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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.

Glendale’s future looks very bright but there is one storm cloud on its short-term horizon and that is the near-term threat of another national recession. I would hope that the city is not forced to repeat what it did the last time and that was to defer maintenance of the city’s infrastructure.

However, my vision is not one of doom and gloom but rather building upon successes already achieved. I will “crystal ball” various components within the city from my lens as a sitting councilmember in Glendale for over 20 years. In that time, I’ve participated in the good, the bad and the ugly. I would remind you that this is my vision and just because I am visioning, it does not mean that any of my vision will become reality. I welcome readers’ comments including your vision for a Glendale of the future.

Economic Development. It should be acknowledged that most of, perhaps more than 85% of all the recent economic development successes have occurred in the Yucca district. I anticipate that trend to continue. While there are very few meaningful vacant parcels in Glendale’s other districts, there remains plenty of vacant land left for job development, especially in the western portion of the Yucca district.

All cities must continually seek the Holy Grail of economic development, or they will stagnate and eventually die. Since Arizona is a low property tax state, cities rely upon other forms of taxation and most critically, sales tax. That is why economic development is so important to any city.

There are 6 major economic nodes in Glendale – 1. Arrowhead Mall and Bell Road Corridor, 2. Downtown Glendale and 3. Westgate/Zanjero area; and I would argue 4. the Airport area, 5. the Loop 303 area, commonly referred to as the “New Frontier,” and 6. the Ballpark area.  Let’s look at my expectations for each area.

Arrowhead. I expect the Arrowhead Mall and the Bell Road corridor to continue to thrive. Despite rapidly growing use of the Internet for consumer purchasing, people still like to touch, see, and feel the products they buy. The owners of Arrowhead Mall have done an excellent job of keeping the Mall up-to-date and to refreshing its look and product offering continually. My vision is Arrowhead and the surrounding area will thrive for years to come.

Downtown. My vision is to see the Downtown area adopt some major changes or die. The city can only do so much to prop up this area and has made a major commitment with its intent to refresh the City Hall Complex which includes its Amphitheater. This area needs two components to survive and flourish. One is an entertainment destination. The current buzzword is ‘experiential retail’. People expect not just to shop but expect an opportunity to be entertained in some form or fashion. An entertainment destination for the Downtown should be a movie theater, performing arts theater, museum, or art gallery—a facility that draws people downtown, every day, 365 days a year. Look at Phoenix. It was not by whim that it located a science museum and a history museum in its downtown.

Our Downtown also needs a mass of new residents. This will happen. All it takes is one apartment complex developer to locate Downtown and others will follow. A vibrant downtown needs people to live, work and play within it.

The other missing component essential to a vibrant downtown is the creation of a Downtown Merchants Association that becomes the only legitimate voice and a catalyst for Downtown Glendale. Downtown Glendale is split between two opposing groups – those who will not embrace any change to Downtown and those who embrace the need for change. Until those two factions unite into one, viable Downtown Merchants Association that requires ‘skin in the game’ in the form of annual dues as well as a commitment by its members to be open on a regular basis, stagnation will continue. How long can stagnation exist before the common body dies? I suspect for a few more years. Time is running out for Downtown Glendale. While the city adds Café Lighting and refreshes its Amphitheater, it does not and cannot solve its deep-seated problems and only prolongs the agony.

Westgate/Zanjero area. This area continues to exceed all expectations. As I say repeatedly, the Crystal Lagoon Island Resort, once opened, will change the character of the area forever. It is a powerhouse development project that will draw visitors from all over the world. My vision for the area is to see development continued on all parking lot space and parking to be contained to several large parking garages. The space is simply too valuable to continue to be used for parking and that includes the city owned ‘Black Parking Lot’. My vision also includes the city’s sale of the Gila River Arena to an experienced entity committed to creating profitability by booking events nearly every day of the year. If, someday, the arena is sold, my vision would be to use the proceeds to finance construction of Heroes Park Recreation and Aquatic Center and to finance the construction of a museum in Downtown Glendale. My vision would be to create a partnership with the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian has rotating exhibits that are placed throughout the country. One of my fondest experiences while attending college in Baltimore was to go to D.C. and spend a day at the Smithsonian. It has so many wonderful exhibits and it would take someone a month or better to visit everyone on a daily basis.

Loop 303 area. Development of this area as a job corridor is booming. I expect its growth to continue for a few more years until nearly all developable land is consumed. To meet the employment demand that this area generates it is my vision that the city focus on retraining and reeducation of our work force by partnering with our educational institutions to create nodes of work force training in key locations throughout the city. My vision also includes partnerships with education to create more STEM centers throughout the city.

Airport area. This area to-date has been underutilized and underappreciated. My vision is to see the land on the east side of the airport developed as a major airpark in the next few years. The runways should be elongated to their maximum extent possible to attract more corporate jet traffic. My vision also includes developing a connection over the Agua Fria River so that there is connectivity between the Westgate area and the Airport.

Ballpark area. This area is on the cusp of an explosion of new development. Since Ballpark Boulevard was constructed the connection between the Westgate/Zanjero area and this area has been enhanced. There are several hundred acres of prime, vacant land to be developed. My vision is to see a limited amount of residential apartment development to create some mass in the area but also to see more retail/commercial development in the area. And yes, another hotel would be a welcome addition to the area. My vision is to see strong interconnectivity between the Westgate/Zanjero area, the Airport area and the Ballpark area. When that occurs Glendale will ensure its economic prosperity and vitality for years to come.

There are some parts of my vision that don’t fit neatly into the above cited economic boxes but should be part of not just my vision but that of the city vision. One of these is to address low socio-economic, minority neighborhoods. A city is only as great as its marginalized neighborhoods. If we continue to ignore them, they will spread and destabilize other parts of our great city. Right now, there is a continual circle in these neighborhoods. Because they are already marginalized, we continue to allow non-profit organizations, in the name of doing good and serving their client populations, to plant more services in these neighborhoods. As more non-profits locate in an area, the more likely even more poor and minority populations locate there. It’s time to break this vicious cycle. Non-profits and low-income housing must be dispersed throughout the city. There are all kinds of good, sound reasons to do so that I will not elaborate upon at this time.

Another vision that doesn’t fit neatly into a box is that of art and culture within our city. These elements reflect who we are and what we value at any given point in time. Glendale has historically lacked the commitment to value art. My vision is to emphasize visual art throughout the city. It isn’t just a mural on the side of a building in Downtown or an historically themed statue placed in front of a city building. It’s a commitment by the city to encourage the use of art not just at a newly constructed building but the encouragement, even if it means financially, of older buildings to adopt art as an element of their public face. My vision is to see the use of art liberally throughout the city on both public and private property.

My vision also includes greater appreciation of the various ethnicities and cultures that historically birthed Glendale – Russians, Asians, Hispanic and yes, Caucasians. I would like to see an annual festival that celebrates the history, the food, the music of all these groups who came together to envision our community.

I am sure I left something out and I expect you, the reader, will tell me. The bottom line is that we all want the same things – a clean Glendale everywhere within it, a safe Glendale everywhere within it, a Glendale with employment opportunities within it for you, a Glendale that offers superior services to all its residents, a Glendale that offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities, a beautiful Glendale and a Glendale that values and recognizes its past. We may have differing visions on how to get there.

We’re not there yet but maybe that’s a good thing. It offers us an opportunity to dream, to act and to strive to make Glendale even better.

© Joyce Clark, 2022      

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 for awhile simply because being a Glendale City councilmember is more complicated and busier than ever. It takes a minimum of 3 hours and often days to write, edit and publish one blog.  I miss writing and I need to make a concerted effort to carve out the time to do so. Be that as it may, there are many events of which to make note.  Most are not enough for a full blog on their own but should be recognized.

Arguably, the most important recent event is the Grand Opening of Heroes Regional Park Lake. While the celebration was occurring, people were already catching fish. About 100 residents came to the ceremony and many expressed their gratitude to see this wonderful addition to the park. Next up will be to get some sports fields constructed followed by the biggest, most expensive ticket item, the Recreation & Aquatics Center.

Inflation is killing all of us, including cities. Yesterday I filled up my car to the tune of $56. Before Biden that same tank of gas cost me about $25 or $30. My weekly grocery bill has increased by about 40%. Then there are supply chain issues. My local Safeway has had bare shelves, especially in the pasta and chicken sections. They haven’t had any chicken for the past 10 days.

This situation is rough on people on a fixed income, like me and obviously on the poor. From what we all hear it will continue throughout 2022 and we can expect prices to go even higher. The same holds true for cities. For instance, Glendale uses a lot of chemicals to treat its water supply. Those same chemical prices have risen about 30%. This same scenario goes for everything from copy paper, cleaning supplies to vehicle parts and maintenance. While Glendale is earning more revenue than ever before it is paying higher prices than ever before.

Development in the Loop 303 area continues to boom. Several new projects have been announced and there continues to be more in the pipeline. The industry has recognized that Glendale’s “New Frontier” is an established job corridor in the Valley.

Westgate continues to thrive with new development as well. After some internal delays on the part of the developer, Tiger Woods’ Pop Stoke will begin construction any day and is slated to be completed this fall. To the east of the AMC theater, a pickle ball complex complete with a restaurant and bar and rental facilities, ala Top Golf, is slated to start construction in the near future and is expected to be open prior to the Super Bowl. The Thirsty Lion, a 2-story restaurant and bar, situated between the arena and the Renaissance Hotel, is about to start construction as well. A new concept restaurant, exclusively serving some of the most decadent desserts you can possibly imagine, will take the place of the Saddle Ranch Chop House.

Let’s not forget the Crystal Lagoon Island Resort development. I continue to believe it is the most significant development ever to occur within Glendale. It is a mini-Disneyland without the $100+ a day charge per person to enter. Expect about 12 million visitors a year. It will contribute nearly $10M a year in sales tax revenue to Glendale. I expect it to draw visitors not just from the state or the southwest but nationally and even internationally. It’s a Saturday and I just checked their live camera. Earth moving equipment is busy today and the large crane was in use. If you would like to check it out, use this site: https://app.truelook.cloud/dashboard/553/923/live?code=15hm7ev0xey9jmgpfyf2jd9e0&fbclid=IwAR2VhkoN56nBnnmqMouCzAWFM9BHxtvSmNlj83REtd_D2fuA3g9vdeZ-SAY

One of the city services most loved by residents is sanitation. Recently our City Manager related that 44% of the sanitation drivers were out with Covid. Sanitation division managers and employees from other departments stepped up to fill the void resulting in no disruption in your service. Your trash was collected as usual and I bet you had no idea that Covid was crippling the department’s ability to service you. Yet I recently read that the same kind of situation occurred in Tempe resulting in a disruption of pick-up service for about a week. Two cities, two different ways to handle the problem.

At our next council voting meeting I will vote to approve a rate increase in sanitation. Sanitation is run by Michelle Woytenko, Director of Field Operations. Ms. Woytenko is one of the best Directors in the city of Glendale. She is no nonsense and provides excellent information and service to every resident. Our office has contacted her to report a citizen’s trash pick-up being missed and Ms. Woytenko will have someone picking it up the same day. Her explanation for a rate increase was logical and persuasive.

Speaking of money, in February the city council begins its annual budget oversight and preparation for the next fiscal year. We will begin with the Capital Improvement Program. This is the portion of the budget that lays out what infrastructure the city will build, rehabilitate, improve, or maintain for the next 5 years. It is one of the most important segments of the city budgetary process.

The city has completed its redistricting process and submitted its plan to the state and the feds for final approval. As of now, unless something dramatic occurs, the new city council boundaries are set not only for the next election in November of 2022 but for the next ten years until the next census.

There has been minimal accommodation for the tremendous growth occurring in the Yucca district. Instead of creating all districts with a population of about 41,000 the Yucca district will start with a population of 39,000. However, I contended that the accommodation is insufficient. I anticipate an additional 14,000 moving into the Yucca district in the next few years. I anticipate a population in the Yucca district of about 55,000. The Yucca district is the ‘gorilla’ of Glendale’s districts. It is the largest geographically; it accounts for about 80% of all recent and current economic development within the city; and will soon have the greatest population of all the districts. Much of the new population can be attributed to Stonehaven, a residential development between Camelback and Bethany, 83rd to 91st Avenues. At build-out it will contain 1,365 new homes. Another factor is the multitude of apartment complexes in the Westgate area. Westgate needs a mass of people living there to support all its retail and restaurants.

The eastern boundary between the Yucca and Ocotillo districts has changed. From Northern Avenue to Orangewood Avenue the boundary is 75th Avenue. The east side of 75th is in the Ocotillo District and the west side is in the Yucca district. At Orangewood Ave to Glendale Avenue the boundary is 71st Avenue. From Glendale Avenue to Bethany Home Road the boundary is 75th Avenue. Note that Independence Heights subdivision is now in the Ocotillo district. From Bethany Home Road to Camelback Road the boundary is 67th Avenue. Here is a map that shows the dividing lines between the Yucca district and the Ocotillo district:

Council is moving forward on remodeling the City Hall complex. It demonstrates our commitment to downtown Glendale. The exterior look of the buildings will be updated. The parking garage, long in need of major repairs, will be rehabilitated. The concept of offering free, live entertainment year round at the city amphitheater will continue in a newly reconfigured and updated area. Murphy Park will receive an update as well.

You may have noticed that I am the only councilmember to consistently vote ‘no’ on the city’s awarding of 5-year contracts to vendors of services and supplies. I do so for several reasons. A 5-year contract is longer than a city council term of office which is 4 years. That results in no continuity of oversight by the council. If a new councilmember comes in there is no knowledge of the existing contract or its terms or pricing. In addition, the contracts are often for ordinary goods or services and 5-year contracts for those items do not create a competitive atmosphere. Some say a 5-year contract is good because it locks in prices for 5 years even during inflationary periods such as now. Not so, quite a few contracts have come before us lately as amended seeking our approval for an increase. In all cases, the vendors are asking for increases to cover inflationary costs. So a 5-year contract does not lock in prices during the term of the contract. In addition, the same vendor who asked for a price increase, if prices decline, never, ever, comes back to offer the city an adjusted lower cost to reflect that decline. It’s all one way and always higher. I believe contracts should be no longer than 3 years and then put out for bid again.

Lastly, a few thoughts about the city owned Gila River Arena and the Coyotes. The city was not bluffing or positioning itself for a better lease deal with the Coyotes when it terminated the lease agreement. The city council has approved a contract with HKO to rehabilitate the arena. Deliberately moving from a sports venue to an entertainment venue requires a venue that is comfortable and welcoming to its attendees. After years of flaky ownership – Ellman, Moyes, LeBlanc, Barroway, etc., a consistently losing team and financial difficulties, it’s fair to say enough is enough. We wish the Coyotes well and harbor no ill will. It’s up to the Tempe city council to decide if they can do better. I would simply ask them to consider these questions: Does each member of the council believe there is a bond of trust between themselves and the current ownership group? Has Tempe’s staff done its due diligence, and can it demonstrate that the ownership group has the finances to invest into such a project? Will the ownership want financial contributions from the city of Tempe and does the city have the bond capacity for such a project? In an election year how will Tempe residents react to any deal that requires the city to spend taxpayer dollars for another sports arena in the Valley?

This new year will be interesting to say the least. Glendale is in the strongest financial position it has had for years. We will weather this inflationary period and come out on the other side, stronger and more resilient. We have the funds to expend on one-time projects that will benefit our citizens and create a better, more vibrant Glendale.

© Joyce Clark, 2022      

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.

Glendale has become a growth leader in the metro area over the past 5 to 7 years. The most startling fact to share is this – “ According to Colliers, there are 19.2 million square feet of space currently under construction throughout the region, with almost 40 percent of that in Glendale.” No other city in the Valley has experienced this kind of growth. This is remarkable. I credit our City Manager, Kevin Phelps, and our city’s Economic Development Department.

For those of you who are not ‘fact nerds,’ this blog may be boring but Glendale’s remarkable transformation since 2014 is worth noting.

In 2014, the city’s bond rating dropped to BBB. In 2020, the city’s bond rating is now AA. This rating is extremely important because this rating results in lower interest rates when the city borrows money. The amount of bond debt per person in Glendale has dropped from a high of $771 to $384 today.

City Council created a policy deliberately concentrating on employment growth in the Loop 303 Corridor dubbed the “New Frontier.” Even though residential growth was not a prime objective, since the last census, Glendale’s population has grown by 21,000 new residents with more than half of that growth occurring since 2015 and its total population is now over 250,000 people. Between 2016 and 2021, 4,880 new housing units both multi-family and single family, have been constructed. There has been a concerted effort to concentrate multi-family in the Westgate/Zanjero area to sustain and support this major economic center.

Glendale is one of the 5 top Valley cities having a jobs per capita ratio today of 0.40 and it is expected to continue to increase. Over 118,000 residents are employed with 21% of its residents working in Glendale. Most of our residents, about 57% work in Phoenix. On the other hand, about 30% of Glendale’s workforce lives in Glendale with about 25% of Glendale’s workforce living in Phoenix and about 15% living in Peoria.

All this new economic growth has increased General Fund revenues from $174M in Fiscal Year 2010 to $241M in Fiscal Year 2020. In Fiscal Year 2021, the city council approved Glendale’s first billion dollar total budget. The General Fund is used to finance the day-to-day operations of the city and includes all employee compensation. Planning and Permitting revenues saw a dramatic jump from $4.5M in Fiscal Year 2018 to $37M in Fiscal Year 2021. This is primarily due to all the new Loop 303 development. This revenue is one-time money that can and has been used for catching up on improving Glendale’s amenities.

Let’s not forget the Crystal Lagoon Island Resort, Glendale, development. I’m not sure it is appreciated just exactly how much impact this single project will have on Glendale, the Valley and the State. Click on this link if you would like to see the live feed of ongoing construction at the site: https://app.truelook.cloud/dashboard/553/923/live?code=15hm7ev0xey9jmgpfyf2jd9e0&fbclid=IwAR2VhkoN56nBnnmqMouCzAWFM9BHxtvSmNlj83REtd_D2fuA3g9vdeZ-SAY

With the 3 hotels, the public water feature, 5 nodes of retail/restaurant and the Mattel family amusement center, this project is a game changer for Glendale. Expect about 5,000 visitors a day with an annual attendance of about 12 million. It is expected to generate about $10M a year in sales tax revenue for Glendale. It is the owners’ intent to be open prior to the Glendale hosted Super Bowl in 2023. With the exposure surrounding the Super Bowl, expect visitors not just from the Valley or State but nationwide, even internationally. It will become one of THE places at which to have a family vacation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the remodeling of the city owned Gila River Arena focusing on the customer experience at a major concert venue, set to occur next year (2022), again, in time for the Super Bowl, expect attendance spill over from the Crystal Lagoon Island Resort. Just imagine a family vacation for several days with all that the Lagoon offers plus attending a concert at Gila River Arena and all the offerings at Westgate/Zanjero. It makes for a great family vacation package.

 

 

 

What do all the numbers and facts and figures mean? It means Glendale is not just financially healthy but is about to become the gorilla of the Valley. Hear Glendale roar!

© 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 December 3, 2021, the State of Arizona’s Department of Revenue (DOR) filed a tax lien against the Arizona Coyotes in the amount of $1.3 million with approximately $250,000 being owed to the City of Glendale for unpaid taxes. The tax lien states the team owes taxes as far back as June 2020 (that’s a year and a half). In the City of Glendale letter sent to Xavier Gutierrez, President and CEO of the Arizona Coyotes, advising the organization if payment on back taxes as well as monies owed to ASM Global, manager of the Gila River Arena, were not paid in full by close of business on December 20, 2021, not only would the organization be locked out of the building, but their Glendale business license would be terminated. See the correspondence below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This latest development should come as no surprise if you had read Katie Strang’s Athletic story, Dysfunction in the desert: Finger-pointing, fear and financial woes roil the Coyotes organization published in February 16, 2021. Here is the link: https://theathletic.com/2390146/2021/02/16/arizona-coyotes-investigation-toxic/ . Be forewarned, you must subscribe to the Athletic to read the full article.  It is well researched,   in-depth and a fascinating read. Ms. Strang also provides strong coverage of the organizations’ structural disfunction. Excerpts from her story referring to the organization’s past financial issues include the following:

  • “Meruelo’s acquisition of the Coyotes was supposed to portend a new era for the team. Instead, people within the organization and across the NHL are now wondering if the league erred in approving his purchase.”
  • “In April, the team announced it was furloughing half of its staff due to pandemic-related financial issues. In May, the Arizona Republic reported that promises to pay the arena’s part-time and hourly staff members had not been met. The team and arena management company, in response to the report, said they would ‘finalize our support plan that will be executed within the next 30 days’.”
  • “In September, The Athletic reported that a handful of players did not receive their signing bonuses on time.”
  • “The Athletic identified and spoke with eight vendors with whom the Coyotes had outstanding or past due balances or negotiated their debt to a lower amount.”
  • The Seyfarth Shaw law firm has been retained to investigate various allegations associated with the organization. “Among them, Seyfarth Shaw representatives have asked about:

           The accuracy of financial documents provided to third parties, such as banks and private  lenders, required to meet specific loan obligations. The accuracy of financial reports the organization sent to the league, which reflect team revenues and can potentially impact player salaries and the salary cap.”

It was Ms. Strang who broke the December 8, 2021, Athletic story regarding the Coyotes’ unpaid taxes. Here is the link: https://theathletic.com/news/coyotes-could-be-locked-out-of-home-arena-by-city-of-glendale-for-unpaid-arena-charges-delinquent-tax-bills/ArAVPFTj0LId/ . I imagine Garry Bettman’s (President of the National Hockey League) call to Mr. Meruelo, after the story broke about unpaid taxes was short and sweet…Pay those @#$%&* taxes now!

On December 9, 2021, the Coyotes organization issued the following statement saying they have launched an investigation to determine “how this could have happened.” In their press release they state, “Initial indications are that it appears to be the result of an unfortunate human error. Regardless, we deeply regret the inconvenience this has caused. We will make sure that by tomorrow morning, the Arizona Coyotes are current on all of our bills and owe no state or local taxes whatsoever. And we will take immediate steps to ensure that nothing like this can ever possibly happen again.”

If this sounds familiar, it should. According to Katie Strang’s February 16, 2021, article, when asked about paying players, “Gutierrez described both of these snafus as ‘process’ failures.”

Once again, Gutierrez seems to be pointing the finger at “process failures” implying it wasn’t deliberate but rather a glitch in the system. Maybe if it had happened once and in isolation with no background of financial questions it would be accepted as a plausible answer but there seems to be an ongoing pattern of “process failures.”

It is also no small matter to possibly lose the organization’s business license. It’s not just a matter of possibly being locked out but without a business license even if an alternate venue were found, it couldn’t be used without having a license to do business.

Today, December 9, 2021, the media is reporting that a short while ago, the Coyotes wired the entire amount to the State DOR. We do not know if they have also paid their arrears with ASM Global. I would advise Glendale to double check and to make sure all unpaid amounts are now current. One would expect no less considering the avalanche of negative publicity they generated yesterday and today.

I suspect there is more to the Arizona Coyotes’ story that will have to unfold shortly. Right now, the most pressing issue is meeting the NHL’s schedule deadline to submit the team’s play dates and their location to the League by a January, 2022 date. This early date is because the League has to juggle all teams’ schedules and craft a League schedule that satisfies all.

Forget the possibility of a new arena in Tempe. The immediate and most critical question is where will the Coyotes play while waiting 3 to 5 years for a new arena? That is, IF Tempe accepts their RFP. The only word coming out of Tempe is that they are doing extensive due diligence.

I have found over the years that a deal is best crafted when both parties can trust each other. That may be the most seminal question that Tempe will have to decide. Can they trust the Coyotes to be good, reliable financial partners?

Let me make clear, the City of Glendale is done with the Coyotes. Their absolute refusal to negotiate a long-term, 20 year lease simply made the City’s decision clear. They will not be playing in Glendale for their 2022-23 season or in any future season. That door is closed.

While Glendale has no interest in where they play in the future, I think it’s fun to speculate and the rest of this blog is pure speculation. It is not based in fact or any insider knowledge.

The only viable location is the Arizona Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum. Keep in mind pursing this location as a temporary venue is dependent upon Tempe’s awarding the RFP to the Coyotes. Then it would make some sense to pursue a lease of the Coliseum. My guess it’s a 50/50 proposition as to whether Tempe accepts the Coyotes’ RFP. What if Tempe declines to award the Coyotes an RFP? For many that is an unthinkable outcome, but it is possible. If that were to happen, there would be no need of a temporary location and I would imagine a sale of the team would be imminent. This is the only play the Coyotes have. Forget all other locations. Each has a solid reason to be unworkable.

Here are the problems with the Coliseum. It’s now December, 2021. The work and the expense involved in renovating the building are extensive and even if work on the building started tomorrow, it is doubtful the building would be ready in a mere 10 months in time for the new season in October of 2022.

According to a recent Craig Morgan story of December 8, 2021, entitled Back to the future: Coliseum makes most sense as Coyotes’ interim arena solution, he, too, thinks the only temporary solution for the Coyotes is the Coliseum. Craig Morgan has always been very friendly and supportive of the Coyotes’ ownership over the years. One can speculate that he has sources within the organization and he is reflective of their thinking process.

The Coliseum has major structural problems. The building needs a need roof, new flooring and an additional ice plant for starters. Even with a new roof it can not accommodate a centrally hung scoreboard. There are no suites and maximum attendance would be in the 13,000 to 14,000 range. If the Coyotes do use the building they will continue to bleed financially.

I had heard that it would cost $40 to $50 million to get the building in shape for hockey but Morgan, in his article, cites a construction expert who said a more realistic number is in the $100 million range.

If Tempe awards the RFP to the Coyotes everything becomes a political calculation from that point forward. We can speculate that the Coyotes will go to Governor Doug Ducey and ask to rent the building (maybe for $1 a year?) and having a great deal of Chutzpah, demand that the state pay the cost of renovating the building for them…and, oh, by the way, you have 10 months to do so. Here’s where it really gets political. Ducey is a lame duck Governor, termed out. There are rumors that he intends to run for the U.S. Senate. He will have to make a political calculation as to how such action would play with his voter base. While he might win the support of 17,000 to 20,000 Coyotes fans there are far more voters that would not take kindly to any kind of financial give away to yet another sports franchise using taxpayer dollars. It could become the albatross that makes him unelectable.

The next few months will be very interesting as we watch this play out. My personal take is that the Coyotes will be sold. Alex Meruelo has become a liability to the NHL and especially to Gary Bettman.

© 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.

This past week I had the opportunity to visit the site for a status update. The end is near. In mid-December we will turn the water on and fill the lake. Shortly thereafter, Arizona Game and Fish will stock the lake. During the winter months expect trout to be introduced and during the summer months perch and catfish will be added.

We could have the Grand Opening after Christmas but with people being out of town and the rush of holiday activities we decided to hold off until after New Year’s Day. Expect a public announcement inviting the public to the Grand Opening slated for the first week in January of 2022. It’s a nice Christmas present and start to the New Year for Glendale residents. My Council Assistant, Shannon, and I are already working on a fishing event for next year.

I thought I would share construction progress to date. These photos show fish habitats provided by Arizona Game and Fish. Fish need places to hide and these habitats will grow algae and other “gunk” on them turning them into secluded oases for the fish.

Fish habitat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also note that in selected spots you can see black material running down the slope of the lake. Some are already being covered by rocks. These are more fish sanctuaries where they will be able to rest and to hide.

Fish habitat on lake slope

The sidewalk surrounding the lake is complete and for those who wish to walk or jog, one lap around the lake is ¾ of a mile.

Pump house under construction

The pump house that will contain the heart of the water system and filtration is now under construction.

Along the rim of the lake, just below the water line, a ‘shot crete’ coating is now being applied. This surface will also receive additional rock on top of it.

The irrigation for the landscaping is now being installed to be followed by plants, trees and shrubs. There will be two fishing piers, one of the east side and one on the west side of the lake. The only element that will not be installed by the time of the Grand Opening are the ramadas. Due to supply chain issues, the steel delivery needed for their frames has not arrived.

Site of one of the ramadas

I cannot begin to tell you how excited and pleased I am to see this element of the park becoming a reality. After 23 years, the park is now beginning to take shape and to develop its own identity.

The next park element that I am working on are the sports fields that will be located in the northeast quadrant of the park. Having these sports fields will finally offer children a place to run, throw and kick a ball. I am working on having the design of the fields in our next fiscal year’s budget followed by their construction shortly thereafter.

The major element still to be installed is the Recreation and Aquatics Center. I believe the time has come to address this issue. After redistricting of the city council district boundaries is approved by the council, the Yucca district will be the largest district geographically, the district with the greatest population within the next few years, and the district containing about 80% of all of the economic growth within Glendale. The Crystal Island Resort Lagoon of Glendale development alone will earn the city almost $10 million a year in sales tax. The construction of a Recreation and Aquatics Center will serve all south and west Glendale residents, nearly 100,000 people. The explosion of economic and population growth within the Yucca district necessitates this facility. It is long overdue.

© 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.

After the Federal Census was performed in the Spring of 2020 a mandate to redraw political district lines applies. In Arizona that is for congressional districts, state legislative districts and local districts.

Glendale began this process this summer after the hiring of a consultant to assist with the technical aspects of the process. Glendale’s new map with council districts must be submitted to the state no later than December 15, 2021.

The city council has had a series of workshops on the issue and there has been a period of public comment. Below is the public comment that has been received to date and presented to city council at its most recent workshop on November 9, 2020.

Please note that one citizen comment was made requesting that the Copperwood community not be divided. This citizen request was accommodated by the consultant and the city council. Three citizens asked that the Independence Heights community remain within the Yucca district. Neither the consultant nor the city council accommodated these citizens’ request as can be seen by the preferred city council map, Draft A, presented by the consultants. See Map A here:

The traditional redistricting guidelines for consideration in drawing districts includes three items of particular importance. One is to preserve communities of interest another is to accommodate planned future growth and the third is to have a “nearly equal number of inhabitants” (Arizona Statute 9—473.B). Here are the guidelines, federal, state and traditional:

In my opinion, some of these guidelines have been not been satisfied. Lets take a look at future growth within the districts. Please refer to this map:

You will see numbers for each district. Upon receiving clarification from the consultant, these numbers refer to the number of residential units already approved or in the pipeline and anticipated to be approved. The nationally recognized multiplier of occupants per residential unit is 2.3.

  • Cholla 533 units       X 2.3       increased population expected of 1,225.9
  • Sahuaro 944 units    X 2.3       increased population expected of 2,171.2
  • Barrel 859 units       X 2.3       increased population expected of 1,975.7
  • Cactus 342 units      X 2.3       increased population expected of 786.6
  • Ocotillo 410 units     X 2.3       increased population expected of 943
  • Yucca 7848 units      X 2.3       increased population expected of 18,050.4

Also consider this:

                                 Current population Map A          Future planned population by district

  • Cholla      39,793             +1,225.9                                     40,018.9
  • Sahuaro   42,051             +2,171.2                                     44,222.2
  • Barrel      41,210             +1,975.7                                     43,185.7
  • Cactus     43,132               +786.6                                      43,918.6
  • Ocotillo    42,409               + 943                                        43,352.0
  • Yucca       39,820           +18.050.4                                     57,870.04

The startling fact that should be immediately apparent is that the Yucca district is expected to see an increase in population of nearly 20,000 new residents in the next few years. It will have a population of 13,000 more residents than Sahuaro district projected to have a population of 44,222.2.

Legal guidelines do permit accommodation for future growth. However, there is one caveat to that guideline. The Supreme Court has granted safe harbor for population plan deviations up to 10%. Map A offers a deviation of total population of 8.06%. However, that deviation is occurring in Sahuaro, Cactus and Ocotillo districts. I’m not convinced that adding another percentage point in total population deviation would make any substantial difference.

However, while accommodating the Copperwood community, Map A offers no accommodation for the Independence Heights neighborhood’s request to remain in the Yucca district. This is a distinct community of interest between Ocotillo Road and Maryland Avenue, 71st Avenue to 75th Avenue. I am convinced that the consultants could have accommodated their request with minimal disruption to other council district boundaries.

I found it astonishing that Councilmember Aldama, representing the Ocotillo district, into which Independence Heights would go, paraphrasing made the following comment, If I am losing the Sands neighborhood, it should be compensated for by including Independence Heights in the Ocotillo district.  His comment virtually makes Independence Heights a pawn or consolation prize for losing the Sands neighborhood. I didn’t know that’s the way districts were to be drawn.

I am surprised that the only Councilmember that recognized the issues and supported keeping the Independence Heights neighborhood in the Yucca district was Councilmember Turner and for that, I thank him. To support their interests and their boundaries the rest of the council was willing to sacrifice the interests of the Yucca district.

Here’s two maps that I created. Obviously, they are not perfect. They were not vetted by the consultants and even though the population deviations are lower than the consultant’s Map A, they recognize that at some point council district boundaries are going to have to change dramatically to accommodate the growth occurring in the Yucca district. That is what occurs in my proposed draft maps. The Ocotillo boundary has to shift west at some point and that will create a domino effect in all of the other districts with their common boundaries moving further south. In fact, it should happen this time but it won’t.

 

A powerhouse in Glendale has not only been created but perpetuated for the next ten years until the 2030 census. The Yucca district is the largest geographically. The Yucca district will be the most populated of all 6 districts. The Yucca district is the epicenter of not only residential development but economic development as well.

If anything makes the case for the completion of Heroes Park, after 23 years of waiting for sports fields, a recreation and aquatics center, expansion of the smallest library in the city system and a dog park, this is it.

© 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.

There’s a saying, “As California goes, so goes the rest of the nation.” Let’s hope California’s influence has waned and this is no longer true.

The American Dream is under assault across the country, but nowhere is it more evident than in California where social justice activists and Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom are invading single-family home neighborhoods with plans to replace them with multi-unit properties. Expect to see similar action occurring in many other blue states as they rush to fulfill the Biden mandate to build more affordable, multi-family housing.

Recently Governor Gavin Newson signed Senate Bill 9. S.B. 9 effectively ended single-family zoning in a state with a population of 40 million. The bill legalizes duplexes statewide and allows people to subdivide single-family lots. California’s cities have lost the power to prevent the building of backyard units. Within the bill, state legislators mandated the reduction of development fees, requires cities to issue permits within a few weeks, and prohibits the requirement of dedicated parking spots.

In San Diego, its city council allowed bonuses for up to 6 units per lot no matter the lot size if some of the new multi-family units are dedicated to low to moderate income households. As a result of S.B 9 and expanded laws in many counties, slightly over ten percent of the state’s new housing (about 13,000 permits) consisting of multi-family units are being built in backyards throughout the state. In Southern California, four-unit multi-family buildings are surging in backyards. One can drive down a street and see a cute little bungalow with a 4-unit apartment complex in its backyard.

There are, of course, unintended consequences. Single family properties are becoming even more unaffordable for purchase by the average homeowner. By allowing these small apartment complexes in backyards, the value of single-family properties has sky rocketed and what was once marginally affordable is now completely unaffordable. Instead, developers are buying up single family lots and adding apartment complexes on the lots.

Add to the mix the plethora of Anti-Discrimination laws in the state. A developer who purchased a single-family lot and then added a 4-unit multi-family apartment complex is, in essence, an absentee landlord. Their reputation proceeds them as they do not care about the quality of the tenancy as long as the rent is paid (by somebody…the state? The feds?). The propensity to increase crime in the neighborhood is always a looming possibility.

Make no mistake. Biden’s ultimate goal is to urbanize the suburbs resulting in all of the things people originally moved away from. The American Dream of a home with a backyard in which the kids can play and the opportunity to become part of a small community is under threat of disappearing. America, as we have always known it and loved it, is slowly being taken away from us.

© 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.

Every ten years, Glendale is required to redraw its City Council districts based on data from the U.S. Census. The process is called redistricting and the goal is to make sure each Council district has approximately equal population.

Let’s begin with the Census data for 2020 provided to the city.  On July of 2019 the Census Bureau’s estimated population for Glendale was 252,387. It’s final, official count of Glendale is 248,325.

Everyone in the State believes the Bureau’s count is wrong and the population was undercounted. Experts said they expected to see even higher rates of growth. William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., who specializes in census data and urban populations, said he expected to see a higher growth rate in Arizona. Cities with council districts redraw those boundaries every 10 years after each U.S. census.

Four cities looking to redistrict by the next election in November include: 

  • Mesa
  • Glendale
  • Peoria
  • Buckeye

Other Valley cities, such as Chandler, Scottsdale and Goodyear, don’t use a district system,      instead electing council members on a citywide basis.

Look at this chart for Glendale.

City-data.com got its numbers from the Maricopa County estimates. I have no idea how the County arrived at these figures.

Please note, according to Census data, that every council district but the Yucca district added from 2,000+ in population to 6,000+ in population. Yet the Yucca district supposedly lost 315. Can anyone in their right mind believe this? The Yucca district has exploded over the last 10 years with new residential subdivisions (Copper Cove, Bethany Ranch and Positano to name just a few) as well as new apartment complexes. Yet, in the past ten years the Yucca district lost 315 people? Ridiculous. It’s nuts. The data makes no sense. The city should be requesting a recount of the Yucca district data. Someone, somewhere screwed up. If you put garbage in, garbage comes out. I suspect that the Yucca district, in fact, gained about 10,000 in population over the last decade.

Not only that, but the Census Bureau has also been late in releasing census block data (will do so this month, September) on population counts, the very data needed to redraw districts.  As a result, Glendale has until December 15, 2021, about 3 months, to submit their new council districts to the State.

Here are the guidelines, city council adopted, that shall be used to redraw the districts:

  • Each district shall respect communities of interest as much as possible;
  • District borders shall follow visible natural and man-made geographical and topographical features as much as possible;
  • District borders shall be drawn to avoid locating more than one current Councilmember in any one district as much as possible;
  • Each new district shall preserve the corresponding existing district’s population and territory as much as possible;
  • Districts known to be areas of higher-than-average population growth in the two to five years following redistricting, based on development projects that have received final plat approval from the City, may be under populated within the population deviation amounts allowed by law;
  • To the extent possible, consistent with constitutional law and the requirements of federal and state statutes, each district shall contain a substantially equal number of electors.

 

 

 

The city has created a dedicated web site allowing all Glendale residents not only information about the redistricting process but on or about September 16th the public can see the population data by census block and draw their own redistricting maps. Here is the link to the web site:

https://glendaleaz.com/your_government/connect/departments/city_clerk/redistricting/current_district_map

You can learn more and get involved by attending one of three public Glendale workshops. By the time of these city hosted workshops occur the appropriate data should be available on the city website to any citizen who wants it. Here are the workshop dates:

 Monday, September 20  2:00 p.m. Glendale City Council Chambers
5850 W. Glendale Avenue
 Wednesday, September 22  10:00 a.m. Glendale Main Library Auditorium
5959 W. Brown Street
 Monday, September 27  6:30 p.m. Foothills Recreation & Aquatics Center
Coyote Room
5600 W. Union Hills Drive

Why should we focus on redistricting whether it be on a local, state or national level? We all vote for those representatives that most closely align with our values and goals. With redrawn districts you may find that now you are in a district that has a representative with whose values and goals with which you disagree. By involving yourselves in the redistricting process your input will contribute toward making sure that your representative actually represents you.

© 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.

Glendale’s Planning Commission has always been one of the most revered of all of Glendale’s volunteer boards and commissions. This commission has gravitas. The professionalism of its citizen volunteers was extraordinary.

While we may not have agreed with all of their recommendations (I certainly haven’t), we respected their decisions. It pains me to offer that people are beginning to say that this commission may be straying into areas outside their mandate.

The purpose of the Planning Commission, per Section 3.102 of the City’s General Code states, The Planning Commission provides analysis and recommendations to The City Council related to the City’s General Plan, for zoning, ordinance amendments, subdivisions, conditional use permits, and other matters affecting land use, and development within the city.” The city’s website says, “To analyze, review and made recommendations to the City Council regarding land use and development related issues. Holds public hearings regarding these issues.”

The public’s general perception is that the Planning Commission hears proposed development proposals and either recommends approval or disapproval to the City Council. Typically, the City Council accepts the Planning Commission’s recommendations but occasionally it doesn’t. In those cases, the City Council may have further exculpatory information or may consider factors that will bear directly on the proposed development.

 

The current Commission members are:

  • Tom Cole representing the Barrell District
  • Vern Crow living in the Sahuaro District and appointed to represent the Cactus District
  • John Crow (not related to Vern Crow) appointed by the Mayor to fill the At-Large position
  • Daniel Heath representing the Sahuaro District
  • Martin Nowakowski representing the Yucca District
  • Edwin Nyberg representing the Cholla District
  • Warren Wilfong representing the Ocotillo District

Hearing concerns about the Planning Commission’s recent performance, I made it a point to watch the Planning Commission meetings of August 5, 2021, and September 2, 2021. For those of you who are unaware, it is quite easy to do. If you go to the city’s website and click on the City Clerk’s page link a menu appears. Click on ‘city council meetings and agendas’. Once there you can pull up just about any city public meeting and click on the video link.

On August 5, 2021, the Planning Commission heard Ambra Residential Minor General Plan Amendment GPA 21-03 and Rezoning Application ZON 21-07. This proposed subdivision is comprised of 45-foot-wide lots. After a period of discussion the proposal was recommended for approval by the Commission. However, some of the Planning Commission members’ comments were questionable.

Commissioner Wilfong characterized those who move into 45-foot-wide lot communities as “transient residents.” He claimed that those who move into these communities do not stay for more than a few years and then move up and away. He suggested that 45-foot-wide lot proposals before the Commission should be “put aside for a while.” Planning Commission Chairperson Vernon Crow stated, “this commission is right on the limit of accepting these very, very small lots.”

Perception is reality and it could be inferred from these Commissioners’ comments that this body would not approve any future developments comprised of 45-foot-wide lots. If that was their intent, it was inappropriate.

At its September 2, 2021, meeting the Planning Commission heard the Hopewell Rezoning Application, ZON 21-16. This proposal is for several industrial buildings in the Loop 303 area. Commissioners discussed everything but the rezoning application. The applicant presented a conceptual plan for the site. It was by no means the final plat as the applicant had not gone through plan review with the Development Department.

They questioned the number of driveways exiting to Alsup Road. They wanted to see the city’s Transportation Department’s and MDOT’s traffic studies. They wanted to see the applicant’s plan for stormwater retention. They wanted to see the height clearance letter from LAFB. None of these items were germane to the applicant’s rezoning request. They were advised by the Interim Planning Director Tabitha Perry that all these issues would be handled during the plan review process and that the conceptual plan presented was not the final plat.

Still not satisfied, Commissioner Nyberg motioned to table the Rezoning Application until October 7, 2021, while requesting all the material the commissioners discussed (and not relevant to the Rezoning request) be provided to the Commissioners. It passed unanimously.

These recent events led me to recall the Planning Commission’s unanimous recommendation of denial for the Rezoning and Major General Plan Amendment for Glen Lakes. Please note not all the current Commissioners were on the Commission in August 2020. It was their right to recommend denial because they felt the project was too dense.

However, part of their discussion centered on the city’s sale price of the land. Again, it was inappropriate to the deliberation of a rezoning and general plan amendment. It appeared as if some Commissioners, unhappy with the sale price, considered that factor, in part, in making their recommendation to the City Council. By the way, this was one of those rare occasions when a majority of City Council did not accept the Planning Commission’s recommendation and approved the rezoning and general plan amendment.

These situations are indicators of a Planning Commission that may have lost its way. Have its members forgotten, or perhaps do not know, their role and responsibilities or what findings are appropriate to consider in granting approval or disapproval? It may be appropriate to have a refresher workshop to review those items. Let’s hope the ‘powers that be’ host just such a workshop. I want to feel confident about our Planning Commission again.

© 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.

There is more practical and factual information that comprised Glendale’s business decision to decline to renew the agreement with the Coyotes.

Perhaps the most important reason driving Glendale’s decision is the fact that the 18-year-old arena is due for face lift. If you have attended a game at the Cardinals Stadium, you would be aware that for the past few years the Cardinals and AZSTA have invested in upgrading the stadium making a more comfortable and accessible fan experience. The stadium these days is truly amazing, and the fans love the new look and the new accommodations.

The city is planning for the future of the arena. Should it renovate the arena to accommodate the Coyotes’ fan experience when Alex Meruelo is insistent on a short-term lease arrangement of 3 to 5 years? Does that make sense? Where is the cost benefit to the city in doing so? There is none. 

With the Coyotes gone and a renewed emphasis on concerts and other events over the next 20 years, the configuration of the arena can be designed to accommodate the concert and event goers experience. In other words, the arena upgrades would be designed one way for sports fans and a totally different way for concert and event attendees.

That is why when the city began to negotiate with the Coyotes ownership a year ago its goal was to obtain a long-term lease of 18 to 20 years. If the city were to upgrade the arena to accommodate fans it needed the assurance of a long-term lease. Unfortunately, the ownership group made clear that they were only interested in a 3-to-5-year lease time frame.

Decisions regarding an upgrade to the arena are critical. That is why Glendale did not make its decision regarding the Coyotes agreement lightly and without consulting our partners and stakeholders or looking critically at the economic facts.

Another reason is related to historical revenue sharing agreements with every Coyotes ownership group. To retain the team and to assist with their financial viability, the Coyotes retain nearly all of the revenue generated by games. The team historically has kept all the revenue earned from naming rights for the arena and parking revenues. Their rental payment was extremely generous and arguably one of the best deals in the country.

The Applied Economics study says per capita, the Coyotes generate $28 per game in spending as opposed to a concert where the per capita is $58 and another event per capita is $35. Coyotes’ fans tend to stay inside the arena and buy food, etc., within it. Due to the Coyotes revenue sharing agreements, the city earns very little revenue on purchases inside the arena and none on parking or naming rights. On the other hand, concert and event attendees often dine in Westgate before a concert or event or may book an overnight stay at a Westgate hotel. There are no revenue constraints and therefore the tax revenues earned by the city are greater.

I’ve related why Westgate and the city have come of age. Both entities see an even more exciting future ahead. Reliance upon the Coyotes to keep Westgate financially viable is no longer a reality. I’ve also related the history of the Coyotes ownerships. A turnover of 6 different entities with differing agendas and a historical lack of partnership with the city made the situation extremely difficult during the past 18 years.

The decision to decline renewal of the agreement was a reasoned one based upon sound economic data and the need to make critical decisions regarding the arena’s future use.  Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner, still believes our decision is strictly a negotiating ploy to get more money from any deal. Someone should be whispering in his ear that nothing could be further from reality. The city’s decision is final. I wish the Coyotes much luck and success in their future endeavors.

There is one more thought that I want to share, and it is this. Over 18 years the City of Glendale has demonstrated, with financial investments, its commitment to keeping the Coyotes in the State of Arizona. We invested $185 million in the construction of the arena. For goodness’ sake, we paid the NHL $50 million to keep the Coyotes in Arizona while it searched for a new owner. Over the 18 years the city has invested about $307 million keeping the Coyotes in Arizona — with no help…from the state, the county or any other entity in the region. We did it alone. We put skin in the game – literally.

As Arizona Republic sports columnist Kent Somers said, When is the last time you heard of a city kicking a sports franchise out of the house?”

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

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