Journalists’ Roundtable

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Host José Cárdenas sits down with journalists Ruben Hernandez of Latino Perspectives Magazine and The Arizona Republic’s Joe Garcia and Monica Alonzo-Dunsmoor to talk about issues and stories in the news.

>>José Cárdenas:
Good evening. I'm José Cárdenas. Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon continues his criticism of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's crime suppression operations while a ruling from Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas says what the Sheriff is doing is legal. The State Legislature makes changes to the State's Employer Sanctions Law. And the Governor makes a decision on law enforcement control when it comes to immigration. That's all coming up next, on "Horizonte".

>>Announcer:
Funding for "Horizonte" is provided by SRP.
SRP.'s business is water and power, But our dedication to the community doesn't stop there. SRP, delivering more than power.

>>José Cárdenas:
This is the Horizonte Journalists' Roundtable. Joining me is Ruben Hernandez, Managing Editor for "Latino Perspectives" Magazine. Monica Alonzo Dunsmoor, Editorial Writer for the "Arizona Republic", and Joe Garcia, Viewpoints Editor, also from the "Arizona Republic."

>>José Cárdenas:
Thank you all for joining us on Horizonte. Both the Mayor and the sheriff had been in the news recently, big interview in Sunday's "Republic". We had the Mayor on last week to talk about this battle that's going on between them. And I want to start there with a clip from that interview, where the Mayor is talking about the question, why aren't they just dealing with this privately, instead of this big public battle? We're going to have that up on the screen right now to talk about what he said.

>>Phil Gordon (in Video):
This was an attempt by our Phoenix Police - certainly backed by me - to work that out. And in the past, the Sheriff's Office and the City of Phoenix Police had a working relationship, in terms of advance notice and coordination as to operations by the Sheriff in whatever capacity within the City of Phoenix - just as every other agency does - so that undercover officers, patrolling officers, deputies, sheriffs' posses, and federal agents aren't jeopardized their safety and security, nor are the undercover operations jeopardized. The Sheriff's statement is very similar as to what you saw just a minute ago, which is "I'll do what I want to do." That tenor and those statements started to escalate a number of months ago, beginning after the first of the year. And as a result, he continues to state, even though individuals have contacted him or contacted me, to try to work through these things that he will do what he wants and he is not accountable, nor will he coordinate with the Phoenix Police or Mesa Police, Guadalupe Town Council, or anyone.

>>José Cárdenas:
Now, Joe, the Mayor was kind of suggesting that the Sheriff forced his hand, and forced him to make it a public confrontation. You just talked to the sheriff. Can you agree with that assessment?

>>Joe Garcia:
Well, you know, I think they both have made it a very public feud. And they both have constituencies - very well defined constituencies. So right now, you know, the battle ground, and if you will, the war is over the public perception, public opinion. And as you know, public opinion is very strong on both sides of the camp. So the feud is going to remain public, I think, until there's a declared winner.

>>José Cárdenas:
Well, did the Sheriff express any concern or regret about how he's being perceived by the Hispanic Community?

>>Joe Garcia:
You know - yeah, he's a pretty stubborn guy, and he's pretty steadfast in his beliefs. But there was, obviously, a certain aspect about him they think was hurt, because the Sheriff, I think he likes to see himself as the champion of all people, and he knows that right now, most of the Hispanic Community is not on his side. In fact, during the interview - it wasn't in the Sunday viewpoint's piece - but during the interview, he talked about how, at one point, he was the hero of the Hispanic Community when he ordered the arrest of a Reservist who held some suspected Illegal Immigrants at gunpoint. He arrested the person that held the gun, and he said he was "the hero" of the Hispanic community. Well now, he's saying he's the villain, and I don't think he likes that position. But at the same time, you know, he's pretty stubborn on where he's at, and his supporters are pretty much telling him to continue with his immigrant sweeps.

>>José Cárdenas:
Ruben, the Mayor, in that same interview, seemed to suggest that there's really no political gain for him, and that this was actually a risk for him. Most recent polls indicate that his popularity is remaining pretty high, too, comparable to the Sheriff's. Your assessment on that?

>>Ruben Hernandez:
Right, and he submitted a Guest Column to "Latino Perspectives, which is coming out today, in our May edition. And he's - the Mayor has been accused of lacking emotion a lot of times, and being a very classy kind of politician. He is very emotional about this issue now. One of the reasons is that one of his staffers he considers was racially profiled by the Sheriff's Deputies during the past months, and he took it very much to heart. But it also is a rising voice against the Sheriff by other elected officials like the Guadalupe Mayor, Guadalupe Town Council. Some police chiefs like George Gascón starting to chime in -

>>José Cárdenas:
The chief of Mesa?

>>Ruben Hernandez:
- Mesa Police Chief starting to chime in that the issues here aren't entirely political. You have Public Safety issues, disruption of local police in their own jurisdictions issues, going on with the Sheriff's brash tactics.

>>José Cárdenas:
Monica, so far, the action has seemed to be concentrated in Phoenix, Bell Road, and in the East Valley, Guadalupe and Mesa. Your focus is on the West Valley. How is this issue playing out there?

>>Monica Alonzo-Dunsmoor:
Well, there is a lot of concern in the west valley communities, amongst the Mayors, sort of just weighing and seeing if Arpaio is going to bring those "Crime Suppression Sweeps" out West. The tension that's there, the fear is there. You know, the racial profiling issue. And then, some of the things that Ruben pointed out, the fact that a community has to sort of brace for his appearance, for his suppressions that he brings in, and just making sure that they're prepared for that, that they're notified for that. So, there is concern. I can't say there's not a groundswell of support for having him out there. But sort of just taking a "wait and see" approach and trying to ride out that tension.

>>José Cárdenas:
Would the Mayors prefer that the Sheriff not come out there with his crime suppression efforts?

>>Monica Alonzo-Dunsmoor:
The ones that I spoke to said they would rather him not. One mayor, the Mayor from El Mirage said, "the law's the law", and he doesn't have a problem with Arpaio enforcing it, or going out there. However, he said that he would hope that all the stops are made legally, that there's enough Probable Cause., because that is one of his concerns to make sure that no Racial Profiling occurs in his community. He said that's something that they won't tolerate.

>>José Cárdenas:
And Joe, that is the issue that the Mayor of Phoenix has raised. And he's saying that the Sheriff is entitled to enforce the law, but he's breaking the law in the way he's doing it, and has filed a complaint with the - or asked for an investigation by the Justice Department.

>> Joe Garcia:
Yeah. And we'll see how that turns out, and the Sheriff said if it's determined that his Office is Racial Profiling, then he would change the tactics and the policies. But until then, he's going to continue. But I will point out that it's very difficult in this day and age to prove Racial Profiling. Because after 9/11, essentially, we allowed a great deal of Racial Profiling to go on. And because of that, the Justice Department hasn't prosecuted on any Racial Profiling cases, and I don't think they're going to start now.

>>José Cárdenas:
And yet, Bob Robb, perhaps the most Conservative columnist at the "Republic", has, in two successive weeks, come out with columns criticizing the sheriff and basically saying this is racial profiling, what you're doing. He supports immigration control efforts, but he says what the Sheriff is doing, because he's targeting Latino communities and going after areas where this high concentrations of Latinos, he says it's pretty obvious what the Sheriff is doing.

>>Joe Garcia:
Well, I think if you look at who you're after, of course you would be perceived in Racial Profiling if you're after Illegal Immigrants. And that's who you're after on these Crime Suppression, who are you going to target? It is going to be the Hispanic Community, because that is where many of the Illegal Immigrants are from, from Mexico or further south. They're Brown people. So of course that's where you're going to go. If you are going fishing, you know, you know where the fish are, you're going to go fishing there.

>>José Cárdenas:
His agreement with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), as I understand, it is that these immigration enforcement efforts are to be in conjunction with other crime suppression activities. So if there's other crime going on, and it turns out that people are here illegally, then he's got the people trained to make detentions for those reasons, as well as the original stop. So doesn't it look like racial profiling when the focus is on places where they think there'll be high concentrations of people who is only crime is being here - if it is a crime - being here illegally?

>>Ruben Hernandez:
You know, that is the issue that the Civil Rights experts and law enforcement bring up, in terms of being careful not to do that, not to select people on the basis of skin, for ethnicity, for selective enforcement. Basically, if you look at a DUI Checkpoint, they stop everybody, they ask everybody, you know, they question everybody. They don't just question the Latinos and wave everybody else through. That's the difference, and that's where the Racial Profiling accusations, and bases for belief that it's happening are occurring.

>>José Cárdenas:
Now this week, the Sheriff did make big news, in terms of a bust of "Coyotes", and the Mayor actually complimented him for doing his job, as opposed to going after people who, as the Mayor put it, are here as gardeners and working in restaurants. Monica, how does that play?

>>Monica Alonzo-Dunsmoor:
Well, I think that the fact that he's looking at people that are committing crimes other than what we've seen here without the proper documentation. You know, Phoenix has been doing that, that's been their focus. I used to cover City Hall. When they entered into the agreement with ICE officials, I mean, they embedded those agents into the Violent Crime Bureaus and those types of Investigative Bureaus, because the point is to go after the folks that are committing the crime, the people that are disrupting the community, creating violence and problems for the residents. And so I think that Gordon appraising Arpaio, in that sense, is sort of saying, well, it's kind of about time that you started focusing on the crimes that are violent, the criminal element, and not just people that are driving around with busted taillights or honking their horns and things, like, that getting more of a focus on removing a criminal element from the community does a lot more than say stopping someone who has a broken taillight.

>>José Cárdenas:
Well now, the Mayor expressed concern of retaliation by the Sheriff. Is he just being paranoid?

>>Monica Alonzo-Dunsmoor:
Well, I guess people would say that the Sheriff has sort of a track record of sort of going after his political opponents, or his political adversaries. So I don't know how far-fetched that would be, you know. Perhaps in the past, the sheriff has launched investigations into different folks that are his adversaries. So I don't know that he's being super paranoid by having that opinion.

>>José Cárdenas:
Joe, one of the other interesting things about the Sunday features was you had a Guest Column by the Marshall, the US Marshall for the District of Arizona, David Gonzales. And he basically said this is not an appropriate use of law enforcement resources.

>>Joe Garcia:
Yeah. And I think he really, you know, showed leadership in doing that. Because basically, he's sticking his neck out, if you will, and I think he was echoing what many Law Enforcement people believe. But again, everyone has careers, and everyone answers to constituents and so forth. But I think the US Marshall was showing that - here's a Federal official, the top law enforcement official, if you will, of the state of Arizona, Federal official, saying that no, you know, what we need is to go after the 59,000 Felony warrants that are out there in Arizona. You know, 42,000 in Maricopa County alone. Why aren't we serving these warrants? Why isn't the Sheriff's Office throwing things at people that have broken the law, that there's an arrest warrant out for them? These are criminals, as opposed to someone who the crime that they may have crossed the border without documentation. But that's a Misdemeanor crime when you come across the documentation. Until you've been deported and come back, it's a felony. I think it's the whole idea. I said it before, and Bill O'Reilley has gotten thousands of e-mails, aut if you arrest crooks and not cooks, I think that's a pretty good model to live by, and I think that's what Mr. Gonzales was saying.

>>José Cárdenas:
And on this issue of retaliation, Chief Gascón, months ago, raised the same concerns to basically the same position that Marshall Gonzales did, and the Sheriff then announced raids in Mesa.

>>Joe Garcia:
Yeah. I think there's some - I don't know if it was retaliatory, but certainly it was in your face, and it was taken that way. And it wasn't the cooperation between law enforcement agencies that you want, and I think that's what it's become, is just it's kind of a strange childish game, if you will, among some dangerous situations, because violence can escalate. If another department doesn't know what another department is doing, I mean, you have to have that communication. And Sheriff Joe says - he said in the interview, when he goes into Mesa, he will probably give two days' notice to Gascón as a courtesy. I probably will. I don't have to, but I probably will. So he even kind of recognizes there has to be, at least, that notification, although he fears Gascón, with the prior knowledge, will bring out the riot gear, will notify the protesters, and will actually be against it. So, Joe is fighting many public feuds, if you will, on many fronts. But he is solidly with his core supporters in the Middle and I think he will defend that until the end.

>>Ruben Hernandez:
And we have to make the point, I think, that all in all Joe has only arrested about 105 undocumented immigrants in these sweeps, you know. Probably another 100 people with legal citizens with warrants, and those kinds of things. So, all this disruption is going on for a little bit over 100 undocumented immigrants. Is it worth it? I think the public has to ask themselves that.

>>José Cárdenas:
Let's switch to the topic of Employer Sanctions. A lot's been happening. We've got a piece we want to run, the Governor was asked if she was surprised there weren't any prosecutions under the new law to date. It's been in effect since January, and she was on "Horizonte" earlier this month. And we've got a piece of tape that we want to run on that, and then get your reaction to it. While we're waiting for it to come up, though, your reaction to the fact that there haven't been any prosecutions?

>>Ruben Hernandez:
Well, you know, it did turn out to be much ado about nothing, you know? And I think that's going to happen with a lot of the things that come up. They seem very controversial, including Russell Pearce's effort to ban "Anti-American Curriculums". And we'll talk about that, I'm sure. But it's much ado about nothing. There's a lot of fury and sound, sound and fury, and then, nothing happens. But it was surprising that there weren't any prosecutions up to this point.

>>José Cárdenas:
And I think we're ready now with the Governor's comments. It will be up on the screen here, what she had to say on "Horizonte".

>>Janet Napolitano (in Video):
And there may be some things in the works, but I think it demonstrates that talking about these kinds of cases is a lot different than actually having the evidence to bring these kinds of cases. And so, I think the doom-sayers when the law was passed about how it's going to result in massive shutdowns of Arizona businesses. No, I think the law was crafted not to do that, but having evidence that somebody intentionally is avoiding the immigration law, like I said, is different than just alleging that they do.

>>José Cárdenas:
Now, what we've also heard is that the - even in light of the amendments to the law, which supposedly making it more palatable, the Goldwater Initiative and Pacheco Initiative are going forward. Your thoughts on that, Monica.

>>Monica Alonzo-Dunsmoor:
Well, I think it just shows the dissatisfaction, the frustration in this climate here, that you have the business community that's trying to protect itself, and ensure more safeguards, which is the Pacheco Initiative. And then, on the other side, you have Goldwater with the hardline stance, which says one violation, one instance in which a business knowingly or intentionally hires somebody without the right documentation, and their license gets yanked. I think it's just telling of the dissatisfaction, the need that there has to be some sort of discussion, and the issue just is so polarizing that you have these competing interests out there. And it's interesting to see where it will go because you have two different constituencies within the Republican Party. You have the business, and then the Anti-Illegal Immigration. It will just be very interesting to see what happens, and whatever happens at the Legislative level satisfies both individuals, although it doesn't seem to be working so far.

>>José Cárdenas:
And Joe, you talked to the Sheriff about this, right? That he hasn't gotten any employers. He has arrested a few people who were working illegally, based upon tips that he had gotten.

>>Joe Garcia:
Yeah. Basically, he's waiting, and he says he will make arrests, but basically, he's waiting for the right case, where the evidence is there. He's just not going to go out and grab somebody, and I think that it's going to be very hard to find that first business to put out of business, if you will, in some aspect, because let's face it, once that business is identified, forget about the legal ramifications. We're going to be talking about boycotts and protests. And I mean, that business may just as well be out of business because they're going to be harassed.

>>José Cárdenas:
Just from being mentioned.

>>Joe Garcia:
Just for being mentioned, correct. Whether they be found guilty or not. It's one of those things, like arrest for prostitution. It doesn't matter if you're never prosecuted and never convicted -

>>Monica Alonzo-Dunsmoor:
You have that stigma.

>>Joe Garcia:
You have the stigma.

>>José Cárdenas:
Well, we've seen some politicians seem to have survived that - some not, but some have. We've also got other Legislation that's been out there. The 2807 was a piece of legislation that the Governor vetoed. It's one that would have allowed - required, rather - all law enforcement agencies to have commitments, such as the Sheriff's Office does with ICE. Ruben?

>>Ruben Hernandez:
Yeah. I think the Governor vetoed that, because she saw all the confusion that there is now with inter-agency cooperation, and she didn't want to muddy the water even more, because that's what that would have done, giving more powers to police agencies, city agencies, those kind of things. And power and authority that they really have not been trained for, or don't really know what to do with. So I mean, considerably, Tempe could do sweeps if they wanted, roundups, the same way that the Sheriff is doing. So, I think she didn't want to confuse things even more, and let's figure out the way things are right now, before we sign something into law that's going to make it even more confusing.

>>José Cárdenas:
She got a lot of pressure from Hispanic groups on this, though she didn't acknowledge their concerns in announcing her veto.

>>Monica Alonzo-Dunsmoor:
She was focusing more on the financial, the fiscal obligation that it would bring to the State. And I think understandably so, especially given the $1.2 billion deficit that the State is in. And the other thing is that this is something the police agencies can already enter into, these are types of agreements that they can already make with immigration officials if one community - well, like Phoenix has done it and the Sheriff's Office has done it. So there's nothing that prohibits them from doing it. So this Law that would require all of them to do it, a certain percentage of the police officers would have to be ICE.-trained, or they would have to enter into some agreement with ICE, and embed them within the Department. It's another Unfunded Mandate. And the tab that State would have to pick up, if the Federal Government didn't. And I think that was another one of her concerns. That's what she was putting out there ahead of the concerns of the Hispanic community, maybe just not to make it any more political than it already is.

>>José Cárdenas:
We've got some other legislation we want to focus on. We've got a clip of Russell Pearce talking about 1108. Here's what Russell Pearce had to say about this piece of legislation.

>>Russell Pearce (in Video):
This bill, you know, I mean, this is amazing, the portrayal that's been given. There's been three articles in the "Arizona Republic" talking about how bad this course is. In fact, one of the articles was called - apparently, one of the classes that was taught in the Tucson Schools was "revolution". This bill teaches hate. This class teaches hate, it teaches separatism. In fact, in their own material, it says, "In order for the Latino to survive, the Gringos must leave. If they won't leave, they will kill them." That's in their teaching materials. Even in the "Arizona Republic", they've written three articles on how bad this course is. Tom Horne went down there just to investigate how bad this was. They refused to give him the curriculum. They even attacked him for even asking about the curriculum. It's pretty amazing to me that we think that this is cultural, about Hispanic culture. Has nothing to do with this.

>>José Cárdenas:
Now, Ruben, you've actually talked to all sides in this dispute, "Latino Perspectives" ran a piece on the teacher that Senator Pearce is talking about -

>>Ruben Hernandez:
Right.

>>José Cárdenas:
- Representative Pearce, rather. And then, you've had some e-mail exchanges with the representative since that piece aired on "Horizon".

>>Ruben Hernandez:
Right. We also ran, in our magazine, kind of a rebuttal against what Doug McEachern and his column had written. Some misinformation, even identified one of the pictures on this director's wall as Fidel Castro, and it wasn't. Because it had a beard, and it was Latino, I guess they're Latino, Fidel Castro. That's not a right equation. So anyway, so we did that story, and talking with, over in Tucson, the Tucson people, Audy Romero is the Director. And basically, they teach, in their curriculum, at Tucson High School District, they teach Mexican American curriculum and history, Asian, African American, and Native American. So these are Ethnic Studies. But he's chosen that one to target, and basically they do talk Aztlán, about some of the concepts -

>>José Cárdenas:
Mythical home of the Aztecs.

>>Ruben Hernandez:
The mythical home, yeah, of the Aztecs, which is more a philosophical concept than an actual boundary.

>>José Cárdenas:
We're going to run out of time in a little bit, but tell me about your e-mail exchange.

>>Ruben Hernandez:
Well basically, he sent me a lot of material. First of all, he said he would never step on the First Amendment, anybody's right to express themselves freely. He says the focus that he's taking is the funding of it, and school's not the appropriate place to express those opinions. But, he also sent me a lot of things about MeChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán: Chicano Student Movement of Aztlán), the Conquistas and the taking over - the conspiracies of Mexico to infiltrate the Southwest with Mexicans to take it back to Mexico. So, there's a lot of conspiracy theory and paranoia that came through that, too, with the concerns of one of our lawmakers.

>>José Cárdenas:
Last topic, and we've got less than a minute, Joe. The Governor let ELL Funding Law go into effect without her signature - and I should mention that I'm involved in that litigation - but your thoughts on that.

>>Joe Garcia:
Well, sometimes I think not saying something, or not signing something says everything. And you know, it's letting it happen, but not giving your blessing.

>>José Cárdenas:
Well, with that, I think we'll wrap up this edition of the Journalists' Roundtable. It's great to have you all on. We'll have you back to talk about some further developments down the road. Thank you all for joining us tonight. And that is our show for tonight. We hope to see you next Thursday. I'm José Cárdenas. Have a good evening.

>>Announcer:
Funding for "Horizonte" is provided by SRP.
SRP.'s business is water and power, But our dedication to the community doesn't stop there. SRP, delivering more than power.

Ruben Hernandez: Managing Editor "Latino Perspectives" Magazine;

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