PLEASE CHECK OUT THE LATEST CHAVIRA VIDEO. IT WAS INDEPENDENTLY PRODUCED AND NOT PAID FOR OR AUTHORIZED BY CLARK FOR COUNCIL. IT IS TO THE LEFT OF THIS COLUMN.
Glendale’s local election this year, just as the national one, is one of the strangest I have ever seen. Mark Burdick, candidate for mayor, has been running TV ads for well over the past month, most of which have been against Mayor Jerry Weiers, also a candidate. His TV ads are based on one tiny snippet of information with liberally applies doses of innuendo and outright lies.
The kind of money needed to run TV ads for 2 months is very, very large and that money comes from special interests. The most notable special interest by far is the fire union. They desperately want Burdick to win. Think of the power they would have with the 5th largest city in this state having sway over its mayor and agenda.
Recently when interviewed by the Glendale Star Burdick admitted to lying about Weiers and also admitted the advice came from his campaign consultants because that was the only path to winning. Here is what he said to the Star editorial board on June 28, 2016, “As a ‘city insider’ by his own admission, Burdick has publicly stated his willingness to use deceptive claims and misleading statements to garner votes his political advisors assure they will render.”
His campaign consultants are the likes of Julie Frisoni, former City of Glendale employee and apparently at one time in former City Manager Ed Beasley’s inner circle; she is also allegedly responsible for aiding and abetting IceArizona while it was in contract negotiations with the City of Glendale.
Mark Burdick, when he was the city’s Fire Chief, never stood up to the fire union. Consequently, the union virtually ran the City of Glendale’s Fire Department. Burdick was also unable to control his department’s budget and in nearly every fiscal year had asked for more money to cover overtime.
Burdick’s inability to draw a line between the best interests of the city and the fire union’s agenda is demonstrated by his past performance as Fire Chief. Burdick’s position as a former Fire Chief doesn’t qualify him to be mayor. The two positions are drastically different. If that is what you want, go no further. Vote for Burdick.
But I ask you to consider this. There are many Glendale residents who want city infrastructure, including our streets repaired and maintained; they want to see not only restoration of but more recreational opportunities for their families; they want to see a permanent West Glendale branch library and Heroes Park completed as designed; and they want to see library hours restored. They have many pent up needs unmet because of the national recession.
None of these citizen wants will be realized if Burdick becomes mayor. Burdick has made a large part of his election rhetoric making sure “public safety” receives more money. Burdick will insure that all available money will go to “public safety” – but not all public safety — just the fire department. Look for new fire stations, more personnel and enhanced salaries and benefits for fire personnel…and of course, more overtime at time and a half pay. If your choice is to use all available city money for public safety rather than distributing it in an equitable manner, insuring that there will be money for needs other than public safety, read no further. Vote for Burdick.
When Glendale residents picked up the Glendale Republic of May 23, 2015 the headline screamed Fire department understaffing stirs concerns in an article by Matthew Casey. It reflected a deliberate strategy by Joe Hester, then President of the Glendale chapter of the fire union, (who really ran the department) to use scare tactics to get additional revenue …immediately…to expand the fire department. Hester said, “It seems pretty obvious there is a crisis by any way you measure it. Our folks are extremely disappointed in the budget process.” Here is the link to the original article: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2015/05/22/glendale-fire-department-understaffed/27713737/ .
The most telling statistic in the article was provided by then Glendale Fire Chief Mark Burdick. He offered Glendale Fire Department response times for 90 percent of calls by year:
- 2010 8 minutes 11 seconds
- 2011 8 minutes 10 seconds
- 2012 8 minutes 6 seconds
- 2013 8 minutes 12 seconds (Jerry Weiers becomes Mayor)
- 2014 8 minutes 12 seconds
Burdick said publicly that fire response times had not deteriorated and in fact, had remained constant for 5 years. What he said last year is in complete contradiction to his campaign rhetoric of today. Will you believe what Burdick said last year when he was not running for office or the hype he has offered now that he is running?
There are many factors that impact fire response times. Two of them are major determinants: the city’s transportation system and Automatic Aid. The city’s rigid grid system of streets often impacts response times. Glendale’s congested major arterial streets often make it difficult for fire to respond quickly. Fire’s Automatic Aid system is valley wide. All city signators to Automatic Aid are required to answer neighboring cities’ calls if there is no close unit within the affected city. Did you know that Glendale answers more calls into Phoenix than Phoenix answers calls in Glendale? That is not the only imbalance between Glendale and its neighboring cities. It is imbalances like these that require units farther away from an incident to respond. It is not uncommon for Glendale to receive an emergency call only to find the closest unit is answering a call in a nearby city.
Those who are assisting Burdick’s effort to become mayor have their own agenda and that is to regain the power and influence they lost when Jerry Weiers became Glendale’s mayor.
Burdick’s only “economic plan” is to ensure that the fire union’s demands are met. At what cost? Forget your libraries, forget your parks, forget more recreational opportunities for your children, and forget improved sanitation or water services.
Voters in Glendale, you have a choice and as you make your choice I ask you to consider the following. Mayor Jerry Weiers is a good and decent man and during his first term he has silently and without any fan fare, done much to benefit the city we all love. Jerry Weiers lead the city’s economic turn around and has begun the city’s trek toward restoration of financial stability. The city’s bond rating has been upgraded in the process. Few people know that Weiers was able to obtain 18 free (no cost to the city) police cars. He also started the city’s Christmas parade, sure to become a tradition like Glendale Glitters. He convinced Westgate to restore the city’s 4th of July. He is fully involved with many charity groups and his major focus is always on our veterans. He has lead a council not as unified as people would believe. He has restored Glendale’s credibility with other Valley cities.
Glendale voters, the choice is clear between a man whose first and apparently only priority is to use all available city resources for the fire department and a man who realizes that Glendale has many needs and the distribution of city resources must be prioritized and used as equitably as possible; a man who continues to hold as priority #1 the continued financial health of the city. That man, a man I believe who has earned your vote, is Jerry Weiers.
© Joyce Clark, 2016
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