End of Pri$on $tory, Open Meeting Laws, Gelzer Weighs In, Predictions


Last article today on the city’s mishandling of the prison expansion issue.

By August 11 a lot of complaints about GY non attendance at the prison meeting were coming in. On August 10, Deputy City Manager Spisz emailed language to Wally Campbell for a constituent reply that said that Goodyear opposed the prison and that the city had met “recently” with ADC to let them know Goodyear opposed it. (I find no record of any ADC meetings where opposition was expressed). Here is the email.  not right oppose recently met DOC0001

Khananisho saw the Spisz email and she immediately asked Deputy City Mgr. Luizzi for an explanation, saying, “when did we oppose?”  (see previous email trail) One could understand her question since she had been working with GEO and their lobbyists by that time for over two months.

Luizzi’s reply regarding past GY attempts to oppose the prison sent Khananisho to Fischbach for an answer.  Fischbach’s reply was, “we never opposed”. Here is that email.  I lied to GEO email0001

After that, GY city hall must have gotten a little crazy. Nora Fascinelli mused in an email when she got a copy of the letter that the Litchfield Park mayor presented, “Wish we had something like that”. wish we had something like that0001  Some of the back and forth emails state, that it’s, “not right” or there was no opposition until “right now” or the one that may characterize it best, “we talked about how this was good financially… our concerns were only taxes and zoning” not right oppose recently met DOC0001 , I lied to GEO email0001

Up until this time Khananisho had been on board with greasing whatever skids needed to be greased to make the proposal a success. Nora wrote in another email to Khananisho that she had “managed outreach so well”.  managing outreach0001

A Gary Gelzer email of this time frame is interesting to consider since Gelzer was out of the country, probably could not communicate much by phone, and so was a little out of the loop with the changing position. In an email dated as late as August 17 Gelzer makes the suggestion that perhaps all the opposition is from “outside” the city and residents are really not concerned. Gelzer email0001

Open Meeting Laws Violated?

In one series of emails Nora Fascinelli warns Fischbach that Osborne has written an email that appears to be in violation of state open meeting laws when Osborne writes that she is going to consult “with her fellow council members”, an obvious violation. The initial Fischback reply says, “great” and he says he’ll try to find city staff to help her out.  Only the next day does Nora see the email traffic and warn Fischbach who over an eleven minute period on a Sunday sets the email record straight with Osborne in order to fix the previous blunder.  Well played!!

Here are the emails. Open Meetings0001

I guess if you can believe Fischbach and Osborne’s 11 minute email exchange on a Sunday night was not a cover up of an obvious reference to open meeting law violations then after reading Jim Cavanaugh’s post yesterday you could believe that Georgia, Wally, Lauritano and Khananisho just happened to be going to lunch together on August 3 or 4 and that KBR lobbyist Kristin Boilini just happened to run into the four of them there.

I Lied to GEO

Disillusioned at the sudden turn of events, Khananisho finally writes to Fischbach in despair saying that if the city changes its position on the prison it makes it look like, “I lied” over the past two months.  I lied to GEO email0001

But this is government. There are no profits, people don’t get reprimanded for a bad judgement call like standing aside for a private prison so long as the public never finds out.  Instead, what we see unfold is an example that in government so long as everyone still thinks the public will not know or at least understand that you were playing fast and loose then you’re home free and still a valued member of the team. In this case, Khananisho, Fischbach, Fascenelli, and at least some council members who previously saw dollar signs when lobbyists approached just changed course and closed ranks. The poor leadership, bad judgments, and decisions of June and July were forgotten.  A simple mistake in judgment occurred.  We didn’t think anyone would say anything or see the public notices and we really needed that money.

But the public did find out but we’re still in this together. Us against those troublesome voters with their meddlesome opinions.  Everything can still be fixed with a good show at Georgia’s meeting and a few well placed opinion articles in one of the local newspapers that prints whatever we send them.  (see managing outreach email above)

I mentioned closing ranks.  It appears from the list of emails that copied city lawyers starting on August 15 that word got out in city hall to start copying lawyers on internal emails that have to do with Perryville so that they can claim that they are, “Attorney Client Privileged” information and howardsgoodyearblog won’t see them.  I sent in my information request on August 11. They wouldn’t give me any of those listed in this cover letter from Roric Massey. closing ranks0001

Predictions

First, by September 16 or sometime shortly after, it will be announced that Perryville will remain an all female prison and be increased by 500 beds to accept female demand.  This will occur because residents pushed back at the August 10 meeting and GEO has more work than it can handle and does not need to be in communities where there are not welcome.  If Goodyear had told GEO that in June when their lobbyists came calling then all of this would never have happened.

Second, Arizona is going to privatize more prisons and Perryville could very well be one of them.  Sooner or later.

And finally, after the announcement that Goodyear dodged a bullet and Perryville will not get anything close to the 5,000 bed male expansion that was possible, Georgia and others in the city will immediately let you know in the West Valley View, the AZ Republic if they’ll let them, and the taxpayer paid for Goodyear Infocus magazine, and take full credit for “listening” to you, voters, and for everyone’s “success” in properly representing “you the citizens of Goodyear”.

Of course Nora will be certain to praise the voters in her draft and give citizens back door credit while reminding you that without, them there would be no one to guide you all through all these complicated and treacherous waters that your public officials have just carefully navigated you through.

Nora, Romina, and others will do another “great job” for you and city council…and all of it will be on your dime.

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7 Responses

  1. I’m probably not the brightest bulb in the room, so I may have this all screwed up. But I’ve been reading this blog and I’ve watched the GY council meetings on video to get a better handle on this prison debacle. From what I glean council doesn’t take a pro or con position until they do so as a council in formal session. In the latest council meeting Mayor Lord ascertains no one said they were in favor of the expansion and based on the above assumption that would be true as no FORMAL resolution had been passed.

    She also infers that staff (prior to council’s resolution) was doing their jobs in gathering data to be presented to ‘the chain of command’ within Goodyear. Staff was, according to the emails on this blog, gathering their info from the lobbyists whose position, I assume, would be to find cities that would be in favor of the expansion so their clients could present these conclusions to Dept of Corrections for final selections. Does she really believe we will believe staff was enthusiastically working with lobbyists without a ‘nod’ from above? It would seem to me that it wasn’t GY staff that was gathering data, but the lobbyists who were feeling out GY. And I understand the state has the power to do this without local input, but the fact remains the lobbyists were trying to beef up their positions by working with cities who offered no opposition. GY fit the bill. They saw dollar signs. It’s hard enough to get businesses to locate to GY with the fees that are charged and the prolonged time periods to even get approvals, let alone get the business world to buy into locating next to a penitentiary.

    I didn’t know this expansion plan was even in the planning. How would I know that? Should I have been following the news devotedly? Reading DOC’s news releases? Is it up to me as a citizen to micro-observe all walks of Gov’t so that I can send Lord my views on each and every subject? I read. I listen. And I miss stuff too. Why do we need a mayor or council if we are supposed to do the job as individuals? Isn’t that what representation is supposed to be; to represent the constituent? During elections it was implied that Lord had the ‘ear’ of key state players and could do even more for GY. Did they have a fight? No longer speaking? I think it’s great she wants input from the public, but at what point does she do her job to inform and represent me and not push the responsibility off on me to speak up?

    But hey, like I said, what do I know; I just live here, pay taxes, and keep my head down. And according to Bill Stipp I’m one of those who may have caused the city staff to expend a huge waste of time and effort fulfilling formal, and legal, requests for public info re city communications about the expansion. But that’s okay; the door will probably close tightly now that they have realized a further use of the attorney-client privilege loophole.

    Something stinks!

    • You nailed it Victor!

      Here’s one little gem that hasn’t received enough attention. The Lord Mayor, explaining why she did not attend the intial prison expansion public hearing on Aug. 10, has repeatedly said, “I didn’t attend because that was your meeting and I didn’t want to intimidate anyone.”

      Yes, that meeting was for the little people and we would have felt extremely uncomfortable in the company of one so elevated. You can’t make up material that good.

      • The Mayor needed to stand up like a leader and speak to the stage full of corporate executives who came en masse with their entourage and the audience filled with puppets for the prison construction industry. Her absence along with the council members was very telling. They needed to hear the courageous public speak truth to power and put on the firing line for questions also. We appreciated the Mayor of Litchfield reminding them and the state legislature of their broken promises to keep Perryville at 1,400 max. Now at 4,500. How dare they put a law in place behind closed doors to add 5,000 private prison beds when others states are cutting prison populations back.

  2. To the T my friend… and it’s like a re-run. It happens over, and over, and over… time and again. And tell me, attorney/client privilege, can the CITY attorney really claim this if he is claiming it for both the city employees and the council/mayor?? Doesn’t the fact that he is “representing” them both create a conflict of interest?? I mean, the council/mayor are suppose to represent the people of the city, right? So how is this allowed, claiming attorney/client privilege for both sides?

  3. Gary–They will always tell us who they are afraid of by their actions. The fact that they ripped in to you last Monday night is an indication that they see you as a threat. Please keep up the heat. I enjoy reading your posts on here. Just thought of something. Hope they don’t pull a Roger Matlin stunt on you. I would think that you are getting under Mayor Lord’s thin skin about as much as Roger did, and we all know what happened to him.

    • Aaron — Two things got Roger jammed up IMO. First, he enjoyed name calling and made numerous accusations that were directed in a very personal manner, occasionally doing so in a less than professional way. Second, he made the mistake of shaking the interim fire chief’s hand and got accused of assault which led to legal action and an injunction against him being anywhere near any city related activity.

      Don’t get me wrong. Roger was doing his civic duty as he saw it, and i’ve always respected him for that. I hope he comes out the other side of his current legal tussles unscathed. I look forward to seeing him back at council meetings.

      So here’s the secret — speak (and write) what you feel to be the truth, but try and do so with a professional mein. And for God’s sake, don’t shake anyone’s hand without plenty of friendly witnesses.

      .

    • Aaron, Well said. This is a very important blog that all concerned citizens and taxpayers should be reading and taking action or dare not complain.

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