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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

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My hope is that all of the hundreds of Glendale library patrons who fought so hard to save Foothills Library will fight just as hard to demand that the West Branch Library become a reality.

With all of the recent discussion of the possible sale of the Foothills library building it’s a good time to review promises made by the city with regard to the construction of the West Branch Library.

In 1997 the city was considering reneging on its first promise to West Glendale residents by allowing land earmarked for a major regional park in the city’s General Plan document to be rezoned for homes. West Glendale residents were successful in defeating that proposal and insisted the city immediately purchase the land at the northeast corner of Bethany Home Road and 83rd for its promised regional park. The city did so and the land was acquired.

Major city facilities such as the construction of libraries and parks are placed within the city’s Capital Improvement Program or CIP. The first time we see the West Branch library appear in the city’s CIP is Fiscal Year 1998-99 when funds were allocated for Fiscal Year 2001-02 to design the library with construction slated to begin in Fiscal Year 2004. That was 17 years ago. Obviously, none of these scheduled events happened. Instead there was a steady erosion and slippage of dates.

  • From Fiscal Years 1998 to 2000 the scheduled completion of the library was 2004
  • From Fiscal Year 2002 to 2003 the scheduled completion of the library was 2005
  • From Fiscal Years 2003 to 2005 the scheduled completion of the library was 2006
  • From Fiscal Years 2005 to 2008 the scheduled completion of the library was 2009
  • From Fiscal Years 2008 to 2009 the scheduled completion of the library was 2010
  • From Fiscal Years 2009 to 2012 the scheduled completion of the library was 2020
  • From Fiscal Years 2012 to present the library has no funding allocated until after 2024

If the West Branch library had been built as promised, “by 2010 the West Branch Library will serve a population of approximately 50,000 in the western area of Glendale, and it is anticipated that more than 1,000 people per day will utilize the services of this branch” (quote from staff presentation at the September 16, 2008 city council workshop meeting). Nothing demonstrates the need for a West Branch Library today better than this quote.

The rationale for not building the west branch library can be attributed to the adoption by a majority of council mandating that there be enough new revenue in the General Fund to support the annual costs of opening and operating a new CIP facility. This criterion was not used to approve the Foothills library. It was crafted later by the former mayor and her coalition when there arose yet another discussion about approval for construction of the West branch library. In a span of 7 years, from the opening of the Foothills library in 1999 to the opening of the Foothills Recreation & Aquatic Center, north Glendale received over $20 million dollars worth of CIP projects. West Glendale received squat.

The majority of councilmembers that consistently voted in line with the former mayor for any CIP project but the west branch library were Eggleston, Frate, Martinez, Goulet and Knaack (all former councilmembers serving differing terms). In 2006 a majority of council diverted $6 million dollars of west branch library construction funding to assist in the construction funding of the Public Safety Training Facility.

Every time the west branch library was on an agenda the “gang” created a new rationale. Before the effects of the Great Recession stopped all CIP projects, they had pitted building a new courthouse against the west branch library and would have funded that first as a means of further delaying the library.

There was a time, in the early 2000s, when council realized the necessity and value in developing amenities such as a library, recreation center, baseball fields, a fishing lake and dog park in west Glendale that would attract high quality residential and commercial development but that evaporated with the advent of the former mayor whose agenda was to block construction of city amenities in west Glendale.

It’s time…17 years is a long time to wait to have the city make good on its promise…for Glendale residents to bring this issue to the forefront once again. It should be requested that as CIP funding becomes available, the West Branch Library must be considered a priority. West Glendale is “amenity poor” and it’s time that this city council redresses a wrong committed by others many years ago.

Oh, and while you are at it, demand that the city replace the O’Neil Swimming pool at Missouri Avenue and 65th Avenue. The city shut it down several years ago because the cost of repair was prohibitive. It was the only city pool west of 59th Avenue and it served some of the city’s poorest demograhic area.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

The Glendale city council is meeting in workshop today, March 17, 2015. At 10 AM Mayor Jerry Weiers officially declared the proposal to sell the library building and relocate the library to the Foothills Recreation & Aquatic Center as dead.

Many people deserve thanks. First and foremost the residents of Glendale are to be congratulated for their participation in the process. Many of you attended all six public meetings on the issue. Others made public comment either at the meetings, on comment cards, by calling a city hotline, or by sending email’s or letters to the mayor and council. Your efforts made the difference. Your expression of support for Glendale’s entire library system was noted.

Thanks also to the the three boards and commissions, Arts, Parks & Recreation and Library, that received information on the issue, listened to public comment, deliberated with serious consideration and recommended denial of the proposal to the city council.

Thanks to the city council for listening to the voices of the people and refusing to move forward with the proposal. They did their jobs in representing their constituents.

Thanks to Parks, Library and Recreation Director Erik Strunk and Chief Librarian Michael Beck for withstanding the public criticism of this proposal with grace and respect.

Councilmember Bart Turner offered an idea to provide library services in west Glendale by utilizing space within Glendale’s Media Center at Westgate. Glendale staff will now be tasked with researching the suggestion. I applaud Councilmember Turner’s suggestion and should it become reality, it is not a substitute for Glendale’s long term promise to establish a stand-alone, dedicated library building at Hero’s Park at 83rd Avenue and Bethany Home Road. It is an excellent interim solution to the lack of service we, who live in the Yucca district, have experienced for 15 years but it should not be considered the ultimate solution.

Once again, congratulations to all who participated in the process of consideration of the proposal. Job well done by all.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

 

  • The Recall Councilman Gary Sherwood finally has its website up and running. Here is the link: http://www.stopsherwood.com .If you live in the Sahuaro district please share this site with your friends and neighbors. Below you will note an upcoming meeting on Becker billboards. Sherwood has been an ardent advocate for Becker billboards and that issue is just one of the reasons for his recall.
  • On Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 9:30 AM at Glendale City Hall in the Council Chambers city council will hold a workshop meeting. Item #1 on its agenda is to receive the recommendations of the three citizen commissions. There is no opportunity for public comment. City Council does not vote at a workshop meeting. They discuss an issue and present their positions. A consensus if formed and further direction is given to staff by council. There are only 3 possible directions that can be given by council tomorrow: rejection of the proposal to sell the Foothills library building and its relocation to the Foothills Recreation & Aquatic Center; tabling the item for further information and discussion; or direction to move forward with the proposal.
  • A neighborhood meeting hosted by Mark Becker of Becker Billboards is scheduled for this coming Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at the Arrowhead Elementary School at 6:00 PM. He is again seeking city approval to place digital and static billboards at the Loop 101 and Bell Road. Glendale planning staff will be in attendance to listen and take notes.
  • On March 4, 2015 I made a Public Records Request for costs associated with three recent events held at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale – the Fiesta Bowl, the Pro Bowl Records request Mar 4 2015and the Super Bowl. What you may or may not know is that preparation for the Super Bowl began the day after it was announced that Glendale would be the host city. Glendale personnel were involved in visiting the previous year’s Super Bowl; were involved in countless hours of preparation; met with various Valley city agencies in joint preparation; and met with the Host Committee and NFL representatives. City supplies and vehicles were used. There were times when the hours used by employees went beyond the standard 40 hour work week and time and half pay or special pay was used. Many employees were involved from the City Attorney’s Office to the Zoning Department. Here is the text of my Public Records Request:

“The total cost of hosting the Pro Bowl, Fiesta Bowl and Super Bowl to the City of Glendale to include the following:

  1. The cost attributable to each event of planning for, preparation for, game day hosting and after actions.
  2. A list of all departments that contributed, by event, in any way, including but not limited to Public Safety but any and all departments involved from the Attorney’s Office to Zoning (A to Z).
  3. The number of employees used for each event from all departments you list, including but not limited to consultants, contract employees or regular (salaried and at will) employees.
  4. The number of hours attributable to each event, by department, including but not limited to planning, preparing, acting upon and after action review of these 3 major events.
  5. The total dollar figure for employee costs attributable to each event, including but not limited to, straight time pay, overtime pay, special pay, time and half pay. List of all employees by job title and department, dollar amount for each of those employees who received overtime pay, special pay, assignment pay, time and a half pay, bonuses, Police & Fire to include sworn and non-sworn administrative staff from those departments. Separate list for each of those three events.
  6. The total dollar figure attributable to each event, for use of all equipment by department from but not limited to vehicles to trash cans whether a city asset or rented.

The total of revenues earned by the City of Glendale directly attribute to each of the 3 events, including but not limited to sales tax, fees, in-kind contributions and reimbursed costs.

All information to be included from April 1, 2014 to March 4, 2015.”

Tom Duensing, Glendale’s Finance Director, has publicly stated that the cost of the Super Bowl was about $2 million dollars. I believe when all of the information and data I requested is researched and made available to me, the cost will be way over the $2 million dollar mark. You will note I also requested the city costs associated with the Fiesta Bowl and Pro Bowl. Those are additional real dollars and real costs borne by the city. I suspect the numbers will surprise everyone.

I asked for an extensive amount of data and do not expect the information to be supplied in a week. I do expect it within a reasonable time period — a month. After all, Mr. Duensing is already claiming a number but I don’t think he has included all of the hidden costs. I will advise readers of the date that my Public Records Request is fulfilled.

This is the kind of hard data that should have been provided to every councilmember and the public. I hope that the results of my request will be shared with them and with the public-at-large. It’s our tax dollars and we surely have a right to know.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

On Friday, March 13, 2015 we learned that the Coyotes had finally finished their audit and submitted it to the City of Glendale. What is troublesome is the fact that the results were submitted to Glendale five months late. The first question is, why? IceArizona’s rationale is sure to be that the Barroway purchase was the cause of the delay. But his purchase was in December and it is now March. Audits do take time but not this much time.

Another troublesome aspect is IceArizona’s inability to abide by the arena management agreement stipulation 8.16.1 (c) Annual Financial Reports, “Not later than 90 days after the end of each Fiscal Year (June 30), provided, that if all necessary information from the NHL related to the following items (a), (b) and (c) shall not have been received by the date which is 30 days after the end of each Fiscal Year, then interim reports shall be provided within the normal time frame and final reports shall be provided within 60 days after the receipt of all necessary information from the NHL related thereto): (a) a balance sheet relating to Arena Facility operations as to the end of such Fiscal Year, (b) a statement of profit or less for Arena Facility operations during such Fiscal Year, and (c) a statement of charge of financial condition for Arena Facility operations during such Fiscal Year, each prepared in accordance with GAAP as consistently applied (if there are multiple interpretations of the application of GAAP, GAAP as traditionally interpreted by the Arena Manager and the Team Owner shall apply) (collectively, the “Annual Financial Reports”), and accompanied by a report containing an opinion of the Arena Manager’s accountants, stating that such Annual Financial Reports relate, that such Annual Financial Reports have been prepared in accordance with GAAP as consistently applied and that the examination by the Arena Manager’s accountants in connection with such financial reports was made in accordance with GAAP.” The agreement then states in 8.17.1. Audits, “The City shall have the right to conduct an independent audit of the management and operation of the arena (or any part thereof) and the Account Records (or any part thereof) and the Team Owner Records (or any part thereof) by the City Staff or by an independent certified public accounting firm selected by the City.”

The City should have received an Interim Audit about October 1, 2014. Instead it received the Final Audit on March 13, 2015, five months late. On November 4, 2014 in anticipation of receiving the expected Audit, the City hired Proeminent Sports, LLC, and a Nevada limited liability company, to audit the information IceArizona was supposed to provide in a timely fashion and to present its findings by December 15, 2014.

Note that the City’s expectation was that the audit would take about Coyotes Audit contract_Page_26 weeks, not months and months and months. Tony Tavares, former president of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and Los Angeles Angels and Managing Member of Proeminent Sports, is the lead in conducting the audit. Tavares just happened to have been involved with Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf in 2011 when Reinsdorf was trying to purchase the Coyotes from the NHL. Is there any conflict of interest?

On March 13, 2015 the media began sharing leaked results of the audit. Since the city has not publicly posted the audit results the leaking appeared to have been on the IceArizona side. What has been reported by some media traditionally sympathetic to the Coyotes is a total loss figure of $34,831,000.  It breaks out into operating losses of $16,458,000 and one time charges of $18,373,000. Their argument is that one should only look at the operating losses of nearly $16.5 million dollars and should not consider the nearly $18.4 million dollars in additional losses because they are one time charges and will not recur. They are correct in stating those specific charges will not recur but it is reasonable to assume that there will be other, onetime charges each and every year. While they will not be the specific ones attributed to this Fiscal Year, there are bound to be other onetime charges annually.

I attended the Blackhawks game last week and couldn’t help but notice that the majority of attendees were Hawks fans. The robust chants for the Hawks in our house were downright embarrassing. It appeared as if nearly every Coyotes ticket holder had sold their seats to Hawks fans. With a team that is not performing well it is not surprising to see the fan base shrink. Fans are fickle. Everyone loves a winner…a losing team? Not so much.  It may well be that operations and team revenue earnings will reflect this downward trend this Fiscal Year.

That brings us to the troublesome “out” clause that IceArizona may exercise after 5 years of losses totaling $50 million dollars or more. There has been considerable past discussion that lingers to this day over that particular clause. Many fans asked why the stipulation was necessary if the owners’ intent is to keep the team in Arizona. Others, from the Glendale resident side, called for the very same stipulation for the city. Quietly, oh so quietly, the IceArizona owners retained the “out” clause and the city never received such a stipulation in its favor. Is it any wonder that speculation about the owners’ long term intent has surfaced again upon learning that first year losses are $38.4 million dollars? After all, that figure is more than half of the $50 million dollars required in demonstrated loss before the owners can exercise the “out” clause.  

In a March 13, 2015 Craig Morgan story for FoxSports Arizona CEO Anthony LeBlanc stated, Naysayers will try and bring up the out clause at every opportunity… It leads to a simple question: If the franchise is successful financially, why would you even consider exercising it? The out clause was a protection mechanism.” The better question is…if the franchise is successful financially, why are you, Mr. LeBlanc et.al, keeping it? There would be no speculation every time Las Vegas or Seattle is mentioned if there was no “out” clause.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Just for fun…#3

Posted by Joyce Clark on March 14, 2015
Posted in City of Glendale  | No Comments yet, please leave one

It’s week three and once again you are asked to choose the photo of the correct councilmember. My readers are pretty sharp people who keep up with Glendale issues and events. So it stands to reason that you would have no trouble in selecting the correct photo. The mayoral selection that ran the first week was a roaring success with nearly everyone picking the right photo. The choices for Councilmember Aldama were nearly as high. 82% or 40 votes were correct in choosing photo # 3. However, this time 16% or 8 votes were for # 2 and 2% or 1 vote for # 1.

This week (Saturday, March 14 to Saturday, March 21) you will pick out the correct photo of Councilmember Chavira:

 

Number 1

Number 1

Number 2

Number 2

Number 3

Number 3

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

This Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 9:30 AM at Glendale city hall in the Council Chambers the city council will receive an update on the proposal to sell the building to Midwestern University and to relocate Foothills library to the Foothills Recreation & Aquatic Center. Since it is a council workshop the public does not have any opportunity to speak at this meeting but citizens can still make their voices heard silently by showing up in large numbers.

By all rights it should be DOA (dead on arrival). Hundreds of Glendale residents have voiced their disapproval by either contacting members of the council or speaking at public meetings. The three citizen commissions, the Arts Commission, the Parks & Recreation Commission and the Library Advisory Board, heard staff presentations and unanimously voted to send city council advisory recommendations of denial. It is undeniably clear that there is no citizen support for this idea and it deserves a merciful death. Let’s hope that March 17, 2015 will be the last day of consideration for this proposal.

A neighborhood meeting is scheduled for this coming Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at the Arrowhead Elementary School at 6:00 PM. Mark Becker is the host as he once again seeks city approval to place billboards at the Loop 101 and Bell Road. Glendale planning staff will be in attendance to listen and take notes.

This issue has returned like a bad penny. Almost a year ago to the day, March 24, 2014, Glendale city council voted 5-2 (Sherwood and BeckerMaps_Page_3Alvarez voted in favor) to deny the Becker billboard proposal (ZON 13-04). Glendale’s current ordinance only allows new billboards to be placed in M1 and M2 (light and heavy industrial) zoning areas. Perhaps it is time to revisit the ordinance and prohibit any new billboards anywhere in the City of Glendale. The current ordinance also restricts billboard height to 25 feet. Yet Becker billboards is asking for approval of 85 foot tall billboards.

You would think the issue died with the March, 2014 council denial. Not so. In October of 2014 Councilmembers Gary Sherwood and Sammy Chavira attempted and failed to resurrect the proposal by asking for a special council meeting for the purpose of rescinding the council’s March, 2014 votes. Their motives could be considered questionable. Did Sherwood push for a rescinding of the original billboard vote because Mark Becker and his family members donated to Sherwood’s election campaign? Did Sherwood push for a rescinding of the original billboard vote because Becker’s attorneys on the matter, nearly a dozen attorneys of the Rose Law group, contributed to Sherwood’s election campaign? And what about Sammy? In March of 2014 he voted against the billboard proposal. By October, 2014 he was actively supporting it. Was it at the request of his good friend, Gary Sherwood? Sammy and Sherwood seem to share the same record of flip-flopping on issues.

Now, a year later, Becker billboards is back with a more egregious proposal than the first one. This time they don’t want static billboards but a combination of digital and static and they want them to be 85 feet high. There’s an old adage, ‘don’t take no for an answer.’ Mark Becker and Gary Sherwood certainly didn’t. I guess Glendale’s residents are going to have to convince them once and for all, that no means no.

This information is courtesy of Rodeane Widom, former Glendale Library Director:  For readers who would like to get their opinion to the Mayor and City Council, here is a great link: http://www.gplfriends.org/15-105-agenda-item-for-relocation-of-the-foothills-library/

The Friends of Glendale Public Library have made the process very simple! Just add your name and send your letter off via email or snail mail.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Koi pond March 12, 2015

Koi pond
March 12, 2015

Arizona is experiencing a really, really early spring. Today it is 87 degrees and the weather is beautiful. February was the second warmest on record for the state. March looks as if it will be the same.

one fish

Butterfly Koi, white and gold

The pond lillies are starting to grow new leaves. The Iris are getting ready to bloom…and there is plenty of string algae.

I have found the best way to get rid of most of it is simply to pick it out manually. I have also started using peroxide and and Koi Clay once a week to get rid of the string algae I cannot get. You can get a quart of peroxide at WalMart for 88 cents. I get six at a time and dump all six quarts into the pond. It doesn’t hurt the fish.

The Koi Clay I got online at Amazon for $10. A little (6 teaspoons) goes a long way.The Koi love it. Where ever I put it in the pond they all covy up and eat away. It doesn’t harm them and is supposed to

More Koi March 12, 2015

More Koi
March 12, 2015

be good for them by replenshing minerals, enhancing their immune systems and their coloring. I just started so time will tell. I am also using — of all things — kitty litter with no perfumes or dyes. WalMart has a 25 lb. bag for $4. The really cheap kitty litters are pure bentonite clay. It acts as a flocculent, binding with debris which then settles on the bottom. I’m trying to use only natural remedies because they don’t harm the fish and I learned my lesson about adding chemicals to the pond.

In the next couple of weeks the Koi should start spawning. I made myself some DIY spawing mats. The directions were online. I went to the trusty WalMart and got the cheapest, thickest yarn I could find for $4. Then I went to the local drug store and got 4 travel size plastic bottles for $4. Cut the yarn to lengths of your choice. I went

Four spawning mats

Four spawning mats

with 20 inch lengths. Put together about 24 of them, fold them over the bottle and secure with a plastic zip tie. I made 4 of them, attached string to them (so that I can retrieve them easily) and strung them across the pond. I also obtained a square, breeding net. If I have any success I will put the Koi eggs in the breeding net that will be anchored to the side of the pond. It’s just another experiment. We’ll see if it works.

I will be doing a water change this weekend. We will drain about a third of the pond water and replace it. I plan to spend the next few weeks cleaning up plant debris from the landscaping around the pond. Believe it or not we did have a few nights of frost. I got lazy this year and did not cover up the plants. I will pay for it by trimming dead foliage. Once that work is done bring on the summer. The pond is ready.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

I belong to a neighborhood website that encompasses my area as well as about a dozen other subdivisions adjacent to Westgate and the Tohono O’odham temporary casino (currently under construction). A few days ago a conversational thread began on the site reflecting residents’ opinions regarding the effects of a casino near all of us. About 7 people have posted their opinions to date. I feel compelled to dispel some of their assumptions.

A local realtor in the Westgreen Estates subdivision said, “I do not recall any values going down as a result of a casino being built.” It’s one of the first questions you hear when someone wants to build a casino somewhere near you. That question is what’s it going to do to my property value?

There is now enough data from other areas of the country and their experiences with a casino to prove property values are impacted negatively from a nearby casino. From American Attitudes on Development comes, “A nuclear power plant, while the least-favored type of power plant, would still be preferable to a landfill, a casino, or an aggregate quarry.” A Foxboro, Maine resident and realtor for 23 years offered this in an op-ed in the Foxboro Sun Chronicle, March 11, 2012. Foxborough was facing the prospect of a casino in its community. Based on his 23 years of real estate experience he said, A casino is controversial. Anything controversial will cause some home buyers to exclude Foxboro and surrounding towns. This potential reduction in buyers will negatively affect the price and resale of homes here.” He went on to say, “A casino will change the demographics and feel of the town. The casino developer is setting aside funds to deal with the increased need in law enforcement the casino will bring. Many families moved to Foxboro because of the community feel. Any significant change in crime, drug abuse, alcohol abuse and, domestic violence, or any other demographics will change the feel and fabric of Foxboro and surrounding towns.”  A 2013 study by economists belonging to the National Association of Realtors concluded that, “the impact of casinos was ‘unambiguously negative’ on a housing market.”

I can hear the outrage from casino supporters now but the fact remains, while they support the casino, few property owners (including casino supporters) actually want to live near this casino. Most people understand that, at the very least, a casino operates 24/7 and will lead to an increase in crime, traffic congestion, drunken drivers, trash, tour buses and road noise – and that these things will be ultimately reflected in a reduction in property values.

None of the local resident responses asked about a casino and its effect on crime rates. Yet it is another area of concern. The following is an Abstract entitled Casinos, Crime and Community Costs by Earl L. Grinols and David B. Mustard, originally published in 1996 but this excerpt is from the Review of Economics and Statistics (February 2006). The authors say,“Casinos increased all crimes except murder, the crime with the least obvious connection to casinos. Most offenses showed that the impact of casinos on crime increased over time, a pattern very consistent with the theories of how casinos affect crime. The crime-ameliorating effects of casinos through increased employment opportunities and wages for low-skilled people will be concentrated shortly after opening. Between 5.5% and 30% of the different crimes in casino counties can be attributed to casinos.

“According to the study, five years after a casino opens, robbery in the community goes up 136 percent, aggravated assault is up 91 percent, auto theft is up 78 percent, burglary is up 50 percent, larceny is up 38 percent, rape is up 21 percent and murder is up 12 percent, compared to neighboring communities. Crime-lowering effects, like additional police and the new jobs represented by a casino are overwhelmed by rising crime increased by the presence of the casino, according to the study.”

Locals responding on this thread believed that traffic would be manageable. A resident of Westgreen Estates subdivision said, “We have enough open space to adapt to any increase traffic (sic).” A Rovey Farm subdivision resident said, “A quick drive around the other casinos in the valley will show you what kind of traffic to expect. (Not much).”

The Connecticut South Western Regional Planning Agency issued a Casino Traffic Impact Study in 2009.  “The purpose of this study was to estimate the possible traffic and air quality impacts of the development of a casino in Bridgeport.” The study concluded, “the development of a casino would have a significant impact on traffic congestion in southwestern Connecticut. Casino traffic is not seasonal because the number of trips to and from casinos is relatively consistent from month to month. Casinos operate 24 hours per day; there is no peak travel period to and from casinos thus traffic impacts of casinos may be experienced at all times of day.”

The increased traffic in the area will not just be due to the number of visitors to the casino. Add to that, traffic from employees as well as vendors and suppliers making deliveries with their semis at all hours of the day and night. Many transportation agencies in many states where casinos have located have done similar studies. All of these transportation studies recommend new transportation infrastructure whose costs are borne by you – the taxpayers. Increased traffic in our area will not be the result of an occasional Cardinals football game. Instead imagine that kind of traffic every day of the year, 24/7.

Yet other studies demonstrate sales tax revenue moving from other, traditional sources to a casino. In essence there is a shifting of sales tax revenue away from hotels and restaurants such as in Westgate, toward gambling facilities. Visitors and residents spend money on gambling that would otherwise be spent on other goods and services. This effect is known as “substitution.” There is also a shift of workers currently in one industry to the gambling industry. This is known as “displacement.”  This new development will take workers from other industries and move them into the casino industry. A New Hampshire study also offered, “For a standard casino, most patrons come from within 30 miles and participation declines exponentially as distance increases.”

So, respondents from Provence, Rovey Farm and Westgreen Estates, to the thread of discussion about casino impacts, be careful what you wish for. Then again, if you don’t mind a reduction in your property value, increased crime and increased traffic congestion, continue to welcome this casino that will most assuredly change the long treasured fabric of our community.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

On March 7, 2015 the Glendale Republic ran an op-ed by Mayor of Scottsdale Jim Lane, Mayor of Fountain Hills Linda Kavanaugh, Mayor of Apache Junction John Insalaco and Mayor of Litchfield Park Thomas Schoaf. It was in juxtaposition to another op-ed by Tohono O’odham Chairman Ned Norris, Jr. Norris’ and the tribe’s ad campaign slogan has always been one of “keeping the promise.” Yes, they have kept their promise — to screw everyone – the state, the voters, Valley cities, sister tribes and the people of Glendale. Many readers no longer get the Republic so I offer these 4 mayors’ remarks below:

Don’t reward years of deceit with Glendale mega-casino

“As mayors of Valley cities, we believe the potential Glendale casino represents no cause for celebration. From the Tohono O’odham Nation’s secret plan to put a casino in the Valley to their breaking faith with the voters of Arizona who in 2002 narrowly approved the current tribal gaming compacts, the path to the construction of this casino has been pockmarked by deceit.

“We do not make such a statement lightly, but no other explanation seems to fit the facts. It’s because of this history of deception, coupled with the serious ramifications this casino likely will have on every Valley city, that we, as mayors, jointly urge the Arizona Congressional delegation, led by U.S. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, to immediately force action on the Keep the Promise Act of 2015, which will prevent the Tohono O’odham Nation from moving forward with its gaming facility near homes, schools, places of worship and child-care centers.

“While federal court actions still have the potential to stop this project, time is of the essence for Congress, which absolutely can prevent this monument to greed. As you read this, the Nation is actively building a temporary casino structure in Glendale, while publicly saying they intend to open the casino before the end of the year.

“Even so, a moment spent exploring history is vital to understanding why so many Valley leaders and residents have declared this casino – with its 1,100 slot machines and 1,000 seat bingo hall – such a bad idea. Our opposition traces back to the 2002 election and the years of compact negotiation preceding that vote. Throughout that process, Tohono O’odham and other Arizona tribes promised that these compacts would preserve the balance of tribal gaming statewide, and that the casinos would be restricted to traditional tribal lands. The Phoenix metro area, the tribes promised, would get no additional casinos. None.

Records show that, even as the Tohono O’odham was making that promise and helping bankroll a $20 million campaign, they were actively seeking land in Glendale. Tohono O’odham negotiators misled state negotiators and other tribes regarding its true intentions for its fourth casino. To allow the tribe to open that casino in the Valley would be to reward deception.

“In a 2014 policy decision, the federal government allowed the Tohono O’odham Nation the ability to build as many as four casinos on county islands throughout the Valley. This the Nations can do without consulting with impacted communities or being subject to any Maricopa County zoning requirements. Given that the tribe already has sited a casino near a school, nothing can effectively stop them from putting one of its next three casinos in your neighborhood, near your child’s school or beside your church or synagogue. After all, the Nation is headquartered in southern Arizona. They simply do business in the Valley, giving them little reason to invest in our communities and to preserve our quality of life.

“Should these properties be given a green light, you can be sure the massive gaming corporations who run Vegas and America’s horse tracks again will target Arizona for expansion. With the promise of gaming restricted to traditional reservations in tatters, the Legislature would have no reason to keep out big gambling.

“The Keep the Promise Act of 2015 will stop that ugly breach of an important vow; at least until the gaming compacts expire in 2027. This legislation is fair. It merely ensures that tribes act in good faith and it’s good policy for our state. Failing to act would be to reward years of deceit by one tribe at the expense of the citizens of Arizona.”

The Tohono O’odham brags about the support it has, namely Glendale, Peoria, Tolleson and Surprise. The Glendale city council did an abrupt about face welcoming the casino when received its thirty pieces of silver for its betrayal of its resident’s wishes to stop it. Peoria, Tolleson and Surprise hope to gain economic crumbs from a casino on the west side of the Valley. They are all complicit in the deceptions of the Tohono O’odham. Make no mistake. These mayors in their op-ed were right on the mark when they said it’s all about greed. For the sake of the almighty dollar the Tohono O’odham have proven they will knife anyone in the back who stands in their way. They have destroyed their reputation as well as the trust of their sister tribes. There’s an old saying, “what goes around, comes around.” The Tohono O’odham will learn that lesson soon enough.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Just for fun…#2

Posted by Joyce Clark on March 7, 2015
Posted in City of Glendale  | No Comments yet, please leave one

You should be very proud of yourselves. In the first photo line up you were asked to pick out Glendale’s Mayor, Jerry Weiers. 93% or 55 of you chose the correct photo, number 2 .

Now it may get a little more difficult. This week, from Saturday, March 7 through Saturday, March 14 you get to pick out Glendale Councilmember Jamie Aldama.

Once again, no referencing other material. Go with your gut. Good luck!! Will post the results on Saturday, March 14.

thTO3PRPG6 2

Number 1

 

thENRW28CS 2

Number 2

 

JamieAldama 2

Number 3

 

 

 

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