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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.

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      

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

I recently read an article in the Epoch Times, dated October 27, 2020 regarding recreational marijuana use in Pueblo Colorado.  Here is the link: https://www.theepochtimes.com/the-true-cost-of-marijuana-a-colorado-town-that-went-all-in_3546091.html?utm_source=newsnoe&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=breaking-2020-10-27-4 . I urge you to read the entire article.

Pueblo, like the rest of Colorado, allows recreational use of marijuana. It’s a town smaller than Glendale with a population of about 160,000. There is no doubt that marijuana is earning a ton of money for the town—about $100,000 in sales tax monthly. That’s over a million dollars in sales tax a year for the city. The industry employs about 2,000 people at a rate of $12 to $15 an hour. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

However, the article shares the experiences of several Pueblo emergency physicians and now the picture is not quite so rosy. They say the harmful effects far outweigh any monetary benefits. Many people end up in the ER with something called cannabinoid hyperemesis. The cause is chronic cannabis use of high-potency products and stops when the use of cannabis stops. The main ingredient in marijuana is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Twenty, thirty years ago a marijuana joint contained about 4% THC. Now the potency is pegged at more than 80%. Then there are the issues of psychosis and schizophrenia typically affecting 17, 18 and 19 year olds.

Pueblo and all of Colorado has seen an increase in all drug use and not just marijuana. Marijuana is a gateway drug that often leads to the use of opiates. Methamphetamine use is up 143 percent, opiates are up by 10 percent, and cannabis is up by 57 percent, according to data from the ER drug screens over the past seven years.

Then there are the not so obvious results. It is much more difficult for employers to find sober workers. There is the effect of more school drop outs and those not dropping out have more difficulty in learning resulting in a larger, unsatisfactorily educated work force. And while town coffers may be bulging, health care costs have increased dramatically. Public safety spends more and more time answering overdose calls taking them away from more serious medical emergencies and crimes.

Arizona already allows the use of medical marijuana and the system is often abused but that action should not be used to allow the use of recreational marijuana. What are we doing to our people ? And most especially to our kids? Aren’t we obligated to protect them?

It’s on the Nov. 3rd ballot. The choice is yours.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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.

No project as large in scope as this one is simple or easy to create. This project is wide-ranging and complex reflected by the fact that it has taken over a year to put all of the pieces in place. There are 5 different agreements:

  • Development Agreement with ECL Glendale, LLC. (approved by city council on Sept. 8)
  • Government Property Improvement Leases with ECL Glendale, LLC. (approved by city council on Sept. 8)
  • Purchase and Sale Agreement with ERD Glendale, LLC. to purchase approximately .2942 acres of city-owned land (scheduled to come before city council on Sept. 22)
  • Option Agreement to purchase real estate with ERD Glendale, LLC to purchase approximately 4.154 acres of city-owned land (scheduled to come before city council on Sept. 22)
  • Parking Agreement(s) (scheduled to come before city council on Sept. 22)

The Development Agreement acknowledges that this project qualified as a business expansion economic development project. The term of this agreement is 25 years. The agreement spells out the terms of a 25 year “partial” Government Property Lease Excise Tax (GPLET). Under Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S. 42-6208) a GPLET may be applied only to amusements and their related retail and restaurant concessions. It allows for a 25 year partial exemption of lease excise tax for recreation and entertainment uses. Once the project has completed all construction (October, 2022) the company sells the project to the city for a token amount. The city becomes the lessor (owner and landlord) exempting ECL from paying property tax.  ECL becomes the prime lessee (renter) paying the city a token annual rental payment and pays annual lease excise tax instead of property tax. After 25 years the GPLET terminates and cannot be renewed. At that time the project reverts back to ECL, becomes private property and pays property tax rather than a lease tax.

The Government Property Improvement Lease further refines the terms of the 25 year partial GPLET. The terms remain as represented above but they are spelled out in excruciating legal detail. It’s a 50 page document (yes, I read it all) that only an attorney would love. It even covers what happens if there is “an act of God” that destroys the project.  It’s a very detailed, boring, yet important document.

The company is obligated to operate and maintain the project for at least 25 years continuously. The company agrees to completion of construction of the entire project on or before October 31, 2022. The city recognizes the right of the company to develop, construct and use the property under its current Planned Area Development (PAD) zoning. The city will provide expedited plan review. The city will provide a Fee Waiver in the amount of $1M in permit, plan review and inspection fees but this waiver does not include Development Impact Fees (DIF) which is estimated to be a one time payment of $4.4M.

Purchase Sale Agreement for 0.29 acres allows ECL to purchase for $10 a square foot, totaling $126,000. This small sliver of city-owned land is situated on the southwest corner of Montebello Avenue and 95th Avenue. It enhances access to the project site.

Option for Purchase Sale Agreement for 4.15 acres allows ECL to purchase for $10 a square foot, totaling $1.8 M. This land would be used for water retention, employee parking and maintenance operations for the project.

Parking Agreement(s) provide for the project’s overflow parking needs at the city-owned Black lot on all days but football game days and mega events at the stadium (attendance must be 40,000 minimum). ECL will maintain the black lot and pay for all associated utilities. This agreement will also be approved by the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority (AZSTA) and the Cardinals. Additional agreements between the Bidwill family and ECL may provide alternate parking should the city decide to develop the Black Parking lot. Obviously, with this project and others within Westgate and Zanjero, at some point the Black Lot parking land becomes so valuable for development that its use as a parking lot no longer makes financial sense.

The Return on Our Investment (ROI) is substantial. Keep in mind the city always uses conservative figures and I think it is fair to assume the numbers provided could be higher. Over 25 years the county earns $60.4M or $2.4M a year; the schools earn $90.6M or $3.6M a year; and the state receives $309.3M or $12.3M a year. What does the city earn? Over 25 years $240.5M or $9.6M a year. During construction of the project the city earns construction sales tax of $5.9M; $1.8M for the sale of remnant land parcels; and DIF fees of $4.4M. I personally think the annual revenues will be higher, especially during and after the Super Bowl in 2023. This resort project is sure to be heavily promoted during the Super Bowl generating a ton of viewer interest and a spike in tourist visits to Glendale.

All of these revenues are generated because the city, in order to attract this project, was willing to forego $1M in fee waivers, agree to accept excise lease tax rather than property tax and already had an abundance of available overflow parking constructed. In return for which, the city will generate almost $10M a year in new revenue. The city did not have to pay a dime to entice the project. The city does not write a check as an incentive to the developer for anything. I think that it is a win-win for Glendale and ECL. That’s why it won my immediate and enthusiastic support from the time I first learned of the project.

There are cities across this country that will never have this kind of opportunity but Glendale has spent the past several years positioning itself to attract just such a project.  As I said in my last blog there are intangible benefits as well. This experiential retail, entertainment concept is a brand new concept and will be the very first anywhere in the world. It will claim the attention of both the retail and entertainment industries and provides a blueprint for marrying the two concepts together. Glendale was on the map as a host city for the Super Bowl and the Final Four but this project moves Glendale to a new level of prominence.

I thank ECL for choosing Glendale as its partner and for hanging in there for over a year to execute tedious, legal, governmental documents that can be frustrating at times. It’s a challenge for all concerned to bring a project such as this to reality. Kudos to Glendale and ECL for making it happen. I am very proud to welcome them as the newest member of our Glendale family and the Yucca district.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

This is a blog I have been dying to write for the past year. I simply couldn’t wait to announce this project until tomorrow. So, I will write for a couple of hours and post it in the wee hours of tonight. In this first blog I will give you the big picture regarding the project and in my next blog I will go into detail for those of you who may be nerdy like me.

A year ago our City Manager shared with me that there was a possibility that a Crystal Lagoon project could be coming to Glendale and specifically to my district, the Yucca district at the southwest corner of Cardinals Way and 95th Avenue. I had no idea what the concept was so the first order of business for me was to do my research. What I learned made me anxiously hopeful that Glendale could land such a project. I was excited about the prospect and periodically asked our City Manager Kevin Phelps about the success of the negotiations always ending with, “Can I announce it yet?” For months the response was always, “Not yet.”

The concept was born with Fernando Fischmann, a trained biochemist and a real estate developer. His first project was in San Alfonso del Mar, Chile. The obstacles in the creation of a large lagoon as an amenity to his real estate development project were immense and frankly, solutions were non-existent.  At the time there was no cost effective technology available that could be utilized to maintain a large body of water.

He did what any other genius entrepreneur would do. He did the research himself by setting up his own laboratory to invent the technology needed for his project. He successfully patented his newly created technology allowing him to build major residential/lagoon projects worldwide. Today there are at least a 100 Crystal Lagoons throughout the world — in every South American country; southern European countries like Spain and Greece; the Middle East from Egypt to Jordan; Canada and dozens of lagoons in the United States. The list of projects is extensive.

But it was time to apply the concept to not just residential projects but to a commercial/retail/office/hotel concept.

One of the first such projects will be in Glendale. The developer is ECL Glendale, LLC.  The project site is 48+ acres and will host 9 complimentary components:

  • an 11 acre lagoon style water park planned to include scuba diving, windsurfing and water jet packs
  • 175,000 square feet of retail space
  • 130,000 square feet of office space
  • 3 hotels offering a total of 630 hotel rooms
  • amusement rides
  • family entertainment center
  • fly and 4D theaters
  • restaurants and bars
  • a performing arts and film venue space

There will also be the first ever “aero bar,” a 135 foot elevated bar in the middle of the lagoon with a 360-degree view. It also will include the world’s largest helium balloon. The balloon will be on a tether with a gondola that raises riders 400 feet in the air offering a bird’s eye view of the entire Valley. Some of the newest elements have yet to be announced and you will learn of them in the coming months.

ECL Glendale, LLC. plans to begin construction this year, probably late Fall with a target completion date of October of 2022. That gives them a few months of operation to work all the bugs out before the Super Bowl comes back to Glendale in 2023. It’s an ambitious schedule but as all elements will be constructed simultaneously, it is doable.

So, how much will this plethora of entertainment cost the visitor? I understand that an All Day Pass will be $20 per person. That seems to be a competitive price compared to other water venues in the Valley.

Why am I so excited about the project? It’s a one-of-a-kind attraction for not just the State of Arizona but for the entire Southwestern United States. But even more importantly, it forever ensures that Glendale is the premier sports and entertainment destination in all of Arizona. Now, all we need is basketball and soccer to capture the entire sports market. Maybe if the Coyotes Hockey team actually leaves Glendale as they have threatened to do for several years we could repurpose the arena for basketball? Or perhaps the property owners of the “Vision 4” properties on the west side of the Loop 101 might try to lure additional sports venues such as basketball and soccer to their site? Who knows?

This soon-to-be resort site compliments and adds to all of the existing and soon-to-be constructed development in the Westgate and Zanjero areas. It causes Glendale to become a year round tourist destination, similar to Disneyland or Disneyworld. It also increases Glendale’s viability as a host city for mega events such as the Final Four. Lastly, it will generate slightly less than $10 million a year in new revenue for the city and will create an estimated 1,800 jobs.

This was a difficult and complex project to bring to reality. It has a lot of moving parts and I will get into those moving parts in my next blog.

I don’t believe anyone else, other than our City Manager, Kevin Phelps, could have successfully concluded this project. He is a master at development and exactly what Glendale needs to become eminently successful in a highly competitive market as cities out bid and jostle one another to land mega projects. Mr. Phelps has also put together an outstanding team of senior management responsible for the success of this project. It includes Brian Friedman, Director of Economic Development; Lisa Collins, Planning Administrator; Vicki Rios and Jack Friedline, Assistant City Managers; and Craig Johnson, Director of Utilities. If I omitted anyone please accept my apology. Michael Bidwill, representing the Bidwill family, also contributed to the project’s success by working with ECL Glendale, LLC. to craft a parking agreement.

I don’t think I can express the momentous effect this project will have not just for Glendale and the Metro Valley but for the entire state. This project is in the forefront of a new type of retail. As was expressed today, people no longer just want to buy things. We are entering a new age where people want experiences…memories that are invaluable. That is the promise of this new concept for Crystal Lagoon and the new buzz words are ‘experiential retail.’

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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 about 6 PM today Governor Ducey announced closures in Maricopa, Pinal, Coconino, Navajo and Graham counties, all of which have confirmed cases of CoronaVirus. The Executive Order requires restaurants to provide dine-out services only and they can deliver your favorite alcoholic beverage along with your meal. He also closed movie theaters, gyms and bars.

The Order preserves Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for those providers and facilities that are dealing with the virus; delays expiration dates on driver licenses and stops all elective surgeries. He is activating the National Guard to help grocery stores and food banks, all of which are dealing with a surge in demand.

All of this takes effect tomorrow, Friday, March 20th at the close of business. Congratulations to the Governor. I publicly thank him for taking this action to protect the health and safety of all Arizona residents. I stand behind him 100%. I applaud his action and will do whatever is required to assist him as Arizona works its way through this national emergency. Well done! Thank you!

Arizona now has 44 confirmed cases. The number remains low as there are not a lot of testing kits available. As they become more plentiful we will see that number rise dramatically. I found a neat site to which I direct your attention. It is www.ncov2019.live  . It was developed by a teenager and has quickly become a “go to” site for up-to-date numbers on CoronaVirus, worldwide by country and state by state in the United States. I try to check it once in the morning and once at night.

All grocery stores are providing senior hours to shop. This morning I took my 90 year old brother-in-law to a local Safeway to pick up some basics. I was shocked. There was no bread. There was no margarine. The only meats available were the high priced, very lean hamburger at $4.99 a pound and the most expensive cuts of beef such as steak. No staples like rice or beans unless you wanted to pay $5 for some exotic box of rice you’ve never heard of. They did have 5# bags of potatoes (one to a customer) but no Kraft Mac n Cheese. There wasn’t even a single can of Chef Boyardee spaghetti.  In fact, there were no pasta products to be had. Forget sanitizing products.  I could go on but you get the picture.   

Has everyone’s family suddenly ballooned to 20 members? The hoarding has become unsustainable and mind boggling. Maybe it’s time to limit the quantity of ordinary items such as these, to two per customer. I wish everyone would get a grip and start to think of others and their needs as well. Needless to say my brother-in-law filled about half a dozen items on his list. Looks like another trip will be necessary…maybe in about a week. Hopefully, the panic buying will have subsided.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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.

Tonight, just a few minutes ago, Mayor Jerry Weiers declared a State of Emergency due to the CoronaVirus Pandemic. I stand behind him 100%. I applaud his action and will do whatever is required to assist him as Glendale works its way through this national emergency. Well done, Mayor! Thank you! I am proud to say that I have called for this action in previous blogs. I have included the Mayor’s proclamation and statement regarding the action he has taken:

 

I also applaud the Desert Diamond Casino in Arizona for closing down as of midnight tonight. As a sovereign nation they are not bound by federal actions or regulations. Their voluntary closure to protect all state residents is recognized and appreciated.

So far, Governor Ducey has not shown the same kind of leadership or fortitude despite the fact that the number of cases is increasing by the hour within the State of Arizona.  Just within the last few hours two cases have been confirmed positive for CoVid 19 at Luke Air Force Base.

Many major stakeholders are asking all Valley councilmembers to reach out to Ducey’s office to ask him to do the same and exhibit some leadership. I, as a Glendale Councilmember, publicly call upon Governor Ducey to lead the people of Arizona by mandating social distancing strategies in an effort to minimize the medical strain soon to be experienced by all medical facilities and providers in the State of Arizona. Here are some examples:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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.

As we hear more news about the CoronaVirus it is obvious that there are heroes within our society that deserve recognition:

  • Those who serve on the front lines of this pandemic are our nurses, doctors and all medical personnel. They are scared yet they are tending to the most ill among us knowing that it is possible to turn from a care giver to a care receiver. Not only that but they realize they are putting their immediate families at risk. Include the vast army of medical researchers who are methodically yet desperately trying to find a cure and a vaccine. They know time is their enemy.
  • Another group of heroes are all first responders, fire and police. As we face supply shortages of protective gear they will continue to tend to those in need of medical assistance. Police officers will be on the front line of keeping civil order. They deal with citizens with no medical shield and they know it.
  • Include the vast army of city employees who provide essential services that we so often take for granted. The sanitation driver who picks up our garbage, the water employee insuring the delivery of clean, disinfected water that we can rely upon and those employees who make sure our traffic signals keep working.
  • Add to list truckers and those who are keeping our supply chains intact so that we can still obtain food, gas and the essentials of life. This includes employees of banks, gas stations, pharmacies and grocery stores.
  • Those citizens who are already self -isolating themselves. Many of us are. It’s not an easy choice but think of the consequences if we don’t. We can read those books we’ve been meaning to read. We can catch up on watching those movies that intrigued us but we never had time to view. We can clean house or reorganize our living spaces. We still can go outside, plant a garden or exercise in place of going to a gym. We can visit with others through Facebook or Skype. We can be creative.
  • Those political leaders who have accepted the gravity of the situation and have imposed States of Emergency and called for the closing of all public gatherings including the closure of schools, bars and restaurants. They have accepted the need for social distancing to protect us all. I especially want to recognize Mayor Kate Gallardo of Phoenix who has done exactly that realizing her first mandate is to protect the health and safety of all of her residents.

State governors and the Presidential Task Force have said that we must social distance to try to prevent inordinate strain on our medical delivery system. They have warned us that the numbers of identified CoVid 19 cases will increase as more and more testing is done. The increase in numbers will require more and more medical intervention. That will put a strain on our entire medical delivery system. Did you know that in Italy they are no longer trying to save people over the age of 70 with CoronaVirus? Their entire medical system is on the verge of collapse. We must not let this happen in the United States.

Who are the zeroes?

  • Hoarders make the very top of the list. They are obviously a very selfish group. If hoarding doesn’t happen there are enough supplies, including that of toilet paper, to go around. Now we see them hoarding basic supplies like beans, rice, etc. I hope there is a special place for them when they die. They have exacerbated an already difficult situation.
  • Millennials who refuse to social distance. Can you believe this is Spring Break and these kids are at beaches everywhere partying their brains out? On a stupidity level they definitely come in at zero.
  • Then there are those who say other viruses have been worse and what’s the big deal about CoronaVirus? They are the deniers in our society that will continue to socially congregate. They will continue to deny until they or someone in their family comes down with the virus. Then they will be the first to complain about the level of medical service available.
  • Political leaders who have not or are reluctant to make the declaration of a State of Emergency and mandate a closure of non-essential gathering places like bars and restaurants. That includes Governor Doug Ducey and our Mayor. (FYI: In Glendale only the Mayor has this authority).We need to reduce the possible spread of this virus throughout this state and in every city. If it is done now, we can prevent deaths and the inevitable strain upon the state’s medical delivery system. What are they waiting for? Until things get worse? How much worse?

I implore everyone. Don’t be a Zero…try to be a Hero.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

This morning the city council had a budget workshop meeting. It began with an update on the CoronaVirus situation. Let me say this. I want Glendale to declare a state of emergency and close bars, restaurants, etc. NOW. The Mayor, the City Manager and a majority of council are reluctant to do so. I believe it is necessary.

Mayor Kate Gallego did so today and I commend her and applaud her. It was not an easy decision to make. Glendale should be doing the same. The City of Flagstaff has already done so. I am convinced other cities will follow Phoenix and Flagstaff and every day that Glendale and other cities delay, is a day wasted in the enforcement of social distancing.

At the beginning at the budget portion of our workshop I asked council to consider freezing the Capital Improvement Program. We can allot a line item within the budget to preserve our capability to resume the CIP when financial conditions warrant it. We should also be freezing spending on all but essential items. Again, no support. I went through the national recession and I fear a repeat. At the very least I do not expect to see a rebound in the national economy until the fall. Those that do not study history are doomed to repeat it.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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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