Horizon’s panel of journalists predict the news of 2011. Panelists include Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services, Doug MacEachearn of the Arizona Republic and Steve Goldstein of KJZZ.
Ted Simons: Good evening, and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. This is the annual journalists round table prediction show. Joining me to preview 2011 is Doug Maceachern of "The Arizona Republic," Steve Goldstein of KJZZ Radio, and Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services. Now, before we look ahead to the coming year, let's go back and see how our panel did in predicting what would happen in 2010. Producer Steve Clawson has the recap.
Steve Clawson: With 2010 being an election year, many predictions focus order who would win the various races A year ago there was one big question -- would governor Jan Brewer survive a Republican primary challenge?
Howard Fischer: My assumption is Dean Martin is getting in the race. Dean Martin gets in the race, he wipes the floor with her in the GOP.
Ted Simons: Interesting. Steve what do you think?
Steve Goldstein: Yes, she survives power of incumbency holds that floor.
Doug Maceachern: I think it might be a crowded primary race, so I think she survives that.
Steve Clawson: Governor Brewery easily won the primary with over 80% of the vote and faced Terry Goddard in November.
Doug Maceachern: I think it's finally Terry's time.
Steve Goldstein: I think Terry Goddard is going to be the next governor.
Howard Fischer: Third time may be finally the charm for Terry.
Steve Clawson: Jan Brewer defeated Terry Goddard by nearly 12 points. Next our panel looked at the race for attorney general.
Howard Fischer: I see Felicia Rotellini becoming the Democratic nominee, David Lujan's a nice guy but not a lot of presence. Republican side, that's a little trickier. You've got people like Tom Horne are running, but I think that Andy Thomas, assuming that everything that's going on right now in terms of the judges doesn't blow up in his face, in a Republican primary, I think he can take it. Now, who wins that? I see Rotellini beating Thomas ultimately in November.
Steve Goldstein: I'm going to agree with Howie as far as the finalist and Im going to predict the reverse, that Thomas beats Rotellini.
Doug Maceachern: I'm going to say Tom Horne on the Republican side. I think Tom will prove to be a better campaigner than people think. I'm going to say Vince Rabago, former prosecutor, and a real star around Tuscon.
Steve Clawson: Republican Tom Horne defeated Felicia Rotellini by just under four points to win the attorney general's race. Our panelist also asked what measures would appear on the November ballot?
Howard Fischer: Save our secret ballot, which is really aimed at the unions, I think they make it. One of the marijuana initiatives will make the ballot. Probably the one from medical marijuana as opposed to the one to decriminalize it.
Steve Goldstein: The only thing I'll add on top of that is something related to illegal immigration. Russell Pearce and I don't lunch together, so I'm not exactly sure what the wording will be. But I think something related to that will be pushed.
Doug Maceachern: The sales tax will get on the ballot in the spring, and I believe that some sort of voter protection removal will be -- will get on the ballot through the legislature.
Steve Clawson: Of the issues to make the ballot, which ones would win?
Doug Maceachern: I think the sales tax passes.
Ted Simons: You think it does?
Doug Maceachern: I think it does.
Ted Simons: What about voter protection?
Doug Maceachern: I do not think it will pass.
Ted Simons: Steve?
Steve Goldstein: I agree with the voter protection issue. I don't see a sales tax passing, no way.
Howard Fischer: I think the sales tax passes.
Steve Clawson: The sales tax measure easily passed in a May special election while the proposition aimed at voter protection measures were defeated. A year ago, 2010 was shaping up to be a tough environment for incumbents. Would any current member of Arizona's congressional delegation lose their job?
Howard Fischer: If there's one, it will be Kirkpatrick.
Steve Goldstein: I think Kirkpatrick is the only one in trouble. Harry Mitchell would be in trouble if there was a better candidate than David Schweikert. Because I think Mitchell is really vulnerable. Giffords has raised so much money she is not.
Doug Maceachern: I'm amazed Gifford is opposed by I think a total of four military veterans, three of them Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. I don't know what that means, but I'm going to say she's saved. I don't -- I think Kirkpatrick on the other hand is in trouble.
Steve Clawson: Both Ann Kirkpatrick and Harry Mitchell were defeated in November. Another interesting question one year ago, centered around a former member of commerce.
Ted Simons: J.D. Hayworth will he challenge John McCain?
Doug Maceachern: I'm going to say ultimately no. I don't think he'll pull the trigger.
Steve Goldstein: I think his ego is so big he's going to go for it, and I think he's going to lose narrowly.
Ted Simons: What do you think Howie?
Howard Fischer: I think he runs, I have to say that since I predicted on an earlier show with 75%, I can't go back now.
Steve Clawson: In the August primary, John McCain defeated J.D. Hayworth by 24 points. Turning to the state legislature, our panel predicted when they thought lawmakers would adjourn for the year.
Howard Fischer: I'm predicting the 21st of June.
Steve Goldstein: Then I'm going to say June 30th, but it's almost as if though we have a year-round legislature anyway. And I will say this, is a bold prediction. All right?
Ted Simons: OK
Steve Goldstein: The legislature will not officially adjourn until 2013, when the budget troubles completely go away.
Doug Maceachern: I think they'll go into the middle of August.
Steve Clawson: The Arizona legislature adjourned sine die April 29th. The economy was a big issue heading into 2010. There were predictions on what the jobless rate would be at this time.
Howard Fischer: I think we'll be back probably around where we are now in the 9.3% range.
Steve Goldstein: I'm optimistic, I'm going to say 8.5%.
Doug Maceachern: I'll say we'll still be in the double figures.
Steve Clawson: As of November 2010 the national unemployment rate was 9.8%. Our panel was also asked for sports predictions too. Coming off their Super Bowl season everybody wondered how the Arizona Cardinals would fare in the playoffs last season.
Doug Maceachern: I think they'll win two, I think they'll win two playoff games.
Steve Goldstein: I'm predicting they'll lose in the NFC championship game at Minnesota in the dome.
Howard Fischer: I think one game in the playoff and they're out of there.
Steve Clawson: The cardinals defeated the Green Bay Packers in the first round of the playoffs but lost a second round game to the eventual New Orleans Saints. Another sports question, centered on the ASU Sun Devils.
Ted Simons: Will ASU make a bowl game?
Howard Fischer: No.
Ted Simons: No?
Howard Fischer: No.
Ted Simons: ZIPO? All right Steve, what do you got?
Steve Goldstein: They make a bowl game, but they only go 6-6 and they have a new coach after next season.
Doug Maceachern: I think they have a good season next season and I think they make a decent bowl.
Steve Clawson: ASU, despite going 6-6 failed to qualify for a bowl, but ended on a positive note by beating Arizona in a thrilling overtime game. And finally, our panel is always asked to make long-shot and sure-thing predictions.
Doug Maceachern: The state fails to balance the budget before this is shown next year, slam dunk that the Maricopa County supervisors appoint a are placement for Andy Thomas who is a renowned as a go-along, get-along palsy kind of guy.
Howard Fischer: My long shot is that despite the voter defeat of payday loans, the legislature will find a way to keep the industry alive if not immediately on July 1st somewhere in there. My sure shot is that despite all of our pleading at the capitol, senate president Bob Burns is not letting us back in the press room.
Steve Goldstein: Cubs will leave spring training in Mesa, relocate to Florida.
Ted Simons: That's a sure thing? OK.
Steve Goldstein: I have two long shots Ted. One is that Jeff Flake is going to leave Congress to join "Survivor." The other long shot is that there will be a change in the U.S. Supreme Court next year and Janet Napolitano will be the nominee.
Steve Clawson: Now it's time to reveal who won this year's competition. Out of a possible 14 points, Steve Goldstein finished with six. Howard Fischer and Doug Maceachern each finished with eight creating co-winners for 2010.
Ted Simons: And Doug, Howie, congratulations on your tie for the 2010 prediction championship.
Howard Fischer: Yes but if 8 wins it, out of that, that suggests we need a better crystal ball here.
Ted Simons: Well I was going to say, congratulations to both of you and Steve, thanks for playing.
Steve Goldstein: Ted, I appreciate it. Fist time not the charm.
Ted Simons: OK. Let's now get into 2011. Let's see if we can do a little better around here. Howie's right, 8 -- how many years have you won this now or tied for it?
Doug Maceachern: This is not completely official, but rumor on the street has it, and everybody is talking about it, I think this is my eighth time either in a row, either tying or winning it outride.
Ted Simons: Alright with that in mind let's start with you, let's start with the first prediction for 2011. Who will be the next mayor of Phoenix?
Doug Maceachern: You know, I'm going to go out on a limb and try really try and get this really wrong. There are a lot of candidates piling up quickly. There are a couple of city council candidates and they're, that's the -- those are the people that generally have the leg up to begin with. But I think Wes Gull. I think he's got some political savvy and I think he'll pull it out.
Steve Goldstein: I'm going to do with Wes Gull. as well. Though it's not a confident prediction, as I shouldn't be confident about anything that I predict, I think Phoenix is one of the only places other than the city of Tuscon in this state, where a democrat could win even in a nonpartisan race. I'll say Wes Gullett and Greg Stanton.
Howard Fischer: I don't think Wes Gullett because I don't think people trust red heads. I mean, that's going to sound funny to say, but you know he's ginger, I'm sorry. I'm going to suggest Claude Maddux out of the -- that surviving, I'm not sure if Peggy Neely has what it takes to go statewide or citywide. As far as Greg Stanton, again, good point in terms of being a democrat and it isn't as partisan as statewide races. But I have yet to see something out of Greg that makes me say that he's got the public fancy.
Ted Simons: OK. Howie, we'll start with you on the next one. How many congressional representatives will Arizona have in 2011?
Howard Fischer: If you ask me this a year and a half ago I would have said definitely 10. Our population has slowed up, but I think it's still going to be 10. We should have the figures actually by the time this show airs.
Ted Simons: OK. What do you think?
Steve Goldstein: I'm going to go with nine Ted. I would have said 10 as well before. I think the population slow-down, just nine.
Doug Maceachern: Yeah I think for the same reasons, I think by the time they started counting those there was an exodus of construction workers, for example, and I think the census was very long counting -- didn't do a good job really in counting a lot of Hispanics. So nine.
Ted Simons: All right. Doug, we'll start with you on this one. U.S. jobless rate, what will we see this time next year?
Doug Maceachern: I think it will go down. Really, I think this is the most important prediction of all, because it's such an important issue. I would like to think I'm right. I think it's going to go down a half percent, maybe, 9.3.
Ted Simons: 9.3. Alright give me a number, Steve.
Steve Goldstein: I'm a reckless optimist. I'm going to say under 9, im going to say 8.9.
Ted Simons: You had 8.5 last year.
Steve Goldstein: That was wrong Ted.
Ted Simons: It was, just wanted to remind you, you had 8 and a half last year.
Steve Goldstein: Always an optimist about people finding work.
Ted Simons: Alright what do you think Howie?
Howard Fischer: I think I'm going to be even more optimistic and suggest the national rate at 8.7 and an Arizona rate, the 8.2 range. And I want to point out that for all the talk when I predicted my 9.3% for Arizona's jobless rate, it was announced since November the most recent stuff, we're at 9.4%. I want a half a point for that one.
Ted Simons: Have a little party for your self there?
Howard Fischer: Yes.
Ted Simons: A little self-celebratory?
Howard Fischer: Yes.
Ted Simons: OK. Then we'll start with you, Mr. Big shot. How will the Supreme Court decide on the employer sanctions law?
Howard Fischer:I think it's going to be a split decision. I think that the justices are going to have a real problem with the mandate to use e-verify, but I think they will allow the state to fit into the definition of licensing and similar exemptions for certain kinds of discipline. But I don't think it will be as clear as we think. What may very well happen is given it's an eight-member court with one of the justices out, they may just split over it and it ends up 4-4, which means the law is upheld.
Ted Simons: So is that what you're going with the 4-4 split?
Howard Fischer: I think Lowell will be upheld, I think if in fact they strike any of it it will be the E-verify mandate.
Steve Goldstein: I agree with Howie almost entirely Ted. There's a possibility Kennedy will make it a 5-3 vote but I think it's going to end up 4-4.
Doug Maceachern: Just from seeing what the judges' questioning was like when they just -- when they debated it, it really sounded to me as though it's going to end up in a 4-4 tie.
Ted Simons: Yeah, OK. Doug the legal status of SB 1070, what will it be at this time next year?
Doug Maceachern: I think that the Supreme Court is -- it's going to be another one of those 5-4 votes, and I think the Supreme Court is going to affirm it. I think -- I just see the court trending that way, that it wants to do that. And I haven't got much more than an explanation besides that.
Ted Simons: I guess when you win eight years in a row you can see things. What do you think?
Steve Goldstein: Because Doug has won eight years in a row Ted, I'm going to go with that. No, I think it's another 5-4. I think SB 1070 lives and the heat goes down as the years go by.
Howard Fischer: I think you're getting ahead of yourselves. The only thing that's going to be next year, we're still deciding the junction. We're not deciding the legality. I believe the ninth circuit will rule, will uphold most of the injunction that Susan Bolton issued, they'll resolve one small piece, will uphold the injunction and I think the U.S. Supreme Court doesn't get involved. So the law will still be in force, and the trial on the underlying case by the U.S. department of justice will be sitting and talking about that next year here.
Ted Simons: All right. That's legal status, all right. Howie, matching funds, clean elections, matching funds. How does the high court look at that?
Howard Fischer: Hasta la bye bye. The fact they agreed A, to take it up, B, to schedule an hour's worth of oral argument and C that they enjoined the state from using it this year, I think it's gone. I mean, I think that there's no way they can uphold matching funds. The only question which is not a legal question is, would matching funds go away, is anybody going to bother taking public money.
Ted Simons: Matching funds the question on the table.
Steve Goldstein: Job Roberts court does not like public campaign financing. So matching funds are gone.
Doug Maceachern: I think the thing -I guess philosophically they don't like public financing, but what they really don't like is attempts by those financing mechanisms to make things equal and even them out. And I think that's the most dislike. That's the thing they seem to dislike most about McCain Feingolds and the other things they attack. So I think that matching funds is out of here.
Ted Simons: OK. Just in memory of your bold prediction last year of Janet Napolitano --
Steve Goldstein: Justice Napalatano?
Ted Simons: Yes.
Steve Goldstein: That's how I refer to her.
Ted Simons: We won't ask for names this time, just to spare you that.
Steve Goldstein: OK. Thank you.
Ted Simons: But we'll start with you. Will there be a vacancy on the Supreme Court next year?
Steve Goldstein: I will say no. I think many people believe Ruth Bader Ginsburg will retire because of health issues. I think she will follow in Sandra Day O'Connor's shoes in the sense her husband, to whom she was very closed passed away, Justice O'Conner left to take care of her husband, now she wishes she were still in the high court. Justice Ginsberg will stay because of that.
Ted Simons: Doug do you think there will be a vacancy?
Doug Maceachern: I think there will be. I'm just reading it differently. I think that strategically this coming year is going to be the opportunity for Obama to make this -- to make this appointment. I think it gets more difficult farther -- closer to the election. And the outlook is unsure after four years -- after the president's first term. So I'm thinking yes.
Ted Simons: OK, Howie what do you think?
Howard Fischer: I think there will be a vacancy. Obviously while the Republicans didn't take control of the senate, the democrats no longer have that 60-vote blocking provision. But I'm not exactly sure who, whether it's Justice Ginsberg or one of the others. I got to watch the justices earlier this year, and health issues arise, political issues arise, and I think somebody will say this, is a good time to get out.
Ted Simons: OK. And you'll be the first to know, apparently, because who knew you were on such close terms with the uh high court--
Howard Fischer: Ruth and I were like this.
Ted Simons: Will Russell Pearce win his fight against the 14th amendment?
Howard Fisher: If my definition you mean will there be a law enacted that denies a birth certificate, I don't think so. I think a couple of things are going to trip that up. Number one, the discussion of the budget subsumes everything else. Pearce said he will not sponsor it, though obviously he's the force behind it. And it may very well that Jan Brewer, who has nothing to lose, may say this isn't the fight we need to pick.
Ted Simons: What do you think, Steve?
Steve Goldstein: I really like Howie's analysis on that Ted. I would agree. I don't think it's going to get enough traction going forward, I think there's going to be enough of a problem in the senate where people are not going to let Russell Pearce do this. If they do, Governor Brewer will say, we've had enough, look at how many fights we've talked about already. This is not another one.
Ted Simons: Are you buying all this, Doug?
Doug Maceachern: I'm afraid I am. If only would you have asked me first. Because that's basically my -- it's my thought too. I think -- I think that Senator Pearce will get the legislature to go along with some sort of anger baby law that I really believe that Governor Brewer would veto.
Ted Simons: Let's keep that frame of mind going here, we'll start with you first on this one, how many bills will the governor veto next session?
Doug Maceachern: How shall I frame this? I think it will be less than 10, but I think with such a dominant Republican legislature, if it's bumping up against 10, I think that constitutes a lot.
Ted Simons: For tie-breaking purposes, give us a number.
Doug Maceachern: Nine.
Ted Simons: Nine? All right, what do you think, nine vetoes?
Steve Goldstein: I'm going to say four.
Ted Simons: Because?
Steve Goldstein: I just -- I feel like there are going to be some things involved as we just talked about that Governor Brewer is going to say, this is not the fight this, is not the time, budget is more important, but it is a dominated -- Republican dominated legislature. There will be very few.
Ted Simons: Howie what do you think?
Doug Maceachern: I'm going to go one above Doug. It's like "The Price is Right" here. I'm going to go with 10. If you include line item vetoes, because I think there will be things in the budget they'll send her that she's going to X out.
Ted Simons: I don't know if we want to include line item --
Howard Fischer: If we're not talking line items then we're down to five.
Ted Simons: So let's -- so five, OK. Four, five, and nine.
Howard Fischer: But if you're talking line items -
Ted Simons: No, I don't want to do line items. OK. Thanks for mudding that one up for us. Will - Howie we'll start with you, will the state bar sanction Andrew Thomas, and for bonus points, if so, how?
Howard Fisher: Well, it's ultimately not up to the state bar. As you know ultimately it's ultimately up to the Supreme Court. I believe there will be a sanction, I believe it will be a censure, and the reason I believe it will not be a suspension or disbarment is there is a very close call on what is a legitimate role of a county prosecutor to investigate things that come before him or her. I think it's an easy call to suggest that he did this in a way that does not reflect fairly on the administration of justice, one of those broad categories of attorneys, so I think he'll be censured. But I don't think it will go beyond that.
Ted Simons: Without being as literal as Howie, as to who exactly will be doing the punishment, what kind of punishment if any for Andrew Thomas?
Steve Goldstein: I like the idea of censured, absolutely not disbarment. No way with that. I think ultimately and I hate to throw this as a P.R. thing, so much comes out much P.R. in politics, I don't think it goes in this direction, because some of the things get started. And I think people realize he made the mistakes with the judges, I think he's going to be slapped on the wrist, bad judgment, but nothing further than that.
Doug Maceachern: Disbarment is a huge step to take. But the suit that the sheriff and the county attorney filed in federal court was an enormous act of violence against the law. I think that the state bar and the state Supreme Court I think will take that very seriously. I think he does get disbarred.
Ted Simons: You think so? That's a bold prediction. That could separate you from the pack. U.S. Airways. Merger next year?
Doug Maceachern: I think that U.S. Airways -- a possibility of U.S. Airways merger is tied to an improvement in the economy, which we -- I think have a god chance of seeing, a fair chance of seeing, but nevertheless -- there's a lot of money awash in the economy just waiting for things like this to happen. I'm thinking no, though. I don't think it will happen within the next calendar year.
Ted Simons: Interesting. What do you think?
Steve Goldstein: Absolutely not. Doug Parker is a huge fan of consolidation. He wants to merge with someone Ted. The only opportunity is American Airlines, and there are all sorts of problems with that. I'm going to say though he want it, there won't be.
Howard Fischer: I think there will be a lot of talk, there will be suitors both ways, American West, U.S. air being a suitor or being courted, but I don't see a merger in the future.
Ted Simons: All right. Let's get to our -- the only sports prediction we got here, Howie, will ASU make a bowl game next season?
Howard Fischer: I'll going -- I'm going to reverse myself from last year and say yes, they will. I'm not sure it's going to be the top tier, but I think that they will do well enough to qualify for some sort of bowl.
Ted Simons: Another tie breaker, what kind of record will they have next season?
Howard Fischer: I think they'll win seven.
Steve Goldstein: I'm going to go 8-4. A pretty good bowl game because they finally have decent quarterback play. But I still think Dennis Erickson will be gone this time. Next year this time he will be gone.
Ted Simons: OK Doug.
Doug Maceachern: This is where Lucy always pulls the football out. But I'm predicting nine wins, and I'm not -- I don't think they won't make a BCS bowl bid, but I think at least into toward the end of November they will still have a fighting chance for it.
Ted Simons: Real quickly, do you think they'll win the southern division of the new Pac 12 or whatever the heck it's called.
Doug Maceachern: I think they might.
Steve Goldstein: No. I think -- I favor U of A.
Ted Simons: Howie's shaking his head no. All right it is time for our long shot and sure thing prediction. All right Howie, we'll start with you.
Howard Fischer: My long shot is that even though we'll have a medical marijuana law, and there's been a lot of talk by this time next year we'll have 10,000 or fewer people in Arizona who actually have one of these cards. It's not going to be the 30, 40,000. My sure shot is somewhere, and we'll have the tape I'm sure it's a show next year, Jan Brewer is going to say again, I have did that.
Ted Simons: Thank you, Howie for bringing this up on the program. Steve?
Steve Goldstein: Ted if we have time, I have two long shots.
Ted Simons: Two long shots?
Howard Fischer: Because that did you so well last time.
Ted Simons: You know, might as well throw it in. My first one, with the national popularity of SB 1070, Coppertone, the sun block company, is going to come out with SPF 1070. That's first of all. My second long shot is the Suns will be so mediocre that at some point in 2011 Steve Nash will be traded.
Ted Simons: Oh, that's a bold long shot. But I like it. What's your sure shot?
Steve Goldstein: After about 13 or 14 years together, four of the five Maricopa County supervisors, two of those four will decide next year not to run for reelection.
Ted Simons: Interesting. Interesting stuff. Doug?
Doug Maceachern: This guy is really thought this stuff through.
Ted Simons: Finished third in a field of three, you gotta do something.
Doug Maceachern: That's tough stuff. All right. My long shot, I think gas prices will be over 3.50 by this time next year. That's my long shot. I couldn't decide which one. And sure thing, I think the U.S. house votes to defund Obamacare at some point.
Ted Simons: Really?
Doug Maceachern: I think it's an absolute given.
Ted Simons: All right. We got about 30 seconds left. What surprised you most this year?
Doug Maceachern: The way things turned out in the governor's race.
Ted Simons: You all had Terry Goddard winning this.
Howard Fischer: And the fact is that senate bill 1070 changed the total ground game. Not only in the governor's race, but look at the attorney general's race. Tom Horne won on 1070. That had nothing to even do with the issue.
Ted Simons: When you look back at the program last year, it is interesting how things can change fast.
Steve Goldstein: So dramatically.
Ted Simons: That is it. Gentlemen, good luck next year.
In this segment:
Howard Fischer:Capitol Media Services;Doug MacEachearn:Arizona Republic;Steve Goldstein, KJZZ;