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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 November 3, 2018, I was invited to attend a very special event. Aspen Dental opened an office in Westgate earlier this year and was host to the national Aspen Dental’s Healthy Mouth Movement. Since 2014, Aspen Dental has sent a specially equipped van throughout the county to provide free dental care to veterans and people in need.

On that day, the Westgate office and Midwestern students offered free dental care from 9 AM to 5 PM to about 34 patients. It was amazing to see the compassion and care offered not just in the two spaces within the van itself but also in every space within the Westgate office. The total amount of care donated that day was $20,701.00.

Why is this important service so needed? We are a nation of about 320 million people and last year nearly 150 million Americans did not visit a dentist. That’s almost half of our entire population! Some of us with relatively healthy teeth don’t go until we have a toothache or similar problem…even though we should have a yearly check up. Many simply cannot afford to go because of the cost, lack of insurance or downright fear of the dentist.

Our teeth are probably one of the most critical factors in determining our quality of life. Bad teeth means no smile, no interaction with those around you, leading to social isolation.  Bad teeth means that you can’t eat properly affecting your diet and overall health, leading to illness that may not have needed to occur.

Hence Aspen Dental’s initiative to give back to our communities nation-wide. In addition to the mobile van Aspen hosts a Day of Service. Local Aspen practices throughout the county host veterans exclusively and offer care at no cost. They also try to connect the vet with free or low cost future services to take care of their dental needs. Since 2014, over 4,300 vets have received service.

For more information go to: https://www.aspendental.com/about/healthy-mouth-movement .

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

About a month ago we all received our latest property tax bill from the Maricopa County Treasurer’s Office. Included in the billing are the amounts in your individualized bill that are received by various governmental and school institutions.

My bill went up by 6.7% due to a strong economy that is increasing property valuations. Take a look at the graphics that are provided in every bill:

I happen to live in the Pendergast Elementary School District and the Tolleson Union High School District. In 2018 I will pay the Pendergast Elementary School District $1,261.57 or 44% of my entire property tax bill. I will pay another $835.84 or 29% to the Tolleson Union High School District. The Maricopa Community College District gets $258.63 or 9% and West-Mec receives $28.10 or .009%. Education represents about 82% of all of the property tax that I pay.

Maricopa County’s General Fund and Special Districts account for $391.23 or 13%. The City of Glendale receives $371.64 or 13% of my total property tax bill. Since the city has not increased the property tax levy my payment to the city decreased by 36 cents. Surely it’s not much but at least the city is holding the line while the school districts and county levies have increased from .4% to a high of 29.4% (Tolleson).

 In Glendale your property tax payment goes into its General Fund. The General Fund supports Public Safety and represents a minimum of 75% of the entire General Fund. So, 75% of your property tax payment supports the police and fire protection you receive. The remaining 25% supports Parks and Recreation, Code Enforcement and a myriad of other services you, as a Glendale resident, receive. It is also used to pay off bond debt for projects that may have been completed years ago as bonds usually pay off in 20 or 30 years.

In the Yucca district of Glendale, which I represent, I was surprised that neither the Pendergast Elementary School District nor the Tolleson Union High School District objected to the tremendous increase in their student enrollment that will come as a result of the city approval of Stonehaven, a residential community of about 1,360 homes. I used an estimated average figure of $1,000 for the elementary district in annual property tax per home and $800 for the high school district. To my surprise the Pendergast Elementary School District will receive an estimated $1.3 million dollars annually in property tax from the Stonehaven residents and the Tolleson Union High School District will get an estimated $1 million dollars a year. No wonder both school districts didn’t object to the horrible density in Stonehaven. Each home represents about $800 to $1,000 a year in property tax.

I think there are questions for these school districts. If, on average, they receive an average of $1,000 a year in property tax from each and every home and they receive funding from the state as well (Remember RED for ED?), where is all of the money going? And for what?

The annual Quality Counts report by Education Week study found Arizona ranked No. 46 in 2018. The ranking earned the state a D+ grade, according to the Arizona Daily Star. Arizona’s ranking has remained pretty consistent in the last 10 years, sometimes moving up or down by a number or two in ranking. We continue to throw money at public education and nothing seems to change. Everyone is willing to contribute to educational funding but that support diminishes over time when the results remain consistently abysmal. When we actually see the money going toward teacher pay and the students?

There are many other factors other than money that affect the quality of education in Arizona. Too many to discuss here. They need to be addressed.

Glendale residents you get a lot of bang for your property taxpayer buck. The average of $300 to $400 a year that you contribute provides the services upon which you rely every day. Looks like a good deal.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

Recently the Arizona Republic aired a story about the city’s sale of the St. Vincent de Paul building implying that something nefarious occurred. Expect me to post a blog very soon laying out the facts behind that sale.

The latest story from the same news media implies that the city may be preparing to enact the same methodology of sale with the Brown lot. The Brown lot, located south of Kellis High School and east of 91st Avenue, is called that because it had been used by the city to provide color coded parking for the State Farm Stadium. With the development of the Black lot south of the stadium the Brown lot is no longer needed.

In a recent story a reporter says the following with regard to the Brown lot, “A City Council member said she expects a developer to build apartments on the high-profile corner near the city’s sports and entertainment district.” The reporter went on to say, “About a month later, Councilwoman Joyce Clark wrote a blog post about how she expected apartments to come to the site of the old parking lot, which is on that intersection’s southeast corner”.

 Here is what I really said in a September 18, 2018 blog entitled,  Apartments in Yucca district? “Another possible site for an apartment complex is the city-owned Brown lot north of the Provence subdivision. In this case an apartment complex is appropriate for the location.” I did not say that apartments would be built on the Brown lot. I speculated that it is possible…not a certainty.

Since there are apartments to be constructed on 95th Avenue across from the Super WalMart, I expressed thoughts in my blog about the possibility of any other locations within the district that might be suitable. The only one I could think of was the Brown lot. Does that mean it is happening? No. It means I thought it could be a possibility. Do I have any definitive knowledge that there will be apartments on this site? The answer is a simple ‘no’.

Then the reporter says, “Clark told The Republic that, at the time of her blog post, the council hadn’t discussed the site in executive session. But that contradicts a statement she made on her Facebook page as she responded to someone about her blog post. She wrote there that she couldn’t give details about the asking price of the land because ‘that is executive session information’.” 

This one is on me because I didn’t make myself clear in a response to a Facebook query. Someone asked what the sale price of the Brown lot was with this question, “Its 17 acres. What are we asking for it Joyce?” My answer was, “I am sorry that is Executive Session information and under state law I may not discuss.” My answer was not precise or clear. In my mind I was answering broadly and generally to indicate that prices of any city owned land are executive session discussions. It was not intended to be a confirmation (or a denial) that a Brown lot sale price had been discussed in executive session.

I contend that the reporter was also not precise in reporting on what I said, wrote or didn’t say, write.

I bring these items to your attention because the news media often slants a story. It’s understandable. They need a “hook” to entice the reader. If you have ever been interviewed by a reporter and then see the subsequent story, you might have remarked, but I didn’t say that.

 I didn’t say that apartments are coming to the Brown lot in my blog. It was mere speculation.  I didn’t affirm or deny in answering a Facebook question that the price of the Brown lot had been discussed in executive session. Those were inferences made by the reporter. Unfortunately they were not accurate inferences. What’s new? It happens all the time. I guess we might understand when the news media is called the “fake news.”

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

The weather is starting to abate just a little. This morning was actually nice out on the patio while watching the fish. Since we are both getting older we now have a landscaper who trims and cleans up the vegetation around the pond. He worked on it yesterday so the pond landscaping looks pretty good. The beige rectangle at the center bottom (it looks like a light colored rock) is the lid for access to the two pond filters. We still clean them twice a day but the time is coming when we will revert to our winter schedule and only clean them once a day.

This photo is looking at the pond from its west side. Because of summer winds during the monsoon season the shade cover material has stretched and has become baggy. This winter we will tighten it up.

The second photo is looking at the pond from its east side. The 3 Mountain Laurel we planted several years ago has been trained to become trees rather than shrubs. They are finally getting big enough to provide some shade around the edges of the pond.

This photo is a close up of the in-pond vegetation. We have blue, red, yellow and peach water lilies. During the summer they grow abundantly and nearly cover the pond’s surface. They are supposed to be fertilized but quite frankly we don’t do it and still they thrive. They shade the water during the summer keeping it cool and livable for the Koi.

The last two photos are of the fish. The white Koi with red and black is larger than depicted as he is partially under the fish shelf (hidey hole for Koi). The small black streaks are tiny fish called Gambusia or Mosquito fish. Several years ago we dumped maybe a dozen into the pond and now I suspect there are over 100. They eat mosquito larvae but since the pond water moves and is not stagnant they probably aren’t necessary…but just in case they are there.

The gold/orange butterfly Koi is typical of the size of our fish. We have 30 and all are about 2 feet long. I have no idea how much they weigh but I would expect them to be at least 5 pounds. They are still eating once a day and every time act as if they haven’t been fed in years – in other words, with gusto. In October as the weather continues to cool I will cut their food back until by December they’ll only be eating half of what they do now. One 6.5 pound bag of Tetra Pond Sticks lasts all month.

We have never regretted installing the Koi pond.  We enjoy it immensely as do our guests. Everyone enjoys watching the fish and declaring a favorite colored fish.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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 many of you know I have previously stated that this will be my last term of office. From the very start of my term as the Yucca district councilmember I have been asked repeatedly to run again. Lately the pressure to do so has become very intense and has caused me to reconsider. If I were to decide to run again I would need to make that decision soon in order to begin fund raising for another election run.

To assist me in making that decision let me share factors that I, and you, should consider in making the decision. Perhaps the most important is my age as that is determinant of my mental and physical acuity. This October I will celebrate my 77th birthday. Every year I take an executive physical and the most recent results are that my health is excellent. The only medication that I have taken for many years is for my low Thyroid. I take nothing else. My eyesight and hearing are excellent. Physically the most challenging aspect for me is walking. I no longer climb stairs. My knees are not in good shape but are not drastic enough to require surgery.

It’s not as if I would be the first elderly councilmember. Councilmember Lieberman and Councilmember Martinez each served well into their 80’s. Each had physical challenges but they were not an impediment to service.

In terms of my mental acuity I have no signs or symptoms of any Dementia or Alzheimer’s. I am still as sharp as ever. With regard to council deliberations I continue to do my homework by reading all materials as well as questioning staff incessantly. I still enjoy the work as no two topics are ever the same. I possess a great deal of city/council historical memory which has proven invaluable to me and stood me in good stead on issues that come before us.

What about the political aspects to be considered? In my last run in 2016 my campaign was funded exclusively by the citizens of Glendale, many of whom resided in the Yucca district. I raised in the neighborhood of $15,000 while my opponent out raised and out spent me at a ratio of about 5:1. I suspect I would need to raise at minimum the same amount I previously raised and probably more.

Some of the current councilmembers have urged me to run again. I enjoy and respect my fellow councilmembers.  It’s been a breath of fresh air and the way in which previous councils should have operated.  I wish I had had the same experience in the early terms of my service. Alas, that was not the case.

Library stem walls Sept. 5, 2018

My priority continues to be the completion of Heroes Park, long, long overdue. I am pleased and grateful that the current council has funded Phase I of the West Branch Library. As I write this it is currently under construction and we should see the walls go up within the next few weeks. But there is so much more to be done to complete the park. My next goal is to secure funding for the design and construction of the long awaited water feature that is planned to be sited just east of 83rd Avenue. Then there are still the ball fields, Phase II of the library, a dog park and a Recreation/Aquatics Center yet to be built.

I have been accessible and transparent in my service. I reinstituted district meetings and twice a year I sent out district newsletters to every household in the district. I use Facebook regularly to post information about city and district issues.

There is certainly more to share in the coming months but for now in order to make my decision I need to hear from you, the people of the Yucca district, for if I do not have your support then it becomes a moot issue.

 I am not going to run an informal poll because I have learned that it may not always be accurate. Instead, please comment to this blog. Please take the time to express your point of view. Your reaction is extremely valuable to me and I can’t make a final decision until I hear from you. If you do not wish to comment publicly, please send a personal email to me at clarkjv@aol.com .

Thanks. I look forward to comments…the good, the bad and the ugly!

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

It’s hard to believe that our Koi pond is seven years old. The first few years were rocky with fish dying on a regular basis. During the infancy of the pond I now know that I used too many chemicals in attempts to get rid of the summer algae. It was a learning stage. I even drained the pond after the last fish died. We refilled it and allowed the pond to “settle” for about a year before I introduced any new fish. Since then, in the last 4 or 5 years, we have grown some ‘whopper-sized’ Koi. All of the fish are healthy and have gargantuan appetites.

These photos were taken the day after our first monsoon storm. We probably had winds in the neighborhood of 50-60 mph and a drenching rain thereafter. As you can see under an overcast sky the pond weathered the monsoom just fine.

The other issue we dealt with when the pond was first established was the algae growth, especially during the summer. After the chemical fiasco, we created several filter systems looking for the best fit for our pond. The pond was built with two filter pumps that run 24/7. One services the large waterfall and one the smaller waterfall. They, by themselves, proved to be inadequate to the task of removing algae.

We searched for an external system to add to the existing system. Finally, we created our own. It consists of 4 barrels. Each has its own filter media: charcoal, quilting batting, sponges, and matt filters. The water flows through all 4 barrels and then passes through a UV light before returning to the pond. This has solved our problem. We clean out the barrel filter system once a year. It’s an all day job. However, we clean the two pump filter materials every morning and evening. It takes about 5 minutes to do so with a hose.

We have found that all the vegetation around the pond grows like a weed and some plants reseed themselves—for example, the ruella and taro. In the beginning we were timid about trimming the plants. These days we are ruthless and within a month the plants take on their original shapes.

Other than cleaning the pump filters and trimming vegetation, the pond has become stable and quite hassle-free. The photos are the pond after last night’s monsoon storm. We probably had winds of 50 mph and a bucket full of rain. We had more damage, i.e., tree limbs falling, in our yard than any damage to the pond.

You will note there is a shade cover. It has become a permanent fixture and has been up for two years. It serves a dual purpose. It shades the pond in the heat of the summer but it also protects the fish from predators. We live on a street of one acre properties with no curb, gutter or sidewalks and a great deal of mature trees. Those trees have become home to a resident owl and several hawks. We have also had herons that have visited during irrigation. All of these critters love fish. By having the shade cover it has become impossible for them to fly over the pond, spot a fish and dive for it.

It has become our oasis. It’s a joy to sit on the patio, to hear the waterfall sounds and to watch the fish, especially after I have fed them in the evening. They are voracious eaters during the summer and after they finish off the fish food that I give them, they begin their evening forage for any algae on the pond rocks that make up the submerged walls of the pond.

Would we build a Koi pond again? You bet. The hours of enjoyment and calm it offers were worth every penny of the original investment.  

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

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

Heroes Park Concept Plan

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When will our promise be fulfilled?

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

Recently I attended the Change of Command ceremony at Luke Air Force Base (LAFB). For those of you not familiar with military life, active military personnel are usually rotated out to another base every two or three years. The same holds true for the LAFB Commander.

First, a bit of history. Luke has been in Arizona since 1941.  In 1994 it became the home to the 56th Fighter Wing in 1994. Today Luke trains pilots to fly F-16s and F-35A aircraft. In 2017 Luke had 150,000 flight hours training nearly 200 pilots.

The Change of Command ceremony is a military tradition. Over countless years military organizations created flags unique to individual units. All bear specialized colors and designs. Tradition has it that when soldiers went into combat if their unit’s flag still waved after combat, their unit was victorious and had not been defeated. At Luke’s Change of Command the unit’s flag is passed on to the new Commander as a formal recognition of his authority.

Leading the Ceremony as Major General Patrick J. Doherty, Commander of the 19th Air Force, supervising 17 flight wings and overseeing nearly half of the U.S. Air Force’s flight training program.

In recognition of the change occurring with the 56th Fighter Wing the ceremony was scheduled for 7:56 AM although it started a bit later. I congratulate the military. They know how to do events such as this very well. Major General Patrick Doherty, Commander of the 19th Air Force, delivered the opening remarks. He is responsible for 17 wings and oversees nearly 50% of the Air Force’s annual flight training program. He offered insight into the current state of readiness of our U. S. Air Force. In summary while we remain the most powerful air force in the world, others, such as China, are working diligently to catch up.

The outgoing Commander is Brigadier General Brook Leonard. His remarks focused on the sense of family of which one becomes a part while serving at a base. It was evident that he had connected with the men and women serving and was moving on with a sense of loss. His greatest accomplishment while serving as Commander was a recognition of the off-base relationships that he nurtured and strengthened. We congratulate him on his outstanding service to Luke and believe he will be an asset to those who are fortunate enough to host him in his next assignment.

The incoming Commander is Brigadier General Todd Canterbury. It was evident that he is extremely proud to command the very same base his Father had once commanded. While stationed at Luke he attended local schools and developed long standing relationships within our community. He also received flight training at Luke in 2001. He is sure to become an asset to Luke based upon his unusual familiarity with the organizations and people of our area. We welcome him and wish him well at his new post.

It was impressive to witness this Change of Command ceremony and to recognize that the Air Force’s commitment to LAFB remains strong as evidenced by the caliber of the commanders it assigns to this critical pilot training base. Glendale is proud to be the home of Luke Air Force Base and is committed in its pledge to protect the mission of this base.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

Many purchasers of fireworks go to tents set up in parking lots all over the Valley. Unfortunately these people who are in the business of selling you fireworks obviously will not tell you which fireworks are illegal to use.

Arizona State law regulates the use of fireworks but the selling of fireworks…not so much. Let’s take a look at exactly which fireworks are permissible by state law:

  • ground and hand held
  • cylindrical fountains
  • cone fountains
  • illuminating torches
  • wheels
  • ground spinners
  • flitter sparklers
  • toy smoke devices
  • wire sparklers
  • dipped sticks

Duh…did you happen to notice something about these permitted fireworks? None of these shoot up into the air. That should be your first clue as to whether the fireworks you are using are legal.

Which fireworks are illegal by state law? How about any fireworks that go up in the air and explode. Here’s the list:

  • firecrackers
  • bottle rockets
  • sky rockets
  • missile-type rockets
  • helicopters
  • torpedoes
  • roman candles
  • jumping jacks

For those who are truly challenged here’s a diagram of prohibited fireworks:

Illegal Fireworks

Where are you allowed to shoot off all of those nifty (and probably illegal) fireworks? How about… only on your own property. If there are sparks it is only fitting that your roof should go up in a blaze of stupidity…not your neighbor’s.

You cannot shoot your fireworks on public property. That means any city property: city parks, city sidewalks and city streets. That means you cannot go out onto the street in front of your house and shoot your fireworks there.

If your neighbor is shooting off illegal fireworks please call the NON-EMERGENCY Glendale Police Department number: 623-930-3000. It may not do any good but at least you have created a record. Obviously the police patrol officers are swamped that night with these calls yet priority one and two calls (life threatening or imminent danger) must be answered first.

Of course, if your idiot neighbor has started a fire, please call 9-1-1 immediately. Give the police call taker as much information as possible and that should include the address where the fireworks are being used and a description of the people involved (usually race, height, male or female, clothing being worn, i.e., blue jeans, khaki shorts, white T Shirt, etc.).

While we are at it there are a lot of pets that go nuts with fear when fireworks are being used. We bring our German Sheppard inside because she is so frightened. More pets, usually dogs, run away on July 4th than on any other day of the year. And it isn’t just pets; babies and very young children are also frightened by the loud noises produced by those illegal fireworks.

Another common ‘no-no’ is being plastered while shooting off those fireworks. More people, usually guys (sorry about that guys), end up in an Emergency Room with burns or missing fingers. It would be wise to have a bucket of water nearby to dunk that burnt hand into.

Be a good neighbor. It only takes a minute to let your neighbors on either side of your house know that you plan on shooting off fireworks. At least they can prepare by putting their pets inside.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July. Remember the real reason for the holiday,liberty.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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