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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

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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.

Yesterday I attended the Glendale Chamber’s Business Over Breakfast meeting and I renewed my annual membership in the Glendale Chamber of Commerce. I paid for my membership out of personal funds. I am not a business and cannot write it off as a cost of doing business. I would not pay dues out of my city council budget because I do not believe it is an appropriate taxpayer cost. It is a substantial personal cost.

I renewed because I believe the Chamber performs a vital service not only to Glendale but to surrounding communities as well. It is now over 1,200 members strong and its members come not just from Glendale but Scottsdale, Phoenix, Surprise, Peoria, etc. Robert Heidt, its CEO and President, has done an outstanding job of reinvigorating the Chamber and is to be recognized for his leadership.

The stated mission of the organization as provided on their website is, “The Glendale Chamber serves the business community as the voice of commerce, provides programs and services to improve the economic environment for its members and supplies leadership for improving the quality of life. For area residents and newcomers, the Glendale Chamber is a reliable source for community information and a dependable resource for business referrals.” This is a mission statement I support and reflects a Chamber working to serve its members.

The Glendale Chamber works within guiding principles of connection, initiative, and stewardship.  It fleshes out these principles by stating, “The Glendale Chamber helps build a strong community by connecting its members to people and issues important to business success. Through Chamber programming and services, you and your business are engaged in activities that move Glendale toward a successful future.”  In terms of initiative it states, “The Glendale Chamber provides unique opportunities for business leaders to influence civic, social, and business initiatives that support community growth. The Chamber offers leadership on issues that transform our community and your business.” Lastly its stewardship is reflected by, “On behalf of its broad and diverse membership, the Glendale Chamber creates a climate of growth and success that benefits all business. Your membership investment allows your business and our community to prosper.”

The partnership between the city and the Chamber is strong and beneficial to our entire community. A healthy and robust Chamber helps to maintain a healthy and robust Glendale. However, I am beginning to believe that when the Chamber enters the political arena, witness its endorsements of candidates for Glendale’s city council, it becomes corrosive not only to the Chamber but to the community .

On July 12, 2018 I posted a blog about the Chamber’s endorsements entitled “The gorilla has spoken.” In it I discussed the manner in which the Chamber made its endorsements in the current Glendale election for city council districts. Since then, five councilmembers: Mayor Weiers, Councilmembers Hugh, Tolmachoff, Malnar and I have endorsed current Councilmember Aldama’s opponent, Emmanuel Allen for the Ocotillo District council seat. This situation led to a Facebook discussion typified by this comment, “I’m confused. The Glendale Chamber is endorsing candidates that the Mayor and Council are not? Please educate me. Thanks”

The Chamber and the City are two separate and distinct entities with separate mandates and missions. We will never be in lockstep on all issues facing the city but we will always strive to maintain a mutually respectful partnership.

The Chamber endorsed candidates based on written responses and personal interviews. Obviously the candidates tailored their responses to be viewed favorably by the Chamber. The Chamber’s endorsements were not based on personal experiences with either incumbent or challenger. On the other hand, the councilmembers who have made endorsements for particular candidates  based them upon personal knowledge and interaction. That may be the major distinction in the opposing endorsements.

I suggest that the Chamber rethink its policy of issuing endorsements. The Chamber represents businesses not only in Glendale but Peoria, Phoenix, etc. Does it plan to issue endorsements in races in these other cities as well? If not, why is it just endorsing in Glendale? In addition, when the Chamber endorses a candidate that does not win, it may earn a certain amount of ill will from the candidate, unendorsed by them, that did win.

Perhaps it would serve the Chamber not to endorse anyone so it remains non-partisan and thereby more effective in promoting its policy agenda with all elected officials. If it really wanted to provide service to the community why not hold a candidate forum just like the Women’s Club does? Certainly all issues are not covered in that one forum. Another would certainly be welcomed. What about disseminating non-partisan information about all candidates on specific business related issues? There is so much the Chamber could do, if it so chose, to assist in informing the voters in Glendale that would be truly helpful. Endorsing certain candidates is a lose-lose proposition and sets up ill will both within and without the organization.

© 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.

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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 must confess I didn’t know Ray Strahl. I had run into him at various city or chamber events but other than greeting one another we had never connected. Since he is running for the Barrel district city council seat I asked for time to conduct an in-depth interview. Mr. Strahl graciously agreed and what started as an hour meeting quickly became a several hour meeting.

I wanted to do more than just ask about his positions on the issues but rather try to get a feel for the person. Ray was born and grew up in Elgin, Illinois, a small town of about 50,000 people. He affectionately calls it “Mayberry RFD.” Like many of us who are seniors the lifestyle was quite different then. He and the kids in the area would disappear in the morning to play together and return home just in time for dinner. Often the neighborhood kids would gather at his house.

His Dad was a middle class, hardworking man who, in essence, became a master engraver for the Elgin Watch Factory for 21 years. His Mom was a head bookkeeper for a local firm. After Ray was born she became a stay-at-home Mom but she opened her own, what we would call today, day care business. Ray was an only child.

I asked Ray to share something he has always remembered from his childhood days. He recalled a time when he had been out playing with the neighborhood kids. He knew he had to be home at a specified time to go out to an event with his parents. In typical childhood fashion, the time got away from him and he arrived home late. His Dad was waiting for him, told him to put his bike away and get cleaned up so that they could leave for the event. His Dad’s parting words were, “You’ll get your spanking later. Remind me when we get home.” During the family outing, Ray fretted and worried, debating whether to follow his Dad’s advice to remind him that he owed Ray a spanking. When they got home Ray did as his Dad had asked and reminded him of the forthcoming spanking. Ray’s Dad knelt down before him and said, “Son, I am not going to spank you. I think you’ve suffered enough punishment waiting for it to happen.” When Ray speaks about his Dad, it is evident that he loved, respected and admired him greatly.

Ray was the typical high schooler saying he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed with average grades and graduating in the upper third of his high school graduating class of 510 students. He participated in many school sports: tennis, basketball, wrestling as well as marching band and school orchestra. Last August Ray attended the 50th anniversary of his high school graduation. He MC-ed the event and was its keynote speaker.

After graduation Ray enlisted in the Army following in the footsteps of stepbrother and cousin. He became a Huey pilot flying UH1-Bs and UH1-Ds in Vietnam. He did his one tour of duty as part of a Medevac team in the 1st Cavalry Division and decided that a military career was not his path.

Ray still wasn’t sure of his career path so he did something unusual. He went to a head hunting firm for assistance in determining his skill sets. Called in after a battery of tests, Ray was told that his skill set would be best as…a televangelist or a banker. Ray opted for the latter. He went on to become a highly successful banker, realtor and an insurance and financial advisor for over 45 years.

Ray came to Glendale as many of us do. His parents lived at 43rd Avenue and Morten Avenue. Over the years Ray’s Father would ask, “Son when are you moving out here?” One day when the time was right for Ray, he responded, “Hang on Dad. Let me get my calendar.  I will be there on October 8th (1993).”  When Ray arrived, his Dad was sitting in the driveway waiting for him and said, “Son, you’re late.” Ray had five good years with his Dad until he passed in 1998.

Ray met his wife, Diana, when she joined the firm for which Ray worked. Early on in their relationship Diana remarked to Ray, “You look like my second husband.” Ray, puzzled replied, “But I thought you had only been married once before.” To which Diana replied, “That’s true.” Diana and her “second husband” have been married for 20 years.

Ray and his wife have woven themselves into our community. Ray worked on the campaigns of Ray Malnar, Randy Miller and Jerry Weiers. He and his wife are long time members of the Church of Christ the Redeemer. Ray has graduated from Glendale University…twice… because he felt he learned so much. He’s also graduated from the Citizens Police Academy. He is on the Board of Directors of the Western Maricopa County Association of Realtors (WEMAR) ; the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals (VAREP) and Lutheran Ministries, Grand Canyon District. Ray also has the distinction of being only the 11th person in the state to have graduated from the National Insurance Advisors’ Leadership and Life Institute.

Ray’s passion for serving as the Barrel district councilmember comes through when he talks not only about his district but about Glendale and its people. His pride in Glendale is evident. He recognizes that most people want to live in a safe and healthy neighborhood where there is an opportunity for families to recreate and to play together. The over 2,000 homes he has already visited share a desire for having a community that works to provide jobs within it; that has top notch police and fire responders; that offers outstanding recreational opportunities; that has city infrastructure and streets in good repair and that strives continually to improve everyone’s quality of life. He knows you want ethical and responsive councilmembers who will work to insure that the city is fiscally sound. He pledges to insure that your goals are his goals.

He is a problem solver. He believes it is not enough to identify a problem but to bring the beginning of an ultimate solution to the table. He recognizes that any solution must be a cooperative effort involving citizens, stakeholders and city staff working together. He realizes that the final outcome is crafted when all elements of our community have a voice.

His skills as a Toast Master give him the ability to inspire others and to lead. He believes he can create greater communication between district residents and the city by holding small, neighborhood gatherings often. He believes this is the first step toward breaking down the present culture of apathy. To do that he will take his skills as a listener to really hear what citizens are saying in order to share those concerns effectively.

Ray says that as a banker, mortgage lender, realtor and financial advisor he has helped thousands of people to achieve the American Dream of home ownership. He believes he can take those same skills of listening, leadership and problem solving to assist citizens regarding city issues both large and small.

Ray Strahl came across as an ordinary man with some extraordinary skills. I had heard that he could be standoffish and brusque but he was neither. He is a warm and genuine. He is a vet and I thank him for his service to our country. While being a successful businessman he has never forgotten his faith, family or his love for Glendale. He has contributed to Glendale in many ways and now he wishes to serve us again in a greater capacity. Some people are born to service whether military, social, economic or political. Ray is one of those.  I endorse Ray Strahl and hope if you are a Barrel district voter you will consider giving him your vote on your Early Ballot or at the polls on August 28th. Thank you.

© 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.

 

 

 

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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 July 5, 2018 the Glendale Chamber of Commerce announced its endorsements for the three city council seats to be voted upon in Glendale’s next election. The endorsements were for all three incumbents: Vice Mayor Tolmachoff from the Cholla district; Councilmember Bart Turner of the Barrel district; and Councilmember Jamie Aldama of the Ocotillo district. All candidates were interviewed and their written responses reviewed by the Chamber’s Public Policy Council. Those recommendations were then forwarded to the Board of Directors for approval. Here are the members of the Glendale Chamber’s Public Policy Council:

  • Bill Toops, Glendale Star, Chairperson (also serves on Board of Directors)
  • Steve Adams, AlphaGraphics, (also serves on Board of Directors)
  • Rachel Aja, Cox Communications
  • Kathi Beranek, Blue Cross Blue Shield (company also represented on Board of Directors)
  • Judy Butler, Butler Creative & Consulting
  • Ron Castro, BNC National Bank, (company also represented on Board of Directors)
  • Michael Cavaiola, Redflex Traffic Solutions
  • Stephanie Colbert, Chance Mikos Farmer’s Insurance
  • Donna Davis, Expect More Arizona
  • Patricia DiRoss, Salt River Project, (company also represented on Board of Directors)
  • Yvonne Knaack, State Farm Insurance
  • Matt Ligouri, Southwest Gas
  • Bobbi Magdaleno, Arizona State University, (also serves on Board of Directors)
  • Dave Mitchell, Ideal Insurance Agency
  • Liz Recchia, WeMar
  • Brent Stoddard, Director of Public Affairs, City of Glendale
  • Lyndia Vescio, Vescio Law Firm, (also serves on Board of Directors)
  • Robert Heidt, CEO Glendale Chamber of Commerce, (also serves on Board of Directors)

Here are the members of the Chamber’s Board of Directors;

  • Maria Brunner, Chair of the Board, OneAZ Credit Union
  • Lily DeBileux, Chair-Elect, Pendergast Elementary School District
  • Steve Adams, Treasurer, Alphgraphics
  • Scott Spillman, Vice Treasurer, BNC National Bank
  • Jean Higginbotham, Past Chair, Blue Cross Blue Shield,
  • Robert Heidt, CEO, Glendale Chamber
  • Victoria Coley, Humana
  • Ariana Deerman, Wells Fargo Bank
  • Stephanie Klingener, VitalFit Training
  • Kate Kochenderfer, Salt River Project
  • Wayne Lawson, Signarama on 51st Avenue
  • Patrick McDermott, Arizona Public Service
  • Bobbi Magdaleno, Arizona State University
  • Kevin Phelps, City Manager, City of Glendale
  • Mary Pritchard, Pritchard Insurance Group
  • Richard Sherry, Dignity Health Arizona
  • Bill Toops, Glendale Star
  • Jeffrey Turney, Military & Veterans Affairs
  • Lynda Vescio, Vescio Law Firm
  • Judy Walter, Dignity Memorial
  • Mayor Jerry Weiers, City of Glendale

Of the 18 members of the Public Policy Council, 8 members (44%) also serve on the Board of Directors or have another person from their company serving on the Board of Directors. Once the Public Policy Council has made a recommendation for endorsement it is very probable that the Board of Directors will ratify the recommendations. After the 8 members have made a decision those same 8 companies can ratify the recommendations made to the Board of Directors needing only one more person to constitute a majority of the Board.

It is also worth noting that seven (38%) of the 18 members of the Public Policy Council members represent large companies (Cox Communications, Blue Cross Blue Shield, BNC National Bank, Redflex Traffic Solutions, Salt River Project, Southwest Gas, Arizona State University). All have a Valley-wide presence. Should Valley-wide, major companies be empowered to make recommendations about local candidates for office?

What criteria were used to make their recommendations for endorsement?

  • “Candidates were selected who have distinguished themselves as knowledgeable and supportive (emphasis mine) of issues positively affecting the business community in the city of Glendale.”
  • Bill Toops, Chair of the Chamber’s Public Policy Council said, “The Glendale Chamber Board of Directors is pleased to endorse candidates who have demonstrated accessibility and collaboration (emphasis mine) in support of promoting interests most important to our local businesses.”
  • Robert Heidt, the Chamber’s CEO, said, “Throughout this process we heard from those running for office and have endorsed candidates who has the clearest understanding of the challenges facing the business community and those whose policies align with our initiatives (emphasis mine) to foster a pro-business environment focused on the creation of quality jobs, along with business retention and expansion.”

These criteria seem to favor incumbents. Their positions as elected officials provide many opportunities to “distinguish themselves as knowledgeable and supportive,” to have “demonstrated accessibility and collaboration,” and to have advocated for “policies that align” with the Chamber’s initiatives.

Incumbents have the decided advantage as they have the opportunity to interact with the Chamber in a variety of ways in their official capacities as well as the opportunity to approve/disapprove actions that benefit the Chamber’s interests. It’s not a level playing field. Often those running in opposition to the incumbents have no experience or knowledge of specific city initiatives or actions, especially any that could benefit the Chamber. It’s not their fault. They haven’t been playing ‘inside baseball’ for the previous four years (term of an incumbent). They simply do not have any experience serving as an elected and therefore are at a disadvantage. It takes any newly elected official time to learn how the city works, to become familiar with its policy positions and to establish relationships with various stakeholder groups within the city.

Perhaps the better criterion to be used would not to be rely upon experience (that is weighted always toward the incumbent) but rather to review candidates’ positions on the issues and which policies would be supported. If two candidates for the same office shared the same views perhaps using incumbency to tip the scales should not be the option for recommendation. Perhaps in some cases there should be no recommendation or a recommendation to support either candidate.

I remain troubled with the process used by the Chamber to select endorsements in a local campaign. It will be another two years before the Chamber issues its next set of endorsements for local office. That time might be well spent in developing a process that recognizes an incumbent’s advantage and levels the playing field for those who have never held office.

© 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.

As I have noted previously I rarely make recommendations about service providers. They have to had performed really exceptional work to receive one. There are four service providers with which I have dealt lately that offered outstanding service.

The first of these is Gerrick’s Custom Exhaust & Auto Repair. Jeff Gerrick is a veteran. His motto is “Performance Matters” and in this case it is a true statement. He is courteous and friendly. He doesn’t jack you around by finding 15 other things wrong with your vehicle and his prices are extremely fair and competitive. He did what was asked to be done in a timely manner and at a fair price. Please give him a call the next time you need automotive repair. Here is his contact information: Jeff Gerrick, Gerrick’s Custom Exhaust & Auto Repair, 1201 N. 54th Avenue, Suite 103, Phoenix, AZ 85043 (corner of Latham & 54th Avenue). His phone number is 602-689-7326. Tell him Joyce recommended him to you. You won’t be disappointed.

The second referral is for a mobile mechanic. Stuck someplace and need an emergency repair? Call Steve Sprute at 480-667-8555. Steve will come to you or you can go to his location. Either way, he, too, offers fast, friendly and fairly priced service. Steve and Jeff are at the same location at Latham and 54th Avenue. If you tell Steve or Jeff that Joyce Clark referred you to either of them each is offering a 10% discount.

Recently I had tile installed in my kitchen. I found a gem of an owner to work with. His name is Boris Gnjatovic. His company does residential work. I  had already purchased the tile and it required installation. Most companies that deal in residential work want to provide the material (flooring, paint, etc.) to be used because that enables them to mark up the supplies. Boris has an employee that is a heck of a tile setter who did the job exactly as I specified. They laid about 700 SF of tile in four days. They did a fantastic job and the cost was fair as well. Here is his contact information: Boris Gnjatovic at 602-373-6532.

The last is Mike Alevizos of Sanderson Ford. Sanderson Ford has been an outstanding member of the Glendale community for years so it is not surprising that their personnel are outstanding as well. If you feel more comfortable having your Ford/Lincoln/Mercury vehicle repairs done at a dealership go no further than contacting Mike Alevizos. I have used Mike for over 10 years. He is knowledgeable and courteous. He will work to accommodate your specific needs. Here is his contact information: Mike Alevizos, Service Advisor, Sanderson Ford, 623-842-8774, mikea@sandersonford.com .

All of the people I have commended and recommended have earned it. They love what they do and it shows. They won’t find “other things” to fix. I left each of these service providers feeling I had been dealt with fairly. They did what they agreed to do in a timely fashion and at a fair price. Sometimes that can be hard to find in today’s day and age.

© 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.

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