Governor Napolitano

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Governor Janet Napolitano talks about the tax plan for building new roadways and other public transit across Arizona and its failure to make the November ballot, her upcoming address at the Democratic National Convention, and more.


Jose Cárdenas:
Good evening, and welcome to Horizonte. I'm Jose Cárdenas. The governors of border states meet to discuss fighting crime along the international border, energy policies, and how to improve the economy in the region. And, what Governor Napolitano thinks of sheriff Joe Arpaio's use of resources when it comes to crime suppression sweeps. Also, details of what went into drafting the democratic party platform. All this and more, as we talk to governor Janet Napolitano coming up straight ahead on Horizonte. Funding for Horizonte is provided by S.R.P.

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Jose Cárdenas:
Governor Janet Napolitano met with other border state governors last week to talk about security along the border. Plus, the governor was chairwoman of the democratic party's platform drafting committee. And, a provision to the state budget creates a task force of experts considering the future of the aims test. Here to discuss that and other state concerns is Arizona governor Janet Napolitano.

Jose Cárdenas:
Governor, thanks for joining us on Horizonte. We've got a lot to cover. I want to start with a subject we covered a couple of weeks ago on our show, the energy assistance program. We have a clip from Cynthia Zwick and then I want to ask you about it.

Cynthia Zwick:
On a per household basis Arizona is the least funded in the country, we're 51st behind every other state. So while there are approximately 500,000 people who are eligible in Arizona to receive these funds, we're able to serve approximately 4% of that population.

Jose Cárdenas:
Now, we're talking about the moneys used to assist Arizonans who can't afford to make their utility payments. 51st out of 50 states is pretty bad. As I understand it you're playing a role in trying to get things fixed by sending a letter to Washington. What's going on?

Janet Napolitano:
One of the problems is that they calculate based on heating costs and they don't factor in air conditioning costs adequately. As we know, living in the valley where it easily can be 110 or 115 during the summer, air conditioning costs are a huge energy issue for individuals here. So what I'm trying to do is get them to factor more inclusively, including air conditioning costs which are a public safety issue for people here. And then do whatever else we can to get a fair share coming to Arizona. We don't want more than our fair share, but we're certainly not getting it.

Jose Cárdenas:
And what are the prospects for that happening?

Janet Napolitano:
I don't know. And I'm asking our congressional delegation to help us as well. This is not an earmark, which our delegation always seems to react against. At least some members do. This is real help for real people for whom these utility costs are coming right out of their pockets.

Jose Cárdenas:
Another subject that's related to the subject, the one that was passed included a provision to study aims and make some recommendations as to the future of it. Tom Horne was on horizon recently, had some very strong statements about that subject. We want to play them right now.

Tom Horne:
I have fought and won three state elections and two primary generals on the issue of aims because the public wants accountability. Aims is what gives us accountable. We hold our schools and teachers accountable and our students accountable so that they're motivated, too. Everyone in the system is motivate today do their best.

Jose Cárdenas:
Obviously Superintendent Horne seems to be bullish on the future of aims. What's your prediction? And do you see us replacing aims with some of the kind of tests that does hold the schools and teachers accountable?

Janet Napolitano:
I think there's a desire amongst legislators to see whether there's some other measure in addition to aims or post-aims that would be an accountability measure. Especially -- listening to the superintendent, it's not as if people are against accountability. Everybody wants accountability. But the aims test doesn't give you much. It's a 10th grade test. Doesn't really tell you whether you are graduating students ready to go on to community college, to university. And it doesn't allow you to compare really how Arizona students are faring compared to students in other states. So there's probably some better testing mechanisms out there now that aims has been chopped down so much. And I think they want an opportunity to take a look at it.

Jose Cárdenas:
And when can we expect a report back?

Janet Napolitano:
It's on a very short timeline, so I believe that within the year they are going to have a report back. Now, if there is a young person watching this show and they are saying, whoopee, I don't have to study for aims, let me just tell you aims is still the law and you still have to pass aims. But I think what the legislature wants to do is to see whether there's a better alternative that would more accurately assess what a student notes, what a student has mastered, and that would -- mastered, and that would serve the accountability measures we all value.

Jose Cárdenas:
Those hundreds of thousands of young people watching the show may not be that interested in what you said about aims but they would be interested in the week you spent last week with the governors of the four U.S. Border states and the six Mexican border states because it was hosted by governor Schwarzenegger.

Janet Napolitano:
It was.

Jose Cárdenas:
And the theme, as I understand, was green economies. Tell us what some of the highlights of the conference.

Janet Napolitano:
This is an annual meeting, the 10 border gophers have, the six from Mexican, the four from the Unites States, governor Schwarzenegger hosted it and we focused on what we can do as a region to incentivize so-called green collar jobs, to look at alternative energy sources, to look at greenhouse gas emissions and the other thing that go into climate change, and to look at those not just on a state by state basis but also regionally. And then of course, the board of governors meeting we also talked about public safety and security in the border area.

Jose Cárdenas:
Now, on the green economics one of the things you talked about as I understand it was turning algae into oil or at least there was a presentation about that?

Janet Napolitano:
there were a host of really fascinating presentations on different substances that can be converted into fuel. There was one, a German company that has basically a household device that you put in your garage that can convert vegetable oil, regular cooking oil into gasoline that could go right into a standard automobile right now. So lots of those kinds of things going on. We saw of course Arnold's hummer which has already been retrofitted to use fuel other than gasoline. And lots of other options out there. So -- and as governors we begin to think, how do we make an economic advantage out of this? How do we see if we can bring research and manufacturing into our region that will help us propel the way to using fuels other than gasoline in cars and in trucks.

Jose Cárdenas:
The governors signed a memorandum of understanding on climate warming. What are the highlights of that?

Janet Napolitano:
well, it's a memorandum that says that we're going to look at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, to below 2000 levels over the next decades, that we're going to explore regionally cap and trade. We already have the western climate initiative where they're working on a cap and trade program right now, but can we expand that to be border-wide.

Jose Cárdenas:
Governor, there were a number of other subjects you've mentioned, some of them had to do with the border. Many of them law enforcement issues, human trafficking was a particular subject of discussion.

Janet Napolitano:
That was a powerful subject of discussion. The border between Mexican and the Unites States becoming a vehicle for trafficking, girls, but not exclusively so. But what can we do about that. One of the things we talked about was whether we can among the border states make our laws more uniform in terms of what the laws are, the penalties are and the enforcement mechanisms are. We just enacted some legislation this year on human trafficking. Peggy Billstein, former phoenix city council woman was a lead on that. But we're going to be working now in particular with California to see if there's some other things Arizona and California can do together right now.

Jose Cárdenas:
Now there seem to be one area where Arizona and its sister state of Sonora were leading the way. That had to do with a project regarding gun runners. States that became a model for the rest of the -- tell us about that.

Janet Napolitano:
What we did is in June, governor Boris and I signed an agreement by which we agreed to trace all weapons found in the commission of a crime in Sonora that we would get them traced. Because the guns are coming from the Unites States. They're flowing south. A lot of them flowing over the Arizona border. So working with the bureau of alcohol, tobacco on firearms, the state of Sonora, state of Arizona, a process now by which numbers or whatever are entered into the A.T.F. Database so we can track back where did that gun come from or weapon that was used in the crime and perhaps identify the perpetrator that way.

Jose Cárdenas:
There were other economic issues as well in terms of increasing the flow of traffic in commerce across the border. As I understand it there was a proposal to charge border crossing fees to pay for infrastructure. What kind of impact do you think that's going to have?

Janet Napolitano: Well, we'll look at it. There was also a proposal to look at doing more by way of public/private partnerships. And then to entice the private market into building expanded port facilities. For example, the enticement being that they could then use the revenue stream from fees to pay for the project and pay for that development. These are kind of novel suggestions. We've never thought of ports as being a place where you could do a public/private partnership but the door is open now. And the secretary of commerce and the secretary of homeland security both said that they would consider some of those options.

Jose Cárdenas: Now, in their remarks was there any hint of what developed this week, which is that interior department would put a halt on the building of the virtual border fence?

Janet Napolitano: no. It was amazing. Because I was literally sitting at a table a week ago about this big with secretary kempt Horne here, secretary of the interior and Secretary Chertoff there, secretary of homeland security talking and the problem with the virtual fence and interior having not yet granted waivers for the virtual fence. They never mentioned it. It never came up. So I was surprised as anyone to read about that the other day in the paper. And I've got some folks back in Washington now on the phone and so forth trying to figure out what the heck is going on.

Jose Cárdenas:
The waivers we're talking about are waivers of the environmental studies as they relate to the construction of the towers.

Janet Napolitano:
That is one but there may be others as well. Like I said this came out of left field so we're trying to get to the bottom of it and find out what the status is, what delay that could possibly cause, what the status is of the virtual fence that's been hit by one problem after another. We've always been promised that more technology at the border could help substitute for more manpower. And that's something I've always believed as well. But I have to get a better sense of is this technology real or is it still simply a virtual technology that doesn't really work.

Jose Cárdenas:
Now, governor, perhaps the most substantive part of the border governors conference at least according to the research that I've done is the picture on the internet now of you and six our border governors.

Janet Napolitano:
You're not going to show that.

Jose Cárdenas:
No. We're not going to show that. We have respect for our governor. But in leather jackets with sunglasses, standing behind a motorcycle. I assume Governor Schwarzenegger's.

Janet Napolitano:
Well, the opening reception -- this was a conference hosted by governor Schwarzenegger. And the opening reception was in the terminal 2, 3d studio in Hollywood. As gifts to the participating governors he had terminator leather jackets made for each of us. Yes, we have the group photo with the terminator motorcycle. Actually it was kind of funny.

Jose Cárdenas:
It looked like a pretty impressive group. One I wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley. But moving onto some other subjects, we mentioned in the intro to the show some criticism that you've leveled about Sheriff Arpaio I think last week on your show on KJZZ. Perhaps the sharpest criticism you've expressed over his crime suppression sweeps.

Janet Napolitano:
Well, and what I've said is that this viewing this as what is the most effective use of a law enforcement dollar, to me these are not very effective. They're very expensive. You can report some numbers. Yeah, we got 20 here, 100 there. Numbers you can never verify so you never quite know what has been gotten. But for a very expensive and intrusive process, I think those same resources could be better targeted at felony fugitives and others who really impact the level of public safety and violent crime in our neighborhoods and on our streets. And so he and I just have a disagreement about this. I just don't believe that's the best way to do effective law enforcement. It's a way. I think it has some other issues about it that make the community, make people very uncomfortable about sweeps in various areas. But from a pure law enforcement perspective, is it the best way to get the worst criminals off the street? No.

Jose Cárdenas:
And one of those other issues you expressed can concern about was communications between law enforcement agencies.

Janet Napolitano
I did. Because one would hope that professional leaders of law enforcement will work together, have complete communication, transparency with one another. But there have been some real tensions that have developed in the valley now between the sheriff and some of the chiefs of police, particularly in mesa. But I think as well in phoenix. And that interferes with good cooperative law enforcement, and also raises the risk that something untoward is going to happen when different departments don't know what the other is doing. And Sheriff Joe will say, and accurately, that he gives notice to departments when he's coming in for a sweep. But notice a day of two ahead of time is not the same as communication. Communication is I think much more substantive in terms of what the actual issues are, where additional law enforcement personnel would serve best, where we think the high crime areas and neighborhoods most at risk are so that law enforcement can be targeted there. And in my view, you only have so many law enforcement dollars. And you want to really focus on where you have the biggest impact on public safety and where can you get the worst perpetrators more easily and get them off the streets and into jail or prison where they belong. There are different ways to do it. I tend to think that a more focused and targeted approach is better.

Jose Cárdenas:
Governor, I want to talk now about a few of the ballot initiatives, some of which have not made it yet. But three in particular, one of which ties to this last subject. And that is the stop illegal hiring, which its proponents offered as an alternative to the Goldwater initiative that ultimately did not make the ballot and also as an opportunity to fix some of the perhaps unintended consequences of the employer sanctions legislation that you signed into law. Is it still necessary?

Janet Napolitano:
I don't think so. I think the legislature this year did a pretty good job at addressing some of the issues that I had raised with the original employer sanctions bill, clearing that up. And the other concern I have quite frankly is, once you do something by initiative it really -- you really can't change it. And in the employer sanctions area we're on such new ground they think keeping it in statute as opposed to initiative gives us maximum flexibility so that we can change that law to match changed circumstances. So given that legislature was willing to go back into the statute this year that was unclear at the beginning of the session whether they would, but they did. They fixed most if not all of the issues that I had raised when I signed the legislation. I would prefer to see it statute.

Jose Cárdenas:
And your comments about the difficulties of changing initiatives have raised concerns among many with another initiative, which is the majority rules let people decide proposal.

Janet Napolitano:
Yeah. Talk about something that is misnamed and misleadingly named. This is a proposal that says that no initiative can pass unless a majority of the entire registered voter votes for not just the majority of those who actually voted. Well, what that means is if you don't take the effort to vote you get counted as a no. And what that means is it becomes a very, very difficult to pass any sort of initiative, be it help for schools, help for public safety, help for health care. It makes it virtually impossible. Just guts the initiative process. And I think it's unwise, unfounded, and I hope -- and I trust Arizona voters will see through it for what it is.

Jose Cárdenas:
If it passes, how much more difficult does it make your job and that of the legislature?

Janet Napolitano:
Immensely so. It's difficult to see from a governor's standpoint. It makes governing the state very, very difficult. Because it already requires a supermajority of the legislature to address any kind of tax issue. And that's almost impossible. Then if you can't go to the ballot or use the leverage of beak able to go to the ballot, you've really built in paralysis into the system. And if somebody wants to vote no on something, vote no. We've made voting as easy as possible in the state of Arizona. You don't even have to leave your house. You send in a request for a ballot, they mail it to you, you fill it out and mail it in. That's all you have to do. But if you haven't even taken that effort to be able to be counted as a no, and to by that effect really understand the initiative process I think is so wrong and very contrary to Arizona's interests and to our history.

Jose Cárdenas:
And governor, the last issue I wanted to discuss is the Arizona civil rights initiative, Ward Connelly is pushing this year as he did in Michigan and other states. What's your opinion of that?

Janet Napolitano:
I oppose it. I don't think it's needed. I think it's way over broad. I think that while it is always useful to have discussions about how to make sure that opportunity is available to everyone regardless of gender, ethnicity, race, religious preference or what have you, this initiative basically says, you can't even have that discussion. And to me, it's kind of old style divisive politics in an area where we don't need it.

Jose Cárdenas:
An attack on affirmative action, though, one that senator McCain endorsed, not necessarily on that basis. But when asked whether he supports the initiative he said he did.

Janet Napolitano:
Well, I don't think he understood what was in it. He called it quotas. Nobody wants quotas. This goes way, way beyond that. So that for example, programs at Arizona state university for Asian American history, for example, I think we fall under the rubric of this initiative. It's very, very broadly drafted.

Jose Cárdenas:
Speaking of senator McCain and politics, obviously you have a big week coming up for you and the Democratic Party convention. You chaired the platform committee. The provisions of the platform that deal with Hispanic issues, so to speak, immigration, tell us how that developed and whether you're satisfied with where the party is on that subject.

Janet Napolitano:
I think -- well, it developed with a lot of input from a lot of different individuals. For example, Fabia Nunez former speaker of the assembly in California was on the drafting committee. And really where it ended up was very close to what I've been saying for a long time, but that you need to have law enforcement, you need to look at manpower, technology and all the rest, you need to streamline the visa process. You need to allow more people to come into the country legally. You need to allow and make it easier for families to stay together. And you need to have a process by registration and paying of a fine or other sanction by which those already in the country illegally can come out of the shadows so they're not at risk of being picked up or fear all the time of being picked up. And then assuming they pay taxes and stay out of the criminal justice system, could ultimately qualify for citizenship.

Jose Cárdenas:
With those principles articulated in the platform allow the party, assuming senator Obama becomes president, to support the enactment of the dream act which would allow conditional legal status for high school students who are on their way to college and meet certain criteria?

Janet Napolitano:
yes. I think they would. And many of us, myself included, and like I said I chaired the drafting committee, support the dream act. So I think it's broad enough to include that as well. Although it doesn't specifically reference the dream act.

Jose Cárdenas:
Governor, there are many interesting parts of the platform. But one in particular is the subject of faith. That's a specific topic in the platform. This last weekend we saw senator Obama, senator McCain, reverend warren's program expressing their views about faith. Catheline parker, columnist for "the Washington post" wrote a column suggesting that Thomas Jefferson would be spinning in his grave at what she sees to be a violation of the first amendment separation of church and state. Where do you see the Democratic Party on this?

Janet Napolitano:
Well, I'm not sure it's a violation of the first amendment for two candidates to voluntarily go talk about faith. That's a little different than government enacting a law.

Jose Cárdenas:
This is on one particular faith, Christianity.

Janet Napolitano:
Christianity, yeah. Well, I'm not sure it's unconstitutional. And I think in a day and age where there just seems the world is spinning on its axis so many times, people are very interested, many people are very interested into how would an elected leader make a decision. And what would the role of faith be in decisions or in their public policies. So I think to some degree it's not an irrelevant consideration. However, it should not be a dominant consideration. This is a country that was built on a separation of church and state because we are a country with many, many different faiths and we are a state with many different faiths represented. And it's not the role of government to pick and choose among them.

Jose Cárdenas:
And your assessment of how the two candidates did?

Janet Napolitano:
I didn't see it. So I can't say from personal view. But I'm sure senator Obama won.

Jose Cárdenas:
Would you give him a 5.6 or 8.9?

Janet Napolitano:
Whatever. But no, I didn't have the opportunity to see the show.

Jose Cárdenas:
Now, there's been much discussion as there is every election about the impact of the Hispanic vote. There seems to be a little more serious this time around. And there are several states that are viewed to be in play because of the Hispanic vote. What's your assessment of that?

Janet Napolitano:
I would agree with that. And part of that is because senator Obama has rejected the campaign theory in the last two presidential races where basically the goal was to get 270 electoral votes and basically the strategy was one road leads to 270. That left out a lot of states, including many of the states where there is a large and growing Hispanic voting populace. He has in contrast he has several different ways that he believes that he will be elected president of the Unites States and put states in play like next and Colorado and nevada where there are large and growing Hispanic populations, new Mexican and indeed Arizona. So it is exactly right that Hispanic vote could determine the next president of the Unites States.

Jose Cárdenas:
Are there any special aspects of the upcoming convention that are going to be targeted at luring the Hispanic vote to support senator Obama?

Janet Napolitano:
I think there'll be a host of things at the convention. Some of the speakers, the positions proposed. But I don't think the convention in and of itself will do the trick. I think what we're going to have to do is be meeting and talking with Hispanic voters, talking about issues that senator Obama is putting on the table that will help families, that will help veterans, that will help educate the next generation. All key concerns of Hispanic community.

Jose Cárdenas:
Governor Napolitano, we know you'll be speaking at the convention. Break a leg. Thanks a lot.

Janet Napolitano:
thanks.

Jose Cárdenas:
A programming note, due to special political coverage here on eight of the democratic and republican national conventions, Horizonte will be pre-empted for the next two weeks. I'm Jose Cardenas. Thank you so much for joining us. Have a great week.

Janet Napolitano: Governor of Arizona;

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