Hirsch Monologue Ignores Facts

Glendale mayor Weiers opened the citizen comment portion (3:55 on video) of the June 23 Glendale (AZ) City Council meeting explaining the comment rules, including:

Personal attacks against councilmembers, city staff, are just simply are not allowed.

He continues:

We will have a time limit tonight so it’s three minutes per person, we have a timer up here, we have a lot of people here tonight…

Gary Hirsch Uses The “H” Word

Mr. Hirsch has run unsuccessfully for office in Glendale three times, the most recent loss was to Ian Hugh for a council seat.

His monologue (begins at 22:29) starts off stating:

“… a hockey enthusiast organization called Glendale First! is calling for the recall of four of our councilmembers.”

Both “facts” in that first sentence are incorrect.

Gary Hirsch (LinkedIn image)

Gary Hirsch (LinkedIn image)

Glendale First! is an “Independent Expenditure” (IE) committee registered in the City of Glendale, as is Mr. Hirsch’s own “Neighbors for a Better Glendale”.

An IE is constrained from doing anything with a recall committee other than providing administrative services and funds. Mr. Hirsch is likely aware of these regulations, given the funding his own IE provided the “Recall Gary Sherwood” committee.

There are currently two, not four, councilmembers with recall committees ready to circulate petitions. We’re not sure where Mr. Hirsch gets his incorrect information from, perhaps he’s heard somebody grabbed four blank packets from the Glendale City Clerk and assumed it was Glendale First!

It wasn’t.

Hirsch then continues and mentions, correctly, that Glendale First! is the registered sponsoring organization for the two committees been formed to date.

Mr. Hirsch, parroting a talking point of the people supporting the targeted councilmembers and their actions, takes a shot at trivializing the IE as a “hockey enthusiast organization”.

Oft repeated tag lines such as “it’s not about hockey” are the mantra du jour to dismiss any objections to the recent cavalier actions by the council as coming from uninformed and selfish sports fans.

They’re right about one thing, though, “it’s NOT about hockey”.

It’s about fiscal irresponsibility.

It’s about intransigence, refusing to delay an extremely economically dangerous vote for even a week so talks might progress.

That Cave Creek Thing

Our little town is the coolest in the Valley, and we admit that it’s fun to say “Cave Creek” because it summons up colorful mental images of the Wild West. It’s now being said in some circles with some “stank” on it as if it’s an insult.

Mr. Hirsch continues reading his points, lauding the efforts of the “Recall Gary Sherwood Committee” (which Hirsch’s group fully funded) in their eventually successful attempt to force a recall election for Gary Sherwood.

Then, he’s back to Glendale First!:

“Now we have a special interest group from Cave Creek attempting to use this valid legal and completely justified option as a launching pad from which they will initiate other brazenly inappropriate recall requests which are completely without merit, are disrespectful of the voters, and the entire recall process.”

If course, all of the above is in the opinion of Gary Hirsch, everybody is entitled to their opinion. However, the criticism begins by characterizing the IE as a special interest group from “out of town”, essentially carpetbaggers.

Mr. Hirsch neglects to mention the fact that his IE, used to fund the first, failed, recall attempt against Sherwood any number of mostly unsuccessful political maneuvers in Glendale, is wholly funded by an out of town group, the Gila River Indian Community.

Apparently, a special interest group is just fine with Hirsch as long as it’s HIS special interest.

Hirsch received, and mostly spent, $234,471.62 from an outside special interest group to fund his shots at the Glendale political process. Hirsch’s groups neglected to file campaign finance reports correctly in many instances and may yet be subject to a $75,000 fine for one of their more egregious violations.

No Supporting Facts

Mr. Hirsch, and subsequent speakers that had eaten from the same talking points trough, then begins his criticism of the 200 word summary of why the councilmembers should be recalled with an objection implying the state of public safety in Glendale was just fine and wouldn’t be affected by the budget recently approved by the City Council.

…offer only a smokescreen of fabrications, gross misrepresentations, misleading and patently false scare tactics regarding our public safety budgets.

Hirsch_PodiumOne only needs to listen to the budget workshop meeting on April 21 to listen to Police Chief Black and Assistant Chief St. John talk about police response times.

Assistant Chief St. John stated that the Glendale Police Department (GPD) is not hitting their goal of 90% of their calls making the national standard of under five minute response times for Priority 1 and 2 calls. GPD’s actual response time is 77% for Priority 1 and 56% for Priority 2.

Glendale Fire presented a similar set of facts.

A simple example is a comparison with Gilbert, a city with half the call volume of Glendale and a response time nearly twice as fast as Glendale’s. Despite those advantages, Gilbert is adding another engine company and fire station.

Additional funds from the recently extended .7% sales tax, that could be going to public safety is now headed elsewhere in the budget approved by the councilmembers in question. While the police department and fire department would sit at status quo on their response times with an unchanged budget, the sales tax money would end up being used to replenish the contingency fund.

That seems clear and is neither fabricated nor a smokescreen, although one couldn’t possibly fit that explanation into a mandatory 200 word summary.

Close With An Insult

It’s common to open a public speaking gig with a joke. Mr. Hirsch has lately been starting a new tradition, closing with an insult.

A few seconds past his three minute “deadline”, Hirsch says:

And in closing, I would remind you taxpayers, always watch your wallet around Councilmember Sherwood.

There was unintelligible mumbling from the dais and then the mayor with some lean over and stage whisper “decorum” help from Ian Hugh announces:

Remind everyone there’s… proper decorum has to be held within here.

Considering similar attacks aimed at the same individual have been part of every diatribe from Mr. Hirsch recently, perhaps that admonishment should have been made before Mr’ Hirsch began speaking OR he should have been cut off at three minutes.