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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

It has been 17 years and 119 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

For the past few days the Tohono O’odham (TO) have seen news that they can only characterize as awful. On April 24, 2015 the Congressional Budget Office issued a report on cost outcomes to the federal government if the TO is not allowed to build its casino in Glendale. Here is the link: http://www.cbo.gov/publication/50136 . Those who have represented that is an exact cost figure are deliberately misleading people in an attempt to pressure them to drop their opposition to the casino. Now despite the recent outrageous headlines of stopping the casino will cost US taxpayers a billion dollars here are direct quotes from that report:

“Based on information from the Tohono O’odham Nation, CBO expects that if H.R. 308 were enacted, the tribe would pursue litigation against the federal government to recover its financial losses caused by the prohibition on gambling. Whether the tribe would prevail in such litigation and when those proceedings might be concluded are both uncertain. The basis for any judicial determination of the tribe’s financial losses is also uncertain. CBO estimates that possible compensation payments from the government could range from nothing to more than $1 billion; however, we have no basis for estimating the outcome of the future litigation.”

 “That decision is now under appeal at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Although the tribe has been successful in litigation thus far and construction of its resort and casino is underway, it may be more difficult for the tribe to prevail in a claim brought after enactment of H.R. 308 because of the types of claims available to it and the facts of this particular situation. The outcome of such litigation is uncertain.”

“Regulatory taking claims are often unsuccessful and usually do not lead to significant economic awards when (as in this case) the taking does not fully diminish the economic value of the property;”

What should disturb everyone is the fact that the TO’s estimated annual income from this proposed casino at $100 million dollars a year or one billion dollars over 10 years. You can hear the sucking sound now as dollars subject to sales tax from nearby businesses vanishes. It’s no more than dollar displacement. People only have so many discretionary dollars. If those dollars are consumed by the TO casino then those dollars are not spent elsewhere in the community and the multiplier effect of each and every dollar is lost.

The second bomb to drop is a poll released by the Sonoran Alliance on April 28, 2015. Here is the link: http://sonoranalliance.com/2015/04/28/new-poll-support-for-glendale-casino-collapses/ . Here is the conclusion drawn from the survey. “Based on the survey results there is overwhelming support from voters to oppose new gaming in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Once voters become aware of the various issues surrounding the conduct of those involved with this proposed casino, opposition grows by 18% to a clear majority in opposition. This survey shows that most of Arizona’s elected officials are acting with large support for their activities in trying to stop this casino.”

The third bomb dropped today, April 30, 2015, was with an article by Bill Theobald of the Republic Washington Bureau entitled Senate committee passes bill to block casino near Glendale. He reports, The Senate Indian Affairs Committee passed by voice vote legislation sponsored by Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain (and Sen. Jeff Flake)…” Last month the House Natural Resources Committee passed the same legislation. That means that both bills can now be voted up or down by the full House and the full Senate.

Senator McCain, commenting on the Keep the Promise Act of 2015, said in part, “the law doesn’t allow a tribe to ‘air drop’ a casino onto land in a metro area that’s not part of its traditional tribal lands.” He also said, “building another casino in the Phoenix area violates the intent of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. ‘I know what the intent of Congress was because I wrote the bill’.” Arizona’s Congressional representatives are not the only legislators hearing complaints from their constituents on this issue. Many other states are facing the same issue of, as McCain puts it, “air dropping” casinos. Consequently there is a lot more support for this legislation than is perceived. It becomes precedent setting and may allow other legislators to stop reservation shopping in their states.

The desperation of the Tohono O’odham becomes more palpable every day. That’s why the press conference after the state announced that it would not grant the TO a gaming license. It is amusing that several headlines and the Op Ed piece in the April 30, 2015 edition of the Glendale Star scream support for the proposed casino. It’s no secret that the paper’s editor, Carolyn Dryer, is a supporter of the casino. In fact, several years ago she attended a pro-casino meeting hosted by former Ocotillo councilmember Norma Alvarez not as the paper’s representative but as a private citizen. Bias oozes from every article on the casino and objective reportage especially on this issue has become a stranger to it.

Ned Norris Jr., Chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation, vows to fight to the bitter end and he remains adamantly defiant. Councilmember Chavira and Vice Mayor Hugh were good puppets as they reiterated the same, tired arguments of other tribes’ attempts to kill competition. They all conveniently ignore that this action began in secret while the TO pushed Arizona voters to approve the state gaming compact. They conveniently ignore the fact that the tribe kept the purchase of land within Glendale’s boundaries secret from the city for 7 years. They conveniently ignore the fact that the TO deliberately withheld their plan for this casino from its sister tribes for 7 years. As stated by the Arizona Gaming Director, fraud was committed by the Tohono O’odham.

Many supporters of the casino ignore these facts, plead ignorance of them or simply shrug their shoulders while trotting out arguments of a down trodden tribe deserving of this casino no matter how it is acquired. Whatever the casino supporters’ reasoning they should check their moral compasses. Perhaps their tolerance for dishonesty evaporates and is solely dependent upon their perception that their ox is being gored.

© 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.

It has been 17 years and 119 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Before we delve into the world of finances used to host the Super Bowl remember that the city actually hosted 3 major events at the stadium in 2015: the Fiesta Bowl, the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl.

We’ll look at the murky finances of hosting the Fiesta Bowl. It is the only one of the three major events for which there is any mechanism of even partial financial reimbursement. When the University of Phoenix stadium opened on August 1, 2006 the city entered into an agreement not with the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority (AZSTA) but with the management company, Global Spectrum, which AZSTA hired to manage the stadium. The Fiesta Bowl Committee rents the stadium and contracts with Global Spectrum to manage the event. The agreement between Global Spectrum and the city requires police and fire service partial reimbursement. Global Spectrum reimburses the city for only these two services.

The two latest agreements between the parties are dated October 22, 2013 for fire services and April 10, 2014 for police services. In the 2013 agreement Global pays an hourly rate of $40.00 for fire services. In the 2014 agreement Global pays an hourly rate of $51.10 for police services with provision for an annual increase of 3%.

From the March 20, 2012 city council budget workshop minutes we learned the following, “Councilmember Lieberman asked if the city paid the salary of all the officers from other municipalities that come to help them in trafficking for events such as the Fiesta Bowl. Assistant Chief Greg Dominguez, explained the city does have an account that was budgeted for the staffing that was specific to the Fiesta Bowl. Therefore, the city does cover salaries for those events.”

In response to my Public Information Request I received the following information from the city for police costs for the Fiesta Bowl:

  • Police billable hours are 1,152.38 and billable wages are $53,671.63
  • Police non-billable hours are 1,287.89 and non-billable wages are $70,765.20
  • Total police hours are 2,440.27 and total wages are $126,436.83

Yet another city document I received entitled 2015 YTD (Year to date) Budget Control Report Details listed police expenses for the Fiesta Bowl of:

  • Temporary pay of $36,640.00
  • Overtime pay of $43,999.07
  • Emergency Service pay of $880.00
  • Fire & Liability insurance of $727.51
  • Professional and Contractual to Airwest Aviation Academy of $1,174.50
  • Line Supplies (Insight, Zoro tools, Best Buy and Motorola) of $3,926.97
  • Total of these line items is $87,347.06

With no further clarification from the city I have to assume that $87,347.06 is in addition to the total wages reported of $126,436.83. These two city generated reports total $213,783.89 for which the city received reimbursement for billable hours and wages of $53,671.63. These reports confirm that city paid at least $160,112.26 from its General Fund to host the Fiesta Bowl. I suspect that this figure is low because in the city’s FY 2015-16 budget $245,975 is the figure used.

Fire costs for the Fiesta Bowl are:

  • Hours of 425.25 and wages of $26,953.18
  • There is no distinction between billable and non billable hours and wages

In its 2015 YTD Budget Control Report Details fire expenses are listed as:

  • Overtime pay of $19,330.61
  • Emergency Service pay of $2,200.00
  • Fire & Liability insurance of $296.24
  • Line supplies (Insight, Lowes, Salsa Blanca, Shane’s Rib Shack, Home Depot, AGP Propane, Segway of Scottsdale, RV Storage, Roadrunner Oxygen, Cabela’s, Office Depot) of $6,999.14
  • Total of these line items is $28,826.99

The two city generated reports total $55,780.17. This tracks with the FY 2015-26 budget of $58,816.00 for fire. Note that fire does not make any budgetary distinction between billable and non-billable hours and wages. Since it tracks so closely to the budgeted amount it may be safe to assume that this cost reflects non-billable hours and wages.

In yet another city generated 2015 YTD Budget Control Report for Transportation we see:

  • Overtime pay of $74.88
  • Fire & Liability insurance of $191.25
  • Professional & Contractual for shuttle services of $26,049.40
  • Line supplies (Culver’s) of $60.74
  • Total of these line items is $26,376.27

After reimbursement for some public safety costs the best estimate of total non-reimbursable costs for the Fiesta Bowl paid by the city’s General Fund is $301,783.99. But this figure is only attributable to police, fire and shuttle services.   Remember there are other costs not tracked by the city. Items not tracked are salaries, straight time and overtime in transportation, sanitation, marketing, building safety plus the use of city equipment. How much did they use in time, equipment and material? We don’t know and guess what; neither does the city because it doesn’t track any of these additional costs. That makes my assumption as to Fiesta Bowl costs as reasonable as theirs.

The figure to host the Fiesta Bowl is $300,000 on the low end and about $500,000 on the high end. It is reasonable to assume that it is closer to $500,000 when the hidden, untracked, unreimbursed expenses are identified.

Why doesn’t the city track all costs for these major events? Pick your reason. It could be laziness or sheer incompetence. Conspiracy theorists will say that the city doesn’t want its citizens to know. They believe, and they may be right, that Glendale residents would be outraged to learn exactly how much the city’s role as a sports mecca costs. Residents may realize that sports hosting costs remove available revenue to upgrade or to construct amenities that enhance a city’s quality of life…and that is a bigger deal than a football game.

Next up the cost of the Super Bowl (and Pro Bowl).

© 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.

It has been 17 years and 117 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

On Monday, April 27, 2015 in the Opinion section of the Arizona Republic pro and con casino op-ed pieces were published.  Mayor Jim Lane of Scottsdale presented the current anti casino position. In it he supports the position taken by Governor Doug Ducey and the state Gaming Director. The state’s position is that the Tohono O’odham (TO) should not benefit from the fraud they committed against the voters of Arizona and they will not issue a gaming permit to the TO. That is the state’s right. If the TO do not agree with the state’s decision they can and most probably will take the state to court.

Councilmember Ian Hugh (Cactus district) presented the pro casino position. He offered two arguments. His first was that this issue is a matter of local control. Oh really? What about the federal Department of the Interior granting the TO reservation status on land within Glendale, technically a county island, that they purchased with a straw company and held secret for 7 years? What about the Bureau of Indian Affairs that has yet to approve TO gaming on their reservation parcel? What about the State of Arizona’s ability to grant or deny a gaming license for this new temporary gaming facility per the 2002 voter approved state gaming compact with all of the tribes’ (including Ned Norris Jr. representing the TO) publicly pledging to build no more casinos in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area?

Glendale has been in the middle of a maelstrom not of its making since the TO made its announcement in 2009. By the way, there was no courtesy head’s up to Glendale. No introductory meeting expressing the sentiment that they would like to locate within Glendale and asking what needs to be accomplished on their side to make it happen. No, the TO rode rough shod over the city basically sending the signal that it didn’t matter what Glendale thought about their plans. There has never been local control. Asking for recognition to represent that this council is representing “the interests of the Arizonans we represent” is ludicrous.

Hugh’s second argument is just as silly. He refers to “the tremendous public support for the casino resort.” This has been the most divisive issue in Glendale’s history. There is just as much “tremendous public support” against the casino. Just ask the residents most impacted by this casino project – those who live closest to the proposed casino.  They are the ones who will deal with increased and obstructive traffic 24/7. They are the ones who will have to deal with increased crimes of opportunity in their neighborhoods, especially burglary and theft. The following links are articles related to increased crime as a result of a casino courtesy of one of my blog readers, Bill Eikost:

http://napavalleyregister.com/news/local/rural-indian-casinos-bring-traffic-crime-as-well-as-jobs/article_6c033a00-73b0-11e0-b43d-001cc4c002e0.html  http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2013/09/25/as-native-american-casinos-proliferate-the-social-costs-of-the-gambling-boom-are-ignored/ http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/10/30/studies-casinos-bring-jobs-but-also-crime-bankruptcy-and-even-suicide/

Ask the residents of Glendale, the rate payers for water services who, at sometime in their futures, can expect their water bills to go up to pay for the fixes and upgrades to the water and sanitation systems that will be needed to provide service for the intense development on the TO site.

To add fuel to the fire, for the past few days the pro casino side has been shilling a Congressional Budget Report and claiming that it would definitively and absolutely cost US taxpayers a billion dollars to deny this casino to the TO. Not true. It’s a scare tactic designed to frighten or anger people.  One can read the real story about this billion dollar claim in an article published today, April 28, 2015 by Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services. Here is the link: http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2015/04/28/report-legislation-blocking-west-valley-casino-could-cost-taxpayers-1-billion/ . Here is the link to the Congressional Budget Report courtesy of one of my blog readers, Legend: http://www.cbo.gov/publication/50136 .

As further signs of pro casino desperation the TO with a little help from their buddies, the companies currently constructing the temporary casino, ran a full page ad in the Arizona Republic today designed to go after Senators McCain and Flake and Representatives Franks and Gosar and their legislation, H.R. 308 and S. 152, the Keep the Promise Act of 2015. Their dire headline is that these legislators want to put 1,300 Arizonans out of work. First, not all of the construction workers on the site are Arizonans, much less live in Glendale or the west Valley.  Secondly, these are temporary jobs. When the construction is completed or stopped these jobs vanish.  And of course, they had to throw in that the mean old, Indian tribes that have established casinos want to protect their market share and are willing to kill babies to protect it…some exaggeration here…but not much.

Add to all of this exaggeration and hyperbole two resolutions on tonight’s Glendale city council meeting agenda: a police mutual aid and a fire mutual aid agreement between the city and the TO up for approval or disapproval. Of particular interest is a stipulation within the agreement protecting the TO’s sovereign immunity. If the TO’s hired personnel screw up in delivering police or fire service to a Glendale resident, there is no means of suing the tribe due to their preservation of their claim of sovereign immunity.  Does that then preserve the onus of liability on Glendale? The training of officers and fire personnel on a reservation may not be of the same caliber as that of municipal employees.

These agreements may not even be legal. It could be that an agreement between a US municipality and a sovereign nation (the TO is a sovereign nation and is not subject to federal, state, county or municipal laws) may not be worth the paper upon which it is written. It probably has the same amount of validity as if the municipality of El Paso, Texas, entered into a mutual aid agreement with the country of Mexico. It’s more for show and is a direct salvo to the state’s declaration that it will not issue a gaming license to the TO. If someone sues we’d find out how valid these agreements really are.

All of this signals desperation and anger on the part of the Tohono O’odham. The realization that the state will not grant them a gaming license has them attempting to convince the public to pressure the state. It will not work. Their plan to open their temporary casino later this year has evaporated and if the Congressional legislation passes it is dead.

© 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.

It has been 17 years and 115 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

This series of blogs is an in depth look at the true costs to the City of Glendale to host the Fiesta Bowl, the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl in 2015. This has been difficult to write. Not because the subject matter is difficult but because the city’s response was complex, in some cases non-resposive and much of the material they provided required extensive untangling. The city is to be commended on supplying the answers to my request in a very timely fashion. There is a disclaimer. Despite my desire to obtain complete information from the city, the city did not create a mechanism to capture all of the costs that could be attributed to any of these events. More about this later.

It has been widely reported that Tom Duensing, Glendale’s Finance Director, claimed the cost of hosting the 2015 Super Bowl at $2.2 million dollars. Yet the cost to host the 2008 Super Bowl to the city was $2.8 million dollars. How could hosting in 2015 cost the city less? The answer is…it didn’t.

Inflation alone would have made all costs for services and equipment rise. The average inflation rate per year from 2008 to 2014 was 1.97% or 13.4% for seven years (the amount of time between the two hostings). See this link: http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/inflation/historical-inflation-rates/ . Just to account for inflation added to the 2008 cost of $2.8M would drive up the 2015 cost to $3.7M. How does Mr. Duensing, with a straight face, claim a 2015 Super Bowl cost of only $2.2M? It’s quite simple…don’t count everything.

My Public Information Request to the city included:

  • The cost attributable to each event of planning for, preparation for, game day hosting and after actions.
  • A list of all departments that contributed, by event, in any way, including but not limited to Public Safety as well as any and all departments involved from the Attorney’s Office to Zoning (A to Z).
  • The number of employees used for each event from all departments you list, including but not limited to consultants, contract employees or regular (salaried and at will) employees.
  • The number of hours attributable to each event, by department, including but not limited to planning, preparing, action upon and after action review of each of these 3 major events.
  • The total dollar figure for employee costs attributable to each event, including but not limited to straight time pay, overtime pay, special pay, time and a half pay. List of all employees by job title and department, dollar amount for each of those employees who received overtime pay, special pay, assignment pay, time and a half pay, bonuses, Police & Fire to include sworn and non-sworn administrative staff from those departments. Separate list for each of those three events.
  • The total dollar figure attributable to each event for use of all equipment by department or rented from other sources from but not limited to vehicles to trash cans whether a city asset or rented.
  • Total revenues earned by the City of Glendale directly attributable to each of the three events, including but not limited to sales taxes, fees, in-kind contributions and reimbursed costs.

Now that is a very, very specific and detailed Public Information Request. Here’s a secret. If ever you have occasion to request information from this city or from any other governmental agency for that matter, you must be very specific and very precise in your wording. Governmental agencies don’t want you, the public, to have information. Information in today’s world is power. They don’t want to cede their power. If you were to be made aware of the information, you just might question how and why monies were spent.

Let’s begin with my first question: “The cost attributable to each event of planning for, preparation for, game day hosting and after actions.” What do we learn from the city’s response to this question? First, that it did not provide a complete answer. The city’s convention bureau paid the Super Bowl Host Committee $72,000 in support of the Super Bowl. These were not city funds. At the city council meeting of December 10, 2013 council passed Resolution 4758 authorizing the use of funds received from the Arizona Office of Tourism under Maricopa County Proposition 302 to be paid to the Host Committee. The city was merely a pass-through. It received the $72,000 grant, gave it to the CVB, who then gave it to the Host Committee in two payments: one in 2014 and one in 2015.

In November of 2014 the city formed a Super Bowl Operational Planning Team consisting of 22 employees. Those employees came from the Fire Department, Police Department, Code Enforcement, Planning Department, Intergovernmental Relations, Marketing & Communications, etc.  What we don’t get is information on how many times they met, for how long, what direction they gave to other departments. Did they meet for an hour, two hours? Once a week? Once a month? What about meetings outside of city hall, with the Host Committee or NFL agents?

Why wasn’t a special finance code number assigned so their hours could be tracked? This is over a year before the actual Super Bowl. The Finance Department had the time to set up a financial tracking system that would account for hours and salaries but they didn’t do it. The city then formed a separate Public Information Officer Distribution List comprised of 18 employees. A few were from the Operational Planning Team but a majority was not. This distribution list was to insure that all PIOs within the city received the same talking points if queried, about the Super Bowl. Again, we don’t know how much time these 18 PIOs spent on Super Bowl activities.

The city sent 7 employees to the 2014 Super Bowl in New Jersey. Four were from the Police Department and three were from the Fire Department. I would consider this trip as essential. Those 7 employees had direct responsibilities related to Glendale’s hosting of the Super Bowl. They learned current and valuable information. The cost of their travel was $18,639.10.

The city’s Code Compliance division created Clean Zone Enforcement Teams that operated from Saturday, January 24, 2015 through Sunday, February 1, 2015. This encompasses the period in which the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl took place. For 7 days out of that 9 day period teams of 2 code compliance officers were dedicated to the area of these events from 8 AM to 4 PM. On 2 Sundays during this period they worked from 8 AM to Noon. 8 full time employees (FTEs) were used for a total of 128 hours. There was no information provided relating to FTE costs associated with this effort.

What is learned from the city’s answers to this first question? The city and especially Mr. Duensing was very sloppy in tracking the costs of all three events distinctly incurred by other departments that were not attributable to Public Safety. Mr. Duensing was probably correct in using a figure of $2.2M for the Super Bowl but that figure appears related only to Public Safety costs and ignores the costs incurred by other departments.

For example, the Attorney’s Office spent time and personnel reviewing contracts associated with these events. The Building Safety division spent time and personnel inspecting temporary structures. The Sanitation Department made extra runs to pick up trash. The Streets division sent out street sweepers. The Transportation Department manned their transportation center to monitor traffic and hired a helicopter for their use to monitor traffic. They used man hours and FTEs making sure the traffic lights were synched properly. The Planning Department reviewed and approved plans for temporary structures. The Media & Communications Department and the Intergovernmental Relations Department also had duties related to these events. How many FTEs were used and how much time did they consume? How much of their salaries can we attribute? We don’t know because the city failed to track that information.

The hours and FTEs used for these events were enormous and placed a strain on the delivery of regular service to Glendale residents. Yet, unbelievably, the city created no mechanism to track the costs incurred by the many city departments tasked with contributing man power and time.

We know the city created an Operational Planning Team, a PIO team and a Code Compliance team but it can provide no costs associated with any of them. These were committees created a year before the actual events. There was time to create a method of tracking the time expended and costs associated but it was not done.

The only costs acknowledged by the city in answer to question #1 were the $72,000 grant passed on to the Host Committee (not city funds); and the $18,639.10 the city paid for public safety employees to attend the Super Bowl in New Jersey in 2014.

Next up…a look at Public Safety costs for each of the three events, the Fiesta Bowl, the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl.

© 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.

It has been 17 years and 113 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Today, April 24, 2015 at 11 AM the Recall Councilman Gary Sherwood Committee turned in Recall of Councilmember Sherwood petitions to the Glendale City Clerk Pam Hanna. The minimum required number of signatures is 2,752. The City Clerk based upon a cursory scan acknowledged 4,055 signatures. The committee had until the middle of June to complete the task.  Note that the committee turned in its signatures with 7 weeks to spare. Kudos to the three people who spear headed this effort: Anna Lee, Chairperson of the committee; Connie Kiser and Laura Hirsch.

What happens next? The Glendale City Clerk has 10 business days (2 weeks) to validate signatures. That also allows time for the City Attorney’s Office to find some technicality to invalidate all of the petitions. They have done it before and you can count on them to try to find something again. If the petitions make it through the city gauntlet the petitions move to the County Recorder’s Elections Department for further signature validation. The Recorder’s Office has 60 days. I suspect this time the petitions will make it through both processes. Look for the city council to call for a recall election date sometime after mid-September of 2015.

The ball then moves to Sherwood’s court. He will be offered the opportunity to offer a public statement on the recall or resign. Sherwood has already stated that he will fight to the bitter end. That is his right. Will he be able to pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat? Not this time.

During the April 14, 2015 city council meeting the Insight Technology contracts were on the agenda for approval. It was the height of irony that Interim City Manager Dick Bowers was absent and at that time, still Assistant City Manager Julie Frisoni (she has since resigned) whose husband is a VP at the company, was tasked with the introduction of both Insight agenda items. Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff, as each item was presented, asked the City Clerk if Frisoni had filed a Disclosure Statement. To which the City Clerk responded that Frisoni had not. It was a strategy by Tolmachoff to get that fact on the record. Hmmm.

Earlier in the week Tohono O’odham (TO) Nation Chairman Ned Norris Jr. held a press conference in reaction to the news that the state Gaming Department will not issue a gaming license to the tribe in order to open its temporary casino in Glendale later this year. He did not serve his tribe well in TV news coverage the following day. He seemed positively rabid. Outrage oozed out of every pore. It’s a wonder there was no foaming at the mouth.  I wonder how he likes it when the tables are turned. He went back on his word at the time all of the state’s tribes were seeking voter approval of a state gaming compact. Now the state will not grant the tribe a license claiming fraud on the tribe’s part. What goes around comes around. Norris insists they will continue with the temporary casino’s construction. The TO does so at its peril. This issue is sure to end up in court with an uncertain decision looming and at some point the Keep the Promise Act of 2015 will see a Congressional vote with the promise of stopping the casino permanently. It’s a shame really. The TO is willing to bet over $200 million dollars on what many view as a losing proposition. If they lose that’s $200M that could have been used for all kinds of services for its tribal members.

**GeonGracie….I need a better email address to reply.

© 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.

It has been 17 years and 110 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

On April 9, 2015 we learned that the state Attorney General’s Office has declined to file charges on the allegations of Open Meeting Law violations facing Councilmembers Gary Sherwood and Sammy Chavira and former Councilmembers Manny Martinez and Yvonne Knaack. It comes as no surprise considering the fact that the attorney general’s office primarily relied on depositions provided by the four current and previous councilmembers. You can be sure each of them had an attorney at their elbow as they responded to the AG’s questions.

Some additional comments about the proposed library dispenser are in order. It’s remoteness and decidedly dark location is problematical. Additional lighting would have to be added driving up the cost of the project. There are limitations, depending on the type of book dispenser purchased, on the size of the book that can be placed in the machine…ummm. Three years ago this was a very popular pilot project especially in remote locations in California. Feedback indicates that over time, fewer and fewer books were retrieved from their dispensers as patrons turned to e-books. Perhaps the money would be better spent on expanding the number of e-book licenses purchased by the Glendale system.

At their last workshop session the Glendale city council approved the concept of naming streets (and perhaps Glendale public property) after prominent public figures. The first two personages mentioned were Martin Luther King Jr. and Caesar Chavez…let’s add George Washington and Abraham Lincoln to that list. What about Thomas Edison or Albert Enistein? Or Max Klass, Anthony Holly and Pat Campbell? Do you see where this is going? The list of worthy people is endless and that’s when the fight starts. That is why previous councils, wisely, never went down this path.

Have you taken a look at the city’s website lately? Don’t bother. It hasn’t been updated since God created dirt. Funny, the city hired a person to manage and to update the site. Guess it’s yet another “Where’s Waldo” situation. If anyone finds this person, please ask him/her to get to work.

The Recall Councilman Sherwood Committee remains on track to collect more than the required number of signatures to mandate a recall election. If you are interested in signing the petition and live in the Sahuaro district please go to www.stopsherwood.com .

After three months Councilmember Jamie Aldama remains AWOL for one neighborhood in particular as they wrestle with code issues.

Are there any outstanding Glendale issues that you would like to see covered? If so, please email clarkjv@aol.com with your suggestions.

© 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.

It has been 17 years and 109 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

In the Arizona Republic of April 17, 2015 Peter Corbett has reported in a story entitled State vows to block casino in W. Valley, the state is prepared to block the Tohono O’odham casino from opening in Glendale this fall. Here is the link: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2015/04/16/arizona-gaming-agency-will-block-valley-casino-opening/25915541/ .

Arizona’s Department of Gaming director, Daniel Bergin, recently sent a letter to the Tohono O’odham (TO) in which he claimed “fraud perpetrated by (the tribe) upon the state, Arizona gaming tribes and the state’s voters.” On that basis he could not allow the casino to open.  He went on to say, “…the (gaming agency) would exceed its authority if it were to proceed with certification…” The agency’s position is supported by Governor Doug Ducey. Ducey in a letter to the agency directed it to deny a gaming license and said that the TO was forcing the issue by construction of the temporary casino now.

I, and many, many Glendale residents, especially those within the Yucca district, site of the temporary casino, applaud the actions of the state Gaming Director and the Governor. The only reasons Glendale succumbed to the siren song of the TO, is that Councilmember Gary Sherwood flip flopped on his anti casino election stance and then 4 members of council took the TO’s thirty pieces of silver. A majority of this council changed the course of an entire city. It’s fair to expect that the TO will challenge the state’s action in court in a process guaranteed to go on for months if not another year. That is sure to guarantee that the temporary casino cannot and will not open this fall. Chairman of the TO, Ned Norris Jr., as expected declared his outrage at what he called the state’s “untenable position.”

Don’t forget that more action waits in the wings. The Keep the Promise Act of 2015 introduced by Senators McCain and Flake will see a vote up or down this year. The general assumption is the legislation will pass through Congress and stop the casino for once and for all.

It’s time to shut the doors on a Tohono O’odham casino, temporary or otherwise, in Glendale. It is ironic that a tribe that promotes gambling, itself gambled. It looks like the house will win and they will lose.

© 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.

It has been 17 years and 107 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

USA Today photo

Andrew Barroway, Anthony LeBlanc Courtesy USA Today

On December 31, 2014 we were greeted with an announcement released by Coyotes Co-Owner, President and CEO Anthony LeBlanc, “Today is an exciting day for the Arizona Coyotes and our great fans. The addition of Andrew Barroway to our ownership group further solidifies the Coyotes long-term future in the Valley. Our entire ownership group is excited about this opportunity to work with Andrew in taking this franchise to the next level. It’s a great day for hockey in Arizona!” Here is the link: http://heatwaved.com/2014/12/31/andrew-barroway-approved-buy-arizona-coyotes/ .

We were told that Andrew Barroway’s purchase made him majority owner of the team holding 51%. The deal was praised as a means of creating financial stability for the team and some of the money would be used to raise payroll. Barroway said, “he and the nine minority owners were committed to infusing $30 million back into the team, with up to $9 million going directly to upgrading the on-ice product through trades and free agency.” As majority owner, Barroway would be the team governor, current governor George Gosbee would be alternate governor, and Anthony LeBlanc would remain as chief executive officer.

Two days later, on January 2, 2015 Craig Morgan of Fox Sports News interviewed Barroway. Here is the link: http://www.foxsports.com/arizona/story/q-a-with-coyotes-majority-owner-andrew-barroway-010215 . Morgan asked Barroway how active he would be as the new owner. Barroway indicated that he planned to be an active owner and would take part in all major decisions regarding the team. Morgan also asked if there would be any major changes and Barroway responded that he didn’t expect any.

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Where’s Waldo?

That was 4 months ago. So where’s Waldo? Er, Andrew Barroway? Sources inside Glendale City Hall indicate that Barroway, as the  majority owner of the team, has not signed the lease management contract. At the very least, that should have occurred after the Board of Governors approved the sale to Barroway on December 31, 2014. Does Barroway’s absence from the team scene and Gila River Arena plus a lease management contract without Barroway’s signature signal trouble with the deal? At the last game of the season the Coyotes distributed their annual book replete with statistics, photos and bios of everyone (except God) including the owners minus any mention or photo of Andrew Barroway. It makes you scratch your head and ask what’s going on.

thDYDNS84PThere’s another Where’s Waldo moment…the failure of the Coyotes to submit a certified financial team audit to the City of Glendale as stipulated in the lease management agreement. It was due September 30, 2014…7 months ago. In anticipation of receiving the audit the city hired Tony Tavares in December of 2014 to perform the city’s audit.

Peter Corbett of the Arizona Republic in an April 17, 2015 article offered some very interesting comments from principals involved. Here is the link: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2015/04/17/glendale-arizona-coyotes-first-season-audit-drags/25922095/ . He reported that:

  • “Coyotes officials said the reports were late because it was the organization’s first year of operations under the new deal and more complications surfaced when a new majority owner acquired the team at the end of last year.”
  • “The financial-reporting delay has created tensions with Glendale officials who are frustrated that the team has not closed the books on its first season even as the second season wrapped up April 11 on the ice at Gila River Arena.”
  • “Ian Hugh, Glendale vice mayor, said the Coyotes must be held accountable for the money the team is taking from taxpayers. ‘I expect both sides to live up to our agreement,’ he said. ‘Our auditor is still trying to get information from the Coyotes’.”
  • “Jeff Shumway, Coyotes CEO from 2006-09, said that during his tenure the team typically completed its audits by November. The audit reports were public documents that were available to anyone who made a records request to Glendale, he said.”
  • “The current Coyotes arena-management agreement includes language that requires the city to protect the team’s proprietary information.”

What’s so “proprietary” about an audited financial statement of profit and loss submitted to the City of Glendale that shouldn’t be a public record? After all, Glendale’s taxpayers are paying $15 million dollars a year. You would think we would be entitled.

The team’s financial audit wasn’t “proprietary” when Steve Ellman and/or Jerry Moyes owned the team. Did LeBlanc fudge in his public statements about the team’s losses? Who knows? Apparently we, the public, the taxpayers of Glendale and the fans supporting the team with ticket sales, will never know the truth. Former President Ronald Reagan said, “Trust but verify.” LeBlanc and company want all of us to trust but at the same time they don’t seem to want us to verify.

Questions remain unanswered…Where is Waldo? Where is Andrew Barroway and where is the certified team financial audit? There are answers but we are not getting them.

Post Script: Today is the NHL Draft Lottery. Coyotes placed third in lottery line up. Anthony LeBlanc tweeting a good face on the situation…but Where’s Waldo?

© 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.

It has been 17 years and 100 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

shopping cart 2Broken windows remain a problem in so many Glendale neighborhoods, especially in south Glendale. There are many “Broken Window Neighborhoods” (BWN) in Glendale but they are especially prevalent in the Ocotillo, Cactus and Yucca council districts.

The Broken Window Theory (BTW) is a result of a 1982 article by criminologists James Q. Wilson and George Kelling. The Broken Window Theory states that signs of disorder, like graffiti, dirty streets, overgrown weeds, abandoned shopping carts, illegal dumping in vacant lots, etc., leads to social disorder…not just petty crimes but eventually more serious crimes such as robbery, burglary and murder. The authors of BTW offered that one unrepaired broken window is a signal that no one cares and ignoring little problems creates a sense of irreversible decline that leads people to abandon the community (neighborhood) or to stay away.

A case in point is a Broken Window Neighborhood in the Ocotillo district in the area of 70th Avenue and Sierra Vista Avenue. The people who care in that neighborhood are frustrated and angry beyond belief. Over 6 months ago they contacted their council representative, Jamie Aldama. His response was to send them thank you notes for their concern and a promise that he would take action.graffitti Since then the neighbors contend that he has been AWOL. Their contention to Aldama, in part, remains to this day, Not only are things still not resolved, (some of them you claimed to already be working on prior to meeting with us), and some situations have become worse.  I have spoken with many City employees regarding the outreach you claimed to have been involved in to solve several of these issues.  No one has reported any interactions from you and/or representatives of your office.”

They feel it is almost a full time job for them to fight the City to take care of these issues. They recognize that city silence and its consequent inaction is acquiescence and they believe that is the root of the problems they have in their neighborhood.

This is an age old problem but perhaps it is time for this city council to take a fresh look at a cancer that can consume a neighborhood almost overnight.  Here are some initiatives that have been suggested over the years by neighborhood leaders fighting this persistent issue:

  • The action to save a neighborhood must involve all city departments, from the city attorney’s office to zoning. All departments must play a part in a concerted and targeted effort to revitalize a neighborhood.
  • For purposes of code compliance and action, legal or otherwise, a special zoning designation of “Broken Window Neighborhood” (BWN) must be created.
  • Within the BWN specific, targeted code enforcement and legal action will be allowed.
  • Any businesses within a BWN should be audited to make sure that they have a business license and are paying the required sales tax.
  • Multi-family within a BWN would be required to have its management take the city’s Crime Free program that targets apartment complexes.
  • Code compliance often falls back on rhetoric that they do not have the legal authority to enforce certain actions. It’s time they were tasked with creating innovative actions that would not only allow them to do so but would actively require such action.
  • City attorneys often do not take code infractions to court claiming that the case is not strong enough and therefore not winnable. It’s time that these attorneys worried less about their win-loss records in court and realized that making a bad actor go to court to defend irresponsible actions are in and of itself a deterrent to future bad actions.
  • Some specific codes will need review and reform. One that comes to mind is window coverage of a business. Have you ever seen a convenience store where nearly every inch of front window space is covered with ads? Not only is it a safety issue but it is one that contributes to visual blight. What about a business that puts 20 or 30 items out in front of its store? An example is a tire repair store with racks of tires in front of the business. More visual blight.
  • Codes relating to residences also need review but more importantly code compliance needs to be aggressively enforcing existent codes. If they achieve compliance without going to court, that is wonderful. But if the resident does not comply, the situation should not be allowed to fester for months and months.
  • While code compliance is working within the BWN, it requires the public works department to repair broken sidewalks, make sure all existent street lights are functioning properly, adding further lighting where necessary and applying resurfacing of streets where applicable. The fire department should be checking all fire hydrants in the BWN neighborhood and offering fire hazard education and smoke detectors. Even the police department has a role to play by intense patrolling of the BWN and enforcing even the most minor violation. Streets and transportation can check to see if there are streets that are more prone to speeding and following up with actions to decrease the activity. The water department can outreach neighbors whose yards are less than spectacular and work with them to install an irrigation system or to desert landscape. Sanitation can educate about the appropriate time to place trash receptacles on the street and can enforce existent law when some put out loose trash the day after it has been collected for the month. How about putting out a dumpster to encourage neighbors to clean up their properties and remove visual blight? What about using the Community Action Program to assist low income or seniors to get a house painted or a yard desert landscaped? When you start to think about it, there is so much that could be done that is not being done.
  • Other departments, such as media and communications need to join in the effort by preparing and distributing media that alert and educate a neighborhood to the action about to begin. The councilmember should hold a district meeting in the designated neighborhood to offer contact information and to educate. Even parks and recreation has a part to play by creating neighborhood activities for children that brings families together, introduces neighbor to neighbor and also becomes another catalyst for action and education. The point is, every city department has a role to play, working together to attack one BWN at a time.
  • All of the above should be applicable only within a specific, newly created zoning designation of Broken Window Neighborhood.

shopping cartThe first BWN should be small as a pilot project to see what works and what doesn’t work. Make no mistake, so many of these neighborhoods have been ignored for years. Attacking a long festering problem is like guerilla warfare. It’s tough, brutal and takes no prisoners but many of these neighborhoods need the city’s attention with new and innovative strategies. They need city departments that say “I can” rather than “I can’t because…”.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Glendale created a model program that is emulated by other cities? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Glendale generated positive publicity about itself rather than having the world focus exclusively on its financial stresses? You bet it would.

© 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.

It has been 17 years and 96 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

On March 25, 2015 the Glendale Star ran a story on the elimination of the city’s General Fund debt payable to the city’s Enterprise Funds (water, sewer, sanitation and landfill). Here is the link:  http://www.glendalestar.com/news/article_4fd7f4dc-d181-11e4-b56b-93c81bbb5cc5.html .

In an effort to buy additional time to secure a buyer for the NHL Coyotes who would pledge to keep the team at Glendale’s Gila River Arena, a previous city council approved borrowing $15 million from the city’s water and sewer funds, $40 million from its landfill fund and $5 million from its sanitation fund. The revenue was used to pay the NHL to manage the arena for two years while the process of finding a team buyer continued. At the time council also approved a repayment plan, using General Fund revenue to pay the Enterprise Funds back with interest. It was a solemn pledge and a commitment that the previous council never anticipated future councils would renege upon. The unthinkable is about to occur. At a recent workshop following the recommendation of Tom Duensing, Glendale’s Finance Director, a majority of council plans to do exactly that.

When Councilmember Tolmachoff asked what would be the consequences of such an action, Duensing replied, “You could do it a number of ways: you could do rate increases, you could defer maintenance, you could cut your operating costs.”

There were questions unasked that still demand answers:

  • While this action might make the general fund balance sheet look better, what impact does it have on the balance sheets of water and sewer, the landfill, and sanitation?
  • By recording the former “loan” to a fund transfer, doesn’t it reduce the assets on the balance sheets of those funds?
  • How does the reduction in financial assets impact the bond ratings of the water and sewer fund and the landfill fund?  While the proposed action may assist in the General Fund bond rating, doesn’t the converse action harm the Enterprise Funds ratings?
  • Doesn’t this action reduce the funds available to water and sewer for maintaining and upgrading the water and sewer systems? Duensing in his answer to Tolmachoff implies that it does.
  • If the Council approves this action, doesn’t that mean that a water and sewer rate increase will be necessary and supported by the Council? If a rate increase occurs, it looks like we can lay the evaporation of a pledge to repay the Enterprise Funds at the feet of retaining the hockey team as an anchor tenant at the city owned arena.

Duensing’s proposal is moving the pea underneath a different shell. It’s a magical, accounting trick designed to satisfy the rating agencies. The problem is that it sets precedent. Who, whether it’s a developer, a citizen or a company doing business with the city, will trust in the city’s word if it is willing to renege on paying a debt? If a water, sewer or landfill rate increase is proposed and adopted by this city council citizens will have every right to be angry for it will be driven by a broken promise to reimburse the Enterprise Funds. Glendale rate payers of the water, sewer, landfill and sanitation services will have every right to assume that any proposed rate increase is driven by money borrowed from these funds and paid to the NHL to run the arena for two years.

Duensing appears obsessed on building up the city’s reserve funds (contingency). While building the city’s reserve back up is necessary and critical his solutions are to keep the sales tax increase permanent and now, to raise Glendale’s property tax rate by 2%. He appears to have only two tricks in his bag.

Sterling Fluharty of the Glendale Star in writing an article entitled City decides not to cut taxes, in its online edition of April 6, 2015, reports, Glendale City Council had few objections two weeks ago when the acting city manager and financial director announced they were abandoning plans to lower the sales tax rate and making preparations for raising property taxes. Here is the link: http://www.glendalestar.com/news/article_b6c5e5e6-dc99-11e4-8961-4fb07a583a64.html#.VSNVhK1dGb8.twitter .

Last December Duensing was still pitching lowering the sales tax rate. Fluharty in his article states,  Duensing published a five-year financial forecast that month (December, 2014) that assumed the council would approve annual reductions, making the sales tax rate 2.85 percent in 2015-16, 2.825 percent in 2016-17, 2.8 percent in 2017-18 and 2.775 percent in 2019-20.” What information does senior management and the council have (not shared publicly) to cause them to not only reject a reduction in the sales tax rate but now to increase the property tax rate?

Since the new council was seated in January, 2012, adopting Duensing’s recommendations it has:

  • Made the increase of 2.9% as a temporary sales tax increase permanent
  • Approved a management agreement paying IceArizona $15 million a year
  • Will approve construction of a parking garage at Westgate for $46 million + over 3 years
  • Will approve a 2% increase in property taxes

Where is the council commitment to cut expenses and to live within the city’s means? It seems their only solutions to solving the city’s ongoing financial problems is to keep the increased sales tax rate and now to raise the property tax rate.

Over the next 3 years the General Fund will have to absorb an additional $46 million plus as brand new debt. That figure does not include the ongoing debt for the baseball park, the Westgate Media Center and is parking garage, the Westgate Convention Center, the annual $15 million payment to IceArizona and the construction debt on the arena and the Public Safety Training Facility…as well as other debt I have failed to include.

During council’s discussion of a property tax increse while the sales tax increase does not diminish Mayor Weiers said, “At least we’re giving our citizens something, certainly in the right direction, anyway.” What exactly are the Mayor and council giving to its citizens? A screwing? It appears the right direction for Mayor Weiers and this city council is to raise yet another tax.

©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.

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