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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.

In the November 9, 2017 edition of the Glendale Star Councilmember Bart Turner offered a guest commentary entitled the “Top 10 reasons to proceed with light rail.” While he is a fierce advocate for light rail his position does not comport with a majority of city council. Those who gave direction to abandon moving forward with light rail were Mayor Weiers, Vice Mayor Hugh, Councilmember Malnar and I. There were only two councilmembers definitively in support of light rail and they were Councilmembers Turner and Aldama. Councilmember Tolmachoff never really responded in any clear cut fashion. Aldama’s position in an election year may not bode well for him as he seemed to ignore a great many downtown business owners opposed to the concept.

Before I launch into a rebuttal of Councilmember Turner’s commentary I want to recommend two articles written by Randal O’Toole that I found while researching this issue. The first, “The coming transit apocalypse” was published as a policy paper by the Cato Institute on October 24, 2017. Here is the link:
https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/coming-transit-apocalypse .

The second, also by O’Toole was published in the Wall Street Journal on November 10, 2017. It is entitled “It’s the Last Stop on the Light-Rail Gravy Train: Mayors want new lines that won’t be ready for a decade. Commuters will be in driverless cars by then.” Here is the link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/its-the-last-stop-on-the-light-rail-gravy-train-1510354782 . Both are well worth reading.

Turner’s top reason for supporting light rail is that it was a component of Proposition 402 approved by voters on November 6, 2001, 16 years ago. I bet if light rail were on a ballot today it would go down in flaming defeat.

The specific ballot language said, “That all revenues from the 0.5% increase in the privilege and use tax authorized by this ordinance shall be deposited in a separate transportation fund that shall be used only for transportation purposes in accordance with Proposition Number 402 , including the following:

  • Intersection improvements
  • Street projects
  • Expansion of existing bus services
  • Increased Dial-A-Ride services
  • Express bus service
  • Regional light rail connection
  • Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvement Projects
  • Airport projects
  • Safety improvements”

 At that time the proposition was deliberately crafted to offer a potpourri of 9 items. The working assumption was that a menu of items was sure to appeal to various stakeholders. Light rail was included and its insertion onto the ballot measure was as contentious as its possible location. It was assumed at that time that this inclusion was the surest way to insure its passage by its advocates at that time.

And yes, Proposition 402 did pass on a vote of 8,313 yes votes (64%) and 4,664 no votes (36%). The ballot proposition was very general in its wording. It did not mandate that any of the above action items take precedence over any other. It also did not present a time line under which these items were to be completed.

It is fair to say that many of the voters wanted improved bus services as well as intersection improvements and street maintenance and repair. They were willing to accept all elements of the ballot in order to get the options that were important to them – streets, intersections and better bus service.  That was the voters’ agenda then and it remains the voters’ agenda now.

Turner goes on to state that there is enough city funding to get light rail to 51st Avenue and Glendale Avenue but that is not accurate as the estimated costs show a deficit of $400,00. See the chart below:

When we consider capital construction and operations & maintenance (O&M) costs — beware. Fares generate only one-quarter to one-third of operating expenses. There will be significant annual operational costs causing a redistribution of income from all taxpayers to subsidize light rail riders. Historically ridership fluctuates with the condition of the national economy. When gas prices are high or we are in the midst of a recession ridership increases. When gas is cheap or times are good, we climb right back into our cars. Soon we will see driverless cars whose cost of operation will compete very favorably with transit fares.

Light rail is very, very expensive. Typically it is 20 times the construction cost of all other forms of mass transit. Generally, construction delays and cost overruns are endemic. Federal and state subsidies are needed to construct the rail line and to maintain and operate the system. All federal grants require assurances. In other words, there are strings attached. One of those required federal assurances is that the light rail system will never be shut down.

What about the disruption to traffic and local businesses during construction? Most of the downtown businesses that would be affected by 2 to 3 years of light rail construction will end up closing or moving to another location. They are concerned and they have every right to be. Many are small businesses that cannot afford the kind of disruption that occurs with light rail construction. Many may end up being replaced by multi-family…most likely not high-end multi-family either.

What about Turner’s contention that light rail provides a “catalyst” for high-quality redevelopment? According to an Excel presentation provided to me by Valley Metro current development to-date along the existent light rail lines (Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe) show that anywhere from an estimated 3% to 30% of the investment in new development that occurs along a light rail route is public money (municipal funding). In addition it is quite likely that the incentive funding provided by the city to attract private development will have to compete with other General Fund priorities. In essence, taxpayer subsidies boost development along transit lines and around stations. Do you want to divert your taxpayer dollars to incentivize development along a light rail line? The catalyst will be city investment and city incentives offered to developers.

What kind of investment is typical along a light rail line? Again, based on information provided by Valley Metro, the new development tends to be a double digit percentage increase in the addition of multi-family (apartments) and the decrease of retail (percentage is variable from single digit decline to double digit decline).  Are you willing to trade downtown retail locations for apartments? Do you think the disappearance of existent stores and restaurants and the addition of more apartments in their stead is high-quality development? Did you know that properties near light rail stations in low income areas experience negative benefits?

Councilmember Turner suggests that, “a rubber-tired trolley can ferry light rail passengers throughout downtown.” Why would that be necessary? Light rail lines cannot be rerouted. They are fixed.  They create a certain inflexibility. Consider a rail breakdown or the permanent elimination of a temporary street closure caused by a special event (Glendale Glitters? Chocolate Affaire?) or a parade (Christmas parade?). There can be a permanent inconvenience to motorists when a street lane is lost or if they are required to wait behind a rail car while passengers get on or off. Motorists often react to light rail location by choosing alternate nearby streets. Suddenly the vehicular congestion migrates but still remains.

Turner suggests, “If Glendale abandons its light rail plan, $72 million paid by Glendale and other West Valley residents into the regional light rail fund will be transferred” to other light rail projects in the Valley. That is true. While Glendale chooses to opt out of light rail right that doesn’t mean that in future years Valley Metro may create other priorities in which Glendale may participate . At that time it will have access to those regional dollars.

Councilmember Turner does not mention the benefit of not establishing light rail now. Angel Rodriguez, in a Letter to the Editor in the November 2, 2017 Glendale Star asks, “The Oct. 23 article regarding the Glendale City Council killing plans for downtown light rail referred to a ‘decision 16 years after Glendale voters approved a sales tax increase, in part for light rail,’ raises the question of that part of the sales tax increase for light rail. How much of the sales tax increase starting 16 years ago was and has been set aside for that light rail that won’t happen? By now, it must be in the millions …” Approximately 40% of the sales tax collected was set aside and reserved for light rail. With the council decision not to proceed with light rail that money can be reprogrammed for other more immediate transportation needs. It can be used to enhance and increase bus service. A majority of our bus shelters are without shade. Just adding shade to these bus stops will increase ridership. The bus route along 83rd Avenue now goes from McDowell Road in Phoenix up to Bell Road in Peoria. Other routes may be able to be expanded or created.

 It can be used for intersection and street improvements. There are at least 5 intersections in Glendale in need of remediation right now. Some of those dollars could be reprogrammed to mitigate them. As another example, it can be used to connect Camelback Ranch to Westgate. Once that occurs, just as in the case of completing 95th Avenue south from Bethany Home Road to Camelback, it creates a catalyst for more businesses to locate and with it comes more jobs for Glendale’s residents. When the extension of 95th Avenue was planned and announced who came to town? IKEA with its hundreds of jobs. Those light rail transportation dollars can be reprogrammed to create enhanced connectivity between locations. With that activity comes more jobs to Glendale. City council, in a future workshop, will decide how to make the best use of the light rail dollars for other transportation needs.

Lastly, Councilmember Turner says, “Our image as the progressive future-looking city that Glendale is working hard to develop will be significantly harmed if we willingly choose to forgo this opportunity.” According to his perception, the same must be said for the other “dale” – Scottsdale. For it, too, has made the decision not to pursue light rail in its community. The four councilmembers, including me, that gave direction not to proceed with light rail at this time, in this location, do not accept his statement.

Glendale continues to be the location of choice for many businesses. Just this week, we celebrated the ground breaking for a BMW automotive franchise. BMW does extensive market research in making a decision as to where to locate another franchise. They, just as any other business looking for another location, cannot afford to make the wrong choice. They chose Glendale because of the positives Glendale offers to all new business locates. Glendale is on the move and the council decision to not move forward with light rail does not harm the amazing prospects for our future in any way, shape or form.

I understand Councilmember Turner’s frustration because the light rail decision was not the one he wanted. I’ve been there and done that. But council has made its decision and will reaffirm that decision in the form of a future Resolution to that effect. His continued advocacy for a position not supported by a majority of the city council will not change the outcome. Just as we agree to disagree, we respect his position on this issue; it’s time for him to respect our positions as well. Calling councilmembers “un-American” because of opposition to light rail does nothing to advance the issue and, in fact, is a violation of the City Council Guidelines for Conduct.

© Joyce Clark, 2017                 

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.

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, October 17, 2017 the Glendale city council met in workshop. The first agenda item of five items was that of light rail. Staff presented by recapping what had been discussed to date and asked for further council direction.

There was a robust discussion by council for well over an hour and a half. I will recap each councilmember’s position in the order of workshop seating. Councilmember Ray Malnar related that the original Glendale proposition ballot had 9 items, one of which was light rail. He believes that voter support for the proposition was based on support for 8 of the 9 ballot items and that voters approved the measure and tolerated light rail on the ballot because of the other items that would bring local transportation improvements. He indicated that he could not support light rail and asked for consensus on that position.

Councilmember Bart Turner is a strong and avid advocate for light rail. He attempted to refute any councilmember comments that offered reasons not to move forward with light rail. He feels that the financial figures presented showing a GO Program deficit and the use of General Fund dollars would not be accurate in the future and that the economic development created by light rail would offset those deficits. When it came time to create consensus he clearly wanted to move forward with light rail.

Vice Mayor Ian Hugh has never made a secret of his position on light rail. He has been opposed consistently.  He asked questions of Valley Metro’s CEO, Scott Smith, about pollution and congestion. The answers provided by Mr. Smith were vague as he could not really speak to the issue of pollution and answered the congestion question by stating that in Mesa light rail has caused vehicular traffic to find alternate routes and therefore he has not seen an increase in vehicular congestion. When consensus was called for, the Vice Mayor joined Councilmember Malnar to request that the light rail issue be discontinued in Glendale.

Mayor Weiers Indicated that at one time he had supported light rail as he believed that local connections in the form of trolleys, etc., would be able to connect with the end of the light rail line. However, having reviewed the financial forecast of dollar needs for light rail, he was reluctant to commit future dollars to light rail. He feels that Glendale is finally in a healthy financial position and does not want to jeopardize that success by committing future dollars that the city may not be in a position to afford.

Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff was clearly torn and on the fence. At one time she had indicated that her support of light rail would hinge on its ability to cross over Grand Avenue. Clearly, the dollars needed to accomplish that were astronomical and frankly unaffordable for Glendale. She did not want to dismiss light rail completely and asked that a decision by council be made after an upcoming council workshop on transportation in Glendale.  There was no support for delaying a decision on the issue. When the call for consensus on ceasing pursuit of light rail in Glendale I, quite honestly, did not see her indicate her position in support for or in opposition to light rail.

Councilmember Jamie Aldama, shared the same position as Councilmember Turner and was a strong advocate for light rail. He believes that light rail will spur downtown economic development. As the Mayor noted, Councimember Aldama was comfortable with his position on the issue as it did not impact LaMar Avenue, located one block south of Glendale Avenue and at one time was considered as a possible location for the light rail line. When it came time for consensus, Councilmember Aldama joined Councilmember Turner in continued support of light rail.

As last in line, I said that I was not ready to sacrifice Go Programming dollars and General Fund resources to pay for light rail. We have immediate needs that can be satisfied by releasing light rail dollars to other transportation needs. When it came time for consensus I joined Mayor Weiers, Vice Mayor Hugh, and Councilmember Malnar in giving direction that council would no longer pursue light rail in Glendale.

On a 4 to 2 consensus with 1 unclear, city council has finally made a decision. Light rail will not come to Glendale…at least not anytime in the next 10 years. Light rail is dead.

© Joyce Clark, 2017                 

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.

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, October 17, 2017 the city council will once again take up the issue of light rail in Glendale. The entire city council received the following email from former Councilmember Yvonne Knaack. I think it is a good starting point for discussion. Here is her email in full as it is a public record having been sent to the entire council:

“Dear Mayor and Councilmembers, Please keep the discussion going on the future of light rail in Glendale. We need more definitive projections of cost before a final decision is made. I would hope that your would consider the advancement of light rail to at least a transition point of say 52nd Ave so that the mile stretch from 43rd Ave to 51st Ave can have the potential of development that is needed to revitalize that area of town. I believe there are developers who are just waiting to see if we will have light rail before they commit to bringing investment dollars to Glendale. I have concerns, like many of you, about the cost and negatives of light rail but know that a lot of these concerns can be mitigated. Light rail is infrastructure and more and more people will be using public transportation in the future. The connectivity of our regional transportation system is critical. Glendale has paid in millions of dollars and we don’t want to lose that money. We can’t use it for anything else so let’s find a way to get light rail done. The residents of Glendale voted for the light rail and have paid the taxes to bring it to Glendale. Please don’t give our future transportation to Phoenix and the East Valley. Sincerely, Yvonne Knaack”

Ms. Knaack states, “We need more definitive projections of cost before a final decision is made.” As part of our council information packet preparatory to our Tuesday discussion, one of the items offered is Preliminary Cost Estimates GO Program Analysis.

Again, some history of the GO Program is required. In 2001 Glendale voters approved Proposition 402 levying a half-cent (.5%) sales tax for the sole and exclusive purpose of improving transportation systems in Glendale. The following year, 2002, the Citizens’ Transportation Oversight Commission (CTOC) was established to ensure that the sales tax collected from Proposition 402 was applied properly. CTOC’s mission is to review and recommend action to city council to make sure that the Long Range Transportation Program is always financially balanced, i.e., it spends no more than is collected in tax. Other transportation projects in the GO Program include, but are not limited to, the Northern Parkway Corridor, improvement to the 59th Avenue corridor, bus pullouts, pavement management, neighborhood traffic mitigation and existing transit (bus service) operations.

Back to the Cost Estimates. Below is the information provided by staff with regard to the use of GO Program funds. The only things sure in life are “death and taxes.” The information below is factual and is based upon the best estimates of staff.

The total of the Capital Cost is the major variable. Something could blow up to make this estimate even higher, especially if the end of the line were to be at 61st Avenue, crossing Grand Avenue. The breakdown of funding sources is not a variable:

  • Federal – 58%
  • Regional – 8% (is fixed at $72.6 million)
  • Glendale – 13%
  • Phoenix – 21%

Based upon the estimated costs Glendale’s share of Capital Costs varies from a low of $32.4 million if light rail ends at 43rd Avenue and Glendale Avenue to a high of $156.6 million if light rail ends at 61st Avenue and Glenn Drive. Glendale’s annual operating and maintenance costs range from $1.6 M (ending at 43rd Avenue) to $5.7 M (ending at 61st Avenue).

Another area to consider is the projected GO Program’s deficit if light rail ends anywhere between 55th and Glenn Drive and 61st and Glenn Drive. The projected deficit to be absorbed by the GO Program for  Glendale’s Capital Costs varies from $0.8 M to $50.8 M. Glendale’s annual O&M deficit, also funded by the GO Program, varies from $0.4 M to $2.8 M (again dependent on where the line ends). The problem is those deficits have to be made up from somewhere and the only source would be Glendale’s General Fund.

The most significant questions become obvious. If light rail’s O&M and Capital Costs cannot be covered by the GO Program then it must take revenue from the General Fund. The General Fund pays for everything within the city from employee pay to funding such departments as Police and Fire or Parks and Recreation (our recreation programs and libraries). Even if bonding were to be used the repayment for those bonds comes from the General Fund. The question becomes are you willing to allocate less available money to various departments and needs within our city in order to cover the Capital Cost of constructing light rail as well as its annual O&M expenses?

Another equally valid question is that if there are no future surplus funds in the Go Program due to light rail funding of Capital Costs and O&M Costs are you willing to have less GO revenue for its other mandates, such as pavement management or the bus system?

There is yet another issue to consider. The Regional funding of $72.6 M is not assured. Since the regional funding sunsets in about 8 years, there is no assurance that voters will renew this funding source when it comes time to vote upon it. Therefore Valley Metro has announced to all participants that they must pay the regional share of $72.6 M up front and the participants will be reimbursed for that amount if and when the regional funding is again approved by voters. There is always the possibility that in paying the Regional funding Glendale may never be reimbursed for $72.6 M if the renewal funding fails at the ballot box. Will Glendale lose the $72.6 in regional funding if it does not participate in light rail, as Ms. Knaack suggests? Most likely, yes. But in order to get that $72.6 in regional funding are you willing to take the chance that Glendale will be reimbursed? Are you willing to use General Fund dollars at the detriment of other city departments and needs just to get that $72.6 million?

Former Councilmember Knaack goes on to say, “I believe there are developers who are just waiting to see if we will have light rail before they commit to bringing investment dollars to Glendale.” Let’s talk about those investment dollars. According to an Excel presentation on current development to-date adjacent to and surrounding existent light rail provided by Valley Metro to me several months ago, anywhere from an estimated 3% to 30% of the investment that occurs along a light rail route is public money (governmental funding). In addition it is quite likely that the incentive funding provided by the city to attract private development would have, once again, to compete with other General Fund priorities. Question: Do you want to divert General Funds to incentivize development along a light rail line?

What kind of investment is typical along a light rail line? Once again, based on information provided by Valley Metro, secondary development tends to be the double digit percentage addition of multi-family (apartments) and the decline of retail (percentage is variable from single digit decline to double digit decline). Question, are you willing to trade downtown retail locations for apartments?

I think these questions are important and I want to give you an opportunity to weigh in so I am putting up a new poll to the left of this column. I hope you will take the time to answer the poll questions.

Lastly, is the issue of technological advancement. New technology is being developed exponentially. I have no crystal ball but what future technological advances will make light rail and bus service obsolete? And how quickly can it happen? As an example, we are already beginning to see prototypes of flying commuter cars. What does the technological future hold in terms of mass transit vehicles, their capacities and their fuel sources? Should we consider this issue when deciding whether to develop light rail right now?

My final comment is this: former Councilmember Knaack obviously supports light rail but it will not affect her business located on Glendale Avenue because the proposed route runs one block to the north on Glenn Drive. My final question is would she still be supportive of light rail if it were proposed for Glendale Avenue and meant disruption of her business for a year…or two…or three? I think not. It is one thing to support an issue that doesn’t directly impact your bottom line but it is distinctly another when it affects your very livelihood.  

© Joyce Clark, 2017                 

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.

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               

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 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

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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

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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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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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This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those 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, democracy, 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 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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