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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

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.

GARY DEARDORFF

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.

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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:deardorff4cholla@gmail.com .

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

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The 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 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 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.

Early Primary Voting ballots will be mailed to voters at the end of July, 2014 and the primary voting locations will be open on August 29, 2014. Candidate season reaches a fevered pitch in July. I bet you have already received campaign mailings on behalf of either congressional, state or local candidates.

Recent petition signature verification by the courts shines a light on just how ill informed inexperienced candidates can be. It is a tried and true political tactic to challenge signatures. Sometimes it’s easier to try to knock a candidate out of the running by challenging signatures than running against him or her. Former Councilmember and Vice Mayor Tom Eggleston was a master of this particular art.

Petition signature gathering ranks as an elementary task for a city council candidate. He or she should at the very least, know the district boundaries of the council district they wish to represent. I am always surprised by candidates who get signatures from people who have a Glendale mailing address even though they live in another city. Simply put, if a candidate can’t be bothered to do his or her homework to recognize district boundaries and instead fills his or her petition sheets with signatures from folks with just a Glendale mailing address he or she doesn’t deserve a spot on the ballot. They will be pummeled by those candidates supported by the fire union, who provide their chosen candidates with complete walking lists of registered voters on each street within the district being covered. It is difficult enough for an experienced candidate to run against a fire union candidate. It is a daunting and unpleasant task for an inexperienced candidate.

Another very rudimentary act for the candidate is to check one’s petition signatures against registered voter lists. Inexperienced candidates will accept all signatures not bothering to verify that the signator is a registered voter in Glendale. I suppose they really think no one will check. Do they really think that a massive show of numbers will dazzle enough to overlook the legal validity of signatures?

This year the candidate crop in Glendale is vast. There are a few diamonds-in-the-rough among them and it is revealing to see that there are so many of them ready, willing and eager to change the current culture and vision. However, it is disappointing to see so many that are downright ill informed or completely uninformed about the real issues facing Glendale.

It is no secret that those running are quietly and surreptitiously vetted by City Hall. After all, a new crop of councilmembers can change the city hall equation in an instant. A candidate may be identified by someone in City Hall as sympathetic to the current City Hall agenda. That candidate will receive assistance in subtle, barely discernible ways. A candidate who is not in favor at City Hall will find that the city will keep a very close eye on his/her campaign and will be quick to put up road blocks…also subtle and barely discernible. Having run in 4 Glendale elections I have been a recipient of both kinds of treatment.

Then there’s the tremendous assistance that the Glendale Fire Union will provide to their identified candidates. Now, remember, that pesky federal Hatch Act. Local employees may not be involved in their community’s election, in any way, shape or form. The fire unions have developed a neat “work around.” Fire fighters from other Valley cities will contribute to the candidate’s campaign. Fire fighters from other Valley cities will walk for the candidate and work the polls on election day. Fire fighters from other Valley cities will put up the candidate’s campaign signs. Fire fighters from other Valley cities will form Political Action Committees, registered with the city, and then do “independent mailings” or “independent campaign signs” in support of their candidate. It’s a quid pro quo relationship. Next election cycle you will find Glendale fire fighters doing the same for their brothers in Peoria, Gilbert or Phoenix.

Be wary. The Glendale Fire Union’s agenda is just that…their agenda. Their agenda is to protect what they have in wages, benefits and work schedules and to get more. While that agenda is great for them and while they may tell you it is great for you — it may not be a great agenda for Glendale taxpayers…just remember that’s you and me. One more union thought. Always use this as a voter guide. Does my company give me the same level of benefits enjoyed by union fire fighters? At this time with the nation’s economy still struggling, probably not.

You may find it helpful to realize most voters don’t know the local issues in depth. You are not alone. So it is not surprising that the candidates often don’t know either. Look for candidates who ask questions and offer solutions. They may not have the benefit of insider city hall knowledge but at least they are willing to take their time to do their homework and to learn… and then to develop a position on an issue. Some candidates do nothing more than pander to the voter expressing a popular position assuming that it will produce votes.

One further caveat, reject any city council candidate who promises to “fix” local education. The Glendale city council has no authority over the curriculum, teachers or administrators of the myriad of school districts in Glendale. A councilmember may be asked, from time to time, to do something about traffic or parking adjacent to individual schools. That councilmember may or may not, be able to assist in such a circumstance. That is the sum total of city council involvement in local school issues.

Look for candidates who dress appropriately as a sign of respect for the office they seek. Look for candidates who have developed roots in Glendale. Look for candidates who can not only articulate their positions on issues but also put their positions out there for you to weigh. Having visited all the candidates who have websites I am surprised that quite a few of them do not use this venue to tell you, the voter, where they stand on a particular issue. They’ll put up their bios, ask for a donation or campaign help or provide a “Contact” link but they fail to tell you what their position is, for example, on the sales tax sunset issue, Glendale’s debt burden or the casino issue – three hot topics in Glendale right now.

I would suggest calling the candidate directly. Now is not the time to be shy. All of them should be pleased to have a conversation with you and to be given the opportunity to express their views. Please don’t feel as if you are intruding. Candidates welcome every opportunity to make connections to voters.

During the month of July as I discuss each candidate I will post publicly available phone numbers, websites and contact information. Use this information. Please don’t feel as if you are intruding. Candidates welcome every opportunity to make connections to voters. After all, it is candidate season…

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The 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 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 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.

Golly, can you believe that in a year from now, August 26, 2014 to be exact, Glendale voters will be casting ballots in its Primary Election? It seems we just went through this exercise. We did. Every two years, Glendale votes for 3 out of 6 City Council seats. In 2012, the 3 district seats were Yucca, Cactus and Sahuaro. In the 2014 election it will be Cholla, Barrel and Ocotillo districts. Candidate nominating petitions will be available this fall and are due for submission by the end of May, 2014. No candidate will wait until the last minute to pick up nominating packets or to submit petitions to run. So it begins.

While the political picture is still very murky some rays of light are just beginning to emerge. Vice Mayor Knaack was recently asked by the media if she would be running for her Barrel district seat again. Knaack was decidedly non-committal but bets are that she will run for her seat… but wait, there’s more. Many feel that her ambition runs far greater and that she will make a run for mayor in 2016. That may pose a real head scratcher for the Glendale fire union. To date they have supported Weiers (current mayor) and Sherwood (new councilmember) and Knaack (in every one of her elections). If this scenario comes to pass it will be interesting to see whom fire puts its money (which is substantial) on…Weiers? Sherwood? or Knaack?

Councilmember Alvarez has declared that she is not running for reelection but she also declared that she would resign after the results of the external audit were publicly released. Well, that hasn’t happened, has it? If she decides to leave her seat look for a “free for all” in the Ocotillo district. Candidates will be multiplying like rabbits. Ocotillo voters beware. Alvarez is sure to endorse someone and that almost guarantees more Alvarez-esk shenanigans for another 4 years. Lord, help us out here!

Councilmember Martinez has recently announced that he will not seek reelection in the Cholla district. He has been a good and faithful servant of the people and others – perhaps a future blog will be in order. He is in his 80s and there are subtle signs that his faculties are not as sharp as they once were. His announcement comes as no surprise. What is surprising is Robert Petrone’s announcement of his candidacy for the Cholla district council seat. Petrone is the current Chairperson of the citizen Planning and Zoning Commission. What is even more surprising is the story that was run by KPHO Channel 5 News on August 26, 2014. Here is the link:  http://www.kpho.com/story/23261106/glendale-city-council-candidate-looks-to-win-publics-trust . The story by Jason Barry reports, “CBS5 did some digging and found a long history of financial problems in Petrone’s past, dating back to 2003, including not paying credit cards, bounced checks and thousands of dollars in unpaid debt. CBS5 uncovered more than 20 civil and criminal cases in Valley justice courts, all connected to Petrone or his landscaping business.” Petrone attributes his financial woes dating back to 2003 to the national recession but, excuse me, didn’t the recession start in 2007?

courtesy Channel 5 KPHO news

Robert Petrone
Courtesy of KPHO
Chennel 5 News

Petrone says in his interview, “one of his first orders of business is to stop the mismanagement of money that’s plagued the city.” Ahem. Isn’t that a little like the pot calling the kettle black? He then goes on to say, “I see money that was $5.5 million to $6 million of citizens’ money that was tainted, misappropriated, done without the knowledge of the City Council…How many fire trucks and police cars could we have bought with $5 to $6 million?” And the answer is….None, Mr. Petrone, absolutely none. Why? The money he refers to were transfers out of the city’s trust funds which if and when recovered, must go back into the trust funds for risk management and workmen’s compensation. The $5 to $6 million cannot be used to buy fire trucks or police cars…or anything else for that matter. This issue has been widely publicized and one would think Petrone would have a better understanding. Obviously, he didn’t read my “Mushroom” blogs! 

Manny, say it ain’t so. You couldn’t have really endorsed Petrone, could you? In the blink of an eye — no, make that a 2 minute story on Channel 5, Petrone’s viability as a serious candidate was obliterated. Their strategy was transparent. Martinez’ endorsement of Petrone was supposed to create a chilling effect and cause others to reconsider a run for the Cholla seat. Perhaps it would have succeeded if Channel 5 hadn’t reported that Petrone had been practicing a little mismanagement of his own. Let the games, political that is, begin!

 

©Joyce Clark, 2013

FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has 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, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. 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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