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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

It has been 17 years and 291 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

In the October 15, 2015 edition of the Glendale Star there is an editorial encouraging the voters of the Sahuaro district to recall Councilmember Sherwood and to elect Ray Malnar as their new representative. Here is the link:  http://www.glendalestar.com/opinion/article_9ccc1730-6dff-11e5-90d8-63d62820f449.html .  One of the reasons offered for Sherwood’s removal in the editorial caught my attention.

It stated in part, “…neither Sherwood nor any member of Glendale City Council has any regulatory authority in either school district, nor any school district, for that matter. Sherwood’s campaign signs, however, would have voters believe that if you vote for Sherwood, you support education.” Unfortunately Sherwood believes many voters don’t know that. Sahuaro district voters are just not that dumb. Sherwood’s use of aligning himself with education is overtly cynical and disrespects his constituents.

It appears obvious to all that Sherwood is truly desperate. Be assured the fire union has done polling for Sherwood and their guy is losing at the rate of 3 votes against him for every vote for him. Desperate people often act questionably. Sherwood’s attempt to fool the Sahuaro voters into thinking he can affect the education of their children seems to be just such a questionable act. It’s not surprising in the light of his other actions such as ignoring traffic citations and pandering to big money stakeholders while ignoring his constituents on issues of importance to them.

However, what made the Glendale Star decry a councilmember’s ploy of tying himself to education this time? Councilmembers Chavira and Aldama have used the same tactic in their previous election campaigns. They, too, led their district voters to believe that they could affect local education in their campaign mailers and campaign flyers. In those instances the Glendale Star voiced not a peep about their use of the very same tactic as Sherwood has employed.

Let’s hope the Glendale Star will voice the same strong opinion on this unethical tactic when Chavira and Aldama run for their respective seats next time. If it does not adopt this same stance regarding other candidates, then its claim to unbiased coverage of the news will have been destroyed.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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It has been 17 years and 214 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

On July 24, 2015 at a special voting meeting the Glendale City Council unanimously passed Ordinance 2949 and the First Amendment to AMULA Final. With these actions the city and Ice Arizona agreed to dismiss all lawsuits and also settled the issue of the million dollars sitting around in a special escrow account as a result of the 2009 bankruptcy filing.

Before the Kumbaya vote Anthony LeBlanc, spokesperson for the ownership group said, “We’re not going to renegotiate…never, never, never.” Oops. The afternoon of the fateful vote in a radio interview with Roc & Manuch, LeBlanc was heard to say, “We haven’t been open with them (the city).”And, “We haven’t been good communicators.” And, “They’ve done well for the taxpayers. They’ve got a win.” When asked if Ice Arizona would consider buying the city’s arena, LeBlanc said about arena ownership, “That’s not the business we’re in.” Should we believe him in light of his long history of “erroneous” statements?

Councilmember Gary Sherwood, IceArizona’s staunch advocate, in an earlier, same day radio interview (July 24, 2015) with Roc & Manuch, said that he had publicly staked out a position that “he was not going to vote.” We can assume his action was to be a public display of disapproval for council’s treatment of his good friends, the IceArizona owners. In his traditional flip-flop fashion, he reversed himself with a little help from his friends. He revealed that the night before the vote “he had discussions with ownership” (presumably Anthony LeBlanc). His remark is interesting in and of itself for the only meeting council had prior to the vote was an executive session on July 20, 2015.  Did he share the conversations and results of that executive session with his good friend LeBlanc? Sherwood went on to say that “ownership wanted a 7-0 vote in support of the new deal.” Always willing to oblige his friends, Sherwood did a 180 and not only voted but voted in favor and made sure his pal, Councilmember Sammy Chavira did as well.

There has been considerable opining in the news media and on social media as to whether this is a good deal…for anybody. I contend that it is a good deal for Glendale if for no other reason than a $197 million dollar liability is gone…poof! That action should warm the hearts of the bond rating agencies. That figure represents the annual lease payments for the balance of the original lease management agreement.

The city gained in reducing the management fee to $6.5M from the original $15M annually. The actual language is: “10.1. Management Fee. Commencing on the Amendment Effective Date, and during the remainder of the Term, in consideration of the Arena Manager’s agreement to perform the management and other services set forth in this Agreement to pay all operating and maintenance costs associated with the Arena Facility (other than capital costs as provided herein), provided there is no breach by the Team Owner of the obligations under the Non-Relocation Agreement or a material breach by the Arena Manager of its obligations under this Agreement, the City shall pay to the Arena Manager, by wire transfer of immediately available funds to an account specified by the Arena Manager, the annual Management Fee in the amount of Six Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($6, 500,000), paid in quarterly (on a three calendar month basis) installments in arrears on or before each October 1st, January 1st, April 1st and July 1st during the Term.” The city was losing an estimated $8+M a year under the original lease agreement even with the shared revenue it received. This management fee is budgeted within the city budget for Fiscal Year 2015-16.

The city also won two important concessions. It now has its own “out” clause with this agreement which ends in two years, in 2017 with recognition that “19. Termination Date means June 30, 2017.”  It now has the freedom to choose its own arena manager in a year’s time as stated, “46. Change of Manager. Notwithstanding what may otherwise be proved in this Agreement or in this Amendment, the City shall have the option to replace the Arena Manager at any time after June 30, 2016…” Everyone hopes the city will craft an RFP immediately and put it out on the street in a time frame appropriate to exercising that option.

The city achieved what can be considered as payback. IceArizona will no longer use former City Attorney Craig Tindall or former Assistant City Manager Julie Frisoni in any capacity including as a consultant. It is in #4 of the Settlement Agreement which states, “No Other City Employee Involved with Arena Agreement. The Parties represent and warrant that, as of the Effective Date, to the best of their individual and collective knowledge, information, and belief, no other former employees of the City, other than Craig Tindall or Julie Frisoni, have become consultants to or employees of IceArizona, in any capacity, since July 8, 2013. Ice Arizona represents and warrants that neither Tindall nor Frisoni has, in any way and to any extent, no matter how substantial or insubstantial, been involved in initiating, negotiating, creating, drafting, or securing the First Amendment. In reliance on these representations and warranties and those in Section 6, the City, City Council, City Manager, and City Attorney, collectively and individually, represent and warrant that they will never in the future seek to cancel or void the Arena Agreement of the First Amendment based o the involvement of Tindall or Frisoni, no matter how substantial or insubstantial, in initiating, negotiating, crating, drafting, or securing the Arena Agreement or the First Amendment on behalf of Glendale, so long as Tindall and Frisoni are not employed or retained as a consultant by IceArizona or any of its affiliates, divisions, parent entities, or subsidiaries.” The language is quite specific. That is just plain Karma for Tindall and Frisoni.

Did IceArizona get anything out of the deal? It stopped a lawsuit in which ultimately the city would have prevailed. Note that the new deal contains a lot of verbiage enjoining the city from suing IceArizona, ever, for any reason, regarding Tindall and Frisoni. The major gain was that it bought IceArizona time…time to decide its future. If the owners cannot put a decent team on the ice this year their future is bleak and they know it. It’s not a matter of distance that fans must travel to a game. That rationale has been over used. When teams win people will eagerly travel long distances to watch the winner. A team that is a contender also fills seats in suites and attracts more expensive advertising dollars…the lifeblood of any team. Each extra playoff game earns in the neighborhood of a million dollars and can spell the difference between a bottom line in the black and a bottom line in the red.

Another important issue finally resolved is that of distribution of the bankruptcy Operating Reserve Account as follows: “10. The Parties acknowledge and understand that in the Bankruptcy Settlement, subject to approval by the Court, the Bankruptcy Lawsuit (the “Bankruptcy Court”), the Operating Reserve Account shall be distributed as follows: $350,000 to the City, $10,000 to the David Reaves, Chapter 7 Trustee of the Arena Management Group, L.L.C., and $640,000 to Ice Arizona.”

In the same radio interviews, Sherwood stated that he wants “to see a new contract (with IceArizona) in 6 to 9 months, by April of 2016.”  LeBlanc stated IceArizona “wants a contract extension immediately” to bring “certainty.” Obviously it is an option both parties will need to pursue. Let us hope they can be successful in crafting a lease extension that is not build on the backs of Glendale’s taxpayers. No one can object to a lease agreement that is fair and equitable.

Be advised it doesn’t matter what the action or situation is, municipal governments do not move quickly. While an immediate contract extension is IceArizona’s goal, the caution is to not become frustrated if the action is not completed quickly. I learned this lesson the hard way. When I first joined city council I had ideas for projects in my district. I mistakenly thought they could be accomplished instantly. Not so. I became satisfied if a project could be completed within a year. It’s the very nature of government. All action is slow, overly deliberate, and far more complicated than it often needs to be.

Everyone appears to be relieved the issue is resolved for now. Let’s hope this positive action leads to further positive outcomes for both parties.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

It has been 17 years and 146 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

I salute the men and women of the Glendale Fire Department. You, time after time, demonstrate your compassion, professionalism and integrity every time you answer an emergency call. Your genuine care for the people you serve is evident…especially the children, the little ones. Thank you for your service. I and every Glendale citizen appreciate what you do.

You work hard but you are paid well for your knowledge and expertise. You probably think that it is not enough and perhaps it isn’t. Due to your schedule of one day on and two days off many of you have second jobs or are business owners. It is something that nearly every other employee working a traditional 5 day a week job does not have the luxury of doing.

As a former councilmember and now private citizen of Glendale whatever concerns I have had or do have about the policies of fire service delivery have never been about you but they have been about the union that represents you and some of the goals and the tactics the union uses.

 I go nuts when in reviewing fire’s pay for major events such as this past Super Bowl and I see some fire department employees earning $220 an hour in overtime pay. I’m sorry but I think that is outrageous. There are many other professions in which their members earn far less than $220 an hour in overtime pay. It breeds a lack of sympathy among the general public.

The Glendale fire union’s latest stunt was averted by councilmembers who realized the fragility of Glendale’s current budget situation at their city council meeting of May 26, 2015. Sherwood and Chavira pressed to use reserve funds but they did not prevail. Sherwood is supportive because he needs all the help he can get in facing his recall election. Chavira is a Phoenix firefighter and has an obligation to support anything the fire union wants.

When Glendale residents picked up the Glendale Republic of May 23, 2015 the headline screamed Fire department understaffing stirs concerns in an article by Matthew Casey. It reflected a deliberate strategy by Joe Hester, President of the Glendale chapter of the fire union, (who really runs the department) to use scare tactics to get additional revenue now…immediately…to expand the fire department. Hester said, “It seems pretty obvious there is a crisis by any way you measure it. Our folks are extremely disappointed in the budget process.” Here is the link: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2015/05/22/glendale-fire-department-understaffed/27713737/ .

The most telling statistic in the article was provided by Glendale Fire Chief Mark Burdick. He offered Glendale Fire Department response times for 90 percent of calls by year:

  • 2010 8 minutes 11 seconds
  • 2011 8 minutes 10 seconds
  • 2012 8 minutes 6 seconds
  • 2013 8 minutes 12 seconds
  • 2014 8 minutes 12 seconds

So where is the crisis? Today’s response time is the same response time as in the previous 5 years. Another fact often ignored is that Glendale is one of ten cities in the state accredited by the non-profit organization, The Center for Public Safety Excellence. Glendale would not have received its accreditation if its response times were not acceptable. This agency is responsible for accrediting individuals and agencies internationally. It is a much coveted accreditation and Glendale is proud to have measured up to its criteria. Do you really think Glendale would have received its accreditation if its response times were not acceptable?

The statistic Chief Burdick provided is telling for another reason. Now that he is soon-to-be retired as Fire Chief he has begun to tell it like it is. As a councilmember 5 or 6 years ago Chief Burdick and I had a conversation about the union and its influence within the department. There was much he wanted to say but he was obviously reluctant to speak freely about the union and its influence and he refrained. I could sense that he was embarrassed that he could not speak freely.

The purpose of this article released just before the council meeting was to pressure the city council to change its budget strategy and to use general fund contingency or unappropriated fund balance to purchase more equipment and to hire more personnel immediately.  Let’s look at some facts not clearly addressed in the article:

  • Fact #1 – Glendale is experiencing an increased call volume. Why? Glendale’s population has barely increased and in fact, Glendale is anticipated to lose state shared revenue because its population growth is low compared to other Valley cities. Much of its increased call volume are responses due to Automatic Aid.
  • Fact #2 – Glendale is a member of the Valley-wide automatic aid system. If the closest fire station is busy and Glendale is the next closest, Glendale is dispatched to handle the call out of its city. The Republic article acknowledged that “Glendale responded about 3,300 more times to calls in Phoenix and Peoria than those cities responded to Glendale combined.
  • Fact #3 – Glendale uses overtime to make up for its increased call volume. It is insane to send a large truck with 4 personnel to medical calls when 80% to 90% of its calls are medical. There are other strategies such as 2 person ambulances being employed right now, this very minute, to respond to emergency medical calls. It’s time for Glendale to adopt one of them.

Shame on the fire union for attempting to scare people into giving them the financial resources they want right now.  Shame on the fire union for attempting to expand its empire rather than looking at other strategies for response to medical calls.

No one asked the question: The fire department’s budget comes from the city’s general fund. It has been acknowledged that they want an additional $2 to $3 million and that does not include the additional monies needed to pay the salaries and benefits for more personnel annually. What department in the general fund do they want to cut by $2 to $3 million? What other city service are they willing to sacrifice to meet their needs right now?

In response over the next few months the council will take a measured look at the entire issue of adequate resources for public safety and that includes the police department. Five of the councilmembers did not rush to judgment as Sherwood and Chavira pressed them to do.  They realize that there is a problem but they were not ready to sacrifice other city services to give the fire union what it demanded. They also realize that there is no quick fix. It will take several years to implement a viable solution. The men and women of the Glendale fire department want what is best for their city. Too bad their union is not listening to them.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

Foothills Library Update: All three commissions, Arts, Library and Parks & Recreation, having met this week have voted to disapprove the proposal to sell the Foothills Library. Their recommendations will be presented to the city council at the March 3, 2015 workshop.

It seems Councilmember Gary Sherwood requested formal meetings by going through the council office to set up appointments with Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff and Councilmember Bart Turner. The upshot of each meeting was that Sherwood advised each of them that he would be monitoring their performance and would, at some future date, critique them. How’s that for chutzpah? Coming from a councilmember with two years of experience, under investigation by the Attorney General’s Office for alleged Open Meeting Law violations and now facing recall from office. From all accounts he did not meet in a “mentoring mode” but rather to put them on notice that he would be watching them. Are you astounded? I have never heard of such behavior. I expect each of them advised him to not let the door hit him on his way out.

Sherwood also announced at his district meeting held on February 26, 2015 that he would be meeting with Kathleen Goeppinger, head of Midwestern University to explore the idea of allowing Midwestern to build an addition to Foothills Library for Midwestern’s use. He couldn’t be offering this idea to gain support from Goeppinger for Becker billboards (or perhaps hit her up for a campaign donation to his recall campaign), could he? At the last billboard go-around Goeppinger was on record as being opposed. Sherwood’s habit and pattern seems to be to insert himself into situations, in an attempt to broker deals. Isn’t that an administrative function best left to Glendale staff? Aren’t his actions in trying to broker the arena management agreement enough of a warning that perhaps he shouldn’t participate in such activities? Mayor Weiers, representing all of Glendale or Cholla district Councilmember Tolmachoff where the library is located should be none too happy about Sherwood’s insertion of himself into the situation.

Councilmember Bart Turner had a turnout of about 100 people at his district meeting. Councilmember Sherwood had about 30 people. Some of the Sherwood attendees questioned his position on issues, commented on his non-responsiveness to his constituents’ concerns and infrequency of his district meetings (last one was about a year ago). Perhaps before Sherwood tells other councilmembers how to do their job, he should clean up his own act.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

On February 25, 2015 the Recall Councilman the Gary Sherwood Committee issued following press release:

“The Recall Councilman Gary Sherwood Committee announced today that it has reinstated its campaign calling for a Recall Election to unseat Gary Sherwood, Councilmember from Glendale’s Sahuaro District. Committee Chairperson Anna Lee said, ‘Gary Sherwood has forgotten who elected him. He has turned his back on the people he is supposed to represent and they won’t stand for it. Throughout our new campaign, we will be publishing details of Sherwood’s actions that enraged his constituents and precipitated this action.’  Lee filed a second Application for Recall Petition with the Glendale City Clerk’s office at 10 am on Friday, February 20, 2015.

“This is the committee’s second effort to unseat Councilmember Sherwood; the first was filed in August, 2014. ‘We followed all the rules,’ said Lee, ‘but when we submitted the signatures we’d gathered, they were rejected because, according to the clerk, they were entered on an old version of the petition form. The legislature had changed the requirements, but the new form reflecting the changes was not made available until after our Recall team had finished collecting its signatures.’ She concluded, ‘We won’t let anything like that happen again. This recall is far too important to the future of the citizens of Glendale and the Sahuaro District.’

The Recall Councilman Gary Sherwood Committee is reaching out to Sahuaro District constituents who share its concerns about the voting history and other activities of Councilmember Sherwood, and who fear how he may vote on issues that impact them in the future.

“For more information about Stop Gary Sherwood, call the committee message phone at 602.657.0303, e-mail info@stopsherwood.com or visit its website: www.stopsherwood.com. Contact: Anna Lee, 602-657-0303 / info@stopsherwood.com .”

Please note at this time the committee’s website is still under construction. I would suggest contacting Ms. Lee at the phone number provided in their press release until the website is completed.

It is clear that Sherwood and Becker have not given up on their effort to plant billboards in north Glendale.  A review was conducted of contributors to Sherwood’s initial campaign effort in 2012. In the fall of 2012 Sherwood received contributions from:

  • Mark and Erin Becker $860
  • Joyce Becker $430 and
  • Amy Becker $430 for total of $920
  • Rose Law Group 10 contributions from attorneys within the group totaling $1,960.00

The Rose Law Group represented Becker Billboards on its first, March 25, 2014, attempt to gain council approval for its proposed billboards. Hmmm…did nearly $3,000 in political contributions to his campaign buy advocacy for Becker Billboards? That is something you must decide.

After the original denial of the billboards by city council, Sherwood brought up the billboard issue again on October 7, 2014 and October 21, 2014. From the minutes of the October 7, 2014 meeting, Councilmember Sherwood spoke for an absent Councilmember (Councilmember Chavira) regarding the recent discussions about the Palm Canyon billboards. He asked the Councilmembers to vote at the October 27th meeting on rescinding the previous denial based on this recent information on the Becker Boards case at the Loop 101 and Bell. He said if the rescission vote is successful, then too immediately at the same Council meeting on October 27th 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.”

A majority of council did not support his request. At the October 21, 2014 meeting Councilmember Sherwood continued to pursue the issue by attempting to clarify the circumstances under which a special council meeting could be called. From the minutes of that meeting, “Councilmember Sherwood said so if it was a special meeting, there would be two agenda items and there would still have to be a vote of four to rescind the March decision and then an actual go through the whole process of presenting the ordinance again.” Sherwood was seeking rescission of the original council vote denying the billboards. This is part of the exchange between Sherwood and City Attorney Michael Bailey at the same meeting:

“Mr. Bailey said his reading of Robert’s Rules of Order is that when there is an affirmative vote on a rescission, it brings the item back live again, it revives it. He said at that time, there would be a more robust discussion or additional information provided by planning and zoning. He said if there was a desire to make a different decision that decision could be made then.”

Councilmember Sherwood asked if that was something that could be done in the same meeting.”

Mr. Bailey said yes.”

A year after the original vote denying the billboard proposal it’s back again. The first salvo is Mark Becker’s neighborhood meeting and “Crane Study.” Since when doesn’t “no” mean “no?” Apparently, Councilmember Sherwood, Mark Becker and Jordan Rose have decided that a council “no” vote means “maybe.” Insider assumption is that Chavira is supportive of the billboard issue and will support his good buddy Sherwood. That’s two votes in favor. All Sherwood has to do is to find two more councilmembers to vote in the affirmative…who will it be? Mayor Weiers? Vice Mayor Hugh? Or Councilmembers Aldama (probably a yes as he seems to vote with Sherwood and Chavira), Tolmachoff, or Turner?? That’s a probable three votes in favor. Oh my gosh…Glendale residents will make best use their time contacting Weiers, Tolmachoff, Hugh and Turner with their opinion.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

Before reviewing the Glendale City Council meeting of January 13, 2015 I wanted to share some information related to the events about to occur in Glendale. With the Direct TV Music Festival, the ProBowl and the Super Bowl fast approaching those residents who live in close proximity to the site of these events may have the need for further information about them or may need to lodge a complaint while the events are occurring.  Below are the Glendale numbers for your reference:

DirecTV Super Fan Festival Hotline

A special hotline has been established for the DirecTV Super Fan Festival.  The hotline number is 602-532-6250.

Neighborhood Protection (barricades)

The Neighborhood protection program is being enacted for the DirecTV Super Fan Festival, Fiesta Bowl, Pro Bowl and Super Bowl.

Electronic Link to Glendale’s Got Game Webpage

The information listed above and specific links are available through the City’s Glendale’s Got Game webpage: http://www.visitglendale.com/ZoneA/index.html

The January 13, 2015 Glendale city council meeting was typical of many council meetings. A proclamation recognizing Dr. Martin F. King Day and then an item packed Consent Agenda. The only interesting segment of the meeting was the choice of a Vice Mayor for this year.

Councilmember Bart Turner nominated and Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff seconded the nomination of Councilmember Ian Hugh. A second nomination of Councilmember Gary Sherwood was offered by Councilmember Sammy Chavira and seconded by Councilmember Jamie Aldama. No surprises there. That left Mayor Weiers as the deciding vote. It was well played by Mayor Weiers. The Mayor offered Councilmember Hugh for a vote first, as it should have been, since Hugh’s nomination was offered first.

Votes were cast on the newest toy, the nearly $50,000 voting system and flashed on the large screen behind them. There were four votes (a majority) in favor of Hugh’s nomination: Mayor Weiers, Councilmembers Hugh, Turner and Tolmachoff. Since Councilmember Hugh’s nomination captured the majority of council votes there was no need to vote on the nomination of Councilmember Sherwood. Congratulations go to the newly elected Vice Mayor of Glendale, Ian Hugh.

We have seen the first vote of the new council majority of Weiers, Hugh, Turner and Tolmachoff. We’ll see how well Councilmember Sherwood plays in the sandbox now that his coalition is no longer in the majority.

A word that seems to aptly describe both Councilmembers Chavira’s and Aldama’s usual commentary during the course of council workshops and meetings is saccharin. According to Webster’s Dictionary saccharin is defined as “sweet or sentimental in a way that does not seem sincere or genuine.” If ever two people fit that bill it appears to be these two. Their greatest claim to fame is certainly not the offering of insightful comment but rather a litany of thank yous to everyone they can possibly think of. Perhaps the voters of their districts will thank them profusely as they wander out the door of Glendale politics.

© 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.

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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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.

Sadly, real life should not be played like a Monopoly game although it often is, especially in politics. Horse trading deals seem to be a way of life for many politicians.  Councilmember Gary Sherwood penned a My Turn article entitled, Barrett is wrong, Franks is right: Casino means trouble for the Arizona Republic on April 20, 2013. Eighteen months ago he said:

    •  “Tohono O’odham’s massive casino is too close to residences and schools.”
    • “It denies tens of million (sic) of dollars of future development, construction and sales-tax revenues to our state and local community.”
    • “The casino will have a massive impact on Glendale’s already overwhelmed infrastructure – our police and fire departments and our roads — forever.”
    • “Crime is already up. Does anyone believe that putting a mega-casino in a neighborhood will improve the situation?”
    • “Franks is doing the right thing, and he is not alone.”
    • “The tribe has disregarded our city’s well-being and wishes for years. Now we should simply trust them?”
    • “Sadly, the Tohono O’odham Nation deliberately misled the public and even other tribal nations about this project and their casino-expansion plans for years. What kind of community leaders would willingly welcome such an unwelcome kind of neighbor?”                           

What caused Sherwood to do his flip-flop? Eighteen months ago Gary Sherwood was opposed to the Tohono O’odham casino. Sherwood has been asked repeatedly why he changed from anti-casino to pro-casino. His answers have been all over the place from, I was misinformed by others to Glendale staffers didn’t do their homework.

On September 17, 2014 Gary Sherwood testified at the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. In his testimony he said, “I was stunned to learn that the prior Glendale administration had failed to make any effort to learn more about this proposal before it rushed to oppose it.” When questioned further by Senator McCain on his change of stance he said, “Umm, when I campaigned I had campaigned against this proposed based on information I had and I had read deal…quite a bit of information on it. Umm, the thing that was distressing to me though, that in the very beginning there was a half hour conversation when the city first found out about it in April of 2009 and that was the only conversation the previous administration had and I was, was always quite upset by the fact that we didn’t have the dialogue.” His reasons for changing his position are not only weak but mainly fantasy.

The city first learned of the casino project in January of 2009 when the TO simultaneously issued a press release and appeared at City Hall to reveal their plans. City staffers tried mightily at several subsequent meetings to get meaningful information from the Tohono O’odham about their plans. The TO repeatedly offered their conceptual plans but offered no concrete facts about their proposed project.  They were arrogant and their position was that they were coming and there was nothing the city could do. If Sherwood couldn’t get the date correct about Glendale’s learning of the TO’s plans, how many other statements of his that day played fast and loose with the facts?

His reasons for doing a 180 on his casino position should not be considered as satisfactory. Sherwood’s position remained opposed until the fall of 2013 when at several city council workshops he suddenly supported Alvarez, Hugh and Chavira in their call for “dialogue” with the Tohono O’odham. What other dynamic could have occurred?

Gary Sherwood and Sammy Chavira took office as councilmembers in January of 2013. Sammy ran on his opposition to the casino deals that had been presented to the city prior to his taking office. He said in an October, 2013 campaign mailing, ““Too many sweetheart arena deals for out-of-state corporations have left us deeply in debt.” Sammy outdid himself in supporting not just an out-of-state corporation sweetheart arena deal but out-of-country owners (mostly Canadian) sweetheart deal. He was opposed to any proposed casino deal. He went on to say publicly and repeatedly, “The city needs to be a tough negotiator, making smart planning decisions that preserve Glendale’s future.” Sammy, while running, was in no mood to accept any Coyotes deal. Inexplicably, after 6 months in office he becomes the 4th (and majority) vote to accept the IceArizona deal. Sherwood becomes the 4th councilmember (a majority) to support a dialogue with the TO after 8 months into his term. Coincidence? You must decide for yourselves. Did these councilmembers play a game of Monopoly?

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

On September 17, 2014 the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs took testimony on Senate Bill 2670 introduced by Senators McCain and Flake. In previous blogs, Part I and Part II, I offered verbatim transcripts of the testimonies of Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn, Gila River Governor Gregory Mendoza and Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers. Today the verbatim testimony is that of Glendale Councilmember Gary Sherwood and Tohono O’odham Chairman Ned Norris, Jr.

Actually Councilmember Sammy Chavira was slated to testify. Why didn’t that happen? Have you ever noticed that the Sherwood-Chavira pairing is eerily similar to Mutt and Jeff? I’ll leave you to figure out who is Mutt and who is Jeff. At the last minute, at the hearing table in fact, Sammy was bumped and Sherwood took over as self proclaimed representative of Glendale’s majority council position on the issue.

Many have asked who pays for these trips to Washington, D.C. The answer is easy. You do – the taxpayers of Glendale. Each councilmember has 2 budgets: one for “communication” and one for “infrastructure.” These budgets total an annual $30,000. It is from these budgets that a councilmember’s trips are paid.

Sherwood’s testimony was a combination of rhetoric and fantasy. He delivered facts that can only be characterized as misinformation. He said, “…88% of the wage earners who live in our community must travel elsewhere to work.” According to http://www.citydata.com/city/Glendale-Arizona.html#ixzz3Ej8KFaU3 workers who live and work in Glendale number 25,039 (23.6%). He went on to say, “I was stunned to learn that the prior Glendale administration had failed to make any effort to learn more about this proposal before it rushed to oppose it.” Wrong again. City administrative personnel were directed by council in 2009 to meet with the Tohono O’odham (TO). That meeting as well as subsequent meetings did not go well. The TO were arrogant telling city staffers that the casino was coming and there was nothing the city could do about it. The only information they were willing to share were the same conceptuals of the project they had released publicly. So much for the TO’s willingness to share specific information with the city. Sherwood then went on to say,“ We have talked to many business leaders in this area including leaders of two professional sports teams and major hospitality developments and they all support this West Valley project.” Who is this ‘we’? Despite his rhetoric the businesses, especially the sports teams, are not supportive of the casino. Why should they be? The casino will siphon off discretionary dollars from those who usually attend their games. Councilmember Sherwood, show us the money, or rather some letters from these businesses attesting to their support of direct, unfair competition. We’d all like to see those.

Tohono O’odham Chairman Ned Norris used a combination of sheer arrogance and threat in his testimony. He admonished all entities but most specifically sister Tribes in Arizona by saying, “…we ask these tribes to carefully consider the damage their efforts are causing…” He, once again, made reference to the Nation’s poverty status, “…our population is one of the poorest in the United States with average, individual incomes just over $8,000.” What are the Nation’s leaders doing with the $36 million earned by its existent 3 casinos annually? He referred to their back room deals as misinformation and said they had been litigated. How? The TO has consistently refused to waive “sovereign immunity” in court proceedings.  He also verbally stamped his feet and said if they didn’t get their casino it would be a “profound injustice.” What about the “profound injustice” the TO have caused to Glendale, its sister Tribes and the state of Arizona?

The last blog in this series will wrap up with questions posed to the panel by Chairman Tester and Senator McCain. It is certainly interesting. Below is the verbatim testimony of Councilmember Sherwood and Chairman Norris:

Chairman Tester: “Councilman Sherwood.”

Councilmember Sherwood: “Good afternoon Chairman Tester and members of Senate Indian Affairs Committee. My name is Gary Sherwood and I am the councilmember of the city of Glendale, Arizona. On behalf of Glendale I am here today with my fellow councilmember and colleague, Sammy Chavira. We are pleased to have given the opportunity to present Glendale’s official position on S. 2670, the so-called Keep the Promise Act.

“Let me be absolutely clear. The city of Glendale strongly opposes enactment of this legislation. The city, twice, has adopted official resolutions clearly expressing this opposition and these resolutions have been provided to the committee. In this opposition to 2670 and House Bill 1410 we have been joined our sister cities, Peoria, Tolleson and Surprise all of which have long opposed this legislation. It is important to understand that collectively our cities represent the vast majority of the population of Phoenix’s West Valley.

“Our communities desperately need this economic development and employment opportunities which the Nation’s casino and resort project bring to our area. In Glendale alone, nearly 80,000 of the nearly 90,000 workers who live in Glendale must leave the city for their employment. In other words, 88% of the wage earners who live in our community must travel elsewhere to work. Obviously, this job situation is a significant problem in our community. In the next twenty years 65% of the growth of the Phoenix Metropolitan area will occur in the West Valley.

“Existing casinos in the Phoenix area are over whelmingly concentrated in the East Valley and the West Valley Resort will be over twenty miles away from the nearest of these existing casinos. There is no doubt that these successful facilities will continue to prosper.

“When I was first elected to council in 2012, I knew we had to do our homework on a project like this. I was stunned to learn that the prior Glendale administration had failed to make any effort to learn more about this proposal before it rushed to oppose it. It was time to make decisions based on the facts. At the direction of my colleagues, Councilman Chavira, whose district borders the Nation’s reservation, Councilman Ian Hugh, Councilwoman Norma Alvarez and myself, city staff spent months carefully examining every aspect of the Nation’s proposed development.

“A minority of Glendale City Council including Mayor Weiers continue to maintain that there’s no opposition to this project. But as President Reagan once said, ‘facts are stubborn things.’ Facts show that we have been misled, not by the Nation, but by the interests seeking to protect their overwhelming casino market share. Based on this misinformation the city clearly on rebuffed the Nation’s efforts to forge a mutually beneficial relationship.

“I am glad that now the city has opened a new chapter with the Nation and has entered into an agreement that will bring thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of direct benefits to the city. Today the City of Glendale and the Tohono O’odham Nation are bound by ties of friendship. I recently had the honor of participating in a historic ground breaking ceremony with Chairman Norris, members of the legislative council, local and business leaders and hundreds of supporters. Construction of the project is now underway. This facility will be located next to our vibrant sports and entertainment district, an area that is represented by Councilman Chavira. We have talked to many business leaders in this area including leaders of two professional sports teams and major hospitality developments and they all support this West Valley project.

“I am sorry to report to the committee that despite these benefits and the unequivocal support of Glendale residents who in poll after poll expressed overwhelming support for this West Valley Resort the East Valley casino interests are again trying to interfere. Over the last several days these casino interests have been using paid signature gatherers to mislead Glendale residents into signing a petition to challenge the city’s agreement with the Nation. As been widely reported to the press these paid signature gatherers have been caught on tape lying to Glendale voters suggesting that the petitions are in favor of the West Valley Resort. Thankfully, even Mayor Weiers has acknowledged that this dishonest publicity stunt will not in any way affect the city’s agreement. I share the sentiments of a long time Glendale business owner who told me this bill is more properly titled ‘keeping the profits after 2014.’

“For the broadest reasons the city respectfully urges that the federal government should not interfere in our efforts to improve the lives of our citizens. Do not destroy this valuable partnership between the Tohono O’odham Nation and our community.

“Umm, Senator McCain, you did bring up a point, umm, about what this would do to other Phoenix area casinos. Again, a good share of the growth in the Valley of the Sun is gonna take place in the West Valley over the next twenty years and currently there are, of the seven casinos that are considered in the Phoenix Metro area six of ‘em are in the far East Valley with the one being a little over twenty miles away. So I really don’t think that’s gonna be a concern.

“Thank you for this opportunity to testify in this matter. I, and Councilman Chavira, will be pleased to answer any questions that you may have.”

Chairman Tester: “Thank you Councilman Sherwood. Ah, Chairman Norris.”

Chairman Norris: “Chairman Tester, Senator McCain, and honorable members of the committee, Good Afternoon. This is now the fourth time that I’ve had, that I’ve come before Congress to testify about this legislation.  If enacted it would commit a profound injustice against the Tohono O’odham Nation and set a terrible precedent for Indian country.

“Although I do very much appreciate the opportunity to provide our views on this bill the Nation is profoundly disappointed that Congress continues to entertain the cynically named Keep the Promise Act. This legislation shows no respect for the clear terms of the 1986 settlement agreement between the Nation and the United States; no respect for the contractual agreement between the Nation and the state of Arizona in our 2003 gaming compact; no respect for the federal court and the administrative agencies which in sixteen decisions have reviewed the settlement, the compact, the law and found in favor of the Nation; and no respect for the United States’ trust responsibility to the Tohono O’odham Nation.  

“At the heart of this matter, as I have testified previously, is the fact that the Corps of Engineers destroyed nearly 10,000 acres of the Nation’s Gila Bend Reservation in Maricopa County. In 1986 Congress enacted the Gila Bend Indian Reservation Lands Replacement Act to compensate the Nation for the loss of its land and valuable water rights. An important part of this settlement is the right to acquire replacement land that has the same legal status as the destroyed land. Most of our reservation land is located in remote, isolated areas and our population is one of the poorest in the United States with average, individual incomes just over $8,000. As Congress clearly provided in 1986 the Nation will develop its replacement reservation land to generate revenue for public services and employment for our people.

“ In deciding to use our land for gaming we relied on the plain language of the Gila Bend Act which promises that we can use our replacement land as a federal reservation for all purposes; the Indian Regulatory Gaming Act which explicitly allows settlement lands to be used for gaming and our tribal state gaming which the state and all Arizona gaming tribes negotiated and signed and which explicitly allows gaming on new lands consistent with the requirements of IGRA.

“The Nation has had it with the constant misinformation and rhetoric about the backroom deals and secret plans. These arguments have been litigated and rejected by the courts. Here are the facts. Not only is the Gila Bend Act a public law that was the subject of extensive hearings in the 1980s. This land acquisition authority was explicitly preserved in the 2004 Arizona Water Settlements Act by which Gila River Indian Community secured its enormously valuable water rights settlement. Further not only does the tribal state compact clearly allow the Nation to game on its settlement land in Maricopa County it also explicitly prohibits outside agreements which would change the compact terms. Our sister tribes have long benefitted from the advice of numerous experienced attorneys. The idea that these tribes had no understanding of the Nation’s rights under the plain language of the Gila Bend Act, IGRA and the tribal state compact is, as the United States courts declared, entirely unreasonable.

“The Gila River Indian Community, the Salt River Indian Community and the Tohono O’odham Nation are relatives and friends and our shared history is vitally important to the Nation but these tribes continued assaults has taken a toll and we ask these tribes to carefully consider the damage their efforts are causing both in Arizona and in Indian country, generally.

“Honorable members of the committee, the Nation respectfully urges that you put an end to this misguided, cynical legislation. Embrace the promises made by the United States and the Indian Water Rights Settlement. It unilaterally amends the negotiated terms of federally approved tribal state gaming compact. Most of all it is a return to a dishonorable era of federal Indian policy and will leave a black mark on this committee and this Congress’ legacy. Thank you. I would be pleased to answer any questions the committee may have.”

Chairman Tester: “Thank you, Chairman Norris, for your testimony. Thank you all for your testimonies. Senator McCain.”

© 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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