June 11, 2013 will be a regular Glendale City Council meeting. The agenda, however, is anything but regular. There are four items of special note. All but one item is under Consent Resolutions. Consent Resolutions means that unless an item is pulled by a councilmember for further discussion that item will be passed or rejected along with the 13 other consent resolutions and there will be no discussion – nary a peep out of anyone. The usual disclaimer prior to introduction of the consent resolutions is to say, “They are of a routine nature or have been previously discussed by council in a workshop session.” Let me assure you two of the consent resolutions are not of a routine nature and have never been discussed publicly by this council. They are consent resolutions #13 and #14. Here is the link to council’s meeting agenda of June 11, 2013: http://www.glendaleaz.com/Clerk/agendasandminutes/Meetings/Agendas/061113.pdf .
Both of these consent resolutions require doing business with the Tohono O’odham Nation. Item 13 is a grant request from the TO on behalf of the Aguila Youth Leadership Institute (http://www.aguilayouth.org/) in the amount of $112,100. The second item, item 14 is another grant request from the TO on behalf of Heart for the City in the amount of $100,000.
In the Staff Report, staff’s apparent rationale for doing business with the Tohono O’odham is that we have submitted for the same type of grants from the Gila River Indian Community. So, if we could take grant money from the Gila River Indian Community then by golly, we should be able to take grant money from the Tohono O’odham. Between August, 2010 and June, 2011 the city received grants totaling $290,188 from the Gila River Indian Community. The funds were used by From the Heart, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix and the Glendale Parks, Recreation and Library Department. The Gila River Indian Community have been one of our staunchest allies in the legal warfare with the Tohono O’odham since the issue of a casino IN Glendale (not near Glendale –darn it – but IN it) arose.
Is something missing? Have all legal issues between the City of Glendale and the Tohono O’odham been resolved? Are we suddenly buddies? Receiving grant money from a legal ally is far different than receiving grant money, no matter how well intentioned, from your legal enemy. It is the height of hypocrisy on Glendale’s part. I am ashamed that staff has brought these items forward. If I were on council and could take action at the meeting I would pull both items off of the Consent Resolution Agenda and speak directly to them and vote a resounding “no” on both – no matter how well intentioned they are. If council approves these two consent resolutions, where are this council’s principles?
Another Consent Resolution is more amusing in context. Item 8 calls for adoption of council’s Key Priorities for Fiscal Year 2013-2014. This one is a hoot! Council’s very first priority is, “Transparency internally and externally to assure the community that the decisions made for the well-being of Glendale are discussed openly with input invited.” Followed by their second priority, “Arena management, debt service, hockey agreement and enhanced revenues will play a large role in policy formation and financial strategy. The above noted transparency will be vital to gaining community support for decisions necessary to optimize the arena value to the Glendale community” (Italics mine). It appears that we all have missed something in council’s translation of transparency. It looks like council’s definition of transparency is not what the general public assumes it to be. We certainly haven’t seen much transparency when it comes to the Beacon RFP process or Renaissance Sports and Entertainment Group’s discussions with city personnel or council.
Which brings up our last target of incredulity, Item 21, Fiscal Year Budget Amendments, as an Ordinance to be adopted. I love numbers. While most people won’t go to the numbers pages and really read them. I always do with gusto because they are so revealing. These amendments are transfers from one hand in the budget into a different hand in the budget. The transfer is from Contingency (you know, the “rainy day” account the city is trying to rebuild) to the City Manager’s Office. In this case, did you know that this council is paying $500,000 for the Council Special Audit? Can you imagine it? Half a million dollars on a special audit – an audit whose primary purpose is to fix blame on somebody. Let’s hope they find a half million dollars worth of blame because they certainly are not going to find a half million dollar pot of gold at City Hall.
The council is also spending another $100,000 on the Arena RFP Process run by their hired consultant, Beacon Sports. We all thought Councilmember Alvarez wanted to “get rid” of all the consultants? Not so. They must be OK if they are consultants that serve her purposes. Remember, this RFP process is the same one that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman characterized as “silly.” All of this comes from a council which, when 4 of them were running for office, ran around wringing their hands, complaining about the previous council’s fiscal irresponsibility and vowing it would never occur again because their mission was to be fiscally accountable and transparent about it all. Looks like the joke is on you, Glendale voters.