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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

PLEASE DONATE TO MY CAMPAIGN BY USING THE PAY PAL BUTTON TO THE LEFT OF THIS COLUMN.

PLEASE CHECK OUT THE CHAVIRA VIDEOS, ESPECIALLY “MONEY, MONEY” TO THE LEFT OF THIS COLUMN.

It has been 18 years and 202 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

The July 8, 2016 edition of the Arizona Republic has an editorial penned by Phil Boas. Here is the link: http://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/editorial/2016/07/07/sammy-chavira-glendale-travel/86789948/ . In part he says, “Glendale council members have also shied away from tackling the problem head-on by censuring Chavira. Shying away from that action also would be a mistake.” He goes on to say, “It is important, indeed, to refine policies and procedures to ensure ethical, professional practices. And we hope Glendale officials come through soon with clearer standards, including on junkets, freebies and late fees.

“But those efforts don’t preclude the mayor and council from passing judgment on a colleague’s decisions that were clearly inappropriate. And sending a message to constituents that the illegitimate use of their taxes isn’t tolerated. That requires and overdue – and well-deserved – censure.”

I agree. The problem is that a majority of council may not. Obviously Chavira must recuse himself in such deliberation and consequent action. That leaves a council of 6 members. Lately there has grown to be a 3 to 3 split between them with Turner, Tolmachoff and Aldama vs. Weiers, Hugh and Malnar. Take the latest major issue, light rail. The vote was 4-3 to approve and move forward – Turner, Tolmachoff, Aldama (and Chavira) for approval and Weiers, Hugh and Malnar against, citing the need for more information on their unanswered questions.

There are mechanisms in council guidelines that allow fellow councilmembers to sanction one another. They have never been used but it seems appropriate in Chavira’s case. How can a split council decide on censure for Chavira? The public perception, rightly or wrongly, is that Turner, Tolmachoff and Aldama would not support Chavira’s censure. So, they are at an impasse and the public may never see the very message the Arizona Republic calls for – that of “sending a message to constituents that the illegitimate use of their taxes isn’t (and will no longer) be tolerated.”

Add to a split council, the fact that Glendale’s City Attorney, Michael Bailey, had given Chavira a pass by publicly stating that he could find nothing wrong with Sammy’s spending. City councilmembers are his bosses so of course, he’s not going to throw one of them under the bus. What should have occurred and did not, was for Bailey to ask an independent third party, such as a city attorney from another jurisdiction, to review and make a decision.

In governmental terms, $25,000 is not a lot of money. In citizen terms, especially when it’s their taxes, it is. There are people at the poverty level who earn no more than that in an entire year. There are senior citizens who receive no more than that amount each year from Social Security. Chavira makes far more than that annually. Between his Phoenix firefighter position and his councilmember salary it seems he would be in the six-figure range.

That brings up another action that should be required and that is reimbursement to the city. Obviously Sammy can afford to do so but don’t hold your breath. It is unlikely that Glendale taxpayers will see this council censure one of its own or will see Sammy repay the money he lavished on trips.

Sammy’s only censure will come from the voters of the Yucca district at the Primary Election on August 30th for they will make clear their anger.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

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.

PLEASE CHECK OUT THE THREE CHAVIRA VIDEOS TO THE LEFT OF THIS COLUMN AND PLEASE DONATE TO MY CAMPAIGN.

It has been 18 years and 180 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Rarely does Glendale make a good news headline these days but unbelievably, it has happened. On June 13, 2016, Paul Giblin offered a story in the Arizona Republic entitled Glendale business boom: New companies, jobs headed to city. Giblin tells us, “More than a dozen companies have either moved to Glendale or expanded in the city this year…” representing “approximately 1,000 immediate jobs and 3,000 jobs at build out.” Here is the link to his story: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2016/06/13/glendale-business-boom-new-companies-jobs-headed-city/83852820/?hootPostID=6ada3683edf973f91ab90c9ddc9731c8 .

Who is responsible for the good news? City council? Nah. City Manager Phelps? Nah. The real heroes of this story are Glendale Economic Development Director Brian Friedman and his team. Of the 95,000 person workforce in Glendale, 84,000 travel outside of Glendale to work. Only 11,000 Glendale residents are employed within the city. It should be noted that 59,600 non-Glendale residents travel to work inside Glendale. Congratulations to Brian Freidman and his team. Keep up the good work as Glendale continues its economic resurgence.

One of my readers sent me mayoral candidate Burdick’s latest blast email. In it, I was particularly drawn to this, “Glendale residents deserve well-paying, fulfilling and abundant employment. We have the ability to recruit new, high-paying employers to our region, but unfortunately, many employers and developers look past Glendale because of ongoing budget problems, broken promises and failed relationships.”

There is no doubt that our residents want good, high-paying jobs where they live – here in Glendale. It seems pretty apparent that is exactly what Brian Freidman’ goal is. That is exactly what Freidman is creating in Glendale.

Three days after Giblin’s good news story about job creation and new businesses coming to Glendale, Burdick, in apparent ignorance of the facts, says that new employers are NOT coming to Glendale. I guess Burdick and his team don’t read a newspaper very often. How embarrassing.

I’ve been sent several of Burdick’s email blasts by my readers. What seems to be lacking in all of them are any semblance of fact to back up his claims. Where are they?

At least when I refer to my opponent’s ethical challenges, there are facts gathered from the media or city council minutes to back them. For instance, his travel expenditures were well documented in the Arizona Republic on March 4, 2016. His traffic citation and failure to appear in court were reported by the Glendale Star on April 28, 2016 and his record of absences can be found in city council minutes.

Now, a little of this…the light rail issue, is one of the most divisive in modern Glendale history. A few weeks ago Glendale Councilmember Ray Malnar offered to the public cost estimates to build 7 miles of light rail beginning at the end of the Phoenix light rail and culminating in Glendale on either the east or west side of Grand Avenue. Here are the cost estimates he provided:

  • Glendale Total cost (7 miles) $560,000,000.00
  • Federal Funds 50% $280,000,000.00
  • Glendale Sales Tax (GO Transportation Program) 17.5% $84,000,000.00
  • Phoenix T-2050 Tax 17.5% $112,000,000.00
  • WEST PHOENIX-CENTRAL GLENDALE – Regional Funding 15% $84,000,000.00
  • Assumes 50% federal funds and 15% regional funds
  • Assumes local share is split 4/7 Phoenix (4 miles in Phoenix), 3/7 Glendale (3 miles in Glendale)

Councilmember Malnar went on to report, “The latest estimated maintenance cost is $1.5 Million per mile for a total of $10.5 million per year. Based on the 3/7, 4/7 split between Glendale and Phoenix, the estimated Glendale cost per year for maintenance and operation of the 3-mile section would be $4.3 million per year. These costs are estimated to be reduced by about 1/3 from passenger fares, advertising and other income sources.”   

These are important facts to consider. Cost estimates for Glendale’s portion are $84 million dollars which comes out of Glendale’s GO Transportation sales tax revenues and the annual estimated maintenance cost to Glendale would be in the $4 million dollar range (cost reduced by 1/3 resulting in estimated cost of $3 million dollars per year).

The question of light rail in Glendale at this time and its associated costs demand another public vote expressing ratification or denial of the light rail concept in Glendale. The last vote on the issue was in 2001, 15 years ago, and resident’s priorities may have changed since that vote. Residents need the facts regarding costs and then the right to determine if this is how they want the transportation sales tax to be spent. Are there other priorities for which $84 million dollars of transportation sales tax could be used?

Now, a little of that…the elusive proof of insurance for the Cinco de Mayo Festival has finally been located and produced. Former Councilmember Norma Alvarez received the document as a result of yet another Public Information Request. She shared the result of that request and I am now sharing it with you. Here is a copy of the insurance: BreakthruChurchInsurance 2

Please note that it is under Barrio Breakthru Community Church. It would appear that a claim for the estimated $50,000 of criminal damage to city hall can be made against their policy. It would also be highly appropriate for the city to notify Barrio Breakthru Community Church and/or Productions that it will perform an audit of the $5,000 donated to them by Councilmembers Chavira and Aldama for their Cinco de Mayo event. After all, it is taxpayer money and the public has the right to learn if the $5,000 was spent appropriately.

Lastly…the Scottsdale city council had selected 3 finalists in its search for a new city manager. One of those finalists was Jim Colson, a former Economic Development Director for Glendale. On a 6 to 1 vote, the Scottsdale city council has directed that it will begin a new search with all finalists having been rejected.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

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.

PLEASE CHECK OUT THE LATEST CHAVIRA VIDEOWhat’s Sammy Been Doing, HIGHLIGHTING HIS CONSTITUENT ENGAGEMENT. IT IS TO THE LEFT OF THIS COLUMN.

It has been 18 years and 158 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

This evening, May 24, 2016, city council will vote on the issue of light rail. The meeting begins at 6 PM in Council Chambers at City Hall. Please park in the parking garage at 59th Avenue and Glendale Avenue. Walk east to council chambers. Make your opinion known. As I have stated in previous blogs, light rail may be one of the most divisive issues to ever surface in Glendale. Your voice counts.

On May 15, 2016 I filed a Public Information Request with the Glendale City Clerk’s office asking for the following information:

“Councilmember Sam Chavira and Councilmember Jamie Aldama each made a $2,500 donation on or about April 28, 2016 in support of the 2016 Cinco De Mayo Festival held on April 29, 2016 to May 1, 2016. The event was cosponsored by the City of Glendale and Barrio Breakthru Productions. I request the following public information:

  1. What was the $5,000 donated by Councilmembers Aldama and Chavira used for with regard to this event?
  2. A list of services, equipment, supplies and personnel supplied by the City of Glendale to support, produce, operate and clean up of the event, in-king or otherwise.
  3. The monetary value of all requested items listed in #2.
  4. Any and all reports, summaries, etc., submitted to the City of Glendale by or for Barrio Breakthru Productions that reflects the expenses required to produce the event and any and all revenues earned as a result of the event.”

My request was promptly fulfilled by the city by May 20, 2016. Questions #2 and #3 were thoroughly answered with the following information:

  1. “Off duty Police officers were hired through Pro-Force (a third party provider) not directly through the city. Sanitation roll-off delivery, rental, pickup and charges for tonnage at landfill. Audio and lighting services were provided by a third party not through the city. Transportation review of Traffic Control Plan (TCP) for event from the barricade company. This generated charges for lane use and TCP review fees.”
  2. “Sanitation roll-off charges: Delivery fee of $46.11; Haul fee of $175.00 and Landfill charges of $22.60. Transportation charges: TCP Review fee of $44.76; and Lane use fees of $335.76.”

My answers to questions #1 and #2 were not fulfilled. It seems that Councilmembers Aldama and Chavira’s total donation of $5,000 is in some black hole of non-information. There appears to be no accountability on the part of these councilmembers. Otherwise they could have provided information to fulfill that portion of my Public Information Request. As far as can be determined, neither asked Barrio Breakthru Productions for any information about the use of $5,000 of taxpayer money.  Apparently they just gave Barrio Breakthru Productions your money. Did the money cover costs of producing the festival? If so, what for?

Based on the information the city requested of the event producer its sole interest seems to be in logistics of holding the event. In the material the city provided there is no request for licenses of any kind or proof of insurance. It would seem these would be important for the city to have on file. Yet the city file supplied makes no mention of either item. One would think that these items would be important especially in light of the criminal damage that occurred at city hall during the event.

We still do not know if Barrio Breakthru Productions or the Breakthru Community Church was ultimately considered the event producer and was responsible for producing a certificate of adequate insurance. If it was the church that was the producer of record with the city then there is still the pesky issue of separation of church and state.

This incident demonstrates a lack of competence and clarity by city staff.  There were requirements for insurance in City Ordinance 2975. Why were the Ordinance requirements not followed? If the requirements were followed why was that information not supplied with all of the extraneous information I received about city requirements for the event? What is city policy these days? If elements of Ordinance 2975 are being waived upon whose authority is it being done?

I guess I will file one more Public Information Request asking Councilmembers Aldama and Chavira to obtain information from Barrio Breakthru about expenses covered by their donation of $5,000 of taxpayer money. I will also ask for any and all licenses and proof of insurance on file for this event provided to the city by Barrio Breakthru. Will let you know what response I obtain.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

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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