Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
I touched upon this briefly in an earlier post, but there is a remarkable interview of the Accidental Governor in the Arizona Daily Star today that should have been accompanied by a companion fact-check article – something the Star is loath to do (see posts from earlier this year about the Star's editorial board interview of Sen. John McCain). So I will give it a shot. Brewer lays out her vision for AZ:
Q: You just spoke at a tourism conference. Leaving aside signing SB 1070, which triggered some of the negative reaction, you have made comments about drug running and beheadings that presumably could hurt tourism by raising fears of violence. Have you overstated the violence Arizona is seeing?
A: I don't know that they (the comments) hurt tourism. I think it's part of what America is facing in regards to illegal activity that's taking place in Mexico, and it is a fact. Information has been provided to me by residents, if you will, that they have found body parts, separations of the head from the body. It's an unfortunate situation, but that just shows you the extreme violent nature of the drug cartels.
First of all, good question. But Brewer's feigned ignorance of the damage she is causing to Arizona tourism with her hyperbole is evasive and nonresponsive. Here is a quick summary of opinions compiled by the Arizona Democratic Party:
- The Washington Post: The Arizona governor, seemingly determined to repel every last tourist dollar from her pariah state, has sounded a new alarm about border violence. "Our law enforcement agencies have found bodies in the desert either buried or just lying out there that have been beheaded."
- NY Daily News: Much of the damage to the state's image has been self-inflicted … According to the Tourism & Economic Development Task Force, Gov. Brewer and other politicians need to stop making Arizona out to be unsafe if they want to bring back visitors.
- CBS News: Ironically, Brewer's own high-profile statements with respect to immigration may be exacerbating the problems Arizona's tourism industry has faced in the wake of the debate over its law, a hotel spokesperson reportedly suggested… She recently released a web video highlighting signs in the Arizona desert that warn visitors to stay away.
- Arizona Daily Star: The short version of (the tourism industry) recommendation: Stop telling people Arizona is unsafe… The responsible include Gov. Jan Brewer who has talked openly about crime she said is linked to illegal immigrants, including smuggling drugs, extorting people and terrorizing families, even contending on national television that law enforcement has found beheaded bodies in the Arizona desert.
- azcentral.com/Brahm Resnik’s blog: Gov. Jan Brewer's response to the tourism industry’s SB1070 crisis — which the governor herself isn't helping with talk of "beheadings" — has been to form a task force that will hire a PR firm that will create a message to sell Arizona to the rest of the country.
- Journalist Howard Fischer on KAET’s “Horizon”: “Every time she opens up her mouth, there’s a hundred thousand dollars of bad publicity.”
And where is the lawyerly follow-up question "Who specifically has told you that they have found beheaded bodies? Can you provide me with names and contact information so that I can verify this information with them directly?" When you have a witness with a well-deserved reputation for just making up shit, you have to pin them down on their "facts."
Q: I know you have said you've brought more than 2,500 jobs to Arizona, but the unemployment rate is still higher than 9 percent. Other than setting up a new economic-development authority, how do you propose to bring new jobs to Arizona?
A: Jobs is my No. 1 priority. . . . The first thing that I did was put a moratorium on all the rules and regulations. I told all the regulators to step up and say, 'If you're willing to come to Arizona, we'll help you get through the green tape and the red tape.' We've given tax credits for solar energy . . . bringing solar energy manufacturing jobs to the state. We have established my commission to help get people together and tell us how we can streamline and operate better.
"We're going to continue working . . . in regards to some type of restructuring of taxes here in Arizona, some type of tax reform. . . . It could be a variation of a lot of different things, but the bottom line is it needs to be something we can afford.
Again, good question. The first thing Brewer did was reflexively fall back on conservative ideological dogma and suspend new rules and regulations. An odd position to be bragging about after a deregulated financial services industry nearly destroyed the world's economy, and the deregulated oil industry is destroying the Gulf Coast. Where is the lawyerly follow-up question "How many jobs are attributable to this moratorium? Is there any metric by which you can quantify the number of jobs created?"
The tax credits for solar energy were saved in the legislature by Democrats. Many Republicans were opposed to "subsidizing" solar energy. And it is Rep. Gabriel Giffords' efforts that are bringing solar energy companies to Arizona. Brewer is taking credit for others hard work.
A commission… that's what government does when it wants to kick the can down the road and delay addressing a problem, and to create a fall guy that is not not accountable to the voters. This is what our legislators and governor are elected to do. Again, where is the lawyerly follow-up question "How many jobs are attributable to this commission? Is there any metric by which you can quantify the number of jobs created?"
Q: The Joint Legislative Budget Committee projects a deficit for the new fiscal year, from $368 million to more than $1 billion. Are there programs you would like to see eliminated, or how do you propose closing the gap this year?
A: It's going to be a lot more cutting and more efficiency and streamlining in government. The fact of the matter is that we're going to have to live within our means, and it's going to be difficult again with painful choices. And of course we have maintenance-of-effort requirements and mandates we have to take into consideration. . . .
We were very successful in the last session when we went in and did streamlining and we did budget cutting, and in a little over 500 days we cut $2.2 billion out of the budget. The Legislature worked with us, and we were able to get that budget out.
Again, Brewer is evasive and nonresponsive. She never answers what programs she wants to eliminate. If she wants to be governor, she has an obligation to answer this question. Push her for a response.
The question is premised on the fact that the FY 2011 budget is not balanced but in deficit. The "Jan Sham" budget is in violation of the Arizona Constitution. The budget cuts that Brewer is so proud of were in health, education and public safety, putting Arizona citizens at increased risk.
Q: The state just sold off its buildings, buying them back at an interest rate of 4.3 percent for the next 20 years. That means it's going to cost $456 million for the $300 million package sold in June. That's on top of an earlier $735 million lease-back deal that will ultimately cost $1.1 billion. How does that square with your message of fiscal conservatism?
A: You know, it's something that probably, if someone would have asked me three years ago if that's something I would have supported, I would have said absolutely not.
But I have a requirement to govern the state of Arizona and deliver a balanced budget. I had to work with 90 members of the Legislature to get things done and moving, and we were in a situation where there was no other alternative.
I will tell you that looking at it today and talking with my fellow governors, we were more successful than they have been, because at least we were able to get a balanced budget out.
Again, good question. But Jan Brewer is allowed to get away with telling a bald-faced lie with no follow-up question or fact-check to point it out. As noted above, the FY 2011 budget is not balanced. Moreover the "Jan Sham" budget depends upon voters approving two measures in November to allow the legislature to raid special funds from the voter-approved initiatives of First Things First and the conservation land trust. Brewer has a constitutional requirement to deliver a balanced budget alright, by July 1. She is the first governor in the history of Arizona to fail to deliver a balanced budget by July 1 in two consecutive years.
Q: Although you weren't the driving force behind SB 1070 the way you were the sales-tax increase, in the ensuing months you've become the public face of Arizona's fight to defend the law. How do you feel about the celebrity, now that you've been in the national spotlight?
A: I believe very strongly in what I'm doing. It's important (that) people understand what Arizona is facing and has faced over the years, and if the federal government is not going to step up and take care of what it's responsible for, then Arizona will, and I feel very confident in that. I believe we will win in the end.
I don't know that there's ever been a public face on illegal immigration. … It was somewhat established in the Legislature, and Sen. (Russell) Pearce moved that through. But if you recall, when I was secretary of state, I had to implement voter ID at the polls. It was difficult, and people thought the world was going to fall apart, and we were very successful in eliminating everyone's concerns, and the election came and went without a hiccup. …
It was all about illegals voting and not voting, and as an American, as a governor and as a citizen of the state of Arizona, I believe in the rule of law and will continue to fight vigorously to uphold the law.
Jan Brewer glosses over the series of lawsuits which were filed over the implementation of Prop. 200. One of the consequences of Prop. 200 has been a large increase in the number of provisional ballots, some of which is attributable to the lack of proper ID at the polls. As a poll observer, I can personally attest that Jan Brewer's assertion of no "hiccups" at the polls is complete and utter nonsense. There are any number of voters in this state who can personally attest to that fact as well.
Prop. 200 was about much more than just "illegals voting." This is the perennial GOP voter suppression tactic for which there is no factual basis. The only conviction for voter fraud in memory in Arizona was a white Republican couple from Kansas living in Green Valley in 2008. Green Valley couple sentenced for voter fraud. Voter ID at the polls is a solution in search of a problem – illeglas voting - that does not exist. If it is such a concern, why are voters allowed to vote by mail without producing any ID? More than half the vote in Arizona is early mail ballots.