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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.

For the past twenty years in my role as Yucca District councilmember a major goal has always been to preserve 83rd Avenue as a large lot corridor. Nearly every acre of land between Bethany Home Road and Camelback Road on either side of 83rd Avenue based upon Glendale’s General Plan is classified as Low Density Residential (1 to 2.5 dwelling units to an acre) and is zoned SR-17 (Suburban Residence, minimum lot size 17,000) and has been since the 1980s.

If you travel north on 83rd Avenue from Camelback Road to Bethany on the east there is Orange Drive (large lot properties); an area of custom-built homes on large lots centered around Georgia Avenue; Missouri Estates (circa 2006), a large lot gated community; and Montebello Drive (large lot properties). On the west side of 83rd Avenue traveling north, there is a series of 4 homesteads all on 4 acres or more; Oregon Avenue (large lot properties); then Missouri Ranch, a large lot subdivision; and even the dreaded Stonehaven residential development has its largest lots abutting 83rd Avenue.

About a month or so ago I was invited to meet with Jon Froke, representing the property owner at 5136 N. 83rd Avenue, and the daughter of the property owner. They indicated that her parents, owners of the property, had become older and were ready to sell their 4.58 acres. They asked what I thought would be appropriate for the site and I indicated that historically 83rd Avenue is a large lot corridor and had been so for at least 30 years.

This is something Jon Froke knows quite well. For years he worked in Glendale’s Planning Department ending his career in Glendale as its Planning Director. He had worked with me in the past to preserve 83rd Avenue as one of the very few large lot corridors in Glendale.

Now he works for clients that want to maximize the sale of their properties and assists them in getting zoning that ensures that goal. I understand the property owners’ desire to sell their property at the best possible price per acre. How is that achieved? By getting city permission (it is called ‘entitlement’) to place as many residential units per acre as possible. That is why the property owners are asking to change the zoning from SR-17 (Suburban Residence, 1 to 2.5 housing units to the acre) to R-2 (Mixed Residence, up to 12 housing units to the acre). As important as it is for the property owners to get as much as possible for their land, it is not appropriate to do so at the expenses of every large lot owner in this incredibly special 83rd Avenue corridor. It also sets an example for the 3 large lot property owners to the north of this parcel that they, too, will be able to succeed in getting the same zoning, R-2, for their land. It is a poor precedent for this area.

According to Glendale code, those on the Planning Department’s persons of interest list and property owners within 300 feet of the boundaries of this parcel can receive notification letters of changes or neighborhood meetings. This is the letter that was sent out:

June 4, 2021

Adam Froke

Jon M. Froke Urban Planning LLC

11225 North 28th Drive, Suite D 105

Phoenix, AZ 85029

(623) 256-9207

adam@frokeurbanplanning.co

Subject: Village 83

Dear Neighbor,

This letter is to inform you that I am applying for a General Plan Amendment and Rezoning Application with the City of Glendale. The property is located along 83rd Avenue about 1,000 feet north of Camelback Road and the street address is 5136 North 83rd Avenue. The property is in the Yucca District. The request is for a General Plan Amendment from LDR 2.5, Low Density Residential to MHDR 12, Medium High Density Residential and a rezoning from SR-17, Suburban Residence to R-2, Mixed Residence.

The project envisions redeveloping a single-family home into a multi-family development featuring attached townhomes. The entire lot is 4.58 acres, and the units are envisioned to be modern and high-quality, having a height of no more than 30 feet. (My editorial note: ‘high-quality’ is a very subjective term. The 30 feet height is what is required in the R-2 zoning district) The property will have a mix of two- and three- bedroom units. (My editorial note: For rent? Or for sale?) We will be working closely with the staff at the City of Glendale to ensure our project meets all development standards and is appropriate to the surrounding area.

I have included a conceptual site plan with this letter for your review. The site plan proposed 36 townhomes to be constructed on the site. However, the R-2 zoning district we are applying for would allow for up to 54 units. (My editorial note: If project is approved expect 54 units as opposed to 36 units) Note that the final design of the site will be developed at a later date. (My editorial note: It sounds as if the property has not been sold to a developer yet as they are waiting to successfully gain entitlement for an R-2 project).

A neighborhood meeting will be held at the property and the date, time and location are provided below. The meeting will be used to provide further details regarding our project and to receive comments and questions from attendees. Refreshments will be provided at the meeting. If you are unable to attend, please write, email or call me at the contact information above. You may also contact George Gehlert with the City of Glendale at (623) 930-2597. Please provide any comments by July 5, 2021.

                            Date:          6/21/2021

                            Time:          6:00 PM

                            Location:    5136 N. 83rd Avenue, Glendale, AZ 85303

Sincerely,

Adam M. Froke, AICP

Project Manager

Here is their site plan:

This site is most appropriate for about a dozen, large lot (10,000 SF) homes. While the lot sizes are slightly smaller than those that would surround them, they would fit in with the area.

You do not have to have received this letter to attend this neighborhood meeting. Anyone from the general public can attend, learn more and most certainly comment on the appropriateness of this project for this area.

I will be attending this meeting. I urge you to attend as well. Please don’t count on your neighbor doing your job for you. Plan to attend. I especially call on those residents of Orange Drive; Missouri Estates; Montebello Avenue; the Georgia Avenue area; Oregon Avenue; and Missouri Ranch to attend. This proposed project will directly affect you.

It is important that you work together to preserve your property values in this area and your quality of life. As more and more small lot (45 ft. wide) subdivisions are built in Glendale, our large lots become more and more coveted.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

 

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

I’ve wanted to write this particular blog for nine months but confidentiality imposed by the principal developers precluded me from doing so.

Last September, the Glendale city council approved documents for the Crystal Lagoon Island Resort at Glendale. At that time David Leibowitz published an article disparaging the project. Here is the link to his original article: https://www.eastvalleytribune.com/opinion/valley-theme-park-plans-all-smoke-no-sizzle/article_50d85836-f6ab-11ea-a6a8-47e43bc1f48b.html .

In it he said, “Not to be outdone, the Glendale City Council last week approved ‘Crystal Lagoons, Island Resort,’ an 11-acre water paradise purported to include paddle boarding, scuba diving and boogie boarding – plus ‘water jetpacks.’ Whatever the hell those are.

“Naturally, Glendale electeds voted to waive $1 million in fees for the developer and employ a sweetheart financing deal known as a GPLET, which allows the builder to avoid paying property taxes for 25 years. That’s predicated on the project being built, of course, which I doubt. Not to sound cynical, but, like I said, I’ve been following theme park news for years. 

“The projects all follow a similar pattern: They get announced amid much braggadocio, make zero progress for years, then quietly expire.

“In this case, the political burbker du jour was Glendale Councilwoman Joyce Clark, who said at the Council meeting: “I am just so excited. … (This is) a blockbuster project that’s going to put Glendale on the map, not just in the Valley but in the Southwest.” Which I’m sure is what some elected yoyo said when the Garden of Eden was built – and with nary a tax break, if you can imagine that.”

Well, Mr. Leibowitz, today was the official groundbreaking for Crystal Lagoon Island Resort at Glendale. The project will be completed prior to the Super Bowl of 2023. I think it’s time you pound sand regarding your commentary about this project and I invite you to Crystal Lagoon Island Resort at Glendale when it is opened to pound said sand.

A project of this magnitude is not built nor planned in a day. The sale of the land has been completed at a cost of $27 million. Conceptual plans have been rendered and engineering/architectural plans are nearly completed. So now it is time to begin grading the land and that is exactly what is occurring now.

I suspect that Mr. Leibowitz’s motive for disparaging Glendale’s project had more to do with the election atmosphere in the fall of 2020. Add in his close connection in working with the Glendale fire fighter union. Glendale’s Primary Election was in August, 2020, a month before this blockbuster announcement. In that Primary Liebowitz and the Glendale firefighter union took a whippin’. They had backed and had poured tons of money supporting the opponent of Mayor Weiers and my opponent as well. They lost…again. You would think that they would learn the lesson to not mess with Clark and Weiers.

Liebowitz, stung after another firefighter election loss in Glendale, probably thought his article would be great payback and would be a perfect opportunity to go not to go after not only Glendale but me as well. It was like killing two birds with one stone. In this case, his stones missed their mark. I think we can write off Mr. Liebowitz and his opinions regarding anything Glendale related.

When the official groundbreaking occurred this past Thursday, June 10th, I said repeatedly this is the most significant project to come to Glendale since the arena opened in 2003 and the stadium opened in 2006.

Think about it. Why do so many of us escape to California for vacations? The incredible weather along the coast, of course, but it is the beach and water fun and the myriad of theme parks. I can’t think of a single theme park over there that combines a beach with rides.

That’s what makes Crystal Lagoon Island Resort such a unique venue, especially in the Arizona desert. I’m not sure the public realizes just how much one can do.

  • Do you want to swim, scuba dive, water jet pack or boogie board all day? No problem. You and your family can do that with a lunch break at one of the dozen or so restaurants available.
  • Or maybe it’s a day with the kids or grandkids at the Mattel Amusement Park including Thomas the Train and Hot Wheels rides. Over the coming months Mattel will be announcing more components for their amusement park. So be on the lookout for them.
  • Perhaps the older kids would prefer the “fly”or 4 D theaters similar to the “Soarin’ Around the World” attraction at Disney’s California Adventure theme park.
  • Have some visitors? They will be able to stay at Crystal Lagoon Island Resort where 650 hotel rooms will be available. Then you can all meet for a leisurely lunch followed by shopping at one or all five of the themed retail/restaurant island areas.
  • Looking for something unique to show off? Go to the Aerophile’s Aerobar for extraordinary food and drinks 130 feet off the ground. Want to show off the entire Valley of the Sun? Then the tethered hot air balloon rising 400 feet is just the ticket.
  • Need a bit more? Then plan on attending a live outdoor musical concert with well known musical artists nearly every night of the year. More announcements will be made about this element when the principals are ready to do so.

Marry Crystal Lagoon Island Resort with the Westgate/Zanjero area and it becomes a major vacation destination. Want to golf? Go to TopGolf or PopStroke (Tiger Woods designed mini golf). Professional sports venues of NFL football, NHL hockey or MLB spring training baseball await. If your passion is bowling there’s even a bowling alley! Professional shoppers beware as you head off to Tanger Outlets at Westgate or the unique, themed shops at Crystal Lagoon.

Just imagine! When Glendale hosts the Super Bowl in January of 2023, a couple or family can stay at one of the dozen hotels (nearly 2,000 suites available) and be within walking distance of all that I have mentioned above.

I hope I have been able to convey the magnitude of Crystal Lagoon Island Resort and its impact on Glendale with expected visitors of 5,000 to 6,000 a day. It is significant and truly incredible!

So, David Liebowitz…go pound sand…at Crystal Lagoon Island Resort. It’s coming despite your negativism and disbelief.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

Sometimes good things happen, and sometimes bad things happen. What is about to occur is a bad thing. Today I received a call from one of the people who had originally been a fund raiser and donator for the building of the Glendale/Peoria YMCA located on the Arizona Christian University at 59th Avenue and Thunderbird.

Here is a copy of the letter he shared and I have transcribed it below as well:

“May 7, 2021

“Dear Glendale/Peoria YMCA member,

“Thank you for being a supporter of the Valley of the Sun YMCA. Members like you allow the YMCA to provide programs and services to the communities we are part of and increase our commitment to Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility. The YMCA is more than ??  (unreadable due to copy transmitted to me) years old here in Arizona and during that time has operated programs inside and beyond YMCA ?? (unreadable).  We want to take this opportunity to tell you abut a recent decision that impacts the Glendale/Peoria branch and your community.

“The YMCA staff and leadership have made the decision to cease all operations of the Glendale/Peoria YMCA effective Friday, July 2, 2021. Arizona Christian University will take over the YMCA and use the facility to serve their students. This is an amazing opportunity for the student body.

“Although the Glendale/Peoria branch will be closed, the Valley of the Sun YMCA will still continue to serve the community through its other 13 branch locations. We would welcome you to stay as a member!

“We recognize that this change in location could cause inconvenience, therefore we will automatically cancel    your membership effective July 2, 2021. No bank draft will occur after July 2, 2021.  If you wish to stay a YMCA member, please reach out and we will honor your current membership at one of our branches through 12.31.2021. For any membership inquiries, please email us at membership@vosymca.org.

“Thank you for your continued support of the Valley of the Sun YMCA and for allowing us to serve you. We hope to continue serving you at another location. Please visit our website for all locations https://valleyymca.org/about- your-y/locations/.

“Sincerely,

Libby Henry

Executive Vice President

Chief Operating Officer”

Let’s review some facts of the situation. When ASU sold and/or transferred land, formerly known as Thunderbird International School of Graduate Management, to Arizona Christian University, the site of the Glendale/Peoria YMCA was not part of the deal. Glendale’s senior staff and city council worked to ensure that the YMCA would continue to be there to serve Glendale and Peoria families. Right now it has a little over 300 families as members.

 Did you know the facility was built by fund raising resulting in donations from private citizens in Glendale and Peoria? In fact, Jerry Moyes donated a half million dollars for the basketball court. This facility was a result of the blood, sweat, tears and financial investments of ordinary citizens who recognized the need and stepped up to solve the problem.

If it were to close here are the nearest 3 locations. None of them are close by or can be considered convenient.

The rationale for closing the Glendale/Peoria facility is that attendance is down. Not good enough. As a result of Covid, it and everything else, has been closed for a period of time. Attendance can be assumed to be down at all of their facilities…not just this one… but at all of their 18 facilities.

Ms. Henry became Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in August of 2020, less than a year ago. Her agenda to remove one of the three existing facilities serving the entire West Valley is misguided and misplaced. Phoenix hosts 4 facilities and Scottsdale has 2 facilities. Perhaps one of them would be a better candidate for Ms. Henry’s cost cutting scenario.

Although the Valley of the Sun YMCA, as non-profits go, is not poor. Here is their 2019 financial report. In it you will discover total assets of $43,485,238 with total investments of $2,720,394. In 2019 it expended $1,400,412 in federal awards. In 2019 its salaries, employee benefits and payroll taxes amounted to $17,768,581. There is even an employee retirement plan. Valley-of-the-Sun-YMCA-and-Affiliate-1219-FS-FINAL

What can be done to stop what is clearly ‘a bad thing’? It’s time to make noise from within the communities of Glendale and Peoria. Let everyone know that this action is not acceptable to either community.

How? Well, it’s not quite that easy. You can try going to this link and submitting an email to Libby Henry. Please follow the prompts on their page: https://valleyymca.org/about-your-y/#executive-staff . Their main phone number is 602-404-9622 and either ask to speak to Ms. Henry or leave her a message.

Here is the list of their Board of Directors. Perhaps you know one of them:

  • Ryan Abbott, Senior Vice President, Sundt Construction, Inc.
  • Bradley Albert, Past Board Chair, Vice President, Resource Management, Arizona Public Service
  • Daniel Calihan, Senior Vice President, CBRE, Inc.
  • Andres Contreras, Executive Vice President of Social Services & Education, Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc.
  • Stephan Garner, CEO,  Abrazo Arrowhead Hospital
  • John Graham, President and CEO, Sunbelt Holdings
  • Ellen Hedlund, Secretary, Community Volunteer
  • Jennifer Holsman Tetreault, Assistant General Counsel, Field Operations, Vice President, Resource Management, US Foods
  • Donald Isaacson, Partner, Isaacson & Walsh, P.C.
  • Barbara Kennedy, CHRO, Western Alliance Bank
  • Michael King, Partner, Gammage & Burnham
  • Aaron Lemke, Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo Commercial Banking
  • Mike McDaniel, Treasurer, Vice President & General Manager, Global Workplace & Mobility, DXC
  • Jim Pitman, Vice Chair, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Phoenix Suns
  • Bob Rice, Board Chair, Retired Program Manager, Intel
  • Joyce Stuart, Community Volunteer
  • Amy Thurston, Community Volunteer
  • Juli West, Vice President, Supply Chain

Arizona Christian University is a participant in this action as well. It is my understanding that the YMCA is selling its parcel to the university. Here are the principals of this institution:

  • Len Munsil, President
  • Mrs. Catharine D. Ellingsen, Chair,Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer and Corporate Secretary for Republic Services, Inc.
  • Mr. Tom Okarma, Vice Chair, Nonprofit Board and Leadership Coach
  • Dr. Larry Anderson, Interim Senior Pastor at Desert View Bible Church
  • Dr. Jim Baugh, Pastor; International Christian Leadership Development
  • Mr. Rick Blankenship, Retired Sales Professional (High-Tech Industry)
  • Mr. Floyd Brown, Publisher at The Western Journal; Author, Speaker, Media Commentator and Political Consultant
  • Mr. John Cocca, Secretary, Public Safety Professional (Retired)
  • Mr. Glenn Dobbs, Retired Businessman
  • Dr. Mark Fuller, Pastor of Leadership Development at the Church of the Nazarene (Ohio)
  • Mr. Don King, Retired Manufacturing Manager
  • Dr. Gregory Koury, Physician
  • Mr. Wayne Mihailov, CEO of Airline MRO Parts (AMP)
  • Mr. Len Munsil. Ex-Officio, University President
  • Mr. David Pruitt, Realtor and Director of the Property Management Division of West USA Realty, Inc.
  • Dr. Shelly Roden, Retired ACU/Southwestern College faculty member and administrator; ACU’s Dr. Shelly Roden School of Education named in her honor.
  • Mr. Andrew Unkefer, Treasurer, Entrepreneur and Business Consultant

An email may be sent to: concerns@arizonachristian.edu and their main phone number is 602-489-5300.

It is time to let the executive staff and board of directors of the Valley of the Sun YMCA and Arizona Christian University know that their proposed action to close the only facility that serves the northwest valley is unacceptable. Can this facility be saved and continue its mission of serving Glendale and Peoria? I don’t know but I do know that if we don’t try we will lose a precious asset in our community.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

You may have noted that at council voting meetings I often vote ‘no’ on a majority of city contracts. It is not on a whim but rather on principal. Contracts are legally binding documents. They are for goods or services specifying details and with a mutually agreed price. For instance, if you agree to buy 100 widgets at fifty cents each the supplier must provide that count of items at that price.

If the price of widgets goes up that is unfortunate for the supplier for it still must provide you your widgets at the contracted price. I suppose the supplier could renege on the contract but that would be a breach of the contract for which the supplier could be civilly sued. Or the supplier could come back to you and tell you its cost of widgets has gone up and it would like to renegotiate the contract. At that point you have the option of mutually voiding the contract or paying the new price.

That’s not quite how it works with governmental contracts. One can assume that since the contractor knows its bidding on government work, the price is already higher than the private sector would pay. A number of times the city has chosen to work with a private sector company to bid on and manage a project because the cost will come in lower if the job is done through the private sector. It happens all the time.

A majority of governmental contracts are for 5 years or more. Here are some recent examples:

  • “…for an initial term of one (1) year and to renew the agreement, at the City Manager’s discretion, for an additional four (4) one-year terms…”
  • “…and to authorize the City Manager, at the City Manager’s discretion, to renew the agreement for four (4) one-year terms not to extend beyond October 1, 2025.  The initial term of this agreement is from the date Council approves the agreement through October 1, 2021.”
  • “…and to authorize the City Manager to renew the agreement, at the City Manager’s discretion, for an additional five (5) years, renewable on an annual basis…”
  • “…and authorize the City Manager to renew the agreement, at his discretion, for an additional four (4) one-year renewals…”

Councilmembers have 4 year terms, not 5 year terms. Any councilmember may or may not be reelected. If an official is not reelected someone new with no history of a particular contract will be asked to approve or disapprove its renewal beyond 4 years. It becomes very difficult to provide a continuum of accountability to a councilmember when that contract becomes renewable.

Often during the term of the contract, council will be asked to approve or disapprove an amendment to a contract that usually involves a price hike in the contract. The contractor, knowing that it has a 5 year contract, will ask for greater compensation as a result of increased costs for the product or services. If a governmental agency, such as the city, has a justified reason to comply with the increased cost by showing that it is still a competitive price, council does not receive that information. Rarely, if ever, is an increase in price ever denied.

A better practice would be to disallow 5 year or longer contracts and instead to adopt a policy of using 3 year contracts or when a price increase is requested it automatically moves to an open rebidding process. In either case it motivates the contractor to bid at current fair market value.

As we all know the economy can fluctuate wildly in a 3 year period. Who could have predicted 3 years ago that the cost of lumber would triple? By rebidding contracts every 3 years it is always possible that the cost will go up but the same possibility of a price reduction is also valid. The ultimate goal is to ensure that whatever price is paid by a governmental agency for goods and services reflects fair market value.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

I haven’t written a blog in quite some time but I have a good excuse. The city council has just gone through its budget season which consumed our lives. In an effort to “do my homework” I have spent countless hours studying hundreds of pages of budget material. In addition to creating city policy the annual budget is the most important council activity.

Money is the life’s blood of our lives. If we have enough, we’re comfortable. If we don’t have enough, we’re miserable. Money is the life’s blood of all governments, from local to federal. Who ever directs its spending has the power.

The Glendale City Council has had 9 meetings since January building its annual budget.  For Fiscal Year 21-22 Glendale’s total budget is $1.242 billion dollars. It breaks down as follows:

  • An operating budget of $730 million dollars or 59% of the total budget. The police and fire budgets consume most of the operating budget coming in at 66%. This budget convers all employee salaries and benefits, all supplies, and all usual day to day equipment (such as computers and phones) and all minor purchases and contracts needed to operate (such as building cleaning services). In addition to employee salaries and benefits and public safety it convers such services as community services and transportation.
  • Our capital improvement budget totals $280 million dollars or 28%. This budget is used to construct new amenities such as Heroes Park Lake and the O’Neil Splash Pad and to repair and maintain all sorts of things such as a fire station, a park irrigation system, the adult center entry way or repainting Sahuaro Ranch fencing. It covers items such as streets, the airport and transit.
  • The contingency budget is $139 million dollars or 11%. Our contingency funds are just that. For example, the council approves a construction project that totals $500,000 but it turns out that lumber prices have tripled. Yet the council approved allocation is that $500,000. Contingency can be used to cover the costs associated with the rising and unexpected costs of materials.
  • The debt budget is $93 million dollars or 7%. It not only convers the debt on the arena and spring training facility but debt arising from the capital improvement program.

Some of the departmental highlights within this year’s budget include:

  • Community Services will continue to provide pass through services for the distribution of federal Covid funding for emergency rental and utility services.
  • Development Services will see the addition of 3 new inspectors to handle the tremendous amount of new construction we see at the Loop 303 and elsewhere throughout the city.
  • The Fire Department will add a second federally granted funded Medical Response Unit and will get new and replacement turnout gear.
  • The Police Department will provide cell phones for all sworn personnel and institute a drone program as a tool to combat crimes in progress.
  • The Public Facilities, Recreation and Special Events Department will see Heroes Lake constructed this year in addition to upgrades to 3 community centers and Foothills Recreation and Aquatics Center along with park restroom replacements and the addition of a mid-city splash pad.
  • The Facilities Department will oversee City Court, Glendale’s Operations Campus, and amphitheater renovations.

There are two fiscal issues that should be noted. The Arizona Legislature will likely pass a presumptive fire fighter cancer bill. This means all fire fighter cancer claims will be automatically presumed to have occurred while being on the job. Previously a fire fighter had to provide proof that the cancer was the direct result of working as a fire fighter. Now, cities will have to prove that the cancer did not occur because of that work. In other words, all fire fighters’ cancers will have to be covered by cities. This new fiscal burden will add millions of dollars of liability to each and every city in the state.

Another legislative bill under consideration is the reduction of state shared income tax paid to all cities and will be a substantial hit. This will reduce the amount of state shared revenue received by every city in the state. So, at a time when the legislature is adding another fiscal liability by requiring all cities to cover all fire fighter cancers it is also reducing the amount of money received by reducing the income tax payments it shares with all cities. Don’t be surprised if some small cities and towns find themselves on the verge of bankruptcy. These legislative mandates are unsustainable.

The good news is the Glendale city council has achieved a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 21-22 which begins on July 1, 2021. There are many elements within it that will upgrade all of Glendale and add amenities unable to be achieved due to the past recession. You will see parks that look and feel better. You will see roads that continue to receive pavement management or reconstruction of major arterial streets. You will see the city continue to assist those in need because of Covid. You will see neglected city facilities receiving long overdue repairs and upgrades. You will see a better Glendale.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

On March 16th, Brian Friedman, Glendale Economic Development Director, and Tony Lydon, National Director of Jll, Inc., offered a virtual WestMarc presentation on the state of economic development in Glendale. Here is the link: https://www.westmarc.org/city-of-glendale/ .

There were several important ‘take aways‘ presented to viewers. One concept was there are 3 major skylines in the Valley – Phoenix, Tempe and now, Glendale. Elliot Pollack said 15 years ago that Glendale would become the geographic center of the Valley. Not only is that happening but it is growing into a major economic presence within the Valley. Much of the material Brian and Tony presented prove it.

Did you know that when Glendale hosts the Super Bowl in 2023, there will be a dozen hotels in the Westgate/Zanjero area offering over 2,000 rooms? There are already 50 restaurants in the Westgate/Zanjero area, and more are coming. In addition, the Crystal Lagoon project will offer an additional 3 hotels with another estimated 600 rooms. Add the stadium and the arena along with AMC Theater, TopGolf and a future indoor shooting range. Shopping preferences are offered from Cabela’s to Tanger Outlets to small boutique shops.

Another ‘take away’ was the abundance of the work force. The West Valley now has a population of 1.7 million and as new, affordable residential communities spring up more people arrive every day. Many of the new residents are highly technically trained and as the new breed of manufacturing and distribution centers come online these are exactly the work force being hired.

A third ‘take away’ is new infrastructure that attracts major industrial/manufacturing/commercial users. Through significant partnerships water and sewer is becoming abundant in the area of the Loop 303, necessities for large users. Transportation corridors are in place from Northern Parkway (which will connect with the Loop 101 by 2026), the Loop 303 and the Loop 101. All provide easy and fast access to the I-10 and the I-17, interstate highways. There is also a railroad spur that serves large manufacturers like White Claw and Red Bull.

Here is a recap of the 11 commercial projects in the Yucca district either approved, under construction or completed:

  • Westgate district shops, 9405 W. Glendale Avenue
  • EOS Fitness, 5070 N. 83rd Avenue
  • En Fuego at Westgate, northeast corner of Glendale Avenue and Zanjero Blvd.
  • Fox Aviation Hangar 6781 N. Glen Harbor Blvd.
  • Glendale Avenue Storage, 10911 W. Glenn Drive
  • Great Lawn Pavilion, 9600 W. Sportsman Park
  • Starbucks Coffee Shop, 91st Avenue and Glendale Avenue
  • Westgate Tesla Service Facility, 9245 W. Glendale Avenue
  • Jack in the Box, 9152 W. Glendale Avenue
  • Westgate Medical Office, 9950 W. Glendale Avenue
  • Holiday Inn, 6151 N. 99th Avenue

Here are the 12 industrial projects in the Yucca district either approved, under construction or completed:

  • T2/Red Bull expansion, 10501 N. Reems Road
  • Polar Bear-White Claw expansion, 9601 N. Reems Road
  • Park 303, Buildings A and B, 6620 N. Sarival Road
  • Ball expansion, 15101 W. Peoria Avenue
  • Barclay 303 Logistics Center, 16801 W. Glendale Avenue
  • G303, 6605 N. Sarival Avenue
  • RBNA, 10001 N. Reems Road
  • 303 Project, Sarival Avenue and W. Maryland Avenue
  • Bethany Business Park, Cotton Road and W. Bethany Home Road
  • Commerce 303, 15600 W. Camelback Road
  • The Cubes at Glendale, Reems Road and Orangewood Avenue
  • 303 Commerce Center, N. Cotton Lane

Here is one miscellaneous project in the Yucca district, ether approved, under construction or completed:

  • Zanjero Sante Assisted Living, 7410 N. Zanjero Blvd.

Here are the 7 multi-family projects in the Yucca district, either approved, under construction or completed:

  • Bungalows at Westgate, 7403 N. 91st Avenue
  • Bethany Crossing, 6253 N. 69th Avenue
  • Cardinals 95, 9600 W. Georgia Avenue
  • Zanjero II, 7200 N. 91st Avenue
  • Acero at the Stadium, 5550 N. 95th Avenue
  • Mera Westgate, 7460 N. Zanjero Blvd.
  • Glen 91, N. 89th Avenue and W. Glendale Avenue

Here are the 8 residential subdivisions in the Yucca district, either approved, under construction or completed:

  • Olive Grove, 71st Avenue and Olive Avenue
  • Orangewood Ranch, 7606 N. 83rd Avenue
  • El Prado, N. 80th Avenue and W. Camelback Road
  • Stonehaven, Phase I, Parcels 2-8 and 13A and 14, 9050 W. Camelback Road
  • Cadence at Westgate, 89th Avenue and W. Glendale Avenue
  • Jaafar Estates, 7111 N. 83rd Avenue
  • Orangewood Terrace, 8079 W. Orangewood Avenue
  • Rovey Park, 8806 W. Emil Rovey Parkway

This is a snapshot of the various projects occurring in the Yucca district. I can assure you that there are more projects in the pipeline. I read a statistic about the Yucca district that so impressed me I have never forgotten it. At the last census in 2010, the Yucca district had a population of about 41,000 and was comparable to all the other districts in Glendale. Since 2010, in the past ten years, the population in the Yucca district has doubled. I find that projection to be mind boggling! There is a staff projection (that I think is way off) that anticipates the growth in Glendale of another 40,000 people by 2024. If that is correct (which I doubt) most of that population growth occurred in the Yucca district. It would not surprise me to learn, after the 2020 census figures are available that the Yucca district’s population has doubled to about 75,000 people. It is mandated that each district have approximately equal population to all the other districts. Yucca’s population will be so great that when new district boundaries are adopted, its eastern boundary will move significantly westward. How far westward will depend upon the final growth numbers in this district.

As new commercial, industrial, and residential projects are approved in the Yucca district I will offer a new list of those projects as warranted. Glendale’s economic development continues to boom but the loudest explosion is in the Yucca district.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

We couldn’t live our lives without signage. They are necessary. Going to a new doctor’s office at a large medical complex? Thank goodness for those letters or numbers on each building as we weave through a maze of buildings. Looking for that new restaurant that you’ve been dying to try? Thank goodness for that marquee sign on their building. New to a town? Thank goodness for street signs. We use signage multiple times a day and never once give them a thought. What about those feather banners or blow up figures dotting the landscape? Are they visual pollution in a community?

The City of Glendale is in the process of revising its codes and the proposed revisions should be ready for public comment in May or June. One section of the code deals with signage…every imaginable form of signage.

Permanent signage can be regulated fairly easily. The proposed code will stipulate how much square footage, permissible materials and placement is permissible. The problem for all of us to consider are temporary signs. Under Section 4.5.13 Temporary Signs are listed as:

  • A-Frame – no time limit specified
  • Banners – maximum display time of 14 consecutive days; minimum of 10 days between display periods


    A little much…
    3 banners
    A Frame
    More than 50% window coverage

  • Community/Individual event – on individual lot up to 90 days a year, not to exceed 30 consecutive days; in residential common area up to 40 days, not to exceed 20 consecutive days
  • Downtown promotional banner – 45 consecutive days 4 times a year with minimum of 15 days between each special event

 

 

  • Feather/Swooper – up to 15 days, 4 times a year

    9 Feather signs

  • Inflatables – no time period specified

    Inflatable

  • Elections, non-commercial – controlled by Arizona Revised Statutes 16-1019
  • Seasonal – no time period specified
  • Sign Walkers – no time period specified
  • Pennants – up to 15 days, 4 times a year
  • Flags – up to 3 years for a temporary flag
  • Subdivision advertising/directional – until 95% of homes are sold or sales office closes
  • Construction and development – to be removed within 7 days after expiration of the building permit
  • Open House directional – to be posted only when a salesperson on duty for a maximum of for no more than 9 hours a day
  • Real Estate activity, on-site – no time period specified
  • Light pole banner on private property – no time period specified

Note that some categories have no specified time period and that could be problematical. What is even more problematical is the ability of the city’s code department to enforce the time limits for temporary signs when the department only has a staff of 15 people.

I would like to see the code department use volunteers with no power to issue citations. We used to have volunteers that collected small, temporary signs, such as Yard Sale signs, placed in the city’s right-of way. Why not resurrect volunteers and have them note when they see a temporary sign go up and then check in 15 days to see if the temporary sign has been removed? They could pass this information on to a code inspector to start the necessary process to get it removed.

I also do not think that 30 days to remove a temporary sign is reasonable. It’s temporary. How long does it take down to take a feather sign staked in the ground? Or to turn off the compressor of an inflatable sign and remove it? A day or two? Why 30 days?

I have seen inflatables, feather signs and banner signs up for more than a year. Unless a specific complaint is made, these illegal signs are never dealt with. The proliferation of temporary signs is no more than visual pollution.

How junky do we want to allow Glendale to look? Since city council will be reviewing all of the code revisions, including those of temporary signs, I would really like the readers of this blog to weigh in. If it were up to me, I would not allow the use of inflatables and feather signs in Glendale…anywhere. What’s your opinion? Please let me know so that I can share your comments with the city council when this issue is discussed.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

City council has now spent several workshops on the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) with at least one more workshop scheduled on the same topic. Why all the emphasis on the CIP?

In all government whether federal, state or local, power derives from how taxpayer dollars are spent. Having the authority to decide where money is spent is a very powerful. On a federal level a successful Congressman/woman will bring home a project like a road or federal building to a district. It means jobs and an infusion of cash into a district. On a local level one of the imperatives is to provide amenities for district residents or to get the streets fixed in a district.

In this blog I will try to explain the CIP in detail. If you aren’t interested, stop here…but if you are, please read on.

The Capital Improvement Program (CIP) is a constant 10 year plan that specifies which projects will get built and where the funding will come from. It applies to any project that costs over $50,000 and has a life span of at least ten years.

Even though it is a ten year plan, the first 5 years are the years to which you should pay attention. The second five years are placeholders and over time, they may be eliminated or moved up into the first five years, as needs and priorities change.

Where does the money come from to fund the CIP? This is perhaps, the most complicated part of the process to understand. The major categories are:

  • General Obligation Bonds (G.O. Bonds). In the Glendale election of 2019 voters were asked to approve authorization to fund certain city areas running out of authorization such as Parks and Recreation. The city only issues G.O. Bonds when there is an identified project to construct and more importantly, if the issuance of the bonds will not raise your property taxes. As an FYI, city council voted on and approved a policy of not raising your property taxes to fund G.O. Bonds. There are about 12 different categories of G.O. Bonds from Public Safety to Open Spaces/Trails to Local Drainage (streets that get flooded).
  • Pay-As-You-Go. Money for the construction of some projects comes directly from the city’s General Fund. The city’s General Fund’s monies come from various sources including city sales taxes and state-shared revenues.
  • Transportation Sales Tax. Part of the city’s sales tax is restricted and dedicated to be used only for transportation related projects such as Pavement Management.
  • Highway User Revenue Fund (HURF). The state reimburses each city a portion of what you pay in gasoline sales tax. These funds are also restricted and can be used only for transportation related projects including mass transit such as buses.
  • Development Impact Fees (DIF). These are fees paid by a developer when a new project is constructed. They are to be used in the general proximity of where the new development was constructed. Hence the need for geographical zones to ensure that the money is spent in the appropriate geographical area. Over the years the city has modified DIF geographical zones requiring checking the boundaries of the zone to see if the money can actually be spent in a certain geographical area. It must also meet stringent regulations established by the state legislature. Currently there are at least a dozen DIF funding sources dependent on the year the funds were collected and what the DIF boundaries were at the time of collection.
  • Grants. The city is always applying for grants from various governmental agencies. Many grants require the city to provide matching funds. From the feds we often get grants in Public Safety, for our airport and the annual Community Development Block Grants. Maricopa County may issue grants for flooding issues. The state may issue grants for transportation issues. This list is not all inclusive as grant opportunities come and go.
  • Enterprise Funds. This area includes water, sewer, landfill and trash collection. These areas are restricted and are dependent upon rate payers for these services. These areas tend to issue their own bonds for projects as long as restrictive guidelines are observed although there have been times when General Fund revenues have been used to help fund a major project.

So it isn’t just good enough to identify a major project in the CIP, the funding source must be identified confirming there is enough money in that fund and that it is the correct funding source for the project.

I am going to list a CIP project in some of the areas presented to city council. If you would like to see all of the projects here is the link: 01 Draft CIP 2021.02.02. I must warn you this file is approximately 300 pages but this is what city council uses to do its homework for budget workshops on just the CIP.

  • Under Airport is CIPAP21010, Southwest Apron Design/Construct. All projects begin with CIP. AP stands for airport. The number refers to when it was added to the CIP. There is a Description of the project. In this case it is, “Project design and construction of southwest apron, taxi lane and access road to accommodate capacity needs.” Then there is a Justification, “Design and construction of new public apron, taxi land, and infrastructure to accommodate expansion of aircraft storage to meet capacity needs. Project required under FAA and ADOT Grant Assurances and Airport Design Standards.” The estimated cost of the project is offered and in this case is, Design from Fund 2190 slated for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 in the amount of $225,000 and Construction from Fund 2190 slated for FY 2025 for $1,800,000 for a Grand Total of $2,025,000. Fund 2190 as a funding source is an Airport Capital Grant. The city has or will apply to the FAA for a grant for this project and it may require some city matching funds but that will not be known until the grant is issued.
  • Under Arts is CIPAT20033, Municipal Arts Program. There is Carryover of $1,245,125. That means money collected from previous years has accumulated to this amount and is available. The Description is, “City Council Ordinance No. 1226 created a Municipal Art Fund which provides for the purchase of works of art for public places. This consists of commissioned, non-commissioned and the performing arts, all reviewed and recommended by the Glendale Arts Commission (via the Annual Arts Plan0. These funds are used to implement the Annual Arts Plan and maintain and restore the City’s art portfolio (when necessary).” The Justification is, “By City Council Ordinance. No. 1226, a Municipal Art Fund is created which provides for the purchase of works of art for public places.”
  • Under Drainage is CIPDR21034, Bethany Home Road SD (storm drain), 43rd to 51st Description is, “Design and construction of storm drain pipe, inlets, catch basins and other appurtenances in a ½ square mile area centered on Bethany Home Road between 43rd Ave. and 51st Ave. Design began in FY21.” The Justification is, “Project is identified in the Storm Water Master Plan adopted by the city 2011. Maricopa County Flood Control District has budgeted $4.5 million toward completion of the project.” In FY 2022 the sources of funding and expenditures are: Carryover from Fund 2160, Other Grants of $604,173; In FY 2022,Construction from Fund 2160, Other Grants and Fund 4110, Flood Control Construction totaling $2,750,000; and in FY 2023, Construction from Fund 2160, Other Grants and Fund 4110, Flood Control Construction totaling $5,150,00; There is also the cost of Internal Charges from Fund 4110, Flood Control Construction of $123,500 in FY 2022 and $195,700 in FY 2023; in FY 2022 the cost of land totals $500,000 with funding from Fund 2160 and Fund 4110; Public Art in FY 2022 totals $27,500 from Fund 4110. The total cost of the project is $9,402,373 and the money comes from grants with some matching funds from the city.
  • City Hall 2nd Floor HVAC UNIT, CIPFC21048. Description is, “Replacement of the main HVAC for the second floor at City Hall.” Justification is, “The HVAC unit for the second floor of City Hall has exceeded it’s expected life cycle and has begun to fail.” The funding source is Fund 1080, General Government, Pay As You Go, and is Carryover in the amount of $44,221 that will be expended in FY 2022.

I could go on but I think you get the idea about the information that is presented to city council during the CIP budget workshops. The other categories I did not cover are Landfill, Library, Parking Lots, Parks, Public Safety, Solid Waste, Streets, Transit, Water and Wastewater. You can see the full presentation of the CIP in the link I cited above.

Mind you, that is just one part of our budget review. The other portion will be a city council review of and approval of departmental expenditures and employee salaries and benefits. We will probably wrap up budget discussions and decisions in April having taken 4 months of workshop discussions to arrive at a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2022.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

On Thursday, February 25, 2021, the Glendale Elementary School District (GESD) held a meeting to take comments from the public regarding its plan to close 5 elementary schools within its district boundaries. I am providing information about this meeting to keep my Yucca district residents informed. Here is the link to the video of the meeting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehx1KVJCOik

There is one misconception I would like to clear up. The western boundary of GESD is 83rd Avenue. Some speakers asked what would happen because of the development of Stonehaven, between 83rd and 91st Avenues, Bethany Home Road to Camelback Road. Those 1,365 homes reside in the Pendergast Elementary School District (PESD) and those children will not be attending any schools in the GESD.

One of the speakers was Martin Nowakowski, a Yucca district resident, and my appointee on the Glendale Planning Commission. He spoke from 1:38:50 to 1:43:32. He made several particularly good points that, in my opinion, deserve further exploration and answers from the GESD Board.

  • He stated that the process has been flawed. The proposal to close schools during the COVID pandemic is ill advised. The pandemic has been an impediment to allow full participation by the community and has resulted in little to no parent involvement.
  • He called for a forensic audit of GESD’s budget and contended that community perception is there is a pattern of “top heavy” spending.
  • He questioned what costs for transportation would be incurred because of a realignment of pupil attendance boundaries.
  • He said that the district uses the rationale for closures because of declining student enrollment and asked how many students are learning online.
  • He expressed concern about the possibility of increasing class sizes. He questioned will there continue to be class sizes of less than 30 students per class and if that number increases, how does it affect the quality of education for struggling students?
  • Lastly, he characterized the school board’s actions as discriminatory by focusing on closing schools in more disadvantaged neighborhoods and catering to wealthier neighborhoods by keeping those schools intact. He referred to Isaac Imes as being known as the “Mexican school.”

It appears that the community is genuinely concerned and to date has expressed nothing but opposition to the GESD proposal. Perhaps the Board would be advised to slow its proposal down until it has made a full explanation to its community as to why their actions are necessary. There may be good reasons and then again, there may not be but until the community understands why the Board has chosen this path it will be met with distrust and anger. Just think about all those parents who have no idea what is about to happen to their children…and there will be many.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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

On February 11, 2021, Piper Hansen of the Arizona Republic reported that State Senator David Gowan (R-Sierra Vista) has introduced Senate Bill, SB 1334 to allow more aerial fireworks. Here is the link to the story: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/legislature/2021/02/11/aerial-fireworks-legal-arizona-bill-legislature/4343018001/ .

Gowan wants more fireworks, not less…and why not? In his financial disclosure statement of 2021 that every state legislator has to file with the Arizona Secretary of State, you will find that he works for TNT Fireworks. It is one of the largest distributors of fireworks and operates those pop-up tents selling fireworks that spring up in parking lots everywhere just before a legal fireworks period.

At the very least Gowan has a conflict of interest in offering and in advocating for legislation that directly benefits his employer. Has he declared such a conflict? If he is not required to do so, then perhaps his time would be better spent introducing and advocating for a conflict of interest statute that applies to all members of the state legislature.

Gowan has been successful in the past in getting approval for more generous fireworks laws. He was successful in adding two more fireworks events this year – Cinco de Mayo and Dawali.  

The League of Arizona Cities and Towns, an organization that represents its cities and towns members, has already announced it opposition to this new, proposed law saying that it is concerned with an increase in citizen complaints, physical injury and fire danger. To date Gowan’s bill has not been assigned to a committee.

What Valley cities and towns want are more restrictions. Councilmembers received more complaints than ever before with people often describing their neighborhood as “Beirut.”

Here are the legal periods in which non-aerial fireworks can be used:

  • Cinco de Mayo – 3 days in May (a newly added event)
  • Independence Day – 11 days in July
  • Dawali – 2 days in November (a newly added event)
  • New Year’s Eve – 13 days in December and January

This event schedule is nuts. I continue to advocate for a two day event window for any legal fireworks event. For example, I propose that non-aerial fireworks be allowed on July 3rd and July 4th only between the hours of 7:30 PM to 12:30 AM. That’s it. No one needs 11 days to celebrate the 4th of July or 13 days to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

There is no consistency in the fireworks events schedule. It’s very confusing. If people knew that there was a two day window for any legal fireworks event, it would certainly simplify the rules for everyone.

I think it’s time for all of us to let Mr. Gowan know how we feel about his latest effort to further enrich his employer by allowing aerial fireworks as well as letting your state representatives know that you support some meaningful legislation to curb the insane proliferation of fireworks, especially in your densely populated neighborhoods.

You can email Mr. Gowan at dgowan@azleg.gov. You can email your legislators by using the initial of their first name with the complete last name@azleg.gov . An example would be ssmith@azleg.gov .

Are you fed up? I am.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

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