Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Recap of Horizon's Journalists' Roundtable

The four left wing journalists on Friday night's Journalists' Roundtable began by discussing the disagreement between Mayor Phil Gordon and Sheriff Joe Arpaio over enforcing local immigration laws. Paul Giblin from the East Valley Tribune noted that there is widespread support for Arpaio to enforce these laws, and host Ted Simons (who we like so far as Michael Grant's replacement, he's been pretty fair for a liberal and he's easy on the eyes) said that some East Valley legislators have asked Arpaio to make rounds in their areas. Simons wondered if Gordon is the lone one in the crowd among politicians who is against enforcing local immigration laws. Matt Benson from the Arizona Republic pointed out that even Governor Napolitano is staying away from the dispute between Gordon and Arpaio, saying it's for those two to settle - apparently Gordon has staked out too liberal of a position on this for even Napolitano. Benson said that the reason Arpaio isn't backing down is because he's doing what the people want him to do - if there was a substantial pullback from the public, he would back down on the illegal immigration patrols. Right now there is a lot of anger from the public in regards to illegal immigration. And finally, it was noted that although Gordon has complained to ICE about Arpaio, ICE is siding with Arpaio. So it was fairly clear that Arpaio has support from the public, the legislature, and the feds to enforce illegal immigration laws. It's unfortunate that Gordon has taken such an unreasonable position here, because generally Gordon is one of the better, principled Democrats in town. It's disappointing to see him lose credibility on this issue.

Simons observed that 4 out of 5 in Guadalupe are illegal immigrants. Arpaio recently patrolled Guadalupe in a crime suppression sweep of illegal immigrants. Giblin pointed out that the Spanish media is advising illegal immigrants not to admit they're illegal to police when pulled over for traffic violations.

When asked about whether Arpaio should be spending resources rounding up illegal immigrants when there are thousands of unserved warrants out there, Giblin responded that many of the illegal immigrants he is arresting have unserved warrants. However, the journalists failed to point out that 90% of the unserved warrants in the county belong to agencies other than the Sheriff's Office, like Phoenix Police.

Next, the journalists discussed Governor Napolitano's veto of two bills restricting abortion. It was pointed out that everyone thought she would sign them since they were so weak; one simply codified a partial-birth ban into state law (it's already illegal under federal law) and the other slightly strengthened parental consent laws. It was noted that Napolitano has vetoed 7 abortion bills since she entered office. Her record on abortion is truly frightening. She has staked out a position on the far left fringe of this issue. To oppose partial-birth abortion is out of step with the mainstream.

The journalists discussed the renaming of Squaw Peak to Piestawa Peak, and how Napolitano heavy-handedly renamed it before she was permitted by federal law to do so (resulting in her firing her press secretary in order to skate out of that controversy). Giblin noted that by doing that a couple of years ago, she was able to prevent the feds from renaming it after Barry Goldwater now.

The program ended with a discussion of the current legislative bill that would permit the state to freeze spending on voter-mandated programs passed by initiative when the state was in a budget crisis. Benson pointed out that big-moneyed interests from out of state come in and propose initiatives that look like a great idea on the ballot, but down the road there are numerous repercussions. Right now so much of the state budget is tied up in areas like school facilities and AHCCCS (welfare) there is very little left for the legislature to cut. Napolitano opposes this bill, which comes as no surprise because the types of spending that this bill would permit to be cut are mostly social welfare programs and public school funding increases.

No comments: