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.

There are two “Breakthru/Through” entities co-existing in Glendale and one is certainly not like the other. The only similarity they share is that both are religious ministries with very similar names. It makes for a fascinating political dynamic in Glendale’s current election cycle.

One entity is called “Breakthru Ministries.” In its last hosting of an event in the city’s downtown Murphy Park it bore the responsibility for the trashing of one of the computer rooms in Glendale’s City Hall resulting in over $50,000 worth of damage. Apparently, a group of youth attendees of the event gained access to enter city hall from “Breakthru Ministries” representatives. There appeared to be no adult supervision of these youth resulting in the damage. It is my understanding that eventually the insurance carrier that the city required “Breakthru Ministries” to have for the event paid the claim.

 “Breakthru Ministries” also hosts religious services every Sunday morning at the Glendale Youth Center in the Barrio. It is my understanding that they pay no rent for the use of this city facility for their Sunday church services. That is a violation of federal laws regarding the separation of church and state. A non-profit, including churches, may rent government facilities but a governmental entity may not sponsor church activities by allowing the use of a facility for free. It is my understanding that such is the case with “Breakthru Ministries.”

“Breakthru Ministries” has an ally in Councilmember Jamie Aldama. Aldama and disgraced former Councilmember Sammy Chavira each donated from their council budgets to sponsor the event cited above that occurred in Murphy Park resulting in $50,000+ worth of damage. It appears that Councilmember Aldama continues to support this organization. On his Facebook Reelection page Aldama publicizes and endorses a recent “Breakthru Ministries” event. It was held on February 25, 2018 at the Glendale Youth Center, 5401 W. Ocotillo Road. Did the organization pay the city to use this space for their event in a city facility? Does the organization pay rent to use the Youth Center for its Sunday church services? Did Councilmember Aldama financially support this event by making a contribution from his council budget (your money, your tax dollars at work) to support this event?

Aldama is up for reelection for the Ocotillo district council seat this year and it looks like he needs all the friends he can get including dubious ones such as “Breakthru Ministries.”

Now, the other “Breakthru/Through” is an entirely different entity. It is called “Breakthrough Life Church.” It was founded by Emmanuel Allen and his wife, Belinda.  They also founded the “Roots Recreational and Learning Center, Inc.”  Allen’s “Roots” program is located at the city’s O’Neil Park Recreation Center and coincidentally, he also hosts church services at the Glendale Youth Center.

The “Roots” program at O’Neil Park was a successful bid selected by the city to provide programming for children living in a low-socio demographic area of Glendale. It appears to be highly successful and the O’Neil Recreation Center, a city facility, is always packed with children after school. The feedback from area residents is that the kids love the activities available at the center and Emmanuel Allen who is there every day.

One glaring difference between the two “Break Throughs” is that “Breakthrough Life Church” does indeed pay rent to the city to use the Youth Center for its religious services. Another, more subtle difference, is that “Breakthru Ministries” seems to feed off the community while “Breakthrough Life” seems to feed the community. While subtle, it is important to note.

What makes these two entities so intriguing is the political dynamic associated with each. Emmanuel Allen happens to be Jamie Aldama’s opponent in this year’s Ocotillo council district election. What is interesting to note is two days after a recent City Council Executive Session, Aldama’s campaign manager, Chuck Foy, filed a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA) for all correspondence between any city personnel and Emmanuel Allen. Did Aldama commit an Open Meeting Law violation by sharing information he learned during the Executive Session with his campaign manager Chuck Foy? Why the FOIA? Aldama, through his surrogate campaign manager, appears to be mining for any possible political dirt.  

As you can see, in this case, one thing is not like the other. The same can be said of the two candidates for the Ocotillo district council seat…one is not like the other.

Welcome to Glendale’s political season.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         


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