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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.

Just as with Ray Strahl I also arranged an in depth meeting with Emmanuel Allen, candidate for the Ocotillo city council district seat. Once again, I did not know Emmanuel and had only seen him at city events. And once again, an hour interview turned into several hours.

Mr. Allen was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and grew up there as well.  His Mom worked in the insurance industry but her life’s passion was fostering children so in addition to Emmanuel’s  sister, twin brothers, a step brother and a step sister there were always foster children too. Emmanuel’s Step Dad was a police officer and spent time as a special agent with the state of Wisconsin and with the Drug Enforcement Agency. His Step Dad was also a pastor and gave Emmanuel his first love of pastoral work.

Emmanuel graduated from Oak Creek High School in Wisconsin. He was a basketball player which made him quite popular with the young ladies. He had lots of friends and was a natural born leader. He worked hard at his studies and was a good kid. His only downfall was his dislike of his history classes. And that is where Mr. Reed comes in. Mr. Reed was his history teacher and mentored Emmanuel. At one time Emmanuel wanted to be a rapper and knowing that Mr. Reed challenged him. Mr. Reed told Emmanuel that if he could create a rap song that encompassed all of the semester’s course material he would give Emmanuel an ‘A’ and he would not have to take the final exam. Emmanuel earned that ‘A’ and his rap song was so impressive it was used by Mr. Reed every year to motivate each new crop of students.

After high school graduation Emmanuel went to Milwaukee Area Technical College to learn computer science. While there he also worked for Zerox. Emmanuel soon realized that he had no passion or patience sitting at a desk fiddling with computers all day.

Then Emmanuel received a wakeup call that would forever chart the course of his life. Several of his good friends were murdered or died. One in a traffic accident and one was shot while working at his Dad’s business. Those deaths were the catalysts for his entry into the Grace Christian College Seminary. Emmanuel was in an accelerated program and worked hard at his studies. It was there that he met his wife, Belinda. They were married shortly after both graduated from the Seminary.

Emmanuel tells the story of meeting his future wife. Mutual friends had arranged for them to meet at an indoor amusement park. Emmanuel and his brother showed up and neither knew who the girl Emmanuel was supposed to meet was. Emmanuel was not having a particularly good day when this girl approached him and said, “It looks like you’re having a bad day. Do you care to talk about it?” Emmanuel poured out his whole life story to this stranger, this girl he had never met before, only to learn that she was the girl his friends had arranged for him to meet. He thought she would never have anything to do with him after pouring out his soul to her but he was wrong. Belinda turned out to be a really good listener and what she heard did not dissuade her from Emmanuel. They have now been married for 17 years. They have one son, Christian.

After graduation Emmanuel and Belinda started a printing business. He said he worked the hardest he ever had in his life but it prepared him for the business world. He learned how to run and sustain a successful business.

In 2008 the national recession hit and just as with many other small businesses Emmanuel and Belinda literally closed their shop. Emmanuel’s Step Dad wanted him to take over pastoring his church but something was happening to Emmanuel. He was having constant dreams about moving and even had a date, January of 2009. But where? Where was he to move? He happened to notice a box, a box that had sat around forever but was generally ignored, which contained his wife’s hair dryer. On the outside of the box were the words “Destination Glendale Arizona.” He had a sign. He and Belinda were moving to Glendale, Arizona. It was a move embodied in faith. They gave everything they possessed away planning to start fresh.

They found a condo to rent in Glendale and quickly joined the Christ Community Church. The relationships they built among that faith community enabled Emmanuel to do what he always felt he must – establish his own church, Breakthrough Life Church. In the beginning he rented various spaces for his services finally landing at a small storefront at 59th Avenue and Glendale Avenue in 2012. It was there that he began his service in Glendale working with the Orchard Glen neighborhood in cleaning up the area. Two years later, in 2014, he reopened the abandoned O’Neil Community Center and began his work of serving the children of the O’Neil area.

Emmanuel’s philosophy is simple to state yet challenging to achieve. He believes in bringing people of all races, creeds and color together to create new hope. He says we all want the same things: a safe community, recreational and educational opportunities for our kids, and a renewal of the sense of neighborhood. Through working with the children he has been able to reach their parents building trust, credibility, transparency and a greater understanding of one another.

For years the city has unsuccessfully tried to build bridges with various communities in the Ocotillo district. It has failed time and time again. Emmanuel Allen is that bridge. He is here at the right time and the right place. He reminds me of former Councilmember Bob Hoffman, often considered the conscience of the council. Bob had earned the trust and confidence of the community he represented as Emmanuel Allen has done. Having a conscience of the council is good. Having someone who has earned the trust and respect of a part of our community often ignored is good. Having someone with the ability to effectuate change is good.  Emmanuel Allen is the right choice for the Ocotillo district at a time when it needs more attention than ever. I endorse Emmanuel Allen and hope if you are a Ocotillo 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.

Who would you vote for today?

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If you were to vote today, who is your choice?

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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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