Glendale – Referendum And Irony Capital Of The World

Two referendum applications were filed by two new political committees in Glendale yesterday (8/14). Both are aimed squarely at the actions taken by the Glendale City Council on Tuesday (8/12).

instagramThe Council passed (with a 4-3 vote) two actions paving the way for the Tohono O’odham Nation to build their resort/casino on reservation land near Westgate in Glendale.

Who

Both committees have Gary Hirsch (gary.hirsch@cox.net) as Chairman and Jill Ryan (jillryan1@gmail.com) as Treasurer.

Gary and Jill apparently hired local group Petition Partners (PP) to provide paid petition circulators.

PP is not the inept group that managed the prior initiative effort for Funkalicious Scot Mussi and his Arizona Free Enterprise Club (AZFEC) botched attack on the Glendale sales tax extension. Click here for the story of that gaudy flameout. PP has a good track record and reputation in local politics and should be regarded as a legitimate threat to deliver the required valid signatures.

Ironically, the owner of Petition Partners was joyously tweeting the demise of the AZFEC attempt just days before. If either or both of the Petition Partners referendum attempts fail for any reason, the irony would be lung busting hilarious.

What

The first petition for referendum has the following (verbatim) description, which will be attached to all the petitions circulated:

The Tohono O’Odham casino, targeted for a Glendale neighborhood near homes, schools, daycares and houses of worship, will destroy neighborhoods and create severe budget stress for the nearly bankrupt City, overburdening Glendale’s public safety, street and infrastructure. This petition seeks to refer the August 12, 2014 Glendale City Council vote to agree to the creation of a 121-acre Indian reservation at 91st and Northern avenues. A “no” vote on this referral will overturn the Council’s decision to support a reservation and a casino and respect the NO casino promise, protecting City residents and the Glendale’s budget and core services.

The second petition for referendum:

The Tohono O’Odham casino, targeted for a Glendale neighborhood near homes, schools, daycares and house of worship, will destroy neighborhoods and create severe budget stress for the nearly bankrupt City, overburdening Glendale’s public safety, streets and infrastructure. This petition seeks to refer the August 12, 2014 Glendale City Council vote to sign a settlement agreement with the Tohono O’odham Nation in support of the Tribe’s neighborhood casino. A “no” vote on this referral will overturn the Council’s pro-casino decision and respect the NO casino promise, protecting City residents and the Glendale’s budget and core services.

When

The deadline for submitting 6,956 valid signatures is September 13, 2014. I may be mistaken, but I believe that gives them an extra day to gather signatures because the 13th is a Saturday. So, the effective due date for all of the completed petition sheets is 9 am on Monday, September 15.

Where

Tune in to the action in Glendale, the irony capital of the world.

Why

We can only guess “why”. If we read the description of the two referendums, it’s clear that the purpose of their actions is to rid Glendale of the child corrupting, infrastructure destroying, church burning, crime increasing casino.

Okay.

But all of their money came from the Gila River Indian Community, the one with casinos.

We don’t have any bones to pick with the Gila River Indian Community OR with the Tohono O’odham (TO) for that matter. In fact, we’re fans of the Gila River people for sticking with the Coyotes through the morass of bankruptcy and poor ownership. They’ve been great partners for a business that’s important in the lives of our family, and have this week continued their support with a new nine year contract with the Coyotes.

I assume the sponsors of the committee have the best interests of Glendale in mind with their referendums, Glendale First! and Neighbors for a Better Glendale were on the same side in an earlier dispute over Prop 457.

Bottom Line

Untitled-2People being asked to sign these petitions need to understand a couple things.

First, they are likely to be approached by a professional petition circulator that knows how to gather signatures, YOUR signature. It’s incumbent on the person being approached to ask for an accurate description of what is being requested with a signature, the circulators will spend as little time as possible with an individual.

Circulators are paid per signature, YOUR signature could be worth $3-10 (or more) to them.

Second, the full monetary support for “Neighbors For A Better Glendale” (NFBG) behind the two committees has come from a nation in direct business competition with the proposed TO casino. For them, it’s not about schools or churches or infrastructure, it’s all about their bottom line. Period.

McGroot Rhymes With Moot

Everything “legislated” by the Glendale City Council could be window dressing. The Tohono O’odham and Glendale were NOT required to reach any agreement, the TO can start building on their land any time they wish.

The complaints that the City could have extracted more concessions from the TO may or may not be legitimate, the nature of negotiations is that the end result has to be mutually agreeable to both parties, NOT that both parties have to drop their drawers and hand over everything they were willing to give.

The fact remains that the TO didn’t have to offer a dime to Glendale, and they did.

What’s ironic about these referendums is that, if they succeed getting a ballot measure and the citizens approve it, the TO agreement with Glendale goes in the trash. Then, everything depends solely on the pending federal legislation and the incentive for the TO to negotiate a deal with Glendale will be tainted by the ballot results.

Should the federal legislation fail to block the TO casino, the requested ballot measure would likely result in Glendale being on the hook for significantly MORE expenses than they would have without the interference.

In that case, everybody would lose except the TO.

Should the Federal legislation success in blocking the casino, all of Glendale’s actions become moot and everything reverts to normal.

So What?

I’d do the same thing as the Gila River Indian Community if it was my business on the line and I had the money.

They’re not yet providing “dark money”, although that’s always a LEGAL option. The last available finance report for NFBG seems to show they’re nearly out of cash, having disbursed most of the Gila River money to another one of their own committees that then paid out almost $40k to Petition Partners for R-14-01 this May (2014).

So there has to be more money arriving from somewhere if Petition Partners will be paid for their services again.

Everything is laid out in campaign finance reports available online, although you often have to track inflow and outflow of cash through several organizations and periods of time. For people that know what they’re doing, your mouse finger will be tired before you get to the original source of the money.

It’s “above board” and legal, but…

Make no mistake, if you’re approached about signing one of these petitions, the reason that person is there asking you to do it is because he or she was paid to do so and they were paid because it’s an educated bet being placed by the Gila River Indian Community to protect their gambling businesses.

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