The Jake Files

April 24, 2006

Candidate Quotes on Pentz Resignation

The East Valley Trib's Chris Markham has some quotes from the candidates in today's edition:

 The Chandler city manager’s forced resignation has stirred things up in the city’s three-way race for two City Council seats. Candidates Trinity Donovan, Becky Jackson and Jeff Weninger are running for seats about to be vacated by Vice Mayor Phill Westbrooks and Councilwoman Donna Wallace, who are leaving due to term limits. (snip)

Weninger called the council’s decision “an abuse of power” and has vowed, along with incumbents Caccamo and Huggins, to push to rehire Pentz if he is elected. (more…)

April 19, 2006

Freeway Endorsed in Ahwatukee

From AZCentral.com:

 3 SE Valley mayors endorse freeway in Ahwatukee

Betty Beard
The Arizona Republic
Apr. 20, 2006 12:00 AM

The mayors of Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert on Wednesday endorsed construction of the South Mountain Freeway in Ahwatukee Foothills, an action likely to irritate freeway opponents and many residents of the isolated Phoenix community.

Chandler Mayor Boyd Dunn, Mesa Mayor Keno Hawker, and Gilbert Mayor Steve Berman issued a joint statement calling the freeway "a critical part of our regional freeway system" that can cut travel times across the Valley.

"It's a key element in our regional transportation system and will alleviate a lot of traffic on our arterial streets," Dunn said in an interview. (snip)

Dunn, who said he has always supported the South Mountain portion, called it unfortunate that Phoenix allowed homes to be built in the alignment. Chandler did not allow such construction along Loop 202, he noted.

The proposed 22- to 26-mile freeway, which would run along Pecos Road and the southern end of Ahwatukee Foothills, has drawn opposition from residents there because at least 217 homes would have to be razed. Opponents also cite noise and pollution.

The Amazing Jake has two observations on this story.  (more…)

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.

April 11, 2006

Railroading by the Chandler City Council

So, I never made it to the public ass reaming performance appraisal for the Chandler City Manager, Mark Pentz, which started at 3:30pm today yesterday.  It's now 12:30am, and it's still going on, live, on the public access channel.

I set the DVR to record the meeting so I could watch it later.  Flipping channels around 10pm I found what I thought was the re-broadcast.  I quickly found the proceedings to alternate between interesting, in the councilmembers' focus on minutiae of how quickly Mr. Pentz responded to requests, and mind-numbingly dull.

Being the multi-tasker I am, I decided to check out YouTube, which I've heard much about, but haven't really checked out yet.  That was MUCH more entertaining.  Some videos that were MORE entertaining than Martin Sepulveda's head spinning around included:

Interpretation of a Fallout Boy Song  (hysterical!)

Pachelbel's Canon – Guitar Style  (this guy's talented)

Urban Ninja  (guy with a serious Spiderman complex)

Art-Rash Megamix Video  (hilarious!)

So, I started paying a bit more attention to the council meeting when Mark Pentz's attorney addressed the council.  This is apparently, according to some of the comments, NOT the rebroadcast – they're actually still there LIVE after midnight. The attorney seems like a pretty bright and competent guy, in contrast to the councilmembers who are asking dumb questions about the meaning of the severance agreement the attorney proposed in the event a termination is voted.  Right now, Councilmember Orlando is holding forth on points that Mr. Pentz has "acknowledged" mishandling, and is cross examining him like an attorney in a courtroom.  Now he's asking Mr. Pentz about his professional relationships with prior city council members (in other cities he's managed).  A few minutes ago, Mr. Pentz's attorney was explaining the difference between dismissal for no reason (at-will) and for a BAD reason (which can be litigated in an at-will state).  It seems to me that holding someone accountable, under the cloak of a performance appraisal, for actions taken prior to being employed with the current organization, would be a BAD reason to fire someone.  Orlando is an idiot, and the City deserves to get sued if they fire Pentz.

This is tedious.  I'm going to bed.  Good luck Mr. Pentz, I hope you have a job tomorrow.

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