On Tuesday, October 21, 2014 the Glendale city council held a workshop meeting. There were two agenda items: a review of the 4th quarter budget results (more about that later in another blog); and discussion of rescinding a March 2014 city council rejection of Becker billboards at Bell Road and the Loop 101.

You have to be a died-in-the-wool political junkie to appreciate the nuances of council discussion of the second item regarding Becker Billboards. When the issue was first rejected by city council it was on a vote of 5 to 2 with Sherwood and Alvarez being the only affirmative votes.  Keep in mind that Sherwood received over $1700 in political campaign donations from the Becker family and Alvarez received $2500 from Becker. Does that kind of money in a local, seemingly podunk, Glendale election buy not only access to these councilmembers but their advocacy?

When the request for rescinding of the original Becker billboard decision was made on Tuesday, October 7, 2014 Sherwood claimed to be making the request on behalf of Councilmember Chavira. Yet it was Sherwood who penned the letter on October 8, 2014 to the City Manager asking for council discussion and consideration. Apparently Sammy was doing his pal a favor by making the original request even though he was absent for the meeting and Sherwood read Sammy’s request. Everyone recognized that Sammy was trying to give Sherwood some cover. Didn’t work. Many acknowledge that it was Sherwood who rammed through the selection of Fischer as City Manager and that she owes him. No wonder it was on a workshop agenda two weeks later. Typically, staff does not move that fast and normally this would be a workshop agenda item a month or two after the request had been made.

Discussion of rescinding the original Becker billboard decision was extensive. Some councilmember comments stood out. Councilmember Martinez said, “some things will not go away” and the issue has “taken on a life of its own.” Councilmember Chavira tried to use the same rationale that Sherwood had used in the past when trying to explain his flip flop on his casino position.  Chavira claimed to not be fully informed when he originally voted to defeat the billboards and went on to say, “he likes to think he’s well informed about every decision he makes.” What a hoot – it seems pretty evident that Chavira takes his marching orders from Sherwood. Councilmember Alvarez chanted her usual mantra that north Glendale has all of the power in the city and gets all while south Glendale gets nothing. Same song, same verse. She was as much as saying that she was all too happy to stick it to north Glendale residents.

The argument that eventually prevailed was that of precedent. If council were to move forward and rescind their original denial of Becker billboards it would be the opening of Pandora’s box. It would put every council vote up to the possibility of rescission. It could even put past council votes on the arena management deal and the casino issue up for future reversal. It is that very thought that defeated Sherwood’s attempt to reverse council’s prior decision on billboards with Mayor Weiers, Vice Mayor Knaack and Councilmembers Martinez and Hugh indicating through consensus that they did not want to move forward and vote on a rescission. Sherwood failed but he was not finished.

City Attorney Bailey had opened another door during his disjointed remarks explaining procedure for such a rescission vote. He said that 3 councilmembers had the right to call for a special council meeting. Sherwood asked several specific questions about that procedure. Make no mistake – expect Sherwood, Chavira and Alvarez to request such a special meeting.

Why the desperation to get a revote on this issue? Sherwood faces two adverse actions that could impact his seat as a councilmember. One is the ongoing Attorney General’s investigation into allegations of open meeting law violations and the other is the current effort to recall him. Add to that Alvarez is standing for reelection on November 4, 2014 and she may, or may not, survive. With the outcomes of these two events in question it seems imperative that they make another run at the billboard issue before November 4th. It doesn’t leave them much time which makes their request for a special council meeting very attractive. The saga continues and will not conclude as long as Sherwood refuses to take a majority council ‘no’ as an answer.

© Joyce Clark, 2014


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.