tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN April 3, 2015 8:04am-10:31am EDT
ce between those who were the haves and the have nots and became their spokesman through his music. woody recorded very few songs of his own. we have a listening station that features 46 of his songs in his own voice. that's what makes the recordings that he did make so significant and so important to us. ♪ this land is your land, this land is my land. ♪ from california to the new york island -- >> watch all of our events from tulsa saturday at noon eastern on c-span2's booktv and sunday afternoon at two on more than history tv on c-span3. >> chicago mayor rahm emanuel and his challenger cook county commissioner jesus chewy garcia met tuesday for their final scheduled one-on-one debate before next tuesday's mayoral runoff election. among the issues discussed were
the city's finances, its hiring practices and accusations of so-called pay to play politics. a recent poll has found mayor emanuel lead aring 58% to 30% with 9% undecided. the debate was moderated by bill ponce of wttw-tv which cohosted the event along with the city club of chicago. this is just under an hour. >> smart people may disagree about what makes a great city but part of what makes chicago great is we don't have to agree. to run a city like ours, a lot of issues come up. the city club of chicago is a place to debate those issues ask hear from the men and women whoo shape the policies, lead the t industries and tell the storiesis, that define our city. for the free and open exchange of ideas the city club of chicago. >> moderator: good evening and is welcome to chicago tonight,ood
i'm phil ponce on this tuesday, march 31st. the final forum between the two candidates running for mayor of chicago, that is the full hour next on chicago tonight. ♪ ♪ >> moderator: the stakes in chicago's mayoral election could hardly be higher. theke city's bond rating now teeters just two notches above junk status. the city faces what appears to be insurmountable pension debt and longtime reliance on borrowing threatens every function of government. so the question, what qualities do the candidates for mayor have to change that trajectory?mayo joining us tonight are members and guests of the city club of chicago. the city club is helping to underwrite tonight's forum. we are also live streaming this
program on our web site, wttw.com. and welcome to our viewers around the country on c-span.the our political reporter is tweeting @wttw using the hashtag chicago tonight, and we invite you to join the online conversation. now joiningon us in the order they appear on the ballot are rahm emanuel, the current mayor of chicago, and jesus chuy garcia, a member of the cook county board of commissioners: tonight we will start by talking mainly about finances with each candidate individually without interruption from the other. that will give the mayor and the commissioner an opportunity to clearly answer the questions.oner then we'll engage both on a range of topics, so let's get to on it. mayor, your administration is iny yo the process of borrowing about $500 million for short-termrati expenditures. aren't you doing exactly what got the city into trouble? emanuel: no, phil.? actually what we're doing today
is actually in four years i've balanced four budgets with actually ending the gimmicks of taking money out of the rainy day fund. we've put money back in. and more importantly than the four budgets we've balanced i've invested in our children without a property tax increase. in addition to that we'velot changed a lott of things inherited. we got here because politicians in the past kicked -- >> let's talk about the future. you are in the process of borrowing this money. do you plan to borrow money to pay the $550 million due for police and fire pensions? mayor emanuel: we have three pension agreements we have done. a balanced approach that asks a little of everybody. in 2011, the legislature passed a bill mandating property tax. i laid out a plan of how to get out of that. first and formost, where we
disagree -- moderator: this is before the lynn noise supreme court. mayor emanuel: it is an approach just like the city approach. it spells out a way to avoid a property tax. first and foremost, a progressive sales tax. second, a chicago-based casino. that allows you reform revenue to avoid a property tax increase. and the differences that i actually not allowing any reforms, saying they are off the table, you put the onus on taxpayers. i have given you a specific plan on how to avoid a property tax. moderator: the three items you mentioned are dependent on state action.
what makes you think the state is going to come through on that? mayor emanuel: first the progressive sales tax which i have been enforcing. you are talking about income tax. it is what my opponent is for. it is viable today because the sales tax was designed 30 years ago. second, a chicago-based casino. they are talking about that as a revenue source. those revenue sources allow you to avoid a property tax consistent with 40 years in which i have not raised property taxes. moderator: a casino, who would own it? mayor emanuel: chicago. i have been consistent. my opponent came out against the casino. i think a chicago-based casino
is a revenue source dedicated to paying for police and fire pensions. depending on how you do it would raise additional resources. anywhere over the time of 10 years a billion dollars. moderator: $100 million a year. mayor emanuel: and you a progressive sales tax. the reason i am for reforms, part of this is you don't have to put the burden on taxpayers. when you have reform off the table, taxpayers and neighborhood services have to cut. >> m oderator: we're going to get to the commission in a second, but back to the issue of a casino who would run it? sure, we're going to get to it in just a second sir. emanuel: chicago would own it, it'd be supervised by the state board of -- the good news is the first time ever in 30 years i passed it in springfield, the government vetoed it.
both the governor and the legislature are talking about the two sources, and the one source while i'm for a progressive income tax you can't rely on it because it requires a constitutional amendment. we have the need right now and a balanced approach where everybody gives little and nobody gives too much is a distinction between my opponent and i where i actually like the county and worked through the reform and revenue mold, it asks a balanced approach where everybody has to do a role to stabilize the funds. and be you take reform off the table, there'll be cuts to neighborhood services tree trimming garbage collection, police officers, there'll be tax increases, and there is no reason for taxpayers alone -- and i will say this one last point. >> moderator: go ahead. matchman our employees didn't cause this problem, it was politicians agreeing to things that got us into this problem and what i've worked at for four years is work with our way out
of commitments made where people kick the can down the road and now have us to the point where there is a soars crisis. i am -- a serious crisis. i am trying to end 30 year t of politics and a financial mention which has been around from politicians and career politicians -- >> moderator: all right, some time with the commissioner now. your reaction to the mayor's assertions that it has to be a matter of they shared sacrifice including pension reform. garcia: shared sacrifice will be something we engage in. first, however, you have to make sure any reform you undertake is constitutional. the bill he passed through springfield is pending before the i'll supreme court. the court will rule, then we'll knowment then the legislature will act to tell us whether they can provide relief toward the obligations we have. you cannot move it and risk the chance of it being struck down which is in my opinion likely
to happen in -- >> moderator: commissioner say the supreme court surprises you and says, you know what? those pension reforms that are, that are in the law are acceptable and we give it our blessing. would you implement those reforms with other unions? garcia: i would sit with those unions and talk about it -- >> moderator: in terms of shared sacrifice? garcia: it would shed new light on the legal parameters, and we'd have a new guide to approach it. the problem with some of this and the issue the first question you asked was about more borrowing. this administration has already engaged in borrowing $1.9 billion, almost $2 million than the previous administration borrowed in a ten-year period. this is additional indebtedness for children who are born today who will be getting married in the year 2042 -- >> moderator: commissioner -- garcia: how long the indebtedness would last. >> moderator: commissioner --
garcia: and one last thing that's been used for operations of government to provide some of the service he's been talking about. that's been irresponsible, very expensive and not sustainable. >> moderator: yeah i raised that with him. what are a few of the specific non-springfield revenue proposals you've made is a city luxury tax. on what, for example? garcia: on the purchase of luxury vehicles, on the purchase of boats, on the purchase of jewelry over $5,000. it generates a modst amount of dollars -- modest amount of dollars, but it is part of what we're looking at. >> moderator: define a modest about of dollars. garcia: potentially between $5-$10 million. >> moderator: give me something else. bar garre i sport modernizing the sales tax in illinois. it's essentially geared toward goods. i'm glad to hear the mayor say he now supports making it progressive and not regressive as have been most of his measures for the past four years
of fees, fines and penalties totaling what the tribune reported to $700 million that hit chicagoans especially low income earners and working class people the hardest. it's regressive, that's how he's balanced the budget over the past four years. that's not sustainable it's unfair. it needs to be progressive. i'm glad to hear him, he now agrees with me, making the sales tax a progressive one. he has not defined that at the last debate. >> moderator: mayor, we're still with the commissioner. commissioner, you've had one executive position many your career $2.9 million, excuse me. thank you, you're right. garcia: boy, you really grew that nonprofit or, didn't you? emanuel: it's a rounding error. welcome to public service. >> moderator: tax returns that the mayor's campaign sent us for the year you left shows a deficit of more than $650,000.
is that tax return wrong? garcia: you're mixing apples and orange toes. when i left the organization, i said it was in good fiscal health. i grew it in a nine-year period from being one employee to 27 employees full time, 110 part time. when i left it, it experienced a deficit which is not a debt. that changed after a couple of years. i had secured additional funding that was coming to the organization. the bottom line -- >> moderator: but in the two years before you left the organization had a deficit, ran deficits of almost half a million dollars. forward garre no, i think you're mixing some things up -- >> moderator: we're talking about when you left, 2009. garcia: a deficit is not a debt okay? it's how you end your year, it's an accounting procedure. the important thing here is that the organization never had to borrow money never used its line of credit, it never missed
one payroll. it was in good financial health. he is trying to distort the record of a nonprofit. i don't know why he's doing it. today the organization has a budget of almost $5 million. >> moderator: okay. last question for the commissioner before we open it up to both of you, and that is it must be safe to assume that you've started to put some names together for your commission. who's going to be on on to it? garcia: we have a varian ity of financial experts -- variety of financial experts. >> moderator: give me some examples of people whose names we might recognize. garcia: a former cfo at cook county board, bowman, there are other people like that -- >> moderator: for example, tell us. garcia: representatives of labor. different labor unions. i'm not at liberty to -- >> moderator: what would the balance be between labor folks and nonlabor folks? garcia: and business people that we're also consulting with.
they have not authorized to release hair names. when i'm -- their names. >> moderator: and how big is the commission going to be? garcia: probable about 12 people. >> moderator: mayor let's open it up to both people. emanuel: i brought the actual document. on the fox debate he said he left of that nonprofit in the black. he overestimated by 72%. if you're going to recruit businesses, you're going to recruit jobs to the city of chicago, your veracity, your forthrightness is what people are going to hang their hat on. good with organization, does very good work. on a $2.7 million budget you said we're off by 72%. second you actually left it in a deficit and you claimed in the organization is how you proved your management chops. it's not exactly going to be bringing -- >> moderator: commissioner. garcia: the organization is in solid financial health -- emanuel: but you said you left it in the black. garre forward i left mid year.
they changed their reporting year at the time that i left. there was a deficit, but no one missed a paycheck no one was laid off, we didn't have to borrow any money. most nonprofit organizations in chicago as a result of the great recession that he helped usher in due to his time at freddie mac -- emanuel: singleedly i ushered in the recession. only you and my mother think that. [laughter] garcia: during his tenure at freddie mac it was one of the factors that began the great recession, and this is part of the impact -- >> moderator: all right, let's get the mayor's a response real quick. garcia: that's big. emanuel: first of all i served on the board in 2001 the recession happened in 2008 and i single-handedly -- i appreciate your rewriting of history, i want to clear it up.
i did not cause the recession. toward garre you contributed to the mismanagement of freddie mac. garcia: i know something about recessions which is why president obama asked me to be his chief of staff. and when i came to be mayor in 2011, there was still a recession, and we worked our way through not only four budgets without a property tax cutting the structural deficit in half and now chicago's number one in job creation, number one city where families moving in and also the little league team in america. garcia: that's not true. [applause] chicago, chicago has had one of the slowest recoveries of the top five cities in the country, okay? we're third, but we've come in number eight in terms of recovery since the great recession. chicago is not all that he touts. he touts that -- tourism that international tourism has expanded in the city of chicago. it hasn't. we lag behindmost of the cities -- behindmost of the cities at the same time. but getting back to the original question, the organization after i left it created an award in my
name as an honor to the service that i provided to it. today people come from all over the country to look at the work and the expertise of the organization. emanuel: he's right,s it is a great organization, and it does good work. garre toward yeah and i built it up. emanuel: as you're credentialed to be the mayor of a $6 million operation, you left it in deficit having said to people it was in black, and you overestimated the budget by 72%. nobody can trust, businesses and jobs to a city where it's not true. garcia: and that's peanuts because what the city is leaving the city of chicago what the major is leaving the city of chicago is a projected deficit for next year of $432 million. growing to almost $600 million the following year. those are -- [inaudible conversations] >> moderator: gentlemen let's move on and talk about -- gentlemen, let's move on, let's
move on and talk about the future. and specifically in terms of additional revenue that the city will need. isn't it fair to say that both of you know exactly what's going to have to be done this terms of property taxes and so forth but just don't want to give the voters the bad news before the election? mayor, i'll let you begin. [laughter] emanuel: first of all, this is where we actually differ, and that is, phil, i presented four budgets in a row without a property tax increase that balanced put money back in the rainy day fund and helped our kids. as it relates to the next two pension agreements, i laid out a plan without a property tax. and here's the difference between us. you asked him who's going to be on the commission, and he just told you that he's going to appoint the day after the election. i can't tell you -- garcia: that's not true. i gave him some names, right phil? [laughter] emanuel: quote i'm not at liberty. liberty means you won't tell people not only up front --
>> moderator: said he wasn't at liberty to talk about the union membership. emanuel: okay, that's the names you asked. here it is, by taking reform -- i'll tell you what it is. as you're walking around all over the place like typical career politicians promising everything to everybody like hanukkah harry and the day after the election the taxpayers get the bill, what ends up is like my old grandmother used to say such a deal. and that's what your commission's going to be for everybody. >> moderator: commissioner, question. is it fair to say that you know exactly what needs to be done but you're not telling voters before the election both you and the mayor? garcia: i don't know everything that will need to be done -- >> moderator: you must have a pretty good idea. daughter garre i have said that when i become mayor, i'm going to engage in audits of the city's finances. there has not been an independent audit. there haven't been any performance audits of any of the departments of the city of chicago -- >> moderator: didn't the attorney general --
garcia: those are not audits, any performance audits. those are tax increment financing audits. those are reports on what has been spent. there are no audits have been made of the city of chicago's finances or my of the departments. >> moderator: mayor? no audits? let the mayor respond. emanuel: dehoyt tour that do audits of not only chicago, austin texas, major fortune 100 and forchub 500 -- fortune 500 companies every year have to audit books also departments in different services we provide. the idea that you're running for mayor and sit there and also claim that detroit, the city of chicago's finance department and the inspector general are falsifying documents is ludicrous on the face of it. you're running for mayor of the city, you suggest that we don't get audits, and we have them
delivered to your -- >> moderator: with respect, you wrote an op-ed in which you said the city is cooking it books. garcia: it is. there's a veil of haves, and you can't get -- of secrecy and you can't get information about where the revenues are going in the city of chicago. there's secrecy in the finances of the city of chicago. i want to open the books phil. before i can look any taxpayer in the eye and tell them that i'm going to increase any taxes on them whatever they happen to be including property taxes i want them to know what we have in the city of chicago. that hasn't occurred under this administration. there is a veil of secrecy. that's how we operate. taxpayers need to know. you can't get that information on line. i will plus it online. emanuel: it's very simple. you have said that a major accounting firm of the world and the city of chicago's finance department and the inspector general who's a former prosecutor you said they're cooking the books. --
you wrote an op-ed. have you called the u.s. attorney on the soars charge that -- garre bar whatever you provide, it isn't what taxpayers can verify. i stand by my assertion that there have not been any audits of the city, and there have never been any performance audits. those are balanced statements that an accounting firm has -- matchman i will give you an audit of your own books that you claim was in the the black, and it's actually $650,000 -- garcia: i stand by that. >> moderator: gentlemen, let's move on. give us one new revenue idea that we haven't heard yet that the city council and the mayor can enact with no action from springfield. mr. garcia, you talked about increasing the luxury tax. what else? garcia: chicago at present and for quite some time -- let me tell you -- a lot of our taxpayer dollar has gone into the downtown area -- >> moderator: no i'm talking about -- garcia: i am. please.
you give him a lot of time. >> moderator: i'm trying to give you just as much. garcia: thank you. wealthy owners in the downtown area when they construct new buildings hire politically heavy law firms who have lots of clout, and they go into the board of appeals, and they receive dramatic reductions in the assessments of those buildings. the potential for recouping hundreds of millions of dollars by sending our corporation counsel to those hearings and to intervene on behalf of taxpayers for buildings that have of a significant value could yield a hot of money to suicides -- a lott of money to citizens. >> moderator: how much? garcia: hundreds of millions of dollars. for example 11 buildings that were sold within the last year in the downtown area could easily general rate $100 million [inaudible conversations] garre bar no the corporation council. >> moderator: thank you. emanuel: here's the thing -- >> moderator: it sounds like a
good idea. is it? emanuel: we already to collect taxes. when, in fact, the willis tower was sold city of chicago because of the property taxes for a major corporation actually does receive a tremendous amount of money for actually when one property goes to another. and is when they bought it at record amount, it's a reflection of their confidence now of the environment and job creation -- >> moderator: i think the commissioner's saying is it a fair assessment on which these taxes are based. garcia: well, there's -- >> moderator: if i'm not misrepresenting. garcia: and the empire state building which is of a similar magnitude as the willis tower generates three to four times the amount of property taxes than does the willis -- >> moderator: mayor, please finish. emanuel: taxes here that are in the is city of chicago i've talked aboutst one of the ways to avoid -- it's one of ways to avoid a property tax increase, the casino and since 2011 i
talked about a progressive sales tax because the sales tax we have today, phil is structured upon the economy 30 years ago. and expanding it to service. and a classic example of what i mean. a single mother buying school supplies for her child pays a sales tax. you join a club, you do not pay a -- >> moderator: what kind of club are you talking about? matchman health club. you don't pay a sales tax. and i believe those types of services should be charged because they're more reflective of today's -- garcia: the wine club could be included in that too. [laughter] >> moderator: i think that's an honest statement, isn't it? let's move on to a different topic that's a concern, and this is a viewer question. it has to do with the airport. you can't sound proof your yard your deck your garden your neighborhood. soundproofing and noise monitors are just a dodge to avoid dealing with the real and only problem which is hundreds b and hundreds of loud and toxic polluting planes flying low over
our once-livable communities. mayor, what do you say to those people who are suffering those effects? matchman the neighbor, the -- emanuel, the resident is right. people who have homes in the neighborhood have to be a good resident. now, the solution to this is getting faa to experioduate its study so we can actually have o'hare, if you want to basically have all the runways used at an appropriate time -- the diagonal runways? matchman right. faa controls it. too often only two parts of the runways, two communities are being used and the residents are right in this sense. we have expanded insulation, your residence, a backyard barbecue, you are impaired because of flight patterns. >> moderator: commissioner, do
you have the juice with the faa to get them to do something? garcia: the first thing the mayor should do is go meet with the individuals who live around the airport. i've done that on several occasions. the fair coalition has been complaining about this. i went to one of their hearings, i visited with them, i understand their problem. you can at least do that. why not go there and see for yourself? why not meet with them, why not engage them? is that's what a major should do -- mayor should do. i support keeping the old runways as well as the utilization of the new ones and engaging in measures that would mitigate some of the noise that exists there. >> moderator: spread it around in other words. garcia: yes. they have some ideas, they ought to be heard. i will make the faa come and meet with them too. that's leadership. that's being responsive and being a good listener. >> moderator: speaking of the residents, we have some protesters outside of channel 11 as this forum is taking place. mayor -- emanuel: i feel at home now.
[laughter] >> moderator: mayor, you did not design the runways, you don't control the faa -- emanuel: but i did cause a recession. [laughter] >> moderator: why haven't you at least met with the people affected by airport noise? emanuel: i actually have met with them, and i've also met with the -- >> moderator: they claim you have not. emanuel: no, we have not -- which -- chuw, wait a second. we did the sound monitors and now i've called and written a letter to the faa to speed up the report so we can take all the runways so no two communities bear all the burden with for o'hare's growth. it is a major job engine, but it's not evenly felt across -- >> moderator: but just to be clear, you met with the alderman -- emanuel: who represents the area as a former congressman from the area, i understand if you can't use your backyard --
garcia: what about meeting with them? i went and met with them. [inaudible conversations] emanuel: the hard part is getting the answer can which is what i'm working at, and actually that's what it means to be a mayor. garcia: give them a half hour at least. come on. give them a half hour. this is your greatest investment. [laughter] this is your greatest investment. manman and he's the difference -- garre around they deserve to be heard. emanuel: when it came to hearing the community and finally closing the coal plant -- garcia: go be with them. emanuel: and also the meetings i'm going to make sure we get the meetings -- garcia: the coal plants again. [laughter] >> moderator: mayor well, you asked me to ask him about the, about the coal plans. [laughter] [inaudible conversations] > moderator: ill get back to you on that. this is the second time the commissioner has expressed
skepticism in your role of closing the coal plants. what exactly did you do? garcia: i met with the folks the community groups and i appreciate they have been advocating for 20 years. they felt nobody on the fifth floor was hearing them so i was listening. they said our kids are showing up at the hospital with asthma attacks, and chuy did play a role. the difference was when they needed to get the job done and not just protest, i called the ceo, called them into my office and i said this can be easy, or this can be hard. and today under my tenure, a ten-year effort by the community leaders finally got done because i actually opened up the fifth floor to hearing them and finished the job and getting the ball over the goal line. >> moderator: commissioner, will you at least give the mayor credit for closing the deal? garcia: i give the mayor credit for cutting an ad to begin his re-election campaign. [laughter] that's what i give him -- >> moderator: you do not give
him credit? garre war no. he came in and took credit for it. part of the reason the coal plants were going to close was they were becoming uneconomical to the operators. the groups deserve all the credit. they worked on it for a long time as was the case with the park. the community residents have been working on that issue for almost 20 years in a little village, and that's why they closed. it was the result of people in little village and canaryville -- >> moderator: quick response before we get on to the next topic. mayor. emanuel: two points. yes, it was the price natural gas, and that's when you're negotiating, you use that to leverage to force the coal plant operator to shut down. two, the effort does go to all the community groups. the difference is protesting is not the same as making progress, and those are shut today during my tenure working with the community groups. not only to shut the coal plants but to open up a park they wanted for ten years, and that's how you invest in the
neighborhood so they have the quality of life. bar garre and most of the money came from the statement. [laughter] >> moderator: let's move on to the next topic, and we have a viewer question. the question is, this is addressed to mayor emanuel. you have presented yours as a pay -- yourself as a pay to play reformer isn't your leadership compromised by the favors you owe to people? emanuel: let me, two points on that phil. first, during my tenure specifically the stain on chicago was about its hiring practice for years. it was based on knowledge of who you know, not what you know. and for the first time ever, the federal overthroughout the -- oversight throughout the the city of chicago has been ended under my watch. a 0-year process of federal -- 20-year process of oversight. >> moderator: so what's the connection between that and pay
to play? emanuel: that's a fundamental reform of hiring practices where corruption used to occur. number two, the biggest issue and here are the three things where i've told supporters you're wrong. we're raising the minimum wage in chicago by 40%. i've fought for it my whole life because if you work, work should pay. two, i've told the real estate development community you going to put $90 million into a fund for 40,000 affordable units over the next five years. three, i closed the loophole that exists on taxes that allowed companies to take luxury skyboxes at sporting facilities and they have to now pay full freight. and when it came to asking chuy garcia name three things he would tell the biggest donor, $2 million, where he disagreed he couldn't name one. and just sunday the "chicago sun-times" noted that the joyce family that i threw out of the airport for ten years having a no-bid contract is one of his biggest supporters in the campaign --
[laughter] and -- [inaudible conversations] >> moderator: one of the joyce family members was standing right behind you at the podium. daughter garre okay. what kind of donation has made to the campaign? the fact that someone wants to volunteer for me makes them a big donor? that's false. has he begin me $1,000? no. he has received, according to "forbes" magazine, from 600 vendors doing business with the city $7 million. he's received over the past four years since he ran for mayor the first time over $20 million from 100 donors. when you have -- and they're all rich and powerful: when you have forces like that involved in politics, what happens to the little guy? what happens to taxpayers in the city of chicago? they get shut out. you buy the airwaves, you monopolize the discourse you get your way. he never thought we would be here tonight because he figured he would get reelected because he's got all of those well
hawaii donors backing his campaign. it's bad for the voters, and that's why voters voted for change on february 24th. that's why he's in a runoff. emanuel: two things. you just calls the sup times liars -- sun times liars. he was not only there on election night that family was thrown out of the airport for a ten-year no-bid sweetheart deal. second i am proud that business and labor join me in support of my effort because they know the difference of an economy that's growing and creating jobs and one that when you run up deficits jobs companies and families will flee. the support is when i came to office, there were three cranes in the city of chicago. today there are 29 cranes 1200 people carpenters plumbers electricians and everybody going back to work and chicago's finally on the move again. if you don't know how to manage city finances companies will not have the confidence to come here. i'm proud of the fact that business and labor know the difference between an economy
growing. >> moderator: mayor, it was recently revealed you received a $250,000 donation from magic johnson after one of his companies got an $80 million contract with cps. is that not another example of benefiting from are a city deal? emanuel: they gave $10 million for summer jobs for our most at-risk kids, and i'm proud we're going to give 5,000 kids who never had an opportunity for a job, for a mentor are having an alternative. and i'm happy that magic johnson saw the promise in chicago's youth, and it was competitively bid. garcia: the tribune has called it pay-to-play politics in chicago. that's status quo politics. that's pinstripe patronage in chicago. it exists today it's as robust as ever. i have 6,000 volunteers working on my campaign. he plucks one name who hasn't even made any significant financial contributions to my campaign. that's not pay to play. that's distorting -- >> moderator: as he discuss
can -- has he discussed potential contracts with you? garcia: no. he's discussed getting votes for me in the 19th ward where he lives. that's what he's done. emanuel: here's the thing you still haven't named three things you've tell the sciu -- >> [inaudible] emanuel: no, and that's what leadership requires. >> moderator: commissioner, i do have another question. your son has been arrested numerous times and court records described him as a gang member n. 2013 he was charged with attacking an off-duty police officer. is he still fang member? -- a gang member? garcia: phil, my wife and i live in a neighborhood that's had its share of problems including gang activity. my son grew up in that community, it's been challenging. we tried to be as loving and as caring and as supportive of my son as possible. he made some mistakes. i'm not proud of it. practice all the love we gave -- perhaps all the love we gave him
hasn't been enough. hi son has four children that he's raising. he is a chef and he mentors kids in the community. he turned his life around, i'm proud of him. >> moderator: is he still in a gang? garcia: no. emanuel: can i say one thing? i don't actually think this is a fair line of questioning. >> moderator: actually -- emanuel: i don't want. [applause] we're all no, we're all -- we're both fathers -- >> moderator: with respect, a lot of voters might wonder, commissioner, if you can't keep your own son out of a gang how can you -- >> boo! >> moderator: if you can't keep your own son out of a gang how can you steer the city away from gangs and violence? garcia: phil, it was i growing up in a neighborhood that has had its share of gang violence that deepened my resolve and my wife's resolve to stay there to work to improve the community to reduce gang violence. it was one of the highlights of
my work and the organization we were talking about. today people come from all over the country to look at the work that the organization -- >> moderator: that wasn't the question. commissioner, that wasn't the question. if you can't keep your own son out of a gang, how can you steer the city away -- garcia: my son has only been convicted of two misdemeanors and what you are spreading is something that was published anecdotal in the newspaper, o.k.? we did the best that we could for him. there are other things that you don't know about my son, okay and the work that he has dope. he's been a mentor with the ymca street intervention program, he's mentored, he's mentored kids in the neighborhood and in many other neighborhoods. he has also worked on trauma issues in the is city of chicago. [applause] i mean, it's a great story phil. i'd like to introduce him to you. >> moderator: i'm happy to give you the opportunity to tell that story. now, let's get back to the issue of pay to play and your son.
one of chicago's leading law firms, mayor brown represented your son for free on a felony charge, later as the can cook county commissioner you cosponsored a measure to give mayor brown the job of handling a $100 million bond deal. why is that not payback for a freebie? garcia: when my son received the services from the law firm, i didn't ask the law firm to provide them. it was a mutual friend who -- >> moderator: your campaign lawyer. garcia: and it was before i was elected to the cook county board. they were friends. he's known him since they were 3 years old. he went to him asking for advice. i did not see any conflict of interest. to this day, i don't see a conflictover interest. it was before i was elected to the cook county board. how much did the firm get? a minuscule amount. it came as a complete package. there was no reason for me to think there was a conflict of interest or even the appearance. >> moderator: let's move on. garcia: that's my record as a
public servant. >> moderator: mayor, all the city's borrowing goes with through finance chairman ed burke. would you support him to keep his job as finance chairman? garcia: first of all i haven't got reelected to even say that, and that's what the election's about -- >> moderator: could you? and i'll ask the commissioner the same. one of you is going to be elected. would you keep chairman burke as a finance committee chairman? emanuel: if he seeks re-election, i'll support what the city council says, and the answer is yes. >> moderator: why does he have still have a security detail? it's diminished, but he -- emanuel: he doesn't have active police. we made it smaller we cut back everybody's, including my open. emanuel: still costing the city money to have these -- i have it other individuals have it. i said there's no part of the budget that doesn't get reformed, so everybody got cutbacks. i made it happen. in addition, his are no longer
active policemen they're actually retirees because those officers went back to the departments where they're from. >> moderator: commissioner be you're elected mayor, would you keep ed burke as chairman of the finance committee? garcia: that's something we will discuss with the chicago city council. they do it by a vote of the council. >> moderator: your vote would be a pretty big one in terms of what you express -- garcia: let me answer your question. i think context is important. first of all on february 24th voters this chicago voted for change. that's why this gentleman here is in a runoff, that's why 19 members of the city council are also in runoffs. to me, that is a strong message being sent to the next mayor, to the city council. we're going to have those conversations. thanks to the -- >> moderator: so you're suggesting that there might be a change. garcia: yes. we will also review the security detail of the aldermen to ascertain whether it's necessary today. but the other thing i want to say is part of the reason we have to do that is the terrible management of the city's
finances that have resulted in five downgrades over the past two years including two with at chicago public schools have gotten us in a situation where we have to look at all the expenditures of the city of chicago including those of the chicago city council. emanuel: can i answer that? first and foremost the bigger issue is making the change how we deal with the insurance as it relates to worker's comp that that committee has because it's a major is source of saving money. second let's deal with the downgrade -- >> moderator: well, get back to that. one more time on the -- [laughter] emanuel: that committee, you can save a lot of money on worker's comp, and that's where we've been saving money which is why in -- >> moderator: mayor, with respect, a lot of people have no idea what ed burke does. emanuel: let me get to the bigger point because of the down grade you just brought up -- garcia: the five downgrades. emanuel: it very specifically points to peppings at cps --
pensions at cps. in 1997 you were in the state senate. you cast a vote to allow cps to skip payments into the teachers' pension, was warned then that the you skipped these payments the pension is going to go in arrears and create a financial mess. the problem we have today, your hands, fingerprints are all over that shovel, and mow you're pointing fingers at people. that is what created the financial mess we have today, and the downgrades weren't there in the last four years. it took 30 years of career politicians casting votes in springfield and allowing -- >> moderator: mayor, with respect -- [inaudible conversations] you talked about the credibility of the rating agency, how about the credibility of moody's? and then outside group, how is that not a reflection of your financial story here? emanuel: exactly what they said, phil was the crisis of the pension. you don't believe for a second that the pension crisis here, cps, police or fire, you're not suggesting in the last four years that problem just emerged. it is years and years and decades in the working. that is the honest assessment.
and the first time that cps actually started to skip payments is when chuy was in the state senate, warned not to cast that vote. it would create a financial mess as it related to the pension. that's the problem we have today. three-quarters of the financial layers at cps are all related to the pensions is exactly what moody's says in this report. >> moderator: and yet it's not a statement on the past, it's a projection on the future and the city's creditworthiness. emanuel: and how we got to this mess wasn't overnight which is why i want to end the dual taxation of chicago taxpayers supporting libertyville -- >> moderator: commissioner. a. garcia: there's a long history of financial mismanagement related to rahm emanuel. freddie mac was part -- he can make fun of it and say, you know i accused him of bringing us the great recession, but he was a rubber stamp on the board that approved many decisions -- >> moderator: let's talk about the future. garcia: what are we talking about? >> moderator: we were talking
about the bond ratings. garcia: you mentioned moody's? you forgot to mention fitch. they also did the most recent downgrading. the pattern here is that he promised four years ago to fix the finances now he seeks to highlight a vote that i took on the illinois budget that dealt with education, with health care, with a -- a $30 billion budge, and he claims that i ushered in the era of pension fund being out of whack. that's crazy. [laughter] you know that's like me blaming him personally for the recession. he's got to -- emanuel: you're right. that's my point. garcia: he said four years ago that he would put the fiscal house in order. chicago's finances are among the worst in the country. emanuel: every budget the civic federation says we are righting the ship fiscalliment -- fiscally. >> moderator: i'll get back to you.
emanuel: you can attack me, but everybody knows that's a smoke screen for the fact that you lack an agenda to awe tack the problems facing the is city of chicago. and what is happening here the crisis on mentions didn't happen overnight. we inherited it, and since day one we have roll up our sleeves, we've cut the structural deficit in half, we stopped the gimmicks of taking money out of rainy day funds that fill operating budgets and actually restructured it which is why businesses and jobs are finally coming back to t city, because they have confidence in the future of the city. and if you go backing to the days where on a small community group if you run a deficit, nobody's going to have the confidence -- >> moderator: okay commissioner -- [inaudible] garcia: federation has warned him to stop borrowing for the long haul because it's so expensive and indebting chicagoans for many years into the future. they have told them stop using that borrowing to fund short-term operations -- >> moderator: how about -- garcia: phil, you gave him more time.
can i have equal time? >> moderator: this is a follow-up on what you just said. mayor, once upon a time the short-term borrowing cap was $200 million. you've increased it to $1 billion. how come? emanuel: because i've rejected two false choices on day one four yearsing ago. now, these problems we inherited. first, everybody recommended indiscriminate cuts across the board, and they affect different communities across chicago which is the wrong thing to do. second, other people recommended just raise taxes like the biggest increases in property taxes. i rejected both those choices. i went i through the budget line by line, reforming it, balancing it ending the gimmicks, no property tax increase, and the worst thing to do so actually go like other politicians have done. chuy has over a billion dollars of pledges before the campaign, and then he's going the to tell you i'm going to appoint a commission, i can't tell you who the names are, and i won't tell you what's acceptable or what's
not acceptable -- >> moderator: hold on he did give some names. garcia: he just got five minutes there. [laughter] can i have two minutes of the five minutes? emanuel: that's the wrong way to go for the city of chicago. garcia: the civic federation also said as it relates to the chicago public school budget that it's founded on a gimmick, an accounting gimmick. in other words he used 14 months to do the next budget. you just don't do that okay? secondly, he talks about the largest property tax increase. he tried to do that last year through the state legislature. didn't have the guts to try to do it through the city council. he was trying to pass a $250 million property tax in the general assembly. who stopped him? governor quinn stopped him, and thankfully he did, or else chicagoans would have been -- >> moderator: [inaudible] garcia: finally, phil, in our last debate at wttw he admitted -- actually, that was channel 7 -- there is waste fraud and inefficiency in the
city budget today. that's why i want to open up the books, so chicagoans know what that waste what that fraud what -- >> moderator: mayor? emanuel: of course. that's what it means when you say you're going to go through a budget line by line. every year we make major structural reforms eliminating waste, fraud and abuse which is how you create the first new domestic violence shelter in the city of chicago, how you increase your of after school funding and summer jobs from 14,000 kids to where we are now 24,000 kids. because we've gone through the budget, find waste, we constantly are reforming because you don't stand on the status quo, you go through it every year and find different efficiencies. i acknowledge going forward our job isn't done, but we're not where we were before because we've cut the structural deficit in four years in half. >> moderator: commission commission, thises has to do with -- commissioner this has to do with race relations. what would you do over city job, contracts and resources? garcia: when i'm elected, i will be a mayor whose core values
will be fairness and equity. it's been done before in chicago. chicago cannot move forward as a city unless everyone in the city, all communities including african-americans and latinos get a fair share, that there is equity in the city. chicago cannot prosper be some people are doing -- if some people are doing great -- >> moderator: has there not been equity? daughter daughter there has not. there have been barriers that have kept groups out of the mix in terms of employment, contracts, promotions, on and on. the culture of the politics in chicago has been in part responsible for it. it's also been structural racism. and barriers that have created, you know have denied people the opportunity to advance. i have been a longtime and a consistent reformer and progressive and coalition builder recognizing that chicago can only achieve all of its potential especially in the 21st
century when you have an inclusive government. that's type of government -- >> moderator: mayor, how about the issue of historical tensions between african-americans and latinos? what would you say to that? emanuel: first, i want to speak to this issue in a general point, and then to chicago. the reason i spent indiana's bigotry is i don't think -- >> moderator: inviting businesses to relocate. emanuel: to leave there because diversity is our strength. looked at chuy and i, two individuals of different ethnicities. we're running for mayor of the city of chicago an immigrant the grand sob of a -- grandson of an immigrant. that is our strength. working together and sharing the experiences. where has that happened? educationally. that is the greatest way to bridge not only differences, be i to make people -- but to make people advance -- >> moderator: all right we're talking about educationment commissioner, can you fairly --
emanuel: i'd hike to have -- i'd like to have chuy's other second there. the city that's produced barack obama, harold washington more people from the u.s. senate, and this is an issue while it has a weakness to us, it is also our greatest strength. >> moderator: all right. i need to get to education. mayor, i need to get to education. and, commissioner, can you fairly represent the city when negotiating with the union whose president personally recruited you to run? garre bar phil, i'm going on the a mayor that's going to open up the books and have difficult considerations with all the stake holders in the city of chicago. part of the acrimony with respect to this mayor is the fact that he tried to break the teachers union by making it impossible for them to have a strike authorization, then he triggered the first strike in 25 years. his confrontational style is not conducive to coming to terms and achieving good outcomes in the city of chicago.
my approach will be inclusive and collaborative. we can do things differently, and i will end pay to play politics in chicago. >> moderator: mayor, four years ago 90% of teachers voted to strike. how much of a disadvantage are you when negotiating a contract given the hostility you've engendered? emanuel: first of all, we have a good relationship with the cq. let me be clear about three things. >> moderator: make it quick. emanuel: 20 unions agreed with us. second, we've worked through both police fire and about two dozen other contracts in a win/win situation and third and is most importantly as it relates to education the issue at contention was the chicago kids were having shortest school day and school year in america. e wended shortchanging our -- we ended shortchanging our kids. my opponent does not agree with it, ran ads against it. garcia: that's a lie. i'll represent myself. he doesn't have to represent me.
what are you, my attorney? >> moderator: gentlemen, we're out of time. emanuel: i didn't know you needed one. [laughter] >> moderator: >> moderator: our thanks to rahm emanuel and chuy garcia. a special thanks to the city club members and guests who joined us in our studio this evening. visit our web site to see behind the scenes photos later tonight, there you can also find much more information about the candidates including career timelines, endorsement ands their views on key issues, and tune in for our special one-hour forum, and the winner of chicago's mayoral race. and we look forward to seeing one of you in april. thank you gentlemen, very much. [applause] >> c-span2, providing live coverage of the u.s. senate floor proceedings and key public policy events. and every weekend booktv. now for 15 years the only television network devoted to nonfiction books and authors.
c-span2, created by the cable tv industry and brought to you as a public service by your local cable or satellite provider. watch us in hd like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. .. >> later today president obama speaks about the economy. this is the link the jobs number for march released to "the associated press" saying the u.s. economy spilled, weakening
>> this is the brookings institution in washington. coming up shortly we will hear from assistant secretary of state roberta jacobson talking about the upcoming seventh summit of the americas. that is setup at april 10 and 11th. this should get underway shortly here at brookings. later today president obama speaking in utah talking about the economy 1:00 eastern on c-span, and maybe more reaction to the announced initial agreement, the iran nuclear agreement. the ap reporting that israel's prime minister benjamin netanyahu saying his cabin is united in quote strongly opposing the proposed iran nuclear deal. perhaps more on that later on today. [inaudible conversations]
>> good morning everyone. can you hear me? great period welcome to brookings. i'm ted piccone, senior fellow with the latin american initiative here at the foreign policy program, and i'm very happy to introduce today's event and our speakers on summit of the americas prospector and american relations. as you all know next week we will have the stuff and summit of the americas in panama city, and much anticipated because of the developments around host of issues including the first time that the government of cuba will be attending, and it will be president raul castro sitting
together with other heads of state, and most important city with president obama at this gathering. of course, it's not just about cuba. there are many, many issues on the agenda. i think there's a key moment of opportunity for not just the united states but for the entire region to sit down and crap forward-looking again on a whole host of challenges that the hemisphere faces. we have today program that will help us understand better what's on the inter-american agenda and what we'll see in panama. and we will start with opening remarks as keynote speaker from roberta jacobson, the assistant secretary for western western hemisphere affairs at the department of state. roberta and i just take the first report to give in the '90s and the clinton administration and it's been fascinating to watch her career develop, and now holding this very senior position, at a
critical can time confirmed by the u.s. senate. and she will make opening remarks and then we'll have a panel discussion led by harold trinkunas who is the robinson chair and senior fellow director the latin american initiative here. he came to us from the naval postgraduate school where he was professor for national security affairs in monterey. we will also be joined by richard feinberg from the university of california-san diego and a nonresident senior fellow here at brookings. richard is really the godfather of the summit process, was the senior official at the white house for the first miami summit of the americas in 1994 and has attended every summit except for one and will be going to panel along with roberta and many, many other people next week. so we look forward to their comments, and roberta, please. i should also mention if you
haven't gotten copies, and you will hear more about it today, please got a copy of the latest report that richard, harold and emily will have done. roberta. [applause] >> good morning, everybody. thank you, ted. i appreciate the introduction. mostly appreciate you not reading my bio which gets longer, and people think that's a feature that been very distinguished. i think it's a feature of being very old. every time it gets rid. i'm delighted to be this morning talking about the broad range of hemispheric issues. i'm delighted to be back at brookings and i'm thrilled to be working with ted again. we have worked together on and off on things hemispheric. i'm glad to see some of my colleagues from the region year.
we've been working together steadily on things preparing for the summit but i must say most of all i am happy to be with the godfather, who over the last number of years preparing for summit and birthing the first one, has consistently made offers that people could not refuse in preparing for summits both presidents, and really has brought us to a moment when summitry itself as default and summits have evolved in this hemisphere to want to think will be quite remarkable in many ways, and will produce things that don't always make the headlines. and i think that in some ways has always been the news out of summit. and i think i want to start by pointing out that three very smart people one of them the godfather richard feinberg, and harold trinkunas and emily miller have really been at this fantastic paper about the
region. a couple of years ago i wrote a piece for america's quarterly, which was kind of up to the idea the latin american and the caribbean has changed, and it was sort of an idea that it's not your father's western hemisphere. 10 things you don't know about latin america and the caribbean. and like most policymakers, it was very compact short, kind of punchy and it'd know data to back it up right? but it was based on the idea that a lot of old think and old myth about this region persists when it is moved beyond many of those old impressions, and it has become a region of capable and equal partners. but this piece that they have done wonderfully titled better than you think, reframing
inter-american relations and i've always told harold and richard that i will be shamelessly utilizing that phrase better than you think, in many of the substantive parts of the peace. what this piece argued is just that idea that there is a lot you don't know about what's happened in this hemisphere and how well it has gone for u.s. policy, and the maturity of those relationships is really quite developed. but it does so with all of the data to back it up and that for me is extraordinary. so i thank you for that contribution to the debate and the support for the notion that president obama brought to trinidad in 2009 for the fifth summit of the americas where he outlined a desire to force people partnerships in this hemisphere build on common
values and common interests. that we won't always agree on everything, which is precisely what this paper says, but we agree on so many things are in our mutual interest that we can have mature 20% to relations. i think this summit in panama will showcase a lot of very important issues that deliver on that promise of equal partnerships come in particular what he promised in 2009 which was an updated architecture for cooperation in partnership based on shared responsibility. truly shared responsibility by the united states and by our partner. one of the most important things i think and i'll talk about this a little bit throughout the substantive portions of our priorities at the summit, one of the most important things in the new architecture is seen in the
summit developed since 2009. we saw it in 2012 in cartagena, in colombia and is the ceo dialogue that you will see which is going to look in some ways very much like what colombia did in arcana, but the preparations for it do not look the same. because what has developed which is exactly what we hoped for is the americas business dialogue and a permanent forum for the private sector to be engaged with leaders in bringing to government their priority the way they see the private sector and the economies working and a way for leaders to interact with the private sector in a more permanent manner between summits and at summit. so that has really developed into something that will be a more constant dialogue along the lines of apex which is what we had intended.
at this summit we want to take that next step in another nongovernmental area, which is in the civil society area, and try and develop an institutional mechanism for civil society to have that permanent dialogue. being here with all of you today as part of the dialogue with civil society, each country should be having that dialogue. we will have the civil society dialogue taking place in the various for a at the summit, but that also needs to take place on a more or less constant basis between summits. and assemblies by definition civil society is disorganized here it is not centralized but it has to figure out a way to have a mechanism that keeps it they keep the connected and that keeps it more or less and are acting with leaders in between
some of. so i think some kind of a mechanism for civil society to continue to interact with the governments in between summits will also, would be a huge benefit coming out of this summit. our own priorities for this summit really fall into four categories that are a part of the basic priorities in the hemisphere that we have come at their democracy and human rights, global competitiveness, social developments and energy and climate change. they fit very well with in both panama was been selected for the summit which is prosperity with equity and they fit very well within the eight sub themes that were developed for the summit. let me go through them very briefly and then obviously we're going to have a good conversation. on democracy and human rights there's been a great deal discussed about some backsliding, some concerns, some angst i would say about whether
we are stepping up on democracy and human rights throughout the hemisphere but in many ways i think this summit must confront that issue both in its positives and in some of its negatives. this is of course the first summit that love all 35. that in itself is momentous that has to be followed up by a robust conversation among leaders and with civil society groups who are there. the president has committed to being at having a conversation with the hemispheric forum on civil society because he thinks that is critical, that leaders be held accountable by their civil societies including obviously the civil society participants from the united states as we interact with our own stakeholders all the time. to try and be held accountable. and to be transparent.
there are four site events as you know to the summit. they are on youth education the ceo summit, and the civil society summit. they are feedback loops. they are ways that leaders are held accountable by various fora of citizens outside of government. and unless we have that then we are living in our own echo chamber, frankly of leaders without getting the input we need from our citizens. we also applaud the governments around the hemisphere that have supported that more robust civil society role. i would say that obviously there's been a lot of attention focused on two particular issues in the democracy and human rights area. they are cuba and venezuela. cuba being at the summit for the
first time is going to steal a lot of attention. i think the president's policy change in december david huge amount of left to the issues of engagement on cuba. it was something we felt was long overdue and takes a huge irritant out of our policy in latin america and the caribbean something that we will continue to move forward on in the coming months and years because full normalization will take years. i would argue that there are very real challenges on democracy in venezuela that the entire hemisphere needs to be concerned about, not just the neighbors of venezuela and serving not just the united states. it never has been and won't be a bilateral issue. it's a hemispheric issue, but most of all it's a venezuela issue for venezuelans to resolve. i think that the issue of sanctions on seven individuals
frankly has been blown way out of proportion and languished in language an executive order that is standard and, in fact, just came out two days ago in another executive order on cybersecurity. but also note that in the middle of march when they put out a declaration on the sanctions issue put out two declarations with almost no one in the media picked up on. those declarations were on the sanctions and unilateral actions perceived and rejected. they were also on elections and democracy. that went almost unnoticed by many people and that was very important, too. and the importance of human rights and the rule of law in venezuela and moving forward on the election. so that is a debate that really needs to continue to be had. and we are certainly comfortable having that full debate. on economic growth and
competitiveness, there is a will continue to be a direct connection between economic growth and competitiveness and the democracy, human rights, accountability issues that i began with. if you don't have institutions of governance that are transparent ma that are responding to the needs of citizenry, the present justice systems that are equal, accessible to all and provide a level playing field, then you're on economic growth is going to be stymied as well, and expansion of opportunity is going to be. so there is a direct connection between those things that cannot be helped off and separated. we will focus in this summit because macroeconomic members especially during a commodities boom, have been okay on the whole answer me this hemisphere has gone to the macro economic
reforms that many other countries are struggling with around the world. we will focus a lot of our attention on small business, generating huge numbers of jobs and not necessarily always getting the support that they need, support and credit, access to credit, support and job training. we know that the small business network of the americas has now fostered huge numbers of job creation in the hemisphere. there are over 4000 small business development center is that a been created since was launched these partnerships between small business develop and centers in the u.s. and small business development centers in the countries of latin america and the caribbean. in colombia alone these efforts created nearly 6000 jobs come and increased some businesses sails over 50% or even in the united states, under 2% of small businesses export. but the minute you can connect small businesses the markets
elsewhere and even if those our neighbors next door you can hugely raise their capabilities while remaining obvious to small and be concise enterprises. i've already talked about the americas business ballot what you think is going to be essential as a continuing forum for movement on the economic sector. but i also think that we need to continue to press in the economic sector and among our business leaders for attention to equity issues and the inequality issues of access to justice and judicial reform which are as important for them as investors and business people as they offer those who are shut out of the justice system because of resources or socioeconomic reasons. on social development, which that's my segue into that would come an issue of inclusion, i think this is one of most important issues facing the region right now. we know it is still the most unequal region in the world.
there are terrific statistics in the paper about the way in which inequality has been reduced in the 2000s and that has been impressive but it's from high level of inequality and more needs to be done. the numbers we've seen a people moving into the middle class in this hemisphere are staggered. they are impressive. those have to be sustained and that in itself is difficult, especially with commodity prices softening so when the diversification of an economy but also when you to remember how many people were left out of that process. whether it's because of geography, whether it's because they are a vulnerable population group, indigenous groups, afro latinos, women. that push to get those benefits out to more people has to be doubled, has to be made more real. and that brings us to the issue
of education where we know there is a huge deficit in the region. the region's higher education institutions remain not up to the challenge of the 21st century, and many leaders recognize this. so we will continue to push where we can with one a thousand strong in the americas program which has now awarded 38 innovation grants to 100 higher education institutions in 12 countries. i am proud we are continuing to work on this and really moving ahead with a lot of private sector partnerships in a lot of countries, but we need to do even more at parker and. we know that wholesale connection, what we are doing is connecting institutions to institution. we are not funding individual scholarships. we know that connecting universities and colleges and universities and colleges will raise the number of students who go on these exchanges faster than funding individual scholarships. we have seen the numbers of
students rising over the last couple of years by 12-13% in each direction already. we have to get that up even higher. we know that these models work and they work not just at the harvard, yale and stanford. in fact, it's much more important that we focus on community colleges in the united states, and a growing number of countries that are looking at this model for their own use. technical colleges in mexico and other things that are training students for 21st century jobs that are not and i deeply committed social science person in humanities person, but that are not necessary going to make them unemployable with an anthropology degree or a degree in one of the sciences, social sciences that they may not be able to use. an example would be a woman into
my run from a small community in honduras who obtained a degree in business management for making nerdy college in iowa through seed -- which is scholarship education and economic development would be putting $50 million for 1300 students. mira established when she went back to honduras a coffee company which helped a group of traditional small coffee farmers export to the united states tripling their profit. it returned more than $30,000 to farmers through its profit sharing and social welfare program. which is really, really powerful. the last thing you want to talk about is energy and the environment because the other impediment that we know heaps areas of this hemisphere from realizing their full potential is high cost of energy in some places, and what we are looking at in this hemisphere on the other side of the issue on
climate change is huge energy resources to be exploited enormous enormous wealth in the energy sector, but the possibility of doing it responsibly and sustainably as we face climate change crises around the globe, especially when we look at increasing weather events in central america that can be disastrous and obvious concern in the caribbean and to island states. more than 31 million citizens in this hemisphere lack affordable energy, and we expect electricity demand in this region to double over the next decade. which is why will launch the energy and climate partnership of the americas and connecting the americas 2022, to promote renewable energy efficiency cleaner fossil fuels resilient infrastructure and intercommunication interconnection rather. there are a number of examples i
could give you on this but we are seeing much greater connectivity among countries in central america, now completed the connection in 2014 i connected 37 million consumers in costa rica, el salvador, guatemala, nicaragua and panama. we know that energy costs, electricity grace can, energy costs and central america and the caribbean are way above what many other countries taken a special what we pay in the united states and that is holding back economic progress and less we can encourage connectivity and the ability to move energy from a places in hemisphere that have it and are developing it to places in hemisphere that will never be self-sustaining on energy, at least not in the short term and bring those energy costs down, we will never be able to overcome cycles of economic
difficulty. and with the cycles of migration, poverty and violence such as we see in central america and the caribbean, until we tackle those energy crises and the structural problems. so i think in all of those areas we of initiatives that we will be bringing to the summit, ways to tackle pragmatic problems that frankly are not based on ideology and that we're willing to engage on with every country in hemisphere, every country in hemisphere. any country that wants to partner with us. because they are in all of our interests. that's the way the partnership should be based, on mutual interest. because that's the way most countries should structure their foreign policy not on ideology but on mutual interest because that's what makes them a durable. so let me stop there. i think it's going to be a very good summit of the americas, and i look forward to the conversation.
>> roberta i want to start off by thank you for joining us here at brookings. it's wonderful to have an opportunity to talk about a state of inter-american relations suspicion as we look forward to the summit and events beyond the summit and i think you will find a large number of friends in the audience. i see people with great experience in the summit talks including max and others. >> another godfather of summits. >> and alex is also here. >> so thank you. >> all of you. >> i think you can expect some very informed questions on the audience but we will start at first with just the conversation among us for going to the audience comes something that richard and i thought would be
important to talk about absolute for. and i think one of the things is i think i agree with you that if we think back to the toys will some and cartagena was there was friction around a number of issues, president obama received it is a on issues related to counter-narcotics cuba immigration policy. the administration has taken initiatives in these areas and that sort of cleared the deck in many ways of the kinds of things that were sources of friction in the past. but now as we look forward to the summit that is coming up on distilled some flashpoints are problem areas that you see like the come is an issue for the present next week? >> i think there always are individual issues. i don't know that i see them as really broadly based. there are always a concern that we are not paying enough attention, that there are, you know, so many crises elsewhere
that we really should pay more attention to this part of the world. there are, i know that there are concerns over the actions that were taken on venezuela and the sanctions. i do think those have been explained pretty well, and i think folks understand that they were the result of language that is always used they are not a prelude to invasion, we have no desire to overthrow a government. but i on the whole i don't see the large sort of systemic issues. if you look, for example, didn't counter-narcotics, i believe that the administration's message on taking a public health-based approach at home has been much much better understood in the three years since cartagena and had been going into it. and if you look around the
hemisphere at the experiments taking place, whether it's in uruguay or elsewhere coming to look in the united states clearly we are all wrestling with the same issue of what works. i don't see the big systemic issue. were focused on getting tpp done, but even those who don't support a particular free trade agreement are looking for ways to deepen engagement on trade. so i don't know that i see some in the audience may raise issues with me that i am not outlining, that i do see that we still need to company, we still have a lot of work to do. we have a new secretary-general at the oh, yes. will be hopefully working on revitalization of that architecture and organization but i don't see as many big complaints, i guess. >> while i mean one issue you did raise was the issue of
venezuela and the issue of the target sanctions against seven government officials and the reaction from venezuela and in mr. on this issue. can you talk about what consideration was given for the timing of that decision, and was there discussion about what can issues for the president and panama next week? >> i think what the things to remember is that that legislation in congress have been pending for two years. and it had been working its way through the house and passed in the house and working its way through the senate for a very long time. when they made its way to the president's desk we have been working since the mission began around the time of the discussions were held. so from last march. so there was a pretty long
period of our believing deeply that we should let the south american countries make that effort of trying to get things moving in venezuela. there is a dialogue held between the opposition and the government. we really didn't believe strongly that it was important to let that play out, but we found it difficult to continue to argue that there was a process in place when there were no talks going on and for quite a few months did not have a nation going in fourth. so it was difficult to see where they would be a process that was engaging from from externally know was there process and drilling in venezuela and there was quite a bit that was that looked like it was not moving in the right direction, additional detentions and so forth, no releases to speak of your there were one or
two because people were not well, et cetera, but not major releases. concerned to be honest only upcoming election and whether the structure for that election was going to be adequate to have a really free and fair election. i think the hope was that we needed to move ahead to send a message. these were very, very targeted, with not a lot of people at all and they were people we felt very strongly we could not allow access to our banking system. odyssey these actions have been taken previously but there was a desire not to have this be as much of an issue in the summit and, therefore, to do it before. clearly the language that is in the standard executive order was
considerably more neuralgic that i think some people realized, but i think it was also went into a bit of a frenzy -- with into a bit of a frenzy by venezuela leadership. and i was i will confess, disappointed that there were not more who defended the fact that clearly this was not intended to hurt the venezuelan people or the venezuelan government even as a whole and did not more clearly explain over a loose today as we did for them in advance, because we did talk to governments in advance of the sanctions, that this was really very, very narrowly targeted. >> i know have more questions i think richard, why don't you
jump in? >> thanks very much. roberta, thanks very much for your kind words. i really appreciate it. and congratulations to you on your leadership. and as harold said for previous and a much improved position going into this summit and were just three years ago in cartagena with the president was very must isolate on issues of issues. i especially congratulate you on orchestrating the timing of the iranian nuclear accord because between the iranian nuclear accord and moving forward on cuba the president will ride into panama in a very enhanced position to he will be the net is, as a man of dialogue. i think you'll be very hard for anyone at the summit to really take him on with those accolades on his shoulders. so well done roberta. [applause] so cuba. what can you tell us about a possible interaction between president obama and president castro in cuba and panama?
and can you tell us anything about what secretary might do in terms of interacting with his counterparts -- secretary kerry -- at the various delegations? will it be a photo op? will it be handshakes? wildebeest miles? possibly bilateral meetings? can you tell us anything about that? and on the ceo summit agenda there is a line item which says speech on trade and investment opportunities in cuba. speaker to be announced. who might be giving that address? >> i think on the last question, probably best to ask -- since they're helping to set up where i think running the ceo summit, but i think, you know someone from a large island in the caribbean would be a good person to give that statement.
i think on the question of the interactions clearly clearly president obama knew when he made the decision to go to the summit and he knew that cuba had been invited to the summit, post december 11, december 17, that there would be an interaction at the summit that the leaders are together a lot of the time. and so there will be an interaction with raul castro. none of the presidency meetings are scheduled other than his bilateral with president maduro as the host so i don't know exactly what kind of an interaction that will be. but they have spoken on the phone as he had said publicly on the 17th when you made the announcement, there's been a lot of interaction since then at a lower level. secretary kerry has spoken with his counterpart with
mr. rodriguez, so i suspect it will be contacting panama. and it's useful obviously to be able to have that contact and move things along so that we can get things done and open embassies and move ahead with his relationship. >> i myself can imagine role of castro addressing the 700 assembled corporate executives around the western hemisphere and the same to them please please not return and invest and trade with cuba, and that would be quite a moment in the inter-american relations. we'll see if that happens. laden with irony of course. also in cuba there is a lot of speculation that cuba is actual acting as a moderating influence on the countries in order to keep, the contentious issues of venezuela from dominating the agenda. rather than cuba wants to keep the spotlight on the u.s.-cuba and were approach. it would appear, roberta, that
the u.s. can get along better perhaps with arcs of state and industry than with certain projectionist populous states in hemisphere. can you tell us anything about what role cuba might be playing behind the scenes in latin america in order to make the summit actually overall a success? >> one of the things that i think is interesting is i don't know exactly what role cuba may be playing with venezuela or other countries like alba leadership. but i will say we did see this fall at the u.n. general assembly a notable shift in cuba's language. there was still an anti-embargo resolution at the u.n. this fall as there has been for years, but there was a shift in language and those of us who watched cuba for a long time are attuned to shift in language. it was less personal, less of an
attack, including on our representative who was speaking that day. and, obviously, on december 17 you heard a pretty remarkable statement from president castro about president obama and the steps that they were both taking on that day. what you see in the rhetoric of many of the album leaders is very personal -- alba -- it's very ad hominem. it's really of a source that makes it very difficult to try and move ahead. we often are admonished that it's just words that we are a big country and we need to write rise above that, and it is just words and we do all the time rise above that sort of thing. but words also matter and words
matter to populations and words matter to citizen and words matter in foreign policy. and so in foreign relations and so when you say that things may be easier, i don't know that that's a general rule. but i would say that the tone that leaders set is important. and right now the tone that certain leaders are setting in those more populist countries is one of demonizing the united states as the source of their problems come in particular in venezuela, when we are not the source of the problem. and so that does make it harder for us to move forward pragmatically and non-ideologically. our goal in venezuela is not to overthrow this government. our goal in venezuela is to create more political space as i
think all the countries in this hemisphere have agreed to come except cuba in the inter-american democratic charter. and so we have had a conversation with cuba quite honestly that has not been as it has not been as ad hominem or as negative. now, that said it has acknowledged in been forthright where we are family disagree on human rights and universal rights, but we've tried really hard to tone down the level of those personal attacks. and that makes a difference in the ability to get other things done and hopefully makes a difference in our ability even
to get some things done in that area. >> raul castro's remarks which were critical of u.s. sanctions against venezuela, he was very careful not to directly criticize president obama but rather referred to decisions made by some of his aides roberta. [laughter] >> last question before we go to the audience. >> may be gone -- [inaudible] >> let me just ask you about brazil than. so brazil i think it's fair to say the big country of course in south america has never really liked the summit of the americas. we will remember some of our efforts to get the brazilians to be cooperative back in 1994 because they view the summit as an instant of u.s. influence which in my some way reduce their influence.
today i think it's there to say that brazil appears somewhat aloof from hemispheric affairs. preoccupied with their own domestic troubles. nevertheless, on which summit issues that you outlined does the u.s. look to brazil to play a helpful role? >> i think it's a great question because i think brazil come and engagement with brazil is a really important thing in 2015 for us bilaterally but also for the region. i would note for example that brazil has not had an ambassador at the oas for a couple of years now. and we are very optimistic that they will very shortly because i think that's crucial. i think as we approach this summit we look for brazil to be a partner with many of the countries, chile peru, colombia, costa rica, panama,
and a lot of others on some of the issues like social inclusion where i think brazil really has been very, very much a leader. i think we look to brazil even come and i know this may sound strange, on the economic competitiveness issue. no it's not a tpp country or free trade partner, but as brazil looks towards an economy that needs restarting okay, it is looking at things that may have been taboo in the past. it is debating openly what comes next in brazil, and that's healthy. and so it may not be looking at things the same way we are, but we are all looking for greater competitiveness in our economy and that i think makes them a partner in this, even if not on every single issue. i think as we look towards --
what number i was up to? let's just say paris. i never remember what number we are up to number one, 22. as a look to paris and climate issues, we are not necessary on the same page with brazil but we know brazil is going to be crucial and so we want to work with brazil. and i think for secretary kerry he looks at this summit, although it may not be on the agenda, he looks at every summit between now and paris in december as preparation for paris. so he will be talking about climate change issues. they certainly are on our agenda with countries like brazil. on democracy and human rights, i think brazil has a strong role to play, and we certainly are hopeful. via been a major partner with us on the open government partnership. that is something that will be discussed. that's an area where on governmental transparency we should be working together.
brazil is a very vibrant democracy with a robust civil society and a robust press. that's an area where we can work together. but there are lots of a think themes in somewhere brazil and ask them to working together. >> thank you roberta for the conversation to act like to go to our audience what i think we'll get a few more great questions. just a couple of points. i will keep a list. when i go to you please wait for the microphone since this is been broadcast before asking a question. identify yourself and your institutional affiliation. and for those of you who are fans of twitter, #viisummit. i should've mentioned that earlier but hopefully you saw it up on the screen. and let's see okay i will start with steven the front row and i will work my way back. some semblance of order. >> thank you so much for this rigid discussion.
one of the really exciting things that happen with the cuba is that there are 85 u.s. universities that have sent over 10,000 u.s. students to study in cuba over the past 13 years. this has always been a very sticky kind of a proposition. one of the universities though that just won a 100000 strong at the america's innovation award is western michigan, and it will be one of the first universities to formalize relations moving students back and forth. roberta ammann what is your understanding of how easy or how complicated it's going to be as more and more u.s. universities want to work with cuban universities? >> i think is the quick answer on that is wrong our perspective we would like as many as possible to get into this business of doing more and more student exchanges. i think when we talk about student exchanges, i think
there's a great deal of interest, certainly great deal of interest in students. i just don't know exactly what the bandwidth will be in the cuban government for regularizing those this interest. it may be a little bit slower than we would like to move but if you think there's interest. so i am encouraged but i don't know that it will be as fast as we would like it to be. >> let me go to claudia two rows behind and then i will go over here and back over there. >> i'd like to ask how does you as intend to put -- during the summer? also if you could give us more information about who president obama will meet from the civil society, thank you. >> on the first question, we don't intend to put venezuela to discuss venezuela at the summit. the summit is a regional
discussion. it's a hemispheric discussion the it's not our intention to have a discussion of any one individual country at the summit. a summit has eight themes. those things are applicable as far as i can tell, to every country in the hemisphere. and so those discussions will be applicable to every country. leaders will speak to the issues. so i see no reason to be speaking to an individual country at all your the issues are applicable to everyone and the standards and the commitments should be applicable to everyone. on the issue of meeting with civil society, my understanding, and this really is a question for the panamanians as host, is that the will be a meeting of the leaders and representatives of the civil society forum who are chosen by the civil society forum. so i don't know that the leaders know exactly who they're going to be meeting with from that forum yet.
>> on my left. and then if those in the back if youyou would ask questions just raise your hands. >> can you identify yourself? >> hi. larry, news editor of the of the washington diplomatic good to see again but given the location of next week's summit i'd like to ask about nicaragua with the chinese investors have announced plans for a $50 billion in oceanic canal linking. this project has sparked widespread protest some violate in costa rica is not happy either. i'm wondering a few weeks ago a delegation from the water civil society can do washington to air its concerned here amongst think tanks and capitol hill. i'm wondering if you have any plans to take this up with the ortega government during the summer? thank you. >> i think the short answer on that is no. we don't necessarily plan to
have a direct conversation with representatives of the nicaraguan government on this but we certainly have been very clear that the power has been clear in nicaragua and we've been clear that our position on the canal has always been that the most important thing is that it be done in a way that is transparent and responsive to the concerns of the nicaraguan citizens. those who have already been concerned about environmental issues and land issues does that make him along the way that the problems that we've seen thus far have been a lack of transparency both in sort of bidding and procedural issues and whether all of the concerns are being taken into account that citizens have along the way way. >> in the middle yes. the microphone is behind you.
>> mary alice, voice of america. on cuba and human rights, to what extent do you expect this particular issue to be addressed either at regular knees were on the sidelines? and secondly what will the message be from the u.s. to other governments about current efforts with cuba to live the groundwork for historic human rights dialogue, whether s. to your approach or expectations or priorities? >> thank you. i think, you know, i think it's pretty clear the president from the beginning has said that our position on human rights in cuba has not changed, that we believe that human rights, the human rights situation in cuba is not adequate, is not what we like it
to be that the needs to be respect for international norms of human rights, that we would like to see that improve, that we will not change our standards or our willingness to speak out on human rights violations simple because we are now engaging with the cuban government directly. we speak out on human rights violations elsewhere in the world in places where we have a relationship, a diplomatic relationship with governments. we have relations, and we will do that with cuba when they have amec relations as well. what i think the president is committed to doing is seeing representatives of civil society from a number of countries in the hemisphere, including cuba making sure that the message is clear that in places where either political and civil space
has closed in recent years or remains closed, such as in cuba we give support to those who continue to peacefully fight for that space to be open. we did it in new york with civil society groups from around the world at the u.n. last fall and we will do it again in panama. and he won't shy away from the message, whether it's directly with leaders or with civil society individuals directly. >> in the back. >> thank you for the opportunity to be here. roberta, action i want to change the topic. left..
as a good job in the northern triangle. we know that. so, it does actually -- there are funds in the amount for the belize etc.. there is no doubt beginning from before the plan the alliance of prosperity among the central america northern triangle countries were drafted and now through our own request to congress and the implementation plan for their strategy and hours that measures of effectiveness and commitment on transparency, good governance and anticorruption have got to be a part of this. on the foreign assistance side we have a fiduciary responsibly to make sure that the money is used wisely. and the governments themselves have said to us it is a mark of
why we have more confidence in this moment working with these leaders that say we want to use this to make fundamental changes in the way the budgets are implemented in our country including forcing through accountability mechanisms using your foreign assistance to make changes that are sometimes unpalatable at home because they need to be done to get the money. and we've seen some of those changes made already. honduras already signed an agreement with transparency international to do some sort of work with them on accountability and transparency. there are procurement mechanisms that will be put online and i think it is much greater confidence to allow people to see how that money is being used and it will be important for others to emulate if not the same measures, similar kinds of
one's. on this issue i think that the renewal of the mandate is critical. i'm not sure i would put it the same way that you do as a metric that i do think that there is a very strong support for that in congress and certainly very strong support for the new administration. >> [inaudible] thank you for the talk. i was wondering if you have in mind how we can get the congressional engagement in the summit on the issues and an agenda that will be joined at the issues. you've outlined for key areas of mutual interest. but how do you see more
dialogue? there is a temptation of congress going into talking to several but how do you see this being a venue to achieve? >> that's a good question because you and i have talked and i talked with lots of others in the room how we get members of congress more interested in the region and educated about the region because even on some of the subcommittees that deal with latin america and the caribbean, there's not that much experience. these are relatively new members in the region particularly in the house, so i think there is a huge amount an opportunity for getting people engaged in i do think it is a good example that the chairman of the subcommittee on the house side is going to be heading for congressional delegation and the summit but at the last count it as ten or 12 members and i think that's great. so he's pretty committed to
this. the most important thing in some ways is that many leaders foreign ministers and others will be able to do meetings with this delegation because it may only be ten or 12 of them but they will come back sort of enthusiastic. i believe in an enthusiastic meaning and kind of spread the word. i think it's really important that we encourage them to visit. i've never seen a member of congress no matter how negatively they may feel about foreign assistance or adult a country's policy going and who doesn't come back from a visit and is energized to work in partnership on that country's issues and to buy that relationship. and usually to do more.
they are usually pretty big supporters of the service after they come back and see how hard we work. so, my goal is to get as many of them to visit as possible coming and i would encourage every embassy in the town to get up to the hill as often as possible. it's frustrating to see so much on their plate and there's not so much focus on foreign affairs. you think video on iran will be a huge amount of time but it's also now got into the next phase which is a good thing in the sense there may be more actual work that will take up some of them, but not all of them. i'd also say an agent on the hill has to be done quickly because with the approach of the presidential season and then foreign-policy will get pushed aside and there will be even fewer travel.
>> we have time for two very brief questions please keep it short. >> thinks for a thanks for a very interesting discussion. in the last summit we showed significant influence particularly over the issue that's now somewhat advanced. chavez is bad and now also moved back. could you talk about how you see all this influence not only at the summit but more generally as well? the >> that's a good question. one of the things is when you talk about issues where you are touching on an issue where there remains on the emotional support for something distinctions being
a perfect example, unilateral financial tensions by the united states wouldn't really matter how many are on some checked they are not things that the region supports. they really don't. if they are not under the united nations or international body then it's never going to get support. it may not have been -- there may have been other ways to handle what we did but it wasn't to get support even of our friends it wouldn't have been because they were pushing on the proverbial open-door. we don't want to pound you publicly that but we know we hate financial sanctions. but i do not see much leadership
on anything else. i really don't. certainly not in the economic area. if you look behind the rhetoric bolivia in october are not the same model as venezuela. ecuador has gone back and they've done a swap with goldman and it's a very different economic model despite the rhetoric. argentina which isn't out of it is in bad shape is an example of why this economic model doesn't work. so there is no leadership they are on the there on the economic side. on the political side, i don't think that there is leadership they are either.
i've been disappointed in the defense of them of the markers by other governments. but i don't see that anybody is defending the model. so, i see that alliance as one that on certain issues when it touches on something that is historically one of solidarity that can lead but that's kind of a cheap and easy wound. >> > vinton post since he said that words matter to you to get to that of venezuela isn't a threat to the u.s. national security and also, is the u.s. funding cuban dissident groups to go to summit deciding who
gets accredited in the civil society group? >> you want to get me to say words that contradict the order of the presidency of the united states. i said that we have no interest in invading and no interest in overthrowing the government. but they are the orders that outline sanctions so that they refer to is fritz to a banking system were not wanting certain people to enter the country for purposes of thinking. on the issue of dissidents i would have to see about funding. i know that what he had was the possibility of helping civil society organizations like for
large if they needed funding to get to the summit that was an open possibility and i'm not sure that anybody take advantage of that and it was a very small amount of money through the democracy human rights and labor bureau which was part to become possibly going to make some money and i don't believe anybody did take advantage of that. that is the host government indicates which makes that decision. and they in fact i believe were working with the nongovernmental organizations to meet those decisions in this case it was not going to be the oas that ran the civil society forum because as you know to buy a suspended to have the rules apply
the summit of the americas gets underway starting a week from today and cannot walk. if you missed any of the discussion you will be able to see if later in the program schedule. and also online at c-span.org. the bureau of labor statistics released the march employment figures today. the u.s. added 26,000 jobs which broke the string of 12 straight months of job gains over 200,000 per month. the nation's jobless rate remained unchanged at 5%. we've been showing you with presentations of the q-and-a program. today we will wrap things up with "new york times" columnist david brooks at 7 p.m. eastern on c-span2. tonight on booktv and primetime table shows some of the recent
now a conversation on immigration policy with the archbishop of miami and other immigrant rights activist. panelists criticized the bush and obama administrations for not doing more to address the situation faced by millions of undocumented immigrants in america. they also talk about the potential 2016 presidential candidates and their views on immigration. it's hosted by florida international university in miami. [applause] >> thank you dean and michael for allowing us to participate in this event is co- sponsors of the panel today. i am pleased to introduce our guest speakers. we will have the fourth one in a few minutes and then after the
interventions i will moderate the question and answer period. i think we are going to change the order of presentation. but we first introduced the first speaker the award-winning bilingual journalist who also posts political talk shows and moderates the weekly public affairs issues. i could say more but i will be very brief and go to the next speaker. secondly father thomas wenski who served as the bishop of orlando and had a red bird looking with immigrant groups between cuban and haitian. in miami. a third speaker will be his dahlia walker-huntington the principle of law offices of dahlia walker and counsel to hamilton, miller in miami.
she practices in the area of immigration family and global. the first speaker who is just here so welcome will be jepsi who is a director of the haitian neighborhood in miami, strong advocate of the community in south florida with women and refugees. without further ado. >> i would like to thank fiu for hosting this conversation. and that it's ranked as a conversation because we have too few conversations in our country in general. we shout a lot but we don't talk about this a lot and it's one of those things that really deserves meaningful conversation i like this is that this is occurring today after st. patrick's day where we celebrate but it's so fascinating to the irish tradition.
they were sporting green yesterday and the recognition of st. patrick's day and obviously that is part of the immigrants on a per the fiber of our country. we had a struggle with immigration. it's not always an easy experience. we are the ones that have replaced the irish and we are the ones experienced. i will leave that as well as others to address that issue. talking about reform at this point in time, the country that is what we consider the number one leader in the world of the country that is the largest come in october just come up with one of the greatest democracies in
the world of the world theatre on so many fronts can get this issue right. it's one of those things that keeps us stalled in policy debates as if this was part of a foreign conversation when it's not. it's something that is so basic in our dental and part of the fiber of the country. and yet we see that it's installed regardless of who is in power and where the majority lives in washington, d.c.. when democrats were in power in 2008 and 2010 one would have thought they would have taken the opportunity to pass immigration reform at that point in time and they chose not to. they passed other legislation including health-care reform and the one promise made to the hispanic community was squandered something that has
been reminded of the democratic community and president obama in particular time and time again. the republicans complain about illegal immigration and do the same nothing. they stop all conversations at doing nothing is an answer or solution to the problem. border security is an important part of the conversation and republicans will tell you it's the first thing that needs to be addressed in many would agree but go ahead and address it if they don't. when you do help border legislation that is coupled because there is a desire to have a majority republican voice in the approving this piece of legislation when it really isn't necessary and one one would wish
that leadership on both sides of the i/o would reach out to each other and say to say what can we do to make this happen to bring the country together and who would disagree that we do not need to bring the country together on this important issue? what to do with the undocumented immigrants that are here. here's a newsflash. it will ultimately end up becoming citizens. why? because they have american-born children who when they become of age ultimately claim their parents, not the case for all as dreamers will attest. but certainly it is a reality for very many. in short periods of time the workforce will be hispanic. on hispanic working age men and
women their growth in the job market is going to be almost zero. minority communities are having more children than the nonwhite hispanics. from an economic perspective from a religious perspective i'm going to leave that to discuss, but out of humanity come out of history come out of the sense of community and understanding of our history immigration reform should be resold. this will further divide the country in ways that will be more than unfortunate. thank you. [applause] spinet i'm archbishop wenski and i worked many years in the haitian community coming 18
years began in the late 70s more through the 80s and into the '90s. and now the archbishop of miami. immigration has been part of my life all those years. the last major immigration reform was accomplished in 1986 under president ronald reagan and that is included in an amnesty that certainly benefited this community to the good in many ways. by the end of the '90s that legislation did not address all the issues that needed to be addressed and it was clear that we are facing a broken immigration system. since that time we've been trying to have a fix.
the catholic bishops in the year 2001 issued a letter that was to the bishops of mexico entitled strangers no longer in which we set out our priorities on immigration reform. we are lucky that the staff of senator ted kennedy and senator mccain use that document the fourth immigration reform proposal that was on the table in the early part of the 2,000's. ireland or i went up to washington, d.c. in september, i think it was september 9 or 10th in 2001. i think on the knife they
address a joint session of congress at which he also underlined the need for immigration reform. the next day i a and and another bishop went to see the head of the ins at a time and he said the bishops, we are going to get it fixed. it's going to be fixed soon. i got on my plane, flew back to miami, went to bed got up the next morning and i was going to work on the radio 9/11 happened. and 9/11 basically changed the equation. america went into a bad mood and we have yet to emerge from that bad mood and it has been stymied in our efforts to initiate immigration reform. so, we we had that senator mccain bill that should basically be the gold standard,
the kennedy mccain bill came out in 2001. it was going to provide a very good, very reasonable and humane immigration reform and make it because of the bad mood resulting from the 9/11 attacks and later on the senator from florida attempted another iteration of the reform bill that was from 2005 20 of six. she and senator hagel. it wasn't as good as the bill in my eyes but it was acceptable and they were not able to get through part because by that time president bush had lost his political capital because he supported the mccain bill and the martinez and hagel bill that he lost the political capital to twist all those and to get the
necessary votes in the house and senate. at the senate. at the same time it was interesting to note that the democrats who generally have been at least publicly in favor of immigration reform decided to let president bush out alone on this issue. in fact rahm emanuel, the mayor of chicago was a big influential guy in the house at that time and he went around to democrats in the house and said don't you dare go for immigration reform now. if you do the party will not give you any money for your campaign. and why do you do that? basically because he wanted to make sure that immigration reform wasn't as if there was a republican in the white house so they were going