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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

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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 the last blog of this series I have to throw Mayor Weiers’ opponent, Michelle Robertson, into the mix. The minimum number of signatures needed to become a mayoral candidate is 1,267. She submitted a little over 2,300 signatures.

The County Recorder invalidated a substantial number of them. I don’t know exactly how many but it was a bunch. In addition, approximately half of dozen of Robertson’s circulators presumably admitted to Robertson’s attorneys that they had done some creative writing and had filled out sheets with bogus information. Her defense team, once they knew that Weiers’ attorney was preparing to call these circulators as witnesses, agreed those signatures were no good and withdrew them. When the dust settled Ms. Robertson had only 57 more signatures than the minimum of 1267 needed.

The same convicted felon that collected 43 signatures for Bryce Alexander also collected signatures for Ms. Robertson. I believe he collected in the neighborhood of 65 to 70 signatures. Invalidation of him as a circulator was as important to the Weiers campaign as it was to mine. Again, I remind you neither Weiers nor I prevailed on getting the convicted felon’s petition sheets invalidated as the judges ruled he had all of his civil rights restored and was a valid circulator.

The same paid circulator, the convicted felon, worked for both campaigns and signed the back of these 2 petition sheets. The yellow highlighting and notations are mine. I erased the photos and ask you to figure out which one is Robertson’s and which one is Alexander’s. They are eerily similar, aren’t they?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another paid circulator signed the back of these two petition sheets. Which is Robertson’s and which is Alexander’s? They seem to be identical.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I bring all of these anomalies up for a reason. There are questionable practices being performed by some petition gathering companies and in turn, by the candidates themselves who knowingly submit questionable signatures.

When a local candidate for office turns in petition sheets to the city’s clerk, the only function of the city clerk is to certify that enough signatures have been turned in. The clerk’s office does not validate signatures. Most candidates don’t know this and therefore, don’t check their opponent’s signatures for the required number of signatures as valid. Some of us do. I did.

When a candidate believes the opponent does not have enough valid signatures the only recourse is to file a suit in Superior Court. That is the mechanism that requires the county recorder’s office to check and to validate or invalidate signatures. But it is more complicated than that. The candidate challenging signatures for validity must list every sheet number, line number and reason for challenge for each signature being questioned. The county recorder does not and will not check every signature. It will only check signatures identified by the complainant. I found somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 signatures I believed to be invalid. The county recorder agreed that 43 of those were invalid.

Another aspect of collecting signatures is the use of petition signature gathering companies. A few are reliable and honest but there are others that are not. The unreliable ones will hire any warm body willing to do the work and often do not check backgrounds. That’s how we get convicted felons going door to door to collect signatures…amid the most unusual event in our country’s history…a pandemic. I doubt that the paid circulators wore masks, gloves or social distanced when going door to door, offering the same pen for people to use when signing the petition. How many signers were put at risk? We’ll never know.

The less reputable petition companies do not validate the signatures that are collected. Why would they? In today’s market, a candidate must pay from $1.00 to $3.00 per signature. If the company had to strike invalid signatures before submitting them to the candidate, it would eat into their billing to the candidate. Some candidates have paid for sheets that are garbage…filled with invalid signatures.

The petition signature gathering process has been corrupt for years by practices such as these. That is why we see 40 or 50 challenges in court per election cycle. These practices are not conducive to good government. Filing and defending suits in court for suspected petition wrong doing are expensive and clog the courts diminishing their ability to deal with legitimate cases.

 Alexander and Robertson used paid circulators to go door to door during the worst pandemic this country has ever experienced. To pursue their goals of getting on the ballot they were willing to put the public’s health during CoVid 19 at risk.

Particular to my challenge is the fact that Mr. Alexander never took the stand on his behalf to swear that he was, in fact, the circulator of the challenged petitions. He can state publicly, now that the challenge has been decided, that he did circulate those petitions. How can you believe that what he may say now is not just political expediency? One can say anything when one doesn’t have to swear to it in court. There will always be this little, grey cloud of doubt hanging over him. It should cause everyone to consider his ethics.

Mr. Alexander has this quote as a part of his banner on his Facebook page, “I am a champion of truth. I hate lies. That means I tick people off when they repeat political lies.”

Oh really?

You should judge Mr. Alexander’s declaration in the light of his quest to get on the ballot…any way possible.

P.S. On May 7th the City of Phoenix announced that for its November, 2020 election it will require candidates to use online petition signature gathering. See here:https://patch.com/arizona/phoenix/city-phoenix-launches-new-online-candidate-nomination-petition-process . Will this action remove some of the corrupt practices currently in place?

© Joyce Clark, 2019         

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 am writing this particular blog on Tuesday, May 5, 2020. As of this date I had already challenged the validity of some nominating petition signatures of my presumptive opponent for the Yucca district city council position, Bryce Alexander, in Superior Court. I did not win the case and so, I appealed to the state Supreme Court. It has not yet been decided and I may not know their decision for several more days. Whether I win or lose at the Supreme Court level, once the decision is made I will post this blog.

I want to share the under belly, the nefarious side of signature gathering for nominating petitions. There are as many petition gathering companies in Arizona as the number of fingers on both of your hands. Some are very reputable…and some not so much.

I, along with many candidates throughout this state, work hard going door to door collecting the needed signatures. You can usually tell when a candidate has done so because the signatures will reflect people who all live on the same street. For example, I went door to door on several streets so I have an entire sheets that have signatures from people who live on those streets.

 I started to collect signatures immediately after I filed to run last winter. I had already gathered the minimum number of signatures needed to file when Covid 19 hit. Just like any other candidate I wanted to obtain the maximum number of signatures (which is usually double the minimum amount required). Then I would have a cushion in case any signatures were declared invalid for any reason.

I did use a petition gathering company for those extra signatures. I used a person I know to be reputable and honest, especially since the person has a relative who was elected and had served in local, political office. This person knew the importance of and valued the need to obtain valid signatures. Before giving me the signatures collected, that company went through each sheet and verified the signatures and struck all those that were invalid. Being careful, I did my own verification after I received the petition sheets. I knew the signatures that I turned into our city clerk were indeed valid.

There are some petition companies out there that don’t necessarily operate in this fashion. They will hire anyone. In some instances, the petition signature gatherers may have a criminal history including felonies. These companies claim to do background checks. However if they are doing so, they are doing a lousy job of it. I am certainly not accusing but I suspect Mr. Alexander (and Michelle Robertson, a presumptive mayoral opponent) used such a company and you will understand the basis of my speculation shortly.

The minimum number of valid petition signatures required for nomination in the Yucca district is 160. Mr. Alexander turned in 210 leaving him a cushion of 50 signatures should any of his signatures be challenged. My challenge at the Superior Court consisted of some of Mr. Alexander’s petition signatures as invalid and I contended that only 134 of his signatures were valid. That was well below the 160 signatures required to get on the ballot.

The County Recorder agreed with me in part and did invalidate 42 of Mr. Alexander’s signatures leaving him with a maximum number of 168 signatures – only 8 over the minimum required to become a candidate.

The balance of my challenge would be decided by a Superior Court judge and my challenge was twofold: I contended in my suit that while Mr. Alexander signed the backs of two petition sheets (totaling 20 signatures) as the circulator, he did not witness those signatures and he was not the circulator of those sheets. On the back of a petition sheet the signer is attesting to the fact that he or she was the circulator and witnessed the signatures. When a person signs as having collected and witnesses those signatures and in fact, did not do so, those signatures are struck from the total count of signatures.

We were able to secure 3 witnesses, all Yucca district residents, who had signed the Alexander petitions and testified in court that it was not Mr. Alexander who asked them to sign the sheets and that they had never seen him before. I did not know any of the witnesses. They were not friends, acquaintances or supporters. They were principled strangers who wanted to do the right thing.

Mr. Alexander did not appear in court. He did not get on the stand and swear on the bible that he circulated those petition sheets and witnessed their signatures. Why didn’t he? The Superior Court judge ruled that the witnesses’ testimonies were not “clear and convincing” and validated those 20 signatures.

The other basis of my challenge was that 43 signatures should be declared as invalid because they were obtained by a convicted felon who had not had all of his civil rights restored thereby disqualifying him from being a petition circulator. On this issue the judge ruled that his civil rights had been restored and therefore his signature collection was also valid. This was a more of a technical issue and rested on the interpretation of previous Arizona Supreme Court decisions which apparently the Superior Court judge did not consider important enough to shape her ruling.

That is why I sit here today as I write this, waiting to hear the decision of my appeal by the Supreme Court. Bryce Alexander may end up on the ballot as a candidate for the Yucca district council seat by the skin of his teeth…8 signatures over the minimum required for nomination.

However, I want to bring up something Bryce Alexander wrote on his Facebook page on April 29th:

“Update: I have received notification that the incumbent has filed a notice to appeal the ruling that the petitions signed by voters was valid.

I do not yet know the basis for the appeal, nor do I wish to speculate on the motivation of Joyce Clark to drag this out at this time. Time will reveal and clarify her intentions.”

Mr. Alexander cannot possibly be as ignorant or uninterested in his fate as he portrays himself to be in this post. He had two attorneys from a very pricey law firm representing him in Superior Court. It would have been a dereliction of their duty to not inform their client of the action and my basis for challenging the validity of his nominating petition signatures.  By the way, I wonder who paid those high priced attorneys? And how much was their fee?

For the record, my campaign is paying my attorney’s fees. Unfortunately, we won’t know the answers about his campaign finances until after July 15, 2020, when the next campaign filings are due. Early ballots will have already been mailed out to voters and the Primary occurs two weeks later on August 4, 2020. So much for a timely full disclosure. Perhaps Mr. Alexander will be willing to share that information on his Facebook page.

Of course he knew my motivation in that I was challenging on the basis that he did not personally circulate those two sheets and that a convicted felon who may or may not have had his civil rights restored circulated his petitions. He just didn’t want to reveal the basis for my challenge as doing so might raise some questions among his followers.

Anyone who knows me even remotely knows that I can be feisty and sometimes I have “a take no prisoners attitude.” If I had been challenged as not being the circulator after I signed the back of sheets attesting that I had, I would have been incredibly angry. I would have marched right into that courtroom, taken the stand, sworn on the Holy Bible to tell the truth and then testified that I did, in fact, circulate and sign the backs of those petitions. Yet, Mr. Alexander did not. Again, why not?

It is now late Thursday afternoon and I just learned that I lost the appeal before the state Supreme Court. I do not have the details yet. I suppose those details are irrelevant. I would be lying if I said I was not disappointed.

In my next blog on this topic, I will be sharing some of the petition sheets Mr. Alexander submitted and some that Ms. Robertson submitted. Once the petition sheets are submitted to the City Clerk, they are a public record. There’s more to this story because not all petition sheets are created equally.

© Joyce Clark, 2019         

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 never made referrals on my blog but I feel compelled to do so this time. There are two gentlemen with radically different businesses that deserve your consideration.

Upscale art comes to downtown Glendale: Bryce Alexander is a constituent of mine with a passion for the arts. To put his money where his mouth is, Bryce will be opening two art facilities in downtown Glendale.

The first is an art gallery, Adair’s of Glendale, located at 7029 N. 57th Drive. Bryce is in the process of assembling the artists and their works and is working with the Chamber of Commerce to schedule a formal ribbon cutting ceremony in late September. The galley will be open from 10 AM to 4:30 PM. After its September opening you can call the gallery at 623-444-9299. If you are an established artist and would like to contact Bryce about showing your works please call his cell at 623-845-2905.

The gallery offers high end art, dedicated to local (Arizona) artists, both established, and “discovered”. Bryce plans to create a mix from western art to abstract. He is also seeking a good sculptor or potter.

One of Bryce’s friends asked him why he is opening a high end art gallery in Glendale instead of Scottsdale, his reply was, that you don’t chase the money, you attract the money to come to you.

Bryce is hoping his upscale art gallery will catch on quickly enough that he doesn’t spend all of his retirement money before he starts showing a profit.  

The companion building, next door, at 7031 N. 57th Drive, will become an artist’s guild (Glendale Artist Guild), Bryce plans to sublet some studio spaces and have an open area for classes, receptions, or demonstrations.  As of this writing Bryce is completing the necessary paperwork to become an educational 501C3 non-profit.  

The City of Glendale has also taken the first step to bring the arts to downtown Glendale with its plans to repurpose the St. Vincent de Paul building, now city-owned, for artists. It’s been a long time coming. Destination entertainment, one of the elements sorely lacking in downtown, can be art in all of its forms from performing art to established, static art. I am excited to see the birth of an achievable vision with the downtown becoming a mix of arts, culture and unique, upscale restaurants.

Fix your floors:  Ray Malnar happens to be a Glendale councilmember.  Councilmembers tend to be retired (such as myself) or a working councilmember (such as Ray). Ray’s business is not just floor restoration but also coating garage floors, tile and grout repairs, and grout sealing and recoloring. I have discovered that Ray is a magician when it comes to cleaning, stripping, honing, polishing and sealing tile, concrete and granite. He can sand and refinish a wood floor bringing it back to life again.

Let me tell you about my experience with Ray. I have been back on city council for 7 months. In that time, I have come to consider Ray not just a peer but a friend. I admire his honesty and his dedication to public service. He demonstrates those same qualities in his business life. I decided that I wanted to tile my kitchen floor so I went to Ray for advice. Ray sat down with me and explained the pros and cons of various floor options. Until I talked to him I felt as if I was in a maze of choices, not knowing which way to go. As a result of my conversation with him, I have chosen a glazed porcelain tile that looks like Travertine and feel very comfortable with my choice as a result of Ray’s advice. I know that I will be using Ray’s service in the future.

Do you have a tile or wood floor that has seen better days? Are you so sick of its look that you are considering replacing it? Hold on. When you originally had it installed, you loved it. Love it again by calling Ray to restore it to the original look that you fell in love with. Maybe you’d like to upgrade your garage floor. Call Ray. He can do that as well or do you have granite counter tops and it’s time to reseal them? Call Ray.

You can visit Ray’s current website for more information at: www.azstoneandtilerestoration.com . But next week Ray will have a new website: http://azstoneandtile.staging.wpengine.com/ . Ray is licensed, bonded and insured. You can call him at 623-878-7788 or email him at tilemaster@cox.net.

Each of these gentlemen has a vastly different business model but each has exhibited a love for, a mastery of and a passion for what they do. Those attributes will make Bryce Alexander succeed in his new art ventures and will keep Ray Malnar busy and successful for many more years to come.

I ask that you patronize both local Glendale businesses. Tell them, “Joyce sent you.”

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

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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