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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.

At a recent city council meeting the city received a rebate check from Arizona Public Service (APS) in the amount of over $430,000. Here is the link to the Glendale Star story: http://www.glendalestar.com/news/article_b7fdec58-fba7-11e7-9db1-3bd587ba3532.html. This rebate is due to the city’s conversion of its street lights to LED. In addition to the rebate, the city projects an annual savings in its APS electric bill of $494,000 and another $180,000 in annual maintenance. This year the city, between the APS rebate and lower electric bill, has over a million more dollars in its General Fund to spend on other needs.

Glendale City Council receives APS rebate

Here’s a little of the back story. During last year’s council budget workshops, I discovered that this LED conversion project was not scheduled to begin for another three years and to be implemented over two years. I requested that the LED project be moved up to the current year and it should be completed within one fiscal year. After all, it was a no brainer. If the city had a chance to save money why wouldn’t we be doing it immediately? There was push back on council and not every councilmember immediately embraced the idea. However, after further council discussion, my request was approved. I am glad my persistence paid off for the city.

Recently, I requested another initiative that I believe will also generate revenue for the city. Those who have residential rental properties in Glendale are required to be licensed and to pay a monthly residential real estate tax. I heard from a constituent about a friend of his who had 8 residential rental properties in Glendale yet only self-reported and paid tax on one property. I suspect this is more common than is generally known. To this date the city has no mechanism to verify and capture all residential rentals. As a Council Item of Special Interest (CIOSI) I have requested that the city’s Finance Department initiate a pilot program to identify and capture all residential rentals within the city. It has been approved by council and I anticipate that the city will capture an estimated $500,000 annually in unreported and under reported residential rental tax. If it generates the kind of money I anticipate, there’s additional city revenue that can also be used to meet other needs.

During my sixteen years as councilmember I often initiated pilot projects that were eventually adopted throughout the city. As you drive through Glendale you will see blue and white street identification signs as you approach a street. They are low in height and specifically designed to assist motorists. What started as a pilot project in my district, the Yucca district, can now be found citywide.

Former Glendale Communications Director, Paula Illardo, and I requested the very first funding in the amount of $50,000 for Christmas lights to be installed in downtown Murphy Park. That initial request is now known as Glendale Glitters.

I also initiated a pilot project by purchasing tablets and lending them out to Yucca district residents. The surveys and feedback the users provided convinced our Glendale Library system to replicate the system city wide. I don’t believe it is still being used as tablets and smart phones are so prevalent these days and everyone and his brother has one.

I was successful in getting the city to adopt a League of Cities partnership program that enabled the issuance of Glendale insurance cards (at no cost to the city) for residents’ use in saving money on not only their prescriptions but that of their pets as well.

Over my long history as a Glendale city councilmember I have always sought out ways to save the city and our residents money or to initiate a project that benefits all residents. My request to move up the LED light conversion project was not my first money saving initiative for the city and I suspect it will not be my last.

© 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.

I haven’t opined on the Coyotes in a long time. It’s sad that they remain in limbo, still seeking the Holy Grail of a new location…in or out of Arizona. You’d think that Andrew Barroway, owner of the team, would take a reality pill and acknowledge that no one is going to build them a new arena and then subsidize the team to play in it. The fans deserve better. They deserve surety and the team stubbornly refuses to provide it.

I have only attended 2 or 3 games this season but from what I hear from fans this season’s performance was dismal. Out of the 8 teams in the Pacific Division they ranked dead last with 45 games played to date turning in 10 wins, 28 losses. While the brand new Vegas Golden Knights, number one in the division, turned in 29 wins and 10 losses. The Coyotes also rank dead last in the league standings.

Having no other place to go, the Coyotes silently did nothing in December of 2017 triggering an automatic lease renewal at Glendale’s Gila River Arena. Here is the link to Craig Harris’ December 19, 2017 story in the Arizona Republic: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2017/12/19/arizona-coyotes-staying-1-more-year-glendale-gila-river-arena/963379001/ .

Mr. Ahron Cohen, Coyotes’ Chief Operating Officer, is quoted as saying, “We are absolutely planning to play next season at Gila River Arena and are focused on building a winning hockey team, positively contributing to our community, and achieving success in all aspects of our business.”

Let’s take a look at the reality of that statement. Forbes magazine annually determines the worth of professional sports teams and it has valued the Coyotes at $300 million. It is the least valuable franchise in the 31-team NHL. The team lost at least $19 million last season.  Forbes stated the team’s debt ratio was 83 percent, meaning the franchise has very little liquidity or room to borrow money. In this financial atmosphere, it is painfully obvious that the team simply cannot afford to move – anywhere, in or out of the state. To date there has been no legislation offered at the state level to assist the team in some sort of relocation effort and it does not seem to be a viable option.

The Coyotes have the league’s lowest payroll of $54.8 million, according to the National Hockey League Players’ Association. Again, with an 83% debt ratio it’s no wonder that the team’s payroll is in the basement. Clearly with that kind of debt ratio the ability to build a winning team, as Mr. Cohen suggests, is unrealistic.

There is a lot of work to be accomplished by Mr. Barroway and his senior management to turn this team around. To accomplish that goal long term stability is required. Perhaps it’s time for him to create the stability of location, get serious and commit to a long term lease at the Gila River Arena. Once that issue is resolved and the distraction of seeking a bigger and better location (in their minds) is settled, they can focus on three major initiatives: The first and most important is ‘butts in seats’ despite the current quality of team play. It’s time to develop a major, effective marketing campaign to attract new fans. Get those ‘butts in seats’ to generate a greater proportion of revenue; the second is with better revenue comes the ability to pay for seasoned, successful players. Fans are fickle. They pay to see winners not losers. They cannot rely upon fan loyalty in the Valley. Just look at the Suns and Diamondbacks. Respectively their attendance is down and continues downward when they don’t make the playoffs; lastly it’s all about the fan experience these days. At the game I attended last week I witnessed a format that hasn’t changed since the team started playing in the arena, 15 years ago.

There are new strategies available to attract millennials and women. One has just to look at the Cardinals to notice what they have done to make the fan experience worth the price of a ticket. Their model remains successful as their season ticket holder base remains stable. Oh by the way, I haven’t heard the football fans that come from all over the state complaining that the venue is too far away. Yet Coyotes’ team management continues to point the finger at distance as a rationale for lousy attendance. When they were winning and made the playoffs there was no mention of distance. Come on, it’s time to bury the excuses, including this one.

The city and AEG would like to have the Coyotes stay at Gila River Arena. After all, it was built for hockey as its main tenant. The city has also learned that it should not be in the business of managing and that its arrangement with AEG is a winner. It has no intention of terminating the relationship for AEG has done an outstanding job in its first year of management.

It’s time for Barroway to stop playing games…off the ice. Commit to stay at Gila River and get to work on creating a better team performance and building a super fan base. Glendale has publicly offered to help but it will never go back to the old model of subsidizing the team. It’s time for Barroway to make a major effort to turn things around. Will he…or won’t he? That is the question.

© 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.

It seems whenever there is a city holiday I can play catch up and find the time to write. Monday, January 15, 2018 is MLK Day and a national holiday. Fortunately I’ve already received the material for our next council workshop scheduled for Tuesday, January 23rd and have done my ‘homework’. Please remember that now city council only meets two Tuesdays a month and they double up on the meetings that day. Now on those two Tuesdays council meets at 12:30 PM for workshop followed by an Executive Session if needed. Then on the same day it reconvenes at 5 PM for its voting meeting. Please note this is an hour earlier than previously scheduled. It makes it more difficult for the public to attend if they work and don’t get off until 5 PM.

The only workshop public agenda item is staff’s request for direction from city council regarding naming Bethany Home Road between 83rd Avenue and 99th Avenue as well as Loop 101 freeway signage as Cardinals Way. This is a Council Item of Special Interest (CIOSI) raised by Mayor Jerry Weiers.

The facts of the request include renaming 12 highway signs by the Arizona Department of Transportation at a cost of $75,000. Five Glendale city street signs would also be renamed at a cost of $5,000. The total of $80,000 would have to be paid by the city.

The Arizona Tourism and Sports Authority (AZSTA) has offered to contribute but they have not specified how much they would pay.

This is all of the information city council has received on the issue. So pretend you are a city councilmember and have to give direction (we don’t vote at workshops) to move forward or not to move forward and stop it. I’d be interested to see how all of you would weigh in if you were the decision maker. I’ve put a new poll to the left of this column. Please take a moment to cast your decision.

Last week the Arizona Republic published a story that APS is seeking approval from the Arizona Corporation Commission for a rate decrease. Who would have thunk?? Here is the link to the story: https://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/energy/2018/01/09/aps-now-seeking-rate-decrease-thanks-federal-tax-cuts/1018865001/ . APS is seeking a cut of, “… about $4.70 from the average residential customer’s monthly bill thanks to the tax changes that President Donald Trump signed into law last month.” Unfortunately, SRP customers will not see a similar rate reduction due to the tax changes. It is an Agricultural Improvement and Power District, and does not collect federal income tax through its customers. Municipalities that provide water are not for profit and like SRP do not pay federal taxes. The expectation is other for-profit utility and water providers in the state and nationally may also offer rate reductions due to the reduction of the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%.

© 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.

First a little history. Twenty years ago, in 1998, what is today known as Heroes Park first appeared in the city’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP). Today Heroes Park remains unfinished…after 20 years of waiting. Residents who bought in this area expected its timely completion. Instead they raised a generation of children without the benefit of this quality of life amenity, especially a library.  Now they have grandchildren whom they hope will be able to enjoy a completed park before they too become adults with their own children.

Heroes Park Concept Plan. Items depicted in yellow are completed. All others have not.

One of the planned components of the park has always been a West Branch Library. Again, more history. The former mayor (Scruggs) used every ploy to deny funding for the library and park completion. She and I butted heads on virtually every issue and she was not about to give the person (whose nickname for me was “Evil”) any kind of victory – especially a park, rec center and library. Her most infamous raid occurred in 2006 when she and her “mushrooms” (the gang of four whom always did her bidding) diverted $6 million dollars from library construction and allocated it to the construction of the Glendale Public Safety Training facility (GRPSTC). The result being funding for library construction vanished in an instant.

When the great recession occurred every possible residential amenity was cut from the CIP including completion of Heroes park, rec center and library. These were not the only amenities to get the axe. Library hours were cut and many youth recreation programs disappeared or were severely diminished. O’Neil Pool in the Ocotillo district (formerly part of my district, the Yucca district) received no funding during that period after it was closed due to the need for major repairs. To this day it remains closed and in need of significant funding to repair or replace it. It is a disgrace.

Over the past 20 years south and west Glendale often were ignored when it came to allocating city funding for amenities with one exception – Rose Lane Aquatic Center, in the Ocotillo district, was constructed. To this day it is heavily used by an economically challenged area of our community many residents of which are unable to afford a pool at their homes. Other than using the ramadas at Heroes Park or a school cafeteria, the Yucca district continues to have no community meeting location as is found in every other district in the city.

Ever since I returned to the city council in January of 2017 my focus and priority has been to get the library built and the park completed. In 2017 I have achieved some success in getting the library concept approved and funded by city council. I had hoped to see it open as a 2018 Christmas present for Yucca district residents. Alas, although it will be built the timeline continues to slip. Here is the most currently available timeline:

  • 12/4/17                         100% construction drawings submitted to city Building & 
  •                                      Safety Department for review and approval (takes a minimum
  •                                      of 30 days)
  • 1/29/18                         Construction drawings approved for a permit
  • 2/8/18 through 2/15/18  Advertisement for construction bid published
  • 3/7/18                           Bid opening
  • 4/10/18                         Council approval and award of construction contract
  • 5/7/18                           “Notice to Proceed” (NTP) issued to contractor to start work
  • 5/7/18 through 2/7/18     Construction phase (approximately 9 months)
  • 2/7/18                            Possible “Soft Opening”
  • 3/30/18                          Final acceptance by the city of the building 

I will accept some responsibility for the delay for I did not like the original design and requested modifications…some of which were approved. However, I pleaded, begged and stamped my feet to accelerate the process…all to no avail. I’m not sure any sense of urgency was conveyed to the consultant, DFDG, in design of the construction drawings. I question why it takes a month from a 3/7/18 bid opening to bring it to council for approval on 4/10/18. I question why it takes another month (4/10/18 –5/7/18) before the contractor gets a “Notice to Proceed” to actually begin construction.

I am so anxious to get this project underway. I know I am impatient but we have waited so long. I am disappointed that the only one who feels a sense of urgency is me…sigh.  

© 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.

There is more to Glendale’s good news story of 2017. Honestly, staff and I identified over 100 good news stories. Don’t panic. I am not about to list the entire 100. Let’s start with Glendale in national news:

  • In a Fiscal Times article in February of 2017 Glendale was ranked at 77 out of 116 cities with a population greater than 200,000 for its positive fiscal health
  • In March of 2017 Glendale once again received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association for its FY1617 budget document
  • In May of 2017 Trivago, one of the world’s largest online hotel internet search engines, ranked Glendale as the number one emerging tourist destination in the United States
  • In November of 2017 the international digital travel magazine, Trips to Discover, listed Glendale as one of the eight best towns in Arizona to celebrate the Christmas holiday season
  • In November of 2017 a study conducted by Smart Asset found that of the 100 largest cities in the US, Glendale had the 9th largest percent change in median household income from 2015 to 2016, growing by 11.4%. It was also the largest increase in Arizona.

Glendale’s Public Safety often contributed to the overall health, safety and well being of our community. Take a look of a few of their more notable events:

  • In February of 2017 the Fire Department received three new replacement fire pumper trucks and welcomed eight new firefighters to their ranks
  • Since the beginning of 2017, Public Education and Outreach Coordinator Dr. Janet Boberg and the Fire Department Firefighter Fire Pals have taught 137 classes to 3,128 youth and 306 adults.
  • In August of 2017 the Glendale Fire Department hosted an Emergency Preparedness Academy. The class included Basic First Aid, a presentation on Active Shooter, and an exercise in Emergency Readiness.
  • In September of 2017 the Glendale Fire Department offered Compression Only CPR at two Glendale high schools. The department has officially trained more than 25,000 people in Compression Only CPR.
  • In August of 2017 the Glendale Police Department hosted the GPD Teen Academy. School Resource Officers for the Police Department assisted with putting on the weeklong Teen Academy. Students learned about Arizona criminal and traffic law, how to drive police cars, how to shoot handguns, shotguns, and rifles on the range, and practiced handcuffing procedures. They also spent time with the canine unit, detectives, and the bomb unit.
  • In October of 2017 the Glendale Police Department hosted its very first West Valley Aspire Academy this October. The four day overnight leadership camp provided girls ages 14-18 with hands on experience in public safety careers.

Not to be missed was our Economic Development Department:

  • In April of 2017 our Economic Development Department partnered with WESTMARC, Career Connectors, and other West Valley communities to present the first ever West Valley Healthcare Career Expo. Healthcare is one of the city’s fastest growing industries and this event connected current and future workforce with employers and education opportunities.
  • Also in April of 2017 the Economic Development Department partnered with SCORE for the 4th Annual Greater Phoenix SCORE Small Business Symposium. This event focused on providing access to resources and breakout sessions geared toward small business growth and development.

Our Parks and Recreation Department also contributed notably to the recreational health of our community:

  • In March of 2017 there was a rededication of the Heroes Park basketball courts in celebration of the NCAA Final Four    
  • In April of 2017 Parks and Recreation Division began working with the Special Olympics Arizona (SOAZ) organization to enter into a new partnership that will result in additional programming opportunities for persons with developmental disabilities, at no cost to the City.
  • In June of 2017 Neighborhood Services and Parks and Recreation departments coordinated Thunderbolt Blitz Day Project along the New River Trail a volunteer project with military people and civilians from Luke Air Force Base as part of their community service day
  • In August of 2017 The Parks and Recreation Division worked with the Arizona Disc Golf Foundation on a new, 18 hole Frisbee disk golf course in the Grand Canal Linear Park between 83rd and 91st
  • In October of 2017 the Park Ranger Division rolled out its “Ranger” K9 program. The focus of this program is to use the city’s new mascot, “Ranger,” to encourage greater public engagement

Citywide some notable events included:

  • Ongoing throughout 2017 the city continued its work on its Strategic Plan
  • Also ongoing throughout 2017 the city continued its participation in the innovative “What Works Cities”
  • In July of 2017 the city and Glendale Chamber of Commerce engaged a Downtown Manager to provide consistent support to our downtown merchants. The emphasis is on creating a healthy, cohesive downtown that can be branded and marketed
  • Also in July of 2017 the Water Billing Department, in partnership with TIO Networks, launched cash only bill payment kiosks in 16 Circle K locations within the City of Glendale; and in August the City of Glendale’s payment system expanded to all TIO kiosks within the State of Arizona
  • In September of 2017 the Citywide LED Conversion Project This project will result in significant annual savings for Glendale. I am proud to note that through my effort this proposed conversion was moved up by several years saving the city approximately half a million dollars a year immediately
  • In November of 2017 another request of mine was accepted to begin a pilot project to recapture under reported collectable residential rental revenue. It, too, is expected to generate approximately a half a million dollars annually

Lastly here are some events that don’t fit into any particular category but are worthy of note:

  • February 19 of 2017 marked the 10 year anniversary of Glendale Police Officer Anthony Holly’s death. Please continue to keep the Holly family in your thoughts
  • In March of 2017 the city successfully hosted NCAA Final Four
  • In June of 2017 the city dedicated a plaque in remembrance of and recognition of Phil Lieberman, longtime councilmember for the Cactus District. He was my friend and I still miss him
  • In October of 2017 Banner Thunderbird Medical Center officially opened the state’s newest Level I Trauma Center
  • In October of 2017 city council approved the allocation of funds to finally build Phase I of the West Branch Library at Heroes Park
  • September of 2017 Airport take offs/landings were 5,832 (16% higher than September 2016). This foreshadows a resurgence of airport growth in the coming year
  • In October of 2017 a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the GUS 2 route reconfiguration.. Also starting in October, Bus Route 83 traveling on 83rd Avenue now travels from South Phoenix up to Arrowhead Towne Center.
  • In December of 2017 Erik Strunk, Director of Parks and Recreation and Special Events, announced that he is leaving the City and becoming the City of Peoria’s newest Assistant City Manager. We wish Erik all the best in this new chapter of his career, and this City is grateful for his top-notch job performance.
  • Effective January 1, 2018 and after 27 years of service, Jon Froke, Planning Director, will be retiring from the City of Glendale. Jon has been a valuable part of the Glendale team and his accomplishments will benefit our community for many years to come

There you have it. These notable events plus many more contributed to making Glendale great again (to borrow a phrase from our current President). Each of these demonstrates a city on the move; a city that embraces innovation; and a city continually striving to improve the quality of life for all residents.

© 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.

It is New Year’s Eve day and I have absolutely no commitments, personal or city-related. No plans for celebrating New Year’s Eve in a wild and crazy fashion. My spouse and I will have a quiet dinner and plan to watch the celebrations on TV, wish each other a Happy New Year and toddle off to bed. It’s sensible and boring but when you get to our age it’s incredibly satisfying.

It’s a great time to reflect and to write some pent up blog thoughts. I wanted to share some thoughts about what’s happened in Glendale during the first year of my term as a returning councilmember. I think the biggest story is twofold. Glendale has rebounded financially as reflected in all credit rating agencies raising Glendale’s rating. I think in 2018 you will see Glendale reaching its goal of a $50 million fund balance (read ‘unappropriated’ or ‘rainy day’). These are major milestones and demonstrate beyond pure rhetoric that Glendale has indeed recovered financially.

Another major story is that Glendale is on the move economically and has become the location of choice for major office, retail and commercial entities. In 2017 Glendale had many blockbuster economic locates and here are just ten of the most memorable:

  • In March of 2017 BMW announced its newest dealership to be in Glendale
  • In July of 2017 Aloft Hotels announced construction in Westgate
  • In July of 2017 Conair’s Distribution Center, the second largest in the state, opened
  • In August of 2017 Fairchild Freight selected Glendale for its corporate headquarters
  • In September of 2017 new building activity in the Westgate Area saw the construction of the Lofts, the Olive Garden restaurant, a Twin Peaks restaurant, a Dutch Brothers coffee shop and a new, 9,000 square foot multitenant retail
  • In September of 2017 Jaguar – Land Rover announced its decision to locate in Glendale
  • In September of 2017 IKEA selected Glendale for its latest and greatest retail store
  • In October of 2017 TopGolf chose Glendale and immediately began construction
  • In December of 2017 Alaska USA Federal Credit Union selected Glendale for its corporate headquarters
  • In December of 2017 SRK Development announced expansion of its hotel chain in Glendale

IKEA in and of itself turned many heads throughout the Valley toward Glendale as the city of choice in which to locate. Add 3 high-end car dealerships, new hotels and restaurants and several corporate headquarters – all showcasing Glendale as the prime location of choice.

There is much more to this good news story and I will continue in my next blog to highlight those as well. So, Happy New Year Glendale! I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store.

© Joyce Clark, 2017                 

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

Do you remember when a fresh faced council of all new members voted in 2013 to spend $50,000 or $60,000 on an electronic voting system? That went over well. Is it still in use? No and so thousands of dollars went down the proverbial toilet. This time council has approved another major change that does not bode well for you or for me. On Tuesday, December 12, 2017 Item 34 was on council’s voting agenda.

Item #34 is an ordinance that proposes council workshop and voting meetings both occur back to back on only two Tuesdays a month. For 100 years this council has met every Tuesday alternating between workshop meetings and voting meetings.

As proposed for the month of January, 2018 a workshop meeting would convene at 12:30 PM followed by a voting meeting at 5 PM on only two Tuesdays – January 9th and January 23rd. No longer would council meet four Tuesdays each month alternating between a workshop meeting and a voting meeting.

In the proposed schedule staff still has until the Monday the week before the scheduled council meeting to submit items for either agenda. This presupposes that council will continue to get its material for review of the agenda items for these meetings as is the current practice on the Wednesday before the meetings.

With the meetings, activities and events in which council participates, time is limited for review preparation and 5 days before a meeting has proven adequate in terms of preparation for one meeting. By doubling the number of council meetings on a Tuesday we are short changing the amount of time available to prepare. One of council’s primary responsibilities is to be fully informed about the items that come before us. This proposed schedule of meetings creates a lack of time to perform that responsibility fully. We would have the same 5 days used to prepare for one meeting now being used to prepare for 2 council meetings, back to back. This is an extraordinary burden. The time to prepare for 2 meetings on the same day is simply inadequate.

We all are required to read the material for meetings and often times there are questions for staff. The 5 days available include Saturdays and Sundays and in essence council has Thursday, Friday and Monday to reach out to staff on any issue.

Also keep in mind, there will be weeks such as this one where council will have a Monday special workshop meeting on a major policy issue. On those occasions, council will be required to prepare for 3 meetings a week within the same 5 day time frame. It is inevitable that something will slip through the cracks and may lead to inadequate preparation.

When each of us was elected we understood that we would be meeting 4 Tuesdays a month. It was a commitment we took freely without reservation. We do not serve at our convenience but at the convenience of the citizens who elected us to this office.

This change does a disservice to our citizens. Just as it affects council, it also limits the amount of time a citizen has to review and reach out to council on proposed items for two meetings back to back on the same day. In addition, movement of the voting meeting to 5 PM diminishes the public’s ability to attend a voting meeting as most people don’t get off work until 5 PM. For example, in January, 2018, we will be swearing in dozens of citizens who have volunteered to serve on our many boards and commissions. A 5 o’clock meeting start requires those citizens who work to leave their jobs early. It will cost them to make a 5 PM meeting and is a burden that we should not impose. This proposal will create unintended consequences.

Those on council who supported and approved the change were Mayor Weiers, Vice Mayor Hugh, Councilmembers Malnar and Tolmachoff. I did not support the proposed change to council’s scheduled meetings and voted ‘no’.

© Joyce Clark, 2017                 

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

As I had indicated in my previous blog, “Erosion of council authority”, I did indeed pull 9 Consent Agenda contracts off for a separate vote in keeping with my stance that it is a usurpation of council authority. For each vote I formally recorded my ‘no’ vote. Per usual, the rest of council voted to approve those 5 year contracts. However there was another block of items that I want to bring to your attention.

Consent Resolutions #28 through #36 were all Mobilite applications to place small cell sites at various city right-of-way locations for a fee of $5,000 over a ten year period ($500 a year per site). Currently every municipality in the state has the right to negotiate the fees it charges telecom providers for locating cell sites in its community. That is about to change big time.

The Arizona legislature at the behest of the telecom industry and its lobbyists is about to stick it to every Arizona city with the successful passage of HB 2365. The bill mandates that as of February 9, 2018 Arizona’s cities can no longer impose their own fee structure on cell site locators. Instead the legislature has banned cities’ ability to negotiate their own fee structure and instead has created a flat fee of $50 a year which is the maximum amount any city may collect for a cell site.

On February 10, 2018 Glendale will no longer be able to collect a $500 per year licensing fee for each cell site. Instead it will be allowed to collect no more than $50 per site…one tenth of its current fee. Generally over a ten year period Glendale realizes an estimated million dollars that goes into its General Fund. As current ten year contracts are completed and renewed and as new leases are paid Glendale stands to receive between an estimated $100,000 to perhaps $200,000 over a ten year period. That is a radical decrease in income into our city’s General Fund.

The legislature accommodated a very rich and powerful industry…the telecom industry. It is one of the industries making money hand over fist and can certainly afford the higher licensing fees. One has but to look at your monthly cell phone bill to intuitively come to that conclusion. Multiply your monthly bill by thousands, no — millions, of customers and you can see that their revenues are very healthy indeed. And, yes, you do pay tax on your cell phone bill. Do you really expect to see your tax portion of the bill reduced by a few dollars to reflect the smaller fee your provider is paying? Don’t count on it.

This is not the first time the legislature has worked against the interests and concerns of Arizona’s municipalities. There is a list as long as your arm.  Just one example is the Highway User Revenue Fund, commonly known as HURF. When you fill up the tank on your vehicle a percentage of the cost per gallon is a state tax. The tax paid goes into HURF. It is a separately held state fund to be used exclusively for the construction, maintenance and repair of state highways, regional and local transportation and streets. A portion of HURF is included within state shared revenues.

State shared revenues, by percentage, are to be shared between the state, counties and municipalities. There is a specific formula for its division and distribution. The state acts as the central collection point and then is charged with distribution with its partners. It was enacted to make tax collection less complicated and confusing by creating just one collection point…the state.

By the way, the state has also been very slow historically in distribution of portions of state shared revenue. Another part of state shared revenue is the income tax we all pay annually to the state. I doubt many people know that the state shares that revenue two years after it is collected. A pretty neat trick as those funds sit in a state held investment account somewhere for a year or two, earning interest which it does not share.

Historically when the state gets into financial trouble and needs more revenue, instead of reducing costs it turns to piggy banks such as HURF and reduces the percentage that is shared with counties and municipalities. Currently these entities do not receive their full share of HURF from the state and have not received their full share for years.  They have lobbied for years to reinstitute their full and fair share to no avail.

So, there you have it. Yet another state legislative mandate has taken aim at municipalities’ revenue generation and enacted a law that benefits a very powerful lobby.

© Joyce Clark, 2017                 

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

Disclaimer: The comments in 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 tenure of Glendale’s former Mayor Scruggs she tried to create a strong mayor form of government rather than our existing council-manager form. Her moves were covert and subtle but ultimately she failed…thank goodness. A strong mayor form of government creates a mayor whose authority is supreme over the rest of council and the city manager. The mayor enjoys a vast amount of power. The council-manager form of government is a partnership. There is no supreme authority vested in any one person in office. All of council equally shares authority and by charter, the city manager is authorized to manage city personnel and is charged with presenting an annual budget to the council.

It’s as if the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction as there appears to be concerted effort on the part of senior management to direct city council authority to the city manager. It is insidious and dangerous to citizen-driven government.

The City Charter under Article II, Section 1 vests “all powers of the city” to the city council, especially financial authority.  Under Article III, Section 3 the city manager is the “chief executive officer and head of the administrative branch of the city government.” The city council appoints the city manager. He or she serves at the pleasure of the city council. The city manager, in addition to being responsible for all powers, duties and responsibilities of all city employees, presents an annual budget for council’s review. Council may amend or change any provision of the budget before its annual adoption.

Make no mistake. By charter, it is the city council’s exclusive authority to decide on all financial matters related to the city.

The city charter explicitly vests all financial power and responsibilities with the city council. This power is slowly being eroded. For any of you who watch city council voting meetings you have seen me routinely pull items off of the consent agenda for a separate vote and probably have wondered why I do it. It is tedious and time consuming but I believe it is necessary.

This Tuesday I will be pulling 9 items out of a 26 item consent agenda. All of these items grant administration the authority to expend money for various equipment and service contracts. This particular item #8 is seeking council approval to enter into an agreement with Physio-Control, Inc., for the purchase of heart monitors/defibrillators in the amount of $1,250,000 over the next five years at the city manager’s discretion.

All of the 9 items I will pull from the consent agenda contain this language, “This is also a request for the City Council to authorize the City Manager, at their discretion [city council’s], to extend the warranty of the heart monitors and defibrillators for an additional four-years…”

It sounds so efficient, doesn’t it? City council gives up its authority to the city manager to extend a contract without bothering city council for annual approval. This authority was not granted during my watch on council. It had to have been instituted during my four year hiatus (2013-2016).

The current city manager is thoughtful and trustworthy but that has not always been the case. Witness the terrible reigns of former City Managers Ed Beasley and Brenda Fischer. Fortunately they did not have this kind of authority. If council had allowed them greater financial authority lord knows what would have occurred. Giving greater authority to the current city manager may be comfortable for some councilmembers but there is no guarantee, despite the vetting that council does in hiring a city manager, that all future city managers will not abuse this newly created authority.

Many of the contracts that come before us are now typically for five years. How long are council terms? Four years.  It is conceivable that new councilmembers would be asked to approve a new contract without the benefit of any history on the previous terms of the original contract. There is no continuity. Council willingly gives up its authority to review, question and approve/deny the expenditure of funds for 4 years, the entire term of a city councilmember.

In addition, council has willingly given its fiscal authority to the city manager by allowing him or her, at his or her discretion, to extend the contract for an additional 4 years. How many contracts for equipment and services come before council in a fiscal year? Hundreds and now many of them will slip into a black hole that grants the city manager the right to expend funds  through the use of annual extensions without any council oversight.

One of the major imperatives of the city charter is council administration of all city expenditures. Council has already ceded a portion of that authority by granting the city manager the authority to make expenditures up to $50,000 without council oversight or approval. A one year contract with the ability of the city manager to extend it for an additional four years without council oversight is an additional step in the erosion of the charter mandate of council’s authority over all city expenditures. It is a slippery slope.

Councilmembers represent you, the Glendale citizen. You expect us to be knowledgeable about how and why the city’s money is being spent. You expect us to be fiscally prudent stewards of city expenditures. Giving up that authority to the city manager removes you from the process and creates less transparency. No longer does your representative, a councilmember, review all city expenditures. Often neither the city councilmember nor you will have any knowledge of the city manager’s decision regarding the renewal or extension of a particular contract.

That is why at every council voting meeting I pull every contract from the consent agenda for a separate vote that is five years in length or contains the provision to allow the city manager to extend at his discretion. In keeping with my belief that council should not be ceding its prime, city charter mandated, financial responsibility and authority to review, question and approve/deny all city expenditures I will continue my practice and vote ‘no.’

© Joyce Clark, 2017                 

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

Disclaimer: The comments in 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 Monday, November 13, 2017 we were all shocked to learn of the death of George Gosbee,48, former owner and Governor of the Arizona Coyotes. He was also a well respected member of the Calgary, Canada community. What hasn’t been reported until today, November 15, 2017 is that he died by his own hand…he committed suicide. Here is the link: https://news–of-the-day.com/2017/11/15/yedlin-george-gosbees-death-a-devastating-reminder-of-mental-health-effects/ .

He was a man who had everything – a wonderful family, prestige within his community and wealth. Yet due to some mental illness he believed he had nothing; that life was not worth living and so, he took his life. My deepest condolences go out to his family.

Then I ran across another article posted just today by Craig Harris of the Arizona Republic detailing current investigations by the National Labor Relations Board related to the Coyotes allegedly not paying employees properly and possible union busting. Here is the link: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-investigations/2017/11/15/arizona-coyotes-accused-not-properly-paying-employees-union-busting-nlrb-complaints/867408001/?hootPostID=ac31f1c4a3f168b754f5d5951be6049e .

What has happened to our Coyotes? How far have they fallen? Just a few years ago they were riding high with blockbuster attendance and a slot in the playoffs. Remember the nights of “white outs?” The fans’ enthusiasm was palpable.

Today their starting season is 0-10-1. They have the worst record in the NHL with 2 wins, 15 losses and 3 ties. Their attendance quite frankly, sucks. They have the smallest payroll in the NHL at about $55 million. Unless there is a reversal of fate, they are slated to lose at least $20 million this year.

They have sold off, traded or retired a majority of their players of note, most notably Shane Doan.  It is certainly not the fault of the players. A majority are new and relatively inexperienced. They are eager and hungry to win but they have yet to gel as a cohesive unit. It takes time.

The current owner, Andrew Barroway, and the NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman, have threatened to leave Arizona if someone or some entity does not build the Coyotes a new arena and subsidize their playing in such a venue. Their decision and actions are certainly not the way to encourage the realization of their “ask.”

There is an alternative that Barroway has stubbornly rejected and that is to stay in Glendale and to end the ongoing saga of uncertainty. It’s also time to invest in building a team that is, at least, competitive.  Glendale has always said that it wants the Coyotes to succeed in Glendale and will offer assistance to help rebuild the fan base. A year-to-year contract does nothing to reassure fans that the Coyotes are committed to staying. It’s as if the fans keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I’m on the outside, obviously, looking in. I have no inside knowledge but there has always been the undercurrent of suspicion by some that these are deliberate acts. Suspicions borne from the time Anthony LeBlanc, et. al., took ownership. Some believe that their motivation has always been to leave Arizona. What better way to accomplish that goal than to decimate the team, drive down attendance and then proclaim that Arizona never was, isn’t and never will be a successful market for hockey. A season of attendance at the very bottom of the league’s barrel may finally convince Gary Bettman that Arizona is not the hockey market he believed it to be.

Seattle has plans to locate an MBA and an NHL franchise in its arena after its renovation. Bettman has always wanted to grow the league and put an expansion team into that slot. Could that change? Could he throw in the towel, as he has threatened if the Coyotes do not get a new venue here, and bless a Coyotes’ move to Seattle? I don’t know but you can bet that Barroway and Bettman do…right now.

UPDATE: NOV. 16, 2017 Today’s Arizona Republic reports that support for Phoenix’s bearing the lion’s share of the cost of renovating the Diamonback’s venue is waning. It appears politicians are finally getting it and that pouring money into the money pit of sports venues is not the best use of taxpayers’ dollars. In that same article Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton seems to have dropped his support of planting the Coyotes in the same venue. His latest statements about the Diamondback’s facility has dropped any mention of using it for the Coyotes as well. 

 

© Joyce Clark, 2017                 

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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