It has been 18 years and 78 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.
As I announced in my blog of March 3, 2016 I am in the process of deciding whether to run for my former Yucca district council seat. Today on the front page of the Arizona Republic is a major story by Paul Giblin on Councilmember Chavira’s use of his council discretionary funds for travel. Here is the link: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2016/03/04/glendale-councilman-sammy-chavira-charges-24k-trips-3-years-taxpayers/78857734/ . Thank you Paul Giblin for fleshing out with extensive research what I had discussed in my February 28, 2016 blog, Sammy the spendthrift. Giblin’s article is just one more reason to tip me toward serious consideration.
Here are some bullet points from the story by Giblin:
- “Glendale Councilman Sammy Chavira expensed a trip to Washington to see U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego sworn in.”
- “He billed city taxpayers for another trip to Washington to see the pope.”
- “Chavira has taken the most trips of any current council member.”
I am dismayed and disgusted by Sammy’s cavalier approach to spending your money, taxpayer dollars, and you should be as well. This much I can tell you. While there is no oversight (and there should be) of how a Glendale councilmember spends his or her discretionary funds. 95% of the time they are mindful of the fact that it is not their money and treat its use with respect.
As a former councilmember on the occasions that I took out-of-town trips to the National League of Cities Conventions and as a member of the League’s Public Safety Steering Committee, I turned in receipts for all of my expenditures. I often submitted Public Safety Steering Committee summary reports to senior staff and my fellow councilmembers. When I attended state League meetings sited, for example, in Scottsdale, I would not stay in a nearby hotel but rather traveled from my home to the meeting site daily. When the sites of state League meetings were too far away to accommodate this practice, such as Tucson, then I would stay in a hotel. During my entire tenure as a Glendale councilmember I never had your dollars pay for my cell phone or its monthly charges even though much of its use was city related. I never submitted monthly car mileage reimbursements. There were a handful of occasions, such as state League meetings, for which I did ask for mileage reimbursement. The point is that I was careful because it wasn’t “my” money. A majority of Glendale’s councilmembers are mindful of their council expenses. All it takes is one bad apple to destroy the people’s trust in how elected officials operate and act on their behalf.
Perhaps the most disturbing of all of Sammy’s D.C. trips was his expensing taxpayer dollars to spring for a dinner that included his bosses at the Phoenix Fire Department (Sammy is a Phoenix firefighter); now retired Glendale Fire Chief Mark Burdick; and Glendale firefighter and Phoenix Councilmember Danny Valenzuela. Oh, to be a fly on the wall. Clearly Chavira used that to self-aggrandize himself. I wonder if Phoenix Councilmember Danny Valenzuela expensed this D.C. trip to Phoenix taxpayers. I wonder if the attendees were informed of Burdick’s plans to retire as Glendale Fire Chief and subsequently run for the Glendale mayoral seat.
His trip to see the Pope and another trip to see his good friend Rueben Gallego’s inauguration are certainly questionable. No matter how he tries to spin these trips they were certainly not “city business.”
Giblin states that he set up at least three meetings with Sammy to hear his side of the story and all three meetings were cancelled. It’s reminiscent of the many meetings Sammy has scheduled with Glendale residents only to have them cancelled as well. Instead he sent an email to Giblin saying in part, “I made these trips on behalf of the city for legitimate purposes…”
Don’t forget there are other sketchy Chavira financial dealings. One was his and Councilmember Danny Valenzuela’s involvement in a Hispanic Firefighters Association event fundraiser that netted not one dime to the organization. In fact the organization lost money as it had to pay for the actions required to hold the event. How about his $8,000 sponsorship of the failed Glendale Watermelon Festival or his $2,500 sponsorship of the Glendale Dia del los Muertos, an event that allowed political activities favoring Democrat candidates for elected office.
Sammy has demonstrated a pattern of questionable financial decision making as a Glendale city councilmember. If he makes poor decisions with his council budget can you really trust him to make good decisions about the city’s budget?
© 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.