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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

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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.

Ocotillo District Jamie Aldama: Mr. Aldama continues to be challenged in filing timely campaign reports. Apparently he did not file a 3rd quarter report for 2017 because his 4th quarter filing contains a cover page written by the City Clerk stating, “Per the City Clerk, Julie Bower, this reports contains contributions and expenses from a prior time in 2017 (June – September) period not already filed with the City Clerk.” Mr. Aldama’s 4th quarter report of 2017 shows a cumulative total of $15,216.53 (all funds raised prior to October 1, 2017). He had expenses of $6,923.30. He begins the 1st quarter report with $8,293.23. The following reflect his 4th quarter report of 2017:

Contributions of $25:

David Moreno, Hugo Tinoco, David Sandoval, Janice Nichols, Cecilia Moreno ($30), Ervin Cutwright

Contributions of $50:

 Lorenzo Sierra, Maria Brunner, Patricia DiRoss Coughlin, Jim Malicki, Martin Quezada, Otoniel Navarrate, Ray Watkins, Wendi Sorensen, Richard Andrade, Jim Walsh, Frank Hernandez, Debra Stark ($49), Sally Orozco, Teddy Castro, Jerry Cipriano ($49), Ben Barcon ($49), Teresa Ramirez Lopez

Contributions of $51 to $100:

Monica Pimentel, $75; Philip Carli, $100; Greg Aldama, $100; Tom Nerini, $100; Manuel Cisneros, $100; Tio Tachias, $100; Reginald Martinez, $99; Martin Samaniego, $100

Contributions of $101 to $500:

Janice Garza, $300; Ron Ober, $250; Dennis Burke, $250; Jason Morris, $500; Francisco Gutierrez, $200; Mark Burdick, $200; Luis De La Cruz, $500; John Dick, $500; Stephen Earl, $500; Rye Semro, $250; James Miller, $500; Stephen Anderson, $200; Gregory Vogel, $500;

Contributions of $501 and over:

Shelly & Chris Thompson, $600; Mark Becker, $1,000; Daniel Ochoa, $2,500; Faris Suukar, $1,000; Jacob Long , $1,000

The Committee to Elect Ray Martinez contributed $70

Political Action Committees (PACs):

Salt River Project Political Involvement Committee, $500; United Phx Firefighters Chandler Chapter, $500; United Phx Firefighters Peoria Chapter, $500; Phoenix Firefighters Local 493, $1,000

In-Kind contributions:

Teresa Ramirez Lopez, $45.53; Christy Fritz, $400; Jack Nylund, $60

Expenses:

Aldama’s expenses are interesting. Stone Strategic Management was paid $2,469.20 to define critical issues, and to identify and to develop best strategies.  Negotiation Dynamics was paid $1,389.58. This company is his campaign manager’s, Chuck Foy. The Saban Group was paid $154 to do opposition research and Christy Fritz was paid $600 for design services. Another $2,310.52 was paid out in customary services such a volunteer food, bank charges, etc.

Aldama began the first quarter of 2018 with $8,293.23. He had contributions of $9,600 and expenses of $4,029.60. He ends the first quarter of 2018 with $13,863.63.

For the first quarter of 2018 here is the breakdown:

Contributions of $100 to $500:

Tony Sawyer, $200; Paul Rovey, $250; Jason Rovey, $500; Ronald Rovey, $250; Israel Torres, $100; Rodney Jarvis, $200; Yvonne Knaack, $100; Taylor Earl, $150; Mario Diaz, $100; John Geurs, $300; Jessica Koory, $100; Edwin Bull, $250; Rhonda Cagle, $100

Contributions of $1,000 or more:

Kevin Kelly, $1,000; Stephen Earl, $1,000 (total to date, $1,500); Tohono O’Odham Nation, $2,000

Political Action Committees (PACs):

Arizona Pipe Trade 469, $2,500

Expenses:

Aldama’s expenses show Stone Strategic Management receiving another $1,740. His campaign manager, Chuck Foy, of Negotiation Dynamics was paid $424. Primary Consultants was paid $1,450 for a political mailing. $250 was paid to the Arizona Democrat Party for voter walking/mailing lists. The balance of the expense report shows usual and customary expenses. The total expenses in the first quarter of 2018 were $4,029.60.

We’ve barely gotten started and Aldama has already racked up expenses of nearly $11,000 and half of that was paid to consultants. Aldama begins his second quarter report of 2018 with $13,863.63

Ocotillo District Emmanuel Allen:  Allen formed a political committee late in the 4th quarter of 2017. To get himself started and to register his campaign committee he loaned the campaign $100. He had one contribution of $125 from Nick Simonetta resulting in a total of $225 for the 4th quarter. Allen has a starting balance of $55.06 for his first quarterly 2018 report.

In-Kind Contributions:

Consulting services of $400 from Constatin Querard.

Expenses:

$169.94 for web hosting and establishing a campaign bank account.

Allen’s 1st quarter report  of 2018 reflects the infancy of campaign fund raising by a “newbie” who has not run for political office before. In Allen’s first quarter report of 2018 he had contributions of $1,333.35.

Contributions of $50 to $100:

Tim Cole, $100; Skye Steele, $100; Nicole Davis, $100; Geraldine Gage, $100; Lawrence Davis, $50; Keith Davis, $100; Axel Sippach, $100; Vanessa Cordova, $50; Kenneth Turner, $100; Shelby Frederick, $50; Mariana Hunter, $100; Ned Altizer, $100

Contributions of $101 to $200:

Trina Salgado, $200

In-Kind Contributions:

$600 in consulting services from Constatin Querard

Expenses:

$409.24 for food, canvassing, web site hosting, printing and bank fees.

Mr. Allen retains a balance of $914.37 to begin his second quarter of 2018 report.

My next blogs will take a look at the candidates and their positions on city issues, old and new.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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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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 July 5, 2018 the Glendale Chamber of Commerce announced its endorsements for the three city council seats to be voted upon in Glendale’s next election. The endorsements were for all three incumbents: Vice Mayor Tolmachoff from the Cholla district; Councilmember Bart Turner of the Barrel district; and Councilmember Jamie Aldama of the Ocotillo district. All candidates were interviewed and their written responses reviewed by the Chamber’s Public Policy Council. Those recommendations were then forwarded to the Board of Directors for approval. Here are the members of the Glendale Chamber’s Public Policy Council:

  • Bill Toops, Glendale Star, Chairperson (also serves on Board of Directors)
  • Steve Adams, AlphaGraphics, (also serves on Board of Directors)
  • Rachel Aja, Cox Communications
  • Kathi Beranek, Blue Cross Blue Shield (company also represented on Board of Directors)
  • Judy Butler, Butler Creative & Consulting
  • Ron Castro, BNC National Bank, (company also represented on Board of Directors)
  • Michael Cavaiola, Redflex Traffic Solutions
  • Stephanie Colbert, Chance Mikos Farmer’s Insurance
  • Donna Davis, Expect More Arizona
  • Patricia DiRoss, Salt River Project, (company also represented on Board of Directors)
  • Yvonne Knaack, State Farm Insurance
  • Matt Ligouri, Southwest Gas
  • Bobbi Magdaleno, Arizona State University, (also serves on Board of Directors)
  • Dave Mitchell, Ideal Insurance Agency
  • Liz Recchia, WeMar
  • Brent Stoddard, Director of Public Affairs, City of Glendale
  • Lyndia Vescio, Vescio Law Firm, (also serves on Board of Directors)
  • Robert Heidt, CEO Glendale Chamber of Commerce, (also serves on Board of Directors)

Here are the members of the Chamber’s Board of Directors;

  • Maria Brunner, Chair of the Board, OneAZ Credit Union
  • Lily DeBileux, Chair-Elect, Pendergast Elementary School District
  • Steve Adams, Treasurer, Alphgraphics
  • Scott Spillman, Vice Treasurer, BNC National Bank
  • Jean Higginbotham, Past Chair, Blue Cross Blue Shield,
  • Robert Heidt, CEO, Glendale Chamber
  • Victoria Coley, Humana
  • Ariana Deerman, Wells Fargo Bank
  • Stephanie Klingener, VitalFit Training
  • Kate Kochenderfer, Salt River Project
  • Wayne Lawson, Signarama on 51st Avenue
  • Patrick McDermott, Arizona Public Service
  • Bobbi Magdaleno, Arizona State University
  • Kevin Phelps, City Manager, City of Glendale
  • Mary Pritchard, Pritchard Insurance Group
  • Richard Sherry, Dignity Health Arizona
  • Bill Toops, Glendale Star
  • Jeffrey Turney, Military & Veterans Affairs
  • Lynda Vescio, Vescio Law Firm
  • Judy Walter, Dignity Memorial
  • Mayor Jerry Weiers, City of Glendale

Of the 18 members of the Public Policy Council, 8 members (44%) also serve on the Board of Directors or have another person from their company serving on the Board of Directors. Once the Public Policy Council has made a recommendation for endorsement it is very probable that the Board of Directors will ratify the recommendations. After the 8 members have made a decision those same 8 companies can ratify the recommendations made to the Board of Directors needing only one more person to constitute a majority of the Board.

It is also worth noting that seven (38%) of the 18 members of the Public Policy Council members represent large companies (Cox Communications, Blue Cross Blue Shield, BNC National Bank, Redflex Traffic Solutions, Salt River Project, Southwest Gas, Arizona State University). All have a Valley-wide presence. Should Valley-wide, major companies be empowered to make recommendations about local candidates for office?

What criteria were used to make their recommendations for endorsement?

  • “Candidates were selected who have distinguished themselves as knowledgeable and supportive (emphasis mine) of issues positively affecting the business community in the city of Glendale.”
  • Bill Toops, Chair of the Chamber’s Public Policy Council said, “The Glendale Chamber Board of Directors is pleased to endorse candidates who have demonstrated accessibility and collaboration (emphasis mine) in support of promoting interests most important to our local businesses.”
  • Robert Heidt, the Chamber’s CEO, said, “Throughout this process we heard from those running for office and have endorsed candidates who has the clearest understanding of the challenges facing the business community and those whose policies align with our initiatives (emphasis mine) to foster a pro-business environment focused on the creation of quality jobs, along with business retention and expansion.”

These criteria seem to favor incumbents. Their positions as elected officials provide many opportunities to “distinguish themselves as knowledgeable and supportive,” to have “demonstrated accessibility and collaboration,” and to have advocated for “policies that align” with the Chamber’s initiatives.

Incumbents have the decided advantage as they have the opportunity to interact with the Chamber in a variety of ways in their official capacities as well as the opportunity to approve/disapprove actions that benefit the Chamber’s interests. It’s not a level playing field. Often those running in opposition to the incumbents have no experience or knowledge of specific city initiatives or actions, especially any that could benefit the Chamber. It’s not their fault. They haven’t been playing ‘inside baseball’ for the previous four years (term of an incumbent). They simply do not have any experience serving as an elected and therefore are at a disadvantage. It takes any newly elected official time to learn how the city works, to become familiar with its policy positions and to establish relationships with various stakeholder groups within the city.

Perhaps the better criterion to be used would not to be rely upon experience (that is weighted always toward the incumbent) but rather to review candidates’ positions on the issues and which policies would be supported. If two candidates for the same office shared the same views perhaps using incumbency to tip the scales should not be the option for recommendation. Perhaps in some cases there should be no recommendation or a recommendation to support either candidate.

I remain troubled with the process used by the Chamber to select endorsements in a local campaign. It will be another two years before the Chamber issues its next set of endorsements for local office. That time might be well spent in developing a process that recognizes an incumbent’s advantage and levels the playing field for those who have never held office.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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.

I have received information from the city that Breakthu Ministries does pay rent for the use of the Glendale Youth Center for its Sunday services. According to the city Breakthru Ministries pays the city’s standard room rental for an hour of time each Sunday which is $72.00 per hour.

I also was informed, according to city records, for the Breakthru Ministries event on Sunday, February 25, 2018 held at the Glendale Youth Center the organization paid the city’s standard room rental for just one hour of time at the rate of $72.00 per hour. This one puzzles me. On the poster it clearly states that the event starts at 11 AM and has no end time posted. The flyer offers a free concert, free food & drinks and a low rider display. Since Breakthru only paid for one hour, it must have been the fastest event ever presented. They had to set up, break down, serve all the refreshments, offer a concert and a low rider display…all in the one hour rental for which they paid. I call that amazing.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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.

After posting on the two BreakThru/Through ministries, I received these photos this morning from a reader and I though I would share them. It was taken this morning. The question to be answered is BreakThru Ministries paying rent to the City of Glendale for the use of its Youth Center for its Sunday services?

BreakThru Ministries service at the Glendale Youth Center

This photo, again sent by the reader, is a screen shot from the internet posted by BreakThru Ministries advertising its Sunday service at the Glendale Youth Center.

I have no animus toward this church but I strongly believe in the Constitutional mandate of separation of church and state. If this church is paying rent to the city it is legal and legitimate and fulfills the requirement of separation of church and state. 

If it does not, then it is in violation and Ocotillo Councilmember Jamie Aldama is endorsing and associating with, for want of a better term, a rogue organization. The question becomes if the Councilmember knowingly associates with this group who may not be in compliance, it then becomes fair game to look at and to question his other associations. It is scrutiny everyone who runs for office often faces.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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.

There are two “Breakthru/Through” entities co-existing in Glendale and one is certainly not like the other. The only similarity they share is that both are religious ministries with very similar names. It makes for a fascinating political dynamic in Glendale’s current election cycle.

One entity is called “Breakthru Ministries.” In its last hosting of an event in the city’s downtown Murphy Park it bore the responsibility for the trashing of one of the computer rooms in Glendale’s City Hall resulting in over $50,000 worth of damage. Apparently, a group of youth attendees of the event gained access to enter city hall from “Breakthru Ministries” representatives. There appeared to be no adult supervision of these youth resulting in the damage. It is my understanding that eventually the insurance carrier that the city required “Breakthru Ministries” to have for the event paid the claim.

 “Breakthru Ministries” also hosts religious services every Sunday morning at the Glendale Youth Center in the Barrio. It is my understanding that they pay no rent for the use of this city facility for their Sunday church services. That is a violation of federal laws regarding the separation of church and state. A non-profit, including churches, may rent government facilities but a governmental entity may not sponsor church activities by allowing the use of a facility for free. It is my understanding that such is the case with “Breakthru Ministries.”

“Breakthru Ministries” has an ally in Councilmember Jamie Aldama. Aldama and disgraced former Councilmember Sammy Chavira each donated from their council budgets to sponsor the event cited above that occurred in Murphy Park resulting in $50,000+ worth of damage. It appears that Councilmember Aldama continues to support this organization. On his Facebook Reelection page Aldama publicizes and endorses a recent “Breakthru Ministries” event. It was held on February 25, 2018 at the Glendale Youth Center, 5401 W. Ocotillo Road. Did the organization pay the city to use this space for their event in a city facility? Does the organization pay rent to use the Youth Center for its Sunday church services? Did Councilmember Aldama financially support this event by making a contribution from his council budget (your money, your tax dollars at work) to support this event?

Aldama is up for reelection for the Ocotillo district council seat this year and it looks like he needs all the friends he can get including dubious ones such as “Breakthru Ministries.”

Now, the other “Breakthru/Through” is an entirely different entity. It is called “Breakthrough Life Church.” It was founded by Emmanuel Allen and his wife, Belinda.  They also founded the “Roots Recreational and Learning Center, Inc.”  Allen’s “Roots” program is located at the city’s O’Neil Park Recreation Center and coincidentally, he also hosts church services at the Glendale Youth Center.

The “Roots” program at O’Neil Park was a successful bid selected by the city to provide programming for children living in a low-socio demographic area of Glendale. It appears to be highly successful and the O’Neil Recreation Center, a city facility, is always packed with children after school. The feedback from area residents is that the kids love the activities available at the center and Emmanuel Allen who is there every day.

One glaring difference between the two “Break Throughs” is that “Breakthrough Life Church” does indeed pay rent to the city to use the Youth Center for its religious services. Another, more subtle difference, is that “Breakthru Ministries” seems to feed off the community while “Breakthrough Life” seems to feed the community. While subtle, it is important to note.

What makes these two entities so intriguing is the political dynamic associated with each. Emmanuel Allen happens to be Jamie Aldama’s opponent in this year’s Ocotillo council district election. What is interesting to note is two days after a recent City Council Executive Session, Aldama’s campaign manager, Chuck Foy, filed a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA) for all correspondence between any city personnel and Emmanuel Allen. Did Aldama commit an Open Meeting Law violation by sharing information he learned during the Executive Session with his campaign manager Chuck Foy? Why the FOIA? Aldama, through his surrogate campaign manager, appears to be mining for any possible political dirt.  

As you can see, in this case, one thing is not like the other. The same can be said of the two candidates for the Ocotillo district council seat…one is not like the other.

Welcome to Glendale’s political season.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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.

This is a blog way overdue. There are so many issues revolving around the city’s code compliance department that it’s difficult to know where to begin. As councilmembers code is by far the issue that we and our staffs deal with constantly. There isn’t a day that goes by that we all don’t receive code complaints.

Ever since he joined council, Councilmember Ray Malnar has pushed for code reforms. Shortly he will put together an informal working group to review code and to make recommendations for reform. I am happily looking forward to joining his working group. After all, we councilmembers deal with code issues on a daily basis and know what the greatest issues are.

Let me begin by relating some history. In July of 1993, council passed Ordinance Number 1772. It was the first major revision to code in many years. This ordinance encompassed major revisions to the entire body of city code. Here is the first paragraph of this ordinance: Section 1.100 Title. The ordinance shall be known and may be cited as the ‘Zoning Ordinance of the City of Glendale, Arizona.’ Within the ordinance text, it shall be cited as ‘this ordinance’. (Ord. No. 1772, 7-23-93)”.

The ordinance goes on to state, 1.204 Repealer and Severability. The provisions of this ordinance, insofar as they are substantially the same as the provisions of ordinances repealed in Subsection A of this section, shall be construed as restatements and continuations thereof and not as new enactments (bold mine).” In plain English the provisions of this ordinance did not create new law but were crafted to further clarify existing law.

The ordinance clearly states that if any provisions create greater restrictions they are to be followed as stated in this portion of the text, “1.205 Conflict With Other Rules or Regulations. Where this ordinance imposes a greater restriction on land, buildings or structures than is imposed or required by other existing provisions of law, ordinance, contract or deed, the provisions of this ordinance shall control (bold mine).” This provision seems to reject the concept of “grandfathering” which allows a property or home existing prior to 1993 to be exempt from the new ordinance provisions. Based upon the language of this ordinance any new code provisions or regulations will be considered as refinements of existent code and it mandates that greater restrictions are to be recognized and applied.

One of the new provisions within this ordinance addresses the subject of residential parking specifically with reference to zoning districts R 1-10 (10,000 square foot lot sizes), R 1-8 (8,000 SF), R 1-7 (7,000 SF) and R 1-6 (6,000 SF). The text reads as follows:

“Section 5.300 URBAN RESIDENTIAL

R1-10, R1-8, R1-7–Single Residence.

Section 5.313 R1-6–Single Residence.

5.3184 Parking.

Refer to Section 5.312.

(Ord. No. 2090, § 3, 7-27-99)

5.312 Parking.

  1. Parking and driveways are permitted as follows: (See Figures R-1 and R-2)
  2. A parking area may not exceed thirty (30) feet of contiguous area or fifty (50) percent of the lot width as measured at the front yard setback, whichever is less.
  3. Within the front yard, a parking/driveway area is only allowed between the garage or carport and the street, except an area contiguous to the allowed parking/driveway which is consistent with the dimensions in #1 above.
  4. No parking is permitted in the front yard when the parking area:
  5. Is detached from the allowed parking/driveway area; or Would result in an area greater than the allowable width as described in #1 above.
  6. Circular driveways and similar circulation may be permitted within the front yard so long as:

                      A.  No long term resident parking occupies such circular drive; and

                      B.  The front yard contains no more than fifty (50) percent of the total square                                 footage in parking/driveway or other circulation.

           (Ord. No. 1772, 7-23-93)”

Does it occur to anyone that you almost need a PhD to understand the language and to apply the code? Although I’m sure the language meets the technical requirements of the law but as is usually the case, it’s difficult for the ordinary citizen to understand much less follow its requirements.

Now let’s throw this into the mix. The ordinance also grants the Planning Director the right to interpret provisions of the ordinance, “Section 3.400 Interpretations, Administrative Relief, and Administrative Review.

3.401 Interpretations.

  1. The Planning Director shall be responsible for interpretation of the Zoning Ordinance. Interpretations may be considered if there is a question of clarity of any development standard or other provision of this ordinance, or a review is required (bold mine) within the permitted use categories of a specified zone district.
  2. Prior to determining that a use is permitted within a specific zoning district, the Planning Director shall find that:
  3. The use is described and included in the zoning district;
  4. The intensity of the use will not adversely affect other properties within the district; (bold mine)”

This provision will become more relevant as I relate a series of current code complaints. Recently the city council has received a series of complaints from residents in the Ocotillo district about front yard parking. It appears that our code department is not acting upon them. Last year I had offered the same concerns about the very same issue to our code department. What seems to be occurring these days is that some residents are covering their entire front yards with concrete or pavers and then using the entire front yard as a parking lot for multitudes of their vehicles. In my district I have seen entire front yards covered with pavers and concrete.  Here’s an example from my district. As you can see the entire front yard has recently been concreted. I have seen multiple vehicles parked there and in this photo some are parked right in front of the front door of the residence.

I filed complaints about this activity with the code department last year. In response I was advised that these were not violations or the case was closed. Why you ask? Clearly (or maybe not so clearly) the 1993 ordinance spells out that that “no more than 30 feet of contiguous area or 50% of the front yard lot width” may be used for driveways and parking.  Common sense would seem to dictate that if you have concreted or paved your entire front yard and then use it for parking more than 3 vehicles you are in violation of code.

Ahh… but not so fast. Within the material  of the ordinance I cited above, the Planning Director can interpret any provision of this 1993 ordinance. Never, ever, in all my 17 years on city council have I ever seen the code department go to the Planning Director to ask for an interpretation of whether something is a code violation. That is exactly what code did in the Ocotillo district where front yard parking was becoming a major problem last year. In response to the code department’s request, the Planning Director toured the area in question and said that since the homes in that area were built prior to 1993 they were grandfathered in and the 1993 ordinance regulating front yard parking did not apply. He further stated that he did not believe it was out of character for the affected neighborhood.

Last year after the Ocotillo district complaints, I complained about exactly the same problem. Code used the Planning Director’s interpretation for that unrelated neighborhood in the Ocotillo council district as the basis for not citing exactly the same activity in my district and led me to believe that the Planning Director had toured my area of complaint as well. In fact, he did not. The opinion he offered in a memo to the code department was in direct response to the Ocotillo neighborhood parking issue, not mine.

Correction at 9 PM Feb. 9, 2018: After reviewing my code material I find that I misrepresented the Planning Director’s opinion. When I said Code can be confusing, I wasn’t kidding. The Planning Director was asked by the Code Department to tour the Maryvale Terrace area in the Ocotillo district last year. His opinion centered strictly on the installation and use of auxiliary driveways. In his opinion regarding that area he supported the installation of an auxiliary driveway to be used to enter an RV gate thereby allowing the property owner’s RV to be parked behind the gate. At that time he opined that auxiliary driveways were not out of character for that neighborhood and were permissible for that purpose. In addition, my notes indicate that the Planning Director did in fact tour the neighborhood in my district where I had registered complaints. He indicated that it is not a violation to have pavers or concrete to serve as additional driveways that are to be used for access through an RV gate to park in a backyard. He also opined that it is a violation to park on these surfaces where it is considered to be front yard parking and a code violation.

The question remains, why is the code department using this narrowly crafted opinion as a rationale to not cite for front yard parking? This photo clearly shows the homeowners are definitely in violation of front yard parking. The second question that remains valid is why was historical precedent ignored by the code department by asking the Planning Director to decide whether an issue is a code violation? As I stated previously, this is a first in my 17 year history as a councilmember.

What happened to Section 1.205 of the 1993 ordinance that states that greater restrictions within this ordinance prevail? If you follow the logic of code’s request of and acceptance of the Planning Director’s interpretation on this code matter in an Ocotillo neighborhood built before 1993, what does mean for other ordinance provisions that apply to all neighborhoods built prior to the 1993 ordinance? For instance, group home restrictions are enhanced in the 1993 ordinance. According to the code department’s reliance upon using the Planning Director’s interpretation for just one neighborhood built before 1993, it now opens the door for all other neighborhoods established prior to 1993. It would appear if a group home is established in a home built before 1993, then the 1993 restrictions do not apply. I didn’t go through the entire code but I bet there are other restrictions in the 1993 ordinance that also could be interpreted as not applying to a home built prior to 1993.

These actions raise several very important questions. Which concept within the 1993 ordinance is to be followed? The concept that greater restrictions prevail or the concept that the Planning Director can waive or interpret code requirements for neighborhoods built before 1993 (the concept of “grandfathering”)?

Code’s action of requesting the Planning Director to decide code requirements is precedent setting and opens the door wide for an unequal application of the 1993 ordinance as code has now accepted a rationale that enables it not to follow the proscription, “Where this ordinance imposes a greater restriction on land, buildings or structures than is imposed or required by other existing provisions of law, ordinance, contract or deed, the provisions of this ordinance shall control.”

My frustration is with code’s inability or unwillingness to address issues such as excessive front yard parking. It’s no wonder citizens are upset. I have heard repeatedly from folks all over the city that Glendale doesn’t look good anymore and they point to code’s ineffectiveness. I am not the only councilmember dissatisfied with the code department’s performance. Many, but not all, councilmembers have expressed the same dissatisfaction.

The leadership of the code department has expressed the belief that my and other councilmembers’ dissatisfaction with the department’s performance is a direct result of a lack of staff. But that is not the issue. It’s not whether there are 5 or 15 code inspectors but rather the effectiveness of the results of the actions taken by whatever the number of staff the department has in resolving an issue (and yes, that should include citing a resident for not following code).

Another code department rationale for a lack of successful resolution is that the department states that unless the complaint is ironclad in terms of proof of violation, city prosecutors will not file a case. Perhaps what is needed is the department taking more time and making a greater effort to meet the requirements of the prosecutors’ office to bring forward successful cases for adjudication. If the prosecutors’ office requires greater proof of a violation by completing actions A, B and C it would seem that is what code should be striving to meet. Leadership has said that they have taken cases to the Prosecutors’ Office only to be told that the case is too weak. Then it becomes incumbent upon code to do further work on a case to make it strong enough to be prosecuted.

I am anxious to participate on the working group that Councilmember Malnar will lead. If parts of code are outdated, we will recommend their removal. If parts of code are too weak, we will find ways to beef them up. If there are new issues that need remedies, we will find them. Keep in mind that this working group will have no formal authority so its conclusions may or may not be accepted. Perhaps most important of all, it is time for greater transparency and accountability and those are elements we must require of this department.

It’s time to make all  of Glendale look good again.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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It has been 18 years and 117 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

The city council meeting of April 12, 2016 had a lot of green shirts with the logo “Heroes Park –Finish It” in attendance. Citizen speakers spoke about the need to finish the park, long

Green shirts in city council chambers

Green shirts in city council chambers

overdue; about the density of homes in the proposed residential development south of the Grand Canal; and the need to reopen O’Neil Pool. City council did take notice and several spoke about the park during council comments. What were heard were platitudes. Some said there was recognition of the need to finish the park but none offered a solid commitment to make that happen. Others recognized the need for more parking at the park and punted saying that more temporary parking would be created when the temporary modular library branch was installed.

None of the non-solutions are satisfactory. That means the work of the citizen group led by Tom Traw of the Yucca district and Norma Alvarez of the Ocotillo district is not done. Continual pressure by the citizens’ group must continue. They will not succeed with a one day show of

O'Neil Pool abandoned

O’Neil Pool abandoned

citizen force. Pressure must be applied on the city council to allocate the money needed to complete this park.

Please contact Glendale’s city councilmembers at the email addresses listed below and tell them you want Heroes Park finished and it has been far too long.

  • Mayor Jerry Weiers at mayorweiers@glendaleaz.com
  • Vice Mayor Ian Hugh at ihugh@glendaleaz.com
  • Councilmember Bart Turner at bturner@glendaleaz.com
  • Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff at ltolmachoff@glendaleaz.com
  • Councilmember Ray Malnar at rmalnar@glendaleaz.com
  • Councilmember Jamie Aldama at jaldama@glendaleaz.com
  • Councilmember Sammy Chavira at schavira@glendaleaz.com

Or call the city council assistants and leave a message for each councilmember:

  • Mayor Weiers office at 623-930-2260
  • An army

    An army

    Council assistant Ryan Lee for Councilmembers Turner and Tolmachoff at 623-930-2250

  • Council assistant Adam Maynes for Councilmembers Hugh and Aldama at 623-930-2878
  • Council assistant Van Ornelas for Councilmembers Malnar and Chavira at 623-930-2016

If, after 18 years, you want Heroes Park to be completed it requires your involvement. One tiny ant can’t do very much but an army of ants can move mountains. You need to become a member of the ant army and actively voice your support for the completion of this park.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

FAIR USE NOTICE

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Today, November 11, 2014 I checked the Maricopa County elections website to see if there were final results for the Glendale Ocotillo district race for councilmember.

The results are Jamie Aldama received 929 votes and current Councilmember Norma Alvarez received 924 votes. If this isn’t proof that every vote counts I don’t know what is. Aldama prevailed by a margin of 5 votes.

It’s ironic and poetic justice. In  her run for the Ocotillo council seat in 2010 Alvarez won by 9 votes. Will there be a recount? Probably. So it may not be over yet. Stay tuned.

© 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.

Relief has set in…at least for a little while. We have a short respite before the presidential election cycle in 2016.  No more daily dozen of political robo calls asking for your money, your vote and virtually your first born child. Politics, as has been said many times, is a rough sport. One has to admire and congratulate all candidates for putting themselves before voters for judgment and eventual approval or rejection.

The old cliché is that every vote counts. There are two stark examples. Nationally, the congressional senate race in Virginia between Mark Warner and Ed Gillespie is still too close to call a winner. 2,132,824 people voted. Warner has 1,072,487 and Gillespie has 1,060,337, a 12,150 vote difference between the two.

In Glendale the Ocotillo race has virtually the same scenario in a tight race between Jamie Aldama and Norma Alvarez. In Ocotillo 1,910 people voted. Of those votes Aldama has 960 votes and Alvarez has 950 votes…a difference of 10 votes. This scenario is not new to Alvarez. In her first election she won by 9 votes. No winner has been declared yet.

What is most disturbing of all is voter apathy. We see it in every election, especially in Glendale. Look at the vote totals by district. In Cholla district 7,080 people voted. In the Barrel district 4,860 people voted and in Ocotillo district 1, 910 people voted.

The last time Glendale reconfigured its districts its goal was to maintain approximately 40,000 people in each district. Slightly over 7,000 people decided who would represent the Cholla district. In Barrel and Ocotillo districts it’s even worse. Nearly 5,000 people decided the fate of the 40,000 residents in the Barrel district and nearly 2,000 people decided the fate of the 40,000 residents of the Ocotillo district.

Congratulations to the winners. You put yourselves before the voters and they approved. It is now your responsibility to represent their interests. Be wary of the temptations to decide that you know what is best or to believe that you have an obligation to pay back the special interests that contributed mightily to your campaigns. Remain humble and respectful of all and their points of view. Above all, listen. Game over…for now.

© 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.

Councilmember Gary Sherwood has done it again. On September 17, 2014 he appeared before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing on Senate Bill 2670. The bill, if approved by the Senate, would have the effect of stopping the Tohono O’odham from building a casino in Glendale.

Please note that the panel members were not sworn in. It is the usual practice in any Congressional hearing and one wonders why it was not done this time. In his oral testimony Sherwood said, “We have talked to many business leaders in this area including leaders of two professional sports teams and major hospitality developments and they all support this West Valley project.”

It appears that his statement is not true. In fact, the Cardinals have sent a letter to the Chair of the Committee, Senator Jon Tester, as well as the Vice Chair Senator Barrasso, Senator John McCain, Senator Jeff Flake, Mayor Jerry Weiers and all members of the Glendale City Council, categorically stating that they do not support the casino project.  The Arizona Coyotes released a public statement indicating that they have never expressed support for the casino project.

Looks like Sherwood was shooting from the hip…err…his lips…again. Sherwood is on a personal path of self destruction with a history of public statements that have all but destroyed his credibility. No wonder the people of the Sahuaro district, which he represents, seem all too willing to sign a recall petition against him.

On a separate but another questionable note, a blog reader contacted me and asked if Jamie Aldama has the home he owns in the Yucca district registered as a rental property with the City of Glendale and if he is paying monthly rental property tax to the city. I have no answer and the city maintains no online listing of rental properties. I suggest the Ocotillo voters go to the source and ask Mr. Aldama. It begs yet another question. Why is Jamie Aldama still sitting on the citizen’s Planning and Zoning Commission representing the Yucca district if he doesn’t live there and is running as a candidate for the Ocotillo council seat? Councilmember Chavira (Yucca district) should have replaced him when Aldama announced for Ocotillo. Why didn’t he? Perhaps he was just lazy and didn’t want to deal with the hassle of finding a replacement or perhaps he thought he was giving Aldama greater credibility as an Ocotillo district candidate with Planning and Zoning credentials. There’s no love lost between Chavira and Alvarez. She supported him a lot…I mean tons… in his run for his council seat only to be double crossed by him when Chavira voted for the arena management agreement. Alvarez was counting on him to be the fourth vote that would kill the deal. This kind of politics is certainly not for the faint hearted.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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