Meet your City Council candidates

2 of 3 districts contested
By: 
CARY HINES, Assistant editor
Five candidates are running for Glendale City Council.

Newcomer Ray Strahl is running against incumbent Bart Turner in the Barrel District; incumbent Lauren Tolmachoff is running unopposed in the Cholla District; and incumbent Jamie Aldama is vying against Emmanuel Allen in the Ocotillo District.

The primary election is Aug. 28. Any candidate who receives more than 50 percent of the votes will win outright. If no candidate reaches that number, a runoff will be held on Election Day, Nov. 6.

Early voting for the primary begins Aug. 1. The deadline to mail back early ballots is Aug. 22, and early voting ends Aug. 24.

To find out which City Council district you live in, go to https://www.glendaleaz.com/CityCouncil/districtmap.cfm.

The Glendale Star recently sent questionnaires to all candidates running for Glendale City Council. Next week, Ocotillo District candidates’ responses will be featured. This week, read the Barrel and Cholla candidates’ responses.
 

Barrel District

Ray Strahl

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1. What is your age, marital status and children, if any?
I am married for over 20 years to Diana Strahl and my age is 69.  No children residing with us as they are grown and moved away.

2. What is your educational and career background?
Here is my educational background:
Education
Lili Institute, Phoenix, 11th person to graduate in Arizona history
University of Phoenix, Aurora, Colo., management
Arapahoe Community College, Littleton, Colo., computer science/business
Harper College, Palatine, Ill., business management
Elgin Community College, Elgin, Ill., business /law
American Institute of Banking, Chicago, banking practices
Citicorp Inc., Denver, managing collection functions collection techniques
Phoenix Insurance School, Phoenix, life and disability property & casualty, Series 6 & 63 Securities License
Jones Real Estate College, Denver, real estate sales license
Gladstone Real Estate School, Elk Grove, Ill., Illinois real estate sales license
Background
Banker and insurance professional for over 45 years. Prior employers consisted of:
• First Chicago (collection manager and new card underwriter and Authorization Department assistant manager)
• United Airlines (retail fraud investigator)
• Robert J. Pooley Custom Builders (new home sales director)
• Household Bank International (loan officer, collection manager)
• Realty World Regional Headquarters (instructor and broker coordinator)
• Citigroup Inc. (mortgage loan originator, collection manager and assistant vice president in Retail Private Label Card Division)
• American Mortgage Specialists Inc. (loan originator, director of Field Sales and vice president of Business Development)
• Amerifirst Financial Inc. (senior mortgage loan officer)

3. How long have you lived in Glendale?
I have lived in Glendale for 25 years.

4. Why are you running for City Council? Why do you believe you are better qualified than your opponent?
As a banker and insurance professional for over 45 years, I believe I have the skill set to assist in moving Glendale forward while retaining our sense of community and small town spirit, promoting new and better employment and recreational opportunities, well-trained and supported first responders and a fiscally sound, responsive and ethical City Council.

5. How many City Council meetings have you attended (or watched) in the last year?
I have attended and viewed over 20 City Council meetings during the past year. I have even volunteered and spoken on issues before the council.

6. Have you ever served on any city boards or commissions? If so, which?
I serve currently on the Personnel Board for the city of Glendale.

7. What is the biggest issue Glendale faces? If elected, what would you do to fix it?
There are several issues facing Glendale from growth and managing the growth of our community to light rail, which would alter the complexion and how it would affect the neighborhoods and uprooting residents. What would be the impact if light rail were extended to the Westgate Entertainment District? What will happen to Gila River Arena once the Phoenix Coyotes vacate? What events will take their place and the revenue pumped back into the local economy? All of these issues must be studied carefully and residents’ feedback is vital as decisions should be based on what members of the community are interested in and what is viable for the city of Glendale.

8. What grade would you give the current council and why?
I have supported the current council and believe that more can be done. If elected, it is imperative to seek the public’s opinion on issues. Governing is a process that requires feedback to constantly act as the barometer that can determine outcomes on issues. A council member’s responsibility is to gather that feedback and listen to the community as they may present solutions that are viable to issues.

9. If elected, what would you do to address Glendale’s growing homeless population?
The homeless issue has been growing exponentially in recent years. Many nonprofits attempt to help, but sometimes it is only putting a Band-Aid on the problem. Our responsibility goes much further than a meal, bottle of water and a periodic shower. We need to create more opportunities for the homeless to help themselves such as job training or retraining. Facilities to help them with a hand up … and not just a hand out. I believe there is an opportunity for businesses to partner with government to create these programs.
 
10. Do you think the city is a good or bad steward of its residents’ tax dollars and why?
I believe that great in-roads have been made over recent years to bring Glendale back to a prosperous community. The city has taken strides to improve its fiscal policy and become better stewards of the tax revenue generated in Glendale.
 
11. How do you feel about Glendale landing another Super Bowl? How do you feel about Glendale’s bid to land another Final Four? If elected, would you push for more non-game events to be held within the city?
Large sporting events are great sources of revenue for the city of Glendale. It not only showcases our community, but we have the perfect venues and weather to accommodate the events. I would like to see Glendale land additional sporting events as it brings revenue, people that may decide to take up residence here and it often provides our city with a national stage, which is always a positive factor. However, with securing these events comes additional cost to the city. Other surrounding communities that will benefit from these events should participate in some of the costs, such as security, transportation, etc.

12. Do you think the city should continue to work with the Arizona Coyotes to keep the team at Gila River Arena and why?
As they say, “you don’t lose until you quit trying.” These are words uttered by Sammy L. Davis, a Medal of Honor recipient for his bravery in saving countless lives in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. Glendale should adopt the same philosophy and attempt to retain the Coyotes, but not at a severe cost to the city of Glendale. It must be an arrangement where both sides can win.

13. How do you feel about the monetary contribution the city gives to Catlin Court/Historic Downtown?
The downtown historic district is vital to our economy. Any contribution to the Catlin Court/Historic District should be measured appropriately and provided to maintain and help preserve that area.

14. If elected, how would you make yourself available to your constituents?
If elected, I believe that being accessible is one factor in proper representation of the residents in our district. I would like to offer an ongoing practice of town hall meetings, round-table sessions that would allow residents to provide feedback on issues facing the district and the city of Glendale. It is important that folks feel that their voice counts … because it does!

15. How are you campaigning?
I have a selected group of volunteers that are providing assistance. If I reveal my campaign strategies here, then I would be sharing my playbook with my opponent. Let’s just run a good clean campaign and get to the issues.
 

Bart Turner

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1. What is your age, marital status and children if any? 
61, single, no children.

2. What is your educational and career background?
I attended Glendale Unit 4 Elementary School, Apollo High School, Northern Arizona University, and earned a master’s degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2004.
I have managed several small businesses, including my own insurance agency and served as executive director of Valley Citizens League for nine years.

3. How long have you lived in Glendale?
I am a Glendale native.

4. Why are you running for City Council? Why do you believe you are better qualified than your opponent?
I ran for City Council four years ago because Glendale was on the verge of bankruptcy, losing its quality of life, and at risk of falling into a downward spiral it would have taken years to recover from. I believe my education, broad civic experience, and in-depth knowledge of Glendale has significantly helped improve Glendale’s financial position, attract new employers, and begin to restore the quality of life we have enjoyed in years prior. I believe I have earned a second term and look forward to applying all I have learned in the last four years toward making Glendale even better over the next four years.

5. How many City Council meetings have you attended (or watched) in the last year?
All of them. 

6. Have you ever served on any city boards or commissions? If so, which?
Yes, I served as chairman of the Glendale Parks and Recreation Commission. I have also served as president of the Glendale Historical Society, the Glendale Arts Council and West Valley Child Crisis Center.

7. What is the biggest issue Glendale faces? If elected, what would you do to fix it?
Honestly, the biggest issue is voters need to make sure they re-elect the thoughtful, hardworking, independent councilmembers who over the last four years have led the city out of financial jeopardy and back to a firm fiscal footing. Without this, no other progress is possible. This council has made many difficult choices, but the city is now on the right track and headed in the right direction!

8. What grade would you give the current council and why?
In looking back to where Glendale was four years ago, I believe we have earned an “A.” Looking forward, I believe we can earn an “A+”!

9. If elected, what would you do to address Glendale’s growing homeless population?
I will continue my efforts to connect our homeless population with services and employment opportunities that will help them get back on their feet again. I support efforts to connect the homeless back with their families and help them get to wherever they can receive family support. I will support workforce housing initiatives and continue working to bring good jobs to Glendale.

10. Do you think the city is a good or bad steward of its residents’ tax dollars and why?
The current city council has proven to be very good stewards of taxpayer money. A few short years ago, Glendale was on the verge of bankruptcy. Now, Glendale’s bonds are rated A+, A-1, and AAA by the three largest municipal bond rating companies. This has allowed us to refinance much of our bond debt at lower interest rates, saving taxpayers over $72 million. We have significantly reduced our subsidies to professional sports, which also saves taxpayers millions of dollars per year. With these savings, we have been able to initiate a street paving program, improve our parks, add library hours and we are building a new library, which will open in 2019.

11. How do you feel about Glendale landing another Super Bowl? How do you feel about Glendale’s bid to land another Final Four? If elected, would you push for more non-game events to be held within the city?
These mega-events bring lots of tourist dollars to the entire Valley – but it shouldn’t be at the expense of Glendale taxpayers! With the recent construction of several new hotels and new entertainment venues like Dave & Buster’s, Top Golf and Tavern & Bowl in the Westgate area, I believe the city will be able to at least break even on the cost of hosting these types of events, and local businesses and their employees can benefit from the increased activity they bring.
I have been (pushing for more non-game events to be held within the city), and I will continue to do so! We need more family-friendly activities, concerts, music festivals, and specialty shows – at prices families can afford!

12. Do you think the city should continue to work with the Arizona Coyotes to keep the team at Gila River Arena and why?
The city is willing to help the Coyotes in non-financial ways -— attracting sponsors, recruiting season ticket holders and promoting their brand. The city shouldn’t financially subsidize any professional sports team.

13. How do you feel about the monetary contribution the city gives to Catlin Court/Historic Downtown?
Our Glendale Glitters and Chocolate Affaire events not only benefit our downtown merchants, they are events all of Glendale has come to enjoy! I think we should consider scaling Glendale Glitters back a little and using the savings to provide additional activities downtown throughout the year. A healthy downtown benefits all of Glendale and saves the city money in the long run.

14. If elected, how would you make yourself available to your constituents?
I will continue to be available by email, office and home telephone, and I am willing to meet in person with any resident. I also hold two district meetings per year and attend neighborhood and HOA meetings as invited.

15. How are you campaigning?
Enthusiastically! I enjoy meeting Glendale residents, explaining all we have accomplished in the last four years, and hearing their ideas for how we can make Glendale even better!
 

Cholla District

Lauren Tolmachoff

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1. What is your age, marital status and children if any?
Age 58 Married 1 adult child

2. What is your educational and career background?
Licensed Realtor since 2004 following a successful career in banking.
Attended Phoenix College.

3. How long have you lived in Glendale?
13 years.

4. Why are you running for City Council? Why do you believe you are better qualified than your opponent?
There is still much work to do to achieve fiscal sustainability.

5. How many City Council meetings have you attended (or watched) in the last year?
Attended every meeting during my four-year term with the exception of the Sept. 5, 2017, workshop.

6. Have you ever served on any city boards or commissions? If so, which?
Government Services Committee and Council Business Sub-Committee.

7. What is the biggest issue Glendale faces? If elected, what would you do to fix it?
Glendale still has a large amount of debt and the debt service will escalate over the next several years. We must make fiscally responsible decisions that will encourage economic development.

8. What grade would you give the current council and why?
I would give the current council an A because we have made a great deal of progress in working towards fiscal sustainability.

9. If elected, what would you do to address Glendale’s growing homeless population?
The city is working with several nonprofit community partners to help our homeless find services and connect with programs. We are at the beginning stage of implementing a day work program that will help build trust with community outreach partners that can offer assistance.

10. Do you think the city is a good or bad steward of its residents’ tax dollars and why?
I think the city has been a good steward of tax dollars. We have made fiscally sound decisions over the last few years and will achieve our goal of a $50 million fund balance by fiscal year 2019-20. Additionally, our bond rating has continued to increase, recently rated by Fitch at AAA.

11. How do you feel about Glendale landing another Super Bowl? How do you feel about Glendale’s bid to land another Final Four? If elected, would you push for more non-game events to be held within the city?
I am pleased that Glendale was selected to host the 2023 Super Bowl and am hopeful that we will soon be selected to host another Final Four. Mega events bring a huge economic benefit to the entire region, and require venues like the Phoenix Convention Center as well as hotels from all over the Valley to ensure success. Glendale will be better positioned to benefit economically in 2023, as we continue to add to our hotel room inventory and entertainment options.

12. Do you think the city should continue to work with the Arizona Coyotes to keep the team at Gila River Arena and why?
I understand the importance of 41 home hockey games for the business owners in Westgate and the revenue generated, and am committed to keeping the arena a state-of-the-art facility. The Coyotes negotiate their lease directly with our arena manager, AEG, and continue to have one of the most favorable lease agreements in the NHL.

13. How do you feel about the monetary contribution the city gives to Catlin Court/Historic Downtown?
A vibrant downtown is an important part of Glendale’s future. It is critical for all stakeholders to work together towards a common goal, and not rely solely on taxpayer funding to achieve success.

14. If elected, how would you make yourself available to your constituents?
I am engaged with Cholla residents, am very responsive and make myself available to discuss an issue.

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