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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

On February 25, 2015 the Recall Councilman the Gary Sherwood Committee issued following press release:

“The Recall Councilman Gary Sherwood Committee announced today that it has reinstated its campaign calling for a Recall Election to unseat Gary Sherwood, Councilmember from Glendale’s Sahuaro District. Committee Chairperson Anna Lee said, ‘Gary Sherwood has forgotten who elected him. He has turned his back on the people he is supposed to represent and they won’t stand for it. Throughout our new campaign, we will be publishing details of Sherwood’s actions that enraged his constituents and precipitated this action.’  Lee filed a second Application for Recall Petition with the Glendale City Clerk’s office at 10 am on Friday, February 20, 2015.

“This is the committee’s second effort to unseat Councilmember Sherwood; the first was filed in August, 2014. ‘We followed all the rules,’ said Lee, ‘but when we submitted the signatures we’d gathered, they were rejected because, according to the clerk, they were entered on an old version of the petition form. The legislature had changed the requirements, but the new form reflecting the changes was not made available until after our Recall team had finished collecting its signatures.’ She concluded, ‘We won’t let anything like that happen again. This recall is far too important to the future of the citizens of Glendale and the Sahuaro District.’

The Recall Councilman Gary Sherwood Committee is reaching out to Sahuaro District constituents who share its concerns about the voting history and other activities of Councilmember Sherwood, and who fear how he may vote on issues that impact them in the future.

“For more information about Stop Gary Sherwood, call the committee message phone at 602.657.0303, e-mail info@stopsherwood.com or visit its website: www.stopsherwood.com. Contact: Anna Lee, 602-657-0303 / info@stopsherwood.com .”

Please note at this time the committee’s website is still under construction. I would suggest contacting Ms. Lee at the phone number provided in their press release until the website is completed.

It is clear that Sherwood and Becker have not given up on their effort to plant billboards in north Glendale.  A review was conducted of contributors to Sherwood’s initial campaign effort in 2012. In the fall of 2012 Sherwood received contributions from:

  • Mark and Erin Becker $860
  • Joyce Becker $430 and
  • Amy Becker $430 for total of $920
  • Rose Law Group 10 contributions from attorneys within the group totaling $1,960.00

The Rose Law Group represented Becker Billboards on its first, March 25, 2014, attempt to gain council approval for its proposed billboards. Hmmm…did nearly $3,000 in political contributions to his campaign buy advocacy for Becker Billboards? That is something you must decide.

After the original denial of the billboards by city council, Sherwood brought up the billboard issue again on October 7, 2014 and October 21, 2014. From the minutes of the October 7, 2014 meeting, Councilmember Sherwood spoke for an absent Councilmember (Councilmember Chavira) regarding the recent discussions about the Palm Canyon billboards. He asked the Councilmembers to vote at the October 27th meeting on rescinding the previous denial based on this recent information on the Becker Boards case at the Loop 101 and Bell. He said if the rescission vote is successful, then too immediately at the same Council meeting on October 27th vote on approving the billboards request of Becker Boards and direct staff to notify all parties as required by law at the expense of the applicant.”

A majority of council did not support his request. At the October 21, 2014 meeting Councilmember Sherwood continued to pursue the issue by attempting to clarify the circumstances under which a special council meeting could be called. From the minutes of that meeting, “Councilmember Sherwood said so if it was a special meeting, there would be two agenda items and there would still have to be a vote of four to rescind the March decision and then an actual go through the whole process of presenting the ordinance again.” Sherwood was seeking rescission of the original council vote denying the billboards. This is part of the exchange between Sherwood and City Attorney Michael Bailey at the same meeting:

“Mr. Bailey said his reading of Robert’s Rules of Order is that when there is an affirmative vote on a rescission, it brings the item back live again, it revives it. He said at that time, there would be a more robust discussion or additional information provided by planning and zoning. He said if there was a desire to make a different decision that decision could be made then.”

Councilmember Sherwood asked if that was something that could be done in the same meeting.”

Mr. Bailey said yes.”

A year after the original vote denying the billboard proposal it’s back again. The first salvo is Mark Becker’s neighborhood meeting and “Crane Study.” Since when doesn’t “no” mean “no?” Apparently, Councilmember Sherwood, Mark Becker and Jordan Rose have decided that a council “no” vote means “maybe.” Insider assumption is that Chavira is supportive of the billboard issue and will support his good buddy Sherwood. That’s two votes in favor. All Sherwood has to do is to find two more councilmembers to vote in the affirmative…who will it be? Mayor Weiers? Vice Mayor Hugh? Or Councilmembers Aldama (probably a yes as he seems to vote with Sherwood and Chavira), Tolmachoff, or Turner?? That’s a probable three votes in favor. Oh my gosh…Glendale residents will make best use their time contacting Weiers, Tolmachoff, Hugh and Turner with their opinion.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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The Glendale City Council meeting of March 25, 2014 was reminiscent of many meetings I attended. It was one of those marathon sessions, lasting well over 4 hours, attracting many public speakers. The council approved a contingency fund transfer of over $6 million for the arena management fee and accepted staff’s recommendation that retirees will now pay the full liability for their medical insurance. Curiously current city personnel will remain heavily subsided by the city (read, you, the taxpayer).

However, the two big issues were billboards along the Loop 101 and Bell Road and the resolution to officially rescind city support for U.S. Representative Trent Franks’ legislation, HR 1410.

One could see a sea of yellow t-shirts in support of allowing billboards adjacent to the Loop 101 and Bell Road. Jordan Rose of the Rose Law Group delivered a strong, and very, very long presentation on behalf of Becker Boards. Yet speakers against the proposal outnumbered those supporting 2 to 1. It was assumed by many that it was a done deal and would win approval. After all, Councilmember Sherwood had publicly announced that he had the four votes needed for its passage. Can you say, “blind-sided?” The ultimate vote was 5 to 2 against. Only Councilmembers Sherwood and Alvarez voted in favor of Becker Billboards.

Sherwood’s advocacy for the billboards may be more easily understood as one of the speakers questioned his support in terms of the campaign contributions he had received from the stakeholders. A quick pass of his campaign finance reports reveals at least $1,960 received from members of the Rose Law Group and another $1,720 received from members of the Becker family. Approximately 1/5 of his total campaign contributions came from these two entities.  

As a side note, seeing the large campaign contributions from fire unions, fire PACs and union firefighters in Sherwood’s campaign filings has piqued my interest. Look for a future blog that details how much money these fire union entities poured into Glendale’s last election cycle in 2012 and to whom. I suspect it will surprise us all except for the fire unions who probably know to the penny.

Councilmember Alvarez, on the other hand, cast a spite vote in favor of the billboards. After all, if her district must suffer their blight, why shouldn’t North Glendale suffer too?

The other hot issue was a vote by a majority of council to reject Representative Trent Franks legislation (HB 1410) to prohibit casino construction in the Phoenix Metro area after August of 2013. Council’s vote on this issue was much closer this time, 4 to 3, with Councilmembers Alvarez, Hugh, Chavira and Sherwood (perhaps as payback to Chavira) voting in the affirmative. The result of this congressional bill would be to stop the Tohono O’odham in their tracks. You can be sure it will result in another court battle. In the meantime court decisions are not yet settled in the 9th Circuit Court and in the Supreme Court.

Plain and simple, the Glendale City Council should not have done this. It is a slap in the face of a supportive bipartisan congressional coalition made up of the likes of Franks (R), McCain (R), Pastor (D) and others—virtually the entire Arizona Congressional delegation is in support of Franks’ legislation. The State of Arizona has a law on the books—the voter approved Gaming Compact of 2002. Since when can a city council pick and choose which laws it will uphold? It is a premature action that can result in futility should the court cases be resolved against the Tohono O’odham or Franks’ bill become law.

Mayor Weiers read a letter from Representative Franks expressing his disappointment with this council’s action and his pledge to continue to move this legislation forward. The Mayor also expressed concern that should the Tohono O’odham prevail the State Legislature will move to allow gambling state-wide, no holds barred. Many neighborhoods, state-wide, not just in the Phoenix Metro area, may become victims of new casino construction, not just by state tribes but by gaming interests throughout the country.

I, the former Yucca district councilmember, along with many, many Glendale residents, especially in the district affected, the Yucca district, urge the Gila River Indian Community and the Salt River-Pima-Maricopa Indian Communities to stay the course. Continue to fight this deception perpetrated by the Tohono O’odham on you, its sister tribes.

I urge Representative Franks to also stay the course. The 4 current councilmembers who voted to pass this resolution do not represent the majority — Glendale residents opposed to this intrusion. They are misguided–swayed by the promises made to them by the Tohono O’odham. Yet how can we trust a tribe that used deception to buy the land and keep it a secret for 7 years? How can other tribes trust the tribe that used deception and secretly was planning to build a casino while advocating for a state compact that promised no new casinos in the Phoenix Metro area? Anyone who relies upon the Tohono O’odham’s word after having seen their deceptions is a fool. It looks like we’ve got at least 4 fools on the Glendale City Council. Sigh…

© 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.

The Glendale City Council meeting of February 25, 2014 was contentious. Everything was truckin’ along until Item 19, the billboard issue. Whoa…not so fast! The council vote was tabled. It was widely assumed that Councilmember Sherwood had the votes to ram it through. It turns out that was not the case. Somewhere along the way he, Rose Law (applicant’s representative) and Becker (applicant) realized the votes were not there. Their fall back plan was to table, hopefully providing them more time to bring reluctant councilmembers into the fold. The vote to table and bring to a council workshop on March 18 and council meeting on March 25 was 5 to 2. Vice Mayor Knaack voted “No” and observed that this issue was “being pushed out until the answer changes.” Councilmember Martinez also voted “No” and said the move smacked of “desperate measures.” Weiers, Sherwood, Alvarez, Hugh and Chavira voted “Yes.”

There were at least a dozen or more citizens there to voice their opposition to the billboards. Sherwood, in the past, characterized the billboard opposition as “a minority.” Not so. It’s usually the case that every citizen that takes the time to get actively involved in an issue represents a large segment of silent citizens. 

Most of the public stayed until the end of the council meeting to express their dismay with council’s non-action. Michele Tennyson from the Cholla district expressed their collective sentiment quite well. Ms. Tennyson had served on a city council in Mill Creek, Washington and after locating to Glendale, served on various Glendale boards and commissions. She obviously knows how political games are played. She said she was “ashamed” by council’s conduct and decision to table the issue. She related the timeline and history of actions taken. She made it quite clear that there was no reason to delay an up or down vote. Ann Berman, a Sahuaro district resident, said “Sherwood seems to have made a decision” and alluded to the fact that it is not in the public’s favor. Others pointed out that the next scheduled council vote would occur during Spring Break when many people take the opportunity to go out-of-town. Clearly the residents of the Sahuaro and Cholla districts, directly affected by the erection of these billboards, do not want them.

During the council comment period at the end of the meeting those who spoke offered hints regarding their positions on the issue. Councilmember Sherwood attempted to explain why it was necessary to table the billboard issue. Councilmember Alvarez told the citizens that they need “to make the council accountable.”  Councilmember Martinez characterized council’s actions as “blatant” and “a slap in the face” to the decisions already made by the citizen Planning Commission and staff. Vice Mayor Knaack described it as “unforgiveable” to disregard the Planning Commission’s decision.

Others were silent about that issue but offered a wide range of comments on other topics. Sherwood, Chavira and Knaack voiced their opposition to SB 1062 (although Knaack cited the wrong bill number). Several thanked Executive Directors of Communication/Marketing and Transportation, Jerry McCoy and Jamsheed Mehta, for their service as they move to take positions with other cities. Mayor Weiers characterized it as a “brain drain.” That is exactly what it is. We continue to lose the best and brightest and their historical memory of previous city action. Jamsheed Mehta should have been appointed as an Assistant City Manager.  Councilmember Chavira, always reluctant to take a position on anything unless cleared by his handlers, thanked everyone for everything. During the Public Comment period Arthur Thruston spoke of Ken Jones’ contribution to Glendale via his activism on issues and asked for special council recognition for him.  Some of the councilmembers publicly thanked Ken Jones for his participation in Glendale’s civic life. Will he get a plaque for his activism? No. It would set a precedent and create untold controversy as to which citizens would merit such recognition.  I have never agreed with Mr. Jones’ positions on any Glendale issue but he has earned my respect and thanks for his avid activism. There should be more Ken Jones in Glendale, not necessarily sharing his point of view but willing to speak and stand for those things in which they believe. Thank you, Mr. Jones.

© 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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