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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.

The next Yucca district meeting in Glendale is Thursday, November 14th at 6:30 PM at Heroes Park Library (northeast corner of Bethany Home Road and 83rd Avenue).

Speakers will be:

  • City Manager Kevin Phelps
  • Assistant City Manager Chris Anaradian
  • Interim Police Chief Chris Briggs
  • Director of Transportation Trevor Ebersole
  • Planning Director Lisa Collins

These speakers will use the first half hour.  After their remarks, the floor will be open for residents to ask general questions and to make comments. Please use this time to make comments or ask questions that apply to the city as a whole and not specific to your situation.

After resident questions and comments, the speakers will be available to meet you individually and you can ask questions or make comments that are specific to you or your neighborhood.

Light refreshments will be provided. Please RSVP by Friday, November 8th so that we have a count on how many refreshments to provide. RSVP to sbeck@glendaleaz.com or call Shannon Beck at 623-930-2250.

Thank you. I’m looking forward to seeing you there!

Joyce

© 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.

At a recent city council workshop further medical marijuana dispensary restrictions were considered. Councilmember Ray Malnar, as a Council Item of Special Interest (CIOSI), asked for a more explicit definition of “schools.” It will be brought back to council again in the near future because Mayor Weiers and Councilmember Tolmachoff said that the proposed definition of schools was too restrictive. Here is an article from Your Valley Net: https://yourvalley.net/yourvalley/government/glendale-council-to-decide-if-pot-dispensaries-must-separate-from-more-than-just-schools/ .

I guess another background narrative is in order. In the state-wide November 2, 2010 election voters weighed in on Proposition 203, approving the use of medical marijuana by 50.13%. That’s a slim margin but it is all that was needed to permit the use of medical marijuana throughout the state. In order to implement this new mandate, the Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS) created approximately 126 Community Health Analysis Areas (CHAA). One dispensary is allowed per CHAA. Here is a map of all of the CHAAs in the state.

CHAA map

I said something during the city council discussion I had read somewhere and it resonated with me. That was, “It is one thing to permit marijuana but it is another to promote it.  I am not interested in doing anything to promote marijuana.” I think it is a good concept to adopt and so I have.

 Cities have no choice. Voters have approved it use and the state mandates that cities may not prohibit a dispensary in any CHAA. Cities can, however, use their zoning authority to regulate the location of dispensaries…but that’s about all the authority a city has.

Federal research on the effects of marijuana is in its infancy despite its use (legal or illicit) for many years.  As more states have authorized its use, medically and now recreationally, the federal government is pursuing greater research on its use and the effects of such use.

Preliminary results suggest that marijuana is not a gateway drug. It appears if one is predisposed to use marijuana the disposition to graduate to harder drugs is already there. That preliminary conclusion is at least comforting. Other preliminary data is not so comforting.

It appears that marijuana can have negative effects on the brains of adolescents. These effects can include and are not limited to:

  • Changes to the brain’s structure (including size and how areas are connected)
  • Lower quality of brain connections
  • Less blood flow to parts of the brain

Preliminary research has demonstrated it’s possible that marijuana use can hurt brain functions in teens. Marijuana use in teens has been shown to lower IQ scores and create poor memory and attention. These findings are important because young people’s brains are building the connections to improve executive functioning ( self-control, creative thinking, and decision-making skills). Do we really want to encourage a generation of “dumb-downed” teens?

In consideration of these preliminary research findings I am not inclined to promote the use of marijuana. By broadening the definition of schools we, as a city, will discourage the location of an “attractive nuisance” close to all types of schools.

Why bother? Well, not everyone who patronizes a marijuana dispensary may be a pillar of the community and an upstanding citizen. It has been reported previously that there is a growing industry of “pot doctors” who locate nearby dispensaries and are prone to facilitate the approval of medical marijuana cards to those who ordinarily would not qualify for such a card.

I also think it’s not OK to trivialize the use of marijuana in order to make it so acceptable within our society. As our society changes rapidly not all that comes with change is in and of itself good. Are we becoming a society that promotes individual indulgence no matter the consequences?

© 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.

One more swipe at the state legislature

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 a previous blog I shared how the state legislature mandates fiscal policies that often harm cities. This issue is more nuanced. It is the issue of short-term rentals. In fact, the Arizona Republic has a front page story today about this very subject.

Two years ago, Debbie Lesko, now a congressional representative for Glendale and the surrounding area, sponsored a bill which became known as the “AirBnB Bill.  Governor Doug Ducey signed it into law. The original intent was give property owners the ability to rent out a bedroom as a way of making extra money.

Sometimes we have to be careful what we wish for as there are often unintended consequences. This bill has delivered more consequences than anticipated. What has occurred is far different from the bill’s original intent. In places like Sedona investors are buying homes or building new ones and turning them into mini-hotels. This action is unsustainable and destabilizing. One consequence has been to reduce the amount of available long-term rentals for those who work in a community. It has also reduced school age populations as long-term renters with families are frozen out of the market in favor of short-term, far more lucrative rentals.

This turn of events has hit Arizona’s major tourist destinations the hardest but it has also set up every city in the metropolitan area to become a victim during major sporting events such as the Super Bowl, Final Four and major NASCAR races. Homeowners from all over the state are now complaining about issues such as increased traffic and noise in their once quiet neighborhoods.

A bill sponsored by Representative John Kavanaugh passed through the legislature this year. It was designed to deal with these very issues but a funny thing happened on its way to passage by the state legislature…it was emasculated. The very restrictions on investor-owned rentals and limiting the number of guests per rental that would have alleviated the situation were stripped from the bill.

No doubt this is a difficult question. At what point do rental properties diminish existent homeowners’ quality of life? How are we to balance a property owner’s right to do what he or she wishes to do with the property against quality of life issues for nearby residents leading to a loss of their property value? Who prevails and how? Perhaps the state legislature’s passage of the original Air BnB Bill mandating how cities can regulate short-term rentals within their communities was ill advised. After all, Arizona is the only state in the Union to have imposed this mandate on cities. We should wonder why no other state has messed with this issue. Sometimes local control is the best control.

© 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.

City Council vacates all activities during the July of each year. Whether you love my blogs or hate them, this break time provides me the opportunity to write a series of them. This one deals with an age old problem, that of new development versus older neighborhoods.

I happened to run across this story in the local Glendale Republic. Here’s the link: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/surprise/2019/06/22/surprise-grows-quickly-residents-question-if-its-growing-right-way/1491785001/ .

It’s about a couple who bought a large lot home on at least an acre in the desert area of Surprise only to discover in the coming years they will be swallowed up and surrounded by a possible total of 4,130 residential units with an average of about four homes per acre. Add to those homes new businesses along 163rd Avenue creating a new urban center and their dream and their investment evaporates.

I would hope the City of Surprise would be sensitive to their life style as it allows new development to surround them. It can be done with what planners call “transitional” development. Under that scheme the development surrounding them would be large lots of 1 acre or better and as development moves farther away from them it becomes denser. It’s not ideal as far as this couple is concerned but it employs a certain amount of sensitivity. After all, they and their neighbors were there first.

It also brings up another issue for which cities should be mindful. All of those new homes and new residents are great. After all, it will increase the amount of state shared revenue that flows into their coffers. However, a stunning fact to remember and I am using Glendale as an example, is that it cost the City of Glendale $973 to provide services to each and every resident. That figure includes public safety which comprises the lion’s share of any city’s budget. For a family of two in a home that comes to $1946. Yet each home (not citizen) generates approximately $400 in property tax and sales tax to offset the city’s costs of services. The imbalance is readily apparent. A city is ahead when it allows development of commercial, industrial and manufacturing.  That type of development does not typically use city services to the extent of a home and they are job generators.

Another type of development that requires sensitivity is that of new infill development. Infill development should not only compliment but should raise the value of older neighborhoods. Sticking a bunch of apartments whether they are the traditional multi-story or single story “Built for Rent” units in the middle of existent residential areas is a recipe for disaster. Multifamily dwellers, as nice as they may be, are not usually invested in the community in which they reside. On average they move every three years. That dynamic does not offer stability to the residential neighborhoods adjacent to such a complex or to the fabric of community as a whole in terms of public participation.

When multifamily units are new they hold their value as the developer/investor seeks to recoup the original investment and turn a profit. But there are no guarantees in life and there is certainly no guarantee as to how long the original owner will hold that investment. At some point there will be sale and now begins the inevitable slide into decline. The new owner may not be as assiduous about keeping the property up while profiting. Little things are not attended to and then the bigger things are not taken care of.  Over time it becomes an underperforming property that diminishes adjacent property values even further.

There are places in a city for multi-family and that is where density and mass will complement existing retail and commercial development. A good example where density is positive is in and around Westgate. With Westgate’s nearly two dozen restaurants, Tanger Outlets for shopping and sports entertainment choices of hockey and football, density is important in terms of providing a consumer base. Another scenario can be in an area of all new mixed use development that establishes new single family and multifamily neighborhoods served by new retail and commercial. A purchaser of a home in that kind of area is already aware that multifamily will be part of the mix.

Cities have a responsibility to their current residents to be sensitive in the placement of new or infill development. Diminishing the property values of one part of the community to accommodate the bright, shiny new development that may not be appropriate for the existent area does a disservice to the very fabric of the community they seek to create.

As the couple in Surprise said about their home in the middle of nowhere, “We thought we had really found something.”  Let’s be careful as a home owner who had moved into a neighborhood years ago and thought they had really found something special becomes threatened by adjacent, incompatible development.

 

© 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.

What is a BFR?  It stands for “Built for Rent” and is the current ‘flavor of the year’ in the building community. It is a community of single family rentals between 100 and 250 units.  That number of units is required to make it a viable project. Usually three or four different floor plans are available. The amenities vary by community and builder.

 Here are some photos of one such community under construction by Hancock Builders on the west side of 99th Avenue, just north of Camelback Road in Phoenix. . Hancock has already built 1,300 of the single family rental homes with 4,000 more in the development pipeline spread across 10 communities.

 

The builders producing these communities have similar business models. They build the communities themselves and then turn maintenance over to a third-party property manager with experience in multifamily. After the community is fully leased and operational, the builders have the option to sell individual houses within the community or sell the entire community itself to a high-net-worth individual, a multifamily real estate investment trust (REIT), or a single-family rental (SFR) operator like Invitation Homes or American Homes 4 Rent.

Ideally they are designed to be located where there is mass transportation and nearby amenities available such as in a Westgate or Zanjero. A BFR within or very near the Westgate/Zanjero developments is appropriate. But it is not appropriate in an area farther away from commercial/retail/entertainment areas and instead is surrounded by a sea of residential, owner occupied properties. The location at 75th Avenue and Bethany Home Road is not appropriate with the kind of density a project such as this brings.

Yet that is the request of Gammage & Burnham, attorneys representing the proposed developer, Elux and the Brown Group, is desiring to put a BFR community at the northeast corner of 75th Avenue and Bethany Home Road. Since 1984 the property has had a zoning designation of R 1-6 (residential, one to six homes to the acre).

 

Let’s look at what surrounds this parcel. To the east and south is R 1-6 zoning with established neighborhoods. To the west, just across 75th Avenue is Tessera, a gated community of R 1-7 (larger properties and homes). To the north it is zoned R 1-6 but the properties are at least one acre in size. Most are larger and are horse properties and include Griffin Avenue, a historic area.

The proposed developer has the property in escrow and it is assumed that a decision will not be made until after the neighborhood meeting occurring this week. That neighborhood meeting scheduled for:

this Wednesday, June 5th

at 6 pm

at Heroes Library (at northeast corner of Bethany and 83rd Avenue)

It will be your opportunity to learn the proposed details of this project but more importantly it will be your only opportunity to express your approval or disapproval of the proposed project.

I believe the location as well as the assumed density is not appropriate and I have expressed that to the applicant’s attorney already. But now they need to hear from you. I’d like to see 50 or more people at this Wednesday evening meeting. That would be a strong voice to convince the developer that their project is in the wrong location.

Please share this blog freely with your neighbors and friends. Information is critical. It is important that the people of Glendale come out to this meeting.

© 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.

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.

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.

Since city council sold the St. Vincent de Paul building in downtown Glendale to C Plus D Industry in September questions have arisen about the deal. In 2008 the city purchased the building and a nearby parking lot for $735,000 with the goal of future redevelopment. For ten years it sat vacant, slowly continuing to deteriorate. At the time of purchase, no one on city council expected to recoup the purchase price and innately acknowledged that the city would have to incentivize any resale of the building.

Councilmember Ray Malnar and I submitted an Op Ed to the Glendale Star on this subject. Here is the link: https://www.glendalestar.com/glendale-star/st-vincent-de-paul-building-package-bow-deal-or-down-heel-deal .

In a recent news story Cheryl Kappes, owner of the Country Maiden, said she would have bought the building. Another downtown property owner, Richard Vangelisti, expressed the same sentiment. Keep in mind the true cost of the building is not just the $25,000.  It is the sales price plus the cost of the renovation and a commitment to do so promptly.  In the ten years, from 2008 to 2018, anyone could have approached the city and made an offer on the property. No one did. They may have thought about it but they never took that first major step of contacting the city with a written offer. Such an offer to purchase the property would have included a commitment toward making a significant investment to renovate the building resulting in a tax revenue producing business downtown. C Plus D Industry took that chance by making an offer that could have been rejected. They were the first to try. Now that it has been sold, suddenly there are cries of a lack of “transparency.”

What exactly did the city sell for $25,000? It sold a 60 year old building requiring total restoration with no dedicated parking. According to a Facility Management Group analysis submitted to the city in October of 2017, “It is a building that requires complete restoration. Everything but the roof structure, exterior walls and floor slab will need to be replaced.”

The Facility Management Group analysis offers an estimate of $1,225,000 to renovate the 7,000 square foot building. It goes on to report that an estimated $1,750,000 would be required to tear the building down and build a new 7,000 square foot building.

In a report prepared by Lisa Amos, Glendale’s Real Estate Program Manager, dated June 15, 2018, “If this building were in good condition and had parking, @ $40/sq ft, it could list for $280,000.” But it’s not in good condition, is 60 years old, requires a complete renovation and has no parking.

It is unrealistic to expect a retail or office developer to purchase a building with no parking spaces. Ms. Amos, in her report, states that, “Demolition was estimated at $5.00/sq ft = $35,000.” Her conclusions were, “City contribution to improvement of building condition, including new build, will not yield return at sale” or “Demolish and sell land or accept nominal sale price if Buyer accepts ‘as is’ including no parking.”

What did the city accomplish with this sale? It avoided renovation at a price of $1.2M; it avoided tearing down the building and constructing new at a cost of $1.7M; and it avoided demolition costs of $35,000.

What does the city get for selling the building for $25,000? Keep in mind, C Plus D Industry came to the city and offered to buy the building ‘as is’ while committing to renovate the building to code at a substantial cost to them, not the city. They will maintain a small showroom expecting a minimal amount of local foot traffic and will sell on site but their primary focus is on the manufacture and sale of high end furniture nationally.

An added benefit is that the city has collected zero taxes on this property for many years. Current city estimates are that C Plus D will increase taxes collected from just this one project in downtown Glendale by 10%.

C Plus D are not professional investors. As part of their commitment to the city, they must renovate within 6 months bringing it up to code. The sale is not final until they receive a Certificate of Occupancy. The city estimate to renovate is over one million dollars. That’s at city cost. C Plus D expects the renovation to cost them between $350,000 and $500,000. They won’t be paying city prices to renovate and they will also contribute sweat equity.

Keep in mind the city is not selling its parking lot which was part of the original 2008 $735,000 purchase price. Lastly, according to Ms. Amos in the above cited report, the assumption is that once the building is renovated and if it had parking, it could be listed for $280,000. Without dedicated parking, the sale price would obviously be lower than that figure.

Senior management and city council concluded that this was a good deal for Glendale’s taxpayers. There was no special treatment for the buyer.  The property was sold for what it was worth. It was simply a business opportunity brought to the city that senior management and city council concluded was a good deal for Glendale’s taxpayers.

As for transparency, city land sales are rightly, according to the state’s Open Meeting Law, a subject for discussion in city council executive sessions. In a recent news story Councilmember Turner said, “It’s not always just about getting the highest dollar. But we can have a process that is open, transparent and still accomplishes our vision.” In the same story Councilmember Aldama said, “The city should be transparent in everything it does and everything it does should benefit the citizens. In hindsight, I don’t feel this sale benefits the citizens.” Their comments are disingenuous and provocative.  Both of these gentlemen know that land transactions are subjects for executive session to protect the city’s position.

© 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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