With the clock ticking to the Aug. 4 election, the choice is clear for Glendale voters: tried-and-tested leaders or new-and-unknown candidates.
Eight months after voters soundly rejected huge pay increases for the mayor and city council, Mayor Jerry Weiers and Councilwoman Joyce Clark are asking the same voters to reelect them.
Both say they helped lead a dramatic financial turnaround, taking Glendale from the brink of bankruptcy to sound financial footing in five years.
Weiers, a savvy political veteran, was a Legislative District 12 representative for 10 years before being elected mayor of Glendale in 2012. In 2016, he narrowly overcame a challenge from defeated Mark Burdick and was reelected.
His challenger this year is a political newcomer: Michelle Robertson, an educator with the Cartwright Elementary School District who previously dipped her toe in the election water in 2016, when Steve Watson defeated her for Maricopa County school superintendent.
While the gregarious Weiers clearly has a wide circle of support, with the endorsement of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce, he apparently is not popular with police and firefighters.
The Arizona Fraternal Order of Police, Arizona Police Association and the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona all endorsed Robertson.
“We believe Glendale needs new leadership in the mayor’s office after years of the incumbent actively working against the men and women on the front lines and refusing to give Glendale police officers the resources they need to keep the city and themselves safe,” said Sean Mattson, president of the Arizona FOP.
In endorsing Robertson, Joe Clure, executive director of the Arizona Police Association, said, “You clearly stand head and shoulders above the incumbent based on your many years of community service in Glendale, your career as an educator on behalf of Glendale’s children and your depth of understanding of the challenges faced by police officers in 2020.”
Firefighters association president Bryan Jeffries said, “In the strongest possible terms, Michelle will bring sorely needed integrity back to Glendale City Hall—along with the fierce commitment to public safety the city has lacked for years.”
Weiers insists he has consistently supported Glendale first responders.
And he told The Glendale Star his challenger’s plan is “nuts,” while underscoring her inexperience.
“My opponent tells people she will keep her 9-5 job in her grade school and the second salary if she’s elected. I think that’s nuts. You can’t do this job on nights and weekends, and I can’t imagine giving anything less than 100% to this job,” Weiers said.
Clark fights again
Voters have selected Clark multiple times: She served on council from 1992-96 and 2000 to 2012 before being elected again in 2016.
Clark’s challenger is a political rookie: Bryce Alexander. He is a U.S. Army veteran who worked in computer security.
Clark and Weiers both filed court requests to have their challengers removed from the ballot, alleging inappropriate signatures; both lost, giving Glendale voters choices in two of the four city elections.
Councilmen Ray Malnar and Ian Hugh are not opposed in the Aug. 4 city election.
In November, Proposition 424 asked Glendale voters to raise the salary of city council members by 55%, from $34,000 to $52,685, and the mayor’s salary by 43%, from $48,000 to $68,490.
The proposition was shot down, with nearly three quarters voting against the raises.
Clark, who lobbied for the raises, blamed the election loss on “a hit-piece mailer.”