The Jake Files

April 18, 2006

Why I Will NOT Vote for Becky Jackson

Becky Jackson will not get the Amazing Jake's vote for the following reasons:

1.  Her continuing involvement with the Chandler Chamber of Commerce presents a clear conflict of interest for a sitting City Councilmember.

2.  She avoids taking clear leadership positions.  See links here and here.

3.  Ms. Jackson is unresponsive to the public, which seems to be (at least for me) a deal breaker for a City Councilmember. 

1.  Ms. Jackson is the President and CEO of the Chandler Chamber of Commerce.  This is an important position with the mission of promoting Chandler business.  Ms. Jackson has made it clear in the press (I apologize, but I cannot find the link to the article, but it was in the past month or so.  If anyone can send me the link, I will update the post.) that she will NOT resign this position if she is elected to the city council.  This presents a clear conflict of interest.  Imagine that a member of the Chamber of Commerce has a conflict that is being discussed in Council.  Ms. Jackson would have to recuse herself, leaving the possibility of a 3-3 tie vote.  Given the matters that come before the Council, can anyone imagine this not happening frequently?  How effective of a Councilmember can she be if she must continually recuse herself?

2.  Ms. Jackson seems to be the Hillary Clinton of Chandler politics.  She seems to want to take the middle of the road position on all issues, or reveal as little as possible on her view of the issue. 

Ask yourself, "What does Becky Jackson stand for?"  Does this help?  Does it tell you what her priorities are? 

Read her responses to the Riggs Residents for Retail Diversity questionnaire that was sent out to all candidates.  Compare her answers to those of the other candidates.  Does she seem to be giving a full and complete answer on her views?

Regarding the Mark Pentz firing/resignation, Ms. Jackson had the following comment:

 Jackson, who has backing from three of the four Pentz detractors on the council, declined to weigh in on the public review and ouster, saying it should have been done in private.

"I wasn't the one making the decision; it's difficult to make further comment," said Jackson, president and chief executive officer for the Chandler Chamber of Commerce. "If I'm elected, I will make sure we select the best (city manager) candidate to serve the city of Chandler."

Asked whether she would try to lure Pentz back to the post, Jackson said, "Should Mark Pentz desire to reapply, I would accept his application with an open mind."

What matter of consequence has Becky Jackson stood up to be counted for?

3.  My comments on responsiveness are completely personal and anecdotal.  In my personal experience, Becky Jackson does not return calls or emails asking for an opinion (related to point #2?), both in her capacity as Candidate and her capacity as President/CEO of the Chamber of Commerce.

Prior to hosting this website, the Amazing Jake was a regular person with an actual name, address, and phone number.  And when the community struggle with the developer of the proposed Wal-Mart at Riggs and Arizona Avenue was raging, I attempted to contact Ms. Jackson at the the Chamber of Commerce, to determine if the Chamber had an opinion as to the viability of a Wal-Mart at that location, and the appropriateness of the location, given conflicts with the Chandler General Plan.  I left 3-4 phone messages and 3-4 emails.  Any guesses as to Ms. Jackson's response?

On April 11th, I sent emails to Becky Jackson, Trinity Donovan, and Jeff Weninger requesting their positions on the Mark Pentz issue with the City Council.  Trinity Donovan responded here, and Jeff Weninger responded here.  Because of my previous experience with Ms. Jackson, I wanted to make sure she received my email, so I sent them to both her campaign email address and her Chamber email address.  Ms. Jackson's response is here.

So, I won't be voting for Ms. Jackson.  I was already planning on voting for Jeff Weninger, so this means I'm officially throwing my support to Trinity Donovan as well.


March 9, 2006

Chandler AZ Mayoral Election Endorsement

In my previous post on endorsements for the 3 city council openings, I listed my primary concerns for choosing elected officials: (more…)

Chandler City Council Endorsements

I sent in my mail ballot earlier this week.  Before getting into who I voted for and why, let me explain what I’m looking for in a candidate.

I expect elected city officials to be aproachable, responsive to community concerns, and unafraid to take a stand on an issue that may not be popular.  Taking a position on an issue without knowing how the electorate will respond is the mark of a leader – I set the agenda, and this is why you should support that agenda.

The issues I care about at the local level are: protection of private property rights (a man’s home is his castle, after all), low property and sales taxes, policies that promote economic expansion and job creation, road policies that promote low traffic congestion, and public safety in the form of adequate police and fire protection.

The quick-witted reader might notice that I listed character traits ahead of policy positions.  That wasn’t an accident. (more…)

March 8, 2006

Party Affiliation in Chandler Mayoral and Council Race

The last Chandler City Council meeting before Tuesday’s election was a showcase of political sniping.

It started when Councilman Martin Sepulveda questioned Mayor Boyd Dunn’s public appearances with Republican congressmen and called for an elected officials’ “code of conduct.”

Sepulveda, who is backing Dunn challenger Phill Westbrooks, said, “It’s not my intent to browbeat,” but challenged Dunn’s Feb. 20 appearance with U.S. Sen. John McCain on the city’s cable channel and mailing, at city expense, invitations to a public session with U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake in November.

Today’s story in the Arizona Republic by Edythe Jensen highlights the tension on the current council. 

It also helps answer a question that I, and several people looking for information on this site, have been trying to find out:

Search term:  “Westbrooks what political party is he” – 7 hits

Search term:  “Boyd Dunn Chandler, AZ Republican” – 13 hits (more…)

March 7, 2006

Chandler Mayor Campaign Update

Ah, spring…  It must be the smell of mud being slung through the air that makes the Amazing Jake go all tingly inside.  Things are getting nasty between Dunn and Westbrooks, but more about that later.

I’m going to follow the basic outline I used in summarizing the council races, but in the interest of getting to the good stuff, I won’t go into as much detail. 

For information on the candidates’ responses to a questionnaire from Riggs Residents for Retail Diversity, click here(more…)

March 3, 2006

Boyd Dunn Direct Mail – Chandler Mayoral Election

Well, I haven’t posted on the mayoral candidates yet.  But I did get Boyd Dunn’s direct mail piece in my avalanche of campaign literature today, so now’s as good a time for a review as any.

Mayor Dunn has a lot more money than the other candidates, and his direct mailer demonstrates he’s been spending some of that money.  The colors are vibrant and appealing, and the layout is uncrowded and easy to read.  He also seems to understand the priorities of constituents in the order of his bullet points. (more…)

March 2, 2006

Jeff Weninger Direct Mail – Chandler City Council Elections

The Amazing Jake’s mailbox has been overflowing of late with direct mail pieces from various candidates.  I posted on some prior direct mail here

Jeff Weninger has been busy.  Yesterday I received the exact same piece he sent a few weeks ago.  That’s right, the one where he took up a third of one side with a picture of him slouching with Senator McCain, not wearing a suit.  The same one that listed “No service fee increases” and “No property tax increases” at the end of a long list of generic priorities like “Provide Police and Fire with every resource needed to fully safe guard the citizens of Chandler.”  That’s great Jeff.  We all want increased police and fire protection, including me.  What I want to know is, HOW are you going to provide that, especially since you’re also promising no service fee increases and no property tax increases. (more…)

February 22, 2006

Roundup on Chandler AZ City Council Information

OK Chandler voters, the Amazing Jake has been busy running down information on the upcoming city council election (March 14th).  If you aren’t interested in local politics, this will be a long post, so skip down to something else.  I suggest the Feb 21st post on the President threatening to veto a congressional bill limiting the sale of US ports to a UAE company. 

In any case, let’s start with the background.

Click here for campaign basics, from the City of Chandler website.

Click here for campaign finance reports.  Dry reading, but informative.

Click here for background on the southeast Chandler Wal-Mart fight, and here and here for responses from the candidates to a questionnaire sent to them by Riggs Residents for Retail Diversity, the local residents’ advocacy group.  More questionnaire responses will be posted as the election approaches.

From the Arizona Republic, background information on each candidate.

Followup article in the Chandler edition of the Republic.

Finally, three candidates responded to a questionnaire from the Center for Arizona Policy on issues more related to social issues than local city policy.

All caught up?  Well then here are my impressions for City Council.  For each candidate, I will list their campaign cash on hand, as of January 31st (according to their filings on the City of Chandler website – link is above).  I’ll also list campaign contributors of interest.  I’m not peddling scandal here – just taking note of those who contribute whom I recognize for one reason or another, or political action committees that I find interesting.  I’ll also list prominent endorsements, positions on issues, and any other notable items.

Here we go… (more…)

February 9, 2006

Wal-Mart Jib Jab Movie

Filed under: Economy & Business,Wal-Mart — Amazing Jake @ 7:33 am

A friend sent me the link to this Jib Jab spot lampooning “Big Box Mart.”  Whatever your thoughts on Wal-Mart, this is, as usual for Jib Jab, priceless.

February 7, 2006

Wal-Mart’s Maryland Problem

Filed under: Economy & Business,Wal-Mart — Amazing Jake @ 10:53 pm

A retail industry association has filed lawsuits challenging the newly enacted Maryland law, which requires employers of over 10,000 employees to spend at least 8% of their payroll on employee healthcare. 

Paul Blank, campaign director for stated, “Today’s lawsuit is just another attempt by Wal-Mart and its allies not to pay its fair share for health care in the state of Maryland and elsewhere. The Maryland attorney general has already said Fair Share Health Care legislation is in compliance with the law.

“Wal-Mart would be better off changing its behavior and living up to its

responsibilities. States should be applauded, not sued, for trying to address the fact that in every state where we have data Wal-Mart is costing taxpayers millions by having more employees on taxpayer-funded health care than any other employer.”

What is the “fair share” of healthcare? 

I’m sorry, I missed the part where employers were obligated to pay any kind of benefits at all.  Maybe I haven’t been paying attention and the free market was suddenly replaced by, er, the not free market.

Did I miss something?

I am by NO means a supporter of Wal-Mart.  In fact, I find Wal-Mart’s monopolistic, bullying behavior to be reprehensible.  I’ve been personally involved in efforts to keep a Wal-Mart Supercenter from locating close to my neighborhood (so far, so good, but I’m not letting my guard down just yet).  I think Wal-Mart’s business practices, while good for the stockholders, are bad for neighborhoods and local economies.  I think it’s true that many Wal-Mart workers are forced to get on state assistance because they can’t afford insurance through the company.  I also think it’s true that that statistic is probably over reported and exploited by Wal-Mart opponents.

But you know what?  In a free market, Wal-Mart is free to pay their workers no more than the minimum wage, if that’s what they want to do.  They’re not obligated to pay benefits, if that’s what they want to do.  And employees and applicants are free to either work at Wal-Mart, if they think their compensation is fair, or NOT to work at Wal-Mart if they don’t.

For my part, I’m free to shop at Wal-Mart, if I believe their low prices are worth the crappy merchandise and I’m unconcerned with the balance of trade with China.  I’m free to shop at Wal-Mart if I enjoy the sight of empty nearby businesses blighting my neighborhood.  I’m free to shop at Wal-Mart if I believe their employees are happy, well-treated and compensated fairly.  I’m free to shop at Wal-Mart, if I think the ability to find a George Forman grill, a Macarena CD, and an 88-cent chrome plated piece of crap is worth having at 3:30 in the morning, after dodging garbage from RV campers in the parking lot. 

And I’m also free to shop somewhere else.  Which I do.  That’s the beauty of a free market.

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