Cavanaugh Castigates Council


Editor’s note. The following article on the subject of GY city council’s behavior during the prison debacle deserves to be published in the AZ Republic or West Valley View, media with a much larger audience than howardsgoodyearblog.  Unfortunately, neither of these outlets has chosen to even cover this issue.  For the other papers’ oversight, I am both grateful and flattered that Mayor Cavanaugh has asked hgb to publish his thoughts on the matter.

by Mayor Jim Cavanaugh

On September 15, howardsgoodyearblog included an article written by Gary Gibbs, a citizen of Goodyear, describing Mr. Gibbs’ presentation to Goodyear City Council during the September 12, Council Meeting.  The blog, which is entitled “Council Berates Citizen Over Prison Question,” deserves our full attention and action as residents of Goodyear for it illustrates what is wrong with government in Goodyear and it does so through the unforgiving facts of a streaming internet video.  See Goodyear council meeting of 12 Sep on the Goodyear website. (http://goodyear.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=8&clip_id=1943  click on item #6, go to 18 min 42 seconds).

Mr. Gibbs does not venture into hyperbole in use of the word “berate.”   Council, primarily Mrs. Lord, but not only Mrs. Lord, berated, castigated, and excoriated a person they are sworn to serve, a person they report to, a citizen of Goodyear.  With condescension, they implied “I’m better than you, and you had better not forget it.”  Mr. Gibbs took about two and a half minutes of the three minutes he was allotted to speak.  Council used about twelve minutes to crucify him (Mrs. Lord consumed three of those minutes) and yet never specifically responded to his question. (Editor’s note, I watched the video only after reading this article and if you listen carefully, only Joe Pizzillo is clear about the question if he had “EVER” supported the prison.  The rest of them dance around that and focus on council’s “public position”, which refers to after the Georgia public meeting).

What did Mr. Gibbs do that so infuriated our Council?  He referred to internal City of Goodyear emails obtained by howardsgoodyearblog concerning the State of Arizona’s initiative to evaluate the potential expansion of Perryville Prison located in Goodyear.  The subject of prison expansion and the consequent actions by council and staff to protect themselves from criticism are amply covered in a series of September howardsgoodyearblogs, which need no additional elaboration.

The purpose of my blog is to address the actions of council in response to a single citizen’s request for information.  Mr. Gibbs sought to understand why council did not voice strong opposition in the early stages of the prison site investigation process.  It appeared the City had been inconsistent and uncertain in its approach to the issue.  Mr. Gibbs had to be concerned after reading an August 10 email from the city manager, ‘’we have never said that we are opposed” (to the Perryville Prison expansion).  This was two months since the city staffers assigned to the project started meeting with the prison lobbyists and probably four months since the city manager and hence, the council, were aware of the interest to expand Perryville (and per each councilmember, each had expressed their individual opposition).  This particular quote from the city manager leaves a reasonable person to conclude that only one of two scenarios regarding council involvement could have occurred in the prison decision-making process.  One, each councilmember is being truthful, and from the beginning (whenever that was) opposed the expansion in conversations with the staff and in executive session (if there was one).  If this is true then Goodyear has a renegade city manager who does not respond to city council views.  Or secondly, the city manager honestly believes that the council (almost assuredly after many group and individual interactions) was not opposed to the expansion.

As one of the 65,000 citizens of Goodyear, Mr. Gibbs was simply exercising his right to question those who work for him.  Like howardsgoodyearblog, he was doing his duty as a citizen.  Unlike the council, Mr. Gibbs was not willing to sweep under the rug a question that every council person should have previously engaged in a public manner.  The city manager’s comment via email should have been examined in the open.  Mr. Gibbs offered council the opportunity to do just that.  Be honest and forthright.  Instead they (excepting Mr. Pizzillo) hid under the mushroom and accused Mr. Gibbs of playing politics (Mrs. Lord and Mrs. Lauritano said that), wasting government resources (Mrs. Lord and Mr. Stipp said that), conspiracy (Mrs. Osborne said that), and being 100% wrong (Mrs. Lord; yes she actually said that, not to a child, but to an adult citizen who, unlike Mrs. Lord, had a long and exceptionally successful professional career).

There is no doubt that during a city council meeting or work session, council members have a distinct advantage in one-on-one engagements with citizens.  The elected official is customarily on a dais physically above the citizen, the mayor controls the proceedings and gets the last word, the council member is not time constrained in speaking while the citizen is limited to 3 minutes, and the elected officials have available and on-hand legal assistance while the citizen is largely on his/her own from a legal perspective.  The situation is difficult for the citizen and can be particularly intimidating if unfamiliar with public speaking.  The leadership characteristic of elected officials is witnessed not in their action to manipulate and control a situation customarily advantageous to them, but in their action to forgo that advantage.

I met with Gary Gibbs on one occasion and that was in my real estate office for about an hour or so during the past election cycle.  I do respect the hard work he put into the campaign and I commend him for standing up in front of council and staff expressing an issue that thousands of other citizens should have been willing to do.  It is unlikely that my vision for the city would find full agreement from either Mr. Gibbs or howardsgoodyearblog.  Neither our three political visions nor the politics of our 65,000 residents will ever fully coincide.  However, the 65,000 of us as Goodyear citizens would be better served in this democracy if we thought of ourselves as a team, a team that must stick together and stand by any member who has the courage to step up to the plate.  None of us can successfully take on self-serving government alone.  It is far too powerful and manipulative.

As a final word, I couldn’t help but learn a few things during my 45 years of public service.  I found an important principle I gleaned from my military career was just as applicable as a mayor of a city. The principle concerns a person’s boss and is only applicable if the mayor and council member of a city truly accept the fact that it is THE PEOPLE WHO RULE.  The principle is simply “Never criticize or demean your boss in public.”  In the USAF, consequences for violating the principle were career-ending.  The USAF had it right.

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17 Responses

  1. Arizona’s legislators and city councils have sold out the people, plain and simple. We attended the Goodyear public hearing on the private prisons. An after-the-fact sham on the people. No wonder none of the city council attended. Many of us are paying attention. They didn’t count on it. There is no place for attacking the concerned and informed citizenry. Arizona is turning into a prison state and who’s going to stop it? Changing the culture from a place of lovely home and a great place to live and visit into one is driven by outdated, draconian laws that puts ALL at risk for destruction. Families, women, children, visitors and the most vulnerable in our society.

    “Arizona prison sentences among toughest for many crimes”
    http://www.azcentral.com/12news/news/articles/2011/10/09/20111009arizona-prison-tough-sentencing.html

    “Prison Report 2010” – Pew
    http://www.pewcenteronthestates.org/uploadedFiles/Prison_Count_2010.pdf?n=880

  2. It’s time to be “smart on crime”, “tough on crime” and the literal War on Drugs are failed policies that have dramatically altered America’s society and wasted billions of dollars over decades that could have been spent on education, healthcare, job/vocational training and stronger communities, rather than tossing a wrecking ball across the state and the nation. It’s time to STOP prison growth in Arizona and begin to address the many alternatives that are available today. But this takes real leadership that Goodyear and the state of Arizona are truly lacking. People we know are moving out and will never return to this failed state that the carpetbaggers are sucking dry.

  3. Mr. Cavanaugh, We thank you, Mr. Gibbs and Howard for speaking out. The truth is what the public needs to hear. The Goodyear officials do not want the lid torn off what can only be described as a “Pandora’s Box”, which can also be applied to the legislators, elected officials all the way to the top. Who are the puppets? Who are the puppetiers? Who are the profiteers? Who has the courage to speak out knowing they face retaliation by a powerful force that has not been truly addressed in Arizona? It’s time to have the many voices heard at Occupy Phoenix — the 99% speaking out on a myriad of failures.

  4. My sincere thanks to Mayor Cavanaugh for taking the time to view the video in question and comment accordingly.

    If it was the council’s intent to bludgeon me into submission, they will find that they failed. I will rise again to speak at future meetings when the occasion merits.

  5. CCA & private prisons: “Vitamin Huckster Donald Lapre Found Dead in Prison Cell; Suicide Suspected – Phoenix News – Valley Fever

    http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2011/10/vitamin_huckster_donald_lapre.php

  6. I find the former mayor’s recent blogs, as well as your new “alliance” with Cavanaugh, disconcerting for many reasons. Let me begin with the fact that Cavanaugh chose to walk away from his commitment to the citizens of Goodyear. It makes me angry as a voter that he now wants to engage in local politics on any level. Since he likes to play the military card so much, I assume that finishing the job/fulfilling your promise to people is something he was taught in the USAF, not quitting. I found it amusing that he tried to deflect the fact his wife made money with the CTCA land deal by saying “the commission my wife received was handsome for our small company but less than one per cent of Ms. White’s allegation.” However, last I checked this was a community property state. If one spouse benefits so does the other. I noticed that you had nothing negative to say regarding his explanation of the tax break given to the CTCA yet have been relentless in the current council’s attempt to solicit businesses with similar incentives. I would also like to hear you comment on the benefits of the $85million dollar deal the CTCA was given.

    And lastly, I would like to comment on Jim’s apparent short term memory loss. I remember when a citizen recently questioned the dealings of Cavanaugh/Cavalier and Jack Rose (Goodyear Ballpark Fiasco). Including, but not limited to free private air transportation/trips paid for by Mr. Rose. The former mayor immediately went on the defensive and berated the citizen. I guess he thinks it’s only OK to get angry when they question someone else’s integrity…just not his.
    Since none of this commentary agrees with you, Gibb’s or Cavanaugh I can assume you will not post it or credit it to an angry Goodyear employee rather than an angry Goodyear Voter who is tired of your (yes, all three of you) relentless agenda of negativity.

    • You left out the fact that Mayor Cavanaugh was also on the board of the bank that was owned by Jack Rose and this was never disclosed to the public, although he continued voting on ball park issues. He used the wifey card in the allegations I made in 2008 that were all backed up with proof. You are correct. Arizona is a community property state, and yes, that income is as much Jim’s as it is his wife’s. The only thing that doesn’t count are assets acquired before marriage, specifically specified assets, and those acquired in or out of as a beneficiary of an estate… If Jim left his wife, he’d be getting 1/2.

  7. Al, if that is really your name, you are welcome to blog here if you like under your real name same as Cavanaugh.
    I have not covered CTCA and the other issue you mention as they pre date my time here and certainly hgb.
    If you have facts that contradict Cavanaugh’s blog on CTCA bring them forward. I think he was pretty complete in his explanation.
    There is no “alliance between me or anyone else. Cav sent me all of his blogs of his own free will and I posted them.
    But frankly, Georgia et al are so incompetent and so self righteous they make easy sport and since I only do this part time perhaps I do cover them to excess. I expected a quiet summer, but first they mishandled the prison thing and then they continue to break the bank with the money giveaways and each time I dig into this stuff I become more and more amazed at just how poorly managed GY is.
    Regarding your other accusations you have no basis in fact for them and they are therefore only your unsupported opinions.
    I do agree that it appears that cav “quit” and that disappointed me as well as with Cavalier. I think Cav has explained his reasons and you can see his side or not, but your point may be well taken. If you can get any GY council members to submit posts, I welcome them, but most of official GY won’t even speak to me.

  8. Mr. Cavanaugh, you are correct, but apparently only now that you are out of the political spotlight in Goodyear do you want this side to show. That is hypocritical at best. Where was this voice of yours when I brought up the issues that went ignored in 2008? When I walked into your office in City Hall and was told that you couldn’t talk to me? A citizen of Goodyear. That you were elected to represent. Misspending of appropriated monies on ballpark “necessities”, money targetd for other projects, spending bond money on projects that it was not intended for, missing backup tapes (that by the way were never shown to me even after several requests), unfulfilled records requests, mobbing of employees, unbalanced (balanced) budgets… information on the Jered Pendelton case, the corruption in the PD, etc., etc. You are a wise man in many ways. You will also meet your maker one day and will want to have a clear conscience. Hopefully this is the beginning of that end for you to clear your heart and mind. If so, welcome to the “other side”.
    Yes, it is a sad day when ELECTED officials that are supposed to be the PUBLIC’S voice are instructed by the city attorney not to speak to an individual or “mob” against them to make them look or sound as if they have no idea of what they are talking about, or as in my case “crazy”. It is even a conflict of interest for the city attorney to represent the Mayor & Council and at the same time the City Manager and his staff. He plays the fence. HE instructed the Mayor and council not to speak to me or address my issues. Things will never change until they do hit the big media and piss off a whole bunch of people, not just the intelligent few.
    So do us another favor, and use that muscle to push it along to a larger venue – we know you have those connections.

  9. This response is for every citizen of Goodyear. I’d like to respond first to Mr. Lewis and then on to Mrs.Greener. You are right Mr. Lewis I resigned from the job as mayor of Goodyear. The government of Goodyear with the current city manager and a continuous majority of council voting for that city manager’s programs was failing in its responsibility to the citizen’s of Goodyear. It was government first, the people second. I could no longer be a part of something I believed was corrupt and yet because local government in Arizona is more a numbers game than a leadership project, I was unable to do what I believed appropriate, ethical, and responsible. It became obvious to me that short of undermining the institution of government itself in Goodyear, I needed to leave abruptly and maybe make a positive difference outside of government as a citizen of Goodyear. Mr. Lewis, I don’t expect you to believe this summarization, and frankly don’t care.

    Regarding my experience within the military; as I stated in the above blog, I learned a lot from that service which hopefully resulted in positive gain for the City of Goodyear. However, I don’t understand your comment on the (as you call it) military card. What do you mean by the military card and when did I play it? Please be specific on both questions.

    On your next point: I did work full-time as Mayor of Goodyear for almost 8 years. With an annual salary of about $20,000.00, my wife and/or I had to work in another fulltime job. Before becoming mayor, I was the designated broker for a company my wife and I owned called Cavanaugh Realty. My wife and I decided to transfer the designated broker position to her because we knew that people like you Mr. Lewis, as well as at least three councilmembers, would do anything to undermine my credibility as mayor. Your response in this train of emails sadly proves us correct. So, Mr. Lewis, I stepped back from real estate for several years and now am working to reacquire those skills. Regarding Mr. Lewis’ comment on community property and the obligation of husband and wife to share: If Mr. Lewis were really knowledgeable of the legal ramifications of married life, he would realize that all states protect spouses through different legal mechanisms—community property being the one followed in Arizona. But Mr. Lewis, my wife and I share everything regardless of the law and your comment is simply immature and irrelevant.

    Next point: Prove that I did anything even remotely unethical, immoral, or illegal in the city’s dealings with Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Mr. Lewis, put up or you know the rest.

    Next point: Regarding the allegation that Jack Rose and I had a special, apparently illegal, relationship. Mr. Lewis mentions that free private air transportation was provided to me and Councilmember Cavalier in connection with baseball. The air transportation he incorrectly refers to was associated with bringing higher education to Goodyear, had nothing to do with baseball. Mr. Rose had chartered an aircraft to visit the schools Goodyear was trying to bring to Arizona. He was traveling to the same location as I was for the same reason. My passage was paid for by the City to Mr. Rose in the exact amount a common carrier was charging and my travel was sanctioned by our city attorney. Lastly, Mr. Lewis alleged that I berated a citizen who attacked me personally during a council meeting—personal attacks became somewhat of a routine occurrence in the last year of my tenure, I suppose in conjunction with my repeated failed attempts to cut the cost of government. I never berated the person but merely attempted to respond to his accusations. He however hightailed it out of the room with his tail between his legs. Mr. Lewis, I challenge you to find one time that I ever berated a citizen in public.

    Now on to Mrs. Greener. I knew Mrs. Greener as a community activist several years ago. Regarding her comment that I was on the board of a bank “owned by Jack Rose” and that I voted without providing public knowledge on ball park issues. This comment is actually libelous. Be careful, Mary Greener. In fact I was on the original board, as was Jack Rose, of the West Valley National Bank. However, I concluded that some would attempt to use my formal association to harm my credibility so I resigned several years ago in early 2006 as I can best recall. My resignation preceded any bank votes on financing of any obligation of any type. I literally sacrificed an opportunity to be on a bank board so as not to be a target for libelous charges from people with interests common to yours, Mrs. Greener, whatever those interests may have been.

    Mrs. Greener and I spoke on several occasions. I have no recollection whatsoever that you were denied the right to talk with me in my office. However, I am quite certain that no citizen was ever turned back from meeting with me anywhere, anytime. I have no idea what you are talking about when you insinuate my involvement in missing backup tapes, unfulfilled records requests, mobbing of employees, Jared Pendleton case, your allegation of corruption in the PD, et.al.

    Mrs. Greener and I do share a common agreement regarding the city attorney allowing councilmembers to avoid valid questioning under the umbrella of attorney-client privilege. If such authority was granted in the prison expansion issue, then the citizens should seek a ruling from the State Attorney General. A short letter laying out the issues should result in a response. Regarding the prison expansion case, I have difficulty understanding what criteria was used to justify holding an executive session let alone granting attorney-client privilege to councilmembers.

  10. Jim, you can rationalize your decision to quit any way you want, bottom line is you gave up. As a citizen who voted for you, twice, I was incredibly disappointed in the fact that you chose to walk away. Where would this country be if all people quit when the going got tough? I guess your “positive deterrence from the outside of government as a citizen” is taking pot shots on a blog and mentoring Gary Gibbs. You of all people should know how easy it is to “Monday morning quarterback” decisions made by council. Lets look at some of your great decisions, spear headed by you: The Ballpark, a giant fiscal fiasco that the city may never recover from, the annexation of Mobile, and the city manger you love to berate,who you hired and extended his contract, unanimously.

    My point on playing the “military card” is you love to talk about what the Air Force taught you, I highly doubt the Air Force taught you to leave when things became difficult or when you didn’t get your way. If the Air Force did teach you that it would be news to me. Would the Air force let an airman walk away before his contract was fulfilled? DOUBTFUL.

    As far as the “questionable” real estate matter(s) the CTCA deal, the bridge to nowhere in Kings Ranch (rumored you had land dealings there as well) it does not matter who the broker is. If your wife benefits or your company benefits there are some ethical questions that are going to be asked. As far as the three council members who “constantly undermined you,” please be specific. I honestly wish Brodbeck would have been here during your tenure as mayor, I truly believe his tenacity for digging behind the scenes would have unearthed some interesting information.

    You state that you never berated a citizen in a council meeting. That the citizen ‘hightailed it out of the room with his tail between his legs” before you could respond. I guess he should have done the manly thing and saved his criticism for a blog….

    • Jim Cavanaugh is not my mentor, Mr. Lewis, although I could do worse. For you to suggest otherwise casts doubt on your grasp of the facts. I met with him once, at my request, during the last campaign. He told me up front he was supporting someone else. You may recall that another candidate had the phrase “Endorsed by former Mayor Jim Cavanaugh” on his campaign signs, not me.

      My purpose in meeting with the former mayor was to pick his brain about the job as part of my due diligence. He graciously gave me an hour of his time and we had a good conversation. I have not spoken with him since.

  11. While Rome is burning…… Goodyear obviously has very serious problems created by special interests and elected officials who seem to have been bought out, much like having Coughlin/CCA (Corrections Corporation of America) sitting in the Governor’s office and driving policy and laws.

    It’s time to save Goodyear and STOP the private prisons corporation contracts. All those who have a part in its expansion breaking the promise made by the legislators to limit growth at 1,400 will be responsible for the devaluation of the many luxury homes and changing the goal (PR and marketing materials) of a luxury community like Scottsdale — into a prison town. Wake up people and write the Governor and ADC Director Ryan. Complete the mandated audit and stop the signing of any private prison contracts.

  12. Well I must say Mayor Cavenaugh you certainly get the haters fired up!! Have great respect for you and while I will never quite understand why you resigned I accept your reasoning. Best of luck in your private endeavors and I for one would love to see you continue to keep posting on this blog. It is such a breath of freash air to read a coherent and thought out piece after having to sift through the rantings and incoherent drivel that Ms Lord puts out everytime she thinks Howard is winning. This blog and the guest bloggers appear to be driving Georgia’s folks crazy.

  13. Sincere thanks Aaron. Needed that. Gary; agree you never asked for nor in fact needed any so-called mentoring from me.

    Al Lewis; I commented on a meeting in which a citizen of Goodyear was treated with indifference and condescension by our city council. Such observation would have been obvious to any viewer. I do not believe I castigated the council as the blog subject indicates but did criticize their actions. I did not personally attack any council person. I based my opinion of their performance on a real time recent demonstration of their actions. You may feel differently regarding my comments, but that is little justification for your way over the top comments—personally attacking me with hackneyed and timeworn cliches based on biases, rumors, and disingenuous reporting is not beneficial in an intellectual discussion of our opposing viewpoints. To carry on our disagreements within this blog would appear foolish to the discerning public and be a disservice to the blog master himself (if that’s the name given to a blog initiator and controller). May I suggest we meet and discuss your concerns and mine at a time and place of your choosing (can use my real estate office if you wish). You may invite others as you desire. Awaiting your response.

  14. CNBC PRESENTS “BILLIONS BEHIND BARS: INSIDE AMERICA’S PRISON INDUSTRY” – CNBC
    http://www.cnbc.com/id/44706333/

    “CNBC profiles the town of Hardin, Montana, which accepted an appealing sales pitch to build a private prison that was supposed to bring jobs and much-needed revenue. Completed in 2007, Two Rivers Detention Center sits fully stocked but has never housed a single prisoner, leaving the desperate town of Hardin even worse off. Meanwhile, the prison developer and its hand-picked construction company were paid nearly 20 million dollars for their work.”

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