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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

In the November 6, 2014 edition of the Glendale Star it was reported that, “the attorney general’s office confirmed it had received all necessary information and is investigating the issue against four members of Glendale City Council.” To refresh your memory on June 29, 2013 Councilmember Gary Sherwood sent the following email to Councilmember Manny Martinez:

June 29, 2013

To: Martinez, Manny; Jeff Teesel

From: Sherwood, Gary

RE: Out Clause and Risk Topics

“Yvonne and I spend over an hour with Nick Woods last night and out of the three concerns from what I shared with Nick after our e-session yesterday (as of 7:45p, Nick has not seen the city’s revised draft which was promised right after we got of e-session nor had it been posted to our website – consequently both happened by 8:45p) two were okay with the city and had to deal with the errors the city made — #1, we don’t own the 5500 parking spots we’re proposing to charge for therefore it must be a license agreement and not a license agreement  (sic) #2) since the bonds that are held against the arena are tax exempt – only a governmental agency can hold those bonds so some different language has to be brought in – city agreed with that. The third item is problematic in that it is against the NHL for cities to hold out-clause and none of the other 29 cities have one. That would allow the city to just kick the team out, where would they play, what if in the middle of the season.

“I don’t have the time to get into all the details but I’ve known Nick Woods for a long time and know him to be a trusted friend and right now I can’t turn my back away from anyone in the city manager’s office or out (sic) acting city attorney.

“Manny, I’ve got a booked day with two Habitat for Humanity events, three radio interviews and two TV spots so contact Yvonne for details of our conversation. Sammy is already on board as he was with us last night.

“Thanks for hanging in there!

“Manny – please delete this email after you’ve read it.”

In the Star article Sherwood mounts a defense of his actions. I would remind all that just because something is in print doesn’t make it necessarily true. I could be the Queen of England in print but that is not true. Sherwood asserts the email was innocent and there was no collusion between councilmembers but that doesn’t make it true.  Councilmember Sammy Chavira uses the time honored phrase, “I do not recall…” Just because someone doesn’t “recall” doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Yet Sherwood, in his email, clearly states that “Sammy was already on board as he was with us last night.” If he did not have a conversation with Sammy that night he must have had a conversation at some time with Sammy to be able to confidently declare that “Sammy was on board…”

Vice Mayor Knaack is also back pedaling with her statement, “I do not recall discussing the terms of the deal or any other substantive discussions about the city-Coyotes business deal during the telephone conversation.” Yet again, Sherwood clearly states in his June 29 email that Yvonne and he spent an hour discussing terms of the deal with Coyotes’ attorney Nick Wood. Either Sherwood is lying or Chavira and Knaack are lying. Take your pick.

Facts are facts. Sherwood confirms that Knaack and Sherwood had an hour long conversation with Coyotes’ attorney Nick Wood. Sherwood refers to the substance of the conversation and that it was about the terms of the city-Coyotes deal and what had transpired in a city council e-session held prior to the phone conversation. There was no other city business that would have necessitated a conversation between Sherwood, Knaack and Wood. Sherwood stated unequivocally that Sammy supported the deal. Sherwood sent his email to Martinez to share results of that conversation.

It appears Sherwood was at the center sharing information about the Coyotes deal with the other three councilmembers, Knaack, Martinez and Chavira, in order to keep them informed and quite frankly, to keep them in line to vote in favor of the deal.

Another just as troubling aspect of the current Star article was this, “The city hired the firm of Simms Murray Ltd. To create and present the city’s case to the attorney general on this alleged open meeting violation.” How much will the city end up paying to defend against the latest alleged transgressions of four councilmembers?

It brings up memories of another such situation where the city paid the personally incurred attorney’s fees for councilmembers. Do you remember the 2006 indictments against Councilmembers David Goulette, Steve Frate, Tom Eggleston, Manny Martinez and City Clerk Pam Hanna? All elected officials are required to submit annual financial disclosure statements at the end of every January as a means of publicly disclosing any possible conflict of interest. These four councilmembers submitted them after the due date and back dated their disclosure statements and were indicted for it. They were not exonerated. Rather a judge ruled in March of 2006 that the city attorney could not testify against them due to attorney client privilege. The following month city council approved a “transfer of general fund contingency appropriation authority and funds in the amount of $500,000 to cover the additional anticipated costs associated with special projects.” The “special projects” were the personal attorney’s fees for the four indicted councilmembers. In 2006 the very same councilmembers that were indicted also voted in the affirmative to have the city pay their attorneys’ fees. It looks as if history is about to repeat itself.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

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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.

From previous actions it appears that Councilmembers Sherwood and Chavira are in lockstep. There was another example of their tag team act at the city council workshop of October 7, 2014. Sammy was not in attendance. Could his job as a Phoenix firefighter be interfering with his attendance at council workshops and meetings?

As a favor for his best council friend, Sherwood, during Council Items of Special Interest and as a proxy for Sammy, reintroduced the infamous Becker Billboards but this is a Sherwood issue, not a Sammy issue. Becker Billboards’ attempt to obtain billboards at Bell Road and the Loop 101 was denied at a council meeting several months ago. Sherwood read Sammy’s request asking that the previous council decision be rescinded and Becker be granted the right to erect billboards by council vote at the October 28, 2014 city council meeting.

Sherwood and Chavira seem not to mind ignoring council guidelines when it suits them. Under the current Council Guidelines, when a councilmember, under Council Items of Special Interest, asks that an item be studied by staff and a presentation on the issue be made to council at a workshop within 60 days. They requested a circumvention of that process and that it immediately be brought to a council voting meeting in 2 weeks.

Councilmember Martinez reviewed the process for a Council Item of Special Interest and pointed out that the item first has to go to a council workshop meeting. He requested the item be reviewed at a future council workshop. City Manager Fischer, an ally of Sherwood’s, immediately placed the billboard issue on the agenda of the next council workshop this coming Tuesday, October 21, 2014.

Do Sherwood and Chavira have the votes to overturn the previous council decision on Becker Billboards? They can probably count on Alvarez. She received a hefty, and I mean really hefty, campaign contribution ($2,500) from Becker. So there are three that will support a reversal. Who’s the fourth? Take your pick…the most likely candidates are Councilmember Ian Hugh or Mayor Jerry Weiers.

Councilmember Martinez is concerned and has every right to be. The residents of the Cholla and Sahuaro districts fought the good fight and thought they had prevailed and there would be no billboards. They are probably angry and very frustrated at this latest turn of events and they have every right to be. Councilmember Martinez issued a special blast electronic alert to the residents of Cholla. Do not expect Councilmember Sherwood to do the same. The fewer people in his district who know about his latest effort, the happier he will be.  Here is the text of Councilmember Martinez’ special alert:

“CALL TO ACTION – October 21, 2014 Council Workshop: Palm Canyon Billboards

“Dear Cholla Residents,

“Under the Glendale City Council Guidelines, Item #2, it addresses Placing Items of Special Interest on a Council Workshop Agenda.

“ ‘City Council Workshop Items of Special Interest’ is listed on every Workshop agenda. This item will be a standing item and will be placed last on the Workshop agenda.

“At the October 7, 2014, Council Workshop, Councilmember Sherwood spoke for an absent Councilmember who wanted the Palm Canyon Billboards to be considered at the October 27th Council meeting (it is actually Oct 28th) on rescinding the previous denial based on recent information on the Becker Boards case at Loop 101 and Bell Road, and that if the rescission is voted successful, to immediately – at the same Council meeting on October 27th (28th) – vote on approving the billboards request of Becker Boards and direct staff to notify all parties as required by law at the expense of the applicant.

“Subsequent to this Workshop our City Attorney, Michael Bailey, sent an email to Mayor and Council that this item will be scheduled for work session on October 21, 2014. At that work session, staff will advise the Council of the necessary procedural steps (rescission and reconsideration) to address the issue. At that time, if the Council desires to move forward on the issue, they may direct staff to then place the item on the November 24th Council meeting agenda.

“This item has been scheduled for the October 21st City Council Workshop at 1:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers, at the Glendale Municipal Office Complex at 5850 West Glendale Avenue. Though the City Council does not take public comment at this meeting, your presence and that of your neighbors is a crucial opportunity to show your opposition.

“Please feel free to call me at (623) 561-8263 or email me at mmartinez@glendaleaz.com if you have any questions. Thank you for your support.”

Those of you who supported a defeat of the billboard issue last time, please take note and plan to attend this Tuesday’s workshop. Once again, you must send a strong message to members of this council that there is no support in our community for the Sherwood/Chavira Becker Billboard action.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

A comment received in response to my blog entitled Situational Ethics was that the commentator had talked to Councilmember Gary Sherwood who named me as the leaker to Darrell Jackson (reporter for the Glendale Star and original FOIA requester) of the infamous Sherwood email. There can be but one response to such ignorance and idiocy. My thanks to a  friend who sent me this YouTube clip that sums up my response perfectly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hfYJsQAhl0 .

Councilmember Sherwood has responded to the allegations publicly, most notably in Darrell Jackson’s article in the Glendale Star. Here is the link: http://www.glendalestar.com/news/headlines/article_b55d0f60-1122-11e4-a1bb-0019bb2963f4.html . Let’s see what Mr. Sherwood has to say for himself, “It is no secret that I was pushing for the Coyotes,” Sherwood said by phone. “At the time we had acting attorney and city manager and a deputy city manager that we were not trusting of.” That in and of itself, is an incredible statement. Sherwood and the rest of council had enough confidence in Dick Bowers and Nick DiPiazza to appoint them as Acting City Manager and Acting City Attorney, respectively. Bowers and DiPiazza had been given direction by a majority of council (Sherwood, Martinez, Knaack and Chavira) to execute the best possible management agreement for the city with IceArizona. Bowers and DiPiazza took their obligation to craft the best deal possible seriously. Bowers, in fact, had publicly stated that he was concerned about the management fee of $15 million annually and its impact on Glendale’s precarious financial situation. Apparently this did not sit well with Sherwood, et.al. No wonder Sherwood and crew were doing an end-run around Bowers and DiPiazza by meeting with the IceArizona attorney, Nick Woods, and negotiating the deal. More situational ethics.

Sherwood goes on to say, “All of the items discussed (at the meeting with Wood) were supposed to be posted on our website; they just got delayed in posting.” That is no excuse for divulging Executive Session material. Sherwood’s expectation that it would eventually be publicly posted was not a valid rationalization for his giving Executive session material to Woods. More situational ethics.

Sherwood explains his direction to Martinez to delete the email by saying, “That last line was damning to look at, it was just for information.” He goes on, “Manny had no personal e-mail account, that (to delete) was for his benefit. I just wanted him to be careful so I just suggested he delete it.“ If the email had been appropriate to begin with, there would be no need to instruct Martinez to delete it. More situational ethics.

Sherwood’s dismissive attitude is reflected in, “We have had so many things go to the AG and it is another thing for them to look at. I just don’t see anything becoming (sic) of it.” He may be the only person on the planet to feel this way. The allegations of Open Meeting Law violations are serious this time. He practically calls out the Attorney General’s Office as being ineffectual.

Lastly, Sherwood says, “…he feels that this is a personal attack and was upset with the way it is being handled.” Why? Because he wasn’t given advance notice that a complaint was being filed? Welcome to the world of politics.

It is no secret that Gary Sherwood’ ambition is to become the next Mayor of Glendale. After all, since he was elected as a councilmember he has repeatedly tried to assume that role usurping Mayor Weiers at every available opportunity. It is also no secret that he can be extremely arrogant and rude. It has been demonstrated numerous times in his manner of response to citizen public hearing comments at council meetings. For example, his reaction to citizen comments on the billboard issue was to dismiss their lack of knowledge on the issue and to berate the numbers of anti-billboard attendees.

Many find it creditable to believe that Sherwood lined up four votes for an approval of the IceArizona contract. There has been rampant speculation for over a year that he and Chavira traded votes. Chavira would vote for the management agreement if Sherwood would vote for the casino. Coincidentally, Sherwood who ran on a platform of opposition to the casino flip-flopped and came out in favor of the casino in August, 2013, after the vote on the arena management deal. Many also believe that Sherwood was taking the lead and personally negotiating the arena contract and side-stepping the responsibilities of Glendale’s senior management. At that time he made public statements in media interviews which he used to portray himself as taking the lead position.  Is it any wonder that his actions are now under scrutiny?

It’s also no secret that many have expressed concern that Sherwood may have used the same tactics to secure a very recent council majority vote (Sherwood, Chavira, Alvarez and Hugh) of support for the proposed Tohono O’odham casino. That meeting appears to have been choreographed by the same 4 majority councilmembers who voted in the affirmative. Did they collude prior to the meeting causing yet another Open Meeting Law violation? I don’t know but I suppose over time we will all find out. A spider’s web of deceit and deception seems to be the hallmark of this council – a notion troubling many Glendale residents.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go

Yesterday’s blog entitled “Please delete this email after you read it” regarding Councilmember Gary Sherwood’s email resulting in an allegation of violation of the state’s Open Meeting Law created quite a bit of controversy rippling through the Coyotes world, Glendale’s political world and even the journalistic world. I suppose the reaction from the Coyotes world is the most predictable.  As anyone would expect, the Coyotes fans are fiercely loyal and anything that raises the specter of the disappearance of their team from Glendale sends them into overdrive. Their first reaction is to kill the messenger. In this case that includes not only me but Mayor Weiers, the Glendale Star and the Arizona Republic.  They denigrated Mayor Weiers for outing actions that may prove to be illegal. They gnashed their teeth over my blog and the newspapers’ articles because they perceived the information as yet another hit on their beloved team.

What they fail to recognize is that while the 4 councilmembers’ actions preceded a vote on the Coyotes deal, those actions could have preceded any council vote on any issue.  The troubling issue for many people is not the outcome of the vote but rather the actions that preceded and led up to the vote. The allegation is not about the Coyotes. The allegation is about improper behavior by 4 councilmembers. An investigation by the AG’s Office will surely answer the question, did they collude behind closed doors prior to the vote? Did they conduct city business secretly to assure a positive vote? Why speak to the issue of a possible Open Meeting Law violation when instead fans can deride the messengers? Why is it alright to dismiss possible illegal behavior because it is associated with a vote on the Coyotes deal? It’s a case of situational ethics.

The reaction from the Glendale political world is also predictable. It was learned that when the email first came to light, Vice Mayor Knaack denied attending the meeting. However, that would never do and would not last long. It would have had Sherwood and Knaack as adversaries; something they can ill afford right now. Today, the explanation given is that Sherwood and Knaack were in the same car when they received a cell phone call from Woods. Two things are questionable about this scenario. Where was Sammy? After all, Sherwood in his email says, “Sammy is already on board as he was with us last night.” Even if you can swallow this car explanation, it doesn’t make the allegation go away. The Open Meeting Law says, “Splintering the quorum can be done by meeting in person, by telephone, electronically, or through other means to discuss a topic that is or may be presented to the public body for a decision.” Note that they are not denying the basis of the allegation. Are they trying to muddy the waters by responding to minutia such as where they were when the meeting of the 3 and Woods took place? It’s another case of situational ethics.

The reaction from the print world can only be described as fascinating. Yesterday afternoon, July 21, I received a phone call from Paul Giblin, an Arizona Republic reporter. He proceeded to express his offense that I dared to say that I had scooped reporter Peter Corbett and the Arizona Republic.  He opined that my writing was done on the back of Peter Corbett who had made the FOIA request. He said that my journalistic standards were not as high as that of the Arizona Republic’s, and ended by saying; enjoy writing your little blog.

Later that day, I learned that Darrell Jackson of the Glendale Star had made the same kind of FOIA request. Who made the first request?  Update: July 23, 2014. I learned today that Darrell Jackson made the original FOIA request over 2 weeks ago. Did Peter Corbett do his story on the back of Darrell Jackson? Isn’t it weirdly coincidental that 2 reporters made the same FOIA request? Even more interesting is who tipped them off to the Sherwood email and why? What was the source’s motive for doing so? Situational ethics once again.

As for journalistic standards…hah…that’s like the pot calling the kettle black. Arizona Republic readers have complained about the perceived bias in this paper’s stories for years; to the point that it has become legendary.   Paul Giblin’s outrage is much ado about nothing. More situational ethics.

© Joyce Clark,

2014 FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Sherwood signatureVery recently I received this email over the Glendale city hall transom. It was produced as a result of a Freedom of Information Request. It is an email sent by Councilmember Gary Sherwood to Councilmember Manny Martinez and Jeff Teetsel (IStar manager of Westgate). It was sent on June 29, 2013 approximately one week before a majority of the Glendale City Council voted to accept the $15 million a year management agreement with IceArizona.

The main figures in the Glendale cast of characters at that time were: Mayor Jerry Weiers, Vice Mayor Yvonne Knaack, Councilmembers Martinez, Hugh, Alvarez, Chavira and Sherwood. The Acting City Manager was Dick Bowers and the Acting City Attorney was Nick DiPiazza. Nick Woods represented IceArizona in contract negotiations for management of the city’s arena.

SherwoodtoMartinezJune292013_Page_1 Blog

Sherwood email to Martinez

 

 

 

 

The actual email is pictured to the left but the text reads as follows:                                                                                       To: Martinez, Manny; Jeff Teetsel                                                     From: Sherwood, Gary                                                                                                                                                    RE: Out Clause and Risk Topics

“Yvonne and I spend over an hour with Nick Woods last night and out of the three concerns from what I shared with Nick after our e-session yesterday (as of 7:45p, Nick has not seen the city’s revised draft which was promised right after we got of e-session nor had it been posted to our website – consequently both happened by 8:45p) two were okay with the city and had to deal with the errors the city made — #1, we don’t own the 5500 parking spots we’re proposing to charge for therefore it must be a license agreement and not a license agreement  (sic) #2) since the bonds that are held against the arena are tax exempt – only a governmental agency can hold those bonds so some different language has to be brought in – city agreed with that. The third item is problematic in that it is against the NHL for cities to hold out-clause and none of the other 29 cities have one. That would allow the city to just kick the team out, where would they play, what if in the middle of the season.

“I don’t have the time to get into all the details but I’ve known Nick Woods for a long time and know him to be a trusted friend and right now I can’t turn my back away from anyone in the city manager’s office or out (sic) acting city attorney.

“Manny, I’ve got a booked day with two Habitat for Humanity events, three radio interviews and two TV spots so contact Yvonne for details of our conversation. Sammy is already on board as he was with us last night.

“Thanks for hanging in there!

“Manny – please delete this email after you’ve read it.”

Thanks,

Gary D. Sherwood

There are several issues of grave concern with this email. The most serious is a possible violation of the State’s Open Meeting Law.  The following is taken from the AG’s office explanation of one section of the Open Meeting Law:

 “7.5.2 Circumvention of the Open Meeting Law.Discussions and deliberations between less than a majority of the members of a governing body, or other devices, when used to circumvent the purposes of the Open Meeting Law violate that law. See Ariz. Att’y Gen. Op. 75-8; Town of Palm Beach v. Gradison, 296 So. 2d 473 (Fla. 1974). Public officials may not circumvent public discussion by splintering the quorum and having separate or serial discussions with a majority of the public body members. Splintering the quorum can be done by meeting in person, by telephone, electronically, or through other means to discuss a topic that is or may be presented to the public body for a decision. Public officials should refrain from any activities that may undermine public confidence in the public decision making process established in the Open Meeting Law, including actions that may appear to remove discussions and decisions from public view.”

What the explanation above means is that there are to be no private discussions by a majority (4 councilmembers or more) of the governing body if the topic of the discussion is about a matter to be voted upon by the city council. The IceArizona contract was voted upon one month later. The law also prohibits an elected official (councilmember) from acting as a “go-between,” relaying a position on an issue to be voted upon from one councilmember to another.  Sherwood’s email shows him relaying information to Martinez he had discussed the previous night with Nick Woods, Knaack and Chavira. That action is known as “daisy-chaining.”

Sherwood, Knaack, Martinez and Chavira were the 4 affirmative votes for the IceArizona contract. All four could be considered equally culpable of a possible violation of the Open Meeting law by discussing/negotiating elements of the Coyotes contract amongst themselves, privately, when it was soon to come before them for a public vote… all the while excluding the remaining 3 councilmember: Weiers, Hugh and Alvarez.  

Another alarming admission by Sherwood in this email is that he shared Executive session material with Nick Woods. The city was negotiating with IceArizona. The ad hoc discussion between Sherwood, Knaack and Chavira and Woods may have harmed or weakened the city’s position. City contract negotiations are a direct managerial responsibility of the City Manager and City Attorney. Could this action be a violation of the city’s charter? We’ll explore this topic in the next blog.

Every councilmember knows of the prohibition about not sharing E session material. Doing so is a very serious violation of the Open Meeting Law. Sherwood says quite clearly in his email that is exactly what he did with Nick Woods and then attempts to minimize the violation by characterizing Woods as a friend. It makes no difference. E session material is not to be shared with anyone…even friends or family.

It seems that Sherwood was putting pressure on Acting City Manager Dick Bowers and Acting City Attorney Nick DiPiazza to get the IceArizona deal done…quickly. We know that Mr. Bowers publicly addressed the $15 million a year IceArizona (at that time IceArizona was called Renaissance) contract and voiced concerns about Glendale’s fiscal health if it were approved at that figure. In a June 23, 2013 Dick Bowers memo to city council he said, “Contrary to what might appear in the papers I don’t see this as a ‘done deal’. Far from it.” He went on to say, “I cannot shake the concern for the level of risk expected to be borne by the city…I keep coming back to that same level of discomfort of Glendale having all of the risk in this deal.” Clearly Bowers had substantial concerns and it is not unreasonable to think that Sherwood was advising Bowers that he had the four votes needed to approve the deal.

From this email we can see who was talking to who privately about this issue. Sherwood seems to have taken the lead and all 4 councilmembers may have been negotiating collectively yet privately with IceArizona’s attorney. He acknowledges Knaack and Chavira as participants in his meeting with Nick Woods. He then sent his summary email to Martinez.

names                                                

Why did Sherwood ask Martinez to delete his email after reading? It appears to be tantamount to an admission that its contents should not have been memorialized.  There are so many questions and so few answers. Is it possible that Sherwood asked Martinez to delete his email because he realized he was “daisy-chaining?” Did Martinez delete this email as requested? Maybe…maybe  not, leading to its discovery now, over a year later.

Sherwood’s email and his comments within it warrant an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office to determine the validity of Open Meeting law violation allegations sure to arise as his email becomes more and more public. At this point, Sherwood’s email raises a lot of questions. I suspect that it may generate many citizen complaints to the AG’s Office. From my years of experience on council, it looks like a “smoking gun,” written by Sherwood himself that implicates him and 3 other councilmembers in possible Open Meeting Law violations.

So, for all those citizens who spoke in favor of or against the Coyotes deal the night council voted on the matter, it was in vain. It appears that 4 councilmembers, Sherwood, Knaack , Martinez and Chavira, had already made their minds up and shared their positions with one another at the end of June, 2013.

Update 1:00 PM. I am pleased to report that I have scooped the Arizona Republic. At 11:16 AM I published my blog on the Sherwood email. At 12:30 PM Peter Corbett, a reporter for the Arizona Republic released his story on the same Sherwood email. Here is the link:

http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2014/07/21/glendale-mayor-council-members-violated-open-meeting-law/12956523/ . I knew Corbett had made the FOIA request for said email but I was perplexed because there was no Arizona Republic story. I was beginning to think someone had quashed it.

Mayor Jerry Weiers is considering filing a complaint with the AG’s office. If after reading this blog and Corbett’s article, you think Mayor Weiers should file a complaint, please send him an email at: jweiers@glendaleaz.com and let him know you support such an action.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

 

Caitlin McGlade had a story in the Arizona Republic of May 28, 2014 entitled Glendale to collect less than projected on Coyotes Accord. I found the spin by stakeholders fascinating. For instance, Monty Jones, of Global Spectrum and general manager of the arena, had the following to say about the non-hockey events booked into the arena this year, “it had a successful year.” Wow. They set the bar so low that no one can see it. Seven non-hockey, revenue earning events is embarrassing when the anticipated number of non-hockey, revenue producing events was in the 20’s. Jones went on to say, “The company hopes to book more events next year.” I hope to win the Pulitzer Prize next year but it isn’t going to happen. So far, it’s not looking so good for Mr. Jones, et.al., with 5 non-hockey, revenue producing events booked in the arena for next year.

Parking revenues continue to be a problem for IceArizona and the city with cheaper parking available at the Cardinals’ stadium and another 3,000 free spaces throughout Westgate. Who would have guessed? After all the ink on the management agreement was barely dry when  the Cardinals announced that they would undercut the Coyotes parking charge and the Westgate manager announced that there would be no change in their policy of keeping spaces free during hockey games.

The article went on to say Councilmember Sherwood’s solution was, “that the city consider blocking off a road to make it more difficult to access those lots (stadium lots) during arena events. Councilmember Martinez seemed to think it’s an idea worth considering and said of blocking access, “(it) probably crossed most of our minds.” Those minds would be the four councilmembers who voted for the arena management agreement: Sherwood, Knaack, Martinez and Chavira.

Sherwood’s cock-a-mammy idea of using governmental authority to directly impact a private business in competition with the city is akin to asking for a law suit. What are they thinking? Are they thinking?

© Joyce Clark, 2014

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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.

One of the comments I received on my latest Tindall blog was in the form of questions. “If it (referring to Tindall’s advice) were legal advice given to the City, wouldn’t it be provided to the entire City Council? Does a subset of people on the City Council (fewer than would qualify as quorum) qualify as ‘The City’?” They are interesting questions raising a subject I have been thinking about for quite some time. One of the most precious commodities in local government is arguably, the power accrued from knowledge. There is an old saying, “that knowledge is power” and in government is it golden.

From the time I took my seat as a councilmember in 2000, Dr. Martin Vanacour, City Manager at that time, managed by the precept, what one councilmember knew, all councilmembers should know. Whenever I asked for further information on an issue or raised questions, my questions and the answers I received were always copied to all councilmembers and I received the same when other councilmembers asked. That practice was always followed under subsequent city managers until my retirement in 2013. That was the ethical thing to do.

So what has happened to the ethics quotient in City Hall lately? What caused an email request for legal advice to be sent by 3 councilmembers and former City Attorney Craig Tindall’s return response solely and exclusively sent to those 3 councilmembers? To refresh your memory about this specific email, here it is: Tindall email 3 correctedAn investigative cause of concern may turn out to be the legal advice he provided without benefit of a separate agreement permitting him to do so per his Severance Agreement. Legally it may prove troublesome to him at some point.

The greater issue that should be of concern to all Glendale city councilmembers, as well as to that of Glendale’s management, is one of morality and ethics. The three councilmembers that solicited Mr. Tindall’s legal advice were well aware of the terms of his Severance Agreement. I am sure those terms were discussed in at least one council Executive Session. They cannot plead ignorance. If they attempt to do so, shame on them. It is their responsibility to know and understand the terms of agreements such as these. Ignorance, if proffered, is no excuse.

Mr. Tindall was employed by the city for many years. He should have known better than to respond to only 3 councilmembers and not the entire council. During his tenure habit and practice dictated that he share with all of council. Was he advancing the agenda of the pro IceArizona councilmembers? A few months later he became General Counsel to IceArizona.

There is another underlying serious concern and that is, why were three of the four councilmembers who supported the IceArizona Management Agreement, asking Tindall about that very same agreement? They should have properly directed their question(s) to Dick Bowers, Interim City Manager or Nick DiPiazza, Acting City Attorney. Did they hope to gain some advantage over those councilmembers who did not support the IceArizona agreement? In any event, their motivation in seeking exclusive legal advice, not shared with others on the council, is suspect.

There is a separate, ongoing issue regarding ethics and that is the reluctance of senior staff to share all information with the entire council, whether it be helpful or detrimental to their agenda. There is a natural tension between senior management and the council about information sharing. It appears when it is information that furthers staff’s agenda they are all too willing to share but if it is information that does not, it is not shared readily or sometimes, at all, with council. There remains a culture of secrecy at the senior staff level, a walling-off of information that should be shared. It is all too apparent when a councilmember publicly asks for information that a senior staffer believes to be detrimental to his/her agenda. The request for information is stone-walled and a councilmember will frequently and publicly state that his/her previous request still has not been met. It is often obvious what staff’s position is on an issue simply by the way councilmembers’ questions are answered or ignored. It is senior staff’s duty to provide information on an issue, positive and negative, in a fair and impartial manner. It is council’s duty to make a policy decision based upon the provision of such information. It is not senior management’s prerogative to make a pre-determined decision on an issue and then manipulate the manner in which it is presented to council.

Over the years I occasionally asked for copies of a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request made by a member of the public. Sometimes staff would provide copies of FOIA requests when they thought it might be of particular interest to council. None of the copies provided ever contained redactions (blacking out of information). Lately that is no longer the habit and practice of senior management. Copies of FOIA requests have been provided with redactions. So much for transparency. It is not appropriate and the practice should stop immediately. Councilmembers must be fully informed about any situation and redaction of information does not serve them well.

Information is the coin of City Hall’s realm and councilmembers are not receiving their share. We are poorer as a result of this unethical practice.

© 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.

Over the past week you may have noted there were no blog posts. I took a much needed vacation. I enjoyed it very much, thank you, and came back renewed and reinvigorated.

In public statements with regard to his candidacy for the Cholla district council seat Mr. Petrone said he has “lived in the Cholla district 40 years.” While that may be factually accurate, it is fair to ask if he ever attempted to move out of Glendale. The answer to that question would be “yes.” In a Maricopa County Recorded document dated 2006 Petrone attempted to buy 8368 West Spur Drive in Peoria from Desert Highlands Residential Properties LLC. The deal died when Petrone failed to make any payments on the property. This may not be such a big deal to some readers. I’m sure there are those who signed a contract to buy a home and then backed out or perhaps he intended it to become an investment property. But a case could be made that Mr. Petrone was not that enamored with Glendale and may have been ready to move on. Perhaps he never got over the $500+ lien the City of Glendale placed upon his property for failing to pay a City of Glendale Utility Bill in August, 1990 (Here is the link: http://156.42.40.50/UnOfficialDocs2/pdf/19900561670.pdf). Again, for some this may not be a big deal. I know in the 45 years I have lived in Glendale I have had lapses of memory two or three times and forgotten to pay my bill. That is something that many of us have done inadvertently…but for 99% of us never to the tune of $500.

All of the information contained in this blog is in the public realm and can readily be found on various websites.  The Maricopa County Recorder’s website (link is: http://recorder.maricopa.gov/recdocdata/GetRecDataPaging.aspx?biz1=&biz2=&fn1=Robert&mn1=&ln1=Petrone&fn2=&mn2=&ln2=&begdt=1/1/1974&enddt=4/1/2014&doc1=&doc2=&doc3=&doc4=&doc5=. Beware…there are at least 4 pages of documents. Well over 80 entries); the Arizona Superior Court website under Civil cases (link is: http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/docket/CivilCourtCases/caseSearchResults.asp?lastName=Petrone&FirstName=Robert&bName=. There are 14 cases from 1998 to 2008); and the Maricopa County Assessor’s website (link is: http://mcassessor.maricopa.gov/?s=233-03-003) for verification of home ownership information. Type in Robert Petrone on any of these websites and see what you come up with.

According the Maricopa County Assessor’s website Nicholas Bigelow owns (a link to the deed is on the site) and has been paying the property tax on the current home in which Mr. Petrone lives. It may have some relationship to the fact that Petrone’s wife’s previous last name was Bigelow.

In August of 2013 CBS5 TV did a story on Petrone. Here is the link: http://www.kpho.com/story/23261106/glendale-city-council-candidate-looks-to-win-publics-trust . They reported, “CBS5 did some digging and found a long history of financial problems in Petrone’s past, dating back to 2003, including not paying credit cards, bounced checks and thousands of dollars in unpaid debt. CBS5 uncovered more than 20 civil and criminal cases in Valley justice courts, all connected to Petrone or his landscaping business.” When questioned by a reporter, Mr. Petrone admitted his financial setbacks and said that he had overcome them and went on to say, “I managed to survive and get back on the right track. It’s a pretty good reference to fall back on.” Well-l-l-l, maybe not so. On the Superior Court website and the County Recorder’s website there are pages and pages of documents, including civil cases, associated with Mr. Petrone. In all fairness, it appears over time, he satisfied many of the judgments against him but apparently not all. There are quite a few Renewal of Judgments: a 2008 Renewal for Greenwood Trust Company; two Renewals in 2010 – one with Midland Credit Management Company and one with Palisades Collection; one in 2011 with Unifund CCR Partners; and one, last year, in 2013 with Capital One Bank. Apparently these judgments have not been satisfied by Mr. Petrone and are still on the Superior Court’s books. There were no recorded documents on the County Recorder’s website that showed that these judgments have been released as paid.

How can one expect a man with a history of financial mismanagement of his own affairs to handle the city’s financial affairs? With a city council that already has shown itself impaired when it comes to financial decision making, Petrone’s financial judgments could serve to worsen the situation. It is a serious question that deserves careful consideration by the voters in the upcoming election.

Mr. Petrone then goes on to say that he is at a point in his life when he can work for a councilmember’s salary of $35,000 a year. Really? Based upon his financial history perhaps Mr. Petrone needs this salary more than he would lead the voters to believe.

Then there is the issue of the proposed casino. Mr. Petrone has indicated that he is anti-casino but there are those who think his statements on this issue are not convincing and at the very least, self serving. Some believe that he is electioneer pandering and could very well do a Councilmember Sherwood flip-flop on the issue.

Mr. Petrone carries some weighty baggage that should give voters pause in their consideration of support for him. Two of the biggest issues facing Glendale are the proposed casino and Glendale’s financial issues.  There may be better candidates out there that merit your vote and your support. Current Councilmember Martinez may want to seriously rethink his endorsement of Petrone and pull it. After all, one is judged by the company one keeps.

In a little over a month,, by May 28, 2014, all candidates must submit their nominating petition signatures to get on the fall ballot. Over the course of the next 6 months this blog will take a long, hard look at all of the Glendale councilmember candidates. When one runs for public office, one becomes a public figure and past actions, opinions and comments are grist for voters’ decisions.

© 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.

Recently the Arizona Republic started a new item, West Valley Sound Off. They are contacting West Valley elected to get their positions on issues of the day. Their first foray question was, “Do you support the development of this proposed casino? Why or why not?” Those from Avondale, Buckeye, Goodyear, El Mirage, Litchfield Park, Peoria, Surprise, Tolleson and Youngtown declined to answer. Not so with our brave, intrepid leaders in Glendale. Three of them did respond.

Councilmember Manny Martinez has consistently opposed the casino since it was first proposed in 2009. He gets it. He said, “I do not support the proposed Tohono O’odham reservation and casino. I am very concerned for Westgate’s well-being if the casino is opened. How do casinos attract customers? Cheap booze, cheap food, and the cost of rooms are minimal. At Westgate, we have hotels and restaurants that pay taxes and help us pay off our debts. If the reservation and casino come in, as a sovereign nation, they would pay no federal, state, county or city taxes. Governor William R. Rhodes of the Gila River Indian Community said, ‘We believe the Tohono O’odham Nation, with the assistance of the federal government, has disrespected the rule of law, the balance so carefully struck among Indian gaming tribes, our community, Glendale and every Arizonan.”

Then we have words, signifying nothing, from Councilmember Chavira. He doesn’t get it and he is not representing the majority sentiment of the residents of West Glendale and the Yucca district, who will feel the direct impacts of the proposed casino. He mimics the same, old, tired rhetoric that the Tohono O’odham have used ad nausea, “Yes, I do support the development of the proposed West Valley casino and resort. The benefits of the development will be significant not only for Glendale, but for the entire West Valley. Positive economic impacts such as job creation and an additional tourist attraction in our sports and entertainment district are among the benefits.” I’m sure he knows, uhmmm, well, perhaps he knows…that 25% of the jobs must be filled with Native Americans.

Lastly, Councilmember Sherwood responded. This is a guy who, less than two years ago, ran on a platform of opposition to the casino. Now, not so much. He did a flip-flop at a very recent council meeting voting with Councilmembers Hugh, Alvarez and Chavira to reject U.S. Representative Franks’ HB 1410 and to begin negotiations with the Tohono O’odham (TO). Many suspect his affirmative vote was pay back to Chavira for Chavira’s vote in support of the arena management deal. “Neither – I will support the project if the Tohono O’odham Nation can be treated as close to a private entity as possible and having some form of revenue stream into the city’s general fund. Additionally, infrastructure including any street improvements, public-safety agreements, et al. would have to be included and enforceable in federal courts. Thus far, in fact-finding sessions, the Nation appears to be very amenable to this. Businesses such as Westgate, Renaissance Hotel, Coyotes and Tanger Outlets, to name a few, are also in support of proposed project. The sports and entertainment district could very well capitalize on a project of this size if it meets the city’s criteria.” He appears to be back-pedaling as he straddles a very narrow  fence, by adding his list of caveats. His declaration that,” Westgate, Renaissance Hotel, Coyotes and Tanger Outlets…are also in support” is downright laughable. There has never been a declaration of public support for the proposed casino from these entities. Have you seen it? I haven’t. Remember when the possibility of losing the Coyotes as an anchor tenant at the arena loomed? Bar and restaurant owners were beside themselves and declared without 40 nights of hockey games they couldn’t make it. They are not going to support a casino that will draw customers away from them knowing that potential consumers will spend disposable income on gambling, subsidized meals and booze and cheap room rates. If they are so willing to commit financial suicide, let’s see them do it publicly. Not one representative of these entities went to the last council meeting when TO negotiations was on the agenda and expressed public support of the project. Sherwood had no public letters of support from these entities that he could read into the record that evening. It’s time for Sherwood to cease making declarations that may not be accurate. Just because he said it, doesn’t make it true.

© 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.

March 18, 2014 was a “two-fer” in terms of council workshops. The morning session focused on the budget: General Fund budget balancing; Employee medical benefits; and fire staffing. The afternoon city council workshop also had 3 items of discussion: the Becker billboard request; a possible archery range at Heroes Park at 83rd and Bethany; and the Tohono O’odham casino.

I am going to discuss only one of those items here and now – the proposed Tohono O’odham (TO) casino. All of the other items will be covered in a subsequent blog.

In a prior meeting Vice Mayor Knaack requested an assessment of the impact of the proposed casino on the city and during the day’s discussion reminded staff of her original request that: staff (City Attorney Michael Bailey) bring back an assessment of the impact (fiscal and otherwise) of this proposed casino on Glendale; and that staff meet not only with the TO but with the tribes in opposition to the casino. Was Bailey too busy with his tablet and smart phone to pay attention because he fulfilled none of Vice Mayor Knaack’s request? He simply regurgitated former City Attorney Craig Tindall’s well-researched legal opinion on the matter. His actions could be construed as those of someone who is lazy and ill informed. He did not provide this council with Knaack’s original request: that of an assessment of the impact on the city.

Somehow or other the council discussion, at Councilmember Alvarez’ instigation (in person no less), moved to negotiating directly with the TO and opposing Franks’ bill. Chavira and Hugh immediately expressed their support. Mayor Weiers and Councilmembers Martinez and Knaack voiced their dissent. None of this was a vote, as council does not vote at workshop, but gives direction to staff through a majority support to move forward to investigate, plan and bring back information to be voted on in a council meeting.

Four councilmembers (a majority) gave direction to initiate negotiations with the TO and to express the city’s opposition to Congressional Representative Trent Franks’ bill, HR 1410. To what end no one knows because there are still lawsuits to be settled that will determine the proposed casino’s fate.

Councilmember Martinez, in opposition, quoted from a very eloquent article written by former Governor Rhodes of the Gila River Indian Community in the Arizona Republic on October 20, 2010.. The former Governor said, “There’s no literal translation in English that does justice to the tribal word, ‘himdag.’ As Governor of the Gila River Indian Community, himdag guides my every decision, my every action. Himdag, as passed down by our elders across hundreds of years, teaches us to respect for all things, including the value of a promise, abiding by the law and concern for the welfare of others.

Respect as a guiding principle feels old-fashioned in the 21st century, but it exists all the same – even when our community is compelled to sign its name to a lawsuit against the United States Department of the Interior.

You may have read about that lawsuit filed Spt. 16. You may have also read about Glendale’s lawsuit to stop the casino, filed this week. Out of respect, I believe that I must explain the reasons why my community to pointedly disagrees with Washington and with a southern Arizona sister tribe’s plan to build a casino on land they secretly bought in Glendale, 160 miles from their reservation headquarters.

My explanation can be summed up in a single sentence. We believe the TO Nation, with the assistance of the federal government, has disrespected the rule of law, the balance so carefully struck among Indian gaming tribes, our community, Glendale and every Arizonan.

At the crux of our lawsuit is clear evidence that the proper procedure for creating an Indian casino has been sidestepped. I’ll leave the legal wrangling to the lawyers, bit in the 21 months since our sister tribe surprised us with plans to build a casino on our aboriginal lands, our community has learned more than we would care to about legal loopholes, PR spin and shading the truth. The surprises have continues to come, and so have the disappointments especially where our sister tribe is concerned.

In the past, my community and the TO Nation have lived side by side and mutually benefited from our entwined cultures and interests. There’s no better example than the Indian gaming compacts ratified by Arizona voters in 2002. Proposition 202, supported by 17 tribes statewide, including the Gila River and TO communities, created a sound but delicate balance, a promise, that kept casinos out of urban neighborhoods, gave much needed revenue to the state and created an economic engine to lift every tribal community.

To see that balance upset and that promise broken – and to see one tribe use secrecy and legal maneuvering to benefit at the expense of every other tribe and our state – is difficult to comprehend, let alone stand for in silence.

Thus the Gila River Indian Community has taken our case to federal court. Our first goal is to force the federal government to apply federal gaming laws evenly. Never before has a tribe been allowed to “shop” for reservation land half a state away from its homeland, then open a casino on the newly created “pocket reservation.” That not only flies in the face of federal gaming law, but in the face of every Arizona’s vote for Proposition 202.

As for our sister tribe, I know our disagreement is temporary. Himdag has a place of supreme importance in their culture, too. I would like to believe that their leadership will rediscover their way soon enough. I believe we can achieve more together than apart and that greed should never be allowed to trump respect for all things.”

The deciding supporter of Alvarez’ plea was Councilmember Gary Sherwood. Mr. Sherwood can not have it both ways despite the rambling, confusing and often contradictory reasons for his decision. On one hand he says he still supports City Council Resolution 4246 that stated that the city is officially opposed to the TO casino.  It’s important to quote part of that resolution, “Whereas, the City believes that the Tohono O’odham Nation’s assertions and the basis upon which it makes these assertions are incorrect, poor public policy, in violation of the governmental rights, privileges, and authority of the State of Arizona, the County of Maricopa, and the City of Glendale, and are contrary to the best interests of the Citizens of the State of Arizona, the County of Maricopa, and the city of Glendale; and Whereas, the City of Glendale, consistent with the Indian tribes voicing opposition to the Tohono O’odham Nation’s application, opposes off-reservation gaming, including this current effort by the Tohono O’odham Nation to establish gaming on the Proposed Reservation Land, as contrary to the terms of Proposition 202 as presented to the people of the State of Arizona in 2002 and supported by, among other, the Tohono O’odham Nation.” Here is the link to Bailey’s (really Tindall’s legal opinion): http://www.glendaleaz.com/Clerk/agendasandminutes/Workshops/Agendas/031814-W03.pdf .

On the other hand, Sherwood then launched into a monologue stating, in essence, the TO casino will create “synergy” with Westgate and drive more business there. In a pig’s eye and he knows it. Subsidized food, drink and room rates at the TO proposed casino will undercut every restaurant, bar and hotel in the Westgate area. Despite his statement that he still supports opposition to the proposed casino and it will be “contrary to the best interest of the City of Glendale and of the citizens of the State of Arizona” he then supported moving forward with negotiations with the TO and opposition to Franks’ bill.  On one hand he says he opposes the casino because it earns not a penny of revenue for Glendale yet on the other, he is prepared to negotiate and facilitate their eventual presence.  His position is illogical yet he became the fourth councilmember needed to achieve consensus and direction.

Why? Sometimes things become clearer with perspective. Think back to the arena deal vote. Sherwood knew Weiers, Hugh and Alvarez were opposed to the arena deal and Martinez and Knaack already supported him and the deal. The vote was split, 3 to 3. He discovered those 5 members could not be dissuaded. Whether one agreed with or opposed their positions they had the principles of their conviction and could not be moved. He desperately needed that 4th vote of approval for the arena deal.

Who was left? Newly elected Sam Chavira — of course. Whispers of this scenario have circulated for months. If Chavira voted for the arena deal, in return Sherwood would support the casino. Is it true? I don’t know but it makes perfect sense and certainly seems to fit the known facts. Did each sell their souls? For what? Political back scratching? To be recognized in public hockey town halls as the saviors of the Coyotes? Reelection financial support from hockey and TO stakeholders with deep pockets?

But at whose expense? The citizens of Glendale locked into unsustainable arena debt of an estimated $27 million a year with a council unwilling to make the budget cuts that make the arena deal feasible? The Westgate area business owners who will suffer from unfair competition? The residents of West Glendale whose property values will decline with the advent of a casino while crime and traffic increases? The Westgate business owners who will suffer from unfair competition?  The Indian tribes who joined the State Compact in good faith? The voters of the State of Arizona presented with a plan to limit casino locations?

These politicians were just that –typical politicians, exemplifying the worst of the offices they hold. Sherwood delivered an irresponsible and dangerous signal to casino friends and foes alike. His flip flop on one of his campaign promises should be remembered when he runs for reelection. Given this, expect him flip flop again and to support the hated billboards proposed for North Glendale.  After all, he confessed that all of the fuss over the billboards was “baffling” to him and he was “pro-business.” There is no statesmanship here.

© 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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