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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"


Anthony LeBlanc


George Gosbee

For the past few days there has been a flurry of media reportage on a new player in the ongoing Coyotes ownership saga. According to the media Anthony LeBlanc, a previously failed would-be owner of the Coyotes, has landed a “whale.” That, I have learned, is a term used to describe someone with oodles of money. That does describe George Gosbee, a very rich Canadian indeed.  You don’t become a very rich Canadian by being dumb. Mr. Gosbee’s background is finance and not hockey. Although it certainly is possible that he is a hockey aficionado. Mr. LeBlanc must have pitched a smokin’ return on investment (ROI) to Mr. Gosbee, et al. We can only guess as to the money making strategy proposed by LeBlanc to line up his investors but it must be a doosey!


Greg Jamison

We know that Greg Jamison is still in the hunt and has been working quietly to reassemble an investment group. It’s no secret that I have championed the possibility of his ownership of the team because I know what he stands for and that is a long-term commitment to the team and Glendale. If he fails this time as well, I will welcome any ownership group that makes the same commitment and honors it.


Darin Pastor

Now, like wild flowers springing up from the desert floor, another possible investment group led by Darin Pastor has surfaced and issued a March 29 Press Release announcing the formation of “an exploratory committee of seasoned investment bankers and other related sports entertainment advisers”  to purchase the Coyotes. This group, as well as all of the others, has proudly proclaimed their intent to remain in Glendale.


Jerry Reinsdorf

There is also the possibly of Jerry Reinsdorf, with his Beacon Sports connections, lurking about like a Great White Shark, waiting to strike.

I think I’m beginning to see a pattern emerge. Color me paranoid or suspicious. That’s OK. Just take a moment to think about the current situation. We know of a minimum of three groups seeking to purchase the Coyotes. In the scenarios of previous years, the city waited UNTIL the NHL had given its initial blessing to any of the would-be owners and THEN began negotiations on a final arena management contract. If any of those negotiations had proven successful the new owners would have then finalized a sale with the NHL.


Gary Bettman

This time it is different. It appears that the NHL will finalize a sale of the team FIRST and THEN the new owners will begin negotiations with the City for a lease management agreement. It certainly puts the ball in this new council’s court. From everything we have seen and heard to date, this is a council that wants a cheap arena management contract. They have simply not indicated a willingness to offer a deal similar to the one that Greg Jamison had. Yet Anthony LeBlanc has said publicly that any deal with the city must be very similar to the previous deal on the table with Greg Jamison.

So there may be an impasse and the new team owners and the city may not be able to craft a deal satisfactory to both sides.  If that occurs, we will have new team owners that can relocate the team and a city willing to let the team go and settle for an arena manager of the Phoenix Monarch Group variety.

question 2Under those circumstances, as a possible owner of the team, anyone would be more than willing to publicly state an intent to keep the team in Glendale long-term. It’s a good PR move and wins the hearts and minds of many. Then upon failure to come to terms with Glendale, saying with a straight face and convincingly claiming it was the city’s fault. The critical question that all should be asking, is not who will buy the team for I am convinced the team will be sold and soon. How soon? Who knows? Once again, we heard the magical phrase of “two weeks.” The critical question is, will Glendale come to terms similar to previous deals and finally acknowledge that the team as an anchor tenant at Jobing.com is indeed important to Westgate’s future? That’s the real sixty four thousand dollar (or $6M or $10M) question.


man moneyThere were several take-aways from the March 27, 2013 Glendale City Council budget workshop. Perhaps the most important was the Executive Director of Finance, Ms. Sherry Schurhammer’s quote of the day, “we have an ongoing operational deficit.” I’m not sure what about that statement some councilmembers refuse to understand. It’s really quite simple. The city spends more money than it takes in.  It’s almost as if members of this council expect manna from heaven or a sugar daddy to appear as a means of solving the city’s financial problems. Let’s hope this council grows a backbone and accepts that cost of service cuts are needed. The latest proposal from staff shows major cuts of $8M not now but in Fiscal Year 2014-15 and another round of cuts in Fiscal Year 2016-17. Quite clearly putting off the necessary cuts merely compounds the deficit and makes the future cuts to citizen services and quality of life more drastic and more painful.

Coyotes logoAnother interesting take away is the fact that staff is using $6M as a placeholder for an arena lease management fee. At least there was acknowledgement that this figure is merely a place holder. The final fee could be higher, lower or stay the same.  Or is that a place holder for the Phoenix Monarch Group, the good friends of Councilmembers Alvarez and Chavira? There remains a residual “blame the Coyotes” mentality. The first slide up presented by staff showed the city with a $3.4M deficit if it had had to pay the $17M arena lease management fee this year. I think that deficit blame deserves to be placed elsewhere. How about the $2.5M to repay the Water & Sewer Funds, and also used to make the Risk Management Fund and the Workman’s Compensation Fund whole? Or how about the $2.2M of newly created expenses: a $200K audit, a $100K Beacon contract, $1.2M additional to the Fire Department; an additional $370K in legal fees, an additional $370K in water costs in the Parks & Recreation Department or the unknown amount in salary and benefits for the newly hired Interim City Manager? These big ticket items come to nearly $5M in new costs that were unbudgeted when the current budget was approved and they will have to be absorbed this year.

hidden agendaAnother take away is there is certainly no doubt about at least one councilmember’s agenda. CM Chavira is “carrying the water for Public Safety.” It was obvious that his friends from inside those departments, especially Fire (don’t forget he’s a Phoenix firefighter), had prepared a series of questions for him to ask.  He read them quite nicely. Later when he was asked if he had more questions and apparently had used all of his prepared questions, he seemed to be at a loss for words. Chances are they will have prepared a new set of questions for him to read at the April 2, 2013 council workshop on Public Safety.

PolicemanWhile Interim Police Chief Black answered his questions directly and provided a realistic assessment based upon the city’s current fiscal condition, we didn’t see the same level of cooperation from Fire Chief Burdick. There definitely is a further agenda occurring on the Fire side. We heard the first salvo today when the Chief said calls for service had grown. Well, Glendale’s population has not grown per Mr. Craig Johnson, Director of Water Services, when he said new water hookups are flat. Those people leaving Glendale are replaced by others moving in but not in large enough numbers to create an explosion of growth in Glendale. The city is already planning for the fact that as Glendale’s population remains static, it will lose some of its state shared revenue to other, growing NW and W Valley cities.

Red Firetruck with Ladder ClipartSo where are the increased calls for fire/emergency service coming from? Have you heard of Automatic Aid? It’s a regional and cooperative program among most Valley Fire departments. If there is a call for fire service in Phoenix, Avondale, etc., and their nearest truck is busy on another call, the nearest adjoining city department will respond. I would certainly want to know the number of calls for fire service Glendale responds to outside the city versus the number of calls for service within the city. The increase in calls for fire service may well be attributable to population growth in cities surrounding Glendale.  If that is the case and the increase in calls is the result of an increased need to respond to Automatic Aid calls that is not a Glendale driven problem. We are not mandated to grow service or pay for it in Glendale to accommodate surrounding cities. While Automatic Aid is great in fostering regional cooperation in cases of extreme regional emergencies and for creating cost efficiencies in the use of specialized services such as water or mountain rescue, I am not convinced that it works in the best interest of a city with a stable population base whose resources are being used by surrounding cities with burgeoning populations.


city hall 2

City Hall

On Tuesday, March 26, the Glendale City Council met in regular session. There were 29 agenda items. Based on previous meetings that I attended as a council member that is a pretty hefty agenda. Lo and behold! This council whipped through it in the record time of one hour! One could assume that it was because of their extreme efficiency but that would be an erroneous assumption. This is a council that questions nothing and comments even less. My first question would be, did any of them do their homework and actually read the material?

Coalition 1 photo

City Council minus
Councilwoman Alvarez

For example, Item 20 was an agreement to rebuild two refuse trucks. Not sexy at all. But one replacement truck costs about $500K. For half that price, roughly $250K two trucks are being rebuilt. This is an action never before taken by our Public Works department. You would think some on council would have thanked Mr. Stuart Kent, Executive Director of Public Works, for taking this proactive and innovative approach to city equipment, saving the city easily a half million dollars. Not a peep from this council. Just…nothing. Amazing.

westgate 1There was approval of an agreement with the current Westgate owners for sidewalks, shade canopies, etc. between Tanger Outlet and the rest of Westgate. No one on council took the time to thank the owners for their efforts and financial participation in this public-private partnership. No one asked about implementation of a “HAWK” system for pedestrians trying to cross 95th Avenue to get to Westgate. There is a “HAWK” in use on Glendale Avenue at about 66th Avenue. It allows the pedestrian to push a button which causes a yellow light to flash followed by a red light to stop all vehicular traffic. It allows the pedestrian to cross a busy street safely by stopping all vehicular traffic in both directions. Wouldn’t this be a wonderful addition to move pedestrian traffic between Tanger and the rest of Westgate? Before I left council I was advocating such a strategy. Sadly, no one took up the cause.

There were four items that you would think would have engendered at least minimal questioning or comment.  Two were awards of contracts. One was Item #16 to Haralson, Miller, Pitt, Feldman & McAnally in the amount of $200,000 for an external city audit and the other was Item #21 to Beacon Sports in the amount of $100,000 for issuance of an RFP and handling of negotiations with possible arena managers. There was not one question. There was not one comment. There was no discussion whatsoever. Could ‘a been a day in the park. Not one word to the general public about either contract’s terms, scope, time frame, or justification for cost. Just…nothing.


Horatio Skeete


Dick Bowers

The other two items were just as astounding.  Item #26 was termination of Horatio Skeete as Interim City Manager and demotion back to Assistant City Manager. Not a “thank you.” Not a word of recognition for the good things he had done for the city. Not even a comment from Mayor Weiers saying “that council was moving in a new direction.” Just…nothing. In the next action, Item #27, council appointed Dick Bowers as Interim City Manager. Not a word about his background, expertise or experience. Just…nothing. Item #28 was tabled by staff and signals that council has not come to terms with Mr. Tindall on what he will receive financially upon his termination. That did not slow up this council for one minute as they approved Nick Dipiazza as Interim City Attorney in Item #29. Just…nothing.

Norma Alvarez

Norma Alvarez

Once again Councilmember Alvarez was AWOL. How many times has it been? Also worth noting (and I may have missed it as I watched dumbfounded by this council) was the lack of a vote by council to approve her absence.  Did she not want to be on record as a yea or nay vote on the Beacon Sports contract or has she injured herself again? For the third or fourth time? Her lack of representation of the interests of ALL (not just a selected demographic) of the people of her district is being noted by many.


Mayor Weiers

Mayor Weiers “good ole boy” public persona is beginning to wear thin as he fancies himself a “deal maker” behind the scenes. Latest word on the street with regard to Coyotes ownership is that nobody is in charge (except for Beacon Sports as of today for a $100,000 fee). Possible owners are speaking directly to various councilmembers to encourage them to champion their proposal. What a way to set up internal warfare.

Of course, the carpetbaggers, Andrew and Darcy Marwick, residents of Phoenix were in attendance. Some people (not I) refer to them as “Dumb and Dumber.” Mr. Marwick took the occasion of approval of the agreement with the Westgate owners to once again denigrate the actions of the previous council in “propping up” a failed Westgate. I would imagine he could opine on any subject (as he often does) and claim its failure is due to the previous council.

Lastly, when was the last time there was no citizen comment at the end of a council meeting? I would venture to say,convention 2 probably 4 years. If the past council had voted to approve the Beacon Sports contract, I dare say Ken Jones and half dozen others would have been railing against such a vote. No Jones, no Thruston, no Dempskey- no usual cast of wacky characters- to accuse this council of throwing good money after bad by approving Beacon Sports. This time just…nothing.

transparentThe new buzz word in government is “transparency.” We all know what it means; the ability to see through something without any kind of blockage. Transparency has to do with disclosure. It means providing information about an issue, event, project, policy, program etc. and then providing a way for people to find and view that information. This council proved tonight that transparency is not a meaningful part of its agenda.

I prefer to call this council, the “Opaque Council” (The OC). Something is opaque when you cannot see through it. Theopaque action is characterized as hard to understand because it is not clear or is obscured by the deliberate misuse of language or inaction. It also has a secondary meaning, which is being dull, stupid or unintelligent. I leave it to you, dear reader, to choose which definition of opaque is more relevant and meaningful to you.



External Audit coming…

auditAt the Tuesday, March 26, 2013 City Council meeting an agenda item will be a vote of approval to hire Haralson, Miller, Pitt, Feldman & McAnally (HMPM), P.I.C., a law firm, to perform the special external audit this council has been craving. It doesn’t come cheap. The cost of this contract is $200,000. HMPM will subcontract out some of the work to Butler, FFG, and ESI. It is not clear from the staff report what would be the scope or responsibility of any of these firms. It is also not clear what their specialties are.

The costs per hour range from a high of $400.00 per hour for a principal to $100.00 per hour for a paralegal/law clerk.  Simple math shows that the number of hours billable for this contract range from 500 hours (about 12 ½ weeks) to 2,000 hours (about 50 weeks). This exercise could be completed in 3 months to a year. I think we can expect it to be completed this summer.

This is not a budgeted item and is not included in the current Fiscal Year 2012-13 adopted budget. That means that the money will have to be allocated from somewhere in the budget. Look for the payment of this contract to come from the $17M set aside for an arena lease management agreement. By the time this council’s agenda is met we won’t see much of the $17M left to pay anyone to manage the arena.


Dick Bowers
Courtesy of
Linked In

A new Acting City Manager…

Expect at this same council meeting the hiring of Mr. Richard Bowers, former Scottsdale City Manager, as Glendale’s Interim City Manager until the search and hiring of a permanent city manager is completed.

A new Acting City Attorney…

Expect the council to approve Mr. Nick Depiazza, current Chief Deputy City Attorney, as the Interim City Attorney, until a permanent City Attorney is found and hired.

Budget meetings slated for this coming week…

On Wednesday, March 27, 2013 and Thursday, March 28, 2013, council will participate in two budget workshopsbudget 3 starting at 9am each day. This year’s budget workshop book is a hefty 284 pages of reading guaranteed to entertain and delight. Just crank up your printer, go to the Glendale website, find the agendas under the City Clerk’s page and you can print your very own copy just as I did. If you know where to look you will be able to spot the shifts in policy based upon where this council allocates available resources.

coins 1Still looming is how this council will address the loss of $22M in revenue currently being earned by the sales tax increase slated to sunset in 2017. The general feeling among council is that the city will have recovered by then and will easily absorb the $22M loss in sales tax revenue. There appears to be no will to be fiscally prudent and continue with cuts in anticipation of that loss of revenue. If they do not have the will to make gradual cuts each year for the next four years, they will be forced by circumstance to make draconian cuts in 2017. It’s very simple; karma catches up to you every time.


Fishes out of water

Posted by Joyce Clark on March 23, 2013
Posted in BlogsKoi pond  | Tagged With: , , , , | 2 Comments

It’s late April 2011 and I now have this beautiful pond filled with water plants; lilies, Yerba Mansa, Pickerel Wart, Taro and Mosaic.   We had small, starter landscape plants around the pond. We had 2 pumps – a large one for the waterfall and a smaller one for the stream waterfall providing plenty of oxygen. We had 3 filters – the main one for the 2 pumps and a filter for the main waterfall and another for the stream waterfall. We had plenty of filter capacity to ensure that the water remained clean. The water completely recirculated through the filter system every 3 hours.

our first goldfish Ap 2011

First goldfish
April 2011

The time had come to add fish. A co-worker said that she and her husband were dismantling their small pond and asked if I would like to have her goldfish and lilies. Boy would I! Our first additions were a few more lilies and a dozen goldfish – little guys. Everything was going well. Our pond water was clear and we could see the fish. They seemed to be growing! The lilies were blooming. We had our paradise. My husband even named each of the fish as he watched them feed every afternoon. We were enjoying the time spent on the patio, listening to the sound of splashing waterfalls and watching streaks of color swim by.

Paradise was soon to be lost, stolen by oppressively hot days that invited the algae to bloom unmercifully, causing the water to turn darkly green and murky. We could no longer see the fish. We wondered if they were still alive for how chemical 2could they breathe and live in that morass of water? Every time that we cleaned the filter net we expected to see at least one small fish carcass.

Once again, I returned to the internet, this time to research algae and its causes. I called “experts.” I visited other pond sites. Did you know that there are almost as many remedies for ridding a pond of algae as there are people on this planet? I was horribly confused and panicked that I would soon have a steady dead body count of goldfish.

Just as we take pills to cure every ailment I decided a judicious use of chemicals applied to the pond would solve the problem. My first mistake was reliance upon science and the internet hawkers of algae remedies. They would have you believe that the algae are destined to vastly populate the pond water turning it into something the consistency of thick, country gravy, consuming every ounce of oxygen and asphyxiating the fish. My friend, who has a koi pond, cautioned patience. She said the water would turn green with algae and once the water “balanced” the algae would diminish greatly. My second mistake was not to heed her advice or the advice of others – all of whom – said, wait, the pond would right itself without my benign interference.

So began the great “Chemical Odyssey.” First I would order one, sure-fire chemical cure for algae. I’d faithfully followchemicals 1 the directions for its use, wait and wait some more, looking for the water to become at the very least, less greenish. When that batch of chemical didn’t work, I’d order another. Soon, the Fed-Ex guy and I were best buds, on a first name basis. This routine went on for the entire summer and into the fall of 2011. Now we actually had a dead fish count. Every couple of days another would be found belly up in the filter net. I would go to the local pet mart and buy a few more small fish to replace the “victims.” My husband despaired. All of his little goldfish that he had named and nurtured died and still I persisted, looking for the Holy Grail of Algae Killers while the water stayed a thick, murky green and the fish died.

This scenario continued until around October, 2011. Miraculously the water finally cleared not completely, but a lot – not because I had found the answer but because the water was cooling and the algae was dying off. But by then, so had the fish. We now had a beautiful, fish-less pond and despaired.

My next grand plan was that since we had no fish, the pond should be drained so that we could get rid of the muck at the bottom and kill off whatever algae still existed. So that’s what we did in January of 2012. We rented a siphon pump and pumped out all of the water. It didn’t go to waste as we used it to irrigate most of our backyard, nearly an acre in size. We even used bleach figuring that it killed everything.

Pond Ap 2012 no fish

April 2012
No fish

Thinking we had nipped the problem in the bud we prepared to move forward. We refilled the pond and once again, had clear, sparkling water and a new home for more fish. We again waited a month or so for the water to “balance” itself and then we blithely went about picking out more fish for our pristine pond. We were filled with self-confidence. Surely the great pond draining and cleaning must surely have done the trick. My husband was happy and again, he named the dozen fish, a mixture of goldfish and Koi. He made sure they were fed once a day. He and I delighted in watching them from our back patio. All was right with the world…until…

chemicals 3It was the late spring and early summer of 2012 and the hot weather and the algae returned with a vengeance, only to again raise our fears about the fate of the fish. Like a dummy, I repeated the cycle of last summer and turned to my vast bag of chemical tricks along with some new, untried ones. I was still on a first name basis with the Fed Ex delivery man. Only this time I would be smarter and use the chemicals more sparingly. I even had the water tested.Yet all of the fish died or disappeared (that’s for another blog about predators) and by now we were both despairing of ever having fish in our fish pond. Then it dawned on me and I will admit to bring a slow learner at times, that I had created a toxic waste dump! In attempting to get rid of all of the algae I had gleefully poured so many chemicals into the pond that the fish couldn’t possibly survive the onslaught. Their demise was a testament to my stubbornness.

By July, 2012 I had had it. I vowed no more chemicals and come what may; we would coexist with whatever algae bloomed. For the next 5 months I used no chemicals. We had no fish and did not get any to replace our latest set of “sacrificial victims.” Yes, we got algae but it wasn’t the darkly green kind. The water did get murky but you could still see the bottom of the pond. I will admit that there were times when I was tempted to add just a little of some chemical or other but then I pictured another dead fish in the filter net and strengthened my resolve. Unknowingly I was doing what I should have done that first year. I was giving the pond enough time to really “balance” itself. I was allowing the “good” biological enzymes to build up in the filters.

Pond fishes Jan 2013

New fish
January 2013

This past Christmas our kids bought me three beautiful Koi for the pond. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that it was probably an exercise in futility and that they likely had thrown their money away. So we dutifully put them in the pond fully expecting to see them floating “belly up” within a week. To our surprise and relief they lived! Three months later, they are healthy and growing. After 8 months, chemical-less,  I think we had finally rid the pond of all of the chemicals that I had used for a year.

We will get algae bloom again during the hottest part of this year but I have learned my lesson – no more chemicals. The fish will survive. They will reemerge to our delight when the weather cools enough to make the algae dissipate. We and the fish will have 8 enjoyable months of coexistence, reacquainting ourselves and my husband will happily name each and every one of them.


Today the city released as an agenda item for Tuesday, March 26, 2013 city council meeting. The council will be asked tocity hall 2 formally ratify a contract with Beacon Sports Capital Partners that has apparently been in effect since March 4, 2013. In fact, the City’s Communications Director, Julie Frisoni, denied as late as March 15, 2013, that there was any such contract.  An action George Fallar and I have speculated upon for the past month.

I suspect that the contract was vetted in a previous Executive session after a council workshop. Keep in mind, council may not vote in a workshop or Executive session but they can certainly come to consensus and give direction. When I served on council, a majority routinely gave direction in an Executive session. The council meeting on March 26 merely ratifies direction provided as a previous executive session. So much for a greater transparency embraced verbally by the new council and recently lamented as absent by the infamous Ken Jones in recent letter to the editor in the Glendale Star. The bloom may be off the rose for Mr. Jones and his love affair with the new council.

BeaconThe Beacon contract is short and sweet and takes only 4 pages. Glendale tasks Beacon with developing an RFP “process for the future lease and management of the Arena to prospective Venue Managers…” Its role is that of liaison for Glendale and it has no power to bind Glendale to any contract. Its duties consist of: reviewing all existing business contracts; preparing the RFP; soliciting interested parties and assisting them in their due diligence and review process; providing a recommendation to the city manager and council; developing the arena management agreement and sealing the deal between the venue manager and the city. We have to presume that the NHL approves of such an arrangement as they continue their silence (there is an occasional platitude signifying nothing).

This contract is in effect for 6 months (September 6, 2013) or if a venue manager is secured before the end of the statedcontract term, it will terminate earlier. When this agreement is ratified by council, presumably on March 26, Beacon will receive a $25,000 retainer. In addition to that retainer the city will pay $400 per hour for the services of 3 Beacon principals: Richard Billings, Jr., Gerald Sheehan and Christopher Billings. Oh, and by the way, these fine gentlemen will be reimbursed for any out-of-pocket expenses such as travel, lodging and meal expenses. The costs of this contract are not budgeted in the Fiscal Year 2012-13 budget. The funds will have to come from the “Unappropriated Contingency” Fund (read the $17M allocated in this year’s budget to pay for an arena manager).  Lastly, both sides in the contract recognize that this agreement is proprietary and confidential.

In a previous blog, “Ripples in a cornfield,” I related that a 2005 suit was filed against Beacon Sports, IFG and Michael Reinsdorf by West Coast Arena Ventures, LLC in the Superior Court of California. West Coast Arena Ventures sued because it alleged that its confidentiality was breached by Beacon, IFG and Michael Reinsdorf. I do not know the outcome of this suit.  It has been alleged previously that when IFG and Michael Reinsdorf had work they could not or chose not to take they passed it on to Beacon. A leopard doesn’t change its spots.leopard 2 It may very well come to pass that the Reinsdorf/Kaites group will have an inside track because of its relationship, perceived or real, to Beacon Sports.

The previous Reinsdorf deal for the purchase of the Coyotes insisted there be a 5 year opt-out clause. If they hold to the same line, the Coyotes could stay for an abbreviated period and then be moved to…Seattle?



Courtesy of
Goldwater Institute

On March 14, 2013 the Center for Media and Democracy in conjunction with Arizona Working Families issued A Reporter’s Guide to the Goldwater Institute: What Citizens, Policymakers and Reporters Should Know. It can be found at this site:  http://www.prwatch.org/news/2013/03/12021/reporters-guide-goldwater-institute.

While I was serving on Glendale’s city council there were several lawsuits filed by the Goldwater Institute (GWI) against the city. The first dated back to June of 2009 and contended that the city was refusing to release documents relating to its negotiations with various entities wishing to purchase the Coyotes and to secure a lease management agreement. GWI felt every scrap of paper should be a public document. The final agreement was that the city would release all documents it felt would not harm its negotiating position and if that should be the case, a judge, in camera, would review them and make a final decision.

Then about two years later, in March of 2011, Goldwater having reviewed more than 1,000 of the city’s documents as a result of the previous court decision, filed suit to subvert the Hulsizer deal to buy the Coyotes. It contended that the city was offering a subsidy in violation of Arizona’s Gift Clause statute. There was never a decision in this case as the city and Hulsizer could not finalize a deal.

When this report was issued I was eager to read its findings. I suspect that the practices of GWI are not so different from other public policy non-profits whether they are liberal or conservative. These types of non-profits are often shielded by federal government regulations making it difficult to obtain a complete and accurate picture of their financial dealings.

I find that to be ironic. The same organization that sued the City of Glendale for a lack of transparency is habitually not so transparent itself. It seems they don’t mind letting the public know about some, not all, of their sources of funding but they certainly don’t want you to know too much about how they get their money or spend it.

Another irony is GWI’s persistent attack on only one sport venue in the state – Glendale’s Jobing.com Arena and its use by the Coyotes. Lord knows, there have been sweetheart deals aplenty with other sports venues. Yet Goldwater never raised an eyebrow. I have often wondered if the close relationship of some board members with the baseball industry was a motivator. Perhaps, in the minds of some, there are too many sports teams all competing for the same public discretionary dollar. Taking out a major sports team could benefit the remaining teams. When a team is weak, as the Coyotes have been for multiple years, that makes it a perfect target for elimination.

Briefly the findings of this report do highlight some questionable practices:

  •  The Goldwater Institute is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC is funded by corporations and its sole purpose is to craft and advocate for bills favorable to big business interests exclusively. The relationship between these two organizations appears to be very, very close. Often the very issues that GWI is advocating for coincidentally happen to be part of ALEC’s agenda.
Darcy Olsen 2

Darcy Olsen
Courtesy of
Goldwater Institute


Clint Bolick
Courtesy of
Goldwater Institute

  • Despite a very modest growth in GWI’s income it substantially raised its top executive’s salaries disproportionately to that growth in revenue. Darcy Olson’s Executive Director salary jumped from $180,000 to $268,000 by 2011; Clink Bolick’s Director of Litigation salary went from $126,000 in 2007 to $300,000 by 2011.


  • Up to $1.9M has been approved as a loan by the GWI board to one of its board members, Norman McClelland, a GWI founder and past president, for his private, for-profit company, Shamrock Farm Co Investing.
  • Goldwater claimed to the IRS in 2010 that it spent $0 on grassroots or direct lobbying. Yet is has two registered lobbyists, Starlee Rhoades, Vice President, and Lucy Caldwell, Communications Director. Gallagher & Kennedy, a Public Affairs firm, is representing GWI as an active lobbyist this year.
  • GWI does not publicly disclose its largest donors, although most public policy non-profits do.  A majority of GWI’s funding comes from and  its largest donors happen to be out-of-state foundations with specialized agendas.
Barry Goldwater

Barry Goldwater

Barry Goldwater  became the Institute’s namesake. Recently Susan Goldwater expressed public concerns in the media about the GWI by saying, “(W)hat he didn’t like was seeing it turn into a special interest, big-business lobbying group.” I suspect Barry Goldwater is rolling in his grave as he sees what the Institute has morphed into.

Perhaps this “big-business lobbying group” should add as an agenda item how it can advance the cause of big-business sports teams and their venues. After all, according to GWI, all big-business is good business.





Horatio Skeete

Yesterday I related sources who indicated that Interim City Manager Horatio Skeete would be resigning. Today I received more accurate information and that is that while Mr. Skeete will no longer be Interim City Manager he will stay with the organization and resume his role as Assistant City Manager.

Who will be the new Interim City Manager? Only the shadow…er, the city council knows…and maybe they haven’t made up their minds yet. So I will throw my speculation into the confusion that exists right now. I question 3would not choose anyone from inside the current organization.  I would hope that this council will not do so either. For them, it’s a case of paranoia. I don’t think they trust anyone inside the organization to provide them with their perceived and long-awaited version of the truth on any subject. It has been rumored for quite some time that this council would do major house cleaning of upper management. There has even been talk of offering a vastly different compensation package to anyone willing to step into this mess and take on the role of permanent City Manager. Expect internal warfare over the final selection of a new City Manager. Let’s hope that once that person is chosen, they can forget their differences and solidify around the selection.

I would choose someone from outside because it would help to foster an atmosphere of impartiality and remove the necessity of taking sides within the organization.

confusion 2Looking outside I don’t see a lot of choices with City Manager experience. I would consider Dr. Martin Vanacour or Richard Bowers.  Dr. Vanacour was Assistant City Manager of Glendale from 1970 to 1985 and then its City Manager from 1985 to 2002. He is experienced, knowledgeable, and certainly well versed in Glendale issues. Since his departure from the city he has been consulting and teaching. Another very viable candidate is Mr. Bowers. He was Assistant City Manager in Scottsdale from 1981 to 1991 and then its City Manager from 1991 to 2000. He has performed various consulting jobs for the past and present council. He, too, has been consulting and teaching.

The City of Glendale would be well served to have either one of these gentlemen as its Interim City Manager for several months until a permanent person is chosen for the position  Either one would bring stability and a sense of impartiality to an otherwise chaotic city management group.


savingsIn my posting the other day, “Saving grace,” I talked about the $17M allocated and reserved in Glendale’s Fiscal Year 2013-14 Budget for Jobing.com Arena’s lease management agreement. I suggested that saving that $17M would be prudent by placing it in the city’s Unappropriated Contingency Fund. It should not be spent at this time. Then should there be a lease management agreement the first year’s funding would be available or if not used in that manner, it would fatten the city’s bottom line, an attractive strategy for lowering interest rates on the city’s bond indebtedness.

Well, apparently everyone – from city staff to the council – is already placing dibs on that money as evidenced by the March 19, 2013 City Council workshop.  Ms. Sherrybargaining 3 Schurhammer, Executive Director of Finance, offered many ways to spend it. Some of the expenditures include:

  1. Paying for the special, outside audit mandated by the new council.
  2. Paying for the consultant (read Beacon Sports and its special ties to the Reinsdorfs) to write and manage the RFP for the arena.
  3. Miscellaneous city department overages or unexpected expenses.
  4. Repaying loans made from the water and sewer funds.
  5. Paying for fund transfers to and from the Risk Management Trust Fund and the Workers’ Compensation Trust Fund.

Add to that staff wish list Mayor Weiers’ recent comment about raising employees’ salaries. Also add Councilmember Chavira’s plaintive call for a Special Council Workshop to consider the issue of Public Safety employees’ compensation and Councilmember Alvarez’ desire to restore or increase funding for youth and the poor.

If everyone’s desires are fulfilled, you can say good-bye to that $17M at the end of budget workshop discussions. Then where will the funding come from if (are you listening, God?) there ever is a successful contract for the arena and its management.

tax increaseI also heard the first tentative feelers being thrown out there publicly about Glendale’s property tax rates and the fact that revenues from that source continue to drop. Don’t be surprised if there is discussion (and possibly) adoption of higher property tax rates in Glendale.





Interim City Manager
Horatio Skeete

Several sources have related that Interim City Manager Horatio Skeete is resigning. No news on who will take his place while City Council continues search for permanent City Manager.  House cleaning by a majority of this council continues.

With resignation of City Attorney Craig Tindall and now possibly Interim City Manager Horatio Skeete it appears Glendale will be adrift for awhile. This is occurring as the council prepares to take up budget discussions for Fiscal Year 2013-14. The two persons most knowledgeable about crafting a lease management agreement for Jobing.com Arena and keeping the Coyotes in Glendale are now or soon will be gone.