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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

It has been 17 years and 242 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

This is for any “Fischer-philes” still out there. I don’t follow Glendale’s former city manager Brenda Fischer. She’s no longer relevant now that she’s gone from Glendale. Other people still do. One of them sent me the latest on Fischer Consulting.

Guess who two of her latest clients are? How about Julie Frisoni (former Glendale Assistant City Manager) and Mark Burdick (former Glendale Fire Chief)? Here is the link to Fischer’s site: http://fischerconsultingllc.com/ .

I guess Frisoni’s former staid and conservative website was not driving much business. It’s odd because she bills herself as a master communicator. So she Frisoniturned to her old buddy, Fischer, to pep it up with an orange background and an array of microphones as the major image and added a bunch of new communication services (that happen to be eerily similar to Fischer’s offerings on her website). Hmmm…from a sophisticated image to a garish one in one fell swoop.

What is even more interesting is the fact that Burdick has formed his own fire consulting business, Innovative Fire Service Solutions. Is this a precursor for providing ambulance service in Glendale in the near future? Who did he use to Burdickdesign his advertising material? Why, Brenda Fischer. Fischer seems to be rather weak in graphic design. The use of a black background with gold text is not the most readable image. A light bulb with fire atop it is rather trite.

Frisoni and Burdick comprised part of Fischer’s inner power circle during her Glendale days. There were others. So, it’s not surprising that we continue to see the ongoing relationships among all three.

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

Today, April 24, 2015 at 11 AM the Recall Councilman Gary Sherwood Committee turned in Recall of Councilmember Sherwood petitions to the Glendale City Clerk Pam Hanna. The minimum required number of signatures is 2,752. The City Clerk based upon a cursory scan acknowledged 4,055 signatures. The committee had until the middle of June to complete the task.  Note that the committee turned in its signatures with 7 weeks to spare. Kudos to the three people who spear headed this effort: Anna Lee, Chairperson of the committee; Connie Kiser and Laura Hirsch.

What happens next? The Glendale City Clerk has 10 business days (2 weeks) to validate signatures. That also allows time for the City Attorney’s Office to find some technicality to invalidate all of the petitions. They have done it before and you can count on them to try to find something again. If the petitions make it through the city gauntlet the petitions move to the County Recorder’s Elections Department for further signature validation. The Recorder’s Office has 60 days. I suspect this time the petitions will make it through both processes. Look for the city council to call for a recall election date sometime after mid-September of 2015.

The ball then moves to Sherwood’s court. He will be offered the opportunity to offer a public statement on the recall or resign. Sherwood has already stated that he will fight to the bitter end. That is his right. Will he be able to pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat? Not this time.

During the April 14, 2015 city council meeting the Insight Technology contracts were on the agenda for approval. It was the height of irony that Interim City Manager Dick Bowers was absent and at that time, still Assistant City Manager Julie Frisoni (she has since resigned) whose husband is a VP at the company, was tasked with the introduction of both Insight agenda items. Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff, as each item was presented, asked the City Clerk if Frisoni had filed a Disclosure Statement. To which the City Clerk responded that Frisoni had not. It was a strategy by Tolmachoff to get that fact on the record. Hmmm.

Earlier in the week Tohono O’odham (TO) Nation Chairman Ned Norris Jr. held a press conference in reaction to the news that the state Gaming Department will not issue a gaming license to the tribe in order to open its temporary casino in Glendale later this year. He did not serve his tribe well in TV news coverage the following day. He seemed positively rabid. Outrage oozed out of every pore. It’s a wonder there was no foaming at the mouth.  I wonder how he likes it when the tables are turned. He went back on his word at the time all of the state’s tribes were seeking voter approval of a state gaming compact. Now the state will not grant the tribe a license claiming fraud on the tribe’s part. What goes around comes around. Norris insists they will continue with the temporary casino’s construction. The TO does so at its peril. This issue is sure to end up in court with an uncertain decision looming and at some point the Keep the Promise Act of 2015 will see a Congressional vote with the promise of stopping the casino permanently. It’s a shame really. The TO is willing to bet over $200 million dollars on what many view as a losing proposition. If they lose that’s $200M that could have been used for all kinds of services for its tribal members.

**GeonGracie….I need a better email address to reply.

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

Well, well well, Assistant City Manager Julie Frisoni resigned today, March 25, 2015. It appears it will be effective April 22, 2015. Frisoni started her career in Glendale in the Communications Department, eventually rising to become Director of that department. While Ed Beasley was City Manager she was identified by many as a member of his “inner circle.” She was not charged with any culbability in the past audit of the Risk Management Trust Fund. She was appointed Assistant City Manager by former City Manager Brenda Fischer. At the time of her appointment Frisoni did not meet the minimum qualifications for the position. The only rumor floating on the street is that Frisoni may hook up with Brenda Fischer to form their own consulting/PR firm. It’s speculative to say the least but not an unreasonable speculation.

Now all that leaves is Assistant City Manager Jennifer Campbell. We all wonder if she is still AWOL at Glendale City Hall on Fridays and if she is still teaching at Glendale Community College. Pulling down two pay checks is sweet.

Today the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee voted out H.R. 308, Representative Trent Franks Keep the Promise Act of 2015 reintroduced in the House of Representatives as HR 308 on January 13, 2015. This was Representative Franks’ original bill, now renumbered as a result of its reintroduction. It would prevent the Tohono O’odham from building its casino in Glendale.

That’s enough good news for one day, don’t you think?

© 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.

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