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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 Tuesday, April 18, 2017 city council met in workshop session. There were 3 agenda items: information on the city’s purchase of a new city-wide software program; my Council Item of Special Interest requesting the formation of a temporary council subcommittee on business; and Councilmember Aldama’s  request to move forward with the creation of a citizen Diversity and Human Relations Commission.

PeopleSoft vs. Munis City-Wide Software Systems. City staff provided information on a proposed software system called Munis. Currently the city uses a software system called PeopleSoft for its Finance, Human Resources and Payroll functions. Staff represented that PeopleSoft is inefficient for their needs and estimated the number of hours currently used to support PeopleSoft as 19,562 and the estimated annual cost of that support is $703,475.

I do accept that the Finance functions under PeopleSoft are no longer sufficient to meet our needs but I have not been convinced that the city should abandon PeopleSoft’s functionality for its Human Resources/Payroll needs. 

In 2015 PeopleSoft’s HR and payroll modules were updated at a cost of $1.2 million. These software modules will receive PeopleSoft support until 2017. There does not appear to be any urgency to replace these modules after the city just spent $1.2 million to upgrade them. Yet the proposed city-wide software system contains the option to replace these modules.

A year later, in 2016, staff requested approval to hire a firm, Berry & Dunn, to search for, review and recommend a new city-wide software system. I don’t believe staff explained this request adequately to city council and that city council approved this request without realizing that they had taken the first step in a procurement process. The result is the current proposal to replace the entire city software system at a cost of $6 million over a two year period. Why replace the HR/Payroll modules when the city spent $1.2 million to upgrade them less than 2 years ago? Finance did make a strong case for the replacement of its PeopleSoft modules and I can support their request but I believe we can wait to replace the HR/Payroll modules at a later date.

The areas of my concern about which there were no satisfactory answers provided at the workshop are: 1. What are the cost savings and level of productivity to be gained by switching to this new system? and 2. What is the final, estimated cost of purchasing, supporting and implementing this new system? Staff indicated that answer would be available to council and the public on May 28th. By then the proposed budget is set and council moves into June having to approve the proposed budget. That is not satisfactory to me. It leaves no time to question or to adjust the proposed budget to reflect council’s final direction.

Temporary city council subcommittee on business. I introduced this item several months ago as a “Council Item of Special Interest.” It requests the creation of a temporary city council subcommittee comprised of city council members and representatives from Glendale’s business community. Its purpose is to make Glendale even more business friendly while enhancing Glendale’s reputation for supporting job attraction, creation and retention. This committee would review all of Glendale’s business-related codes, ordinances, regulations and policies for the purpose of removing out-dated, redundant, no longer relevant business imperatives. The committee’s conclusions and recommendations are advisory and would be presented to the full council for acceptance or rejection, in whole or part.

I am grateful to city council for offering their suggestions to make the concept even better and for their support in moving this initiative forward. I am excited that there will be an opportunity to take Glendale toward a 21st Century future by aligning its laws, regulations and policies to enhance our business community.

Diversity and Human Relations Commission. This item was originally initiated as a “Council Item of Special Interest” by former Councilmember Gary Sherwood. That’s how long this item has been floating around…at least 2 years. Sherwood was recalled and replaced by the current Councilmember Ray Malnar representing the Sahuaro district. Councilmember Aldama took up the issue after Sherwood left. Councilmember Malnar introduced an alternative Human Relations Commission proposal to Councilmember Aldama’s Diversity and Human Relations Commission. The proposals were virtually the same with the exception of Section 2-313 – Powers and duties (a).

Here is Councilmember Aldama’s version:

“The commission shall advise the mayor and council regarding issues, regulations or policies affecting diverse members of the Glendale community including, but not limited to, those related to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic characteristics, medical condition, familial or parental status, U.S. Military veteran status, mental development, behavior, illness, or disorder or disability, physical appearance, limitation or disability, education level, socio-economic condition or any other individual or distinct characteristic.”

Here is Councilmember Malnar’s version:

“The Glendale Human Relations Commission will act as an advisory body to the mayor and council by making recommendations on way to encourage mutual respect and understanding among all people, to discourage prejudice and discrimination, and to support cultural awareness and unity of the community in all its diverse forms. The commission may also make recommendations for special events.”

I preferred Councilmember Malnar’s version, as did Vice Mayor Hugh and Councilmember Tolmachoff. Consensus was given to move forward with the Malnar version to be agendized for a future city council voting meeting. My reason for support of the Malnar version is that the country’s current preoccupation with diversity has led to increased tensions and divisiveness among disparate communities. That is an atmosphere I prefer not to bring to Glendale. Rather Councilmember Malnar’s version emphasizes the very values we, as a nation, have seemed to have forgotten, that of mutual respect and understanding, the discouragement of prejudice and discrimination and support of unity within our community.

The next city council meeting will occur on Monday, April 24th at 9 AM. It will give the city council an opportunity to focus on individual department budgets and to pose questions about them. It will be followed by another budget workshop on Friday, April 28th and will be a continuation of departmental budget review by city council. You can watch these workshops online at the city website under the City’s Cable Channel 11 or if you are a Cox subscriber you can watch the workshops on TV Channel 11.

© Joyce Clark, 2017                 

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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.

Well, Sammy finally turned in his campaign finance report on October 3, 2016…late. Wonder if he was fined? Here is the link to his finance report: http://glendaleaz.com/Clerk/documents/Post-Primary-ChaviraforCouncil.pdf .

Sammy raised almost as much money as the two mayoral candidates as each mayoral candidate raised and spent in excess of $100,000. This report pegs him collecting $81,180.74 in contributions from special interests and unions outside of Glendale. His total spending to date is $74,301.74. I spent $11,489.70. Sammy, to date, outspent me 6 and a half times to one. He retains excess cash of $6878.27. How long will it take him to figure out a strategy that allows him to pocket that cash? Legally, a campaign committee may only make contributions to other candidates or committees or to non-profits. The excess funds are not to be spent personally.

As Sammy rides off into the sunset hopefully never to run for any office again, we wish him a fond farewell.

Even though I do not take office until December 13, 2016, I have begun to resume councilmember elect activities. I had been invited to attend a neighborhood annual picnic this past Sunday. I had a great time. I connected with residents who I had served previously and listened to their current concerns as well as issues important to them now. This week I will meet with developers on two upcoming residential zoning projects and attend a grand opening for a local business.

I attribute the result of my win to my previous constituent interactions. My campaign support came from individuals living within the Yucca district or within Glendale. To celebrate that win I am joining Mayor Jerry Weiers, Vice Mayor Ian Hugh, and Councilmember Ray Malnar in a victory party on October 21, 2016. To all those individuals who either donated to my campaign, made phone calls for me, walked for me, worked the polls or had yard signs, consider this personal invitation as a way to thank you for your support. I invite you to join all four of us in celebration. I, personally, am excited to be part of a team committed to moving Glendale forward. We ask that you RSVP by calling 623-939-4052 or emailing ianhugh2012@yahoo.com before October 14, 2016 so that we might have a count for food and refreshment purposes.

invitation-5

© Joyce Clark, 2016        

FAIR USE NOTICE

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.

Now that the election is over and the County Recorder has published the results, I am eager and excited to begin my work. The County Recorder’s Canvass of Votes may be approved by city council at a voting meeting as early as September13, 2016. That will be the final step. The swearing in ceremony for Mayor Weiers, Vice Mayor Hugh, Councilmember Malnar and me, Councilmember Elect Joyce Clark, is scheduled for December 13, 2016 at 6 PM in City Council Chambers.

I am pleased to become a member of a city council that has made great strides in mitigating some of the city’s previous issues. Each of the current councilmembers brings positive attributes to the table. Mayor Weiers has a quiet confidence shown in his willingness to listen and to respect the points of view of all councilmembers. Vice Mayor Hugh exhibits the strength and perspective of historical Glendale. Councilmember Ray Malnar adds to the mix with his focus on fiscal accountability. Councilmembers Lauren Tolmachoff and Bart Turner have demonstrated their ability to ask questions of staff that often go to the heart of an issue.

These are good people who take their responsibilities very seriously. All are honest and ethical. Each has shown that their decisions are based upon what they believe to be the best for the citizens of Glendale. They may approach their decisions from different points of view but they are able to achieve consensus while respecting each other. I am excited to work with each and every one of them. I have no “axe to grind” with any of them and I would hope that it is mutual. Our slates are clean and yet to be written as we all work in mutual harmony to build productive working relationships while continuing to move Glendale forward.  

My first opportunity to interact with this council will be this Friday, September 9, 2016 at the Renaissance Hotel at 9 AM. The City Manager has put together a special morning council workshop meeting to introduce the concept of building strategic initiatives and leadership. As councilmember elect I will attend as an observer rather than a participant. I look forward to a fruitful and productive session and will share my observations in a future blog.

I take this opportunity to once again thank the voters of the Yucca district for their faith in me. I will work not only for them but with them to move the Yucca district forward by developing more jobs, working to make sure their neighborhoods are safe and secure, and enhancing their quality of life by securing more recreational opportunities.

© Joyce Clark, 2016          

FAIR USE NOTICE

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 18 years and 163 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

PLEASE CHECK OUT THE TWO SAMMY CHAVIRA VIDEOS TO THE LEFT OF THIS COLUMN.537e4d22979c7.image

Before beginning today’s blog let us all take a moment to remember all armed service active duty and veterans for their service and their sacrifice. A bit of trivia…did you know that 1% of America’s population is responsible for preserving the freedoms that 99% of us enjoy? Our debt is enormous.Memorial-Day-Graphic

Light rail continues to remain contentious. In its city council meeting of April 24, 2016 city council split on a 4-3 vote approving its route and mode of transit. Voting for light rail were Councilmembers Tolmachoff, Turner, Aldama and Chavira. Voting against, while citing the need for an investigation of the alternatives, were Mayor Weiers, Vice Mayor Hugh and Councilmember Malnar.

This issue will come before city council once again, probably in January of 2017. At that time city council will be asked to commit formally to financing and approving the final route. At that time they will still have the option to approve or deny funding for light rail.

There are many angry people out there who are opposed to light rail for many reasons and they are not going to go away. The wisest action this city council could take would be to call for a special election and allow the citizens of Glendale to decide this issue for once and for all. After all, the last vote taken about light rail was 15 years ago and in that time we have seen many things change. It’s time to formally reassess the will of the people of Glendale.

City hall damage and the fall out just will not go away. In Paul Giblin’s story of May 24, 2016, the city acknowledges that nearly $50,000 (not the $30,000 I had cited previously) of damage had been done. Here is the link :  http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2016/05/24/vandals-cause-50000-damage-glendale-city-hall/84557320/ .

 In a second Public Information Request I again asked for the following:

  1. “I request Councilmembers Aldama and Chavira to obtain information from Barrio Breakthru about expenses covered by their donation of $5,000 of taxpayer money.
  2. 2. I request copies of any and all licenses and proof of insurance on file for this event provided to the city by Barrio Breakthru.”

The city’s response was, “The City has reviewed its records and has provided documents on file that are responsive to this request. There were no responsive documents for item #1.” None of the documents I previously received from the city show any licenses or proof of insurance on file with the city. Yet Ordinance 2975 specifically contains these specific requirements.

There is another way to skin this cat. On September 2, 2014 city council took up the question of council guidelines and specifically the issue of councilmember donations to non-profits. Here is the link: http://glendale-az.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=2838c6fe-32f9-11e4-bdc2-00219ba2f017&meta_id=7296  .  No consensus was achieved by council to prohibit councilmember donations to non-profits but there were a series of staff recommendations that, by council  consensus, were adopted on that date. They were as follows:

  1. “Requests for an expenditure of council discretionary funds for purposes of a donation of $5,000 or above must be submitted to the City Council for approval.
  2. “Each request for the use of council discretionary funds will require the completion of a new uniform standard request form.
  3. “Council discretionary fund recipients will agree that the City of Glendale and its authorized representatives shall have the right to examine and audit all financial and related records related to the acceptance and expending of the discretionary funding.”

I call upon City Manager Kevin Phelps to perform an audit of Barrio Breakthru and its acceptance of and its spending of the discretionary funding provide by Councilmember Chavira in the amount of $2,500 and Councilmember Aldama in the amount of $2,500. This audit should be publicly released for it involves $5,000 taxpayer dollars. I further call upon City Manager Kevin Phelps to amend Ordinance 2975 making it clear that if these requirements are not met, no permit will obtained. There is also an opportunity to review policies for special events to ensure that all organizations are being treated equally and that city property is protected properly.

City Manager Phelps said, “ Breakthru Productions carries insurance, so city officials will approach the organization’s executives to seek reimbursement for the damaged equipment.” If that is the case, why was I not provided with that information when I made my PIR? None of the documents I received included any proof of insurance despite a specific request for such information.

Why does it seem that Barrio Breakthru is being given a pass by city hall officials? Is it because two councilmembers, Chavira and Aldama donated to Barrio Breakthru?

© Joyce Clark, 2016

FAIR USE NOTICE

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 18 years and 94 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

On March 19, 2016, Paul Giblin’s article is entitled Glendale expenses get more scrutiny. It is not online as of this date so no link to the story is provided. In his article Giblin solicits reaction to Chavira’s questionable travel expenses from his peers…the Glendale city councilmembers. Giblin reports, “Sammy Chavira’s colleagues on the Glendale City Council said this week they want to strengthen the city’s travel policy following reporting by the Arizona Republic on Chavira’s travel expenses.”

Mayor Weiers said, “‘We’re going to have to do something. Weiers said one option to tighten the travel policy would be to require councilmembers to use personal credit cards, rather than city-issued cards, for all city-related travel. If you want to be reimbursed, then you have to provide us with all the information – who, what, when, why, where. If you don’t provide that, then you’re not going to get reimbursed,’ he said.”

A majority of councilmembers have said this is a future public city council workshop topic of discussion. Silent on the issue were Councilmember Chavira and Councilmember Aldama. “Vice Mayor Ian Hugh and City Council members Lauren Tolmachoff and Bart Turner told The Republic they expect a formal discussion at a public meeting about improving the city’s travel policy for elected officials.”

The reactions from various councilmembers are varied. “Hugh said he is opposed to granting council members authority to approve or disapprove of each other’s trips.” Frankly I agree with his assessment. In towns and cities there are councilmembers who don’t like each other, don’t get along with each other and may downright hate each other. In most cases, the public is never aware of councilmembers’ animosity toward one another because publicly they remain polite to one another. Political animosity (or even revenge) would be a constant threat if councilmembers’ had the power to approve or disapprove of one another’s expenses.

“‘Council members should be held to at least the same standard as rank-and-file city employees,’ Tolmachoff said.” Councilmember Tolmachoff almost got it. Councilmembers should not be held to the same standards as other city employees. They should be held to the highest standard. They should be a model for all employees to follow. Councilmembers are in a unique position. There are only 7 of them elected by the people of Glendale. There is no comparable position in Glendale. That makes them unique. Their major responsibility is to develop all policy for the city. It is an enormous task requiring their best efforts and a commitment to impartiality. It is their responsibility to strive to be above reproach at all times and in all instances.

Councilmember Ray Malnar thinks that a periodic audit of councilmembers’ use of their expense accounts is in order. “Periodic audits of council members’ expenses would help keep members attuned to existing guidelines, Malnar said. ‘There’s always the ability, no matter what kind of controls you have in place, for abuse. And a lot of it is a matter of trust and follow-up.’ he said.” It is a solid suggestion. It bears serious consideration and has the appeal of having a councilmember’s expenses related to his or her budgets scrutinized on a regular basis.

Councilmember Turner, surprisingly, offered very little concern about councilmembers’ travel expenses and instead focused on lost receipts. “Turner said he’s interested in reviewing the city’s policy for lost receipts and perhaps capping the amount allowable for reimbursement using lost-receipt forms.There’s no transparency around a lost receipt, and I think we owe it to our taxpayers to be as transparent as possible,’ Turner said.”

From the councilmembers’ comments two viable themes emerged. Councilmember Malnar suggested audits. If such audits are not publicly posted prominently and instead are buried in the bowels of city hall paperwork, what good is an audit? Councilmember Turner made reference to transparency. However, currently there is no transparency related to any expense incurred by a councilmember. Why tailor transparency narrowly to a lost-receipt? It’s illogical. Transparency only serves the public interest when it brings to light a practice formerly buried and generalized in the city’s annual budget book.

Perhaps audits and transparency should be used in tandem. City councilmembers should consider revising their policy to include an annual audit performed by Glendale’s Audit Office of both their communications/professional development budget and their infrastructure improvements budget to be completed by October 1 of every year. I can hear the City Auditor now saying that it is an onerous burden upon her department. It is not unreasonable. Each councilmember’s two budgets total approximately $35,000 a year. They are simplistic and not as complicated as one would find in auditing an entire city department comprised of millions of dollars. They could be completed quickly and would not require an inordinate amount of audit staff’s time.

These audits should be posted in each councilmember’s Friday e-newsletter no later than the end of each October. If a councilmember had to publicly announce what expenditures he or she made during the course of a year it would constantly reinforce the concept that each and every dollar is a taxpayer dollar and not “theirs.” This is a reasonable policy. It would create an unmatched level of transparency for Glendale’s citizens. Glendale would be the first city in the state to adopt such a model and it is expected it would cause other cities to follow suit. It would have the effect of helping the public to determine if a councilmember was making effective and ethical use of their taxpayer dollars. It would certainly be a breath of political fresh air.

In the meantime, Giblin reported, “While Glendale officials talked about Chavira’s expenditures, Phoenix officials acted on them. Phoenix officials submitted five checks to Glendale on March 9 to reimburse the city for their portions of the seafood dinner, said Glendale spokeswoman Sue Breding.” Obviously these Phoenix officials, such as the Phoenix Fire Chief, by reimbursing the city, are tacitly acknowledging that Chavira’s payment for their dinners was inappropriate. That cannot be good for Chavira who keeps repeating that he did nothing wrong. Perhaps he’s hoping if he repeats it often enough people will believe him…Hmmm, I think not. I wonder if former Glendale Fire Chief Mark Burdick or Phoenix Councilmember Danny Valenzuela (who happens to be a Glendale fire fighter) reimbursed Glendale. There’s no way to know as that information is not forthcoming.

Come on, Glendale councilmembers, think outside the box. Develop a policy that sheds light on the issue for all of Glendale’s taxpayers. After all, it’s not about you. It’s about the citizens and city that you are elected to serve.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

FAIR USE NOTICE

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.

Before reviewing the Glendale City Council meeting of January 13, 2015 I wanted to share some information related to the events about to occur in Glendale. With the Direct TV Music Festival, the ProBowl and the Super Bowl fast approaching those residents who live in close proximity to the site of these events may have the need for further information about them or may need to lodge a complaint while the events are occurring.  Below are the Glendale numbers for your reference:

DirecTV Super Fan Festival Hotline

A special hotline has been established for the DirecTV Super Fan Festival.  The hotline number is 602-532-6250.

Neighborhood Protection (barricades)

The Neighborhood protection program is being enacted for the DirecTV Super Fan Festival, Fiesta Bowl, Pro Bowl and Super Bowl.

Electronic Link to Glendale’s Got Game Webpage

The information listed above and specific links are available through the City’s Glendale’s Got Game webpage: http://www.visitglendale.com/ZoneA/index.html

The January 13, 2015 Glendale city council meeting was typical of many council meetings. A proclamation recognizing Dr. Martin F. King Day and then an item packed Consent Agenda. The only interesting segment of the meeting was the choice of a Vice Mayor for this year.

Councilmember Bart Turner nominated and Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff seconded the nomination of Councilmember Ian Hugh. A second nomination of Councilmember Gary Sherwood was offered by Councilmember Sammy Chavira and seconded by Councilmember Jamie Aldama. No surprises there. That left Mayor Weiers as the deciding vote. It was well played by Mayor Weiers. The Mayor offered Councilmember Hugh for a vote first, as it should have been, since Hugh’s nomination was offered first.

Votes were cast on the newest toy, the nearly $50,000 voting system and flashed on the large screen behind them. There were four votes (a majority) in favor of Hugh’s nomination: Mayor Weiers, Councilmembers Hugh, Turner and Tolmachoff. Since Councilmember Hugh’s nomination captured the majority of council votes there was no need to vote on the nomination of Councilmember Sherwood. Congratulations go to the newly elected Vice Mayor of Glendale, Ian Hugh.

We have seen the first vote of the new council majority of Weiers, Hugh, Turner and Tolmachoff. We’ll see how well Councilmember Sherwood plays in the sandbox now that his coalition is no longer in the majority.

A word that seems to aptly describe both Councilmembers Chavira’s and Aldama’s usual commentary during the course of council workshops and meetings is saccharin. According to Webster’s Dictionary saccharin is defined as “sweet or sentimental in a way that does not seem sincere or genuine.” If ever two people fit that bill it appears to be these two. Their greatest claim to fame is certainly not the offering of insightful comment but rather a litany of thank yous to everyone they can possibly think of. Perhaps the voters of their districts will thank them profusely as they wander out the door of Glendale politics.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

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