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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

On Friday, March 23, 2018 the City of Glendale called a press conference to announce that it would insure that there would be School Resource Officers at every high school in Glendale. This action was in response to the Parkland tragedy and in the wake of a Maryland SRO’s actions that stopped another school shooting after two students had been wounded. One subsequently died.

It was an action the City Manager and the City Council discussed for several weeks. All councilmembers, including Councilmember Aldama, had many opportunities to discuss the idea, ask questions, offer suggestions and voice their approval or disapproval of the idea. Councilmember Aldama asked one or two questions during the entire process and never voiced his lack of support to us, his peers, during these sessions.

At the City’s Friday’s press conference, the Glendale Police Chief made remarks as did the City Manager and the Mayor. Attending in support of the decision to place more SROs in high schools was State Superintendent of Education Diane Douglas as well as Superintendents of the school districts located in Glendale. The entire Glendale City Council was there except for one…Councilmember Aldama. He was AWOL.

Now we know why. Councilmember Aldama has said “No” to the City initiative to place SROs in every Glendale high school. I have placed his release to the media sent out today below.  The photo is small so I have also placed the link as a pdf file, more easily read:  Aldama letter Mar 26 2018

His language within his press release exhibits his bias, when he calls our unified council action “an impactful edict (bold mine)” He implies that this is a decree decided by one person in authority. Not so.  This was a unanimous and carefully considered council decision with one silent voice…Aldama… who never expressed his disapproval to us during our deliberations.

Note this sentence because it is important. He says, “Other critical stakeholders, including Police and Fire Associations (read the unions) were TOLD of the adverse impact on their memberships, but not consulted with.”  This is the real message. All the rest of his statement is a smoke screen. It is important to note that Aldama is up for reelection this year and he desperately needs the support in terms of money and manpower the unions provide to candidates. They are the ‘big dogs’ in Glendale. In plain English Aldama seems to have taken this stance in order to curry the favor and support of these two unions. They will reward him handsomely by pouring monetary donations into his campaign and walking neighborhoods for him. How politically transparent and crass can a person get?

 He goes on to say, “Clearly this was an insensitive headline-grabbing political response to a larger problem than just having an officer in each high school…” I would contend that this city council exhibited extreme sensitivity to an immediate national issue and took appropriate action within our authority. The issues of mental illness and gun regulation are state and national issues and not ones dealt with on a local, municipal level.

It should also be noted that typically government moves at a snail’s pace. Sometimes it is years before an idea becomes reality. This initiative was acted upon with weeks and it required the coordination of and approval of all 4 Superintendents in whose schools the SROs would be placed.

Aldama questions why the city is not placing SROs in elementary schools and charter schools. I believe the current count of schools within the city is somewhere around 80. It is simply not financially feasible to do so and Aldama knows it.

The City does have an Officer Liaison program that has specified officers visiting as many middle and elementary schools as possible on a weekly basis. Since the majority of school shootings occur on high school campuses, the council felt that it was do-able and affordable. How could we not at least make sure all of our high schools were safer?

He then goes on to say, “I am not clear on what these officer’s duties will be.” Glendale has had SROs for years, probably close to 20 years. If he doesn’t know what their duties are then he hasn’t been doing his job for all he had to do was ask at any time.

He then chides us for our “lack of transparency” and for our lack of “open public dialogue and communication.” This is double-speak that in this instance simply does not fit the circumstance. This action is not a new tax on our citizens. It is a reallocation of existent city funds.  It is a situation that is better served by immediate action.  The call for dialogue is a tactic often used to slow down or kill a decision.

Councilmember Aldama, if you had shared your opinion with council instead of staying mute, you would have earned a modicum of respect.  If your decision was perceived as having been done for some solid reasons, you might have earned more respect. Instead, despite all of your hyperbole, the perception of those familiar with this decision making process, your action appears to be no more than a very transparent attempt to win favor with Glendale’s unions. This wasn’t the best time to, as Nancy Reagan used to say, “Just say no.”

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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

It has been 17 years and 119 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

For the past few days the Tohono O’odham (TO) have seen news that they can only characterize as awful. On April 24, 2015 the Congressional Budget Office issued a report on cost outcomes to the federal government if the TO is not allowed to build its casino in Glendale. Here is the link: http://www.cbo.gov/publication/50136 . Those who have represented that is an exact cost figure are deliberately misleading people in an attempt to pressure them to drop their opposition to the casino. Now despite the recent outrageous headlines of stopping the casino will cost US taxpayers a billion dollars here are direct quotes from that report:

“Based on information from the Tohono O’odham Nation, CBO expects that if H.R. 308 were enacted, the tribe would pursue litigation against the federal government to recover its financial losses caused by the prohibition on gambling. Whether the tribe would prevail in such litigation and when those proceedings might be concluded are both uncertain. The basis for any judicial determination of the tribe’s financial losses is also uncertain. CBO estimates that possible compensation payments from the government could range from nothing to more than $1 billion; however, we have no basis for estimating the outcome of the future litigation.”

 “That decision is now under appeal at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Although the tribe has been successful in litigation thus far and construction of its resort and casino is underway, it may be more difficult for the tribe to prevail in a claim brought after enactment of H.R. 308 because of the types of claims available to it and the facts of this particular situation. The outcome of such litigation is uncertain.”

“Regulatory taking claims are often unsuccessful and usually do not lead to significant economic awards when (as in this case) the taking does not fully diminish the economic value of the property;”

What should disturb everyone is the fact that the TO’s estimated annual income from this proposed casino at $100 million dollars a year or one billion dollars over 10 years. You can hear the sucking sound now as dollars subject to sales tax from nearby businesses vanishes. It’s no more than dollar displacement. People only have so many discretionary dollars. If those dollars are consumed by the TO casino then those dollars are not spent elsewhere in the community and the multiplier effect of each and every dollar is lost.

The second bomb to drop is a poll released by the Sonoran Alliance on April 28, 2015. Here is the link: http://sonoranalliance.com/2015/04/28/new-poll-support-for-glendale-casino-collapses/ . Here is the conclusion drawn from the survey. “Based on the survey results there is overwhelming support from voters to oppose new gaming in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Once voters become aware of the various issues surrounding the conduct of those involved with this proposed casino, opposition grows by 18% to a clear majority in opposition. This survey shows that most of Arizona’s elected officials are acting with large support for their activities in trying to stop this casino.”

The third bomb dropped today, April 30, 2015, was with an article by Bill Theobald of the Republic Washington Bureau entitled Senate committee passes bill to block casino near Glendale. He reports, The Senate Indian Affairs Committee passed by voice vote legislation sponsored by Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain (and Sen. Jeff Flake)…” Last month the House Natural Resources Committee passed the same legislation. That means that both bills can now be voted up or down by the full House and the full Senate.

Senator McCain, commenting on the Keep the Promise Act of 2015, said in part, “the law doesn’t allow a tribe to ‘air drop’ a casino onto land in a metro area that’s not part of its traditional tribal lands.” He also said, “building another casino in the Phoenix area violates the intent of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. ‘I know what the intent of Congress was because I wrote the bill’.” Arizona’s Congressional representatives are not the only legislators hearing complaints from their constituents on this issue. Many other states are facing the same issue of, as McCain puts it, “air dropping” casinos. Consequently there is a lot more support for this legislation than is perceived. It becomes precedent setting and may allow other legislators to stop reservation shopping in their states.

The desperation of the Tohono O’odham becomes more palpable every day. That’s why the press conference after the state announced that it would not grant the TO a gaming license. It is amusing that several headlines and the Op Ed piece in the April 30, 2015 edition of the Glendale Star scream support for the proposed casino. It’s no secret that the paper’s editor, Carolyn Dryer, is a supporter of the casino. In fact, several years ago she attended a pro-casino meeting hosted by former Ocotillo councilmember Norma Alvarez not as the paper’s representative but as a private citizen. Bias oozes from every article on the casino and objective reportage especially on this issue has become a stranger to it.

Ned Norris Jr., Chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation, vows to fight to the bitter end and he remains adamantly defiant. Councilmember Chavira and Vice Mayor Hugh were good puppets as they reiterated the same, tired arguments of other tribes’ attempts to kill competition. They all conveniently ignore that this action began in secret while the TO pushed Arizona voters to approve the state gaming compact. They conveniently ignore the fact that the tribe kept the purchase of land within Glendale’s boundaries secret from the city for 7 years. They conveniently ignore the fact that the TO deliberately withheld their plan for this casino from its sister tribes for 7 years. As stated by the Arizona Gaming Director, fraud was committed by the Tohono O’odham.

Many supporters of the casino ignore these facts, plead ignorance of them or simply shrug their shoulders while trotting out arguments of a down trodden tribe deserving of this casino no matter how it is acquired. Whatever the casino supporters’ reasoning they should check their moral compasses. Perhaps their tolerance for dishonesty evaporates and is solely dependent upon their perception that their ox is being gored.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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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