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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.

 I felt compelled to react to Bill Toops’, Glendale Star’s Administrator, editorial of November 15, 2018, regarding downtown Glendale. Here is the link: https://www.glendalestar.com/glendale-star/downtown-dissidents-nix-city-manager%E2%80%99s-vision . Mr. Toops said, “In a Nov. 2, 2018 letter to the mayor and City Council, Glendale City Manager Kevin Phelps said he’s had enough opposition from downtown merchants to shift the focus of city resources elsewhere. While detailing a number of significant accomplishments since his hire in February 2016, the continuing frustration from a vocal band of naysayers has effectively halted his efforts to pursue a new strategy for the city’s downtown district.”

I support our City Manager’s take on downtown Glendale.  Here is the link to his comments regarding Glendale and downtown: https://www.glendalestar.com/glendale-star/city-manager-shifts-economic-focus-away-downtown .

 There is an old saying, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” For years…no, for decades… the city has underwritten 3 major festival events downtown – Glendale Glitters, Glendale Glow and the Chocolate Affaire. Granted these festivals bring shoppers to downtown for a brief period and I suspect during those few weeks they generate as much as 70% of a downtown merchant’s annual net. But at what point do diminishing returns set in? I contend they already have.

The downtown merchants have been content to allow the city to do the heavy lifting. In what other area of the city does our government finance any major festivals especially for the benefit of private businesses? Arrowhead Mall area? Westgate area? Nope.

Successful businesses and downtowns are constantly reinventing themselves by changing what they offer and how they do business offering the customer a new, fresh, convenient and relevant experience. If downtown merchants don’t embrace change they will be swept aside by, among other things, internet shopping. The change required for downtown is to offer experiences that cannot be acquired by shopping on the net.

Has it occurred to anyone that as Westgate grows always seeking new entities within it, that it has a direct impact on downtown? What will motivate anyone to go downtown when they can go to a sporting event, a movie, shop at Tanger Outlets or dine at a dozen different restaurants? What will downtown offer to attract those very same people? To make them want to visit downtown as part of their Glendale experience?

The city manager came to Glendale three years ago and offered a fresh look at many things, including downtown. His proposal was designed to create a destination location all year long. Instead a small group of perhaps twenty downtown merchants, newly created as the Historical Downtown Merchants Association, protested in horror at the very thought of change. I should note that there are over 250 downtown merchants yet this small handful was silently allowed by the majority to determine the destiny of all.

Mr. Toops goes on to observe, “While many downtown merchants prefer to hang their financial solvency on a handful of mega events they say ensure throngs of visitors over two weeks’ time, city management sees greater value in scaling events back and adding frequency, up to 150 annually. Further, merchant perspectives tend to support little or no change to the traditional festival concept with the exception of additional funding, yet city management contends downtown Glendale needs an entirely new direction for long-term prosperity.” The city was willing to invest in innovation and change while using its success as a catalyst to attract new, vibrant business entities. A relatively small group killed the concept.

So the city will continue to pour $1.2 million annually into the downtown sieve but it has also announced that this amount will remain constant and not increase. Mr. Toops rightly observes, “While many merchants may be pleased with this decision for now, rising costs within a fixed budget will only serve to erode the glitz and glitter of every event and the commensurate draw from each.” Add to this observation that other cities have created their own events that now directly compete with the 3 events hosted by Glendale government.

Downtown saw its last “hey day” when it had over 100 antique shops. It was the antique capital of the west. Visitors could be seen going from one shop to another, even on the hottest days of summer. But that is long gone with only a few antique shops remaining.  It has become stale and tired with no destination to attract those same visitors.

Make no mistake. I want a proud downtown bustling with visitors and shoppers. We all do. I want to able to boast about its vibrancy instead of apologizing because a visitor went to a restaurant during the week only to find it closed because there was not enough business to warrant it being open. What a sad state of affairs.

When will a majority of its 250 merchants embrace change? When will they reclaim their voice instead of allowing a few, very vocal merchants clinging to the status quo determine their destiny? When will they realize the insanity of repeating the same thing expecting a different result? When will they realize that we’re all in this together eager and willing to work toward reinventing a vibrant, successful and proud downtown?

© 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.

TGIF

Posted by Joyce Clark on September 16, 2016
Posted in City issue and actionsCity of Glendale  | Tagged With: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A few thoughts after a very eventful week in which the Glendale city council unanimously accepted the Canvass of Votes thereby acknowledging Mayor Weiers, Vice Mayor Hugh, Councilmember Malnar and me as winners of the recent election. It’s over.

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Courtesy of Dawn Monaghan

The photo below is from the September 13, 2016 city council meeting. The gentleman kneeling is Bill Toops, publisher of the Glendale Star. After the Glendale Star did not endorse me or my rival I had a conversation with Mr. Toops. He stated that in the event that I won, he would publicly acknowledge my victory.

Every Friday I check out home sales in Glendale. There are about 350 sales a month and about 4500 sales a year. Some sales obviously reflect existent residents either moving up to a larger home or downsizing but the majority are new families moving into Glendale from someplace else. Is it any wonder that voter turnout is so low in Glendale? One of the reasons for voter apathy is the city’s failure to educate and to engage these new residents.

It came as no surprise that the contested election results were so close. Look at the Jones-Biggs contest in Congressional District 5. It appears to be a reflection of a national trend as general analysis suggests that the presidential contest will be close. Remember the hanging chad? Will there be another Florida-type situation this year? Electronic voting will be under tremendous scrutiny because of concerns about hacking into the national voting system. I’m not sure the country is prepared to deal with electronic voting and assuring the public that the results are tamper proof. Perhaps we would be best served to continue the use of paper ballots that at least leave a trail that can be verified.

Social media has grown up and is a legitimate and extremely useful in connecting to voters. With my shoe string campaign budget I know that my use of a blog, Facebook pages, blast emails and a campaign website were extremely important and may have tipped the scales in my favor.  Today any candidate who does not make full use of social media does so at his or her peril.

I will continue to blog about Glendale issues as I am not a formal member of the city council yet. The installation for mayor and councilmember is scheduled for December 13, 2016. After then I will continue to blog but I will make very clear that as a councilmember I am duty bound to support council decisions on issues but that will not preclude me from expressing my personal opinion. I will be sure to delineate those positions to readers.

Look for an announcement concerning an October victory celebration for Mayor Weiers, Vice Mayor Hugh, Councilmember Malnar and me. I will share the details of the event as they become available.

© Joyce Clark, 2016          

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

The Glendale City Council flirted with Public Comments occurring at the beginning of their meetings. It was a pilot project. After several months council voted to move Public Comments back to the end of the meeting citing that it got in the way and delayed council’s real business which is certainly not hearing from the public.

The biggest gorilla in the Valley, Phoenix, just had its council voting on February 5, 2014 to move its Citizen Comment Session to the beginning of their meeting. The move was in response to a citizen petition which claimed citizen input was not respected or valued.

It seems ironic that Phoenix has now done what Glendale rejected. If Glendale citizens submitted a petition to move the Public Comment period to the front of the meeting again would council acquiesce as Phoenix has done? What do you think? You can weigh in by voting in my informal poll to the left of this column.

A coalition on Glendale’s city council has emerged. Look for Knaack, Martinez, Sherwood and Chavira voting as a majority. That puts Weiers, Hugh and Alvarez on the losing side of most issues. I bet Alvarez rues the day she helped Chavira to get elected as he has voted in opposition to her positions since he started in office. The biggest issue was the vote on arena management and Alvarez may never forgive him for that one.

However, this November is election time in Glendale with 3 council seats up for grabs. This newly formed, rather fragile majority may not last long. Will Chavira, et.al, work behind the scenes to defeat Alvarez and get someone who is more simpatico? It would be a good move on his part as it would get rid of a problem before he stands for reelection in 2016. All he has to do is throw his support behind Jamie Aldama, Alvarez’s opponent.

Don’t forget, Knaack and Martinez are retiring. Martinez has anointed Robert Petrone but candidate Petrone’s past financial troubles may get in his way. Knaack appears ready to endorse Bill Toops, owner of the Glendale Star. Toops will have his own problems explaining how his ownership of the local paper does not conflict with serving on council. Look for more candidates to emerge as it gets closer to the end of May when nominating petitions are due. Historically in recent times there have never been less than 2 candidates for every open seat. It will be interesting to see how this election shakes out. Stay tuned…

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The 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 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 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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