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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.

First let me recognize and thank this city council for approving Phase I of a permanent West Branch Library currently under construction. However, Heroes Park is far from complete. It’s a twenty year commitment by Glendale still not met. Heroes Park still lacks its Recreation & Aquatics Center (a la Foothills), its water feature, a dog park, a Phase II expansion of the library and its ball/soccer fields.

Heroes Park Concept Plan

 

 

 

 It drives me nuts when I pick up the paper and read that Phoenix will invest between $80 and $100 million to upgrade Margaret T. Hance Park (also known as the “Deck Park”) to include a jogging loop, a skate park, a splash pad area, enhancements to its events area and more trees for shade. Or that Avondale will spend $12 million to upgrade its Festival Fields Park with a lake, dog park, splash pad, ramadas, new lighting, restroom and playground equipment replacement and volleyball, pickleball and basketball courts. Or that Goodyear is investing in a 30-acre park with a recreation center and an outdoor aquatic facility.

I accept that Glendale faced enormous fiscal adversity and the decisions of the current councilmembers and mayor were critical in reversing those problems. I accept that Glendale, as every other city, weathered the Great Recession. But now Glendale is facing a bright financial future and the completion of this park is a moral debt owed to the citizens of south and west Glendale.

They have waited for 20 years…marking a full generation of children that never had the opportunity to use Heroes Park. This is a city council promise that must be fulfilled for all of the people that bought homes in the area on the reliance that there would be a park nearby.

What angers south and west residents is that Foothills Recreation & Aquatics Center was placed into the city’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) in Fiscal Year 98-99 (the same year as Heroes Park) as a Multi-General Center North and in addition in Fiscal Year 01-02 a Recreation & Aquatics Center was also added. In Fiscal Year 03-04 both projects were merged into the Foothills Recreation & Aquatics Center. Groundbreaking occurred in 2005 with completion of the project in 2006. It took 7 years from identification in the CIP until it was opened for business. And yet Heroes Park remains in large swaths of dust, dirt and weeds. It is not only an eye sore but an embarrassment to all.

Until this park is completed with all of the elements of its master plan, people will continue to believe in a sentiment I have heard expressed often and bitterly. They point to Foothills with its library and recreation & aquatics center and say, north Glendale is placed before the rest of Glendale and there is some truth to that belief.

In the 1980’s the Hunt brothers had acquired most of the land known today as the Arrowhead area. Their plans were to develop a master planned residential community. However, the brothers attempted to corner the silver market resulting in their bankruptcy. The leaders of Glendale at that time made a commitment to save the dream of Arrowhead pouring at least $70 million into the area to guarantee its development. Their action saved Arrowhead but at what cost? Dollars that would have been used throughout Glendale were instead diverted to Arrowhead. For several years Glendale’s financial resources were targeted up north while the rest of the city’s needs were unanswered. That well intentioned action caused tremendous citizen resentment that persists to this day.

Sometimes that resentment becomes exacerbated when over 1,000 citizens sign a petition to moderate the proposed Stonehaven residential project and their voices are ignored or when O’Neil Pool, waterless and no longer useable remains a gaping scar for years within O’Neil Park. People shrug their shoulders with a palpable sense of embitterment and defeatism.

Fixing the O’Neil Pool problem and completing Heroes Park will go a long way to restoring peoples’ faith that the city will treat all of its areas with some sense of equity. No longer would south and west residents have cause to believe that they are step children, often ignored.

Everyone acknowledges that these promises – Heroes Park and O’Neil Pool — were not made on the current senior management’s or council’s watch but now that Glendale is back on track financially it is incumbent upon them to finally fulfill these promises. These two projects will restore a sense of pride in their city for south and west Glendale residents.

Every district within Glendale has its “Points of Pride,” those recreational amenities created for the use of our residents.  

  • Cholla district has the Foothills Library, the Foothills Recreation & Aquatics Center and Thunderbird Conservation Park.
  • Sahuaro district is proud of its Paseo Racquet Center & Park; Skunk Creek Park and Thunderbird Paseo Park.
  • The Barrel district can point to the Adult Center, the Main Library and Sahuaro Ranch Park.
  • The Cactus district residents enjoy the Elsie McCarthy Sensory Garden, the Rose Lane Aquatics Center and Manistee Ranch.
  • The Ocotillo district claims the Velma Teague Library, the Civic Center and Murphy Park & Amphitheatre.
  • The Yucca district has the Grand Canal Linear Park and …???? An unfinished Heroes Park.

When will our promise be fulfilled?

© 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.

It has been 18 years and 137 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

On May 3, 2016 city council had another budget meeting. I am always surprised about councilmembers’ lack of in-depth questioning of senior staff about specific budget items. To be fair, Councilmembers Turner, Tolmachoff and Aldama are asking questions but are they the right ones? Just one would be to ask senior staff to justify the hiring of new employees (Full Time Employee, FTEs) being requested in the proposed budget. Specifically adding employees to the city’s core services, public safety, water, sewer and sanitation is a no-brainer and should be approved for they comprise essential city services. However, adding employees to non-essential services should have been thoroughly vetted by council.

I have a lot of questions about the proposed budget but without serving on city council it becomes an exercise in futility for the average Glendale citizen to get any meaningful answers. Instead I offer some observations about the May 3rd session.

Senior staff recommended that three council identified requests go back to the

O'Neil Pool abandoned

O’Neil Pool abandoned

appropriate citizen board or commission with yet another subsequent city council workshop. An increase in library hours will go back to the Library Advisory Board. When library hours were cut it was just announced by the city as a cost saving measure and no citizen input was sought. The repair/replacement or even necessity for the O’Neil Pool will go back to the Parks and Recreation Commission. When the pool was closed due to leaks it was simply announced by the city and no citizen input was sought. Heroes Park is scheduled to receive a $50,000 reevaluation of its Master Plan and it will go to the Parks and Recreation Commission. The city never

Southwest Heroes Park

Southwest Heroes Park

announced its inattention to Heroes Park, it simply ignored it for 18 years. I can tell you what the result of this $50,000 study will be: citizens will say overwhelmingly complete the darn park; build the ball fields, the dog park, the urban fishing lake, a permanent branch library building and an aquatics and recreation center. It appears that city is betting through this wasteful study that citizens will be willing to settle for less in this park.

What is more troublesome is that when senior staff deems something to be a priority, it is accomplished…quickly…and money is no object. Take the need to meet the parking requirements for the football stadium. Senior staff was able to identify the necessary debt capacity of $32 million dollars, purchased the necessary land for $22 million and has already begun construction on the actual parking lots for another $10 million. The entire project will be completed in less than a year.

When it is not a senior staff priority the issue gets punted…er, delayed. Hence the maneuver to send back to citizen boards and commissions the very projects that enhance the quality of life for citizens in our community…extended library hours, reopening of O’Neil Pool and completion of Heroes Park with a definitive timeline. It appears as if it’s not a senior staff priority…you can forget it for a long time.

It’s time for city council to stamp its feet, have a hissy fit and insist that these projects get the attention they deserve…long overdue.

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

This Tuesday, April 12th at 6 PM Tom Traw of the Yucca district and Norma Alvarez of the Ocotillo district are calling upon residents of these districts to meet at Glendale city council chambers as a show of support for citizen speakers on the topics of: 1. calling for the completion of Heroes Park; 2. repair and reopening of O’Neil pool; and 3. opposition to proposed small lot homes between Camelback Road and Bethany Home Road, 83rd Avenue to 91st Avenue.

Each of these issues is important in its own right. It has been 18 years plus and Heroes Park is still not completed. An entire generation of children has grown up without the ability to enjoy this park.

O’Neil pool was shut down about 4 or 5 years ago, after it was discovered to be leaking. The city would like to remove the pool and repurpose the land. It is has refused to date to allocate any money to repair the pool. The only problem is that there are over 2,000 children in the area served by O’Neil pool who have no constructive activity, such as swimming, to enjoy during the summer months. This pool needs to be repaired and reopened.

Lastly, while no one opposes residential development it is expected to be good quality development that raises property values. The proposed residential development (larger than Rovey Farm Estates) has over 1,000 lots and many that are only 5,500 square feet, below the city’s conventional minimum standard for residential, single family home lots of R1-6 (6,000 square feet). A development of this sort does nothing to raise adjacent residential property values. In fact, it will lessen everyone’s property value. Not to mention that it will bring a whole new crop of children who need to be able to use nearby Heroes Park to its full promise.

All of these issues are important to the people of the Yucca and Ocotillo districts. That is why you are needed on Tuesday evening. You will provide a show of strength in backing up the citizen speakers and will show city council you are serious about these issues.

Here is what you need to know:

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

6 PM sharp

Glendale City Council Chambers

(intersection of 59th Ave. and Grand Ave.

Park in the city parking garage.

Council chamber is east of the parking garage)

Please join an army of citizens, the silent majority, who want the city to refocus its attention on the needs of these districts. You don’t have to speak unless you wish to. A large group of people…you… showing up in support of these issues will claim the attention of the city council and senior management. Tom Traw will be handing out T-shirts in support of Heroes Park. Supplies are limited. First come, first to receive a T-shirt until they are all gone.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

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

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

Bring back a fighter who cares

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

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

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

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

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

Bob Gonzalo

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

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

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

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

© Joyce Clark, 2016

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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