Journalists Year-Ender

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José Cárdenas talks with journalists Ruben Hernandez from Latino Perspectives Magazine and Richard Ruelas and Richard de Uriarte of the Arizona Republic about issues that made news in 2006.

Jose Cardenas:
Good evening, I'm Jose Cardenas. Welcome to a special edition of Horizonte. This is our annual year end Review show. Tonight we'll talk to Journalists about issues making news this year and also some of their predictions for 2007. From the immigration debate to the growing Latino impact on Politics and the community. Over the next half hour, our Panel of journalists will talk about these topics and more Coming up next on Horizonte.

Jose Cardenas:
Our roundtable of journalists tonight are Richard Ruelas, Columnist with the Arizona Republic , Richard de Uriarte, editorial writer also for the Arizona Republic , and Ruben Hernandez, senior editor for Latino Perspectives Magazine.

Jose Cardenas:
Gentlemen welcome to Horizonte this special edition our year end review. As before when we've got the two Richards on one will be Richard D. And one Richard r. To make Things different. And I'll go to the d. One.

Richard de Uriarte:
That's because I'm 60 today?

Jose Cardenas:
That's one factor. But you've been around. And what was the big issue you think for 2006 as it impacts Latinos?

Richard de Uriarte:
Well, I think clearly the General elections reflected the National and statewide concern about immigration. It didn't play out as predicted Earlier or predicted by certainly republican Conservatives as a driving Issue. It didn't turn out that way. But still, there's a lot of Polarization, a lot of divisiveness, a lot of uncertainty and unease in the country and in the state.

Jose Cardenas:
Richard Ruelas, was it a bigger issue, though, among Hispanics than the Iraq war which seemed to be what compelled a lot of voters to vote against the Republican Party this year?

Richard Ruelas:
It seemed that both sides had to run towards enforcement and Say that they are stepping up Talking tough on the border. For Latinos I think there were other issues in play. I think for most Arizonans there Was an awakening. You have these two marches that Let people realize, there's a Lot of people here marching and Showing a show of their rights. And maybe when you get to the Elections talk of building a Border wall or just sending them all back, people realize that's just not feasible anymore. We need to find candidates who speak about solutions rather Than just throwing out Statements.

Jose Cardenas:
Ruben, Latino Perspective's Perspective -- no pun intended -- was immigration as big an issue as the two Richards think it was?

Ruben Hernandez:
It is a big issue, particularly for citizen Latinos. Which citizen Latinos have Divisions and different opinions on immigration. I don't believe it's as big as The Iraq war, education, and the Economy. But immigration continues to Impact the citizen Latino even in very negative ways. And I think this was kind of the Frustration on the part of Citizen Latinos, too, to get in to say, you know, we're not Immigrants. We have been here for Generations and we are part of the fabric of this community. We're not segmented special Interest anymore. We are the community. And you have to pay attention to Us.

Richard de Uriarte:
And to the extent that Latinos are middle class and Live in middle class areas adjacent to areas where Immigrants come, in immigrants Do have -- create problems Within neighborhoods when you Have dozens of cars, more cars On a street parked on driveways In streets and in yards where loud parties or makeshift homes, You know, where you have Additions and trailers attached To the house by a cord. Those are all kind of zoning Issues and neighborhood issues People get upset about.

Jose Cardenas:
Richard does that explain the Seeming couldn't diction between The backlash on the republican Party for having gone too far on The immigration and yet the Illegal immigration pass by such Margins you knew there had to be A large amount of Latino voters Voting for them.

Richard de Uriarte:
Yes. There were a couple of things that appear to make sense, Appear to make general common Sense. Like if I'm paying for my kids to go to college, why should I be subsidizing somebody else's Kids from some other place?

Jose Cardenas:
Talking about Prop 300.

Richard de Uriarte:
Price. And you know, there are other arguments that are more Long-range. But in propositions, if you can't explain it in a single Sentence you're going to lose.

Richard Ruelas:
I think the reason those really passed huge was there was No opposition. The argument against all those didn't get made. Because no one was saying, let's not pass. This I think a lot of the Latino Activists already sort of had Their energy sapped by protect Arizona now from the last Election cycle and didn't really Have the energy to attack these Four propositions, which is too Bad. Because these, unlike protect Arizona now which was kind of Window dressing, these actually Affected people. In-state tuition, low bail. This stuff actually is going to make a major difference in the Community but there was no Opposition to any of these.

Ruben Hernandez:
I agree with Richard in looking at the post-election Analysis. When people look at what was the opposition, there was none. There was no organized opposition. I think part of its what Richard said, that the Immigration symbolism like the Marchs and the press conferences Is taking away from the broader movement of -- this affects us All. The opposition should have been Citizen Latinos saying this affects us all. And we have to look at the repercussions and unintended ripples of this negatively on us and we need to oppose. It that isn't happening. They're saying, well, it's an immigration issue. Let the immigrants deal with it.

Richard Ruelas:
It would be Democrats who were opposed largely to these Initiatives. Maybe as a democrat you don't want to appear soft on immigration by going against these propositions. You want to allow democrats to maybe take some legislative seats, you want to make sure the Governor has an easy pass in and maybe switch over some Congressional districts.

Richard de Uriarte:
Precisely.

Jose Cardenas:
The marches before, Richard. Was there a backlash? The suggestion was it could have a negative impact on the Elections from the Latino Perspective. Did it happen?

Richard de Uriarte:
Yes. There was a negative impact or a little backlash. But yet, by the same token, as Richard Ruelas mentioned, it was an awakening for many people. How many people there are and How many businesses are affected and how much --

Richard Ruelas:
How many businesses had their Employees ask, can I get the day off to go March? Could I not show up to house sit today?

Richard de Uriarte:
There's always an immediate Backlash saying, what are these People doing here? And when did I lose my country? But by the same token, that didn't have a lot of effect either way in the general Elections where it counts. A there wasn't a great, great Influx of new Latino voters that The general thrust in Arizona And across the country is you're Going to have more Latinos Voting as they get older. But by the same token, the Backlash did not seem to elect more angry people to the Legislature or anywhere else. One of the key young or new freshman legislators who tried was Don Hesselbrock. He lost in district 11 a silk Stocking phoenix district. I think that Harry Mitchell Beating J.D. Hayworth could be explained by the immigration not working.

Richard Ruelas:
And Randy Graf who ran on Nothing but immigration in Southern Arizona .

Jose Cardenas:
If you pitch immigration you got to appear tough on it but not too tough or too focused otherwise you lose the election.

Richard Ruelas:
I think it shows that people Are looking for something beyond Just a wall, and that these Candidates weren't attractive Beyond saying, let's kick them All out. We're talking Graf, Munsil to The extent that he made immigration an issue, and a Little bit of hey ward. That hey ward race was more on the personality of the two men Involved.

Richard de Uriarte:
Its attitude. The people don't like angry People looking like they're Anti-anybody.

Ruben Hernandez:
I'm thinking you have to give the voter more credit than has been given to this point. Because they saying, look at. marches, immigration, that's only a small part of how I live and my lifestyle. They're looking at moving to the broader issues, particularly citizen Latinos. Look at, we have problems, Perennial. Dropouts. I mean, sure, proposition 300 is going to affect a small pool of undocumented students. But the larger issues affect us all as a Latino community. We have to from the symbolic gestures to meaningful change. I think that's going on.

Richard Ruelas:
If anything it might be the Last cycle where it's a huge wedge issue. They hoped the same sex marriage amendment would bringous conservative Christian voters for Len Munsil. The same thought was let's bring out these immigration proposals.

Richard de Uriarte:
Ironically what I think it Did is all this uproar, Hullabaloo brought out more conservatives in the primaries which then created problems for them in the general because they were far too right wing, let's Say.

Jose Cardenas:
Richard, you mentioned Munsil and Richard d. The governor had a huge huge victory. I think she was surprised at that margin, I think everybody was that it didn't move from the initial polls really to voting day. Perhaps just trying to put the best face on it, the republicans are saying that's because she ran on our platform. Cutting taxes or they claim responsibility for, cutting taxes, being tough on immigration. What do you think of that?

Richard de Uriarte:
Well, she has run now three legislative sessions contrary to what they wanted. They found plenty of -- to argue with her that she's not one of them. Len Munsil clearly ran on a platform of "I'm a legislative Republican. And I'm true." The public turned its back on that philosophy, at least in the Governor's race. The governor works hard, she appears to look like she likes it. She's very competent. They make very few mistakes. They're out there. And she appeals to the swing voters, which are independents, rural democrats and moderate Republican women. And if you get those three, there's no way you're going to Beat them.

Richard Ruelas:
Even look at Republican Primary to show how immigration as a wedge issue I. Don Goldwater should have been the republican candidate if Immigration is your issue, because he was the toughest Talking on the border. Munsil comes out with a little more experience in public policymaking and with the backing of senator MCcain and beats Goldwater's tough border talk in that primary.

Jose Cardenas:
When we -- we talked about the elections let's talk about Perhaps the result of those. The governor seems to have Coattails. It's not the veto-proof Legislature the republicans were -- democrats were hoping for?

Ruben Hernandez:
They were pretty open about it. They targeted district 24 for defeat. She switched from the house to the senate and she won. I mean, by a narrow margin but she won. So that was blocked. Then you had Rebecca Rios being returned to the senate and another Latina elected from Southern Arizona . So it definitely was not as they had planned. The blueprint for veto-proof legislature did not happen.

Jose Cardenas:
So what does this mean for the upcoming legislative Session? What are we going to see in the Area of immigration, for Example?

Ruben Hernandez:
Well, you're going to see a Little bit more cooperation as We did -- the democrats did win Some seats in the house and added seats and in the senate. But again, you need a nonpartisan cooperation to get anything done. And the republicans are still in the majority. They still have an agenda. And although the democrats are a Bit more powerful and grown in strength, they still have to deal with the republican majority.

Jose Cardenas:
Richard, I move on to Post-election a little too quickly because there is one other election we haven't talked about that may have an impact here in Arizona and that's the Results of the Mexican Presidential election. What do you think is going to happen here as a result of the Turmoil that we're seeing down There?

Richard Ruelas:
Chaos in Mexico means more Immigrants coming up to Arizona . Because they're fleeing a dire situation that's going to continue to get worse if people are not willing to invest, if people are not willing to move their business there and create new industries. It means that this problem continues.

Jose Cardenas:
Richard d., in terms of Legislative action your thoughts?

Richard de Uriarte:
I suspect that they'll still be action on immigration. One will be -- I think you'll still find an effort to give -- To authorize and empower local Police to enforce immigration laws as a first contact. Even though they don't want that Authority. The police basically argue, as The mesa police chief and Phoenix police chiefs argue, we Need a good relationship in the community to find out these Kinds of serial killers and Shooters and gangs and that kind of information because these are The places that they work out. There'll also be an effort -- I think probably democrats will Support it -- for employer Sanctions on a statewide level. Now, I don't know what that will incur, who will pay for it, how they'll create a force to Enforce it. But I think it is in the Strategy there. The entire strategy from the national -- you're not going to Get immigration reform unless you put more pressure on that we've got to resolve this problem.

Richard Ruelas:
Quietly at the beginning of the year the governor had the State become part of the federal Basic pilot program, just a quick verification of social security numbers. It's gone smoothly. And she and speaker weiers both Wanted to extend that this coming session and maybe have cities and municipals have their Employees run through the basic Pilot and maybe extend it to Anyone who runs business through The state run their names Through. It's not foolproof but it does give us a little more measure of how many workers would be gone, Expunged if we decided to suddenly throw everybody out.

Jose Cardenas:
What about a fence on the Borders? That issue dead now in a Democrat-controlled congress?

Richard Ruelas:
Let's hope. Because it's a lot of money that would go -- it's like a sink Hole. It's the biggest money pit home Remodelling project you could envision. And even when they passed it, they passed it without funding it fully just to be able to come Home in their districts and rally around and say that they got the fence going.

Jose Cardenas:
Ruben, last week we had on one of the -- the high school Students who were detained near The Canadian border. One of them was here since age two and he will be affected by Proposition 300 as he pursues His graduate studies. The dream act in congress is a solution for that. Do you think it will pass?

Ruben Hernandez:
I don't think it will pass. But I think there may be some -- Not at the federal level. I think it will be discussed. I think the issue will be Brought to light that we can't Marginalize our best and our brightest. And some of those are. Some of those were valedictorians for high school graduations and now are being blocked from going to the Universities and colleges and community colleges. I think there will be some kind of movement even within the State legislature by Latino Legislators to affect some remedy, to have some kind of a Bill passed that would ease the Burden or provide some kind of amnesty if you want to use that word to the students. Because we cannot send the message we don't want the best and brightest of Latino immigrant families to succeed. We'd be shooting ourselves in the foot if we sent that message. It's going to go down to the high schools, not the colleges. The immigrant kids in the same situation are going to say what are we working so hard for? We're going nowhere.

Jose Cardenas:
Speaking about the Legislatures, what kind of Influence wills the Latino caucus have this year in the Arizona Legislature?

Richard de Uriarte:
I think that as Reuben had talked earlier, there'll be a Few more than there were. But the Latino influence at the Legislature occurs if the Democratic Party has more Influence. And it will be in that way. I do disagree. I don't think that having more Democrats will affect in congress making them having more courage or not doing things that will look good and will, you know, cut -- I think they'll partially fund a fence and pretend that it's going to accomplish something.

Jose Cardenas:
They didn't last year. There was a big bill.

Richard de Uriarte:
They'll continue ponying it Up. They're not going to pay 700 million to accomplish just a few miles. But I think that the end of -- We will continue to have a phony Legislation that appears to solve the political problem. I do expect some run at congressional reform that would include the dream act, include a stepped up border enforcement, include a guest worker program, or at least do something actually more sensible, just increase visas to 400,000 or something like that. It will abandon the three-tiered system that was part of the final fence bill.

Richard Ruelas:
I'm more optimistic than you. I think if we run tape, last year I predicted the passage of The dream act and obviously it went nowhere. But do I think that democrats have some cover now. They can say, we got elect today change and to make it so we're not just posturing anymore and this is an issue we really need to tackle. The dream act being an easy one. That's one thing to allow a willing worker with a willing Job. But these are children who are now become -- are highly educated and can't use their Education in this country now.

Jose Cardenas:
Two other issues that are much harder at the local level, anyway, the Andrew Thomas, Sheriff Arpaio on the one side on the smuggling laws versus a legislature that says that's not what we meant and then day labor. Whatever your thoughts about it?

Richard Ruelas:
I think you have the Andrew Thomas cases. A lot of them have been adjudicated but most have gone through plea deals. Those that have gone through a Judge have not had as good a fate. We had a judge toss one out, one Scheduled this week. I think you're going to see those slowly diminish. I don't know whether the Political bang for the buck is what he wanted out of it. And Arpaio this week met with Janet Napolitano and the new Head of ice, Mr. Pena, to talk about ways to have ice show up if police think they need him in the stash houses which a Major issue was before. But if arpaio cease himself Aligning more with federal Authorities and the governor that's aligning less so with Andrew Thomas.

Jose Cardenas:
What about day labor centers?

Ruben Hernandez:
Well, they're very unpopular. They're pulling funding. Even the Latino groups have sort of backed off of them because of the political and maybe even fundraising repercussions for their own organizations.

Jose Cardenas:
And yet the experts seem to think that's the single best solution you can have to many of these issues that arise from Migrant labor.

Ruben Hernandez:
We're talking the world of Immigration debate. And there's no logic to it. These initiatives that were passed are going to crash into the way the real world works. It's just a lot of emotion; it's a lot of frustration. And it's very symbolic, I think. But yes, there is a need for day labor centers. We have a lot of immigrants on the streets and workers. And we need to keep our Community safe. We need to keep them safe.

Jose Cardenas:
Richard?

Richard de Uriarte:
Yes. I completely agree. The problem, outside the Immigration problem, is that they're on the streets or hanging around parking lots in groups and they intimidate old ladies who come in or create problems with the flow of traffic. And they intimidate customers from not going into legitimate businesses that may or may not hire them.

>> [overlapping speakers]

Richard de Uriarte:


That's the key argument for the day labor center, which I think is the solution. Except it's a solution that has No political support. Because as the mayor wants everybody to talk about it and Come up with a solution, but this is not something that Phoenix or chandler or Gilbert or anyone else, any city, can Do. It be illegal for them to put Money into it.

Richard Ruelas:
It's a solution that no one can really champion because they're afraid. Again, political cover is the Issue here. No one can come forward about it.

Jose Cardenas:
We've got a little over two Minutes left. I want from each of you your Major prediction for next year and also if there are any up and Comers you think we'll be seeing a lot more of in the Latino Community this next year.

Ruben Hernandez:
Major prediction, we'll have A Latino on the city council of Phoenix in next year's election. Now, I'm not going to predict who it is because there's probably two or three running. But we will have a Latino.

Jose Cardenas:
or Latina.

Ruben Hernandez:
Exactly. And in terms of -- also just another quick prediction is that you'll probably see the sports Championships that we have here in the valley being used by the Immigrant advocates for civil rights battles. In other words, the super bowl and the B.C.S. I think will be a foe cuts -- will become a focus of the unjust immigrant, Anti-immigrant movement going on there.

Jose Cardenas:
Are you suggesting there might be organized boycotts?

Ruben Hernandez:
I'm suggesting there might be a march against the B.C. S.

Jose Cardenas:
You heard it here first.

Richard Ruelas:
Wow.

Richard Ruelas:
Statewide I think some sort of employer sanction beefing up. And I do have hope that there's some easing in the congress on some sort of guest worker Program, possibly the dream act. As an up and comer, Andy Camacho is up for the state democratic Chair. We'll see if he wins that.

Jose Cardenas:
What about Paul Luna going from the presidency of United Way , pretty prom than the position in the community, to heading up one of the largest foundations in Arizona , edios, education focus?

Richard Ruelas:
Anything that would help to Bring focus to education, Especially education dealing With Latino education which gets us to English language learner Helps bring focus and he can help the people in the community see the need for English language learner education and The dream act.

Richard de Uriarte:
I think that we will make a big run at congressional reform Led by john McCain. And if it will pass in a McCain Kennedy format, not a Hagel-martinez which was more for republican consumption. This one will be more labor and more -- I think as for rising up and comers, we need people who will build bridges. We need people in --

Jose Cardenas:
Anybody in particular in Mind?

Richard de Uriarte:
A restaurant owner, a contractor that will say the Truth about -- or the facts about what the realities of --

Jose Cardenas:
Richard Ruelas, Richard de Uriarte and Ruben Hernandez, Thanks for joining me. . As always, to see transcripts or find out more information on "Horizonte" go to our website, Azpbs.org and click on Horizonte That's our show for tonight and for the year. We thank you for joining us. I'm Jose Cardenas. For all of us here, we want to wish you a safe and happy Holiday . Good night.

Announcer:
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Richard Ruelas: Columnist, Arizona Republic;

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