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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

On Tuesday, August 15, 2017 the city council will have a full agenda. One of the items is a staff presentation on a light rail update. Here is the link to the staff report: https://destinyhosted.com/agenda_publish.cfm?id=45363&mt=aacc&get_month=8&get_year=2017&dsp=agm&seq=139&rev=0&ag=71&ln=2184&nseq=&nrev=&pseq=201&prev=0#ReturnTo2184

There are several points within the staff report that are worthy of note. In the Background section it states, “In 2001, the voters of Glendale approved a dedicated half-cent sales tax to fund a comprehensive transportation program known the Glendale Onboard! (GO) Transportation Program. Maricopa County voters also approved transportation funding the regional transportation plan in 2004. These ballot initiatives include a project and matching funds for a high-capacity transit corridor from Glendale’s eastern border at 43rd Avenue to downtown Glendale (my bold). Based on these successful elections, the city and regional transportation plans include funding to complete a high-capacity transit corridor in Glendale by 2026 (my bold).”

Sometimes one has to read between the lines a bit. A high-capacity transit corridor does not imply light rail exclusively. Among other options, it could be a beefed-up bus system. In the 2001 transportation ballot measure the exact route was never identified. Rather it identified a study area from Northern Avenue to Bethany Home Road. If a light rail route were to run along Northern Avenue or Bethany Home Road neither route would touch downtown Glendale. Any route does not necessarily have to go through or accommodate downtown Glendale. Lastly, there was no ‘drop-dead’ date for completion of this corridor identified in the 2001 ballot issue. Light rail is not an issue that must be decided immediately.

The Background section goes on to say, “…the ongoing maintenance and operations is a local (city) cost. Glendale’s GO! Program and $105 million programmed for capital costs (construction and design) and $3.8 million programmed for ongoing operation and maintenance in the 25-year balanced program.”

On page 4 of the staff report is a table that estimates Glendale’s share of construction cost for light rail. The least expensive which ends at 43rd Avenue and Glendale ( 1 mile) projects Glendale’s share of construction costs at $30 million and the most expensive ending at 61st Avenue and Glenn Drive (crosses over Grand Avenue and is 3.5 miles) is $123 million. Based upon the stated $105 million available for Glendale’s share of construction costs funds are available for all options with the exception of the last and most expensive option – crossing Grand Avenue.

However, Glendale’s operating costs are considerable. According to the staff report, there is $3.8 million available in GO’s 25-year programming.  The least expensive and shortest distance option would require $1.6 million a year. That $3.8 million would be expended in 2 years. The most expensive option and longest distance would require $5.7 million a year to operate. Obviously the $3.8 million GO programmed funds would not even cover one year.

Where would a shortfall in annual operating costs have to come from? It would have to come from the General Fund…you know the same fund that issues debt for the city’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for such things as parks and libraries. It could require competing against Public Safety (police and fire) or employee raises or any other departments for funding resulting in fewer dollars for other departments. The central question for residents may be, do you want to take precious resources away from other departments and capital projects to annually fund the O&M costs of light rail?

Under the Community Benefit/Public Involvement section it states, “In addition to improved mobility and access, high capacity transit projects can also serve as a catalyst for economic redevelopment along a corridor. The original regional 20-mile light rail “starter segment” cost $1.4 billion to completer, but has generated an estimated $8.2 billion in private and public investment along the light rail corridor.” That’s about an 8 to 1 Return on Investment (ROI). Okay, that sounds great but it should be proven by providing specific, verifiable data. How much was the public (governmental) investment after light rail was completed along with a list of specific redevelopment projects and their investment cost? How much was private redevelopment and what were their projects and investment cost after light rail completion? These ROI figures cannot just be thrown out there without some kind of corroborating data. To date none has ever been provided.

Lastly, on page 3 of the staff report under Cash Flow Requirements, it says, “With the relatively short time frame until Prop 400 funding program expires in 2025, it is not fiscally sound to issue bonds, but will rely on existing fund balances and local funding to cover these upfront costs (design, right-of-way acquisition and construction). Glendale staff has told us that funding these upfront costs will negatively impact the GO program prior to construction.” In addition to the lack of long-term GO funding to support  O&M costs, staff has determined that there is not enough GO funding available to pay the upfront costs of construction. This is reminiscent of Camelback Ranch and AZSTA’s lack of ability to reimburse Glendale for those upfront costs. “Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it.” Do we really want to go there again?

I have always wondered why Camelback Road has never been considered the option of choice. Phoenix would be required to build from 19th Avenue to 43rd Avenue, a distance of 3 miles. From 43rd Avenue to 91st Avenue, a distance of 6 miles Phoenix and Glendale would share the costs; and from Camelback Road to Glendale Avenue, a distance of 2 miles Glendale would be required to fund construction exclusively. But think about it. This route would accommodate 2 major destinations: Grand Canyon University and Westgate. That is exactly what light rail is designed to do — move large numbers of people to specific and major destination locations. In addition, it would run through 2 of the poorest demographic areas in the entire region: Maryvale and south Glendale and serve those whose need for mass transit is the greatest. If it really does spur economic redevelopment these two areas could certainly benefit from that kind of economic boost.

If you wish to follow the light-rail discussion on Tuesday, August 15th, at city council workshop which begins at 1:30 PM and is the last item on the agenda, please go to the city website, www.glendaleaz.com and click on the link to Glendale Channel 11 TV. It is broadcast live on the city’s site and also on Cox TV Cable Channel 11.

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

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.

Disclaimer: The comments in the blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

On Tuesday, February 7, 2017, at the regular city council workshop the issue of chickens in Glendale was discussed…again. Based upon city councilmember comments, just as the issue divided the city, it also divided the city council.

Mayor Weiers, Councilmember Malnar and Councilmember Tolmachoff indicated that they did not support allowing chickens in every residential zoning district (multi-family was not part of the proposal). Mayor Weiers felt it was a matter of choice and that if residents wanted to have chickens then they should locate in zoning districts that already allow chickens. He indicated that he and his wife moved knowingly into an area where chickens were allowed but that it was their choice. Councilmember Ray Malnar, reviewed his childhood history of living on a farm that had 300 chickens. His overarching conviction is that his mandate is to represent his constituents who, in the majority, oppose chickens and expressed his opposition to the proposal. Councilmember Tolmachoff, also expressed the majority opinion of her constituency as well as her concern that HOAs would have a major problem if they needed to expressly amend their by-laws.

Vice Mayor Hugh, Councilmember Turner and Councilmember Aldama expressed their support for the proposal. Again, all expressed their positions in terms of representing the majority sentiments of their constituencies. While Vice Mayor Hugh was mainly silent on the issue, Councilmembers Turner and Aldama were not. Councilmember Turner framed it as a question of liberty and property rights and that everyone should be free to do on their property what they wished without government interference. Councilmember Aldama acknowledged the many citizens in his district already have chickens and probably have had them for years.

The battle lines were drawn and that left me. My district is so diverse and I discovered my constituency to be divided, just as the city and the city council. I sought compromise. I sought compromise believing that if it did not totally please both sides it would be a good one.  I prefaced my compromise proposal with these remarks.

  • This is an issue that should never have risen to this level. This matter began as a neighbor dispute that might have been resolved by arbitration or mediation. Over the past year the city has expended a lot of manpower and resources to resolve an issue that should never have been brought forward.
  • For thousands of years man domesticated animals for food or to assist in the production of food. Today with our society’s abundance of leisure time and resources there has become the propensity to anthropomorphize animals and we have created new classes of pets. I consider dogs and cats, as well as a few small mammals as pets. Chickens are not pets. They are classed in every municipal jurisdiction as fowl or poultry.
  • This issue has become a polite civil war with half the people opposed to chickens and half supporting them. Quite frankly if the issue had not arisen, people who had chickens would continue to have them and those who do not want chickens would never have been the wiser. Now, city council is asked to become Solomon to resolve an issue that no matter what the outcome, half of the community will be angry with the result.
  • But deciding the issue is not as simple as deciding based on numbers on petitions. As councilmembers we must also consider what is in the best interest of Glendale as a whole.

I proposed:

  •  Expansion of chickens as a permissible use to one zoning district, R1-10 and the following will apply only to R 1-10 and M-1 (to satisfy Councilmember Aldama’s desire to include the Sonorita area which is mainly M-1). Existent code to apply to all zoning districts that currently allow chickens
  • Hens only, no roosters
  • Limit of 5 chickens
  • Must have a coop or structure to contain chickens
  • Not allowed in front yards
  • Rear yard must be fenced
  • Structure height limited to no more than 4 feet
  • Structure must meet side and rear yard setbacks of 20 feet
  • Structure must be at least 40 feet from residence as well as any immediately adjacent neighboring residence
  • Structure must be 80 feet away from any school, hotel, restaurant or building containing sleeping or dining accommodations
  • HOA regulations take precedence over city code on this issue
  • Chickens will no longer be classified as livestock but rather as poultry or fowl
  • Chickens will not be classified as pets
  • No matter the size of the lot, chickens will not be permitted at townhouses, apartments, condos or any other type of attached residence
  • Zoning codes already in place regarding chickens are not to be changed

I was hopeful that a compromise could be achieved. I did not think that those who opposed     the ordinance in any form would consider a compromise. I assumed it would depend on Vice Mayor Hugh and Councilmembers Turner and Aldama to decide if compromise was a viable option for them. Vice Mayor Hugh indicated that he could support a compromise and I thank him for his consideration of it. However, Councilmembers Turner and Aldama simply could not accept it.

That left me with no choice for I knew that I could not support expansion of chickens to all residential zoning districts, especially the very small lot sizes of 4,000 or 6,000 square feet. Urban life is too dense to introduce a new possibility of backyard chickens when many homes are only 5 to 10 feet apart. Current residents as well as possible new residents do not move into dense neighborhoods with the sudden and unanticipated realization that they will have to contend with a neighbor’s chickens. To introduce chickens into thousands upon thousands of urban life-style properties seems inherently imprudent.

If there was to be no compromise I could not in good conscience support allowing chickens in every residential zoning district in Glendale. I joined with Mayor Weiers and Councilmembers Malnar and Tolmachoff to form a consensus of 4 (council does not vote at a workshop meeting) to not move forward with such an ordinance.

Does that mean the chicken issue is dead?  Maybe and maybe not. Planning Director Jon Froke said that a resident or residents could file an appeal after paying a $4,000 fee to file. It would then go before the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council once again. I asked if an Initiative Petition with the requisite number of valid voters’ signatures could be filed. Mr. Froke’s answer was yes. It would then be placed on the ballot for the next Glendale election. Is there enough commitment and support on either side of this issue to follow through on either of these options? I don’t know but I guess we will all find out.

© Joyce Clark, 2017          

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.

The Glendale city council is meeting in workshop today, March 17, 2015. At 10 AM Mayor Jerry Weiers officially declared the proposal to sell the library building and relocate the library to the Foothills Recreation & Aquatic Center as dead.

Many people deserve thanks. First and foremost the residents of Glendale are to be congratulated for their participation in the process. Many of you attended all six public meetings on the issue. Others made public comment either at the meetings, on comment cards, by calling a city hotline, or by sending email’s or letters to the mayor and council. Your efforts made the difference. Your expression of support for Glendale’s entire library system was noted.

Thanks also to the the three boards and commissions, Arts, Parks & Recreation and Library, that received information on the issue, listened to public comment, deliberated with serious consideration and recommended denial of the proposal to the city council.

Thanks to the city council for listening to the voices of the people and refusing to move forward with the proposal. They did their jobs in representing their constituents.

Thanks to Parks, Library and Recreation Director Erik Strunk and Chief Librarian Michael Beck for withstanding the public criticism of this proposal with grace and respect.

Councilmember Bart Turner offered an idea to provide library services in west Glendale by utilizing space within Glendale’s Media Center at Westgate. Glendale staff will now be tasked with researching the suggestion. I applaud Councilmember Turner’s suggestion and should it become reality, it is not a substitute for Glendale’s long term promise to establish a stand-alone, dedicated library building at Hero’s Park at 83rd Avenue and Bethany Home Road. It is an excellent interim solution to the lack of service we, who live in the Yucca district, have experienced for 15 years but it should not be considered the ultimate solution.

Once again, congratulations to all who participated in the process of consideration of the proposal. Job well done by all.

© 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.

 

This Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 9:30 AM at Glendale city hall in the Council Chambers the city council will receive an update on the proposal to sell the building to Midwestern University and to relocate Foothills library to the Foothills Recreation & Aquatic Center. Since it is a council workshop the public does not have any opportunity to speak at this meeting but citizens can still make their voices heard silently by showing up in large numbers.

By all rights it should be DOA (dead on arrival). Hundreds of Glendale residents have voiced their disapproval by either contacting members of the council or speaking at public meetings. The three citizen commissions, the Arts Commission, the Parks & Recreation Commission and the Library Advisory Board, heard staff presentations and unanimously voted to send city council advisory recommendations of denial. It is undeniably clear that there is no citizen support for this idea and it deserves a merciful death. Let’s hope that March 17, 2015 will be the last day of consideration for this proposal.

A neighborhood meeting is scheduled for this coming Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at the Arrowhead Elementary School at 6:00 PM. Mark Becker is the host as he once again seeks city approval to place billboards at the Loop 101 and Bell Road. Glendale planning staff will be in attendance to listen and take notes.

This issue has returned like a bad penny. Almost a year ago to the day, March 24, 2014, Glendale city council voted 5-2 (Sherwood and BeckerMaps_Page_3Alvarez voted in favor) to deny the Becker billboard proposal (ZON 13-04). Glendale’s current ordinance only allows new billboards to be placed in M1 and M2 (light and heavy industrial) zoning areas. Perhaps it is time to revisit the ordinance and prohibit any new billboards anywhere in the City of Glendale. The current ordinance also restricts billboard height to 25 feet. Yet Becker billboards is asking for approval of 85 foot tall billboards.

You would think the issue died with the March, 2014 council denial. Not so. In October of 2014 Councilmembers Gary Sherwood and Sammy Chavira attempted and failed to resurrect the proposal by asking for a special council meeting for the purpose of rescinding the council’s March, 2014 votes. Their motives could be considered questionable. Did Sherwood push for a rescinding of the original billboard vote because Mark Becker and his family members donated to Sherwood’s election campaign? Did Sherwood push for a rescinding of the original billboard vote because Becker’s attorneys on the matter, nearly a dozen attorneys of the Rose Law group, contributed to Sherwood’s election campaign? And what about Sammy? In March of 2014 he voted against the billboard proposal. By October, 2014 he was actively supporting it. Was it at the request of his good friend, Gary Sherwood? Sammy and Sherwood seem to share the same record of flip-flopping on issues.

Now, a year later, Becker billboards is back with a more egregious proposal than the first one. This time they don’t want static billboards but a combination of digital and static and they want them to be 85 feet high. There’s an old adage, ‘don’t take no for an answer.’ Mark Becker and Gary Sherwood certainly didn’t. I guess Glendale’s residents are going to have to convince them once and for all, that no means no.

This information is courtesy of Rodeane Widom, former Glendale Library Director:  For readers who would like to get their opinion to the Mayor and City Council, here is a great link: http://www.gplfriends.org/15-105-agenda-item-for-relocation-of-the-foothills-library/

The Friends of Glendale Public Library have made the process very simple! Just add your name and send your letter off via email or snail mail.

© 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 Glendale city council workshop meeting of June 17, 2014 had only 2 items. One was the issue of restricted access to and from Northern Parkway at some intersections. The upshot of the subject was that there are no solutions on the horizon for fixing the problem. I bet that was not such good news for commercial activities adjacent to Northern Parkway like the World Wildlife Zoo. Its funny how Glendale can be so accommodating to some businesses and to others, it’s the “back of the hand.”

The second item was senior staff’s recommendation to amend Glendale’s Noise Ordinance, Chapter 25, Article V.  Currently special events and large events (attendance over 500 persons) are subject to this ordinance which has 3 provisions: a) noise should not be heard more than 125 feet from perimeter of event; b) noise should not be heard off premises between 10 PM and 7 AM; and c) every 2 1/2 hours there must be an intermission of 30 minutes. Simple, common sense provisions designed to protect adjacent neighborhoods, No?

There were 3 options given to council: 1. Exempt permitted events during the entire year; 2. Exempt permitted events between December 26, 2014 and February 2, 2015; and 3. Do not change anything. Staff’s recommendation was Option 1 for in the name of all that is holy, it would fulfill their quest for greater city “competitiveness and marketability.” More likely this code amendment is pandering to the big boys, Super Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, etc., chafing under Glendale’s current noise restrictions. I see Assistant City Manager Frisoni’s hand in this effort to accommodate them.

To bolster staff’s contention that Glendale must still be in the “horse and buggy” days, a chart was used showing the cities of Chandler, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe as permitting noise exemptions for city issued permitted events and special events.

Not one, not one bloody councilmember asked a single question. The first one should have been related to the cities chart that showed which permitted noise and that should have been, “How exactly does each city address the noise issue?” Yes, these cities may have granted noise exemptions but exactly what are they?

Senior staff went on to say that an applicant for an event would have to abide by the provisions of the city’s issuance of a special event permit. If you go online to the city’s website and enter “special event application” it will eventually direct you to Ordinance 2951, Article V, Large Special Events.  In that Article, the City protects its butt pretty well with indemnification, insurance and surety bonds. It also seemed pretty concerned about public safety and sanitation/garbage needs but not one single word about noise…not one. Again, not one single councilmember had the presence of mind to ask, “What noise requirements are included in the city permit process?” They would have been surprised to find there are none even though staff represented that there were noise requirements within the permit process that would have to be followed.

So council sat there like lumps on logs, never questioning anything and certainly not one displayed any sensitivity for the noise concerns of adjacent neighborhoods. They should have asked for the noise restrictions in other cities’ special event permit processes. But they didn’t. They should have asked for the noise restrictions in Glendale’s special event permit process. But they didn’t.

Instead we heard blather from the twins, Councilmembers Chavira and Sherwood who seem to vote in tandem these days. Chavira (representing west Glendale neighborhoods near Westgate) said the only option for Glendale was Option #1 without really saying why. Sherwood, in an attempt to be amusing, likened Glendale’s noise ordinance to an old, existent law that forbids putting “ice cream in one’s pocket.” Really?

This council threw adjacent Glendale neighborhoods under the “Glendale Bus”(someday when I am so inclined I will tell you more about the “Glendale Bus Club”) especially over 2,000 homes adjacent to Westgate, epicenter of special events in Glendale. I live a mile to the east of Westgate and there were times when even I heard the noise erupting from the Westgate area. My thought was always, OMG, what about those who live directly across the street from Westgate and the football stadium? If I could hear it, how badly were they affected by the noise? Sometimes, as councilmember, my question was answered as residents called me directly to complain. I had a direct phone number to the police officer in charge of the event and would call to let him know that the noise was getting out of hand. Thankfully, the officer was always able to get the event promoter to abate the noise.

At least I had the noise ordinance to back me up…now there will be nothing that residents can do when the noise is too loud or goes on too long. But that’s OK…those residents will hear the roar of the “Glendale Bus” as it runs over them.

© 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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