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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

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

In the November 9, 2017 edition of the Glendale Star Councilmember Bart Turner offered a guest commentary entitled the “Top 10 reasons to proceed with light rail.” While he is a fierce advocate for light rail his position does not comport with a majority of city council. Those who gave direction to abandon moving forward with light rail were Mayor Weiers, Vice Mayor Hugh, Councilmember Malnar and I. There were only two councilmembers definitively in support of light rail and they were Councilmembers Turner and Aldama. Councilmember Tolmachoff never really responded in any clear cut fashion. Aldama’s position in an election year may not bode well for him as he seemed to ignore a great many downtown business owners opposed to the concept.

Before I launch into a rebuttal of Councilmember Turner’s commentary I want to recommend two articles written by Randal O’Toole that I found while researching this issue. The first, “The coming transit apocalypse” was published as a policy paper by the Cato Institute on October 24, 2017. Here is the link:
https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/coming-transit-apocalypse .

The second, also by O’Toole was published in the Wall Street Journal on November 10, 2017. It is entitled “It’s the Last Stop on the Light-Rail Gravy Train: Mayors want new lines that won’t be ready for a decade. Commuters will be in driverless cars by then.” Here is the link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/its-the-last-stop-on-the-light-rail-gravy-train-1510354782 . Both are well worth reading.

Turner’s top reason for supporting light rail is that it was a component of Proposition 402 approved by voters on November 6, 2001, 16 years ago. I bet if light rail were on a ballot today it would go down in flaming defeat.

The specific ballot language said, “That all revenues from the 0.5% increase in the privilege and use tax authorized by this ordinance shall be deposited in a separate transportation fund that shall be used only for transportation purposes in accordance with Proposition Number 402 , including the following:

  • Intersection improvements
  • Street projects
  • Expansion of existing bus services
  • Increased Dial-A-Ride services
  • Express bus service
  • Regional light rail connection
  • Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvement Projects
  • Airport projects
  • Safety improvements”

 At that time the proposition was deliberately crafted to offer a potpourri of 9 items. The working assumption was that a menu of items was sure to appeal to various stakeholders. Light rail was included and its insertion onto the ballot measure was as contentious as its possible location. It was assumed at that time that this inclusion was the surest way to insure its passage by its advocates at that time.

And yes, Proposition 402 did pass on a vote of 8,313 yes votes (64%) and 4,664 no votes (36%). The ballot proposition was very general in its wording. It did not mandate that any of the above action items take precedence over any other. It also did not present a time line under which these items were to be completed.

It is fair to say that many of the voters wanted improved bus services as well as intersection improvements and street maintenance and repair. They were willing to accept all elements of the ballot in order to get the options that were important to them – streets, intersections and better bus service.  That was the voters’ agenda then and it remains the voters’ agenda now.

Turner goes on to state that there is enough city funding to get light rail to 51st Avenue and Glendale Avenue but that is not accurate as the estimated costs show a deficit of $400,00. See the chart below:

When we consider capital construction and operations & maintenance (O&M) costs — beware. Fares generate only one-quarter to one-third of operating expenses. There will be significant annual operational costs causing a redistribution of income from all taxpayers to subsidize light rail riders. Historically ridership fluctuates with the condition of the national economy. When gas prices are high or we are in the midst of a recession ridership increases. When gas is cheap or times are good, we climb right back into our cars. Soon we will see driverless cars whose cost of operation will compete very favorably with transit fares.

Light rail is very, very expensive. Typically it is 20 times the construction cost of all other forms of mass transit. Generally, construction delays and cost overruns are endemic. Federal and state subsidies are needed to construct the rail line and to maintain and operate the system. All federal grants require assurances. In other words, there are strings attached. One of those required federal assurances is that the light rail system will never be shut down.

What about the disruption to traffic and local businesses during construction? Most of the downtown businesses that would be affected by 2 to 3 years of light rail construction will end up closing or moving to another location. They are concerned and they have every right to be. Many are small businesses that cannot afford the kind of disruption that occurs with light rail construction. Many may end up being replaced by multi-family…most likely not high-end multi-family either.

What about Turner’s contention that light rail provides a “catalyst” for high-quality redevelopment? According to an Excel presentation provided to me by Valley Metro current development to-date along the existent light rail lines (Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe) show that anywhere from an estimated 3% to 30% of the investment in new development that occurs along a light rail route is public money (municipal funding). In addition it is quite likely that the incentive funding provided by the city to attract private development will have to compete with other General Fund priorities. In essence, taxpayer subsidies boost development along transit lines and around stations. Do you want to divert your taxpayer dollars to incentivize development along a light rail line? The catalyst will be city investment and city incentives offered to developers.

What kind of investment is typical along a light rail line? Again, based on information provided by Valley Metro, the new development tends to be a double digit percentage increase in the addition of multi-family (apartments) and the decrease of retail (percentage is variable from single digit decline to double digit decline).  Are you willing to trade downtown retail locations for apartments? Do you think the disappearance of existent stores and restaurants and the addition of more apartments in their stead is high-quality development? Did you know that properties near light rail stations in low income areas experience negative benefits?

Councilmember Turner suggests that, “a rubber-tired trolley can ferry light rail passengers throughout downtown.” Why would that be necessary? Light rail lines cannot be rerouted. They are fixed.  They create a certain inflexibility. Consider a rail breakdown or the permanent elimination of a temporary street closure caused by a special event (Glendale Glitters? Chocolate Affaire?) or a parade (Christmas parade?). There can be a permanent inconvenience to motorists when a street lane is lost or if they are required to wait behind a rail car while passengers get on or off. Motorists often react to light rail location by choosing alternate nearby streets. Suddenly the vehicular congestion migrates but still remains.

Turner suggests, “If Glendale abandons its light rail plan, $72 million paid by Glendale and other West Valley residents into the regional light rail fund will be transferred” to other light rail projects in the Valley. That is true. While Glendale chooses to opt out of light rail right that doesn’t mean that in future years Valley Metro may create other priorities in which Glendale may participate . At that time it will have access to those regional dollars.

Councilmember Turner does not mention the benefit of not establishing light rail now. Angel Rodriguez, in a Letter to the Editor in the November 2, 2017 Glendale Star asks, “The Oct. 23 article regarding the Glendale City Council killing plans for downtown light rail referred to a ‘decision 16 years after Glendale voters approved a sales tax increase, in part for light rail,’ raises the question of that part of the sales tax increase for light rail. How much of the sales tax increase starting 16 years ago was and has been set aside for that light rail that won’t happen? By now, it must be in the millions …” Approximately 40% of the sales tax collected was set aside and reserved for light rail. With the council decision not to proceed with light rail that money can be reprogrammed for other more immediate transportation needs. It can be used to enhance and increase bus service. A majority of our bus shelters are without shade. Just adding shade to these bus stops will increase ridership. The bus route along 83rd Avenue now goes from McDowell Road in Phoenix up to Bell Road in Peoria. Other routes may be able to be expanded or created.

 It can be used for intersection and street improvements. There are at least 5 intersections in Glendale in need of remediation right now. Some of those dollars could be reprogrammed to mitigate them. As another example, it can be used to connect Camelback Ranch to Westgate. Once that occurs, just as in the case of completing 95th Avenue south from Bethany Home Road to Camelback, it creates a catalyst for more businesses to locate and with it comes more jobs for Glendale’s residents. When the extension of 95th Avenue was planned and announced who came to town? IKEA with its hundreds of jobs. Those light rail transportation dollars can be reprogrammed to create enhanced connectivity between locations. With that activity comes more jobs to Glendale. City council, in a future workshop, will decide how to make the best use of the light rail dollars for other transportation needs.

Lastly, Councilmember Turner says, “Our image as the progressive future-looking city that Glendale is working hard to develop will be significantly harmed if we willingly choose to forgo this opportunity.” According to his perception, the same must be said for the other “dale” – Scottsdale. For it, too, has made the decision not to pursue light rail in its community. The four councilmembers, including me, that gave direction not to proceed with light rail at this time, in this location, do not accept his statement.

Glendale continues to be the location of choice for many businesses. Just this week, we celebrated the ground breaking for a BMW automotive franchise. BMW does extensive market research in making a decision as to where to locate another franchise. They, just as any other business looking for another location, cannot afford to make the wrong choice. They chose Glendale because of the positives Glendale offers to all new business locates. Glendale is on the move and the council decision to not move forward with light rail does not harm the amazing prospects for our future in any way, shape or form.

I understand Councilmember Turner’s frustration because the light rail decision was not the one he wanted. I’ve been there and done that. But council has made its decision and will reaffirm that decision in the form of a future Resolution to that effect. His continued advocacy for a position not supported by a majority of the city council will not change the outcome. Just as we agree to disagree, we respect his position on this issue; it’s time for him to respect our positions as well. Calling councilmembers “un-American” because of opposition to light rail does nothing to advance the issue and, in fact, is a violation of the City Council Guidelines for Conduct.

© 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.

My apology for not posting blogs recently. The combination of rejuvenating our kitchen with new tile and paint in addition to an extraordinarily busy council schedule left me little time to think much less do the research needed for many of my blog posts.

However, the kitchen is completed and slowly coming back to some semblance of order. For those of you who have ever tackled a major home project, you will understand the chaos and confusion that overtakes everything.

Last Tuesday, November 7, 2017 the city council had a major agenda item up for discussion – the city’s Transportation Plan 2018-2042 draft. Here is the link:  https://destinyhosted.com/glenddocs/2017/AACC/20171107_103/422_Transportation_Plan_DRAFT_v2%20Upload.pdf . At nearly 400 pages, it is a thorough and ambitious document laying out plans for the city’s transportation needs for the next 25 years. A 25 year transportation plan seems to be quite ambitious and assumptions made now may not be accurate in the future. It would seem a more definitive and realistic approach to plan now and to specifically consider priorities and funding needs for the next 5 to 10 years (out to 2023 or 2028). On page 1-7 of the plan, it is acknowledged that, “future estimates can fluctuate.

Page 1-9 lists overarching goals of the plan:

  • enhance quality of life
  • personal mobility
  • move goods
  • promote economic development
  • interconnect transportation modes
  • minimize auto travel
  • maintain the system
  • manage the system
  • improve safety
  • local transit improvements

Page 2-5 identifies the heaviest population concentrations in Glendale to be generally 43rd Avenue to 83rd Avenue and generally south of Glendale Avenue. From the MAG (Maricopa Association of Government) statistical data seniors, low income and persons without vehicles are located in south Glendale. These statistics make the case for the enhancement of mobility for that area’s residents, especially in terms of bus mobility.  On page 2-12 the plan agrees with this assumption, “Communities of concern are concentrated in the area between 43rd Avenue and 75th Avenue and Camelback Road to Peoria Avenue…focusing modes of transportation to serve these areas can meet the objectives of providing a complete transportation system to all residents.”

Page 3-1 states, “Therefore it is important that the entire network be completed to maximize the value of the overall investment.” While that may be true it is unrealistic to state without adding the verbiage  “incrementally.” On the same page it states, “These factors in tandem with increases in traffic volumes have rendered existing performance standards obsolete.” Then why are these same obsolete standards the basis of this entire plan? What standards should be used and why were they not in this plan?

 Again, on the same page, it states, “Solving street and intersection LOS (Level of Service) deficiencies will be especially challenging if even feasible in the more established areas of Glendale.” On page 2-12 it states this same area comprises “communities of concern.” There appears to be a dichotomy of thought. On the one hand “communities of concern” are identified along with the need to provide a “complete transportation system to all residents” and on the other the case is being made that it may not be “feasible” to improve these very same intersections.

Staff is asking for a major council policy decision (one of several). It hinges on the question of what is the acceptable Level of Service (LOS) for our streets and intersections.  Currently Glendale has an adopted LOS of “C.” The plan states that by 2042 the vast majority of the city’s streets will remain at an LOS of A-C. There are only 11 segments identified in the entire city as deteriorating to LOS D, E-F. Staff contends that retaining a standard LOS of C  is a matter of money. They state the cost of raising these 11 intersections to LOS C will be very costly and not worth the investment. They say that many of the Valley cities have accepted and LOS of D. Interestingly, Peoria continues to retain an LOS of C. One question: Are we in a race to the bottom with other communities? If they jump off the bridge should we do likewise?

Pages 3-50 and 3-51 raise the question of why there are no capacity improvements identified for Glendale Avenue from the Loop 101 east to 43rd Avenue or for Bethany Home Road from 83rd Avenue to 43rd Avenue? Both are directly impacted by Westgate traffic. Are we waiting until we have another Bell Road corridor? On page 3-51 other streets impacted by Westgate traffic are Camelback Road/59th to 99th; 83rd Avenue/Glendale to Northern; and 91st Avenue/Glendale to Orangewood. It would appear that these streets are immediately in need of capacity improvement to satisfy the needs of visitors to Westgate and the area as it continues to grow and to add such elements as IKEA and TopGolf.

Page 3-59 has Glendale Avenue scheduled for FY 2018. Why all the way out to Litchfield Road? Why not just to GRPSTC? Glendale Avenue to the Landfill experiences not just the volume but some of the heaviest equipment. Have we ever considered the use of concrete at that location? It is used back East extensively. Although the initial cost may be slightly higher, it is more durable and over time will require less costly maintenance.

Page 4-9 identifies 539 bus stops throughout the city:

  • 278 have a sign only
  • 30 have a sign and trash container
  • 53 have a bench and trash container
  • 178 have a shelter and trash container

Bus transit (in lieu of the fact that council has declined to pursue light rail at the present time) should be a primary priority for the city. Many of the bus stops are a disgrace. If the city truly wants to encourage more ridership then the majority of the bus stops should be attractive enough to encourage ridership. Shelters are a necessity in the Arizona heat.

Page 4-12. Obviously the ridership counts on Routes 50 and 70 demonstrate the need for more bus transit to serve the low socio-economic communities in the city. If we cannot “feasibly” remediate traffic issues in these areas then it is incumbent upon us to provide greater mass transit.

Page 4-22 discusses Commuter Rail. Glendale has never taken the lead in making this form of mass transit a priority yet over 70% of our residents work outside of Glendale. It’s been studied to death but no action has been taken.

Page 6-4 identifies the use of 4 HAWKs throughout the entire city. These are mechanisms that allow safe pedestrian crossing of major arterial streets.  There is one such device on Glendale Avenue east of 67th Avenue. These have proven themselves and it is time to identify new locations. There is no mention of such a strategy.

Page 6-9. ITS/TSM objectives are very aggressive in terms of goals and a completion date of 2022. Technology may be sexy but a large portion of the funds programmed should be reprogrammed to bus transit and other forms of mass transit. Why is this the only area planned to be completed within 5 years when all of the other transportation needs may not be met until 2042?

Page 7-9 projects an increase of 60 additional aircraft based at the airport from 2015 to 2035 (20 years) and if that is the city’s target it  is abysmal. Frankly it’s an embarrassment. The airport strategies and initiatives are fully funded in this plan. Under those circumstances, the city should be developing the East side of the airport now and then aggressively marketing it immediately. In order to succeed in its development it requires a major and substantial ad campaign after development occurs.

Page 8-16 shows an allocation of $5.08 M over 24 years for transportation education. I do not consider this activity to be a priority and would like to see these funds reduced considerably and reprogrammed.

This draft transportation plan has major implications for every Glendale resident. I urge you to take the time to read it and share your opinions on the draft with all members of the city council at:

  • jweiers@glendaleaz.com
  • ihugh@glendaleaz.com
  • rmalnar@glendaleaz.com
  • jclark@glendaleaz.com
  • ltolmachoff@glendaleaz.com
  • bturner@glendaleaz.com
  • jaldama@glendaleaz.com

There is still time for you to weigh in on this draft plan. City council will have at least one more workshop on this topic.

© 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.

Almost a year ago on November 2, 2016 I published a blog entitled “Two Glendales.” In it I drew a distinction between north Glendale and south Glendale and how the city reacted to each geographic area. Obviously, north Glendale is more affluent and educated and its residents are more likely to be internet savvy…and they vote in greater numbers than any other area.

For years the more vocal residents made sure the city was aware that certain uses were acceptable to them and they did not expect what they perceived as more onerous uses to be foisted upon them. In other words, while certain uses may be acceptable elsewhere they were not to be placed in north Glendale.

The recently proposed Goodwill slated for the northwest corner of 59th Avenue and the Loop 101 once again demonstrated this dichotomy. Now, to be fair in discussing this issue, there is an old development agreement that stipulated that ‘thrift stores’ such as Goodwill would not be allowed in this shopping center. So, it is likely that unless the city council was willing to overturn that stipulation the proposed Goodwill would not have been approved. If it had been approved by council there is every likelihood litigation would have ensued. However, Goodwill, bowing to the pressure exerted by residents pulled its application. It is now a moot point.

It should be noted that when Peter Hollingshead, the representative of the shopping center owner, appeared before the Planning Commission he stated the building has been vacant five years and his client has sought to find a tenant for the building. He added that if Goodwill were to be denied, the entire shopping center could end up in foreclosure.

The contrast between the Stonehaven application and the Goodwill application could not be more stark.  Mayor Weiers’ public statement announcing Goodwill’s withdrawal is a good example of the disparity of treatment toward citizen protest. In June of 2017 over 1,000 Yucca district residents signed a petition in opposition to the proposed amendment to the Stonehaven residential development asking for lots as small as 4,000 square feet on 136 acres of the 300+ acre site. Innumerable emails and calls were made to the mayor and council expressing the residents’ opposition. I am not going to relitigate all of the reasons for residents’ opposition but they (and I) felt that over 1,000 residents’ voices would be heard via a petition, emails and calls and that the mayor and council would do the right thing and represent them. After all, never in Glendale’s history had so many residents taken the time to become politically active. Yet it was not to be so. The amendment increasing the density and allowing 4,000 square foot lots was approved on a 5 to 2 vote of council with only Councilmember Ray Malnar joining me. For you see, he listened. While Mayor Weiers offered his various explanations for approval, he did not acknowledge the vast number of residents in opposition.

Along comes Goodwill and in the mayor’s public announcement of Goodwill’s October 17, 2017 withdrawal from the process he stated, “My office received many emails and phone calls in opposition to this project, and as an elected official, it is extremely important that I give serious consideration to the will of citizens. I thank them for making their voices heard.”

Say what? He was willing to listen to the voices of a hundred or so Arrowhead residents and give them “serious consideration.” I know I personally received no more than 100 emails expressing opposition. There may have been more than that but the numbers were nowhere near those of the Yucca residents in opposition to Stonehaven. Why didn’t the mayor show the same deference and “serious consideration” to the 1,000 voices of Yucca district residents?

Because there still are two Glendales. Not all, but some of the emails I received from north Glendale residents expressed the same theme of arrogance and condescension.  Comments such as, “we live in the 85310 zip code and Goodwill is unwelcome” or  “a Goodwill store does not fit with the surrounding area” or “Goodwill would be just north of the Citadelle Plaza, which conveys an upscale atmosphere” or  “we would rather see a Trader Joe’s not a thrift store.” Can you imagine the firestorm if a pawn shop or an auto loan shop was to try to locate there?

I check every Friday’s edition of Glendale Republic to look at the sales prices for homes in zip codes 85308 and 85305. They are quite comparable. One week 85308 will have a slightly higher median sale price and the next week 85305 will be higher than 85308.  The population counts of Cholla and Yucca districts are also comparable – somewhere between 40,000 and 45,000 residents. That’s because when the 6 districts were drawn one of the federal imperatives requires making the population count for each district as equal as possible.

All geographic areas of Glendale should be heard and their opinions respected equally and equitably. No area of Glendale is better than another area and it’s time the city stopped making decisions based on this discriminatory sentiment.

I wonder what decision council would have made if there had been no stipulation and Goodwill had proceeded with its application. We’ll never know.

© 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, October 17, 2017 the Glendale city council met in workshop. The first agenda item of five items was that of light rail. Staff presented by recapping what had been discussed to date and asked for further council direction.

There was a robust discussion by council for well over an hour and a half. I will recap each councilmember’s position in the order of workshop seating. Councilmember Ray Malnar related that the original Glendale proposition ballot had 9 items, one of which was light rail. He believes that voter support for the proposition was based on support for 8 of the 9 ballot items and that voters approved the measure and tolerated light rail on the ballot because of the other items that would bring local transportation improvements. He indicated that he could not support light rail and asked for consensus on that position.

Councilmember Bart Turner is a strong and avid advocate for light rail. He attempted to refute any councilmember comments that offered reasons not to move forward with light rail. He feels that the financial figures presented showing a GO Program deficit and the use of General Fund dollars would not be accurate in the future and that the economic development created by light rail would offset those deficits. When it came time to create consensus he clearly wanted to move forward with light rail.

Vice Mayor Ian Hugh has never made a secret of his position on light rail. He has been opposed consistently.  He asked questions of Valley Metro’s CEO, Scott Smith, about pollution and congestion. The answers provided by Mr. Smith were vague as he could not really speak to the issue of pollution and answered the congestion question by stating that in Mesa light rail has caused vehicular traffic to find alternate routes and therefore he has not seen an increase in vehicular congestion. When consensus was called for, the Vice Mayor joined Councilmember Malnar to request that the light rail issue be discontinued in Glendale.

Mayor Weiers Indicated that at one time he had supported light rail as he believed that local connections in the form of trolleys, etc., would be able to connect with the end of the light rail line. However, having reviewed the financial forecast of dollar needs for light rail, he was reluctant to commit future dollars to light rail. He feels that Glendale is finally in a healthy financial position and does not want to jeopardize that success by committing future dollars that the city may not be in a position to afford.

Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff was clearly torn and on the fence. At one time she had indicated that her support of light rail would hinge on its ability to cross over Grand Avenue. Clearly, the dollars needed to accomplish that were astronomical and frankly unaffordable for Glendale. She did not want to dismiss light rail completely and asked that a decision by council be made after an upcoming council workshop on transportation in Glendale.  There was no support for delaying a decision on the issue. When the call for consensus on ceasing pursuit of light rail in Glendale I, quite honestly, did not see her indicate her position in support for or in opposition to light rail.

Councilmember Jamie Aldama, shared the same position as Councilmember Turner and was a strong advocate for light rail. He believes that light rail will spur downtown economic development. As the Mayor noted, Councimember Aldama was comfortable with his position on the issue as it did not impact LaMar Avenue, located one block south of Glendale Avenue and at one time was considered as a possible location for the light rail line. When it came time for consensus, Councilmember Aldama joined Councilmember Turner in continued support of light rail.

As last in line, I said that I was not ready to sacrifice Go Programming dollars and General Fund resources to pay for light rail. We have immediate needs that can be satisfied by releasing light rail dollars to other transportation needs. When it came time for consensus I joined Mayor Weiers, Vice Mayor Hugh, and Councilmember Malnar in giving direction that council would no longer pursue light rail in Glendale.

On a 4 to 2 consensus with 1 unclear, city council has finally made a decision. Light rail will not come to Glendale…at least not anytime in the next 10 years. Light rail is dead.

© 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, October 17, 2017 the city council will once again take up the issue of light rail in Glendale. The entire city council received the following email from former Councilmember Yvonne Knaack. I think it is a good starting point for discussion. Here is her email in full as it is a public record having been sent to the entire council:

“Dear Mayor and Councilmembers, Please keep the discussion going on the future of light rail in Glendale. We need more definitive projections of cost before a final decision is made. I would hope that your would consider the advancement of light rail to at least a transition point of say 52nd Ave so that the mile stretch from 43rd Ave to 51st Ave can have the potential of development that is needed to revitalize that area of town. I believe there are developers who are just waiting to see if we will have light rail before they commit to bringing investment dollars to Glendale. I have concerns, like many of you, about the cost and negatives of light rail but know that a lot of these concerns can be mitigated. Light rail is infrastructure and more and more people will be using public transportation in the future. The connectivity of our regional transportation system is critical. Glendale has paid in millions of dollars and we don’t want to lose that money. We can’t use it for anything else so let’s find a way to get light rail done. The residents of Glendale voted for the light rail and have paid the taxes to bring it to Glendale. Please don’t give our future transportation to Phoenix and the East Valley. Sincerely, Yvonne Knaack”

Ms. Knaack states, “We need more definitive projections of cost before a final decision is made.” As part of our council information packet preparatory to our Tuesday discussion, one of the items offered is Preliminary Cost Estimates GO Program Analysis.

Again, some history of the GO Program is required. In 2001 Glendale voters approved Proposition 402 levying a half-cent (.5%) sales tax for the sole and exclusive purpose of improving transportation systems in Glendale. The following year, 2002, the Citizens’ Transportation Oversight Commission (CTOC) was established to ensure that the sales tax collected from Proposition 402 was applied properly. CTOC’s mission is to review and recommend action to city council to make sure that the Long Range Transportation Program is always financially balanced, i.e., it spends no more than is collected in tax. Other transportation projects in the GO Program include, but are not limited to, the Northern Parkway Corridor, improvement to the 59th Avenue corridor, bus pullouts, pavement management, neighborhood traffic mitigation and existing transit (bus service) operations.

Back to the Cost Estimates. Below is the information provided by staff with regard to the use of GO Program funds. The only things sure in life are “death and taxes.” The information below is factual and is based upon the best estimates of staff.

The total of the Capital Cost is the major variable. Something could blow up to make this estimate even higher, especially if the end of the line were to be at 61st Avenue, crossing Grand Avenue. The breakdown of funding sources is not a variable:

  • Federal – 58%
  • Regional – 8% (is fixed at $72.6 million)
  • Glendale – 13%
  • Phoenix – 21%

Based upon the estimated costs Glendale’s share of Capital Costs varies from a low of $32.4 million if light rail ends at 43rd Avenue and Glendale Avenue to a high of $156.6 million if light rail ends at 61st Avenue and Glenn Drive. Glendale’s annual operating and maintenance costs range from $1.6 M (ending at 43rd Avenue) to $5.7 M (ending at 61st Avenue).

Another area to consider is the projected GO Program’s deficit if light rail ends anywhere between 55th and Glenn Drive and 61st and Glenn Drive. The projected deficit to be absorbed by the GO Program for  Glendale’s Capital Costs varies from $0.8 M to $50.8 M. Glendale’s annual O&M deficit, also funded by the GO Program, varies from $0.4 M to $2.8 M (again dependent on where the line ends). The problem is those deficits have to be made up from somewhere and the only source would be Glendale’s General Fund.

The most significant questions become obvious. If light rail’s O&M and Capital Costs cannot be covered by the GO Program then it must take revenue from the General Fund. The General Fund pays for everything within the city from employee pay to funding such departments as Police and Fire or Parks and Recreation (our recreation programs and libraries). Even if bonding were to be used the repayment for those bonds comes from the General Fund. The question becomes are you willing to allocate less available money to various departments and needs within our city in order to cover the Capital Cost of constructing light rail as well as its annual O&M expenses?

Another equally valid question is that if there are no future surplus funds in the Go Program due to light rail funding of Capital Costs and O&M Costs are you willing to have less GO revenue for its other mandates, such as pavement management or the bus system?

There is yet another issue to consider. The Regional funding of $72.6 M is not assured. Since the regional funding sunsets in about 8 years, there is no assurance that voters will renew this funding source when it comes time to vote upon it. Therefore Valley Metro has announced to all participants that they must pay the regional share of $72.6 M up front and the participants will be reimbursed for that amount if and when the regional funding is again approved by voters. There is always the possibility that in paying the Regional funding Glendale may never be reimbursed for $72.6 M if the renewal funding fails at the ballot box. Will Glendale lose the $72.6 in regional funding if it does not participate in light rail, as Ms. Knaack suggests? Most likely, yes. But in order to get that $72.6 in regional funding are you willing to take the chance that Glendale will be reimbursed? Are you willing to use General Fund dollars at the detriment of other city departments and needs just to get that $72.6 million?

Former Councilmember Knaack goes on to say, “I believe there are developers who are just waiting to see if we will have light rail before they commit to bringing investment dollars to Glendale.” Let’s talk about those investment dollars. According to an Excel presentation on current development to-date adjacent to and surrounding existent light rail provided by Valley Metro to me several months ago, anywhere from an estimated 3% to 30% of the investment that occurs along a light rail route is public money (governmental funding). In addition it is quite likely that the incentive funding provided by the city to attract private development would have, once again, to compete with other General Fund priorities. Question: Do you want to divert General Funds to incentivize development along a light rail line?

What kind of investment is typical along a light rail line? Once again, based on information provided by Valley Metro, secondary development tends to be the double digit percentage addition of multi-family (apartments) and the decline of retail (percentage is variable from single digit decline to double digit decline). Question, are you willing to trade downtown retail locations for apartments?

I think these questions are important and I want to give you an opportunity to weigh in so I am putting up a new poll to the left of this column. I hope you will take the time to answer the poll questions.

Lastly, is the issue of technological advancement. New technology is being developed exponentially. I have no crystal ball but what future technological advances will make light rail and bus service obsolete? And how quickly can it happen? As an example, we are already beginning to see prototypes of flying commuter cars. What does the technological future hold in terms of mass transit vehicles, their capacities and their fuel sources? Should we consider this issue when deciding whether to develop light rail right now?

My final comment is this: former Councilmember Knaack obviously supports light rail but it will not affect her business located on Glendale Avenue because the proposed route runs one block to the north on Glenn Drive. My final question is would she still be supportive of light rail if it were proposed for Glendale Avenue and meant disruption of her business for a year…or two…or three? I think not. It is one thing to support an issue that doesn’t directly impact your bottom line but it is distinctly another when it affects your very livelihood.  

© 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.

At the Tuesday, October 10, 2017 city council voting meeting the last agenda item was consideration of council authorization to enter into the Amended and Restated Mixed-Use Development and Settlement Agreement with the New Westgate.

A little history is in order. Steve Ellman was the original developer of Westgate in 2002. He promised to built out at 2 million square feet of office, retail and residential. That never occurred. He and the City were the original developers of the city-funded Gila River Arena, home today to the Arizona Coyotes. Ellman’s promises never came to pass and in 2009 he declared bankruptcy for Westgate. The bank sold Westgate to two investors groups, Credit Suisse and IStar. During Westgate’s 15 history the original development agreements were amended numerous times until what remained was spaghetti of at least 20 various agreements. Oft times these agreements were unclear, confusing and contradictory.

In the Spring of 2017 New Westgate and the City entered negotiation to resolve the requirements of these 20 various agreements. Major issues to be resolved included parking stipulations for the area. After months of negotiation a final agreement was produced and it was that agreement that came before council for authorization. The entire council approved the agreement after having been briefed in a series of executive sessions.

The most important result of this amended agreement is that all previous documents are now null and void. This action has opened the door to the mutual goal of allowing every inch of Westgate (except for the mutually designated parking areas) to be developed. Both entities envision a completed, robust and vibrant Westgate. This agreement opens the door for that vision. The City and New Westgate will work together as partners to ensure this outcome.

On another note I am sharing the city’s press release issued this week regarding the formation of a Business Subcommittee:

GLENDALE LOOKS TO LOCAL BUSINESSES FOR ADVICE ON CUTTING RED TAPE SURROUNDING REGULATORY PROCESSES AND CODES

Business Leaders Needed to Serve on Temporary Subcommittee GLENDALE, Ariz.

The Glendale City Council is in the process of recruiting community business representatives to serve on a temporary (one-year) subcommittee for the exclusive purpose of reviewing and making recommendations that would simplify and streamline city processes related to regulatory codes, business licensing, planning, and development. ‘The committee will be charged with making recommendations to the City Council regarding potential policy revisions and other improvements that Glendale can implement that will foster a more business-friendly environment that makes it easier for businesses to start and grow in our community,’ said Sam McAllen, Glendale Director of Development Services.

In addition to making Glendale even more business friendly, the goal of the new City Council’s business leader subcommittee is to enhance Glendale’s reputation for supporting job attraction, creation and retention. Subcommittee members will collaborate with City Councilmembers and other business leaders gathering information, sharing concerns, and making recommendations to improve the way Glendale works to support businesses.

In an effort to gather wide-ranging business viewpoints, the temporary Business Council Committee will be comprised of three City Councilmembers; one representative of a Glendale small business (1 to 24 employee); one representative of a Glendale medium sized business (25-99 employees); one representative of a large business (100+ employees); one member representing the viewpoint of design professionals such as an architect or engineer; one representative of commercial developers; one representative of residential developers. Additionally, at least one of the representatives from the business community must be from a women-owned business and one from a minority-owned business. The temporary Business Council Committee will act as an advisory body to the Mayor and City Council by making recommendations on ways to make Glendale even more business friendly. Interested persons can complete an on-line application at https://www.glendaleaz.com/boardsandcommissions/CityCouncilandBusinessLeaders.cfm .” I urge all Glendale business owners, large, medium and small to join city council in its effort to make Glendale even more business friendly.

© 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.

I thought it was only mainstream media that indulged in fake news…but now it looks like our local paper has joined the parade. Well, perhaps it’s not fake news but the headline and article are certainly misleading. The headline reads, Heroes Regional Park Library costs rising. It implies that the West Branch Library costs are too expensive to merit its construction. Here is the link: http://www.glendalestar.com/news/article_61165fb2-a7c2-11e7-b123-9fc4a27d9987.html .

The initial estimate for construction of the West Branch library has been elusive from the start. The $2.7 million dollar figure used by Director Erik Strunk in 2016 was no more than an educated guesstimate as no design work had been done when this item came before city council in a May 5, 2016 workshop. Here is the link: https://www.glendaleaz.com/clerk/agendasandminutes/documents/2016/0405/Minutes.pdf .

The original estimate did not include technology or underground infrastructure costs. The increase now accounts for those costs.

While it is entirely appropriate to offer an explanation of why construction costs for the West Branch library have increased by over a million dollars, the tone of the article seems to question why an increase is merited for this library branch. It’s almost as if the underlying question is the worthiness of such an increase in our part of town. The implication being do we deserve it?

Perhaps a little history is in order. In April of 1997, twenty years ago, staff brought forward an estimated cost to build the Foothills Library branch of $5.1 million. A year later, in the city’s Fiscal Year 1998-99 Budget book the cost had risen to $6.3 million, an increase of $1.2 million. There was no Glendale Star article questioning that increase…after all, it was for the Arrowhead area, you know. Also keep in mind, the Foothills Library branch at $6.3 million was in dollars of twenty years ago. Obviously, inflation and the rising cost of everything should be considered when considering the cost estimate for the West Branch library.

In Fiscal Year 2008-09 nearly $7 million was budgeted for the West Branch library. That amount was budgeted after a majority of council in Fiscal Year 2006 had diverted $6 million for the library to the Public Safety Training Center.

Then there is the issue raised of modular versus a brick and mortar building. Previously Director Strunk indicated that the costs of either modular or brick and mortar were comparable. Ever since west area Glendale residents heard of the possible modular building they have been vehemently opposed. They were insulted that the city thought so little of them that all they deserved was a temporary modular building. They insisted on brick and mortar. They conveyed this sentiment to staff at every opportunity.

It’s also important to note that recently I received a call from a Glendale resident who asked to remain anonymous, as he worked in the modular building industry for over 30 years. If anyone should know about modular buildings it would be this person. He wanted me to know how pleased he was, after viewing a recent council workshop discussion on the issue, that the city was pursuing brick and mortar construction. He said that modular constructed buildings simply do not last beyond about 7 to 8 years, at which time they begin to deteriorate. He felt that something as important as a city library merited hard construction and that it would be a structure lasting far longer than anything in the modular industry. He also said that special construction of a modular designed to be expandable increased ordinary modular construction costs considerably.

It is also instructive to include some of the discussion that occurred at the April 5, 2016 council workshop. Here are just two excerpts of note:

“Councilmember Aldama asked if it would be the intent to build onto this facility in the future.

Mr. Strunk said they asked this project to be designed to allow future expansion and growth.  The design will accommodate that growth.  He explained the vision for this project is a 33,500 square foot library.

Councilmember Aldama asked if the initial project was considered Phase 1 and if a funding mechanism would be put in place to ensure completion of this project.

Mr. Strunk said he would await Council direction on that issue, but park facilities have been phased in before.”

And this, “Councilmember Malnar said the $2.7 million was being taken away from providing additional services at other Glendale libraries.  He asked if the city was losing more than they were gaining by using those funds to build another library.

Mr. Strunk said the $2.7 million is development impact fee money was specifically collected for a library.  They can be used to construct, equip, build and open a new library.  They cannot be used for operating funds. “

The topic concluded with the following, “Mayor Weiers said there is a consensus to continue on with this project. Mr. Strunk asked if consensus meant to commence design work on the Heroes Park concept. Mayor Weiers said that is the next step.”

Let’s acknowledge that the West Branch library has been in the city’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) since 1998…going on twenty years. Let’s also acknowledge that during the 20 year reign of the previous mayor it was never destined to be built. Roadblocks were manufactured at every turn to prevent its construction.

It’s time for everyone, including the Glendale Star, to stop sniveling about a major infrastructure project, the West Branch library, and the worthiness of its construction in west Glendale. Instead, it’s time to rejoice in the fact that due to its economic recovery, the city has finally made good on a twenty year old promise…long overdue.

© 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.

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.

The 4th floor of City Hall is closed today, September 14th and Friday, September 15th. Staff has been relocated to other city facilities and senior staff and councilmembers’ meetings are off-site. This is a sole occurrence as the A/C for the 4th floor is being repaired.  Everything will return to normal on Monday.

My last blog was about what this councilmember’s activities consist. As a follow up I thought I’d share just two recent activities. I thought I’d flesh out just what these various events are about.

I received a call from a constituent, Mark Werber, inviting me to tour his business located in my district. Mr. Werber owns 3 Tots Unlimited facilities in Glendale and the one I toured is at 8311 W. Glendale Avenue. I didn’t know quite what to expect but I was pleasantly impressed. His facility is clean. Have you ever entered a facility and you could smell urine or something else equally unpleasant? Not so here. It was bright and warm feeling with virtually every wall covered with child-oriented artwork.

At any time there will be approximately 120 to 150 little ones. My favorite was the baby, six-week old and older unit. In every room that I entered the children were engaged in meaningful activities. The kitchen facility was spotless and the food being prepared for lunch was fresh and wholesome.

The little ones are so innocent and unbiased.  They are color blind. It’s a joy to spend time with them. They are curious about everything and they are funny to watch and to talk to. It’s a shame that as they get older the mantle of that child-like innocence is replaced by meaner attitudes.

Although the care provided is primarily for preschool there is also space for after school care for kids from 6 to 12. They can do homework, play games and get an afterschool snack. I spent about an hour touring and asking questions. I was impressed with the facility and would recommend it to the parents of the Yucca district looking for a safe and well run facility for their children.

As an aside, I met an old friend who now manages the facility – Bob Huffman’s granddaughter. Many of you probably don’t remember Bob Huffman. He was a Glendale councilmember when I took office back in 1992. Bob was always a champion for the underserved people of Glendale and well respected by all. The most ironic was that when Bob ran for councilmember for his last time against former Councilmember Goulette, he passed away during the campaign. Yet, even deceased he still won the election. Goulette was second in vote total and ended up with Bob’s seat.

Another event I attended recently was a ribbon cutting event in my district. Union Home Mortgage has established a branch office in Westgate. The firm has been around for 18 years and has branches throughout Arizona but this is their first branch in Glendale. I had the opportunity to meet Roseanna Diaz , Manager and Robert Fettier (sp??), Regional Sales Manager. One of my neighbors and a constituent, Fortunato Beltran, is a loan officer for the company and we had an opportunity to visit for awhile.

The Mayor and I attended and Councilmember Aldama arrived a bit later. Due to a previous commitment the Mayor spoke briefly. I then took up the torch and publicly welcomed Union Home Mortgage to our community representing Glendale. The message was Glendale and especially the Yucca district is booming. New businesses are locating in the Yucca district continually.

Lastly, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra will be at Glendale’s Gila River Arena in early December, 2017. I have FREE tickets to give away for the event. In order to participate for the drawing for the free tickets you must subscribe to my weekly Friday ENews Bulletin. Information for the drawing will be published in the bulletin every Friday in November. You must be a Yucca district resident to be eligible. You must be 18 years of age or older. Tickets are not for resale. Get the latest information about what’s happening in the Yucca District and the city of Glendale by visiting the Yucca Weekly Update page. Sign up to receive these newsletters via e-mail. Read more . Please go to this site to subscribe: https://www.glendaleaz.com/yucca/index.cfmGet the Yucca Weekly Update e-mail Bulletin.

© 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.

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