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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

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Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

On July 19, 2018 the Glendale Star ran a story entitled “Petitions ready to keep festivals in place.” Bud Zomok, a local downtown Glendale resident, was interviewed about his effort to run an online petition using the internet site ipetitions.com. The purpose of the online petition was to garner support for preserving Glendale’s downtown festivals exactly the way they have always been.

Let’s take a closer look at the representations of support depicted in these petitions. Zomok said he collected 958 signatures. That is factually correct. He said that people for all zip codes in Glendale responded. That is factually correct.  I reviewed all of the petition signatures Zomok presented to each member of the city council. Here is the signature break down by zip code in Glendale:

  • 85301 43 signatures
  • 85302 40 signatures
  • 85303 10 signatures
  • 85304: 30 signatures
  • 85305: 5 signatures
  • 85306: 18 signatures
  • 85307: 1  signature
  • 85308:  21 signatures
  • 85310: 11 signatures
  • Glendale, AZ no zip code:    8 signatures

The total number of identifiable, provable signatures representing Glendale total 187. The balance of the signatures, another 771, had no zip code or if a zip code was entered it was outside of Glendale. In fact, one signature was from France.

Yet Mr. Zomok says, “There were 400 signatures from within the city, while 500 were from the rest of the state and beyond.” I went back and took a closer look at the petitions to see if there was some marker that I missed that would allow Mr. Zomok to definitively identify 400 signatures from within the city. I could not find anything. Did he contact all of these people by email to confirm their residency in Glendale? I doubt it and you should as well. It would be difficult to convince anyone that he had personal knowledge of the claimed 400 Glendale residents.

Now, it is possible that more of the signatures could be from Glendale residents but without a zip code or other descriptor it is not possible to verify. Therefore the only rational course is to accept those petition signatures with stated Glendale zip codes.

While many of the 187 Glendale residents who signed the petition left a comment in support of the festivals there were many more respondents who did not leave any commentary at all.

I selected one page, page 27, at random and reproduced it below:

There is nothing wrong with the use of petitions to convey support for an issue. However, an online petition becomes suspect when anyone who is online can sign it, without claiming a Glendale zip code and without any comment about the festival which indicates a lack of knowledge about the festival. Petitions generally work and have meaning (except for the 1,000 Glendale residents who signed a petition in opposition to an amended Stonehaven plan and were ignored) when locals circulate them among the local population. It does a disservice to every reader of this news article to represent that there is overwhelming support from scads of Glendale’s residents.

No one has suggested that the festivals be eliminated in their entirety. Far from it. In fact, it appears that the city manager has identified enough funding to add one of the three weekends back to Glendale Glitters. So instead of four weekends of city funded programming there will be two. 

In an informal poll that ran with this blog 53% of the respondents approved of changing the festivals while 47% of the respondents did not.

There is nothing to preclude the downtown merchants from getting together, seeking sponsorships and developing programming for the two weekends that will not be funded by the city. It’s not too late to do so. I am sure the city would work with the merchants to facilitate their needs should they decide to take up the task. The merchants would have to raise the money needed for associated production costs such as police, security and sanitation. The city has made clear that it believes the dollars used to cover the costs associated with four weekends can be used more effectively with other initiatives to achieve the goal of driving visitors downtown on a yearlong basis.

The general sentiment seems to be that the festivals need refreshing, not elimination in their entirety. I have some ideas and I have heard some good ideas from the merchants as well. I hope they will come together as one voice and share those great ideas with the city. Let’s work together.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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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Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

Ocotillo district Jamie Aldama: Aldama started this quarter with a balance of $13,863.63. He received contributions of $23,005.

Contributions of $25 to $50Timothy Jurell, $25; Martin Quezada, $25 (cumulative total of $75); Ray Martinez, $30; Frank Hernandez, $25 (cumulative total of $75)

Contributions of $100 to $250Jeff Keim, $100; Arthur Othon, $100; Dan Saban, $200; Carl Dietzman, $100; Mark Werber, $200; Jack Lundsford, $100; Donna Staude, $200; Bruce Heatwole, $100; Jessica Koory, $100; Jose Hernandez, $100; Luis De La Cruz, $200 (cumulative total of $700)

Contribution of $300 to $500Benjamin Graff, $400; Payan Hossini-Raouf, $500; Donnie Morales, $300

Contributions over $1,000: William Meyer, $6,350; Mark Meyer, $6,350

Political Action Committee (PAC) Contributions: Peoria Police Officers Association, $500; Tempe Officers Association, $1,000; Mesa Police Association, $1,000; UFCW Local 99, $2,500; Avondale Professional Firefighters, $2,500-

Expenses:

Aldama had usual and customary expenses for printing, web hosting, food and bank fees. His notable expenses includes $1,998.30 to the Glendale Star for an ad; another $1,270 to Stone Strategic Management, his consulting firm; another $600 to his campaign manager, Chuck Foy, of Negotiation Dynamics; and $1,552.52 to Christy Fritz for graphic design of his walking literature, thank you cards, signs and a mailing piece. The total of his expenses was $20,423.64 leaving him a balance of $27,397.89.

Ocotillo district Emmanuel Allen:

Allen started this quarter with a balance of $914.37. He received contributions of $21,614.92.

Contribution of $50Shelby Frederick, $50

Contributions of $100: John McCombs, $100; Shirley Brown, $100, David Mitchell, $100

Contributions of $500: Lam Q Bui, $500; Van Son Bui, $500

Contributions over $1,000: Michelle McClain, $1,000; Mark Meyer, $6,350; Ryan Wells, $6,350; Ben Meyer, $6,350

In Kind Contributions: Constatin Querard, $600 for consulting

Expenses:

His expenses to date total $2,199.98. His expenses were typical for any campaign:  printing and a campaign worker. He ends his 2nd quarter reporting period with $19, 929.89.

Aldama has $27,397.89 and Allen has $19, 929.89 plus whatever contributions each get between July 1, 2018 and August 11, 2018. The next campaign financial report will be the August Pre-Election Report due to the city clerk between August 12th and August 18th, 2018.

Here is what so interesting about the current district races. In 2014, the last election for these districts, here is the total of votes cast by district:

  • Cholla district 9,190
  • Barrel district 6,220
  • Ocotillo district 2,435

The voter activity in the Ocotillo district is the lowest of all six council districts with a total in the last election cycle of 2,435 votes. Yet in this cycle Aldama has already spent $20,423.64. That equals $8.39 per voter. Astounding…but more about that in an upcoming blog. On the other hand, Allen has spent a total of $2,199.98 or 90 cents per voter.

Just in terms of contrast in the Barrel district which had a total of 6,220 voters in 2014 (3 times the number than that of the Ocotillo district) Turner has spent to date $766.51 or 12 cents per voter and Strahl has spent $2, 256,71 or 36 cents per vote.

In 2016, my last election cycle, the Yucca district had a total of 3,151 voters. I spent approximately $15,000 or $4.76 per voter. Chavira spent approximately $45,000 or $14.28 per voter.

Keep in mind the upcoming financial reports will reflect even more money collected and spent. I think it’s fair to look at the candidates’ election performance and to judge how wise their decisions have been regarding how they spend their campaign funds.

Does raising and spending a lot of money make for the better candidate? I think not.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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.

Who would you vote for today?

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Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

I have to commend the City Clerk. The deadline for filing the 2nd quarter reports was July 15th. By July 17th all campaign reports were posted and are available online from the website. The directions to get to the campaign finance reports were included in a previous blog.

Barrel district Bart Turner: Turner started this quarter with a balance of $1,892.53. He received contributions of $5,865.00.

Contributions of $25 to $50:

Ray Martinez, $40; Reginald Martinez, $50; Davita Solter, $25; Maria Brunner, $50; Wayne Parrish, $50; Cathy Mondino, $50; Andrew Thackray,$50 (cumulative total of $100)

Contributions of $100 to $250:

Tom Cole, $200; Ed Bull, $250; Chris Eastburn, $200; Nancy Adamson, $250; Richard Coffinger, $200; David Chang, $250; Ian Hugh, $100; Judith Atkins, $100; Yvonne Knaack, $150; Bruce Heatwole, $100 (cumulative total of $250); Nancy Lennox, $100; Jessica Koory, $100 (cumulative total of $400); David Schwartz, $200; Jane Short, $100; Dennis Burke, $100; David Lively, $100; Ben Butler, $100; Jamara Harris, $250; Julie Rees, $100; Lynda Vescio, $100

Contribution of $2,000:

Tohono O’odham

Political Action Committee (PAC) Contributions:

Pinnacle West, $500

Expenses:

Turner’s expenses were usual and customary for printing, web hosting and a fund raising event. The total of his expenses was $766.51 leaving him a balance of $6,991.02.

Barrel district Ray Strahl:

Mr. Strahl’s first report is the 2nd quarter report of 2018 since he formed his campaign committee a month or so ago. He collected $8,600 in campaign donations.

Contribution of $150:

Nicholas Simonetta, $150

Contributions of $1,000 or more:

Mark Myer, $6,350; Ronald McClure, $1,000; Kevin Dang, $1,000

Expenses:

His expenses were typical for any campaign:  a little over $2,000 in food for volunteers, petition canvassers and domain name and website hosting. He ends his 2nd quarter reporting period with $6,343.29.

Now it gets interesting. Turner has $6,991.02 and Strahl has $6,343.29 plus whatever contributions each gets between July 1, 2018 and August 11, 2018. The next campaign financial report will be the August Pre-Election Report due to the city clerk between August 12th and August 18th, 2018.

For every candidate it becomes a question of decision making in terms of logistics and planning when using the cash balance on hand plus any new contributions most effectively. Primary Early Ballots are mailed out during the first week of August. How much will each candidate decide to use to influence early voters and how much will he hold back for poll voters on August 28th? Statistics prove that early voters are more prevalent than poll voters but there’s a caveat. About one third of all early voters will get their ballots and return them immediately. Another third will hold onto their ballots for about 7 to 10 days before making a decision and mailing the ballot in. The last third will either end up not voting at all or will turn in their early ballot at the polls.

The major expense for candidates to date has been getting signs printed and out on the streets. Political mailings now become critical to raise a candidate’s visibility with the electorate. Mailers are pricey. Most candidates have lists of those who have consistently voted and will target that demographic. The major cost is always the postage. It can easily cost from $2,500 to $4,500 to send out one mailing which includes the cost for design, production, printing and mailing.

However, the most effective way to reach the voters is the old-fashioned way, using shoe leather. Candidates who go door-to-door are likely to win. I can’t count the number of times people have been impressed to actually meet the candidate at their door step.

My next blog will take a look at the 2nd quarter reports for Aldama and Allen.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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.

Who would you vote for today?

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Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

Ocotillo District Jamie Aldama: Mr. Aldama continues to be challenged in filing timely campaign reports. Apparently he did not file a 3rd quarter report for 2017 because his 4th quarter filing contains a cover page written by the City Clerk stating, “Per the City Clerk, Julie Bower, this reports contains contributions and expenses from a prior time in 2017 (June – September) period not already filed with the City Clerk.” Mr. Aldama’s 4th quarter report of 2017 shows a cumulative total of $15,216.53 (all funds raised prior to October 1, 2017). He had expenses of $6,923.30. He begins the 1st quarter report with $8,293.23. The following reflect his 4th quarter report of 2017:

Contributions of $25:

David Moreno, Hugo Tinoco, David Sandoval, Janice Nichols, Cecilia Moreno ($30), Ervin Cutwright

Contributions of $50:

 Lorenzo Sierra, Maria Brunner, Patricia DiRoss Coughlin, Jim Malicki, Martin Quezada, Otoniel Navarrate, Ray Watkins, Wendi Sorensen, Richard Andrade, Jim Walsh, Frank Hernandez, Debra Stark ($49), Sally Orozco, Teddy Castro, Jerry Cipriano ($49), Ben Barcon ($49), Teresa Ramirez Lopez

Contributions of $51 to $100:

Monica Pimentel, $75; Philip Carli, $100; Greg Aldama, $100; Tom Nerini, $100; Manuel Cisneros, $100; Tio Tachias, $100; Reginald Martinez, $99; Martin Samaniego, $100

Contributions of $101 to $500:

Janice Garza, $300; Ron Ober, $250; Dennis Burke, $250; Jason Morris, $500; Francisco Gutierrez, $200; Mark Burdick, $200; Luis De La Cruz, $500; John Dick, $500; Stephen Earl, $500; Rye Semro, $250; James Miller, $500; Stephen Anderson, $200; Gregory Vogel, $500;

Contributions of $501 and over:

Shelly & Chris Thompson, $600; Mark Becker, $1,000; Daniel Ochoa, $2,500; Faris Suukar, $1,000; Jacob Long , $1,000

The Committee to Elect Ray Martinez contributed $70

Political Action Committees (PACs):

Salt River Project Political Involvement Committee, $500; United Phx Firefighters Chandler Chapter, $500; United Phx Firefighters Peoria Chapter, $500; Phoenix Firefighters Local 493, $1,000

In-Kind contributions:

Teresa Ramirez Lopez, $45.53; Christy Fritz, $400; Jack Nylund, $60

Expenses:

Aldama’s expenses are interesting. Stone Strategic Management was paid $2,469.20 to define critical issues, and to identify and to develop best strategies.  Negotiation Dynamics was paid $1,389.58. This company is his campaign manager’s, Chuck Foy. The Saban Group was paid $154 to do opposition research and Christy Fritz was paid $600 for design services. Another $2,310.52 was paid out in customary services such a volunteer food, bank charges, etc.

Aldama began the first quarter of 2018 with $8,293.23. He had contributions of $9,600 and expenses of $4,029.60. He ends the first quarter of 2018 with $13,863.63.

For the first quarter of 2018 here is the breakdown:

Contributions of $100 to $500:

Tony Sawyer, $200; Paul Rovey, $250; Jason Rovey, $500; Ronald Rovey, $250; Israel Torres, $100; Rodney Jarvis, $200; Yvonne Knaack, $100; Taylor Earl, $150; Mario Diaz, $100; John Geurs, $300; Jessica Koory, $100; Edwin Bull, $250; Rhonda Cagle, $100

Contributions of $1,000 or more:

Kevin Kelly, $1,000; Stephen Earl, $1,000 (total to date, $1,500); Tohono O’Odham Nation, $2,000

Political Action Committees (PACs):

Arizona Pipe Trade 469, $2,500

Expenses:

Aldama’s expenses show Stone Strategic Management receiving another $1,740. His campaign manager, Chuck Foy, of Negotiation Dynamics was paid $424. Primary Consultants was paid $1,450 for a political mailing. $250 was paid to the Arizona Democrat Party for voter walking/mailing lists. The balance of the expense report shows usual and customary expenses. The total expenses in the first quarter of 2018 were $4,029.60.

We’ve barely gotten started and Aldama has already racked up expenses of nearly $11,000 and half of that was paid to consultants. Aldama begins his second quarter report of 2018 with $13,863.63

Ocotillo District Emmanuel Allen:  Allen formed a political committee late in the 4th quarter of 2017. To get himself started and to register his campaign committee he loaned the campaign $100. He had one contribution of $125 from Nick Simonetta resulting in a total of $225 for the 4th quarter. Allen has a starting balance of $55.06 for his first quarterly 2018 report.

In-Kind Contributions:

Consulting services of $400 from Constatin Querard.

Expenses:

$169.94 for web hosting and establishing a campaign bank account.

Allen’s 1st quarter report  of 2018 reflects the infancy of campaign fund raising by a “newbie” who has not run for political office before. In Allen’s first quarter report of 2018 he had contributions of $1,333.35.

Contributions of $50 to $100:

Tim Cole, $100; Skye Steele, $100; Nicole Davis, $100; Geraldine Gage, $100; Lawrence Davis, $50; Keith Davis, $100; Axel Sippach, $100; Vanessa Cordova, $50; Kenneth Turner, $100; Shelby Frederick, $50; Mariana Hunter, $100; Ned Altizer, $100

Contributions of $101 to $200:

Trina Salgado, $200

In-Kind Contributions:

$600 in consulting services from Constatin Querard

Expenses:

$409.24 for food, canvassing, web site hosting, printing and bank fees.

Mr. Allen retains a balance of $914.37 to begin his second quarter of 2018 report.

My next blogs will take a look at the candidates and their positions on city issues, old and new.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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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Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

In mid-August voters will receive their primary election ballots. Before the primary election occurs it is time to look at the candidates for the Barrel and Ocotillo district council seats. Since there are two candidates for the Ocotillo and Barrel district seats, it is likely that these district elections will be decided in the Primary Election. This is the important election for Glendale voters. This Primary election will also narrow state legislative and congressional candidate choice to one Democrat and one Republican to face off in the November election.

All candidates whether they are running for local or some other office within the state are required to periodically file a committee campaign report. The schedule for this year is:

  • 2018 1st Quarter report (covers Feb. 25, 2018 to March 31, 2018) due between April 1st and April 15th, 2018
  • 2018 2nd Quarter report (covers April 29, 2018 to June 30, 2018) due between July 1st and July 15th, 2018
  • 2018 3rd Quarter report (covers Aug. 12, 2018 to Sept 30, 2018) due between Oct. 1st and Oct. 15th, 2018
  • 2018 4th Quarter report (covers Oct. 21, 2018 to Dec. 31st 2018) due Jan. 1st and Jan. 15, 2019

This is a new state reporting system that began shortly after my last run for office in 2016. At that time all candidates were required to terminate their existing campaign committees and to reform their committees under the state’s new reporting system.

The 2nd quarter reports have not been put online yet by the City Clerk’s office as the last day to file them was July 15, 2018. As soon as they are posted I will provide an update on the candidates’ filings.

All of the information in this blog is publicly available through the City Clerk’s office. Since the city has implemented a new software computer operating system citywide finding the campaign finance reports is no longer as user friendly. Here’s the drill:

  • On the city’s main page of its website on the left side of the page choose “City Clerk
  • On the next page on the left side choose “Public Document Search
  • A list will come up in the middle of the next page. Choose “Elections
  • A block will come up labeled “Content”.  From the drop down menu choose “Campaign Finance Records-Finance Report
  • A second block underneath is labeled “Committee Type.” From the drop down menu choose the name of any single candidate’s committee.
  • All current filed campaign reports will come up. Choose the report you wish to view.
  • If you wish to print out any report, you must save as a pdf and make sure pop ups are not blocked in your browser.

Whew! That’s really friendly to you, the user, isn’t it? To make your life a little easier I’ve already gone through the relevant campaign finance reports for Bart Turner and Ray Strahl, Barrel district candidates; and Jaime Aldama and Emmanuel Allen, Ocotillo district candidates. At this time I have chosen not to report on Tolmachoff as she is running unopposed in the Cholla district. I viewed the 4th quarter of 2017 reports and the 1st quarter of 2018 reports.

Barrel District Bart Turner: Mr. Turner’s 4th quarter 2017 report shows a campaign committee balance of funds of $942.53. He filed a “No Activity” report for November and December, 2017. His 1st quarter report of 2018 shows receipts of $950.00. The three contributors to his campaign in the 1st quarter of 2018 are:

  • Jessica Koory at $300
  • Bruce Heatwole at $150
  • Klaus Bolle at $500

He had no campaign expenses thus far. He began his 2nd quarter reporting period with $1,892.53.

Barrel District Ray Strahl: Mr. Strahl’s first report is the 1st quarter report of 2018 since he formed his campaign committee a month or so ago. He collected $8,600 in campaign donations. His four contributors are:

  • Mark Myer at $6,350
  • Ronald McClure at $1,000
  • Kevin Dang at $1,000
  • Nicholas Simonetta at $150

His expenses were typical for any campaign:  a little over $2,000 in food for volunteers, petition canvassers and domain name and website hosting. He began his 2nd quarter reporting period with $6,343.29.

As you can see, Strahl the challenger for the Barrel district council seat, has raised more money in this first quarter report. But it’s early in terms of finance reporting. There are still 3 more quarters and a final report to be submitted. Most politicians wait as long as they can to report the major sources of their contributions. Revealing who some of their contributors are could prove problematical in some cases.

In my next blog we’ll take a look at the finance reports of Aldama and Allen, running for the Ocotillo district seat. After that, expect further blogs on more campaign finance reports and the positions of the candidates on major issues in Glendale.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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.

Should downtown festivals be changed?

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Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

On July 5, 2018 the Glendale Chamber of Commerce announced its endorsements for the three city council seats to be voted upon in Glendale’s next election. The endorsements were for all three incumbents: Vice Mayor Tolmachoff from the Cholla district; Councilmember Bart Turner of the Barrel district; and Councilmember Jamie Aldama of the Ocotillo district. All candidates were interviewed and their written responses reviewed by the Chamber’s Public Policy Council. Those recommendations were then forwarded to the Board of Directors for approval. Here are the members of the Glendale Chamber’s Public Policy Council:

  • Bill Toops, Glendale Star, Chairperson (also serves on Board of Directors)
  • Steve Adams, AlphaGraphics, (also serves on Board of Directors)
  • Rachel Aja, Cox Communications
  • Kathi Beranek, Blue Cross Blue Shield (company also represented on Board of Directors)
  • Judy Butler, Butler Creative & Consulting
  • Ron Castro, BNC National Bank, (company also represented on Board of Directors)
  • Michael Cavaiola, Redflex Traffic Solutions
  • Stephanie Colbert, Chance Mikos Farmer’s Insurance
  • Donna Davis, Expect More Arizona
  • Patricia DiRoss, Salt River Project, (company also represented on Board of Directors)
  • Yvonne Knaack, State Farm Insurance
  • Matt Ligouri, Southwest Gas
  • Bobbi Magdaleno, Arizona State University, (also serves on Board of Directors)
  • Dave Mitchell, Ideal Insurance Agency
  • Liz Recchia, WeMar
  • Brent Stoddard, Director of Public Affairs, City of Glendale
  • Lyndia Vescio, Vescio Law Firm, (also serves on Board of Directors)
  • Robert Heidt, CEO Glendale Chamber of Commerce, (also serves on Board of Directors)

Here are the members of the Chamber’s Board of Directors;

  • Maria Brunner, Chair of the Board, OneAZ Credit Union
  • Lily DeBileux, Chair-Elect, Pendergast Elementary School District
  • Steve Adams, Treasurer, Alphgraphics
  • Scott Spillman, Vice Treasurer, BNC National Bank
  • Jean Higginbotham, Past Chair, Blue Cross Blue Shield,
  • Robert Heidt, CEO, Glendale Chamber
  • Victoria Coley, Humana
  • Ariana Deerman, Wells Fargo Bank
  • Stephanie Klingener, VitalFit Training
  • Kate Kochenderfer, Salt River Project
  • Wayne Lawson, Signarama on 51st Avenue
  • Patrick McDermott, Arizona Public Service
  • Bobbi Magdaleno, Arizona State University
  • Kevin Phelps, City Manager, City of Glendale
  • Mary Pritchard, Pritchard Insurance Group
  • Richard Sherry, Dignity Health Arizona
  • Bill Toops, Glendale Star
  • Jeffrey Turney, Military & Veterans Affairs
  • Lynda Vescio, Vescio Law Firm
  • Judy Walter, Dignity Memorial
  • Mayor Jerry Weiers, City of Glendale

Of the 18 members of the Public Policy Council, 8 members (44%) also serve on the Board of Directors or have another person from their company serving on the Board of Directors. Once the Public Policy Council has made a recommendation for endorsement it is very probable that the Board of Directors will ratify the recommendations. After the 8 members have made a decision those same 8 companies can ratify the recommendations made to the Board of Directors needing only one more person to constitute a majority of the Board.

It is also worth noting that seven (38%) of the 18 members of the Public Policy Council members represent large companies (Cox Communications, Blue Cross Blue Shield, BNC National Bank, Redflex Traffic Solutions, Salt River Project, Southwest Gas, Arizona State University). All have a Valley-wide presence. Should Valley-wide, major companies be empowered to make recommendations about local candidates for office?

What criteria were used to make their recommendations for endorsement?

  • “Candidates were selected who have distinguished themselves as knowledgeable and supportive (emphasis mine) of issues positively affecting the business community in the city of Glendale.”
  • Bill Toops, Chair of the Chamber’s Public Policy Council said, “The Glendale Chamber Board of Directors is pleased to endorse candidates who have demonstrated accessibility and collaboration (emphasis mine) in support of promoting interests most important to our local businesses.”
  • Robert Heidt, the Chamber’s CEO, said, “Throughout this process we heard from those running for office and have endorsed candidates who has the clearest understanding of the challenges facing the business community and those whose policies align with our initiatives (emphasis mine) to foster a pro-business environment focused on the creation of quality jobs, along with business retention and expansion.”

These criteria seem to favor incumbents. Their positions as elected officials provide many opportunities to “distinguish themselves as knowledgeable and supportive,” to have “demonstrated accessibility and collaboration,” and to have advocated for “policies that align” with the Chamber’s initiatives.

Incumbents have the decided advantage as they have the opportunity to interact with the Chamber in a variety of ways in their official capacities as well as the opportunity to approve/disapprove actions that benefit the Chamber’s interests. It’s not a level playing field. Often those running in opposition to the incumbents have no experience or knowledge of specific city initiatives or actions, especially any that could benefit the Chamber. It’s not their fault. They haven’t been playing ‘inside baseball’ for the previous four years (term of an incumbent). They simply do not have any experience serving as an elected and therefore are at a disadvantage. It takes any newly elected official time to learn how the city works, to become familiar with its policy positions and to establish relationships with various stakeholder groups within the city.

Perhaps the better criterion to be used would not to be rely upon experience (that is weighted always toward the incumbent) but rather to review candidates’ positions on the issues and which policies would be supported. If two candidates for the same office shared the same views perhaps using incumbency to tip the scales should not be the option for recommendation. Perhaps in some cases there should be no recommendation or a recommendation to support either candidate.

I remain troubled with the process used by the Chamber to select endorsements in a local campaign. It will be another two years before the Chamber issues its next set of endorsements for local office. That time might be well spent in developing a process that recognizes an incumbent’s advantage and levels the playing field for those who have never held office.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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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Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

It’s hard to believe that our Koi pond is seven years old. The first few years were rocky with fish dying on a regular basis. During the infancy of the pond I now know that I used too many chemicals in attempts to get rid of the summer algae. It was a learning stage. I even drained the pond after the last fish died. We refilled it and allowed the pond to “settle” for about a year before I introduced any new fish. Since then, in the last 4 or 5 years, we have grown some ‘whopper-sized’ Koi. All of the fish are healthy and have gargantuan appetites.

These photos were taken the day after our first monsoon storm. We probably had winds in the neighborhood of 50-60 mph and a drenching rain thereafter. As you can see under an overcast sky the pond weathered the monsoom just fine.

The other issue we dealt with when the pond was first established was the algae growth, especially during the summer. After the chemical fiasco, we created several filter systems looking for the best fit for our pond. The pond was built with two filter pumps that run 24/7. One services the large waterfall and one the smaller waterfall. They, by themselves, proved to be inadequate to the task of removing algae.

We searched for an external system to add to the existing system. Finally, we created our own. It consists of 4 barrels. Each has its own filter media: charcoal, quilting batting, sponges, and matt filters. The water flows through all 4 barrels and then passes through a UV light before returning to the pond. This has solved our problem. We clean out the barrel filter system once a year. It’s an all day job. However, we clean the two pump filter materials every morning and evening. It takes about 5 minutes to do so with a hose.

We have found that all the vegetation around the pond grows like a weed and some plants reseed themselves—for example, the ruella and taro. In the beginning we were timid about trimming the plants. These days we are ruthless and within a month the plants take on their original shapes.

Other than cleaning the pump filters and trimming vegetation, the pond has become stable and quite hassle-free. The photos are the pond after last night’s monsoon storm. We probably had winds of 50 mph and a bucket full of rain. We had more damage, i.e., tree limbs falling, in our yard than any damage to the pond.

You will note there is a shade cover. It has become a permanent fixture and has been up for two years. It serves a dual purpose. It shades the pond in the heat of the summer but it also protects the fish from predators. We live on a street of one acre properties with no curb, gutter or sidewalks and a great deal of mature trees. Those trees have become home to a resident owl and several hawks. We have also had herons that have visited during irrigation. All of these critters love fish. By having the shade cover it has become impossible for them to fly over the pond, spot a fish and dive for it.

It has become our oasis. It’s a joy to sit on the patio, to hear the waterfall sounds and to watch the fish, especially after I have fed them in the evening. They are voracious eaters during the summer and after they finish off the fish food that I give them, they begin their evening forage for any algae on the pond rocks that make up the submerged walls of the pond.

Would we build a Koi pond again? You bet. The hours of enjoyment and calm it offers were worth every penny of the original investment.  

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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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Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

During the course of each year vacancies for various boards and commissions arise. Sometimes an appointment has expired; sometimes people move or become ill and can no longer serve. Presently there are three vacancies for Yucca district appointees and another 4 at-large vacancies that can be filled by residents living anywhere in the city, including the Yucca district.

Here is the website for filling out an application online:

https://www.glendaleaz.com/boardsandcommissions/onlineapplication.cfm

Below are the current vacancies with a description of the board or commission, the number of members and when the body meets:

YUCCA DISTRICT VACANCIES

  1. Board of Adjustment

Role: Holds public hearings on requests for variances and appeals to city administrative decisions regarding zoning.

Membership: At least five but not more than seven members appointed by the City Council for two-year terms.

Meets: Second Thursday of each month at 4:00 PM in Room B3.

  1. Citizens Utility Advisory Commission

Role: Provides the City Council with recommendations regarding policies and strategies related to City infrastructure, including the City’s landfill and solid waste services, regional collboration, water resources sustainability, operations and infrastructure to ensure the well-being and quality of life of Glendale residents and businesses.

Membership: Seven members appointed by the City Council for two-year terms.

Meets: First Wednesday’s of the month at 6:00pm in Conference Room C of the Oasis Water Treatment Campus

  1. Human Relations Commission

Role: Makes recommendations to the City Council on ways to enourage mutual respect and understanding among all people, to discourage prejudice and discrimination, and to support cultural awareness and unity of the community.

Membership:  A total of 14 members consisting of 2 members appointed by each member of the City Council for two-year terms.

Meets: To be determined upon appointment of members.

AT-LARGE VACANCIES

  1. Community Development Advisory Commission

Role: Makes recommendations to the City Council regarding the allocation of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to eligible area non-profit groups; advises City Council on policies related to the city’s Community Housing programs and the city’s Community Action Program (CAP); provides general advice on human services in Glendale as related to the administration of these programs

Membership: A total of 13 members consisting of 1 representative from the Glendale Elementary School District, 5 representatives from low income residents/neighborhoods and 7 members representing City Council.

Meets: 6:00 p.m., third Thursday of each month.

  1. Judicial Selection Advisory Board

Role: Seeks and encourages qualified individuals to apply for Glendale Presiding Judge and City Judge. Reviews investigative materials, survey results and other background information to assess qualifications of candidates for appointment and reappointment to these positions. Makes recommendations to the City Council.

Membership: Seven members including the Presiding Judge of Maricopa County Superior Court or designee. An Appellate Court Judge appointed by the Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, Maricopa County Bar Association member who resides in Glendale, State Bar Association member who resides in Glendale, and three public members who are residents of Glendale and appointed by the City Council.

Meets: Meets as needed

  1. Municipal Property Corporation

Role: A non-profit corporation that assists the City with the financing and construction of public facilities in accordance with specification approved by City Council. The Municipal Property Corporation sells bonds to obtain the necessary funds to construct public facilities.

Membership: Five members with strong financial expertise.

Meets: As necessary

AT-LARGE VACANCY TEEN

  1. Library Advisory Board

Role: Advises the City Council on policies related to the administration and provision of library
services.

Membership: Nine members appointed by the City Council for two-year terms, including two high school students.

Meets: 6 p.m. on the Second Wednesday of each month

Once your online application is submitted it remains on file. When a vacancy occurs for a board or commission for which you have indicated a willingness to serve you will be contacted by the district councilmember, usually by phone, to discuss the appointment.

Surely you can afford an hour a month. Sometimes meetings are vacated because there is no business before that board or commission. It’s a great way to learn about your city, Glendale.

Volunteerism in all of its forms pays you far more than the time you give to it. You make new friends as you become involved. I urge you to give it a shot.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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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Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

First let me recognize and thank this city council for approving Phase I of a permanent West Branch Library currently under construction. However, Heroes Park is far from complete. It’s a twenty year commitment by Glendale still not met. Heroes Park still lacks its Recreation & Aquatics Center (a la Foothills), its water feature, a dog park, a Phase II expansion of the library and its ball/soccer fields.

Heroes Park Concept Plan

 

 

 

 It drives me nuts when I pick up the paper and read that Phoenix will invest between $80 and $100 million to upgrade Margaret T. Hance Park (also known as the “Deck Park”) to include a jogging loop, a skate park, a splash pad area, enhancements to its events area and more trees for shade. Or that Avondale will spend $12 million to upgrade its Festival Fields Park with a lake, dog park, splash pad, ramadas, new lighting, restroom and playground equipment replacement and volleyball, pickleball and basketball courts. Or that Goodyear is investing in a 30-acre park with a recreation center and an outdoor aquatic facility.

I accept that Glendale faced enormous fiscal adversity and the decisions of the current councilmembers and mayor were critical in reversing those problems. I accept that Glendale, as every other city, weathered the Great Recession. But now Glendale is facing a bright financial future and the completion of this park is a moral debt owed to the citizens of south and west Glendale.

They have waited for 20 years…marking a full generation of children that never had the opportunity to use Heroes Park. This is a city council promise that must be fulfilled for all of the people that bought homes in the area on the reliance that there would be a park nearby.

What angers south and west residents is that Foothills Recreation & Aquatics Center was placed into the city’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) in Fiscal Year 98-99 (the same year as Heroes Park) as a Multi-General Center North and in addition in Fiscal Year 01-02 a Recreation & Aquatics Center was also added. In Fiscal Year 03-04 both projects were merged into the Foothills Recreation & Aquatics Center. Groundbreaking occurred in 2005 with completion of the project in 2006. It took 7 years from identification in the CIP until it was opened for business. And yet Heroes Park remains in large swaths of dust, dirt and weeds. It is not only an eye sore but an embarrassment to all.

Until this park is completed with all of the elements of its master plan, people will continue to believe in a sentiment I have heard expressed often and bitterly. They point to Foothills with its library and recreation & aquatics center and say, north Glendale is placed before the rest of Glendale and there is some truth to that belief.

In the 1980’s the Hunt brothers had acquired most of the land known today as the Arrowhead area. Their plans were to develop a master planned residential community. However, the brothers attempted to corner the silver market resulting in their bankruptcy. The leaders of Glendale at that time made a commitment to save the dream of Arrowhead pouring at least $70 million into the area to guarantee its development. Their action saved Arrowhead but at what cost? Dollars that would have been used throughout Glendale were instead diverted to Arrowhead. For several years Glendale’s financial resources were targeted up north while the rest of the city’s needs were unanswered. That well intentioned action caused tremendous citizen resentment that persists to this day.

Sometimes that resentment becomes exacerbated when over 1,000 citizens sign a petition to moderate the proposed Stonehaven residential project and their voices are ignored or when O’Neil Pool, waterless and no longer useable remains a gaping scar for years within O’Neil Park. People shrug their shoulders with a palpable sense of embitterment and defeatism.

Fixing the O’Neil Pool problem and completing Heroes Park will go a long way to restoring peoples’ faith that the city will treat all of its areas with some sense of equity. No longer would south and west residents have cause to believe that they are step children, often ignored.

Everyone acknowledges that these promises – Heroes Park and O’Neil Pool — were not made on the current senior management’s or council’s watch but now that Glendale is back on track financially it is incumbent upon them to finally fulfill these promises. These two projects will restore a sense of pride in their city for south and west Glendale residents.

Every district within Glendale has its “Points of Pride,” those recreational amenities created for the use of our residents.  

  • Cholla district has the Foothills Library, the Foothills Recreation & Aquatics Center and Thunderbird Conservation Park.
  • Sahuaro district is proud of its Paseo Racquet Center & Park; Skunk Creek Park and Thunderbird Paseo Park.
  • The Barrel district can point to the Adult Center, the Main Library and Sahuaro Ranch Park.
  • The Cactus district residents enjoy the Elsie McCarthy Sensory Garden, the Rose Lane Aquatics Center and Manistee Ranch.
  • The Ocotillo district claims the Velma Teague Library, the Civic Center and Murphy Park & Amphitheatre.
  • The Yucca district has the Grand Canal Linear Park and …???? An unfinished Heroes Park.

When will our promise be fulfilled?

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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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Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

Below are some of the comments I received in response to my blog on downtown published a few days ago. They are a combination of responses from Facebook (my blog links to FB and some comments were made there) and my Word Press blog. Some comments are from festival attendees and some are from downtown business owners.  I purposefully did not attribute any of the comments by name to encourage others to express themselves on this issue. I will reserve my comments at the end of this blog.

“As a business owner, I would love to see the city put money into “revamping” or “beautifying” the area the directly surrounds my business. Ohh but wait.. it’s my responsibility to care for my business and move it forward. It’s my responsibility to pay for the marketing that reaches my potential customers. It’s my responsibility to be open hours, and do split shifts, to accommodate my potential customers, as most don’t even get off work till 5pm. It’s my responsibility to make sure my clients are accommodated the best I can. NOT THE CITY’s responsibility!

 “It’s absolutely ridiculous how some of the downtown merchants are acting, as if they are owed something from the city and the taxpayers. Any other business owner would move/relocate if that area wasn’t sufficient enough. Granted, I like downtown Glendale, it has potential, but unfortunately it will never be the go to place in Glendale anymore. Half of the stores are rundown shops that look like swap markets. I try to make it to one of the shops before they close at 5pm to get a treat, and many times it’s closed earlier, so I stopped trying. Many need new windows and paint. And I highly doubt the city manager would deny you the breakdown of the $1million and where that money went. For the tax revenue for downtown, wasn’t it like 300-400k?? If that’s true, then that sounds like a BAD INVESTMENT.
“Where is the responsibility of the business owners? Keep complaining about the city, the mayor, the council, the city manager, or whoever else and I would fully support the potential for all of the city offices to pack up and relocate to Westgate. Getting sick and tired of hearing about the squabbling and how downtown is suffering. There are other needs in the city and more important problems that should be addressed. Don’t be selfish, put in your own time and MONEY and try to help the situation. If you have put in the time and money and it hasn’t worked, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your business.

“ I know I sound harsh and I’m apologize Joyce if I’m coming off too strong, but I’m just not understanding how these business owners are fighting the city so much. Glendale Glitters is great, but unfortunately it’s not a crowd I want to be around, I feel unsafe. I don’t know how anything will help that. It is time to change things up. Not completely redo everything, but up the ante on the vendor booths. The quality has gone down (but don’t get rid of the candy apples), and many of the booths seem to be selling trinkets. Sorry but that’s not what I’d go down there for. Maybe someone needs to do some recon on the Prescott festivals and see how they do it. Much cleaner look and reputable vendors. It come back to design psychology, if the look is unappealing, no one will stay or come back. Hope I wasn’t too blunt.”

“Glendale Glitters has very popular over the many years we have been here. My wife every year expects me to take her downtown to see the lights and sometimes walk around when not crowded. We like the stage performances which seems to be well attended.
The city overall should make money on this popular event,however add something new and I am not sure what that would be,expand the area if necessary nothing wrong with a big crowd, encourage the businesses someway to stay open. Change is good just leave the beautiful lights on please.”

“Thank you for your excellent explanation regarding the changes for Glendale Glitters 2018.Now I completely understand the reasoning behind the decision. Like everything – and everyone – else, a lot changes over 20 years time. Hopefully, this change will be for the good.”

“I am a downtown merchant & property owner. Councilmember Clark you are exactly correct in that we need to update and make changes to the festivals. The merchants will be the first to agree. We are not happy with the direction they have gone. However, it is not completely fair to compare last year’s results due to the fact that the festival vendors were greatly cut and THE BIGGEST factor is that marketing was cut by 1/3rd of the budget!!! You invite less people, less people will show… Another HUGE factor is that the person in charge of last year’s festival admittedly had no experience putting together events. She was brought in from another city department because of lack of staff. We questioned the decision to put someone in charge of the city’s biggest festival with zero qualifications. Not only was she put in charge, she was given the instructions to change it…. Again, she has NO EXPERIENCE!!!
“Merchants had zero input! Yes we need to change the festivals but I do however think that the merchants need to be involved in the changes. This cannot happen this year because of the time restraints and the city employee delays in action. It’s a shame because this is the 25th Anniversary and should have been put as a priority. The merchants are not in favor of the proposed changes in the budget to add more lights and fireworks. We need to revert back to the year 2016-2017 festival footprint and programming and start ASAP restructuring for the following year 2019-2020. This will allow the affected business community to utilize the budgeted ‘Downtown Manager’ to create a better festival plan.”

“Fun to visit the first few years, got to be a major pain to actually enjoy it.
Shops are too small in size to accommodate the amount of visitors, and half close down because the traffic is too heavy for them, producing the fear of being overwhelmed and theft.
It won’t be a popular opinion, but the class of visitors is lower, as they are just seeking out ‘county fair food’ and don’t actually frequent the retail stores as patrons.
“This should be considered to be moved to a more accommodating location like cardinal stadium parking lots. The traffic setup is already there for large events, the area is very easily viewable from all around for security reasons. It certainly would allow more food truck vendors to participate as the space is available as well.”

“Downtown business leaders are frustrated with the events staff working in a vacuum. We are constantly asking to be included in the planning and find ourselves shut out. The most recent presentation to the council concerning changes to the Glitters event is one such example. I am working with other business leaders and the downtown manager seeking to make the downtown area more attractive to foot traffic. We need for people to linger in order to generate sales, and if the events are a rush in and out, without highlighting the existing businesses then what is the point in remaining open. It is lack of customers that is forcing the businesses into odd hours, they cannot afford to retain employees in order to remain open.
“The entire city is in need for an image upgrade. You know that I have often mentioned that we don’t want to be an extension of Maryvale, but the press views the city that way.
The city has a major responsibility to make people feel safe and comfortable when visiting, everything from beautification and regular maintenance to amenities and positive looking press releases are necessary to overcome the lack of comfort, lack of desire to linger, in our city.”

“Totally agree with you on this one. People want the festival but are unfamiliar with the costs and lack of adequate services for how large it has become.”

“I totally agree with you! Why are they trying to fix something that wasn’t broke until last year? Very hypocritical comments being made. There should have been a solid Merchants Association a long time ago working with the city. A lot of money has been invested in downtown and now they are throwing it away in favor of Westgate??? Oh that’s where the money is and the wealthier folks? Never mind the businesses that have hung in there hoping for more! I am really disgusted with this council and the city manager. And why aren’t they fixing the staffing issues since they seem to have money now? The library is still closed on Fridays. Enough said.”

“Well, according to Kevin Phelps (City Manager) they spend $1,000,000 on downtown annually, but we have made repeated asks to break that down. That 1 million is more than the city gets in sales tax revenue downtown, so it isn’t like this is a profit center, but it does go a very long way toward impacting the perception of Glendale as a whole. Westgate, as Joyce points out is not apples to apples. 
“We have a superbowl coming up, so now is the time to decide if downtown is worthy of a renewed focus, or be written off as a loss. 
“I myself am trying to convince staff and our council to revive it, which is going to take some new priorities new business incentives, and unbudgeted expenses.”

 “So if Westgate is paying for itself, then why is downtown being ignored? Where is the money??? Follow the money. I’m sorry folks but when they “cut” the festivals when the financial crisis hit they KEPT Glitters because it MADE money for the city – the others did not. That was public information. Now all of a sudden it loses money? Last year part of the problem is they cut the vendors out, etc. People come to these events for all different reasons. I never heard a complaint until last year. Not everyone hates crowds!”

“The majority of the businesses are not asking for more than for the city to maintain its own property and to remedy safety, reputation and appearance issues. We are asking for a level of maintenance that downtown once had but were abandoned during the downturn and looking for the city to enforce its own codes. Apparently things like some sign codes are now unenforceable yet remain on the books.
“Most strong businesses have already moved away or closed, the remaining businesses are hanging by a thread so money to improve downtown is not coming from them. If the downtown area is to be reinvigorated it will have to come through attracting new businesses, not through blaming the existing businesses. Apparently it sounds like whining if we ask the city to work on improvement in order to attract new business, and through those new businesses attract more potential customers in the area. The city could help with new business incentives to bring in fresh blood.
“I already moved my business, so I certainly do not have a horse in the race any more, yet I continue to invest my time toward a vision of a thriving downtown. I get no benefit back so I am certainly not whining or looking for a handout. 

“Some issues are unique to the downtown area. Like the sidewalks, they are not owned by the building owner, in fact you need special permits and enhanced insurance to place anything on the sidewalk. There is an assumption that the business owners should maintain the sidewalks in front of their store, and some do, but what do you do about the city sidewalks in front of empty buildings or that are not adjacent to any business? It isn’t like a mall where the mall property management maintains common areas, the city is the property management in this case, but doesn’t maintain the common areas except directly around city buildings.
“Another unique issue is having normal access to your business blocked during the large events. Events that may not attract your typical customer. Now imagine a generator for lighting and barricades for foot traffic placed in front of your doors. Events bring a lot of issues with them, so is it really unreasonable to ask the event staff work with the businesses, and strive to increase communication with the businesses they may inconvenience?

“Nobody said the City manager refused to provide the information, only that is hasn’t been forthcoming. The claim was made four months ago, and the past three months have been the busiest time of the year for his office –the closing of the budget cycle. I am currently digging through the budget on my own to be able to help businesses know the impact of the requests they make. We want to understand what any tradeoffs would be. Like giving up an event to get sidewalks and crosswalks cleaned. 
“Even with the downtown manager and some of the staff working with us things happen very slowly and get frustrating.
“I will say that Glendale Star and other press have not helped in how they portray the remaining businesses as whiners (well Ok, some are), we actually have a partnership, but it doesn’t look that way from the outside.”

“Downtown has a lot of potential to be a destination and I think some of the merchants there are working towards that. Cuff and Off the Cuff are great examples, but they operate like a business. The Astrology store is cool too. I used to try to do all of my holiday gift shopping downtown and in Catlin Court but the shops were rarely open. I’d love to see more restaurants, cafes, and fun boutiques so that it is a destination where I can hang out. That isn’t going to happen with a few events a year, it’s going to take time, effort, and institutional changes.”

What these comments reflect is a great deal of disunity and confusion. Some believe the purpose of the festivals is to drive shopping traffic into the surrounding businesses during the event. Some believe it is to familiarize people with the downtown to attract potential customers in the expectation that they will return to shop. Merchants, what is your ultimate goal for downtown Glendale?

Many expect the city to use its resources to beautify the downtown. There is much that can be done. But there is no articulation of priorities in terms of what the beautification should be. There are some actions that the downtown merchants can take without anything other than working with the city for approval. One is the idea of unified signage. Here are some examples:

The merchants can get together, decide on a palette of approved signage and ask for the city’s approval if the designs are not allowed under the current code. Amendments are made to the city code all the time. Another action could be the use of sidewalks in front of a shop. That doesn’t mean a tacky sandwich board but creative use that protects the pedestrian’s free movement along a sidewalk. Again, merchants have the freedom to create a proposal and present it to the city as a code amendment. What about a schedule of cleaning not only in front of your store but your window displays? As a former bookstore owner I changed my window display weekly. Is the front of your shop clean? Does it look appealing and inviting to a potential customer? Elbow grease does wonders.

Downtown merchants must form their own Merchants Association that will finally afford them some political clout with the city. Dues don’t have to be exorbitant. They could be as little as $5 a month. 50 merchants would generate $250 a month or $3000 a year; 100 merchants would generate $500 a month or $6000 a year. It may not seem like much but it’s a start to fund some small collaborative and collective actions that benefit all and just like saving your loose change in a jar…after awhile it becomes real money.

This may be the toughest nut to crack. The downtown merchants (and throw in the Catlin Court merchants) are like the Hatfields and the McCoys; or the Democrats and the Republicans. There are factions and some hate each other. As long as this persists the downtown will never succeed. It’s time to bury the hatchet, hold your noses, and cooperate with one another for not only your ultimate survival but ultimate success.

If you’ve ever listened to President Trump he rails about the U.S. being a ‘sucker’, for example, with NATO. We pay the most to protect European nations while many of these countries pay little toward their obligation. The city, at times, feels like a ‘sucker’. It pours tens of thousands of dollars annually into downtown with few merchants paying anything that could be viewed as their ‘fair share.’ The merchants can’t get along with one another to present a viable goal for downtown. Is it any wonder they don’t get along with the city as well?

I have not lost hope. There is much the downtown merchants can do at little to no cost if they can just come together and adopt a unified approach. Create your vision. Collectively adopt your goals, both annual and long term. The city wants to be your partner but it should not continue to pour money into the downtown aimlessly only to be berated because it wasn’t want you expected or envisioned. Heck, we have no idea what your vision is…do you?

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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