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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

PLEASE MAKE A DONATION TO MY CAMPAIGN USING THE PAY PAL BUTTON TO THE LEFT OF THIS COLUMN.

PLEASE CHECK OUT THE LATEST VIDEO DEPICTING SAMMY’S RECORD OF SERVICE.

Today it will be 114 degrees and as we continue to plant campaign signs we will be dripping within 5 minutes…sigh. Arizona politicians are probably tougher than any others. Who in their right mind would campaign in the summer in Arizona? Only in Arizona, I guess.

Last night I held the first Yucca district meeting since Sammy held his one and only meeting in May of 2013. About two dozen hardy souls attended. Unfortunately we were competing with Trump’s acceptance speech (reportedly over 30 million viewers). That’s OK. It was a very good meeting. Many questions were asked of both Mayor Weiers and me and as a result, the meeting lasted for two hours. Mayor Weiers did an excellent job demonstrating his breadth of knowledge on city issues as our Mayor. Interestingly, there were 4 gentlemen from Phoenix in attendance. Obviously they were there on behalf of either the Burdick or Chavira campaigns. We hope they had a good time.

I had planned to post the video of the meeting but due to its length of 2 hours I don’t have the capability to do so. We may try to figure out how to edit it down to something manageable and post snippets.

One of the questions was about the “temporary” sale tax increase. I was the councilmember who insisted that it be temporary at the time of its passage. It was due to sunset in 2017. Chavira, in an Arizona Republic interview of July 25, 2012 (almost 4 years ago to the day) said this about the sales tax increase, “Hopefully, the new council can expedite the five-year sunset.” Enter the sound of crickets…just another empty campaign promise made by my opponent. He made no call for council’s action on this issue.

That Arizona Republic interview of Sammy was full of his insistence on transparency and communication with his constituency. Here are just a few of his more memorable comments on the subject:

  • “Firefighter prepared to listen to residents.”
  • “Chavira, 47, thinks increased transparency and a greater willingness to involve residents, businesses and neighboring cities in decision making can help Glendale come out of its difficult times.”
  • “Many of the city’s latest problems stem from a lack of input from residents.”
  • “Chavira said he’s committed to getting resident input.”
  • “People seem to forget politicians are here to serve the citizens they represent.”

Sammy ignored his very own premise that he was elected to serve the citizens he represents. When is the last time he contacted his constituency to seek their input? How about never. He’s had only one district meeting during his entire term.

In that same interview, Chavira was asked what can the City Council do to help make education better in Glendale? His answer was, “We need better and more after-school programs, park and recreation programs and we need to bring back, we don’t have Little League anymore. We need to be more accessible to our children.” Not sure what he means by being more accessible to our children. Perhaps you can figure that one out.

Let’s not forget Sammy’s promises in a 2012 campaign mailing, “We need excellent schools to prepare our children to compete for high wage jobs and to attract companies to our region. I will fight to fully fund Head Start, promote education tax credits, and make city-provided after-school programs more academically focused. We also need to keep our parks and library programs strong to provide activities that keep our youth off the streets (emphasis is Chavira’s).

Keep in mind that a local city council has absolutely no authority over local education in its community. That is the job of local school district boards. They make the decisions about where funds will be expended, what their curriculum will be and they make policy and procedure decisions for the schools within their district. As for the pledges he made in his 2012 campaign, enter the sound of crickets chirping once again.

Chavira chooses buzz words to define his campaigns. He chose a hot button issue that is decidedly important to all of us knowing full well that he, as a member of the city council, could do nothing about it with the exception of city-funded, after school programs. He has not advocated for and has done nothing to fulfill his pledges regarding education. It implies that either he is truly ignorant and doesn’t know that he has no impact on educational issues or it is a deliberately cynical use of an issue as he relies on the voter to be ill informed. Beware of his use of the same themes and tactics in this election.

© 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.

There is no more important position in the City of Glendale. All 7 city councilmembers, which includes the position of Mayor, create and decide on all policy and all local laws for the city. City council decides all kinds of policies and enacts all kinds of laws. For example, when your garbage is picked up and how many times a week; what city projects are funded and which are rejected; or the speed limits within our city.

But there is far more to being a councilmember. A councilmember is not only a leader of the community.  He or she is a symbol of our value system. Each is charged with being above reproach and is considered to be an example of and an emissary of our community.

My platform consists of 5 “E’s. Over the next week or so I will flesh out each “E.” The first of these is

Ethics. Ethics is standards of right and wrong that tell us what we ought to do in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues. For example, it is unethical to steal, murder, or commit fraud. Ethics embodies honesty, compassion and loyalty. It motivates us to act based upon the concepts of right and wrong. It is a moral philosophy.

I am running to bring ethics, including honesty and integrity, back to the Yucca district city council position. The current holder of the position seems to have misplaced his ethical compass. Witness the recent media stories that cite his abuse Chavira and luggage 1of taxpayers’ dollars and trust by using taxpayer money for nearly $25,000 of highly questionable trips. Despite the laxity of city policy, it does generally require that councilmembers’ trips are to be done for city business. Most people agree that it is unethical to go to Washington, D.C. using taxpayer dollars to see the Pope on a large screen TV. Despite the fig leaf of the councilmember’s claim that city business was done (for 5 minutes?) many Yucca citizens believe that he abused the taxpayers’ trust. There are also questions about frivolous expenses he incurred on these kinds of trips, such as a $420 dinner for his boss, the Phoenix Fire Chief.

The people of Glendale have every right to expect their public officials to be of the highest character. I pledge that as your councilmember I will make public every taxpayer dollar I spend. If the city cannot accommodate my intent then I will personally post all of my expenses on my blog site, www.joyceclarkunfiltered.com  for anyone to see at any time. It’s your money and you should know the who, what, where, why and when of my expenditures of taxpayer money as a councilmember.

When public officials, such as Mr. Chavira, not only waste taxpayer dollars on questionable expenses, but then refuses to disclose receipts for reimbursement, or votes in favor of issues belonging to some of his largest campaign contributors, he tarnishes what it means to be your councilmember and reduces his ability to ethically represent our district’s best interests.

When I learned of Mr. Chavira’s actions I was angry and dismayed for he had tarnished the reputation not just of the Yucca district elected position but he has now raised public distrust of all of Glendale’s elected officials. He has reinforced the public notion that all politicians are crooks and corrupt. The actions he committed in an instant will take much time to repair. He has lost the trust of the people who elected him to serve them.

© 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 tohttp://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.

Recently I received the article below as an email. I had forgotten about it until reminded. I just couldn’t resist offering it to you. Insiders say nothing has changed since this award was presented to Glendale in 2003 by the Arizona Press Club. I do know the former City Manager and the former Mayor wanted publicity about Glendale only to be “good.” Negativism or possible bad press was met with resistance. Information would be slow to come forth under a Freedom of Information request. If a media outlet reported something negative the former Mayor would often call to complain. It seems the “Brick Wall” has become taller over the years.

City receives Brick Wall from Arizona Press Club

By Rebecca I Allen | Posted: Wednesday, April 16, 2003 11:00 pm

The City of Glendale has a new award to display in City Hall, and if officials can not find space for it in the trophy case, they could always use it in the construction of the Cardinals stadium.

The Arizona Press Club awarded a Brick Wall Award to the City of Glendale at the club’s 79th annual awards banquet Saturday.

The highly uncoveted award recognizes the person or public agency that “has done the most to obfuscate, obstruct, distort or otherwise stand in the way of reporting the news.”

Press Club President Dennis Joyce, assistant managing editor at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson, speaking before a crowd of 277 journalists, said while the category is never short of contestants, the judges were unable to choose between two “richly deserving institutions,” so it took the unusual step of awarding two bricks this year. The second brick went to the City of Chandler.

The Press Club cited Glendale’s onerous public records policy as one reason the fourth-largest city in the state received the award.

Glendale requires reporters to fill out Freedom of Information Act (FOIAs) on the most routine documents despite the 102-year old Arizona Public Records Law: “Public records and other matters in the custody of any officer shall be open to inspection by any person at all times during office hours.”

Glendale officials took 31 days to respond to a March 14 request to view 75 days worth of FOIAs and public records requests. Each time The Glendale Star inquired as to the status of viewing the information, the newspaper was told the request was in process.

Julie Frisoni, the City’s communications director, said the delays are because the City is “buried in public records requests.” She said all public records requests travel from the City Clerk’s office, to the department(s) that has the information, back to the City Clerk’s office, then the information is sent to the City Attorney’s office where a stockpile of filled requests wait for release. Public records requests from the media are also copied to Frisoni’s department.

“I understand it’s taking a little longer than the seven-day goal,” Frisoni, a former producer for Channel 12 who joined the City staff in August, said.

Most reporters acknowledge some extensive records requests take more time than others. In the eyes of the Press Club board members, seven business days for every public record request does not comply with “promptly” under Arizona law.

“The custodian of such records shall promptly furnish such copies, printouts or photographs” (ARS 39-121.03).

In December, The Glendale Star requested a copy of a one-page letter, sent from the City engineer to the contractor working on Foothills Park, from an engineering department employee who had the letter in their hand. The employee asked the reporter to put in a public records request with the City Clerk’s office. The reporter complied and it took four working days to have the letter released. Another request, filed March 31, asked for public records regarding the City’s response to complaints from JD Steel workers, a subcontractor of Coyotes Arena builder Perini. After 11 business days the information was made available.

Frisoni said the attorney’s office is taking each request as it comes in, so many requests that are filled and ready to be released linger in the stack until a more comprehensive request is filled. Frisoni said she has offered to help the City Attorney’s staff multi-task the requests.

While some requests lounge in limbo for his sign-off, others meet the white- out brush of City Attorney Rick Flaaen. Flaaen redacts all addresses, phone numbers and email addresses from public records, including sign-in sheets for public meetings and speaker cards filled out by citizens attending City Council meetings.

“People should not have to give up their privacy to participate in government,” Flaaen said.

Dan Barr, an attorney with Brown and Bain and the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona, disagrees and said the City should not remove information voluntarily given by citizens.

Other Valley cities, including Peoria and Phoenix, do not redact that information.

In February, Flaaen said he advised the planning department to redact the addresses and phone numbers of people who attend neighborhood meetings held by developers as part of the City’s required citizen participation plans, and the addresses of Glendale residents who received developers’ notices of those public meetings. So far, the planning department has continued to make these public records available in its planning packets.

The Press Club board also received an email forwarded from a reporter at the Arizona Republic. Frisoni inadvertently copied her instructions for responding to the reporter’s information request, to other public information officers, to the reporter. In the email she wrote:

“I think it’s fine to answer some specific questions ? but for the specifics, he should fill out a specific FOI. I can’t imagine this story will be positive…”

Frisoni told board member Tom Zoellner that she was “shocked” by the award and said “the City of Glendale does not block information of any kind and in fact, hired a former journalist to improve communications with the media.”

© 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.

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