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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

If you are a Glendale resident who follows my blog and if you have family members, friends, acquaintances or neighbors who would benefit from knowing what is happening in our community please take a moment to send them a link to my site: http://joyceclarkunfiltered.com . Thank you.

The concept of automatic aid was discussed in Part 1 of this blog. In Part 2, reform issues related to automatic aid were identified. In this part, Part 3, we’ll look at the issue of ambulance service and the demands on public safety of further future annexations by Glendale.

Ambulance service is currently provided in Glendale by Southwest Ambulance (SW), a subsidiary of Rural Metro Corporation, a national company. Sterling Fluharty of the June 2, 2015 edition of the Glendale Star has a good explanation of the relationship between the city and SW Ambulance. Here is the link: http://www.glendalestar.com/news/article_2edd3a9e-098a-11e5-9695-a7b1941abca4.html . It’s a “he said, she said” kind of fight between the city and SW. Each claims the other owes it money. However, one has every right to wonder if the city is dragging its feet in the negotiation of a new contract with SW while it is at the same time securing its own Certificate of Necessity (CON) with the Arizona Health Department. A CON allows an entity to provide ambulance and associated medical services subject to the requirements imposed by the Arizona Health Department. There is another provider available, American Medical Response (AMR), who has just been awarded a Certificate of Necessity (CON) for all of Maricopa County by the Arizona Health Department.

Glendale Fire Chief Mark Burdick in a February 3, 2015 presentation to city council said, “In 2011, AMR proposed replacing the fire department as a primary emergency medical service provider in Dallas, Cincinnati, and Los Angeles, which forced city councils to choose between the fire department and AMR. Their proposal included removing paramedics from fire trucks while utilizing the fire department units to respond and deliver primary service including patient extrication, treatment, and packaging, while the ambulance would only transport and collect all revenue. This proposal places a majority of the cost on the local government, while allowing the ambulance company to collect all profit.” Since he made those remarks Dallas and Los Angeles have contracted with AMR and Cincinnati has not.

City council would be well served to start over and reissue a Request for Service for ambulance service provision.  It is expected that the city would receive bids from Southwest Ambulance, Rural Metro, Phoenix Medical Transport and American Medical Response. After the bids are received staff should present to council the cost implications of all bids to provide ambulance service as well as the investment and on-going costs associated with the city establishing its own ambulance service. The estimated initial start up costs for the city fire department to provide ambulance service would be approximately $1.6 million dollars to cover the purchase of 4 new ambulances at $210,000 each and $760,000 in personnel costs…and that’s just the first year. If staff claims that the cost of city provided ambulance service will pay for itself – council beware. If I had a dollar for every time I heard that claim from staff I would be very rich indeed. Council should then make the decision based upon what provider is both cost effective and efficient for the residents of Glendale. At least ambulance service is not covered by automatic aid so Glendale will not be sending its ambulance service out of town.

Annexation of land to the west of the Loop 101 presents another set of issues for the city regarding public safety. The city’s current annexation policy requires that the entity seeking annexation secure its own water and sewer service from local providers other than the city. The city does not have the necessary water and sewer infrastructure to accommodate new annexations. While that is an excellent solution for the utility issue provision, police and fire provision will be an issue – a costly issue.

There are 3 possible options for police service: 1. Traditional service which would include the capital cost of building a Westside substation; 2. Contract with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office which does not require any capital construction costs or 3. Contract with an alternative service provider which also does not require any capital construction costs.

There are 3 options for fire service as well: 1. Create a county island fire district; 2. Traditional service which would include the capital cost of building an additional fire station; or 3. Contract with an alternative service provider such as Rural Metro which does not require any capital construction costs. Perhaps, just perhaps, some of the inequity in fire emergency response (not ambulance service) would be mitigated if other, closer jurisdictions ended up responding to newly annexed areas. City council must consider the cost implications of annexing more land into Glendale until such time as Glendale’s finances can accommodate the additional costs.

The bottom line is these issues impact the public’s health and safety. Council is mandated to look at this issue very carefully while considering the cost to taxpayers. Sometimes we want a Cadillac when a Ford will do.

© 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.

If you are a Glendale resident who follows my blog and if you have family members, friends, acquaintances or neighbors who would benefit from knowing what is happening in our community please take a moment to send them a link to my site: http://joyceclarkunfiltered.com . Thank you.

The first part of this series on automatic aid explained the concept and how it is set up. This part will look at those components of the system in need of reform: reimbursement and staffing levels.

Section 9.L. of the automatic aid agreement states, “Participants agree that automatic aid is reciprocal. While automatic aid does not ensure that a community will receive the exact same amount of assistance as it gives, it does mean that all participants will provide assistance outside its jurisdictional boundaries and that the level of service delivered within the Automatic Aid System will be comparable.”

Section 11 says, “Except as specifically agreed to by both parties for a particular incident, neither party shall be reimbursed by the other party for any costs incurred pursuant to this agreement. In the event of Declared Disasters, participants may apply for reimbursements from County, State and Federal agencies.”

This agreement acknowledges that some governmental agencies will send more aid than will be received and mandates that the level of service provided will be comparable. There is no acknowledgement of reimbursement in the amount of service provided by one agency to another. It goes on to specifically mandate that there will be no reimbursement from one agency to another.

Here is the problem with those concepts. In information provided by Glendale Fire Department’s Assistant Chief DeChant (now Acting Chief) in 2014 for Fiscal Year 2012-13 Glendale provided automatic aid outside of Glendale for 5,583 calls. It received automatic aid within Glendale from other jurisdictions for 3,361 calls. Glendale answered 2,222 more calls for service outside of its city limits in FY 2012-13 than it received from other jurisdictions. Glendale per the automatic aid agreement was not reimbursed for any of those 2,222 calls representing an imbalance in reciprocity. According to a recent Arizona Republic story that number rose in FY 2014-15 to a disparity of 3,800 calls, unreciprocated, made by Glendale outside of its boundaries.

It is impossible to accurately determine the cost of sending a large engine or ladder truck to an emergency call. Internet researched numbers vary from a low of $400 to a high of $1200 per call. For purposes of this discussion I chose a number in the middle – $800 per call. This number would reflect the salaries and benefits of personnel, the use of a ladder truck or engine answering calls 90% of which are medical, the fuel cost and the maintenance cost of the vehicle.  If you multiply the excess number of calls made outside of its boundaries in FY 2012-13 which is 2,222 by $800 per call the total is $1,777,600 dollars. $1.7M is a fair estimate of the expense to Glendale taxpayers in FY 2012-13 to answer more calls outside of Glendale than are received inside of Glendale due to automatic aid. Does that seem equitable to you?

Apparently in 2013 when the Sun City West Fire District was attempting land annexation within the City of Peoria, Peoria’s Fire Chief Bobby Ruiz raised the very issue of equitable automatic aid service. A Peoria Times story in June, 2013, reported, “Peoria Fire Chief Bobby Ruiz was on the ground floor in the 1980s, when the fire departments of Glendale, Phoenix and Tempe came together to form the automatic aid system with Phoenix being central dispatch. Under that system, whichever fire engine or paramedic truck was closest to an incident, it would automatically respond first.”

“Then, it would eliminate building duplicate fire stations across the street from each other,” Ruiz said. “It’s always been the intent of cities to provide fire, life safety, and medical services within their own jurisdiction. So, being comparable, it would be equitable.”

“In Sun City West Fire District, in the last calendar year, we responded 62 times, they responded 32 times” to parcels in the SCWFD covered district, Ruiz said. “It’s still understood one jurisdiction should not benefit from another district.” Sun City West Fire District Assistant Fire Chief Mary Dalton responded to Ruiz by pointing out, “In 2012 alone, Peoria residents were the beneficiaries of more than 4,500 calls for 9-1-1 service answered by neighboring fire departments. However, Peoria emergency units only assisted their neighboring jurisdictions roughly 2,700 times.”

Here’s something else to think about. Automatic aid may be putting pressure on the response times of all jurisdictions. Let’s imagine that you live down the street from a fire station. It’s very comforting to think that should you need emergency medical service the response would be very fast, maybe 2 or 3 minutes from time of dispatch to your home. Not so fast. What if that station is answering another call…in Peoria or Phoenix? The next closest unit would be dispatched and it is possible that it would take the unit more time to arrive at your home. It’s an issue to think about if you are the one with the medical emergency.

In Section 3 of the automatic aid agreement it states, “It is agreed that the scope of this agreement includes automatic assistance in responding to fires, medical emergencies, hazardous materials incidents, rescue and extrication situations and other types of emergency incidents that are within the standard scope of services provided by fire departments in the Automatic Aid System.” What type of vehicular equipment does the Glendale fire department utilize to answer medical emergencies? It uses large engine or ladder trucks with 4 personnel on board.

Section 9. I. of the agreement states, “System participants recognize the importance of service delivery and personnel safety issues. The minimum daily staffing level for engines and ladders shall be four members. Henceforth this will be referred to as full staffing. Engine and ladder staffing may be reduced to three trained personnel for short periods of time as established by the Life Safety Council throughout a 24 hour shift. Departments that enter the system with a staffing level of three members on each engine and/or ladder shall have an active plan to accomplish full staffing within one year of entry.”

Section 9. P. says, “System participants agree that full staffing as described in NFPA 1710 on engines and ladders provides the most efficient and effective personnel safety and service delivery to the public. Staffing engines and ladders with less than full staffing has financial implications to neighboring jurisdictions, the system as a whole, and the public. Before June 30, 2016, participants that reduce staffing below full staffing shall be subject to financial considerations intended to make the system whole. After June 30, 2016, participants that reduce staffing below full staffing shall no longer be members of the automatic aid system.”

The issue is not the use of a large truck with 4 personnel when responding to a fire. Even as a non fire call expert one recognizes the need and necessity for large equipment to respond to fires. No, the issue with automatic aid is the tremendous number of emergency medical calls.

An estimated 90% of all calls to which Glendale fire responds are medical emergencies. The following information was provided by Acting Chief Chris DeChant in 2014 (then Assistant Chief) in my request for information after attending the first public session of the department’s Customer Based Strategic Planning exercise: “In FY 2012-13 the total number of medical calls in Glendale was 23,824 and the total fire calls were 2,222.” Why is it necessary to send a large engine or ladder truck with 4 personnel to over 23,000 medical calls?

Just think of the costs involved. If I remember correctly these large vehicles get about 4 or 5 miles to the gallon. Think of the wear and tear sending these vehicles to thousands of medical emergencies annually and the maintenance costs associated along with the salaries and benefits paid for 4 personnel. Typically one or two personnel on these vehicles have either Advanced Life Support (ALS) or Basic Life Support (BLS) certification and the other two personnel do not.

How much money could a municipality save in using smaller vehicles with just 2 ALS or BLS paramedic personnel on board? Mesa is attempting to find out despite the threat of a hammer in Section 9.P of the automatic aid agreement. At the 2013 California Fire Chiefs Association Annual Conference Mesa Fire Chief Harry Beck and Mesa Medical Director Doctor Gary Smith presented The Horizon of Fire-Based EMS. Here is the link to their presentation: Mesa EMS costs .  It is interesting and well worth reading. In it Mesa outlines the current pressures on traditional fire-based medical service call delivery. Mesa is using 4 Transitional Response Vehicles (TRV) staffed with an EMT Captain and an Advanced Life Support (ALS) firefighter. It is a concept whose time has come and makes a great deal of sense in terms of cost savings to the community as well as providing efficient medical service delivery. Mesa’s concept flies in the face of the currently mandated stipulations within the automatic aid agreement that acknowledges the use of fire engines and ladders to respond to all calls, including medical calls. If you reread sections 9.I. and 9.P. cited above it appears to be a preemptive strike to prevent Mesa from moving forward with the concept.

After the council’s vacation this July Glendale staff will make a presentation on public safety needs. It would be wise if this council requested to hear a presentation from the Mesa Fire Department and its use of Transitional Response Vehicles (TRV) in responding to medical emergencies. If it has proven itself in Mesa perhaps it is time for Glendale to adopt Mesa’s model. Perhaps the $3M+ the Glendale Fire Department is seeking would be better spent in the development of an alternative medical emergency response approach. After its initial investment it would create cost savings for Glendale’s taxpayers with more effective service.

Then there is the question of lack of a reimbursement scheme within the current automatic aid agreement. It is not equitable that some jurisdictions, such as Glendale, require their taxpayers to subsidize thousands of emergency medical responses to its neighboring jurisdictions. The imbalance has become far too great and far too costly in a time when dollars are so important to every governmental agency. Council should direct staff to begin this conversation of reimbursement with other participating automatic aid agencies. It is an issue whose time has come.

Automatic aid is an essential component of fire delivery service in the Valley. It should not be scrapped but it can be made better. Participating jurisdictions have got to look at the imbalances and inequities within the system and address a means of restoring equity between agencies. They also must recognize that using large trucks with 4 personnel for a majority of calls that are medical is not cost efficient or effective and develop a new model to respond to those types of calls. A system created 40 years ago can certainly use some reform.

In Part 3, automatic aid gives rise to the questions surrounding ambulance service and annexation issues – related issues for your consideration.

© 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.

If you are a Glendale resident who follows my blog and if you have family members, friends, acquaintances or neighbors who would benefit from knowing what is happening in our community please take a moment to send them a link to my site: http://joyceclarkunfiltered.com . Thank you.

Before I launch into telling you more than you probably want to know about Automatic Aid and its use in the Phoenix Metropolitan area there are some facts to be shared about the Glendale Fire Department’s response times.

Fact #1: In a recent news article Glendale Fire Chief Mark Burdick was asked about the response time of the department and he answered with the response time of the department for the last 5 years. The times you see below are either the average or median of all times. Not every call is answered in 8 minutes. Some are far less and some are far more. One would assume that multiple EMS calls coming into the dispatch center are prioritized by severity of the medical status. Burdick stated the Glendale Fire Department response times for 90 percent of calls by year:

  • 2010 8 minutes 11 seconds
  • 2011 8 minutes 10 seconds
  • 2012 8 minutes 6 seconds
  • 2013 8 minutes 12 seconds
  • 2014 8 minutes 12 seconds

Fact #2: Glendale is one of ten cities in the state accredited by the non-profit organization, The Center for Public Safety Excellence. This agency is responsible for accrediting individuals and agencies internationally. It is a much coveted accreditation and the men and women of the Glendale Fire Department are proud to have earned it. The agency recognized that the Glendale Fire Department meets its requirements in terms of response times.

Fact #3: A legal definition is “Automatic aid means contractual agreement between two agencies, communities or fire districts to assist the nearest available resource to the incident by disregarding the jurisdictional boundaries. It is usually established on a mutual use basis. It is dispatched without a formal request. It is usually the first type of mutual aid to arrive at an incident scene.” (http://definitions.uslegal.com/a/automatic-aid/).

Here is an example. An emergency call is received at a residence on the south side of Camelback Road (Glendale’s southern boundary) and 75th Avenue in Phoenix. The Phoenix fire station that typically would respond is out on another call. The next nearest fire station that can respond is in Glendale. The Glendale unit would be dispatched to the call. Or there is an emergency call at a Glendale residence at 59th Avenue and Northern Avenue. The nearest Glendale unit is in service. The nearest unit not in service is in Phoenix and would be dispatched to answer the Glendale call. In essence, when there is a call for service automatic aid allows the closest available fire unit to respond to the call ignoring municipal boundaries. It’s a great system because it insures that a person in distress will receive the quickest care available. So what’s the problem?

Automatic Aid began its use in the 1976 and was originally created between Phoenix, Glendale and Tempe. Today 23 Valley governmental agencies are participants in the Valley’s automatic aid system. They are: * Chandler Fire DepartmentDaisy Mountain Fire DepartmentGlendale Fire DepartmentMesa Fire DepartmentPhoenix Fire DepartmentScottsdale Fire DepartmentTempe Fire DepartmentAvondale Fire-RescueGilbert Fire DepartmentGuadalupe Fire DepartmentPeoria Fire DepartmentTolleson Fire DepartmentEl Mirage Fire DepartmentGoodyear Fire DepartmentQueen Creek Fire DepartmentSun City Fire DistrictApache Junction Fire DistrictBuckeye Fire DepartmentBuckeye Valley Fire DistrictMaricopa Fire DepartmentSun City West Fire DistrictSun Lakes Fire DistrictSurprise Fire Department.

Here is the document signed by the 23 participating agencies: AZ Automatic aid . I am not presenting the entire document within the body of this blog as it is 11 pages. Please go to the link I have provided to read the document. Its basic components include:

  • The closest, most appropriate, unit to an emergency responds regardless of the political jurisdiction of the incident or the responders.
  • All of the fire departments within automatic aid act as one large system. The system is seamless. There are no requirements for formally requesting aid.
  • The incident commander on the scene of the emergency calls for resources in a standard way and they are immediately dispatched.
  • Fire departments use the same dispatching, command, and tactical procedures. The dispatch system is capable of accommodating the needs of individual jurisdictions.
  • Automatic aid is a two-way street. Aid is given and received without a regular accounting of who goes where. Joint long-term planning solves coverage issues at borders.
  • Ambulance response is governed by the Certificate of Need issued by the State of Arizona.
  • No reimbursement for expenses incurred during a response except where agreed to by the parties. Specific disaster reimbursements are permitted.

Requirements of all participating agencies include:

  • Membership by the department’s fire chief or principle assistant in the Central Arizona Life Safety Response System Council.
  • All fire departments utilize the same tactical and command procedures. All battalion chiefs must attend a minimum of 9 monthly training sessions.
  • Radio coverage must be provided that allows portable radios to be heard by the dispatch center, including in-building coverage.
  • Fire companies, engines and ladders, must be staffed with a minimum of four firefighters on-duty.
  • Compatible equipment inventories and company functions. Apparatus numbering according to Valley-wide plan.
  • Mobile computers and automatic vehicle location equipment.
  • Standard dispatch assignments with the ability to tailor response to specific areas.

There is no doubt that automatic aid is a wonderful system and certainly is critical, very critical, to the Valley’s fire service delivery system. Although it may have been updated over the 40 years of its existence I could find nothing to substantiate it. Whether it has been updated previously or not it is time to not only update the agreement but to reform it. In Part 2 of this blog we will look at specific provisions of the agreement in need of reform that would be of benefit to the participating agencies and their taxpayers.

© 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 175 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Sometimes Glendale city council meetings can only be described as mind boggling and l-o-n-g. The June 23, 2015 meeting was nearly 5 hours in length. Here is the link: http://glendale-az.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=2305 .

Public comment has once again has been placed at the front of the meeting. There were many citizen speakers that night. To a man/woman all spoke in support of the four city councilmembers who may face recall: Councilmembers Aldama, Hugh, Tolmachoff and Turner. Some of the speakers were notable and recounted below. 

It’s important to note there are two, distinctly separate recall efforts occurring in Glendale. One is the recall election of Councilmember Gary Sherwood with that election already scheduled for November 3, 2015 in the Sahuaro district only. The reasons for his recall are unrelated to the recent vote to cancel the Coyotes contract and are best summed up by the Recall Councilman Gary Sherwood Committee at this link: http://www.stopsherwood.com/index.html .

The most recent media reports of recalls center around the councilmembers who voted to cancel the arena lease management agreement with IceArizona, owners of the Coyotes. It’s a totally different situation and the two recall actions should not be confused or lumped together. Very recent recall packets have been taken out on 2 of the councilmembers thus far, Councilmember Tolmachoff and Councilmember Turner. The petition packets have not been turned into the city as the group has just begun its effort and have until October 7, 2015 to turn in recall petition signatures. Glendale First is the sponsoring organization cited on these two political committee filings. Larry Feiner, a Glendale resident of the Cholla district, is one of Glendale First’s spokespersons and he is also involved in Desert Hockey Development with Bea Wyatt and George Fallar. Mr. Feiner and Ms. Wyatt seem to be the two main spokespersons for this latest series of recalls. Even though the sponsoring organization is Glendale First, Glendale residents and hockey fans residing within specific districts filed the organizational political committee paperwork. In this case, Bill and Jennifer Eikost, residents of the Glendale Cholla district, filed as a political committee and pulled the recall packet on Tolmachoff. Ben Shroyer and Paul Miller, residents of the Sahuaro district, did the same on Turner. Make no mistake. These folks are integral members of an avid Coyote fan base and have been involved with Glendale First since its inception.

Glendale First, led by Bea Wyatt and George Fallar of Cave Creek, is angry because in a majority vote of 5 to 2 this council voted to cancel the annual $15M lease management contract with the Coyotes. It raises the possibility of the team’s possible relocation elsewhere after all litigation is resolved. Obviously Glendale First dare not use as its sole reason for recall its anger with this council vote when a recent poll showed that over 50% of Glendale’s residents support the council’s action. So they have manufactured another reason. Their smoke screen reason is that council did not reduce the amount of money going into the city’s unappropriated fund balance (rainy day fund). They contend the money should be used for public safety immediately.

By public safety let’s call it what it is…the fire union. Fire wants more money and lots of it. They point to slow emergency response times but fail to mention two very important facts: 1. The Glendale Fire Department is accredited and meets that accreditation agency’s standards for response times, and 2. Call volume has increased due to the Valley’s Automatic Aid system. Quite simply Glendale fire responds to more calls in neighboring cities such as Peoria and Phoenix than the number of times those cities respond to calls in Glendale. Automatic Aid is placing a strain on the Glendale Fire Department and is partially responsible for the unavailability of Glendale fire units to respond to its own residents in a timely manner.

One of the citizen speakers of note was Gary Hirsch, a Glendale resident and former candidate for city council. With regard to the possible 4 councilmember recall he referred to a special interest group, Glendale First, as the sponsoring organization of the effort but the majority of his remarks were directed to the issue of the first original recall effort against Councilmember

Gary Hirsch Glendale resident

Gary Hirsch
Glendale resident

Gary Sherwood. He said, “There are times that the official conduct of the councilmembers has proven to be so egregious that recall is not only appropriate but is necessary to restore honest representation. As a result the recall Gary Sherwood election has been approved and scheduled to take place on November 3rd, 2015.” He ended with this remark, “Always watch your wallet around Councilmember Sherwood.”Another speaker of note during the public comment period was Justin Harris. His remarks are below verbatim and were directed at the most recent issue of a second set of recalls of 2 (or 4) councilmembers sponsored by Glendale First:

“My name is Justin Harris. I am president of the Glendale Law Enforcement Association and co-chair of the Glendale Police Officer Coalition. I’m here tonight speaking on behalf of my members as well as Julie Pendergast. She could not be here tonight. She had personal matters to attend to. (Note: Julie Pendergast is president of the Glendale chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police and co-chair of the Glendale Police Officer Coalition).

“I find myself in an awkward position. Typically, we don’t come out speaking to the council regarding some of the events that have taken place. But I felt compelled to after some recent media events and some misinformation and misrepresentation of the facts that members of

Glendale First have shared with the public both in the paper and in the media. Recently I learned of the recall petitions that were pulled against Bart Turner. That was filed by Lawrence Feiner. The recall petition against Lauren Tolmachoff was pulled by Bill Eikost and Jennifer Eikost. I’m assuming they are husband and wife.

“What concerned me the most was part of the petition and the way it was worded. If they’ve got issues with what some of the councilmembers did regarding the Coyotes that’s their deal. But what I don’t appreciate is Glendale First coming in, misrepresenting facts saying that the mayor and certain councilmembers do not support public safety. In their filing they say that

Justin Harris President Glendale Law Enforcement Association

Justin Harris
President
Glendale Law Enforcement Association

you guys have diverted money earmarked for public safety and you placed that into a rainy day fund which has increased emergency response times. I’m not sure where they got their information but they sure didn’t come talk to me or my co-chair Julie Pendergast. Interesting enough, both Lawrence and Jennifer are listed as guests with Glendale First on a roster that attended a hockey game April 26th, 2013, at the Glendale arena in the city suite and the host of that event was Gary Sherwood – Councilmember Sherwood. (Please note: I, too, was in that suite on that date).

“Bea Wyatt, also with Glendale First, I listened to a radio talk show interview that she did on Friday, June 19th. She was talking about pulling recall petitions possibly on you, mayor and the other four councilmembers because they were not supportive of public safety. But then her comments bled into the Coyotes team. I don’t know why she was on sports radio talking about Councilmembers Turner and Tolmachoff not supporting public safety. I couldn’t tie the two together. Interesting enough the five councilmembers that voted to not renew the contract are the same councilmembers that this Glendale First is trying to attack and misrepresent facts about not supporting public safety.

“I’m here to tell the public today as being the person who represents the line level men and women who wear the badge. Mayor Weiers, Vice Mayor Hugh, Councilmember Tolmachoff, Councilmember Aldama, Councilmember Turner, you do support public safety. You made the tough decisions. There was a period of time prior to Proposition 457 when our members were giving concessions. We were understaffed to the tune of ten million dollars – understaffed, overworked. Our men and women went out there and did the job we took an oath to do. Meanwhile the city was forking over twenty five million dollars a year to a hockey team. Doesn’t make sense to me.

“So at this time I wanted to thank you Mayor, Vice Mayor Hugh, Councilmember Tolmachoff, Councilmember Aldama, Councilmember Turner for your unwavering support in making a very tough decision, finding the courage it takes to insure that you’re doing the right thing, not only for your constituents but also for your police department, the men and women who put our lives on the line every day to protect the public. Thank you for protecting us. I also wanted to thank each of you for upholding the state law and at least having the courage to have that law looked into to find out if there was in fact a conflict of interest at the time that the deal was done. It takes a lot of courage. You don’t see that too often. So, again, thank you.

“I’ve been sitting back like a lion in the tall grass, just waiting, watching and analyzing as these events have unfolded. But now I have come out to protect my members and to protect the city from a special interest groups that doesn’t care about public safety and they want to use public safety as a reason why they’re pulling this recall – or part of the reason they’re pulling this recall.

“I want each of you to be aware and the public to not support the recall against Councilmember Tolmachoff and Councilmember Turner because it’s misrepresentation of the facts. It’s half truths and they are flat out lies. We know that you are protecting public safety. We appreciate your service to the community and the commitment to your police department. Thank you.”

There were 86 items on that night’s agenda but the one that caused extraordinary public participation was Item # 83 Rezoning (ZON) application Zon 15-03 (ordinance): Palm Canyon Business Park Planned Area Development – 17750 N. 83rd Avenue – the Becker Billboard issue – again. A presentation was made by Mark Becker with the same arguments as when he was previously denied by this council. He added a few paid experts to speak about how innocuous billboards are.

There was one speaker, Glendale resident Connie Keiser, who nicely summed up the feelings of all of the citizenry that came out to speak against the billboards. She said, “Hello. I am Connie Keiser. I live in Glendale. I live in the Sahuaro district and I am impacted by these billboards. First off, I live in Hidden Manor and we were there long before Glendale because you annexed us. We are the subdivision directly north of Arrowhead Towne Center. We are the closest residential subdivision to those billboards.

“Digital billboards are the junk mail of the freeways. No one wants to be looking at a huge TV on a stick that distracts drivers and throws huge amounts of light into neighboring homes and

Connie Keiser Glendale resident

Connie Keiser
Glendale resident

the night sky. That’s the reason Scottsdale and Paradise Valley will not allow billboards. They consider them to be junk.

“Why does Mark Becker keep beating this dead horse? I am sorry that people made a bad, bad investment in that property. When they bought that land they had the mistaken belief that they could fly in under the radar and could get billboards approved before we knew what hit us. Not in our neighborhoods. You can’t, Mr. Becker. You woke several sleeping giants and not only in Glendale but in Peoria. You did not expect us to come together as a community like we have.

Mr. Becker had been told ‘no’ over and over again but he hasn’t caught on yet. Now I have, if you’ll remember in his little presentation that he used, ‘Scenic America’ is one example. But he forgot to tell you about the ‘drop down’ on billboards which I happened to point out today. And I’m just going to quote several little things they say (Scenic America) about billboards.

“‘Billboards endanger health and safety. While the industry would like you to think billboards are harmless, their negative effects on health and safety have been well documented. Billboards hamper economic growth. Billboards make a few people a lot of money. Unfortunately, however, they do serious economic harm to communities. Nature of the billboard industry – the billboard industry likes to proclaim its small, local nature.’ We heard Mr. Becker talk about how he’s just a small, local company. ‘When a state or local government considers enacting tougher billboard controls industry lawyers and lobbyists appear at hearings and speak long and loudly about how the government is threatening another small business with extinction.’ The reality, however, is quite different.

“We don’t need these billboards. I’ve been here, I think I told Planning and Zoning I got notified by Social Security I have a life expectancy of 20 years and I will keep coming back for those 20 years to fight this horrible, horrible idea. Please tell him ‘no’ unanimously just like Planning and Zoning has done. Thank you.”

After Becker’s presentation and the public hearing it was council’s turn and a theater of the absurd ensued. Mayor Weiers asked City Attorney Bailey and it was confirmed the order of proceeding would be amendments to the motion would be considered and voted upon first. That action would be followed by a consideration and a vote upon the applicant’s zoning request with any new amendments that council would have just approved.

Well, it didn’t go that way at all. Councilmember Chavira asked to make his motion first. Instead of offering the amendments only and exclusively, Sammy’s motion included approval of the applicant’s zoning request along with his self crafted 4 amendments. Aldama seconded the motion with amendments. The instruction for action that had just been outlined so carefully went completely out the window. It appears that Sammy is not always the brightest bulb in the pack.

Mayor Weiers asked if there were copies of the newly offered Chavira amendments available. City staff did not have any copies but immediately Mark Becker popped up and passed out copies of the Chavira amendments to staff for distribution to council. Wait, you ask, why does Mark Becker have copies of the Chavira amendments but city staff and the rest of council do not? Immediately the question comes to mind – who really wrote those amendments?

Councilmember Tolmachoff must have had the same thought for she asked who prepared the amendments – Mark Becker or Councilmember Chavira? Councilmember Chavira responded by saying it was his motion and he came up with the amendments that very same day. Why did he make sure Mark Becker got copies yet didn’t distribute them to staff and city council for their advance consideration prior to the meeting that evening? It makes no sense.

All of the councilmembers with the exception of Councilmember Sherwood and Vice Mayor Hugh commented prior to their votes. The most disturbing commentary to the anti-billboard people in attendance were the remarks made by Councilmember Turner. It seemed as if he was about to vote in favor of the billboard application and a majority of the audience was visibly shaken for it appeared as if he would become the fourth and majority vote granting the Becker billboard application. He said that the applicant’s request was similar to the billboards that had been approved for the Westgate area and since the Loop 101/Bell Road corridor was similar in commercial nature to the Westgate area it should be considered similarly in that context.

Mayor Weiers asked the city attorney again if Chavira’s motion including the amendments was valid. Mr. Bailey indicated it was a valid motion and recited for clarification what the motion included. Mayor Weiers proceeded with a roll call vote typically done in alphabetical order of councilmember surnames. Councilmember Aldama and Councilmember Chavira voted in favor of the billboard application. Councilmember Sherwood passed. Never, ever in my 16 years as a councilmember had any councilmember ever passed on a vote. Why did Sherwood do it? Why on this night? Think about it. Two councilmembers had voted in favor. Sherwood knew he could vote in favor as well but he needed to know what Councilmember Turner’s vote was before he voted for or against. If Turner voted in favor Sherwood would be the fourth and majority vote for passage of the billboard application. So he passed, waiting to hear what Turner’s vote would be. Councilmember Tolmachoff and Vice Mayor Hugh voted against the billboard application.

The vote was 2-2 and it was Turner’s turn. There was a moment of hesitation and then he voted against the billboard application. Weiers passed and went back to Sherwood for his vote. Sherwood voted against the billboard application and why not? He knew the motion was defeated and by flip flopping once again and voting against the billboards it might provide him some cover for his recall election. The last vote was cast by Mayor Weiers against the billboard application with the result being a 5-2 vote with only Aldama and Chavira supporting the request. Do you suppose they were blindsided by their buddy Sherwood? Do you think they will trust his word from now on?

City council vacates the month of July and will return to regular order in August. Many schedule vacations during July but they may find themselves called back to town to participate in depositions regarding the Coyote litigation. Glendale residents need a break from the ongoing political shenanigans too.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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It has been 17 years and 174 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Andre Anderson Courtesy CBS 5 News

Andre Anderson, Courtesy of CBS 5 News

Andre Anderson, a Glendale police department commander, may soon be heading to Ferguson, Missouri to join Ferguson’s new Interim City Manager Ed Beasley. He would become Interim Police Chief at the request of Beasley.

This is not the first time Anderson has sought the job of Police Chief. In February of 2013 he was one of two finalists for the position in Casa Grande, Arizona. Here is the link: http://www.trivalleycentral.com/casa_grande_dispatch/area_news/city-cuts-police-chief-fieldto/article_d157e5ea-80f1-11e2-8cda-001a4bcf887a.html .

To say that both face challenges would be an understatement. While the racial makeup of the town is 67% black only 3 police officers (6%) serving the city are black. The racial imbalance is stark. Here is the link: http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2014/aug/17/andrea-mitchell/ferguson-police-department-has-50-white-officers-t/ .  If Anderson joins his pal, Beasley, both will have to exhibit a level of sensitivity and maturity that neither may possess. Are they up to the task of restoring confidence among the officers who serve and protect that community?

Ferguson’s police department has been investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice that resulted in a long list of changes to be made. These changes will be costly. There are also a plethora of lawsuits to be settled. Ferguson’s 2015 annual budget issued in July, 2014 is $20,238,000 with a General Fund budget of $13,518,250. Here is the link: http://www.fergusoncity.com/DocumentCenter/View/1701 .

In the past Fiscal Year of 2014-15 the city’s Fund Balance dropped by $4,086,700 from approximately $15M to $11M. What will their Fiscal Year 2015-16 budget look like (beginning in July of 2015) in the light of the riots that occurred earlier this year? I suspect the city is insured to a certain extent. Some costs will be covered but it appears that new revenue streams will be needed. Let’s hope Beasley has learned his lesson and will not “rob Peter to pay Paul” as he did in Glendale to cover the annual $25M in extortion required by the NHL to keep the Coyotes in Glendale.

© 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 173 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Another blog milestone: 250,000 reads of my blog. My thanks to everyone who has taken the time to follow me. It is appreciated.

Ed Beasley, Courtesy City of Glendale

Ed Beasley, Courtesy City of Glendale

On June 9, 2015, the St. Louis Post Dispatch ran a story by Stephen Deere announcing that Glendale’s former City Manager Ed Beasley has been hired as Interim City Manager for 6 months in Ferguson, Missouri. The first reaction from many in Glendale has been absolute speechlessness followed by a stunned “Wow!” Here is the link:  http://m.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/ferguson-about-to-hire-an-interim-city-manager-accused-of/article_399ec201-78c8-5acc-883b-d5ad6b21f718.html?mobile_touch=true .

I didn’t know much about Ferguson demographically although it is nationally known as the recent birthplace of Afro-American civil unrest characterized by the false chant of “Hands up…don’t shoot.” According to the census bureau (here is the link: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/29/2923986.html) the comparisons of Ferguson and Glendale are stark:

  • Ferguson has a population of 21,111; Glendale has a population of 230,000.
  • Ferguson’s racial makeup is 67% black and 29% white; Glendale is 67% white and 6% black.
  • The median value of a home in Ferguson is $93,700; Glendale is $144,300.
  • Ferguson’s median household income is $38,685; Glendale’s is $47,474.

Ed Beasley had a long and storied 17 year career with the City of Glendale. He began his tenure in Glendale in 1998 as Assistant City Manager under Former City Manager Dr. Martin Vanacour. In 2002 Elaine Scruggs became the council appointed mayor after Mayor Quentin Tolby resigned. From the start of her tenure as mayor she seemed to butt heads with Vanacour and shortly thereafter he resigned and Beasley was appointed by the city council as the new Glendale City Manager. He served in that capacity for ten years until 2012. At the start of both their tenures in 2002, Scruggs supported Beasley during his DUI trouble. See link: Beasley DPS .   But as time passed, Beasley’s and Scruggs’ relationship became rocky as each vied to become the ultimate power broker in Glendale.  As their working relationship soured over the years she was never able to garner enough council support to have him removed.

Alma Carmicle Courtesy Glendale Star

Alma Carmicle, Courtesy Glendale Star

In 2012 he announced his retirement to city council and left. A year later information would become public that would tarnish his reputation. Beasley ran his administration with an “inner circle” of advisors from within Glendale’s ranks. He apparently was not shy about helping his friends, witness Glendale’s former HR Director Alma Carmicle’s job retention with her $140,000 salary despite her permanent move to

Art Lynch, Courtesy Glendale Star

Art Lynch, Courtesy Glendale Star

Mississippi and former Director of Finance Art Lynch’s overly generous $930,000 three year compensation as a consultant. Rumors also flew about Beasley’s attempt to secure the purchase of the Coyotes for John Kaites and Jerry Reinsdorf after Jerry Moyes declared the Coyotes bankrupt in 2009. See this link: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/something-smells-in-glendale-did-the-city-steer-the-phoenix-coyotes-franchise-to-an-insider-6430691 . Then there was Beasley’s choice of Andrew Kirkland as chief of police. In less than 5 months after his having been hired he was under investigation and resigned. See this link: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/stories/2005/04/04/daily63.html .

Beasley seemed to surround himself with some seemingly ethically challenged employees. Those employees in upper management unafraid of pointing out that “the emperor had no clothes” soon recognized the futility of doing so and left city employ. It didn’t take them long to figure out the landscape as they became marginalized by Beasley and his friends.

Beasley was golden during Glendale’s run-up to become the sports mecca of the state. He was riding high as he was courted by some of the largest cities in the nation to become their city manager. Although he had left Glendale’s employ it wasn’t soon before a publicly released city audit revealed fiscal mismanagement of the Risk Management Trust Fund and the Workmen’s Compensation Trust Fund – all of which occurred on his watch. He was one of the most highly compensated city managers in the state earning a six figure salary as well as a generous benefit package. In May 2012, Beasley formed his own consulting business, Ed Beasley and Associates LLC. Less than a year later by February 2013, he became vice president of Colliers International Government Solutions division.

Ferguson’s hiring of Beasley as its Interim City Manager follows a steady stream of 3 other city managers in quick succession – in the span of 3 months. His contract amount is $84,500. That’s quite a come down and embarrassing. He had applied with other governmental jurisdictions but his services were declined. Ferguson has its own set of problems, a Department of Justice investigation whose findings demand compliance and a rising number of lawsuits. It’s make or break time for Beasley. Ferguson faces so many challenges. If Beasley demonstrates an inability to solve them his career as a city manager anywhere will die. Those are pretty high stakes for a man seeking rehabilitation. His seeming deal making, his reputed willingness to insure the financial futures of his friends and his questionable approval of irregular financial arrangements may or may not serve Ferguson’s interests well. Ferguson, heed these words, “Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well.” (Hamlet Act 5 Scene 1). Glendale thought it knew Ed Beasley well.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

It has been 17 years and 171 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

I have not only read Glendale’s motion but printed it out. Here is the link if you wish to read the motion: City of Glendale motion June 18 2015 . I have read and reread the motion several times. I suggest that you pay particular attention to the footnotes. In some aspects they are as revelatory as the emails provided in the brief.

Glendale could not have chosen a better attorney to represent its interests in its decision to cancel its contract with IceArizona and subsequent litigation. Here is a link to Cynthia Ricketts’ biography: http://sacksrickettscase.com/our-team/cynthia-a-ricketts/ . She is well respected by her peers and has extensive expertise in the area of litigation that the city requires.

If you noted in state statute A.R.S. § 38-511 it refers to any person “significantly involved in initiating, negotiating, securing, drafting or creating of documents.” Many have focused on the word “negotiating” especially with reference to Julie Frisoni. Please go to Frisoni’s PR website (http://www.frisonipr.com/whoweare/). This is a direct quote from her site, “Crisis communications, including NHL Coyotes negotiations and the near bankruptcy of a city.” It appears that Ms. Frisoni can’t have it both ways. There seems to be a conflict (no pun intended) between her claim on her website citing experience in “NHL Coyotes negotiations” and her recent public denials that she was merely a Communications Director.

Based upon my personal experience as a councilmember from 2000 through 2012 Ms. Frisoni was a close confidant of Ed Beasley, former City Manager, and Craig Tindall, former City Attorney. I did not have a great deal of interaction with Ms. Frisoni for I lacked trust in her. While she may or may not have had a hand in direct, face-to-face negotiations of the currently cancelled contract it appears quite evident that she played an essential role in securing (and insuring) council approval of the contract.

Prior to the contract’s approval by city council, on June 26, 2013, she sent talking points in support of the contract to Councilmember Chavira. In fact, Councilmember Chavira, one of only 2 council votes (the other being Sherwood) that did not support the recent vote to cancel the contract, is using many of those same talking points in his current Glendale Today show on Glendale’s Channel 11. Frisoni also sent an email on June 30, 2013, to the four councilmembers in support of the contract with IceArizona: Councilmembers Sherwood, Chavira, Knaack and Martinez. She seems to have deliberately omitted those that did not support it. In that email she passes on Jeff Teetsel’s (Westgate manager) arguments supporting passage of the contract.

I am quite unhappy with the alleged actions of former city attorney Craig Tindall. When city council originally hired him I was quite pleased. He appeared to be competent and articulate. In 2011 I began to hear rumors that he was supportive of an outside group interested in buying the Coyotes. Back then no one could or would tell me who the group was. Reading the emails between him and Anthony LeBlanc, one of the current Coyotes owners, I was unaware of their obviously close relationship dating back to at least 2010.  Little did anyone know they were meeting at their “usual starbucks.” It is now very difficult to accept the current parsing of words in an effort to minimize Tindall’s involvement in negotiating the IceArizona contract. It appears he was involved up to his lips.

It made me recall an incident at the end of 2012. The city was in the process of negotiation with a Coyotes team purchaser, Greg Jamison. I called Mr. Tindall with some technical questions about the deal. Cryptically, at the end of our telephonic conversation he remarked that if the Jamison deal didn’t make there was another group waiting in the wings. When I asked who, he refused to respond. In hindsight it now makes perfect sense but it raises more questions for me. I remember Interim City Manager Horatio Skeete telling me that Tindall appeared to be stalling and would hold Jamison documents on his desk for days. Skeete would make repeated requests for them which eventually would be fulfilled. Did Tindall deliberately sabotage the Jamison deal in an attempt to make available the opportunity for LeBlanc, et. al.? I honestly don’t know. You will have to decide for yourselves.

Tindall’s seeming self dealing is quite disappointing. As far back as April of 2010 in an email exchange between Daryl Jones of Ice Edge (precursor to IceArizona) Jones says they enjoyed working with Tindall and Tindall responds with “Now that’s an offer.” Was that Tindall’s subtle signal that he was angling for a job with them? Who knows? You decide. Or what about Tindall’s March, 2011, email exchange with LeBlanc urging LeBlanc to take a look at investing in a local medical device company? That action would seem to reinforce the notion that they had a close relationship. Or how about LeBlanc’s asking Tindall in October of 2011 if it was time to have a “confidential chat with Ed” (Beasley) as well as an email exchange between Tindall and LeBlanc about LeBlanc’s May, 2010 meeting with Steve E(llman)? What were these all about? We now know that LeBlanc wanted to buy the Coyotes even before the Jamison offer. We now know through more emails of Tindall’s effort to break a roadblock on July 26, 2013 (after the contract is approved) regarding the city’s paying IceArizona’s lenders directly? He emailed the newly hired City Manager (now former City Manager) Brenda Fischer apparently asserting that it was a simple administrative matter and appears to be urging her to take action.

The email exchange between former Mayor Scruggs and former City Manager Beasley are revealing as well. It appears as if the mayor was determined to get LeBlanc’s Lakehead Yale Sports Holding LLC “Plan B” before the city council in March of 2012. Once again Tindall’s name comes up when she says, “I have checked with Craig Tindall and Mr. LeBlanc’s letter is eligible for discussion under the items as posted.” Tindall seemed to be advocating for any LeBlanc deal.

The emails provided in the city’s motion to modify the Temporary Restraining Order are troubling. They are facts. They are the words of the principals involved. They are damning and not easily explained away.

I end with excepts from an email memo to the entire city council dated June 25, 2013 (a few weeks before council approval) from then Interim City Manager Dick Bowers:

  • “Contrary to what might appear in the papers I don’t see this as a ‘done deal’. Far from it. Discussions continued over the weekend and we have come only slightly closer to comfortable than before. Gary B(irnbaum) has helped to illustrate to the Renaissance group’s (eventually IceArizona) attorney the concerns we have. I suspect this has given them a degree of discomfort.”
  • “Glendale cannot afford a failure. The potential of failure exists as a dark shadow in the absence of the investors standing by their own numbers with confidence enough to simply take them for themselves and do the deal for 6.5.”
  • “While there are many ways to describe the Renaissance’s reluctance I keep coming back to that same discomfort of Glendale having all the risk in this deal. My concerns could mean nothing or they could represent an existential question that must be considered. Will this work for the benefit of the City of Glendale and what makes us firmly believe that it will?”

Mr. Bowers’ crystal ball was certainly working that day yet a few weeks later, 4 councilmembers, Yvonne Knaack, Manny Martinez, Gary Sherwood and Sammy Chavira voted in favor of the IceArizona lease management deal. I can understand Sherwood and Chavira’s approval votes. They appear to have been blindly joined at the hip with each other as well as IceArizona. The pro votes of Knaack and Martinez are not so easily understood. Each cited the well being of Westgate as a motivator for their decisions. It is troubling that they appear to have put the well being of Westgate over the well being of the City of Glendale. Why did they not heed the words of Interim City Manager Bowers?

No matter. What’s done is done. The discovery of Tindall’s and Frisoni’s actions provide the city with an opportunity to rectify one source of its annual bleeding…whether one uses $15M or $8.7M a year as the loss figure for the city. Many point to the annual debt payment for the Camelback Ranch Spring Training Facility (CRSTF). They say why focus on the arena when CRSTF is just as much of a financial drain. It is. I suspect in due time that financial albatross will be addressed. Development that should have occurred surrounding this facility never materialized as a result of the national recession. Without any promise of current economic development it is an issue the city must address in light of the fact that this council continues to fail to rein in city expenditures.

The pity of it all is the devastation caused to the coaches and players of the Coyotes team. They have been through so much since Moyes declared bankruptcy in 2009. None of it was of their making. They have become undeserved collateral damage. I hope and pray that their futures will once again become whole and they can take pride in playing under the Coyotes banner.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

It has been 17 years and 167 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library. On June 17, 2015, Judge Dawn M. Bergin was presented the City of Glendale’s motion for modification of the Temporary Restraining Order in the City vs. Ice Arizona litigation. The city may  no longer be compelled to make its next quarterly payment of $3,750,000 to Ice Arizona on July 1, 2015.

Rather than comment at this time (that will come in a future blog) I have provided a link to the city’s motion and Exhibits A through Q as well as the  proposed judge’s ruling: City of Glendale motion June 18 2015 .

I would urge those of you interested in the latest events surrounding the city and Ice Arizona to read the motion in its entirety especially the emails provided as exhibits. I suspect that the email exhibits used for this motion to modify the Temporary Restraining Order are not the entirety of emails the city has in its possession. I assume that the city used a sampling necessary to substantiate their request for modification.

Question: What’s Ice Arizona’s next move? What will they do to cover the interest payments on their tremendous debt now that they might no longer have the city’s $15 million to use?

© 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 162 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Unless you have been comatose by now you know that on June 10, 2015 the Glendale City Council voted 5 -2 to cancel its Lease Management Agreement with IceArizona for the city owned arena. Two days later, June 12, 2015 Ice Arizona successfully secured a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).

Just think about it. The council vote was 5 -2 with Councilmember Jamie Aldama breaking ranks with Councilmembers Sherwood and Chavira. In his remarks he said that while he is pro business he felt compelled to uphold the integrity of the process.

Just think about it. The five councilmembers who voted to void the contract have divergent backgrounds in terms of educational levels, incomes, ethnicity, time served on city council yet collectively they found the facts available to them (and not to the public to date) compelling enough to move forward with voiding the contract.

Just think about it. This council has been characterized as being idiots, fools and all manner of the devil. They knew there would be an extraordinarily violent reaction yet they held fast and voted their consciences. Only senior management and the council know the facts relating to state statute § 38-511. They knew that IceArizona would sue; they knew there would be legal fees; they knew the fan base would come unglued; they knew the media, in its search for fresh red meat, would berate them. They knew…yet they still voted to cancel the contract. Didn’t any of these groups pause for just a nanosecond to consider that the city’s allegations could be quite legitimate?

Just think about it. The 5 members of city council that voted to cancel the contract must stay the course. They took an oath to uphold the law. They have a fiduciary responsibility to every Glendale taxpayer. If an opportunity for further dialogue with the Coyotes presents itself they should take advantage of that opportunity. If it brings no resolution then they must follow through on cancellation of the contract.

Just think about it. Many question why now? Quite frankly, it is irrelevant. The makeup of the city council changed with this past election. The original 4 councilmembers that approved the contract dwindled to 2 creating an environment that allowed the facts as known to the city to be considered and acted upon.

Just think about it. The greater question is what has happened to civil society?  America is great because one of its bedrock values is freedom of speech. Everyone, on either side of this issue, has the freedom to express an opinion but it should be tempered speech based on the facts. It is acknowledged that the Coyotes fans are stunned and angered by the recent city action. In their anger some have allowed emotion to override common decency.

Just think about it. One action that is stark in its viciousness was that of Ms. Rhonda Pierson on the night of the special voting meeting. Ms. Pierson expressed the beliefs of some Coyotes fans and she had the right to do so but the vindictiveness of her speech was out of bounds. Social media has turned her into a heroine of some sort despite the ugliness of her delivery. I didn’t catch it if she announced it but did she acknowledge that she was (or may still be) an employee of the Coyotes organization?

Just think about it. Then today, June 13, 2015, Mayor Weiers who had announced that he was willing to be tazed to raise money for the 100 Club (mission: support of law enforcement families) was tazed by Ms. Pierson. The event was intended to be a great gesture in support of law enforcement recently vilified nationwide. By choosing Ms. Pierson as the designated person to taze the mayor it turned into a distasteful event that made many people uncomfortable. It wasn’t done in the spirit in which it was originally intended but rather turned into a symbolic expression of vindictiveness for the city’s recent vote to void the contract. Those behind the choosing of Ms. Pierson to perform the act have sunk to a new low and are no better than those within the city they currently choose to hate. It was petty and mean spirited.

Just think about it. Social media is a platform that creates a herd mentality and its anoninimity emboldens some to exceed the bounds of common civility. It encourages an atmosphere that causes mass salivation of others’ perceived misfortunes or misdeeds and often reactions are based on raw emotion in the absence of any fact. The level of vituprativeness and ugliness of some folks’ speech has risen to an unprecented level not just locally but on issues throughout the country.

Just think about it. There are probably about 100 local fans that use social media on a regular basis. They have been whipped into frenzy, in part, by the comments made by Anthony LeBlanc as he recently made the media rounds. Did anyone bother to take note that he had to walk back some of his misstatements? Such as, they were never asked by the city to consider renegotiation or Tindall was the only former Glendale employee ever connected to the Coyotes.

Just think about it. There are about 239,000 residents of Glendale. The arena holds slightly north of 17,000. If everyone of the 17,000 was a Glendale resident that would be one twelfth of Glendale right now. In a survey done by one of the TV stations it was reported that 59% of the Glendale residents surveyed supported the cancelling of the IceArizona contract.

Just think about it. If some wish to boycott Glendale’s businesses in protest, that is their right. If some wish to mount recall petitions against every Glendale councilmember, that is their right but ugly expressions of anger directed to the city are not right if one respects the bounds of common decency.

Just think about it. The media has reported that in the next few days IceArizona and city personnel will meet. Let us hope that a long and costly court battle can be avoided. Let us hope that they can work out their differences regarding the contract. I really would like to see the Coyotes stay in Glendale but not at the current rate of taxpayer subsidization.

Just think about it. If nothing comes of their meeting I wish the Coyotes well, perhaps playing in Phoenix. The only nagging question that comes to mind is who is going to pay the Coyotes $15 million a year to play in their facility? The City of Phoenix? Or Robert Sarver?

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

On  June 10, the Glendale city council voted 5-2 to cancel the current lease management agreement with Ice Arizona. This was the agenda item:

“DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION TO DIRECT THE CITY MANAGER AND CITY ATTORNEY TO CANCEL THE PROFESSIONAL MANAGEMENT SERVICES AND ARENA LEASE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY OF GLENDALE AND ICEARIZONA MANAGER CO., LLC AND ICEARIZONA HOCKEY CO., LLC, PURSUANT TO ARIZONA REVISED STATUTES § 38-511, AND TO PURSUE ANY AND ALL OTHER LEGAL ACTIONS AND REMEDIES NECESSARY TO EFFECTUATE CANCELLATION OR TERMINATION OF THE AGREEMENT.”

Here is the text of Arizona Revised Statutes §38-511:

38-511. Cancellation of political subdivision and state contracts; definition

  1. The state, its political subdivisions or any department or agency of either may, within three years after its execution, cancel any contract, without penalty or further obligation, made by the state, its political subdivisions, or any of the departments or agencies of either if any person significantly involved in initiating, negotiating, securing, drafting or creating the contract on behalf of the state, its political subdivisions or any of the departments or agencies of either is, at any time while the contract or any extension of the contract is in effect, an employee or agent of any other party to the contract in any capacity or a consultant to any other party of the contract with respect to the subject matter of the contract.
  2. Leases of state trust land for terms longer than ten years cancelled under this section shall respect those rights given to mortgagees of the lessee by section 37-289 and other lawful provisions of the lease.
  3. The cancellation under this section by the state or its political subdivisions shall be effective when written notice from the governor or the chief executive officer or governing body of the political subdivision is received by all other parties to the contract unless the notice specifies a later time.
  4. The cancellation under this section by any department or agency of the state or its political subdivisions shall be effective when written notice from such party is received by all other parties to the contract unless the notice specifies a later time.
  5. In addition to the right to cancel a contract as provided in subsection A of this section, the state, its political subdivisions or any department or agency of either may recoup any fee or commission paid or due to any person significantly involved in initiating, negotiating, securing, drafting or creating the contract on behalf of the state, its political subdivisions or any department or agency of either from any other party to the contract arising as the result of the contract.
  6. Notice of this section shall be included in every contract to which the state, its political subdivisions, or any of the departments or agencies of either is a party.
  7. For purposes of this section, “political subdivisions” do not include entities formed or operating under title 48, chapter 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19 or 22.

The special voting meeting was preceded on Tuesday, June 9, 2015 by a special workshop session when council immediately voted to go into executive session and then there was a regular workshop meeting. Did the executive session lead to council’s decision to hold the special June 10, 2015 vote about the IceArizona contract? We will never know for executive session cannot be discussed per state statute.

Interestingly Anthony LeBlanc revealed some executive session information when he was on the radio last week. Gary Hirsch, a Glendale resident, raised a question about LeBlanc’s radio comments during the public comment period of council’s regular meeting on June 9, 2015. He asked if anyone representing the city had filed a complaint. No one on council responded but that is not unusual as a statement is made at the outset that council is there to receive public comment but not to respond.

OK, so there is a state statute that allows a political subdivision to cancel a contract. So what? There is one more piece of information that is essential to this surprising action. Most of you do not have a copy of the IceArizona/Glendale Lease Management Agreement. I do and A.R.S. § 38-511 is cited in that contract on Page 84 (in an old contract, page 96 of newer version). I quote:

“24.13 Conflicts of Interest

24.13.3 (in newer contract this is 23.13.2) The Parties acknowledge that the provisions of A.R.S. §38-511, which are hereby incorporated in this Agreement by this reference, may create a situation in which the City might have a right to cancel this Agreement pursuant to A.R. S. §38-511.”

Who made sure this clause was included the Lease Management Agreement? And why? Was city council aware of this provision when they approved the contract? I doubt it. The Jamison contract written by Tindall is the framework for the Ice Arizona contract. There were modifications to specifically address the IceArizona deal. The first thought when reading 24.13.3 is Craig Tindall. How does Tindall fit into all of this? Here’s a quick timeline:

  • April 1, 2013 Tindall resigns as Glendale City Attorney but continues employment with city for 6 months
  • June, 2013 Tindall emails prior to approval of agreement demonstrate his extensive involvement in crafting the final language (please refer to my previous blog on Tindall. Here is the link: Former Glendale City Attorney Craig Tindall…Act 2 http://wp.me/p3aHul-xb )
  • July 3, 2013 Glendale IceArizona Lease Management Agreement approved by city council
  • August 20, 2013 IceArizona hires Tindall as its General Counsel
  • October 1, Tindall’s employment with the city officially ends

State statute says quite clearly that a political subdivision within 3 years after a contract’s execution may cancel the contract if any person is significantly involved in negotiating, crafting or drafting the contract on behalf of the political subdivision and is an employee or agent of any other party. Why did IceArizona accept this provision? Did Sherwood read this contract? If so, why did he not object to provision 24.13.3 within the contract? Why did Tindall and Nick Wood (another Coyotes attorney) allow this clause to remain within the contract? Was it deliberately placed within the contract to offer either side a way out without invoking the 5 year out clause? If it was deliberately left in and invoked by the city then the city wears the “black hat” – not IceArizona for invoking the hated 5 year out clause. Hmmm…

Councilmember Sherwood did not attend tonight’s meeting. Apparently he was in Salt Lake City.  I don’t know but one would think that such a critical vote would demand that he cancel his trip.  He did find time that afternoon to be interviewed on NBC Sports Radio 1060AM by Roc and Manuch.

Why cancel the contract now? The time limitation under state statute is 3 years.  This July 3, 2015, 2 years will have passed. If council’s move to cancel the contract did not occur now it would have happened sometime in the next 12 months. Why this exact moment? I don’t know.

Since the approval of the contract City council has changed dramatically with the departure of former Councilmembers Martinez, Knaack and Alvarez.  Martinez and Knaack supported the deal while Alvarez did not. The majority that approved the contract at the time of its approval was Martinez, Knaack, Sherwood and Chavira. With new councilmembers taking office in December of 2014 a seismic shift occurred. No longer did the deal appear to enjoy a 4 councilmember majority.

The city issued a press release on the morning of June 10, 2015 stating, “The City Council has scheduled a discussion and possible vote regarding Glendale’s contract with the Arizona Coyotes. Discussions and negotiations regarding the contract have been ongoing for months. Specifically, the City is open to a resolution but it must be one that provides certainty and fairness to both parties, especially the taxpayers. The Council has agreed to stand for transparency and the highest standards of ethics for any future agreement with the Coyotes.” Was the city’s press release forced by IceArizona’s threat to sue the city? Translating the government speak, the city appears to have taken the position that it wants the Coyotes to stay as the anchor tenant in its arena but it can no longer sustain the annual loss of revenue. Clearly it is sending the signal that it wants to renegotiate the annual management fee from $15 million a year to ??? Tom Duensing, Interim Assistant City Manager, has pegged this year’s loss to the city to be in the $8.7 million dollar range. To date IceArizona’s position is that they refuse to renegotiate the contract and they reiterated that statement when Barroway and LeBlanc met with Mayor Weiers and Vice Mayor Hugh. And why would they entertain a renegotiation? They are in the catbird’s seat and they retain that pesky 5 year out clause.

Some of the comments made by various individuals during the course of the meeting:

  • City Attorney Bailey – his office sought numerous outside opinions; the contract is the opposite of the goal of public-private partnership; management fee paid by the city not to be used to retire ownership debt; the purpose of the statute is to protect taxpayers from any employee having a dual relationship
  • Nick Wood (Attorney for the Coyotes) – city has no claim; said NHL and Coyotes will sue; claimed Tindall was a ‘former employee’; questioned timing of council action; predicted terrible things will happen to Westgate
  • Anthony LeBlanc (Coyotes minority owner) – the city’s action has had a significant financial impact on the Coyotes already; called council action ‘political grandstanding’; claims meeting on Monday with Mayor Weiers was the first time city had asked to renegotiate
  • Many citizens spoke for over an hour – majority were Coyotes fans; included Jeff Teesel, Manager of Westgate; however there were a few brave Glendale citizens who asked council to weigh the needs of the community vs. the needs of professional sports.

At the start of the meeting Councilmember Aldama made a motion to table for 2 weeks. Chavira seconded. The majority voted no on the motion. The vote on cancelling the contract was 5-2 with Aldama, Tolmachoff, Turner, Hugh and Weiers voting to cancel and Sherwood and Chavira voting to keep the contract. Mayor Weiers commented prior to his vote with the cryptic statement, “if you are breaking the law there is no exception.” He went on to say as time progressed more information would be available so that the public would understand why council voted as it had.

There’s more to say but I will save it for my next blog. I will offer one comment now. The meeting was ugly and the air was filled with threats, intimidation and breathless anger. If there are any typos or poor English please accept my apology. It was due to a rush to get this blog out. My only hope is that LeBlanc and crew reach out immediately to the city, willing to renegotiate the deal and living up to their promise to keep the Coyotes in Glendale.

© 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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