AZ Rep Article Plus My Take; Big Win for Incumbents


here is a link to the AZ Republic’s review of a Jan 26 forum with the candidates.

http://www.azcentral.com/community/swvalley/articles/2011/01/26/20110126goodyear-mayoral-council-candidates-forum.html#comments

Here is my take on what happened at the PCRC forum at Tuscany on Friday.

PC Republican Club Forum Provides Big Win for Incumbents

Lord Lashes, Gibbs Gaffes, Stipp Stumbles, Osborne Obfuscates, but Overall a Yawner

The Pebble Creek Republican Club put on a real dud of a candidate forum on Friday night at the PC Tuscany theatre. With a moderator from the Goldwater Institute whose mere presence added credibility to the event, one might have expected a robust and challenging discussion of issues and positions between candidates.  Instead, only four or five questions were asked, each of eleven candidates got to answer each question with no interruption or follow up questions and with the exception of Georgia Lord, who “corrected” one of Gary Gibbs statements there was really no parley between the candidates.

Another disappointment was that all candidates sat together on the stage in random order.  For the audience, it was not clear who was running against whom.  There are three election races going on, mayor, four year council (two positions) and two year council (one position) but you could not tell from the set up who was running in what races making comparisons difficult.

The bottom line is that with the lack of any meaningful discussion of issues, without the help of better comparisons between candidates of a particular race, and with the moderators’ credentials lent to the proceedings, the PC Republican club succeeded in making this forum a big win for all the incumbent candidates due to the incumbents’name recognition and community standing as existing council people.

Georgia Lord vs Gary Gibbs.

The only meaningfull blow in the entire nearly two hour sleeper was when Georgia Lord “corrected” Gary Gibbs’ comment about Goodyear using one time funds to pay for ongoing expenses over the past 3 years when Lord said with authority;

“we ended up not having to use any of that contingency fund, we discussed it but we did not have to use it”.

When Gibbs did not respond to Lord’s “correction” Lord appeared to have had the final say and I think the audience came away thinking Lord was correct that no such reserve or contingency or one time funds have been applied.

Of course, Lord is factually incorrect in this case but I’ll bet the audience didn’t know that.  To quote the 2010 – 11 Goodyear Budget Document (GBD) in the letter from the city manager;

“The use of one-time funds is also proposed to help close the Operating Budget gap. These one-time funds, totaling approximately $5.2 million, are comprised of sources such as construction sales tax, CIP carryover budgets, transfers from PIC bonds, and unallocated fund balance from FY09/10.”

In this case, Gibbs called the spending “reserve funds” which could mean just about anything, and I don’t know exactly what Lord is referring to when she uses the term “contingency fund”.  I can’t find references to either term in the GBD.

There were a few other “highlights” mostly associated with candidates making statements primarily about financial information that was patently incorrect and in those cases pretty obvious they were reading off of prepared notes because they don’t have a firm grasp on what they are talking about.

William Stipp

Perhaps the most audacious comment came from William Stipp who tried to make the point that Goodyear really does not have much of a fiscal problem at all. He said;

“when in reality, revenues have gone down $11 mil while expenditures have gone down $13.3 mil.”  He also went on to imply that “some” were “playing games” and “excluding this and talking about that”

In order to mislead the public that there is a problem, I guess?

I have asked Mr. Stipp in an email to explain his comment and show exactly where he is getting these numbers from.  Since Stipp is a former Goodyear fireman who at age 46 is collecting disability and retirement from his former position while he sits on the Goodyear Police and Fire Retirement Commissions, perhaps this is information that is developed in the police and fire halls on Saturday nights while they complain about not getting a raise last year. I cannot figure out any scenario where there would be any basis in fact for Stipp’s statement, we’ll see what his response is.

The problem with this forum was that no one challenged what Stipp said.  Here was a perfect opportunity for even one of the incumbents to demonstrate their grasp of the public finances and the apparent lack of even a grasp of reality by one of their opponents.  But nobody said a word.  So part of the public may have come away thinking the police and firemen are right.  No big deal, forget about the fact that general fund revenues have dropped by 30% since 2008.

Joanne Osborne.

And then there is Joanne.  It would be comical if it was not so depressing that this is someone who is spending our tax dollars.  She admitted she muffed her opening statement, then she said the following, which like Stipp, tries to diminish the seriousness of our city’s financial situation, but instead of coming from a 46 year old pensioner living off the public dole it is from a sitting council person!  Osborne said;

“in the past couple of years, Goodyear’s operating budget has been about $54 mil in revenues and expenditures of about $53 mil in revenues” (I assume she meant $53 mil in expenditures)
“and therefore we have had a $ 1 mil surplus, YIPEE!”   (her words, not mine, she really said YIPEE).

I’ve also emailed Osborne asking what on earth she is talking about. Goodyear has not had an operating budget anywhere near $50 mil since before 2007.  Again from the GBD;

On page 2 of the  GBD the city manager states, “The Operating Budget totals $70.8 million”.

Then of course there is the little matter of using the words revenue and expense interchangeably.  Now that’s a little scary.

Bottom Line

The bottom line in all of this is that due to the fact that there were no objections by either the moderator or any of the candidates, I would say that the incumbents built on their already solid lead, in my opinion, in this election.  The format did not help the challengers but perhaps that is exactly what the PCRC intended.  With the exception of Wendy Freeman who spoke well and seemed to have the best grasp of anyone on the current financial situation, the rest of the challengers did not do anything to help themselves either.

Sad to say, but it appears to me that it is a very real possibility that Goodyear could end up with a city council dominated by a 72 year old grandma with little more than a high school education, a re-elected council person who mixes up revenues with expenditures and a newly minted public dole double dipper if Stipp gets elected and starts collecting council person pay as well as his firemen’s pension for perhaps the next 30 or 40 years.

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16 Responses

  1. Howard,
    I do have to take expception with your prediction of my defeat and that of the other challengers. I am the one out beating the streets and meeting as many voters as I can, and am actually quite encouraged by the response. Estrella is definitely Sean Rassas country and I feel pretty confident there as well. Don’t write us off just yet. The challengers are working very hard to engage the younger voter and those that don’t normally vote, and IMHO are meeting with great success. Goodyear is more than PebbleCreek!

    Respectfully, Wendy Freeman, Candidate for the two year council seat.

  2. I saw the debate

    • Yes I saw Estrella as well
      Rassas lord lauritano bohn Gary and osborne all had great things to say I also liked campbell.
      I am looking for experience and some get up and go

  3. I was not impressed with Wendy no facts at all spent her time introducing family, too bad Sean linked to her. If he wasn’t with her I would vote for him

  4. Mr. Brodbeck, First off please don’t grade my spelling and second, please go to a hearing specialist. I noticed that you had something to say about Lord , Gibbs, Stipp, Osborne. I did not see you address the three out of four that were endorsed by Jimmy Q. Howard did you actually think that Wendy Freemans “I would like to thank the acadamy” opening statement was worthy of your kind words. {With the exception of Wendy Freeman who spoke well and seemed to have the best grasp of anyone on the current financial situation, the rest of the challengers did not do anything to help themselves either} “YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME” Howard, she had a specific question to answer and she chose to do something other. How is she qualified? I have to tell you that I really think that Rassas might of had a chance. When I vote, I vote for someone who is educated and is clearly a leader. Mr. Rassas has shown me that he has a good education however he will not get my vote. Mr. Rassas made a very poor decision that will prove to ruin his chance to win the race. First, endorsed by Mayor Cavanaugh and second is to be on the same page as the other 3. Howard, they claim that they have proven leadership well prove it. I am happy they have jobs and hobbies however that does not make a person a leader. I am sorry that Mr. Rassas made that poor choice.

    • cmullins. Thanks for your on topic comments. I promise not to “grade” them anymore.
      By the way, who is Jimmy Q?

      I like Wendy so far because I think she is grasping the financials which is not easy to do. Just look at the comments Friday of Stipp, Lord and Osborne. Wendy appears to be a hard worker too. And as the saying goes; “Good Luck is when opportunity meets preparation”.

      I do not intend to endorse anyone. I did not write about the others because none of them really said anything of consequence or that would change my opinion of them either way.

      The challengers are doomed if they don’t pick up the slack pretty soon, though.

  5. Wendy didn’t show a grasp,she did not mention one number at all in her statements……

  6. Plus check out what her position is actually with the gov, her resume is a bit puffed up…

  7. she didnt state one number at either debate
    but i heard two times her daughter owns a wine bar

    • To be fair, all the candidates mentioned their families in great detail. I felt they all spent too much time on that also but I think the moderator may have encouraged it with how he asked introduced the first round.

      And anyway, Edgar, it’s a little bit rude to bring candidates’ families into the discussion, don’t you think?

  8. Nothing wrong with owning a wine bar but it would have been nice is she knew what a CFD was, she gave a round about answer about golf courses

  9. Yes form per substance

  10. Agreed not much there Wally was going to do council mtg w the public what bout wendy

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