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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

It has been 18 years and 36 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

February 11, 2016 will be the third anniversary of my blog. In these three years I have published 528 posts, received 2,261 comments and have had over 315,000 readers. It is linked with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Path and Google+. These numbers are probably modest in the world of blogging but lately daily views are consistently in the 600 range and there are occasional days of 2,000+ reads.

I am proud of what I have accomplished. Having been a councilmember in Glendale for 16 years I have special insights into the goings-on at city hall coupled with many sources of fact as well as those offering pure speculation. There is no doubt, after 3 years, my position on a wide variety of Glendale issues is well known. I make no apologies for my positions on the issues important to you, residents of Glendale. I, as happens to anyone advancing an opinion, have developed a cadre of, shall we call them disenchanted… but you know what? That’s OK. At least they are reading my blog.

On January 21, 2016 I was surprised to read a Glendale Star editorial by Carolyn Dryer commenting on my blog. Here is the link: http://www.glendalestar.com/opinion/article_bb8b7eb2-c049-11e5-828c-5faf9edb2a8f.html . Ms. Dryer is correct in her assertion that I have blasted her, for I most certainly have. However, she said the following, “There’s a former councilmember who has her own blog. I’ll say her name: Joyce Clark. While I do not always agree with her, I have to give her credit for at least putting her name on her blog. You know who is writing the opinions. She is not afraid to put her name on it. And she has blasted me for articles I have written. But the difference between her and others who spew their opinions across the web is she is upfront, honest, and puts her name to whatever she writes.”

Ms. Dryer also made reference to a site that has concerned me for quite some time. It’s called the Glendale Guardian. It says it is, Citizens oriented, fact-based, and community driven awareness network that works to ensure that our Citizens priorities our put first.” Sounds great, doesn’t it? The English used isn’t the best but the objective is to make you think it’s a well meaning, benevolent site. That is far from the fact. Its articles are selective and extremely biased. There is an agenda and it’s not hard to figure it out.

That would be perfectly OK if we knew who was behind the site but we don’t.  It isn’t Sam Smith or John Jones because no one has the guts to acknowledge that he or she runs the site. Or as Ms. Dryer stated in reference to this very same site, To those other anonymous “guardians” of the City of Glendale, you could take some honest lessons from people like Joyce Clark. If you want people to respect you, own up to your words. Do not hide behind the curtain of the Internet. Try putting your honesty to the real test. Let people know who you really are.”

Glendale Guardian administrator(s) have you no pride or respect for yourself or your site? What are you afraid of…the truth?

© 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.

Dear John letter

Posted by Joyce Clark on July 4, 2015
Posted in BlogsCity issue and actionsCity of Glendale  | Tagged With: , , | 5 Comments

Merged

I rarely receive email criticism for something I have said in my blog. Usually criticisms come in the form of comments to my current blog post for all to see.  When I have received an email of this kind I do not respond to the content but instead thank the writer, delete and do not accept any future emails from that sender. This time, I decided to share the email I received and my response. Here’s a peek inside my world.

Subject:           your latest rant

Date:               7/3/2015 1:30:05 P.M. US Mountain Standard Time

From:              johnglenn

To:                  clarkjv@aol.com

Joyce,

I probably shouldn’t dignify your latest blog with a response, however I do feel compelled to point out a few things.

When your campaign, in 2012, was floundering and you were being railroaded by just about everybody else around town it was George, Bea, Darren, Larry et al that stepped up and supported you and gave hundreds of hours trying to help right the ship that was your sinking re-election campaign. They knocked hundreds and hundreds of doors, others help you put out your own mail pieces, stuffed envelopes and even make calls to prospective voters. They all did this at a time when no one else was helping you, not even yourself. I recall times when some of them would go out hitting doors and you were in your living room watching Cardinals football. I know for a fact that Bea & George’s business took a back seat to all the doings the summer / fall of 2012 including your campaign. Bea even was tailed by a nefarious individual that they can only guess was associated with your opponent. 

Everyone made these sacrifices, YES because of the hockey team but also they believed in you and that you were fighting for the best possible outcome for the city when faced with some bleak choices. The ship was sinking in Glendale and all your colleagues were getting off the boat; however you choose to stay on the boat and the group probably felt that was admirable. 

I just think you stepped way over a line by throwing them under the bus today and demonstrated a lack of class, I can’t help but think karma will come back on you somehow…maybe it already has… 

I can’t even surmise what your motivations were other than you’re desperate to stay relevant, at least that’s what it looks like from my vantage point. 

I’m sure your decades of public service has been beneficial to the City of Glendale, but to go out like this in such a classless manner probably taints all the good you have done for the city. 

You have successfully made me lose faith in the basic human dignity because each and every one of those people that you threw under the bus deserve your basic respect as they worked their asses off for you.  
John Glenn

My response:

John,

I’ll first observe that your subject title is tremendously prejudiced. It implies that you consider all of my blogs to be “rants.” Then you proceed to write your own “rant.”

Let me point out that insults are not facts. George, Bea, and others, quite simply used me to access Greg Jamison at a time when he appeared to be the ultimate purchaser of the team. It was quid pro quo. They used me and I used them. Most involved were happy to champion me because I was in line at the time with the others voting to keep the Coyotes but they knew nothing of what I stood for or believed in. You used me while helping my opponent.

It was a difficult election cycle as my knee was bad and my doc forbid me from walking door to door. Many helped with that for qualifying signatures. As soon as the referendum action began the only persons who helped me were Dawn and Darren. I am eternally grateful for their help.

No one made “sacrifices.” Everyone had a motive. Each motive was different. In many cases, it was to be an “insider” after the Jamison deal was consummated. I remember Dawn relating to me that she had questioned you (as an active insider in the Democrat party) the day we met. She asked you  about all the lies Alvarez and Chavira and the Democratic party were using against me and you replied, “that’s just politics.” I think your email to me is also your idea of politics.

You excoriate me for “crossing a line” so I assume you have taken the Coyotes group to task for their behavior too; those who regularly insult me, call me a raving lunatic and suggest they wish some kind of harm befall me, as you did in your comment about Karma – simply because of a disagreement of thought. My first and ultimate allegiance is to Glendale and keeping it a viable and vibrant community.

You are a very good Democrat, John. You know the strategy to malign and insult, call names and make outrageous statements like, “karma may have already gotten you” but perhaps not good enough to avoid being classless. Your obvious lack of respect for a female and one old enough to be your mother highlights you weren’t paying attention when your mother taught you manners.

Since this blog began the excoriation I’ve received because I have a different opinion has perplexed me. If people do not like what I am saying in my blog it’s really quite simple. They can acknowledge that I have changed my position; they don’t like it and are no longer going to read or follow me.

Larry Feiner’s and Bea Wyatt’s credibility as spokespersons for the current recall effort is a legitimate question for public consideration in the light of their own financial dealings. They willingly placed themselves there just as I have repeatedly done, and must now suffer the attention that comes with it.

Now, in the words of those you defend in calling me a “bitter, distraught woman,” you believe I have destroyed “your faith in human dignity.” I’m stunned that with your obvious lack of respect, you have bestowed me with the power to do something so dramatic. What a shame you laid that on me when you have so many other people from which to choose.  

Joyce

© 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.

There are times when you have read this blog and wanted to say more than a brief comment. From time to time I will post a Guest Blog. Here is another submitted by Bud Zomok, former Ocotillo district council candidate.

If you would like to submit a Guest Blog I ask the following:

  • Do not plagiarize. If you use facts or quotes, please cite the source
  • Be respectful…no hate filled rants, please
  • You must agree to allow me to edit if necessary. I will not change your opinion or content

Higher expectations for Politicians? by Bud Zomok 

Having taken the time to read the post by Joyce Clark titled Aldama…maybe not, I was surprised by some of the responses submitted.   

Let me take a moment to explain my surprise.   

Mr. Van DiCarlo expressed comments about the policy currently in place by the county as “grossly unfair”.  That may be the case but these are the current rules that the county has created and until those rules are changed one should expect politicians to follow the rules that have been established.   

Mr. DiCarlo, you once expressed in an article as a candidate that you believe a candidate should represent the interests of the voters and not their own interests.  I find that commendable as it means as a candidate one would to take the time to talk and listen to the voters in order to understand their interests. 

Yet in your reply you make the following two statements, “could the two complainants be paving a way to step in as the official runner up” and “that you have little or no respect for those who attempt to get their nose in the door by exploitation.”   

Exploitation?  

It’s interesting that an attempt to have a politician follow the rules is deemed exploitation.  And, did you have that same lack of respect for Mr. Aldama when he, too, filed complaints against candidates early on in the election?  

I saw Mr. Aldama’s challenges as way of ensuring that any citizen who wanted to run in the Ocotillo District was actually eligible to run. I would assume Mr. Aldama would want to ensure he too is doing everything according to the required process in his current race.   

I would pose one question to Mr. DiCarlo. Have you taken a moment to talk with either me or Mr. Hernandez before writing your comments?  Doesn’t that fly in the face of your campaign statement? Didn’t you make comments based on your own interest or assumptions without checking the facts? 

The letter submitted to the County and Attorney General was not submitted to require Mr. Aldama to stop his campaign. It was done to ensure he follows the rules set by the, city /state/ or in this particular situation, the county. 

Surely you as a past candidate are not supporting the idea that candidates should be able to pick and choose what part of particular policy they wish to follow or ignore.   As a past private investigator I would assume you must have had to follow specific rules in the investigative process and had you not followed those rules (even if you didn’t agree or did not know the rules existed) it would have possibly caused the information you secured to be ruled as not admissible.

Mr. DiCarlo, be assured I have moved on, but moving on does not mean one should turn a blind eye to the current requirements of running for any political position.  If anything we should expect “any” citizen who runs for a political office to at least know the rules and follow them.  

I hope we never get to a point where we allow our desire to replace an incumbent to translate into allowing politicians to pick and chose what rules/laws will apply to their campaigns. We are a country of rules and laws and if we don’t like those rules and laws then we need to work to change them, but choosing to ignore them should never be an acceptable option.  

Bud Zomok

© 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.

Yesterday’s blog entitled “Please delete this email after you read it” regarding Councilmember Gary Sherwood’s email resulting in an allegation of violation of the state’s Open Meeting Law created quite a bit of controversy rippling through the Coyotes world, Glendale’s political world and even the journalistic world. I suppose the reaction from the Coyotes world is the most predictable.  As anyone would expect, the Coyotes fans are fiercely loyal and anything that raises the specter of the disappearance of their team from Glendale sends them into overdrive. Their first reaction is to kill the messenger. In this case that includes not only me but Mayor Weiers, the Glendale Star and the Arizona Republic.  They denigrated Mayor Weiers for outing actions that may prove to be illegal. They gnashed their teeth over my blog and the newspapers’ articles because they perceived the information as yet another hit on their beloved team.

What they fail to recognize is that while the 4 councilmembers’ actions preceded a vote on the Coyotes deal, those actions could have preceded any council vote on any issue.  The troubling issue for many people is not the outcome of the vote but rather the actions that preceded and led up to the vote. The allegation is not about the Coyotes. The allegation is about improper behavior by 4 councilmembers. An investigation by the AG’s Office will surely answer the question, did they collude behind closed doors prior to the vote? Did they conduct city business secretly to assure a positive vote? Why speak to the issue of a possible Open Meeting Law violation when instead fans can deride the messengers? Why is it alright to dismiss possible illegal behavior because it is associated with a vote on the Coyotes deal? It’s a case of situational ethics.

The reaction from the Glendale political world is also predictable. It was learned that when the email first came to light, Vice Mayor Knaack denied attending the meeting. However, that would never do and would not last long. It would have had Sherwood and Knaack as adversaries; something they can ill afford right now. Today, the explanation given is that Sherwood and Knaack were in the same car when they received a cell phone call from Woods. Two things are questionable about this scenario. Where was Sammy? After all, Sherwood in his email says, “Sammy is already on board as he was with us last night.” Even if you can swallow this car explanation, it doesn’t make the allegation go away. The Open Meeting Law says, “Splintering the quorum can be done by meeting in person, by telephone, electronically, or through other means to discuss a topic that is or may be presented to the public body for a decision.” Note that they are not denying the basis of the allegation. Are they trying to muddy the waters by responding to minutia such as where they were when the meeting of the 3 and Woods took place? It’s another case of situational ethics.

The reaction from the print world can only be described as fascinating. Yesterday afternoon, July 21, I received a phone call from Paul Giblin, an Arizona Republic reporter. He proceeded to express his offense that I dared to say that I had scooped reporter Peter Corbett and the Arizona Republic.  He opined that my writing was done on the back of Peter Corbett who had made the FOIA request. He said that my journalistic standards were not as high as that of the Arizona Republic’s, and ended by saying; enjoy writing your little blog.

Later that day, I learned that Darrell Jackson of the Glendale Star had made the same kind of FOIA request. Who made the first request?  Update: July 23, 2014. I learned today that Darrell Jackson made the original FOIA request over 2 weeks ago. Did Peter Corbett do his story on the back of Darrell Jackson? Isn’t it weirdly coincidental that 2 reporters made the same FOIA request? Even more interesting is who tipped them off to the Sherwood email and why? What was the source’s motive for doing so? Situational ethics once again.

As for journalistic standards…hah…that’s like the pot calling the kettle black. Arizona Republic readers have complained about the perceived bias in this paper’s stories for years; to the point that it has become legendary.   Paul Giblin’s outrage is much ado about nothing. More situational ethics.

© 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.

An anniversary

Posted by Joyce Clark on February 11, 2014
Posted in Blogs  | Tagged With: , , , | 5 Comments

Today, February 11, 2014 marks the first year anniversary of my blog with over 92,000 reads. There have been 218 posts with over 651 comments offered. I started writing shortly after I left city council on January 15, 2013. My motive was to provide you, the reader, information on Glendale issues from my perspective as a former councilmember. This forum has provided me the opportunity to write with no holds barred and no punches pulled. I am very grateful that I have been able to do so and surprised and amazed that so many have taken the time to visit my blog.

Your comments, generally, have been very insightful and thought provoking. I welcome any and all comments as long as they are respectful. So, if you have never commented, give it a shot. Nearly 100 people have signed up for email notification each time I post. If you would like to know when I have posted, check the upper right side of this column to sign up.

My informal polls have been very popular. When they began only a few would take the time to vote on the question posed. Now a hundred or more respondents will vote on the latest poll offered. The poll question can be found to the left of this column. When I reach 400 respondents the poll would qualify as a survey. Often that is the statistical sample number used by political survey firms.

My deepest gratitude and thanks goes out to each and every one of you who visited my blog in the past year. Without your interest in Glendale and its issues there would be no incentive to write about them. Your continued interest demonstrates that people are hungry for a different point of view other than which is offered by the usual media sources.

Thank you all so much and please come back and visit often!!

© 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.

Don’t threaten me or my family

Posted by Joyce Clark on April 4, 2013
Posted in BlogsCity of Glendale  | Tagged With: , , , | 5 Comments

news Fourteen years ago, in 1999, I wrote opinion pieces on Glendale issues for the Arizona Republic for the princely sum of $50 an article. I had a great time doing it. I was no longer on Council and was taking time off to care for my Mother who had Alzheimer’s. In October, 1999, I wrote a piece about the upcoming City bond election and the $24M slated to build a public safety training facility. I questioned the need with facts at my disposal. After the article appeared I received veiled threats from just one group…firefighters. They were obviously not happy that I suggested that this facility was not needed back then. Seven years later, they won the war and $6M in funding dollars for the soon-to-be constructed West Branch Library were diverted to help defray the cost of construction of the public safety facility (estimated to come in at over $40M).

Several days ago I posted “Gimme more” on this blog site. Today I received the following email response:

Author : FirefighterXXX (IP: 68.2.248.248 , ip68-2-248-248.ph.ph.cox.net)
E-mail : Ilvjerry@hotmail.com
URL    :
Whois  : http://whois.arin.net/rest/ip/68.2.248.248
Comment:
Great Idea Joyce about cutting fire staffing. I sent you link to Mayor XXX in XXX were my family lives. I think this will be a great idea for XXX as well. Maybe I will send you link to the Fire Chief too.

I have a son who is a firefighter in a Valley city. The email sender used my son’s name and the city  in which he is employed. For obvious reasons I have x-ed out that information. The reference is to the fact that in this time of financial upheaval for the city I do not support adding more personnel to any department when the city should, in fact, be cutting its expenses to meet its revenues. In my article I did not suggest that any public safety personnel should be cut. I did ask that we hold the line with what we have right now until revenues improve and the city can legitimately afford to hire more public safety personnel. The sender is suggesting in retaliation, that my son, working in another Valley community should be fired.

threaten 1I am fightin’ mad and am calling this lily livered coward out on his/her veiled threat. I am older and wiser than I was in 1999 when similar threats were made to me and my family. There is nothing like sunlight to disinfect garbage. I will bet that the sender is a union firefighter or a family member of one living in the Avondale area but perhaps working in Glendale. The email address is bogus because he/she doesn’t have the guts to use his/her real name or email address. Is that because he/she could be in legal trouble if he/she did so? Finding the exact address would require litigation and a demand for the logs from Cox.  It would be difficult but not impossible.

threaten 2There are thugs and cowards in every demographic and segment of our society. We all know that and some of us have experienced their intimidation and threats. Bloggers, journalists, elected officials and high profile people have. I am tired of the fire union using their thugs and cowards to do their dirty work. If you want to come after me because you don’t like my opinions by all means, feel free to do so. Anyone is invited to do so in a respectful dialogue between us. I family 2can certainly take care of myself. But the SOB who goes after any of my family members had better watch out. Is that a threat? You bet it is…but not the same kind as you made.

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cit mtg 2On the evening of April 1, 2013, the City made a public presentation of the state of its budget to the public. If you include myself and the councilmember representing our area there were a total of 5 people in attendance. That’s right. Three citizens and us. How embarrassing for the councilmember. Oh, but that’s OK. His only constituency these days is the fire fighters union.

staff multiplied jpgIn terms of city staff, it would be safe to say the citizens were outnumbered at least 3 to 1. There was at least 20-25 staff in attendance. Every director of every department was on hand to answer the flood of citizen questions (not), in addition to 2 of Glendale’s cable channel 11 TV crew filming the non-event. It almost begs the question as to why doesn’t the city ask the general public to RSVP? If a minimum number of citizens respond, the meeting is held. If only 2 or 3 respond, the meeting could be cancelled. After all if the public meeting had been cancelled, it would have only required calls to 3 people.

These staff members are salaried and not paid time and a half for extra duties such as attending this meeting.  These salaried personnel, if they so choose, can compensate themselves for the time by coming in to work a little later or taking a longer lunch break. It is an option available to them should they choose to use it. Many of them do not and put in more than a standard 40 hour work week.

Ms. Schurhammer, Executive Director of Finances, made a 15 minute presentation on the city’s budget. She concentrated on the city’s total Operating Budget by Fund and Department and the General Fund Budget by Department.  She pointed out that 34% of the city’s entire budget and 63% of the city’s General Fund budget goes to Public Safety. There was virtually a silent scream from all non-public safety staff asking how much more does Public Safety need? We’ll get to that in a minute.

Back in December, 2012, both the Fire and Police departments had their respective budgets balanced and were prepared for a vote of approval from the sitting council at that meeting. However, Vice Mayor Frate made a motion shark 2that their budgets be tabled and brought up again when a permanent City Manager was hired. The vote was 6-1 with me being the lone, dissenting vote. That action left their budget departments” doors open just a crack. Now, sensing an opportunity, they are smashing open those doors with a fire truck and tactical vehicle. They sense blood in the water and this new council (led on this issue by Councilmember Chavira, a Phoenix firefighter) is willing to give them everything and anything they want. Chavira will take care of his brothers in Glendale and we can only guess that Phoenix Councilmember Danny Valenzuela (a Glendale firefighter) will take care of his brothers in Phoenix.  Sweet, isn’t it? It has a nice, quid pro quo ring to it, doesn’t it? Note that the city does not have a permanent City Manager. Yet he will have to deal with the largesse that this council dispenses.

cit mtg 1After Ms. Schurhammer’s presentation, Ms. Julie Watters of the city’s Media and Communications Department, led the meeting by asking if there were any public comments. Mind you, a citizen could not ASK a direct question, only comment. If anyone had a question, they were directed to talk to that specific department director after the meeting. This is a tried and true practice that Glendale has practiced for years and which I have hated for just as long. For you see, if the question is a difficult or uncomfortable one, the answer is made only to the citizen seeking the answer after the meeting. After all, the city wouldn’t want all those citizens hearing that awkward answer to that difficult question. Would it? It’s a divide and conquer strategy that I believe is unfair to the citizens of our community.

cooler 3What were the water cooler musings? Several sources echoed one another. Much of it, dear reader, is old news for I have blogged about it previously. Nevertheless, here goes:

  • The Coyotes will be sold this month by the NHL.
  • The idea of 4 separate arena management contracts (you remember…hockey, entertainment, education and cleaning) still has legs and is not dead.
  • The general consensus is the Coyotes will be leaving Glendale as the city and the new team owner will not be able to come to mutually satisfactory terms on the arena lease management contract.
  • Or the other theory is that the team will stay in Glendale briefly (2-5 years) and then relocate.
  • This new council has no will to make the necessary and needed cuts over the next 4 years and likely will not sunset the temporary sales tax increase in 2017.

super bowlAll departments will struggle to come up with adequate funding to support the hosting of the 2015 Super Bowl in Glendale. Further diminishment of citizen services may be the only way to fund the costs.

 

 

 

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External Audit coming…

auditAt the Tuesday, March 26, 2013 City Council meeting an agenda item will be a vote of approval to hire Haralson, Miller, Pitt, Feldman & McAnally (HMPM), P.I.C., a law firm, to perform the special external audit this council has been craving. It doesn’t come cheap. The cost of this contract is $200,000. HMPM will subcontract out some of the work to Butler, FFG, and ESI. It is not clear from the staff report what would be the scope or responsibility of any of these firms. It is also not clear what their specialties are.

The costs per hour range from a high of $400.00 per hour for a principal to $100.00 per hour for a paralegal/law clerk.  Simple math shows that the number of hours billable for this contract range from 500 hours (about 12 ½ weeks) to 2,000 hours (about 50 weeks). This exercise could be completed in 3 months to a year. I think we can expect it to be completed this summer.

This is not a budgeted item and is not included in the current Fiscal Year 2012-13 adopted budget. That means that the money will have to be allocated from somewhere in the budget. Look for the payment of this contract to come from the $17M set aside for an arena lease management agreement. By the time this council’s agenda is met we won’t see much of the $17M left to pay anyone to manage the arena.

Bowers

Dick Bowers
Courtesy of
Linked In

A new Acting City Manager…

Expect at this same council meeting the hiring of Mr. Richard Bowers, former Scottsdale City Manager, as Glendale’s Interim City Manager until the search and hiring of a permanent city manager is completed.

A new Acting City Attorney…

Expect the council to approve Mr. Nick Depiazza, current Chief Deputy City Attorney, as the Interim City Attorney, until a permanent City Attorney is found and hired.

Budget meetings slated for this coming week…

On Wednesday, March 27, 2013 and Thursday, March 28, 2013, council will participate in two budget workshopsbudget 3 starting at 9am each day. This year’s budget workshop book is a hefty 284 pages of reading guaranteed to entertain and delight. Just crank up your printer, go to the Glendale website, find the agendas under the City Clerk’s page and you can print your very own copy just as I did. If you know where to look you will be able to spot the shifts in policy based upon where this council allocates available resources.

coins 1Still looming is how this council will address the loss of $22M in revenue currently being earned by the sales tax increase slated to sunset in 2017. The general feeling among council is that the city will have recovered by then and will easily absorb the $22M loss in sales tax revenue. There appears to be no will to be fiscally prudent and continue with cuts in anticipation of that loss of revenue. If they do not have the will to make gradual cuts each year for the next four years, they will be forced by circumstance to make draconian cuts in 2017. It’s very simple; karma catches up to you every time.

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Fishes out of water

Posted by Joyce Clark on March 23, 2013
Posted in BlogsKoi pond  | Tagged With: , , , , | 2 Comments

It’s late April 2011 and I now have this beautiful pond filled with water plants; lilies, Yerba Mansa, Pickerel Wart, Taro and Mosaic.   We had small, starter landscape plants around the pond. We had 2 pumps – a large one for the waterfall and a smaller one for the stream waterfall providing plenty of oxygen. We had 3 filters – the main one for the 2 pumps and a filter for the main waterfall and another for the stream waterfall. We had plenty of filter capacity to ensure that the water remained clean. The water completely recirculated through the filter system every 3 hours.

our first goldfish Ap 2011

First goldfish
April 2011

The time had come to add fish. A co-worker said that she and her husband were dismantling their small pond and asked if I would like to have her goldfish and lilies. Boy would I! Our first additions were a few more lilies and a dozen goldfish – little guys. Everything was going well. Our pond water was clear and we could see the fish. They seemed to be growing! The lilies were blooming. We had our paradise. My husband even named each of the fish as he watched them feed every afternoon. We were enjoying the time spent on the patio, listening to the sound of splashing waterfalls and watching streaks of color swim by.

Paradise was soon to be lost, stolen by oppressively hot days that invited the algae to bloom unmercifully, causing the water to turn darkly green and murky. We could no longer see the fish. We wondered if they were still alive for how chemical 2could they breathe and live in that morass of water? Every time that we cleaned the filter net we expected to see at least one small fish carcass.

Once again, I returned to the internet, this time to research algae and its causes. I called “experts.” I visited other pond sites. Did you know that there are almost as many remedies for ridding a pond of algae as there are people on this planet? I was horribly confused and panicked that I would soon have a steady dead body count of goldfish.

Just as we take pills to cure every ailment I decided a judicious use of chemicals applied to the pond would solve the problem. My first mistake was reliance upon science and the internet hawkers of algae remedies. They would have you believe that the algae are destined to vastly populate the pond water turning it into something the consistency of thick, country gravy, consuming every ounce of oxygen and asphyxiating the fish. My friend, who has a koi pond, cautioned patience. She said the water would turn green with algae and once the water “balanced” the algae would diminish greatly. My second mistake was not to heed her advice or the advice of others – all of whom – said, wait, the pond would right itself without my benign interference.

So began the great “Chemical Odyssey.” First I would order one, sure-fire chemical cure for algae. I’d faithfully followchemicals 1 the directions for its use, wait and wait some more, looking for the water to become at the very least, less greenish. When that batch of chemical didn’t work, I’d order another. Soon, the Fed-Ex guy and I were best buds, on a first name basis. This routine went on for the entire summer and into the fall of 2011. Now we actually had a dead fish count. Every couple of days another would be found belly up in the filter net. I would go to the local pet mart and buy a few more small fish to replace the “victims.” My husband despaired. All of his little goldfish that he had named and nurtured died and still I persisted, looking for the Holy Grail of Algae Killers while the water stayed a thick, murky green and the fish died.

This scenario continued until around October, 2011. Miraculously the water finally cleared not completely, but a lot – not because I had found the answer but because the water was cooling and the algae was dying off. But by then, so had the fish. We now had a beautiful, fish-less pond and despaired.

My next grand plan was that since we had no fish, the pond should be drained so that we could get rid of the muck at the bottom and kill off whatever algae still existed. So that’s what we did in January of 2012. We rented a siphon pump and pumped out all of the water. It didn’t go to waste as we used it to irrigate most of our backyard, nearly an acre in size. We even used bleach figuring that it killed everything.

Pond Ap 2012 no fish

April 2012
No fish

Thinking we had nipped the problem in the bud we prepared to move forward. We refilled the pond and once again, had clear, sparkling water and a new home for more fish. We again waited a month or so for the water to “balance” itself and then we blithely went about picking out more fish for our pristine pond. We were filled with self-confidence. Surely the great pond draining and cleaning must surely have done the trick. My husband was happy and again, he named the dozen fish, a mixture of goldfish and Koi. He made sure they were fed once a day. He and I delighted in watching them from our back patio. All was right with the world…until…

chemicals 3It was the late spring and early summer of 2012 and the hot weather and the algae returned with a vengeance, only to again raise our fears about the fate of the fish. Like a dummy, I repeated the cycle of last summer and turned to my vast bag of chemical tricks along with some new, untried ones. I was still on a first name basis with the Fed Ex delivery man. Only this time I would be smarter and use the chemicals more sparingly. I even had the water tested.Yet all of the fish died or disappeared (that’s for another blog about predators) and by now we were both despairing of ever having fish in our fish pond. Then it dawned on me and I will admit to bring a slow learner at times, that I had created a toxic waste dump! In attempting to get rid of all of the algae I had gleefully poured so many chemicals into the pond that the fish couldn’t possibly survive the onslaught. Their demise was a testament to my stubbornness.

By July, 2012 I had had it. I vowed no more chemicals and come what may; we would coexist with whatever algae bloomed. For the next 5 months I used no chemicals. We had no fish and did not get any to replace our latest set of “sacrificial victims.” Yes, we got algae but it wasn’t the darkly green kind. The water did get murky but you could still see the bottom of the pond. I will admit that there were times when I was tempted to add just a little of some chemical or other but then I pictured another dead fish in the filter net and strengthened my resolve. Unknowingly I was doing what I should have done that first year. I was giving the pond enough time to really “balance” itself. I was allowing the “good” biological enzymes to build up in the filters.

Pond fishes Jan 2013

New fish
January 2013

This past Christmas our kids bought me three beautiful Koi for the pond. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that it was probably an exercise in futility and that they likely had thrown their money away. So we dutifully put them in the pond fully expecting to see them floating “belly up” within a week. To our surprise and relief they lived! Three months later, they are healthy and growing. After 8 months, chemical-less,  I think we had finally rid the pond of all of the chemicals that I had used for a year.

We will get algae bloom again during the hottest part of this year but I have learned my lesson – no more chemicals. The fish will survive. They will reemerge to our delight when the weather cools enough to make the algae dissipate. We and the fish will have 8 enjoyable months of coexistence, reacquainting ourselves and my husband will happily name each and every one of them.

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GoldwaterBuilding

Courtesy of
Goldwater Institute

On March 14, 2013 the Center for Media and Democracy in conjunction with Arizona Working Families issued A Reporter’s Guide to the Goldwater Institute: What Citizens, Policymakers and Reporters Should Know. It can be found at this site:  http://www.prwatch.org/news/2013/03/12021/reporters-guide-goldwater-institute.

While I was serving on Glendale’s city council there were several lawsuits filed by the Goldwater Institute (GWI) against the city. The first dated back to June of 2009 and contended that the city was refusing to release documents relating to its negotiations with various entities wishing to purchase the Coyotes and to secure a lease management agreement. GWI felt every scrap of paper should be a public document. The final agreement was that the city would release all documents it felt would not harm its negotiating position and if that should be the case, a judge, in camera, would review them and make a final decision.

Then about two years later, in March of 2011, Goldwater having reviewed more than 1,000 of the city’s documents as a result of the previous court decision, filed suit to subvert the Hulsizer deal to buy the Coyotes. It contended that the city was offering a subsidy in violation of Arizona’s Gift Clause statute. There was never a decision in this case as the city and Hulsizer could not finalize a deal.

When this report was issued I was eager to read its findings. I suspect that the practices of GWI are not so different from other public policy non-profits whether they are liberal or conservative. These types of non-profits are often shielded by federal government regulations making it difficult to obtain a complete and accurate picture of their financial dealings.

I find that to be ironic. The same organization that sued the City of Glendale for a lack of transparency is habitually not so transparent itself. It seems they don’t mind letting the public know about some, not all, of their sources of funding but they certainly don’t want you to know too much about how they get their money or spend it.

Another irony is GWI’s persistent attack on only one sport venue in the state – Glendale’s Jobing.com Arena and its use by the Coyotes. Lord knows, there have been sweetheart deals aplenty with other sports venues. Yet Goldwater never raised an eyebrow. I have often wondered if the close relationship of some board members with the baseball industry was a motivator. Perhaps, in the minds of some, there are too many sports teams all competing for the same public discretionary dollar. Taking out a major sports team could benefit the remaining teams. When a team is weak, as the Coyotes have been for multiple years, that makes it a perfect target for elimination.

Briefly the findings of this report do highlight some questionable practices:

  •  The Goldwater Institute is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC is funded by corporations and its sole purpose is to craft and advocate for bills favorable to big business interests exclusively. The relationship between these two organizations appears to be very, very close. Often the very issues that GWI is advocating for coincidentally happen to be part of ALEC’s agenda.
Darcy Olsen 2

Darcy Olsen
Courtesy of
Goldwater Institute

Clint-Bolick

Clint Bolick
Courtesy of
Goldwater Institute

  • Despite a very modest growth in GWI’s income it substantially raised its top executive’s salaries disproportionately to that growth in revenue. Darcy Olson’s Executive Director salary jumped from $180,000 to $268,000 by 2011; Clink Bolick’s Director of Litigation salary went from $126,000 in 2007 to $300,000 by 2011.

 

  • Up to $1.9M has been approved as a loan by the GWI board to one of its board members, Norman McClelland, a GWI founder and past president, for his private, for-profit company, Shamrock Farm Co Investing.
  • Goldwater claimed to the IRS in 2010 that it spent $0 on grassroots or direct lobbying. Yet is has two registered lobbyists, Starlee Rhoades, Vice President, and Lucy Caldwell, Communications Director. Gallagher & Kennedy, a Public Affairs firm, is representing GWI as an active lobbyist this year.
  • GWI does not publicly disclose its largest donors, although most public policy non-profits do.  A majority of GWI’s funding comes from and  its largest donors happen to be out-of-state foundations with specialized agendas.
Barry Goldwater

Barry Goldwater

Barry Goldwater  became the Institute’s namesake. Recently Susan Goldwater expressed public concerns in the media about the GWI by saying, “(W)hat he didn’t like was seeing it turn into a special interest, big-business lobbying group.” I suspect Barry Goldwater is rolling in his grave as he sees what the Institute has morphed into.

Perhaps this “big-business lobbying group” should add as an agenda item how it can advance the cause of big-business sports teams and their venues. After all, according to GWI, all big-business is good business.

 

 

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