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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

PLEASE CHECK OUT THE THREE CHAVIRA VIDEOS TO THE LEFT OF THIS COLUMN AND PLEASE DONATE TO MY CAMPAIGN.

It has been 18 years and 180 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Rarely does Glendale make a good news headline these days but unbelievably, it has happened. On June 13, 2016, Paul Giblin offered a story in the Arizona Republic entitled Glendale business boom: New companies, jobs headed to city. Giblin tells us, “More than a dozen companies have either moved to Glendale or expanded in the city this year…” representing “approximately 1,000 immediate jobs and 3,000 jobs at build out.” Here is the link to his story: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2016/06/13/glendale-business-boom-new-companies-jobs-headed-city/83852820/?hootPostID=6ada3683edf973f91ab90c9ddc9731c8 .

Who is responsible for the good news? City council? Nah. City Manager Phelps? Nah. The real heroes of this story are Glendale Economic Development Director Brian Friedman and his team. Of the 95,000 person workforce in Glendale, 84,000 travel outside of Glendale to work. Only 11,000 Glendale residents are employed within the city. It should be noted that 59,600 non-Glendale residents travel to work inside Glendale. Congratulations to Brian Freidman and his team. Keep up the good work as Glendale continues its economic resurgence.

One of my readers sent me mayoral candidate Burdick’s latest blast email. In it, I was particularly drawn to this, “Glendale residents deserve well-paying, fulfilling and abundant employment. We have the ability to recruit new, high-paying employers to our region, but unfortunately, many employers and developers look past Glendale because of ongoing budget problems, broken promises and failed relationships.”

There is no doubt that our residents want good, high-paying jobs where they live – here in Glendale. It seems pretty apparent that is exactly what Brian Freidman’ goal is. That is exactly what Freidman is creating in Glendale.

Three days after Giblin’s good news story about job creation and new businesses coming to Glendale, Burdick, in apparent ignorance of the facts, says that new employers are NOT coming to Glendale. I guess Burdick and his team don’t read a newspaper very often. How embarrassing.

I’ve been sent several of Burdick’s email blasts by my readers. What seems to be lacking in all of them are any semblance of fact to back up his claims. Where are they?

At least when I refer to my opponent’s ethical challenges, there are facts gathered from the media or city council minutes to back them. For instance, his travel expenditures were well documented in the Arizona Republic on March 4, 2016. His traffic citation and failure to appear in court were reported by the Glendale Star on April 28, 2016 and his record of absences can be found in city council minutes.

Now, a little of this…the light rail issue, is one of the most divisive in modern Glendale history. A few weeks ago Glendale Councilmember Ray Malnar offered to the public cost estimates to build 7 miles of light rail beginning at the end of the Phoenix light rail and culminating in Glendale on either the east or west side of Grand Avenue. Here are the cost estimates he provided:

  • Glendale Total cost (7 miles) $560,000,000.00
  • Federal Funds 50% $280,000,000.00
  • Glendale Sales Tax (GO Transportation Program) 17.5% $84,000,000.00
  • Phoenix T-2050 Tax 17.5% $112,000,000.00
  • WEST PHOENIX-CENTRAL GLENDALE – Regional Funding 15% $84,000,000.00
  • Assumes 50% federal funds and 15% regional funds
  • Assumes local share is split 4/7 Phoenix (4 miles in Phoenix), 3/7 Glendale (3 miles in Glendale)

Councilmember Malnar went on to report, “The latest estimated maintenance cost is $1.5 Million per mile for a total of $10.5 million per year. Based on the 3/7, 4/7 split between Glendale and Phoenix, the estimated Glendale cost per year for maintenance and operation of the 3-mile section would be $4.3 million per year. These costs are estimated to be reduced by about 1/3 from passenger fares, advertising and other income sources.”   

These are important facts to consider. Cost estimates for Glendale’s portion are $84 million dollars which comes out of Glendale’s GO Transportation sales tax revenues and the annual estimated maintenance cost to Glendale would be in the $4 million dollar range (cost reduced by 1/3 resulting in estimated cost of $3 million dollars per year).

The question of light rail in Glendale at this time and its associated costs demand another public vote expressing ratification or denial of the light rail concept in Glendale. The last vote on the issue was in 2001, 15 years ago, and resident’s priorities may have changed since that vote. Residents need the facts regarding costs and then the right to determine if this is how they want the transportation sales tax to be spent. Are there other priorities for which $84 million dollars of transportation sales tax could be used?

Now, a little of that…the elusive proof of insurance for the Cinco de Mayo Festival has finally been located and produced. Former Councilmember Norma Alvarez received the document as a result of yet another Public Information Request. She shared the result of that request and I am now sharing it with you. Here is a copy of the insurance: BreakthruChurchInsurance 2

Please note that it is under Barrio Breakthru Community Church. It would appear that a claim for the estimated $50,000 of criminal damage to city hall can be made against their policy. It would also be highly appropriate for the city to notify Barrio Breakthru Community Church and/or Productions that it will perform an audit of the $5,000 donated to them by Councilmembers Chavira and Aldama for their Cinco de Mayo event. After all, it is taxpayer money and the public has the right to learn if the $5,000 was spent appropriately.

Lastly…the Scottsdale city council had selected 3 finalists in its search for a new city manager. One of those finalists was Jim Colson, a former Economic Development Director for Glendale. On a 6 to 1 vote, the Scottsdale city council has directed that it will begin a new search with all finalists having been rejected.

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

At the Glendale city council meeting of March 22, 2016 during Council Comments Sammy stated that he will request a review by council of its travel policy. And so the story of his questionable travel expenses lives on. If he thought announcing that he was requesting a review of the policy would put him on the right side of the issue he was wrong. Once someone in the public eye has committed a transgression it lives in the public eye forever. Sammy’s travel expenses are an election issue. They go to the character of the man and to his ability to make sound, ethical judgments.

Paul Giblin of the Arizona Republic has another story on Sammy’s travel out today, March 25, 2016. Here is the link: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2016/03/24/glendale-councilman-sammy-chavira-seeks-review-travel-policy/82181492/ .

In Giblin’s story there are quotes from a recent Chavira email and City Attorney Michael Bailey’s email response on the issue. Chavira emailed City Attorney Michael Bailey and City Manager Kevin Phelps saying, “I would appreciate if you confirm that I followed all the rules and regulations regarding my travel expenditures. Additionally I would appreciate it if you would confirm that I submitted all my receipts and appropriate paperwork.” Note Sammy’s choice in wording. He used the word “confirm.” Hmm…it’s pretty obvious that Sammy is seeking someone, anyone to provide cover for his ethically challenged travel expenditures.

Mr. Giblin received Public Information Requests not only for Sammy’s email but for City Attorney Michael Bailey’s response. Now it gets interesting.  Bailey noted that the council’s travel policy is lax as no prior approval is required by anyone and the councilmember has the responsibility to decide if an expense is reasonable. What appears reasonable to Sammy may not be reasonable to you or others.

Giblin quotes from Bailey’s email, “Noting the foregoing (council’s lax policy and the absence of any standard for reasonableness) and based upon the information I have been provided regarding travel expenditures, the information does not conclusively establish any unlawful expenditures or any expenditures in violation of council policy.” How is that for making sure Bailey has wiggle room? You have to especially like the use of the word “conclusively.”

Then there is the issue of lost receipts raised by Councilmember Turner. Council has no policy regarding how to handle them appropriately or to establish a cap on reimbursements made with no paperwork to confirm the amount being requested. Apparently Sammy was reimbursed for lost receipts as well.

It gets even better. Giblin asked former Fire Chief Mark Burdick, now a mayoral candidate, about the situation. Burdick’s answer? He thought Sammy used his personal credit card and had no idea that Sammy used the city’s credit card to pay for the infamous $420 dinner. Where is Burdick’s announcement that under those circumstances, he too, will reimburse the city personally? Where is Burdick’s statement on the propriety of a dinner that included one of his subordinate fire fighters, Glendale fire fighter Danny Valenzuela?  According to Giblin, Burdick goes on to request a citizen’s ethics commission to oversee councilmembers’ expenses. That idea may be a bit of overkill as a remedy but hey, Burdick’s got to distinguish himself from the incumbent mayor somehow. This is as good a way as any.

In Giblin’s online Arizona Republic story there are graphs and charts comparing the travel expenditures of all of the councilmembers. Note that the two highest spenders are Sammy and recalled Councilmember Gary Sherwood. It appears that both fancied themselves as high rollers. They were buddies. They often went on the same trips. They voted together on many high profile city issues. Many citizens believe that they might have traded votes. The most notable being Sherwood’s flip-flop on the casino issue voting in favor and Sammy’s flip-flop on the $15 million a year arena management contract to IceArizona voting in favor. Each of these men voted in direct opposition to their campaign promises to their voters.

The ethical action for Sammy would be to reimburse the city for his problematical travel expenditures. He can’t do that although he should. If he were to reimburse the city that is tantamount to an admission of wrong doing. Sammy has no choice but to continue his mantra of I did nothing wrong. We’ve all heard many politicians say the same only to have them end up in jail.

The problem for Sammy is twofold. This issue is not going to go away before the Primary Election on August 30, 2016 and it forever defines his ethics and character for the voters of the Yucca district. They are angry and disgusted to learn Sammy wasted nearly $25,000 of their hard earned tax dollars.

Sammy has never addressed the primary purpose of his trips. To all appearances his primary purpose was to have fun in Washington, D. C. on your money. His perceived secondary purpose was to throw in some sort of brief meeting on a city related topic to provide him with just enough cover to be considered legal. The primary purpose and secondary purpose of a trip on taxpayer money is the distinction that many are missing. If the primary purpose is conclusively for city business that is legitimate. Perhaps secondary, unrelated to city business, portions of trips should be paid by the individual.

The voters of the Yucca district are angry. Glendale city councilmembers should be angry as well. They made appropriate and ethical decisions regarding the primary purpose of their travel. Unfortunately the ethically-tainted brush being used on Sammy will be used on them. Sammy’s apparent unethical decisions have now called into question their decisions.

Sammy’s questionable ethics is a story that is not going to go away although he may on Primary Election Day.

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

Not only are we entering the intense portion of the national political season with the election of a new President but Glendale politics will soon heat up. Several have taken out nomination petition packets which are due in the City Clerk’s office between May 2, 2016 and June 1, 2016.

Current Mayor Jerry Weiers and mayoral contender Mark Burdick have already taken out nomination petition packets as have Vice Mayor Ian Hugh (Cactus district) and current Councilmember Ray Malnar (Sahuaro district) who recently unseated Gary Sherwood in a Recall Election. Neither of these current councilmembers, as of this date, faces a challenger. In the Yucca district current Councilmember Sammy Chavira has not taken out a nomination petition packet. Nor has anyone else.

On January 8, 2016 KJJJ radio aired interviews centered on the topic, “Is Glendale Bouncing Back?” It was a strange exercise as apparently Burdick had been interviewed by the station before talking to senior staff and Mayor Weiers and Vice Mayor Hugh. The consensus of senior staff and the Mayor and Vice Mayor is that Glendale has recovered but not completely. All felt there was more work to be done to achieve the holy grail of complete financial stability for Glendale. All believe Glendale is well on its way to doing so.

It was what mayoral candidate Mark Burdick said in this story that will trouble many. Burdick said the fire department needs more resources to reduce response times. The police department needs more detectives in north Glendale.” Despite the published fact that Fire Department response times have not increased in the past 5 years.

Everyone should be concerned that Burdick’s major agenda is throwing more money exclusively into the Fire Department. Burdick has acknowledged that the city is not in full financial recovery yet he is willing to take dollars…from somewhere…probably all other city departments…to throw to his favorite department…the Fire Department. What would one expect from a man who retired as Glendale’s Fire Chief? What else would one expect from a candidate who is counting on the tremendous financial and manpower support of the fire unions to try to capture the mayoral seat? He will owe them big time.

With regard to calling for more detectives in north Glendale Burdick is simply pandering to voter strength. It is no secret that the 3 north Glendale districts (Cholla, Sahuaro and Barrel) outvote the 3 south Glendale districts (Cactus, Ocotillo and Yucca) by a margin of 3 to 1. If he attempts to capture the majority of the voters in the 3 north Glendale districts he is going to have to promise them some goodies. Is it any wonder that he made a call for more detectives in north Glendale when more police personnel are needed throughout the city? It’s merely the first of what may be many goodies for north Glendale.

There is no doubt that every Glendale department is stretched thin as Glendale continues its path to full financial recovery. There is no doubt that every department has needs to be met. Allocating more money to the fire department must not occur at the expense of the many needs throughout Glendale.

The Fire Department and the Police Department must be thoroughly scrutinized under zero-based budgeting. Zero-based budgeting requires each department to begin with zero dollars and to justify the need for every dollar allocated to it. Explaining what dollars are needed and where they will be utilized provides openly transparent public knowledge to every Glendale taxpayer that must foot the bill.

Be careful of Burdick’s promises. His advisors, such as Julie Frisoni formerly embroiled in alleged shenanigans related to the $15 million dollar a year Coyotes contract, appear to be a very slick bunch not above promising those things that will garner him votes and using whatever dirty tricks are at their disposal. All signs point to a fierce fight for the mayoral seat and the fight has just begun…

© 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.

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