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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.

Almost a year ago on November 2, 2016 I published a blog entitled “Two Glendales.” In it I drew a distinction between north Glendale and south Glendale and how the city reacted to each geographic area. Obviously, north Glendale is more affluent and educated and its residents are more likely to be internet savvy…and they vote in greater numbers than any other area.

For years the more vocal residents made sure the city was aware that certain uses were acceptable to them and they did not expect what they perceived as more onerous uses to be foisted upon them. In other words, while certain uses may be acceptable elsewhere they were not to be placed in north Glendale.

The recently proposed Goodwill slated for the northwest corner of 59th Avenue and the Loop 101 once again demonstrated this dichotomy. Now, to be fair in discussing this issue, there is an old development agreement that stipulated that ‘thrift stores’ such as Goodwill would not be allowed in this shopping center. So, it is likely that unless the city council was willing to overturn that stipulation the proposed Goodwill would not have been approved. If it had been approved by council there is every likelihood litigation would have ensued. However, Goodwill, bowing to the pressure exerted by residents pulled its application. It is now a moot point.

It should be noted that when Peter Hollingshead, the representative of the shopping center owner, appeared before the Planning Commission he stated the building has been vacant five years and his client has sought to find a tenant for the building. He added that if Goodwill were to be denied, the entire shopping center could end up in foreclosure.

The contrast between the Stonehaven application and the Goodwill application could not be more stark.  Mayor Weiers’ public statement announcing Goodwill’s withdrawal is a good example of the disparity of treatment toward citizen protest. In June of 2017 over 1,000 Yucca district residents signed a petition in opposition to the proposed amendment to the Stonehaven residential development asking for lots as small as 4,000 square feet on 136 acres of the 300+ acre site. Innumerable emails and calls were made to the mayor and council expressing the residents’ opposition. I am not going to relitigate all of the reasons for residents’ opposition but they (and I) felt that over 1,000 residents’ voices would be heard via a petition, emails and calls and that the mayor and council would do the right thing and represent them. After all, never in Glendale’s history had so many residents taken the time to become politically active. Yet it was not to be so. The amendment increasing the density and allowing 4,000 square foot lots was approved on a 5 to 2 vote of council with only Councilmember Ray Malnar joining me. For you see, he listened. While Mayor Weiers offered his various explanations for approval, he did not acknowledge the vast number of residents in opposition.

Along comes Goodwill and in the mayor’s public announcement of Goodwill’s October 17, 2017 withdrawal from the process he stated, “My office received many emails and phone calls in opposition to this project, and as an elected official, it is extremely important that I give serious consideration to the will of citizens. I thank them for making their voices heard.”

Say what? He was willing to listen to the voices of a hundred or so Arrowhead residents and give them “serious consideration.” I know I personally received no more than 100 emails expressing opposition. There may have been more than that but the numbers were nowhere near those of the Yucca residents in opposition to Stonehaven. Why didn’t the mayor show the same deference and “serious consideration” to the 1,000 voices of Yucca district residents?

Because there still are two Glendales. Not all, but some of the emails I received from north Glendale residents expressed the same theme of arrogance and condescension.  Comments such as, “we live in the 85310 zip code and Goodwill is unwelcome” or  “a Goodwill store does not fit with the surrounding area” or “Goodwill would be just north of the Citadelle Plaza, which conveys an upscale atmosphere” or  “we would rather see a Trader Joe’s not a thrift store.” Can you imagine the firestorm if a pawn shop or an auto loan shop was to try to locate there?

I check every Friday’s edition of Glendale Republic to look at the sales prices for homes in zip codes 85308 and 85305. They are quite comparable. One week 85308 will have a slightly higher median sale price and the next week 85305 will be higher than 85308.  The population counts of Cholla and Yucca districts are also comparable – somewhere between 40,000 and 45,000 residents. That’s because when the 6 districts were drawn one of the federal imperatives requires making the population count for each district as equal as possible.

All geographic areas of Glendale should be heard and their opinions respected equally and equitably. No area of Glendale is better than another area and it’s time the city stopped making decisions based on this discriminatory sentiment.

I wonder what decision council would have made if there had been no stipulation and Goodwill had proceeded with its application. We’ll never know.

© Joyce Clark, 2017                 

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Recently the City of Glendale approved yet another pawn shop, Go Daddy Pawn, in south Glendale at 67th Avenue and Bethany Home Road, specifically in zip code 85301. Now USA Pawn wants to plant itself a mere 300 to 500 feet away from Go Daddy Pawn. Not another pawn shop! Give south Glendale a break. There are more than a half dozen pawn shops within shouting distance of one another in the area.

Not all residents, but many who live in zip code 85301 are poor. It is a socio-demographic area under stress. There are, at a minimum, 15 apartment complexes. Housing can and often will sell for less than $100,000. An obscene number of pawn shops, liquor stores, title loan shops and we buy gold & silver shops dot the landscape – far more than in any other part of Glendale. I won’t even get into the number of south Glendale billboards (ala the north Glendale situation that has residents currently fighting their placement along Bell Road).

85301 is a ripe and juicy target area for the non-profits of the world. Many wish to locate in 85301 to be close to their client base. After a while it becomes a “chicken and egg” situation. The non-profits are drawn there to do good. That in turn, attracts more people in need to the area which, in turn, attracts even more non-profits. It becomes a never ending cycle that drags down property values. These types of commercial/retail seek out areas such as 85301.

Pawn shops are not healthy for any community. In a University of Michigan Law School study (here is the link: https://www.law.umich.edu/centersandprograms/lawandeconomics/workshops/Documents/Winter2008/miles.pdf ) “…estimates indicate that a 10% increase in the rate of pawn shops raises the rate of robberies, burglaries, and larcenies in urban counties by between 0.8 and 1.1 percentage points.” It found that, “pawn shops increase the rates of robbery, burglary, and larceny…”

On Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 6 PM the Glendale citizen Planning Commission will decide whether to grant a Conditional Use Permit for USA Pawn Shop. The meeting will be in the council chambers of Glendale City Hall.

Whether you live in zip code 85301 or not, please plan to attend and to ask the Planning Commission to deny USA’s request. You don’t have to live in that zip code, or in Glendale for that matter, to have an opinion and to speak. The Planning Commission, similar to a city council, can be swayed by the numbers of people in attendance opposing or supporting an issue. Your neighbors need your help and your support more than ever. It starts with just one person who does not assume that others will do the job. Be part of the solution.

Why bother? Because negative zoning requests such as this know no bounds. They are like sludge, silently expanding their boundaries. While they are predominately located south of Glendale Avenue now, look for a future that moves these indicators of decline further north in Glendale – first to Northern Avenue and then beyond as they relentlessly move northward in our city.

© 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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