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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

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.

I’ve wanted to write this particular blog for nine months but confidentiality imposed by the principal developers precluded me from doing so.

Last September, the Glendale city council approved documents for the Crystal Lagoon Island Resort at Glendale. At that time David Leibowitz published an article disparaging the project. Here is the link to his original article: https://www.eastvalleytribune.com/opinion/valley-theme-park-plans-all-smoke-no-sizzle/article_50d85836-f6ab-11ea-a6a8-47e43bc1f48b.html .

In it he said, “Not to be outdone, the Glendale City Council last week approved ‘Crystal Lagoons, Island Resort,’ an 11-acre water paradise purported to include paddle boarding, scuba diving and boogie boarding – plus ‘water jetpacks.’ Whatever the hell those are.

“Naturally, Glendale electeds voted to waive $1 million in fees for the developer and employ a sweetheart financing deal known as a GPLET, which allows the builder to avoid paying property taxes for 25 years. That’s predicated on the project being built, of course, which I doubt. Not to sound cynical, but, like I said, I’ve been following theme park news for years. 

“The projects all follow a similar pattern: They get announced amid much braggadocio, make zero progress for years, then quietly expire.

“In this case, the political burbker du jour was Glendale Councilwoman Joyce Clark, who said at the Council meeting: “I am just so excited. … (This is) a blockbuster project that’s going to put Glendale on the map, not just in the Valley but in the Southwest.” Which I’m sure is what some elected yoyo said when the Garden of Eden was built – and with nary a tax break, if you can imagine that.”

Well, Mr. Leibowitz, today was the official groundbreaking for Crystal Lagoon Island Resort at Glendale. The project will be completed prior to the Super Bowl of 2023. I think it’s time you pound sand regarding your commentary about this project and I invite you to Crystal Lagoon Island Resort at Glendale when it is opened to pound said sand.

A project of this magnitude is not built nor planned in a day. The sale of the land has been completed at a cost of $27 million. Conceptual plans have been rendered and engineering/architectural plans are nearly completed. So now it is time to begin grading the land and that is exactly what is occurring now.

I suspect that Mr. Leibowitz’s motive for disparaging Glendale’s project had more to do with the election atmosphere in the fall of 2020. Add in his close connection in working with the Glendale fire fighter union. Glendale’s Primary Election was in August, 2020, a month before this blockbuster announcement. In that Primary Liebowitz and the Glendale firefighter union took a whippin’. They had backed and had poured tons of money supporting the opponent of Mayor Weiers and my opponent as well. They lost…again. You would think that they would learn the lesson to not mess with Clark and Weiers.

Liebowitz, stung after another firefighter election loss in Glendale, probably thought his article would be great payback and would be a perfect opportunity to go not to go after not only Glendale but me as well. It was like killing two birds with one stone. In this case, his stones missed their mark. I think we can write off Mr. Liebowitz and his opinions regarding anything Glendale related.

When the official groundbreaking occurred this past Thursday, June 10th, I said repeatedly this is the most significant project to come to Glendale since the arena opened in 2003 and the stadium opened in 2006.

Think about it. Why do so many of us escape to California for vacations? The incredible weather along the coast, of course, but it is the beach and water fun and the myriad of theme parks. I can’t think of a single theme park over there that combines a beach with rides.

That’s what makes Crystal Lagoon Island Resort such a unique venue, especially in the Arizona desert. I’m not sure the public realizes just how much one can do.

  • Do you want to swim, scuba dive, water jet pack or boogie board all day? No problem. You and your family can do that with a lunch break at one of the dozen or so restaurants available.
  • Or maybe it’s a day with the kids or grandkids at the Mattel Amusement Park including Thomas the Train and Hot Wheels rides. Over the coming months Mattel will be announcing more components for their amusement park. So be on the lookout for them.
  • Perhaps the older kids would prefer the “fly”or 4 D theaters similar to the “Soarin’ Around the World” attraction at Disney’s California Adventure theme park.
  • Have some visitors? They will be able to stay at Crystal Lagoon Island Resort where 650 hotel rooms will be available. Then you can all meet for a leisurely lunch followed by shopping at one or all five of the themed retail/restaurant island areas.
  • Looking for something unique to show off? Go to the Aerophile’s Aerobar for extraordinary food and drinks 130 feet off the ground. Want to show off the entire Valley of the Sun? Then the tethered hot air balloon rising 400 feet is just the ticket.
  • Need a bit more? Then plan on attending a live outdoor musical concert with well known musical artists nearly every night of the year. More announcements will be made about this element when the principals are ready to do so.

Marry Crystal Lagoon Island Resort with the Westgate/Zanjero area and it becomes a major vacation destination. Want to golf? Go to TopGolf or PopStroke (Tiger Woods designed mini golf). Professional sports venues of NFL football, NHL hockey or MLB spring training baseball await. If your passion is bowling there’s even a bowling alley! Professional shoppers beware as you head off to Tanger Outlets at Westgate or the unique, themed shops at Crystal Lagoon.

Just imagine! When Glendale hosts the Super Bowl in January of 2023, a couple or family can stay at one of the dozen hotels (nearly 2,000 suites available) and be within walking distance of all that I have mentioned above.

I hope I have been able to convey the magnitude of Crystal Lagoon Island Resort and its impact on Glendale with expected visitors of 5,000 to 6,000 a day. It is significant and truly incredible!

So, David Liebowitz…go pound sand…at Crystal Lagoon Island Resort. It’s coming despite your negativism and disbelief.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

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.

I have received a lot of calls, emails and text messages from citizens wanting an explanation of Proposition 437. They say the city has not provided any information on this issue. If you go to www.glendaleaz.com on the landing page there is a link to get you to the information about Proposition 437 and the 4 ballot questions asking for voter approval for bond authorization. 

You may have wondered why the city is not asking voters to vote ‘yes’ on Proposition 437 and the 4 bond questions. By state statute a city may not advocate for or against issues presented to the voters when they are city initiated. The city has held at least a dozen public informational meetings on these issues where information about them was presented by staff being careful not to advocate for the issues presented.

With Proposition 437 the city is asking for voter approval to grant a franchise agreement between the city and EPCOR Water Arizona, Inc. Approval would allow EPCOR to construct, maintain and operate water and wastewater utilities within the city including any future annexations, west of 115th Avenue. EPCOR has been providing water and wastewater services to many entities both commercial and residential west of 115th Avenue for many years. All of their current  service provision has been on county land not incorporated Glendale land. Since they are already operating in that area and already have the infrastructure in place to provide services it makes sense to grant them the right to service properties in Glendale’s Municipal Planning Area (MPA) as those properties are annexed into Glendale.

The city council approved a policy for future annexations in far West Glendale that mandates the area be used for industrial, commercial and retail development, most particularly around the Loop 303 area. With EPCOR already providing water and sewer services in that area it does not require the city to invest millions of dollars in putting in the needed infrastructure there.  EPCOR already has customers and operates in that area as well as in some West Valley cities.

Voter approval of this franchise agreement in no way affects current city water and wastewater customers now getting those services from the city. There is no relationship between the two services. Those people who get water and wastewater services from the city will continue to get those services. Approval of this franchise agreement eliminates the need to expand city infrastructure beyond 115th Avenue. If the voters do not approve this franchise agreement then Glendale may have to build infrastructure in far west Glendale. In this scenario every current customer would bear the associated costs. 

As a franchisee of the city EPCOR will be required to pay the city three percent (3%) of its annual gross (not net) receipts. The estimated annual payment to the city is $825,612.

It’s a win-win for the city and for EPCOR. I would recommend a ‘yes’ vote.

Please note my previous blog presented information not just on this issue but on the 4 bond questions that are on the ballot.

  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.

As voters receive Early Ballots and we are 3 weeks away from voting in person, it’s a good time to review the items related to Glendale on the ballot..

The first is Proposition 437. The city is asking voters to approve granting a franchise agreement to EPCOR Water Arizona, Inc. Approval would allow EPCOR to construct, maintain and operate water and wastewater utilities within the city including any future annexations, west of 115th Avenue.

The city council approved a policy for future annexations in far West Glendale that mandates the area be used for industrial, commercial and retail development, most particularly around the Loop 303 area. With EPCOR providing water and sewer services it does not require the city to invest millions of dollars in putting in the needed infrastructure in that area.  EPCOR already has customers and operates in that area as well as in some West Valley cities.

Granting voter approval for this franchise agreement in no way affects current city water and wastewater customers now getting those services from the city. There is no relationship between the two services.  As a franchisee of the city EPCOR will be required to pay the city three percent (3%) of its annual gross (not net) receipts. The estimated annual payment to the city is $825,612. It’s a win-win for the city and for EPCOR. I would recommend a ‘yes’ vote.

There are also 4 Bond Questions on the Nov. 3rd ballot. The city issues bonds to pay for Capital Improvement Projects. These bonds are paid off over time, usually 25 or 30 years. The city has committed that it will issue no more bonds than that which can be paid off while keeping your property tax rate at its current rate. In other words, passage of these bond questions will not raise your property tax bill.

Question 1 is for Parks and Recreation in the amount of $87,200,000. These bonds would not be issued all at once but rather as other bonds are paid off that allows the city to issue new bonds without raising your property tax. Here are the specific projects for which the bonds will be used:

  • Existing citywide park infrastructure improvements $31,819,400.00
  • Heroes Regional Park Lake                                      4,435,000.00
  • O’Neil Park Splash Pad                                            1,350,000.00
  • Park play structures city wide                                  3,195,000.00
  • Heroes Regional Park Build Out                             46,400,000.00

Question 2 is for Streets in the amount of $81,500,00. and lists specific streets that will be reconstructed. It costs between $3M and $4M to reconstruct one mile of arterial street. The specific streets are:

  • 67th Ave (Greenway to Bell Rd)                      $3,528,000.00
  • 67th Ave (Deer Valley Rd to Pinnacle Peak Rd) $3,704,400.00
  • 59th Ave (Glendale to Northern Ave)               $3,704,400.00
  • Cactus Rd (59th to 67th Ave)                           $3,704,400.00
  • 51st Ave (Peoria Ave to Cactus Rd)                 $3,528,000.00
  • 51st Ave ( Olive Ave to Peoria Ave)                 $3,616,200.00
  • 75th Ave (Glendale Ave to Northern Ave)         $3,528,000.00
  • 83rd Ave (Glendale Ave to Northern Ave)         $4,254,000.00
  • Arterial Street Reconstruction identified in the Capital Improvement Program (Years 6 through 10)   $51,932,600.00        

Question 3 is for the Landfill in the amount of $9,900,000.00 and any bonds issued will not be paid back from the General Fund. These bonds will be paid back by the consumers/rate payers that use city sanitation services.  Current bond repayments for previously issued bonds are already part of your monthly sanitation bill. These funds will be used for expansion of the city’s landfill as it opens the north cell and closes the south cell.   

Question 4 is for Flood Control in the amount of $9,300.000 and will be used for 3 specific projects:

  • Storm drains, Camelback Rd ( 51st Ave to 58th Ave)                       $2,776,400.00
  • Storm drains, 83rd Ave (Bethany Home to Camelback)                    $3,129,500.00
  • Drainage improvements, Glenn Dr (52nd Ave to 59th Ave)                $3,394,100.00

If all or any of these 4 Bond Questions do not pass, there will be no bond money to pay for them. The city options are to not build the project or scale it back. It should also be noted that when voters approve these bond questions, the bonds issued can only be used for the specific projects on the ballot that were voter approved.

I ask that you carefully consider all 4 questions. If you think they are worthy of investment then you will vote to approve them as I am doing.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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.

In about 75 days Glendale’s voters will be asked to consider approval of the city’s request for $187.9 million in bond authorization. In order to understand this question I am offering a primer of everything you ever wanted to know (or didn’t want to know) on city bonds.

Let me answer one question up front that will be repeated elsewhere in this blog – approval of this bond authorization will not raise your taxes – not your property tax or sales tax.

The type of bonds being offered for authorization are called G.O. (General Obligation) bonds used for paying for the city’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP). In an upcoming blog I will discuss the CIP in further detail. The city uses G.O. bonds to pay for facility, infrastructure and equipment improvements valued at over $50,000.

These bonds are paid back with your property taxes. There are two categories of your property tax: your primary tax levy and your secondary tax levy. By state law, the primary property tax revenue the city collects can be used for anything but the secondary property tax levy can be used for one thing only – to pay off bonds and interest for a specific capital purpose.

In Fiscal Year 2020 the total of the city’s primary tax levy amount is $5,856,524 and the secondary tax levy amount is $20,408,799. Keep in mind the city never collects the full amount of either the primary or secondary tax because some people don’t pay their property tax.

That is why the city has a Capital Improvement Program. The CIP identifies every project that must be funded through the 6% and 20% bond categories from its secondary property tax levy.

To complicate things a bit further there are two separate categories of General Obligation, secondary property tax funded projects. These categories are based on a percentage of the value of a city’s total secondary property tax value. One category is the 6% category (of the total value of the city’s secondary property tax value). Projects that fit in the 6% category are:

  • Economic development
  • Cultural facilities
  • Government facilities
  • Libraries

Then there is the 20% category based upon the same formula – 20% of the city’s total value of its secondary property tax. Projects that fit in this category are:

  • Flood control
  • Open space and trails
  • Parks
  • Public Safety
  • Streets and parking
  • Water and sewer (the city doesn’t use G.O. bonding but instead debt is paid with water and sewer revenue – your water and sewer bills)

What is the city asking for? Your permission to allow the city to issue G.O. bonds at a ceiling of a certain amount.  While you would grant permission that doesn’t mean the city would use it right away. The city council has voiced its refusal to raise property taxes. Property taxes and sales taxes are the backbone and lifeblood of the city’s General Fund. The city’s General Fund pays for two primary things: 1. operating and maintenance costs of running city government and 2. the debt on city issued bonds. Each year the city council must balance these two competing interests seeking funding. The greater the cost of operating and maintaining city government the less there is available to issue bonds for capital improvement projects.

The last time the city asked voters for bond authorization was in 1999, 21 years ago. For example, in the last bond election voters approved bond authorization in Open Space and Trails in the amount of $50,459,000. The city has never used this full amount and still has $38,653,005 left of bond authorization. Obviously this time around, the city is not asking for any bond authority in Open Space and Trails or any other capital project categories where there is still adequate bond authority left.

Can the city just switch the $38+ million left in Open Space and Trails to another capital project category like Public Safety? The answer is by state law, no. Will your approval of the bond authorization sought raise your taxes? Again, the answer is no. The city policy is to issue bonds that can be paid back without raising taxes.

Last fall the city council authorized a citizen bond committee to review all requests for increased spending authorization. These Glendale residents were on the city council approved Bond Committee. These 7 citizens represented every district within Glendale:

  • Jon Froke, Chair
  • Lisa Baker, Vice Chair
  • Michael Boule
  • John Guers
  • Gary Hirsch
  • Ryan Wesselink
  • Michael Socaciu

After careful consideration and having received comprehensive information they have made the following recommendations for voter consideration on November 3rd. Each question requires separate voter approval:

  • Question 1 in the amount of $87.2 million for citywide park improvements, updated playgrounds, upgraded restrooms, Heroes Park completion and the O’Neil Splash Pad.
  • Question 2 in the amount of $81.5 million for street construction and reconstruction of major streets including 59th Avenue, 63rd Avenue, 83rd Avenue, Bell Road, Thunderbird Road and Bethany Home Road.
  • Question 3 in the amount of $9.9 million for our landfill’s expansion and to meet mandated environmental protections and compliance. Normally, these items would be covered by rate payers but the costs are just too high and raise rate payers’ bills dramatically.
  • Question 4 in the amount of $9.3 million for storm and drainage improvement projects.

In an upcoming blog I will go into greater detail about each of these questions.

Remember, just because voters authorize spending in these amounts for these listed items, does not mean the debt will be issued all at once. It will be issued as the General Fund can afford to pay back the debt without raising taxes.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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.

Please note: the statistics I am using are from the 2016 election cycle as currently there is no compilation of information on fire unions’ involvement in this 2020 cycle.

“31 firefighter union PACs donated more than a quarter-million dollars to 59 city council and mayoral candidates in Arizona. More than half of the donations went to 10 individuals, eight of whom are active or retired firefighters, according to an Arizona Republic analysis of local and state campaign finance data.” (https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-investigations/2017/03/28/arizona-firefighter-unions-donated-hundreds-thousands-local-elections/99603914/).

For some local candidates firefighter PAC money is their major source of funding for a campaign. While police unions can and do contribute the firefighters unions generally contribute more than seven times better than any police union PAC.

Here is a list of fire union PACs that made campaign contributions in the 2016 cycle. It is by no means a complete list of all of the union chapters in the state of Arizona. For example, there is no Chandler or Scottsdale on this list.

  • Arizona Firefighters
  • Avondale Firefighters
  • Buckeye Firefighters
  • Casa Grande Firefighters
  • Central Yavapai Firefighters
  • Daisy Mountain Firefighters
  • El Mirage Firefighters
  • Flagstaff Firefighters
  • Gilbert Firefighters
  • Glendale Firefighters
  • Goodyear Firefighters
  • International Association of Firefighters
  • Lake Havasu Firefighters
  • Los Angeles Firefighters
  • Mesa Firefighters
  • Peoria Firefighters
  • Phoenix Firefighters
  • Pima Firefighters
  • Prescott Firefighters
  • Sedona-Verde Valley Firefighters
  • Sun Lakes Firefighters
  • Surprise Firefighters
  • Tempe Firefighters
  • Tucson Firefighters
  • United West Valley Firefighters

That’s not all the fire unions contribute to a candidate’s campaign. “Firefighter political involvement doesn’t end with money. Fire groups across the state and country are known for their grassroots support of candidates. Hayden said he participated in elections his entire career by acquiring signatures and placing campaign signs for candidates.” (Arizona Republic article cited above).

Why do the fire unions insert themselves into local political races? The answer is really quite simple. It increases the fire unions’ chances of gaining better pay and benefits. That’s it. It’s naked power for the sake of greed. In Glendale, the fire union would prefer that you ignore the fact that their members are one of the best paid in the entire state. For them, that is irrelevant…for it’s always about more.

How do the unions get their money? Each PAC collects donations from every union firefighter. Each local union collects maybe $5 or $10 from every chapter member’s paycheck. Some of that money is then passed on to the state union PAC. The state PAC focuses primarily on local candidates. The maximum donation to a local candidate is $6,400 and often the limit is given to a candidate by multiple fire union PACs. In a short time the money becomes big money with strings attached.

What are the effects of a fire backed local candidate losing a race? Let’s use Glendale as a real time example. I have been in seven election cycles…all had fire union backed candidates. I won six of them and the fire union won one…Sammy Chavira. How did that work out? In all of my previous winning contests I continued to treat every fire union request with a fair hearing and decided any issue on what I considered to be best for the entire city.

I hope the rank and file of the Glendale chapter of the fire union reads the remarks I am offering. Your union President, Aarick O’Hara, has failed you in this election cycle. I thought I was working toward building a good, working relationship with Mr. O’Hara. We had discovered common ground on several issues. Prior to the run up to the election, Mr. O’Hara offered the following deal. The union would stay out of my race if I would disavow and not support or endorse Mayor Weiers. My answer to Mr. O’Hara was that I could not accede to his request. He then implied that he would be advising the executive board to endorse my opponent and that the executive board would comply with whatever he recommended. I bet none of you knew that.

I want the rank and file to know that Mr. O’Hara’s actions in support of Michelle Robertson and Bryce Alexander in an effort to take both of us off the Glendale City Council may well have repercussions. One of the questions you, as a dues paying firefighter, should be asking is did Mr. O’Hara vet either candidate and if he did, did he ignore the baggage that each candidate carried? If he did not vet them or ignored their questionable histories then he did a disservice to you. Another question for the rank and file is how much voice do you actually have when it comes to backing or not backing a local candidate? Did you, the rank and file union member, get to vote on the issue of endorsements or did O’Hara decide?

The troubling outcome is that I cannot and will no longer work with Mr. O’Hara. He has done irreparable damage to the hope of creating any positive and healthy relationship with the local fire union. That is a shame when I thought we were finally making progress.

Finally, I am sure that in the aggregate the fire unions spent upwards of $150,000 on the two Glendale races. To what end? To end up flushing that money down a toilet by backing losing candidates.

Why isn’t that money better spent to provide services to the rank and file members or using it to benefit the disadvantaged within our communities? Think of how much good could have been created with that $150,000+. Now your chapter, the Glendale chapter, owes every other fire union that contributed to the candidates in the Glendale race. You will be asked to repay the debt by putting up campaign signs and walking neighborhoods in Peoria or Tempe or wherever as payback for their contributions in the Glendale races.

I can tell you the relationship has been set back considerably. I don’t know about the internal workings of your union. Perhaps it’s time for the rank and file to decide if your current leadership is building a positive and healthy relationship and working for your best interest or for that of others.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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.

As I’ve remarked previously, due to the COVID pandemic this has been one of the strangest campaigns I’ve had. People must wear masks and socially distance. Bars and gyms are still not open. Tubing on the Salt River, a long-held, dearly loved outdoor activity is not allowed. The traditional, annual Glendale Women’s Club candidate forum was cancelled. Going door to door was frowned upon. Holding a campaign event was impossible. The life blood of a political campaign is reaching out to as many voters as possible in person. That was not to be.

How does a candidate campaign in this environment? Everyone is going digital and using the internet. Major candidates are running TV ads but the cost is prohibitive for a local council race. I think more mailers have been used in this campaign than in any previous one. By my count and I’m not sure I acquired all of them, at least 30 mailers from the 2 contested races—mayoral and Yucca council seat—hit your mailboxes. I estimate their collective value at about $65,000. In addition, the fire union dropped 2 door hangers for Robertson and 1 door hanger for Alexander, representing another estimated $5,000 and that does not include the manpower used by the union to deliver them. Add the cost of political consultants, polling, digital advertising, campaign signs and the expenses become even more significant. This may turn out to be the most expensive campaign cycle that Glendale has ever had.

I did note one very strange set of campaign finance reports – those of Corey Bowen. Mr. Bowen filed a statement of campaign committee organization on September 9, 2019. Candidates’ nominating petitions were filed at the end of March, 2020. Mr. Bowen never submitted nominating petitions and was therefore out of the Yucca council race at the end of March, 2020.

In his first campaign finance report filed on January 1, 2020 which reported financial activity through December 31, 2019, Mr. Bowen reported contributions of $2,950.00 and expenditures of $1,086.42 leaving him with a balance of $1,853.58. In his second report covering the period through March 31, 2020, he spent $266.51 leaving him a balance of $1,596.82. Here’s where it gets strange. By the end of March, 2020, he and we know he is not on the ballot and is no longer a candidate for the Yucca council seat.

In his next campaign finance report covering through June 30, 2020, Mr. Bowen spent another $828.29 as if he were still a viable candidate:

  • On 5/21/2020 $98.01 to Lyft for “campaign transportation.”
  • On 6/1/2020 another $53.01 went to Lyft for “campaign transportation.”
  • On 5/2/2050(sic) he spent $491.28 to WalMart for “campaign event supplies.”
  • On 6/1/2020 he spent another $255.99 at WalMart for “canvassing supplies.”

In his last campaign filing report covering through July 18, 2020, he continues to spend $658.89 as if he were a viable candidate:

  • On 7/2/2020 $56.50 to Lyft for “campaign transportation.”
  • On 7/13/2020 $42.01 to Lyft for “campaign transportation.”
  • On 7/2/2020 he spent another $226.89 to WalMart for “campaign event supplies.”
  • On 6/1/2020 to WalMart $33.49 for “canvassing supplies.”
  • On 7/03/2020 to Adelina’s wedding venue for $300.00 for “campaign event venue.”

Mr. Bowen, the non-candidate for the Yucca district council seat, now has a balance in his campaign committee account of $39.62. How can this be? How could he spend over $1,500 for campaign expenses when he is not on the ballot? It’s not the amount of money spent but the principle involved. I know that some of the readers of this blog work in the Maricopa County Attorney General’s Office. I would hope one of them would bring this to the attention of the Attorney General.

In my race with my opponent, I ask you, the voter, to consider several issues. He has declared himself to be a Democrat. Part of the Democrat agenda is to “defund the police” or at the very least, reprioritize police expenditures. That seems to be a nice euphemism for saying defund them. In his campaign material he says, “…we need to reduce the tax burden on each citizen…” One way to reduce that burden is to reduce or reprioritize police funding. How could the two police unions support this man when this is part of his agenda?

My opponent’s major support comes from the fire union. As I’ve stated previously, they poured money into his campaign with signs, a mailer and a door hanger, not because he’s an outstanding candidate but because of the mere fact that he is my opponent. I did a blog on union release time and the fact that city council eliminated one of two union release time positions for fire and police. This action angered them to the point where they would have supported cardboard cutouts of candidates in opposition to the Mayor and myself.

Most disturbing is his Facebook comment, “I get a special feeling when I see my name in print.” This is an unusual remark to make. It seems my opponent is in this race to become more recognized, more important within our community. That’s not a valid reason to run.

Keep in mind I took him to court to challenge the validity of his nominating petition signatures. I produced witnesses, registered Yucca district voters, who swore that it was not he who witnessed their signatures on his nominating petitions. My opponent never went to court and swore on a Bible (remember he’s an Associate Pastor) that it was indeed he who witnessed those signatures.

Lastly, my opponent is cerebral, a thinker…not a doer. His entire platform is comprised of initiatives I have done or I am currently doing. He offers no new ideas. I have a proven record of successful performance. I get things done. I have helped countless Yucca residents to resolve problems. I am accessible and take calls and texts from residents all the time. I have been there when you needed help.

My opponent’s motive for running is questionable. I will always harbor doubt about his nominating petitions and their validity. He has not contributed to the life of our district or community. His only support comes primarily from the fire union and I think it’s fair to assume he will support their extensive agenda. He has offered no new initiative that you can support or would be excited about. He really is a cardboard candidate.

The big gorilla in this race is the mayoral contest. There’s an old saying, “the past is prologue.” That means the past will inevitably be repeated. That certainly raises concerns with regard to the mayoral opponent Robertson. We know from publicly available records she accused her ex-husband of sexual molestation of their daughter and the court found her accusation to be invalid. We know that she accused the former Chief Financial Officer of the Cartwright District of sexual harassment. From her publicly available emails it appears that it was she who encouraged a mutually sexually charged relationship. I was disturbed to see the email photo of her breasts that she sent to him with reference to “the girls are oiled up.” Now that is disgusting.

Her scrubbing of her Facebook past demonstrating those causes she supports including “Black Lives Matter” should give you pause for concern. Her action appears to be intentional with the removal of controversial issues.

Another issue for your consideration is her commitment to retain her current job at the Cartwright School District while trying to be mayor. I, as a councilmember, can confirm that it is a full time job to serve and the mayor’s position is exactly the same. Promising to be a part time mayor does a disservice to every Glendale resident.

Again, the unions in their haste to back any opponent for mayor either did not vet this candidate or did and chose to ignore what they discovered. Either way, it screams of a naked power grab to run the City of Glendale to their advantage.

Having worked with the current mayor I know that the allegations the unions made against him are not true. It’s a tried and true tactic to take a snippet of fact and twist it until your opponent appears to be a monster. The fire union is very good at it.

Remember how you could go to your local polling location? It might be a school like Desert Mirage Elementary School or a church like Faith Baptist Church. No more. Thanks to COVID, this time you have a choice of five “Voting Centers” in Glendale.

For the August Primary Election, Maricopa County voters can cast a ballot at any Vote Center. Locations are open from July 8-August 4, including some nights and weekends. All Vote Centers listed are open on Election Day:

  • Arrowhead Mall 8/1/2020 Open 11am to 7pm; 8/2/2020 Open 12pm to 5pm; 8/3/2020 Open 11am to 5pm and 8/4/2020 Open 6am to 7pm.
  • ASU West Campus 8/1/2020 Closed; 8/2/2020 Closed; 8/3/2020 Open 8am to 5pm; 8/4/2020 Open 6am to 7pm.
  • Glendale Market Square 8/1/2020 Open 9am to 7pm; 8/2/2020 Open 12pm to 5pm; 8/3/2020 Open 9am to 5pm; 8/4/2020 Open 6am to 7pm.
  • Glendale Civic Center 8/1/2020 Open 7:30am to 6:30pm; 8/2/2020 Closed; 8/3/2020 Open 7:30am to 5pm; 8/4/2020 Open 6am to 7pm.
  • Glendale Christian Church 8/1/2020 Closed; 8/2/2020 Closed; 8/3/2020 Closed; 8/4/2020 Open 6am to 7pm.

You can drop off your ballot or vote in person on the days and times that these 5 Glendale locations are open. I can’t see how this scheme aids people in avoiding COVID but it’s the system that will be used on August 4th.

No matter what you do – drop off your ballot or vote in person, I urge you to vote on August 4th. Your vote matters…your vote counts.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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

Alexander and I turned in our Pre Election campaign committee financial reports on July 22nd. Mine has not changed as I had no contributions or expenses between July 1st and July 18th, the period covered by this filing.                 

Alexander reported spending another $3,439.55 during those 18 days. He has $2,775.52 as a remaining balance. He received an in-kind contribution of $306.25 from Bryan Daws for the design of (presumably) his campaign mailer and he paid $1,394.36 for campaign sign printing. Remember the fire union also paid $3,335.64 for his campaign signs as well. He spent another $2,020.19 for the printing and postage of his campaign mailer.

Keep in mind we still do not know who paid for the three very expensive attorneys from a very expensive law firm that defended his petition signatures in court…Hmmm.

Alexander has declared the following as his campaign platform. The only problem is that everything that he proposes as his platform is something I have already done or have supported for years. Where are his new, fresh ideas to make “Glendale Better?” He has none. I have a proven track record and the experience needed to make ideas become reality. Many of my pilot projects are in use throughout the city.

 

The choice is clear. I ask for your vote as Yucca district councilmember on Aug. 4th. 

 

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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.

I reviewed mayoral candidate Michelle Robertson’s campaign filing and it confirms much of what I had said in previous blogs. The campaign is reporting $52,565.00 in contributions and $26,800.00 in expenses leaving a balance of $25,765.00. As I have indicated this is only a partial snapshot in time. The next campaign financial filing, due after the election, will fill in the rest of the picture. Don’t forget this filing only represents through June 30, 2020. A lot of receipts and expenditures will occur during the month of July.

There are several interesting observations about campaign contributions received. One is that PAC contributions of $34,400 are double that of individual contributions of $17,740. Here is the current roster of PAC contributions:

  • Phoenix International Firefighters Assn Local 493 $5,000.00
  • United Phoenix Firefighters Tempe Chapter $5,000.00
  • Surprise Firefighters $4,000.00
  • United Phoenix Firefighters Chandler Chapter $4,000.00
  • International Assn of Sheet Metal Workers Local 359 $1,000.00
  • Arizona Pipe Trades PAC     $12,900.00
  • Arizona List PAC                                                           $1,000.00
  • United Food & Commercial Workers Local 99 $1,500.00

It is a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of unions in Arizona. Expect to see more unions listed or additional contributions from these PACs in her next filing after the election.

Individual contributions reflect many of the same players who have endorsed her or represent those disaffected groups coalescing around her candidacy. Here are the more notable, whose names you may recognize from previous blogs:

  • Cheryl Knappes (downtown Glendale merchant)       $50.00
  • Jane Bachman (Save Glen Lakes)                                                 $50.00
  • Yvonne Knaack (former Glendale councilmember)    $100.00
  • Jim Colson (former Glendale employee)                               $100.00
  • Bruce Heatwole (friend of Councilmember Turner)    $150.00
  • Payam Raouf (downtown Glendale property owner) $1,500.00
  • Bart Turner (current Glendale councilmember) $250.00
  • Julie Frisoni (member of Ed Beasley inner circle)    $250.00
  • Mark Burdick (former mayoral candidate, fire chief) $500.00

The campaign has expended $26,800.00 to date. It is interesting to note than more than half of that amount, $16,544.41 was in consultancy fees:

  • Ben Scheel $4,085.19
  • Brian Irvine $6,026.60
  • Bright Phoenix LLC $2,182.62
  • Todd Landfried $4,250.00

Let’s add in what the Fire union PAC, First Responders for a Safe Glendale, spent on Robertson’s behalf. It is a total of $17,820.77 for campaign signs ($14,485.13) and campaign door hangers ($1,515.62).

Recently Robertson has had to respond to a series of allegations. Although to date she has been silent. I guess she hopes if she does not respond they will go away. One allegation has been made by the former Chief Financial Officer of the Cartwright School District. He contends that after he refused to approve a ‘no-bid’ contract and was, in essence, constructively discharged from his position Robertson filed a sexual harassment charge against him. There is plenty of material out there in the public domain that you can consider. In the public domain are a series of rather sexually inflammatory emails Robertson reportedly sent to the former Chief Financial Officer.

Also in the public domain are the results of Robertson’s divorce. During the case Robertson claimed her husband sexually abused their daughter. There was a lengthy investigation by a psychologist whose findings were that the allegation was not based in fact. Her ex-husband subsequently was granted visitation rights of the minor child.

If you go to the Arizona Corporation Commission website and search for Empire Holdings LLC you will discover Michelle Robertson was their Statutory Agent from 2014 until 2020. The principal member of Empire is someone name Ara Debroghossian. Mr. Debroghossian was convicted in 2011 on criminal charges related to a drug ring sting and received a 31/2-year prison sentence (New Times, July 21, 2012).

Robertson filed to become a mayoral candidate in March of 2020. I can’t provide the exact date as the city website for campaign filings is down right now.  If I remember correctly she filed her committee on or about March 16, 2020 just several days after her resignation on March 11, 2020, as Statutory Agent of Empire Holdings. Was it another attempt to wipe her past clean?

In her resignation statement she states she never agreed to be the Statutory Agent for Empire Holdings. The timing of her resignation is questionable as is her statement that she never agreed. If that was truly the case as she received correspondence for Empire over that six year period she could have resigned at any time if she never agreed to be their agent.

Here’s what’s troubling about all of this. Glendale citizens did their own research and came up with the public documents related to the current lawsuit filed by the former CFO of the Cartwright district, her divorce case and the Empire Holdings registration. They shared those publicly available documents with me.

 Why didn’t all of the unions, including the Glendale chapters of the fire union and police unions do their due diligence and check her background? Instead in their blind rush to back anyone, including a candidate with a questionable background, they supported her with endorsements, money and manpower. They let their anger over the issue of removal of release time positions by the city council cloud their judgment.

I am dismayed that the Glendale police unions chose to back an apparent Democrat activist with sympathy for the Black Live Matter movement and its advocacy for defunding police departments. It appears that they are backing someone who is sympathetic to their ultimate destruction.

This election has been one of the strangest in Glendale’s history. Black is white and red is green. Nothing is as it appears.

I do know one thing. This city council has tried to meet the funding demands of the unions while also meeting the financial needs of all of the other city departments. As I have said previously, it’s a balancing act. Not every department gets everything that it wants.

Glendale unions, what have you done?

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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.

All candidate committees as well as Political Action Committees such as the fire union PAC, First Responders for a Safe Glendale, were required to turn in their finance reports on July 15, 2020. This report covers the period from April 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020. Many campaigns will deliberately arrange payments for mailers, etc. to occur after June 30th because the next finance report is due after the Aug. 4th election. In that way you, the public, may not see campaign donors and activities that could appear controversial to the voter. Here is the link to the city website where all campaign committee and PAC finance reports can be accessed: https://docs.glendaleaz.com/WebLink/CustomSearch.aspx?SearchName=Elections&cr=1 . In the ‘Content’ bar choose from the drop down menu ‘Campaign finance reports’ and in the ‘Committee type’ select from a drop down menu the name of the campaign committee report you wish to view.

My campaign report shows contributions to date of $35,524.05 and expenses of $15,942.56. The most notable of my expenses is $4,131 in attorney’s fees to challenge Alexander’s petitions in court and $10,000 to a political consulting firm for the design and printing of campaign signs, all mailers and additional campaign related political activities.

Let’s take a closer look at Alexander’s financial campaign filing. In this election cycle to date he has raised $6,740.00. Of that amount $4,700 is Alexander’s own money. He received a total of 5 campaign contributions from individuals: Payam Raouf for $500; Bruce Heatwole for $150; Glendale Councilmember Bart Turner for $250; Richard Vangellisti for $600; and Jessica Koury of $200. Total contributions from these 5 individuals are $1,700.

To date he has spent $1,094.53 of his total $6,740.00. His expenses are not unusual for a campaign – bank fees, website creation and internet costs, and Facebook ads. In this report he finally acknowledges that he paid for petition signature gatherers in the amount of $500 to Field Corps LLC. His next campaign financial report will reflect where he spent the rest of the money and any other campaign contributions he received.

His declared expenses, or lack thereof, raise a curious question. In April I challenged his petition signatures in court. I paid $4,131 in attorney’s fees out of my campaign resources. I had one attorney that I shared with Mayor Weiers as our claims were identical. Alexander had 3 high priced attorneys from a pricey legal firm that he shared with mayoral candidate Robertson. Is he waiting to declare payment of his share for those attorneys in the next campaign filing by having the billing dated after June 30th? Or did he accept a monetary gift from someone to cover the cost? It’s still an expense that arises out of his campaign effort and will have to be declared somewhere, sometime.

You can’t look at Alexander’s finance report without also looking at the First Responders for a Safe Glendale PAC filing as well. They declared the receipt of $19,500 from the Phoenix Firefighters Local 493 Fire PAC. You can be sure there will be more dollars from Phoenix Fire PAC in the next financial report. They paid 100% of $3,335.64 for Alexander’s design and printing of signs. They also paid for Alexander’s design and printing of his door hangers and their distribution. Even though the door hangers are out on the street they are not reflected in this report because the billing may have occurred after June 30th. It’s neat how that works, isn’t it?

Again, this is information that helps to educate voters while making their decision. Sometimes candidate committee financial reports are as notable for what they do not disclose as opposed to what they do disclose.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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.

I ran across this Arizona Republic article online regarding Michelle Robertson. I make no comment. This is something you will have to judge for yourself. As a voter in Glendale all information offered is valuable to make an educated decision regarding your vote.

Here is the link to the article despite my replicating it in full below.  https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-education/2020/07/16/conflicting-allegations-michelle-robertson-roil-glendale-mayoral-race/5443509002/

Conflicting allegations involving Michelle Robertson roil Glendale’s mayoral race

Lily Altavena,Joshua Bowling, Arizona Republic, July 16, 2020

A Glendale mayoral candidate last year accused a co-worker of sexual misconduct. Now, the man says he was falsely accused.

Michelle Robertson, a longtime Glendale resident who is running on the Aug. 4 ballot against incumbent Mayor Jerry Weiers, claims she was sexually harassed by the Cartwright School District’s former chief financial officer.

Zeek Ojeh, the CFO, in a notice of claim filed against the district in March, contends Robertson falsely accused him as part of a broader scheme to oust him for exposing potential corruption in the district.

“This is a classic whistleblower case,” Alden Thomas, an attorney for Ojeh, said. “We are confident Mr. Ojeh will prevail. The district failed to respond to our notice of claim, so we will be proceeding with litigation.” 

Robertson called Ojeh’s claim baseless. Her original complaint to the district in September accuses Ojeh of multiple instances of sexual harassment and misconduct. 

“No means no. It’s a very clear statement,” she said. “I could not stop crying. I thought, ‘This has got to stop.'”

Ojeh’s claim includes screenshots of text messages allegedly from Robertson, a district employee, to Ojeh that contain explicit photos and messages. The claim alleges that Robertson “relentlessly pursued” Ojeh. 

Robertson told The Arizona Republic that she has not seen the notice of claim Ojeh filed with the school district. She said Ojeh harassed and assaulted her.

She said she never harassed Ojeh.

“I did not sexually harass this man,” she said. “We had a friendship, but we had a very clear understanding of boundaries; physical boundaries and things like that. There would be months where we didn’t talk on a personal level.”

Robertson was born in Tucson and moved to Glendale as a teenager. She ran for Maricopa County superintendent in 2016 and has participated in local override and candidate campaigns.

In the course of her campaign, Robertson has raised nearly $53,000, according to campaign finance records. Weiers has raised more than $233,000.

$1.5 million phone contract 

Ojeh in his claim states that he wanted to make sure he was saving the district money when possible. 

In July 2019, LeeAnn Aguilar-Lawlor, Cartwright’s superintendent, told Ojeh that she and three school board members wanted to award a $1,475,000 contract to Mitel, a communications company, to replace the district’s phone system, according to the claim.

Specifically, she wanted the contract to go through a particular Mitel dealer, the claim states.

Ojeh asked why, according to the claim, and Lawlor said he should do what he’s told. The claim adds that “several board members were in favor of this contract because they were friends” with the Mitel dealer. 

In an email attached to the notice of claim, Ojeh wrote to Lawlor in August 2019 that two other vendors could provide new phone systems for $500,000 to $600,000, half the price of a contract with Mitel. 

Ojeh then asked district attorneys to weigh in. They wrote that the district would not be complying with state procurement law if it did not participate in a competitive bidding process.

The contract did not go through. 

District spokeswoman Veronica Sanchez said the superintendent and board followed the law and did not insist on Mitel.

“The district superintendent did not insist on switching phone contracts,” she wrote. “Alternate phone contract options were presented to the governing board at the request of the governing board.”

Accusations of a sexual nature 

A month after the dust-up over the contract, Ojeh states in the claim, Lawlor told him there had been a “credible complaint of a sexual nature” made against him. She provided him a letter informing him he would be reassigned to work from home. 

His accuser was Robertson, a former teacher and current Cartwright human resources employee.

Robertson alleged that Ojeh assaulted and harassed her multiple times by taking her hand and forcing her to grab his genitals, kissing her without her consent, playing footsie under a table during a meeting and sending cards and gifts to her home without ever asking for her address.

The district received recordings of a conversation between Robertson and Ojeh in September 2019 and began investigating, according to Sanchez. 

In the recordings, Robertson appears to confront Ojeh in a phone conversation about kissing her at work.

“The boundary was no kissing me at work, and we hadn’t had a physical relationship outside of work,” she says in the recording. “Why did you cross the boundary?” 

Ojeh responds, “I don’t know what to tell you. I really don’t know what to say there.” 

In the recording, Robertson describes an interaction where he kissed her after a meeting. She asks if he remembered putting her hand on his genitals.

He responds and  “If I did, it was an involuntary action … It wasn’t like I planned to do that.”

Ojeh in the notice of claim denies sexually harassing Robertson. Ojeh said he had a consensual flirtatious relationship with Robertson, but the two were never physically intimate.

According to Ojeh’s claim, he saved text messages from Robertson. Screenshots of texts provided blur Ojeh’s messages and only show what Robertson allegedly wrote.

In one, dated in 2017, she texts, “We should be dating. Are you attracted in that way to me?”

In a set of texts in the claim dated February 2019, before Robertson complained to the district, Robertson allegedly writes, “This is serious. I’d like to provide an opportunity for you to address and clear things up. You can call tonight or tomorrow.”

Robertson in her complaint alleged that Ojeh had confronted her in the district office’s parking lot. She alleged that she later texted him because she wanted to establish clearer boundaries. 

An attorney for Ojeh wrote that in February 2019 he had asked her to stop contacting him over personal matters “and that he was not interested in an intimate relationship.”  

Ojeh informed the district in September 2019 in a letter through his attorneys that he would not seek contract renewal.

Ojeh in his claim alleges he is suffering emotional distress for being a whistleblower and is asking for $750,000. 

Reach the reporter at Lily.Altavena@ArizonaRepublic.com or follow her on Twitter @LilyAlta.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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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