TED SIMONS: COMING UP NEXT ON A SPECIAL OPINION-WRITERS EDITION OF THE JOURNALISTS' ROUNDTABLE, UBER TAKES ITS DRIVERLESS CARS OUT OF ARIZONA JUST BEFORE A DAMNING REPORT ON A FATAL ACCIDENT INVOLVING AN UBER SELF-DRIVING CAR. AND WE'LL TALK ABOUT ALL SORTS OF CHANGES COMING UP AT PHOENIX CITY HALL. THOSE STORIES AND MORE, NEXT, AS THE JOURNALISTS' ROUNDTABLE GETS OPINIONATED.
TED SIMONS: GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO A SPECIAL EDITION OF THE JOURNALISTS' ROUNDTABLE.I'M TED SIMONS. TONIGHT, WE'RE JOINED BY OPINION EDITORS AND COLUMNISTS FROM THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC. WE WELCOME METRO COLUMNIST LAURIE ROBERTS. DEPUTY OPINIONS EDITOR ABE KWOK. AND EDITORIAL COLUMNIST AND LA VOZ EDITOR, ELVIA DIAZ. GOOD TO HAVE YOU ALL HERE. THIS SHOULD BE FUN. WE'LL START NOW -- LET'S START WITH UBER. UBER DECIDES TO PULL ITS AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE PROGRAM OUT OF ARIZONA, THIS A DAY BEFORE THE RELEASE OF A FEDERAL INVESTIGATION INTO A FATAL ACCIDENT IN MARCH INVOLVING ONE OF UBER'S DRIVER-LESS CARS. UBER'S OVER.
LAURIE ROBERTS: UBER'S OUT, WELL ONLY THE SELF DRIVING PORTION.
TED SIMONS: THE DRIVER'SLESS PORTION PULLS OUT A DAY BEFORE THE RESULT OF THE FED.
LAURIE ROBERTS: THEY CAME OUT WITH THE PRELIMINARY FINDINGS OF THE MURDER IN MARCH AND IT WAS BRUTAL, SAYING THE WOMAN WAS CROSSING THE STREET WHERE SHE SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN, WITH PRESENCE OF METHAMPHETAMINE IN HER BODY, BUT THE PUBLIC POLICY ISSUE, WHAT THE HECK WAS A SELF DRIVING CAR ON THE ROAD, AND UBER HAD DISENGAGED THE EMERGENCY AUTOMATIC BRAKING SYSTEM. THE CAR, THE COMPUTER DETECTS SIX SECONDS BEFORE THAT SOMETHING WAS IN THE ROADWAY, BUT IT HAS BEEN DISENGAGED AND DIDN'T SEND A MESSAGE TO THE OPERATOR WHO WASN'T WATCHING THE ROAD AND TRAGEDY ENSUED.
TED SIMONS: SO IT WAS OPERATING NORMALLY. THE AUTOMATIC BRAKING SYSTEM WASN'T ON. WHO IS OVERSEEING THIS KIND OF STUFF?
ABE KWOK: THAT'S THE QUESTION BEING ASKED OF THE GOVERNOR AND DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, WHAT TYPE OF OVERSIGHT WAS PUT IN PLACE ON THIS INSTANCE? NOBODY HAS ADDRESSED THAT HEAD ON THAT WHY WOULD YOU HAVE THE EMERGENCY SYSTEM BRAKING SYSTEM OF BOTH UBER SYSTEM INSTALLED TURNED OFF. THAT WOULD SUGGEST THAT THE HUMAN WAS MONITORING THE ROAD. IN THIS CASE, SHE WASN'T. IT RAISES QUESTIONS THAT UBER HASN'T TALKED ABOUT, THAT THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE HASN'T TALKED ABOUT. IT'S THE $64,000 QUESTION.
LAURIE ROBERTS: THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TALKED TO ME ABOUT IT YESTERDAY. NOBODY WAS OVERSEEING UBER. YOU GET A LICENSE, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE REGISTRATION AND INSURED AND THAT'S IT. THEY DEFER TO THE FEDS.
ELVIA DIAZ: I THINK THAT'S THE PROBLEM. WE ARE TALKING EXTENSIVELY THESE DAYS THAT WE DON'T KNOW WHAT UBER IS DOING. THEY ARE NOT TELLING US HOW THEY ARE MANAGING THE PROBLEM. WE HAD BEEN PUTTING THIS ON GOVERNOR DUCEY. HE ALLOWED THIS COMPANY TO COME WITHOUT OVERSIGHT. IT'S ON HIM FOR ALLOWING IT. IT'S THE THING I HAVE BEEN ARGUING WITH MY COLLEAGUES. I WELCOME INNOVATION. THEY HAD NO CHOICE. THEY HAD TO STOP THIS RIGHT NOW FOR POLITICAL REASONS, OBVIOUSLY. ON THE OTHER HAND, HOW ARE WE GETTING TO THAT POINT? I THINK IT'S ABOUT OVERSIGHT. I THINK IT'S ABOUT KNOWING WHAT WE ARE ALLOWING AND WHAT WE ARE NOT.
LAURIE ROBERTS: IT'S ABOUT OVERSIGHT. NO ONE IS DOING IT ON THE FEDERAL LEVEL OR ON A STATE LEVEL. I AGREE THAT IT'S VERY IMPORTANT BUT TO DISENGAGE THE BRAKING SYSTEM.
TED SIMONS: DID THE DRIVER KNOW?
LAURIE ROBERTS: YES, THIS IS THEIR POLICY. THEY ARE TRYING TO CREATE A SMOOTHER RIDE SO THAT THE CAR IS NOT JERKING AROUND EVERY TIME A PAPER BAG GOES ACROSS THE STREET.
TED SIMONS: IF YOU KNOW THAT, WHAT ARE YOU DOING LOOKING DOWN AT OTHER STUFF AT ANY POINT IN THE DRIVE?
ABE KWOK: EXACTLY. THAT'S A MYSTERY TO ME. IF IT'S UNDERSTOOD BY UBER AND IS A HUMAN DRIVER'S, BACK UP DRIVERS IN THE VEHICLE, THAT THIS AUTONOMOUS EMERGENCY SYSTEM IS TURNED OFF, YOU SHOULD BE MONITORING THE ROAD, NOT LOOKING AT, ACCORDING TO HER, THIS WOMAN, LOOKING AT THE INTERFACE ON -- DOWN THE CAR FOR SECONDS.
ELVIA DIAZ: RIGHT. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT SECONDS. THAT'S THE ISSUE HERE. YOU HAVE BEEN DRIVING FOR HOURS AND MILES. ALL OF US HAVE. ARE WE FOCUSED 100% AT THE ROAD, OR ARE YOU LOOKING AROUND? YOU ARE DRIVING I DON'T KNOW HOW MANY HOURS. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT SIX SECONDS.
LAURIE ROBERTS: THAT'S A LONG TIME.
TED SIMONS: SIX SECONDS, IT'S ENOUGH -- ESPECIALLY WHEN THE CAR KNOWS SOMETHING IS OUT THERE. YOU MENTIONED GOVERNOR DUCEY. HE REFERRED TO CALIFORNIA AND THEIR BURDENSOME REGULATIONS CELEBRATED THE DRIVERLESS PROGRAM COMING TO ARIZONA.
LAURIE ROBERTS: UBER DIDN'T WANT TO PAY THE $3,600 FEE THEY WERE GOING TO CHARGE. UBER WAS REQUIRED TO REPORT ON HOW MANY TIMES THE SYSTEM WAS ENGAGING. THE TYPE OF THING I WOULD LIKE TO SEE. THE STATE DISCOUNTS THAT SAYING IF THAT WAS IMPORTANT WHEN THEY WERE REPORTING IN CALIFORNIA, WHY DIDN'T THEY DO SOMETHING?
ELVIA DIAZ: THAT'S THE THING WITH GOVERNOR DUCEY. DO WHATEVER YOU WANT. WE ARE NOT GOING TO DO ANYTHING. THAT'S THE PROBLEM WE ARE FACING. FOR THE GOVERNOR TO SAY THIS IS ON YOU.
LAURIE ROBERTS: NO, IT'S ON UBER AND YOU AS WELL.
ABE KWOK: UBER DOESN'T TAKE AWAY TRANSPARENCY ISSUES. WE HAVE WHAMMO, WE HAVE G.M., FOR THE PUBLIC AND THE MEDIA, WE DON'T HAVE INFORMATION ABOUT HOW MANY COMPANIES ARE OPERATING, TESTING THE DRIVERS LICENSE VEHICLES IN THE STATE, WHERE THEY ARE OPERATING, WHAT DAYS, WHAT HOURS, WHAT THE PARAMETERS ARE. THE COMPANY IS NOT RELEASING THE INFORMATION TO US. THAT BEGS THE QUESTION, YOU CAN INTERVENE IN THIS CASE AFTER A DEADLY ACCIDENT. WHAT ABOUT THE PHENOMENON AT LARGE? WHAT DO YOU TELL ARIZONANS ABOUT THAT?
TED SIMONS: WHAT ABOUT ARIZONA PAVING THE WAY FOR INNOVATION. THIS IS THE SECOND TIME WE HAVE BEEN A PETRIE DISH.
LAURIE ROBERTS: WE ARE GUINEA PIGS.
TED SIMONS: WE ARE GETTING BITTEN ON THE BUTT.
LAURIE ROBERTS: A FEW YEARS AGO THE LEGISLATURE CHANGED THE LAW FOR THIS COMPANY TO OFFER BLOOD TESTS WITHOUT BENEFIT OF A DOCTOR ORDER. YOU COULD JUST BUY THEM AT WAL-MART. IT TURNED OUT THE BROOD TESTS WEREN'T NECESSARILY, I DON'T KNOW, ACCURATE, CAUSING PROBLEMS WITH MISDIAGNOSIS AND OTHER THINGS, SO THE S-C-C CAME AFTER THEM. THE WHOLE THING COLLAPSED. WE LOOKED IDIOTIC BECAUSE AGAIN, IN OUR ZEAL TO ATTRACT INNOVATION, INNOVATION IN THE PETRIE DISH BUT NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME. THE GOVERNOR DID THE SAME THING, JOY TO THE WORLD WE HAVE THEM THERE AND A FEW YEARS LATER WHEN THE S-C-C COMES IN, GOVERNOR DUCEY NOWHERE TO BE FOUND.
TED SIMONS: UBER ANNOUNCING THEY WERE LEAVING THE DAY BEFORE THE REPORT AND THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE SUPERBOWL. YOU KNOW THE GOVERNOR LOVES THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE SUPERBOWL. HOW MUCH OF THIS IS ON UBER?
ELVIA DIAZ: HERE WE ARE TALKING ABOUT HIM POLITICALLY. WE HAVE TO REMIND ARIZONANS WHAT THE GOVERNOR IS RESPONSIBLE FOR. HE IS RESPONSIBLE TO KEEP ALL OF US SAFE. THEN WE GET THE SUPERBOWL, AND EVERYONE IS CELEBRATING HIM. IT WAS COINCIDENCE. HE DOESN'T CONTROL THE ANNOUNCEMENT, WHEN IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN, BUT I'M SURE HE WAS HAPPY TO GET A BREAK.
TED SIMONS: IT WAS MUFFLED BECAUSE OF THE UBER BUSINESS, RIGHT? OR DO PEOPLE CARE ABOUT THE UBER BUSINESS?
ABE KWOK: I BELIEVE THEY DO. I DON'T WANT TO SLAM THE GOVERNOR WITHOUT ACKNOWLEDGING THAT HE IS THE AMBASSADOR AND CHEERLEADER OF THE STATE. HE'S WILLING TO LURE COMPANIES TO ARIZONA, TO THE EXTENT THAT HE TRUMPETS THOSE ANNOUNCEMENTS IS PREDICTABLE, AND, IT'S BAD OPTICS BECAUSE OF HOW THERENOS PLAYED OUT.
ELVIA DIAZ: WE WANT TO FEEL RESPONSIBLE FOR THE STATE EITHER. YOU ARE CORRECT, BUT WE NEED SOMEONE THAT IS GOING TO BE RESPONSIBLE AND RESPONSIVE TO US, ARIZONANS.
LAURIE ROBERTS: I THINK HE'S ON THE RIGHT TRACK TO BRING THOSE KIND OF JOBS HERE. WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE MORE INNOVATION JOBS AND FEWER FACTORY JOB, WAREHOUSE JOBS. YOU HAVE TO -- YOU CAN'T JUST SLING AWAY ALL REGULATION. NOT ALL REGULATION IS BAD. THAT IS SOMETIMES THE FEELING I GET FROM THE GOVERNOR THAT WE WANT TO WIPE AWAY ALL REGULATION. HERE IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF WHERE THAT IS NOT A BAD IDEA. SHE WANTS TO GET RID OF THE EVOLUTION SYSTEM.
LAURIE ROBERTS: 99.9% OF SCIENTISTS ARE PRETTY SURE, THEY CONSIDER THIS THE FUNDAMENTAL BACKBONE OF BIOLOGY. I HAVE HEARD FROM SCIENCE TEACHES FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM SAYING WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON? YOU ARE GOING TO UNDERMINE SCIENTIFIC THEORY AND LITERACY OF YOUR CHILDREN.
TED SIMONS: CHANGING FROM HOW EVOLUTION RESULTS FROM NATURAL SELECTION TO HOW EVOLUTION MAY RESULT FROM NATURAL SELECTION. WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?
ELVIA DIAZ: ONLY IN ARIZONA. YOU GET THIS TYPE OF STUFF IN ARIZONA ALL THE TIME. MY GOODNESS, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT GETTING RID OF EVOLUTION. THAT'S WHAT SHE WANTS TO DO. SHE'S NOT GOING TO SAY I'M GETTING RID OF IT BECAUSE SHE WILL HAVE MORE PROBLEMS. SAYING LET'S CHANGE THE WRITING HERE. YOU WROTE ABOUT IT, SOME DOING IT. THAT'S WHAT SHE WANTS TO DO. WE ARE CRAZY. WE ARE BEING LOOKED UPON AS A CRAZY STATE FOR PREVIOUS ISSUES WE HAVE DEALT WITH. NOW THIS. WE ARE OUT OF OUR MIND.
TED SIMONS: YOU SAID 99.9% OF SCIENTISTS WOULD GO THE OTHER DIRECTION. I IMAGINE THAT'S LOWER AT THE STATE LEGISLATURE. WHAT BECOMES OF THIS SITUATION?
ABE KWOK: I DO THINK THERE ARE GUARDRAILS, RIGHT? THE PLAN IS, THE RECOMMENDATION IS MADE, BUT IT HAS TO SEEK PUBLIC INPUT. THERE IS A -- THE DEPARTMENT -- EDUCATION DEPARTMENT BOARD HAS TO VOTE ON THIS. THEY ARE PUBLIC MEMBERS ON THAT. THERE ARE REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE UNIVERSITIES, AND SO I THINK THERE IS MORE REASONED FOLKS WILL PREVAIL AND COUNTER THAT TYPE OF A NARRATIVE, BUT IT IS NOT OUR BEST MOMENT FOR SURE.
TED SIMONS: ANOTHER SITUATION HERE, WE'LL START WITH YOU, MARICOPA COUNTY ATTORNEY BILL MONTGOMERY WANTS POLICE DEPARTMENTS TO GO THROUGH HIM FOR PUBLIC RECORD REQUESTS AND ALL SORTS OF THINGS. WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE?
ABE KWOK: TO HEAR THE COUNTY ATTORNEY TELL IT, BECAUSE OF BODY CAM CAMERAS WARN BY POLICE OFFICERS AND DEMAND OF VIDEOS IN HIGH-PROFILE INCIDENTS BY THE MEDIA AND PUBLIC, HE WANTS TO STANDARDIZE THE PROCESS, BECAUSE THEY ARE BEING INCONSISTENTLY APPLIED BY THE POLICE DEPARTMENTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY. HE WANTS TO STANDARDIZE THIS AND BRING IT TO HIS OFFICE AND -- BUT THE PROBLEM IS, HE'S DOING IT AT THE EXPENSE OF THOSE INDIVIDUAL POLICE DEPARTMENTS, IN PARTICULAR PHOENIX WHICH WANTS TO BE MORE OPEN AND QUICK TO RELEASE THOSE VIDEOS.
TED SIMONS: THE COUNTY ATTORNEY DOESN'T SUPERBOWL OR REGULATE LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENTS.
LAURIE ROBERTS: HE'S NOT THE BOSS OF THE POLICE. HE'S DOING MORE THAN TRYING TO STANDARDIZE. IF YOU READ THE LETTER, YOU CAN AVOID THE STUFF OR LIMIT WHAT YOU HAVE TO RELEASE BY GOING TO COURT. IN A TIME OF CONTROVERSY ABOUT POLICE SHOOTINGS, I WOULD THINK THE POLICE AS WELL AS THE PUBLIC WANT TO SEE WHAT HAPPENED HERE. I REALLY DON'T -- HE'S A PROSECUTOR. PROSECUTORS NEVER WANT TO RELEASE ANYTHING. THAT'S A GIVEN, BUT IT'S NOT HIS DECISION.
TED SIMONS: HE SAYS IT'S BEEN IN EFFECT FOR THREE YEARS.
ELVIA DIAZ: HE'S BEEN DOING THIS FOR THREE YEARS. WE HAVE HAD THOSE INSTANCES, BUT HE'S NOT THE BOSS OF POLICE, BUT HE WANTS TO, ABSOLUTELY. HE WANTS TO CONTROL INFORMATION AND KEEP IT FROM THE PUBLIC. KEEP IN MIND WHAT HES DOING, HE MAY HAVE BEEN DOING IT THREE YEARS, BUT NOW HE WANTS TO PENALIZE THOSE WHO DO NOT PENALTIES. HE'S GOING TO PAY FOR COURT FEES, YOU KNOW THE MEDIA ASKS AS WELL, IF WE HAPPEN TO SUE, WHICH WE DO OFTEN, HIS OFFICE WILL PAY THE FEE.
TED SIMONS: HE WILL INDEMNIFY BUT ALSO CHARGE THE POLICE DEPARTMENT FOR FUTURE FEES IF THEY DON'T GO ALONG -- THAT SOUNDS LIKE A THREAT.
ABE KWOK: IT COULD BE TAKEN THAT WAY. WHAT WE DO, IF IT LEADS TO A CHANGE IN VENUE, HE COUCHES THIS AS AN INCENTIVE OPPOSED TO A THREAT. THERE'S REALLY NO DIFFERENCE.
LAURIE ROBERTS: WHEN IS THE LAST TIME WE HAD A CHANGE IN VENUE? MAYBE ONE IN 30 YEARS. IT'S NOT A USUAL THING. ONE THING TO BEAR IN MIND IS THE TIMING OF THIS THING. IT STRIKES ME AS NOT COINCIDENTAL THAT HE WRITES THIS LETTER AS THE PHOENIX POLICE CHIEF IS THE ABOUT TO UNVEIL HER TRANSPARENCY POLICY.
TED SIMONS: IT SEEMS THEY ARE THE ONES IN THE CROSSHAIRS IN THIS.
LAURIE ROBERTS: THEY ARE WHAT A MODERN POLICE DEPARTMENT SHOULD BE, WE WANT THIS INFORMATION QUICKLY AS SHOULD BE. I SAY GOOD FOR HER.
TED SIMONS: IT'S MUSICAL CHAIRS. GREG STANTON RESIGNS AS MAYOR, RUNNING FOR CONGRESS, KIRSTAN SINEMA -- TWO COUNTS OF PEOPLE WANT TO RUN FOR MAYOR. THEY HAVE TO LEAVE THEIR SEAT. IT'S DIZZYING WHAT IS GOING ON OVER THERE.
ELVIA DIAZ: IT'S GOING TO BE COMPLETELY GOVERNMENT IN A FEW WEEKS. WE HAVE MAYOR STANTON LEAVING. TWO COUNCILMEMBERS WANT TO RUN FOR MAYOR. YOU HAVE ALL OF THIS OTHER RESIDENTS WANTING TO REPLACE THOSE TWO IN THE MOON TIME. WE HAVE OTHER CANDIDATES WANTING TO RUN FOR MAYOR. IT'S GOING TO BE MUSICAL CHAIRS ALL AROUND.
TED SIMONS: SEEMS LIKE DANIEL AND KATE, BOTH DEMOCRATS, MOSES SANCHEZ HAS SUPPORT, MAYBE OTHERS OUT THERE. IT SEEMS IT'S BETWEEN GALLEGO AND VENEZUELA. IS THAT GOING TO GET UGLY?
ELVIA DIAZ: YES. THEY ARE DIVIDING THE BUSINESS ELITE, DIVIDING HISPANICS AND ONE IS A DEMOCRAT. YOU HAVE A WOMAN. WE HAVE NOT HAD AN ELECTED MAYOR IN THREE DECADES. YOU HAVE THAT GOING ON. IF THEY WANT TO WIN, THEY HAVE TO FIGHT IT OUT.
TED SIMONS: BY THE TIME THE DUST CLEARS ON ALL OF THIS, WILL THE NATURE OF PHOENIX CITY HALL AND LEADERSHIP, WILL IT CHANGE ALL THAT MUCH?
ABE KWOK: I DON'T BELIEVE SO. PHOENIX HAS BEEN A COMFORTABLE HOME FOR DYNAMICS FOR A LONG TIME. IF IT IS A FIGHT BETWEEN THE DEMOCRATS, IT WILL BE ANOTHER DEMOCRAT. THEN WE HAVE MOSES SANCHEZ WE CAN'T DISMISS, REPUBLICAN. WE HAVE TO SEE IF THEY ARE WILLING TO INVEST MONEY IN THE RACE.
ELVIA DIAZ: IF IT'S BETWEEN THOSE TWO, YES. THEN YOU HAVE COUNCILMEMBERS WILLING TO REPLACE THOSE TWO. THE WHOLE DYNAMICS HAPPENING TO REPLACE THOSE TWO. THAT'S WHERE THE CHANGE MIGHT HAPPEN.
ABE KWOK:YOU DON'T SEE DEMOCRATS LOSING THE MAJORITY OR THE THRUST OF WHERE THE CITY COUNCIL GOES CHANGING, DO YOU?
ELVIA DIAZ: NO, I DON'T. IF IT'S BETWEEN THOSE TWO, IT WILL STILL BE A DEMOCRAT LEADING THE CITY.
TED SIMONS: A FEW MINUTES LEFT HERE. JOE ARPAIO IS RUNNING FOR SENATE. CAN YOU SAY SENATOR ARPAIO?
LAURIE ROBERTS: I CAN SAY SENATOR ARPAIO. I DON'T KNOW THAT I WILL BE, BUT HE FILED PETITIONS EARLIER IN THE WEEK, AN IMPRESSIVE 10,000 OF THEM. WHERE HE RAN INTO A BUZZ SAW AT AN IMPROMPTU PRESS CONFERENCE AFTERWARDS WHERE REPORTERS ASKED WHAT WOULD BE THE IMPACT IF WE HAVE TARIFFS ON CHINA. HE ANSWERED, WE SHOULD MAKE PRODUCTS HERE. DO YOU KNOW WHAT A TARIFF IS? LET'S TALK ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE, THINGS YOU EXPECT A SENATOR TO KNOW ABOUT. IT'S KIND OF THEIR WHEELHOUSE. DOES ANYONE ELSE HAVE ANOTHER QUESTION? SORT OF ILLUMINATING.
TED SIMONS: THESE ARE THE THINGS YOU WANT TO FIND OUT. YOUR OPINION ON THE IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL. WE GOT NOTHING OUT OF ANYTHING EXCEPT I LIKE DONALD TRUMP.
ABE KWOK: THIS IS THE MAN THAT APPOINTED HIM, SO HE SHOULD LIKE DONALD TRUMP. HIS WHOLE CAREER HAS BEEN IN LAW ENFORCEMENT. IT'S DIFFICULT TO TRANSITION TO THE SENATE AND TALK ABOUT IT IN A RELEVANT AND GRANULAR WAY. THE INTERESTING QUESTION IS, AS WE HEAD FURTHER INTO THE CAMPAIGN, WILL HE BE ABLE TO TALK ABOUT THE ISSUES GOING ON AT A NATIONAL LEVEL THAT IMPACTS ARIZONA AND THIS REGION.
TED SIMONS: IDENTIFY A QUESTION, IS HE GOING TO STAY IN THE RACE? WILL HE RIDE THIS THING OUT?
ELVIA DIAZ: I THINK HE WILL. WHAT GETS ME IS NOT THAT HE IS IN THE RACE, BUT HOW MUCH MONEY HE'S BEEN ABLE TO RAISE, THE NUMBER OF SIGNATURES. THERE ARE STILL PEOPLE THAT LIKE HIM. THAT'S WHAT I DON'T UNDERSTAND.
LAURIE ROBERTS: THERE ARE PEOPLE SUPPORTING HIM. OF COURSE, HE'S GOING TO STAY.
TED SIMONS: KELLY WARD AMONG THOSE THAT LIKE JOE ARPAIO?
LAURIE ROBERTS: I DOUBT IT. THIS WEEK, ONE OF OUR REPORTERS REPORTED THAT WARD'S CAMPAIGN MANAGER LAST WEEK TWICE MET WITH JOE ARPAIO AND TRIED TO GET HIM TO LEAVE THE RACE DANGLING A PAID JOB GIVING SPEECHES IN THE PRO TRUMP TRACK BECAUSE HE TAKES VOTES FROM HER, HER FEAR, I'M SURE, SHE WOULDN'T SAY IT PUBLICLY, BUT THAT THEY SPLIT THE VOTE AND MCSALLY SAILS IN.
TED SIMONS: THAT'S THE SCHEMATIC, ISN'T IT?
ABE KWOK: HE WILL PAVE THE WAY, CONVENTIONAL WISDOM IS MARTHA MCSALLY TO ENTER THE GENERAL ELECTION.
TED SIMONS: WILL THIS BE A SERIOUS CAMPAIGN? JOE ARPAIO'S RUN FOR SENATE?
ELVIA DIAZ: SERIOUS ENOUGH TO TAKE VOTES AWAY? YES. A SERIOUS CANDIDATE? NO. LOOK WHAT HE DID AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE. I DON'T DISMISS HIM.
TED SIMONS: DO YOU DIFFER WITH DONALD TRUMP ON ANYTHING?
LAURIE ROBERTS: DOESN'T ANYONE ELSE WANT TO ASK A QUESTION? SOMEONE ELSE ASKED THE SAME QUESTION. HE FINALLY SAID NO.
TED SIMONS: GREAT CONVERSATION. GOOD TO HAVE YOU ALL HERE. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. MONDAY, JOIN US FOR A MEMORIAL DAY SHOW. WE'LL LOOK AT OTHER PROGRAMS TO HONOR THOSE THAT HELPED SERVE. THAT'S IT FOR NOW. I'M TED SIMONS. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. YOU HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND.
A special edition of Journalists’ Roundtable invites opinion writers and columnists to talk about Uber taking driverless cars out of the state and changes in City Hall.
Arizona loses Uber driverless cars
Uber pulled their driverless cars out of Arizona a day before the federal government was going to come out with a report. In March, a driverless Uber was involved in a fatal accident as it hit a woman crossing the street in Tempe.
The National Transportation Safety Board says the woman shouldn’t have been crossing the road where she was and that there was methamphetamine in her body, but Uber is also at fault. Uber had previously disengaged the automatic braking system which causes the car to stop when it detects something six seconds before impact. The human in the vehicle was looking down and was not aware of the incident because the disengagement of the safety system also caused no alarm to go off for the passenger.
“Why would you have the emergency braking system of both Uber software and the Volvo factory install system turned off?” says Abe Kwok, deputy opinions editor at AZ Central. “That means it would suggest to the average person that the human driver is monitoring the road. In this case she wasn’t. It raises questions that Uber hasn’t talked about and the governor’s office hasn’t talked about.”
One of the areas of concern when it comes to the governor’s office is that there is no sign of oversight with the Uber driverless runs. The cars are licensed like any other car, then the local government defers to the federal government.
“They [Uber] aren’t telling us exactly how they’re managing the program,” says Alvia Diaz, La Voz editor and editorial columnist. “That’s why we had been tough on Governor Ducey and saying it’s on him because he’s the one that allowed this company to come and do this without oversight. It is on him for allowing this.”
While Uber is now out, there are still transparency issues, Kwok says. The public has no way of knowing how many companies are currently testing driverless cars, where they’re operating and when.
Arizona education chief v. evolution
State Superintendent Diane Douglas is proposing that evolution be removed from state science standards, and educational materials should include wording that suggests evolution “may” be the explanation to biology.
“I think she wants a curriculum that casts considerable doubt about whether it’s really the way we evolved,” says Laurie Roberts, metro columnist at AZ Central . “Of course, 99.9999 percent of scientists are pretty sure this is the fundamental backbone of biology.”
Kwok says once the recommendation reaches out for public input it will be shut down. Even if “more reasoned folks” prevail, he says, “it is not our best moment.”
Control of public records
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery has released a request for police departments to go through him for public record requests. Montgomery says he’s already been doing this for three years, but his new proposal comes with a penalty if police departments don’t go through him.
“He’s not the boss of the police, first of all,” Roberts says. “I think he’s trying to do more than just standardize this thing… In a time of controversy about police shootings I would think that the police as well as the public want to be able to see what happened here. He’s a prosecutor, and prosecutors never want to release anything.”
Kwok mentions in the county attorney’s letter he says the demand for videos from the body cameras worn by police officers have been in such high demand that they’re being “inconsistently applied.”
“The timing of this whole thing doesn’t seem coincidental,” Roberts says. “He writes this letter and sends it out just as Chief Williams [of the Phoenix Police Department] is about to unveil her transparency policy.”
Stanton announces for Congress
Mayor Greg Stanton announced last week that he will be resigning from office effective this week so he can run for Congress. He will be running for the Congressional District 9 seat currently held by Kyrsten Sinema, who is running for U.S. Senate.
The two major contenders to fill his seat are Democratic council members Kate Gallego and Daniel Valenzuela. Republican Moses Sanchez has also announced he will be running, but Kwok doesn’t expect the Democrats to lose power in city council.
“Phoenix has been a home for progressives and Democrats for a long time,” Kwok says. “I don’t see the dynamics changing dramatically. I think that some of the issues underlying issues that are at the center of the elections will have to be dealt with including pension reform and the safety needs of the city.”
Arpaio Senate run official
Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio turned in more than 10,000 signatures when he announced his Senate run was official. Roberts says Arpaio experienced his first hiccup right off the bat, as he was unable to answer questions during the impromptu press conference.
Diaz says she thinks he will ride it out for as long as he is able to. She says he’s serious enough to take votes away from other candidates, but he himself is not a serious candidate.