Journalists Roundtable

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Don’t miss HORIZON’s weekly roundtable where local reporters get a chance to review the week’s top stories.

>>Howard Fischer:
It's Friday, June 29th, 2007. The president's immigration plan is essentially dead. The latest on the English Language Learners program. And we'll talk about bills Sitting on the governor's desk. These stories and more, next on Horizon.

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

>>Howard Fischer:
Good evening, I'm Howard Fischer and this is the journalists roundtable. Joining me to talk about these And other stories are Amanda Crawford of the Arizona Republic, Le Templar of the East Valley Tribune and Daniel Scarpinato of the Arizona Daily Star.

>>Howard Fischer:
Immigration reform continued to make headlines this week. A big setback for president Bush's plans to change the country's immigration laws.

>>Howard Fischher:
Le, what went wrong and what does it mean for our junior Senator?

>>Le Templar:
Well, in general what happened was that the issue of whether this bill constituted amnesty inspired conservative-minded people who want enforcement only at this point to flood the senate with phone calls and e-mails and letters that discouraged, you know, certain senators who might have been willing to go along, At least to move the bill along And say, I'm not going to take The political risk. As Jon Kyl explained it to a group of reporters yesterday, when they took this critical vote on whether they could get -- end debate, get 60 votes, it became clear they'd only get like 57 or 58, they weren't going to get the 60, other people jumped over, too, to avoid political outfall. It looks better politically to be against than in favor. In the end they only got 46 votes. Because this was the second time or third time this attempt to Get 60 votes has failed, senator Harry Reid, majority leader says, it's done for you.

>>Howard Fisher:
So Daniel, we have a problem here. They've tried to do piece meal border security, guest worker, path to citizenship. This was supposed to be the answer. It was a little bit of something for everybody. Now we don't seem to be able to do the whole piece. Are we back to piecemeal basis?

>> Well, myself, and I think you included asked the Governor about that, we asked Jon Kyl About that. They seem to favor still a comprehensive approach. Whether or not that will happen for awhile remains to be seen. Gabriel Giffords said, I'm not going to sit around and wait for a comprehensive bill. I'm trying to get money for border security and so forth in Southern arizona, in my District. And that's what her focus will be.

>> Back to one other thing, Le, Channel 8 did a poll. It says 68% at least of Arizonans want the path to Citizenship. Yet what we heard on talk radio Over and over and over again is It's amnesty. So is talk radio off base? Or is the poll off base?

>> It comes down partly how you ask the question. If you look at some national polls about the Senate bill, the numbers were all over the place. And it came down to who asked the question and what words were used. I think a honest assessment were the center compromise would be if most of most Americans were convinced that we were making significant progress in reducing the flow of illegal immigration. We have better control of the borders and the people overstaying their visas, and we knew how to enforce workplace sanctions, then americans would be ready to consider, what do we do about the immigrants who are Here and have integrated into our communities? What do we do about maintaining A steady supply of legal foreign Labor to supplement what the American work force does. But they want assurance that we Are not going to repeat the experience from 1986 to now.

>> Sure. And I was in on that same conversation with Jon Kyl. And he pointed out the fact that there's this tremendous distrust right now with the government. So people might favor a path to citizenship, but given all the blunders over the past few years on the federal level, are people willing to trust the federal government to actually carry this out?

>> Howard Fischer:
Okay, Amanda, if we don't trust the federal government, Governor Napolitano seems to believe that leave it for the state government to do something about this. She has on her desk a bill on employer sanctions. How does what happened in Washington fit into the calculus what she does on this bill?

>> Amanda Crawford:
This is a difficult decision for the governor. It's clear that she preferred The federal solution. And she was very disappointed When that failed. She was in washington lobbying in favor of the Senate deal. I think that this does put added pressure on her and puts her in a position she doesn't want to be. In it's going to be hard for her to veto this bill, because people in Arizona clearly want something to be done. And the Democrats have long said that the onus is on the Government to go after employers and not on the immigrants themselves. So that makes it difficult for her. At the same time, there is a huge business lobby against this bill. And a probably somewhat legitimate fear that this makes Arizona less competitive than our neighboring states.

>> Amanda points out this whole issue of the business communities. You've got a situation where first offense for knowingly hire gets you ten days suspension. Second offense is a death penalty. That would give us the toughest in the nation. I mean, is that too much for even this Governor to accept?

>> well, I think that if she vetoes it, she may have to explain in detail what she wants. Because she did say last year that the previous bill that she vetoed wasn't tough enough. So if this is too tough, then what's the -- as Kyl said, the sweet spot he said about his bill, what's the sweet spot here?

>> It's the goldilocks approach. This one was too soft, that one was too harsh. She's waiting for one that's just right.

>> But as Bob Roberts of the Republic pointed out, what alternative could satisfy her if this isn't it? The only option that the state has to go after business is through business licenses. Congress has pre-empted every other penalty against business. The only way you provide some protection for business because there's no such thing as a tamper proof identification card, the only way to provide some protection for business is to have them enroll in this Federal verification program where you basically type in an employee's identification into a Web-based program and the Federal government is supposed to tell you whether they have a right to work or not. And so if that's off the table, which is what she's saying is the bill, I can't imagine what she would work.

>> There's also the looming threat of a citizen's initiative. The folks that were behind Proposition 200 and the immigration bills that passed this fall are steaming ahead on a bill for employer sanctions that's tougher than this one. And they said in the legislature, lots of the Democrats who voted against this said, we shouldn't legislate based on that threat, that that citizens initiative was like a gun to the head. Maybe the governor if she vetoes it will have to face. That but that is a looming threat. And it could be worse for the business community. That's part of it, too.

>> A couple of other related bills on the governor's desk, Le, one deals with prop 300 which passed that said if you're not in this country legally you don't get education, childcare or --

>> This tightens up on that to say you have to present certain documents. On the one handy could make the argument that's an easy sign for her because it simply says what voters wanted. But a lot of Democrats voted against it. What do you think she's going to do with this one?

>> It's hard to predict. Because it sort of depends what she does with employer sanctions. If she signs that bill, she gets lots of cover for any other immigration bills on her desk to do what she thinks really should be done with them. I think the public will give her a lot of latitude on vetoes if she signs employer sanctions bill. If she vetoes that one, I think she's going to have to point to something she says she's willing to do in terms of immigration enforcement. That's a small step. And anything else that might be In the stack that she can say would deal with immigration I think she'd have to sign or at least explain -- she's going to be talking an awful lot about what she's doing instead.

>> Sure. The other bill, Daniel, deals with the question of bail for illegals. voters passed prop 100, says no bail if you're here illegally and accused of certain crimes if the evidence of your guilt is great. Andy Thomas has been fighting with the courts over this. This seems to say to the judges, You will consider certain factors. Again something the governor signs that says leave it to the courts?

>> Well, the courts say that the real issue is what kind of -- what form the evidence can come In. They want some clarity. Whether this gets to it, the courts have not really been willing to say yet. But at least in the counties I talked to, they said, we want some legislative direction because the citizen initiative wasn't clear enough. So I think that maybe this is one where the governor might sign it if she feels like the courts need some, you know, coverage on it.

>> let's talk about a couple Other bills on the governor's Desk. Amanda, one of the things the Legislature passed towards the End had to do with incentives. Because the cities in this Valley totally seem to be unable To control themselves from Giveaways, 200 million, 240 million by surprise. Local control. Where are the balance of Equities in this one?

>> It certainly is an issue the state needs to address. But one of the key factors she'll probably take into consideration and certainly one of the key factors that folks who oppose the bill are citing is it's not statewide. And so that is another issue in addition to the local control that I think will be on her mind. But it is a big issue. It's been a problem. And the bill was, you know, a Democratic bill. So it's one of the ones from her Party that made it to her desk. That's certainly got to be a Factor.

>> Daniel, one of the things, this bill does not cover tucson. Are the folks down there sort of Liking the idea that they can keep offering business retail tax incentives when Maricopa county and Pinal county couldn't?

>> Well, you haven't seen the same issues in southern Arizona. Frankly, there's not as many incorporated areas. Much of the area that is in the county, you've got Tucson, Morana and Oro valley. And you don't have the same kind of issues here where you have a dozen municipals competing.

>> But you do have incentives. Oro Valley has been giving them to get retail and rural areas. Kingman said we wanted a Home Depot. So does that become whoever wants to take this, the political cover for the Governor? Saying if it's good for Peoria it's good for Kingman?

>> It's certainly coverage. I guess it depends whether she wants to take a philosophical Approach, and is this time best Answer to the problem, or does She just want to take a Practical approach? A lot of people are mad about These tax giveaways and this is A step towards stopping them. The only thing that's reached Her desk so far in the whole Time she's been governor. So if that's her calculation, it Seems like a pretty easy Decision to sign it.

>> Daniel, another bill on her desk has gotten a little attention. Somebody getting railroaded Here. Tell us a little about this fight over Union Pacific and its new rail yard in the Picacho Peek.

>> This bill came because there's a rail yard planned near Picacho Peak. And Pinal county has been supportive of it. But there are some farm owners and environmentalists who are very concerned, particularly because this will be located close to the water supply canal For metropolitan Tucson. And there hasn't been a whole lot of oversight, people feel, of the yard and how it might affect the water supply and other issues. So the bill, although the state can't really do anything because it's a federal process, the bill would create a forum and some studies if the Corporation Commission decided to -- Jonathan Payton is the sponsor. He says, you can't underestimate people coming out with pitch forks to meetings, the media covering that, and that possibly putting a stop to something that community doesn't want.

>> I don't know, le, public hearings are all very great. But if the corporation commission ultimately has no power and Union Pacific than thumb their nose as it, does this really mean anything?

>> Union Pacific has proven to be somewhat responsive to public pressure. But only to the extent that you can change the scope of a project or move it to accommodate certain concerns and still meet their business needs. I think they're putting too much faith in this if they think the net effect of holding some hearings is telling Union Pacific, you've got to give up a project that would make you more money in the long run. Union Pacific's not going to go for that and they don't have to. Federal government grants them power the state can't interfere With. So if people approach the process with, we can discuss alternatives that will serve what we care about and what u.p. cares about then it might be productive. Otherwise they're probably wasting their time.

>> The issue right now is people don't really feel there is a forum for them. So this would at least create a situation where Union Pacific had to sit down and talk about some of the issues and folks feel like right now they don't really have to do that.

>> Howard Fischer:
And let's stick with immigration and border issues which we always seem to discuss here a lot on friday night. Amanda, we got a ruling the Other day from the court of Appeals. Going back not toes '06 election But '04 election and prop 200, which was the granddaddy of no services for illegals.

>> Right.

>> There's a big dispute as to how broad or narrow it is. Originally Randy Pullen one of the organizers said it was much broader. Janet napolitano and Terry Goddard said no. Now I gather randy is going to have a chance to get a court look at that.

>> This has been confusing from the get-go when Proposition 200 was first proposed and all through the campaign we were getting mixed answers about what Proposition 200 would do, what benefits would be affected, what titles of state code would be impacted. I remember at the time covering it, the supporters had a very narrow definition and the opponents said it would affect everything. And then it passes, and suddenly it almost felt like the tables turned and the folks who were against it, Terry Goddard, Janet Napolitano, said that scope was much more narrow than what their worst fears were at the time of the campaign. And Randy Pullen started with this lawsuit, and the proponents did, to expand it beyond what -- So this will be interesting to see what the courts say. Certainly they've been weighing in on the voter part of Proposition 200. And this is a chance for the other half of it to get some scrutiny.

>> Well, Le, Amanda brings up a good point. I remember three months before the election the governor came out with a study on how it's going to cost us millions of dollars and you won't be able to get your car inspected without proof of citizenship. Then afterwards it was well, maybe not so much. So do they take Janet's old statements about how broad it is and beat her over the head with it in court?

>> No. Because what the intervening period was is Terry Goddard the attorney general came out with an actual legal opinion in his best attempt to take a law, a citizen initiative be with a lot of terms undefined in it and match it up with existing state and federal law. And that will be the focus of the court case. Now if the appellate court says you can actually go argue about It, did Terry come up with the best description of what the law says, or do the proponents have a better explanation on what they think the law says and what programs should be covered. At least the judge will get an initial look at that you.

>> Howard Fischer:
Daniel, Terry and Janet Napolitano were both on the record as opposing Prop 200. Can folks simply say, these folks were biased. They clearly didn't want this to apply. Does that hurt their arguments in court?

>> Probably. I would think so. I think they found themselves maybe surprisingly at the time outside of the mainstream on this. Because it was the first time, I think, that we really saw what the voters felt, and we got a really strong indication that they want -- they want punitive measures.

>> Sure.

>> I think they also can look at what the supporters of Proposition 200 were saying during the campaign. I mean, if you remember correctly there was a split in the campaign, there were two different campaigns. They were both saying two different things about what Proposition 200 would do. Then there was a national group, you know, fair, that had a completely different interpretation and was running commercials with big dollar signs that included everything from educating immigrant children and healthcare and things that proposition 200 clearly did not address. So it's been confusing from the beginning.

>> Other border-related issue, English language learners. The federal judge in Tucson said to the legislature, well, you didn't do like I told you to, And I'm not going to grant you a stay from the penalties, although that seems to be up in the air. Okay. What does the legislature do now other than hope and pray for Some miracle out of San Francisco?

>> Well, I think that's exactly what they're going to do. Everyone I have talked to, they are hoping -- and putting a lot of faith in the ninth circuit that it's going to weigh in on the legislature's side and say, yeah, you're doing the best you can. This plan that you put forward is good to go. There is the issue, as you said, of a stay that Raner Collins the Federal district judge denied. But that same stay is pending for the ninth circuit court. So that's going to be a key issue this summer as to whether the circuit court puts potential fines on the state on hold or whether they allow Judge Collins' ruling to go and look at the appeal in the fall.

>> Howard Fischer:
Fair enough. Not everything that happened This week dealt with immigration. Daniel, the ACLU filed suit on Thursday challenging a new state law that says you cannot use the names or images of dead soldiers for commercial purposes. Dan Frazier puts out these T-shirts is going to court and saying, that's my First Amendment right. So what are his rights and what Are the rights of the families of dead soldiers?

>> We talked about this a few weeks ago. And everybody supported. This because who wants to look Like they're not supporting the troops I think is what it boiled down to when you look at the bill, there's some kind of interesting things. For instance, in this is I guess artwork or considered artwork of some kind, well, that's okay. So what if you hang the t-shirt up in an art gallery? Or what if you just paint the same thing, which was names of the soldiers, Bush lied, they died? What if you paint that and sell it? Is that artwork? Is that okay? Is that commercial profit? So there's a lot of questions that are still out there about it.

>> Le, but it seemed to be no profiles in courage. There wasn't a single lawmaker who stood up and even questioned the whole first amendment. Was it as Daniel said too risky to say we're going to vote against anything involving soldiers?

>> I think so. I think this is a case where even lawmakers who might have privately questioned the value of this law were happy to -- They knew somebody would challenge it. Let the courts take the heat for it. You know, in essence we're going after one small businessman in Flagstaff that the public at large is not going to be angry about what we're doing, particularly because they exempted things that might have been more popular, books and movies and those sorts of mediums that you could point to legitimately using soldiers' names without using family's permission, done all the time on a national basis, and out of original versions of this law somebody could have been taken to court for.

>> And as Le said, this is a classic let the courts settle it. Because you have a situation where the court's going to have to think about the divisions between art and political speech. And i mean, you sell art. So then is that art commercial? That's really a murky area for the courts to weigh in on.

>> If you gave away the paper it would be art. There you go. One more thing I want to get to, folks, it's official, Phoenix is number five. Where's the confetti? I don't understand. [laughter]

>> In a lot of ways, Daniel, that wasn't the big surprise. I think the surprise was that traditional suburbs, Mesa, Scottsdale, Glendale, haven't Globe that much. But now that the big growth is the ex-urbs, salt creek and Tucson and Goodyear and Buckeye, are we headed to wall-to-wall people here in the valley?

>> Probably. You wonder, why are they move to go these places? I think a lot has to do with affordability. My perspective as a native Tucsonian, that what this indicates, yeah, the areas outside of metropolitan Phoenix are growing, but what we're seeing is population continuing to surge in the valley and the rest of the states is going to continue to paid price because we have a legislature that is completely dictated by population, no other form of representation. And I think anybody outside of Maricopa county is going to get the short end of the stick for years to come.

>> One man one vote. That's been involved in this country for more than 40 years. The other thing, true, while other parts of the state not growing quite as fast are growing as well. And depending on various factors that nobody has any sense of, water availability, economy, and national trends, those other places may slowly catch up to Maricopa county as Maricopa county fills in and some of that balance -- whatever balance is lost will get restored.

>> The other bill the governor is expected to sign is air quality. As we have people driving up from maricopa which went from 1500 people in 2000 to 30,000 People in '06, Amanda, are we going to end up just exacerbating our air pollution problem? There's no way out of it if people are going to keep driving?

>> I think that's a problem we're seeing nationally. But here in the valley you have everyone, even in central Phoenix have single-family homes on a big lot. And coming from the east coast which is a lot more dense and still struggles with the same suburban sprawl issues, that just keeps compiling on itself and it's moving people further and further out. And it will exacerbate all kinds Of problems. Air quality, water has been mentioned.

>> That's why people are growing because people are sick of living in places where they're on top of each other. This is an attractive place for a lot of reasons, but one, land is cheap, you can get a bigger house, your not on top of anybody else. So urban sprawl is a great selling point for the valley and that's why it's growing.

>> If the governor gets her passenger rail from Tucson, People from Tucson coming into the valley every day?

>> I don't know. Because Tucsonians like it down In southern arizona. [laughter]

>> He has this Tucson attitude, That baja, arizona mentality. Great. Thank you all very much. And we'll be right back.

>> West nile virus can be a crippling disease that can affect the victim for years. We'll tell you how you can prevent it and what the symptoms are. Also two political types go head-to-head on issues that affect arizonans in one-on-one Monday night's channel 8's Horizon.

>>Tuesday, we'll tell you about an organization that encourages people to shop locally. Wednesday, special programming For the fourth of July -- Capitol fourth. Thursday, Governor Janet Napolitano joins us for her monthly visit. Friday, we'll be back with another edition of the Journalists roundtable.

>> Coming up next on now, what makes Michael Moore tick and why U.s. headlines tick him off. Up next, bill moyer's journal. And then, "west side story." Have a great evening. I'm Howard Fischer. Good night.

Amanda Crawford:Arizona Republic;

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