Posts Tagged ‘Glassman’

29th March
2009
written by madge

I got to tell you I’m a huge fan of O’Dell. He has this council’s number down. Their congenial, vote as a group – go along to get along – policy is completely bringing the City of Tucson to a halt.

The city manger is on pins and needles and more worried about self preservation than leading the ship. His cover your A#$s! approach to this years budget has brought the city to a stand still. Hein won’t release a budget until the council gives direction and the council isn’t knowledgeable enough or doesn’t have the guts to propose the needed cuts.  It’s an election year for two power hungry incumbents so watch the sparks fly over the next couple weeks.

We covered Glassman’s impact fee smack down HERE. Tax increases HERE and HERE. Layoffs are off the table HERE. Problems with Rio Nuevo HERE HERE HERE Here, here, here, here….you get the picture.

Do you think there’s a pattern developing in Tucson local government?

From Walter C – AZ Star. 
The City budget is full of emotional, nice-to-do things that could be cut to balance the budget quickly without layoffs. But with the leftist, politically correct bunch on council, don’t look for any logical solutions. Mike Hein’s only goals in this are to keep his job, while crippling the City government to prepare it for a takeover by Chuckelberry and the County goons. Nobody in this game is looking for anything more than advancing their personal goals and agendas (including reelection).

Little action on proposals

The council and Hein have done an intricate dance with the budget over the past year.
Hein urged changes the council either rejected or took no action on — or, in a few cases, implemented.
While rejecting Hein’s proposals, council members offered few alternatives, and haven’t passed any of their own ideas.
Last June, council members complained Hein was over-stepping his authority and they needed to be more involved. But at an October budget-strategy session, in the face of an increasing deficit, they demurred and told Hein to figure out where to make cuts.
In most cases, the council and Hein have backed away from dramatic action.
A timeline
January 2008:Hein created a list of outside-agency funding he believed could be cut. Mayor Bob Walkup stressed belt- tightening in his State of the City speech.
February 2008:Hein announced a hiring freeze, travel restrictions and deferring maintenance and acquisitions to help bridge what was then a $12 million shortfall for the budget year, which ended June 30.
March/April 2008:Hein suspended the city’s sustainability plan of pre-programmed spending increases for road paving, police officers and firefighters, and parks.
June 2008:The council approved this year’s budget, but slammed Hein over a proposal to increase bus fares to raise $1 million. The council soon moved to fire Hein, but then he was retained unanimously weeks later.
August 2008: The city announced it needed to use $12 million to balance the previous year’s budget, lowering the city’s reserves from $44 million to under $32 million.
September 2008:Hein proposed combining Community and Neighborhood services departments to save $380,000. The council agreed.
October 2008:Plunging sales-tax receipts prompted the city’s budget deficit to explode to $51 million. The city said for the first time it might cut or suspend services. The council voted to cut funding for outside agencies by 10 percent, but told Hein to come back in December with a plan for more cuts.
November 2008: The city began to quietly cut swimming pools and recreation centers, the TICET shuttle, graffiti abatement, and the Community Food Bank. It laid off some part-time and seasonal workers.
December 2008: Hein announced another $31 million in cuts were needed. The council signed off on cutting police and fire academies, some Sun Tran bus service, and Parks and Recreation classes.
January 2009: The council said it preferred raising fees and taxes or spending down the city’s rainy-day fund to making massive budget cuts.
February 2009: Hein unveiled budget cuts and potential tax increases for next fiscal year, which starts July 1.
Cuts included taking $4 million from outside agencies, saving $2 million by combining the Planning and Development Services departments, cutting $4 million in transit, and hitting employees with furloughs, higher benefit contributions and no more sick-leave buybacks to save a total of $10 million.
He also offered a menu of tax increases, from which he hoped the council would implement $5 million worth.
The council agreed it would back most of Hein’s proposed cuts at that time, but, on Tuesday, council members said they need to think about it further.
Still scrapping Despite earlier statements they would back many of Hein’s cuts, council members criticized Hein over his budget again last week.
Councilwoman Regina Romero demanded more public hearings on the budget, including longer ones to allow more people to speak.
Uhlich was much harsher, saying the council needs to vote on many of Hein’s proposals, rather than continuing to let them linger in the public mind until they become de facto cuts with no council input.
For example, the merger of the Planning and Development Services departments is already under way, and employees have been given layoff notices. The council has discussed the plan, but it has not taken action.
In an interview, Uhlich said she has been “very aggressive to have the budget come in front of us. . . . Decisions have to be made sooner rather than later.”
Councilman Rodney Glassman said in an interview that he has been talking for some time about his priorities of police, fire, parks and roads.
But he said the council has not been able to come to any consensus, and he can’t make decisions alone.
“The longer we wait, the more difficult our financial situation will be,” he said. “It takes four votes to align my priorities with the budget.”
Hein said he welcomes policy direction because he doesn’t want to submit a budget to the council that is dead on arrival. But he told the council that submitting his own budget is “a duty under the (city) charter that I’m willing to fulfill.”
He is scheduled to submit the budget on April 21.
13th February
2009
written by Arizona Kid

 Mayor tells it like it is, pushes job creation
I have finally come to the conclusion that the Mayor, City Council and local papers just don’t care what happens to greater Tucson. After listening to the drivel that Walkup spewed at the State of the City Address, I came to the realization that most of those in elected positions are just phoning it in. Either that or they are too inexperienced to make smart choices (Romero), too driven by political ambition (Glassman), or they simply have not been affected the way the rest of Tucson has (the papers). All of them see things from a liberal standpoint. Even Walkup during his address sounded more like a second-rate John Edwards than a quasi-conservative like John McCain. The latest attempt to show progress downtown and Rio Nuevo apparently all hinges on a new streetcar. Yes, a streetcar that will take people through four miles of downtown to visit all that downtown doesn’t have to offer. We found the below video last year.

 Thanks to friend of the show Glenn who added the Never Ending Parade of Stupid soundtrack. At the time we thought this was just someone’s lame vision of what Tucson could be. Sadly without any leadership to tackle the major problems with the downtown area of Tucson like crime, homeless, lack of business, tourism etc.. this streetcar would end up being nothing but transportation for the few people who are brave enough to venture downtown and the homeless. It turns out this video was created as part of a showcase to show what will happen to downtown Tucson. I was shocked to see it shown in the middle of the Mayors speech. Then I was saddened at the realization that its all a big smoke and mirrors fantasy. The Tucson government is so scared they will lose their funding that they are putting the cart before the horse for so many projects. So now along with the Trolley we have the “Streetcar named Disaster” as part of our Never Ending Parade of Stupid. It would seem the Parade is quickly turning into a train!

 

11th February
2009
written by JHiggins

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to have a front row seat at the problem facing the City of Tucson.   Along with 150+ supporters, I attended the Mayor and Council study session on a proposal to waiving impact fees. Under the plan new commercial and residential  construction projects would be waived in city limits for one year. The goal of the proposal is to take a small step to get people back to work and get the local economy moving again. 

The entire circus focused around who proposed the idea, how the idea was proposed (in the media) and how it needed to go through the meat grinder of a community panel before it could merit consideration. 

Glassman had a fully orchestrated event starting with a good old fashioned  construction worker rally out front. Inside the saga got even better, speakers from the city departments and industry were paraded up to explain the budget effects of  waived impact fees on the general fund.  

The drama started with a few protesters out front with their own signs calling for ‘Casas Por La Pobre’ – and ‘Don’t Waive Impact Fees’. The events carried into the chambers with a handful of ‘tax the rich to give low income housing options to the poor’ activist to remind the council members how they got elected and that if they wish to get reelected they had better squash this idea. The remaining Council members gave the activists all the sweet buzz words that they could handle. 

When the other council members got their chance to speak each one of them proceeded to dress down Glassman for breaking the code. The code is ‘play nice and get things done, deviate from the herd and we’ll eat you!’  

This proposal to waive impact fees was clearly  a departure from the norm. It was one council members nod to the business community, we’ve been asking for support and one person listened.  The idea was admittedly brought to the council by the growth industry (SAHBA apparently gave the idea to all the council members, Glassman ran with it), but it was an idea that has merit.   

Romero called for a panel made up of Chicanos Por La Causa, Habitat For Humanity, Casa Maria (the soup kitchen for the homeless), Sonoran Institute (environmental lobby), a historic neighborhood representative, low income housing representatives, city staff and anyone else that may oppose anything remotely related to the big bad growth lobby. I guess the Council hasn’t put the pieces together to realize that the workers that supposedly will start bringing home a pay check are the people that live and raise families in the City of Tucson.  Those pay checks allow families to buy homes and the cycle continues.

Scott called for a affordable housing trust fund that developers would pay into to build housing for the poor. Her other option was to mandate a set aside from each housing development for low income housing. Sounds strangely close to the County mandating developers buy open space miles away from their projects to get the zoning they are looking for. We will all end up paying for these quid pro quo deals in increased housing prices and less inner city development taking place. 

Right or wrong this community lives and dies with the growth industry. Unless or until we diversify our economic base we will be dependent on people moving in and buying new houses.  The idea to waive impact fees was not the end all to be all. It would have an economic incentive to get things moving but more importantly it would send a message to the citizens that our leaders are trying something. Now more than ever the message need to come back  that ‘we feel your pain and want to help.’

Glassman took and idea and ran with it. There were holes in the program but as our new president said on Monday,

“The plan is not perfect,” the president told reporters. “No plan is. I can’t tell you for sure that everything in this plan will work exactly as we hope, but I can tell you with complete confidence that a failure to act will only deepen this crisis as well as the pain felt by millions of Americans.”

 

What this council needs now more than ever is a leader. A member who is willing to step outside the pack and shake things up.  This ‘go along to get along’ mentality from the group continues to hurt the City of Tucson. We are loosing opportunities, jobs and creating a permanent lower class. It’s a good learning experience for Glassman. Let’s see if these events bring him back into line or if he steps up for what is best for the community as a whole, not just a vocal minority.

 

February 11, 2009, 12:27 a.m.
CARLI BROSSEAU
Tucson Citizen

After a protest, a counterprotest and an emotional volley of political barbs, the City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to form a committee to study local economic stimulus strategies.

The debate was ignited a week ago when Councilman Rodney Glassman put forward a proposal to suspend most fees levied on developers to cover the infrastructure costs of growth, commonly known as impact fees.

The idea, he said, was to create jobs and jump-start the ailing economy.

Glassman submitted letters of support from builders and environmentalists, about 150 of whom rallied for the proposal in the hour before Tuesday’s study session.

But the proposal was sidestepped by Glassman’s colleagues who were angry, saying he took credit for an idea other ward offices were exploring and put a divisive debate center stage.

Councilwoman Regina Romero called the proposal a “political gimmick” that forced a “win-lose situation” in which developers benefited at the cost of affordable housing and neighborhood goals.

Councilwoman Nina Trasoff described Glassman’s presentation as misleading, saying that his “lawyerly asking of questions” led to “half truths.”

Councilwoman Shirley Scott presented the compromise task force plan that outlined a dozen groups to participate and set a 30-day time frame.

The task force will consider proposals to delay or suspend impact fees and to allocate some developer fees to affordable housing or mandate that developers build affordable housing into plans. It is also free to weigh other options.

The group’s discussions will be coordinated by the Metropolitan-Pima Alliance, whose members are largely in the building industry.

Among the proposed task force participants are the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association, Tucson Association of Realtors, Habitat for Humanity, Sustainable Tucson, the local plumbers and pipefitters union, the Neighborhood Infill Coalition and a historic neighborhood representative.

Also at Tuesday’s study session, the council announced plans to buy part of the West Side hiking mecca Tumamoc Hill and to accept liability for an old landfill there. The decision was key in years-long wrangling between the city and Pima County aimed at designating the hill as open space.

In another announcement, the council appointed Deputy Finance Director Silvia Amparano to be interim finance director. The former director, Frank Abeyta, resigned two weeks ago after holding the position for less than two months.

A decision on how to proceed with selling about a third of city’s yearly allocation of Central Arizona Project water was delayed until next week.

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