Arizona Gulag. Goodyear, AZ Mayor Bans Applause for Topics She Dislikes

“No clapping.” (but only on statements I disagree with)

That is what Goodyear, AZ Mayor Georgia Lord told a crowd of concerned citizens who applauded at a Goodyear, AZ city council meeting when a concerned citizen spoke to Lord and her city council during the only permitted citizen comment portion of Goodyear’s March 26, 2012 city council meeting. At minute 46:45 of the linked video of the meeting, Lord says;

“no clapping, I know you want to but decorum says no.”

Five minutes earlier, Lord admonished the crowd when they applauded for another speaker on the same topic; city mismanagement and lack of transparency by the city council. (minute 41:26) Lord then called for;

“order in the room.”

Double Standard

But Lord and Goodyear city council practically lead the applause for a speaker they like. Look at what happened only minutes before Lord threatened the crowd of dissatisfied taxpayers. At minute 35:21 of the same video, the same night, the first citizen speaker of the night, used his three minutes to express his appreciation for city help with approving repair work done at his business. In this part of the video, Mayor Lord and the rest of Goodyear’s city council are seen giving a hearty round of applause for this speaker.

Plenty of Problems in Goodyear

The several concerned citizens used their meager three minutes to comment on how badly they thought the mayor and city council have been managing the city since they were elected over a year ago. Citizens’ most recent concerns arose after nearly bankrupt Goodyear’s city council met secretly and awarded tens of thousands of dollars in severance to a disgraced city manager who resigned at the request of Lord’s city council. Citizens at the city council meeting that night merely wanted to know why the same city council under Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord would renew former Goodyear city manager John Fischbach’s employment contract in December only to turn around and ask him to resign less than three months later in March and award him a rich severance package that was not a part of his recently renewed employment contract.

Council Won’t Tell Residents What Happened

The entire city manager resignation was done under the cloak of secrecy in a city council executive session and to date, members of Goodyear city council will only tell residents and the local press outlets that they just decided to go in a “new direction” and that their actions were not unusual since they had new “visions” for the city. This even though the last election in Goodyear was well over a year ago.

What frustrates many Goodyear residents besides the apparent mismanagement of their tax dollars is that the local press including a small town newspaper and the west Phoenix valley portion of the Arizona Republic continue to report whatever Goodyear’s city council and it’s media representatives feed them with little investigation of the facts behind their statements or any tough questioning of Goodyear’s elected officials’ apparent bias on most issues. In fact, howardsgoodyearblog was created in response to one sided coverage of a Goodyear police and fire boycott of two Goodyear businesses whose owners spoke against the city’s big spending ways during a public meeting. At that time only Goodyear’s former mayor spoke up about the entire matter.

Goodyear residents may have good reason to be concerned and skeptical of a city council who has managed this west side Phoenix suburb of only 65,000 into $300 million dollars of debt and between $50 and $70 million or perhaps more in current and pending lawsuits. The lawsuits stem from multiple firings of former employees, residents who were arrested for disorderly conduct for arguing with city employees following city council meetings, and in one case, a mother who’s child was run over and killed in an unsolved and mishandled hit and run accident that may have involved a Goodyear police officer.

The closely knit and secretive seven member Goodyear city council, which usually votes 7 – 0 on most city issues, is made up of three residents of a large retirement community in the city, two retired former city employees who draw retirement pay as well as council pay, the wife of a local jewelry store owner, and a local attorney. The most recent Goodyear council election in 2011 was a contentious one, with many opposition candidates who failed to win any council seats in part because they were not organized, failed to attract new voters into the voting pool, and diluted their candidacy with multiple opposition candidates. Only 4,500 votes or less than 7% of the population were required to win a seat on Goodyear’s city council in the last election in the town of 65,000. Among the election issues were campaign contributions to the incumbent council members from police and fire union PACs from outside the city as well as from developers and other business interests in the community. Goodyear has rules forbidding campaign contributions by Goodyear union PACs.

Seventy plus year old Goodyear grandmother, mayor Georgia Lord, who admonished the citizen crowd at the recent council meeting and who is a recovering victim of recurrent mini-stroke symptoms, is a resident of the large retirement community in Goodyear called Pebble Creek along with two other of her city council members. Many residents agree that those who live in the large retirement community decide Goodyear elections as many “snow bird” residents are well organized to vote by Lord and her two fellow Pebble Creek resident council members. Some question whether these snow birds who vote are all legal residents of Arizona or if many of them remain legal residents of their summer home states.

The next election in Goodyear is in March 2013. There is a group of residents who have tried to have the Goodyear council elections moved to November in order to attract more voters but Lord has quashed any hint of Goodyear city council considering that. In an email to residents who complained about city council’s inaction on the requested election date change Lord replied, “I feel the process is best left to our citizens at this time.”

In other words, I’m not going to lift a finger to help you unseat me.


2 Responses

  1. “Closely knit and secretive seven member Goodyear City Council” is an excellent description of their behavior. On many occassions I have seen them at public events where they huddle together and stick to each other like glue. Reminds me of a little high school clique. Disgusting to watch. Not a thought at all of mingling with their constituents. If it is true that the snowbirds in PebbleCreek are voting both in Arizona and their home state I personally will volunteer my time and spend my hard earned cash to root out this kind of corruption. I have it on good authority that some of the creekers even brag about their ability to get away with it.

  2. Sir thank you I could not agree with you more. I am a Goodyear resident and I am fed up with the crap from the city council and the major. The utility department is run like crap and the police department does pretty much whatever it wants without a hint of investigation. We need a new council and a new major. This group is running our city into the ground. We are losing good residents and a lot of new business because of them.

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