It has been 18 years and 208 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Since I have been retired from city council I still get calls from Glendale residents inside and outside of the Yucca district with code compliance issues. Today I visited a resident with a litany of code issues. All of these photos were taken on just one residential street in Glendale.

This person represents many of us in the community. We continuously try to maintain and/or improve the exterior and interior of our homes. We water our grass, plant new plants in spring or get an itch to remodel a bathroom. This person is no different from many of us.

In an attempt to be fair and balanced I have to say that while I was on council there were many times – not every time – that code worked diligently and solved many of my constituents’ problems. But at that time there were code inspectors assigned to specific areas of the city. I don’t think that is the case anymore. These inspectors were proactive and could write complaints as they viewed them without the need for a citizen complaint. I don’t know how the system is set up these days.

I have received enough complaints over the past few years to question Code’s current level of effectiveness and its level of responsiveness to citizens when they have no councilmember to advocate for them.

IMG_1516This most recent complaint is a case in point. When I was on council, Code could and did write up people for dead trees and untrimmed palm trees. Apparently that is not the case anymore. This citizen was told, “We don’t deal with untrimmed palm trees anymore.”

The city is not responsible for pigeons that seem toIMG_1513 congregate everywhere but in some instances where there may be a health or safety issue, the city does have the responsibility of advising a resident of a situation that is unsanitary. Look at the pigeons who have made a home underneath this cooling system on the roof.

When there were loud noise complaints dealing IMG_1512with barking dogs Code had developed a system that required 3 other neighbors to confirm the complaint and required the complainant to keep a log for several weeks. There was no such Draconian system for odors and I remember a citizen complaining about the cat smells coming from a next door neighbor’s house and code addressing the issue.

Previously the city had a contract with Maricopa Animal control to remove stray animals. In a cost saving measure that contract has been discontinued. Now a Glendale Police Officer has to respond. Officers are not equipped to deal with these types of situations. It also takes them away from performing real police work and responding to calls in a timely manner.

Much to my surprise I learned during my visit to this person that for odors the complainant must use the same system used for barking dogs. TheIMG_1507 complainant must fill out the same type of log and get neighbors to confirm and attest to the odor complaint. That is just plain illogical and unworkable on so many levels. This system is enough to turn away all but the most determined.

Then there are the sanitation issues we’ve all seen. I have seen people leave their trash receptacles on IMG_1497the street continually. There are others that put their cans out days before collection and then leave the cans on the street days after. Or what about loose trash? In our part of town they pick up loose trash the last week of the month. I have seen those who put new loose trash out immediately after having had their current stockpile just picked up. Code had and I don’t know if it still does, persons surveying residential streets for just these kinds of violations. I suspect these people are spread too thin to be effective.






Has Code abdicated its responsibilities? Many citizens believe that Code looks for reasons to be nonresponsive. They complain that an oft used response is, “We can’t do anything about that.” Once again, it’s time for Code to dialogue with residents to find out what it is doing well and where  it is not being effective. Instead of telling residents what Code cannot do it is time to think outside the box and figure out how it can be more effective and responsive.

© Joyce Clark, 2016


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