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 want to preface my comments in the blog. Many are aware that this is my last term in office as the councilmember representing the Yucca district. My term will expire in 2 ½ years in December of 2024. This circumstance allows me the luxury of speaking my mind.  Although if you know me at all, I usually don’t hold back and I do speak my mind often. At this point in my political career, it is a privilege that is held by no other councilmember. As elected officials we often hold our tongues so as not to offend. Now, I speak my truth and if the emperor has no clothes, I will tell you so.

This past Friday the city announced its selection for its new position of Downtown Manager. Daniel Sabillion, owner of a downtown Glendale coffee shop has been selected. Mr. Sabillion and the city have established conflict of interest requirements in recognition of his downtown business ownership, but you can be sure accusations of a conflict of interest will soon be flying about.

This Sunday afternoon a diatribe was emailed to the entire city council and attached was the city’s announcement of its selection of Mr. Sabillion. I suspect that this announcement prompted the current vitriol we received. Whose fingerprints are all over this crazy email? There are so many choices…let’s play a guessing game. It might be one or it might be all, or it might be none.

How about the Hysterical Downtown Merchants Association let by the Zomoks and Cheryl Knappes? Could it be instead of welcoming another entity that adds to building and promoting downtown Glendale, might they perceive Mr. Sabillion as a threat? Or how about Yvonne Knaack, former councilmember, and Vice Mayor? For years she lived in Glendale and had a successful, downtown business. She sold her business (although she remains a downtown property owner) and moved out of Glendale. Might this be pay back for being uninvited to speak at the downtown café lighting ceremony? She is still heavily involved with the Glendale Chamber of Commerce. What about Richard Vangalisti? He owns multiple downtown properties most of which remain vacant. He and the city have knocked heads often over the condition of his properties. Might he be offering sour grapes because of his relationship with the city? Add to the list of suspects, might it be the Glendale Chamber of Commerce and its CEO, Robert Heidt? The Chamber’s lucrative contract to supply a downtown manager terminated recently. Could it be retribution for the loss of the contract valued at over $100,000? I really don’t know, and you’re guess is as good as mine, but all these players have an axe to grind.

So, what did this infamous email say? Well, it accused the mayor, council, and city manager of: *corruption *backdoor deals *conflict of interest *bullying * being dirty *fear and intimidation *on a spending spree * wanting to get rid of Councilmembers Aldama, Tolmachoff and Turner *handpicking the city’s Chief Judge *killing the trees in Murphy Park and *destroying Catlin Court. I don’t think I missed anything. It’s quite a potpourri of accusations with not one shred of fact involved. I could say the sky is purple but without any fact to corroborate it, no one will believe it. It’s the same with this ridiculous email.

As long as I am on a roll, let me say this. For years downtown has been divided into two camps: those who are not pleased no matter what this council and city manager do and those (always silent) who quietly work to see their business succeed. Quite frankly, I am tired of the nay-sayers’ antics and their continual refusal to work cooperatively to make downtown the best that it can become. No matter what is offered, it is refused and bad-mouthed. If they spent half as much time growing their businesses and making them relevant in the 21st Century as they do nay-saying and putting up obstacles, they would be wildly successful.

This council is committed to revitalizing downtown. In fact, I, personally, go all the way back to participating in the “Miracle Mile” visioning sessions twenty years ago. Everyone would acknowledge that Glendale Glitters was a signature event, but it only brought people downtown for 6 weeks of the year. The rest of the time, downtown looked like a deserted movie set. Council welcomed the concept of Glendale Live! because it would bring people downtown for many, many nights of live entertainment in its Amphitheater. Instead of creating cross promotions, discounts, and special sales in conjunction with the live entertainment nights what did the merchants do? Zip. Nada. Sat on their hands waiting for customers without offering a single incentive. Instead, they used their energy to bad mouth the entire concept.

Now the council has approved the remodeling of city hall, council chambers, the parking garage, the amphitheater, and Murphy Park. Instead of offering constructive suggestions, all the nay-sayers can focus on is that the city council is determined to kill the trees in Murphy Park. How absurd. This council values Murphy Park and its ambience and is not going to deliberately destroy it.

Do any of the nay-sayers realize the result of the city’s announcement to invest $70 million in downtown? Since that announcement we have received numerous calls from developers wanting to explore buying the city’s excess properties in downtown and investing millions of dollars in redeveloping them. That is exactly what is needed, new life blood and new investment in creating a vibrant downtown. That means nothing to them. For you see, the nay-sayers have created the urban legend that council is going to kill all the trees in Murphy Park. I’m not making this up. This is how ridiculous it has gotten.

It’s time for the nay-sayers to give it up. Instead of accusing us of killing trees, why don’t you offer your concept of what a revitalized Murphy Park should look like? Instead of working to undermine Mr. Sabillion, why don’t you give him a chance? Don’t assume he is a puppet of a nefarious city council and city manager. If you don’t like what he is doing, tell him, enter a dialogue to make the relationship better.

This may be the last chance to rescue downtown Glendale. Don’t blow it. If I had had my way, the city would be building a new city hall for $70 million out at Westgate on city property and leave downtown to become that deserted movie set.

© Joyce Clark, 2022      


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