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POLITICAL

        A page for political announcements and events
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Candidates in Nov. 8 city election file updated spending, contribution reports


   Bob Huddleston     Donna McBride     Gilberto Mendez     Mary Kortsen     David Snider     Lisa Fitzgibbons

Other candidates had earlier filed campaign committee termination statements

Election results for all of Pinal County
To learn how your precinct voted, click above, then on Election Summary and scroll down to precinct

As of 7:05 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 17, these were the Casa Grande City Council vote totals, with two seats open:

Mary Kortsen 
7059

Donna McBride
6509

Bob Huddleston
5620

David Snider
4232

The new City Council, including Mayor Craig McFarland (who ran unopposed), Lisa Fitzgibbons (elected at the primary), Kortsen, McBride, Ralph Varela, Matt Herman and Dick Powell, will be sworn in during the Dec. 5 council meeting.

Other area preliminary election results:

(Posted Nov. 17, 2016)


As of 7:05 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 17:


In Maricopa city, with two openings, the City Council results were Julia Gusse, 6,826; Marvin Brown, 5,801; Dan Frank, 5,257 and Bridger Kimball, 4,882.


Maricopa city Prop. 415, updating the city’s 2006 General Plan, passed 12,378 to 2,712.


The Florence mayoral election was Walter Tara with 2,238 votes, defeating Tom Rankin, who received 1,505.


School boards elections saw these results:

Toltec Elementary (4 seats): Pam Long, 2,495; Dennis Callahan, 2,244; Matthew Rice, 2,241;  Maria Berecin-Rascon, 1,904; Dennis Lloyd, 1,889.

Eloy Elementary (3 seats): Paul Rodriguez, 657; Frank Acuna, 608; Anna Salazar-Ogle, 604; Dina Decker-Dixon, 531; Irene Patino, 494..

Florence Unified (3 seats): Katrina Castillo, 8,997; Bob Dailey, 8,267; Jim Thomas, 8,153; Michelle Cordes, 7,880; Stacy Gramazio, 6,913; Rose Marie Manjarres Monks, 5,488.

Casa Grande Union High School (3 seats): Nancy Hawkins, 11,712; Connie Dolezal, 11,465; Chuck Wright, 8,095; Daniel Miller, 8,028; Fred Tucker, 7,117; Ed Barbour, 6,633.

Santa Cruz Valley High School (3 seats): Elizabeth Flores, 1,286; Thomas Gil, 1,232; Richard Reyes Jr., 1,186; Linda Belloc, 1,144.


Area school districts finance propositions include:

Casa Grand Elementary School District bond issue passed 11,537 to 5,996.

Stanfield Elementary budget increase 528 no votes to 524 in favor.

Maricopa Unified budget increase passed 9,050 to 7,081.

Santa Cruz Valley High School bonds passed 1,499 to 910.

Coolidge Unified bonds passed 3,254 to 1,236.


City candidates file pre-general election contributions/spending reports

Greater CG Chamber of Commerce posts candidates' answers to questions

(Posted Oct. 14, 2016)


The Greater Casa Grande Chamber of Commerce issued this press release today:



Each of the four candidates vying for Casa Grande City Council have answered questions submitted by area citizens. 

The Greater Casa Grande Chamber of Commerce has posted these written responses on its website. 

To view the responses, click on the direct link to the candidates’ written responses HERE.

At a candidates forum, sponsored by the chamber; Golden Corridor Living Magazine and Make It Better Casa Grande held Oct. 13, the candidates addressed questions from the audience, as well.



The questions:


1. Marketing Casa Grande is important to its Economic Development. There is a current effort in the community to establish a “Destination Marketing Organization”. Its purpose would be to market and brand Casa Grande. Other communities have funded these efforts through a bed tax. Do you support such an effort? If you do support it, how would you propose the City fund and manage this effort?


2. Are there needs the City is not currently addressing? What are they and how will you work to implement and pay for them?


3. As a member of the City Council how will you balance quality of life projects with public safety needs? Would you be willing to raise property or sales taxes to meet the needs?


4. What are the top two issues facing Casa Grande over the next five to ten years and how will you help in addressing them?


5. How would you stimulate Economic Development in Casa Grande, e.g., incentives, a moratorium on impact fees etc.?


The candidate replies:


Bob Huddleston     Mary Kortsen     Donna McBride     David Snider



CG NEWS NOTE: The Make It Better -- Casa Grande website HERE has an easy-read format for the questions and answers



City candidates' after-primary statements of spending, donations
                                            

Donna McBride           Gilberto Mendez          Karl Montoya         David Snider

Lisa Fitzgibbons          Craig McFarland           Mary Kortsen        Bob Huddleston      Huddleston amended

Marcus Foerster termination      Foerster amended filing      Foerster amended
 

Ralph Varela  (Varela is not running this cycle but has a permanent committee, requiring a report)

UPDATE: 4 p.m., Oct. 24: Marty Schmidt has now filed his required contributions/spending report that was due on Sept. 29. City Clerk Remy Miller said Schmidt paid a $140 penalty for the late filing.

His report is HERE


(Sept. 6 announcement)


Several ways to track Tuesday night's Casa Grande election results

(Posted Aug. 29, 2016)


Casa Grande City Clerk Remy Miller issued this announcement today:


Please visit the Pinal County Recorder/Elections Departments for City of Casa Grande Primary Election – August 30, 2016.  

The link is: https://www.electionwareresults.com/webResults/summary-207.html and it is already up so interested parties can bookmark it.  The city/town candidates and issues fall near the bottom as you scroll.  

You can also use the drop-down menu to select “Mayor City of Casa Grande” and “Council Member City of Casa Grande.”

Note that Pinal County website will be updated on a regular basis, with the understanding that they are unofficial results. 

Also, per the city’s PIO, the city of Casa Grande website homepage -- http://casagrandeaz.gov -- will contain a slider that simply links to the actual county recorder results page: https://www.electionwareresults.com/webResults/summary-207.html.  A slider on our local TV channel (Cox channel 11), website, and social media will guide people to the same link.


McFarland, Montoya, Varela miss campaign financial filing deadline by a day




(Posted Aug. 26, 2016)


Friday, Aug. 26, was the deadline for City Council and mayor candidates to file their preprimary financial statements for June 1 through Aug. 18.


City Clerk Remy Miller told CG News that, "the committees that did not submit today which most likely pay a late submission (penalty) are Karl Montoya, Craig McFarland and Ralph Varela."


Varela is not running for reelection, but has a permanent campaign committee, requiring reports. His last report, Jan. 1-May 31, showed no activity.


In a message Saturday, Aug. 27, to CG News Miller said the three filed that morning.


The filing regulations, taken from this year's city elections manual, are at left.

City candidates begin filing June 1-Aug. 18 expenditures, donations reports
                              (Will be updated as reports become available; filing deadline is Aug. 26)

Marcus Foerster            David Snider                     Marty Schmidt

Donna McBride                Bob Huddleston                Mary Kortsen (AMENDED)                Craig McFarland

Lisa Fitzgibbons               Gilberto Mendez               Karl Montoya                  Ralph Varela

Peter Redwine had earlier filed a $500 limit exemption  HERE

Gary Wood, who earlier had dropped out of the City Council race  HERE

All financial reports are on the city website at http://casagrandeaz.gov/dept/clerk/political-committees/

No local vote count gathering; results will be posted on county website

(Posted Aug. 17, 2016)


The tradition of a Casa Grande city election vote count gathering at Dorothy Powell Senior Adult Center is no more.

The Arizona Legislature mandated that cities be part of a consolidated election ballot with August primaries and November general elections, replacing the previous Casa Grande municipal elections in odd-numbered years.

“This is my first consolidated election and will not do counting at Dorothy Powell,” City Clerk Remy Miller told CG News.  

“Pinal County will be doing the ballot count at their office in Coolidge and will available on their website for update on election results. The city PIO will establish a link at the city’s website.”

Miller included this announcement to local clerks from Pinal County:

“We’ll have our website updated on a regular basis, and you can do whatever you want with those results, with the understanding that they are unofficial. 

“The link is:https://www.electionwareresults.com/webResults/summary-207.html and it is already up so interested parties can bookmark it.  

“The city/town candidates and issues fall near the bottom as you scroll. You can also use the drop-down menu to select “Mayor City of Casa Grande” and “Council Member City of Casa Grande.”

 

City candidates file reports on campaign income (including donations) and expenses

(Posted July 26, 2016)


City election candidates have filed financial reports for Jan.1-May 31, showing income (including donations) and expenses.


The reports here are as posted on the City Clerk’s website at http://casagrandeaz.gov/dept/clerk/political-committees/.


Marcus Foerster and Peter Redwine had earlier filed exemption statements that they did not intend to raise or spend more than $500 during their campaigns. If $500 is exceeded, a report will be required.


-:-


Click on candidate name to bring up report:


Craig McFarland


Lisa Fitzgibbons


Bob Huddleston


Donna McBride


Gilberto Mendez  (statement of no activity)


Karl Montoya  (statement of no activity)


Marty Schmidt


David Snider



Council candidate Schmidt releases further child case statement, documents

(Posted July 24, 2016)



DPS letter


Rights restoration




City Council candidate Marty Schmidt sent this message, with documents, today to CG News:



I have attached the court paperwork dated September 14, 2015 for Case# S110CR201200174 showing the Order: Restoration of Civil Rights and that the Judgment was Set Aside.

I was released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the crime for which I had previously been convicted in the above-entitled matter, and that all Civil Rights suspended and hereby restored to me. The Order of my conviction and judgment of guilt in the above-entitled number # S110CR201200174 was Set Aside. 

I have attached a copy of the Arizona Department of Public Safety criminal history as well. The audit was challenged by myself as the information reflecting in the Pinal County Superior Court records is inaccurate. The County Attorney originally asked for a felony conviction for the spanking of my son which left bruising, jail time in the amount of (180) days, (3) years’ probation, and restitution for disposition date 07/10/2012. Up to this point, I had no previous convictions. 

I was never arrested, did not serve any jail time, and did not plead guilty to a felony. I successfully attended all court ordered classes, counseling, and served 18 months’ probation. On March 11, 2014, my 18 month probation was discharged and my offense was designated a misdemeanor. I retained parental rights of my two kids and continue to raise them here in Casa Grande with my current wife, Bekka. The kids birth mother remains in Chicago, Illinois and has once a month visitation rights, every other holiday, and splits summer vacation. That equates to approximately 75 days per year.  With the help of my attorney, we petitioned the courts to set aside my judgment and restore all civil rights. The Pinal County Attorney’s Office received no objections and the case was set aside on September 14, 2015.  

I am asking you and our Casa Grande community to please allow my family and I to move forward and continue to do great things for our family, our friends, and our community. We would like to thank everyone for your overwhelming support during this difficult time. We hope you understand why we wanted to keep this private family matter, private. It is unfortunate that overzealous journalist and a handful of residents felt as though they fully understood this case and jumped to conclusions.

 

Thank you Casa Grande,

 

Marty Schmidt

Casa Grande City Council Candidate

 

CG News response:


From: Harold Kitching 

Subject: Re: Court Paperwork from Marty Schmidt with Statement

Date: July 24, 2016 at 11:28:22 AM MST

To: "Schmidt, Marty 


This statement and documents have been posted, with updated link on home page.


Because of differences between your account of the child incident and the recollection of a law enforcement person, I will be reviewing the original Casa Grande Police Department report.


CG News statement:


(Posted July 24, 2016)


This is not some sort of vendetta against Marty Schmidt by an overzealous journalist.

My interest was aroused after reader comments on a Schmidt political posting asking questions about child abuse allegations were suddenly deleted with no explanation. 

A statement was not issued until after postings appeared on this website.

I have talked with Schmidt on only three occasions:

1. On the telephone regarding this situation.

2. Briefly during the orientation meeting for this year’s city candidates.

3. At Superior Court in Florence during the 2013 city election cycle when a judge ordered Schmidt off the city ballot because of irregularities in gathering of petition signatures. That court challenge is HERE.


Candidate Marty Schmidt responds to questions about court case

My name is Marty Schmidt and I am running for city council. I would like to set the record straight for the 2012 child neglect accusations against me. 

I divorced the mother of my two kids in 2010. The divorce was a difficult time for the kids and I was awarded primary custody with child support paid to me. The mother of the kids relocated back to Illinois after the final divorce decree was issued and I stayed in Arizona with the kids. I met my current wife, Bekka, in 2010 and she moved in six months later. We married in 2012 and just celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary a couple weeks ago. 

In 2011, I spanked my then 11-year-old son, with an open hand and on the butt. This spanking left marks that resulted in my ex-spouse reporting the issue to authorities. The spanking was reviewed and there was no initial charge. With persistence, my ex-spouse convinced the county attorney to prosecute the case. As you can understand, this left me and my current wife distraught. I never excused the spanking and I am telling you that it happened with acknowledging full responsibility. In the state of Arizona, spanking your child with an open hand is not against the law, but leaving any kind of mark with your hand is. 

I hired an attorney and spent the next four years in court fighting for what I believe was a life changing event that no one should have to endure. I was never arrested in this case and pled guilty to child neglect to avoid a longer drawn out case. The facts were clear: I spanked my son and I left a mark. I attended family counseling jointly with my son for four years, family counseling with my wife, individual counseling for myself, numerous volunteer parenting classes, and much more. 

After 18 months of no recidivism, the judge restored all my rights and the case was “set aside/expunged/dismissed” through the Pinal County Superior Court. I have no history of abuse, neglect, or criminal background. I currently still have primary custody of my two kids and I am raising them with my wife, Bekka, who treats them like they are her own. 

I hope this clarifies the mudslinging that is going around and I ask that any further questions be directed to me personally through e-mail, PM, or a phone call. My family has been dealing with this enough and we would like to continue to move forward with our lives. Keep in mind that there are two kids involved that do not understand why this rhetoric continues to go on. This is a local city election and I only want what is best for my family and Casa Grande.

As a reporter, I know that you would like to post the facts, but in this case you are only posting the charges, not the final disposition. I urge you to peel back a layer before reporting anything that may be misconstrued as fact. 

Thank you for your continued support and being a voice for our great city. 


-:-


CG News note: A court document shows a plea bargain for a guilty plea for child abuse. The above letter from Schmidt says his guilty plea was for child neglect.

CG News has sent Schmidt this email asking for clarification:

I have received your statement about your court case and will be happy to post it, but some clarification is needed.

I have a major question:

You say you pleaded guilty to “child neglect” but court document and newspaper sentencing report both indicate “child abuse.”

Which is correct? There is a major difference between “neglect” and “abuse.”

A second question is why was such a statement not issued at the time the initial comments about your case were posted on CG Chat, comments that seem to have been almost immediately deleted?

A statement at that time would have headed off much of the later flurry of negative comments.


(UPDATE: Schmidt said by telephone today, July 20, that he will be emailing CG News an explanation of child abuse/child neglect, plus attach relative court documents. He said that because of work hours it will probably be Friday or the weekend before the material is sent. Schmidt also said that he had not posted a statement when the original reports appeared on CG Chat because he thought at that time that it should be kept as a private matter.)











(Posted Jul 19, 2016)


Marty Schmidt's wife posted this today on CG Chat social media.


As stated, Mr. Schmidt's responses will be posted on this website.


Social media comments bring questions about candidate's child abuse case

(Posted July 18, 2016)


Questions have arisen on CG Chat social media as to whether Casa Grande City Council candidate Marty Schmidt was once convicted and served time for child abuse.

The original reader comment postings on social media quickly disappeared, leading people to question whether Schmidt had deleted them. 

Schmidt has not responded to any of the comments.

More postings appeared this evening.

Court records and a media report show the court proceedings took place in 2012 and early 2013, with Schmidt sentenced to 180 days in jail, ordered to pay restitution and put on probation for three years. That probation has now expired.


Two relevant court documents are HERE


The Casa Grande Dispatch court cases report on Aug. 2, 2012, includes this entry:


• Martin E. Schmidt, 41, of Casa Grande was sentenced July 10 by Judge Gilberto Figueroa to 180 days in jail and three years supervised probation after pleading guilty to child abuse. Schmidt was ordered to pay $105 monthly probation fees. The offense occurred Oct. 4. 2011.


NOTE: This is a published sentencing report. Schmidt contends that as further court hearings went on he did not spend any time in jail.



Golden Corridor Living magazine asks each city candidate:
If elected, what are your plans for Casa Grande to make it better?

The print magazine is in stores around the city. The on-line version is HERE












FINAL CANDIDATES

 A note from City Clerk Remy Miller said "Gary Wood, prospective candidate for City Council, indicated that he did not collect enough signatures to submit his nomination petition."
Petitions required a minimum of 179 valid signatures of registered voters. 
"Also Jack Dixon indicated that he did not pursue collecting signatures to run for council."
Miller said Dixon did not file either a $500 threshold exemption statement (collecting or spending $500 or less during a campaign) or a political committee statement, required before petitions could be circulated.


















(Posted May 23, 2016)















Councilwoman Lisa Fitzgibbons posted this on Facebook today

Marcus Foerster files $500 threshold exemption statement
      A Mesa Police officer who lives in Casa Grande, he takes out papers on May 19

Bob Huddleston sets up formal website for City Council campaign

(Posted May 12, 2016)


Bob Huddleston announced on Facebook today that he has set up a campaign website at http://www.huddlestonforcouncil.com/

“Special thanks to my good friend Lou Miranda for the design and engineering,” the announcement said. “Lou does web design under Harlow Winn Designs. 

“Please check out the site where you can leave me a message, request a yard sign, or even make a donation. No amount is too small (it all adds up and serves the campaign). 

“Please help me get the word out by sharing this post. Thank you for your help and support.”


Donna McBride campaign kickoff, BBQ fundraiser, May 7       click        


Four prospective City Council challengers attend orientation meeting

(Posted April 20, 2016)


Four more prospective challengers for City Council seats in the August primary came to a candidates’ orientation meeting Wednesday night at City Hall.

They are Marty Schmidt, Peter Redwine, Gary Wood and Gilberto Mendez.

The organization statements for Wood and Mendez are posted on the city’s election website and on this page.(UPDATE: Schmidt's statement of organization was posted Thursday, April 21.)

(SECOND UPDATE: Peter Redwine's $500 threshold exemption statement was post Monday, May 2.)

Candidates have to file the statements before they may circulate nomination petitions, which require at least 179 signatures of Casa Grande registered voters. The maximum that may be turned in is 357.

Monday, May 2, is the earliest day petitions may be returned to the City Clerk’s Office for verification. The deadline is 5 p.m. on June 1.

Casa Grande’s primary election is Aug. 30, with the general election, if needed, on Nov. 8.

Because of a change in state law, Casa Grande is now required to conduct elections in even numbered years instead of the traditional odd-year voting.

That makes Casa Grande’s city election a part of the state and federal ballots, pushing it toward the bottom.

The 2016 election manual, given to all candidates and posted on this page, has answers for both the public and for those running.

Three council positions are open this year. Incumbents Karl Montoya, Mary Kortsen and Lisa Fitzgibbons have filed their organization statement for reelection. Montoya and Fitzgibbons attended Wednesday nights non mandatory briefing. Kortsen was at her meet the candidate night at a different location.

Bob Huddleston, Donna McBride and David Snider had earlier filed organization statements to challenge them. All three were at the orientation.

Only one person, Craig McFarland, has so far filed his statement to run for mayor. He also attended the orientation. Incumbent Bob Jackson is not running for reelection because of term limits.


Meeting for Casa Grande city elections candidates Wednesday night

(Posted April 16, 2016) 


A presentation about the mayoral and City Council election process will be Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall, 510 E. Florence Blvd.

Candidate nomination packets will be made available that night. On following days, the packets will be available at the City Clerk’s Office in City Hall.

Three council seats are open for the primary — Mary Kortsen, Lisa Fitzgibbons and Karl Montoya.

All three have filed organization statements to seek reelection. 

Filing organization statements to challenge them are Donna McBride, Bob Huddleston and David Snider.

Mayor Bob Jackson is finishing his final term. So far, only Craig McFarland has filed to run for mayor.

An earlier elections announcement said, “Any candidate receiving a majority of the votes cast at the primary election will be declared elected to that office without running at the general election.  If not all seats are filled at the primary election, then the primary is deemed a nominating election and those candidates receiving the highest number of votes proceed to the general election. 

“The number of candidates to proceed to the general election is two times the number of available seats. For example, if two council seats are not filled in the primary, up to four candidates would proceed to the general election.”

For questions or additional information, contact Remilie Miller, city clerk, at 421-8600 or by email at [email protected]


Election deadlines and dates are:

• Earliest candidate nomination papers filing

 May 2

• Candidate nomination papers filing deadline 

 June 1

(Candidates seeking nomination for mayor and council member will be required to obtain a minimum of 179 signatures.)

• Voter registration deadline 

Primary — Aug. 1

General — Oct. 10 

• Primary election

Aug. 30

• General Election

Nov. 8


Election dates approved; Huddleston posts first campaign ad on Facebook

(Posted April 4, 2016)


The formal election dates notice is HERE


The Casa Grande City Council, meeting Monday night, formally called for a municipal primary election on Aug. 30 and a general election on Nov. 8.

Within minutes after the meeting was over, City Council challenger Bob Huddleston posted his first campaign ad on Facebook.

In the past, Casa Grande had odd-year municipal voting but the Arizona Legislature has now required that most cities hold their elections in even years, along with statewide voting, even though that pushes local voting to near the end of the ballot.

Three council seats are open for the primary — Mary Kortsen, Lisa Fitzgibbons and Karl Montoya.

Kortsen and Fitzgibbons have filed organization statements to seek reelection. Montoya has not made an announcement.

Filing organization statements to challenge them are Donna McBride, Huddleston and David Snider.

Mayor Bob Jackson is finishing his final term. So far, only Craig McFarland has filed to run for mayor.

According to the staff report accompanying Monday’s agenda item, “Any candidate receiving a majority of the votes cast at the primary election will be declared elected to that office without running at the general election.  If not all seats are filled at the primary election, then the primary is deemed a nominating election and those candidates receiving the highest number of votes proceed to the general election. 

“The number of candidates to proceed to the general election is two times the number of available seats. For example, if two council seats are not filled in the primary, up to four candidates would proceed to the general election.”

On April 20 at 6 p.m. at City Hall, the City Clerk’s Office will present an overview of the election process.

“All persons interested in running for mayor or council are invited to attend the session,” the staff report says. 

“Nomination packets will be available for distribution at this session. Thereafter, interested persons may obtain a nomination packet at the City Clerk’s Office. 

“The deadline for submitting nomination packets will be June 1 at 5 p.m. 

“Candidates seeking nomination for mayor and council member will be required to obtain a minimum of 179 signatures.”

Under an agreement with the city, also approved Monday night, voter registration and election services

will be handled by the Pinal County Recorder’s Office and county Election Department.

The Recorder’s Office will handle early voting for both elections.

According to the staff report with the agenda item, Casa Grande currently has 12,610 permanent early voters.

The City Clerk’s Office has budgeted $38,700 for the elections.






(Posted April 4, 2016)


Bob Huddleston posted this advertisement on Facebook tonight, shortly after the Casa Grande City Council authorized the city primary election for this Aug. 30 and the general election for this Nov. 8.

Bob Huddleston, former police chief, files for seat on City Council
            Statement of organization

Donna McBride, veteran of many CG boards, files for City Council seat
              Press release           Statement of organization

Councilwoman Lisa Navarro Fitzgibbons files for reelection 
              Press release           Statement of organization

Councilwoman Mary Kortsen files for reelection
          Press Release          Statement of organization

McFarland meet and greet, Feb. 23, 6-7:30 p.m., 9057 N. Bobwhite Lane, CG. RSVP to Lynne at 605-321-6224

Powell won't run for Casa Grande mayor, he says during council meeting

(Posted Feb. 16, 2016)


You can watch the video of Powell's statement during council reports HEREclicking on Item N.  Powell is the fourth speaker.


Councilman Dick Powell will not run for mayor, he told the City Council at the end of Tuesday night's meeting.

He said it was partly because of the amount of money it would take, partly the amount of work involved and partly because he wants to tend to his family business.

"I know there's been speculation about whether I'm going to run for mayor or I'm not going to run for mayor," Powell said. "I want to address that, but I kind of want to go back a little bit on how I first got on council.

"I'd been on the high school board for eight years and I kind of thought, OK, I've done my duty in public service and I'm probably free to go from then on. The council called me up, they had a vacancy, one of my friends was getting off and so they thought I should be on it. So I went ahead and got my arm twisted and got on the council and I've been on it for five different elections."

Being on the council is "an addictive process," Powell continued. "It's not a lake, it's a river, and thing you're working on flow on down through different councils, so you kind of don't want to give up a lot of times."

Powell said he has "never really thought of myself as a politician — which a bad word now, by the way, I think everybody knows that.

"We're not politicians. We're community representatives. And this is the most pure form you have, because as Matt (Herman) has mentioned before, we see our constituency at the post office and the grocery store. I had one come over today and wanted me to get in the car and go and ride. They come over and take you and show you something, so I think it really works well."

Powell said he gave considerable thought about whether he really wanted to be mayor.

"The more I thought about it," he continued, "I became kind of concerned because as Mayor Bob (Jackson) can tell you, there's a lot of ribbons to cut, there's a lot of meetings to go to and lot of speeches to make. And a large part of it is being a moderator in keeping things going.

"I thought maybe I'd prefer to be the outspoken council person."

Powell added that, "We have a store that's 65 years old this year and it's, quite frankly, been challenged pretty well and threatened by the three big stores that have come into the community, so I wouldn't be able to give full time probably to that process that I'd need to."

Powell said he has been self-funded each time he ran for council "because I didn't want to have any kind of strings attached or any feeling that I was obligated to somebody because they donated money to my campaign. 

"We've kind of moved into a newer era, which this is going to be a lot of money in this election. The first report from one of the announced candidates (Craig McFarland for mayor) was $17,000 gathered up. And I think I got my first one (election) for $300 or something like that. So it's kind of the price of poker is too high for me."


(Scroll down to next item for McFarland's campaign contributions statement.)


Powell said he hopes that someone in addition to McFarland runs for mayor, "because you don't want it (based on) the most money raised. You want it to be a decision made by the community and be the person elected and not just a coronation. So I'm hoping somebody will step up and tackle that."

Powell said he thought of what was important to himself "and I thought, you know, as a councilman I've been unencumbered because nobody has a string on me for anything.

"I love to represent the citizens, I have no special-interest contacts, do no special favors, no quid pro quo as exists sometimes. And I think it's been really fun to just do it for the best interests of the community, and that's how I always gauge my votes."

Powell said he had been told recently that he's probably the strongest conservative voice on the council, adding that, "I remember when Bob Mitchell was running for mayor for a second time and we were having a panel discussion and I told him, you don't need six Dick Powells, but you need one. You need one guy on there at least so you get a broad spectrum and you get good representation.

"So with that, I'm going to stay on the council. I've got this year and two more after that and will be happy to serve and see some familiar faces."


McFarland raises $17,370, including five $1,000 donations, six for $500
               His filing, with contributor names and amounts, is HERE

McFarland meet and greet, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Feb. 11 at 1461 E. Sunset Drive, Ironwood Commons subdivision

Updated community survey released by McFarland mayoral campaign
   (as presented in Golden Corridor Living magazine)

McFarland campaign lists highlights of online community survey

(Posted Nov. 3, 2015)


The McFarland campaign issued this press release today highlighting results from his online survey:


Part of my "People" pillar includes listening to the community.  This survey is part of that effort.  Here is a recap of the main questions and your input.


Q1-Q3. Is email information and do you want me to contact you questions

 

Q4. Most important issues that you would like to see your mayor make a top priority (top 4):

• Jobs and economy

• Schools and education

• Crime and public safety

• Roads and City Infrastructure


Q5. Do you believe the rate of growth in Casa Grande has been:

• Just about right . . . 56.7%

• Too slow . . . 24.2%

• Too fast . . . 19.1%


Q6. Do you support or oppose the Phoenix Mart development?

• Support . . . 63.9%

• Oppose . . . 20.1%

• No Opinion . . . 16.0%


Q7. If available, would you or a family member use public transportation?

• Yes . . . 41.2%

• No . . . 58.8%


Q8. Do you or members of your family use city parks?

• Yes . . . 61.0%

• No . . . 39.0%


Q9. Do you or members of your family use other city facilities?

• Yes . . . 49.1%

• No . . . 50.9%


Q10. Do you believe the city is responsive to reports of cracked sidewalks, roads and other city property in need of repair?

• Yes . . . 76.9%

• No . . . 23.1%


Q11. Do you support building a Community Recreation Center

• Yes . . . 72.4%

• No . . . 27.6%


Q12. Which of the following Casa Grande events do you or your family participate in (top 2)?

• Electric Light parade … 73.4%

• Main Street … 67.9%


Campaign statements of organization
Jewell (original filing; statement has now been removed from city website)



McFarland
announces
for CG mayor

(Posted Aug. 23, 2015)


Announcement letter


McFarland survey


McFarland campaign website



Craig McFarland made this announcement today:


As you may know, Mayor Bob Jackson is retiring at the end of 2016. I have been honored by the encouragement of residents, business owners, and leaders throughout our community encouraging my run for mayor. I am grateful for the outpouring of support and I am proud to announce my candidacy for mayor of Casa Grande.

As a resident of Casa Grande, I have seen tremendous growth in our community.

In less than 15 years, our population more than doubled, resulting in new neighborhoods, new shopping centers and new amenities. Then the Great Recession hit, causing family members to lose jobs and an economic slowdown. I believe the worst is behind us and the best days of our city lie ahead. As we look to the future, our City faces new challenges and new opportunities.

Over the past few months, I have had the opportunity to hear from many of our neighbors about the challenges we face and ideas for improving the quality of life in our city. Although I haven’t had a chance to meet everyone, I am eager to hear your perspectives about how city government can best meet the needs of your family.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I know that to be the most effective mayor, I need to rely on citizens like you to guide me as we set priorities and map a path forward for our growing city. That’s why I’d like to take this opportunity to get your opinion on matters facing Casa Grande.

Enclosed is a brief survey about various issues in our community. You can also go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/casagrande if you want to complete the survey online. 

I appreciate your feedback and look forward to working together to make Casa Grande a place we are all proud to call home.


McFarland also sent out this email today regarding his candidacy:


To My Family and Friends,

I wanted to send out this email prior to my general announcement that will go out to Casa Grande registered voters on Tuesday 8/25/15.  You have all been helpful and influential in this effort to date . . . thank you!

As Nancy and I move forward with this process we are continuing to put together our election campaign committee.  If you are interested in being a part of our committee please let us know.

You may use the following link http://www.craig4mayor.com to visit the campaign website.    

 

The website includes the announcement letter and survey.  Additionally it is set up as follows:

• Home Page

• Campaign Logo

• Platform statements

• Announcement Letter

• Donation to Craig’s Campaign

• Join Craig’s Mailing List

• Contact Craig

• Take Craig’s Survey

• About Craig McFarland

• Register to Vote

Social media will be up by next week (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram).  

Finally, we will add a calendar of events by the end of August.  The events will include neighborhood meetings and local fundraising events.  Please let me know if you would be interested in hosting one of these meetings and/or events. 

Please explore the website, take the survey, register to vote (shame on you if you aren’t already), and send any feedback you may have.


 

No city elections until August and November of 2016

(Posted Nov. 30, 2014)


It's that time of year under Casa Grande's traditional two-year election cycle that the mayor, half of the  City Council members -- and those who'd like to be -- to start gearing up for the March primary.

It's not happening.

The next city elections will be the primary in August 2016 and the general election in November.

It's convoluted story, but broken down into simplest terms it basically began when city voters approved an updated City Charter in 2007.

Charter cities in Arizona are allowed to set many rules specific to them; noncharter cities operate under general state law. Casa Grande became a charter city in 1975.

The charter committee made several local changes and updates, but added that in other areas state law would apply.

The charter section on city elections is:

Sec. 5.  Time of holding primary elections.

   Primary elections shall be held at the first available calendar election date as provided by state law. Provided, however, that if state law no longer regulates or requires consolidated election dates, the primary election shall be held on the fifth Tuesday preceding the holding of the General election.

At that time, state law allowed off-year charter city elections.

No one anticipated that the Republican dominated Arizona Legislature, as part of a series of bills to gain more control over cities, would require that all municipal elections would be part of even-year state elections.

Phoenix and Tucson took the matter to court, winning in the Courts of Appeals, but a counter appeal by the state has sent it to the Arizona Supreme Court, which has not yet taken it up.

Thus, as it stands now, no Casa Grande elections until 2016.

The questions arises: Why not just change the charter?

The problem there, the City Council was told during a briefing from City Attorney Brett Wallace, is that there is not enough time to go through a charter election before what would be the March city primary. And, there would probably be a problem with the governor approving any such change, given that the city would now be in violation of state law.

"When we adopted our charter in 1975," Wallace said, "the electors at that time decided that we were going to hold our elections in March and May. And so traditionally that's what we've done. As it was originally adopted, the general election will be held on the fourth Tuesday in May. The primary election was to be held five weeks prior to that."

Even back then there was a hassle with the state law.

"State law changed and said we're going to hold our elections the third Tuesday in May and the second Tuesday in March," Wallace continued.

"And at that time, Casa Grande and a number of cities could have said, well, that's not what our charter says, so maybe we should challenge that. But the League of Arizona Cities and Towns (basically a municipal lobbying group ) said it's not really that big of a change, a week here, a week there, it's not that big of a change, so we'll go ahead and comply with state law rather than go fight that out to see when our election needs to be.

"So despite that fact that there were conflicts, we called our election on those days in March and May for the last 20 years."

When the charter revision committee was appointed during 2006, Wallace said, "one of the things we talked about was our charter says we're supposed to be holding our election the fourth Tuesday in May and the primary is supposed to be five weeks prior, but we don't do that. Why? The answer was because we've elected to follow, whether we have to or not, the provisions of state law.

"And one of the charter committee's recommendation was, well, maybe that makes sense. We should hold our elections when the state tells us to. But we'll go ahead and amend the charter, and so we did. What the voters voted on in 2007 was to change the charter to say that our elections will be held at the first available date as provided by state law. So since 2007, those dates have been the same in March and May, for elections in 2009, 2011, 2013."

Then the Legislature stepped in with the control the cities bill, signed by the governor, mandating that city elections by in August and November of even years, the same as state and congressional elections. Those elections have long ballots, pushing city elections to almost the bottom of the list.

"Our next election ordinarily would be held in March and May of 2015, now state law says we have to hold it in 2016 in the fall," Wallace said. "Not only does state law say that, but our charter now says it because of the 2007 amendments.

"People will be saying why are we doing this, why haven't we been asked to call the election, why haven't we been asked to move forward with that?" Wallace continued. "And the answer is that it's not time yet, because our charter says that we're going to hold general election on the second available calendar election date as provided in state law, as amended from time to time. So when the Legislature changed that law and said beginning in 2014 you will hold your elections in essentially August and November, our charter then requires those to be held, as well.

"And so right now, that's what we're at having to do. Unless state law is amended to move it earlier or we amend our charter. But unless we do, our charter requires our elections to be in August and November of 2016."


Council terms

So, what happens with the terms of the mayor and the City Council members?

"Well, our charter has an answer for that, too," Wallace said. "What our charter applies is that your term is a set term, but you also go until your successor is elected and qualified.

"What it means is that the mayor and council, your terms are four years, two years for the mayor, until successors are elected and qualified, which means that you're kind of stuck doing this job until someone else does it, unless you decide not to do it anymore. Your term is now extended essentially by 18 months, courtesy of the state Legislature and, of course, the change that we made to our charter.

"There are essentially two sets of terms that will have to be extended. Those people that would have been subject to an election in 2015 and those people that would have been subject to an election in 2017. (Half of the City Council stands for election every two years, as does the mayor.)

"After that, once you have your formal election cycle, when you have one in fall of '16, fall of '18, terms will be back to normal."


Phoenix and Tucson challenges

"Essentially what Phoenix and Tucson did is they went out and they challenged state law," Wallace said. "They said, listen, our elections, which is what you told us years ago, are  supposed to be in August and November but in odd numbered years, because they had the opportunity to do that and their charter states specifically that they're going to be at those times in the odd numbered years. 

"They filed an action in Superior Court and in August of this year the Court of Appeals came down and said they believe that that state law doesn't apply to Phoenix and Tucson, that they can still hold their elections, at least as of right now, when their charter says they can.



Casa Grande

"So I've been asked the question a couple of different times of what does that mean for us?" Wallace continued "Does that mean then that we can do ours in March and May? The answer is no, because we changed our charter to say we would do it in accordance with state law. Not only in accordance with state law at the time, but as amended from time to time.

"And as a result of that, unlike Phoenix, unlike Tucson we don't actually have a conflict with the election dates set forth in our charter and the state law.

"And so I get asked by a lot of people, are we following the state law?

"Well, yes and no.  

"Yes, we're following the state law but we're doing that mainly because of what our charter requires us to do. The first thing we follow is our charter when it comes to election dates. But we're also following state law.

"That case right now has been decided by the Court of Appeals, there is a petition for review pending with the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court's going to decide whether the Legislature can mandate when charter cities have their elections or not.

"Had we not amended in 2007, we'd be in the middle of an election season for 2015, but we did change it. And that's why we're not."


Change the city charter?

"It brings up a couple of questions," Wallace said.

"One of them is, what if we just amend our charter? Can we just change our charter to go back to where we were and say let's change it, let's get rid of the 'as amended by state law,' let's get rid of that provision. Can we do that?

"Well, yes. You guys as a council can refer any matter you want to the voters, whatever that might be. "Obviously, it's too late at this point to amend the charter to require an election in March and May of 2015. 

"Could you look at amending towards 2017 to say let's go back to our regular cycle, but beginning in 2017? I think so, or you could look at amending it any other way that you want it, including to say we'll go specifically in the fall of even numbered years."


A problem

"When we amended the charter in 2007, the governor took six months to approve it," Wallace pointed out.

"And under the Arizona Constitution, our charter amendment won't take effect until such time as the governor signs, saying this is in accordance with the Constitution.

"The second interesting piece is, would they even approve our charter? It depends. 

"What the Constitution says is that our charter must be consistent with the Constitution and laws of the state of Arizona. Well, when our original charter was approved with our election dates it was being consistent with state law.

"If we went out today and amended it to use different dates that would expressly conflict with state law, I think our voters could do that, they could express their will, whatever that might be as to when they prefer to have the elections, but I'm uncertain whether the governor would even sign that at this point, because we would have a direct conflict with state law."


Council reactions

"I think one of the primary reasons that we wanted to be in odd years is it's so much better if you can be in a different time when people who want to come vote are voting on city issues or whatever it may be," Councilman Dick Powell said. "The ones that turn out, the voter motivated to vote, are because they care about the city or the school district or whoever may be up at that point in time. I think it's sad that we can't.

"I know we're talking a Catch 22 right now. I don't know if it would help if we held our meetings at Coldstone Creamery for a couple of months," a reference to Gov. elect Doug Ducey's background with that company.

Mayor Bob Jackson said that when the Legislature came up with the bill the League of Arizona Cities and Towns fought the proposal, but to no avail. He said he testified against the bill and wrote a letter of opposition to Gov. Jan Brewer, also to no avail.

Councilman Ralph Varela said, "I think for us we've always been very proud of the fact that it's a local election, nonpartisan election, that it doesn't get lost between everything else.

"It really centers on a community choosing its leaders. And being at the end of the ballot or having to come through the partisan pieces of it, I just think it takes away from the beauty of what we've done in terms of electing individuals who have a community voice.

"I concur in terms of either we have it later in 2015 or earlier in 2016, something that will separate us from the November 2016."

Councilman Matt Herman agreed.

"To me, this is the purest form of government we have," he said. "It is nonpartisan. We do it because we love the community. It'd just get lost with all the money people spend on regular elections, the signs, the messages and everything."

Councilwoman Mary Kortsen said, "I wanted to also echo this idea of keeping our elections separate from the state and the national, because it really does bring out local voters, due to the fact that we are nonpartisan, and people are interested. And my other concern, really, has been that August, what a terrible time for a primary. We would have citizens that cannot go because it is August, they do need cooler climate and that sort of thing. March and May we had pretty much had things settled back down from our winter visitors and that."

Councilman Karl Montoya asked Wallace if the court case regarding Phoenix and Tucson would in any way help Casa Grande.

"I don't believe that case really becomes relevant," Wallace replied.

"It's a two-pronged analysis when you look at whether that state law is going to apply. The second prong of that is, which one do you apply, which one is more important: the charter or state law? That's what they're grappling with.

"But the very first prong, the threshold analysis, is does your charter conflict with state law? Phoenix's does and Tucson's does and ours does not. 

"So, that case is going to be really interesting for me to read and and it could be really interesting for us as we think about the future of Casa Grande if we ever go back to a charter amendment, if we ever go to those things.

"We've got other things we would have to think about, but I don't think that case applies to us at this point given what our charter says as opposed to that.

"But the decision, I think, is already been made. Our charter says we follow state law, and unless they change state law we'll be having our election in August and November of 2016."