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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

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Several weeks ago a friend connected me to Joe Matthews of the Zocolo Public Square website. Zocolo is affiated with ASU and publishes articles that relate to relevant current issues. It then distributes its articles to its media affiliates. Here is more information about them taken from their website:

“Zócalo Public Square, a project of the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University, is a not-for-profit Ideas Exchange that blends live events and humanities journalism. We partner with educational, cultural, and philanthropic institutions, as well as public agencies, to present free public events and conferences in cities across the U.S. and beyond, and to publish original daily journalism that we syndicate to 150 media outlets nationwide. At a time when our country’s public sphere is narrow and polarized, Zócalo seeks to be a welcoming intellectual space where individuals and communities can tackle fundamental questions in an accessible, nonpartisan, and broad-minded spirit. We are committed to translating ideas to broad audiences and to engaging a new, young, and diverse generation in the public square.”

They asked me to do a piece on Glendale before and after the Super Bowl. It is my first official byline (if you don’t count the opinion columns I wrote for the Arizona Republic in the late 1990s).  My thanks to Zocolo for allowing me to use the piece on my blog. With their permission I am posting my piece and a link to their site: http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org

Why My Hometown Regrets Hosting the Super Bowl

Not Only Were the Economic Gains for Glendale Exaggerated, But I Can’t Even Go Shopping This Sunday

by Joyce Clark|January 29, 2015

My family and I moved to Glendale, Arizona–where the Super Bowl will be played next week–in 1968, when it was one of many small Arizona towns ringing Phoenix.

Why Glendale? Serendipity. My relatives were realtors and found a house in Glendale that met our specifications. Glendale was a small, comfortable town. Our children, all under 10 years of age, walked a quarter mile to school. They played in the municipal park and swam in the municipal pool. There was little traffic, and getting to work or shopping in Phoenix took 10 minutes, tops. What is today the upscale area of Arrowhead was then a desert where we took the kids to ride motorbikes and to shoot BB guns. On a spring evening, the air was heavy with the scent of citrus blossoms from local groves.

Glendale has bet its future on making itself into a playground for professional sports.

Fans who attend the Super Bowl will encounter an entirely different city, a place that, as much as any other American municipality, has bet its future on making itself into a playground for professional sports. If some locals look less than happy about the plan, know that it’s the risks involved in that gamble, not the traffic, that’s bothering us.

Glendale has undergone dramatic change. At its incorporation in 1912, it was a Russian-Asian-Hispanic farming community. In the 1960s, when my family moved here, Glendale was a small city with a population of 45,000 covering just 12 of its present 52 square miles. Then, in the 1990s, new subdivisions, including Arrowhead, and new shopping, including Arrowhead Mall, grew up. Downtown reinvented itself as an antique mecca. With my children graduated from college and scattered to build their own families, Glendale adopted a district system of political representation rather than the at-large system that perpetually placed the “good ole boys” from downtown in positions of power. At the urging of friends, I ran for the city council and won a seat, serving from 1992 to 1996.

But Glendale wanted more than to be just another Phoenix suburb with the same chain stores. We were determined to carve our own distinct, national identity. In the early 2000s, as I returned to the council, our attention turned to the possibilities of sports as a catalyst. A strategy took shape: if we built major sports venues, the resulting tourism and sales tax dollars would strengthen city coffers and allow us to make major improvements in the quality of life of our residents. Build it and they will come, so to speak – especially sports fans and tourists.

First, a city-owned venue for professional hockey and for entertainment, the Gila River Arena (formerly known as Jobing.com Arena), and a complementary retail complex, Westgate, were built in partnership with developer Steve Ellman. Then, via another partnership with the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, we created two more sports facilities: the county-owned University of Phoenix football stadium (home to the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals) and a city-owned spring training baseball facility called Camelback Ranch (home-away-from-home to the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox). The football stadium put Glendale in the Super Bowl business for the first time; promised windfalls from hosting the big game were supposed to afford us the option of paying off construction debt related to the hockey arena and the baseball facility sooner.

Glendale became the NFL Arizona Cardinals’ home field. At the time of approval of the three new Glendale sports venues, our economy was robust. We saw no hint of the dramatic national recession to come. We learned to manage the crowds of people who descended upon our community for games; the effect is felt only by those who live in close proximity to the stadium, as I do. I cope by not shopping or driving near the stadium on game days, and the city, at my insistence, discouraged fan parking in adjacent neighborhoods. And 350 days a year, when there is no football, Glendale remains very much itself.

The bigger downside proved to be financial. It wasn’t long before optimistic staff projections of increased sales tax receipts and new economic development proved to be wrong. Then came the national recession. As we hosted our first Super Bowl in 2008 – next week’s will be our second–Glendale was in trouble. Nevertheless, expectations were high–a major selling point for building these sports facilities had been that the international publicity of a big Super Bowl game would put Glendale on the map, accelerating business relocations to our city and bringing new development. Those expectations weren’t met. To this day not one company has relocated to Glendale as a direct result of the Super Bowl. New retail development has located as close as possible to our freeway, not the stadium.

Pulling off that Super Bowl in 2008 was an all-hands on deck effort, with all city departments involved in the planning, preparation, and execution of Glendale’s moment in the spotlight. The city spent $3.4 million on the event and recouped a little over $1.2 million in sales tax and fees.

The resulting $2.2 million loss, combined with a national recession, was just one sign that our sports strategy was unsustainable. Debt related to the two sports venues that Glendale itself owned–the hockey arena and the ballpark–had once seemed manageable but soon proved to be a financial albatross. Glendale was bleeding. The regular season football games proved to be a wash financially. While sales tax revenues from Westgate are greater on game days the additional revenue is consumed by increased public safety and transportation costs to manage traffic and safety issues.

Other Super Bowl host cities, Miami Gardens in Florida and the Arlington area in Texas, have mechanisms for state reimbursement of their hosting costs, but we don’t. In recent years, Glendale’s mayor has concluded it doesn’t seem prudent to be in the Super Bowl hosting business if there is no way to recover its costs.

So why is the Super Bowl in Glendale again? The Super Bowl bid process is a long one, and locations are approved many years before the actual event. Tremendous political pressure was placed on the city from the Bidwill family, owners of the Arizona Cardinals, as well as other stakeholders, swaying a majority of the council to approve the bid in 2011. I was not in the majority. Glendale held out hope for a bill introduced in the Arizona state legislature in 2014 that promised to reimburse the city for its $2 million in game-related public safety costs. We got the Super Bowl but not the legislation. Glendale expects to reintroduce the bill this year in hopes of a different outcome.

There are some good things about the Super Bowl. Even though Glendale loses money, the state, the county and the Phoenix Metropolitan area will share in the injection into the economy of a projected $500 million dollars. Direct TV is hosting a major music festival in Glendale across the street from the stadium. The city has scheduled one of its premier events, the Chocolate Affaire, the weekend of the Super Bowl. The confluence of chocolate lovers and football fans will generate revenue for Glendale’s merchants and restaurants.

Costs to host this year’s Super Bowl have gone up since 2008. The city’s loss for this game is sure to be greater than the $2.2 million dollars loss the first time. Despite some additional development during the economic recovery, there are still not enough amenities surrounding the stadium to generate the sales tax needed to cover the hosting costs.

We love Glendale and so will this year’s Super Bowl visitors. Even as our population has grown to nearly 250,000 (we’re the nation’s 87th largest city and Arizona’s fifth largest), the city still retains a hometown feel. My family isn’t going anywhere–we are “nesters” and once we plant ourselves we stay planted. I invested 16 years as a councilmember helping to shape Glendale’s present and future. I choose not to walk away from my investment. So we’ve scrubbed our faces, slicked back our hair and picked up the living room. We are ready to welcome you to our home.

But the lack of financial relief has led many of us to believe that this should be Glendale’s last Super Bowl.

Joyce Clark is a 47 year resident of Glendale and served on the City Council for 16 years. She retired in 2013 and is a blog writer on local Glendale issues at www.joyceclarkunfiltered.com

Primary Editor: Joe Mathews. Secondary Editor: Andrés Martinez.

COPYRIGHT 2003-2012 ZÓCALO PUBLIC SQUARE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

A few days ago I had a blog on the controversial senior staff proposal to relocate the Foothills Branch Library to the Foothills Recreation and Aquatic Center. It will be discussed and direction given by the Glendale City Council on Tuesday, February 3, 2015.

Shelley Mosley, a former Glendale employee as well as a former Manager of the Velma Teague Branch Library submitted the following as a comment to that blog. Fearing that many readers may never see her comment, I offer her analysis as a Guest Commentary:

Submitted by Shelley Mosley on 2015/01/31 at 10:17 am

Joyce, your post covers everything that’s wrong about selling Foothills Branch Library. Good job!                                                                  Here is my open letter to the Mayor and Council:

Dear Mayor and Council,

I am writing to ask you to reconsider your plans for the Foothills Branch Library, but before I do, I just want to briefly establish my credentials. I worked at the Velma Teague Branch Library almost twenty-five years, eighteen of those as its manager. Most recently, I worked at the Glendale Community College Library, which is high-tech. Just to make matters clear, I am not opposed to electronic resources. In fact, I currently write for three companies (EBSCO, GALE, and ABC-CLIO) that publish electronic reference books. As a citizen of Glendale, as a professional librarian, and as a member of the Foothills Branch Library design team during its conception and construction, I am deeply concerned about its fate.

You are being told that the relocation of the Foothills Branch Library will create an “expansion of library services.” The branch book collection is going to lose 141,000 books. Does that sound like an expansion to you? There will be 35,000 books left, or only about 25% of the collection. This would be the same as if every year you got a whole butchered pig for your freezer. But this year, you’re told you’re getting a better pig, an enhanced pig, an improved pig. You open the butcher paper package and find you’ve only gotten the feet and the head.

Yes, there will be electronic versions of books available at the stripped down branch, and yes, there are people who prefer to read their books on Kindles, Nooks, etc. But there are already e-books available to the public at the Glendale Library System. There are probably just as many, if not more, of your constituents who still like hard copy books. Have you visited any of the Glendale libraries? Have you seen the sheer joy of a child as he or she takes that carefully selected stack of books to the front desk to be checked out? Have you watched a story time, where the children excitedly examine the shelves of picture books before and after the librarian tells them a story? This happy experience, learning to love books, is a stepping-stone to literacy.

You are being told there will be “reduced annual operating expenses without eliminating full-time library staff.” Yes, full-time staff stays, but the pages are losing their jobs. The pages are the ones who keep the books in order. If you don’t think that’s important, try finding a misplaced novel.

You have been told there will be “increased library hours for the public with 13 additional hours a week, going from currently 36 hours to 49 hours which is 676 hours more a year.” The library used to be open 68 hours a week. That’s 1664 more hours a year.

You have been told “there is space available at the Foothills Recreation and Aquatics Center (FRAC). By relocating and creating a new branch library here, it is possible to utilize existing city-owned space.” Have you looked at that space? Library staff has been told the library is going to be in the Coyote Room and the current rec. room where the pool tables are. Compare that space to the Foothills Branch Library. Is this an improvement? You have also been told that people can use the meeting rooms after the FBL becomes property of Midwestern. How convenient will this be? Have you been on a college campus recently? Most important, as Midwestern grows, how long will these rooms be available?

Selling the library the citizens of Glendale voted for and love will give you at most 4-5 months of funds to pay for the maintenance of the hockey arena. What kind of a deal is this? And when you do sell the library, at least be honest with your constituents; don’t spin this pig in the poke to be “improved library service,” because it isn’t.

Hoping you can see past the hype.                                                 Shelley Mosley

Stuck

Posted by Joyce Clark on January 30, 2015
Posted in City of GlendaleGlendale and the Super Bowl  | Tagged With: , , | 7 Comments

For the past few nights Direct TV has been hosting a Musical Festival across the street from the stadium. They chose to use a farm field still in production. Bet they’ve learned their lesson and will never do that again.

Courtesy Joyce Clark

Still stuck! Courtesy Joyce Clark

Last evening, January 29, 2015 it rained gently in my neighborhood, a mile away from the Direct TV site. The trouble is that it rained all night and is raining today. It didn’t take long for the Direct TV parking site to turn into a mud pit. When happy fans left the music venue they quickly became

Calling for help Courtesy of Joyce Clark

Calling for help
Courtesy of Joyce Clark

very, very unhappy. It seems many of the fans’ cars were stuck in a veritable mud pit. Unhappiness soon turned to anger as some waited for over two hours to be extracated. Wonder who paid for tow trucks? Direct TV who provided the parking or a bunch of ‘mad as a wet hen’ (literally) fans?

Even a truck was no match for the mud Courtesty of Joyce Clark

Even a truck was no match for the mud
Courtesty of Joyce Clark

Wonder what the back up parking plan is for tonight? Fans, a word to the wise. If you will be attending the Direct TV Musical Festival tonight, be careful where you park.

 

 

 

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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 January 29, 2015, just days before the Super Bowl,Glendale’s Mayor Jerry Weiers got his 2 tickets to Sunday’s game. Weiers had said publicly that to see a Super Bowl played in his hometown,Glendale, was on his bucket list. Mitchell Modell, CEO of Modell’s Sporting Goods, a chain located in the Northeast, bought Mayor Weiers the 2 tickets from the NFL. Weiers received them today when he attended a Friar’s Roast of Terry Bradshaw at the Arizona Biltmore. 

Correction: Weiers made clear that the face value of the Super Bowl tickets would be matched by a personal donation to the Shriners. The Roast attended by Mayor Weiers did not require tickets as he made a brief appearance to accept the Super Bowl tickets and then left for other committments.

Now we are two for two. In 2008 former Mayor Scruggs publicly whined about not being invited to the Super Bowl. The NFL offered her 2 tickets at a face value of $700 each. She turned them down saying she couldn’t afford them. Shortly thereafter the Arizona Host Committee gave her 2 free tickets.

It is embarrassing that 2 successive Glendale mayors have literally begged, publicly, for Super Bowl tickets. Is there no pride?

By the way, 99% of the Valley’s elected officials have not purchased tickets even when available and most are not attending the Super Bowl. The only acknowledged officials going are Governor Ducey, Senator McCain and Representative Ruben Gallego and his wife Kate. All paid for their tickets. Way to go, Mayor, past or present.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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.

After the Super Bowl life returns to normal in Glendale and on Tuesday, February 3, the city council will have its first budget workshop at 9 AM and a regular workshop at 1:30 PM. The afternoon workshop has 3 topics, all of which present future implications for its citizens. The 3 agenda items are: Potential relocation of the Foothills Branch Library; Overview of the Certificate of Necessity (CON) Process; and At Will Employment for Mayor and Council Staffing.

Agenda Item 1 on the potential relocation of the Foothills Branch Library is being driven by staff and Midwestern University. Be aware that former Mayor Scruggs is on the Board of Directors of Midwestern. It seems Midwestern has its eye on the Foothills library building and wants to buy it. Naturally, senior management and Midwestern had to come up with a plan to sell this idea to city council.

This council, to date, has not proven itself to be very aggressive in questioning senior staff on issues that come before it. Let’s hope at this workshop they will reverse this trend and question staff vigorously about this proposal. The library would be relocated to the Foothills Recreational and Aquatic Center (FRAC).

Here is where the sale hype comes in. Note that there are no negative points. Senior staff would have everyone think this idea is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Senior staff contends that:

  • There would be increased library hours (matching the hours of the times when the FRAC is open) for the public with 13 additional hours a week
  • Continuation of provision to patrons access to physical books, materials, technology, meeting space, study room space, special interest classes and events, book drop and online ordering capabilities
  • Increase digital material collections and provide a new array of technologies (tablets, green screens, 3-D printer, new desktop computers, enhanced Wi-Fi)
  • Relocation costs covered by transaction revenue
  • Reduced annual operating expenses without eliminating full-time library staff

The carrot Midwestern University dangles, after buying the Foothills library, is an expression of partnership interest for:

  • Continuing to allow community groups to use the meeting rooms
  • A new and potential partnership with an organization dedicated to helping veterans with health related issues
  • Additional special interest health classes
  • The mentoring and tutoring opportunities for youth
  • The sponsorship of free health-related clinics
  • Partnering with use of medical research and health related materials

This scheme deserves thorough and intensive questioning by city council. Just a sampling of questions to be asked are:

  • The Foothills library is 33,500 square feet in size. The FRAC is 69,000 square feet. How much FRAC space will be used by relocation of a 33,500 SF library?
  • Foothills library was specifically built to be technologically adaptable. Why does relocation only offer the possibility of the library’s technological advancement?
  • What are the costs associated with adapting FRAC to meet the needs of a library?
  • What amenities and services at FRAC would be lost to dedicated space for the library?
  • What amenities and services currently offered at Foothills library would be eliminated due to relocation to FRAC?
  • Dale Chihuly is a world renowned glass artisan. One of his latest exhibits was this past winter at the Desert Botanical Gardens. The city has his ‘Moon and Stars’ piece over the main circulation desk. In addition there is an 80-foot mural by Melissa Paxton, Kathy Bradford’s ‘Magic Doors’ to the children’s reading room as well as countless other pieces of fine art throughout the building. Will senior staff agree to a stipulation that all of the art work within and outside the building remain the city’s property, would not be part of the sale and would be relocated to other city properties?
  • The cost to build the Foothills Library itself (without the fixtures within) was $6.1 million dollars. Will senior staff agree to a stipulation that it would not accept a price lower than the original cost to build the facility?
  • Senior staff was directed by city council to identify city property it could sell. Was the Foothills library one of the properties identified for sale? Were Glendale’s Main Library and Velma Teague Library also identified as potential properties that could be sold? Were the 3 libraries identified by and approved by this council as appropriate for sale?
  • The sale of city property was identified as a means of shoring up Glendale’s financial situation. It can be assumed that after paying the costs of relocation of the library and its art work, the balance would be placed in Glendale’s General Fund where it could be used for anything, including the $15 million dollar annual payment to IceArizona for its management of Glendale’s hockey arena. Yet Glendale library system is woefully inadequate to serve a population of 239,000 residents. On certain days various of the libraries are closed and hours at all 3 have been reduced. Will senior staff agree to stipulate that the first priority for any money realized from a sale of Foothills would be utilized to enhance and upgrade the Main Library and Velma Teague? Are they further willing to agree to stipulate that the funds would not be used for sports related debt or activity as well as the media center, Westgate parking garage and the Public Safety Training Facility?

In summary, on the face of it, the proposal to relocate Foothills Library is driven by senior staff and Midwestern University. This is an idea whose time has not come. It does not serve the best interests of Glendale’s residents. Add to this proposal senior staff’s intent to hire an “outside facilitator” (at thousands of dollars, to be sure) to oversee and coordinate a public input process. Phooey…this facilitator will, in reality, try to sell the idea to the general public. Who is kidding who? This proposal should be rejected. I urge all Glendale residents to contact their district councilmembers before Tuesday, February 3, 2015, pose their own questions about this proposal and let them know that they do not support it. Here are their email addresses:

In my next blog we’ll take a look at the other 2 agenda items: The Fire Department’s request for a Certificate of Necessity (CON) and at-will employees for the mayor and council.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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.

Before I extend Thank Yous to the people who really merit them I have a few thoughts about the Super Bowl to be played in 4 days a scant mile from my home. Life goes on as normal for those of us adjacent to the site. We have seen the Direct TV Musical Fest site go up in record time. We have seen vacant parcels scraped, leveled and marked for additional parking. On game day we know better than to travel in the direction of the stadium. At my insistence while I served as a Glendale councilmember, the city will protect adjacent neighbors from hoards of fans seeking to find a free parking spot.

The only discernible difference has been the army of helicopters flying over our home. Apparently every agency whether federal, state, county or local, has been granted permission to fly over the stadium and hence, our home. I guess the boys are displaying their toys to see if they can top one IMG_0243another with the biggest and the best. There has been one particularly pesky bird. It belongs to a federal agency and it has been flying a one mile grid pattern for over a week. It wouldn’t be a big deal except for the fact that it is flying low…really low…perhaps a 100 feet or so above the ground. I have been told that it is surveying radiation levels in the area and that this is a normal practice for many large events, like the Waste Management Open and NASCAR races, etc.

No matter my position on the excessive billions the NFL will earn on game day, the reality is that Glendale is hosting the event. I, just as 99% of the nation’s population, couldn’t afford to attend with nose bleed seats going for a base price of $800. Then I thought about it. Even if I could afford the price of a ticket, would I go? The answer is no. I would not contribute my hard earned money to enrich the coffers of the NFL and the team owners.

In the light of the fact that Glendale is hosting the Super Bowl it is appropriate to thank not the city council or senior administrative employees but the line personnel who make Glendale a success. These are our unsung heroes and heroines…the unseen, silent majority of Glendale’s employees who take pride in guaranteeing Glendale’s extraordinarygood performance.

They did the planning and preparation. They will perform countless duties during the event and they will clean up the remnants after the event is over. Their duties range from reviewing licenses and permits; overseeing the construction of temporary structures; planning approval for siting special events; making countless trips to pick up piles of waste material, insuring that our streets are safe, keeping event traffic moving safely and quickly; checking that all traffic signals and message boards are functioning properly; guaranteeing the health and safety not just of event attendees but responding to the needs of our residents.

This is just a sampling of all that is required to host a Super Bowl. There are far more duties performed than I have mentioned. For those not listed, please accept my apology. These employees, often unseen, are the work horses of our city’s organization. They are rarely thanked and their performance is often taken for granted.

To those employees who made Glendale shine and once again, proved that Glendale is without peer in hosting the Super Bowl game, please accept my genuine and deeply held appreciation and thanks for a job not just well done but extraordinarily done. Go Patriots!

©Joyce Clark, 2015

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 quick note before taking a look at the NFL bid requirements for a Super Bowl. Yesterday I wrote about Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers’ inability to purchase tickets for the Super Bowl taking place a mere 5 days from now in Glendale. Today the Arizona Republic has an editorial very much in agreement. They refer to the NFL’s actions, or better yet, inaction, as “petty.” On this assessment I disagree. The pettiness is owned by the Bidwills. If they wanted Mayor Weiers to have Super Bowl tickets, the deed would already have been done.

On to the Super Bowl bid process. There are two links that provide the NFL requirements for hosting a Super Bowl. The Minneapolis Star Tribune has the entire 153 page document has a limk. Here it is:  http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/262253921.html . Glendale, years ago, posted only that portion of the bid document (43 pages) relevant to a host city. Here is the link: https://www.glendaleaz.com/clerk/Contracts/8806.pdf . I am not going to go into excruciating detail about the requirements. You have the links to read the entire bid for yourselves.

It is interesting to note that there are several phrases very, very liberally sprinkled throughout the bid specifications. The first is “at no cost to the NFL.” The second is “made available to the NFL rent-free.” The third is “provided by the Host Committee at no cost to the NFL.” The fourth is “discounted to the NFL.” The last is “the NFL must have exclusive rights at no cost to the NFL.”

Host cities go to great lengths to get noticed by the team owners in the hope that they will win the bid. In 2011 Arizona presented each team owner with an IPad, customized with each team’s logo and already loaded with a video presentation touting the Arizona bid. In 2012, Indianapolis had children deliver its bid to each of the team owners. Florida promised the owners yachts; Tampa offered all of the owners a golf outing with Arnold Palmer; and Texas just outright offered a million dollars to cover the Super Bowl game day costs. Here is a sampling of the ‘must haves’ included in the bid:

  • Provide 35,000 free parking spaces
  • Free billboards across the Valley
  • Receipt of all revenues for the game’s ticket sales
  • Installation of NFL preferred ATM’s at the stadium
  • Presidential suites, at no cost, in high-end hotels
  • Free access to three high-end golf courses in the summer or fall before the game
  • Free curbside parking at the NFL house
  • Free access to two top quality bowling venues

And the list goes on:

  • Temporary stadium seating must be 19” wide
  • Seating for the hoards of media must be 20” wide with an accompanying 24” clear, workspace
  • Grass field must be re-sodded for the game; and the NFL can remove chunks of it after the game, for resale, if it wishes
  • The stadium must be available to the NFL 4 weeks prior to Game Day and 4 days after; exclusive use for the NFL is 2 weeks prior
  • NFL has complete and exclusive control for 2 weeks prior to game of all club, restaurant, meeting, and hospitality facilities at the stadium
  • The host city must guarantee that its police, fire, permits, etc. are the top priorities
  • NFL has exclusive right to sell game day programs and novelties at the stadium
  • NFL will receive the stadium’s percentage from the sales of food, beverages and catering
  • Only NFL sponsor’s products will have logos seen on all products; all other logos are to be covered or removed
  • NFL allotted suites get a 30% discount on food and beverages
  • NFL requires 300 top quality buses; 65 limos (no older than 5 years); 5 premier quality buses and 125 “school” buses
  • Hotels where the teams stay obligated to televise the NFL Network for a year before the Super Bowl

There’s far more but this alone is enough to make one’s head spin. What does the NFL expect its game day costs to be? About $2.5 million dollars but let’s be generous and double that to $5 million dollars. For a several million dollar investment it earns billions. Yet it will not reimburse host cities for their costs. How greedy can it get? Oh, and the Host Committee must stipulate which of the NFL game day costs of $2.5 million dollars it will cover.

Did you know the Arizona Host Committee, just like the NFL, is a 501 (c) 6 non-profit organization? Its contributions are not deductible as charitable contributions but they can be deducted as a trade or business expense if ordinary and necessary in the conduct of business. Don’t you think every one of the businesses that contributed to the Arizona Host Committee had their CPAs and attorneys justify their contributions as deductions to the IRS? You bet they have.

Did you know that the Bidwills bought Tom’s Tavern in downtown Phoenix? It’s being operated by Rojo Hospitality, a division of the food company the Bidwills created to serve the University of Phoenix stadium. No wonder Michael Bidwill is so ecstatic to see NFL major events occurring in downtown Phoenix rather than in Glendale.

Why is Michael Bidwill feuding with the City of Glendale? He wants the City of Glendale to build a parking garage in the Westgate area at a cost of $25 to $35 million dollars. Why the need? Every inch of land surrounding the footprint of the stadium has been approved for development as the Bidwill’s Sportsman’s Park East and Sportsman’s Park West. These approved plans call for hotels, apartments, offices and retail — some 200’ feet tall, twice the height of the stadium (to date unapproved by the FAA). Of course those plans call for parking but it is parking dedicated to the structures to be built while removing all of the football parking space surrounding the stadium. That football dedicated parking has to be replaced and what better dime to use than the city’s.

If all of this doesn’t make you angry, nothing will. Perhaps someday the general public (read taxpayers) will realize in reality, they pay for the Super Bowl, and not just with tickets to the game or the merchandise they buy. I still call for all of the potential host cities to form their own league (or consortium), present a united front to the NFL and say “enough already.”

©Joyce Clark, 2015

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.

I’ve had it up the Yazoo with the antics of the NFL. It’s a non-profit organization that stands to earn about $10 billion dollars this year. It pays very little tax to anyone. The profit sharing among the team owners, while never divulged, is very healthy indeed. It seems as if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the 32 team owners that comprise are the NFL have allowed a breeding ground of thugs and miscreants.

The San Diego Union Tribune has a database of all NFL player arrests and citations since 2000. They say it’s a list of anything “more serious than speeding tickets.” Their list includes 719 records and they say it isn’t necessarily comprehensive.  Here are just a few of the most publicized NFL players that made the limelight in recent years:                                 Aaron Hernandez                                                                              Team: New England Patriots                                                          Position: Tight End                                                                                Alleged Crime: Three murder charges, armed assault and attempted murder.

Adam “Pacman” Jones                                                                     Team: Cincinnati Bengals                                                                 Position: Cornerback                                                                      Alleged Crime:  Too many incidents to list. His most well-known involves a shooting incident at a Las Vegas strip club that left one person paralyzed and two others injured. Police said Jones incited the incident. Jones pleaded no contest to a charge of conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct and agreed to testify about the shooter

Michael Vick                                                                             Team: NY Jets                                                                                   Position: QB                                                                                 Crime: Convicted of running a dog fighting ring.  Served two years in prison.

Ray Rice                                                                                       Team: Baltimore Ravens                                                                 Position: RB                                                                                  Alleged Crime:  Aggravated assault of his then fiancée. Rice was cut by the Baltimore Ravens on September 8

Aldon Smith                                                                                  Team: San Francisco 49ers                                                          Position: Linebacker                                                                      Alleged Crime: Two DUI’s, possession of an assault weapon and a bomb threat at LAX. Currently serving a ten-game suspension from the NFL

Ben Roethlisberger                                                                        Team: Pittsburgh Steelers                                                            Position: Quarterback                                                                   Alleged Crime: Accused twice of sexual assault. One case was dropped and the other was settled out of court. Roethlisberger served a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Oh, and let’s not forget Inflategate.

Add to the litany of the NFL’s scandals and outrageous profits the ongoing bad blood between Michael Bidwill and the City of Glendale. Bidwill has not been happy with Glendale since the University of Phoenix stadium landed in Glendale. The city has never “rolled over and played dead” for Bidwill regarding his many, oft times extreme, demands, whether they were football related or development related.

Make no mistake when it comes to the actions and decisions of the Arizona Host Committee, Bidwill is large and in charge. Jay Parry may be the current President of the Arizona Host Committee but nothing is done or a decision made without Bidwill’s knowledge and approval.

On January 25, 2015, the New York Times ran an interview with Glendale’s own Mayor Jerry Weiers. Here’s the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/26/sports/football/albatross-of-debt-weighs-on-super-bowl-city.html?_r=0 . In the article Weiers bemoans the fact that he has been snubbed and has not been invited to the Super Bowl despite his being the mayor of the host city. It seems he has taken a page out of former Mayor Scruggs’ play book by complaining publicly in the hope that he will get tickets just as Scruggs did in 2008. Whether it’s Scruggs or Weiers, it’s embarrassing to have one’s mayor publicly whining. If the feud had been a staring contest, Mayor Weiers blinked first.

The host committee could have provided tickets but chose not to. Oh, really? If Bidwill had said make sure the Glendale mayor is invited, Weiers would have his ticket. One can assume the host committee declined to invite Weiers so as not to be on the receiving end of a Bidwill fit. Bidwill, when asked by Channel 12 news about the Weiers ticket situation, tried desperately to ignore the question and kept trying to turn the story into a good news story for the state and the region — to no avail.  Here is the link: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/12-news/2015/01/26/12-news-michael-bidwill-cardinals-glendale-jerry-weiers/22335269/ .

In Bidwill’s parting shot, when asked why Phoenix and Scottsdale were hosting most of the Super Bowl parties instead of Glendale, said that was the decision of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee. “They’ve landed in cities that have been extremely supportive of the hosting of this Super Bowl,” Bidwill said. He went on to say that Glendale has been a “poor partner.” Has it occurred to anyone that if Glendale had refused to participate in the bid process that landed this year’s Super Bowl, there would have been no Super Bowl in Arizona this year?

Make no mistake, sometime in the future Bidwill and the Arizona Host Committee will want to bid again. At one time it was thought that Arizona would be part of a permanent rotation of the Super Bowl among southern or warm cities. Can you imagine if this year’s Super Bowl were being played in New Jersey? After all, the northeast is only dealing with a blizzard. Flights are cancelled and public transportation is at a standstill.

Until Glendale is assured, in writing, that it will be reimbursed for its costs, just as the host cities in Texas and Florida, it has no business being a Super Bowl host. The really big, bad boy of the sports leagues and the Bidwills, instead of spite will have to learn to use some sugar…the green kind, in large denominations, please.

© 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.

It appears Glendale City Manager Brenda Fischer has a vicious temper. Rumors have circulated since she came on board in Glendale but employees have been reluctant to go on record and to share specific incidents. All have been within City Hall – until last week.

A little background first. Robert Heidt is the Glendale Chamber’s new President and CEO. He had been approached by a Chamber member, John and Alice Roach, owners of the White Eyes Fresh Fry Bread Company. The Roachs are Glendale residents. Apparently they have applied for entry to numerous Glendale events only to be turned down repeatedly. Mr. Heidt had been dealing with Glendale’s Communications Department (which runs all City events) for several months in order to obtain clarification on vendor policy and to advocate for the Roachs’ participation.

Darrell Jackson of the Glendale Star has an article about a confrontation Glendale City Manager Brenda Fischer recently and publicly had with Mr. Heidt. Here is the link: http://www.glendalestar.com/news/article_314b5612-a265-11e4-b241-87a6efc2a085.html . Last week Mr. Heidt was having a pleasant working lunch at the Yard House at Westgate. Ms. Fischer was also there, a few tables away, having lunch with several Glendale employees. At some point Ms. Fischer approached Mr. Heidt’s table and proceeded to publicly berate him over the White Eyes Fresh Fry Bread Company complaint. She was loud enough to be overheard by patrons necessitating a Yard House Assistant Manager’s request “to take it outside.”

Fischer, when asked by Jackson, about the incident conveyed that she was defending “employee integrity and professionalism” which, she believed, had a “negative effect on employees’ morale.” Between you and I, that is so much BS.

If Fischer were really concerned about employee morale she wouldn’t, among other things: 1. Have her reputed, infamous temper tantrums at any time, in City Hall or outside of City Hall; 2. She wouldn’t allow City Manager staff, including herself, and City Attorneys to not be physically present at City Hall on Fridays. They are available by phone and email. I believe that’s called telecommuting. Isn’t that what the previous City Manager Ed Beasley allowed Human Resources Director Alma Carmichle to do? From Mississippi? Wasn’t that a ‘no-no’? No matter the location…it does affect employee morale; 3. She wouldn’t have appointed Julie Frisoni to an Assistant City Manager’s position when Frisoni did not meet the qualifications needed; 4. She would insure that all staff information is distributed to the entire council and not a selected few supporting a staff position and 5. She would resume hosting Quarterly City Staff meetings. Apparently since her hiring she has had one, just one, such meeting with the entire staff.

Mr. Heidt had obvious concerns as a result of that confrontation and sent an email to the Mayor and City Councilmembers, summarizing the incident. As a result, the council will have a special executive session meeting on Friday, January 23, 2015 at 3 PM to discuss Fischer’s confrontation with Mr. Heidt. Expect Councilmember Gary Sherwood (and his two clones, Councilmembers Chavira and Aldama) to defend Fischer’s actions. Councilmember Sherwood not only actively advocated for Fischer’s appointment but personally met with her prior to council’s decision. His exclusive meeting with a potential candidate still under consideration may not have been unlawful but the ethics are questionable. With three newbie councilmembers there will not be much in the way of historical memory with knowledge of other, past Fischer tantrums.

Whatever the results, you and I will never know them as executive session discussions and direction must remain private. The most we can hope for is some kind of reprimand inserted into her personnel file. The best outcome would be for a majority of council to call for her resignation but that is wishful thinking.

Since retiring from city council I have had the opportunity to talk to countless city employees, from a wide variety of departments, at different levels of authority within the organization. None are within Fischer’s “inner circle.” To a person they have conveyed that employee morale is worse than at the height of former City Manager Ed Beasley’s tenure. As they often put it, “It’s the same, only worse.” While Ms. Fischer may have put out some financial fires she has most certainly stoked the fire of the lowest employee morale in recent history.

© 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.

Before reviewing the Glendale City Council meeting of January 13, 2015 I wanted to share some information related to the events about to occur in Glendale. With the Direct TV Music Festival, the ProBowl and the Super Bowl fast approaching those residents who live in close proximity to the site of these events may have the need for further information about them or may need to lodge a complaint while the events are occurring.  Below are the Glendale numbers for your reference:

DirecTV Super Fan Festival Hotline

A special hotline has been established for the DirecTV Super Fan Festival.  The hotline number is 602-532-6250.

Neighborhood Protection (barricades)

The Neighborhood protection program is being enacted for the DirecTV Super Fan Festival, Fiesta Bowl, Pro Bowl and Super Bowl.

Electronic Link to Glendale’s Got Game Webpage

The information listed above and specific links are available through the City’s Glendale’s Got Game webpage: http://www.visitglendale.com/ZoneA/index.html

The January 13, 2015 Glendale city council meeting was typical of many council meetings. A proclamation recognizing Dr. Martin F. King Day and then an item packed Consent Agenda. The only interesting segment of the meeting was the choice of a Vice Mayor for this year.

Councilmember Bart Turner nominated and Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff seconded the nomination of Councilmember Ian Hugh. A second nomination of Councilmember Gary Sherwood was offered by Councilmember Sammy Chavira and seconded by Councilmember Jamie Aldama. No surprises there. That left Mayor Weiers as the deciding vote. It was well played by Mayor Weiers. The Mayor offered Councilmember Hugh for a vote first, as it should have been, since Hugh’s nomination was offered first.

Votes were cast on the newest toy, the nearly $50,000 voting system and flashed on the large screen behind them. There were four votes (a majority) in favor of Hugh’s nomination: Mayor Weiers, Councilmembers Hugh, Turner and Tolmachoff. Since Councilmember Hugh’s nomination captured the majority of council votes there was no need to vote on the nomination of Councilmember Sherwood. Congratulations go to the newly elected Vice Mayor of Glendale, Ian Hugh.

We have seen the first vote of the new council majority of Weiers, Hugh, Turner and Tolmachoff. We’ll see how well Councilmember Sherwood plays in the sandbox now that his coalition is no longer in the majority.

A word that seems to aptly describe both Councilmembers Chavira’s and Aldama’s usual commentary during the course of council workshops and meetings is saccharin. According to Webster’s Dictionary saccharin is defined as “sweet or sentimental in a way that does not seem sincere or genuine.” If ever two people fit that bill it appears to be these two. Their greatest claim to fame is certainly not the offering of insightful comment but rather a litany of thank yous to everyone they can possibly think of. Perhaps the voters of their districts will thank them profusely as they wander out the door of Glendale politics.

© 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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