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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.

On July 5, 2018 the Glendale Chamber of Commerce announced its endorsements for the three city council seats to be voted upon in Glendale’s next election. The endorsements were for all three incumbents: Vice Mayor Tolmachoff from the Cholla district; Councilmember Bart Turner of the Barrel district; and Councilmember Jamie Aldama of the Ocotillo district. All candidates were interviewed and their written responses reviewed by the Chamber’s Public Policy Council. Those recommendations were then forwarded to the Board of Directors for approval. Here are the members of the Glendale Chamber’s Public Policy Council:

  • Bill Toops, Glendale Star, Chairperson (also serves on Board of Directors)
  • Steve Adams, AlphaGraphics, (also serves on Board of Directors)
  • Rachel Aja, Cox Communications
  • Kathi Beranek, Blue Cross Blue Shield (company also represented on Board of Directors)
  • Judy Butler, Butler Creative & Consulting
  • Ron Castro, BNC National Bank, (company also represented on Board of Directors)
  • Michael Cavaiola, Redflex Traffic Solutions
  • Stephanie Colbert, Chance Mikos Farmer’s Insurance
  • Donna Davis, Expect More Arizona
  • Patricia DiRoss, Salt River Project, (company also represented on Board of Directors)
  • Yvonne Knaack, State Farm Insurance
  • Matt Ligouri, Southwest Gas
  • Bobbi Magdaleno, Arizona State University, (also serves on Board of Directors)
  • Dave Mitchell, Ideal Insurance Agency
  • Liz Recchia, WeMar
  • Brent Stoddard, Director of Public Affairs, City of Glendale
  • Lyndia Vescio, Vescio Law Firm, (also serves on Board of Directors)
  • Robert Heidt, CEO Glendale Chamber of Commerce, (also serves on Board of Directors)

Here are the members of the Chamber’s Board of Directors;

  • Maria Brunner, Chair of the Board, OneAZ Credit Union
  • Lily DeBileux, Chair-Elect, Pendergast Elementary School District
  • Steve Adams, Treasurer, Alphgraphics
  • Scott Spillman, Vice Treasurer, BNC National Bank
  • Jean Higginbotham, Past Chair, Blue Cross Blue Shield,
  • Robert Heidt, CEO, Glendale Chamber
  • Victoria Coley, Humana
  • Ariana Deerman, Wells Fargo Bank
  • Stephanie Klingener, VitalFit Training
  • Kate Kochenderfer, Salt River Project
  • Wayne Lawson, Signarama on 51st Avenue
  • Patrick McDermott, Arizona Public Service
  • Bobbi Magdaleno, Arizona State University
  • Kevin Phelps, City Manager, City of Glendale
  • Mary Pritchard, Pritchard Insurance Group
  • Richard Sherry, Dignity Health Arizona
  • Bill Toops, Glendale Star
  • Jeffrey Turney, Military & Veterans Affairs
  • Lynda Vescio, Vescio Law Firm
  • Judy Walter, Dignity Memorial
  • Mayor Jerry Weiers, City of Glendale

Of the 18 members of the Public Policy Council, 8 members (44%) also serve on the Board of Directors or have another person from their company serving on the Board of Directors. Once the Public Policy Council has made a recommendation for endorsement it is very probable that the Board of Directors will ratify the recommendations. After the 8 members have made a decision those same 8 companies can ratify the recommendations made to the Board of Directors needing only one more person to constitute a majority of the Board.

It is also worth noting that seven (38%) of the 18 members of the Public Policy Council members represent large companies (Cox Communications, Blue Cross Blue Shield, BNC National Bank, Redflex Traffic Solutions, Salt River Project, Southwest Gas, Arizona State University). All have a Valley-wide presence. Should Valley-wide, major companies be empowered to make recommendations about local candidates for office?

What criteria were used to make their recommendations for endorsement?

  • “Candidates were selected who have distinguished themselves as knowledgeable and supportive (emphasis mine) of issues positively affecting the business community in the city of Glendale.”
  • Bill Toops, Chair of the Chamber’s Public Policy Council said, “The Glendale Chamber Board of Directors is pleased to endorse candidates who have demonstrated accessibility and collaboration (emphasis mine) in support of promoting interests most important to our local businesses.”
  • Robert Heidt, the Chamber’s CEO, said, “Throughout this process we heard from those running for office and have endorsed candidates who has the clearest understanding of the challenges facing the business community and those whose policies align with our initiatives (emphasis mine) to foster a pro-business environment focused on the creation of quality jobs, along with business retention and expansion.”

These criteria seem to favor incumbents. Their positions as elected officials provide many opportunities to “distinguish themselves as knowledgeable and supportive,” to have “demonstrated accessibility and collaboration,” and to have advocated for “policies that align” with the Chamber’s initiatives.

Incumbents have the decided advantage as they have the opportunity to interact with the Chamber in a variety of ways in their official capacities as well as the opportunity to approve/disapprove actions that benefit the Chamber’s interests. It’s not a level playing field. Often those running in opposition to the incumbents have no experience or knowledge of specific city initiatives or actions, especially any that could benefit the Chamber. It’s not their fault. They haven’t been playing ‘inside baseball’ for the previous four years (term of an incumbent). They simply do not have any experience serving as an elected and therefore are at a disadvantage. It takes any newly elected official time to learn how the city works, to become familiar with its policy positions and to establish relationships with various stakeholder groups within the city.

Perhaps the better criterion to be used would not to be rely upon experience (that is weighted always toward the incumbent) but rather to review candidates’ positions on the issues and which policies would be supported. If two candidates for the same office shared the same views perhaps using incumbency to tip the scales should not be the option for recommendation. Perhaps in some cases there should be no recommendation or a recommendation to support either candidate.

I remain troubled with the process used by the Chamber to select endorsements in a local campaign. It will be another two years before the Chamber issues its next set of endorsements for local office. That time might be well spent in developing a process that recognizes an incumbent’s advantage and levels the playing field for those who have never held office.

© 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.

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.

A little over a week ago a ribbon cutting occurred for the newly renovated downtown alley connecting Glendale Avenue and Glenn Drive between 57th Drive and 57th Avenue. It is always welcome when the city completes projects like these to continue to improve downtown Glendale.

Downtown Glendale continues to have a difficult time getting its ‘mojo’. I can remember 20 years ago when I participated in the “Miracle Mile” citizens’ committee to envision what downtown Glendale could be. Since then there have been many iterations of the same visioning process with the latest being Centerline, courtesy of consulting professionals from ASU. Yet progress remains static. There is no one factor that inhibits the renaissance of downtown Glendale. There are multiple factors.

One factor is the inability, to date, of the downtown merchants to form a cohesive group determining their own destiny and putting skin ($$) in the game. One faction believes that it is the city’s sole and exclusive responsibility to revitalize the downtown. Another has accepted that their destiny lies in their active participation. Another faction is composed of mom ‘n’ pop owners who set their own — often casual and inconsistent – hours of operation. Another faction, more professional, not only keeps consistent hours of operation but tries to stay open a few evenings a week. Until these factions coalesce downtown is destined to remain basically the same — struggling to survive.

Another factor is the city’s lack of funding to use to remove vacant buildings on city parcels or simply to renovate a city owned vacant building. There are just so many needs competing for the limited city funding available. Witness the residents who are pushing the city council to save the city owned Glen Lakes Golf Course for a little under a half million dollars a year…or west Glendale’s residents’ urging to finish Heroes Park, now languishing for nearly 30 years.

In steps the Glendale Chamber of Commerce does what it can to inject new life into the downtown. There is no doubt that under CEO Robert Heidt’s leadership the Chamber has become a highly successful gorilla. With over 1,200 members it has developed a political power base that surpasses that of Glendale’s fire union. While the fire union is viewed with distrust by many in the community who disagree with its political motives, the Chamber enjoys a more benign relationship. However, as with any entity that wields tremendous power comes an equal responsibility to be use it judiously and wisely. The Chamber would be wise to be mindful of the admonition.

Perhaps that is why I received commentary from some residents after they read an article in the Your Valley edition of May 25, 2018. Here is the link: https://yourvalley.net/yourvalley/news/renovated-alleyway-step-toward-livelier-nightlife-downtown-glendale/ . Their concern seemed to center around the tone of the article creating the inference that the alley renovation project was funded by the Chamber. That is not the case. It was a city funded project and in attendance to celebrate its completion were Mayor Weiers and Councilmembers Hugh, Turner and Aldama. Perhaps their concern centered around the fact that nearly every quote was attributed to either Chamber CEO Heidt or Downtown Director (city employee) Katy Engels, whose work is directed by the Chamber under a city paid contract. In passing there was one statement attributed to Councilmember Aldama and two attributed to Mr. Higgins of the city’s Economic Development department. However the bulk of the article was all CEO Heidt.

Make no mistake, the Chamber is not just a business organization but is a political one as well.  Among other things it interviews and endorses local candidates for city council and mayor. To date, their long standing policy has been to automatically endorse the incumbent. That action does a disservice to its members and to the residents of Glendale. Endorsements should be given on the merits of a candidate’s policies in continuing to grow a Glendale that is business and job creation friendly — for that is the Chamber’s base of membership.

Make no mistake, a healthy Chamber signifies a healthy Glendale. The Chamber’s efforts in the areas of downtown development and vet outreach are most welcome but it would be wise not to over reach. For years the Glendale fire union was a political gorilla. Glendale cannot afford to replace one gorilla with another.

© 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.

The Glendale Chamber of Commerce and

Councilmember Joyce Clark of the Yucca District

 

 

          

 

Present The Lunch Mob

Friday, May 19th at

Tavern+Bowl Westgate

6770 N. Sunrise Blvd. Ste G-100, Glendale, Arizona 85305

 Cost: Each attendee goes ‘dutch’

Time: 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

*If you can’t make it during these times, stop by for a late lunch!

Everyone is welcome to attend – family, friends, co-workers!

Please join me in welcoming the newest member of the  Westgate Commercial Community.
Come out to experience Tavern+Bowl’s scratch kitchen
and complimentary bowling! In conjunction with the Lunch Mob we will be holding a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11:45 am to welcome them to Glendale and the Chamber!  

Support small businesses in your community and enjoy a ‘dutch’ lunch at a local restaurant with your favorite chamber!

The Glendale Chamber of Commerce has partnered with our Glendale City Councilmembers to ‘mob’ Glendale restaurants for lunch throughout the summer months. 

Upcoming Lunch Mobs:

·       Friday, June 2nd from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

           at Anaya’s Fresh Mexican Restaurant with

          Chief of Police Rick St. John

·       Friday, June 16th from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

           at Dolce Vino Wine Bar Italian Cuisine

with Vice Mayor Ian Hugh

·       Friday, July 28 from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

           at The Rogue Tomato

           with Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff

 

Glendale Chamber of Commerce | 623-937-4754| glendaleazchamber.org

Glendale Chamber of Commerce | 5800 West Glenn Drive, Suite 275, Glendale, AZ 85301

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