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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

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

Sometimes Glendale city council meetings can only be described as mind boggling and l-o-n-g. The June 23, 2015 meeting was nearly 5 hours in length. Here is the link: http://glendale-az.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=2305 .

Public comment has once again has been placed at the front of the meeting. There were many citizen speakers that night. To a man/woman all spoke in support of the four city councilmembers who may face recall: Councilmembers Aldama, Hugh, Tolmachoff and Turner. Some of the speakers were notable and recounted below. 

It’s important to note there are two, distinctly separate recall efforts occurring in Glendale. One is the recall election of Councilmember Gary Sherwood with that election already scheduled for November 3, 2015 in the Sahuaro district only. The reasons for his recall are unrelated to the recent vote to cancel the Coyotes contract and are best summed up by the Recall Councilman Gary Sherwood Committee at this link: http://www.stopsherwood.com/index.html .

The most recent media reports of recalls center around the councilmembers who voted to cancel the arena lease management agreement with IceArizona, owners of the Coyotes. It’s a totally different situation and the two recall actions should not be confused or lumped together. Very recent recall packets have been taken out on 2 of the councilmembers thus far, Councilmember Tolmachoff and Councilmember Turner. The petition packets have not been turned into the city as the group has just begun its effort and have until October 7, 2015 to turn in recall petition signatures. Glendale First is the sponsoring organization cited on these two political committee filings. Larry Feiner, a Glendale resident of the Cholla district, is one of Glendale First’s spokespersons and he is also involved in Desert Hockey Development with Bea Wyatt and George Fallar. Mr. Feiner and Ms. Wyatt seem to be the two main spokespersons for this latest series of recalls. Even though the sponsoring organization is Glendale First, Glendale residents and hockey fans residing within specific districts filed the organizational political committee paperwork. In this case, Bill and Jennifer Eikost, residents of the Glendale Cholla district, filed as a political committee and pulled the recall packet on Tolmachoff. Ben Shroyer and Paul Miller, residents of the Sahuaro district, did the same on Turner. Make no mistake. These folks are integral members of an avid Coyote fan base and have been involved with Glendale First since its inception.

Glendale First, led by Bea Wyatt and George Fallar of Cave Creek, is angry because in a majority vote of 5 to 2 this council voted to cancel the annual $15M lease management contract with the Coyotes. It raises the possibility of the team’s possible relocation elsewhere after all litigation is resolved. Obviously Glendale First dare not use as its sole reason for recall its anger with this council vote when a recent poll showed that over 50% of Glendale’s residents support the council’s action. So they have manufactured another reason. Their smoke screen reason is that council did not reduce the amount of money going into the city’s unappropriated fund balance (rainy day fund). They contend the money should be used for public safety immediately.

By public safety let’s call it what it is…the fire union. Fire wants more money and lots of it. They point to slow emergency response times but fail to mention two very important facts: 1. The Glendale Fire Department is accredited and meets that accreditation agency’s standards for response times, and 2. Call volume has increased due to the Valley’s Automatic Aid system. Quite simply Glendale fire responds to more calls in neighboring cities such as Peoria and Phoenix than the number of times those cities respond to calls in Glendale. Automatic Aid is placing a strain on the Glendale Fire Department and is partially responsible for the unavailability of Glendale fire units to respond to its own residents in a timely manner.

One of the citizen speakers of note was Gary Hirsch, a Glendale resident and former candidate for city council. With regard to the possible 4 councilmember recall he referred to a special interest group, Glendale First, as the sponsoring organization of the effort but the majority of his remarks were directed to the issue of the first original recall effort against Councilmember

Gary Hirsch Glendale resident

Gary Hirsch
Glendale resident

Gary Sherwood. He said, “There are times that the official conduct of the councilmembers has proven to be so egregious that recall is not only appropriate but is necessary to restore honest representation. As a result the recall Gary Sherwood election has been approved and scheduled to take place on November 3rd, 2015.” He ended with this remark, “Always watch your wallet around Councilmember Sherwood.”Another speaker of note during the public comment period was Justin Harris. His remarks are below verbatim and were directed at the most recent issue of a second set of recalls of 2 (or 4) councilmembers sponsored by Glendale First:

“My name is Justin Harris. I am president of the Glendale Law Enforcement Association and co-chair of the Glendale Police Officer Coalition. I’m here tonight speaking on behalf of my members as well as Julie Pendergast. She could not be here tonight. She had personal matters to attend to. (Note: Julie Pendergast is president of the Glendale chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police and co-chair of the Glendale Police Officer Coalition).

“I find myself in an awkward position. Typically, we don’t come out speaking to the council regarding some of the events that have taken place. But I felt compelled to after some recent media events and some misinformation and misrepresentation of the facts that members of

Glendale First have shared with the public both in the paper and in the media. Recently I learned of the recall petitions that were pulled against Bart Turner. That was filed by Lawrence Feiner. The recall petition against Lauren Tolmachoff was pulled by Bill Eikost and Jennifer Eikost. I’m assuming they are husband and wife.

“What concerned me the most was part of the petition and the way it was worded. If they’ve got issues with what some of the councilmembers did regarding the Coyotes that’s their deal. But what I don’t appreciate is Glendale First coming in, misrepresenting facts saying that the mayor and certain councilmembers do not support public safety. In their filing they say that

Justin Harris President Glendale Law Enforcement Association

Justin Harris
President
Glendale Law Enforcement Association

you guys have diverted money earmarked for public safety and you placed that into a rainy day fund which has increased emergency response times. I’m not sure where they got their information but they sure didn’t come talk to me or my co-chair Julie Pendergast. Interesting enough, both Lawrence and Jennifer are listed as guests with Glendale First on a roster that attended a hockey game April 26th, 2013, at the Glendale arena in the city suite and the host of that event was Gary Sherwood – Councilmember Sherwood. (Please note: I, too, was in that suite on that date).

“Bea Wyatt, also with Glendale First, I listened to a radio talk show interview that she did on Friday, June 19th. She was talking about pulling recall petitions possibly on you, mayor and the other four councilmembers because they were not supportive of public safety. But then her comments bled into the Coyotes team. I don’t know why she was on sports radio talking about Councilmembers Turner and Tolmachoff not supporting public safety. I couldn’t tie the two together. Interesting enough the five councilmembers that voted to not renew the contract are the same councilmembers that this Glendale First is trying to attack and misrepresent facts about not supporting public safety.

“I’m here to tell the public today as being the person who represents the line level men and women who wear the badge. Mayor Weiers, Vice Mayor Hugh, Councilmember Tolmachoff, Councilmember Aldama, Councilmember Turner, you do support public safety. You made the tough decisions. There was a period of time prior to Proposition 457 when our members were giving concessions. We were understaffed to the tune of ten million dollars – understaffed, overworked. Our men and women went out there and did the job we took an oath to do. Meanwhile the city was forking over twenty five million dollars a year to a hockey team. Doesn’t make sense to me.

“So at this time I wanted to thank you Mayor, Vice Mayor Hugh, Councilmember Tolmachoff, Councilmember Aldama, Councilmember Turner for your unwavering support in making a very tough decision, finding the courage it takes to insure that you’re doing the right thing, not only for your constituents but also for your police department, the men and women who put our lives on the line every day to protect the public. Thank you for protecting us. I also wanted to thank each of you for upholding the state law and at least having the courage to have that law looked into to find out if there was in fact a conflict of interest at the time that the deal was done. It takes a lot of courage. You don’t see that too often. So, again, thank you.

“I’ve been sitting back like a lion in the tall grass, just waiting, watching and analyzing as these events have unfolded. But now I have come out to protect my members and to protect the city from a special interest groups that doesn’t care about public safety and they want to use public safety as a reason why they’re pulling this recall – or part of the reason they’re pulling this recall.

“I want each of you to be aware and the public to not support the recall against Councilmember Tolmachoff and Councilmember Turner because it’s misrepresentation of the facts. It’s half truths and they are flat out lies. We know that you are protecting public safety. We appreciate your service to the community and the commitment to your police department. Thank you.”

There were 86 items on that night’s agenda but the one that caused extraordinary public participation was Item # 83 Rezoning (ZON) application Zon 15-03 (ordinance): Palm Canyon Business Park Planned Area Development – 17750 N. 83rd Avenue – the Becker Billboard issue – again. A presentation was made by Mark Becker with the same arguments as when he was previously denied by this council. He added a few paid experts to speak about how innocuous billboards are.

There was one speaker, Glendale resident Connie Keiser, who nicely summed up the feelings of all of the citizenry that came out to speak against the billboards. She said, “Hello. I am Connie Keiser. I live in Glendale. I live in the Sahuaro district and I am impacted by these billboards. First off, I live in Hidden Manor and we were there long before Glendale because you annexed us. We are the subdivision directly north of Arrowhead Towne Center. We are the closest residential subdivision to those billboards.

“Digital billboards are the junk mail of the freeways. No one wants to be looking at a huge TV on a stick that distracts drivers and throws huge amounts of light into neighboring homes and

Connie Keiser Glendale resident

Connie Keiser
Glendale resident

the night sky. That’s the reason Scottsdale and Paradise Valley will not allow billboards. They consider them to be junk.

“Why does Mark Becker keep beating this dead horse? I am sorry that people made a bad, bad investment in that property. When they bought that land they had the mistaken belief that they could fly in under the radar and could get billboards approved before we knew what hit us. Not in our neighborhoods. You can’t, Mr. Becker. You woke several sleeping giants and not only in Glendale but in Peoria. You did not expect us to come together as a community like we have.

Mr. Becker had been told ‘no’ over and over again but he hasn’t caught on yet. Now I have, if you’ll remember in his little presentation that he used, ‘Scenic America’ is one example. But he forgot to tell you about the ‘drop down’ on billboards which I happened to point out today. And I’m just going to quote several little things they say (Scenic America) about billboards.

“‘Billboards endanger health and safety. While the industry would like you to think billboards are harmless, their negative effects on health and safety have been well documented. Billboards hamper economic growth. Billboards make a few people a lot of money. Unfortunately, however, they do serious economic harm to communities. Nature of the billboard industry – the billboard industry likes to proclaim its small, local nature.’ We heard Mr. Becker talk about how he’s just a small, local company. ‘When a state or local government considers enacting tougher billboard controls industry lawyers and lobbyists appear at hearings and speak long and loudly about how the government is threatening another small business with extinction.’ The reality, however, is quite different.

“We don’t need these billboards. I’ve been here, I think I told Planning and Zoning I got notified by Social Security I have a life expectancy of 20 years and I will keep coming back for those 20 years to fight this horrible, horrible idea. Please tell him ‘no’ unanimously just like Planning and Zoning has done. Thank you.”

After Becker’s presentation and the public hearing it was council’s turn and a theater of the absurd ensued. Mayor Weiers asked City Attorney Bailey and it was confirmed the order of proceeding would be amendments to the motion would be considered and voted upon first. That action would be followed by a consideration and a vote upon the applicant’s zoning request with any new amendments that council would have just approved.

Well, it didn’t go that way at all. Councilmember Chavira asked to make his motion first. Instead of offering the amendments only and exclusively, Sammy’s motion included approval of the applicant’s zoning request along with his self crafted 4 amendments. Aldama seconded the motion with amendments. The instruction for action that had just been outlined so carefully went completely out the window. It appears that Sammy is not always the brightest bulb in the pack.

Mayor Weiers asked if there were copies of the newly offered Chavira amendments available. City staff did not have any copies but immediately Mark Becker popped up and passed out copies of the Chavira amendments to staff for distribution to council. Wait, you ask, why does Mark Becker have copies of the Chavira amendments but city staff and the rest of council do not? Immediately the question comes to mind – who really wrote those amendments?

Councilmember Tolmachoff must have had the same thought for she asked who prepared the amendments – Mark Becker or Councilmember Chavira? Councilmember Chavira responded by saying it was his motion and he came up with the amendments that very same day. Why did he make sure Mark Becker got copies yet didn’t distribute them to staff and city council for their advance consideration prior to the meeting that evening? It makes no sense.

All of the councilmembers with the exception of Councilmember Sherwood and Vice Mayor Hugh commented prior to their votes. The most disturbing commentary to the anti-billboard people in attendance were the remarks made by Councilmember Turner. It seemed as if he was about to vote in favor of the billboard application and a majority of the audience was visibly shaken for it appeared as if he would become the fourth and majority vote granting the Becker billboard application. He said that the applicant’s request was similar to the billboards that had been approved for the Westgate area and since the Loop 101/Bell Road corridor was similar in commercial nature to the Westgate area it should be considered similarly in that context.

Mayor Weiers asked the city attorney again if Chavira’s motion including the amendments was valid. Mr. Bailey indicated it was a valid motion and recited for clarification what the motion included. Mayor Weiers proceeded with a roll call vote typically done in alphabetical order of councilmember surnames. Councilmember Aldama and Councilmember Chavira voted in favor of the billboard application. Councilmember Sherwood passed. Never, ever in my 16 years as a councilmember had any councilmember ever passed on a vote. Why did Sherwood do it? Why on this night? Think about it. Two councilmembers had voted in favor. Sherwood knew he could vote in favor as well but he needed to know what Councilmember Turner’s vote was before he voted for or against. If Turner voted in favor Sherwood would be the fourth and majority vote for passage of the billboard application. So he passed, waiting to hear what Turner’s vote would be. Councilmember Tolmachoff and Vice Mayor Hugh voted against the billboard application.

The vote was 2-2 and it was Turner’s turn. There was a moment of hesitation and then he voted against the billboard application. Weiers passed and went back to Sherwood for his vote. Sherwood voted against the billboard application and why not? He knew the motion was defeated and by flip flopping once again and voting against the billboards it might provide him some cover for his recall election. The last vote was cast by Mayor Weiers against the billboard application with the result being a 5-2 vote with only Aldama and Chavira supporting the request. Do you suppose they were blindsided by their buddy Sherwood? Do you think they will trust his word from now on?

City council vacates the month of July and will return to regular order in August. Many schedule vacations during July but they may find themselves called back to town to participate in depositions regarding the Coyote litigation. Glendale residents need a break from the ongoing political shenanigans too.

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

For the first time ever at the May 26, 2015 city council meeting the council will vote to set a recall election date of November 3, 2015. Councilmember Sherwood has got to be desperate. From the number of Sahuaro district registered voters willing and eager to sign a petition calling for his recall is a pretty clear indicator that he cannot win.

Instead of realizing his ambition to become Glendale’s next mayor he faces the humiliating prospect of a recall against him. Desperate people do desperate things. I am convinced that he, and most likely his strongest supporter, the Glendale Fire Union, will attempt some last ditch, legal maneuver to delay the election.  I wouldn’t put it past them. A legal effort to delay the election may cause some Sahuaro district voters to not participate if they know the regular election for that seat occurs in November of 2016. Sherwood hints of this prospect,“if there is this supposed ground swell of dissatisfaction with me, I’m up for reelection next nine months later in August ’16.”

Here is the link to the May 19, 2015 edition of the Glendale Star:  http://www.glendalestar.com/news/article_b6d4fd24-fe45-11e4-86a1-6f00d1c2d6ea.html

In an article written by Darrel Jackson entitled Sherwood faces recall, Sherwood states, “I’m very proud of my record and I have extended an inordinate amount of energy hoping to cover for the lack of leadership that has existed with my fellow policy makers these nearly past two and a half past years.” If I were the mayor or his fellow councilmembers I would be quite angry with Sherwood’s trashing of their performance. This is one seemingly arrogant fellow believing that he is Superman saving Glendale from 6 Jesters.

Sherwood in the Jackson article goes on to say , “he helped negotiate an agreement with the tribe (Tohono O’odham) worth more than $26 million for Glendale over 20 years.” He shouldn’t be quite so proud of that fact. That very same land had it not become a reservation and had been privately developed as offices, would have generated an estimated $4 to $5 million a year in various taxes. Since when is a little over a million dollars a year better than 4 or 5 million dollars a year?

Sherwood’s commentary in the Jackson article demonstrates that when Sherwood is backed into a corner, it seems he can be quite vicious as he blames the current council for the resignation of former City Manager Brenda Fischer (his buddy) and Assistant City Manager Julie Frisoni (another buddy). The current rumor is that Sherwood has hired Julie Frisoni’s new consulting firm as his campaign consultant. That shouldn’t surprise anyone as it appears that Sherwood met often with Frisoni on city business that met his agenda. We can add Frisoni to the list of supporters that appear to include the Glendale Fire Union, Mark Becker of Becker Billboards and Jason Rose of the Rose Law Group.

Look for Sherwood and his supporters to file something to delay the election before the council May 26th meeting and vote. How creative can they be? I expect we’ll find out shortly.

© 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.

I received the email below from a blog reader today. It is an email sent by a Glendale resident to the City Clerk, her assistant; Vice Mayor Knaack and Mayor Weiers. I have withheld the complainant’s name and address.

From: LSFlatau@q.com” <lsflatau@q.com> 

To: “Darcie McCracken”“<DMcCracken@GLENDALEAZ.com>, “Pam Hanna” <PHanna@GLENDALEAZ.com> Cc: “Yvonne Knaack” <YKnaack@GLENDALEAZ.com>, “Cindy Nossek” <CNossek@GLENDALEAZ.com>, mayorweiers@glendaleaz.com                    Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:57:24 AM                                                                                                                                     Subject: Glendale Fire Department Electioneering??

Good Morning Ms. Hanna/Ms. McCracken,  Last night, at approximately 5:30PM, I was approached by a young man in my driveway at 6107 W. Desert Cove Avenue.  He very specifically indicated that he was with the Glendale Fire Department, and was handing out election material for Bart Turner, who as you know is running for City Council in the Barrel District.  Upon further questioning he noted that he was a volunteer fireman and didn’t live in this district, and consequently his actions were permissible.   I realize that without the name of the individual that you cannot pursue him personally, but by mentioning the Glendale Fire Department specifically he has crossed an ethical and possibly legal ground.  I am quite certain that it is inappropriate to specifically identify the Glendale Fire Department as the agency campaigning for an individual running for City Council.  Attempting to influence an election by utilizing the power and prestige of the Fire Department just can’t be allowed.  I respectfully request that you immediately notify the City Manager and Fire Chief of this individual’s actions so that all City employees can be advised as to what is or isn’t appropriate during this election season.  Your prompt attention and reply to this matter is greatly appreciated.     

Respectfully, Larry S. Flatau  6107 W. Desert Cove Ave.

Glendale, AZ  

Will anything happen as a result of this citizen’s complaint to the city? Probably not…it’s the city, you know. More properly this complaint should be directed to the State and County Attorney General’s Offices and to the AZ Secretary of State and the Maricopa County Elections Department. If any reader witnesses what is believed to be a campaign violation those above are where any complaint should rightfully go…with a Cc to the City Manager of Glendale.

It is clear that a volunteer with the Glendale Fire Department was going door-to-door on October 20, 2014 handing out campaign literature for Barrel district candidate Bart Turner. He represented himself as being with the Glendale Fire Department. There may be a grey area in this scenario. He said he was a volunteer and not a paid employee. Does that make a difference? Maybe…maybe not.

This action leads to more questions. Was or is he the only fire department “volunteer” going door-to-door distributing campaign material for Turner? If there are others, are they all “volunteers” or are some paid fire employees “volunteering” their time? Did the individual in question have permission from someone within the fire department to use the department’s name?

What is even more interesting is the Glendale Fire Union’s full court press in support of candidate Turner. For many years John Holland was President of the Glendale Fire Union. It was common knowledge that he often personally managed the campaigns of candidates supported by the Fire Union. It is but one example of the extreme influence the Glendale fire union has historically had in Glendale elections. He once told me the union did regular polling of Glendale candidates. No doubt the union still performs that activity. As a result of recent fire union polling they may have discovered that their candidate Bart Turner is in trouble. If that were to be true, that would explain their redoubled, last minute effort on Turner’s behalf. The recent incidents of the use of the nonprofit Hope for Hunger truck to carry and place campaign signs for Turner; Glendale Historical Society (another nonprofit organization) members handing out Turner literature at Sahuaro Ranch (a city owned park); and now a self-identified Glendale Fire Department volunteer going door-to-door for Turner signal that fire is worried that their candidate may not win the Barrel seat.

All of these allegations place a cloud over Turner’s candidacy and should give every Barrel district voter pause. Barrel voters should be asking, why is fire working so hard to get Turner elected? Does their polling show Randy Miller in the lead? Fire’s actions should cause every Barrel district voter to choose Randy Miller as the new Barrel councilmember. Miller has the intellect, the willingness to research issue and the independence to make decisions that are in the best interests not only of Barrel district residents but all of Glendale.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

I had just finished writing this blog when I received 2 robo calls. The first one was from the Arizona Free Enterprise Club announcing it was seeking petition signatures to put the city council’s affirmative decision to eliminate the sunset provision of the temporary sales tax increase on the ballot. In the call they announced that they would be at the Foothills Recreation Center and the Glendale Main Library this weekend from 9 AM to 5 PM both days gathering signatures to get it on the ballot. I wish them success. I will make a special point of going to the Main Library this weekend to sign their petition.

The second robo call was several hours later and it was from the Glendale Fire Union urging people not to sign the petition and promising dire consequences if the sales tax increase is sunset in 2017. Everyone acknowledges that Glendale’s debt burden is unsustainable. Perhaps it would be more productive if the Fire Union got behind an effort to urge reduction of the city’s debt by selling some of its assets. It would make the entire sales tax sunset issue a moot point. 

The battle lines are drawn. Voters will be fed misinformation and exaggeration from both sides. They will have to wade through the claims and counter claims made until their eyes are crossed. Will voters decide to send a strong message of austerity to the city council or will they decide Glendale cannot continue to exist without a permanent sales tax increase? It looks like the voters of Glendale will be given the opportunity to ultimately decide the issue. Which side will be more successful in activating their voter base? It’s fair to say that the Sales Tax Sunset Elimination War is officially declared. Now…on to the rest of this blog.

The June 24, 2016 city council meeting had two major items not yet reviewed in my blog. One was the passage of Ordinance 2897 removing the sunset provision from the sales tax increase. The other was Ordinance 2899 eliminating city permitted events from the requirements of the city’s noise ordinance.

The elimination of noise provisions for city permitted events is a city-wide ordinance. If there is a city permitted event in Sahuaro Ranch Park, it applies. If there is a city permitted event at Arrowhead Mall, it applies. It does not affect just the residents adjacent to Westgate. It was approved unanimously by city council. Councilmember Chavira, representing west Glendale and the area of Westgate, had no qualms about throwing his residents under the Glendale bus. Perhaps it is time for the voters of his district to question his representation of them, their concerns and their interests.

Sam Allen, Code Compliance Director, also neatly side-stepped a question about the number of previous noise complaints in the Westgate area by saying he did not have that figure as noise complaints are handled by the police department. There were allusions by staff that neighborhoods would remain protected but no specifics as to how that would be accomplished.  Another question asked was how many events declined to locate in Glendale as a result of the city’s noise ordinance? That, too, was deftly ignored.

Ken Sturgis, a citizen commentator, said that he lived .8 of a mile away from Westgate and often heard Westgate event noise within his home. His neighbors heard it as well but felt that the city would do nothing about it. I live a mile away from Westgate and heard noise but not at the same level of intrusion that neighbors living closer to Westgate would have heard. So, in the name of flexibility and competiveness, all neighborhoods throughout Glendale have lost all protection from city permitted event noise. They will experience sound and fury…signifying nothing.

The other ordinance, passed on a 4 to 3 vote (with our usual 4, Knaack, Martinez, Sherwood and Chavira in the affirmative), was the elimination of the sunset provision of the sales tax increase. I was the councilmember who originally insisted it be a provision of the sales tax increase. I did not offer that stipulation on a whim. It was the only way I could support the increase. I trusted and relied upon my fellow councilmembers to keep their word. Little did I know that their acceptance of the sunset provision was done with fingers crossed behind their backs.

Barrel district council candidate Randy Miller spoke to the issue and said the two options, making the sales tax increase permanent or utilizing draconian cuts, were not the only options available. Mayor Weiers agreed and that was the basis of his “no” vote. Mr. Miller said there is always an Option 3 and crafting it should be the goal.

At the time of the passage of sales tax increase with the sunset provision senior staff offered a plan to gradually absorb the $25 million in the temporary sales tax increase by making incremental cuts of $5 million a year over a 5 year period. The first signal that council would not have the fortitude to make the necessary cuts over 5 years was when they could not even accept privatization of custodial maintenance of city buildings. That decision sent a message, loud and clear, to senior staff that making the necessary spending cuts over 5 years was a council non-starter.

I marvel at the city’s propensity and adroitness in propagandizing the issue.  Knowing that the Arizona Free Enterprise Club (AFEC) is currently circulating a petition to get the council’s vote for elimination of the sunset provision on the ballot, senior staff slipped in a new concept.  The sales tax increase will be reviewed during the budget process each year. Be careful what you wish for. It would be ironic indeed if, at the next budget discussions in the spring of 2015, council decided to raise the sales tax increase. After all, Councilmember Sherwood publicly stated that he believed it would be necessary.

The offer of sales tax increase review every year was strategically offered to mitigate the anger of Glendale voters should the AFEC be successful in getting the question on this fall’s ballot. The city will be holding out the hope that the increase has a chance of being reduced or going away in the future. Maybe after we’re all dead.

The city assertion flies in the face of the fact that the bond rating agencies are taking a close look and relying upon the elimination of the sunset provision to satisfy them. The bond rating agencies will again be very concerned about Glendale’s financial stability when they realize that now the sales tax increase stands an annual possibility of reduction or elimination. By adding this provision of annual review the stability that the bond rating agencies rely upon has been removed.

Another mitigation strategy that the city is already employing is on its website under Frequently Asked Questions about the elimination of the sunset provision. Here is the link:http://www.glendaleaz.com/documents/FAQEliminationofSunsetforTempTax062514.pdf .

The city’s message is that dire consequences will occur should the tax sunset in 2017. They used the same strategy years ago when a group of us nearly got the elimination of food sales tax on the ballot. The city prepared a slick pamphlet asking Glendale citizens to choose what cuts they would be willing to make. All choices were dire and it scared the voters. It worked that time and sadly, it may work this time.

If the Arizona Free Enterprise Club is successful in acquiring the requisite number of signatures to get the question on the fall ballot, don’t buy into scare tactics this time. It’s time for Glendale voters to send a direct message to council and senior management staff. That message is, live within your means. Don’t spend more than the city receives in revenue. If 22% of the budget is devoted to the debt burden, tell them it is their job to reduce the debt.

Which brings up the question, can Camelback Ranch, the Media Center, the Parking Garages, the Convention Center, the Civic Center or Jobing.com arena be sold? I’m not an attorney but I would say “yes.” Many years ago as a small business owner, my landlord sold the building in which I was a tenant. The new landlord and I could not come to mutually agreed terms. When my lease expired I did not renew. I left that location.

Glendale owns these buildings and has the right as landlord to sell them. Tenants in any of these sites would then have to negotiate new lease terms with the new landlord. Glendale may lose some money by selling at present market value but it would remove the debt and/or the O&M costs associated with the asset. Glendale must get its debt burden under control. Right now it is over 22%. It should be under 10%. If Glendale cannot afford these assets, selling them seems to be a prudent course of action.

There are those who will immediately say, we can’t do that. Instead, council direction should be given to the city attorney to make it happen. The city simply cannot continue down this unsustainable debt burden path forever.

There are those who will say, what’re you… nuts? The city can’t do that! It reminds me of something Councilmember Hugh said at this council meeting. He said, paraphrased, that the current council is fractured because its members do not share the same strategy for curing Glendale’s financial situation. Each side believes it has the better path and the right path to solve Glendale’s fiscal crisis.

I have no doubt that the councilmembers love this city. They demonstrate it daily by their service. Unfortunately, a majority believe the only solution is to tax the city out of its financial crisis. The minority believes that there are other choices, painful, yes… but other choices.

It has been my honor and a great privilege to have served as a Glendale councilmember for 16 years. I have lived in Glendale for nearly 50 years. I love this city. You love this city. It is our home. Placing a greater and greater tax burden on those who live in this home, is not prudent…and it sure isn’t the best way to grow Glendale.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

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The Glendale Star in an effort to perpetuate the current feud between the Glendale Fire Union and Freightliner, Inc. recently ran two opinion pieces, one by Joe Hester, President of the Glendale Fire Union, and one by Tim Noeding, General Sales Manager of Freightliner of Arizona. Here is the link to the Hester op ed: http://www.glendalestar.com/opinion/editorials/article_80078e26-9d73-11e3-8f2f-001a4bcf887a.html . Here is the link to the Noeding op ed: http://www.glendalestar.com/opinion/editorials/article_ea857dd8-9a46-11e3-a4c4-0019bb2963f4.html .

Again, it is apparent that the situation is a “he said vs. he said.” The general public does not understand or appreciate the technical nuances both gentlemen have used without any published facts. Neither side has offered anything new that hasn’t already been said.

So what do we need to know to ascertain the truth? At this point the fire department (or perhaps Joe Hester??) should provide the original, time stamped or dated, original bid specifications provided to the vendors. It should also provide the ratings sheets/evaluations of each bid publicly. If they are unwilling or unable to do so publicly speculation will continue to grow over was there ever was a standard set of specifications.

Apparently no formal RFP was ever issued. That flies in the face of city policy. Chief Burdick and Joe Hester claim that they dusted off old bid specifications, unused because of a lack of funding. When the older attempt to buy a truck did not occur, that was a final action. It died. When grant funding became available a new bid process should have been initiated. That did not happen. Why? Until the truth is known this incident will fester like a wound that is infected.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

 

This is a follow up to my recent blog of February 5, 2014, “Here come da Chief.” New information has become available, most specifically, a letter from Freightliner distributed to all councilmembers which is now a public record. It raises some very interesting questions.

Apparently the fire union chose E-One as the successful bidder. The process was handled internally by the fire department, not the city and not its Procurement Division. Perhaps Procurement would have been more appropriate to handle this transaction.  You will remember that questions were raised by Freightliner the night of the council meeting during the Public Comment when this item was on the agenda for council approval. It was pulled by the City Manager and it looks like the process will be repeated with a formal RFP process this time. It seems someone’s hand was caught in the cookie jar.

Freightliner has been around for quite some time and has been the successful bidder on multiple occasions throughout the state. E-One not so much. The City has previously used E-One to supply some of its equipment.  Apparently Wayne Smith (who handled the current process), Don Jesse and others have had a close relationship with E-One since it began operation. Some of these gentlemen appeared to have either ownership interests or were employed by E-One. If true, that alone, is sufficient for their recusal from the process.

The city received an excellent bid from E-One but how?  Apparently Wayne Smith was frantically calling Freightliner representatives at 4:30 one morning to secure specific information on their bid. Did Smith provide this information to E-One so that it could tailor its bid to come in $3,000 lower than Freightliner’s bid?

We know the E-One bid was higher than the grant monies provided for the fire truck’s purchase. It appears the purchase can be made for less money. Why is a department which is sorely in need of revenue with many other needs, such a new firefighter gear, wasting money by asking for fire truck options that are outdated and frankly overkill? According to Wayne Smith’s conversation with Freightliner representatives, it appears that the fire union was requiring these options. Why?

The city has historically used a traditional pumper. The E-One bid was for a rescue pumper with a different design from that which Glendale currently uses. It would require extra training for its use. How much would that have cost the city?

E-One is a company that seems to be struggling. It is currently owned by a hedge fund and has had a succession of presidents lately.  Apparently their ability to offer maintenance and support for this bid is dwindling and in doubt.

This particular bid process seems to reek of favoritism and may very well be unethical. Apparently Glendale continues to have problems in practicing ethical behavior, even under its new senior management.  The universal hope was that there would be a new era of leadership. Yet all signs point to a continuation of previous behavior. How disappointing.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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