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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

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

In this week’s Glendale Star there is a story on all three of Glendale’s incumbent councilmembers winning reelection. Let’s share some of the conspiracy theories Aldama claims in the article. Let’s begin with:

  • “As I have said before, to each his own (in their support) but when there are five current councilmembers supporting a new candidate, it says to me that there is a will to remove democracy and add a dictatorship, and that is not how we function.”
  • “I don’t see any reason why five would want me out, but I don’t answer to the five. I answer to my constituents in my district.”
  • “…And to those who opposed me, I am sorry that I fell short if that is what they feel, but I hope I can work with them to build a better relationship and work together to continue to improve the city.”
  • “The four councilmembers who endorsed my opponent was an attempt to curry favor with the Mayor,”
  • “The attempt by Mayor Jerry Weiers to unseat me and Councilman Turner was a purely political attempt to create a ‘dictatorship.’ His desire was to have a ‘yes’ council that would remove any objections to his political goals and aspirations.”

Once I was able to pick myself up off the floor after having laughed so hard that I slipped out of my chair, I decided that among other things, Aldama thinks an awful lot of himself. Does he really believe we are obsessed with him? OMG!

Poor Jamie, he’s really angry and can’t seem to figure out what happened to him and why. If he’s such a nice guy why would 5 out of 7 other councilmembers endorse his opponent? In a bout of apparent paranoia (or perhaps he’s been listening to Councilmember Turner too much) Aldama has convinced himself that Mayor Weiers is destroying democracy and had ordered the rest of us to endorse Aldama’s opponent.  Sorry Jamie. There’s no “will to remove democracy and add a a dictatorship.” I’m still grinning over that one.

For those who don’t know me very well I have a reputation of taking orders from no one. I have never been a ‘yes person’.  I have never felt the need to “curry favor” with the Mayor or any other member of this council. I never had a conversation with the Mayor or any Councilmember before I made my decision to endorse Emmanuel Allen or Ray Strahl. Both endorsements occurred after in-depth interviews with each and were published in my previous blogs.

Aldama can’t “see any reason why five would want me out.” It’s really quite a simple explanation. He never expressed opposition to council’s collective decisions when he had abundant opportunity to do so. Yet he would turn around and publicly oppose those very same decisions without alerting council or staff of his intentions. Aldama has lost the trust of this council. That is something very difficult to regain and occurs with action, not with words of platitude.

Several councilmembers were dismayed by Aldama’s abusive treatment of council staff leading to three council assistant resignations over time. One assistant was brought to tears. Since council assistants serve two councilmembers the situations often resulted in the leaving of a council assistant valued by the other councilmember. For a period of time the council office included a set of revolving doors. His actions created a decidely unstable atmosphere.

In his four years of service, what tangible results has Aldama produced for the people of the Ocotillo district? None. Nada. Zip. In his four years of service did you see him really push for action with regard to O’Neil Pool? When I came back into service a year and a half ago, I started to advocate not only for the completion of Heroes Park but for action regarding O’Neil Pool, abandoned in 2011. The O’Neil area was part of my council district for many years until the last city council redistricting which occurred in 2011 and the area remains important to me as I lived there for 30 years.

 I resumed my council service in 2016 and as a result of my efforts, council will shortly take up the issue of the abandoned pool and allocate CDBG funds to remove it. I am not happy with staff’s proposal that provides only passive recreation on the former pool site and will continue to press for active recreational opportunities such as a splash pad where the pool once stood. Jamie had four years to make O’Neil pool a priority and failed to do so.

I noted at the Womens’ Club Candidate Forum Aldama spent almost all of his introductory speaking time thanking everyone for everything – a penchant of his at nearly every public speaking opportunity – conveniently leaving very little, if any, time to speak to the issues.

He often takes credit for successful council decisions and actions whether he supported them or not. Code enforcement is perhaps one of the most critical issues for the Ocotillo district yet it is Councilmember Malnar that has taken up the challenge of code, not Aldama. Another critical issue for Aldama’s Ocotillo district is advocacy for small businesses yet I successfully won approval from council to initiate a council business subcommittee, not Aldama. Yet Aldama has the hutzpah to say, “he is ready to continue improving the district…” How exactly Jamie? And please be specific.

Lastly, I would remind the reader that several weeks ago at a Glendale Chamber breakfast, Aldama stood before God and the breakfast attendees and accused the council of “corruption.” That wasn’t a smart move designed to ‘win friends and influence people’. It’s time Aldama came forward with facts to support his allegation or to apologize to this council. As of this writing he has not done so.

I feel sorry for Aldama for all of his decisions and actions appear to be politically motivated. If it’s good for him politically he’ll support the issue or action. He seems to have failed to learn that his job is really about representation and giving voice to the people he represents. When residents disagree it’s time to listen rather than devise payback. Goodness know the people of the Ocotillo district can use a lot of help. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that Aldama can provide it.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

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

Heroes Park Concept Plan

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When will our promise be fulfilled?

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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

Should downtown festivals be changed?

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

Let’s talk about Glendale Glitters, the city’s major downtown festival. First let me preface that it was former Marketing Director, Paula Illardo, and I, as a brand new councilmember, which asked the city council in 1994 for the very first investment of funding for 50,000 Christmas lights in Murphy Park. Over the years the number of lights has increased year over year and this year downtown Glendale will have 2 million lights – not just in Murphy Park but throughout the downtown footprint.

Courtesy of the Arizona Republic

I have always supported the downtown festivals but lately, in at least the last 5 years, I no longer enjoyed visiting on any given weekend. Rather my family and friends would visit during the week when one could actually look at and enjoy the light display.

What turned us and many others off? Councilmember Malnar is correct in his council workshop comment that it had become a carnival rather than a festival (and there is a distinction). The footprint for the event was too small to accommodate all of the attendees. It was no fun to walk the park packed in like cattle. It became too difficult to actually visit a vendor or to truly enjoy the lights. Over the years, the quality of merchandise offered by the vendors declined as well.

Let’s look at some facts. I don’t think anyone expects the downtown festivals to be money makers but I believe the expectation is that the revenues should cover the cost to the city to produce them. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2015-16 total revenues for Glendale Glitters and Glow were $442,789 and in FY 2017-18 total revenues were $313,846. Revenues declined by $128,943 in every measurable statistic:

  • Vending fees were down by $88,461
  • Sponsorship fees declined by $23,500
  • Beverage sales were down by $3,731
  • Parking fees declined by $13,240

Festival attendance has also declined with an attendance in FY 2015-16 of 235,000 and an attendance in FY 2017-18 of 216,000 totaling a decline of 19,000 visitors. It is fair to say some of the decline is attributable to the changes made in FY 2017-18 with fewer vendors. However, until a visitor arrived at the festival that visitor would not have known there were fewer vendors or perhaps a first time visitor would not have even realized that there were fewer vendors. Attribution to the changes made in FY 2017-18 is not sufficient to explain the decline.

Why are the festivals declining? I am sure to receive many opinions as to why and many will lay the blame at the feet of the city, most specifically the city manager and city council. But there is more to the problem. Glendale now faces competition from all over the Valley. Many communities saw the success of Glendale Glitters and mimicked the event. You can now attend a Glendale Glitters-like event all over the Valley.

I think it’s also fair to say the event has become stale. It’s the same template year after year. A certain percentage of visitors having attended once will opt for a newer, fresher event knowing exactly what they can expect from Glendale Glitters. With the exception of last year, Glendale has not attempted to refresh the event for over 20 years. Admittedly the changes did not help but if we don’t try we won’t learn what new things work and what doesn’t.

An equally important factor is the inconsistency of hours of downtown shops and restaurants. What does every business do during the holiday season (which is typically when they earn 70% of their annual revenue)? They extend the hours when they are open. Today’s customers are spoiled and expect merchants to be open until 10 PM in the evening, every day of the holiday season. It should also be acknowledged that online shopping is having an effect driving local merchants to offer unusual or original items not usually found online.

Courtesy of the Arizona Republic

 It is so disappointing to view the downtown lights and to discover that half of the shops and restaurants are closed. I know I will hear from some downtown merchants saying they are open and I congratulate them for their entrepreneurship. But there are many others that are closed and they do no favor for those fellow businesses that do stay open. They harm the entire downtown business community.

As I said at the recent city council workshop, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” I do not want to eliminate these festivals. I don’t think anyone wants to do that. But it is time to try to do something different.

That’s where merchants and general public can weigh in. The solution is not to ‘resist’ and to cling to past practices especially with a petition to ask that the festivals remain exactly the way they have always been.

I urge you to use this platform to share your ideas and comments. I promise to share them with the city council and senior management. I ask that you remain respectful of all individuals whether it be a citizen, merchant, elected, or city management.

It’s time to take a fresh look at these festivals and to offer your solutions to refresh them, to make them equally competitive with other Valley holiday events, and to preserve the spirit of its 1994 original intent – the celebration of the holiday with all of its wonders to be shared with our children.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

Should downtown festivals be changed?

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

Glendale’s city council vacates during the month of July. It’s a good time to catch up on my blog writing. This year there will be no vacation and no deep sea fishing in California. I thought it was a good time to honor my promise to share on what I spent my council funds. After all, it is taxpayer money and we are charged to spend it prudently.

Councilmembers actually have two budgets. You can see my budget spreadsheets here: Councilmember Expenses . Fund 52100 in the amount of $15,000 is for councilmember designated Infrastructure Projects within the councilmember’s district. When I resumed office in January of 2017 I decided that I wanted to obtain an LED sign for Heroes Park. This permanent LED sign infrastructure will provide the city and myself the opportunity to message people in the district about city activities, events and notices of importance. This is a pilot project and the first sign of its kind (an LED sign) in any city park or facility.

When I first started on this journey of obtaining an LED sign the initial estimate was approximately $19,000. Over time the cost has doubled to $38,000 not just for the sign itself but for the wiring, etc. that is needed to make it operable. To satisfy the cost, I have dedicated infrastructure funds for FY 2017-18, FY 2018-19 and FY 2019-2020 to pay for its cost.

The construction of the permanent, Phase I of the West Branch Library began this June. It is slated for completion next March of 2019 (I wouldn’t take this completion date to the bank). As the library nears completion the LED sign will be installed. I expect it to be installed sometime in January or February of 2019.

Another infrastructure project I chose to pursue was newly installed this June and is new signage for the Desert Mirage area. The sign is located at the 91st Avenue and Maryland Avenue

New Desert Mirage
Entry Sign

entrance. The letters were individually mounted on the sign base and over the years enterprising individuals have stolen various letters. It’s been an ongoing aggravation. They are replaced and then stolen once again. This year I invested approximately $1800 of my infrastructure budget in new signage for both sides of the base. They are dark burgundy colored metal plates with the letters cut out of the metal. It is my hope that this will permanently solve the problem of pilfered letters.

The second councilmember budget, called Professional Development (Funds 511400 and 518200) in the amount of $18,000 is used for professional development, constituent communications and activities, office supplies and miscellaneous. This year an expense charged to this budget will be my attendance at the annual Arizona League of Cities and Towns Convention this August. I have chosen to attend this year because it is being held in the Valley area and rather than paying for staying at a hotel I can drive to and from the site daily. The cost of convention registration is $295.00.

Major expenses within the Professional Development budget are twofold: my twice yearly district newsletter mailed to every home in my district at a cost of about $6,500 per newsletter (printing and mailing). Another $2,000 is allocated for expenses for my twice yearly district meetings. Between these two items I expend $15,000 of the $18,000 budget strictly on constituent communications.

That leaves $3,000 for miscellaneous expenses. This past year, I donated $500 to support the Kilt Run at Westgate; $600 for the Mayor’s bowling event; and $500 for the Rotary’s renovation project. I spent another $500 on additional Heroes Park directional parking signs (5 of them). The remaining $1000 was used for miscellaneous expenses such as the council office Christmas party, joint expense for funeral flowers for various individuals, a ticket for the Glendale Women’s Club Luncheon or Glendale’s Art Preview Party or lunch for staff on a field trip to learn about lake systems in other Valley communities (as we prepare to construct a water feature at Heroes Park).

I try to be very frugal with taxpayer dollars and to always keep in mind that it should be primarily spent on citizen outreach or on an infrastructure project that solves a problem within my district.

When I invite someone to a working business lunch I pay the tab out of my personal funds. I do not charge the city for mileage or use of a cell phone. I use my personal computer at home to access my city email account to do city business.

This narrative has given you an idea of councilmember expense choices.  If you wish to look at the Mayor’s or other Councilmembers’ expenses please go to:

  • glendaleaz.com
  • click on “Follow Your Money
  • Choose the “Fiscal Year”
  • Click on “Department Spending
  • Click on page 2
  • Click on “Council Office
  • Choose a council district and click on it

It’s an interesting exercise to try sometime. You never know what you will learn.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

A little over a week ago a ribbon cutting occurred for the newly renovated downtown alley connecting Glendale Avenue and Glenn Drive between 57th Drive and 57th Avenue. It is always welcome when the city completes projects like these to continue to improve downtown Glendale.

Downtown Glendale continues to have a difficult time getting its ‘mojo’. I can remember 20 years ago when I participated in the “Miracle Mile” citizens’ committee to envision what downtown Glendale could be. Since then there have been many iterations of the same visioning process with the latest being Centerline, courtesy of consulting professionals from ASU. Yet progress remains static. There is no one factor that inhibits the renaissance of downtown Glendale. There are multiple factors.

One factor is the inability, to date, of the downtown merchants to form a cohesive group determining their own destiny and putting skin ($$) in the game. One faction believes that it is the city’s sole and exclusive responsibility to revitalize the downtown. Another has accepted that their destiny lies in their active participation. Another faction is composed of mom ‘n’ pop owners who set their own — often casual and inconsistent – hours of operation. Another faction, more professional, not only keeps consistent hours of operation but tries to stay open a few evenings a week. Until these factions coalesce downtown is destined to remain basically the same — struggling to survive.

Another factor is the city’s lack of funding to use to remove vacant buildings on city parcels or simply to renovate a city owned vacant building. There are just so many needs competing for the limited city funding available. Witness the residents who are pushing the city council to save the city owned Glen Lakes Golf Course for a little under a half million dollars a year…or west Glendale’s residents’ urging to finish Heroes Park, now languishing for nearly 30 years.

In steps the Glendale Chamber of Commerce does what it can to inject new life into the downtown. There is no doubt that under CEO Robert Heidt’s leadership the Chamber has become a highly successful gorilla. With over 1,200 members it has developed a political power base that surpasses that of Glendale’s fire union. While the fire union is viewed with distrust by many in the community who disagree with its political motives, the Chamber enjoys a more benign relationship. However, as with any entity that wields tremendous power comes an equal responsibility to be use it judiously and wisely. The Chamber would be wise to be mindful of the admonition.

Perhaps that is why I received commentary from some residents after they read an article in the Your Valley edition of May 25, 2018. Here is the link: https://yourvalley.net/yourvalley/news/renovated-alleyway-step-toward-livelier-nightlife-downtown-glendale/ . Their concern seemed to center around the tone of the article creating the inference that the alley renovation project was funded by the Chamber. That is not the case. It was a city funded project and in attendance to celebrate its completion were Mayor Weiers and Councilmembers Hugh, Turner and Aldama. Perhaps their concern centered around the fact that nearly every quote was attributed to either Chamber CEO Heidt or Downtown Director (city employee) Katy Engels, whose work is directed by the Chamber under a city paid contract. In passing there was one statement attributed to Councilmember Aldama and two attributed to Mr. Higgins of the city’s Economic Development department. However the bulk of the article was all CEO Heidt.

Make no mistake, the Chamber is not just a business organization but is a political one as well.  Among other things it interviews and endorses local candidates for city council and mayor. To date, their long standing policy has been to automatically endorse the incumbent. That action does a disservice to its members and to the residents of Glendale. Endorsements should be given on the merits of a candidate’s policies in continuing to grow a Glendale that is business and job creation friendly — for that is the Chamber’s base of membership.

Make no mistake, a healthy Chamber signifies a healthy Glendale. The Chamber’s efforts in the areas of downtown development and vet outreach are most welcome but it would be wise not to over reach. For years the Glendale fire union was a political gorilla. Glendale cannot afford to replace one gorilla with another.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

Councilmember Jamie Aldama, currently running for reelection as the Ocotillo district representative in Glendale seems to have problems with ‘process’.  Just a few weeks ago, if you will recall, he opposed the city’s decision to place SROs in all nine of Glendale’s high schools. His stated reason was his disagreement with the process. In reality, many suspect he was receiving his marching orders from the fire union (whom it is assumed will support him in his bid for reelection) which vehemently opposed the action because it removed one city paid fire union representative. Politically it was ill advised and a mailer was sent by American Free Enterprise Club, a Political Action Committee (PAC), to all Ocotillo voters. See here:

Two weeks ago, Aldama, at the regular voting meeting of the city council once again opposed an action due to ‘process’. This time it was the city’s award of a Request for Proposal (RFP) to R.O.O.T.S. to run after-school programs at two city locations, O’Neil Recreation Center and the Glendale Youth Center. Once again, Aldama voiced his opposition due to ‘process’ just as with his previous action.  As before it is important to understand the situational sub context and his assumed political motivation to do so.

R.O.O.T.S. is run by Emmanuel and Belinda Allen. So what? may be your answer. Here’s the dilemma for Aldama. Emmanuel Allen is running against Aldama for the Ocotillo city council position. That, in and of itself, provides Aldama with the presumed motivation to use a velvet hammer to neuter his political opponent.  In yet another twist Breakthru Barrio would be losing their contract for running the Glendale Youth Center programming. This is the same Breakthru group responsible for damage to Glendale City Hall during one of their events and a group to which Aldama, in the past, has contributed tax payer dollars to help sponsor their events. Make no mistake; Aldama appeared to have been subtly working to support Breakthru’s retention of the Glendale Youth Center after school programming contract.

The problem with his opposition to ‘process’ this time was his apparently deliberate misconstruing of the R.O.O.T.S. application and the city’s process for award of the RFP. When Belinda Allen spoke before city council that night she clarified Aldama’s misrepresentations.

 It should be noted that this RFP process was far more rigorous than any previously used. The publicly available background material regarding the issuance of the RFP stated, “In June 2017, the City engaged Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government Performance Lab (GPL) for the study of results driven contracting. GPL, in partnership with What Works Cities, focused on improving the RFP process for the applicant, outcomes of after-school programming Glendale. Responses from the RFI indicated the model was sustainable.”

“In December 2017, the City advertised a Request for Proposals (RFP #18-32) to engage one or more community partners to provide after-school services at four city owned recreation/community centers. The objectives of the RFP were to engage a partner/partners who could: 1) Increase participant access and sustain free after-school programming; 2) Improve academic achievement and decrease at risk behaviors; 3) Sustain programming through stakeholder commitment (families, neighborhood schools, funders, and community-based organization); and 4) Advance the City’s mission of improving lives by providing services that align with our values.”

“In January 2018, department staff assembled and evaluation team of professionals that included representation from Arizona State University, the City of Phoenix, and the City of Glendale’s Police, Community Services, and the Public Facilities, Recreation and Special Events departments to objectively evaluate each proposal to determine which provider(s) would best fit the need of the community.”

The process worked but Aldama apparently could not accept the results because it would result in the loss of the contract belonging to yet another political ally. What should concern Ocotillo voters is Aldama’s apparent motivations for rejecting two decisions that are in the best interest of Glendale and its residents seem to be purely political.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

On Tuesday, March 28, 2018 the Glendale City Council in a vote of 4 to 3 approved the expansion of building size and hours for Arizona Organix, a medical marijuana dispensary located in Glendale. Mayor Weiers and Councilmembers Hugh, Turner and Aldama voted in favor. Vice Mayor Tolmachoff and Councilmember Malnar and I voted against.

Another history lesson on the background of legalized medical marijuana in Arizona is in order. On November 2, 2010 voters in Arizona legalized the use of medical marijuana. The state created Community Health Analysis Areas (CHAAs) allowing one dispensary in each CHAA. There are over 100 CHAAs in the state. Glendale has at least (and probably more) 8 CHAAs within its boundaries.  Here is the current CHAA map:

Glendale passed a Zoning Ordinance, effective March 25, 2011 to deal with dispensaries within its city limits:

  • Allowed in zoning classifications of General Office (G-O); General Commercial (C-2); and Heavy Commercial (C-3)
  • Dispensaries must be one mile apart
  • Dispensaries must be 1,320 feet away from elementary, middle and high schools
  • Dispensaries must be 500 feet away from residential properties
  • Maximum building size of 2,000 SF
  • Allowable hours of operation are 8 AM to 8 PM (12 hours)

Arizona Organix filed for a zoning text amendment to Glendale’s current zoning requirements asking for a 6,000 SF allowable maximum building size and for an expansion of operating hours from 8 AM to 10 PM (total hours open – 14).

I voted against their request for 2 reasons. One is that the action is precedent setting and the newly approved standards will apply to all dispensaries in Glendale. While Glendale currently has 3 dispensaries, more are on the way and they will be able to operate under the newly approved text amendment requirements as to building size and hours of operation. This time a majority of city council approved an increase in building size and hours but what’s next now that the door has been opened to change Glendale’s specific regulations?

However, for me there was an even more compelling reason to vote against their request. As an elected official I took an oath of office. In that oath I swore I would “support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution and laws of the state of Arizona…”   Note which is cited first — the Constitution of the United States and which is cited in the secondary position – the Constitution of Arizona.    

Interestingly, Mayor Weiers and Councilmember Turner dismissed my argument. I think they might have some ‘learnin’ to do. Article VI of the United States Constitution contains the “supremacy clause.” The supremacy clause contains what is known as the doctrine of pre-emption. This doctrine states that any federal law, even if it is only a regulation from a federal agency, supersedes any conflicting state law, even if that law is part of the state’s constitution. In other words the federal government wins every time when there is conflicting legislation between the feds and the states.

The federal government has laws prohibiting the use of marijuana for any use. At least 29 states have legalized marijuana, medically or recreationally. But that does not make what they are doing legal. In the eyes of the federal government it is still a crime. To date the federal government has been reluctant to take on the states over this issue but its inaction should not be confused with tacit approval for marijuana use. One should not assume that federal inaction will continue indefinitely.

Here’s a different version of the same state action to refuse to recognize the doctrine of pre-emption. California recently passed legislation making it a sanctuary state in order to protect illegal aliens. In this case, the federal government has filed suit against the state on the basis of pre-emption. Interestingly, Orange County, California has joined the federal suit. I suspect the Supreme Court will recognize and uphold this doctrine.

 California’s action is no different than the action of the states that have passed legislation to allow the use of marijuana for they, as well, have chosen to ignore the doctrine of pre-emption. The only difference at this point in time is that the federal government has not filed suit against them. Should the federal government win its action against California I suspect in the future it will file suit on the same grounds against those states that have legalized marijuana.

I have no public opinion for or against the use of marijuana.  If I had approved the Arizona Organix zoning text amendment I would have been enhancing and abetting the state’s refusal to recognize the constitutional doctrine of pre-emption. I am a constitutionalist and I do believe that the federal constitution and the laws derived wherefrom are supreme, including the areas of tobacco, firearms and drugs. If states legislate opposing federal law what else in the Constitution will they choose to ignore? Then what do we become? A collection of states with no common authority?

In my small way, I chose to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

On Friday, March 23, 2018 the City of Glendale called a press conference to announce that it would insure that there would be School Resource Officers at every high school in Glendale. This action was in response to the Parkland tragedy and in the wake of a Maryland SRO’s actions that stopped another school shooting after two students had been wounded. One subsequently died.

It was an action the City Manager and the City Council discussed for several weeks. All councilmembers, including Councilmember Aldama, had many opportunities to discuss the idea, ask questions, offer suggestions and voice their approval or disapproval of the idea. Councilmember Aldama asked one or two questions during the entire process and never voiced his lack of support to us, his peers, during these sessions.

At the City’s Friday’s press conference, the Glendale Police Chief made remarks as did the City Manager and the Mayor. Attending in support of the decision to place more SROs in high schools was State Superintendent of Education Diane Douglas as well as Superintendents of the school districts located in Glendale. The entire Glendale City Council was there except for one…Councilmember Aldama. He was AWOL.

Now we know why. Councilmember Aldama has said “No” to the City initiative to place SROs in every Glendale high school. I have placed his release to the media sent out today below.  The photo is small so I have also placed the link as a pdf file, more easily read:  Aldama letter Mar 26 2018

His language within his press release exhibits his bias, when he calls our unified council action “an impactful edict (bold mine)” He implies that this is a decree decided by one person in authority. Not so.  This was a unanimous and carefully considered council decision with one silent voice…Aldama… who never expressed his disapproval to us during our deliberations.

Note this sentence because it is important. He says, “Other critical stakeholders, including Police and Fire Associations (read the unions) were TOLD of the adverse impact on their memberships, but not consulted with.”  This is the real message. All the rest of his statement is a smoke screen. It is important to note that Aldama is up for reelection this year and he desperately needs the support in terms of money and manpower the unions provide to candidates. They are the ‘big dogs’ in Glendale. In plain English Aldama seems to have taken this stance in order to curry the favor and support of these two unions. They will reward him handsomely by pouring monetary donations into his campaign and walking neighborhoods for him. How politically transparent and crass can a person get?

 He goes on to say, “Clearly this was an insensitive headline-grabbing political response to a larger problem than just having an officer in each high school…” I would contend that this city council exhibited extreme sensitivity to an immediate national issue and took appropriate action within our authority. The issues of mental illness and gun regulation are state and national issues and not ones dealt with on a local, municipal level.

It should also be noted that typically government moves at a snail’s pace. Sometimes it is years before an idea becomes reality. This initiative was acted upon with weeks and it required the coordination of and approval of all 4 Superintendents in whose schools the SROs would be placed.

Aldama questions why the city is not placing SROs in elementary schools and charter schools. I believe the current count of schools within the city is somewhere around 80. It is simply not financially feasible to do so and Aldama knows it.

The City does have an Officer Liaison program that has specified officers visiting as many middle and elementary schools as possible on a weekly basis. Since the majority of school shootings occur on high school campuses, the council felt that it was do-able and affordable. How could we not at least make sure all of our high schools were safer?

He then goes on to say, “I am not clear on what these officer’s duties will be.” Glendale has had SROs for years, probably close to 20 years. If he doesn’t know what their duties are then he hasn’t been doing his job for all he had to do was ask at any time.

He then chides us for our “lack of transparency” and for our lack of “open public dialogue and communication.” This is double-speak that in this instance simply does not fit the circumstance. This action is not a new tax on our citizens. It is a reallocation of existent city funds.  It is a situation that is better served by immediate action.  The call for dialogue is a tactic often used to slow down or kill a decision.

Councilmember Aldama, if you had shared your opinion with council instead of staying mute, you would have earned a modicum of respect.  If your decision was perceived as having been done for some solid reasons, you might have earned more respect. Instead, despite all of your hyperbole, the perception of those familiar with this decision making process, your action appears to be no more than a very transparent attempt to win favor with Glendale’s unions. This wasn’t the best time to, as Nancy Reagan used to say, “Just say no.”

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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