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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

“They looked us in the face and lied.” Those are the words of Diane Enos, President of the Salt River-Pima-Maricopa Indian Community when she testified, under oath, on July 23, 2014 before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Her words are blunt and unequivocal. It is an expression of utter frustration and betrayal perpetrated by Tohono O’odham (TO) on virtually every Tribe in the state. What other lies may be on the horizon?

Here is one. What about the 6,000 construction jobs promised by the TO in its effort to sell the casino to an unsuspecting public? Large casino construction projects across the country generally average about 2,000 jobs. In California the Graton Rancheria Tribe constructed an $800 million entertainment and gaming destination. It resulted in 750 construction jobs. Mike Sunnucks in a July 28, 2014 story for the Phoenix Business Journal quotes Libby Francisco, COO of of the Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise as saying, “…the first construction phase will employ 3,500 workers…” If my math is correct, that is a little over half of the construction jobs promised by the TO. So much for their promise of 6,000 construction jobs. Might this be lie #2?

The Tohono O’odham do not have approval to place gaming on their newly designated reservation but that has not deterred them from hiring construction companies. Sunnucks says, “The Tohono O’odham Nation has picked Hunt Construction Group and Penta Building Group…” as their contractors. These companies will, in turn, hire sub-contractors for electrical, plumbing, concrete work, etc. These subs will put out a call to hire for this project. Men and women will come from all over the country and be hired. It will not matter where the workers come from as long as they can do the work at the hourly wage that Hunt and Penta’s sub-contractors will offer.

My family members are or were union members. Some are still actively employed and others are retired. All their work lives at one time or another, for short periods of time and sometimes for a year or better, they have worked out-of-state on large, mega construction projects. They go where the work is and the competition for these jobs is fierce.

Arizona’s unions have been most vocal in their support of the proposed TO casino as visions of local, union construction jobs dance in their heads. If these unions have a behind-closed-doors, back-slapping “understanding” with the TO about using local, union labor exclusively they better get it in writing and insist on a waiver of the Nation’s claim to sovereign immunity. Without a waiver they cannot sue for breach of contract. The TO will not be directly hiring any of the construction workers. The sub-contractors hired by Hunt Construction and Penta Building Group will do the hiring and they will decide based upon what works to maximize their bottom line. Might this be lie #3?

There is more to come, such as the wages paid for permanent jobs, but I’ll save that for another blog. You may consider the Tohono O’odham’s word as suspect and many do. It certainly should be on the minds of the Glendale city council for just like the Tribes throughout the state they may learn, painfully, that any promises, understandings, compacts or contracts are not worth the paper they are written on without a waiver of sovereign immunity. The TO could promise anyone anything and not deliver on their promise – just as they did to their sister Tribes – and then use their shield of immunity.  Remember President Enos’ words, “They looked us in the face and lied.” Who wants to take that chance?

© 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 July 27, 2014 Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake introduced S. 2670 according to an Associated Press release. The senators announced that their bill is a companion measure to Representative Trent Franks’ H.R. 1410 approved by the House of Representative and awaiting action in the Senate. It prohibits the construction of any new Indian gambling operation on unincorporated land in the metro Phoenix area that is not contiguous to an existing Indian reservation.

This bill takes aim at the very heart of the Tohono O’odham’s proposed casino on unincorporated land in Glendale. A very special “Thank you” goes out to the three members of the Arizona Congressional delegation: Representative Trent Franks and his bill, H.R. 1410 and Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake for their bill, S. 2670. Those of us who live near the proposed casino and who would have to deal with its impacts on our quality of life are extremely gratified and appreciative.

This bill seems to have wide support in the Senate. Talk is that even some Democratic senators will support this bill. It appears that many Senators have become concerned about the latest national trend of “reservation shopping.” While this bill does not address that issue per se it does send a strong signal to tribes across the country that they may very well see legislation banning the practice, especially if the Senate is controlled by Republicans after this fall’s election cycle.

Again, thank you Senators McCain and Flake. We on the front lines appreciate your support and your efforts.

© 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.

This is the proposed casino’s reality. Fort McDowell Casino isFort McDowel prime-rib 2 currently running ads that offer Prime Rib on Tuesdays for $6.99 and Crab Legs on Wednesdays and Thursdays for $7.99. It’s not possible for a Yard House, Gordon Biersch, McFadden’s or Saddle Ranch Chop House at Westgate to offer these prices.

Fort McDowell prime rib July 2014You will not see prices like these at the Westgate restaurants for very good reasons: sales tax and regulatory costs. You see, these restaurants have to collect federal, state, county and Glendale sales tax. The Glendale portion of the restaurant sales tax is 3.9%. When state and county taxes are added the total rate is 11.2%.What sales tax does the proposed Tohono O’odham casino with its planned restaurants pay? Nada…zip…nothing.

The icing on the cake is that the Glendale city council just voted to make the temporary sales tax increase permanent…just another stake in the hearts of these restaurants.

Add to the unlevel playing field of all kinds of taxes paid by businesses in Westgate the myriad of federal, state and local regulations with which these businesses must comply. It eats into Westgate businesses’ profits to do so. As a sovereign nation the TO is not required to comply with federal, state, county or local regulations. What regulatory costs does the proposed Tohono O’odham casino bear? Nada…zip…nothing.

TV Channel 5 weekly runs a “Dirty Dining” segment with recent results of inspections of restaurants in Maricopa County. Have you ever seen a Tribal restaurant inspection review? Of course not. Tribal reservations are not subject to these kinds of inspections. They are not subject to federal (OSHA), state, county or local health, safety and welfare regulations because they are a reservation and have sovereign immunity…consider the reservation as a foreign country planted within Glendale. A call placed to the Maricopa County Department of Environmental Services revealed that it has no jurisdiction over tribal restaurants and the Indian tribes regulate themselves. What regulations are there to protect the health, safety and welfare of the casino’s workers and patrons? Nada…zip…nothing.

What do you bet one of the very first elements the Tohono O’odham (TO) will build is paved parking lots. Why, you ask? So they can undercut parking prices for Cardinals games, hockey games and other non-sporting events held at Glendale’s arena, less than a mile away. Is there anything that can prevent the TO from offering cheap parking? Nada…zip…nothing.

I can see it now…shuttle busses packed to the gills disgorging seniors coming from the Sun Cities and Youngtown, spending their time playing bingo and the slots, then partaking of a buffet lunch or dinner before being whisked back to whence they came, never seeing the light of day at Westgate or Tanger Outlets.

Recently I received over the Indian gaming transom some  reliable estimates of what the proposed TO casino is projected to earn in revenue. The numbers are astounding. The numbers offered are not carved in stone but are reasonable estimates provided by people who would know within the industry. Estimates provided are that a new casino in Glendale would earn between six hundred million dollars and seven hundred million dollars a year in gross revenue.

It is estimated that the Tohono O’odham’s net will be half that amount (50%) or three hundred to three hundred and fifty million dollars a year. The net amount reflects the subtraction of all costs associated with O&M as well as an amount of 1% to 8% of the tribe’s gross gaming revenue to the state. To put that in some kind of perspective, it is estimated the TO will net a million dollars a day. Think about that…a million dollars a day.

Which leads to the question of why do the 32,000 members of the TO Nation average an income of $8,000 a year as Chairman Norris testified, under oath, before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs this past week, “Most of our reservation land is located in remote isolated areas and our population is one of the poorest in the United States with average individual incomes of just over $8000.” The Tohono O’odham have 3 casinos operating in southern Arizona. Their website says, “The Desert Diamond Casino, owned and operated by the Tohono O’odham Nation, provides three exciting entertainment venues in Southern Arizona: Desert Diamond Casino (Nogales Highway), Desert Diamond Casino (I-19 & Pima Mine Rd) and Golden Ha:san Casino (Why, AZ).” It goes on to say, “The mission of the casinos is to provide the means for a better quality of life for Tohono O’odham Nation and all people in Southern Arizona.” If the TO are netting even a portion of these revenue estimates from its three southern Arizona casinos, why is part of the net not distributed to the Nation’s members by the Tribal leadership to reduce the poverty rates of its 32,000 members?        

It is widely known that 4 Glendale councilmembers directed staff to negotiate with the Tohono O’odham and the results will be discussed at their August 5, 2014 workshop. Rumor has it that the city council has negotiated something in the neighborhood of $100,000 from the TO. That’s got to be a joke. If it turns out to be true, once again, Glendale’s city council will get snookered…this time by the TO…all the while congratulating staff for their work and patting themselves on the back.

They should demand…not ask…demand a 5% payment of the Tohono O’odham’s annual net revenue earned by all of the development placed on that site. It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? What does 5% equal? How about $15,000,000 a year? Doesn’t that number sound familiar? It’s the same amount the city must pay annually to IceArizona under the management agreement. It would certainly go a long way to relieving the tremendous financial pressure the city faces annually as a result of that payment to IceArizona.

Are Glendale residents willing to sell their souls and bear yet another financial burden for not only a token payment but for the TO’s highly inflated numbers of temporary construction jobs and low-paying service industry jobs? Is this city council while pandering to a small number of extremely vocal residents that desperate and gullible? Is this the best that we can expect from our city council?

© 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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Anthony LeBlanc

I’ve always wondered about the NHL’s Board of Governors. Who are they? Where do they meet? What do they do? And how do they do it? Their mantle is one of secrecy. Google and you may, or may not, be able to come up with a list of all of the members. I did just that and pieced together a list of current Governors and Alternates. I offer my list at the end of this article. If I have erred, I hope readers will advise me so that I can correct the list.

Recently, I reached out to Rich Nairn, VP of Communications, with my questions. He arranged an opportunity to visit with Anthony LeBlanc, one of the Arizona Coyotes Alternates to the Board of Governors. I want to thank Mr. LeBlanc for graciously giving of his time amid a very busy schedule and patiently answering my questions. It was a good discussion and I learned a great deal.

There are 30 NHL teams. All have different ownership situations and the Arizona Coyotes are no different. In the Coyotes case they have 9 owners.  Who is the team’s Governor or Alternates on the Board of Governors? How were they chosen? There was never a formal vote by the team’s owners. George Gosbee is the largest equity partner and was charged with securing the rest of the equity partners and it was generally understood and accepted by all that he would be Governor. There are three alternates. They are Anthony LeBlanc, Craig Stewart, and Don Maloney. All have essential roles with the team. Again, there was no formal vote by the Board of Directors. These men assumed their positions because of the responsibilities they bear.

The Board of Governors meets three times a year. They typically meet in New York City in September; in Pebble Beach, California (or some other warm clime) in December; and in New York City again in June. If every team’s full compliment were to attend the same meeting there would be 123 Governors and Alternates representing the 30 teams. Some teams have as few as a Governor and 1 alternate but many have a Governor and 4 or 5 Alternates.

Since August of 2013 when the team was acquired by IceArizona, Gosbee as Coyotes Governor and two of the three Alternates, LeBlanc and Stuart, have attended the September 2013 meeting, the December 2013 meeting, and the June 2014 meeting. Due to the demands of his schedule Don Maloney attended one meeting. I asked LeBlanc if there were ever any emergency meetings of the Board of Governors. He said they do occur from time to time and used the example of the Board’s ratification of the purchase of the Coyotes by IceArizona. Since he has been attending board meetings no such special or emergency meeting has been necessary.

I also asked if any members of the Coyotes salaried management team attended in order to staff the Governor and Alternates. The answer was “no.” I asked if family members were usually taken on these trips. The answer again was “no.” Do the players’ union representatives or referees’ union representatives ever attend? Mr. LeBlanc indicated that he had not seen that, but that did not mean it didn’t happen. No one participates telephonically. If a Governor cannot attend, the team’s Alternates are charged with representing the team’s interests.

So how do these meetings work? They usually last one day in New York City and two days in a warmer location like Pebble Beach. These meetings are for the purpose of determining policy for the league. The meetings are formal with a written agenda. The agenda is prepared and distributed several weeks in advance giving each Governor and the team’s Board of Directors time to prepare. In the case of the Coyotes their Board of Director meetings are quarterly and usually occur just before the Board of Governors meeting. That gives the owners time to discuss the items on the agenda and to come to consensus on the position they want their Governor to take. As a side note, LeBlanc shared that he has informal, telephonic Coyotes Board of Directors meetings every Friday morning with as many owners participating as are available.

The Board of Governors meetings have become formal due to Bettman’s leadership. The NHL administrative staff or others make presentations and/or reports on agenda items. There can, and often is, discussion by the owners after each presentation. Robert’s Rules of Order are followed with recognition of each speaker. Each agenda item is decided by a roll call vote. Minutes are taken and distributed to each of the Governors. The meeting agendas are created by Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner, and his staff. Bettman was the very first NHL Commissioner and has been at the helm since 1993, a period of 21 years. Bettman does not have a vote but as NHL Commissioner he often controls the flow of the meeting and requires that all Governors and Alternates defer to him with regard to press releases about any and all important decisions that flow from a Governors’ meeting. All of the Board of Governors meetings’ content remains confidential unless a public policy statement issued.

I asked Anthony if there are any opportunities for the Governors and Alternates to socialize with one another at these meetings. In the days before the Gary Bettman era the meetings had the flavor of a good ole boys meeting. Today social opportunities arise at luncheons or dinners. Breaking bread together gives the Governors and Alternates time to talk shop, share stories about their teams and renew acquaintances. It also can provide an opportunity for a Governor to gather support (or opposition) on an agenda item.

The Governors meetings are similar to what is experienced at any Executive Session of a corporate Board of Directors meeting or city council meeting. All contain the same elements; formal agendas, presentations, discussion and vote on policy items with confidentiality required. Socializations occur outside the meeting room.

Again, I want to express my thanks to Anthony LeBlanc for allowing me to take a peek into the world of the NHL’s Board of Governors meetings. He provided a rare glimpse into a world we hear very little about.

The National Hockey League Board of Governors

Chairman of the Board: Jeremy M. Jacobs

  • Anaheim Ducks
  • Governor:                         Henry Samueli
  • Alternate Governor:        Susan Samueli
  • Alternate Governor:        Michael Schulman
  • Alternate Governor:        Tim Ryan
  • Alternate Governor:        Bob Murray
  • Boston Bruins
  • Governor:                        Jeremy M. Jacobs
  • Alternate Governor:       Charles Jacobs
  • Alternate Governor:       Jeremy M. Jacobs Jr.
  • Alternate Governor:       Louis Jacobs
  • Alternate Governor:       Jarry J. Sinden
  • Alternate Governor:       Cam Neely
  • Alternate Governor:       Peter Chiarelli
  •  
  • Buffalo Sabres
  • Governor:                        Terry Pegula
  • Alternate Governor:        TedBlack
  • Alternate Governor:        Darcy Regier
  • Alternate Governor:        Ken Sawyer
  • Alternate Governor:        Cliff Benson
  •  
  • Calgary Flames
  • Governor:                         N. Murray Edwards
  • Alternate Governor:        Ken King
  • Alternate Governor:        Alvin Libin
  •  
  • Carolina Hurricanes
  • Governor:                         Peter Karmanos, Jr.
  • Alternate Governor:        Jim Rutherford
  • Alternate Governor:        Michael Amendola
  • Alternate Governor:        Jason Karmanos
  • Alternate Governor:        Ron Francis
  •  
  • Chicago Blackhawks
  • Governor:                         W. Rockwell Wirtz.
  • Alternate Governor:        Robert J. Pulford
  • Alternate Governor:        John A. Ziegler, Jr.
  • Alternate Governor:        John McDonough
  •  
  • Colorado Avalanche
  • Governor:                         Josh Kronenke.
  • Alternate Governor:        Mark Waggoner
  • Alternate Governor:        Greg Sherman
  • Alternate Governor:        Joe Sakic
  •  
  • Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Governor:                         John P. McConnell
  • Alternate Governor:        Mark Priest
  • Alternate Governor:        John Davidson
  •  
  • Dallas Stars
  • Governor:                         Tom Gaglandi
  • Alternate Governor:        Jim Lites
  • Alternate Governor:        Jim Nill
  • Alternate Governor:        Mike Modeno
  •  
  • Detroit Red Wings
  • Governor:                        Michael Ilitch
  • Alternate Governor:       Jim Devellano
  • Alternate Governor:       Ken Holland.
  • Alternate Governor:       Cristopher Ilitch
  • Alternate Governor:       Rob Carr
  • Alternate Governor:       Tom Wilson
  •  
  • Edmonton Oilers
  • Governor:                        Daryl Katz
  • Alternate Governor:       Patrick LaForge
  • Alternate Governor:       Kevin Lowe
  •  
  • Florida Panthers
  • Governor:                        Cliff Viner
  • Alternate Governor:       Bill Torrey
  • Alternate Governor:       Michael Yormark
  •  
  • Los Angeles Kings
  • Governor:                        Philip F. Anschutz
  • Alternate Governor:       Dean Lombardi
  • Alternate Governor:       Dan Beckerman
  •  
  • Minnesota Wild
  • Governor:                         Craig Leopold
  • Alternate Governor:        Philip Falcone
  • Alternate Governor:        Jac Sperling
  • Alternate Governor:        Chuck Fletcher
  •  
  • Montreal Canadiens
  • Governor:                        Geoff Molson
  • Alternate Governor:       Kevin Gilmore
  • Alternate Governor:       Fred Steer
  • Alternate Governor:       Michael Andlauer
  • Alternate Governor:       Andrew T. Molson
  • Alternate Governor:       Marc Bergevin
  •  
  • Nashville Predators
  • Governor:                        Tom Cigarran
  • Alternate Governor:       Herbert Fritch
  • Alternate Governor:       David Pole
  • Alternate Governor:       Jeff Cogen
  • Alternate Governor:       Sean Henry
  • Alternate Governor:       Joel Dobberpuhl
  •  
  • New Jersey Devils
  • Governor:                         Joshua Harris
  • Alternate Governor:        David Biltzer
  • Alternate Governor:        Lou Lamoriello
  • Alternate Governor:        Scott O’Neil
  •  
  • New York Islanders
  • Governor:                        Charles Wang
  • Alternate Governor:       Roy Reichbach
  • Alternate Governor:       Arthur J. McCarthy
  • Alternate Governor:       Michael J. Picker
  • Alternate Governor:       Garth Snow
  •   
  • New York Rangers
  • Governor:                         James L. Dolan
  • Alternate Governor:        Glen Sather
  • Alternate Governor:        Hank Ratner
  • Alternate Governor:        Dave Howard
  •  
  • Ottawa Senators
  • Governor:                        Eugene Melnyk
  • Alternate Governor:       Sheldon Plener
  • Alternate Governor:       Cyril Leeder
  • Alternate Governor:       Erin Crowe
  • Alternate Governor:       Bryan Murray
  •  
  • Philadelphia Flyers
  • Governor:                         Edward M. Snider
  • Alternate Governor:        Philip I. Weinberg
  • Alternate Governor:        Peter Luukko
  • Alternate Governor:        Paul Holmgren
  •  
  • Arizona Coyotes
  • Governor:                         George Gosbee
  • Alternate Governor:        Don Maloney
  • Alternate Governor:        Anthony LeBlanc
  • Alternate Governor:        Craig Stewart
  •  
  • Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Governor:                        David Morehouse
  • Alternate Governor:       Ronald Burkle
  • Alternate Governor:       Anthony Liberati
  • Alternate Governor:       Ray Shero
  • Alternate Governor:       Travis Williams
  • Alternate Governor:       Mario Lemieux
  •  
  • St. Louis Blues
  • Governor:                         Thomas Stillman
  • Alternate Governor:        Doug Armstrong
  •  
  • San Jose Sharks
  • Governor:                         Hasso Plattner
  • Alternate Governor:        Doug Wilson
  • Alternate Governor:        John Tortora
  •   
  • Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Governor:                         Jeff Virik
  • Alternate Governor:        Steve Yzerman
  • Alternate Governor:        Tod Leiweke
  •   
  • Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Governor:                         Larry Yanenbaum
  • Alternate Governor:        Dale Lastman
  • Alternate Governor:        Dave Norris
  • Alternate Governor:        Tim Leiweke
  •  
  • Vancouver Canucks
  • Governor:                         Francesco Aquilini
  • Alternate Governor:        Paolo Aquilini
  • Alternate Governor:        Robert Aquilini
  • Alternate Governor:        Michael Gillis
  • Alternate Governor:        Victor de Boris
  •   
  • Washington Capitals
  • Governor:                         Ted Leonsis
  • Alternate Governor:        Richard M. Patrick
  • Alternate Governor:        George McPhee
  •   
  • Winnipeg Jets
  • Governor:                         Mark Chipman
  • Alternate Governor:        Kevin Cheveldayoff
  • Alternate Governor:        Patrick Phillips

© 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.

A comment received in response to my blog entitled Situational Ethics was that the commentator had talked to Councilmember Gary Sherwood who named me as the leaker to Darrell Jackson (reporter for the Glendale Star and original FOIA requester) of the infamous Sherwood email. There can be but one response to such ignorance and idiocy. My thanks to a  friend who sent me this YouTube clip that sums up my response perfectly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hfYJsQAhl0 .

Councilmember Sherwood has responded to the allegations publicly, most notably in Darrell Jackson’s article in the Glendale Star. Here is the link: http://www.glendalestar.com/news/headlines/article_b55d0f60-1122-11e4-a1bb-0019bb2963f4.html . Let’s see what Mr. Sherwood has to say for himself, “It is no secret that I was pushing for the Coyotes,” Sherwood said by phone. “At the time we had acting attorney and city manager and a deputy city manager that we were not trusting of.” That in and of itself, is an incredible statement. Sherwood and the rest of council had enough confidence in Dick Bowers and Nick DiPiazza to appoint them as Acting City Manager and Acting City Attorney, respectively. Bowers and DiPiazza had been given direction by a majority of council (Sherwood, Martinez, Knaack and Chavira) to execute the best possible management agreement for the city with IceArizona. Bowers and DiPiazza took their obligation to craft the best deal possible seriously. Bowers, in fact, had publicly stated that he was concerned about the management fee of $15 million annually and its impact on Glendale’s precarious financial situation. Apparently this did not sit well with Sherwood, et.al. No wonder Sherwood and crew were doing an end-run around Bowers and DiPiazza by meeting with the IceArizona attorney, Nick Woods, and negotiating the deal. More situational ethics.

Sherwood goes on to say, “All of the items discussed (at the meeting with Wood) were supposed to be posted on our website; they just got delayed in posting.” That is no excuse for divulging Executive Session material. Sherwood’s expectation that it would eventually be publicly posted was not a valid rationalization for his giving Executive session material to Woods. More situational ethics.

Sherwood explains his direction to Martinez to delete the email by saying, “That last line was damning to look at, it was just for information.” He goes on, “Manny had no personal e-mail account, that (to delete) was for his benefit. I just wanted him to be careful so I just suggested he delete it.“ If the email had been appropriate to begin with, there would be no need to instruct Martinez to delete it. More situational ethics.

Sherwood’s dismissive attitude is reflected in, “We have had so many things go to the AG and it is another thing for them to look at. I just don’t see anything becoming (sic) of it.” He may be the only person on the planet to feel this way. The allegations of Open Meeting Law violations are serious this time. He practically calls out the Attorney General’s Office as being ineffectual.

Lastly, Sherwood says, “…he feels that this is a personal attack and was upset with the way it is being handled.” Why? Because he wasn’t given advance notice that a complaint was being filed? Welcome to the world of politics.

It is no secret that Gary Sherwood’ ambition is to become the next Mayor of Glendale. After all, since he was elected as a councilmember he has repeatedly tried to assume that role usurping Mayor Weiers at every available opportunity. It is also no secret that he can be extremely arrogant and rude. It has been demonstrated numerous times in his manner of response to citizen public hearing comments at council meetings. For example, his reaction to citizen comments on the billboard issue was to dismiss their lack of knowledge on the issue and to berate the numbers of anti-billboard attendees.

Many find it creditable to believe that Sherwood lined up four votes for an approval of the IceArizona contract. There has been rampant speculation for over a year that he and Chavira traded votes. Chavira would vote for the management agreement if Sherwood would vote for the casino. Coincidentally, Sherwood who ran on a platform of opposition to the casino flip-flopped and came out in favor of the casino in August, 2013, after the vote on the arena management deal. Many also believe that Sherwood was taking the lead and personally negotiating the arena contract and side-stepping the responsibilities of Glendale’s senior management. At that time he made public statements in media interviews which he used to portray himself as taking the lead position.  Is it any wonder that his actions are now under scrutiny?

It’s also no secret that many have expressed concern that Sherwood may have used the same tactics to secure a very recent council majority vote (Sherwood, Chavira, Alvarez and Hugh) of support for the proposed Tohono O’odham casino. That meeting appears to have been choreographed by the same 4 majority councilmembers who voted in the affirmative. Did they collude prior to the meeting causing yet another Open Meeting Law violation? I don’t know but I suppose over time we will all find out. A spider’s web of deceit and deception seems to be the hallmark of this council – a notion troubling many Glendale residents.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

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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

Shield of sovereign immunity

Posted by Joyce Clark on July 25, 2014
Posted in City of Glendale  | No Comments yet, please leave one

On Wednesday, July 23, 2014 the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held a hearing entitled Indian Gaming: The next 25 years. There were 4 panels that testified but the most important was the last one. On it was Diane Enos, President of the Salt River-Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Mayor Jerry Weiers of Glendale and Ned Norris, Jr., Chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation.

I have transcribed verbatim the 5 minute opening remarks of all three principals and those remarks are offered at the end of this blog. It’s long and an optional read. You may choose to read it…or not.

There were take-aways from all 3 speakers. President Enos said, “They looked us in the face and lied. They broke faith with us and the voters of Arizona.” It is not only evident but sad that the TO lied to its Sister Tribes. They broke faith with not only the other tribes but with every voter is the state that approved the 2002 Compact. They have squandered the trust that had been placed in them and that will be very difficult to overcome. In 2027 the Compact will be up for renewal and approval by the voters. If there is a casino in Glendale it will give proof to the voters that a new compact is not to be relied upon and that notion could lead to voter rejection of a Compact renewal.  

Another concern raised by President Enos was, “Now, even our existing establishments are in jeopardy as corporate gaming interests point to this deception to justify opening up Arizona to commercial gaming, like Montana.” Mayor Weiers reiterated this sentiment by saying, “As a former state legislator, I know that if gaming happens in Glendale there will be a strong effort in the Arizona legislature to authorize non-indian gaming in the state and that will have a devastating effect on all of our tribes.” Think about it. The court recently ruled that the state had diverted $1 billion from education funding and mandated that the state repay this diversion of funding. The idea of opening up the state to commercial gaming will look very attractive to state legislators. They can levy heavy taxes on the industry and use the revenue to repay the deficit in educational funding. In the process a major source of revenue for every state tribe will be in jeopardy.

Mayor Weiers also said, “It’s important to note that Glendale may not be the only city impacted. Our sister cities know that unless Congress acts, they may be next. There are over 200 other county islands in the Phoenix metropolitan area and TO attorneys have said the Tribe has the right to close its existing three casinos and open them on these county islands.” If the TO are successful in planting a casino in Glendale it is an action destined to be repeated. Where? Take your pick…Scottsdale? Phoenix? Tempe?

Chairman Ned Norris used two tried and true arguments. He opened with a description of his Nation’s poverty and used it to justify the TO’s actions. His argument appears to be if you are poor you have the right to do whatever works. In order to avoid responding to any allegations, he attacked by saying, “…the Nation respectfully requests that you put an end to this self-serving, mean-spirited, multimillion dollar lobbying campaign against our people and stop this piece of 19th century throwback legislation.” He brushed everything aside by saying that the courts had ruled in their favor. A closer look shows that the judicial issues settled were very narrow and when any major legal complaints arose that the TO deemed to be a serious threat or might not be decided in their favor, they raised the shield of sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity means that a tribe is considered in the same context as a foreign country and cannot be sued.

President Enos commented, “Contrary to what Chairman Norris asserted, the court had to dismiss the charges that the State of Arizona filed against the Tohono O’odham of fraud and misrepresentation and promissory estoppel because they raised sovereign immunity defense. “

Pick your poison for it may be coming. We could see commercial, non-Indian gaming throughout the state; or the TO planting 3 more casinos in the Phoenix metro area; or a non approval by the voters of the renewal of another Indian Gaming Compact in 2027. All because the TO lied and chose willfully and deliberately to ignore promises made in 2002.

Testimony of Diane Enos, President, Salt River-Pima-Maricopa Indian Community

“Mr. Chairman and members of the committee thank you for the opportunity to testify. For 20 years Arizona Indian gaming has been stable and successful but today we face a crisis, off reservation gaming. The Tohono O’odham nation wants a casino 150 miles from its government center, on 54 acres that is within my Tribes original 1879 reservation.

“I am sorry to have to say this – this is a problem that only Congress can fix. We cannot fix it without your help. Congressional action on HR 1410 is the only remaining recourse for the tribes and voters of Arizona. So I am here today to ask that you swiftly enact this legislation. The bill is a measured and appropriate solution to a horrendous predicament.  

“Beginning in 1999, 17 Arizona tribes came together to begin renegotiating our expiring gaming compacts. I was on council at the time. We had a real challenge. The state insisted on a single compact for all tribes that reduced the allowable number of casinos and restricted casinos from being opened in urban areas. It was tough negotiating. Tribal leaders met more than 85 times. We met with the state more than 35 times. Our relationship solidified as meetings lasted late into the night, some lasting several days.

“Once we agreed on the compact Arizona voters had to approve it. Tribes, including Tohono, contributed more than $23 million to the campaign. We worked tirelessly with the Governor’s office on television and radio, giving interviews, buying ads, distributing voter pamphlets. The major thrust of the campaign was to promise voters there would be limited gaming or “no additional casinos in the Phoenix metro area.” We repeated this promise over and over for two reasons. Number One, we believed in it. The Governor had demanded that the four Phoenix metro tribes, Salt River, Ak-Chin, Gila River, Fort McDowell, each give up their right to operate an additional casino under the compacts then in effect. So, we gave up those rights to insure that all tribes in Arizona could continue to benefit from the gaming exclusivity. That was the goal of our fight.

“The second reason was because through polling the tribes knew this promise would help to convince voters to approve the compact, which they barely did on election day, 50.9%. The day after the vote the Tohono’s chairman was quoted in the Tucson papers saying, ‘To us this is a major victory. We stayed together. We stayed united.’ We now know this was not true. Our partners in this effect, in this effort, the same people we fought alongside day in and day out, had been working behind our backs and behind the backs of Arizona voters the entire time.

“Documents recently disclosed by Tohono revealed that they were acting secretly to buy casino land in metro Phoenix as early as March, 2001, a full year and a half before voters approved the compacts and at the very same time that tribes in the state were promising voters that there would be no additional casinos in the Phoenix metro area. They made a calculated choice to keep their plan secret for years from other tribes and to violate our promise to voters. They looked us in the face and lied. They broke faith with us and the voters of Arizona.

“Now, even our existing establishments are in jeopardy as corporate gaming interests point to this deception to justify opening up Arizona to commercial gaming, like Montana. This deception will also impact the state tribal compact renewal in 2027. That is why, Mr. Chairman, many Arizona tribes, cities, the state and city of Glendale, are fighting so hard to oppose the Glendale casino. We want to insure that our word is good and that tribes in Arizona and across the country can continue to benefit from the economic engine of IGRA. There remains poverty and great need for service in all Arizona tribes. The loss of gaming revenue would be devastating.  

“With me today are over 25 elected officials from tribes and Phoenix metro cities. We reluctantly come to Congress to fix a problem caused by Tohono’s decision to violate our promise to voters. Our attempts to persuade the tribe have failed and the courts are powerless to remedy Tohono’s fraud and misrepresentation because they chose to raise sovereign immunity. The Keep the Promise Act simply conforms tribal behavior to tribal promises. It doesn’t change Indian gaming. It doesn’t create precedent and it doesn’t amend the Gila Bend Act. It protects Arizona Indian gaming. If you believe that government integrity matters, move the bill out of this committee. Thank you. I am happy to take questions.”

Testimony, Jerry Weiers, Mayor of the City of Glendale

“Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I am here today to discuss the controversial proposed tribal casino in the city of Glendale. I’ll present my council’s most recent views on this project and then also my personal request for swift action on HR 1410, The Keep the Promise Act.

“My name is Jerry, pronounced ‘wires.’ I was born in Deadwood, South Dakota. My family moved to Arizona when I was just 8 years old. I am the Mayor of the city of Glendale, a city of 232,000 people which is the 72nd largest city in the United States. Before becoming Glendale’s mayor, I served in the Arizona legislature for eight years.

“I supported Arizona’s Proposition 202 ballot initiative which gave tribes the exclusive right to conduct gaming but limited casinos to tribal reservations. One key aspect of the initiative was there would be no additional casinos in the Phoenix area. As a Glendale resident this was a primary factor in my support for the Proposition. My wife and I chose to live in Glendale, in part, because it was not near any of the large Phoenix area casinos and we believed the initiative preserved our neighborhood as it was.

“Like many Glendale residents I was blindsided when the Tohono O’odham Nation, I’ll respectfully refer to as the TOs, announced in January, 2009, that it was going to create a reservation and build a Las Vegas style casino on a 54 acre county island within our city limits. This announcement came seven years after the voters approved the ballot initiative which we thought prohibited new casinos in the area. It also came five years after Raymond Kellis High School opened just across the street from where TO is proposing to operate its casino, a site within 2 miles of 12,000 homes.

“Now, as you can imagine, we were mad, we are mad. The city has been involved in two lawsuits at an enormous financial cost. The City Council passed a resolution opposing the casino because it would hurt the interests of our residents. My wife and I were completely shocked at what we learned- while TO and other tribes were telling voters there would be no additional casinos in the Phoenix area, TO was actually looking to purchase casino land in Glendale. Moreover, they knew what they were doing was wrong. The tribe went to great lengths to keep their plan secret from other tribes, local governments and voters. The deceit did not stop there. The TO had already purchased Glendale land when a school district announced plans to build a new Kellis High School just across the street. The TO watched us built a school while continuing to keep its casino plans secret and said nothing. We never thought our children would be across the street from a Las Vegas style casino.

“My city’s been in chaos for the past five years and the federal government seems unwilling to help us. Last week, after the Interior Department’s decision to take the TO’s land into trust, the city council voted 4-3 to repeal our 2009 resolution opposing the casino and passed a new resolution. This new resolution says that Glendale does not object to the trust land being utilized for gaming. President Kennedy once said let us never negotiate out of fear. Well, with few choices left, the slim majority of my council felt that we had to come to the bargaining table with the TO. Our choice was not ideal — continue to fight and hope for action from this body or give in to this casino being forced on us. It’s frustrating to be a city of our size and have no choice on a casino proposed by a tribal government that’s more than 100 miles away.

“It’s important to note that Glendale may not be the only city impacted. Our sister cities know that unless Congress acts, they may be next. There are over 200 other county islands in the Phoenix metropolitan area and TO attorneys have said the Tribe has the right to close its existing three casinos and open them on these county islands. We are a test case but it is the start of a very slippery slope. If Congress does not act, the entire Phoenix area should be prepared for more off-reservation casinos.

“As a former state legislator, I know that if gaming happens in Glendale there will be a strong effort in the Arizona legislature to authorize non-indian gaming in the state and that will have a devastating effect on all of our tribes. And even if the state legislative effort to authorize non-indian gaming is not successful, these compacts are only valid for another dozen years. At that time the tribes will have to go back to the voters and after what we’ve experienced, I can’t say I blame the voters for questioning agreements of the past.

“That’s why I urge this committee to approve HR 1410 so that it may be quickly adopted by the Senate. The bill is not about holding one tribe back but preserving a much needed economic development tool for all of Arizona’s tribes. Thank you once again for the opportunity to testify. I’m happy to answer any questions that you may have, sir.”

Testimony of Ned Norris, Jr., Chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation

“Thank you. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, my name is Ned Norris Jr. I am the Chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation.  I am here today representing the nation’s more than 32,000 members.

“Since time immemorial the nation and its members have lived in Southern and Central Arizona. Our reservation is composed of several noncontiguous areas in Pima and now in Maricopa County.  Most of our reservation land is located in remote isolated areas and our population is one of the poorest in the United States with average individual incomes of just over $8000. In the 1960s the Corps of Engineers built a dam to protect nearby nonunion commercial farms. The dam backed up and flooding destroyed nearly 10,000 acres of our Gila Bend Reservation, land in a fertile area of Maricopa County, ruining homes, farms and our local church. Our elders recalled the desecration of their cemetery as a result of flooding.  Tribal members were forced to move on to a small 40 acre parcel of land known as San Lucy Village  where today they crowd into small houses and live well below the poverty line.

“In 1986 Congress enacted the Gila Bend Act to compensate the Nation for its losses. Pursuant to the act the Nation settled our legal claims and gave up nearly 10,000 acres of our reservation land and water rights.  In return we have the right to acquire replacement reservation land without any conditions on the future use. We acquired replacement land in the West Valley and Maricopa County and the Department of the Interior took it into trust.

“Four West Valley cities, Peoria, Tolleson, Surprise and now the City of Glendale have taken formal positions of support for the nation’s project and against HR 1410. I’m honored to be joined today by Mayor Barrett of Peoria and Councilmembers Sherwood and Chavira from Glendale.  We are respectful of rights of individuals like Mayor Weiers to express their personal opinions regarding the Nation’s project.  However formal official positions of the communities in the West Valley could not be more clear. They support the project.

“Undaunted by this local support opponents of the nation’s project have pushed HR 1410, a bill that would undue a nearly 30 year old land and water rights settlement agreement, all in order to protect the interest of a few East Valley gaming tribes. Proponents of HR 1410 asserted a wide range of legal claims to block the nation’s project but a federal court has now explicitly confirmed that the Arizona gaming compact that the Nation, the state and all tribes explicitly signed provides that the Nation has the right to conduct gaming on this property. The court roundly rejected interpretations of the compact advanced by proponents of 1410 calling them ‘entirely unreasonable.’

“Mr. Chairman, this is the third time in five years I have had to testify before Congress in defense of the Nation’s rights. The Nation has complied with the letter of every applicable law and has gracefully answered every allegation no matter how ridiculous or how offensive and every lawsuit and in every congressional hearing.  But the millions of dollars the Nation has been forced to spend defending its rights would have been better spent to build houses for our elderly, pay for college tuition for our children and bolster our head start programs.

“Honorable Chairman of the committee and members of the committee, the Nation respectfully requests that you put an end to this self-serving, mean-spirited, multimillion dollar lobbying campaign against our people and stop this piece of 19th century throwback legislation. We ask that you see this legislation for what it is – the first time in the modern era in which Congress would unilaterally renege on the solemn promises made by the United States and in the Indian land and water rights settlement. This project is fully in line with IGRA section 20, equal footing exceptions that will benefit the Nation, local communities and the state of Arizona for the next 25 years and beyond. I thank you for your time the Nation is happy to answer any questions.”

Chairman Tester

“Thank you all for your testimony. I can feel the emotion up here. So, I am just going to ask two questions. I’m going to ask one of Diane and one of Ned. Number 1, Diane, this question, you just heard Chairman Norris state that this would be the first time that there would be unilateral reneging on a promise. You’re Native American. I want to know what your thoughts are on that statement.”

President Enos

“It’s ironic that the Tohono O’odham talks about reneging on a promise because that’s what they did when they sat down with us all those days and years of working with us. The promises that they violated- there was first an agreement in principle.  We all signed a document agreeing to put our trust in each other, recognizing sovereignty of each tribe but yet also requiring each tribe that signed that document, if you have an interest that’s different from the group, the coalition of 17 tribes, you must tell us. They didn’t tell us. You know the real tragedy here today, Senator Tester, all of this could have been avoided. All the millions that Chairman Norris talks about, all the times we have to travel and all these tribal leaders here, these city leaders that are having to come here to lobby you for help. All of this could’ve been avoided if they had just told us during those negotiations; if they had just told us what their intentions were instead of doing this behind closed doors and keeping it secret not only from tribes but the Governor and the voters of Arizona. All of this could have been avoided. “

 Senator Tester

 “Just to clarify that if, if it goes the Tohono O’odham’s way, you do not believe that this would have negative impacts on Native Americans moving forward?”

President Enos

“The state will open up to state-wide gaming as I said in my testimony. They’re waiting. They’re looking.”

Senator Tester

“Ok. Ok, I gotcha. Chairman Norris, claims have been made that the Tohono O’odham promised not to open up a facility when 202 was being debated and sold and voted upon. Can you tell me if that is true or false?”

Chairman Norris

“Mr. Chairman, thank you for the question. We are not here to relitigate the arguments that the opposition has already raised in front of a federal judge. The federal court has already ruled on every single legal challenge that the opposition has raised on this issue. The federal courts have already ruled that there were no promises made. The federal courts have already ruled that there was never any agreement. The federal courts have already ruled that we will not violate the current compact and many other written decisions as well.”

Chairman Tester

“And just to recap Mayor Weiers, you are opposed to the gaming that is going to happen in your city but the city Council voted 4 to 3 to support the gaming. Is that accurate?”  

Mayor Weiers

“That’s accurate in the sense of, Chairman, the fact that our council has been split on this issue for years and just recently one councilmember switched his vote and, I guess my point I’d like to make is, should one person make a difference for the entire state and affect all the Native American tribes we have in Arizona. I think not.”

Chairman Tester

“We thank you and I just want to thank you for bringing this issue forward – it is very complex. I will tell you that I am sitting here listening to the arguments made vacillating back-and-forth as you make the arguments. It is not as clear cut as Senator McCain said when this thing started. Some of the most complex issues are issues dealing with Native Americans. If you consider the history and where we’ve been and where we’re going, as we talk about language; and we talk about taking care of folks with education and housing and police protection and water resources. These are important issues if you’re living it and you guys are living it. And we’ve got a lot of leaders in this audience that are living it and I can just tell you that it’s very difficult. With that…we’re going to…we will allow you to say something. Go ahead.”

President Enos

“Contrary to what Chairman Norris asserted, the court had to dismiss the charges that the State of Arizona filed against the Tohono O’odham of fraud and misrepresentation and promissory estoppel because they raised sovereign immunity defense. “

© 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.

Ocotillo council district candidates are similar to that of Cholla and Barrel district candidates. Some are articulate and exhibit varying degrees of intelligence. Some are passionate and believe that they want to be part of the solution with regard to Glendale’s financial difficulties. I congratulate them for their willingness to put themselves before the voters to be weighed and measured on the issues of the day. Choices among the 4 candidates will be based on the information publicly available to date that was used in the previous blogs about each candidate.

Michael Hernandez filed a No Activity Campaign Finance Report. He has raised no money and has spent nothing. The scheduled interview with him was cancelled by Mr. Hernandez.  These factors lead to the conclusion that he is not a viable candidate.

Jamie Aldama, Norma Alvarez and Bud Zomok have raised $5,000 to $8,500 to date. Bud Zomok is self funded in the amount of $5,000. It appears that Aldama will capture union campaign contributions while Alvarez will enjoy independent expenditure support from the Tohono O’odham tribe once again. Some of Alvarez’ contributors are not only activists such as Parraz and Maupin but they may well have been within her inner circle as advisors. What is extremely interesting is the Becker campaign contribution of $2,500. Read into that one whatever you wish and you would probably be correct. Aldama has had previous personal financial problems and has had 2 judgments rendered against him. His personal finances call into question his ability to deal with Glendale’s financial problems.

It is extremely difficult for the voter to determine how 3 out of the 4 Ocotillo candidates stand on a particular issue. Hernandez has no website. While each candidate may have developed campaign literature that they pass out or mail to the voters, it is just that, voter specific, and may not reach the entire Ocotillo district voter universe. Aldama and Alvarez have websites but there is no publicly available specific information offered on their positions on Glendale’s issues. Aldama does have an Issues page with the topics of economic diversity, public safety and public services. But what is offered is warm and fuzzy without acknowledging Glendale issues such as the sales tax sunset and Glendale’s enormous debt. Alvarez simply does not specifically address any issue. Zomok has the most robust website and clearly takes a stand on economic issues.

Zomok acknowledges that Glendale has financial problems and he supports the sunset of the sales tax increase in 2017. He offers several strategies for the reduction of Glendale’s debt including a thorough assessment of Camelback Ranch and the sale of some of Glendale’s assets.  None of the other Ocotillo candidates have publicly available material that would indicate their positions.

Alvarez, Hernandez and Zomok have lived in the Ocotillo district for a minimum of 10 years and some have lived in Glendale far longer. Questions have been raised about Aldama’s current residence in the Ocotillo district. Ocotillo candidate Ron Kolb filed a court complaint questioning Aldama’s residency. He then dropped the complaint, has withdrawn as an Ocotillo council candidate and contributed to Alvarez’ campaign. Maricopa County Recorder documents show Aldama still owns a home in the Yucca district and there is no public record available that shows his ownership of property in the Ocotillo district. It is possible that he could be renting a home in the Ocotillo district.

Hernandez works and it seems evident that finding the necessary time to fulfill councilmember responsibilities will be difficult for him. Zomok is self employed and that does provide him the flexibility needed to fulfill a councimember’s responsibilities. Alvarez has served on city council for 4 years and has demonstrated her inability to fulfill councilmember commitments due to medical issues or just plain pique. Aldama’s job may also prove problematical in finding the necessary time to participate in councilmember activities.

Alvarez has demonstrated her inaccessibility as a sitting councilmember. The only publicly available contact information for her is the main city council office telephone number published for all of the councilmembers. It is evident that she relied upon coaching when she participated in council workshops/meetings — coaching could be heard during her telephonic attendance. It has also become quite evident that if one does not support her version of reality she will seek retribution, if possible. Her past performance as a councilmember has provided ample evidence of her lack of positive contribution and a vote for her would reinforce her obstructionism.

There is also the question of breaking her word. When she ran for office the first time she pledged that she would serve one term. Up until the time to file for the Ocotillo seat this election cycle she had not reneged on her promise. Suddenly she filed to run for a second term.

Aldama is very similar to Alvarez but is a more polished version. The nagging questions about his residency need to be addressed and have not to date. His past personal financial difficulties signal a weakness that will not serve Glendale’s current financial needs.

On the other hand, Bud Zomok has demonstrated his thoughtful consideration of Glendale’s issues and he has been willing to share his position on those issues publicly. Zomok is articulate and intelligent. His willingness to solve Glendale’s problems is clearly evident.  Michael Hernandez’ lack of participation in the candidate process makes him a non-contender.

What is most fascinating about this district race is that there are 3 Hispanic candidates running in a majority Hispanic district. It is inevitable that they will split this demographic’s voting strength. It will be decided by which one can successfully get their voter base to the polls. Those voters who are supportive of the status quo should look to Aldama and Alvarez. Those voters who are supportive of change and reasonable alternative solutions should consider Zomok.

It seems safe to assume that with 4 candidates no one will take the Ocotillo councilmember seat out right in the Primary Election. The two top candidates will face off in the General Election in November. In previous blogs I could identify two candidates that should be examined more closely by the voters and appear worthy of support. For the reasons presented that is not possible in this district race and only one candidate merits voter support. It is not an easy decision for any voter but based upon information publicly available to everyone, this writer’s pick for the Ocotillo district is:

                       Jamie Aldama            

                       Norma Alvarez

                      Michael Hernandez

               checkmark__bottomheavy_140Bud Zomok

© 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.

Yesterday’s blog entitled “Please delete this email after you read it” regarding Councilmember Gary Sherwood’s email resulting in an allegation of violation of the state’s Open Meeting Law created quite a bit of controversy rippling through the Coyotes world, Glendale’s political world and even the journalistic world. I suppose the reaction from the Coyotes world is the most predictable.  As anyone would expect, the Coyotes fans are fiercely loyal and anything that raises the specter of the disappearance of their team from Glendale sends them into overdrive. Their first reaction is to kill the messenger. In this case that includes not only me but Mayor Weiers, the Glendale Star and the Arizona Republic.  They denigrated Mayor Weiers for outing actions that may prove to be illegal. They gnashed their teeth over my blog and the newspapers’ articles because they perceived the information as yet another hit on their beloved team.

What they fail to recognize is that while the 4 councilmembers’ actions preceded a vote on the Coyotes deal, those actions could have preceded any council vote on any issue.  The troubling issue for many people is not the outcome of the vote but rather the actions that preceded and led up to the vote. The allegation is not about the Coyotes. The allegation is about improper behavior by 4 councilmembers. An investigation by the AG’s Office will surely answer the question, did they collude behind closed doors prior to the vote? Did they conduct city business secretly to assure a positive vote? Why speak to the issue of a possible Open Meeting Law violation when instead fans can deride the messengers? Why is it alright to dismiss possible illegal behavior because it is associated with a vote on the Coyotes deal? It’s a case of situational ethics.

The reaction from the Glendale political world is also predictable. It was learned that when the email first came to light, Vice Mayor Knaack denied attending the meeting. However, that would never do and would not last long. It would have had Sherwood and Knaack as adversaries; something they can ill afford right now. Today, the explanation given is that Sherwood and Knaack were in the same car when they received a cell phone call from Woods. Two things are questionable about this scenario. Where was Sammy? After all, Sherwood in his email says, “Sammy is already on board as he was with us last night.” Even if you can swallow this car explanation, it doesn’t make the allegation go away. The Open Meeting Law says, “Splintering the quorum can be done by meeting in person, by telephone, electronically, or through other means to discuss a topic that is or may be presented to the public body for a decision.” Note that they are not denying the basis of the allegation. Are they trying to muddy the waters by responding to minutia such as where they were when the meeting of the 3 and Woods took place? It’s another case of situational ethics.

The reaction from the print world can only be described as fascinating. Yesterday afternoon, July 21, I received a phone call from Paul Giblin, an Arizona Republic reporter. He proceeded to express his offense that I dared to say that I had scooped reporter Peter Corbett and the Arizona Republic.  He opined that my writing was done on the back of Peter Corbett who had made the FOIA request. He said that my journalistic standards were not as high as that of the Arizona Republic’s, and ended by saying; enjoy writing your little blog.

Later that day, I learned that Darrell Jackson of the Glendale Star had made the same kind of FOIA request. Who made the first request?  Update: July 23, 2014. I learned today that Darrell Jackson made the original FOIA request over 2 weeks ago. Did Peter Corbett do his story on the back of Darrell Jackson? Isn’t it weirdly coincidental that 2 reporters made the same FOIA request? Even more interesting is who tipped them off to the Sherwood email and why? What was the source’s motive for doing so? Situational ethics once again.

As for journalistic standards…hah…that’s like the pot calling the kettle black. Arizona Republic readers have complained about the perceived bias in this paper’s stories for years; to the point that it has become legendary.   Paul Giblin’s outrage is much ado about nothing. More situational ethics.

© 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.

Sherwood signatureVery recently I received this email over the Glendale city hall transom. It was produced as a result of a Freedom of Information Request. It is an email sent by Councilmember Gary Sherwood to Councilmember Manny Martinez and Jeff Teetsel (IStar manager of Westgate). It was sent on June 29, 2013 approximately one week before a majority of the Glendale City Council voted to accept the $15 million a year management agreement with IceArizona.

The main figures in the Glendale cast of characters at that time were: Mayor Jerry Weiers, Vice Mayor Yvonne Knaack, Councilmembers Martinez, Hugh, Alvarez, Chavira and Sherwood. The Acting City Manager was Dick Bowers and the Acting City Attorney was Nick DiPiazza. Nick Woods represented IceArizona in contract negotiations for management of the city’s arena.

SherwoodtoMartinezJune292013_Page_1 Blog

Sherwood email to Martinez

 

 

 

 

The actual email is pictured to the left but the text reads as follows:                                                                                       To: Martinez, Manny; Jeff Teetsel                                                     From: Sherwood, Gary                                                                                                                                                    RE: Out Clause and Risk Topics

“Yvonne and I spend over an hour with Nick Woods last night and out of the three concerns from what I shared with Nick after our e-session yesterday (as of 7:45p, Nick has not seen the city’s revised draft which was promised right after we got of e-session nor had it been posted to our website – consequently both happened by 8:45p) two were okay with the city and had to deal with the errors the city made — #1, we don’t own the 5500 parking spots we’re proposing to charge for therefore it must be a license agreement and not a license agreement  (sic) #2) since the bonds that are held against the arena are tax exempt – only a governmental agency can hold those bonds so some different language has to be brought in – city agreed with that. The third item is problematic in that it is against the NHL for cities to hold out-clause and none of the other 29 cities have one. That would allow the city to just kick the team out, where would they play, what if in the middle of the season.

“I don’t have the time to get into all the details but I’ve known Nick Woods for a long time and know him to be a trusted friend and right now I can’t turn my back away from anyone in the city manager’s office or out (sic) acting city attorney.

“Manny, I’ve got a booked day with two Habitat for Humanity events, three radio interviews and two TV spots so contact Yvonne for details of our conversation. Sammy is already on board as he was with us last night.

“Thanks for hanging in there!

“Manny – please delete this email after you’ve read it.”

Thanks,

Gary D. Sherwood

There are several issues of grave concern with this email. The most serious is a possible violation of the State’s Open Meeting Law.  The following is taken from the AG’s office explanation of one section of the Open Meeting Law:

 “7.5.2 Circumvention of the Open Meeting Law.Discussions and deliberations between less than a majority of the members of a governing body, or other devices, when used to circumvent the purposes of the Open Meeting Law violate that law. See Ariz. Att’y Gen. Op. 75-8; Town of Palm Beach v. Gradison, 296 So. 2d 473 (Fla. 1974). Public officials may not circumvent public discussion by splintering the quorum and having separate or serial discussions with a majority of the public body members. Splintering the quorum can be done by meeting in person, by telephone, electronically, or through other means to discuss a topic that is or may be presented to the public body for a decision. Public officials should refrain from any activities that may undermine public confidence in the public decision making process established in the Open Meeting Law, including actions that may appear to remove discussions and decisions from public view.”

What the explanation above means is that there are to be no private discussions by a majority (4 councilmembers or more) of the governing body if the topic of the discussion is about a matter to be voted upon by the city council. The IceArizona contract was voted upon one month later. The law also prohibits an elected official (councilmember) from acting as a “go-between,” relaying a position on an issue to be voted upon from one councilmember to another.  Sherwood’s email shows him relaying information to Martinez he had discussed the previous night with Nick Woods, Knaack and Chavira. That action is known as “daisy-chaining.”

Sherwood, Knaack, Martinez and Chavira were the 4 affirmative votes for the IceArizona contract. All four could be considered equally culpable of a possible violation of the Open Meeting law by discussing/negotiating elements of the Coyotes contract amongst themselves, privately, when it was soon to come before them for a public vote… all the while excluding the remaining 3 councilmember: Weiers, Hugh and Alvarez.  

Another alarming admission by Sherwood in this email is that he shared Executive session material with Nick Woods. The city was negotiating with IceArizona. The ad hoc discussion between Sherwood, Knaack and Chavira and Woods may have harmed or weakened the city’s position. City contract negotiations are a direct managerial responsibility of the City Manager and City Attorney. Could this action be a violation of the city’s charter? We’ll explore this topic in the next blog.

Every councilmember knows of the prohibition about not sharing E session material. Doing so is a very serious violation of the Open Meeting Law. Sherwood says quite clearly in his email that is exactly what he did with Nick Woods and then attempts to minimize the violation by characterizing Woods as a friend. It makes no difference. E session material is not to be shared with anyone…even friends or family.

It seems that Sherwood was putting pressure on Acting City Manager Dick Bowers and Acting City Attorney Nick DiPiazza to get the IceArizona deal done…quickly. We know that Mr. Bowers publicly addressed the $15 million a year IceArizona (at that time IceArizona was called Renaissance) contract and voiced concerns about Glendale’s fiscal health if it were approved at that figure. In a June 23, 2013 Dick Bowers memo to city council he said, “Contrary to what might appear in the papers I don’t see this as a ‘done deal’. Far from it.” He went on to say, “I cannot shake the concern for the level of risk expected to be borne by the city…I keep coming back to that same level of discomfort of Glendale having all of the risk in this deal.” Clearly Bowers had substantial concerns and it is not unreasonable to think that Sherwood was advising Bowers that he had the four votes needed to approve the deal.

From this email we can see who was talking to who privately about this issue. Sherwood seems to have taken the lead and all 4 councilmembers may have been negotiating collectively yet privately with IceArizona’s attorney. He acknowledges Knaack and Chavira as participants in his meeting with Nick Woods. He then sent his summary email to Martinez.

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Why did Sherwood ask Martinez to delete his email after reading? It appears to be tantamount to an admission that its contents should not have been memorialized.  There are so many questions and so few answers. Is it possible that Sherwood asked Martinez to delete his email because he realized he was “daisy-chaining?” Did Martinez delete this email as requested? Maybe…maybe  not, leading to its discovery now, over a year later.

Sherwood’s email and his comments within it warrant an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office to determine the validity of Open Meeting law violation allegations sure to arise as his email becomes more and more public. At this point, Sherwood’s email raises a lot of questions. I suspect that it may generate many citizen complaints to the AG’s Office. From my years of experience on council, it looks like a “smoking gun,” written by Sherwood himself that implicates him and 3 other councilmembers in possible Open Meeting Law violations.

So, for all those citizens who spoke in favor of or against the Coyotes deal the night council voted on the matter, it was in vain. It appears that 4 councilmembers, Sherwood, Knaack , Martinez and Chavira, had already made their minds up and shared their positions with one another at the end of June, 2013.

Update 1:00 PM. I am pleased to report that I have scooped the Arizona Republic. At 11:16 AM I published my blog on the Sherwood email. At 12:30 PM Peter Corbett, a reporter for the Arizona Republic released his story on the same Sherwood email. Here is the link:

http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2014/07/21/glendale-mayor-council-members-violated-open-meeting-law/12956523/ . I knew Corbett had made the FOIA request for said email but I was perplexed because there was no Arizona Republic story. I was beginning to think someone had quashed it.

Mayor Jerry Weiers is considering filing a complaint with the AG’s office. If after reading this blog and Corbett’s article, you think Mayor Weiers should file a complaint, please send him an email at: jweiers@glendaleaz.com and let him know you support such an action.

© 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.

 

Please note: Some of the information presented here is repetition of information from my previous blog on Cholla and Barrel district council candidates and applies to all candidates. Some of you reading this blog for the first time may not have read the previous ones.

If you have relatives, friends or acquaintances that live in the Ocotillo district, please consider passing this series of blogs on to them as another tool to help them evaluate the Ocotillo candidates prior to casting their vote.

Early ballots are mailed at the end of July, 2014. Candidates (well, most of them) have their websites up, are raising campaign money (or not) and beginning to stake out their positions on Glendale issues.

We move on to the Ocotillo district council candidates in alphabetical order: Jamie Aldama, Norma Alvarez, Michael Hernandez and Bud Zomok.

All of the information to be discussed will be based on the candidates’ websites and their June 30, 2014 Campaign Finance Reports. Some of the candidates I had met or worked with previously and am familiar with their positions on various issues. Others I have never met and so I arranged an interview with them. The same questions were asked of all candidates that were interviewed.

We’ll take a look at each candidate’s Campaign Finance Report of June 30, 2014. Here is the link to Glendale City Clerk’s posting of each candidate finance report: http://www.glendaleaz.com/Clerk/2014PoliticalCommitteeCampaignFinanceReports.cfm . Go to that page and you can choose which candidate’s campaign finance report you wish to read.

Each report totals 19 pages. The first 2 pages are summary pages. Section A will show all contributions from individuals. Section B shows all political committee contributions. Section C shows loans either the candidate made to the campaign or any other loan received. Section D deals with all expenditures. Section E is for In-Kind contributions and Section F shows miscellaneous items.

This could be considered nit-picky but the finance report is 19 pages. Each candidate’s report should consist of a minimum of 19 pages (there may be multiple pages especially in Sections A and D). Some candidates did not submit the minimal 19 pages. It could be assumed that if they had no financial activity to report in certain areas they just did not bother to include those pages. Technically, that is not a complete report. All pages should be submitted and if there was no activity to report in certain categories, the candidate can leave the page blank, draw a line through the page or indicate “NA,” no activity. Even if a candidate has a treasurer who fills out the report the candidate is still ultimately responsible for the accuracy and veracity of his or her filing.

There is another kind of Campaign Finance Report a candidate can submit and that is a No Activity Statement. That means the candidate didn’t receive any contributions and did not spend any money. Some of the council candidates filed this kind of report.

The items to look for are: what individuals are contributing; are they Glendale residents, relatives, attorneys or other professionals; or Political Action Committees (PACs)? Did the candidate loan his or her campaign any money? How much? Are the expenditures typical of a campaign; signs, printing, bank charges, food for fund raising events or volunteers; web site design or hosting? Is the candidate using a paid political consultant? At what cost?

At this stage of the game candidates are often reluctant to reveal too much about their finances. They may ask that large contributions be made after June 1, 2014 to be reported in the Pre-Primary Report or after August 15, 2014 for the Post-Primary Report.

Michael Hernandez

Campaign Finance Report –He submitted a No Activity campaign finance report. He raised no money and spent no money.

Campaign contribution limits have become very generous as a result of recent court rulings. In the last election of 2012, the individual contribution limit was $400. Now it is $2,500. A political committee’s limit is now $2,500 and a Super PAC’s limit is $5,000. The trick for local candidates is to get large contributions. It’s not an easy task.

Campaign website – He has no website.

I scheduled an interview with him and on the day of the interview he stated he could not participate due to work commitments.

With no funds, no information about him or his positions on the issues Mr. Hernandez cannot be considered as a viable candidate.

After review of all 4 Ocotillo district candidates we’ll try to narrow the choices down to 2 people. In this district, as with the other council races, there are so many candidates none of them are expected to win outright in the primary and we can expect a run off in the general election in November.  Next up, Bud Zomok.

© 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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