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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

It seems that Glendale’s City Clerk, Pam Hanna, is stressed this holiday season. Today, December 19, 2014 was the day of submission of recall petitions for Glendale Councilmember Gary Sherwood by the Recall Councilman Gary Sherwood Committee.

In her usual fashion Ms. Hanna made yet another election mistake. She formally notified everyone that the requisite number of petition signatures required was 3,851. Oops…wrong. The actual number of signatures required is 2,752. Apparently basic math is not her strong suit. Ms. Hanna made the rounds of visiting every councilmember in person with her mea culpa. She also sent out an SOS to all city departments asking for help to process the signatures. Here is her plea for help: GLendaleCityClerk&AlvarezOMCLetters-2pages_Page_1 How many signatures were turned in? The recall committee prior to their submittal counted 404 petition sheets. At 15 signatures per sheet the maximum total could be as high as 6,030 signatures. The City Clerk’s office counted 398 sheets x 15 signatures per sheet for a possible high total of 5,970. There’s that pesky math again. No matter. Whether it’s a possible 6,030 or 5,970 signatures turned in that is far more than the 2,752 signatures required.

In Sherwood’s run for council in 2012 he captured 1,615 votes. The total number of votes for all Sahuaro city council candidates totaled 4,005.  No matter what the final signature tally is it is clear that twice the number of registered voters signed the recall petition than voted for Sherwood in 2012 and they will be valid signatures. There is no doubt that the City of Glendale will be scheduling a recall election in 2015.

This recall effort is only one of the problems Sherwood faces. He ended his campaign with a balance of $1,330.51 on hand. In terms of running a recall campaign that amount will hardly do. It should also be noted of the $19,000 from his last campaign he loaned his campaign $8600 or nearly half of the money he raised. He may find it very difficult to obtain campaign funding this time around. It should also be noted that on 8/29/2014 his campaign paid $380 as a fine for his not signing the campaign finance report he submitted on 6/302014.

He still remains under investigation by the Arizona Attorney General’s office for alleged allegations of Open Meeting Law violations. His track record of following through on his campaign pledges has alienated him from his constituents.  He ran in opposition to the proposed casino and then was the swing vote to support it. He opposed making the temporary sales tax permanent and then supported it as a councilmember. Perhaps the issue that angered his constituency the most was his ardent advocacy of the Becker billboard proposal. He attempted to push it through not once but twice.

It is time for Mr. Sherwood to cut his losses and resign while his reputation is still fairly intact.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

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In the November 6, 2014 edition of the Glendale Star it was reported that, “the attorney general’s office confirmed it had received all necessary information and is investigating the issue against four members of Glendale City Council.” To refresh your memory on June 29, 2013 Councilmember Gary Sherwood sent the following email to Councilmember Manny Martinez:

June 29, 2013

To: Martinez, Manny; Jeff Teesel

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.”

In the Star article Sherwood mounts a defense of his actions. I would remind all that just because something is in print doesn’t make it necessarily true. I could be the Queen of England in print but that is not true. Sherwood asserts the email was innocent and there was no collusion between councilmembers but that doesn’t make it true.  Councilmember Sammy Chavira uses the time honored phrase, “I do not recall…” Just because someone doesn’t “recall” doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Yet Sherwood, in his email, clearly states that “Sammy was already on board as he was with us last night.” If he did not have a conversation with Sammy that night he must have had a conversation at some time with Sammy to be able to confidently declare that “Sammy was on board…”

Vice Mayor Knaack is also back pedaling with her statement, “I do not recall discussing the terms of the deal or any other substantive discussions about the city-Coyotes business deal during the telephone conversation.” Yet again, Sherwood clearly states in his June 29 email that Yvonne and he spent an hour discussing terms of the deal with Coyotes’ attorney Nick Wood. Either Sherwood is lying or Chavira and Knaack are lying. Take your pick.

Facts are facts. Sherwood confirms that Knaack and Sherwood had an hour long conversation with Coyotes’ attorney Nick Wood. Sherwood refers to the substance of the conversation and that it was about the terms of the city-Coyotes deal and what had transpired in a city council e-session held prior to the phone conversation. There was no other city business that would have necessitated a conversation between Sherwood, Knaack and Wood. Sherwood stated unequivocally that Sammy supported the deal. Sherwood sent his email to Martinez to share results of that conversation.

It appears Sherwood was at the center sharing information about the Coyotes deal with the other three councilmembers, Knaack, Martinez and Chavira, in order to keep them informed and quite frankly, to keep them in line to vote in favor of the deal.

Another just as troubling aspect of the current Star article was this, “The city hired the firm of Simms Murray Ltd. To create and present the city’s case to the attorney general on this alleged open meeting violation.” How much will the city end up paying to defend against the latest alleged transgressions of four councilmembers?

It brings up memories of another such situation where the city paid the personally incurred attorney’s fees for councilmembers. Do you remember the 2006 indictments against Councilmembers David Goulette, Steve Frate, Tom Eggleston, Manny Martinez and City Clerk Pam Hanna? All elected officials are required to submit annual financial disclosure statements at the end of every January as a means of publicly disclosing any possible conflict of interest. These four councilmembers submitted them after the due date and back dated their disclosure statements and were indicted for it. They were not exonerated. Rather a judge ruled in March of 2006 that the city attorney could not testify against them due to attorney client privilege. The following month city council approved a “transfer of general fund contingency appropriation authority and funds in the amount of $500,000 to cover the additional anticipated costs associated with special projects.” The “special projects” were the personal attorney’s fees for the four indicted councilmembers. In 2006 the very same councilmembers that were indicted also voted in the affirmative to have the city pay their attorneys’ fees. It looks as if history is about to repeat itself.

© 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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