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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.

It’s easy for many in the media to find something unpleasant about Glendale to write about but a good news story is often not reported or under reported. Two rating agencies, Standard & Poor’s Rating Agency and Fitch Ratings Agency, independently and objectively, increased their ratings for the City of Glendale in February. Standard & Poor’s increased its rating for the city’s General Obligation debt to AA with a stable outlook. Fitch granted the city its highest rating of AAA with a stable outlook.

What does all of this really mean to you and me? Let’s use a simple example. You want to do some remodeling on your home. Your budget is $10,000 and you assume that you are going to have to pay 10% in interest on the loan. One bank is willing to lend you $10,000 at a 10% interest rate meaning you would pay $1,000 APR. Another bank is willing to lend you $10,000 at a 5% interest rate meaning you would pay $500 APR. Obviously you will use the bank that is charging you 5%. It poses an interesting dilemma. You had planned to pay an interest rate of 10% and now that has dropped to 5%. You could, if you chose, increase the amount of the loan to $20,000 while still paying what you had planned to pay in interest on the $10,000 loan or you can plan to pay less for your loan over time freeing up $500 that you expected as part of the interest payment on other things or just bank the extra interest you would have been paying.

It’s the same with the city. Higher (better) credit ratings means the city pays less to borrow exactly the same amount of money or the city can afford to issue additional debt and still be paying what it had anticipated if the debt had been issued at a higher rate of interest. If the city chooses, it can do more with a reduced interest rate.

Who is responsible for this good news? Kudos to City Manager Kevin Phelps and his finance team of former Assistant City Manager Tom Duensing (just recently having left Glendale) and our Budget & Finance Director Vicki Rios. Your city council deserves some credit as well for its ability to remain disciplined in working toward the goal of growing the city’s fund balance to $50 million and its repeated approval of senior management’s strategies to maintain strong financial management policies.

Other reasons for Glendale’s ratings increases include council’s direction to encourage commercial development (and jobs) west of 115th Avenue in the city as well as its plan to continue to develop a strong, diversified taxpayer base. Senior staff has contributed to this success by its continued emphasis on sustainable and strong management practices.

Senior management and the City Council are both committed to reducing city debt over the long term. It’s a goal to which we don’t pay a lot of attention but it has resulted in a good news story for the taxpayers of Glendale.

© Joyce Clark, 2019         

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.

This Monday, Feb.25th, the city held a naming ceremony dedicating a portion of Bethany Home Road to Cardinals way. I was honored to be able to speak at this event. The following are the remarks I delivered.

“As you may or may not know, I can be a trivia nerd. So I decided to find out how Bethany Home Road got its name.  Some streets in the Valley received their names because of their location, such as Central Avenue or Baseline Road. Others honor local or nation historical figures such as Washington Street or Thomas Road. Yet others are tied to various landmarks such as Camelback Road or Indian School Road.

“Bethany Home Road got its name because it was a recognized landmark one hundred years ago. Bethany Home was a tuberculosis sanatorium started by the Missionary Church Association. Bethany Home was established in 1908 by the church and dedicated to God. It was a Christian home for the sick. But how did the Missionary Church come up with that name?  They did some of their missionary work in what is now Israel in Bethany , an ancient town near Jerusalem.

“We are here to celebrate the renaming of a portion of Bethany Home Road to Cardinals Way from 83rd Avenue to 99th Avenue. It’s hard to believe but the Cardinals played their first game in Glendale on August 12, 2006, 13 years ago. As a member of Glendale’s city council back then, I voted for its approval, participated by signing a beam during the stadium’s construction and was there for opening day. The stadium has become a landmark for the West Valley. It can be seen far and wide… from Peoria to Avondale.

“By renaming Bethany Home Road to Cardinals Way we recognize and honor a major economic driver of not just my district, the Yucca district, or even Glendale and the West Valley but of the entire Phoenix Metro area.

“Without the partnerships of long time Glendale farming families like the Roveys and Pendergasts willing to sell their land and the vision and the persistence of Michael Bidwill there would be no stadium in the Yucca district of Glendale. It’s time…it’s way past time… to recognize those efforts.

“We honor the Bidwill family and the Cardinals by renaming this portion of Bethany Home Road to Cardinals Way. But there are added benefits for it also enhances the marketing and branding of this area of my district. There are no homes or businesses along this stretch of road but in the future there will be commercial entities who will acquire the cache of a Cardinals Way address.

“As Vice Mayor, I thank Michael Bidwill and the entire Bidwill family for their decision to make the Yucca district of Glendale their home. I am honored to be a participant in the celebration of the Cardinals Way street naming. Thirteen years ago a partnership was born. I look forward to many more years of mutual cooperation that has benefitted all.”

© Joyce Clark, 2019         

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.

Nearly four years ago, in May of 2015, in my blog entitled “Glendale Fire Department will have to wait” I first highlighted what had been acknowledged for years and that was Glendale Fire responded to calls into Phoenix far more than Phoenix responded into Glendale.

The situation is a result of the Valley’s Automatic Aid System. It mandates that central dispatch will send the closest available unit to a call no matter the jurisdiction responding. The imbalance was startling. Glendale answered more calls into Phoenix estimated to be 2,000 more calls a year than Phoenix’s annual response into Glendale. In essence, Glendale taxpayers were subsidizing Phoenix’s fire delivery to Phoenix residents.

When I returned to the Glendale City Council in January of 2017 it was a topic of conversation between the City Manager and me.

In November of 2018 a pilot program by Glendale and Phoenix began to dually staff Glendale’s Fire Station 154 with a Glendale fire truck and a Phoenix quad cab truck, which would carry medical gear and four firefighters. The Phoenix unit works daily 10-hour shifts during peak hours. See this link to an article by Grace Oldham in the Arizona Republic: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2019/02/15/phoenix-glendale-fire-department-share-firehouse-city-border-emergency-response/2771826002/ .

It smacks of an unusual moment of common sense. Each city only has so much money to go around to cover all of its needs. By jointly using Station 154 Phoenix does not have to build another fire station in the area of 51st Avenue and Peoria Avenue and Glendale does not have to fund a second unit to man the station. It’s a win-win for both cities. It will reduce Glendale responses into Phoenix in that geographic area by an estimated 8%. If the program is ever extended to 24- hour shifts it would reduce Glendale’s responses into Phoenix by an estimated 20%. Phoenix has committed to continuing the program through 2019 but only with 10-hour shifts.

I don’t know who was ultimately responsible for its implementation but you can be sure the City Managers of Glendale and Phoenix had to approve the concept. Both Fire Departments had to work together to make the pilot project work. Lastly, the fire union had to agree and not put any road blocks to prevent it from working.

Kudos to all involved in making this pilot program a roaring success.

Now, on to my other major gripe with fire delivery service. In the same blog I brought up the issue of using fire trucks to answer medical calls.  It is acknowledged that 70% to 80% of all fire calls are medical calls for service. It drives me nuts to see a fire truck responding to those kinds of calls. Those big trucks are very, very expensive to maintain and operate.

The solution is yet another common sense approach. Greater use of quad cab trucks with paramedics on board. Many Valley cities are moving in that direction, including Glendale. In Glendale there is a program utilizing “low acuity” vehicles but these are for minor medical calls like a sprained ankle. They are not used for major medical calls like heart attacks. The solution is to implement “high acuity” vehicles that can respond to major medical calls all the time.

There has been resistance on the part of fire departments and especially the fire union but another hurdle to overcome is the cost to cities to establish “high acuity” units. In the long run it’s a system long overdue and just a matter of time before cities realize that the long-term O&M costs for “high acuity” vehicles will pay for themselves by reserving those big fire trucks to answer the calls for which the trucks were designed…fires.

 

 

 

 

 

© Joyce Clark, 2019         

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 find as City Council responsibilities increase year over year finding the time to write a blog becomes more difficult. I have no intention of giving it up but you may find that, alas, my entries are more infrequent. This morning I discovered that I had a couple of hours free to devote to writing a catch up blog. Y-e-a-a-a!

I am sure, if you are a Glendale resident, you have seen the “Birds” (motorized scooters) suddenly and without warning descend upon our city. Glendale is not the only city to deal with this issue. It is occurring nation-wide from Durham, North Carolina to Los Angeles, California. Apparently these motorized scooter providers (Bird is not the only company) have recognized that most cities have no laws prohibiting them and so, they felt free to drop them in mass quantities wherever they chose.

Late last week, the City of Glendale, sent Bird a Cease and Desist Letter advising the company that their scooters were illegally operating on the city’s rights-of-way, roadways and sidewalks. The company was instructed to pick them up or face a fine of $250 per scooter per hour. Expect all of them to disappear in the very near future. The latest work is that they should be gone by February 9th. As suddenly as they appeared they should disappear. City Council and staff will take the time necessary to decide if scooters are acceptable in our community and if so, what regulations will be required.

Glendale is booming. Look for announcements over the next few months about some major projects, most of which will be located in the Yucca district which I represent. Development plans that have lain dormant since the Great Recession are being dusted off, updated and actively pursued. Many of them include an office development component and will be located in the Yucca district. Glendale simply has no available office space left as of this date but potential development submittals could create as much as a million square feet of office space over the next year and a half. That is welcome news because available office space means more job opportunities for Glendale’s residents.

City Council had approved the annexation of the Woolf Logistics and Lincoln Logistics parcels located just east of the Loop 303. The developers of both parcels are actively marketing to distribution and manufacturing companies. I am confident we will see both of these developers selling off parcels for active development this year. This is exactly what Glendale has been pursuing. Residential development is fine in certain areas where there is existent infrastructure but each home costs the city about $400 annually. That is because the tax generated…sales, property taxes, etc…do not generate enough to cover the entire costs of public safety, street maintenance and other services that a city must pay to provide those services. Manufacturing, office and distribution do pay for themselves annually and have the additional benefit of job creation. City Council’s goal is to develop land adjacent to the Loop 303 for those uses. In the future Glendale may be able to reverse the current data that shows that 70% of our residents go outside of Glendale to go to work.

Next week, the first week of February, city council begins to hold budget workshops in preparation for the final adoption of the FY 20-21 budget this coming June. It has been said and it is true, there is never much in-fighting when the available funds are lean but whenever there is a surplus the in-fighting increases. Glendale has an available surplus of about a million dollars this year. There are so many needs, long overdue, that require funding. One of the most critical for me is to continue to complete Heroes Park. It has been 20 years since the first project was completed in this park. This spring we will see completion of the construction of Phase I of the West Branch library in Heroes Park. I commend the city council for recognizing this critical need and allocating the funding to make it happen. However, Heroes Park is far from complete. It still does not have a water feature, a recreation and aquatics center, ball fields, library expansion or a dog park. These were elements of the original plan and still an expectation of the thousands of residents surrounding this park. They have seen their children grow up without the benefit of many elements in this park and now have the expectation that their grandchildren will finally have a completed park nearby.

Another project long overdue is that of O’Neil Park’s inoperable swimming pool. The square mile, primarily a low socio-demographic area, surrounding this park has over 1300 homes and 10 apartment complexes. That equates to a lot of children without an active recreational opportunity. For the past 5 years the O’Neil pool has been closed. It’s time to rehabilitate O’Neil Park and to provide some active recreational opportunities for the estimated 4,000 children living in this area. While the pool may disappear there are plenty of possibilities for that space within the park that can become a positive benefit to the area’s children.

I hope that I will soon be able to blog about some of the exciting new projects coming to Glendale. They are in the pipeline but not yet finalized for announcement. I am very optimistic about Glendale’s opportunities for the coming year. The economy is healthy and spurring new development everywhere and Glendale intends to capture its share.

© Joyce Clark, 2019         

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 haven’t written anything since early December when I announced that I would be running again in 2020 for the Yucca district city council seat. Then I enjoyed our holidays. Just like everyone else, I spent the time shopping, mostly on Amazon; baking annual Christmas treats; wrapping presents, decorating the tree and preparing a scrumptious Christmas dinner.  All the things with which we become preoccupied during the season occurred. The new year of 2019 has begun replete with traditional resolutions sure to be broken within the month. I wish all of you a Happy New Year.

City Council resumed its activities with its first workshop and voting meeting of the year on January 8th. One of the more high profile issues of that first voting meeting was city council’s approval of a distracted driving ordinance mirroring the one passed by Surprise. It takes effect on February 7th but staff has begun a six month education period that will delay ticketing of offenders. It is a primary offense and drivers can be stopped for using hand held devices resulting in a fine of $250. This action would not be necessary if the state legislature had done its job and passed a statewide law. That may actually occur this year after the untimely and unfortunate death of a Salt River Police Officer by a distracted driver. Arizona is one of a handful of states that does not have a statewide ban.

Another significant action to have occurred at that council voting meeting is the selection of Vice Mayor for 2019. It is a job that rotates on an annual basis. It is primarily ceremonial with the Vice Mayor acting only when the Mayor is unavailable to chair a council meeting or other event. I wish to thank the Mayor and City Council for selecting me for the position. It is an honor to serve in that capacity.

One of the upcoming issues on council’s January 22nd workshop meeting is that of motorized scooters. The birds, er, Bird brand motorized scooters, are popping up all over Glendale — especially downtown. While they serve a purpose for some residents in our community it has become abundantly clear that they, without any regulation, are becoming a nuisance to many others. Council will give direction on this issue at its workshop meeting.

Another problematical issue coming before council at its January 22nd voting meeting is a request to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to deliver marijuana to customers. Malcom Gladwell said in a recent New Yorker magazine article, “Permitting pot is one thing, promoting its use is another.” The general consensus in society seems to be that marijuana is pretty benign. Not so fast, there is a book out by Alex Berenson entitled “Tell Your Children: The Truth about Marijuana, Mental Illness and Violence.” It’s well worth the read and raises the issue that marijuana may not be quite as gentle as we have been led to believe. The voters of the state have spoken and approved the use of medical marijuana but it is up to local leadership to decide just how much they are willing to promote its use.

This year promises to be another busy one. In addition to the Business Subcommittee, which I chair, continuing its effort to enhance Glendale’s business friendly reputation, I will also serve on the Council Code Review Committee seeking reform of the operations of this department as well as looking for ways to strength those parts of Code that have not served the interests of our residents.

The creation of the annual budget is always a challenge. It shouldn’t be surprising to learn that when times are financially tough it’s very easy to create council consensus on allocations for limited resources but as the budget gets healthier there is bound to be more friction to secure funding for projects that have waited a long time to get funded.

Council is focused on job creation for our residents as well as rehabilitating infrastructure — something that could not be addressed during the years when the city concentrated on maintaining services and nothing else. There are sure to be issues that will arise that no one can anticipate or foretell. Could it be Glen Lakes development? the Thunderbird campus development? taking downtown Glendale in a new direction? or Loop 303 economic development opportunities? Who knows? But be assured that council will try to make the best decisions that it can for all of Glendale.

I announced last month that I will run for the Yucca district city council seat in 2020. This month I will file my campaign committee paperwork with the City Clerk in order to begin fund raising for the campaign. My goal is to raise $50,000 this year to position myself to mount a successful campaign against any candidate, especially one promoted and funded by the fire union, a very likely proposition.

Please join me this year by subscribing to this blog as I continue to offer my perspective on the issues Glendale will face. Simply sign up at the top of the column to the left of this article and every time there is a new post it will be emailed to you. As I enter the fifth year of writing this blog I am very close to having had half a million reads of my posts. Thank you all for not just following me but for continuing to take an interest in Glendale and its governance.

© Joyce Clark, 2019         

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.

News headline announcing my candidacy several years ago

It’s Saturday afternoon and this morning I participated in the Third Annual Glendale Hometown Parade. I rode in a beautiful vintage blue Cadillac convertible. What a treat. This afternoon I should be baking Christmas cookies or doing my ‘homework’ in preparation for Council’s Strategic Policy Workshop this Monday or Tuesday’s Council Workshop meeting and subsequent evening voting meeting. I will do all of those things tomorrow. Instead, after nearly 2 years of serving as Glendale’s Yucca District Councilmember, I spent the afternoon reflecting about the past two years of my service and what my future should be.

When I began this current term I announced it would be my last. I assumed, incorrectly, that after 4 years of service I would experience diminishing capacity, physically and mentally. That has not happened. Every year I get my executive physical and each time I pass with flying colors. There has been no erosion of either my physical or mental capacities to do the job that you elected me to do.

I am announcing today that I will run for another term.

I have won some issues and lost some. I am most gratified that I have secured recognition for and a commitment to complete Heroes Park. I secured funding for the West Branch Library at Heroes Park and it is currently under construction and scheduled to open late March or mid-April of next year (2019). It is my intent to hold my next district-wide meeting at the newly opened library.

I do not intend to stop there. I plan to secure funding for the design of the lake feature in Heroes Park in our upcoming FY19-20 budget and to secure funding for its construction in the following FY 20-21 budget. After that there are still the ball fields, recreation center and library expansion to complete. Those are my goals.

I am proud to have gotten support of the entire council to start LED street light conversion immediately. That action saves the city about $700,000 in annual operating and maintenance costs for our street lights and results in an annual electrical rebate of nearly half a million dollars.

I am also proud of council’s approval of my initiative to start a Council Subcommittee on Business. The committee recently reviewed staff’s suggested amendments to the plumbing, electrical and fire codes resulting in the committee’s recommendations to delete or modify certain provisions all of which received acceptance from the entire city council. There is still more work to be done but the committee is making progress toward the goal of making Glendale more business friendly.

Council approved my request to use modified ‘Zero Based Budgeting’ to review selected departments during Council’s annual building of the city’s budget. This year it will be applied to the IT (technology) department and the Finance Department. It is a method of budget review that can result in greater fiscal efficiency.

My greatest disappointment has been a majority of council’s approval of the amended Stonehaven residential project located from Bethany to Camelback and 83rd to 91st  Avenues. The approval by a majority of council for small lot sizes of 3,000 and 3,500 to be located north of Camelback is clearly detrimental to all those who live adjacent to or near this planned development.

Perhaps the only good to come out of this project will be at the start of the project’s development — Bethany Home Road between 83rd and 91st Avenues will be constructed. That may help to alleviate some of the tremendous traffic we experience on Camelback Road. In the next 2 years Camelback between 91st Avenue and the Loop 101 will be redesigned and reconstructed to mitigate (as much as possible) the traffic in that area.

There is still much to do to advance the interests of our district and the city. Two areas of concern are the performance of the city’s code department and continued pressure to develop vacant, infill parcels in the district.

I am pleased that I will be serving on the newly created Code Compliance Committee and look forward helping to improve the code department’s poor and inconsistent performance seen in so many parts of Glendale.

 Land development is oft times a harder nut to crack. If a property owner sells a piece of land and the developer builds to the current property’s zoning it is impossible to stop that private commerce. However, I have been successful in gaining many developers’ agreement (which does not have to be granted) to build mixed sized projects that include not just standard lot sizes but larger lot sizes within their projects.

There is much to be done to keep Glendale and the Yucca District moving forward in a positive direction. I am thankful that I have had an opportunity to shape policy thus far and look forward to continuing to make both the best they can be.

I will establish a political action committee (PAC) in January of 2019 and begin fund raising for the campaign ahead. I ask for your support by donating to my campaign or volunteering to help me as I walk neighborhoods. As I move forward I will establish a secure method of online donation.  I am always available for small neighborhood or HOA meetings. Just call and I will be there.

I would appreciate seeing your comments regarding my announcement. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and to represent you. It has been and continues to be my honor and privilege. I will continue to do the very best job that I can.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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.

Ever since I returned to city council two years ago, in December of 2016, I have been sorely disappointed in the inconsistent performance of one city department, Code.  I am sure I will hear from my city manager about once again publicly expressing concern about the work of a group of city employees. However, some situations beg to be discussed and this is one of those.

A little history on the Code Department is in order. When I first served on council in 1992 the performance of the Code Department was not good. Employee abuses included taking extraordinarily long lunch breaks and when they were in the field they earned the reputation of being “Gestapo-like.” Eventually the department was reorganized and a new director took the helm. That was Dan Gunn. Mr. Gunn did an excellent job of turning the department around and for years, under his leadership, code performed at a high level of achievement. When I returned code was once again in disarray.  Over the past few budget cycles council allocated more resources and personnel in order to help the department succeed once again.

Those actions have not borne the fruit council expected. I have seen situations that I can only describe as retaliation against our citizens and cases of inconsistent enforcement of the Code Department dependent upon where you live in the city.

I am aware of two cases that can only be described as retaliation. In one case the resident, in an effort to clean up a blighted south Glendale neighborhood, reached out to councilmembers for assistance. That action of taking it to councilmembers resulted in the citizen being cited for minor violations while much graver neighborhood issues were ignored.  It appeared to be a case of retaliation.

In another case, as a result of a neighborhood dispute now being adjudicated in court, one litigant, a neighbor began calling in continuous code complaints. Code’s actions in enforcing those harassment complaints flies in the face of their unstated policy that when a situation is in litigation they back off and let the police department and the courts settle the matter. That is not what occurred in this case.

In this case, the citizen (a Vietnam vet) who has an injunction to prevent further harassment by his neighbor is being cited for an inoperable vehicle that has been repurposed as “yard art” and for having a flag pole greater than 6 feet tall.

As I said in a recent city council workshop on the issue of placing a permanent flag pole and American flag on Thunderbird Mountain, “I can’t imagine any place where the flying of the American flag is inappropriate.”

Did you know that historically only 38 permits at a cost of $230 each have been issued and those, in the majority, were for commercial properties?  Nearly every Glendale resident who has a flag pole 6 feet or taller has no blinkin’ idea that a permit is even required, much less the cost of such a permit. Some residents, such as myself, had a flag pole greater than 6 feet when the home was purchased in 1998. I assume that it is grandfathered in but I certainly had no idea about code restrictions on resident flag poles. Here is ours. By the way, the resident has taken down the flag pole.

As for “yard art,” all art, as we well know, is subjective…very, very subjective. What is art to one person may be an abomination to another. The resident took an old, antique truck and spent about $3,000 to have it repurposed as an art piece and placed in his front yard. It was his art. By the way the property in question in the northern portion of the city is a ½ to 1 acre horse property (exactly as is mine). No one complained and in fact, passers-by would stop to have their photo taken with the “art truck.” Once again, the neighbor with an injunction for harassment called code and complained. The only rule upon which code could hang its hat was that the vehicle is ‘inoperable’.  By the way, I have antique tractor equipment as “yard art”. It’s definitely inoperable and again, probably grandfathered in since it has been there since the house was built. Here is our ‘yard art’. 

I find code’s actions to be astounding when at every council voting meeting, a citizen comes forward during the public comment period and brings photos of rampant illegal parking of inoperable vehicles in his south Glendale neighborhood resulting in little if any enforcement. If parking an inoperable vehicle is a code violation in one area of the city then code should be enforcing it throughout the city. It is not doing so per the citizen who regularly brings the situation to council’s attention at its voting meetings.

Today people are more affluent and often have several vehicles in addition to the fact there are often multiple families or extended relatives living at a home. Hence many have more than two vehicles resulting in on-street parking (which is OK) or parking all over the front yard, often on dirt or grass (which is not OK). It makes Glendale look trashy and blighted. No one would complain if the code for inoperable vehicles was being administered fairly and equitably throughout the city.

There are code regulations to prohibit this behavior as well as others. The problem remains inequitable enforcement, selective enforcement or no enforcement at all in areas of need. It is frustrating to not just the citizens who want their neighborhoods cleaned up but to the councilmembers and their assistants receiving complaints on a daily basis. It is a situation that had been resolved in years past and has now deteriorated once again.

This situation has prompted the creation of a Code Review Committee comprised of councilmembers and citizens. It is scheduled to start its work after the holidays. As a member of the committee I am confident that we will recommend changes to the code department’s operations and to city code as well. I am also confident that a majority of council will concur with the committee’s recommendations. Currently code’s enforcement is an untenable situation that cannot, and must not, continue.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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.

Tomorrow, Monday evening, November 19, 2018, at 6 PM in Council Chambers councilmembers will host a public forum to hear the voices of our community regarding not just the fate of Glen Lakes Golf Course but commentary regarding the city’s park system.

Council will not be there to respond or to defend any position but rather to listen to you. I believe this is a very consequential event. In my 17 years on city council I do not remember such a call to the people. As I said in a previous blog one either changes, adapts or dies. The city is changing in an attempt to become more open. Do we succeed all of the time? No, but we are trying. It’s an exercise akin to turning the Titanic. It’s a difficult and exceedingly slow process.

The issue before us is, of course, the fate of Glen Lakes Golf Course. There are equally valid arguments representing both sides. Perhaps the most compelling for those supporting the continuance of the golf course is the loss of major green space within our city. An equally valid argument for those opposed to keeping the course open is that the money required can be used throughout the city’s park system.

I would observe that when you speak on Monday evening it is unproductive to use your limited citizen speakers’ time to revisit history and cast blame upon the city for a lack of maintenance of the facility. Please do not squander your opportunity to share your opinion. I acknowledge that a lack of maintenance occurred. However, it was not the only city asset that suffered from a lack of maintenance. In addition to years of lack of maintenance of city facilities there were many projects deferred including the build out of parks and fire stations that needed renovation.

Council will be asked to decide whether to establish temporary facilities at the course with the goal of repairing permanent structures and keeping the course or whether to close the facility and sell the land using the proceeds for our entire park system. It is a difficult decision and one about which I continue to solicit information.

The opportunity to listen to the public representing all areas of Glendale is a very valuable chance for me to hear from those within the community with whom I might not have heard from previously. Citizens will have 3 minutes to speak. Think about the most important point you want to make. Prepare your remarks in order to be as effective as possible.

I received an email from a Glendale citizen that conveys the importance of this coming Monday evening and I share it with you:

“There is a group called Save Glen Lakes and they have been trying to avoid the For Sale sign going up at Glen Lakes Golf Course. This past Wednesday the Glendale City Council has given us, the citizens; a not very often granted Citizen’s Public Forum. Not only are they asking for input about the Glen Lakes Golf Course, but they want all citizens in Glendale to come forth and express their ideas about Glen Lakes and other projects having to do with Parks in Glendale.

I would strongly recommend attending the Monday night meeting just to show your concern and respect for the City we all live in.

Meeting is: Monday, November 19, 2018 at 6:00 P.M.

Location is: City Council Chambers. 5850 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale, AZ

If you are unable to attend the meeting please email your comments to parksfunding@glendaleaz.com

Or: Leave a message with your comments on the dedicated comment hotline at 623‐930‐2740.

Your comments will be included in the public record.”

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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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