Mayor Gordon Support

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Supporters of Mayor Phil Gordon say they will launch a massive voter registration drive to protect the mayor if critics are successful in forcing a recall. Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox and George Dean, President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Urban League, explain why Gordon’s supporters are against the recall effort.

José Cárdenas:
Good evening, welcome to "Horizonte." I'm José Cárdenas. One group moves ahead to recall Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, while another group says they will do what it takes to stop it from happening. Plus, meet Valley high school students awarded for setting a positive example in the community. And we'll introduce you to a filmmaker who uses science fiction to tell stories about immigrants. All these stories straight ahead on "Horizonte."

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José Cárdenas:
The recall effort against Mayor Phil Gordon of Phoenix is underway for what his critics say is his lack of enforcing immigration laws. Now a group of elected officials, business leaders, and members of the community who support the mayor are vowing to stop the recall. Joining me to talk about why they support Mayor Gordon is Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, and George Dean, President and C.E.O. of the greater Phoenix Urban League. George, Mary Rose, welcome to "Horizonte."

Mary Rose Wilcox:
Thank you.

George Dean:
Thank you.

José Cárdenas:
Mary Rose, the first most tangible manifestation of support for the mayor was a press conference that was called about a month ago. Tell us about that and how it came to be.

Mary Rose Wilcox:
About two weeks ago, it came out because there had been such criticism of the mayor. And a lot of us were talking about, we were very tired of it. The mayor stood up for what he felt was right. He felt there were raids taking place within the city boundaries that were very punitive, very discriminatory, and they should be stopped. And he spoke up against it. He said "I will not tolerate Sheriff Joe Arpaio coming into our city and not working with our police department. And this must stop." After he said that, everything broke loose. And a recall started against him. Those of us in the community have worked with mayor Gordon, from business leaders, religious leaders, nonprofits, to elected officials, felt we should do something. In a matter of two days we rounded up everybody, we got 100 people, and we just said, not in our city will our mayor be recalled, especially on this issue.

José Cárdenas:
And speaking of the issue, George, people have tried to pigeonhole it into just an Hispanic issue, yet you're involved, why?

George Dean:
Well, I'm involved primarily because of the fact that for 63 years here in the valley of the sun, the greater phoenix urban league has stood for racial and social equality. That's what we want. And we see this very much as being a racial issue, and although it's not directed at African Americans, it is directed at members of the greater phoenix area, community. And we will stand up regardless of where it was. Because we think that is something that we have to have in a society, that is free of prejudice and racism, and discrimination.

José Cárdenas:
And do you think that the sheriff is engaging in racial profiling and conducting these immigration sweeps?

George Dean:
I would say yes. With that -- without any question in my mind, that is racial profiling. When you consider the fact of where these have taken place, and who has been stopped. It can't be anything other than that. I don't see him going into Scottsdale, especially into north Scottsdale. I know he did one, I didn't -- out in fountain hills, in the community he lives in, but I think that was only to take away from trying to put a damper on what he has done at 32nd and Thomas, what he did at Cave Creek, what he's done in Guadalupe. I mean, let's face it. That's what it's all about, José, is racial profiling.

José Cárdenas:
George, we had -- vice chairman of the effort that's leading the recall initiative. And he insisted that's not happening. Do you think this effort is going to get very far, to recall the mayor?

George Dean:
No, I don't. No, I don't. In fact, I think it's an effort in futility. We're talking about a mayor, Phil Gordon, that is the best thing that has happened to Phoenix in a very long time. When you think of the progress that he's made, when you look at downtown Phoenix, when you look at the number of jobs that have been created, and the Arizona state and U of A working together downtown with the medical school, the convention expansion of the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Convention Center, new hotel, all of these kind of things have come up under Phil's tenure. And in terms of his terms in office. And to take that away because he spoke out against a discriminatory racial kind of issue that has taken place by our sheriff, is simply ridiculous. And from an urban league standpoint, we will join with anyone and everyone who wants to do something to prevent this recall. Because we don't want to see Mayor Gordon out of office. We want to see him stay there and continue to do the kind of things that he's doing for this city, and for this valley. And indeed, for the state of Arizona.

José Cárdenas:
Mary Rose, leaders of the recall effort say what they're concerned about is what they view as Mayor Gordon's inhibiting Sheriff Joe from enforcing immigration laws. And they think there's no racial profiling going on, if there was, they would be concerned. But they say that is not happening and the issue is the mayor is interfering with the appropriate law enforcement.

Mary Rose Wilcox:
I don't think that is correct. I really think that the sheriff has overextended the boundary of the I.C.E. contract which gives him the authority to do immigration. The I.C.E. contract basically is an i.g.a. between him and the immigration law enforcement entity within the federal government --

José Cárdenas:
I.G.A. being -- ?

Mary Rose Wilcox:
I.G.A. being intergovernmental. That I.C.E. contract says it's to be used for drug smugglers who are illegal, for human smuggling, for coyotes to go after those kind of people. What the sheriff has done is use that contract and basically had sweeps. I have known Sheriff Joe Arpaio for a long time, and I was just really amazed at the extent that he went with these raids. At 32nd and Thomas, his people were going into neighborhoods, stopping people as they were on the street. And the only reason they were stopping them is because the color of their skin. They were brown. Asking for papers, everybody gets swept up into that, and the fear that leads in the community is tremendous. So I don't think that's a good statement. I don't think it's a right statement. And I think Mayor Gordon spoke up because it's just gone too far.

José Cárdenas:
Are you saying that the sheriff is in violation of its agreement with immigration and customs enforcement, I.C.E.?

Mary Rose Wilcox:
I believe he is.

José Cárdenas:
Are you doing anything to follow up --

Mary Rose Wilcox:
A group of state legislators from the Hispanic caucus and myself wrote letters last November and delivered them to Washington to Benny Thompson, who is the head of Homeland Security Committee and the House Congressional Representative. And also to Conner, who is the head of the justice department oversight committee in the house. And what we did is ask them to investigate the I.C.E. contract. I met with Thompson in Washington in march, and he was looking into it. They're going to start inquiring into it. He was afraid the I.C.E. contracts were being misused across the country, specifically in Arizona to a great degree. So I think there is the dilemma. We have to make sure that the authority that the sheriff has to look into illegal immigration, and that authority in my mind is for drug smuggling, for human smuggling, not just do go after somebody because they're here illegally.

José Cárdenas:
And when do you expect some kind of a resolution or response from the people in Washington on these allegations?

Mary Rose Wilcox:
Congressman Ed Pastores is assisting us in pushing this issue, and we're hoping to have a federal hearing in Washington within the next few months. We're hoping sooner than later. And we would love to have that. And take people to Washington who have been racially profiled against, take people to Washington who feel this is abusive. There are already some lawsuits going on. My understanding is there's groups of lawyers who are meeting with people. We may have a class action lawsuit soon. But we just have to put a stop to this. I am the first one to say that if people are here illegally, and they are drug smuggling, they are involved in human trafficking. You must stop them. But you than not violate people's constitutional rights and civil rights, and that's what's occurring.

José Cárdenas:
George, what other things are being done? We had the press conference to show support for the mayor. What other things are the people supporting the mayor doing to stop the recall?

George Dean:
Talking it up in the neighborhood, for one. Making sure that people are registered to vote, that they get registered to vote so that in the event that there is a recall election, they will be able to go and cast the negative ballot against the recall and so forth. That's the main -- and getting people educated. There are many of our citizens out there, average citizen that really don't understand the dynamics of what's going on. And it becomes our responsibility to get them educated so that they can go to the polls and make an intelligent vote against a recall from Mayor Phil Gordon.

José Cárdenas:
Mary Rose, one of the things that people don't understand is why the board of supervisors, the county supervisors isn't doing something to reign in the sheriff.

Mary Rose Wilcox:
Well, we -- he's an elected official in his own right. He's not a role officer, unlike the City of Phoenix that appoints their police chief, our sheriff is elected. So he can form his own policies, he can form his own coalitions, he's the one who went after the I.C.E. contract. What we do is we can control his budget. And I know myself, I'll speak for myself, because that's all I can really speak for. I watch that budget like a hawk. I make sure that if there's overtime, what is it being spent on? Recently the governor stopped $1.6 million from coming in to his budget that was for immigration. I'm going to make sure that he doesn't augment part of his budget, you know, things that should be done in our jails, things that should be done for regular policing, that that goes into immigration now. So I think by being just vigilant on his budget, and I know my other fellow colleagues may have different opinions, but I know they're very concerned. We've had a lot of people come to our meetings, and they're concerned about what is happening.

José Cárdenas:
We're going to have to end on that note. Thank you very much, both of you, for joining us on "Horizonte."

José Cárdenas:
Every year the Hispanic Heritage Foundation selects young leaders from across the country to receive their Hispanic heritage youth awards. These are students who have demonstrate high levels of achievement and leadership in the classroom and community. In Arizona, more than 20 students were recipients of this award. Trevor Browne High School in Phoenix was the only school in the valley with three students who were chosen for the Hispanic heritage award. Nadine Rodriguez introduces you to these future leaders.

Nadine Rodriguez:
Brittany, what did you do, what have you done in your community, or at school, that you received this acknowledgment?

Brittany Raygosa:
I've been involved in several different activities around school, like student government. I'm vice-president for senior class, I've been a leader for Spirit and Science. And we organize the spirit around the school. Also I was a leader of the special needs prom, and what that committee does is they organize a prom for -- special needs kids here at school. I'm in tennis and I'm captain of the tennis team. I participate in a lot of community service hours outside of school because student government requires it and also I was in national honors society.

Nadine Rodriguez:
How does it feel to receive this recognition?

Brittany Raygosa:
It feels great. Everybody likes to be acknowledged and recognized for what they've done. But that's not why I do it. I do it because -- first of all, it is really fun to be a leader and just be able to help organize things that are necessary for your school and community, but when you get acknowledged, it feels great. It feels like I've done something, I made a difference, and now I'm getting recognition for it.

Nadine Rodriguez:
What are your plans for the future? Where do you want to go to school? What are your goals?

Brittany Raygosa:
I want to attend Arizona State University, and major in criminal justice.

Nadine Rodriguez:
Ruben, you are the recipient of the Golden Medallion in the area of Engineering and Mathematics. What have you done that you have received this award?

Ruben Gameros:
In my sophomore year of Trevor Browne I became president of the Math, Engineering, and Science Association. And that was fun. As well as I took the PSAT, and I broke the Trevor Browne record for -- in the past 20 years, no one had scored as high on the PSAT as I did. I was pretty proud of that. And after that I took Physics and I excelled in my science classes, and this year I got -- I hold the top SAT scores in Trevor Browne. As well as in the A.P. Physics class. We entered a competition, a statewide competition to build generator and take them to NAU and test them, and I was the leader of that team. And we scored second in the state.

Nadine Rodriguez:
How does it feel to be acknowledged? As a premier person in this category?

Ruben Gameros:
It feels amazing. Honestly, I'm really proud of myself. All the hard work I've put night, it's paying off. I'm really proud of myself. I'm happy when I go home and I tell my mom these things, and I see the look on her face, it's totally worth it.

Nadine Rodriguez:
What are your plans for the future, your schooling, anything else that you have in preparation for down the road?

Ruben Gameros:
I'm a recipient of a donor scholarship, so that means I get to spend anywhere from six months to a year abroad. I'm really looking forward to my junior year. I want to spend it in Sweden studying as an intern for Saab engineering company. They're legendary for aircraft. I'll have experience -- it literally will be priceless. I'm looking forward to that. As well as college, I want to start at ASU a chapter of something called "Engineers Without Borders," which you take engineering students and you go to other countries and you build things for them, like pumps, and solar array systems. For us it's simple to build, because we have the education. But for them, it means the difference between having a hospital that's lighted, or operating in the dark, or any medical treatment at all, and having water in the morning by just pumping something, or having to go down to the river every morning and carry and get buckets of water and bring it back out. I'm really hoping to help out third world countries like that.

Nadine Rodriguez:
Adriana, you are also a Golden Medallion recipient.

Adriana Delgado:
Yes.

Nadine Rodriguez:
What have you done through your high school years that you were able to receive this award?

Adriana Delgado:
I was very involved my freshman year. I was in student government, I ran around everywhere, I did everything. Part of every club on campus. Which was very neat. I grew as a person during that year. And I realized that I wasn't a follower, I was a leader. I was part of my school's Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. And I took part in almost all their activities, all their teams, which really also made me grow as a person and a leader. I learned the values and how to approach, how to motivate, how to get, you know, enough people believing in the same ideas that I was going through. So apart from that I joined a lot of groups, I did a lot of leadership things. One of them was the Caesar E. Chavez Leadership Institute at Arizona State University.

Nadine Rodriguez:
How does it feel to be acknowledged for all the work that you do?

Adriana Delgado:
It's a great honor. Just to be, you know, here is just like, wow. Not only it is an honor, it is -- I think it's motivation. If they're showcasing me, and I'm pretty sure everyone around me whose -- I serve as a role model, or I've been there for them, or they know me, they're going to go, "Wow, she can do it, I can do it too."

Nadine Rodriguez:
What are your plans for the future? Where are you going to go to school? What are you going to do down the road?

Adriana Delgado:
From here on out, education, education, education, education. I want to major in chemical engineering, study abroad, get to experience great things that will not only help me, but help others. And so I started -- I funded La Familia Leadership Club, and I have a club that -- at Independence High School which is in the Glendale district, and I have a club here, and a potential club starting in California, and one in New York. And my goal is to get this club around the nation someday. And maybe not even as a club, maybe starting a foundation. It is a club dedicated to make future community leaders, to kind of get those kids who are never been told, you can go out there and make a difference, you can be more than you can possibly think. No one has ever been there for these kids. No one's ever been there for them. So this club is serving as a way to sit down with you and tell me your goals, and I'm going to tell you where to go, or how to do it.

José Cárdenas:
Ruben and Adriana are now competing for the National Youth Award to be held in Washington, D.C. in the fall. "Horizonte" wishes them both the best and we will let you know the final results when they come in.

José Cárdenas:
The immigration debate continues in Arizona, and across the country. One filmmaker takes a more artistic approach to the issue. Alex Rivera makes short science fiction movies about how technology affects immigrants. Horizonte's Marcus Najera reports how Rivera makes the leap this year from the small screen to the silver screen.

Marcus Najera:
Film maker Alex Rivera is known for his short films but now American audiences will soon get to catch his debut feature "Sleep Dealer." The futuristic movie was a hit at this year's Sundance Film Festival. It tells the tale of a young man grappling with technology. [speaking Spanish]

Marcus Najera:
In fact, many of his films explore that relationship between Latinos and cyberspace. And while his ideas aren't always popular, he knows these are the stories he wants to tell.

Alex Rivera:
I was born in Manhattan, my folks lived in queens when I was a kid, and I was raised in upstate New York near Poughkeepsie. My family is half Peruvian, half American. The first movie I ever saw was in a drive-in theater, and it was "Star Wars." and I was 4 years old at the time, but it is still burned into my memory. I remember my dad snoring in the car next to me. And me being, "What are you doing? You're missing the greatest thing ever!" my first movie was "Star Wars," and I think it was probably part of my psychological formation as a kid. When I started to make films and started to play with the medium, I always was -- had movies like "Star Wars," "Blade Runner," these kinds of fantasy films in my mind. Even though my focus has always been on immigration and on telling stories about the border and the situation between the U.S. and Mexico or the north and the south, I've always wanted to be very creative with the way the films look and the way they sound.

Marcus Najera:
How are you using sci-fi to tell the stories of immigrants?

Alex Rivera:
My films, in a strange way, always ended up being about two giant forces that are changing our world. And one is immigration. And the other is technology. And to a lot of people you say, well what are those two have to do with each other? But they have everything to do with each other. Because they're both about the way that distance and the way that connectivity around the world is changing. And so in the story of my dad, for example, he's an immigrant who moved 3,000 miles to get a job, to come here to work in factories, and pursue the American dream, of coming here and working and getting ahead in life. When he gets here, though, technology -- he leaves behind his language, leaves behind his family, leaves behind a lot of things that are important to him. And how does he get those in his life? Here he gets them over the telephone. Over the television. Through technology he's able to stay connected to the place he leaves behind. Hear the language he's left behind, and so in my film you start to see when he becomes this Peruvian couch potato, in America now, a middle class life, fairly assimilated, he's deeply tied to this place he left behind and this technology that lets him return.

Marcus Najera:
You know Alex, as I take a look at your work, I start to realize you're telling those stories of immigrants that we don't always hear. So I'm wondering, are these love letters of sorts to the immigrants?

Alex Rivera:
Are they love letters? I think they're -- I hope they have heart in them, and I feel very passionate about this topic. It's a topic that I got -- I became interested in because of my family. And my dad's story. But over the years, it's gone way beyond that for me. Now I'm interested in the fact that there are so many millions and millions of people in this country that are here, they're all around us, we see them every day, they're part of this fabric of this country, whether any person likes it or not. There's tens of millions of immigrants here, some documented, some not documented. It's a fact.

Marcus Najera:
Why do you think the debate over immigration has gotten so ugly in the country?

Alex Rivera:
We don't want them to vote. We don't want them to get health care, we don't want them to put their kids in school. We kind of wish they would go away, but if they went away, it's not clear how this country would run, what would happen to the real estate market if all of a sudden 20 million people up and left. What would happened to those countries in they didn't receive the money? We live in a situation of contradiction. We have this huge community of immigrants in this country, yet they're rejected and kind of meant to be -- the political system here kind of wants to keep them invisible. To me it's a system that is not humane.

Marcus Najera:
Can you tell us a little bit about "Sleep Dealer?"

Alex Rivera:
"Sleep Dealer" is my new film. It's my feature film. We just premiered it at Sundance. We took it to Berlin and then we took it from there to -- in Lincoln Center in New York. It's been an incredible joy. At first to show the movie always caused a lot of anxiety, very stressful. I've been working on this film for about 10 years. So there's a lot of energy and a lot of hope in the project. So the first time we took it out we definitely were stressed out and nervous, and worried. It's fun, but it's also kind of terrifying. Everyone's life is made up of great longings to not be alone. I think all of us want to connect with people. You can connect with someone in person, you can connect with them over the phone, you can connect with them over the internet. So there's great emotional longings in all of our lives. So when technology accelerates and lets us bridge ever greater distances, cheaper and cheaper now, all of a sudden you start to see the map kind of warping. But in the case of immigrants in particular, it unleashes some very unique forces. For me what I've always tried to do with my work is think creatively and use techniques, whether it's humor, animation, documentary, fiction, I use the techniques like in a toolbox. I try to take out this tool or that one and use it to reach an audience with a message.

José Cárdenas:
That's it for our show, "Horizonte" tonight. I'm José Cárdenas. Have a good evening. Enjoy the rest of your week.

Mary Rose Wilcox: Maricopa County Supervisor ;

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