by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on March 9th, 2017

By Bill Toops, The Glendale Star

Celebrating 90 years of professional services to its business and community members alike, the Glendale Chamber of Commerce formally installed Jean Higginbotham as its 2017 chairman of the board during its 66th annual State of the City address and dinner March 2 at the Renaissance Glendale Hotel & Spa. Employed by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Higginbotham addressed a full house of more than 400 local and state elected officials, city management and staff members, chamber members and special guests with her goals and objectives for 2017.

“With the support of the board and the undying enthusiasm of the entire chamber, I am looking forward to connecting with all members, new and long-standing, while supporting the upward trend that’s having a direct impact on Glendale and surrounding neighborhoods, all of which make our community a better place for everyone to live, work and play,” Higginbotham said.

She said the chamber has been fostering an “energetic momentum” aimed at building a thriving business community. Further, the new chairman cited this upward momentum of almost 1,200 members working together, combined with the city’s explosive growth, as a primary source of inspiration. She said she intends to continue working toward the goal of a 1,500-member organization and will remain proactive to the individual needs of chamber members, as well as the challenges of the local business community at large. 

“Our goal is to continue to build upon this momentum and the dynamic performance of the past three years to ensure the chamber is the go-to organization for business,” Higginbotham said. “The chamber’s ability to innovate and adapt to the needs of businesses allows everyone involved to flourish. It’s the sense of community that’s making an impact and fostering opportunities where businesses and communities can prosper.”

Higginbotham said the chamber is committed to monitoring the halls of government to ensure a business-friendly atmosphere and will soon launch its political action committee, providing further engagement by the chamber to financially support local candidates and issues that matter most.

“By staying true to our mission, the chamber will continue to offer our members programs and services designed to help their businesses, all focused on the goal of improving the economic environment, while maintaining the financial stability to the chamber.” Higginbotham concluded.

by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on March 9th, 2017

The Glendale Star​

In the latest edition of “Glendale Today” currently airing on Glendale 11, Mayor Jerry P. Weiers focuses on various veteran services in Glendale.

Weiers interviews Scott Fincher with Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services, who highlights the new veteran satellite office in the Community Assistance Program (CAP) Office in Glendale City Hall twice per month.

In addition, Weiers speaks with Glendale Community College Interim President Teresa Leyba Ruiz and Veterans Services Advocate Chris Spicer, about the newly remodeled Veterans Service Center slated to open March 24.

The program provides veterans with a wide array of resources to utilize, including basic needs assistance, health and wellness, collegiate programs and an opportunity for camaraderie with fellow veterans.

Ed Hill, service officer from the American Legion Earl E. Mitchell Post #29, and Gerry Schaller, a member of the Marine Corps League Old Breed Detachment #767, visit with Weiers on the show about how their organizations are helping improve the lives of veterans each day.

Weiers also acknowledges the work of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce Military & Veterans Affairs Committee, which connects veteran agencies and has grown to 30 members.

“Glendale Today” is a production of city-owned Glendale 11 TV station and airs daily on Glendale 11. The show is also available through the city’s online video library at Exclusive segments can be found on the city’s YouTube channel at For more information about the new “Glendale Today” TV show, visit

by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on March 7th, 2017

​Cecilia Chan
Independent Newsmedia

Mayor Jerry Weiers gave his annual State of the City address March 2 at the Renaissance Glendale Hotel & Spa in the Westgate Entertainment District. Glendale Chamber of Commerce hosted the event. Below is the mayor’s speech.

“I want to thank the Glendale Chamber of Commerce, its Board of Directors, and nearly 1,200 businesses and their members for hosting the 66th Annual State of the City Address in partnership with the city of Glendale.

It is my great honor to serve as your mayor of Glendale, and I’m especially humbled to have been entrusted with this privilege for another four years.

I want to take a moment to thank a couple of people who are here with me tonight who have had a major impact in my life.

My mother Myrtle is here tonight. And my wife Sandy of nearly 35 years.

​Also at my table I would like to introduce Chief Jacob Campbell and Col. Robert Sylvester from Luke Air Force Base. Tom Sadler, president and CEO of the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, and Andy Gorchov, general manager of University of Phoenix Stadium operated by SMG. Also at my table are Pastor Dean Keest (Kuest) of Central Christian Church, Buzz Sands and the president of our Mayor’s Youth Advisory Commission Rachel Oberlander.

As I was thinking of what I wanted to focus on in my speech tonight, I kept coming back to a practice that I have made a cornerstone in my life.

Every night before I go to sleep, I ask myself this very simple question – did I make a positive difference in someone’s life today? I’d like to say that each and every night the answer to that question is “yes.”

But, it isn’t. Too many times I’m not able to make a positive difference in someone’s life. But I’m going to keep trying each and every day.Yet, every morning, I wake up and I ask myself – Can I make that positive difference in someone’s life today?

As public servants, that’s our job. So, how do we do that?

Making a positive difference is pretty broad. It can be as simple as buying a cup of coffee for the person behind you at the convenience store.It can be as complex as taking controversial, but necessary, steps to improve the creditworthiness of our municipal bonds, which results in our city’s bond rating increasing.

Making a positive difference comes in all forms.

There are really five areas of focus that I want to talk about tonight where we can not only make a positive difference, but we can keep this incredible forward-momentum going that the city of Glendale is experiencing. The most important area where we must maintain diligence is continuing to improve on our city’s financial performance.

Last year, Glendale’s bond rating was upgraded to an A-plus rating by Standard & Poor’s. That’s something I’m still extremely proud of because it’s a strong indicator that our city is headed in the right direction.

We passed a $693 million balanced budget without raising taxes. We’re just over $35 million and closing in on the targeted goal of a $50 million  “savings account” by the end of fiscal year 2019.

We are in the first year of a five-year plan to repair our city’s roads—something long overdue. And we were able to provide a modest budget increase for public safety.

We hired AEG Facilities, which is the one of the world’s leading sports and entertainment venue managers, to manage our arena. And I want to thank several of our West Valley mayors who continue to support our city’s efforts to keep the Arizona Coyotes in Glendale as a vital economic driver.

And, recently, we negotiated a financial settlement agreement with the Arizona Cardinals and the Arizona Sports & Tourism Authority so that we could create a positive path forward for all.
I want to thank our City Council, our City Manager Kevin Phelps and all of our staff directors and leaders in the city. Glendale now has taken the necessary steps to make a “huge” difference in the lives of its citizens and business community.

There are few things that can make a positive difference in someone’s life more than finding a job.

Before going into public service more than 12 years ago, I owned and operated several businesses. I owned a trailer business, a chain of steak houses, a wholesale and retail produce business. I even owned an aviation business, flying my own plane and pulling advertising banners.

For all of you who own a business or manage a business, I want to tell you – I get it! I understand first hand what it’s like for businesses because I have walked miles in your shoes. I know what it’s like to not cash your own paycheck, sticking it in the back of the drawer, just to make sure your employees could cash theirs.

But at the same time, it’s so gratifying to run your own business, to watch it grow, and to provide jobs for people. And the last thing business people need is government making things more difficult! It’s hard enough, without government getting in the way.

Along those lines, I’m very proud that in Glendale we have built a strong reputation as a business-friendly city. I will continue to hold fast to our commitment to attract new businesses and help our current businesses expand.

The key to that success is speed-to-market. So, what exactly is “speed to market?” What does that look like in real terms? In its simplest form, it comes down to communication with our customers. Do not put off ‘till tomorrow—what we can do today.

For every day that a business is delayed, that is a day that costs them money both in lost revenues and interest costs. I know that this places additional pressure on various city departments to perform— I get it. That does not mean that we will lower standards of quality or safety.

But it does mean that we will continue to elevate our communication – we will continue to react in a manner that encourages business, rather than deters it.

And we will continue to operate our city in a culture that is helpful to business, that cares about business and that demonstrates through action that we take the needs of business partners seriously.

In 2016, new and expanding companies opened. It created 1,400 new jobs in Glendale. That’s huge!

As I mentioned earlier, providing an opportunity for someone with a new job is probably the best, most satisfying way to make a positive difference in someone’s life.

The city of Glendale currently has about 2.8 million square feet of building projects in the pipeline. About 1.8 million square feet are under construction right now.

The biggest, by far, is Conair, just north of our municipal airport in Glendale, less than a mile from here. Conair’s efforts to add more than 800,000 square feet will make it the second-largest corporate campus in the Valley. They will add 300 jobs, bringing Conair’s Glendale employment to 750.

And, speaking of expansion projects, I’m very excited to make an announcement tonight regarding two projects just finalized, literally in the last few days.

Alaska USA Federal Credit Union has purchased the 185,000-square-foot Talavi Tech Building near 55th and Bell.

And the Arizona Kidney Disease and Hypertension Centers, who already have two existing Glendale locations, now have acquired the 40,000-square-foot office building at Maryland and 91st Avenue. They will offer the only children’s kidney group in the state of Arizona, and with this expansion they will have invested $25 million in Glendale.

Additional expansion projects in Glendale include Midwestern University. Their enrollment has now grown to 3,500 students.

Aspera at 75th Avenue and the Loop 101 has continued to add retail and also added upscale apartments in 2016.

There are several new projects in and around Westgate, including the Westgate Healthcare Campus, Credit Union West, and Home-2-Suites Hotel.

The Westgate Healthcare Campus that broke ground in 2016 is going to bring about 1,500 medical jobs alone, and I was so happy to see them turning shovels last year.
The medical industry continues to grow in Glendale.

These are high-paying jobs that really are a foundation for our economic development success. Companies like Humana, Redina, and Harvard Drug Group are all expanding in Glendale.
From a medical industry standpoint, our city is a model and the envy of other Arizona cities. This is truly something I’m very proud of, not only for the jobs the industry brings, but perhaps more importantly our citizens have the highest quality of healthcare available to them.

We have some “new-locates” to Glendale, as well. H & M Metal Processing out of Akron, Ohio will be developing their Glendale facility.

Santé will employ 125 people in a new senior living project at Zanjero. And other new companies include Iron Factory, and Davis Research and Ring, which is a customer service center at Westgate.

And speaking of Westgate. Our Sports & Entertainment District in Glendale is extremely excited to be hosting the 2017 NCAA Men’s Final Four on April 1 and 3, which is a Saturday and Monday. But it’s really a four-day event.

I think my favorite day might be Friday, March 31 because that’s the free- to-the-public day!

I do want to thank our partners, the NCAA Host Committee and the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority for all of your work on this incredible event, and the partnerships that it takes to pull off a mega event like this that puts Glendale on a worldwide stage. It’s going to be an exciting weekend, no doubt!

We are going to continue to see major development in the western part of Glendale and along the Loop 303 corridor.

The EPCOR project, a multi-agency partnership that broke ground just over a year ago, will provide wastewater and recycled water services to thousands of homes and businesses in the coming years, allowing Glendale to continue our growth.

According to the Maricopa Association of Governments, the growth projections over the next 35 years show that the West Valley will grow at almost double the rate of the East Valley and city of Phoenix.

The numbers don’t lie.

Glendale is where the economic growth is happening. Glendale undoubtedly provides significant advantages over our friends in the East Valley.

Our availability of affordable land, our qualified and abundant workforce and our absolute commitment to speed-to-market: All of these factors will ensure that Glendale remains the choice for business not only in the Valley but in the entire state of Arizona.

The numbers and figures I mentioned earlier are impressive. But, it’s also critical that we remember the small-businessperson.

You might have noticed that on your table is a single individually-wrapped pickle. What you may not have known is that Mrs. Klein’s Pickle Co. is an Arizona staple that has been around for more than 60 years.

They are a Glendale Chamber member and they donated one of their products for you tonight to help me make the point that small business is the backbone of our city, and of our nation.
I think you’ll agree with me that it’s kind of a “big dill.”

It’s for that reason that every week I select a business in Glendale, name them the Mayor’s Business of the Week, and present them with a certificate of appreciation. The vast majority of those I’ve chosen have been small businesses, churnin’ and burnin’ with just a handful of employees.

We produce and send out a video of the Mayor’s Business of the Week on my weekly E-news as well as my social media channels “at-MayorWeiers.” The Chamber pushes it out on their social media channels, too, and the business is also featured in the Glendale Star’s printed and online editions. It’s just a simple way to say thank you for doing business in Glendale, for contributing to our economy and our community.

Small businesses create about two-thirds of the new jobs in the U.S. each year. Again, when you provide someone a job, it’s perhaps the best way that you can make a positive difference in someone’s life.

On your table, you have a copy of an abbreviated version of our city’s 2016 Accomplishments, assembled by our Public Affairs team. It mentions our Economic Development highlights, as well as many other great points of pride for our city. I’d like you to go ahead and pick that up.
On the cover, you’ll note it really is a big deal. And another reason you should take a look is that one of those programs has a sticker on the back –and that person has just won a special Final Four basket courtesy of our Final Four Host Committee!

Well, we’ve talked about fiscal responsibility and job creation, and now I want to take a moment to discuss public safety.

I know I speak for our entire Council when I say that we look forward to working with our new Chief of Police Rick St. John. Through Rick’s leadership, we will continue to build on Glendale’s strong foundation of law enforcement.

Our Police Department responded to more than 183,000 calls last year. They are out there on the front lines protecting and serving each and every day. You know, our police departments are under the microscope right now all across the nation.

And I have to say that nothing upsets me faster than when someone disparages the hard-working members of our law enforcement community. I just can’t and I won’t tolerate it, because I know how dedicated they are to not only to enforcing the law, but to preventing crime from happening in the first place.

We did see a 7 percent drop in theft, burglary and arson crimes in Glendale, which is certainly good news.

I’m proud to report that our Police Department is now equipped with body-cameras. That is definitely going to assist our officers in a number of ways. It also comes with a great deal of additional administrative work.

Each time that video is called into use, significant redactions have to take place. Not just people’s faces, but things in the background you might not think of, like photos on the walls of minor children, things like that.

It’s a significant undertaking. But, we’re very excited to have this as another safety advancement not only for our police officers but for our residents and businesses as well.

And I want to add that policing partnerships are a two-way street. It’s important for our officers and the leadership within the department to know our business community. And I know that Chief St. John is a proponent of our officers at all levels forming better relationships with our business community and its citizens.

We’ve got programs like Coffee with a Cop, Community Events and our Citizen’s Academy. That’s really the only way this is going to work, folks. We have to work together.

We have more than 400 sworn officers, and another 150 police professional civilians working for our department and they do an incredible job protecting and serving a city of a quarter-million people, one of the 100-largest cities in the nation.

But they can’t do it alone. It is our collective jobs to keep everyone safe.

If you want to make a positive difference in someone’s life, bring a friend to Coffee With A Cop.

And you know an officer will drop by and visit with our local businesses when they have the time. Just stopping by and introducing themselves can make an enormously positive impact.
That is how we build a community and that is how we make a positive, safe difference in someone’s life.

I want to also point out that there are plenty of opportunities to engage with our Fire Department, which held 543 public education events and classes last year. We had about 18,000 people attend these events, which is impressive. One of many programs they offer on environmental safety is “what to do in case of a bee attack.”

Some of you may remember that after I was swarmed by bees last year and stung more than 20 times. One of those tips came in real handy, run! Now run faster! And isn’t it fitting that incredible fire crew that responded to my call was on the “B” shift!

In all seriousness, our Fire Department responded to more than 41,500 incidents and we had the highest number of fire/EMS calls per unit in the whole Valley.

We were able to enhance the safety of our firefighters by purchasing a second set of “turn-outs” for every member to help eliminate cancer-causing elements from entering their skin after a fire. We also are ensuring service to our customers by investing in the training of more paramedics and purchasing new EMS equipment.

I know there are thousands of people quite happy to see them show up and they definitely have a way of making a positive difference in someone’s life each day, especially when they are saving someone’s life.

Another way we make a positive difference in people’s lives is by providing them with a wide variety of recreational opportunities.

Whether it’s providing Movies by Moonlight at our various recreational facilities, a Silver-Sneaker program at our Adult Center, or a ROOTS program at the O’Neil Center, it’s critical that we continue to improve the quality of life for our residents.

And, from a quality-of-life standpoint, it’s encouraging to see the housing market starting to turn around. The City Council approved StoneHaven, which is the first master planned community built in the Valley since the great recession.

That project will bring more than 1,100 new homes to Glendale just Southeast of Westgate at 91st and Bethany Home Road. One exciting component of this is that Bethany Home Road between 83rd and 91st Avenues will finally be finished.

Another aspect of our quality of life in Glendale is special events. For those of you who know me, you know that I happen to really enjoy special events and I’ve seen those events make a positive difference in people’s lives.

Throughout my time in public service, I have spearheaded many special events to raise money for causes near and dear to my heart. From the Hometown Christmas Parade, now in it’s fifth year and one of the largest parades in Arizona to the Mayor’s Big Dog Run motorcycle ride for veterans scholarships to the Shriners, the list of special events for special causes goes on and on.

The city of Glendale has become widely recognized in the Valley, in Arizona and even the country for producing signature events, from Glendale Glitters, to our annual Chocolate Affaire Festival, there are 12 signature events produced by the city.

Thousands flock to our downtown, to Westgate and other places in the city to experience Glendale festivals. We do realize that in order for these events to thrive, remain fresh and best serve our citizens and visitors, we need to continue to evaluate how and why we are doing business.

And we do plan to make improvements wherever and whenever necessary. An important part of that is gathering feedback.

We opened up a citywide survey of our special events, and we do plan to use that feedback, among other strategies, to help craft an experience that is second to none, whether you’re a visitor, a vendor or a sponsor.

And speaking of business sponsors, another project that I am very proud of in my four-plus years serving as your mayor is the new Archery Range at Heroes Regional Park. In October, we opened 16 lanes for archery and held a huge grand opening complete with Olympic athletes, filling the whole range with kids. It really was a very special day.

One of the reasons it was so meaningful to me is that the project was primarily funded by grants and in-kind donations. I was proud to call on friends like Arizona Rock Products Association and Heritage Trucking and many others, to ask them to make a positive difference, which they did – big time.

One thing I’ve learned in my life is if you don’t ask, you already know the answer. The list of contributors is up on the screen. Please join me in recognizing those businesses that answered the call and made the Heroes Regional Park Archery Range possible.

We’ve talked about four of the five areas of focus—fiscal responsibility, economic development, public safety and quality of life.

The fifth area of emphasis is an important group of people who also answered the call — our veterans.

I’m so proud to announce that I’ll be traveling to Washington D.C. this summer to receive, on behalf of Glendale and our West Valley partners, the Defense Community of the Year Award from Association of Defense Cities.

This is largely because of the strong commitment we have as a city and the West Valley to support Luke Air Force Base as a training site for the F-35 and more than 5,000 Airmen and their families stationed here.

In 2017 I’m looking forward to hosting my fifth annual Stand-Up for Veterans event at Glendale Community College. This event attracted more than 350 veterans and their families.
Thanks in great part to our City Courts involvement, our Glendale Community Services Department and a multitude of sponsors, Stand-Up resulted in many veterans walking away from the event gainfully employed.

We now have an Arizona Veterans Services representative who comes to our Community Action Program, CAP-office, twice per month and meets with veterans who are in need of some assistance. I hope to make that a full-time office.

And now, with the help of the Chamber’s Military & Veteran Affairs Committee, I’m pleased to announce that we will be hosting an event to honor new recruits who’ve committed to join all branches of the military.

I decided to start this event after a story I heard recently really got to me. Two fathers were talking about their sons’ futures. One was bragging about his son going to Stanford or some somewhere like that. Then he asked the other father, “where’s your son going?”

When the other dad said his son was going into the Army, the guy listening said, “oh, that’s too bad.” I thought, that’s not right.

It really made me mad, in fact.

Because the military itself is an incredible educational opportunity, preparing our youth for a successful life.

Not everyone is destined for college. For those that are, that’s fantastic.

We do have an incredible educational system here in Glendale, from our elementary system, to our high schools and up. Students can choose from GCC to ASU’s Thunderbird School of Global Management, to Midwestern University and an amazing network of technical schools, just to name a few.

We certainly offer an educated work force for businesses locating to Glendale. We have all of that.

But for those young men and women that choose to serve our country, they should also be celebrated for their decision.

This spring, on April 28, we’ll hold a ceremony to honor those young people who have made a life-changing decision to enter our Armed Forces. Service to our city, our state, and our country is, indeed, a noble and honorable way to make a positive difference in someone’s life.

And while we are on that topic of community service, I want to recognize the high school students who are here tonight serving on the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Commission.

We have about 40 students this year signed up and that’s more than we’ve had in a long, long time. They are committed to public service and they are learning civic engagement, representing high schools all across Glendale.

Each year, they are challenged to raise some funds to help them with their service projects and their annual banquet. And each year, Joe Cerreta has helped us out by producing a very special box of chocolates called “Mayor Weiers’ Road Apples.”

Boxes are $20 dollars per each, and I know they were selling them earlier. How many do we have left? OK, we have 16 left and the only way to get me off the stage tonight is for all of you all to crack open your wallets, find a $20 bill, waive it in the air, and our MYAC students will canvass the room to finish-off their 100-box goal.

While we are finishing that project off, I want to continue with tonight’s theme, by recognizing someone who has definitely made a positive difference.

Each year I give a Citizen of the Year Award to someone who I feel truly embraces what it means to serve. This year, I’m proud to announce this year’s recipient, and ask him to come to join me on stage, Buzz Sands, owner of Sands Chevrolet.

In closing, I simply want to say that I am honored to serve as your mayor. I try each and every day to make that positive difference.

Last year, my team calculated that I attended some 781 meetings, including public appearances and city business.

You have my word I’ll continue to work hard for you— in partnership with our team here at the city, with our local businesses and our regional partners to move Glendale forward.

But it’s a two-way street. We need business leaders to get involved, to join committees, to join city commissions, sponsor and support community events and programs.

I encourage you – get involved and active in our city. Enjoy our beautiful trails system, take in a spring training game at Camelback Ranch, visit our libraries, take a water conservation class, volunteer at Hope-for-Hunger Food Bank or through our Neighborhood Services, join a nonprofit board, or try the Citizens Police Academy.

There are so many ways to get actively involved, you just never know who you might meet along the way and have an opportunity to make that positive difference in their life.

Thank you all for coming this evening. And most of all, go out and make a positive difference in someone’s life. Thank you and God Bless you.”

by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on March 7th, 2017

​By BETTE and ED SHARPE, Glendale Daily Planet, Special to The Glendale Star | 

​Civic Pride Ambassadors have brought back a Sister Cities program to Glendale. The city and its new Sister City, Ørland, Norway, have much in common: Both have strong ties to a military air base, tourism, and agriculture.

Feb. 21, via Skype, Glendale and Ørland shared hopes for building a viable and long-lasting relationship, a friendship between the two cities. The reading and ceremonial signing of the formal agreement between Ørland and Glendale took place at the Glendale Elementary School District office. There is an eight-hour time difference between Glendale and Ørland.

Nancy Lenox, president, Glendale, Ariz. Sister Cities Board, said, “Glendale is now Sister Cities with Ørland, Norway.  Ørland has pilots and support crew, as well as their families, totaling about 150 people here in the West Valley.I am proud of my Sister Cities board. We have put together a Sister Cities program in less than a year, and formed a partnership with Ørland, Norway. Having a Sister City for Glendale provides our citizens with the opportunity to learn about people from another country and possibly visit there.

Special guests from city governments, education, business and tourism were present on both sides of the ocean for the event. This is the first Sister City program with the Glendale AZ Sister Cities program.

Milt Laflen, president Arizona Sister Cities, was one of the speakers in Glendale. Nancy Lenox, president of Glendale AZ Sister Cities, welcomed both audiences, via Skype at the Feb. 21 ceremonial signing of the Sister City agreement.

​The United States national anthem was sung by members of the Ironwood High School Choir. In Orland, Norway’s national anthem was sung by Uthaug Songlag. Once the official duties were completed and after the speakers, ceremonial gifts were exchanged, all via Skype. The sound was a little difficult to understand at times, but not during the ceremonial gift exchanges.

​Mayor Jerry Weiers presented Ørland Mayor Tom Myrvold with a gift basket of Cerretta’s chocolates and a book about Glendale. Myrvold, in turn, presented a bottle of cognac and a book about Norway.

Lorraine Zomok, manager Glendale Visitors Center, said, “We are thrilled to welcome Ørland as our new Sister City. The Glendale Ambassadors will be launching many initiatives to showcase this new international friendship. It was fitting that the ceremony was held at the Glendale Elementary School District as a major focus of the program will be education and connecting elementary school students through cultural and art programs in Ørland and Glendale. In addition, the Glendale Ambassadors look forward to showcasing the military connection with Luke Air Force Base and the Ørland Air Base,”

Previously, Glendale had two Sister Cities: Delicias in Chihuahua, Mexico, and Memmingen in Germany (second Sister City added in 1976). Glendale had a strong connection with the German pilots training at Luke Air Force Base. So, it felt like a natural choice in 1976 to add a second Sister City, Memmingen.

In 1973, Glendale won a national award for the best first-year Sister City program but it ended due to budget issues.

Arne Solli, business development manager in Ørland, welcomed everyone via Skype.
Ørland Main Air Station is located at the mouth of the Troundheimsfjord in the municipality of Ørland, which is located on Norway’s west coast. Ørland Main Air Station is operated by the Royal Norwegian Air Force. The station is important to Norway and is host to NATO exercises.
This is the first phrase of the new Sister City program; an elementary student exchange program is in its planning stage. Both cities hope to promote the other for travel and trade. Soon, the Glendale Visitor’s Bureau will offer travel and tourist information to those planning to travel to Norway.

Norwegian guests in the Glendale audience included, Major Bjørn Tommy Eigeland and spouses from nine Norwegian servicemen stationed at Luke Air Force Base: Kristin, Nina, Ingrid, Ingrid, Hanne, Magnhild, Dorthe, Linda and Gunvor. Representing the Royal Norwegian Consulate in Phoenix was Honorary Consul Alex Boemark.

Glendale city officials in attendance included Mayor Weiers, Councilmembers Ray Malnar, Bart Turner, Lauren Tolmachoff and Joyce Clark. Also in the Glendale audience, Robert Heidt, president, Glendale Chamber of Commerce, Milt Laflen, president, Arizona Sister Cities, and Joe Quintana, superintendent of Glendale Elementary School District.

Dignitaries and special guests appearing on SKYPE from Ørland included: Ørland Mayor Tom Myrvold; Vice Mayor Finn-Olav Odde; Councilmembers Gunnhild Tettli, Therese Eidsaune, Bjørnar Dahlberg, Marit Sletten and Hilde Kristin Sandvik Nordass; Lt. Col. Frank Knutsen, F-35 Unit, Ørland Air Force Base; Silje Nesset, general manager, Ørland Chamber of Commerce; Silje Amundsveen, Ørland Ambassador Program; Mabel Slotterøy, principal, Hårberg Elementary School; Arild Kotte, principal, Ørland Middle School; Erling Eriksen, business development manager – defense related, Fosen Innovation Inc.; and Arne Martin Solli, business development manager, Municipality of Ørland.

List of the Dignitaries and special guests, appearing on SKYPE, from Ørland included: Ørland Mayor Tom Myrvold, Finn-Olav Odde, Vice Mayor, Councilmembers Gunnhild Tettli, Therese Eidsaune, Bjørnar Dahlberg, Marit Sletten and Hilde Kristin Sandvik Nordass; Lt. Col. Frank Knutsen, F-35 Unit, Ørland Air Force Base, Silje Nesset, general manager, Ørland Chamber of Commerce, Silje Amundsveen Ørland Ambassador Program, Mabel Slotterøy, principal Hårberg Elementary School, Arild Kotte, principal, Ørland Middle School, Erling Eriksen, business development manager – defense related, Fosen Innovation Inc. and Arne Martin Solli, business development manager, Municipality of Ørland.

Sister Cities International was created at President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1956 White House summit on citizen diplomacy, where he envisioned a network that would be a champion for peace and prosperity by fostering bonds between people from different communities around the world. By forming these relationships, Eisenhower reasoned that people from different cultures could understand, appreciate, and celebrate their differences while building partnerships that would lessen the chance of new conflicts. Since its inception, the Sister Cities International network has played a key role in renewing and strengthening important global relationships. (Source:

Glendale AZ Sister Cities Board Members

Nancy Lenox, president
Charlie Whiffen, vice president
Al Lenox, treasurer
Lorraine Zomok, secretary
Davita Solter, director, education programs
Bud Zomok, director
Paul Richards, director
Gary Hirsch, director
Patrice Sherwood, director

​Ørland Sister Cities Board Members
Rikke Maske, president
Arne Martin Solli, vice president
Silje Tamara Amundsveen, board member
Mabel Slotterøy, education programs
Arild Kotte, education programs

by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on February 9th, 2017

By The Glendale Star

​Mayor Jerry P. Weiers will present the 66th Annual State of the City Address & Dinner, March 2 at the Renaissance Glendale Hotel & Spa, 9495 W. Coyotes Blvd. The evening begins with check-in and reception 5:30 p.m., followed by the dinner and program 6:30 p.m.
More than 500 business and community leaders will attend the State of the City Address and Dinner.

Delivering a “Make A Positive Difference” theme, Weiers will lay out the City’s accomplishments for the year, and provide a roadmap for continuing the positive trends and momentum the City of Glendale is experiencing. In doing so, he plans to issue a special challenge to encourage individuals and businesses alike.

“It’s vital we continue the positive momentum that our city is experiencing,” Mayor Weiers said. “I’m convinced if every citizen, every business person commits to making a positive difference in someone’s life each day, we can achieve anything we set our minds to. That especially includes attracting more jobs to Glendale because that provides our residents even more opportunities for success.”

Hosted by the Glendale Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the City of Glendale, the State of the City has been a time-honored tradition for 66 years. This year the Chamber celebrates its 90th year in business. During this event, Chamber leadership will pass from 2016 Board of Directors Chairman, Jeff Blake of the Blake Group, to the 2017 Chairman, Jean Higginbotham of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. Special awards will also be presented to “Chamber Champions.”

“It’s an exciting time to be a part of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce with our commitment to excellence being recognized so broadly,” said Higginbotham. “Most importantly, our hard work can be seen in the City’s extreme growth and this success is felt in our flourishing business community, among residents and even in surrounding cities. This year it’s my honor to be a part of celebrating the Chamber’s 90th Anniversary alongside more than 1,200 prospering members.”

Glendale is among Arizona’s largest cities, with a population of about 237,000 residents. Highlights of the mayor’s presentation will include the key initiatives and decisions, resulting in more businesses expanding in Glendale and additional businesses locating to the city.
Weiers will present a Citizen of the Year Award to an individual who has truly embraced the spirit of community in making a positive difference in the lives of Glendale residents. The invocation will be given by Pastor Dean Kuest of Central Christian Church in Glendale. Event attendees will be treated to a patriotic tribute provided by the Sounds of the Southwest Singers Community Choir.

The cost of the event is $90 per person, $800 for a sponsored table of eight and $1,000 for a sponsored table of 10. Register by Feb. 19 by visiting, or calling 623-937-4754.

The event is supported by the following organizations:

Presenting Sponsor
• OneAZ Credit Union
Supporting Sponsor
Event Partners:
Platinum Level Glendale Chamber Investors:
• Arizona Coyotes
• Arizona Cardinals
• BNC National Bank
• Casino Arizona/Talking Stick Resort
• Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
• Desert Diamond West Valley Casino
• The City of Glendale
• The Connell Group
• Gila River Indian Community
• Renaissance Glendale Hotel & Spa
• Walmart
• Wells Fargo
Gold Level Glendale Chamber Investors:
• The Apple Daisy Companies
• The Glendale Star
• One Community
Silver Level Glendale Chamber Investors:
• Arizona State University
• Dignity Health
• Gila River Arena
• Humana Insurance
• Midwestern University
• Sante at Westgate
• Thunderbird School of Global Management
• OneAZ Credit Union
Bronze Level Glendale Chamber Investors:
• FirstBank
• Banner Thunderbird Medical Center
• BBVA Compass
• CenturyLink
• Capital One
• Cox Communications
• HonorHealth
• Pendergast Elementary School District
• Phoenix Children’s Hospital
• Pritchard Group Insurance
• Southwest Airlines
• Southwest Ambulance
• Southwest Gas Corporation
Event Partner:
• Renaissance Glendale Hotel & Spa
Printing Sponsor:
• Alphagraphics
Centerpieces Provided By:
• Peverini Custom Floral Designs
Event Photographer
• Arborwells Photography

by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on February 6th, 2017

By The Glendale Star

​The Glendale Chamber of Commerce will host the honorable Mayor Jerry Weiers for the 66th State of the City Address and Annual Dinner March 2 at the Renaissance Glendale Hotel & Spa, 9495 W. Coyotes Blvd.

This annual gathering is one of the premier events for the City of Glendale and the Glendale Chamber of Commerce with nearly 500 business and community leaders in attendance.
Check-in and Cocktail Reception will begin at 5:30 pm with the Dinner and Program to begin at 6:30 pm.

In addition to the Mayor’s State of the City Address, the 2016 Chairman of the Board, Jeff Blake of The Blake Group, will recap the year as the 2017 Chairman of the Board, Jean Higginbotham of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, is welcomed.

To register, find pricing, or to learn more about sponsorship opportunities, visit, or call 623-937-4754. RSVP by Feb. 24.

by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on January 12th, 2017

By: Joyce Clark​, Glendale City Council, Yucca District

The issue has been identified. Does Glendale practice a policy of using Glendale vendors first when it comes to its major events? Now we will look at policies, past practices, plans, politics and the players. Some policies center on the questions of downtown promotion vs. event cost recovery and the repeated reliance on the use of past vendors vs. an effort to educate and solicit appropriate local vendors.

In a memo sent to the city council and city staff, Glendale Chamber CEO Robert Heidt identified suggestions that could be implemented in choosing vendors for city events:

Local businesses should receive preference for all events. Allotting a percentage to local businesses does not serve them well.
Greater effort to educate local businesses about submission dates, procedures and deadlines widely available in various public media.
Deciding jury on choosing of vendors should be composed of business members of the community.Institute workshops to educate businesses how they can take part in the events.
Clear and consistent rules to be created on the use of event structures such as tents, A-frame designs, booth layouts food trucks.
Glendale businesses receive first priority followed in order by, the West Valley, the Phoenix Metro area, statewide, and lastly out of state.
Explanation, provision and appropriate enforcement of fees, sales taxes payable.
Revise the sales of beverages to vendors, incorporating the use of local beverage vendors.
Expand the ability of other non-profits to run the beverage tent.City to provide a timely solution to issues and problems as they arise.

I appreciate his thoughtfulness in identifying and providing solutions to this complex issue. He is to be commended. I would hope he would also consider using his leadership for another just as vexing issue. I have taken guests downtown to visit restaurants and specialty businesses only to find them closed on week days when one would expect them to be open. It becomes frustrating and disappointing but it demonstrates a greater problem that has plagued downtown Glendale for years and that is consistency in business hours by all downtown/Catlin Court merchants and restaurants. What if you went to your local Macy’s or Home Depot only to find them closed because they were open only when they felt like it? That’s what a visitor is confronted with downtown, especially on a Monday.  It is unprofessional and deters business much less repeat business. It’s time for downtown to get its act together and to have all downtown/Catlin Court businesses establish some basic, consistent hours when all commit to be open.

Now, in all fairness, the past four years have been tumultuous regarding the city manager’s position and thus city managerial leadership. Many issues were unattended to or left hanging.  After Ed Beasley left, there was Interim City Manager, Horatio Skeete, then the disaster that was City Manager Brenda Fisher, followed by an Interim stint by Dick Bowers and finally the hiring of City Manager Kevin Phelps. It was a period of confusion and belied a lack of continuity in city staff management…an understatement to say the least. Is it any wonder, city events and a plethora of other city issues were left to fester?

Kevin Phelps, in his short time as City Manager, has brought a measure of stability to city senior staff. He has already demonstrated his focus on problem solving.  The December 29, 2016 edition of the Glendale Star has an interview with Phelps, by Darrell Jackson. It bodes well for the future of Glendale’s major event productions. Some of his more interesting comments in this article include:  “After asking questions of city staff, I am not sure that anyone within City Hall could adequately describe what the mission (of these events) is.” or “If it is to drive business and expose people to downtown shops, then I am not sure the proliferation of bouncy rides and carnival foods is what we should be doing…In my mind, I am not excited about another carnival and light show next year.” and “I am leaning towards recommending creating a signature event that showcases the City of Glendale, as well as our downtown area, and cost recovery is not part of that. Phelps said his goal is to have changes in place by March so they can be included in next year’s budget.”

We all know “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Mr. Heidt is to be recognized for providing the squeak that led to the need for grease on the city event wheel. Many of his suggestions are common sense and I suspect, have already or will be adopted. However, suggestions 1, 3, 6 and 9 require further thought. His suggestions #1 and #6 call for Glendale businesses to receive priority in selection. If, as Mr. Phelps suggests, an upgrade of Glendale’s major events is the goal, moving away from a fast food, carnival-like atmosphere and perhaps adding quality restaurant offerings, wine, microbreweries and fine art vendors to become the norm then the operative word becomes “quality.” If there are quality Glendale vendors they should be welcome but if they sell hot dogs and pitchforks, should they receive preference merely because they are Glendale businesses? I think not.

Mr. Heidt’s suggestion #3 is no solution to the issue of being juried in to an event. He calls for a jury composed of community business members.  It’s no better than currently having staff jury vendors. In each case, it’s like having the “fox guard the hen house.” Each group would seem to have a vested interest. Perhaps it’s time to create an independent jury comprised of leaders in their respective industries, trades or crafts from outside the city.

Mr. Heidt’s suggestion #9 calling for other non-profits to work the city’s beverage tent is simply an expression of lack of historical memory and should not be seriously considered.  For the past 22 years the Glendale Ambassadors have operated the city’s beverage tent at downtown special events. They have proven to be reliable and consistent. You can count on them to fulfill their responsibilities. The Ambassadors were created by Glendale‘s leaders to support and to promote the City of Glendale and they have always done so.

Manning the city’s beverage tent is their primary and only source of annual income. What they earn goes right back into our community. Over the past 22 years they have given back $315,000 to at least 60 organizations, typically non-profit. Their donations are too numerous to mention all but here are a few representative groups: Boys & Girls Club of Glendale; Glendale Fire Department’s crisis response van and cadets; Glendale Police Department’s vests for its K9 program and Dare; Glendale’s Heart for the City; the Mayor’s Alliance against Drugs & Gangs; Velma Teague Library Mother Read Program; and the Westside Food Bank’s Senior Brown Bag Program.

Why on God’s green earth would we want to take away the Glendale Ambassador’s primary funding source in favor of some entity that doesn’t have this kind of track record? It makes no sense unless it was suggested to serve someone’s personal affinity for a particular non-profit group who wants in on the action.

Mr. Phelps and Mr. Heidt are to be commended for their shared commitment to make Glendale’s event future better. Mr. Phelps’ desire to upgrade Glendale’s events will certainly cause some of Mr. Heidt’s suggestions to be considered and some of the others to be moot but there is common ground between them. Working together is a win-win for Glendale.

by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on January 5th, 2017

By Carolyn Dryer, The Glendale Star

​For some business owners in the downtown area, change is something they are looking forward to. One business owner, who wished to remain anonymous, has been disappointed in the way the city markets itself and wonders why it appears certain businesses receive more publicity than others. That particular business is not alone.

This is not about who receives and who is denied vendor permits during special events in the downtown area. This is about overall exposure through publicity in all media. The main marketing tool for luring visitors – and hopefully, overnight visitors – to the city is the Convention and Visitors Bureau, now called Visit Glendale. And, with those visits, the city counts on subsequent spending, thus increased tax revenues to city coffers.

Erik Strunk, director of public facilities, recreation and special events, said the CVB, with a budget of $690,479, is primarily funded by local bed tax revenues, which in 2015, totaled $2.35 million. CVB has 115 members at the present time, with dues totaling $30,000 annually.

One of the ways Glendale publicizes is through the West Valley Guide, a yearly publication that offers space to the city and 55,000 copies at no cost; it receives its income from advertisers. In three different yearly issues, the same introductory paragraphs are devoted to specific businesses in the downtown area.

But, as it was pointed out, membership in the CVB has its perks.

Strunk pointed out in an email message to a local business, “Membership does have an added value in that those who become members often receive additional promotional opportunities, including social media and printed marketing collateral.”

As for placement in the West Valley Guide, Strunk said, “Members receive the first opportunity to purchase discounted advertising space, and then the offer is extended – full price – to non-members.”

If you are one of the disappointed downtown business owners, there may be good news coming. Strunk said the new West Valley Guide is being revamped and the 2017 edition is in the process of being reviewed and finalized.

“You will see multiple enhancements in the publication, as we continue to curate content to showcase the city and West Valley as a whole,” Strunk wrote to the business owner.
In an interview last week, Strunk said, “We’re trying to highlight some different businesses for the good of the whole, as opposed to the same businesses.”

Instead of highlighting specific businesses in major malls, Strunk said marketing efforts point to, for instance, Westgate Entertainment Center or Arrowhead Towne Center, listing various generic offerings within those malls.

Still, Strunk agreed that changes need to be made. His new responsibilities are just one of those reorganizational steps. The old communication and marketing departments don’t exist anymore. The former intergovernmental affairs director, Brent Stoddard, is now director of the new public affairs department.

As for marketing of the city, Strunk said the CVB’s efforts are aimed at being broad-based to show all features of Glendale, not just businesses.

“CVB isn’t specific for businesses,” Strunk said.

As an example, he said Sahuaro Ranch Historic Park will be one of the upcoming features and should be promoted locally.

“But, to be honest,” Strunk said, “downtown is of greater interest for visitors.”
Regarding Centerline, Strunk said it is very unique in the Valley, and now internationally.
One downtown site that is not utilized as frequently as it could be is the E. Lowell Rogers Amphitheater in Murphy Park.

“Sunday through Thursday, it’s the people’s area, the civic plaza of Glendale,” Strunk said.
He said it was designed for the community, and his department is focusing on encouraging groups to use it. For Boys & Girls clubs, Boy and Girl scouts, schools and neighborhood HOAs, the city offers the space for free. For other Glendale-based groups, such as churches or bands, there is a fee.

“We want to do what’s right by the community and best for Glendale,” Strunk said.
As for the anonymous business owner, they said they just wanted to be treated fairly, and they are looking for positive change – and equitable recognition.

Chamber CEO believes city could use some help

Robert Heidt has a proven track record, and he is improving his resume day by day. He now oversees operations for a booming Glendale Chamber of Commerce that boasts 1,100 members. He works on a budget of under $500,000.

Heidt believes that Interim City Manager Dick Bower was moving in the right direction and was working within the city to eliminate duplication of marketing efforts. Midway through Bower’s plans, the city hired a full-time city manager, Kevin Phelps, and Heidt said the plan has been at a standstill.

There is no question Heidt believes the chamber could use its skilled workforce to market the city. In several cities across the country, Heidt said, the local chambers oversee CVBs and literally control them. In Glendale, the chamber provides location materials to those businesses and individuals looking to move to the city.

Heidt, like Strunk at the city, is willing to sit down and talk about different opportunities available to the city for enhanced marketing efforts with the chamber in mind.

by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on January 3rd, 2017

By:​ Darrell Jackson, The Glendale Star
As another year comes to a close, it is time to look back at the stories of 2016 that were most influential, controversial and discussed for the City of Glendale.

Here are the top ten stories, as selected by The Glendale Star that made the most noise during the past 12 months.

Murder-suicide shocks community

In February, the deaths of two 15-year-old girls, found at Independence High School Feb. 12, appear to have been the result of a murder-suicide, according to Glendale Police.
Officers were called to the campus just before 8 a.m. for a report of shots fired and when they arrived, they found the two victims just outside the cafeteria. The school was placed on lockdown, with students kept inside their classrooms, while officers searched the campus to make sure it was safe.

Police spokesperson Tracey Breeden said, “Glendale police officers were on scene two minutes after the first call, and after securing the scene, found the victims next to each other and a gun was nearby.”

The two sophomore girls were pronounced dead at the scene; their identities have not been released by police.

​Glendale Police Department released a statement just after 5 p.m. Feb. 12, stating that Glendale homicide detectives, through their early investigations, believed one of the girls took the victim’s life before taking her own.

Breeden, in the release, said, “During the processing of the scene, a suicide note was located. Information gathered reveals that the two girls were very close friends, appearing to be in a relationship.”

Glendale detectives said they believe the shooting was a murder-suicide and reported numerous students said they heard the gunshots, but there are no witnesses to the shooting.

City settles Cardinals parking claims

Parking spaces for Cardinals football fans near Westgate have been an issue for years, but that may no longer be the case. The City of Glendale, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority may have settled it during a special council meeting Nov. 14.

Council voted 4-3 to approve the settlement that has the city paying $14.1 million to the Cardinals and AZSTA as “full settlement for damages, costs and expenses.”

Mayor Jerry Weiers, Vice Mayor Ian Hugh, and Councilmembers Lauren Tolmachoff and Ray Malnar voted in favor, while Councilmembers Jamie Aldama, Samuel Chavira and Bart Turner were against the settlement.

The payments will be approximately $1.5 million once a year to both the Cardinals and AZSTA through July 2020. The first payment is due three days after the settlement is finalized and doesn’t constitute an admission or concession of any wrongdoing, liability, or fault in the matter. Each side will pay their own attorney fees in the settlement.

The city also agreed to $3.1 million in pedestrian infrastructure improvements, after the construction of 4,100 parking spaces south of the stadium along Bethany Home Road.

Police Chief Black goes to Prescott; St. John named chief

Ten years after joining the Glendale Police Department, and nearly four years as Police Chief, Debora Black accepted the same position in the City of Prescott.

​“Leading the department has truly been an honor for me and a highlight in my 36-year career in law enforcement,” said Black. “I am thankful for the privilege I have had to serve with the men and women of the Glendale Police Department on behalf of this community.”

City Manager Kevin Phelps appointed Assistant Police Chief Rick St. John to serve as interim police chief effective with Black’s departure July 15. St. John has been with Glendale Police Department for 19 years and has overseen or been involved with every major division in the department.

“I was a little surprised when I heard (Black) was interviewing, but I know she has a home up there, so I thought there was a chance she would seek that employment when the job came open,” St. John said.

Black interviewed for the job in Prescott June 14 after being selected as one of the final three following a national search that had 31 interested applicants. Black was a finalist, along with Nogales Police Chief Derek Arnson, after the June 14 interviews.

St. John, who graduated in 1990 from Ironwood High School, was part of the first four-year class from the school. He graduated from ASU West Campus with a bachelor of science degree in business management, and completed training in Leadership in Police organizations. He was working after college, and after his honeymoon, got into police work upon graduation.

​“I was working at a restaurant after graduation and saw Glendale was hiring and have been here ever since,” St. John said. “I have said my entire career I would never work anywhere else, because this is my home and I love Glendale.”

St. John was officially appointed Chief of Police for Glendale in November.

​Glendale Chamber of Commerce hits 1,000 members

The Glendale Chamber of Commerce celebrates a significant membership milestone, having reached and exceeded its 1,000th member.

“Achieving 1,000-plus members is a great accomplishment for our Chamber and community as a whole,” said Chamber president and CEO Robert Heidt. “We take great pride in the fact our members bear witness to the value in not only belonging to our organization, but for their support of the program of work we strive to achieve and deliver. It is an incredible, yet humbling, feeling to have reached this 1,000-plus member milestone; we truly do represent an amazing multitude of professional, committed and highly active member supporters.”

“The Glendale Chamber has achieved a major milestone in our nearly 100-year history in reaching and surpassing 1,000 members. We made a commitment to the business community we would do this and now we have. This reflects the efforts of the staff and the leadership of Robert Heidt,” said Jeff Blake 2016 Chairman of the Board. “It also reflects the strength and commitment of the Board of Directors and the enthusiasm for the Chamber by our members. The Chamber has become a great asset for the City of Glendale, the city’s businesses, and the residents in our community. Congratulations to everyone who has contributed to this achievement.”

“I want to congratulate Robert Heidt and the entire team at the Glendale Chamber for this tremendous accomplishment. This is another sign of Glendale’s positive momentum as the economic engine of the West Valley,” said Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers, who serves on the Chamber Board of Directors. “Our Chamber is setting the standard in Arizona in many ways, including a very strong partnership with the City of Glendale. I’m proud of the leadership that is being demonstrated, from the staff to the volunteer committees and the board of directors.

“The Glendale Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest and most influential business organizations in the West Valley. The primary focus of our program of work is to promote a strong local economy; a responsibility we feel impacts every West Valley business and resident. Each and every day, the Chamber Team is committed to making a difference; ensuring growth in business, recognizing our rich history and advocating on behalf of our vibrant community. You are encouraged to enrich your business experience by investing in and engaging with the Glendale Chamber.”

Clark returns to council with victory over Chavira; Weiers tops Burdick to remain mayor

In an election full of attack ads, conflicting campaign claims, elusive ballots, and low voter turnout, Glendale voters made only one change to its city council with the results of the Aug. 30 primary.

Mayor Jerry Weiers won a slim re-election over former Fire Chief Mark Burdick, while voters returned Joyce Clark to her seat, representing the Yucca District four years after losing to Samuel Chavira.

Weiers was re-elected by 405 votes over Burdick, while Clark squeaked by with a 46-vote win over Chavira.

“The bottom line is, our campaign ran a legal, honest campaign and we didn’t lie to anyone,” Weiers said. “We were victorious, because I believe our honesty rang true with voters, but it is a shame that campaigns happen like that and I am thankful it is over and we can now move on and continue our forward goal for the city.”

Burdick and Weiers each ran different, but expensive, campaigns.

Burdick spent $79,146 prior to the Aug. 18 campaign finance reporting deadline. Weiers spent $58,894, but had more than $60,000 left in his campaign headed into the last two weeks of the campaign, while Burdick had $12,500 remaining. But voters made their voice heard.
“I think the message was an honest message and I do not think the voters were torn at all,” Weiers said.

Clark, who lost to Chavira in 2012, is eager to return to represent citizens.

“The voters have spoken and I am honored to return to council,” Clark said. “I am delighted to represent Yucca district residents once again, as are they. I could not have won without their enthusiastic support. I have pledged to them to do my very best in representing not just Yucca district residents, but all Glendale residents.”

Clark, who was outspent in the race by Chavira nearly five-to-one, pulled out one of the closest victories in recent years.

“The voters have spoken and their message is that they deserve and expect their councilmember to do the job,” Clark said.

Casino celebrates first year open

Almost seven years since it was announced by the Tohono O’odham Nation, Desert Diamond Casino-West Valley celebrated one year open to the public Dec. 20.

Still without a Class III gaming or liquor license, and still fighting the state in court over both, the casino has been a success with visitors.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, the Gila River Indian Community and Salt River Indian Community were sitting at a table on the third floor of the Arizona Capitol Museum when a gaming compact amendment was signed by their representatives Nov. 21, as well as representatives of Fort McDowell, the Navajo Nation, the Hualapai Tribe, the Tonto Apache Tribe, the Havasupai Tribe and the White Mountain Apache Tribe. That is eight out of 17 tribes, not quite a majority, and missing was a representative from the Tohono O’odham Nation.

No mention was made of past lawsuits regarding the Nation’s pursuit of a Class III casino license, an action that began in January 2009, and has been the subject of 13 court actions the past seven and one-half years. The Nation has been victorious each time.

After a photo session of the signing, Ducey held a brief press conference by the third-floor rotunda, but would not commit to a yes or no answer when asked if the amendment would see the state giving the Nation a Class III gaming license.

His response was, “They’re welcome at the table.”

Any compact amendment or agreement signed by Indian tribes must be approved by the Secretary of the Interior Department. So, that procedure could take several weeks or months.
The Nation issued the following statement regarding the compact amendment:

“The Tohono O’odham Nation was made aware of the state’s request for compact amendments just last week and has not been a part of this process. The lack of communication on this important issue is a concern, but the Nation has said repeatedly that it is committed to moving forward. The Nation stands ready to consider compact amendment language that would resolve the outstanding litigation, including the Class III issue at its West Valley facility, and includes language regarding no new casinos in the Phoenix area during the current Compact.”

As of Dec. 19, it appears the state and the Nation will head to court again, possibly in the spring or summer of 2017.

Council hears update on Western Area Library
Glendale City Council heard an update on the proposed Western Area Branch Library and the citizen’s advisory committee has made a recommendation as to where it should be located from two earlier proposals.

Having the areas narrowed to the current Glendale media center building or a prefabricated building at Heroes Regional Park, the citizens committee has recommended the council proceed with the Heroes Regional Park location.

The Western Area Branch Library would begin as a 7,500 to 8,000 square-foot, prefabricated modular building on the grounds of Heroes Regional Park off 83rd Avenue and Bethany Home Road, said Community Services Director Eric Strunk at the April 4 council workshop.

“There would be room for growth and expansion over time,” according to the presentation authored by staff at the Community Services Department.

The original concept for the library was a 33,500-square-foot building approved in 1998, when council approved Heroes Regional Park.

The library was shelved during the economic downturn of 2010 before council gave direction in March 2015 to revive the library.

The proposed library is still under consideration as the outcry from citizens continues to grow.

Coyotes drama continues between owners and city

The drama that has been the Arizona Coyotes and City of Glendale continued with the team announcing a possible move to the East Valley and the city announcing they lost $45 million in arena management fees since 2010-11.

Since IceArizona took over management of the arena, the city has paid it $35,051,370 for the three years it has managed the arena. The city still owes the NHL $5 million on the second payment, due in fiscal year 2016-17.

A majority of the payments made by the city have been in arena management fees since 2010-11. That was when the National Hockey League took over the team after former owner Jerry Moyes filed for bankruptcy.

“This analysis is simply the revenue and management fee payments and under the management agreements and does not include any financial impacts outside that building, such as Westgate,” said Assistant City Manager Tom Duensing. “It is important to understand that the arena (like arenas around the country) is an economic development tool and also acts as a draw for patrons to the Westgate area.”

The Arizona Coyotes announced Nov. 14 they had signed an exclusive negotiating agreement to work toward the finalization of a new arena in connection with the Arizona State University athletic program in Tempe.

​The team announced the exclusive negotiating agreement with Catellus Development Corporation, which is planning a new master development near ASU.

The agreement states that a deal must be agreed upon by June 30, 2017 to create the overall budget, design and operational plan for the development, but does not say what would happen if the deadline is missed.

Council tables diversity commission, again

After nearly 16 months of research over a proposed ordinance on lesbian, homosexuals, bisexual and transgender rights, the council stalled again on the protection of people.
During the Nov. 22 voting meeting, council had an ordinance to rename the current Commission on Persons with Disabilities to a Diversity Commission, but council argued about sub-committees within the commission.

“I have concerns about the subcommittees and do all our commissions have subcommittees,” said Councilmember Ray Malnar. “We have a 14-member commission, why do we need subcommittees?”

While the vote Nov. 22 was just to change the commission from disabilities to diversity, council could not agree on wording.

“Going to generic of ‘all people’ is hiding in the dark and there is value in putting more value on this subject knowing those mentioned individuals and groups; I would not object to including the words ‘all people’ at the end of what was presented,” said Councilmember Bart Turner. “Down the road, we can add more classes of people that we might feel are needing protection, if they are hiding in the dark for what they are.”

Mayor Jerry Weiers, in announcing the issue tabled, said, “Maybe we will get this worked out next go around.”

Citizens cry foul over chickens as pets

City Councilmember Bart Turner presented a proposal to allow residents to keep chickens as pets in their residential homes, and members of the community voiced their opinions at numerous meetings.

More than 100 residents attended an Oct. 27 meeting to discuss the proposed change to a zoning text amendment, which would allow residents to keep chickens as pets within the city.

“This is not a formal meeting, but a way for (the public) to address the proposed text amendment about chickens,” said Cholla District Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff. “There is no amendment yet, but staff is continuing to research the subject.”

​City staff held numerous meetings about chickens, but Tolmachoff said this meeting was to hear the reaction, specifically from Cholla district residents.

“The point of this meeting is to allow you to address your concerns,” Tolmachoff said before the crowd. “I have been researching this and asking for your input.”

In an online poll, Tolmachoff said she has received 541 responses from Cholla district residents, with 82 percent voting against allowing chickens as pets.

“You are speaking loudly on this issue and I hear your concerns,” Tolmachoff said.

by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on January 3rd, 2017

By: Darrell Jackson, The Glendale Star

While local businesses and the Chamber of Commerce argue about the city’s claim of Glendale First, city staff continues to focus on changes to include more local business at city sponsored events. 

“Ultimately, in a perfect world and if we had the appropriate local vendors that provide what (the events) need, I would love to see 100 percent of the vendors to be from Glendale,” said Public Facilities, Recreation and Special Events Director Erik Strunk. “Realistically, if we could get to 50 percent, I believe that would be reasonable and acceptable.”

Chamber wants focus on local businesses

Glendale Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Robert Heidt said since he took over the chamber, he believes the city has struggled to focus on local businesses.

“Why would you not want to showcase businesses within city limits?” Heidt said. “This city needs to change the way things are done and put together a task force to investigate how we can make things better and more transparent when it comes to things like this and local businesses.”

The chamber has been working to improve local businesses in all areas of the city, but the vendor issue is something that Heidt said is important when it comes to showcasing local businesses.

“I think the city owes it to the community they serve to put their businesses first,” Heidt said.

“They work here, live here, raise their families here and the city owes it to them to put them first always. It doesn’t matter if it is public safety all the way down to special events, we must actually become Glendale First.”

Heidt said for the city, it should matter that it is showing support to local shop owners.

“As you go down, why would we not want to showcase our local shops?” Heidt said. “When it comes to an opportunity for a local business to have a revenue source, one weekend can be significant dollars for a local shop owner.”

Heidt said he has presented council and city staff with 13 points the chamber would like to see the city implement when choosing vendors for local events.

Those points are:
• Local business provided preference for ALL events, not just a percentage
• Communication outbound with submission dates, deadlines published in numerous areas
• Jury made up with business members of the community
• Hold workshops to educate business on how to take part in the events
• Clear rules on tents, A-frame designs, booth layouts and if food trucks are allowed
• Have a process that starts with Glendale business, then businesses in West Valley, expand to Phoenix Metro area, statewide, with an absolute last resort being out of state
• Clarity when it comes to fees, sales taxes payable
• Seek new approach from the sales of beverages to vendors, including local beverage vendors
• Allow more non-profits to run the beverage tent
• Commitment that, should other issues arise, the city will work to find a solution in a timely manner, more than 2 ½ years is not timely and has been very neglectful to our business community

“The chamber would like to get something in writing and something that says we have a preference towards Glendale businesses,” Heidt said. “If we can’t get a local business, then look to the West Valley, then within the state before looking out of state.”

Strunk said the city is in agreement with the chamber and believes more can be done to increase traffic at the events and secure more local businesses.

“I was downtown during the week (when events are not scheduled) and there were hundreds of people walking around,” Strunk said. “We will look at having vendors allowed to open during the week and more events in the amphitheater.”

Heidt said that, while he has been fighting this issue for more than two years, he is hopeful city staff makes necessary changes.

“City staff knows there is a problem and instead of being defensive and understanding the issue, we continue to get the run around,” Heidt said. “I think, instead of the city playing the ‘we did this or that,’ own up to the fact that there are issues, fix them and get on with it,” Heidt said.

“The entire process needs to be revamped so that local businesses are given priority and every chance to participate in these events.”

Application process needs improvement

While city staff say they focus on local business, numerous owners within the city have argued those points. Many business owners, who said they have stopped applying, claim “if you don’t have an out-of-state address, you are not going to be approved.”

“That needs to be dispelled, if that really is the sentiment of business owners,” Strunk said. “We need to re-engage local owners and let them know that those with the ability to increase local flavor at the events will always get fair treatment.”

Currently, the city uses a jury to review applications for the events to make selections and after the jury makes selections of the vendors, Special Events Coordinator Dawn Simms and Special Events Division Manager Martin Dickey “review those selections and finalize them, keeping in mind the criteria of these outdoor festival productions done in parks, streets and open areas.”

The jury for the current season consisted of three members of city staff – Simms, Heidi Barriga (Special Events) and Cameron Dewaele (Parks and Recreation) – which Heidt questions when it comes to local businesses.

“I am not sure we even need a jury process; this is not an art show or crafters type event,” Heidt said. “If we do need a jury, then it should be a diversified group of folks that rotate each year with some being the same and some being new ones. There should be conversation and input from many on this to ensure the focus is actually on the community.”

Strunk said the city is going to review the process and make changes before the application process opens up for 2017-18 events.

“It is the intent of the department to conduct an assessment of its current vendor selection process and overall assessment of the special-event season in early 2017,” Strunk said. “A portion of this review will involve a survey of residents, local vendors, merchants and the business community in general, to determine interests and possible enhancements to the city’s special-event season. This absolutely has to be in place by June (2017) to be ready for next season.”

While the issue is expected to gain a clearer standards and application process for next season, Heidt has said he will continue to push for changes.

“I believe this issue is from lack of direction from leadership, lack of city event staff understanding the need to support local businesses, lack of oversight in general, and essentially, an events department that has been left to do as they please and not have regard of the impact they could have positively on our local merchants,” Heidt said. “The chamber is going to push local business to apply for next season and I am not going to stop fighting for local businesses and promote Glendale first.”