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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

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

Glendale is the 6th largest city in the state. Here is the ranking of the ten largest cities in the state:

  • Phoenix
  • Tucson
  • Mesa
  • Chandler
  • Gilbert
  • Glendale
  • Scottsdale
  • Tempe
  • Peoria

Glendale has the lowest average median income of the 10 largest cities.

Glendale has the second highest poverty rate of those 10 cities.

Another media story shows that of the 25 wealthiest zip codes in Maricopa County Glendale has but one…85310…ranked 24th out of 25.

Glendale is a very diverse community:

  •     Caucasian                     50%
  •     Hispanic or Latino       37%
  •     Afro-American               6%
  •     Asian                                4%

Today we are going to examine why these facts drive development (or the lack of it) and also what needs to occur in order to improve or “upgrade” Glendale development to enhance our citizen’s quality of life and also make Glendale more competitive obtaining quality commercial/residential projects.

What can Glendale do to turn these numbers around? How does Glendale raise the average median income, lower its poverty rate and have more of its zip codes labeled as “the wealthiest”? It must embrace a new strategy toward future development and a new strategy to remediate some of its struggling neighborhoods.

So let us add some new facts and start to look for effective and reasonable solutions to Upgrade Glendale.

A square mile between Camelback Road to Bethany Home Road; 59th Avenue to 67th Avenue; in zip code 85301 is ringed by 10…yes, 10…low income multi-family apartment complexes? Were you aware that the density of package liquor stores and bars is the highest in zip code 85301? In an effort to upgrade south Glendale shouldn’t Council and the Planning Department be asking, when any developer or business seeks to locate in this area, does this project upgrade the area? Does it serve a family-oriented need? Does this project make the quality of life better for these neighborhoods or are we simply allowing more of the same because it’s easier not to fight the fight for quality commercial and residential development? If developers say they will walk away from a project because that is all that a certain area merits, perhaps the new Glendale paradigm is to let them. If we develop new standards of quality development and advise the development community that is what we expect and will allow, then that is what we will get.

The majority of Glendale’s residential base is comprised of starter homes and middle class homes. The home median value in Glendale is $183,300. Many new residential developments have a price point between $220,000 and $250,000. To some that may seem to be expensive but it is not in today’s market.

Where does one find big, beautiful, expensive homes on large lots? Why, zip code 85310. You can count on no more than two hands enclaves of large lot, expensive homes throughout Glendale. It is time to stop allowing the development community  build to the lowest common denominator of an area and demand that they build adhering to a philosophy of upgrading, not downgrading or adding more of the same in an area.

Glendale must stop allowing developers of infill projects greater and greater residential densities. I once learned that Glendale loses approximately $200 a year per home when providing basic services such as public safety, libraries, parks, streets, water, sewer and garbage collection. What that means is that Glendale spends more in services per home than that home earns in revenue for the city in terms of property taxes, sales taxes, etc. So, how is this imbalance made up? By commercial development with the property taxes and the sales taxes they pay to the city. I’m sure the figure has changed and I don’t know the current number however I plan on asking staff for a new current assessment.

Upscale businesses offering high paying jobs go a long way to offsetting the loss of revenue from the city’s cost of providing its basic services to homes. So how can we get the Intel’s of the world to locate in Glendale?

The quality of its workforce is the life’s blood of any major corporation. These corporations desire to locate where they can attract a highly educated, skilled employee base.

That’s where Glendale’s schools play a major role and unfortunately it is an area over which Glendale has no control. Many, not all, of Glendale’s schools have underperforming high school graduation rates with much of their student populations not moving on to college or technical training. Glendale’s primary and secondary educational system is failing to prepare students to become college or technically bound. They are failing to help the city to attract the quality work force needed to attract the Intel’s. The kinds of corporations we must seek to attract have employees who want to be assured that their children will have access to outstanding educational opportunities. These employees also seek quality, upscale housing with great quality of life amenities. They also require nearby access not just to fast food establishments but to upscale dining, shopping, leisure and entertainment opportunities. While a smattering of those kinds of quality of life issues are met in a few Glendale enclaves there is not enough of a mass to attract the kinds of employment providers the city seeks.

I contend a rising tide lifts all boats.

Isn’t it time to upgrade every Glendale resident’s quality of life? Isn’t it time to provide our residents with an abundance of good paying job opportunities? Shouldn’t it be in safe neighborhoods? Shouldn’t it be with Class A dining, shopping, leisure and entertainment opportunities throughout all of Glendale? We can do that by insisting and conveying to developers of commercial and residential properties that whether it is an infill parcel or raw land, our expectations for development are stringent. That Glendale now demands a new forward looking vision.

In a coming blog we will examine how Glendale government can move past prior history, Glendale school districts may help both their students now and after graduation and residents can actively engage in this new vision.

 

© Joyce Clark, 2017          

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

PLEASE MAKE A DONATION TO MY CAMPAIGN USING THE PAY PAL BUTTON TO THE LEFT OF THIS COLUMN.

PLEASE CHECK OUT THE LATEST VIDEO DEPICTING SAMMY’S RECORD OF SERVICE.

Today it will be 114 degrees and as we continue to plant campaign signs we will be dripping within 5 minutes…sigh. Arizona politicians are probably tougher than any others. Who in their right mind would campaign in the summer in Arizona? Only in Arizona, I guess.

Last night I held the first Yucca district meeting since Sammy held his one and only meeting in May of 2013. About two dozen hardy souls attended. Unfortunately we were competing with Trump’s acceptance speech (reportedly over 30 million viewers). That’s OK. It was a very good meeting. Many questions were asked of both Mayor Weiers and me and as a result, the meeting lasted for two hours. Mayor Weiers did an excellent job demonstrating his breadth of knowledge on city issues as our Mayor. Interestingly, there were 4 gentlemen from Phoenix in attendance. Obviously they were there on behalf of either the Burdick or Chavira campaigns. We hope they had a good time.

I had planned to post the video of the meeting but due to its length of 2 hours I don’t have the capability to do so. We may try to figure out how to edit it down to something manageable and post snippets.

One of the questions was about the “temporary” sale tax increase. I was the councilmember who insisted that it be temporary at the time of its passage. It was due to sunset in 2017. Chavira, in an Arizona Republic interview of July 25, 2012 (almost 4 years ago to the day) said this about the sales tax increase, “Hopefully, the new council can expedite the five-year sunset.” Enter the sound of crickets…just another empty campaign promise made by my opponent. He made no call for council’s action on this issue.

That Arizona Republic interview of Sammy was full of his insistence on transparency and communication with his constituency. Here are just a few of his more memorable comments on the subject:

  • “Firefighter prepared to listen to residents.”
  • “Chavira, 47, thinks increased transparency and a greater willingness to involve residents, businesses and neighboring cities in decision making can help Glendale come out of its difficult times.”
  • “Many of the city’s latest problems stem from a lack of input from residents.”
  • “Chavira said he’s committed to getting resident input.”
  • “People seem to forget politicians are here to serve the citizens they represent.”

Sammy ignored his very own premise that he was elected to serve the citizens he represents. When is the last time he contacted his constituency to seek their input? How about never. He’s had only one district meeting during his entire term.

In that same interview, Chavira was asked what can the City Council do to help make education better in Glendale? His answer was, “We need better and more after-school programs, park and recreation programs and we need to bring back, we don’t have Little League anymore. We need to be more accessible to our children.” Not sure what he means by being more accessible to our children. Perhaps you can figure that one out.

Let’s not forget Sammy’s promises in a 2012 campaign mailing, “We need excellent schools to prepare our children to compete for high wage jobs and to attract companies to our region. I will fight to fully fund Head Start, promote education tax credits, and make city-provided after-school programs more academically focused. We also need to keep our parks and library programs strong to provide activities that keep our youth off the streets (emphasis is Chavira’s).

Keep in mind that a local city council has absolutely no authority over local education in its community. That is the job of local school district boards. They make the decisions about where funds will be expended, what their curriculum will be and they make policy and procedure decisions for the schools within their district. As for the pledges he made in his 2012 campaign, enter the sound of crickets chirping once again.

Chavira chooses buzz words to define his campaigns. He chose a hot button issue that is decidedly important to all of us knowing full well that he, as a member of the city council, could do nothing about it with the exception of city-funded, after school programs. He has not advocated for and has done nothing to fulfill his pledges regarding education. It implies that either he is truly ignorant and doesn’t know that he has no impact on educational issues or it is a deliberately cynical use of an issue as he relies on the voter to be ill informed. Beware of his use of the same themes and tactics in this election.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

It has been 18 years and 60 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

The general assumption is soon Councilmember Sammy Chavira of the Yucca district in Glendale will be running for his council seat. There are all kinds of theories floating out there as to why he hasn’t pulled a nomination packet already. One is that is he stalling to make his campaign season as short as possible. That leaves less time for voters to take a critical look at his record or lack thereof. The other is that he is going through the hiring process to obtain a lucrative paying job at the new Tohono O’odham casino in Glendale. Hmm…this could prove problematical for him. Remember his ouster from the National Hispanic Firefighters Association (NHFA)? One of the urban legends is that Sammy and his buddies drove around in a golf cart during the event collecting all of the event revenues for themselves. It is known that NHFA made no money on the event and had to cover event expenses in excess of $12,000.

It’s a good time to look at his campaign pledges and his record of delivery. Sammy ran on 4 central campaign promises revealed in an October, 2012 campaign mailer:

  • “Too many sweetheart arena deals for out-of-state corporations have left us deeply in debt. Sam will prioritize public safety, education and public libraries and isn’t afraid to say no to special interests.” 

Sammy was the deciding yes vote on the $15 million dollar a year arena management agreement with IceArizona. The irony is that yes, IceArizona is an out-of-state corporation but many of its owners are Canadian. In addition on June 11, 2015 Sammy and recalled Councilmember Sherwood were the only two votes against voiding the costly $15 million dollar arena management contract with IceArizona. It appears Sammy’s agenda was to support his good buddy Sherwood and IceArizona. It seems as if Sammy wasn’t afraid to say no to special interests but rather he supported them wholeheartedly.

  • “Sam understands that good jobs and good schools go hand in hand. He will fight to fully fund Head Start, support education tax credits for our local schools, and make after school programs more curriculum based.” 

This is the biggest lie of the century. Local city councils have no control over local education. That is the job of local school boards. The council can be supportive of local schools but it cannot create policy for any local school. So why did Sammy use this? Many voters, but not all, are unsophisticated. They are busy with their lives and don’t follow school or city issues unless it directly affects them and their families. Did he fight to “fully fund Head Start,” a federal program? No. Did he support “education tax credits for our local schools,” either state or federal? No. Did he “make after school programs more curriculum based?” No.

  • “Sam will go to the city council to represent the people, not a particular ideology, because he knows that results are what’s important.”

Has Sam represented you? Unless you are a political junkie you couldn’t pick him out of a line up. He’s had one…just one… district meeting back in 2013. The only other scheduled district meeting was cancelled at the last minute. Have you ever met him? Talked to him about issues that concern you? I think not. If he knows that “results are what’s important,” why hasn’t he delivered any to the people of his district?

  • “No more sweetheart deals. The city needs to be a tough negotiator, making smart planning decisions that preserve Glendale’s future.”

Sammy’s entire term of service seem to be based on sweetheart deals. Apparent deals with recalled Councilmember Sherwood; apparent deals with the Tohono O’odham, supporters of his campaign in return for his support of the casino; apparent deals with the fire union, supporters of his campaign in return for his support of their agenda. Deals in support of his constituency…not so much.

Sammy Chavira made a lot of promises to the voters of the Yucca district. He didn’t deliver. He made a lot of promises to special interests. He did deliver. He made a lot of campaign promises to the voters of the district and he broke them all.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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