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 remember that this is a campaign season and things get ugly during such a season, but this is the worst I have ever seen or of which I have been a part.

The reference to Twelve Angry Men is an American courtroom drama written by Reginald Rose in 1954 concerning the jury of a homicide trial in which one man convinces the rest of the jury of reasonable doubt concluding with a not guilty verdict. It’s a really good movie.

Although Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff has not come out and publicly endorsed any candidates as of this date, at Chamber events her actions would lead people to believe that she supports Paul Boyer for Mayor and Lupe Encinas for my Yucca district council seat. This is the context upon which this blog is written.

It is no secret that if you watch City Council meetings lately, you will witness a lot of sniping directed toward the Mayor and City Manager by Councilmembers Tolmachoff, Turner and Aldama. They appear to be quite unhappy with both gentlemen as well as decisions made by the majority of city council. They seem to be using public city council forums to convince you that the majority of city council is acting inappropriately. What you are witnessing these days is pure political theater.

I refer you to this video of the latest city council workshop of October 24, 2023: https://glendaleaz.new.swagit.com/videos/277456  starting at the 37:23 minute mark. On May 9, 2023, Mayor Weiers requested a Council Item of Special Interest to explore state legislation that ensures reoccurring cancers cannot be the sole reason for denying cancer claims and to ensure that reoccurring cancers that result in disability or death are presumed to be an occupational disease as outlined in the Arizona Revised Statutes.

The scope of the October 24, 2023, city council discussion and subsequent deliverables would be focused on the introduction of legislation in the 2024 Arizona Legislative Session that would add the additional protections to firefighters.

City Council has already adopted a policy to recognize reoccurring cancers for Glendale’s firefighters despite the state legislature’s failure to do so. The focus of this CIOSI workshop discussion was not looking for further changes in this policy but rather to take Glendale’s adopted policy and to work with the state legislature to encourage all fire departments to make Glendale’s policy statewide. A fix was no longer needed in Glendale and staff were asking for council consensus to bring Glendale’s approach before the state legislature.

Previous to the Mayor’s May, 2023, request for a Council Item of Special Interest (CIOSI) related strictly to making Glendale’s policy a statewide one, Councilmember Tolmachoff had asked for a similar CIOSI that included among other things, recognition of pre-cancerous conditions. A majority of council did not support her request at the time.

Dismayed by the rebuff of her past CIOSI, Councilmember Tolmachoff said the following during workshop, “…but I think it is shameful to make a campaign issue out of the health and safety of our firefighters and I believe that’s what this is.” She went on to say, “Because of four people, I believe, had been told to snuff this out (her previous CIOSI).” As well as, “I think it’s shameful the way it transpired.” And “So, just like I said, I see this for what I believe it is and I think it’s a campaign move.” During the fifteen-minute discussion of the issue she interrupted the City Manager and the Mayor repeatedly and spoke out several times without being recognized by the Chair (Mayor).

Firefighters are not speaking up in her defense. They are pleased that Glendale adopted a policy recognizing reoccurring cancers and will work with the city to lobby the state legislature to make it a statewide policy. In this upcoming election, the general expectation is that both police and fire will endorse Mayor Weiers, Councilmembers Hugh and Malnar and Diana Guzman, candidate for my Yucca council seat.

Councilmember Bart Turner agreed with Councilmember Tolmachoff and went on to say, “There is something going on and it does feel to me like it’s campaign related and that there’s collusion going on.”

Councilmember Aldama, an announced candidate for Mayor, agreed with Councilmember Tolmachoff and accused the Mayor of unprofessionalism and divisiness.

I support free speech as well as all Glendale Councilmembers’ exercise of such. Rather the concern is when does speech border on slander? Accusing the majority council of collusion or taking direction from some mysterious person at a public council workshop may be considered as slander.

Feeling something or believing something does not make it true. There were no facts presented back up the accusations made. Rather what we heard was “I believe” and “I feel” as if they were matters of fact.

Just remember, this is a nasty political season and if anyone is pushing a political agenda it may very well be the 3 angry councilmembers.

© Joyce Clark, 2023     


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