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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

It has been 18 years and 117 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

The city council meeting of April 12, 2016 had a lot of green shirts with the logo “Heroes Park –Finish It” in attendance. Citizen speakers spoke about the need to finish the park, long

Green shirts in city council chambers

Green shirts in city council chambers

overdue; about the density of homes in the proposed residential development south of the Grand Canal; and the need to reopen O’Neil Pool. City council did take notice and several spoke about the park during council comments. What were heard were platitudes. Some said there was recognition of the need to finish the park but none offered a solid commitment to make that happen. Others recognized the need for more parking at the park and punted saying that more temporary parking would be created when the temporary modular library branch was installed.

None of the non-solutions are satisfactory. That means the work of the citizen group led by Tom Traw of the Yucca district and Norma Alvarez of the Ocotillo district is not done. Continual pressure by the citizens’ group must continue. They will not succeed with a one day show of

O'Neil Pool abandoned

O’Neil Pool abandoned

citizen force. Pressure must be applied on the city council to allocate the money needed to complete this park.

Please contact Glendale’s city councilmembers at the email addresses listed below and tell them you want Heroes Park finished and it has been far too long.

  • Mayor Jerry Weiers at mayorweiers@glendaleaz.com
  • Vice Mayor Ian Hugh at ihugh@glendaleaz.com
  • Councilmember Bart Turner at bturner@glendaleaz.com
  • Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff at ltolmachoff@glendaleaz.com
  • Councilmember Ray Malnar at rmalnar@glendaleaz.com
  • Councilmember Jamie Aldama at jaldama@glendaleaz.com
  • Councilmember Sammy Chavira at schavira@glendaleaz.com

Or call the city council assistants and leave a message for each councilmember:

  • Mayor Weiers office at 623-930-2260
  • An army

    An army

    Council assistant Ryan Lee for Councilmembers Turner and Tolmachoff at 623-930-2250

  • Council assistant Adam Maynes for Councilmembers Hugh and Aldama at 623-930-2878
  • Council assistant Van Ornelas for Councilmembers Malnar and Chavira at 623-930-2016

If, after 18 years, you want Heroes Park to be completed it requires your involvement. One tiny ant can’t do very much but an army of ants can move mountains. You need to become a member of the ant army and actively voice your support for the completion of this park.

© 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.

It has been 18 years and 97 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

The Glendale city council meeting of Tuesday, March 22, 2016 was completed in a little over an hour despite an agenda of 41 items, 36 of which were consent agenda or consent resolutions. The only curious item of note was Item 12, Position reclassifications presented by HR Director Jim Brown. There was only one position reclassification requested and that was for the City Attorney’s Office. The request was to create a new title, Senior Assistant City Prosecutor. The reason given for the request was to “realign to better meet department needs.”  Hmmm…it seems a bit strange to bring forward only one position in the organization for reclassification.

The more interesting events of the evening were not formal agenda items. During the public comment portion Bill Dempsky of the Sahuaro district, a regular citizen public speaker, railed about Councilmember Sammy Chavira’s excessive and questionable travel expenses. He cited specific facts about those expenses and commented that Sammy wasted $3,000 of your taxpayer dollars with his constant habit and practice of changing flights.

Sammy has become very nervous about his recent negative press coverage and so, lo and behold, he spoke. At the end of the council meeting during council comments, he pulled his written comments before him and began to read. His comments were carefully worded and it was obvious that Sammy did not write them for he does not speak that well.

He said he always followed the travel policy of the city. He failed to mention that in relation to elected officials whatever policy does exist is non-existent or very weak. We would not expect him to acknowledge that he gamed the system. He can claim he did nothing wrong but the Yucca district voters no longer believe him. One man told me, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. He went on to say appearances are everything and it appears to him that Sammy is using his power and privilege to his advantage, not that of the people.

Chavira had two “fun” trips on his agenda – one to see the Pope in Washington, D.C. on a large screen TV and the other to see his friend and mentor, Ruben Gallego, be installed as a U.S. Congressman. But Sammy had a problem. For you see, he had to make these trips “legitimate.” What to do? Simple, claim some sort of meeting related to city business—with someone, anyone, willing to back up his claim that a city issue was discussed. For all we know the so-called meeting could (and probably was) 5 minutes long but it would have been enough to CYA.

Sammy’s bosses, including the Phoenix Fire Chief, have tacitly acknowledged the impropriety of Sammy’s paying $420 for their seafood and steak dinners by returning their portions of the check (5 Phoenix officials have done so to date) to the City of Glendale. Not only that, but they repaid with personal funds. Has it ever occurred to Sammy that it’s time he repaid the city as well? Probably not.

Sammy went on to say that he supports review of the city’s travel policy and at the April 5, 2016 city council workshop he, personally, would request such a review as an action item for a future city council workshop.

Sammy is definitely scared. He got caught with his hand in the cookie jar and is desperately looking for a way to keep his hand intact. This time it’s not going to work. What Sammy doesn’t realize…yet…is there are a lot of angry voters out there. They were already angry about his lack of accessibility and responsiveness to his constituents; his canceling of scheduled meetings with them; his absences from council meetings; and his lack of communication with the people he was elected to serve. Sammy’s performance as their councilmember has been less than sterling. Now with these new revelations about his use of taxpayer money, they have had enough.

To a majority of Yucca district voters Sammy has exhibited the worst characteristics of an elected politician, with his cronyism, his advocacy of issues in support of his large campaign contributors, his advocacy of more money exclusively for the fire department and his abuse of power. They are disgusted and have had enough. They believe he epitomizes the worst of establishment politicians and they will not vote for him again. They think he represents the cliché of smoked-filled rooms and back deals. They realize that Sammy is not working for them. Rather Sammy is working for Sammy.

All of these reasons…and more…persuaded me to run for the Yucca district council seat: to restore dignity and honor to the position; to research and to question staff thoroughly regarding their policy recommendations; to restore accessibility and communication to the people of the district; and to become an instrument of giving the people of the district their voice back. I ask the people of the Yucca district for their support. I ask for their vote in the August 30, 2016 Primary Election.

© 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.

It has been 17 years and 314 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Tonight, November 10, 2015 Ray Malnar was sworn in as Glendale’s newest councilmember representing the Sahuaro district. Gary Sherwood is definitely gone and to be forgotten. Councilmember Malnar, in his acceptance speech, set just the right tone. It was positive and hopeful as he suggested that Glendale can have better days ahead.

Many people have said that there are apparently two more sleazebag councilmembers that need to hit the brick road…Councilmembers Chavira and Aldama. Councilmember Chavira is up for reelection in 2016 and Councilmember Aldama faces reelection in 2018. We’ll see what the future holds for both.

I wanted to share an Arizona Republic news story by Chris Coppola. In it Coppola reports that Chandler is starting its search over again for a new city manager. Here is the link:

http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/chandler/2015/11/06/chandler-city-manager-search-starts-over/75235616/ .

Kevin Phelps, under consideration as one of two finalists for Glendale’s position of city manager, was one of the five finalists for city manager in Chandler ultimately rejected by their city council.

Let’s hope Glendale has the strength of fortitude exhibited by its sister city, Chandler, and rejects its two finalists and starts over. Glendale’s consultant, Slavin, did a poor job of securing candidates for the city. If Chandler can start over, so can Glendale. Glendale deserves better.

For the better part of an hour Glendale’s city council rubber stamped every agenda item. Not one agenda item was pulled for further questioning. Yet we know that while some of the items may have been “of a routine nature or discussed in workshop,” that was not the case with every agenda item. They appeared to show very little interest in the items they approved and on several occasions Mayor Weiers seemed to practically plead for some council input on anything. It was disappointing and literally painful to watch. Has this council slipped back into the modus operandi of previous councils?

© 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 ‘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 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.

It has been 17 years and 222 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

The Glendale city council’s summer break is over and they will be meeting again regularly. In this first nighttime voting meeting there are 29 agenda items. All but one, a final land plat application, is on the consent agenda. Expect it to be a speedy meeting, over before you realize it. Even though nearly everything will be voted upon in one motion, there are 3 items of interest. Will council pull these items off the consent agenda and ask questions about them? I doubt it.

One agenda item of interest is the final approval of 2 fire trucks. Remember the controversy they generated? One of the bidders complained basically that the fix was in and the company’s proposal was never considered fairly.  Each fire truck will cost the city $459,894.08 with vehicle taxes of $76,343.40 for a total of $996,143,56.00.  This figure represents the original, council approved price for the 2 vehicles. Not so fast. The two $996, 143, 56.00 vehicles now cost $1,027,344.78. Why, you ask? The fire department requested additional equipment of Blitzfire Monitors and Intake Adapters. These items were not included in the original bid price. Each truck, instead of costing $459 thousand now costs $513 thousand. Are these items essential? Oh well, it’s only taxpayer money.

Another agenda item of interest is the city’s contract with Westgate to rent Parking Lot 1, with 259 spaces, just northeast of the AMC Theater for $40,170.50. The rental of these parking lot spaces is to satisfy the city’s parking space commitment to the Cardinals for their 2 pre-season games and 8 home games.

The last agenda item of interest is a city contract with Citygate Associates, LLC., to “determine how best to staff the departments (police and fire) in order to meet their mission.” It promises to be a six month study and analysis of both departments with a “not to exceed” price of $161,152.00. Well, that “not to exceed” price doesn’t includes reimbursable costs of mileage, airfare, lodging and any associated travel expenses. In the future, expect a request to come before council with additional expenses.

This a California firm having done a great deal of work there and some work in Arizona – namely Surprise, the City of Maricopa and Goodyear. Their project team is heavy on Fire Chiefs and includes a Police Chief, a Human Resources Director and a Finance Director. They are heavy on the use of technology and the collection of data. I would hope that council would direct that there be interim reports issued prior to the final report submission.

Let’s tune in at 6 PM today and see what happens.

© 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.

20140812_193537The August 12, 2014 meeting of the Glendale City Council was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. You know the inevitable outcome; you know it will be extremely painful; but you are utterly powerless to stop it. All you can do is watch it unfold. This is the first council meeting I attended since leaving office over a year and a half ago. People have been telling me for months that the animosity among councilmembers was evident. I thought OK, there were times when our council meetings were not happy affairs. Little did I know that the atmosphere reeked of councilmember nastiness and disrespect. It was palpable fueled by the absolute arrogance of the council majority (Sherwood, Hugh, Alvarez and Chavira). The meeting was not unusual as council sped through proclamations and the consent agenda. The last two items were casino related. One was council approval of the draft agreement between the Tohono O’odham and Glendale. The other was the first official groveling of the city council with a resolution supporting the construction of the casino.  All hell broke loose. The draft agreement was introduced and recited by Michael Bailey, Glendale’s City Attorney. Mayor Weiers opened the public comment portion. There were 22 speakers to the item. 15 citizens spoke in opposition to the draft agreement and 7 spoke in favor of the draft agreement. The speakers’ comments in opposition to the proposed casino revolved around these general themes: casinos produce greater crime in the adjacent area; they create a greater rate of gambling addiction and subsequent bankruptcies and home foreclosures. The two major themes were comments about the rush to get this agreement done and the fact that it simply wasn’t a good deal for Glendale. There were some memorable comments to share (my apology if I butcher someone’s name). John Burnell of the Sahuaro district related that a family member, as a gambling addict, maxxed out credit cards and lied to keep it secret. The husband had to take two jobs and it took him over two years to get the family’s finances back on track. Barbara Roberts acknowledged the casino job creation but said, “Yes, we need jobs but what kind of jobs?” Timothy Green of Goodyear said, “Casinos only succeed on the backs of losers.” A rather profound statement. Ron Kolb, Ocotillo district said, “The West Side will never be the same.” Dr. Ron Rockwell, pastor of a Yucca district church very near the casino site, said, “You no longer care about the moral and spiritual culture of this community.” Randy Miller, candidate for the Barrel district council seat, called out Councilmember Alvarez and her continual homage about the importance of listening to the people…yeah, Norma, right. It seems to be a principle of hers only when convenient. Those speakers in support of the casino were arrogant and boastful. John Mendlelberg, former Mayor of Surprise, said, “You must concede.” Reverend Maupin of Phoenix, said, “You lost the war. You should be grateful for whatever you are getting.” He accused Councilmember Martinez of being a liar and a racist. Robert Quizneros of the Ocotillo district complained about the audacity of “the other side’s hiring of attorneys and lobbyists” to defeat the casino. A special “shout out” to Lauren Tolmachoff, candidate for the Cholla district council seat. It appears that she has become a one-trick pony as she reiterated her support for the casino in the name of jobs. Hey, Lauren, don’t you know about “job displacement?” Several pro-casino speakers kept referring to, “it’s their (TO) land.” Well, yes it is after a purchase kept secret for 7 years and its newly minted designation as a reservation. It’s all about a reservation WITHIN Glendale. I defy anyone to identify any city in the State of Arizona that has a reservation within its boundaries. Then it was time for the Councilmembers to speak prior to their vote. Alvarez’ remarks were priceless in their ignorance. She made memorable comments such as, “what’s the difference between a lottery ticket and a casino?” Or, “We have casinos in Scottsdale.” Or, “They (Tohono O’odham) are going to provide a service.” That one caused audible audience derision.  And lastly, “Make us responsible for what we’re doing.” Trust me, we will.   Councilmember Sherwood, self-proclaimed negotiator and leader, was strangely silent all evening except for his monologue prior to his affirmative vote. His comments deserve a special blog and its coming. Councilmember Martinez offered a series of amendments to the draft and that’s when all hell broke loose. Councilmembers Alvarez and Chavira, repeatedly and often, yelled out while Councilmember Martinez was trying to speak, “Call for the question!” Their obvious intent was to silence Councilmember Martinez’ efforts. What were they afraid of? They knew they had the votes to defeat any amendment. Chavira was literally in a rage because of Martinez’ efforts. He lept out of his seat and it looked as if he was about to confront Mayor Weiers physically. Wow, Sammy. Finally we see the true persona and your reaction when crossed and you don’t get your way. The lack of control he exhibited demonstrated that he is unfit to serve as a councilmember and cannot conduct himself in a manner required by the office he holds. Martinez offered 4 amendments: raising the TO payment to $20 million or 3% of the Class III net; offsite infrastructure costs to be paid by the TO up front; a waiver of sovereign immunity especially with regard to fraud and other bad acts; and payments to continue beyond 2026. Each was rejected. The vote was as everyone expected. The majority of 4 – Sherwood, Alvarez, Hugh and Chavira voting to approve the agreement and Weiers, Martinez and Knaack voting against. What was unexpected to the degree it manifested itself, was the vituperativeness and nastiness. At one point a citizen called Martinez a liar and a racist. Mayor Weiers should have stopped the speaker immediately and requested a police officer escort the person from the building. There is no doubt that Mayor Weiers lost control of the meeting during the first casino agenda item. His failure fueled the majority’s contempt and rage. Kudos go to Bonnie Steiger, a Glendale resident and faithful attendee at council meetings for 28 years. She is everyone’s Grandmother. She was so disgusted with council’s behavior that she said their lack of respect for the very office they hold merited the removal of all of them. Lastly, I offer two interesting items for your attention. One is the Coyotes publicly announced today that they had accepted a deal for arena naming rights. Are you ready for this? It will be called the Gila River Arena. Hooray for the Gila River. Although it may require Glendale approval, Glendale may only reject for very narrow reasons and the new naming rights do not fit the criteria. Can you say embarrassing, Glendale?? Or perhaps the majority of 4 will figure out a way to kill the deal. The second item is that just before 5 PM, yesterday, August 12, 2014 a group filed paperwork with the Glendale City Clerk’s office for a Political Action Committee for the purpose of recalling Councilmember Gary Sherwood. Things are heating up in Glendale. As I said at the beginning of this blog, this meeting was definitely a train wreck but the pain is yet to be borne by all of the people of Glendale. © 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.

Tonight, June 10, 2014 at 6 PM in Glendale City Hall Council Chambers the city council will hear an appeal for a Conditional Use Permit by USA Pawn at the southeast corner of 67th Avenue and Bethany Home Road.

I urge the city council to DENY the siting of yet another pawn shop in south Glendale.

When a governmental agency allows the concentration of this type of use in one area of its city it is applying “negative zoning.” Negative Zoning is the permitting of property uses that affect property values and quality of life of adjacent neighborhoods.

Whether you live in the adjacent area or not, I encourage residents of Glendale to attend the council meeting tonight and to speak to the council during the public hearing on this item. Please let them know that yet another pawn shop within spitting distance of nearly a half dozen other pawn shops in south Glendale is not something our community wants or needs.

Tuesday, July 10     6 PM City Council meeting

Glendale City Council Chambers

5850 W. Glendale Avenue

One of my blog readers sent me the following article about Craig McCall, owner of USA Pawn. I thought it worthy of posting. It relates Mr. McCall’s activites within the pawn shop industry:

 Craig McCall of USA Pawn is a Las Vegas Pawnbroker who came into Arizona after selling his Las Vegas pawnshops to EZCorp in 2008 for 34.5 Million Dollars.  Please see the article below:

EZCORP Acquires Eleven Nevada Pawnshops

PRNewswire-FirstCall

AUSTIN, Texas Sep 5, 2008

EZCORP, Inc. (NASDAQ: EZPW) announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of eleven pawnshops located in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada that operate under the Pawn Plus and ASAP Pawn brands. EZCORP will acquire approximately $6.6 million of pawn loans, $2.2 million of inventory, $1.2 million of auto title loans and all other operating assets at the eleven locations for a total purchase price of $34.5 million. Half of the purchase price will be paid with the issuance of EZCORP’s Class A Non-voting Common Stock and half in cash. The acquisition is expected to close by early November. EZCORP’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Joe Rotunda, stated, “We believe this is an excellent acquisition in a very good pawn market and will complement our existing four Las Vegas locations. These stores have an average pawn portfolio of roughly $600,000 per store, almost three times our chain average, and on a proforma basis, generated approximately $5.5 million of EBITDA during the last twelve months.

In our fiscal 2009, we expect these stores to contribute five to six cents in earnings per share.” Rotunda continued, “In conjunction with this acquisition, we are pleased to announce that Craig McCall, the seller, will be joining our team in a long term consulting capacity. Craig has done an excellent job in building this business in the Las Vegas market and we see Craig as a real asset to our company as we jointly fulfill the commitments he has made in developing this quality operation. Craig also will be our landlord at eight of these locations.”

EZCORP is primarily a lender or provider of credit services to individuals who do not have cash resources or access to credit to meet their short-term cash needs. In 294 U.S. EZPAWN and 30 Mexico Empeno Facil locations open on June 30, 2008, the Company offers non-recourse loans collateralized by tangible personal property, commonly known as pawn loans. At these locations, the Company also sells merchandise, primarily collateral forfeited from its pawn lending operations, to consumers looking for good value. In 461 EZMONEY locations and 71 EZPAWN locations open on June 30, 2008, the Company offers short-term non-collateralized loans, often referred to as payday loans, or fee based credit services to customers seeking loans.

This announcement contains certain forward-looking statements regarding the Company’s expected performance for future periods including, but not limited to, the completion and anticipated benefits of an acquisition and expected future earnings. Actual results for these periods may materially differ from these statements. Such forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties such as changing market conditions in the overall economy and the industry, consumer demand for the Company’s services and merchandise, changes in the regulatory environment, and other factors periodically discussed in the Company’s annual, quarterly and other reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. For additional information, contact Dan Tonissen at (512) 314-2289. First Call Analyst: FCMN Contact: Laura_Jones@ezcorp.com  

Mr McCall then opened 12 Arizona pawnshops and again sold them to EZCORP.  Please see article below.  

EZCORP Enters the High Potential Arizona Market

EZCORP has also completed the acquisition of 12 USA Pawn & Jewelry stores in Tucson  and  Bullhead City, Arizona.  This investment marks the Company’s initial move into  Arizona  and its key markets.  The Company intends to grow its presence over time into a market-leading provider of instant cash, by expanding its storefront position, supported by both online and mobile channels.  

USA  Pawn & Jewelry represents the second set of stores that the Company has purchased from owner  Craig McCall, who continues to consult with and assist the Company in executing its multi-market growth strategy. Mr. Rothamel stated, “The  Arizona  acquisition demonstrates our continued focus on growing and expanding our core pawn business.  Not only will the addition of these 12 successful stores enhance our profitability in the near-term, it will also provide us with a robust base from which to expand further, through in-fill opportunities and possible additional acquisitions.  Craig is an extremely talented pawn entrepreneur and operator, and we look forward to continuing our relationship to develop further growth opportunities.  

Mr. McCall is on his third set of Pawnshops for sale to EZ Corp  To make his future deal even sweeter Mr McCall along with EZCORP and Cash America,another large public company, spent a huge amount of money having the interest rates pushed to a unconscionable interest rate that will take effect this summer.  Please read legislative report below:

 HB2537 – pawnbrokers; interest; military members – DO PASS   In the Arizona legislature Vice-Chairman Shope moved that HB2537 do pass. Jason Theodorou, Majority Research Intern, advised that HB2537 increases the interest rate a pawnbroker can charge and requires pawnbrokers to waive any unpaid interest and hold pledged goods for military members and their spouses for 60 days after returning from active duty deployment (Attachment 18).  

Vice-Chairman Shope, sponsor, stated that the HB2537 has two components.  The first allows pawn brokers to raise interest rates.  The second is a military member component, which he is working on with Representative Sonny Borrelli. 

Craig McCall, USA Pawn and Jewelry, representing self, testified in support of HB2537.  He said that the pawn industry is unable to raise interest rates on its own and the Legislature has not reviewed the cap rate in 16 years.  Surrounding states have much higher interest rates, i.e. Colorado has a 20 percent monthly cap rate, Nevada at 13 percent and Idaho and Utah have no monthly rate caps with market rates at 15 to 25 percent.  Mr. McCall cited the following reasons for increased business expenses:   Rental costs Building size – the pawn industry holds a large amount of collateral Healthcare insurance; Labor intensive process – the average pawn loan is $80; Municipality requirements for technology – daily transaction downloads to the police departments  to have taken the place of payday loans.

Question was called on the motion that HB2537 do pass.  The motion carried by a roll call vote of 6-3-0-0 (Attachment 19).    Without objection, the meeting adjourned at 11:45 a.m.

People who borrow money from pawnbrokers may soon have to pay higher interest. Current law caps pawnshop interest at 8 percent a month for the first two months and 6 percent for every month afterwards. HB 2537 would raise the initial rate to 13 percent, with an 11 percent cap for the third and following months. HB 2537, which was approved by the Senate 22-8, does require pawnbrokers to waive unpaid interest charges and hold pledged goods for members of the military who are on active duty until 60 days after that person returns from deployment. It now goes to the governor.

To get a 80.00 Pawn Loan for a TV for 30 days now cost  $25.80 in fees  There is a $5.00 service charge, a $5.00 storage charge, a $3.00 police ticket fee and $12.80 in interest.  The APR on this loan is 400.04% 

But Mr. McCall  who takes in Millions flipping pawnshops wanted to burden the residents of Arizona even more with increases to this already insane rate.  This summer when rates increase this loan will cost an additional 8.00 or a whopping $33.80 interest on a $80.00, 30 day loan. This is over a 500% APR  

© 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

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The Glendale City Council meeting of January 14, 2014 has 19 items. A majority of the items are on the Consent Agenda and are ratifications by council of action items such as approval of an action with APS to relocate an overhead line. There are 3 items of special interest: council approval of final dollar amount to Beacon Sports Capital Partners, Inc.; council approval of position reclassifications; and council approval to rent parking spaces from Westgate, LLC.

If you remember, Beacon Sports was hired to prepare an RFP and seek bids for the management of Jobing.com arena. Council originally authorized an unbudgeted amount of $100,000. The final bill came in at $125,425.43. The cost was $25,425.43 over the stated figure. Well, that’s $125,425.43 down the toilet as the responses to the Beacon RFP were ignored as council pursued and accepted the IceArizona bid of $15 million a year to manage the arena. A management amount that is a far cry from the bids proffered to Beacon and ignored.

The Position Reclassification includes council’s acceptance of all of Management Partner’s recommendations most of which will become effective July 1, 2014. Two reclassifications that are effective as of January 15, 2014 (the day after this meeting) are reclassifying a Secretary’s position in Field Operations to Assistant City Manager as well as reclassifying a Senior Budget Analyst in Finance to a Purchasing & Materials Manager. If you recall, council approval of reclassification allows the Human Resources Director to reclassify nearly every position in the organization. The Director’s decisions are final and not appealable or grievable.

Did you know that the city will be renting parking spaces at Westgate for the Super Bowl? Well, we are this time around. This is to fulfill the city’s obligation to provide 6,000 parking spaces within the Westgate area. Spaces east of 93rd Avenue and west of 95th Avenue go for $20 a pop. Prime parking spaces between 93rd and 95th Avenues go for $30 each. Total cost for parking spaces for the Super Bowl will be between $34,721.72 and $52,082.58. The rental tax is 3.4% and it is unclear whether it is included in the figures presented.

Not bad for a night’s work. Council paid over $125,000 for nothing, took away some employee’s appeal and grievance rights and will spend between $35,000 and $55,000 to fulfill its contractual parking for the Super Bowl. It’s enough to make you scratch your head and say, “Say what??”

© 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 City Council meeting of November 26, 2013 had a raucous start, much like council meetings of old. The notion of putting citizen comments at the start of every meeting may come back to bite this council as they experienced their first hour long marathon of citizen commentary. I am not including the public commentary on the night of the Coyotes’ vote as that was to be expected. No, this time it was the opening salvo of a regular, assumed-to-be ho hum council meeting. It was anything but not just because of citizen commentary but because of all of the very serious issues that were up for a vote (more about those issues over the course of the next few blogs).

A majority of council did not comment about citizen commentary at the start of every meeting. Councilmember Sherwood did and made clear that he does not like it. It’s almost as if he considers citizen comments to be irrelevant and just an irritation that prevents him from performing what he considers to be the real business of council. His sentiment was arrogant to say the least. Then Councilmember Alvarez, who is wedded to citizen comments first, just had to rebut Sherwood’s remarks by saying, “When we were elected we were (sic) committed to be here.” How ironic as this is the councilmember who holds the record for her non-attendance at scads of meetings. She even has had the temerity when calling in to council meetings to hang up before the meeting’s conclusion and thus missed those all important citizen comments.

It looks like the Keeping the Promise anti casino group has seared the nerves of the casino supporters with their running of a TV ad and underwriting the costs of an anti casino letter penned by Mayor Weiers. They had their usual suspects…er, supporters out in force to speak on the TO’s behalf before the council. The usual mouthpieces have decided to become visible once again…Ken Jones and Arthur Thruston to name but two. Due to their advanced age they needed time to rest and recharge before becoming public gadflies again. Can you believe that Ken Jones was advocating for yet another public vote? This time his target is the casino. You’d think he would have learned that one needs to be careful what one wishes for. His last effort fizzled out like water dousing a fire. He also opined that the people of Glendale do not need Keeping the Promise running our city and buying city officials. Oh really? Guess he figures it’s okay when the Tohono O’odham appear as if they are buying city officials like Alvarez. He never took the time to complain about Alvarez and her antics with the Tohono O’odham.

Thruston, bless his heart, simply relies on picking and choosing his facts. Those that he doesn’t like, he ignores. He trots down to the podium with a handful of newspaper clippings and pontificates on issues culled from the newspapers (and of course, their, ahem, totally unbiased reportage). He fancies himself as a raconteur in the vein of a modern day Will Rodgers who once said, “you know everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.”                       

What engendered all of the citizen commentary was Item 12 of the Consent Resolution agenda accepting a grant of over $400,000 from the Gila River Tribe for the purchase of a fire truck. Yet, there was no comment from the citizens when council voted to accept a Tohono O’odham grant of $40,000+ to fund the Glendale Youth Project on October 22, 2013 – a scant month ago. In fact, Alvarez voted to accept that grant voicing praise and voted to reject tonight’s grant. Could her bias be showing? What’s changed? The acceptance of a grant from an anti casino Tribe. That’s the only difference. What was even more astounding were the citizen accusations that Mayor Weiers and Councilmember Martinez are shilling for the casino opposition.  When Councilmember Alvarez engages in the same activity it’s not considered shilling. Strange, isn’t it? There’s an old saying, “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” Alvarez would be well served to rein in her troops or she may find her glass two story home (second story improvement not recorded nor additional property tax paid) shattered in all of the cross fire. It’s merely an observation.

Another action of note is Councilmember Sherwood’s reversal of position on the casino. When he ran last year he was opposed to the casino. He even met and collaborated with now Mayor Weiers, I and candidate Gary Hirsch, all of whom shared the same anti casino position. The anti casino Tribes even did an independent political mailing expressing their support for Sherwood because he ran on a platform of opposition to the casino. Now, inexplicitly or perhaps not so inexplicitly, he has reversed his stance. He, along with Councilmembers Hugh and Chavira, wrote to the Department of the Interior saying don’t pay attention to Glendale’s opposition to a Tohono O’odham casino. Why has the champion of Westgate abandoned it? Remember all of his talk about the necessity of the Coyotes as an anchor for Westgate because the team would attract traffic to Westgate and keep it viable?  Does he really believe that the casino will help Westgate? Nah. Rumor has it that he was contacted by the pro casino forces right after his election and they may have assured him that if he moved to the dark side they would assist in bank rolling his next election. Was that just too good a deal for Sherwood to pass up? You decide.

So, who is keeping the promise to Glendale’s residents? The promise that a casino does not belong in Glendale, will cost our taxpayers for the supporting infrastructure and will destroy a pledge made by all of the tribes (including the Tohono O’odham) when seeking voter support for the 2002 voter approved Gaming Compact. It’s no longer Sherwood. If he could change his position on this issue so readily, how can we believe what his stance is on other issues? It appears that his guiding principle has become one of pragmatism but what has happened to one’s word being one’s bond?

© Joyce Clark, 2013

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The September 10, 2013 meeting of the City Council has nothing earth shaking on its agenda but there are several items of note. There are 11 actions on the Consent Agenda (out of a total of 17 items) and 3 are note worthy. Item 7 is a Memorandum of Understanding with the Mesa Police Department. In it Glendale will pay $500 each ($1,000 total) for 2 police officer training slots. Typically Glendale sends its recruits to the Arizona Law Enforcement Academy (ALEA) at no cost to Glendale. With the recent economic recession ALEA reduced its program capabilities; hence the need to find an alternative training facility. The good news is that Glendale has already reserved training slots at ALEA for future recruits. But it brings up an interesting question. Glendale has a great deal invested in its Public Safety Training Facility. Perhaps it’s time to assess its functionality and to make plans for its use as a AZPost certified training facility for its police officer recruits as well as those from other NW valley jurisdictions.

Items 10 and 11, also on the Consent Agenda, deal with changes to council meetings and council guidelines. Item 10, if approved, will institute a prayer/invocation rather than a moment of silence at the start of council meetings. In an informal poll hosted on this blog site asking whether council meetings should begin with prayer, 67% polled said, “No” and 33% said, “Yes.” Humm…So much for representing the people. Unscientifically a majority of the poll respondents preferred continuation of a moment of silence. Item 11, if approved, formally institutes the Vice Mayor’s term running according to a calendar year, from January to January; term limits of 2 years for council service on council subcommittees; and staff will have 60 days rather than 30 days to respond to council items of interest.

The last item, Item 17, is an action I suggested would take place rather quickly and it has. On August 13 and August 23, 2013 a council approval of update of signature authorization occurred. After the removal of 4 city staffers and the appointment of Julie Frisoni as Interim Assistant City Manager this item will formalize those changes. If approved, authorized signators will be City Manager Brenda Fischer; Interim Assistant City Managers, Julie Frisoni and Jamsheed Mehta; City Clerk Pam Hanna; and Executive Director Stuart Kent. The City Manager will also be appointed as City Treasurer. It was just a matter of time. Remember the decks had to be cleared first.

Recently council moved its start time for evening meetings to 6 PM. This should prove interesting to all those who show up at 6 PM only to discover that council has called for an Executive Session at 6 PM and that the regularly scheduled meeting will occur at 7 PM after the Esession. It could make for some very confused, unhappy people.

Sometimes the best part of the meeting is the section allowing for council comments. Often they are quite ordinary – thanking someone or some organization or the offering of special recognition. Every once in awhile a councilmember gets off script and throws a bomb. Will there be any bombs at this meeting? Ya never know!

Two other events have occurred recently – IceArizona’s hiring of former Glendale City Attorney Craig Tindall and council’s alleged rapprochement with the Tohono O’odham. They deserve blogs of their own. Look for them in the coming days.

©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 Lawwho 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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