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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

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Glendale Adult Center meeting

On Thursday, February 12, 2015 the last of the city presentations to citizen boards and commissions was held regarding the proposal to sell and relocate Foothills Library. The presentation was before the citizen Arts Commission and was held at the Adult Center. Since it was not held in the heart of Foothills library territory one would think no one would show. That was not the case. There was a healthy citizen representation and it demonstrated that this is an issue that is city-wide and not confined to north Glendale. The presentation was like the two that had preceded it. There was ample time for citizen comment and the comments again, were similar to those offered the previous times:

  • Incompatibility of library and recreational activities
  • Concern about diminishment of the book collection and
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    We love our libraries!!

    inadequate space at FRAC

  • Questions about the adequacy of parking spaces, especially in the summer
  • Concern about the library as a babysitting location when children have finished recreating
  • Comments on the low ball appraisals of the library
  • Comments on the loss of special interest classes and activities offered by library and FRAC

Rodeane Widom is the former Director of Library Services for Glendale. She sent a letter voicing her concerns to senior management and the Library Advisory Commission:

“As a former Glendale Library Director and as a Glendale resident, I want to discuss concerns I have about the potential sale of Foothills Library.  I served the city for 27 years and oversaw the construction of both Main Library and Foothills Library. 

After listening to Mr. Strunk’s presentation at City Council Workshop regarding the library’s sale, I was startled by the appraised amount of the building, site, and art.   I decided to check the library’s expenditures on the city website’s “Follow Your Money” ( http://wwwglendaleaz.com/followyourmoney/) to find information about the appraisal.

I discovered that Mr. Strunk authorized the use of $4,999 for “Library Appraisal Report” from the Library Book Fund on 8/18/14.  The Library Book Fund includes all profits from the sale of books donated by library users.  I believe that Mr. Strunk broke an unwritten contract with the public by using this money to pay for an appraisal of the library building for possible sale.  Mr. Strunk chose to fund this appraisal with donation profits for a purpose so very opposite of what donors would have wished—the sale of the city’s newest library! I consider this shocking behavior on the part of the Library’s Executive Director.  He should be well aware of the source and intended purpose of the Library Book Fund money— enhancement of the library, not vastly diminished services.

Mr. Strunk gave a workshop presentation that I consider a blatant sales pitch stressing benefits of selling Foothills Library while omitting the many downsides to the library and FRAC.  His written City Council agenda sheet was entitled “Potential Relocation of the Foothills Branch Library and Expansion of Library Services.”   The “expansion” he discussed should more aptly be called “reduction of library services” which I believe will result from the sale.

I have lost any confidence in Mr. Strunk as the library’s highest executive.  To make my distrust even stronger, I noted that the appraisal report cost $4,999. The city web page dealing with purchasing states, “The City Council approved modifications, which make doing business with Glendale as simple and straightforward as possible. The formal limit for bids and proposals was raised to $50,000. The small purchase level was raised to $5,000.” Mr. Strunk’s appearance is of a city employee using a technicality in order to personally select the appraiser, which I feel questions the validity of the appraisal. 

This also puts in doubt other cost estimates provided by Mr. Strunk—such as the estimate for renovation of FRAC to accommodate library use. Thank you for your consideration of my concerns.  If you have any questions about this, please feel free to call me at home or on my cell phone.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sincerely,                                                                                  Rodeane Widom                                                                           CC: Library Advisory Board

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Foothills Library Meeting

If you are a glutton for punishment and really, really have nothing better to do here are the links (courtesy of the Glendale Daily Planet) to the videos of the Wednesday, February 11, 2015 meeting at Foothills library (warning: it is 3 hours long), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXsazZSakZI&feature=youtu.be  and the Thursday, February 12, 2015 meeting at the Adult Center, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mopHcIxLkic&feature=youtu.be  .

What happens now? Each of the three citizen commissions typically meet once a month. Their February meetings consisted of the presentation on Foothills library. At their March meetings they will have an opportunity to discuss the library proposal and come up with their commission’s recommendation for city council.

You have an opportunity to express your opinion on the proposal to each commission member. I would advise you to keep the pressure up by expressing your opinion to every relevant commissioner. This can be accomplished by sending an email to Erik Strunk and copying all three commissions: strunk@glendaleaz.com  and at the end of your email please Cc: members of the Parks and Recreation Commission, members of the Library Advisory Board and members of the Arts Commission. It will be his responsibility to make sure each commissioner receives a copy of your email per your Cc.

After the three commissions have made their recommendations to the city council, I would expect the proposal to become a city council agenda item for a workshop or regular meeting. I will monitor city council agendas and publicly post when it is scheduled before the city council.

I want to congratulate every one who took the time to attend one of the three presentations or all three, for that matter; those who spoke publicly at a meeting; and those who sent emails to the mayor and council. It is so gratifying to see Glendale citizens participate in their local government. It’s not over yet…not until the city council rejects this proposal. Please stay informed and participate in the process.

Sadly, I wish that this same caliber of citizen activism occurred on many more Glendale issues. Many of the policy decisions made by your city council result in a profound effect on your lives, such as the temporary sales tax increase becoming permanent. All too often, our concern about a vital issue only becomes visible after the decision has been made. At that point it is often too late and the proverbial horse is already out of the barn.

Local government is the governmental entity that dictates your individual quality of life within Glendale. All too often, citizens fail to realize that even a little noise on an issue can direct its outcome. And so the Library War continues…

© 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.

Tonight, February 12, 2015 will be the last in a series of 3 city presentations to 3 of the citizen commissions (Parks n Rec; Library Advisory and Arts) on the proposed sale of the Foothills Library:

  • Tonight, Thursday, February 12, 2015 6 PM
  • Glendale Adult Center
  • Meeting of Arts Commission
  • Public comment will be permitted

The citizen interest in the proposed sale of the library rivals the citizen interest generated on the arena management agreement and the casino issue. As of today there have been over 6,000 reads of one or more of my blogs on the library issue.

The February 11, 2015, meeting was held at the Foothills Library before the Library Advisory Board. The meeting room was filled to bursting and in some places in the room; standing room was 2-3 persons deep. The line of people trying to get into the meeting room snaked out the front doors of the library. Cars drove determinedly around the parking lot desperately looking for a parking space. When none could be found they left. If there were about 200 people at Monday night’s meeting there were even more this time. The only media present were local. None of the major TV channels were in attendance.

Connie and Sue, readers of my blog, offered some excellent observations about this night’s meeting:

  • Just as with the Parks and Recreation Commission, the Library Advisory Board asked very good questions. The Library Advisory Board does not appear to be in favor of this and asked very pointed questions of both Erik Strunk and Michael Beck poking holes in their stats and figures contained in the presentation.One Board Member asked whether there is a conflict with former Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs being on the Board of Directors of MW and also as mayor involved in the purchase of the land and building of the library.
  • Many questions were raised about the gap in time from when MW made its offer and when it went public.   Erik Strunk said the original proposal was submitted to the City Manager and it didn’t go public because they needed time to do their due diligence.  That answer didn’t seem acceptable to either members of the Advisory Board or members who spoke.   Question was raised on why they didn’t get public input when this first came up and before they put together this extensive proposal paid for appraisals, etc..   In other words why was it allowed to get this far and so much money spent without first getting public input.  The $4,000+ for the second appraisal paid for by Glendale [guess that figure is on the website] came out of the library book fund.  Mr. Strunk tried to explain, to no avail, that it would be paid back to the library book fund through some staff reduction fund Glendale has so its supposed to be a “wash.”
  • Erik Strunk admitted they never did an analysis of how much it would cost to replace the library and didn’t know how much it would cost.  They also admitted to not doing an economic impact study – not part of the due diligence.
  • Comments were made about how Staff, Erik Strunk and Michael Beck, are supposed to be looking out for the good of the City of Glendale, but the Power Point presentation did not give any drawbacks or concerns.  Comment was that the presentation was nothing more than a sales/marketing tool.  It was not an objective presentation of pros and cons so an informed decision could be made.

I am providing a You Tube link for those you unable to attend either the Monday or Wednesday night meetings. It is provided courtesy of the Glendale Planet and is the video of the Monday night meeting. Be fairly warned. The video is 2 hours long. I suggest you pull out your tablet, pull up a soft seat into which you can hunker down and then plan to consume endless cups of coffee.

The first hour of the video is the staff’s presentation. The second hour is citizen comments on the proposed sale. Here is the link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoCamsYwWHI&sns=em .

Michele Tennyson, a Cholla district resident and library supporter, also made some very good observations about the proposed sale:

  • This is a bad move for both the library and FRAC as both will have to reduce services and programs. The space they are proposing to take over at FRAC will be a fraction of the current space, and the main room would have lower ceilings and poor lighting compared with the beautiful space at Foothills.
  • They also stated the inventory of stocked books for folks to peruse in the library will be reduced to approximately 35,000 volumes from 175,000, and the square footage would be reduced to 9,100 square feet from 33,500 square feet!
  • They are promoting this as a good move as they intend to increase the number of computers and enhance the technology services available to library users…all of which could be done at its current location.
  • There is the issue of bringing together two incompatible functions. Libraries are meant to be quiet spaces, and rec centers are meant to be fun and noisy.
  • It does not make financial sense as it cost approximately $7.8 million to build Foothills plus another nearly $500,000 for art that was purchased and installed on site, some of which MWU wants to have convey (sic) with the sale. Also, is it really ‘net’ if we not only paid $7.8 million to build the facility but invested additional costs in bond fees and interest and then get back only $4.1?
  • Why would anyone move to Glendale, when they could choose a neighboring city like Peoria, where these services seem to be valued?

Tomorrow I will offer comments about tonight’s meeting. The city council gave direction that after these 3 meetings they wanted to hear the recommendations of the commissioners before proceeding with consideration of a sale. The commission recommendations will determine if the idea moves forward and a series of public meetings throughout the city will be held.

Remember that your voice counts. Please keep up the pressure by letting the mayor and council know your opinion. After all, this proposal won’t be killed until the fat lady sings…and all is still silent.

© 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.

On Monday, February 9, 2015 the city hosted Round 1 of the “library war.” City staff presented its proposal to sell the Foothills Branch Library and relocate it to the Foothills Recreation and Aquatic Center (FRAC) to the citizen Parks and Recreation Commission.

The meeting took place at FRAC and there were estimates of 150 to 200 people in attendance. There were ordinary citizens standing out in front of the building handing out flyers about the proposed sale.

Mary and Patty, two readers of my blog, kindly shared some observations of the meeting:

  • “Many people who use the FRAC were in attendance and they were not happy campers.”
  • “At a time when the FRAC is trying to beef up their membership, this endeavor would mean cutting many programs and farming out some programs to other locations. People pay a membership to FRAC but will have to go to another location for weightlifting, dancing, table tennis, etc.”
  • “There is a lot of running around and noise generated from the children using the pool during summer hours; a library is supposed to be a quiet place.”
  • “Children should have the experience of reading and handling books.”
  • “From a realtor: ‘this is not a good time to be selling. It’s a buyer’s market’.”
  • One person challenged the picture showing many rows of books in the meeting room we were in. She asked if this had been drawn to scale. Eric Strunk answered, ‘No, it’s just our perception of what the room will look like’.”
  • “The head of the Parks and Recreation Commission asked excellent questions and all members were actively listening and questioning.”
  • “Concerns were also raised about harming the integrity of the programs offered and expected by the Rec center patrons and that the pool table area is actually the only area youth that could not afford to join could freely use.”
  • A man shared how he bought his home because of the proximity of the library.”
  • “Several promises have been made by Midwestern but once a sale is made there is nothing to keep them from selling the dog parks, etc.”
  • Once sold, the Foothills library is not intended to be used as a library but rather as a study area.”
  • It was said by staff that less books were being checked out but a woman who is a library volunteer shared that would be expected since library hours and days have significantly decreased.”

From the comments offered you get the idea. There were a lot of difficult questions for staff with less than satisfactory answers. Staff promised to look into the many questions and to offer complete answers online at the city’s website.

Round 2 of the “library war” is:

  • TONIGHT, Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at 6 PM
  • at the Foothills Branch Library, Coyote Room

The same presentation will be made before the Library Advisory Board with the same opportunity for citizen comments. Seating will probably be at a premium. A word to the wise, come early to guarantee yourself a seat. Let’s outdo the attendance figure of the Monday night meeting. It’s no longer a matter of just saving Foothills library but it also includes preserving the programs and the space needed to conduct them at FRAC as well.

© 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.

Daly

NHL Deputy
Commissioner
Bill Daly

Here is the verbatim transcript of an April 29, 2013 interview with Deputy NHL Commissioner Bill Daly regarding Coyotes’ ownership from Sportsnet.com. I do not know the names of the two gentlemen that anchored the show on Hockey Central. I will refer to one as Anchor 1 (A1) and the other as Anchor 2 (A2). I refer to Bill Daly as BD. The link for the video is http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/bill-daly-on-hc-noon/ . It starts at about the 8 minute mark and the Phoenix Coyotes discussion lasts for about 3 minutes. My commentary follows the remarks made.

A1: “Couple of things we have to get to…Phoenix. Are you any closer?”

BD: “Yep. Look, it’s still a work in progress. There’s still a lot of work to be done. Um, but it’s still something that we’re diligent about trying to complete.”

A1: “Is it safe to say it’s not going to be a deal that’s ideal for you but it will be the best case scenario to keep the team in Phoenix?”

BD: “If we can get it done.”

A1: “It’s something…”

BD: “Again, we’re still trying to get it done and there’s a big, a big question mark still out there. We still have to deal with the City of Glendale.

This is an understatement. In the city council’s budget workshop of April 26, 2013 the figure that will be used in the approved Fiscal Year 2013-14 budget is $6M annually. There is still considerable doubt that this figure will be acceptable to any prospective buyer of the team.

A2: “This big notion that the team is essentially almost given to these people and they’re allowed to give it back in three years time. Is there any truth?”

BD: “Well, they’ll buy it.”

A2: “Yeah, they’ll buy it for peanuts.”

BD: “No. They don’t have the ability to give it back.”

The idea that the team would be given back has never surfaced. The question unasked is what is the NHL’s position on relocation of the team?

A2: “So, is this team going to be in excess of $150M, sold for?”

BD: “Yes.”

A2: “It will be sold for?”

BD: “Yes.”

A1: “Is there a guarantee that they play in Phoenix next year?”

BD: “Uh, no. There’s no guarantees.”

A2: “If this deal is done would they be in Phoenix?”

BD: “Yes. I mean, again, and I should clarify this. I mean, there’s no doubt that we’re dealing with Mr. Gosbee and Mr. LeBlanc and trying to work through and get to a deal with them but there are other interested people who continue, we’re working with at the same time as well. Nobody has exclusivity here. Um, but obviously we’re getting close to having to make some decisions and sign some documentation and you know, we’ve got to work on it. I was on a conference call again last night. It’s something we’re working on”.

The rumor that LeBlanc/Gosbee has a deal sewn up is just that, a rumor perpetuated by Mr. LeBlanc. Mr. Daly indicates that the NHL is talking to various groups and there is no exclusivity for anyone.

A1: “Are you ahead of where you were a few years ago when it looked like Phoenix was going to Winnipeg? I mean that was all but done. Are you ahead of that pace or about the same?”

BD: “I’m not sure how I answer that question. I mean, the, uh, I think, uh, we were very close to selling this team a couple of times and some unforeseen circumstances, uh, kept it from happening. Uh, that’s why I’m the first person who can’t give any guarantees on any result here. Um, you know and at some point in time, you beat your head against the wall enough times you have to try a different hole. You know I used to be a running back. I used to beat my head against the line a couple of time and then I had to try a different hole.”

That “different hole” that Mr. Daly is referring to appears to be consummating a sale with the NHL and then presenting it to Glendale, to accept or reject.

A1: “What happens first? The Olympics or Phoenix? Resolved?”

BD: “Um, well, the final resolution? Uh, I think we’ll in a position to make a recommendation to our Board before, on the Olympics, you know, before we have a closed transaction in Phoenix. That’s not to say there could be some announcements saying this is what we’re trying to get done in Phoenix before then.”

 It appears that the NHL still has a long way to go before any announcement of sale is made.

A2: “How much money has the League invested in Phoenix to this point? Like what would you have to sell that team for to break even? On what you’ve lost on this transaction?”

BD: “It’s a complicated question. I can probably take you through it and get to an answer.

A1: “The $25M a year from Glendale has helped.”

BD: “But I don’t intent to (referring to how much has been lost). Of course (in response to the $25M from Glendale).”

Glendale’s infusion of $25M annually for 2 years has virtually guaranteed that the NHL did not lose money in attempting to secure an owner.

Interview then moved on the Stanley Cup….

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