Journalists’ Roundtable

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Join us as three local journalists bring you up to date on the news of the week.

Ted Simons: Coming up next on "Arizona Horizon" journalists' roundtable, a look at the GOP national convention and Arizona's impact on the gathering. And a new poll suggests that Joe Arpaio is facing a tight reelection race. The journalists' roundtable is next on "Arizona Horizon."

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Ted Simons: good evening, welcome to "Arizona Horizon" journalists' roundtable. I'm the "phoenix new times." Joining us tonight, Mary Jo Pitzl of the "Arizona republic." Howard Fischer of capitol media services, and Jim Small of the "Arizona capitol times."

Ted Simons: Mary Jo, we had a couple of Arizonans take center stage. Senator Ye and Joe Arpaio.

Mary Jo Pitzl: Was invited to reflect the diversity in the party. She's the first Asian-American woman to be elected to the Arizona legislature. We've had an Asian-American male. So she spoke and later in the week, we hear in none other than Joe Arpaio, as he said --

Ted Simons: Grousing about that.

Mary Jo Pitzl: He annoced he did get a spot and spoke at 8:00 p.m. east coast time on the same night as Donald Trump.

Ted Simons: yeah, and ye, told her family story, a nice story, uplifting story.

Howard Fischer: It's a very nice know, Kimberly is an interesting known among those of you who covered the capital as anti-abortion and the sponsor of many of these bills and certainly fits in with the agenda Donald Trump is selling about his new found opposition to abortion.but doesn't always go along with the party.for example, she killed the bill that could have expanded the area, you could have lighted billboards and also killed legislation that would have allowed high-interest loans and sided with the democrats it wasn't fair so she's an interesting character.

Ted Simons: Does the fact that she was speaking heartily endorses Donald Trump does that make a difference in Arizona.
Jim Small: You know, it's certainly good exposure for her and Arizona, I think you can certainly look at it that way, Arizona had the prime time speaking engagements for two people, Joe Arpaio is a known commodity nationally but Kimberly ye, it's a good way for the parties to recognize its up-and-coming people and she's been labeled a rising star featured in roll call as the most influential state legislators across the country.

Mary Jo Pitzl: I'm sure she'll make sure her voters know about her appearance at the her a bigger podium.

Howard Fischer: The thing we've been looking at all week, what point do some of the Republican voters say i like Kimberly, who is the dude you've got at the top of the ticket and all the stuff he's been saying he's promised everything to everyone soundslike FDR with the public works program and like Hillary Clinton, we're going to have working leave for moms and stuff, and lord knows how this fits in.

Ted Simons: Let's bring this back home from the convention, is Donald Trump the head of the Republican Party right now?

Jim Small : Yeah, of course I mean, he -- he's the one who leads, you know, he's the first foot forward and what he says I think, people have to fall in line or disagree. Just like any other presidential nominee would, I think you wouldn't say any different for Mitt Romney or when John Mccain was a nominee.

Ted Simons: if you say, of course, and wouldn't say any different, but those folks had lots of people there at the convention. Donald Trump had a mass zip code did you say, I mean, the -- he's the head of the republican -- are republicans happy about that.

Mary Jo Pitzl: I think the question is unity, we kept hearing that, day after day, we're unifying and getting together and if there was any doubt in anyone's mind, Ted Cruz blew that to smithereens with his speech. The Trump is the nominee and if your a republican and want to win in November, that's where you got to vote.

Howard Fischer: That's the key, which is why so much of the four nights was about Hillary -- evil.should be hung, shot, whatever.and that the world will end and we'll end up having to wear head scarfs and convert to Muslim if Hillary gets elected and that's the unifying theme and he's the standard bearer on that.

Jim Small : I was at a campaign event in the east valley tuesday and talked to a lot of republicans, a lot of elected official, various people, campaign folks and basically what we heard was, well, you know, Trump, he was wasn't my first choice or third choice, but we can't have eight more years of democrats, these policies are bad, they're going to ruin America and that's really -- well, I'm going to vote for Trump I don't like it, I don't like him, but better than the alternative.

Mary Jo Pitzl: There are some republicans who won't vote for Trump sort of pretty clear from the signals they're sending they don't know where they're going to go and you don't necessarily have to vote.although the way the elections play out, if you don't vote for one, it throws the favor to the other leading candidate. But there are -- there's a libertarian ticket and a green party ticket as well.

Ted Simons: we're going to get to that in a second, but next week, we have the democratic convention in Philadelphia sounds like representative Gallego will be speaking and Gabby Giffords.

Howard Fischer Of course, you -- you pull her out when you need -- she got national attention even before she was shot.certainly become the poster child for, quote/unquote, gun regulations. We're not taking away your gun, remember, just doing reasonable regulation, 10 rounds and perhaps gun show checks and she'll get a very good reception there. You know, she's still speaking haltingly, but getting a message out.

Ted Simons: I was going to say, it seems what we've heard from her, she's doing a lot better as far as how she speaks.

Mary Jo Pitzl: She is.but does speak haltingly and that's a reminder of the damage caused by the wound she sustained.yes, still with us and everything is clicking there, but, you know, the bullet, you know, takes a toll.

Howard Fischer: And I was working the day she was shot and I'll tell you, based on what we heard and saw of her injuries and got from the university medical center, I was sure we were going to be writing an obit on her, the fact --it's chilling and amazing.

Ted Simons: let's get to a local election, sheriff Joe Arpaio who spoke at the republican convention is running for sheriff, of all of people again, and the latest poll dash -- but the latest poll shows he's not beating the democrats.

Jim Small: It was a poll put out by a republican consulting firm.and showed him losing both when undecided were included and people were taken --when the undecideds were taken out, pushed to how they would actually vote. He's clearly in trouble, he's been saying for a long time, this is the toughest race i'm going to have it's not just campaign hyperbole and there was a poll put out with a live caller poll that showed that race, you know -- Penzone in a position to win the race.

Howard Fischer: Let's understand the timing of this these polls are being conducted -- heck he was in court and had the judge whack him upside the head and say i may refer you for criminal contempt and he's got a huge bank roll and it's amazing what you can do between now and November with $10 million.

Ted Simons: it is, but the same poll shows Donald Trump leading Hillary Clinton by nine points and, you know, Trump and Arpaio are, you know, kind of a tweeddledeetweeddledum. If Trump is doing really well what happens to all of Arpaio's folks.

Howard Fischer: The difference is Hillary has high negatives and penzone -- didn't he run before and as a republican and it's -- i appreciate that they're cut from the same cloth, the same with Jan brewer, you might find the same kind of polling on presidential years we got notices and head's up when these things are due and there has been turnovers in the secretary of state's office but there's nothing in state law that requires them to knock on your door and send a notice.that said, the green party is very small. It's a very small operation in this state and, you know, they don't have a full-time executive director who keeps on top of the statutory deadlines.

Howard Fischer : And they're disorganized, they've been in court a couple years ago because they fell below the threshold for registering and at a certain point there's a obligation, if you want to be an quote/unquote organized party, there are certain requirements you have to meet.

Ted Simons: get yourself organized. Corporation commission, three republican -- they're running as a team, jim.running as a taxi.and -- as a team.but there are five republicans in the race how come the other two aren't joining the other three.

Ted Simons: basically -- i guess my point is why did these three decide to band together?

Jim Small : It's a marriage of convenience, in a lot of way, it's a tough race to run and tough to raise money for, two of these candidates are clean elections candidates which has been the norm over the last decade, 15 years, one of them, Andy Tobin appointed to the commission earlier this year, he's running traditional.raising moneys from private sources and essentially, efficiency. You pool your money and split cost on mailers and do advertising on radio, tv, internet, but you can diffuse the cost. These three got together because the other incumbent, Bob Burns has ostracized himself from the other candidates and been outspoken and made it a central plank to -- disclose campaign funding spending and hasn't made friend there's and the other one, i'm not sure why he wasn't in the mix. Certainly tobin Al Melvin and -- they served together in the legislature.

Howard Fischer I think part of the way Boyd Dunn wasn't in the mix, he was a judge for a long time and sees these things and i went to a debate earlier this week and sees these things not so much in the black and white, the Andy Tobin on one side and bob burns on the other but sees the commission as a judicial body and, you know, judges things on the evidence, where everyone else is pretty much a politician and i think that's why he wound up on the odd end.

Ted Simons: Explain it to me, two people running as clean, one running with traditional funds and they'll pool their resources. Pool their resources doesn't that negate the purpose of clean elections.

Howard Fischer: That's where it gets tricky you -- you can form tickets, clean elections, let's say Tom Collins will be keeping an eye on that, but you're allowed to form alliances and coalitions.

Jim Small: They can pool their money but the way it work, two will have the same amount and the third a active amount but they have to split the cost. If they put out a mailer with all three of their faces, they've got to split that cost evenly, so it's possible they get into a situation where two of the candidates have money left and one doesn't and in which case, it's incumbent on whatever strategy they come up with that Andy Tobin is at the least match the same amount of money that the other two have, otherwise there's unequal distribution.

Howard Fischer: It could go the other way, the corporation commissioner candidates, this isn't like the governor's race, the amounts are limited to the primary and Tobin might be able to raise a lot of money and all of a sudden, he's got more money and he's the one out there with the single race. Again, it's tricky and you can bet that if you start seeing ticket stuff, somene will file a complaint -- somebody will make file a complaint.

Ted Simons: is that making sense to you?

Mary Jo Pitzl: You need a spreadsheet, but the wildcard, there could be independent expenditures, we saw a lot of those the last time.

Howard Fischer: You mean possible independent expenditures that -- interested in who regulates it.

Mary Jo Pitzl: Correct, something like that, surfaces again and i don't know, with the FBI in town looking at the public services and the corporation commission and probably some other affiliated entity the, perhaps this kind of independent expenditure won't surface.

Ted Simons: This will be one of the more interesting and volatile, i would imagine, are corporate commission races most go there to disappear no hiding now.

Jim Small: A big spotlight on them now starting if 2013, there were policy issues that attracted a lot attention than we usually see we're going three years strong into it.

Ted Simons: Minimum wage initiative has been targeted involving signatures to raise -- we talked about the actual initiative itself, now the signatures are no good?
Howard Fischer: Well, the claim -- these things, all three initiatives have drawn lawsuits of one form or another. One of the claims in one is that the circulators, the people who gather the 25 signatures per page, some were ineligible, which is part of the reason the foes went to court, don't send out the petitions for verification of the signatures on the front.because we think we can knock some of the signatures on the back.and the judge said we're not going to hold up the process for you.raising issues of single subject, raising issues of confusion and validity of the circulators -- surprised they're not raising issues about the type face.and whether it was 8 point or 9 points but it's cheaper to pay the lawyers than it is to spend $5 million in November to try and kill it.

Ted Simons: is this minimum wage initiative, and let's assume it's going to make the ballot, this could be a pretty loud fight, correct?

Mary Jo Pitzl: Oh, very -- it will be a loud fight just like a decade ago when Arizona established its own minimum wage, the stakes doctor -- '06, a presidential year as well.this has the potential of prig out certain classes of voters who might not show up at elections and that raises the stakes.

Howard Fischer: And you have you've got a measure put in by the california union to cast the wages of non-medical, $216 an hour.

Ted Simons: we discussed that, almost as if it's a interloper sort of effort.they couldn't get their way in california so coming here.

Howard Fischer: There were legal reasons it got bounced of the ballot but they'll pursue it here and the granddad i didn't have them all, has to do with, of course, medical marijuana.

Ted Simons: let's talk about the money for the marijuana initiative and campaign finance. Jim, your reporting, this groundswell of folks pushing this or -- groundswell of folks are folks involved in the marijuana industry.

Jim Small: The legalization campaign, their leader has been out making speeches and one of his refrains was we've got as for from tourism and agriculture and different sectors are backing our campaign.ok, well, campaign finance reform came out and we looked at it, they're backing it but certainly not writing checks to it.made a calling, your leader keeps saying you're being supported by this but where is the support.all we see are medical dispensaries who get the first crack at being able to sell recreational marijuana in the event this passes.they're the one to stand to profit.

Ted Simons: what do they say when you call?

Howard Fischer: They basically said the people told us -- they told us they support us, our leaders thought that meant they had written checks, they haven't and so we'll twist some arms.the tourism industry supports us, yes, the council, the association is on the other side of it. They're not convinced people are going to flock to Arizona to buy $350 an ounce. Marijuana or whatever it is Jim keyed in on the key point of this it's supposed to be regulating marijuana like alcohol but there's a couple of interesting differences including you would only be allowed 147 dispensaries to sell the stuff statewide for 6.6 million people of that, anybody who has a medical marijuana dispensary, about 98 of them, they get one, that's it and anyone else may be able to get in and no more until at least 2021 and so you're building up this basic -- it's not quite a monopoly when you have 147 but you're giving someone a leg up.

Ted Simons: With the preference going to the dispensaries which is why they're putting the money into the ballot measure.

Jim Small: This arrangement is a function of the negotiations that happened two years ago in order to move the thing forward.there was going to be a marijuana legalization thing on the ballot come hell or high water and the owners realized they stood to lose a lot of money they had invested and this was a way to try and make everybody happy and bring them on board.

Ted Simons: i know you love talking about medical marijuana.just marijuana in all respects but -- cool it, man, cool it.[laughter]

Mary Jo Pitzel, Jim Small & Howard Fischer.

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