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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

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Sammy Chavira campaign signs were spotted today. They look like they are the same signs he used in his 2012 campaign. The slogan on his signs, “The right priorities” has proven to be ironic and totally meaningless. People are chuckling and saying, “Really?”

Let’s take a look at Sammy’s priorities during his first term:

  • His priority is to take lavish trips at taxpayers’ expense such as seeing the Pope on a large screen TV in Washington, D.C.
  • My priority is to publicize all of my taxpayer funded councilmember expenses on internet for all to see.
  • His priority is to ignore the law by failing to appear in court for a speeding ticket that resulted in his driver’s license suspension and eventual payment of fines when the media started to question him. He called it “a minor glitch.”
  • My priority is to advance the completion of Heroes Park.
  • His priority is to be largely invisible while serving as a councilmember by missing a dozen council meetings and holding only one district meeting during his term.
  • My priority is to restore regular district meetings and to be accessible in person, by phone, email and social media.
  • His priority while on council is, “I’ll be a voice for accountability and tight spending controls” except when it comes to burying his trip expenses in a mass of lost credit card receipts. His accountability has been non-existent.
  • My priority is to improve services for Glendale’s residents while keeping city government lean and mean.
  • His priority is to “fight to fully fund Head Start, promote education tax credit programs and make city-provided after-school programs more academically focused.” Unfortunately he didn’t tell voters that a Glendale councilmember has no control over local school board decisions regarding curricula, policies and funding.
  • My priority is to work toward a permanent west library branch.
  • His priority is, “no more sweetheart deals.” Yet he flip-flopped on the Coyotes management contract and approved a $15 million dollar a year “sweetheart deal.”
  • My priority is to attract new businesses and jobs while working to assist existent businesses.
  • His priority is as a double-dipper receiving $35,000 a year as a Glendale councilmember while also pulling close to an estimated six figure salary as a Phoenix firefighter yet he can’t seem to do his job as a councilmember.
  • My priority is to serve everyone by doing my “homework” on issues that come before council, attending all council meetings and helping citizens to solve problems.

All of his priorities reflect facts from the Arizona Republic, the Glendale Star, minutes of city council meetings and direct quotes from his 2012 political mailings.

There were those who counseled Sammy not to run this cycle but it appears that Sammy thinks Yucca district voters are too stupid to understand and appreciate his many misguided “priorities.”

Chavira has done nothing and contributed even less to council deliberations on major issues. Now the Arizona Republic in an Op-Ed piece has called for his censure for his extravagant trips paid by Glendale taxpayers. They did not go far enough. Chavira should reimburse the city. He can certainly afford to do so with his two jobs earning him a six figure salary.

He appears to have flown under the radar taking care of his friends and major campaign contributors. We know that he has repeatedly ignored the residents of Yucca by canceling scheduled meetings, failing to return their phone calls and failing to connect with Yucca residents through regular district meetings.

I decided to run at the urging of many and because Chavira, quite simply, has not fulfilled his responsibilities and obligations in service to his constituents. Add to that his blatant abuse of taxpayer dollars.

It’s time for Chavira to retire as a one term councilmember and for him to refocus on his job as a Phoenix firefighter. He’s done enough damage.Vote for Joyce

© Joyce Clark, 2016

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.

PLEASE CHECK OUT THE CHAVIRA VIDEOS TO THE LEFT OF THIS COLUMN. EACH IS ABOUT A MINUTE AND A HALF IN LENGTH.

It has been 18 years and 190 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

June 24, 2016, marks another milestone of 350,000 reads of my blog since I began in February of 2013. That averages about 100,000 reads a year. I am pleased and very grateful to all those who have become faithful readers. Thank you. In addition, in 3 months, over 1,000 people have viewed my 3 Chavira videos. Again, thank you for taking the time to view them.

In Sammy Chavira’s latest weekly e-newsletter of June 24, 2016, he said, “After serving 17 years as a Phoenix firefighter and Glendale City Council Member, Chavira helped bring a Super Bowl to Cardinals Stadium.” Gosh, in addition to all his other misdeeds now we can add embellishment and exaggeration.

While Sammy may have served 17 years as a Phoenix firefighter, he certainly, thankfully, hasn’t served as a Glendale councilmember for 17 years. He has only served one term of 4 years. As for “Chavira helped bring a Super Bowl to Cardinals Stadium.” Really? And how might he have helped? The bid for a Super Bowl and the choice of the stadium for the last Super Bowl was made long before Sammy became a councilmember.

We have just another example of Sammy’s misdirection of the facts and an attempt to give himself recognition for something he did not do.  Add to his practice of embellishment, his lavish trips at taxpayer expense, his failure to attend council meetings and to hold district meetings and his failure to appear in court with a subsequent suspension of his driver’s license while he claimed it was “a minor glitch.”

While we’re at it, let’s take a look at some of the promises made by Sammy in the campaign mailings he sent to voters in his first run for office in 2012. In one campaign mailing Sammy said, “On the City Council, he’ll fight to protect funding for local schools and excellent, academically-enriched after school programs.” Or how about this from another campaign mailing, “Sam understands that good jobs and good schools go hand in hand. He will fight to fully fund Head Start, support education tax credits for our local schools, and make after school programs more curriculum based.” These statements represent one of two positions – take your pick. Fact: The Glendale city council has no authority over federal or local education policies, curriculum or funding. That is the responsibility of your district school board whether it is the Pendergast Elementary School District or the Glendale Elementary School District. Sammy either didn’t know the facts — which makes him ignorant or he knew the facts and he chose to be deceptive.

Here’s another promise from Sammy.2012. “Too many sweetheart arena deals for out-of-state corporations have left us deeply in debt. Sam will prioritize public safety, education and public libraries and isn’t afraid to say no to special interests.” Or how about, “No more sweetheart deals. The city needs to be a tough negotiator, making smart planning decisions that preserve Glendale’s future.” It would appear that Sammy never met a “sweetheart” deal that he didn’t like. He apparently traded votes with former Councilmember Sherwood, flip-flopping on his promise to protect taxpayers from exorbitant, $15 million dollars a year arena management fees with…you guessed it…an out-of-state corporation.

He seems to favor those who contributed large sums of money to his campaign such as Mark Becker of the Becker Billboard issue that surfaced in Glendale last year.

How has he “prioritized public libraries” by supporting a 7,500 square foot modular building as west Glendale’s branch library? It’s insulting that he thinks so little of his constituency that he throws them this kind of bone.

How has Sammy made “smart planning decisions?” By allowing a residential project like Stonehaven in the Yucca district? A residential project in which 43% of the homes will be on 5,500 square foot lots (smaller than that which is required by the city’s standard R1-6 zoning that requires a minimum of 6,000 square foot lots). That kind of “smart planning decision” devalues all of the homes that surround this project.

There’s more, so much more of Sammy’s deceptions…for another blog, I think. Sammy promised a lot and delivered…nothing. Sammy earns a fire fighter’s pay check as well as a councilmember’s pay check of $35,000 a year. Yet he has failed to do his job as a Glendale councilmember. He’s often absent from council meetings and can’t seem to find the time to reach out to, much less listen to, his Yucca district constituents or their concerns.  It’s time to let Sammy go back to being a fire fighter and not a double dipper. It seems as if he can handle only one job at a time.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

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.

PLEASE CHECK OUT THE CHAVIRA VIDEOS TO THE LEFT OF THIS COLUMN.              PLEASE MAKE A DONATION TO MY CAMPAIGN!!

It has been 18 years and 174 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.                                                                                                               Recently the Arizona Republic had a story about cities and their park rankings. Here is the link:http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2016/06/03/report-phoenix-area-cities-lag-park-funding-access/84931948/ . Glendale ranked in the middle of the pack nationally at number 55. It was disappointing to read that Glendale spends the least on their park system at $39 per resident. The national median was $82 per resident. Glendale spends less than half the national median. This is a truly unacceptable statistic. Scottsdale spends the most in the state at $115 per capita and even Phoenix spends $88 per resident.

The leadership of Glendale, city council and senior management, want Glendale to grow. An admirable goal to be sure but how does a city attract new growth? Two components are essential. One is first class amenities such as parks and plenty of them. Residents want clean, safe parks close to their neighborhoods as do employees of prospective employers deciding to locate in Glendale. Peoria and Surprise are well on their way to meeting this goal. Just look at Glendale’s Grant Canal Linear Park. It is heavily used daily as is Glendale’s Thunderbird Paseo Linear Park. They demonstrate just how important parks are to residents.

Glendale is woefully lagging its neighbors. We still see an unfinished Heroes Park. Two other major parks in west Glendale also remain unfinished. Forget about new parks when Glendale can’t even find the will or funds to finish what it has started. Where are the funds to reopen O’Neil Pool? Putting in a West Branch Library as a modular building is an affront to current and future residents.If Glendale is serious about growth these are issues that must be addressed.

The other component for growth is quality residential development. Glendale’s vacant parcels should not be destined for high density, single family residential. These precious, vacant parcels are an opportunity to raise the bar of residential development. When Glendale allows a Stonehaven residential development with 43% of the lots only 5,500 square feet in size, it is not raising the bar for quality development. Some make the argument that a 5,500 square foot lot with a small home can still be a quality product. Generally it has been found that this type of house product is an entry level home and those that can qualify for purchase of this product cannot afford to upgrade options offered. So you see laminate kitchen counter tops instead of granite, standard bathroom fixtures and standard flooring…no upgrades. You find small bedrooms with just enough room for a bed and not much more. Stonehaven at approximately 300 acres of prime residential development is an opportunity squandered away by Glendale.

Glendale, it’s way past time to set the bar higher. Use the residential land left to attract other than entry level home products and for goodness sakes, finish our parks and add more parks, please.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

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.

CHECK OUT THE VIDEO ON SAMMY CHAVIRA’S USE OF TAXPAYER MONEY TO THE LEFT OF THIS COLUMN

It has been 18 years and 146 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

At the city council voting meeting of April 26, 2016 there were two agenda items that should raise  eyebrows. One was the council approval of the Long Trust proposed residential project located between Bethany Home Road and Camelback Road, 83rd Avenue to 91st Avenue called “Stonehaven.” It comprises over 300+ acres and proposes over 1,100+ homes. By the way, it will look nothing like Rovey Farm Estates, another planned area development. Rovey Farm estates had approximately the same acreage but only 800+ homes ranging on lot sizes from 7,000 square feet on the west side of the project to one acre lots on the east side of the project.

Stonehaven will have 1,100+ homes on lots, 43% of which will be 5,500 square feet…very small lots with very small homes. For this reason alone, many concerned residents asked that Stonehaven be tabled with council direction to take another look at these very small lots. The 5,500 square foot lot size does not even meet the city’s minimum standard for detached homes which should be R 1-6 (6,000 square feet). All of the citizen’s concern fell on deaf ears and city council approved Stonehaven unanimously.

Of more concern and precedent setting was council’s approval of a $1.2 million dollar payment to the Long Trust for the right-of-way for the proposed city construction of the north side of Bethany Home Road between 83rd Avenue and 91st Avenue. When a developer builds a subdivision the developer is responsible for paying for and constructing the roads that will serve its planned community. If it’s a major arterial road, such as Bethany Home Road, then the developer will dedicate the necessary right-of-way for the entire road but pay for construction of only half of the road with the city being responsible for paying for construction of the other half of the road.

Not so in this case and that is what is precedent setting. A senior staffer, part of a “city team” that negotiated with the John F. Long trust, acknowledged that the city had asked Long for dedication of right-of-way for the north side of Bethany Home Road and that Long refused.  Having been refused its request, the city rolled over and negotiated a payment of $1.2 million dollars to Long for the right-of-way for the north side of Bethany Home Road. This is precedent setting. I know of no other instance where the city had to pay a developer for right-of-way for a major road that would serve the planned residential development.

Why didn’t the city team decide that if the trust was unwilling to make the necessary dedication for Bethany Home Road that perhaps the entire residential project should not be approved?  The city could have decided that if the trust was unwilling to make the necessary dedication precluding the full construction of Bethany Home Road that the proposed residents of the project would not have adequate ingress and egress from the project. Under that scenario, the Long Trust eager to sell the land to a developer, would have had to dedicate the right-of-way for the north side of Bethany Home Road, if it wanted to approval for Stonehaven.

There is more within the approved development agreement between the Long Trust and the City of Glendale, “The Parties acknowledge that the Bethany Home Road Extension will be completed and accepted on or before January 1, 2022.” That’s 6 years from now.

In Section 3.4 of the agreement, JFLT (John F. Long Trust) will have final plans and specifications for the Bethany Home Road Extension completed by the civil engineer and approved by the Parties prior to the City’s issuance of the 275th home building permit for the Residential Development Parcel (subject to Force Majeure Events and any mutually-agreed extensions).” It is safe to assume that it will be several years before the Long Trust even has to turn in a plan for the road to the city.

Under Section 4.2 it states, “JFLT will cause the general contractor to commence construction of the Bethany Home Road Extension prior to the City’s issuance of the 400th home building permit for the Residential Development Parcel and to achieve completion and acceptance within one (1) year thereafter (subject to Force Majeure Events and any mutually-agreed extensions), but in no event later than the Outside Completion Deadline (January 1, 2022).” How long will it be before the 400th (40%) home building permit is issued? Several years at least. In the meantime these new residents will have limited access to their newly created subdivision.

How does any of this agreement serve the best interests of Glendale’s taxpayers and the soon-to-be new residents?

© Joyce Clark, 2016

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.

It has been 18 years and 137 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

On May 3, 2016 city council had another budget meeting. I am always surprised about councilmembers’ lack of in-depth questioning of senior staff about specific budget items. To be fair, Councilmembers Turner, Tolmachoff and Aldama are asking questions but are they the right ones? Just one would be to ask senior staff to justify the hiring of new employees (Full Time Employee, FTEs) being requested in the proposed budget. Specifically adding employees to the city’s core services, public safety, water, sewer and sanitation is a no-brainer and should be approved for they comprise essential city services. However, adding employees to non-essential services should have been thoroughly vetted by council.

I have a lot of questions about the proposed budget but without serving on city council it becomes an exercise in futility for the average Glendale citizen to get any meaningful answers. Instead I offer some observations about the May 3rd session.

Senior staff recommended that three council identified requests go back to the

O'Neil Pool abandoned

O’Neil Pool abandoned

appropriate citizen board or commission with yet another subsequent city council workshop. An increase in library hours will go back to the Library Advisory Board. When library hours were cut it was just announced by the city as a cost saving measure and no citizen input was sought. The repair/replacement or even necessity for the O’Neil Pool will go back to the Parks and Recreation Commission. When the pool was closed due to leaks it was simply announced by the city and no citizen input was sought. Heroes Park is scheduled to receive a $50,000 reevaluation of its Master Plan and it will go to the Parks and Recreation Commission. The city never

Southwest Heroes Park

Southwest Heroes Park

announced its inattention to Heroes Park, it simply ignored it for 18 years. I can tell you what the result of this $50,000 study will be: citizens will say overwhelmingly complete the darn park; build the ball fields, the dog park, the urban fishing lake, a permanent branch library building and an aquatics and recreation center. It appears that city is betting through this wasteful study that citizens will be willing to settle for less in this park.

What is more troublesome is that when senior staff deems something to be a priority, it is accomplished…quickly…and money is no object. Take the need to meet the parking requirements for the football stadium. Senior staff was able to identify the necessary debt capacity of $32 million dollars, purchased the necessary land for $22 million and has already begun construction on the actual parking lots for another $10 million. The entire project will be completed in less than a year.

When it is not a senior staff priority the issue gets punted…er, delayed. Hence the maneuver to send back to citizen boards and commissions the very projects that enhance the quality of life for citizens in our community…extended library hours, reopening of O’Neil Pool and completion of Heroes Park with a definitive timeline. It appears as if it’s not a senior staff priority…you can forget it for a long time.

It’s time for city council to stamp its feet, have a hissy fit and insist that these projects get the attention they deserve…long overdue.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

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.

It has been 18 years and 117 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

The city council meeting of April 12, 2016 had a lot of green shirts with the logo “Heroes Park –Finish It” in attendance. Citizen speakers spoke about the need to finish the park, long

Green shirts in city council chambers

Green shirts in city council chambers

overdue; about the density of homes in the proposed residential development south of the Grand Canal; and the need to reopen O’Neil Pool. City council did take notice and several spoke about the park during council comments. What were heard were platitudes. Some said there was recognition of the need to finish the park but none offered a solid commitment to make that happen. Others recognized the need for more parking at the park and punted saying that more temporary parking would be created when the temporary modular library branch was installed.

None of the non-solutions are satisfactory. That means the work of the citizen group led by Tom Traw of the Yucca district and Norma Alvarez of the Ocotillo district is not done. Continual pressure by the citizens’ group must continue. They will not succeed with a one day show of

O'Neil Pool abandoned

O’Neil Pool abandoned

citizen force. Pressure must be applied on the city council to allocate the money needed to complete this park.

Please contact Glendale’s city councilmembers at the email addresses listed below and tell them you want Heroes Park finished and it has been far too long.

  • Mayor Jerry Weiers at mayorweiers@glendaleaz.com
  • Vice Mayor Ian Hugh at ihugh@glendaleaz.com
  • Councilmember Bart Turner at bturner@glendaleaz.com
  • Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff at ltolmachoff@glendaleaz.com
  • Councilmember Ray Malnar at rmalnar@glendaleaz.com
  • Councilmember Jamie Aldama at jaldama@glendaleaz.com
  • Councilmember Sammy Chavira at schavira@glendaleaz.com

Or call the city council assistants and leave a message for each councilmember:

  • Mayor Weiers office at 623-930-2260
  • An army

    An army

    Council assistant Ryan Lee for Councilmembers Turner and Tolmachoff at 623-930-2250

  • Council assistant Adam Maynes for Councilmembers Hugh and Aldama at 623-930-2878
  • Council assistant Van Ornelas for Councilmembers Malnar and Chavira at 623-930-2016

If, after 18 years, you want Heroes Park to be completed it requires your involvement. One tiny ant can’t do very much but an army of ants can move mountains. You need to become a member of the ant army and actively voice your support for the completion of this park.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

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.

It has been 18 years and 115 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

This Tuesday, April 12th at 6 PM Tom Traw of the Yucca district and Norma Alvarez of the Ocotillo district are calling upon residents of these districts to meet at Glendale city council chambers as a show of support for citizen speakers on the topics of: 1. calling for the completion of Heroes Park; 2. repair and reopening of O’Neil pool; and 3. opposition to proposed small lot homes between Camelback Road and Bethany Home Road, 83rd Avenue to 91st Avenue.

Each of these issues is important in its own right. It has been 18 years plus and Heroes Park is still not completed. An entire generation of children has grown up without the ability to enjoy this park.

O’Neil pool was shut down about 4 or 5 years ago, after it was discovered to be leaking. The city would like to remove the pool and repurpose the land. It is has refused to date to allocate any money to repair the pool. The only problem is that there are over 2,000 children in the area served by O’Neil pool who have no constructive activity, such as swimming, to enjoy during the summer months. This pool needs to be repaired and reopened.

Lastly, while no one opposes residential development it is expected to be good quality development that raises property values. The proposed residential development (larger than Rovey Farm Estates) has over 1,000 lots and many that are only 5,500 square feet, below the city’s conventional minimum standard for residential, single family home lots of R1-6 (6,000 square feet). A development of this sort does nothing to raise adjacent residential property values. In fact, it will lessen everyone’s property value. Not to mention that it will bring a whole new crop of children who need to be able to use nearby Heroes Park to its full promise.

All of these issues are important to the people of the Yucca and Ocotillo districts. That is why you are needed on Tuesday evening. You will provide a show of strength in backing up the citizen speakers and will show city council you are serious about these issues.

Here is what you need to know:

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

6 PM sharp

Glendale City Council Chambers

(intersection of 59th Ave. and Grand Ave.

Park in the city parking garage.

Council chamber is east of the parking garage)

Please join an army of citizens, the silent majority, who want the city to refocus its attention on the needs of these districts. You don’t have to speak unless you wish to. A large group of people…you… showing up in support of these issues will claim the attention of the city council and senior management. Tom Traw will be handing out T-shirts in support of Heroes Park. Supplies are limited. First come, first to receive a T-shirt until they are all gone.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

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.

It has been 18 years and 110 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

The Glendale city council workshop of April 5, 2016 had 3 major issues up for discussion and direction by city council: the temporary West Branch Library; the pavement management program; and an introduction to the proposed new city owned arena manager.

Since I brought up parking for Heroes Park in my blog of April 5, 2016 entitled Glendale…fix the parking problem you created, it was definitely a topic of discussion. Erik Strunk, Director of Parks and Libraries, stated that they are working on temporary parking. He did not address the issue of Park Rangers sending people to park in adjacent neighborhoods or the safety issue of people crossing Bethany Home Road or 83rd Avenue to get to the park.

The final direction of the city council was to move forward with a temporary, 7500 square foot modular building. This action, of course, removes all impetus to ever build a permanent library structure. So, we in west Glendale, once again, get less — a 7500 SF modular structure half the size of Velma Teague Library in downtown Glendale.

The second item for discussion and direction was the city’s pavement management program. Currently the city spends $10 million annually to repair and maintain the city’s streets. Staff requested an additional $5 million a year. Ms. Vicki Rios, Interim Finance Director, presented a series of slides during the discussion. I bring two of those slides to your attention. This first one shows the city’s current debt service. The red, dotted line is the city’s secondary property tax revenue that is used to pay this form of debt. Please note that as of this year’s (FY 16-17) budget there is new debt capacity available…perhaps to build the west branch library? The new debt capacity is the difference between the red, dotted line and the sold green block depicting debt payments.

Current General Obligation debt

Current General
Obligation debt

Not so fast. Look at this second slide. It depicts current debt plus new, proposed debt.

Current debt plus new debt

Current debt
plus new debt

Note the Series 2016 debt depicted by the brownish square in the legend. That Series 16 debt is the $32 million the city is issuing next week to pay for the land and to construct parking on it to satisfy the city’s obligation to provide adequate parking for Cardinals’ football games. The orange, olive and blue areas above the brownish parking debt represent $5 million dollars a year in new debt for the pavement management plan. Note the red, dotted line which are funds used to pay the debt. Now there is no debt capacity available until Fiscal Year 21-22. With council’s approval of two items: the issuance of $32 million in debt for Cardinals’ parking and the $5million a year ($15 million total) for the pavement management plan there is no debt capacity to do anything else including building a permanent west branch library. The significance of these decisions is that there will be no debt capacity to build a west branch library for SIX more years until Fiscal Year 21-22. We will have waited for the west branch library for 25 years. There is no word to describe this situation other than disgraceful.

The last item was a public introduction of AEG as the proposed new manager of the city owned Gila River Arena. There was no mention of the Coyotes who continue to declare that they will move to some magical, undefined new facility somewhere else in the Valley. The reality is that AEG, as arena manager, the Coyotes and the city will have to come to terms in the meantime. I continue to believe if the Coyotes and AEG can come to agreement for a few years, why not long-term?

Under council requests for future workshops only one councilmember spoke, Sammy Chavira. He requested that the city present its travel policy and compare it to other Valley cities. What was more interesting is that Sammy, largely invisible these days, was cornered by an Arizona Republic reporter and questioned about his trips. Sammy’s only response was, “I want to stick to the policy to find out from now on – so next time, if you look at your policy, if you see anything, that you know that’s what we’re adhering to. What I want to do is I want to put something in concrete.” Say what? What did he say? Here is the link to the full story in the Arizona Republic: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2016/04/06/glendale-councilman-sammy-chavira-requests-review-travel-policy-after-council-trip/82631826/ .

I can see it now. Sammy’s defense is that he followed city policy. OK, so now it’s the city’s fault? Where is Sammy’s ethical and moral compass? In essence he is admitting that he took advantage of a policy. It’s the same as if there were a policy that said, thou shall not steal. Since the policy is so vague an argument could be there is no definition of the word “steal.” Sammy is playing word games but they won’t work this time. He is accountable for his actions. He should voluntarily reimburse the city for the nearly $25,000 he spent for trips to see the Pope, his buddy sworn into Congress, his excessive baggage claims and rebooked flights, and his two highly suspicious trips to California. Don’t hold your breath on this one.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

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.

It has been 18 years and 109 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

HeroesParkbutton

Prior to the first Cardinals football game held at the University of Phoenix stadium as your Yucca district councilmember I insisted that senior management create a “Neighborhood Protection Plan” for neighborhoods adjacent to the stadium. I, and the residents, worried about game day parking on neighborhood streets and cut through traffic to get to or to leave the stadium. Such a plan was created and implemented. Many of you in adjacent neighborhoods may remember the Resident Placards distributed to every household adjacent to the stadium. After years of attendance most of the fans have been trained and do not park in neighborhoods or cut through them anymore. Barricades at the entrance to adjacent neighborhoods are still used on game days just to remind fans to park elsewhere.

This time the city has created its own parking mess, not adjacent to the stadium but rather in neighborhoods adjacent to Heroes Park, located at the northeast corner of 83rd Avenue and Bethany Home Road.

Despite the lack of amenities at the park for there are only a few basketball courts, a splash pad, a tot lot and ramadas, the park is still heavily used and loved, especially on weekends. So, what’s the problem?

There are not enough parking spaces at the park. As a result, people park in the dirt along the periphery of the park, especially along 83rd Avenue.

The city, in its wisdom, decided this would never do. Instead of creating more parking spaces, direction was given to park rangers to tell people that such parking was prohibited and they would have to move their vehicles or suffer their vehicle being towed away.

Where did the park rangers tell people to park? They told people to park in an adjacent neighborhood on the south side of Bethany Home Road. Last weekend over 75 vehicles parked in that neighborhood. There were so many cars that neighbors came out of their homes to see what was going on while seeking an explanation for all of the cars lining their streets.

To make matters worse, the city has created a major safety issue. Park visitors often with children in tow, having parked in the neighborhood, now have to cross a major arterial street, Bethany Home Road, to get to the park. Bethany Home Road has a lot of traffic at all times of

Street identification signs

Street identification signs

day and night. Vehicles traveling eastward approach the pedestrian crossing area from a hill with a curve providing no sight line to see pedestrians. There is no signage, no crosswalk, and no markings for vehicular traffic warning of heavy pedestrian crossings. Quite frankly, it is just a matter of time before a pedestrian is injured or killed trying to cross Bethany Home Road to get to the park.

What was the city thinking? The city has a policy that does not allow Cardinals game day parking in adjacent neighborhoods yet now is directing park patrons to park in an adjacent neighborhood? Why?

Instead of creating a permanent solution by developing, at the very least, temporary parking

Southwest Heroes Park

Southwest Heroes Park

spaces on 60 acres of unused dirt and weed-filled Heroes park property, it directs park patrons to park in a neighborhood? Is it because, once again, a problem at this park in west Glendale is not a priority? It is ironic that the city could throw $32 million at its Cardinals parking problem but appears to have neither the motivation nor the money to fix a relatively minor parking issue.  Is it a reflection of the city’s reluctance to spend any money on infrastructure improvements in west Glendale? Or was it through sheer incompetence that such a wacky solution was created? If this situation occurred in north Glendale it would last about 30 nanoseconds.

Where is Councilman Chavira? He had been told of the problem by local residents. Why hasn’t he demanded that this parking problem and safety issue be solved? Once again, we have an invisible councilmember who is not listening to his district residents much less advocating for an immediate remedy. Our district deserves better representation than it has received from Sammy Chavira during his term of service. Oh wait, Sammy doesn’t appear to serve his community interests…only his own. Is it because there isn’t any money to be made for Sammy in creating a parking solution?

Glendale…fix the parking problem you created.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

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.

It has been 18 years and 102 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

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HeroesParkbutton

Tom Traw of the Yucca district and Norma Alvarez of the Ocotillo district have joined forces and are calling for Yucca and Ocotillo district residents tired of seeing a dirt and weed filled park. They are calling on all Yucca and Ocotillo residents to go to the next Glendale City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 12,2016 at Glendale City Hall in the Council Chambers. I applaud their effort. I plan to attend that evening.

There is more than one issue to be concerned about but we’ll get to the others later. Let’s talk Heroes Park first. The park is 88 acres and classified as a city regional park. The only other regional parks in Glendale are Thunderbird Park and Sahuaro Ranch Park. They are completed and convenient to those who live in central or north Glendale. The city plan for Heroes Park calls for:

  • A permanent 35,000 SF branch library to serve residents to the south and west of Grand Avenue. The current proposal to place a 7,500 SF modular building to serve as a branch library is a travesty. It will be 1/5 the size of the Foothills Branch Library (35,000 SF) and half the size of Velma Teague Branch Library in Murphy Park (approximately 15,000 SF). It removes the city’s urgent need to fulfill its commitment to build a permanent West Branch Library at Heroes Park.
  • A major recreation and aquatics center similar to Foothills Recreation and Aquatic Center.
  • An urban fishing lake.
  • Ball fields.
  • A dog park

What is in the park now? Several basketball courts (heavily used and loved), a zero depth

Closed X Court

Closed X Court

splash pad, a tot lot with some tables and benches, a closed and abandoned X Court (for inline skating) and ramadas (for rent). That’s it. The balance of 66 acres sits desolate with dirt and tumbleweeds.

This park has been in the city’s plans since approximately 1988, over 18 years. In 1998 this

Southwest Heroes Park

Southwest Heroes Park

park was on the verge of disappearing. The city seriously considered selling the park land to a developer for nearly 500 homes. It took a massive show of citizens objecting to the sale to save this park. Over the years former Mayor Scruggs and the councilmembers who supported her have played games with this park and at her direction, along with a majority of councilmembers in 2006, $6 million for park development was diverted to complete the construction of the Regional Public Safety Training Facility. The most recent threat to this park’s development, prior to the Great Recession, was the city’s plan to build a new City Court House. Any money earmarked for the park would have been diverted to build the court house.

Since the Great Recession a plea to finish this park with its planned amenities has met the continual city mantra of we have no money. Oh really? The city could find $32 million

Northeast Heroes Park

Northeast Heroes Park

instantly to buy the land and to build parking to satisfy the Cardinals. They had to fulfill their contractual obligation to the Cardinals and so the parking will be constructed. Yet they can’t seem to find money to finish this park.

What other issues face the residents of the Yucca and Ocotillo districts? One is O’Neil Park’s swimming pool. Several years ago leaks were discovered and the pool was closed and has been closed ever since. It has disenfranchised over 2,000 children who live in the square mile from Camelback Road to Bethany Home Road, 59th Avenue to 67th Avenue. It has the densest population per square mile of any square mile in the city.  That square mile contains over 1300 homes and is ringed by 10 apartment complexes. Swimming pools per home is one of the lowest in the city. If I remember correctly, there is one residential pool for every 10 homes in that square mile. When we lived in that square mile we had no pool and our family relied heavily on the use of O’Neil pool.

Now the city wants to bulldoze the pool and “repurpose the land.” The city has a solemn obligation to repair or rebuild O’Neil pool. In the Capital Improvement Plan one of the criteria for deciding the merit of a project is the city’s obligation to repair and remediate existing city infrastructure. That is exactly what O’Neil pool is, existing city infrastructure.

The last issue of importance for the Yucca and Ocotillo districts is Jake Long’s (son of deceased John F. Long) request to put over 1,100 homes on the farm land between the Grand Canal Linear Park and Camelback Road, 83rd Avenue to 91st Avenue.  The plan’s housing proposal is too dense and many of the homes are requested to be built on 5,500 square foot lots. The city’s minimum single family lot size is R1-6, 6,000 square feet. Typically lots smaller than 6,000 square feet are reserved for attached homes and not for a single family home. Why would the city accept such a plan? Because it’s Jake Long asking?  Because that’s all that this part of town merits? I fought this fight the entire time I was on council and succeeded many times. For example under my leadership, Rovey Farm Estates’ smallest lots on its west boundary at 91st Avenue are 8,000 square feet and lots on the east boundary on 83rd Avenue are from 1/3 of an acre to an acre. Missouri Ranch has a minimum lot size of 10,000 square feet and sits on the eastern boundary of the proposed Long development project. There are many streets in this area adjacent to the proposed development whose homes are on one acre lots with horse privileges. None of these residents are happy about having small, residential lots adjacent to them.

By now you should be angry and disgusted. I know that I am. These two districts, Yucca and Ocotillo deserve better treatment and a renewed laser-like focus by the city. No longer should we shrug our shoulders. It’s time we spoke out and demanded better. It’s time.

Think about it. Somewhere between 100 and 150 people showed up to oppose the sale of the Foothills Branch Library and they succeeded. An equal number of citizens showed up to protest Becker Billboards’ proposal to erect billboards in north Glendale. They, too, succeeded. A show of force, a show of citizens will cause city council to react.

Please plan to attend the Tuesday, April 12, 2016 meeting of the city council at 6 P.M. Citizen Comments are offered at the beginning of each city council meeting. You do not have to speak unless you wish to do so. Comments are limited to 3 minutes per individual. So take the time to plan your remarks. Others will be there to speak. We need numbers…hundreds of residents to show that we stand behind the speakers to these issues. Please commit an hour or two that night to back up the speakers and to demonstrate to city council that there are a lot of people who want this council to pay attention to and to fulfill commitments made. Please email Tom Traw at ttraw@aol.com or call Norma Alvarez at 623-934-0734 to let them know that you plan to attend and to support your district.

There are strong reasons to show your support:

  • Are you tired of a dirt and weed filled park that has languished for over 18 years?
  • Are your children now adults but when you moved here counted on a park and library for their enjoyment? A park and library that never came. An entire generation of children has grown up without benefit of Heroes Park and its branch library.
  • Are you tired of the city’s neglect of your neighborhood? Whether it’s code enforcement or poor streets or lack of maintenance of city infrastructure?
  • Are you tired of the city’s inaction and failure to fix O’Neal pool?
  • Are you tired of the city’s acceptance of proposed residential projects that do nothing to preserve your property values?
  • Are you tired of the city’s acceptance of proposed dense, residential projects filled with small homes on even smaller lot sizes?
  • Are you tired of the neglect that has become pervasive in the Yucca and Ocotillo districts?
In the shadow of the University of Phoenix Stadium at Heroes Park

Heroes Park. One can see the UofP Stadium in the distance (1 mile away)

Then please join us Tuesday, April 12, 2016, at 6 P.M. at City Hall Council Chambers (at the intersection of 59th Avenue and Grand Avenue) for a show of force. Citizens are advised not to clap or shout during the meeting. The practice has become to raise your hands high when you approve of a speaker’s message. We will not be the silent majority any longer. We will make our presence known and our voices heard. I will be there. Will you?

Glendale City Council meeting

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 6 P.M.

Glendale City Hall Council Chambers

                                         At the intersection of Grand Ave. and 59th Ave.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

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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