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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

PLEASE NOTE: YOU WILL NOTE THAT I HAVE NOT PUBLISHED MANY BLOGS LATELY. I HAVE BEEN CONSUMED WITH A PERSONAL FAMILY ISSUE WITH MANY, MANY DOCUMENTS TO READ AND ABSORB. THE ISSUE SHOULD RESOLVE ITSELF BY THE END OF OCTOBER.

It has been 17 years and 281 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

It would appear so. Like a fall bonfire’s smoke, there is the smell of desperation in the air. His recall election is fast approaching and early ballots for Sahuaro district voters go out on Wednesday, October 7th. His campaign has been placing robo calls (one can assume the fire union is footing the bill) to voters in his district. In them, Sherwood apparently calls on voters not to believe all the lies being told about him and that they have been created by interests outside of Glendale. No one is buying his rhetoric. The “lies” Sherwood refers to are of his own making. He didn’t need help from interests outside of Glendale.

He had a district meeting (a rare event) on October 1, 2015. Isn’t it amazing that it was scheduled just before early ballots are mailed? There is something to be said for the power of an incumbent.  I know that when I ran for council there was a prohibition for councilmembers from using city resources for (if I remember correctly, for at least 60 days…it could have been longer). He has tried to explain away his lousy driving record with its array of suspensions and warrant for his arrest. His rationale? All those court documents he was receiving were just junk mail.

Sherwood’s history as the Sahuaro district councilmember is not a record of pride:

  • From the start of representation he has been arrogant about and dismissive of his constituents’ voices
  • He was frequently heard on the 4th floor of city hall crowing that he was the “real” mayor of Glendale
  • He followed his own agenda rather than that of his constituency
  • His extraordinary meeting with former City Manager Brenda Fischer and his advocacy for her hiring
  • His apparent alliance with Fischer and her inner circle, Frisoni, Tindall and Burdick leading to their favoritism and advocacy for his positions on issues such as the Coyotes deal
  • His rationalization for support for the casino seems to change on any given day but many continue to believe that he traded his vote of support for the casino with Councilmember Chavira’s vote of support for the Coyotes
  • His stance on Foothills Library closure and advocacy for Becker billboards was in direct opposition to the majority of his district residents’ wishes
  • As Vice Chair of the Valley Metro transit board he has, before hearing or considering the wishes of the people of Glendale, staked out a position not only in support of light rail in Glendale but that the route should be through its downtown
  • Lastly and perhaps most troubling, is his flaunting of the law. The most serious of which was his out-of-town car rental while his drivers license was suspended and he paid for the vehicle rental with a city ProCard. If there had been any kind of accident he would have subjected the city to tremendous liability. There is also the outstanding matter of Glendale taxpayers footing the bill for his illegal behavior

Unfortunately Sherwood has not lived up to his campaign billing, past, present and future. Sherwood’s and the fire union’s desperation are palpable. Apparently their polling is showing that Sherwood will lose his recall election by a vote of 3 to 1. So, they’ve put up campaign signs with every imaginable endorsement they can scrape up. For instance, now “education” supports Sherwood. Who in “education?” Do Sherwood and the fire union think voters are so dumb that they do not know that the city has no influence or control over local school districts? The city does not fund education in any way, shape or form. This is the same ploy both Chavira and Aldama used in their campaigns when they said they supported and were supported by “education.” It’s meaningless. Another favorite is Sherwood’s endorsement by “paramedics.” Which ones? Of course the firefighter paramedics are predominately union members and the fire union is underwriting the cost of Sherwood’s campaign.

Many voters in the Sahuaro district recognize that Sherwood has not been on their side. It seems he has supported powerful outside interests in return for future financial campaign reelection support. For that reason alone it appears that his constituency is prepared to reject him and to elect and “outsider.” Doesn’t that sound familiar? We see the same sentiment on a national level with voters prepared to vote for “outsiders” on both the Democratic and Republican sides of the aisle.

Voters in the Sahuaro district do have a choice. Ray Malnar is running against Sherwood in his recall election. In the past day or two, the following message from Ray Malnar was forwarded to me and I am sharing it with you, the Sahuaro district voters:

Dear friends,

Early Ballots began going out in the Sahuaro District yesterday. At the same time, messages are being distributed by my opponent and his supporters which do not address the issues. I want to continue to stay truthful and honorable. In this, the eleventh hour of the election cycle, I am asking that you help share the facts about my experience, ethics and position on key issues with people you know, especially those who live in the Sahuaro District.

Here’s a link to the  Ray Malnar for a Better Glendale website which will clarify who I am, what I stand for and why we are in this Recall Election. Please type in : https://www.raymalnar.com/   Please send this link out to everyone you know who might have a connection in Glendale.

Thank you,

 Ray Malnar, Candidate

Glendale City Council, Sahuaro District

602-869-1160

ray.malnar@cox.net

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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The Glendale City Council meeting of March 25, 2014 was reminiscent of many meetings I attended. It was one of those marathon sessions, lasting well over 4 hours, attracting many public speakers. The council approved a contingency fund transfer of over $6 million for the arena management fee and accepted staff’s recommendation that retirees will now pay the full liability for their medical insurance. Curiously current city personnel will remain heavily subsided by the city (read, you, the taxpayer).

However, the two big issues were billboards along the Loop 101 and Bell Road and the resolution to officially rescind city support for U.S. Representative Trent Franks’ legislation, HR 1410.

One could see a sea of yellow t-shirts in support of allowing billboards adjacent to the Loop 101 and Bell Road. Jordan Rose of the Rose Law Group delivered a strong, and very, very long presentation on behalf of Becker Boards. Yet speakers against the proposal outnumbered those supporting 2 to 1. It was assumed by many that it was a done deal and would win approval. After all, Councilmember Sherwood had publicly announced that he had the four votes needed for its passage. Can you say, “blind-sided?” The ultimate vote was 5 to 2 against. Only Councilmembers Sherwood and Alvarez voted in favor of Becker Billboards.

Sherwood’s advocacy for the billboards may be more easily understood as one of the speakers questioned his support in terms of the campaign contributions he had received from the stakeholders. A quick pass of his campaign finance reports reveals at least $1,960 received from members of the Rose Law Group and another $1,720 received from members of the Becker family. Approximately 1/5 of his total campaign contributions came from these two entities.  

As a side note, seeing the large campaign contributions from fire unions, fire PACs and union firefighters in Sherwood’s campaign filings has piqued my interest. Look for a future blog that details how much money these fire union entities poured into Glendale’s last election cycle in 2012 and to whom. I suspect it will surprise us all except for the fire unions who probably know to the penny.

Councilmember Alvarez, on the other hand, cast a spite vote in favor of the billboards. After all, if her district must suffer their blight, why shouldn’t North Glendale suffer too?

The other hot issue was a vote by a majority of council to reject Representative Trent Franks legislation (HB 1410) to prohibit casino construction in the Phoenix Metro area after August of 2013. Council’s vote on this issue was much closer this time, 4 to 3, with Councilmembers Alvarez, Hugh, Chavira and Sherwood (perhaps as payback to Chavira) voting in the affirmative. The result of this congressional bill would be to stop the Tohono O’odham in their tracks. You can be sure it will result in another court battle. In the meantime court decisions are not yet settled in the 9th Circuit Court and in the Supreme Court.

Plain and simple, the Glendale City Council should not have done this. It is a slap in the face of a supportive bipartisan congressional coalition made up of the likes of Franks (R), McCain (R), Pastor (D) and others—virtually the entire Arizona Congressional delegation is in support of Franks’ legislation. The State of Arizona has a law on the books—the voter approved Gaming Compact of 2002. Since when can a city council pick and choose which laws it will uphold? It is a premature action that can result in futility should the court cases be resolved against the Tohono O’odham or Franks’ bill become law.

Mayor Weiers read a letter from Representative Franks expressing his disappointment with this council’s action and his pledge to continue to move this legislation forward. The Mayor also expressed concern that should the Tohono O’odham prevail the State Legislature will move to allow gambling state-wide, no holds barred. Many neighborhoods, state-wide, not just in the Phoenix Metro area, may become victims of new casino construction, not just by state tribes but by gaming interests throughout the country.

I, the former Yucca district councilmember, along with many, many Glendale residents, especially in the district affected, the Yucca district, urge the Gila River Indian Community and the Salt River-Pima-Maricopa Indian Communities to stay the course. Continue to fight this deception perpetrated by the Tohono O’odham on you, its sister tribes.

I urge Representative Franks to also stay the course. The 4 current councilmembers who voted to pass this resolution do not represent the majority — Glendale residents opposed to this intrusion. They are misguided–swayed by the promises made to them by the Tohono O’odham. Yet how can we trust a tribe that used deception to buy the land and keep it a secret for 7 years? How can other tribes trust the tribe that used deception and secretly was planning to build a casino while advocating for a state compact that promised no new casinos in the Phoenix Metro area? Anyone who relies upon the Tohono O’odham’s word after having seen their deceptions is a fool. It looks like we’ve got at least 4 fools on the Glendale City Council. Sigh…

© 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.

The Glendale City Council meeting of February 25, 2014 was contentious. Everything was truckin’ along until Item 19, the billboard issue. Whoa…not so fast! The council vote was tabled. It was widely assumed that Councilmember Sherwood had the votes to ram it through. It turns out that was not the case. Somewhere along the way he, Rose Law (applicant’s representative) and Becker (applicant) realized the votes were not there. Their fall back plan was to table, hopefully providing them more time to bring reluctant councilmembers into the fold. The vote to table and bring to a council workshop on March 18 and council meeting on March 25 was 5 to 2. Vice Mayor Knaack voted “No” and observed that this issue was “being pushed out until the answer changes.” Councilmember Martinez also voted “No” and said the move smacked of “desperate measures.” Weiers, Sherwood, Alvarez, Hugh and Chavira voted “Yes.”

There were at least a dozen or more citizens there to voice their opposition to the billboards. Sherwood, in the past, characterized the billboard opposition as “a minority.” Not so. It’s usually the case that every citizen that takes the time to get actively involved in an issue represents a large segment of silent citizens. 

Most of the public stayed until the end of the council meeting to express their dismay with council’s non-action. Michele Tennyson from the Cholla district expressed their collective sentiment quite well. Ms. Tennyson had served on a city council in Mill Creek, Washington and after locating to Glendale, served on various Glendale boards and commissions. She obviously knows how political games are played. She said she was “ashamed” by council’s conduct and decision to table the issue. She related the timeline and history of actions taken. She made it quite clear that there was no reason to delay an up or down vote. Ann Berman, a Sahuaro district resident, said “Sherwood seems to have made a decision” and alluded to the fact that it is not in the public’s favor. Others pointed out that the next scheduled council vote would occur during Spring Break when many people take the opportunity to go out-of-town. Clearly the residents of the Sahuaro and Cholla districts, directly affected by the erection of these billboards, do not want them.

During the council comment period at the end of the meeting those who spoke offered hints regarding their positions on the issue. Councilmember Sherwood attempted to explain why it was necessary to table the billboard issue. Councilmember Alvarez told the citizens that they need “to make the council accountable.”  Councilmember Martinez characterized council’s actions as “blatant” and “a slap in the face” to the decisions already made by the citizen Planning Commission and staff. Vice Mayor Knaack described it as “unforgiveable” to disregard the Planning Commission’s decision.

Others were silent about that issue but offered a wide range of comments on other topics. Sherwood, Chavira and Knaack voiced their opposition to SB 1062 (although Knaack cited the wrong bill number). Several thanked Executive Directors of Communication/Marketing and Transportation, Jerry McCoy and Jamsheed Mehta, for their service as they move to take positions with other cities. Mayor Weiers characterized it as a “brain drain.” That is exactly what it is. We continue to lose the best and brightest and their historical memory of previous city action. Jamsheed Mehta should have been appointed as an Assistant City Manager.  Councilmember Chavira, always reluctant to take a position on anything unless cleared by his handlers, thanked everyone for everything. During the Public Comment period Arthur Thruston spoke of Ken Jones’ contribution to Glendale via his activism on issues and asked for special council recognition for him.  Some of the councilmembers publicly thanked Ken Jones for his participation in Glendale’s civic life. Will he get a plaque for his activism? No. It would set a precedent and create untold controversy as to which citizens would merit such recognition.  I have never agreed with Mr. Jones’ positions on any Glendale issue but he has earned my respect and thanks for his avid activism. There should be more Ken Jones in Glendale, not necessarily sharing his point of view but willing to speak and stand for those things in which they believe. Thank you, Mr. Jones.

© 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.

On the December 3, 2013 city council workshop there were 6 topics. This was not one of council’s short, one-hour, “whizz bang, thank you ma’am” kind of meetings. It seems whenever there is discussion related personally to council the discussion is intense and prolonged.

Let’s take a look at each one. First up was the issue of 2 hour downtown parking. Someone had complained to Mayor Weiers and so it surfaced as a Council Item of Special Interest. Since the parking restriction was not being enforced there was a question of keeping the signage up. Councilmembers Martinez, Knaack and Sherwood felt there was no problem but supported Weiers, Hugh and Chavira in their request to survey the downtown merchants about the issue. So there will be a second installment on this issue after the survey is completed.

Next item was the city suite policy and its use. This item was requested for discussion by Vice Mayor Knaack who explained that she wanted to disabuse the public of the notion that council had free and unfettered access to the city suites at Jobing.com arena and Camelback Ranch. This notion is widely held when the public sees Mayor Weiers and Councilmember Sherwood often and regularly in the city Jobing.com arena suite. The policy as I remember it allowed for 2 uses: for non-profit use and for city business use (economic development). Apparently there is now a third use allowing for city council city business.  Council finished by directing staff to make more use of the suites as a reward to city volunteers. A good idea. Sources have said that Interim Assistant City Manager Frisoni was able to rent the Jobing.com arena suite in the past for her daughter’s birthday party. If that did occur it most certainly violated stated city policy. Hmmmm…

The third item was allowing citizens to donate a greater amount monthly to the From the Heart Donation program — another Mayor Weiers topic. After much discussion council gave direction to increase the donation option from $1 a month to $2 a month on citizen utility bills. The thinking was that it would double the amount received monthly for the program. Maybe, maybe not. When the price is increased on anything the number of purchasers usually decreases. Let’s see how this works out.

Undoubtedly the hottest topic was the discussion of council budgets. Vice Mayor Knaack requested this item and made the point that she did not think the use of council funds (read your taxpayer dollars) should be given from councilmember budgets to non-profits.  Martinez and Sherwood agreed but it raised Councilmember Alvarez’ blood pressure by at least 100 points. She had been silent on all previous items and did not wake up until this topic came forward. Then she was off and running!

She made sure she cited every past transgression from Knaack benefiting from the city’s VIP (Visual Improvement Program) for businesses to the city’s decision to enter into the $15 million dollar a year management agreement with IceArizona to the absence of recreation programming for kids. She made sure she recited every past sin. She made clear she would not go along with any prohibition council might create regarding council budget donations to non-profits. Hugh and Chavira stood fast with her.

Councilmember Martinez, joined by Vice Mayor Knaack, once again asked that councilmembers reduce their discretionary and infrastructure budgets so that the funds could go back into the General Fund. There is no doubt that Martinez, Knaack and former Vice Mayor Steve Frate believed strongly in doing so. Here is the past history on council budget reductions;

  • Barrel district (Knaack)      reduction of $26,571 and district improvements of $197
  • Sahuaro district (Frate)      reduction of $24,729 and district improvements of $4,965
  • Cholla district (Martinez)    reduction of $23,796 and district improvements of $2,998
  • Cactus district (Lieberman) reduction of $2,563 and district improvements of $500
  • Yucca district (Clark)          reduction of $1,188 and district improvements of $15,445
  • Ocotillo district (Alvarez)    reduction of $0 and district improvements of $9,545 

Donations to non-profit/school districts:

  • Ocotillo district (Alvarez)              $22,134
  • Cactus district (Hugh)                  $11,849
  • Yucca district (Chavira)                $  8,000
  • Cholla district (Martinez)              $  1,000
  • Barrel district (Knaack)                $     609
  • Sahuaro (Sherwood)                    $     419

You can see from the figures above there are two competing philosophies regarding the spending of council budgets. There being no consensus on anything related to how they spend your taxpayer dollars there was no direction given and things will stay just as they are.

The next item was a topic generated by Councilmember Sherwood. Currently all councilmembers can offer a Council Item of Special Interest without having to get 3 other councilmembers to agree to the topic. Sherwood wanted to go back in time and reuse the policy that required 3 other councilmembers to support any Item of Special Interest. As he said, “It was better to have staff work with ‘real’ issues” and he summarily dismissed the value of any Item of Special Interest brought forward by a councilmember. His suggestion went over like a lead balloon and he received no council support for his latest idea.

The last item was city generated and was a presentation on the proposed financial policy on transfers. After the presentation by Tom Duensing, the new Director of Financial Services, he was thanked profusely (especially by Chavira who has become quite adept at thanking everybody for everything) but there was nary a question. The longest part of this item was the presentation by Duensing.

On another unrelated issue, lately there has been a fire storm of public discussion on the siting of billboards in the Arrowhead area adjacent to the Loop 101. I bring this up not to take a position on the issue but because of something I read recently. A Cholla citizen reacting to the billboards said, “How ghetto could that be, to put up signs like that?” This is not an aberration but the typical attitude exhibited by Arrowhead folk. So, billboards are ghetto-izing? It’s OK for billboards to be placed in the rest of Glendale along with pawn shops, loan stores, massive apartment complexes and liquor stores? I’m surprised that Arrowhead has not ceded from the city. It must be embarrassing for Arrowhead people to have to say they live in Glendale with all of its ghettos.

© Joyce Clark, 2013

FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those 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, democracy, 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 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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