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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

The Glendale city council held its regular voting meeting on September 13, 2016. Sammy Chavira was absent again…gasp. He did participate telephonically. In a Hillary Clinton-esque move he claimed he has pneumonia. If he is ill, I wish him a speedy recovery. Yet, one can’t help but wonder. Pneumonia seems to be the current rage in illnesses since presidential candidate Clinton’s diagnosis.

All items but two were on the Consent Agenda and were voted upon in one motion, quickly. The next agenda item was a land planning issue and was also quickly dealt with. The last agenda item was the Canvass of Votes, a formality without legal standing which directs the City Clerk to record the results of the election, those results having already been approved by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors (which does have legal standing).

The backdrop to this agenda item was Sammy’s request to the entire city council requesting that they vote to delay acceptance of the Canvass of Votes. In a September 13, 2016 story entitled Chavira asks council to delay canvass of votes by Darrell Jackson of the Glendale Star, he reported, “Yucca District Councilmember Samuel Chavira is attempting to get other councilmembers and the mayor to stop the canvass of votes at the Sept. 13 council meeting after losing his seat in the Aug. 30 primary. Chavira, who lost his seat on the council to former councilmember Joyce Clark by 46 votes, sent an email to fellow councilmembers obtained by The Glendale Star asking them to ‘delay official canvassing of the election results’.” Here is the link to Jackson’s story: http://www.glendalestar.com/news/article_55d713b0-79d5-11e6-8a39-5f815c2ea5eb.html .

Jackson goes on to say, Chavira also may have violated Arizona State Statues on open meeting violations by sending the email as the statute states that councilmembers ‘may not send or verbally communicate with (any) councilmembers requesting their assent on a council meeting agenda action item’.”

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office in its handbook on the Open Meeting Law states the following:

7.5.2 Circumventing the Open Meeting Law.  Discussions and deliberations (in person or otherwise) between less than a majority of the members of a governing body, violate the Open Meeting Law when used to circumvent the purposes of the Open Meeting 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 has been or later 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.   

For example, Board members cannot use email to circumvent the Open Meeting Law requirements.  See Ariz. Att’y Gen. Op. I05-004 at 2.  “[E]ven if communications on a particular subject between members of a public body do not take place at the same time or place, the communications can nonetheless constitute a ‘meeting.’”  See Del Papa v. Bd. of Regents of Univ. and Cmty. Coll. Sys. Of Nev., 114 Nev. 388, 393, 956 P.2d 770, 774 (1998) (rejecting the argument that a meeting did not occur because the board members were not together at the same time and place).  Additionally, “[w]hen members of the public body are parties to an exchange of e-mail communications that involve discussions, deliberations, or taking legal action by a quorum of the public body concerning a matter that may foreseeably come before the public body for action, the communications constitute a meeting through technical devices under the [Open Meeting Law].”  See Ariz. Att’y Gen. Op. I05-004 at 1.  This may be true even if none of the members of the public body respond to the email.  Id. at 2-3.  If the one-way communication proposes legal action, then it would violate the Open Meeting Law.  Id.  However, other one-way communications, with no further exchanges, are not per se violations, and further examination of the facts and circumstances would be necessary to determine if a violation occurred.  Id. at 3.” 

If you believe, as I do, that Sammy has clearly violated the Arizona Open Meeting Law, you may go to the State Attorney General’s website and file a complaint. Any citizen can do so. Here is the link to the site which contains the Complaint Form: https://www.azag.gov/sgo  .

The Canvass of Votes was approved unanimously by the city council but it was not without comment. In the same Darrell Jackson article cited above, he reported that Councilmember Bart Turner prior to the council meeting said, “I have concerns about several irregularities about the election and I feel that by canvassing the votes, we are just accepting the numbers presented by the county and not confirming them,” Turner said by phone. “By canvassing and passing the vote, that, then opens the door for any candidate to challenge the procedure. Our duty is to be sure that to the best of our ability, the election was fully fair and respects the manner of all voters,” Turner said. “If I were to challenge the canvass, it wouldn’t be for one candidate of the other, but on policy and procedures that may not have been completely followed. As far as challenging results, that is the responsibility of the candidates.” His rhetoric was virtually parroted word for word by Councilmembers Tolmachoff and Aldama.

The “irregularities” to which Turner referred were: 1. Delayed opening of the voting location at Glendale High School and 2. The “missing” voter data discovered at Mensendick Elementary School. In his illegal email letter to all councilmembers Chavira asked the County Recorder to provide evidence that the voter data was not tampered with. Here is the response from the County Recorder’s Office regarding both issues that was sent per the Glendale City Clerk’s request and distributed to all councilmembers the day before their evening voting meeting. The first incident did not occur at a Yucca district polling site:

“Subject: Timeline of events at Glendale High School poll site on Primary election day 8/30/2016

 Primary election day 8/30/2016

 Sometime after 6:30am I was sent to 51 avenue and Maryland to pick up the equipment of a troubleshooter who was rear ended in a car accident. While moving supplies/equipment from the troubleshooter to my truck, I received a call at 6:51am directing me to go the Glendale High School poll site ( one of the rear ended troubleshooters polling places) and assist the inspector who was by himself, in a wheelchair with limited mobility to open the poll site.

 Upon arrival, I saw his wife, whom he called, putting out the vote here sign. Myself and another troubleshooter who arrived just after myself, assisted in putting the rest of the signage. I saw no voters waiting around, just kids and parents dropping the kids off.

 Around 7:30am a gentleman in a walker came in, signed the e-poll book and voted a ballot. 7:58am call send me to another poll site to swap out equipment.”

Primary Election August 30, 2016 – Affidavit re: Precinct 0513

Polling Location:               Don Mensendick School – 67th Ave & Missouri

Election Night – MPS Site reported no black bag no memory pack received

The first call made was to the Inspector Pat Burgett. She let me know that all materials were taken to the MPS truck by John Bowen, the Inspector for the co-located precinct 0045 Bethany Park

I then called John Bowen at approximately 1030pm.

He advised that he along with another board member, turned in all of the materials for both precincts and that he had a receipts. In our conversation I asked specifically about the memory packs to which he advised that both packs were sealed in their designated pink bubble bag and then those were sealed inside their individual black bags for each precinct.

We then waited for the MPS truck to arrive at MCTEC.

I did not know that the MPS site did not have the black bag for precinct 0513 until they arrived and we unloaded the truck.

After searching the truck and finding that the black bag was not in house, I volunteered to go first thing on Wed morning to the school.

I first called John Bowen at approx. 715am on Wed to let him know that we did not receive the black back with the memory pack and advised for him to please check his vehicle. He checked and called me back to let me know it was not in the vehicle. But he did have the receipts from the MPS site. I advised to bring them to the school to meet me so that we could retrieve the bag.

We agreed to meet at the school at 8am to gain access to the room where the equipment/supplies remained. (band room)

John arrived a few minutes before me, he had a school representative escort him to unlock the room and retrieved the bag as I was walking up to the room. He called me as I was approaching the school to advise that the bag was indeed in the room and that it was completely intact and that the seal was not broken.

John had his receipts. I confirmed that the receipt for 0513 did not have the top 2 items checked off (black bag & memory pack) All other items were marked. I wrote in Green ink pen on the receipt for 0513, the number to the seal that was on the black bag. I broke the seal with John there to verify that the pink memory pack bag was inside the black bag.

I then picked up a coworker (Jaime Sumner) at 8:35am from her home (approximately 2 blocks across the street from the school) and we drove together to the office with the black bag/memory pack.

We arrived with the black bag at approximately 9:15am.”

As Councilmember Ray Malnar said at the council meeting, the people who work the polls are volunteers and human. He felt that while some mistakes had occurred, none had risen to the level of voter fraud or vote tampering. I concur with his assessment. Originally I expressed concern regarding the “missing” votes at Mensendick School but after reading the above Affidavit I am satisfied that there was no vote tampering.

Apparently these answers from the County Recorder’s Office are not good enough for Chavira, Turner, Tolmachoff and Aldama. Yet they accepted the County Recorder’s and Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Official Canvass of Votes. If they were really concerned about Glendale’s election results, why did they vote to accept those very same results? Turner made one interesting remark when he said, “As far as challenging results, that is the responsibility of the candidates.” The only one who can contest the results is Sammy.

In another Glendale Star story also posted on September 13, 2016 by Darrell Jackson entitled Weiers wins, Clark reclaims Yucca seat, Chavira’s campaign manager, Ben Scheel, said, “At this point, we are following very closely and we will keep all our options open,” Scheel said. “We have spoken to an attorney, but are not calling for anything at this point. We just want to make sure all the votes are counted and after the final votes are posted, we will examine everything closely and make our decision.” Here is the link to this story: http://www.glendalestar.com/news/article_36fc4d94-79c0-11e6-92fd-7f16a95eaf36.html .

Mayor Weiers stated in response to the possibility of a challenge, “Challenge what? The fact is the machine was still sealed and verified and based on any other voting machine, there was no discrepancy. I believe it is fruitless (to challenge) and there is a point where you have to understand that it is time to do what is right for the city.”

Will Sammy contest the results? At this point, I simply don’t care what he does. Mathematically, any action by him will not change the final outcome – quite simply, I won. The margin of my win could change incrementally but the outcome remains the same. Sammy has a steep financial hill to climb in filing a contest to the election. He has to pay for an attorney and he has to pay for any recount should such an action be approved by a judge. The only two grounds, by state statute, that would allow for a recount are voter fraud and vote tampering. He has no proof of either and the burden of proof rests with him. His court adversaries would not be me but the attorneys representing the County Recorder’s Office. That office has clearly and unequivocally stated that all seals on the bags containing the voter data were intact.

It’s time for Burdick and Chavira to publicly concede. Their sound and fury signify nothing but sour grapes and at this point we are seeing not only sour grapes but grapes that have become moldy and rotten. While we are at it…Sammy take your campaign signs down. All signs belonging to losing primary candidates need to be down 15 days after the polls close. That’s Wednesday, September 14, 2016…today.

© 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.

There’s certainly been a lot of news concerning Glendale this week:

  • On February 20, 2015 the group led by Anna Lee filed the necessary paperwork once again to recall Councilmember Gary Sherwood of the Sahuaro district. The group’s first effort was denied by the city on various grounds. Consider their first effort a life’s lesson. They now know exactly what eyes to dot and tees to cross. Expect them to gather the necessary signatures to compel the city to call for a Sherwood recall election. If you would like to sign the petition (must live in the Sahuaro district)  and/or help gather signatures please call 602-657-0303 and your call will be returned.
  • The city council accepted former City Manager Brenda Fischer’s resignation effective April 3, 2015. Her request of the emails of only 3 councilmembers may have been the last straw for council.
  • The city council appointed former Scottsdale City Manager Dick Bowers as Glendale’s Interim City Manager. Mr. Bowers has filled this position before during the last search by council for a city manager. One of his first decisions was to retain the services of Jon Froke as the city’s Planning Director.
  • Mayor Jerry Weiers, on Friday, February 20, 2015 issued the following statement regarding the proposal to sell Foothills Library and relocate it to the Foothills Recreation and Aquatic Center:

“Over the past few weeks, the citizens of Glendale have voiced their opinion regarding the proposed relocation of the Foothills Branch Library. Their voice has been almost entirely united in opposition to the proposal. While I share their concerns and am personally opposed to the proposal, I await the recommendation of the Library Advisory Board, the Parks and Recreation Commission, and the Arts Commission. “I am glad that Glendale residents have taken such an active role on this issue. Ever since it was announced, I urged staff to seek the input of the public to ensure that our citizens were incluced an any propoal to alter the library. It is my sincere hope that Glendale residents will continue to actively participate in this and other important issues facing our great city. “I also thank Midwestern University for their long-term support of the Glendale community. In addition to producint hundreds of doctors, pharmacits, physician assistand, and many other types of medical professionals every year, Midwestern opens their campus to the community through clinics and other wonderful events. Our City is a better place because they are here.”             

  • Tony Tavares, the former president of Disney Enterprises and the Anaheim Ducks, will conduct an audit of the Arizona Coyotes’ financials for $45,000 (anything over the $50,000 cap would require council approval). The audit was supposed to have begun by the end of September. It has been delayed because IceArizona has taken over 5 months to perform its own audit and still is not finished. With this audit the city will be able to examine revenue sources related to the Coyotes and Gila River Arena. Tavares was involved with Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of the Chicago White Sox in a failed 2011 attempt to buy the Coyotes…hmmm.
  • In the Glendale Republic of February 21, 2015, under the title of West Valley Sound Off, elected officials were asked their thoughts on SB 1435 which would gut Arizona Open Meeting law. Mayor Kenn Weise of Avondale expressed opposition as did Councilman Roy Delgado of El Mirage and Councilman Jamie Aldama of Glendale. Not so with Councilman Gary Sherwood. Still smarting from an ongoing Attorney General’s Office into allegations of violation of the Open Meeting Law, he said, “I do believe that reform is needed to allow for additional dialogue amongst the council” and “On Glendale’s seven-member counci, it is difficult to speak to three other members without violating the law.” Well, if anyone should know, he should.
  • Each of the three citizen commissions who heard the presentations on selling the Foothills Library last week will be meeting again this coming week. Citizens are welcome to attend as they are public meetings BUT it will NOT be an opportunity for citizen comment but rather an opportunity for the commission members to have their questions answered by staff and then to decide on an advisory recommendation to the city council. The meeting dates are as follows:
  • Glendale Arts Commission at the Foothills Recreation Center on Monday, February 23, 2015, 6 PM
  • Library Advisory Board at the Foothills Library on Wednesday, February 25, 2015, 6 PM
  • Parks & Recreation Advisory Commission at the Adult Center on Thursday, February 26, 2015, 6 PM

© Joyce Clark, 2015 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.

Councilmember Gary Sherwood took office representing the Sahuaro district in Glendale in January of 2013. He has served two years of his four year term. In his first six months in office he:

  • He flip flopped on his anti-casino campaign pledge claiming he had learned “new information” from Councilmember Chavira (which neither have ever publicly disclosed) and was the deciding vote on a 4-3 council vote supporting it.
  • He and Councilmember Chavira became very close. Coincidentally Chavira flip flopped on his election pledge of opposing exorbitant arena management deals and was the deciding vote on a 4-3 council vote approving the IceArizona deal.
  • He publicly acknowledged that he independently and privately interviewed Brenda Fischer and then publicly advocated for her hire. To this day he remains squarely in her camp and his latest district E Newsletter praises her tenure.
  • At a meeting I attended several years ago at a local restaurant in north Glendale Sherwood was present. After the meeting some of us were standing out in the parking lot. Sherwood was there and at a one point he bragged about having a “cop card.” I never forgot that. To this day, I don’t know exactly what that is but I assume it’s to be used when pulled over for a moving violation.

The next year and a half haven’t been pretty either:

  • He was the leader of the Becker billboard proposal and voted for it. His recent support for Councilmember Tolmachoff’s request for a Scenic Corridor in north Glendale is no more than a smoke screen that will be used to bring back the Becker billboard proposal. Wait for it…the Becker billboard issue will arise again.
  • He allegedly violated Arizona’s Open Meeting Law. The allegations are still under investigation by the Attorney General’s Office.
  • He purportedly attended citizen Planning and Zoning meetings and was reputed to have made hand signals to some of the commissioners as well as visibly associating himself in front of the P&Z commissioners with various applicants that he supported.
  • He was seen having frequent lunch meetings with City Manager Fischer and assorted senior staff at an out-of-the-way Asian restaurant in Peoria.
  • He apparently has a close working relationship with Assistant City Manager Julie Frisoni as evidenced by Frisoni’s emails on the arena management deal that were sent exclusively to Sherwood and the other 3 Councilmembers supporting the deal.
  • He seems to support the sale of the Foothills Library as evidenced by his lack of notification to his constituency (those most affected by its closing and relocation). In his latest district E Newsletter he announced the library meetings dates after the fact. He could have issued a special E Newsletter announcing the dates prior to their being held…but he didn’t.
  • Purportedly he was heard to remark on more than one occasion that he did more than the mayor.
  • He not only supports light rail in Glendale but continues to advocate for its placement on Glendale Avenue in clear contradiction of the 2001 voter approved transportation plan.

Councilmember Sherwood seemed to fancy himself as the ‘real’ mayor of Glendale. His frequent lunches with Fischer, et.al, apparently were for the purpose of trading information and working together on agenda items that would come before the full council. From all appearances he had created a virtual shadow government. He used Council Items of Special Interest, not for initiatives for the good of his constituency but to denigrate the mayor. He publicly disparaged his constituents’ concerns. His constituents believe that instead of representing their interests he has consistently represented his own.

Events are still in play. Apparently the Attorney General’s Office investigation into alleged Open Meeting Law violations is being actively pursued. The major allegation centers around Sherwood’s secret and private coordination of three other councilmember votes on the IceArizona deal. Of course, Sherwood will deny any wrong doing but the infamous email sent to former Councilmember Manny Martinez with the tag line of “please destroy this email after reading” is pretty damning. It purports to say that he, former Councilmember Yvonne Knaack and Councilmember Chavira are all on board after a private meeting with IceArizona’s attorney Nick Wood during which executive session information was shared.

The first attempt to recall Sherwood as councilmember representing the Sahuaro district failed due to technical errors committed by an inexperienced group of citizens. It was a learning experience for the Sherwood recall committee. One of those learned lessons is that the city will do whatever it can to protect sitting elected officials and that one must be very, very precise in dealing with the city. Expect the Sherwood recall committee to soon, very soon, annouce a new petition signature drive. This time expect success.

Sherwood, in an attempt to aggrandize power, has done much to destroy his viability and credibility as an elected official. Should the Attorney General’s Office investigation lead to a finding of wrong doing and/or the second recall attempt be successful Sherwood could end up being removed from office or at the very least, his effectiveness to accomplish anything will have been severely minimalized. It’s politics at its very worst. It would be sad if it weren’t for the fact that his actions have had real and lasting repercussions for every resident of Glendale.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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.

The other day in my blog entitled “A little bit of this…a little bit of that” I related that Republican Senator Sylvia Allen of Snowflake, Arizona had introduced a bill whose sole intent is to gut the Arizona Open Meeting Law.

Arizona’s Open Meeting Law is designed to prevent elected officials, such as members of the Glendale city council from meeting privately and secretly to discuss actions that they will be voting upon. Allen’s bill would allow such private and secret meetings to occur without penalty.

We should all be wondering if there is any connection between the current Attorney General’s investigation of 4 Glendale city councilmembers: current councilmembers Gary Sherwood and Sammy Chavira and former councilmembers Yvonne Knaack and Manny Martinez.

The allegations surrounding these four councilmembers are centered on their actions prior to the July 3, 2013 vote of approval, by these very same four councilmembers, of the IceArizona management agreement for the city’s arena.

It was a time when then Acting City Manager Dick Bowers had sent a Memo to all councilmembers raising concerns about the deal. Allegedly in an effort to shore up a pro-IceArizona majority vote, these councilmembers met privately with IceArizona’s attorney Nick Wood right after a council executive session. Allegedly Sherwood shared executive session information with Wood and then emailed a summary of the deal’s status to Councilmember Martinez (who did not attend the private meeting) with an admonition to destroy his email. Let’s not forget now Assistant City Manager Julie Frisoni’s role in all of this. There is at least one email floating around in which she shares positive talking points of the IceArizona deal to the four supportive councilmembers exclusively. Those councilmembers who she assumed were not in support of the deal did not receive her email.

It’s awfully coincidental that while these four Glendale councilmembers remain under investigation by the Attorney General’s office, at least 4 of SB 1435’s sponsors are Glendale representatives: Senators Judy Burges, Don Shooter, Kimberly Yee and David Livingston. Senator Debbie Lesko of Peoria is also a sponsor of the bill.

You don’t suppose Sherwood had a conversation about his current difficulties with any of these sponsors? Nah…it’s just coincidental.  Below is a full list of SB 1435’s sponsors:

Email is an easy action nowadays. Simply copy and paste the email addresses from above. Please let them know that allowing elected officials to meet privately and secretly on legislation that will come before them will do nothing to further good government and it kills what little transparency we have. Tell them the days of secret, backroom deals are over. Kill the bill.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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.

First, some further clean up information on the Foothills Library. Questions have arisen as to which entity initiated the idea of sale of Foothills Library. Some contend senior staff offered it to Midwestern in an effort to produce more funds for the city. Others contend that Midwestern approached the city first. The jury is out on that question and only the two principals know the answer. What I find far more interesting is city council three years ago had requested a list of all city properties and their value. To date they have never received such a listing from senior management. To my knowledge, city council has never given specific direction to sell the Foothills Library.

Some have asked about the Capital Improvement Bonds issued to build the library. Voter approval was granted for bond capacity issuance in various categories, including that of parks and libraries. While the voter approval caps the dollar amount of bond value that may be issued, that capacity can be used for any project within its category and is not voter mandated as to which capital projects will be funded.

The current Foothills Library is 33,500 square feet. It would be reduced in size and scope to 9,100 square feet if relocated to the Foothills Recreation and Aquatic Center (FRAC). In reality the relocated library would be placed in the FRAC’s Coyote Room which is 3,000 square feet. The kitchen area in which the library would have access is 500 square feet. The FRAC Activity Room which is occupied by pool tables would be dedicated to the library and is 2,700 square feet. However, the room’s walls are rounded. Thus the useable space is less than 2,700 square feet. The total space is 6,200 square feet, not 9,100 square feet. The additional 3,000 square feet are second floor meeting rooms counted in the library’s new square footage of 9,100 square feet. Those meeting rooms currently are dedicated to Parks and Recreation programming. Special interest classes currently held in those meeting rooms would have to be relocated. The only other option is to share the 3,000 square feet of meeting space between Parks and Recreation and the relocated library.  Hmmm…a reduction in library size from 33,000 square feet to 9,100 square feet (an approximate space reduction of 60%) will certainly enhance library services…not.

As more and more Glendale residents become aware of this proposed sale of the Foothills Library, citizen displeasure and pressure is growing to reject it. You can help by contacting the mayor and council to voice your rejection of this idea at:

Other agenda items from the Tuesday, February 3, 2015 city council workshop was the Glendale Fire Department’s request for a Certificate of Necessity (CON) from the Arizona Department of Health Services to provide city owned and operated advanced life support transport services (ambulances) within Glendale and outside of Glendale (due to Automatic Aid). Council gave its support to proceeding to seek this CON. Once the Certificate is granted, Glendale does not have to implement this service. Make no mistake, the Fire Department will seek any and all opportunities to grow and will seek to implement the service.

I read the minutes of the Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS) on the CON application for American Medical Response (it was granted recently). Of interest to note are the rates the state has approved for various medical transport services:

  • Advanced Life Support (ALS) rate: $862.40
  • Basic Life Support (BLS) rate: $768.20
  • Mileage rate: $15.48
  • Standby/Waiting rate: $192.05
  • Subscription Service rate: $80.54
  • Disposable Medical Supply rate: Separate charges apply

We will wait to see what the Fire Department proposes after it receives approval for a Certificate of Necessity. Council should take note that the one time, upfront cost to implement Glendale’s Advanced Life (ALS) Support with 4 new ambulances is said to be $760,000. Fire claims that cost is recoverable. It is not. I also have difficulty in accepting that this is the total cost. An ALS equipped ambulance will be in the neighborhood of $200,000. Add to that the cost of personnel to staff each vehicle.  These are real costs and it doesn’t matter whether it’s contract labor or a full time Glendale employee.

The last agenda item was city council discussion of mayoral and council staff becoming “at-will” employees rather than as they are now, classified employees. It is my observation that council missed a golden opportunity to insure its independence and confidentiality. City Manager Brenda Fischer announced that insuring council’s confidentiality was an “administrative” prerogative. Brent Stoddard, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Supervisor of all council staff, assured council that he would maintain council staff’s “political sensitivity.” While council staff does not report directly to Fischer, it does directly report to Stoddard. And who does Stoddard report to? Why, City Manager Fischer. Duh… When Mayor Weiers asked if there would be retaliation if his staff refused to divulge confidential matters, he got a non-answer. Not exactly reassuring. Councilmembers Turner, Sherwood, Chavira and Aldama were in the majority and wished no change to the current employee status.

Of note: Did you know the Phoenix Business Journal is about to present City Manager Brenda Fischer with the “Outstanding Woman in Business Award?” I guess they didn’t get the memo on Fischer’s very public tantrum at the Yard House restaurant berating Don Heicht, the CEO of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce. A majority of Glendale’s residents are embarrassed by her non-professionalism and believe at the very least, she deserves a reprimand in her personnel file.

Lastly, Republican State Senator Sylvia Allen of Snowflake introduced a bill this week that is designed to gut the state’s Open Meeting Law. Currently the law forbids elected officials from discussing upcoming agenda issues in secret among themselves. Allen’s bill allows elected officials to discuss agenda items prior to their vote, secretly. Please take the time to email Glendale’s state representatives with your expression of non support for this legislation:

Emails are a fast, efficient and very effective way to let your elected officials know your position on proposed legislation whether it is to the Glendale mayor and council to express your disapproval of the proposed sale of Foothills Library; or to your state representatives on legislation to destroy the state’s Open Meeting Law. Your voice does count…make it heard today!

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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Former councilmember Norma Alvarez is certainly not leaving Glendale City Hall with a whimper. On November 20, 2014 she sent a letter off to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office with yet another allegation of an Open Meeting Law violation. I have heard that this complaint has legs.

In it she alleges that someone on Glendale city council after having received in executive session the infamous legal analysis of Glendale employee financial mismanagement then leaked the information to Paul Giblin of the Arizona Republic. Giblin and the Arizona Republic would not divulge the name of the leaker on city council. That is not surprising as the media routinely and rightly will not name their sources.

She goes on to contend that the City Manager, City Attorney and/or other Glendale city employees know the name of the leaker and to date they have failed to disclose the name in an effort to protect all who may have been involved. She makes the specific request of the AG’s office to investigate and to secure the name of the leaker because she has been accused of this violation. She does not name any of the councilmembers as the leaker. Ask yourselves which of the current crop has the reputation of being a media hound? Ask yourselves which of the councilmembers is already under investigation for other alleged Open Meeting Law violations?  Ask yourselves which of the councilmembers has Alvarez locked horns with on nearly every issue? Here is her letter: GLendaleCityClerk&AlvarezOMCLetters-2pages_Page_2 Ever since the new councilmembers, Sherwood, Chavira and Hugh were elected in November of 2012 there have been a string of allegations regarding alleged violations of the Open Meeting Law with one side or the other making complaints to the AG’s office.  These allegations have arisen because they are probably true. Remember the old adage, where there’s smoke there’s fire. But they have also arisen as a sign of the deep divisiveness on the council for the past two years. Council divisions erupted over major issues such as the casino, the sales tax increase becoming permanent and the Coyotes deal. The prevalent ethic among them seems to be if you can’t win the issue then there should be pay back. It has not been a comfortable place in which to work and the council made no bones about airing their dirty laundry publicly.

Will anything come of these AG investigations? Who knows? Many people hope so and think that this council attitude of take no prisoner has to stop. Will this new council of Weiers, Hugh, Sherwood, Chavira, Tolmachoff, Turner and Aldama rise above the current pettiness? Many think not and point to the lining up of two new camps with Sherwood, Chavira and Aldama on one side; and Hugh, Tolmachoff and Turner on the other; and the Mayor as the deciding vote on many issues.

© 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

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

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

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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