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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

On September 9, 2014 at its regular council meeting the Glendale City Council approved a new name for its arena. It will now be known as the Gila River Arena. The following day there was a press conference to announce the name change. Anthony LeBlanc, one of the Coyotes’ owners was there; Gregory Mendoza, Governor of the Tribe was there; Jan Brewer, our state Governor was there; and Jerry Weiers, Mayor of Glendale was there.  Guess who wasn’t there? Our infamous “gang of four,” Councilmembers Alvarez, Sherwood, Hugh and Chavira. It’s perfectly understandable. After all, their allegiance is to the Tohono O’odham Nation. Alvarez was also the lone negative vote on the name change to Gila River. Instead she stubbornly questioned staff on the necessity of bringing the name change before council for ratification.  It appeared as if she questioned the action long enough and hard enough she could make the need for a council vote disappear. Didn’t happen. Apparently Norma’s love for minorities does not extend to the Gila River Community.

However, it’s not so strange a move. Gila River has been a long time partner of the Arizona Coyotes hosting the Gila River Club within the arena proper. If I were the Gila River I would be secretly smug and taking enormous satisfaction in the fact that their name will be prominently displayed across the street from their duplicitous sister tribe, the Tohono O’odham’s new casino.

Here’s a reminder that today, Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 2:30 PM Eastern time, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will have a legislative hearing on Senate bill 2670, Keep the Promise Act of 2014, introduced by Senators McCain and Flake. It can be viewed online live.  Panel One of the hearing will have Governor Mendoza of the Gila River Indian Community, Ned Norris Jr., Chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation, Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers and Glendale Councilmember Gary Sherwood. It should prove interesting as 2 champions of the casino face off against 2 opponents of the casino. Hopefully, the bill will move out of committee paving the way for a full senate vote.

Considering the fact that Glendale did not recoup its $14,002,055 (not a full fiscal year, prorated for 11 months) paid for the management fee and capital improvement fund and that you can add another $12 million for the arena construction debt, you would think Alvarez would welcome the new Gila River name and the 20% of the fee paid by Gila River to IceArizona. It will offset the approximately $20 million in arena costs, not by much, but every penny is welcome. A lot of Glendale’s residents are anxiously awaiting the audit of IceArizona’s budget and hope it is made public and put on the city’s website. If not, don’t be surprised if there are a lot of FOIA requests for a copy of the audit.

There was no council workshop on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 because there was not a quorum. How many of Glendale’s council is attending the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs legislative hearing today? I guess we’ll find out.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The 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 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 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.

photo aOn September 12, 2014 two political action committees, No More Bad Deals for Glendale and Respect the Promise turned in approximately 15,000 petition signatures collected in 28 days for each of two referendum petitions. These petitions seek to overturn the city council votes of August 12, 2014 approving a settlement agreement with the Tohono O’odham and supporting the TO’s reservation status by requesting an election.

The approximately 15,000 petition signatures turned in is greater than the 10,914 Glendale citizens who exercised their right to vote in the recent Primary Election. That’s disconcerting. You would think that the number of petition signatures collected would send a strong message to this city council that Glendale residents want to weigh in on this issue by virtue of an election.

The Glendale City Clerk has 20 business days to do something, anything with the petitions before she turns them over to the Secretary of State. She is not an independent agent. She will be told what to do. Now it gets interesting. Wanna-be mayor, Councilmember Gary Sherwood was in attendance for the delivery of the petitions to the City Clerk. He could be heard muttering, the council votes of August 12th are not referable and these petitions are no more than toilet paper. You can be sure the “gang of four” (Sherwood, Alvarez, Hugh and Chavira) as the majority on council will give direction to the City Manager and City Attorney to reject these petitions. The City Attorney and his minions are burning the midnight oil to find Arizona case law that supports the city’s act of rejection. What does “not referable” mean? The city will take the position that the council votes were not legislation per se. Therefore the petitions which seek to refer those council actions to Glendale residents are not valid and thereby rejected by the city. Their position will be that those council votes were not legislative action and only legislation can be referred to the voters.

Make no mistake. Both groups, No More Bad Deals for Glendale and Respect the Promise are prepared to go to the legal mat on this issue of referability. If and when the city rejects the petitions on those grounds expect both groups to file suit. Isn’t it ironic that Alvarez and her merry band of pro casino councilmembers have complained bitterly about the money spent by the city on legal action when its position was in opposition to the casino and reservation? Will they decide not to spend money to defend the city’s position of petition rejection now that the city supports the casino and reservation? I guess the spending of taxpayer money on legal action depends on whose ox is being gored.

Alvarez, nearly every time she casts a “no” vote on a major city issue, can be heard pontificating that it is an issue upon which Glendale residents should vote. This time she has been amazingly silent in advocating that view when it comes to the casino and reservation. What, Norma, when it’s an issue you personally do not like it merits a vote of the people but when it is an issue that you do like, forget the people?

For those of you following this saga, this Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 2:30 PM, Eastern time (11:30 AM in Arizona) the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold a legislative hearing on Senate Bill 2670, Keep the Promise Act of 2014, introduced by Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake. Here is the link to the site where it can be viewed live, online:  http://www.indian.senate.gov/hearing/legislative-hearing-s-2670-keep-promise-act-2014 . If this link doesn’t work please copy and paste the link into your browser.

It appears that the bill could be marked up and passed out of committee for a full Senate vote. If that is the case and the bill is approved in the Senate there would be a House and Senate Conference Committee meeting to make sure the House version and Senate version of the bill are in agreement. It would then go to the President to sign or veto. If the bill were to be successful the Tohono O’odham, despite their ground breaking, would not be able to build a casino in Glendale or any other portion of the Phoenix Metro area.

On another note, to date the Attorney General’s Office is still investigating the alleged Open Meeting Law violation by Councilmembers Sherwood, Knaack, Martinez and Chavira. If the complaint had no merit we would have received that opinion by now. The fact that it is taking so long would lead one to assume that there is merit to the allegations. If that turns out to be the case, look for some kind of major sanction against Councilmember Sherwood and perhaps a minor sanction for the three others. I wouldn’t be surprised if the AG’s Office required another vote on the original IceArizona/City of Glendale Management Agreement. This, too, could prove interesting dependent upon which candidates win council seats at the General Election in November.

It looks like Councilmember Hugh has met with Lauren Tomachoff and Bart Turner. Tolmachoff is a candidate for the Cholla district seat and Turner is a candidate for the Barrel district seat. It seems Councilmember Hugh is busy trying to build his own coalition. It appears that he fancies a run against current Mayor Jerry Weiers. Hey, Jerry, watch out! It looks like they are starting to line up for a run against you…Sherwood and now, Ian Hugh. It wouldn’t be too surprising to see Councilmember Knaack (retiring in January, 2015) decide on a run for mayor. Being part of a clearly dysfunctional council is no fun but perhaps becoming mayor is.

A lot is riding on this Attorney General Office’s investigation. It could kill any mayoral ambitions of both Sherwood and Knaack. It’s rather difficult to win the support of the Glendale electorate if you have been found to have violated the law. Just when you thought Glendale’s problems were cooling down, they’ve heated up again. As President Truman once said, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” I wonder if the Glendale city council loves the kitchen heat now.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The 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 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 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.

20140812_193537The August 12, 2014 meeting of the Glendale City Council was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. You know the inevitable outcome; you know it will be extremely painful; but you are utterly powerless to stop it. All you can do is watch it unfold. This is the first council meeting I attended since leaving office over a year and a half ago. People have been telling me for months that the animosity among councilmembers was evident. I thought OK, there were times when our council meetings were not happy affairs. Little did I know that the atmosphere reeked of councilmember nastiness and disrespect. It was palpable fueled by the absolute arrogance of the council majority (Sherwood, Hugh, Alvarez and Chavira). The meeting was not unusual as council sped through proclamations and the consent agenda. The last two items were casino related. One was council approval of the draft agreement between the Tohono O’odham and Glendale. The other was the first official groveling of the city council with a resolution supporting the construction of the casino.  All hell broke loose. The draft agreement was introduced and recited by Michael Bailey, Glendale’s City Attorney. Mayor Weiers opened the public comment portion. There were 22 speakers to the item. 15 citizens spoke in opposition to the draft agreement and 7 spoke in favor of the draft agreement. The speakers’ comments in opposition to the proposed casino revolved around these general themes: casinos produce greater crime in the adjacent area; they create a greater rate of gambling addiction and subsequent bankruptcies and home foreclosures. The two major themes were comments about the rush to get this agreement done and the fact that it simply wasn’t a good deal for Glendale. There were some memorable comments to share (my apology if I butcher someone’s name). John Burnell of the Sahuaro district related that a family member, as a gambling addict, maxxed out credit cards and lied to keep it secret. The husband had to take two jobs and it took him over two years to get the family’s finances back on track. Barbara Roberts acknowledged the casino job creation but said, “Yes, we need jobs but what kind of jobs?” Timothy Green of Goodyear said, “Casinos only succeed on the backs of losers.” A rather profound statement. Ron Kolb, Ocotillo district said, “The West Side will never be the same.” Dr. Ron Rockwell, pastor of a Yucca district church very near the casino site, said, “You no longer care about the moral and spiritual culture of this community.” Randy Miller, candidate for the Barrel district council seat, called out Councilmember Alvarez and her continual homage about the importance of listening to the people…yeah, Norma, right. It seems to be a principle of hers only when convenient. Those speakers in support of the casino were arrogant and boastful. John Mendlelberg, former Mayor of Surprise, said, “You must concede.” Reverend Maupin of Phoenix, said, “You lost the war. You should be grateful for whatever you are getting.” He accused Councilmember Martinez of being a liar and a racist. Robert Quizneros of the Ocotillo district complained about the audacity of “the other side’s hiring of attorneys and lobbyists” to defeat the casino. A special “shout out” to Lauren Tolmachoff, candidate for the Cholla district council seat. It appears that she has become a one-trick pony as she reiterated her support for the casino in the name of jobs. Hey, Lauren, don’t you know about “job displacement?” Several pro-casino speakers kept referring to, “it’s their (TO) land.” Well, yes it is after a purchase kept secret for 7 years and its newly minted designation as a reservation. It’s all about a reservation WITHIN Glendale. I defy anyone to identify any city in the State of Arizona that has a reservation within its boundaries. Then it was time for the Councilmembers to speak prior to their vote. Alvarez’ remarks were priceless in their ignorance. She made memorable comments such as, “what’s the difference between a lottery ticket and a casino?” Or, “We have casinos in Scottsdale.” Or, “They (Tohono O’odham) are going to provide a service.” That one caused audible audience derision.  And lastly, “Make us responsible for what we’re doing.” Trust me, we will.   Councilmember Sherwood, self-proclaimed negotiator and leader, was strangely silent all evening except for his monologue prior to his affirmative vote. His comments deserve a special blog and its coming. Councilmember Martinez offered a series of amendments to the draft and that’s when all hell broke loose. Councilmembers Alvarez and Chavira, repeatedly and often, yelled out while Councilmember Martinez was trying to speak, “Call for the question!” Their obvious intent was to silence Councilmember Martinez’ efforts. What were they afraid of? They knew they had the votes to defeat any amendment. Chavira was literally in a rage because of Martinez’ efforts. He lept out of his seat and it looked as if he was about to confront Mayor Weiers physically. Wow, Sammy. Finally we see the true persona and your reaction when crossed and you don’t get your way. The lack of control he exhibited demonstrated that he is unfit to serve as a councilmember and cannot conduct himself in a manner required by the office he holds. Martinez offered 4 amendments: raising the TO payment to $20 million or 3% of the Class III net; offsite infrastructure costs to be paid by the TO up front; a waiver of sovereign immunity especially with regard to fraud and other bad acts; and payments to continue beyond 2026. Each was rejected. The vote was as everyone expected. The majority of 4 – Sherwood, Alvarez, Hugh and Chavira voting to approve the agreement and Weiers, Martinez and Knaack voting against. What was unexpected to the degree it manifested itself, was the vituperativeness and nastiness. At one point a citizen called Martinez a liar and a racist. Mayor Weiers should have stopped the speaker immediately and requested a police officer escort the person from the building. There is no doubt that Mayor Weiers lost control of the meeting during the first casino agenda item. His failure fueled the majority’s contempt and rage. Kudos go to Bonnie Steiger, a Glendale resident and faithful attendee at council meetings for 28 years. She is everyone’s Grandmother. She was so disgusted with council’s behavior that she said their lack of respect for the very office they hold merited the removal of all of them. Lastly, I offer two interesting items for your attention. One is the Coyotes publicly announced today that they had accepted a deal for arena naming rights. Are you ready for this? It will be called the Gila River Arena. Hooray for the Gila River. Although it may require Glendale approval, Glendale may only reject for very narrow reasons and the new naming rights do not fit the criteria. Can you say embarrassing, Glendale?? Or perhaps the majority of 4 will figure out a way to kill the deal. The second item is that just before 5 PM, yesterday, August 12, 2014 a group filed paperwork with the Glendale City Clerk’s office for a Political Action Committee for the purpose of recalling Councilmember Gary Sherwood. Things are heating up in Glendale. As I said at the beginning of this blog, this meeting was definitely a train wreck but the pain is yet to be borne by all of the people of Glendale. © Joyce Clark, 2014 FAIR USE NOTICE This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The 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 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 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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Anthony LeBlanc

I’ve always wondered about the NHL’s Board of Governors. Who are they? Where do they meet? What do they do? And how do they do it? Their mantle is one of secrecy. Google and you may, or may not, be able to come up with a list of all of the members. I did just that and pieced together a list of current Governors and Alternates. I offer my list at the end of this article. If I have erred, I hope readers will advise me so that I can correct the list.

Recently, I reached out to Rich Nairn, VP of Communications, with my questions. He arranged an opportunity to visit with Anthony LeBlanc, one of the Arizona Coyotes Alternates to the Board of Governors. I want to thank Mr. LeBlanc for graciously giving of his time amid a very busy schedule and patiently answering my questions. It was a good discussion and I learned a great deal.

There are 30 NHL teams. All have different ownership situations and the Arizona Coyotes are no different. In the Coyotes case they have 9 owners.  Who is the team’s Governor or Alternates on the Board of Governors? How were they chosen? There was never a formal vote by the team’s owners. George Gosbee is the largest equity partner and was charged with securing the rest of the equity partners and it was generally understood and accepted by all that he would be Governor. There are three alternates. They are Anthony LeBlanc, Craig Stewart, and Don Maloney. All have essential roles with the team. Again, there was no formal vote by the Board of Directors. These men assumed their positions because of the responsibilities they bear.

The Board of Governors meets three times a year. They typically meet in New York City in September; in Pebble Beach, California (or some other warm clime) in December; and in New York City again in June. If every team’s full compliment were to attend the same meeting there would be 123 Governors and Alternates representing the 30 teams. Some teams have as few as a Governor and 1 alternate but many have a Governor and 4 or 5 Alternates.

Since August of 2013 when the team was acquired by IceArizona, Gosbee as Coyotes Governor and two of the three Alternates, LeBlanc and Stuart, have attended the September 2013 meeting, the December 2013 meeting, and the June 2014 meeting. Due to the demands of his schedule Don Maloney attended one meeting. I asked LeBlanc if there were ever any emergency meetings of the Board of Governors. He said they do occur from time to time and used the example of the Board’s ratification of the purchase of the Coyotes by IceArizona. Since he has been attending board meetings no such special or emergency meeting has been necessary.

I also asked if any members of the Coyotes salaried management team attended in order to staff the Governor and Alternates. The answer was “no.” I asked if family members were usually taken on these trips. The answer again was “no.” Do the players’ union representatives or referees’ union representatives ever attend? Mr. LeBlanc indicated that he had not seen that, but that did not mean it didn’t happen. No one participates telephonically. If a Governor cannot attend, the team’s Alternates are charged with representing the team’s interests.

So how do these meetings work? They usually last one day in New York City and two days in a warmer location like Pebble Beach. These meetings are for the purpose of determining policy for the league. The meetings are formal with a written agenda. The agenda is prepared and distributed several weeks in advance giving each Governor and the team’s Board of Directors time to prepare. In the case of the Coyotes their Board of Director meetings are quarterly and usually occur just before the Board of Governors meeting. That gives the owners time to discuss the items on the agenda and to come to consensus on the position they want their Governor to take. As a side note, LeBlanc shared that he has informal, telephonic Coyotes Board of Directors meetings every Friday morning with as many owners participating as are available.

The Board of Governors meetings have become formal due to Bettman’s leadership. The NHL administrative staff or others make presentations and/or reports on agenda items. There can, and often is, discussion by the owners after each presentation. Robert’s Rules of Order are followed with recognition of each speaker. Each agenda item is decided by a roll call vote. Minutes are taken and distributed to each of the Governors. The meeting agendas are created by Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner, and his staff. Bettman was the very first NHL Commissioner and has been at the helm since 1993, a period of 21 years. Bettman does not have a vote but as NHL Commissioner he often controls the flow of the meeting and requires that all Governors and Alternates defer to him with regard to press releases about any and all important decisions that flow from a Governors’ meeting. All of the Board of Governors meetings’ content remains confidential unless a public policy statement issued.

I asked Anthony if there are any opportunities for the Governors and Alternates to socialize with one another at these meetings. In the days before the Gary Bettman era the meetings had the flavor of a good ole boys meeting. Today social opportunities arise at luncheons or dinners. Breaking bread together gives the Governors and Alternates time to talk shop, share stories about their teams and renew acquaintances. It also can provide an opportunity for a Governor to gather support (or opposition) on an agenda item.

The Governors meetings are similar to what is experienced at any Executive Session of a corporate Board of Directors meeting or city council meeting. All contain the same elements; formal agendas, presentations, discussion and vote on policy items with confidentiality required. Socializations occur outside the meeting room.

Again, I want to express my thanks to Anthony LeBlanc for allowing me to take a peek into the world of the NHL’s Board of Governors meetings. He provided a rare glimpse into a world we hear very little about.

The National Hockey League Board of Governors

Chairman of the Board: Jeremy M. Jacobs

  • Anaheim Ducks
  • Governor:                         Henry Samueli
  • Alternate Governor:        Susan Samueli
  • Alternate Governor:        Michael Schulman
  • Alternate Governor:        Tim Ryan
  • Alternate Governor:        Bob Murray
  • Boston Bruins
  • Governor:                        Jeremy M. Jacobs
  • Alternate Governor:       Charles Jacobs
  • Alternate Governor:       Jeremy M. Jacobs Jr.
  • Alternate Governor:       Louis Jacobs
  • Alternate Governor:       Jarry J. Sinden
  • Alternate Governor:       Cam Neely
  • Alternate Governor:       Peter Chiarelli
  •  
  • Buffalo Sabres
  • Governor:                        Terry Pegula
  • Alternate Governor:        TedBlack
  • Alternate Governor:        Darcy Regier
  • Alternate Governor:        Ken Sawyer
  • Alternate Governor:        Cliff Benson
  •  
  • Calgary Flames
  • Governor:                         N. Murray Edwards
  • Alternate Governor:        Ken King
  • Alternate Governor:        Alvin Libin
  •  
  • Carolina Hurricanes
  • Governor:                         Peter Karmanos, Jr.
  • Alternate Governor:        Jim Rutherford
  • Alternate Governor:        Michael Amendola
  • Alternate Governor:        Jason Karmanos
  • Alternate Governor:        Ron Francis
  •  
  • Chicago Blackhawks
  • Governor:                         W. Rockwell Wirtz.
  • Alternate Governor:        Robert J. Pulford
  • Alternate Governor:        John A. Ziegler, Jr.
  • Alternate Governor:        John McDonough
  •  
  • Colorado Avalanche
  • Governor:                         Josh Kronenke.
  • Alternate Governor:        Mark Waggoner
  • Alternate Governor:        Greg Sherman
  • Alternate Governor:        Joe Sakic
  •  
  • Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Governor:                         John P. McConnell
  • Alternate Governor:        Mark Priest
  • Alternate Governor:        John Davidson
  •  
  • Dallas Stars
  • Governor:                         Tom Gaglandi
  • Alternate Governor:        Jim Lites
  • Alternate Governor:        Jim Nill
  • Alternate Governor:        Mike Modeno
  •  
  • Detroit Red Wings
  • Governor:                        Michael Ilitch
  • Alternate Governor:       Jim Devellano
  • Alternate Governor:       Ken Holland.
  • Alternate Governor:       Cristopher Ilitch
  • Alternate Governor:       Rob Carr
  • Alternate Governor:       Tom Wilson
  •  
  • Edmonton Oilers
  • Governor:                        Daryl Katz
  • Alternate Governor:       Patrick LaForge
  • Alternate Governor:       Kevin Lowe
  •  
  • Florida Panthers
  • Governor:                        Cliff Viner
  • Alternate Governor:       Bill Torrey
  • Alternate Governor:       Michael Yormark
  •  
  • Los Angeles Kings
  • Governor:                        Philip F. Anschutz
  • Alternate Governor:       Dean Lombardi
  • Alternate Governor:       Dan Beckerman
  •  
  • Minnesota Wild
  • Governor:                         Craig Leopold
  • Alternate Governor:        Philip Falcone
  • Alternate Governor:        Jac Sperling
  • Alternate Governor:        Chuck Fletcher
  •  
  • Montreal Canadiens
  • Governor:                        Geoff Molson
  • Alternate Governor:       Kevin Gilmore
  • Alternate Governor:       Fred Steer
  • Alternate Governor:       Michael Andlauer
  • Alternate Governor:       Andrew T. Molson
  • Alternate Governor:       Marc Bergevin
  •  
  • Nashville Predators
  • Governor:                        Tom Cigarran
  • Alternate Governor:       Herbert Fritch
  • Alternate Governor:       David Pole
  • Alternate Governor:       Jeff Cogen
  • Alternate Governor:       Sean Henry
  • Alternate Governor:       Joel Dobberpuhl
  •  
  • New Jersey Devils
  • Governor:                         Joshua Harris
  • Alternate Governor:        David Biltzer
  • Alternate Governor:        Lou Lamoriello
  • Alternate Governor:        Scott O’Neil
  •  
  • New York Islanders
  • Governor:                        Charles Wang
  • Alternate Governor:       Roy Reichbach
  • Alternate Governor:       Arthur J. McCarthy
  • Alternate Governor:       Michael J. Picker
  • Alternate Governor:       Garth Snow
  •   
  • New York Rangers
  • Governor:                         James L. Dolan
  • Alternate Governor:        Glen Sather
  • Alternate Governor:        Hank Ratner
  • Alternate Governor:        Dave Howard
  •  
  • Ottawa Senators
  • Governor:                        Eugene Melnyk
  • Alternate Governor:       Sheldon Plener
  • Alternate Governor:       Cyril Leeder
  • Alternate Governor:       Erin Crowe
  • Alternate Governor:       Bryan Murray
  •  
  • Philadelphia Flyers
  • Governor:                         Edward M. Snider
  • Alternate Governor:        Philip I. Weinberg
  • Alternate Governor:        Peter Luukko
  • Alternate Governor:        Paul Holmgren
  •  
  • Arizona Coyotes
  • Governor:                         George Gosbee
  • Alternate Governor:        Don Maloney
  • Alternate Governor:        Anthony LeBlanc
  • Alternate Governor:        Craig Stewart
  •  
  • Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Governor:                        David Morehouse
  • Alternate Governor:       Ronald Burkle
  • Alternate Governor:       Anthony Liberati
  • Alternate Governor:       Ray Shero
  • Alternate Governor:       Travis Williams
  • Alternate Governor:       Mario Lemieux
  •  
  • St. Louis Blues
  • Governor:                         Thomas Stillman
  • Alternate Governor:        Doug Armstrong
  •  
  • San Jose Sharks
  • Governor:                         Hasso Plattner
  • Alternate Governor:        Doug Wilson
  • Alternate Governor:        John Tortora
  •   
  • Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Governor:                         Jeff Virik
  • Alternate Governor:        Steve Yzerman
  • Alternate Governor:        Tod Leiweke
  •   
  • Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Governor:                         Larry Yanenbaum
  • Alternate Governor:        Dale Lastman
  • Alternate Governor:        Dave Norris
  • Alternate Governor:        Tim Leiweke
  •  
  • Vancouver Canucks
  • Governor:                         Francesco Aquilini
  • Alternate Governor:        Paolo Aquilini
  • Alternate Governor:        Robert Aquilini
  • Alternate Governor:        Michael Gillis
  • Alternate Governor:        Victor de Boris
  •   
  • Washington Capitals
  • Governor:                         Ted Leonsis
  • Alternate Governor:        Richard M. Patrick
  • Alternate Governor:        George McPhee
  •   
  • Winnipeg Jets
  • Governor:                         Mark Chipman
  • Alternate Governor:        Kevin Cheveldayoff
  • Alternate Governor:        Patrick Phillips

© Joyce Clark, 2014 FAIR USE NOTICE This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The 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 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 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.

A comment received in response to my blog entitled Situational Ethics was that the commentator had talked to Councilmember Gary Sherwood who named me as the leaker to Darrell Jackson (reporter for the Glendale Star and original FOIA requester) of the infamous Sherwood email. There can be but one response to such ignorance and idiocy. My thanks to a  friend who sent me this YouTube clip that sums up my response perfectly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hfYJsQAhl0 .

Councilmember Sherwood has responded to the allegations publicly, most notably in Darrell Jackson’s article in the Glendale Star. Here is the link: http://www.glendalestar.com/news/headlines/article_b55d0f60-1122-11e4-a1bb-0019bb2963f4.html . Let’s see what Mr. Sherwood has to say for himself, “It is no secret that I was pushing for the Coyotes,” Sherwood said by phone. “At the time we had acting attorney and city manager and a deputy city manager that we were not trusting of.” That in and of itself, is an incredible statement. Sherwood and the rest of council had enough confidence in Dick Bowers and Nick DiPiazza to appoint them as Acting City Manager and Acting City Attorney, respectively. Bowers and DiPiazza had been given direction by a majority of council (Sherwood, Martinez, Knaack and Chavira) to execute the best possible management agreement for the city with IceArizona. Bowers and DiPiazza took their obligation to craft the best deal possible seriously. Bowers, in fact, had publicly stated that he was concerned about the management fee of $15 million annually and its impact on Glendale’s precarious financial situation. Apparently this did not sit well with Sherwood, et.al. No wonder Sherwood and crew were doing an end-run around Bowers and DiPiazza by meeting with the IceArizona attorney, Nick Woods, and negotiating the deal. More situational ethics.

Sherwood goes on to say, “All of the items discussed (at the meeting with Wood) were supposed to be posted on our website; they just got delayed in posting.” That is no excuse for divulging Executive Session material. Sherwood’s expectation that it would eventually be publicly posted was not a valid rationalization for his giving Executive session material to Woods. More situational ethics.

Sherwood explains his direction to Martinez to delete the email by saying, “That last line was damning to look at, it was just for information.” He goes on, “Manny had no personal e-mail account, that (to delete) was for his benefit. I just wanted him to be careful so I just suggested he delete it.“ If the email had been appropriate to begin with, there would be no need to instruct Martinez to delete it. More situational ethics.

Sherwood’s dismissive attitude is reflected in, “We have had so many things go to the AG and it is another thing for them to look at. I just don’t see anything becoming (sic) of it.” He may be the only person on the planet to feel this way. The allegations of Open Meeting Law violations are serious this time. He practically calls out the Attorney General’s Office as being ineffectual.

Lastly, Sherwood says, “…he feels that this is a personal attack and was upset with the way it is being handled.” Why? Because he wasn’t given advance notice that a complaint was being filed? Welcome to the world of politics.

It is no secret that Gary Sherwood’ ambition is to become the next Mayor of Glendale. After all, since he was elected as a councilmember he has repeatedly tried to assume that role usurping Mayor Weiers at every available opportunity. It is also no secret that he can be extremely arrogant and rude. It has been demonstrated numerous times in his manner of response to citizen public hearing comments at council meetings. For example, his reaction to citizen comments on the billboard issue was to dismiss their lack of knowledge on the issue and to berate the numbers of anti-billboard attendees.

Many find it creditable to believe that Sherwood lined up four votes for an approval of the IceArizona contract. There has been rampant speculation for over a year that he and Chavira traded votes. Chavira would vote for the management agreement if Sherwood would vote for the casino. Coincidentally, Sherwood who ran on a platform of opposition to the casino flip-flopped and came out in favor of the casino in August, 2013, after the vote on the arena management deal. Many also believe that Sherwood was taking the lead and personally negotiating the arena contract and side-stepping the responsibilities of Glendale’s senior management. At that time he made public statements in media interviews which he used to portray himself as taking the lead position.  Is it any wonder that his actions are now under scrutiny?

It’s also no secret that many have expressed concern that Sherwood may have used the same tactics to secure a very recent council majority vote (Sherwood, Chavira, Alvarez and Hugh) of support for the proposed Tohono O’odham casino. That meeting appears to have been choreographed by the same 4 majority councilmembers who voted in the affirmative. Did they collude prior to the meeting causing yet another Open Meeting Law violation? I don’t know but I suppose over time we will all find out. A spider’s web of deceit and deception seems to be the hallmark of this council – a notion troubling many Glendale residents.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

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Yesterday’s blog entitled “Please delete this email after you read it” regarding Councilmember Gary Sherwood’s email resulting in an allegation of violation of the state’s Open Meeting Law created quite a bit of controversy rippling through the Coyotes world, Glendale’s political world and even the journalistic world. I suppose the reaction from the Coyotes world is the most predictable.  As anyone would expect, the Coyotes fans are fiercely loyal and anything that raises the specter of the disappearance of their team from Glendale sends them into overdrive. Their first reaction is to kill the messenger. In this case that includes not only me but Mayor Weiers, the Glendale Star and the Arizona Republic.  They denigrated Mayor Weiers for outing actions that may prove to be illegal. They gnashed their teeth over my blog and the newspapers’ articles because they perceived the information as yet another hit on their beloved team.

What they fail to recognize is that while the 4 councilmembers’ actions preceded a vote on the Coyotes deal, those actions could have preceded any council vote on any issue.  The troubling issue for many people is not the outcome of the vote but rather the actions that preceded and led up to the vote. The allegation is not about the Coyotes. The allegation is about improper behavior by 4 councilmembers. An investigation by the AG’s Office will surely answer the question, did they collude behind closed doors prior to the vote? Did they conduct city business secretly to assure a positive vote? Why speak to the issue of a possible Open Meeting Law violation when instead fans can deride the messengers? Why is it alright to dismiss possible illegal behavior because it is associated with a vote on the Coyotes deal? It’s a case of situational ethics.

The reaction from the Glendale political world is also predictable. It was learned that when the email first came to light, Vice Mayor Knaack denied attending the meeting. However, that would never do and would not last long. It would have had Sherwood and Knaack as adversaries; something they can ill afford right now. Today, the explanation given is that Sherwood and Knaack were in the same car when they received a cell phone call from Woods. Two things are questionable about this scenario. Where was Sammy? After all, Sherwood in his email says, “Sammy is already on board as he was with us last night.” Even if you can swallow this car explanation, it doesn’t make the allegation go away. The Open Meeting Law says, “Splintering the quorum can be done by meeting in person, by telephone, electronically, or through other means to discuss a topic that is or may be presented to the public body for a decision.” Note that they are not denying the basis of the allegation. Are they trying to muddy the waters by responding to minutia such as where they were when the meeting of the 3 and Woods took place? It’s another case of situational ethics.

The reaction from the print world can only be described as fascinating. Yesterday afternoon, July 21, I received a phone call from Paul Giblin, an Arizona Republic reporter. He proceeded to express his offense that I dared to say that I had scooped reporter Peter Corbett and the Arizona Republic.  He opined that my writing was done on the back of Peter Corbett who had made the FOIA request. He said that my journalistic standards were not as high as that of the Arizona Republic’s, and ended by saying; enjoy writing your little blog.

Later that day, I learned that Darrell Jackson of the Glendale Star had made the same kind of FOIA request. Who made the first request?  Update: July 23, 2014. I learned today that Darrell Jackson made the original FOIA request over 2 weeks ago. Did Peter Corbett do his story on the back of Darrell Jackson? Isn’t it weirdly coincidental that 2 reporters made the same FOIA request? Even more interesting is who tipped them off to the Sherwood email and why? What was the source’s motive for doing so? Situational ethics once again.

As for journalistic standards…hah…that’s like the pot calling the kettle black. Arizona Republic readers have complained about the perceived bias in this paper’s stories for years; to the point that it has become legendary.   Paul Giblin’s outrage is much ado about nothing. More situational ethics.

© Joyce Clark,

2014 FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The 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 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 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.

Sherwood signatureVery recently I received this email over the Glendale city hall transom. It was produced as a result of a Freedom of Information Request. It is an email sent by Councilmember Gary Sherwood to Councilmember Manny Martinez and Jeff Teetsel (IStar manager of Westgate). It was sent on June 29, 2013 approximately one week before a majority of the Glendale City Council voted to accept the $15 million a year management agreement with IceArizona.

The main figures in the Glendale cast of characters at that time were: Mayor Jerry Weiers, Vice Mayor Yvonne Knaack, Councilmembers Martinez, Hugh, Alvarez, Chavira and Sherwood. The Acting City Manager was Dick Bowers and the Acting City Attorney was Nick DiPiazza. Nick Woods represented IceArizona in contract negotiations for management of the city’s arena.

SherwoodtoMartinezJune292013_Page_1 Blog

Sherwood email to Martinez

 

 

 

 

The actual email is pictured to the left but the text reads as follows:                                                                                       To: Martinez, Manny; Jeff Teetsel                                                     From: Sherwood, Gary                                                                                                                                                    RE: Out Clause and Risk Topics

“Yvonne and I spend over an hour with Nick Woods last night and out of the three concerns from what I shared with Nick after our e-session yesterday (as of 7:45p, Nick has not seen the city’s revised draft which was promised right after we got of e-session nor had it been posted to our website – consequently both happened by 8:45p) two were okay with the city and had to deal with the errors the city made — #1, we don’t own the 5500 parking spots we’re proposing to charge for therefore it must be a license agreement and not a license agreement  (sic) #2) since the bonds that are held against the arena are tax exempt – only a governmental agency can hold those bonds so some different language has to be brought in – city agreed with that. The third item is problematic in that it is against the NHL for cities to hold out-clause and none of the other 29 cities have one. That would allow the city to just kick the team out, where would they play, what if in the middle of the season.

“I don’t have the time to get into all the details but I’ve known Nick Woods for a long time and know him to be a trusted friend and right now I can’t turn my back away from anyone in the city manager’s office or out (sic) acting city attorney.

“Manny, I’ve got a booked day with two Habitat for Humanity events, three radio interviews and two TV spots so contact Yvonne for details of our conversation. Sammy is already on board as he was with us last night.

“Thanks for hanging in there!

“Manny – please delete this email after you’ve read it.”

Thanks,

Gary D. Sherwood

There are several issues of grave concern with this email. The most serious is a possible violation of the State’s Open Meeting Law.  The following is taken from the AG’s office explanation of one section of the Open Meeting Law:

 “7.5.2 Circumvention of the Open Meeting Law.Discussions and deliberations between less than a majority of the members of a governing body, or other devices, when used to circumvent the purposes of the Open Meeting Law violate that law. See Ariz. Att’y Gen. Op. 75-8; Town of Palm Beach v. Gradison, 296 So. 2d 473 (Fla. 1974). Public officials may not circumvent public discussion by splintering the quorum and having separate or serial discussions with a majority of the public body members. Splintering the quorum can be done by meeting in person, by telephone, electronically, or through other means to discuss a topic that is or may be presented to the public body for a decision. Public officials should refrain from any activities that may undermine public confidence in the public decision making process established in the Open Meeting Law, including actions that may appear to remove discussions and decisions from public view.”

What the explanation above means is that there are to be no private discussions by a majority (4 councilmembers or more) of the governing body if the topic of the discussion is about a matter to be voted upon by the city council. The IceArizona contract was voted upon one month later. The law also prohibits an elected official (councilmember) from acting as a “go-between,” relaying a position on an issue to be voted upon from one councilmember to another.  Sherwood’s email shows him relaying information to Martinez he had discussed the previous night with Nick Woods, Knaack and Chavira. That action is known as “daisy-chaining.”

Sherwood, Knaack, Martinez and Chavira were the 4 affirmative votes for the IceArizona contract. All four could be considered equally culpable of a possible violation of the Open Meeting law by discussing/negotiating elements of the Coyotes contract amongst themselves, privately, when it was soon to come before them for a public vote… all the while excluding the remaining 3 councilmember: Weiers, Hugh and Alvarez.  

Another alarming admission by Sherwood in this email is that he shared Executive session material with Nick Woods. The city was negotiating with IceArizona. The ad hoc discussion between Sherwood, Knaack and Chavira and Woods may have harmed or weakened the city’s position. City contract negotiations are a direct managerial responsibility of the City Manager and City Attorney. Could this action be a violation of the city’s charter? We’ll explore this topic in the next blog.

Every councilmember knows of the prohibition about not sharing E session material. Doing so is a very serious violation of the Open Meeting Law. Sherwood says quite clearly in his email that is exactly what he did with Nick Woods and then attempts to minimize the violation by characterizing Woods as a friend. It makes no difference. E session material is not to be shared with anyone…even friends or family.

It seems that Sherwood was putting pressure on Acting City Manager Dick Bowers and Acting City Attorney Nick DiPiazza to get the IceArizona deal done…quickly. We know that Mr. Bowers publicly addressed the $15 million a year IceArizona (at that time IceArizona was called Renaissance) contract and voiced concerns about Glendale’s fiscal health if it were approved at that figure. In a June 23, 2013 Dick Bowers memo to city council he said, “Contrary to what might appear in the papers I don’t see this as a ‘done deal’. Far from it.” He went on to say, “I cannot shake the concern for the level of risk expected to be borne by the city…I keep coming back to that same level of discomfort of Glendale having all of the risk in this deal.” Clearly Bowers had substantial concerns and it is not unreasonable to think that Sherwood was advising Bowers that he had the four votes needed to approve the deal.

From this email we can see who was talking to who privately about this issue. Sherwood seems to have taken the lead and all 4 councilmembers may have been negotiating collectively yet privately with IceArizona’s attorney. He acknowledges Knaack and Chavira as participants in his meeting with Nick Woods. He then sent his summary email to Martinez.

names                                                

Why did Sherwood ask Martinez to delete his email after reading? It appears to be tantamount to an admission that its contents should not have been memorialized.  There are so many questions and so few answers. Is it possible that Sherwood asked Martinez to delete his email because he realized he was “daisy-chaining?” Did Martinez delete this email as requested? Maybe…maybe  not, leading to its discovery now, over a year later.

Sherwood’s email and his comments within it warrant an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office to determine the validity of Open Meeting law violation allegations sure to arise as his email becomes more and more public. At this point, Sherwood’s email raises a lot of questions. I suspect that it may generate many citizen complaints to the AG’s Office. From my years of experience on council, it looks like a “smoking gun,” written by Sherwood himself that implicates him and 3 other councilmembers in possible Open Meeting Law violations.

So, for all those citizens who spoke in favor of or against the Coyotes deal the night council voted on the matter, it was in vain. It appears that 4 councilmembers, Sherwood, Knaack , Martinez and Chavira, had already made their minds up and shared their positions with one another at the end of June, 2013.

Update 1:00 PM. I am pleased to report that I have scooped the Arizona Republic. At 11:16 AM I published my blog on the Sherwood email. At 12:30 PM Peter Corbett, a reporter for the Arizona Republic released his story on the same Sherwood email. Here is the link:

http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2014/07/21/glendale-mayor-council-members-violated-open-meeting-law/12956523/ . I knew Corbett had made the FOIA request for said email but I was perplexed because there was no Arizona Republic story. I was beginning to think someone had quashed it.

Mayor Jerry Weiers is considering filing a complaint with the AG’s office. If after reading this blog and Corbett’s article, you think Mayor Weiers should file a complaint, please send him an email at: jweiers@glendaleaz.com and let him know you support such an action.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

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This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The 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 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 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.

 

I had just finished writing this blog when I received 2 robo calls. The first one was from the Arizona Free Enterprise Club announcing it was seeking petition signatures to put the city council’s affirmative decision to eliminate the sunset provision of the temporary sales tax increase on the ballot. In the call they announced that they would be at the Foothills Recreation Center and the Glendale Main Library this weekend from 9 AM to 5 PM both days gathering signatures to get it on the ballot. I wish them success. I will make a special point of going to the Main Library this weekend to sign their petition.

The second robo call was several hours later and it was from the Glendale Fire Union urging people not to sign the petition and promising dire consequences if the sales tax increase is sunset in 2017. Everyone acknowledges that Glendale’s debt burden is unsustainable. Perhaps it would be more productive if the Fire Union got behind an effort to urge reduction of the city’s debt by selling some of its assets. It would make the entire sales tax sunset issue a moot point. 

The battle lines are drawn. Voters will be fed misinformation and exaggeration from both sides. They will have to wade through the claims and counter claims made until their eyes are crossed. Will voters decide to send a strong message of austerity to the city council or will they decide Glendale cannot continue to exist without a permanent sales tax increase? It looks like the voters of Glendale will be given the opportunity to ultimately decide the issue. Which side will be more successful in activating their voter base? It’s fair to say that the Sales Tax Sunset Elimination War is officially declared. Now…on to the rest of this blog.

The June 24, 2016 city council meeting had two major items not yet reviewed in my blog. One was the passage of Ordinance 2897 removing the sunset provision from the sales tax increase. The other was Ordinance 2899 eliminating city permitted events from the requirements of the city’s noise ordinance.

The elimination of noise provisions for city permitted events is a city-wide ordinance. If there is a city permitted event in Sahuaro Ranch Park, it applies. If there is a city permitted event at Arrowhead Mall, it applies. It does not affect just the residents adjacent to Westgate. It was approved unanimously by city council. Councilmember Chavira, representing west Glendale and the area of Westgate, had no qualms about throwing his residents under the Glendale bus. Perhaps it is time for the voters of his district to question his representation of them, their concerns and their interests.

Sam Allen, Code Compliance Director, also neatly side-stepped a question about the number of previous noise complaints in the Westgate area by saying he did not have that figure as noise complaints are handled by the police department. There were allusions by staff that neighborhoods would remain protected but no specifics as to how that would be accomplished.  Another question asked was how many events declined to locate in Glendale as a result of the city’s noise ordinance? That, too, was deftly ignored.

Ken Sturgis, a citizen commentator, said that he lived .8 of a mile away from Westgate and often heard Westgate event noise within his home. His neighbors heard it as well but felt that the city would do nothing about it. I live a mile away from Westgate and heard noise but not at the same level of intrusion that neighbors living closer to Westgate would have heard. So, in the name of flexibility and competiveness, all neighborhoods throughout Glendale have lost all protection from city permitted event noise. They will experience sound and fury…signifying nothing.

The other ordinance, passed on a 4 to 3 vote (with our usual 4, Knaack, Martinez, Sherwood and Chavira in the affirmative), was the elimination of the sunset provision of the sales tax increase. I was the councilmember who originally insisted it be a provision of the sales tax increase. I did not offer that stipulation on a whim. It was the only way I could support the increase. I trusted and relied upon my fellow councilmembers to keep their word. Little did I know that their acceptance of the sunset provision was done with fingers crossed behind their backs.

Barrel district council candidate Randy Miller spoke to the issue and said the two options, making the sales tax increase permanent or utilizing draconian cuts, were not the only options available. Mayor Weiers agreed and that was the basis of his “no” vote. Mr. Miller said there is always an Option 3 and crafting it should be the goal.

At the time of the passage of sales tax increase with the sunset provision senior staff offered a plan to gradually absorb the $25 million in the temporary sales tax increase by making incremental cuts of $5 million a year over a 5 year period. The first signal that council would not have the fortitude to make the necessary cuts over 5 years was when they could not even accept privatization of custodial maintenance of city buildings. That decision sent a message, loud and clear, to senior staff that making the necessary spending cuts over 5 years was a council non-starter.

I marvel at the city’s propensity and adroitness in propagandizing the issue.  Knowing that the Arizona Free Enterprise Club (AFEC) is currently circulating a petition to get the council’s vote for elimination of the sunset provision on the ballot, senior staff slipped in a new concept.  The sales tax increase will be reviewed during the budget process each year. Be careful what you wish for. It would be ironic indeed if, at the next budget discussions in the spring of 2015, council decided to raise the sales tax increase. After all, Councilmember Sherwood publicly stated that he believed it would be necessary.

The offer of sales tax increase review every year was strategically offered to mitigate the anger of Glendale voters should the AFEC be successful in getting the question on this fall’s ballot. The city will be holding out the hope that the increase has a chance of being reduced or going away in the future. Maybe after we’re all dead.

The city assertion flies in the face of the fact that the bond rating agencies are taking a close look and relying upon the elimination of the sunset provision to satisfy them. The bond rating agencies will again be very concerned about Glendale’s financial stability when they realize that now the sales tax increase stands an annual possibility of reduction or elimination. By adding this provision of annual review the stability that the bond rating agencies rely upon has been removed.

Another mitigation strategy that the city is already employing is on its website under Frequently Asked Questions about the elimination of the sunset provision. Here is the link:http://www.glendaleaz.com/documents/FAQEliminationofSunsetforTempTax062514.pdf .

The city’s message is that dire consequences will occur should the tax sunset in 2017. They used the same strategy years ago when a group of us nearly got the elimination of food sales tax on the ballot. The city prepared a slick pamphlet asking Glendale citizens to choose what cuts they would be willing to make. All choices were dire and it scared the voters. It worked that time and sadly, it may work this time.

If the Arizona Free Enterprise Club is successful in acquiring the requisite number of signatures to get the question on the fall ballot, don’t buy into scare tactics this time. It’s time for Glendale voters to send a direct message to council and senior management staff. That message is, live within your means. Don’t spend more than the city receives in revenue. If 22% of the budget is devoted to the debt burden, tell them it is their job to reduce the debt.

Which brings up the question, can Camelback Ranch, the Media Center, the Parking Garages, the Convention Center, the Civic Center or Jobing.com arena be sold? I’m not an attorney but I would say “yes.” Many years ago as a small business owner, my landlord sold the building in which I was a tenant. The new landlord and I could not come to mutually agreed terms. When my lease expired I did not renew. I left that location.

Glendale owns these buildings and has the right as landlord to sell them. Tenants in any of these sites would then have to negotiate new lease terms with the new landlord. Glendale may lose some money by selling at present market value but it would remove the debt and/or the O&M costs associated with the asset. Glendale must get its debt burden under control. Right now it is over 22%. It should be under 10%. If Glendale cannot afford these assets, selling them seems to be a prudent course of action.

There are those who will immediately say, we can’t do that. Instead, council direction should be given to the city attorney to make it happen. The city simply cannot continue down this unsustainable debt burden path forever.

There are those who will say, what’re you… nuts? The city can’t do that! It reminds me of something Councilmember Hugh said at this council meeting. He said, paraphrased, that the current council is fractured because its members do not share the same strategy for curing Glendale’s financial situation. Each side believes it has the better path and the right path to solve Glendale’s fiscal crisis.

I have no doubt that the councilmembers love this city. They demonstrate it daily by their service. Unfortunately, a majority believe the only solution is to tax the city out of its financial crisis. The minority believes that there are other choices, painful, yes… but other choices.

It has been my honor and a great privilege to have served as a Glendale councilmember for 16 years. I have lived in Glendale for nearly 50 years. I love this city. You love this city. It is our home. Placing a greater and greater tax burden on those who live in this home, is not prudent…and it sure isn’t the best way to grow Glendale.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The 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 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 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.

On June 12, 2014 Mike Kenny had an opinion piece in the Glendale Star entitled, Ring the alarm – city once again wants you to foot bill. Here is the link: http://www.glendalestar.com/opinion/editorials/ . Generally I do not agree with Mr. Kenny’s stance on many issues but this time I do.

One sentence stood out, This current city administration banks on two things for survival, and they’re both yours: money and apathy.” The current city council simply cannot stop itself from spending money, your money. The latest example of their inability to reign themselves in is the expenditure, one-time and on-going, for an electronic voting system to be used at 24 council meetings a year. Why? Because they want to assure that you are confused as to who might be the deciding vote on any hotly contested issue…and to relieve Councilmember Chavira’s stress level.

What if there’s not enough in the budget to cover their willingness to spend your money? Not a problem. They will just create a new tax or raise an existent tax. Need money to cover the construction debt and annual management fee for the arena of approximately $27 million a year or the construction debt on Camelback Ranch of $18 million a year?No problem. Just make the temporary sales tax increase permanent. Need money to raise employee salaries? No problem. Just create a new annual licensing fee of $20 on your alarm system or make sure Glendale charges the highest fee in the state for driving school as you try to avoid those points on your record.

Why are 4 councilmembers led by the nose by senior management? Simple, it’s the easier way for them because you, the taxpayer in Glendale, never object. It’s called apathy. I can remember when a bunch of us tried to repeal the sales tax on food. Senior management put together a slick piece of propaganda asking citizens to decide what service(s) to cut if the sales tax on food was eliminated. It was a scare tactic and it worked beautifully. Glendale voters bought city rhetoric.

This time we heard the same scare arguments, i.e., half of Glendale’s staff would be terminated; services would continue to be cut. Those arguments only hold true if citizens allow this council to continue to spend beyond the city’s means. If citizens had demanded council adopt a phased plan of $5 million in cuts per year for 5 years there would be no need for the temporary sales tax to become permanent. Instead it was easier for them to accept Finance Director Duensing’s demands that the temporary sales tax be made permanent now…not in 2017 when it was due to sunset…but now.

This council, with the exception of Mayor Jerry Weiers, has adopted a budget that is not balanced as required by state statute. The budget starts with a $2.7 million deficit. But that’s OK according to senior staff. The money can come from $5 million in Contingency. If Phoenix demands a payment of over $3 million this October, that’s OK too…just take it out of Contingency. But wait…there’s not enough in Contingency to cover both obligations. Well, that’s OK too…just take it out of the Unappropriated Fund Balance (just a slick, new name for what is basically another Contingency account). They play games with your money and by now, you are so confused you can’t figure out what is going on.

Because of citizen apathy you, the Glendale taxpayer, will continue to be “nickled and dimed” to death until you have no more nickels and dimes. What many fail to recognize is that it takes so few of you to have an effect on this council’s financial decisions. Because so few citizens object to anything at council meetings when 20 or 30 citizens show up and speak to an issue council’s sensitivity radar kicks into high gear. Yep. That’s all it takes… 20 or 30 speakers to object. Are there 20 or 30 Glendale residents ready to scream, “I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore?” or will citizen apathy allow this council to spend beyond your means?

© Joyce Clark, 2014

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