Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

December 22, 2006


Host: Michael Grant

Journalists Roundtable


  • Local reporters review the week’s top stories.
Guests:
  • Howard Fischer - Capitol Media Services
  • Mary Jo Pitzl - Arizona Republic
Category: Journalists Roundtable

View Transcript
Michael Grant:
It's Friday, December 22, 2006. In the headlines this week, Arizona now the fastest-growing state, according to new census bureau statistics. Passing the banner for that top honor, controversy over the 9/11 memorial state capitol continues as the chairman of the mall commission calls for the removal of controversial statements. And Delta Airlines told US Airways -- calling the Tempe-based carrier the worst of all partners. That's next on Horizon.

Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by contributions from the friends of eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Michael Grant:
Good evening. I'm Michael Grant. This is the Journalists' Roundtable. Joining me to talk about these and other issues are Howard Fischer. He hails from capitol media services. Mary Jo Pitzl shows up from the "Arizona Republic" and Mike Sunnucks hangs around "the business journal." new figures released by the census bureau show Arizona now the fastest-growing state in the country, moving ahead of Nevada for that fine distinction. Howie, how fast is our state growing?

Howard Fischer:
Well, on pure numbers, 3.6 percent a year. And that doesn't sound like much. I mean, you have to consider, you know, when we've got a state of only 6 million people and you're adding 213,000 people in the course of a year, that's major changes for a state like this in terms of our ability to absorb it. The increase is broken down a couple of ways. You had like 95,000 birth, about 44,000 deaths. But the real change of people coming from elsewhere -- we had about 130,000 people move here last year from other states, a lot from California. And 31,000 people coming from other countries, legal and otherwise. The changes mean a couple of things. Obviously we know the governor will focus on growth issues, freeway issues when the state-of-the-state comes up. It means things politically for example. We're already at the point where if nothing else changes we're going to get a ninth congressional seat. At the rate we're going --

Michael Grant:
We could have ten?

Howard Fischer:
Yes. Because we're only 300,000 people behind Massachusetts. At the rate we're growing -- they're only growing at .6 percent a year.

Mike Sunnucks:
If we have a completely west valley seat -- or into Scottsdale which has been pushed for before.

Michael Grant:
A good point, Mike. I'm assuming that we continue to pace about your usually trend in 80-85 percent of those people are going to be in two metropolitan areas.

Howard Fischer:
Exactly. We'll get the county figures breakdowns in the spring. Very clearly -- and this gets back to am mike's point -- we're going to have perhaps six of those congressional districts with at least a toe hold if not entirely in Maricopa County. That's where the growth is. Take a look at where the building permits are. Out in the West valley, the Southwest valley. The other place is of course Pinal County which technically is a rural county. It's growing up from Tucson and down from Chandler and there'll be people living in Florence commuting in.

Michael Grant:
Speaking of -- what happened when Governor Napolitano, Sheriff Arpaio and the new INS got together this week?

Mary Jo Pitzl:
They met Monday in the governor's office and they say they're working on a plan to toughen up internal security on immigration. They feel that with the national guard, the beefed up effort there on the border they're doing okay. So time to focus some attention on the smuggling corridors and some of the activity that's happening here in this metro area as well as northern parts of the state.

Mike Sunnucks:
And you might see some more employer sangs than going after them like they did with the meat packing plants in the Midwest. I think you'll see a push from the bush administration to pick up that pace on that.

Michael Grant:
Was it a Kumbaya kind of moment? Obviously the governor and sheriff weren't real happy last year.

Mike Sunnucks:
Yeah. They wrote -- off to a good start at least trying to say we're giving this guy a chance. Everybody saying everybody nice right now.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
Also in one of those letters that they wrote, they praised Alonzo Pena and said everything they requested from I'm since he's come in has been acknowledged -- from ice.

Howard Fischer:
If the sheriff's department picked up somebody here illegal or had to release them after a trial, they wouldn't come and pick them up. That's clearly what led to his predecessor ending up in El Paso. A fine career move that was.

Michael Grant:
In fact the rumor was he wouldn't even pick up the phone when they called, which is particularly bad.

Howard Fischer:
Hopefully the governor will get to know him better. She kept calling Alonzo Alfonso.

Michael Grant:
What the governor saying about the issue involving whether or not the handicapped organizations can pay less than the new state minimum wage?

Mike Sunnucks:
Well, the state minimum wage that everybody approved takes it to 6.75. And that's across the board wage increase. There's no out for the -- carve out for the handicapped or disabled folks that sometimes work for good will and other charitable groups at lower rates. Carved out in the state law and federal law. People are worried some of these handicapped folks will be put out by the job. But the governor says it's approved by the voters thus the legislature can't go after it. But they could pass something if it improves upon the law.

Howard Fischer:
You're not going to get that for a couple of reasons. Number one, the key sponsors of the law, the AFL don't want the exception. Purposely if at least inadvertently didn't include the exception that exists in federal law for the developmentally disabled, sheltered work environment. And also in the arc of the -- while the local folks are saying we need the exception, the national folks are saying what is that message we're sending if we're paying these people less. So I don't see any way the legislature will --

Mike Sunnucks:
Otherwise they probably wouldn't have some of these jobs. The folks that have severe disabilities and severe mental handy caps.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
For some and for some not. Because I was told that there are 3,500 to 5,000 people who could be affected by this. Some are out in the real world working. So I called one of those employers, bashes. And they said, oh, we pay them what we pay everybody else. So you wonder once you get outside of the sheltered work shop situation how many of these people really are at risk of losing their jobs.

Mike Sunnucks:
I think the legislature should pass something to improve upon the law and let it go to court.

Howard Fischer:
Are you paid by lawyers or something? Let it go to court?

Michael Grant:
There's going to be an A.G.'s opinion?

Mike Sunnucks:
Yes. And I guess the industrial commission is working on rules.

Michael Grant:
Speaking of the attorney general's opinion, we ought to go buy our cigarettes from the Indian reservation.

Howard Fischer:
Well, as you know proposition 203 included a 80-cent a pack increase in tobacco tax designed to help early childhood development programs. When previous hikes have been passed like the other one for education, they worded it in a way on consumers pre-selected by the wholesalers. It applied anywhere in the state. This one was crafted only as a sales tax. Therefore you cannot collect sales tax on a reservation. So what Terry Goddard said, that $8 a carton difference you can't collect it. But if in fact the tribes choose not to collect it, you're living in mesa and you could save $8 a carton by simply going down to the Gila River Reservation you'll do that which not only undercut the 150 million for this but also undercuts the 200 some million the state collects in tobacco taxes. Real problems here.

Michael Grant:
The 9/11 memorial controversy. Two or three developments there. Why don't you saw off the first?

Mary Jo Pitzl:
It continues. After last week's marathon hearing at which they said we'll have to meet again and figure out what we're going to do, tom smith who's the chairman of the mall commission which is where the monument sets said, look. I want these offensive statements removed. No action on that yet. Billy shields who heads up the 9/11 commission has propose today smith that they sit down, work out changes together and move forward together on any changes if there were to be any. But then there's this whole legal opinion. Opinion has been sought from the attorney general's offers on who has the authority to alter any of those monuments? If you want to alter the Pearl Harbor memorial who can do that?

Michael Grant:
Likely candidates that are in control.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
The mall commission which is controlled by the legislature, the department of administration which is a branch of the -- part of the executive branch.

Howard Fischer:
But here's the other funny piece of the equation. If they wanted to amen let's say the Vietnam memorial -- they did amend the Turkish and Armenian memorial out there. But these were dedicated to the state. Clearly that's under the purview of the department of administration and the governmental mall commission. While the deed was signed over on the 9/11 memorial, Bill Bell who's the D.O.A. director never signed for it. So the state does not yet own it. Which comes to the question of, can the capitol mall commission order it changed or is their only power to say, you get your monument off our mall?

Mary Jo Pitzl:
Then there's the issue that the artist who actually created the monument had put a copyright on it. Where does that fit in?

Mike Sunnucks:
I don't think anybody is trying to copy our 9/11 memorial after all this. Wouldn't it be nice -- there's a few passages that are upsetting people. It's supposed to be an unifying type memorial. Just get rid of those. How about the governor? Our governor who has a mandate from the voters who knows all to step in and maybe just do an executive order and get rid of these things.

Howard Fischer:
But here's the problem. Where's the line? One of the statements, for example, is you don't solve acts of terrorism with more battles. Is that an anti-American statement or is that just a statement that perhaps should be on there? You're not going to reach a consensus on this.

Mike Sunnucks:
They should have another commission appointed by the governor to handle this and have a third commission to join with the mall commission and the 9/11 commission.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
Let's put it on the ballot.

Michael Grant:
Just appoint the second commission and have those two commissions agree on a third commission. That's the way it is best done. Proposed merger between US. Airways and Delta Airlines got really nasty this week as both sides engaged in a war of words. It was kind of like the Donald Trump-Rosie O'Donnell.

Mike Sunnucks:
Delta came up with their stand alone plan to come out of bankruptcy next year, on their own without a merger with US Airways. A lot of creditors agree with that. They worry about labor costs, debt, anti-trust issues if there's a merger with Tempe-based US Air. Doug parker retorted this week saying we have a good plan. We're a profitable airline in a tough market. We have a good team now. You're seeing them go back and forth. It's coming down to the bankruptcy court and creditors.

Michael Grant:
It's interesting. Because a couple, three weeks ago, US Airways had said, hey, we're not going to try a hostile takeover. If they don't want us, we don't want them. That is no longer on the table.

Mike Sunnucks:
That was kind of a farce to begin with. Because when they announced they wanted to take over delta, delta gave these signals they didn't want any part in it. Parker said all along it's up to the creditors and bankruptcy court, not the delta management.

Howard Fischer:
The response from delta is not only, we don't want you but we think your airline sucks. Really. So perhaps they're hoping that to the extent they can bad mouth US Air that maybe the US Air folks say you're driving our stock price down here. Maybe we ought to back off. So it has gotten really nasty.

Michael Grant:
Well, I tell you what, though, if they do merge you're going to be able to fly delta to see more spring training.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
And all those games will be in Phoenix.

Howard Fischer:
Yes. The tourism sports authority approved some funding plans to go ahead and move the dodgers here, which is really the big plum. Because of the fact that they're playing in Florida now. The dodgers moved from Brooklyn 50 years ago but kept the grapefruit league roots. Well, alt. Dodger fans are on the west coast now and they say spring training makes a lot more sense here. They're going to do a dual-team stadium with the Chicago White Sox. Here's the funny part about it. The Chicago White Sox are playing in Tucson. They have a contract to play there through the 2012 spring training season and they can only break it if they come up with another team which satisfies Pima County. Which means another grapefruit league team that has direct service between their city and Tucson, that has enough of a fan base that Pima County will accept. It otherwise, the white sox don't come up here until 2013 versus 2009.

Michael Grant:
So it's entirely possible the dodgers may be playing alone in that facility for what, four years or so.

Howard Fischer:
Although what they can do, what they're actually talking about is they'll meet the contractual obligation but do a lot of split squad games. You may see some white sox playing up here and in Tucson.

Mike Sunnucks:
They got 80 million for these deals from the sports and tourism authority.

Howard Fischer:
Which drains the bank. And that's really the interesting issue is if they want to attract any more teams here. There's no more money left. There's no more money left. They gave 50 million to Phoenix/Glendale and the rest of it to Goodyear.

Michael Grant:
And Mike, this allows Goodyear to go out and get the Indians.

Mike Sunnucks:
Yeah. The Indians have been look around for awhile. They trained out here for awhile a number of years ago. They went back to Florida. The Florida folks didn't give them any incentives which we seem to be more than willing to dole out. So they're coming to Goodyear. And the west valley needs those types of venues and centers to attract people. So it's probably good for Goodyear.

Michael Grant:
Senator McCain racketing up the fundraising on the Presidential campaign?

Mike Sunnuks:
He's raising a lot of money from the Bush contributors, Bush camp. He's hiring a lot of Bush staffers for his campaign. It's kind of this early knock everybody out and be the frontrunner. Republicans are good at appointing a frontrunner. So it looks like money wise it's basically him and Rudy Giuliani and Romney and McCain's got the biggest bulk of the bush folks now.

Michael Grant:
Does he have the capability, mike, do you think, to do effectively what George Bush did in 2000, was to be so overwhelmingly good at fundraiser that he just almost drove the entire field out?

Mike Sunnucks:
He has the background for that. He was commerce chair in the senate for a number of years. So you attract a lot of business money in that position. He's certainly got great name ID. He's a media darling. The thing is with the conservative base she's still got to overcome that. He's reached out to fall well, obviously been a hawk on the war. But there's still not true believers in him. You're going to have to see whether another conservative pops up.

Howard Fischer:
You said the magic word, war. Because as this war continues, as the president starts talking about sending more troops, in as we have more bodies coming home, that's going to be something that's going to weigh against him. I could certainly see some republican with a "let's find a solution" getting a lot of groundswell support and knocking him out.

Mike Sunnucks:
The thing about McCain is because of his P.O.W. past and because he's always been a hawk, always strong on using military force that he doesn't maybe get hit as hard on that because he has a lot of credibility on those issues and has been very consistent on those issues.

Michael Grant:
Mary Jo, he didn't clear as much money on the sale of the house as he expected.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
The McCain's put their house in north central Phoenix on the market about a year ago. And it sat and sat. The price dropped. And when it sold earlier this month, it was for a million dollars less than their original asking price. Still at 3.2 million, that's a nice little sum for selling your home.

Michael Grant:
Not too bad. Howie, a report talking about what impact on the election the voter ID requirements had, which was "read here, not much"?

Howard Fischer:
Not much. The report was generated because of the fact that when the folks challenged the whole voter ID requirement -- remember this went to the ninth circuit and all the way to the U.S. supreme court. The question was, well, we're deciding this in a vacuum. Trying to figure out whether the ID requirements -- which are fairly broad in this state based on the rules, you can bring in bank statements and utility statements. Will have a major effect? It really didn't. There were 1800 in Maricopa County which was the largest. Now, the folks who were trying to kill the law in the first place say, that's not a realistic estimate. Because there are people who didn't bother to show in the first place because they didn't have the ID. There are people who didn't make it up to the counter and were turned away because of lack of ID. They may have walked in and been told you're going to need something and walked out. I don't think we resolved the lawsuit. But it wasn't the sort of disaster some people had thought.

Mike Sunnucks:
I think it's a political thing. The folks that stir the pots on this count every vote are usually on the democratic side of the ledger, the move on.org folks. Since the democrats did pretty well in the elections there was no reason to complain about the results.

Howard Fischer:
Well, yes. But the lawsuit is still alive. If you think this lawsuit is going away, I've got some swamp land that is a good business report I'm going to sell you.

Mike Sunnucks:
The people that always talk about voter irregularities tend to be on the democratic side of the aisle and always have these conspiracy theories. When their candidates do well you don't really see them out doing those things.

Michael Grant:
A couple of legislative developments. Mary Jo, who is going to swear in Arizona's new legislature?

Mary Jo Pitzl:
Legislative leaders have got Sandra Day O'Connor to come in and do the honors. That will be on January 8 at the state capitol. It will be a return for her. She was a senate majority leader in the 70's.

Michael Grant:
'72-74.

Howard Fischer:
And maybe she wan tell them how to do it right. Because you remember, we got out of here in 100-days during the days she was majority leader.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
Wow.

Howard Fischer:
Last session was 164. And I'm not making any bets on this session. I lost that bet last year.

Michael Grant:
Maybe she'll tack that on to the oath. "and do you promise to get out of dodge?"

Howard Fischer:
I like. It I like it.

Michael Grant:
And what's the legislature going to do on Martin Luther King day?

>>This is very interesting , for the first time in 15 years since Arizona voter approved the king day holiday for Arizona.. Both houses of the legislature are going to honor the day and take the day off. This is the decision of incoming senate speaker. The real driving force is Representative Leah Landdrum who until the election was the only African American in the legislature. She has moved from the house in the senate. She went and talked to bee and made the pitch and he said why not.

Michael Grant:
Well, panelists we are out of time because we're going to do threat row thing -- retro thing.

Michael Grant:
The Friday Journalists' Roundtable has been a staple of Horizon since its inception. It is a chance for viewers to get the inside scoop on the week's news, such as you just saw. But it also helps the journalists themselves. Mike Sauceda tells us more.

Michael Grant:
Joining us this evening to talk about these and other issues are Max Jennings, executive editor of the Mesa Tribune, Kevin Willy, the legislative recorder for the "Arizona Republic" and Howie Fischer for the Arizona Daily Star. Kevin let's start off with politics.

Mike Sauceda:
The premise was simple: invite capitol, political and business reporters along with newspaper editors to discuss the week's top stories.

Keven Willey:
I think you're absolutely correct on that. There was a desire on the part of many democrats to preclude what happened to the republicans several years ago in a very divisive primary that led to the eventual election of Dennis Deconsini to the legislator spot.

Richard de Uriarte:
It gave us a forum. An additional forum where it's not just a little by line. But you can offer a little bit of humor or the side shows that sometimes the straight reporting couldn't.

Richard de Uriarte:
What Siegel said was a legitimate arguing point for an attorney general's offers.

Mike Sauceda:
The Journalists' Roundtable also gives reporters a bit of note right. Doug Mack -- has worked for the "New York Times," "east valley tribune" and "Arizona Republic" over the past three decades.

Doug MacEachern:
As a print journalist I am best known as people who recognize on the street as a member of the journalists roundtable on channel 8.

Mike Sunnucks:
He says such recognition came in handy when he and mark flat earn visited a scary compound after the Oklahoma City Federal building in --

Doug MacEachern:
Three big guys who had this look on their face like, we don't want you here, came out of the front door. I thought, oh, my god. We're done for it now. And they sort of stopped. They weren't really looking at me. They were looking at flat. And finally one of them, I think the biggest one pointed his finger at mark and said, I know you. You're on horizon. I like what you've got to say."

Mike Sauceda:
Appearing on the Friday show wasn't always easy for reporters, especially when Howard Fischer or then legislative reporter Pat Flannery were on.

Doug MacEachern:
I have both admired and was totally frustrated by every moment on the show with those two. Especially when they're on together. Because you just couldn't intellectually keep up with them.

Mike Sauceda:
One who could was John Colby, political analyst for the now defunct phoenix gazette.

John Colby:
The scope was quite stunning.

Richard de Uriarte:
He was a man of enormous personal integrity and journalistic. He got it right. Colby would get it right. In analyzing the stories. That's not easy.

Mike Sauceda:
During the Meacham administration, Colby earned the distinction of being a non-person, the governor would purposely not recognize Colby at press conferences following a critical column Colby had written about the governor.

Governor Meacham:
So I thank you.

Governor Meacham:
Do we have any questions, please?

Press:
[indiscernible]

Governor Meacham:
Do we have any questions, please?

Press:
[indiscernible]

Governor Meacham:
it's good of you to be here today. Thank you.

Richard de Uriarte:
Basically they were fulfilling his right as a journalist to ask a question, but the governor would not acknowledge.

Michael Grant:
Are you really banning John Colby from your press conferences?

Governor Meacham:
He's not a reporter. He's a columnist. I didn't think he needed to be around. And I just quietly and sort of, I thought, in a dignified manner asked them to keep him away. He doesn't need to be around. I would like to have him away. As far as my part, he doesn't exist anymore. That's where it is.

Mike Sauceda:
A regular guest, Colby's appearance in a 1998-year-end prediction show would be his last. John Colby died two months later from colon cancer at the age of 58.

Richard de Uriarte:
What can you say about John Colby whose presence has not been matched as a political persona in Arizona since his death?

Michael Grant:
And we still miss him. Monday horizon is off for special Christmas programming. Tuesday horizon special, the cartoonists year in review, a fun look back at the news of the year. Wednesday we are the Cronkite awards luncheon with honoree Tom Brokaw. Thursday it's the horizon 25th special anniversary. Friday we do the journalists year predictions. Thank you very much for joining us on this Friday edition of "Horizon." I'm Michael Grant. Have a Merry Christmas. Good night.

Journalists Roundtable


  • A retrospective on the Friday show - 1981 through 2006.
Guests:
  • Howard Fischer - Capitol Media Services
  • Mary Jo Pitzl - Arizona Republic
Category: Journalists Roundtable

View Transcript
Michael Grant:
It's Friday, December 22, 2006. In the headlines this week, Arizona now the fastest-growing state, according to new census bureau statistics. Passing the banner for that top honor, controversy over the 9/11 memorial state capitol continues as the chairman of the mall commission calls for the removal of controversial statements. And Delta Airlines told US Airways -- calling the Tempe-based carrier the worst of all partners. That's next on Horizon.

Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by contributions from the friends of eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Michael Grant:
Good evening. I'm Michael Grant. This is the Journalists' Roundtable. Joining me to talk about these and other issues are Howard Fischer. He hails from capitol media services. Mary Jo Pitzl shows up from the "Arizona Republic" and Mike Sunnucks hangs around "the business journal." new figures released by the census bureau show Arizona now the fastest-growing state in the country, moving ahead of Nevada for that fine distinction. Howie, how fast is our state growing?

Howard Fischer:
Well, on pure numbers, 3.6 percent a year. And that doesn't sound like much. I mean, you have to consider, you know, when we've got a state of only 6 million people and you're adding 213,000 people in the course of a year, that's major changes for a state like this in terms of our ability to absorb it. The increase is broken down a couple of ways. You had like 95,000 birth, about 44,000 deaths. But the real change of people coming from elsewhere -- we had about 130,000 people move here last year from other states, a lot from California. And 31,000 people coming from other countries, legal and otherwise. The changes mean a couple of things. Obviously we know the governor will focus on growth issues, freeway issues when the state-of-the-state comes up. It means things politically for example. We're already at the point where if nothing else changes we're going to get a ninth congressional seat. At the rate we're going --

Michael Grant:
We could have ten?

Howard Fischer:
Yes. Because we're only 300,000 people behind Massachusetts. At the rate we're growing -- they're only growing at .6 percent a year.

Mike Sunnucks:
If we have a completely west valley seat -- or into Scottsdale which has been pushed for before.

Michael Grant:
A good point, Mike. I'm assuming that we continue to pace about your usually trend in 80-85 percent of those people are going to be in two metropolitan areas.

Howard Fischer:
Exactly. We'll get the county figures breakdowns in the spring. Very clearly -- and this gets back to am mike's point -- we're going to have perhaps six of those congressional districts with at least a toe hold if not entirely in Maricopa County. That's where the growth is. Take a look at where the building permits are. Out in the West valley, the Southwest valley. The other place is of course Pinal County which technically is a rural county. It's growing up from Tucson and down from Chandler and there'll be people living in Florence commuting in.

Michael Grant:
Speaking of -- what happened when Governor Napolitano, Sheriff Arpaio and the new INS got together this week?

Mary Jo Pitzl:
They met Monday in the governor's office and they say they're working on a plan to toughen up internal security on immigration. They feel that with the national guard, the beefed up effort there on the border they're doing okay. So time to focus some attention on the smuggling corridors and some of the activity that's happening here in this metro area as well as northern parts of the state.

Mike Sunnucks:
And you might see some more employer sangs than going after them like they did with the meat packing plants in the Midwest. I think you'll see a push from the bush administration to pick up that pace on that.

Michael Grant:
Was it a Kumbaya kind of moment? Obviously the governor and sheriff weren't real happy last year.

Mike Sunnucks:
Yeah. They wrote -- off to a good start at least trying to say we're giving this guy a chance. Everybody saying everybody nice right now.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
Also in one of those letters that they wrote, they praised Alonzo Pena and said everything they requested from I'm since he's come in has been acknowledged -- from ice.

Howard Fischer:
If the sheriff's department picked up somebody here illegal or had to release them after a trial, they wouldn't come and pick them up. That's clearly what led to his predecessor ending up in El Paso. A fine career move that was.

Michael Grant:
In fact the rumor was he wouldn't even pick up the phone when they called, which is particularly bad.

Howard Fischer:
Hopefully the governor will get to know him better. She kept calling Alonzo Alfonso.

Michael Grant:
What the governor saying about the issue involving whether or not the handicapped organizations can pay less than the new state minimum wage?

Mike Sunnucks:
Well, the state minimum wage that everybody approved takes it to 6.75. And that's across the board wage increase. There's no out for the -- carve out for the handicapped or disabled folks that sometimes work for good will and other charitable groups at lower rates. Carved out in the state law and federal law. People are worried some of these handicapped folks will be put out by the job. But the governor says it's approved by the voters thus the legislature can't go after it. But they could pass something if it improves upon the law.

Howard Fischer:
You're not going to get that for a couple of reasons. Number one, the key sponsors of the law, the AFL don't want the exception. Purposely if at least inadvertently didn't include the exception that exists in federal law for the developmentally disabled, sheltered work environment. And also in the arc of the -- while the local folks are saying we need the exception, the national folks are saying what is that message we're sending if we're paying these people less. So I don't see any way the legislature will --

Mike Sunnucks:
Otherwise they probably wouldn't have some of these jobs. The folks that have severe disabilities and severe mental handy caps.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
For some and for some not. Because I was told that there are 3,500 to 5,000 people who could be affected by this. Some are out in the real world working. So I called one of those employers, bashes. And they said, oh, we pay them what we pay everybody else. So you wonder once you get outside of the sheltered work shop situation how many of these people really are at risk of losing their jobs.

Mike Sunnucks:
I think the legislature should pass something to improve upon the law and let it go to court.

Howard Fischer:
Are you paid by lawyers or something? Let it go to court?

Michael Grant:
There's going to be an A.G.'s opinion?

Mike Sunnucks:
Yes. And I guess the industrial commission is working on rules.

Michael Grant:
Speaking of the attorney general's opinion, we ought to go buy our cigarettes from the Indian reservation.

Howard Fischer:
Well, as you know proposition 203 included a 80-cent a pack increase in tobacco tax designed to help early childhood development programs. When previous hikes have been passed like the other one for education, they worded it in a way on consumers pre-selected by the wholesalers. It applied anywhere in the state. This one was crafted only as a sales tax. Therefore you cannot collect sales tax on a reservation. So what Terry Goddard said, that $8 a carton difference you can't collect it. But if in fact the tribes choose not to collect it, you're living in mesa and you could save $8 a carton by simply going down to the Gila River Reservation you'll do that which not only undercut the 150 million for this but also undercuts the 200 some million the state collects in tobacco taxes. Real problems here.

Michael Grant:
The 9/11 memorial controversy. Two or three developments there. Why don't you saw off the first?

Mary Jo Pitzl:
It continues. After last week's marathon hearing at which they said we'll have to meet again and figure out what we're going to do, tom smith who's the chairman of the mall commission which is where the monument sets said, look. I want these offensive statements removed. No action on that yet. Billy shields who heads up the 9/11 commission has propose today smith that they sit down, work out changes together and move forward together on any changes if there were to be any. But then there's this whole legal opinion. Opinion has been sought from the attorney general's offers on who has the authority to alter any of those monuments? If you want to alter the Pearl Harbor memorial who can do that?

Michael Grant:
Likely candidates that are in control.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
The mall commission which is controlled by the legislature, the department of administration which is a branch of the -- part of the executive branch.

Howard Fischer:
But here's the other funny piece of the equation. If they wanted to amen let's say the Vietnam memorial -- they did amend the Turkish and Armenian memorial out there. But these were dedicated to the state. Clearly that's under the purview of the department of administration and the governmental mall commission. While the deed was signed over on the 9/11 memorial, Bill Bell who's the D.O.A. director never signed for it. So the state does not yet own it. Which comes to the question of, can the capitol mall commission order it changed or is their only power to say, you get your monument off our mall?

Mary Jo Pitzl:
Then there's the issue that the artist who actually created the monument had put a copyright on it. Where does that fit in?

Mike Sunnucks:
I don't think anybody is trying to copy our 9/11 memorial after all this. Wouldn't it be nice -- there's a few passages that are upsetting people. It's supposed to be an unifying type memorial. Just get rid of those. How about the governor? Our governor who has a mandate from the voters who knows all to step in and maybe just do an executive order and get rid of these things.

Howard Fischer:
But here's the problem. Where's the line? One of the statements, for example, is you don't solve acts of terrorism with more battles. Is that an anti-American statement or is that just a statement that perhaps should be on there? You're not going to reach a consensus on this.

Mike Sunnucks:
They should have another commission appointed by the governor to handle this and have a third commission to join with the mall commission and the 9/11 commission.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
Let's put it on the ballot.

Michael Grant:
Just appoint the second commission and have those two commissions agree on a third commission. That's the way it is best done. Proposed merger between US. Airways and Delta Airlines got really nasty this week as both sides engaged in a war of words. It was kind of like the Donald Trump-Rosie O'Donnell.

Mike Sunnucks:
Delta came up with their stand alone plan to come out of bankruptcy next year, on their own without a merger with US Airways. A lot of creditors agree with that. They worry about labor costs, debt, anti-trust issues if there's a merger with Tempe-based US Air. Doug parker retorted this week saying we have a good plan. We're a profitable airline in a tough market. We have a good team now. You're seeing them go back and forth. It's coming down to the bankruptcy court and creditors.

Michael Grant:
It's interesting. Because a couple, three weeks ago, US Airways had said, hey, we're not going to try a hostile takeover. If they don't want us, we don't want them. That is no longer on the table.

Mike Sunnucks:
That was kind of a farce to begin with. Because when they announced they wanted to take over delta, delta gave these signals they didn't want any part in it. Parker said all along it's up to the creditors and bankruptcy court, not the delta management.

Howard Fischer:
The response from delta is not only, we don't want you but we think your airline sucks. Really. So perhaps they're hoping that to the extent they can bad mouth US Air that maybe the US Air folks say you're driving our stock price down here. Maybe we ought to back off. So it has gotten really nasty.

Michael Grant:
Well, I tell you what, though, if they do merge you're going to be able to fly delta to see more spring training.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
And all those games will be in Phoenix.

Howard Fischer:
Yes. The tourism sports authority approved some funding plans to go ahead and move the dodgers here, which is really the big plum. Because of the fact that they're playing in Florida now. The dodgers moved from Brooklyn 50 years ago but kept the grapefruit league roots. Well, alt. Dodger fans are on the west coast now and they say spring training makes a lot more sense here. They're going to do a dual-team stadium with the Chicago White Sox. Here's the funny part about it. The Chicago White Sox are playing in Tucson. They have a contract to play there through the 2012 spring training season and they can only break it if they come up with another team which satisfies Pima County. Which means another grapefruit league team that has direct service between their city and Tucson, that has enough of a fan base that Pima County will accept. It otherwise, the white sox don't come up here until 2013 versus 2009.

Michael Grant:
So it's entirely possible the dodgers may be playing alone in that facility for what, four years or so.

Howard Fischer:
Although what they can do, what they're actually talking about is they'll meet the contractual obligation but do a lot of split squad games. You may see some white sox playing up here and in Tucson.

Mike Sunnucks:
They got 80 million for these deals from the sports and tourism authority.

Howard Fischer:
Which drains the bank. And that's really the interesting issue is if they want to attract any more teams here. There's no more money left. There's no more money left. They gave 50 million to Phoenix/Glendale and the rest of it to Goodyear.

Michael Grant:
And Mike, this allows Goodyear to go out and get the Indians.

Mike Sunnucks:
Yeah. The Indians have been look around for awhile. They trained out here for awhile a number of years ago. They went back to Florida. The Florida folks didn't give them any incentives which we seem to be more than willing to dole out. So they're coming to Goodyear. And the west valley needs those types of venues and centers to attract people. So it's probably good for Goodyear.

Michael Grant:
Senator McCain racketing up the fundraising on the Presidential campaign?

Mike Sunnuks:
He's raising a lot of money from the Bush contributors, Bush camp. He's hiring a lot of Bush staffers for his campaign. It's kind of this early knock everybody out and be the frontrunner. Republicans are good at appointing a frontrunner. So it looks like money wise it's basically him and Rudy Giuliani and Romney and McCain's got the biggest bulk of the bush folks now.

Michael Grant:
Does he have the capability, mike, do you think, to do effectively what George Bush did in 2000, was to be so overwhelmingly good at fundraiser that he just almost drove the entire field out?

Mike Sunnucks:
He has the background for that. He was commerce chair in the senate for a number of years. So you attract a lot of business money in that position. He's certainly got great name ID. He's a media darling. The thing is with the conservative base she's still got to overcome that. He's reached out to fall well, obviously been a hawk on the war. But there's still not true believers in him. You're going to have to see whether another conservative pops up.

Howard Fischer:
You said the magic word, war. Because as this war continues, as the president starts talking about sending more troops, in as we have more bodies coming home, that's going to be something that's going to weigh against him. I could certainly see some republican with a "let's find a solution" getting a lot of groundswell support and knocking him out.

Mike Sunnucks:
The thing about McCain is because of his P.O.W. past and because he's always been a hawk, always strong on using military force that he doesn't maybe get hit as hard on that because he has a lot of credibility on those issues and has been very consistent on those issues.

Michael Grant:
Mary Jo, he didn't clear as much money on the sale of the house as he expected.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
The McCain's put their house in north central Phoenix on the market about a year ago. And it sat and sat. The price dropped. And when it sold earlier this month, it was for a million dollars less than their original asking price. Still at 3.2 million, that's a nice little sum for selling your home.

Michael Grant:
Not too bad. Howie, a report talking about what impact on the election the voter ID requirements had, which was "read here, not much"?

Howard Fischer:
Not much. The report was generated because of the fact that when the folks challenged the whole voter ID requirement -- remember this went to the ninth circuit and all the way to the U.S. supreme court. The question was, well, we're deciding this in a vacuum. Trying to figure out whether the ID requirements -- which are fairly broad in this state based on the rules, you can bring in bank statements and utility statements. Will have a major effect? It really didn't. There were 1800 in Maricopa County which was the largest. Now, the folks who were trying to kill the law in the first place say, that's not a realistic estimate. Because there are people who didn't bother to show in the first place because they didn't have the ID. There are people who didn't make it up to the counter and were turned away because of lack of ID. They may have walked in and been told you're going to need something and walked out. I don't think we resolved the lawsuit. But it wasn't the sort of disaster some people had thought.

Mike Sunnucks:
I think it's a political thing. The folks that stir the pots on this count every vote are usually on the democratic side of the ledger, the move on.org folks. Since the democrats did pretty well in the elections there was no reason to complain about the results.

Howard Fischer:
Well, yes. But the lawsuit is still alive. If you think this lawsuit is going away, I've got some swamp land that is a good business report I'm going to sell you.

Mike Sunnucks:
The people that always talk about voter irregularities tend to be on the democratic side of the aisle and always have these conspiracy theories. When their candidates do well you don't really see them out doing those things.

Michael Grant:
A couple of legislative developments. Mary Jo, who is going to swear in Arizona's new legislature?

Mary Jo Pitzl:
Legislative leaders have got Sandra Day O'Connor to come in and do the honors. That will be on January 8 at the state capitol. It will be a return for her. She was a senate majority leader in the 70's.

Michael Grant:
'72-74.

Howard Fischer:
And maybe she wan tell them how to do it right. Because you remember, we got out of here in 100-days during the days she was majority leader.

Mary Jo Pitzl:
Wow.

Howard Fischer:
Last session was 164. And I'm not making any bets on this session. I lost that bet last year.

Michael Grant:
Maybe she'll tack that on to the oath. "and do you promise to get out of dodge?"

Howard Fischer:
I like. It I like it.

Michael Grant:
And what's the legislature going to do on Martin Luther King day?

>>This is very interesting , for the first time in 15 years since Arizona voter approved the king day holiday for Arizona.. Both houses of the legislature are going to honor the day and take the day off. This is the decision of incoming senate speaker. The real driving force is Representative Leah Landdrum who until the election was the only African American in the legislature. She has moved from the house in the senate. She went and talked to bee and made the pitch and he said why not.

Michael Grant:
Well, panelists we are out of time because we're going to do threat row thing -- retro thing.

Michael Grant:
The Friday Journalists' Roundtable has been a staple of Horizon since its inception. It is a chance for viewers to get the inside scoop on the week's news, such as you just saw. But it also helps the journalists themselves. Mike Sauceda tells us more.

Michael Grant:
Joining us this evening to talk about these and other issues are Max Jennings, executive editor of the Mesa Tribune, Kevin Willy, the legislative recorder for the "Arizona Republic" and Howie Fischer for the Arizona Daily Star. Kevin let's start off with politics.

Mike Sauceda:
The premise was simple: invite capitol, political and business reporters along with newspaper editors to discuss the week's top stories.

Keven Willey:
I think you're absolutely correct on that. There was a desire on the part of many democrats to preclude what happened to the republicans several years ago in a very divisive primary that led to the eventual election of Dennis Deconsini to the legislator spot.

Richard de Uriarte:
It gave us a forum. An additional forum where it's not just a little by line. But you can offer a little bit of humor or the side shows that sometimes the straight reporting couldn't.

Richard de Uriarte:
What Siegel said was a legitimate arguing point for an attorney general's offers.

Mike Sauceda:
The Journalists' Roundtable also gives reporters a bit of note right. Doug Mack -- has worked for the "New York Times," "east valley tribune" and "Arizona Republic" over the past three decades.

Doug MacEachern:
As a print journalist I am best known as people who recognize on the street as a member of the journalists roundtable on channel 8.

Mike Sunnucks:
He says such recognition came in handy when he and mark flat earn visited a scary compound after the Oklahoma City Federal building in --

Doug MacEachern:
Three big guys who had this look on their face like, we don't want you here, came out of the front door. I thought, oh, my god. We're done for it now. And they sort of stopped. They weren't really looking at me. They were looking at flat. And finally one of them, I think the biggest one pointed his finger at mark and said, I know you. You're on horizon. I like what you've got to say."

Mike Sauceda:
Appearing on the Friday show wasn't always easy for reporters, especially when Howard Fischer or then legislative reporter Pat Flannery were on.

Doug MacEachern:
I have both admired and was totally frustrated by every moment on the show with those two. Especially when they're on together. Because you just couldn't intellectually keep up with them.

Mike Sauceda:
One who could was John Colby, political analyst for the now defunct phoenix gazette.

John Colby:
The scope was quite stunning.

Richard de Uriarte:
He was a man of enormous personal integrity and journalistic. He got it right. Colby would get it right. In analyzing the stories. That's not easy.

Mike Sauceda:
During the Meacham administration, Colby earned the distinction of being a non-person, the governor would purposely not recognize Colby at press conferences following a critical column Colby had written about the governor.

Governor Meacham:
So I thank you.

Governor Meacham:
Do we have any questions, please?

Press:
[indiscernible]

Governor Meacham:
Do we have any questions, please?

Press:
[indiscernible]

Governor Meacham:
it's good of you to be here today. Thank you.

Richard de Uriarte:
Basically they were fulfilling his right as a journalist to ask a question, but the governor would not acknowledge.

Michael Grant:
Are you really banning John Colby from your press conferences?

Governor Meacham:
He's not a reporter. He's a columnist. I didn't think he needed to be around. And I just quietly and sort of, I thought, in a dignified manner asked them to keep him away. He doesn't need to be around. I would like to have him away. As far as my part, he doesn't exist anymore. That's where it is.

Mike Sauceda:
A regular guest, Colby's appearance in a 1998-year-end prediction show would be his last. John Colby died two months later from colon cancer at the age of 58.

Richard de Uriarte:
What can you say about John Colby whose presence has not been matched as a political persona in Arizona since his death?

Michael Grant:
And we still miss him. Monday horizon is off for special Christmas programming. Tuesday horizon special, the cartoonists year in review, a fun look back at the news of the year. Wednesday we are the Cronkite awards luncheon with honoree Tom Brokaw. Thursday it's the horizon 25th special anniversary. Friday we do the journalists year predictions. Thank you very much for joining us on this Friday edition of "Horizon." I'm Michael Grant. Have a Merry Christmas. Good night.

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