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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

On Monday, November 14, 2016, the Glendale city council approved a Settlement Agreement with the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority (AZSTA) and the Arizona Cardinals. Here is the link to the background material on the proposal: https://glendale-az.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2881276&GUID=C07EFD4F-664C-4A92-98FF-A23BF1C88B39&Options=&Search=&FullText=1 . Here is the link to the Settlement Agreement in full: final-settlement-agreement-11102016 .

The major points of the settlement are:

·       It settles an outstanding legal claim of $67 million dollars in damages initiated in 2012 by the Arizona Sports & Tourism Authority (AZSTA) and the Cardinals by paying them jointly $14 million over the next 5 years.

·       It creates $3 million dollars of infrastructure to enable pedestrians to cross Bethany Home Road without impeding the traffic on Bethany Home.

·       It includes construction of 95th Avenue from Bethany to Camelback Road at a cost of $3 million.

If I were on city council I would have approved the settlement. Let’s look at it point by point. I want to make clear since my election was not funded by special interests, my prime directive, based on being fully informed of the pros and cons, is to make the best possible decisions that I believe are in the city’s best interests. This would have been one of them.

Over the weekend, I downloaded the entire proposed 135 page settlement agreement, read it, made notations, and then was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to sit down with the City Manager to get any and all of my questions answered. The current councilmembers have had the luxury of discussion and information about settlement negotiations for the past two months.

At first I was angry thinking here we go again, paying millions more to support sports in our town. Are we nuts? After I calmed down, I started to really think about it. Yes, we could reject the settlement and the $67 million dollar claim would have wended its way through the court system….for a year? two years? There is, of course, no way of predicting the outcome but I will say the city’s track record of late, has not been one to inspire confidence in a city win. If the city had lost, it would have had to pay out $67 million plus not just its attorneys’ fees but the claimants’ attorneys’ fees as well.

It’s also a matter of doing the right thing. The city had the obligation to live up to its contractual agreement of providing 11,000 parking spaces, per the Parking License Agreement and other documents from 2005, over a decade ago.

The $14 million in damages is, of course, an onerous pill to swallow but it’s better than $67 million. It is my understanding that this $14 million will be used for upgrades at the Stadium Plaza and the stadium interior. The city was also able to structure payments over the next five years making it fiscally manageable. The city is no longer obligated to construct a $50 million dollar parking garage… ever. This agreement settles all parking claims forever.

Why is an underpass under Bethany Home Road and bridges over the SRP Canal and the Grand Canal Linear Park necessary? When the stadium and transportation infrastructure was originally built the intent was to drive vehicular traffic from the west and the north toward the stadium. However, when the city has completed both parking lots (one east of the stadium and one south of the stadium), masses of pedestrians will be crossing Bethany Home Road. If they proceeded on the surface street, Bethany Home Road, the pedestrian traffic would essentially block all vehicular traffic. Now that a major portion of fans (6,000 parking spaces) will be parking south and east of the stadium it becomes a necessity.

Lastly, let’s look at 95th Avenue. Another city promise broken for over a decade. This arterial opens up land for commercial development, especially on the west side of 95th Avenue between Camelback Road and Bethany Home Road. There will be new commercial properties locating along that arterial which, in turn, will generate more sales tax revenue for the city. It also puts to rest the alignment of 95th Avenue. It will now curve away from the Pendergast Estates neighborhood and will not connect to the neighborhood’s three interior streets of Missouri, Marshall and San Juan. For years as councilmember I advocated for just such a solution for this neighborhood. I am pleased to know the city has taken their concerns seriously and has devised an alignment to protect this neighborhood.

These reasons persuaded me that approval of the Settlement was the right thing to do: 1. fulfillment of the city’s long-standing contractual obligation; 2. avoidance of a possible $67 million dollar verdict; 3. mitigating pedestrian movement as a result of the installation of two new, massive parking lots; and 3. bringing closure and surety on the 95th Avenue alignment to the Pendergast Estates neighborhood.

What was city council’s decision? Mayor Weiers, Vice Mayor Hugh, Councilmembers Malnar and Tolmachoff voted in favor of the settlement. All councilmembers spoke before casting their votes and this majority of four recited variations of the reasons cited above. Councilmembers Turner, Aldama and Chavira voted against the settlement. They did not cite flaws in the settlement as their reason for disapproval. Why? Because even they know this settlement is acceptable. No, they used the theme of transparency and that the public was not given enough time to weigh in. It was, in all probability, a smoke screen so that they would have time to marshal their activist anti-settlement forces to march on down to council chambers.

While these three councilmembers  professed that they wanted to strengthen their relationships with the Arizona Sports & Tourism Authority and the Cardinals, it had been circulated that Aldama and Turner refused to meet with AZSTA and Cardinal representatives. Instead they gave both organizations the back of their hands. Surprisingly, disgraced and recalled former Councilmember Gary Sherwood showed up to berate this council for lacking transparency while asking for more time for council’s consideration. It seems that he did not consider two months of negotiation to be enough. Rampant conjecture is that three of them (Turner, Aldama and Sherwood) are using issues such as this to raise their level of visibility in order to position themselves for a run for mayor four years from now.

I do see a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. It’s time to bury the past. The city manager and a majority of the council are to be congratulated for having made decisions that are designed to position Glendale forward and to clean up Glendale’s sports deals with its decade-old refusals to live up to its commitments. Make no mistake, former City Manager Ed Beasley and former Mayor Scruggs were very much aware of these obligations and refused to make good on them. Minority councilmembers such as me and Councilmember Lieberman were simply not privy to their inaction.

With the announcement of the Coyotes entrance into negotiations for an arena in the east valley I think it is time to do another blog on what this might mean. Look for my next blog which will be devoted to this topic.

© 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.

PLEASE CHECK OUT THE CHAVIRA VIDEOS TO THE LEFT OF THIS COLUMN. EACH IS ABOUT A MINUTE AND A HALF IN LENGTH.

It has been 18 years and 190 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

June 24, 2016, marks another milestone of 350,000 reads of my blog since I began in February of 2013. That averages about 100,000 reads a year. I am pleased and very grateful to all those who have become faithful readers. Thank you. In addition, in 3 months, over 1,000 people have viewed my 3 Chavira videos. Again, thank you for taking the time to view them.

In Sammy Chavira’s latest weekly e-newsletter of June 24, 2016, he said, “After serving 17 years as a Phoenix firefighter and Glendale City Council Member, Chavira helped bring a Super Bowl to Cardinals Stadium.” Gosh, in addition to all his other misdeeds now we can add embellishment and exaggeration.

While Sammy may have served 17 years as a Phoenix firefighter, he certainly, thankfully, hasn’t served as a Glendale councilmember for 17 years. He has only served one term of 4 years. As for “Chavira helped bring a Super Bowl to Cardinals Stadium.” Really? And how might he have helped? The bid for a Super Bowl and the choice of the stadium for the last Super Bowl was made long before Sammy became a councilmember.

We have just another example of Sammy’s misdirection of the facts and an attempt to give himself recognition for something he did not do.  Add to his practice of embellishment, his lavish trips at taxpayer expense, his failure to attend council meetings and to hold district meetings and his failure to appear in court with a subsequent suspension of his driver’s license while he claimed it was “a minor glitch.”

While we’re at it, let’s take a look at some of the promises made by Sammy in the campaign mailings he sent to voters in his first run for office in 2012. In one campaign mailing Sammy said, “On the City Council, he’ll fight to protect funding for local schools and excellent, academically-enriched after school programs.” Or how about this from another campaign mailing, “Sam understands that good jobs and good schools go hand in hand. He will fight to fully fund Head Start, support education tax credits for our local schools, and make after school programs more curriculum based.” These statements represent one of two positions – take your pick. Fact: The Glendale city council has no authority over federal or local education policies, curriculum or funding. That is the responsibility of your district school board whether it is the Pendergast Elementary School District or the Glendale Elementary School District. Sammy either didn’t know the facts — which makes him ignorant or he knew the facts and he chose to be deceptive.

Here’s another promise from Sammy.2012. “Too many sweetheart arena deals for out-of-state corporations have left us deeply in debt. Sam will prioritize public safety, education and public libraries and isn’t afraid to say no to special interests.” Or how about, “No more sweetheart deals. The city needs to be a tough negotiator, making smart planning decisions that preserve Glendale’s future.” It would appear that Sammy never met a “sweetheart” deal that he didn’t like. He apparently traded votes with former Councilmember Sherwood, flip-flopping on his promise to protect taxpayers from exorbitant, $15 million dollars a year arena management fees with…you guessed it…an out-of-state corporation.

He seems to favor those who contributed large sums of money to his campaign such as Mark Becker of the Becker Billboard issue that surfaced in Glendale last year.

How has he “prioritized public libraries” by supporting a 7,500 square foot modular building as west Glendale’s branch library? It’s insulting that he thinks so little of his constituency that he throws them this kind of bone.

How has Sammy made “smart planning decisions?” By allowing a residential project like Stonehaven in the Yucca district? A residential project in which 43% of the homes will be on 5,500 square foot lots (smaller than that which is required by the city’s standard R1-6 zoning that requires a minimum of 6,000 square foot lots). That kind of “smart planning decision” devalues all of the homes that surround this project.

There’s more, so much more of Sammy’s deceptions…for another blog, I think. Sammy promised a lot and delivered…nothing. Sammy earns a fire fighter’s pay check as well as a councilmember’s pay check of $35,000 a year. Yet he has failed to do his job as a Glendale councilmember. He’s often absent from council meetings and can’t seem to find the time to reach out to, much less listen to, his Yucca district constituents or their concerns.  It’s time to let Sammy go back to being a fire fighter and not a double dipper. It seems as if he can handle only one job at a time.

© 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.

It has been 18 years and 110 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

The Glendale city council workshop of April 5, 2016 had 3 major issues up for discussion and direction by city council: the temporary West Branch Library; the pavement management program; and an introduction to the proposed new city owned arena manager.

Since I brought up parking for Heroes Park in my blog of April 5, 2016 entitled Glendale…fix the parking problem you created, it was definitely a topic of discussion. Erik Strunk, Director of Parks and Libraries, stated that they are working on temporary parking. He did not address the issue of Park Rangers sending people to park in adjacent neighborhoods or the safety issue of people crossing Bethany Home Road or 83rd Avenue to get to the park.

The final direction of the city council was to move forward with a temporary, 7500 square foot modular building. This action, of course, removes all impetus to ever build a permanent library structure. So, we in west Glendale, once again, get less — a 7500 SF modular structure half the size of Velma Teague Library in downtown Glendale.

The second item for discussion and direction was the city’s pavement management program. Currently the city spends $10 million annually to repair and maintain the city’s streets. Staff requested an additional $5 million a year. Ms. Vicki Rios, Interim Finance Director, presented a series of slides during the discussion. I bring two of those slides to your attention. This first one shows the city’s current debt service. The red, dotted line is the city’s secondary property tax revenue that is used to pay this form of debt. Please note that as of this year’s (FY 16-17) budget there is new debt capacity available…perhaps to build the west branch library? The new debt capacity is the difference between the red, dotted line and the sold green block depicting debt payments.

Current General Obligation debt

Current General
Obligation debt

Not so fast. Look at this second slide. It depicts current debt plus new, proposed debt.

Current debt plus new debt

Current debt
plus new debt

Note the Series 2016 debt depicted by the brownish square in the legend. That Series 16 debt is the $32 million the city is issuing next week to pay for the land and to construct parking on it to satisfy the city’s obligation to provide adequate parking for Cardinals’ football games. The orange, olive and blue areas above the brownish parking debt represent $5 million dollars a year in new debt for the pavement management plan. Note the red, dotted line which are funds used to pay the debt. Now there is no debt capacity available until Fiscal Year 21-22. With council’s approval of two items: the issuance of $32 million in debt for Cardinals’ parking and the $5million a year ($15 million total) for the pavement management plan there is no debt capacity to do anything else including building a permanent west branch library. The significance of these decisions is that there will be no debt capacity to build a west branch library for SIX more years until Fiscal Year 21-22. We will have waited for the west branch library for 25 years. There is no word to describe this situation other than disgraceful.

The last item was a public introduction of AEG as the proposed new manager of the city owned Gila River Arena. There was no mention of the Coyotes who continue to declare that they will move to some magical, undefined new facility somewhere else in the Valley. The reality is that AEG, as arena manager, the Coyotes and the city will have to come to terms in the meantime. I continue to believe if the Coyotes and AEG can come to agreement for a few years, why not long-term?

Under council requests for future workshops only one councilmember spoke, Sammy Chavira. He requested that the city present its travel policy and compare it to other Valley cities. What was more interesting is that Sammy, largely invisible these days, was cornered by an Arizona Republic reporter and questioned about his trips. Sammy’s only response was, “I want to stick to the policy to find out from now on – so next time, if you look at your policy, if you see anything, that you know that’s what we’re adhering to. What I want to do is I want to put something in concrete.” Say what? What did he say? Here is the link to the full story in the Arizona Republic: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2016/04/06/glendale-councilman-sammy-chavira-requests-review-travel-policy-after-council-trip/82631826/ .

I can see it now. Sammy’s defense is that he followed city policy. OK, so now it’s the city’s fault? Where is Sammy’s ethical and moral compass? In essence he is admitting that he took advantage of a policy. It’s the same as if there were a policy that said, thou shall not steal. Since the policy is so vague an argument could be there is no definition of the word “steal.” Sammy is playing word games but they won’t work this time. He is accountable for his actions. He should voluntarily reimburse the city for the nearly $25,000 he spent for trips to see the Pope, his buddy sworn into Congress, his excessive baggage claims and rebooked flights, and his two highly suspicious trips to California. Don’t hold your breath on this one.

© 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.

It has been 18 years and 109 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

HeroesParkbutton

Prior to the first Cardinals football game held at the University of Phoenix stadium as your Yucca district councilmember I insisted that senior management create a “Neighborhood Protection Plan” for neighborhoods adjacent to the stadium. I, and the residents, worried about game day parking on neighborhood streets and cut through traffic to get to or to leave the stadium. Such a plan was created and implemented. Many of you in adjacent neighborhoods may remember the Resident Placards distributed to every household adjacent to the stadium. After years of attendance most of the fans have been trained and do not park in neighborhoods or cut through them anymore. Barricades at the entrance to adjacent neighborhoods are still used on game days just to remind fans to park elsewhere.

This time the city has created its own parking mess, not adjacent to the stadium but rather in neighborhoods adjacent to Heroes Park, located at the northeast corner of 83rd Avenue and Bethany Home Road.

Despite the lack of amenities at the park for there are only a few basketball courts, a splash pad, a tot lot and ramadas, the park is still heavily used and loved, especially on weekends. So, what’s the problem?

There are not enough parking spaces at the park. As a result, people park in the dirt along the periphery of the park, especially along 83rd Avenue.

The city, in its wisdom, decided this would never do. Instead of creating more parking spaces, direction was given to park rangers to tell people that such parking was prohibited and they would have to move their vehicles or suffer their vehicle being towed away.

Where did the park rangers tell people to park? They told people to park in an adjacent neighborhood on the south side of Bethany Home Road. Last weekend over 75 vehicles parked in that neighborhood. There were so many cars that neighbors came out of their homes to see what was going on while seeking an explanation for all of the cars lining their streets.

To make matters worse, the city has created a major safety issue. Park visitors often with children in tow, having parked in the neighborhood, now have to cross a major arterial street, Bethany Home Road, to get to the park. Bethany Home Road has a lot of traffic at all times of

Street identification signs

Street identification signs

day and night. Vehicles traveling eastward approach the pedestrian crossing area from a hill with a curve providing no sight line to see pedestrians. There is no signage, no crosswalk, and no markings for vehicular traffic warning of heavy pedestrian crossings. Quite frankly, it is just a matter of time before a pedestrian is injured or killed trying to cross Bethany Home Road to get to the park.

What was the city thinking? The city has a policy that does not allow Cardinals game day parking in adjacent neighborhoods yet now is directing park patrons to park in an adjacent neighborhood? Why?

Instead of creating a permanent solution by developing, at the very least, temporary parking

Southwest Heroes Park

Southwest Heroes Park

spaces on 60 acres of unused dirt and weed-filled Heroes park property, it directs park patrons to park in a neighborhood? Is it because, once again, a problem at this park in west Glendale is not a priority? It is ironic that the city could throw $32 million at its Cardinals parking problem but appears to have neither the motivation nor the money to fix a relatively minor parking issue.  Is it a reflection of the city’s reluctance to spend any money on infrastructure improvements in west Glendale? Or was it through sheer incompetence that such a wacky solution was created? If this situation occurred in north Glendale it would last about 30 nanoseconds.

Where is Councilman Chavira? He had been told of the problem by local residents. Why hasn’t he demanded that this parking problem and safety issue be solved? Once again, we have an invisible councilmember who is not listening to his district residents much less advocating for an immediate remedy. Our district deserves better representation than it has received from Sammy Chavira during his term of service. Oh wait, Sammy doesn’t appear to serve his community interests…only his own. Is it because there isn’t any money to be made for Sammy in creating a parking solution?

Glendale…fix the parking problem you created.

© 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.

It has been 17 years and 283 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Two new items have been added to the city council agenda for Tuesday, October 13, 2015. They were added just before the close of business on Friday, October 9, 2015. They are agenda items 58 and 59. Both items are related to one another and call for city council approval the purchase of  99 acres at 91st Avenue and Bethany Home Road for $15,526,542.00 from the Pendergast family. The Pendergast family deserves the city’s thanks. They have lived in Glendale for generations and have roots here as well as a genuine love for the city. They have been involved in the life of Glendale for many years and have contributed their time, talent and money for the benefit of the city. I, for one, thank them.

I congratulate Interim City Manager Dick Bowers and the city council for this action. In this instance, the city has been proactive in solving a long standing problem, namely that of being required to build a city parking garage at Westgate for the benefit of the Bidwill family. The city is required to provide 6,000 parking spaces for football games as well as major events that occur at the University of Phoenix stadium. As land was consumed at Westgate for new development the proscription to provide those spaces became more and more difficult forcing council discussion to consider building the facility. With purchase of the Pendergast land there will now be more than enough land to satisfy that requirement without the need to build a garage.

That garage would have cost the city far north of the $50M acknowledged as the construction cost. Paying $15M for the land plus the cost of constructing a parking area on a portion of the land is far less costly than at least $50M for the garage. Voila! Suddenly there will be no need to build a Taj Mahal of a parking garage. The parking spaces will not consume the entire 99 acres. It is not known as of this date how much land would be required.

The balance of the undeveloped land provides the city an exciting opportunity to control a portion of its own destiny. With regard to the development of the portion unused for parking, the city might consider partnering with a Class A private developer. There are many advantages to doing so. Among others, it could mandate final approval for any development that might be proposed. If it is developed commercially I would suggest that with over 2,500 existent apartment units (with another 4,000 approved) and over 4,000 homes close by, the city should use its best efforts to create a neighborhood shopping district with a grocery store and dry cleaners. There is no grocery store in west Glendale and those sales tax dollars go to Phoenix and Peoria. The closest dry cleaners is minimally 4 miles away in other West Valley cities.

No matter what the future holds for this land, kudos to all those involved with a special and most warm thank you to the Pendergast family.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘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 go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

It has been 17 years and 193 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

I am about to do a commercial. No, not for Willie Wonka but for John Oliver. Who is he, do you say? Don’t feel dumb. I didn’t know who he is either. He is a comedian on HBO with a show entitled “Last Week Tonight.” Here is the link to one of his latest efforts: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Stadiums (HBO) – YouTube .

I want to thank ‘Me’ and a friend, both of whom sent me the link to his monologue on sports stadiums. He cracked me up and if you watch you may share my opinion. I’m going to watch previous episodes and make sure I watch from now on.

He may be a comedian but he and his production team do a lot of research and interspersed among the jokes are big, fat, fact bombs. He described today’s stadiums as thFYHUH64Abeing designed by “a coked up Willy Wonka” as he pointed out that the Marlins have an aquarium behind home plate and Dallas has a suspended swimming pool within its stadium. He said that in the past 20 years $12 billion dollars has been spent on 51 stadiums in the United States. He alluded to the often used statement by team owners that they cannot afford to build a stadium on their dime. Yet they will not share their financial books to provide a modicum of truth to the statement. He went on to say that owners monetize every part of the stadium and do not revenue share with taxpayers who foot the bill for constructing these stadiums. These owners keep the revenue on such items as naming rights, concession sales tax and luxury suite sales.

John Oliver even introduced Glendale into the picture at the 13 minute, 59 second mark. He highlighted that Glendale had cancelled their arena contract and the mayor and councilmembers have been virtually pilloried for doing so by showing the segment where a Coyotes fan tazed the mayor for a charity event.

Oliver is funny and he manages to use his brand of comedy to teach some basic facts about his topic of choice. Please join me in giving this guy a spin, kick his tires and check under his hood. We might learn something new in the process.

 © Joyce Clark, 2015

 FAIR USE NOTICE

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

Tomorrow, July 13, 2015 the Glendale city council will meet in executive session at 11 AM. What is the topic? Your guess is as good as mine. No one is talking and how could they? Senior staff has decided (perhaps wisely) that council will not know the subject matter of the e session until the actual meeting. The only other period of time staff went to such lengths was when Phil Lieberman was on council. It was suspected but never proven that he leaked e session material on a regular basis to Canadian folk during previous Coyotes’ buyer negotiations. This time the alleged leaker(s) may be Councilmembers Sherwood and/or Chavira spilling all to the owners of the Coyotes.

It may be that senior Glendale staff will present a Coyotes offer to the city council. There are events that hint that this may be the topic. Several councilmembers were scheduled last week for depositions with regard to the Coyotes law suit. Abruptly those deposition sessions were cancelled. Was it because the city’s attorneys were in talks with the Coyotes’ attorneys? The Coyotes payment of $1M bond and the city quarterly arena management payment of $3.75M are linked together and are to be paid concurrently. Neither has been paid to date.

If this is indeed what occurs tomorrow council will have several options. They do not vote in workshops or e sessions but do provide direction for staff. They can provide direction to: 1. Accept the offer; 2. Reject the offer; or 3. Send the offer back to the Coyotes with a counter proposal.

If you look at the council e session agenda for this meeting it is rather specific:

“A. The City Council will meet with the City Attorney for legal advice, discussion and consultation regarding the city’s position in pending or contemplated litigation, including settlement discussions conducted in order to avoid or resolve litigation. (A.R.S. § 38-431.03(A)(3)(4))

“B. Council will meet to discuss and consider records exempt by law from public inspection and are specifically required to be maintained as confidential by state or federal law. (A.R.S. § 38-431.03(A)(4))”

A.R.S. § 38-431.03 (A)(3)(4) is also pretty specific:

“(iii) discussion or consultation for legal advice with the city’s attorneys (A.R.S. § 38-431.03(A)(3));

“(iv) discussion or consultation with the city’s attorneys regarding the city’s position regarding contracts that are the subject of negotiations, in pending or contemplated litigation, or in settlement discussions conducted in order to avoid or resolve litigation (A.R.S. § 38-431.03(A)(4));”

It is possible that they will discuss the city’s current law suit with Vieste over recycling issues at the city landfill but it doesn’t seem probable based upon the events of this past week.

On another topic, the University of Phoenix Stadium hosted a soccer cup game today, July 12, 2015. A friend happened to have lunch at Westgate today. The friend related that the Westgate parking areas were jammed and they finally found a parking space literally in the “back forty” of one of the free lots. They almost decided to leave assuming that if the parking lots were filled, so were the Westgate restaurants. That was not the case. Their restaurant, as well as others, was nearly deserted. Who was parking in all of those free Westgate spaces? They learned it was the soccer game attendees at the University of Phoenix stadium.

The stadium has since its inception relied on Westgate parking spaces for football games and major events. Per the agreement with the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority (AZSTA) the city is responsible for providing 6,000 parking spaces for the football games and major events such as the Super Bowl and Fiesta Bowl. The city has always fulfilled its commitment to do so. Now AZSTA and the Bidwills are pressuring the city to build a $46M parking garage and the city is acceding to that pressure. Last fall senior staff brought forward a new capital improvement project – the infamous and very expensive parking garage at Westgate. Instead of building a library or a swimming pool as a capital improvement project Glendale taxpayers will be footing the bill for a Taj Mahal of a parking garage. You can count on its cost mounting. Don’t be surprised if the final bill is way north of $50M.

Glendale’s taxpayers are not happy about this. They ask why AZSTA and the Bidwills don’t build their own parking garage. They are the ones who need it. They are aware that the Bidwills sought and gained city approval for the development of Sportsman’s Park East and West. Those development plans include approval for several parking garages. Why don’t the Bidwills invest in a parking garage to meet the demands of their patrons attending their football games? Is it because they don’t want to pay for it? Is there a trigger threshold or event that requires the city to build this parking garage? What is it and has it occurred? Does the parking garage have to be as large and grand as staff presented or can it be scaled down to meet a minimal requirement? Can we wait until Glendale’s financial picture is stronger and can absorb yet another debt payment? When is the city going to prioritize the needs of its citizens first? So many questions – met with…silence.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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

It has been 17 years and 82 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

This afternoon, March 24, 2015 at 1:30 PM the city council will be meeting in workshop session to receive more information on the proposed Fiscal Year 2016-17 budget. The focus will be on the Capital Improvement Program.

The City of Glendale has posted the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) 2016-2025 on its website.  Here is the link: CIPDRAFT3_24v

The current proposed CIP has no funding from the General Fund for anything other than construction of a parking garage at Westgate. One note: you will see funding for water, sewer and sanitation projects but their bond repayment is not from the General Fund. They are paid from stand alone Enterprise Funds and the Enterprise bonds issued are paid back from the rate payers who use those services. You will also see funding for some street and airport projects but the funding for those does not come from the General Fund either. They are funded from the voter approved, dedicated portion of the sales tax that goes into the Transportation Fund.

The city’s General Fund is used to pay ongoing operating (the largest line item being employee salaries) and maintenance expenses (for city facilities) as well as to pay back bonds that have been issued for the following categories:

  • Fund 1980 – Street/Parking bonds
  • Fund 2140 – Open Space/Trails bonds
  • Fund 2060 – Parks bonds
  • Fund 2160 – Library bonds
  • Fund 2040 – Public Safety bonds
  • Fund 2080 – Government Facilities bonds
  • Fund 2130 – Cultural Facility bonds
  • Fund 2100 – Economic Development bonds
  • Fund 2180 – Flood Control bonds                                                                                              

The major General Fund bond issuance in the draft CIP 2016-2015 is for a parking garage at Westgate. It is Project 68124, Parking garage at Westgate with the following schedule of funding:

  • FY 2016 $  2,404,337
  • FY 2017 $20,000,172
  • FY 2018 $23,999,730
  • TOTAL  $46,404,239

Within the General Fund bond capacity funding are a few, small street projects (about 3), each less than $350,000; $1.6 million to upgrade storm drains; and an upgrade of the police digital communication system for $1.9 million. There is nothing even considered until after 2020 for Open Space/Trails, Parks, Library, Government Facilities, Cultural Facilities or Economic Development. These are all quality-of-life amenities that make a city great. They are the projects that attract new residents to Glendale and new businesses that appreciate the amenities that will help them attract quality employees. All of that is forsaken for a new parking structure at Westgate for over $46 million dollars. Trust me…that price tag will increase over time.

This new parking garage will cost a little under a million dollars annually for utilities and maintenance. A new operating expense will be added to the General Fund. For the past ten years staff was required to show where new money for a new operating expense would come from. The narrative for this expense within this CIP is cursorily dismissed with “Additional O and M will be absorbed within the current operating budget.”

The bottom line is that Glendale still has a structural deficit. To date, former City Manager Fischer and the Director of Finance, Tom Duensing, have used band aids. They have refinanced the city’s debt (done previously and historically when the market is favorable) and they have relied on making the temporary sales tax increase permanent. They have never attacked the real problem – the city is spending more than it takes in while it’s major debt components (construction debt for the arena and ball park and the annual $15 million dollar payment to Ice Arizona for managing the arena) bleeds the city dry.

Until senior management decides to live within its means by cutting General Fund expenses and resolves the construction debt burden and the $15 million annual payment burden we won’t see the city build amenities that can be used by its residents.

Apparently senior management believes there is some debt repayment capacity within the General Fund. What is it being used for? A parking garage at Westgate. Can you imagine what could be done with $46 million dollars? The city could build the West Branch Library, and still have money left over to renovate and upgrade existing parks and build some new parks as well. In other words, that money could be used to upgrade your quality-of-life and attract new business development to Glendale.

Why a parking garage at Westgate now? There is a 2002 contractual obligation with the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority (I no longer have a copy of the agreement) that requires the city to guarantee 6,000 parking spaces for games. Those spaces have been located within Westgate since the stadium opened. As Westgate’s land is used for new development those 6,000 spaces diminish. However, there is still a great deal of raw land to the east and north within Westgate. The purpose of the Youth Sports fields construction just to the east of the stadium was to relieve any parking spaces lost in Westgate proper. It provides 4,000 to 6,000 overflow parking spaces that still fulfill the agreement’s requirement for parking. Apparently that’s not good enough for the Bidwill’s who have been grousing and pushing for this parking garage for several years. So, the city has caved and will build the parking garage to be completed by the end of 2017. Great for the Bidwills…not so great for the residents of Glendale.

It’s a matter of priorities. It seems the greatest priority is to build a parking garage in Westgate while bonding for another $46 + million dollars and lesser priorities — to be fulfilled someday — are the quality-of-life amenities that Glendale citizens can enjoy.  Is this your priority? If not, what are you going to do about it? Sit back and eat it? Or let your councilmembers know what matters to you?

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

 

A quick note before taking a look at the NFL bid requirements for a Super Bowl. Yesterday I wrote about Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers’ inability to purchase tickets for the Super Bowl taking place a mere 5 days from now in Glendale. Today the Arizona Republic has an editorial very much in agreement. They refer to the NFL’s actions, or better yet, inaction, as “petty.” On this assessment I disagree. The pettiness is owned by the Bidwills. If they wanted Mayor Weiers to have Super Bowl tickets, the deed would already have been done.

On to the Super Bowl bid process. There are two links that provide the NFL requirements for hosting a Super Bowl. The Minneapolis Star Tribune has the entire 153 page document has a limk. Here it is:  http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/262253921.html . Glendale, years ago, posted only that portion of the bid document (43 pages) relevant to a host city. Here is the link: https://www.glendaleaz.com/clerk/Contracts/8806.pdf . I am not going to go into excruciating detail about the requirements. You have the links to read the entire bid for yourselves.

It is interesting to note that there are several phrases very, very liberally sprinkled throughout the bid specifications. The first is “at no cost to the NFL.” The second is “made available to the NFL rent-free.” The third is “provided by the Host Committee at no cost to the NFL.” The fourth is “discounted to the NFL.” The last is “the NFL must have exclusive rights at no cost to the NFL.”

Host cities go to great lengths to get noticed by the team owners in the hope that they will win the bid. In 2011 Arizona presented each team owner with an IPad, customized with each team’s logo and already loaded with a video presentation touting the Arizona bid. In 2012, Indianapolis had children deliver its bid to each of the team owners. Florida promised the owners yachts; Tampa offered all of the owners a golf outing with Arnold Palmer; and Texas just outright offered a million dollars to cover the Super Bowl game day costs. Here is a sampling of the ‘must haves’ included in the bid:

  • Provide 35,000 free parking spaces
  • Free billboards across the Valley
  • Receipt of all revenues for the game’s ticket sales
  • Installation of NFL preferred ATM’s at the stadium
  • Presidential suites, at no cost, in high-end hotels
  • Free access to three high-end golf courses in the summer or fall before the game
  • Free curbside parking at the NFL house
  • Free access to two top quality bowling venues

And the list goes on:

  • Temporary stadium seating must be 19” wide
  • Seating for the hoards of media must be 20” wide with an accompanying 24” clear, workspace
  • Grass field must be re-sodded for the game; and the NFL can remove chunks of it after the game, for resale, if it wishes
  • The stadium must be available to the NFL 4 weeks prior to Game Day and 4 days after; exclusive use for the NFL is 2 weeks prior
  • NFL has complete and exclusive control for 2 weeks prior to game of all club, restaurant, meeting, and hospitality facilities at the stadium
  • The host city must guarantee that its police, fire, permits, etc. are the top priorities
  • NFL has exclusive right to sell game day programs and novelties at the stadium
  • NFL will receive the stadium’s percentage from the sales of food, beverages and catering
  • Only NFL sponsor’s products will have logos seen on all products; all other logos are to be covered or removed
  • NFL allotted suites get a 30% discount on food and beverages
  • NFL requires 300 top quality buses; 65 limos (no older than 5 years); 5 premier quality buses and 125 “school” buses
  • Hotels where the teams stay obligated to televise the NFL Network for a year before the Super Bowl

There’s far more but this alone is enough to make one’s head spin. What does the NFL expect its game day costs to be? About $2.5 million dollars but let’s be generous and double that to $5 million dollars. For a several million dollar investment it earns billions. Yet it will not reimburse host cities for their costs. How greedy can it get? Oh, and the Host Committee must stipulate which of the NFL game day costs of $2.5 million dollars it will cover.

Did you know the Arizona Host Committee, just like the NFL, is a 501 (c) 6 non-profit organization? Its contributions are not deductible as charitable contributions but they can be deducted as a trade or business expense if ordinary and necessary in the conduct of business. Don’t you think every one of the businesses that contributed to the Arizona Host Committee had their CPAs and attorneys justify their contributions as deductions to the IRS? You bet they have.

Did you know that the Bidwills bought Tom’s Tavern in downtown Phoenix? It’s being operated by Rojo Hospitality, a division of the food company the Bidwills created to serve the University of Phoenix stadium. No wonder Michael Bidwill is so ecstatic to see NFL major events occurring in downtown Phoenix rather than in Glendale.

Why is Michael Bidwill feuding with the City of Glendale? He wants the City of Glendale to build a parking garage in the Westgate area at a cost of $25 to $35 million dollars. Why the need? Every inch of land surrounding the footprint of the stadium has been approved for development as the Bidwill’s Sportsman’s Park East and Sportsman’s Park West. These approved plans call for hotels, apartments, offices and retail — some 200’ feet tall, twice the height of the stadium (to date unapproved by the FAA). Of course those plans call for parking but it is parking dedicated to the structures to be built while removing all of the football parking space surrounding the stadium. That football dedicated parking has to be replaced and what better dime to use than the city’s.

If all of this doesn’t make you angry, nothing will. Perhaps someday the general public (read taxpayers) will realize in reality, they pay for the Super Bowl, and not just with tickets to the game or the merchandise they buy. I still call for all of the potential host cities to form their own league (or consortium), present a united front to the NFL and say “enough already.”

©Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

I’ve had it up the Yazoo with the antics of the NFL. It’s a non-profit organization that stands to earn about $10 billion dollars this year. It pays very little tax to anyone. The profit sharing among the team owners, while never divulged, is very healthy indeed. It seems as if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the 32 team owners that comprise are the NFL have allowed a breeding ground of thugs and miscreants.

The San Diego Union Tribune has a database of all NFL player arrests and citations since 2000. They say it’s a list of anything “more serious than speeding tickets.” Their list includes 719 records and they say it isn’t necessarily comprehensive.  Here are just a few of the most publicized NFL players that made the limelight in recent years:                                 Aaron Hernandez                                                                              Team: New England Patriots                                                          Position: Tight End                                                                                Alleged Crime: Three murder charges, armed assault and attempted murder.

Adam “Pacman” Jones                                                                     Team: Cincinnati Bengals                                                                 Position: Cornerback                                                                      Alleged Crime:  Too many incidents to list. His most well-known involves a shooting incident at a Las Vegas strip club that left one person paralyzed and two others injured. Police said Jones incited the incident. Jones pleaded no contest to a charge of conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct and agreed to testify about the shooter

Michael Vick                                                                             Team: NY Jets                                                                                   Position: QB                                                                                 Crime: Convicted of running a dog fighting ring.  Served two years in prison.

Ray Rice                                                                                       Team: Baltimore Ravens                                                                 Position: RB                                                                                  Alleged Crime:  Aggravated assault of his then fiancée. Rice was cut by the Baltimore Ravens on September 8

Aldon Smith                                                                                  Team: San Francisco 49ers                                                          Position: Linebacker                                                                      Alleged Crime: Two DUI’s, possession of an assault weapon and a bomb threat at LAX. Currently serving a ten-game suspension from the NFL

Ben Roethlisberger                                                                        Team: Pittsburgh Steelers                                                            Position: Quarterback                                                                   Alleged Crime: Accused twice of sexual assault. One case was dropped and the other was settled out of court. Roethlisberger served a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Oh, and let’s not forget Inflategate.

Add to the litany of the NFL’s scandals and outrageous profits the ongoing bad blood between Michael Bidwill and the City of Glendale. Bidwill has not been happy with Glendale since the University of Phoenix stadium landed in Glendale. The city has never “rolled over and played dead” for Bidwill regarding his many, oft times extreme, demands, whether they were football related or development related.

Make no mistake when it comes to the actions and decisions of the Arizona Host Committee, Bidwill is large and in charge. Jay Parry may be the current President of the Arizona Host Committee but nothing is done or a decision made without Bidwill’s knowledge and approval.

On January 25, 2015, the New York Times ran an interview with Glendale’s own Mayor Jerry Weiers. Here’s the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/26/sports/football/albatross-of-debt-weighs-on-super-bowl-city.html?_r=0 . In the article Weiers bemoans the fact that he has been snubbed and has not been invited to the Super Bowl despite his being the mayor of the host city. It seems he has taken a page out of former Mayor Scruggs’ play book by complaining publicly in the hope that he will get tickets just as Scruggs did in 2008. Whether it’s Scruggs or Weiers, it’s embarrassing to have one’s mayor publicly whining. If the feud had been a staring contest, Mayor Weiers blinked first.

The host committee could have provided tickets but chose not to. Oh, really? If Bidwill had said make sure the Glendale mayor is invited, Weiers would have his ticket. One can assume the host committee declined to invite Weiers so as not to be on the receiving end of a Bidwill fit. Bidwill, when asked by Channel 12 news about the Weiers ticket situation, tried desperately to ignore the question and kept trying to turn the story into a good news story for the state and the region — to no avail.  Here is the link: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/12-news/2015/01/26/12-news-michael-bidwill-cardinals-glendale-jerry-weiers/22335269/ .

In Bidwill’s parting shot, when asked why Phoenix and Scottsdale were hosting most of the Super Bowl parties instead of Glendale, said that was the decision of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee. “They’ve landed in cities that have been extremely supportive of the hosting of this Super Bowl,” Bidwill said. He went on to say that Glendale has been a “poor partner.” Has it occurred to anyone that if Glendale had refused to participate in the bid process that landed this year’s Super Bowl, there would have been no Super Bowl in Arizona this year?

Make no mistake, sometime in the future Bidwill and the Arizona Host Committee will want to bid again. At one time it was thought that Arizona would be part of a permanent rotation of the Super Bowl among southern or warm cities. Can you imagine if this year’s Super Bowl were being played in New Jersey? After all, the northeast is only dealing with a blizzard. Flights are cancelled and public transportation is at a standstill.

Until Glendale is assured, in writing, that it will be reimbursed for its costs, just as the host cities in Texas and Florida, it has no business being a Super Bowl host. The really big, bad boy of the sports leagues and the Bidwills, instead of spite will have to learn to use some sugar…the green kind, in large denominations, please.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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