Header image alt text

Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

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

On February 1, 2017 the Arizona Republic had a front page, above the fold story (meaning really important) on Phoenix’s lobbyists’ rule. Its lobbyist registration ordinance is not worth the paper it’s written on. Here is the link to the story: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2017/01/31/phoenix-council-letterhead-revealed-toothless-lobbying-rules/96549540/ . The Republic story reports, “Phoenix’s law states that lobbyists must register and disclose their clients if they are paid to contact the mayor or council members to influence official decisions. Lobbyists must also report campaign contributions and money they spend on meals, gifts or other expenses that benefit elected city leaders, according to the ordinance.” One of many problems with Phoenix’s law is there are no penalties associated with any failure to follow their law.

The article goes on to say, A high-profile Phoenix law firm did not properly register as a lobbyist with the city for two years, and recently filed falsely dated documents that made it appear the firm had followed the law, according to the Phoenix city attorney.

But the city of Phoenix can’t do anything to penalize the firm or others that do not comply with its lobbyist regulations. That’s because the law is toothless and there is no way to enforce it, city officials said they realized last week.” It’s up to the Phoenix City Council to reform its lobbyist law.

If you are relying on the state to keep an eagle eye on lobbyists and their expenditures, forget it. Justin Price, for the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting states, “Less than 14 percent of the roughly $333,000 spent to lobby Arizona lawmakers in the first half of 2015 identified who the money was spent on, continuing a trend of scant disclosure going back years.

“Since 2010, the portion of lobbying records that include beneficiaries has averaged about 12.5 percent. This is according to data maintained by the Secretary of State’s Office and includes lobbying records for the first half of each year, which typically includes Arizona’s annual legislative session.

Lobbyists are required to report their expenditures in quarterly expense reports submitted to the secretary of state. But loopholes and minimal regulatory oversight leave room for lobbyists to spend without reporting who benefited, ultimately leaving the public in the dark about who is influencing the people they have elected to craft Arizona’s laws, budget and taxes. For 2015, lobbying records include a beneficiary for $1 out of every $8 spent.” Here is the link to Mr. Price’s research: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/arizona/politics/2015/11/23/arizona-lobbying-records-little-disclosure/76068724/ .

Lobbying can be and is done by consulting firms and zoning attorneys advocating for a land project or the same entities may represent industries/interests seeking a specific law or project for which they are trying to attain passage for their client. Glendale, the state’s 6th largest city, has no lobbyist laws and it is way overdue.  It’s not just a matter of registering lobbyists who operate in Glendale, it’s also a matter of developing rules regarding the city’s hiring of lobbyists. In 2011, the city had a stable of lobbyists: Husk Partners, Inc.; Hyek and Fixx, Inc.; Van Scoyoc Associates, Inc.; and Policy AZ. They were hired while Ed Beasley was Glendale’s City Manager and paid a boatload of money to lobby on behalf of the city.

There is little to no transparency when it comes to lobbyists, what they do, how much they spend and which lawmakers receive their benefit. It’s not a problem just for Glendale and Phoenix but for the state as well. The state’s lobbyist laws are as meaningless as those of Phoenix.

It’s time for us, the citizens of the state, to know who is paying whom and who is supplying trips, gifts, meals and campaign contributions to all lawmakers…state, county and local.

© Joyce Clark, 2017        

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.

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

On Tuesday, February 7, 2017, at the regular city council workshop the issue of chickens in Glendale was discussed…again. Based upon city councilmember comments, just as the issue divided the city, it also divided the city council.

Mayor Weiers, Councilmember Malnar and Councilmember Tolmachoff indicated that they did not support allowing chickens in every residential zoning district (multi-family was not part of the proposal). Mayor Weiers felt it was a matter of choice and that if residents wanted to have chickens then they should locate in zoning districts that already allow chickens. He indicated that he and his wife moved knowingly into an area where chickens were allowed but that it was their choice. Councilmember Ray Malnar, reviewed his childhood history of living on a farm that had 300 chickens. His overarching conviction is that his mandate is to represent his constituents who, in the majority, oppose chickens and expressed his opposition to the proposal. Councilmember Tolmachoff, also expressed the majority opinion of her constituency as well as her concern that HOAs would have a major problem if they needed to expressly amend their by-laws.

Vice Mayor Hugh, Councilmember Turner and Councilmember Aldama expressed their support for the proposal. Again, all expressed their positions in terms of representing the majority sentiments of their constituencies. While Vice Mayor Hugh was mainly silent on the issue, Councilmembers Turner and Aldama were not. Councilmember Turner framed it as a question of liberty and property rights and that everyone should be free to do on their property what they wished without government interference. Councilmember Aldama acknowledged the many citizens in his district already have chickens and probably have had them for years.

The battle lines were drawn and that left me. My district is so diverse and I discovered my constituency to be divided, just as the city and the city council. I sought compromise. I sought compromise believing that if it did not totally please both sides it would be a good one.  I prefaced my compromise proposal with these remarks.

  • This is an issue that should never have risen to this level. This matter began as a neighbor dispute that might have been resolved by arbitration or mediation. Over the past year the city has expended a lot of manpower and resources to resolve an issue that should never have been brought forward.
  • For thousands of years man domesticated animals for food or to assist in the production of food. Today with our society’s abundance of leisure time and resources there has become the propensity to anthropomorphize animals and we have created new classes of pets. I consider dogs and cats, as well as a few small mammals as pets. Chickens are not pets. They are classed in every municipal jurisdiction as fowl or poultry.
  • This issue has become a polite civil war with half the people opposed to chickens and half supporting them. Quite frankly if the issue had not arisen, people who had chickens would continue to have them and those who do not want chickens would never have been the wiser. Now, city council is asked to become Solomon to resolve an issue that no matter what the outcome, half of the community will be angry with the result.
  • But deciding the issue is not as simple as deciding based on numbers on petitions. As councilmembers we must also consider what is in the best interest of Glendale as a whole.

I proposed:

  •  Expansion of chickens as a permissible use to one zoning district, R1-10 and the following will apply only to R 1-10 and M-1 (to satisfy Councilmember Aldama’s desire to include the Sonorita area which is mainly M-1). Existent code to apply to all zoning districts that currently allow chickens
  • Hens only, no roosters
  • Limit of 5 chickens
  • Must have a coop or structure to contain chickens
  • Not allowed in front yards
  • Rear yard must be fenced
  • Structure height limited to no more than 4 feet
  • Structure must meet side and rear yard setbacks of 20 feet
  • Structure must be at least 40 feet from residence as well as any immediately adjacent neighboring residence
  • Structure must be 80 feet away from any school, hotel, restaurant or building containing sleeping or dining accommodations
  • HOA regulations take precedence over city code on this issue
  • Chickens will no longer be classified as livestock but rather as poultry or fowl
  • Chickens will not be classified as pets
  • No matter the size of the lot, chickens will not be permitted at townhouses, apartments, condos or any other type of attached residence
  • Zoning codes already in place regarding chickens are not to be changed

I was hopeful that a compromise could be achieved. I did not think that those who opposed     the ordinance in any form would consider a compromise. I assumed it would depend on Vice Mayor Hugh and Councilmembers Turner and Aldama to decide if compromise was a viable option for them. Vice Mayor Hugh indicated that he could support a compromise and I thank him for his consideration of it. However, Councilmembers Turner and Aldama simply could not accept it.

That left me with no choice for I knew that I could not support expansion of chickens to all residential zoning districts, especially the very small lot sizes of 4,000 or 6,000 square feet. Urban life is too dense to introduce a new possibility of backyard chickens when many homes are only 5 to 10 feet apart. Current residents as well as possible new residents do not move into dense neighborhoods with the sudden and unanticipated realization that they will have to contend with a neighbor’s chickens. To introduce chickens into thousands upon thousands of urban life-style properties seems inherently imprudent.

If there was to be no compromise I could not in good conscience support allowing chickens in every residential zoning district in Glendale. I joined with Mayor Weiers and Councilmembers Malnar and Tolmachoff to form a consensus of 4 (council does not vote at a workshop meeting) to not move forward with such an ordinance.

Does that mean the chicken issue is dead?  Maybe and maybe not. Planning Director Jon Froke said that a resident or residents could file an appeal after paying a $4,000 fee to file. It would then go before the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council once again. I asked if an Initiative Petition with the requisite number of valid voters’ signatures could be filed. Mr. Froke’s answer was yes. It would then be placed on the ballot for the next Glendale election. Is there enough commitment and support on either side of this issue to follow through on either of these options? I don’t know but I guess we will all find out.

© Joyce Clark, 2017          

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

On January 17, 2017, Jessica Boehm of the Arizona Republic did a story entitled “What is the wealthiest city in the West Valley?”  She said, “The West Valley is home to some of the fastest-growing cities in the country, according to U. S. Census data…But despite the booming population, the region lacks significant high-wage employment opportunities, often putting West Valley cities behind East Valley counterparts – like Chandler and Gilbert – with wealth indicators like household income and employment.” Here is the link: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/southwest-valley/2017/01/17/wealthiest-city-goodyear-west-valley-census-household-income/96449470/ .

The major factor hampering the West Valley is the lack of adequate transportation corridors with enough capacity to meet not only overburdened current needs but those of the future. Just try to use I-10 from 83rd Avenue to 35th Avenue during morning or evening drive times...absolute gridlock.

 State and regional leaders have always succumbed to the political pressure applied by East Valley cities while considering the West Valley cities as the ugly stepchild. West Valley cities are outperforming all of the East Valley cities in terms of growth and it is projected to continue well into the future. It is time for state leaders to allocate resources to develop the kind of transportation system that already exists in the East Valley cities. Instead of allocating money to add yet another lane to a healthy East Valley system, the West Valley doesn’t need a token but a real resource commitment to build a transportation grid equal to that of its sister East Valley cities.

 I remember attending a meeting where Elliot Pollack, a preeminent and well respected economic data analyst in the state, said Glendale will become the geographic center of the Valley. I have never forgotten that assertion.

And yes, based upon 2014 and 2015 U. S. Census data, Goodyear with a median household income of $70,003 is the wealthiest West Valley city…for now. It is a snapshot in time and the character of any snapshot depends upon factors that change and rearrange constantly.

I did some research based upon available U.S. Census data on the 10 largest cities in Arizona. For comparison purposes I did not gather data on #2 Tucson, because it obviously, is not in Maricopa County. I also did not gather data for #7 Scottsdale or #8 Tempe because I believe these cities are unique in character.

Please note that in terms of median income #1 Phoenix; #3 Mesa and #6 Glendale all share the same general range of median household income ($46,000 to $48,000). Six cities have poverty rates of 10% or higher: Phoenix, Mesa, Chandler, Glendale, Avondale and Buckeye. With the exception of Litchfield Park all of these cities share unemployment rates from 4.2% to 6.2%.

This is not to belittle Goodyear’s success having identified and worked to attract aerospace manufacturing and health care as its job core priorities. What will be determinate of Goodyear’s ultimate economic future is that it is currently 191.52 square miles with much of its land still waiting for development. Its current population density rate is very low, at an average of 412 persons per square mile. This is in stark contrast to Phoenix, Mesa and Glendale all having an average of 3,000 to 4,000 persons per square mile. Density of population has a way of leveling the playing field.

Glendale has its job cut out for it to make some of these numbers better than they were in 2014-15. It has been working hard and these numbers don’t reflect the growth in West Glendale of its medical/health facilities.

The numbers also do not reveal that, unlike some Valley cities, Glendale is not land-locked. Those Valley cities that are not land-locked have already, in some cases, annexed all of the land possible within their annexable borders. Glendale has another estimated 50 square miles that it can annex.

The current city council’s focus is on job creation of high-paying jobs and there is still plenty of opportunity to do exactly that. The statistics for Glendale create a road map that can be used to develop strategies to address them. While this snapshot in time was not pretty for Glendale, it has so much potential to create a brighter future. The next federal census in 2020 will, I bet, paint a picture of a much improved Glendale.

© Joyce Clark, 2017        

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

On the evening of January 11, 2017, the applicants, John F. Long Trust (property owner) and Pulte Homes (proposed builder) held a neighborhood meeting at Sunset Ridge Elementary School at 6 PM. I want to thank all of the citizens who took the time out of their busy schedules to attend. The final count of  citizens who attended 72. You rock! Thank you!

Residents attend Stonehaven meeting

Be advised you will have to repeat that night’s attendance again when the applicants’ Minor General Plan Amendment request is heard before the citizen Planning and Zoning Commission and also before the city council.

The meeting room had boards ringing the room depicting the proposed development. Various Pulte and John F. Long Trust personnel were stationed at each of the presentation boards. Did I ever mention how much I hate this type of meeting presentation? It’s a travesty. It’s designed to talk to small groups making it less difficult to sell a project. It’s so much easier to pick people off and convince them of the wonderfulness of a project this way.  If a citizen is not savvy enough to ask the right questions, the person never is told the complete story about the project.

I was pretty darned angry. So I talked (maybe talked forcefully) to the Pulte people and advised them that citizens would be placing chairs in the center of the room where everyone would sit and wait for a presentation from them. That way everyone would hear the same information at the same time and could ask questions or make comments to the presenter(s). Here’s the result of our polite but forceful insistence (resistance??).

The presenters were Jim Miller, John F. Long Trust attorney and Susan Demmitt, Gammage & Burnham attorney representing Pulte Homes, and Greg Abrams, VP of Land Acquisitions for Pulte Homes. The neighborhood meeting was required because the applicants are asking for a Minor General Plan Amendment changing the land use on 65 of the 300+ acres from Medium Density (2.5 to 3.5 homes to an acre) to Medium-High Density (5 to 8 homes to an acre).  The result of this change, if approved by the citizen Planning & Zoning Commission and the City Council, would result in some lots as small as 3,000 square feet. What on God’s green earth will this single family, detached home look like? How about a cracker box?

One of the citizens commented that he was familiar with a similar project in another Valley city where 3,000 square foot lots and small homes had been allowed. The homes could not be resold and so the area became a mass of rental properties. We all know what happens to rental properties and generally, it’s not a pretty picture.

Another citizen commented that there was every possibility that the close proximity of these tiny lots and tiny homes to the University of Phoenix stadium (approximately a mile away) would make these properties extremely attractive to investors who would purposefully buy them as rentals to accommodate football fans, especially for events like the Super Bowl or Fiesta Bowl.

One of the presenters commented that this type of lot size and home would be purchased by millennials. Excuse me, but aren’t millennials living at home with their parents because they can’t afford to buy a home? And many of them simply don’t want to buy a home… period.

Think about it. I live in a 2, 964 square foot home. I suspect some readers of this blog have homes the same size as mine or larger. I have been trying to image a lot size the same size as my home. I can’t do it.  It literally boggles the mind. Glendale has never allowed 3,000 square foot lot sizes…anywhere, at any time. They should not allow them ever and certainly this residential development should not become a guinea pig for such a lot size and product.

Equally as discouraging, was Pulte’s reduction of lot sizes adjacent to Missouri Ranch (a subdivision of 10,000 square foot lots). Originally the lot sizes adjacent to Missouri Ranch and south of the Grand Canal were supposed to be 8,000 square feet. In this new proposed Minor General Plan Amendment these lots sizes shrink to 7,000 square feet.

The presenters, when asked, shared that the number of homes under the presently approved plan of development was about 1,100 homes. This request for a Minor General Plan Amendment, if approved, would increase the number of homes to over 1,400 homes. Mr. Miller also confirmed that they did not have to submit a design plan for the construction of Bethany Home Road until the 200th home building permit was pulled and did not have to start building Bethany Home Road until the 400th home building permit was pulled.

I went back and reviewed the Bethany Home Road Agreement between the John F. Long Trust (JFLT) and the city approved by the city council on April 26, 2016 (as well as the original Stonehaven Planned Area Development [PAD] allowing 1,100 homes). The following was agreed by both parties with regard to Bethany Home Road : “The Parties acknowledge that the Bethany Home Road Extension will be completed and accepted on or before January 1, 2022.” That’s 5 years from now.

In Section 3.4 of the agreement, JFLT (John F. Long Trust) will have final plans and specifications for the Bethany Home Road Extension completed by the civil engineer and approved by the Parties prior to the City’s issuance of the 275th home building permit for the Residential Development Parcel (subject to Force Majeure Events and any mutually-agreed extensions).” It is safe to assume that it will be several years before the Long Trust even has to turn in a design plan for Bethany Home Road to the city.

Under Section 4.2 it states, “JFLT will cause the general contractor to commence construction of the Bethany Home Road Extension prior to the City’s issuance of the 400th home building permit for the Residential Development Parcel and to achieve completion and acceptance within one (1) year thereafter (subject to Force Majeure Events and any mutually-agreed extensions), but in no event later than the Outside Completion Deadline (January 1, 2022).” How long will it be before the 400th home building permit is issued? Several years probably. In the meantime Stonehaven residents will have limited access to their newly created subdivision. It will certainly put even more pressure on the traffic flow on Camelback Road which is already a mess with the development of the D.L. Horton subdivision on the north side of Camelback Road at approximately 93rd Avenue.

Of even more concern and precedent setting was council’s approval within this agreement of a $1.2 million dollar payment to the Long Trust for the right-of-way needed for the proposed city construction of the north side of Bethany Home Road between 83rd Avenue and 91st Avenue. When a developer builds a subdivision the developer is responsible for paying for and constructing the roads that will serve its planned community. If it’s a major arterial road, such as Bethany Home Road, then the developer will dedicate the necessary right-of-way for the entire road but only pay for construction of its half of the road with the city being responsible for paying for construction of the other half of the road.

Not so in this case and that is what is precedent setting. A senior staffer, part of a “city team” that negotiated with the John F. Long trust, acknowledged that the city had asked Long for dedication of right-of-way for the north side of Bethany Home Road and that the Long Trust refused.  Having been refused its request, the city rolled over and negotiated a payment of $1.2 million dollars to the Long Trust for the right-of-way for the north side of Bethany Home Road. This is precedent setting. I know of no other instance where the city had to pay a developer for right-of-way for a major road that would serve a planned residential development.

Why didn’t the city team decide that if the trust was unwilling to make the necessary dedication for Bethany Home Road that perhaps the entire residential project should not be approved?  The city could have decided that if the trust was unwilling to make the necessary dedication precluding the full construction of Bethany Home Road that the proposed residents of the project would not have adequate ingress and egress from the project. Under that scenario, the Long Trust eager to sell the land to a developer, would have had to dedicate the right-of-way for the north side of Bethany Home Road, if it wanted to approval for Stonehaven and thus successfully complete the purchase of the land by a developer.

Stonehaven currently comprises over 300+ acres and proposes over 1,100+ homes. It looks nothing like Rovey Farm Estates, another planned area development. Rovey Farm estates had approximately the same acreage but only 800+ homes ranging on lot sizes from 7,000 square feet on the west side of the project to one acre lots on the east side of the project. It also contains 3 gated communities within it. If this Minor General Plan Amendment is approved instead of 1,100 homes on 300+ acres, it would be over 1,400 homes on 300+ acres.

Just as the city council listened to a neighborhood and denied the Bio-Life application at its January 10, 2017 meeting, let us hope that they will continue this practice and listen to a host of neighborhoods opposed to these applicants’ request for even greater density and the downsizing of lot sizes in this project.

Glendale has many, many starter homes and mid-level homes throughout the community. Isn’t it time to demand upscale, upgraded communities on the vacant parcels it has left? Shouldn’t the goal be to upgrade Glendale rather than build to the common denominator of what’s already there?

How does this Minor General Plan Amendment serve the best interests of Glendale’s existent residents and the soon-to-be new Stonehaven residents?

© Joyce Clark, 2017        

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.

The issue has been identified. Does Glendale practice a policy of using Glendale vendors first when it comes to its major events? Now we will look at policies, past practices, plans, politics and the players. Some policies center on the questions of downtown promotion vs. event cost recovery and the repeated reliance on the use of past vendors vs. an effort to educate and solicit appropriate local vendors.

In a memo sent to the city council and city staff, Glendale Chamber CEO Robert Heidt identified suggestions that could be implemented in choosing vendors for city events:

  1. Local businesses should receive preference for all events. Allotting a percentage to local businesses does not serve them well.
  2. Greater effort to educate local businesses about submission dates, procedures and deadlines widely available in various public media.
  3. Deciding jury on choosing of vendors should be composed of business members of the community.
  4. Institute workshops to educate businesses how they can take part in the events.
  5. Clear and consistent rules to be created on the use of event structures such as tents, A-frame designs, booth layouts food trucks.
  6. Glendale businesses receive first priority followed in order by, the West Valley, the Phoenix Metro area, statewide, and lastly out of state.
  7. Explanation, provision and appropriate enforcement of fees, sales taxes payable.
  8. Revise the sales of beverages to vendors, incorporating the use of local beverage vendors.
  9. Expand the ability of other non-profits to run the beverage tent.
  10. City to provide a timely solution to issues and problems as they arise.

I appreciate his thoughtfulness in identifying and providing solutions to this complex issue. He is to be commended. I would hope he would also consider using his leadership for another just as vexing issue. I have taken guests downtown to visit restaurants and specialty businesses only to find them closed on week days when one would expect them to be open. It becomes frustrating and disappointing but it demonstrates a greater problem that has plagued downtown Glendale for years and that is consistency in business hours by all downtown/Catlin Court merchants and restaurants. What if you went to your local Macy’s or Home Depot only to find them closed because they were open only when they felt like it? That’s what a visitor is confronted with downtown, especially on a Monday.  It is unprofessional and deters business much less repeat business. It’s time for downtown to get its act together and to have all downtown/Catlin Court businesses establish some basic, consistent hours when all commit to be open.

Now, in all fairness, the past four years have been tumultuous regarding the city manager’s position and thus city managerial leadership. Many issues were unattended to or left hanging.  After Ed Beasley left, there was Interim City Manager, Horatio Skeete, then the disaster that was City Manager Brenda Fisher, followed by an Interim stint by Dick Bowers and finally the hiring of City Manager Kevin Phelps. It was a period of confusion and belied a lack of continuity in city staff management…an understatement to say the least. Is it any wonder, city events and a plethora of other city issues were left to fester?

Kevin Phelps, in his short time as City Manager, has brought a measure of stability to city senior staff. He has already demonstrated his focus on problem solving.  The December 29, 2016 edition of the Glendale Star has an interview with Phelps, by Darrell Jackson. It bodes well for the future of Glendale’s major event productions. Some of his more interesting comments in this article include:  “After asking questions of city staff, I am not sure that anyone within City Hall could adequately describe what the mission (of these events) is.” or “If it is to drive business and expose people to downtown shops, then I am not sure the proliferation of bouncy rides and carnival foods is what we should be doing…In my mind, I am not excited about another carnival and light show next year.” and “I am leaning towards recommending creating a signature event that showcases the City of Glendale, as well as our downtown area, and cost recovery is not part of that. Phelps said his goal is to have changes in place by March so they can be included in next year’s budget.”

We all know “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Mr. Heidt is to be recognized for providing the squeak that led to the need for grease on the city event wheel. Many of his suggestions are common sense and I suspect, have already or will be adopted. However, suggestions 1, 3, 6 and 9 require further thought. His suggestions #1 and #6 call for Glendale businesses to receive priority in selection. If, as Mr. Phelps suggests, an upgrade of Glendale’s major events is the goal, moving away from a fast food, carnival-like atmosphere and perhaps adding quality restaurant offerings, wine, microbreweries and fine art vendors to become the norm then the operative word becomes “quality.” If there are quality Glendale vendors they should be welcome but if they sell hot dogs and pitchforks, should they receive preference merely because they are Glendale businesses? I think not.

Mr. Heidt’s suggestion #3 is no solution to the issue of being juried in to an event. He calls for a jury composed of community business members.  It’s no better than currently having staff jury vendors. In each case, it’s like having the “fox guard the hen house.” Each group would seem to have a vested interest. Perhaps it’s time to create an independent jury comprised of leaders in their respective industries, trades or crafts from outside the city.

Mr. Heidt’s suggestion #9 calling for other non-profits to work the city’s beverage tent is simply an expression of lack of historical memory and should not be seriously considered.  For the past 22 years the Glendale Ambassadors have operated the city’s beverage tent at downtown special events. They have proven to be reliable and consistent. You can count on them to fulfill their responsibilities. The Ambassadors were created by Glendale‘s leaders to support and to promote the City of Glendale and they have always done so.

Manning the city’s beverage tent is their primary and only source of annual income. What they earn goes right back into our community. Over the past 22 years they have given back $315,000 to at least 60 organizations, typically non-profit. Their donations are too numerous to mention all but here are a few representative groups: Boys & Girls Club of Glendale; Glendale Fire Department’s crisis response van and cadets; Glendale Police Department’s vests for its K9 program and Dare; Glendale’s Heart for the City; the Mayor’s Alliance against Drugs & Gangs; Velma Teague Library Mother Read Program; and the Westside Food Bank’s Senior Brown Bag Program.

Why on God’s green earth would we want to take away the Glendale Ambassador’s primary funding source in favor of some entity that doesn’t have this kind of track record? It makes no sense unless it was suggested to serve someone’s personal affinity for a particular non-profit group who wants in on the action.

Mr. Phelps and Mr. Heidt are to be commended for their shared commitment to make Glendale’s event future better. Mr. Phelps’ desire to upgrade Glendale’s events will certainly cause some of Mr. Heidt’s suggestions to be considered and some of the others to be moot but there is common ground between them. Working together is a win-win for Glendale.

© Joyce Clark, 2017        

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.

For the entire month of December the Glendale Star has been running a series of stories by Darrell Jackson (go to www.glendalestar.com ) regarding the vendors used at Glendale’s four premier events that occur from the end of November until early February. These four events are Glendale Glitters opening weekend, Glendale Glitters weekends in December, the Glitter and Glow Block Party ending event and the Chocolate Affaire.

The issue is does Glendale really put local Glendale businesses first when accepting vendor applications for these events? It is a question that has been raised by local vendors for several years, whose applications appear to be routinely rejected but it only boiled to the surface when the Glendale Chamber of Commerce CEO Robert Heidt became the local vendors’ champion.

Let’s look at some statistics. “Over the past three years (2012, 2013 and 2014), the city has received 1,204 applications to be a vendor at one of the four major events (cited above). Of those, the city has approved 739 with only 15.29% (113) coming from Glendale businesses and 84.71% (626) coming from other businesses.” (Glendale Star, December 15, 2016).

“When it comes to local food merchants, the city has received 213 total applications for the current season with 92 (43.19%) being approved over that time. Of the 92 approved food vendors, 13 (14.13%) have been from Glendale while 79 (85.86%) have been from non-Glendale food vendors. The 2017 Chocolate Affaire has no local businesses approved, with 11 local businesses denied, while 19 businesses were approved to participate.” (Glendale Star, December 15, 2016).

Kim Larson, Glendale Public Facilities, Recreation and Special Events spokesperson, has said, “As long as they meet the minimum requirements, absolutely, we give them a priority. According to city documents, the minimum requirements are, ‘a menu with pricing, photos of products and booth set up, and a $25 (non-refundable) application fee.’ The application asks vendors if they would like a 10X10 prime booth for an additional $150, or a 10X20 prime spot for an additional $200. Each approved vendor is provided with a two-plug, 20 AMP outlet but they can request additional power for an additional $25 to $100.” (Glendale Star, December 8, 2016).

After the application process closes a jury of staff reviews the applications and makes the final selection of vendors.  “The jury for the current season consisted of three members of city staff – Simms, Heidi Barriga (Special Events) and Cameron Dewaele (Parks and Recreation.” (Glendale Star, December 29, 2016). “Once a vendor is approved, they then pay $65 for a background check.” (Glendale Star, December 8, 2016).

“All food vendors are required to purchase any bottled beverages (water, soda and ice) from Kalil Bottling –an official city sponsor – at $15 per case and must sell them for $2 apiece. Vendors who participate are required to pay 20% of their gross income to the city, which helps offset the cost of events. Larson said the city estimates the revenue to be approximately $250,000 from vendors.” (Glendale Star, December 8, 2016).

“…two vendors who have been approved numerous times and are part of the current events, reported to the Glendale Star that they have never been billed by the city and have never written a tax check to the city.” (Glendale Star, December 22, 2016). Vickie Rios, Glendale’s Finance Director, could not confirm this assertion but indicated that if it had happened in the past, it would not occur in the future.

As you can see, it can be quite pricey to become a vendor at a Glendale event. Having participated as a potter in many regional events for over 20 years (I no longer produce handcrafted pottery) the costs to vendors are not unreasonable. There is always overhead and there is a cost for everyone to do business whether you are in a shop or participate in outdoor events. If a vendor cannot make enough revenue to cover the costs of operation plus a profit, then that vendor should rethink its operation.

One of the essential concerns surrounding this issue rests upon the mission of Glendale’s special events. “(Kim) Larson said, ‘As the mission of Glendale’s special events is to promote and brand downtown Glendale as a destination to attract new visitors and shoppers, and foster community pride among residents, the Special Events Division does its absolute best to maximize revenue to offset our productions costs so we can continue to provide free admission to our community festivals.’” (Glendale Star, December 8, 2016). This mission statement is schizophrenic, to say the very least. The goal of cost recovery and the goal of promoting downtown Glendale are not usually compatible. So, the very first question to ask is a policy question for the Glendale city council. Should the city policy be to promote downtown Glendale (at a cost to taxpayers) or to continue to implement the goal of cost recovery?

Another question about policy comes from comments made by Erik Strunk, Glendale’s new Public Facilities, Recreation and Special Events Director, “Strunk said the city advertises the vendor application process online (via various media forms). Additionally, we have developed a master list of anyone who has applied in the past few years…This list is used each year to send a mass e-mail…and encourage interested vendors to apply.” (Glendale Star, December 22, 2016). This process seems to hint at a policy of returning to the same well, year after year, by alerting previous participants to apply. Again, another policy question for city council is evident. Will it be policy to make a concerted effort to educate and attract more local vendors or will the city rely upon past vendors, who seemingly up to this point, have been used repeatedly because the city’s past experience with them affords a level of comfort?

In Part II of Glendale First? we will look at the policies, past practices, plans, politics and the players.

© Joyce Clark, 2017        

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

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

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

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

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

·       Notice to Proceed                                                                        1/2/17  

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

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

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

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

                                                                                                                (8 wks.)

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

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

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

·       Council Award                                                                                10/12/17 

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

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

·       Final Acceptance                                                                            8/27/18

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

© Joyce Clark, 2016        

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

·       $87.28 for Councilmember business cards

·       $299.21 for Councilmember letterhead stationery and envelopes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Joyce Clark, 2016        

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Joyce Clark, 2016        

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

The chicken issue in Glendale is still not settled. I suspect I may be on council when this issue is finally brought forward. But right now I am not and I can share some thoughts. If you look at my informal poll to the left of this column you will see that half the respondents don’t want chickens and half do want chickens.

This issue should never have been. It started as a neighbor dispute. From all that I have heard they were good neighbors and got along for years. Something triggered animosity (not the chickens) between them and chickens became a means of redress. One of the aggrieved parties went to his or her councilmember to complain. It could have been handled by the councilmember urging both neighbors to participate in mediation or working with them one-on-one. Instead the councilmember brought it forward during Council Items of Special Interest asking for exploration of and discussion of an ordinance to allow chickens.

It has consumed hundreds of hours of staff time and cost you, the taxpayer, thousands of dollars in terms of employee salaries to handle this issue. For years residents have silently had chickens throughout this city…some on large lot property, some on smaller lot property…and there was peace. It was a non-issue. Now we have warfare and it’s the north versus the south all over again. If this hadn’t turned into such a public and divisive issue people all over Glendale would have continued to quietly maintain chickens and no one would have cared. It would have continued to fly under the radar.

Generally north Glendale residents do not want chickens. It’s a NIMBY situation and they believe it will devalue their property. Whether it actually devalues property or not, it is still a matter of perception and therefore a valid consideration. The anti-chicken charge is being guided behind the scenes by former Mayor Scruggs. The public face of anti-chickens in north Glendale is Penny Knochenhauer and Michele Tennyson, her friends.

Now, I may be wrong but I don’t think so…99% of Arrowhead is residential and those neighborhoods are controlled by HOAs. Northern Glendale doesn’t have and will not have a problem with chickens ever…because their HOA regulations mandate whether or not they would be allowed. South Glendale residents appear to be more tolerant and are willing to accept chickens. Many south Glendale chicken proponents already have them and appear to be living in peace with their neighbors. So what do we do now? The staff manpower and expense to resolve this issue is becoming ridiculous. A speedy decision is required. Compromise may be in order. What could a compromise look like?

·       It doesn’t seem appropriate that there be chickens on small lot residential properties. Expanding permissible zoning districts to R1-8, (8,000 square foot lots) could be considered. Right now the smallest zoning district that allows chickens is R1-12 (12,000 square foot lots). This compromise would expand allowable zoning districts by adding R1-10 and R1-8. Properties smaller than that (R1-7, R1-6 and R1-4) could cause potential problems and don’t seem to be appropriate candidates for chickens.

·       Many Valley cities have restrictions on the number of chickens allowed. It seems reasonable to allow one chicken per every 1,000 square feet. On an 8,000 square foot property that would allow for 8 chickens…that’s a lot of eggs!

·       Another component of compromise should include setbacks, a restriction seen in other Valley cities. A setback of 20 feet from any residence (including chicken owner’s home) and 20 foot side and rear yard setbacks to protect adjacent neighbors seem to be in order.

·       Lastly a public acknowledgement in city language that recognizes that HOA regulations on this issue supersede any city codes is vital. This stipulation allows self-determination of the chicken issue in a vast number of neighborhoods in Glendale. It seems reasonable that neighbors decide what is in their best interest.

·       Roosters are prohibited and will continue to be prohibited in nearly all zoning districts.

You know a compromise has worked if those who are in favor are angry and those who are against are angry. This compromise would probably evoke just such a response. Those who are anti-chicken will be angry because the city has expanded the allowance to R1-8 properties. Those who are pro-chicken will be upset because there are restrictions. Perfect.

If  a majority of city council is unwilling to compromise and it comes down to a straight “yes” or “no” vote and I am on city council, I will have to think about the issue further before I make a final decision.

© 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.

%d bloggers like this: