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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

photo aOn September 12, 2014 two political action committees, No More Bad Deals for Glendale and Respect the Promise turned in approximately 15,000 petition signatures collected in 28 days for each of two referendum petitions. These petitions seek to overturn the city council votes of August 12, 2014 approving a settlement agreement with the Tohono O’odham and supporting the TO’s reservation status by requesting an election.

The approximately 15,000 petition signatures turned in is greater than the 10,914 Glendale citizens who exercised their right to vote in the recent Primary Election. That’s disconcerting. You would think that the number of petition signatures collected would send a strong message to this city council that Glendale residents want to weigh in on this issue by virtue of an election.

The Glendale City Clerk has 20 business days to do something, anything with the petitions before she turns them over to the Secretary of State. She is not an independent agent. She will be told what to do. Now it gets interesting. Wanna-be mayor, Councilmember Gary Sherwood was in attendance for the delivery of the petitions to the City Clerk. He could be heard muttering, the council votes of August 12th are not referable and these petitions are no more than toilet paper. You can be sure the “gang of four” (Sherwood, Alvarez, Hugh and Chavira) as the majority on council will give direction to the City Manager and City Attorney to reject these petitions. The City Attorney and his minions are burning the midnight oil to find Arizona case law that supports the city’s act of rejection. What does “not referable” mean? The city will take the position that the council votes were not legislation per se. Therefore the petitions which seek to refer those council actions to Glendale residents are not valid and thereby rejected by the city. Their position will be that those council votes were not legislative action and only legislation can be referred to the voters.

Make no mistake. Both groups, No More Bad Deals for Glendale and Respect the Promise are prepared to go to the legal mat on this issue of referability. If and when the city rejects the petitions on those grounds expect both groups to file suit. Isn’t it ironic that Alvarez and her merry band of pro casino councilmembers have complained bitterly about the money spent by the city on legal action when its position was in opposition to the casino and reservation? Will they decide not to spend money to defend the city’s position of petition rejection now that the city supports the casino and reservation? I guess the spending of taxpayer money on legal action depends on whose ox is being gored.

Alvarez, nearly every time she casts a “no” vote on a major city issue, can be heard pontificating that it is an issue upon which Glendale residents should vote. This time she has been amazingly silent in advocating that view when it comes to the casino and reservation. What, Norma, when it’s an issue you personally do not like it merits a vote of the people but when it is an issue that you do like, forget the people?

For those of you following this saga, this Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 2:30 PM, Eastern time (11:30 AM in Arizona) the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold a legislative hearing on Senate Bill 2670, Keep the Promise Act of 2014, introduced by Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake. Here is the link to the site where it can be viewed live, online:  http://www.indian.senate.gov/hearing/legislative-hearing-s-2670-keep-promise-act-2014 . If this link doesn’t work please copy and paste the link into your browser.

It appears that the bill could be marked up and passed out of committee for a full Senate vote. If that is the case and the bill is approved in the Senate there would be a House and Senate Conference Committee meeting to make sure the House version and Senate version of the bill are in agreement. It would then go to the President to sign or veto. If the bill were to be successful the Tohono O’odham, despite their ground breaking, would not be able to build a casino in Glendale or any other portion of the Phoenix Metro area.

On another note, to date the Attorney General’s Office is still investigating the alleged Open Meeting Law violation by Councilmembers Sherwood, Knaack, Martinez and Chavira. If the complaint had no merit we would have received that opinion by now. The fact that it is taking so long would lead one to assume that there is merit to the allegations. If that turns out to be the case, look for some kind of major sanction against Councilmember Sherwood and perhaps a minor sanction for the three others. I wouldn’t be surprised if the AG’s Office required another vote on the original IceArizona/City of Glendale Management Agreement. This, too, could prove interesting dependent upon which candidates win council seats at the General Election in November.

It looks like Councilmember Hugh has met with Lauren Tomachoff and Bart Turner. Tolmachoff is a candidate for the Cholla district seat and Turner is a candidate for the Barrel district seat. It seems Councilmember Hugh is busy trying to build his own coalition. It appears that he fancies a run against current Mayor Jerry Weiers. Hey, Jerry, watch out! It looks like they are starting to line up for a run against you…Sherwood and now, Ian Hugh. It wouldn’t be too surprising to see Councilmember Knaack (retiring in January, 2015) decide on a run for mayor. Being part of a clearly dysfunctional council is no fun but perhaps becoming mayor is.

A lot is riding on this Attorney General Office’s investigation. It could kill any mayoral ambitions of both Sherwood and Knaack. It’s rather difficult to win the support of the Glendale electorate if you have been found to have violated the law. Just when you thought Glendale’s problems were cooling down, they’ve heated up again. As President Truman once said, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” I wonder if the Glendale city council loves the kitchen heat now.

© Joyce Clark, 2014


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Repeatedly Councilmember Alvarez’ mantra is “I am an honest person.” She says it publicly over and over, at council meetings, workshops and recently reiterated the sentiment in a Glendale Star story. It’s time for the Truth Meter.truth meter 1

  • Norma’s home is a two story structure yet County Assessor’s records do not show that improvement and her home is still valued without the addition of the second level. One would think that in the name of honesty this would have been corrected years ago when the improvement was made or at the very least, recently, as this issue came to light.
  • At the last council meeting on July 2nd which included the Coyotes discussion and vote Norma was cautioned about speaking about the Beacon bids because they were Executive Session material. She said she didn’t care what others told her to do and that she would speak her mind. Yet revealing contents of a council executive session is a violation of the state’s Open Meeting Law.
  • truth 2What about her “District Meetings?” In no way can her “district meetings” be considered open to the public. One must RSVP to an announcement of her meeting by calling her office and then, to add insult to injury, one must be approved by Norma, in order to attend.
  • Norma is a “double-dipper.” Obviously she receives a monthly Social Security benefit and for all we know, she may also claim disability making that monthly check even sweeter. She also worked for the City of Glendale for twenty some years and retired as its Administrator of the Community Action Program (CAP). CAP is the city department that is used as a pass-through for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding the city receives annually. She is used to giving away city money to the poor. That job earned her a sizeable pension and accounts for monthly check number 2. As an elected official when she retires she will receive another pension check from the state’s Public Safety Retirement System—check number 3. Not bad, eh? Her retirement pay is probably more than most of her constituents make. Norma is doing quite well for herself in retirement and it’s no wonder she can afford to say that part of her agenda is urging the city to give more to the poor.
  • Norma has been an avid supporter of the Tohono O’odham’s plan to build a casino in Glendale. Why? She will say she does not support the city’s discriminatory acts toward the TO but what she does not acknowledge is that the TO have heftily supported not only her election bid through political mailings and solicitations of campaign contributions but those of her allies like Sammy Chavira. At some point she has to “pay the piper” and pay-back can be a bitch. We have every right to question her motives in her avid support of the Tribe’s agenda.
  • truth 3Norma has spent more time failing to make council meetings than attending them. Norma has failed to be honest with her constituency with regard to her health. Since joining council she has had at least two hospital stays with long recovery periods that precluded her attendance at meetings and conducting city business. Her constituents had the right to know that she could not perform her duties as expected of her. She has also on numerous occasions refused to attend because she did not like what was on the agenda and she sometimes walked out of meetings when she did not agree with a majority of council. Like a petulant child who does not like the way the game is being played she picked up her marbles and went home. Norma’s leadership and representation has been woefully inadequate and her constituents deserve better.

What Norma has failed to realize that we are judged by our actions and not exclusively by our words.  Norma’s actions point to a repeated pattern of deception…failing to report a major improvement to her home that would have resulted in a larger tax burden; failure to follow the state’s Open Meeting Law because it didn’t fit her agenda; failure to hold real district meetings open to all of her constituency; failure to acknowledge the financial support of the TO made to her and her allies; failure to acknowledge her physical inability to perform her job as an elected official; and failure to acknowledge her “double-dipping.”

It’s not surprising that Norma’s public rhetoric of honesty are not backed by her actions and that Norma and honesty are not kissing cousins – in fact they are complete strangers.