The NEWS; Government “Productivity”


The February 23, 2014 front page headline article in the Arizona Republic says AZ has improved worker productivity by about 25% since 1993 (144-106/144) but at the same time, (according to the AZ Republic), as a result of those gains, AZ is doing a much poorer job managing its commitment to its residents.

That is the “story” to readers. The poorer performance as a result of productivity improvements.

The Arizona Republic presents a front page, leading headline,  hand wringing indictment of a failure to FUND AZ’s pressing needs.

I submit they write articles like this because the AZ Republic’s yellow journalism staff (some, not all) only looks at half of many issues through their strong biases.

Here is the REAL issue.
Over the same time period AZR does its hand wringing, according to McKinsey, (it took me less than one minute to google this study) PRIVATE multinational US firms have improved their productivity by nearly TWICE (41%) what AZ has while at the same time IMPROVING their products AND customer satisfaction.

Can I have an “Amen Technology”?

The real story here is HOW BADLY government operates compared to the private sector over a similar time period. Why don’t they do a six week headline story about that topic?

The AZ Republic’s bias is so ingrained that it appears in not only how they report, but how they apparently cannot even see the larger issue in this case.  Instead of hand wringing over lack of funding, the more appropriate story should be an INDICTMENT of colossal mismanagement by AZ government compared to the private sector over the period in question.

What is going on in government is not about underfunding, it is about under performing.

What is going on at the AZ Republic is not about misrepresenting, it is about not even understanding.

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SB 1062. “Just the Facts, M’am”


Sometimes it is good to know exactly what the facts are before forming an opinion.
Here is the actual text of SB 1062:
http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/51leg/2r/bills/sb1062p.pdf

Here is the text (ignore the red cross outs and the blue added words) of what SB 1062 replaces:
http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/51leg/2r/bills/sb1062p.pdf

For the less observant, these are THE SAME LINKS.

That is because all SB 1062 does is modify existing AZ law, 41-1493 and 41-1493.01 that has been on the books in AZ as well as many other states since the early 1990s. It does this by adding about 100 words to about a 1,000 word document and removes about 20 words.

By my reading it is not much. Here is what I see it does;

  1. Adds the actual observance of religion to the definition of “exercise of religion”.
  2. Redefines “person” from “a religious assembly or institution” to an individual, corporation, foundation etc.
  3. Uses the phrase “state action” to replace the word “government”.
  4. Changes the meaning of “burden” from a burden on a person to a burden on a person’s “exercise of religion”.
  5. Expands the law to cover judicial proceedings between any two parties, not just the government.
  6. Defines “state action” to include state as well as local laws.

I really don’t see what all the fuss is about. It would appear to me that someone with time on their hands and an agenda just wants to make an issue of this in the press.  I don’t know who that might be or why, but I’m not spending anymore time on this.

West Valley View BLASTS Goodyear, Pizzillo


OUCH!  Need I say more?

I’m considering re-starting delivery of the WVV to my home.  I’ll at least buy something this week from one of their advertisers.

Jim Painter! You go guy!

Pizzillo Commentary

WVV Response

Pizzillo’s commentary is an example of how a contemptuous, insulated, and single minded organization of elected officials who have lost touch with the community and whose actions have not been thoroughly dissected by the media behaves.  Let’s hope WVV has seen the light and continues with their recent good work for Goodyear citizens.

Goodyear will have a budget meeting for citizen comments tonight May 2 at 6 pm.

314 days and counting until Goodyear residents get to take back Goodyear city council from special interest groups like union PACs, developers, and other business PACs (Georgia’s Money) and start to return Goodyear to fiscal sanity. The terms of the three “creeker” incumbents, Campbell, Gelzer, and Lord, expire in 2013 as well as former GY employee Joe Pizzilo’s term.

Goodyear city council primary elections; March 12, 2013.

Deadline for petitions to run for council; December, 2012.

Goodyear needs FOUR honest, intelligent, candidates to run against these government cronies in city council and mayor. Who is going to step up?

West Valley View Says Antonucci Had it Right


Will miracles never cease?

Today, the WVV got something right.

Today’s WVV editorial is titled, “Goodyear Should Put Residents First.” They then come up with a real news flash, that GY city council is supposed to be working for residents, NOT city employees. What a concept. They then go on to say that before pay raises and tuition grants are given to Goodyear employees with “expected” money Goodyear “thinks” they will have, some of the food sales tax should be removed.

Wow, is the WVV just now realizing that when they endorsed, incumbent, GY city council people, who took campaign money from city employee PACS from cities besides Goodyear, and when the GY city council is made up of;

  1. two former city employees (Pizzillo, Stipp),
  2. a mayor and vice mayor who could not tell you the difference between depreciation and deficits (Georgia, Joanne),
  3. a perhaps well meaning super volunteer with lots of friends who will vote for her regardless of her qualifications (Wally),
  4. an appointed city official wanna be (Gelzer),
  5. and a busy attorney with her own practice and a full plate (Lauritano)

that GY city council would be in the tank for their campaign contributors and do just about whatever the city manager says? And guess what? The easiest thing for the city manager to do to make his life easier is to give stuff to city employees.

And finally, WVV quotes Bill Antonucci, who ran for council last time but was defeated (no thanks to the West Valley View who endorsed all the incumbents, mostly because they were, “incumbents”). About Antonucci, the WVV says;

“Bill Antonucci said it best during last year’s council election: “The entire country has experienced a downturn in their income. Everybody is losing money; people are losing their jobs and losing their homes. So what did we do? We made it more expensive for them to live by raising their sales tax…”

Maybe editor and publisher Painter and Freireich are finally waking up over there in Avondale. But will they remember any of this at election time in 2013?

319 days and counting until Goodyear residents get to take back Goodyear city council from special interest groups like union PACs, developers, and other business PACs (Georgia’s Money) and start to return Goodyear to fiscal sanity. The terms of the three “creeker” incumbents, Campbell, Gelzer, and Lord, expire in 2013 as well as former GY employee Joe Pizzilo’s term.

Goodyear city council primary elections; March 12, 2013.

Deadline for petitions to run for council; December, 2012.

Goodyear needs FOUR honest, intelligent, candidates to run against these government cronies in city council and mayor. Who is going to step up?

West Valley View; howardsgoodyearblog Not “Objective and Reliable,” but “I Have Never Read Your Blog”


In spite of a litany of evidence to the contrary, (including that the AZ Republic agrees with me) the West Valley View still refuses to admit that they mistakenly reported that Fisch’s employment agreement entitled him to severance even if he resigned. (They also fail to publish the complete text of my letters to the editor, but that is another story). In an email reply to me by WVV editor, Jim Painter, he implies that the WVV makes decisions on the accuracy of their reporting based upon what they think the public thinks about what they wrote, not solely the facts as they stand by themselves. And in this case, they claim, they have not heard an outcry from the public.

This leads one to the conclusion that the WVV determines to some extent if they think they have accurately reported the facts to the public based upon what the public response is to their reporting, not just by simply evaluating the facts. (Trust Me, I’m a Journalism Major, Why Don’t They Just Tell the Truth?, Does the News Media Report the Truth?).

Also from his email, Painter obviously does not believe that howardsgoodyearblog is an “objective and reliable source” either. This, even though he admits, “I have never read your blog.” I’m not kidding. Could I make up a statement that ludicrous? Does it make you wonder if the WVV read or listened to anything that the challenging candidates for GY city council said to them during the last election before they endorsed the incumbents, “for being incumbents”?

Still don’t believe me? Well then as you have read in this blog many times before and what is consistent for any source like howardsgoodyearblog that is not “objective and reliable”, I will say no more, you can just read the three emails to which I refer below and make up your own mind.

Is that objective and reliable enough for you Jim? Bold emphasis is mine.

Email from me to WVV after they refused to admit their mistake and also edited my letter to the editor;

From: Howard
Date: Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 4:47 PM
Subject: Letter to the Editor
To: “editor@westvalleyview.com”
Cc: howardsgoodyearblog@gmail.com

Still standing by your article incorrectly interpreting Fischbach’s employment agreement which contrary to your report had no provision for severance payment?

If your story were correct, why did the city write Fischbach an amendment to his agreement in which the city waived the provisions of paragraph 4(e) in the original agreement which was where it stated that the employee would receive no severance in the case of his resignation?

Still removing any reference to my blog in my letters to the editor as you did in my previous letter to you where I told your readers where they could get the no spin accurate and complete story on what is happening in Goodyear?

Very gracious of you.
Howard Brodbeck

Email from WVV Editor to me;

On Apr 3, 2012, at 8:35 AM, “Jim Painter” <editor@westvalleyview.com> wrote:

> Mr. Brodbeck,
> We will stand behind our story until an objective and reliable source convinces us our interpretation of the contract was wrong.
>
> Usually when we make a mistake in the newspaper, we hear about it from multiple sources. The West Valley View is delivered to almost 80,000 households and our reader include people from a broad array of professional backgrounds, including attorneys and municipal administration experts. So far, you are the only person questioning our interpretation of the contract.
> I don’t know anything about your professional background or areas of expertise. If you are an attorney who has experience with contracts, I will certainly be willing to listen to what you have to say.
>
> Unfortunately, all I know about you is that you live in Goodyear and you write a blog. I have never read your blog, but based on the links to the titles you send the View by email, I can conclude that its primary mission is to criticize the Goodyear city government. Furthermore, it appears that any newspaper that doesn’t jump on your bandwagon is deemed a part of a broad conspiracy. Your blog demonstrates that you lack objectivity when it comes to anything related to Goodyear city government, and that alone is enough to cause us to regard your claims with caution and skepticism. (BUT HE HAS NEVER READ MY BLOG!)
>
> As to deleting links and references to your blog from your letters, it has been a longstanding policy of this newspaper (and most other newspapers that I know of) to disallow free plugs for businesses or personal Web sites in letters to the editor. We only allow free plugs for non-profit organizations. The proper way to promote your Web presence is through paid advertising. Our advertising department can be reached at 623-535-8439.
>
> Jim Painter
> Managing Editor
> West Valley View

My reply to Painter’s email;

From: Howard
Date: Tue, Apr 3, 2012 at 9:48 AM
Subject: Re: Letter to the Editor
To: Jim Painter

You have received multiple letters because I have been copied on them.
Second, one does not have to be an attorney, if that is how you define a reliable source, to know that your reporter misread the contract. Just read it, Jim. One also does not need a legal background to understand that the city would not have had to waive para 4(e) in the amendment to realize that your reporter misread it. And finally, one only needs to read the AZ republic to know that they agree with me as well. Are they “objective and reliable?”
In your email you reference only getting a letter from me as if an opinion poll might determine reality. You make it clear with that statement that as an editor you are more interested in printing what you think most people think than the actual facts. Unfortunately, that is all too common among media outlets today as I have come to realize.
Your paper is just one more example of that bias.
Howard Brodbeck
Ps howardsgoodyearblog is a non-profit public service to the community.

I guess even journalists miss how foolish what they write can sound.

I Told You So (Again)


Nearly $100,000 of Your Money

I told you last week it would finally come out that Georgia and the rest of the seven dwarfs on Goodyear city council gave Fischbach a new deal and an unentitled golden hand shake didn’t I?

And didn’t I also tell you that the West Valley View had it completely wrong and there was no provision for a severance for Fisch if he retired?

Well today I got a copy of the AMMENDMENT to Fisch’s employment agreement which is dated yesterday, March 29. In the first paragraph following all the “whereases”, the city waives the provisions of paragraph 4(e) of Fisch’s original agreement which is where the original agreement stated that he was NOT entitled to severance if he resigned.  As always in howardsgoodyearblog, here is the original agreement (CX-2031-12 John Fischbach) and here is the amendment (CX-2031-A1-12 John Fischbach) in case you want to read them for yourself.

But while we’re on the topic of the West Valley View, did you see my letter to the editor that they published in today’s (Friday, March 30) issue?  Here it is in case you missed it. 

And the WVV editor still says it ain’t so.

The editor(s) of the West Valley View just can’t bring him/herself to admit to their readers that they were wrong and that they made a mistake interpreting a legal contract. I think what is stopping them is that when they admit that mistake, much of the tone and spin of the article in which they made the mistake comes into question.  It serves to reinforce the questions on all residents’ lips which are  “why did council renew his agreement 3 months ago only to fire him and pay him a severance now?”  “What happened?”  The West Valley View was not asking those simple, obvious, questions and we can’t understand how they could miss them.

And that is the rub isn’t it?  They might be able to accept a mistake on their part, but when you and I can all see that their mistake reveals possible bias in their reporting, then it becomes a little more difficult for them to swallow.

They won’t do it even after they got a “clarification” from the city attorney (which they also initially misread) even after I completely and clearly and patiently explained to them that they asked a different question of the city attorney for clarification than what they misrepresented to readers in their original article.

Imagine that. I haven’t decided if that is funny or scary, or which is worse.

Oh, and one more thing.  You know how the West Valley View says they print whatever readers send them as letters to the editor?  Well here is the original letter to the editor that I sent them.  You compare it to what they actually printed above and then decide if these folks are on the level with you or not.

From: hdb <hdb@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Mar 26, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Subject: Letter to the Editor
To: Jim Painter <editor@westvalleyview.com>
Cc: Sara Clawson <sclawson@westvalleyview.com>

In your Friday, March 23, 2012, issue you have incorrectly interpreted John Fischbach’s employment agreement language.  There is no language in the agreement giving the former Goodyear city manager the right to severance “in the event of a suggestion … (from) city council that he resign”, as you reported.

Instead, he only had the right to “meet and confer” following such a suggestion.

A correct and detailed explanation of Fischbach’s firing and city council calling it a retirement yet paying him near $100,000 in severance to which he was not contractually entitled is available at howardsgoodyearblog.

One benefit of this episode is that we all know now how costly “Meet and Confer” can be.

Howard Brodbeck

EDITOR’S RESPONSE; Competition is good, right?

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.

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