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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

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An alert for residents living along 83rd Avenue and 91st Avenue from Camelback Road to Bethany Home Road regarding the Planned Area Development application called Stonehaven. The applicant has submitted a revised Stonehaven development plan and has scheduled a formal Neighborhood meeting:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 at 6:00 PM

Sunset Ridge Elementary School Cafeteria

8490 West Missouri Avenue, Glendale, Arizona 85305

The Glendale City Planner handling this case is the Glendale Planning Director, Jon Froke. He can be reached at 623-930-2585 or by email at jfroke@glendaleaz.com. Mr. Froke can answer your questions regarding the city review and hearing processes as well as the staff position once their report is complete. Below is a depiction of the Planned Area Development Land Use Master Plan. It is disappointing as the applicant is asking for more density while refusing to plan for large lots south of the Grand Canal and adjacent to Missouri Ranch (comprised of 10,000 SF lots). The largest lot size being proposed by the applicant is 7,000 SF. The applicant appears reluctant to listen to resident’s concerns about small lot sizes devaluing the property values of those who live near the proposed development.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I urge you to attend this meeting especially if you live in Missouri Ranch; 8300 to 8600 W. Cavalier Drive; Pendergast Estates; Camelback Park, and all areas on the east side of 83rd Avenue including Orange Drive and Montebello Avenue.

Casino Issue not settled as U.S. District Judge David Campbell denied the Tohono O’odham’s (TO) request that he rule in the tribe’s favor without going to trial. Judge Campbell said he needed more information about allegations of fraud on the part of the Tohono O’odham. The trial will be scheduled sometime between April and August of 2017 making it a full year since June of 2016 when the Tohono O’odham filed suit against the state for its refusal to grant the tribe a Class III gaming license.

In the meantime Governor Ducey attempted to settle the case out of court by proposing to grant the TO a Class III gaming license in return for its promise to build no new casinos in the Phoenix Metro area. That overture was rebuffed by the TO and seems to signal that the TO may have plans for another casino in the Phoenix area. Could they have once again purchased land secretly betting that they can get their Class III gaming license without promising to build elsewhere in the Valley? I would think any Valley city with county islands should be very, very nervous. Here is the link to a December 19, 2016 story in the Arizona Republic: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2016/12/19/dispute-over-desert-diamond-west-valley-casino-heading-to-trial/95634944/ .

Tax increment financing for the Coyotes new arena is by no means guaranteed passage in the Arizona Legislature. Rather than granting tax increment financing and incentives for the Coyotes the legislature would be well served to assist the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority (AZSTA) in crafting new revenue streams for the sagging revenues it currently receives. The Authority has only paid out $49.2 million dollars in reimbursements toward a total of $220.7 million dollars owed to various Valley cities for their ballparks facility construction/renovation.  AZSTA has commitments to reimburse Surprise, Tempe and Scottsdale by 2007 and now estimates those repayments will not be completed until 2021. Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Glendale and Goodyear are not expected to receive their reimbursements until 2031 and beyond. Better the legislature develop a fix that enables AZSTA to meet its commitments for those facilities already constructed by a vast array of Valley cities struggling to find the money to pay off their debts for construction. Here is a link to the state’s latest audit of AZSTA: http://az-sta.com/downloads/files/financial/2015-special-audit-by-the-office-of-the-auditor-general-full-report.pdf . Below is a chart (page 23) from that AZSTA audit:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anthony LeBlanc, CEO of the Coyotes, acknowledged that the legislature is “essential” for their plan. You can be sure they are already lobbying members of the state legislature. However, in past years Valley cities have also lobbied for Tax Increment Financing (TIF) only to be denied repeatedly. One of the plans floated last year by the Coyotes involved capturing portions of sales and/or tourism tax revenue in a tax district created in the area of their proposed arena. The Coyotes will have a difficult time pushing to the head of a line that relies on tourism sales tax revenues. The legislature would be well advised to create a financial fix for those facilities already in existence rather than diverting scarce resources to yet another new sports facility. The subsidization of sports teams and their venues is not a popular public topic when people are still hurting financially and have not derived economic benefits from the national recovery. Here is a link to a Mike Sunnicks article in the Phoenix Business Journal about the Coyotes plan to have the taxpayers and tourists subsidize their proposed arena: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2016/12/02/arizona-coyotes-arena-real-estate-group-eases.html

 © Joyce Clark, 2016        

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘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 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 material. 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 Friday, December 2, 2016, Craig Johnson, Executive Director of Water

Director of Water Services Craig Johnson

Services, invited me to the first of two tours to bring me up to speed on the current status of the city’s water department. We began with a staff meeting of the various department heads briefing me on the current activities within their departments. The water department

Water Service personnel

represents one of the Enterprise groups of the city. The Enterprise groups…water & sewer, sanitation and landfill are stand alone departments. They rely upon rate payers to fund the cost of their operations and maintenance. Although they are components of the city’s budget they do not rely upon the city’s General Fund.

I learned about the sources of water that the city uses to provide potable water…Central Arizona Project (CAP) water; Salt River Project (SRP) water;

Water Services personnel

and well water. The water that we drink in Glendale is usually a blend of all three sources. I learned about water management and how certain water treatment plants such as Pinnacle Peak’s usage is reduced during the winter months so that any required repairs can be performed when the demand is reduced. The different water resources are used in greater amounts during different times of the year. During the summer months the city will use more CAP water to meet the periods of highest demand.

If your water is warm coming out of the tap during the summer months there are reasons why that occurs. The water piping delivery system that is below ground is relatively shallow and as a result the water warms up. The well water we use also tends to be warm as well.

Glendale does not treat its sewage. Rather it has a percentage interest in the Sub Regional Operating Group ( SROG), a Phoenix facility to which various Valley cities belong. All member cities send their sewer water to SROG which cleans the water and then sells it to the Palo Verde Nuclear Facility for their cooling towers. The revenue earned from the sale of wastewater is distributed to each participant based upon each city’s level of participation.

I also had an opportunity to visit the Operations Center and viewed much of the equipment used by the water department. This department uses a wide variety of specialized equipment; from stocking residential water meters to huge commercial water meters; keeping a wide array of cameras in all shapes and sizes to inspect both water and sewer lines; and using various vehicles for specific applications. I found it interesting to learn that approximately 20 miles of water and/or sewer lines (about 2,000 miles of

One of cameras used to inspect pipes

lines annually) are inspected daily. The department has the ability to remove blockages that can save a street from being torn up. If I remember my stats correctly, the city’s meter readers ready approximately 450 meters a day.

It is obvious that the men and women of the city’s water department work hard to provide us with the safest drinking water possible, efficient removal of wastewater and an effective water delivery system.  They are proud of their work. They are dedicated to providing the very best service possible to the residents of Glendale.

My second foray into the water world was an invitation by Salt River Project to participate in a helicopter tour of their watershed area and their dam system on Friday, December 9, 2016. The last time I took their tour was about 10 years ago and I was fortunate enough to have been able to take my Dad (age 90). He never forgot it and talked about it often.

I and about a dozen other people, including Jenna Goad of Glendale’s Intergovernmental Department, Joy Rich, Maricopa County Manager, and Reid Spaulding, Maricopa Deputy County Manager were invited. Prior to the tour we were briefed by various Salt River Project (SRP) department heads. SRP is actually comprised of two divisions: the water distribution side and the power delivery side.

In the 1860’s Jack Swilling organized the first Valley irrigation system using the ancient Hohokam  canal system. For years it worked well but in the early 1900’s, the Valley experienced a period of extreme drought. Valley farmers recognized the need to develop a reliable water supply and so, they mortgaged their farms to raise the collateral to build SRP’s first retention dam, the Roosevelt Dam. The owners of 200,000 acres of Valley land formed the Salt River Valley Water Users Association, and became shareholders in the organization, according to how much land they owned. Other dams in the SRP watershed system include the Horse Mesa Dam at Apache Lake, the Mormon Flat Dam at Canyon Lake, the Stewart Mountain Dam at Saguaro Lake, Horseshoe Dam, Bartlett Dam, Granite Reef Diversion Dam and the C.C. Cragin Dam. Currently SRP’s watershed is 47% full.

Although it was slightly chilly, the day was crisp and the air clean. The helicopter tour lasted about an hour and a half and fortunately, no barf bags were employed. At times we were no more than about 500 feet above ground and had wonderful views of each of the dam structures.

It was a wonderful opportunity and SRP is to be thanked for providing such an opportunity to learn in-depth about their water delivery systems. They are to be commended for providing all those on the tour representing other municipalities and Maricopa county a close up view of the Valley’s water supply.

© Joyce Clark, 2016        

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘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 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 material. 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.

As a councilmember I am often asked to participate in stakeholder events…from ribbon cuttings to all kinds of special events. On December 20, 2016, I was privileged to observe a really special event. The Connair Corporation has a major distribution center in the Glendale Airport Commercial Park. It had its original grand opening many years ago…approximately 20 years ago…and I was privileged to be part of that event years ago. The company currently employs 450 but with this expansion, it will hire another 300 employees.

Connair distributes several of its own brand of products from its Glendale distribution facility…not just hair dryers and hair brushes but also Cuisinart and Scünci products. By the way, the distribution facility also has an outlet/company store. If you have never shopped there it is certainly worth a visit.

On 8 AM of December 20, 2016 the Mayor and several councilmembers gathered with top executives of D.L. Withers (the construction company building the new facility) as well as Connair’s leadership to witness an extraordinary construction event. Over the years Connair has expanded but its current expansion is one for the books.

Connair is constructing a new 1 million square foot building longer than 7 football fields. Only Intel’s building in Chandler is larger. They decided to use a type of construction called “Tilt Panel Construction.”

The 178 panels needed make up the exterior walls of the building. Each panel weighs 220,000 pounds. A ton is 2,000

Conair Construction Site, Glendale Arizona

pounds so each panel weighs a massive 110 tons. Now that is really, really big and heavy. After concrete was poured and cured for the floor of the building, the panel frames were built directly onto this floor. An agent to prevent the concrete panel from bonding to the concrete floor is applied. Then concrete is poured into a specially constructed frame for the panel and it is then allowed to cure for 20 days. Any necessary hardware is built into the panel frame before the concrete is poured.

Conair Construction Site, Glendale Arizona

That’s when the need for one of the largest cranes in the country comes into play…to lift these enormous panels, one at a time and very, very slowly. Inch by inch the massive crane raises each panel already fitted with steel braces to keep each panel upright and erect. A crew of about half a dozen construction workers literally perform a choreographed dance, each has his own position and job to make sure each panel is securely in place. Approximately 20 panels can be lifted a day and it is anticipated that all 178 panels will be in place by January of 2017.

It was really amazing to watch these panels being lifted. It reminded me that Glendale is a leading employer in the West Valley and our residents will

Conair Construction Site, Glendale Arizona

benefit from the taxes derived from such a project. It signals that Glendale is back in business not just in its commercial airpark or at Westgate but at its latest frontier, the Loop 303, an area poised to accept similar distribution centers. It also demonstrates that Glendale is ready to build partnerships with new and old partners.

© Joyce Clark, 2016        

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘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 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 material. 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.

As readers of this blog know I have been opposed to the idea of a temporary modular building (trailer) as our west branch library in Heroes Park. I and many, many residents of the Yucca district consider this an insult, as if that is all that we deserve after waiting 18 years.

After the city council acceptance of the Canvass of Votes I was invited to meet on October 7, 2016, with appropriate city personnel regarding the plans for this library. I had requested a meeting after it came to my attention that approximately $2 million dollars would be available for its construction and it appeared that the cost to build a permanent, phase I of a brick ‘n’ mortar branch library would be virtually the same as the cost of a modular building. My meeting with city staff confirmed that $2 million dollars would be sufficient for either a brick & mortar building or a modular building.

Based upon that information and learning that the next step would be to secure city council approval to move forward with the design, I requested that the design process incorporate plans for a permanent brick & mortar building as well as the modular design. The modular design had been directed by city council in a previous action.

I was successful in getting the design for a permanent brick & mortar included in the proposed city council action and on December 20, 2016, city council authorized the City Manager to enter into a Professional Services Agreement with Dick and Fritsche Design Group, Inc. (DFDG) to provide design and architectural drawings for the potential Heroes Branch Library, within Heroes Regional Park located at West Bethany Home Road and North 83rd Avenue, in an amount not to exceed $410,090. Here is the link to that city council meeting: http://glendale-az.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=2597&meta_id=55164 .

Below is the schedule of work.  As can be seen, it will be 9 months to create the design and construction documents. Although that seems to be very slow, in city terms, it is fast and being expedited. I will monitor the progress of the various steps to make sure the timeline remains intact. The next milestone will be for city council to award a construction contract to build in approximately September of 2017. I will continue to advocate for and seek acceptance from council for the permanent brick & mortar west branch library building. Knowing that the costs are virtually the same for either type of building it would make economic sense that a permanent structure be built with the capacity for future expansion. The library itself will be completed and open for business approximately August of 2018.

·       Notice to Proceed                                                                        1/2/17  

·       Program Verification – Site Analysis                                          1/2/17-1/13/17 (2 weeks)

·       Schematic Design                                                                         1/16/17-2/24/17 (6 weeks)

·       Design Development                                                                   2/27/17-4/21/17 (8 weeks)

·       Construction Documents                                                            3/1/17-3/31/17, 4/24/17-6/16/17

                                                                                                                (8 wks.)

·       Plan Review and Permit / Prepare Bid Docs.                            6/19/17-8/11/17   (8 weeks)

·       Bid                                                                                                    8/14/17-9/8/17 (4 weeks)

·       Notice to Proceed                                                                         9/11/17-10/20/17   (6 weeks)

·       Council Award                                                                                10/12/17 

·       Construction                                                                                   10/23/17-7/27/18 (40 weeks)

·       Close out – Occupy                                                                         7/30/18-8/24/18 (4 weeks)

·       Final Acceptance                                                                            8/27/18

I will also continue to advocate for additional elements of Heroes Park, also long overdue. Nearly every district has its points of pride from the Foothills Library and Foothills Recreation & Aquatic Center, to Sahuaro Ranch, to Thunderbird Paseo Racquet Center, to Murphy Park and the Civic Center. It’s time for west Glendale to have its major amenity and its point of pride completed.

© Joyce Clark, 2016        

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘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 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 material. 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.

People always wonder and ask what a councilmember really does. Over the next four years of my term as the Yucca district councilmember I may be able to provide you with some answers. I was reelected as the Yucca district councilmember in August of 2016.

After the formal city council acceptance of the Canvass of Votes I began to receive phone calls and requests for meetings. Prior to officially taking office on December 13, 2016 I spent several hundred hours in October and November preparing for office and participating as a councilmember elect.  Since the beginning of October I have had approximately 30 luncheon meetings with community stakeholders, city staff and city councilmembers; more than a dozen “coffee” meetings primarily with residential development interests; and attended more than a half dozen city/community events from HOA annual meetings, to an COG airport open house to the Glendale Christmas parade.

As councilmember elect I began receiving council material for voting meetings and workshops. I spent hours reviewing the material and firing off memos to the city manager and staff asking for answers to questions I had as councilmember elect.  I also personally attended city council voting meetings and workshops on Tuesdays prior to taking office.

Much time was spent reconnecting with various stakeholders and rebuilding positive relationships with them. Another chunk of time was used to bring me up to speed on various city and Yucca district issues by meeting with city personnel. Yet more time was used to prepare for council meetings and to attend various city events.

I suspect since councilmembers are usually seen only on Glendale’s Cable 11 TV, most people think that is all that they do. Not true. It’s a major time commitment with irregular work hours. A simple lunch meeting can easily take 2 hours if you include travel time. A city function such as a public community event or a neighborhood meeting will also consume several hours and many are evening events. The same can be said for a formal council meeting or workshop. Preparation time for council meetings and workshops can easily take a day or more, especially if a councilmember requires meetings or communications with various city staff for further clarification on issues.

A city councilmember has three major responsibilities: to make decisions regarding the city’s public policy on a potpourri of issues; to represent the interests and points of view of Glendale’s residents, especially one’s district constituents; and to represent the leadership of Glendale not only at city functions but at local, regional, state and national venues and organizations.

To accomplish all of these responsibilities each councilmember has access to two taxpayer-funded budgets. The first is a Professional Development budget of $18,000 annually. These funds may be used for trips such as the state or national League of Cities and Towns annual meetings. The money can be used for dues/membership fees to organizations and or activities a councilmember needs to connect to the community, such as the local Chamber of Commerce or the WestMarc Annual State of the State Dinner. This budget can be used for subscriptions to publications such as the Phoenix Business Journal. These are activities that enhance the councilmember’s effectiveness and would not be an ordinary activity or expense as a private citizen. Lastly it can be used to support the ordinary functions of the office such as business cards, letterhead, a computer or tablet or activities such as contributions for flowers for a memorial service of a prominent Glendale personage.

The second councilmember budget is a District Improvement budget of $15,000 annually. It is to be used for minor infrastructure improvements within the councilmember’s district. It can be used in parks to plant trees, do minor repairs to park equipment, repaint park equipment. It can be used to make neighborhood improvements, such as repair of subdivision monument signage. It can also be used for examples such as landscape improvements to a public element within a subdivision or installation or repair of curb, gutter or sidewalks. Some councilmembers have used these funds to make contributions to non-profit organizations or to sponsor city events. I, personally, do not believe that these activities are an appropriate use of taxpayer funded public infrastructure improvements.

I plan on using my council Professional Development budget for 2 major functions: to support the rental cost of meeting space and refreshments for regular Yucca district meetings; and to create, print and mail a Spring and Fall edition of the Yucca district newsletter to every household that has a water bill. One newsletter mailing to Yucca residents is anticipated to cost between $5,000 to $7,000 (primary cost is postage). Even though it is a major expense, I believe it is important to provide this mailing because not everyone has access to a computer and some residents, especially seniors, may not be computer literate enough to access all city material available on the internet. I will continue to use social media, my Facebook page, Twitter and my blog page, www.joyceclarkunfiltered.com as major means of outreach to those Yucca district residents who are computer savvy and regularly visit these sites.

In December I have spent the following amounts from my Professional Development budget with an inherited starting balance from the former councilmember of $13,113.93:

·       $87.28 for Councilmember business cards

·       $299.21 for Councilmember letterhead stationery and envelopes

·       $45.86 for a Councilmember name plate and business card holder for my desk

·       $100.00 as my portion of the cost for rental of the Sahuaro fruit packing shed for a mayor and council sponsored event inviting all West Valley mayors and councils

I did not have to buy a tablet to conduct city business as I inherited the former councilmember’s city tablet. After deducting these December, 2016 expenses my Professional Development budget has a January 1, 2017 starting balance of $12,581.58. Councilmembers recently directed staff to publish their monthly expenditures and these expenditures can be found at: http://www.glendaleaz.com/CityCouncil/FinancialStatements.cfm .

I inherited an Infrastructure budget of $12,500 from the former councilmember. I need your help. This is where you come in. If you are a Yucca district resident I suspect you have seen many areas of our district that need repair. Have you seen subdivision monument signage in need of repair? Or have you seen one of our district parks that could use some further landscaping or repair/painting of equipment? Perhaps you have seen spots in need of curb, gutter or sidewalk repair? These funds can be used on city property or public right of way for improvements. Or do you have an idea for a public project with a cost of no more than $12,000?

I am soliciting suggestions from you until January 31, 2017. Any and all ideas are most welcome. This is your opportunity to participate in your local government. Please submit your suggestions with the following information, your name, and your return email address or phone number; the address of problem; description of the suggested improvement; and if you can, include a photo of the problem area. You may send the information to: clarkjv@aol.com; jclark@glendaleaz.com; post a comment to my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/joyce.clark.338  ; or post a comment to this blog topic.

I believe a councilmember’s Professional Development budget should be used primarily for outreach to either one’s constituents or to the community-at-large. That is why I intend to use it to hold district meetings and to publish district information. I also intend to use it for councilmember related memberships and activities. As a private citizen there are many events, local and regional, I would not be required to attend but as a councilmember I would be expected to participate. I will use this budget to attend local and regional dinners and conferences.

A councilmember’s Infrastructure Improvement budget was designed to allow a councilmember to invest in improving his or her district. The intent when it was created was not to grant money to non-profits. It is always possible that a councilmember could grant money from this budget to a non-profit that constituents could think was inappropriate. I will use this budget to make minor district improvements.

Next blog up…good news about the west branch library!

© Joyce Clark, 2016        

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘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 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 material. 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.

This first story is in keeping with the spirit of the Christmas season. Right after Thanksgiving a Phoenix hiking group erected a 15-foot Christmas tree at the summit of Camelback Mountain. Within a day someone had cut the tree’s top half down and stole it. Park rangers removed the bottom half instantly. Phoenix (the Grinch of this story) has a “leave no trace” policy in its parks and refused to allow the group to replace the tree. After discussions with the group, Phoenix relented and will allow the Christmas tree to be up for a month. Here is the link to the story: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2016/12/02/camelback-mountain-new-christmas-tree/94826794/ hootPostID=e6b4bacfb975fca570a98e83f2a0f9f3 . A win win solution for everyone showing that even a Grinch can have a heart. Good for you, Phoenix.

Not so with Glendale. Tony Escamillo erected a United States flag at the summit of Thunderbird Mountain Park symbolic of our national pride and out of his love of country. It keeps getting removed. By whom? None other than the City of Glendale. Another Grinch identified. Sometimes rules are meant to be broken and this could be one of those ‘sometimes’. Come on, Glendale, make this an exception. Perhaps there is a reader out there who will start a Go Fund Me account for permanent placement of our country’s flag on Glendale’s one and only mountain top. Here is a link to this story: https://www.facebook.com/FOX10Phoenix/videos/1188934381155107/?pnref=story .

The next story is a cautionary tale for Glendale’s Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). Experience Scottsdale (previously known as the Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau) was audited this year. Here is a link to that story: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/scottsdale/2016/12/01/city-tourism-audit-ciritical-experience-scottsdales-high-pay-lack-focus-city/94353844/ . The major thrust of the audit was on Experience Scottsdale’s executive salaries. At the present time that is not an issue for the Glendale CVB and is irrelevant but some of its other findings are worth paying attention to.

This group receives half of Scottsdale’s hotel-sales-tax collections each year, amounting to about $9.4 million in fiscal year 2016. Glendale also allocates a portion of its bed-hotel-sales tax collections to its CVB. Currently, $30,000 of its total hotel-bed-sales tax will be used to promote the Civic Center. While Glendale’s hotel bed-sales-tax numbers are not as grand as those of Scottsdale with its bounty of hotels, especially high-end ones as more hotels come on line in Glendale, that bed-sales-tax number will become more significant.

Scottsdale’s audit report discovered that of the 536 convention bookings, only 297 were actually on Scottsdale properties. In another instance, the Scottsdale CVB reported 167,000 room nights as a result of the conventions booked. Actual room nights in Scottsdale proper were about half that number, 84,000.

The Scottsdale CVB has 411 members but 180 of its members, or a little less than half, are outside of Scottsdale so the benefits to its members do not translate as exclusive benefits for Scottsdale businesses. The Scottsdale CVB reported 2.6 million visitors to its website but failed to account for repeat visitors in that reported number. The audit revealed the economic impact related to visitor inquiries at Experience Scottsdale around $262 million, about 16 percent less than the figure reported by the CVB.

The Scottsdale audit recommended that its CVB set annual goals based on the previous year’s results; that it prioritizes Scottsdale-based businesses; and that it annually submits documentation that verifies its performance claims. That sure does sound like a strategy the Glendale city council should adopt.

The last story is about Buckeye and is in the ‘what in the world?’ category. In April of 2015, about a year and half ago, Buckeye purchased Global Water Resources for $55 million dollars. The deal was touted as being more efficient. Residents were assured that current customer water rates were sufficient to cover the expense of the acquisition over a 20 year period. The city said that opening up the areas previously served by Global would generate new development. It said there would be new sales tax, property tax and employment as a result of the enhanced water system. Here is the link to the original 2015 story: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/southwest-valley/2015/04/06/buckeye-adds-new-water-customers-promises-benefits/25269607/ .

Obviously something went terribly wrong. Over the past few months suddenly Buckeye water customers have had bills that spiked – upwards of $400, and some as high as $1,400. There is nothing that makes a resident sit up and take notice more than an issue that hits the pocket book and this surely did just that. Residents made noise and filed complaints with the city. Nothing has happened except for the sound of crickets chirping.  On November 22, 2016 residents had had enough of the city’s inaction and so filed a recall petition against Mayor Jackie Meck. Here is a link to the story: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/southwest-valley/2016/11/30/high-water-bills-prompt-recall-effort-buckeye-mayor/94634980/ .

Meck, in response, acknowledged “some growing pains” as a result of the city’s purchase of Global. What might they be, Mayor Meck and why haven’t you shared them with your residents? More crickets chirping. It has been my experience that a city’s mayor knows exactly what’s going on with everything even remotely city-related. Meck says he’s “working on it” but it’s a little late for Meck to suddenly play dumb.

Jackie Meck has been around for a long time and seems to represent the good ole boys of Buckeye. His response has been to say, “I have lived in Buckeye all of my life. Through it all we have never gone through a recall. It is not how we have settled our differences.” It appears that Meck is ignoring his residents at his peril. Didn’t we all just experience something similar on a national level as the Democrats ignored their core constituency of the working class resulting in their election losses? It would seem that anyone running against Meck this time around has a good chance of unseating him (despite his recent August reelection victory) for it’s obvious that there are a lot of angry Buckeye water customers out there and they, too, are being ignored. They just may express their anger and frustration through the ballot box as well.

© Joyce Clark, 2016        

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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 ‘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 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 material. 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.

Apparently Governor Doug Ducey has no problem throwing the City of Glendale under the bus. Recently he offered a settlement to the Tohono O’odham. Here is a link to Howard Fischer’s Capitol Times story: http://tucson.com/news/local/tohono-o-odham-say-proposed-casino-deal-not-likely-acceptable/article_da14a03a-e2b5-5fde-aa95-87519314c89c.html . In return for the state’s recognition of the Glendale casino as well as the state’s allowance of full Class III gaming at the Glendale casino the Governor wants the tribe in essence to promise not to build any other casinos in the metropolitan areas of  Phoenix and to limit gaming to the TO tribal land that existed in 2003. Gee, as a Glendale resident, I want to say, “Thank you, Governor.” The deal, in order to obtain buy-in from the other tribes, gives the tribes an increase gaming operations which means increased revenue for them.

The Tohono O’odham (TO) is reluctant to agree. They are betting that Judge Campbell, who is scheduled to hear arguments in mid-December on the TO’s lawsuit to compel the state to grant it Class III gaming, will rule in their favor. The TO assumes it will win this lawsuit and get Class III gaming in Glendale. The TO’s anticipated win of this current law suit allows them to retain the legal option to open casinos elsewhere in the Phoenix metro area.

A little refresher on history is needed. In 2002, the voters of the state approved a Gaming Compact between all tribes and the state for the purpose of gaming regulation at tribal casinos. The 2002 deal gave the tribes the exclusive right to conduct casino gaming in Arizona and was sold to voters on the promise that gambling would be restricted to existing reservations and that there would be no new casinos in the Phoenix area.

In the meantime, the TO, while actively encouraging voters to support the 2002 gaming compact, were already planning on breaching it. Prior to 2002 they were secretly and actively seeking land for the purpose of planting a casino in Maricopa County. Their original consideration was to purchase land in or around Buckeye. Buckeye dodged the bullet when the TO’s consultant opined that the site was too distant from the major urban centers of Phoenix. They settled on a county island in Glendale, close to city’s newly announced (in 2002) Westgate site as an entertainment district. They bought the land under a shell company and for seven years they kept it secret while Glendale invested millions of dollars into the development of Westgate. On the day in 2009, when they made their public announcement of their intent to build a casino in Glendale, they marched into city hall and in essence told the city they were coming and there was not a darned thing it could do about it.

For years, Glendale and the Salt River-Pima-Maricopa tribe and the Gila River tribe brought lawsuits against the Tohono O’odham. It has only been lately that Glendale’s city council dropped its opposition to the TO casino in return for 30 pieces of silver.

Here is the Arizona Republic’s latest editorial on the issue: http://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/editorial/2016/11/30/tribal-gaming-settlement/94698276/ .

Everyone , to this day, believes the TO’s West Valley casino was a breach of the spirit of the 2002 agreement with voters that created the plan for limited tribal gaming. The tribes believe the TO breached their trust. Over the past 8 years the TO has created controversy, innumerable legal battles, enormous cost and a great deal of distrust regarding its word to its sister tribes and the voters of the state.

The TO’s response has been to say that it wants to consider all proposals using the Arizona Indian Gaming Association (AIGA). Here’s the rub. The Gila River Indian Community and the Salt River-Pima-Maricopa Indian Community resigned from the AIGA in May, 2016, saying, “actions of the Tohono O’odham Nation to secretly develop a casino in direct opposition to the promises made by AIGA and other tribes has destroyed AIGA’s unity and undermined the principles of the organization.” Obviously the TO’s suggestion is not going to happen but it certainly provides the TO with convenient cover.

What to make of this latest volley? It is clear that no one on this planet trusts the Tohono O’odham’s word.  The only reason the state is willing to grant the long-coveted Class III gambling license is because Governor Ducey wants a signed, legal document  (promise) from the TO that they will not build any more casinos in the greater Phoenix metro area. The TO’s word is worth nothing and their signature on a contract may not be worth much more (do you see future law suits?).

In the meantime the TO wants its cake and to eat it too. They are cocky. They’ve won nearly every law suit. They have convinced themselves they will win this latest one. If they do, they will get their Class III gaming without having to promise anyone that they will not build more casinos in Maricopa County. Uh, oh, watch out Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, et. al. A Tohono O’odham casino planted in your town may be in your future! Can anyone say, “Las Vegas?”

© Joyce Clark, 2016        

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘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 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 material. 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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