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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

Lately I have been in a “take no prisoners mode.” Think of Peter Finch as Mr. Beale in the film, Network, when he screams, “I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore!” I am thoroughly disgusted with the lies and subterfuge offered on various Glendale issues masked in a guise of altruism and high-mindedness. Rather than advancing issues that serve the best interests of our community opinions and actions have degenerated into advocacy of personal agendas. Yes, I know “we all do it” and “it’s done all the time,” usually accompanied by an admonishment to be “realistic.” It’s time to call “a spade,” “a spade” and not the PC description of, “a hand-held implement with a sharp-edged, rectangular, metal blade and a long handle used to loosen or break up the upper strata of the earth.”

The Glendale Star is a perfect example. Newspapers once had the reputation of objectivity in their reportage. Like many other time honored values news objectivity has fallen by the wayside.  When it comes to the proposed Tohono O’odham casino the Glendale Star obviously supports it. It is no secret that its Editor, Carolyn Dryer, attended an Alvarez hosted pro-casino meeting as a like-minded individual. There were also TO representatives in attendance. Her editorial choices seem to clearly reflect her bias.

There is a referendum petition in circulation designed to put the recent council vote to reject US Representative Trent Franks’ HB 1410 on Glendale’s fall ballot. By the way, if HB 1410 successfully passes in the US Senate the TO’s proposed casino will die a righteous death. The defeat or passage of HB 1410 is more critical than the public realizes. Make no mistake. If HB 1410 passes there is sure to be more litigation.

The referendum effort is being led by Glendale resident Gary Hirsch, a former city council candidate. Mr. Hirsch’s position is well known as one of the Glendale citizen plaintiffs in a previous lawsuit against the Tohono O’odham’s (TO) proposed casino.

On April 24, 2014 the Glendale Star Editor Dryer published an opinion piece on the casino referendum issue written by Mike Kenny, its Web Editor. Here is the link: http://www.glendalestar.com/opinion/editorials/. Mr. Kenny’s opinion piece is a puff piece signifying “nothing.” I guess if one cannot speak to the issue the next best course of action is to denigrate it.  He refers to the referendum effort and characterizes it as achieving “nothing.” He goes on to say, “Oh, and it’s (council vote) a non-stance that likely has zero implications. It’s highly doubtful our nation’s Senate – if this bill is ever heard – will take into account the opinion of a city that can barely decide what its opinion is.” Really? If that were the case why did Councilmember Alvarez and her minions work so hard to bring it to a council vote? They believe that rejection of HB 1410 by the city in which the proposed casino would be sited would indeed send a strong signal.

What about other personal agendas on this issue? Those councilmembers who hold a pro-casino position appear to have done so for purely personal reasons not because they believe it is in the best interest of Glendale (although they will proclaim so loudly and often). Councilmember Alvarez seems to be in “pay-back” mode. It’s her way of sticking it to councilmembers who she perceives as having “disrespected” her when she first came on board. It’s purely personal and the TO have taken advantage of her vindictiveness. Councilmember Chavira owes Alvarez and the TO big time for their support and endorsement of his candidacy. It appears that their bill has come due and he is making good on his debt. Councilmember Hugh’s pro-casino stance is in contradiction to his usual fiscal conservatism. It’s been heard his wife is driving his pro-casino stance. Water cooler opinion has it that Councilmember Sherwood who ran as an anti-casino council candidate lusts to become Glendale’s next mayor and is expecting substantial financial support from the TO in his run for that office.

So much for decision making in the best interests of already beleaguered city. After all, it’s just politics. Isn’t it time for Glendale residents to say, “They’re mad as hell, and not going to take it anymore?”

© Joyce Clark, 2014


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.

March 18, 2014 was a “two-fer” in terms of council workshops. The morning session focused on the budget: General Fund budget balancing; Employee medical benefits; and fire staffing. The afternoon city council workshop also had 3 items of discussion: the Becker billboard request; a possible archery range at Heroes Park at 83rd and Bethany; and the Tohono O’odham casino.

I am going to discuss only one of those items here and now – the proposed Tohono O’odham (TO) casino. All of the other items will be covered in a subsequent blog.

In a prior meeting Vice Mayor Knaack requested an assessment of the impact of the proposed casino on the city and during the day’s discussion reminded staff of her original request that: staff (City Attorney Michael Bailey) bring back an assessment of the impact (fiscal and otherwise) of this proposed casino on Glendale; and that staff meet not only with the TO but with the tribes in opposition to the casino. Was Bailey too busy with his tablet and smart phone to pay attention because he fulfilled none of Vice Mayor Knaack’s request? He simply regurgitated former City Attorney Craig Tindall’s well-researched legal opinion on the matter. His actions could be construed as those of someone who is lazy and ill informed. He did not provide this council with Knaack’s original request: that of an assessment of the impact on the city.

Somehow or other the council discussion, at Councilmember Alvarez’ instigation (in person no less), moved to negotiating directly with the TO and opposing Franks’ bill. Chavira and Hugh immediately expressed their support. Mayor Weiers and Councilmembers Martinez and Knaack voiced their dissent. None of this was a vote, as council does not vote at workshop, but gives direction to staff through a majority support to move forward to investigate, plan and bring back information to be voted on in a council meeting.

Four councilmembers (a majority) gave direction to initiate negotiations with the TO and to express the city’s opposition to Congressional Representative Trent Franks’ bill, HR 1410. To what end no one knows because there are still lawsuits to be settled that will determine the proposed casino’s fate.

Councilmember Martinez, in opposition, quoted from a very eloquent article written by former Governor Rhodes of the Gila River Indian Community in the Arizona Republic on October 20, 2010.. The former Governor said, “There’s no literal translation in English that does justice to the tribal word, ‘himdag.’ As Governor of the Gila River Indian Community, himdag guides my every decision, my every action. Himdag, as passed down by our elders across hundreds of years, teaches us to respect for all things, including the value of a promise, abiding by the law and concern for the welfare of others.

Respect as a guiding principle feels old-fashioned in the 21st century, but it exists all the same – even when our community is compelled to sign its name to a lawsuit against the United States Department of the Interior.

You may have read about that lawsuit filed Spt. 16. You may have also read about Glendale’s lawsuit to stop the casino, filed this week. Out of respect, I believe that I must explain the reasons why my community to pointedly disagrees with Washington and with a southern Arizona sister tribe’s plan to build a casino on land they secretly bought in Glendale, 160 miles from their reservation headquarters.

My explanation can be summed up in a single sentence. We believe the TO Nation, with the assistance of the federal government, has disrespected the rule of law, the balance so carefully struck among Indian gaming tribes, our community, Glendale and every Arizonan.

At the crux of our lawsuit is clear evidence that the proper procedure for creating an Indian casino has been sidestepped. I’ll leave the legal wrangling to the lawyers, bit in the 21 months since our sister tribe surprised us with plans to build a casino on our aboriginal lands, our community has learned more than we would care to about legal loopholes, PR spin and shading the truth. The surprises have continues to come, and so have the disappointments especially where our sister tribe is concerned.

In the past, my community and the TO Nation have lived side by side and mutually benefited from our entwined cultures and interests. There’s no better example than the Indian gaming compacts ratified by Arizona voters in 2002. Proposition 202, supported by 17 tribes statewide, including the Gila River and TO communities, created a sound but delicate balance, a promise, that kept casinos out of urban neighborhoods, gave much needed revenue to the state and created an economic engine to lift every tribal community.

To see that balance upset and that promise broken – and to see one tribe use secrecy and legal maneuvering to benefit at the expense of every other tribe and our state – is difficult to comprehend, let alone stand for in silence.

Thus the Gila River Indian Community has taken our case to federal court. Our first goal is to force the federal government to apply federal gaming laws evenly. Never before has a tribe been allowed to “shop” for reservation land half a state away from its homeland, then open a casino on the newly created “pocket reservation.” That not only flies in the face of federal gaming law, but in the face of every Arizona’s vote for Proposition 202.

As for our sister tribe, I know our disagreement is temporary. Himdag has a place of supreme importance in their culture, too. I would like to believe that their leadership will rediscover their way soon enough. I believe we can achieve more together than apart and that greed should never be allowed to trump respect for all things.”

The deciding supporter of Alvarez’ plea was Councilmember Gary Sherwood. Mr. Sherwood can not have it both ways despite the rambling, confusing and often contradictory reasons for his decision. On one hand he says he still supports City Council Resolution 4246 that stated that the city is officially opposed to the TO casino.  It’s important to quote part of that resolution, “Whereas, the City believes that the Tohono O’odham Nation’s assertions and the basis upon which it makes these assertions are incorrect, poor public policy, in violation of the governmental rights, privileges, and authority of the State of Arizona, the County of Maricopa, and the City of Glendale, and are contrary to the best interests of the Citizens of the State of Arizona, the County of Maricopa, and the city of Glendale; and Whereas, the City of Glendale, consistent with the Indian tribes voicing opposition to the Tohono O’odham Nation’s application, opposes off-reservation gaming, including this current effort by the Tohono O’odham Nation to establish gaming on the Proposed Reservation Land, as contrary to the terms of Proposition 202 as presented to the people of the State of Arizona in 2002 and supported by, among other, the Tohono O’odham Nation.” Here is the link to Bailey’s (really Tindall’s legal opinion): http://www.glendaleaz.com/Clerk/agendasandminutes/Workshops/Agendas/031814-W03.pdf .

On the other hand, Sherwood then launched into a monologue stating, in essence, the TO casino will create “synergy” with Westgate and drive more business there. In a pig’s eye and he knows it. Subsidized food, drink and room rates at the TO proposed casino will undercut every restaurant, bar and hotel in the Westgate area. Despite his statement that he still supports opposition to the proposed casino and it will be “contrary to the best interest of the City of Glendale and of the citizens of the State of Arizona” he then supported moving forward with negotiations with the TO and opposition to Franks’ bill.  On one hand he says he opposes the casino because it earns not a penny of revenue for Glendale yet on the other, he is prepared to negotiate and facilitate their eventual presence.  His position is illogical yet he became the fourth councilmember needed to achieve consensus and direction.

Why? Sometimes things become clearer with perspective. Think back to the arena deal vote. Sherwood knew Weiers, Hugh and Alvarez were opposed to the arena deal and Martinez and Knaack already supported him and the deal. The vote was split, 3 to 3. He discovered those 5 members could not be dissuaded. Whether one agreed with or opposed their positions they had the principles of their conviction and could not be moved. He desperately needed that 4th vote of approval for the arena deal.

Who was left? Newly elected Sam Chavira — of course. Whispers of this scenario have circulated for months. If Chavira voted for the arena deal, in return Sherwood would support the casino. Is it true? I don’t know but it makes perfect sense and certainly seems to fit the known facts. Did each sell their souls? For what? Political back scratching? To be recognized in public hockey town halls as the saviors of the Coyotes? Reelection financial support from hockey and TO stakeholders with deep pockets?

But at whose expense? The citizens of Glendale locked into unsustainable arena debt of an estimated $27 million a year with a council unwilling to make the budget cuts that make the arena deal feasible? The Westgate area business owners who will suffer from unfair competition? The residents of West Glendale whose property values will decline with the advent of a casino while crime and traffic increases? The Westgate business owners who will suffer from unfair competition?  The Indian tribes who joined the State Compact in good faith? The voters of the State of Arizona presented with a plan to limit casino locations?

These politicians were just that –typical politicians, exemplifying the worst of the offices they hold. Sherwood delivered an irresponsible and dangerous signal to casino friends and foes alike. His flip flop on one of his campaign promises should be remembered when he runs for reelection. Given this, expect him flip flop again and to support the hated billboards proposed for North Glendale.  After all, he confessed that all of the fuss over the billboards was “baffling” to him and he was “pro-business.” There is no statesmanship here.

© Joyce Clark, 2014


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.

Mayor Weiers has called for an Executive Session at 5 PM today, September 24, 2013 according to Paul Giblin’s story in the Arizona Republic. When the half million dollar external audit was finalized it included a legal analysis. While the audit was released to the public, the legal analysis was discussed in a previous Esession but was not released publicly. Councilmembers Sherwood and Martinez confirmed its “authenticity” to the Republic after it obtained a copy. This Esession is to provide Weiers an opportunity to remind councilmembers what information discussed during an Esession is and is not permissible to reveal.

Weiers’ problem is more than councilmembers talking “out of school” about Esession material. It signals his greater problem – a leadership vacuum. Each councilmember is vying for that position. In their eyes, what better way to achieve that goal than getting one’s name in front of the public as often as possible?  Sherwood led the charge on the Coyotes deal. He was out there publicly and often as long as it was a news story. Complaints were made by Alvarez citing conflicts of interest by some councilmembers. Then Alvarez and Hugh released Esession information about the Beacon bids and they became the next set of targets. Sherwood and Martinez confirmed the legal analysis portion of the external audit. These people are off the reservation. Can Weiers get them back on? They’ve already learned that they will suffer no consequences, at least from the Attorney General’s Office. After all, don’t forget that the City Attorney’s clients are each and every councilmember. He is charged with representing them and defending their interests. The letters he sent to the AG’s office were designed to do exactly that. Is it any wonder that the AG found no reason to charge any of them? Councilmembers, under Council Guidelines, can publicly censure one another but don’t look for that to occur either.

Today’s Esession will turn out to be an exercise in futility. Every time Alvarez doesn’t like a majority council position on an issue, leaks will occur. Every time one of them believes that leaking will enhance their position, leaks will continue. Weiers’ attempt to get them back on the reservation will only happen when he stops “leading from behind” and gets out in front of the issues before the others try to do so. Right now councilmembers are off the reservation and will only get back on when they are roped in.

©Joyce Clark, 2013

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those 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, democracy, 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 Lawwho 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.


Norma Alvarez

Norma Alvarez

Hugh photo

Ian Hugh

Councilmember Alvarez is number 2 on the list having spent $26,151.34 and Councilmember Hugh comes in at third at $19,771.12. Both share Chavira’s philosophy of giving away your taxpayer dollars.


money 2Here is the list of Alvarez’ donations made in the past 6 months totaling  $16,791.40 (60% of her total 6 month expenditures):


  • Glendale Arizona Historical Society……………$3,000.00
  • Community Action Program Holiday Event….$3,000.00
  • Football uniforms for Independence HS…….…$3,391.40
  • Hope for Hunger…………………………………$    500.00
  • Scholarships………………………………………..$   900.00


  • Jivemind performance at a Glen. ES*.……………$3,000.00
  • Arizona Melon Festival, LLC*…………………….$3,000.00

*Last two items are for-profit corporations.

Like Chavira, Alvarez donated to the Arizona Melon Festival, LLC money 9(AMF). AMF received a total of $11,000 from 2 councilmembers, Chavira and Alvarez.  Jeff Rose, SW Director of Jivemind, is also a managing member of AMF. Alvarez also donated to Jivemind despite the fact that the Jivemind lease of city property requires the company to offer at least 4 free public events yearly. Ummmm… Also of note Jivemind is renting 6,559 square feet of city property (formerly the Bead Museum) for approximately $2.69/SF. In checking the going rate for lease of downtown Glendale commercial property the lowest cost per square foot that is currently listed is $6.00/SF. Ummmm…

money 8Here is the list of Hugh’s donations made in the past 6 months totaling $9,984.98 (50% of his total 6 month expenditures):


  • Glendale Arizona Historical Society……………..$4,669.98
  • Jerseys for youth project………………….……….$1,040.00
  • Hope for Hunger…………………………………..$3,000.00
  • Packages from Home…………………….….….…$1,000.00
  • The Salvation Army………………………..…….$   275.00

Other expenditures of note in Hugh’s budget are 1. Yep, you guessed it. Hugh’s cell phone, just like Chavira’s, is covered at $75 a month and 2. On May 13, 2013 Hugh hosted an event at Shane’s Ribmoney 1 Shack for $1,750.45. That’s a lot of ribs! Was it for his constituents? No further information is provided to clarify this noteworthy expense. It’s ironic that a councilmember whose focus and roots are in downtown Glendale chose a restaurant away from downtown and in Westgate.

All of the non-profits listed above are worthy and deservedly so. They offer much needed services in our community. Some of these groups also receive dollars from Glendale’s From the Heart Program or CBDG funding. From the Heart is a program in which residents have the option to pay an additional dollar on their water/sewer/sanitation bill every month. That dollar goes to From the Heart which often also receives grant match funding from other organizations. The funds are distributed to non-profits on an annual basis. In addition, as Alvarez well knows as a former director of Glendale’s Community Action Program, that the city is a pass-through federal funds (called Community Development Block Grant [CDBG] funds). CDBG funds are distributed annually to non-profits that assist the low to moderate income population in Glendale. These are successful, long-term city mechanisms to distribute funding to the economically disadvantaged and disabled within our community.

Is it appropriate for councilmembers to divert funding from their “communications” and “infrastructure” budgets to non-profits? They are taxpayer dollars and the only judge of these monetary awards is the councilmember. There are dangers in cronyism and abuse. What if there are constituents that are philosophically opposed? These councilmember actions make it perfectly clear that they are not focused on district resident outreach and providing their constituents timely information or in making awards that can physically improve the blight in some of their district neighborhoods.

Yet when these budgets were initially created that was the distinct purpose and intent for the use of these funds in councilmember budgets. The need to fund communication to constituents was an identified primary need as was the ability to “fix” minor neighborhood infrastructure issues that arose and were not budgeted for in the city budget. None of the former councilmembers ever voiced the intent to give the money away to their favorite charities. Yet Alvarez made monetary awards totaling 60% of her entire 6 month expenditures (January 1 to June 30, 2013) and Hugh made awards totaling 50%. It’s time to take a look at councilmember budgets and examine what are to be considered as appropriate expenditures.

money 5These very three councilmembers, Chavira ($27,000), Alvarez ($26,000) and Hugh ($19,000) are big spenders who have no problem in giving your taxpayer dollars to their favorite organizations. Their inability to reign in their individual council budgets demonstrates a philosophy loathe to reign in the city’s budget and to reduce spending. The city must reduce its spending by $23 million by FY 2017 when the increased sales tax sunsets. Yet these councilmembers continue to rack up new expenses that were unbudgeted such as $100,000+ for the Beacon bid process the results of which were ignored; or the $500,000 for an audit which will do no more than place blame on some city middle managers long gone from the organization. If they cannot practice frugality with their own council budgets why should we expect them to cut city expenses, something so desperately needed, that continue to outpace its revenues?


Glendale City Attorney Craig Tindall

Glendale City Attorney
Craig Tindall

On Tuesday, February 26, 2013, the City Council held an Executive session for the express purpose of meeting with and discussing the performance of Craig Tindall, City Attorney. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall!

As with all E sessions we will never know exactly what took place and what was said. We do know that Tindall agreed orally to tender his resignation and we now await his formal letter of same. I suspect in the coming days leaks will pour from the City. It’s happened many times in the past and I expect it to occur this time.


Mayor Weiers

Mayor Weiers announced that he had asked for Tindall’s resignation and today the Arizona Republic reported Weiers “citing a need to move in a different, more business-friendly, direction.” Weiers is trying to position himself as a strong mayor. Don’t be fooled. In Glendale the City Charter has established a Mayor-Manager form of government. It still takes four votes, or a majority, of the City Council to issue policy or to take any action, including that of asking the City Attorney for his resignation.  As much as Mayor Weiers would like to wave his scepter and make unilateral policy, he still needs to gather 3 more supporters from those pesky councilmembers.

Martinez Knaack Sherwood


Coalitions are forming among the City Council and their outlines are beginning to emerge. In the same news article, the Arizona Republic quoted Vice Mayor Knaack as saying, “Seriously, I’m going to cry.” One can read into that statement that the Vice Mayor was probably not in the coalition to boot Tindall out. It went on to quote Councilmember Gary Sherwood, “What I don’t like are the people who wanted him to be gone hiding behind a veil that said we’re going a different direction.” Hmmm…don’t think Sherwood was in favor of getting rid of Tindall either. Can we add anyone else to this emerging coalition? How about Councilmember Martinez? It’s no secret that he and Councilmember Alvarez have often clashed publicly. So Coalition #1 is comprised of Knaack, Sherwood and Martinez.

Norma Alvarez

Norma Alvarez

Hugh Chavira

Ian Hugh, Sam Chavira

Coalition #2, almost by default, is Alvarez, Hugh and Chavira. Make no mistake; Councilmember Alvarez is leading this coalition’s parade. Councilmembers Hugh and Chavira owe Alvarez for her marshaling of support for their successful runs, especially from the Tohono O’odham. Norma has said that Tindall “disrespected” her publicly. Why? Because he didn’t give her answers/opinions that supported her statements or her agenda? Which leads one to surmise that if one doesn’t support her point of view or agenda then one is being “disrespectful.”

What then about Mayor Weiers? Right now he’s in the catbird seat. Pick any issue and right now he has the luxury of jumping from one side to the other. He also has the luxury of furthering the animosity that already exists between the two coalitions. He can play both sides against the middle. Wow! All this from a guy who said he was a fence-mender and would work to create harmony on council.

I think what disturbs me about the situation as it played out is the absence of professionalism and the sense of urgency. Why? In four months Tindall would have faced his annual performance review by Council.  That time would have been appropriate for a parting of the ways and the avoidance of embarrassment to a Council appointed employee. Tindall, no matter your opinion of him, served this city for 12, almost 13 years and earned professional action regarding his employment.

I suspect the other Council appointed officials still standing, namely the Interim City Manager and the City Clerk, should be forewarned. A house cleaning appears to be occurring. Why only clean half your house when you can do it all?