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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

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I received the email below from a blog reader today. It is an email sent by a Glendale resident to the City Clerk, her assistant; Vice Mayor Knaack and Mayor Weiers. I have withheld the complainant’s name and address.

From: LSFlatau@q.com” <lsflatau@q.com> 

To: “Darcie McCracken”“<DMcCracken@GLENDALEAZ.com>, “Pam Hanna” <PHanna@GLENDALEAZ.com> Cc: “Yvonne Knaack” <YKnaack@GLENDALEAZ.com>, “Cindy Nossek” <CNossek@GLENDALEAZ.com>, mayorweiers@glendaleaz.com                    Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:57:24 AM                                                                                                                                     Subject: Glendale Fire Department Electioneering??

Good Morning Ms. Hanna/Ms. McCracken,  Last night, at approximately 5:30PM, I was approached by a young man in my driveway at 6107 W. Desert Cove Avenue.  He very specifically indicated that he was with the Glendale Fire Department, and was handing out election material for Bart Turner, who as you know is running for City Council in the Barrel District.  Upon further questioning he noted that he was a volunteer fireman and didn’t live in this district, and consequently his actions were permissible.   I realize that without the name of the individual that you cannot pursue him personally, but by mentioning the Glendale Fire Department specifically he has crossed an ethical and possibly legal ground.  I am quite certain that it is inappropriate to specifically identify the Glendale Fire Department as the agency campaigning for an individual running for City Council.  Attempting to influence an election by utilizing the power and prestige of the Fire Department just can’t be allowed.  I respectfully request that you immediately notify the City Manager and Fire Chief of this individual’s actions so that all City employees can be advised as to what is or isn’t appropriate during this election season.  Your prompt attention and reply to this matter is greatly appreciated.     

Respectfully, Larry S. Flatau  6107 W. Desert Cove Ave.

Glendale, AZ  

Will anything happen as a result of this citizen’s complaint to the city? Probably not…it’s the city, you know. More properly this complaint should be directed to the State and County Attorney General’s Offices and to the AZ Secretary of State and the Maricopa County Elections Department. If any reader witnesses what is believed to be a campaign violation those above are where any complaint should rightfully go…with a Cc to the City Manager of Glendale.

It is clear that a volunteer with the Glendale Fire Department was going door-to-door on October 20, 2014 handing out campaign literature for Barrel district candidate Bart Turner. He represented himself as being with the Glendale Fire Department. There may be a grey area in this scenario. He said he was a volunteer and not a paid employee. Does that make a difference? Maybe…maybe not.

This action leads to more questions. Was or is he the only fire department “volunteer” going door-to-door distributing campaign material for Turner? If there are others, are they all “volunteers” or are some paid fire employees “volunteering” their time? Did the individual in question have permission from someone within the fire department to use the department’s name?

What is even more interesting is the Glendale Fire Union’s full court press in support of candidate Turner. For many years John Holland was President of the Glendale Fire Union. It was common knowledge that he often personally managed the campaigns of candidates supported by the Fire Union. It is but one example of the extreme influence the Glendale fire union has historically had in Glendale elections. He once told me the union did regular polling of Glendale candidates. No doubt the union still performs that activity. As a result of recent fire union polling they may have discovered that their candidate Bart Turner is in trouble. If that were to be true, that would explain their redoubled, last minute effort on Turner’s behalf. The recent incidents of the use of the nonprofit Hope for Hunger truck to carry and place campaign signs for Turner; Glendale Historical Society (another nonprofit organization) members handing out Turner literature at Sahuaro Ranch (a city owned park); and now a self-identified Glendale Fire Department volunteer going door-to-door for Turner signal that fire is worried that their candidate may not win the Barrel seat.

All of these allegations place a cloud over Turner’s candidacy and should give every Barrel district voter pause. Barrel voters should be asking, why is fire working so hard to get Turner elected? Does their polling show Randy Miller in the lead? Fire’s actions should cause every Barrel district voter to choose Randy Miller as the new Barrel councilmember. Miller has the intellect, the willingness to research issue and the independence to make decisions that are in the best interests not only of Barrel district residents but all of Glendale.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

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After posting the infamous photo of a Hope for Hunger truck being used to haul campaign signs that have fire endorsing Barrel candidate Bart Turner, another incident was relayed to me. This time it involves members of Glendale’s Historical Society, another 501c3 nonprofit organization.  Mr. Turner is a member of this group but has been inactive for quite some time…until lately…it’s campaign season, ya know.

The Glendale Historical Society has a location at Sahuaro Ranch Park courtesy of the City of Glendale. Sahuaro Ranch Park is a city property. Apparently some members of the Historical Society were handing out campaign material for Mr. Turner. As in the case of the use of the Hope for Hunger truck for campaign sign deployment, members of the Glendale Historical Society cannot participate in an election or advocate for a candidate, especially on city property. The IRS clearly prohibits such activity and it puts a nonprofit’s organization in jeopardy.

It raises other questions. Someone from the city runs Sahuaro Ranch Park. Did that person give his or her blessing to this activity or merely look the other way? Who paid for the campaign literature that was handed out? Members of the Historical Society or Bart Turner’s campaign?

If it was members of the Historical Society that action becomes a double no-no. If it was Turner’s campaign he bears the ultimate responsibility for the action. It is the responsibility of each candidate to know campaign law and to follow the law.

Most probably the Historical society members were asked to pass out the campaign material or took it upon themselves to help a friend. There is no reason for them to know campaign law. However, candidates should know at least one essential no-no: contributions from corporations and nonprofits are not allowed. Ignorance in the eyes of the law is no excuse.

© 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.

Woo Hoo! Remember Councilmember Alvarez’ promise to resign after the external audit results were made public? Or remember her repeated assertions that she was finished…done…would not run for another term? How the worm turns!!

In the October 31, 2013 edition of the Glendale Star Jamie Aldama, an Ocotillo district resident, announced he is running for Norma’s seat. His experience to date in public service has been to serve on the Glendale Elementary School District Governing Board, past Commissioner on Glendale’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and current Glendale Planning and Zoning Commissioner. That’s more than enough service. I had none when I ran for my seat in 1992. I just happened to catch a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting not too long ago simply because it came on right after a council meeting. So I stayed tuned and watched. Remember Robert Petrone? He’s the guy from the Cholla district who announced his candidacy for the Cholla seat. He’s the one with decidedly questionable financial baggage endorsed by Manny Martinez. As Chairperson of the Planning Commission he was a study in pandering and positively oozed solicitousness. Creepy.

Jamie Aldama is a Chavira clone. Chavira habitually thanks everyone, from the Pope on down, before expressing his thoughts which tend to be light weight and signifying nothing. Aldama does the same…thanks everyone, especially staff, and then says…nothing of substance. How many intellectual light weights does council need? It’s already got Alvarez and Chavira.

As for Norma, say it ain’t so. She now says, “It’s so early, so many things happening in the city I don’t like. I’m so outspoken, I don’t think I’m being effective.” At least she got that right. She goes on to say, “…But I’m not sure yet. If I do, I’ll be deciding by January. There are a lot of things for taxpayers I want to get done.” Said like a true politician, Norma.  Sounds like she’s been co-opted by the perks and privileges of the office…especially the great medical benefits she used repeatedly during her first term. She has spent more time not attending council meetings than any councilmember in recent history. She is truly a Wonder Woman because after she has spoken everyone wonders what the heck she said.

© Joyce Clark, 2013

FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those 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 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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