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Hannity

San Francisco City Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval Returns to 'H & C'

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," April 5, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Should we give up our weaponry? Should we give up our war, our tools of war?

GERARDO SANDOVAL, SAN FRANCISCO CITY SUPERVISOR: You know that's a very complicated question, but I would say, if you forced me to answer, I would say, yes, we should...

(CROSSTALK)

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Let me ask you a question, Gerardo. This is Alan in New York.

SANDOVAL: Hey, Alan.

COLMES: Should we not have a military?

SANDOVAL: I don't think we should have a military.

COLMES: We shouldn't have a military?

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: Hold on. The United States should not have a military?

SANDOVAL: Well, what good has it done us in the last five years? That's right. What good has it done us in the last five years?

HANNITY: Good grief.

COLMES: Gerardo, wait a second.

SANDOVAL: You know, if we took the billions that we're spending in Iraq right now and we spent it on schools...

COLMES: I just want you to repeat that: The United States should not have a military?

SANDOVAL: That's correct.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLMES: All right. Two months ago, San Francisco City Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval appeared on this show to talk about the controversy surrounding the USS Iowa being decommissioned in San Francisco. The appearance you just saw started a firestorm of controversy.

And tonight, Mr. Sandoval is back, because the city of San Francisco, has now jumped into the national debate over immigration reform, Gerardo Sandoval joins us now.

Welcome back to our show. We thank you for coming back on into the lion's den here.

SANDOVAL: Thank you. Thank you very much.

COLMES: You know, you said, after that appearance we just showed on "Hannity & Colmes," you said, when the rude and rabid hosts pressed you, you did say we don't need a military. I don't believe, sir, with all due respect, that we were rude and rabid.

I asked you over and over again if you wanted to amend it, change it, do you really mean it, are you kidding, and you continued to repeat, "We don't need a military." No rudeness intended. And I don't know why you thought that. But here's your chance, if you want to amend that. You did say it multiple times on that show.

SANDOVAL: You know, what I should have said on that show and that segment is, come on, I'm just a city councilman. I have about as much power over the military as I do over, you know, international affairs. And I'd be glad to talk to you about the city's policies on the USS Iowa — I'll give you on update on that — or on immigration reform, which I think is what people are talking about.

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: So what you're saying is you should have ducked the question, right? Is that what you're saying?

SANDOVAL: No, but this is probably not the right format to explain something that has a lot of nuance and subtlety...

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: Well, it's not nuance. If you say, "We don't need a military, the United States does not need a standing army," there's nothing too nuanced about that. That's a pretty bold statement.

SANDOVAL: Well, as I tried to say in other formats, for many, many decades, this country did not have the kind of standing army that we have today. But, you know, again, I think that the pressing issue in today's living rooms is really immigration reform. There's 11 million immigrants in this country without documents.

COLMES: I want to get into that with you, as well, but you have said that, in San Francisco, you would support a referendum to ignore a certain law if it gets passed. If the Republican version, for example, of the bill gets passed, you would support ignoring that law; is that correct?

SANDOVAL: I not only have said that, but the board of supervisors unanimously passed my resolution just this past Tuesday that said essentially the same thing. I'm worried about criminalizing our local priest who's trying to help somebody who doesn't have documents, making that local priest or nun a felon. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

COLMES: I agree with you we shouldn't felonize these people. I don't think we should criminalize priests, which is why the Catholic Church is against it. But what you're basically saying is: We're not going to pay attention in San Francisco to the federal government. If they pass a law, we are going to ignore that law.

Don't you have a responsibility, whether you agree with the law or not, as a representative of the government to obey the rule of law?

SANDOVAL: I'm not going to send our police department out to arrest some religious worker, be they a layperson or a priest, because they've handed food out or given assistance, housing or shelter, to someone without documentation.

I'm just not going to do that. Not only, I think, is it inhumane, but it makes it so that those people do not want to come forward to report crimes. They don't want to come forward in a number of instances where we do want them to come forward. And it just is not a good use of our resources. We don't have enough police as it is.

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: I understand. But it's probably not going to pass in that way any way. They're not going to make them felons. It's more likely the McCain-Kennedy bill or some version will pass.

What concerns me though is, as much as I may agree with you in principle on whether that's a good law or not, that you, as a public official, would advocate not obeying the law. What kind of message does that send to your constituents and to the rest of America?

SANDOVAL: I think that it's not going to pass, as you've said, in this form in part because of the things that we're doing here in San Francisco. And it's not new. We've passed in the past resolutions saying that we are a sanctuary city, and there are at least a dozen of other cities in the country, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, that have done the same thing. They've said they're going to thumb the nose at the federal government if the federal government is going to do something this stupid and this immoral.

HANNITY: Well, first of all, it's not for you to decide. But we're going to get into that in a second. I'm not going to be as nice to you as Alan.

SANDOVAL: OK.

HANNITY: Frankly, sir, you owe the two us an apology for calling us rude and rabid because you made silly statements on a television program. Not only did you say it once, you said it four times in one program that we don't need a military.

It's not our fault that you said something that silly, Sir, and I think you owe us an apology; will you apologize?

SANDOVAL: Well, you know, I've been on your show many times, and it really is not, you know, an opportunity to get your views out, I mean, not in a full way. The reason I go on your show is because I think that many of the people who listen to the show need to hear a different point of view. And by the way...

HANNITY: Let me read your own comments [back] to you. You said — and I'll quote you verbatim; no interruptions, by the way — "I don't think we should have a military, absolutely. What good has it done for us in the last five years? The United States should not have a military. That's correct. The United States should not have a military. All in all, we'd be in much better shape."

Now, those are your words, Supervisor. We didn't force you to say those things. You've come under tremendous fire and you've been challenged tremendously for saying these things. And then to defend yourself rather than say, "You know what? I said something stupid," you want to call the hosts, of whose program you're on, rude and — what's the other word? — rabid. I'm not rude to you. I wasn't rude to you that night, and I wasn't rabid that night. So you really should apologize; it's not our fault you made a stupid statement.

SANDOVAL: Well, I'm here to talk about immigration. I thought that's what you wanted to talk about. You know, I'd be glad...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: I'm going to. We have plenty of time. You're here for two segments. But that doesn't take away the fact that you called us names. You don't like hosts that challenge guests, but you had five opportunities to correct what you said that night.

And rather than correct the record, you decided to attack me and call me names. And all I'm asking for is simple fairness. You made a mistake. You said something you probably regret saying. And I think all you've got to do is apologize rather than blame the host.

SANDOVAL: Well, as I've said to you in private a couple of times and through your staff, I've invited you to come to San Francisco and let me put together an audience for you that will reflect the kind of views that I'm talking about...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: So you'll apologize in San Francisco? If I go to the San Francisco, then you'll apologize to me for calling me rude and rabid?

SANDOVAL: No, sir, I will not. I stand by what I've said, stand by what I've written.

HANNITY: All right, well, that speaks volumes about you.

Now to the substance of it. Do you still stand by that statement today that we don't need a military? Supervisor, do you really believe, after 9/11, that we don't need a military?

(LAUGHTER)

SANDOVAL: Well, let me ask you: Do you think the war in Iraq is going well? You know...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: The answer is, yes, I do, but that doesn't answer my question. Do you think we need a military? On further reflection, do you stand by those remarks today?

SANDOVAL: Now, this is a good example of where you can be rude and somewhat rabid in not allowing someone to, you know, fully articulate their views.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: I'm going to shut up. I promise. Here is a simple question; you answer it directly. Do you stand by your statements that this country doesn't need a military, yes or no?

SANDOVAL: You have to understand that the military that we have today is not the same military that we had in the United States for almost 175 years. When I say that we should go back to what we had for 175 years, I think a lot of people would say, you know, that's not a military that a lot of people want today.

HANNITY: But you still didn't answer. Do you stand by your statement, "I don't think we should have a military"?

SANDOVAL: I don't think the military has made us any safer, and I think George Bush has used it in adventurous ways than trying to...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: OK, so the answer is no.

SANDOVAL: ... district people from what the real problems are. You know, the real problem today is not in Iraq.

HANNITY: I got that you don't like George Bush.

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: We should take a break here. You know, I wish you would have said to Hannity, "If you come to San Francisco, I'll apologize." We could have gotten rid of him, gotten him to San Francisco for a couple of days.

HANNITY: For a whole day, for a couple of days.

COLMES: And I could have New York to myself.

Listen, we'll be back. We're going to talk more immigration with Gerardo Sandoval right after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: As we continue on "Hannity & Colmes," we continue now with San Francisco City Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval who's with us.

All right, so you're not going to apologize for calling us rude and rabid. You're going to stand by your statement that the United States shouldn't have a military. I just want the San Francisco press to hear you out there, because there was a lot of coverage of this.

Now I want to get back on the record of the illegal immigration issue. You are asking — as Alan brought up — law enforcement agencies to ignore the law of this land and not enforce the laws of this country. So you are basically now supporting lawlessness and anarchy, right?

SANDOVAL: I'm asking our police department to not assist the federal authorities in prosecuting these proposed immigration law. I mean, I get complaints every day from citizens who say they don't have enough cops on their street. What are am going to do sending cops out to enforce a law that Republicans in Washington want to pass? I mean, it just doesn't make any sense for starters there.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: So, basically, here you are, Mr. San Francisco Supervisor, and I want to be as polite as I can, because I don't want another insult in the next article you write about me, but here you are. You're going to sit on high, lecture us how we don't need the military, and then tell our law enforcement — you will determine, as a San Francisco supervisor, what laws that the police should enforce and what laws they shouldn't.

You know what the next question is, with all due respect? Who the heck do you think you are to encourage lawlessness like that?

SANDOVAL: I don't think it's encouraging lawlessness; I think it's just smart policy. We want people to cooperate with the police, whether that's in reporting domestic violence, or reporting another kind of crime, or an auto theft. We don't want people to be afraid of the police. That's one point.

The second point is we don't have enough police to go around. And, third, we don't want to criminalize people who are helping undocumented workers here.

HANNITY: Do you not see the danger, if somebody can enter this country — if we don't secure our borders, do you not see the danger — not people that want a job or opportunity — do you not see a problem with people that cut in front of the line and the fact that, if people come here illegally, that so, too, can the enemies of America? Do you not see a national security issue, Supervisor? Tell me you're not that naive.

SANDOVAL: If the United States really wants to curb immigration, they need to look at the economies of our southern neighbors, just like...

HANNITY: So we should be responsible for reforming their economy?

SANDOVAL: Look, in Europe, when they created a European Union just 10 years ago, they looked at Spain's economy, let's say, they looked at Italy's economy and there were smart ways, smart policies that they enacted to make sure they encouraged immigration.

HANNITY: So the way to solve the immigration illegal problem is for the American taxpayers to solve Mexico's economic problems? That's our responsibility; is that your position?

SANDOVAL: My position is that we should have a free flow of capital and goods, just like we have with NAFTA, and just like they have in Europe, but also we should have a freer flow of labor, just like they have in Europe.

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: Actually, in that case, I think you're right, Gerardo, because, in fact, the better Mexico's economy is, the less there will be of illegal immigration. But see if you agree with me on this. In that bill, there is this attempt to go after employers, people who hire illegals, pay them sub-minimum wage, thus denying minimum wage jobs lawfully to Americans.

Isn't it a good policy to go after employers who illegally hire?

SANDOVAL: This is not about protecting low-wage American workers.

COLMES: It absolutely is.

SANDOVAL: The minimum wage is, I think, $5.15. And Congress hasn't raised it.

COLMES: Yes, and it's not enough, you're right.

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: But they're paying less than that to illegal immigrants, who they can hire for less than what is too low a minimum wage, and that's wrong. And we have to go after employers who hire people for substandard wages. And those jobs could go to Americans, right?

SANDOVAL: Congress hasn't raised the minimum wage since 1996. This is not about low-paid workers. This is about trying to give the Republican right something to rally around for these midterm elections. And...

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: To some extent, you're right. There's a political angle to this.

But, in terms of policy, doesn't it make sense — why will you not support the idea of punishing employers who hire for substandard wages, those who will work for substandard wages, when there are Americans who would probably take those jobs, if those wages were minimum wage or higher?

And let's talk about — we could talk about whether we should raise the minimum wage separately, but why wouldn't you want to punish employers who are acting illegally by hiring these workers illegally?

SANDOVAL: There are a number of reasons. One is that the folks are going to keep coming. It's not going to stop people from either coming or employers from hiring them.

COLMES: Absolutely. You take away a motivation. You're taking away the motivation when you are going after employers who are giving them jobs illegally.

SANDOVAL: The employers are going to continue to hire them. And the workers are going to continue to find, let's say, false IDs and other things to continue to work. And that is not going to solve the fundamental problem.

In addition, what it's going to create, is it's going to create a burden on the economy. It's going to be like bubbling oil prices. It's going to slow the economy down if you get rid of 11 million undocumented workers.

HANNITY: Only from San Francisco. You don't think we need a military, and you want to encourage law-breaking. It's pretty amazing, Supervisor. Pretty amazing.

SANDOVAL: Not the way I would characterize it.

HANNITY: When you're ready to apologize for calling us names, you're welcome back any time.

SANDOVAL: Come on down to San Francisco.

HANNITY: If you'll apologize, I may come.

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