El Mirage Officials Want $8.5 Million Bond to Pass, No Matter What the Cost

mook.jpg
Mayor Lana Mook
As communities across Arizona -- across the country -- are desperately trying to attract new businesses and corporations to boost local economies, El Mirage is creating a headache for the city's only gas station.

We recently wrote about El Mirage city officials yanking their business from the Shell gas station on El Mirage and Cactus roads because the store owner is opposed to their proposed property tax increase.

A boycott apparently wasn't enough to suit city officials. They dispatched cops when a business owner took down political signs placed on his property.


Over the weekend, political signs in support of a $8.5 million bond election (which will increase property taxes) went up along El Mirage Road, right next to the Shell gas station owned by Joe David.

David, who owns about 9 acres of land on that corner, pulled them down on Monday afternoon.

On Tuesday morning, two marked patrol cars from the El Mirage Police Department, arrived at David's station and questioned the station manager as to the whereabout of the signs.

One of the police officers asked the store manager to get David, who wasn't at the gas station, on the phone.

"They asked me where the signs were, and I told them I took them down. They didn't ask for my permission," he tells New Times. "I told them that I put them in the dumpster where they belong."

It wasn't long before Laurie Carnal and her husband showed up at the gas station. Carnal is the chairman of "Committee for Yes on Question 1," the political action committee that paid for the signs.

The signs came out of the dumpster.

But it wasn't over just yet.  

On Wednesday, Lance Calvert, the city's engineer, arrived at the gas station to talk to David about the right-of-way -- a strip of public land in which the political signs could be placed.

But David wasn't there.

Calvert showed up again this morning, this time with Jorge Gastelum, an assistant city engineer, looking for David. Again, he wasn't at his store.

"You've gotta be kidding me," David says. "They've got a lot of time on their hands."

Now, the signs are back up.

Calvert tells New Times that he just dropped off his card "to touch base with" David.

"There was a question about the right-of-way lines," he says. "But campaign signs? I'd run those questions through the City Manager's Office. I don't know any of the details, I was just asked to stop by."

Repeat visits by police and city officials? Over a couple political signs?

It might seem a little over the top, but not surprising considering that El Mirage Mayor Lana Mook is part of the political action committee supporting the $8.5 million bond that will pay for part of a YMCA and a new station for the El Mirage Police Department.

Suffice to say that city officials want this bond to pass. Badly.

How bad?

First, the over-enthusiastic El Mirage City Council violated Open Meeting Laws on July 14 when its members got together after a meeting and signed a letter in support of the bond. All of them, except Councilman Jim McPhetres signed the letter.

Apparently pointed out the violation, and the elected officials had a do-over, this time putting their intention to sign the letter on the August 25 agenda.

State law prohibits a majority of elected officials getting together to discuss or act on city business unless the public is given at least 24 hour notice.

They did it over, according to the agenda, "to demonstrate the Council's desire for transparency ..."

Nobel.

Second, some person/group created a website (El Mirage Vote Yes) touting the benefits of the bond, complete with quotes from all but one of the elected officials about why residents should vote yes. McPhetres voted against taking the measure to voters.

But there are none of the obligatory "paid for by" disclaimers on the website.

State law requires that a political committee that spends money on "any literature or advertisement to support or oppose a ballot proposition ... shall ... include on the literature or advertisement the words 'paid for by', followed by the name of the committee that appears on its statement of organization."

The public deserves to know who is bankrolling efforts to push the bond through.

Also, the El Mirage City Council voted on August 25 to give every single employee a week of paid vacation. It came through a vote in which they decided to shut down the city from December 27 through December 30  -- and still pay employees as though they were on the job.

For police officers, firefighters and other essential personnel who have to be at work, well, they also get the same amount of extra days off they can bank and take throughout the year.

That might simply seem like a nice gesture given that City Manager Spencer Isom told elected officials that he was proposing the paid-time off in lieu of pay raises.

But as they say, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

A few weeks after that, on September 29, the El Mirage City Council voted to repeal a city law that prohibits El Mirage employees from getting involved in municipal elections. The repeal conveniently comes in time for all city workers to go forth and preach their support for the $8.5 million bond election on November 8.

It all smack of improper influence

Neither El Mirage Assistant City Manager Bill Pupo and Sgt. Robert Peoples, a spokesman for the El Mirage Police Department, have yet returned New Times calls for comment.

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26 comments
Halladba
Halladba

El Mirage Walmart taxes food; El Mirage city tax is above 10%;El Mirage has lost businesses due to the cities outrageous tax rate..  El Mirage has increased utility costs and property taxes, already this year.  Ms. Mook, please ask Homeowner associations for the payback on what you’re asking for from the residents of this city; ask all the Landlords of the city to pay what you’re asking for. Stop the dramatic drug busts that can be reduced to half of the extravaganza and save El Mirage residents some money. I appreciate the efforts, but it NEVER solves the problem and there’s no George Jung living downtown, El Mirage. Please, find a more effective way to clean the city up of the drug dealings  that is economical and effective. Bank some money that way and clean the city of drugs. A recreation center is not necessary; a new PD can become an option in many other ways, if you work hard  for it. It’s not necessary to keep trying the the net pay of our paychecks.  El Mirage city officials, take a pay cut, get your heads really into your services for the city. That sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it! Well, that’s how this bond proposal sounds to me. I don’t know if  El Mirage officials are informed and or mindful of the Homeowners association fees increasing as well, but that is “another” money loving group that has become a burden to the home owners of El Mirage. They went from doing nothing for the homeowners, but fining many of them for petty, meaningless reasons to becoming a burden.The El mirage police officers are fine reporting to their station in El Mirage right now. They’re not deprived and are finely secured. Please stop taking our pockets; it’s already as if you’ve got “a finger”  in our bank accounts every month; let us have our pockets. Let my kids have their piggy banks! Drink some water and quench the thirst for money  and start working some fingers to the bone for the payback of this bond. Coveting  is a bad idea . I’m very concerned for my neighbors that are widows and are retirees that are just making it, financially, and to their last penny, literally. I’m concerned about the rental properties, that have become numerous in their availability in Dysart Park. Ask the landlords for the bond payback, get them interested in the “higher quality” of life. Their properties look neglected, thus deserve to be maintained for an appeal that is inviting and fair to the actual residents of this city. Please, get creative  for a bond payback, and do something for the children of this city, El Mirage.. Clean the streets of drugs, and let them keep their piggy banks. Try one project at a time. I prefer an operation effort that will effectively clean the streets of El  Mirage of drugs! I’m very disappointed that is not a concern pitched for this bond proposed; not even as a selling tactic. Mr. David, El Mirages Only” gas station owner, Shell is all El Mirage needs and But More! Thanks for your support. You pay Big  Tax Bucks to the city and I hope El Mirage officials send you a Christmas card.  Shell Gas Station is only a few years in business, and now said to be the “Only” gas station in El Mirage. Well, that is a fact; that’s all this city needs. That’s it!

urallcrazy
urallcrazy

I've never in my life seen such total bullshit.  You people are so sick.  You fabricate stories, falsify facts and invent the most outragous stories and Monica is stupid enough to print what you tell her.  She knows better but needs crap to write about and you keep her in material.  Why do you think Monica is now working for Phoenix New Times, a paper that feeds on sensationalism.  On lurid, melodramatic, mind-blowing crap.  She use to have a great job at the Az. Republic but they let her go because she didn't fit the bill.  She preferred writing the negative instead of reporting from the middle.  Now she doesn't have to print the truth just whatever is given to her.  And she LOVES writing bad stuff about her home town.  How sick is that??  So, go ahead, have fun, no one reads your crap but Monica, you and me..  And if someone other that us does read this bull----they're not going to believe a word of it because it is so bizarre, ludicrous, outlandish, ridiculous and weird.  OH, DID I MENTION, UNTRUE!!

Whatever
Whatever

That code change only allowed those doing HOA or union business to do the campaigning.  The rest of the employees, including those that live in the city, could not do nothing.  So give the ability of being able to go out and strongarm the voters to the ones that get the most benefit (the cops getting a new station and can harass those that disagree with them - see the article about having the cops and city employees going by the station). Again I tell people to ask the council where the additional $3 million dollars to build both the YMCA and the new police department is going to come from?  The total cost for both is $11.5 million but this bond only cover $8.5 million.  Get ready for the cost to be much more than th $2-3 dollars the council is saying.  When will the AG bust this group for open meeting violations?  How many more times do they need to go on record saying they made a mistake and violated the open meeting law before the state does something to these clowns? 

GUEST
GUEST

not much more can be added, however CITIzens can and should MARCH on the COUNCIL CHAMBERS THIS THURSDAY. tell them one and all, stop what your doing. get your OLD dried up retired friends and buddies out of El Mirages city buisness! so come one come all let your friends and neighbors know come together thursday night and let your voices be heard.

Tied of Corruption
Tied of Corruption

Did they photoshop that smile on the bitter old bats face? Talk about abuse of power. The sad part is that POEM was started to do away with this corruption,but it didnt take long for them to join the dark side

Eccentric
Eccentric

Hey, Lana Mook,

How's it feel to be the political whore of El Mirage? spreading your legs to the highest bidder!

Banphotoradar
Banphotoradar

Beware they are expanding the photo enforcement program in El Mirage! They already have photo radar vans there and now red light cameras.

Leave if you can
Leave if you can

sounds just like EL Mirage they should ask the Feds for the money of close the Air space over the city or Mabe they should shut off the wate in Surprise and make them pay 8.5 mil to turn it back on.

Walter Concrete
Walter Concrete

It's like it used to be in Chicago and New York and still is actually.  I guess they don't read the New Times about the county prosecutor's corruption problems and think themselves to be smarter and more crafty. They're morons with power looking to get their piece of the pie while it lasts but it won't last much longer.   Belly up to the trough.

Stormtrooper
Stormtrooper

Bunch of scum led by Mook & Isom.   They are  chicken sh*t.... Toss all of them out on their lying despicable asses.

ConcernedForElMirage
ConcernedForElMirage

Why have these people not been recalled yet?!?!  Violating the open meeting laws should be an offense requiring dismissal from office.  Too bad their new city attorney, with his expertise in probate law in New Mexico, doesn't tutor them on open meeting laws.  But, their City Manager should also know the laws, as should each of them, and assure complianance.  Amazing that these are the same people who complained about the previous council doing "backroom deals" and what do they do, the same thing.  This is just like the dictators in the midddle east and in Russia who thing the laws don't apply to them once in power.  

Whatever
Whatever

Eventually those of you that blindly follow along will find out a lot of what is brought up here is true. 

urallcrazy
urallcrazy

Well that didn't happen.  Flisyn and McPhetres were the only marchers.  Too bad GUEST.

dirtyorclean
dirtyorclean

16-912.01. Ballot measure committees; campaign literature and advertising funding; identification; disclosure; civil penalty; definitionA. A political committee that makes an expenditure in connection with any literature or advertisement to support or oppose a ballot proposition shall disclose and, after November 2, 2010, shall include on the literature or advertisement the words "paid for by", followed by the name of the committee that appears on its statement of organization or five hundred dollar threshold exemption statement, and shall also include in such literature or advertisement the four largest of its major funding sources as of the time the literature or advertisement is printed, recorded or otherwise produced for dissemination. If a political committee has fewer than four major funding sources, the committee shall disclose all major funding sources.B. For the purposes of this section, a major funding source of a political committee is any contributor that is not an individual person and that has made cumulative contributions of either:1. Ten thousand dollars or more for an expenditure in support of or opposition to a statewide ballot proposition or a ballot proposition of a political subdivision with a population of one hundred thousand persons or more.2. Five thousand dollars or more for an expenditure in support of or opposition to a ballot proposition of a political subdivision with a population of less than one hundred thousand persons.C. If an out-of-state contributor or group of out-of-state contributors is a major funding source to a political committee disclosed pursuant to subsection A, the political committee shall state the contributor is an out-of-state contributor on its literature or advertisement in support of or in opposition to a ballot proposition.D. Contributors that make contributions to more than one political committee that supports or opposes the same ballot proposition shall notify each political committee of the cumulative total of these contributions. Cumulative totals must be disclosed by each political committee that received contributions from the same contributor if the cumulative totals qualify as a major funding source to be disclosed pursuant to subsection A.E. Any disclosure statement required by this section shall be printed clearly and legibly in a conspicuous manner in type at least as large as the majority of the printed text. For printed material that is delivered or provided by hand or by mail, the disclosure shall be printed in a font that is at least 3/32 inches tall in dark type on light background surrounded by a dark box. If the communication is broadcast on radio, the information shall be spoken at the end of the communication. If the communication is broadcast on a telecommunications system, the information shall be both written and spoken at the end of the communication, except that if the disclosure statement is written for at least five seconds of a thirty second advertisement broadcast or ten seconds of a sixty second advertisement broadcast, a spoken disclosure statement is not required. If the communication is broadcast on a telecommunications system, the written disclosure statement shall be printed in letters equal to or larger than four per cent of the vertical picture height.F. Subsection A does not apply to bumper stickers, pins, buttons, pens and similar small items on which the statements required in subsection A cannot be conveniently printed or to a communication by an organization solely to its members.G. A committee shall change future literature and advertisements to reflect any change in funding sources that must be disclosed pursuant to subsection A.H. This section only applies to advertisements the contents of which are more than fifty per cent devoted to one or more ballot propositions or proposed measures on the same subject.I. Any committee that violates this section is liable in a civil action brought by the attorney general, county attorney or city or town attorney, as appropriate, or by any other person for a civil penalty of three times the total cost of the advertisement. A donor who does not accurately disclose its contributions is liable for a civil penalty of three times the amount donated. J. For the purposes of this section, "advertisement" means general public advertising through the print and electronic media, signs, billboards and direct mail.      ©2007 Arizona State Legislature.

urallcrazy
urallcrazy

Tied of Corruption---Do you mean you are TIRED of Corruption or are you Tied TO Corruption.  Me thinks the latter.

Whatever
Whatever

They are even worse than the previous regime. 

Eccentric
Eccentric

Lana how's your girlfriend Hillary Clinton?  When's your next face-lift?  Be careful not to let your face wrinkle anymore than it has, you bitch!

Eccentric
Eccentric

Photo enforcement isn't the half of it!  Since I'm the Recall activist who started the Recall against Lana Mook Siebert (sstrange how she's ashamed or afraid to use her complete legal name), the local Nazis have shadowed me every chance they get.  Their biggest problem; they assume I'm afraid of them (I'm not, for having faced down deadly police mis-use of force, more than once in my seveteen years as a security guard.  I'm still a threat-level 5, as far as I know, so a traffic ticket will only be their initial lame excuse for pulling me over (with weapons drawn)!  The Phx PD tried pulling me over in the company patrol car lastnight, only to realize, with their nose six inches up my ass, that I was a security guard responding to the very alarms they were "running Barney Fife scarred over!;" the airheads did an immediate about-face-and-dead-run-retreat (along with the police helicopter) when they realized how stupid they had just been!  The same and worse goes for El Mirage PD and Mayberry!  Its too bad the psych-sreening process the department uses doesn't measure for an IQ above room temperature - which is why I'll never be a cop; law school here I come! 

Greta
Greta

It makes sense if you consider the layoffs that took out the people who were honest and hard working and kept the brown nosers who would harrass the citizens at every step. The supervisor, under BJ Cornwall, who called a female employee an overtime whore and another female had to file a hostile work environment against the same supervisor is now working for the police and he claims he will become a cop soon.  An acquaintance has filed a complaint against this ex-supervisor, soon to be a cop, and this jerk is still working for the city. Perhaps he will be the gestapo enforcer for the bond election.

ConcernedForElMirage
ConcernedForElMirage

I just hope the bond issue fails.  If not, they will look at it as a mandate to keep going as they have been doing.  This is a mail-in ballot; will the ballots be going to the state, county or directly to the city to be counted?  If the city has anything to do with it, then someone needs to watch and double check everything. 

Whatever
Whatever

You say this like this group has any intention of following any laws that are out there.  The ones they do not like, like the one that prevents the police officers from handing out literature to each and every house in the city, they change.  They change the rules to their liking and to benefit them and not the citizens.

Eccentric
Eccentric

Lana - take your STP's (Sexually Transmitted Politics) and your butt-buddies, Laurie and Frank Carnal, somewhere else; El Mirage doesn't need another Whore of Babylon infecting its streets.

urallcrazy
urallcrazy

You only wish the Nazis or ANYONE would shadow you.  OH, YOU"RE the Actiist that started the ILLEGAL RECALL and was kicked out of numerous businesses and off of many properties when trying to gather signatures.  I hope your a better Security Guard than activist.

Whatever
Whatever

Me too.  Get out and vote people.  Vote this bond down before it costs you more than they are letting you know.

urallcrazy
urallcrazy

Just listen to yourself...You are absolutely SICK.  Political Whore, Spread your legs,You bitch, Sexually transmitted politics, butt-buddies, Whore of Babylon.  This is what you teach your children isn't it??????? 

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