Please note: If you have relatives, friends or acquaintances that live in the Cholla district, please consider passing this series of blogs on to them as another tool to help them evaluate the Cholla candidates prior to casting their vote.
Early ballots are mailed at the end of July, 2014. Candidates (well, most of them) have their websites up, are raising campaign money (or not) and beginning to stake out their positions on Glendale issues.
We begin with the Cholla district council candidates in alphabetical order: Gary Deardorff, Van DiCarlo, Robert Petrone and Lauren Tolmachoff. These 4 candidates share some commonalities. They are running, generally because they were encouraged by friends or family to do so and obviously, they all believe that they can contribute solutions to fix Glendale’s financial situation. All of the information to be discussed will be based on the candidates’ websites and their June 30, 2014 Campaign Finance Reports. Some of the candidates I had met previously and am familiar with their positions on various issues. Others I have never met and so I arranged an interview with them.
We’ll take a look at each candidate’s Campaign Finance Report of June 30, 2014. Here is the link to Glendale City Clerk’s posting of each candidate finance report: http://www.glendaleaz.com/Clerk/2014PoliticalCommitteeCampaignFinanceReports.cfm . Go to that page and you can choose which candidate’s campaign finance report you wish to read. Each report totals 19 pages. The first 2 pages are summary pages. Section A will show all contributions from individuals. Section B shows all political committee contributions. Section C shows loans either the candidate made to the campaign or any other loan received. Section D deals with all expenditures. Section E is for In-Kind contributions and Section F shows miscellaneous items.
This could be considered nit-picky but the finance report is 19 pages. Each candidate’s report should consist of a minimum of 19 pages (there may be multiple pages especially in Sections A and D). Some candidates did not submit the minimal 19 pages. It could be assumed that if they had no financial activity to report in certain areas they just did not bother to include those pages. Technically, that is not a complete report. All pages should be submitted and if there was no activity to report in certain categories, the candidate can leave the page blank, draw a line through the page or indicate “NA,” no activity. Even if a candidate has a treasurer who fills out the report the candidate is still ultimately responsible for the accuracy and veracity of his or her filing.
There is another kind of Campaign Finance Report a candidate can submit and that is a No Activity Statement. That means the candidate didn’t receive any contributions and did not spend any money. Some of the council candidates filed this kind of report.
The items to look for are: what individuals are contributing; are they Glendale residents, relatives, attorneys or other professionals; or Political Action Committees (PACs)? Did the candidate loan his or her campaign any money? How much? Are the expenditures typical of a campaign; signs, printing, bank charges, food for fund raising events or volunteers; web site design or hosting? Is the candidate using a paid political consultant? At what cost? At this stage of the game candidates are often reluctant to reveal too much about their finances. They may ask that large contributions be made after June 1, 2014 to be reported in the Pre-Primary Report or after August 15, 2014 for the Post-Primary Report.
Campaign Finance Report – his report consists of all 19 pages. Mr. Deardorff loaned his campaign committee $11,858.43. While he reports this amount on his summary pages, he does not report the loan on Schedule C, Candidate Loans. Mr. Deardorff has a treasurer, Scott Rulon, who filled out the report. Please remember, Mr. Deardorff ultimately bears the responsibility for the accuracy and veracity of his report.
Campaign contribution limits have become very generous as a result of recent court rulings. In the last election of 2012, the individual contribution limit was $400. Now it is $2,500. A political committee’s limit is now $2,500 and a Super PAC’s limit is $5,000. The trick for local candidates is to get large contributions. It’s not an easy task.
Deardorff’s individual contributions consist of a contribution of $100 from a Glendale resident and $50 from another resident. He has a campaign consultant, Gail Meyers, to whom he has paid $1,258.27 to date. Ms. Meyers has often been recommended to various candidates over the years by former Mayor Scruggs. We have our first inkling of Scruggs’ behind-the-scenes support of some of the current crop of council candidates. Here is another clue. The Host Committee for this fundraiser consisted of: Rich Shelton and Michele Tennyson, Campaign Co-Chairs; Robert “Bob” Campbell, Cathy Cheshier, Janet & Sean Lee and former Mayor Scruggs.
While the bulk of Deardorff’s expenditures are the ones usually expected with a campaign there is one that sticks out and that is $3,141.00 to Petition Partners for nominating petition signature collection. The Sonoran News in March of 2012 reported that the District Attorney of Covington, Kentucky filed suit against Andrew Chavez, CEO of Petition Partners, for fraudulent signature gathering. Here is the link: http://www.sonorannews.com/archives/2012/120314/frontpage-Chavez.html . The use of Petition Partners by Deardorff appears to have almost sunk his campaign. Robert Petrone, another Cholla council candidate, filed challenging the validity of Deardorff’s signatures. Deardorff staved off the Petrone challenge by 2 signatures.
The noteworthy take-aways from Deardorff’s campaign report are: 1. His campaign is self funded in the amount of $11,858.43 to date; 2. He has received 2 individual contributions in the amount of $150 to date; 3. former Mayor Scruggs appears to be backing his candidacy; 4. He is using a political consultant; and 5. While he collected some petition signatures personally he hired a seemingly questionable firm to collect petition signatures.
Website — his campaign website is http://deardorff4cholla.com . Here is his contact information: Deardorff for Cholla, PO Box 10430, Glendale, AZ 85318-0430 623.776.5436 Email address:firstname.lastname@example.org .
His website provides you biographical information, a photo gallery, campaign donation info and contact info. As of this posting there is nothing, absolutely nothing regarding Mr. Deardorff’s position on any Glendale issues. In the absence of information I did meet with Mr. Deardorff and his campaign consultant, Gail Meyers. In a meeting that took about an hour I asked him and any other candidates with whom I met the same series of questions.
Mr. Deardorff has lived in Glendale and the Cholla district for 18 years. He is married. He has not participated in Glendale community affairs. He has his own financial consulting business and believes that his work schedule is flexible enough to accommodate the demands of serving as a councilmember. His observations with regard to the relationship between council and staff are summed up with trust but verify. He believes past City Manager “falsehoods” have led to Glendale’s problems of today. He indicated that he is not receiving fire or police union support and is relying on neighborhood donations and self-funding. He believes the sales tax increase should sunset in 2017 and is confident that budget cuts can be made to offset the revenue loss. He readily admits that he does not have enough insider information to offer intelligent solutions to Glendale’s finances but he does think personnel costs are too high and could be cut. He understands that city council has no authority over school districts. He is not supportive of the Tohono O’odham’s proposed casino on the grounds of objecting to the placement of a reservation within Glendale’s boundaries.
After review of all 4 Cholla district candidates we’ll try to narrow the choices down to 2 people. In this district, as with other council races, there are so many candidates none of them can be expected to win outright in the primary and we can expect a run off in the general election in November. Next up, Van DiCarlo.
© Joyce Clark, 2014
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