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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

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Just for fun…#1

Posted by Joyce Clark on February 28, 2015
Posted in City of GlendaleGlendale elected officials  | Tagged With: , , , | 1 Comment

Just for fun: From Saturday, February 28, 2015 through Saturday, March 7, 2015 this first photo poll will be up on this site.

Let’s see how well you know the Glendale City Council. Each week I will ask you to pick out one of Glendale’s elected officials. No fair referencing other material for your answer. Go with your gut.

Here is the first. One of these gentlemen is the Mayor of Glendale, Jerry Weiers. Can you pick him out of this photo lineup? Please choose Photo #1, Photo #2 or Photo #3. Place a check mark next to your choice in the poll to the left of this article.

thU6J3SWGU 2

Photo #1

MayorWEIERS 3

Photo #2

thNS3ET9C0 2

Photo #3

© 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.

Steel is rising for the Tohono O’odham (TO) self-billed “temporary casino.” This casino’s history and future are rife with technicalities.  The TO secretly purchased a piece of land, a county island within Glendale, that technically is not Glendale. The TO claimed it could do so because their interpretation of the State Gaming Compact allowed it…yet another technicality. There are many, many county islands within the Valley and the TO believe they technically have the right to plant more casinos on them. They should be extremely careful. Technicalities can come back to bite one in the butt.

There are a few “technicalities” that the TO have yet to face. They have not received gaming approval from the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs to date. I suppose the TO consider that as just a minor technicality. The Arizona Department of Gaming has not approved a gaming license for the TO’s new casino. It could take quite some time for the department to clear the Tohono O’odham for that precious state gaming license. Technically, all tees have to be crossed and all eyes dotted and the state will not grant a license until every stipulation is satisfied. This action is not a mere technicality. In the meantime there is still federal legislation introduced by Senators McCain and Flake. This is another action that cannot be considered a mere technicality. The bill will come to a vote and the expectation is that it will be approved.

This temporary casino could become a ghostly, unused testament to The Tohono O’odham’s overreaching use of technicalities. Don’t be surprised if this casino never opens…due to a technicality.

© 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.

Foothills Library Update: All three commissions, Arts, Library and Parks & Recreation, having met this week have voted to disapprove the proposal to sell the Foothills Library. Their recommendations will be presented to the city council at the March 3, 2015 workshop.

It seems Councilmember Gary Sherwood requested formal meetings by going through the council office to set up appointments with Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff and Councilmember Bart Turner. The upshot of each meeting was that Sherwood advised each of them that he would be monitoring their performance and would, at some future date, critique them. How’s that for chutzpah? Coming from a councilmember with two years of experience, under investigation by the Attorney General’s Office for alleged Open Meeting Law violations and now facing recall from office. From all accounts he did not meet in a “mentoring mode” but rather to put them on notice that he would be watching them. Are you astounded? I have never heard of such behavior. I expect each of them advised him to not let the door hit him on his way out.

Sherwood also announced at his district meeting held on February 26, 2015 that he would be meeting with Kathleen Goeppinger, head of Midwestern University to explore the idea of allowing Midwestern to build an addition to Foothills Library for Midwestern’s use. He couldn’t be offering this idea to gain support from Goeppinger for Becker billboards (or perhaps hit her up for a campaign donation to his recall campaign), could he? At the last billboard go-around Goeppinger was on record as being opposed. Sherwood’s habit and pattern seems to be to insert himself into situations, in an attempt to broker deals. Isn’t that an administrative function best left to Glendale staff? Aren’t his actions in trying to broker the arena management agreement enough of a warning that perhaps he shouldn’t participate in such activities? Mayor Weiers, representing all of Glendale or Cholla district Councilmember Tolmachoff where the library is located should be none too happy about Sherwood’s insertion of himself into the situation.

Councilmember Bart Turner had a turnout of about 100 people at his district meeting. Councilmember Sherwood had about 30 people. Some of the Sherwood attendees questioned his position on issues, commented on his non-responsiveness to his constituents’ concerns and infrequency of his district meetings (last one was about a year ago). Perhaps before Sherwood tells other councilmembers how to do their job, he should clean up his own act.

© 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 February 25, 2015 the Recall Councilman the Gary Sherwood Committee issued following press release:

“The Recall Councilman Gary Sherwood Committee announced today that it has reinstated its campaign calling for a Recall Election to unseat Gary Sherwood, Councilmember from Glendale’s Sahuaro District. Committee Chairperson Anna Lee said, ‘Gary Sherwood has forgotten who elected him. He has turned his back on the people he is supposed to represent and they won’t stand for it. Throughout our new campaign, we will be publishing details of Sherwood’s actions that enraged his constituents and precipitated this action.’  Lee filed a second Application for Recall Petition with the Glendale City Clerk’s office at 10 am on Friday, February 20, 2015.

“This is the committee’s second effort to unseat Councilmember Sherwood; the first was filed in August, 2014. ‘We followed all the rules,’ said Lee, ‘but when we submitted the signatures we’d gathered, they were rejected because, according to the clerk, they were entered on an old version of the petition form. The legislature had changed the requirements, but the new form reflecting the changes was not made available until after our Recall team had finished collecting its signatures.’ She concluded, ‘We won’t let anything like that happen again. This recall is far too important to the future of the citizens of Glendale and the Sahuaro District.’

The Recall Councilman Gary Sherwood Committee is reaching out to Sahuaro District constituents who share its concerns about the voting history and other activities of Councilmember Sherwood, and who fear how he may vote on issues that impact them in the future.

“For more information about Stop Gary Sherwood, call the committee message phone at 602.657.0303, e-mail info@stopsherwood.com or visit its website: www.stopsherwood.com. Contact: Anna Lee, 602-657-0303 / info@stopsherwood.com .”

Please note at this time the committee’s website is still under construction. I would suggest contacting Ms. Lee at the phone number provided in their press release until the website is completed.

It is clear that Sherwood and Becker have not given up on their effort to plant billboards in north Glendale.  A review was conducted of contributors to Sherwood’s initial campaign effort in 2012. In the fall of 2012 Sherwood received contributions from:

  • Mark and Erin Becker $860
  • Joyce Becker $430 and
  • Amy Becker $430 for total of $920
  • Rose Law Group 10 contributions from attorneys within the group totaling $1,960.00

The Rose Law Group represented Becker Billboards on its first, March 25, 2014, attempt to gain council approval for its proposed billboards. Hmmm…did nearly $3,000 in political contributions to his campaign buy advocacy for Becker Billboards? That is something you must decide.

After the original denial of the billboards by city council, Sherwood brought up the billboard issue again on October 7, 2014 and October 21, 2014. From the minutes of the October 7, 2014 meeting, Councilmember Sherwood spoke for an absent Councilmember (Councilmember Chavira) regarding the recent discussions about the Palm Canyon billboards. He asked the Councilmembers to vote at the October 27th meeting on rescinding the previous denial based on this recent information on the Becker Boards case at the Loop 101 and Bell. He said if the rescission vote is successful, then too immediately at the same Council meeting on October 27th vote on approving the billboards request of Becker Boards and direct staff to notify all parties as required by law at the expense of the applicant.”

A majority of council did not support his request. At the October 21, 2014 meeting Councilmember Sherwood continued to pursue the issue by attempting to clarify the circumstances under which a special council meeting could be called. From the minutes of that meeting, “Councilmember Sherwood said so if it was a special meeting, there would be two agenda items and there would still have to be a vote of four to rescind the March decision and then an actual go through the whole process of presenting the ordinance again.” Sherwood was seeking rescission of the original council vote denying the billboards. This is part of the exchange between Sherwood and City Attorney Michael Bailey at the same meeting:

“Mr. Bailey said his reading of Robert’s Rules of Order is that when there is an affirmative vote on a rescission, it brings the item back live again, it revives it. He said at that time, there would be a more robust discussion or additional information provided by planning and zoning. He said if there was a desire to make a different decision that decision could be made then.”

Councilmember Sherwood asked if that was something that could be done in the same meeting.”

Mr. Bailey said yes.”

A year after the original vote denying the billboard proposal it’s back again. The first salvo is Mark Becker’s neighborhood meeting and “Crane Study.” Since when doesn’t “no” mean “no?” Apparently, Councilmember Sherwood, Mark Becker and Jordan Rose have decided that a council “no” vote means “maybe.” Insider assumption is that Chavira is supportive of the billboard issue and will support his good buddy Sherwood. That’s two votes in favor. All Sherwood has to do is to find two more councilmembers to vote in the affirmative…who will it be? Mayor Weiers? Vice Mayor Hugh? Or Councilmembers Aldama (probably a yes as he seems to vote with Sherwood and Chavira), Tolmachoff, or Turner?? That’s a probable three votes in favor. Oh my gosh…Glendale residents will make best use their time contacting Weiers, Tolmachoff, Hugh and Turner with their opinion.

© 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.

The Becker billboard issue is on the rise again as Mark Becker sends out letters to neighborhoods inviting residents to a neighborhood meeting on Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at 6 PM at Arrowhead Elementary School. In an effort to convince all of the innocuousness of his billboards he is planning on a “Crane Study” at the proposed site on Friday, March 13, 2015 from 3 to 6 PM…hmmm.

This might be a very good time to question the Sahuaro district councilmember, Gary Sherwood, on not only this issue, but a host of others, including his position on Foothills Library. He hasn’t had a district meeting in a long, long time so this one might prove to be very interesting. The meeting is tonight, Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 6:30 PM at Sunshine Residential Homes, 17201 N. 63rd Avenue. The announcement states that he will be answering residents’ questions.

On February 23, 2015 the Glendale Arts Commission met and approved a recommendation of “No” on the Foothills Library sale and relocation. The recommendation now goes to the city council.  The Library Advisory Board will meet tonight, February 25, 2015, at 6 PM at the Foothills Library to decide on their recommendation to the city council. The Parks and Recreation Commission will meet tomorrow evening, Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 6 PM at the Adult Center. They, too, will decide on their recommendation to city council.

Even with “No” recommendations from all three commissions, do not consider the Foothills library issue dead. You must keep the pressure on the mayor and council until council formally denies the proposal.

© 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.

Last week the Phoenix Business Journal had a story by Angela Gonzales, Senior Reporter, about a new health campus coming near St. Joseph’s Westgate hospital. It will be a $30 million dollar investment led by Dr. John Simon. Dr. Simon founded SimonMed Imaging, Inc.

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Site of Simon Investment Group medical campus

It will be located at the northwest corner of 99th Avenue and Glendale Avenue, directly to the west of the Glendale Park n Ride lot. The 20 acre project is planned to be a healthcare campus with all kinds of outpatient facilities available at one central location.  The buildings and/or condos will be available for lease or sale to doctors for medical offices, surgery centers, skilled nursing facilities and long term care facilities.  The investment group is also seeking a research center and a satellite nursing school. Construction is planned to start in 12 to 18 months.

I congratulate Dr. Simon and his investment group for their commitment to develop further medical facilities in West Glendale. West Valley residents are delighted and can’t wait to use this new complex. Residents in the Westgate area, until the advent of St. Joseph’s Westgate had to travel 10 miles to Banner Thunderbird or 5 miles south to Banner Estrella or 10 miles west to Banner Sun City to have access to medical services. Having medical providers and services in this area has been long overdue. We look forward to even further expansion of medical facilities and thank Dignity Health for its investment in this area. It has proven to be a catalyst for further medical development. We are excited and grateful.

Now that’s a good news story!

© 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.

When the announcement first hit the pavement regarding the resignation of former City Manager Brenda Fischer of Glendale, her prepared statement included the phrase, “she has accomplished all of her goals at the city.”

After an extensive online search no publicly stated goals could be found. Her biography on Glendale’s website (her bio is no longer available and has been replaced with Interim City Manager Dick Bowers’ bio) offered the following: “during her tenure Fisher implemented a five-year budget forecast and presented short-term budget solutions or reductions in service to the community; she reorganized the city’s structure and operations leading to a streamlined organization that has increased productivity, efficiency without layoffs and created future cost savings.” In a February 12, 2015 story written by Eric Toll of the Phoenix Business Journal Fischer is quoted as saying, “We have a totally different management staff, a young council, and a community beginning to trust the city’s performance.” She pointed out that Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s had rated the city’s finances as stable. She said the city organization was healthier and doing good things.

Before checking Ms. Fischer’s “Pinocchio rating” (every time he told a lie, his nose grew), some Glendale sports debt in a historical context is in order.

Glendale’s hockey arena known as the Gila River Arena opened in December, 2003. A little known fact is that until Jerry Moyes declared the Phoenix Coyotes bankrupt in 2009 Glendale had collected enough money every year to pay for the arena except for the period of the NHL lockout in 2005-06. From December, 2003 through June, 2010, when the NHL took over management of the arena, the city had received $22,803,757.54. The city never paid a management fee through 2009. Everything changed with the Moyes’ bankruptcy and begins the era of the city’s having to pay a management fee. To keep the Coyotes in Glendale and the arena open, Glendale paid the NHL $25 million dollars as a management fee in 2010 and 2011 while a new Coyotes owner was secured. Those funds came primarily from two sources, the city’s contingency fund and enterprise funds. The city’s contingency fund was depleted dramatically and reached a low of approximately $11 million dollars. Instead of receiving revenue from the arena as in years past, now the city was paying a management fee: $25 million a year to the NHL and $15 million a year to IceArizona. The original debt for the arena was $180 million dollars but over the years additional debt such as for infrastructure has made that figure greater. The current annual debt payment for the arena is approximately $13 million dollars a year meaning that each and every year the city must outlay $28 million dollars (debt plus management fee) just to keep the doors of the arena open.

Camelback Ranch, the city owned spring training facility cost $152 million to build. It opened in February, 2009. The original deal called for the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority (AZSTA) to replay the city for 66.7% of the cost not to exceed $90 million dollars. Many issues unrelated to Glendale have put into question whether the city will ever be repaid by AZSTA and when. In 2014, the original loan that Glendale took out as a reserve to pay the baseball construction debt is used up and in 2018 the city will be making debt payments of $15.2 million annually. When Glendale pays off its sports construction debt for hockey and baseball it will have paid out about $849 million dollars.

Brenda Fischer came on board in July of 2013, the same month that the city council approved the annual management agreement with IceArizona for $15 million dollars. Under her watch two short-term solutions she implemented were: making the temporary sales tax increase permanent and refinancing the city’s bond debt. Fischer’s solutions in partially dealing with Glendale’s tremendous debt were not new or innovative.

The temporary sales tax increase was set to expire in 2017 because council believed that with the implementation of further cost saving solutions over the original five year period it could be sunset at that time.  Fischer’s solution was to make the tax increase permanent. It was making the temporary sales tax permanent that caused Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s to rate Glendale’s finances as stable and to remove its negative rating. Moody’s said the improved rating was tied to a Glendale City Council decision in June of 2014 to make a 0.7% sales tax increase permanent. Keep in mind that while the city’s bonds related to its General Fund debt had been downgraded, Moody’s continued to reaffirm an A1 rating for Glendale’s water and sewer revenue bonds.

Refinancing the city’s bond debt was not a new, innovative solution either. Not just Glendale but many cities make it a habit and practice to refinance their debt when market conditions are favorable. Prior to Fischer’s coming on board Glendale had refinanced its debt in February, 2012. Every time the city refinances debt, it saves money in terms of future debt payments because the interest rate is usually lowered. Anyone who had been City Manager during the past 17 months would have implemented the very same solutions. These are steps that would have been taken with or without Brenda Fischer. What about the city’s Finance Director, Tom Duensing? He deserves the lion’s share of the credit (or blame) for making the sales tax permanent and using the historical tool of refinancing the debt.

Another accolade that Fischer claims is the use of the five-year budget forecast. The city council in previous years before Fischer’s appearance had rejected the notion of a five-year budget forecast as being highly unreliable. City staff had acknowledged that the only relatively certain information to be obtained would be for the following one year — not another four years out. We know how well long range financial forecasting works — not one financial “expert”, national, regional or local, had the Great Recession on the radar screen.

Fischer also claims to have reestablished trust in Glendale government. Her bio stated, “she reorganized the city’s structure and operations leading to a streamlined organization that has increased productivity, efficiency and created future cost savings.”  Yet employee trust was further eroded when she named Julie Frisoni as an Assistant City Manager or when she allowed certain employees to leave and to be rehired at a higher pay.  Citizen trust was seriously eroded recently with the proposal to sell the Foothills Library and to relocate its remnants to the Foothills Recreation Center. City council lost trust in her when she requested the emails of three councilmembers (her bosses) that she apparently believed were against her.

Fischer claimed a lot but anyone would as a face saving tactic. Don’t forget, she’s still got Frisoni who nominated her for the Phoenix Business Journal’s Businesswoman of the Year Award and who is busy issuing glowing statements about Fischer’s accomplishments to the media. They ignore Frisoni’s press releases at their peril for they could be frozen out of obtaining any information from Glendale on any issue.

Fischer is receiving $152,000 or 9 months pay as the council’s parting gift. Many people are upset about the largesse she is receiving. Holding my nose, I support council’s decision. If they would not fire her then their only option was her resignation and it was going to cost them to obtain it. Don’t forget…there were 3 councilmembers in her corner: Sherwood, Chavira and Aldama.

What is Fischer’s “Pinocchio rating?” I will leave that for your decision. It will be interesting tothG5SHRA7E see, on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most falsehood or exaggeration, what you think.

© 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.

For those of you who are interested in saving the Foothills Library from sale and relocation the Save the Library group created an online petition. Please go to this link and take a minute to sign online:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-the-glendale-foothills-library-maricopa

Please pass this link on to your friends, neighbors, anyone you can think of who might be willing to sign. All of your family members can sign. You don’t have to be registered to vote to sign this petition. If several thousand signatures are received it will make a tremendous impression on the Glendale City Council and its decision making.

There’s certainly been a lot of news concerning Glendale this week:

  • On February 20, 2015 the group led by Anna Lee filed the necessary paperwork once again to recall Councilmember Gary Sherwood of the Sahuaro district. The group’s first effort was denied by the city on various grounds. Consider their first effort a life’s lesson. They now know exactly what eyes to dot and tees to cross. Expect them to gather the necessary signatures to compel the city to call for a Sherwood recall election. If you would like to sign the petition (must live in the Sahuaro district)  and/or help gather signatures please call 602-657-0303 and your call will be returned.
  • The city council accepted former City Manager Brenda Fischer’s resignation effective April 3, 2015. Her request of the emails of only 3 councilmembers may have been the last straw for council.
  • The city council appointed former Scottsdale City Manager Dick Bowers as Glendale’s Interim City Manager. Mr. Bowers has filled this position before during the last search by council for a city manager. One of his first decisions was to retain the services of Jon Froke as the city’s Planning Director.
  • Mayor Jerry Weiers, on Friday, February 20, 2015 issued the following statement regarding the proposal to sell Foothills Library and relocate it to the Foothills Recreation and Aquatic Center:

“Over the past few weeks, the citizens of Glendale have voiced their opinion regarding the proposed relocation of the Foothills Branch Library. Their voice has been almost entirely united in opposition to the proposal. While I share their concerns and am personally opposed to the proposal, I await the recommendation of the Library Advisory Board, the Parks and Recreation Commission, and the Arts Commission. “I am glad that Glendale residents have taken such an active role on this issue. Ever since it was announced, I urged staff to seek the input of the public to ensure that our citizens were incluced an any propoal to alter the library. It is my sincere hope that Glendale residents will continue to actively participate in this and other important issues facing our great city. “I also thank Midwestern University for their long-term support of the Glendale community. In addition to producint hundreds of doctors, pharmacits, physician assistand, and many other types of medical professionals every year, Midwestern opens their campus to the community through clinics and other wonderful events. Our City is a better place because they are here.”             

  • Tony Tavares, the former president of Disney Enterprises and the Anaheim Ducks, will conduct an audit of the Arizona Coyotes’ financials for $45,000 (anything over the $50,000 cap would require council approval). The audit was supposed to have begun by the end of September. It has been delayed because IceArizona has taken over 5 months to perform its own audit and still is not finished. With this audit the city will be able to examine revenue sources related to the Coyotes and Gila River Arena. Tavares was involved with Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of the Chicago White Sox in a failed 2011 attempt to buy the Coyotes…hmmm.
  • In the Glendale Republic of February 21, 2015, under the title of West Valley Sound Off, elected officials were asked their thoughts on SB 1435 which would gut Arizona Open Meeting law. Mayor Kenn Weise of Avondale expressed opposition as did Councilman Roy Delgado of El Mirage and Councilman Jamie Aldama of Glendale. Not so with Councilman Gary Sherwood. Still smarting from an ongoing Attorney General’s Office into allegations of violation of the Open Meeting Law, he said, “I do believe that reform is needed to allow for additional dialogue amongst the council” and “On Glendale’s seven-member counci, it is difficult to speak to three other members without violating the law.” Well, if anyone should know, he should.
  • Each of the three citizen commissions who heard the presentations on selling the Foothills Library last week will be meeting again this coming week. Citizens are welcome to attend as they are public meetings BUT it will NOT be an opportunity for citizen comment but rather an opportunity for the commission members to have their questions answered by staff and then to decide on an advisory recommendation to the city council. The meeting dates are as follows:
  • Glendale Arts Commission at the Foothills Recreation Center on Monday, February 23, 2015, 6 PM
  • Library Advisory Board at the Foothills Library on Wednesday, February 25, 2015, 6 PM
  • Parks & Recreation Advisory Commission at the Adult Center on Thursday, February 26, 2015, 6 PM

© 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.

Please note: I just received confirmation a few minutes ago that Jon Froke will not be resigning and will remain the city’s Planning Director. Thanks to Interim City Manager Dick Bowers for reviewing this situation and reversing the former City Manager Fischer’s decision.

Why is Planning Director Jon Froke resigning suddenly under mysterious circumstances? Here are the circumstances known to date. First, be advised this is not about Ms. Barbara Lentz. She is an unwitting participant and it could have happened to anyone. She is in no way to be considered as having done anything wrong.

On October 28, 2014 Ms. Lentz was appointed to the General Plan Steering Committee representing the Sahuaro district (Councilmember Gary Sherwood’s district) by the city council. Typically if an appointee is present that evening that person takes the Loyalty Oath at the council meeting. When an appointee is not present the Loyalty Oath is taken at the first meeting of the committee to which the person has been appointed. Apparently Ms. Lentz was not present that evening. On December 3, 2014 Ms. Lentz attended her first General Plan Steering Committee meeting and took the Loyalty Oath at that time. A regular meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission was held on January 8, 2015. In the minutes of that meeting roll call identifies the following commissioners as present: Johnston, Hirsch, Lenox, Berryhill and Lentz. Ms. Lentz voted as a Planning Commissioner that evening. Without Lentz there would have been no quorum of the commission and the meeting would not have been held.

Now the mystery begins. How did Ms. Lentz sit as a Planning and Zoning Commissioner that evening? A review of council minutes for the two months preceding her sitting as a Planning Commissioner shows that city council did not appoint her to that position. How did she get there? City council minutes confirm her appointment as a General Plan Steering Committee member, not as a member of the Planning Commission.

There were three items on the Planning Commission’s agenda of January 8, 2015. One item, a Conditional Use Permit passed on a 3-2 vote with Ms. Lentz’ voting in the majority. The other two agenda items were passed unanimously by the 4 regularly seated Planning Commissioners.

Mr. Froke was not in attendance at the January 8, 2015 meeting. That is not unusual. If it were an agenda item of major significance or one that may be considered complex or contentious he would have been there. The items on that night’s agenda fit none of those criteria. In his stead Ms. Tabitha Perry of the Planning Department and Liaison to the Planning Commission was in attendance. It is also typical to have someone from the City Attorney’s office be in attendance to advise on any legal matters. Ms. Deborah Robberson, Chief Deputy City Attorney was in attendance.

Why didn’t Ms. Robberson and especially Ms. Perry, as the Planning Commission’s Liaison, raise an objection to Ms. Lentz’ seating that evening as a Planning Commissioner? Did they not know that Ms. Lentz had not been appointed a commissioner? If they did not know, why not? Ms. Perry as the Planning Commission’s Liaison is expected to be thoroughly conversant with all areas surrounding the Planning Commission. How could she not be aware that Ms. Lentz was not appointed by city council as a Planning Commissioner?

From here on the information is sketchy. It seems that former City Manager Fischer had an investigation into the whole matter which appears to have resulted in the resignation of Planning Director Jon Froke and the appointment of…you guessed it…Ms. Tabatha Perry as Acting. The very same Tabatha Perry who apparently didn’t have a clue as Liaison for one of her areas of responsibility. The first question that comes to mind is, did Councilmember Sherwood influence or urge former City Manager Fischer to ask for Mr. Froke’s resignation? Sherwood appears to have been quite unhappy with Froke’s performance on some of his pet issues. None of this makes any sense right now. If it was Fischer’s desire that a Director take the fall, shouldn’t Michael Bailey, the City Attorney, have received the same investigative treatment? After all, his designee, Ms. Robberson, was also present at this weird Planning Commission meeting and did nothing.

Jon Froke has been the consummate professional and a loyal employee of the city for many years. He listens…not just to the developers with a project but to the concerns of residents and does his best to balance both points of view. I will be the first to admit that I do not know “the rest of the story.” I would hope that Interim City Manager Dick Bowers would review the entire situation and that his findings would result in a return of Mr. Froke to his position of Director of Planning for the City of Glendale. It appears from the outside looking in, that an injustice has occurred and only Mr. Bowers can resolve it.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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