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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.

Another Primary Election in Arizona is now history. For those of you who don’t follow politics very closely here are the match ups for the General Election this November:

Governor

Doug Ducey R (Republican)

David Garcia D (Democrat)

U.S. Senate

Martha McSally R

Krysten Sinema D

Secretary of State

Steve Gaynor R

Katie Hobbs D

Attorney General

Mark Brnovich R

January Contreras D

State Treasurer

Kimberly Yee R

Mark Manoil D

Superintendent of Public Instruction

Frank Riggs R

Kathy Hoffman D

Did you know that the State of Arizona has 3.6 million registered voters? Guess how many of us voted this past Tuesday throughout the state…505,470. Roughly half a million voters. That’s a turnout of 14%.

In Glendale voters chose to return all three incumbents:  Vice Mayor Tolmachoff in the Cholla district; Councilmember Bart Turner in the Barrel district; and Councilmember Jamie Aldama in the Ocotillo district. All it took was 21% (6,297) of the registered voters in the Cholla district; 19% (4,393) of the registered voters in the Barrel district; and 12% (1,556) of the registered voters in the Ocotillo district.

 In Glendale there are 116,965 registered voters. Broken down by district:

Cholla district            24,499 registered voters

Sahuaro district        23,199 registered voters

Barrel district            20,594 registered voters

Yucca district             18,318 registered voters

Cactus district            17,426 registered voters

Ocotillo district          12,929 registered voters

For purposes of this exercise in statistics I have taken one district, the Ocotillo District, and broken it down even further:

Bethany Park Precinct               1,121 registered voters               102 or 9% voted

Bonsall Park Precinct                     853 registered voters              2 or .002% voted

Challenger Precinct                    2,952 registered voters              212 or 7% voted

Manistee Precinct                      2,708 registered voters               351 or 13% voted

Montebello Precinct                  2,272 registered voters                143 or 6% voted

Peck Precinct                               1,980 registered voters            168 or 8% voted

Tuckey Precinct                         1,774 registered voters               139 or 8% voted

The reason for presenting all of these statistics is really quite simple and can be summed up in two words…Voter Apathy. But what exactly is apathy? It is lack of interest or concern. In other words, indifference. People have no problem asking for help or complaining whether it’s calling a congressional representative with help with your social security or calling a councilmember for help with a code complaint. 90% of the time that representative is there for you, assisting you to solve the problem, often successfully. That representative, whether congressional, state or local, is there to listen to your complaints and opinions. But where are you when it comes time to vote for that representative who assisted you? Nowhere. You’re usually AWOL.

We often accept the excuse that people are busy living their lives, working to take care of their families, participating in church activities, recreating or volunteering. If one can make time for these life activities surely one can manage to schedule an hour once every several years to vote. My gosh, you don’t want to physically go to a voting site? Then take 5 minutes to register online to become an Early Permanent Voter. The ballot comes to you in the mail. You fill it out and mail it back. You don’t even have to cough up 50 cents for postage. How simple can it get?

We hear that voting is our right and privilege and it is. It’s also our responsibility. I remember my Mom telling me to, “Clean my plate. Do you know how many starving kids there are in China who would love to have this meal?” It’s the same analogy with voting. Do you know how many people on this planet do not have free and fair elections? Countries like the United States are a rarity, not the norm. In order to protect what we’ve got it is incumbent upon us to protect it by our participation in the electoral process.

In November we have the opportunity to vote again. This may be the most consequential election of our lifetimes. What will you do that day? Will you vote or be indifferent? Apathetic and pathetic.

© 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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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 Wednesday, August 8, 2018, the Glendale Women’s Club hosted its biennial candidate’s forum. Present were: Barrel District candidates Bart Turner and Ray Strahl; Ocotillo District candidates Jamie Aldama and Emmanuel Allen; and Cholla District candidate Lauren Tolmachoff (unopposed).  Each candidate was given three minutes to introduce him or herself. Their responses often mirrored their campaign mailers including how long they have resided in Glendale, their backgrounds, etc.

The forum was about two hours in length and can be viewed following this link:

http://www.glendaledailyplanet.com . There was time enough for each of the candidates to give one minute responses to the following questions. Since I am not a professional stenographer I am paraphrasing the questions:

  • Question 1: Blight is a concern for many cities. How would you address blight in Glendale?
  • Question 2: Would you vote to support the current downtown festival budget?*
  • Question 3: What are your thoughts about the newly created Historical Downtown Merchants Association?
  • Question 4: Since light rail has been cancelled what should be done with those transportation sales tax dollars?*
  • Question 5: List two major achievements in your district.*
  • Question 6: What is your position on Glen Lakes Golf Course?*
  • Question 7: Should there be a citizen’s commission on city charter review?
  • Question 8: Many residents still believe there is north versus south when it comes to the allocation and use of city funds. Do you concur?*
  • Question 9: What is your position on the city construction of the new parking lot by the Cardinals Stadium?*
  • Question 10: How have you allocated your council budget resources?*
  • Question 11: Would you change the current vision for downtown?
  • Question 12: Do you support raising the mayor and council salaries?
  • Question 13: In 2012 a .7 sales tax was instituted. Should it be eliminated?*

As you may note, I have placed asterisks on seven of the questions. These questions can only be answered competently based upon in depth information received through the actual experience of serving on city council. These particular questions were loaded in favor of the incumbents.

I love the Women’s Club Candidate Forum and hope the organization continues to provide this valuable service to our community. But there may be ways to make it even better. All questions are submitted by the public at large. As nearly everyone knows, the questions are usually submitted by each candidate’s supporters, often at the request of the candidate.  In addition, the questions seem to reflect geographically localized Glendale issues (i.e., downtown Glendale) rather than broader policy issues affecting all of Glendale.

Perhaps there is a better way to craft questions that do reflect broad policy issues. Maybe it is time to consider using questions that come from some kind of independent panel. Some questions that could have been used:

  • If you are elected what are your three priorities for your district? for all of Glendale?
  • How would you work to decrease the city’s debt?
  • The city’s budget determines expenditure priorities. For example, public safety versus parks and recreation. How would you balance competing needs for limited available funding?
  • What attributes do you have that would make you a better representative than your opponent?
  • Do you believe public transportation is a priority for Glendale? Why or why not?
  • Have you ever received a traffic ticket, been charged with a DUI, been charged with a felony? had a bankruptcy?

I would also note that answers provided by both incumbents and challengers at this forum were generally the same. There was nothing offered that provided major distinctions between the candidates. This election may well be decided on several things: a candidate’s personality; a candidate’s ability to get out the vote; and I kid you not, since some voters have no idea about the candidates, it comes down to position (first) on the ballot and whether they like your last name.

It was an interesting evening and I am glad that I took the time to attend. Seeing who was in the audience was very instructive. There’s also nothing that can surpass seeing candidates in person because it helps one to get a feel for their characters and personalities, something that just doesn’t come through on TV.

© 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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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 morning, Friday, August 03, 2018 started out as any other day. The Chamber held its First Friday breakfast with its usual compliment of about 100 attendees. Everyone in attendance is given about 30 seconds to say something about the business they own or represent. Usually the Mayor attends and occasionally a councilmember or two will be there. I was not there but my phone starting ringing the minute the breakfast broke up.

Emmanuel Allen, candidate for the Ocotillo district council seat, was there and during his brief remarks announced that he was endorsed by 5 councilmembers; the Mayor and Councilmembers Hugh, Malnar, Tolmachoff and me.

It so happened that the current Ocotillo councilmember Jamie Aldama was also in attendance this morning. His allotted 30 seconds turned into a 3 minute speech. During his remarks Aldama referred to the action of five councilmembers endorsing his opponent, Allen, and accused us of “corruption.” Everyone in the room sat in stunned silence. Mayor Weiers did respond to Aldama’s accusation saying that he took exception.

Aldama is desperate and running scared that he may not be reelected. However, when he makes that kind of accusation he better damn well be able to prove it.

© 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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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.

Yesterday I attended the Glendale Chamber’s Business Over Breakfast meeting and I renewed my annual membership in the Glendale Chamber of Commerce. I paid for my membership out of personal funds. I am not a business and cannot write it off as a cost of doing business. I would not pay dues out of my city council budget because I do not believe it is an appropriate taxpayer cost. It is a substantial personal cost.

I renewed because I believe the Chamber performs a vital service not only to Glendale but to surrounding communities as well. It is now over 1,200 members strong and its members come not just from Glendale but Scottsdale, Phoenix, Surprise, Peoria, etc. Robert Heidt, its CEO and President, has done an outstanding job of reinvigorating the Chamber and is to be recognized for his leadership.

The stated mission of the organization as provided on their website is, “The Glendale Chamber serves the business community as the voice of commerce, provides programs and services to improve the economic environment for its members and supplies leadership for improving the quality of life. For area residents and newcomers, the Glendale Chamber is a reliable source for community information and a dependable resource for business referrals.” This is a mission statement I support and reflects a Chamber working to serve its members.

The Glendale Chamber works within guiding principles of connection, initiative, and stewardship.  It fleshes out these principles by stating, “The Glendale Chamber helps build a strong community by connecting its members to people and issues important to business success. Through Chamber programming and services, you and your business are engaged in activities that move Glendale toward a successful future.”  In terms of initiative it states, “The Glendale Chamber provides unique opportunities for business leaders to influence civic, social, and business initiatives that support community growth. The Chamber offers leadership on issues that transform our community and your business.” Lastly its stewardship is reflected by, “On behalf of its broad and diverse membership, the Glendale Chamber creates a climate of growth and success that benefits all business. Your membership investment allows your business and our community to prosper.”

The partnership between the city and the Chamber is strong and beneficial to our entire community. A healthy and robust Chamber helps to maintain a healthy and robust Glendale. However, I am beginning to believe that when the Chamber enters the political arena, witness its endorsements of candidates for Glendale’s city council, it becomes corrosive not only to the Chamber but to the community .

On July 12, 2018 I posted a blog about the Chamber’s endorsements entitled “The gorilla has spoken.” In it I discussed the manner in which the Chamber made its endorsements in the current Glendale election for city council districts. Since then, five councilmembers: Mayor Weiers, Councilmembers Hugh, Tolmachoff, Malnar and I have endorsed current Councilmember Aldama’s opponent, Emmanuel Allen for the Ocotillo District council seat. This situation led to a Facebook discussion typified by this comment, “I’m confused. The Glendale Chamber is endorsing candidates that the Mayor and Council are not? Please educate me. Thanks”

The Chamber and the City are two separate and distinct entities with separate mandates and missions. We will never be in lockstep on all issues facing the city but we will always strive to maintain a mutually respectful partnership.

The Chamber endorsed candidates based on written responses and personal interviews. Obviously the candidates tailored their responses to be viewed favorably by the Chamber. The Chamber’s endorsements were not based on personal experiences with either incumbent or challenger. On the other hand, the councilmembers who have made endorsements for particular candidates  based them upon personal knowledge and interaction. That may be the major distinction in the opposing endorsements.

I suggest that the Chamber rethink its policy of issuing endorsements. The Chamber represents businesses not only in Glendale but Peoria, Phoenix, etc. Does it plan to issue endorsements in races in these other cities as well? If not, why is it just endorsing in Glendale? In addition, when the Chamber endorses a candidate that does not win, it may earn a certain amount of ill will from the candidate, unendorsed by them, that did win.

Perhaps it would serve the Chamber not to endorse anyone so it remains non-partisan and thereby more effective in promoting its policy agenda with all elected officials. If it really wanted to provide service to the community why not hold a candidate forum just like the Women’s Club does? Certainly all issues are not covered in that one forum. Another would certainly be welcomed. What about disseminating non-partisan information about all candidates on specific business related issues? There is so much the Chamber could do, if it so chose, to assist in informing the voters in Glendale that would be truly helpful. Endorsing certain candidates is a lose-lose proposition and sets up ill will both within and without the organization.

© 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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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.

Several Ocotillo residents emailed me their copy of Jamie Aldama’s latest mailers. Here is the front and the back of the first one. My apologies if they did not reproduce well.

It appears that Aldama is having difficulty getting endorsements. To my knowledge, Mayor Weiers, I and Councilmembers Hugh, Tolmachoff and Malnar are endorsing his opponent, Emmanuel Allen. The only councilmember not endorsing Allen is Councilmember Turner. That should not be a surprise as Turner and Aldama have voted in lock step on some important Glendale issues such as light rail.

As you can see on the front side of this mailer his wife and daughter endorse him. On the back side is his announcement of reelection and a reminder to vote. In my humble opinion, the mailer is a ‘nothing burger’. It would have been a golden opportunity to remind potential voters of all of his successes within the Ocotillo district. But then again, what wins for the people of the Ocotillo district can he point to?

Here is the second mailer.

Note that it is paid for by A Better Glendale, the fire union PAC. It is filled with generalities and platitudes. One line reads “Better for Education.” It seems I have to remind folks every election when Aldama uses this, that Glendale government has no control over schools. That is the responsibility of district school boards. Aldama, as a city councilmember, has no ability to make Glendale’s schools ‘better’.

If anyone out there knows how Aldama is better for Glendale, families, education and community I hope you will share with the rest of us. Also note the endorsement from the Police FOP. It could be the state organization but it is not the Glendale police union. The same is true for the Arizona Police Association.

Aldama is a nice person but choosing someone to represent you is not a popularity contest. Your choice should be based upon your representative’s performance and making sure the candidate’s positions on the issues align with yours.

I became concerned about Aldama’s performance with regard to the issue of council’s decision to place School Resource Officers in all Glendale high schools. During consideration of the initiative by council Aldama never once stated that he did not support the decision due to reason A, B or C. It was surprising to all councilmembers when he did not show up for the Press Conference to announce our decision.

Instead immediately after the press conference, Councilmember Aldama offered a Guest Commentary in the Glendale Star on March 27, 2018 saying, Clearly this was an insensitive headline-grabbing political response to a larger problem than just having an officer in each high school, or on any or all school campuses in Glendale. To suggest this action taken by the city of Glendale is a solution to preventing future school shooting incidents is misleading.”

His commentary was followed by Perry Vandell’s story in the Arizona Republic of March 29, 2018. Vandell stated, Glendale City Councilman Jamie Aldama this week hammered the city’s quick decision to add police officers to all of its traditional public high schools.”  Aldama is quoted within the article saying, “The police and fire associations were told of the adverse impact on their memberships, but not consulted with.” His stance on the issue earned Aldama this rebuke in an Arizona Free Enterprise Club mailer:

 

 

 

 

Yet, by June 8, 2018 in remarks promoting his “Glendale Today” edition on the city’s Glendale 11 TV show he said, “Glendale’s School Resource Officer program is an important step toward ensuring communities are safe and protected. As a current school board member here in Glendale, I recognize firsthand how imperative this issue is to our community.”

Then in July of 2018 in his message in the city’s “Connection” sent to every water household in the city he said,  “It is with great pleasure to announce that I am working with city council and city staff to make our schools safer by implementing a School Resource Officer program…I am very supportive of the SRO program.”

What is troubling was his failure to inform city council in March that he did not support the SRO program for various reasons (take your pick) and failed to show up for a council press conference announcing the program yet three months later (and just before the Primary Election) Aldama does a 180 and full throatily supports the SRO program.

Taking a position in opposition to the SRO program and emphasizing that decision by failing to attend a council press conference and then announcing support for the program just before the Primary Election appears to be a case of political expediency.

Aldama had the opportunity to make his case in his political mailers and failed to do so. I’m for a better Glendale, and can say I’m better for families, education and community…and so can you. With that criteria I guess we all qualify to be the Ocotillo district councilmember.

© 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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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 July 19, 2018 the Glendale Star ran a story entitled “Petitions ready to keep festivals in place.” Bud Zomok, a local downtown Glendale resident, was interviewed about his effort to run an online petition using the internet site ipetitions.com. The purpose of the online petition was to garner support for preserving Glendale’s downtown festivals exactly the way they have always been.

Let’s take a closer look at the representations of support depicted in these petitions. Zomok said he collected 958 signatures. That is factually correct. He said that people for all zip codes in Glendale responded. That is factually correct.  I reviewed all of the petition signatures Zomok presented to each member of the city council. Here is the signature break down by zip code in Glendale:

  • 85301 43 signatures
  • 85302 40 signatures
  • 85303 10 signatures
  • 85304: 30 signatures
  • 85305: 5 signatures
  • 85306: 18 signatures
  • 85307: 1  signature
  • 85308:  21 signatures
  • 85310: 11 signatures
  • Glendale, AZ no zip code:    8 signatures

The total number of identifiable, provable signatures representing Glendale total 187. The balance of the signatures, another 771, had no zip code or if a zip code was entered it was outside of Glendale. In fact, one signature was from France.

Yet Mr. Zomok says, “There were 400 signatures from within the city, while 500 were from the rest of the state and beyond.” I went back and took a closer look at the petitions to see if there was some marker that I missed that would allow Mr. Zomok to definitively identify 400 signatures from within the city. I could not find anything. Did he contact all of these people by email to confirm their residency in Glendale? I doubt it and you should as well. It would be difficult to convince anyone that he had personal knowledge of the claimed 400 Glendale residents.

Now, it is possible that more of the signatures could be from Glendale residents but without a zip code or other descriptor it is not possible to verify. Therefore the only rational course is to accept those petition signatures with stated Glendale zip codes.

While many of the 187 Glendale residents who signed the petition left a comment in support of the festivals there were many more respondents who did not leave any commentary at all.

I selected one page, page 27, at random and reproduced it below:

There is nothing wrong with the use of petitions to convey support for an issue. However, an online petition becomes suspect when anyone who is online can sign it, without claiming a Glendale zip code and without any comment about the festival which indicates a lack of knowledge about the festival. Petitions generally work and have meaning (except for the 1,000 Glendale residents who signed a petition in opposition to an amended Stonehaven plan and were ignored) when locals circulate them among the local population. It does a disservice to every reader of this news article to represent that there is overwhelming support from scads of Glendale’s residents.

No one has suggested that the festivals be eliminated in their entirety. Far from it. In fact, it appears that the city manager has identified enough funding to add one of the three weekends back to Glendale Glitters. So instead of four weekends of city funded programming there will be two. 

In an informal poll that ran with this blog 53% of the respondents approved of changing the festivals while 47% of the respondents did not.

There is nothing to preclude the downtown merchants from getting together, seeking sponsorships and developing programming for the two weekends that will not be funded by the city. It’s not too late to do so. I am sure the city would work with the merchants to facilitate their needs should they decide to take up the task. The merchants would have to raise the money needed for associated production costs such as police, security and sanitation. The city has made clear that it believes the dollars used to cover the costs associated with four weekends can be used more effectively with other initiatives to achieve the goal of driving visitors downtown on a yearlong basis.

The general sentiment seems to be that the festivals need refreshing, not elimination in their entirety. I have some ideas and I have heard some good ideas from the merchants as well. I hope they will come together as one voice and share those great ideas with the city. Let’s work together.

© 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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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 mid-August voters will receive their primary election ballots. Before the primary election occurs it is time to look at the candidates for the Barrel and Ocotillo district council seats. Since there are two candidates for the Ocotillo and Barrel district seats, it is likely that these district elections will be decided in the Primary Election. This is the important election for Glendale voters. This Primary election will also narrow state legislative and congressional candidate choice to one Democrat and one Republican to face off in the November election.

All candidates whether they are running for local or some other office within the state are required to periodically file a committee campaign report. The schedule for this year is:

  • 2018 1st Quarter report (covers Feb. 25, 2018 to March 31, 2018) due between April 1st and April 15th, 2018
  • 2018 2nd Quarter report (covers April 29, 2018 to June 30, 2018) due between July 1st and July 15th, 2018
  • 2018 3rd Quarter report (covers Aug. 12, 2018 to Sept 30, 2018) due between Oct. 1st and Oct. 15th, 2018
  • 2018 4th Quarter report (covers Oct. 21, 2018 to Dec. 31st 2018) due Jan. 1st and Jan. 15, 2019

This is a new state reporting system that began shortly after my last run for office in 2016. At that time all candidates were required to terminate their existing campaign committees and to reform their committees under the state’s new reporting system.

The 2nd quarter reports have not been put online yet by the City Clerk’s office as the last day to file them was July 15, 2018. As soon as they are posted I will provide an update on the candidates’ filings.

All of the information in this blog is publicly available through the City Clerk’s office. Since the city has implemented a new software computer operating system citywide finding the campaign finance reports is no longer as user friendly. Here’s the drill:

  • On the city’s main page of its website on the left side of the page choose “City Clerk
  • On the next page on the left side choose “Public Document Search
  • A list will come up in the middle of the next page. Choose “Elections
  • A block will come up labeled “Content”.  From the drop down menu choose “Campaign Finance Records-Finance Report
  • A second block underneath is labeled “Committee Type.” From the drop down menu choose the name of any single candidate’s committee.
  • All current filed campaign reports will come up. Choose the report you wish to view.
  • If you wish to print out any report, you must save as a pdf and make sure pop ups are not blocked in your browser.

Whew! That’s really friendly to you, the user, isn’t it? To make your life a little easier I’ve already gone through the relevant campaign finance reports for Bart Turner and Ray Strahl, Barrel district candidates; and Jaime Aldama and Emmanuel Allen, Ocotillo district candidates. At this time I have chosen not to report on Tolmachoff as she is running unopposed in the Cholla district. I viewed the 4th quarter of 2017 reports and the 1st quarter of 2018 reports.

Barrel District Bart Turner: Mr. Turner’s 4th quarter 2017 report shows a campaign committee balance of funds of $942.53. He filed a “No Activity” report for November and December, 2017. His 1st quarter report of 2018 shows receipts of $950.00. The three contributors to his campaign in the 1st quarter of 2018 are:

  • Jessica Koory at $300
  • Bruce Heatwole at $150
  • Klaus Bolle at $500

He had no campaign expenses thus far. He began his 2nd quarter reporting period with $1,892.53.

Barrel District Ray Strahl: Mr. Strahl’s first report is the 1st quarter report of 2018 since he formed his campaign committee a month or so ago. He collected $8,600 in campaign donations. His four contributors are:

  • Mark Myer at $6,350
  • Ronald McClure at $1,000
  • Kevin Dang at $1,000
  • Nicholas Simonetta at $150

His expenses were typical for any campaign:  a little over $2,000 in food for volunteers, petition canvassers and domain name and website hosting. He began his 2nd quarter reporting period with $6,343.29.

As you can see, Strahl the challenger for the Barrel district council seat, has raised more money in this first quarter report. But it’s early in terms of finance reporting. There are still 3 more quarters and a final report to be submitted. Most politicians wait as long as they can to report the major sources of their contributions. Revealing who some of their contributors are could prove problematical in some cases.

In my next blog we’ll take a look at the finance reports of Aldama and Allen, running for the Ocotillo district seat. After that, expect further blogs on more campaign finance reports and the positions of the candidates on major issues in Glendale.

© 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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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 July 5, 2018 the Glendale Chamber of Commerce announced its endorsements for the three city council seats to be voted upon in Glendale’s next election. The endorsements were for all three incumbents: Vice Mayor Tolmachoff from the Cholla district; Councilmember Bart Turner of the Barrel district; and Councilmember Jamie Aldama of the Ocotillo district. All candidates were interviewed and their written responses reviewed by the Chamber’s Public Policy Council. Those recommendations were then forwarded to the Board of Directors for approval. Here are the members of the Glendale Chamber’s Public Policy Council:

  • Bill Toops, Glendale Star, Chairperson (also serves on Board of Directors)
  • Steve Adams, AlphaGraphics, (also serves on Board of Directors)
  • Rachel Aja, Cox Communications
  • Kathi Beranek, Blue Cross Blue Shield (company also represented on Board of Directors)
  • Judy Butler, Butler Creative & Consulting
  • Ron Castro, BNC National Bank, (company also represented on Board of Directors)
  • Michael Cavaiola, Redflex Traffic Solutions
  • Stephanie Colbert, Chance Mikos Farmer’s Insurance
  • Donna Davis, Expect More Arizona
  • Patricia DiRoss, Salt River Project, (company also represented on Board of Directors)
  • Yvonne Knaack, State Farm Insurance
  • Matt Ligouri, Southwest Gas
  • Bobbi Magdaleno, Arizona State University, (also serves on Board of Directors)
  • Dave Mitchell, Ideal Insurance Agency
  • Liz Recchia, WeMar
  • Brent Stoddard, Director of Public Affairs, City of Glendale
  • Lyndia Vescio, Vescio Law Firm, (also serves on Board of Directors)
  • Robert Heidt, CEO Glendale Chamber of Commerce, (also serves on Board of Directors)

Here are the members of the Chamber’s Board of Directors;

  • Maria Brunner, Chair of the Board, OneAZ Credit Union
  • Lily DeBileux, Chair-Elect, Pendergast Elementary School District
  • Steve Adams, Treasurer, Alphgraphics
  • Scott Spillman, Vice Treasurer, BNC National Bank
  • Jean Higginbotham, Past Chair, Blue Cross Blue Shield,
  • Robert Heidt, CEO, Glendale Chamber
  • Victoria Coley, Humana
  • Ariana Deerman, Wells Fargo Bank
  • Stephanie Klingener, VitalFit Training
  • Kate Kochenderfer, Salt River Project
  • Wayne Lawson, Signarama on 51st Avenue
  • Patrick McDermott, Arizona Public Service
  • Bobbi Magdaleno, Arizona State University
  • Kevin Phelps, City Manager, City of Glendale
  • Mary Pritchard, Pritchard Insurance Group
  • Richard Sherry, Dignity Health Arizona
  • Bill Toops, Glendale Star
  • Jeffrey Turney, Military & Veterans Affairs
  • Lynda Vescio, Vescio Law Firm
  • Judy Walter, Dignity Memorial
  • Mayor Jerry Weiers, City of Glendale

Of the 18 members of the Public Policy Council, 8 members (44%) also serve on the Board of Directors or have another person from their company serving on the Board of Directors. Once the Public Policy Council has made a recommendation for endorsement it is very probable that the Board of Directors will ratify the recommendations. After the 8 members have made a decision those same 8 companies can ratify the recommendations made to the Board of Directors needing only one more person to constitute a majority of the Board.

It is also worth noting that seven (38%) of the 18 members of the Public Policy Council members represent large companies (Cox Communications, Blue Cross Blue Shield, BNC National Bank, Redflex Traffic Solutions, Salt River Project, Southwest Gas, Arizona State University). All have a Valley-wide presence. Should Valley-wide, major companies be empowered to make recommendations about local candidates for office?

What criteria were used to make their recommendations for endorsement?

  • “Candidates were selected who have distinguished themselves as knowledgeable and supportive (emphasis mine) of issues positively affecting the business community in the city of Glendale.”
  • Bill Toops, Chair of the Chamber’s Public Policy Council said, “The Glendale Chamber Board of Directors is pleased to endorse candidates who have demonstrated accessibility and collaboration (emphasis mine) in support of promoting interests most important to our local businesses.”
  • Robert Heidt, the Chamber’s CEO, said, “Throughout this process we heard from those running for office and have endorsed candidates who has the clearest understanding of the challenges facing the business community and those whose policies align with our initiatives (emphasis mine) to foster a pro-business environment focused on the creation of quality jobs, along with business retention and expansion.”

These criteria seem to favor incumbents. Their positions as elected officials provide many opportunities to “distinguish themselves as knowledgeable and supportive,” to have “demonstrated accessibility and collaboration,” and to have advocated for “policies that align” with the Chamber’s initiatives.

Incumbents have the decided advantage as they have the opportunity to interact with the Chamber in a variety of ways in their official capacities as well as the opportunity to approve/disapprove actions that benefit the Chamber’s interests. It’s not a level playing field. Often those running in opposition to the incumbents have no experience or knowledge of specific city initiatives or actions, especially any that could benefit the Chamber. It’s not their fault. They haven’t been playing ‘inside baseball’ for the previous four years (term of an incumbent). They simply do not have any experience serving as an elected and therefore are at a disadvantage. It takes any newly elected official time to learn how the city works, to become familiar with its policy positions and to establish relationships with various stakeholder groups within the city.

Perhaps the better criterion to be used would not to be rely upon experience (that is weighted always toward the incumbent) but rather to review candidates’ positions on the issues and which policies would be supported. If two candidates for the same office shared the same views perhaps using incumbency to tip the scales should not be the option for recommendation. Perhaps in some cases there should be no recommendation or a recommendation to support either candidate.

I remain troubled with the process used by the Chamber to select endorsements in a local campaign. It will be another two years before the Chamber issues its next set of endorsements for local office. That time might be well spent in developing a process that recognizes an incumbent’s advantage and levels the playing field for those who have never held office.

© 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.

First let me recognize and thank this city council for approving Phase I of a permanent West Branch Library currently under construction. However, Heroes Park is far from complete. It’s a twenty year commitment by Glendale still not met. Heroes Park still lacks its Recreation & Aquatics Center (a la Foothills), its water feature, a dog park, a Phase II expansion of the library and its ball/soccer fields.

Heroes Park Concept Plan

 

 

 

 It drives me nuts when I pick up the paper and read that Phoenix will invest between $80 and $100 million to upgrade Margaret T. Hance Park (also known as the “Deck Park”) to include a jogging loop, a skate park, a splash pad area, enhancements to its events area and more trees for shade. Or that Avondale will spend $12 million to upgrade its Festival Fields Park with a lake, dog park, splash pad, ramadas, new lighting, restroom and playground equipment replacement and volleyball, pickleball and basketball courts. Or that Goodyear is investing in a 30-acre park with a recreation center and an outdoor aquatic facility.

I accept that Glendale faced enormous fiscal adversity and the decisions of the current councilmembers and mayor were critical in reversing those problems. I accept that Glendale, as every other city, weathered the Great Recession. But now Glendale is facing a bright financial future and the completion of this park is a moral debt owed to the citizens of south and west Glendale.

They have waited for 20 years…marking a full generation of children that never had the opportunity to use Heroes Park. This is a city council promise that must be fulfilled for all of the people that bought homes in the area on the reliance that there would be a park nearby.

What angers south and west residents is that Foothills Recreation & Aquatics Center was placed into the city’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) in Fiscal Year 98-99 (the same year as Heroes Park) as a Multi-General Center North and in addition in Fiscal Year 01-02 a Recreation & Aquatics Center was also added. In Fiscal Year 03-04 both projects were merged into the Foothills Recreation & Aquatics Center. Groundbreaking occurred in 2005 with completion of the project in 2006. It took 7 years from identification in the CIP until it was opened for business. And yet Heroes Park remains in large swaths of dust, dirt and weeds. It is not only an eye sore but an embarrassment to all.

Until this park is completed with all of the elements of its master plan, people will continue to believe in a sentiment I have heard expressed often and bitterly. They point to Foothills with its library and recreation & aquatics center and say, north Glendale is placed before the rest of Glendale and there is some truth to that belief.

In the 1980’s the Hunt brothers had acquired most of the land known today as the Arrowhead area. Their plans were to develop a master planned residential community. However, the brothers attempted to corner the silver market resulting in their bankruptcy. The leaders of Glendale at that time made a commitment to save the dream of Arrowhead pouring at least $70 million into the area to guarantee its development. Their action saved Arrowhead but at what cost? Dollars that would have been used throughout Glendale were instead diverted to Arrowhead. For several years Glendale’s financial resources were targeted up north while the rest of the city’s needs were unanswered. That well intentioned action caused tremendous citizen resentment that persists to this day.

Sometimes that resentment becomes exacerbated when over 1,000 citizens sign a petition to moderate the proposed Stonehaven residential project and their voices are ignored or when O’Neil Pool, waterless and no longer useable remains a gaping scar for years within O’Neil Park. People shrug their shoulders with a palpable sense of embitterment and defeatism.

Fixing the O’Neil Pool problem and completing Heroes Park will go a long way to restoring peoples’ faith that the city will treat all of its areas with some sense of equity. No longer would south and west residents have cause to believe that they are step children, often ignored.

Everyone acknowledges that these promises – Heroes Park and O’Neil Pool — were not made on the current senior management’s or council’s watch but now that Glendale is back on track financially it is incumbent upon them to finally fulfill these promises. These two projects will restore a sense of pride in their city for south and west Glendale residents.

Every district within Glendale has its “Points of Pride,” those recreational amenities created for the use of our residents.  

  • Cholla district has the Foothills Library, the Foothills Recreation & Aquatics Center and Thunderbird Conservation Park.
  • Sahuaro district is proud of its Paseo Racquet Center & Park; Skunk Creek Park and Thunderbird Paseo Park.
  • The Barrel district can point to the Adult Center, the Main Library and Sahuaro Ranch Park.
  • The Cactus district residents enjoy the Elsie McCarthy Sensory Garden, the Rose Lane Aquatics Center and Manistee Ranch.
  • The Ocotillo district claims the Velma Teague Library, the Civic Center and Murphy Park & Amphitheatre.
  • The Yucca district has the Grand Canal Linear Park and …???? An unfinished Heroes Park.

When will our promise be fulfilled?

© 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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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.

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