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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

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What horrors await?

Posted by Joyce Clark on August 20, 2014
Posted in International news  | Tagged With: | 7 Comments

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Photo Journalist James Foley Courtesy www.mediabistro.com

I have always written about local Glendale politics and events. I have never written about national or world events for a variety of reasons but the beheading of an American journalist by ISIS compels me to do so.

My deepest sympathy to Mr. Foley’s parents. Their hearts are breaking. No parent should have to bury a child.

All my adult life I have been a registered Democrat. No more. I voted for Barack Obama in 2008. No more. The damage President Obama has done to America’s reputation as a world leader is unforgiveable and unforgettable. America, under this President, has become a weak, reactionary and feckless country.

The death of James Foley has left me deeply disappointed, angry and frustrated in this President’s determined policy to isolate America from world events. His inability to articulate a strong national posture in response to the actions of a brutal Islamic militant army has emboldened them and will cause not only more individual pain to the families of other American captives but will reap national pain as ISIS carries out its promise to attack us on our own soil.

The most frustrating aspect of all is that we are saddled with this man as leader of our country and the free world (ever shrinking) for another two years. What further horrors await as our President resumes his vacation and his golf game?

© 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 August 14, 2014 two referendum petition packets were taken out for the purpose of obtaining Glendale residents’ signatures. If successful, the two actions taken by the Glendale City Council at its meeting on August 12, 2014 will be decided in an election by the people…as it should be. Glendale’s City Attorney, Michael Bailey, said publicly that neither council vote is referable. In other words, no one can take out a petition to try to overturn the council votes. The Tribal attorneys believe it is referable. When the signed petitions are turned in expect Glendale to reject them. Expect a law suit resulting in yet another judicial decision about Glendale’s ultimate fate.

Here is the text of the first referendum action. It seeks to overturn the council’s vote welcoming a reservation and casino within Glendale: “The Tohono O’Odham casino, targeted for a Glendale neighborhood near homes, schools, daycares and houses of worship, will destroy neighborhoods and create severe budget stress for the nearly bankrupt City, overburdening Glendale’s public safety, street and infrastructure. This petition seeks to refer the August 12, 2014 Glendale City Council vote to agree to the creation of a 121-acre Indian reservation at 91st and Northern avenues. A “no” vote on this referral will overturn the Council’s decision to support a reservation and a casino and respect the NO casino promise, protecting City residents and the Glendale’s budget and core services.”

The second referendum petition seeks to overturn the council approved agreement between the City of Glendale and the Tohono O’odham: “The Tohono O’Odham casino, targeted for a Glendale neighborhood near homes, schools, daycares and house of worship, will destroy neighborhoods and create severe budget stress for the nearly bankrupt City, overburdening Glendale’s public safety, streets and infrastructure. This petition seeks to refer the August 12, 2014 Glendale City Council vote to sign a settlement agreement with the Tohono O’odham Nation in support of the Tribe’s neighborhood casino. A “no” vote on this referral will overturn the Council’s pro-casino decision and respect the NO casino promise, protecting City residents and the Glendale’s budget and core services.”

The pro casino people have already begun their campaign of ridicule and denigration of the referendum petition effort saying, “it’s all about money…the other Tribes do not want the competition of another casino.” Of course it’s about the money. Everyone has their hand in the money pot…the Tohono O’odham, the City of Glendale and the other Tribes.

To accept that their referendum effort is ONLY about “the money” is simplistic, self-serving and makes for great PR but misses the mark. There is a greater imperative for the Gila River Indian Community, the Salt River-Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and all of the Tribes across the state supporting efforts of these two lead Tribes.

As President of the Salt River-Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Diane Enos, said, “They looked us in the face and lied.”  She is referring to the Tohono O’odham, a member of the coalition of Tribes that negotiated the gaming compact with the state. The TO actively and publicly worked to get voters of the state to approve the compact while deliberately keeping from its Sister Tribes its ultimate plan to put a casino in the Phoenix Metro Area. In fact, it contributed a great deal of money to publicize and to advance the compact with the state’s voters.

The Tohono O’odham lied to its Sister Tribes. It betrayed them. Why? For the money. The Tohono O’odham lied to the State and to every voter who approved the gaming compact. Why? For the money. But somehow for the pro casino supporters that’s supposed to be OK?

Why is the TO’s action simply ignored by the pro casino supporters? For the money.  For all of the Tribes throughout Arizona it is a matter of honor, respect and trust…all of which the TO deliberately chose to betray. That is the real reason the Tribes are driven to oppose the Tohono O’odham’s plans.

If an opportunity to vote on the Tohono O’odham’s casino plans do make it to a Glendale ballot that is what the voters of Glendale should remember. “They looked us in the face and lied.”

© 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.

During my last four years on city council, from the time the Tohono O’odham publicly announced their intent to build a casino within Glendale, I would take notes from presentations and comments of staff regarding the casino’s impact on Glendale. While they retain the essence of the statements made, I did not have the time or opportunity to write the comments verbatim. The other day I was cleaning out some old folder files and I ran across the file where I had been keeping these notes. The following was represented to me and the rest of city council by staff from 2009 to 2012.

This was said with regard to the Nation’s gaming application–  However, the issue of “first impression” within Arizona is a major one. It means that this action if granted would be precedent setting in that it would establish an Indian reservation where one did not previously exist. It may be the first attempt to do so in the nation. It is the first step to create a free for all system that establishes “off-reservation” gaming, not just in Arizona but in the nation.

Glendale staff in meeting with the Tohono O’odham attempted to ascertain more specific information. The Nation would not offer anything beyond conceptuals. Staff, after meeting with the Nation, offered the scope of the project as it was presented to them:

  • 134 acres of land
  • 1.2 million square foot complex
  • Cost of construction approx. $550 million
  • 6,000 construction jobs
  • 3,000 permanent jobs

Gaming portion:

  • 150,000 square feet
  • 1,089 machines
  • 50 tables
  • 25 poker tables
  • 1,000 seat bingo hall 

Spa/Hotel portion:

  • 480 rooms
  • 120 suites
  • 180,000 square foot convention center
  • 40,000 square foot event center

Amenities/Services:

  • 30,000 square feet of retail
  • 5 restaurants
  • 1 food court
  • 2 buffets
  • 1 coffee shop 
  • 2 bars
  • 1 nightclub

Issues identified by staff during the years of 2009 to 2012 included:

  • City’s General Plan has area designated as Corporate Commerce Center with less density and impact.
  • Sales tax revenue anticipated to be lost is $2 million a year or $40 million over 20 years as city cannot collect sales tax from federal land and that removes the land from producing sales tax for the city with other non-Indian uses.
  • There are revenues that flow to the state from gaming. However 88% percent goes directly to the state. The other 12% is distributed to all cities and counties with no larger share or preference to the host city or county.
  • The project will generate jobs but nearly all will be minimum wage employment.
  • Gaming revenues siphon off discretionary income that could have been spent elsewhere in the City
  • Staff projects water demand to be 600,000 gallons per day gpd (gallons per day). Projected wastewater demand to be 400,000 gpd. If they use the on-site well that is available to them it would impact our groundwater table. 
  • Estimated Impact fees loss is $299,500.
  • Police estimate an additional 8,500 calls for service necessitating an additional 11 officers at a cost of $950,903. There is also the problem of suspects committing crime in adjacent areas and fleeing to reservation where Glendale Police have no jurisdiction. Anticipated calls for service expected to be high due to the casino being open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 
  • Fire anticipates the need for an additional fire station costing:
  • 18 additional fire fighters
  • $2.8 annually for Operating & Maintenance costs
  • $14.6 million for land acquisition and construction
  • In addition, there is no mutual aid agreement for off-site service (reservation). Can be negotiated perhaps but no guarantee of total cost recovery.
  • Transportation estimates 20,000 one-way trips per day on weekdays and 30,000 one-way trips per day on weekends. It will generate 8.34 million additional trips in the area per year. There could be traffic conflicts on stadium and arena event days.
  • There is a possible impact on the Northern Parkway Project. 225 feet of right-of-way is needed on the south side of Northern between the Loop 101 and 91st Avenue. Tribe may or may not participate.

 

There are several reasons why I decided to use my old, newly discovered notes. Despite the city council’s inappropriate action this issue is not yet decided. There is still Tribal litigation to be decided and there is still Congressional legislation pending. I would anticipate Referendum petitions on the 2 council actions taken on August 12, 2014. If successful, the voters will decide Glendale’s final position.

Another reason for using them is to ask the question, was this information given to the current council? With senior administrative staff knowing that a majority of council now supports the proposed casino, they may have thought it unwise to fully inform the council. That is no excuse. Council should have had this information. If council did have this kind of information and a majority chose to ignore it and its implications of cost to Glendale, then they are not serving the best interests of Glendale.

Lastly, it is information that should be public. The citizens of Glendale have the right to know that there are costs to Glendale that have not been addressed in the recently approved agreement. I would expect the current senior administration to disavow the facts presented above, especially with regard to water and public safety. They have been given their marching orders to embrace the casino project. The question remains, why weren’t these issues and the costs associated with them addressed in the approved agreement? So much for transparency.

© 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.

20140812_193537The August 12, 2014 meeting of the Glendale City Council was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. You know the inevitable outcome; you know it will be extremely painful; but you are utterly powerless to stop it. All you can do is watch it unfold. This is the first council meeting I attended since leaving office over a year and a half ago. People have been telling me for months that the animosity among councilmembers was evident. I thought OK, there were times when our council meetings were not happy affairs. Little did I know that the atmosphere reeked of councilmember nastiness and disrespect. It was palpable fueled by the absolute arrogance of the council majority (Sherwood, Hugh, Alvarez and Chavira). The meeting was not unusual as council sped through proclamations and the consent agenda. The last two items were casino related. One was council approval of the draft agreement between the Tohono O’odham and Glendale. The other was the first official groveling of the city council with a resolution supporting the construction of the casino.  All hell broke loose. The draft agreement was introduced and recited by Michael Bailey, Glendale’s City Attorney. Mayor Weiers opened the public comment portion. There were 22 speakers to the item. 15 citizens spoke in opposition to the draft agreement and 7 spoke in favor of the draft agreement. The speakers’ comments in opposition to the proposed casino revolved around these general themes: casinos produce greater crime in the adjacent area; they create a greater rate of gambling addiction and subsequent bankruptcies and home foreclosures. The two major themes were comments about the rush to get this agreement done and the fact that it simply wasn’t a good deal for Glendale. There were some memorable comments to share (my apology if I butcher someone’s name). John Burnell of the Sahuaro district related that a family member, as a gambling addict, maxxed out credit cards and lied to keep it secret. The husband had to take two jobs and it took him over two years to get the family’s finances back on track. Barbara Roberts acknowledged the casino job creation but said, “Yes, we need jobs but what kind of jobs?” Timothy Green of Goodyear said, “Casinos only succeed on the backs of losers.” A rather profound statement. Ron Kolb, Ocotillo district said, “The West Side will never be the same.” Dr. Ron Rockwell, pastor of a Yucca district church very near the casino site, said, “You no longer care about the moral and spiritual culture of this community.” Randy Miller, candidate for the Barrel district council seat, called out Councilmember Alvarez and her continual homage about the importance of listening to the people…yeah, Norma, right. It seems to be a principle of hers only when convenient. Those speakers in support of the casino were arrogant and boastful. John Mendlelberg, former Mayor of Surprise, said, “You must concede.” Reverend Maupin of Phoenix, said, “You lost the war. You should be grateful for whatever you are getting.” He accused Councilmember Martinez of being a liar and a racist. Robert Quizneros of the Ocotillo district complained about the audacity of “the other side’s hiring of attorneys and lobbyists” to defeat the casino. A special “shout out” to Lauren Tolmachoff, candidate for the Cholla district council seat. It appears that she has become a one-trick pony as she reiterated her support for the casino in the name of jobs. Hey, Lauren, don’t you know about “job displacement?” Several pro-casino speakers kept referring to, “it’s their (TO) land.” Well, yes it is after a purchase kept secret for 7 years and its newly minted designation as a reservation. It’s all about a reservation WITHIN Glendale. I defy anyone to identify any city in the State of Arizona that has a reservation within its boundaries. Then it was time for the Councilmembers to speak prior to their vote. Alvarez’ remarks were priceless in their ignorance. She made memorable comments such as, “what’s the difference between a lottery ticket and a casino?” Or, “We have casinos in Scottsdale.” Or, “They (Tohono O’odham) are going to provide a service.” That one caused audible audience derision.  And lastly, “Make us responsible for what we’re doing.” Trust me, we will.   Councilmember Sherwood, self-proclaimed negotiator and leader, was strangely silent all evening except for his monologue prior to his affirmative vote. His comments deserve a special blog and its coming. Councilmember Martinez offered a series of amendments to the draft and that’s when all hell broke loose. Councilmembers Alvarez and Chavira, repeatedly and often, yelled out while Councilmember Martinez was trying to speak, “Call for the question!” Their obvious intent was to silence Councilmember Martinez’ efforts. What were they afraid of? They knew they had the votes to defeat any amendment. Chavira was literally in a rage because of Martinez’ efforts. He lept out of his seat and it looked as if he was about to confront Mayor Weiers physically. Wow, Sammy. Finally we see the true persona and your reaction when crossed and you don’t get your way. The lack of control he exhibited demonstrated that he is unfit to serve as a councilmember and cannot conduct himself in a manner required by the office he holds. Martinez offered 4 amendments: raising the TO payment to $20 million or 3% of the Class III net; offsite infrastructure costs to be paid by the TO up front; a waiver of sovereign immunity especially with regard to fraud and other bad acts; and payments to continue beyond 2026. Each was rejected. The vote was as everyone expected. The majority of 4 – Sherwood, Alvarez, Hugh and Chavira voting to approve the agreement and Weiers, Martinez and Knaack voting against. What was unexpected to the degree it manifested itself, was the vituperativeness and nastiness. At one point a citizen called Martinez a liar and a racist. Mayor Weiers should have stopped the speaker immediately and requested a police officer escort the person from the building. There is no doubt that Mayor Weiers lost control of the meeting during the first casino agenda item. His failure fueled the majority’s contempt and rage. Kudos go to Bonnie Steiger, a Glendale resident and faithful attendee at council meetings for 28 years. She is everyone’s Grandmother. She was so disgusted with council’s behavior that she said their lack of respect for the very office they hold merited the removal of all of them. Lastly, I offer two interesting items for your attention. One is the Coyotes publicly announced today that they had accepted a deal for arena naming rights. Are you ready for this? It will be called the Gila River Arena. Hooray for the Gila River. Although it may require Glendale approval, Glendale may only reject for very narrow reasons and the new naming rights do not fit the criteria. Can you say embarrassing, Glendale?? Or perhaps the majority of 4 will figure out a way to kill the deal. The second item is that just before 5 PM, yesterday, August 12, 2014 a group filed paperwork with the Glendale City Clerk’s office for a Political Action Committee for the purpose of recalling Councilmember Gary Sherwood. Things are heating up in Glendale. As I said at the beginning of this blog, this meeting was definitely a train wreck but the pain is yet to be borne by all of the people of Glendale. © 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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