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 you may be aware, Councilmember Jamie Aldama is running for mayor against the incumbent, Mayor Jerry Weiers and former state legislator, Paul Boyer. If and when Aldama turns in his nominating petitions he will be required to resign from his Ocotillo District council seat. The drop-dead date for turning in nominating petitions is April 1, 2024.

This could mean that Aldama is attending his last few city council meetings. As a mayoral candidate opposing the incumbent, Mayor Weiers, Aldama is desperate to position himself in opposition to the Mayor on every issue he can dig up.

It was evident that is exactly what he was doing at the February 27, 2024, City Council voting meeting. The last item on the agenda was seeking council approval for a garage construction agreement between the city and Fisher Industries, developer of VIA Resort, to build a city-owned, public parking garage.

Here is the verbatim transcript of Aldama’s remarks before voting ‘no’ on the agreement:

Starting at the 44 minute, 33 seconds mark: “Mayor, explain my vote. Yeah, I, uh, this is a data driven organization I, uh, and I have not yet to see any data that demonstrates a need for a parking garage for the VIA Resort. Absent the VIA Resort, Glendale does not require a parking garage. Uh, our City Manager shared with us awhile back that there was some area footage taken of Westgate and the, uh, stadium area and there was tons of parking left over. There ya go. We don’t need a parking garage. Um, our resident spoke very clearly, very concise about some of the issues I wanted to, uh, talk about. Uh, there’s no competitive process. There was no selection process. We spend more time on RFPs for lower dollar amounts than the $72 and a half million dollars. And I asked the question, was that a legal way of doing business and the answer is yes. Well, I don’t believe that it is. Um, and it should be a practice that the City of Glendale hold on the RFP process or any type of procurement process. Um, this has, in my opinion, have favor written all over it and, ah, I am not in favor of building a parking garage for the VIA Resort. We don’t need a parking garage absent the VIA Resort. I vote nay.”

Let’s take apart what he said. “I have not yet to see any data that demonstrates a need for a parking garage for the VIA Resort.” That’s because the parking garage is to be a public, city owned garage for anyone visiting the Westgate area. Yes, it will also serve VIA and the Mattel Amusement Park. With a projection of $32 million dollars annually in revenue earned by the city from these two projects, it is anticipated that the garage will be in constant use with the city earning a portion of the parking fees.

It is also important to point out that as Westgate develops the last vacant parcels it will result in no or very little on-site parking. That makes the need for a public parking garage all the more essential to keep the area thriving.

Another factor Aldama refuses to acknowledge is that VIA will have at least 2,500 parking spaces on site, either underground or above ground.

Aldama goes on to say, “Uh, there’s no competitive process. There was no selection process.”

Here is a portion of the packet of information relating to this agreement that was in every councilmember’s voting meeting  agenda packet:

“The City published a Request for Qualifications (RFQ), for design-build services of a parking garage at the City-owned Black Lot, in the Arizona Republic Newspaper on December 20 and December 27, 2023. The City held a mandatory pre-submittal conference on, Thursday, January 4, 2024, at 9:00am at the City of Glendale’s Adult Center. Twenty-four (24) firms attended the mandatory pre-submittal conference. Of those twenty-four firms, four (4) firms submitted statements of qualification for the RFQ.
A selection committee was formed, and each panel member reviewed the four submittals to score each firm according to the scoring criteria provided in the RFQ. The panel scored Fisher the highest scoring firm and agreed that Fisher demonstrated the capabilities to deliver this project according to the schedule and budget outlined in the RFQ.

Again, this information was provided to Aldama in his council agenda packet. Saying that there was no process does not make it so just because he said it publicly.

Aldama accuses senior management and city council of favoritism by saying, “Um, this has, in my opinion, have favor written all over it…” That is a serious accusation that is unfounded. As The information above provided to council shows that a selection process did occur.

Lastly, Aldama says, “And I asked the question, was that a legal way of doing business and the answer is yes. Well, I don’t believe that it is.” Aldama’s belief is not fact.

Aldama’s statement should cause you to ask several questions. Did he read the material in his council agenda packet? If not, he did not do his duty to become fully informed on the issues that he was to vote upon that evening. If he did read the material, why did he reject the staff report stating that the procurement process was followed?

The answer is simple. This is election season and Aldama wishes to become the mayor of Glendale. He picks any topic that he thinks will draw a contrast between himself and Mayor Weiers. This wasn’t the issue to use this tactic.

Was there political pandering on the part of Aldama? You bet there was.

© Joyce Clark, 2024    


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