From previous actions it appears that Councilmembers Sherwood and Chavira are in lockstep. There was another example of their tag team act at the city council workshop of October 7, 2014. Sammy was not in attendance. Could his job as a Phoenix firefighter be interfering with his attendance at council workshops and meetings?

As a favor for his best council friend, Sherwood, during Council Items of Special Interest and as a proxy for Sammy, reintroduced the infamous Becker Billboards but this is a Sherwood issue, not a Sammy issue. Becker Billboards’ attempt to obtain billboards at Bell Road and the Loop 101 was denied at a council meeting several months ago. Sherwood read Sammy’s request asking that the previous council decision be rescinded and Becker be granted the right to erect billboards by council vote at the October 28, 2014 city council meeting.

Sherwood and Chavira seem not to mind ignoring council guidelines when it suits them. Under the current Council Guidelines, when a councilmember, under Council Items of Special Interest, asks that an item be studied by staff and a presentation on the issue be made to council at a workshop within 60 days. They requested a circumvention of that process and that it immediately be brought to a council voting meeting in 2 weeks.

Councilmember Martinez reviewed the process for a Council Item of Special Interest and pointed out that the item first has to go to a council workshop meeting. He requested the item be reviewed at a future council workshop. City Manager Fischer, an ally of Sherwood’s, immediately placed the billboard issue on the agenda of the next council workshop this coming Tuesday, October 21, 2014.

Do Sherwood and Chavira have the votes to overturn the previous council decision on Becker Billboards? They can probably count on Alvarez. She received a hefty, and I mean really hefty, campaign contribution ($2,500) from Becker. So there are three that will support a reversal. Who’s the fourth? Take your pick…the most likely candidates are Councilmember Ian Hugh or Mayor Jerry Weiers.

Councilmember Martinez is concerned and has every right to be. The residents of the Cholla and Sahuaro districts fought the good fight and thought they had prevailed and there would be no billboards. They are probably angry and very frustrated at this latest turn of events and they have every right to be. Councilmember Martinez issued a special blast electronic alert to the residents of Cholla. Do not expect Councilmember Sherwood to do the same. The fewer people in his district who know about his latest effort, the happier he will be.  Here is the text of Councilmember Martinez’ special alert:

“CALL TO ACTION – October 21, 2014 Council Workshop: Palm Canyon Billboards

“Dear Cholla Residents,

“Under the Glendale City Council Guidelines, Item #2, it addresses Placing Items of Special Interest on a Council Workshop Agenda.

“ ‘City Council Workshop Items of Special Interest’ is listed on every Workshop agenda. This item will be a standing item and will be placed last on the Workshop agenda.

“At the October 7, 2014, Council Workshop, Councilmember Sherwood spoke for an absent Councilmember who wanted the Palm Canyon Billboards to be considered at the October 27th Council meeting (it is actually Oct 28th) on rescinding the previous denial based on recent information on the Becker Boards case at Loop 101 and Bell Road, and that if the rescission is voted successful, to immediately – at the same Council meeting on October 27th (28th) – vote on approving the billboards request of Becker Boards and direct staff to notify all parties as required by law at the expense of the applicant.

“Subsequent to this Workshop our City Attorney, Michael Bailey, sent an email to Mayor and Council that this item will be scheduled for work session on October 21, 2014. At that work session, staff will advise the Council of the necessary procedural steps (rescission and reconsideration) to address the issue. At that time, if the Council desires to move forward on the issue, they may direct staff to then place the item on the November 24th Council meeting agenda.

“This item has been scheduled for the October 21st City Council Workshop at 1:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers, at the Glendale Municipal Office Complex at 5850 West Glendale Avenue. Though the City Council does not take public comment at this meeting, your presence and that of your neighbors is a crucial opportunity to show your opposition.

“Please feel free to call me at (623) 561-8263 or email me at mmartinez@glendaleaz.com if you have any questions. Thank you for your support.”

Those of you who supported a defeat of the billboard issue last time, please take note and plan to attend this Tuesday’s workshop. Once again, you must send a strong message to members of this council that there is no support in our community for the Sherwood/Chavira Becker Billboard action.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

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