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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

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.

On Tuesday, August 15, 2017 the city council will have a full agenda. One of the items is a staff presentation on a light rail update. Here is the link to the staff report: https://destinyhosted.com/agenda_publish.cfm?id=45363&mt=aacc&get_month=8&get_year=2017&dsp=agm&seq=139&rev=0&ag=71&ln=2184&nseq=&nrev=&pseq=201&prev=0#ReturnTo2184

There are several points within the staff report that are worthy of note. In the Background section it states, “In 2001, the voters of Glendale approved a dedicated half-cent sales tax to fund a comprehensive transportation program known the Glendale Onboard! (GO) Transportation Program. Maricopa County voters also approved transportation funding the regional transportation plan in 2004. These ballot initiatives include a project and matching funds for a high-capacity transit corridor from Glendale’s eastern border at 43rd Avenue to downtown Glendale (my bold). Based on these successful elections, the city and regional transportation plans include funding to complete a high-capacity transit corridor in Glendale by 2026 (my bold).”

Sometimes one has to read between the lines a bit. A high-capacity transit corridor does not imply light rail exclusively. Among other options, it could be a beefed-up bus system. In the 2001 transportation ballot measure the exact route was never identified. Rather it identified a study area from Northern Avenue to Bethany Home Road. If a light rail route were to run along Northern Avenue or Bethany Home Road neither route would touch downtown Glendale. Any route does not necessarily have to go through or accommodate downtown Glendale. Lastly, there was no ‘drop-dead’ date for completion of this corridor identified in the 2001 ballot issue. Light rail is not an issue that must be decided immediately.

The Background section goes on to say, “…the ongoing maintenance and operations is a local (city) cost. Glendale’s GO! Program and $105 million programmed for capital costs (construction and design) and $3.8 million programmed for ongoing operation and maintenance in the 25-year balanced program.”

On page 4 of the staff report is a table that estimates Glendale’s share of construction cost for light rail. The least expensive which ends at 43rd Avenue and Glendale ( 1 mile) projects Glendale’s share of construction costs at $30 million and the most expensive ending at 61st Avenue and Glenn Drive (crosses over Grand Avenue and is 3.5 miles) is $123 million. Based upon the stated $105 million available for Glendale’s share of construction costs funds are available for all options with the exception of the last and most expensive option – crossing Grand Avenue.

However, Glendale’s operating costs are considerable. According to the staff report, there is $3.8 million available in GO’s 25-year programming.  The least expensive and shortest distance option would require $1.6 million a year. That $3.8 million would be expended in 2 years. The most expensive option and longest distance would require $5.7 million a year to operate. Obviously the $3.8 million GO programmed funds would not even cover one year.

Where would a shortfall in annual operating costs have to come from? It would have to come from the General Fund…you know the same fund that issues debt for the city’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for such things as parks and libraries. It could require competing against Public Safety (police and fire) or employee raises or any other departments for funding resulting in fewer dollars for other departments. The central question for residents may be, do you want to take precious resources away from other departments and capital projects to annually fund the O&M costs of light rail?

Under the Community Benefit/Public Involvement section it states, “In addition to improved mobility and access, high capacity transit projects can also serve as a catalyst for economic redevelopment along a corridor. The original regional 20-mile light rail “starter segment” cost $1.4 billion to completer, but has generated an estimated $8.2 billion in private and public investment along the light rail corridor.” That’s about an 8 to 1 Return on Investment (ROI). Okay, that sounds great but it should be proven by providing specific, verifiable data. How much was the public (governmental) investment after light rail was completed along with a list of specific redevelopment projects and their investment cost? How much was private redevelopment and what were their projects and investment cost after light rail completion? These ROI figures cannot just be thrown out there without some kind of corroborating data. To date none has ever been provided.

Lastly, on page 3 of the staff report under Cash Flow Requirements, it says, “With the relatively short time frame until Prop 400 funding program expires in 2025, it is not fiscally sound to issue bonds, but will rely on existing fund balances and local funding to cover these upfront costs (design, right-of-way acquisition and construction). Glendale staff has told us that funding these upfront costs will negatively impact the GO program prior to construction.” In addition to the lack of long-term GO funding to support  O&M costs, staff has determined that there is not enough GO funding available to pay the upfront costs of construction. This is reminiscent of Camelback Ranch and AZSTA’s lack of ability to reimburse Glendale for those upfront costs. “Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it.” Do we really want to go there again?

I have always wondered why Camelback Road has never been considered the option of choice. Phoenix would be required to build from 19th Avenue to 43rd Avenue, a distance of 3 miles. From 43rd Avenue to 91st Avenue, a distance of 6 miles Phoenix and Glendale would share the costs; and from Camelback Road to Glendale Avenue, a distance of 2 miles Glendale would be required to fund construction exclusively. But think about it. This route would accommodate 2 major destinations: Grand Canyon University and Westgate. That is exactly what light rail is designed to do — move large numbers of people to specific and major destination locations. In addition, it would run through 2 of the poorest demographic areas in the entire region: Maryvale and south Glendale and serve those whose need for mass transit is the greatest. If it really does spur economic redevelopment these two areas could certainly benefit from that kind of economic boost.

If you wish to follow the light-rail discussion on Tuesday, August 15th, at city council workshop which begins at 1:30 PM and is the last item on the agenda, please go to the city website, www.glendaleaz.com and click on the link to Glendale Channel 11 TV. It is broadcast live on the city’s site and also on Cox TV Cable Channel 11.

© 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.

It has been 18 years and 163 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

PLEASE CHECK OUT THE TWO SAMMY CHAVIRA VIDEOS TO THE LEFT OF THIS COLUMN.537e4d22979c7.image

Before beginning today’s blog let us all take a moment to remember all armed service active duty and veterans for their service and their sacrifice. A bit of trivia…did you know that 1% of America’s population is responsible for preserving the freedoms that 99% of us enjoy? Our debt is enormous.Memorial-Day-Graphic

Light rail continues to remain contentious. In its city council meeting of April 24, 2016 city council split on a 4-3 vote approving its route and mode of transit. Voting for light rail were Councilmembers Tolmachoff, Turner, Aldama and Chavira. Voting against, while citing the need for an investigation of the alternatives, were Mayor Weiers, Vice Mayor Hugh and Councilmember Malnar.

This issue will come before city council once again, probably in January of 2017. At that time city council will be asked to commit formally to financing and approving the final route. At that time they will still have the option to approve or deny funding for light rail.

There are many angry people out there who are opposed to light rail for many reasons and they are not going to go away. The wisest action this city council could take would be to call for a special election and allow the citizens of Glendale to decide this issue for once and for all. After all, the last vote taken about light rail was 15 years ago and in that time we have seen many things change. It’s time to formally reassess the will of the people of Glendale.

City hall damage and the fall out just will not go away. In Paul Giblin’s story of May 24, 2016, the city acknowledges that nearly $50,000 (not the $30,000 I had cited previously) of damage had been done. Here is the link :  http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2016/05/24/vandals-cause-50000-damage-glendale-city-hall/84557320/ .

 In a second Public Information Request I again asked for the following:

  1. “I request Councilmembers Aldama and Chavira to obtain information from Barrio Breakthru about expenses covered by their donation of $5,000 of taxpayer money.
  2. 2. I request copies of any and all licenses and proof of insurance on file for this event provided to the city by Barrio Breakthru.”

The city’s response was, “The City has reviewed its records and has provided documents on file that are responsive to this request. There were no responsive documents for item #1.” None of the documents I previously received from the city show any licenses or proof of insurance on file with the city. Yet Ordinance 2975 specifically contains these specific requirements.

There is another way to skin this cat. On September 2, 2014 city council took up the question of council guidelines and specifically the issue of councilmember donations to non-profits. Here is the link: http://glendale-az.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=2838c6fe-32f9-11e4-bdc2-00219ba2f017&meta_id=7296  .  No consensus was achieved by council to prohibit councilmember donations to non-profits but there were a series of staff recommendations that, by council  consensus, were adopted on that date. They were as follows:

  1. “Requests for an expenditure of council discretionary funds for purposes of a donation of $5,000 or above must be submitted to the City Council for approval.
  2. “Each request for the use of council discretionary funds will require the completion of a new uniform standard request form.
  3. “Council discretionary fund recipients will agree that the City of Glendale and its authorized representatives shall have the right to examine and audit all financial and related records related to the acceptance and expending of the discretionary funding.”

I call upon City Manager Kevin Phelps to perform an audit of Barrio Breakthru and its acceptance of and its spending of the discretionary funding provide by Councilmember Chavira in the amount of $2,500 and Councilmember Aldama in the amount of $2,500. This audit should be publicly released for it involves $5,000 taxpayer dollars. I further call upon City Manager Kevin Phelps to amend Ordinance 2975 making it clear that if these requirements are not met, no permit will obtained. There is also an opportunity to review policies for special events to ensure that all organizations are being treated equally and that city property is protected properly.

City Manager Phelps said, “ Breakthru Productions carries insurance, so city officials will approach the organization’s executives to seek reimbursement for the damaged equipment.” If that is the case, why was I not provided with that information when I made my PIR? None of the documents I received included any proof of insurance despite a specific request for such information.

Why does it seem that Barrio Breakthru is being given a pass by city hall officials? Is it because two councilmembers, Chavira and Aldama donated to Barrio Breakthru?

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

Light rail appears to be the most divisive issue in Glendale’s history. It appears to be more divisive than the Coyotes or the casino. If you look at the mini-poll to the left of this column you will see the respondents to the question are split 50/50. There is no clear public consensus. This will be an issue that city council will have to decide. No matter which way they go it is a sure bet that half of Glendale will be unhappy with their decision. For them it is a no-win proposition. Knowing that, they are charged with making the best decision possible for the city based upon knowledge they may have not generally available to the public. No matter how individual councilmembers decide it is incumbent upon each and every one of them to publicly share their rationale for their decision.

Valley Metro hosted a Glendale light rail meeting at the Glendale Women’s Club on January 20, 2016. A lot of Glendale residents attended (at least 100) signaling that there is a great deal of interest in the issue. When 100 people or more attend a Glendale public meeting it makes the city council sit up and take notice. For an apathetic Glendale demographic that is a lot of people.

Valley Metro is planning on scheduling further community meetings to explain their recommended concept and to gain further community input. The issue is scheduled to go before the Glendale city council in late March or early April for a vote. If city council rejects the recommended alternative Valley Metro has indicated it will continue to work on an acceptable solution with Glendale.

At the Glendale city council workshop meeting of January 19, 2016 council took up most of what could be considered light weight issues. How about the Jazz Festival and chickens? Council seems to be leaning on allowing any Glendale resident to have chickens. Currently the policy is to allow the fowl in agricultural zoning districts. The state legislature has a bill before it to allow chickens anywhere in any municipality. If it should pass it will become a moot point no longer requiring a council decision. Council has called for a series of public meetings to determine whether the fowl are welcome throughout Glendale. I can see it now… Arrowhead residents flocking to obtain chickens.

Another pressing issue of relative non-importance was council discussion of bringing back the Jazz Festival. It was cut out of the budget about 4 years ago when council was looking to pare down the budget and it learned that of all of the major festivals Glendale hosts; it was the one with the least attendance. It will cost a little over $200,000 to produce and earns about $60,000 in revenue to offset its costs. In terms of priorities and how $140,000 (net expense) could be used this doesn’t constitute a major priority. Perhaps that $140,000 could be used to restore some library hours or reinstitute some recreational programs for Glendale’s children. Surely there is a better use for the funds.

It appears that Chavira and Aldama are ready to jump into the festival business big time. In anticipation of council’s approval of the Jazz Festival resurrection Chavira and Aldama have taken it upon themselves to seek out sponsors for the event. Be wary. Remember Chavira’s and Aldama’s last festival fling? Dia de Muertos? Each contributed $2500 of their council budgets (taxpayer money) to support the event which turned out to be highly political by allowing various Democrat candidates to have booths at the event…a real no-no. To this day there has never been an audit of the event even though there have been repeated requests for it.

Add to that peccadillo Chavira’s involvement in a Hispanic Firefighters Association event that ended up costing said association a lot of money resulting in a move to boot Chavira from the organization. City Council should develop policy guidelines to address councilmember involvement in the city’s event business.

Lastly council, quickly and without a smidgeon of discussion, nominated Cactus Councilmember Ian Hugh to another term as Glendale’s Vice Mayor. He was unanimously approved by council at its last formal meeting of January 26, 2016. Congratulations to Vice Mayor Hugh. He’s quiet and steady and will continue to serve well as Glendale’s Vice Mayor in 2016.

It was a far different scenario from last year when Chavira and Aldama backed the now recalled councilmember Gary Sherwood for the position. It demonstrates how quickly political dynamics can change. From a gang of three there is now a gang of two: Chavira and Aldama. The two are leaderless and now constitute a minority…an uncomfortable position for both of them. It shows the enormous amount of influence Sherwood had over his two buddies.

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

Valley Metro has released its recommended route for light rail for West Phoenix/Central Glendale. It will be hosting two public information meetings this week. On Tuesday, January 19, 2016 from 6 PM to 8 PM there will be a meeting at the Washington Activity Center Multipurpose Room at 2240 W. Citrus Way, Phoenix and on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 there will be another meeting 6 PM to 8 PM at the Glendale Women’s Club, 7032 N. 56th Avenue, Glendale.

Here is their recommendation: West along Camelback Road from 19th Avenue to 43rd Avenue; North on 43rd Avenue to Glendale Avenue; West on Glendale Avenue; somewhere in the vicinity of 51st Avenue it will go north to Glenn Drive; West on Glenn Drive to 59th Avenue. There is no mention of whether the route would be light rail, express bus service or street car.

Recommended route

Recommended route

Funding would be:

  • Federal ………………………………………………………………………………. 50%
  • Regional sales taxes (Proposition 400) ……………………………..10-15%
  • Local sales taxes (Glendale GO transportation tax
  • and Phoenix Transportation 2050) ……………………………..35-40%

Should light rail or some form of express transportation come to Glendale? Without more information about its effects on Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa it’s difficult to make a decision. There are some factors that would seem to indicate that it’s time may have come. Glendale is the gateway to the rest of the West Valley. If Peoria and Surprise ever hope to have light rail in their communities it is only logical that it would have to route through Glendale. Westgate with the stadium and arena would most certainly benefit from light rail. Glendale is the 6th largest city in the state with 70-80% of its population commuting to work outside of Glendale.

Factors that work against it are its cost and the routing. Today the cost per mile is pegged at $70 million dollars. Federal funding would be about $35 million per mile. Regional sales tax would cover $7-$10.5 million per mile. Glendale through its Go Transportation Tax would have to pay $24.5-$28 million per mile. Since going northward on 43rd Avenue, a boundary street shared by Glendale and Phoenix, it is assumed that the two north 43rd miles would be a shared cost between the two cities. Glendale’s exclusive portion for which it would have to provide funding would be the two miles from 43rd Avenue west to 59th Avenue. That funding would presumably be funded by Glendale’s GO Transportation Tax.

In addition to sharing information about a possible route and the form of mass transportation it is incumbent upon the Glendale City Council to hold a workshop on exactly where the revenue would come from to support this project. Will it come to Glendale? Right now there is no definitive answer.

© 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.

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

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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 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.

 

First I want to thank all of those who have taken time to read my blog. Fourteen months after its inception another milestone of over 115,000 reads has occurred. I am constantly amazed and very grateful for your support.

Houston,Glendale has a problem. In November of 2001 there was a Special Transportation Election held in Glendale. It would amend Chapter 21.1 of Glendale’s City Codes and become law. Voters passed the ordinance creating one half of one penny in a sales tax increase expressly for the following uses:

  • Intersection improvements
  • Street projects
  • Extension of existing bus service
  • Increased Dial-A-Ride service
  • Express bus service
  • Regional light rail connection
  • Pedestrian and bicycle improvement projects
  • Airport projects
  • Safety improvements

If you look at the illustration below entitled #3 Specialized Transit Service there is a map that was published within the ballot. There is also specific language underneath the illustration that reads as follows, “Light Rail in Glendale will extend from 43rd Avenue to Downtown Glendale and will be based on arterial streets, but will not be located on Glendale Avenue. Construction of light rail in Glendale is subject to completion of a light rail connection in Phoenix.”PROP402-2001BallotwithMaps

There appear to be three specific, voter approved ratifications that have been law in Glendale since November, 2001. One, light rail must be sited on an arterial street, i.e., Northern, Glendale, Bethany Home or Camelback. Two, light rail cannot be placed on Glendale Avenue. Three, light rail may not be sited in Glendale until Phoenix has light rail to Glendale’s border.

At city council’s last workshop there was a presentation by Valley Metro. Based upon their preliminary planning Valley Metro has eliminated consideration of Northern Avenue or Bethany Home Road. That leaves only Glendale Avenue and Camelback Road for further consideration of some form of mass transit, whether it be light rail, rapid bus transit or modern streetcar.

If there is to be further consideration of Glendale Avenue.There is a legal problem in that the 2001 transportation election changed Glendale’s City Code, its laws. Until the City Code section pertaining to light rail is again amended light rail cannot be placed on Glendale Avenue. The relevant section of City Code may be amended in one of two ways. City Council can approve any amendment to the City Code by a majority vote at its regular council meeting or there can be another special election and the voters can approve an amendment to City Code. Should there be a recommendation by Valley Metro to site light rail along Glendale Avenue; a majority of city council will have to amend City Code to allow it to happen.

This is what happens when a city loses its talented, experienced personnel with historical memory.

© 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.

The City Council workshop meeting of October 15, 2013 had a little something for everyone. Since Mayor Weiers has been at the helm all of their meetings have been extraordinarily brief. Not so this time.

The first item was an informational presentation on light rail in Glendale by Steve Banta, CEO of Valley Metro. Keep in mind that even if all the stars aligned, Glendale still wouldn’t see light rail for a minimum of ten years. The corridors under study remain the same: Northern Avenue to Bethany Home Road; Camelback Road; and the Loop 101. The only strong sentiment was expressed by Vice Mayor Knaack whose business is located in downtown Glendale. She remains adamantly opposed to light rail being sited along Glendale Avenue. Ummm…I guess she didn’t get the memo about Mesa. They deliberately sited their light rail on their Main Street to spur redevelopment. Their experiment with light rail has been so successful that Mesa is paying for an additional 2 miles from a city fund dedicated to street improvements.

Council moved on to the next item, Councilmember Chavira’s plea to get more amenities in the Western Regional Park (now called Heroes Park) at 83rd and Bethany Home Road. He proposed as temporary, soccer fields; or the addition of sod to green the park; or an archery range. He needs to bring something home to his constituents before he runs for reelection. Poor Sammy, it won’t be park improvements. He ran into the same brick wall as I. Keep in mind that a majority of the former council diverted $6M earmarked for the park to the construction of the Public Safety Training Facility. It was a spite move orchestrated by the former Mayor because I refused to become a member of her team. Council has an obligation to restore that $6M deliberately and willfully taken from the park. Chavira heard a resounding “No” from his fellow councilmembers to his requests. Even Alvarez said “No” and called for prioritization of needs. They fell back on the council policy directive that mandates maintaining and improving the parks already in place. They grudgingly agreed to move forward on the concept of an archery range provided it “was at no cost to the city.” I have never seen a project come forward that didn’t involve some cost to the city. In addition when residents of the area publicly participated in the planning of the park there was not one request for an archery range. In all my years on Council I received one call from a father who wanted to establish an archery range in a nearby retention area for his son so that he could conveniently practice. As the Director of Parks and Recreation Erik Strunk stated, “There will be no available funds in the Parks and Recreation Capital Improvement Program until Fiscal Year 2018-19.” At that time all seven councilmembers will be vying for the use of those funds.

The Sister Cities Program was next on the agenda.  This item was Councilmember Sherwood’s request. His motive was to partner with Canadian cities that host hockey and perhaps to boost Canadian attendance at Coyotes hockey games. It was a subject that didn’t engender a lot of comment. However, Alvarez and Chavira broadened the concept to include Mexican cities. Council directed this initiative be shifted to the private sector for further exploration and called on the Civic Pride Ambassadors, the Chamber of Commerce and the Convention and Visitors Bureau to lead the effort.

Now we get to the meat and potatoes…er…steak and potatoes of the workshop…the Tohono O’odham and its proposed casino. The new City Attorney, Michael Bailey, presented information first. He said for 5 years the city’s position has been in opposition as expressed by various city council approved resolutions. Until council passes a new resolution expressing a new direction, the city will remain opposed to the proposed casino. He went on to say the city is no longer involved in any active litigation against the TO’s plan. Everyone is waiting for the results of two actions: U.S. Representative Trent Franks bill currently enjoying bipartisan support which has passed the House and moved on to the Senate; and the 9th Circuit’s Court mandate that the U.S. Department of Interior further clarify its justification for provisionally placing the land within Glendale in reservation status. He also expected that no matter what the Department of Interior’s decision, we can expect further litigation.  The City Attorney advised waiting until these issues were resolved before moving in any direction. He likened the current situation to council’s ordering and paying for a steak dinner and then just before it arrives, getting up and walking out of the restaurant. He alluded to the fact that entering into a dialogue with the TO could send the wrong signal to our friends and supporters – the other Tribes, the State Legislature and our Congressional delegation.

Despite his sage advice, here’s how the council lined up on the issue. Mayor Weiers and Councilmember Martinez remain firmly opposed and counseled waiting until the issues resolve. As expected Councilmembers Alvarez and Hugh are in the TO camp, breathlessly awaiting the casino’s arrival as if it is the cure for all of Glendale’s financial woes. Councilmember Chavira, in whose district the proposed casino would be located, has never been one to take a strong position on anything, maintained a fence sitting posture (painful to say the least). If he had a brain, he’d listen to and represent his constituents who will be dramatically affected and simply do not want the casino. Councilmember Sherwood after proclaiming that he was still opposed to the casino then trotted out a litany of reasons in its support. Vice Mayor Knaack, ever ready to appease everyone and anyone, listed the reasons why a casino was not in anyone’s best interest then flopped to supporting dialogue with the TO. Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it. What happened when the European nations practiced appeasement?

The result of the long and sometimes contentious discussion was 5 of 7 councilmembers supported directing staff to fact find (including dialogue with the TO) to produce an assessment of the impacts of the proposed casino on Glendale. I find it amazing that 5 of them believe they will get specific facts from the TO. This is the same Tribe that hid its ownership of the land in question for years. This is the same Tribe, when asked by Glendale staff, for specifics regarding their proposed casino, offered only conceptual ideas, nothing concrete. This is the same Tribe that publicly stumped for the State Gaming Compact in 2002, knowing that they already had plans to violate the spirit of the compact. There is and should not be, justifiably, any trust regarding assertions that they make. What’s the old saying? Trust but verify?

Council’s reasons in support of dialogue were superficial and may have been motivated by the people who spoke at their last council meeting (by the way, many were not from Glendale). This council left their steak dinner on the table having already paid for it, unwilling to wait and to let the issues play out and knowing that possible further litigation will not see an end to this situation for several years.

© Joyce Clark, 2013

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