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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

Ocotillo council district candidates are similar to that of Cholla and Barrel district candidates. Some are articulate and exhibit varying degrees of intelligence. Some are passionate and believe that they want to be part of the solution with regard to Glendale’s financial difficulties. I congratulate them for their willingness to put themselves before the voters to be weighed and measured on the issues of the day. Choices among the 4 candidates will be based on the information publicly available to date that was used in the previous blogs about each candidate.

Michael Hernandez filed a No Activity Campaign Finance Report. He has raised no money and has spent nothing. The scheduled interview with him was cancelled by Mr. Hernandez.  These factors lead to the conclusion that he is not a viable candidate.

Jamie Aldama, Norma Alvarez and Bud Zomok have raised $5,000 to $8,500 to date. Bud Zomok is self funded in the amount of $5,000. It appears that Aldama will capture union campaign contributions while Alvarez will enjoy independent expenditure support from the Tohono O’odham tribe once again. Some of Alvarez’ contributors are not only activists such as Parraz and Maupin but they may well have been within her inner circle as advisors. What is extremely interesting is the Becker campaign contribution of $2,500. Read into that one whatever you wish and you would probably be correct. Aldama has had previous personal financial problems and has had 2 judgments rendered against him. His personal finances call into question his ability to deal with Glendale’s financial problems.

It is extremely difficult for the voter to determine how 3 out of the 4 Ocotillo candidates stand on a particular issue. Hernandez has no website. While each candidate may have developed campaign literature that they pass out or mail to the voters, it is just that, voter specific, and may not reach the entire Ocotillo district voter universe. Aldama and Alvarez have websites but there is no publicly available specific information offered on their positions on Glendale’s issues. Aldama does have an Issues page with the topics of economic diversity, public safety and public services. But what is offered is warm and fuzzy without acknowledging Glendale issues such as the sales tax sunset and Glendale’s enormous debt. Alvarez simply does not specifically address any issue. Zomok has the most robust website and clearly takes a stand on economic issues.

Zomok acknowledges that Glendale has financial problems and he supports the sunset of the sales tax increase in 2017. He offers several strategies for the reduction of Glendale’s debt including a thorough assessment of Camelback Ranch and the sale of some of Glendale’s assets.  None of the other Ocotillo candidates have publicly available material that would indicate their positions.

Alvarez, Hernandez and Zomok have lived in the Ocotillo district for a minimum of 10 years and some have lived in Glendale far longer. Questions have been raised about Aldama’s current residence in the Ocotillo district. Ocotillo candidate Ron Kolb filed a court complaint questioning Aldama’s residency. He then dropped the complaint, has withdrawn as an Ocotillo council candidate and contributed to Alvarez’ campaign. Maricopa County Recorder documents show Aldama still owns a home in the Yucca district and there is no public record available that shows his ownership of property in the Ocotillo district. It is possible that he could be renting a home in the Ocotillo district.

Hernandez works and it seems evident that finding the necessary time to fulfill councilmember responsibilities will be difficult for him. Zomok is self employed and that does provide him the flexibility needed to fulfill a councimember’s responsibilities. Alvarez has served on city council for 4 years and has demonstrated her inability to fulfill councilmember commitments due to medical issues or just plain pique. Aldama’s job may also prove problematical in finding the necessary time to participate in councilmember activities.

Alvarez has demonstrated her inaccessibility as a sitting councilmember. The only publicly available contact information for her is the main city council office telephone number published for all of the councilmembers. It is evident that she relied upon coaching when she participated in council workshops/meetings — coaching could be heard during her telephonic attendance. It has also become quite evident that if one does not support her version of reality she will seek retribution, if possible. Her past performance as a councilmember has provided ample evidence of her lack of positive contribution and a vote for her would reinforce her obstructionism.

There is also the question of breaking her word. When she ran for office the first time she pledged that she would serve one term. Up until the time to file for the Ocotillo seat this election cycle she had not reneged on her promise. Suddenly she filed to run for a second term.

Aldama is very similar to Alvarez but is a more polished version. The nagging questions about his residency need to be addressed and have not to date. His past personal financial difficulties signal a weakness that will not serve Glendale’s current financial needs.

On the other hand, Bud Zomok has demonstrated his thoughtful consideration of Glendale’s issues and he has been willing to share his position on those issues publicly. Zomok is articulate and intelligent. His willingness to solve Glendale’s problems is clearly evident.  Michael Hernandez’ lack of participation in the candidate process makes him a non-contender.

What is most fascinating about this district race is that there are 3 Hispanic candidates running in a majority Hispanic district. It is inevitable that they will split this demographic’s voting strength. It will be decided by which one can successfully get their voter base to the polls. Those voters who are supportive of the status quo should look to Aldama and Alvarez. Those voters who are supportive of change and reasonable alternative solutions should consider Zomok.

It seems safe to assume that with 4 candidates no one will take the Ocotillo councilmember seat out right in the Primary Election. The two top candidates will face off in the General Election in November. In previous blogs I could identify two candidates that should be examined more closely by the voters and appear worthy of support. For the reasons presented that is not possible in this district race and only one candidate merits voter support. It is not an easy decision for any voter but based upon information publicly available to everyone, this writer’s pick for the Ocotillo district is:

                       Jamie Aldama            

                       Norma Alvarez

                      Michael Hernandez

               checkmark__bottomheavy_140Bud Zomok

© 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.

Please note: Some of the information presented here is repetition of information from my previous blog on Cholla and Barrel district council candidates and applies to all candidates. Some of you reading this blog for the first time may not have read the previous ones.

If you have relatives, friends or acquaintances that live in the Ocotillo district, please consider passing this series of blogs on to them as another tool to help them evaluate the Ocotillo 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 move on to the Ocotillo district council candidates in alphabetical order: Jamie Aldama, Norma Alvarez, Michael Hernandez and Bud Zomok.

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 or worked with previously and am familiar with their positions on various issues. Others I have never met and so I arranged an interview with them. The same questions were asked of all candidates that were interviewed.

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.

Michael Hernandez

Campaign Finance Report –He submitted a No Activity campaign finance report. He raised no money and spent no money.

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.

Campaign website – He has no website.

I scheduled an interview with him and on the day of the interview he stated he could not participate due to work commitments.

With no funds, no information about him or his positions on the issues Mr. Hernandez cannot be considered as a viable candidate.

After review of all 4 Ocotillo district candidates we’ll try to narrow the choices down to 2 people. In this district, as with the other council races, there are so many candidates none of them are expected to win outright in the primary and we can expect a run off in the general election in November.  Next up, Bud Zomok.

© 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.

A retraction: In my June 19, 2014 blog entitled Politics is a rough sport I was factually incorrect when I said, ” I have not heard anything about Alvarez’ campaign manager Chuck Foy’s court filing questioning the residency of Jaime Aldama and Ron Kolb…yet.” Chuck Foy is campaign manager for Jaime Aldama, not Norma Alvarez. Foy is challenging Ron Kolb’s residency within the Ocotillo district on behalf of Aldama, Ocotillo district council candidate. Ron Kolb, another Ocotillo district council candidate, is challenging Michael Hernandez’ and Jaime Aldama’s residency within Ocotillo district.

With all of the law suits flying it’s like following a game of “where’s the pea?” It does get confusing. That’s is no excuse for getting the facts wrong and I extend an apology to Mr. Foy, Mr. Aldama and Ms. Alvarez .

I received a call from one of my readers regarding Mr. Aldama’s residency. I was directed to check the Maricopa County Assessor’s website and do a search on two addresses. The first search showed Mr. Aldama as the owner of:

144-01-363 – ALDAMA JAMIE/MONICA ANN

Property Address: 7326 W MARYLAND AVE GLENDALE, AZ 85303

The second search of a property address which Mr. Aldama claims as his current residence in the Ocotillo district lists the owner as:

143-27-594 – MENDEZ LUCIANO

Property Address: 7329 N 68TH DR GLENDALE, AZ 85303

There could be a simple explanation for all of this. Perhaps the Maryland house is now a rental property or has been sold and Mr. Aldama has purchased the 68th Drive property and the transactions have not yet been posted on the Assessor’s website. Who knows? That is what a judge will decide as a result of Mr. Kolb’s challenge.

This signals that this election year in Glendale is sure to be filled with intrigue, twists and turns…fodder for any political junkie.

© 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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