Final official election tallies for the Glendale Ocotillo district seat show Jamie Aldama winning by 18 votes. This district proves the old adage that every vote counts. It seems fitting as Alvarez won her seat four years ago by a similar slim margin.
Ocotillo district has a majority Hispanic population and the two final candidates were Hispanic. The split in support among Hispanics for the two candidates should send a strong signal to Aldama that he will have to work hard to retain his seat four years from now. Make no mistake, in many ways Aldama is merely a slicker, more polished version of Alvarez. The striking difference is that Aldama blows with the wind. His performance on the Planning Commission showed that he will wait until the last minute to see which side of an issue seems to be prevailing and then vote in that direction. He is not a man of strong convictions.
There remains concern among some Ocotillo voters about his manipulation of his residency requirements. The house he owns is in the Yucca district and is apparently being rented although it appears he has not registered the house as a rental with the City of Glendale. He is currently renting the house in which he now living in the Ocotillo district. The perception is that his action smacks of political expediency. It may be perfectly legal but it creates a sense of impropriety.
Norma, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Even as a loser Alvarez possesses no sense of grace or dignity. Darrel Jackson’s story in the November 20, 2014 edition of the Glendale Star ably describes Alvarez’ reaction to the loss of her council seat. Her whining never ceases to amaze. She never got it. Alvarez seemed to believe that she was the only advocate in the city for truth, justice and the American way. She pointed fingers at everyone and everything on her way out. Her negativism and lack of positive contributions to the city and her district tipped the balance in favor of Aldama. Alvarez indiscriminately hurled accusations of City Hall corruption but her favorite theme during her four years was her perception of disrespect by anybody and everybody. She forgot that when she was first elected both former Councilmember Phil Lieberman and I befriended her. In fact, there were instances when I delivered her council book to her, went to her home to bring her up to speed on issues and even chauffeured her to and from council sessions. When she and I disagreed on what was a minor issue, she declared I was no longer a “friend.” Frankly her pronouncement was a relief. I moved forward and never regretted her action.
Her actions did not contribute to her public persona as a councilmember. She never once stood up for the pledge of allegiance at city council meetings. She could have. She wasn’t so disabled that she was unable to stand for the pledge. Her deliberate decisions to refuse to attend city events based upon personal feelings was noted and caused ill will among many. Alvarez might have been a stronger voice had she done her homework and used more fact and less emotional rhetoric.
In three weeks new councilmembers will be seated. We wish them well. Make no mistake. They will be under a microscope and their views and votes will be the subject of much blog discussion.
There are coalitions forming that will become more evident as the Glendale mayor’s race shapes up in two years, 2016. Watch out for Councilmember Ian Hugh. While he has been very close to Mayor Jerry Weiers he has also been working quietly to form his own coalition. During this last council race rumor has it that he met with Lauren Tolmachoff and Bart Turner, quietly supporting their council races. Look for a majority voting coalition of Hugh, Tolmachoff, Turner and Aldama. All share the same positions on issues such as the casino and the arena management agreement. Hugh, as Glendale’s downtown homeboy, shares aspirations to become the next mayor as does Councilmember Gary Sherwood. Sherwood has major obstacles to overcome. He is still facing the results of an investigation by the Attorney Generals’ office for alleged violations of the state Open Meeting Law as well as a recall election that should materialize next year. Vice Mayor Knaack is about to retire as councilmember and a year away from that job may be just the ticket to persuade her to run for mayor. We may find that Yvonne Knaack, Jerry Weiers, Ian Hugh and Gary Sherwood all make a run for Glendale’s mayorship in 2016.
Lastly, as Councilmembers Yvonne Knaack and Manny Martinez retire, they deserve our thanks and gratitude for what is often a thankless job. While you may not have agreed with all of their decisions and their votes it is right that you acknowledge that they demonstrated their love of Glendale and made their decisions in what they believed was in the best interest of Glendale. Their dedication to Glendale has been evident in countless ways and it has been recognized by many. So, to Yvonne and Manny…thank you.
© Joyce Clark, 2014
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