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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.

This past week I had the opportunity to visit the site for a status update. The end is near. In mid-December we will turn the water on and fill the lake. Shortly thereafter, Arizona Game and Fish will stock the lake. During the winter months expect trout to be introduced and during the summer months perch and catfish will be added.

We could have the Grand Opening after Christmas but with people being out of town and the rush of holiday activities we decided to hold off until after New Year’s Day. Expect a public announcement inviting the public to the Grand Opening slated for the first week in January of 2022. It’s a nice Christmas present and start to the New Year for Glendale residents. My Council Assistant, Shannon, and I are already working on a fishing event for next year.

I thought I would share construction progress to date. These photos show fish habitats provided by Arizona Game and Fish. Fish need places to hide and these habitats will grow algae and other “gunk” on them turning them into secluded oases for the fish.

Fish habitat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also note that in selected spots you can see black material running down the slope of the lake. Some are already being covered by rocks. These are more fish sanctuaries where they will be able to rest and to hide.

Fish habitat on lake slope

The sidewalk surrounding the lake is complete and for those who wish to walk or jog, one lap around the lake is ¾ of a mile.

Pump house under construction

The pump house that will contain the heart of the water system and filtration is now under construction.

Along the rim of the lake, just below the water line, a ‘shot crete’ coating is now being applied. This surface will also receive additional rock on top of it.

The irrigation for the landscaping is now being installed to be followed by plants, trees and shrubs. There will be two fishing piers, one of the east side and one on the west side of the lake. The only element that will not be installed by the time of the Grand Opening are the ramadas. Due to supply chain issues, the steel delivery needed for their frames has not arrived.

Site of one of the ramadas

I cannot begin to tell you how excited and pleased I am to see this element of the park becoming a reality. After 23 years, the park is now beginning to take shape and to develop its own identity.

The next park element that I am working on are the sports fields that will be located in the northeast quadrant of the park. Having these sports fields will finally offer children a place to run, throw and kick a ball. I am working on having the design of the fields in our next fiscal year’s budget followed by their construction shortly thereafter.

The major element still to be installed is the Recreation and Aquatics Center. I believe the time has come to address this issue. After redistricting of the city council district boundaries is approved by the council, the Yucca district will be the largest district geographically, the district with the greatest population within the next few years, and the district containing about 80% of all of the economic growth within Glendale. The Crystal Island Resort Lagoon of Glendale development alone will earn the city almost $10 million a year in sales tax. The construction of a Recreation and Aquatics Center will serve all south and west Glendale residents, nearly 100,000 people. The explosion of economic and population growth within the Yucca district necessitates this facility. It is long overdue.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

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

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.

Perhaps you don’t believe our country is in crisis. Perhaps you don’t regret having voted for Biden as our President. The signs of crises are all around us. Let’s begin with those issues that tangibly affect us every day.

Have you bought gas for your vehicle recently? I did the other day. I used to spend about $30 to fill up my car. I just paid $55 to fill her up. This is a crisis that affects all of us, especially those, like seniors, on a fixed income and the poor. Paying extra for gasoline means that you have fewer dollars to spend on other essentials, like food.

Have you been to the grocery store lately? I went to my local store yesterday and the cold cut section was virtually empty. Most of the shelves in this area were empty. Some of the products that I use are simply not there anymore. Not only that but I tend to buy the same items weekly. I used to pay about $200 a week or less. Now, for the very same items the cost is closer to $300. Take milk. Last year it was $1.29 a gallon. Now it is $2.29 a gallon. What about your Thanksgiving dinner? Each and every item for your dinner will cost more. Christmas? Forget it. We are told to buy now if it is a Christmas item or present. We are told to ‘settle’ or ‘accommodate’ to this new normal.

Our supply chain is broken. I’ve heard all the excuses… trucker shortage, onerous regulations…it goes on an on but the basic premise of manufacturing products in our country has been destroyed. With its destruction comes the destruction of our economy. Construction supplies are difficult to obtain. Customers must wait for delivery that might occur seven months from now and those supplies cost a great deal more. It’s not just new car prices climbing higher and higher. It has caused used car prices to climb as well. Do you need a new refrigerator or washing machine? Be prepared to wait and not only that but pay more for it.

Inflation continues to skyrocket. The official inflation rate is pegged at about 5% nationally but we are living the lesson that the rate is higher than the official number. Our dollars are worth less and therefore we need more of them to buy the same things we bought a year ago.

Our national debt is dangerous to all of us. The country needs more money to pay for the recently passed infrastructure bill. No problem. The Treasury will print more. The more it prints the less each dollar is worth.

I guess we can thank our lucky stars that we don’t live in cold country because the cost of heating has increased by over 50%. Why? Because of Biden’s energy policy. He immediately shut down the Keystone pipeline and is now considering closing the pipeline in Minnesota. All in the name of a ‘climate crisis’. Jen Psaki, Biden’s press secretary, said this action is designed to drive us all to accept renewable energy. Unfortunately, wind and solar energy is not reliable nor abundant. Has it occurred to anyone that fossil fuel and gasoline derivative products are needed to make wind and solar components and infrastructure?

We are experiencing labor shortages. Why work when the government provides more money not to work? The labor shortage will abate with greater numbers of green card holders as well as the inundation of illegals willing to take your job.

Our relationship with other countries is disturbing and frightening. Russia is a provocateur in Eastern Europe and China is threatening Taiwan as it drives to become the dominant world power. The Afghanistan withdrawal was botched leading to the deaths of 13 service members, leaving behind billions of dollars’ worth of equipment and the abandonment of Americans and Afghanistan nationals who worked for us. Some remain trapped in that country to this day. North Korea is saber rattling once again. The Biden administration has abandoned its support of the only true democracy in the Middle East, Israel, and the consequence of such action is now the Middle East is on the verge of a new series of hot wars.

Please tell me why it’s good to have a wall around President Biden’s home or Nancy Pelosi’s. It’s obvious. Walls keep the bad guys out and protect property. But a wall along our southern border is bad? It’s illogical. More than a million illegals have entered our country with many of them being dumped in cities in the dark of night. There is no background vetting, no shots, and no check for Covid. These illegals are no longer exclusively Mexican or Central American. They are from all over the world including the Middle East. It’s just a matter of time before this foolishness results in another 911 event. Along with this mass illegal migration into our country is increased human smuggling and opioid smuggling. Human trafficking and opioid deaths have increased dramatically. The very idea of paying illegal families $450,000 to a million each for separation of members during the commission of illegal entry into this country is obscene. It’s 4 times the amount paid to a gold star family because of the death of a family member.

The mishandling of Covid is causing people to distrust the government as more and more people refuse to take a booster shot followed by another and another…ad nauseum. If masks and distancing really worked, we would have seen a decline in this illness followed by its eventual eradication. Instead, now the government is imposing more draconian mandates. We ‘rubes’ are beginning to wake up with police, nurses, airline pilots, fire fighters and all kinds of essential workers willing to be fired instead of taking the jab. I took the first two shots, so I am not an “anti-vaxxer.” I do, however, believe in the American right of freedom and individual choice. No one should be forced to take a shot or punished or ostracized for not doing so.

We now have a two-tiered justice system when you see January 6th participants in solitary confinement in jail and yet those who participated in the Summer of 2020 riots that resulted in deaths are not even arrested. We see examples of blatant shop lifting every day with no consequences. We see violent criminals being released and repeating the very same offences against us. What has happened to our bedrock principle of ‘equal justice for all’?

Critical Race Theory is being taught to children in elementary schools. How can a philosophy that teaches white children to hate themselves for their whiteness while teaching children of color that they are oppressed and can never rise above it, be healthy for our county? Instead of embracing the eradication of racial division this philosophy encourages it. Thankfully, parents are fighting back and succeeding at the local level. CRT has no place in an open and healthy society.

There, I’ve gotten my concerns off my chest. Some of you will read this and discount these crises with what you believe are rational explanations for each and every one. That’s fine. That’s your right in a free society but at some point, when conditions become even worse, you will be forced to remove your blinders. I just hope it doesn’t come too late.

I still believe in these words. Do you? Read it carefully and thoughtfully: “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

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.

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.

After the Federal Census was performed in the Spring of 2020 a mandate to redraw political district lines applies. In Arizona that is for congressional districts, state legislative districts and local districts.

Glendale began this process this summer after the hiring of a consultant to assist with the technical aspects of the process. Glendale’s new map with council districts must be submitted to the state no later than December 15, 2021.

The city council has had a series of workshops on the issue and there has been a period of public comment. Below is the public comment that has been received to date and presented to city council at its most recent workshop on November 9, 2020.

Please note that one citizen comment was made requesting that the Copperwood community not be divided. This citizen request was accommodated by the consultant and the city council. Three citizens asked that the Independence Heights community remain within the Yucca district. Neither the consultant nor the city council accommodated these citizens’ request as can be seen by the preferred city council map, Draft A, presented by the consultants. See Map A here:

The traditional redistricting guidelines for consideration in drawing districts includes three items of particular importance. One is to preserve communities of interest another is to accommodate planned future growth and the third is to have a “nearly equal number of inhabitants” (Arizona Statute 9—473.B). Here are the guidelines, federal, state and traditional:

In my opinion, some of these guidelines have been not been satisfied. Lets take a look at future growth within the districts. Please refer to this map:

You will see numbers for each district. Upon receiving clarification from the consultant, these numbers refer to the number of residential units already approved or in the pipeline and anticipated to be approved. The nationally recognized multiplier of occupants per residential unit is 2.3.

  • Cholla 533 units       X 2.3       increased population expected of 1,225.9
  • Sahuaro 944 units    X 2.3       increased population expected of 2,171.2
  • Barrel 859 units       X 2.3       increased population expected of 1,975.7
  • Cactus 342 units      X 2.3       increased population expected of 786.6
  • Ocotillo 410 units     X 2.3       increased population expected of 943
  • Yucca 7848 units      X 2.3       increased population expected of 18,050.4

Also consider this:

                                 Current population Map A          Future planned population by district

  • Cholla      39,793             +1,225.9                                     40,018.9
  • Sahuaro   42,051             +2,171.2                                     44,222.2
  • Barrel      41,210             +1,975.7                                     43,185.7
  • Cactus     43,132               +786.6                                      43,918.6
  • Ocotillo    42,409               + 943                                        43,352.0
  • Yucca       39,820           +18.050.4                                     57,870.04

The startling fact that should be immediately apparent is that the Yucca district is expected to see an increase in population of nearly 20,000 new residents in the next few years. It will have a population of 13,000 more residents than Sahuaro district projected to have a population of 44,222.2.

Legal guidelines do permit accommodation for future growth. However, there is one caveat to that guideline. The Supreme Court has granted safe harbor for population plan deviations up to 10%. Map A offers a deviation of total population of 8.06%. However, that deviation is occurring in Sahuaro, Cactus and Ocotillo districts. I’m not convinced that adding another percentage point in total population deviation would make any substantial difference.

However, while accommodating the Copperwood community, Map A offers no accommodation for the Independence Heights neighborhood’s request to remain in the Yucca district. This is a distinct community of interest between Ocotillo Road and Maryland Avenue, 71st Avenue to 75th Avenue. I am convinced that the consultants could have accommodated their request with minimal disruption to other council district boundaries.

I found it astonishing that Councilmember Aldama, representing the Ocotillo district, into which Independence Heights would go, paraphrasing made the following comment, If I am losing the Sands neighborhood, it should be compensated for by including Independence Heights in the Ocotillo district.  His comment virtually makes Independence Heights a pawn or consolation prize for losing the Sands neighborhood. I didn’t know that’s the way districts were to be drawn.

I am surprised that the only Councilmember that recognized the issues and supported keeping the Independence Heights neighborhood in the Yucca district was Councilmember Turner and for that, I thank him. To support their interests and their boundaries the rest of the council was willing to sacrifice the interests of the Yucca district.

Here’s two maps that I created. Obviously, they are not perfect. They were not vetted by the consultants and even though the population deviations are lower than the consultant’s Map A, they recognize that at some point council district boundaries are going to have to change dramatically to accommodate the growth occurring in the Yucca district. That is what occurs in my proposed draft maps. The Ocotillo boundary has to shift west at some point and that will create a domino effect in all of the other districts with their common boundaries moving further south. In fact, it should happen this time but it won’t.

 

A powerhouse in Glendale has not only been created but perpetuated for the next ten years until the 2030 census. The Yucca district is the largest geographically. The Yucca district will be the most populated of all 6 districts. The Yucca district is the epicenter of not only residential development but economic development as well.

If anything makes the case for the completion of Heroes Park, after 23 years of waiting for sports fields, a recreation and aquatics center, expansion of the smallest library in the city system and a dog park, this is it.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

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.

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.

There’s a saying, “As California goes, so goes the rest of the nation.” Let’s hope California’s influence has waned and this is no longer true.

The American Dream is under assault across the country, but nowhere is it more evident than in California where social justice activists and Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom are invading single-family home neighborhoods with plans to replace them with multi-unit properties. Expect to see similar action occurring in many other blue states as they rush to fulfill the Biden mandate to build more affordable, multi-family housing.

Recently Governor Gavin Newson signed Senate Bill 9. S.B. 9 effectively ended single-family zoning in a state with a population of 40 million. The bill legalizes duplexes statewide and allows people to subdivide single-family lots. California’s cities have lost the power to prevent the building of backyard units. Within the bill, state legislators mandated the reduction of development fees, requires cities to issue permits within a few weeks, and prohibits the requirement of dedicated parking spots.

In San Diego, its city council allowed bonuses for up to 6 units per lot no matter the lot size if some of the new multi-family units are dedicated to low to moderate income households. As a result of S.B 9 and expanded laws in many counties, slightly over ten percent of the state’s new housing (about 13,000 permits) consisting of multi-family units are being built in backyards throughout the state. In Southern California, four-unit multi-family buildings are surging in backyards. One can drive down a street and see a cute little bungalow with a 4-unit apartment complex in its backyard.

There are, of course, unintended consequences. Single family properties are becoming even more unaffordable for purchase by the average homeowner. By allowing these small apartment complexes in backyards, the value of single-family properties has sky rocketed and what was once marginally affordable is now completely unaffordable. Instead, developers are buying up single family lots and adding apartment complexes on the lots.

Add to the mix the plethora of Anti-Discrimination laws in the state. A developer who purchased a single-family lot and then added a 4-unit multi-family apartment complex is, in essence, an absentee landlord. Their reputation proceeds them as they do not care about the quality of the tenancy as long as the rent is paid (by somebody…the state? The feds?). The propensity to increase crime in the neighborhood is always a looming possibility.

Make no mistake. Biden’s ultimate goal is to urbanize the suburbs resulting in all of the things people originally moved away from. The American Dream of a home with a backyard in which the kids can play and the opportunity to become part of a small community is under threat of disappearing. America, as we have always known it and loved it, is slowly being taken away from us.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

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.

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 November 2. 2021 there will be a Special Election for the Pendergast Elementary School District and the Tolleson Unified High School District if you live in West Glendale. I recently received the publicity pamphlet for the Pendergast Elementary School District. 99% of the recipients of the pamphlet will file it in the circular file.

You can’t vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ unless you know the facts of the voter request. So, here goes. First, I pulled out my state property tax bill and I will share it with you. The Limited Cash Value (LCV) of our home for tax year 2021 is $217,679. This number is important because that is the number used to determine how much property tax you pay each year.

Your tax bill tells you how much of the total amount paid (our total for the year is $3,142.94) goes to whom. Here is what our bill states:

Pendergast Elementary                     $439.27         +7.1%

Pendergast Elementary Bonds            $456.55         +4.9%

Pendergast Elementary Overrides       $369.54         -8.3%

We will pay Pendergast taxes of $1,265.36 for tax year 2021. That’s 40% of our entire tax bill with a +3.7% increase this year over last year. With our home whose limited cash value is $217,679 the additional tax is about $228.30 a year or about $19.09, nearly $20 a month.

While we’re at it, let’s take a look at the rest of the property tax bill. We are in the Tolleson Unified High School District so a portion of our property tax goes to them as well.

Tolleson High School                           $434.49         -.4%

Tolleson High School Bonds                 $308.30         +27.5%

Tolleson High School Overrides            $287.60          -3.5%

We will pay Tolleson Unified High School taxes of $1,030.39 for tax year 2021. That’s 33% of our entire tax bill with a +23.6% increase this year over last year. That means 73% or $2,295.75 of our entire annual property tax bill of $3,142.94 goes to 2 school districts.

The amount of our bill that goes to the City of Glendale is $375.65. That money is used for police, fire, parks, transportation, etc. Here’s a fact that many do not know. Your property tax does not cover the average expenditure by the city per home. The current estimate is that to provide city services the cost is about $900 per home. How does any city make up the difference? In its collection of other taxes such as sales tax. That is why economic development is a critical driver for every city.

What is Pendergast asking for? To issue bonds in the amount of $53.5 million. But that is not the real number. While they propose to borrow $53.5 million when debt is paid back there’s interest to be paid for the right to borrow money. From their publicity pamphlet, “The estimated total cost of the proposed bond authorization, including principal and interest, is $74,701,002.” Over 15 years the district will pay about $21 million in interest. I would love to know what the district’s credit rating is as they say the interest rate average is 5% but could be as high as 8%. I guess, for public purposes $53.5 million looks a lot better than                                                 $74.7 million.

What do they want to spend the money on? The proposed capital improvements listed on page 10 of the publicity pamphlet are what you should pay attention to. The descriptions on pages 3 and 4 of the pamphlet are a wish list of identified projects and a wish list that may or may not be actually funded. Page 10 proposes, “Renovations, improvement of existing and new school facilities, including furniture and equipment and District-wide technology” and the purchase of “pupil transportation vehicles” in the amount of $49.6 million and another $3.8 million for administrative purposes including, “renovation, improvement of existing and new school facilities, including furniture and equipment and District-wide technology.”

We know the district as of its July, 2020 District Submittal to the State of Arizona School Facilities Board (see page 8 of the publicity pamphlet) that the district is not planning to build more classrooms or schools. That leads to the question of why the wording for the funding request says, “of existing and new school facilities?” All of the proposed funding, less the $3.8 million for the district offices, will go toward the 12 existing schools in the district. On average, the expenditure will be about $4.1 million per school. Of course, the expenditures per school will not be equal as some schools are newer than others.

I have given you the information you need to decide how you will vote at the Special Election on November 2, 2020. Please do take the time to vote. The school districts do a good job of getting their “pro” voters to vote. The general voter population doesn’t pay much attention to school district bond elections and tends not to vote.

Local elections are the most important elections in which we should get information and make an informed vote. Local issues are closest to us and affect us more directly. For example, I will have to decide whether I want to pay another $20 a month to the Pendergast School District. That is what you have to figure out as well. Be informed and vote. It’s up to you.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

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.

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.

In parts I and II we looked at the proposed Coyotes project and its funding as well as the stipulations that would be imposed by the FAA. In this part we look at the major hurdles to be overcome.

The first challenge for the Coyotes’ proposed development is that of the mechanism for the repayment of the 30-year, $200 million worth of bonds through a Community Facilities District (CFD) and Government Property Excise Lease Tax (GPLET) Both of these mechanisms are legitimate and have been used by cities throughout the Valley. The Coyotes have said the bulk of the repayment relies upon sales tax generated on the site. In the city’s negotiations with the Coyotes, just one of the issues to be resolved will be who pays any outstanding balance of the annual repayment of principal and interest on the bonds if the sales tax fails to generate the full annual amount needed. Will Muerelo cover it or will he expect Tempe to cover it?

The second challenge, and a major one at that, is the question of Tempe’s taxpayers’ support of the sales tax generated to be used to pay off bonds designed to support another sports venue in the Valley. The assumption by many is that Tempe taxpayers would rather see this development’s sales tax used for city uses that can be enjoyed the general public.

Data Orbital conducted a statewide poll on August 30-31, 2021. Here is the link to their findings: https://www.dataorbital.com/the-blog/taxpayers-icy-at-thought-of-paying-for-a-new-arizona-coyotes-arena . The results summarized are:

  • Voters support for funding a new Coyotes arena

No  47.7% / Yes  39.0% / Undecided  12.7%                                                                  

  • Voters support for using Covid relief funds for a new arena

Democrat:   No  84.4% / Yes  12.3%    Republican:  No   80.2% / Yes  17.0%    Independent:  No  79.0% / Yes  16.1%                                                                  

  • Voters support for elected officials who use taxpayer money for a new arena

Less likely to support  60.4% / More likely to support  29.1% / Undecided  9.6%

I happened to talk to a zoning development professional recently. This person held a meeting in Tempe to gauge neighborhood support on a project that had nothing to do with a new Coyotes arena. Even though the development had no connection to or relationship to the proposed arena, all the Tempe citizens wanted to talk about was their opposition to a new Coyotes arena. Admittedly, this is anecdotal, but it may very well express the level of support among Tempe residents.

The third major challenge is the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) specific height limitations for the site as well as the city of Phoenix’s objection to the proposed residential apartment complexes planned to be built directly in the path of Sky Harbor’s runways. Historically, the FAA’s height limitation drove a proposed Cardinals’ stadium to seek another location. Could the same be true for the Coyotes?

If the Coyotes accede to the FAA’s requirements as well as Phoenix’s prohibition on residential for the site that would require the project to be redesigned as well as scaled back considerably. Does it continue to pencil out in terms of repayment of the $200 million in bonds? Keep in mind that the Coyotes said they anticipate the “bulk” of the bond repayment would rely upon sales tax. Tempe should take a very close look at this issue.

The fourth challenge is if Tempe decides to award this RFP to the Coyotes the arena probably won’t be ready until 2024 or 2025. In the meantime, where will they play? Obviously, it won’t be in Glendale. There has been a lot of speculation about using Phoenix’s Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum.

There is no way that Phoenix can craft an exclusive deal with the Coyotes. Keep in mind that this is a taxpayer funded, public facility. If I remember correctly, the state also has a financial stake in the coliseum. As such Phoenix would have to issue an RFP for the coliseum just as Tempe did for its vacant site. Rather than receiving only one response to its RFP as occurred in Tempe, expect multiple responses for the coliseum.

It would take time to do a thorough review of all responses before an award could be made. Could all of this be done by next season? Your guess is as good as mine but as the clock keeps ticking, it seems unlikely.  In addition, the coliseum would require major renovation plus chillers to make ice. All of the renovative work takes time and money. The best guess currently is that it would take about $40 or $50 million to renovate and at least 6 to 8 months to do so after any award is made. Add that to the Coyotes’ announced investment of $1.2 billion for its proposed development in Tempe.

So far, there has been no RFP issued for the coliseum.

 

 

 

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

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.

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.

In part I we looked at the scope of the proposed project and how the Coyotes plan to finance their development.

There is another element to consider regarding the Coyotes’ proposed project and that is the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Does anyone remember that the Cardinals in 2001 wanted to locate their 198-foot-tall stadium in the same general area? Twenty years ago, the Federal Aviation Administration issued an opinion the Cardinals’ stadium site would be a “hazard to air navigation” as planned. To accommodate the FAA, their plans would have to be drastically reduced and would have generated a lot less revenue. In the end, it just didn’t pencil out and the Cardinals Stadium was built in Glendale.

“Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it,” said George Santayana in 1905.

Here is the link to a story by Brandon Brown dated September 22, 2021 that relates issues raised by the FAA:  https://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2021/09/22/sky-harbor-concerns-over-coyotes-tempe-arena.html .

Sky Harbor is one of the most significant economic assets of the state of Arizona. Twenty years ago, the FAA’s objections to the proposed height of the Cardinals’ stadium led to the withdrawal of the project from the Tempe site. In the years since 2001, Sky Harbor has grown with even more activity than ever. The imperative to protect it has only become stronger. The proposed site is only 10,000 feet from the end of the runway. That may sound like a lot of space but in terms of jet taking off or landing, it’s virtually nothing.

Chad Makovsky, director of Aviation Services for the city of Phoenix, in a very recent letter sent to the Coyotes raised several concerns. Makovsky said if the hockey arena is built, it offers “unique and significant challenges that may impair or altogether limit capacity at Sky Harbor.”

“In particular, Makovsky pointed out the proposed 1,600 apartments across multiple 12-story towers. He said that Sky Harbor, as an FAA-sponsored airport, and the city of Phoenix, which owns the airport, are obligated to oppose any residential development in that area of Tempe. ‘That’s an issue we’re going to have to stand firm on,’ Makovsky said. ‘Sixteen-hundred residential units right on departure path, I just don’t know what they were thinking. I don’t know why you would want to put residential units right off the end of two of the busiest runways in the state of Arizona.’”

Makovsky raised two more issues related to the proposed project. One was possible pilot distraction with the intensity on the site created by the of use of lights, digital screens/billboards, lasers or fireworks.

The other is the proposed 140 foot height of buildings when the FAA has mandated heights no greater than 100 feet. Tempe did recognize this fact and in its RFP required that any proposed development must meet FAA regulations or obtain a waiver from the FAA. Makovsky also noted that this project will take several years to build during which period construction cranes taller than the proposed 140 foot building height will be used.

The Coyotes and Tempe will need to see if the project remains viable without the residential component and with the remainder of the buildings being scaled down to meet the 100 foot height limitation. How much of the project could be removed and still remain viable in earning enough sales tax revenue to actually pay off the bonds?

That brings me to my blog, part III. In it, I will discuss the serious challenges posed for the Coyotes at this site as well as the Veteran’s Coliseum in Phoenix.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

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.

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.

In this 3-part series of blogs I examine the Coyotes’ response to the city of Tempe’s Request for Proposal (RFP) in their effort to secure a permanent playing site in the East Valley.

On September 20, 2021, Pauline Pineda authored an exclusive look at the Coyote’s proposal. Here is the link:  https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/tempe/2021/09/20/arizona-coyotes-reveal-proposal-for-new-arena-entertainment-district-tempe/8376362002/ .

Let’s begin with the first fact. Ms. Pineda states the site is “46 acres on the south bank of the Salt River that previously were used as a sand and gravel mining operation and a dump.” In comparison, Glendale’s Westgate Sports and Entertainment district is a 223-acre site. The Coyotes’ proposed site is roughly 20% or 1/5 the size of Westgate.

The second fact is their proposal in Phase I calls for, “300,000 square feet of commercial space, 320,000 square feet of office space, 1,600 residential units and two hotels.” It includes a 16,000-seat arena, a 1,500-seat theater, a commercial district, a 200-room boutique hotel, offices, and a 12-story apartment complex of 180 units. Their Phase II includes more than 1,500 apartment units in three apartment complexes 12 stories tall, a convention-style hotel with 300 rooms and additional retail and office space.

By way of comparison, Westgate currently has 8,000,000 square feet of mixed-use development that includes shopping, dining, entertainment, high-end condominiums, parks, and office space. Westgate has 5 hotels, convention space, 35 restaurants, and 3 apartment complexes. It has something else that cannot be replicated on the Coyotes’ proposed site…Tanger Outlets with nearly 80 retail shops. Their proposal sounds an awful lot like a mini-Westgate. No matter how much they try to stuff into those 46 acres, it will not generate the magnitude of sales tax generated by Westgate.

Here’s another fact to consider. There is a basketball arena that has just broken ground in Inglewood, California. It is where Steve Ballmer’s NBA Clippers will play beginning in 2024-25. It’s called the Intuit Dome and is expected to cost $1.8 billion to construct and you can be sure there will be cost overruns. To sweeten the deal, Mr. Ballmer will be donating $100 million to the city of Inglewood, funding job training, worker outreach, educational programs, and a rehabilitation of the Inglewood community center and library. It appears to be a project that Ballmer can easily afford (even with donations and cost overruns) as his net worth is pegged at $101 billion.

No one can guess at how successful Muerelo will be in obtaining additional investors. Keep in mind his net worth is reported to be $2 billion. It is certainly possible that he could end up using half of his net worth to develop his project. By way of contrast Bullmer can easily afford a $2 billion price tag to build new digs for his team and still have lots and lots of money left over. Bullmer is using his own money and Muerelo is relying on investor funding and sales tax to cover his proposed project.

 Fact number 3 looks at the proposed financial mechanisms for financing the project. What are the estimated costs for the Coyotes’ proposed project and how do they plan to pay for it? They are “proposing a $1.7 billion development in Tempe with a hockey arena, hotels, apartments and shops that the team says would be financed by private investors, although it wants to use a portion of city sales tax revenues generated on the site to help pay for $200 million in additional costs.”

They are asking Tempe to establish a “Community Facilities District, that would sell special assessment revenue bonds to raise $120 million for the east parcel and $80 million for the west parcel.  The bonds would be issued in phases to pay for projects as they get underway.”

“The proposal would repay the bonds over 30 years from three revenue sources:

  • A portion of the city sales taxes generated on the site and parking revenue. Tempe’s sales tax rate is 1.8%, with 0.6% designated for specific priorities such as art and transportation. The proposal is to use all but the designated sales tax funds generated on the site (1.2% of Tempe’s sales tax).
  • Up to a 6% surcharge on retail sales, including ticket, merchandise, and concession sales at the arena.
  • Real estate tax assessments on the property.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 The team did not say how much each source would contribute to the bond repayment but said sales taxes would make up the bulk of the pot.”

Note that one of the repayment mechanisms proposed to pay off the 30-year bonds is real estate tax assessments on the property. Yet the Coyotes also seek a property tax abatement by transferring ownership of the land to Tempe and then leasing the land back for a fee through the use of a GPLET (Government Property Excise Lease Tax). The non-arena portions of the project such as the retail, office and apartments could have up to 8 years of property tax exemption. The arena and practice facility are allowed to have a longer tax exemption which is subject to negotiation. In essence, the real estate tax assessments would be negligible for a period of years.

No one knows what will be Tempe taxpayers’ appetite for using sales tax generated on the site.  After all, Tempe taxpayers will want whatever development that occurs on the site to generate sales tax to be used in their best interest not to help pay for yet another sports complex in the Valley. In today’s economy with inflation soaring, the very mention of using sales tax to help pay for a sports complex will not be an easy sell.

In part II of my blog we’ll take a look at how the Federal Aviation Administration may affect this proposed development.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

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.

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.

Every ten years, Glendale is required to redraw its City Council districts based on data from the U.S. Census. The process is called redistricting and the goal is to make sure each Council district has approximately equal population.

Let’s begin with the Census data for 2020 provided to the city.  On July of 2019 the Census Bureau’s estimated population for Glendale was 252,387. It’s final, official count of Glendale is 248,325.

Everyone in the State believes the Bureau’s count is wrong and the population was undercounted. Experts said they expected to see even higher rates of growth. William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., who specializes in census data and urban populations, said he expected to see a higher growth rate in Arizona. Cities with council districts redraw those boundaries every 10 years after each U.S. census.

Four cities looking to redistrict by the next election in November include: 

  • Mesa
  • Glendale
  • Peoria
  • Buckeye

Other Valley cities, such as Chandler, Scottsdale and Goodyear, don’t use a district system,      instead electing council members on a citywide basis.

Look at this chart for Glendale.

City-data.com got its numbers from the Maricopa County estimates. I have no idea how the County arrived at these figures.

Please note, according to Census data, that every council district but the Yucca district added from 2,000+ in population to 6,000+ in population. Yet the Yucca district supposedly lost 315. Can anyone in their right mind believe this? The Yucca district has exploded over the last 10 years with new residential subdivisions (Copper Cove, Bethany Ranch and Positano to name just a few) as well as new apartment complexes. Yet, in the past ten years the Yucca district lost 315 people? Ridiculous. It’s nuts. The data makes no sense. The city should be requesting a recount of the Yucca district data. Someone, somewhere screwed up. If you put garbage in, garbage comes out. I suspect that the Yucca district, in fact, gained about 10,000 in population over the last decade.

Not only that, but the Census Bureau has also been late in releasing census block data (will do so this month, September) on population counts, the very data needed to redraw districts.  As a result, Glendale has until December 15, 2021, about 3 months, to submit their new council districts to the State.

Here are the guidelines, city council adopted, that shall be used to redraw the districts:

  • Each district shall respect communities of interest as much as possible;
  • District borders shall follow visible natural and man-made geographical and topographical features as much as possible;
  • District borders shall be drawn to avoid locating more than one current Councilmember in any one district as much as possible;
  • Each new district shall preserve the corresponding existing district’s population and territory as much as possible;
  • Districts known to be areas of higher-than-average population growth in the two to five years following redistricting, based on development projects that have received final plat approval from the City, may be under populated within the population deviation amounts allowed by law;
  • To the extent possible, consistent with constitutional law and the requirements of federal and state statutes, each district shall contain a substantially equal number of electors.

 

 

 

The city has created a dedicated web site allowing all Glendale residents not only information about the redistricting process but on or about September 16th the public can see the population data by census block and draw their own redistricting maps. Here is the link to the web site:

https://glendaleaz.com/your_government/connect/departments/city_clerk/redistricting/current_district_map

You can learn more and get involved by attending one of three public Glendale workshops. By the time of these city hosted workshops occur the appropriate data should be available on the city website to any citizen who wants it. Here are the workshop dates:

 Monday, September 20  2:00 p.m. Glendale City Council Chambers
5850 W. Glendale Avenue
 Wednesday, September 22  10:00 a.m. Glendale Main Library Auditorium
5959 W. Brown Street
 Monday, September 27  6:30 p.m. Foothills Recreation & Aquatics Center
Coyote Room
5600 W. Union Hills Drive

Why should we focus on redistricting whether it be on a local, state or national level? We all vote for those representatives that most closely align with our values and goals. With redrawn districts you may find that now you are in a district that has a representative with whose values and goals with which you disagree. By involving yourselves in the redistricting process your input will contribute toward making sure that your representative actually represents you.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

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.

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.

Glendale’s Planning Commission has always been one of the most revered of all of Glendale’s volunteer boards and commissions. This commission has gravitas. The professionalism of its citizen volunteers was extraordinary.

While we may not have agreed with all of their recommendations (I certainly haven’t), we respected their decisions. It pains me to offer that people are beginning to say that this commission may be straying into areas outside their mandate.

The purpose of the Planning Commission, per Section 3.102 of the City’s General Code states, The Planning Commission provides analysis and recommendations to The City Council related to the City’s General Plan, for zoning, ordinance amendments, subdivisions, conditional use permits, and other matters affecting land use, and development within the city.” The city’s website says, “To analyze, review and made recommendations to the City Council regarding land use and development related issues. Holds public hearings regarding these issues.”

The public’s general perception is that the Planning Commission hears proposed development proposals and either recommends approval or disapproval to the City Council. Typically, the City Council accepts the Planning Commission’s recommendations but occasionally it doesn’t. In those cases, the City Council may have further exculpatory information or may consider factors that will bear directly on the proposed development.

 

The current Commission members are:

  • Tom Cole representing the Barrell District
  • Vern Crow living in the Sahuaro District and appointed to represent the Cactus District
  • John Crow (not related to Vern Crow) appointed by the Mayor to fill the At-Large position
  • Daniel Heath representing the Sahuaro District
  • Martin Nowakowski representing the Yucca District
  • Edwin Nyberg representing the Cholla District
  • Warren Wilfong representing the Ocotillo District

Hearing concerns about the Planning Commission’s recent performance, I made it a point to watch the Planning Commission meetings of August 5, 2021, and September 2, 2021. For those of you who are unaware, it is quite easy to do. If you go to the city’s website and click on the City Clerk’s page link a menu appears. Click on ‘city council meetings and agendas’. Once there you can pull up just about any city public meeting and click on the video link.

On August 5, 2021, the Planning Commission heard Ambra Residential Minor General Plan Amendment GPA 21-03 and Rezoning Application ZON 21-07. This proposed subdivision is comprised of 45-foot-wide lots. After a period of discussion the proposal was recommended for approval by the Commission. However, some of the Planning Commission members’ comments were questionable.

Commissioner Wilfong characterized those who move into 45-foot-wide lot communities as “transient residents.” He claimed that those who move into these communities do not stay for more than a few years and then move up and away. He suggested that 45-foot-wide lot proposals before the Commission should be “put aside for a while.” Planning Commission Chairperson Vernon Crow stated, “this commission is right on the limit of accepting these very, very small lots.”

Perception is reality and it could be inferred from these Commissioners’ comments that this body would not approve any future developments comprised of 45-foot-wide lots. If that was their intent, it was inappropriate.

At its September 2, 2021, meeting the Planning Commission heard the Hopewell Rezoning Application, ZON 21-16. This proposal is for several industrial buildings in the Loop 303 area. Commissioners discussed everything but the rezoning application. The applicant presented a conceptual plan for the site. It was by no means the final plat as the applicant had not gone through plan review with the Development Department.

They questioned the number of driveways exiting to Alsup Road. They wanted to see the city’s Transportation Department’s and MDOT’s traffic studies. They wanted to see the applicant’s plan for stormwater retention. They wanted to see the height clearance letter from LAFB. None of these items were germane to the applicant’s rezoning request. They were advised by the Interim Planning Director Tabitha Perry that all these issues would be handled during the plan review process and that the conceptual plan presented was not the final plat.

Still not satisfied, Commissioner Nyberg motioned to table the Rezoning Application until October 7, 2021, while requesting all the material the commissioners discussed (and not relevant to the Rezoning request) be provided to the Commissioners. It passed unanimously.

These recent events led me to recall the Planning Commission’s unanimous recommendation of denial for the Rezoning and Major General Plan Amendment for Glen Lakes. Please note not all the current Commissioners were on the Commission in August 2020. It was their right to recommend denial because they felt the project was too dense.

However, part of their discussion centered on the city’s sale price of the land. Again, it was inappropriate to the deliberation of a rezoning and general plan amendment. It appeared as if some Commissioners, unhappy with the sale price, considered that factor, in part, in making their recommendation to the City Council. By the way, this was one of those rare occasions when a majority of City Council did not accept the Planning Commission’s recommendation and approved the rezoning and general plan amendment.

These situations are indicators of a Planning Commission that may have lost its way. Have its members forgotten, or perhaps do not know, their role and responsibilities or what findings are appropriate to consider in granting approval or disapproval? It may be appropriate to have a refresher workshop to review those items. Let’s hope the ‘powers that be’ host just such a workshop. I want to feel confident about our Planning Commission again.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

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.

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