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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.

Tonight, April 20, 2017 residents of the Yucca district will have an opportunity to meet Glendale’s City Manager, Kevin Phelps and Glendale’s Police Chief, Richard St. John.

There will also be a presentation of concept designs prepared by the Dick & Fritche Design Group for the West Branch Library to be located at Heroes Park, 83rd Avenue and Bethany Home Road. Residents will have an opportunity to comment on the conceptual designs.

As is my usual agenda, the final half hour will be an Open Forum providing residents an opportunity to comment on issues and concerns.

There will be a drawing at the end of the evening for 2 free tickets to the Zac Brown Band concert, May 4th, at the Gila River Arena. Must be 18 years of age and a Yucca district resident to be eligible.

Light Refreshments will be served. All are welcome. It doesn’t matter where you live in Glendale for it’s an opportunity to learn about Glendale’s issues.

© 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 issue has been identified. Does Glendale practice a policy of using Glendale vendors first when it comes to its major events? Now we will look at policies, past practices, plans, politics and the players. Some policies center on the questions of downtown promotion vs. event cost recovery and the repeated reliance on the use of past vendors vs. an effort to educate and solicit appropriate local vendors.

In a memo sent to the city council and city staff, Glendale Chamber CEO Robert Heidt identified suggestions that could be implemented in choosing vendors for city events:

  1. Local businesses should receive preference for all events. Allotting a percentage to local businesses does not serve them well.
  2. Greater effort to educate local businesses about submission dates, procedures and deadlines widely available in various public media.
  3. Deciding jury on choosing of vendors should be composed of business members of the community.
  4. Institute workshops to educate businesses how they can take part in the events.
  5. Clear and consistent rules to be created on the use of event structures such as tents, A-frame designs, booth layouts food trucks.
  6. Glendale businesses receive first priority followed in order by, the West Valley, the Phoenix Metro area, statewide, and lastly out of state.
  7. Explanation, provision and appropriate enforcement of fees, sales taxes payable.
  8. Revise the sales of beverages to vendors, incorporating the use of local beverage vendors.
  9. Expand the ability of other non-profits to run the beverage tent.
  10. City to provide a timely solution to issues and problems as they arise.

I appreciate his thoughtfulness in identifying and providing solutions to this complex issue. He is to be commended. I would hope he would also consider using his leadership for another just as vexing issue. I have taken guests downtown to visit restaurants and specialty businesses only to find them closed on week days when one would expect them to be open. It becomes frustrating and disappointing but it demonstrates a greater problem that has plagued downtown Glendale for years and that is consistency in business hours by all downtown/Catlin Court merchants and restaurants. What if you went to your local Macy’s or Home Depot only to find them closed because they were open only when they felt like it? That’s what a visitor is confronted with downtown, especially on a Monday.  It is unprofessional and deters business much less repeat business. It’s time for downtown to get its act together and to have all downtown/Catlin Court businesses establish some basic, consistent hours when all commit to be open.

Now, in all fairness, the past four years have been tumultuous regarding the city manager’s position and thus city managerial leadership. Many issues were unattended to or left hanging.  After Ed Beasley left, there was Interim City Manager, Horatio Skeete, then the disaster that was City Manager Brenda Fisher, followed by an Interim stint by Dick Bowers and finally the hiring of City Manager Kevin Phelps. It was a period of confusion and belied a lack of continuity in city staff management…an understatement to say the least. Is it any wonder, city events and a plethora of other city issues were left to fester?

Kevin Phelps, in his short time as City Manager, has brought a measure of stability to city senior staff. He has already demonstrated his focus on problem solving.  The December 29, 2016 edition of the Glendale Star has an interview with Phelps, by Darrell Jackson. It bodes well for the future of Glendale’s major event productions. Some of his more interesting comments in this article include:  “After asking questions of city staff, I am not sure that anyone within City Hall could adequately describe what the mission (of these events) is.” or “If it is to drive business and expose people to downtown shops, then I am not sure the proliferation of bouncy rides and carnival foods is what we should be doing…In my mind, I am not excited about another carnival and light show next year.” and “I am leaning towards recommending creating a signature event that showcases the City of Glendale, as well as our downtown area, and cost recovery is not part of that. Phelps said his goal is to have changes in place by March so they can be included in next year’s budget.”

We all know “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Mr. Heidt is to be recognized for providing the squeak that led to the need for grease on the city event wheel. Many of his suggestions are common sense and I suspect, have already or will be adopted. However, suggestions 1, 3, 6 and 9 require further thought. His suggestions #1 and #6 call for Glendale businesses to receive priority in selection. If, as Mr. Phelps suggests, an upgrade of Glendale’s major events is the goal, moving away from a fast food, carnival-like atmosphere and perhaps adding quality restaurant offerings, wine, microbreweries and fine art vendors to become the norm then the operative word becomes “quality.” If there are quality Glendale vendors they should be welcome but if they sell hot dogs and pitchforks, should they receive preference merely because they are Glendale businesses? I think not.

Mr. Heidt’s suggestion #3 is no solution to the issue of being juried in to an event. He calls for a jury composed of community business members.  It’s no better than currently having staff jury vendors. In each case, it’s like having the “fox guard the hen house.” Each group would seem to have a vested interest. Perhaps it’s time to create an independent jury comprised of leaders in their respective industries, trades or crafts from outside the city.

Mr. Heidt’s suggestion #9 calling for other non-profits to work the city’s beverage tent is simply an expression of lack of historical memory and should not be seriously considered.  For the past 22 years the Glendale Ambassadors have operated the city’s beverage tent at downtown special events. They have proven to be reliable and consistent. You can count on them to fulfill their responsibilities. The Ambassadors were created by Glendale‘s leaders to support and to promote the City of Glendale and they have always done so.

Manning the city’s beverage tent is their primary and only source of annual income. What they earn goes right back into our community. Over the past 22 years they have given back $315,000 to at least 60 organizations, typically non-profit. Their donations are too numerous to mention all but here are a few representative groups: Boys & Girls Club of Glendale; Glendale Fire Department’s crisis response van and cadets; Glendale Police Department’s vests for its K9 program and Dare; Glendale’s Heart for the City; the Mayor’s Alliance against Drugs & Gangs; Velma Teague Library Mother Read Program; and the Westside Food Bank’s Senior Brown Bag Program.

Why on God’s green earth would we want to take away the Glendale Ambassador’s primary funding source in favor of some entity that doesn’t have this kind of track record? It makes no sense unless it was suggested to serve someone’s personal affinity for a particular non-profit group who wants in on the action.

Mr. Phelps and Mr. Heidt are to be commended for their shared commitment to make Glendale’s event future better. Mr. Phelps’ desire to upgrade Glendale’s events will certainly cause some of Mr. Heidt’s suggestions to be considered and some of the others to be moot but there is common ground between them. Working together is a win-win for Glendale.

© 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.

It has been 18 years and 163 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

PLEASE CHECK OUT THE TWO SAMMY CHAVIRA VIDEOS TO THE LEFT OF THIS COLUMN.537e4d22979c7.image

Before beginning today’s blog let us all take a moment to remember all armed service active duty and veterans for their service and their sacrifice. A bit of trivia…did you know that 1% of America’s population is responsible for preserving the freedoms that 99% of us enjoy? Our debt is enormous.Memorial-Day-Graphic

Light rail continues to remain contentious. In its city council meeting of April 24, 2016 city council split on a 4-3 vote approving its route and mode of transit. Voting for light rail were Councilmembers Tolmachoff, Turner, Aldama and Chavira. Voting against, while citing the need for an investigation of the alternatives, were Mayor Weiers, Vice Mayor Hugh and Councilmember Malnar.

This issue will come before city council once again, probably in January of 2017. At that time city council will be asked to commit formally to financing and approving the final route. At that time they will still have the option to approve or deny funding for light rail.

There are many angry people out there who are opposed to light rail for many reasons and they are not going to go away. The wisest action this city council could take would be to call for a special election and allow the citizens of Glendale to decide this issue for once and for all. After all, the last vote taken about light rail was 15 years ago and in that time we have seen many things change. It’s time to formally reassess the will of the people of Glendale.

City hall damage and the fall out just will not go away. In Paul Giblin’s story of May 24, 2016, the city acknowledges that nearly $50,000 (not the $30,000 I had cited previously) of damage had been done. Here is the link :  http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2016/05/24/vandals-cause-50000-damage-glendale-city-hall/84557320/ .

 In a second Public Information Request I again asked for the following:

  1. “I request Councilmembers Aldama and Chavira to obtain information from Barrio Breakthru about expenses covered by their donation of $5,000 of taxpayer money.
  2. 2. I request copies of any and all licenses and proof of insurance on file for this event provided to the city by Barrio Breakthru.”

The city’s response was, “The City has reviewed its records and has provided documents on file that are responsive to this request. There were no responsive documents for item #1.” None of the documents I previously received from the city show any licenses or proof of insurance on file with the city. Yet Ordinance 2975 specifically contains these specific requirements.

There is another way to skin this cat. On September 2, 2014 city council took up the question of council guidelines and specifically the issue of councilmember donations to non-profits. Here is the link: http://glendale-az.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=2838c6fe-32f9-11e4-bdc2-00219ba2f017&meta_id=7296  .  No consensus was achieved by council to prohibit councilmember donations to non-profits but there were a series of staff recommendations that, by council  consensus, were adopted on that date. They were as follows:

  1. “Requests for an expenditure of council discretionary funds for purposes of a donation of $5,000 or above must be submitted to the City Council for approval.
  2. “Each request for the use of council discretionary funds will require the completion of a new uniform standard request form.
  3. “Council discretionary fund recipients will agree that the City of Glendale and its authorized representatives shall have the right to examine and audit all financial and related records related to the acceptance and expending of the discretionary funding.”

I call upon City Manager Kevin Phelps to perform an audit of Barrio Breakthru and its acceptance of and its spending of the discretionary funding provide by Councilmember Chavira in the amount of $2,500 and Councilmember Aldama in the amount of $2,500. This audit should be publicly released for it involves $5,000 taxpayer dollars. I further call upon City Manager Kevin Phelps to amend Ordinance 2975 making it clear that if these requirements are not met, no permit will obtained. There is also an opportunity to review policies for special events to ensure that all organizations are being treated equally and that city property is protected properly.

City Manager Phelps said, “ Breakthru Productions carries insurance, so city officials will approach the organization’s executives to seek reimbursement for the damaged equipment.” If that is the case, why was I not provided with that information when I made my PIR? None of the documents I received included any proof of insurance despite a specific request for such information.

Why does it seem that Barrio Breakthru is being given a pass by city hall officials? Is it because two councilmembers, Chavira and Aldama donated to Barrio Breakthru?

© 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.

PLEASE CHECK OUT THE “WHAT’S SAMMY BEEN DOING” VIDEO HIGHLIGHTING GLENDALE COUNCILMEMBER SAMMY CHAVIRA’S ACTIVITIES IN THE YUCCA DISTRICT. IT IS TO THE LEFT OF THIS COLUMN.

It has been 18 years and 153 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

As I reported in my blog, City hall damage, sometime during the weekend of the Cinco De Mayo festival, one of the “B” meetings rooms was damaged. Estimates of the damage range from $30,000 to $50,000. On Tuesday, May 17, 2016, at the end of the city council workshop, City Manager Kevin Phelps gave his report. Here is the link beginning at 42:09 minutes: http://glendaleaz.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=2443&meta_id=39243 .

If you cannot access the link here is what City Manager Phelps said, “I apologize. I forgot to just notify you of one thing in my City Manager’s Report. If you’re OK. Recently, maybe you’re aware of, we did have some damage done here at the building and we received a couple of inquiries to our office. Basically, there’s an ongoing investigation. The Police Department is working on it. We believe we’ll have it resolved as to the issues. I think they’ve identified who potentially created the damage. We’ll then look at our options. Currently the damage will be covered under our insurance if we’re not able to get restitution from the people who caused the damage. But we’ll report back to you as soon as we get more detail. But it is an ongoing investigation. We feel like we will get, we’ve reviewed tape and we believe we can resolve the situation.”

The City Manager corroborated several facts: 1. Damage was done to City Hall. Although he did not indicate the dollar value of the damage or when it occurred. 2. The Glendale Police Department has an ongoing investigation.  3. There is a tape of the criminal damage being committed and they have identified who caused the damage. 4. The city will be seeking restitution from those who caused the damage. If the person(s) do not have insurance, city insurance will cover the damage.

This incident raises many questions about city policies for special events. Ordinance 2591, a city law, lists various requirements for sponsors of special events such as the Cinco De Mayo Festival.  As you may recall, this event was co sponsored by Barrio Breakthru Productions, an unregistered entity with the Arizona Corporation Commission. However Breakthru Community Church is a registered entity. Who was responsible and filed the application with the city? Breakthru Productions or Breakthru Community Church? If it was the church did the city violate federal law requiring the separation of church and state?

As you can see from direct quotes from Ordinance 2591 insurance and bonding was required. Were these requirements waived? By whom? And on whose authority?

  • “Sec. 29.2-26. – Code compliance; additional application requirements. To ensure that the public health, welfare and safety are protected, applicants shall comply with all city plumbing and electrical code requirements; provide for public safety personnel and resources (police, fire and emergency medical), sanitation and sewage disposal facilities, and indemnification and insurance. If the event will be held during hours of darkness, the applicant shall comply with lighting standards prescribed in this city code for streets and public property.
  • “Sec. 29.2-27. – Indemnification agreement.                                                                           (a)“At the time of application, the applicant shall enter into an indemnification agreement with the city under which the applicant assumes full responsibility and liability for and indemnifies, defends and holds the city harmless against:                                                                               (1) “All liability, claims for damages, and suits for or by reason of any injury to any person, including death, and damage to any property for every cause in any way connected with the holding of the large special event, including the preparation, set-up, holding and closeout; and
    (2) “All expenses incurred by the city for public safety, sanitation and transportation personnel and resources required to preserve public order and protect public health, safety and welfare, together with any other expenses or costs that may be incurred by the city as a result of the large special event. The applicant shall indemnify the city against all charges, expenses and costs, including the city’s legal department services incurred on account of or by reason of any such injuries, damages, liability, claims, suits or losses and all damages growing out of the same.
  • “Sec. 29.2-28. – Insurance.                                                                 (a) “The applicant shall deliver to the city manager, within fifteen (15) calendar days of the submission of a completed application or within two (2) calendar days of the event, whichever occurs first, proof of insurance in the amounts and types of coverage as determined by city manager regulation. All issuers of insurance shall be authorized to do business within the State of Arizona and carry an A.M. Best Company, Inc., FSR rating of at least B++. Minimum coverage shall include, but not be limited to: commercial general liability; automobile liability; and liquor and aircraft coverage as the type of event may necessitate. The city may also require special coverage that would protect against liabilities in case of the provision of activities involving child care. All such insurance shall be endorsed to provide for a waiver of underwriter’s rights of subrogation in favor of the city. Prior to commencing any work on the event, certificates of insurance approved by the city’s division of risk management demonstrating the maintenance of the required insurance shall be furnished to the city. The certificates shall provide that no material alteration or cancellation, including expiration and non-renewal, shall be effective until fifteen (15) business days after receipt of written notice by the city. If one or more cranes or similar heavy equipment pieces are used for any activity associated with the large special event, the proof of insurance will clearly demonstrate that the general liability coverage includes coverage for such equipment and has no limitation specific to use of the equipment. If fireworks displays or pyrotechnic displays are included in the large special event, the proof of insurance will clearly demonstrate that general liability coverage is provided to include coverage for such display(s) with no limitation specific to the display(s). Such evidence must be provided by the organization(s) responsible for such display(s). The failure by the applicant to provide or the failure of the city to demand an insurance certificate as required in this section shall not relieve the applicant’s obligation to provide the required insurance.                        (b) “All coverages are to be provided on a “per occurrence” form. If coverage is only available on a “claims made” form, the insured shall agree to maintain extended reporting coverage for a minimum of two (2) years past the expiration of the annual policy term.                                        (c) “The coverage(s) required under this section shall survive and not be terminated, reduced or otherwise limited by any expiration or termination of particular policies for insurance coverages.                                       (d) “All coverages shall be primary and non-contributory with respect to all other available sources. Where the city is named as an additional insured, it shall be by endorsement and not solely as a listed party on the certificate of insurance. The city shall be an additional insured to the full limits of coverage purchased by the applicant even if those limits are in excess of the minimums required by this section.                                  (e) “Federal, state and local government agencies may submit a statement of self-insurance or proof of eligibility for sovereign immunity allowed by the applicable state or federal statute. Such statement will be acceptable in place of insurance requirements defined herein.                             (Ord. No. 2591, § 3, 10-9-07)
  • “Sec. 29.2-29. – Surety bonds and payment for city resources.               (a) “The applicant shall deliver to the city within fifteen (15) calendar days after the submission of a completed application or within two (2) calendar days of the event, whichever occurs first, surety by a cash bond, payment and performance bond, or a continuing letter of credit in an amount equal to the costs of providing public safety, sanitation and transportation personnel and resources at the event. The surety shall be released if no claims are made against it no later than fifteen (15) business days from the last date of the large special event. Such surety shall be conditioned upon the applicant faithfully observing, fulfilling and performing all obligations under the application, contract and provisions of this chapter, and shall be in a form approved by the city’s legal department according to the standards set forth in this section. The purpose of such surety is to insulate the city from financial loss due to the large special event. Cash bonds shall be deposited into a non-interest bearing account designated for such deposits by the city.                                                               (b) “In addition to the requirements above, the applicant shall pay the city by cash, cashier’s check, certified check, wire transfer or money order within fifteen (15) calendar days after the submission of a completed application or within two (2) calendar days prior to the event, whichever occurs first, fifty percent (50%) of the total costs for city resources as listed in paragraph (a) above. The balance due shall be paid to the city in the same manner by no later than thirty (30) calendar days following the conclusion of the event. If the applicant is unable to obtain surety as required above, then the applicant must pay in advance by cash, cashier’s check, wire transfer, certified check or money order within ten (10) calendar days of submission of a completed application, the total costs for city resources as listed in paragraph (a) above.                                     (c) “The city may seek recovery of the costs listed in paragraph (a) above for large special events conducted without a permit.                              (d) “If the event a large special event is cancelled due to a state of emergency declared by the Governor or the Mayor of the city, the city, at the applicant’s request, shall refund to the applicant all deposits paid hereunder to the extent the costs have not already been incurred by the city, and shall release the net remaining surety posted as soon as practicable.
    (e) “Costs for city resources shall be determined by the city pursuant to city manager regulation.                                                                  (Ord. No. 2591, § 3, 10-9-07)” My apology for the terrible formatting of the Ordinance.

This incident of criminal damage to city hall during the time period of a special event demands a full, investigation and a publicly issued report by the City Manager to city council. The elephant in the room is this: did Councilmembers Jamie Aldama and Sammy Chavira, each of whom donated $2,500 of their council budgeted funds (taxpayer money), create an atmosphere of tacit, unspoken influence on staff? Did their contributions to the Cinco De Mayo Festival cause pressure to be placed on staff to waive many legal requirements of Ordinance 2591? The public deserves a full explanation after having $5,000 spent by councilmembers to support this event.

© 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.

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