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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

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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.

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

Many purchasers of fireworks go to tents set up in parking lots all over the Valley. Unfortunately these people who are in the business of selling you fireworks obviously will not tell you which fireworks are illegal to use.

Arizona State law regulates the use of fireworks but the selling of fireworks…not so much. Let’s take a look at exactly which fireworks are permissible by state law:

  • ground and hand held
  • cylindrical fountains
  • cone fountains
  • illuminating torches
  • wheels
  • ground spinners
  • flitter sparklers
  • toy smoke devices
  • wire sparklers
  • dipped sticks

Duh…did you happen to notice something about these permitted fireworks? None of these shoot up into the air. That should be your first clue as to whether the fireworks you are using are legal.

Which fireworks are illegal by state law? How about any fireworks that go up in the air and explode. Here’s the list:

  • firecrackers
  • bottle rockets
  • sky rockets
  • missile-type rockets
  • helicopters
  • torpedoes
  • roman candles
  • jumping jacks

For those who are truly challenged here’s a diagram of prohibited fireworks:

Illegal Fireworks

Where are you allowed to shoot off all of those nifty (and probably illegal) fireworks? How about… only on your own property. If there are sparks it is only fitting that your roof should go up in a blaze of stupidity…not your neighbor’s.

You cannot shoot your fireworks on public property. That means any city property: city parks, city sidewalks and city streets. That means you cannot go out onto the street in front of your house and shoot your fireworks there.

If your neighbor is shooting off illegal fireworks please call the NON-EMERGENCY Glendale Police Department number: 623-930-3000. It may not do any good but at least you have created a record. Obviously the police patrol officers are swamped that night with these calls yet priority one and two calls (life threatening or imminent danger) must be answered first.

Of course, if your idiot neighbor has started a fire, please call 9-1-1 immediately. Give the police call taker as much information as possible and that should include the address where the fireworks are being used and a description of the people involved (usually race, height, male or female, clothing being worn, i.e., blue jeans, khaki shorts, white T Shirt, etc.).

While we are at it there are a lot of pets that go nuts with fear when fireworks are being used. We bring our German Sheppard inside because she is so frightened. More pets, usually dogs, run away on July 4th than on any other day of the year. And it isn’t just pets; babies and very young children are also frightened by the loud noises produced by those illegal fireworks.

Another common ‘no-no’ is being plastered while shooting off those fireworks. More people, usually guys (sorry about that guys), end up in an Emergency Room with burns or missing fingers. It would be wise to have a bucket of water nearby to dunk that burnt hand into.

Be a good neighbor. It only takes a minute to let your neighbors on either side of your house know that you plan on shooting off fireworks. At least they can prepare by putting their pets inside.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July. Remember the real reason for the holiday,liberty.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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.

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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.

Glendale’s city council vacates during the month of July. It’s a good time to catch up on my blog writing. This year there will be no vacation and no deep sea fishing in California. I thought it was a good time to honor my promise to share on what I spent my council funds. After all, it is taxpayer money and we are charged to spend it prudently.

Councilmembers actually have two budgets. You can see my budget spreadsheets here: Councilmember Expenses . Fund 52100 in the amount of $15,000 is for councilmember designated Infrastructure Projects within the councilmember’s district. When I resumed office in January of 2017 I decided that I wanted to obtain an LED sign for Heroes Park. This permanent LED sign infrastructure will provide the city and myself the opportunity to message people in the district about city activities, events and notices of importance. This is a pilot project and the first sign of its kind (an LED sign) in any city park or facility.

When I first started on this journey of obtaining an LED sign the initial estimate was approximately $19,000. Over time the cost has doubled to $38,000 not just for the sign itself but for the wiring, etc. that is needed to make it operable. To satisfy the cost, I have dedicated infrastructure funds for FY 2017-18, FY 2018-19 and FY 2019-2020 to pay for its cost.

The construction of the permanent, Phase I of the West Branch Library began this June. It is slated for completion next March of 2019 (I wouldn’t take this completion date to the bank). As the library nears completion the LED sign will be installed. I expect it to be installed sometime in January or February of 2019.

Another infrastructure project I chose to pursue was newly installed this June and is new signage for the Desert Mirage area. The sign is located at the 91st Avenue and Maryland Avenue

New Desert Mirage
Entry Sign

entrance. The letters were individually mounted on the sign base and over the years enterprising individuals have stolen various letters. It’s been an ongoing aggravation. They are replaced and then stolen once again. This year I invested approximately $1800 of my infrastructure budget in new signage for both sides of the base. They are dark burgundy colored metal plates with the letters cut out of the metal. It is my hope that this will permanently solve the problem of pilfered letters.

The second councilmember budget, called Professional Development (Funds 511400 and 518200) in the amount of $18,000 is used for professional development, constituent communications and activities, office supplies and miscellaneous. This year an expense charged to this budget will be my attendance at the annual Arizona League of Cities and Towns Convention this August. I have chosen to attend this year because it is being held in the Valley area and rather than paying for staying at a hotel I can drive to and from the site daily. The cost of convention registration is $295.00.

Major expenses within the Professional Development budget are twofold: my twice yearly district newsletter mailed to every home in my district at a cost of about $6,500 per newsletter (printing and mailing). Another $2,000 is allocated for expenses for my twice yearly district meetings. Between these two items I expend $15,000 of the $18,000 budget strictly on constituent communications.

That leaves $3,000 for miscellaneous expenses. This past year, I donated $500 to support the Kilt Run at Westgate; $600 for the Mayor’s bowling event; and $500 for the Rotary’s renovation project. I spent another $500 on additional Heroes Park directional parking signs (5 of them). The remaining $1000 was used for miscellaneous expenses such as the council office Christmas party, joint expense for funeral flowers for various individuals, a ticket for the Glendale Women’s Club Luncheon or Glendale’s Art Preview Party or lunch for staff on a field trip to learn about lake systems in other Valley communities (as we prepare to construct a water feature at Heroes Park).

I try to be very frugal with taxpayer dollars and to always keep in mind that it should be primarily spent on citizen outreach or on an infrastructure project that solves a problem within my district.

When I invite someone to a working business lunch I pay the tab out of my personal funds. I do not charge the city for mileage or use of a cell phone. I use my personal computer at home to access my city email account to do city business.

This narrative has given you an idea of councilmember expense choices.  If you wish to look at the Mayor’s or other Councilmembers’ expenses please go to:

  • glendaleaz.com
  • click on “Follow Your Money
  • Choose the “Fiscal Year”
  • Click on “Department Spending
  • Click on page 2
  • Click on “Council Office
  • Choose a council district and click on it

It’s an interesting exercise to try sometime. You never know what you will learn.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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.

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.

A week or two ago we were advised by IKEA management that they were not going to pursue building a new store in Glendale. The location would have been on the southwest corner of Bethany Home Road and 95th Avenue.

Why, why, oh why, have they gone away? I, personally, am so disappointed. I was so looking forward to our very own IKEA just 5 minutes away. That sure beats over an hour drive to get to the one in the southeast part of the Valley. The current distance to its only location was a shopping killer for me. I visit the current location once a year, if that.

There was so much pent up demand and excitement in the West Valley. I can’t tell you the number of people who have personally shared their excitement about its coming to Glendale. Everyone was disappointed with their recent announcement. Apparently IKEA had planned to build 10 new stores in the United States. All have been scrapped. Why?

Well, IKEA has decided it wants to migrate to an E-Commerce business allowing consumers to purchase their merchandise online. They are going to completely revamp their business model. It wasn’t that Glendale had been obstructionist or done something to chase them away. To the contrary, they praised Glendale for its effectiveness and ability to work with them in an expeditious manner. They liked Glendale and were happy to do business with us.

As many may know, Glendale committed to building 95th Avenue between Bethany Home Road and Camelback to provide easy access to IKEA. Construction will be complete by the time football season begins this August. 95th Avenue is still important to the city despite IKEA’s departure. It opens up another very valuable access to the University of Phoenix Stadium and all of Westgate. It should alleviate the tremendous traffic loading on 91st Avenue and make many local residents happy. Now people can park at the new lot on the south side of Bethany and use a new pedestrian bridge or tunnel to cross Bethany into the Westgate area.

It also makes the acreage that IKEA would have used very, very valuable and allows the city to pick and choose which project a developer brings to the table as being the best fit for the area and the city. There is already interest in the IKEA site and the possibilities are exciting and will add value to the city and to the area.

Yes, we are all disappointed that IKEA will not be coming and wish that the company’s senior leadership would revisit their decision but we are confident that the land will be developed with something equally meaningful to all stakeholders.

Bye IKEA. We will miss you and wish you well. Yet we are excited about the new opportunities their decision has created and look forward to the next chapter for such a prime parcel.

Part of the 95th Avenue project includes a bridge spanning the Grand Canal and the Linear Park as well as a tunnel below Bethany Home Road. There has been lots of progress on the pedestrian bridge. As you can see in the first picture the bridge across the canal is about as simple as it can get. The second picture shows the bridge that spans the Linear Park way to the stadium. The third picture is not very clear but they already have the tunnel built under Bethany home Road and you can see the top of the structure. The roadway in that area is elevated approximately 3 to 4 feet.

By the way here are a few photos of the progress on Top Golf’s construction:

As you can see, with or without IKEA, Glendale and most particularly the Westgate area continues its unparalleled  growth in activity.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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

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.

This is a blog way overdue. There are so many issues revolving around the city’s code compliance department that it’s difficult to know where to begin. As councilmembers code is by far the issue that we and our staffs deal with constantly. There isn’t a day that goes by that we all don’t receive code complaints.

Ever since he joined council, Councilmember Ray Malnar has pushed for code reforms. Shortly he will put together an informal working group to review code and to make recommendations for reform. I am happily looking forward to joining his working group. After all, we councilmembers deal with code issues on a daily basis and know what the greatest issues are.

Let me begin by relating some history. In July of 1993, council passed Ordinance Number 1772. It was the first major revision to code in many years. This ordinance encompassed major revisions to the entire body of city code. Here is the first paragraph of this ordinance: Section 1.100 Title. The ordinance shall be known and may be cited as the ‘Zoning Ordinance of the City of Glendale, Arizona.’ Within the ordinance text, it shall be cited as ‘this ordinance’. (Ord. No. 1772, 7-23-93)”.

The ordinance goes on to state, 1.204 Repealer and Severability. The provisions of this ordinance, insofar as they are substantially the same as the provisions of ordinances repealed in Subsection A of this section, shall be construed as restatements and continuations thereof and not as new enactments (bold mine).” In plain English the provisions of this ordinance did not create new law but were crafted to further clarify existing law.

The ordinance clearly states that if any provisions create greater restrictions they are to be followed as stated in this portion of the text, “1.205 Conflict With Other Rules or Regulations. Where this ordinance imposes a greater restriction on land, buildings or structures than is imposed or required by other existing provisions of law, ordinance, contract or deed, the provisions of this ordinance shall control (bold mine).” This provision seems to reject the concept of “grandfathering” which allows a property or home existing prior to 1993 to be exempt from the new ordinance provisions. Based upon the language of this ordinance any new code provisions or regulations will be considered as refinements of existent code and it mandates that greater restrictions are to be recognized and applied.

One of the new provisions within this ordinance addresses the subject of residential parking specifically with reference to zoning districts R 1-10 (10,000 square foot lot sizes), R 1-8 (8,000 SF), R 1-7 (7,000 SF) and R 1-6 (6,000 SF). The text reads as follows:

“Section 5.300 URBAN RESIDENTIAL

R1-10, R1-8, R1-7–Single Residence.

Section 5.313 R1-6–Single Residence.

5.3184 Parking.

Refer to Section 5.312.

(Ord. No. 2090, § 3, 7-27-99)

5.312 Parking.

  1. Parking and driveways are permitted as follows: (See Figures R-1 and R-2)
  2. A parking area may not exceed thirty (30) feet of contiguous area or fifty (50) percent of the lot width as measured at the front yard setback, whichever is less.
  3. Within the front yard, a parking/driveway area is only allowed between the garage or carport and the street, except an area contiguous to the allowed parking/driveway which is consistent with the dimensions in #1 above.
  4. No parking is permitted in the front yard when the parking area:
  5. Is detached from the allowed parking/driveway area; or Would result in an area greater than the allowable width as described in #1 above.
  6. Circular driveways and similar circulation may be permitted within the front yard so long as:

                      A.  No long term resident parking occupies such circular drive; and

                      B.  The front yard contains no more than fifty (50) percent of the total square                                 footage in parking/driveway or other circulation.

           (Ord. No. 1772, 7-23-93)”

Does it occur to anyone that you almost need a PhD to understand the language and to apply the code? Although I’m sure the language meets the technical requirements of the law but as is usually the case, it’s difficult for the ordinary citizen to understand much less follow its requirements.

Now let’s throw this into the mix. The ordinance also grants the Planning Director the right to interpret provisions of the ordinance, “Section 3.400 Interpretations, Administrative Relief, and Administrative Review.

3.401 Interpretations.

  1. The Planning Director shall be responsible for interpretation of the Zoning Ordinance. Interpretations may be considered if there is a question of clarity of any development standard or other provision of this ordinance, or a review is required (bold mine) within the permitted use categories of a specified zone district.
  2. Prior to determining that a use is permitted within a specific zoning district, the Planning Director shall find that:
  3. The use is described and included in the zoning district;
  4. The intensity of the use will not adversely affect other properties within the district; (bold mine)”

This provision will become more relevant as I relate a series of current code complaints. Recently the city council has received a series of complaints from residents in the Ocotillo district about front yard parking. It appears that our code department is not acting upon them. Last year I had offered the same concerns about the very same issue to our code department. What seems to be occurring these days is that some residents are covering their entire front yards with concrete or pavers and then using the entire front yard as a parking lot for multitudes of their vehicles. In my district I have seen entire front yards covered with pavers and concrete.  Here’s an example from my district. As you can see the entire front yard has recently been concreted. I have seen multiple vehicles parked there and in this photo some are parked right in front of the front door of the residence.

I filed complaints about this activity with the code department last year. In response I was advised that these were not violations or the case was closed. Why you ask? Clearly (or maybe not so clearly) the 1993 ordinance spells out that that “no more than 30 feet of contiguous area or 50% of the front yard lot width” may be used for driveways and parking.  Common sense would seem to dictate that if you have concreted or paved your entire front yard and then use it for parking more than 3 vehicles you are in violation of code.

Ahh… but not so fast. Within the material  of the ordinance I cited above, the Planning Director can interpret any provision of this 1993 ordinance. Never, ever, in all my 17 years on city council have I ever seen the code department go to the Planning Director to ask for an interpretation of whether something is a code violation. That is exactly what code did in the Ocotillo district where front yard parking was becoming a major problem last year. In response to the code department’s request, the Planning Director toured the area in question and said that since the homes in that area were built prior to 1993 they were grandfathered in and the 1993 ordinance regulating front yard parking did not apply. He further stated that he did not believe it was out of character for the affected neighborhood.

Last year after the Ocotillo district complaints, I complained about exactly the same problem. Code used the Planning Director’s interpretation for that unrelated neighborhood in the Ocotillo council district as the basis for not citing exactly the same activity in my district and led me to believe that the Planning Director had toured my area of complaint as well. In fact, he did not. The opinion he offered in a memo to the code department was in direct response to the Ocotillo neighborhood parking issue, not mine.

Correction at 9 PM Feb. 9, 2018: After reviewing my code material I find that I misrepresented the Planning Director’s opinion. When I said Code can be confusing, I wasn’t kidding. The Planning Director was asked by the Code Department to tour the Maryvale Terrace area in the Ocotillo district last year. His opinion centered strictly on the installation and use of auxiliary driveways. In his opinion regarding that area he supported the installation of an auxiliary driveway to be used to enter an RV gate thereby allowing the property owner’s RV to be parked behind the gate. At that time he opined that auxiliary driveways were not out of character for that neighborhood and were permissible for that purpose. In addition, my notes indicate that the Planning Director did in fact tour the neighborhood in my district where I had registered complaints. He indicated that it is not a violation to have pavers or concrete to serve as additional driveways that are to be used for access through an RV gate to park in a backyard. He also opined that it is a violation to park on these surfaces where it is considered to be front yard parking and a code violation.

The question remains, why is the code department using this narrowly crafted opinion as a rationale to not cite for front yard parking? This photo clearly shows the homeowners are definitely in violation of front yard parking. The second question that remains valid is why was historical precedent ignored by the code department by asking the Planning Director to decide whether an issue is a code violation? As I stated previously, this is a first in my 17 year history as a councilmember.

What happened to Section 1.205 of the 1993 ordinance that states that greater restrictions within this ordinance prevail? If you follow the logic of code’s request of and acceptance of the Planning Director’s interpretation on this code matter in an Ocotillo neighborhood built before 1993, what does mean for other ordinance provisions that apply to all neighborhoods built prior to the 1993 ordinance? For instance, group home restrictions are enhanced in the 1993 ordinance. According to the code department’s reliance upon using the Planning Director’s interpretation for just one neighborhood built before 1993, it now opens the door for all other neighborhoods established prior to 1993. It would appear if a group home is established in a home built before 1993, then the 1993 restrictions do not apply. I didn’t go through the entire code but I bet there are other restrictions in the 1993 ordinance that also could be interpreted as not applying to a home built prior to 1993.

These actions raise several very important questions. Which concept within the 1993 ordinance is to be followed? The concept that greater restrictions prevail or the concept that the Planning Director can waive or interpret code requirements for neighborhoods built before 1993 (the concept of “grandfathering”)?

Code’s action of requesting the Planning Director to decide code requirements is precedent setting and opens the door wide for an unequal application of the 1993 ordinance as code has now accepted a rationale that enables it not to follow the proscription, “Where this ordinance imposes a greater restriction on land, buildings or structures than is imposed or required by other existing provisions of law, ordinance, contract or deed, the provisions of this ordinance shall control.”

My frustration is with code’s inability or unwillingness to address issues such as excessive front yard parking. It’s no wonder citizens are upset. I have heard repeatedly from folks all over the city that Glendale doesn’t look good anymore and they point to code’s ineffectiveness. I am not the only councilmember dissatisfied with the code department’s performance. Many, but not all, councilmembers have expressed the same dissatisfaction.

The leadership of the code department has expressed the belief that my and other councilmembers’ dissatisfaction with the department’s performance is a direct result of a lack of staff. But that is not the issue. It’s not whether there are 5 or 15 code inspectors but rather the effectiveness of the results of the actions taken by whatever the number of staff the department has in resolving an issue (and yes, that should include citing a resident for not following code).

Another code department rationale for a lack of successful resolution is that the department states that unless the complaint is ironclad in terms of proof of violation, city prosecutors will not file a case. Perhaps what is needed is the department taking more time and making a greater effort to meet the requirements of the prosecutors’ office to bring forward successful cases for adjudication. If the prosecutors’ office requires greater proof of a violation by completing actions A, B and C it would seem that is what code should be striving to meet. Leadership has said that they have taken cases to the Prosecutors’ Office only to be told that the case is too weak. Then it becomes incumbent upon code to do further work on a case to make it strong enough to be prosecuted.

I am anxious to participate on the working group that Councilmember Malnar will lead. If parts of code are outdated, we will recommend their removal. If parts of code are too weak, we will find ways to beef them up. If there are new issues that need remedies, we will find them. Keep in mind that this working group will have no formal authority so its conclusions may or may not be accepted. Perhaps most important of all, it is time for greater transparency and accountability and those are elements we must require of this department.

It’s time to make all  of Glendale look good again.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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.

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.

At a recent city council meeting the city received a rebate check from Arizona Public Service (APS) in the amount of over $430,000. Here is the link to the Glendale Star story: http://www.glendalestar.com/news/article_b7fdec58-fba7-11e7-9db1-3bd587ba3532.html. This rebate is due to the city’s conversion of its street lights to LED. In addition to the rebate, the city projects an annual savings in its APS electric bill of $494,000 and another $180,000 in annual maintenance. This year the city, between the APS rebate and lower electric bill, has over a million more dollars in its General Fund to spend on other needs.

Glendale City Council receives APS rebate

Here’s a little of the back story. During last year’s council budget workshops, I discovered that this LED conversion project was not scheduled to begin for another three years and to be implemented over two years. I requested that the LED project be moved up to the current year and it should be completed within one fiscal year. After all, it was a no brainer. If the city had a chance to save money why wouldn’t we be doing it immediately? There was push back on council and not every councilmember immediately embraced the idea. However, after further council discussion, my request was approved. I am glad my persistence paid off for the city.

Recently, I requested another initiative that I believe will also generate revenue for the city. Those who have residential rental properties in Glendale are required to be licensed and to pay a monthly residential real estate tax. I heard from a constituent about a friend of his who had 8 residential rental properties in Glendale yet only self-reported and paid tax on one property. I suspect this is more common than is generally known. To this date the city has no mechanism to verify and capture all residential rentals. As a Council Item of Special Interest (CIOSI) I have requested that the city’s Finance Department initiate a pilot program to identify and capture all residential rentals within the city. It has been approved by council and I anticipate that the city will capture an estimated $500,000 annually in unreported and under reported residential rental tax. If it generates the kind of money I anticipate, there’s additional city revenue that can also be used to meet other needs.

During my sixteen years as councilmember I often initiated pilot projects that were eventually adopted throughout the city. As you drive through Glendale you will see blue and white street identification signs as you approach a street. They are low in height and specifically designed to assist motorists. What started as a pilot project in my district, the Yucca district, can now be found citywide.

Former Glendale Communications Director, Paula Illardo, and I requested the very first funding in the amount of $50,000 for Christmas lights to be installed in downtown Murphy Park. That initial request is now known as Glendale Glitters.

I also initiated a pilot project by purchasing tablets and lending them out to Yucca district residents. The surveys and feedback the users provided convinced our Glendale Library system to replicate the system city wide. I don’t believe it is still being used as tablets and smart phones are so prevalent these days and everyone and his brother has one.

I was successful in getting the city to adopt a League of Cities partnership program that enabled the issuance of Glendale insurance cards (at no cost to the city) for residents’ use in saving money on not only their prescriptions but that of their pets as well.

Over my long history as a Glendale city councilmember I have always sought out ways to save the city and our residents money or to initiate a project that benefits all residents. My request to move up the LED light conversion project was not my first money saving initiative for the city and I suspect it will not be my last.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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.

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 haven’t opined on the Coyotes in a long time. It’s sad that they remain in limbo, still seeking the Holy Grail of a new location…in or out of Arizona. You’d think that Andrew Barroway, owner of the team, would take a reality pill and acknowledge that no one is going to build them a new arena and then subsidize the team to play in it. The fans deserve better. They deserve surety and the team stubbornly refuses to provide it.

I have only attended 2 or 3 games this season but from what I hear from fans this season’s performance was dismal. Out of the 8 teams in the Pacific Division they ranked dead last with 45 games played to date turning in 10 wins, 28 losses. While the brand new Vegas Golden Knights, number one in the division, turned in 29 wins and 10 losses. The Coyotes also rank dead last in the league standings.

Having no other place to go, the Coyotes silently did nothing in December of 2017 triggering an automatic lease renewal at Glendale’s Gila River Arena. Here is the link to Craig Harris’ December 19, 2017 story in the Arizona Republic: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2017/12/19/arizona-coyotes-staying-1-more-year-glendale-gila-river-arena/963379001/ .

Mr. Ahron Cohen, Coyotes’ Chief Operating Officer, is quoted as saying, “We are absolutely planning to play next season at Gila River Arena and are focused on building a winning hockey team, positively contributing to our community, and achieving success in all aspects of our business.”

Let’s take a look at the reality of that statement. Forbes magazine annually determines the worth of professional sports teams and it has valued the Coyotes at $300 million. It is the least valuable franchise in the 31-team NHL. The team lost at least $19 million last season.  Forbes stated the team’s debt ratio was 83 percent, meaning the franchise has very little liquidity or room to borrow money. In this financial atmosphere, it is painfully obvious that the team simply cannot afford to move – anywhere, in or out of the state. To date there has been no legislation offered at the state level to assist the team in some sort of relocation effort and it does not seem to be a viable option.

The Coyotes have the league’s lowest payroll of $54.8 million, according to the National Hockey League Players’ Association. Again, with an 83% debt ratio it’s no wonder that the team’s payroll is in the basement. Clearly with that kind of debt ratio the ability to build a winning team, as Mr. Cohen suggests, is unrealistic.

There is a lot of work to be accomplished by Mr. Barroway and his senior management to turn this team around. To accomplish that goal long term stability is required. Perhaps it’s time for him to create the stability of location, get serious and commit to a long term lease at the Gila River Arena. Once that issue is resolved and the distraction of seeking a bigger and better location (in their minds) is settled, they can focus on three major initiatives: The first and most important is ‘butts in seats’ despite the current quality of team play. It’s time to develop a major, effective marketing campaign to attract new fans. Get those ‘butts in seats’ to generate a greater proportion of revenue; the second is with better revenue comes the ability to pay for seasoned, successful players. Fans are fickle. They pay to see winners not losers. They cannot rely upon fan loyalty in the Valley. Just look at the Suns and Diamondbacks. Respectively their attendance is down and continues downward when they don’t make the playoffs; lastly it’s all about the fan experience these days. At the game I attended last week I witnessed a format that hasn’t changed since the team started playing in the arena, 15 years ago.

There are new strategies available to attract millennials and women. One has just to look at the Cardinals to notice what they have done to make the fan experience worth the price of a ticket. Their model remains successful as their season ticket holder base remains stable. Oh by the way, I haven’t heard the football fans that come from all over the state complaining that the venue is too far away. Yet Coyotes’ team management continues to point the finger at distance as a rationale for lousy attendance. When they were winning and made the playoffs there was no mention of distance. Come on, it’s time to bury the excuses, including this one.

The city and AEG would like to have the Coyotes stay at Gila River Arena. After all, it was built for hockey as its main tenant. The city has also learned that it should not be in the business of managing and that its arrangement with AEG is a winner. It has no intention of terminating the relationship for AEG has done an outstanding job in its first year of management.

It’s time for Barroway to stop playing games…off the ice. Commit to stay at Gila River and get to work on creating a better team performance and building a super fan base. Glendale has publicly offered to help but it will never go back to the old model of subsidizing the team. It’s time for Barroway to make a major effort to turn things around. Will he…or won’t he? That is the question.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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.

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.

It seems whenever there is a city holiday I can play catch up and find the time to write. Monday, January 15, 2018 is MLK Day and a national holiday. Fortunately I’ve already received the material for our next council workshop scheduled for Tuesday, January 23rd and have done my ‘homework’. Please remember that now city council only meets two Tuesdays a month and they double up on the meetings that day. Now on those two Tuesdays council meets at 12:30 PM for workshop followed by an Executive Session if needed. Then on the same day it reconvenes at 5 PM for its voting meeting. Please note this is an hour earlier than previously scheduled. It makes it more difficult for the public to attend if they work and don’t get off until 5 PM.

The only workshop public agenda item is staff’s request for direction from city council regarding naming Bethany Home Road between 83rd Avenue and 99th Avenue as well as Loop 101 freeway signage as Cardinals Way. This is a Council Item of Special Interest (CIOSI) raised by Mayor Jerry Weiers.

The facts of the request include renaming 12 highway signs by the Arizona Department of Transportation at a cost of $75,000. Five Glendale city street signs would also be renamed at a cost of $5,000. The total of $80,000 would have to be paid by the city.

The Arizona Tourism and Sports Authority (AZSTA) has offered to contribute but they have not specified how much they would pay.

This is all of the information city council has received on the issue. So pretend you are a city councilmember and have to give direction (we don’t vote at workshops) to move forward or not to move forward and stop it. I’d be interested to see how all of you would weigh in if you were the decision maker. I’ve put a new poll to the left of this column. Please take a moment to cast your decision.

Last week the Arizona Republic published a story that APS is seeking approval from the Arizona Corporation Commission for a rate decrease. Who would have thunk?? Here is the link to the story: https://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/energy/2018/01/09/aps-now-seeking-rate-decrease-thanks-federal-tax-cuts/1018865001/ . APS is seeking a cut of, “… about $4.70 from the average residential customer’s monthly bill thanks to the tax changes that President Donald Trump signed into law last month.” Unfortunately, SRP customers will not see a similar rate reduction due to the tax changes. It is an Agricultural Improvement and Power District, and does not collect federal income tax through its customers. Municipalities that provide water are not for profit and like SRP do not pay federal taxes. The expectation is other for-profit utility and water providers in the state and nationally may also offer rate reductions due to the reduction of the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%.

© Joyce Clark, 2018                 

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.

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.

First a little history. Twenty years ago, in 1998, what is today known as Heroes Park first appeared in the city’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP). Today Heroes Park remains unfinished…after 20 years of waiting. Residents who bought in this area expected its timely completion. Instead they raised a generation of children without the benefit of this quality of life amenity, especially a library.  Now they have grandchildren whom they hope will be able to enjoy a completed park before they too become adults with their own children.

Heroes Park Concept Plan. Items depicted in yellow are completed. All others have not.

One of the planned components of the park has always been a West Branch Library. Again, more history. The former mayor (Scruggs) used every ploy to deny funding for the library and park completion. She and I butted heads on virtually every issue and she was not about to give the person (whose nickname for me was “Evil”) any kind of victory – especially a park, rec center and library. Her most infamous raid occurred in 2006 when she and her “mushrooms” (the gang of four whom always did her bidding) diverted $6 million dollars from library construction and allocated it to the construction of the Glendale Public Safety Training facility (GRPSTC). The result being funding for library construction vanished in an instant.

When the great recession occurred every possible residential amenity was cut from the CIP including completion of Heroes park, rec center and library. These were not the only amenities to get the axe. Library hours were cut and many youth recreation programs disappeared or were severely diminished. O’Neil Pool in the Ocotillo district (formerly part of my district, the Yucca district) received no funding during that period after it was closed due to the need for major repairs. To this day it remains closed and in need of significant funding to repair or replace it. It is a disgrace.

Over the past 20 years south and west Glendale often were ignored when it came to allocating city funding for amenities with one exception – Rose Lane Aquatic Center, in the Ocotillo district, was constructed. To this day it is heavily used by an economically challenged area of our community many residents of which are unable to afford a pool at their homes. Other than using the ramadas at Heroes Park or a school cafeteria, the Yucca district continues to have no community meeting location as is found in every other district in the city.

Ever since I returned to the city council in January of 2017 my focus and priority has been to get the library built and the park completed. In 2017 I have achieved some success in getting the library concept approved and funded by city council. I had hoped to see it open as a 2018 Christmas present for Yucca district residents. Alas, although it will be built the timeline continues to slip. Here is the most currently available timeline:

  • 12/4/17                         100% construction drawings submitted to city Building & 
  •                                      Safety Department for review and approval (takes a minimum
  •                                      of 30 days)
  • 1/29/18                         Construction drawings approved for a permit
  • 2/8/18 through 2/15/18  Advertisement for construction bid published
  • 3/7/18                           Bid opening
  • 4/10/18                         Council approval and award of construction contract
  • 5/7/18                           “Notice to Proceed” (NTP) issued to contractor to start work
  • 5/7/18 through 2/7/18     Construction phase (approximately 9 months)
  • 2/7/18                            Possible “Soft Opening”
  • 3/30/18                          Final acceptance by the city of the building 

I will accept some responsibility for the delay for I did not like the original design and requested modifications…some of which were approved. However, I pleaded, begged and stamped my feet to accelerate the process…all to no avail. I’m not sure any sense of urgency was conveyed to the consultant, DFDG, in design of the construction drawings. I question why it takes a month from a 3/7/18 bid opening to bring it to council for approval on 4/10/18. I question why it takes another month (4/10/18 –5/7/18) before the contractor gets a “Notice to Proceed” to actually begin construction.

I am so anxious to get this project underway. I know I am impatient but we have waited so long. I am disappointed that the only one who feels a sense of urgency is me…sigh.  

© Joyce Clark, 2018                 

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.

A Christmas pond update

Posted by Joyce Clark on December 16, 2017
Posted in BlogsCity of GlendaleKoi pond  | Tagged With: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

So many of you who read my blog faithfully have asked for an update on my Koi pond and so, here it is. The pond is now 6 years old. In the beginning as a newbie, there were certainly a series of mistakes made.

When I saw my first algae in the pond I freaked out and added chemicals by the truck load. I created a toxic waste dump and all of the fish died. Disgustedly I vowed no more fish, drained the pond completely and let the pond rebalance itself for a year.

Feeling confident, I reintroduced Koi into the pond and they thrived. They are now quite big, sassy and very healthy. We now have about 30 Koi and as they continue to grow and thrive I imagine I will have to thin out the population. That is no mean feat as we know each fish. Some are very curious and brave while others are timid and shy. Even though they eat the same fare, some have certainly grown more quickly than others. The big guys and gals are the algae grazers. You can see them grazing among the rocks all the time.

Gone are all chemicals. Realizing that the original filter system was inadequate to deal with algae growth we researched and ultimately built an external, 4 barrel filter system. The pond water recirculates through the barrels each filled with different kinds of filter media. For example, one barrel has carbon pellets, another has fluffy polyester batting and yet another has sponges and the last has filter pads. The water remains crystal clear and when some algae does emerge during the hottest part of the year the easiest solution is simply to take it out by hand. There is never so much that the task is overwhelming.

We usually clean the external system once a year and will be doing that this coming January or February. It’s an all day job as the barrels must be drained and cleaned and new filter media placed into each barrel.

Over the years we have learned a great deal about plants in and around the pond. The lilies die back during the winter but come back with a vengeance in the spring. I would love to have some lotus. I have tried several times and in each instance I failed and they died. 

I have learned that a pond plant called ‘Snowflake’ replicates itself like crazy. Every time I think I have removed all of it I discover another new crop. The same can be said for some plants surrounding the pond. Yerba Manza, Taros and Ruella grow and spread prodigiously. I’ve managed to get rid of the Yerba Manza completely. There is still one clump of Taro that will be removed this spring and all of the Ruella ‘babies’ will be removed as well.

If I had it to do all over again, would I have installed the pond? Yes, most definitely. There is something special about hearing the waterfalls splash downward. I have discovered when the pumps have been turned off for an electrical outage, the absolute silence is disconcerting. We watch the fish whenever we have time (as a councilmember my time is now very constrained) and we still take joy in watching them. I read somewhere, sometime, that watching fish in an aquarium or pond lowers one’s blood pressure. I think it’s probably true as there is a calming effect in just sitting and watching, really watching the fish. Is there maintenance work? Yes but nothing so intense that it consumes all of your time after the pond and plantings have become established.

Merry Christmas everyone and I hope you enjoy the photos I have included in this blog.

© Joyce Clark, 2017                 

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.

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 Monday, November 13, 2017 we were all shocked to learn of the death of George Gosbee,48, former owner and Governor of the Arizona Coyotes. He was also a well respected member of the Calgary, Canada community. What hasn’t been reported until today, November 15, 2017 is that he died by his own hand…he committed suicide. Here is the link: https://news–of-the-day.com/2017/11/15/yedlin-george-gosbees-death-a-devastating-reminder-of-mental-health-effects/ .

He was a man who had everything – a wonderful family, prestige within his community and wealth. Yet due to some mental illness he believed he had nothing; that life was not worth living and so, he took his life. My deepest condolences go out to his family.

Then I ran across another article posted just today by Craig Harris of the Arizona Republic detailing current investigations by the National Labor Relations Board related to the Coyotes allegedly not paying employees properly and possible union busting. Here is the link: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-investigations/2017/11/15/arizona-coyotes-accused-not-properly-paying-employees-union-busting-nlrb-complaints/867408001/?hootPostID=ac31f1c4a3f168b754f5d5951be6049e .

What has happened to our Coyotes? How far have they fallen? Just a few years ago they were riding high with blockbuster attendance and a slot in the playoffs. Remember the nights of “white outs?” The fans’ enthusiasm was palpable.

Today their starting season is 0-10-1. They have the worst record in the NHL with 2 wins, 15 losses and 3 ties. Their attendance quite frankly, sucks. They have the smallest payroll in the NHL at about $55 million. Unless there is a reversal of fate, they are slated to lose at least $20 million this year.

They have sold off, traded or retired a majority of their players of note, most notably Shane Doan.  It is certainly not the fault of the players. A majority are new and relatively inexperienced. They are eager and hungry to win but they have yet to gel as a cohesive unit. It takes time.

The current owner, Andrew Barroway, and the NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman, have threatened to leave Arizona if someone or some entity does not build the Coyotes a new arena and subsidize their playing in such a venue. Their decision and actions are certainly not the way to encourage the realization of their “ask.”

There is an alternative that Barroway has stubbornly rejected and that is to stay in Glendale and to end the ongoing saga of uncertainty. It’s also time to invest in building a team that is, at least, competitive.  Glendale has always said that it wants the Coyotes to succeed in Glendale and will offer assistance to help rebuild the fan base. A year-to-year contract does nothing to reassure fans that the Coyotes are committed to staying. It’s as if the fans keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I’m on the outside, obviously, looking in. I have no inside knowledge but there has always been the undercurrent of suspicion by some that these are deliberate acts. Suspicions borne from the time Anthony LeBlanc, et. al., took ownership. Some believe that their motivation has always been to leave Arizona. What better way to accomplish that goal than to decimate the team, drive down attendance and then proclaim that Arizona never was, isn’t and never will be a successful market for hockey. A season of attendance at the very bottom of the league’s barrel may finally convince Gary Bettman that Arizona is not the hockey market he believed it to be.

Seattle has plans to locate an MBA and an NHL franchise in its arena after its renovation. Bettman has always wanted to grow the league and put an expansion team into that slot. Could that change? Could he throw in the towel, as he has threatened if the Coyotes do not get a new venue here, and bless a Coyotes’ move to Seattle? I don’t know but you can bet that Barroway and Bettman do…right now.

UPDATE: NOV. 16, 2017 Today’s Arizona Republic reports that support for Phoenix’s bearing the lion’s share of the cost of renovating the Diamonback’s venue is waning. It appears politicians are finally getting it and that pouring money into the money pit of sports venues is not the best use of taxpayers’ dollars. In that same article Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton seems to have dropped his support of planting the Coyotes in the same venue. His latest statements about the Diamondback’s facility has dropped any mention of using it for the Coyotes as well. 

 

© Joyce Clark, 2017                 

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.

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