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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

Smoke and Mirrors

Another milestone: Since its inception my blog has had over 400,000 reads. I thank all who have taken time to read my writings. I hope you have enjoyed them and will continue to follow my blog. I’m not finished…

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

I simply can’t resist. Someone who attended the Stonehaven ice cream social shared with me. This person reported very few residents in attendance. This is the same report I received after the Stonehaven proponents held their pizza party event. There appear to be fewer suckers in the Yucca district than they expected. I suspect they have been highly disappointed with the turnout at their PR events. Did they really believe that they could buy the goodwill and support of Yucca residents with an ice cream cone of a slice of pizza?

I received the handouts that were provided at the ice cream event. What a hoot! The first page of the handout is a map showing where the Stonehaven site is located. The second handout is a depiction of their Open Space Master Plan. I wonder if they shared the fact that they purposefully planted their 9 acres of park abutting the city’s 5 acre, taxpayer funded park. They wouldn’t be planning on Stonehaven’s residents using the city park so that they wouldn’t be compelled to provide a larger one within their subdivision, would they? Na-h-h-h. Just some smoke and mirrors…

Two of the handouts show wonderfully idyllic photos of the largest homes they could find…but there is no representation by them that the houses depicted in the photos are actually sitting on 4,000 square foot lots. I wonder if they mentioned that there will be 12 feet between two homes? Can you imagine someone actually investing in a 2,500 to 3,500 square foot home on a 4,000 square foot lot? One handout depicts a lot size of 45’X 110’. That actually equals 4,950 square feet. I guess even they didn’t have the nerve to produce a photo of a 2,500 square foot house on a true 4,000 square foot lot. Just some more smoke and mirrors…

The last handout is a conceptual of grocery store/commercial pad located at the northeast corner of 91st Avenue and Camelback Road. Of course it includes the inevitable gas station. On June 18th  I and the rest of the city council received an email in opposition to Stonehaven from a Yucca resident who lives close to the proposed Stonehaven. He sums up the grocery store situation far better than I could and so I will quote from his email, The developer and its PR team have repeatedly touted the perceived excitement surrounding the new grocery store to be developed on the commercial parcel.  As yet, we have not received any information as to the specific grocer or the timing. 

“I am a retired senior level commercial asset manager with over 30 years of experience in the management, acquisition, development, and redevelopment of retail centers, office buildings (including the Biltmore Financial Center), and office/warehouse industrial properties in multiple markets across the country including in excess of 50 retail centers here in the valley over the past 20 years. 

“It is no secret that grocery-anchored and other big box-anchored retail centers are a dying breed.  This trade area already has a Fry’s at 83rd and Indian School, a Safeway at 83rd and Camelback, a Super Walmart at 91st and Camelback, a Target at 91st and Northern, and a Neighborhood Walmart at 75th and Glendale.  That leaves Albertson’s and Basha’s or one of its affiliates as the remaining major players.  Albertsons and Safeway are under the same ownership.  Basha’s has not been in expansion mode for quite some time. 

“If they are thinking about one of the smaller specialty markets like Sprouts or Trader Joe’s that could be a nice addition to the area but they would be more likely to remodel and occupy the Fresh and Easy building at 83rd and Camelback, which has been sitting empty for about the last 10 years.  And what grocery chain would want to open a new store and try to compete right on top of the Super Walmart?

“ If they (Stonehaven applicants) had a signed lease or even a signed letter of intent they would be sitting on the fence crowing about it.  I have serious doubts that there will ever be a grocery store built on this site.  They’ll carve out a pad, put out a ‘coming soon’ sign, and then in about five years come back with a plan to carve it up into a multi-tenant building to house another Vape shop or maybe a medical marijuana dispensary and other unsavory uses.” More smoke and mirrors…

What are the proponents avoiding at all costs? Depicting the reality associated with 4,000 and 4,500 square foot lots.  They have avoided telling you that there will be more 4,000/4,500 square foot lots in Stonehaven than in the entire Barrel district.

The Barrel district has a total of 117 acres containing 690 homes on 4,000 square foot lots but they are scattered over 5 separate sites throughout the district. They are not concentrated on one site. The largest site is Country Hollow built in 1993 (24 years ago). It is a 38 acre site with 234 lots that are R 1-4. Other R 1-4 subdivisions in the Barrel district are: Village Rose built in 2002 (15 years ago) with 62 homes on 10 acres; Tarrington Place built in 2003 (14 years ago) with 192 homes on 28 acres; Beacon Heights built in 2004 (13 years ago) with 15 homes on 3 acres; and Alice Park approved in 2015 with 187 homes on 37 acres.

Stonehaven, in one fell swoop, proposes 616 homes on 4,000 and 4,500 square foot lots on 131 acres. Can you imagine the impact of the intense concentration of this small lot size on more acreage in one spot than on any other R 1-4 site in Glendale? That would be like putting all the R 1-4 lots in the Barrel district in one place. Can you say increased traffic, overcrowded schools and diminished property values?

One would think the Glendale Star, the Glendale Chamber of Commerce and Glendale’s Mayor Jerry Weiers would be embarrassed to have endorsed such a grotesque and intense use of     R 1-4 on one site anywhere in our community. But the smoke and mirrors of PR touting a major investment in Glendale along with the promise of increased annual taxes into the city’s coffers and the promise of a completed Bethany Home Road seems to have blinded them to the realities of this project. Did they not realize that the original Stonehaven plan promised the same? Of course not…for you see, it’s all smoke and mirrors.

In my next blog it’s all about R 1-4 zoning…

© Joyce Clark, 2017                 

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

Today, June 1,2017, the Glendale Star ran my guest commnetary on Stonehaven. I want to thank Mr. Bill Toops who invited me to offer an opinion on Stonehaven’s proposed changes to their 2016 approved plan. It is below in its entirety and here is the link: http://www.glendalestar.com/opinion/article_2ab6660a-4549-11e7-8e53-eb73fa60f96f.html

Posted: Thursday, June 1, 2017 12:00 am

The responsibility of an elected official is to speak for the people he or she represents. It is a responsibility I cherish. I speak for the residents of the Yucca district. I speak loudly for those often ignored when a project is backed by power, money and privilege. I speak for the over 1,000 residents who have signed a petition opposing StoneHaven’s proposed changes. I speak for those in close proximity to the already approved StoneHaven project when those developers use code words like flexibility and diversity to mask their request for greater density in their quest for greater profitability. I speak for all Yucca residents still unaware of the implications of this project on their daily lives.

I speak for someone who, in opposition, after work every day, walked his neighborhood to get petition signatures in Camelback Park immediately adjacent to proposed StoneHaven. He is concerned about the tremendous impact this project will have on his local traffic. Even with a completed Bethany Home Road, daily traffic counts on surrounding streets will sky rocket by another 15,000 daily trips.

I speak for another who also collected signatures. He owns an acre adjacent to this proposed project. He recognizes the increased density of an additional 200 homes bringing the total to 1,392 homes will devalue his home and property.  He is thinking of selling.

I speak for a teacher concerned about the 1,000 students StoneHaven will produce. She knows the school districts said they can accommodate them, but she is in the trenches and knows that’s not really true. School districts receive developer dollars for additional students. Do those dollars influence their thinking?

I speak for the young mother out collecting signatures while pushing her baby in its stroller because StoneHaven developers have failed to provide the amenities included in other Valley cities where they also build. Instead, they expect the new residents to crowd the adjacent three-acre neighborhood Pasadena Park, the city-owned five-acre Sunset Ridge Park and the still unfinished after a 20-year wait, Heroes Park, with only 20 of its 88 acres developed … parks her family already uses.

I speak for voices not opposed to StoneHaven. They only ask that the original approved version be upheld and that the latest proposed changes of 4,000/4,500 square-foot lots be denied. They realize, as do all, this is a major prime parcel in Glendale. They know other residents will have to battle the precedent set by this proposal. They expect a development matching and enhancing the existing Yucca district development. They do not expect a development that cannibalizes the surrounding area.

StoneHaven is billed as an infill project and in the strictest sense of the word, it is. National studies have concluded that infill development results in nearby residents bearing all associated costs; increased traffic, congestion in local schools, etc., even though it may provide a touted tax benefit to a community as a whole.

It is their reasonable expectation that completion of Bethany Home Road not be used as the rationale for approval of draconian StoneHaven changes.

I speak for this and countless neighborhoods in Glendale that have tried to fend off unwanted development only to have their voices overridden by special interests; like this one with ample funds to erect costly billboards, but with no ties to the area.

This is not NIMBY. The first version of StoneHaven was an approved project with little pushback. I direct you to my recent blog post, called Upgrade Glendale, at www.joyceclarkunfiltered.com, where I make a case for not “settling” here, or in any other location in Glendale.

Lastly, I speak for all of the neighborhood voices that simply ask that Glendale’s elected officials listen to them and support them, rather than the outside moneyed interests who call this a beneficial economic development.

On June 27, who will your councilmembers speak for?

TGIF

Posted by Joyce Clark on September 16, 2016
Posted in City issue and actionsCity of Glendale  | Tagged With: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A few thoughts after a very eventful week in which the Glendale city council unanimously accepted the Canvass of Votes thereby acknowledging Mayor Weiers, Vice Mayor Hugh, Councilmember Malnar and me as winners of the recent election. It’s over.

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Courtesy of Dawn Monaghan

The photo below is from the September 13, 2016 city council meeting. The gentleman kneeling is Bill Toops, publisher of the Glendale Star. After the Glendale Star did not endorse me or my rival I had a conversation with Mr. Toops. He stated that in the event that I won, he would publicly acknowledge my victory.

Every Friday I check out home sales in Glendale. There are about 350 sales a month and about 4500 sales a year. Some sales obviously reflect existent residents either moving up to a larger home or downsizing but the majority are new families moving into Glendale from someplace else. Is it any wonder that voter turnout is so low in Glendale? One of the reasons for voter apathy is the city’s failure to educate and to engage these new residents.

It came as no surprise that the contested election results were so close. Look at the Jones-Biggs contest in Congressional District 5. It appears to be a reflection of a national trend as general analysis suggests that the presidential contest will be close. Remember the hanging chad? Will there be another Florida-type situation this year? Electronic voting will be under tremendous scrutiny because of concerns about hacking into the national voting system. I’m not sure the country is prepared to deal with electronic voting and assuring the public that the results are tamper proof. Perhaps we would be best served to continue the use of paper ballots that at least leave a trail that can be verified.

Social media has grown up and is a legitimate and extremely useful in connecting to voters. With my shoe string campaign budget I know that my use of a blog, Facebook pages, blast emails and a campaign website were extremely important and may have tipped the scales in my favor.  Today any candidate who does not make full use of social media does so at his or her peril.

I will continue to blog about Glendale issues as I am not a formal member of the city council yet. The installation for mayor and councilmember is scheduled for December 13, 2016. After then I will continue to blog but I will make very clear that as a councilmember I am duty bound to support council decisions on issues but that will not preclude me from expressing my personal opinion. I will be sure to delineate those positions to readers.

Look for an announcement concerning an October victory celebration for Mayor Weiers, Vice Mayor Hugh, Councilmember Malnar and me. I will share the details of the event as they become available.

© Joyce Clark, 2016          

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

It has been 18 years and 105 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

In the March 31, 2016 edition of the Glendale Star there is a Letter to the Editor written by Bob Gonzalo. It was unsolicited and I am grateful for his expression of support for my candidacy as your Yucca district councilmember. Here is the link but I have taken the opportunity to reprint his entire letter:

http://www.glendalestar.com/opinion/article_b401961a-f5f3-11e5-8a1e-d769cdc773b5.html

Bring back a fighter who cares

“The City of Glendale has done extremely well with this city council in correcting the mistakes of Mayor Scruggs and all her cronies. Their spending habits put the city in an untenable situation. However, this next election is extremely important in voting the right people in to continue to improve the character and ethics of the city.

“My suggestions are to vote Sam Chavira out of the council. Every time you look in the newspaper, his character is being questioned. Look at the questions about his expense account. Look at the fact that he was investigated for breaking open meeting laws.

We have no library, no O’Neil pool, Hero’s Park is still not done and what has Chavira done? Voted for millions for the Coyotes. If this is the best the fire unions have to offer, we are in deep, deep trouble.

“I would vote for Joyce Clark, someone from the past, who has never stopped fighting for the Yucca district.

Read her blogs. She is intelligent, well versed in the law and truly cares about her district. She will fight for a library in Yucca, she will help open O’Neil pool, and she will improve our roads. More importantly, she will communicate with her community, unlike Chavira.”

Bob Gonzalo

Mr. Gonzalo is correct in his assessment of the choice facing Yucca district voters. He is correct regarding Sammy’s abuse of your taxpayer dollars and that Sammy was investigated for alleged violations of the open meeting law. Sammy in the past year has been absent quite frequently from city council meetings and workshops. He has also been late to meetings as well. Sammy is the Yucca district’s “invisible man.” His only claim to fame is his vote for a $12 million annual arena management fee payment to IceArizona.

There is a more serious question to consider. Mark Burdick, Glendale’s former Fire Chief, is running for mayor and at the same time Sammy, a fire fighter, is running for council. Ask yourselves, do you really want the Glendale fire union to run this city? Make no mistake. Each of these men has an agenda and that is to move more city money into the Fire Department budget. Unfortunately, the only way it can happen is by taking money away from other city departments.

Mr. Gonzalo is also correct when he states that I will fight for the people of the Yucca district. He is correct when he says I will fight for the reopening of O’Neil Pool, the completion of Heroes Park and the building of a permanent West Branch Library. Glendale’s south and west districts have been ignored, especially by Sammy, for the past four years. I will also restore honesty and integrity to the office of Yucca district councilmember. I can provide the leadership that our district has been without for the past four years. I will be accessible to all. I have never shied away from using my home telephone number as a point of contact for the people of the Yucca district. I was a good councilmember and I intend to be one again.

So, thank you Mr. Gonzalo for your letter of support.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

It has been 18 years and 77 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

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This newspaper clipping is an old headline from 2000 when I won an election for my council seat. In that election I was the only elected official in the state to run as a write-in against an incumbent and to win.

Imagine my surprise last week when I received a call from the Star editor, Carolyn Dryer, telling me she had received a Letter to the Editor from former Councilmember Norma Alvarez who represented the Ocotillo district. She told me Alvarez has publicly asked me to consider running for the Yucca district council seat. Here is the link to the Alvarez letter: http://www.glendalestar.com/opinion/article_93660af6-e088-11e5-8fca-07da10ddf430.html . Here is my response to Dryer’s question asking me if I intended to run: http://www.glendalestar.com/news/article_a08de88c-df3b-11e5-9b98-8749566839f1.html .

I have been asked repeatedly by my former constituents of the district since 2013 to do so. The reasons they offer are various. They would express their appreciation of my accessibility, my problem solving of their complaints and my representation of their voice. For years I had resisted even consideration of their pleas. But no longer.

They have also expressed their frustration and disappointment in their current representative. He is inaccessible. In fact, he is often AWOL. They cite his flip-flopping on issues and the exorbitant amount of money he has spent on travel, especially on trips that they contend are not city business.

I will spend the next week picking up the phone and talking to Norma to listen to her reasons as to why I should run again. I will also talk to my family and close friends to hear their thoughts on the subject. It is not a decision to be made lightly for it requires a major time commitment. It requires councilmembers (such as I was) to spend weekends “doing their homework” as council material for consideration and discussion at workshops and meetings is usually provided on Friday afternoons. I have the stamina and the intellect but do I have your support?

I would like to hear from you – readers of my blog, many of whom live either in the Yucca district or live in Glendale. The answer I seek is not only do you think I should run but are you willing to give of your time and talents in my campaign? I cannot take on a major commitment such as this without your support. You may contact me at: clarkjv@aol.com or leave a comment on this blog. Obviously your email response will remain private but any comment you leave on this blog will be instantly public.

Here is an excerpt of an email I received this morning in response to Norma’s call for my running for the Yucca district council seat. “I read the article about you in the Glendale Star and I also read Norma’s editorial, endorsing you! I say YES, go for it!! The Yucca and Glendale residents deserve a councilmember like you who cares about the community.”

This much I promise. I will seriously think about it. I will talk to others. I will wait to hear from you. After that, I will make a decision and publish it on this blog. So the question is: Will Clark do it again?

© Joyce Clark, 2016

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

It has been 18 years and 36 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

February 11, 2016 will be the third anniversary of my blog. In these three years I have published 528 posts, received 2,261 comments and have had over 315,000 readers. It is linked with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Path and Google+. These numbers are probably modest in the world of blogging but lately daily views are consistently in the 600 range and there are occasional days of 2,000+ reads.

I am proud of what I have accomplished. Having been a councilmember in Glendale for 16 years I have special insights into the goings-on at city hall coupled with many sources of fact as well as those offering pure speculation. There is no doubt, after 3 years, my position on a wide variety of Glendale issues is well known. I make no apologies for my positions on the issues important to you, residents of Glendale. I, as happens to anyone advancing an opinion, have developed a cadre of, shall we call them disenchanted… but you know what? That’s OK. At least they are reading my blog.

On January 21, 2016 I was surprised to read a Glendale Star editorial by Carolyn Dryer commenting on my blog. Here is the link: http://www.glendalestar.com/opinion/article_bb8b7eb2-c049-11e5-828c-5faf9edb2a8f.html . Ms. Dryer is correct in her assertion that I have blasted her, for I most certainly have. However, she said the following, “There’s a former councilmember who has her own blog. I’ll say her name: Joyce Clark. While I do not always agree with her, I have to give her credit for at least putting her name on her blog. You know who is writing the opinions. She is not afraid to put her name on it. And she has blasted me for articles I have written. But the difference between her and others who spew their opinions across the web is she is upfront, honest, and puts her name to whatever she writes.”

Ms. Dryer also made reference to a site that has concerned me for quite some time. It’s called the Glendale Guardian. It says it is, Citizens oriented, fact-based, and community driven awareness network that works to ensure that our Citizens priorities our put first.” Sounds great, doesn’t it? The English used isn’t the best but the objective is to make you think it’s a well meaning, benevolent site. That is far from the fact. Its articles are selective and extremely biased. There is an agenda and it’s not hard to figure it out.

That would be perfectly OK if we knew who was behind the site but we don’t.  It isn’t Sam Smith or John Jones because no one has the guts to acknowledge that he or she runs the site. Or as Ms. Dryer stated in reference to this very same site, To those other anonymous “guardians” of the City of Glendale, you could take some honest lessons from people like Joyce Clark. If you want people to respect you, own up to your words. Do not hide behind the curtain of the Internet. Try putting your honesty to the real test. Let people know who you really are.”

Glendale Guardian administrator(s) have you no pride or respect for yourself or your site? What are you afraid of…the truth?

© Joyce Clark, 2016

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

It has been 17 years and 301 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Once again the Glendale Star’s bias is showing. An October 23, 2015 story by Carolyn Dryer, editor, bemoans the fact that it looks like House Resolution 308, the Keep the Promise Act introduced by Representative Trent Franks, will soon come up for a successful vote in the Congressional House of Representatives. Here is the link: http://www.glendalestar.com/news/article_9a937bea-79d8-11e5-b35d-6b9c5634463d.html .

The House has essentially passed the same bill two times previously with bipartisan support.  It is said, “the third time’s a charm.” Let’s hope so. Once the House passes the bill it moves to the Senate. A Republican majority provides a strong chance that it will pass there as well.

One should note that the Glendale Star was obviously provided a copy of a letter by Representative Raul Grijalva, an opponent of the bill, sent to House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy. Grijalva’s letter is quoted extensively as he requests procedures designed to delay or kill the bill.

The Star also attempted to gain an interview with the House Majority Leader and is quoted as saying, “I realize we are not a national network probing for the truth, but we are a media outlet that is trying to educate our readers.” Unfortunately, there are two glaring errors in their statement. The Star appears to be a long, long way from “probing for the truth.” Oh wait, it’s probably their version of the truth. They also represent themselves as “trying to educate our readers.” That, too, appears to be fudging. If there really was a genuine attempt to educate the reader, the article would have been more balanced with statements from casino opponents as well as proponents. Instead it’s just another vehicle of support for the Tohono O’odham.

Don’t you find it interesting that the Star wrote a blistering editorial condemning Councilmember Sherwood’s actions flaunting the law yet seems to look the other way when it comes to the Tohono O’odham’s flaunting of the law and their casino?

© 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.

In the September 18, 2014 Glendale Star its editor, Carolyn Dryer, penned an editorial decrying U.S. Senator Trent Franks endorsement of a Glendale City Council candidate. Whoa…let’s take a look at this.

  • It’s OK if…the Star and the Republic , in their usual, unbiased fashion (yeah, right) endorse a local candidate.
  • It’s OK if…the local fire union endorses (and works for and contributes financially to) a local candidate.
  • It’s OK if… a local pastor, rabbi or priest endorses a local candidate.
  • It’s OK if… a president of a university or hospital endorses a local candidate.
  • It’s OK if… an owner of a sports team endorses a local candidate.
  • It’s OK if… a Chamber of Commerce endorses a local candidate.
  • It’s OK if… a state elected official endorses a local candidate.
  • It’s OK if… other Congressional officials, such as U.S. Representative Pastor, endorse a local candidate.

But it’s not OK if U.S. Representative Trent Franks endorses a local candidate. Hmmm, could it be because Representative Franks introduced a bill in opposition to the planned Tohono O’Odham casino and supports a local candidate who shares his position? Hmmm, could it be because the Glendale Star has repeatedly written articles in support of the TO casino? Nah…you decide.

© 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.

Yesterday’s blog entitled “Please delete this email after you read it” regarding Councilmember Gary Sherwood’s email resulting in an allegation of violation of the state’s Open Meeting Law created quite a bit of controversy rippling through the Coyotes world, Glendale’s political world and even the journalistic world. I suppose the reaction from the Coyotes world is the most predictable.  As anyone would expect, the Coyotes fans are fiercely loyal and anything that raises the specter of the disappearance of their team from Glendale sends them into overdrive. Their first reaction is to kill the messenger. In this case that includes not only me but Mayor Weiers, the Glendale Star and the Arizona Republic.  They denigrated Mayor Weiers for outing actions that may prove to be illegal. They gnashed their teeth over my blog and the newspapers’ articles because they perceived the information as yet another hit on their beloved team.

What they fail to recognize is that while the 4 councilmembers’ actions preceded a vote on the Coyotes deal, those actions could have preceded any council vote on any issue.  The troubling issue for many people is not the outcome of the vote but rather the actions that preceded and led up to the vote. The allegation is not about the Coyotes. The allegation is about improper behavior by 4 councilmembers. An investigation by the AG’s Office will surely answer the question, did they collude behind closed doors prior to the vote? Did they conduct city business secretly to assure a positive vote? Why speak to the issue of a possible Open Meeting Law violation when instead fans can deride the messengers? Why is it alright to dismiss possible illegal behavior because it is associated with a vote on the Coyotes deal? It’s a case of situational ethics.

The reaction from the Glendale political world is also predictable. It was learned that when the email first came to light, Vice Mayor Knaack denied attending the meeting. However, that would never do and would not last long. It would have had Sherwood and Knaack as adversaries; something they can ill afford right now. Today, the explanation given is that Sherwood and Knaack were in the same car when they received a cell phone call from Woods. Two things are questionable about this scenario. Where was Sammy? After all, Sherwood in his email says, “Sammy is already on board as he was with us last night.” Even if you can swallow this car explanation, it doesn’t make the allegation go away. The Open Meeting Law says, “Splintering the quorum can be done by meeting in person, by telephone, electronically, or through other means to discuss a topic that is or may be presented to the public body for a decision.” Note that they are not denying the basis of the allegation. Are they trying to muddy the waters by responding to minutia such as where they were when the meeting of the 3 and Woods took place? It’s another case of situational ethics.

The reaction from the print world can only be described as fascinating. Yesterday afternoon, July 21, I received a phone call from Paul Giblin, an Arizona Republic reporter. He proceeded to express his offense that I dared to say that I had scooped reporter Peter Corbett and the Arizona Republic.  He opined that my writing was done on the back of Peter Corbett who had made the FOIA request. He said that my journalistic standards were not as high as that of the Arizona Republic’s, and ended by saying; enjoy writing your little blog.

Later that day, I learned that Darrell Jackson of the Glendale Star had made the same kind of FOIA request. Who made the first request?  Update: July 23, 2014. I learned today that Darrell Jackson made the original FOIA request over 2 weeks ago. Did Peter Corbett do his story on the back of Darrell Jackson? Isn’t it weirdly coincidental that 2 reporters made the same FOIA request? Even more interesting is who tipped them off to the Sherwood email and why? What was the source’s motive for doing so? Situational ethics once again.

As for journalistic standards…hah…that’s like the pot calling the kettle black. Arizona Republic readers have complained about the perceived bias in this paper’s stories for years; to the point that it has become legendary.   Paul Giblin’s outrage is much ado about nothing. More situational ethics.

© 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.

On June 12, 2014 Mike Kenny had an opinion piece in the Glendale Star entitled, Ring the alarm – city once again wants you to foot bill. Here is the link: http://www.glendalestar.com/opinion/editorials/ . Generally I do not agree with Mr. Kenny’s stance on many issues but this time I do.

One sentence stood out, This current city administration banks on two things for survival, and they’re both yours: money and apathy.” The current city council simply cannot stop itself from spending money, your money. The latest example of their inability to reign themselves in is the expenditure, one-time and on-going, for an electronic voting system to be used at 24 council meetings a year. Why? Because they want to assure that you are confused as to who might be the deciding vote on any hotly contested issue…and to relieve Councilmember Chavira’s stress level.

What if there’s not enough in the budget to cover their willingness to spend your money? Not a problem. They will just create a new tax or raise an existent tax. Need money to cover the construction debt and annual management fee for the arena of approximately $27 million a year or the construction debt on Camelback Ranch of $18 million a year?No problem. Just make the temporary sales tax increase permanent. Need money to raise employee salaries? No problem. Just create a new annual licensing fee of $20 on your alarm system or make sure Glendale charges the highest fee in the state for driving school as you try to avoid those points on your record.

Why are 4 councilmembers led by the nose by senior management? Simple, it’s the easier way for them because you, the taxpayer in Glendale, never object. It’s called apathy. I can remember when a bunch of us tried to repeal the sales tax on food. Senior management put together a slick piece of propaganda asking citizens to decide what service(s) to cut if the sales tax on food was eliminated. It was a scare tactic and it worked beautifully. Glendale voters bought city rhetoric.

This time we heard the same scare arguments, i.e., half of Glendale’s staff would be terminated; services would continue to be cut. Those arguments only hold true if citizens allow this council to continue to spend beyond the city’s means. If citizens had demanded council adopt a phased plan of $5 million in cuts per year for 5 years there would be no need for the temporary sales tax to become permanent. Instead it was easier for them to accept Finance Director Duensing’s demands that the temporary sales tax be made permanent now…not in 2017 when it was due to sunset…but now.

This council, with the exception of Mayor Jerry Weiers, has adopted a budget that is not balanced as required by state statute. The budget starts with a $2.7 million deficit. But that’s OK according to senior staff. The money can come from $5 million in Contingency. If Phoenix demands a payment of over $3 million this October, that’s OK too…just take it out of Contingency. But wait…there’s not enough in Contingency to cover both obligations. Well, that’s OK too…just take it out of the Unappropriated Fund Balance (just a slick, new name for what is basically another Contingency account). They play games with your money and by now, you are so confused you can’t figure out what is going on.

Because of citizen apathy you, the Glendale taxpayer, will continue to be “nickled and dimed” to death until you have no more nickels and dimes. What many fail to recognize is that it takes so few of you to have an effect on this council’s financial decisions. Because so few citizens object to anything at council meetings when 20 or 30 citizens show up and speak to an issue council’s sensitivity radar kicks into high gear. Yep. That’s all it takes… 20 or 30 speakers to object. Are there 20 or 30 Glendale residents ready to scream, “I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore?” or will citizen apathy allow this council to spend beyond your means?

© 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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