Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

July 22, 2008


Host: Ted Simons

Arpaio Lawsuit

  |   Video
  • Sheriff Joe Arpaio is facing a lawsuit over racial profiling of Latinos during his immigration sweeps in Maricopa County. Alessandra Soler Meetze of the ACLU of Arizona joins Horizon to talk about the lawsuit.
Guests:
  • Alessandra Soler Meetze - Executive Director, ACLU of Arizona
Category: Immigration

View Transcript
>>Ted Simons:
Good evening. I'm Ted Simons. Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been conducting on-going crime suppression and illegal immigration operations in Maricopa County. Those sweeps are now at the center of a Class Action Lawsuit filed in US District Court. Five people and "Somos America", a Latino community organization, are suing Arpaio, the Sheriff's Office, and Maricopa County. Those filing suits say that they or their members were unlawfully stopped and mistreated by law enforcement because they are Latino. Joining me now is Alessandra Soler Meetze, Executive Director of the ACLU of Arizona. Thank you for joining us on Horizon, good to have you here.

>>Alessandra Soler Meetze:
Thanks for having me, Ted.

>>Ted Simons:
Now, this is an amended complaint to an original suit, correct?

>>Alessandra Soler Meetze:
Exactly. The original lawsuit was filed in December on behalf of one individual, a legal, permanent resident who was essentially targeted by Sheriff's officials simply because he looked and he sounded foreign. And so what we did was added additional plaintiffs to the complaint, and now filed on behalf of five individuals, because as these crime suppression sweeps continued, more and more people have contacted the ACLU and various community organizations to file complaints about how they are mistreated and unlawfully stopped.

>>Ted Simons:
And again, that original suit complaint involved a legal resident who was held for nine hours?

>>Alessandra Soler Meetze:
Exactly. He was held for nine hours. He was leaving a Day Labor Center, there was a White driver, and there were various individuals in the car. Arpaio then let the driver go, and then asked the other passengers in the car for identifications. He has all of his immigration documents, he had a Work Permit, and he had the - he was here legally. And then, the Sheriffs officials detained him for eight hours. They handcuffed him and never gave him any information about why he was there, why he was being detained.

>>Ted Simons:
OK. Now, the other people now that have been added on, they are US citizens?

>>Alessandra Soler Meetze:
Exactly, US citizens.

>>Ted Simons:
Talk about their complaints.

>>Alessandra Soler Meetze:
We have two individuals, a husband and wife who were traveling to Bartlett Lake, and they were essentially pulled over after there was a road closure, and they didn't see the sign. And Sheriffs Deputies pulled them over, and several other White drivers as well. Our clients are Latino. The Sheriffs Deputies, once they pulled over the Latino drivers, asked them for their Social Security Cards, and didn't ask the other drivers for that same information. So clearly they are targeting people based on race, without having any evidence that these individuals were involved in any sort of criminal activity. And that's what's so problematic, because when you automatically assume - and that's the practice of the Sheriff, he assumes that every Latino in the state is illegal - and that's unreasonable, and its unconstitutional.

>>Ted Simons:
But that is difficult, I would think, to prove, in the sense that you are having to prove discrimination. Historically, at least, that's been tough to prove.

>>Alessandra Soler Meetze:
Exactly. Racial Profiling cases are not easy cases to file, but this isn't the first time that we've gone to court to litigate Racial Profiling cases. We successfully sued the Department of Public Safety over racial profiling. In fact, we recently produced a report that showed just how pervasive this is within Law Enforcement here in Arizona. We think that we have very compelling stories, and what happened to these clients is just egregious. As you said, these are US citizens, individuals who are here legally, they should be treated fairly and legally, and they should not be targeted because they simply were listening to Spanish music.

>>Ted Simons:
And yet, when the Sheriff's Office says something as simple as "we don't racially profile", again, that puts a lot of burden on the other side.

>>Alessandra Soler Meetze:
Exactly. As I said, it's not an easy case to win, especially Class Action Lawsuits. But as these suits are going to the judges, as the information is released into the Public Domain, people will learn more and more what Arpaio is doing.

>>Ted Simons:
ICE, the Federal immigration officials at ICE, they apparently have no problem with what the sheriff is doing. talk about that.

>>Alessandra Soler Meetze:
We disagree. we believe that Joe Arpaio is going above and beyond the scope of the federal government. ice says he has the ability to inquire about immigration status when he is arresting and detaining people for violations of local and state laws like crimes. He is targeting motorists during traffic stops, and we think that goes above and beyond the scope of the agreement.

>>Ted Simons:
You would put probably cause I would imagine in the situation of the scenario. and yet, the sheriff's office will tell you if they see a pickup truck or a van of some kind, and it's lopsided and it's coming from Mexico, and it looks like there's a lot of people in there. Is there not probable cause that some human smuggling is going on?

>>Alessandra Soler Meetze:
That's not the case with our plaintiffs. We have individuals who were vacationing. We have individuals who were outside of their places of business. He's not in these instances, and many, many other instances in the stories that we have heard, using evidence of criminal wrongdoing in order to stop people. So he's stopping people because they look foreign or have an accent. that's problematic. generally if he has the evidence of criminal wrongdoing, he's certainly within his right. that situation is not happening.

>>Ted Simons:
there's some comparing that what the sheriff is doing to DUI stops, roadblocks. compare and contrast if you will.

>>Alessandra Soler Meetze:
DUI are ineffective because they go after the individuals without probable cause. it's a tremendous waste of police resources because you are spending a lot of time going after the wrong people. they are similar in that there's no probable cause and we oppose them but we think the difference here is that he again is targeting people based on race. that is contrary to the American values of fairness and equality. that's not right.

>>Ted Simons:
When the Sheriff says I'm doing my job and just enforcing the law, you respond?

>>Alessandra Soler Meetze:
I believe he's going above and beyond the scope of law. he's going against the rights of Latinos and others in the community and creating fear. he's creating community policing and terrifying the Latinos in this country and completely disregarding the constitutional rights of the citizens.

>>Ted Simons:
Do we have a timetable for the suit? what's next and when?

>>Alessandra Soler Meetze:
These cases take awhile to resolve. we don't expect a decision anytime in the year but in the next six months.

>>Ted Simons:
Thanks for joining us.

>>Alessandra Soler Meetze:
Great. Thank you very much.

>>Ted Simons:
We had Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Horizon last week. You can view that interview and the one you just saw on our web site.

Health Care Choices

  |   Video
  • Opponents of a proposed ballot measure called the �Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act� say it reduces health care choice. Dr. Jonathan Weisbuch challenges several points of the measure.
Guests:
  • Dr. Jonathan Weisbuch - Former Maricopa County health officer and Director of Public Health
Category: Medical/Health

View Transcript
>>Ted Simons:
Backers of the Freedom of Choice in Healthcare Act say it will preserve and protect the rights of individuals to make their own healthcare and Health Insurance choices. but opponents of the measure say it will do just the opposite. last week the chairman of the initiative appeared on "horizon." here to share his views against the proposal is Dr. Jonathan Weisbuch, former Maricopa County health officer and Director of Public Health. Good to have you on the program, thanks for joining us.

>>Jonathan Weisbuch:
Pleasure, Ted, nice to be here.

>>Ted Simons:
The initiative, Freedom of Choice. Certainly sounds good.

>>Jonathan Weisbuch:
It sounds good. That's a little disingenuous, I would think, because it will not provide the choice. That's a little disingenuous because people have a right to chose their home doctor. If this passes, every piece of legislation that exists that provides a payer or program would have to find a competitor, a private competitor. It does not allow a choice, it restricts the doctors you can pick from the lists. it will determine the kinds of care you get. if you have a precondition, you probably can't get the coverage. my feeling is this is a bad piece of legislation. it would in fact, limit the choices that we now should be able to have and many don't because of the private sector kinds of insurance that we have.

>>Ted Simons:
that's a severe disconnect. when questioned the chairman who was on recently who basically said this would bar any law limiting choices of doctors.

>>Jonathan Weisbuch:
He's being a little bit - he's fudging the issue. what he's afraid of is a single-payer system in Arizona like Medicare where it would have a public funding source. Private Care, any doctor you wanted. A private system, where all of us go to the doctor and hospital you wanted. you and the doctor make the decisions for the healthcare you need, not an insurance company. Novak is very much hostile to this and I'm not sure why. we had a debate on that a year ago. I'm not sure I understand his hostility. this amendment would make it impossible not only for Phil Lopez' law to pass and could put in jeopardy Medicare, Medicaid, the veteran's system and others. Because they are all single publicly funded programs which has no alternative of the private sector. What with the soldier coming home with the post-traumatic stress syndrome can't go anywhere other than the VA? you won't have a doctor that's private.

>>Ted Simons:
A bureaucratic making choices yea or nay on choices of health care.

>>Jonathan Weisbuch:
that's the argument. Today in this country, tens and thousands of bureaucrats are making decisions. No, you can't have this. I'm sorry. you have Breast Cancer. It's not covered. "see you later alligator" or you are shipped out of the hospital. That does not exist under Medicare or Medicaid. There are restrictions, but not the kind of restrictions that the private sector provides.

>>Ted Simons:
Are they the kind of restrictions though that could be draconian or punitive if universal healthcare comes through and folks have no other choice other than systemic choices.

>>Jonathan Weisbuch:
there will be other choices if we have a universal healthcare system. Medicare let's say right and I sign up part b and part a. I don't have to sign up. I can go to the private sector if I want. I do it because it's value to me to be part of Medicare.

>>Ted Simons:
Are you saying a Universal System that does not require everyone to sign up will be acceptable to you?

>>Jonathan Weisbuch:
A Universal System will allow everyone to participate. It will grant the privilege for every human being in this nation to go into a health system, if they so choose.

>>Ted Simons:
What if they don't choose?

>>Jonathan Weisbuch:
If they don't choose, they don't have to.

>>Ted Simons:
Doesn't that compromise the system?

>>Jonathan Weisbuch:
Only if there are others stealing healthy patients out of system. In other words, if you have a system that allows cherry picking which you have today. They allow them to go into a company with young employees and give them a great deal. Why? Because the young employees aren't sick. What about the chronically old people? They are not covered because the plan often doesn't cover their needs and drugs, etc. They are on the street. We have a million people a year, 100,000 a month losing their healthcare in the country.

>>Ted Simons:
That's the other side's argument in that universal healthcare, can't be effective if the healthy are allowed to go stray.

>>Jonathan Weisbuch:
It's not who's in the system, it's how the system is paid for. A Universal System requires that all of us participate in the payment of the system. We all pay School Taxes. I don't have any kids going to school, but I pay school taxes because I want the next kid educated as I was with the same opportunity. We pay for police. I never call the police, you know, we live in a nice neighborhood, and cops hardly ever come around. It's the value of having the security that the community is covering the needs of every one if they need it. If I walk out and get hit by a truck tomorrow, I know that Medicare will cover for my hospital care, and that's a very secure feeling.

>>Ted Simons:
Is a Universal System like the one Representative Lopez is suggesting a target of this initiative?

>>Jonathan Weisbuch:
Yes.

>>Ted Simons:
There's no kidding around.

>>Jonathan Weisbuch:
No question.

>>Ted Simons:
Is it affordable? Is it viable?

>>Jonathan Weisbuch:
Absolutely. We are spending 2.3 trillion, that's 12 zeroes after the 2.3. That's a lot of money. That 2.3 trillion approximates the money spent by the people at doctors' offices that do the bills and call up and make sure you don't get coverage. they shuffle and, look, he found this problem and we don't cover. The overhead that's paid into the private sector today constitutes almost $500 billion, a little bit less than a quarter of the total cost about 25-30\%. That money is available if the system had not that overhead and we used those resources. We are spending over $800 billion a year today by corporations and companies purchasing health insurance premiums. That money could all be allocated in the system. The government and others are spending tax dollars for the system. The money is there. It's a myth. It's a myth designed to frighten the public against a single-payer system or a University-health system. that's what Mr. --Dr. Novak is trying to do frighten people into choosing something to prevent their freedom from disease. Their freedom to get the doctor they want and healthcare they want.

>>Ted Simons:
We have to stop. thank you for joining us.

>>Jonathan Weisbuch:
It's pleasure. It's been a pleasure. I hope I gave the points that the people need to make the decision on the election.

>>Ted Simons:
I think you did. thank you very much.

state of the Arts

  |   Video
  • With the economic downturn, are arts organizations experiencing reduced attendance and patronage? As with all state agencies, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, which sponsors artists and arts-related programs, took a budget reduction this legislative session. Bob Booker, Executive Director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, talks about the state of the arts in Arizona.
Guests:
  • Bob Booker - Executive Director, Arizona Commission on the Arts
Category: The Arts

View Transcript
>>Ted Simons:
I think you did. thank you very much.

>>Ted Simons:
Non-Profit Arts Organizations rely on individual and corporate contributions for a large part of their budgets with the current economic tightening, that support is down. the arizona commission on the arts sponsors artists and arts-related programs. like many State agencies, its funding from the Legislature was recently reduced. We'll talk more about that in a moment. First, here is a closer look at what the the Arizona Commission on the Arts does.

>>Merry Lucero:
The Arizona Commission on the Arts connects artists and communities through many diverse arts programs and services. The agency delivers grants to support and promote statewide public access to arts and cultural activity. Some of the programs and organizations which receive funding from the Arizona Commission on the Arts include museums, local craft showcases, visual artists, professional dancers, musicians and performers. Each year, the Commission provides funding and professional support to more than 50 arts festivals across the State. The Commission's grants fund arts education and hands-on arts learning programs in schools in urban, suburban and rural areas throughout Arizona.

>>Ted Simons:
Joining me now to talk about the economy's impact on patronage for the arts is Bob Booker, Executive Director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Good to have you here.

>>Bob Booker:
Great.

>>Ted Simons:
Let's talk about the hit you took: 10\%?

>>Bob Booker:
We took 10\%, the same amount that most agencies took this year. at the appropriations hearing we've been watching the financial situation and the deficit coming and deficit grew from under a billion when I started talking about legislature at the beginning of the year to 2 billion at the end. we walked in and said we would take a 10\% hit. The Arts community uses the Federal dollars and we understand the State's in a bad situation, and we will accommodate that. We worked to reduce our staff and reduce travel and costs, and were able to accommodate a 10\% reduction in the budget.

>>Ted Simons:
That's how the funding cut impacted your commission. How is the economy impacting what you're doing?

>>Bob Booker:
The economy is being hit by travel in the travel area. We're seeing people choose to fly less, we're seeing people choose to travel more locally. People are aware of gas costs, and aware of other things, cost of food. We're seeing some reductions, modest reductions in annual gifts to arts organizations to non-profits. People may not be taking the membership to the theater or museum. We're seeing modest cutbacks in that. We are seeing arts organizations step forward and talk about programs they have that are free. A lot of organizations have free admission. There's a family fun weekends that happens, reduced ticket prices for groups. showup.com a great one in the Valley offers half-price ticket sales.

>>Ted Simons:
give me that.

>>Bob Booker:
showup.com.

>>Ted Simons:
showup.com.

>>Bob Booker:
They help people learn and experience the arts in Arizona.

>>Ted Simons:
I imagine fewer grants to the artists in the programs.

>>Bob Booker:
We will have to reduce modestly. We saw the writing on the wall, and made cuts administratively before this happened. I think we'll be in good shape in upcoming year. The arts are the vital part of the community across Arizona. We are willing to share the reduction across the lines no more and no less than any others.

>>Ted Simons: You mentioned gas prices and tourism down, and that means people are staying close to home.

>>Bob Booker:
That means a great thing. Summertime has great festivals going on, and museums are a great place to spend the afternoon, quite literally. In the fall new seasons with the arts and symphony and theaters offering discount tickets to folks, offering Saturday performances and matin�e performances that are reduced. we hope Arizona stays in Arizona this year and become cultural tourists and seeks out everything that is art in Arizona.

>>Ted Simons:
Compare and contrast the arts in Arizona, generalize it to other parts of the country.

>>Bob Booker:
I think what we have in Arizona that's exciting is we have a vital arts community in every county of the State. You can go to Yuma, Flagstaff, Sedona and others and there are large populations of working artists and we know they have volunteer ethics. artists tend to volunteer more than any other industries and they provide for young people and families. there's a lot to see in Arizona no matter what city you are visiting.

>>Ted Simons:
How do you convince lawmakers, skeptics and those that don't originally go? How do you convince them that it's important?

>>Bob Booker:
If you go to the Harris Poll, for instance, 92\% say it's important, and 93\% believe it's a vital part of the education. If the politicians are listening to the voices of Arizonians and Americans, they should be hearing that the arts are important in our lives and community. They have an economic impact to our community, they bring dollars into communities both rural and urban. The arts literally change the lives of children in classrooms. They keep kids in school longer. They help kids with inner personal skills, they help with personal understanding. The arts are not something that ever should be cut in our society. In fact, the arts are really what come to play when things are tough. Going back to World War II, the National Gallery in DC was opened for service families to visit for free. If you showed up on Broadway during World War II, you got free tickets to see "Oklahoma". After 9/11, we saw a rise in Symphony Attendance and other shows in America because people wanted to be more rounded. Where do they go?

>>Ted Simons:
www.acarts.com. That website is on the screen right now. Thank you for joining us.

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