Campaign finance reports were due by 5 PM on Thursday, September 29, 2016. As of this posting (after 5 PM on Friday, September 30, 2016) Sammy Chavira’s campaign filing report has not been posted by the City Clerk. Why, you say? Because Sammy has not turned it in. Sammy apparently believes that the laws that everyone tries to uphold do not apply to him. It’s not terribly surprising considering his attitude toward a simple traffic ticket. He failed to appear in court and subsequently had his driver’s license suspended. In addition the Campaign for Truth and Leadership committee and Fire Fighters interested in Registration and Education PAC have not turned in their latest and now overdue campaign finance reports either. These organizations spent a considerable amount of money in support of Sammy’s reelection.

The amount of money spent on the Glendale mayoral race is truly astounding. Burdick reported spending $121,489.60 and Weiers spent $107,356.97. The total for these two races is $228,846.57 or slightly over a quarter of a million dollars. What bumped up the numbers was for the first time there were TV ads, notoriously expensive. Burdick led the way with TV ads beginning during the Republican convention in mid-July and they were run repeatedly and relentlessly until August 30, 2016, the day of the Primary Election. Weiers had no option but to run his own series of TV ads.

It appears from now on a person should not consider running for mayor in Glendale unless he or she can amass a war chest of a minimum of $100,000. That will put many would-be candidates out of the race. It’s a shame that it has come to that.

There could be as many as four aspirants in the 2020 election for mayor. Many suspect that former Councilmember Yvonne Knaack still harbors ambitions. Add to that Councilmembers Turner, Tolmachoff and Aldama, all of whom seem to be jockeying for a run. Throw in a dash of former Assistant City Manager and major player in the Burdick failed contest, Julie Frisoni. During the election season some voters received a survey call asking for a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Julie Frisoni. Many considered it strange since she wasn’t running. It seems she may be preparing for a political future and could decide to run against Lauren Tolmachoff for the Cholla district seat or perhaps…gasp…mayor. A Cholla city council seat  seemed a far more likely proposition if Burdick had won the mayoral contest but despite the outcome Frisoni and her backers may decide to give it or a mayoral race  a try in 2018.

In the other races more modest sums were spent: Vice Mayor Ian Hugh spent $26,815.31; Councilmember Ray Malnar spent $11,696.13 and I spent $11,489.70. Collectively that amounts to $50,001.14. However, we do know from Sammy’s previous campaign report that he had already spent $57,905.98 and we will await seeing what shows up in his overdue report. So far, the collective total for council races is $107,907.12. Anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000 is a typical amount that is usually spent on a Glendale city council race. In its previous campaign report, The Campaign for Truth and Leadership spent $45,218.56 (donated to it from the United Food Workers). The committee is now terminated. The entire amount was not spent on pro Burdick and pro Chavira mailers or anti Weiers or anti Clark mailers (about $30,000). Some of the funds (about $15,000) was spent in support of Larkin and Andrade.

Let’s total what we know has been spent in Glendale’s elections per the latest submitted campaign finance reports. Two candidates spent $228,846.57 on the mayoral races; $107,907.12 was spent on the 3 city council races; and another $30,000 was spent by an Independent Committee. That totals $336,753.69. I suspect Sammy’s missing report will show additional expenditures of about $20,000 bringing the total spent in this round of Glendale elections to somewhere in the neighborhood of $350,000. That’s a surprisingly large amount of money to spend in a Glendale election cycle and has never occurred before.

I don’t have an answer to this escalation of political spending. A friend suggested that perhaps there should be a cap of maybe $50,000 for a mayoral race and $20,000 for a council race. It’s intriguing. It would cause the candidate to spend wisely and effectively. This person believes it would force candidates to have more interaction with voters and perhaps more reliance on social media which costs relatively nothing. What’s your take on the state of Glendale races?

© Joyce Clark, 2016          


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