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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

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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.

On July 5, 2018 the Glendale Chamber of Commerce announced its endorsements for the three city council seats to be voted upon in Glendale’s next election. The endorsements were for all three incumbents: Vice Mayor Tolmachoff from the Cholla district; Councilmember Bart Turner of the Barrel district; and Councilmember Jamie Aldama of the Ocotillo district. All candidates were interviewed and their written responses reviewed by the Chamber’s Public Policy Council. Those recommendations were then forwarded to the Board of Directors for approval. Here are the members of the Glendale Chamber’s Public Policy Council:

  • Bill Toops, Glendale Star, Chairperson (also serves on Board of Directors)
  • Steve Adams, AlphaGraphics, (also serves on Board of Directors)
  • Rachel Aja, Cox Communications
  • Kathi Beranek, Blue Cross Blue Shield (company also represented on Board of Directors)
  • Judy Butler, Butler Creative & Consulting
  • Ron Castro, BNC National Bank, (company also represented on Board of Directors)
  • Michael Cavaiola, Redflex Traffic Solutions
  • Stephanie Colbert, Chance Mikos Farmer’s Insurance
  • Donna Davis, Expect More Arizona
  • Patricia DiRoss, Salt River Project, (company also represented on Board of Directors)
  • Yvonne Knaack, State Farm Insurance
  • Matt Ligouri, Southwest Gas
  • Bobbi Magdaleno, Arizona State University, (also serves on Board of Directors)
  • Dave Mitchell, Ideal Insurance Agency
  • Liz Recchia, WeMar
  • Brent Stoddard, Director of Public Affairs, City of Glendale
  • Lyndia Vescio, Vescio Law Firm, (also serves on Board of Directors)
  • Robert Heidt, CEO Glendale Chamber of Commerce, (also serves on Board of Directors)

Here are the members of the Chamber’s Board of Directors;

  • Maria Brunner, Chair of the Board, OneAZ Credit Union
  • Lily DeBileux, Chair-Elect, Pendergast Elementary School District
  • Steve Adams, Treasurer, Alphgraphics
  • Scott Spillman, Vice Treasurer, BNC National Bank
  • Jean Higginbotham, Past Chair, Blue Cross Blue Shield,
  • Robert Heidt, CEO, Glendale Chamber
  • Victoria Coley, Humana
  • Ariana Deerman, Wells Fargo Bank
  • Stephanie Klingener, VitalFit Training
  • Kate Kochenderfer, Salt River Project
  • Wayne Lawson, Signarama on 51st Avenue
  • Patrick McDermott, Arizona Public Service
  • Bobbi Magdaleno, Arizona State University
  • Kevin Phelps, City Manager, City of Glendale
  • Mary Pritchard, Pritchard Insurance Group
  • Richard Sherry, Dignity Health Arizona
  • Bill Toops, Glendale Star
  • Jeffrey Turney, Military & Veterans Affairs
  • Lynda Vescio, Vescio Law Firm
  • Judy Walter, Dignity Memorial
  • Mayor Jerry Weiers, City of Glendale

Of the 18 members of the Public Policy Council, 8 members (44%) also serve on the Board of Directors or have another person from their company serving on the Board of Directors. Once the Public Policy Council has made a recommendation for endorsement it is very probable that the Board of Directors will ratify the recommendations. After the 8 members have made a decision those same 8 companies can ratify the recommendations made to the Board of Directors needing only one more person to constitute a majority of the Board.

It is also worth noting that seven (38%) of the 18 members of the Public Policy Council members represent large companies (Cox Communications, Blue Cross Blue Shield, BNC National Bank, Redflex Traffic Solutions, Salt River Project, Southwest Gas, Arizona State University). All have a Valley-wide presence. Should Valley-wide, major companies be empowered to make recommendations about local candidates for office?

What criteria were used to make their recommendations for endorsement?

  • “Candidates were selected who have distinguished themselves as knowledgeable and supportive (emphasis mine) of issues positively affecting the business community in the city of Glendale.”
  • Bill Toops, Chair of the Chamber’s Public Policy Council said, “The Glendale Chamber Board of Directors is pleased to endorse candidates who have demonstrated accessibility and collaboration (emphasis mine) in support of promoting interests most important to our local businesses.”
  • Robert Heidt, the Chamber’s CEO, said, “Throughout this process we heard from those running for office and have endorsed candidates who has the clearest understanding of the challenges facing the business community and those whose policies align with our initiatives (emphasis mine) to foster a pro-business environment focused on the creation of quality jobs, along with business retention and expansion.”

These criteria seem to favor incumbents. Their positions as elected officials provide many opportunities to “distinguish themselves as knowledgeable and supportive,” to have “demonstrated accessibility and collaboration,” and to have advocated for “policies that align” with the Chamber’s initiatives.

Incumbents have the decided advantage as they have the opportunity to interact with the Chamber in a variety of ways in their official capacities as well as the opportunity to approve/disapprove actions that benefit the Chamber’s interests. It’s not a level playing field. Often those running in opposition to the incumbents have no experience or knowledge of specific city initiatives or actions, especially any that could benefit the Chamber. It’s not their fault. They haven’t been playing ‘inside baseball’ for the previous four years (term of an incumbent). They simply do not have any experience serving as an elected and therefore are at a disadvantage. It takes any newly elected official time to learn how the city works, to become familiar with its policy positions and to establish relationships with various stakeholder groups within the city.

Perhaps the better criterion to be used would not to be rely upon experience (that is weighted always toward the incumbent) but rather to review candidates’ positions on the issues and which policies would be supported. If two candidates for the same office shared the same views perhaps using incumbency to tip the scales should not be the option for recommendation. Perhaps in some cases there should be no recommendation or a recommendation to support either candidate.

I remain troubled with the process used by the Chamber to select endorsements in a local campaign. It will be another two years before the Chamber issues its next set of endorsements for local office. That time might be well spent in developing a process that recognizes an incumbent’s advantage and levels the playing field for those who have never held office.

© 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.

During the course of each year vacancies for various boards and commissions arise. Sometimes an appointment has expired; sometimes people move or become ill and can no longer serve. Presently there are three vacancies for Yucca district appointees and another 4 at-large vacancies that can be filled by residents living anywhere in the city, including the Yucca district.

Here is the website for filling out an application online:

https://www.glendaleaz.com/boardsandcommissions/onlineapplication.cfm

Below are the current vacancies with a description of the board or commission, the number of members and when the body meets:

YUCCA DISTRICT VACANCIES

  1. Board of Adjustment

Role: Holds public hearings on requests for variances and appeals to city administrative decisions regarding zoning.

Membership: At least five but not more than seven members appointed by the City Council for two-year terms.

Meets: Second Thursday of each month at 4:00 PM in Room B3.

  1. Citizens Utility Advisory Commission

Role: Provides the City Council with recommendations regarding policies and strategies related to City infrastructure, including the City’s landfill and solid waste services, regional collboration, water resources sustainability, operations and infrastructure to ensure the well-being and quality of life of Glendale residents and businesses.

Membership: Seven members appointed by the City Council for two-year terms.

Meets: First Wednesday’s of the month at 6:00pm in Conference Room C of the Oasis Water Treatment Campus

  1. Human Relations Commission

Role: Makes recommendations to the City Council on ways to enourage mutual respect and understanding among all people, to discourage prejudice and discrimination, and to support cultural awareness and unity of the community.

Membership:  A total of 14 members consisting of 2 members appointed by each member of the City Council for two-year terms.

Meets: To be determined upon appointment of members.

AT-LARGE VACANCIES

  1. Community Development Advisory Commission

Role: Makes recommendations to the City Council regarding the allocation of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to eligible area non-profit groups; advises City Council on policies related to the city’s Community Housing programs and the city’s Community Action Program (CAP); provides general advice on human services in Glendale as related to the administration of these programs

Membership: A total of 13 members consisting of 1 representative from the Glendale Elementary School District, 5 representatives from low income residents/neighborhoods and 7 members representing City Council.

Meets: 6:00 p.m., third Thursday of each month.

  1. Judicial Selection Advisory Board

Role: Seeks and encourages qualified individuals to apply for Glendale Presiding Judge and City Judge. Reviews investigative materials, survey results and other background information to assess qualifications of candidates for appointment and reappointment to these positions. Makes recommendations to the City Council.

Membership: Seven members including the Presiding Judge of Maricopa County Superior Court or designee. An Appellate Court Judge appointed by the Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, Maricopa County Bar Association member who resides in Glendale, State Bar Association member who resides in Glendale, and three public members who are residents of Glendale and appointed by the City Council.

Meets: Meets as needed

  1. Municipal Property Corporation

Role: A non-profit corporation that assists the City with the financing and construction of public facilities in accordance with specification approved by City Council. The Municipal Property Corporation sells bonds to obtain the necessary funds to construct public facilities.

Membership: Five members with strong financial expertise.

Meets: As necessary

AT-LARGE VACANCY TEEN

  1. Library Advisory Board

Role: Advises the City Council on policies related to the administration and provision of library
services.

Membership: Nine members appointed by the City Council for two-year terms, including two high school students.

Meets: 6 p.m. on the Second Wednesday of each month

Once your online application is submitted it remains on file. When a vacancy occurs for a board or commission for which you have indicated a willingness to serve you will be contacted by the district councilmember, usually by phone, to discuss the appointment.

Surely you can afford an hour a month. Sometimes meetings are vacated because there is no business before that board or commission. It’s a great way to learn about your city, Glendale.

Volunteerism in all of its forms pays you far more than the time you give to it. You make new friends as you become involved. I urge you to give it a shot.

© 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.

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.

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.

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         

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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Recently I attended the Change of Command ceremony at Luke Air Force Base (LAFB). For those of you not familiar with military life, active military personnel are usually rotated out to another base every two or three years. The same holds true for the LAFB Commander.

First, a bit of history. Luke has been in Arizona since 1941.  In 1994 it became the home to the 56th Fighter Wing in 1994. Today Luke trains pilots to fly F-16s and F-35A aircraft. In 2017 Luke had 150,000 flight hours training nearly 200 pilots.

The Change of Command ceremony is a military tradition. Over countless years military organizations created flags unique to individual units. All bear specialized colors and designs. Tradition has it that when soldiers went into combat if their unit’s flag still waved after combat, their unit was victorious and had not been defeated. At Luke’s Change of Command the unit’s flag is passed on to the new Commander as a formal recognition of his authority.

Leading the Ceremony as Major General Patrick J. Doherty, Commander of the 19th Air Force, supervising 17 flight wings and overseeing nearly half of the U.S. Air Force’s flight training program.

In recognition of the change occurring with the 56th Fighter Wing the ceremony was scheduled for 7:56 AM although it started a bit later. I congratulate the military. They know how to do events such as this very well. Major General Patrick Doherty, Commander of the 19th Air Force, delivered the opening remarks. He is responsible for 17 wings and oversees nearly 50% of the Air Force’s annual flight training program. He offered insight into the current state of readiness of our U. S. Air Force. In summary while we remain the most powerful air force in the world, others, such as China, are working diligently to catch up.

The outgoing Commander is Brigadier General Brook Leonard. His remarks focused on the sense of family of which one becomes a part while serving at a base. It was evident that he had connected with the men and women serving and was moving on with a sense of loss. His greatest accomplishment while serving as Commander was a recognition of the off-base relationships that he nurtured and strengthened. We congratulate him on his outstanding service to Luke and believe he will be an asset to those who are fortunate enough to host him in his next assignment.

The incoming Commander is Brigadier General Todd Canterbury. It was evident that he is extremely proud to command the very same base his Father had once commanded. While stationed at Luke he attended local schools and developed long standing relationships within our community. He also received flight training at Luke in 2001. He is sure to become an asset to Luke based upon his unusual familiarity with the organizations and people of our area. We welcome him and wish him well at his new post.

It was impressive to witness this Change of Command ceremony and to recognize that the Air Force’s commitment to LAFB remains strong as evidenced by the caliber of the commanders it assigns to this critical pilot training base. Glendale is proud to be the home of Luke Air Force Base and is committed in its pledge to protect the mission of this base.

© 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.

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

Many purchasers of fireworks go to tents set up in parking lots all over the Valley. Unfortunately these people who are in the business of selling you fireworks obviously will not tell you which fireworks are illegal to use.

Arizona State law regulates the use of fireworks but the selling of fireworks…not so much. Let’s take a look at exactly which fireworks are permissible by state law:

  • ground and hand held
  • cylindrical fountains
  • cone fountains
  • illuminating torches
  • wheels
  • ground spinners
  • flitter sparklers
  • toy smoke devices
  • wire sparklers
  • dipped sticks

Duh…did you happen to notice something about these permitted fireworks? None of these shoot up into the air. That should be your first clue as to whether the fireworks you are using are legal.

Which fireworks are illegal by state law? How about any fireworks that go up in the air and explode. Here’s the list:

  • firecrackers
  • bottle rockets
  • sky rockets
  • missile-type rockets
  • helicopters
  • torpedoes
  • roman candles
  • jumping jacks

For those who are truly challenged here’s a diagram of prohibited fireworks:

Illegal Fireworks

Where are you allowed to shoot off all of those nifty (and probably illegal) fireworks? How about… only on your own property. If there are sparks it is only fitting that your roof should go up in a blaze of stupidity…not your neighbor’s.

You cannot shoot your fireworks on public property. That means any city property: city parks, city sidewalks and city streets. That means you cannot go out onto the street in front of your house and shoot your fireworks there.

If your neighbor is shooting off illegal fireworks please call the NON-EMERGENCY Glendale Police Department number: 623-930-3000. It may not do any good but at least you have created a record. Obviously the police patrol officers are swamped that night with these calls yet priority one and two calls (life threatening or imminent danger) must be answered first.

Of course, if your idiot neighbor has started a fire, please call 9-1-1 immediately. Give the police call taker as much information as possible and that should include the address where the fireworks are being used and a description of the people involved (usually race, height, male or female, clothing being worn, i.e., blue jeans, khaki shorts, white T Shirt, etc.).

While we are at it there are a lot of pets that go nuts with fear when fireworks are being used. We bring our German Sheppard inside because she is so frightened. More pets, usually dogs, run away on July 4th than on any other day of the year. And it isn’t just pets; babies and very young children are also frightened by the loud noises produced by those illegal fireworks.

Another common ‘no-no’ is being plastered while shooting off those fireworks. More people, usually guys (sorry about that guys), end up in an Emergency Room with burns or missing fingers. It would be wise to have a bucket of water nearby to dunk that burnt hand into.

Be a good neighbor. It only takes a minute to let your neighbors on either side of your house know that you plan on shooting off fireworks. At least they can prepare by putting their pets inside.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July. Remember the real reason for the holiday,liberty.

© 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.

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.

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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.

A week or two ago we were advised by IKEA management that they were not going to pursue building a new store in Glendale. The location would have been on the southwest corner of Bethany Home Road and 95th Avenue.

Why, why, oh why, have they gone away? I, personally, am so disappointed. I was so looking forward to our very own IKEA just 5 minutes away. That sure beats over an hour drive to get to the one in the southeast part of the Valley. The current distance to its only location was a shopping killer for me. I visit the current location once a year, if that.

There was so much pent up demand and excitement in the West Valley. I can’t tell you the number of people who have personally shared their excitement about its coming to Glendale. Everyone was disappointed with their recent announcement. Apparently IKEA had planned to build 10 new stores in the United States. All have been scrapped. Why?

Well, IKEA has decided it wants to migrate to an E-Commerce business allowing consumers to purchase their merchandise online. They are going to completely revamp their business model. It wasn’t that Glendale had been obstructionist or done something to chase them away. To the contrary, they praised Glendale for its effectiveness and ability to work with them in an expeditious manner. They liked Glendale and were happy to do business with us.

As many may know, Glendale committed to building 95th Avenue between Bethany Home Road and Camelback to provide easy access to IKEA. Construction will be complete by the time football season begins this August. 95th Avenue is still important to the city despite IKEA’s departure. It opens up another very valuable access to the University of Phoenix Stadium and all of Westgate. It should alleviate the tremendous traffic loading on 91st Avenue and make many local residents happy. Now people can park at the new lot on the south side of Bethany and use a new pedestrian bridge or tunnel to cross Bethany into the Westgate area.

It also makes the acreage that IKEA would have used very, very valuable and allows the city to pick and choose which project a developer brings to the table as being the best fit for the area and the city. There is already interest in the IKEA site and the possibilities are exciting and will add value to the city and to the area.

Yes, we are all disappointed that IKEA will not be coming and wish that the company’s senior leadership would revisit their decision but we are confident that the land will be developed with something equally meaningful to all stakeholders.

Bye IKEA. We will miss you and wish you well. Yet we are excited about the new opportunities their decision has created and look forward to the next chapter for such a prime parcel.

Part of the 95th Avenue project includes a bridge spanning the Grand Canal and the Linear Park as well as a tunnel below Bethany Home Road. There has been lots of progress on the pedestrian bridge. As you can see in the first picture the bridge across the canal is about as simple as it can get. The second picture shows the bridge that spans the Linear Park way to the stadium. The third picture is not very clear but they already have the tunnel built under Bethany home Road and you can see the top of the structure. The roadway in that area is elevated approximately 3 to 4 feet.

By the way here are a few photos of the progress on Top Golf’s construction:

As you can see, with or without IKEA, Glendale and most particularly the Westgate area continues its unparalleled  growth in activity.

© 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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