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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

It has been 17 years and 306 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

PLEASE NOTE: Today, November 3, 2015 the voters of the Sahuaro district will decide to retain or recall current Councilmember Gary Sherwood. They have already submitted their Early Ballots. If for some reason you still have your Early Ballot you can drop off your completed ballot at any Sahuaro polling location today. Sahuaro district voters do have a choice. They can keep the same representative or opt for change by voting for Ray Malnar. Mr. Malnar is a man of honesty and character whose agenda is to serve the residents of his district in a fiscally conservative and meaningful manner. If the poll to the left of this column is any indication tonight when the votes are tallied the people of the Sahuaro district will have a new councilmember. It may be premature but congratulations to our newest councilmember, Ray Malnar.

How come the city has the capacity to use General Obligation (GO) bond funding (paid by sales tax dollars that flow into the city’s General Fund) to cover $22.3 million dollars to buy 99 acres from the Pendergast family to be used, in part, to satisfy the Bidwill’s and Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority’s requirement for parking for football games yet has no money to construct a West Branch Library? According to Erik Strunk, Director of Parks, Recreation and Library Services, “There are currently no general fund monies available for enhanced library services in this area. Again, the only money we know of that’s available right now is the $2.5 million in development impacts fee money.”

Isn’t it amazing? The city has the opportunity to buy land and voila! There’s money to pay off those GO bonds but to build a library, there’s no money…that is a lot of b_ll s__t. Remember in 2006 a majority of city council stole $6 million earmarked for construction of the West Branch Library and diverted it to construction of the Public Safety Training Facility.

This is but one example of the city playing games with money slated for construction of the West Branch library.

  • Fact:  Glendale voters approved $9.7 million in March of 1987. There is still $1.7 million in library capacity from that approval.
  • Fact: Glendale voters approved $411 million in November of 1999. There is still $7.47 million in library capacity from that approval.
  • Fact: Glendale voters approved $270 million in May of 2007. There is still $12.37 million in library capacity from that approval.
  • Fact: Right now, this very minute, there is over $20 million in bond capacity to build a West Branch Library.

At the September 16, 2008 city council workshop meeting the scheduled completion of the library was 2009 and staff said, “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.”

Residents of west Glendale need to thank Mayor Weiers for asking staff to “refocus” on the promises made regarding what is now called Heroes Park at the northeast corner of Bethany Home Road and 83rd Avenue. We residents appreciate his concern but after waiting 17 years to see this park developed the only action that will suffice is to see dollars being spent.

So they throw us a bone and think that will keep us quiet. Their sop is to install a prefab building, a glorified trailer of about 7,500 square feet in Heroes Park. It will be smaller than Velma Teague Library and smaller than Foothills Library. Gee, aren’t we lucky? Now we will be required to be appropriately grateful.

In the 1975 film classic Network the news anchor Howard Beale stridently bellowed, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

17 years is a long time to wait for this city make good on its promises. The residents of west Glendale are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. If the mayor and certain councilmembers want our votes they are going to have to deliver.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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Weiers

Mayor Weiers

On Wednesday, February 28, 2013, several Glendale elected officials made comments worthy of note. Mayor Jerry Weiers delivered his first State of City address at the Chamber of Commerce Annual Business Appreciation Dinner. His remarks were more notable not for what he said but for what he did not say.

He recognized the need for West Valley cities to cooperate with one another on regional issues and extended the proverbial “olive branch” to them. Since he was speaking before many business interests his announcement of a Mayor’s Business Advisory Council hit the right note with the group. He also indicated his desire to bring more major events to downtown Glendale.

The two most pressing issues facing this council – the budget and the Coyotes- were absent. His lack of commentary on the council’s upcoming budget setting for the next fiscal year was an elephant in the room ignored. I’m sure he has his own agenda regarding the city’s budget and his failure to speak publicly to the issue should be of concern.

Sherwood

Councilman Sherwood

The second veil of silence was placed over the Coyotes issue. On the same afternoon, hours before the Mayor’s speech, Councilmember Gary Sherwood was interviewed off-air by the principals of the Roc and Manuch radio show. He told them that they should expect the mayor to make a “positive announcement” about the Coyotes. Didn’t happen. Was Sherwood sandbagged by the mayor? Or did he assume the “positive announcement” was related to the Coyotes? Either way, it was the first step in the destruction of Sherwood’s credibility.

Has Beacon Sports been hired to negotiate with potential buyers of the Coyotes? We don’t know because the mayor was silent. Are there “mystery buyers” as the mayor has claimed? We don’t know because the mayor was silent. Does the mayor still want to issue 4 separate management contracts for the arena? We don’t know because the mayor was silent. Does the mayor want to keep the Coyotes in town? We don’t know because the mayor was silent. Is time of the essence to settle the Coyotes issue? We don’t know because the mayor was silent.

Knaack

Vice Mayor Knaack

Last, but certainly not least, was Vice Mayor Knaack’s reaction to the resignation of City Attorney Craig Tindall. Paul Giblin, in an Arizona Republic article, reported that Knaack said she had no warning of the impending action and was surprised. She felt Tindall was doing a good job and she was blind–sided by the mayor’s action. Giblin goes on to confirm what I had surmised – that this council is split right down the middle, 3 to 3. Look for polite warfare between Knaack-Sherwood-Martinez vs. Alvarez-Hugh-Chavira with Weiers playing both sides against one another to his delighted advantage.

Weiers Auction

Courtesy@pjbreenphoto

By the way, the mayor at the end of the evening auctioned off Coyotes items. Wonder what they sold for? Let’s hope this does not portend the future of the team in Glendale!

For political junkies such as myself the mayor’s speech sent signals reverberating throughout Glendale. My advice is hang on. It looks like it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

 

 

 

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Cornfields rippling

Posted by Joyce Clark on February 19, 2013
Posted in City of Glendale  | Tagged With: , , , , | 5 Comments

Rumors are like ripples in a cornfield. They are ephemeral, but they do indicate which way the wind is blowing. This little gem of thought comes from the book Aliens Adored by Susan J. Palmer.
In the absence of fact rumors grow and develop a life of their own. It must be Newton’s or somebody’s law that when a vacuum is created it will quickly fill with rumor and speculation.

Skeete

Horatio Skeete

The newest…well as of this morning…rumor has it that Interim City Manager Skeete may be using Beacon Sports Capital, www.beaconsportscapital.com, as the City’s negotiator with any and all groups/individuals who wish to buy the Coyotes and secure the arena management contract.

Sherwood

Gary Sherwood

It was clear in the February 5 City Council workshop that Councilmember Gary Sherwood called for a negotiator but there was certainly no audible support offered by the other Councilmembers and there was absolutely no direction given by a majority of Council. If it turns out to be true, the use of Beacon Sports may have been an independent action by Interim City Manager Skeete, as there was a plea by CM Norma Alvarez to Mayor Weiers to relinquish his information about the many potential buyers with which he claimed personal contact.

Or perhaps direction may have been given in the less than transparent executive session following that workshop. Rather oddly, objection to executive session decision making has been a recurring theme championed of CM Norma Alvarez and the notion of transparency was a campaign platform for newly elected CMs Ian Hugh, Sammy Chavira and Gary Sherwood. Go figure.

If this latest speculation has indeed occurred where is the public announcement coupled with  revelation about the cost to the City for this new consultancy contract? As a former CM, I seem to remember the need for a vote to hire a consultant unless public direction at workshop is given. I also seem to remember Councilwoman Alvarez’ two years of railing about the City’s use of consultants. Where is her outrage now or was she missing from Council yet again?

Why Beacon Sports? A long standing rumor is that they were involved in the BeaconMoyes bankruptcy. If that is true then what was their role during the bankruptcy? The sports industry is a tightly knit community and there is more than one source out there suggesting that Jerry Reinsdorf’s son Michael, International Facilities Group (IFG) Managing Director, www.ifgroup.cc, may have suggested the use of Beacon Sports to either Mayor Weiers, Interim City Manager Skeete or City Attorney Tindall.

IFGIFG was hired by the City to manage the construction of Jobing.com arena. Beacon Sports was hired by the City to prepare a report issued on February, 2011 that provided a rationale for the Hulsizer deal and the City’s purchase of parking rights for $100M. It almost sounds incestuous, doesn’t it? Does Michael Reinsdorf’s suggestion to use Beacon Sports, which might have been acted upon, give Jerry Reinsdorf and John Kaites an inside track on purchasing the Coyotes?

If any of the above speculation turns out to be true, I ask you.. is this any way to run a circus…er…City?
Check back later today for more rumor mongering after I winnow through the sudden spate of opinions and secret whisperings.

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