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.
Campaign Finance Report – She submitted all 19 pages. Richard Soza is her treasurer.
She had 8 individual Glendale contributions totaling $1750 to date; Bernadette Bolognini for $100; Roberto Gonzalo for $400; Isabel Apodaca for $100; Guadalupe Medina for $400; John Torres for $100; Angela Cruz for $100; Jessica Koory for $250; and last but not least, Ron Kolb for $300. If the name sounds vaguely familiar, Mr. Kolb was an Ocotillo district council candidate until his withdrawal several weeks ago. Of note: Mark Becker of the famous Becker Board case donated $2,500; Mary Rose Wilcox, currently running for Congress, donated $150; two Phoenix residents, Randy Parraz for $100 and Jarrett Maupin for $100. Both of these men are professional activists and have a history of inserting themselves into Glendale issues and were visibly at Alvarez’ side for several Alvarez press conferences. 3 individuals made contributions under $50 to date and totaling $140.
Her expenditures are usual and ordinary – supplies, printing and signs; of note $575.87 was spent on food for volunteers who presumably collected petition signatures. Please remember, Ms. Alvarez ultimately bears the responsibility for the accuracy and veracity of her report.
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 – her website is: http://www.alvarezforglendale.com .
However there is no contact information provided – no phone; no address; no email address. The visitor can fill in a form on the Contact page.
Her website provides you a photo gallery, supporters and endorsements. Ms. Alvarez offers no positions on Glendale’s issues. There is no meat on the bone. Nothing the voter can read and say, I know her position on this issue. I did not meet with Ms. Alvarez. We served on city council together for 2 years.
Ms. Alvarez does not share how long she has lived in Glendale and the Ocotillo district. From her years of service and eventual retirement as Director of Glendale’s Community Action Program we know it has been at least 20 years. She is married. She has participated in Glendale community affairs. Ms. Alvarez attendance at council workshops, meetings and functions has been spotty. She has had a series of medical issues that prevented her presence for a substantial period of time. The public has also witnessed her non-appearance when she did not support an issue. The city arranged telephonic participation for Ms. Alvarez but at times it became uncomfortable for all when the public could clearly hear someone coaching Ms. Alvarez on an issue. The city council has no authority over school districts yet Ms. Alvarez, on her website says she, “improved education by supporting new schools.”
Ms. Alvarez spends a great deal of her energy blaming past council actions and decisions. Yet she joined the council in 2010 and became part of the problem she rails against due to her very service as a member of that “bad” council. She is extremely negative about most issues with the exception of the Tohono O’odham and its proposed casino. But then again, she has received tremendous campaign financial support in the form of independent expenditures from them. This time we can expect to see the TO do the same. In her 4 years of service she has not contributed one positive and reasonable solution to Glendale’s many problems. Ms. Alvarez has become part of the problem and not part of the solution.
Have you ever noticed that Mr. Alvarez never stands for the council’s Pledge of Allegiance at the start of council meetings? It was understandable when medically she was unable to do so. But now?
Ms. Alvarez broke her word to her constituency. If I had a nickel for every time she said she would only serve one term I’d be rich. Some elected officials begin to believe that they are the only ones who can effectively represent their constituency. It’s part of a God complex. There is at least one current candidate who would do a far better job of representing the people of the Ocotillo district.
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, Michael Hernandez.
© Joyce Clark, 2014
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