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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

It has been 18 years and 116 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

I, as I suspect many other fans, was surprised and quite frankly shocked to learn of the firing of Coyotes General Manager, Don Maloney. Now, I am no more than a casual Coyotes fan, similar to many fans in the Valley. This season I watched games on TV and attended a few.

I have never been thrilled with LeBlanc and the current ownership group but what is, is. They are large and in charge – one adapts.

I first met Don Maloney when the NHL took over the team after Moyes’ declaration of bankruptcy. He impressed me then and he continues to do so. The NHL was never a hands-on manager and quite frankly, that allowed not only Maloney but Tippett as well, to fly…and they did. Sarah McLellan, sports reporter for the Arizona Republic, in an April 11, 2016 story, describes Maloney’s performance. Here is the link:

http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nhl/coyotes/2016/04/11/arizona-coyotes-seeking-new-leadership-gm-after-firing-don-maloney/82920744/ .

With him at the helm, the Coyotes went 326-291-87 and made three playoff appearances. The highlight came in 2012 as the team captured its first division title and advanced to the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history.

“After the 2009-10 season, Maloney was honored with the inaugural General Manager of the Year Award for assembling a team that achieved the organization’s most successful season to date. The Coyotes went 50-25-7 for 107 points and qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

“Actually, much of Maloney’s best work came after the team was dropped into bankruptcy in 2009 and managed by the NHL for the ensuing four seasons before the current ownership group purchased the club in 2013.

“Despite a hamstrung budget and limited resources, the Coyotes rattled off three consecutive seasons of at least 40 wins from 2009 to 2012.”

There is no doubt that Maloney is one of the best general managers in the business. From the outside, looking in, could it have been that Maloney had conveyed that he disagreed with the current direction and before he resigned, the owners fired him? Often these situations are handled more gracefully with a joint statement of a mutual parting of the ways.

Maloney got his direction and goals in running the organization from the franchise owners. Apparently when left to his own devices under the ownership of the NHL he succeeded. What direction did the new IceArizona owners give to him from 2013 onward that resulted in such a dismal performance?

LeBlanc, at a press conference announcing the firing said, “He absolutely has done a great job of laying the groundwork for the future. However, we believe a change in leadership is needed in order to move our franchise to the next level.” LeBlanc went on to say, “Ownership is completely committed to winning and winning long-term here in Arizona. Today was the first step in moving us to the next phase as an organization.” The question many fans are probably asking is what exactly is this next phase?

Maloney reacted to his firing with the following, “Ownership have (sic) the absolute right to hire the person they are most comfortable with to run their hockey organization. They felt a change was needed at this time. I have no hard feelings or regrets whatsoever.” There is no doubt that Don Maloney is a class act and a consummate gentleman. He is articulate and intelligent and worked miracles during the most turbulent times of the Coyotes’ history. From the outside looking in, the manner in which Maloney’s leaving was handled, was not a class act.

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

In Paul Giblin’s March 4, 2016 Arizona Republic story about Councilmember Chavira he wrote: Concerning the California trips, Chavira noted in expense records that the purpose for a trip to Montebello, Calif., in November 2015 was ‘Economic Development-grid projects & special events in CA.’

He wrote that the reason for a trip to West Covina, Calif., in October 2015 was ‘Light Rail and bring LA restaurant to CB Ranch in CA,’ a reference to Glendale’s spring-training park Camelback Ranch.

“In his email to The Republic, Chavira stated that the trips combined multiple opportunities.

“‘I met with the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), which is an excellent model for innovation and entrepreneurship that I hope to implement in Glendale. Additionally, these two trips involved meetings with a number of political and sports-world leaders concerning the possibility of partnerships back home in Glendale,’ he stated.

“Chavira did not include names of business, political and sports leaders with whom he met. Officials with the clean-tech concern did not return messages about the matter.

“The October 2015 trip followed an introduction Chavira facilitated between Glendale resident Luis De La Cruz and officials at Glendale’s spring-training stadium.

“De La Cruz is the majority owner of Manuel’s Original El Tepeyac Café, a Los Angeles restaurant known for its five-pound burrito. During the meeting, De La Cruz proposed the idea of El Tepeyac selling items at Camelback Ranch stadium, according to De La Cruz and stadium President Jeff Overton.

“The group met at Camelback Ranch on Sept. 1, 2015, but no deals were struck. In October, Chavira sampled the food at El Tepeyac in Los Angeles and De La Cruz introduced him to officials at the clean-tech incubator, De La Cruz said in an interview.

“The Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox play spring-training games at Camelback Ranch.

Brian Friedman, the city’s economic-development director, said he did not accompany Chavira on the trips and that the councilman didn’t coordinate with him about them. Friedman said he is unfamiliar with the term ‘grid projects.’ “ Here is the link to Giblin’s entire article: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2016/03/04/glendale-councilman-sammy-chavira-charges-24k-trips-3-years-taxpayers/78857734/ .

There’s more to the Luis De La Cruz and Chavira connection. In Chavira’s 2012 run for his council seat Luis De La Cruz co-hosted a $100 a person fundraiser at Bitzee Mama’s for Sammy. They appear to have been friends since at least 2012 when the fundraiser occurred. De La Cruz, in addition to being a majority owner of El Tepeyac Café is also a director of Andale Construction located in Buckeye and Andale Towers located in Phoenix. Chavira seems to aspire running with those who have money and lots of it.

Chavira offered Giblin no back up information for his California trip other than a rather general statement of creating partnerships.  Could he have been there for another purpose? As Giblin reports Chavira did not offer specific information on who he met on this trip. Why travel to California to see a man who lives in Glendale? There has been unsubstantiated speculation that Sammy may have taken this trip primarily to attend a sporting event. Who knows?

Chavira’s explanation for all of his questionable trips to Washington, D.C. and to California was that he was there on city business as well. To the general public it appears that Sammy went on “fun” trips such as seeing Pope Francis on a big screen TV and attending his buddy’s, Ruben Gallego, installation as a Congressman and then to cover his butt made the assertion that he also attended meetings to benefit Glendale. No one is buying his explanation. No one, not the Mayor or other councilmembers have behaved in this fashion.

More troubling is Sammy’s habit and pattern of repaying “favors” to large benefactors supporting his run for office. Is it coincidence that Mark Becker of Becker Billboards made a substantial contribution to Sammy’s campaign and Sammy supported Becker’s request for billboards in north Glendale during, at the very least, one council meeting? Is it coincidence that an attorney for IceArizona made several hundred dollars in contributions to Sammy’s campaign and then Sammy voted for the deal even though he ran on a platform of no more bad (financial) deals for Glendale? Apparently he didn’t think Glendale’s payment of $15 million a year to IceArizona as a management fee was a bad deal. He did not support the canceling of IceArizona’s contract with the city and did not support the city’s issuance of a request for bids to manage the city’s arena.

In response to reading Paul Giblin’s report on Chavira’s trips A Letter to the Editor written by Ron Myers, Constable at Arrowhead Justice Precinct was published. Here is the full text:

“As an elected public official in Maricopa County who lives in Glendale, I am appalled and dismayed to read a story in The Republic that Glendale City Councilman Chavira has abused the trust of the taxpayers in Glendale by spending lavishly on questionable trips and meals charged to his expense account that we all pay for.

What possible city business could it be for him to fly to Washington, D.C., to observe the Pope’s speech on a TV monitor or to watch his friend get sworn in as a congressman? Does he really think he can justify spending over $400 on dinner for his superiors in the Phoenix Fire Department while out of town?

The City of Glendale takes one more black eye from out-of-control politicians. Shame on him and shame on the City of Glendale for allowing this fraud and abuse.”

— Ron Myers, constable

Arrowhead Justice Precinct

Glendale

Chavira’s ethics while serving as an elected official have called into question his fitness to serve. From all appearances he has done “favors” for those who supported him substantially in his run for council. Current news reports question Chavira’s abuse of Glendale’s citizens’ trust by using taxpayer dollars to fund his jaunts. Hopefully the current city council will institute policy to oversee their use of taxpayer dollars for travel. Disappointingly it appears that some councilmembers believe that Sammy “did nothing wrong.” If that is true, perhaps it will call into question their ethical decision making skills as well.

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

On February 26, 2016 Arizona Sports ran a story on Anthony LeBlanc’s reaction to Mayor Jerry Weiers’ remarks at his State of the City address. Here is the link:  http://arizonasports.com/story/566510/arizona-coyotes-ceo-glendale-may-want-us-to-stay-but-not-being-realistic/ .

In his prepared remarks with reference to the Coyotes the Mayor said, “I need to be clear about this. I want the Coyotes to stay in Glendale. The city wants the Coyotes to remain in Glendale. We have, since day-one, invited them to remain engaged in this process.”  In his recent remarks Mr. LeBlanc said this about the Coyotes’ refusal to engage in the bid process to manage Glendale’s arena, “…the team did not submit a bid to manage the arena because it refused to participate in a ‘flawed process’.” LeBlanc did not elaborate on his characterization of a “flawed process.”

Mr. LeBlanc went on to say, “I think they do want us to stay, but I don’t think they’re looking through a realistic lens of what that means.” Translate this statement to read that in his view “a realistic lens of what that means” is the Coyotes would only stay if Glendale continues to subsidize a portion of their annual loss. LeBlanc, et. al., may have retired their Fortress loan by adding additional owners but don’t forget they still owe a boat load of money to the NHL for another loan that covered buying the team.

What governmental entity is not only going to build a new hockey arena but also subsidize the Coyotes’ annual loss? It’s Glendale all over again. Tempe? Scottsdale? Probably not. Phoenix? Perhaps it can bury its subsidization of the Coyotes within possible plans to build a new facility for joint use by the Suns and the Coyotes.

The Coyotes want to manage their own facility. Then they collect all of the revenue generated by non-hockey events and they can claim a management fee that not only covers their cost to manage but off-sets their annual loss.

LeBlanc praised a recently approved deal between Broward County, Florida and the NHL Florida Panthers. The deal allows the Panthers to get nearly all of the arena revenue and reduces any profit-sharing between the Panthers and the county. Since the Panthers first season in 1993-94 the Broward county’s public subsidy of the team has been $342 million (an estimated $14 million a year). It should be noted that the Panthers lost $36 million last year and another $27 million the previous year. Of course LeBlanc would think that’s a wonderful deal. Reality is that the majority of NHL teams can’t survive without public financial support. That has been the model for years but many governmental entities are under financial pressure and can no longer afford this type of model. It is a model destined to die in the future as the public clamors for sports franchises to pay their own way.

LeBlanc said three options are still being discussed. They are a shared arena with the Phoenix Suns in downtown, a partnership with Arizona State University or an arena in Scottsdale’s Loop 101 corridor. Hey, if the City of Phoenix wants to pony up and pay the Coyotes to play downtown, congratulations to all. Previously the Suns and the Coyotes shared an arena downtown and it was the fans who suffered with terrible sight lines while watching the games.

Is the Arizona State Legislature delusional? It has budget problems. Will it allow a portion of its allocation of state public money to be used to pay for a new hockey arena instead of educational purposes? It seems doubtful that Scottsdale will wish to pay the Coyotes to play in their town. It would be déjà vu as they refused to do so in 2001.

LeBlanc said if a new arena is built it will take at least three years. He went on to say they would “rather not move twice in five years.” Here is where the situation becomes problematical. Glendale and IceArizona currently have a two year agreement that allows IceArizona to manage the arena for $6 million per year. The first year of that agreement is nearly up leaving only one more year of IceArizona’s management. After that it is assumed AEG, the presumed new arena manager, and IceArizona will have to negotiate short-term tenancy for two more years. Will they be able to craft a mutually satisfactory tenancy arrangement? Then the question becomes if IceArizona can live with the deal for two years, why can’t it live with the deal permanently? Can LeBlanc and company afford to rebuild its fan base in another part of the Valley while it continues to rebuild the team?

No matter what the outcome I continue to have greatest respect and admiration for the players. They have endured a great deal since Jerry Moyes put the team into bankruptcy in 2009. They are a great group of men who certainly deserve more stability than they have had. They deserve better. Let’s see if cooler heads can prevail and a deal that benefits all entities can be achieved permanently. Isn’t it 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 63 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Please Note: I have added a Contact form to my blog page. So far about a dozen readers have used the form. My apology to those of you who have used it. I am not deliberately ignoring you. I am taking it down until I get the bugs worked out. However, I am having problems with the app. It is not sending me your contact info or your message.

Councilmember Chavira when he first took office seemed bright-eyed and bushy tailed. How has his attendance at workshops, executive sessions and voting meetings been? I reviewed all of the city’s meeting minutes and it is possible that I could have missed some of his absences. Based upon a cursory review here are his absences since he took office:

2013

  • 4/9/2013       Special workshop followed by an executive session
  • 9/24/2013     Voting meeting
  • 9/24/2013     Special workshop followed by an executive session
  • 12/10/2013   Voting meeting

2014

  • 10/7/2014      Workshop followed by an executive session

2015

  • 2/24/2015      Voting meeting
  • 4/14/2015      Budget workshop followed by an executive session
  • 4/14/2015      Voting meeting
  • 7/20/2015      Special workshop followed by an executive session
  • 8/11/2015      Voting meeting
  • 8/13/2015      Special workshop followed by an executive session

2016

  • 1/28/2015     Special workshop followed by an executive session
  • 2/16/2016     Arrived late at 9:43 AM for a 9 AM meeting

There have been additional meetings, both workshop and voting, at which Sammy participated telephonically and was not physically present for the meeting. There is no way to determine an accurate count of his telephonic presence at meetings. These are more difficult to research by going through old council minutes.

Virtually every workshop is followed by an executive session. So not only has he missed workshops but at least 7 executive session meetings. Executive sessions provide information on contracts, land issues and personnel issues not available to the public. Keep in mind that a councilmember cannot and never participates in an executive session telephonically.

Over the course of the 3 years and 2 months of his term to date he has missed over a dozen meetings. In 16 years of service I probably missed less than a half dozen meetings. The councilmembers with whom I served also took their service very seriously and rarely, if ever, missed a meeting.

Every councilmember knows that it is critical to reserve every Tuesday for council business knowing that there will be a workshop meeting usually followed by an executive session or a voting meeting.

Is Sammy’s job conflicting with his ability to carry out his one major responsibility…his attendance at council meetings? Forget about participation and meaningful conversation. He is known widely for his habit of thanking people and not saying much else. If that is the case then he is doing a disservice to his constituency as well as all of the people of Glendale.

Sammy ran on a bogus platform of promises to the voters of his district…education, for which he had no policy making authority; his support of an out-of-state corporation’s successful bid to manage the city’s arena for $15 million dollars a year; his lack of representation of the people of his district and his failure to meaningfully reach out to his constituents; and his broken promise to not enter into sweetheart deals…unless it happens to be a quid pro quo with a fellow councilmember.

Sammy’s record of service as the Yucca district councilmember is a testament to his invisibility…at council workshop, executive sessions and voting meetings and in interacting with and representing the people of our district. The question is a valid one…Sammy, where are you?

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

The general assumption is soon Councilmember Sammy Chavira of the Yucca district in Glendale will be running for his council seat. There are all kinds of theories floating out there as to why he hasn’t pulled a nomination packet already. One is that is he stalling to make his campaign season as short as possible. That leaves less time for voters to take a critical look at his record or lack thereof. The other is that he is going through the hiring process to obtain a lucrative paying job at the new Tohono O’odham casino in Glendale. Hmm…this could prove problematical for him. Remember his ouster from the National Hispanic Firefighters Association (NHFA)? One of the urban legends is that Sammy and his buddies drove around in a golf cart during the event collecting all of the event revenues for themselves. It is known that NHFA made no money on the event and had to cover event expenses in excess of $12,000.

It’s a good time to look at his campaign pledges and his record of delivery. Sammy ran on 4 central campaign promises revealed in an October, 2012 campaign mailer:

  • “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.” 

Sammy was the deciding yes vote on the $15 million dollar a year arena management agreement with IceArizona. The irony is that yes, IceArizona is an out-of-state corporation but many of its owners are Canadian. In addition on June 11, 2015 Sammy and recalled Councilmember Sherwood were the only two votes against voiding the costly $15 million dollar arena management contract with IceArizona. It appears Sammy’s agenda was to support his good buddy Sherwood and IceArizona. It seems as if Sammy wasn’t afraid to say no to special interests but rather he supported them wholeheartedly.

  • “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.” 

This is the biggest lie of the century. Local city councils have no control over local education. That is the job of local school boards. The council can be supportive of local schools but it cannot create policy for any local school. So why did Sammy use this? Many voters, but not all, are unsophisticated. They are busy with their lives and don’t follow school or city issues unless it directly affects them and their families. Did he fight to “fully fund Head Start,” a federal program? No. Did he support “education tax credits for our local schools,” either state or federal? No. Did he “make after school programs more curriculum based?” No.

  • “Sam will go to the city council to represent the people, not a particular ideology, because he knows that results are what’s important.”

Has Sam represented you? Unless you are a political junkie you couldn’t pick him out of a line up. He’s had one…just one… district meeting back in 2013. The only other scheduled district meeting was cancelled at the last minute. Have you ever met him? Talked to him about issues that concern you? I think not. If he knows that “results are what’s important,” why hasn’t he delivered any to the people of his district?

  • “No more sweetheart deals. The city needs to be a tough negotiator, making smart planning decisions that preserve Glendale’s future.”

Sammy’s entire term of service seem to be based on sweetheart deals. Apparent deals with recalled Councilmember Sherwood; apparent deals with the Tohono O’odham, supporters of his campaign in return for his support of the casino; apparent deals with the fire union, supporters of his campaign in return for his support of their agenda. Deals in support of his constituency…not so much.

Sammy Chavira made a lot of promises to the voters of the Yucca district. He didn’t deliver. He made a lot of promises to special interests. He did deliver. He made a lot of campaign promises to the voters of the district and he broke them all.

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

Otherwise occupied, I paid very little attention to the NHL hockey game until I checked Twitter later in the day and saw a friend’s tweet that said “Year of the outsiders #JohnScottMVP.” I was struck by that, called the friend and she shared her thought that John Scott was the sports equivalent of the current political scene of the outsiders.

It is undeniably the year of the “outsiders.” Let’s look at two: this one in the world of sports and one in the world of politics.

For many of you not familiar with the world of National League Hockey you will not have heard about the NHL’s most recent All Star game and the extraordinary events that occurred.

John Scott is an enforcer and was a player for the Arizona Coyotes hockey team. He’s the six foot eight inch designated guy to fight other players on behalf of his teammates. He’s never been a star and bounced around among four teams before landing with the Arizona Coyotes. I don’t know if he ever scored any goals in his entire professional career. He is not a star but a steady, constant player, devoted to the game and thankful that he is considered good enough to play in the NHL. He is like our mail men and women, invisible, delivering our mail daily without us giving a thought to their service.

The NHL All-star players are selected by the fans through voting. It began as a joke. He was nominated for the All Star game but a funny thing happened. Fans and his peers voted for him in overwhelming numbers. As we now know he was asked by the NHL to decline and he reluctantly did so telling the fans he wasn’t a star and they should select another. No one listened. The next thing he knew he was voted Team Captain and he would be playing for the Pacific Division in the All Star game. He was excited and proud. The NHL was not.

Then a not-so-funny thing happened. The NHL establishment didn’t want John Scott to play. After all, they had to preserve their image. It was not one of a 4th liner playing in the nationally televised All-star game. Once again John Scott was asked to state he was not playing but this time according to his very endearing written article ( Here is the link: http://www.theplayerstribune.com/a-guy-like-me/), he was asked if his children would be proud of him. Like other institutions the NHL showed the same tone deaf attitude having no clue what children mean to parents so from that moment on John Scott was determined to play.

The NHL establishment concocted a scheme apparently pressuring the Coyotes owners. After all, it was because of Bettman and a very large NHL loan they were able to buy the team. Don Maloney, Coyotes’ General Manager, became the establishment’s enforcer telling Scott that he had been suddenly and inexplicitly traded to the Montreal Canadians who immediately sent him down to minor league team in Newfoundland. There isn’t any NHL rule that says once a man has been demoted he can’t play in an All Star game but they figured they had sent the message to Scott…don’t play, don’t even think about it.

But Scott did think about it. Players from around the league told him, “You have to play.” So John Scott played.

It was both a time of magic for John Scott and a repudiation of the NHL by most fans and many players. He enjoyed a stellar day with his wife and two tutu/Coyotes sweater clad

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 20: John Scott #20 of the San Jose Sharks participates in the family skate during the practice day for the 2015 Coors Light Stadium Series game between Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks at Levi's Stadium on February 20, 2015 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

tiny daughters in attendance and scored two All Star goals that evening…Two. At the end of the game three names were tweeted by the NHL for the game MVP. None of the three names were John Scott. Online Twitter erupted with John Scott MPV hashtags and fans in the Arena began chanting Scott’s name for MVP. In five minutes the NHL establishment capitulated and John Scott was named the MVP of the2016 All Star game.

John Scott represents “everyman.” He represents the men and women on the assembly line, the invisible and silent workers that keep our country running. In this one extraordinary moment of time John Scott and “everyman” prevailed over the establishment. The “outsiders”…the John Scott caliber of player who ignored the establishment’s threats and intimidation and the fans who have silently in anger and frustration  watched game play diminish as it became buried in an avalanche of rules, regulations and insensitivity…made their voices heard. In sports John Scott epitomizes the common man’s disgust of the establishment’s unethical behavior.

Trump is the creation by an establishment that embodies a corrupt political system, a biased media and a Washington, D.C. awash in self-absorption and self-aggrandizement. Oddly, he too, speaks for “everyman.” He speaks for a shrinking middle-class that no matter how hard it works, no longer ever gets ahead and who fears its children and grandchildren will be left worse off. He speaks for the millions who are demoralized by a great county that is no longer respected by the world. He speaks for those who fear the possibility of catastrophic terrorist acts on our soil. He speaks for a county that is economically anemic and needs a transfusion not a “transformation”. His political incorrectness speaks against those in power who think they know better but have made things worse.

He says what he really thinks without the traditional political filter. Or any filter actually. Whether you think he is right or wrong it is refreshing. He offers hope to the silent majority that there is a chance to reclaim America, a great and prosperous and yes, entitled county; the county for which so many have sacrificed to get to its shores.

Deep down in the nation’s gut it is implicit that establishment politicians lie. They spoon feed their base what they believe they must say to remain popular and electable. However the national psyche is flexing its forgotten muscles. They are no longer silent while establishment politicians fail to serve the people but rather calculatingly work to retain their power and privilege. Trump has stripped away their politically correct veil. Every time he says something the establishment considers totally outrageous, sure to alienate all he defies their conventional wisdom and his poll numbers rise.

Trump has tapped a nerve, a sentiment, a longing. He has given voice to concerns too long unspoken. He is most certainly a political “outsider,” hated, admired or feared dependent upon one’s political persuasion. Can he win a presidential race or really change the country for the

Photo courtesy of sourcefed.com

Photo courtesy of sourcefed.com

better? Who knows? But to put it bluntly in the primary he is boxing the GOP establishment’s ears. Average folks are cheering him on with pleasure.

I chose these two men as the epitome of the “outsider.” In sports John Scott is symbolic of a true underdog who prevailed over an old, tradition riddled elitist establishment.

In politics Donald Trump is symbolic of a reactionary who has the potential to prevail over an elitist political establishment that will do whatever is necessary to preserve its power.

Let’s hear it for outsiders…#2016

© Joyce Clark, 2016

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It has been 18 years and 49 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

The City of Glendale received 3 bids to manage its arena. The bids were from AEG Facilities, Comcast Spectacor and SMG. All are extremely reputable, large national companies, experienced in operating venues throughout the country. After senior management reviewed all 3 bids it recommended AEG to the city council. All of the discussion with council was done in executive session and the public is not privy to those discussions. On January 2, 2016 in its executive session council approved AEG and directed staff to negotiate a final contract over the next 60 days.

It is a very positive development. AEG can add another premier venue to its portfolio that is sure to benefit Glendale when AEG negotiates packages of venues with performers. It had previous experience operating the Gila River Arena from 2006 – 2009 and during that period it acquired some major performers: one that comes to mind is Bruce Springstein. It manages over 120 facilities worldwide and the majority is located in the United States.

What does that mean for the Coyotes? I, and many others, remain hopeful that AEG and IceArizona can negotiate a deal that benefits both. That still is the best option for all parties: the city, IceArizona and AEG. Anthony LeBlanc, an owner of IceArizona and its spokesperson, continues to play poker when discussing the situation with such recent comments as, “The good news is that all of the discussions we have had have been pretty open as have other organizations — be it the city of Phoenix or Tempe or Arizona State. Everybody has been pretty open that we have had discussions with and they have all been positive (www.arizonasports.com, Rodney Haas).” If this is his attempt to raise the ante with Glendale or AEG it doesn’t seem to be working. One has only to look back upon his previous history of blustery statements that were found to be less than forthcoming.

If the Coyotes are serious about moving there are still major hurdles to overcome. A new facility would not be available for at least 3 years. No matter whether is it Phoenix, Tempe or Timbuktu, pesky voters will have to be swayed to support the construction of yet another sports venue. Voters are becoming more discerning and will question the value of diverting precious tax revenue away from community needs and to another subsidized sports facility. In today’s day and age, it is not an easy sell as it once was.

Then there is the issue of location…location…location. Larry Feiner, a Coyotes fan, recently tweeted the results of an informal poll he did about the difficulty of the commute. His responses were split right down the middle, 50/50. Those fans who live in the east valley consider the commute to Glendale a hassle. Those fans who live in the west valley consider the commute to the east valley a hassle. The question for the Coyotes is will the ticket holders they pick up from the east valley offset the losses of west valley fans? All of the good will created among west valley fans could be lost. That is a question only the Coyotes will be able to answer. For the past 10 years the Coyotes have had a home in the west valley and it has served them and their fans well. It is a wonderful facility build exclusively for hockey. It is not to be dismissed lightly in a pique of anger because the city is no longer subsidizing losses to the tune of $15 million dollars a year.

I remain positive and believe that a successful accommodation can be achieved between all parties. Can the Coyotes?

©Joyce Clark,2016  

  FAIR USE NOTICE

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It has been 18 years and 47 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

On January 29, 2016 the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) ran a story about Jerry Moyes entitled When a CEO Borrows on his stock by Ted Mann, Robbie Whelan and Theo Francis. For those who don’t know or may have forgotten, Jerry Moyes is the founder, chairman and former CEO of Phoenix-based Swift Transportation, one of the largest trucking companies in the United States. Moyes is also owner of the charter airline Swift Air and a marina at Lake Powell. Moyes is the controlling owner of SME Steel Contractors Inc., a steel erector company based in Utah. He was a majority owner of the Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League before he filed bankruptcy and the team was sold to the NHL in 2009, and the Arizona Sting of the National Lacrosse League. Moyes is also a limited partner in the Arizona Diamondbacks, and was once a minority owner of the Phoenix Suns.

Moyes is a Glendale resident best known for his bankruptcy filing of the NHL Coyotes in a failed attempt to sell the team to Jim Balsillie, one time CEO of Research in Motion (RIM), makers of the Blackberry cell phone. As a result of these manoeuvrings the team was eventually sold to the NHL and then the NHL sold the team to IceArizona resulting in a $15 million dollar a year management fee paid by the City of Glendale until recently.

The story relates the fact that Moyes has borrowed heavily against his shares of Swift Trucking. Demands for additional loan collateral were made and three times Swift’s board has taken action beneficial to Moyes in dealing with his loans. The board policy had been that senior directors could pledge no more than 20% of their stock for margin loans. In 2013, the cap was lowered to 15% as of July 2014 and then lowered once again to 10% as of July 2015.  The board then amended the 10% limit from taking effect until the end of 2016. In 2015 Swift stock lost 52% of its value and as the stock value he had pledged as collateral declined he needed to pledge even more of his stock as further collateral.

However, his use of his stock as collateral exceeded the board’s limits. Other investors including the Teamsters’ Union are concerned with the board’s actions and accused Mr. Moyes of, “using Swift as his personal bank.”

According to the WSJ, “Swifts’ board is unusually small, just six members. To analysts of corporate governance, boards size matters: While too-large boards can be unwieldy, too-small boards can turn into echo chambers and foster an eagerness among directors to get along in the face of tough decisions.” It goes on to say, “the Phoenix-based company has just four independent directors, as defined by New York Stock Exchange rules. And one of those deemed independent, Mr. Dozer, spent years helping run a business that was partly owned by Mr. Moyes, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Mr. Dozer was the baseball team’s president from 1995 until 2006, and Mr. Moyes was a minority owner from 1996 until last year.” Hmm…It looks as if you own a company you can use it as your personal bank just a long as your close friends on a very small board approve.

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

Over the holidays there wasn’t much news about the Coyotes. Now that we are in a new year on January 7, Paul Giblin had a story in the Arizona Republic citing the results of a recent poll on the subject of a Coyotes relocation. Here is the link: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2016/01/07/poll-arizona-coyotes-should-stay-gila-river-arena-glendale/78314406/ . He reported, “Approximately 54 percent of frequent voters in Maricopa County surveyed believe the Coyotes should remain at Gila River Arena in Glendale, according to the poll that was conducted Dec. 29 for Phoenix-based public-relations firms MBQF Consulting and Marson Media.”

The problem for any other governmental agency attempting to locate the Coyotes will be to garner enough public support to pay for yet another very expensive sports facility. Thirteen years ago, in 2002, the cost to build the Gila River Arena was about $180 million dollars. The cost today to build the same type of facility has exploded. It is expected that the cost would be in the $400 million dollar range. The sixty four dollar question is can enough public support be generated in some other Valley community to use precious and scarce taxpayer dollars?

Public support would probably be found if the economy was booming and world affairs were stable. That is not the case. The economy staggers along as the middle class continues its death spiral. The general public fears more ISIS inspired events on our soil as the Middle East explodes into further turmoil while China’s stock market takes a dive and North Korea’s bomb tests reminds us that we, as a nation, are vulnerable. This is not an environment that is conducive for public sentiment to use taxpayer dollars on yet another sports facility.

Anthony LeBlanc, one of the Coyotes’ owners and apparent Public Information Officer, has had to walk back some of his previous assertions about the Coyotes.  He has hired a sports consultancy firm to assist him in his quest for a new location. It seems likely that a location in any other Valley municipality will be very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. His only hope may be can he cut a deal for another new facility funded and built by the Gila River Pima Maricopa Indian Community? His refusal to bid for management of the Gila River Arena may come back to haunt him.

Which leads to another bit of recent news. The City of Glendale received 3 bids to manage its Gila River Arena submitted by AEG Facilities, Spectra by Comcast Spectacor and SMG. All three are “big guns” in the sports management business. All have the experience and knowledge required to successfully manage Glendale’s arena. Currently the bids are TOP SECRET. In the next few weeks Glendale’s senior management staff and city council will each receive separate briefings regarding the specifics of each proposed bid. This management deal is more complicated because the Coyotes will play in the arena for another season and it is expected the chosen management company contract would begin this July 1, 2016. That means that the preferred management company and the Coyotes would have to negotiate revenue streams for one year of Coyotes occupancy. There is always the remote possibility that a deal could be crafted comfortable enough for the Coyotes to create an incentive for them to stay at the Gila River Arena beyond their final year.

The city council may be ready to vote on an arena manager as early as February 9, 2016. If a vote is not taken around that date expect that one of the bids is in further negotiation before final acceptance. The public, as is the case with mushrooms, will be left in the dark and fed horse manure. There is no opportunity for public input in this process. While everyone understands the theory of representative government they also understand the theory of transparency. It seems that once again “father knows best” trumps the public’s right to know.

© 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 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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