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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

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

I find as City Council responsibilities increase year over year finding the time to write a blog becomes more difficult. I have no intention of giving it up but you may find that, alas, my entries are more infrequent. This morning I discovered that I had a couple of hours free to devote to writing a catch up blog. Y-e-a-a-a!

I am sure, if you are a Glendale resident, you have seen the “Birds” (motorized scooters) suddenly and without warning descend upon our city. Glendale is not the only city to deal with this issue. It is occurring nation-wide from Durham, North Carolina to Los Angeles, California. Apparently these motorized scooter providers (Bird is not the only company) have recognized that most cities have no laws prohibiting them and so, they felt free to drop them in mass quantities wherever they chose.

Late last week, the City of Glendale, sent Bird a Cease and Desist Letter advising the company that their scooters were illegally operating on the city’s rights-of-way, roadways and sidewalks. The company was instructed to pick them up or face a fine of $250 per scooter per hour. Expect all of them to disappear in the very near future. The latest work is that they should be gone by February 9th. As suddenly as they appeared they should disappear. City Council and staff will take the time necessary to decide if scooters are acceptable in our community and if so, what regulations will be required.

Glendale is booming. Look for announcements over the next few months about some major projects, most of which will be located in the Yucca district which I represent. Development plans that have lain dormant since the Great Recession are being dusted off, updated and actively pursued. Many of them include an office development component and will be located in the Yucca district. Glendale simply has no available office space left as of this date but potential development submittals could create as much as a million square feet of office space over the next year and a half. That is welcome news because available office space means more job opportunities for Glendale’s residents.

City Council had approved the annexation of the Woolf Logistics and Lincoln Logistics parcels located just east of the Loop 303. The developers of both parcels are actively marketing to distribution and manufacturing companies. I am confident we will see both of these developers selling off parcels for active development this year. This is exactly what Glendale has been pursuing. Residential development is fine in certain areas where there is existent infrastructure but each home costs the city about $400 annually. That is because the tax generated…sales, property taxes, etc…do not generate enough to cover the entire costs of public safety, street maintenance and other services that a city must pay to provide those services. Manufacturing, office and distribution do pay for themselves annually and have the additional benefit of job creation. City Council’s goal is to develop land adjacent to the Loop 303 for those uses. In the future Glendale may be able to reverse the current data that shows that 70% of our residents go outside of Glendale to go to work.

Next week, the first week of February, city council begins to hold budget workshops in preparation for the final adoption of the FY 20-21 budget this coming June. It has been said and it is true, there is never much in-fighting when the available funds are lean but whenever there is a surplus the in-fighting increases. Glendale has an available surplus of about a million dollars this year. There are so many needs, long overdue, that require funding. One of the most critical for me is to continue to complete Heroes Park. It has been 20 years since the first project was completed in this park. This spring we will see completion of the construction of Phase I of the West Branch library in Heroes Park. I commend the city council for recognizing this critical need and allocating the funding to make it happen. However, Heroes Park is far from complete. It still does not have a water feature, a recreation and aquatics center, ball fields, library expansion or a dog park. These were elements of the original plan and still an expectation of the thousands of residents surrounding this park. They have seen their children grow up without the benefit of many elements in this park and now have the expectation that their grandchildren will finally have a completed park nearby.

Another project long overdue is that of O’Neil Park’s inoperable swimming pool. The square mile, primarily a low socio-demographic area, surrounding this park has over 1300 homes and 10 apartment complexes. That equates to a lot of children without an active recreational opportunity. For the past 5 years the O’Neil pool has been closed. It’s time to rehabilitate O’Neil Park and to provide some active recreational opportunities for the estimated 4,000 children living in this area. While the pool may disappear there are plenty of possibilities for that space within the park that can become a positive benefit to the area’s children.

I hope that I will soon be able to blog about some of the exciting new projects coming to Glendale. They are in the pipeline but not yet finalized for announcement. I am very optimistic about Glendale’s opportunities for the coming year. The economy is healthy and spurring new development everywhere and Glendale intends to capture its share.

© Joyce Clark, 2019         

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.

PLEASE CHECK OUT THE THREE CHAVIRA VIDEOS TO THE LEFT OF THIS COLUMN AND PLEASE DONATE TO MY CAMPAIGN.

It has been 18 years and 180 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Rarely does Glendale make a good news headline these days but unbelievably, it has happened. On June 13, 2016, Paul Giblin offered a story in the Arizona Republic entitled Glendale business boom: New companies, jobs headed to city. Giblin tells us, “More than a dozen companies have either moved to Glendale or expanded in the city this year…” representing “approximately 1,000 immediate jobs and 3,000 jobs at build out.” Here is the link to his story: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2016/06/13/glendale-business-boom-new-companies-jobs-headed-city/83852820/?hootPostID=6ada3683edf973f91ab90c9ddc9731c8 .

Who is responsible for the good news? City council? Nah. City Manager Phelps? Nah. The real heroes of this story are Glendale Economic Development Director Brian Friedman and his team. Of the 95,000 person workforce in Glendale, 84,000 travel outside of Glendale to work. Only 11,000 Glendale residents are employed within the city. It should be noted that 59,600 non-Glendale residents travel to work inside Glendale. Congratulations to Brian Freidman and his team. Keep up the good work as Glendale continues its economic resurgence.

One of my readers sent me mayoral candidate Burdick’s latest blast email. In it, I was particularly drawn to this, “Glendale residents deserve well-paying, fulfilling and abundant employment. We have the ability to recruit new, high-paying employers to our region, but unfortunately, many employers and developers look past Glendale because of ongoing budget problems, broken promises and failed relationships.”

There is no doubt that our residents want good, high-paying jobs where they live – here in Glendale. It seems pretty apparent that is exactly what Brian Freidman’ goal is. That is exactly what Freidman is creating in Glendale.

Three days after Giblin’s good news story about job creation and new businesses coming to Glendale, Burdick, in apparent ignorance of the facts, says that new employers are NOT coming to Glendale. I guess Burdick and his team don’t read a newspaper very often. How embarrassing.

I’ve been sent several of Burdick’s email blasts by my readers. What seems to be lacking in all of them are any semblance of fact to back up his claims. Where are they?

At least when I refer to my opponent’s ethical challenges, there are facts gathered from the media or city council minutes to back them. For instance, his travel expenditures were well documented in the Arizona Republic on March 4, 2016. His traffic citation and failure to appear in court were reported by the Glendale Star on April 28, 2016 and his record of absences can be found in city council minutes.

Now, a little of this…the light rail issue, is one of the most divisive in modern Glendale history. A few weeks ago Glendale Councilmember Ray Malnar offered to the public cost estimates to build 7 miles of light rail beginning at the end of the Phoenix light rail and culminating in Glendale on either the east or west side of Grand Avenue. Here are the cost estimates he provided:

  • Glendale Total cost (7 miles) $560,000,000.00
  • Federal Funds 50% $280,000,000.00
  • Glendale Sales Tax (GO Transportation Program) 17.5% $84,000,000.00
  • Phoenix T-2050 Tax 17.5% $112,000,000.00
  • WEST PHOENIX-CENTRAL GLENDALE – Regional Funding 15% $84,000,000.00
  • Assumes 50% federal funds and 15% regional funds
  • Assumes local share is split 4/7 Phoenix (4 miles in Phoenix), 3/7 Glendale (3 miles in Glendale)

Councilmember Malnar went on to report, “The latest estimated maintenance cost is $1.5 Million per mile for a total of $10.5 million per year. Based on the 3/7, 4/7 split between Glendale and Phoenix, the estimated Glendale cost per year for maintenance and operation of the 3-mile section would be $4.3 million per year. These costs are estimated to be reduced by about 1/3 from passenger fares, advertising and other income sources.”   

These are important facts to consider. Cost estimates for Glendale’s portion are $84 million dollars which comes out of Glendale’s GO Transportation sales tax revenues and the annual estimated maintenance cost to Glendale would be in the $4 million dollar range (cost reduced by 1/3 resulting in estimated cost of $3 million dollars per year).

The question of light rail in Glendale at this time and its associated costs demand another public vote expressing ratification or denial of the light rail concept in Glendale. The last vote on the issue was in 2001, 15 years ago, and resident’s priorities may have changed since that vote. Residents need the facts regarding costs and then the right to determine if this is how they want the transportation sales tax to be spent. Are there other priorities for which $84 million dollars of transportation sales tax could be used?

Now, a little of that…the elusive proof of insurance for the Cinco de Mayo Festival has finally been located and produced. Former Councilmember Norma Alvarez received the document as a result of yet another Public Information Request. She shared the result of that request and I am now sharing it with you. Here is a copy of the insurance: BreakthruChurchInsurance 2

Please note that it is under Barrio Breakthru Community Church. It would appear that a claim for the estimated $50,000 of criminal damage to city hall can be made against their policy. It would also be highly appropriate for the city to notify Barrio Breakthru Community Church and/or Productions that it will perform an audit of the $5,000 donated to them by Councilmembers Chavira and Aldama for their Cinco de Mayo event. After all, it is taxpayer money and the public has the right to learn if the $5,000 was spent appropriately.

Lastly…the Scottsdale city council had selected 3 finalists in its search for a new city manager. One of those finalists was Jim Colson, a former Economic Development Director for Glendale. On a 6 to 1 vote, the Scottsdale city council has directed that it will begin a new search with all finalists having been rejected.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

FAIR USE NOTICE

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

On April 24,2014 there is a report that petition signatures are being collected calling for a referendum on the city council’s vote to repudiate US House of Representatives Trent Franks’ bill, HB 1410. If passed it would create law that would stop the Tohono O’odham’s effort to build its proposed casino. I support this effort. As the crow flies, I live a scant mile from the proposed casino site. Neighborhoods that will be directly affected by the impact do not want the casino. In my informal poll 50% of the respondents do not support negotiating with the Tohono O’odham and 50% of the respondents do. I believe this is the most divisive issue in Glendale’s history.

Our national and local economies are still abysmal. Unemployment is still way, way too high. Every politician worth his or her salt is running on a platform of job creation. Is it any wonder that the Tohono O’odham (TO) inordinately exaggerate and emphasize job creation associated with the proposed casino as a major means of garnering public support for its plan? Of course not but they do so in a rather Pinocchio-esque form. Remember the job creation numbers come from a Tribe that kept its land purchase secret for 7 years. That alone should make people think twice about their assurances of job creation. It’s time to take a realistic look at the TO promised job creation numbers.

Of course the proposed casino will create jobs both temporary and permanent. The disagreement occurs over TO touted numbers versus reality. The TO has consistently claimed the creation of 6,000 construction jobs and another 3,000 permanent jobs. Their numbers are highly inflated and that is understandable given their history of truth telling and their zealousness to build this casino at all costs.

Let’s look at some other Tribal casino projects. In Lansing, Michigan the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians is constructing a $245 million, 125,000 square foot casino. The tribe says the number of construction jobs is a little over 700 with 1,500 permanent jobs. That is reality, not myth.

In California the Graton Rancheria Tribe is constructing an $800 million entertainment and gaming destination. It has created 750 construction jobs and expects 2,000 permanent jobs. That is reality, not myth.

It’s time for the TO to explain exactly how they arrived at a figure of 6,000 construction jobs and 3,000 permanent jobs. How many jobs in what industries? What methodology did they use to arrive at those numbers? If they used a research study that they commissioned then the numbers can be considered highly suspect. It’s too bad that someone like Elliot Pollack hasn’t done independent research on jobs gained versus jobs lost.

As for permanent jobs a more realistic assumption is in the 1,500 to 2,000 range. Of course, we all know because the TO has made it abundantly clear that 25% of those jobs must go to Native Americans.  There is absolutely no way to determine how many jobs will go to Glendale residents. It is reasonable to assume that many jobs will go to residents from the surrounding Metro area. While that’s a great prospect for other cities, it’s not so good for Glendale who will bear the brunt of costs associated with a casino in the town while losing out on the benefits of the “multiplier effect.”

The great majority of jobs at casinos can regularly be found on the Forbes list of worst paying jobs in America – including that of ‘gaming dealer.’ According to the 2007 National Compensation Survey compiled by the US Dept of Labor’s Division of Labor Statistics the median hourly wage for gaming service employees is estimated at $6.34 per hour with annual median earnings of $13,179. That is $2,000 above the 2014 Federal poverty level.

The unions are fully on board and have been one of the most public advocates for the proposed TO casino as visions of union construction jobs dance in their heads. Wait…Arizona is a right-to-work state. If the unions have a behind-closed-doors, back-slapping “understanding” with the TO about using union labor exclusively they better get it in writing. They might want to get the TO to waive sovereign immunity with regard to any contracts and possible breaches. They should never forget the lesson of the TO’s secret land purchase. They also need to look at what happened to union labor used on the Graton Rancheria Tribe’s casino construction. Initially union labor was used but was quickly replaced with out-of-state construction workers, largely non-union. Sometimes it pays to be careful what you wish for as the California unions on the Graton Rancheria project painfully learned.

The proposed TO casino will create temporary construction jobs and permanent jobs, as will other industries which do not require reservation or sovereign status and can develop according to Glendale’s existent General Plan for that area while generating new construction and sales tax. With the exception of the cluster services associated with gambling, studies consistently reveal that new businesses tend not to locate in areas allowing legalized gambling and pre-existing businesses will face added pressures that push them toward illiquidity and even bankruptcy. The proposed casino will act as a disincentive to other businesses that would otherwise locate in western Glendale resulting in the loss of future, good-paying jobs.

The benefits of economic development is overstated by the TO and its proponents who never account for jobs lost from businesses that fail or choose not to locate in west Glendale due to the all-encompassing predatory nature of casino capitalism.

That’s reality.

© Joyce Clark

2014 FAIR USE NOTICE This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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