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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

When my blog site was reconstituted after being down for two weeks four recent blogs disappeared. This is a reposting of one of the four “lost” blogs.

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.

On March 28, 2017 Jessica Boehm and Jackee Coe presented extensive reporting in the Arizona Republic on campaign contributions from the firefighter unions. Here is the link:

http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-investigations/2017/03/28/arizona-candidates-who-received-campaign-contributions-from-firefighters/99716980/ .

It is a very thorough look at the issue but there was one area that was neglected and that was fire unions’ Independent Expenditures (IE) in the election process. A case in point was the recent Glendale election in the Yucca district between the incumbent who lost, Sammy Chavira, and me.

What’s an Independent Expenditure? As its name implies, it is an independent (of the candidate) political committee formed for the express purposed of supporting or opposing a candidate(s) or an issue. It is against the law for an Independent Expenditure committee to coordinate their efforts with those of the candidate. There is not supposed to be any communication between the two committees. However, this does not prevent a third party acting as a go between. That is difficult to prove legally.

These committees are required to register with the clerk of the jurisdiction in which they will be active. Sometimes they do. When they register at the state level it is often very difficult to obtain specific information about whom or what the committee is advocating for or against or how much they spent. It is much easier to obtain that kind of information at the city or local level.

Unfortunately, by law recently enacted by the state, all political committee reports must now be filed with the state. The reporting forms have been completely redone making it much more difficult to obtain information about who is doing what, for whom and for how much.

An Independent Committee could have an innocuous name such as Revitalize Arizona or Residents for Accountability. Some of the Independent Committees who participated in Glendale’s last election cycle were created by the fire unions. Their only purpose was to issue political material in support of their candidate and to oppose the contender. Often an Independent Committee doesn’t just do political mailings. They will create political signs and put them up as well. A good example is a political sign that accused me of “breaking the bank.” The signs were created by and funded by an Independent Expenditure committee expressly created by fire union members from a neighboring community.

My opponent in the last election raised over $81,000 with $19,000 (about ¼ of his total funding) contributed by fire unions as far away as Los Angeles, California. In addition, there were several Independent Expenditure committees, fire union affiliated, that spent in excess of $30,000 in political mailings in opposition to my candidacy and in support of my opponent. My opponent’s campaign committee mailed out at least 8 pieces and the Independent Committees mailed out another 6 pieces in addition to paying for campaign signs also opposed to my candidacy. My opponent even violated federal U.S. Postal law and placed postcards in support of his candidacy, unmailed with no postage, in residents’ mailboxes.

It appears safe to assume that between my opponent’s campaign committee and the Independent Expenditure committees, over $100,000 was spent to try to defeat me.

I raised a little over $13,000 for my campaign. Nearly every dime I received came from my district residents or Glendale residents in other districts. A few months after I won my bid for reelection, I received a check for $1,000 from a local fire union. I considered it a “concession” check, an acknowledgement that I had defeated a fire union candidate once again. I accepted the money and retired my campaign debt enabling me to terminate my political committee.

I sent out 2 mailings and shared expenses with Mayor Weiers’ political committee on another 3 mailings for a total of 5 mailings. The rest of the money I raised went for campaign signage.

My margin of victory was small – 46 votes – but I’ll take it. A win is a win, no matter the margin of victory. But why did I win when I was outspent over 7 times to 1? Several factors seemed to have led to his defeat. Perhaps the most important was his record of lack of service to our district residents. He failed to return constituent phone calls; his residents felt that he did not contribute their voice to city council discussions and debates; his lack of communication in terms of district meetings, having held only one in four years; and perhaps most importantly, the general public’s perception that he had abused taxpayers’ dollars for questionable travel.

Another factor may also have contributed not just to my opponent’s loss but to the loss of former Fire Chief Mark Burdick as a mayoral candidate in Glendale. The fire unions’ aggressiveness in local elections has caused a lack of trust in their institution. Traditionally, fire fighters are held in great esteem within their community. With the increase in the public’s use of social media the general public is more aware of the concerted effort by fire unions to get their preferred candidates elected. Their intrusiveness in the local elections process is more visible than ever before. The tried and true tactics used by these unions is also more visible to the public. For the first time in all of my election cycles I had people who called me to tell me about infractions they had seen committed by the fire unions. The aggressiveness demonstrated by the fire unions during campaigns is beginning to elicit public concern about their tactics and their motives. There is an increased awareness that a fire union’s agenda in terms of ever increasing salaries, benefits and pensions may not be in the taxpayers’ interest.

This is a new phenomenon and whether it is a harbinger of things to come in future election processes is yet to be seen but it may be that the bloom on the fire union rose is fading…

© Joyce Clark, 2017              

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.

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.

Whew, It’s been a rough two weeks (since April 5th) with my blog site being down. My thanks to all of you who have patiently waited for its resurrection. I did lose some posts that occurred between March 11, 2017 and today. Thanks to the Word Press team and especially my genious grandson (majoring in IT) for solving the Gordion Knot of computer software enabling me to post once again. I know I will be throwing some money in my Grandson’s direction for saving my site.

What’s been happening in the meantime? On Tuesday, April 4, 2017 city council had another Budget Workshop meeting. Mostly it reaffirmed suggestions made by council at the previous budget workshop. One of my “asks” at the previous workshop was to consider moving up the proposal to transition the city’s street light system city-wide to LED lighting. This project would result in cost savings to the city of a half million dollars a year that could be redirected to providing greater dollar capacity to repair and maintain even more city streets annually. Council was presented further information and approved moving the project forward in the coming Fiscal Year rather than waiting until Fiscal Year 2023.

I was also successful in getting Heroes Park and O’Neal Pool back into the Capital Improvement Program. This is but a first step. If these items are not even listed in the CIP, it is impossible to secure funding for them.

Previously I had asked for consideration of returning funding to an upgrade of Pasadena Park that was pulled in favor of a new project, construction of a bike path at Foothills Park. I pointed out that council identified priorities were to maintain and improve existing assets before creating new projects. At that time Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff seemed to agree with that premise and was amenable to removing the new bike path project. On the April 4th budget meeting she seems to have reversed her position and now is reluctant to give up this new project. As many residents down our way are fond of saying quite often to me, “Them that has, gets more. Them that has nothing, gets nothing.”

The next several council budget workshops will deal with individual departments and their budgets. I am sure I will have questions…lots of questions. That’s one good aspect of having 16 years worth of historical memory…it helps me to identify in which areas of the city to take a good, long look.

On Friday, April 7th, I went down to the studios of Channel 3 TV for the taping of a segment for a show called Politics Unplugged. Here is a link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTAoX-SiS6Y&feature=youtu.be . The segment was about local fire unions’ influence in elections and followed on the heels of an Arizona Republic story on the same topic. Here is the link to the Arizona Republic article: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-investigations/2017/03/28/arizona-firefighter-unions-donated-hundreds-thousands-local-elections/99603914/ .

There are a few more events about which I would like you to be aware. One is a neighborhood public meeting to learn about a proposed residential project to be sited at the southeast corner of 83rd Avenue and Northern Avenue. It will be on Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 6 PM at the Harvest Church, 8340 W. Northern Avenue. The applicant is seeking to place 50+ homes on 6,000 square foot lots…ugh.

On Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 6 PM I will be hosting another Yucca district meeting at the Coyote Ridge Elementary School Cafeteria, 7677 W. Bethany Home Road. Residents will have an opportunity to meet and to hear from our new City Manager, Kevin Phelps, and our new Police Chief, Richard St. John. They will stay for the entire meeting so that residents may introduce themselves and ask questions.

After those two speakers, there will be an informal meeting of the Parks & Recreation Board and the Library Advisory Board for the purpose of hearing a presentation from the Dick & Fritche architectural firm on a proposed design concept for our West Branch Library.

Following that presentation, as is normal for my district meetings, I will open the floor for residents to comment on the proposed library or any other topic. At the end of the formal meeting, please take the time to meet our City Manager and Police Chief.

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

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.

TGIF

Posted by Joyce Clark on September 16, 2016
Posted in City issue and actionsCity of Glendale  | Tagged With: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A few thoughts after a very eventful week in which the Glendale city council unanimously accepted the Canvass of Votes thereby acknowledging Mayor Weiers, Vice Mayor Hugh, Councilmember Malnar and me as winners of the recent election. It’s over.

image2

Courtesy of Dawn Monaghan

The photo below is from the September 13, 2016 city council meeting. The gentleman kneeling is Bill Toops, publisher of the Glendale Star. After the Glendale Star did not endorse me or my rival I had a conversation with Mr. Toops. He stated that in the event that I won, he would publicly acknowledge my victory.

Every Friday I check out home sales in Glendale. There are about 350 sales a month and about 4500 sales a year. Some sales obviously reflect existent residents either moving up to a larger home or downsizing but the majority are new families moving into Glendale from someplace else. Is it any wonder that voter turnout is so low in Glendale? One of the reasons for voter apathy is the city’s failure to educate and to engage these new residents.

It came as no surprise that the contested election results were so close. Look at the Jones-Biggs contest in Congressional District 5. It appears to be a reflection of a national trend as general analysis suggests that the presidential contest will be close. Remember the hanging chad? Will there be another Florida-type situation this year? Electronic voting will be under tremendous scrutiny because of concerns about hacking into the national voting system. I’m not sure the country is prepared to deal with electronic voting and assuring the public that the results are tamper proof. Perhaps we would be best served to continue the use of paper ballots that at least leave a trail that can be verified.

Social media has grown up and is a legitimate and extremely useful in connecting to voters. With my shoe string campaign budget I know that my use of a blog, Facebook pages, blast emails and a campaign website were extremely important and may have tipped the scales in my favor.  Today any candidate who does not make full use of social media does so at his or her peril.

I will continue to blog about Glendale issues as I am not a formal member of the city council yet. The installation for mayor and councilmember is scheduled for December 13, 2016. After then I will continue to blog but I will make very clear that as a councilmember I am duty bound to support council decisions on issues but that will not preclude me from expressing my personal opinion. I will be sure to delineate those positions to readers.

Look for an announcement concerning an October victory celebration for Mayor Weiers, Vice Mayor Hugh, Councilmember Malnar and me. I will share the details of the event as they become available.

© 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.

Dear John letter

Posted by Joyce Clark on July 4, 2015
Posted in BlogsCity issue and actionsCity of Glendale  | Tagged With: , , | 5 Comments

Merged

I rarely receive email criticism for something I have said in my blog. Usually criticisms come in the form of comments to my current blog post for all to see.  When I have received an email of this kind I do not respond to the content but instead thank the writer, delete and do not accept any future emails from that sender. This time, I decided to share the email I received and my response. Here’s a peek inside my world.

Subject:           your latest rant

Date:               7/3/2015 1:30:05 P.M. US Mountain Standard Time

From:              johnglenn

To:                  clarkjv@aol.com

Joyce,

I probably shouldn’t dignify your latest blog with a response, however I do feel compelled to point out a few things.

When your campaign, in 2012, was floundering and you were being railroaded by just about everybody else around town it was George, Bea, Darren, Larry et al that stepped up and supported you and gave hundreds of hours trying to help right the ship that was your sinking re-election campaign. They knocked hundreds and hundreds of doors, others help you put out your own mail pieces, stuffed envelopes and even make calls to prospective voters. They all did this at a time when no one else was helping you, not even yourself. I recall times when some of them would go out hitting doors and you were in your living room watching Cardinals football. I know for a fact that Bea & George’s business took a back seat to all the doings the summer / fall of 2012 including your campaign. Bea even was tailed by a nefarious individual that they can only guess was associated with your opponent. 

Everyone made these sacrifices, YES because of the hockey team but also they believed in you and that you were fighting for the best possible outcome for the city when faced with some bleak choices. The ship was sinking in Glendale and all your colleagues were getting off the boat; however you choose to stay on the boat and the group probably felt that was admirable. 

I just think you stepped way over a line by throwing them under the bus today and demonstrated a lack of class, I can’t help but think karma will come back on you somehow…maybe it already has… 

I can’t even surmise what your motivations were other than you’re desperate to stay relevant, at least that’s what it looks like from my vantage point. 

I’m sure your decades of public service has been beneficial to the City of Glendale, but to go out like this in such a classless manner probably taints all the good you have done for the city. 

You have successfully made me lose faith in the basic human dignity because each and every one of those people that you threw under the bus deserve your basic respect as they worked their asses off for you.  
John Glenn

My response:

John,

I’ll first observe that your subject title is tremendously prejudiced. It implies that you consider all of my blogs to be “rants.” Then you proceed to write your own “rant.”

Let me point out that insults are not facts. George, Bea, and others, quite simply used me to access Greg Jamison at a time when he appeared to be the ultimate purchaser of the team. It was quid pro quo. They used me and I used them. Most involved were happy to champion me because I was in line at the time with the others voting to keep the Coyotes but they knew nothing of what I stood for or believed in. You used me while helping my opponent.

It was a difficult election cycle as my knee was bad and my doc forbid me from walking door to door. Many helped with that for qualifying signatures. As soon as the referendum action began the only persons who helped me were Dawn and Darren. I am eternally grateful for their help.

No one made “sacrifices.” Everyone had a motive. Each motive was different. In many cases, it was to be an “insider” after the Jamison deal was consummated. I remember Dawn relating to me that she had questioned you (as an active insider in the Democrat party) the day we met. She asked you  about all the lies Alvarez and Chavira and the Democratic party were using against me and you replied, “that’s just politics.” I think your email to me is also your idea of politics.

You excoriate me for “crossing a line” so I assume you have taken the Coyotes group to task for their behavior too; those who regularly insult me, call me a raving lunatic and suggest they wish some kind of harm befall me, as you did in your comment about Karma – simply because of a disagreement of thought. My first and ultimate allegiance is to Glendale and keeping it a viable and vibrant community.

You are a very good Democrat, John. You know the strategy to malign and insult, call names and make outrageous statements like, “karma may have already gotten you” but perhaps not good enough to avoid being classless. Your obvious lack of respect for a female and one old enough to be your mother highlights you weren’t paying attention when your mother taught you manners.

Since this blog began the excoriation I’ve received because I have a different opinion has perplexed me. If people do not like what I am saying in my blog it’s really quite simple. They can acknowledge that I have changed my position; they don’t like it and are no longer going to read or follow me.

Larry Feiner’s and Bea Wyatt’s credibility as spokespersons for the current recall effort is a legitimate question for public consideration in the light of their own financial dealings. They willingly placed themselves there just as I have repeatedly done, and must now suffer the attention that comes with it.

Now, in the words of those you defend in calling me a “bitter, distraught woman,” you believe I have destroyed “your faith in human dignity.” I’m stunned that with your obvious lack of respect, you have bestowed me with the power to do something so dramatic. What a shame you laid that on me when you have so many other people from which to choose.  

Joyce

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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.

Quentin Tolby is a former Councilmember and a former Mayor of Glendale. He left his position as mayor to accept an appointment as a judge. He is currently retired. For years he has written a column called Lessons from the Bench for the Glendale Star. Usually his column focuses on legal issues in an effort to educate the public. Every once in awhile he strays from that concept and opines on other issues. On May 22, 2014 he penned an article entitled, When city unions lobby council, is it a fair fight?

Unfortunately this column cannot be seen online as the Glendale Star has not included it under its opinions tab.

Some of his comments are worth sharing, such as, “The problem is the strongest city union gets the advantage. It’s not a fair fight; which union can promise the most money in the next election or the most votes? Can a councilman truly be voting what he or she thinks is fair when they have taken money or support from a city employee union?” Or this, “We tend to think that public safety issues are our highest priority, but what would be your highest priority tomorrow morning if no water came out of your faucet, or you flushed your toilet and it did not flush. What would be your highest priority if no one picked up your trash?”  And this, “All city services are important and one department should not be given more just because their union can produce more political pressure and votes at election time than some other city department.”

He offered some good observations. Let’s apply them to Glendale.  There are only three unions of note in Glendale: The International Association of Firefighters (IAFF), Glendale chapter; the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), Glendale Chapter; and the Glendale Law Enforcement Association (GLEA).

The main chapter of the National FOP has a legislative Political Action Committee (PAC) and here is the link: http://www.fop.net/legislative/pac/index.shtml . The organization’s focus is on presidential and congressional races and candidates and it will often support candidates for an individual state’s Attorney General office. It does not seem to focus on local races.

It’s fair to say the police unions have never been very strong politically in Glendale. For years the two police unions, the FOP and GLEA, have vied with each other to be the paramount police union in Glendale. That struggle was their primary focus rather than mounting a major effort to elect local officials sympathetic to their agenda. The two unions attempted to join forces during the last election cycle in 2012 to support certain mayoral and council candidates but their efforts paled in comparison to that of the local Glendale fire union.

The national chapter of the IAFF is extremely politically active all the way down to the local level. Check out these two links to see the extent of their involvement: the first site highlights their local political activism at http://www.iaff.org/Politics/PA/localaction.htm ; the second site is used to actively elect firefighters to local office at http://www.iaff.org/Politics/PA/electing.htm . They have successfully elected local candidates in the Phoenix Metro area and throughout the state. Currently there are 3 Phoenix firefighters serving on the city councils of Mesa, Tempe and Glendale. A Glendale firefighter serves on the Phoenix city council. Cities and towns throughout the state have a firefighter or firefighter’s relative serving on their councils.

The Glendale chapter of the fire union controls Glendale politics. For years, John Holland, the chapter’s former President, was THE power broker in Glendale. Former Mayor Scruggs’ as well as others’ electoral successes can be directly attributed to John Holland’s efforts. John Holland reputedly managed at least one councilmember’s successful bid for office. Then he disappeared, suddenly, after it was alleged that he used union money for personal expenses. The Pinal County Attorney General’s office was charged with investigating the allegations and to this day it remains buried deep within the bowels of that office. Hmmmm.

How did the local fire union become so powerful and remain so? Money and people. The federal Hatch Act forbids city employees from participating in their city’s election. The fire unions created a successful work-around the Hatch Act. The Hatch Act does not prevent firefighters from other cities from participating in an election in another municipality, other than their own. It’s perfectly legal. Firefighters from other towns will walk and circulate a candidate’s nominating petition and campaign literature. It’s perfectly legal. They will also work the polls on election day. It’s perfectly legal. Once on the ballot fire fighters from other cities (as well as spouses and relatives) will contribute to a candidate’s campaign along with contributions from other local union chapter PACs.  It’s perfectly legal. Then independent expenditures kick in and a specific PAC is born chaired by firefighters from another community. The PAC will spend big money on campaign signs and mailers. It’s perfectly legal. All of the union’s methods are perfectly legal but it seems to smack of gaming the system.

With all that money and manpower it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the newly elected official is beholden to the fire union. The official will offer the usual rhetoric that all the union gets is access but they know if they wish to be reelected they had better carry the water. In Glendale a majority of the current council, debatably, owes its election/reelection success to the fire union. Add to that some of Glendale’s senior management have relatives who are firefighters. Just one example: current City Manager Brenda Fischer’s husband was and may still be a firefighter in Henderson, Nevada. Is it any wonder that council approved additional revenue to offset the fire department’s overtime deficit? Is it any wonder that the union finally prevailed on getting their fire truck without a formal bid process?

Former judge Tolby is right on the money (no pun intended) in saying that every city department is valuable and provides services residents cannot do without. They are the unsung, under belly of city services. Their jobs are invisible. Their jobs are not sexy or exciting. Every week sanitation workers pick up the garbage that we are often too lazy to separate into recyclable and genuine trash. Every day our water treatment plants are monitored to make sure the water we take for granted is clean and safe.  Every day sewers are repaired, city vehicles are maintained, Gus the Bus and Dial-A-Ride deliver people to their destinations, meters are read, streets are repaired, library books are checked out and parks and their restrooms are cleaned. There are so many essential services that we never think about or recognize. These honorable men and women silently work to keep our city functioning and are not part of a very powerful and vocal union who has figured out a system to wield enormous local, political power.

When we think of layoffs it’s never in public safety. There may be vacancies in public safety that go unfilled or eliminated but never layoffs. Immediately we are told that public safety delivery will suffer if there were to be layoffs. Layoffs are for the rest of the city’s employees. After all, they are not essential and are expendable. Really?

It’s time for Glendale voters to check out who is making independent expenditures for candidates in its local elections. Does the organization making that independent expenditure represent what you believe and your agenda? Realize that the candidate receiving a group’s election support will advocate for and support with their vote, that organization’s agenda. It had better be yours as well.

© 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.

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