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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

It has been 17 years and 307 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

On November 3, 2015 the voters of the Sahuaro district dealt a political death blow to Councilmember Gary Sherwood by voting for Ray Malnar to replace him. The unofficial vote total has Ray Malnar winning with 53.61%. There is no doubt that Sherwood caused his own demise. How?

Sherwood was elected in November of 2012. For three years his actions and votes have raised questions. One of the major centerpieces of his campaign was his strong opposition to the Tohono O’odham casino in Glendale. As a result of his position the anti-casino forces paid for independent expenditures supporting his run. He also ran pledging fiscal conservatism in managing the city’s arena. It didn’t take him long to renege on both elements of his platform.

Within a year of his first term he reversed his position on the casino and became its strongest advocate. When asked why, his answers were consistently vague and seemed to center around learning “new information.” When queried on what information and from whom, he never offered a clear and convincing explanation. There was also the nagging assumption by many that he had swapped his positive vote of support for the casino with Councilmember Chavira’s positive vote of support for the IceArizona arena management deal.

Sherwood ran supporting his constituency’s opposition to continuing the practice of exorbitant financial payments to operate the city’s arena. Inexplicitly he advocated for the IceArizona management deal at a cost of $15 million a year. His actions in connection to this support gave rise to an alleged complaint (eventually dismissed) to the Arizona Attorney General’s office regarding his divulging of executive session information. He seemed to have developed a pattern of deliberately supporting big money interests over the voices of his constituents. It was a pattern soon to be repeated.

In the matter of Becker Billboards Sherwood was a prime advocate for their interests while he once again ignored his constituency. It left a bitter taste with his constituents and now they were becoming alarmed about his lack of support for their views. His failure to connect with his constituency became an issue of contention with the proposal to sell the Foothills Branch Library. He failed to notify them of meetings on the issue usually until the day before a scheduled public meeting. He bragged about a luncheon meeting he had arranged with the Kathleen Goeppinger, President of Midwestern University, proposed buyer of the library.

He seemed to be very proud when he declared in a council workshop meeting he had met privately with one candidate under consideration as Glendale’s new city manager, Brenda Fischer. Many people were astounded that he would have done such a thing. He was her strong advocate and after she was hired he seemed to receive preferential treatment not only from Fischer but from her inner circle, including soon-to-be Assistant City Manager Julie Frisoni. It was seemingly obvious that Sherwood and his coalition of councilmembers had the ear of Fischer and her inner circle while those who opposed Sherwood and his positions were frozen out.

Sherwood appeared to be needy…he wanted to be recognized as a “major player,” locally and regionally.  He seemed to revel in the attention he received from Anthony LeBlanc, et.al, when they were seeking approval of their arena contract. After the management contract was signed he was observed lurking about at Coyote Town Hall meetings trying to catch LeBlanc’s attention until he was recognized and praised. Did he know observers reported members of IceArizona not only ignored him after securing the contract but apparently they ridiculed him as well?

When it came to Becker billboards that stakeholder group had contributed significantly to Sherwood’s campaign and so, he seemed to reciprocate by advocating for them. Again, Sherwood seemed to ignore his constituency’s overwhelming opposition to the billboards in favor of those who generously contributed to his campaign coffers. Then there are the countless recitations by many on the 4th floor of city hall who heard Sherwood’s declarations that he was the “real” mayor of Glendale. Many city employees thought he was arrogant and dismissive of them.

The nail in the proverbial coffin was his apparent belief that he was above the law. He accumulated at least 6 driving citations in a relatively short time period and then failed to follow through in fulfilling his responsibilities for those actions eventually leading to a state-wide warrant for Failure to Appear. This issue was resolved only after it was publicly reported that he was caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar. In a recent press release he admitted to using city funds to rent a vehicle while driving on a suspended license and pledged to reimburse the city.

After all of his purported foibles, who wanted Sherwood to remain in office? The largest supporter of keeping Sherwood in office was Phoenix Firefighters Local 493 Fire PAC Committee (responding to the bidding of its sister Glendale union) having contributed $14,000 to an Independent PAC called Citizens for Safety and Education run by a long time fire union activist, Mike Colletto. Between October 2 and October 14, 2015 the independent committee spent $11,412.96 advocating for Sherwood’s retention. By the way, per usual, Sherwood was late in filing his latest campaign expense report. He raised nearly $40,000 ($39,810.30). Of note, that’s twice the amount that his opponent, Ray Malnar, raised ($18, 800). Sherwood’s big money contributors were: Mark Becker – $3,000 on 9/9/15; the Tohono O’odham – $6,250 on 10/8/15; Nick Wood (an attorney for IceArizona) – $1,500 on 10/8/15; Jason and Jordan Rose (Becker billboards was/is a client) – $1,000 on 10/17/15; and members of the Molera Alvarez political consulting group – $1,000 on 10/21/15 and 10/22/15. Let’s not forget PAC contributions, much of it union money, totaling $28,000:

  • Arizona Pipe Trades               $10,000                             9/11/15
  • IBEW Local 640                        1,000                              9/15/15
  • Republic Services, Inc.                 500                              9/15/15
  • Iron Workers Local 75               2,000                              9/16/15
  • Phoenix Firefighters
  • Local 493 Fire PAC                    1,000                               9/16/15
  • Surprise PRO Firefighters
  • PAC                                         2,000 (cumulative)            9/16/15
  • United West Valley
  • Firefighters                               2,500 (cumulative)           9/16/15
  • Pinnacle West PAC                        500                              9/21/15
  • Gilbert Firefighters                    4,000 (cumulative)           10/14/15
  • United Mesa
  • Firefighters                               4,500 (cumulative)           10/14/15

Why has Gary Sherwood become the first councilmember ever successfully recalled in Glendale’s history? Despite the tremendous fire union financial and manpower support as well as the financial support of “big money” interests, Sherwood ignored the voices of his constituency and demonstrated that he was apparently more willing to support the interests of those who contributed generously to his campaigns. You can be sure Sherwood will place the blame on “outside interests” such as casino opponents but Sherwood was the architect of his own political demise by making choices that seemingly benefitted him in the short term while ignoring long term consequences. He died politically by a thousand, tiny cuts self inflicted as he made choices that seemed to benefit only himself. Sherwood has no one to blame but Sherwood. He made his choices and has been made accountable for them by his district’s voters. In commenting on his loss Sherwood said he plans to run again in November of 2016. Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Sometimes…every once in awhile…the good guys do win…

© 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 ‘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 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 NOTE: YOU WILL NOTE THAT I HAVE NOT PUBLISHED MANY BLOGS LATELY. I HAVE BEEN CONSUMED WITH A PERSONAL FAMILY ISSUE WITH MANY, MANY DOCUMENTS TO READ AND ABSORB. THE ISSUE SHOULD RESOLVE ITSELF BY THE END OF OCTOBER.

It has been 17 years and 281 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

It would appear so. Like a fall bonfire’s smoke, there is the smell of desperation in the air. His recall election is fast approaching and early ballots for Sahuaro district voters go out on Wednesday, October 7th. His campaign has been placing robo calls (one can assume the fire union is footing the bill) to voters in his district. In them, Sherwood apparently calls on voters not to believe all the lies being told about him and that they have been created by interests outside of Glendale. No one is buying his rhetoric. The “lies” Sherwood refers to are of his own making. He didn’t need help from interests outside of Glendale.

He had a district meeting (a rare event) on October 1, 2015. Isn’t it amazing that it was scheduled just before early ballots are mailed? There is something to be said for the power of an incumbent.  I know that when I ran for council there was a prohibition for councilmembers from using city resources for (if I remember correctly, for at least 60 days…it could have been longer). He has tried to explain away his lousy driving record with its array of suspensions and warrant for his arrest. His rationale? All those court documents he was receiving were just junk mail.

Sherwood’s history as the Sahuaro district councilmember is not a record of pride:

  • From the start of representation he has been arrogant about and dismissive of his constituents’ voices
  • He was frequently heard on the 4th floor of city hall crowing that he was the “real” mayor of Glendale
  • He followed his own agenda rather than that of his constituency
  • His extraordinary meeting with former City Manager Brenda Fischer and his advocacy for her hiring
  • His apparent alliance with Fischer and her inner circle, Frisoni, Tindall and Burdick leading to their favoritism and advocacy for his positions on issues such as the Coyotes deal
  • His rationalization for support for the casino seems to change on any given day but many continue to believe that he traded his vote of support for the casino with Councilmember Chavira’s vote of support for the Coyotes
  • His stance on Foothills Library closure and advocacy for Becker billboards was in direct opposition to the majority of his district residents’ wishes
  • As Vice Chair of the Valley Metro transit board he has, before hearing or considering the wishes of the people of Glendale, staked out a position not only in support of light rail in Glendale but that the route should be through its downtown
  • Lastly and perhaps most troubling, is his flaunting of the law. The most serious of which was his out-of-town car rental while his drivers license was suspended and he paid for the vehicle rental with a city ProCard. If there had been any kind of accident he would have subjected the city to tremendous liability. There is also the outstanding matter of Glendale taxpayers footing the bill for his illegal behavior

Unfortunately Sherwood has not lived up to his campaign billing, past, present and future. Sherwood’s and the fire union’s desperation are palpable. Apparently their polling is showing that Sherwood will lose his recall election by a vote of 3 to 1. So, they’ve put up campaign signs with every imaginable endorsement they can scrape up. For instance, now “education” supports Sherwood. Who in “education?” Do Sherwood and the fire union think voters are so dumb that they do not know that the city has no influence or control over local school districts? The city does not fund education in any way, shape or form. This is the same ploy both Chavira and Aldama used in their campaigns when they said they supported and were supported by “education.” It’s meaningless. Another favorite is Sherwood’s endorsement by “paramedics.” Which ones? Of course the firefighter paramedics are predominately union members and the fire union is underwriting the cost of Sherwood’s campaign.

Many voters in the Sahuaro district recognize that Sherwood has not been on their side. It seems he has supported powerful outside interests in return for future financial campaign reelection support. For that reason alone it appears that his constituency is prepared to reject him and to elect and “outsider.” Doesn’t that sound familiar? We see the same sentiment on a national level with voters prepared to vote for “outsiders” on both the Democratic and Republican sides of the aisle.

Voters in the Sahuaro district do have a choice. Ray Malnar is running against Sherwood in his recall election. In the past day or two, the following message from Ray Malnar was forwarded to me and I am sharing it with you, the Sahuaro district voters:

Dear friends,

Early Ballots began going out in the Sahuaro District yesterday. At the same time, messages are being distributed by my opponent and his supporters which do not address the issues. I want to continue to stay truthful and honorable. In this, the eleventh hour of the election cycle, I am asking that you help share the facts about my experience, ethics and position on key issues with people you know, especially those who live in the Sahuaro District.

Here’s a link to the  Ray Malnar for a Better Glendale website which will clarify who I am, what I stand for and why we are in this Recall Election. Please type in : https://www.raymalnar.com/   Please send this link out to everyone you know who might have a connection in Glendale.

Thank you,

 Ray Malnar, Candidate

Glendale City Council, Sahuaro District

602-869-1160

ray.malnar@cox.net

© 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 ‘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 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 263 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

At its annual August retreat, the Library Advisory Board supported the concept of a manufactured or modular library building at Heroes Park in the Yucca district (west Glendale). Bless their hearts for their moral compasses were in the right place with their recognition that the Yucca district is sadly lacking in amenities, such as a branch library, found in other areas of the city.

If you have noted at the beginning of every blog I announce how long it’s been since the city promised to build a west branch library in the Yucca district to serve west Glendale. The count as of today is 17 years and 263 days.

I am tamping down my anger at the concept of a glorified trailer as our west branch library. I understand the city is feeling guilt over never having built the west branch library but offeringfoothills a sop to the citizens of west Glendale is, in truth, insulting. Where, oh where, will we put the Dale Chihuly type art? Or the Magic Doors opening into the magical children’s reading room? Foothills library (Cholla district) patrons received a building replete with original art to enjoy during their visits. Oops, I forgot. Foothills Library is in former Mayor Elaine Scruggs’ district. Yucca district seems destined to remain bare bones. After all, that’s always been what the city has decided west Glendale merits. Except. Except… wait for it…an arena “destined “to propel former City Manager Ed Beasley and former Mayor Scruggs into the national limelight.

Otherwise when it comes to the Yucca district the city always falls back on the rationale that “there is no money.” That excuse only comes into play when a major city building for the use and enjoyment of its citizens is proposed for the westside of Glendale. It isn’t a consideration when approval is given to build a $50 million dollar plus parking garage at Westgate to satisfy the demands of the Bidwills.

The lack of amenities for westside Glendale residents is appalling and has been for many years. Of the 58 small and neighborhood parks (10 acres or less) owned by the city only 5 of them are in the Yucca district (the district’s east boundary is 75th Avenue and west boundary includes all incorporated west to Sarival Avenue; Northern Avenue on the north and Camelback Road on the south).

Of those 5 parks, 3 are joint city/school neighborhood parks with limited hours of access during the school year. They are: Desert Mirage Park at 87th Avenue and Maryland Avenue; Discovery Park at 79th Avenue and Maryland Avenue; and Orangewood Vista Park at 79th Avenue and Orangewood Avenue. Two neighborhood parks are entirely city owned: Pasadena Park at 87th Avenue and Pasadena Road and Sycamore Grove Park at 86th Lane and Emil Rovey Parkway.

What about Community Parks of 10 to 80 acres? Don’t look for any, for there are none in the Yucca district; in the only district that has large portions of vacant developable land.

Of the 6 Regional Parks in Glendale there are 2 listed Regional Parks in the Yucca district: the Grand Canal Linear Park and Heroes Park. Let’s take a closer look at both. The Grand Canal Linear Park was built with the city kicking and screaming all the way. It is part of the Maricopa County Flood Control District and the county district paid the lion’s share of its construction. If the County had not initiated the project there would be no linear park.

Heroes Park contains a splash pad, 4 basketball courts and rental ramadas…that’s it. The majority of the land in that park grows a wonderful annual crop of tumbleweeds. Forget the X Court (skateboard facility). It was closed years ago. Gone is the Master Plan that included baseball fields, a dog park, a west branch library, an urban fishing lake and a recreational center. None of those have been acknowledged for years. Look at the proposed temporary archery range. Have you seen it? I haven’t.

If for no other reason, the city should be providing amenities in west Glendale to encourage development in this slow economy. What employer wants to locate in an area where there are few, if any, amenities for its employees who wish to recreate close to where they live and work? An employer, in order to attract top quality employees, relies upon its location within a city and what a city offers in terms of recreational and cultural opportunities to potential employees/residents. The lack of amenities can be the deciding factor between Glendale and any other Valley city.

So what should be done? Build a glorified trailer in Heroes Park? I say no. What makes far

Courtesy City of Glendale

Courtesy City of Glendale

more sense is to utilize the mostly empty Glendale Media Center at Westgate. The first floor contains all of the city’s media facilities and equipment and should remain. But there is the second floor and third floor, underutilized, that could make one heck of a west branch library. It would be sited where it would enhance the existent surrounding development. How about parking you may ask? As for parking, there isn’t adequate parking at Foothills Library and it doesn’t appear to be a detriment. A west branch library facility could use the parking garage at Westgate by offering library patrons vouchers for parking. It is a city owned parking facility run by the Renaissance Hotel but it is our facility and we do set the rules for its use. This library site would require either an enclosed elevator or escalator on the outside of the building thereby removing the need for the general public to access the media facilities located on the first floor as well as preserving as much space as possible for library use. Certainly the  the retrofit would be on par for a “trailer” whose destiny is to morph into an insufficient library.

Libraries of the future will be different from those of the past. A west branch library at the Media Center should be heavy in two areas that reflect that: technology and lots of it (with media equipment on the first floor it seems that its fiber optics would be first rate); and the children’s area. Up to the minute technological access is critical. Libraries are our best and greatest system of introducing books and the habit of reading to our youngest little ones. It is a habit to be encouraged. Childhood literacy is the foundation of a well educated work force.

Then what about Heroes Park? Do we continue to allow it to languish and grow annual crops of tumbleweeds? No. Two major amenities must be built there and not in another 20 years. It is time for the city to commit its resources to this park. One is an Urban Fishing Lake. The other is a Performing Arts Center/Art Gallery/Art Center which would be within easy access of the Loop 101. A performing arts center/art gallery/art center is an amenity that Glendale has sadly lacked for many years. It is an amenity that helps to define the very character of a great city. It is an amenity that fosters “community.” It is an amenity that this council needs to plan for and build…now…not 20 years from now.

We’ve tried turning the city into a sports mecca and failed miserably. Why not focus our time, talents and resources into creating a point of pride that will be useable and available to all of Glendale’s residents? It’s time to turn Heroes Park from a dusty, woe begotten piece of derelict land into a site of cultural vitality for all of the people of Glendale. It’s time, long overdue, to mete out some justice and equity for the people of west Glendale.

© 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 ‘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 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 132 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

According to the Maricopa County Elections Department the Stop Councilman Sherwood Committee (www.stopsherwood.com) has successfully submitted enough valid petition signatures to force a recall election of Councilmember Gary Sherwood of Glendale’s Sahuaro district. Look for the recall election to occur on or about November 3, 2015.

According to a story in the Arizona Republic by Peter Corbett (here is the link: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2015/05/12/glendale-councilman-sherwood-face-recall-election/27216077/ ) Sherwood said, “This is being funded by Gila River. This is a casino thing but they threw some other issues in there to try to make it legitimate.” Who do you think will be throwing money Sherwood’s way as he tries to beat back this recall effort? Just look at his campaign filings (here is the link: http://www.glendaleaz.com/Clerk/2014PoliticalCommitteeCampaignFinanceReports.cfm . Scroll down this page to “Friends of Gary Sherwood.” You can view all of his submitted campaign finance reports.)

Don’t be surprised to see the Tohono O’odham, Mark Becker of Becker Billboards and the Rose Law Group (Becker’s attorney of record) contributing to his campaign or making independent expenditures. Expect the Glendale Fire Union to call on their brother chapters to contribute money, time and manpower to prop Sherwood up. Remember, theoretically the local Glendale union must not be involved because of the Federal Hatch Act…wink, wink.

Sherwood misreads his constituency if he truly believes that it is simply the Gila River tribe’s attempt to get rid of him. People in his district are not very happy with him these days. He appears to them as arrogant and dismissive of not just their concerns but their positions on issues that are important to them. He has been publicly derisive of their comments at city council meetings. He continues to advocate for Becker billboards and has even tried a few billboard issue maneuvers at council meetings. Apparently his constituents’ opposition to the billboards may not be as important to him as pushing for the billboards. His motive may be payback for previous financial campaign support and anticipated support this time around.

He failed to inform his constituency of the possible sale of the Foothills Library. The perception was that he purposely dragged his feet on publicizing the issue because he supported the idea of a sale. After the library issue died he proudly announced that he was having a luncheon meeting with Midwestern University President Kathleen Goeppinger to offer Glendale’s support of other possible MU initiatives.

Then there’s the casino issue. Sherwood ran on a platform of opposition to the casino and then at the eleventh hour, flip-flopped and became its most ardent supporter. Many people, to this day, believe that Sherwood became pro-casino in return for Councilmember Chavira’s support for the Coyote deal with IceArizona. Each man was the deciding vote to create majority support for each issue.

Sherwood originally claimed that the reason he changed his position was that Councilmember Chavira brought new information to his attention but he has never said what that “new information” was. Now he says the reason he changed his position is, “he changed his mind about it once it was clear that Glendale could not stop the Tohono O’odham Nation project.”  Which is it, Mr. Sherwood? New information from Chavira or you were powerless to stop the TO? If Sherwood had adhered to his campaign promise and stayed the course with Councilmembers Martinez, Knaack and Mayor Weiers, those four would have constituted a majority keeping an anti-casino position.

Then there is Sherwood’s position on the temporary sales tax increase…excuse me…make that a permanent increase. With a proverbial wringing of hands, Sherwood supported making the temporary sales tax permanent while agreeing that it would be revisited in future council budget workshops with the intent to gradually reduce the tax.  During this council budget workshop cycle did you hear Sherwood fighting to gradually reduce the tax?

Sherwood has two options. He can as he puts it “stand by his record and intend to run in the election (2015).” That sets up an interesting scenario. He would have to defend himself this November in a recall election and then turn around and do the whole thing all over again in November of 2016 when his seat comes up for its regular, every four year council district election. Or he could resign and run for mayor against Weiers in the November election of 2016. By resigning he would instantly remove a lot of the current negativity from voters in his district. For now, the issue of his recall is relatively isolated within his district. Hmmm….

As an FYI: Mayor Weiers may face yet another challenge for his seat in 2016. Rumors are floating that even though Councilmember Jamie Aldama is a newbie he wants to run for mayor in 2016. Aldama and his supporters seem to think that the Hispanic vote can win the election for him. Sadly they fail to recognize that the Hispanic vote is concentrated in south Glendale (Ocotillo, Cactus and Yucca districts) and that historically north Glendale (Cholla, Sahuaro and Barrel districts) outvote south Glendale at a nearly 2 to 1 ratio. While Aldama feels that he may prevail in south Glendale his visibility and support in north Glendale is practically nil.

It may become a contest to see who has the greater chutzpah in vying for Mayor Weiers’ seat…Councilmember Sherwood or Councilmember Aldama. It will be interesting to see who wins this match up…Sherwood or Aldama.

© 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.

My hope is that all of the hundreds of Glendale library patrons who fought so hard to save Foothills Library will fight just as hard to demand that the West Branch Library become a reality.

With all of the recent discussion of the possible sale of the Foothills library building it’s a good time to review promises made by the city with regard to the construction of the West Branch Library.

In 1997 the city was considering reneging on its first promise to West Glendale residents by allowing land earmarked for a major regional park in the city’s General Plan document to be rezoned for homes. West Glendale residents were successful in defeating that proposal and insisted the city immediately purchase the land at the northeast corner of Bethany Home Road and 83rd for its promised regional park. The city did so and the land was acquired.

Major city facilities such as the construction of libraries and parks are placed within the city’s Capital Improvement Program or CIP. The first time we see the West Branch library appear in the city’s CIP is Fiscal Year 1998-99 when funds were allocated for Fiscal Year 2001-02 to design the library with construction slated to begin in Fiscal Year 2004. That was 17 years ago. Obviously, none of these scheduled events happened. Instead there was a steady erosion and slippage of dates.

  • From Fiscal Years 1998 to 2000 the scheduled completion of the library was 2004
  • From Fiscal Year 2002 to 2003 the scheduled completion of the library was 2005
  • From Fiscal Years 2003 to 2005 the scheduled completion of the library was 2006
  • From Fiscal Years 2005 to 2008 the scheduled completion of the library was 2009
  • From Fiscal Years 2008 to 2009 the scheduled completion of the library was 2010
  • From Fiscal Years 2009 to 2012 the scheduled completion of the library was 2020
  • From Fiscal Years 2012 to present the library has no funding allocated until after 2024

If the West Branch library had been built as promised, “by 2010 the West Branch Library will serve a population of approximately 50,000 in the western area of Glendale, and it is anticipated that more than 1,000 people per day will utilize the services of this branch” (quote from staff presentation at the September 16, 2008 city council workshop meeting). Nothing demonstrates the need for a West Branch Library today better than this quote.

The rationale for not building the west branch library can be attributed to the adoption by a majority of council mandating that there be enough new revenue in the General Fund to support the annual costs of opening and operating a new CIP facility. This criterion was not used to approve the Foothills library. It was crafted later by the former mayor and her coalition when there arose yet another discussion about approval for construction of the West branch library. In a span of 7 years, from the opening of the Foothills library in 1999 to the opening of the Foothills Recreation & Aquatic Center, north Glendale received over $20 million dollars worth of CIP projects. West Glendale received squat.

The majority of councilmembers that consistently voted in line with the former mayor for any CIP project but the west branch library were Eggleston, Frate, Martinez, Goulet and Knaack (all former councilmembers serving differing terms). In 2006 a majority of council diverted $6 million dollars of west branch library construction funding to assist in the construction funding of the Public Safety Training Facility.

Every time the west branch library was on an agenda the “gang” created a new rationale. Before the effects of the Great Recession stopped all CIP projects, they had pitted building a new courthouse against the west branch library and would have funded that first as a means of further delaying the library.

There was a time, in the early 2000s, when council realized the necessity and value in developing amenities such as a library, recreation center, baseball fields, a fishing lake and dog park in west Glendale that would attract high quality residential and commercial development but that evaporated with the advent of the former mayor whose agenda was to block construction of city amenities in west Glendale.

It’s time…17 years is a long time to wait to have the city make good on its promise…for Glendale residents to bring this issue to the forefront once again. It should be requested that as CIP funding becomes available, the West Branch Library must be considered a priority. West Glendale is “amenity poor” and it’s time that this city council redresses a wrong committed by others many years ago.

Oh, and while you are at it, demand that the city replace the O’Neil Swimming pool at Missouri Avenue and 65th Avenue. The city shut it down several years ago because the cost of repair was prohibitive. It was the only city pool west of 59th Avenue and it served some of the city’s poorest demograhic area.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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.

The Becker billboard issue is on the rise again as Mark Becker sends out letters to neighborhoods inviting residents to a neighborhood meeting on Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at 6 PM at Arrowhead Elementary School. In an effort to convince all of the innocuousness of his billboards he is planning on a “Crane Study” at the proposed site on Friday, March 13, 2015 from 3 to 6 PM…hmmm.

This might be a very good time to question the Sahuaro district councilmember, Gary Sherwood, on not only this issue, but a host of others, including his position on Foothills Library. He hasn’t had a district meeting in a long, long time so this one might prove to be very interesting. The meeting is tonight, Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 6:30 PM at Sunshine Residential Homes, 17201 N. 63rd Avenue. The announcement states that he will be answering residents’ questions.

On February 23, 2015 the Glendale Arts Commission met and approved a recommendation of “No” on the Foothills Library sale and relocation. The recommendation now goes to the city council.  The Library Advisory Board will meet tonight, February 25, 2015, at 6 PM at the Foothills Library to decide on their recommendation to the city council. The Parks and Recreation Commission will meet tomorrow evening, Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 6 PM at the Adult Center. They, too, will decide on their recommendation to city council.

Even with “No” recommendations from all three commissions, do not consider the Foothills library issue dead. You must keep the pressure on the mayor and council until council formally denies the proposal.

© 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.

For those of you who are interested in saving the Foothills Library from sale and relocation the Save the Library group created an online petition. Please go to this link and take a minute to sign online:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-the-glendale-foothills-library-maricopa

Please pass this link on to your friends, neighbors, anyone you can think of who might be willing to sign. All of your family members can sign. You don’t have to be registered to vote to sign this petition. If several thousand signatures are received it will make a tremendous impression on the Glendale City Council and its decision making.

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