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. (  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.


GEOrgia Knew Part Two

Am I the only one who notices these things?

In an AZ Republic article from Thursday, Sept 22, 2011, by Lisa Halverstadt in the Valley & State section, Lisa reports that “former Arizona lawmaker John Kaites and Chicago sports magnate Jerry Reinsdorf are again looking to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes”.

John Kaites?  He’s the guy who runs GEO’s lobbying firm Public Policy Partners.  He’s also the same guy who was trying to contact Georgia around June 20 to tell her he wanted to find out for his client, GEO, if Goodyear was, “interested” in the prison.  In fact Romina wrote in this email to John Fischbach GEOrgia knew smiley face email  that Romina had already spoken to Georgia about the Kaites phone call and told Georgia why Kaites was calling.

Lisa also reported in the same article that, “Tony Tavares is also part of the (Reinsdorf) group…according to David Leibowitz, the group’s spokesman”.

David Leibowitz?  When I called GEO a few weeks ago to prepare my posts on the prison, nobody from GEO ever called me back.  Instead, David Leibowitz of Leibowitz Solo called me back instead.  He basically said to me, who the f__ are you? Send me info on who you are and then I’ll decide if I’ll talk to you for GEO.  He never called me back.

In a July 27 email from Kristen Boilini (you remember Kristen, she’s the lobbyist who GY invited to Georgia’s public meeting to speak for GEO) to GY’s Romina Khananisho, (here is the email PIO to PIO email0001) Kristen tells Romina that Kristen’s associate Dianne (McCallister, Government Relations Specialist at Kaites’ PPP lobbying firm) wants to set a meeting with Goodyear’s Nora Fascinelli in order to prepare Nora for media calls once the prison expansion hearings schedule gets out and she wants to bring along none other than…. David Liebowitz, the same David Liebowitz who is Kaites’ spokesman and partner in the Coyotes with Reinsdorf.

Kristen goes on to tell Romina in the same email  PIO to PIO email0001 that David Liebowitz, “speaks PIO”.  I think that means that Kristen is telling Romina that David knows how to twist words around for governments and politicians like other Public Information Officers (PIO) like GY’s Nora Fascinelli so that an unwitting public is handled properly and does not make any mischief for those same politicians.

So let’s see if I have this straight. John Kaites;

  1. a former Arizona state legislator, and now member of a big time Phoenix law firm and who runs PPP lobbying firm who represents GEO
  2. who, according to the Phoenix Business Journal (PBJ) is Jerry Reinsdorf’s “right hand man”
  3. and who also according to PBJ was introduced to Reinsdorf by none other than John McCain,
    (here you go, I’m not making this stuff up; )
  4.  calls Georgia back in June to find out if GY is interested in the prison.

Now Georgia wants us all to believe that;

  1. she never spoke to high roller Kaites
  2. Romina did not tell her exactly why high roller Kaites was calling
  3. Georgia has no idea what Kaites’ lobbying firm Public Policy Partners does or what they were calling GY staffer Romina about
  4. and according to Georgia’s recent, gap ridden explanation to constituents, nothing important happened regarding the prison from March 28 (when G was sworn in) until July 11 when council went on break.

Oh puleeze.

But let’s take it one more step.  Georgia and the rest of GY city council want us to believe that Georgia never mentioned any of this to any of them?  That she failed to mention to anyone that Kaites, a big time Arizona lawyer, a former state representative, a Reinsdorf and McCain confidante, had called to gauge GY’s interest in the prison expansion and, oh by the way, it could be worth nearly $14 mil in new tax revenue to GY?

What would you think if you were on city council and Georgia and Fischbach kept that kind of information to themselves about high rollers like Kaites calling?  I think I’d be pretty well miffed.

And I’d be really miffed when the entire scenario is blown by some one-man blogger shop doing an FOIA request and embarassing them all.  If that was the case wouldn’t you expect at least one of the GY city council members to publicly tell constituents that the blame is on Georgia for not telling them?

Have you heard of any GY council members saying that?

Well if they’re not saying that to constituents now then it is for only one of two reasons that I can think of.  Either;

  1. all of GY city council was well aware of the whole thing and Georgia and/or Fischbach did tell them all about Kaites or,
  2. they are such a tightly knit, covering-each-others’-butts group that they just keep each others’ secrets pretty well.

Pretty scary for you Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer, eh?

And finally, when exactly do you think GY found out from Westcor that Westcor was going to delay the mall again?  Wally just revealed it to us this week but I’ll bet Fischbach and council might have known for at least a few months.  Can you imagine the temptation of $14 million in new taxes from GEO right when you’ve just found out Westcor is going to delay again? And can you imagine the city angst when they knew that SOB howardsgoodyearblog would be gloating all over the place when the mall was delayed again because he had correctly called the GY-Westcor announcement of imminent groundbreaking which just happened to be published a few weeks before the election in 2011 a political stunt?

C’mon Georgia and council, which is it?  Fill in the big gaps in Georgia’s latest email explanation to constituents and confirm or deny Wally’s recent protestations about howardsgoodyearblog not believing her story about her lunch meeting in August with Romina, Sheri, and Georgia.  Why are you guys all covering for each other?  If Georgia didn’t tell anyone, why aren’t any of you offended by that because she hung all of you out to dry in public by not telling anyone about what was going on. Why won’t any of you call her on it?

There is an election coming sooner or later in all your futures, you know.

CTCA Investigation Begun by howardsgoodyearblog

Editor’s Note.  I have had a few people, mostly supporters of incumbent Goodyear council members, ask me to investigate CTCA for some reason. I have never gotten around to it because council has provided me with so many easier, more timely faux pas instead.  Fortunately for me, someone who was actually there at the time of the CTCA “deal” has written a concise, sensible summary for all of us to read and included it as a comment on another post.  It is so good that I cut and pasted that comment below.  And it appears that the author actually wrote it without the assistance of a city manager and public information officer. Nice to see someone who is willing to talk in terms of dates, times, names, and facts instead of the issue ducking nonsense we get from Georgia Lord these days. Perhaps we didn’t know how good we had it.

PS.  I am told by others (but have not confirmed but it has not been denied either) that Jewel White is Bill Stipp’s sister.

By Jim Cavanaugh

The subject of this specific blog (Citizen Berated by Council) has digressed at least in part from the subject of council berating a citizen to the entirely unrelated subject that I may have acted inappropriately and unethically in a real estate transaction with Cancer Treatment Centers of America. I assume the comments stem from a letter to the editor, West Valley View, dated March 1, 2011 from a Ms. Jewel White.
Ms. White made three specific accusations regarding CTCA and me. First, she stated that my company received a commission of $8.2 Million from a land deal with CTCA. Not sure where she received her info, but she needs to seek out more reliable and dependable resources. Actually, the commission my wife received was handsome for our small company but less than one per cent of Ms. White’s allegation—-that’s right, less than one per cent (editor; 1% would be $82,000). I was never involved in the transaction as a realtor nor as mayor, and CTCA was never on the council agenda during the year or so that negotiations took place between the private parties.
Her second accusation was that CTCA came to Goodyear because I engineered a deal giving them significant tax breaks. Apparently to the sly Ms.White, the land deal commission was a payoff. Let me summarize the facts regarding CTCA coming to Goodyear. When CTCA announced that they were interested in coming to Arizona, three cities vied for the beddown; Tempe, Phoenix, and Goodyear. I and several others met on several occasions with CTCA leadership to press the Goodyear opportunity. However, CTCA chose Phoenix in its Maryville section. After notification that Phoenix had won, I called the vice chairman of CTCA to express our understanding and respect for their process. I never expected to hear from them again. But then, you never know. Negotiations between Phoenix and CTCA got bogged down on the subject of GPLET, a very valuable incentive that results in a reduction in property taxes. Phoenix provided the incentive to companies in downtown Phoenix but not in Maryville and wouldn’t budge. CTCA called our economic development folks and inquired whether Goodyear used GPLETs. As I recall we had not used the incentive but it was authorized for use in the broad land area in which CTCA wanted to build a hospital. We quickly came to agreement and CTCA came on board. Candidly, I did not know what a GPLET was until this transaction and did not engage in the negotiations regarding incentives. To allege that I engineered the deal is ludicrous. In the past couple months, leadership has changed at CTCA. I do not know the current CEO but I did know his predecessor, Dave Veillette. No private organization did more for Goodyear than Veillette and CTCA, nor did any public official. CTCA is great for Goodyear but far more valuable to the patients whose lives they are saving.
Ms. White’s last accusation was that CTCA and Cavanaugh were trying to buy the election and the citizens should expect their candidates to cut deals for them to the detriment of the City. I have no idea what CTCA contributed in campaign funding. Sadly, in view of the election results, Ms. White will never know whether CTCA “bought” the candidates they supported. However, if she pays attention, she’ll find out if the thousands of dollars given to the Lord group by her non-Goodyear supporters who own land and intend to develop in Goodyear, the police and fire unions from throughout the State, APS, Cox, and the Homebuilders Association of Central Arizona “bought” their candidates.

I Told You So

From a recent message board exchange in Pebble Creek, ( “Wally” is Goodyear council member Wally Campbell);

In a message dated 9/17/2011 11:49:17 A.M. US Mountain Standard Time,
johnandwally@… writes:
The Mall will not be breaking ground the end of this year. The developers
will be coming back to City Council in the fall for another design review
as they are re-thinking the lay out of the mall.
They are on schedule to break ground in 2012 and open in 2013 I believe.

Opps, I guess Nora Fascinelli forgot to send in the newspaper announcement for this important event like the announcement and feature article Fischbach made last year (just before the election) stating that the mall was going to break ground before the end of the year.  Remember, that was about the time that Bill Stipp said everything financially is really not so bad?

AZ Republic?  West Valley Screw?  What do you have to say to your readers now? Where’s the big write up on this new mall delay?  You mean nobody called you?

I hate to gloat (not true) but on June 15, here ($2.3 Mil and Counting) is what I wrote predicting that a delay was exactly what was going to happen. And how about what I reported about Fischbach’s well timed (just before the last election) announcement that Westcor was finally going to break ground by the end of this year? Right again, it was simply the political ploy that I told you it was.

But here’s your worry card, Goodyear property owner and tax payer. In this article from April 27;

I told you about and included a slide presentation from a city council work session of February 15 (here is the slide presentation again, see pages 41-42 2011 2 15 Work Session Presentation )  where I warned you that Goodyear was counting on over $6 mil in tax revenues from the mall by 2014 and over $8.5 mil in tax revenues the next year in order to make their long term spending plans work out. Those kinds of tax revenues would require $255 mil and $372 mil respectively in annual mall sales.

Highly unlikely, said I.

And now Wally tells us that they won’t even break ground until 2013 and it will be a revised plan?  Oh yeah, maybe they’re going to revise the mall to make it bigger…. LOL.

Too bad Goodyear already gave away last year an extension on the minimum requirements language in the contract for a measly $1.3 million (but it helped their budget calculations that year so they could keep spending). If Goodyear hadn’t made that bonehead deal they could now KEEP much of the sales tax revenue (several millions of dollars) that has been collected so far and what might be collected in the future.  Remember, in the terms of the Westcorp deal, in addition to Goodyear funding Westcorp’s $47 million in improvements, Westcorp also gets to keep half of your sales taxes collected for quite some time into the future.

So Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer, where do you think Goodyear is going to get all that tax money that they’ve been counting on so they can keep spending?  Do you see now why $13 million in prison construction sales taxes looked so good to them?

Like I’ve been telling you over and over again, each year this city council has been planning for the best and hoping the worst does not happen. Responsible budgeting either public or private does not work that way and you, Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer, you are on the hook for Goodyear city council’s incompetence.

Georgia’s Nixon Tapes; A Convenient Gap Between March 28 – July 11

It seems that a few Goodyear taxpayers are so upset that Goodyear punted on the prison back in June when GEO’s lobbyists contacted the city that they wrote nasty letters to Georgia. (I’ve included a couple of their emails to and replies to Georgia below).

So Georgia has finally responded in writing* with a “set the record straight”, “factual timeline” letter back to all these good folks where she also incorrectly accuses her critics of claiming that she “supported” the prison. I guess that’s in there to try to get your sympathy for her that she has somehow been wrongly accused.   I’ve included Georgia’s email in its entirety below, it’s 3 pages long.  Pretty impressive, eh?  A “factual timeline” to “set the record straight” sounds really good. Sounds like something a city employed public information officer like Nora Fascinelli might come up with.

But it also sounded good when Richard Nixon released the White House tapes back in 1973.  He was also going to come clean for the American public back then. But do you remember the 181/2 minute gap that Rosemary Woods demonstrated how she must have inadvertently caused when her foot slipped on the pedal of the recorder when she was transcribing? Remember that the gap tape was recorded only 3 days after the break-in and it was during a conversation between Nixon and Haldeman?

Can you spell I N C R I M I N A T I N G?  And didn’t you feel insulted back then that Nixon would think you were that stupid to try such an obvious head fake on you?

Well guess what?  Georgia’s got a convenient gap in her “set the record straight factual timeline” too.  She takes you all the way back to 2010 to start her explanation, and brings you up to March 28 when she was sworn in as mayor (just a little reminder to you). But opps, then she skips from March 28 to July 11 when council went on break.

What happened to all those interesting months in between?  Like May and June, the months with the emails that clearly show Georgia knew all about what was going on with GEO and the prison and when Goodyear lawyers were already contacting Perryville to understand the proposal and RFQ better?

C’mon, Georgia, is that the best that you and your $60 million operating budget and about 500 city employees can do to answer the questions that have been raised in your voters minds? It’s just me here with a 6 year old laptop and no budget raising these issues.

Georgia, if you really want to address questions around your initial lack of judgement when the lobbyists called, if you really want to answer questions about your lack of leadership around this entire event, if you really want to address your subsequent grandstanding for the public to paint yourself as a well meaning leader when in fact you are hiding behind the obvious, then just answer these simple questions that I have included for you below;

  1. Where can you point to anyone accusing you of actively supporting the prison expansion as you have exaggerated in your letter? Instead, you and the rest of the city of Goodyear have been accused of “standing aside” and not actively resisting the prison expansion back in June when you could have easily done so and then not being up front about it with citizens. Big difference.
  2. In a June 19 email, over a month earlier than you claim GEO contacted you, sent by Ms. Romina to John Fischbach, she clearly states that she had called and spoken to you about GEO’s lobbyist trying to contact you to find out if Goodyear would be interested in the prison expansion or not.  Are you denying that you spoke to Romina or that she told you why they were calling all the way back in June?  In another email the next day, Romina says that she is with you when GEO lobbyists are trying to set the meeting time and date. Are you denying that she never said anything to you about GEO by then?
  3. Are you denying that if you or others in the city had simply told GEO back in June when their lobbyists contacted you that you would resist a prison expansion with the same passion and eloquence that your city paid writers have put into public statements for you in the news media after citizens found out about it that GEO would have still made a proposal?
  4. While you think about answering that question, how about the August 10 email that we have all seen from John Fischbach to Romina telling her that Goodyear does not oppose the prison?  Are you saying that you knew nothing about what your own city manager was doing regarding an issue as important as the prison as late as August 10?
  5. Or what about the August 3 email from Romina to GEO’s lobbyist saying that “a few” council members had “asked for” benefits statements regarding the prison to get back to constituents with?  Are you saying you knew nothing of how other council people were responding?
  6. Or how about the information from former mayor Cavanaugh where he has stated that the mayor meets with the city manager on a weekly basis?  How could you not have spoken about a $13 million tax revenue issue?
  7. And based upon Wally Campbell’s email of August 21 and her admission that she was referring to an August 3 or 4 meeting with you, Lauritano, Wally, and Romina where you all just “happened” to meet GEO’s lobbyist at lunch, do you expect us all to believe that the prison issue was never discussed when this occurred within days of the first resident objections to the plan?
  8. And finally, which turnip truck do you think we all just fell off?

I think it is pretty clear to everyone, Georgia, that you and perhaps all the rest of city council sat back and allowed things to unfurl as they did instead of either asking citizens what they thought about this big of a town issue (heck, you’re going to survey citizens about a $3 per month increase in garbage service).

Why don’t any of you have the guts to simply admit what you did, or failed to do, and move on?  Don’t politicians learn from previous crooked politicians that the cover up is always worse than the initial deed?

*OK, so Georgia didn’t actually write it, Nora probably wrote it with input from Romina since it looks a lot like the city council CYA timeline that Romina put together for John Fischbach also after the fact back in August (also attached below so you can compare for yourself).

Emails to Georgia from her fans. Dear Georgia fan mail

Georgia’s flawed “set the record straight factual timeline” Georgia gap email

Romina Council CYA timeline to Fischbach.  Why is it CYA?  Because it contradicts the actual emails.  Timeline

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


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.

Council Berates Citzen Over Prison Questions – by Gary Gibbs

by Gary Gibbs

The following email, written on Aug. 10, the day of the public hearing on Perryville prison expansion, is from Romina Khananisho, city of Goodyear government affairs person, to city manager John Fischbach. It is unedited, unvarnished and unexpurgated:


I am a little concerned with us saying that the city is opposing the expansion of the prison. We have been approached by the private prison company over and over asking us if we have issues, if we needed information and what our position was. We told the CEO we didn’t have a position because we had not gone to council. In fact we told him we weren’t planning on taking it to council because we didn’t feel we really had a choice when it came to the decisions of the department of corrections.

I have been working with his team to prepare documents and information for us. They have provided us with everything we have asked for and more. They continue to ask me if anyone has brought forward any concerns and I have given them the ones we have talked about, taxes, zoning, etc. But no one ever said we were opposed to the expansion.

In fact, when we spoke about it, we said this could be a good thing for us financially. So I am confused that our statement is now we are opposed. I understand we were opposed back in the 80’s but this is a new council and this is private prison with a different scenario. In addition, we have not stated any opposition before right now. We asked them to talk to Luke, and they did. LAFB is not opposed so we don’t have that excuse.

I am not in the office at the moment. I just wanted I shared with you my concerns. This is a bit of a surprise to me and frankly it looks like I totally lied to this team of people this entire 2 months we have been working with them.

Thanks, Romina K.

Forty minutes after receiving this note, Fischbach replies:

Romina, I don’t know what you’re talking about. We have never said that we are opposed. Call me or come and see me later.

Here’s the test. Let’s see how you do. Based on what a reasonable person would conclude after reading the above, the following statements are either True or False:

1.  The city has been steadfast in its opposition to Perryville prison expansion.

2.  The city values citizen property values and an upscale image more than tax revenue.

3.  The city respects the concerns of businesses and schools near the prison site.

4.  Romina is a mid-level city functionary who ran amok, acted on her own and should be fired.

5.  The city manager was acting on his own and kept the mayor and council in the dark.

6.  The mayor had no idea that, as late as Aug. 10, the city was not opposed to expansion.

7.  All along, the city made it clear to the private prison company that it would oppose its plans.

8.  The city has been completely transparent and open about this entire issue.

9.  The city always makes decisions with your best interests in mind.

10. To think that the city played footsy with the prison company to gain millions in tax revenue down the road is just one big conspiracy theory.

My test answers are that all of the statements are false. How about yours?

At the last council meeting (Sept. 12), I took my citizen’s three minutes to share concerns with the council that, had the city made it clear to the prison company early on that it wanted no part of expansion, it is possible the company would have backed away from a fight and bid on another state location. It was my contention that this entire matter could have been put to rest in early June.

For my trouble, I was publicly excoriated. The Lord Mayor was righteously pissed and engaged in her usual bullying and intimidation tactics, accusing me of just playing politics, wasting city time and resources by filing Freedom of Information requests (actually, Howard Brodbeck is “guilty” of that. I just read the stuff), said I was just reading what I wanted to into the information obtained and accused me of dealing in conspiracy theory.

Sheri Lauritano managed to work in the fact that she is an attorney, as she does at almost every meeting, and came preciously close to threatening to sue me for . . . something. After stating publicly that it would have been illegal for him to attend the Aug. 10 public meeting, Bill Stipp said I was wrong to say he wouldn’t have attended even if he had not had a conflict. Joe Pizzillo waved his right to attorney client privilege and got city attorney Rorick Massey to acknowledge that Joe has been on record opposing prison expansion since April 2010.

If you would like to see how your elected representatives treat a citizen who has the temerity to question their actions, view the video on the city’s website. They swatted a mosquito with a sledgehammer. Their virulent over-reaction brings to mind the phrase, “They doth protest too much.”

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