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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.

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.

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.

Here’s a true story. Since 1992, for 18 years, I have been the Yucca district city councilmember with the exception of two periods: 1996 to 2000 and 2012 to 2016. During 1996 to 2000 while off council, the San Bellismo Apts at the southeast corner of 83rd Ave and Glendale Ave were approved and supported by then Councilmember Martin Samaniego. They are primarily  Section 8 apts. Between 2012 and 2016, the period during which then Councilmember Sam Chavira served, two apartment complexes in Zanjero were approved. All three of these apartment complexes were not approved during my terms on council.

My reputation has been to oppose apartment complexes in the district based upon: 1. if they are proposed for an inappropriate location and 2. if they are not quality, upscale projects with many major amenities.

However, there is one apartment complex at 95th Avenue, north of Camelback Avenue, directly east across from the Super WalMart that I do support. The developer and owner is P.B. Bell and I made it a point to visit their Aspera apartment complex in Arrowhead. It is an upscale complex and I am supporting it for that reason and for another.

Lowe’s bought the land in question 15 years ago with the intent of building a Lowe’s on the site. For whatever the reason, perhaps because there is a Home Depot just to the west, they changed their minds and a year later, put the property up for sale as a commercial parcel. It has remained a dusty, vacant lot ever since. There had been no interest in this site and no takers interested in developing it. This site is an appropriate one for an apartment complex and the fact that it will be upscale with lots of amenities makes it a supportable project.

Another possible site for an apartment complex is the city-owned Brown lot north of the Provence subdivision. In this case an apartment complex is appropriate for the location.

Let me share another true story with you.  In 2003 a subdivision of 37 acres with 215 homes at a density of 5.78 homes to the acre with an average lot size of 4,000 square feet was proposed for our district, the Yucca district. Approximately 60 neighbors attended the neighborhood meeting and vigorously opposed the project citing the density of the project, resulting lower adjacent property values, the traffic congestion and the increased crime it would bring. It was approved. That project was Provence. Today, Provence is a stable, well maintained, high density residential parcel within our district and the city.

A possible apartment complex on the Brown lot is supportable based upon its location within the Westgate/Zanjero area and only if it is upscale with major amenities. The Brown lot is 13.598 acres, about 1/3 the size of Provence. At medium density of 3.5 to 5 homes to the acre the home yield is approximately 47 to 67 homes. The property’s close proximity to Westgate/Zanjero makes the property very expensive to buy. There simply isn’t a residential, single family home builder that can afford to buy the property and develop it and make any kind of profit. If it were to stay zoned medium density residential it would probably remain vacant for another 20 years. Realistic development would be either commercial or high density residential.

Both of these sites, the 95th Avenue site and the Brown lot are within what could be called the Westgate/Zanjero area. The Westgate area now and into the future will be a dense area with considerable traffic congestion, much like Bell Road. That premise became viable in the early 2000s the minute the Gila River Arena and the State Farm Stadium were approved.

As an aside note, council recently approved funding for the design of Camelback Road between 83rd Avenue and the Loop 101. The design is mandated to create mitigation measures that will assist in accommodating the traffic on Camelback Road in that area. I would expect that in Fiscal Year 19-20 funds will be allocated to do the work. Will it be a magic bullet? I doubt it but it should mitigate some of the traffic jams we experience today.

I would never approach the support of an apartment complex lightly. Before I could support such a complex, I would need to see a plan and the amenity package and the price point for rental of various size units. I would need to be comfortable that it would be a quality project in the right location that would offer increased value to the area. As of this date no such plan has been offered. I would need to be comfortable that it is proposed in an appropriate location which, in my mind, is the Westgate/Zanjero area.

No, I am not suddenly going to abandon my principles and support apartments all over the district but I will support a select few that make sense within the Westgate/Zanjero area and if they are upscale and bring value to our district and to the city.

I would suspect that this blog will generate a lot of comments and I look forward to seeing them.

© 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.

Should downtown festivals be changed?

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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.

Below are some of the comments I received in response to my blog on downtown published a few days ago. They are a combination of responses from Facebook (my blog links to FB and some comments were made there) and my Word Press blog. Some comments are from festival attendees and some are from downtown business owners.  I purposefully did not attribute any of the comments by name to encourage others to express themselves on this issue. I will reserve my comments at the end of this blog.

“As a business owner, I would love to see the city put money into “revamping” or “beautifying” the area the directly surrounds my business. Ohh but wait.. it’s my responsibility to care for my business and move it forward. It’s my responsibility to pay for the marketing that reaches my potential customers. It’s my responsibility to be open hours, and do split shifts, to accommodate my potential customers, as most don’t even get off work till 5pm. It’s my responsibility to make sure my clients are accommodated the best I can. NOT THE CITY’s responsibility!

 “It’s absolutely ridiculous how some of the downtown merchants are acting, as if they are owed something from the city and the taxpayers. Any other business owner would move/relocate if that area wasn’t sufficient enough. Granted, I like downtown Glendale, it has potential, but unfortunately it will never be the go to place in Glendale anymore. Half of the stores are rundown shops that look like swap markets. I try to make it to one of the shops before they close at 5pm to get a treat, and many times it’s closed earlier, so I stopped trying. Many need new windows and paint. And I highly doubt the city manager would deny you the breakdown of the $1million and where that money went. For the tax revenue for downtown, wasn’t it like 300-400k?? If that’s true, then that sounds like a BAD INVESTMENT.
“Where is the responsibility of the business owners? Keep complaining about the city, the mayor, the council, the city manager, or whoever else and I would fully support the potential for all of the city offices to pack up and relocate to Westgate. Getting sick and tired of hearing about the squabbling and how downtown is suffering. There are other needs in the city and more important problems that should be addressed. Don’t be selfish, put in your own time and MONEY and try to help the situation. If you have put in the time and money and it hasn’t worked, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your business.

“ I know I sound harsh and I’m apologize Joyce if I’m coming off too strong, but I’m just not understanding how these business owners are fighting the city so much. Glendale Glitters is great, but unfortunately it’s not a crowd I want to be around, I feel unsafe. I don’t know how anything will help that. It is time to change things up. Not completely redo everything, but up the ante on the vendor booths. The quality has gone down (but don’t get rid of the candy apples), and many of the booths seem to be selling trinkets. Sorry but that’s not what I’d go down there for. Maybe someone needs to do some recon on the Prescott festivals and see how they do it. Much cleaner look and reputable vendors. It come back to design psychology, if the look is unappealing, no one will stay or come back. Hope I wasn’t too blunt.”

“Glendale Glitters has very popular over the many years we have been here. My wife every year expects me to take her downtown to see the lights and sometimes walk around when not crowded. We like the stage performances which seems to be well attended.
The city overall should make money on this popular event,however add something new and I am not sure what that would be,expand the area if necessary nothing wrong with a big crowd, encourage the businesses someway to stay open. Change is good just leave the beautiful lights on please.”

“Thank you for your excellent explanation regarding the changes for Glendale Glitters 2018.Now I completely understand the reasoning behind the decision. Like everything – and everyone – else, a lot changes over 20 years time. Hopefully, this change will be for the good.”

“I am a downtown merchant & property owner. Councilmember Clark you are exactly correct in that we need to update and make changes to the festivals. The merchants will be the first to agree. We are not happy with the direction they have gone. However, it is not completely fair to compare last year’s results due to the fact that the festival vendors were greatly cut and THE BIGGEST factor is that marketing was cut by 1/3rd of the budget!!! You invite less people, less people will show… Another HUGE factor is that the person in charge of last year’s festival admittedly had no experience putting together events. She was brought in from another city department because of lack of staff. We questioned the decision to put someone in charge of the city’s biggest festival with zero qualifications. Not only was she put in charge, she was given the instructions to change it…. Again, she has NO EXPERIENCE!!!
“Merchants had zero input! Yes we need to change the festivals but I do however think that the merchants need to be involved in the changes. This cannot happen this year because of the time restraints and the city employee delays in action. It’s a shame because this is the 25th Anniversary and should have been put as a priority. The merchants are not in favor of the proposed changes in the budget to add more lights and fireworks. We need to revert back to the year 2016-2017 festival footprint and programming and start ASAP restructuring for the following year 2019-2020. This will allow the affected business community to utilize the budgeted ‘Downtown Manager’ to create a better festival plan.”

“Fun to visit the first few years, got to be a major pain to actually enjoy it.
Shops are too small in size to accommodate the amount of visitors, and half close down because the traffic is too heavy for them, producing the fear of being overwhelmed and theft.
It won’t be a popular opinion, but the class of visitors is lower, as they are just seeking out ‘county fair food’ and don’t actually frequent the retail stores as patrons.
“This should be considered to be moved to a more accommodating location like cardinal stadium parking lots. The traffic setup is already there for large events, the area is very easily viewable from all around for security reasons. It certainly would allow more food truck vendors to participate as the space is available as well.”

“Downtown business leaders are frustrated with the events staff working in a vacuum. We are constantly asking to be included in the planning and find ourselves shut out. The most recent presentation to the council concerning changes to the Glitters event is one such example. I am working with other business leaders and the downtown manager seeking to make the downtown area more attractive to foot traffic. We need for people to linger in order to generate sales, and if the events are a rush in and out, without highlighting the existing businesses then what is the point in remaining open. It is lack of customers that is forcing the businesses into odd hours, they cannot afford to retain employees in order to remain open.
“The entire city is in need for an image upgrade. You know that I have often mentioned that we don’t want to be an extension of Maryvale, but the press views the city that way.
The city has a major responsibility to make people feel safe and comfortable when visiting, everything from beautification and regular maintenance to amenities and positive looking press releases are necessary to overcome the lack of comfort, lack of desire to linger, in our city.”

“Totally agree with you on this one. People want the festival but are unfamiliar with the costs and lack of adequate services for how large it has become.”

“I totally agree with you! Why are they trying to fix something that wasn’t broke until last year? Very hypocritical comments being made. There should have been a solid Merchants Association a long time ago working with the city. A lot of money has been invested in downtown and now they are throwing it away in favor of Westgate??? Oh that’s where the money is and the wealthier folks? Never mind the businesses that have hung in there hoping for more! I am really disgusted with this council and the city manager. And why aren’t they fixing the staffing issues since they seem to have money now? The library is still closed on Fridays. Enough said.”

“Well, according to Kevin Phelps (City Manager) they spend $1,000,000 on downtown annually, but we have made repeated asks to break that down. That 1 million is more than the city gets in sales tax revenue downtown, so it isn’t like this is a profit center, but it does go a very long way toward impacting the perception of Glendale as a whole. Westgate, as Joyce points out is not apples to apples. 
“We have a superbowl coming up, so now is the time to decide if downtown is worthy of a renewed focus, or be written off as a loss. 
“I myself am trying to convince staff and our council to revive it, which is going to take some new priorities new business incentives, and unbudgeted expenses.”

 “So if Westgate is paying for itself, then why is downtown being ignored? Where is the money??? Follow the money. I’m sorry folks but when they “cut” the festivals when the financial crisis hit they KEPT Glitters because it MADE money for the city – the others did not. That was public information. Now all of a sudden it loses money? Last year part of the problem is they cut the vendors out, etc. People come to these events for all different reasons. I never heard a complaint until last year. Not everyone hates crowds!”

“The majority of the businesses are not asking for more than for the city to maintain its own property and to remedy safety, reputation and appearance issues. We are asking for a level of maintenance that downtown once had but were abandoned during the downturn and looking for the city to enforce its own codes. Apparently things like some sign codes are now unenforceable yet remain on the books.
“Most strong businesses have already moved away or closed, the remaining businesses are hanging by a thread so money to improve downtown is not coming from them. If the downtown area is to be reinvigorated it will have to come through attracting new businesses, not through blaming the existing businesses. Apparently it sounds like whining if we ask the city to work on improvement in order to attract new business, and through those new businesses attract more potential customers in the area. The city could help with new business incentives to bring in fresh blood.
“I already moved my business, so I certainly do not have a horse in the race any more, yet I continue to invest my time toward a vision of a thriving downtown. I get no benefit back so I am certainly not whining or looking for a handout. 

“Some issues are unique to the downtown area. Like the sidewalks, they are not owned by the building owner, in fact you need special permits and enhanced insurance to place anything on the sidewalk. There is an assumption that the business owners should maintain the sidewalks in front of their store, and some do, but what do you do about the city sidewalks in front of empty buildings or that are not adjacent to any business? It isn’t like a mall where the mall property management maintains common areas, the city is the property management in this case, but doesn’t maintain the common areas except directly around city buildings.
“Another unique issue is having normal access to your business blocked during the large events. Events that may not attract your typical customer. Now imagine a generator for lighting and barricades for foot traffic placed in front of your doors. Events bring a lot of issues with them, so is it really unreasonable to ask the event staff work with the businesses, and strive to increase communication with the businesses they may inconvenience?

“Nobody said the City manager refused to provide the information, only that is hasn’t been forthcoming. The claim was made four months ago, and the past three months have been the busiest time of the year for his office –the closing of the budget cycle. I am currently digging through the budget on my own to be able to help businesses know the impact of the requests they make. We want to understand what any tradeoffs would be. Like giving up an event to get sidewalks and crosswalks cleaned. 
“Even with the downtown manager and some of the staff working with us things happen very slowly and get frustrating.
“I will say that Glendale Star and other press have not helped in how they portray the remaining businesses as whiners (well Ok, some are), we actually have a partnership, but it doesn’t look that way from the outside.”

“Downtown has a lot of potential to be a destination and I think some of the merchants there are working towards that. Cuff and Off the Cuff are great examples, but they operate like a business. The Astrology store is cool too. I used to try to do all of my holiday gift shopping downtown and in Catlin Court but the shops were rarely open. I’d love to see more restaurants, cafes, and fun boutiques so that it is a destination where I can hang out. That isn’t going to happen with a few events a year, it’s going to take time, effort, and institutional changes.”

What these comments reflect is a great deal of disunity and confusion. Some believe the purpose of the festivals is to drive shopping traffic into the surrounding businesses during the event. Some believe it is to familiarize people with the downtown to attract potential customers in the expectation that they will return to shop. Merchants, what is your ultimate goal for downtown Glendale?

Many expect the city to use its resources to beautify the downtown. There is much that can be done. But there is no articulation of priorities in terms of what the beautification should be. There are some actions that the downtown merchants can take without anything other than working with the city for approval. One is the idea of unified signage. Here are some examples:

The merchants can get together, decide on a palette of approved signage and ask for the city’s approval if the designs are not allowed under the current code. Amendments are made to the city code all the time. Another action could be the use of sidewalks in front of a shop. That doesn’t mean a tacky sandwich board but creative use that protects the pedestrian’s free movement along a sidewalk. Again, merchants have the freedom to create a proposal and present it to the city as a code amendment. What about a schedule of cleaning not only in front of your store but your window displays? As a former bookstore owner I changed my window display weekly. Is the front of your shop clean? Does it look appealing and inviting to a potential customer? Elbow grease does wonders.

Downtown merchants must form their own Merchants Association that will finally afford them some political clout with the city. Dues don’t have to be exorbitant. They could be as little as $5 a month. 50 merchants would generate $250 a month or $3000 a year; 100 merchants would generate $500 a month or $6000 a year. It may not seem like much but it’s a start to fund some small collaborative and collective actions that benefit all and just like saving your loose change in a jar…after awhile it becomes real money.

This may be the toughest nut to crack. The downtown merchants (and throw in the Catlin Court merchants) are like the Hatfields and the McCoys; or the Democrats and the Republicans. There are factions and some hate each other. As long as this persists the downtown will never succeed. It’s time to bury the hatchet, hold your noses, and cooperate with one another for not only your ultimate survival but ultimate success.

If you’ve ever listened to President Trump he rails about the U.S. being a ‘sucker’, for example, with NATO. We pay the most to protect European nations while many of these countries pay little toward their obligation. The city, at times, feels like a ‘sucker’. It pours tens of thousands of dollars annually into downtown with few merchants paying anything that could be viewed as their ‘fair share.’ The merchants can’t get along with one another to present a viable goal for downtown. Is it any wonder they don’t get along with the city as well?

I have not lost hope. There is much the downtown merchants can do at little to no cost if they can just come together and adopt a unified approach. Create your vision. Collectively adopt your goals, both annual and long term. The city wants to be your partner but it should not continue to pour money into the downtown aimlessly only to be berated because it wasn’t want you expected or envisioned. Heck, we have no idea what your vision is…do you?

© 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.

A week or two ago we were advised by IKEA management that they were not going to pursue building a new store in Glendale. The location would have been on the southwest corner of Bethany Home Road and 95th Avenue.

Why, why, oh why, have they gone away? I, personally, am so disappointed. I was so looking forward to our very own IKEA just 5 minutes away. That sure beats over an hour drive to get to the one in the southeast part of the Valley. The current distance to its only location was a shopping killer for me. I visit the current location once a year, if that.

There was so much pent up demand and excitement in the West Valley. I can’t tell you the number of people who have personally shared their excitement about its coming to Glendale. Everyone was disappointed with their recent announcement. Apparently IKEA had planned to build 10 new stores in the United States. All have been scrapped. Why?

Well, IKEA has decided it wants to migrate to an E-Commerce business allowing consumers to purchase their merchandise online. They are going to completely revamp their business model. It wasn’t that Glendale had been obstructionist or done something to chase them away. To the contrary, they praised Glendale for its effectiveness and ability to work with them in an expeditious manner. They liked Glendale and were happy to do business with us.

As many may know, Glendale committed to building 95th Avenue between Bethany Home Road and Camelback to provide easy access to IKEA. Construction will be complete by the time football season begins this August. 95th Avenue is still important to the city despite IKEA’s departure. It opens up another very valuable access to the University of Phoenix Stadium and all of Westgate. It should alleviate the tremendous traffic loading on 91st Avenue and make many local residents happy. Now people can park at the new lot on the south side of Bethany and use a new pedestrian bridge or tunnel to cross Bethany into the Westgate area.

It also makes the acreage that IKEA would have used very, very valuable and allows the city to pick and choose which project a developer brings to the table as being the best fit for the area and the city. There is already interest in the IKEA site and the possibilities are exciting and will add value to the city and to the area.

Yes, we are all disappointed that IKEA will not be coming and wish that the company’s senior leadership would revisit their decision but we are confident that the land will be developed with something equally meaningful to all stakeholders.

Bye IKEA. We will miss you and wish you well. Yet we are excited about the new opportunities their decision has created and look forward to the next chapter for such a prime parcel.

Part of the 95th Avenue project includes a bridge spanning the Grand Canal and the Linear Park as well as a tunnel below Bethany Home Road. There has been lots of progress on the pedestrian bridge. As you can see in the first picture the bridge across the canal is about as simple as it can get. The second picture shows the bridge that spans the Linear Park way to the stadium. The third picture is not very clear but they already have the tunnel built under Bethany home Road and you can see the top of the structure. The roadway in that area is elevated approximately 3 to 4 feet.

By the way here are a few photos of the progress on Top Golf’s construction:

As you can see, with or without IKEA, Glendale and most particularly the Westgate area continues its unparalleled  growth in activity.

© 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.

On Tuesday, March 28, 2018 the Glendale City Council in a vote of 4 to 3 approved the expansion of building size and hours for Arizona Organix, a medical marijuana dispensary located in Glendale. Mayor Weiers and Councilmembers Hugh, Turner and Aldama voted in favor. Vice Mayor Tolmachoff and Councilmember Malnar and I voted against.

Another history lesson on the background of legalized medical marijuana in Arizona is in order. On November 2, 2010 voters in Arizona legalized the use of medical marijuana. The state created Community Health Analysis Areas (CHAAs) allowing one dispensary in each CHAA. There are over 100 CHAAs in the state. Glendale has at least (and probably more) 8 CHAAs within its boundaries.  Here is the current CHAA map:

Glendale passed a Zoning Ordinance, effective March 25, 2011 to deal with dispensaries within its city limits:

  • Allowed in zoning classifications of General Office (G-O); General Commercial (C-2); and Heavy Commercial (C-3)
  • Dispensaries must be one mile apart
  • Dispensaries must be 1,320 feet away from elementary, middle and high schools
  • Dispensaries must be 500 feet away from residential properties
  • Maximum building size of 2,000 SF
  • Allowable hours of operation are 8 AM to 8 PM (12 hours)

Arizona Organix filed for a zoning text amendment to Glendale’s current zoning requirements asking for a 6,000 SF allowable maximum building size and for an expansion of operating hours from 8 AM to 10 PM (total hours open – 14).

I voted against their request for 2 reasons. One is that the action is precedent setting and the newly approved standards will apply to all dispensaries in Glendale. While Glendale currently has 3 dispensaries, more are on the way and they will be able to operate under the newly approved text amendment requirements as to building size and hours of operation. This time a majority of city council approved an increase in building size and hours but what’s next now that the door has been opened to change Glendale’s specific regulations?

However, for me there was an even more compelling reason to vote against their request. As an elected official I took an oath of office. In that oath I swore I would “support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution and laws of the state of Arizona…”   Note which is cited first — the Constitution of the United States and which is cited in the secondary position – the Constitution of Arizona.    

Interestingly, Mayor Weiers and Councilmember Turner dismissed my argument. I think they might have some ‘learnin’ to do. Article VI of the United States Constitution contains the “supremacy clause.” The supremacy clause contains what is known as the doctrine of pre-emption. This doctrine states that any federal law, even if it is only a regulation from a federal agency, supersedes any conflicting state law, even if that law is part of the state’s constitution. In other words the federal government wins every time when there is conflicting legislation between the feds and the states.

The federal government has laws prohibiting the use of marijuana for any use. At least 29 states have legalized marijuana, medically or recreationally. But that does not make what they are doing legal. In the eyes of the federal government it is still a crime. To date the federal government has been reluctant to take on the states over this issue but its inaction should not be confused with tacit approval for marijuana use. One should not assume that federal inaction will continue indefinitely.

Here’s a different version of the same state action to refuse to recognize the doctrine of pre-emption. California recently passed legislation making it a sanctuary state in order to protect illegal aliens. In this case, the federal government has filed suit against the state on the basis of pre-emption. Interestingly, Orange County, California has joined the federal suit. I suspect the Supreme Court will recognize and uphold this doctrine.

 California’s action is no different than the action of the states that have passed legislation to allow the use of marijuana for they, as well, have chosen to ignore the doctrine of pre-emption. The only difference at this point in time is that the federal government has not filed suit against them. Should the federal government win its action against California I suspect in the future it will file suit on the same grounds against those states that have legalized marijuana.

I have no public opinion for or against the use of marijuana.  If I had approved the Arizona Organix zoning text amendment I would have been enhancing and abetting the state’s refusal to recognize the constitutional doctrine of pre-emption. I am a constitutionalist and I do believe that the federal constitution and the laws derived wherefrom are supreme, including the areas of tobacco, firearms and drugs. If states legislate opposing federal law what else in the Constitution will they choose to ignore? Then what do we become? A collection of states with no common authority?

In my small way, I chose to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

© 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.

Have you developed a commercial or residential project in Glendale, Arizona?  We are seeking an engineer or architect, a commercial developer and a residential developer who has interacted with various city departments while locating a project in Glendale.

Are you a small (1-24 employees), medium (25-99 employees) or large (100+) business owner in Glendale, Arizona? Are you a woman owned or minority owned business owner in Glendale, Arizona?

Applications available at: www.glendaleaz.com/boardsandcommissions/citycouncilandbusinessleaders.cfm

THEN WE NEED YOU!

We are accepting final applications for membership on the Glendale temporary (one year) Council-Business subcommittee. It’s mission is to review all business related codes and regulations to streamline them, removing obsoletion and redundancy while making recommendations to the full Glendale City Council. The subcommittee will also recommend new strategies designed to make Glendale the most business friendly city in the Valley.

© 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.

My latest blog on code compliance generated a lot of email commentary. So, I thought it might be fun to ask all of you to comment by sharing what code violation(s) is(are) the favorite(s) one(s) you hate?

I have three favorites. The first is residents putting out bulk trash right after it has been picked up. The second is front yard parking. It makes Glendale look like “hicks and sticks, cows and plows.” The third are the flag banners in front of businesses. There is one down the street from my home advertising income tax services.  With the sun and the wind it doesn’t take long for them to deteriorate. These banners are completely illegal. I have yet to see code remove any of them.

What code violations drive you crazy? Please respond in the comment section and I will copy and paste below.

  • Never knew the flags were illegal – but we never sold any or used them as they do fall apart quickly! My pet peeve is the cars in the front yards – just makes the neighborhood look trashy!
  • Barking dogs and dog waste that is not cleaned-up and disposed of by the dog owner or walker.
  • Hi Joyce,. My biggest peeve is the roads with large cracks and pot holes rhat make our neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods look like the ghetto. In addition cars parked in the wrong direction, cars parked on the sidewalk and front yard, travel trailer parked out on the street and has not been moved for over 6 months (cobwebs), mail advertisements delibertly tossed on the ground at the community mailbox, dirt and/or infested with weeds front yards.
  • I hate weeds and trash in the gutters on the street. We do need for our street sweeper to run more often.
  • I would agree on the trash bulk pickup, either being to late or way too early on it.
    How the city does not just send a ticket scout to make some easy money, or better yet alert the community to it is a shame. My other pet piece is probably the parking of Very large RVs in the street corners, creating blind spots for kids to get hurt. If you don’t have the room to park it, you don’t need to own it.
  • – Bulk Trash out the day after it just get picked up, especially when my neighbors put it in the street (Sec. 18-108. – Bulk trash collection) The messes that are made by people trash picking is also a concern.
    – Continuous Yard Sales, (Sec. 7.305 – Yard Sales)
    – Neighbors letting water run down the sidewalk into the gutter (Sec. 30-4. – Discharge of water into streets prohibited)
  • My complaint is Part 2 of the untimely trash placement: once one household puts out its discards it seems to inspire other residents to do the same. It triggers
    a contagious urge to discard — NOW. —compounding the problem.
  • A personal fav of mine is pool drainers. People who put their backwash hose under their gate and just walk away. This one gets me because often you can follow the water back to the source.However I Do disagree with the parking in the yard. While there IS an obvious blight factor is you have 3 1983 Civics and Chevys taken apart and grease everywhere, why should my $40,000 toy hauler or my $20,000 bass boat be ticketed because it’s on the opposite side of my garage on rocks, pavers, or concrete? I don’t live in an HOA, It’s not “unsightly”, it’s not obstructive, it IS my yard.

     

    Just my $0.02.

  • The thing that drives me crazy is all the little signs that clutter the main intersections that read “I buy houses” “Looking for investors” “I will replace your windshield” “Learn to flip houses” “I buy gold”, etc. etc. They are also zip-tying these to traffic signs, and now I am seeing them littering neighborhoods.

    Aren’t these illegal? against the city ordinance? (blight) Why can’t the city contact these people/call the number on the sign and tell them to stop it, or go after them for littering, or blight, etc. Glendale looks like a crap-hole by allowing these. Can’t this be enforced?

© 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.

This is a blog way overdue. There are so many issues revolving around the city’s code compliance department that it’s difficult to know where to begin. As councilmembers code is by far the issue that we and our staffs deal with constantly. There isn’t a day that goes by that we all don’t receive code complaints.

Ever since he joined council, Councilmember Ray Malnar has pushed for code reforms. Shortly he will put together an informal working group to review code and to make recommendations for reform. I am happily looking forward to joining his working group. After all, we councilmembers deal with code issues on a daily basis and know what the greatest issues are.

Let me begin by relating some history. In July of 1993, council passed Ordinance Number 1772. It was the first major revision to code in many years. This ordinance encompassed major revisions to the entire body of city code. Here is the first paragraph of this ordinance: Section 1.100 Title. The ordinance shall be known and may be cited as the ‘Zoning Ordinance of the City of Glendale, Arizona.’ Within the ordinance text, it shall be cited as ‘this ordinance’. (Ord. No. 1772, 7-23-93)”.

The ordinance goes on to state, 1.204 Repealer and Severability. The provisions of this ordinance, insofar as they are substantially the same as the provisions of ordinances repealed in Subsection A of this section, shall be construed as restatements and continuations thereof and not as new enactments (bold mine).” In plain English the provisions of this ordinance did not create new law but were crafted to further clarify existing law.

The ordinance clearly states that if any provisions create greater restrictions they are to be followed as stated in this portion of the text, “1.205 Conflict With Other Rules or Regulations. Where this ordinance imposes a greater restriction on land, buildings or structures than is imposed or required by other existing provisions of law, ordinance, contract or deed, the provisions of this ordinance shall control (bold mine).” This provision seems to reject the concept of “grandfathering” which allows a property or home existing prior to 1993 to be exempt from the new ordinance provisions. Based upon the language of this ordinance any new code provisions or regulations will be considered as refinements of existent code and it mandates that greater restrictions are to be recognized and applied.

One of the new provisions within this ordinance addresses the subject of residential parking specifically with reference to zoning districts R 1-10 (10,000 square foot lot sizes), R 1-8 (8,000 SF), R 1-7 (7,000 SF) and R 1-6 (6,000 SF). The text reads as follows:

“Section 5.300 URBAN RESIDENTIAL

R1-10, R1-8, R1-7–Single Residence.

Section 5.313 R1-6–Single Residence.

5.3184 Parking.

Refer to Section 5.312.

(Ord. No. 2090, § 3, 7-27-99)

5.312 Parking.

  1. Parking and driveways are permitted as follows: (See Figures R-1 and R-2)
  2. A parking area may not exceed thirty (30) feet of contiguous area or fifty (50) percent of the lot width as measured at the front yard setback, whichever is less.
  3. Within the front yard, a parking/driveway area is only allowed between the garage or carport and the street, except an area contiguous to the allowed parking/driveway which is consistent with the dimensions in #1 above.
  4. No parking is permitted in the front yard when the parking area:
  5. Is detached from the allowed parking/driveway area; or Would result in an area greater than the allowable width as described in #1 above.
  6. Circular driveways and similar circulation may be permitted within the front yard so long as:

                      A.  No long term resident parking occupies such circular drive; and

                      B.  The front yard contains no more than fifty (50) percent of the total square                                 footage in parking/driveway or other circulation.

           (Ord. No. 1772, 7-23-93)”

Does it occur to anyone that you almost need a PhD to understand the language and to apply the code? Although I’m sure the language meets the technical requirements of the law but as is usually the case, it’s difficult for the ordinary citizen to understand much less follow its requirements.

Now let’s throw this into the mix. The ordinance also grants the Planning Director the right to interpret provisions of the ordinance, “Section 3.400 Interpretations, Administrative Relief, and Administrative Review.

3.401 Interpretations.

  1. The Planning Director shall be responsible for interpretation of the Zoning Ordinance. Interpretations may be considered if there is a question of clarity of any development standard or other provision of this ordinance, or a review is required (bold mine) within the permitted use categories of a specified zone district.
  2. Prior to determining that a use is permitted within a specific zoning district, the Planning Director shall find that:
  3. The use is described and included in the zoning district;
  4. The intensity of the use will not adversely affect other properties within the district; (bold mine)”

This provision will become more relevant as I relate a series of current code complaints. Recently the city council has received a series of complaints from residents in the Ocotillo district about front yard parking. It appears that our code department is not acting upon them. Last year I had offered the same concerns about the very same issue to our code department. What seems to be occurring these days is that some residents are covering their entire front yards with concrete or pavers and then using the entire front yard as a parking lot for multitudes of their vehicles. In my district I have seen entire front yards covered with pavers and concrete.  Here’s an example from my district. As you can see the entire front yard has recently been concreted. I have seen multiple vehicles parked there and in this photo some are parked right in front of the front door of the residence.

I filed complaints about this activity with the code department last year. In response I was advised that these were not violations or the case was closed. Why you ask? Clearly (or maybe not so clearly) the 1993 ordinance spells out that that “no more than 30 feet of contiguous area or 50% of the front yard lot width” may be used for driveways and parking.  Common sense would seem to dictate that if you have concreted or paved your entire front yard and then use it for parking more than 3 vehicles you are in violation of code.

Ahh… but not so fast. Within the material  of the ordinance I cited above, the Planning Director can interpret any provision of this 1993 ordinance. Never, ever, in all my 17 years on city council have I ever seen the code department go to the Planning Director to ask for an interpretation of whether something is a code violation. That is exactly what code did in the Ocotillo district where front yard parking was becoming a major problem last year. In response to the code department’s request, the Planning Director toured the area in question and said that since the homes in that area were built prior to 1993 they were grandfathered in and the 1993 ordinance regulating front yard parking did not apply. He further stated that he did not believe it was out of character for the affected neighborhood.

Last year after the Ocotillo district complaints, I complained about exactly the same problem. Code used the Planning Director’s interpretation for that unrelated neighborhood in the Ocotillo council district as the basis for not citing exactly the same activity in my district and led me to believe that the Planning Director had toured my area of complaint as well. In fact, he did not. The opinion he offered in a memo to the code department was in direct response to the Ocotillo neighborhood parking issue, not mine.

Correction at 9 PM Feb. 9, 2018: After reviewing my code material I find that I misrepresented the Planning Director’s opinion. When I said Code can be confusing, I wasn’t kidding. The Planning Director was asked by the Code Department to tour the Maryvale Terrace area in the Ocotillo district last year. His opinion centered strictly on the installation and use of auxiliary driveways. In his opinion regarding that area he supported the installation of an auxiliary driveway to be used to enter an RV gate thereby allowing the property owner’s RV to be parked behind the gate. At that time he opined that auxiliary driveways were not out of character for that neighborhood and were permissible for that purpose. In addition, my notes indicate that the Planning Director did in fact tour the neighborhood in my district where I had registered complaints. He indicated that it is not a violation to have pavers or concrete to serve as additional driveways that are to be used for access through an RV gate to park in a backyard. He also opined that it is a violation to park on these surfaces where it is considered to be front yard parking and a code violation.

The question remains, why is the code department using this narrowly crafted opinion as a rationale to not cite for front yard parking? This photo clearly shows the homeowners are definitely in violation of front yard parking. The second question that remains valid is why was historical precedent ignored by the code department by asking the Planning Director to decide whether an issue is a code violation? As I stated previously, this is a first in my 17 year history as a councilmember.

What happened to Section 1.205 of the 1993 ordinance that states that greater restrictions within this ordinance prevail? If you follow the logic of code’s request of and acceptance of the Planning Director’s interpretation on this code matter in an Ocotillo neighborhood built before 1993, what does mean for other ordinance provisions that apply to all neighborhoods built prior to the 1993 ordinance? For instance, group home restrictions are enhanced in the 1993 ordinance. According to the code department’s reliance upon using the Planning Director’s interpretation for just one neighborhood built before 1993, it now opens the door for all other neighborhoods established prior to 1993. It would appear if a group home is established in a home built before 1993, then the 1993 restrictions do not apply. I didn’t go through the entire code but I bet there are other restrictions in the 1993 ordinance that also could be interpreted as not applying to a home built prior to 1993.

These actions raise several very important questions. Which concept within the 1993 ordinance is to be followed? The concept that greater restrictions prevail or the concept that the Planning Director can waive or interpret code requirements for neighborhoods built before 1993 (the concept of “grandfathering”)?

Code’s action of requesting the Planning Director to decide code requirements is precedent setting and opens the door wide for an unequal application of the 1993 ordinance as code has now accepted a rationale that enables it not to follow the proscription, “Where this ordinance imposes a greater restriction on land, buildings or structures than is imposed or required by other existing provisions of law, ordinance, contract or deed, the provisions of this ordinance shall control.”

My frustration is with code’s inability or unwillingness to address issues such as excessive front yard parking. It’s no wonder citizens are upset. I have heard repeatedly from folks all over the city that Glendale doesn’t look good anymore and they point to code’s ineffectiveness. I am not the only councilmember dissatisfied with the code department’s performance. Many, but not all, councilmembers have expressed the same dissatisfaction.

The leadership of the code department has expressed the belief that my and other councilmembers’ dissatisfaction with the department’s performance is a direct result of a lack of staff. But that is not the issue. It’s not whether there are 5 or 15 code inspectors but rather the effectiveness of the results of the actions taken by whatever the number of staff the department has in resolving an issue (and yes, that should include citing a resident for not following code).

Another code department rationale for a lack of successful resolution is that the department states that unless the complaint is ironclad in terms of proof of violation, city prosecutors will not file a case. Perhaps what is needed is the department taking more time and making a greater effort to meet the requirements of the prosecutors’ office to bring forward successful cases for adjudication. If the prosecutors’ office requires greater proof of a violation by completing actions A, B and C it would seem that is what code should be striving to meet. Leadership has said that they have taken cases to the Prosecutors’ Office only to be told that the case is too weak. Then it becomes incumbent upon code to do further work on a case to make it strong enough to be prosecuted.

I am anxious to participate on the working group that Councilmember Malnar will lead. If parts of code are outdated, we will recommend their removal. If parts of code are too weak, we will find ways to beef them up. If there are new issues that need remedies, we will find them. Keep in mind that this working group will have no formal authority so its conclusions may or may not be accepted. Perhaps most important of all, it is time for greater transparency and accountability and those are elements we must require of this department.

It’s time to make all  of Glendale look good again.

© 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.

It seems whenever there is a city holiday I can play catch up and find the time to write. Monday, January 15, 2018 is MLK Day and a national holiday. Fortunately I’ve already received the material for our next council workshop scheduled for Tuesday, January 23rd and have done my ‘homework’. Please remember that now city council only meets two Tuesdays a month and they double up on the meetings that day. Now on those two Tuesdays council meets at 12:30 PM for workshop followed by an Executive Session if needed. Then on the same day it reconvenes at 5 PM for its voting meeting. Please note this is an hour earlier than previously scheduled. It makes it more difficult for the public to attend if they work and don’t get off until 5 PM.

The only workshop public agenda item is staff’s request for direction from city council regarding naming Bethany Home Road between 83rd Avenue and 99th Avenue as well as Loop 101 freeway signage as Cardinals Way. This is a Council Item of Special Interest (CIOSI) raised by Mayor Jerry Weiers.

The facts of the request include renaming 12 highway signs by the Arizona Department of Transportation at a cost of $75,000. Five Glendale city street signs would also be renamed at a cost of $5,000. The total of $80,000 would have to be paid by the city.

The Arizona Tourism and Sports Authority (AZSTA) has offered to contribute but they have not specified how much they would pay.

This is all of the information city council has received on the issue. So pretend you are a city councilmember and have to give direction (we don’t vote at workshops) to move forward or not to move forward and stop it. I’d be interested to see how all of you would weigh in if you were the decision maker. I’ve put a new poll to the left of this column. Please take a moment to cast your decision.

Last week the Arizona Republic published a story that APS is seeking approval from the Arizona Corporation Commission for a rate decrease. Who would have thunk?? Here is the link to the story: https://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/energy/2018/01/09/aps-now-seeking-rate-decrease-thanks-federal-tax-cuts/1018865001/ . APS is seeking a cut of, “… about $4.70 from the average residential customer’s monthly bill thanks to the tax changes that President Donald Trump signed into law last month.” Unfortunately, SRP customers will not see a similar rate reduction due to the tax changes. It is an Agricultural Improvement and Power District, and does not collect federal income tax through its customers. Municipalities that provide water are not for profit and like SRP do not pay federal taxes. The expectation is other for-profit utility and water providers in the state and nationally may also offer rate reductions due to the reduction of the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%.

© 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.

There is more to Glendale’s good news story of 2017. Honestly, staff and I identified over 100 good news stories. Don’t panic. I am not about to list the entire 100. Let’s start with Glendale in national news:

  • In a Fiscal Times article in February of 2017 Glendale was ranked at 77 out of 116 cities with a population greater than 200,000 for its positive fiscal health
  • In March of 2017 Glendale once again received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association for its FY1617 budget document
  • In May of 2017 Trivago, one of the world’s largest online hotel internet search engines, ranked Glendale as the number one emerging tourist destination in the United States
  • In November of 2017 the international digital travel magazine, Trips to Discover, listed Glendale as one of the eight best towns in Arizona to celebrate the Christmas holiday season
  • In November of 2017 a study conducted by Smart Asset found that of the 100 largest cities in the US, Glendale had the 9th largest percent change in median household income from 2015 to 2016, growing by 11.4%. It was also the largest increase in Arizona.

Glendale’s Public Safety often contributed to the overall health, safety and well being of our community. Take a look of a few of their more notable events:

  • In February of 2017 the Fire Department received three new replacement fire pumper trucks and welcomed eight new firefighters to their ranks
  • Since the beginning of 2017, Public Education and Outreach Coordinator Dr. Janet Boberg and the Fire Department Firefighter Fire Pals have taught 137 classes to 3,128 youth and 306 adults.
  • In August of 2017 the Glendale Fire Department hosted an Emergency Preparedness Academy. The class included Basic First Aid, a presentation on Active Shooter, and an exercise in Emergency Readiness.
  • In September of 2017 the Glendale Fire Department offered Compression Only CPR at two Glendale high schools. The department has officially trained more than 25,000 people in Compression Only CPR.
  • In August of 2017 the Glendale Police Department hosted the GPD Teen Academy. School Resource Officers for the Police Department assisted with putting on the weeklong Teen Academy. Students learned about Arizona criminal and traffic law, how to drive police cars, how to shoot handguns, shotguns, and rifles on the range, and practiced handcuffing procedures. They also spent time with the canine unit, detectives, and the bomb unit.
  • In October of 2017 the Glendale Police Department hosted its very first West Valley Aspire Academy this October. The four day overnight leadership camp provided girls ages 14-18 with hands on experience in public safety careers.

Not to be missed was our Economic Development Department:

  • In April of 2017 our Economic Development Department partnered with WESTMARC, Career Connectors, and other West Valley communities to present the first ever West Valley Healthcare Career Expo. Healthcare is one of the city’s fastest growing industries and this event connected current and future workforce with employers and education opportunities.
  • Also in April of 2017 the Economic Development Department partnered with SCORE for the 4th Annual Greater Phoenix SCORE Small Business Symposium. This event focused on providing access to resources and breakout sessions geared toward small business growth and development.

Our Parks and Recreation Department also contributed notably to the recreational health of our community:

  • In March of 2017 there was a rededication of the Heroes Park basketball courts in celebration of the NCAA Final Four    
  • In April of 2017 Parks and Recreation Division began working with the Special Olympics Arizona (SOAZ) organization to enter into a new partnership that will result in additional programming opportunities for persons with developmental disabilities, at no cost to the City.
  • In June of 2017 Neighborhood Services and Parks and Recreation departments coordinated Thunderbolt Blitz Day Project along the New River Trail a volunteer project with military people and civilians from Luke Air Force Base as part of their community service day
  • In August of 2017 The Parks and Recreation Division worked with the Arizona Disc Golf Foundation on a new, 18 hole Frisbee disk golf course in the Grand Canal Linear Park between 83rd and 91st
  • In October of 2017 the Park Ranger Division rolled out its “Ranger” K9 program. The focus of this program is to use the city’s new mascot, “Ranger,” to encourage greater public engagement

Citywide some notable events included:

  • Ongoing throughout 2017 the city continued its work on its Strategic Plan
  • Also ongoing throughout 2017 the city continued its participation in the innovative “What Works Cities”
  • In July of 2017 the city and Glendale Chamber of Commerce engaged a Downtown Manager to provide consistent support to our downtown merchants. The emphasis is on creating a healthy, cohesive downtown that can be branded and marketed
  • Also in July of 2017 the Water Billing Department, in partnership with TIO Networks, launched cash only bill payment kiosks in 16 Circle K locations within the City of Glendale; and in August the City of Glendale’s payment system expanded to all TIO kiosks within the State of Arizona
  • In September of 2017 the Citywide LED Conversion Project This project will result in significant annual savings for Glendale. I am proud to note that through my effort this proposed conversion was moved up by several years saving the city approximately half a million dollars a year immediately
  • In November of 2017 another request of mine was accepted to begin a pilot project to recapture under reported collectable residential rental revenue. It, too, is expected to generate approximately a half a million dollars annually

Lastly here are some events that don’t fit into any particular category but are worthy of note:

  • February 19 of 2017 marked the 10 year anniversary of Glendale Police Officer Anthony Holly’s death. Please continue to keep the Holly family in your thoughts
  • In March of 2017 the city successfully hosted NCAA Final Four
  • In June of 2017 the city dedicated a plaque in remembrance of and recognition of Phil Lieberman, longtime councilmember for the Cactus District. He was my friend and I still miss him
  • In October of 2017 Banner Thunderbird Medical Center officially opened the state’s newest Level I Trauma Center
  • In October of 2017 city council approved the allocation of funds to finally build Phase I of the West Branch Library at Heroes Park
  • September of 2017 Airport take offs/landings were 5,832 (16% higher than September 2016). This foreshadows a resurgence of airport growth in the coming year
  • In October of 2017 a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the GUS 2 route reconfiguration.. Also starting in October, Bus Route 83 traveling on 83rd Avenue now travels from South Phoenix up to Arrowhead Towne Center.
  • In December of 2017 Erik Strunk, Director of Parks and Recreation and Special Events, announced that he is leaving the City and becoming the City of Peoria’s newest Assistant City Manager. We wish Erik all the best in this new chapter of his career, and this City is grateful for his top-notch job performance.
  • Effective January 1, 2018 and after 27 years of service, Jon Froke, Planning Director, will be retiring from the City of Glendale. Jon has been a valuable part of the Glendale team and his accomplishments will benefit our community for many years to come

There you have it. These notable events plus many more contributed to making Glendale great again (to borrow a phrase from our current President). Each of these demonstrates a city on the move; a city that embraces innovation; and a city continually striving to improve the quality of life for all residents.

© Joyce Clark, 2018                 

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