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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

A little over a week ago a ribbon cutting occurred for the newly renovated downtown alley connecting Glendale Avenue and Glenn Drive between 57th Drive and 57th Avenue. It is always welcome when the city completes projects like these to continue to improve downtown Glendale.

Downtown Glendale continues to have a difficult time getting its ‘mojo’. I can remember 20 years ago when I participated in the “Miracle Mile” citizens’ committee to envision what downtown Glendale could be. Since then there have been many iterations of the same visioning process with the latest being Centerline, courtesy of consulting professionals from ASU. Yet progress remains static. There is no one factor that inhibits the renaissance of downtown Glendale. There are multiple factors.

One factor is the inability, to date, of the downtown merchants to form a cohesive group determining their own destiny and putting skin ($$) in the game. One faction believes that it is the city’s sole and exclusive responsibility to revitalize the downtown. Another has accepted that their destiny lies in their active participation. Another faction is composed of mom ‘n’ pop owners who set their own — often casual and inconsistent – hours of operation. Another faction, more professional, not only keeps consistent hours of operation but tries to stay open a few evenings a week. Until these factions coalesce downtown is destined to remain basically the same — struggling to survive.

Another factor is the city’s lack of funding to use to remove vacant buildings on city parcels or simply to renovate a city owned vacant building. There are just so many needs competing for the limited city funding available. Witness the residents who are pushing the city council to save the city owned Glen Lakes Golf Course for a little under a half million dollars a year…or west Glendale’s residents’ urging to finish Heroes Park, now languishing for nearly 30 years.

In steps the Glendale Chamber of Commerce does what it can to inject new life into the downtown. There is no doubt that under CEO Robert Heidt’s leadership the Chamber has become a highly successful gorilla. With over 1,200 members it has developed a political power base that surpasses that of Glendale’s fire union. While the fire union is viewed with distrust by many in the community who disagree with its political motives, the Chamber enjoys a more benign relationship. However, as with any entity that wields tremendous power comes an equal responsibility to be use it judiously and wisely. The Chamber would be wise to be mindful of the admonition.

Perhaps that is why I received commentary from some residents after they read an article in the Your Valley edition of May 25, 2018. Here is the link: https://yourvalley.net/yourvalley/news/renovated-alleyway-step-toward-livelier-nightlife-downtown-glendale/ . Their concern seemed to center around the tone of the article creating the inference that the alley renovation project was funded by the Chamber. That is not the case. It was a city funded project and in attendance to celebrate its completion were Mayor Weiers and Councilmembers Hugh, Turner and Aldama. Perhaps their concern centered around the fact that nearly every quote was attributed to either Chamber CEO Heidt or Downtown Director (city employee) Katy Engels, whose work is directed by the Chamber under a city paid contract. In passing there was one statement attributed to Councilmember Aldama and two attributed to Mr. Higgins of the city’s Economic Development department. However the bulk of the article was all CEO Heidt.

Make no mistake, the Chamber is not just a business organization but is a political one as well.  Among other things it interviews and endorses local candidates for city council and mayor. To date, their long standing policy has been to automatically endorse the incumbent. That action does a disservice to its members and to the residents of Glendale. Endorsements should be given on the merits of a candidate’s policies in continuing to grow a Glendale that is business and job creation friendly — for that is the Chamber’s base of membership.

Make no mistake, a healthy Chamber signifies a healthy Glendale. The Chamber’s efforts in the areas of downtown development and vet outreach are most welcome but it would be wise not to over reach. For years the Glendale fire union was a political gorilla. Glendale cannot afford to replace one gorilla with another.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

I haven’t done one of these types of blogs in quite awhile but there is so much occurring politically it’s a good time to throw one out there.

Vice Mayor Lauren Tolmachoff filed her nomination paper and petition signatures with the City Clerk’s office on Thursday, May 10, 2018. She is now an official candidate for the position of councilmember representing the Cholla district. It appears as of this date she will have no opposition thereby assuring her of another term.

Also on Thursday Ray Strahl of the Barrel district obtained a candidate packet and filed a statement of organization. Should he turn in enough petition signatures by May 30th he will become an official candidate for the position of councilmember representing the Barrel district. It appears likely that the current councilmember, Bart Turner, will have an opponent in the August primary election.

On April 30, 2018 Councilmember Jamie Aldama of the Ocotillo district filed his nomination paper and petition signatures with the City Clerk’s office. His likely opponent, Emmanuel Allen, has until the end of May to turn in his paperwork to become an official candidate.

Aldama’s campaign manager is Chuck Foy. It’s appears that Jamie likes to keep his distance from nasty stuff and that is apparently part of Mr. Foy’s usefulness. On March 13, 2018 Mr. Foy filed a first Freedom of Information Request seeking any and all information with regard to the city and Emmanuel Allen, a possible opponent of Aldama’s for the Ocotillo city council seat. I guess the city’s first response was either disappointing or Foy and Aldama haven’t found any dirt to throw at Allen yet. Foy made another request for more information on Thursday, May 10th. They seem to be trying to find something nefarious about Allen’s ROOTS organization, the successful bidder for providing after-school programming at two city locations.  Allen’s organization bested the current operator, Breakthu Barrio, who appears to have had a long and fruitful relationship with Aldama.

Yet another fascinating Freedom of Information request was filed with the City Clerk on Thursday, May 10th by Bryan Willingham. Mr. Willingham is a Glendale resident but also just happens to be a Phoenix Fire Captain and Executive VP of the United Phoenix Firefighters Association, Local 493. What was the nature of his request? He requested information on the recall process for all councilmembers as well the procedures and requirements for filing a citizen’s initiative proposition. His action seems to be for the purpose of firing a warning shot at the mayor and all councilmembers.

I will flesh out the reasoning behind Mr. Willingham’s query on behalf of the fire union in an upcoming blog but suffice it to point out initially that Glendale fire fighters are among the best paid fire fighters in the Valley. Did you know they work 502 hours less per year than nearly every fire fighter in the Valley? Yet it seems the Glendale fire union is very unhappy over this year’s negotiations with the city on pay and benefits. How and why is something every citizen in Glendale deserves to know and will in the near future.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

Councilmember Jamie Aldama, currently running for reelection as the Ocotillo district representative in Glendale seems to have problems with ‘process’.  Just a few weeks ago, if you will recall, he opposed the city’s decision to place SROs in all nine of Glendale’s high schools. His stated reason was his disagreement with the process. In reality, many suspect he was receiving his marching orders from the fire union (whom it is assumed will support him in his bid for reelection) which vehemently opposed the action because it removed one city paid fire union representative. Politically it was ill advised and a mailer was sent by American Free Enterprise Club, a Political Action Committee (PAC), to all Ocotillo voters. See here:

Two weeks ago, Aldama, at the regular voting meeting of the city council once again opposed an action due to ‘process’. This time it was the city’s award of a Request for Proposal (RFP) to R.O.O.T.S. to run after-school programs at two city locations, O’Neil Recreation Center and the Glendale Youth Center. Once again, Aldama voiced his opposition due to ‘process’ just as with his previous action.  As before it is important to understand the situational sub context and his assumed political motivation to do so.

R.O.O.T.S. is run by Emmanuel and Belinda Allen. So what? may be your answer. Here’s the dilemma for Aldama. Emmanuel Allen is running against Aldama for the Ocotillo city council position. That, in and of itself, provides Aldama with the presumed motivation to use a velvet hammer to neuter his political opponent.  In yet another twist Breakthru Barrio would be losing their contract for running the Glendale Youth Center programming. This is the same Breakthru group responsible for damage to Glendale City Hall during one of their events and a group to which Aldama, in the past, has contributed tax payer dollars to help sponsor their events. Make no mistake; Aldama appeared to have been subtly working to support Breakthru’s retention of the Glendale Youth Center after school programming contract.

The problem with his opposition to ‘process’ this time was his apparently deliberate misconstruing of the R.O.O.T.S. application and the city’s process for award of the RFP. When Belinda Allen spoke before city council that night she clarified Aldama’s misrepresentations.

 It should be noted that this RFP process was far more rigorous than any previously used. The publicly available background material regarding the issuance of the RFP stated, “In June 2017, the City engaged Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government Performance Lab (GPL) for the study of results driven contracting. GPL, in partnership with What Works Cities, focused on improving the RFP process for the applicant, outcomes of after-school programming Glendale. Responses from the RFI indicated the model was sustainable.”

“In December 2017, the City advertised a Request for Proposals (RFP #18-32) to engage one or more community partners to provide after-school services at four city owned recreation/community centers. The objectives of the RFP were to engage a partner/partners who could: 1) Increase participant access and sustain free after-school programming; 2) Improve academic achievement and decrease at risk behaviors; 3) Sustain programming through stakeholder commitment (families, neighborhood schools, funders, and community-based organization); and 4) Advance the City’s mission of improving lives by providing services that align with our values.”

“In January 2018, department staff assembled and evaluation team of professionals that included representation from Arizona State University, the City of Phoenix, and the City of Glendale’s Police, Community Services, and the Public Facilities, Recreation and Special Events departments to objectively evaluate each proposal to determine which provider(s) would best fit the need of the community.”

The process worked but Aldama apparently could not accept the results because it would result in the loss of the contract belonging to yet another political ally. What should concern Ocotillo voters is Aldama’s apparent motivations for rejecting two decisions that are in the best interest of Glendale and its residents seem to be purely political.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

I don’t generally write about political affairs in other communities but the Phoenix mayoral race has special relevance to Glendale. One of the mayoral candidates is current Phoenix Councilmember Danny Valenzuela. Councilmember Valenzuela also happens to be a Glendale fire fighter.

Councilmember Valenzuela invited me to have coffee with him on Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at a downtown Glendale site, A Shot of Java. Out of an abundance of curiosity I accepted his invitation to meet.

First, a little background is in order about the Phoenix mayoral race. The current mayor is Greg Stanton. He has announced his intention to run for Congress in District 9 to replace Krysten Sinema, who is running for U.S. Senate. Stanton has until May 30, 2018, to submit his nominating petition signatures. At that time he must resign as Phoenix’s mayor. That action will trigger two of the current Phoenix councilmembers, who have already declared their run for mayor, Kate Gallego and Danny Valenzuela, to submit their nominating petitions and resign from office as well. As a side note, Moses Sanchez (R) and Nicolas Sarwark (L) have also announced their candidacies for Phoenix mayor. Lastly, Michael Nowakowski, another Phoenix councilmember, is still mulling whether he, too, will run for mayor. Potentially, there could be at least 5 candidates for the Phoenix mayoral position. Since it appears that Stanton will stay as Phoenix mayor as long as he can (May 30th) it means that the election will take place in August or November of 2018. An August election date favors Republicans and a November date favors the Democrats (even though Phoenix races are supposed to be nonpartisan). My bet is we will see a November date set for the election of the next Phoenix mayor.

Let’s take a closer look at Valenzuela’s political and fire fighter lives. Valenzuela was first elected to the Phoenix city council and took office in 2012. Coincidentally, that is when Danny’s pal, Sammy Chavira, ran for the Glendale Yucca council district seat and defeated me. Sammy and Danny have been friends for quite some time. More about this relationship later. Something not heard of before on the Arizona political scene occurred. A Glendale fire fighter ran for Phoenix city council and won and at the same time a Phoenix fire fighter ran for Glendale city council and won. The fire fighters’ union had to have been in “hog heaven.” Valenzuela ran for his second term in 2016 and won. Sammy ran for his second term in 2016 and lost…to me.

During the bulk of my time as a Glendale councilmember from 2000 to 2012, I never interacted with Glendale fire fighter Danny Valenzuela. During that time I do know he served as Glendale Fire Department’s Public Information Officer but I never had occasion to contact him about any matter. We may have occasionally attended the same functions but I simply didn’t know him.

Back to our meeting on February 6th. I did not initiate the meeting. Councilmember Valenzuela’s staff contacted my staff to set it up. Since it was his meeting it was appropriate for him to set the topic of conversation. Obviously, it centered on his announced candidacy for Phoenix mayor. Since I did not know him, he offered a short biography of his professional life. After that opening, I felt it was appropriate to ask him a question that many have wondered about…and that was, if he were elected as mayor would he resign as a Glendale fire fighter? Surprisingly his answer was “No.” He stated that he works a 40 hour week as a Glendale fire fighter (even though the work week for Glendale fire fighters is 52 hours a week). He said he usually does one shift over the weekend at a Glendale fire station and the balance of his time is spent at the Glendale Public Safety Training Facility (GRPSTC) working on ‘special projects’. Knowing the time commitment of a Glendale councilmember and knowing that Phoenix is ten times larger and hence the responsibilities of the job greater, my reaction was that the time commitment as Phoenix’s mayor simply would not allow him to continue as a Glendale fire fighter.  He believes that he can do both.

We moved on to the topic of Sammy Chavira, Valenzuela’s long time friend, although Valenzuela contends that their relationship is no longer close and has been severed. For those of you who don’t know the history, Sammy Chavira is a former, disgraced Glendale councilmember, who served only one term. During his term, Sammy was found to have habitually used his councilmember budget (taxpayer funds) inappropriately. During the 2016 election cycle it was discovered, among other things,  that Sammy had used his budget to fly to D.C. to see the Pope and used his city pro card to pay for dinner and drinks for a large contingent of Phoenix officials, including Valenzuela. Valenzuela insists that he had no idea that Sammy was using city funds to pay for that dinner. After the incident became public, he, along with other Phoenix officials, has reimbursed the City of Glendale for their portions of that infamous dinner.

Sammy and Danny, at one time, were both members of the International Association of Hispanic Fire Fighters Union. Although details are murky apparently they engineered a fund raising event for the organization that resulted in unaccounted revenues that disappeared.  The organization was informed that there were no profits generated from the event and ended up having to pay off creditors. Subsequently, both men resigned from that organization. What troubles me is the old saying, “you are judged by the company you keep.” While Sammy and Danny have been long time friends, they are no longer…due to political expediency?

Another area of conversation between Valenzuela and I centered on a future Ball Park Boulevard extension. This road is adjacent to Camelback Ranch and its extension would open up the entire area around it for economic development. I was not on council between 2012 and 2016 but I know that Glendale staff and various Glendale councilmembers discussed this issue with Valenzuela during his first term on Phoenix city council, seeking his support for Glendale’s goals with regard to Ballpark Boulevard. While Valenzuela expressed his support to various Glendale entities for Glendale’s vision, he never acted upon his declared support.

By now, we had consumed over an hour of discussion and both Valenzuela and I had other commitments to attend. I thanked him for arranging our meeting and for his time and I wished him well. Over the past 3 weeks I have had time to digest that meeting and Valenzuela’s responses to my queries. I have talked to countless others, political insiders and ordinary citizens. I find that I cannot support his candidacy for 3 reasons:

  • The major reason is his intent to retain his position as a Glendale fire fighter should be become Phoenix’s mayor. It is unrealistic to assume that he could do both jobs well. One would suffer and I suspect it would be his fire fighter job.
  • Even though Valenzuela now disavows his long time relationship with Chavira, it signifies poor judgment for having maintained a friendship with him for so long despite Chavira’s unsavory financial activities.
  • Valenzuela’s inability to or unwillingness to move the issue of Ballpark Boulevard forward on Phoenix’s agenda seems to indicate that he may say one thing yet do (or not do) another.

I wish Valenzuela luck in his run for mayor of Phoenix but I believe there are other candidates out there worthy of your consideration. I urge you to check them out and to consider voting for one of them.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

On May 18, 2017 as a Council Item of Special Interest the Glendale City Council approved my request for a temporary council subcommittee on business. Its purpose is to review all codes, ordinances, regulations, policies, etc., associated with businesses in Glendale. This initiative has never been accomplished since the city’s inception in 1912. Over the years there are sure to be outdated and redundant regulations that can be eliminated. It’s an opportunity for the business community to tell Glendale what it’s doing right and where there can be improvement.

The article below by Cecila Chan for Your West Valley News of May 1, 2017, sums it up very nicely:

Glendale to establish subcommittee to help businesses

May 1, 2017 Business

Cecilia Chan Independent Newsmedia

“Glendale wants to improve its climate to keep and grow the business community in the city.

City Council last week in study session agreed to move forward with the creation of a temporary subcommittee and to solicit feedback from the business community. Mayor Jerry Weiers was absent. The item is expected to come before Council at its next voting meeting.

” ‘This sends a positive message to all business large and small in Glendale that we are interested in them and what they do,’ said Councilwoman Joyce Clark, who came up with the idea. ‘It sends a positive message to businesses thinking about moving here that we are serious about improving the business climate. I’m not saying it’s bad but it can be made better.’

“The one-year subcommittee will be made up of three council members and representatives from the business community who will review the city’s codes and make recommendations to the Council.

“Ms. Clark said during her time on the Council off and on since 1992, there has never been a review of the city’s policies, regulations or laws pertaining to businesses in Glendale.

“The subcommittee will remove outdated, ineffective and redundant business regulations on the city’s books, she added.

“The committee will look at everything the city does relating to business and see where it can become more business-friendly and enhance its reputation as the premier business community in the Valley, Ms. Clark said.

“Development Services Director Sam McAllen said the subcommittee would take an average of two to three hours a week of staff time. For the duration of the committee, it is estimated to take 1,040 hours to 1,560 hours of staff time, he added.

“Councilman Ray Malnar suggested increasing the seven- member committee to include a contractor or builder because that profession, which creates job opportunities in Glendale, is affected by city fees and policies.

“Councilman Jamie Aldama suggested adding two representatives, one from the minority business community and one from a woman-owned business.

“Councilman Bart Turner said the idea of a subcommittee is a worthy endeavor, however, it is a step too soon.

“He cited the large use of staff hours, a city resource.

“Instead, he suggested the city find out what the issues and/or frustrations are for businesses in Glendale by getting it from the members of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce, soliciting input at city hall’s second-floor service counter and establishing a hotline for merchants.

“Try that for a year and then see if the committee is still needed, Councilman Turner said.

“Councilman Aldama asked what the staff hours equated to in money.

“Mr. Allen said staff only went as far as to identify which departments would be involved in the committee. Departments involved include Building Safety, Fire Marshal, Planning, Economic Development and City Attorney.

Councilman Aldama noted despite the cost of creating the committee, its recommendations would generate more revenue for Glendale.

Councilwoman Lauren Tolmachoff suggested the council move forward on both proposals.

” ‘I have no problem doing both at the same time,’ she said.

“The council also agreed to expand the subcommittee to 11 to 13 members, taking in Councilmen Aldama’s and Malnar’s suggestions.

Staff estimated the new subcommittee could be up and running within three to four months upon approval.”

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

When my blog site was reconstituted after being down for two weeks four recent blogs disappeared. This is a reposting of one of the four “lost” blogs.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

On March 28, 2017 Jessica Boehm and Jackee Coe presented extensive reporting in the Arizona Republic on campaign contributions from the firefighter unions. Here is the link:

http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-investigations/2017/03/28/arizona-candidates-who-received-campaign-contributions-from-firefighters/99716980/ .

It is a very thorough look at the issue but there was one area that was neglected and that was fire unions’ Independent Expenditures (IE) in the election process. A case in point was the recent Glendale election in the Yucca district between the incumbent who lost, Sammy Chavira, and me.

What’s an Independent Expenditure? As its name implies, it is an independent (of the candidate) political committee formed for the express purposed of supporting or opposing a candidate(s) or an issue. It is against the law for an Independent Expenditure committee to coordinate their efforts with those of the candidate. There is not supposed to be any communication between the two committees. However, this does not prevent a third party acting as a go between. That is difficult to prove legally.

These committees are required to register with the clerk of the jurisdiction in which they will be active. Sometimes they do. When they register at the state level it is often very difficult to obtain specific information about whom or what the committee is advocating for or against or how much they spent. It is much easier to obtain that kind of information at the city or local level.

Unfortunately, by law recently enacted by the state, all political committee reports must now be filed with the state. The reporting forms have been completely redone making it much more difficult to obtain information about who is doing what, for whom and for how much.

An Independent Committee could have an innocuous name such as Revitalize Arizona or Residents for Accountability. Some of the Independent Committees who participated in Glendale’s last election cycle were created by the fire unions. Their only purpose was to issue political material in support of their candidate and to oppose the contender. Often an Independent Committee doesn’t just do political mailings. They will create political signs and put them up as well. A good example is a political sign that accused me of “breaking the bank.” The signs were created by and funded by an Independent Expenditure committee expressly created by fire union members from a neighboring community.

My opponent in the last election raised over $81,000 with $19,000 (about ¼ of his total funding) contributed by fire unions as far away as Los Angeles, California. In addition, there were several Independent Expenditure committees, fire union affiliated, that spent in excess of $30,000 in political mailings in opposition to my candidacy and in support of my opponent. My opponent’s campaign committee mailed out at least 8 pieces and the Independent Committees mailed out another 6 pieces in addition to paying for campaign signs also opposed to my candidacy. My opponent even violated federal U.S. Postal law and placed postcards in support of his candidacy, unmailed with no postage, in residents’ mailboxes.

It appears safe to assume that between my opponent’s campaign committee and the Independent Expenditure committees, over $100,000 was spent to try to defeat me.

I raised a little over $13,000 for my campaign. Nearly every dime I received came from my district residents or Glendale residents in other districts. A few months after I won my bid for reelection, I received a check for $1,000 from a local fire union. I considered it a “concession” check, an acknowledgement that I had defeated a fire union candidate once again. I accepted the money and retired my campaign debt enabling me to terminate my political committee.

I sent out 2 mailings and shared expenses with Mayor Weiers’ political committee on another 3 mailings for a total of 5 mailings. The rest of the money I raised went for campaign signage.

My margin of victory was small – 46 votes – but I’ll take it. A win is a win, no matter the margin of victory. But why did I win when I was outspent over 7 times to 1? Several factors seemed to have led to his defeat. Perhaps the most important was his record of lack of service to our district residents. He failed to return constituent phone calls; his residents felt that he did not contribute their voice to city council discussions and debates; his lack of communication in terms of district meetings, having held only one in four years; and perhaps most importantly, the general public’s perception that he had abused taxpayers’ dollars for questionable travel.

Another factor may also have contributed not just to my opponent’s loss but to the loss of former Fire Chief Mark Burdick as a mayoral candidate in Glendale. The fire unions’ aggressiveness in local elections has caused a lack of trust in their institution. Traditionally, fire fighters are held in great esteem within their community. With the increase in the public’s use of social media the general public is more aware of the concerted effort by fire unions to get their preferred candidates elected. Their intrusiveness in the local elections process is more visible than ever before. The tried and true tactics used by these unions is also more visible to the public. For the first time in all of my election cycles I had people who called me to tell me about infractions they had seen committed by the fire unions. The aggressiveness demonstrated by the fire unions during campaigns is beginning to elicit public concern about their tactics and their motives. There is an increased awareness that a fire union’s agenda in terms of ever increasing salaries, benefits and pensions may not be in the taxpayers’ interest.

This is a new phenomenon and whether it is a harbinger of things to come in future election processes is yet to be seen but it may be that the bloom on the fire union rose is fading…

© Joyce Clark, 2017              

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Campaign finance reports were due by 5 PM on Thursday, September 29, 2016. As of this posting (after 5 PM on Friday, September 30, 2016) Sammy Chavira’s campaign filing report has not been posted by the City Clerk. Why, you say? Because Sammy has not turned it in. Sammy apparently believes that the laws that everyone tries to uphold do not apply to him. It’s not terribly surprising considering his attitude toward a simple traffic ticket. He failed to appear in court and subsequently had his driver’s license suspended. In addition the Campaign for Truth and Leadership committee and Fire Fighters interested in Registration and Education PAC have not turned in their latest and now overdue campaign finance reports either. These organizations spent a considerable amount of money in support of Sammy’s reelection.

The amount of money spent on the Glendale mayoral race is truly astounding. Burdick reported spending $121,489.60 and Weiers spent $107,356.97. The total for these two races is $228,846.57 or slightly over a quarter of a million dollars. What bumped up the numbers was for the first time there were TV ads, notoriously expensive. Burdick led the way with TV ads beginning during the Republican convention in mid-July and they were run repeatedly and relentlessly until August 30, 2016, the day of the Primary Election. Weiers had no option but to run his own series of TV ads.

It appears from now on a person should not consider running for mayor in Glendale unless he or she can amass a war chest of a minimum of $100,000. That will put many would-be candidates out of the race. It’s a shame that it has come to that.

There could be as many as four aspirants in the 2020 election for mayor. Many suspect that former Councilmember Yvonne Knaack still harbors ambitions. Add to that Councilmembers Turner, Tolmachoff and Aldama, all of whom seem to be jockeying for a run. Throw in a dash of former Assistant City Manager and major player in the Burdick failed contest, Julie Frisoni. During the election season some voters received a survey call asking for a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Julie Frisoni. Many considered it strange since she wasn’t running. It seems she may be preparing for a political future and could decide to run against Lauren Tolmachoff for the Cholla district seat or perhaps…gasp…mayor. A Cholla city council seat  seemed a far more likely proposition if Burdick had won the mayoral contest but despite the outcome Frisoni and her backers may decide to give it or a mayoral race  a try in 2018.

In the other races more modest sums were spent: Vice Mayor Ian Hugh spent $26,815.31; Councilmember Ray Malnar spent $11,696.13 and I spent $11,489.70. Collectively that amounts to $50,001.14. However, we do know from Sammy’s previous campaign report that he had already spent $57,905.98 and we will await seeing what shows up in his overdue report. So far, the collective total for council races is $107,907.12. Anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000 is a typical amount that is usually spent on a Glendale city council race. In its previous campaign report, The Campaign for Truth and Leadership spent $45,218.56 (donated to it from the United Food Workers). The committee is now terminated. The entire amount was not spent on pro Burdick and pro Chavira mailers or anti Weiers or anti Clark mailers (about $30,000). Some of the funds (about $15,000) was spent in support of Larkin and Andrade.

Let’s total what we know has been spent in Glendale’s elections per the latest submitted campaign finance reports. Two candidates spent $228,846.57 on the mayoral races; $107,907.12 was spent on the 3 city council races; and another $30,000 was spent by an Independent Committee. That totals $336,753.69. I suspect Sammy’s missing report will show additional expenditures of about $20,000 bringing the total spent in this round of Glendale elections to somewhere in the neighborhood of $350,000. That’s a surprisingly large amount of money to spend in a Glendale election cycle and has never occurred before.

I don’t have an answer to this escalation of political spending. A friend suggested that perhaps there should be a cap of maybe $50,000 for a mayoral race and $20,000 for a council race. It’s intriguing. It would cause the candidate to spend wisely and effectively. This person believes it would force candidates to have more interaction with voters and perhaps more reliance on social media which costs relatively nothing. What’s your take on the state of Glendale races?

© Joyce Clark, 2016          

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

On September 30, 2016 the Glendale Star reported former mayoral candidate Mark Burdick was fined $619.59 for violating state statute. Here is the link: http://www.glendalestar.com/news/article_37133b8c-8431-11e6-8aee-c743b27a385d.html .

Glendale City Attorney Michael Bailey shipped the investigation over to Scottsdale City Attorney Bruce Washburn to avoid any conflict of interest.

Every candidate is required to include “paid for by” and the name of the campaign committee on all campaign literature. Burdick violated the law. He sent out a hit piece on Mayor Weiers and failed to include attribution to his committee.

As for the $600+ in fines, can you say unbelievable? Burdick is claiming that the cost of the campaign mailer including postage was $1,239. Washburn says, “You have provided me with an invoice indicating the cost of the mailer was $1,239, which you have informed me is inclusive of postage and all other related costs.”  

Let us assume for a moment that Burdick’s claimed expense of $1200+ was for postage only. At 40 cents per piece in postage (not printing) that accounts for a mailing to 3,075 homes citywide. Glendale has an estimated 90,000 registered voters. A candidate usually sends mailers to high efficacy voters. That would diminish the numbers considerably and probably be approximately a third of the 90,000 registered voters or about 30,000 voters. The cost to mail a campaign piece to 30,000 voters citywide would be about $12,000. This estimated cost does not include the design of the piece or the cost of printing the piece.

Burdick is claiming one tenth of this estimated cost. Ridiculous. The cost of production and mailing one piece of campaign literature to high efficacy voters in the Yucca district in this election was over $1600. I suspect but have no proof, that Burdick’s mailer, to produce and mail citywide, would have cost somewhere between $12,000 and $18,000.

The penalty of the violation can be up to three times the cost of the mailer. Washburn gives Burdick a “get out of jail” card by saying he believed the violation was not done on purpose. In criminal cases, not civil cases, motive and intent matter. Shades of FBI Director Comey refusing to refer Hillary Clinton for prosecution to the Justice Department because he could not determine “intent.” Has intent become the new buzz word to absolve wrong doing?

Burdick’s fine should have been far more substantial, anywhere from $12,000 to $50,000. Instead he received a slap on the wrist by having to pay $600+. I guess there are different standards for different people and lady justice stopped being blind a long time ago.

NOTE: My next blog will be on the most recently filed (due September 29, 2016) campaign finance reports. Sammy Chavira, once again, flaunts the law, by as of this posting, having failed to file his campaign finance report. Then again, the Campaign for Truth and Leadership (fire committee) and Fire Fighters interested in Registration and Education PAC have not filed their campaign finance reports either. Both of these groups sent out campaign mailings in support of Sammy.

© Joyce Clark, 2016        

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

There is no doubt that Sammy raised a ton of money for his campaign. Upon review of his campaign finance report filed on August 26, 2016, 99.9% of his money does not come from Yucca district residents or even Glendale residents for that matter. Here is the link to his campaign finance report: http://glendaleaz.com/Clerk/documents/PrePrimary-ChaviraforGlendale.pdf .

Where did Sammy get his money? Can you say special interests? Here are a few that should be of interest. Jacob Long gave $750 and his family attorney, Jim Miller, another $500. They benefitted recently with the approval of Stonehaven (between 83rd and 91st avenues; Camelback to Bethany Home Road). Stonehaven is a planned residential subdivision of over 1,200 homes with 46% of the lots being 5,500 SF (less than Glendale R1-6 standard of 6,000 SF lots). Sammy approved Long’s development with gushing words of praise. Gee, I  wonder why?

There were 3 Glendale residents who contributed: John Phebus, an attorney with offices in north Glendale gave $1000 (I wonder who he represents?); Tom Schmitt with no occupation or employer listed (it is a requirement per Arizona campaign law) gave $200; and Reginald Martinez gave $50. That’s it. No other Glendale or Yucca district resident thought enough of him to contribute.

But guess who did? Why, the fire fighters, course. Three individual fire fighters, from Mesa, Phoenix and California contributed a total of $500.  The big money ( a total of $11,300) comes from Fire Political Action Committees (PACs):

  • International Association of Fire Fighters          $6250 (the maximum allowed)
  • Avondale Fire Fighters                                           $ 500
  • Casa Grande Fire Fighters                                      $ 500
  • Gilbert Fire Fighters                                               $ 500
  • Glendale Fire Fighters                                           $2000 (violation of federal Hatch Act?)
  • Los Angeles, CA  Fire Fighters                                 $ 500
  • Prescott Fire Fighters                                             $ 250
  • Sedona-Verde Valley Fire Fighters                           $ 250
  • Surprise Fire Fighters                                            $1000
  • Tempe Fire Fighters                                              $1000
  • Mesa Fire Fighters                                                  $ 750
  • Peoria Fire Fighters                                                $ 500

I decided to run a grassroots campaign. If district residents and Glendale residents wanted me back they would support me. Here is the link to my campaign finance report: http://glendaleaz.com/Clerk/documents/PrePrimary-ClarkforCouncil.pdf . My campaign donations came from:

  • 21 contributions of $100 or more were from Glendale/Yucca district residents.
  • 10 contributions of $100 or more were from outside of Glendale. They were from friends, former colleagues and retired Glendale employees.
  • 22 contributions of $50 or less were from Glendale/Yucca district residents.
  • 5 contributions of $50 or less were from outside of Glendale. Again, they were from friends, former colleagues and retired Glendale employees.
  • I did receive 3 unsolicited PAC contributions totaling $1200 from 3 police associations that came with the endorsements I received from the Arizona Police Association and the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police.
  • No special interest money or PAC money was sought.

In terms of Sammy’s campaign expenditures, they paint a picture. He paid Ben Scheel of Bright Consulting another $5,570.85. Sammy did not plan or participate in his own campaign. He paid someone else to do it. He paid the LA Machine $7324.00 for field operations. Sammy did not walk his district. He paid someone else to do it.

Just as Sammy has been invisible as a councilmember and unresponsive to the people of his district who he is supposed to serve, he has been invisible as a candidate. He paid to have someone run his campaign and he paid someone to walk his district. In his three campaign reports now filed, he has not received a single donation from a Yucca district resident.

Sammy is about big money from special interests. That is who he will vote for and represent. Not you, not the people of the Yucca district.

© Joyce Clark, 2016        

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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        

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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