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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.

In about 75 days Glendale’s voters will be asked to consider approval of the city’s request for $187.9 million in bond authorization. In order to understand this question I am offering a primer of everything you ever wanted to know (or didn’t want to know) on city bonds.

Let me answer one question up front that will be repeated elsewhere in this blog – approval of this bond authorization will not raise your taxes – not your property tax or sales tax.

The type of bonds being offered for authorization are called G.O. (General Obligation) bonds used for paying for the city’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP). In an upcoming blog I will discuss the CIP in further detail. The city uses G.O. bonds to pay for facility, infrastructure and equipment improvements valued at over $50,000.

These bonds are paid back with your property taxes. There are two categories of your property tax: your primary tax levy and your secondary tax levy. By state law, the primary property tax revenue the city collects can be used for anything but the secondary property tax levy can be used for one thing only – to pay off bonds and interest for a specific capital purpose.

In Fiscal Year 2020 the total of the city’s primary tax levy amount is $5,856,524 and the secondary tax levy amount is $20,408,799. Keep in mind the city never collects the full amount of either the primary or secondary tax because some people don’t pay their property tax.

That is why the city has a Capital Improvement Program. The CIP identifies every project that must be funded through the 6% and 20% bond categories from its secondary property tax levy.

To complicate things a bit further there are two separate categories of General Obligation, secondary property tax funded projects. These categories are based on a percentage of the value of a city’s total secondary property tax value. One category is the 6% category (of the total value of the city’s secondary property tax value). Projects that fit in the 6% category are:

  • Economic development
  • Cultural facilities
  • Government facilities
  • Libraries

Then there is the 20% category based upon the same formula – 20% of the city’s total value of its secondary property tax. Projects that fit in this category are:

  • Flood control
  • Open space and trails
  • Parks
  • Public Safety
  • Streets and parking
  • Water and sewer (the city doesn’t use G.O. bonding but instead debt is paid with water and sewer revenue – your water and sewer bills)

What is the city asking for? Your permission to allow the city to issue G.O. bonds at a ceiling of a certain amount.  While you would grant permission that doesn’t mean the city would use it right away. The city council has voiced its refusal to raise property taxes. Property taxes and sales taxes are the backbone and lifeblood of the city’s General Fund. The city’s General Fund pays for two primary things: 1. operating and maintenance costs of running city government and 2. the debt on city issued bonds. Each year the city council must balance these two competing interests seeking funding. The greater the cost of operating and maintaining city government the less there is available to issue bonds for capital improvement projects.

The last time the city asked voters for bond authorization was in 1999, 21 years ago. For example, in the last bond election voters approved bond authorization in Open Space and Trails in the amount of $50,459,000. The city has never used this full amount and still has $38,653,005 left of bond authorization. Obviously this time around, the city is not asking for any bond authority in Open Space and Trails or any other capital project categories where there is still adequate bond authority left.

Can the city just switch the $38+ million left in Open Space and Trails to another capital project category like Public Safety? The answer is by state law, no. Will your approval of the bond authorization sought raise your taxes? Again, the answer is no. The city policy is to issue bonds that can be paid back without raising taxes.

Last fall the city council authorized a citizen bond committee to review all requests for increased spending authorization. These Glendale residents were on the city council approved Bond Committee. These 7 citizens represented every district within Glendale:

  • Jon Froke, Chair
  • Lisa Baker, Vice Chair
  • Michael Boule
  • John Guers
  • Gary Hirsch
  • Ryan Wesselink
  • Michael Socaciu

After careful consideration and having received comprehensive information they have made the following recommendations for voter consideration on November 3rd. Each question requires separate voter approval:

  • Question 1 in the amount of $87.2 million for citywide park improvements, updated playgrounds, upgraded restrooms, Heroes Park completion and the O’Neil Splash Pad.
  • Question 2 in the amount of $81.5 million for street construction and reconstruction of major streets including 59th Avenue, 63rd Avenue, 83rd Avenue, Bell Road, Thunderbird Road and Bethany Home Road.
  • Question 3 in the amount of $9.9 million for our landfill’s expansion and to meet mandated environmental protections and compliance. Normally, these items would be covered by rate payers but the costs are just too high and raise rate payers’ bills dramatically.
  • Question 4 in the amount of $9.3 million for storm and drainage improvement projects.

In an upcoming blog I will go into greater detail about each of these questions.

Remember, just because voters authorize spending in these amounts for these listed items, does not mean the debt will be issued all at once. It will be issued as the General Fund can afford to pay back the debt without raising taxes.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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.

 

Feral Cats

Posted by Joyce Clark on August 18, 2020
Posted in City issue and actionsCity of Glendale  | Tagged With: , , | 5 Comments

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.

Over the years as a councilmember one of the most frequent calls I receive is regarding feral cats. There are free or little cost ($25) services available to deal with the feral cat problem in your neighborhood.

Most of the programs are called TNR or Trap, Neuter, Release. You are loaned a trap(s) to get the cat. You transport the cat to a clinic. They usually want you to arrive around 6 AM. They spay or neuter the cat that day. You are then required to pick the animal up at the end of the day. What do you do with it then? They ask that you keep it in its cage for 2 days so that the animal has a chance to recuperate. You can keep the animal in your garage, bathroom, wherever it’s convenient for you. Just make sure to feed and water the animal. After 2 days the animal can be released. Yes, it may still be in your neighborhood but it can no longer produce kittens thereby bringing an end to the problem over time.

It may not be the ideal solution for some of you but it’s the only game in town right now. If you are desperate enough you will take advantage of the services that are out there. For those of you who are animal lovers, it’s an easy action to take and worth the effort.

Here are some of the resources out there available to you:

  • Altered Tails. 602-216-1160 or Az Defense League 602-265-7729. You pay $25.00 per animal. They put you in touch with a person ( volunteer) that loans out the traps. You take the cat to the clinic on 73rd Ave. and Indian School. They spay or neuter the animal. You pick it up at the end of day. Leave it in trap overnight then release. More detailed info is available on their websites. Info@alteredtails.org or org
  • Free (or low cost) Spay and Neuter Clinic: West Phoenix. Their address is:7342 W Indian School Rd UNIT 108, Phoenix, AZ 85033 and their contact number is: (623) 846-3979. This clinic is associated with the Arizona Humane Society, Altered Trails, the Arizona Defense League and virtually all non-profit groups that deal with stray cats. I would not call the clinic. I would call one of these agencies, arrange to get the traps and use the agency to make an appointment at the clinic.
  • Cool Cats Rescue. I have no information about this group or what it provides but you can always give them a call and check it out. They are located at: 2525 E. Roosevelt St. Phoenix, AZ. Contact numbers are: (480) 659 5253; Cell: (512) 431-3874 .
  • I could not find a public address or contact number for this group but it is on Facebook. It appears the only way to make contact is to post your question or message on their Facebook page. Their primary focus seems to be rescuing lost dogs but they do have  a program called “Captured, Spayed, Neutered and Released.” They offer traps and it’s the same drill as the other programs— bring the trapped cat in the morning and pick it up at the end of the day. The only difference is if the female cat is pregnant, they will keep the cat, raise her kittens and adopt them all out. If the cat is not pregnant you must pick it up and release it.

These are the only resources with which I am familiar. If you know of any other group please comment on this blog and I will add it to this list. I hope this information has been of some help.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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.

Please note: the statistics I am using are from the 2016 election cycle as currently there is no compilation of information on fire unions’ involvement in this 2020 cycle.

“31 firefighter union PACs donated more than a quarter-million dollars to 59 city council and mayoral candidates in Arizona. More than half of the donations went to 10 individuals, eight of whom are active or retired firefighters, according to an Arizona Republic analysis of local and state campaign finance data.” (https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-investigations/2017/03/28/arizona-firefighter-unions-donated-hundreds-thousands-local-elections/99603914/).

For some local candidates firefighter PAC money is their major source of funding for a campaign. While police unions can and do contribute the firefighters unions generally contribute more than seven times better than any police union PAC.

Here is a list of fire union PACs that made campaign contributions in the 2016 cycle. It is by no means a complete list of all of the union chapters in the state of Arizona. For example, there is no Chandler or Scottsdale on this list.

  • Arizona Firefighters
  • Avondale Firefighters
  • Buckeye Firefighters
  • Casa Grande Firefighters
  • Central Yavapai Firefighters
  • Daisy Mountain Firefighters
  • El Mirage Firefighters
  • Flagstaff Firefighters
  • Gilbert Firefighters
  • Glendale Firefighters
  • Goodyear Firefighters
  • International Association of Firefighters
  • Lake Havasu Firefighters
  • Los Angeles Firefighters
  • Mesa Firefighters
  • Peoria Firefighters
  • Phoenix Firefighters
  • Pima Firefighters
  • Prescott Firefighters
  • Sedona-Verde Valley Firefighters
  • Sun Lakes Firefighters
  • Surprise Firefighters
  • Tempe Firefighters
  • Tucson Firefighters
  • United West Valley Firefighters

That’s not all the fire unions contribute to a candidate’s campaign. “Firefighter political involvement doesn’t end with money. Fire groups across the state and country are known for their grassroots support of candidates. Hayden said he participated in elections his entire career by acquiring signatures and placing campaign signs for candidates.” (Arizona Republic article cited above).

Why do the fire unions insert themselves into local political races? The answer is really quite simple. It increases the fire unions’ chances of gaining better pay and benefits. That’s it. It’s naked power for the sake of greed. In Glendale, the fire union would prefer that you ignore the fact that their members are one of the best paid in the entire state. For them, that is irrelevant…for it’s always about more.

How do the unions get their money? Each PAC collects donations from every union firefighter. Each local union collects maybe $5 or $10 from every chapter member’s paycheck. Some of that money is then passed on to the state union PAC. The state PAC focuses primarily on local candidates. The maximum donation to a local candidate is $6,400 and often the limit is given to a candidate by multiple fire union PACs. In a short time the money becomes big money with strings attached.

What are the effects of a fire backed local candidate losing a race? Let’s use Glendale as a real time example. I have been in seven election cycles…all had fire union backed candidates. I won six of them and the fire union won one…Sammy Chavira. How did that work out? In all of my previous winning contests I continued to treat every fire union request with a fair hearing and decided any issue on what I considered to be best for the entire city.

I hope the rank and file of the Glendale chapter of the fire union reads the remarks I am offering. Your union President, Aarick O’Hara, has failed you in this election cycle. I thought I was working toward building a good, working relationship with Mr. O’Hara. We had discovered common ground on several issues. Prior to the run up to the election, Mr. O’Hara offered the following deal. The union would stay out of my race if I would disavow and not support or endorse Mayor Weiers. My answer to Mr. O’Hara was that I could not accede to his request. He then implied that he would be advising the executive board to endorse my opponent and that the executive board would comply with whatever he recommended. I bet none of you knew that.

I want the rank and file to know that Mr. O’Hara’s actions in support of Michelle Robertson and Bryce Alexander in an effort to take both of us off the Glendale City Council may well have repercussions. One of the questions you, as a dues paying firefighter, should be asking is did Mr. O’Hara vet either candidate and if he did, did he ignore the baggage that each candidate carried? If he did not vet them or ignored their questionable histories then he did a disservice to you. Another question for the rank and file is how much voice do you actually have when it comes to backing or not backing a local candidate? Did you, the rank and file union member, get to vote on the issue of endorsements or did O’Hara decide?

The troubling outcome is that I cannot and will no longer work with Mr. O’Hara. He has done irreparable damage to the hope of creating any positive and healthy relationship with the local fire union. That is a shame when I thought we were finally making progress.

Finally, I am sure that in the aggregate the fire unions spent upwards of $150,000 on the two Glendale races. To what end? To end up flushing that money down a toilet by backing losing candidates.

Why isn’t that money better spent to provide services to the rank and file members or using it to benefit the disadvantaged within our communities? Think of how much good could have been created with that $150,000+. Now your chapter, the Glendale chapter, owes every other fire union that contributed to the candidates in the Glendale race. You will be asked to repay the debt by putting up campaign signs and walking neighborhoods in Peoria or Tempe or wherever as payback for their contributions in the Glendale races.

I can tell you the relationship has been set back considerably. I don’t know about the internal workings of your union. Perhaps it’s time for the rank and file to decide if your current leadership is building a positive and healthy relationship and working for your best interest or for that of others.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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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