The City Manager Kevin Phelps has initiated a major initiative, Strategic Planning: A discussion of values, mission and vision for the entire organization.  The consultancy group facilitating the project is the Advanced Strategy Center located in Scottsdale. There have been two meetings involving the city council as well as other sessions involving various stakeholder groups. Unfortunately I cannot share any commentary made by the city council or the stakeholders who have participated thus far. The material received by council bears the following admonition,“This document in its entirety is Client Confidential and may not be reproduced or distributed without expressed permission.”

A council session on this topic was held on Monday, October 31, 2016. I want to take this opportunity to thank the city council. I remain at this time, a Councilmember Elect without the right to formally participate. Council, at the start of the session, invited me to do so. I thank them for their generosity in granting me the opportunity to be part of the discussion.

In reviewing the material provided for this session, it caused me, as I am sure it did the other councilmembers, to really think about and to reflect upon Glendale…past, present and future. The perspectives I am about to offer are mine exclusively and do not reflect support of or opposition to any of the remarks I may have made at this Strategic Planning Session. The following thoughts  are mine and mine alone and may or may not be shared by other councilmembers.

You will note that I entitled this blog, “Two Glendales.” There are two distinct Glendales with the central portion of the city acting as a buffer between the two. The central area of Glendale is predominately comprised of the middle class who tend to become more vocal and active when an issue directly affects them.

It is the classic north versus south scenario. North Glendale, with the exception of the major economic drivers of Bell Road and Midwestern University, is a sea of residential subdivisions. The residents are predominately more affluent, better educated, more articulate and vocal and certainly more activist. If 20 Arrowhead residents show up at a council meeting, city council will take note, listen and respond.  It suffers of crime but usually in terms of property theft and violent crime, although there is some, is quite low statistically. The demographic is mid to high socio-economic.

South Glendale, is comprised mainly but not exclusively, of zip code 85301, noted in the media for its concentration of a low socio-economic demographic. Here one will find the city’s greatest concentration  of auto loan businesses, pawn shops and bars. The Maricopa Adult Probation Center is located here along with the many non-profits who serve poorer, less educated populations. Its residents tend to be less educated, often poor and dependent on government/non-profit services. They tend not to be articulate, vocal or activist. There is certainly greater reluctance to interface with government. Crime occurs with greater frequency and tends to be more violent.

Take a moment to look at the comparative Census Bureau statistics (latest figures available via city documentation) between two locations. The 67th Avenue and Union Hills Drive 1 mile radius is representative of north Glendale. The 59th Avenue and Glendale Avenue 1 mile radius is representative of south Glendale. Demographically there are stark differences:               

                                             67/Union Hills Drive  1 mile        59/Glendale Ave   1 mile

  • 2014 Projected Population                            16,475                   21,462
  • 2014 Proj. Households                                   4,726                     5,788
  • 2009 Est. Median Age                                      35.9                       27.7
  • 2009 Est. Average Household Income          $99,243                  $37,528
  • 2009 Est. White Population                            85.8%                    59.7%
  • 2009 Est. Black Population                              3.1%                      6.6%
  • 2009 Est. Asian & Pacific Islander                    4.7%                      2.2%
  • 2009 Est. American Indian & Alaska Native       0.8%                      2.6%
  • 2009 Est. Other Races Population                     5.6%                      29%
  • 2009 Est. Hispanic Population Percent             17.3%                    65.8%
  • 2009 Est. Elementary (0 to 8)                           2.3%                   26.5%
  • 2009 Est. Some High School (9 to 11)               4.2%                   15.8%
  • 2009 Est. High School Graduate (12)               22.3%                   27.6%
  • 2009 Est. Some College (13 to 16)                   22.1%                  15.9%
  • 2009 Est. Associate Degree Only                        9.5%                      5%
  • 2009 Est. Bachelor Degree Only                       25.1%                      6%
  • 2009 Est. Graduate Degree                              14.5%                    3.1%
  • 2000 Home Value $200,000 to $299,999    32.3%       $100,000 to $149,999  11.4%
  • 2000 Home Value $150,000 to $199,999      42%         $50,000 to $99,999   66.4%
  • 2000 Home Value $100,000 to $149,999   21.4%        $25,000 to $49,999    15.9%
  • 2009 Est. Civilian Employed                             66.0%                     55%
  • 2009 Est. Civilian Unemployed                           7.0%                    7.1%
  • 2000 Percent White Collar Workers                   76.5%                  34.2%
  • 2000 Percent Blue Collar Workers                     23.5%                  65.8%

This is not an exclusive problem seen only in Glendale. Every other Valley city has some iteration of this same dichotomy. Part of the determinant of Glendale’s future rests upon how we deal with it now…finally.  For too long, probably the last twenty years, all of us have allowed this division between the two Glendales to become more pronounced. It is not hopeless just because it’s been easier not to face. We have failed to address the complicated issues needed to create mitigation and bring the two Glendales together. If we are to craft the Glendale of the future it is an issue that must be resolved.

I don’t pretend to know the solution. If I did I would have become a consultant making big bucks a long time ago. Perhaps part of the solution lies in open and frank dialogue between the two communities. Give them an opportunity to craft solutions that both segments of the community can embrace. It is not a situation that lends itself to imposed fixes but rather offers opportunities for collaboration. Perhaps it it is time to think in terms of equity rather than equality.

There are other issues as a result of my thinking about strategic planning yet to be discussed… in future blogs.

© Joyce Clark, 2016          


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