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 Tuesday, March 26, 2019, the hot topic on the Glendale city council workshop was the new logo. As I stated in the workshop I was disappointed with the process and product. Before we get into that, let’s talk logos.

Glendale Board and Commission challenge coin

Here is a recently adopted logo being used by the Council Government Services Committee(GSC) on its challenge coin:

The City Clerk, who staffs the GSC, offered some designs for the coin for the committee’s consideration. None of them were quite right. So I asked the other members of the committee, Councilmembers Hugh and Turner, if I might try to find something else. They agreed.

In searching the web, I found a free graphic of a hand and heart. When I saw it I knew it was the right one to use. The hand represents our citizen’s willingness to serve their community. The heart represents their love of our community and our fellow man. It symbolizes the values of those citizens who volunteer to serve on Glendale’s many boards and commissions. This symbolism has meaning. Happily, my fellow councilmembers agreed.

What is a logo and what is its purpose? It is defined as, “a graphic representation or symbol of a company name, trademark, abbreviation, etc., often uniquely designed for ready recognition.”  Note that it must be unique and identifiable with a certain brand or product. Think the Nike ‘swoosh’ or Apple’s ‘apple’. No words are needed. You immediately associate those symbols with specific brands.

It is very difficult for a city to create a logo that is immediately associated with it. Only two in the Valley have arguably been successful. One is the Phoenix bird as the symbol of Phoenix and the other is the cowboy riding a bucking bronco as the symbol of Scottsdale.

City logo

Even Glendale’s old logo of the 3 pillars is more symbolic and meaningful than the newly created one. The three pillars are meant to represent citizens, business and government. That is the logo I will continue to use.

The context of conversation at the Tuesday city council workshop regarding the new logo dealt with process and product. Councilmember Tolmachoff, concerned about the process, brought forward city documents and the Catalpult contract all of which confirmed a vastly more public process which never occurred.

From a recent Arizona Republic article on the subject, Councilwoman Lauren Tolmachoff said she found out a few months ago that the staff was moving forward with the ‘G’ design, even though the council hadn’t approved it, when she saw a post about it on NextDoor, a social media site. 

Tolmachoff said that, by moving forward with a final logo without council approval, the staff overstepped the authority of the council, which cannot happen. We better not do it again, she said.”

I concurred with her remarks and said that it was disappointing that the city squandered an

New city logo

opportunity to offer a more robust public process coupled with city council approval and it failed to come up with a more unique and iconic symbol. In addition to my concerns about process I also voiced my strong objection to the new logo itself. I have already expressed my dislike in previous blogs. It is enough to say that it is neither distinctive nor iconic. I said that I would not use it despite its adoption.

There were four of us, Councilmembers Tolmachoff, Turner, Aldama and me who expressed our displeasure with the new logo. Then why, as some people have characterized it, did I ‘cave’?

There were two primary reasons. One is the deliberate wasting of the $65,000 paid to Catalpult. Some will say the city wastes that much money in a single day and that may or may not be true. In good conscience I could not deliberately support throwing $65,000 of your money, taxpayer money, down the toilet. That is not right as a steward of Glendale’s finances.

I did not make up my mind on the issue until listening to all of the discussion, including the strong public rebuke, which occurred at that workshop. The process of deciding at the end of discussion is something I have done repeatedly in my years on council. I prefer to hear all sides of an issue before making a final decision.

Another reason for my decision to let the new logo go forward was something truly extraordinary. City Manager Phelps publicly apologized by saying, Obviously, our team didn’t meet your expectations for this process. I take responsibility for that and I own that.” Never with past Glendale City Managers has that ever occurred. That was a powerful admission and an embarrassing one for him. I believe that he has accepted that Glendale’s city council is extraordinarily engaged, more so than many other Valley councils. We expect to be informed.

Look at our budget process. I have heard other Valley councilmembers actually brag that they approved their city’s budget in a couple of hours in one afternoon. That is not the Glendale city council way.

 Our council expects budgetary detail on all including its Capital Improvement Program (CIP), staffing levels and role responsibilities within departments. As stewards of taxpayer dollars it is our responsibility to ensure that the funds are being spent appropriately and in the best interest of every citizen.

So, yes, I ‘caved’. In the great scheme of things in Glendale there are far more important issues on which I will not ‘cave’. The logo as disappointing as it is does not define Glendale and perhaps never will. I consider it to be embarrassing.

You may not agree with my final decision and that is OK. I am always gratified with the many thoughtful comments to my blogs that show while we may disagree we are respectful of one another and that they foster dialogue without dislike.

© Joyce Clark, 2019         


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