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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

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Is this Timothy Schwartz?

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Or is this Timothy Schwartz?

Who is Timothy Schwartz and where did he come from? Here’s a good example why newspaper coverage is so disappointing and more and more people are turning to other sources. 

Timothy Schwartz is chair of Republican Legislative District 30 and used this event to get some media face time. His only claim to fame is that he apparently made a motion at a state Republican event a year or two ago to censure Senator John McCain. To say that he is to the right of Genghis Khan would be an understatement. His position within the groups, No More Bad Deals for Glendale and Keep the Promise is as mythical as that of a leprechaun.  Gary Hirsch chairs both of those committees and is the only legitimate spokesperson for those two political action committees.

Schwartz’ committee, Glendale Citizens for Voice and Choice is also mythical. It is not a political action committee registered with the Glendale City Clerk or the Arizona Secretary of State. Its existence is a figment of Schwartz’ imagination, as mythical as Schwartz’ self-proclaimed position as spokesperson.

So how did Schwartz get to be spokesperson and quoted in the media? Frankly, he was blustery and loud enough to attract a reporter’s attention. The Glendale Star was the first to give Schwartz credibility by saying, “After turning in what they claim is nearly 15,000 signatures protesting the city council’s vote to approve the West Valley Casino and Resort, a group called Glendale Citizens for Voice and Choice is hoping to have the question placed on the ballot for citizens to have their say.” Too bad no one bothered to fact check first. The referendum petitions signatures were collected by and turned in by No More Bad Deals for Glendale and Keep the Promise. Schwartz magically appeared the day the petitions were to be turned in to the City Clerk. Schwartz’ imaginary political action committee did not collect any petition signatures or turn them in. His only contribution to the effort was to hook up with the legitimate group and offer to carry two boxes of petitions into the City Clerk’s office.

Then Monica Alonzo in her Phoenix New Times blog capacity called Schwartz, self proclaimed leader who did not bother to disabuse her of the notion, and she ran with it saying, “A group calling itself ‘Glendale Citizens for Voice and Choice’ reportedly turned in more than 13,000 signatures on a ‘petition protesting the way the Glendale City Council approved the gaming Casino at 91st Avenue and Northern without notice to the citizenry’.”

It is now a self perpetuating story with no one bothering to check. After all, if one newspaper ran it, it must be true. Then the same misinformation is picked up by other media such as myfoxatlanta.com and yourwestvalley.com.  Again, no one bothered to check the facts and assumed that if another media source ran it, it must be true.

Should you believe what you read in the papers? This is but one example how they feed off one another and repeat the same erroneous information until it becomes “fact.” There are other errors within these stories covering the submission of these petitions but why bother giving them legs. The media, in a time honored tradition, will continue its questionable practice of covering events using unsubstantiated “facts.”

P.S. On September 18, 2014 the City Clerk announced that the city is rejecting both petitions citing the two council votes as administrative rather than legislative…meaning the actions are not referable to the voters. Expect this issue to wind up in court.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

On September 9, 2014 at its regular council meeting the Glendale City Council approved a new name for its arena. It will now be known as the Gila River Arena. The following day there was a press conference to announce the name change. Anthony LeBlanc, one of the Coyotes’ owners was there; Gregory Mendoza, Governor of the Tribe was there; Jan Brewer, our state Governor was there; and Jerry Weiers, Mayor of Glendale was there.  Guess who wasn’t there? Our infamous “gang of four,” Councilmembers Alvarez, Sherwood, Hugh and Chavira. It’s perfectly understandable. After all, their allegiance is to the Tohono O’odham Nation. Alvarez was also the lone negative vote on the name change to Gila River. Instead she stubbornly questioned staff on the necessity of bringing the name change before council for ratification.  It appeared as if she questioned the action long enough and hard enough she could make the need for a council vote disappear. Didn’t happen. Apparently Norma’s love for minorities does not extend to the Gila River Community.

However, it’s not so strange a move. Gila River has been a long time partner of the Arizona Coyotes hosting the Gila River Club within the arena proper. If I were the Gila River I would be secretly smug and taking enormous satisfaction in the fact that their name will be prominently displayed across the street from their duplicitous sister tribe, the Tohono O’odham’s new casino.

Here’s a reminder that today, Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 2:30 PM Eastern time, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will have a legislative hearing on Senate bill 2670, Keep the Promise Act of 2014, introduced by Senators McCain and Flake. It can be viewed online live.  Panel One of the hearing will have Governor Mendoza of the Gila River Indian Community, Ned Norris Jr., Chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation, Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers and Glendale Councilmember Gary Sherwood. It should prove interesting as 2 champions of the casino face off against 2 opponents of the casino. Hopefully, the bill will move out of committee paving the way for a full senate vote.

Considering the fact that Glendale did not recoup its $14,002,055 (not a full fiscal year, prorated for 11 months) paid for the management fee and capital improvement fund and that you can add another $12 million for the arena construction debt, you would think Alvarez would welcome the new Gila River name and the 20% of the fee paid by Gila River to IceArizona. It will offset the approximately $20 million in arena costs, not by much, but every penny is welcome. A lot of Glendale’s residents are anxiously awaiting the audit of IceArizona’s budget and hope it is made public and put on the city’s website. If not, don’t be surprised if there are a lot of FOIA requests for a copy of the audit.

There was no council workshop on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 because there was not a quorum. How many of Glendale’s council is attending the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs legislative hearing today? I guess we’ll find out.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

photo aOn September 12, 2014 two political action committees, No More Bad Deals for Glendale and Respect the Promise turned in approximately 15,000 petition signatures collected in 28 days for each of two referendum petitions. These petitions seek to overturn the city council votes of August 12, 2014 approving a settlement agreement with the Tohono O’odham and supporting the TO’s reservation status by requesting an election.

The approximately 15,000 petition signatures turned in is greater than the 10,914 Glendale citizens who exercised their right to vote in the recent Primary Election. That’s disconcerting. You would think that the number of petition signatures collected would send a strong message to this city council that Glendale residents want to weigh in on this issue by virtue of an election.

The Glendale City Clerk has 20 business days to do something, anything with the petitions before she turns them over to the Secretary of State. She is not an independent agent. She will be told what to do. Now it gets interesting. Wanna-be mayor, Councilmember Gary Sherwood was in attendance for the delivery of the petitions to the City Clerk. He could be heard muttering, the council votes of August 12th are not referable and these petitions are no more than toilet paper. You can be sure the “gang of four” (Sherwood, Alvarez, Hugh and Chavira) as the majority on council will give direction to the City Manager and City Attorney to reject these petitions. The City Attorney and his minions are burning the midnight oil to find Arizona case law that supports the city’s act of rejection. What does “not referable” mean? The city will take the position that the council votes were not legislation per se. Therefore the petitions which seek to refer those council actions to Glendale residents are not valid and thereby rejected by the city. Their position will be that those council votes were not legislative action and only legislation can be referred to the voters.

Make no mistake. Both groups, No More Bad Deals for Glendale and Respect the Promise are prepared to go to the legal mat on this issue of referability. If and when the city rejects the petitions on those grounds expect both groups to file suit. Isn’t it ironic that Alvarez and her merry band of pro casino councilmembers have complained bitterly about the money spent by the city on legal action when its position was in opposition to the casino and reservation? Will they decide not to spend money to defend the city’s position of petition rejection now that the city supports the casino and reservation? I guess the spending of taxpayer money on legal action depends on whose ox is being gored.

Alvarez, nearly every time she casts a “no” vote on a major city issue, can be heard pontificating that it is an issue upon which Glendale residents should vote. This time she has been amazingly silent in advocating that view when it comes to the casino and reservation. What, Norma, when it’s an issue you personally do not like it merits a vote of the people but when it is an issue that you do like, forget the people?

For those of you following this saga, this Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 2:30 PM, Eastern time (11:30 AM in Arizona) the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold a legislative hearing on Senate Bill 2670, Keep the Promise Act of 2014, introduced by Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake. Here is the link to the site where it can be viewed live, online:  http://www.indian.senate.gov/hearing/legislative-hearing-s-2670-keep-promise-act-2014 . If this link doesn’t work please copy and paste the link into your browser.

It appears that the bill could be marked up and passed out of committee for a full Senate vote. If that is the case and the bill is approved in the Senate there would be a House and Senate Conference Committee meeting to make sure the House version and Senate version of the bill are in agreement. It would then go to the President to sign or veto. If the bill were to be successful the Tohono O’odham, despite their ground breaking, would not be able to build a casino in Glendale or any other portion of the Phoenix Metro area.

On another note, to date the Attorney General’s Office is still investigating the alleged Open Meeting Law violation by Councilmembers Sherwood, Knaack, Martinez and Chavira. If the complaint had no merit we would have received that opinion by now. The fact that it is taking so long would lead one to assume that there is merit to the allegations. If that turns out to be the case, look for some kind of major sanction against Councilmember Sherwood and perhaps a minor sanction for the three others. I wouldn’t be surprised if the AG’s Office required another vote on the original IceArizona/City of Glendale Management Agreement. This, too, could prove interesting dependent upon which candidates win council seats at the General Election in November.

It looks like Councilmember Hugh has met with Lauren Tomachoff and Bart Turner. Tolmachoff is a candidate for the Cholla district seat and Turner is a candidate for the Barrel district seat. It seems Councilmember Hugh is busy trying to build his own coalition. It appears that he fancies a run against current Mayor Jerry Weiers. Hey, Jerry, watch out! It looks like they are starting to line up for a run against you…Sherwood and now, Ian Hugh. It wouldn’t be too surprising to see Councilmember Knaack (retiring in January, 2015) decide on a run for mayor. Being part of a clearly dysfunctional council is no fun but perhaps becoming mayor is.

A lot is riding on this Attorney General Office’s investigation. It could kill any mayoral ambitions of both Sherwood and Knaack. It’s rather difficult to win the support of the Glendale electorate if you have been found to have violated the law. Just when you thought Glendale’s problems were cooling down, they’ve heated up again. As President Truman once said, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” I wonder if the Glendale city council loves the kitchen heat now.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

NOMOREBADDEALS-talkingpoints_Page_1Today, Friday, September 12, 2014 at 1 PM two Political Action Committees (PACs), NO MORE BAD DEALS FOR GLENDALE and RESPECT THE PROMISE, chaired by local resident Gary Hirsch, will turn in to the Glendale City Clerk approximately 15,000 signatures in opposition to the Glendale City Council’s recent votes regarding the Tohono O’odham (TO) casino. The minimum number of signatures required by law on each measure is 6,956 and the PACs have far surpassed that number by almost double. Expect the city to fight them with every fiber of its being by declaring the council votes to be “administrative actions” not subject to referral to the voters. Expect after that to see the issue wind up in the courts. On August 12, 2014 at its regular city council meeting the council approved two actions related to the Tohono O’odham.  Agenda item 36 by council’s majority vote (Alvarez, Sherwood, Hugh and Chavira) approved a settlement (read contract) with the TO. The settlement terms are embarrassing. The deal is so bad it’s as if the council had accepted a dollar from the TO and called it good. One of the petitions being submitted this afternoon is for the purpose of bringing the settlement before Glendale voters to accept or reject. In agenda item 37 the city council voted in the affirmative to support the creation of an Indian reservation. This action is the cherry on top of the cake for the TO. They need Glendale’s support desperately to show the Feds that the host city within which the reservation is located is in favor of their action. The second petition seeks to bring before the Glendale voters the majority vote of council (Alvarez, Sherwood, Hugh and Chavira) that supports a reservation within Glendale’s boundaries. All of these council votes are for the benefit of a Tribe that:

  • Violated a 2000 agreement signed by 16 state Tribal leaders, including the Tohono O’odham, vowing “to strive for a good-faith cooperative relationship between and among themselves.”
  • Created a corporation  in 2000 chartered by the TO actively seeking land in the Phoenix Metro area for the “possibility of doing a casino” prior to the 2002 statewide vote on the Gaming Compact.
  • Looked it sister Tribal leaders in the face and lied to them.
  • Actively promoted and financially contributed to the campaign in support of Proposition 202, the Tribal Gaming Compact, promising voters that there would be no new casinos in the Phoenix Metro area.
  • Actively participated in the election campaigns of sitting councilmembers who voted for these agenda items through the TO’s independent expenditures for campaign mailers in support of these council persons. Expect them to do the same in this election cycle. These four elected officials owe the TO and they know it.

These majority council votes by Alvarez, Sherwood, Hugh and Chavira stink to high heaven. Were these four elected officials acting in the best interests of Glendale? You can decide for yourselves but I think not. If and when these council votes come before you, the voter, you will have an opportunity to reject these council votes and send a strong message to these councilmembers that “back door” deals will not be tolerated. There are still actions that have not been settled…legal decisions not yet rendered and legislation introduced by Senators McCain and Flake awaiting a full Senate vote up or down. The Tohono O’odham are making a million dollar bet that nothing will stop them. They could end up losing that bet. Remember, it’s not over until the fat lady sings and she hasn’t sung…yet. © Joyce Clark, 2014 FAIR USE NOTICE This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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