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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.

When I said in a recent blog that the Yucca district and Glendale were hot foreconomic development, it was probably the understatement of the year. In addition to the recent announcement of Top Golf locating in Glendale, our latest blockbuster announcement is IKEA, a leader in home furnishings retail, has chosen Glendale and the Yucca district for its newest store. It’s only other location is in the southeast Valley in Tempe. With the addition of the Glendale location IKEA will now have a commanding presence in the northwest Valley. IKEA stated in its press release, “The proposed Glendale store would complement our Phoenix-area presence established in Tempe and bring the unique family-friendly shopping experience closer to customers in the West Valley and beyond.”

From Glendale’s press release issued today:

“The 348,000 square foot IKEA will be built on 29 acres between the Loop 101 and 95th Avenue on the south side of Bethany Home Road across from the Glendale Sports and Entertainment District which includes the University of Phoenix Stadium, Gila River Arena, Cabela’s, Tanger Outlets and Westgate.

“IKEA choosing our city is further proof that major corporations agree Glendale is the place to grow and build their brand,” said City Manager Kevin Phelps. “The freeway access and visibility, the available workforce and the energy of Glendale’s Sports and Entertainment District make it the perfect location for IKEA. The presence of IKEA is a ‘game changer’ that will accelerate additional growth and further elevate one of the most dynamic areas in Arizona.”

“Pending approvals, construction of IKEA Glendale will most likely occur in Fall 2018 with an opening in the Spring of 2020. At build out, IKEA will offer 300 new jobs and create 500 construction jobs. Recognized as one of the top 100 places to work, IKEA offers potential employees competitive pay and benefits for both full and part time employees.

“This city has been amassing an impressive list of corporations that now call Glendale home,” said Economic Development Director Brian Friedman. “These new businesses account for more than two million square feet of new construction in this dynamic district along. We are excited for the opportunity to welcome even more development, jobs and capital investment to the area because of IKEA’s presence.” Friedman says the additional 30 acres immediately adjacent to IKEA will attract further corporate development from businesses seeking to benefit from IKEA’s proximity.

“From my first meeting with the IKEA officials, it was my role as Mayor to impress upon them that Glendale absolutely, positively wanted IKEA to locate in our city when they were searching for possible new location in Arizona,” said Glendale Mayor Jerry P. Weiers. “We demonstrated that by being responsive to their needs and working on their timeline. It was exciting and very gratifying to see Glendale ultimately selected. The announcement today continues the positive momentum that Glendale has been experiencing.

“Visitors to the area already top 10 million per year,” said Councilmember Joyce Clark of the Yucca district, location of choice for IKEA. “The presence of a fun and family friendly IKEA store in Glendale will further enhance Glendale’s reputation as a retail/entertainment and sports destination, not only providing residents and visitors even more reasons to shop and play here but complimenting Tanger Outlet, a premier retail destination in the Valley.”

I am very pleased to welcome IKEA to Glendale, the West Valley and most especially to my district. Glendale, the state’s 5th largest city, is on the economic development forefront. Just imagine what the next few years hold and who else will choose Glendale as their preferred location.

© 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.

Most people really have no idea what a city councilmember does. I thought I’d share just one month’s worth of activities. I keep all of my calendars and monthly logs. I manage to get a majority of my activities on them but I slip sometimes and some activities never get memorialized. I reviewed one of my previous monthly calendars and logs to see what I actually did that month and compiled this list:

  • Over 60 in person or phone contacts with constituents. I have received calls as early as 7 AM and as late as 10 PM
  • 20 meetings with city personnel from monthly meetings with the City Manager and City Attorney to a city court update to staff briefings on current issues
  • 4 meetings with zoning attorneys to discuss land development proposals
  • 4 luncheon meetings with constituents
  • 1 grand opening of a district business
  • 2 ribbon cuttings for businesses
  • 2 organization formal luncheons
  • 3 trips to look at specific code violations in the district
  • 2 council workshop meetings followed by executive sessions (could last anywhere from 2 to 6 hours)
  • 2 council evening voting meetings (average of 2 hours)
  • approximately 40 hours of reading and researching in preparation for council workshops/ voting meetings along with emailed (or in person) questions for staff on agendized issues
  • produce 4 weekly E News bulletins
  • attend 2 neighborhood meetings
  • a monthly average of about 400 miles driven
  • countless hours of phone, in person or email contact with one’s council assistant
  • going shopping or out to eat often produces an encounter with a district/city resident

This is a fairly accurate snapshot. No two days are alike. As a councilmember one has to be flexible. It’s certainly not a 9 to 5 job. Occasionally there will be a day with just one meeting and a business lunch but there were many days filled from 9 AM to well into the evening.

A councilmember needs to be adaptable to new situations and new concepts. One has to love learning on topics ranging from the intricacies of water delivery, to budget and finance, to code violations, to land planning. It’s important to be curious and to ask questions about anything and everything. I have found it critical to listen for you never know what you will learn by doing so. Upon occasion listening to other points of view has caused me to change my initial opinion on an issue.

A councilmember is not just a representative of the city but is truly its ambassador whether it is locally, regionally or nationally. We are charged with presenting adopted city positions on a variety of issues. We are the public faces of the city whether it is at a local business ribbon cutting, or a formal district meeting, or a local organization’s luncheon, or a city event. We represent our city by serving on regional groups and non-profits and periodically we interface with our state’s congressional delegation. Most importantly we represent you, the citizens of Glendale. We are your voice. This is our greatest and gravest responsibility.

We are the policy makers. We receive assessments and reports on upcoming issues about which we will make a decision from city personnel as well as a myriad of comments from Glendale’s citizens. We must make decisions as important as water and sanitation rates to items as routine as approving a city procurement contract. We must approve or deny dozens of proposed subdivisions every year. We must decide on highly charged issues such as billboards, a library sale, chickens and recently Stonehaven.

We are expected to be diplomats in an effort not to offend on so many different levels. We must be able to interact with all, from janitor to king. We must be empathetic, interested and caring. We are expected to walk into a room full of strangers and to strike up a conversation.

Are we paid for our service? Yes. In Glendale, a councilmember earns $35,000 a year. Other cities compensate their councilmembers at different rates. An individual’s finances often demands that a councilmember be retired or be self-employed. Sometimes it becomes difficult for a self-employed councilmember to juggle the priorities of his or her business with the demands of the position. There is no doubt that their businesses often suffer.

The irregular hours and the varied demands of the job cause us to truly value our private time, especially with family. Holidays often require our presence at a city event. Family dinners usually don’t happen on Tuesdays which are council meeting or workshop days or on other evenings which require council presence at a formal event or attendance at a board meeting. 

It’s a unique position. One must be committed to service for it certainly isn’t about the pay. Yet because the days (and some evenings) are so varied it becomes a job like no other. Some love it. Others find that the demands are more than they wish to give. I love it.

© 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.

The Glendale Fire Department has issued its 2016 Performance Report. Here is the link to the report: https://www.glendaleaz.com/fire/documents/2016AnnualReport.pdf . Glendale has 9 fire stations. Two of them are now quite old – Station 152 located at 6850 W. Bethany Home Road was built in 1979 and Station 153 at 14061 N. 59th Avenue was built in 1974. Over the years these stations have received remedial patches but at some point, they will have to be replaced.

The services offered by the department fall into 5 major categories: Fire Suppression, Emergency Medical Service (EMS), Special Operations and Technical Rescue; Special Operations and Hazmat and Crisis Response. In their list of 5 major categories there is no mention of the categories of Fire Prevention or Public Education. Yet Glendale’s Fire Marshall’s Office performed a total of 4,216 inspections last year and fire department staff and volunteers offered 543 educational presentations and events.

I found the report lacking in the kind of information I, as a councilmember, and you, a resident of Glendale, would have found useful. I have asked the department for further information just recently and I am sure they will provide responses shortly.

Since approximately 90% of fire department responses are EMS (35,247), where are the stats on the number of Advanced Life Support (ALS) calls and the number of Basic Life Support (BLS) calls? The remaining 10% (3,447) are fire calls. What is the department’s current response time? I assume it is still within national fire standards but there is no information provided.

As I and many Glendale residents have stated over the years, sending a huge fire truck to answer medical calls is a waste of resources. I am pleased to see that the department now has two “Low Acuity Units” to respond to BLS calls. These are smaller vehicles with appropriate personnel that respond to non-life threatening medical calls. It was a pilot project that immediately proved its value as has been demonstrated by Mesa who has used this system for years. I am disappointed that the implementation of more Low Acuity Units has not been accelerated. There should be one of these units at every fire station in Glendale, not just at two of them. This program deserves to be a priority of the department. Now it is time to implement a sister program that addresses ALS calls. When this system of medical response is fully implemented the department will become more flexible and agile while delivering the best service possible at the least cost to Glendale taxpayers.

I also noted that, “fifty-three fire personnel were deployed to 32 separate wildfires across the nation.” What was the total cost to our taxpayers to do so? Including transportation, meals, lodging and any special or overtime pay?

No information is provided on the effects of Automatic Aid to our City. Why were no numbers provided on the number of calls the City responds to outside of our City? What cities? And the total number of calls outside the City provided to each jurisdiction? Why were no numbers provided on the number of calls provided by outside agencies to our City? Which cities? And in what numbers?

I suspect that as in previous years there is still an imbalance between the number of times the city’s department answers calls outside of Glendale and the number of times other cities respond to calls within Glendale. Historically Glendale answers far more calls outside of its city limits than others cities’ responses within Glendale. It costs the taxpayer to subsidize services to other cities.

I still believe that while the concept of Automatic Aid is sound, the lack of equitable implementation remains unfair to the participants. Glendale and other cities that answer far more calls outside their city limits should be reimbursed by those cities receiving the additional aid. There is a regional Automatic Aid Agreement that is reviewed and approved every year. All Fire Chiefs have an opportunity to review and amend. I know there are fire chiefs that are familiar with this issue but to date they have been reluctant to address it.

There is good news within this year’s report. One of those is the Crisis Response Unit. It has 3 paid staff but it is primarily a volunteer unit with volunteers donating over 13,000 hours while responding to 1,156 calls for service. Volunteers are also the backbone of the department’s public education program donating 787 volunteer hours. Another good news item is the full implementation of the Electronic Patient Care Reporting (ePCR) system. It is a tablet based patient charting system that replaces paper reports. It saves time and money and now the records can follow a patient electronically.

The report was good but it could have been better if it included some of the items discussed above. In order to be fully transparent the current department response time and effects of Automatic Aid should have been included. In addition, some information about the department’s plans for the two 40 year old fire stations would have been helpful.

The men and women of the Glendale Fire Department give their all to serve us in our hour of greatest need. I appreciate their commitment to our community. However, senior management has the responsibility to provide us a full and complete picture of their operations, including the good, the bad and the ugly.

© 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.

An interesting story drew my attention in the wake of the Stonehaven decision by a majority of Glendale’s city council (5 to 2 vote in favor). Apparently these members of the city council, Mayor Jerry Weiers, Vice Mayor Ian Hugh and Councilmembers Lauren Tolmachoff, Jaime Aldama and Bart Turner saw no issue with granting the developers, John F. Long Trust and Pulte Homes, the right to plant about 600 small lots (4,000 SF and 4,500 SF) on 130+ acres in the development known as Stonehaven.

The developers have also been granted greater lot coverage of 55%. Typically, Glendale has used 40% to 45% lot coverage. That means the home can use 40% to 45% of the lot. The rest is a front yard, side yards and a back yard. In the approved Stonehaven plan front yards will be 10 to 15 feet in depth and back yards will be 10 to 15 feet in depth. My back patio is 12 feet in depth and I try to envision having a rear yard block wall abutting my patio. It is absurd. Just for kicks measure 10 feet or 15 feet from your back door and imagine having a block wall at that distance.

Then I read an article by Home & Design and republished by AZBigMedia. Here is the link: http://roselawgroupreporter.com/2017/08/homebuyers-willing-sacrifice-square-footage-bigger-yard/?utm_source=Rose+Law+Group+Reporter+Newsletter&utm_campaign=305ef20b62-8-18-2017+Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0fa483909f-305ef20b62-17921525 .

The most startling results of a Wakefield Research survey commissioned by Taylor Morrison (national homebuilder) said, “Outdoor living is becoming just as important as the indoors. According to a consumer survey conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of Taylor Morrison, a leading national homebuilder and developer, recent and prospective homebuyers are craving green space. More than half (56 percent) of homebuyers surveyed would be willing to sacrifice a larger house to obtain a bigger yard.

The survey also found the most important exterior feature of a home is distance from neighboring homes. Both millennials (48 percent) and non-millennials (53 percent) believe this breathing room is key, beating other curb appeal elements such as siding, driveway styles, exterior paint color and roofing finishes.”

Well, doesn’t this fly in the face of the pro-Stonehaven rhetoric touting “that millennials and seniors would prefer the least amount of yard possible?” Their rationale was that new home buyers didn’t want to maintain the backyard grass. Many back yards are graveled and xeroscaped these days. Whether it’s grass or patio space, upkeep and work to keep it looking good is required. What they said was illogical and this Taylor Morrison study proves the point.

No, I suspect it was all about the almighty dollar. They demanded greater density because it translates into greater profitability. Since when must a city accommodate a private entity’s demand for greater profitability at the expense of the adjacent neighborhoods (all of whom opposed Stonehaven’s amended plan)?

Think about it. Have you ever seen a millionaire buy a large home on a 4,000 SF lot? Of course not. They buy large homes on large lots to insure their privacy (among other reasons). Privacy in the form of large lot space (or even adequate lot space) is a commodity that today’s developers have decided that the masses of home buyers no longer merit. They decide what you should have, always keeping their bottom lines primary, and then sell the concept to you as the latest and greatest that you must have. So, we buy the bells and whistles while ignoring basic amenities such as sufficient space to breathe and grow families.

I’m thankful I grew up in a different era. Perhaps I’m too old-fashioned but if so, I don’t care. I’m glad I grew up with room to breathe. To this day I value the privacy my property provides. It’s hard to imagine that even millennials don’t want the same and that privacy is no longer important.

© 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 Tuesday, August 15, 2017 the city council will have a full agenda. One of the items is a staff presentation on a light rail update. Here is the link to the staff report: https://destinyhosted.com/agenda_publish.cfm?id=45363&mt=aacc&get_month=8&get_year=2017&dsp=agm&seq=139&rev=0&ag=71&ln=2184&nseq=&nrev=&pseq=201&prev=0#ReturnTo2184

There are several points within the staff report that are worthy of note. In the Background section it states, “In 2001, the voters of Glendale approved a dedicated half-cent sales tax to fund a comprehensive transportation program known the Glendale Onboard! (GO) Transportation Program. Maricopa County voters also approved transportation funding the regional transportation plan in 2004. These ballot initiatives include a project and matching funds for a high-capacity transit corridor from Glendale’s eastern border at 43rd Avenue to downtown Glendale (my bold). Based on these successful elections, the city and regional transportation plans include funding to complete a high-capacity transit corridor in Glendale by 2026 (my bold).”

Sometimes one has to read between the lines a bit. A high-capacity transit corridor does not imply light rail exclusively. Among other options, it could be a beefed-up bus system. In the 2001 transportation ballot measure the exact route was never identified. Rather it identified a study area from Northern Avenue to Bethany Home Road. If a light rail route were to run along Northern Avenue or Bethany Home Road neither route would touch downtown Glendale. Any route does not necessarily have to go through or accommodate downtown Glendale. Lastly, there was no ‘drop-dead’ date for completion of this corridor identified in the 2001 ballot issue. Light rail is not an issue that must be decided immediately.

The Background section goes on to say, “…the ongoing maintenance and operations is a local (city) cost. Glendale’s GO! Program and $105 million programmed for capital costs (construction and design) and $3.8 million programmed for ongoing operation and maintenance in the 25-year balanced program.”

On page 4 of the staff report is a table that estimates Glendale’s share of construction cost for light rail. The least expensive which ends at 43rd Avenue and Glendale ( 1 mile) projects Glendale’s share of construction costs at $30 million and the most expensive ending at 61st Avenue and Glenn Drive (crosses over Grand Avenue and is 3.5 miles) is $123 million. Based upon the stated $105 million available for Glendale’s share of construction costs funds are available for all options with the exception of the last and most expensive option – crossing Grand Avenue.

However, Glendale’s operating costs are considerable. According to the staff report, there is $3.8 million available in GO’s 25-year programming.  The least expensive and shortest distance option would require $1.6 million a year. That $3.8 million would be expended in 2 years. The most expensive option and longest distance would require $5.7 million a year to operate. Obviously the $3.8 million GO programmed funds would not even cover one year.

Where would a shortfall in annual operating costs have to come from? It would have to come from the General Fund…you know the same fund that issues debt for the city’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for such things as parks and libraries. It could require competing against Public Safety (police and fire) or employee raises or any other departments for funding resulting in fewer dollars for other departments. The central question for residents may be, do you want to take precious resources away from other departments and capital projects to annually fund the O&M costs of light rail?

Under the Community Benefit/Public Involvement section it states, “In addition to improved mobility and access, high capacity transit projects can also serve as a catalyst for economic redevelopment along a corridor. The original regional 20-mile light rail “starter segment” cost $1.4 billion to completer, but has generated an estimated $8.2 billion in private and public investment along the light rail corridor.” That’s about an 8 to 1 Return on Investment (ROI). Okay, that sounds great but it should be proven by providing specific, verifiable data. How much was the public (governmental) investment after light rail was completed along with a list of specific redevelopment projects and their investment cost? How much was private redevelopment and what were their projects and investment cost after light rail completion? These ROI figures cannot just be thrown out there without some kind of corroborating data. To date none has ever been provided.

Lastly, on page 3 of the staff report under Cash Flow Requirements, it says, “With the relatively short time frame until Prop 400 funding program expires in 2025, it is not fiscally sound to issue bonds, but will rely on existing fund balances and local funding to cover these upfront costs (design, right-of-way acquisition and construction). Glendale staff has told us that funding these upfront costs will negatively impact the GO program prior to construction.” In addition to the lack of long-term GO funding to support  O&M costs, staff has determined that there is not enough GO funding available to pay the upfront costs of construction. This is reminiscent of Camelback Ranch and AZSTA’s lack of ability to reimburse Glendale for those upfront costs. “Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it.” Do we really want to go there again?

I have always wondered why Camelback Road has never been considered the option of choice. Phoenix would be required to build from 19th Avenue to 43rd Avenue, a distance of 3 miles. From 43rd Avenue to 91st Avenue, a distance of 6 miles Phoenix and Glendale would share the costs; and from Camelback Road to Glendale Avenue, a distance of 2 miles Glendale would be required to fund construction exclusively. But think about it. This route would accommodate 2 major destinations: Grand Canyon University and Westgate. That is exactly what light rail is designed to do — move large numbers of people to specific and major destination locations. In addition, it would run through 2 of the poorest demographic areas in the entire region: Maryvale and south Glendale and serve those whose need for mass transit is the greatest. If it really does spur economic redevelopment these two areas could certainly benefit from that kind of economic boost.

If you wish to follow the light-rail discussion on Tuesday, August 15th, at city council workshop which begins at 1:30 PM and is the last item on the agenda, please go to the city website, www.glendaleaz.com and click on the link to Glendale Channel 11 TV. It is broadcast live on the city’s site and also on Cox TV Cable Channel 11.

© 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, August 7, 2017 the City of Glendale’s city council meeting agenda for Tuesday, August 8, 2017 was amended and reposted within the appropriate time constraints. The item added to the agenda is the city council’s consideration and approval or denial of the city’s sale of 13.1 acres located on the north side of Bethany Home Road and on the east side of 99th Avenue to Topgolf. The land is directly north of American Furniture Warehouse. The purchase price is $5,713,730 that will go back into the city’s Water and Sewer Enterprise fund. The land was originally purchased by the city’s Enterprise fund for a water treatment plant but became unnecessary when the city built the Oasis Water Treatment Plant on Northern Avenue and approximately 72nd Avenue. Currently Topgolf has two locations in the Valley — in Scottsdale and in Gilbert.

The major investors in Topgolf are WestRiver Group, Callaway, Dundon and Providence Equity. Worldwide they have 33 venues with over 10 million visitors a year.

What is Topgolf, you say? It’s the hottest form of golf as an entertainment venue for all. Every Topgolf facility has dozens of high-tech, hitting bays. One to six people rent a bay by the hour and there are free clubs for use in each bay. The average bay rental is two hours. They also offer a full service restaurant and bars with unique menu items that can be found nowhere else in the Valley.  There are private event spaces and meeting rooms along with a rooftop terrace with a fire pit.  Customers can find original content shows, simulator lounges, competitive tours and pop-up social activities. There are HDTVs all over the place as well as everyone’s ‘must-have,’ free Wifi.

You don’t have to be a traditional golfer to enjoy their activites. Nearly 40% of their patrons are non-golfers. Two thirds of patrons are male and one third is female. The largest age group using the facility is people between the ages of 18 and 34 (53%).

If you would like to learn more about Topgolf please visit this link: https://topgolf.com/us/ . I couldn’t be more pleased. If the sale of land to Topgolf is approved by city council the city will have made its first move to extend its entertainment district beyond the Loop 101 and signals development of the west side of the Loop 101 for further entertainment venues. It’s a logical progression that moves entertainment to eventually join with the city’s MLB spring training facility, Camelback Ranch. It also can become a catalyst for further commercial development between Westgate and Camelback Ranch. The west side of the Loop 101 has suddenly become a hot location for more development. Look for more to come in this area.

This is yet another concrete example of Glendale, and especially the Yucca district, as a premier location for development. Glendale is on the move…and more is to come. As the Yucca district city councilmember with what I hope will be a vote of approval, I welcome Topgolf and wish it much success as the only venue of its kind in the West Valley.

© 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.

After years of negative media stories about Glendale’s finances, nowadays there is nothing but good news as Glendale has regained its economic development “mojo.” Glendale is back in the game.

All of the new development that is occurring is market driven, because the city has not provided tax breaks or other incentives to the companies. Most of the development is on the city’s west side (the district I represent, the Yucca district) and surrounds the Loop 101, or is either in Westgate or directly west and north of that area. Because this area provides easy access to the Loop 101, other high-end development and Luke Air Force Base, this area has become the first place commercial developers look.  Transportation access makes it easy for employees to come to or to leave the area. Business decision-makers are choosing to develop near similar existing or planned developments. It’s a matter of synergy. Success in economic development breeds more success.

Glendale’s success is dispelling the myth that there’s no talent, especially technological talent, on the Valley’s west side.  Glendale is proof that it’s just the opposite. You can find a ton of people that are just brilliant on this side of the Valley and are anxious to work for a technology company.

A sampling of the development now occurring is clustered in four industries: manufacturing, medical technology, advanced business services, and signature retail and entertainment: 

  • Aloft Hotel will be the latest addition to the Westgate area with a 100-rooms and four-stories. It will be located at the southwest corner of Glendale and 93rd Avenues. 
  • Construction is now complete and open for business is a Hilton-brand hotel, Home2 Suites, located in Westgate, just northwest of University of Phoenix Stadium.
  • Dutch Brothers Coffee will soon begin construction on the southeast side of Glendale Avenue and 95th Avenue.
  • Credit Union West,a Glendale-based financial-services firm, plans to begin work on a new corporate headquarters building near 99th and Glendale. It is slated for completion in late 2018.    
  • The medical influx began with St. Joseph’s Westgate Medical Center (part of the Dignity network), north of Glendale Avenue on 99th Avenue. This new hospital has 24 patient rooms and a 12 bed emergency room and plenty of room for future expansion.
  • It has been followed by a new Dignity Emergency facility located at the northwest corner of 83rd Avenue and Camelback Road.
  • Now, 101 West Healthcare is developing a $30 million, 200,000-square-foot medical campus south of St. Joseph’s Westgate Medical Center on the northwest corner of 99th and Glendale Avenue. Plans call for physicians’ offices, surgery centers, laboratories, a long-term care facility and related spaces.

Elsewhere in Glendale businesses are expanding or relocating. They include but are not limited to:

  • Conair Corporation has just opened the second largest industrial facility (second to Intel) at the Glendale Airpark. As it ramps up it will employ 750.
  • MobileLogix expects to have 24 employees at its 6,200-square-foot facility at 5150 W. Phelps Drive this year, and double that next year.
  • Canyon State Bus Sales relocated from Phoenix to 5600 W. Claremont St., in Glendale, in February. The company sells, maintains and repairs school buses and specialized vehicles, such as hotel shuttle buses and prison buses.
  • The Iron Factory, a golf club iron refinisher, is moving from Grand Junction, Colo., to 7615 N. 75th Ave., in Glendale. The operation opened in July. It opened in 1974 and has since repaired, rebuilt and refinished more than 1 million clubs for professional and amateur golfers.

Combined, these new companies (plus others not included in this article) represent approximately 1,000 immediate jobs and 3,000 jobs at build-out.

There is more news coming but until these new locates are ready to announce, I am not at liberty to share them. Glendale is by no means done and has vast tracts of land in Western Glendale, the Yucca district, that can be annexed into the city as it continues to partner with the economic development community. In fact, Glendale is just getting started…

© 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.

Congratulations go to Conair Corporation on their official grand opening of their new distribution center on Tuesday, August 1, 2017.It is a remarkable achievement.

You could say Conair and I grew up together. Twenty-five years ago I began serving my very first term as the Yucca district councilmember. That same year Conair opened its first facility in Glendale. Part of my history as a councilmember is also Conair’s history in Glendale.

Here are some fast facts about Conair:

  • the corporation is 57 years old
  • its annual gross sales is $3 billion dollars
  • it employs 3,500 people worldwide
  • 95% of us have at least one Conair product
  • it owns 24 brands
  • it sells its products in 124 countries

Just a few of the brands it owns include Cuisinart, Waring, Scunci, Interplak, Rusk and Allegro.

Conair has had a long relationship with Glendale. In 1992, after the creation of a foreign trade sub-zone, Conair built a 300,000 SF distribution warehouse and minor manufacturing operation at Glendale’s Airpark. As a newly elected councilmember, I remember to this day, my first tour of a Conair facility and was impressed by its use of technology to enhance productivity.

In 2009, as the national Great Recession gripped the country, Conair in a bold move, purchased the KB distribution center and opened a national return center at the site and grew to 620,000 SF, double the size of their original location. As Metro Phoenix was losing jobs and the vacancy rate for industrial buildings soared, Conair, in one fell swoop with its acquisition of the KB facility, dropped that rate in Glendale from 16% to 9%. Once again, as councilmember I toured this facility and thought at the time that the facility was enormous.

But Conair has outdone itself with the second largest facility in the valley – only Intel is larger. This facility is about 4 times larger than their existent operation and will expand to 750 employees. If you are not impressed, you should be. Their continued use of advanced technology has made them a model for distribution facilities. Touring this facility once again in my last term as a councilmember will be my pleasure and I will be sure to request a motor cart this time around.

Glendale is very proud of our 25 year relationship with Conair. We are grateful to have a name brand/household corporation in our community. Conair has always been very consistent about their desire to grow their business in Glendale and we appreciate their vote of confidence.  It attests to the fact that long term relationships do matter. We continue to support Conair and welcome the opening of their newest facility.

© 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 Tuesday, August 1, 2017 city council, after a month’s vacation (sort of), will convene by holding its first workshop meeting. There are 3 agenda items: presentation of the proposed Fiscal Year 2017-18 federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) allocations; update of the city’s website; and further discussion of the proposal to raise water/sewer and sanitation rates.

So far CDBG federal funds remain basically intact with the city’s total entitlement at $2,270,348.00. With a new administration in place we will have to wait to see what new federal policies are implemented that will affect allocations in the future. We are moving into uncharted territory. CDBG funds cannot be used throughout the entire city but rather in specific areas recognized as slum and blighted. Most of this area is located in zip code 85301 (not all of this zip code has this designation) and generally includes downtown Glendale.

There was one area that received no funding this year and I believe should have. That is the City of Glendale’s Neighborhood Services in the area of Neighborhood Preservation and Code Compliance. The request was for $94,945.00. Yet it received nothing. This funding can be used to board up vacant properties, distribute ‘roll-offs’ to neighborhoods and for its ‘clean and lien’ program. The city should be more aggressive in these areas as all benefit neighborhood preservation. Boarding up properties and cleaning up vacant properties can be expensive. Even though a property has a lien placed upon it, it may be years before the lien is paid and in the meantime the city has fronted the cost. “Roll-offs’ are those very large garbage bins. They are frequently used by neighborhoods when they call for a general clean-up. They are expensive and the charge for one is somewhere in the $500 range. Many neighborhoods, especially those older neighborhoods without an HOA, simply cannot afford the cost of a ‘roll-off.’ In an effort to maintain these neighborhoods it just makes sense to offer them, free-of-charge, to neighborhoods willing to self-clean.

Community Revitalization has a set aside of $654,050.00. It would make sense to allocate $100,000 of that amount to Neighborhood Preservation.

The second agenda item is that of updating the city’s website. Goodness knows it needs it desperately but before council gives direction to upgrade, I sure would like to know what the cost of such an effort will be. The request before council will be to approve the issuance of a Request for Proposals (RFP) and then to eventually approve a contract for web hosting for the city. I think a cap of fund expenditure should be provided within the RFP. Without that, the sky is the limit for all bidders.

 It also raises a question that I continue to ask. What is the purpose and mission of the city’s Information Technology (IT) Department? The city is about to embark upon the implementation of a new citywide operating system called Munis. As part of this contract, the city will be paying nearly a million dollars a year for support of this system. If council decides to award a contract for hosting its website that becomes another major area that IT will not have to support. It appears as if IT is becoming no more than a glorified support system for all of the city’s equipment such as PCs. As the city moves into cloud computing, IT will no longer have to support servers for the city’s operating systems. IT receives a substantial allocation each fiscal year. It’s time to ask what are we paying for?

The last agenda item is further discussion about water/sewer and sanitation rate increases. A little history is in order. For approximately 8 years there have been no rate increases due to the Great Recession. No one felt it was appropriate to raise rates during that period. The economy is now rebounding and it is time to adjust rates. In addition, during those 8 years, the cost of materials and equipment has risen as well as the fact that employees in these departments are seeing their first pay increases in many years. So, a case can be made that the rates should be reviewed.

I have several major concerns that I expect to have addressed.  One is the need for a less dramatic initial rate increase. Rate increases need to be phased in and gradual. Let me give you a real example. My June billing was in the amount of $100.44 for 21,000 gallons broken down as follows:

  • Water                               $76.92
  • Sanitation & Recycling         16.30
  • AZ Water Quality Tax            0.14
  • Taxes                                  7.08                 

With a proposed 7.5% increase in water in the first year, that $76.92 jumps to $82.69; and with a proposed 10% increase in water the first year $76.92 becomes $84.61. The $16.30 for sanitation could increase in the first year by 17% to $19.05 or 25% to $20.50.

Over the next 5 years a water bill could increase by 29% adding approximately $27.72 to the average single family billing.  The sanitation bill could increase by 52% or approximately $8.50.

That does not include an increase in the AZ Water Quality Tax or taxes on each bill.

These increases are dramatic and mandate that city council look at the proposed projects that rather than being committed to at one time are rather phased in allowing a more gradual approach to the proposed rate increases.

City council has historically adopted a tiered rate approach to water. Those who use the minimal amount per month would see the smallest increase. Those who consume the greatest amount of water per month see the largest rate increase. This approach was designed to uphold the philosophy of water conservation and to recognize that minimal water users are often seniors and retired on fixed incomes. The proposal as presented does not take this strategy into account.

There is plenty of time for further discussion. The citizen comments are very important to this discussion. The city is holding a series of public meeting for citizens:

Open House Public Input Meetings

  • Wednesday, July 26, 2017 Glendale Regional Public Safety Training Center 6-8 p.m. 11550 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale, AZ 85307
  • Thursday, August 3, 2017 Foothills Recreation and Aquatic Center 6-8 p.m. 5600 W. Union Hills Dr., Glendale, AZ 85308
  • Saturday, August 12, 2017 Glendale City Hall – Basement Level 10 a.m.-12 noon 5850 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale, AZ 85301
  • Tuesday, August 15, 2017 Glendale Adult Center 6-8 p.m. 5970 W. Brown St., Glendale, AZ 85302

Lastly, citizen commentary from participants on the newly established Utilities Commission, seem to indicate that there was never a discussion of the central questions: do we need rate increases? and how can we mitigate the increases? From what I have heard the commission discussion began with these are the projects we must do and do you prefer a rate increase based on Option 1 or Option 2?

The city council workshop discussion of these agenda items can be seen on Channel 11 if you have Cox cable or live on the city’s website under Cable Channel 11 tabs.  It’s an important discussion.

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

In the context of the current discussion about the proposed Stonehaven residential development many readers have asked me to repost this blog.

Glendale is the 6th largest city in the state. Here is the ranking of the ten largest cities in the state:

  • Phoenix
  • Tucson
  • Mesa
  • Chandler
  • Gilbert
  • Glendale
  • Scottsdale
  • Tempe
  • Peoria

Glendale has the lowest average median income of the 10 largest cities.

Glendale has the second highest poverty rate of those 10 cities.

Another media story shows that of the 25 wealthiest zip codes in Maricopa County Glendale has but one…85310…ranked 24th out of 25.

Glendale is a very diverse community:

  •     Caucasian                     50%
  •     Hispanic or Latino       37%
  •     Afro-American               6%
  •     Asian                                4%

Today we are going to examine why these facts drive development (or the lack of it) and also what needs to occur in order to improve or “upgrade” Glendale development to enhance our citizen’s quality of life and also make Glendale more competitive obtaining quality commercial/residential projects.

What can Glendale do to turn these numbers around? How does Glendale raise the average median income, lower its poverty rate and have more of its zip codes labeled as “the wealthiest”? It must embrace a new strategy toward future development and a new strategy to remediate some of its struggling neighborhoods.

So let us add some new facts and start to look for effective and reasonable solutions to Upgrade Glendale.

A square mile between Camelback Road to Bethany Home Road; 59th Avenue to 67th Avenue; in zip code 85301 is ringed by 10…yes, 10…low income multi-family apartment complexes? Were you aware that the density of package liquor stores and bars is the highest in zip code 85301? In an effort to upgrade south Glendale shouldn’t Council and the Planning Department be asking, when any developer or business seeks to locate in this area, does this project upgrade the area? Does it serve a family-oriented need? Does this project make the quality of life better for these neighborhoods or are we simply allowing more of the same because it’s easier not to fight the fight for quality commercial and residential development? If developers say they will walk away from a project because that is all that a certain area merits, perhaps the new Glendale paradigm is to let them. If we develop new standards of quality development and advise the development community that is what we expect and will allow, then that is what we will get.

The majority of Glendale’s residential base is comprised of starter homes and middle class homes. The home median value in Glendale is $183,300. Many new residential developments have a price point between $220,000 and $250,000. To some that may seem to be expensive but it is not in today’s market.

Where does one find big, beautiful, expensive homes on large lots? Why, zip code 85310. You can count on no more than two hands enclaves of large lot, expensive homes throughout Glendale. It is time to stop allowing the development community  build to the lowest common denominator of an area and demand that they build adhering to a philosophy of upgrading, not downgrading or adding more of the same in an area.

Glendale must stop allowing developers of infill projects greater and greater residential densities. I once learned that Glendale loses approximately $200 a year per home when providing basic services such as public safety, libraries, parks, streets, water, sewer and garbage collection. What that means is that Glendale spends more in services per home than that home earns in revenue for the city in terms of property taxes, sales taxes, etc. So, how is this imbalance made up? By commercial development with the property taxes and the sales taxes they pay to the city. I’m sure the figure has changed and I don’t know the current number however I plan on asking staff for a new current assessment.

Upscale businesses offering high paying jobs go a long way to offsetting the loss of revenue from the city’s cost of providing its basic services to homes. So how can we get the Intel’s of the world to locate in Glendale?

The quality of its workforce is the life’s blood of any major corporation. These corporations desire to locate where they can attract a highly educated, skilled employee base.

That’s where Glendale’s schools play a major role and unfortunately it is an area over which Glendale has no control. Many, not all, of Glendale’s schools have underperforming high school graduation rates with much of their student populations not moving on to college or technical training. Glendale’s primary and secondary educational system is failing to prepare students to become college or technically bound. They are failing to help the city to attract the quality work force needed to attract the Intel’s. The kinds of corporations we must seek to attract have employees who want to be assured that their children will have access to outstanding educational opportunities. These employees also seek quality, upscale housing with great quality of life amenities. They also require nearby access not just to fast food establishments but to upscale dining, shopping, leisure and entertainment opportunities. While a smattering of those kinds of quality of life issues are met in a few Glendale enclaves there is not enough of a mass to attract the kinds of employment providers the city seeks.

I contend a rising tide lifts all boats.

Isn’t it time to upgrade every Glendale resident’s quality of life? Isn’t it time to provide our residents with an abundance of good paying job opportunities? Shouldn’t it be in safe neighborhoods? Shouldn’t it be with Class A dining, shopping, leisure and entertainment opportunities throughout all of Glendale? We can do that by insisting and conveying to developers of commercial and residential properties that whether it is an infill parcel or raw land, our expectations for development are stringent. That Glendale now demands a new forward looking vision.

In a coming blog we will examine how Glendale government can move past prior history, Glendale school districts may help both their students now and after graduation and residents can actively engage in this new vision.

© 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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