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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

The City of Tempe has still not announced a decision on the Coyotes’ response to their RFP. First they announced they would do so at the end of December, 2021. Then it moved to the end of January, 2022. Now, it’s crickets. To refresh your memory, in July, 2021, the city issued an RFP for “a mixed-use project incorporating a professional sports franchise and entertainment district for two parcels of city-owned land totaling 46 acres at the northeast corner of Priest Drive and Rio Salado Parkway.” The Coyotes, as Bluebird Development, were the only entity to submit a bid on September 3, 2021.

The Coyotes want to build a $1.7 billion development with a 16,000-seat arena, hotels, apartments and shops on 46 acres near Priest Drive and Rio Salado Parkway that the team said would be financed by private investors. The team wants to use a portion of city sales tax revenues generated on the site to help pay for $20 million in infrastructure and other costs to get the site shovel ready.

One obstacle to the proposal has been Sky Harbor Airport. It is concerned, as it should be, that this development will be 460 feet away from the end of one of the runways. It is also concerned about the height of the proposed apartment complexes and the arena itself as well as the intrusive lighting that has the potential to disrupt pilots.

Tempe is having an election to select 3 councilmembers who would be sworn in July of 2022. The city’s Primary Election is March 8, 2022. Usually, but not always, the Primary Election produces the winners as 50% plus 1 vote is all that is needed to have won the Primary. If the winners are not selected in the Primary, there will be a General Election on May 17, 2022.

At a January, 2022, Tempe candidate forum all candidates were asked to respond to the Coyotes’ RFP. They were asked whether they supported the plan and what it would take to get their support for the deal. This is the link to that forum: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/tempe-election-council-candidates-sound-off-on-coyotes-arena-deal-2020-election-at-republic-forum/ar-AASLpx2 . Apparently all are very good tap dancers for they certainly danced around this issue. It really is pretty simple. Either they support giving $20 million taxpayer dollars to a sports owner or they do not. That is acknowledged as part of the deal. Not much in-depth research is required on this deal point. Here are their responses:

John Skelton: A former Arizona Cardinals quarterback who operates an in-home senior care center in the East Valley, Skelton said the NHL team’s proposal appeared to be a “good deal” for Tempe, especially as that land isn’t currently generating revenue for the city. A development of that size could cause traffic issues and he said if elected he would want to look at what the city can do to alleviate congestion around the project.

Casey Clowes: An attorney and community advocate whose work focuses on environmental and social equity causes, Clowes said she grew up playing hockey and attending Coyotes games. If elected, she would look at the benefits and drawbacks of developing an arena as opposed to another type of development on that land. One deal point she would drill down on would be any financial incentives like property tax subsidies offered to the team, which she doesn’t support. She would also encourage the team to prioritize hiring Tempe residents, hiring companies that offer fair wages and hiring companies that use apprenticeship programs during construction.

Gina Kash: The project could help draw money for local businesses and she would support the arena, said Kash, a former top-level Republican caucus staffer at the Arizona House of Representatives where she started in 1998. She wants to see local businesses prioritized in the project and would want to have discussions with residents on whether tax dollars should be used in the deal.

Harper Lines: A member of the Tempe Arts and Culture Commission who oversees community engagement at the University of Phoenix, Lines said the city needs to weigh potential job opportunities and economic development benefits of an arena against transportation issues it could cause. The city also needs to consider the team’s rocky relationship with Glendale and reports of late rent and other payments to Glendale so that the city isn’t saddled with debt if it enters into a deal with the Coyotes.

Jennifer Adams: The only sitting council member candidate running who was first elected in 2018 said she is currently involved in negotiations and couldn’t comment on the question but that she “evaluates everything very carefully” to see if a deal is a right fit for Tempe.

Arlene Chin: Appointed by the council to fill a vacancy on the dais from May 2019 to July 2020, Chin, who works for the ASU Foundation and is active in city commissions and nonprofit boards, said overall she is supportive of bringing more investment to Tempe and of projects that could bring jobs and business development but it has to pencil out financially for the city. She raised concerns about the infrastructure needs to support such a large project, potential burdens it could put on city systems and the cost of moving a city operations yard that is on the site that would have to be moved before construction.

Berdetta Hodge: Hodge, who has long been involved in the local community, said she would support the project if it’s the right fit for Tempe. She is optimistic that a project of this magnitude could bring more jobs and commerce to the city but would want to make sure that traffic issues and neighborhood impacts are addressed. She wants the team to prioritize working with union contractors that provide prevailing wages, create partnerships with community groups and schools to provide opportunities for residents and support parks and neighborhoods. She wouldn’t support city funding for the project and said Tempe residents shouldn’t be taxed for it.

Current speculation is that there are 2 councilmembers who support the deal; 2 councilmembers who oppose the deal; and the rest are undecided.

Here’s my take. I have no insider knowledge and what I offer is pure speculation. While everyone waits for the RFP outcome, political leaders have realized that making a decision prior to the Primary Election on March 8th is not in their best interests. If those who are elected appear to support the deal, they will be comfortable in announcing the RFP’s acceptance. Obviously, the reverse is true as well. Depending on the results of the Primary Election, don’t expect Tempe to do anything until the candidate winners are announced.

You can be sure the Coyotes are putting substantial sums into the campaigns of those who support their RFP. I checked all candidates’ campaign filings of January 31st and there is nothing outstanding with regard to their campaign contributions. That is to be expected. Their next campaign filings will reveal who received money from whom.

However, money can only do so much. There are well organized groups of citizens who oppose this deal as well as the Council’s possible decision to give $20 million in taxpayer dollars to support a sports franchise. This has garnered the attention of the Coyotes who have called upon fans to start an email campaign and petitions in support of the Coyotes. The battle lines have been drawn. Let’s see who becomes the victor.

On a totally separate note and kind of related is the Coyotes/ASU deal that allows the Coyotes to play in a college facility for at least the next 3 years. I suspect all the owners within the NHL are spittin’ mad. The Coyotes’ owner is already financially subsidized in a league revenue sharing scheme. With even less revenue generated in this small facility, the other owners will take it on the chin by having to share even more revenue with the Coyotes. They cannot be happy at this prospect.

Bettman is also allowing the Coyotes to play in a 5,000-seat facility. The actual attendance will be even less than that as seats will be consumed for press and production uses. Yet when others sought temporary, smaller facility usage, historically they have been denied by Bettman. Why the discrimination in this case? I suspect Bettman will do anything to save face when he made his absolute declaration that hockey would stay in Arizona as well as his commitment to the southwest media market.

I wonder if Bettman and Daley have make the trek to Tempe to chat up councilmembers in an effort to shore up support for a positive decision on the Coyotes’ proposal?

My final observation is that I am pleased the City of Glendale made the decision to sever ties with the Coyotes. Their history of ownership has been filled with unpleasant drama and financial issues. Hey, Tempe Councilmembers, those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it. Consider your RFP just the first chapter in your possible, drama-filled relationship with the team. It won’t be your last.

© Joyce Clark, 2022      

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

Tuesday afternoon, February 8, 2022, I received word that HB 2476 had been pulled from consideration by the House Commerce Committee by one of its sponsors, Representative Cesar Chavez. I think it is safe to say the bill is dead and buried.

I want to thank all who responded by emailing or calling Representatives. You did you job and your actions worked. This was an example of true democracy working. Again, thanks to all who made their voice heard.

Here is Representative Chavez’ press release on the matter:

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.

If you remember I authored several blogs on the Biden administration’s efforts to mandate more affordable housing throughout the country. I said that the Feds under the Biden Administration have espoused major zoning changes encouraging more dense housing and the construction of more affordable apartments complexes everywhere. A bill currently before the Arizona State Legislature is HB 2674 Municipal Zoning: By Right Housing is designed to accomplish these objectives and I guarantee you won’t like it, if it is passed. I will summarize the worst parts of this bill but if you want to read it, please go to this link: https://www.azleg.gov/legtext/55leg/2R/bills/hb2674p.pdf .

Cities and towns have always had their own local building requirements. In Glendale, a developer must submit an application and is required to meet all of Glendale’s General Plan requirements as well as to hold at least one neighborhood meeting. The proposed residential project must receive approval from our Planning Commission and City Council. It then must go through final design review and receive approval from our city’s Development Department to ensure that it meets Glendale’s specific standards including design elements, the height, the density of the project and specific, mandated setbacks. The city’s General Plan is its blueprint for where our community wants to see different kinds of residential and commercial development.

All of this will be gone…legislatively, in one single bill introduced this week at the legislature. This bill removes ALL authority from cities and towns to regulate and direct where single family and multifamily residential can be placed in our city.

I am listing some of the worst provisions of this bill.

“L. IN EXERCISING ITS DELEGATED LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY, A MUNICIPALITY SHALL ENSURE THAT IT PROVIDES AN ADEQUATE SUPPLY OF HOUSING THROUGHOUT THE MUNICIPALITY BY COMPLYING WITH THE REQUIREMENTS PRESCRIBED IN SECTION 9-462.09.” In other words, an adequate supply of housing (which is very subjective) in real speak means affordable housing.

The bill goes on to say, “HOUSING SUPPLY AND AFFORDABILITY ARE MATTERS OF STATEWIDE CONCERN. ALL LOCAL LAWS, ORDINANCES AND CHARTER PROVISIONS THAT ARE CONTRARY TO, INCONSISTENT WITH OR MORE RESTRICTIVE THAN THIS SECTION ARE PREEMPTED, AND A MUNICIPALITY MAY NOT BY LAW, ORDINANCE OR CHARTER PROVISION REGULATE, RESTRICT OR LIMIT RESIDENTIAL ZONING, RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION OR RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS…” This means all cities’ laws more restrictive than what is in this bill are preempted by the state legislature and cannot be used.

“NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER LAW, INCLUDING ANY ORDINANCE OR CHARTER PROVISION, ON OR BEFORE JANUARY 1, 2023, A MUNICIPALITY SHALL ALLOW THE FOLLOWING BY RIGHT:

  1. ON ANY LAND LOCATED IN ANY EXISTING AGRICULTURAL OR SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT OR ON ANY LAND DESIGNATED BY THE MUNICIPALITY’S MOST RECENT GENERAL PLAN AS SUPPORTING SINGLE-FAMILY DWELLINGS, THE CONSTRUCTION OF EIGHT SINGLE-FAMILY DWELLING UNITS PER ACRE OR TWELVE TWO-FAMILY DWELLING UNITS PER ACRE.” For example, I live on a street of 30 custom built homes, each on an irrigated acre. Under this bill my neighbor could sell his land to a developer that could put 8 single family homes or 12 two-family units on that acre. Is there a vacant parcel of land that is an acre or more in your neighborhood? That land could have the same fate. There goes your property values.

“2. IN ANY EXISTING AGRICULTURAL OR MULTIFAMILY RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT OR ANY LAND DESIGNATED BY THE MUNICIPALITY’S MOST RECENT GENERAL PLAN AS SUPPORTING MULTIFAMILY CONSTRUCTION, THE CONSTRUCTION OF MULTIFAMILY DWELLING UNITS WITH THE FOLLOWING DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS:

      (a) THE GREATER OF THE HIGHEST ALLOWED HEIGHT FOR THE SITE OF THE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT, THE HIGHEST ALLOWED HEIGHT FOR A COMMERCIAL OR RESIDENTIAL USE WITHIN ONE MILE OF THE SITE OF THE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT OR FIFTY-FIVE FEET. IF THE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT IS LOCATED WITHIN ONE-HALF MILE OF A RAIL STOP, BUS STOP, FREEWAY OR MAJOR ARTERIAL ROADWAY, THE MAXIMUM HEIGHT LIMITATION MAY NOT BE LESS THAN SEVENTY-FIVE FEET.

     (b) THE DENSITY LIMIT APPLICABLE TO THE MULTIFAMILY DEVELOPMENT SHALL BE THE GREATEST ALLOWED DENSITY FOR A MIXED USE OR RESIDENTIAL USE WITHIN ONE MILE OF THE SITE OF THE MULTIFAMILY DEVELOPMENT, OR, IF THERE IS NOT A MULTIFAMILY DEVELOPMENT WITHIN ONE MILE OF THE SITE, THE NEAREST MULTIFAMILY DEVELOPMENT.

     (c) THE MUNICIPALITY MAY NOT REQUIRE A GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT, USE PERMIT OR REVIEW BY A BOARD OR COMMISSION FOR AN APPLICANT TO CONSTRUCT BY RIGHT HOUSING PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION.” To add insult to injury, these dense apartment units can be 55’ or 75’ feet tall. Most homes are 30’ feet in height or less. A city will no longer have the right to regulate height or density. Projects will be exempt from review by the Planning Commission.

“A. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER LAW, A MUNICIPALITY MAY NOT ADOPT OR ENFORCE ANY ORDINANCE, CODE, STANDARD, REGULATION, GUIDELINE, AGREEMENT, STIPULATION OR OTHER LEGAL REQUIREMENT, INCLUDING A ZONING ORDINANCE ADOPTED PURSUANT TO SECTION 9-462.01, RELATED TO OR REGULATING RESIDENTIAL HOUSING DESIGN ELEMENTS. A MUNICIPALITY MAY NOT WITHHOLD A BUILDING PERMIT OR OTHER APPROVAL NECESSARY AS A CONDITION OF CONSTRUCTING RESIDENTIAL HOUSING FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH ANY ORDINANCE, CODE, STANDARD, REGULATION, GUIDELINE, STIPULATION OR OTHER LEGAL REQUIREMENT, INCLUDING A ZONING ORDINANCE ADOPTED PURSUANT TO SECTION 9-462.01, RELATED TO OR REGULATING RESIDENTIAL HOUSING DESIGN ELEMENTS.” This provision prevents a city from imposing any kind of design standard on these multifamily complexes. It mandates that a city cannot withhold approval or stop such a project.

There is more but I think you get the idea. This bill would be disastrous for every community within the State of Arizona. Just imagine a 55’ to 75” tall apartment complex with 5 feet between it and another property, along with no design regulations…in Strawberry, Prescott, or Paradise Valley.

What can we do about it? KILL THE BILL. This bill, if passed, will do irreparable harm to your city.I beg you to contact your state legislators and let them know you do not support this bill. Numbers do work. If a lot of constituents (you) email Representatives, they have no choice but to listen. I am providing a list of Glendale’s legislators in the House of Representatives because that it where the bill was introduced. Let them know by using their email addresses, in no uncertain terms that you do not support HB 2674. Here is the list for Glendale:

If you do not live in Glendale, here is the link to the entire list of Arizona state legislators and their email addresses: https://www.azleg.gov/memberroster/ .This bill is a disaster for every single community in the state. We must, in no uncertain terms, let our legislators know that we do not want or support this intrusive bill.

© Joyce Clark, 2022      

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

Glendale has become a growth leader in the metro area over the past 5 to 7 years. The most startling fact to share is this – “ According to Colliers, there are 19.2 million square feet of space currently under construction throughout the region, with almost 40 percent of that in Glendale.” No other city in the Valley has experienced this kind of growth. This is remarkable. I credit our City Manager, Kevin Phelps, and our city’s Economic Development Department.

For those of you who are not ‘fact nerds,’ this blog may be boring but Glendale’s remarkable transformation since 2014 is worth noting.

In 2014, the city’s bond rating dropped to BBB. In 2020, the city’s bond rating is now AA. This rating is extremely important because this rating results in lower interest rates when the city borrows money. The amount of bond debt per person in Glendale has dropped from a high of $771 to $384 today.

City Council created a policy deliberately concentrating on employment growth in the Loop 303 Corridor dubbed the “New Frontier.” Even though residential growth was not a prime objective, since the last census, Glendale’s population has grown by 21,000 new residents with more than half of that growth occurring since 2015 and its total population is now over 250,000 people. Between 2016 and 2021, 4,880 new housing units both multi-family and single family, have been constructed. There has been a concerted effort to concentrate multi-family in the Westgate/Zanjero area to sustain and support this major economic center.

Glendale is one of the 5 top Valley cities having a jobs per capita ratio today of 0.40 and it is expected to continue to increase. Over 118,000 residents are employed with 21% of its residents working in Glendale. Most of our residents, about 57% work in Phoenix. On the other hand, about 30% of Glendale’s workforce lives in Glendale with about 25% of Glendale’s workforce living in Phoenix and about 15% living in Peoria.

All this new economic growth has increased General Fund revenues from $174M in Fiscal Year 2010 to $241M in Fiscal Year 2020. In Fiscal Year 2021, the city council approved Glendale’s first billion dollar total budget. The General Fund is used to finance the day-to-day operations of the city and includes all employee compensation. Planning and Permitting revenues saw a dramatic jump from $4.5M in Fiscal Year 2018 to $37M in Fiscal Year 2021. This is primarily due to all the new Loop 303 development. This revenue is one-time money that can and has been used for catching up on improving Glendale’s amenities.

Let’s not forget the Crystal Lagoon Island Resort, Glendale, development. I’m not sure it is appreciated just exactly how much impact this single project will have on Glendale, the Valley and the State. Click on this link if you would like to see the live feed of ongoing construction at the site: https://app.truelook.cloud/dashboard/553/923/live?code=15hm7ev0xey9jmgpfyf2jd9e0&fbclid=IwAR2VhkoN56nBnnmqMouCzAWFM9BHxtvSmNlj83REtd_D2fuA3g9vdeZ-SAY

With the 3 hotels, the public water feature, 5 nodes of retail/restaurant and the Mattel family amusement center, this project is a game changer for Glendale. Expect about 5,000 visitors a day with an annual attendance of about 12 million. It is expected to generate about $10M a year in sales tax revenue for Glendale. It is the owners’ intent to be open prior to the Glendale hosted Super Bowl in 2023. With the exposure surrounding the Super Bowl, expect visitors not just from the Valley or State but nationwide, even internationally. It will become one of THE places at which to have a family vacation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the remodeling of the city owned Gila River Arena focusing on the customer experience at a major concert venue, set to occur next year (2022), again, in time for the Super Bowl, expect attendance spill over from the Crystal Lagoon Island Resort. Just imagine a family vacation for several days with all that the Lagoon offers plus attending a concert at Gila River Arena and all the offerings at Westgate/Zanjero. It makes for a great family vacation package.

 

 

 

What do all the numbers and facts and figures mean? It means Glendale is not just financially healthy but is about to become the gorilla of the Valley. Hear Glendale roar!

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

On December 3, 2021, the State of Arizona’s Department of Revenue (DOR) filed a tax lien against the Arizona Coyotes in the amount of $1.3 million with approximately $250,000 being owed to the City of Glendale for unpaid taxes. The tax lien states the team owes taxes as far back as June 2020 (that’s a year and a half). In the City of Glendale letter sent to Xavier Gutierrez, President and CEO of the Arizona Coyotes, advising the organization if payment on back taxes as well as monies owed to ASM Global, manager of the Gila River Arena, were not paid in full by close of business on December 20, 2021, not only would the organization be locked out of the building, but their Glendale business license would be terminated. See the correspondence below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This latest development should come as no surprise if you had read Katie Strang’s Athletic story, Dysfunction in the desert: Finger-pointing, fear and financial woes roil the Coyotes organization published in February 16, 2021. Here is the link: https://theathletic.com/2390146/2021/02/16/arizona-coyotes-investigation-toxic/ . Be forewarned, you must subscribe to the Athletic to read the full article.  It is well researched,   in-depth and a fascinating read. Ms. Strang also provides strong coverage of the organizations’ structural disfunction. Excerpts from her story referring to the organization’s past financial issues include the following:

  • “Meruelo’s acquisition of the Coyotes was supposed to portend a new era for the team. Instead, people within the organization and across the NHL are now wondering if the league erred in approving his purchase.”
  • “In April, the team announced it was furloughing half of its staff due to pandemic-related financial issues. In May, the Arizona Republic reported that promises to pay the arena’s part-time and hourly staff members had not been met. The team and arena management company, in response to the report, said they would ‘finalize our support plan that will be executed within the next 30 days’.”
  • “In September, The Athletic reported that a handful of players did not receive their signing bonuses on time.”
  • “The Athletic identified and spoke with eight vendors with whom the Coyotes had outstanding or past due balances or negotiated their debt to a lower amount.”
  • The Seyfarth Shaw law firm has been retained to investigate various allegations associated with the organization. “Among them, Seyfarth Shaw representatives have asked about:

           The accuracy of financial documents provided to third parties, such as banks and private  lenders, required to meet specific loan obligations. The accuracy of financial reports the organization sent to the league, which reflect team revenues and can potentially impact player salaries and the salary cap.”

It was Ms. Strang who broke the December 8, 2021, Athletic story regarding the Coyotes’ unpaid taxes. Here is the link: https://theathletic.com/news/coyotes-could-be-locked-out-of-home-arena-by-city-of-glendale-for-unpaid-arena-charges-delinquent-tax-bills/ArAVPFTj0LId/ . I imagine Garry Bettman’s (President of the National Hockey League) call to Mr. Meruelo, after the story broke about unpaid taxes was short and sweet…Pay those @#$%&* taxes now!

On December 9, 2021, the Coyotes organization issued the following statement saying they have launched an investigation to determine “how this could have happened.” In their press release they state, “Initial indications are that it appears to be the result of an unfortunate human error. Regardless, we deeply regret the inconvenience this has caused. We will make sure that by tomorrow morning, the Arizona Coyotes are current on all of our bills and owe no state or local taxes whatsoever. And we will take immediate steps to ensure that nothing like this can ever possibly happen again.”

If this sounds familiar, it should. According to Katie Strang’s February 16, 2021, article, when asked about paying players, “Gutierrez described both of these snafus as ‘process’ failures.”

Once again, Gutierrez seems to be pointing the finger at “process failures” implying it wasn’t deliberate but rather a glitch in the system. Maybe if it had happened once and in isolation with no background of financial questions it would be accepted as a plausible answer but there seems to be an ongoing pattern of “process failures.”

It is also no small matter to possibly lose the organization’s business license. It’s not just a matter of possibly being locked out but without a business license even if an alternate venue were found, it couldn’t be used without having a license to do business.

Today, December 9, 2021, the media is reporting that a short while ago, the Coyotes wired the entire amount to the State DOR. We do not know if they have also paid their arrears with ASM Global. I would advise Glendale to double check and to make sure all unpaid amounts are now current. One would expect no less considering the avalanche of negative publicity they generated yesterday and today.

I suspect there is more to the Arizona Coyotes’ story that will have to unfold shortly. Right now, the most pressing issue is meeting the NHL’s schedule deadline to submit the team’s play dates and their location to the League by a January, 2022 date. This early date is because the League has to juggle all teams’ schedules and craft a League schedule that satisfies all.

Forget the possibility of a new arena in Tempe. The immediate and most critical question is where will the Coyotes play while waiting 3 to 5 years for a new arena? That is, IF Tempe accepts their RFP. The only word coming out of Tempe is that they are doing extensive due diligence.

I have found over the years that a deal is best crafted when both parties can trust each other. That may be the most seminal question that Tempe will have to decide. Can they trust the Coyotes to be good, reliable financial partners?

Let me make clear, the City of Glendale is done with the Coyotes. Their absolute refusal to negotiate a long-term, 20 year lease simply made the City’s decision clear. They will not be playing in Glendale for their 2022-23 season or in any future season. That door is closed.

While Glendale has no interest in where they play in the future, I think it’s fun to speculate and the rest of this blog is pure speculation. It is not based in fact or any insider knowledge.

The only viable location is the Arizona Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum. Keep in mind pursing this location as a temporary venue is dependent upon Tempe’s awarding the RFP to the Coyotes. Then it would make some sense to pursue a lease of the Coliseum. My guess it’s a 50/50 proposition as to whether Tempe accepts the Coyotes’ RFP. What if Tempe declines to award the Coyotes an RFP? For many that is an unthinkable outcome, but it is possible. If that were to happen, there would be no need of a temporary location and I would imagine a sale of the team would be imminent. This is the only play the Coyotes have. Forget all other locations. Each has a solid reason to be unworkable.

Here are the problems with the Coliseum. It’s now December, 2021. The work and the expense involved in renovating the building are extensive and even if work on the building started tomorrow, it is doubtful the building would be ready in a mere 10 months in time for the new season in October of 2022.

According to a recent Craig Morgan story of December 8, 2021, entitled Back to the future: Coliseum makes most sense as Coyotes’ interim arena solution, he, too, thinks the only temporary solution for the Coyotes is the Coliseum. Craig Morgan has always been very friendly and supportive of the Coyotes’ ownership over the years. One can speculate that he has sources within the organization and he is reflective of their thinking process.

The Coliseum has major structural problems. The building needs a need roof, new flooring and an additional ice plant for starters. Even with a new roof it can not accommodate a centrally hung scoreboard. There are no suites and maximum attendance would be in the 13,000 to 14,000 range. If the Coyotes do use the building they will continue to bleed financially.

I had heard that it would cost $40 to $50 million to get the building in shape for hockey but Morgan, in his article, cites a construction expert who said a more realistic number is in the $100 million range.

If Tempe awards the RFP to the Coyotes everything becomes a political calculation from that point forward. We can speculate that the Coyotes will go to Governor Doug Ducey and ask to rent the building (maybe for $1 a year?) and having a great deal of Chutzpah, demand that the state pay the cost of renovating the building for them…and, oh, by the way, you have 10 months to do so. Here’s where it really gets political. Ducey is a lame duck Governor, termed out. There are rumors that he intends to run for the U.S. Senate. He will have to make a political calculation as to how such action would play with his voter base. While he might win the support of 17,000 to 20,000 Coyotes fans there are far more voters that would not take kindly to any kind of financial give away to yet another sports franchise using taxpayer dollars. It could become the albatross that makes him unelectable.

The next few months will be very interesting as we watch this play out. My personal take is that the Coyotes will be sold. Alex Meruelo has become a liability to the NHL and especially to Gary Bettman.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

Every ten years, Glendale is required to redraw its City Council districts based on data from the U.S. Census. The process is called redistricting and the goal is to make sure each Council district has approximately equal population.

Let’s begin with the Census data for 2020 provided to the city.  On July of 2019 the Census Bureau’s estimated population for Glendale was 252,387. It’s final, official count of Glendale is 248,325.

Everyone in the State believes the Bureau’s count is wrong and the population was undercounted. Experts said they expected to see even higher rates of growth. William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., who specializes in census data and urban populations, said he expected to see a higher growth rate in Arizona. Cities with council districts redraw those boundaries every 10 years after each U.S. census.

Four cities looking to redistrict by the next election in November include: 

  • Mesa
  • Glendale
  • Peoria
  • Buckeye

Other Valley cities, such as Chandler, Scottsdale and Goodyear, don’t use a district system,      instead electing council members on a citywide basis.

Look at this chart for Glendale.

City-data.com got its numbers from the Maricopa County estimates. I have no idea how the County arrived at these figures.

Please note, according to Census data, that every council district but the Yucca district added from 2,000+ in population to 6,000+ in population. Yet the Yucca district supposedly lost 315. Can anyone in their right mind believe this? The Yucca district has exploded over the last 10 years with new residential subdivisions (Copper Cove, Bethany Ranch and Positano to name just a few) as well as new apartment complexes. Yet, in the past ten years the Yucca district lost 315 people? Ridiculous. It’s nuts. The data makes no sense. The city should be requesting a recount of the Yucca district data. Someone, somewhere screwed up. If you put garbage in, garbage comes out. I suspect that the Yucca district, in fact, gained about 10,000 in population over the last decade.

Not only that, but the Census Bureau has also been late in releasing census block data (will do so this month, September) on population counts, the very data needed to redraw districts.  As a result, Glendale has until December 15, 2021, about 3 months, to submit their new council districts to the State.

Here are the guidelines, city council adopted, that shall be used to redraw the districts:

  • Each district shall respect communities of interest as much as possible;
  • District borders shall follow visible natural and man-made geographical and topographical features as much as possible;
  • District borders shall be drawn to avoid locating more than one current Councilmember in any one district as much as possible;
  • Each new district shall preserve the corresponding existing district’s population and territory as much as possible;
  • Districts known to be areas of higher-than-average population growth in the two to five years following redistricting, based on development projects that have received final plat approval from the City, may be under populated within the population deviation amounts allowed by law;
  • To the extent possible, consistent with constitutional law and the requirements of federal and state statutes, each district shall contain a substantially equal number of electors.

 

 

 

The city has created a dedicated web site allowing all Glendale residents not only information about the redistricting process but on or about September 16th the public can see the population data by census block and draw their own redistricting maps. Here is the link to the web site:

https://glendaleaz.com/your_government/connect/departments/city_clerk/redistricting/current_district_map

You can learn more and get involved by attending one of three public Glendale workshops. By the time of these city hosted workshops occur the appropriate data should be available on the city website to any citizen who wants it. Here are the workshop dates:

 Monday, September 20  2:00 p.m. Glendale City Council Chambers
5850 W. Glendale Avenue
 Wednesday, September 22  10:00 a.m. Glendale Main Library Auditorium
5959 W. Brown Street
 Monday, September 27  6:30 p.m. Foothills Recreation & Aquatics Center
Coyote Room
5600 W. Union Hills Drive

Why should we focus on redistricting whether it be on a local, state or national level? We all vote for those representatives that most closely align with our values and goals. With redrawn districts you may find that now you are in a district that has a representative with whose values and goals with which you disagree. By involving yourselves in the redistricting process your input will contribute toward making sure that your representative actually represents you.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council

Recently Tucker Carlson had a segment on affordable housing and its impact on Buckhead, Georgia. More about this later in this article. It reminded me of the blog I posted this February about the federal government’s push to create more affordable housing throughout the country.

The Progressives in the Biden administration are working overtime to require more affordable housing everywhere. Under the HOME Act in a strategy to increase affordable housing stock, CDBG grantees, such as Glendale, requires “Each grantee receiving assistance under this title shall—

 ‘‘(A) include in the consolidated plan required under part 91 of title 24, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor thereto) a strategy to support new inclusive zoning policies, programs, or regulatory initiatives that create a more affordable, elastic, and diverse housing supply and thereby increase economic growth and access to jobs and housing;

and‘‘(B) include in the annual performance report submitted under section 91.520 of title 24, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor thereto) the progress and implementation of the strategy…”

Measures to increase the amount of affordable housing include:

  • “Increasing both the percentage and absolute number of affordable units
  • “Authorizing high-density and multifamily zoning
  • “Eliminating off-street parking requirements
  • “Establishment of density bonuses
  • “Streamlining or shortening permitting processes and timelines
  • “Removing height limitations
  • “Establishing by-right development
  • “Using property tax abatements
  • “Relaxing lot size restrictions
  • “Prohibiting source of income discrimination
  • “Taxing vacant land or donating vacant land to nonprofit developers
  • “Allowing accessory dwelling units
  • “Establishing development tax or value capture incentives
  • “Prohibiting landlords from asking prospective tenants for their criminal history
  • “Provide that affordable housing units should, to the maximum extent practicable—be designated as affordable for not less than 30 years; comprise not less than 20 percent of the new housing stock in the community; and be accessible to the population served by the program established under this title”

Let’s take a snapshot of Glendale. There are 82,810 housing units (homes and apartments). Of those, 2,629 are affordable apartments in 25 low income complexes in Glendale. This represents 3% of the current housing stock as affordable and a far cry from the 20% required under the soon-to-be enacted federal HOME Act. Here are the 25 apartment complexes:

  • Vista Alegre

6549 W Maryland Ave

Glendale, Arizona

Income Based 1 BR Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • Landmark Senior Housing

8232 N 59th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

Income Based 1 BR 62+

  • Brook Creek Apartments

4937 W. Myrtle Avenue Glendale, AZ 85301

Glendale, Arizona

$475-600 1-2 BR

  • Good Shepherd West

6113 N. 60th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

Call For Rent Studio BR Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • Kachina Place Apartments

6238 N 63rd Avenue

Glendale, Arizona

Call For Rent Studio-1 BR Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • Casa Bill Soltero

6001 W Missouri Ave

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • Valley of the Sun School 6

5239 W Tonto Rd

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized Accessible Accessible Disabled Supportive Housing

  • Bethany Glen Apartments

4788 W Bethany Home Rd

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized

  • Waymark Gardens

5325 W Butler Dr

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • Glencroft Towers

8620 N 65th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • Manistee Manor

7987 N 53rd Ave

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • John’s Manor

7229 N 51st Avenue

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • San Remo Apartments

5755 N 59th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • Valley of the Sun School 5

4649 W Haywood

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized Accessible Accessible Disabled Supportive Housing

  • Tanner Terrace

7138 N 45th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • Palms at Glendale

6112 N 67th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • Desert Eagle

6917 N 71st Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • Faith House a L a Prospect Park Apartments

8581 N 61st Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • Villas Solanas

6755 N 83rd Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • Glendale Homes

6617 N 52nd Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • San Martin Apartments

6802 N 67th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • Town Square

5136 W Glenn Dr

Glendale, Arizona

  • Glendale Enterprise

6839 N 63rd Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • Los Vecinos Housing Development, Inc

7131 N 54th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • Shadow Creek II

10854 N 60th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

Ten of these complexes are for elderly housing and two complexes are for disabled housing. Thirteen are non-restrictive subsidized housing. Note that almost all are in the Ocotillo District—an unhealthy situation for that district at best.

Obviously, Glendale as a federal recipient of Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and Surface Transportation Block Grants (STBG) would be subject to this federal law or become ineligible to receive either of these block grants. Practically, Glendale in its annual report, would have to show that it is using any or all of the measurements listed above to achieve a goal of 20% of its housing units as affordable and that they would remain so for 30 years (for a generation).

How does this situation apply to Buckhead, Georgia? Buckhead, unlike Glendale, is not an incorporated city but rather a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. Therefore, it is subject to whatever zoning code amendments are enacted by the Atlanta City Council and its Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms. Much of what is in the federal HOME Act is suggested for use in Buckhead as well as other communities considered to be the suburbs of Atlanta proper.

In March of this year, Atlanta issued a report, Atlanta City Design Housing. It says, “The first step toward making Atlanta a more inclusive place to live should be to end exclusive single-family zoning by allowing an additional dwelling unit in all existing single-family zoned areas in the city.” Other ideas promoted in this report include reducing minimum lot sizes, allowing small apartment buildings in some neighborhoods currently limited to single-family homes, and mandating those wealthy neighborhoods have their per-capita share of ‘affordable housing’.“ Yet other strategies include: creating basement apartments, converting garages, allowing accessory dwelling units on the same lot; elimination of parking minimums for apartments complexes; elimination of low density housing; reduction of minimum lot size requirements; distribute affordable housing throughout the city including wealthy neighborhoods; creation of overlay affordability districts; and the use of city owned vacant land for affordable units.

There is also the creation of an Atlanta Housing Affordability Tracker which “provides a snapshot of progress made in reaching the goals of (1) creating or preserving 20,000 affordable homes by 2026 and increase overall supply and (2) investing $500 million from City-controlled public sources in the production and preservation of affordable housing as part of the larger goal of investing $1 billion (the other $500 million coming from private and philanthropic sources).”

In the name of diversity or equality what is happening in this country? When, not if, this amendment to the HOME Act becomes law, the incentive to work hard and become successful will be disincentivized. It doesn’t matter if you are black, white or brown. The most important and meaningful purchase of anyone’s life will have been diminished. It smacks of reverse discrimination not based on skin color but rather on one’s ability to be financially successful in life.

We live on an acre of land in a 3,000 SF home. For 30 years our family lived in a typical R1-6 residential subdivision. Twenty years ago, we were fortunate and found our current home and large lot property. We worked hard all our lives to have the necessary funds to buy. If the HOME Act amendment becomes federal law, our opportunity to live on a large lot today would evaporate.

I suspect that the residents of Buckhead and other Atlanta suburbs have the same attitude, and it will not surprise me in the least if they take Atlanta’s zoning amendments to court—perhaps even the Supreme Court. It is clearly a “takings” issue.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

On February 11, 2021, Piper Hansen of the Arizona Republic reported that State Senator David Gowan (R-Sierra Vista) has introduced Senate Bill, SB 1334 to allow more aerial fireworks. Here is the link to the story: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/legislature/2021/02/11/aerial-fireworks-legal-arizona-bill-legislature/4343018001/ .

Gowan wants more fireworks, not less…and why not? In his financial disclosure statement of 2021 that every state legislator has to file with the Arizona Secretary of State, you will find that he works for TNT Fireworks. It is one of the largest distributors of fireworks and operates those pop-up tents selling fireworks that spring up in parking lots everywhere just before a legal fireworks period.

At the very least Gowan has a conflict of interest in offering and in advocating for legislation that directly benefits his employer. Has he declared such a conflict? If he is not required to do so, then perhaps his time would be better spent introducing and advocating for a conflict of interest statute that applies to all members of the state legislature.

Gowan has been successful in the past in getting approval for more generous fireworks laws. He was successful in adding two more fireworks events this year – Cinco de Mayo and Dawali.  

The League of Arizona Cities and Towns, an organization that represents its cities and towns members, has already announced it opposition to this new, proposed law saying that it is concerned with an increase in citizen complaints, physical injury and fire danger. To date Gowan’s bill has not been assigned to a committee.

What Valley cities and towns want are more restrictions. Councilmembers received more complaints than ever before with people often describing their neighborhood as “Beirut.”

Here are the legal periods in which non-aerial fireworks can be used:

  • Cinco de Mayo – 3 days in May (a newly added event)
  • Independence Day – 11 days in July
  • Dawali – 2 days in November (a newly added event)
  • New Year’s Eve – 13 days in December and January

This event schedule is nuts. I continue to advocate for a two day event window for any legal fireworks event. For example, I propose that non-aerial fireworks be allowed on July 3rd and July 4th only between the hours of 7:30 PM to 12:30 AM. That’s it. No one needs 11 days to celebrate the 4th of July or 13 days to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

There is no consistency in the fireworks events schedule. It’s very confusing. If people knew that there was a two day window for any legal fireworks event, it would certainly simplify the rules for everyone.

I think it’s time for all of us to let Mr. Gowan know how we feel about his latest effort to further enrich his employer by allowing aerial fireworks as well as letting your state representatives know that you support some meaningful legislation to curb the insane proliferation of fireworks, especially in your densely populated neighborhoods.

You can email Mr. Gowan at dgowan@azleg.gov. You can email your legislators by using the initial of their first name with the complete last name@azleg.gov . An example would be ssmith@azleg.gov .

Are you fed up? I am.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

At the Tuesday, February 9, 2021 city council voting meeting Resolution R21-11 was passed by a majority of the city council. It is an agreement between the Tohono O’odham and the City of Glendale in which the city relinquishes its right to annex a parcel of land within its annexation boundaries.

I wish to explain my vote. I do not speak for the entire city council in expressing my reasoning for my vote and it should be noted that Mayor Weiers was absent due to recent surgery and did not vote on the matter.

The agreement helps to pave the way for the Tohono O’odham (TO), in the process of acquiring a parcel of land in the area of Northern Avenue and the Loop 303 freeway, to pursue building another casino, approximately ten miles to the west of the existent Desert Diamond Casino at Westgate. The property is currently owned by Saguaro Land Properties, LLC an entity of the Nation.  The next step for them is to put the land into trust.

All land within Glendale’s strip annexation borders can be annexed into Glendale, including this parcel. The TO asked that Glendale not exercise its right to annex this parcel into Glendale and a majority of the city council agreed. Glendale has the ability to annex, but not a legal right to force annexation.  Based on state statute, it would be impossible to annex them into the city, unless they agreed to do so. Here is a link to the agreement in its entirety: Contract # _ C21-0119 – TOHONO O’ODHAM NATION – Execution Date_ 2_9_2021

In the agreement the TO agrees to pay Glendale $400,000 and $1,000,000 with a 2% increase annually for 20 years:

8. Payments to the City and Other Considerations Provided by the Nation.

  1. Before the Nation Commences Gaming.  Within ten (10) days after the resolution provided in Section 4(A) of this Agreement become effective and the Memorandum of Agreement is fully executed and recorded, the Nation will make a one-time payment to the City in the amount of $400,000 to help fund the operations of the City.
  2. After the Nation Commences Gaming. Commencing in the year in which the Nation first offers Class III Gaming to the public on the Property (the ‘Base Year’) and continuing in each subsequent year for a period of twenty (20) years, the Nation will make the payments described below:
  3. Commencing in the Base Year, the Nation will make annual payments to the City to help fund its operations. The Nation will commence making payments to the City within six (6) months of the date on which the Nation first offers Class III Gaming to the public on the Property and annually thereafter within sixty (60) days of the anniversary date of the original payment made under this subsection.
  4. The Nation’s payment in the Base Year will be $1,000,000.00 in each subsequent year of this Agreement, the Nations will make a payment to the City in an amount that is two percent (2%) greater than its payment in the previous year, for the same purposes.”

In return for which the city will not only announce its support for this new casino but actively support its development:

4. Termination of the PADA; Announcement Regarding the Project; No Opposition; No Annexation; Covenant Not To Sue.

  1.   As soon as practicable following the adoption by the City of a resolution approving this Agreement, the City will adopt a resolution in the form attached hereto as Exhibit C approving and authorizing the execution on behalf of the City and recording a Memorandum of Agreement and Partial Termination of Prior Agreement releasing the Property from the PADA, in the forms attached as Exhibit 1 to such resolution, which will then be executed on behalf of the City and the Nation and recorded, at the cost and expense of the Nation, in the Official Records (the ‘Memorandum of Agreement’).
  2. Press Release. Within ten (10) days after the Effective Date, the City and the Nation will issue a joint press release, approved in substance and form by each of the Parties, stating that:
  3. The City and Nation have entered into a mutually beneficial intergovernmental agreement relation to the Property and the Project;
  4. The City supports the United States’ acquisition of the entirety of the Property in trust for the benefit of the Nation under the Lands Replacement Act;
  5. The City supports the Project (including the Nation’s proposed casino gaming operation on the Property);
  6. The City wants the Nation to construct and commence operating the Project as expeditiously as possible for the mutual benefit of the City and the Nation; and
  7. The City supports the Nation’s efforts to enter into a Compact authorizing the Nation’s Class III Gaming on the Property.
  8. No Opposition.
  9. The City will not, directly or indirectly, oppose, challenge, or appeal any decision by the Secretary of the Interior to acquire the Property in trust for the benefit of the Nation under the Lands Replacement Act, including any current or future fee to trust applications concerning the Property.
  10. If the Nation asks the National Indian Gaming Commission or the United States Department of the Interior to issue any decisions or opinions relating to whether the Property meets the requirements of 25 S.C.&2719(b)(1)(B), the City will not, directly or indirectly, oppose the request.
  11. No Annexation. The City will not, after the Effective Date, annex, or take any action to annex, all or any portion of the Property.
  12. Covenant Not To Sue. The City will not commence any future action or make any claims against the Nation or Gaming Enterprise to hinder the Nation or the Gaming Enterprise in developing the Project, except that the City may seek to enforce the terms of the Settlement Agreement and this Agreement.”

One reason to vote ‘yes’ would have been because I do not oppose the city’s agreement to not pursue annexation of this land in question. Let it remain in the county. When it is taken into Trust it becomes a reservation and part of a sovereign nation. This means the new TO casino when built will be on reservation land and not subject to local, county or tax taxation and it is not subject to local or state building codes. That is because it will be a sovereign nation and not under local, county or state jurisdiction. The issue of agreeing to not annex the land was never the issue for me. There were other reasons that compelled me to vote ‘no’ on this issue that I believe outweighed the issue of annexation or non-annexation.

I should disclaim that I have had a long history of opposition to the first casino, now a reservation, a sovereign nation, surrounded by Glendale. I will not bore you with the long history of that fight but suffice it to say, some of the actions taken by the TO appeared to some as being underhanded. Were they? That’s for you to decide but several local tribes claimed such. Here is the link to the testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives in May, 2013, of Diane Enos, President of the Salt River-Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. It does a good job of summarizing many of Arizona’s Indian tribes view of the Tohono O’odham’s actions historically: HHRG-113-II24-Wstate-EnosD-20130516

My ‘no’ vote was based upon the following questions and assumptions. My first thought was, why is the TO paying the City of Glendale when the casino will not be on city annexed land? It will remain part of the county until it is designated a reservation. With the passage of Resolution R 21-11 it will never be annexed by Glendale or be a part of Glendale. There may be several reasons:

One could be in the 1986 Gila Bend Act Congress authorized the Tohono O’odham to purchase and to become reservation up to 9,880 acres of land in Maricopa, Pima or Pinal counties. The land was supposed to replace agricultural land that had been flooded by the federal government. There was the expectation that the new land purchases would be agricultural. Under the Act, it also states the purchased land may not be within the corporate limits of any city.

Another reason may be the TO’s intense desire in securing Glendale’s full-throated support as the city agrees to publicly support the new casino. Why is this important to the TO? My guess it is to neutralize any opposition there may be from other tribes such as Gila River or Salt River-Pima-Maricopa. The TO can point out that it has the support of Glendale to move forward with this new casino.

It also secures Glendale’s support of a new Indian Gaming Compact that will go before the state’s voters in 2022 as well as ensuring Glendale’s support in its requests of the federal government to designate the land as a reservation.

Under the existent Compact the TO are allowed a total of 4 casinos. They have those now – one in Tucson, Ajo, Sahuarita, and Glendale. To construct a 5th casino will require the agreement of the signatory Tribes to the newly crafted Compact soon to be presented to the state’s voters, as well as voter approval.

That raises a question about the new Compact, as yet unveiled to the public. If the TO anticipates getting a 5th casino, does that mean all of the other signatory tribes are anticipating getting authority to plant even more casinos in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area?

Yet another reason may be because the seller of the land to the TO was a member of the PADA (Pre Annexation Development Agreement) which required land owners who are party to this agreement to annex into Glendale. When the land was sold to the TO this legal proscription remained with the sale of the land.

Although it is not specifically spelled out, the agreement seems to be a “quid pro quo.” In return for certain payments to the city, the city will support the TO’s plans. It is often acknowledged that “perception is reality.” The perception of some, after reading the Agreement, may be that the Tohono O’odham bought the city council’s support. I don’t disagree.

There may be “more to this story” than the TO have shared. Perhaps they do not enjoy the support of some of the other Tribes. Perhaps if the city had decided to keep their land in the PADA it might have clouded a federal decision as to whether the land should be taken into trust for a reservation. I honestly don’t know.

Other considerations that formed my decision to vote ‘no’ were the new casino may draw customers from those traveling along the Loop 303 but I suspect it will also draw Sun City, Sun City Grand and Sun City West patrons of the current casino to patronize the new casino as it is closer to them. It may end up cannibalizing its customer base; and although the site is not within the noise contours of Luke Air Force Base, it is in close proximity to them. The TO will be constructing a casino with intense usage just outside of those noise contours.  There could be cause for concern should there ever be an aircraft accident.

In summary, it wasn’t the actual issue of agreeing that the city would not annex the land that drove my decision but rather other, less tangible considerations and perceptions. Does this mean that I cannot work with the TO on issues regarding its current casino in Glendale? No. I promised fair consideration of any request they may make and I will abide by that pledge. The Agreement just passed by city council raises questions that remain unanswered and are likely to remain unanswered. Those questions prompted my ‘no’ vote.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

Just as in years past, I like other Glendale councilmembers, received numerous complaints about the use of fireworks. Only this year the number of complaints seems to have grown exponentially. One Yucca district complainant said that upon calling the Glendale Police Department to make a fireworks complaint, it was said by dispatch that over 300 complaints had been received in Glendale. This week I will ask Glendale personnel for the final total number of complaints received and what disposition they received.

What can be done to stop an activity which has gotten out of hand, is being abused and appears to be unenforceable? Currently, not much. The state legislature has taken control of the fireworks law and allows cities extraordinarily little authority to control the activity. Here is the link to the full text of the state statute: ARS statute Fireworks

This portion of the law makes very clear that the state has usurped cities’ ability to regulate fireworks by saying,  36-1606. Consumer fireworks regulation; state preemption; further regulation of fireworks by local jurisdiction, “A. The sale and use of permissible consumer fireworks are of statewide concern. The regulation of permissible consumer fireworks pursuant to this article and their sale or use is not subject to further regulation by a governing body, except as follows:

(c) Prohibit the use of permissible consumer fireworks on days other than May 4 through May 6, June 24 through July 6 and December 24 through January 3 of each year and the second and third days of Diwali of each year.” It seems it is legal to use fireworks on:

  • May 4th through May 6th , Cinco de Mayo, a period of 3 days
  • June 24th through July 6th, Independence Day, a period of 13 days
  • December 24th though January 3rd, New Year’s Day, a period of 11 days
  • 2nd and 3rd days of Diwali of each year. Diwaliis India’s most important holiday—and a celebration of good over evil. This five-day festival of lights is observed by more than a billion people across faiths and is celebrated during the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika (between mid-October and mid-November). A period of 2 days.

Have you noticed the inconsistency in the number of days allowed per event? Everything from 2 days for Diwali to 13 days to celebrate the 4th of July, Independence Day. I would suggest that the state law be consistent for all recognized events allowing fireworks on May 4th and 5th for Cinco de Mayo; July 3rd and 4th for Independence Day; December 30th and 31st for New Year’s; and the 2nd and 3rd days of Diwali.

We know aerial fireworks are illegal per state statute: “(c) Does not include anything that is designed or intended to rise into the air and explode or to detonate in the air or to fly above the ground, including firework items defined by the APA 87-1 and known as firecrackers, bottle rockets, sky rockets, missile-type rockets, helicopters, aerial spinners, torpedoes, roman candles, mine devices, shell devices and aerial shell kits or reloadable tubes.”

We know what permissible fireworks are: “7. (i) Ground and handheld sparkling devices; (ii) Cylindrical fountains; (iii) Cone fountains; (iv) Illuminating torches; (v) Wheels; (vi) Ground spinners; (vii) Flitter sparklers; (viii) Toy smoke devices; (ix) Wire sparklers or dipped sticks; (x) Multiple tube ground and handheld sparkling devices, cylindrical fountains, cone fountains and illuminating torches manufactured in accordance with section 3.5 of the APA 87-1 and

(c) Does not include anything that is designed or intended to rise into the air and explode or to detonate in the air or to fly above the ground, including firework items defined by the APA 87-1 and known as firecrackers, bottle rockets, sky rockets, missile-type rockets, helicopters, aerial spinners, torpedoes, roman candles, mine devices, shell devices and aerial shell kits or reloadable tubes.”

The use of illegal fireworks is almost impossible to enforce without allowing police departments the use of new tools such as drones. A drone can provide factual evidence that should be allowed as meaningful evidence in a court of law.

State statute clearly says, “…their sale or use is not subject to further regulation by a governing body,…” That leaves only one option, that cities and citizens lobby the state legislature to amend the current law. Since cities cannot further regulate the use of fireworks complaints to elected officials are often wasted. If truth be told, most elected officials view the use of fireworks exactly the same way you do.

The only way to achieve some meaningful results would be to ask elected officials from all Valley cities to join their efforts into one coalition to lobby the state legislature for amendments to the existing law. Those amendments could include limiting the number of days for each event to two days; prohibiting their use after midnight; and granting police departments the ability to use drones with drone photograph captures as being recognized as admissible evidence in a court of law. 

© Joyce Clark, 2021      

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