Ocotillo council district candidates are similar to that of Cholla and Barrel district candidates. Some are articulate and exhibit varying degrees of intelligence. Some are passionate and believe that they want to be part of the solution with regard to Glendale’s financial difficulties. I congratulate them for their willingness to put themselves before the voters to be weighed and measured on the issues of the day. Choices among the 4 candidates will be based on the information publicly available to date that was used in the previous blogs about each candidate.
Michael Hernandez filed a No Activity Campaign Finance Report. He has raised no money and has spent nothing. The scheduled interview with him was cancelled by Mr. Hernandez. These factors lead to the conclusion that he is not a viable candidate.
Jamie Aldama, Norma Alvarez and Bud Zomok have raised $5,000 to $8,500 to date. Bud Zomok is self funded in the amount of $5,000. It appears that Aldama will capture union campaign contributions while Alvarez will enjoy independent expenditure support from the Tohono O’odham tribe once again. Some of Alvarez’ contributors are not only activists such as Parraz and Maupin but they may well have been within her inner circle as advisors. What is extremely interesting is the Becker campaign contribution of $2,500. Read into that one whatever you wish and you would probably be correct. Aldama has had previous personal financial problems and has had 2 judgments rendered against him. His personal finances call into question his ability to deal with Glendale’s financial problems.
It is extremely difficult for the voter to determine how 3 out of the 4 Ocotillo candidates stand on a particular issue. Hernandez has no website. While each candidate may have developed campaign literature that they pass out or mail to the voters, it is just that, voter specific, and may not reach the entire Ocotillo district voter universe. Aldama and Alvarez have websites but there is no publicly available specific information offered on their positions on Glendale’s issues. Aldama does have an Issues page with the topics of economic diversity, public safety and public services. But what is offered is warm and fuzzy without acknowledging Glendale issues such as the sales tax sunset and Glendale’s enormous debt. Alvarez simply does not specifically address any issue. Zomok has the most robust website and clearly takes a stand on economic issues.
Zomok acknowledges that Glendale has financial problems and he supports the sunset of the sales tax increase in 2017. He offers several strategies for the reduction of Glendale’s debt including a thorough assessment of Camelback Ranch and the sale of some of Glendale’s assets. None of the other Ocotillo candidates have publicly available material that would indicate their positions.
Alvarez, Hernandez and Zomok have lived in the Ocotillo district for a minimum of 10 years and some have lived in Glendale far longer. Questions have been raised about Aldama’s current residence in the Ocotillo district. Ocotillo candidate Ron Kolb filed a court complaint questioning Aldama’s residency. He then dropped the complaint, has withdrawn as an Ocotillo council candidate and contributed to Alvarez’ campaign. Maricopa County Recorder documents show Aldama still owns a home in the Yucca district and there is no public record available that shows his ownership of property in the Ocotillo district. It is possible that he could be renting a home in the Ocotillo district.
Hernandez works and it seems evident that finding the necessary time to fulfill councilmember responsibilities will be difficult for him. Zomok is self employed and that does provide him the flexibility needed to fulfill a councimember’s responsibilities. Alvarez has served on city council for 4 years and has demonstrated her inability to fulfill councilmember commitments due to medical issues or just plain pique. Aldama’s job may also prove problematical in finding the necessary time to participate in councilmember activities.
Alvarez has demonstrated her inaccessibility as a sitting councilmember. The only publicly available contact information for her is the main city council office telephone number published for all of the councilmembers. It is evident that she relied upon coaching when she participated in council workshops/meetings — coaching could be heard during her telephonic attendance. It has also become quite evident that if one does not support her version of reality she will seek retribution, if possible. Her past performance as a councilmember has provided ample evidence of her lack of positive contribution and a vote for her would reinforce her obstructionism.
There is also the question of breaking her word. When she ran for office the first time she pledged that she would serve one term. Up until the time to file for the Ocotillo seat this election cycle she had not reneged on her promise. Suddenly she filed to run for a second term.
Aldama is very similar to Alvarez but is a more polished version. The nagging questions about his residency need to be addressed and have not to date. His past personal financial difficulties signal a weakness that will not serve Glendale’s current financial needs.
On the other hand, Bud Zomok has demonstrated his thoughtful consideration of Glendale’s issues and he has been willing to share his position on those issues publicly. Zomok is articulate and intelligent. His willingness to solve Glendale’s problems is clearly evident. Michael Hernandez’ lack of participation in the candidate process makes him a non-contender.
What is most fascinating about this district race is that there are 3 Hispanic candidates running in a majority Hispanic district. It is inevitable that they will split this demographic’s voting strength. It will be decided by which one can successfully get their voter base to the polls. Those voters who are supportive of the status quo should look to Aldama and Alvarez. Those voters who are supportive of change and reasonable alternative solutions should consider Zomok.
It seems safe to assume that with 4 candidates no one will take the Ocotillo councilmember seat out right in the Primary Election. The two top candidates will face off in the General Election in November. In previous blogs I could identify two candidates that should be examined more closely by the voters and appear worthy of support. For the reasons presented that is not possible in this district race and only one candidate merits voter support. It is not an easy decision for any voter but based upon information publicly available to everyone, this writer’s pick for the Ocotillo district is:
© Joyce Clark, 2014
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