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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

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Campaign finance reports were due by 5 PM on Thursday, September 29, 2016. As of this posting (after 5 PM on Friday, September 30, 2016) Sammy Chavira’s campaign filing report has not been posted by the City Clerk. Why, you say? Because Sammy has not turned it in. Sammy apparently believes that the laws that everyone tries to uphold do not apply to him. It’s not terribly surprising considering his attitude toward a simple traffic ticket. He failed to appear in court and subsequently had his driver’s license suspended. In addition the Campaign for Truth and Leadership committee and Fire Fighters interested in Registration and Education PAC have not turned in their latest and now overdue campaign finance reports either. These organizations spent a considerable amount of money in support of Sammy’s reelection.

The amount of money spent on the Glendale mayoral race is truly astounding. Burdick reported spending $121,489.60 and Weiers spent $107,356.97. The total for these two races is $228,846.57 or slightly over a quarter of a million dollars. What bumped up the numbers was for the first time there were TV ads, notoriously expensive. Burdick led the way with TV ads beginning during the Republican convention in mid-July and they were run repeatedly and relentlessly until August 30, 2016, the day of the Primary Election. Weiers had no option but to run his own series of TV ads.

It appears from now on a person should not consider running for mayor in Glendale unless he or she can amass a war chest of a minimum of $100,000. That will put many would-be candidates out of the race. It’s a shame that it has come to that.

There could be as many as four aspirants in the 2020 election for mayor. Many suspect that former Councilmember Yvonne Knaack still harbors ambitions. Add to that Councilmembers Turner, Tolmachoff and Aldama, all of whom seem to be jockeying for a run. Throw in a dash of former Assistant City Manager and major player in the Burdick failed contest, Julie Frisoni. During the election season some voters received a survey call asking for a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Julie Frisoni. Many considered it strange since she wasn’t running. It seems she may be preparing for a political future and could decide to run against Lauren Tolmachoff for the Cholla district seat or perhaps…gasp…mayor. A Cholla city council seat  seemed a far more likely proposition if Burdick had won the mayoral contest but despite the outcome Frisoni and her backers may decide to give it or a mayoral race  a try in 2018.

In the other races more modest sums were spent: Vice Mayor Ian Hugh spent $26,815.31; Councilmember Ray Malnar spent $11,696.13 and I spent $11,489.70. Collectively that amounts to $50,001.14. However, we do know from Sammy’s previous campaign report that he had already spent $57,905.98 and we will await seeing what shows up in his overdue report. So far, the collective total for council races is $107,907.12. Anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000 is a typical amount that is usually spent on a Glendale city council race. In its previous campaign report, The Campaign for Truth and Leadership spent $45,218.56 (donated to it from the United Food Workers). The committee is now terminated. The entire amount was not spent on pro Burdick and pro Chavira mailers or anti Weiers or anti Clark mailers (about $30,000). Some of the funds (about $15,000) was spent in support of Larkin and Andrade.

Let’s total what we know has been spent in Glendale’s elections per the latest submitted campaign finance reports. Two candidates spent $228,846.57 on the mayoral races; $107,907.12 was spent on the 3 city council races; and another $30,000 was spent by an Independent Committee. That totals $336,753.69. I suspect Sammy’s missing report will show additional expenditures of about $20,000 bringing the total spent in this round of Glendale elections to somewhere in the neighborhood of $350,000. That’s a surprisingly large amount of money to spend in a Glendale election cycle and has never occurred before.

I don’t have an answer to this escalation of political spending. A friend suggested that perhaps there should be a cap of maybe $50,000 for a mayoral race and $20,000 for a council race. It’s intriguing. It would cause the candidate to spend wisely and effectively. This person believes it would force candidates to have more interaction with voters and perhaps more reliance on social media which costs relatively nothing. What’s your take on the state of Glendale races?

© 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.

On September 30, 2016 the Glendale Star reported former mayoral candidate Mark Burdick was fined $619.59 for violating state statute. Here is the link: http://www.glendalestar.com/news/article_37133b8c-8431-11e6-8aee-c743b27a385d.html .

Glendale City Attorney Michael Bailey shipped the investigation over to Scottsdale City Attorney Bruce Washburn to avoid any conflict of interest.

Every candidate is required to include “paid for by” and the name of the campaign committee on all campaign literature. Burdick violated the law. He sent out a hit piece on Mayor Weiers and failed to include attribution to his committee.

As for the $600+ in fines, can you say unbelievable? Burdick is claiming that the cost of the campaign mailer including postage was $1,239. Washburn says, “You have provided me with an invoice indicating the cost of the mailer was $1,239, which you have informed me is inclusive of postage and all other related costs.”  

Let us assume for a moment that Burdick’s claimed expense of $1200+ was for postage only. At 40 cents per piece in postage (not printing) that accounts for a mailing to 3,075 homes citywide. Glendale has an estimated 90,000 registered voters. A candidate usually sends mailers to high efficacy voters. That would diminish the numbers considerably and probably be approximately a third of the 90,000 registered voters or about 30,000 voters. The cost to mail a campaign piece to 30,000 voters citywide would be about $12,000. This estimated cost does not include the design of the piece or the cost of printing the piece.

Burdick is claiming one tenth of this estimated cost. Ridiculous. The cost of production and mailing one piece of campaign literature to high efficacy voters in the Yucca district in this election was over $1600. I suspect but have no proof, that Burdick’s mailer, to produce and mail citywide, would have cost somewhere between $12,000 and $18,000.

The penalty of the violation can be up to three times the cost of the mailer. Washburn gives Burdick a “get out of jail” card by saying he believed the violation was not done on purpose. In criminal cases, not civil cases, motive and intent matter. Shades of FBI Director Comey refusing to refer Hillary Clinton for prosecution to the Justice Department because he could not determine “intent.” Has intent become the new buzz word to absolve wrong doing?

Burdick’s fine should have been far more substantial, anywhere from $12,000 to $50,000. Instead he received a slap on the wrist by having to pay $600+. I guess there are different standards for different people and lady justice stopped being blind a long time ago.

NOTE: My next blog will be on the most recently filed (due September 29, 2016) campaign finance reports. Sammy Chavira, once again, flaunts the law, by as of this posting, having failed to file his campaign finance report. Then again, the Campaign for Truth and Leadership (fire committee) and Fire Fighters interested in Registration and Education PAC have not filed their campaign finance reports either. Both of these groups sent out campaign mailings in support of Sammy.

© 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.

No contest of the formally accepted final election results has been filed by either of the losing candidates within the 5 day time limit as stipulated by state law. Now, let’s see some loose ends cleaned up. Sammy still has campaign signs up, well past the proscribed 15 day limit. Sammy, take your campaign signs down. You are not above the law.

In August of 2016, Mark Burdick, former Glendale mayoral candidate, sent out a campaign mailer without the disclaimer, “Paid for by …” as is required by state law. Arizona State Statute 16-912 says, “A political committee that makes an expenditure for campaign literature or advertisements that expressly advocate the election or defeat of any candidate or that make any solicitation of contributions to any political committee shall include on the literature or advertisement the words ‘paid for by,’ followed by the name of the committee that appears on its statement of organization, or five hundred dollar exemption statement.” Burdick publicly admitted the omission of this required disclaimer.

In mid-August, City Clerk Julie Bower notified City Attorney Michael Bailey of a violation of ARS 16-912(A.) Bailey had said that he received the City Clerk’s notice and had taken action by shipping the complaint to an outside counsel, namely the Scottsdale City Attorney.

This is a cut and dried situation. Burdick sent out a campaign mailer without the legally required disclaimer. Burdick admitted that it had occurred. So, what’s the problem? Why the delay? It has been over a month. We should have been made publicly aware of the fine imposed upon Burdick and that it has been paid. Instead…silence.

On or about August 17th the City Clerk requested that Burdick provide the cost of producing and mailing the piece. The fine is 3 times the amount spent for production (includes the consultant’s time for designing the piece) and mailing. Since it was mailed to voters within all of Glendale the cost would be substantial. To mail a piece in my district (with perhaps one of the lowest active voter totals) is about $3,000. Multiply that times six districts and a conservative figure would be somewhere in the $15,000 to $18,000 range. Three times that cost puts Burdick’s fine in the neighborhood of $45,000 to $54,000.

Has the fine been assessed? Has Burdick paid the fine? Either the City Clerk or the City Attorney has the responsibility of public notification…for an action that should have been completed by now. It’s the city’s loose end and merits being tied up.

On another note city council met in workshop this afternoon. Councilmembers Jaime Aldama and Sammy Chavira were absent although Sammy did participate, sort of, telephonically. There were only 2 agenda items: 1. Costs associated with workmen’s’ compensation claims and 2. Proposed regulations for donation drop off boxes and permissible flagpole heights.

The presentation on item #1 generated no council comments or questions…not one. Item #2 generated a great deal of comment and questioning by councilmembers present. It holds true that councilmembers tend to spend more time and energy on issues that directly affect residents than on big picture issues. After nearly an hour of discussion council gave consensus to bring both items back with the request for further information related to how other Valley cities handle both issues. Upon advice of the City Attorney Bailey other “clean up” code/zoning items staff had been prepared to present to council were tabled due to insufficient notice to the public.

© 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.

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