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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.

Today a friend sent me a link to an Arizona Republic Opinion column published on September 9th and written by State Representative Athena Salman. Representative Salman represents State Legislative District 26 which encompasses north Tempe and includes the area of the proposed Coyotes’ arena. Here is the link: https://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/2022/09/09/arizona-coyotes-entertainment-district-raw-deal-tempe/8017122001/ . The title of the opinion column is, Arizona Coyotes gave Glendale a raw deal. And Tempe wants to repeat it?

In her column Representative Salman reiterates much of what I have already said about the proposed Coyotes deal. Here are some excerpts from her opinion piece:

  • “What they don’t share so openly is that they’re also requesting either a 30-year and an 8-year government property lease excise tax (GPLET), to the tune of more than $649 million in tax abatements, or a 65-year and an 8-year GPLET that would total over $1.1 billion in tax abatements.”

What this means to the Tempe taxpayers is that the Coyotes are seeking a handout valued at $649M to $1.1B in tax forgiveness. In other words, this represents a loss of money earned for Tempe taxpayers that could be used for all kinds of projects and programs for citizens. This belies their repeated mantra that they are financing the project totally.

Representative Salman goes on to say,

  • “And then there’s the Coyotes’ dishonorable fiscal track record under current owner Alex Meruelo, who took over the franchise in July 2019.”
  • “Is this really the kind of corporate behavior the city of Tempe wants to be rewarding for the next 30 to 65 years?”

This is a fair question.

Another issue Representative Salman did not mention is the intensity and height of construction, especially the apartment buildings and their effect on Sky Harbor’s operations. There is a 1994 agreement between Tempe and Phoenix designed to ensure both cities mutually protect the integrity of Sky Harbor. Phoenix has publicly stated that the Coyotes’ proposed project is in violation of the 1994 agreement which could result in court action.

I agree with Representative Salman’s take on the proposed Coyotes deal. She is merely saying what many others have said. There’s the adage, those that do not study history are doomed to repeat it. I suspect the Coyotes deal appears to be irresistible to some on Tempe’s city council. Are there enough councilmembers to approve the deal? I have no idea, but I hope they take the time to learn valuable lessons from Glendale’s experience.

There are a few avid fans who regularly feel compelled to berate me because I dare to write about the Coyotes. I guess it’s easy for them to forget that I was involved with the Coyotes in Glendale from the very beginning. I was at one time, heavily invested in the team and fought hard to keep them in Glendale through some very trying and turbulent years. After some time, it gets old when there are musical chairs regarding ownership, each successive owner with his own agenda that often did not coincide with that of Glendale. Why shouldn’t I blog about them?

I ‘ve earned the right to do so.

© Joyce Clark, 2022      

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.

At the August 9, 2022, apparently, I surprised the audience, comprised of about two dozen green shirted folk with ‘Save Murphy Park’ emblazoned across their chests. I asked our City Manager to investigate the idea of building a new city hall in some other part of our city and to report his findings back to council. I suggested the Westgate area where the city already owns land. How much would it cost, what would the project look like and what could the city realize from such an investment elsewhere?

We know that Goodyear recently spent $87 million to build its newly opened 7 acre Civic Square but that includes a parking garage, a two-story library and a 2 acre park. My best estimate, once the garage, library and park are eliminated, is the four-story city hall cost an estimated $50 million. What could Glendale save from the $70 million if it built new? $10million? $20 million?

This concept of building a new city hall is not a new idea. It has floated around city hall for at least the past five years. A majority of council never pursued the idea because, I suspect, they felt that such an investment would help to revive downtown Glendale. So, everyone marched to the downtown campus reinvestment initiative.

My suggestion was not born out of retaliation, as suggested by Vice Mayor Aldama. Rather it is an objective look as to where it is best to make a $70 million dollar investment. In other words, where does the city get the most ‘bang for its buck’ with such a major investment?

I have invested time and energy over the last twenty-five years to keep downtown Glendale moving forward. I was part of the “Miracle Mile” citizens’ group many years ago. It was the first citizens group to envision strategies to create a robust downtown. Over the years there have been several attempts strategizing to make downtown more viable. All have failed.

The reason for failure is downtown itself. A majority of downtown business owners have never been able to achieve cohesion and present their clear, unified goals on redevelopment. I contend twenty-four green shirted people, predominately Catlin Court business owners, do not represent the entirety of over 130+ downtown merchants. Their self-proclaimed validity comes from the fact that they are the only ones who are vocal.

They are aided and abetted by Robert Heidt, CEO of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce.

I am sharing the Chamber’s mission and vision taken directly from their website, “Mission – The Glendale Chamber serves the business community as the voice of commerce, provides programs and services to improve the economic environment for its members and supplies leadership for improving the quality of life. For area residents and newcomers, the Glendale Chamber is a reliable source for community information and a dependable resource for business referrals. Vision – For Glendale to have a prosperous business community.” Mr. Heidt seems to have strayed from his organization’s mission and vision. I think it’s fair to ask, is Mr. Heidt taking his organization in a direction that no longer benefits its membership?

Mayor Weiers said during council’s discussion about downtown that, “Our downtown, in case people haven’t noticed, is hanging by a thread, and has been for quite some time.” The Mayor, sadly, is correct. Despite the millions of dollars the city has invested in downtown over the years, the sales tax revenue downtown generates declines year after year and is now less than 1% of the city’s total sales tax revenue.

Glendale’s Economic Department gave this assessment which can be found on its website, in part, regarding the downtown, “High vacancy rates, prohibitive zoning, and aged infrastructure are some of the challenges that plague this district. Traditional retail will not support the future sustainability of this area, rather a mix of uses that increase consistent density in this area is needed.”

Steve Stockmar of the Glendale Independent interviewed Valerie Burner of Bears & More, a Catlin Court shop owner who said in response to the Mayor’s comment,  “I’m not sure where he gets his information. To be honest, I’ve only ever had a very minimal conversation with the mayor. So I don’t know where he gets his information.” This is not exactly a roaring denial of the Mayor’s view, is it? Since when is Catlin Court the voice of the interests of all downtown business owners?

The city council and senior leadership of the city are charged with being fiscally responsible and good stewards of taxpayer money. So, dear reader, I ask you. Would you continue to invest in downtown Glendale by renovating the city hall campus or would you say it’s time to move city hall?

© Joyce Clark, 2022      

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.

I want to preface my comments in the blog. Many are aware that this is my last term in office as the councilmember representing the Yucca district. My term will expire in 2 ½ years in December of 2024. This circumstance allows me the luxury of speaking my mind.  Although if you know me at all, I usually don’t hold back and I do speak my mind often. At this point in my political career, it is a privilege that is held by no other councilmember. As elected officials we often hold our tongues so as not to offend. Now, I speak my truth and if the emperor has no clothes, I will tell you so.

This past Friday the city announced its selection for its new position of Downtown Manager. Daniel Sabillion, owner of a downtown Glendale coffee shop has been selected. Mr. Sabillion and the city have established conflict of interest requirements in recognition of his downtown business ownership, but you can be sure accusations of a conflict of interest will soon be flying about.

This Sunday afternoon a diatribe was emailed to the entire city council and attached was the city’s announcement of its selection of Mr. Sabillion. I suspect that this announcement prompted the current vitriol we received. Whose fingerprints are all over this crazy email? There are so many choices…let’s play a guessing game. It might be one or it might be all, or it might be none.

How about the Hysterical Downtown Merchants Association let by the Zomoks and Cheryl Knappes? Could it be instead of welcoming another entity that adds to building and promoting downtown Glendale, might they perceive Mr. Sabillion as a threat? Or how about Yvonne Knaack, former councilmember, and Vice Mayor? For years she lived in Glendale and had a successful, downtown business. She sold her business (although she remains a downtown property owner) and moved out of Glendale. Might this be pay back for being uninvited to speak at the downtown café lighting ceremony? She is still heavily involved with the Glendale Chamber of Commerce. What about Richard Vangalisti? He owns multiple downtown properties most of which remain vacant. He and the city have knocked heads often over the condition of his properties. Might he be offering sour grapes because of his relationship with the city? Add to the list of suspects, might it be the Glendale Chamber of Commerce and its CEO, Robert Heidt? The Chamber’s lucrative contract to supply a downtown manager terminated recently. Could it be retribution for the loss of the contract valued at over $100,000? I really don’t know, and you’re guess is as good as mine, but all these players have an axe to grind.

So, what did this infamous email say? Well, it accused the mayor, council, and city manager of: *corruption *backdoor deals *conflict of interest *bullying * being dirty *fear and intimidation *on a spending spree * wanting to get rid of Councilmembers Aldama, Tolmachoff and Turner *handpicking the city’s Chief Judge *killing the trees in Murphy Park and *destroying Catlin Court. I don’t think I missed anything. It’s quite a potpourri of accusations with not one shred of fact involved. I could say the sky is purple but without any fact to corroborate it, no one will believe it. It’s the same with this ridiculous email.

As long as I am on a roll, let me say this. For years downtown has been divided into two camps: those who are not pleased no matter what this council and city manager do and those (always silent) who quietly work to see their business succeed. Quite frankly, I am tired of the nay-sayers’ antics and their continual refusal to work cooperatively to make downtown the best that it can become. No matter what is offered, it is refused and bad-mouthed. If they spent half as much time growing their businesses and making them relevant in the 21st Century as they do nay-saying and putting up obstacles, they would be wildly successful.

This council is committed to revitalizing downtown. In fact, I, personally, go all the way back to participating in the “Miracle Mile” visioning sessions twenty years ago. Everyone would acknowledge that Glendale Glitters was a signature event, but it only brought people downtown for 6 weeks of the year. The rest of the time, downtown looked like a deserted movie set. Council welcomed the concept of Glendale Live! because it would bring people downtown for many, many nights of live entertainment in its Amphitheater. Instead of creating cross promotions, discounts, and special sales in conjunction with the live entertainment nights what did the merchants do? Zip. Nada. Sat on their hands waiting for customers without offering a single incentive. Instead, they used their energy to bad mouth the entire concept.

Now the council has approved the remodeling of city hall, council chambers, the parking garage, the amphitheater, and Murphy Park. Instead of offering constructive suggestions, all the nay-sayers can focus on is that the city council is determined to kill the trees in Murphy Park. How absurd. This council values Murphy Park and its ambience and is not going to deliberately destroy it.

Do any of the nay-sayers realize the result of the city’s announcement to invest $70 million in downtown? Since that announcement we have received numerous calls from developers wanting to explore buying the city’s excess properties in downtown and investing millions of dollars in redeveloping them. That is exactly what is needed, new life blood and new investment in creating a vibrant downtown. That means nothing to them. For you see, the nay-sayers have created the urban legend that council is going to kill all the trees in Murphy Park. I’m not making this up. This is how ridiculous it has gotten.

It’s time for the nay-sayers to give it up. Instead of accusing us of killing trees, why don’t you offer your concept of what a revitalized Murphy Park should look like? Instead of working to undermine Mr. Sabillion, why don’t you give him a chance? Don’t assume he is a puppet of a nefarious city council and city manager. If you don’t like what he is doing, tell him, enter a dialogue to make the relationship better.

This may be the last chance to rescue downtown Glendale. Don’t blow it. If I had had my way, the city would be building a new city hall for $70 million out at Westgate on city property and leave downtown to become that deserted movie set.

© Joyce Clark, 2022      

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.

For the second year in a row Glendale’s budget has topped a billion dollars. It reflects the current economic status of many other Valley cities such as Chandler, Tempe and Peoria, all showing a total budget of at least a billion dollars.

The city’s budget is based on several council-identified priorities. The first is Sustainability. We continue to invest in infrastructure. Just as we focused on our streets after years of inattention, we are employing the same philosophy to our parks as we make major investments in our parks to replace and maintain equipment in or serving our park system. Perhaps the most important focus in terms of infrastructure is maintaining our water capabilities and redundancy of systems. As we move into a Stage 1 drought declaration Glendale is in very good shape. No Valley City can exclusively rely upon Central Arizona Project (CAP) water which comes from Lake Mead and the Colorado River. Our portfolio includes Salt River Project water and SRP’s water reservoirs are about 77% full. But that is not all, the city has a portfolio of wells and it will be refurbishing 3 wells over the next 2 years. It also has been banking water underground. The city’s water doesn’t come from just one source. It is a blend of CAP, SRP, wells and ground water storage. We have also entered into Intergovernmental Agreements with Phoenix and Peoria and are now building interconnects so that should there be a water emergency among any one of the three cities, the other two will now be able to share water.

A second priority is Public Safety. Over half (61% or $158 million) of the city’s General Fund budget (total of $255 million) goes to Police and Fire. This city council is a strong advocate for Public Safety and is adding 10 new positions in Public Safety.

A third area is Economic Development. Continued growth of the city’s economic portfolio is essential as it provides funding for many of the amenities our citizens want and enjoy. One of the city’s trademarks has been its provision of “speed to market” for many developers. As our explosion of economic growth continues the city finds it must add new building inspectors, an architect, engineers, and project managers. The council continues to demonstrate its commitment to downtown Glendale by authorizing a $70 million investment in the renovation of City Hall, Council Chambers, the city hall parking structure, Murphy Park and the Amphitheater. As the city embarks on this project it is experiencing renewed interest by developers who are taking a second look at downtown and exploring development possibilities. Over the next few years expect to see the development of vacant parcels as well as new users of vacant buildings. All happening as a result of our investment in the downtown city hall campus.

The last, but certainly not least, priority is Neighborhoods. Sustaining and improving the quality of life for all residents. Projects that have begun or will begin after July 1, 2022 include improvements at the Main Library, replacement of playground equipment, irrigation and lighting at multiple parks, the addition of 8 splash pads and continued pavement management. There are 2 projects slated for Heroes Park. One is an expansion of the community meeting space at Heroes Library from accommodating 30 people to 75 persons. The other is building the ballfields in the northeast corner of Heroes Park.

Just as inflation is killing the family budget as the price of everything continues to increase relentlessly, so, too, is the city’s operating budget experiencing the same inflationary pressures. Everything is costing more from contract prices for all kinds of services, utilities, supplies and fuel. The city has been proactive in anticipating increased costs except for fuel. The prices rise dramatically week over week with no ceiling predicted. This will be one of the issues which council will have to address.

Another issue is the difficulty all Valley cities are facing in filling employee positions. In an attempt to attract well qualified employees, the city will give a 5% Cost of Living Increase (COLA) beginning July 1st. Currently the city is looking to fill 59 new positions, in every field from Public Safety to Parks personnel to Code Inspectors to Sanitation and Technology workers. We need you. If you want a good paying job with generous benefits you should be applying for a job with the City of Glendale.

Keep in mind that this is the single most important responsibility of the city council.  There are always competing needs between city staff and city council as well as between city councilmembers. Some needs are more compelling despite our advocacy for a specific project. For example, I did not get funding for the rehabilitation of 83rd Avenue between Northern and Glendale Avenues. However, staff is prepared to submit the project for federal funding should it become available.

I hope you have gained some insight with regard to the Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget which begins on July 1, 2022, and ends on June 30, 2023. If there are aspects that you think were missed or were not addressed, please take the time to offer a comment to this blog. It is a budget that council reviewed and amended for over 4 months. Discussions were detailed and council posed many questions.

It is a budget forged out of consensus.

© Joyce Clark, 2022      

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.

I would remind Coyotes fans that in 2010 and 2011 the City of Glendale paid the NHL $25 million a year to keep the Coyotes in Arizona. I guess no one remembers that if Glendale had not paid the NHL the team would have been sold and probably relocated at that time.

During that time fans heaped praise on Glendale and there was no lamenting of traffic difficulties in getting to a game in Glendale. My, how times have changed. The most often heard refrain today has been that it is too difficult to get to Glendale. That seems to be the owners and fans rationale for moving out of Glendale.

The fans have traded $25 dollar tickets and traffic inconvenience for $500 tickets and equally vexing traffic inconvenience. They will trade traffic at the Loop 101 for traffic at the Loop 202.

There are three major issues that it is believed will have to be satisfied if the Coyotes hope to locate in Tempe.

The first is the Coyotes’ proposal that Tempe pay $200 million to clean up the site. They propose a Tempe Community Facilities District. In essence, Tempe bonds for the $200 million which would be repaid by using the sales tax generated on the site for approximately 20 years or until the bonds are paid. In essence, Tempe taxpayers see no new revenue from this development until the bonds are paid and are not benefitting from the sales tax generated by the proposed project.

I would also historically point out that Steve Ellman when seeking City of Glendale financing to build the Gila River Arena represented development of over 1.2 million square feet that would generate enough sales tax to satisfy the annual debt payment. After 5 years there was only about 1/5th of the proposed economic development and that did not generate enough sales tax to pay the annual debt payment. The same scenario could be repeated forcing Tempe to use General Fund dollars to cover the short fall in the annual debt payment.

There has been talk that if the Tempe Council approves the development there will be citizen referendum petitions. If that occurs and enough signatures are acquired, it will put the project on the ballot and the voters of Tempe would decide whether the project moves forward. If this were to occur, add another year of uncertainty.

A second issue is the Coyotes’ proposal to construct 1,600 residential apartment units on the site. These residential units would be directly under Sky Harbor’s flight path. Recently four former Phoenix mayors offered an OpEd on this issue. Here is the link: https://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/2022/06/01/tempe-plan-arizona-coyotes-spells-trouble-sky-harbor-airport/9996700002/ . A little background is in order. In 1994, Phoenix and Tempe entered into an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA). The purpose of the IGA was to stop residential development under Sky Harbor’s flight path. The concern was and is, that these new residents would complain about the noise generated by takeoffs and landings (at roughly one every minute). Residential complaints would most certainly have an impact on Sky Harbor’s continued and future development.

The four former mayors said, “For more than 25 years, Sky Harbor’s growth, expansion and development plans have been made with the IGA and adherence to its prescribed eastbound departure path in mind.

Tempe even appointed its own aviation commission to ensure that the terms of the agreement remain viable and enforced. All of this to protect Tempe neighborhoods from the life-altering experience of having a flight path directly over their homes.” They go on to say, “These residential units are proposed to be built directly under the very flight paths that were created by the intergovernmental agreement to protect Tempe residents.

As previously communicated by the Federal Aviation Administration, the Air Line Pilots Association, the airlines themselves and by the professional management of Sky Harbor, no residential development can be permitted in this area – less than 10,000 feet from the end of the two south runways – without compromising those flight paths and significantly threatening the airport’s continued operation and future growth.

As community leaders who embrace cooperation and compatible growth, it is essential, if the entertainment district proposal moves forward, that all residential development be removed from consideration.”

When you think about it, it won’t just be the 1,600 residences that will be impacted by the noise but really, everything on the site will experience the noise…people working in offices on the site and the fans while attending a game. Without the residential units, projected to earn income, is it still a viable investment?

The last and perhaps the most important issue to be considered is money. At the Tempe City Council’s June 2, 2022, meeting when approval was granted 5 to 2 to continue to negotiate with the Coyotes, one of the Tempe councilmembers publicly offered a slide depicting Dun & Bradstreet’s financial rating of the Coyotes, Alex Meruelo and associated affiliates. Here is that slide:

It’s not pretty. Tempe staffers circulated a Memo to the Tempe city council revealing staff’s rating of the proposed project. Here is the link: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/tempe/2022/06/01/tempe-memo-gives-coyotes-proposal-low-marks-financial-strength/9973803002/ . In the Arizona Republic’s article about the memo it states, “On the financial front, a city memo released ahead of the June 2 City Council vote gave the team’s plan a 40% score for “financial strength/ability,” the lowest mark on the six-category evaluation completed by city staffers.”

To be successful and move forward the Coyotes will have to give up its ‘ask’ of $200 million from Tempe and its taxpayers, remove the 1,600 residential units to ensure continued viability of Sky Harbor Airport and ensure that a team that has lost millions of dollars year over year has the necessary guaranteed financial stability to successfully undertake a nearly $2 billion development. As Tempe has stated it will be months before the final decision is made and satisfactory answers to these three issues should be the basis for their decision.

© Joyce Clark, 2022      

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.

I publish a weekly ENews letter every Thursday. It contains a lot of great information. Learn about upcoming events in Glendale or find out which streets in the Yucca district are scheduled for pavement management. Each week there is something new.

Click on this link to subscribe or copy and paste into your browser. It will show up in your email every Thursday.

https://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/manage/optin?v=001wG1kY_25URFBkAQ8LSkL7psk_erhO_R-D1UJwhnb6-BHtjPUw_KVOrNgEN96W5zlliIkh053HT4NBV1oPmPMNuX0_bY80Vz3Yt7vl1Kt-M2nk341epSLp34GKVxg3ov_7aX9z4p8NR9Lc35XK8O_Z9UpohiRouh4pZZooHUjZt0%3D&id=preview

Here are some samples from this past Thursday’s ENews:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are great things happening in Glendale and my Enews is a great way to learn about them. Once you subscribe you will receive my weekly bulleting chock full of information. For example, every week I post which streets in the district are scheduled for pavement management.

Give it a try. If you don’t like it you can always opt out.

© Joyce Clark, 2022      

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.

City logo June 30, 2017

Glendale, Arizona was incorporated on June 18, 1910, and had a population of just over 1,000 people. By 1940, its population was 4,800 and in 1950 it had grown to 8,170. In 1964, the population had grown to 42,000 and when I moved to Glendale in 1968, it had a population of 45,000. By 1975, it grew to 67,000. From then until 2010, in a period of just over 40 years, its population exploded and quadrupled to 226,721. Today, in 2022, its population has expanded to 263,000. Expect to see another 10,000 to 20,000 added over the next five years. It is the 7th largest city in Arizona and the 87th largest city in the United States.

All other West Valley cities, historically, developed much later than Glendale and most of them still contain vast amounts of raw land just waiting for development. Glendale, on the other hand, is truly a mixture of the old and the new. South of Northern Avenue is the old Glendale. You can tell the old Glendale from new Glendale just by looking at it.

Arrowhead Ranch, a premier area in north Glendale, at one time was destined to die and was saved in the early 1980s by a city investment of $80 to $100 million for its infrastructure. The strategy to have all the infrastructure already in place made the area attractive to developers and relieved them of the burden of paying for it.  It caused Arrowhead to take off like a rocket.  If you would like to learn more about the land that became Arrowhead Ranch, I refer you to this article written by Jen Fitfield in 2020:   https://www.pressreader.com/usa/the-arizona-republic/20200223/281947429877999 . The article is substantially accurate although I disagree with some of the material presented.

The city’s investment in Arrowhead included but was not limited to roads and drainage, provision of water and sewer services and operation of the sewage plant. It was not without cost. That major investment sucked the financial oxygen from the rest of the city, especially the older portions. In essence, old Glendale, through its tax base paid for new Glendale. For at least a decade, while dollars were being spent to save the dream of Arrowhead, funding was not available to maintain, preserve or beautify the rest of Glendale. Portions of the city languished while in other portions outright decay occurred. Once decay and blight take hold, unless immediate measures are taken to stamp it out, it becomes like sludge and oozes outward consuming anything in its path.

It is time to pay attention to old Glendale. I’ve been thinking about this idea for quite some time. I am calling for a major campaign by our City Council and senior management to focus on the beautification of Glendale. It should include several elements. Although the city has recently and justifiably spent $125,000 on beautification of the rights-of-way in the Ocotillo district, it has not made the same commitment to other older portions of the city. There must be a commitment to remediate those areas as well. All city rights-of-way (ROW) should be adequately graveled, with abundant desert landscaped plants and trees, and free of litter.

An element of a beautification campaign must include overlay or special zoning designed to protect areas from oversaturation of unwanted uses. City Council must identify those uses which are not positive for an area. Those uses could include but are not limited to tattoo parlors, pawn shops, loan shops, convenience stores, automotive repair/retail uses, liquor stores, etc.

 At one time, the city had a liquor density criteria, limiting the number of retail liquor stores within a one mile radius. Sadly, that has been abandoned. Today, you can travel some of the city’s major arterials and see several tattoo parlors, a couple of tire shops and a couple of package liquor stores, one after another. This should not be my Glendale or your Glendale.

I suggest that the city place a cap on the number of ‘unhealthy neighborhood’ retail establishments. Hypothetically, say the city has 100 tattoo parlors throughout the city. I believe we have every right to say “no more” and that we have reached the saturation point and we will not discriminate but will limit the number of a use within our city. The same type of cap should be placed on other non-beneficial uses determined by consensus of the council.

In addition, the city must offer incentives to attract beneficial, retail uses such as small, grocery stores (that offer wholesome food choices and not incidental to liquor sales), cafes, bakeries, professional services such as insurance, medical offices, etc.

The city over the past several years has rewritten and adopted many code changes. Some of them will be considered as too harsh but that consideration is usually made by the worst offenders. Many, although not all of the changes, were made by a citizens Code Review Committee and approved by the council. Some were generated by employees of various departments.

Often councilmembers have been told that code has been hampered in its ability to do all that has been asked of it because it has been understaffed. To that end, in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2023 budget a majority of council has authorized the addition of 4 more code inspectors which will make the department fully staffed.

I would like the code department’s use of “Focus Areas” resurrected. This strategy used in the early 2000s quite successfully. A code inspector, often with input from the community, would identify a specific area, usually no larger than ½ mile, as a Focus Area. Letters would be sent to every resident informing them of the designation as well as identifying the most common code violations and that they could expect code to be in their neighborhood to cite all violations. They would be asked to be proactive and to correct their issues prior to a code inspector’s issuance of a warning or violation. The residents in that collective area would be given 30 days to remediate issues after which an inspection would occur, and any remaining violations would be cited. It was very successful because it provided education to the residents, gave them time to correct any violations on their own and resulted in very few actual citations. Many neighborhoods were cleaned up and blight was removed. We haven’t done this program for 15 or 20 years. With full staffing in code there is no valid reason why this program can’t be implemented again.

Another program begging to be reinstituted is the Neighborhood Revitalization Program. Prior to the Great Recession in 2007, the city made small dollar grants to neighborhoods that identified a specific beautification project they wanted to accomplish. It was required that the project beautify a neighborhood and that the work be performed by volunteers from the neighborhood. There was an application process and a citizens’ committee that made the decision on awarding the grants. Neighbors would volunteer their time toward the revitalization project and the grant paid for supplies. One of the criteria today should be that this is for neighborhoods 40 years old or older, any neighborhood established before 1982. The Revitalization Office even kept an inventory of tools, such as hoes, rakes, lawn mowers, shovels, hammers, etc. and they were lent out to the neigbhborhood volunteers to undertake their project, much like one would borrow a book from our library.

Another element to recapture our blighted neighborhoods is a return to the “Broken Windows” theory of policing first used in the 1980s in New York City and Boston.  The theory is that when a neighborhood looks trashy, hence the term “Broken Window” (code’s responsibility) and minor crimes are allowed to proliferate, that sends a signal to the criminal element to move in and take over. It takes a concerted effort, a partnership between the Police Department and Code Department to target neighborhood areas of blight. Unfortunately, these are underserved areas of our community.

Lastly, adding art to neighborhoods demonstrates yet another level of city commitment toward beautification. The city has a dedicated arts fund and a beneficial use of these substantial art funds would be to bring art elements into older neighborhoods (to start) signaling that our city is committed to clean, safe and beautiful neighborhoods.

To recap these are the programs I believe Glendale must implement to successfully beautify Glendale:

  • Beautify all rights-of-way throughout the city
  • Implement special zoning to cap certain retail uses throughout the city
  • Implement a city incentive program to attract more beneficial retail uses adjacent to neighborhoods
  • Support city council’s decision to add additional code inspectors
  • Reimplement the use of “Focus Areas” in neighborhoods
  • Reimplement the Neighborhood Revitalization Program
  • Reimplement the “Broken Window” theory
  • Add art elements to neighborhoods

These initiatives will not result in instant remediation but over time we can and will see our neighborhoods improve. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will beautification of our city occur overnight. The first step in the most important and that is to get each of these elements established, funded and up and running.

Every resident in Glendale should be able to live in clean, safe and beautiful neighborhoods, free from crime and blight. It’s a quality of life issue that translates into preserving or even increasing your property’s value.

I am proud of Glendale and all that it has accomplished but there is more work yet to be done. Will you join me in support of a “Beautify Glendale” initiative?  I have created an online petition at the ipetitions website.  Let our city council know that you support such an effort. I will leave the petition up for a month or so. Please tell your friends and neighbors throughout Glendale about this effort and ask them to join us. Can we get a thousand signatures? Please go to: https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/beautify-glendale-az . The time is now.

© Joyce Clark, 2022      

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.

The good news for Glendale just keeps coming and I wanted to share the news with you. On Friday, March 18th, the Mayor, I and city councilmembers welcomed Senator Mark Kelly to our Oasis Water Treatment Plant to recognize and thank him for his successes in acquiring federal funding for Glendale-specific projects. He lobbied and secured $2 million in federal funding for the city’s water interconnect project which will provide water from Peoria and Phoenix should there be an emergency and we have to shut down the Pyramid Peak Water Treatment Plant.

Senator Kelly was also successful in securing $710,000 in federal funding to replace Glendale’s 20+ years old, public safety mobile command center. Thank you, Senator Kelly. Each of these is a critical project for Glendale and we are pleased that each of these projects can now be realized.

Two more blockbuster developments are coming to Glendale’s “New Frontier” in the area of the Loop 303. On March 9th, Nestle announced that it would invest $675 million to build a manufacturing facility expected to open in 2024. It will create over 350 jobs, primarily for Glendale residents, with salaries that begin at $60,000 using professional staff, production and manufacturing leaders, technical staff, engineers and more.

Today, March 23rd, Williams-Sonoma, the world’s largest digital-first, design-led and sustainable home furnishings retailer announced it has leased 1.25 million SF facility to be developed as manufacturing at The Cubes in Glendale. This facility is also in the “New Frontier.” It is expected to open in the fall of 2022 and will create over 2,400 jobs by 2027 at an average salary of $50,000.

All of this once again, signals Glendale’s tremendous growth and showcases our ideal location for national and international businesses. Think about some of the facilities that are already in Glendale with Red Bull, White Claw and Rausch in the “New Frontier.” Add the soon-to-be-open Crystal Lagoon Island Resort, Pop Stroke and Chicken ‘n’ Pickle joining the Gila River Arena, State Farm Stadium and Camelback Ranch in the Westgate/Zanjero area. Next year Glendale will host the Super Bowl followed by the NCAA Final Four. Then add national companies, such as Humana and Bechtel to our lineup. The recent locates of several luxury car dealerships, such as BMW and the Tesla Service Center are part of Glendale’s line up. Last, but certainly not the least, Glendale is the proud home of Luke Air Force base, a training center for the F-35 fighter jet.

Nearly 4,000 residential units, both single family and multifamily, will be completed this year or next adding over 13,000 new residents in the Yucca district alone. All of Glendale’s districts – Cholla, Sahuaro, Barrell, Cactus and Ocotillo – are welcoming new developments as well.

If you are not impressed, you should be. Glendale has come of age with the impressive Bell Road Corridor of retail as well as the equally impressive Westgate/Zanjero entertainment and retail district and the explosion of manufacturing and distribution development in the “New Frontier” at the Loop 303. Cities, to remain healthy, must grow or they die. Glendale has no intention of dying.

© Joyce Clark, 2022      

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

 

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

In my last blog I shared a proposed development project along 83rd Avenue where 70 rental town houses are proposed surrounded by Suburban Residential (SR-17), large lot properties. It is simply a bad proposal and needs to be rejected.

Here’s another further update on 83rd Avenue, at the southeast corner of 83rd Avenue and Glendale Avenue. The same Jon Froke who is representing the property owners asking for the 70 town houses was initially involved with this parcel as well. In fact, he was successful in getting this parcel zoned Planned Area Development (PAD).

The current proposed plan for this southeast corner is seeking yet another multifamily apartment complex and a Quik Trip gas station. There are many things wrong with this proposal but the most disturbing is the Quik Trip.

There is some history regarding the intersection of 83rd and Glendale. Mr. Sam Senato owns the property at the northwest corner. To date, he has refused to sell. Currently there is a vacant bar, Ella’s, on that corner. There is also a food truck that seems to have taken up permanent residence and has installed a permanent canopy for its patrons. I asked our Code Department to investigate this situation and apparently Mr. Senato has given the food truck operator his permission to conduct their business on his property. By the way, Mr. Senato is an absentee landlord. Apparently, as long as they have Mr. Senato’s permission, they can operate there.

On the southwest corner is a Walgreen’s and a Circle K convenience store/gas station. On the northeast corner there is an abandoned Texaco station that has been that way for over 15 years. I, and many residents, were relieved when we learned that a 7-11 was acquiring this site. I met with representatives of the prospective owners and reviewed their plans and it seemed everything was good to go.

Then, everything fell apart and the site is once again for sale. What caused 7-11 to leave? The property owner of the southeast corner has proposed a Quik Trip on their site along with a multifamily complex. When 7-11 learned of the Quik Trip, they abandoned their plan to develop the site.

The city should not accept a new gas station, Quik Trip, when there is a gas station site, vacant for 15 years that should be developed. If that Quik Trip is allowed to proceed, it will guarantee that the abandoned Texaco site will remain the ugly eyesore it is for another 15 years. Am I the only one that believes this to be short sighted and dumb?

I have noted of late that there is a stampede to build not only more gas stations but car washes as well. We do not need a gas station and car wash on every corner of our city. I have asked our City Attorney to suggest a way that I can propose a 6-month moratorium of both uses. I believe this is an issue our City Council should address by the development of new guidelines regulating the development of both types of uses within our city. I do not know if I will be successful but I want to give it a try.

I am hosting a meeting on Monday, March 7th at 6PM at the northernmost ramada adjoining Heroes Lake at 83rd and Bethany. If you live anywhere in this area, please plan to attend. We will be discussing both the 70 town houses and the Quik Trip. It is time for you to voice your objections to both of these ill-advised proposals. Please join me that evening.

© Joyce Clark, 2022      

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

There is a 4.58 acre property located at 5136 N. 83rd Avenue. For years the family raised Mastiffs. The parents are elderly now and the daughter is selling the property. So far, that sounds OK and it is but not at the expense of their neighbors and the surrounding area.

Jon Froke was the city’s planning director for many years and back in the day, he assisted in

Georgia Avenue

preserving the 83rd Avenue corridor for large, residential lot development. Now, he owns Froke Urban Planning, LLC. and is representing the property owners of this acreage. Apparently, preserving the 83rd Ave. corridor for large lot development is no longer on his agenda. This is the only area in west Glendale where prospective owners can find lots that are 8,000 SF, 10,000 SF, a half-acre, an acre or even larger.

Mr. Froke, representing the property owners, is seeking a General Plan Amendment from Low Density Residential (LDR2.5) to High Density Residential 20 (HDR 20, 20 units to the acre) and a Rezoning from Suburban Residence (SR-17) to Multifamily Residence (R-3). At the nationally recognized average 2.3 persons per unit that adds another 161 residents. In terms of traffic that could add about 300 trips (coming and going) per day. It will certainly impact traffic in this area.

It should also be noted that these large  residential properties are selling for a minimum of $600,000 to over a million dollars. Many of these properties are irrigated and the SRP yearly cost to water many of them is $200.00. Almost all have horse privileges.

This proposed development is not compatible with the surrounding area. The only necessary buffer is an 8 Ft. wall on the south side of the 4.5 acre property with heavy landscaping.

Montebello Ave

On both the northeast corner and the northwest corner of 83rd Ave. and Camelback Road there is commercial. On the northeast corner there is a small commercial center that includes a convenience store/gas station and an Arby’s, among others. On the northwest corner is Dignity Emergency Center and an EOS Fitness Center. The property owner and Mr. Froke claim the 70 town houses will be a buffer for the existent large lot properties to the north and west of this property. But wait a minute, there is no buffer between the commercial on the northeast corner and the acre properties abutting to the north side and east side of the commercial parcel. They have co-existed for 20 years or better without an issue.

So the claim that the 70 town houses are needed as a buffer for adjacent large properties to the north and west is not historically supported by existent development.

To give you a sense of what the area contains here is a map of the area:

As you can see there is a sea of green (SR-17) surrounding both commercial corners. The yellow portions are R 1-8 (8,000 SF lots); the cream portions are R 1-10 (10,000 SF lots). The gold portions are around 75th Avenue and are typical R 1-6 (6,000 SF lots). The red, purple and light blue portions on the corners of 83rd Avenue and Camelback Road are General Office, Commercial or Planned Area Development (PAD) and are lighter commercial.

If you live in this area, along 83rd Avenue, please check my Facebook page, Joyce Clark, as I

Missouri Estates

plan to call a meeting in the very near future of any residents who oppose this high density proposal. Action will be required by citizens to let the Planning Commission and the Mayor and City Council know that this is not compatible with the residential properties in this area.

© Joyce Clark, 2022      

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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