We attended the entire Glendale City Council workshop yesterday (10/02/2012), mostly to hear what were the new negotiated parameters of the arena lease deal between the Jamison group and the City. We had some people to meet and speak with at the same time regarding other matters salient to the political atmosphere in Glendale these days. We arrived on time, pretty much, and immediately noticed that Mayor Scruggs was not seated at the dais.
As the meeting went on, Ms. Scruggs appeared at the side, public, entrance 38 minutes late at 2:08 PM. Instead of taking her seat in front of the council chambers, however, she walked a few rows down the aisle and tapped Sam Chavira (a Phoenix firefighter running for the Yucca district council seat) on the shoulder. They both walked out of the chambers and into the lobby.
Tweet from Arizona Republic reporter Sonu Munshi at 2:11 PM:
Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs speaking with Council Candidate Sam Chavira outside the chambers.
At this point, it would be reasonable to wonder what in the world would the mayor of Glendale have to say to a candidate for city council that was more important than chairing the City Council workshop already in progress? I can’t imagine, myself, but before the end of the 11 minute conversation out in the lobby, I became aware that Bea and I were at least mentioned in that discussion. Normally, one might be flattered by the attention of the semi-famous. In this case, not so much.
Wagging and Pointing
No, we’re not talking about bird dogs here. We’re talking about fingers. Mr. Chavira was visible to me through a window in the door while he was chatting with Ms. Scruggs. As the conversation began, he was leaning on the wall listening. Another person in the council chambers that could see both conversants said that Mayor Scruggs was wagging her finger at Mr. Chavira with some enthusiasm. I did NOT witness this, but I also have no reason to doubt the veracity of the report.
Eventually, it appeared that it was Mr. Chavira’s chance to talk. Remember, please, I was otherwise occupied paying attention to the business at hand (the City Council budget workshop) rather than a side conversation out in the lobby. I was curious, however, being aware that both people involved dislike me personally and have both made multiple incorrect assumptions as to our allegiances and motives. There will be no convincing either of them otherwise, however, so Bea and I don’t bother losing any sleep over it. Anyway, I personally saw Mr. Chavira gesticulating with both arms, obviously agitated either directly with Ms. Scruggs or with what she had said to him.
As their conversation was winding down, both people moved closer to the council chamber doors and Mr. Chavira pointed directly at us in an upset fashion. One would assume that the conversation in the lobby had something to do with us, right? Was it related to the posts we’ve put out there about Mr. Chavira’s involvement with and subsequent removal from his VP post at the National Association of Hispanic Firefighters (NAHF)? Nah, couldn’t be that, why would Mayor Scruggs care about anything Sam had to do with that particular episode?
Were they speaking about the Phoenix Monarch Group (PMG) and their proposal to the Glendale City Council? I know the mayor was unhappy with me mentioning a meeting at CM Alvarez’s house regarding PMG which she states she didn’t attend or maybe even that it didn’t occur despite CM Lieberman’s contention that it did take place? That couldn’t be, because Mr. Chavira is now or shortly will be (probably) denying any connection with PMG.
So, the answer is, I don’t know what the conversation was about, but I’m pretty sure my name came up in it.
Why You Hef To Be Mad?
Once again I am compelled to “borrow” a phrase from Ilya Bryzgalov’s book. It’s obvious for a whole bunch of reasons that Mayor Scruggs is more than a little annoyed with Bea and myself. A little bird told us that her displeasure with the both of us by name has been bandied about through various forms of communication other than the dirty looks we got last night after the meeting. Why?
We have, for some time now, been trying to figure out exactly what is the deal with Phoenix Monarch Group. To that end, we have submitted quite a few Freedom of Information Act requests to various members of the Glendale city government, including Mayor Scruggs. Other requests have been fulfilled without, we hope, inciting the feeling that we are “out to get” anybody. However, Elaine Scruggs has taken personal offense at our requests and at my blog postings.
One of the things Ms. Scruggs objected to was the statement that CM Lieberman had said, on two separate occasions, that there was a meeting at CM Alvarez’s house with members of PMG to discuss what they could provide the city as managers of Jobing.com arena. (See update below, please). By the way, there would be no violation of any open meeting laws if such a meeting DID occur. But, the reasonable person must wonder, why such angst and bad feelings pointed our way for simply reporting what we heard from Mr. Lieberman AND for using the means offered to us by United States law to get information about city matters? Is it because we live in another town? Is it because Ms. Scruggs is NO fan of Joyce Clark now and she (Scruggs) feels we are pawns and patsies under the control of Svengali Clark?
I don’t know the answers to those questions. I do know, however, what Mr. Lieberman told us during three telephone calls HE initiated. We did record one of those conversations and, during that call, Phil again mentions the meeting at CM Alvarez’s house with the PMG people, although the recorded call does not mention the attendance of Mayor Scruggs while an earlier one did. So, could we “take it to court”? Nope, but here is the relevant part of what Phil said:
“I met with them three different times. The first time at Norma Alvarez’s, the second time at City Council where they, in effect, made a proposal for so many nights, and the third time Art came over with one of their members to my house here and talked about exactly what we talked about when we met at City Hall.”
Here is the recording of the above excerpt. Phil_Lieberman_0824
Phil does NOT say that Mayor Scruggs was at the meeting at CM Alvarez’s house on this recording. We are certain that, in the telephone conversation prior, Mr. Lieberman said that Mayor Scruggs, CM Alvarez, the PMG guys and Phil were at that meeting but we, alas, don’t have that phone call recorded. We have heard through the grapevine that Mr. Lieberman has backed off his statement that there was a meeting at CM Alvarez’s house. We understand that may be entirely true but, unless we are provided with information other than a denial of same, why should we not take Mr. Lieberman at his word?
Why Are You Recording?
We began recording telephone conversations fairly late into this mess. Bea and I initially became involved in Glendale politics because it was the only way we would be able to keep our hockey team here. Selfish, perhaps, but we have never hidden our motives. As we went along, the politics of Glendale became more obvious to us, and we didn’t like what we saw. We still don’t. There is a reason people involved in the political machine, whether a lame duck mayor or a wannabe councilmember with no experience but a lot of connections, don’t like what we have to say. While they both may see it as a personal vendetta, both of them are entirely incorrect and misguided.
We are trying to protect ourselves from people who wish us harm, pure and simple. We are quite aware of the stakes involved and, believe me, we know that we are complete babes in these particular woods that are, to mix a metaphor, swimming with experienced sharks.
Do we think that Mr. Lieberman wishes us harm? No, we do NOT. However, we are QUITE certain that others would be happy to see us back off these little blog posts and political committees organized to thwart what we see as bad choices for the citizens of Glendale, whether they be candidates that ALLEGEDLY threaten their former co-workers convincingly enough to result in an Injunction of Harassment or a mayor on her way out of office that feels we are targeting her personally, perhaps to soil her legacy in Glendale.
UPDATE: I apologize, Mayor Scruggs:
Phil Lieberman just called. We had a decent conversation and made a lunch date where we will probably talk about skiing and motorcycle racing, NOT politics. Phil stated clearly that Mayor Scruggs was NOT at the meeting with the PMG guys at Norma Alvarez’s house. I did state earlier that she was at that meeting, the reason for which I explained in this post. So, Mayor Scruggs, I apologize for stating you were at the meeting at Norma’s house.
I have edited my previous post to correct my earlier incorrect statement.