It has been 18 years and 158 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

This evening, May 24, 2016, city council will vote on the issue of light rail. The meeting begins at 6 PM in Council Chambers at City Hall. Please park in the parking garage at 59th Avenue and Glendale Avenue. Walk east to council chambers. Make your opinion known. As I have stated in previous blogs, light rail may be one of the most divisive issues to ever surface in Glendale. Your voice counts.

On May 15, 2016 I filed a Public Information Request with the Glendale City Clerk’s office asking for the following information:

“Councilmember Sam Chavira and Councilmember Jamie Aldama each made a $2,500 donation on or about April 28, 2016 in support of the 2016 Cinco De Mayo Festival held on April 29, 2016 to May 1, 2016. The event was cosponsored by the City of Glendale and Barrio Breakthru Productions. I request the following public information:

  1. What was the $5,000 donated by Councilmembers Aldama and Chavira used for with regard to this event?
  2. A list of services, equipment, supplies and personnel supplied by the City of Glendale to support, produce, operate and clean up of the event, in-king or otherwise.
  3. The monetary value of all requested items listed in #2.
  4. Any and all reports, summaries, etc., submitted to the City of Glendale by or for Barrio Breakthru Productions that reflects the expenses required to produce the event and any and all revenues earned as a result of the event.”

My request was promptly fulfilled by the city by May 20, 2016. Questions #2 and #3 were thoroughly answered with the following information:

  1. “Off duty Police officers were hired through Pro-Force (a third party provider) not directly through the city. Sanitation roll-off delivery, rental, pickup and charges for tonnage at landfill. Audio and lighting services were provided by a third party not through the city. Transportation review of Traffic Control Plan (TCP) for event from the barricade company. This generated charges for lane use and TCP review fees.”
  2. “Sanitation roll-off charges: Delivery fee of $46.11; Haul fee of $175.00 and Landfill charges of $22.60. Transportation charges: TCP Review fee of $44.76; and Lane use fees of $335.76.”

My answers to questions #1 and #2 were not fulfilled. It seems that Councilmembers Aldama and Chavira’s total donation of $5,000 is in some black hole of non-information. There appears to be no accountability on the part of these councilmembers. Otherwise they could have provided information to fulfill that portion of my Public Information Request. As far as can be determined, neither asked Barrio Breakthru Productions for any information about the use of $5,000 of taxpayer money.  Apparently they just gave Barrio Breakthru Productions your money. Did the money cover costs of producing the festival? If so, what for?

Based on the information the city requested of the event producer its sole interest seems to be in logistics of holding the event. In the material the city provided there is no request for licenses of any kind or proof of insurance. It would seem these would be important for the city to have on file. Yet the city file supplied makes no mention of either item. One would think that these items would be important especially in light of the criminal damage that occurred at city hall during the event.

We still do not know if Barrio Breakthru Productions or the Breakthru Community Church was ultimately considered the event producer and was responsible for producing a certificate of adequate insurance. If it was the church that was the producer of record with the city then there is still the pesky issue of separation of church and state.

This incident demonstrates a lack of competence and clarity by city staff.  There were requirements for insurance in City Ordinance 2975. Why were the Ordinance requirements not followed? If the requirements were followed why was that information not supplied with all of the extraneous information I received about city requirements for the event? What is city policy these days? If elements of Ordinance 2975 are being waived upon whose authority is it being done?

I guess I will file one more Public Information Request asking Councilmembers Aldama and Chavira to obtain information from Barrio Breakthru about expenses covered by their donation of $5,000 of taxpayer money. I will also ask for any and all licenses and proof of insurance on file for this event provided to the city by Barrio Breakthru. Will let you know what response I obtain.

© Joyce Clark, 2016


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