Journalists’ Year in Review

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Host José Cárdenas sits down with journalists Ruben Hernandez of Latino Perspectives Magazine and Arizona Republic’s Richard de Uriarte to look back at the issues and stories that made news in 2007.

José Cardenas:
I'm José Cardenas. Welcome to a special edition of Horizonte. Tonight, we bring you our 2007 year-end review show, where valley journalists discuss issues and highlights making news this year. They will also make some of their own predictions for 2008-- from the immigration debate to the growing Latino impact on politics, economy, and businesses. Over the next half hour, we will talk about these topics and more next on Horizonte.

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José Cardenas:
Our journalists tonight are: Richard de Uriarte, editorial writer for "the Arizona Republic" and Ruben Hernandez, managing editor for "Latino Perspectives" magazine. Gentlemen, thanks for joining us on Horizonte. You've both been here before. I promised Ruben I would give him credit for predictions he made, some of them years ago.

José Cardenas:
Such as that Mitt Romney would be running for president and more recently that there would be demonstrations at the BCS championship bowl. At the end of the show we'll talk about your predictions for next year and see if you have as high of a success rate. But this year the two topics that seem to have dominated were immigration and a whole bunch of things happening at the state legislature. Let's start with immigration. The most current topics, Richard, employer sanctions.

Richard de Uriarte:
Well, you know, I guess if you have to compare -- if you were an immigrant you had a bad 2007 and 2008 might look even worse.

José Cardenas:
In Arizona.

Richard de Uriarte:
In Arizona. Especially an undocumented immigrant. I think the employer sanctions is set now to go on, to take effect next year. There is still a court pending to enjoin the start-up date. But you can assume that this is going to be going into effect, you know. And where employers, where for the last -- for decades people have come in and found jobs and with a wink now are going to really face being -- being checked out and losing their jobs. Not only new hires, but now it seems to be that they're going to have all employers.

Jose Cardenas:
And that's why the concern is not necessarily just bad for immigrants, but that this is bad for the state which is dealing with a budget deficit that may approach $1 billion.

Richard de Uriarte:
Well, which is -- I think even the latest figures indicate that immigrants, the immigrants make up about 8 to 9% of the economic production, about 10 to 12% of the people employed, labor participation of Hispanics is the highest of any ethnic group. You know, and that's a significant element when you talk construction, which will be down, anyway, but resorts in the Super Bowl year, of landscaping, restaurants, tourism, and all kinds of service industries to feed a population that is growing enormously.

Jose Cardenas:
Reuben, was employer sanctions the biggest immigration issue of the year?

Ruban Hernandez:
There were two. One was recently announced and we'll talk about that shortly, I'm sure. But the employer sanctions has the great danger of, you know, basically these are federal matters for the most part. It has a great danger of unintended consequences, that our legislators, they aren't educated in national issues as much as they are in state politics. And I think that things they pass like these, they don't see the unintended effects such as discriminatory practices against brown folks, basically. So an employer does not want to hire anybody who looks brown just so they won't have to mess with all that legal work, you know, all the paperwork. I'm already hearing that out in the community, that some companies are saying, I'm not even going to mess with Latino employees.

Richard de Uriarte:
But that assumes you have a choice, that there are -- whether it's in construction or landscaping or restaurants, you know, my son-in-law worked as a manager and hirer of a restaurant. And employers will hire anyone who promises to come back the next day and give a good account for himself or herself in the days. And that's why the economy -- that's why the managers and the employers in the main nature businesses of Arizona are fighting, contesting this law. It's not because they have any affection for ethnicity. They'll hire my grandmother, if she were alive if she'd come back the next day and work. They need good workers. And the immigrants have been good workers.

Jose Cardenas:
Ruben, the other major topic is the mayor's announcement --

Ruban Hernandez:
Right. Right now and next year is going to be the best of times and worst of times for Latinos, to paraphrase a famous writer.

Jose Cardenas:
Richard de Uriarte. Who wishes he had said that.

Ruban Hernandez:
Yes. Basically, it's a double whammy for the Latino community from a Latino perspective. You have employer sanctions coming on, so it's going to dampen the business sector and hiring of Latino job seekers. Going to dampen their spirits definitely if this place out in a negative way. Then you have this, which is a change in the order, giving police how they handle immigration status, whether they're asking or not. For the past 20 years it's been don't ask, don't tell on a lot of things. You know, victims weren't asked. Mostly, to put it in a nutshell, on serious crimes they could ask and they did.

Richard de Uriarte:
Police management have always defended their operations order 1.4 for several reasons. First of all, they said, it's not -- they defend it, Jack Harris most eloquently and Chief Gascon in Mesa, first of all, it helps to bridge the community, who are very often the victims but also the eyes and ears of police. What did police try to do in the last 20-years? What is the single most important effective tool police have been using is community policing. Getting to know the local people, getting them to cooperate, through block watches, through all kinds of cooperative mechanisms, knowing the kids of the neighborhood. This is a chilling effect, this immediately creates a potential danger that any person whose undocumented, that their normal encounter with a police officer, not involving crime, will become a problem for them or their parents.

Jose Cardenas:
So -- so what happened this year, Richard, out there? They would take somebody who had been a staunch defender of the policy, Mayor Gordon, he ran on that in his election. What happened to make him basically people think he switched positions?

Richard de Uriarte:
I think Casey Newton of the republic's city hall reporter characterized it when he said the center moved to the right. We can debate what happened. But in even the election in the summer, or September 7th, Steve Lory who challenged the mayor was making this point. Sanctuary city, sanctuary city, sanctuary city. You know, sanctuary means an entirely different thing in immigration terms than what the city of Phoenix police department is doing. But I think with the murder of officer erfle --

Jose Cardenas:
Which this policy would not have impacted.

Richard de Uriarte:
In fact, ironically Mr. Martinez had been deported. He came back within a few months or a few weeks, was picked up in Scottsdale. But the police, knowing how well he spoke English and how he was acclimated, which is another irony in all of this, let him go because he was -- but with the Phoenix police got him on jaywalking and they were just about to -- to call for warrants on him. And at that moment, obviously, this is going to be all litigated and adjudicated. But apparently Mr. Martinez, then figuring out that they might deport me again, that's when he -- the confrontation became immediate.

Jose Cardenas:
Ruben, other issues. Richard mentioned elections. But this year we saw the implementation, the full implementation of the -- what some would describe as anti-immigrant measures that had been on the ballot. Prop 300 being one of them. What do you have to say about that one?

Ruben Hernandez:
Well, the effects already being seen. Some schools are reporting, some higher education schools are reporting that they have lower Latino enrollment. That's significant. And they're pointing to that, the proxy against Latino students, not against but regulating Latino student and their legality is having a ripple effect that was predicted but it's playing out. And there have been other, you know, coupled with the change in the police order, employer sanctions, that, prop 100, the bail not so much. But these are cumulative effects of putting a chill, not on just the immigrant community -- and that's the point -- but citizen Latinos are becoming more and more concerned. I was at a town hall last week that spoke of the police order changed or directive to look at it, study it. And there was a lot of fear, there was a lot of pair now, a lot of anger -- paranoia, from citizen immigrants not the illegals. That's the point.

Richard de Uriarte:
This is sad. I think we've talked about that whole affair. Prop 300, by going after the sons and daughters of immigrants, who have lived here all their lives, are graduates of Arizona schools and are -- are making progress towards an advanced degree, all the things which we like to think is part of America, part of the magic of America, bringing them in. They're cut off from that. And they're cut off, as you said, from the community college, which is often a lower-run or first rung to an advanced degree. I think that's why Michael Crowe initiated this Sun Devil Promise and finding private funds to help those students, you know, a few dozen, a few hundred students, to continue their education. Because ultimately, these kids have nowhere else to go.

Jose Cardenas:
What does it say about the depth of anti-immigrant sentiment that dr. Crowe is being accused of thwarting the will of the people by using private funds in a matter that he thinks and university lawyers think are consistent with Prop 100 to make up the difference between in-state tuition and out-of-state tuition?

Richard de Uriarte:
Well, you know, we all live in an age. And to me it's really sad that we thought our generation has gone past that. And, you know, the ethnic tensions. And to a great degree, America is better now than we were in 1958. But the secret of American history is -- or the untold secret is that we've always hated immigrants. We have always hated immigrants, from Benjamin Franklin not liking the Germans to the Italians and the Catholic Irish and the Scotch Irish and the Greeks. They've all gone through this.

Jose Cardenas:
Franklin later in life regretted. Is that going to happen here? Are we going to look back at this period of time in Arizona history with a sense of shame?

Ruben Hernandez:
I think we will. And I was relieved, too, that it is all brought out and we can deal with it straight on. Having just finished a series on Latino history in the Phoenix area, particularly in Phoenix, this has occurred. Richard is right. This is a recurring pattern with immigration, with discrimination, with the push/pull of the Latino community, needing them to work but not wanting them to take leadership roles, high social positions, those kind of things. So it's a historical thing here in Phoenix. And I think it will play out. And we will look back in shame.

Richard de Uriarte:
Oh, yeah.

Jose Cardenas:
Now, this falls over into the political arena. Some is political. We a talked about the ballot positions. But Andrew Thomas, Joe Arpaio, immigration an issue in the forefront for them. And Andrew Thomas got into a skirmish earlier in the year with the superior courts over the enforcement of proposition 100, dealing with bail for undocumented detainees.

Richard de Uriarte:
Andrew Thomas, especially even now with the employment sanctions law, he looks like to be the immigration czar of Arizona. He'll have that much power as far as investigations, which investigations he chooses to pursue, which he doesn't, on which evidence. You know, I suspect, hopefully, that they'll do a good job of review of evidence and not make these anonymous witch hunts for one employer to go after competition. But it's ironic, because when he ran for office he said, stop immigration and everybody accused him of saying of making up a phony issue for the county attorney.

Ruben Hernandez:
County attorney should know better.

Richard de Uriarte:
Now he does.

Jose Cardenas:
And so does Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Now he has his memorandum of understanding with I.C.E., some suggest that he has gone well beyond what that memorandum would permit. But he's really focused on that this year.

Ruben Hernandez:
Really focused. A lot is political posturing. He has some political power right now, wand to expand that. In cahoots with the county attorney. They are pretty much both the czars or mini czars of immigration here. And they are beating their political drum very, very hard. Sheriff Joe just got slapped with a lawsuit alleging racial profiling, so that I think there'll be more. I think there'll be more of those cases. He's now in a budget crunch because of some of the enforcement in that area, which Phoenix police might find, too, when they come to that hill, that it's going to be hard to get over that in terms of the time and the money when you should be following your main directive and that's serious crimes. I think Joe is going to get -- he's getting a lot of publicity right now. But I think he's going to get in some hot water budget-wise. And definitely losing his respect in the Latino community.

Richard de Uriarte:
Well, and other things that Phoenix police have been reluctant to do or reluctant to get in this. A, it hurts -- it takes away, hours and hours, from the time that you're going to spend on serious crime. Remember, Mark Goudeau of -- referred to as the Baseline Killer, lives at 29th Street and Pinchot which is a stone's throw from 36th Street and Thomas. You know, so as we put all of our forces on that, remember we had 800 officers working on that -- on the Baseline Killer, Baseline Rapist and killer aspects. And that's something that the Phoenix police have resisted. The problem is politically, to the normal Joe or Jane, the Sheriff seems to be striking out at something that -- that seems to be a problem. And unfortunately, the Myor, the moderate forces of business and community, have not been very effective to argue this all the time. And that's why the center has moved and the politicians move with it.

Jose Cardenas:
You know, we talked off-air about the fact that it's not all doom and -- there are a lot of positives developments. We have a Hispanic on the Phoenix city council. In a rather divisive race, one that divided the Hispanic community.

Ruben Hernandez:
But it is a historical trend. I think you're going to see more of this. What happened was with Mike Nowakowski beating district 7 and beating another qualified candidate. Laura Pastor.

Jose Cardenas:
What a huge surprise that he won.

Ruben Hernandez:
It was a surprise to many, particularly those in the Latino political establishment, 99% democrat. That congressman, very influential congressman's daughter could lose that race. But it pointed out to the trend that is developing not only here but across the country, both were moderate -- considered moderate in terms of -- he mentioned the right moving to the center. Well, this was the left, Latino candidate moving to the center. And these were folks that people who were not Latino constituents in their district would have a beer with. They could sit down with these folks and have a beer with them. Middle-class, higher-educated, community-oriented. So these were very viable candidates. It just seemed that Mike worked a little harder to beat -- with his volunteers on the street to win that.

Richard de Uriarte:
District 7 is a very diverse area, too. It's not just Hispanic. The historic districts of Phoenix, which form its northern portion, is a highly Anglo, highly affluent. And the primary went for Laura Pastor. And Ruth Ann Marston, who is a long-time principal there in the school districts there. But in the general, they and Laveen kind of all switched to Michael Nowakowski band was "enforce the law." What does that mean in this context? Now, Michael is, you know, works for or is general manager of the Spanish Language Radio Station. He's been long involved with the immigrant community, union community.

Jose Cardenas:
So when he said enforce the law, people would assume he's not talking about Sheriff Joe Arpaio definition of enforcing the law.

Richard de Uriarte:
No. But it sure didn't mean we're going to lay down the --

Jose Cardenas:
People who knew him would interpret it one way and --

Ruben Hernandez:
It could be interpreted several ways.

Richard de Uriarte:
Which was, I think, the point. He had a savvy political operation.

Jose Cardenas:
Any lingering effects of what seems to be some real resentment from the Pasteur community or supporters to Nokowski supporters?

Richard de Uriarte:
I haven't followed this as much. I think there is resentment, certainly even against the "Arizona Republic" which although editorially endorsed them, Michael Nowakowski -- or endorsed Laura Pastor, the news stories often were -- hit on Pasteur's qualifications. And so -- but I think that's the problem. I think the -- you know, these are all very, very personal -- years and years and not all of them. Michael Nowakowski will be a sincere advocate. He doesn't want to be the Mexican councilman. He wants to be his own person. It's interesting. As we were talking, the Latino voters make up a good portion of several districts in Claude Mattox's district and Tom Simplot's district. So a number of districts have a Latino constituency that makes people pay attention because of the growth factor.

Jose Cardenas:
And Ruben, other positive developments? I know you're involved in a venture, the arts and culture--

Ruben Hernandez:
I think you'll see more viable political candidates in district 7. Several other districts come to the forefront.

Jose Cardenas:
Maria Baier who also won --

Ruben Hernandez:
Thank you for reminding me about Maria. She's one-third Latina and she cooks tamales.

Jose Cardenas:
That's how she got your vote.

Ruben Hernandez:
I'm not in that district but that's how she got my attention because she has respect for the culture.

Jose Cardenas:
Culture is something I want to mention before we run out of time. That is a new venture you're involved in.

Ruben Hernandez:
I'm involved in organizing or helping to organize Latino artists and art groups into a group called advocates for Latino art and culture. It's a very significant step. There was a renaissance of Chicano art 20 years ago that resulted in great organizations being born, some great traditions laid down in terms of art like day of the dead festivities. But it's kind of gone backwards since then. And finding the -- the groups decided and artists decided why are we operating in isolation? Let's get a collective voice together. Advocate for more resources. Advocate for partnerships with the other art groups, mainstream art groups, instead of always, you know, getting the tail end of the budget. Let's advocate for more. And the main goal is for Latino cultural center.

Jose Cardenas:
And now we've come to the point in the show -- we've only got about a minute and a half left -- predictions for 2008. You go first, Ruben.

Ruben Hernandez:
Okay. Well, I would predict that if the order for the Phoenix police is changed, there will be lawsuits and it might have to revert back to what it was within the next year or two.

Jose Cardenas:
What impact does this have on Mayor Phil Gordon?

Ruben Hernandez:
I'm already getting rumblings from Latinos in the community who have supported him that they will probably pull or consider pulling their support.

Jose Cardenas:
And the democratic nominee for president will be?

Ruben Hernandez:
Hillary Clinton.

Jose Cardenas:
Okay. Richard? Your predictions for 2008.

Richard de Uriarte:
You know, I have the general-- think that operation 1.4 for police will be revised, and I don't think it will make much difference in the community. The way the police will enforce it. I think there are reasons why the status quo has worked. And it hasn't worked politically. So it gets revised. But on the street I do not think the police are going to want to spend four hours chasing landscapers.

Jose Cardenas:
We got about 30 seconds left. Does Joe Arpaio get his wings clipped because of this lawsuit?

Richard de Uriarte:
No. I think that it's kind of -- I don't want to make a historic comparison. But you know, ultimately this is going to play out. And I think that we're coming to -- when we look at Pruitt's, even if the immigrant side is seems to be losing the public relations war, there's a limit to how mean-spirited and angry and negative America will go or allow its leadership to go.

Jose Cardenas:
And a year from now we'll see which one of you is right. Or maybe.

Ruben Hernandez:
I won't crow so loud.

Jose Cardenas:
Okay. Well, that's our show for tonight. As always we thank you for watching. I'm Jose Cardenas. For all of us here at Horizonte we want to wish you and your family a safe and happy new year in 2008. Have a good evening.

Richard de Uriarte: Editorial writer, Arizona Republic;

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