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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

 

When I retired from Glendale City Council in January of 2013, Horatio Skeete was Interim City Manager and Craig Tindall was City Attorney. A new mayor and several new councilmembers were enough of a majority to shake things up. While a new search for a city manager took place Dick Bowers was appointed as Acting City Manager and Craig Tindall was asked to resign. Nick DiPiazza became Acting City Attorney. Tindall’s Severance Agreement was executed on April 1, 2013. Here is the link: http://www.glendaleaz.com/clerk/Contracts/8419.pdf .

In exchange for his immediate resignation, he continued to be employed by the City for six months. Council offered six month’s pay plus benefits totaling $186,378.14 which included pay, benefits, CLE, bar dues, IMLE conference, deferred compensation, and additionally, a joint press release. Mr. Tindall could approach Councilmembers and city officials for recommendations (references).  He was entitled to keep the city phone and phone number and he remained in the system an additional six months and did not exhaust his vacation or sick time. For whatever reasons other than the publicly offered “time for change,” they wanted him gone immediately and were willing to pay nearly $200,000 to have it happen. It’s a sweet deal. For up to 5 hours of work in a 2 week period over 6 months he received over $186,000. I bet you wouldn’t turn it down.

As part of his severance package he would stay on board in a limited capacity as a Special Counsel. The agreement called for him to be available to respond to factual questions he had previously handled for the city. There was a requirement for a separate agreement to allow him to provide legal advice. Here is the exact stipulation: “Employee will be available for up to five hours per two-week period from the date of this Agreement to the Separation Date to respond to factual questions regarding matters Employee previously handled for the City; provided however, Employee will not provide legal advice to the City unless by separate agreement.”

The Severance Agreement was approved by city council on a 5 to 2 vote with Mayor Weiers and Councilmember Alvarez voting “Nay.” Mayor Weiers turned out to be correct in viewing Tindall’s stay for an additional 6 months as problematical.

Can we assume all of council read the agreement? Yes, as there was a great deal of discussion about its terms prior to the vote. They knew that he could respond to factual questions but not offer legal advice. So why did Councilmembers Knaack, Martinez and Sherwood, three of the four votes needed to approve the IceArizona Agreement, ask him for legal advice regarding the IceArizona Agreement? And why did Tindall respond by offering legal advice?

Did Mr. Tindall breach his Severance Agreement by offering councilmembers legal advice regarding the IceArizona Agreement without fulfilling a separate agreement allowing him to provide legal advice?

I received, anonymously, a copy of an email dated Friday, June 20, 2013 sent at 8:04 AM. Here is a copy of that email:

Tindall email 3 corrected

 

 

In Item 1 of his email, Tindall says, “First, in § 8.3.1 the exception for the 2013-2014 season should be removed. That was in the Jamison agreement for last season when the League faced issue sight he (sic) collective bargaining agreement. The year was changed, but it is not needed any longer.” The only recipients are Councilmembers Knaack, Martinez and Sherwood as they apparently asked Tindall for legal advice.  The email is not copied to the Acting City Manager or the Acting City Attorney. Copying others is a usual and typical practice. I always copied my Council Assistant and on city matters copied the City Manager, Assistant City Manager and relevant department heads. It informs others and prevents blind-siding on an issue. It’s also a matter of professional courtesy. Since Tindall referred to the Acting City Manager in his email, he should have copied him as well.

It appears that the councilmembers were the only ones to ever see this email. Was the email offered with the “understanding of the City Manager” as Tindall stated?  If that were the case it would be expected that he Cc the acting city manager and/or the acting city attorney formally for informational purposes at the very least.

Less than 2 months later, August 20, 2013, Mr. Tindall is hired as IceArizona’s (successful bidder for Jobing.com arena Management Agreement) General Counsel. His Severance Agreement retains him as Special Counsel to the city until October 1, 2013. For 6 weeks he continues to work for both the city and IceArizona. He could legally and he did despite appearances. I guess he forgot the old adage, “Perception is reality.”

Former Councilmember Phil Lieberman filed a complaint with the Arizona State Bar Association alleging among other things, that Tindall may have breached his Severance Agreement. Does this issue have the potential to become part of the Bar’s investigation? Despite many who view Lieberman as an old curmudgeon, you have to wonder what else he knows…and in this instance he appears to be right.

© 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 Thursday, March 6, 2014 the Glendale citizen Planning Commission voted to deny a Conditional Use Permit for USA Pawn Shop. Thank you to the citizen members of the Planning and Zoning Commission for your decision.

Recently I received an email from a Glendale resident who told me it’s not over yet. USA Pawn, as is their right, has appealed the Planning Commission’s decision to the Glendale City Council. It will be heard before council at their Tuesday, May 27, 2014 meeting at 6 PM.

USA Pawn is asking to locate a mere 300 to 500 feet away from another pawn shop, Go Daddy Pawn at 59th Avenue and Bethany Home Road, in zip code 85301. It’s time to give south Glendale a break. There are at least a half dozen pawn shops within spitting distance of one another in the area.

Whether you live in the immediate area or not, you have the right to let your voices be heard. Share your opinion on the granting of yet another pawn shop in south Glendale by emailing the Glendale City Council. Here are their city email addresses:

You can let them know that you oppose the granting of a conditional use permit for the USA pawn shop and your reason(s) why you oppose it.

Or you can speak to the issue on the night of May 27, 2014 by appearing before the city council and speaking when it is presented on the agenda. Either means is effective but only when there are many voices. It doesn’t take many to persuade council. I have seen 20 or 30 people mount a charge on an issue and succeed. The danger is that you assume someone else will participate so your voice isn’t necessary. Never make that assumption for then no one comes forward. Silence indicates to council that there is tacit public approval. I am always reminded in these situations of a poem in which the author says, paraphrasing, they came for others and I said nothing. When they came for me there was no one left to speak for me. Public silence and apathy are the hallmarks of bad ideas that are allowed life. Another pawn shop in south Glendale is a bad idea that should not be given life.  

© 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.

Remember the fire truck purchase debacle? As a refresher on November 26, 2013 the Glendale city council accepted a grant of $425,000 from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community for the purchase of a new fire truck. Typically grants such as these are good for a year from the date of award.

On January 28, 2014 the purchase of said fire truck was on the council voting agenda for approval. The fire truck’s purchase price was $484,206.92. The price was $59,206.92 greater than the grant awarded to pay for it.  It was to be purchased cooperatively using a Houston‐Galveston Area Council (HGAC) purchase agreement. An RFP was to have been issued to solicit local bids but that never occurred. Why an RFP was not used has never been answered satisfactorily.

During the Public Comment portion of the January 28, 2014 council meeting a representative of Freightliner spoke of the irregularities he encountered in attempting to satisfy specifications for the fire truck purchase. After the meeting Fire Chief Burdick went ballistic on this gentlemen in the City Hall lobby. The Freightliner rep’s comments raised enough eyebrows that City Manager Brenda Fischer pulled the item from the agenda.  She determined and communicated to council that she would investigate and an RFP would be issued.

Three months later and you can throw those city manager pledges out the window. Word has sifted out from the usually tightly fortified City Hall that the very same fire truck purchase will be up for city council approval sometime this June.

Apparently the Human Resources Department was tasked with investigating any fire employee improprieties in the process and found none. Even if there had been something discovered, it would have been handled internally and neither council nor the public would have been informed.

The reasons given by Tom Duensing, Executive Director for Finances, for reverting to the old process are: 1. Not enough time and 2. Not enough people to manage an RFP. If you buy these reasons I have a bridge in Brooklyn for you. There is already enough information to dust off and to write an RFP in short order. But let’s for argument’s sake, say it took a month to write it. It could be issued by the end of May 2014. Typically an RFP requires 45 days for responses. That gets us to the middle of July 2014. The successful response would then be presented to council for final approval no later than September 2014 (as council vacates either the month of July or the month of August). The grant award is good until November of 2014.

As for lack of people to manage an RFP… Come on, really? Council recently authorized two more bodies in the Purchasing and Procurement Department. Somehow or other the city has managed to issue timely RFPs for a host of other items all this time.

If the City Manager had acted responsively after she pulled the item in January of 2014, at this June 2014 meeting council would be acting on a successful response to an RFP issuance instead of resurrection of the original scheme.

So much for the representations of a new era of governance by senior staff. It’s merely the same old game with new players.

© 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.

Lately I have been in a “take no prisoners mode.” Think of Peter Finch as Mr. Beale in the film, Network, when he screams, “I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore!” I am thoroughly disgusted with the lies and subterfuge offered on various Glendale issues masked in a guise of altruism and high-mindedness. Rather than advancing issues that serve the best interests of our community opinions and actions have degenerated into advocacy of personal agendas. Yes, I know “we all do it” and “it’s done all the time,” usually accompanied by an admonishment to be “realistic.” It’s time to call “a spade,” “a spade” and not the PC description of, “a hand-held implement with a sharp-edged, rectangular, metal blade and a long handle used to loosen or break up the upper strata of the earth.”

The Glendale Star is a perfect example. Newspapers once had the reputation of objectivity in their reportage. Like many other time honored values news objectivity has fallen by the wayside.  When it comes to the proposed Tohono O’odham casino the Glendale Star obviously supports it. It is no secret that its Editor, Carolyn Dryer, attended an Alvarez hosted pro-casino meeting as a like-minded individual. There were also TO representatives in attendance. Her editorial choices seem to clearly reflect her bias.

There is a referendum petition in circulation designed to put the recent council vote to reject US Representative Trent Franks’ HB 1410 on Glendale’s fall ballot. By the way, if HB 1410 successfully passes in the US Senate the TO’s proposed casino will die a righteous death. The defeat or passage of HB 1410 is more critical than the public realizes. Make no mistake. If HB 1410 passes there is sure to be more litigation.

The referendum effort is being led by Glendale resident Gary Hirsch, a former city council candidate. Mr. Hirsch’s position is well known as one of the Glendale citizen plaintiffs in a previous lawsuit against the Tohono O’odham’s (TO) proposed casino.

On April 24, 2014 the Glendale Star Editor Dryer published an opinion piece on the casino referendum issue written by Mike Kenny, its Web Editor. Here is the link: http://www.glendalestar.com/opinion/editorials/. Mr. Kenny’s opinion piece is a puff piece signifying “nothing.” I guess if one cannot speak to the issue the next best course of action is to denigrate it.  He refers to the referendum effort and characterizes it as achieving “nothing.” He goes on to say, “Oh, and it’s (council vote) a non-stance that likely has zero implications. It’s highly doubtful our nation’s Senate – if this bill is ever heard – will take into account the opinion of a city that can barely decide what its opinion is.” Really? If that were the case why did Councilmember Alvarez and her minions work so hard to bring it to a council vote? They believe that rejection of HB 1410 by the city in which the proposed casino would be sited would indeed send a strong signal.

What about other personal agendas on this issue? Those councilmembers who hold a pro-casino position appear to have done so for purely personal reasons not because they believe it is in the best interest of Glendale (although they will proclaim so loudly and often). Councilmember Alvarez seems to be in “pay-back” mode. It’s her way of sticking it to councilmembers who she perceives as having “disrespected” her when she first came on board. It’s purely personal and the TO have taken advantage of her vindictiveness. Councilmember Chavira owes Alvarez and the TO big time for their support and endorsement of his candidacy. It appears that their bill has come due and he is making good on his debt. Councilmember Hugh’s pro-casino stance is in contradiction to his usual fiscal conservatism. It’s been heard his wife is driving his pro-casino stance. Water cooler opinion has it that Councilmember Sherwood who ran as an anti-casino council candidate lusts to become Glendale’s next mayor and is expecting substantial financial support from the TO in his run for that office.

So much for decision making in the best interests of already beleaguered city. After all, it’s just politics. Isn’t it time for Glendale residents to say, “They’re mad as hell, and not going to take it anymore?”

© 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 April 24,2014 there is a report that petition signatures are being collected calling for a referendum on the city council’s vote to repudiate US House of Representatives Trent Franks’ bill, HB 1410. If passed it would create law that would stop the Tohono O’odham’s effort to build its proposed casino. I support this effort. As the crow flies, I live a scant mile from the proposed casino site. Neighborhoods that will be directly affected by the impact do not want the casino. In my informal poll 50% of the respondents do not support negotiating with the Tohono O’odham and 50% of the respondents do. I believe this is the most divisive issue in Glendale’s history.

Our national and local economies are still abysmal. Unemployment is still way, way too high. Every politician worth his or her salt is running on a platform of job creation. Is it any wonder that the Tohono O’odham (TO) inordinately exaggerate and emphasize job creation associated with the proposed casino as a major means of garnering public support for its plan? Of course not but they do so in a rather Pinocchio-esque form. Remember the job creation numbers come from a Tribe that kept its land purchase secret for 7 years. That alone should make people think twice about their assurances of job creation. It’s time to take a realistic look at the TO promised job creation numbers.

Of course the proposed casino will create jobs both temporary and permanent. The disagreement occurs over TO touted numbers versus reality. The TO has consistently claimed the creation of 6,000 construction jobs and another 3,000 permanent jobs. Their numbers are highly inflated and that is understandable given their history of truth telling and their zealousness to build this casino at all costs.

Let’s look at some other Tribal casino projects. In Lansing, Michigan the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians is constructing a $245 million, 125,000 square foot casino. The tribe says the number of construction jobs is a little over 700 with 1,500 permanent jobs. That is reality, not myth.

In California the Graton Rancheria Tribe is constructing an $800 million entertainment and gaming destination. It has created 750 construction jobs and expects 2,000 permanent jobs. That is reality, not myth.

It’s time for the TO to explain exactly how they arrived at a figure of 6,000 construction jobs and 3,000 permanent jobs. How many jobs in what industries? What methodology did they use to arrive at those numbers? If they used a research study that they commissioned then the numbers can be considered highly suspect. It’s too bad that someone like Elliot Pollack hasn’t done independent research on jobs gained versus jobs lost.

As for permanent jobs a more realistic assumption is in the 1,500 to 2,000 range. Of course, we all know because the TO has made it abundantly clear that 25% of those jobs must go to Native Americans.  There is absolutely no way to determine how many jobs will go to Glendale residents. It is reasonable to assume that many jobs will go to residents from the surrounding Metro area. While that’s a great prospect for other cities, it’s not so good for Glendale who will bear the brunt of costs associated with a casino in the town while losing out on the benefits of the “multiplier effect.”

The great majority of jobs at casinos can regularly be found on the Forbes list of worst paying jobs in America – including that of ‘gaming dealer.’ According to the 2007 National Compensation Survey compiled by the US Dept of Labor’s Division of Labor Statistics the median hourly wage for gaming service employees is estimated at $6.34 per hour with annual median earnings of $13,179. That is $2,000 above the 2014 Federal poverty level.

The unions are fully on board and have been one of the most public advocates for the proposed TO casino as visions of union construction jobs dance in their heads. Wait…Arizona is a right-to-work state. If the unions have a behind-closed-doors, back-slapping “understanding” with the TO about using union labor exclusively they better get it in writing. They might want to get the TO to waive sovereign immunity with regard to any contracts and possible breaches. They should never forget the lesson of the TO’s secret land purchase. They also need to look at what happened to union labor used on the Graton Rancheria Tribe’s casino construction. Initially union labor was used but was quickly replaced with out-of-state construction workers, largely non-union. Sometimes it pays to be careful what you wish for as the California unions on the Graton Rancheria project painfully learned.

The proposed TO casino will create temporary construction jobs and permanent jobs, as will other industries which do not require reservation or sovereign status and can develop according to Glendale’s existent General Plan for that area while generating new construction and sales tax. With the exception of the cluster services associated with gambling, studies consistently reveal that new businesses tend not to locate in areas allowing legalized gambling and pre-existing businesses will face added pressures that push them toward illiquidity and even bankruptcy. The proposed casino will act as a disincentive to other businesses that would otherwise locate in western Glendale resulting in the loss of future, good-paying jobs.

The benefits of economic development is overstated by the TO and its proponents who never account for jobs lost from businesses that fail or choose not to locate in west Glendale due to the all-encompassing predatory nature of casino capitalism.

That’s reality.

© 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 April 22, 2014 on a vote of 16-10 HB 2547 was rejected in the Arizona Senate. It would have partially reimbursed Glendale for public safety expenditures related to hosting the upcoming Super Bowl in 2015. This is an event that generates large sales tax revenues all over the state and especially in the Phoenix Metro area.

Here are realities some Arizona senators conveniently ignored. The state, the county, the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority (AZSTA), the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee and the Bidwills all breathed a sigh of relief when Glendale stepped up to the tune of $35M for infrastructure improvements surrounding the stadium and accepted construction of the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale when no other city in the Phoenix Metropolitan area was willing to do so.  Glendale held its tongue when publicly slapped in the face by the naming of the stadium as the University of Phoenix Stadium.

Glendale looked forward to its first Super Bowl hosting experience and assumed that new sales tax revenues would cover the costs associated with being a host city. It was a pilot project and learning experience. Glendale did an outstanding job of hosting and has been praised as a model experience. Glendale spent $2.2M in 2008 as a host city. It earned sales tax revenue of $1M losing $1.2M in the process. It was an expensive lesson.

If anyone believes that public safety was the only cost to Glendale for hosting the 2008 Super Bowl, they are fools. Don’t forget at a minimum to include sanitation and transportation. Glendale sanitation had extra duties in assuring that the venue was clean and neat for a minimum of two weeks.. Glendale’s transportation staff coordinated all of the transportation logistics during the NFL Experience and on game day. Then there were the countless hours of Glendale staff time in preparation for the event and the countless meetings with NFL and Arizona Host Committee officials. Glendale put a lot of skin into the 2008 game yet it was cities like Scottsdale, Tempe and Phoenix that reaped gorilla sized sales tax revenues.

Some of these Arizona senators were lied to with impunity. They were told that Glendale made money on the 2008 Super Bowl. I was there. I was on the city council. I saw the figures. Glendale did not make money. I was one of only two councilmembers who voted against hosting it again in 2015 for the very reason that Glendale lost money. I said publicly at the time that without a reimbursement mechanism in place I could not support hosting it again.

If anyone believes that $2M will cover the costs of hosting the Super Bowl in 2015, next year, they, too, are fools. City Council intended to build up a fund of $4 to $6M over 6 years to cover the anticipated expenses. Everything from gas, to salaries, to vehicle use, to supplies has gone up. Then council became preoccupied with the Coyotes mess and was raped by the NHL to the tune of $25M a year for two years. The set aside fund never materialized.

Finally, this year Glendale crafted a bill to recapture its costs as a host city. The original figure requested was $4M and it watched as the bill was steadily watered down to $2M accepting that something was better than nothing.  In the meantime AZSTA, the Host Committee and the Bidwills came up with their own bill requesting $10M. It never made it to the Arizona House of Representatives’ floor for a vote. It died an ignominious death.

So where were they? Why didn’t AZSTA, the Host Committee and the Bidwills buck up and support Glendale? When their bill died did they just pick up their marbles and leave the fight? You bet they did. They view Glendale as a red-headed stepchild  – a child that doesn’t play well with others. After all, how dare Glendale not make its hotels bow to the pressure and cap their room rates? They blamed Glendale for not dictating terms to private hotel entities. They also claimed, falsely, that Glendale would not provide the necessary, stipulated parking needed for game day. Not true but in their view Glendale, quite simply, had become a pain in their butts.

Mayor Weiers and Vice Mayor Knaack publicly acknowledged at the April 22, 2014 council meeting that Glendale cannot continue to absorb the costs of hosting the Super Bowl without reimbursement. They made it quite clear that it is an unsustainable proposition. I applaud the fact that they have put everyone on notice and unless a reimbursement mechanism is created Glendale will not be in the business of hosting future Super Bowls. It’s about time. It’s nice to finally have some public company on this issue. Way to go Mayor Weiers and Vice Mayor Knaack. The ball is in AZSTA’s, the Host Committee’s and the Bidwill’s court. It’s their turn to play nicely and to acknowledge that Glendale is a valuable asset to them. After all, they can’t pick up their marbles (er, stadium) and go away, can they? Ironic, isn’t it? They may have cooked their golden goose.

© 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.

Over the past week you may have noted there were no blog posts. I took a much needed vacation. I enjoyed it very much, thank you, and came back renewed and reinvigorated.

In public statements with regard to his candidacy for the Cholla district council seat Mr. Petrone said he has “lived in the Cholla district 40 years.” While that may be factually accurate, it is fair to ask if he ever attempted to move out of Glendale. The answer to that question would be “yes.” In a Maricopa County Recorded document dated 2006 Petrone attempted to buy 8368 West Spur Drive in Peoria from Desert Highlands Residential Properties LLC. The deal died when Petrone failed to make any payments on the property. This may not be such a big deal to some readers. I’m sure there are those who signed a contract to buy a home and then backed out or perhaps he intended it to become an investment property. But a case could be made that Mr. Petrone was not that enamored with Glendale and may have been ready to move on. Perhaps he never got over the $500+ lien the City of Glendale placed upon his property for failing to pay a City of Glendale Utility Bill in August, 1990 (Here is the link: http://156.42.40.50/UnOfficialDocs2/pdf/19900561670.pdf). Again, for some this may not be a big deal. I know in the 45 years I have lived in Glendale I have had lapses of memory two or three times and forgotten to pay my bill. That is something that many of us have done inadvertently…but for 99% of us never to the tune of $500.

All of the information contained in this blog is in the public realm and can readily be found on various websites.  The Maricopa County Recorder’s website (link is: http://recorder.maricopa.gov/recdocdata/GetRecDataPaging.aspx?biz1=&biz2=&fn1=Robert&mn1=&ln1=Petrone&fn2=&mn2=&ln2=&begdt=1/1/1974&enddt=4/1/2014&doc1=&doc2=&doc3=&doc4=&doc5=. Beware…there are at least 4 pages of documents. Well over 80 entries); the Arizona Superior Court website under Civil cases (link is: http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/docket/CivilCourtCases/caseSearchResults.asp?lastName=Petrone&FirstName=Robert&bName=. There are 14 cases from 1998 to 2008); and the Maricopa County Assessor’s website (link is: http://mcassessor.maricopa.gov/?s=233-03-003) for verification of home ownership information. Type in Robert Petrone on any of these websites and see what you come up with.

According the Maricopa County Assessor’s website Nicholas Bigelow owns (a link to the deed is on the site) and has been paying the property tax on the current home in which Mr. Petrone lives. It may have some relationship to the fact that Petrone’s wife’s previous last name was Bigelow.

In August of 2013 CBS5 TV did a story on Petrone. Here is the link: http://www.kpho.com/story/23261106/glendale-city-council-candidate-looks-to-win-publics-trust . They reported, “CBS5 did some digging and found a long history of financial problems in Petrone’s past, dating back to 2003, including not paying credit cards, bounced checks and thousands of dollars in unpaid debt. CBS5 uncovered more than 20 civil and criminal cases in Valley justice courts, all connected to Petrone or his landscaping business.” When questioned by a reporter, Mr. Petrone admitted his financial setbacks and said that he had overcome them and went on to say, “I managed to survive and get back on the right track. It’s a pretty good reference to fall back on.” Well-l-l-l, maybe not so. On the Superior Court website and the County Recorder’s website there are pages and pages of documents, including civil cases, associated with Mr. Petrone. In all fairness, it appears over time, he satisfied many of the judgments against him but apparently not all. There are quite a few Renewal of Judgments: a 2008 Renewal for Greenwood Trust Company; two Renewals in 2010 – one with Midland Credit Management Company and one with Palisades Collection; one in 2011 with Unifund CCR Partners; and one, last year, in 2013 with Capital One Bank. Apparently these judgments have not been satisfied by Mr. Petrone and are still on the Superior Court’s books. There were no recorded documents on the County Recorder’s website that showed that these judgments have been released as paid.

How can one expect a man with a history of financial mismanagement of his own affairs to handle the city’s financial affairs? With a city council that already has shown itself impaired when it comes to financial decision making, Petrone’s financial judgments could serve to worsen the situation. It is a serious question that deserves careful consideration by the voters in the upcoming election.

Mr. Petrone then goes on to say that he is at a point in his life when he can work for a councilmember’s salary of $35,000 a year. Really? Based upon his financial history perhaps Mr. Petrone needs this salary more than he would lead the voters to believe.

Then there is the issue of the proposed casino. Mr. Petrone has indicated that he is anti-casino but there are those who think his statements on this issue are not convincing and at the very least, self serving. Some believe that he is electioneer pandering and could very well do a Councilmember Sherwood flip-flop on the issue.

Mr. Petrone carries some weighty baggage that should give voters pause in their consideration of support for him. Two of the biggest issues facing Glendale are the proposed casino and Glendale’s financial issues.  There may be better candidates out there that merit your vote and your support. Current Councilmember Martinez may want to seriously rethink his endorsement of Petrone and pull it. After all, one is judged by the company one keeps.

In a little over a month,, by May 28, 2014, all candidates must submit their nominating petition signatures to get on the fall ballot. Over the course of the next 6 months this blog will take a long, hard look at all of the Glendale councilmember candidates. When one runs for public office, one becomes a public figure and past actions, opinions and comments are grist for voters’ decisions.

© 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.

From the second I posted my last blog on the topic of the most recent Glendale Monthly Arena Management Report I have been inundated with Facebook private messages, emails and Twitter DMs asking so many questions I’ve decided to answer many of them here and now.

I’ve been asked how the Ice AZ deal is different than the Jamison deal I supported. Why was that more beneficial and why did I support it? I received a flurry of offended IceArizona supporters demanding I announce why Jamison’s deal failed, why I “pick,” “target,” “harass” the new owners. I am not at liberty to discuss why the Jamison deal did not succeed due to confidentiality issues. I can, however, compare the two deals – Jamison’s and IceArizona’s. My only agenda throughout the entire process was to get what would be, in my opinion, the best deal possible for Glendale within the context of the financial environment as it existed at that time. Each deal had its strengths and weaknesses vis a vis Glendale.

 Then there’s the “interested-in-Glendale” crowd who want to know why I continually berate the new Council and is it because I’m running again in the future? Again, I categorically state that I will not run for any office, now or in the future. I have seen some councilmembers who remained well into their 80’s. One could see the diminishment in their faculties and abilities. It is a disservice to the constituents they represent. Instead I appreciate the gift I have been given to opine on Glendale issues and events using the benefit of my 16 years of service to the city. I am enjoying my retirement immensely and writing about Glendale is just plain fun.

Some asked, did I think individual councilmembers or the mayor personally benefit from deals? Then there are the few accusations of “I bet you benefitted just like these lousy politicians” implying that somehow I would financially benefit from a successful Jamison deal. Jamison never, ever made any offer of compensation of any sort and if he had it would have resulted in personal insult at the thought and would have insured my “no” vote on his bid.

Now…for the rest of the story as Paul Harvey would say…Let’s begin with the unsuccessful Jamison bid.  In page citations references with regard to the Jamison bid are the City Council Voting Meeting Presentation of November 27, 2012 or the Substantial Final Draft of the Arena Management Agreement dated October, 2012.

  • It was a long-term deal of 20 years with a 5 year option to renew with no opt out clause by either party (Council meeting of November, 2012).
  • Base rent was in years 1 to 5, $500,000; years 6 to 12, $650,000; and years 13 to 22, $800,000; (Final Substantial Draft of Arena Management Agreement, page 24, Section 6. Leasehold Interest. 6.6. Base Rent).
  • Stipulation if full 40+ games were not played it would be arena manager’s responsibility to book other events to compensate for lost games (Arena Management Agreement, page 29, Section 8. Arena Management. 8.1.0).
  • Minimum of 40 games per year with additional 30 events per year. Management fee reduced by $25,000 for each non-hockey event below 30 minimum. Reduction of $60,000 per game below 40 minimum (Council meeting of November, 2012).
  • Parking Rights belonged to team owner/manager (page 30, Section 8.2).
  • Stipulation of 15% of the gross from naming rights would go to the city (page 35, Section 8.5).
  • City surcharge on qualified tickets was years 1 to 5, $2.75; and years 6 to 22, $3.00 (page 51, Section 9. Charges and Fees. 9.1. City Surcharge).
  • Arena Management Fee: In year 1, $11M; year 2, $14M; years 3 to 4, $15M; year 5, $16M; years 6 to 10, $18M; and year 11, $17M; years 12 to 15, $16m; year 16, $14M; and years 17 to 20, $13M (Council meeting of November, 2012).
  • Stipulation of 5 year option to purchase the arena (page 89, Section 23. Arena Purchase Option).
  • City offered a bonus incentive of $500,000 for every additional 20 events over 30 minimum required (Council meeting of November, 2012).

Was it a perfect deal? Of course not but I supported it for several reasons. Mr. Jamison continually demonstrated his willingness to compromise during the negotiations with the city. Every nuance of the Jamison deal was highly publicized.  There was no backroom negotiating amongst councilmembers.

A restructured arena management fee was crafted and the first year fee dropped from $17M to $11M. Penalties and bonuses were added — something not seen in any previous deals. The Five Year Scenario presented at the November, 2012 council meeting showed an ending City Fund Balance in 2017 of $63.2M if the team stayed and an ending Fund Balance in 2017 of $63.4M if the team left. The difference was negligible and seemed reasonable as both scenarios required General Fund expense reductions.

It was a deal that offered the city arena stability over 20 years and most importantly, there was an option to buy the arena in the first five years making the balance of the deal a moot point while relieving the city of further financial obligations. The “buy” option in the first five years would have removed the financial debt burden the city was facing at that time. Jamison provided a long term contractual commitment insuring an anchor tenant in the arena for 20 years. His deal was based upon having raised the necessary team purchase equity – no loans were involved.

Why didn’t it happen? Many of the reasons are not public and I am not at liberty to speak of them but I do know that at the eleventh hour the NHL demanded greater team purchase equity. Jamison was raising cash to purchase the team rather than relying upon loans. It was simply impossible to raise in two months the additional equity that the NHL suddenly required before the city’s imposed deadline of January 31, 2013. The originally requested equity amount had been raised but the new, last minute NHL demand was a deal killer. Why the sudden and unexpected requirement of more purchase equity? One would have to ask the NHL officers and they are not talking.

Now, let’s look at the IceArizona deal. Since it was the successful bid and of recent vintage, many of the deal points are already familiar to you. The IceArizona citations used are from the Professional Management Services and Arena Lease Agreement of June 28, 2013. The council approved the agreement on August 5, 2013.

  • The agreement is subject to an early termination right after 5 years (page 3, Arena Lease Agreement, Section 1. Statement of Intent. 1.1.1.)
  • Revenues to be received by the city include surcharge of $3 on qualified hockey tickets; a $5 surcharge on non-hockey qualified tickets; and a supplemental surcharge of $1.50 on every qualified ticket; parking revenues of $10 per vehicle for hockey events and $11.33 per vehicle for non-hockey events less $20,000.00 per event to the team owner; 20% of the sale of naming rights (page 4. Section 1. Statement of Intent. 1.1.5. a through j).
  • Arena Management Withdrawal grants the right of agreement default if there is an arena manager dissolution, bankruptcy or insolvency (page 7, Definitions. 1.2. a through e).
  • Definition of qualified ticket with a distribution limit of 1,000 per event (page 16. Section 1.)
  • Annual rent is in years 1 to 5, $500,000; years 6 to 12, $650,000; years 13 to 15, $800,000 (page 25. Section 6. Leasehold Interest. 6.6.1 to 6.6.3)
  • Penalty of $150,000 per hockey game less than the 40 games per year. There is no penalty for non-hockey events or any minimum of non-hockey events required (page 31. Section 8. Arena Management. 8.3. Event Requirements. 8.3.1. b and c).
  • Qualified hockey ticket surcharge based on attendance of less than 15,000 is $3 per ticket; 15,000 to 15,999 is $3.25 per ticket; 16,000 to 17,000 is $3.50 per ticket; more than 17,000 is $3.75. All non hockey events will be $3 per ticket regardless of attendance figures (page 49. Section 9. Charges and Fees. 9.1.2 a and b).
  • Supplemental ticket surcharge of $1.50 per qualified ticket imposed (page 49. Section 9. Charges and Fees. 9.1.3).
  • City receives 20% of arena naming rights (page 35. Section 8. Arena Management. 8.6.4.b.ii).

Is this a perfect deal? Of course not but it is one that is far more difficult to support. I cannot speak as to whether there was a spirit of compromise as I was not directly involved with the prospective team purchasers. There appeared to be “back room” negotiating amongst councilmembers in the search for the elusive 4th vote.  

Obviously there was no compromise on the annual management fee of $15M. There couldn’t be compromise because the team purchase relied heavily on loans from the Fortress Group and the NHL rather than on raising a large amount of purchase equity. I find it ironic that the NHL killed the Jamison deal by requesting even greater purchase equity than he has already acquired and now it is stuck with granting an $80M loan to the new owners. The $15M that the city pays for arena management is passed through by the team owners as interest payments on their loans. They quite simply must have that $15M for interest payments.

On the face of it the IceArizona deal speaks to a long-term commitment but that is not necessarily the case. There is an opt out clause after 5 years and that is extremely disturbing. It has been highly publicized that the opt-out trigger is losses aggregately of $50 million. Anyone who is under the assumption that the team owners will not suffer loss is dreaming. Business 101 classes teach that any new business venture can routinely expect losses in the first 2 to 3 years. The question becomes how much will the owners lose and how quickly will it reach the target of $50 million? Even though the city has and will exercise its right to audit at the end of every fiscal year that information will not be publicly available. P&L statements are usually proprietary. The public will not know until if and when the team owners choose to exercise their opt-out provision.

 The city could go through another exercise of crafting an agreement with another new owner but more likely, the team would be sold or relocated. There is also an Arena Manager Withdrawal clause that provides a default opportunity for sale or relocation.

Keep in mind in BOTH deals there are very few new revenue streams to the city. The city had been, in years previous, collecting all sales tax generated within and outside the arena. That is not new money. It also had been collecting a ticket surcharge on all events. That is not new money. These revenues were already going into the city’s General Fund and specifically used to pay the arena construction debt. In the IceArizona deal the revenues flow to the General Fund as well but there is no specific dedication of those revenues to fulfill the city’s arena debt obligations and may be used for any purpose.

In the Jamison deal the only new money was 15% of the revenue from naming rights. In the IceArizona deal the only new money is 20% of naming rights, the supplemental ticket surcharge and parking revenue. None of these revenues are predicted by the city’s Executive Finance Director as being substantial enough to recompense the annual $15M management fee.

In my judgment the better deal was the Jamison deal. He offered a long-term commitment to stay in Glendale with no opt out clause and an opportunity to buy the arena in the first five years. It would have relieved the city of the financial obligations of the arena. Not so with the IceArizona contract. While their advertising states, “Here to stay” there is always that pesky 5 year opt out clause lurking.

Because of the Jamison group’s purchase equity position there was flexibility in pegging the annual management fee to accommodate the city’s needs at the time. Make no mistake. Each deal placed a tremendous annual financial burden upon the city. Coupled with the Jamison deal staff recommended city expense reductions and instituted other strategies such as restructuring city debt that would have offset that burden.  With the IceArizona deal there is too much reliance upon promised revenues that may or may not be realized.  With so little owner equity, their reliance upon large loans and the 5 year opt out clause I wouldn’t take a bet about their future. Would you?

 I am sure that in expressing my POV on the two deals I will raise a great deal of protestation along with, “your facts are flawed” or “you have no faith” or “once again you have delivered an IceArizona hate piece.” There is no doubt that the subject is divisive and highly polarizing. Please remember that my conclusions are based upon publicly available information. It is my best attempt to share my reasoning regarding the many questions received. My initial vote to accept the Jamison deal while still on council resulted in leaving the door open for consideration of other bids resulting in IceArizona’s success. I have never been anti-Coyotes. I have always been pro-Glendale. My prism has always been the best interests of Glendale. It is fair to question whether accepting the IceArizona deal the best choice for Glendale. You decide.

© 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.

Recently the Arizona Republic started a new item, West Valley Sound Off. They are contacting West Valley elected to get their positions on issues of the day. Their first foray question was, “Do you support the development of this proposed casino? Why or why not?” Those from Avondale, Buckeye, Goodyear, El Mirage, Litchfield Park, Peoria, Surprise, Tolleson and Youngtown declined to answer. Not so with our brave, intrepid leaders in Glendale. Three of them did respond.

Councilmember Manny Martinez has consistently opposed the casino since it was first proposed in 2009. He gets it. He said, “I do not support the proposed Tohono O’odham reservation and casino. I am very concerned for Westgate’s well-being if the casino is opened. How do casinos attract customers? Cheap booze, cheap food, and the cost of rooms are minimal. At Westgate, we have hotels and restaurants that pay taxes and help us pay off our debts. If the reservation and casino come in, as a sovereign nation, they would pay no federal, state, county or city taxes. Governor William R. Rhodes of the Gila River Indian Community said, ‘We believe the Tohono O’odham Nation, with the assistance of the federal government, has disrespected the rule of law, the balance so carefully struck among Indian gaming tribes, our community, Glendale and every Arizonan.”

Then we have words, signifying nothing, from Councilmember Chavira. He doesn’t get it and he is not representing the majority sentiment of the residents of West Glendale and the Yucca district, who will feel the direct impacts of the proposed casino. He mimics the same, old, tired rhetoric that the Tohono O’odham have used ad nausea, “Yes, I do support the development of the proposed West Valley casino and resort. The benefits of the development will be significant not only for Glendale, but for the entire West Valley. Positive economic impacts such as job creation and an additional tourist attraction in our sports and entertainment district are among the benefits.” I’m sure he knows, uhmmm, well, perhaps he knows…that 25% of the jobs must be filled with Native Americans.

Lastly, Councilmember Sherwood responded. This is a guy who, less than two years ago, ran on a platform of opposition to the casino. Now, not so much. He did a flip-flop at a very recent council meeting voting with Councilmembers Hugh, Alvarez and Chavira to reject U.S. Representative Franks’ HB 1410 and to begin negotiations with the Tohono O’odham (TO). Many suspect his affirmative vote was pay back to Chavira for Chavira’s vote in support of the arena management deal. “Neither – I will support the project if the Tohono O’odham Nation can be treated as close to a private entity as possible and having some form of revenue stream into the city’s general fund. Additionally, infrastructure including any street improvements, public-safety agreements, et al. would have to be included and enforceable in federal courts. Thus far, in fact-finding sessions, the Nation appears to be very amenable to this. Businesses such as Westgate, Renaissance Hotel, Coyotes and Tanger Outlets, to name a few, are also in support of proposed project. The sports and entertainment district could very well capitalize on a project of this size if it meets the city’s criteria.” He appears to be back-pedaling as he straddles a very narrow  fence, by adding his list of caveats. His declaration that,” Westgate, Renaissance Hotel, Coyotes and Tanger Outlets…are also in support” is downright laughable. There has never been a declaration of public support for the proposed casino from these entities. Have you seen it? I haven’t. Remember when the possibility of losing the Coyotes as an anchor tenant at the arena loomed? Bar and restaurant owners were beside themselves and declared without 40 nights of hockey games they couldn’t make it. They are not going to support a casino that will draw customers away from them knowing that potential consumers will spend disposable income on gambling, subsidized meals and booze and cheap room rates. If they are so willing to commit financial suicide, let’s see them do it publicly. Not one representative of these entities went to the last council meeting when TO negotiations was on the agenda and expressed public support of the project. Sherwood had no public letters of support from these entities that he could read into the record that evening. It’s time for Sherwood to cease making declarations that may not be accurate. Just because he said it, doesn’t make it true.

© 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.

The City Council Workshop occurred on April Fools’ Day. Councilmember Alvarez was not physically present but did participate telephonically. Does this signal another medical issue and another long period of absences? The 3 items up for discussion were: the Risk Management Trust Fund and Workers’ Compensation Trust Fund; Downtown Parking and the Procurement Process.

Upper management is recommending that the Risk Management Trust Fund and Workers’ Compensation Trust Fund be separated. It’s a rearrangement of the deck chairs which in this case does no harm. Many of the proposed changes had been recommended by the citizen Risk Management and Workers’ Compensation Trust Fund Board as a result of the audit and were made just before I retired and while I was still chairperson.

Downtown parking was up next. A survey had been distributed to the downtown merchants about the issue. The response was underwhelming. The conclusion by staff was that the 2 hour parking restriction at some locations is a non-issue and recommended no change to the current policy. Mayor Weiers and Councilmember Hugh, as a minority, expressed continued concern and believe that all 2 hour parking restrictions should be lifted.

The last item was a presentation by Tom Duensing, Executive Director of Finance and Michael Bailey, City Attorney, on the procurement process. There is no question that current policies are fuzzy, at best. It most certainly is time to tighten up policies in this area. However, the recommendations offered by staff still preserve a lot of discretion (read in staff terms, flexibility) for the City Manager. Not good enough. City council needs to be fully informed about every type of procurement which has not been a past practice. Practices that need reformation include the policy of not requiring bids or quotes on purchases less than $5,000. This is a practice that can bleed the city of dollars by a thousand paper cuts. These purchases are cumulative and can add up quickly. At the very least written memorialization of these purchases should be made and provided to council periodically even though no bids or quotes are required. Purchases between $5,000 and $10,000 allow the policy of verbal quotes. There should be no verbal quotes allowed.

There may be reason for an emergency purchase greater than $50,000. Currently the policy requires city manager approval and council confirmation after the fact.  This practice should be revised to inform the council (at the time of occurrence) of the city manager’s approval of such purchases. The city manager currently requires written determination from the materials manager justifying such purchases. The code should be revised to require the city manager to provide council with the determination the city manager receives from the materials manager.

Upper management continues to advocate for the provision allowing the city manager to allow exemptions and exceptions. It is time to end this practice. There should be no exemptions or exceptions for it can, and often does, lead to misinterpretation and misconception.

Under Council Special Items of Interest, Councilmember Alvarez asked for further clarification on city policy regarding irrigation. She also asked for a discussion on diversity. She was as clear as mud as to what about diversity she wanted discussed. The city already has very strong diversity policies. Councilmember Martinez requested that the issue of short term rentals be taken up. Councilmember Sherwood asked that the policy of traffic signals flashing at midnight be revised to begin at 10 PM. Vice Mayor Knaack asked that the city consider electronic voting for city council meetings.

It was another meeting short and sweet. So many questions to be asked and so few actually offered.

© 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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