It has been 18 years and 163 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.
PLEASE CHECK OUT THE TWO SAMMY CHAVIRA VIDEOS TO THE LEFT OF THIS COLUMN.
Before beginning today’s blog let us all take a moment to remember all armed service active duty and veterans for their service and their sacrifice. A bit of trivia…did you know that 1% of America’s population is responsible for preserving the freedoms that 99% of us enjoy? Our debt is enormous.
Light rail continues to remain contentious. In its city council meeting of April 24, 2016 city council split on a 4-3 vote approving its route and mode of transit. Voting for light rail were Councilmembers Tolmachoff, Turner, Aldama and Chavira. Voting against, while citing the need for an investigation of the alternatives, were Mayor Weiers, Vice Mayor Hugh and Councilmember Malnar.
This issue will come before city council once again, probably in January of 2017. At that time city council will be asked to commit formally to financing and approving the final route. At that time they will still have the option to approve or deny funding for light rail.
There are many angry people out there who are opposed to light rail for many reasons and they are not going to go away. The wisest action this city council could take would be to call for a special election and allow the citizens of Glendale to decide this issue for once and for all. After all, the last vote taken about light rail was 15 years ago and in that time we have seen many things change. It’s time to formally reassess the will of the people of Glendale.
City hall damage and the fall out just will not go away. In Paul Giblin’s story of May 24, 2016, the city acknowledges that nearly $50,000 (not the $30,000 I had cited previously) of damage had been done. Here is the link : http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2016/05/24/vandals-cause-50000-damage-glendale-city-hall/84557320/ .
In a second Public Information Request I again asked for the following:
- “I request Councilmembers Aldama and Chavira to obtain information from Barrio Breakthru about expenses covered by their donation of $5,000 of taxpayer money.
- 2. I request copies of any and all licenses and proof of insurance on file for this event provided to the city by Barrio Breakthru.”
The city’s response was, “The City has reviewed its records and has provided documents on file that are responsive to this request. There were no responsive documents for item #1.” None of the documents I previously received from the city show any licenses or proof of insurance on file with the city. Yet Ordinance 2975 specifically contains these specific requirements.
There is another way to skin this cat. On September 2, 2014 city council took up the question of council guidelines and specifically the issue of councilmember donations to non-profits. Here is the link: http://glendale-az.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=2838c6fe-32f9-11e4-bdc2-00219ba2f017&meta_id=7296 . No consensus was achieved by council to prohibit councilmember donations to non-profits but there were a series of staff recommendations that, by council consensus, were adopted on that date. They were as follows:
- “Requests for an expenditure of council discretionary funds for purposes of a donation of $5,000 or above must be submitted to the City Council for approval.
- “Each request for the use of council discretionary funds will require the completion of a new uniform standard request form.
- “Council discretionary fund recipients will agree that the City of Glendale and its authorized representatives shall have the right to examine and audit all financial and related records related to the acceptance and expending of the discretionary funding.”
I call upon City Manager Kevin Phelps to perform an audit of Barrio Breakthru and its acceptance of and its spending of the discretionary funding provide by Councilmember Chavira in the amount of $2,500 and Councilmember Aldama in the amount of $2,500. This audit should be publicly released for it involves $5,000 taxpayer dollars. I further call upon City Manager Kevin Phelps to amend Ordinance 2975 making it clear that if these requirements are not met, no permit will obtained. There is also an opportunity to review policies for special events to ensure that all organizations are being treated equally and that city property is protected properly.
City Manager Phelps said, “ Breakthru Productions carries insurance, so city officials will approach the organization’s executives to seek reimbursement for the damaged equipment.” If that is the case, why was I not provided with that information when I made my PIR? None of the documents I received included any proof of insurance despite a specific request for such information.
Why does it seem that Barrio Breakthru is being given a pass by city hall officials? Is it because two councilmembers, Chavira and Aldama donated to Barrio Breakthru?
© Joyce Clark, 2016
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