape they took a bunch of weapons out of there which suggests they were using multiple weapons which meant you didn't have a single caliber, single bullet that could be traced. So clearly if they were trying to hide their tracks if you use different weapons --

Richard Ruelas:
Personally I thought that first crack in the case because they were looking for two people I thought we had gotten the baseline rapist baseline killer first because there was at least a more eyewitness description. These guys we had seemingly nothing. That's the point to emphasize, the police emphasize that still all the resources that went towards the serial shooters are now being put on the baseline killer.

Michael Grant:
But Richard, it's an excellent point and unfortunately one that has to be emphasized here. Normally a community in these circumstances can breathe a giant sigh of relief. In this case, no. I mean, obviously this is excellent news concerning the serial shooters, but the baseline killer remains at large.

Richard Ruelas:
Right. They talk about again getting tips, you know, this seemed to have come -- this seemed to have come from a tip. So they're looking for that tip. They held community meetings in Spanish in both phoenix and mesa this week to try to get that community because some of the victims of the baseline killer have been Spanish-speaking so the thought is, well, maybe the people who hung out at the lunch wagon where the two women were shot might be more comfortable if they're talked to in Spanish and sort of reaching out in that way. It seems like the phoenix police are doing a little bit of baiting. Even today the chief sent a message to the baseline killer. All our resources are now focused on you. We're going to come after you. And that almost speaks to again this is amateur criminal note. We're grasping. If we're asking the guy to come contact us we're grasping.

Paul Giblin:
They were hoping after the first set of public meetings the killers would come to them. He said they never got a phone call, they never left notes, they didn't call the media, nothing like that. So it was strange because many of them do.

Howard Fischer:
Particularly with one of the guys being a photographer, one things about the certain types of criminals they take trophies from the victims of something. We've seen situations people have videotaped their own crimes or photographed. Yet there doesn't seem to be evidence of that. I think that's what makes snipers scarier. I'm not minimalizing the baseline killer but that's up close and personal. I think there's a feeling in people if I'm aware of my surroundings I can protect myself. The problem with snipers is given the lengths of space between you and your assailant with a high-powered rifle you don't see it coming and that's the scary part.

Michael Grant:
Well, Paul, you had sort of a multidisciplinary week. Let me move to you covering the immigration congressional hearings at the state capitol. What happened there?

Paul Giblin:
That was the night before. Like you said it was quite different. The Washington committee from the house, the house administration committee had not what they call a hearing because a hearing would imply there was a quorum of the committee. There wasn't a quorum. In fact there was only the chairman a fellow named Vernon elers who's a republican from Michigan. It was a field briefing they called it. They filled a bunch of empty seats with locals. J.D. Hayworth, Ed pasture, Fred Franks showed up and they discussed Prop 200 which a couple years ago required folks to show photo id. The idea is they want to weed out illegal immigrants who are voting, felons perhaps or other people not qualified to vote.

Michael Grant:
Staff not particularly impressive. What, ten prosecutions, three of those people voting and maybe another 100 plus or so under investigation. Am I somewhere in the ball park?

Paul Giblin:
Right. It was something like 2/1000th of 1\% under investigation for fraud.

Howard Fischer:
Andy Thomas's point is, look. Given how close elections are it doesn't matter. He was obviously a supporter of prop 200. This goes the other side to what you're talking about. Representative gradable said we know what this is about. On paper you have a proposal like prop 200 you want to hear what's happening in Arizona. You're manufacturing a problem, dividing people. There is no evidence that illegals are voting in massive numbers or any numbers in the United States. And what this is really about is politics. To the extent that republicans control congress, to the extent that they believe that additional id barriers keep brown and black people away from the polls and Indians, then you've got a situation where the republicans maintain control. Obviously Vernon elers said of course that has nothing to do TV.

Michael Grant:
On the other hand, though, Richard, you have the united states senate holding its own set of hearings trying to make its points on a substantially different version of the bill than the house version.

Richard Ruelas:
And the senate has a much tough job because it's very easy to have a hearing that says we just want to make sure everyone who votes is properly registered and is a citizen. That sells much better than let's have a comprehensive program which addresses --

Michael Grant:
Tighter 15 second sound bite.

Richard Ruelas:
If Arizona is a labratory for prop 200, if we were supposed to be the model, great. Because how it's worked here has been that it didn't solve the problem it was supposed to have solved because legally and already registered to vote you could still vote because the county will send you an election pamphlet and they will send you an election card and those are the two pieces of id you can take to the polls to vote that day. And just kind of being on election day the last time we had the city elections, just driving around to see how it went into play, it was very sporadic. In some polling places they were asking everybody, in some places like north Scottsdale or mesa they were asking only a few people. And one woman said they didn't ask me. I must be cute so they didn't ask me for my id. It's wildly sporadic. It's a problem like you said that doesn't address -- again the number of Mexicans living in Arizona who voted in the Mexico election that they were entitled to was incredibly low. This is a population that for whatever reason, maybe lack of interest, too many jobs, not enough time, just doesn't vote.

Michael Grant:
The governor saying, geez, this is a giant waste of time and then she headed down for a photo op?

Howard Fischer:
This is fascinating. Actually there were two hearings this week first in Yuma by the house arms committee, the second one on house operation and administration. Then there's another one scheduled later this month in Sierra Vista as we go on this magical mystery tour to somehow round up support. She said this is a waste of time. These are photo ops designed to delay action. Then the next day she takes Kathleen -- I've forgotten Kathleen's last name the governor of Kansas --

Michael Grant:
She's the governor of Kansas.

Howard Fischer:
Down to the border because they had --

Michael Grant:
We'll call it Kathleen Kansas for tonight.

Howard Fischer:
Sibelius. It takes me a little while. Old age is setting in here. Takes her down to the border so they can both see the National Guard troops, get a photo op. You have to remember, Kathleen Sibelius, democrat, up for re-election, criticized for not doing enough on immigration. Both of them have at one time said they support driver license's for illegal immigrants and both think the illegal immigrants are entitled to lower state tuition. Do you think there's a photo op down there?

Michael Grant:
In the meantime Hispanic groups trying to register 20,000 new Hispanics for November's election?

Richard Ruelas:
This comes off the giant marches that we saw, the giant rallies that went through downtown phoenix. Actually for the second one they had voter registration booths set up at the fairground. Part of it is that people didn't bring the proper identification. Because you're going to march, you bring a couple of pair of shoes, not necessarily a birth certificate. But also again this is a population that largely the people who were marching were largely here illegally, largely noncitizen, can't vote. There is an untapped population of Hispanic voters out there. They're going to have to go search and find them and it's going to be a cuff thing. 22,000 is the number. That can sway maybe some districts. I don't know when we get to congress, the governor's race, who knows what it can sway.

Michael Grant:
Well, and Richard, as you know it's not only a registration issue, it's a show up at the polls issue as well. Now, maybe the immigration issue will do that.

Richard Ruelas:
All this stuff does serve to the theory is all this stuff does serve to mobilize them. My own amateur political thought -- hey, that's why I'm on the show anyway, though.

Michael Grant:
True.

Richard Ruelas:
Is what will happen is the children of those who are here illegally and we're seeing the massive immigration influx in Arizona maybe 15, 10 to 15-years ago is when it really began people bring bringing their families up. Those kids who were born here when they turn 18 those are going to be your highly-mobilized American citizens who have a big sympathy for illegal immigration, big sympathy for their parents and that's when you might see it. That's a few years down the road. We'll see if they reach 22,000.

Michael Grant:
This morning in Maricopa county superior court more arguments heard on the legal challenge to protect marriage Arizona. Howie what happened there?

Howard Fischer:
As we've talked about on the show, Arizona has what they call a single subject rule for constitutional amendments. The idea to prevent log rolling. You shouldn't have to accept something you don't want like something you do.

Richard Ruelas:
Like vote for the minimum wage to get the estate tax.

Howard Fischer:
Well, but that's --

Michael Grant:
No log rolling.

Richard Ruelas:
As an example.

Howard Fischer:
Yes, as an example. The folks who are pushing protect marriage Arizona contend, it does three things. It defiance marriage constitutionally between one man and one woman. We have a law that says that but it's not constitutional. Number two is it says that you cannot have civil unions either by the courts or by the legislature. Number three, it says that you cannot have recognition of domestic partnerships which goes into the issue of like Tempe, Scottsdale, Tucson offering domestic partner benefits to their employees. The argument of opponents is you might want to ban gay marriage. Might not want to ban domestic partner benefits. They had the court hearing today. Glenn Levi with the alliance defense fund came in and said, look, your honor, this is part of a broad plan to protect marriage. The way he seize it is, look, it would do no good to declare marriage simply between one man and one woman if courts and the legislature could give all the privileges of marriage to "imitation marriage" his words. So his argument is to truly protect marriage you have to define it that way. Now, the argument of the opponents of the initiative is we've got polls to show different levels of support.

Michael Grant:
Does show varying level sub heads.

Howard Fischer:
Now, the tricky part will be is that enough. This same judge ruled earlier this week in another case -- this is the initiative on state trust lands that even though that has multiple parts, 690,000-acres of land for conservation, a financing scheme, a separately created board of trustees to oversee this land that that was part of a whole that should stand on its own.

Michael Grant:
The judge talking about given the complexity of the law, sometimes you get a whole lot of different things jammed in but still on the same subject.

Richard Ruelas:
On the state land trust issue, it would seem that if you want the land conserved all these things have to come into play. Not necessarily --

Howard Fischer:
But they don't. That's the point. You don't need a whole independent board that once appointed by the governor is pretty much free-standing and free to do what it wants. You don't need all that. Now, no matter who wins or loses on this one the same thing with what happened the other day on the trust lands it's going to the Supreme Court.

Michael Grant:
Of course.

Howard Fischer:
And this court has been all over the board about what constitutes single subject.

Michael Grant:
I assume, Howie, given the fact that it is obviously election year that we could expect a fairly prompt ruling from the supreme court and going right up to the supremes.

Howard Fischer:
I would expect Judge Reyes to rule by the middle of next week. The hard and fast deadline is august p 1 because that's when they have to start printing the ballots on that end.

Michael Grant:
Some election developments, Jim Pederson, Jon Kyl with new TV ads?

Paul Giblin:
Right. They both rolled out new ads this week. Kyl came out with good timing considering the serial shooter case talking about victim's rights. A couple years ago he introduced a law -- co-introduced a law that allows a crime victim to speak during the trial. It's called a victim's statement. And I've seen this in action. It can be pretty persuasive. People tell the judge how their life has been affected by whatever crime was committed against them or their family members. And it empowers the people to feel a little bit better instead offer being a bystander.

Howard Fischer:
Yes, but the other part of that is in Arizona in a murder case the family members can make all the statements. In Arizona the judge legally can't consider that. So you've got a really funny situation. It makes them feel better is. It of any legal merit?

Paul Giblin:
Well, that's beside the point.

Howard Fischer:
That is the point.

Paul Giblin:
Its politics. So we have that. And he rolled out that commercial on Monday. Then two days later Jim Pederson who had been broadcasting a commercial about high gas prices rolled out two commercials, one about healthcare and one targeting the young and the old. He wants more schools, all day kindergarten and then better benefits for the elderly. So it's really heated up. I know from my sources that both of these commercial campaigns are about $500,000 a month. That's the pace that they're on. These two guys are buying up so much TV time that they're pushing up the rates in November.

Michael Grant:
For everybody else?

Paul Giblin:
For everyone, for the people pushing these propositions. They can't compete with the senate race.

Howard Fischer:
But it doesn't matter. Here we are two and a half weeks after the debate around this table among the gubernatorial candidates when Don Goldwater swore that next week --

Michael Grant:
That was two weeks ago. Next week was two weeks ago.

Howard Fischer:
Exactly. Neck week he's going to have his $5 donations in. It is now the fourth of august and according to a staff, next week. So it doesn't mart. He can't buy any commercials, anyway.

Michael Grant:
In his defense, though, he's saying that he's taken some extra time to try to "scrub these things so clean elections will have to spend less time with him." in other words, make sure that I'm turning in good names. At least that's the explanation.

Howard Fischer:
Yes. But he had that same explanation last week and said, oh, it will just be a few days for us to scrub. It one has to wonder how close he is to that bare minimum that he needs that he's got to worry about this. The real practical effect is, even if he has a scrubbed list and they only have to do the sample, let's assume it takes seven business days for the secretary of state to send it out to the counties to do the random sampling. So that basically means it's going to take close to two weeks for him to get his money. Early voting starts before then. So how quickly can he get on the air, get a campaign rolling and of course the other part is, does it matter since even without money he's still leading?

Richard Ruelas:
And poor Len munsil who qualified for clean election money incredibly fast and still is behind Goldwater in the polls. So Goldwater can pin the public and primary and have no money.

Paul Giblin:
Goldwater has the name recognition that you can't buy with TV commercials.

Howard Fischer:
Understood. And he has the immigration issue. And Len is, to use a phrase that our friend Dennis Welch uses, preaching to the choir, he has that hard core group of 14\% maybe of republicans and he seems to be unable to break much past that.

Michael Grant:
Speaking of percentage numbers what are the latest poll figures I think from last month show both on the senate race, Howie as well as the governor's race?

Howard Fischer:
Well, on the senate race no big surprise. Jon Kyl continues in the lead. The fact that he's got three times as much money as Pederson certainly helps. Money is important there. And Janet seems to have nothing to worry about at this point. Although again, if there were a race it would be a lot closer between Janet and don Goldwater than between Janet and Len munsil. And I think that Janet's people realize this because they've done all their operation research on munsil. Ten years of writings as head of the Arizona of policy. Comments about whether god allowed the 9/11 attacks to happen, comments about gays so they see him as defeatable. Goldwater stands for nothing. I mean, he's got no background. He was basically in charge of setting up bleachers for the state. Has a very strong stand on immigration and how do you punch at something that isn't there?

Michael Grant:
Richard Carmona shuts it down this week. Richard as surgeon general. Boy, that was a quiet tenure as surgeon general.

Richard Ruelas:
Yeah. I think poor school children have to remember who the surgeon general was. He wasn't a c. Everett coop type or Jocelyn elders. The last thing he did was just a few months ago when he had the secondhand smoke report that said defintively secondhand smoke kills you. Which might come into play in our elections as we have two smoking initiatives, one sparked by health people and one sponsored by tobacco companies. But that was kind of it. He was a very quiet, didn't make a lot of noise. And I guess is going to come back. I don't know whether he wants to be governor or get in Arizona politics or sort of fade away quietly.

Michael Grant:
Yeah. Because certainly his name was mentioned as a possible when the republicans were trying to move around looking for did.

Richard Ruelas:
Trying to find somebody.

Michael Grant:
Looking for candidates. All right, panelists we are out of time. I know, but we don't have time.

Howard Fischer:
But I want to discuss the Janet Napolitano 2008 song.

Michael Grant:
Hold that thought. We'll do that next week.

Michael Grant:
And next week, horizon take as break as we bring you special programming in sharp contrast to this show. We're back next Friday with another edition of the journalist's roundtable. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great weekend. Good night.

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